10 Benefits of Owning a Pet

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

In honor of National Love Your Pet Day, I continued research on the benefits of pet companionship. I started down that trail earlier this week when I read about the connection between caring for pets and better brain health.

Most households in the US have at least one pet. Cats outnumber dogs in the United States, however, slightly more households prefer dogs as their favorite furry companion. And of course, pets include more than dogs and cats. Pet ownership includes birds, reptiles, spiders, insects, fish, frogs, rabbits, pigs, horses…the list goes on and on.

Whether you love on a dog, a cat or another animal…or practically run a zoo in your home…check out these 10 benefits of owning a pet.

10 Benefits of Owning a Pet title meme

Pets Help You Exercise

If you own a dog especially, one of the benefits is exercise. Dogs love going for a walk. My big girl, Payton, a Lab/Rottweiler/Chow mix, brought her leash to me twice a day, which was her way of asking to go for a walk. If I ignored her for too long, she’d fetch my shoes, in case I misunderstood her request. Some of my favorite memories with Payton, who passed away from old age years ago, included long walks through my neighborhood.

Walking, jogging and biking with a dog in tow…or perhaps we are the ones in tow…are great ways to stay in shape and get the heart pumping.

10 Benefits of Owning a Pet Exercise
Exercise is one of the 10 benefits of owning a pet. Granddogs Abby and Xander.

Pets Provide Companionship

One of the primary reasons for bringing home a pet is companionship. People who live alone and older adults especially benefit from a loving relationship with a pet. Connecting with a pet improves emotional health, contributes to a more active lifestyle and eases loneliness. Plus, pets are supreme examples of showing unconditional love. We can learn much by journeying through life with them.

Unconditional love
10 benefits of owning a pet – companionship. This is one of the cats that adopted me, Shy Boy. He is huge and so sweet.

Pets Help You Socialize

Pets owners can socialize while their dogs play at the park. Or host an adoption event and watch people connect over the animals there. I end up in conversations at the grocery store with the cashier as she rings up another big box of cat food. Mention in any group that you have a pet or post a photo of one on social media and I guarantee you’ll make new friends.

People with common interests tend to connect more easily. Pets help to create that connection that can turn into a bond of friendship.

Pets Help you Socialize
My granddog Beatrice.

Pet Ownership Offers Health Benefits

Studies show that caring for and loving a pet can improve health. Benefits include lowering stress and blood pressure and decreasing cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Pet companionship can help keep the brain young. Plus walking the dog improves cardio health as well. Some studies even suggest that people who enjoy the love of pets live longer.

A connection may exist between a strengthened immune system and pets in the home. Babies who grow up with pets experience fewer infections than those in pet-free environments.

Properly caring for pets is crucial here. Neglected animals not only suffer but can contribute to poor health in their human companions. Healthy pets equal healthy humans.

10 Benefits of Owning a Pet Health
Grandcats Lemon and Lucca.

Pets Help to Teach Children Responsibilities

Allowing children to help care for pets is so beneficial. The child learns how to feed, water, walk, train and comfort a pet, while receiving adoration and companionship in return. Three of my grandkids, who have a new puppy in the house, devised a chart to track who is responsible for what and when with their young black lab mix, Charles.

They’ve learned to do laundry so they can wash Charles’ bedding and how to give him a bath. Charles is growing quickly so that task requires two of them to accomplish, creating teamwork.

And caring for a pet, whether a dog, cat, hamster or snake, helps children develop empathy and compassion. There are important traits to carry into adulthood.

10 Benefits of Owning a Pet Responsibility
10 Benefits of Owning a Pet – responsibility. Pictured Aubrey, Oliver holding Charles and Joey holding Carl.

Pets Can Provide Safety

Some breeds of dogs are excellent protectors of their humans. My dog Payton made me feel safe, even when we walked at night. People saw her and crossed the street to walk on the other side, due to her size. In reality, she was a sweetheart, but I didn’t mind that people showed her…and me…respect.

Even small dogs and animals other than dogs are protective of their human family members. At my daughter’s house recently, caring for her four fur babies while she was out of town, I heard her cat Lemon growling. Looking around I found her at the open back door, watching a man in a neighboring yard. Lemon growled until the man went back into the house. I’m sure she thought she successfully warned that intruder away!

Protective pets
Granddog Agnes thinks she’s fierce!

Pets Can Sense Danger or Detect Illness

Animals have a strong intuitive nature. They can sense impending danger, whether from storms, earthquakes or negative energy. After the EF5 tornado devastated Joplin in 2011, I heard so many stories of animals that took shelter or became anxious before storm sirens ever sounded.

And some pets have saved the lives of their humans by detecting cancer or disease. They sniffed, pawed or licked at a spot, indicating the presence of a tumor beneath the skin.

10 Benefits of Owning a Pet Safety
Granddog Abby and grandcat Mister Darcy. They prove that dogs and cats can love each other.

Pets Offer Comfort

Children with autism and similar learning disorders can experience isolation and disconnection from people. With pets, however, they feel more at ease. Animals offer love and acceptance, don’t compare and live in the moment. A child or an adult who finds the world a confusing place can receive great comfort from hugging on a dog or cat.

Comfort animals are a big thing right now. Many people feel that they handle difficult life situations better with a canine or feline companion at their side. Animals sense when a person is sad or upset or afraid. They instinctively know when to play and when to quietly cuddle and comfort.

