Saturday, December 31, 2011

NYE: I'm not being pessimistic when I say it's OVERRATED!

I do this every year- without fail. Normally I am indecisive up until the very last minute. I hem and haw over where I can go to be the least uncomfortable about not having anyone to kiss at midnight. A few years ago it ended up being a very lucky drunk boy from Staten Island (shame). Luckily this year my boyfriend has the night off so I can calm my worried mind! (don't worry- the Staten Island boy was before I started dating my BF)

I am going to try not to go overboard, or spill a drink down my dress, or fall down stairs, and most importantly...I am going to relax, have fun and STOP thinking this night is such a big deal!

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Thyme to not make superficial GOALS

I hate it when people say they are going to lose weight for their new year's resolution. That's so vague. How are you going to go about losing weight? What are the specific steps that you are going to take to lose weight? How much weight do you want to lose? What are your benchmark goals? How will you eat? What types of workouts will you do? (Can't you tell I'm a Type A personality? haha)

See what I mean? I used to be one of those people with lofty vauge aspirations and no follow through. I think the reason I never followed through was because I never had a plan. I never laid out the specifics of how I was to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish (usually to lose weight).

Well I'm over trying to lose weight mainly because I know that if I keep eating the way I am with moderate workouts I will keep losing.

I am on to bigger and better things. My specific goals for 2012 are:
  • finish my book (I just finalized scope)
  • figure out which publishing route I am going to take
  • grow my readership to 10,000 reads per day (I am at 1900+ this month)
  • create and sell and app for android/iPhone (details TBD)
  • work towards seeing 40 health counseling clients per month (starting in March)
  • vacation at least once (Rincon, PR is calling my name)
  • start saving $ to buy land/design & build a house (not ready yet, but want to have $$ by the time I am)
Something funny happened last night that made me re-evaluate what I am doing. I REALIZED I GOT TOO COMFORTABLE. For the past 2 years I have been working on my own an with my father. The money wasn't great, but the flexibility made up for it. I don't need flexibility right now...I need money! I realized that I am too comfortable and I will never grow (professionally) if I keep on this track. I am not exactly sure of what I will do, but I know that I need to make some changes. I am in my money making prime right now because I have no kids and no real responsibilities other than dragging myself out of bed to get to work. Yeah I have some socked away, but there are things I want to do (build a house, be able to have flexibility when I eventually have children, travel more) that require a lot of money. 

2012 is about to be blasted with my Type-A-Agenda! 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year, New Foods

Since it is time for everyone to make New Year's resolutions (that ultimately fall by the wayside) I figured if would be a great time to introduce to you some SUPER FOODS that you can start incorporating into your diet.

Cacao (Raw Chocolate)
The seed/nut of a fruit of an Amazonian tree, cacao is the highest antioxidant food on the planet, the #1 source of antioxidants, magnesium, iron, manganese, and chromium and is also extremely high in PEA, theobromine (cardiovascular support), and anandamide ("bliss chemical"). Raw Chocolate improves cardiovascular health, builds strong bones, is a natural aphrodisiac, elevates your mood and energy, and increases longevity.

I use this in granola bars, as an ice cream topping, in smoothies, and in oatmeal. 

Goji Berries (Wolfberries)

Used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 5,000 years, goji berries are regarded as a longevity, strength-building, and potency food of the highest order. This superfood contains 18 kinds of amino acids, including all 8 essential amino acids, up to 21 trace minerals, high amounts of antioxidants, iron, polysaccharides, B & E vitamins, and many other nutrients. 

I use these in trail mix, granola bars, and oatmeal. 

Bee Products: Honey and Bee Pollen
Bee pollen is the most complete food found in nature containing nearly all B vitamins especially vitamin B-9 (folate) and all 21 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. Honey, in its organic/wild, raw, unfiltered states is rich in minerals, antioxidants, probiotics, and enzymes, and is one of the highest vibration foods on the planet. If your metabolism can handle sweeteners, honey is the best. Russian research indicates that honey is a longevity superfood.

