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Lifestyle

Golden Milk

Golden Milk has been gaining popularity recently for its myriad health benefits and delicious, comforting taste. It can be enjoyed hot or cold depending on the weather and can be made with different milk and sweetener options depending on your personal preferences.

Golden Milk

2 cups Basic Almond Milk (or milk of your choice)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon organic maple syrup -or- honey -or- 2 pitted dates
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder -or- small piece of fresh ginger -or- 1 to 2 drops ginger essential oil
Generous pinch cayenne pepper
Pinch of black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender
Blend until smooth
Pour mixture into a small pan and heat to your preference, but do not boil!

Once your mixture is heated you may choose to drink it immediately or strain it through a cheesecloth into your mug. Either way this drink is both nutritious and delicious, straining it just removes the sediment so the last few sips won’t have any solids.

If all of the above seems like too much effort, you can also order this ready to use mix and add it to the milk of your choice. The same mix is also available to Thrive Market members for less (use this link for 15% off your first purchase).

I like to drink golden milk at the end of my eating window each day, right before I start my fast. This way I am loading my body with helpful nutrients, inflammation fighters and metabolism boosting compounds to assist my body while it cleans and heals itself.

Is golden milk a part of your life? Do you have a dynamite recipe we should try? Share your experience in the comments!

Happy Milking,
KD

Lifestyle

Yogi Tea

I was given this recipe during my yoga teacher training by a master teacher who has studied under Yogi Bhajan. It’s a healthy, delicious tea and if you include the black tea it can be a more beneficial alternative to coffee.

According to yogic science, the spices used possess the following properties:
Black Pepper- blood purifier
Cardamom- digestive aid
Cloves- beneficial to the nervous system
Cinnamon- strengthens bones
Ginger root- healing for colds and flu, increases energy, helps with nausea
Star Anise- antibacterial and antioxidant

I generally buy my spices in bulk at the grocery store, but you can also order most of them at a great discount if you join Thrive Market (use this link for 15% off your first purchase) or on Amazon, as linked below.

Yogi Tea by the cup:
10 oz boiling water
3 whole cloves
4 whole green cardamom pods, cracked
4 whole black peppercorns
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon loose black tea (optional)
2 slices fresh ginger root
Small piece of star anise (break one arm off of the “star”)
1/2 cup milk (whole grassfed milk, almond milk or coconut milk)
Organic maple syrup to sweeten as desired

Combine all spices in a mug and add boiling water. Let steep for 3-5 minutes, then strain (optional) and add milk & syrup as desired.

Yogi Tea by the pot:
12 cups water
2 tablespoons whole cloves
3 tablespoons whole green cardamom pods, cracked
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
3 whole cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons loose black tea (optional)
6 slices fresh ginger root
2 whole star anise
Milk and organic maple syrup to add to individual cups

Add water and spices to a large stock pot and bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer for 2 hours. I make my tea this way and keep it on my stove all throughout the cold season. I boil it every day and just add water or more spices as needed.

If you want this tea on the go, these tea bags are a more portable option!

Enjoy!
KD

Lifestyle

Peppermint Cacao Coconut Balls

I recently attended a DoTerra demonstration where the consultant had made these amazing little chocolate coconut balls. They were so yummy, I had to get the recipe from her and try them for myself! I adjusted the recipe to suit my own preferences and maximize nutritional benefit.

1/2 cup almond meal or almond flour (I make my own! Instructions here.)
1/4 cup solid coconut oil
4 tablespoons raw maple syrup
1/2 cup cacao powder (I like the Thrive Market brand for quality and price- use this link for 15% off)
1 cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 drops DoTerra or YoungLiving peppermint essential oil (I recommend only these two brands because I know they are safe to ingest- many brands available at health foods stores are for topical and aromatic use only)
Generous pinch of Himalayan salt

Reserve 1/2 of the shredded coconut for rolling the balls. Combine the other 1/2 and the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and stir until combined. I find a fork to be helpful for breaking up the solid coconut oil. I would not recommend using a hand mixer, as it creates a consistency that is too gooey.

Once combined, form the dough into small balls and roll in the remaining shredded coconut. Place on a baking sheet and freeze for 15 minutes to harden. These tasty treats can be stored in your refrigerator for a week, or in your freezer for months! They’re rich and sweet- perfect for a sweet tooth attack without any harmful sugar or additives!

Enjoy!
KD

Lifestyle

Rose and Lavender Bath Soak

At the end of a long day there are very few things that are more relaxing than a hot bath with Epsom salt. Epsom salt is actually magnesium sulfate, which can be beneficial when absorbed through the skin. Its two most significant benefits are stress relief and soothing sore muscles.