10 Benefits of Owning a Pet Comfort
10 Benefits of Owning a Pet – Comfort. My cat Angel loves to be close. Shy Boy seems unsure.

Pets Make Us Laugh

We know that laughter is good for the body and the soul. And the antics of our pets generate plenty of laughter. A good laugh reduces stress and releases feel good hormones into the body. Is it surprising then that people love watching funny pet videos on YouTube? Or what about those adorable photos that pet owners post, of their naughty dogs and cats? A handwritten note usually accompanies the photo, stating what the dog or cat did. I love those.

My cats keep me laughing. They are clever and seem to put some thought into how they interact with me and Greg.

Pets Make Us Laugh
Angel says, “Who, me?”

Pets Bring Us Joy

Most pet owners consider their fur babies family members. And well they should. We laugh over their games, look forward to seeing them after a time apart, worry about them when they are sick, grieve for them when they die. It’s all part of life with a loved one, any loved one, pets included.

Pets require attention. They create messes. Surprises may occur. My cat Shy Boy brought me live mice several times recently as gifts…to my bed in the middle of the night! How thoughtful of him.

However, what incredible joy these pets bring. They ask for little in return…food, water, shelter and love.

I complain about my cats sometimes. It seems like one is always on my lap or asking to go out the front door when there is a cat door in the utility room. However I love them. They are precious to me and fill my heart with joy.

Garden Cat
10 Benefits of Owning a Pet – Joy. Rilynn is my garden cat. She loves flowers and herbs.

Be a Responsible Pet Owner

I must add these cautionary words. Please be a responsible pet owner. Pets require basic care, love and attention. Do not bring home a pet that you cannot take care of or have no time for. And please have your pets spayed and neutered as part of their health care.

Shelters are full of animals waiting for loving homes. Consider adopting or fostering a dog or cat from a shelter rather than purchasing from a pet store.

My sisters and my niece and her husband are all involved in dog rescue and fostering. My mother adopted two rescue dogs. All three of my children rescued pets, adopted from shelters, or took in animals needing a home.

Our three cats came to us. Their momma brought them to the front door. Born in the wild a couple of years after the tornado, these little babies were feral at first. It took months of feeding them and talking soothingly to them before we could pet them. Now, they love to be in our laps or follow us around the house and yard. Angel invents games and plays them with Greg.

Pets are indeed a joy. They enrich our lives and offer amazing benefits.

Puppy Love
10 Benefits of Owning a Pet – Bonus: rescuing puppies to love. Some of the many dogs my niece Ashley has fostered.

Looking to adopt a pet or foster one?

Legacy of Hope Dog Rescue in Broken Arrow OK

Carthage Humane Society

Joplin Humane Society

Check out these finds for pets from Amazon:


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

Best Tips to Keep Your Brain Young

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Perhaps because of my age I am more aware of brain health than ever before. All brains change with age. That’s inevitable. And as our brains change, cognitive decline is common. It’s so common, in fact, that losing brain function is the number one fear among older adults.

Fortunately, we don’t have to just sit around and wait for cognitive function to decline. Here are the best tips to keep your brain young and healthy.

Best Tips to Keep Your Brain Young title meme

Nutritious Diet

A nutrient dense diet is not just good for the body, it is good for the brain as well. The brain is an energy intensive organ, using about 20% of the body’s calories. Those who eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, unsaturated fats and plant based proteins such as legumes are less likely to develop dementia.

Omega-3 fatty acids help build and repair brain cells. And foods high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories reduce cellular stress and inflammation, which are linked to brain aging and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s.

Additionally, reducing blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels and blood pressure contributes to heart health, which in turn benefits the brain.

The following foods are the best for supporting brain health:

Fruits – apples, apricots, berries of all kinds, coconuts, dates, grapes, mangoes, melons, papayas, pomegranates

Vegetables – Atlantic sea vegetables, celery juice, leafy greens, potatoes, radishes, sprouts/microgreens

Herbs – cat’s claw, cilantro, ginger, licorice root

Omega-3 fatty acids – salmon, sardines, walnuts, flaxseed, chia seeds and hemp seeds or oil

If you are experiencing brain fog avoid: tobacco, alcohol, dairy products, eggs, wheat and MSG.

Mixed Berries for Brain Health
Best Tips to Keep Your Brain Young – Berries

Move the Body to Benefit the Brain

Regularly moving the body boosts brain health. Studies show that frequent exercise increases the number of tiny blood vessels that bring oxygen rich blood to the region of the brain responsible for thought. Exercise also creates new nerve cells and increases the connection between cells.

A well oxygenated brain is more adaptive and operates more efficiently. Combined with a nutritious diet, exercise helps to lower blood pressure and high cholesterol and balance blood sugar levels, which reduces mental stress while supporting the heart and the brain.

Suggestions for moving your body:

  • walking, hiking, jogging, biking, aerobic exercise, low impact sports
  • dance, zumba, stretching, yoga
  • swimming, water aerobics
  • gardening
  • muscle training twice a week
  • playing with grandchildren
  • walking the dog, as long as your pet cannot overpower you and pull you off balance
Best Tips to Keep Your Brain Young
Best Tips to Keep Your Brain Young – Walking

Mental Stimulation

Doctors find that stimulating the brain creates fresh connections between nerve cells and helps the brain generate new cells. The brain ends up with a reserve that protects against future cell loss.

