This Helps Sugar Cravings

I know the treats are abundant this time of year. If you’ve noticed, the more sugar you eat, the more you crave it, and once those cravings take hold, they are so tough to shake.

One thing you can keep on hand to combat sugar cravings are “healthy fat bombs” — and let me tell you, they ARE a treat. But healthy, too!

Here’s a simple recipe you can make in a snap, and it’s festive, too:

Chocolate Peppermint Almond Bombs 

  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup raw cocoa powder
  • 5 drops food-grade peppermint essential oil
  • ¼ cup finely chopped almonds
  • ½ tbsp real maple syrup

 

  1. Melt your ingredients in a pan on low heat, stirring regularly.
  2. Pour into small silicone molds — silicone cupcake tins are great for this. Freeze until hard.
  3. Remove from silicone molds and enjoy!

Highly Effective Ways to Lower Stress Naturally

Stress is remarkably damaging to our mental and physical health. Even though we know how serious it is, most of us can’t seem to find an effective way to get rid of it (or at least reduce it). Here are six all-natural, healthy, and highly effective ways to reduce chronic stress in your life.

1. Exercise
You’ve probably heard this one before, but exercise is a marvelous stress reliever. Exercising releases endorphins, which are natural compounds in your body that reduce stress and pain. You don’t have to do strenuous or intense workouts to experience this benefit. Try to be physically active every day, whether it is a brisk walk in the sunshine, swimming, or weightlifting at the gym. You might be surprised at how good it makes you feel.

2. Natural Adaptogen Supplements
Adaptogen supplements are natural herbs that help your body adapt to stressors in your environment. A common adaptogen is Ashwagandha. Although the stress response might feel as though it’s limited to your mind, your entire body responds to stress. Your heart rate and blood pressure increase, you might have difficulty focusing, and you start breathing rapidly. Adaptogens help calm the nervous system down and are completely natural.

3. Schedule in “Me-time”
Although life can get overwhelmingly busy, don’t forget about yourself. Scheduling in “me time” is equally as important as that business meeting or lunch with friends. Take time at least once a week (or as often as your schedule allows) to relax and do things that calm you down. Read a book, have a bath, meditate, or watch a funny movie, and don’t cancel on yourself!

4. Get Enough Good-quality Sleep
I can’t stress how important getting enough sleep is for your overall wellbeing. Getting enough quality sleep is proven to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress significantly. You probably know how irritated, frustrated, and upset you can get when you feel exhausted and haven’t slept enough. Make sure you’re getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night.

5. Eat Healthy, Whole Foods
The foods you eat can have a tremendous impact on your stress levels— both positive and negative. If you eat processed, sugary junk foods, you will notice that your feelings of stress will only get worse. A diet full of real, nutrient-dense, whole foods can counteract the damaging effects of stress on your body and can help you feel significantly better. Healthy fats (especially omega-3 fatty acids) found in salmon, avocado, nuts, and seeds can help regulate levels of cortisol, your stress hormone.

6. Calming Essential Oils
Essential oils are powerful and natural remedies for numerous health problems, from indigestion to stress. Lavender essential oil is well-known for its calming properties. You can put this oil in an aromatherapy diffuser or apply it topically to help you relieve stress and sleep better. Rose oil is also a powerful calming oil that can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. However, be careful as essential oils are very potent, and you don’t want to use too much.

Have you given essential oils a try, yet?

Stress is one of the most common ailments we deal with in our lives, affecting each of us in one way or another. There are numerous ways we can lower stress levels, and essential oils happen to be one of my absolute favorite ways to do so.

Here’s a list of a few of my favorites that help calm things down:

  • Lavender
  • Roman chamomile
  • Orange
  • Cedarwood
  • Ylang ylang
  • Lemon
  • Frankincense

What experience have you had with essential oils?

What’s your favorite? Drop a comment below and let me know.

 

How To Stay Away From Chemicals That Disrupt Your Hormones

Coming into contact with chemicals is hard to avoid, and I bet you don’t even realize just how many chemicals are lurking in your everyday items, products, and within your home. Chemicals are common, and although there are many things we can do to reduce chemical use in our lives, it’s also essential to understand how these chemicals can disrupt our hormones.

Known as EDCs, endocrine disrupting chemicals can cause irreversible damage to our bodies. This can cause a disturbance in our immune system, reproductive system, and neurologically — they can indeed create a mess. So let’s chat about some ways to lessen the chemical load in our everyday life.

Natural soaps
With how often you wash your hands throughout the day, opt for a chemical free soap, so you aren’t inviting these EDC’s into your body multiple times a day, every day. I like Tom’s of Maine.

Get cleaning sans chemicals
Do some research on green cleaners for your home, and you’ll even find loads of DIY house cleaners you can make with items you likely already have in your kitchen. Keeping your house clean is necessary, and you don’t have to use loads of hormone-disrupting chemicals to achieve that!