I use honey in tea, oatmeal, and some baking.
Sea Vegetables: Kelp, Dulse, Nori, Hijiki, Bladderwrack, Chlorella
Rich in life-giving nutrients drawn in from the ocean and sun, sea vegetables help remove heavy metals, detoxify the body of radioactive iodine, provide numerous trace minerals, regulate immunity, and decrease the risk of cancer. Seaweeds benefit the entire body, and are especially excellent for the thyroid, immune system, adrenals, and hormone function.

I use seaweed to make sushi, in stir-fry, and in salads. Seaweed sheets can be found grocery stores that have Asian sections. 

Medicinal Mushrooms: Reishi, Chaga, Cordyceps, Maitake, Shiitake, Lion's Mane 
High in polysaccharides and super immune enhancing components, medicinal mushrooms are one of the most intelligent adaptogenic herb/superfoods on the planet! They have also been proven effective in healing cancer and a variety of other ailments. 

I use mushrooms in pasta dishes, quiche, sauteed vegetables, and salads. 

Some of this stuff may sound weird, and some of it is, however, these are just a few of the amazingly healthy foods that are found all over the world and have been part of people's diets for thousands of years. They are actually not that hard to incorporate into your diet, and you don't need to eat much to get the benefits. I started picking a different one up every time I go to Whole Foods because to buy everything all at once is first of all expensive, and secondly it is better to start slowly and ease your way into something new.

Try them...I dare you!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Word Up Wednesday Giveaway!

Today starts the last giveaway for the month of December :( This time I think I would like to do it a little bit differently. Instead of posting a comment on my blog, I would like you to share my blog. One of my goals for the next year is to increase my readership as much as possible. Here's how you can be entered to win this week's prize:
  • share a link to my blog on Facebook (include my name Jess Geier in the post)
  • share a link to my blog on Twitter (mention @PlentyOfThyme )
  • send an email with a link to my blog to anyone you would like (copy me on it:
**You must include my Facebook name (Jess Geier) if posting on Facebook, include my Twitter name @PlentyOfThyme if posting on Twitter, or copy me on the email ( if emailing in order to be qualified to win....

$25 to Whole Foods
I really appreciate all of my readers thus far! It is inspiring that so many people care about what I have to say and are interested in making their lives better! Happy & Healthy Eating!

The FINE PRINT: Unless stated, I am paying for the giveaway prizes. The Word Up Wednesday Giveaway will run from 9am Wednesday to 10pm the following Tuesday in the month of December. Each winner will be announced Wednesday morning. The winner will be contacted via email. If you do not link back to me on the post or email I cannot award you the prize as I will not be able to track them. Good luck! 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I'm F.I.N.E.

I made it through Christmas with only 2 freak outs. With that being said I actually had an amazing weekend, and I know not to expect perfection because no matter how hard you try things tend not to turn out exactly the way you plan.

I listened to a lecture last week from John Douillard, PhD, who is an expert in Ayurvedic medicine and lifestyles. Anywho, he was talking about when women say they are fine. Ladies you know what I'm talking about. When you are in an argument with someone and instead of actually saying how you feel you say...I'm FINE. Most guys take this at face value and don't ask you what's wrong, in turn feeding your psychosis. Well John Douillard summed it up quite nicely.

FINE= Freaked Out, Insecure, Neurotic, & Emotional

I used to be a pro at this. Pretending I wasn't upset and stuffing my feelings came natural to me, and caused me a lot of extra frustration because instead of just airing out my beef when it came up...I would stuff it, let it simmer and stir, analyse every single aspect of it, let it simmer, progressively getting angrier until I EXPLODED on whoever pissed me off. 

Now that I am older and wiser I just let it all out as soon as I get pissed off. It's actually so much better (for me, maybe not for everyone else) and rids me of a lot of potential anxiety. It also isn't healthy to walk around with so much anger/frustration/hostility/resentment etc.,etc.

