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This post is written in exchange for products from Careness Foot Pads. The genuine and honest opinions expressed are entirely my own.

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When Careness contacted me about trying their Premium Bamboo Foot Pads, I responded with interest. I’ve heard of foot pads, having read comments that scoffed at whether such items benefitted the body, or not. Believers and non-believers weighed in with a variety of opinions.

This is what’s true about me though. I form my own opinions, after giving products of all kinds a try. I’m grateful that I make up my own mind. Where would I be, if I had not begun the then unheard of practice of drinking celery juice almost three years ago? Or what if I had decided food must not have healing properties, since not one of my doctors ever mentioned that possibility to me? I would not be the healthy, vibrant person that I now am.

The Premium Bamboo Foot Pads arrived in the mail, and not only did I try them, several of my family members tried them as well. Below are our results.

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What are Bamboo Foot Pads?

Foot pads, also called detox foot pads, cleansing foot pads or foot patches, have been used in Chinese medicine for many, many years as a way to naturally draw out toxins from the body, through the soles of the feet. There are other reported benefits as well, from improved sleep to stress relief to increased energy.

Careness uses all natural ingredients in their bamboo foot pads, including:

  • wood vinegar extract
  • bamboo vinegar extract
  • chitin and chitosan
  • tourmaline
  • vitamin C
  • vegetable fiber
  • minus ion powder
  • dextrin

The pads attach to the bottoms of the feet, which are rich with nerve endings and pores. Other practices, such as reflexology, bring healing to the entire body by focusing on the soles of the feet. The bamboo foot pads are worn while you sleep, drawing out toxins, increasing circulation and stimulating the feet to improve health and well being.

Opening the package. The ingredients are in paper bags, similar to tea bags. They affix to the adhesive sheets.
Premium Bamboo Foot Pads
A foot pad ready to be attached to the bottom of my foot.
Premium Bamboo Foot Pads
Bamboo foot pads attached, in the center of each foot. I’m ready to try these out!

Bamboo Foot Pad Results

For many years I took sleep aids or allergy meds, to put me to sleep at night. Since becoming plant based, I have not had trouble going to sleep. However, I wake up throughout the night, every 1 to 1 1/2 hours, roll over, and usually go back to sleep. Occasionally, I wake up in the middle of the night and have difficulty sleeping after that. I use the time to think or meditate and eventually doze again.

After attaching a bamboo foot pad to each foot, I was ready to go to bed, and see what happened. The pads should be worn for eight hours. I admit to feeling very curious!

The soles of my feet felt slightly warm and a bit tingly, pleasantly so. I became drowsy right away and fell asleep quickly. Rather than waking up every hour or so, I slept soundly until 5:00 am. I woke briefly. My feet still felt warm, in a cozy kind of way, making me smile. I felt very relaxed, almost as if I had taken a sleep aid. In a few moments I had slipped back into sleep, and rested well for a couple more hours.

When I woke fully, I felt rested, alert and settled, I think would be the proper word, more grounded. I had a slightly dry mouth. Peeling off the bamboo foot pads, I found them to be brown in color and a bit gooey. Whether this was from detoxing, or simply moisture from my feet interacting with the ingredients, I can’t say. However, I can attest to experiencing an excellent night of rest. I tried the bamboo foot pads the next night, and was rewarded with the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a very long time. I slept straight through the night, without waking at all, until 7:00 am, which is something I have not done for years. The second morning, I did not note a dry mouth.

My family members…Greg, Mom, and my stepdad…all reported a more restful night’s sleep as well. Each also said that the pads changed to dark colors overnight. Greg, who is a very restless sleeper, felt his body relaxed and was more quiet.

Premium Bamboo Foot Pads
The foot pads after being worn for 8 hours, as I slept.
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Where Can You Find Bamboo Foot Pads?

Careness Premium Bamboo Foot Pads can be purchased through this Amazon link and includes a 20% off coupon. And, the package comes with a bonus lavender foot mask to try.

I will definitely use these again. With their ease of use and natural ingredients, the foot pads are a great alternative to sleep aids. Plus, I felt energetic after those great sleeps. And oh, what I can accomplish after a wonderful night of rest!

Have you ever tried bamboo foot pads? What was your experience?

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

8 Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance

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Gluten intolerance? I never gave those words a thought.

