Horsetail Herb

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This plant with the funny name, Horsetail Herb, is new to me. However its impressive list of nutrients earns it the nickname, “the repairing plant”. Take a look at the healing benefits of this little known but health boosting herb.

Horsetail Herb Title Meme

What is Horsetail Herb?

Horsetail is a perennial herb. There are 15 different species of this plant although common horsetail is used most often medicinally.

The herb grows in rich, damp soil throughout temperate climates in the Northern Hemisphere, including the US, Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

The stems and leaves provide the health benefits. In the spring, horsetail herb puts up a brown stem that resembles asparagus. Cones filled with spores form atop the stems. As the plant dries, silica crystals form in stems and leaves, creating a feathery tail effect.

Horsetail Herb Bundles

Horsetail Herb Nutrients

Horsetail contains a long list of nutrients and beneficial compounds, including:

  •  vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, E & K
  •  folate
  •  potassium
  •  sodium
  •  calcium
  •  magnesium
  •  iron
  •  zinc
  •  copper
  •  phenolic compounds
  •  silica
  •  kynurenic acid
  •  styrylpyrones
  •  chlorophyll

Pretty impressive, right? This is a plant I wanted to know more about, especially since it repairs and restores the body.

Horsetail Herb

Health Benefits of Horsetail Herb

This potent herb provides the following healing benefits:

Aids Hair Growth

Horsetail is rich in silica, an important mineral that supports hair growth. Studies suggest that hair strands with a higher silica content have a lower fall out rate and appear healthier and brighter. Horsetail is one of the best sources of silica and improves nail and skin health as well.

Improves Brittle Nails

Horsetail may be used topically or taken internally to improve brittle nails. Again, it’s the high silica content in the herb that boosts nail, hair and skin health.

Natural Diuretic

The herb is a natural diuretic that helps with edema, puffiness caused by excess water stored in the body. Horsetail improves edema without the side effects affecting liver or kidney function or causing an electrolyte imbalance.

Soothes Joint Inflammation

Horsetail is an ancient remedy for joint disease, due to its anti-inflammatory properties. The powerful herb soothes and calms inflammation and eases degenerative joint disease and rheumatoid arthritis. The compound kynurenic acid is responsible for the anti-inflammatory, antioxidative and pain relieving properties. These abilities place horsetail herb in a super group of plants including peppermint, nettle and birch leaf, all high in kynurenic acid.

Helps to Heal Wounds and Burns

The silica in horsetail is key to the formation of collagen, a key skin building block that is essential for strength and elasticity. Studies show that horsetail helps wounds and burns to heal while easing associated pain.

Antimicrobial Properties

Horsetail Herb stops the growth and kills microbes such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. It is also effective against staph infections and candida.

Dried Horsetal Herb

Using Horsetail Herb

Horsetail may be purchased as a dried herb, tea, capsules or tinctures. Also available are creams and lotions that contain horsetail herb and hair and nail products for topical use.

One of the easiest ways to enjoy the benefits of horsetail herb…and my favorite…is by brewing tea.

Pour one cup of boiling water over 3 teaspoons of fresh or dried horsetail. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Sweeten with raw honey if desired.

Use a strong horsetail herb tea as a rinse after shampooing, to strengthen hair. Tea may also be used to bathe wounds and burns.

Cautions

Be careful foraging for this plant. Although it commonly grows near water, there is a variety known as marsh horsetail that is poisonous.

Mild side effects from the herb include upset stomach, diarrhea and increased urination. Taking too much horsetail herb can cause kidney pain, low back pain, heart palpitations, nausea and vomiting so don’t take more than the recommended dosage or drink more than one cup of tea a day.

Check with your doctor about taking horsetail if you are pregnant, nursing a baby or have low potassium levels. Horsetail may lower blood sugar and potassium levels. Also check with the doctor if you are taking medications for diabetes or water retention or if you are taking lithium, as horsetail may interact with these drugs.

Horsetail Herb Teal

 

Pick up dried horsetail HERE or purchase capsules HERE.

Navy Beans, Brown Rice & Kale

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When I have the itch to try a new recipe, on a hot and muggy day, I turn to my pressure pot. Not only is my meal ready in minutes, the kitchen stays cool. I thumbed through one of my vegan pressure cooker books for inspiration. The one that caught my interest, Navy Beans, Brown Rice & Kale, was easily adapted to meet my dietary needs. I also had most of the ingredients on hand.

Navy Beans Brown Rice & Kale Title Meme

Navy Beans, Brown Rice & Kale

I chose this recipe because I love the combination of beans and rice. Throw in some greens…kale in this case…and some onion, garlic and seasonings and it’s the perfect quick meal for me.

After an afternoon busy with real estate, it was a joy to come home and prepare a fast and nutritious meal in the pressure cooker.

Navy Beans, Brown Rice & Kale

This delicious recipe comes together quickly in the pressure cooker.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Navy Beans Brown Rice Kale

Equipment

  • Pressure Cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried navy beans
  • 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups chopped kale, loosely packed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 3 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  • Rinse and drain navy beans
  • In uncovered pressure cooker, heat coconut oil. I set the pressure cooker to the "fish" setting to saute. Saute onion and garlic for 3 minutes, until onion softens. Cancel setting,
  • Add navy beans, brown rice, kale, bay leaf, thyme and vegetable broth. Stir and cover. Cook for 25. Allow for a natural release.
  • Carefully remove lid. Discard bay leaf. Add lemon juice and sea salt. Makes four servings.
  • *Collard greens or spinach may be substituted for kale, if desired. Water may be substituted for vegetable broth.
Navy Bean Brown Rice & Kale
The start of something good. Remove stems from kale and tear leaves into bite sized pieces.
Onions in Pressure Cooker
Onions and garlic in pressure cooker.

