Alpaca Wool Dryer Balls

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For this Try This Tuesday post, I’m sharing about a product I’ve used for just over a year now. Have you heard of dryer balls? They replace fabric softener sheets in the dryer. I’ve used a synthetic set for several years. However, my daughter and son-in-law gifted me with a set of alpaca wool dryer balls, and that, my friends, upped my laundry game in such a positive way.

Do these wool dryer balls really work? And what are the benefits of using them?

Read on…

Alpaca Wool Dryer Balls title meme

The Problem with Fabric Softener Sheets

An amazing thing happened, on my healing journey. As I eliminated unhealthy foods from my diet, and my body recovered, my awareness shifted. I recognized the effects of chemicals on my body and health. What I allowed on my skin became as important as what I put in my body.

As a result of this heightened awareness, I moved away from chemical laden beauty and bath products and household cleaners, including laundry detergent and softeners. Switching to plant based products in all areas of my life is not only better for me, it is better for the environment.

It was simple enough to switch to a chemical and dye free laundry detergent. What about fabric softener sheets though? Those little scented sheets are a laundry staple in most households. They remove static, soften clothes, reduce wrinkles and make our clothe smell good. Are they healthy for us though?

The Negative Effects of Fabric Softener Sheets

It turns out those dryer sheets can cause more harm than good. They contain a chemical called quaternary ammonia compounds (QACS). The chemical is known to cause or worsen asthma and skin irritations. It’s also linked to more serious conditions such as nervous system disorders, headaches, nausea, dizziness, cancer and reproductive problems.

Additionally, the coating on dryer sheets that softens laundry makes towels less absorbent. Plus it wears away the wicking abilities of socks and activewear and it lessens the effectiveness of fire-resistant clothing.

And finally, those sheets are designed for one time use. With every load of laundry we toss a dryer sheet in and then throw it away.  The average family does 416 loads of laundry a year. Think of the cost of those dryer sheets!

Consider this alternative to fabric softener sheets…alpaca wool!

Alpaca Wool Dryer Balls
Alpaca wool makes an excellent dryer ball. And isn’t he adorable?

The Benefits of Using Alpaca Wool Dryer Balls

My dryer balls are made from alpaca wool. The wool fibers have hollow cores that absorb water, making them an ideal material for drying clothes…and the animals are not harmed when they are shorn . The dryer balls, which are approximately three inches across in size, are felted from alpaca wool yarn.

The benefits of using alpaca wool dryer balls over fabric softener sheets include:

Hypoallergenic

Alpaca wool is naturally hypoallergenic. Unlike sheep, alpaca do not produce lanolin, which can irritate sensitive skin. The alpaca wool is untreated and free from chemicals and dyes. It contains anti-bacterial properties as well.

Cost Effective

Unlike the one use dryer sheets, alpaca wool balls last for years. When they look worn, they can be refelted, making them even more economical.

Softens Clothes and Prevents Wrinkles

Alpaca wool dryer balls are designed to soften clothes, reduce static and prevent wrinkles, without coating the inside of the dryer or clothes with chemicals. The balls work by bouncing around in the dryer, separating and fluffing clothes as the tumble. Air moves more freely through the clothes as the balls separate them, reducing wrinkles and speeding up drying time.

Decreases Drying Time by as Much as 25%

Because alpaca wool absorbs water as they bounce among wet clothes, drying time is decreased. Studies show that drying time is reduced by as much as 25%, which cuts energy costs.

Ecological

Alpaca wool dryer balls save time, money, energy and resources. A set of wool dryer balls lasts through hundreds of loads of laundry. And they can be refelted and made like new again. When they finally do wear out, add them to the compost pile, where they break down naturally.

Chemical Free

Wool dryer balls are chemical free. That means they are naturally unscented as well. While many people love the fragrance of their dryer sheets, that scent is chemically produced. And those chemicals contribute to illnesses and allergies and the increased risk of diseases such as cancer. Plus clothes wear out faster, due to the chemical residue that dryer sheets leave behind.