In fact, I used to say, a bit smugly too, that I could live on soup, bread and Diet Pepsi. Those three favorites were the foundation of my poor diet. And for years, I attempted to live by that motto. I gave up the Diet Pepsi first, more than a dozen years ago, and experienced an immediate improvement in my health. Soup can stay, minus dairy products and unhealthy toppings. Bread, though? I love it and thought I could not live without bread. I craved it, from gooey cinnamon rolls to thick slices of sandwich bread to pizza crust to those big soft pretzels.

What I did not realize, until I switched to a plant based lifestyle, was that bread did not love me. In particular, gluten did not do my body any good. I grew up in the 60s and 70s, eating a typical American diet that relied on white bread as a staple. Never once did I consider that my digestive problems and skin rashes might be caused by a substance found in wheat products.

Maybe you haven’t considered that possibility either. Here are eight common symptoms of gluten intolerance.

8 Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in the grains wheat, barley, rye and spelt, which is a form of wheat. Oats can be contaminated by gluten grains, so if eating them, look for the words “gluten free” on the package. Some people do not have an allergic reaction to gluten. Those that do experience inflammation, especially in the digestive system. Gluten compromises the immune system and can trigger diseases such as Celiac Disease, Crohn’s, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, colitis and a host of other disorders throughout the body.

8 Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance

  • Digestive distress tops the list of gluten intolerance symptoms. Disorders include upset stomach, bloating after a gluten heavy meal, abdominal pain and discomfort, indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, gastric ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis and Crohn’s disease. Celiac disease, considered an autoimmune disease, is a severe form of gluten intolerance. It can adversely affect the digestive tract, damaging it. Bloating, which is a feeling of fullness after eating a meal, is one of the most common symptoms of a sensitivity to gluten.
  • Headaches, and especially frequent migraines, are another indicator of gluten intolerance. Those who are sensitive to gluten may be more prone to headaches than others.
  • Irritability, depression and anxiety can be very debilitating and can be accompanied by feelings of sadness, despair or hopelessness. Surprisingly, those with a gluten intolerance are more susceptible to depression compared to those without the sensitivity. One possibility is that gluten creates changes in the gut microbiota, increasing bad bacteria and decreasing good bacteria. This change may affect the central nervous system, increasing the risk of depression.
  • Muscle cramps and bone and joint pain can be a result of inflammation, caused by gluten. This pain can be widespread throughout the body and accompanied by tiredness and extreme fatigue.
  • Tingling or numbness in arms and legs is common in those with diabetes or B12 deficiency. It can also affect those with a sensitivity, perhaps because of a reaction to certain antibodies in gluten.
  • Brain fog refers to a feeling of not being able to think clearly. It has been described as forgetfulness or mental fatigue or feeling foggy headed. Such a condition is a common symptom of gluten intolerance.
  • Skin rashes and disorders are another common ailment among those who are sensitive to gluten. These tiny blisters or bumps are often found on the upper arms, elbows, knees and torso. A gluten free diet can clear rashes up and also help other skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
  • Canker sores in the mouth or digestive tract are another symptom of gluten intolerance. Chronic mouth sores are almost always an indication of sensitivity and a condition that can be greatly improved or eliminated completely on a gluten free diet.
8 Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance

Healing a Gluten Intolerance

The first step toward healing sounds simple but can be difficult for people who love their bread, like I did. Stop eating grain products that include gluten. This involves more than passing on the bread. Gluten can be found in pastas, desserts such as pie, cookies, cake and doughnuts, cereals, pancakes, waffles, bagels, gravies, sauces, soups and the bread coating on veggies. Anything made from wheat, barley, rye, spelt and sometimes oats has gluten lurking in it.

Surprisingly, gluten can be found in foods that are not easily identified as a grain product. It becomes very important to read labels. I checked out the label above, for veggie burgers. They appeared to be a healthy choice. However, listed in the ingredients are wheat and gluten…and several other things that I do not eat. Eliminating gluten from the diet involves awareness and determination.

The rewards are great though. I had most of the symptoms listed above and have had them my whole life. They ranged from minor to troublesome and I never connected them to the same source…gluten. In my quest to eliminate inflammation in my body, I decided to stop eating gluten products and see if it made a difference. The change in my health was amazing. The rash I’d had on my upper arms since childhood disappeared. My gut healed, indigestion stopped, pain and swelling in my joints went away. I stopped getting mouth sores and headaches, and my irritable bowel syndrome cleared up.