The Start of Something Good

As I tidied up the kitchen, the tantalizing aroma of dinner cooking filled the room. If the navy beans, brown rice & kale tasted as good as it smelled, I’d count this recipe a success.

I didn’t have to wait long to find out! Twenty five minutes later, the timer went off. I allowed the steam to release naturally, which means I didn’t turn the knob on top of the pressure cooker to manually release the steam. Instead, I let it seep out, which took another 10 minutes or so.

At last I carefully lifted the lid. After removing the bay leaf, I added freshly squeezed lemon juice and a teaspoon of sea salt.

Into the pressure cooker
Into the pressure pot.

Navy Beans, Brown Rice & Kale Taste Test

After ladling up a bowl of this quick and hearty meal, and taking a photo of course, I sampled a spoonful.

This easy to prepare meal was SO GOOD! The flavors of the beans, rice and kale blended perfectly. And the thyme and bay leaf added just the right amount of seasoning.

I carried my steaming bowl into the living room and savored my meal, sitting in my favorite chair. I’ll definitely be making this recipe often. As summer gives way to the cooler temps of fall, navy beans, brown rice & kale will go into my meal rotation, to be enjoyed often.

Navy Beans Brown Rice & Kale

Check out this pressure cooker recipe as well:

Lentils & Brown Rice

Order one of these plant based pressure pot cookbooks!

 

Health Benefits of Fennel

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In past years, I’ve enjoyed creating tea blends using dried fennel seeds. This year, for the first time, I’m growing fennel in my garden. The bulbs and seeds are far from harvest ready. However, the frilly green fronds, reminiscent of dill, inspired me to create another first this evening…fennel leaf tea.

Like most herbs, the health benefits of fennel are many and the plant has been used since ancient times.

Health Benefits of Fennel

What is Fennel?

Fennel, a member of the carrot and celery family, originated in the Mediterranean region. It’s now grown around the world. This ancient herb produces a white bulb. From the bulb long green stalks appear. And on those stalks grow feathery green leaves that resemble dill.

The entire plant is edible…bulb, stalks, leaves and even the seeds that appear after flowering. Fennel is aromatic, smelling a bit like anise, while the flavor is distinctly licorice-like.

The herb is rich in bioflavonoids and antioxidants and high in fiber. Other nutrients include vitamins A, C and K, potassium, manganese, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, niacin and copper.

While it’s a popular vegetable for culinary purposes, fennel is valuable for its healing properties as well.

Health Benefits of Fennel Plant

Health Benefits of Fennel

The health benefits of fennel include:

Aids Digestion

Fennel supports a healthy digestive system. The fiber prevents constipation and cleanses toxins and debris from the large intestine. Chewing the seeds after a meal eliminates bad breath and stimulates the secretion of digestive juices. Fennel relieves acid reflux, gas, cramping and bloating and balances pH levels within the stomach.

Lowers the Risk of Heart Disease

High fiber foods such as fennel reduce cholesterol levels, lowering the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The herb’s vitamin C protects the cardio system as well.

Eases Menopausal Symptoms

Early trials, giving post menopausal women fennel, found that symptoms such as sleeping issues, night sweats, flushing and hot flashes were relieved.

Improves Eye Health

Fennel’s antioxidants help to reduce inflammation, leading to improved vision. Fennel also appears to slow the progression of macular degeneration, a common cause of vision loss in the elderly.

Fresh Fennel Leaves
Fresh fennel leaves from my garden.

Helps to Prevent Cancer

The herb’s anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce the risk of certain types of cancers. Fennel contains an oil called anethole which acts as a natural remedy against breast cancer cells.

Lowers Blood Pressure

Another one of the health benefits of fennel is the ability to lower blood pressure. The herb’s high potassium levels and low sodium combine to lower systolic blood pressure, helping to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Maintains Healthy Bones

Because of its high calcium content, fennel strengthens and maintains healthy bones. The plant’s magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin K all contribute toward bone health as well.

Improves Skin

Fennel’s vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. It works to reduce free radicals that can damage skin cells, leading to premature aging. Vitamin C is necessary in the formation of collagen, another vital component for youthful skin.

Fennel Leaf Tea

Enjoying Fennel

Fennel can be enjoyed many ways. Sliced, the bulb adds crunch and sweetness to salads. Or the slices add flavor to stir fries and sautéed vegetables.

The stalks can replace celery in recipes while the tender fennel leaves are great added to salads or steamed with other veggies. Use the leaves to create pesto or to top baked potatoes. Steep the seeds or leaves in hot water for 15 minutes, to create a soothing and healing tea.

Using herbs for tea is one of my favorite health practices. I often enjoy a delicious blend of lemon balm, fennel seeds and thyme tea. This evening I decided to try something different.

I snipped several fennel fronds from my plants in the garden and prepared a fresh fennel tea. After adding hot water to a cup containing the leaves, I covered it and let the tea steep for 15 minutes.

