It's been a ____________ year. There are likely many adjectives you could use to fill in the blank that would summarize your last 12 months. Personally, with a love for all things thoughtful and expressive, I could write an endlessly detailed list of vivid descriptors in an attempt to capture the essence of 2013. However, I will spare you the trouble of reading that kind of meticulous review and instead share a handful of our most popular posts from the past year. Brimming with pretty pictures, yummy recipes, interesting tidbits and fun real-foodie facts these posts offer a quick picture of the dynamic and beautiful year we have had. We want to thank you for your incredible insight, engagement, brilliance and tireless support. We are quite excited to spend the year ahead together with you!
Happy New Year from all of us!
Gluten-free does not necessarily mean good. Contrary to what the crafty marketers of gluten-free products would lead us to believe, just because something lacks gluten does not mean that it is a “health food.” With the gluten-free food market predicted to reach heights of $5 billion dollars annually by 2015, companies are scrambling to concoct the most palatable pseudo-breads, alternative noodles and fake cupcakes they can...even if that means adding questionable chemicals, cheap oils and artificial flavorings. So next time, instead of reaching for that dry factory made gluten-free bread, try a slice from a moist, fresh-baked loaf made from organic coconut flour and heaping with golden homemade butter! Did I mention that this whole food bread is inexpensive, quick to make and only requires 6 ingredients? Simple gluten-free baking at its best.
Migraines. There is really no way to describe them, no creative string of words nor playful metaphor that adequately portrays what it is like to have a migraine headache- except for maybe the adjective m-i-s-e-r-a-b-l-e. If you have ever struggled with a migraine before, or even watched a family member suffer through one, you likely understand how beastly and destructive they can be. As a migraine sufferer who has missed days of work and family gatherings with my face buried in a pillow in a dark room, this scenario is all too familiar. Yet recent studies have shown promise that a very simple treatment may provide a route of much needed relief for migraine sufferers: magnesium.
Bursting onto the health scene as “the master antioxidant,” glutathione has been in the spotlight recently for its ability to enhance the immune system and increase energy. With this rise in popularity has come a boisterous parade of glutathione supplements to pharmacy shelves, all packaged in clinical-looking pill bottles and marked with claims of their incredible health benefits. Often discussed using dizzyingly-complex scientific jargon, it can be exceedingly difficult to sort through the convoluted information available on glutathione. Amidst the mishmash of sales pitches, are there any wholesome, all-natural ways to boost your levels of the antioxidant glutathione? Let’s take a bit of time to discuss what glutathione is, its role in health and how to keep your glutathione at peak levels using real food and lifestyle practices.
Coconut. We can’t get enough of it. Brightly flavored and pleasantly aromatic, this tropical superfood is making a splash in the health community with its impressive list of health benefits. Blended into "enhanced" sports drinks or sprinkled atop sugary cakes, coconut is finding its way into all sorts of products these days, although this doesn't necessarily make them good. When it comes to this recently popular superfood, it can be downright confusing to figure out what is what. So, before we get carried away buying coconutty-this and cocolicious-flavored-that, let's take a step back to appreciate the traditional value of real coconut. And what better way to savor it than by making your own totally delicious coconut treats using whole food unsweetened organic coconut.
You can go ahead and call it the "miracle mineral" if you want to, but all silly names and taglines aside, magnesium is a truly incredible nutrient. What more can you say about a mineral that is essential for the function of every single cell in your body? Learn how to make your own magnesium-infused body butter combining the healing benefits of lush cold-pressed coconut oil and organic cocoa butter, and scented with a splash of your favorite essential oils. Experience the benefits of transdermal magnesium therapy, while simultaneously replenishing the skin and delighting your senses: does it really get any better than that?
Stress. It’s everywhere. The shoulder-tensing kind of stress that leaves you wired but tired, and taunts you to devour lush chocolate cakes or guzzle steamy espressos just to keep up. When perusing articles on the subject, I noticed experts frequently warning that we must “learn how to control stress.” However, I find that this accusitory "or else!" attitude can create feelings of guilt, shame or frustration around worry and anxiety- only confounding the problem so that we are stressed about our stress! This situation is so overwhelming as there are often deeply entrenched physiological imbalances that make managing stress a nearly impossible feat, no matter how many flute-filled tunes we listen to. So, let’s take a look at the hormone cortisol as it relates the stress response to get a clearer understanding of the biochemical state of the body when we experience hyperarousal (that is, the scientific term for what we might so very eloquently call “freaking out”) and explore how we can return the body to a state of balance and stability.
It's no secret that I love making lotions. From whipped coconut oil and magnesium body butter, to nourishing tallow balm- it's just that easy to look like an impressive craft-master when you have simple and effective DIY lotion recipes at hand. Yet while I could mix up inspiring new skin-soothing concoctions for hours, schlepping around a big glass jar is at times far from desirable. On such occasions, homemade lotion bars offer the ideal balance, combining the replenishing powers of homemade moisturizers in a handy bar. Plus, you can also mold them into fun shapes and blend with healing essential oils that make you smile. Why it's almost too good to be true...
What is whey? From the sing-song lines of quaint nursery rhymes describing Miss. Muffet eating her curds and whey, to the body-building enthusiast at the gym grunting with their plastic containers of whey protein shakes, this health food is described in many different contexts. Some people refer to liquid whey, others discuss it in the form of powders, hydrolysates, isolates or concentrates; there is sweet whey, acid whey, chocolate whey, strawberry whey, goat whey, mineral whey...it is all very confusing! So in the midst of all this whey hype, let’s take a time out to explore what real whey is- the wonderful whole food that has been treasured by many traditional cultures for its robust nutritional profile.
As breeze filled mornings melt into lazy afternoons and the sun reaches its vibrant seasonal heights, there is a sense of tender nostalgia that prevails as summer sets in. People line parade-filled streets, colorful flowers show their charming faces, gardens hang heavy with plump veggies and bright berries, and sandy toes bring traces of the beach into our homes. With the ample hours of sunlight bringing an opportunity to frolic about outdoors, summer certainly provides a chance to refresh and revitalize both the body and mind. Yet, one of the last things you probably want is to end up with is a raw, stinging sunburn nor is it desirable to take a time out to slather yourself in slippery, white, chemical-ridden sunblock. So, let’s explore some all natural solutions for your sun-worshipping woes.
Nut butters. Slathered on fruits or celery, spread across a toasted slice of organic coconut bread or savored guiltily right from the spoon, there is something about the slightly sweet aroma and satisfyingly smooth texture of nut butters that is so alluring. I love opening a fresh jar of the stuff- dipping the knife into the the beautiful golden oil pooled at the top and churning the smoothly ground bits of nuts into a savory spread. Love it, that is, until I look at the label. In all of their perceived deliciousness, most store bought nut butters are made with processed nuts and are l-o-a-d-e-d with junky oils, addictive sugars and questionable additives that are far from healthy. Learn how to make your own soaked almond butter at home or find a quality brand to enjoy the full breadth of nutritional benefits and flavors these lip-smackingly good spreads have to offer.