Empowered Sustenance http://empoweredsustenance.com Eat well and heal!™ Wed, 16 Sep 2015 15:37:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.5 5 Ways To Multi-Task Diamond Crystal Mist http://empoweredsustenance.com/diamond-crystal-mist/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/diamond-crystal-mist/#respond Wed, 16 Sep 2015 15:37:03 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=9365 I’ve written, rather extensively, about Morrocco Method shampoos before, along with a couple of my other favorite holistic hair care products. I mentioned the multi-uses of Diamond Crystal Mist in my No Heat Hair Care Guide but it decidedly deserves its own blog post. Diamond Crystal Mist is a 100% raw hair and skin care spray […]

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5 uses for diamond crystal mist, a 100% raw hair/skin care spray

I’ve written, rather extensively, about Morrocco Method shampoos before, along with a couple of my other favorite holistic hair care products.

I mentioned the multi-uses of Diamond Crystal Mist in my No Heat Hair Care Guide but it decidedly deserves its own blog post.

Diamond Crystal Mist is a 100% raw hair and skin care spray available here at Morrocco Method.  

Ingredients in Diamond Crystal Mist

  • Water, as a base
  • Crystals liquified into a base of Saint John’s Wort (a proprietary technique influenced by Anthony Morrocco’s Chi Gong and Hair Shaman training)
  • Essential oils including wild rose, frankincense, myrrh, and sandalwood – the blend creates an etherial, luxurious, grounding fragrance without being heavily scented. These oils also contribute soothing, reparative, and antibacterial properties.

1. Leave-In Conditioner

When I switched to Morrocco Method, I noticed that I no longer needed to use heavy rinse-out conditioners… which meant I saved time and money! When I want to add extra shine and moisture to my hair, I reach for Diamond Crystal Mist. It’s a light-weight, leave-in conditioning treatment. Simply mist a couple of times through wet or dry hair. If you tend toward dry/split ends, focus the product on the ends of your hair.

Be aware that it can make hair look oily if used too generously – I only need just a few spritzes on my fine hair. However, curly, ethnic and drier hair types that soak up moisture call for a heartier dose of the product.

2. Soothing Skin Spray

When I vistited the Morrocco Method headquarters in April, I noticed that all the team members had a mini Diamond Crystal Mist on their desk. They spritz their face when they want to refresh and moisturize their skin.

The mist is a multi-purpose skin savior and can be used for:

  • Soothing and cooling sunburn 
  • Moisturizing skin after shaving (the antibacterial properties also help prevent irritation in the open pores after shaving)
  • Calming bug bites
  • Eczema – Saint John’s Wort, a key ingredient in Diamond Crystal Mist, is a traditional topical remedy for soothing eczema. The essential oils in the mist have also been used to speed wound healing and prevent infection.
  • Pet care – Spritz on areas of skin irritation on your furry family members

5 uses for diamond crystal mist, a 100% raw hair/skin care spray 3. Diamond Crystal Mist as a Detangler

If your hair – or your kiddo’s hair – is prone to tangles and knots when it is wet, you will adore Diamond Crystal Mist. Simply mist onto dry or wet hair and gently comb out the snags. Again, curly/ethnic/thick/drier hair will need more spritzes than fine hair.

4. Dry Scalp Treatment

If your scalp tends toward dryness and irritation, Diamond Crystal Mist may save the day. The reparative essential oils, along with the topically-healing St. John’s Wort, address scalp irritation.

Spritz it directly onto the areas of dryness as many time per day as you desire, on dry hair or after washing. Again, depending on your hair type, using too much mist may weight your hair down.

5. Makeup Setting Spray

Spritzing your face with Diamond Crystal Mist sets your makeup, adds a subtle glow and moisturizes your skin. Because the spray boasts antibacterial properties, it doubles as a

If you have oily skin, it may be slightly too heavy for your skin type. To try it out, I recommend spritzing it very lightly over your face. You may notice that it makes your skin shiny during the day. For those with normal to drier skin types, Diamond Crystal Mist infuses your skin with moisture throughout the day.

Diamond Crystal Mist and Zen Detox bonus sample

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I created an exclusive Bonus Sample Pack with Morrocco Method. Orders over $50 on MorroccoMethod.com, with coupon code SUSTENANCE50, get a free mini Diamond Crystal Mist and mini Zen Detox. It’s the perfect intro to the mist, and is the ideal size to toss in your purse/gym bag/car.

New to Zen Detox? It’s a powerhouse deep-cleanser and scalp-balancing treatment. Read my post, How to Detox Your Hair for details.

Don’t know what to order? Here are a few of my favorites

Have you used Diamond Crystal Mist before? Any other use suggestions? 

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The Leaky Gut Guide http://empoweredsustenance.com/leaky-gut/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/leaky-gut/#comments Mon, 14 Sep 2015 16:09:44 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=9340 Even though I’m versed in the accurate physiology of leaky gut, the phrase brings to my mind a comical image of pizza pieces escaping from holes in an intestine into the bloodstream. Years ago, before I immersed myself in holistic health, a practitioner described leaky gut as food particles going into the bloodstream.  And so […]

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leaky gut guide

Even though I’m versed in the accurate physiology of leaky gut, the phrase brings to my mind a comical image of pizza pieces escaping from holes in an intestine into the bloodstream. Years ago, before I immersed myself in holistic health, a practitioner described leaky gut as food particles going into the bloodstream.  And so this bizarre illustration was fossilized into my mind.

If the term leaky gut brings a similar illustration to your mind, I want to paint for you a more accurate picture. I hope this explanation of leaky gut to give you a physiological comprehension of both the causes and the solutions.

Understanding leaky gut changed my life. Hyperbole? Nope! By addressing this root cause of my autoimmune disease, I was able to avoid impending surgery and stop taking pharmacy-worth of medications.

What is leaky gut?