I’d suggest keeping a food diary and then begin eliminating gluten laden products from your diet, a few items at a time. Read labels. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Look for “gluten free” substitutions. I enjoy pasta still. It’s just made from brown rice instead of wheat. There are many gluten free products available in grocery stores. Typically these items are grouped together in their own section. I bake using almond or oat flour that is gluten free. Check the labels of gluten free products too, however. Those crackers or that cereal that is gluten free may contain sugar or other surprise ingredients.

Gluten free bread is available, often in the frozen food section. You know what though? Since changing my diet I don’t crave bread anymore. I rarely eat a gluten free roll or slice of bread. And I don’t miss it. I can live on healthy soups, fruits, veggies and water…and really live, while experiencing optimal health and well being.

8 Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance

 

Find gluten free recipes on Pinterest, or check out this plant based gluten free cookbook!

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, and affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

30 Foods That Fight Inflammation

Inflammation is a condition in which a part of the body becomes swollen, hot, painful or reddened, in reaction to an injury or infection. Continued inflammation can result in premature aging and diseases, including those referred to as autoimmune disorders. What I’ve discovered, through the teachings of Anthony William and by switching to a plant based diet, is that the underlying causes of inflammation, when not due to an injury, are pathogens such as viruses.

I healed from years of chronic pain and the shingles virus, which had attacked my sciatic nerves, by eating fruits, vegetables and herbs that not only soothed the inflammation but killed off the viruses. What I’ve continued to learn about my health is that when I do get a slight injury, my body reacts with an inflammatory response still.

I am grateful that I know how to deal with inflammation.

30 Foods That Fight Inflammation

Fighting Inflammation

Three times, in three years, I’ve injured myself slightly. And every time, it’s my left leg that suffers as an inflammatory response is triggered. This time I tangled with the front door, loaded down with bags of groceries, and lost my balance. As I fell, I threw myself forward toward a nearby chair, preferring to fall onto a cushioned seat, rather than onto the floor.

I’d love to see a slow-mo replay of that move! I successfully, albeit awkwardly, landed with a thump in the chair…and twisted my left knee in the process. This poor leg, that I call Darling with a mix of affection and exasperation, seems to be the weakest part of my body. The shingles virus affected it horribly, causing a great deal of pain over the years. After my graceless plop into the chair, I scanned my body, mentally, checking for injuries. Other than mild pain around the left knee, I seemed to be okay. However, within days I felt the tell-tale signs of inflammation in that leg. They included heat around the joint, muscle soreness and tightness, spasms, and pain. I began to limp.

I’m not a doctor or nurse, however, I do know my body well. And although I have healed from so much, this leg continues the recovery process. It reacts to stress by succumbing to inflammation. Thankfully, I can speed up the healing process by turning to foods that fight inflammation.

30 Foods That Fight Inflammation

Fruits that Fight Inflammation

First of all, when dealing with inflammation, whatever the cause, avoid wheat and dairy products. Both foods can aggravate and increase inflammation in the body.

Add these fruits, as many servings as possible during the day:

  • berries – all kinds
  • cherries
  • cranberries
  • grapes
  • kiwi
  • melons – all kinds
  • pomegranate

These can be eaten fresh or added to salads and combined in a variety of ways in smoothies. While oranges don’t make the list, for fighting inflammation, they are great for soothing body pains. I add them to smoothies and salads or eat them on their own.

Vegetables that Fight Inflammation

Add these veggies to eliminate inflammation:

  • asparagus
  • celery
  • cruciferous vegetables – all kinds
  • cucumbers
  • leafy greens
  • onions
  • potatoes
  • radishes

These foods can be eaten raw or cooked. My favorite anti-inflammatory meal includes steamed veggies, from the list above, with a fresh salad incorporating the rest of the list and pomegranate seeds tossed on top.

Herbs that Fight Inflammation

And finally, include these anti-inflammatory herbs and wild foods, in the form of fresh, tea, capsules or tinctures:

  • aloe vera
  • astralagus
  • burdock root
  • cat’s claw
  • chaga mushroom powder
  • chicory
  • cilantro
  • cinnamon
  • cloves
  • garlic
  • hemp seeds
  • honey (raw, organic)
  • lemon balm
  • nettle leaf
  • turmeric

Many of these can be taken in capsule or tincture form, however it works well to create tea blends and sip on the hot drink throughout the day. Combine dried burdock root, lemon balm and nettle leaf in a single large cup, add very hot water, and steep for 15 minutes. Stir in a spoonful of raw organic honey to receive the healing benefits from four inflammation fighting foods. Cinnamon and cloves can be added to chicory for a savory hot drink. Turmeric and cinnamon, combined with dairy free almond or coconut milk, makes a soothing anti-inflammatory drink.