So time you feel inclined to say you are FINE. Take a deep breath, and let it all out. It is no good to let it simmer, AND guys don't take hints. You need to S-P-E-L-L it out for them. 

Being a psychopath is not pretty....even if you have perfect hair!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas...I'm Out!

It is a mad house out there. I really feel for everyone who is battling the crowds to get their last minute shopping done. If you are one of those lucky millions who didn't plan ahead...keep a few things in mind:

  • It is Christmas not Armageddon
  • You stressing yourself out will not get things done any faster
  • Nothing is ever perfect no matter how hard you try...SO STOP TRYING!!!
  • Prioritize- do you really need more Christmas choch? do you really need to return something today?
  • Keeping your sanity is much more important than having every present wrapped perfectly
  • Baked potatoes are a great side that can feed any number of people and can be made in one step- put in oven 
  • When you get home, put on some soothing music, drink a glass of wine (or double vodka on the rocks), and make a list- then scratch off half of that list and start moving
  • You're welcome!
Merry Christmas! I won't be writing until next week sometime.... taking the weekend off. I hope everyone makes it through this weekend and comes out on the other side with funny stories about their "normal" family, un-PC comments, gifts they can re-gift, and all 10 fingers. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

FACT: Nuts are good for you

Nuts have gotten a bad wrap over the past few decades because they are high in fat. Which is true. However, they are a whole food that contain protein, fiber, various vitamins, minerals, and many other important things that we probably aren't even aware of. 

Here's another tid-bit of information: they improve your mood. Two handfuls of cashews have been shown to have the same effect as taking Prozac. What? You heard me. Chemically, nuts have the same effect as anti-depressants. So if you're feeling a little blue try incorporating a variety of nuts into your diet. 

Almonds are high in B vitamins, vitamin E, and magnesium. Peanuts (technically a legume) are rich in folate and antioxidants. Pistachios are a source of chlorophyll and potassium. Hazelnuts are full of compounds that help your heart and brain. Pecans (pi-cons) apparently have more antioxidants than wild blueberries (supposed to have the most according to what "we" know now). Walnuts are high in omega 3 fats and vitamin E. 

What is the easiest way? Trail mix...I know it's not sophisticated, or classy, but it's easy and gets the job done. You can make it in big batches, carry it with you in you car, your purse, keep it at work...where ever!
  • almonds
  • cashews
  • pistachios
  • walnuts
  • pecans (said pi-cons, not pee-cans)
  • hazelnuts
  • raisins
  • dried apricots
  • dried cranberries
  • dried cherries
  • dried gogi berries
  • dried dates
  • dried banana chips
  • raw cacao nibs
  • granola chunks
The problem is you can get carried away, and then the amount of fat in them becomes an issue. Also, if you are looking for granola that is healthy, you aren't going to find it very easily. Most of the store bought kinds are LOADED with sugar. At least if you make your own, you can control how much sweetener you put in and what kind (I use agave nectar usually).

*The nutritional info above is what we know now. The science of nutrition is in its infancy in my (humble) opinion. We have only scratched the surface as far as how our body utilizes everything we get from whole foods. That is why it is so important to be eating a diet primarily based in whole foods and not processed foods. 

Christmas Dinner: Part 3 Dessert

Last but not least... ginger cookies (and a surprise bonus recipe)! I spent all morning slaving away in my kitchen to successfully make...dun dun duuuun...15 cookies. This little recipe was a tricky one.

The biggest lesson I learned is that I have decided that I am not going to bake any more (aside from bread and my banana bread which I will impress you with soon). For whatever reason, it stresses me out. I am ALWAYS self conscious about how it will turn out (which is usually pretty good) and worried about whether I am cooking it for the right amount of time. Most importantly, I don't enjoy it. I could cook for days and days and days and I love it. Baking on the other hand just doesn't satisfy me.

I had a conversation with my sister about all things baking on the way into the office today, and we decided that she would contribute the baked goods to my blog. She loves it, and wants a new hobby so, shortly after the holidays I will be introducing her to you, and passing the baked-goods-baton on to her.