Leaky gut is another term for intestinal permeability. Leaky gut is a physiological fact – not some mythical alternative health concept. Look up “intestinal permeability” in PubMed – you’ll find almost 2,000 studies with human subjects.

Here is leaky gut described in a nutshell: 

The small intestine, where nutrients are absorbed, is supposed to have tight cell junctions to separate the chyme (food turns into chyme in the stomach) from the bloodstream. But a chain of factors causes these tight junctions to degrade. Once the connections between intestinal cells are weakened, undigested proteins and bacterial toxins escape into the bloodstream. This leads to a heightened state of inflammation.

How does leaky gut develop?

Chronic stress and gut flora imbalance lay the foundation for leaky gut. Environmental toxins (such as fluoride and certain medications), genetic susceptibility, and/or infections (such as H. pylori) can also trigger leaky gut. 

First, stress turns off digestion. In a disastrous cascade, it first diminishes our production of stomach acid. In turn, a state of hypochlohydria (low stomach acid) leads to inadequate enzyme production, bile release, and compromised movement of food through the digestive tract.

All of these factors wreak havoc on the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Due to low stomach acid/bile/enzymes, proteins/carbs/fats are not properly digested. This deteriorates the good gut bacteria. Further, the stagnation of food due to slowed peristalsis fosters pathogenic bacteria to overgrow.

With the degradation of protective gut flora, the vulnerable intestinal lining is under assault.

Dr. Natasha, author of the landmark book The Gut and Psychology Syndrome, offers a helpful analogy. She compares the bacterial layer that protects the lining of the gastrointestinal tract to turf covering the soil below. Once the bacterial turf gets eroded, the intestinal “soil” will start to be eroded (the phenomena of leaky gut). But if the turf is healthy and nourished, it protects the soil from erosion.

How does leaky gut lead to autoimmune disease?

Sarah Ballantyne, PhD, in her book The Paleo Approach states:

Autoimmune disease is caused when the immune system loses the ability to distinguish self from foreign invaders. On top of this, the immune system must also be stimulated to attack. How this actually happens is complex and involves the interaction of three major factors:

  • genetic susceptibility
  • environmental triggers, infection or bad luck
  • diet and lifestyle

You may have heard that leaky gut and autoimmunity are linked. Here is the connection:

Chronic stress and flora imbalance, along with genetic and environmental factors, create a viscous cycle of poor digestion.

The loss of protective gut flora, along with the improperly digested food, leave the intestinal lining vulnerable to destructive pathogenic bacteria. Improperly digested carbohydrates also wear down the intestinal lining. These factors deteriorate the tight junctions of the small intestine lining, creating leaky gut.

Only amino acids, not proteins from our food, are supposed to be in the bloodstream. However, the compromised gut lining allows undigested proteins (as well as harmful bacteria) to escape into the bloodstream.

The body revs up the immune system to create antibodies against these proteins, which are seen as foreign invaders.

Antibodies against food proteins trigger out-of-control autoantibody production. Autoantibodies attack our own body tissue. Although the body has a backup system in place to prevent over-production of autoantibodies, this system fails in the case of autoimmunity.

5 Steps to Heal Leaky Gut

1. Follow a leaky gut dietary protocol

five ingredient salmon rub recipeCertain foods universally exacerbate leaky gut. Leaky gut protocols –  including the GAPS Diet and the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol – remove specific types of carbohydrates that can prevent gut regeneration and feed the pathogenic bacteria. They also provide nutrients from meats, vegetables, and bone broth that are crucial for that gut repair.

Note that these are temporary healing diets. In all these systems, more foods are supposed to be re-introduced after a regeneration period. It’s about discovering the optimal diet that is unique to you.

I recommend the following resources for a Leaky Gut Dietary Protocol

2. Remove food stressors

Dietary choices contribute to the formation of leaky gut and it also perpetuates it. When we have an antibody response to consuming a food, it is a stress response. When we create a stress response, we turn down (or off) our body’s healing processes.

Unfortunately, even a nutrient-dense, real food diet can perpetuate the cycle of stress. With intestinal permeability, your body can potentially create antibodies against any food you consume, especially foods you eat on an extremely frequent basis. This is how food allergies and food sensitivities develop. 

How to do an easy test to determine food sensitivities and food intolerancesCase in point: a few months ago, I became sensitive to coconut. I was eating some form of coconut – oil, butter, or flour – everyday. So I needed to take out coconut products for three months to de-sensitize my body.

A rotation diet plays a key role in healing leaky gut. With a compromised intestinal lining, eating certain foods everyday often leads to a food sensitivity. I work with an experienced kiniesiologist (muscle testing) to determine which foods stress my body. You can also use this at-home food sensitivity test to determine food stressors.

3. Support balanced blood sugar

To heal leaky gut, you must foster the regeneration of the intestinal tissues. And without balanced blood sugar, the gut cannot regenerate.

When we have chronically elevated blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia), the excess glucose binds to proteins in the bloodstream in a process called glycation. Glycated proteins are unable be utilized for tissue regeneration.

To illustrate this, examine at the connection between diabetics and skin regeneration. A diabetic has chronically elevated blood sugar, which glycates proteins in the blood, and leads to extremely slow wound healing.

Following a leaky gut diet, as I discussed above, can greatly improve blood sugar balance… but not if you are consuming large quantities of fruit and snacking on grain-free baked goods all day.

Focus on healthy fats, proteins and veggies, and eat three square meals rather than grazing during the day. Also check out my post 10 Ways to Balance Blood Sugar Naturally.

4. Foster beneficial gut flora

probiotics miniRemember the analogy of gut flora being the turf that protects the intestinal lining? The body requires an influx of healthy bacteria to re-grow that turf.