This is the fun part of keeping the brain young. Any mentally stimulating activity boosts new connections. Try these activities regularly:

  • read, especially in new genres or subject areas
  • take a class, learn a language, cook different foods
  • work puzzles, play games, solve word or math problems
  • enjoy hobbies and learn new ones, especially those that require thought and dexterity such as painting, drawing, sewing and crafts
  • have fun, play, create, make up songs, write poems or stories
  • my favorite – try new experiences, do a familiar task in a fresh way, drive a different way to the store, listen to an unfamiliar genre of music, learn about technology
Best Tips to Keep Your Brain Young Painting
Best Tips to Keep Your Brain Young – Learn Something New

Emotional Wellbeing

Anxiety, depression, sleep deprivation and exhaustion contribute to cognitive function. When those conditions become chronic the risk for cognitive decline increases. Good mental health and getting enough rest, lowering anxiety and managing stress help maintain a healthy, youthful brain.

For chronic conditions, seek medical help. To support and maintain emotional wellbeing, try these:

  • meditate/pray
  • journal
  • get enough sleep, at least seven hours per night
  • nap during the day, if needed
  • do what makes you happy
  • find joy in life
  • practice gratitude
  • live in the now rather than regretting the past or worrying about the future
  • talk to a trusted friend or family member about minor fears, anxiety or depression
  • express emotions in healthy ways
Best Tips to Keep Your Brain Young Rest
Best Tips to Keep Your Brain Young – Getting Enough Sleep

Social Interaction

Strong connections to family, friends and pets lower the risks of dementia and increase life expectancy. Isolation can have a negative impact on some people and especially on older adults.

Positive emotional bonds contribute to a more active lifestyle, better eating habits and greater emotional health. And caring for pets and loving on them helps to reduce stress, lowers blood pressure (unless you have naughty pets!) and increases social interactions.

Try these suggestions:

  • volunteer at schools, shelters, hospitals, charities
  • spend time with family, friends and pets
  • expand your circle of acquaintances and meet new people
  • join a club, attend church, take lessons in a classroom setting
  • go on group outings such as field trips, nature walks, museum tours
  • encourage grandchildren to teach the latest technology or slang
  • attend group activities such as dances, yoga sessions, bird watching, quilting
  • offer your wisdom and teach a class
  • mentor one on one with youth or young adults
  • travel with a group
Connection for a Younger Brain
Best Tips to Keep Your Brain Young – Connection

Aging Well

There are many benefits from aging well, aging gracefully. One of those benefits is a mind that remains sharp. Awareness and putting these tips into practice gives the brain a much better chance of aging gracefully as well and remaining agile and healthy.

And trust me, it’s not too early to put these health practices in place. A healthier body equals a healthier mind equals a higher quality of life.

What tips will you adopt?

Having fun contributes to a healthy mind
Best Tips to Keep Your Brain Young – Have Fun

 

Check out Lumosity, the brain training app that improves memory, increases focus and helps you feel sharper.

Order these brain boosters below:

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

The Best Herbal Teas for Cold and Flu Season

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

This post is inspired by real-life events. A few days ago, Greg exhibited cold symptoms including sneezing, sniffling and itchy eyes. Like me, he doesn’t typically take over the counter meds. He does not need to. I know exactly which herbal tea to prepare for him.

After only one cup of hot tea, he felt better. His eyes stopped itching and I didn’t hear a sneeze the rest of the evening. The next day, after two cups of herbal tea, one in the morning and one in the evening, his cold symptoms completely disappeared.

I love healing naturally, especially when it takes the form of a cup of hot tea.

Check out the best herbal teas for cold and flu season. When dealing with bugs, colds and flus, reach for one of these soothing drinks to speed healing.

The Best Herbal Teas for Cold and Flu Season title meme

The Best Herbal Teas for Cold and Flu Season

We are currently in the midst of cold and flu season. In fact, it is quite severe in my area. This year scary reports of a new strain of flu, the corona virus, is creating alarm.

When the sniffles strike or the flu causes you to curl up under a blanket with a box of tissues nearby, create one of these ultra-healing teas. The hot herbal drinks relieve congestion, soothe a sore throat and ease headaches and tense muscles.

Add a spoonful of raw, organic honey to combat coughs. Squeeze fresh lemon or orange juice into the tea for a boost to the immune system. And sip on these teas all day. Another important benefit from drinking tea is hydration, which helps clear mucus from the nose and lungs and restores health more quickly.

Chamomile

This tea, made from the flowers of the herb chamomile, is well known for helping the body relax into sleep. However, chamomile’s anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties fight against cold and flu bugs while eliminating head and chest congestion. The herb soothes sinus headaches associated with the flu and it really does relax the body. While healing from a cold or the flu, a good night’s rest is helpful and restorative.

Steep two teaspoons of dried chamomile in a cup of very hot water, for 15 minutes.

Chamomile Tea
The best herbal teas for cold and flu season – chamomile

Echinacea

A member of the daisy family, this flowering herb is also known as purple coneflower. It is commonly found growing in fields, fence rows and flower borders. I grow this flower in my backyard garden. Due to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, echinacea reduces the risk of catching a cold by more than 50%. During cold and flu season, drink a cup of this herbal tea every day to minimize the chances of catching a virus.

Echinacea helps the body to heal more quickly if it is under attack from a cold or flu bug. It eases sore throats, relieves sinus and chest congestion and soothes an ear ache. And it provides natural pain relief for the achiness that accompanies the cold or flu.

Steep two teaspoons of dried echinacea, or a couple of fresh blooms, in a cup of very hot water for 15 minutes.