The resulting tea had a delicate, subtle licorice flavor combined with the earthiness of a green tea. I enjoyed it very much.

Herbs contain such amazing properties. I’m grateful for the health benefits of fennel…and the other medicinal plants in my garden.

Freshly Brewed Fennel Tea

Order dried fennel seeds by clicking photo below.

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National Wellness Month

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August is National Wellness Month. Founded last year, its purpose is to foster community, connection and commerce in the wellness industry. All during August, National Wellness Month focuses on self-care, managing stress and promoting healthy routines that become healthy lifestyles.

Whether challenging ourselves to try a new yoga pose or making small daily changes, we can positively impact our health in lasting ways.

National Wellness Month Title Meme

The Definition of Wellness

Curious, I looked up wellness, even though I use the word frequently in connection with my health.

“Wellness: the state of being in good health, especially as an actively sought goal.”

I really like that definition. Wellness doesn’t just happen. It is created, intentionally, with awareness and actions that lead to a goal.

In honor of National Wellness Month I considered what health related goals to pursue during August. I’ve adopted a plant based lifestyle and I’ve made many changes in my health and wellbeing as a result of daily choices. However, there is always room for improvement.

Following are my actively sought health goals for National Wellness Month.

National Wellness Month Walk

Walk More

This challenge comes at a good time. I just returned from a trip to Scotland and while in Edinburgh and the Borders, I walked daily. The best way to explore a city or a village is to walk the charming streets. I love the way my body responds when I walk more. The muscles in my legs may protest at first, however the increased activity eventually loosens tight muscles and strengthens my legs and back.

While I hold good intentions of continuing the daily walks when I return home from trips, I’ve yet to continue the practice for long. Goal number one for August….walk more. I may not get in 10,000 steps a day, which roughly equals five miles. However, I can focus on walking more.

National Wellness Month Water

Drink 64 Ounces of Water

Another practice I want to continue is drinking an adequate amount of water. Since replacing plastic one-use bottles with a metal water bottle, I’ve discovered that I naturally drink more water.

Goal number two for National Wellness Month is to track my water intake better, making sure I’m getting at least 64 ounces of water a day. My metal water bottle holds 20 ounces and my large mason jar, in which I create herb, veggie and fruit infused water, holds 32 ounces. I can easily keep track of how much water I’m drinking with a slight increase in awareness.

National Wellness Month Yoga

Practice Yoga/Meditation/Stretching Daily

Before my international trip, I was doing well with this daily practice. Each morning I engaged in a short yoga routine, stretches and meditation. Each evening, before bed, I did the yoga and stretches again. I experienced increased flexibility in my legs and back.

I ran through the stretches and yoga poses a couple of times, while in Edinburgh. Even though I hoped to stretch and do yoga daily while on my trip, it just didn’t happen, due to eagerness to get out and explore.

Now that I’m home, it’s time to get back into a daily routine. Goal number three is to develop this important habit again.

National Wellness Month Sleep
My cat Shy Boy can give me some tips about sleeping well!

Get at Least Seven Hours of Sleep at Night

I’ve never been great at sleeping at night. I’m a night owl, since babyhood. In the past months I’ve fallen into the very unhealthy habit of working on blogs and writing and social media until the wee hours of the morning. I often crawl into bed about 3:00 am or even later. And yet I’m up a few hours later, to begin another day.

Recovering from my travels, after my return home, I’ve retired for the night by midnight most nights and a few evenings, I clicked out the light and sank into my bed while it was still light outside. Going to bed early those nights, I appreciated the health benefits of getting a good long sleep.

I want more nights like those.

Goal number four, for National Wellness Month, is to get to bed by midnight or earlier, every night. Chronic sleep deprivation can seriously undermine health. I don’t need to sabotage mine by cheating myself on sleep.

National Wellness Month Outdoors

Get Outdoors at Least 30 Minutes a Day

I wanted a fun wellness goal for this month. As I considered possibilities, I recalled that each day as I walk out to my car, I longingly eye the Red Bud Tree in the front yard. This year the brave little tree produced a gorgeous full canopy, for the first time since the 2011 tornado damaged it. I see those limbs, heavy with heart-shaped leaves, trailing down to the soft green grass….and I yearn to sit on a quilt there beneath the tree.

Goal number five for August is to give in to that desire and get outside every day for at least 30 minutes. I know. August can be very warm and humid in Missouri. However, it’s cool there in the shade of the Red Bud Tree. I can carry out a book or my laptop or a journal. Or I can simply enjoy sitting there on a quilt under the fluttering leaves and daydream for thirty minutes. There are other outdoor spaces that I can enjoy but the tree is my primary destination.

National Wellness Month Challenge

Those are my wellness challenge goals for August. By my actions, I am proclaiming “I choose wellness”.

What actively pursued goals will you set, for National Wellness Month? Join me in being intentional in creating wellness in all aspects of our lives. Join me in saying, “I choose wellness” and share your goals with me. Post photos on social media that show you taking those action steps. Include the hashtags #wellfie and #wellnessmonth.

Let’s be healthy, and embody wellness, at every age.

National Wellness Month Cindy

Check out these wellness products!


 

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Plant Based in Edinburgh

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As one who eats a plant based diet, it is crucial for me to adhere to that lifestyle when I travel. For me there’s no eating whatever I want while on vacation or exploring another country. The consequences are almost immediate and dire, if I stray.