Both high-quality probiotic supplements and fermented foods are usually necessary. I primarily recommend two brands of probiotics, which encourage  long-term repopulation of the gut with friendly bugs: 

5. Provide regular maintenance

If you read my Confessions of a Health Perfectionist post, you know that, although my life changed drastically through nutrition, I do not identify myself as a poster child for perfect health.

Healing leaky gut means allowing the gut to regenerate so the intestinal lining is no longer permeable. This goal can be reached through the steps discussed above. However, maintaining a healthy gut in our modern lifestyle requires exactly that – maintenance.

I know that I’m prone to leaky gut. Even though I carefully tailor my diet to my bodys’ needs, I’ve had some unavoidable stressful situations in the past few years that have compromised my gut. When that happens, I’ll take 2-4 weeks to extensively rotate my die and temporarily remove foods which I re-introduced (such as eggs, these sprouted nut butters, and nightshades).

Another step for me in the repair-maintain cycle is quality supplementation with gut-healing nutrients including:

  • Collagen peptides (aim for a couple tablespoons per day)
  • Inflama-GI from Innate Response (I’ve taken it daily for months on end, especially when I’m under stress. It is not compliant with the SCD/GAPS diet)
  • Repairvite from Apex Energetics (I’ll go through a container every couple of months. It is not compliant with the SCD/GAPS diet. You can get it through natural health practitioners.)

 I hope this post sharing my experience with leaky gut supports your healing!  

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Three Ingredient Neem Face Wash Recipe http://empoweredsustenance.com/neem-face-wash-recipe/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/neem-face-wash-recipe/#comments Fri, 11 Sep 2015 16:14:06 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=9355 I’ve mentioned that I’m dabbling in herbal remedies from various traditions, including Ayurvedic remedies. This simple neem face wash uses three ingredients commonly found in Ayurvedic medicine and skincare. This recipe is inspired by a trip to Dandelion Botanicals, a charming herbal shop in Seattle. Since my new home happens to be only a short drive away, it should […]

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neem face wash recipe - just 3 ingredients!

I’ve mentioned that I’m dabbling in herbal remedies from various traditions, including Ayurvedic remedies. This simple neem face wash uses three ingredients commonly found in Ayurvedic medicine and skincare.

This recipe is inspired by a trip to Dandelion Botanicals, a charming herbal shop in Seattle. Since my new home happens to be only a short drive away, it should be no surprise that I am already a regular at this store. One of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon is perusing the jars of herbs, flipping through the herbal recipe books, and chatting with the herbalists there.

Photo credit - Katya Ioannides

Photo credit – Katya Ioannides

I had seen an Ayurvedic facial cleanser online, made with powdered neem. One of the herbalists recommended mixing it with honey, to balance the bitter/astringent qualities with soothing properties. I also added ground rose petals for very gentle exfoliation and skin-healing benefits.

Ingredients in the Rose + Neem Face Wash

Neem powder, an ancient Ayurvedic skincare ingredient, is highly antibacterial and cooling to inflamed skin.  I’ve found that neem powder and Banyan Botanical’s Neem Oil work exceptionally well for keeping my acne-prone skin under control.

Rose petals are used both internally and externally in Ayurvedic tradition, as well as other Eastern cultures. Rose petals are used for their soothing, cooling, astringent qualities in skincare. If you have leftover rose petals from this recipe, use them to make your own rose water!

Raw honey is, hands-down, my essential skincare ingredient. It is soothing, moisturizing, and antibacterial. You can wash your face with only honey, but the rose and neem supercharge this face wash recipe.

Three Ingredient Neem Face Wash Recipe

Yield: Makes a generous 2 oz, enough for at least 15 uses

Three Ingredient Neem Face Wash Recipe

Soothe and brighten your skin while clearing breakouts with this gentle facial cleanser made with anti-bacterial neem powder. Manuka honey is a powerful medicinal honey renowned for its potent antibacterial properties, but it is pricier than regular honey. A little goes a long way and it can be worthwhile for breakout-prone skin. However, regular raw honey is also antibacterial and highly skin-nourishing.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup dried rose petals, recommended source available here
  • 2 Tbs. neem powder, recommended source available here
  • 3 Tbs. raw honey of choice or manuka honey, available here (preferably, use a more liquid rather than thick honey for this recipe)
  • Special materials
  • A coffee grinder/spice grinder, this is the one I use (make sure you clean it well!)

Instructions

  1. Finely grind the rose petals in the coffee or spice grinder. Combine the neem powder, rose petal powder and raw honey. Store in a glass jar.
  2. Instructions for use Use a patch-test first (put a small amount on a part of your face) to ensure that your skin agrees with the ingredients. The facial cleanser is gentle, but it may irritate extremely sensitive skin.
  3. Apply a small amount all over your face. Let it sit on the skin for at least one minute, and up to 15 minutes. For intensive acne treatment, leave it on for the longer period of time to allow the antibacterial components in the neem and honey to work comprehensively.
  4. Due to the neem and rose petal powder, this cleanser is gently exfoliating. Do no scrub it off, because this is too harsh on the skin. Gently rinse off with a warm wash cloth.
  5. This facial cleanser doubles as a mask and an acne spot treatment. It may also be effective for calming eczema - I've read that neem is very cooling for eczema breakouts.
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neem face wash recipe - just 3 ingredients!

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Five Ingredient Salmon Rub Recipe http://empoweredsustenance.com/salmon-rub-recipe/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/salmon-rub-recipe/#comments Mon, 07 Sep 2015 18:55:41 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=9322 Scandinavian Salmon Rub Recipe Although my mom and dad are both half-Danish, growing up in my family was not a immersive Scandinavian experience. However, I do remember my family’s annual Danish Christmas rituals. This included weaving those red and white paper hearts, rolling kransekage cookies, and preparing lefse (a potato flatbread filled with a decadent butter/sugar/cinnamon mixture). I also […]

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five ingredient salmon rub recipe

Scandinavian Salmon Rub Recipe

Although my mom and dad are both half-Danish, growing up in my family was not a immersive Scandinavian experience. However, I do remember my family’s annual Danish Christmas rituals. This included weaving those red and white paper hearts, rolling kransekage cookies, and preparing lefse (a potato flatbread filled with a decadent butter/sugar/cinnamon mixture).