Echinacea Tea
The best herbal teas for cold and flu season – echinacea

Ginger

This flavorful herb is a powerhouse of healing benefits. It soothes the body struggling with the cold or flu. Ginger’s anti-inflammatories and its antiviral and antibacterial properties fight against infection. The herb relaxes tight throat muscles and eases muscular pains throughout the body. Additionally, ginger relieves headaches and heals sinus and ear infections. And because ginger aids the entire digestive system, if nausea is present due to flu, this herb helps calm the stomach.

Add one teaspoon of freshly grated ginger to a cup of very hot water. Steep for 10 minutes. Add a dollop of raw, organic honey and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for a powerfully healing hot drink.

Ginger Tea
The best herbal teas for cold and flu season – ginger

Peppermint

Ahhh, peppermint, my go to herb for almost everything! Peppermint is a member of the mentha family, along with spearmint. The menthol in the herb’s leaves soothes a sore throat while calming a cough. Menthol relieves congestion as well, while its antiviral properties fight cold and flu viruses…and symptoms.

Like ginger, peppermint restores the entire digestive system, a bonus when the flu causes an upset stomach.

Add two teaspoons of dried peppermint to a cup of very hot water. Steep for five to ten minutes. Or use a sprig of fresh peppermint instead of dried.

Peppermint Tea
The best herbal teas for cold and flu season – peppermint

Nettle

When Greg’s cold symptoms appeared, I immediately grabbed this herb. Nettle, also known as nettle leaf, supports a body under stress. When attacked by cold or flu viruses, the body goes into reactionary mode. This potent herb is packed with phytochemicals, anti-inflammatories and alkaloids. They calm the reactionary symptoms in the body, relieving itchy, watery eyes, sniffles and a scratchy throat.

Nettle fights infections of all kinds and it is a natural pain reliever. At the first signs of flu or a cold, brew a pot of nettle tea and combine it with other herbs for the most benefits.

This is my favorite cold remedy:

Add two teaspoons dried nettle leaf, two teaspoons dried peppermint and two teaspoons dried lemon balm to a mesh tea ball. Drop into a teapot and add boiling water. Cover teapot and allow tea to steep for 15 minutes. Add raw, organic honey if desired, and freshly squeezed lemon or orange juice.

Sip on this tea throughout the day. I rarely catch a cold, however if I show symptoms this herbal tea eliminates them within 24 hours.

The Best Herbal Teas for Cold and Flu Season Nettle
The best herbal teas for cold and flu season – nettle

Fight that Cold or Flu and Win

Ginger is available in the produce section of most grocery stores, such as Natural  Grocers or Walmart.

Pick up dried herbs below, to make your own herbal teas. Fight the battle against the cold and flu and win, while naturally boosting your immune system. A strong immune system is the best defense against the viruses that create those miserable symptoms.



Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

Vegan Gluten Free Spice Cake

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Is there anything that smells better than a spice cake baking in the oven? I love the rich scents of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. When Anthony William posted a recipe for vegan gluten free spice cake, I saved it to try. I so appreciate Anthony, author of the Medical Medium books. He continually shows me, and the world, that eating plant based isn’t dull or bland. I love the recipes that he offers.

This evening provided the opportunity to bake this incredibly delicious and healthy dessert.

Vegan Gluten Free Spice Cake title meme

Healing Cake

This luscious cake is not only vegan and gluten free, it’s oil free as well. Plant based milk keeps it dairy free and applesauce replaces the eggs. And instead of refined sugar, the recipe uses coconut sugar.

The health benefits from vegan gluten free spice cake come from its spices, cinnamon especially. Cinnamon eases nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and indigestion. It helps to prevent the flu or shortens its duration if you catch it, lowers cholesterol and regulates blood sugar levels. Cinnamon soothes arthritis, increases circulation and contains anti-clotting compounds, making it beneficial in preventing strokes. And did you know that cinnamon boosts memory and cognitive functions? Just smelling the spice increases focus and alertness.

Vegan Gluten Free Spice Cake Recipe

I made this recipe exactly as Anthony specified. Check out the recipe here, on his website. For convenience, the recipe is listed below as well.

Vegan Gluten Free Spice Cake

This aromatic spice cake is vegan, gluten and oil free.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Vegan Gluten Free Spice Cake
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Anthony William

Ingredients

  • 2 cups gluten free oat flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/3 cups unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

Cashew Icing

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice or water

Instructions

Spice Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x9 baking pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl combine oat flour, almond flour, coconut sugar, baking soda, baking powder and spices. Mix well and set aside.
  • In separate bowl, combine plant based milk, maple syrup and orange juice or water. Mix well and add to dry ingredients, stirring to combine.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 50 - 60 minutes, until toothpick or knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes then carefully remove from pan to cool completely.

Cashew Icing

  • Drain cashews. Combine cashews, maple syrup and orange juice or water in blender. Blend on high, scrapping down sides as needed, until icing is smooth.
  • Spread icing evenly over cake. Top with walnuts or pomegranate seeds, if desired. Serves 6.

 

Vegan Gluten Free Spice Cake Ingredients
Vegan Gluten Free Spice Cake Ingredients
Spice Cake Ready to Bake
Ready to bake.

Enjoying Vegan Gluten Free Spice Cake

Scent is important to me. And oh my, I enjoyed the aroma wafting from my kitchen as this cake baked. I love spice cake and I anticipated trying a slice with a cup of hot herbal tea.