I’m okay with following healthy practices away from home. I know my body thanks me for not throwing it off balance and I thrive, no matter where I am. Therefore, I am fine being plant based in Edinburgh…or any other city in the world.

Perhaps you have not adopted a plant based lifestyle…yet…however there are simple health practices that can help you feel your very best while you travel.

Plant Based in Edinburgh Title Meme

Health Tips for Traveling

These are health practices that my sister Debbie and I observed, during our 11 day stay in Edinburgh, to ensure the greatest level of health. Why is that important? To enjoy ourselves the most, it’s important to feel our best. We walked…a lot. We stayed busy throughout the day with explorations, tours and family gatherings. Energy and stamina were crucial.

It was our great joy to be in Scotland. The last thing I wanted was the distraction of not feeling well.

Request Special-Diet Meals

I discovered on my last international trip that vegan and gluten free meals can be requested on flights, as long as they are made prior to the travel dates. My travel agent Ken, with GalaxSea Cruises & Tours, listed our meal preferences when he booked our flights. On our long travel days, going to Scotland and returning home, our primary meals were in airports and on board airplanes. We ate simple vegan snacks like fruit or veggie sushi in the airports and enjoyed plant based meals on the plane.

For six days, Debbie and I explored Edinburgh on our own. The remaining five we joined family members from around the world for the Clan Maitland Gathering. Carolyn, our North American clan officer, arranged all of the meals that we shared as a family. She contacted the restaurants and made sure they prepared vegan meals for us. My food was gluten free as well. From tea houses to cafés to formal restaurants to lunch at Thirlestane Castle, I enjoyed wonderfully prepared meals that supported my health, rather than weakened my body.

Tip: Don’t be afraid to make your dietary needs known. My experience is that the cooks and chefs go above and beyond to prepare healthy and delicious meals that meet those needs. They seem to take great pride in presenting those carefully prepared dishes and appreciate hearing that they are wonderful.

Plant Based Meal at New ClubBeautifully prepared plant based meal at New Club in Edinburgh, with gluten free bread.

Stay Hydrated

Traveling makes one thirsty, especially when flying for an extended time. I discovered that it is permissible to carry an empty metal water bottle through airport security. Once through security we filled our bottles and carried them onto the plane.

In Edinburgh, we took those water bottles everywhere. It saved us money, since we didn’t have to purchase bottled water, and it cut our plastic use to virtually zero. And we could easily refill the bottles throughout the day, to help us stay hydrated. Choose foods that help to hydrate the body too.

Tip: Consider carrying a metal or glass water bottle and refilling as needed, to stay hydrated.


Click on photo to order a metal water bottle.

Prepare and Cook Your Own Food

Being plant based in Edinburgh, for us, meant purchasing, preparing and cooking many of our own meals. We chose to stay in an apartment in the New Town part of Edinburgh so that we could have a full kitchen. It was very easy to shop for fresh fruit and veggies, hummus, gluten free pasta and no sugar pasta sauce and prepare our own simple meals, when not dining with family. I cooked and my sister cleaned up!

Tip: Consider staying in an apartment or a room with a mini kitchen, and prepare many of your own meals. You’ll know what you are eating.

Plant Based in Edinburgh CookingPreparing a simple meal of boiled new potatoes and stir fried veggies.

Make Healthy Choices

The few times that we ate in a restaurant, on our own, we made healthy choices. I love how easy it is to be plant based in Edinburgh. They have many vegan cafés to choose from and regular restaurants offer plant based options. We found a vegan and gluten free bakery just down the street and a vegan café across from the apartment we stayed in.

I researched vegan restaurants in Edinburgh before the trip. As a blogger, I offered several a blog post and social media shares, in exchange for a healthy meal or afternoon tea. I’m grateful to these restaurants:

Beetroot Sauvage Café – Vegan Afternoon Tea

Seeds for the Soul Café – Plant Based Lunch

Naked Bakery – Vegan and Gluten Free Goodies to take back to the apartment

We also enjoyed plant based meals at The Elephant House and Henderson’s Vegan Restaurant.

Tip: Before a trip, Google restaurants and cafés that meet your dietary needs. If you happen upon a delightful eatery, while wandering around, make wise choices that support your health.

Seeds for the Soul Cafe An amazing lunch from Seeds for the Soul.

Pack Supplements and Meds

If you take supplements and prescription meds at home, by all means pack those for the trip. Prescriptions needs to be in bottles with your name and your doctor’s name on them. I carry vitamin B12, Cat’s Claw and MSM with me when I travel, in their original bottles. Most of the time you can carry supplements through security in the plastic daily pill sorters as well.

For this trip, Voke Superfood Supplements sent two boxes of tablets with us to try. These all natural supplements overcome jet lag quickly, support the body and boost energy. We started them as soon as we arrived in Edinburgh and found them to be very helpful.

Tip: Travel with any necessary prescription meds and include supplements that are most crucial to your well being.

Voke Superfood Supplements

Listen to Your Body

I’ve learned to pay close attention to my body’s needs. When traveling, with changed schedules, more activities and different time zones, this becomes very important.

