How to Make Rose Elixir

roseelixir
“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.”
― Maud Hart Lovelace

Rose elixir can be likened to a love potion. It is a type of rescue remedy, for the achy breaky heart and beyond. It calms and soothes nerves, acts as a healing tonic at the onset of illness, and opens your heart center during times of un ease.

There are many tutorials on making rose elixir this is how I did it and I had great tasting and healing results!

What you need:

Whiskey – quality baby (you may also use brandy or vodka) I used whiskey because I had it on hand and I like the flavor profile. You will need enough to fill the vessel you choose. It’s a cold day in you know where when I have to do precise measurements with my potions.

Roses petals wild or organic– Be certain they haven’t been sprayed with pesticides. Use any variety of color and type that suits your fancy. You will need enough to fill your jar loosely they do not need to be packed down

Fresh Ginger optional this adds a slight heat to the elixir

Raw Organic Honey

How To:

Fill a glass vessel (think jam jar ) with the fresh succulent rose petals, any color any variety is superb just be certain they have not been chemically treated in any way.

Add the raw honey and gently stir to coat the petals. Don’t be a perfectionist just get that sweetness incorporated. Use about a 1/4 – 1/2 cup depending on the size of your jar.

The honey ratio should be a bout 1/4 of the recipe. If adding ginger peel slice and slip a few pieces in.

Finally pour your alcohol (Makers Mark in my case) over the top, filling your jar to the brim. Seal tightly.

Allow to marinate in a cool, dry, dark, place for up to six weeks, no less than 4 weeks.

Shake it up a bit every day.

Once the soaking time is up transfer to the container you will be using for this elixir. I used a dark brown glass bottle with a dropper.

Once your love potion has been toiled and troubled it can be used for a variety of ailments from skin wounds to the soul.

For the full spectrum of uses and the original recipe go here.

I added a wee bit of ginger to my mixture because the constitutions in this house tend to benefit from a little heat as well as the cooling effect of roses.

Most recipes for rose elixir call for brandy or vodka. I used whiskey. In other variations I researched this was a viable option and it was the alcohol on hand. I’m all for ease in any situation even witchery and love potion creation.

This remedy can be taken to open hearts metaphysically as well as substantially calming the nerves.

Here in this household we are experiencing great transformations and I know we will do nothing but benefit from having a calming, centering, heart opening, love potion in our  witch doctor kit.

Also it is reported to also be of use  as an aphrodisiac and I’m looking forward to testing that theory. I myself tend be a bit frosty and airy and welcome the thought of a warming concoction to bring a little heat to matters of the heart.

Dosage: Just few drops should suffice to calm the nerves and heal the heart if attempting to thwart a cold a teaspoon every few hours has proven incredibly beneficial.

The petals and ginger can be left in the potion as it is used or the two can be strained and separated. If you separate don’t let those petals go to waste devour with  a lover alone, on cake or in a cocktail.

Even more health benefits from roses here.

À la vôtre

 

Most days Kiki can be found seeking elevated states of being through better food.  A certified kitchen witch since the age of seven, Kiki is always continuing her education in blissful states of consumption.  She is certified in Raw Nutrition by illustrious Raw trailblazer David Wolfe through the BodyMind Institute, where she continues her training.  Find her at www.ohhaikiki.com as she relaunches her personal blog this spring!

$145 Adaptogenic Herbal Instant Beverage Giveaway from Four Sigma

Four Sigma Foods Instant Beverages

 

Several months ago I discovered Four Sigma Foods, a company based in Europe that has been spreading the message of how awesome medicinal mushrooms and other superfoods are to a person’s health. My wife and I ordered a few boxes of their instant superfoods including chaga, reishi, and cordyceps and our energy levels have greatly improved. Read on about what their superfoods can do for you, how you can receive 15% off your order with our special code, AND ENTER THE GIVEAWAY to become one of two winners of their Royal Flush Prize pack worth $145!!!

Adaptogenic Herbs

Adaptogenics, like the reishi mushroom, cordyceps and many others, increase the body’s natural resistance. The multitude of negative outside ‘forces’ like chemicals (think pesticides or Hexafluorosilicic acid aka fluoride) or overexposure to free-radical damage inhibit the body’s natural ability to fight disease. Chinese herbalists believe Ataptogenics are a fundamental part of having and maintaining radiant health.