Ok, back to ginger cookies. The recipe is pretty straight forward and I will teach you my simple tricks so they don't burn, or expand into one another making a giant cookie sheet.

  • 2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 sticks organic butter
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1 farm egg
  • 1/2 c. molasses (robust or blackstrap)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Grease cookie sheets with butter, or lay parchment paper down.
  3. Mix dry ingredients in bowl.
  4. In Kitchenaid (or use hand mixer), add in butter and brown sugar. Beat on med/high for 3 minutes. 
  5. Add in remainder of wet ingredients. Mix well.
  6. Add in dry ingredients.
  7. Make balls and coat with raw sugar. 
  8. Space balls 1 1/2" apart on cookie sheets. 
  9. Cook for 10 minutes, check centers. If necessary cook for additional 2 minute increments until done. Should not take more than 16 minutes.
TRICK: Use teaspoon to make balls- they should be about the size of a big cherry. The batter should be sticky when making these balls, and they will flatten out while cooking BIG TIME! Also, if your oven heats from the bottom, move the racks in your oven as high as they can go with enough room to put the cookie sheets in (so the bottoms don't burn). If it heats from the top, put the racks at the bottom.

dry ingredients
butter and brown sugar

I made my ballz about double the size I would recommend

see? they ended up mushing together
The reason I only got 15 cookies was because A. I made the ballz too big, B. I burned an entire sheet of cookies (the one that was on the bottom rack was too close to the heat), C. the cookies were so big that they broke apart. 
they sure did photograph well though!
BONUS! My mom gave us her shortbread recipe a few weeks ago and since it was so simple I decided to out do myself and make it this morning. If you bring this to any dinner party/holiday, people will LOVE it. I promise. 
  • 2 sticks organic butter (room temp)
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/2 egg
  • a little milk (organic)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In Kitchaid or Cuisinart, put in all ingredients. Use dough hook on Kitchenaid or dough blade in Cuisinart. 
  3. Dough should be very sticky.
  4. Press into heavily greased mold. (I used a tart pan w/ a removable bottom)
  5. Bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Let cool for 5 minutes and then score top into wedges. Once the top is scored, go around a second time and cut all the way through. 
  7. Let cool until you are able to handle the pan without oven mitts. Carefully remove the side of the tart pan.
  8. Let cool completely, plate, and wrap in saran wrap until time to serve. 
I love recipes that fit on post-it notes

I ended up doubling the recipe for this size pan (9"), and it took almost twice as long to cook. After 30 minutes, the sides were already brown but the middle was still gushy so I turned the oven down to 300 degrees for another 20 minutes or so. The edges should be slightly brown and the middle should be firm and dry looking. By the time it cools fully, the edges will be flaky and the middle should be dense and moist. Flour & Butter & Sugar- oh my!

Usually I try to "healthy" a recipe up, but in this case...don't mess with this perfection. My mom makes this every year for Christmas and I look forward to it soooo much! And it's rather easy to make (much easier than the ginger cookies). 

Merry Christmas!!! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Dinner: Part Duex

On to the main or duck? That is the question. I initially thought duck would go best with this meal, however went against my gut and made fish because it would be lighter... it wasn't a huge mistake, but I really just think that duck or something like roast pork would tie all of the flavors together.

Stuffed Wild Cod

  • 1 filet per person, the thinner the better
  • 1 pkg spinach per person
  • olive oil
  • minced garlic
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In large pan, medium heat, warm olive oil.
  3. Add in garlic, and saute for a minute.
  4. Add in spinach. Cover and let cook down, stirring once or twice.
  5. Remove spinach from heat and drain.
  6. Lay fillets on a baking sheet covered w/ tin foil
  7. Spread spinach over entire fillet
  8. Roll up and place in casserole dish (they will produce quite a bit of liquid)
  9. Bake for 30 minutes.

Roast Duck (serves 2-4)

While I have done this before, it has been a here is a gal who has pretty detailed instructions (with lots of pictures!) ...please find directions at The Hungry Mouse. She has some other tricks for saving the fat too, but if you just want to roast a duck the instructions are there. (I would personally do it without the glaze she uses, but that's just me.)