Don’t use things with fragrances
Whenever you can, go fragrance-free. Most companies don’t disclose the chemicals they use when they simply put ‘fragrance’ on the list of ingredients. You can use natural oils to make things smell good.

Cut down on plastics
Plastics with BPA and PVC are full of hormone-disrupting capabilities. Try reducing the number of plastic products you use in your life from plastic bags to plastic wrap and everything in between. Start replacing your plastic Tupperware with glass, choose reusable ziplock bags, and simply become more aware of these simple ways you can lessen the chemical load in your life.

Eat organically
I recently talked about why going organic is so important. Disrupted hormones is a huge reason to stay away. Those pesticides on non-organic foods can cause many health problems for you down the road, so choose to eat organic whenever you can. If you can’t select all organic foods, opt for the organic version of the items on the Dirty Dozen list, at least.

It’s scary to think about how many chemicals surround us every day. While we can’t control everything that goes on around us, we can at least keep our home environment clean of these hormone disrupters and have take steps to be as healthy as possible.

Natural Ways to Help Spring Allergies

The daffodils are springing from the ground, and the sunshine is feeling a bit warmer with each passing day. Depending on where you live, you might even already be getting a touch of spring fever in the form of seasonal allergies.

Here come itchy, watery eyes and relentless bouts of sneezing. Do you suffer from spring allergies? Leave me a comment below if you dread the pollen. I do!!!

Need some relief but don’t want to be doped up on medication? I don’t blame you a bit. Here are some natural ways to get spring allergy relief.

1. Try butterbur
There’s nothing buttery about this plant, except that in the olden days, it was used to wrap butter. The extracts are great for relieving fever, nasal allergies, and headaches, working like an antihistamine without making you drowsy. You can drink it as a tea or take it in tablets.

2. Or stinging nettle leaf
Here’s another plant that has its roots in the olden days. Stinging nettle reduces the histamines in your body, making it a wonderful way to combat spring allergies. You can take it in the form of hot tea or capsules to relieve allergy discomfort.

3. Make an ACV drink
Apple cider vinegar benefits your overall health in so many ways. It’s excellent for adding probiotics to your gut which may play a role in keeping seasonal spring allergies at bay. Just add a capful of it to your water every morning as an ounce of prevention or for relief, and be sure to use the kind that says “with the mother” on the bottle.

4. Get more probiotics
Stuffy noses from allergies are a pain, but you can get some sweet relief with more probiotics. Take your probiotics daily for your best health and balance of immunity. You can take these in capsule form, while also trying probiotic rich foods like apple cider vinegar, kimchi, pickles, and sauerkraut, to name a few.

5. Make things steamy
If you don’t have a gym membership or access to a steam room, use your shower to help get you some allergy relief — the steam will clear out your sinuses. If you’re prone to allergies in the spring, it’s best you shower as soon as you get home and change your clothes immediately to get rid of the pollen from outdoors.

6. Use essential oils
Essential oil not only smells invigorating, but some can also help reduce inflammation. Some of my favorite essential oils to use during the spring are lemon, lavender, and peppermint. You can use a diffuser to let it waft around your space or rub some of it directly on your chest to help you breathe better.

7. Eat spicy food
Eating spicy foods can help keep your sinuses clear and get any pollen that may have accumulated out. Make sure to add plenty of onions, garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, and chilis to your recipes this season to keep your nasal passages open.

Do you have any special tips for combating spring allergies that I haven’t talked about today? I’d love to hear any tricks you have up your sleeve, so drop them in the comments below!

6 Essential Oils to Comfort Your Sensitive Skin This Winter

During the dry winter months, your skin is subject to damage from the cold and dry air. These months hold a lot of magic with blankets of white snow and the holidays — but your skin can really take a hit and make things quite uncomfortable.

While your skin protects, it also absorbs everything you come into contact with which is why it’s so important to nurture and nourish it every day. You’ll want to step up your skincare routine from head to toe to keep your skin looking and feeling fabulous, and the best way to comfort that sensitive skin is to add essential oils to your regimen.

Here are the best ones to try for this long, cold winter.

Lavender
Not only is the fragrance of lavender soothing, but it also is excellent for treating sensitive skin conditions. You can apply it directly to your skin without worry, plus it’s even good for fading scars and stretch marks. You can also add it into your favorite creams and lotions for a soothing boost that adds more relaxation to your routine.

Cedarwood
Cedarwood is outstanding for softening and hydrating skin. It’s very soothing too, making it great for sensitive skin, though any skin type can benefit from it. It also has antibacterial properties, which can help you clear up blemishes. Sensitive skin should always dilute this essential oil though to enjoy the benefits of it without any irritation.

Helichrysum
This special essential oil contains molecules that are effective in guarding against free radicals while healing damaged skin. These molecules repair past damages and prevent future ones. It’s gentle enough to be applied directly, though you may want to try adding a few drops of it to your creams first.