Four Sigma

The Reishi Mushroom

This is one of the oldest and strongest healers in the history of Chinese Herbalism. Known for not only stimulating the immune system but regulating it, Reishi can help your body combat auto-immune disease by slowing down your overstimulated system. It’s also known for it’s antiaging properties due to the high levels of antioxidants. In Japan, it has been a safe and effect remedy for Chemo side effects as well as stimulating and rebuilding that immune system. Other uses include strengthening the nerves and reducing stress, increasing memory, fighting allergies, lowering LDL – bad cholesterol and preventing many heart disease symptoms like hardening of the arteries. Its a good bet that if you need immune system support, this is the solution. It’s called the Supreme Protector for a reason!

Consistency is Key

Now the best thing you can do for yourself when taking Chinese herbs, or any herbs or natural remedies, is to stay consistent with your doses. Taking a handful of pills one day and missing out on the next three days, then trying to make up for it with another massive handful, is just a waste of money. But, Four Sigma has created the best solution for those of us on the go and who don’t want ANOTHER PILL TO TAKE! They’ve created individual packets that you can take on the go.

Four Sigma Foods

Suggestions for Drinking

Perfect for work, class, or stopped at a red light – just rip open a packet and tap the contents into a cup of water, coffee, tea, whatever you’ve got near you! I’ve added a cordyceps packet to my coffee and had delicious results. I now add Reishi and Chaga to my vegan protein drinks. The cordyceps (and all the others) are good enough to add to plain water. They have the perfect amount of Stevia to make the drink tasty but not overpoweringly Stevia-ish – unlike other healthy powders and teas that are laden with the natural sweetener. I pour the packet into warm water to help dissolve the crystals and add my cold water and ice afterwards.

Four Sigma Foods

Four Sigma is an amazing company in all respects. Run by a group of health-loving Finns that travel the world, they’re committed to spreading the word about superfoods above anything else. They are offering you, the Holistic Dad readers, 15% off your entire order until August 15. Just enter the code “HolisticDad” at the check out to receive your savings. Soon you’ll be drinking your way to better health!

And Now… For the GIVEAWAY!

Four Sigma Foods are offering NOT 1 BUT 2 ROYAL FLUSH PRIZE PACKS .. 2 LUCKY WINNERS will each receive the 6-Box bundle! So sign up, share with friends everyday via tweeting and facebook sharing (cause you’ll earn more points when you do) and good luck!

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10 Ways To Make Yoga More Than A Resolution

yoga

10 Ways to Make Yoga More Than A Resolution

Whether you are new to yoga or are looking to restart your practice there are some things to remember so as to avoid overwhelm.

10. Start with a five minute practice if you don’t have much time or start with a home practice if you can’t get to a studio.  Don’t let the inability to get to a group class keep you from experiencing the benefits of a practice.

9. Classes are always crowded at the beginning of the year.  If you tried going to classes for the first time in January or February and they were packed, know that by now things have calmed down a bit.

8.  Don’t let the new and crazy sounding words scare you.  Your teacher will show you what they are asking you to do and if you feel lost give it a couple of chances rather than just giving up right away.  If you feel lost after a couple of classes find a new class and a teacher that makes you feel comfortable.

7. Don’t feel like you need all of the “gear”.  You don’t need a special mat, expensive clothes or yoga socks.  You don’t actually even need a mat to get started.

6. Go to the appropriate yoga class and practice the right kind of yoga for your body.  If you have not moved your body in so long that you wore leg warmers the last time you went to a class then don’t start with an advanced Vinyasa class.  Find a Gentle or Beginner’s class and give yourself permission to start slowly.

5. Know that it is ok to not be able to do every single pose that is taught.  Go with the flow and do what you can.  There is a reason it is called a yoga “practice”.  It takes time and work.

4. Try not to compare yourself to your neighbor.  Your teacher may say that to you and you might laugh to yourself and think ”right…” but really don’t do it.  Yoga is not about comparing so stop doing it and enjoy your practice more by just being in the moment.

3. Remember to laugh a little (or even a lot).  Yoga makes us feel joyous and laughter is just another expression of joy. A yoga class doesn’t have to be serious and stuffy.

2. Take care of yourself after class.  Drink water, eat healthy foods and get some rest.

1.  Start where you are.  Forgot needing to be flexible and just go to a yoga class!

Emily Loupe is a yoga teacher, yoga therapist, massage therapist and much more.  She has a passion for wellness and helping people use the practices of yoga to create health, wellbeing and happiness.  She teaches and runs a teacher training program in Austin, Texas called Elemental Yoga School.  Elemental Yoga School will be offering online yoga programs in 2014.  Find out more at http://www.elementalyoga.org

Honoring Your Family’s Natural Rhythms

I found out the hard way that I was the destroyer of my family peace.

