Category Archives: botanical nutrition.

luxurious herbal facial steam.

Herbal Facial Steam

In the middle of all of life’s craziness, some days you just want to feel like a princess. Your stress level is a little high, your skin is dry and dull, and a little extra pampering never hurt anyone, right? Give your skin (and yourself) a little treat with a luxurious herbal facial steam. Continue reading

appetites, cravings, and addictions.

appetites, cravings, addictions

As adults one of the biggest giants we face is that of our own self will. We live as servants to our appetites, our cravings, and yes, our addictions to food. Dr. Douglas Graham, author of The 80/10/10 Diet, puts it this way: “Appetite is…the socially acceptable word for craving, which in turn is the socially acceptable term for addiction.” Call it what you want, but our choices for nourishment often have very little to do with hunger and very much to do with emotion. We eat because we are happy. We eat because we are sad. We eat because we are celebrating. We eat because we are grieving. We eat because we are stressed. We should be eating to nourish and strengthen our bodies and praying to nourish and strengthen our spirit. Continue reading



about blueberries.

Blueberries are a prime example of a nutrient-dense, low-calorie whole, plant-based food. They frequently land on “healthiest foods” lists due to their high antioxidant content, which prevents and slows cellular damage and supports the immune system to prevent infections. Like their cranberry cousins, blueberries can be helpful in preventing and treating urinary tract infections because of their high levels of antibacterial hippuric acid, which inhibits bacterial growth in the urinary tract, reducing chances of infection. Continue reading

how to treat a cold.

how to treat a cold

It seems like everywhere I’ve been lately someone’s talking about how they just can’t seem to get rid of the cold they keep passing around. It’s been awhile since we’ve had to deal with a cold or flu around here. I like to attribute that to health that begins at the cellular level as our bodies are nourished and strengthened with nutrient-rich, plant-based, whole foods. You can read more about what I have to say about the building blocks of a vibrant life and how to boost the immune system if you are interested. But…while I can safely say we haven’t been sick beyond the sniffles around here for at a couple of years (really!), once in awhile something is bound to get the better of us when our defenses are down. So what do you do when you get sick? (1) Sit back and wait for it to pass? Hope you’re patient. (2) Take over-the-counter “remedies” to suppress the symptoms? Good luck with the next batch of germs for which your body is now ill-equipped to fight. OR (3) Give your body a helping hand but let it do the job it was created to do?  NOW we’re on to something. Continue reading


black beans

about beans.

Beans have gotten kind of a bad rap due to their high fiber content, but that high fiber content is one of the factors that makes beans so amazing. While the typical American falls sorely short of recommended fiber intake on any given day, just one cup of beans easily gets you halfway there. We all know that maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important factors in preventing disease. Beans to the rescue! The fiber in a cup of beans keeps you full longer than other foods with equivalent calories, which can help to cut calories without feeling deprived. In combination with all of the other beneficial nutrients provided by beans, this helps to keep your digestive system moving, your blood sugar balanced, and your cardiovascular system healthy.

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healthy habits – drink more water.

drink more water

Perhaps one of the most frequently overlooked and undervalued recommendations for good health is to drink more water. I suppose the fact that it is such a simple substance makes it seem inconsequential. We all know we need to drink water – and most of us know the standard recommendation to drink 8 glasses a day, but I am quite confident that people who are actually sufficiently hydrated are still in the minority. We may not be so dehydrated that we need to be hospitalized, but our bodies are certainly not operating under prime conditions.

Why Do You Need to Drink Water?

According to Know Your Body – The Atlas of Anatomy by Emmet B. Keeffe, M.D. (2001), the body is made up of approximately 70% water overall, with certain tissues, such as the brain, containing as much as 85% water. Water makes up 80% of the body’s blood, which of course is responsible for transporting nutrients throughout the body. Water is therefore instrumental in the proper and effective functioning of every system of the body: the circulatory, digestive, excretory, and musculo-skeletal systems to name a few. Without water, blood circulation is compromised and we become lethargic, we get headaches, we don’t think as clearly. Without water, we become bloated and constipated and toxins are not properly eliminated from the body. Without water, muscles and joints become stiff and prone to injuries and inflammation.

In spite of the obviously essential need to drink sufficient amounts of water, various studies (1 & 2) show that 10-24% of the American population does not drink plain water at all and the majority of the remainder do not drink enough. It’s really no wonder that so many of us have chronic “little problems” when we don’t properly supply our bodies with the one thing that they are mostly made up of: WATER.
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how to live a plant-based life.

life.unlabeled. 6-week challenge

I am so excited to share this with you today! (Even if it’s l–o–n–g after I’d hoped to share it!) I am the organized planning type, so making meal plans, schedules, and lists is just part of my world. I used to think sometimes that I was wasting my time and I should just go with the flow, but then one day I realized that the work I do to plan for my own family could really help someone else who would like to learn a new way of eating well without the headache of figuring it all out. So alas, my efforts aren’t in vain!

Trying your hand at a whole-foods, plant-based lifestyle has never been so simple. Change is never easy, but I have taken the guess work and planning out of the equation for you to help you get started. You CAN learn how to live a plant-based life. Using the recipes and information in the life.unlabeled. 6-week challenge, all that’s left for you is to follow instructions to learn what to buy and how to prepare delicious and satisfying food to fuel your healthy life. After 6 weeks, you should have a good idea of what you like, what you don’t, and how to bring it all together. At first, every day may feel like a new culinary adventure, but after you’ve made it through 6 weeks, you’ll have new “regulars” that you are comfortable preparing quickly and easily and you can start to add new dishes to your repertoire as your time and creativity allow. Continue reading

a sneak peek at what i’ve been working on.