Detox smoothie, celery juice, anti-inflammatory smoothie, turmeric milk (made with almond milk)

Sample Anti-inflammatory Menu

When I realized inflammation had settled around my left knee, I focused on consuming foods from the lists above. Here’s what a day of meals looks like:

Breakfast – 12 ounces of celery juice, 32 ounce smoothie (frozen berries, mango and pineapple, bananas, kiwi, grapes, pomegranate seeds, fresh aloe vera gel, teaspoon each of chaga mushroom powder and hemp seeds)

Lunch – plain baked potato with cooked cauliflower, salad of leafy greens, cucumbers, radishes and pomegranate seeds

Dinner – steamed veggies (potatoes, white and sweet, and asparagus), salad of leafy greens, cucumbers, radishes and pomegranate seeds.

Snack – fruit salad, mixing all the fruits from the list together.

During the day, I drank plenty of water and cups of hot tea, combining dried herbs together and throwing in several cranberries. I took cat’s claw and turmeric in capsule form, increasing my usual dosage. Several times during the day I iced the knee, to ease pain and reduce heat in the muscles.

List in hand, I headed to the grocery store and purchased as many of the healing foods as possible. I noticed improvement within 6 hours of including anti-inflammatory foods in my diet. After a couple of days of eating these foods, primarily, I am well on my way to being back to normal.

And this is what I’ve learned, finally. Because even a slight injury seems to trigger an inflammatory response, especially in my left leg, I need to be including foods from this list regularly, rather than waiting until I feel inflammation. I do eat lots of potatoes, celery and cilantro, and berries go into my smoothies most mornings. However, I want to be more intentional, more consistent, about eating these healing foods.

I’d rather be proactive. And perhaps someday, a little bump or tumble won’t set Darling off!

30 Foods that Fight Inflammation

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Rustic Shortbread Cookies

Post holidays, the Liver Rescue book club, consisting of my mom, sister and me, picked up again with Chapter 3. We are learning much about our overworked, underappreciated livers. It truly is amazing, how hard our livers work, to keep us healthy for as long as possible. More about what I am learning in a future blog post.

Tonight it was good to get together and chat about the book over a simple, plant based meal, a cup of hot tea, and a healthy treat. I supplied dinner…Lentil Shepherd Pie…and a healthy dessert…Rustic Shortbread Cookies. The recipe came from my favorite health conscious grocery store…Natural Grocers.

Rustic Shortbread Cookies

Rustic Shortbread Cookies

This easy and healthy recipe arrived via my email. Tonight felt like the perfect opportunity to give it a try.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot starch
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup dairy free butter (I used olive oil butter), at room temperature, divided into 8 pieces/spoonfuls
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. In mixing bowl, combine flour, arrowroot starch, coconut sugar and sea salt. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut in butter, a few pieces at a time. Repeat until all eight pieces are incorporated. Add vanilla. Stir and then using hands, knead dough until all ingredients are well combined.

Form dough into walnut sized balls, place on baking sheet and flatten with a fork. Bake 15 – 20 minutes, until golden brown. Allow cookies to cool completely, on cookie sheet. The arrowroot starch acts as a binder, as the cookies cool, holding them together.

Rustic Shortbread Cookies

Perfect with Tea

We rushed the cookies, not allowing them to cool completely before sampling with hot tea. They were excellent though, especially with the herbal tea. Not too sweet, these rustic shortbread cookies make a light, occasional treat to enjoy.

I appreciate Natural Grocers, for sending me recipes. Of course, I purchased all my ingredients there. Visit their website link, in the sentence above. In Joplin, they are located on the corner of 7th and Range Line.

And pick up some herbal tea while you are there! My favorite is the Yogi Detox blend, with echinacea.

Rustic Shortbread Cookies

Health Revolution

Recently my ten year granddaughter Aubrey announced to me that she wanted to start a revolution. When I asked her for more information about that she answered, “Wait. What’s a revolution?”

It turned out she meant resolution. With the new year quickly approaching, she wanted to set some goals for herself, make a list of resolutions.

I like the way this girl thinks. And actually, her choice of words provided thoughts for pondering.