If scent is important to you, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to alpaca wool dryer balls. Clothes smell fresh rather than perfumed and the scent remains on the wool dryer balls through several cycles.

Alpaca Wool Dryer Balls Review

Using Alpaca Wool Dryer Balls

To use these laundry aids, simply toss them into the dryer with a load of clothes. I recommend using at least two wool balls, and preferably three. If desired, add a few drops of essential oil to one of the wool balls before throwing it into the dryer.

That’s it. Turn on the dryer and either use the automatic setting that senses when clothes are dry or check the dryer before the end of the cycle. I’ve found that clothes really do dry faster using the wool balls. After noting results, you can set the timer for a shorter amount of time for future loads.

Wood Dryer Balls in the Dryer
I leave my alpaca wool balls in the dryer between uses.

Where to Purchase Alpaca Wool Dryer Balls

My daughter and son-in-law bought my alpaca wool dryer balls from a local provider at Joplin’s Empire Market. Doug and Penny Moore reside at the family owned Wellspring Acres in Sarcoxie, Missouri, and make their dryer balls from wool from their own alpacas.

Purchase alpaca wool dryer balls in health conscious grocery stores, farmer’s markets and through Amazon. Check out the links below.

I appreciate these amazing laundry aids. The environment benefits. My clothes and towels are fresh, soft and wrinkle free. They dry more quickly. And my clothes and skin remain chemical free. For that, I am most grateful. I don’t miss the fabric softener dryer sheets at all.

An alternative to fabric softener sheets

Purchase alpaca wool dryer balls below:

 


 

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Vegan Hot Chocolate

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

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

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

 Vegan Hot Chocolate

Vegan Hot Chocolate Recipe

Ingredients

1 can coconut milk, full fat

1 cup non dairy milk (I used almond coconut)

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Directions

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

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

Vegan Hot Chocolate

Vegan Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate is Back!

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

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

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

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

Vegan Hot Chocolate

Liver Rescue Book Club Meeting

With two blog posts to write tonight, I’m doing something I’ve rarely done. I’m doing a crossover post.

The book Liver Rescue, by Anthony William, released at the end of October. I preordered a copy, as did my mom and sister Linda. What better way to work through the amazing information within this hefty volume, than together.

Tonight we met for the first Liver Rescue Book Club meeting. Rather than share a recipe for Try This Tuesday, as I had planned, this post seemed more important. Trying new health related things goes beyond recipes and helpful gadgets. It can be gathering together to learn how to live in optimal health.

I hope our experience encourages others to create a health geared book club too!

Liver Rescue Book Club Meeting

Why a Book About the Liver?

This evening we covered the first two chapters of the book. Chapter one is introductory…and eye opening. Why would Anthony devote an entire book to liver health? Because it’s that important.

We are very aware of other organs and systems in the body. Our hearts beat. We draw breath into our lungs. The stomach growls when it’s empty. We think with our brains. Our bladders fill and our intestines rumble. We moisturize our skin or get goosebumps when something extraordinary happens.

Our livers though? We don’t give them a thought…until we are far gone in a catastrophic illness such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or liver cancer. And yet the liver works incredible hard on our behalf, to keep the body functioning.

Anthony goes so far as to suggest that our livers are our best friends. It’s time, my mom, sister and I decided, to get to know this mysterious organ and do all we can to keep it healthy and happy, as many other ailments and illness are connected to liver health.

Liver Rescue Book Club Meeting

Liver Rescue Book Club

Our first meeting was a success. Mom prepared a delicious plant based meal that we shared with stepdad Walter. I’ll provide dinner next Tuesday. Linda will feed us the week after that.

The table cleared after dinner, the three of us opened our books and discussed the first two chapters.

Chapter Two explores the connection between liver health and the pancreas. A diet high in fat wreaks havoc on the liver, which then has a negative impact on the pancreas. Linda and I are very aware of pancreatic distress. We lost our father eight years ago to pancreatic cancer. This terminal cancer is on the rise. I know many, many people who have succumbed to this horrible disease. I want to do all I can to keep my liver and pancreas working well.