I was not disappointed. This vegan gluten free spice cake is tender and so delicious with its blend of spices. I like the cashew cream icing as well. Another tasty option is to top the cake with non-dairy whipped topping. I added a couple of walnut halves to my slice of cake. Pomegranate seeds or berries are wonderful alternatives.

Preparing the spice cake tonight gave it a trial run for Sunday’s Super Bowl festivities. I’ll have healthy snacks and foods on hand as I cheer for the Kansas City Chiefs. This cake is perfect for any occasion and special enough for birthdays and events such as baby showers and afternoon teas.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Vegan Gluten Free Spice Cake Plated
My slice of cake, topped with walnuts.

Pick up Anthony’s books by clicking links below:

 


Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Apple Crisp Vegan & Gluten Free

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

In honor of National Pie Day, I celebrated with a healthier option. This apple crisp is vegan and gluten free and absolutely delicious. Packed with red skinned apples, this crisp is also easy to make. It’s perfect for a chilly winter evening. Add a cup of hot herbal tea to experience bliss!

Apple Crisp title meme

Apple Crisp Without the Guilt

This yummy dessert comes from blogger friend Rebecca. I adapted her recipe slightly. Check out her blog Strength & Sunshine for lots of vegan and gluten free recipes. And see the original recipe for her apple crisp here.

Apple crisp, the vegan and gluten free version, uses simple ingredients such as red skinned apples, gluten free oats and flour, cinnamon and plant based butter. It comes together in minutes and the result is a hot, fragrant, good-for-you dessert.

For the best health benefits, leave the peeling on the apples.

Apple Crisp
Apple Crisp starts with red skinned apples and fresh lemon juice.

Apple Crisp Recipe

I left the peeling on Gala apples and sliced them fairly thin after coring them. Next time I’ll slice the apples a bit thicker. Any apple is fine for the crisp, however red skinned apples have more health benefits.

Although oats are naturally gluten free, they are usually processed in facilities that also process wheat flour. If gluten free is desired, make sure the package of oats says “gluten free”. For this recipe I used oat flour. Use any gluten free or regular flour. And I only use plant based butter. More and more options are available at the grocery store for plant based products. I’m so happy about that! Find plant based butter in the refrigerator section, next to dairy products.

Apple Crisp Vegan & Gluten Free

This delicious apple crisp is vegan and gluten free.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Apple Crisp, Gluten Free, Vegan
Servings: 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 4 large red skinned apples, sliced or apples of choice
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

For Crisp Topping

  • 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup gluten free flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, organic, non GMO & sulphur free
  • 1/2 stick plant based butter, cubed (1/2 stick = 4 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

For Apple Filling

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • In a large bowl, combine apple slices, coconut sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon. Stir to coat. Place apples in a greased 2 quart glass baking dish.

For Crisp Topping

  • In another bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, plant based butter and vanilla. Use hands to to incorporate butter into mixture.
  • Sprinkle topping over sliced apples in baking dish.
  • Baked uncovered in oven 40 - 50 minutes, or until crisp topping browns. Makes 4 - 6 servings. Serve warm topped with dairy free ice cream or whipped topping, if desired.

 

Apple Crisp apple filling
Apple filling
Apple Crisp
Ready to bake.

Enjoying Apple Crisp

The apple crisp tasted as great as it smelled while it baked. I love simple desserts like this for an occasional treat, especially during winter. As I stated above, next time I’ll slice my apples a bit thicker. And I’ll shorten the baking time by five minutes. I left my crisp in for 45 minutes and the topping got a little dark. It tasted wonderful though! And I will make this special treat again.

Do you have a favorite winter treat?

Ready to Eat Apple Crisp
Ready to eat.

For National Pie Day Try These:

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Raw Wild Blueberry Pie

Order gluten free flour and oats below:

 


Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

Incrediwear Pain Relief and Recovery

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Thank you to Incrediwear for sending product for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Throughout my life, I’ve had issues with my left knee. I messed up the knee cap at age 13 and it took years before the pain and numbness went away. I’ve twisted that knee and strained it, weakening the joint. And after a horrific car accident, 25 years ago, the sciatic nerves in both legs became inflamed, creating years of chronic pain. The left leg…and knee…suffered the most.

Incrediwear title meme

My Darling Left Leg

Over the years I babied my left leg, named her Darling, tried to ignore her, worked at strengthening her. Eventually I walked with a cane, due to the continuing deterioration in that leg. At last, thankfully, a plant based lifestyle eliminated the pain and inflammation.

However, I’m still careful with my left leg and knee. A fall, a stumble or a misstep results in tenderness and stiffness. Early last year, I fell carrying groceries into the house from the car, badly twisting my left knee. It’s not an exaggeration to say that it took eight months to fully heal from that fall.

When Incrediwear emailed me recently about trying one of their pain reducing products, I immediately opened the message. The subject line cinched it.

Pills are out – Wearable Anti-Inflammatories are in! Sleeves, wraps and braces shown to accelerate recovery for acute and chronic injuries up to 46%

I’m all for using natural products and methods for healing pain and inflammation. “Yes!” I responded to Incrediwear. “Please send me a knee sleeve.” The company graciously did so.

Incrediwear Knee Sleeve
Incrediwear Knee Sleeve

Move Incredibly with Incrediwear

Incrediwear products work by increasing blood flow to reduce inflammation and swelling. They also relieve pain and accelerate recovery. Rather than using compression, Incrediwear products incorporate semiconductor elements within the fabric that release negative ions when stimulated by body heat.

