Friday, July 30, 2010

Amish Store Finds

Wednesday I went to the local Amish Store with my soon-to-be-mother-in-law.
Having never been before, I was in a sort of awe at everthing inside (in individual and bulk packaging). My favorite finds were Bee Pollen, a superfood I've been reading a lot about lately that is normally sold for $25 to 45 a pack and is only a little over $3 here. There was also a loaf of honey oat whole grain bread that was simply delicious smelling (I could have stodd there and breathed in that scent all day).
Lastly, I bought some yummy crystallized ginger to nibble on and use in some tea.

Why am I telling youabout my finds?
Rather than buy the $45 product at some super foods health store, check out locally owned places where the same product might be cheaper AND you can educate yourself on where the product came from easier. in some cases.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Wild Medicine Article

Suite 101 Article #4!!!
5 Wild Medicines in Your Back Yard!
Check it out and tell me what you think. I'm very interested in what people think of eating what they formerly thought were weeds and how they use them.

I was thinking this could be cool not only for you, my readers, but for your kids or the kids near you since they seem to have a habit of picking these plants anyways either to give mommy flowers or feed wild salads to their babydolls. Maybe when they bring you a handful of dandelions you can tell them that they are not only pretty but are really good for you too!

Anyways, enjoy the article and the other 3 articles before it. I hope to have new ones up soon, including an indepth article on Ayurveda Dieting for Weightloss and something about raspberry leaf tea since I've been drinking it a lot lately.

Love and light,
Happy Chick

Monday, July 19, 2010

My Weekend

So, I had a busy weekend full of errands, shopping and cleaning. In all of this doing, I was able to do a few new, healthy things I thought I would share with you all.
First, I made my first batch of guacamole ever and its yummy!
Why guacamole? Why, Avocados of course!
Avocados are packed with nutrients including fiber, potassium, B-vitamins, and folic acid. They are also nutrient boosters, meaning they enable the body to absord fat-soluable nutrients like alpha and beta-carotene. Avocados even aid in cardiovascular disease by helping those on a healthy heart diet reach their quota of fruits as well as being a source of monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
The best part is they are tasty either with organic tortilla chips, on tacos or even sandwhiches.
My guacamole recipe was super simple:
1 avocado (peeled, pitted and mashed)
1 Tbsp lemon juice (lime juice can be substituted)
Mix together and store in a sealed container or use.

If you will remember a former post where I mentioned that removing plastic bottles from your life is a good way to rid yourself of toxins, let me rephrase that.
Removing plastic bottles from your life is a good way to remove toxins IF those bottles are not Bisphenol A (BPA) free. BPA is a compound used to make plastics. Health concerns include dangers to fetuses, infants and children (according to the FDA). BPA may even cause breast cancer as well as problems with the thyroid and reproductive organs. So BPA is bad to say the least.
Now, not all plastics contain BPA! My fiance and I bought re-useable plastic water bottles from the supermarket yesterday that are labeled BPA-free. They were also made locally at the chemical company, interestingly enough.
If plastic still has you worred, there are many stainless steel and aluminum bottles available through companies like Gaiam.

Lastly, I made soap!
I've had a glycerin soap making kit for over a year, tucked away in my craft supplies. Finally, I took it out and decided to do something with it.
I made 4 soaps, one green cucumber melon for my fiance, a green and pink rose soap for his mom, a pink rose soap for me, and a green tea tree oil soap to wash my face with.
Rose oil is soothing, especially for women. It can be used to ease skin irritations and is said to even sooth PMS and other menstrual issues.
Tea Tree oil aids in releaving skin problems, including acne, and aids wounds.
Word of warning, don't over-use the essential oils (the whole area still smells like rose oil).
The whole mess was really easy, except for extracting a round soap from the mold. I definately plan on making more soaps in the future. Its cheaper than buying soap and you can decide on the scents and colors.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Naturopathic Difference

I got my cd, The Naturopathic Difference, from Herbal Healer Academy in the mail today!
I've been waiting for the cd for a little while now so I was pretty excited when I checked the mail today.

My fiance and I listened to the cd in the car (new car!!!) while running errands this morning. I'm not sure what was more interesting, that Marijah McCain is a bit of a firecracker or that my fiance was just as into listening to McCain explain the whys and hows of her becoming a naturopath as I was.

The cd reinforced a lot of what I learned in my first lesson of my Herbalism course, including information about Essiac.

I'm looking forward to my future lessons and cds even more so now! The cds can be bought without taking any of the courses and I definately recommend them as they give a passionate point of view on natural healing along with some facts everyone should be exposed to.