We talked about various sections in the first two chapters. And we expressed genuine gratitude for how miraculous the human body is. To encourage each other and keep us on track, we set a goal for next week. Each of us will keep a food journal over the next seven days, recording everything we eat. It’s possible, even on a plant based diet, to consume too much fat. Writing down what we eat raises awareness and allows us to see where problem areas might lurk.

I appreciate my mother and sister, for their willingness to improve their health and walk with me on this journey. Being the best we can be doesn’t have to be difficult. We intend to link arms and do this together…and have fun while we befriend our livers.

Liver Rescue Book Club Meeting

Order Liver Rescue, or Anthony’s other books, through my link below.

Amazon Storefront

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Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Cold weather makes me crave warm comfort food. This easy to pull together Lentil Shepherd’s Pie has all the right ingredients to quality as comfort food. Plus this plant based version, adapted from a recipe by budgetbytes.com, is full of healthy goodness, making it guilt free!

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked lentils

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced or chopped

3 celery stalks, thinly sliced or chopped

2 cups green peas, cooked

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon gluten free flour

1 cup vegetable broth

4 cups mashed potatoes

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil, until softened. Add carrots and celery and continue to sauté until veggies are cooked through. Add salt, thyme, paprika and pepper to vegetables, stirring and continuing to cook.

Sprinkle flour, stirring to coat veggies. Add vegetable broth and peas. Simmer over low heat until gravy thickens slightly. Add cooked lentils. Mix well.

Turn veggie mixture into 2 quart oven proof casserole container. Top with mashed potatoes. Bake for 15 minutes, or until mixture is hot and bubbly. Turn oven to broil, if desired, and brown potato topping slightly. Watch carefully so Potatoes don’t burn. Let cool five minutes and serve. Makes 4-6 servings.

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie Tips

I prepared the lentils in the pressure pot, using 1 cup dried lentils and 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth. Cook for 6 minutes and allow pressure to release naturally. Or lentils can be prepared in a small saucepan on the stovetop.

While lentils cooked, and cut up potatoes bubbled on the stove, I sautéed the pie filling. As the mixture simmered, I drained the potatoes and mashed them with a small amount of unsweetened almond coconut milk. Vegetable broth can be used too. Create a design on the mashed potato topping by using the tines of a fork.

I broiled the potato topping for 6 – 7 minutes, to brown slightly, checking often to prevent burning.

Enjoy!

This plant based Lentil Shepherd’s Pie was delicious! The veggie mixture was perfect. However, other veggies such as mushrooms could be added as well, making this recipe very adaptable.

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie goes into my weekly rotation, especially during the cold winter months! Let me know if you try this recipe.

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

DIY Tea Blends to Make for Different Ailments

Tea bags are readily available to purchase. And packages of fresh or dried herbs and flowers are available as well. It’s easy and fun to create tea blends that soothe or heal a number of ailments.

Today’s Try This Tuesday post includes some of my favorite DIY tea blends.

DIY Tea Blends to Make for Different Ailments

What You Will Need

Enjoying freshly brewed tea at home requires a few simple items.

• a mesh tea ball or mesh basket and mug set, to hold loose tea

• glass containers to store loose herbs in

• teaspoons – I enjoy using wooden ones

• a teapot with a lid, to steep larger servings of tea

• an assortment of fun tea cups or mugs

DIY Tea Blends to Make for Different Ailments

Thyroid Healing Tea

by Anthony William

1 teaspoon dried lemon balm

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried fennel seeds

1-2 teaspoons raw honey (optional)

Combine herbs in mesh ball or basket and place in very hot water. Steep for 15 minutes. Add honey if desired.

Clear Skin Tea

1 teaspoon dried lemon balm

1 teaspoon dried nettle

1 teaspoon dried licorice root

1-2 teaspoons raw honey (optional)

Combine herbs in mesh ball or basket and place in very hot water. Steep for 15 minutes. Add honey if desired.

