Monday, January 31, 2011

Can't Stop Thinking and Need Sleep? Try Foot Soak.

Having trouble sleeping because you think too much? Well, this used to be a common problem for me, until I tried this easy and relaxing foot soak. Soaking my feet for 20 minutes in the evening, right before I was about to go to sleep worked wonders!
  1. Use a bathtub or a small tub you can put your feet into
  2. Fill the tub with hot water, as hot as your feet can stand
  3. Add sea salt and/or lavender essential oil
  4. Sit down and let your feet soak in the tub while you relax with the wonderful aroma of lavender and read your favorite book or magazine
Putting your feet in hot water for a while helps to bring the energy in your head - doing all that thinking - down to your feet, so your mind will relax. It also helps to improve circulation and helps your feet feel warm and toasty in bed, so you can relax and feel comfortable. Using a relaxing essential oil also helps your mind and body unwind and get ready for resting. The sea salt helps to draw toxins out from your body through your skin. Try it out for a week and see what happens. This remedy really helped me sleep more deeply. Enjoy!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Heal Faster and Feel Great with Healing Sessions

We all know sleeping enough, eating well and exercise are the basics for being healthy, but sometimes we also need complimentary wellness treatments to help us function at our best and stimulate deeper healing. Some people consider bodywork or massage to be a special "treat" once in a while, but when you really experience the benefits of regular bodywork, you can see how it can play a key role in your overall well-being.

After being out of the country for an extended amount of time, I realize I had forgotten about the importance of getting regular healing treatments. In previous years I had the pleasure of working at a natural health facility where people practiced shiatsu massage and craniosacral therapy, so I often had regular treatments. I experienced what life was like when my body was really healthy - it was blissful! Since I have been back, I received a free Reiki healing session from a friend, and realized what I had been missing for so long! Getting this treatment was a reminder to myself that regular bodywork and energy healing sessions are important to me and my well-being.

Bodywork and other types of healing treatments can help your body heal faster, release tension, help you deal with stress, help your organs function better and help you resist disease.

Some types of treatments I like are:

  • Shiatsu Massage
  • Reiki Energy Healing
  • Acupuncture (my favorite!)
  • Craniosacral Therapy
  • Deep Tissue Massage

On another note, often times these kinds of treatments can be very expensive. Even so, you don't have to sacrifice these services! Get creative and find ways to make it happen.

Some ways to get affordable treatments are:
  1. Ask friends and family members in your area if they know anyone good, then ask the practitioner for a package deal at a reduced rate.
  2. Meet people through your local natural food store - often times stores have health events and bulletin boards with posting of healers. Find out if healers need someone to practice on and get a free massage or reiki.
  3. Find people through local Meetup groups. You can find people with similar interests who regularly get together and talk about health, give classes or practice healing on each other. If there isn't a group in your area, then start your own.
  4. Trade with a healer or practitioner. See what you can offer for a treatment. Maybe you are a great cook, awesome dog walker, or excellent personal shopper.
  5. Find a local massage or acupuncture school and get treatments at reduced rates. I have done this in the past and have been very happy with the results, and my wallet's been happy too. Here is a place I have gone to in Arizona: PIHMA Clinic Website

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gorgeous Natural Eye Shadows

Feeding our bodies good quality organic natural foods is important, but so is using natural products in our homes and on our skin. So much of what we put on our skin gets absorbed through our pores and goes straight into our bloodstream! So, I like to find products that work well, smell good, and of course, are good for me and the planet.

One of my favorite all natural cosmetic products is Jane Iredale PurePressed Eye Shadows. I love how they have so many different colors and are made up of minerals, so I know they are natural. I also like how they are pressed instead of loose, because often when I use loose shadows, it can be harder to control the powder and color can end up all over your face, instead of just where you want it. Also, the Jane Iredale brand is constantly coming up with inventive products and colors, so you can try out new things often. Just be sure to read the ingredients list on all products because not all of their products are 100% natural.

Check out their website for more information and to find a retailer near you:

Jane Iredale Website

Monday, January 24, 2011

Shopping That's Good for People AND the Planet

Are you shopping for something and wanting to know that you're spending money in line with your values? Well, now you can, with Green America’s Green Business Network. The Green Business Network is an online resource and makes shopping for eco, organic and fair trade products and services convenient and easy. It is also a great network for responsible business owners who want practical tools to help their companies to emerge and thrive.

Businesses that are Green Business Network approved go through screenings and uphold high standards of being committed to caring about what's really important - workers, communities, customers and  the environment, all while turning a profit. Now THAT'S the type of business I want to support. Who say's you have to sacrifice quality for values? Not anymore...

Here are the National Green Pages for finding green companies.
Here is information about the Green Business Network

Friday, January 21, 2011

Great Vegan Eats in NYC? Other's Don't Hold a Candle...

Cajun Seitan Sandwich with a refreshing Organic Beer

New York City, in my opinion, has the BEST selection of healthy vegan dining that anyone can find. I think one of the best parts about going to New York is getting to eat. Actually, one of my good friends and fellow foodie, author of  the blog Food to Remember, eats her way through New York when she visits. She finds out about all the best places to eat during the year and then takes a trip to the Big Apple to hit up one spectacular place after another other until she has tried everything good in the city. Now THAT'S dedication!