Accepted, again!

So today I got an e-mail from the Examiner saying that I was accepted as the Knoxville Natural Health Writer (actually I got to pick from a list of open health writer titles and I chose Natural Health)!

I am still at Suite 101 so no worries about that the only thing is, how should I seperate the two pages?
Rather than have articles seem redundant and my readers not bother reading both of my pages, I decided to make Suite 101 my more national, general natural health page with articles that apply to all people and my Examiner page, which is a more regional section, more about East Tennessee, Appalachia, and the like.

So on my Examiner page, coming soon, you will find articles like 5 Wild Medicines in Your Back Yard and interviews with local, health conscious people while on Suite 101 you will find articles for the general public like the current How to Choose an Herbalist and The Essiac Cure for Cancer.

I'll be sure to keep up with my blogging as well, since this is where I post my research and my informal thoughts on health.
Hope that you all like the articles I post and learn something from them!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Essiac Cure for Cancer

Getting the information about Essiac out to the public has weighed on my heart ever since I read an interview with Dr. Gary Glum sent to be from Marijah McCain from Herbal Healer Academy as part of my herbalism lesson 1.

Here is the 2 part article I wrote for Suite 101:
Part 2

Here is also a video on how to make Essiac that I found very helpful followed by Part 3 of a documentary done on Rene Caisse and Essiac.

"The medical profession will never let you do this to us."

Please read and watch and comment.

Leave Light Footprints

I love to travel! Those of you who know me know I plan to travel as much as I possibly can in this life (I'm even planning a trip to New Orleans in September to get married!!!!).
Having said that, I am also all about doing what I can and encouraging others to do what they can to take care of this wonderful planet we live on, even when we're traveling.

Samantha Brown of the Travel Channel did a show in Hawaii not too long ago (or at least it was on my t.v. not too long ago) that talked about eco-vacationing. Eco-vacationing (this isn't really a term Brown used or that I've seen, its just an easy way to get the idea across) is when you take care of the environment with smart decisions on vacation!
Brown encouraged not leaving trash on the beach (duh!) and recycling whatever you use that can be recycled. You also might want to look into green hotels or B&Bs (yes they're out there!) to stay at. While we aren't readily able to do this, Brown also did an infomercial sort of thing that encouraged people to come to Hawaii and to take care of the beautiful beaches. However, you can make youre own press release by video taping yourself on vacation adn talking about the lovely things you see and how to preserve them and uploading it on YouTube for us to watch!

Here is an article I found on a blog that was found through the Raw Directory through Pure Jeevan.
I like the advice to ditch the vacation packages and resort stays for a more local, cultural and eco-friendly stay. Having never been to a resort...I can't say for sure that resort stays are not good for people and the environment but being a fan of Rachel Ray, I am all for talking to the locals, eating local, and checking out the local diggs (just seems like more fun).
I am also a huge fan of B&Bs! They are sooo cute and obviously local owned (which means they know where the good places ot eat and shop are too).

Anywyas, check it out and tell me what you think! Do you travel lightly? Have you stayed at a Green hotel or B&B? What sort of eco-travel or eco-vacationing tips do you have? Do you have a YouTube press release you want to show?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Herbal Beauty Products

Herbalism isn't all medical and learning where wild plants grow. Most herbalists are female and they like to look pretty just like any other woman.
Herbs and oils can be used to create beuty and bath products. Many bath and body products found at the mall or superstore are filled with chemicals I can't pronounce much less know if they'll harm my sensitive skin or worse. By making my own products, I know what is going into the product and into my body (remember that 80% of what goes on the skin goes into the body).
Luckily enough, I not only found recipes online on how to make everything from lip balm to shampoo but also videos, mostly through Mountain Rose Herbs (where you can find many of the needed ingredients) and Herb Mentor.

Bath Salts
Bath salts are a great way to relax after a hard day. They make your skin feel soft and smooth and often are mixed iwth scented oils that help you relax both mind and body.
To make your own you will need:
A cup each of White Kaolin Cosmetic Clay, Sea Salt, and Dead Sea Salt. A half cup each of Epsom Salts, Borax (be careful that you get borax that has not been mixed with unsafe chemicals like bleach and other toxins), and Baking Soda. 1 teaspoon Lavender Oil (or whatever oil you find most relaxing).