Those negative ions activate cellular vibrations that speed up blood flow. The increased circulation brings more oxygen and nutrients to the target area, which supports the body’s natural healing process.

The company sells sleeves and braces, socks and apparel. The clothing effectively reduces the risk of overuse injuries and relieves muscle fatigue. Incrediwear’s socks relieve foot pain and fatigue while wicking away moisture. The sleeves and braces reduce inflammation and swelling and relieve pain while restoring mobility and accelerating recovery.

Incrediwear products reduce symptoms associated with:

  • arthritis
  • tendonitis
  • sprains/strains
  • neuropathy
  • carpal tunnel
  • lymphedema
  • musculoskeletal disorders
  • post operative healing
  • muscle fatigue
Incrediwear Wearing the Knee Sleeve
Darling left knee trying out the sleeve

My Experience with the Incrediwear Knee Sleeve

When the knee sleeve arrived, I examined it carefully. The material is soft and stretchy, ensuring a snug yet comfortable fit. My left knee felt great at that time. Within a few days of receiving the sleeve I slightly twisted that joint, providing the perfect opportunity to try out the product.

I slipped the sleeve over my left knee that night and went to bed. In a few minutes I noticed warmth around my knee, which felt incredibly good. Whenever I woke during the night, I cautiously tested my knee by bending it and straightening it out. The joint flexed without pain. The next morning my knee felt great…no pain, no swelling, no stiffness. I was impressed!

A week later, I experienced stiffness in the joint after a great deal of walking the day before. Would the sleeve ease my discomfort? This time I wore the knee sleeve throughout the day. I noticed the warmth around the joint again and a short time later, I completely forgot about the stiff knee. That’s a sign of relief! My attention was no longer drawn to my knee because it felt fine.

I’ve worn other sleeves and braces on my left leg and I can honestly say that the Incrediwear sleeve is the best that I’ve tried. I love that it relieves discomfort and promotes healing, without the need for pain meds.

Incrediwear Pain Relief

Sharing a Good Thing

When you find something that you appreciate and love, you share it. I’m doing that here, with my dear readers. Check out this awesome company online via this LINK. Or order Incrediwear products through the Amazon links below.

I gave away my Incrediwear knee sleeve. My son, who works for UPS, just completed an intense holiday season, making up to 200 deliveries a day. His left knee complained a bit about the long busy days. He’s now benefiting from the knee sleeve.

And I am ordering another one, for myself, for my Darling left knee. She deserves the opportunity to continuing healing.

Increadiwear Wearable Therapy

Find Incrediwear on Amazon too:

 


 

 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

Turmeric Green Tea

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Did you know that January is National Hot Tea Month? I didn’t either and I love drinking hot tea. It’s simple to celebrate during this month. Brew a cup of your favorite tea, find a cozy spot to relax and enjoy.

Since 2014, I’ve practiced the custom of afternoon tea time, favoring herbal teas. For this special month, I am choosing to experience several new to me teas or tea blends.

Leading off the celebration is this combination of two powerful healing foods, Turmeric Green Tea.

Turmeric Green Tea title meme

The Healing Benefits of Turmeric and Green Tea

These two superfoods are packed with healing benefits. Together they offer amazing health support throughout the body.

Turmeric

I’ve taken turmeric as a supplement since starting my plant based journey. I also create a non dairy turmeric milk that is a delicious way to end the day.

Turmeric is a rhizome perennial herb in the ginger family. It is native to India and southeast Asia. Turmeric is what gives curry its yellow color, and it has been used for thousands of years in India as a spice and for medicinal purposes.

There are incredible healing benefits in turmeric. This herb contains curcumin, a phytochemical with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric also contains natural steroidal compounds that calm down the body’s inflammatory response to pathogens, such as viruses.

This makes turmeric ideal for fighting inflammation anywhere in the body, from joints to the liver to nerves to the brain. The compounds in this herb increase blood flow to the parts of the body that need it the most, lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol, inhibit tumors and cysts and help to prevent all types of cancer.

Turmeric aids in combating a host of conditions, including skin disorders, anxiety, colds and flu, sinus issues, chronic fatigue syndrome, Epstein Barr Virus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lymphoma, heart disease, Lyme disease, Parkinson’s, liver disorders, joint pain, headaches, leg cramps, body aches, blurry vision, brain fog, menopause symptoms and many other health problems.

Turmeric Green Tea Grated
Freshly grated turmeric for Turmeric Green Tea.

Green Tea

Green tea is full of antioxidants, including polyphenols and catechins. These compounds protect cells and molecules from free radicals that damage the body and cause diseases.

This soothing tea reduces inflammation throughout the body. Green tea protects the skin against harmful UV radiation and fights skin cancer by repairing DNA. It also protects the brain’s neurons and improves memory, making it helpful in preventing dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

In addition, green tea supports the immune system, prevents infections and aids in weight loss by boosting metabolism and eliminating fat from the body. This tea reduces the risk for diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels and lowers bad cholesterol.

You can see why combining green tea with turmeric creates such a powerful health drink.

 

6 Teas that Soothe Anxiety Green Tea
Green Tea

Preparing Turmeric Green Tea

The tea is easy to prepare. I’d recommend using fresh turmeric root rather than dried or ground, for the best health benefits.

I purchased a piece of fresh turmeric root at my local Natural Grocers. Buy a larger section of turmeric root so that it is easier to peel and grate. I used a sharp paring knife to remove most of the outer skin, leaving a section to hang on to as I grated it. Turmeric leaves a bright yellow stain on fingers and clothing so handle carefully!