Stretch legs and walk back to the rest room frequently, on the airplane. (If you are staying hydrated, this will be a necessity!) Do yoga poses in the hotel room or apartment. Rest when you are tired. Get enough sleep. We retired earlier than we normally do at home, most evenings, to ensure we were well rested each morning. And we gladly observed the practice of afternoon tea, which provided a welcome break in our busy days.

We walked all over Edinburgh. Proper fitting shoes prevent blisters and sore feet. Pay attention to weather through online apps and pack accordingly to stay cool enough or warm enough. Don’t go too long without a healthy snack or a light meal. The body needs the fuel to keep energy levels up all day. My sister brought along packets of nuts and seeds, which were great for toting.

Tip: Listen to what your body tells you. Stretch. Rest. Eat. Pause. Take a break. Wear comfortable supportive shoes if you are walking or hiking. Begin checking a weather app a couple of weeks before the trip, to get an idea of temperatures and weather conditions, and pack accordingly.

Walking in EdinburghWe climbed to the top of Calton Hill in Edinburgh, twice!

Enjoy Your Travels

The whole point of following health practices while away from home is so that I can focus on enjoying myself, rather than battling an upset stomach or a flare up of inflammation due to eating foods I shouldn’t. I know what my body needs, to operate at a high level of health and wellness, and I’m happy to support it.

It’s not worth it to me, to abandon a plant based diet and suffer the consequences while I’m traveling. Rather, I’ve found that I do so much better if I eat in a healthy way and listen, really listen, to the feedback I’m continually receiving from my body.

I know I can drink a Thistly Cross hard cider in Scotland, and be okay. And I enjoyed one. I also know that if I indulge in gluten laden foods or allow dairy or meat products into my diet that I will pay a price for that, one I’m not willing to pay.

Tip: Learn what foods best support your body and adhere to that lifestyle, even when traveling. As I often say, NOTHING tastes as good as healthy feels. And when I’m traveling, that is especially so. Nothing taste as good as exploring a country or a city feels to me.

Plant based in Edinburgh? Oh yes, gladly so. And I’ll be plant based anywhere else that I go.

Plant Based in EdinburghPlant based in Edinburgh.

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3 Years Plant Based

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I can’t let this month slip by without noting that July is an anniversary month for me. I am 3 years plant based. In July 2016 I made a decision that radically changed my life. What an amazing journey.

Read my first year update, to appreciate the many changes I have experienced.

Year 2 update is here, with more incredible healing.

And now, on to what 3 years plant based has brought.

3 Years Plant Based title meme

Healing During Year Three

The first two years plant based created dramatic changes in my health. With such remarkable changes, there is no way I’ll ever return to my old way of eating a typical American diet.

I continue my routine of lemon/lime water, celery juice and fruit smoothies in the mornings and veggies, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds for lunch, dinner and snacks. Water and herbal teas are my drinks of choice.

The health changes have not been as dramatic this year, as most of my ailments and chronic conditions have healed. However healing continues.

3 Years Plant Based DinnerA typical plant based meal.

Year Three Changes

  • hair continues to darken
  • healthier skin, nails and hair
  • discoloration on lips gone
  • ability to fight inflammation more quickly
  • greater awareness of what my body needs, for optimal health
  • greater awareness of what my body does NOT want or need
  • improved liver function
  • improved mental clarity and focus
  • greater flexibility

Still working on:

  • full range of motion in left knee
  • strength in both knees

The area that still requires further healing is around my left knee. I’ve fallen twice this year. The first time, in January, a grocery bag caught on the front door knob as I walked by, laden down with too many bags. I twisted my left knee badly as I fell into a nearby chair. The second time, three weeks ago, I slipped on a small puddle of water in the kitchen. I went completely down onto the floor, pinning my left leg beneath me.

This is what 3 years plant based has taught me though. I can quickly support my body by increasing inflammation fighting foods and herbs. Doing so restores mobility and eliminates pain. I am so grateful for the knowledge I’ve acquired, that helps me maintain optimal health and wellbeing.

3 Years Plant Based DillOne of my favorite herbs…dill.

Higher Awareness

What I’ve noticed most this past year is an increased awareness of several things.

Herbs and foraging for wild edibles is something I continue to learn about and enjoy. I grow many herbs in my garden that are wonderful for cooking and creating healing teas with. I have fun combining fresh herbs to make delicious tea blends.

Experiencing my own healing increases my compassion for others who are suffering. It has been my privilege to assist people who are hurting or looking for help with health challenges.

Greater opportunities for sharing my healing story appeared this year. My mother and I were included in Woman’s World Magazine in a feature about the healing power of celery juice. A second national magazine has contacted me about an article this fall.

I shared part of my journey as a guest on my first podcast. And I’ve done several interviews with other bloggers. I’m so grateful for these avenues that allow me to offer hope and healing to others.

And finally, beyond my healing and helping others heal, I have a greater awareness of the health of our planet. I’ve already reduced the use of chemicals in my home and garden. Recently I’ve begun eliminating one-use plastics from my life. This is an ongoing desire, to reduce waste and lessen the strain upon our resources.

In the same way that I must love myself before I can love others, I needed to heal myself before I could offer healing to others and to the earth.

3 Years Plant Based Honeysuckle TeaA delightful wild edible, honeysuckle tea provides many healing benefits.

To Continued Good Health

My healing journey continues. As I feel gratitude for improved health, I want to express thankfulness to Anthony William for guidance and to my family for supporting me as I heal. I deeply appreciate two people especially, as they have journeyed alongside me.