Artichoke Salad (serves 4)
  • 2 cans artichoke hearts
  • 1 bunch arugula
  • 1 container crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1 head endive (optional)
  1. Chop artichoke, arugula, and onion.
  2. Mix in bowl with goat cheese.
  3. Serve w/ endive or by itself.
salad in the endive..finger food
the salad plated
or...the salad served buffet style
(I'm glad I got such great pics in this bowl b/c I broke it
loading it into the dishwasher :(
Cranberry Sauce (serves 4)
  • 1 bag cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 1/2 red apple (gala or honey crisp)
  • 1 tsp. cinamon
  • 3 pinches cardamom (optional)
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  1. Put all in food processor or blender and blend. That's it! No cooking necessary.

This is cardamom.
Cardamom is used quite a bit in Indian & Ayurvedic cooking. I bought it a while back b/c I thought it was interesting, but never knew what to do with it. Until now! Both cardamom and cranberries have an astringent flavor so I thought it went well. WATCH OUT! Cardamom is very strong so you only need a couple pinches to get the full effect of the flavor. 

After finding out that my favorite jellied cranberry sauce was LOADED with high fructose corn syrup I decided that I better figure out how to make a substitute. This was stupid simple- PERFECT!

Tomorrow night... dessert :) Enjoy!

WINNER: Word Up Wednesday Giveaway!

Congrats Anne!!! Her favorite hot breakfast is "pork roll and cheese on an everything bagel? just kidding! only once a year when visiting nj!!!! my realistic favorite hot breakfast would have to be whole wheat pancakes with caramelized bananas...yum". A girl after my own heart. I love caramelizing!!!

Since, everyone (including myself) is probably busy with last minute shopping, cooking, and visiting I am going to postpone the final giveaway until next Wednesday. 

So...Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Whatever-Other-Holiday-I-Am-Forgetting. I hope you have a stress free, relaxing, and happy day with whomever you chose to spend it with. 

*Peace (in the Middle East)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Dinner: Part One

One of my favorite things about winter thyme is soup. The other one is homemade bread. I used butternut squash as the base of this soup as it can be made sweet or savory, but I chose to make it slightly sweet. I found the recipe somewhere AND the directions were like half a page long. They were actually quite cumbersome and a little confusing, but after making this I dumbed it down to a few short steps.


I think if people actually wrote the directions so they were easier to read, more people would cook. I took one look at the paragraph of instructions and almost didn't make it. Because you know what happens? You lose your place in the instructions...every time you have to look at them. ANNOYING! I don't know why people don't realize this- especially ones that are paid to design these magazine spreads. If you are going to tell people how do make something MAKE IT EASY ON THE EYES! Pretty please :)

Butternut Squash Soup (serves 4)

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 2 green apples
  • 1 onion, sweet or Vidalia
  • 1/4 stick organic butter
  • 1 c. organic vegetable broth
  • 2 c. water
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  1. Cut squash in half lengthwise and roast for 1 1/2 hours at 400 degrees. 
  2. Chop onion and apple. Pull thyme leaves off twigs.
  3. In pot on medium heat, saute onion until soft and slightly browned (approx 10 minutes).
  4. Put in apples and thyme, saute for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add in 1 c. water and 1 c. vegetable broth.
  6. Bring to a boil, then turn heat back down to medium, let simmer for 15 minutes.
  7. Scoop out squash and add to broth.
  8. Put soup in food processor or blender and puree until smooth.
  9. Add 1 c. water and honey to taste (if you want it sweet)
Because you have to roast the squash for so long, this is a good thing to start and then make something else while the squash is in the oven. On to the bread! I was going to infuse it with thyme, however, my little sis brought me some beautiful rosemary from her garden! Thanks poop face!