Health Revolution

Resolution vs Revolution

Resolutions, which are very common this time of year, are strong decisions to do or not do something. They are also actions that solve problems or resolve conflicts. Common health resolutions include:
Losing weight
Exercising more
Improving diet
Sleeping better
Changing a lifestyle
Incorporating a new activity, such as yoga or dance

A revolution is a dramatic, wide-reaching change in the way something works or in a person’s ideas about a subject. Common revolutions involve:
Overthrow of governments
Change in social order
Radical restructuring
Shake up or shake down
Transformation

The more I’ve thought about it, the more I think Aubrey’s original choice of words is correct. It brings with it the power to create change.

It’s time for a health revolution!

Health Revolution

Staging a Revolution

This is a new year, and that means a fresh start. More goals are set in January than in any other month of the year. And no wonder. No matter what happened last year, when January 1 arrives it feels like we get another chance, another go at creating the life we desire. The days and weeks ahead seem full of possibilities and potential.

Health related goals typically top the list, with weight loss being number one. Sadly, many goals or resolutions are forgotten by the end of the month. The excitement of shifting habits or trying a new way of doing things fades. Life itself can get in the way and we get too busy to stay on track.

What if we staged a revolution? Instead of a list of goals, what if we crafted radical changes that had wide-reaching effects, improving health for the long term, rather than giving quick results that can be just as quickly lost? What might that do for our lives?

A revolution involves determination to see an old way of doing things completely change. It requires sacrifice, sometimes, and big plans, and the gumption to carry out those plans. And a revolution taps into the willingness to do whatever it takes.

Weight loss, while a worthy goal, is often too vague a term, too broad an idea to fight for when the going gets tough, or simply boring. However, releasing weight to prevent diabetes, or shedding pounds to have the energy to play with the kids, those begin to be more than mere goals. To willingly shake things up, turn life upside down and make radical changes that create a life worth living….that’s revolutionary.

Start with a goal…and ramp it up. What needs to shift, to bring optimal health and well being? What is the long term benefit from that change?

Health Revolution

Creating a Health Revolution

Two and half years ago, my goal was to relieve chronic pain and avoid being in a wheelchair. I was ready for radical change…ready to do anything that would increase my health AND my wellbeing. Selecting a 1200 calorie a day diet wasn’t enough. Drinking more water wasn’t going to do it. I needed big changes. I needed a revolution. Switching to a plant based lifestyle catapulted me into a totally different kind of existence. It has been revolutionary, indeed.

This year? I’m focusing on liver health and the continued detoxification of my body. The revolutionary battles I’m willing to fight include removing toxins from my home and limiting use of plastics, aluminum, and chemicals. Finding alternatives to what I am accustomed to using is my game plan. While removing toxic substances from my home and life, I am getting to know my liver, thanks to Liver Rescue by Anthony William. Just as I am removing toxins from my home, I am removing them from my overburdened liver and body as well.

That’s my 2019 Health Revolution.

What’s yours? What needs to drastically shift in your life, to radically improve your health and wellbeing, your quality of life? And what is the very first step you can take? Every journey, every revolution begins with a single step. What will yours be?

Join me this year, in a health revolution. I’ll be offering tips, recipes, reviews, interviews, foods, herbs, supplements and encouragement, to keep us all marching forward. It is onward and upward, brave souls. And the stakes are high. Our very lives depend on what we do to care for ourselves and live at optimal wellness. I’m willing to fight for my health. Are you?

Health Revolution

 

Peppermint Tea Benefits

It’s seems fitting to close the year with a post about peppermint tea benefits. Although this distinctive herb flourishes in the summer months and it is available year round, many associate peppermint with the holidays. Think of gingerbread houses with peppermint candies adorning them. Or imagine steaming mugs of hot chocolate with a stick of peppermint as a stirrer.

For the more health conscious, avoiding sugar, peppermint leaves make a flavorful hot tea that pairs well with healthy treats. The herb does so much more than contribute flavor, however. It offers healing benefits as well.

Peppermint Tea Benefits

Peppermint Nutrition

Spearmint and peppermint are members of the mentha family. Peppermint has a higher level of menthol than spearmint, which has a sweeter flavor. The plant originated in Asia and the Mediterranean and has been used for thousands of years medicinally and in teas and cooking.

Nutritionally peppermint offers vitamins A, B and C, iron, manganese, calcium, folate, protein and fiber. It also contains small amounts of phosphorus, potassium, zinc and copper.

Mint is extremely easy to grow in gardens and containers. In fact, the plant is considered invasive. I grow peppermint and spearmint in my herb garden, off by itself where I can limit the spread of the plants.