I like to make my own Epsom salt soak using essential oils and dried flowers, especially when I have roses that I can dry and use. This salt soak can make a great gift, and the 4 oz jars linked below are perfect for that purpose! One jar = one bath.

 

Rose and Lavender Bath Soak
1/2 cup Epsom salt
20 drops Lavender essential oil
3 tablespoons roughly chopped dry rose petals
4oz glass jar

Mix the Epsom salt and Lavender oil in the jar and layer the rose petals on top. That’s all! Easy peasy. If you feel like getting creative, you can experiment with this by trying a bigger jar and layering in different salts, such as Himalayan salt or Dead Sea salt. You can also add a layer of dried lavender buds.

You can order dried rose petals as linked above, or you can dry your own! If you grow roses in your garden or receive some as a gift, it is easy to give your dying blooms new life by drying them and using them again. However, I would not recommend buying fresh roses specifically for this purpose, as it is more cost effective to buy the dried petals in bulk.

If you do have some fresh roses, keep an eye out for the point when they start to look a bit wilted and are no longer perky. At this point, trim the stem about 1/2 inch below the flower. Take a needle with thread and pierce each stem, stringing the roses on the thread. I like to double the thread to make sure it doesn’t break. Then, find a warm, dry place to hang your thread horizontally so the roses hang upside down. A dark place is ideal, but anywhere out of direct sunlight will do just fine. Leave the roses for 2 weeks, then check to make sure they are completely dry. Once your roses are dry you can remove the petals for use!

Happy soaking,
KD

Lifestyle

Almond Meal/Flour

Almond meal and almond flour are two fantastic ingredients for anyone looking to cut back on refined carbs and add some healthy fat and protein into their diet. I make flour every week using the remnants from my almond milk recipe and love getting creative with it!

Almond meal vs. almond flour- what’s the difference?

Almond meal generally has a coarser grind than almond flour, and is made with almonds that still have their skin. Almond flour has a finer grind and is made using blanched almonds that have no skin. Personally I don’t mind the presence of skins but I prefer a finder grind, so I actually make almond flour using regular almonds. This would probably not work in recipes for muffins or breads, which require a lighter flour, but is fantastic for Peppermint Cacao Coconut Balls and Turmeric Ginger Macaroons (recipe coming). If you are wanting to make something more bread-like, go ahead and spring for the blanched almonds.

Almond Meal/Flour

Start by following my recipe for Basic Almond Milk.

After straining your almond milk, take the leftover almond pulp and spread it on a baking sheet.

Set your oven to the lowest temperature setting (mine is 170).

Leave the pulp to dry in the oven for 6-8 hours until completely dry, stirring it every hour to prevent any areas from getting too toasted.

Once the pulp is dry, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool. If you want coarse almond meal, you might be done right here! For a finer grind, pulse the cooled meal in a food processor or blender until it reaches your desires consistency.

*Be mindful that the amount of time it takes to dry out the pulp will vary depending on your oven’s low temperature, the amount of humidity where you live, etc. I live at a high altitude with very little humidity, and at 170 it takes about 6 hours to dry my pulp.  If your oven’s lowest temperature is higher than mine, just stir and monitor more frequently to prevent burning.

Store your meal/flour in an airtight container or glass jar in the refrigerator. If it is really dry all the way through, it can be stored for several weeks. However, mine never lasts that long because I almost always use it within a few days making healthy treats for my sweet tooth and my gluten-free coworkers! Seriously, the Peppermint Cacao Coconut Balls are a totally guilt-free favorite.

Happy Making!
KD

Lifestyle

Chemical-Free Dog Wash & Spray

 

Meet Tio, our 3 year old Plott Hound rescue baby. He came to us in 2014 through Austin Dog Rescue, an incredible organization that pulls sweet dogs from euthanasia lists at overcrowded shelters and places them with a foster until they find their forever home.

Please forgive the mess in this picture, we had just moved into our new apartment when I took it! 

Tio is a beloved part of our family, and we try to take care of him as such. For me, that means not using shampoos with harmful chemicals when I wash him, or toxin-filled sprays when he gets a bit stinky. I want to keep him happy and healthy so he can keep eating peanut butter like a little weirdo!

I make my own shampoo & spray using essential oils, and I have found them to be just as effective as store bought products, without all the mystery ingredients.

