Eating Healthy on a Budget Series (Week One)

Week One….

It has been my experience that many people want to eat a healthier diet, but they just don’t know where to start.  With the artificial inflation of food items, the “crap filled” food is much less expensive than the healthier alternatives, and seems to be the first hurdle.  The second would be how we think of food.  In our modern society, we have this mindset that we not only need meat with every meal, but that this meat needs to be the largest food portion on our plates.  However, this has not always been the case. Historically, meats were luxuries that were only afforded during celebrations.  Most meals are heavy on vegetables that were in season.  The key is to live like a historical working class peasant; someone who only buys refined treats for special holidays and celebrations.  On most days, opt for a vegetable heavy diet without a need for meat with every meal.

*Learn to eat realistic portions.  Eat until you are satisfied, not until you are bursting at the seams.

*Only buy what your family will eat for the week,  don’t overstock and don’t cook more than your family will eat.

*Always stock the basics that you will use in multiple recipes and meals to avoid mad last minute dashes to the grocery store.

*Learn how to substitute missing ingredients with ones you have on hand.

Challenge for the week:

This weekend, empty out your cabinets, fridge, and pantry and place it all on the kitchen table.  See what items you already have and make a list of meals you could make.  If you are missing one or two ingredients, make a secondary list to take to the grocery store.  After you sort through what you have and what you need to complete those meals, take your grocery list and purchase ONLY those needed items to complete your meal planning for that week or two weeks.  You’ll be surprised just how much money and food you will save!

Sleep? What’s That? Ways to Reset Your Sleep Clock.

Trouble getting enough sleep? Circadian Rhythm out of sync?  Suffering from insomnia?  Do any of these sound like you?  Looking for natural ways to recharge and reset?

Are you getting enough quality sleep?  8 hours is the recommended amount of sleep needed for a healthy adult to function properly.  However, did you know that science has proven that the more sleep you get before midnight, the better.  That’s because the sleep you get before midnight is more likely to be deeper, restorative non-REM sleep.  Getting to bed earlier will allow you to get more restful sleep.  Our bodies naturally respond to light and dark.  When the sun goes down our bodies naturally start to produce melatonin, wind down and tell our brains to seek rest.  When the sun comes up our bodies begin to produce cortisol which tells the body to wake up, be alert and productive.  With the invention of artificial light, our bodies have been tricked into thinking it is daylight, when it is actually dark outside, boosting cortisol and reducing the production of melatonin, making it much harder to get restful sleep.  These artificial sources of light; cell phones, computers, tablets, and TVs, can emit more cortisol stimulating light rays than the actual sun…yikes!!  Knowing that these devices can suppress the production of the sleep inducing hormone melatonin, makes playing on your phone just before bed a bad idea that is bound to lead to insomnia or at the very least, less restful sleep.  Just an FYI…humans aren’t meant to be nocturnal creatures.  We are actually diurnal, and meant to be awake during the day.  None of us are actually “night people,” technology and artificial light have made us this way.
So, how do we reset our internal clocks?  Studies show that going camping for just one week, in nature, without any electronic devices can and has successfully turned “night owls’ into “early birds.”  It’s a relaxing and wonderful way to reset your body and improve your sleep schedule and overall health.

Additionally, you can use essential oils such as, Tranquil, Rutavala, Lavender, Cedarwood, or StressAway by Young Living in a massage on the feet and crown of your head to help prepare you for a good night’s sleep.  Try drinking some warm almond, cashew, or coconut milk then sprinkle with ground nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom to help support healthy digestion and restful sleep. Another option would be to turn off electronic devices an hour before bedtime to give your body time to wind down and prepare to rest. And, if you’re really feeling adventurous, try an electricity-free weekend at home.  Using only candlelight to light the house and turn off all electronic devices.

The easiest way to start implementing these changes to improve our sleep is through gradual modification.  Try going to bed 30 minutes early for the first week. By week two move that back another 30 minutes.  Make it a goal to be in bed between 9:00 and 9:30pm and asleep by 10:00pm.  Your body will thank you!

Become One With Nature

Did you know that being in nature is a natural stress reliever?  Studies have shown that spending time in forests and other green areas can be therapeutic to the soul and lower stress levels.  According to research, Muscle tension, stress hormones, blood pressure and heart rate all decrease much more rapidly in natural settings.  Being in nature has a calming effect on the mind and helps us to unwind, promoting a sense of serenity.   It boosts our natural production of serotonin and increases positive emotions including our ability to show empathy.

Getting outside boosts your vitamin D levels.  Vitamin D is responsible for boosting immunity and lowering your risk of various diseases.