Disruption of circadian rhythms has been linked to such problems as diabetes, depression, dementia and obesity, says Steve Kay, a professor of molecular and computational biology at the University of Southern California. *source The Wall Street Journal

cycles

image source: National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Having never considered myself an A-type push, push, push personality it was a rude awakening the day I realized I was pushing my loved ones past their natural limits in an effort to achieve.

It started with a three alarm meltdown from my daughter, then just three years old.

I had done away with the nap in an effort to “keep up” with my peers that were swearing by a no nap/ earlier bedtime for their kids. These peers had convinced  me that this new arrangement would allow me may hours in the evening to do my work and thus be more productive.

Now here we were at her group playtime at the YMCA losing our collective minds.

The meltdown was so severe I did not even know how to handle it.

I just let it roll out, tears, full volume screams, sideways glances and sneering comments about seeking a child psychologist from the adults that run the playgroup etc.

It was a terrible, heartbreaking moment.

After the dust settled I knew it was sleep related.

My daughter is prone to big emotions and big outbursts but, this was different.

I had rearranged her biological clock to fit my needs not her natural rhythms. We all ebb and flow to a deeply centered biological clock that receives its data from mother earth and the surrounding universe.

Basically, I messed with God’s plan and my child suffered.

Now before you go telling me it’s all a learning process and not to be so hard on myself. I know that. I got it. I just want to illustrate how our ingrained programming to go, go, go forth and be productive can come at a price.

The price of happiness lost.

Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony -Thomas Merton

After this sobering event I realized I had pushed this glorification of busy on myself and my husband.

I recalled the days I had huffed and puffed about the house resentful of my husband resting on the couch. He seemed to always need a daily siesta and it bothered my undercover overachiever demon. I used to make him feel guilty for needing a nap when in fact the truth was the whole family should have been taking a natural quiet time each afternoon as our bodies were calling for it.

I saw clearly how I pushed us all  through times of feeling weak aka tired or depleted.

And clearly now I could see how this wasn’t amping up our productivity at all. It was just making us resentful, tired and downright crabby.

So, wheres the happy ending?

I realized that when it’s time to rest it’s time to rest.

The entire family now enjoys a blissful interlude mid day. And what do you know an earlier bed time is still part of the package. Because I allow her to recharge mid day my daughter isn’t filled with frenetic energy at bed time.

The moral – never be afraid to admit you are wrong.

Here are a few ways you can honor your own families natural rhythms.

The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature. – Joseph Campbell

1 Know your tribe.

Don’t be blind to your family’s specific needs. We are not cookie cutter humans. We all tune into the universal rhythms but we all also have different internal clocks. Some people are natural night owls Other people have medical conditions that override their biological clocks. My husband for example has low thyroid activity thus rendering him tired and depleted more often than others. Know your people and honor their differences schedule your events accordingly. Do not make family members feel guilty for their natural physical reactions to different parts of the day.

2 Work with your natural environment.

When the sun goes down turn your screens off. This is crucial. I know that a lot of us work at a computer and a lot of us do this at night while our family sleeps. I get that. But, as often as you can honor the universe and its endless cycles of day to night, When the sun goes down reduce exposure to artificial light so that bodies can continue on their natural cycles.

3 Be willing to always be working and reworking what works.

Only you will know or observe what is working and what isn’t. Like a good editor always be revising for optimal results. Also be willing to challenge the current constructs you are working within such as  school or work schedules. Be willing to challenge these things and see if you can find some give or leeway.

4 Think like a scientist.

Observe the earth, moon, sun, stars, tides, seasons etc. Notice how this system is already perfect. Learn what you can take from natural systems to implement in your family.

 

As with everything holistic keep an open mind and be willing to implement new things.

Tell us in comments or at the Facebook page how you honor your natural rhythms.

 

Kiki Harshman

On most days Kiki can be found seeking elevated states of being through better food.  A certified kitchen witch since the age of seven, Kiki is always continuing her education in blissful states of consumption. She is certified in Raw Nutrition by Raw Food trailblazer David Wolfe through the BodyMind Institute, where she continues her training. She has also completed an introduction to herbalism course through the Herbal Academy of New England. Currently taking a break from personal blogging, her curriculum vitae is available at her About.Me page.