DIY Tea Blends to Make for Different Ailments

Immune Support Tea

1 teaspoon dried peppermint

1 teaspoon dried echinacea

1 teaspoon dried lemongrass

1 teaspoon dried licorice root

1-2 teaspoons raw honey (optional)

Combine herbs in mesh ball or basket and place in very hot water. Steep for 15 minutes. Add honey if desired.

Digestion Support Tea

1 teaspoon dried chamomile

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon dried mint

1 teaspoon fresh or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Combine herbs in mesh ball or basket and place in very hot water. Steep for 15 minutes. Add honey if desired.

DIY Tea Blends to Make for Different Ailments

Liver Strengthening Tea

by Anthony William

1 teaspoon dried burdock root

1 teaspoon dried red clover

1 teaspoon dried dandelion

1 teaspoon dried nettle

1-2 teaspoons raw honey (optional)

Combine herbs in mesh ball or basket and place in very hot water. Steep for 15 minutes. Add honey if desired.

Sore Throat Tea

1 teaspoon dried lemon balm

1 teaspoon dried licorice root

1 teaspoon dried rose hips

1 teaspoon fresh or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1-2 teaspoons raw honey (optional)

Combine herbs in mesh ball or basket and place in very hot water. Steep for 15 minutes. Add honey if desired.

DIY Tea Blends to Make for Different Ailments

Hot Flashes Tea

1 teaspoon dried hibiscus

1 teaspoon dried lemon balm

1 teaspoon dried nettle

1 teaspoon dried raspberry leaf

1-2 teaspoons raw honey (optional)

Combine herbs in mesh ball or basket and place in very hot water. Steep for 15 minutes. Add honey if desired.

Colds, Allergies, Flu Tea

I make this one by the teapot and sip on it all day. I’ve warded off colds and general feelings of “coming down with something”, by drinking a pot of this tea.

In a large mesh tea ball, combine:

2 teaspoons dried nettle leaf

2 teaspoons dried peppermint

2 teaspoons dried elderflowers

2 teaspoons dried lemon balm

1 teaspoon fresh or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1-2 teaspoons raw honey (optional)

Add mesh ball full of herbs to large tea pot. Fill with boiling water, cover, and steep for 15-20 minutes. Add honey if desired. I place a tea cozy over the pot and keep the tea warm.

DIY Tea Blends to Make for Different Ailments

Create Your Own Tea Blends

Become familiar with the healing properties of different herbs and you can create your own custom tea blends. I recommend Anthony’s books, Life Changing Foods and Liver Rescue, for info about powerful herbs. Or Google “herbs for headaches” or whatever ailment is troubling you to find suggestions.

The mesh tea balls can be purchased at health food stores or kitchenware shops. They come in different sizes.

Dried herbs are available in health food stores and health conscious grocery stories, or online. Often they can be purchased by the ounce. Another great option is to begin growing them in containers or a small herb garden. The practice of gardening increases the health benefits!

If you have favorite tea blends, share in the comments. And watch the blog for more DIY blends.

DIY Tea Blends to Make for Different Ailments

Order Anthony’s books and a mug infuser set below.

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Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise

I love it when I find an excellent plant based product that I can use…and share about. Since going plant based, I make most of my own sauces and salad dressings. They add extra flavor to veggies and salads, and I know what the ingredients are.

I’ve tried several different vegan mayos that are egg and sugar free. Recently I discovered a wonderful vegan mayo that meets ALL of my dietary restrictions AND brings all the flavor and versatility of a traditional mayonnaise.

Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise

What is Fabanaise?

Sir Kensington’s vegan mayo is unique among others that I have tried. Like the other vegan mayo products, it is egg and sugar free. It’s also non-GMO and soy and gluten free.

What makes the Fabanaise different is that it’s made with aquafaba.

Aquawhat you say?

Aquafaba is the water that chickpeas have been cooked in. Due to its ability to mimic egg whites in cooking, aquafaba can be used as a replacement for them in some cases, including making meringues and marshmallows…or mayonnaise.

Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise

Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise

How to Use Fabanaise

Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise taste like regular mayo, with none of the “bad stuff”. Including aquafaba doesn’t impart a chickpea or bean flavor at all. The mayo is light in taste and creamy in texture.

Use it as you would regular mayo.

Add a couple of spoonfuls to freshly chopped apples and celery and stir in a few walnuts for a wonderfully healthy Waldorf Salad. Or use as a base for homemade salad dressings and sauces.

Here are my two favorite quick sauces, using fabanaise:

Spicy Mayo

Combine 3 tablespoons of Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise with 1 teaspoon of sugar free sriracha sauce. Taste and adjust level of spiciness, as desired. Add more fabanaise for less spicy flavor or more sriracha for more snap.

I use this simple sauce on veggies, salads, for oven roasted potato wedges or black bean burgers wrapped in lettuce leaves. It’s good with everything!

Garlic Lemon Dill Aioli

For a non-spicy sauce, that’s just as versatile, combine 3 tablespoons of Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise with 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, 1 – 2 garlic cloves, minced, and a teaspoon of fresh dill, finely chopped. Chill before serving.

This sauce is wonderful served with fresh or roasted veggies, a plain baked potato, in a nori wrap or as a dressing for salads.

When I’m feeling really wild, I use both sauces with the same meal!

Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise

Where to Purchase Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise

I buy this yummy mayo at my local Natural Grocers, in the refrigerator section. Check out their website Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise for availability in your area.

This company has other products as well. So far I’ve only tried the vegan fabanaise and used it as a base.

A delicious, healthy, good-for-me mayo product made out of chickpea water? I know, it sounds crazy! It’s amazing, I promise.

Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise

Thai Welcome Tea

During my visit to Oklahoma ten days ago, my niece Ashley gifted me with a package of organic dried flower petals. She explained that the flowers, when brewed, create a dark blue tea.

This afternoon, preparing for afternoon tea, I decided to open the package and try “blue tea”. As the water came to a boil, I did my research. The buds come from the Butterfly Pea Flower, and they are commonly used to create unique, and colorful, drinks including Thai Welcome Tea.

Thai Welcome Tea

Butterfly Pea Flowers

This flowering plant is native to tropical Thailand and Malaysia, but has been introduced to Africa, Australia and America. The butterfly pea is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows as a vine or creeper in damp, neutral soil. The most striking feature about this plant is the color of its flowers, which are a deep vibrant blue with light yellow markings.

In Southeast Asia, the flower is used as a natural food colouring. In Malaysia, it’s customary to add a few buds of this flower to a pot of white rice, which tints the rice a bluish color. In Thailand, a syrupy blue drink is made called nam dok anchan. It’s sometimes consumed with a drop of lime juice to increase acidity and turn the juice purple.

Butterfly pea flower tea is made from the flowers and can include dried lemongrass. The tea changes color depending on what else is added to the liquid. Lemon or lime juice turns the liquid purple. Adding honey and lemon juice to the tea, which can be served hot or iced, is called Welcome Tea in Thailand.

Thai Welcome Tea

Thai Welcome Tea

Thai Welcome Tea

Reading about the Welcome Tea, I was intrigued by the reported color change when lemon or lime juice is added, and decided to try it. This is Try This Tuesday, after all!

I poured boiling water over two teaspoons of dried butterfly pea flowers and covered the mug so it could steep. The water immediately began to turn blue. The longer the tea steeped, the darker the color became.

Thai Welcome Tea

From Blue to Purple

I removed the flowers from the tea after about 10 minutes. My butterfly pea flower tea was a rich cobalt blue. Before I added honey and lemon juice, I cautiously sipped the hot tea. I wasn’t sure what to expect, from a dark blue tea, however the flavor was light and subtly earthy, similar to a high quality green tea.

Now the fun part. I stirred in a tablespoon of raw organic honey to the tea, without any change in color. As soon as I squeezed half a freshly cut lemon into the dark liquid, the color shifted from deep blue to a rich purple with a pinkish cast. I smiled with delight.