Dog Shampoo:
12 oz water
1 tablespoon castille soap
3 drops lavender essential oil
2 drops peppermint essential oil
2 drops rosemary oil
** I have seen recipes on the internet that also call for eucalyptus oil, but I avoid this as eucalyptus is toxic to dogs if ingested

Mix all ingredients and pour into a glass bottle. Shake well before use.

Dog Deodorant Spray:
10 oz distilled water
12 drops lavender essential oil
8 drops peppermint essential oil

Mix ingredients and pour into a glass spray bottle. Shake well and spray onto your dog’s fur when needed, avoiding the face. This spray can also be used for general odor fighting use around your home. I will sometimes spray it into a smelly trashcan that’s not ready to be emptied, or use it in the bathroom to combat unpleasant smells.

I always recommend using glass to store essential oils to avoid the leaching of toxins from plastic bottles into your mixtures. Also- I only recommend Young Living and DoTerra brand essential oils, since they are the only ones I will use for myself. Both companies offer Therapeutic Grade oils, which means that the quality is carefully controlled.

Woof Woof!
KD

Lifestyle

Almond Milk

Almond milk is one of my favorite ingredients to use in the kitchen. It is versatile, tasty, and a great way to take advantage of the myriad nutrients that the almonds offer to us. It gives my morning shakes and yogi tea some extra oopmh and creamy deliciousness. However, buying almond milk at the store can get expensive, and even the best brands usually have some sort of preservatives added. I have found that making my own is both more cost efficient and healthier!

Making almond milk is so easy- all you need for the basic recipe is a blender, some almonds and water.

Basic Almond Milk:
1 cup raw organic almonds (I like the Thrive Market brand for quality and price- use this link for 15% off! your first order at Thrive)
3 cups water for soaking
8 cups distilled water for making the milk (this is a personal preference- you could easily use tap water instead)
A generous pinch of Himalayan salt

Soak the almonds for 10-12 hours in 3 cups of water. I generally let them soak while I am at work or overnight.

Rinse the soaked almonds until the water runs clear.

Place the almonds and salt in a blender with 8 cups of water. Blend on high for 15-20 seconds, until the almonds are finely ground and the liquid is white. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve or, even better, cheesecloth or a nut milk bag.

Reserve the almond pulp to make almond meal/flour!

Store your almond milk in glass jars or glass swing top bottles, and store in the refrigerator for up to a week! It can also be frozen in glass jars, although in that case I recommend using a plastic lid rather than a metal one.

This basic recipe is great for smoothies, as a base for golden milk or any recipe where plain almond milk is called for. However, this is by no means the only possibility! Depending on what I am using it for, I will sometimes divide my batch and add different ingredients for different purposes.

There are endless options when it comes to experimenting with your almond milk. I like to blend a few cups of the basic recipe with some maple syrup, part of a vanilla bean and cinnamon for adding into my yogi tea, or blend in a couple of dates to the basic recipe before straining to add a little sweetness.

Have you found a special ingredient combination that knocked your socks off? Share in the comments!

Happy Milking,
KD

Lifestyle

Essential Oils: Getting Started

A few years ago I discovered the remarkable and diverse powers of essential oils, and ever since they have become an indispensable part of my daily practices. From cooking to skincare, cleaning, even caring for various physical ailments- I use essential oils for almost everything.

I started out using Young Living, and I still use their oils more than anything else. They are widely understood to be the leader in essential oils and are not only one of the most well established companies, but also known for offering the highest quality oils available in the market.

A newer player in the game is DoTerra, and I got hooked on them recently because they offer some products that are not available through Young Living (such as cilantro oil, which I drink in my water each day). They also offer therapeutic grade oils of an extremely high quality.

The best thing about both of these companies is that it is extremely cheap to become a wholesale member, which means you can purchase products at wholesale prices without any obligation to sell the products or even order again. Wholesale enrollment kits with Young Living start at $45 and include a great starter set of products including essential oils and even packs of their Ningxia Red juice, which is a favorite of mine! DoTerra offers enrollment starting at $35, but the enrollment kit does not include any product. Either way, the wholesale prices are so much cheaper that it only takes one or two orders for that fee to pay for itself. Plus both companies offer free product on monthly orders for wholesale customers and many other great perks.

Of course you can also contact me about ordering items at retail price, and I would be happy to help you with that! However, as I said, the wholesale prices are so much more affordable that it really makes more sense to enroll.

To explore enrollment options, check out my links below.

Young Living   Use sponsor number 3809476

DoTerra  Use sponsor number 4101842

If you enroll through my number I will be readily available to you as a resource for any questions you have about Essential Oils and how to use them to build a healthier, happier, toxin-free home.