Rosemary Infused Whole Wheat Bread (serves 4)
  • 1 c. organic bread flour
  • 1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 pkt yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • a lot of rosemary
  • drizzle of olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In bowl, put 1 c. water, 1 pkt yeast, and 1 tbsp sugar. Let sit for a few minutes to make sure the yeast is still active. (If it is it will have grown in size)
  3. Add in all flour, salt, and rosemary.
  4. Mix together.
  5. Knead for 10 minutes (either Kitchenaid mixer or by hand)
  6. Coat ball with olive oil and place in bowl to rise. Cover w/ a dish towel (a clean one)
  7. Rise #1: 40 minutes, then deflate with fists folding it in on itself
  8. Rise #2: 40 minutes, then shape into whatever shape you like...I used my french bread pan.
  9. Bake for 35 minutes.
  10. Optional: if you want a crispy glazed crust, whisk an egg and brush it on before it goes in to the oven and then half way through or you can put a pan of water in the bottom of the oven (or on the bottom rack) and the steam will create a great crust. 


Monday, December 19, 2011

Thyme for Christmas!

OMG what is this you ask?
I actually got my SH*T together in time to make a pre-Christmas dinner to cook, analyse, and write about! If I was cooking Christmas dinner this year, this is what I would be making for everyone. But I'm not, so the only one's who will be eating this are myself and my friend Lauren. She's the lucky one because we were supposed to be going out to dinner anyway, but I wanted to do this and I figured I couldn't let all this great food just sit in my refrigerator.

Everything for this from soup to nuts took me about 5 hours to make. Some of you may be thinking...5 hours!! WTF? That is a long time! But if you have ever cooked a huge holiday meal, you would know it can and does take 2 days. So I pride myself in making an entire Christmas meal in 5 hours. Yes, you could make some of it the day before, but in total, this can be done in 5 hours. That means that if you were to do this all on Christmas day, you could start cooking at 10am and eat by 3pm. (Not that I would do that...I would actually start Christmas Eve, but you could.)

I put the menu together with two things in mind: first that each dish would be simple and second that all of the flavors would go well together. I've always liked Christmas dinner better than Thanksgiving because I feel like the menu for Thanksgiving is traditionally the same thing: turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pies....lots of pies. You can be A LOT more creative with Christmas dinner.

Butternut Squash Soup w/ Rosemary Infused Bread
Stuffed Wild Cod w/ Cranberry Sauce & Artichoke Salad
Gingersnap Cookies w/ Vanilla Ice Cream

I purposely chose a lighter dinner because I feel like it shouldn't be nearly as heavy as Thanksgiving. You could easily substitute the fish for duck or pork. I used a bunch of different spices...thyme (had to incorporate it in somehow!), rosemary, garlic, cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger. Some are quintessentially Christmas, but I was mostly striving for warm, hearty flavors.

For the sake of not writing a novel, I am breaking this up into 4 different posts. Tomorrow nights will be the soup and bread, then the stuffed cod (or roast duck) with cranberry sauce and artichoke salad, and last but not least the ginger snaps with vanilla ice cream (no I am not making the ice cream...maybe one day, but not today).

The soup, bread, cranberry sauce, and cookies can be made the day before. The fish (or meat) and the salad should be made the day of. I also suggest starting with a glass of wine and putting on your favorite music (big band works wonders for me).

OUTCOME: I forgot to serve the was in the microwave ready to be heated up....but by the time Lauren and I started blabbing about everything we needed to catch up on I forgot about it. Oh well... nothing is perfect and things go wrong. Life is messy, but that is no reason to get worked up. Right?

This sh*t ended up everywhere!
Also, the fish was good, however, I think the meal would have been better with a piece of duck. I thought initially that duck would go best, however for the sake of not including any meat, I chose to use fish. So I will be writing about both, because I have made a duck before and it is easy.

Always go with your gut. It will lead you in the right direction. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Motivation to Go RAW

I tried going raw a few weeks ago, and had some issues. It was all mental. It was also influenced by my habits. When it is cold out I want to eat warm, hearty foods. I also love to cook, and just preparing food was not satisfying to me. SO...I am putting that on the back burner until spring when it warms up and I am more inclined to live on fruit and salads.