My mom is experiencing her own dramatic health shifts. We’ve shared many adventures along the way, learning and healing together.

And Greg makes my journey easier. His choice to become plant based as well encourages me and makes food and meal prep simpler. His health has improved greatly and continues to shift. I’m proud of him.

I’m thrilled to be 3 years plant based. It’s a lifestyle that I embrace with incredible joy. It’s become a tradition to snap an commemorative photo of my journey with Redbud Tree in my yard. We have both overcome so much. We’ve both become stronger. This year, the tree leafed out beautifully, creating a full canopy for the first time since the 2011 tornado. I feel so connected to this resilient tree. For the first time in many years, I feel beautifully whole. Redbud Tree and I are healthy.

3 Years Plant Based Cindy

Check out my storefront, for Anthony’s books and many health related items

Cindy’s Amazon Storefront

 

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Healing With Dill

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As a child, my only association with the dill herb was with pickles. I don’t remember my mom or grandmother adding dill to potato salads or other dishes. However, as my appreciation for plants continues to grow, this aromatic herb ranks high on my list of favorites.

Dills grows in my herb garden. I add it to potato dishes, salads, dressings and other recipes. I’ve yet to brew dill tea, but why not? The more I study this herb, the more I love it and appreciate its health benefits.

Join me in healing with dill.

Healing with Dill title meme

Origins of Dill

Dill, also commonly called dill weed, originated in the Mediterranean region. It’s been used medicinally and as a spice since ancient times. Dill, which means “calm” or “soothe”, is related to parsley, cumin and the bay leaf.

Long ago dill was primarily used to calm the digestive system and soothe colicky babies. Greek doctors treated wounds with it and believed the herb delivered courage to those who consumed it.

Dill grows 16 – 30 inches tall. The thin leaves are delicate, finely divided and very soft. It blooms in clusters of yellow or white flowers.

Fresh dill weed contains fiber, protein, manganese, folate, calcium, iron and vitamins A and C.

Baked Potato with Dill and Chives

Healing with Dill

Health benefits of dill include:

Protects Against Free Radicals

Dill helps antioxidants to attach to oxidized molecules that damage the body.

Aids Digestion

The fatty acids in dill soothe an upset stomach and improves the whole digestive system. The herb increases energy levels as well.

Lowers Cholesterol

Dill lowers bad cholesterol and helps to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

Relieves Depression

The herb has antidepressant and analgesic benefits, without the negative side effects of drugs.

May Help with Epilepsy

Dill leaf extract shows promise as an anticonvulsant, which aids in the treatment of epilepsy.

Possesses Antimicrobial Properties

Dill fights fungi, bacteria and mold, making it helpful against fungal and bacterial infections.

Sweetens the Breath

For centuries, people have chewed on the leaves of the dill herb to freshen breath and cleanse the mouth.

Helps to Relieve Menstrual Cramps

Dill weed reduces menstrual discomfort and pain.

Relieves Arthritis Pain

Dill is an anti-inflammatory that reduces inflammation and the associated pain of disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and arthritis.

Using Dill

Dill weed is available in fresh or dried form at most grocery stores. It is also fairly easy to grow. The herb prefers a sunny location and thrives well in heat. Due to massive amounts of rain this spring, I moved my dill plant into a container. The water drains more quickly, keeping the soil from getting boggy.

Use fresh or dried dill in potato or veggie recipes, soups, salads and sauces. One of my favorite uses for fresh or dried dill is as a seasoning on oven roasted potatoes. Dice up four potatoes and place in a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon coconut oil, and a teaspoon each of dill, rosemary and thyme. Stir well to coat potatoes. Roast on a parchment paper covered baking sheet in 400 degree oven for 40 minutes.

I also love the simplicity of snipping fresh dill and chives from my garden to top a plain baked potato. Delicious! It is also easy to prepare a wonderful DIY salad dressing using Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise, fresh or dried dill and lemon juice.

Try these great recipes as well, featuring dill:

Radish, Cucumber & Dill Salad

Cucumber, Tomato & Dill Salad

What’s Next with Dill

I love dill so much. I’m not only healing with dill, I’m learning how to use the herb in ways that go far beyond pickles. Dill tea is definitely on my list of herbal teas to try. I’ll let you know when I experience it!

Dill Weed

Purchase dried dill below:


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Health Benefits of Purslane

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In this next installment in the Wild Edibles series, let me introduce you to another health boosting weed. Purslane, like cleavers, commonly grows in backyards and gardens, and along sidewalks and pathways.

I found this wild edible by accident this afternoon, growing near my tomato plants. However, the plant announced itself in a peculiar way before that. I  recently dreamed that I found purslane growing near my front deck. Recognizing its value, I felt thrilled by the discovery and in my dream, I told others about the health benefits of purslane.

A sense of deja vu came over me today, when I spied several plants growing in my raised vegetable bed, which happens to be near my front deck. I looked around to see if there was anyone to share this discovery with!

Health Benefits of Purslane title meme

What is Purslane?

Although considered a weed by many, purslane is a member of the succulent family. The herb goes by other names, including duckweed, fatweed and pursley. Originally from India, the healing herb is now found across the US and in Asia, Central Europe and the Mediterranean. It typically appears in spring and thrives throughout the summer.