Go outside and take in some fresh air.  Although there is air pollution outside, there is far more air pollution indoors and it poses an even greater risk to your health. Some of these risks include heart disease, bronchitis, asthma, and lung cancer.

Have you ever heard of grounding or earthing?  It’s the process of making direct contact with the earth. Studies have shown that grounding (earthing) can lower your inflammation levels, reduce chronic pain, speed up the healing process, and reduce the effects of aging. There are dozens of companies out there that sell products (mats and shoes) that make it more convenient to ground ourself, however, I still prefer the good old fashioned way of going barefoot.

So, If you’re feeling down in the dumps, get outside and go for a walk, or sit by a stream, or on a rock.  Walk barefoot in the grass or in the sand. Take a few deep breaths and relax, listen to the birds and the wind in the treetops.  Most importantly, just get outside!



I Love Bees!!!

Bees are such amazing little creatures.  They have been around for millions of years, just pollinating away!

As a child, I was fascinated with watching them fly from flower to flower and working away gathering all of the goodies to take back to their hives.  I would lay in the grass and just watch them for hours, still do sometimes.

My husband can attest to my love of the honey bee. One summer, my husband had left his soda sitting on the back of the truck while we were outside working.  When he went to take a drink, he got quite the surprise..a bee!  He quickly spit the little honey bee into his hand and looked over at me saying. “I almost swallowed a bee!” I’m not sure he was expecting my response which resulted in me gently taking the bee from him, sprinkling it with water and placing it on a dry surface and blowing on it’s wings to help it dry out!  I think I remember turning to him and saying, “You traumatized the poor thing!!” After a few minutes of drying off, the little bee regained its little insect composure and flew away.  I turned to my husband and said, “that was close!” Of course his jaw was still on the ground. “I could have been stung,” he said, as I walked back over to where he was standing. “But you weren’t,” I replied, without missing a beat.  We laugh about it now, but I think he was a little upset at the time because my first response was to try and revive the bee (which I successfully did, I might add.)  I was “saving the bees” before it was cool and have taught my children to look out for and protect the bees as well.

Imagine my excitement when I learned that we have a Bee Farm (Desert Creek Honey) less than 7 miles away from where I currently live!  I could hardly contain myself.  I use honey as one of my alternatives to sugar and I incorporate bee pollen into our smoothies, smoothie bowls, and hot tea during allergy season as part of our wellness plan.

So what are the benefits of Raw Unfiltered Honey???

Raw honey is a good source of antioxidants, which help to protect the body from cell damage caused by free radicals! Free radicals can contribute to premature aging and many diseases.  Studies also show that polyphenols in honey may play a role in protecting the heart.

Other benefits of raw honey are its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.  Raw honey naturally contains hydrogen peroxide, which is a natural antiseptic.  We keep a jar of Manuka honey on hand to put on cuts and scrapes. Amazing stuff! If you’ve never heard of Manuka Honey, Google it! Every household should have it!

There are an abundance of Phytonutrients found in raw honey.  Phytonutrients are compounds found in plants that help the plant thrive and protect them from damage.

Raw honey has been used to help heal digestive issues with much success. Just 1-2 teaspoons a day on an empty stomach can soothe the digestive tract.

Effective for coughs and sore throats.


What about Honeybee pollen?

Many holistic health proponents tout the benefits of bee pollen.  Bee pollen is a fine powdery collection of substances from plants that bees store in the hives.  Like the raw honey, the pollen helps to combat free radicals, fight aging, help reduce the production of histamines during allergy season and because it is so nutrient dense it can increase energy.  Other benefits of honeybee pollen include:

Boosting Metabolism
Strengthening the Immune System
Possibly Increase Fertility
Improve Skin Health
Helps to Support Proper Hormone Balance
and Improves Digestion

I could go on and on about honey and bees.  It’s fascinating how nature works and how such a small creature can be so beneficial and play such an important role in sustaining all forms of life on earth!

If you don’t have anywhere locally to buy high quality raw honey, please feel free to click on the link above. Desert Creek has an online presence and ships all over the US.    (They aren’t sponsoring me to say that. I just like helping others out when I can.)


Growing Conditions DO Matter!

I know that you’ve heard me talk about it before…the Young Living Seed to Seal Commitment.  It’s because quality really does matter.  Young Living is very particular with the way they grow and cultivate their herbs for essential oil production.  They believe that these plants should be grown on virgin, uncontaminated land.  Lands that are free of chemical herbicides, fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides; far away from interstates, large heavily populated cities, factories, and nuclear plants!