Lip Balm
Everyone has used lip balm and I feel that a natural lip balm is doubly important because not only am I taking in the 80% that seeps into my skin but I also have a tendency to bite my lips so I am also eating whatever I put on them. There are many companies that make natural lip balm but they are also $1+ a tube! In the video below, you can see how to make dozens of tubes in one go which you can store up yourself or share with others in a much more economical way.
To make your own you will need:
2 ounces of Bees Wax, 1 cup of Calendula infused Sweet Almond Oil (or just the almond oil, or the almond oil infused with whatever herb you desire), 1 teaspoon of Anise seed oil (or another essential oil you prefer).

Herbal Shampoo
Herbal Essences smells good and has a memorable commercial but there's nothign truely natural about this product. The perks of making your own shampoo include being able to choose the scents you prefer as well as knowning that all the products are natural.
To make the Herb Mentor shampoo recipe you’ll need:
8 oz distilled water
2 teaspoons of dried rosemary
2 teaspoons of dried rose petals
3 ounces liquid castile soap
3 Tablespoon aloe vera gel
¼  teaspoon of jojoba oil
30 drops of pure rosemary essential oil
This video is not an Herb Mentor Video but one based on the recipe from Rosemary Gladstar. I like this video not only for the pretty music included but because it includes oil combos for oily hair, dry hair, blonde hair, etc.

There are tons of different recipes and way to make your own beauty products online or in books. Just do a simple search on Google or even YouTube to find how-to videos. I have found videos on how to make everything from perfume kits to face and body creams. Most importantly, have fun and be healthy!
Love and Light
Happy Chick

Featured Garden: Kitty's Wildflowers

I have been wanting to show a feature on this blog for some time that focuses on beautiful local gardens. Finally I grabbed the camera and ran down to my fiance's grandmother, Kitty, and with her permission took dozens of photos of her beautiful flowers and pond and statues. Here are just a few of the best I took.

Here is the entrance, once you pass through. I love it when all that climbing plants creep over the trellis.

One of my all time favorites, Black Eyed Susans! These grow next to the gate like a warm, sunny welcome.
Here the Black Eyed Susans and the Cacti get along nicely, showing the variety in Kitty's garden.
Here is a view of the garden from the gate. Everything sort of slopes uphill towards the fruit trees in the back.

In her little man-made ponds are dozens of lily pads for the frogs to play on (they all hopped off at my arrival). This gorgeous Lotus peeps up through the murk for a photo-op.

I said all the frogs hopped off, however, this big fellow stayed to represent them ^_^
Here is another favorite of mine, Blue Thistles! They remind me of Fairies and mythical creatures.
Here I snuck up on a Butterfly feasting on some Echinacea and was so excited I took a dozen or so pictures before it flew away ^_^ Echinacea is a lovely herb with many healing properties including being an aid in remedying cancer (I see a future Herb of the Month).
This is Kitty's little bird haven with bath and house. Sadly, my cat, Halloween, loves to hide around here an look for her favorite bird snack, Dove. Here is also an overhill view towards the garden gate. You can also see some of the Mole beans that drive off the burrowing pests that like to eat bulbs and the like.
This little fellow was brought home from Germany (you can sort of see where the sphere says Wilkommen). He's the gnome who guards the bridge (much nicer than a troll) which connects Kitty's garden to the outside world (aka, the side yard).
I wouldn't do Kitty's garden justice unless I showed some of the plants that grew along the front and side of her house for they are just as much a part of her garden as those in the back.
I love the wild, tropical look of this flower and was sad to see that it was the only one growing from the leaves of the rather large plant.
Here are more brilliant flowers! These lilies are lovely and seem to grow all over the front.

Thank you Kitty for letting me stalk your garden for an hour or so!

Do any of you have a garden you'd like to share? Send me pictures! I'd love to see them ^_^

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Homeopathic Doctors (and their differences)

As I am sure you all have seen my How to Choose an Herbalist article on Suite 101, I also wanted to draw attention to another Suite article
Find Homeopathic Doctors, Natural Health and Homeopathic Healing by Susan Laverie.
I found it to be very informative on how to choose a qualified homeopath and to know who you're dealing with as far as natural healers and their initials.
I wanted to show this article for the same reason I wrote my aricle, in these times of uncertainty, it is important to find health practitioners (allopathic and alternative) that you can trust.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I am a Published Health Writer!

I was recently accepted by Suite 101 online magazine.
Last night my first article, How to Choose an Herbalist, was accepted and published on their site.

I'm hoping that you all find the article helpful  (an well written of course).
Please comment and feel free to request other articles on various natural health topics. I will do my best to keep my readers...well...reading ^_^

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Product Review: Traditional Medicinals Tea

I recently bought a box of Traditional Medicinals Raspberry Leaf tea at my local supermarket.