6-Week WFPB Challenge Preview

UPDATE: It’s finally done! If you are interested, go check out my e-book and learn how to live a plant-based life!

Aside from chasing around three little boys, cleaning house, planting a garden, cooking, helping out a little at church, *almost* keeping up with Steve’s accounting needs…and losing my mind…I’ve been working on developing a health coaching program to help people who are looking for a healthy way to do life. It seems people often give up on a new lifestyle because they simply don’t know how to change. It is not easy to relearn everything you’ve always known about feeding yourself. It is HARD to figure out what to cook, how to cook it, and what to even buy at the grocery store when everything is new to you. Enter my obsessive-compulsive, over-organized, plan-making self (recently self-entitled “Master Shifu”). Thanks to the help of a couple of sweet and cooperative “test-families,” I have been developing a 6-week program that holds your hand from grocery shopping to meal preparation, making the journey to becoming a vegan chef as little work as possible. Still working on the final touches, but wanted to share a sneak peek in hopes of sparking an interest and desire in some of you to go for it! I hope to have things wrapped up with a pretty bow to share with you by the end of the month, so be sure to sign up for updates in the sidebar if you haven’t already! → Continue reading

is a vegan diet safe?


Is a vegan diet safe? Ugh. The proverbial can of worms. Shall I go there? I suppose I shall. Anytime we try to do something different from the masses, we meet opposition. I don’t like to argue. I just know what I know and I’m happy to share should someone care to listen. I am not usually the one who brings up the subject, but it does come up. So what do you do if someone is grilling you, lecturing you, scolding you, chastising you, shaming you…for choosing to feed yourself or your family a vegan diet? You could certainly retaliate with a healthy dose of the same medicine, but I’m not very good at that. Somehow I get all bent out of shape and end up irritated and having said nothing meaningful at all. For me, the best way to address confrontation is by turning the tables – a little exercise in gently bringing your opponents to your conclusion on their own. I am obviously over simplifying in my example conversation below. I’m sure not every Well-Meaning, Concerned Non-Vegan would cooperate quite so well as the one I’ve invented here, but it gives you a general idea of one way to approach answering questions in a non-confrontational style. An appeal to the facts rather than the intellect. And this is generally not the time for convincing them to join you, just set their minds at ease to get them off your back. They may see the wisdom of your ways some day 🙂 . Continue reading

why you shouldn’t need vitamin supplements.


As a proponent of natural health, I am frequently asked what vitamin supplements I recommend.  I think the common (mis)conception is that vitamin supplementation is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Like most other topics on health, there are arguments in both directions, but it seems that most of the arguments for supplementation are fueled by the supplement industry itself. Many healthcare professionals and natural health practitioners actually agree on this issue: vitamin supplementation not only appears to be minimally beneficial, it is often detrimental to our health. Continue reading

fresh tomatillo sauce.

tomatillo sauce

I know I promised you a recipe for fresh tomatillo sauce when I posted my recipe for black bean & quinoa tacos, and I promise I’ll get there, but first a plug for eating well… Continue reading

how to eat gluten again.

In my early 20s I began suffering from almost daily migraines.  I visited medical doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists.  Anyone who might be able to help.  The only problem is, it never got any better.  I got some temporary relief, but it never lasted or truly improved.  When I visited a naturopath who tested for food sensitivities, I found out why.  I was continually aggravating the situation by eating gluten.  Headaches were my body’s way of telling me it couldn’t handle gluten.  No matter what I did to make the headaches go away, the source remained.  I quit eating gluten and never looked back.  It really wasn’t a difficult sacrifice.  Eat gluten or live pain free.  Take your pick.  For about five years I avoided gluten like the plague – checking everything I ate to be sure I wasn’t going to “poison” myself.  One little accidental bite would do me in.  I’d be stuck on the couch for at least a full day, and suffer the “aftershock” of the migraine for several more.  No cookie was that good.

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how to boost the immune system.

Pathogenic germs are here to stay.  In spite of efforts that began with Louis Pasteur to eradicate them from the face of the planet, we still come in contact with and must fight off infections and illness.  The good news is these “encounters” give our immune systems some exercise.  The bad news is sometimes they get the better of us.  If you lead a health-conscious lifestyle, you will be pleasantly surprised how little you notice your immune system hard at work.  However, when you do start to feel a little run down, there are some very effective natural options to give your immune system a nutritional helping hand.

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the building blocks of a vibrant life.

Think back to the days of ancient civilization.  A world untainted by pollution.  No grocery stores packed full of frankenfoods.  Just good, clean living off the earth’s bounty and hard work.  Some might say we have it much easier these days.  Allow me to make some generalizations of our current cultural situation?  For a lot of people, work means doing something that requires little to no physical exertion.  Our bodies are in poor physical condition.  Most people do little more than heat up their meals, much less grow and harvest them.  Everything we need to make it through our day is conveniently prepared and packaged for our use at the nearest grocery store.  These “foods” are full of unhealthy fats, added sugars, excessive salt and other chemical additives and preservatives that our bodies can’t process.  We are overweight but undernourished.  As a result of our depleted health, we get sick too often.  But not to worry, modern medicine has a “solution” to help us get through any symptoms of illness we might experience.  Don’t worry about the potential side effects listed on the label…when that problem develops, there will be another great option on the drugstore shelf to help you deal with it.

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