May the oils be with you,
KD

 

*Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Lifestyle

Time Restricted Eating

One of my favorite podcasts is Found My Fitness with Dr. Rhonda Patrick. She is this amazing, knowledgable powerhouse of a woman- every episode leaves me completely mind blown and sends me on research sprints about everything from broccoli sprouts to eating schedules.

She recently appeared on Joe Rogan’s podcast, where she mentioned that she has adopted the practice of Time Restricted Eating. I went to the backlog of her episodes and listened to the one she devoted to that topic, and I was immediately convinced to incorporate this practice into my lifestyle! If you are curious about the science behind TRE and the resulting benefits, I highly recommend watching the video below or listening to her podcast episode with Dr. Satchin Panda.

Basically Time Restricted Eating means that you fast for at least 12, ideally 13, hours each day. In order to best support your circadian rhythm, you stop eating at sunset and consume nothing but water (not even tea- just plain ol’ water) until your fasting period ends in the morning. Personally I shoot for 13-14 hours and use a free app called Zero to track my fast. This allows me to exercise fasted in the morning and then start my day with a green juice when my body is primed to absorb those nutrients.

Since I began practicing TRE I have noticed a major improvement in my energy levels and overall sense of wellbeing. When I wake up I feel light, energized and fresh. I can only describe it as a “clean body feeling”- the feeling that my body has been given time to fully process everything I consumed the day before and is now truly clean and ready for a new day.

The greatest benefit I have experienced so far is a strengthening of my willpower. The constant choice to turn away from food and drink while fasting has improved my ability to pause and consider before making choices, both food related and not, throughout the day.

Have you ever tried TRE? Are you interested in giving it a try? Share in the comments!

Happy Fasting,
KD

*Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Lifestyle

Apps That Add Value

In this incredible age of technology it seems that there is a new app coming out every day promising to save you money. Like everything else in my life, I like to evaluate each app on my phone and ask myself, is this truly adding value to my life? Over time I have found just a few that I consider truly worth the effort and space. I’m excited to share them with you and hope that you find value in them as well!

Paribus This is my favorite app because it requires absolutely no effort on my part, yet has resulted in significant savings for me. Paribus scans your email receipts and tracks the prices of items you have purchased. If the price of a purchase drops within the retailer’s price protection window, Paribus applies for a refund on your behalf. They keep 25% of any refunds as a “success fee”, but I consider that to be completely fair considering that I probably would have never received a refund at all without using the app. I don’t make a lot of purchases, but Paribus has already secured 2 big refunds for me from REI for a FitBit and a pair of boots, as well as a few from Amazon (where prices are constantly fluctuating, so there’s a big chance your purchases will result in a refund). Click the link above from your smart phone or use my referral code MPcJN0 to get 5% taken off your success fee rate!

Acorns This is a great app for those people who, like me, are curious about dipping their toes in the world of investment but don’t have a huge chunk of change to shell out to a financial advisor. Acorns gives you the option to set up “round ups”, where any purchase made with the debit card attached to your Acorns account are rounded up to the next dollar and the change is automatically invested in your account. They also ask questions about your investment goals to help personalize a portfolio just for you! It’s easy to use and I never miss the extra change. Acorns also has an awesome feature called Found Money which includes partner brands who are committed to investing a certain percentage of your purchase with them back into your Acorns account! They also have a section on the app called Grow, which includes informative articles and investment advice. Click the link above from your smart phone to get $5!

Ibotta This is my favorite app for groceries and everyday purchases. It’s basically a market research app that gives you savings in exchange for learning more about the brands and items being purchased by different people in different areas. I love it because it gives me money back for things I already buy, like eggs and toilet paper. I just look at the available deals on the app, scan the barcodes of the things I bought and take a picture of my receipt. When I reach $20 in savings I get a deposit into my PayPal or Venmo account. Some of the deals are brand specific, but there are also quite a few “any brand” deals, usually for things like eggs, milk, bread, and tons of different kinds of produce. They also have deals for clothing, alcohol, beauty products, restaurants, household products, etc. Right now there’s even 2% cash back for Ebay purchases! Click the link above from your smart phone or use my referral code ejlnaad to get $10 to start!

Honey This isn’t actually a phone app, but you can get Honey as an extension for your Chrome or Safari web browser. Honey is a coupon app that automatically searches for codes across the web, then tries them out for you when you are checking out online. It only takes a few seconds of your time to let Honey try the codes, and it doesn’t always work, but I end up getting a discount about half the time! Not bad!

Enjoy, and share your favorite apps in the comments!
KD

*Photo courtesy of Unsplash