The soil nourished with minerals, organic mulch, and enzymes in order to produce healthy robust plants that will yield higher quality oils.  The crops should be watered with deep well, watershed, or reservoir water.  (Mountain streams would be ideal with their high mineral content.) Municipally treated water should be avoided due to it’s ability to introduce unwanted chemical residues into the plants contaminating their essential oils.
The plant variety also matters!  Only plants that produce the highest quality essential oils should be selected!

Harvest time is one of the most important factors in the production of high quality essential oils. The season and time of day can play a critical role in whether the oil yield is of the best or substandard quality.  This difference in quality can literally be determined by just a few hours!  Take for example, German Chamomile harvested in the morning hours will produce an oil with far more azulene (a powerful compound that promotes a healthy inflammation response) than German Chamomile harvested in the late afternoon! How crazy is that??  Season and time of day aren’t the only factors to be considered when harvesting for quality essential oils, amount of dew on the leaves, percentage of plants in bloom, and the weather conditions two weeks prior to harvesting also play critical roles in the process.

Distillery location is a critical factor in the production of high quality essential oil.  Making sure the distillery is located in close proximity to the fields where the herbs are grown prevents the plants from drying out prior to being distilled.  Another advantage to local distillation?  Minimizing the exposure to pollutants, dust, mold, and petrochemical residues!

These are all actions taken by Young Living to ensure the quality of their essential oil products!  They stand behind the products that they produce.  If it isn’t grown on a Young Living Farm, it’s grown on a Young Living Partner farm and must adhere to these same strict standards.  There is a reason that Young Living is the World Leader in Essential Oils.



Creamy Summer Zucchini Soup


2 – medium red or yellow onions, chopped
3 – tablespoons of real butter, melted
8 – medium-sized zucchini, sliced
3 cups of vegetable broth.
1 cup cashew milk or coconut milk
1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp black pepper
A pinch cayenne pepper

Sauté the onions in butter in a large sauce pan on medium heat until tender.
And zucchini and vegetable broth; and stir well.
Bring to boiling them cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the zucchini is tender.
Remove from heat. Pour the contents into a blender and purée.
Return the Puritan mixture into the sauce pan.
Add the cashew or coconut milk along with the salt nutmeg and peppers and continue to cook until heated through.


* optionally you can use 3 cups of chicken broth instead of the vegetable broth. You can also substitute a half a cup of half-and-half for the one cup of cashew or coconut milk.
If so desired you can add cheese for garnish.


Healthier Cosmetics

I love make up!  I don’t wear it all the time, but when I do wear it, I want to look my very best! I want to look good, but I don’t want to slather toxic chemicals on my skin!  I don’t want those chemicals being absorbed and wreaking havoc on my body, which is why I am very pick about the products I will use.  Some of the companies that I personally recommend and pick and choose products from are 100% Pure and Painted Earth.  However, my absolute favorite cosmetic line is sold through Young Living and called Savvy Minerals. If they carried all of the products that I needed I am confident that I would use Savvy Minerals exclusively!  Why?


The Savvy Minerals Foundation is a mineral based (unlike any other mineral make up I have ever used) powder with a lightweight texture and buildable formula that blends perfectly into skin for a natural radiant finish!  (*Tip if you need more coverage try adding the Misting Spray, misting your brush before applying the powder foundation) (Currently 10 skin tone options to choose from)

Savvy Minerals Eyeshadow is a rich buildable and blendable color to create a variety of looks! (Currently 10 shades)

Savvy Minerals Blush choose from 3 different soft color choices to bring an effortless, natural-looking flush to your cheeks.

Savvy Minerals Diamond Veil is a translucent powder that smooths and evens skin tone, absorbs oil, and adds a luminous finish (Can also be used as a highlighter)

Savvy Minerals Lipstick choose from 5 different shades for a smooth buildable and weightless lip color that is perfect for everyday use.

Savvy Mineras Lip Gloss or choose this peppermint infused super smooth lip color (4 to choose from) with high impact shine!

Savvy Minerals Eyeliner is a black powder based eyeliner that looks amazing and stays put when mixed with a small quantity of water.

Savvy Minerals Multitasker a multipurpose brown powder that can act as an eyebrow filler, eyeliner, or eye shadow.

Savvy Minerals Misting Spray is a pigment and particle controlling mist that perfectly compliments and sets mineral makeup for a flawless finish!!

Forgiveness and healing…..

Sometimes it takes a massive shakeup in your life for you to wake up and see the world in a different light.