Peppermint Tea Benefits

Peppermint Tea Benefits

Add peppermint into the diet for the following health benefits:

• Aids digestion. Improves hydrochloric acid levels in the stomach and soothes intestinal spasms. Peppermint calms and cleanses a spasmodic liver, reducing liver heat brought on by toxins. It also helps the liver rebuild its glucose and glycogen storage reserves. (From Liver Rescue by Anthony William)

• Soothes an upset stomach, easing nausea and indigestion, and calms the entire digestive system. Peppermint is especially beneficial for those experiencing irritable bowel syndrome, a condition that causes abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, bloating and cramps.

• The menthol in peppermint relieves congestion and eases the symptoms of colds and flus.

• Powerful anti-microbial properties freshen the breath and kills off bacteria in the mouth.

• Just inhaling the aroma of peppermint enhances brain function and memory and increases alertness.

• Balances hormone levels in women, easing a condition known as polycystic ovary syndrome.

Peppermint Tea Benefits

How to Make Peppermint Tea

Peppermint is available as an essential oil or a tincture. Dried peppermint leaves are available in bulk form for tea or it is easily found packaged in teabags. Use 2 – 3 teaspoons of dried peppermint leaves in a cup of hot water. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Use teabags in hot water and steep for the same amount of time. Sweeten with raw honey if desired.

My favorite way to enjoy peppermint tea is to pick a few sprigs of the herb from my garden. After lightly rinsing the leaves I add them to very hot water, cover and steep for 15 minutes. Peppermint leaves can be combined with a variety of other fresh herbs for a hot drink that not only blends flavors but boosts health benefits.

Tonight I walked into the herb garden, with a flashlight. The garden sleeps in the cold, crisp air. In late fall I cut back the mint plants however, hope spurred me on this evening as I peered closely at the ground. I found them…tiny peppermint leaves pushing upward out of the rich soil.

Those tiny fresh leaves created one perfect cup of hot peppermint tea. I am savoring it.

Peppermint Tea Benefits

Check out my Amazon Storefront for Liver Rescue and other Anthony William books, and for peppermint tea.

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Top 7 Health Benefits of Kiwi

The kiwi fruit, fuzzy on the outside and bright green and sweet on the inside, is known for being extremely high in vitamin C. However did you know that kiwis are incredibly nutritious and packed with health benefits?

Top 7 Health Benefits of Kiwi

Kiwi Nutrition

This fruit originated in China. When it was first exported from China, the Europeans called it the Chinese Gooseberry. The fruit trees were introduced to New Zealand at the turn of the 20th century and cultivated there. As the fruit began to be exported from New Zealand the name was changed to kiwi, after the the kiwi bird which is also small, brown and fuzzy.

Kiwi grows on a shrubby tree that reaches a height of 30 feet. Italy is the top producer of the fruit, followed by New Zealand.

High in vitamins C, E and K, kiwi also supplies potassium, copper, folate, protein and fiber.

Top 7 Health Benefits of Kiwi

Top 7 Health Benefits of Kiwi

Kiwis are an excellent source of nourishment and nutrients and provide the following health benefits:

  1. High antioxidant food that fights free radical damage and helps to repair and maintain body tissues and systems. They are rich in polyphenols, which stimulate the immune system. The tiny seeds also possess strong antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
  2. Regulates blood sugar while lowering fat in the bloodstream. Kiwi’s high quality glucose is bioavailable and feeds the neurons in the brain.
  3. Aids digestion and serves as a treatment for bowel and digestive disorders. Kiwi’s amino acids raise hydrochloric acid levels in the stomach, providing relief for acid reflux, Barrett’s esophagus, gas, abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome and bloating.
  4. One kiwi a day can lower the risk of stroke, blood clots and cardiovascular disease. The potassium in kiwi helps lower blood pressure, counteracts sodium and relaxes blood vessels throughout the body.
  5. The kiwi tree has been used as a medicinal plant in China for many years, treating ailments such as joint pain, bladder stones, and cancers of the liver and esophagus. Both the fruit and roots inhibit liver, lung and colon cancer cell growth.
  6. Kiwi contains serotonin, increasing sleep time and quality. Serotonin may also boost memory and mood and help with depression.
  7. Improves skin and respiratory health, and also prevents degenerative eye diseases. Kiwi contains an antioxidant called lutein that offers protection for these systems and the eyes, and helps to slow the effects of aging on the body.