Sweet Secrets – Real Food Cupcakes giveaway!

This Valentine’s Day weekend, I’ve got a tasty treat for you.

Sweet Secrets - Real Food Cupcakes giveaway!

Yes.  Cupcakes.  Actually, a cupcake giveaway.  A cookbook and educational tome for creating and sharing (optional) whole food, gluten free cupcake recipes that are loaded with healthy ingredients and can be made vegan friendly with a few alterations.

Like this.

Sweet Secrets - Real Food Cupcakes giveaway!

All of these amazing photos are taken from The California Country Gal’s “Sweet Secrets – Real Foods Cupcakes!”  your guidebook to creating Paleo Friendly, Low Glycemic, Guilt Free, delicious Cupcakes.

Sweet Secrets - Real Food Cupcakes giveaway!

 

Just a reminder – these are ALL Gluten and Grain Free.

Sweet Secrets - Real Food Cupcakes giveaway!

 

Yup, ALLL….

Sweet Secrets - Real Food Cupcakes giveaway!

 

Now that we’ve got your attention… here’s the giveaway, care of Annabelle Lee, the California Country Gal.

Sweet Secrets - Real Food Cupcakes giveaway!

For a more in-depth look at these delicious Gluten Free Cupcake Recipes – which have No Flours, added Starches, or Refined Sugars take a look here!

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Making The Commitment To Healthy Living In 2014

Healthy Living 2014

Guest post by Greg Denning, a holistic dad of almost six kids, from DiscoverShareInspire.com and GregDenning.com  Sign up for his FREE 90 min audio Purpose, Potential, and Peak Performance.

It’s a new and wonderful year.

What a great opportunity to re-commit to healthy living and a holistic and FANTASTIC life.

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, it’s not always easy to make the best choice in the moment.  That requires us to develop our discipline.

Sadly, too many of us give up what we want most for what we want at the moment. That’s why a new year and a new beginning is a great opportunity to raise the bar and reach upward toward total holistic living.

I’ve lived an incredible life; from homelessness to pure awesomeness.  And the most difficult times led me to the most important and long lasting decisions.  Holistic living being one of the most important. Listen to my story….

Click to listen. Right click to save MP3.

For more inspiration and motivation, visit www.GregDenning.com

Online Intermediate Herbal Course

 

study herbalism

 

Step beyond the concrete jungle and into the natural world where life’s pleasures reside and where our souls may take refuge. We are here to help promote lasting health and radiant beauty in mind body and spirit.

– Marlene Adelmann, Director at the Herbal Academy of New England

 

For the past several years, I have been interested in the healing power of herbs. My wife healed her Postpartum depression with the help of a local herbalist in LA; it was at that moment when we realized we truly needed to learn about herbs and their uses as they could have such life changing results. So for the past few years, I have embarked upon researching herbal medicine both here in Asia ( where we live) as well as in Europe and North America. 

I am happy to announce that on November 25, 2013, I will be joining students from around the world in the Intermediate Herbal Course from the Herbal Academy of New England. If you want to learn more about herbs as medicine and as food, and if you’re just too busy to enroll in an in-person program, join the HANE community for a comprehensive and convenient online herbal course you can complete anywhere and anytime—right on your laptop! And here is the great news: to celebrate my enrollment, HANE is offering readers 15% off now through the 25th. Just enter the code 15BY25 when enrolling for your discount! 

Try-Bulk-Herbs

making-salves

harvesting-online-herbal-course

In this program, students will dive into advanced topics, discussions about theory and energetics, in-depth coverage of physiology and guidance for diagnosis and herbal formulation. Other topics covered throughout the Intermediate Herbal Course include herbal formulations, safety/side effects, and regulations for building an herbal practice. Learn what your great ancestors knew about the natural world and begin to build your own Materia medica and apothecary. You’ll be learning how and why.

The Intermediate Herbal Course includes:

  • Printable Intermediate Herbal Certification upon completion

  • 10 outstanding units

  • 40 in-depth lessons

  • Over 100 herbal recipes

  • Interactive ebooks

  • Printable handouts and charts

  • Videos throughout every unit

  • Online forums open for discussion and questions

  • Quizzes!

  • Easy access to a team of herbalists and medical professionals

  • A community of herbalists on the same path towards wellness

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The Intermediate Herbal Course begins on November 25, 2013. Click here to learn more and register!