Purslane has smooth, reddish stems and leaves that cluster at stem joints and ends. Tiny yellow flowers can appear at any time during the growing season although the blooms only last for a few hours. I observed that the leaves of the plant close together as the sun sets.

Another identifying characteristic of purslane is the juice from the leaves. Tear a leaf in two. If the juice is clear, the plant is a purslane. If the juice is white, it’s a different plant that is not to be consumed.

Often removed from gardens as a weed, purslane has many healing properties, making it a plant worthy of attention.

Health Benefits of Purslane in the Garden

Health Benefits

Purslane is rich in essential nutrients such as vitamins A, B6, C and E, magnesium, manganese, calcium, potassium, iron, copper and phosphorus. It also offers disease fighting antioxidants and plant based omega-3 fatty acids.

Benefits include:

Source of Beta-Carotene

Purslane provides beta-carotene, a pigment that the body converts to vitamin A. This potent antioxidant helps to maintain healthy skin, neurological function and excellent eyesight. Beta-carotene prevents chronic disease by protecting the body from the damage of free radicals. It also supports respiratory and pulmonary function.

Lowers Inflammation

Purslane’s high vitamin C content helps to neutralize free radicals as well, reducing inflammation throughout the body and lowering the risk for chronic disease. Vitamin C boosts the immune system, improves heart health and promotes glowing skin. In addition, vitamin C lowers the risk of death from stroke or heart disease and reduces levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

Supports Bone Health

Purslane provides a great vegan source of omega-3 fatty acids. These improve heart health, reduce inflammation, improve mental health and support bone health.

Fights Diabetes

Research suggests that consuming purslane helps to lower systolic blood pressure and improve glucose levels, making it a companion treatment for type 2 diabetes.

Treats Intestinal Disorders

Purslane’s organic compounds help to treat intestinal disorders, from diarrhea to intestinal bleeding to hemorrhoids.

Improves Circulation

The iron and copper in purslane helps to stimulate the production of red blood cells. These minerals boost circulation by delivering more oxygen to essential parts of the body. Iron and copper also increase healing within cells and organs and improves hair growth.

Health Benefits of Purslane Tea

How to Enjoy Purslane

The leaves and stems of the purslane plant are edible. Add raw leaves and stems to salads or steam them lightly with other greens. Purslane can be added to soups, stews, sauces and smoothies.

The leaves and stems also make an excellent tea. Steep a small bunch of purslane in very hot water for 15 minutes. Sweeten with raw organic honey, if desired, or add a squeeze of lime juice.

Purslane is crunchy and slightly peppery, with a fresh, spinach like flavor. I created purslane tea this evening, to sip on as I wrote my blog post. The flavor is mild with a hint of that peppery taste.

Health Benefits of Purslane Herb

No Longer Just a Weed

I’m glad I dreamed about purslane. The dream created a heightened sense of awareness about the plant, so that when I discovered it today, I recognized it.

I no longer see dandelions, cleavers, plantain, clover and purslane as weeds. Instead, I honor them as healing assets in my garden. They are herbs that I did not plant, and yet their value is just as great.

The purslane plants remain in my vegetable garden, for me to appreciate and harvest. I look forward to enjoying occasional cups of freshly prepared purslane tea and adding the leaves to salads.

Health Benefits of Purslane

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Health Benefits of Silica

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Silica is an essential element that the body needs. This mineral rebuilds and maintains collagen, a fibrous tissue that literally holds our bodies together. Collagen is one of the key building blocks in skin, hair and nails as well.

Silica is also crucial for its bone building and bone protecting characteristics.

Health Benefits of Silica

We Need Silica as We Age

As children, our silica levels are higher. However, as we grow older, those levels drop. And as silica levels decline we develop signs of aging. In fact, many problems associated with growing older are a result of the body’s inability to maintain an adequate amount of collagen.

The symptoms typically associated with aging, due to low levels of silica and loss of collagen, include:

  • joint deterioration and disease
  • brittle bones
  • hardening of the arteries
  • dry skin
  • loose, wrinkled skin
  • poor digestion and digestive issues
  • weakening of teeth and gums
  • organ atrophy
  • memory loss

Health Benefits of Silica Cherries

Health Benefits of Silica

The health benefits of silica are a result of building up the mineral in the body.

Benefits include:

  • improves bone density and bone flexibility
  • helps to heal degenerative bone diseases such as osteoporosis, osteopenia and age-related bone loss
  • improves healing of broken bones, dislocated joints and pulled muscles
  • strengthens teeth, gums, joints, tendons, ligaments and connective tissue
  • builds up connective tissues of the brain, nerve cells and spinal cord
  • improves memory
  • stabilizes the release of insulin from the pancreas
  • heals and prevents brittle nails
  • revitalizes dry, dull hair and skin
  • encourages growth of thick and healthy hair
  • increases luster and shine of hair
  • repairs damaged skin, loose skin and wrinkles due to loss of collagen
  • increases the benefits of vitamin D, glucosamine and calcium
  • decreases the formation of plaque, which lowers the risks of heart attack and stroke
  • protects mucous membranes
  • prevents aluminum toxicity by bonding with aluminum and preventing its absorption in the digestive tract
  • strengthens stomach and digestive tract muscles and tissues

Health Benefits of Silica Carrots

Sources of Silica

The typical American diet does not provide adequate amounts of silica. There are, however, a number of foods that are naturally high in silica. To increase levels of silica in the body, add these foods as often as possible:

Fruits

Veggies

Herbs

Nuts

  • almonds
  • peanuts

Combine fruits in salads and smoothies. Chop the veggies and create a nutritious  salad or steam them together.