Bitterness, anger, avoidance and combative behavior solves nothing. Being kind, empathetic, understanding, compassionate and generally a happy person can have a huge impact on you as well as those around you. Perhaps the hardest, yet most freeing thing you can do is learn to forgive and move forward. (Sometimes THAT seems impossible)

Forgiveness. Many people say that they have forgiven someone, yet every time that individual’s name comes up you can just hear the anger or sarcasm in their voice and their facial expression changes. Clearly, they haven’t reached a level of true forgiveness. And I get it. I’ve been there. I’ve been hurt and angry. I have said I have forgiven someone but deep down I was still holding onto what they did. I couldn’t let it go. But true forgiveness requires that you do just that. LET. IT. GO! (Anyone else see Elsa from Frozen after reading that?) It also allows you to move forward and believe it or not, heal. When you begin to heal it becomes the most freeing feeling. You can talk about and think about that individual without bitterness or anger. Sometimes, you can even talk TO that person again.

It is easy to give advice to others and tell them to get over it or be kind even when others are unkind to you, but until you are faced with that situation (especially an extremely difficult and hurtful one) you truly don’t understand just how hard that can be. I think it’s our human nature to retaliate and want to hurt others that hurt us! We want them to hurt because of the pain they caused us…BUT doesn’t that make us just as bad as them? It doesn’t solve anything (may make you feel better in the moment though, right?). In the long run, you won’t feel any better and you will actually do more damage to both YOUR physical and emotional wellbeing.

When you finally learn to forgive, let go, and move forward…one of two things will happen; either you will find a way to rebuild that relationship (depending on how important that person was in your life…in my case, my father) or you will be able to move forward and leave that relationship behind. Regardless, you will find peace. And man, that is a great feeling!

Pastor McReynold’s (my grandmother’s minister) once said, “So many people think that hate is the opposite of love, but they are wrong. The true opposite of love is apathy.” Those words are so true. Hate comes from being hurt and caring too much. Now, I’m not saying we should all become apathetic. I’m saying that once another person’s actions or behaviors no longer evoke strong emotions from you, you have achieved complete forgiveness and are able to move forward.

Being hurt really stinks, but unfortunately, most of us will experience it in our lifetimes…it’s part of being human. How we deal with that hurt helps to define who we become. I have chosen to be a kinder, gentler, more loving person. I will not let someone else’s behavior harden my heart. What will you choose to do?

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

I loved that song as a little girl; still do in fact.  When I was little, my mother used to sing “Somewhere over the Rainbow” to me almost every night before bed and I would drift off to sleep.  It’s very sweet memory, one I will cherish throughout my entire lifetime.  It is also a memory and tradition I passed down to my own children…we now sing it together on car rides and have created our own memories.

Music is an amazing concept that can evoke very strong emotions and elicit very strong memories. During times of sadness, darkness, or struggles…music can renew your spirit and help you find your way back to a happy place.  Ordinary songs can take on brand new meaning and can comfort you in ways that you never thought imaginable.  In fact there are numerous studies that have been conducted that have proven that listening to music has an effect on our health, both mental and physical.  How cool is that?? Music can alter our mental and physical states and help us to relax, relieve pain, lower stress level, blood pressure and more!

So, whatever your taste in music may be, turn it on and turn it up!



“Music can change the world because it can change people.”


Toxic People and Situations

We have all dealt with toxic people and situations in our lives. Some situations and individuals cause us more distress than others and can wreak havoc on our health and wellbeing if we allow them to. 

NEVER let these people or situations steal your joy or rob you of your self worth. When someone engages in immoral, unethical and just downright nasty behavior, it is a reflection of their character. Ultimately, God or Karma will be the judge and jury. It is not our job to pass that judgement. Your character will be defined by how you choose to handle the situation. Initially, we are inclined to lash out, that’s just human nature. We want to hurt those that have hurt us. However, when you take the time to really delve into the situation and realize that it is not you with the issues, but the other person, you begin to change your mindset and almost feel sorry for them and anyone who feeds into their twisted web of confusion and lies. You pray for their soul. 

I am not saying, by any means, that you should accept someone’s delusional behavior or twisted reality. I am not saying that you should allow their toxicity to infiltrate your life. What I am saying is that, if you are a person of faith, you should pray for them and those they have under their spell. You should forgive them for the emotional harm that they may have caused you, and you should distance yourself, for your own sanity and emotional wellbeing. (If you are not a person of faith, just learn to distance yourself from the negative behavior for your own health). 

*There are studies that show a correlation between holding on to hurt and anger to poor health, both physical and emotional.

Forgiveness, meditation, positive thoughts, and even prayer can go a long way in healing your damaged soul and heart. By forgiving, distancing yourself from toxic people & situations and letting go, you are allowing your body to let go of any anger or hurt and allowing joy and happiness back in.  🙂❤️