I've read a lot about Raspberry Leaf in my studies on natural women's health. This herb is wonderful for women no matter if they've just started puberty or are in the final stages of menopause. A tonic for the uterus, raspberry leaf can be used regularly during pregnancy and nursing.

According to Marijah McCain of Herbal Healer Academy, raspberry leaf contains fragrine, an alkaloid that tones the pelvic muscles (including the uterus). Vitamins and minerals found in raspberry leaf tea are vitamin C, E, A, and B complex, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and potassium.
McCain also says that drinking raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy can prevent miscarriage, hemorrhage and morning sickness. She also says the tea can reduce pain during and after birth because of its muscle toning ability.

Now, I'm not drinking the tea for its pregnancy related benefits, raspberry leaf tea also helps with menstruation by regulating periods and relieving cramps.

Traditional Medicinals Raspberry Leaf Tea is delicious and reminds me of a herbacious black tea. I drink it with just a little bit of sweetener and I've tried it with a bit of milk and with a bit of almond milk but have found these to be unecessary.
I chose the Traditional Medicinals brand not only because it was the only one in the isle selling raspberry leaf by itself, but also because their company uses certified organic, pharmacoepial grade plants. Traditional Medicinals also uses a lot of green energy and recently became the largest solar powered business in the country.

Here's a video from Naturally Savvy about Traditional Medicinals. I think the hosts are a little corny but it has a lot of good information about the company.

Monthly Herbal: Dandelion Fritters

Rosalee de la Foret also wrote a recipe for Dandelion Fritters in her Wild Foods Cookbook but I wanted to make it seperate from the other posted recipes because I have a video to share with it of the Herb Mentor group making the fritters.

1/3 c. flour
1/3 c. milk
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 c. cornmeal
1 egg
dash of sea salt

Sweet additions
1 Tbsp honey (or to taste)
cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cadamom to taste
(I would also like to add anise, pumpkin spice, and all spice to this)

Savory additions
thyme, rosemary, oregano, or other savory herbs to taste

Mix dry ingredients together then add egg and mix well.
Add sweet or savory ingredients.
Dip flower blossoms into mix then fry in hot oil until golden brown.

As you will see, the video doesn't exactly follow this recipe, however, I'm told cooking is an art and done best with improve (so says my fiance).

Monthly Herbal: Dandelion Wine

Rosalee de la Foret of Herb Mentor did a video lesson on how to make Dandelion wine which includes how to harvest.
I've never had dandelion wine myself but know a few people that have and they say it's very sweet and yummy.
She uses dried apricots but I'm wondering what those of you who have made this or tried it have used, since I don't like apricots all that much...or raisins for that matter...

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Oil Story

I recenly bought
Natural foods;: Eat better, live longer, improve your sex life
at the local used book warehouse. The book so fare has been very informative with information about food and nutrients as well as why the body needs nutrients and what foods have them in abundance.
Wendy Pritzker, author, also includes some literature from Organic Merchants of Los Angeles, CA that informs the natural shopper about oils, called The Oil Story by Ezra Hendon.

In The Oil Story, the three ways of extracting vegetable oils from nuts, grains, beans, seeds, or olives.
First is by hydrolic press, an ancient and best method. Only olives and sesame seeds can be pressed without being cooked first and they are the only ones that can be truely considered cold pressed.
Secod is expeller pressed. "This used a screw or continuous press with a constantly rotating worm shaft. Cooked material goes in one end and is put under continuous pressure until discharged at the other end with oil squeezed out." (Lowdown on Edible Oils)
The last methos is solvent extraction, which is dangerous as it used petroleum based solvents to extract the oils from the plant. This method is universally used by big oil companies because it gets the oils out faster and cheaper.

The terms like "cold pressed" and "virgin" are meaningless in most cases as there is no legal definition adn mean whatever the manufacturer wants them to mean.

So how do you tell if the oil you are buy is crude, cold pressed, and unrefined if the label isn't always truthful?
Buy from a trusted consumer. Make sure your local health food market is legit by asking questions about their products.
Buy trust products. Research brands and companies to see exactly how they make their oils and foods.
Buy local when you can, talk to the manufacturer, even take a tour through the factory if possible.
It all comes down to educating yourself about what it is you are putting in your body.

Monthly Herbal: Dandelion Recipes

Below are recipes from Wild Foods Cookbook by Rosalee de la Foret available for free through Learning Herbs.