I also remember hearing stories about my Danish great-grandmother on my mom’s side, who lived to be 107. My mom would always describe her grandma with admiration for this tenacious, independent woman who worked tirelessly on own her farm in Denmark while raising her family. Even though my Great Grandma Elsie passed when I was very young, I grew up with reverence for her, and a sense that she is a powerful heroine in my lineage.

five ingredient salmon rub recipe

Recently, I felt inspired to connect more deeply with my Scandinavian roots on a whim, I perused into the Scandinavian store that is near my home. Along with some frozen ligonberries, a pint of pickled herring, some table linens, I  picked up a stunning cookbook called Kitchen of Light: The New Scandinavian Cooking by Andreas Viestad. The first recipe I tried was a Spice Crusted Salmon, from which this salmon recipe is heavily inspired.

With delight, I realized that most savory Danish dishes fit into my grain-free diet with little or no modification, especially now that I have been able to re-introduce specific types of dairy into my diet. (Only the Danish pastries will require some significant tweaking.)

Danish food relies heavily on seafood, especially cold-water oily fish. Other stapes include root vegetables (lots of beets!), cabbage, cultured dairy, and meats.

five ingredient salmon rub recipe

I look forward to my continued adventures in grain-free Danish cooking and sharing more recipes with you along the way!

A note on sourcing spices: I highly recommend the herbs from Banyan Botanicals – they are fresh, organic, reasonably priced, and come in different sizes. I encourage you to always get organic herbs/spices, since conventional options are often irradiated to prolong shelf life. I believe the irradiation can compromise the integrity of the botanicals.

5-Ingredient Salmon Rub Recipe

Yield: Makes enough rub for 2 pounds of salmon

5-Ingredient Salmon Rub Recipe

This dynamic spice blend beautifully compliments the rich silkiness of a wild salmon fillet. Don't be intimidated if the spice combination sounds unusual to you - I promise, the flavors meld in an extraordinary way to create a savory, deep profile. The cumin is not overpowering, either. This recipe is inspired by the Spice Coated Salmon recipe in Kitchen of Light by Andreas Viesad. I've added salt to the recipe and added the step of grinding the spices after the toasting step.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place the spices in a sauté pan and toast them over medium heat until fragrant, stirring frequently, about 2-3 minutes. Toasting activates and heightens the flavor of the spices.
  2. Place the toasted spices, along with the salt, in a mortar and pestle and work until coarsely ground. Alternatively, use a spice grinder or (clean) coffee grinder, which will create a spice rub with a fine texture.
  3. Generously pat onto both sides of a salmon fillet and sauté, bake or broil as desired.
  4. The rub is best the week it is prepared, however it keeps well in the pantry. Store the ground spice mixture in an airtight container.

Notes

Feel free to double the recipe. Store leftover ground spice rub in an airtight container.

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five ingredient salmon rub recipe

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Hazelnut + Ginger Carrot Salad Recipe http://empoweredsustenance.com/ginger-carrot-salad-recipe/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/ginger-carrot-salad-recipe/#comments Thu, 03 Sep 2015 18:10:48 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=9265 I hate to demystify my life of a food and health blogger, but it is not always as charming as you might assume. I’m not usually working at cute coffee shops on sunny afternoons, and neither am I getting out of bed at 10 am and working in my picturesque pajamas. Instead, if you peaked […]

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ginger carrot salad recipe

I hate to demystify my life of a food and health blogger, but it is not always as charming as you might assume. I’m not usually working at cute coffee shops on sunny afternoons, and neither am I getting out of bed at 10 am and working in my picturesque pajamas.

Instead, if you peaked into my home during a typical day, I’m skittering around my house like that that proverbial headless chicken. I have at least seven tabs on my computer open, writing no less than four emails at a time (because focusing on just one email at a time would be too productive, evidently). And between emails, I’m jotting down pieces of three different blog posts, making a pot of tea, thinking about when/what I get to eat next, thumbing through a stack of review cookbooks, and procrastinating on answering text messages.

As a matter of fact, when things actually turn out as I think they should, I find it remarkable and notable. “Ta da, I just did it!” I applaud myself. “I just did blog-y things according to that exemplary stereotype I have in my mind!”

I found this recipe remarkable and notable for that reason. I felt randomly inspired, whipped out this recipe, loved it, photographed it, and ate it. And now I’m working at a coffee shop writing it up. And the only reason I’m focused is because this coffee shop doesn’t offer WiFi. Ta da!

Ginger Carrot Salad

ginger carrot salad recipe

This recipe takes a soy-free twist on the classic combo of soy and ginger. Coconut aminos taste uncannily like soy sauce, with the same umami profile and a slightly sweeter flavor.

The nutty, creamy addition of hazelnut butter makes the dressing evocative of satay sauce. I highly recommend using this properly soaked hazelnut butter (or you can substitute the soaked almond butter or soaked sunflower seed butter, available here as well). Soaking and dehydrating the raw nuts/seeds before grinding it into nut butter makes it vastly more digestible by reducing the enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid. It also makes the flavor smoother and slightly sweeter.

