Keto & Paleo diets
If you've been reading this blog for a while, you may have noticed that my dietary philosophy is, well, "sorta Paleo." You probably already know that I'm not a huge fan of fad diets. In general, I think they do more harm than good, though I do acknowledge the benefits of following certain strict diets (i.e. vegan, grain-free, etc.) for a specified period of time for cleansing or elimination purposes. And of course, for those with certain health issues, completely eliminating certain foods may be advisable or necessary.

But I'm always interested to hear what others in the health community have to say about different diets, so I was curious when I saw a recent blog post by author, blogger, and natural health expert, Robyn Openshaw about "Why Ketosis (and Paleo) Diets Will Fail." I have been following Robyn for several years, and I respect her opinions and her work, so I thoroughly read her post, and it was interesting enough to me that I actually wrote a response, which I don't often do on other blogs.

Below are some of Robyn's assertions about the ketogenic and Paleo diets - as well as my response...


 
 
Toxicity quiz
After a holiday season filled with sweets and rich foods, I always feel like the start of the new year is a great time to cleanse and detoxify - purifying your bodily systems for a fresh new year ahead!

No matter what type of diet or eating plan you follow, you likely have toxins built up in your body that you aren't even aware of. After all, toxins can accumulate in our tissues from many sources. From your personal care and cleaning products, to air pollution (both inside and outside the home), to the water you drink and the food you eat, toxins can come from many different sources.

Of course, you probably already know that your body has many built-in mechanisms for removing these toxins; however, depending on how much toxic exposure you've had over the past year (or years), it may be more than your body can handle without some support - especially if you are continuing to load your body with more toxins from the sources listed above. 


If you're not sure whether you need to do a detox, below I've listed some signs that your body could probably use some support in its detoxification efforts.

Or, go take this interesting quiz to find out your body's toxicity score...


 
 
New Year's Resolutions
Well, I'm back from vacation, and though well-rested, for some reason I just don't feel quite ready for the start of a New Year just yet...

Typically, I spend the last few weeks of the year thinking about what I've accomplished this year, and what I wish to accomplish for the next, but somehow 2017 ended in a whirlwind of activity that left me no time (or energy) for planning, so I had to force myself to plan out my goals and tasks for the first quarter of 2018 earlier today...  Fortunately, the act of sitting down to plan actually got me moving, and I do have my first 12-week plan of the year sketched out.

Below are some of my goals and resolutions for 2018, as well as some of the tools I have used to help ensure I will accomplish them, but I'd love to hear some of yours as well! Drop me an email, or chime in on our Facebook page and share your plans for 2018! The simple act of sharing itself is proven to greatly increase your odds of achieving them.  :-)


 
 
Holistic health
It's no secret that we now live in an information economy. We are bombarded with information from all directions all day long - is it any wonder we often suffer from what is now called "information overload"?

However, rather than feeling overwhelmed, I think all of this information can be a good thing - provided we use it wisely and for  good...

For example, one thing that all of us now have instant access to - which even our parents' generation didn't - is information on how to live healthier. We no longer have to entrust our health to corporations or the medical industry.

While it is of course always wise to consult with a qualified medical professional for any serious illness, there are many ways that we can improve our health naturally and take preventative measures to reduce our odds of needing medical treatment in the first place. And with the growth of the internet, we now have access to loads of information on how to care for our health in this manner. The trick is knowing how to separate the good and useful info from the less helpful stuff. (By the way, that's what I aim to do on this blog, so please check out our archives to get the facts on important health and holistic living issues!)

But besides just reducing your risk of disease or living longer, there are a number of other reasons to consider taking more of an interest in your health. Below we explore 5 reasons why it is a good idea to learn more about how to live healthy and embrace a more holistic lifestyle - not just for yourself, but for the community around you, and for the planet!



 
 
Fire Cider recipe
'Tis the season - not just for jolly holiday fun and gifts -  but also for colds and flu. That's why this is a great time of year to brew up some natural home remedies to help keep you healthy all winter long!

This ancient recipe was said to be used to keep people healthy during the time of the plague - hence one of its common names - "Four Thieves Tonic." The legend is that a band of thieves used this recipe (or one like it) to avoid the plague when stealing from plague victims - understandably a rather infectious task.

There are many versions of this recipe, which is sometimes called by different names. But I love the name "Fire Cider" - it sounds so warm and invigorating! :-)

The tonic includes a number of health-boosting ingredients traditionally known to fight disease, kill bacteria, and strengthen the immune system. If you cannot find all of these in your area, you may be able to get them online - or omit any that are too difficult to find.

Below are two different versions of this immune-boosting home remedy - pick whichever sounds best to you:


 
 
Free expert health tips
It's time for your monthly free gift, and for December, in honor of the holidays and the New Year ahead, I've got a really special one for you!

With this month's free gift, you can start 2018 off on the right foot by learning the top tips from 20 of the best natural health experts on how to
detox, reset and transform your mind and body for a healthier, happier, more energetic you - and it's all 100% FREE!