About the School

With roots in greater Boston, The Herbal Academy of New England is an educational resource offering online programs and local workshops, herbal clinics, and weight loss counseling. The academy is committed to researching and gathering information and tools to help support a lifestyle of self-awareness and whole body care. It is the Herbal Academy of New England’s desire to encourage individuals and society to make sustainable and meaningful changes so as to use earth’s resources with greater wisdom and respect. Herbalism includes stewardship of the earth.

And now friends, we have an AWESOME giveaway for you! HANE is not only offering 15 percent off for anyone of your who joins before the 25th (just enter the code 15BY25 when enrolling here) they are also offering one lucky reader FREE enrollment! Entry is super easy, simply scroll down for details!

online-herbal-course-herbal-school-program (1)

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Top 3 Reasons Why you should Clean ‘Green’ and a Giveaway!

cleancourseGuest Blogger Makenna Johnston——

Four years ago, I made the big switch. So long commercially made cleaners, welcome homemade products.

Having grown up around a mother who often smelled of vinegar, lavender, and isopropyl alcohol, I wasn’t exactly new to DIY cleaners, I just hadn’t ever made them myself. She was a master cleaner creator, at least counter spray and a few others. In fact, it was her go-to hostess gift, welcome to the neighborhood present, and even birthdays if the mood struck her. I loved watching her brew simple, home-spun cleaners, decant them into metal spray bottles adorned with delicate calligraphy labels, and wrap them with cellophane into vintage baskets. Despite the nearly monthly ritual, the knowledge was never passed to me.

 

In college, with my mother’s habits 2000 miles from me, I bought the cleaners on sale—my lack of budget insured that I bought dollar store creations, and the idea of natural cleaners had yet to be introduced to me. Post graduation I bought the ‘natural-ish’ cleaners on sale, usually name brand items that were marked ‘naturally derived’, ‘hypoallergenic’, or ‘green’. In graduate school, my budget was curtailed to an all-time low, even sale natural-ish cleaners became unaffordable, so I started making my own—save for Febreeze and Windex as I couldn’t part with these good friends. A year later, I threw them out as well.

 

A lot of my friends ask me why I have continued this trend, despite the fact that I am a working professional. Even many of my naturally inclined friends don’t make their own cleaners. Sure, technically my family can afford even the best ‘green’ cleaners from the big box natural stores, but I haven’t turned back.

 

 The Top 3 Reasons –

  1. Homemade cleaners are dirt cheap

Yes, I can choose to afford to spend $8 on a counter spray, $12 on laundry detergent (a month), $6 on scouring scrub, etc etc etc. But I don’t have to. My laundry detergent costs less than $4 for nearly 100 loads of laundry (and my clothes smell peppermint-y). My scouring scrub I can use WHILE taking a shower, and costs a whopping 50 cents for 15 tub scrubs. My counter spray smells like citrus fruit, saves my citrus rinds from the trash, and costs 10 cents a bottle. Yup, a BOTTLE!

 

  1. Easy. Seriously.

I spend no more than 5 minutes a week making cleaners.  I work four jobs. I don’t have time to waste on making cleaners, but I have yet to find a week where it takes more than 5 minutes. Some weeks, I have so much cleaner lying around I give it away. Also, you don’t NEED essential oils, you don’t need much of anything. Sure there are plenty of recipes that call for such things but most recipes don’t need anything other than things you can buy at your local grocer.

 

 

  1. Germs are GOOD for you and your family

The research shows that the bleach everything method of cleaning is not only potentially dangerous because of the amount of bleach you might absorb, but that bleaching everything isn’t good for your family. Sure, a hospital needs bleach! Restaurants that serve processed potentially E. Coli ridden beef need bleach. A day care center with 20 kids, bleach is good. A typical family? No way!

 

Vinegar kills germs, a lot of germs. And it leaves some good ones in place, giving your body a chance to fight them. That is called boosting your immune system. A lot of people don’t like cleaning with vinegar because well, it smells like vinegar!  But the great thing is that if you save your citrus rinds (grapefruit, orange, lemon, lime) you can change that.  

Supplies:

      • One Jar
      • Citrus Rinds to Fill Jar (I like oranges best)
      • White Vinegar

Fill the jar with the rinds, pour over vinegar, and let it steep.  At least a few weeks.  Strain the vinegar out and voila!  Your vinegar will now smell citrus-y.  Dilute with water (about 6 parts water to one part vinegar) and you can use it for cleaning almost everything.  