Grate about a tablespoon of turmeric and save the rest, storing in the refrigerator. Bring 2 cups of filtered water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add the grated turmeric and two black peppercorns or a dash of ground black pepper. Black pepper contains a compound that inhibits the breakdown of turmeric in the liver and gut. This improves bioavailability, allowing higher levels of turmeric to remain in the body and increasing the effects.

Cover the pan and allow turmeric and black pepper to steep for 10 minutes.

Strain turmeric tea into a large mug or cup. Add an organic green tea bag, cover and steep for 5 more minutes. Add raw organic honey, if desired.

Turmeric Green Tea
Freshly brewed turmeric green tea.

Enjoying Turmeric Green Tea

The above recipe makes one large cup of turmeric green tea. Double the recipe to make a pot of tea. Save the grated turmeric in the saucepan. It can be used up to three times to create tea. Store any leftover tea in the refrigerator and reheat before drinking.

I brewed this healing drink for my afternoon tea. Previously I’ve only enjoyed turmeric in curries and golden milk, so I wondered if this tea would be overwhelming or too spicy. It’s not, at least, it’s not to me. I like the taste of turmeric and don’t use any kind of sweetener in my herbal teas. I drank the turmeric green tea straight up, without adding honey or coconut milk.

It is strongly flavored, but not overpowering. I enjoyed the drink and could imagine all those anti-inflammatories going to work throughout my body. In fact, I loved it so much I’ll have a second cup of turmeric green tea before bed. The turmeric root is inexpensive and easy to grate. My intention is to enjoy a cup of this healing tea once a day for the next week and note the effects.

I’ll keep you posted!

Turmeric Green Tea Cheers
Here’s to health!

Pick up these items, to create turmeric green tea:


Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Vegan Pineapple Fried Rice

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

The fresh pineapple I bought yesterday inspired this oh so simple recipe, Vegan Pineapple Fried Rice. I’d never bought and prepared a fresh pineapple before. The experience came about as a result of my 62 outrageous birthday activities. Check that post out here. It proved remarkably easy to cut up that pineapple.

I intended to use my delicious pineapple in a fruit salad today. However, a new idea arose. What about creating a simple pineapple fried rice, free from egg and soy? I liked that idea!

Vegan Pineapple Fried Rice title meme

Cutting Up a Pineapple

I love pineapple. I’m one of those that used to request it on pizzas and mix it in with cottage cheese. Currently I add frozen pineapple chunks to smoothies most mornings. And for good reason. Pineapples reduce inflammation in joints and muscles and protect against constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. They prevent infections while wounds heal and improve oral and eye health. Pineapple boosts the immune system and helps to prevent arthritis, cancer and heart disease. And finally, this fruit reduces the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

When I purchased a pineapple yesterday, I did so knowing I don’t own a corer. I do own a knife, and that was good enough. Fortunately, the tag on the pineapple offered four easy steps for preparing the fruit. Cut off the top of the pineapple. Divide it in two and then divide those halves again so that you have four sections. Slightly trim away the center and then slide the knife between the outer skin and the fruit. Cut down through each section of pineapple and slide the segments into a bowl. See the photo collage below. Easy peasy.

Vegan Pineapple Fried Rice Cutting the Fruit

Pineapple Fried Rice

I frequently prepare stir fried veggies, without a recipe. I adapted what I know to create this simple dish. It’s perfect for a quick evening meal. Use any veggies that you have on hand. Vegan Pineapple Fried Rice is also a great way to use leftover brown rice. Prepare brown rice with water, or use this veggie broth recipe.

Vegan Pineapple Fried Rice

This easy to prepare recipe is adaptable. Use whatever veggies you have on hand.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Fried Rice, Pineapple, Vegan
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Non stick skillet

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 cups pineapple chunks, fresh or canned
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 3 tbsp Bragg liquid aminos
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp raw organic honey
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes optional

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, whisk together liquid aminos, sesame oil, ginger, honey and red pepper flakes (if using). Set aside.
  • In a large non stick skillet, saute onion, garlic, carrots and celery in coconut oil until veggies are crisp tender. Add pineapple and cashews, stirring and cooking until heated through.
  • Add cooked rice and liquid mixture. Stir well, simmering for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Vegan Pineapple Fried Rice Saute

Adapt This Recipe

The Vegan Pineapple Fried Rice was so good! The recipe was the perfect use for my fresh pineapple. The beauty of this simple recipe is that it is so adaptable. Use whatever veggies you have on hand…peas, non GMO corn, fresh tomatoes, snow peas, broccoli. Saute the veggies first and then add the pineapple and cashews and the cooked rice. Leave out the red pepper flakes, for a no spice dish. Or add more if you like the heat!

I enjoyed the Vegan Pineapple Fried Rice. Grabbing a set of chopsticks, I savored this delicious meal. It goes into my meal rotation.

Vegan Pineapple Fried Rice with Chopsticks
Vegan Pineapple Fried Rice with chopsticks

 

Check out these Amazon finds:

 


Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Aloo Matar Soup

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

If you enjoy Indian food, Aloo Matar is a delicious meal, robust with potatoes, peas and tomatoes in a garam masala and curry sauce. However, have you ever tried Aloo Matar Soup?