Yes, it’s a FREE holiday gift...and you can open it NOW! :-)

Not only are these information-packed recordings free for you to access, they won't expire in 24 hours like with some of the online health summits you may have attended - you can listen to them whenever you want.

You'll learn little-known tips for detoxifying both your body AND your mind for better health, both physical and mental. You'll discover how to use herbs for natural healing, how to sleep better, how to lose weight almost effortlessly by eating real foods, and exercising the right way. You'll learn how to manage depression using functional nutrition, how to raise healthier, happier kids with the practice of mindfulness, how to balance your health and mental well-being for more energy and increased enjoyment of life. And much more!

Head on over to this page to grab your "FREE 2018 Expert Health Kit" now, or read more below for more details...



 
 
2017 Gratitude ListSome of my awesome family
visiting for Thanksgiving!
It's that time of year again!

Yes, it's time for my annual Gratitude List - the time of year when I reflect on the many blessings I have received over the previous year, and give thanks for the abundance of goodness I have experienced this year.

While I am grateful for many of the same things every year, each year I find there is a certain area of life I am especially grateful for. It is always interesting to me to review the previous year's list, as I find that my focus has changed over the past year as I have learned to appreciate new and different things.

This year's focus has been a bit different from last year's, as I've really been realizing just how important some of these amazing people are to me...


 
 
Fermented cranberry sauce
This is the week when families gather to spend time together enjoying delicious food and sharing their blessings with those they love. I am fortunate to have part of my family coming to spend Thanksgiving with us this year for the first time since we got married, so I am very excited, though still have a lot of preparation to get done before they arrive on Wednesday...

Our Thanksgiving table will be filled with a bounty of goodness - more from our own harvest every year, or at least, that is the hope! We have plans for the usual turkey and stuffing, with carrots and onions and celery from our own garden, plus our own mashed potatoes with homemade turkey gravy, loads of mixed greens from the garden, green beans that I froze from the garden this fall, homemade sweet potato pie with my mom's sweet potatoes, and a blended salad with my mom's lettuce and our arugula and fresh radishes.

And of course, we can't forget the cranberry sauce! Cranberry sauce is an essential ingredient for me when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner. I'd almost forgo the turkey in favor of cranberry sauce if I had to choose! :-) 

Of course, cranberries don't exactly grow here, so these will always have to come from elsewhere, but I can still put my own twist on them. In fact, I recently heard about naturally fermented cranberry sauce, so of course, I had to learn more!  As you may know, I've become kind of obsessed with fermenting things over the past couple of years... :-)  Not just because of the many health benefits, but also because of the important place that this almost-forgotten art holds in human history - and lastly, because fermented stuff is just so darned delicious!

I had never thought of fermenting cranberries, but I have been in a flurry of fermentation this fall, and I feel like I'm really starting to get the hang of it, so why not try something a bit more advanced? I'm still mastering ginger ale and hard cider, but I feel like I've got the veggies down. Right now we have 2 batches of sauerkraut, a half-gallon of kimchi, a quart of pickled pepper salsa base, and a quart of mixed vegetable antipasto (100% from our garden except for the olives) all stashed in the fridge.

I'm not sure if this recipe will have time to ferment by Thanksgiving this year, but I will definitely be trying it soon!


 
 
Relieve holiday stress naturally
Yes, hard as it is to believe, the holidays are just around the corner...

While children feel a sense of excitement during this time of year, it seems as adults, we tend to lose the magic and instead focus on the stress the holidays brings. This is unfortunate since we all experience way too much stress in our modern world already - and it's killing us...

Search for the term "stress and disease" on Google, and you'll find nearly 600,000,000 results - and with good reason. Nearly every type of disease you can think of can be either caused or exacerbated by stress.

Stress puts your body in "fight or flight" mode, taking valuable resources away from the healing and detoxifying activities that your body needs to engage in on a continual basis to avoid disease. Chronic and ongoing stress causes inflammation, which, as you probably already know, is a major cause of many of our modern diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

So what's the good news?

Well, the good news, of course, is that there is something you can do about it!

While it may not be totally possible to avoid all stress (and you probably wouldn't want to anyway), there are plenty of things you can do to help lower your stress levels and cope with stress in healthier ways, which will improve both your mental and your physical health.

Best of all, they are safe, natural, and (for the most part) totally free!
  So read on to find out how you can improve your mental health and keep stress at bay, and save your money for those important holiday gifts...


 
 
20% Off Thrive Market
I apologize for the lack of a post last week - my sister came to visit for the weekend, and we went shopping and to the movies, and the time got away from me! However, I'm back this week - and it's NOVEMBER (hard to believe as that is), so it's time for your monthly "Freebie"!

With the holidays coming up, this month's gift is a bit different. I figured you could use some help with your holiday shopping, so I am excited to let you know that my favorite place to shop online for natural foods, personal care products, and other great gifts is offering our readers 20% off your first 3 orders for the months of November and December!

Head on over to Thrive Market to start shopping now, or read more below to find out more about this special holiday offer...