This speedy salad pairs beautifully with Paleo Asian Chicken Meatballs or another asian-inspired dish. Feel free to prepare the salad a day in advance, since the flavors deepen after the salad is chilled overnight.

paleo asian chicken meatballs

Click here for the Paleo Chicken Meatballs recipe

Hazelnut + Ginger Carrot Salad Recipe

10 minutes

Yield: 2 servings (double recipe if desired)

Hazelnut + Ginger Carrot Salad Recipe

Sweet, crunchy carrots and the salty, umami flavor of coconut aminos make a stunning partnership. Hazelnut butter lends creaminess and richness. Feel free to substitute almond butter or sunflower seed butter. I recommend the soaked/sprouted versions available here)

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs. coconut aminos, available here
  • 1 tsp. finely grated ginger
  • 1 Tbs. hazelnut butter, I recommend the soaked hazelnut butter available here
  • 1 cup freshly grated carrots (I used 6 small carrots)

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the coconut aminos, ginger, and hazelnut butter. Toss in the carrots and enjoy chilled!
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How is a Non-Toxic Mattress Made? (Video) http://empoweredsustenance.com/non-toxic-mattress/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/non-toxic-mattress/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 15:37:50 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=9317 Traveling to Salt Lake City to visit a mattress warehouse… it may not sound like an opportunity at which to jump. However, what if I told you it was the intelliBED headquarters? I had a blast visiting intelliBED and getting to see the process of how they craft their non-toxic mattresses. I took my camera along to […]

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non-toxic mattress

Traveling to Salt Lake City to visit a mattress warehouse… it may not sound like an opportunity at which to jump. However, what if I told you it was the intelliBED headquarters?

I had a blast visiting intelliBED and getting to see the process of how they craft their non-toxic mattresses. I took my camera along to take you behind-the-scenes with me. Enjoy the tour!

Why is a non-toxic mattress important?

  • You spend  1/3 of your life on your mattress – that means 1/3 of your life in very close proximity to off-gassing materials, if your mattress is made of toxic components. 
  • Many mattresses use highly toxic chemical fire retardants to meet illogical fire safety standards. These chemical fire retardants are not adequately tested and are linked to cancer, neurological problems, and endocrine disruption. (I wrote more about that here).
  • Toxins in your sleeping environment are a potent stressor to the body. As with any stressor, toxins impair the parasympathetic mode – the healing, regenerative mode of the autonomic nervous system – while sleeping.
  • When a mattress provides proper spinal support, you experience deeper and more restorative sleep. Spinal alignment and body function go hand-in-hand.

 

intellibed bonusGet a $500 gift when you try intelliBED

 intelliBED is the non-toxic mattress that changed my life due to the unique materials that support proper body alignment. You can read about my experience with intelliBED here.

If you are ready to switch to a non-toxic mattress, I collaborated with intelliBED to get you a $500 bonus when you purchase any mattress, AND 10% off that mattress! Call intelliBED to place your order (they’ll make sure you get the right mattress type for your needs) and tell them Lauren sent you. This gift is only available until September 9th!

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BeautyCounter Skincare Flash Giveaway – $150 Value http://empoweredsustenance.com/beautycounter-skincare-giveaway/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/beautycounter-skincare-giveaway/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 15:02:43 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=9298 I recently wrote about my experience with BeautyCounter, a luxury line of non-toxic cosmetics. I primarily reviewed the makeup, and now I want to introduce you to a few of my favorite skincare options from this brand. Why am I hooked on BeautyCounter? All products comply with the strictest industry standards for ingredient safety, ranking […]

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beautycounter giveaway

I recently wrote about my experience with BeautyCounter, a luxury line of non-toxic cosmetics. I primarily reviewed the makeup, and now I want to introduce you to a few of my favorite skincare options from this brand.

Why am I hooked on BeautyCounter?

  • All products comply with the strictest industry standards for ingredient safety, ranking a 2 or below on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database.
  • The products deliver. Imagine that… non-toxic cosmetics that perform as well as luxury brand cosmetics!
  • The skincare focuses not only on safety, but efficacy. The products feature high-performing botanical oils and extracts.

The Giveaway Package includes

Lustro Face Oil #1 ($64) – In three words, this facial oil is luxurious, silky, and soothing. It features 100% high-quality plant oils – no fillers, water, fragrance, emulsifiers or preservatives are added. It doubles as a decadent hair oil. The gorgeous, light fragrance is from the organic Rose Otto essential oil.

Lustro Body Oil ($68) – With a refreshing, vibrant scent from rosemary and citrus essential oils, this divine body oil is a treat for the senses. It contains 100% pure, nourishing botanical oils.

Routine Clean Cream Cleanser ($24) – This gentle cleanser removes impurities without stripping the skin, and helps to balance all skin types.

Cosmetics from Beautycounter

beautycounter review: non-toxic, high-performing cosmetics

If you are interested in non-toxic makeup, check out my review of BC cosmetics here. Their lip sheers are, without a doubt, the best lip products I’ve ever tried.

How to save 25% on BeautyCounter

When it comes to purchasing BeautyCounter products, you can purchase as a customer or a consultant. The difference? A consultant saves 25% off retail prices and gets access to referral links as a potential income.

There is a one-time fee for joining as a consultant (you need to buy the Enrollment Kit), but I promise you’ll make back that fee quickly once you get hooked on BeautyCounter.

  • Click this link and then click the menu option Join as a Consultant.
  • Enter your email and other required info to create your account. It will say Choose a Mentor and give you an option for the default, which is “BeautyCounter HQ.” Under that, click Select a Different Mentor and put in Lauren Geertsen in the first and last name section.
  • Add your Enrollment Kit into your cart – this is the package they require you to purchase if you want to be a consultant.
  • You can optionally add one of the special Enrollment product packages to your shopping cart for a discounted option.
  • Finish the enrollment page and place your order.

Enter the Giveaway

This flash giveaway is only open for four days, from August 28th to the 31st. 

Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter. The mandatory entry is leaving a comment about which BeautyCounter product you are most eager to try. Additional, optional entries are listed below. I’ll email the winner when the giveaway is over and ship out the products. Good luck!

beautycounter giveaway 2

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Fire Retardants: The Toxic Legacy in Your Home http://empoweredsustenance.com/fire-retardants-toxic/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/fire-retardants-toxic/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 18:53:17 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=9292 I eat fresh, local, real food. I filter my water to remove toxic fluoride and chlorine. I make time for movement, relaxation, creativity and sleep.  I even take steps to reasonably reduce my exposure to harmful electromagnetic waves. You’d think my bases are pretty well covered, right? I did too, until I considered my furniture.  After […]

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fire retardants toxic

I eat fresh, local, real food. I filter my water to remove toxic fluoride and chlorine. I make time for movement, relaxation, creativity and sleep.  I even take steps to reasonably reduce my exposure to harmful electromagnetic waves.

You’d think my bases are pretty well covered, right? I did too, until I considered my furniture. 

After learning the hard way that fire retardants on my mattress could throw me into severe illness, I knew to prioritize a non-toxic mattress (thanks intelliBED!). But I didn’t know why/where/how to source non-toxic furniture for my home. This challenge led me to explore the toxic fire retardants that permeate nearly every part of our lives.

Blame cigarettes for toxic fire retardants

As I’ve mentioned on Facebook, I recently traveled to Salt Lake City to visit the intelliBED headquarters to see how they make their non-toxic mattresses. Over lunch,  Jason (their director of business development) began telling me the sickening story how toxic fire retardants found their place in homes.

And – drumroll, please – it’s because of the tobacco industry and their lobbying. So even though I don’t smoke, cigarettes are making my living environment toxic. Here’s the story…

fire retardants toxic

Why your furniture contains toxic fire retardants

In the good ol’ days, when everyone smoked, cigarettes were causing devastating home fires left and right. To this day, cigarettes are the leading cause of fire deaths worldwide.

Something had to be done. One solution was to make cigarettes self-extinguish. But that threatened the tobacco industry, since creating a self-extinguishing cigarette would require a significant investment and alter the taste.

So, the cigarette industry turns the blame to furniture. “Don’t blame the cigarettes, the furniture catches on fire to quickly!”  You read that right: their argument was to blame the fuel, not the flame.

The tobacco industry creates two front groups – the National Association of Fire Marshals and Citizens for Fire Safety – that successfully protect the cigarette market and champion the chemical industry. Citizens for Fire Safety is actually an association of the three largest chemical fire retardant manufacturers.

These groups successfully lobby, and in 1975, California adopts Technical Bulletin 117. This law requires furniture sold in California to meet extreme flame retardant standards. The chemical fire retardants were not required to be safe or adequately tested.

Because the chemical industry lacks integrity, the fire retardants used were neither safe nor adequately tested. The fire retardants applied to furniture have now been linked to cancer, learning disabilities, and hormone disruption.

What are the dangers of fire retardants?

Green Science Policy Institute’s peer-reviewed paper delves into the damaging health effects of commonly used flame retardants.

In collaboration with Dr. Stapleton at Duke University, the Green Science Policy Institute found that 85% of couches bought between the 1980’s and 2010 contained harmful flame retardants including:

  • Chlorinated tris, a carcinogen
  • PBDE, which is now globally banned due to toxicity
  • Firemaster 550, which is inadequately tested and associated with obesity in an animal study

These flame retardants are also linked to the following health concerns:

  • Endocrine disruption
  • Infertility
  • Cancer
  • Adverse effects on fetal development (source)

Toxic Hot Seat Documentary

Jason told me to watch Toxic Hot Seat, an sickening but enlightening documentary about the schmarmy politics behind the toxic fire retardants in our homes. I’ve briefly summarized the story above from the documentary, which is so worth the five bucks to stream it.

The documentary also explains:

  • The lack of research showing that toxic fire retardants actually prevent fire
  • Why these fire retardants put our firemen and firewomen in extreme risk for cancer
  • How concerned consumers and politicians are trying to raise awareness and change legislation

For a shorter/free option, I would highly recommend taking three minutes to watch this video by Sarah Janssen, a scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Are we still at risk from toxic fire retardants?

Here’s the good news: Technical Bulletin TB117-2013 took effect in 2014. This amendment allows furniture manufacturers to avoid the use of toxic fire retardants. Upholstered furniture and mattresses must withstand a smolder test, whereas they previously had to withstand a blowtorch flame for 12 seconds.

According to the Green Science Policy Institute,

TB117-2013 protects public health and increases fire safety: it can be met without flame retardant chemicals and it addresses smoldering ignition of furniture cover fabrics, where fires start. Smoldering ignitions are the leading cause of furniture fires in the United States. This means improved fire safety without toxic chemicals.

Here’s the bad news: TB117-13 doesn’t prevent manufacturers from using toxic flre retardants, and there is still furniture on the market that contains these chemicals.

Are fire retardants beneficial?

This question is addressed in the Toxic Hot Seat documentary. In summary, the research showing that fire retardants increase escape time from a fire is highly controversial.

Further, fire retardant standards are illogical and overkill. For example, as of 2007, mattresses were required that furniture withstand a 2-foot blowtorch flame for 70 seconds. Most home fires, however, begin with a smoldering cigarette… not a blowtorch.

As explained in the documentary, furniture can be made fire resistant with safer solutions. For example, certain weaves of fabrics can withstand a smolder fire test. Upholstered furniture can be made with this fabric, avoiding the need for toxic fire retardants on the fabric and also the inner foam.

Furniture without toxic fire retardants

From my research, I believe the worst offenders for toxic fire retardants are mattresses (particularly memory foam mattresses) and upholstered furniture. These usually contain foams injected with flame retardants, and the toxins are released into the air. 