I also add lavender essential oil to this mix (lavender and orange together smell divine) as lavender is a natural antimicrobial agent.  Just add a few drops to your spray bottle of diluted vinegar and you’ll amp up the power, and the fragrance is to die form.  Bonus:  Did you know that lavender’s etymology is steeped in cleaning?  Lavender comes from the latin word lavare, which means to wash!

 

Four years down this road, I can honestly say it was the single best decision I have ever made. I no longer have unexplained headaches or rashes. I no longer cringe before taking a hot bath, worried about what chemicals might be leeching into my skin. I clean without gloves, often while using what needs to be cleaned (example: shower!) My house smells clean, but not chemical, and to the naysayers dismay my house is clean!

And now for the Giveaway ———–!
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MakennaEvie-74Makenna Johnston is a nomadic Air Force wife, a doula and midwife assistant, holistic life coach, and soulful lover of her earth. Her doula style encourages women to embrace their internal power and ferocity during childbirth. As an educator she focus on empowering women, teaching the history of women healers & midwives, and enlightening through courses on natural living (such as CLEAN).

 

You can find her on her website www.makennajohnston.com where she blogs about her family life, her travels, and her journey in this crazy world.

 

Want to learn more? Makenna’s e-course is starting in July!

Healthy Eating During the Holidays

 photo from Jason Ransom for Food 52

If you are like most people, you view the holidays as a time to indulge and to have a darn good meal in the company of people you love. I’m with you on this one, our family loves the cooking and devouring done during the holiday season.

However, we learned years ago that the holidays can be ( gulp) healthy as well.

There we go, I said it.

When my wife was pregnant with our now 4 year old, we had the pleasure of attending  Chef and Holistic Health Coach Kat Turner’s vegan Thanksgiving party at her home in Silverlake. We had one of the best meals we have ever had and it left an impression on us. Since then, every Thanksgiving  has been vegetarian and delicious. And I mean it: delicious.

You don’t need to give up your turkey or comforting side dishes to have a healthy holiday. You just need to cut out the obvious junk and opt for organic, especially if that turkey is a must have item on the dinner menu.

(And for our vegetarian and vegan friends, make extra care in choosing soy based turkey substitutes as many contain GMOs)

So let’s get some ideas on how carnivores and veggies alike can not go into a turkey ( or faux turkey) coma and gain 10 pounds….

 

1.) Let your vegetables be prominent.

Veggies are not only nutritious but they can be incredibly delicious and should take a prominent place in our daily meals…and especially at our holiday gatherings. Talk to your kids about what veg you have chosen and go the extra mile by letting them in on why they are healthy.

In need of some new ideas for cooking vegetables? Family Fresh Cooking’s brussels sprouts with feta and pecans has caused us to drool and will be a centerpiece at our bash, per my wife. Our daughter loves kale and spinach ( thank God) and sauteing green veg in coconut oil and garlic gives it an incredible flavor.

 

2.) Make healthy substitutions

The first Thanksgiving was about simplicity, not complexity. And I highly doubt that junk food items like marshmallows were on the menu…However, if they have made their way into your yearly festivities, look for some healthier substitutes.

How about delicious gluten free quinoa and cranberries instead of box stuffing, using creamy coconut milk in place of condensed milk, etc

 

Check out Marla Meridith’s Thanksgiving whole food recipes as well as Gena Hamshaw’s post for inspiration.

 

3.) You Can Have Your Cake ( and eat it too)

Pumpkin pie? Absolutely. Pumpkin pie shakes made with the left over pie? Heavenly. The fact is that a lot of the baked goods associated with Thanksgiving are not necessarily bad for you, and many can be made healthier.  Try using coconut oil in place of butter and shortening.  And opt for raw honey or maple syrup when sweetening.

If you must go for whipped cream, make your own with organic cream and leave out the white refined sugar.  There are plenty vegan varieties that can be purchased at your local health store this holiday season.

 

4.) DIY

Ignore the many pre-made options your supermarket has to offer (talk to your local health store for alternatives if the pre-made is called for) and make the cooking a holiday affair for the whole family. Even fellow Dads like me who don’t cook often can get in on the action. It’s a great way for us to all make mayhem in the kitchen, attempt to bake ( didn’t go so well the last time I tried…), and sample things as we go along.