A couple of awesome organic, vegan and eco-friendly restaurants that I love when I go to New York are Candle Cafe and Candle 79. Candle Cafe has a fantastic menu featuring a variety of flavorful vegetable dishes, refreshing smoothies and fun sandwiches and burgers for the times when we want a hearty meat substitute like seitan. They also have a nice dessert menu (my favorite!). Candle 79 is an upscale restaurant that serves brunch, lunch and dinner. Their comforting, hearty and flavorful dishes will hit the spot when you want to splurge on something a little more sophisticated. Their desserts are ridiculous-amazing!

If you want to bring home some of that delicious goodness, check out their book, The Candle Cafe Cookbook. This is one cookbook I own and love. Actually, right after writing this, it inspired me to flip through my cookbook and try making the Pecan-Crusted Seitan and Garlic Mashed Potatoes recipes for dinner. The seitan was so flavorful and delicious, it was like eating fried chicken fingers! Paired with the mashed potatoes, my meal really satisfied my craving for something fun, flavorful and comforting. Yum...

Check them out online:

Candle Cafe
Candle 79

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Natural Beauty with Olive Oil

Need some natural eye makeup remover? Well look no further than your kitchen. A little olive oil and organic cotton balls should do the trick. Just put a little oil on a cotton ball and wipe it on closed eyelids. Your eye makeup should come off quickly and easily. Plus olive oil is gentle on skin and is all natural, so you are saving you skin from toxic chemicals and you cut down on spending big bucks on expensive skin care products.

Olive oil can also be used for other beauty treatments. You can use it as a hair hot oil treatment by warming some organic olive oil in a pan on the stove, applying it to your hair and massaging it into your scalp. Leave it on for an hour or so and then shampoo out and condition as normal. This leaves your locks looking shiny, healthy and soft.

You can also use olive oil as a hair de-frizzer. After a shower and hair has been towel tried, put a few drops of olive oil in the palm of you hand. Rub your hands together and then apply the oil to damp hair by running your hands and fingers through your hair. Let hair air dry or blow dry on low. This technique is especially great for frizzy or wavy hair to tame flyaways.

If your skin is feeling dry and you have run out of body lotion, use olive oil as an all over body oil/moisturizer. Just put some oil in the palms of your hands and then rub the oil into your skin.

Olive oil is not just for salad dressings anymore!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Healthy Eats at Masao's Kitchen Near Boston

If you are headed towards Boston, Masachusetts, and are looking for some good eats, check out Masao's Kitchen. This cute independently owned little restaurant has a delicious buffet of macrobiotic dishes and desserts that will satisfy your tummy and your taste buds. I really love Masao's chickpea dish, and the pudding there is so light and good that I'm still thinking about it years later! Their food is vegan and organic.

Check them out online for more information:
Masao's Kitchen Website

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Healthy Comfort

We all need down time and something about cold winter weather makes us want to hibernate, curl up in our beds with warm fluffy blankets and live in our flannel pajamas. Instead of trying to fight this feeling and be productive, sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is to not only allow us these simple comforts, but embrace and savor them to the fullest extent. Whether comfort for you is a warm cup of tea, curling up with a good book, or watching a funny movie, remember to take time to appreciate all of the simple and wonderful things life has to offer. Give yourself space for quiet time to reflect and listen to what your body says you need. Nurture and honor yourself by listening and doing what you really need to be happy, healthy and fulfilled.

During my down time I realized what I really needed was a nice warm bowl of stew. Here is the recipe. Enjoy!

Comforting Rice and Mung Bean Stew

1 stamp sized piece of kombu seaweed
1 cup brown rice
2/3 cup mung beans
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 onions, large diced
1 stalk of burdock root, cut into chunks
3 carrots, cut into large chunks
1/4 large kabocha squash 
sea salt
  1. Put the brown rice and mung beans in a pressure cooker with 5-6 cups of water (depending how thick you want the stew). (If you don't have a pressure cooker, use a large stainless steel pot and cook the ingredients for longer until the beans are soft.)
  2. Rinse the kombu and put it into the pot, bring the pot to a boil, then put the lid on the pot and lock it in place to build the pressure.
  3. Let the pressure rise until the pot is under the right amount of pressure. Then turn the flame down to low and let the pot simmer for 40 minutes.
  4. While the rice and beans are cooking, put the sesame oil in a large saute pan on medium low heat. Add the onions and saute for a few minutes. Then add the burdock and carrots and satue. Cover the pan for 5-7 minutes and stir occasionally. Then add the squash and cover again. If the vegetables get stuck to the bottom of the pan then add a little bit of water to help it cook. After the vegetables have cooked for a few more minutes, turn off the flame.
  5. After the rice and beans have cooked for 40 minutes, turn off the flame and let the pressure come down. Take the top off the pot and add the sauteed vegetables and a few generous pinches of salt. Mix the pot, put the flame of high until the pot boils, then put the top on the pressure cooker and bring it to pressure. Then simmer again on low for 10 minutes.
  6. Turn off the flame, let the pressure come down, and serve with a garnish of your choice. I used mustard greens for my garnish.