Top 7 Health Benefits of Kiwi

How to Use Kiwi

Kiwi is readily available in the produce section at the grocery store or in the frozen foods section. Although the skin can be eaten, just like a peach skin, most people peel the fruit first.

The easiest way to peel a kiwi is to cut off each end, loosen the skin with a spoon and slide out the fruit. Enjoy kiwi raw in salads, smoothies, desserts and fruit bowls. Because kiwi has a tenderizing effect on other foods, add it last to salads and fruit bowls.

Kiwis can also be enjoyed by simply slicing one in two and scooping out the fruit. For the adventurous, wash the skin and experience eating kiwi like a peach. I have not tried this although I’ve seen others bite right into an unpeeled fruit. I’m willing to go for it, the next time I purchase this health boosting fruit!

Top 7 Health Benefits of Kiwi

Healthy Christmas Eve Treats

With Christmas on Tuesday, I chose to share recipes for healthy treats tonight rather than info about a supplement. Being plant based doesn’t mean we can’t occasionally enjoy snacks or treats. I’ve discovered there are healthy, and delicious, alternatives to sugar or dairy laden snacks.

Healthy Christmas Eve Treats

I tried out three new holiday suitable treats this evening, and a wonderful chai hot chocolate.

Healthy Rice Krispy Treats

This quick and easy recipe comes from Anthony William.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup raw honey

2/3 cup raw cashew butter

2 teaspoons alcohol-free vanilla

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

4 cups organic brown puffed rice cereal

Directions:

In large bowl combine honey, cashew butter, vanilla and sea salt. Add cereal, stirring well to coat. Line 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper. Spread cereal mixture in pan, pressing firmly. Chill in refrigerator at least one hour. Cut into bars. Makes 9-12 bars. Store in refrigerator.

Healthy Christmas Eve Treats

Chai Hot Chocolate

I have missed hot chocolate during the winter months, since going plant based and eliminating sugar and dairy products from my diet. The delicious hot drink combines the goodness of chai with a sugar free, dairy free hot chocolate.

This wonderful drink is adapted from a recipe by Taking Route.

Ingredients:

For the chai spice – mix together in a small bowl

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon allspice

For hot chocolate –

2 cups dairy free milk (I used almond coconut)

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Directions:

In a saucepan mix together milk, cocoa powder, maple syrup and 1 teaspoon of the chai spice mix. Bring just to boiling point, whisking occasionally. Lower heat and simmer a few minutes. Pour into mugs. Makes two serving.

I topped the chai hot chocolate with a dollop of whipped coconut cream (available at health conscious grocery stores) and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

I carried out steaming mugs of chai hot chocolate and a small plate of the rice krispy treats to share with Greg around a crackling fire in the backyard fire pit. What a perfect winter evening!

Healthy Christmas Eve Treats

Healthy Christmas Eve Treats

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

This great recipe comes from an Instagram friend, Leah’s Health.

Ingredients:

2 cups gluten free flour (I used a combination of almond and oat flour)

2 tablespoons Arrowroot Starch

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

3 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 – 1 cup dark chocolate chips, sweetened with stevia. (I used 1 cup of dark mini chocolate chips, sweetened with stevia)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine flour, arrowroot starch, baking soda and sea salt. Add maple syrup, water, coconut oil and vanilla, stirring just until combined. Add chocolate chips.

Form into large balls of dough, 2 – 3 tablespoons each, and flatten on cookie sheet. Makes 7 – 9 large cookies. Bake 8 – 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Don’t over bake.

Healthy Christmas Eve Treats

Gingerbread Bars

Finally, I adapted a recipe my grandson and I used a couple of nights ago. He made gingerbread cookies to give as gifts. I decided to try gingerbread bars, as his creations smelled so wonderful!

Ingredients:

3/4 cup of olive oil spread (rather than butter)

3/4 cup coconut sugar

3/4 cup molasses

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons of water. Let set for 5 minutes.)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 1/2 cups gluten free flour (I used oat and almond)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In large bowl whisk together olive oil spread, coconut sugar and molasses. Stir in flax egg. Add salt, spices, baking powder and baking soda. Using a wooden spoon add flour, half a cup at a time. If baking as bars, don’t allow dough to form into a ball. Chill mixture for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Press into baking sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes, until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean and edges are slightly browned. Cool completely. Cut into bars.