Over on my other blog, Cindy Goes Beyond, I’m sharing 62 Outrageous Things to Do for My 62nd Birthday…in January. Pop over there and see what the adventure is all about. The short version is, I wrote 62 fun and outrageous activities on slips of paper, folded them up and dropped them into a jar. Every day I draw a piece of paper, randomly, and do what is written there. It’s fun. It pushes me beyond my comfort zone. And I’m learning and growing from the experience.

Last week one of the activities I drew out was this: Create a New Recipe

One of the perks of a plant based lifestyle is that I cook at home most of the time. I’ve enjoyed learning new ways of cooking along with new ways of eating. As a first born perfectionist type, I heavily rely on recipes, so that the dish turns out right. The past couple of years, though, I’ve experimented with recipes more, followed my intuition while cooking and just had fun.

Creating a new recipe sounded fun…and it challenged me to rely on what I’ve learned and what I know. No peeking at recipes allowed.

Aloo Matar Soup title meme

Aloo Matar Soup

As the day progressed, I considered what recipe to create. Suddenly, into my head popped an idea…Aloo Matar Soup. The original easy to make recipe came to me by way of Anthony William. It’s a favorite of mine. I wondered how making Aloo Mater into a soup would be? I could use the pressure cooker and create dinner in minutes.

Here is the recipe I came up with:

Aloo Matar Soup
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Aloo Matar Soup

Wonderful soup featuring peas, potatoes and tomatoes in a curry flavored broth
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Aloo Matar Soup
Servings: 6 Servings

Equipment

  • Pressure Cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cans peas, drained
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp raw organic honey
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 4 cups vegetable broth may substitute water
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

Instructions

  • In uncovered pressure cooker, saute onions and garlic in coconut oil on high heat, 3 minutes or until softened.
  • Add potatoes, peas, tomatoes, honey, sea salt, garam masala, curry powder, ginger and vegetable broth.
  • Lock on lid and bring to pressure on "soup" setting. Cook for 15 minutes. Use quick release. Makes 6 servings.
  • Can make on stove top as well. Saute onions and garlic in large soup pot, in small amount of coconut oil. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through.

Aloo Matar Soup Cooking

Enjoying Aloo Matar Soup

I enjoy soup and I can eat it every day. It’s especially nice to have a big container of soup ready to go in the fridge, for a quick and healthy meal. This wonderfully flavored Aloo Matar Soup is perfect! I love the blend of spices and the simplicity of the recipe.

It’s Aloo Matar, eaten with a spoon. That’s a win/win for me.

Aloo Matar Soup Bowl

Pick up your soup items below:

 


 

 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Vegan and Gluten Free Gingerbread

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Today is National Gingerbread House Day. This celebration recognizes a Christmas tradition for many, creating a house out of gingerbread. An Armenian monk, Gregory of Nicopolis, brought gingerbread to Europe around 992 AD. Gingerbread, cut into shapes, sold in Christmas markets and shops during the holidays.

It was the Brothers Grimm who introduced the gingerbread house though. In the classic and somewhat dark fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel, the witch in the story lives in a house made of gingerbread. After the publication of Hansel and Gretel, inspired German bakers created and sold ornamental gingerbread houses. The holiday tradition came to America by way of German immigrants.

I love spicy, fragrant gingerbread. My grandson Dayan and I made gingerbread last Christmas for gifts, which prompted me to adapt a recipe. The result is a vegan and gluten free gingerbread that is delicious, with all the feels of the tradition version.

Vegan and Gluten Free Gingerbread title meme

Vegan and Gluten Free Gingerbread Recipe

Whether you make a house, a man, bars or cutout cookies with your gingerbread, this easy recipe supplies the perfect foundation for creating. The key ingredient in gingerbread is…ginger! This warm spice creates the subtle, distinctive flavor. Ginger also offers a host of health benefits. It relieves indigestion and nausea, contains anti-inflammatory properties, cuts the risk of heart disease and lowers cholesterol levels.

Vegan and Gluten Free Gingerbread

This delicious treat is vegan and gluten free.
Prep Time15 mins
Chill in refrigerator30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Gingerbread, Vegan and Gluten Free Gingerbread
Servings: 12 servings
Author: journeywithhealthyme

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup olive oil spread or 1 1/2 sticks plant based butter
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1 flax egg (1 T ground flax + 3 T water. Set for 5 min)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 1/2 cups gluten free flour

Instructions

  • 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 dough 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. Makes 12 - 16 servings.

  • Or for cookies, add enough flour so that dough forms into a ball. Chill for 30 minutes. Then roll dough out, between two sheets of parchment paper, to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into shapes and bake 8 – 10 minutes. Cool completely. Makes approximately 30 cookies.

 

Vegan and Gluten Free Gingerbread batter
Whisking together ingredients for Vegan and Gluten Free Gingerbread.
Vegan and Gluten Free Gingerbread ready to bake
Ready to bake.

Enjoying Vegan and Gluten Free Gingerbread

The whole house smells wonderful as gingerbread bakes! And the flavor is amazing. You can add icing to the bars or cookies or cut out shapes and assemble a house with icing and a variety of candies.

My favorite way to savor the deliciousness of fresh gingerbread is with a cup of hot peppermint tea. Truly, this is bliss.

Enjoy vegan and gluten free gingerbread during the holidays…and beyond. And if you make a gingerbread house, send me a photo. I’d love to see your creation.

Vegan and Gluten Free Gingerbread Baked
Fresh gingerbread, warm from the oven.

Check out these fun gingerbread house kits:

 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Find this post on the following:

Inspire Me Monday Link Party