Dandelion Pesto
2-4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 c. cold pressed olive oil
2-3 c. freshly picked young dandelion leaves
1/4 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
Dash of sea salt
Squirt of lemon juice (optional)
1/4 c. ground nuts (walnuts or pinenuts)

Place oil, garlic, and salt in the blender along with half of the dandelion leaves.
Blend well
Add other half of the leaves
when finished blending, should be of good consistency and still a little runny.
Pour into bowl and add cheese, ground nuts, and lemon juice.
Try as a dip, on bread, pasta or salmon, or with scrambled eggs or tofu.

Dandelion Greens
1 onion, diced
pinch of sea salt
2 Tbsp olive oil or butter
2 cloves of garlic
Bunch of dandelion greens
Squirt of lemon juice

Saute oinion in salt and oilive oil or butter until carmalized.
Add garlic and saute a minute more.
Add dandelions and saute until wilted.
Add squirt of lemon juice.
Use as base for quiche, tacos, or simply roll up in a large kale, chard, or lettuce leaf.

Pickled Dandelion Flower Bulbs
Harvest buds when they are still tightly closed
1/2 c. Onions, diced
3 Tbsp fresh minced ginger
4-5 garlic cloves
1 c. Dandelion flower buds
Apple cider vinegar
Tamari sauce

Rinse flower buds well and place in a pint jar with onions, garlic, and ginger.
Fill halfway with apple cider vinegar
Fill the other half with Tamari.
Cover with lid and let sit for 3 weeks in fridge
Enjoy with salads, snacks, or on tuna fish sammies.

Dandelion Coffee
Collect dandelion roots after going to seed or before flowering.
Wash well, then cut into small pieces.
Dry them well and store for later roasting or
roast them in a cast iron skillet until the turn brown and release a pleasant odor.
Once roasted, place a couple of tablespoons roasted root in 8 oz. water and boil for 7 minutes.
Add cream and sweetenver, and enjoy.

Friday, July 2, 2010

July Update

Greetings Readers!
I'm into my 2nd month of blogging (Woot!) and just wanted to address a few things and give you all some idea of what to look forward to in the upcoming month.

First off, no, I do not have a spell check on my computer but I was recently reminded by my grammar loving mother that my e-mail does have one so I'll be using it in the future to weed out my typos.
Also, COMMENTS! Please comment on the blog posts and not on my Facebook or e-mail, this way everyone can read and learn from the comment, question, complaint, etc. I appreciate everything sent about my blog but would love to easily share the insight with others, plus some comments might generate others, so feel free to be typers.

What to look forward to?

Dandelion! A misunderstood weed is the herb of the month. Tune in for recipes (including videos for dandelion wine making), tips, facts, and more about this sunny herb.

Books to read: I have been reading a lot lately and was recently informed that the local Book Lover's Warehouse has a whole wall of herbalism books all for under $7 each!!! I'll be sure to recommend the best to those of you who love to read, like myself.

Pictures! Look forward to featured gardens, herbs in my area, local Farmers Markets and produce stands, and more as I scour my region for pretty plant pictorials.

Product reviews! I am giving you the low-down as I personally try out "healthy" products that can be found at your local supermarket.

All this and more is coming to you in I Chose Health in July!

Love and Light,
Happy Chick

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Monthly Herbal: Dandelion

You all didn't make things easy on me. 3 votes for Dandelion and 3 for Tea Tree, 1 for both Rose and Chamomile.
So, I had to make an execuive decision and sided with my Fiance who voted for Dandelion, with Tea Tree being August's Herb of the Month, as a sort of consolation prize for those of you who voted for Tea Tree.
That being said, here's a little information about the Herb of the Month, July 2010.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
A.k.a Cankerwort, White Endive or Wild Endive.
The scientific name comes from the Greek Taraxos "disorder" and Akos "remedy."
The term Dandelion comes from the French, dente de lion or "tooth of the lion" in reference to the plant's leaves.

Safety Info:
Do not use internally if suffering froma blocked bile duct or blocked intestine.
May irritate the GI tract
Avoid if suffering from low blood pressure or excessive urination as the plant is a diuretic.

Planet: Jupiter
Astrology: Sagittarius

Medicinal Uses:
Dandelion is a highly nutritious herb with vitamins A, B1, B2, B5, B6, B12, C, E, D, P as well as biotin, inosito, iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnessium, and zinc!
Has diuretic properties as mentioned.
Roots can clear skin disruptions (best results after long term use).
Dandelion oil is used to relieve aches and pains including that of arthritis.
The Sap is used topically to remove warts and moles (best results after long term use)
Dandelion is also known to cleanse the liver

Brought from Europe, Dandelion came to the Americas to provide food for bees.
Every part of Dandelion is Edible excepting the stem, however, every part can be used for food or medicine.