I do not believe that it is necessary to go all raw to be healthy...not even close. I believe that by just adding in more whole foods to your diet you can attain great benefits. It's the 80/20 rule which states that you get 80% of the results from 20% of the work.

I believe that you will be able to do what is right for your body. Take my father for instance. He has been 100% raw for over 30 days now, and has said it is really agreeing with him. He has also seen AMAZING weight loss results too, so I'm sure that is a motivating factor. Going raw, however, is not something that I would just jump into. It is a big change, and even though your body may really love it, your mind a whole other animal.

Here are some trailers to documentaries on going raw that I have seen and are very informative and motivating.

Raw for 30 Days

Fat Sick & Nearly Dead

Food Matters

Forks Over Knives

I have watched all of these with the exception of the first one. My favorite, and the one that influenced my father the most, was Fat Sick & Nearly Dead. It was less scientific and more a touching story about two people who randomly cross paths, in turn changing both of their lives for the better. It is really amazing what the power of motivation can do to human lives.

What motivates you to make improvements in your life?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Just SOY No

I wrote recently on why I do not eat soy, and why I would never recommend that people eat it regularly. This video from Dr. Mercola sums up the dangers of eating soy very concisely.

         The Dark Side of Soy by Dr. Mercola
The vast majority of soy at your local market is not a health food. The exception is fermented soy, which I’ll explain more about later and even worse GMO soy that is contaminated with large pesticide residues as the reason it is GMO is so they can spray the potent toxic herbicide Roundup on them to improve crop production by killing the weeds.
Unlike the Asian culture, where people eat small amounts of whole non-GMO soybean products, western food processors separate the soybean into two golden commodities—protein and oil. And there is nothing natural or safe about these products.
Dr. Kaayla Daniel, author of The Whole Soy Story, points out thousands of studies linking soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility—even cancer and heart disease.
Here is just a sampling of the health effects that have been linked to soy consumption:
  • Breast cancer
  • Brain damage
  • Infant abnormalities
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Kidney stones
  • Immune system impairment
  • Severe, potentially fatal food allergies
  • Impaired fertility
  • Danger during pregnancy and nursing
As I have mentioned before...SOY IS IN EVERYTHING!!! Read labels, figure out if you are okay with the supposed pros & cons. I know I'm not, and my view on food is that it's virtue shouldn't be questionable. There is no controversy with eating kale or carrots.

What are your opinions about soy? Beneficial or detrimental?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

REVIEW: Are your beauty products safe?

I have been slowly but surely switching over my beauty and hygiene products to non-toxic brands. This is an expensive process so I figured I would share my thoughts with you guys so you don't have to waste money on crappy products. Arbonne is a Swiss company that does not use any of the following in its products:
  • Animal products or animal by-products
  • Parabens: preservative
  • Formaldehyde-donating preservatives
  • Petroleum-based ingredients
  • Benzene: a solvent most used in nail polish remover. Harmful amounts can be absorbed by the skin
  • Mineral Oil: derived from petroleum
  • Petrolatum: derived from petroleum
  • Phthalates: chemical compounds used in the production of plastics, cosmetics, and pesticides that is thought to be mutagenic, cancer causing, and adversely affects male sperm
  • Toluene: used as a solvent, obtained from petroleum, can cause liver damage and is irritating to the skin and respiratory tract
  • PABA: an acid found in the Vitamin B complex, used in sunscreens to prevent skin damage, however it can cause allergic eczema and sensitivity to light

I have been using the body wash, shampoo and conditioner now for about 2 weeks and love them except for a few things: 

FC 5 Body Wash: I checked the ingredient list on the box (the full ingredient lists were not available on the website) and the second ingredient is Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate. This is supposedly a less harsh sulfate, but a sulfate all the same. Sulfates are a cheap lathering detergent used in many shampoos, however  this body wash doesn't lather like drug-store brands so I'm a little confused. I like it though, and since I ran out of face wash I have been using this instead and it is light enough for my sensitive acne-prone skin!