Safe mattresses

When it comes to your mattress, you are spending 1/3 of your life with your face breathing in the materials. A safe mintellibed bonusattress is an investment in your health. intelliBED is the non-toxic mattress that changed my life due to the unique materials that support proper body alignment. You can read about my experience with intelliBED here.

intelliBED meets the fire safety standards for mattresses using an inert, silica-coated, mineral-based fire retardant. The fire retardant is not bio-available through any contact and can’t be broken down through heat, pressure, or liquid.  It is only activated when the mattress is in flame.

If you are ready to switch to a non-toxic mattress. now is the time. I collaborated with intelliBED to get you a $500 bonus when you purchase any mattress, AND 10% off that mattress! Call intelliBED to place your order (they’ll make sure you get the right mattress type for your needs) and tell them Lauren sent you.

Safe furniture 

Once again, Green Science Policy Institute offers a helpful resource. Here is their list of non-toxic furniture options. The document explains:

  • how to find new furniture without flame retardants
  • how to replace the foam in your existing furniture with non-fire-retarded options

You can also opt for non-foam furniture, such as wicker or wood. My vintage kitchen chairs (which I found for a steal at a garage sale!) are non-toxic, for example, because they are plastic and made before TB117.

Two months ago, when I was moving into my home and before I delved into the research about toxic furniture, I bought a used couch from a consignment store. And, after learning about TB117, I looked on my couch label and found this statement – a sure sign that my couch is treated with fire retardants:

toxic fire retardants

Now, I’m kicking myself for not doing research sooner and not being more patient. This is the point where I tell myself I’m only human and give myself a reassuring hug for doing the best I can.

If I could do it over, I would have invested in a new couch not treated with flame retardants. Now, I plan to save up for a new non-toxic couch and sell my old couch on Craig’s List.

Since this may be a while, in the meantime I will focus on improving the air quality in my living room. If you watched that toxic couch clip above, you’ll remember that the toxins in the foam are released into the air. I use Moso air purifying bags and an air purifying rubber plant.

Additional reading

For further reading and resources, I recommend GreenSciencePolicy Institute.org and ToxicFreeFireSafety.org.

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Ayurvedic Digestion Tea Recipe http://empoweredsustenance.com/digestion-tea-recipe/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/digestion-tea-recipe/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 19:25:05 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=9237 I’ve recently delved into herbal medicine, a vastly broad topic that is both overwhelming and gloriously exciting. I’ve yet to find an herbal medicine program/class that fits my schedule and field of interest, but there are many options which I’m exploring. In the meantime, I’ve been gleaning herbal tips and tricks from my friends in this holistic field of […]

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Ayurvedic digestion tea recipe

I’ve recently delved into herbal medicine, a vastly broad topic that is both overwhelming and gloriously exciting. I’ve yet to find an herbal medicine program/class that fits my schedule and field of interest, but there are many options which I’m exploring.

In the meantime, I’ve been gleaning herbal tips and tricks from my friends in this holistic field of study. Additionally, my sister recently completed an herbal wildcrafting apprenticeship and has been sharing a wealth of knowledge and herbal recipes with me. I look forward to sharing more herbal healing recipes with you!

CCF Digestion Tea Recipe

Herbal medicine takes many forms, ranging from Traditional Chinese Medicine to Ayurvedic medicine to Native American remedies and more. This recipe is inspired by my recent visit to an Ayurvedic clinic, for an herbal consultation and detoxification (Panchakarma) treatment.

Upon entering the clinic, I was greeted with a steaming cup of fragrant tea. With one sip, I felt my nervous system relax and my taste buds perk up. I quizzed my practitioner about the tea, who discussed this ancient formula with me.

Coriander-Cumin-Fennel Tea, or CCF Tea as it is lovingly called, is a traditional Ayurvedic remedy. The three herbs are boiled to create a deliciously nurturing and digestively-balancing tea.

Ayurvedic digestion tea recipe

Coriander seeds – According to Ayurveda, coriander seeds support digestion, combat allergies and reduce bloating. It also supports the liver, one of the primary organs involved in detox and blood sugar balance.

Cumin – Ayurveda theory says that there are three doshas – primary energies that govern our physiology. When our doshas are in balance, we experience health. Cumin is thought to have a balancing effect on all three doshas. Ayurveda teaches that cumin supports digestion by kindling the digestive fire (“agni”). Western research has shown the cumin may stimulate digestive enzymes, which would improve nutrient assimilation.

Fennel seeds – In India, fennel seeds are often chewed after meals to support digestion. This herb has been traditionally used to stimulate digestive juices, reduce indigestion, prevent gas, and address constipation.

Ayurvedic digestion tea recipe

Sourcing Ayurvedic herbs

I’ve discussed sourcing herbs with two Ayurvedic practitioners and both recommended Banyan Botanicals to me. I’ve ordered these herbs, along with triphala (a broad-spectrum herbal digestion support), from Banyan Botanicals.

If you prefer not to order these herbs from Banyan, the next best option would be sourcing them from an Indian market, where the herbs are usually much fresher than in your supermarket. The third best option is organic herbs from your supermarket or health food store.

Non-organic herbs you find in your supermarket are likely irradiated (a form of microwave radiation) to preserve them. However, I believe this diminishes the nutrient integrity of the plant, so I avoid irradiated foods. Organic herbs cannot be irradiated.

Ayurvedic Digestion Tea Recipe

Yield: Makes as much or as little tea as you like!

3/4 - 1 tsp. herb mixture

Ayurvedic Digestion Tea Recipe

This gentle, traditional Ayurvedic Digestion tea uses only three herbs you likely have in your pantry right now. For digestion support, enjoy this tea hot - not iced. Ayurvedic tradition says that chilled beverages can diminish the digestive fire ("agni") while hot teas nurture digestion.