Or for cookies, add enough flour so that dough forms into a ball. Chill. Then roll dough out, between two sheets of parchment paper, to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into shapes and bake 8 – 10 minutes.

I’m ready for Christmas Eve, with holiday songs to listen to, plant based meals to prep for the next day and healthy versions of traditional treats to snack on. I’ll enjoy some quiet, cozy moments late tomorrow night, appreciating the glow of Christmas tree lights and tea light candles…and a cup of chai hot chocolate and one of my healthy Christmas Eve treats.

 

Spicy Cloves Deliver Healing Benefits

I’ve always loved aromatic cloves. As a child I was most familiar with cloves as decorations on oranges and baked ham. And indeed, cloves have been used in cooking for hundreds of years.

Sweet and spicy cloves do more than flavor foods and drinks. They are full of healing benefits as well.

Spicy Cloves Deliver Healing Benefits

Origins of Cloves

Cloves are the dried flower buds of the Syzygium aromaticum tree, an evergreen that reaches a height of 30 feet. Its name originates from the Latin word “clavus,” which means “nail”. Clove trees typically grow in warm, humid climates such as Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Brazil. Tanzania leads the market, producing about 80 percent of the world’s clove supply.

Cloves are a good source of vitamins A, B1, B6, C and K. They also provide minerals such as potassium, manganese, iron, selenium, zinc and magnesium.

Spicy Cloves Deliver Healing Benefits

Healing Benefits of Spicy Cloves

Cloves can be used in the culinary arts and they are beneficial for the following health conditions:

• Heals infections and inflammation due to high anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

• Soothes coughs and colds with expectorant properties.

• Boosts the immune system with powerful antioxidants that fight off oxidative damage and free radicals.

• Promotes the production of gastric acids, which creates better digestion of food. Cloves ease indigestion and dyspepsia, as well as reduce gas pressure in the gut, lessening discomfort.

• Freshens breath and treats oral conditions such as gingivitis and periodontitis. The antibacterial property of cloves minimizes the growth of bacteria inside the mouth.

Clove oil can be used as a natural painkiller for toothaches. Its anesthetic property alleviates pain and discomfort that arises from cavities and other dental and gum problems.

Spicy Cloves Deliver Healing Benefits

How to Use Cloves

Cloves are readily available in grocery stores, whole or ground. Ground cloves may be used in a variety of recipes. Add dried cloves to hot apple cider or brew as a tea.

Try this healthy and flavorful hot drink:

Combine 1 whole clove, 1 stick of cinnamon (or 1/4 teaspoon of ground) with 2 cups water. Simmer on stove for two minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of raw honey if desired and 2 teaspoons non dairy milk such as almond or coconut.

Clove oil is also available.

Spicy Cloves Deliver Healing Benefits

Vegan Hot Chocolate

This time of year, as Christmas approaches and the night air becomes cold, I miss hot chocolate. I grew up drinking my mother’s made from scratch hot cocoa. Many holiday traditions included the warming drink.

Later in life I’d tear open a packet of hot chocolate mix, add hot water and instantly have this favorite winter drink. Since adopting a plant based lifestyle I have not enjoyed hot chocolate. Typically, the commercial varieties are full of processed sugar and dried milk.

Thankfully, I successfully adapted a recipe to create a healthy hot chocolate that is dairy and sugar free.

 Vegan Hot Chocolate

Vegan Hot Chocolate Recipe

Ingredients

1 can coconut milk, full fat

1 cup non dairy milk (I used almond coconut)

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Directions

In a small saucepan, whisk together canned coconut milk, non dairy milk, cocoa powder and maple syrup. Continue to stir over medium-low heat, until hot chocolate is heated through and well combined. Makes 2 servings.

Top with whipped coconut cream, tiny dark chocolate chips, sweetened with stevia, or peppermint leaves.

Vegan Hot Chocolate

Vegan Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate is Back!

Oh my, this hot chocolate is delicious. I savored it, sipping on the steaming liquid as I edited photos for tonight’s blogs.

The recipe is easy to adapt. One half a teaspoon of peppermint or pure vanilla extract could be added to change up the flavor. Leave off the whipped coconut topping if desired. Or, leaving it on, switch out the dark chocolate chips for unsweetened shredded coconut.

I’m so glad to have hot chocolate back in my life. This rich chocolate drink won’t be a nightly treat. However it’s good to know that if I am missing hot chocolate I now have a healthy option.

It will be perfect for Christmas Eve, with a Rustic Apple Galette!

Vegan Hot Chocolate