But in case this drives our wives and mother in laws insane, at least cooking at home ensures that one knows all of the ingredients used in the sauces and goodies. Popular brands tend to use fake ingredients, GMOs, and other nasty things that impair our health. Avoid them at all costs and ignore their enticing packaging.

If you are on a strict budget, consider doing things pot luck style and everyone can pitch in a dish or two.

Plus, nothing beats the taste of a well cooked meal made with love ( and not in a factory).

Green Vegetables: Our Favorites

green vegetables

Green Vegetables: Our Favorites

My wife grew up hearing from her British mum ‘ Eat your green vegetables!!’ And to this day, boy does she eat them. In fact, they are her favorite food….and somehow they became mine as well. Just last night our daughter ate a huge amount of morning glory, other wise known as water spinach.

When I grew up, I despised green vegetables, save romaine lettuce.But since my wife and I adopted a mostly vegetarian diet, my palate changed drastically. Now I thoroughly love kale smoothies, huge salads with multiple vegetables, and very simple soups, garnished with say garlic oil and pink salt.

water spinachGreen Leafy vegetables

If you are looking for ways of getting more nutrients and chlorophyll into your diet, I highly suggest eating kale. Kale is perhaps the best green leafy vegetable you can eat ( although that is debatable).

Kale is not a popular veg, as most people find it slightly bitter or too tough to chew. This is because it is packed with fiber. In recent years, vegans have really begun to do remarkable things with kale, proving it is incredibly tasty and there are a myriad of ways to eat it.

Or drink it in fact!

The best kale smoothy I have ever had tasted like pistachio ice cream, and contained almond extract. It was blended perfectly and we were so addicted to it, we sometimes drank two a day. Kale is very delicious steamed, and sprinkled with toasted sesame oil, or as instead of lettuce in a salad. We love to ‘massage’ it with garlic oil, which gives it an incredible flavor and makes it easier to chew.

Other incredible green leafy vegetable are chard and collard greens.Both are done incredibly well in Creole cuisine, although typically a lot of butter is used. Instead, saute them with organic coconut oil and then add vegetable broth. Coconut oil is the best oil, in our opinion, to saute green vegetables in general. It adds an excellent taste. Greek cuisine flash boils green vegetables and adds lemon and high quality olive oil, as well as sea salt. This is also an excellent method of cooking them, and retains more of their nutrients.

green vegetables list

Green Vegetables list

Here are our family’s must have green vegetable list:

Broccoli

We enjoy it woked with garlic, lightly steamed, or blanched and topped with toasted sesame oil and sesame seeds and even ginger. Broccoli is somewhat the king of green vegetables, in many respects, due to its phytochemicals.

Romaine

Wonderful in a salad of any kind really, although we enjoy making a hemp apple vinegar dressing and using that, or walnut oil. Romaine is great for juicing as well.

Bitter Gourd

Ok, I hate it. But my wife and daughter LOVE IT. Bitter gourd is used mainly in Indian and Chinese cooking. It helps balance blood sugar levels and clean the system. But yes, it is indeed very very bitter.

Fennel

Fennel is really an underrated green vegetable. I have no idea why, as it has so much flavor! Grill it and toss it in salad, or just slice it and nibble away!!

Spinach

This may be top our green vegetable list. I have no idea why people don’t like the taste of it. If you don’t like it steamed, saute it with garlic and add some lemon juice or nutmeg. Spinach, as you probably know, is packed with nutrients and chlorophyll. It is a must eat green vegetable.

Asparagus

This is my personal favorite, and I think the Italians cook it the best. Saute it lightly in olive oil, and serve with some lemon zest and juice on top. You can even store it in olive oil for a great antipasti dish. This is how we had it in Venice.

Zucchini

Zucchini is a firm green veg, and is excellent grilled and in a wrap, along with onion and eggplant. I saute mine in coconut and garlic oil. A healthier version is in ratatouille, where it is first lightly sauteed and then broth or water is added, along with tomatoes and other veg.

Peas

Peas are either loved or hated. Our daughter is obsessed with them. Let your children try them sauteed with rosemary and olive oil.

No matter what green vegetables you enjoy, try to incorporate them into your daily meal plan. Make your own green vegetables list and rotate it weekly. Buy green leafy vegetables that are pesticide free and preferably certified organic. And if you really hate green vegetables, juice them with oranges ( you won’t taste them then) or make a smoothy with them. The bottom line is that they will help your body thrive, and the only way your kids will eat them is if you are eating them. So, eat your veg!