FC 5 Shampoo: Same sneaky sulfate found in ingredient list. Also, I have so much hair that I have to use quite a bit of the shampoo to get full coverage. I realize that I have an unusual amount of hair on my head (and it's long) so many of you may not have this problem at all. 

FC 5 Conditioner: I love this conditioner, checked the ingredient passed! It's not too heavy and leaves my hair silky and shiny. 

I just found a blog called Killer Strands that talks about all things hair. One of her posts, Sulfate-Free Shampoo & Why All the Uproar??, talks about this very topic. Another blog named Savy Skin writes about Shampoo Ingredients to Avoid.

Shampoo Cleansing Ingredients To Avoid:
(source: Savy Skin Blog)
Extremely common
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Ammonium Laureth Sulfate
  • Ammonium Xylene Sulfonate
  • TEA Lauryl Sulfate
  • Sulfur (in dandruff shampoos)
  • Selenium Sulfide (in dandruff shampoos)
Less common
  • Magnesium Sulfate
  • Sodium Thiosulfate
  • Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate
  • Alkyl Sodium Sulfate
  • Alkyl Benzene Sulfonate
  • TEA-Dodecylbenzene
  • Sodium C12-15 Alkyl Sulfate
  • Sodium Dodecyl Sulfonate
According to a NY Times Article, Sulfate-Free Brands Have Some in a Lather, there is one drug store brand that is boasting sulfate free: Loreal Paris' EverPure and EverStrong. I am not sure of the rest of the ingredients, however I am going to check them out because I am positive they are cheaper than Arbonne. Aveda is another company that does not include sulfates in their products. On the flip side, stylists are saying that some of their clients are seeing lackluster hair because they are using sulfate-free shampoos.

The VERDICT: For how expensive Arbonne's products are, some of them still have a form of sulfate in them. The conditioner is the only one that I would DEFINITELY buy again. As for the use of sulfates, the verdict is out. I am getting yays and nays so it is up to you to make the decision for yourself. I am not convinced that they are aweful enough for me to throw away everything with sulfates in them (like I did with everything containing soy ingredients). I am still going to use Arbonne as I really do love the way my hair looks and feels. 

Do you have any opinions on sulfates? Are you more confused than you were before? Do you even care about this issue?

*I am not being paid at this point to promote anything by Arbonne. The three products listed above are the only products I have reviewed from Arbonne, therefore I do not have an opinion on any of their other products.

If you are interested in buying Arbonne products or have any questions about them please contact

Word Up Wednesday Giveaway!

Congrats to Shannon Marie, last week's winner of $20 to! Her recipe including thyme was "I like to make a simple green smoothie with white peaches, fresh almond milk, greens from the farmers market and fresh thyme." I can't wait to try that next summer!

Alright folks....we are in the homestretch. Christmas is 11 days away. I know the last thing that is on your mind is what you should be eating or reading blogs about what you should be eating. BUT...this weeks giveaway is super simple. Just make a comment at the bottom of this post with YOUR FAVORITE HOT BREAKFAST. It could be how you make your oatmeal, it could be your favorite muffins, a quiche...WHATEVER!!

The winner this week will get a year subscription to...

I have gotten this mag for a while now and it has great recipes and ideas for living healthfully. Give it as a gift or keep if for yourself. So all you need to do is make a comment with your favorite hot breakfast to be entered for the year subscription. Good luck! 

The FINE PRINT: Unless stated, I am paying for the giveaway prizes. The Word Up Wednesday Giveaway will run from 9am Wednesday to 10pm the following Tuesday in the month of December. Each winner will be announced Wednesday morning with the announcement of the new giveaway. The winner will be contacted via email. If you use "Anonymous" on the post I cannot award you the prize (for obvious reasons)- so use your name and make sure to leave  your email address somewhere in the post so I can contact you. Posts on Facebook & Twitter do not count. Good luck! 
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