Thai Welcome Tea Thai Welcome Tea

Welcoming an Afternoon Break

Thai Welcome Tea was fun to create, and provided a welcomed break in my afternoon. The tea can be chilled and served over ice, or used as a base for cocktails. I chose to sip on hot tea, and savor the blend of exotic flowers, sweet honey and the citrusy tang of lemon juice.

Butterfly pea flowers infuse the tea with potent antioxidants that help protect the skin against premature aging. Studies show that the tea fights against internal inflammation and can treat pain, reduce inflammation, treat common eye issues such as conjunctivitis, combat certain types of cancers, support brain health, and increase vitality.

Thank you Ashley, for these delightful flowers! I enjoyed my Welcome Tea, and welcome more opportunities to savor its goodness.

Thai Welcome Tea

Order dried butterfly pea flowers below.

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Amla Berry aka Indian Gooseberry

Although I’m familiar with gooseberries, I had not heard of Indian Gooseberries, also know as Amla Berries, until recently. These little fruits are rich in antioxidants that provide many health benefits, especially to the liver.

Amla Berry Aka Indian Gooseberry

What are Amla Berries?

These berries, classified as a superfood, are native to southeast Asia and grow on deciduous trees. The trees range in size from small to medium and produce fruits that are round, greenish-yellow in color, with six vertical stripes.

High in fiber and vitamins C and E, Amla berries also contain micronutrients such as manganese, vitamin A and potassium.

The gooseberry taste is described as sour, strong and bitter. In India, it is often eaten with salt and red chili powder to enhance the flavor.

Amla Berry Aka Indian Gooseberry

Health Benefits of the Amla Berry

Amla is used as a natural medicine thanks to its impressive nutrients and the wide array of health benefits that it has to offer.

• High in phytochemicals, which are plant compounds with antioxidant properties that fight off harmful free radicals in the body. Free radicals cause oxidative damage to cells and contribute to the development of chronic disease, aging, and age-related disorders.

• Protects the liver from old inherited toxins as well as new exposure to toxic substances. The berries’ high vitamin C content feeds the liver’s personalized immune system, protecting it from infection while helping the immune system seek out and destroy pathogens inside the liver. Amla berries improve liver function and help to restore glucose.

• Improves heart health and decreases the risk of coronary heart disease by reducing cholesterol levels in the blood and preventing the buildup of plaque.

• Maintains normal blood sugar levels due to their high fiber and antioxidant properties. Fiber slows the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream and helps to prevent spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels. Gooseberries prevent high blood sugar and reduce the risk of diabetes complications such as kidney or nerve damage as a result of uncontrolled blood sugar levels.

• Affects cancer cells and potentially has the ability to prevent cancer.

• Decreases inflammation throughout the body, which lowers the risks for many diseases.

• Improves skin and hair health, and is often an ingredient in beauty products. Amla berries increase the production of collagen, the protein that is responsible for providing youthfulness and elasticity to the skin.

• Protects the digestive system and keeps it working efficiently while preventing problems such as gastric ulcers. The berries promote regularity to prevent issues such as constipation.

• Recent studies show that gooseberry extract increases memory retention and antioxidant levels in the brain while decreasing levels of acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

(Info from Anthony William and Dr. Axe)

Amla Berry Aka Indian Gooseberry

How to Use Amla Berries

It’s rare in my area to find fresh Amla berries, however they can be purchased in Indian grocery stores, and sometimes in health conscious food stores, in cans or in the freezer section.

It’s easiest to buy dried or powdered berries online or look for the supplement in capsule form. Adults can take up to 2 capsules, twice a day, or add one teaspoon of dried or powdered gooseberries to water or a smoothie.

I’ll be checking out my Joplin health food stores and Natural Grocers, to see if they have Amla berry products in any form. I’ve already found capsules and powdered berries online. See links below.

I look forward to trying this new-to-me supplement and reporting back!

Amla Berry Aka Indian Gooseberry

Order your supplements below!