The easiest way to enjoy the herbs is to create teas. Nettle leaf is especially rich in silica. Purchase horsetail, nettle leaf, red raspberry leaf and rose hips in dried, loose leaf form to brew as tea. And take advantage of dandelions growing in the yard. Add the leaves and flowers to salads, brew a fresh tea or create dandelion infused water.

Health Benefits of Silica Dandelion

Silica as a Supplement

Additionally, silica can be purchased as a supplement. I’m always a proponent of getting what my body needs from food sources. However, I do take crucial supplements too, to ensure the highest level of health and vitality.

MegaHydrate is a powerful source of silica and antioxidants that also hydrates the body at a cellular level. The supplement neutralizes free radicals and promotes energy production and metabolic activity. Order it by clicking the photo below.

I have reached that point in my life where age-related issues can surface. However, I’ve already learned that I do not have to resign myself to poor health. I choose to take an active role in maintaining my health and preventing diseases.

Through wholesome plant based foods and high quality supplements, I am creating health and vitality. Silica is definitely an important mineral to include in my diet.


 

Click on photo above to order MegaHydrate

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10 DIY Seasoning Blends

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As a follow up to the post about MSG sensitivity, today’s post offers 10 DIY seasoning blends you can make at home.

There are advantages to creating your own blends. If herbs and spices are bought in bulk, making your own seasoning is cheaper. The flavor of DIY seasoning blends is usually more robust. However, the primary reason for making your own blends is the most crucial…you know exactly what’s in your seasonings. Blending your own makes it possible to eliminate unnecessary…and unhealthy…additives such as MSG, extra sodium, sugar, chemicals, fillers and preservatives.

10 DIY Seasoning Blends

10 DIY Seasoning Blends

Herbal Blend

  • 4 tablespoons dried rosemary
  • 4 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 4 tablespoons dried dill
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt (optional)

Combine all ingredients and store in an air tight container. Sprinkle on roasted veggies and potato wedges, or add 1 tablespoon of seasoning to rice and lentil dishes.

This is one of my favorite seasoning blends. I love it with oven roasted potatoes.

Simple Seasoning Salt

  • 4 tablespoons onion powder
  • 4 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 4 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt

Combine all ingredients in an air tight container. Use 3 – 4 teaspoons of seasoning for roasted veggies, potato and sweet potato wedges, soups, sauces and bean dishes.

The first blend I ever created, this one is great on oven roasted potato or sweet potato wedges.

Spicy Seasoning Blend

  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric

Mix all ingredients together and store in an air tight container. Sprinkle on oven roasted veggies and potatoes or use 1 tablespoon of mix in soups and stir fries.

10 DIY Seasoning Blends Swirl

Curry Blend

  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground mustard
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (less for lower heat level)
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1/4 cup turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine all ingredients and store in an air tight container. Use 1 – 3 teaspoons in recipes such as curried lentils, bean dishes, rice dishes, stir fries and roasted veggies.

Chili Seasoning

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all ingredients together and store in an air tight container. Use 2 – 3 teaspoons for chili recipes. This is especially good for veggie or bean chilis.

Italian Seasoning

  • 4 teaspoons basil
  • 4 teaspoons oregano
  • 4 teaspoons rosemary
  • 4 teaspoons thyme

Combine all ingredients in an air tight container. Use 1 – 2 teaspoons, or to taste, in homemade spaghetti sauce, soups, veggies, oven roasted  potatoes, eggplant and other Italian recipes.

10 DIY Seasoning Blends Herbs

Ranch Dressing Mix

  • 1/4 cup dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dill
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Combine all ingredients and store in an air tight container. Season roasted veggies or potatoes with 1 – 2 teaspoons seasoning. To make ranch dressing, mix 1 tablespoon of mix with 1/2 cup of vegan sugar free mayo like Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise and 1/4 cup almond or coconut milk.

Bulk Herbs and Spices

Tips for DIY Seasoning Blends

For convenience and to save money, I purchase dried herbs and spices in bulk, at Natural Grocers. Packages of herbs and spices are often available at health food shops and health conscious grocery stores.

Large containers of herbs and spices can be purchased at warehouse style retailers as well, however check those labels. Even if they say NO MSG, they can contain additives such as modified food starch, preservatives, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, soy, gluten and artificial colors and/or flavors. We don’t need those either!

The bags of spices and herbs I purchase have one ingredient…the dried herb or spice.

Store blends in glass containers, mason jars with lids, or empty spice jars that you re-use. The DIY seasoning blends will keep for up to a year, if kept in a cool, dark place or in the fridge.

Enjoy Your DIY Seasoning Blends

There’s another advantage to making your own seasonings. You can customize the blends to suit your personal tastes. Love garlic powder? Add more. Don’t like oregano? Cut down the amount or leave it out. Love other herbs and spices? Play around with these recipes or create your own DIY seasoning blends. And have the peace of mind of knowing you are creating something healthy and additive free.

10 DIY Seasoning Blends

Purchase Dried Herbs Below


 


 

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