Sandalwood
That warming, woodsy scent of sandalwood is much more than a soothing fragrance. It can soothe your skin and firm it too. You can smooth wrinkles away, fade scars, and clear up acne. Just add a couple of drops of it to olive oil or coconut oil before applying.

Apricot Kernel
If your skin is so sensitive everything sets it off, this essential oil should do the trick. It’s super-gentle and very hypoallergenic. It’s also great for anyone that has a nut allergy.

Geranium
Ideal for soothing irritation and redness, geranium oil is a beautiful addition to your bath water. Use it with coconut milk to get the hydrating benefits without bothering your sensitive skin.

While many of these are okay to apply directly, sensitive skin types should always try diluting it and only using it to a small swatch of skin first to be sure it doesn’t trigger any problems. You could play it safe and always dilute any oil with a dab of olive oil or coconut oil. Doing that, you might just discover the best essential oil for your sensitive winter skin!

Natural Ways to Boost Your Immunity

and Dodge the Cold & Flu Season

Besides the flu, colds make their rounds during the colder months when these microorganisms flourish, so it’s up to you to be vigilant and protect yourself. Thankfully, there are natural ways you can help boost your immunity and lessen your chances of getting sick this winter.

How many times during the winter months do you usually get sick? Let me know in the comments below, and let me know any natural tricks you use to combat illnesses.

Here are a few of my favorite ways

Use probiotic power
With all we now know about the gut biome, eating foods with probiotics is the best way to help keep your immunity strong. Kombucha, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut are just a few probiotic foods to help you out. Make sure you’re always eating plenty of fiber too to help that gut bacteria thrive. If you’d prefer a probiotic supplement instead, there are loads of wonderful ones to choose from to make sure you’re getting your daily probiotic needs.

Eat right
Unfortunately, this time of year is also when all those holiday goodies are lurking about. Balance it out by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidant-rich foods are immune boosters that will keep your system fighting all season long. Another warming winter food that will make your soups healthier is bone broth which you can sneak into your
family’s diet without them ever knowing.

Think zinc
The more vitamins you have in your foods this season, particularly vitamin C, the more immunity you’ll have. However, zinc is often forgotten for the powerhouse that it is. Zinc can help stop a cold’s cells from replicating and is a powerful tool to have in your wellness arsenal this season and beyond. You can eat more zinc in spinach, nuts, beans, and pumpkin seeds. There are also zinc supplements you can take daily, or when you’re feeling a cold coming on.

Balance activity and sleep
When the germs are swirling around, be sure you’re getting enough exercise as well as getting enough sleep. Compromising on either one can jeopardize your immunity. With the days shorter and quite frigid, getting in bed earlier isn’t a hard thing to do!

Sanitize with lavender oil
Soap and warm water are always best for cleaning your hands, but when you’re nowhere near a sink, try lavender oil. It smells great, keeps away germs naturally, and keeps your hands soft and supple even in the frigid winter weather.

Keep it clean
We know hands should be clean and kept from our eyes, nose, and mouth, but don’t forget about those things you use every day that can be contaminated with ease. Your phone, keyboard, desk, and door handles are prime examples. Want one that isn’t full of chemicals? Add purified water and distilled vinegar to a spray bottle in equal parts, and then add a few drops of tea tree oil. Spray
away!

There are too many fun events you won’t want to miss over these winter months, and there’s no time to spend being sick in bed. Use these natural immunity boosters to live life to the fullest during cold and flu season!

Cold and flu season is among us, and it’s more important than ever to be mindfully boosting the immune system regularly throughout these months.

What’re your top ways of increasing your immune system to stay healthy through the cold months?

A few immune boosting habits are…

  1. Take probiotics daily.
  2. Load up on Elderberry.
  3. Warm lemon water in the mornings.
  4. Add ginger & garlic to meals.
  5. Soak up Vitamin D, even when it’s cold out.

What are yours? Drop them below in the comments.

Have you used Essential Oils?

It’s incredible how much you can replace and use essential oils instead.  For instance — bug spray, household cleaner, skincare products, etc.  There really is an oil for everything, including the common discomforts we all face.

What’s your favorite oil?!  If you’ve never tried them before, drop a comment below, and I can suggest something that might help make your life a little easier.

 

Who doesn’t love having a home that smells delightful?  It’s even enjoyable to change the scents throughout the year — fragrant flower scents during the spring and summer, with spicy cinnamon or cloves during the fall and winter months.

Room scents filled with chemicals can wreak havoc on your sinuses if you struggle with allergies, it can disrupt your hormone production, and can give you a headache.  Those scented plug-ins, candles, and room sprays that you’re likely so used to using all have healthier alternatives.

Some healthy alternatives include homemade potpourri, using a slow-cooker to simmer water with flowers, citrus rind, cinnamon sticks, or whatever you desire, and using pure essential oils to scent your home.

I guarantee these healthier options will smell much better to you also, as you won’t be breathing the chemical aspects of the store-bought candles and scents.