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Exercise is a Celebration

Today’s Try This Tuesday is a bit different. Rather than share a recipe or a product to try, I felt inspired to share a few thoughts about exercise.

For many people, myself included, “exercise” is a bad word, carrying negative connotations. Just saying the word aloud can make me feel obligated or guilty or a mix of those two strong emotions.

Inspired by a quote I saw, on another blogger’s post about body image, my hope with this post is to shift energy and perceptions around this vital activity.

Exercise is a Celebration

Exercise vs Movement

I could not find the source for the words, however the quote is:

“Exercise is a celebration of what your body can do, not a punishment for what you ate.”

Reading it, my mind immediately substituted the word movement for exercise.

Movement is a celebration of what your body can do..,

I love that. I’m all about celebrations. Thinking of exercise, movement, in this way removes the sense of obligation. Rather than an activity I have to do, movement becomes a celebration of what my body can do, even if it does it imperfectly or differently from another.

When I was struggling with chronic sciatica, and walking with a limp and a cane, it became important to focus on what my body could accomplish rather than how it was failing me. Every little victory was cause for praising my body, especially my weak left leg.

As I healed on a plant based diet, my ability to move freely and without pain increased. Walking became easier, the cane no longer necessary, which resulted in true rejoicing.

What if I viewed all exercise, all kinds of movements, in this celebratory way?

Exercise is a Celebration

Exercise is a Celebration

Exercise is Not a Punishment

There’s no denying that moving the body is beneficial to health. Doctors recommend that children and teens gets 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise daily. Adults benefit from 2 1/2 to 5 hours weekly of moderate physical activity or 1 1/2 to 3 hours a week of vigorous exercise.

Shifting my perspective helps me to see that exercise is not a punishment for what I ate. I know that I can’t out exercise a bad diet. I can’t out essential oil a poor diet or outthink it or meditate it away. In my experience, a healthy whole food diet is the foundation of optimal health. Every other practice is built upon that solid foundation.

Movement, exercise, is important. It helps to regulate the systems of the body, improves heart health and sleep, calms the mind, Lowers stress and tones the muscles. It’s my thoughts about it that sabotages my willingness to engage in physical activity.

While some thrive on hard core work outs and rigorous training, and that’s absolutely wonderful if they enjoy it, I am inspired by the celebration of movement. I have fun when I’m trying new things, or dancing alone to my favorite tunes, or I make exercise a game. That’s what works for me.

What works for you? Do you love to dance, ride a bike, roller skate, or jump on a trampoline? Is walking or hiking trails what makes your heart beat faster, literally, or is swimming or horseback riding your passion?

For Try This Tuesday, try moving in new ways. Experiment. Shift. Get a little crazy. Or settle into yoga poses and hold them. Just move in ways that bring joy. And in the moving, celebrate the wondrous way that the body responds.

Exercise is a Celebration

Raw Date Granola

When I discovered a bag of dates in the refrigerator this morning, I knew just what to create for Try This Tuesday. During my 10 days of eating whole raw foods, I marked a recipe to try in Life Changing Foods by Anthony William.

Raw Date Granola is simple to make, and it is perfect to snack on or use as a topping on fruit bowls, banana ice cream or smoothies.

Raw Date Granola

Raw Date Granola

2 cups dates, pitted

1/4 cup unsweetened coconut

1/4 cup almonds

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Process ingredients in a food processor until roughly chopped. Store granola in a container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Makes 2 – 4 servings.

Raw Date Granola

Sweet and Crunchy

This treat couldn’t be easier to make. In five minutes I had a batch of date granola. The combo of sweet chewy dates and crunchy almonds was perfect. The granola reminded me of the date balls I used to make during the holidays.

And dates are an amazing food for the digestive system. They also deliver vital glucose to the liver, and refuel the brain and muscles. Dates also keep the heart healthy, support the adrenal glands and they have anti-cancer properties.

Create a batch of raw date granola and enjoy the treat while sustaining a healthy body.

Raw Date Granola

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