Ingredients

    For an individual serving
  • 1/4 tsp. coriander seeds, recommended brand available here
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin seeds, recommended brand available here
  • 1/4 tsp. fennel seeds, recommended brand available here
  • 2 cups of water
  • For a larger batch of tea (combine in a jar)
  • 1 part coriander seeds
  • 1 part cumin seeds
  • 1 part fennel seeds

Instructions

  1. You can make a jarful of the tea at a time, or just measure out the individual herbs for a single serving.
  2. I prefer to use slightly less cumin seeds. I think the flavor can be a bit overpowering. For example, if I'm filling a jar with the tea blend, I'll use 1/4 cup coriander, 1/4 cup fennel, and 1/4 cup minus 1 Tbs. cumin seeds.
  3. Place 3/4 - 1 tsp. of the blended herbs in 2 cups of water in a pot or kettle. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 4-5 minutes. Strain and enjoy.
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digestion tea recipe

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Paleo Peach Crumble http://empoweredsustenance.com/paleo-peach-crumble/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/paleo-peach-crumble/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 20:24:12 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=9252 From Lauren: Today’s recipe comes from Beth at Tasty Yummies. I’ve spent many hours drooling over Beth’s stunningly photographed recipes. On her site, you’ll find a wide selection of grain free dishes as well as gluten free options that are not strictly paleo. Beth is talented artist and culinary genius, and I’m pleased to share her recipe with […]

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paleo peach crumble recipe (nut free)

From Lauren: Today’s recipe comes from Beth at Tasty Yummies. I’ve spent many hours drooling over Beth’s stunningly photographed recipes. On her site, you’ll find a wide selection of grain free dishes as well as gluten free options that are not strictly paleo. Beth is talented artist and culinary genius, and I’m pleased to share her recipe with you.

Meet Beth!

Hi all, my name is Beth, of the website Tasty Yummies. I am so excited and honored to be guest posting here on Empowered Sustenance today, sharing a delicious seasonal-inspired recipe with you. As someone who has maintained a 100% gluten-free lifestyle for over 10 years and is constantly making major and minor shifts to my diet and lifestyle, in efforts to heal my body, I find great inspiration in the work that Lauren does and shares here with all of us.

I truly believe that real food heals and that when consumed and sourced mindfully and sustainably, food is medicine. Being diagnosed with an undiscovered autoimmune condition last year, I have found myself once again navigating my diet through a new lens, finding much relief and results by first working to heal my gut and truly looking at every ingredient I use. Though my journey is far from over and I am still discovering what my body does and does not love, I am finding myself more inspired than ever in the kitchen. More restrictions means getting creative with foods and looking at them in a whole new light. I find some of my greatest culinary creations have been cultivated during the times of most challenge.

Paleo Peach Crumble Recipe

paleo peach crumble recipe (nut free)

This end-of-summer inspired peach and fig crumble is a beautiful, sweet treat, perfect for celebrating the best of what the season has to offer. It’s also quite forgiving and it allows for lots of room to play. One of my favorite attributes in a recipe. If figs aren’t available near you, opt for additional peaches or another stone fruit, nectarines, apricots or plums. As we ease into autumn, swap out the peaches and figs for apples and/or pears.

In the spring, try berries. If you can tolerate nuts, try adding roughly chopped toasted pecans, walnuts or almonds to the crumble topping. If you don’t have cassava flour, try your favorite all-purpose blend, you might also try tigernut flour and if you can consume nuts, try almond flour. If grains agree with you, try a small amount of gluten-free oats. For fats, you can use coconut oil as the recipe calls for, grass-fed butter or ghee.

paleo peach crumble recipe (nut free)

Paleo Peach Crumble

Yield: Makes 4 servings

Paleo Peach Crumble

This crumble is delicious served fresh from the oven as dessert, a la mode with your favorite ice cream (check out my tutorial for homemade dairy-free ice cream here and it also makes a really great breakfast, too.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup raw hulled sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup cassava flour, available here (or other gluten-free flour of your choice such as tigernut flour or arrowroot flour)
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar, available here
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • pinch nutmeg
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons solidified coconut oil or grass-fed butter/ghee (plus more for the skillet)
  • 4 peaches, sliced
  • 6 figs, quartered

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly brush the bottom of a cast iron skillet or 8” square glass baking pan with a little coconut oil (or butter).
  2. Add the sunflower seeds, shredded coconut, cassava flour, coconut sugar, spices and salt. Pulse until well mixed, but with little bits of the seeds still visible. Add the vanilla extract and solidified coconut oil and pulse a few times until the mixture is clumpy and crumbly. You can add a small amount of liquid (melted oil or water), if the mixture is too dry to crumble, more cassava flour if it’s too wet.
  3. Place the sliced peaches and figs into the greased skillet (or pan), evenly sprinkle the crumble mixture over top and bake until the crumble topping is golden brown, the fruit is soft and there is lots of juice from the fruit, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve. You can add just a little more shredded coconut, if you’d like and top with a scoop or two of your favorite dairy-free ice cream.

Notes

If your coconut oil is in a liquid state, measure out the 3 tablespoons and place into a dish in the freezer until you are ready to use. Then roughly chop before adding to the food processor.

See above within the post for alternative and substitution ideas for the crumble and the filling.

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bethAbout Beth Manos Brickey

Beth Manos Brickey is the face and force behind Tasty Yummies, a top lifestyle destination for readers with a wide range of dietary challenges who want to feel good, take control of their health and eat well. Bringing personal experience, knowledge, empathy and humor to the goal of living and eating well with intolerances and allergies, Beth is a firm believer in the power of foods that heal. An adventurer, an artist and a yoga instructor, Beth is the best kind of teacher, one who inspires you, and then shows you how.

You can also join Beth at her monthly community-centric yoga class and gluten-free potlucks, Yoga & Yummies, in Southern California or at one of her gluten-free retreats, with Wild Spirit Retreats. These gatherings combine the wonders of travel with the opportunity to refresh the spirit, blending movement, cooking, ritual and adventure.

Follow Beth of Tasty Yummies on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook and check out her website full of healthy recipes.

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