March 2014 Book of the Month – Cooked

The March Clean Eating book of the month is Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan. I give this book 5 out of 5 Strawberries!

5:5 Strawberries

It’s no secret that I have a food crush on Michael Pollan. I often call him my food guru. I write about how he convinced me to try eating meat again in The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals in this post. I realize that it’s not much of a surprise that I liked his most recent book, as I have liked all of his books. Although the picture of pasta on the cover did make me question whether or not this would be the first of Pollan’s books that I would not like ;-).  Allow me to share the reasons why I really liked Cooked.

 

The goal of this book is to help you see the value of cooking food for yourself in a world of short cuts, fast food restaurants, and microwaves. The book is organized into four parts: Fire, Water, Air, Earth. Part of what I love about Cooked is that Pollan takes a historical and cultural look into how humans have fed themselves since the beginning. Additionally he takes what he has learned and then tries it out for himself in his own kitchen. You gotta love a guinea pig!

The section on Air is really a section on fermentation and bacteria. He discusses the work of Sandor Katz [pretty much the godfather of fermentation, his bible is The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from around the World] and he discusses the work of Sister Noella Marcellino, a raw cheesemaker and holds a Ph.D. in microbiology. perhaps I found this section the most fascinating because of my studies and work as a nutrition consultant. Here is quote showing the immense importance and need for probiotics in our diet: “Probiotics-beneficial bacteria ingested either in fermented foods or in supplements- have been shown to: calm the immune system and reduce inflammation; shorten the duration and severity of colds in children; relieve diarrhea and irritable bowl syndrome; reduce allergic responses, including asthma; stimulate the immune response; possibly reduce the risk of certain cancers; reduce anxiety; prevent yeast infections; diminish levels of E. coli 0157:H7 in cattle and salmonella in chickens; and improve the health and function of the gut epithelium. (Pollan, 2013, p.335)”.

I hope you’ll check out this book and the Cooked four part series on Netflix.

YL Essential Oils + After Sun Care

Hey Oily friends!

While on vacation in Cabo San Lucas a few months back, I got a bit too much sun. Uh-oh!

While my goals are always to get a healthy amount of safe sun exposure so that I can make vitamin D, I also try to avoid getting too much sun. I usually try to stay in shaded areas as much as possible and then apply sunscreen when I can’t avoid the sun. Everyone has a system that works for them, and this works for me. Well most of the time. [Insert guilty face here ;-).]

I researched oils to help with my sunburn and luckily enough I had brought some oil blends with me on vacation that would help with After Sun Care. In my daily moisturizer I had frankincense, lavender, geranium, and tea tree. And in my radiation blend were oils, that, Duh!, help with burns. (I rub this blend on my skin that has gone through radiation treatment and after all, radiation is essentially a sunburn to the deeper tissues.) My radiation blend has: melaleuca quinquenervia, melrose, German chamomile, lavender, and coconut oil (and it would have Roman chamomile if it was ever it stock!). I applied the lotion and the radiation blend to the sunburned areas and within a day, I was back on track. The skin wasn’t red or irritated and it healed really well. And an obvious bonus here: there wasn’t any “junk” in my after sun care!

Fast forward to present day. This past weekend, while training for my Avon 39 Mile walk, I thought I put on enough sunscreen, but there was one part of my shoulder that still got sunburned. Since I am home and have access to all my oils, I didn’t have to improvise. I made an After Sun Care Rollerball and my sunburn is loving it!

I added about 10 drops of lavender, tea tree, and helichrysum and then about 7-8 drops of peppermint and frankincense. I filled the rest of the rollerball up with coconut oil.

I have been applying the blend at least twice per day. The sunburn is fading and the skin is feeling much less irritated.

As always, be sure to test these oils before using them on a sunburn.

Have you used any oils for After Sun Care? What are your successes?

Happy SUMMER!

Hugs & Health <3,
Katie

YL Essential Oils + Body Wash

After deciding to add essential oils to my unscented body lotion [recipe located here], the next step to upping my skincare routine was reevaluating my body wash, hand soap, and shave cream (and dishsoap too!).

Again, part of the reason why I’m using essential oils is to limit the amount of toxins that I’m exposed to everyday by choosing more natural alternatives to support my health. There are things out of my control (like the air I breathe), but there are things within my control that I can improve (like the foods I eat and what I put on my body). Because your skin is your largest organ and because it absorbs what we put on it, I needed to change the products that I use in my skincare routine each and every day. Artificial fragrances are on the top of my chopping block. I
n addition to avoiding the artificial junk, I wanted to start trying out oils that can support healthy skin.

I know many people like to just buy ready made body wash, hand soap, and shave cream. Other “oily folks” prefer to make it all from homemade ingredients. For me, I wanted something in the “Goldliocks” zone, not too much work and not too expensive. Dr. Bronner’s seemed like a great place to start. I’ve seen this this very wordy bottle of soap in health food stores for years and just never tried it out. A friend finally convinced me. 🙂

Here are the main reasons I like it: 1) It’s been made in the good ol’ USA since 1948 by a family of soapmakers that has been making soap since 1858. 2) There are 9 ingredients and they are regular old ingredients (hemp oil, jojoba oil, water, etc.). 3) They use organic and fair trade ingredients (although not all of the ingredients are both organic and fair trade). 4) It’s economical. 5) It’s multi-use. They claim 18 uses; I’m currently using it for 4 things.

Here’s what I’ve been trying out:

  1. For a full bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Castille soap, I add about 10-15 drops each of lavender, geranium, tea tree, and frankincense. Then shake like crazy to mix!
  2.  The options for fragrance combinations are endless. I choose oils that are good for skin and antimicrobial/antibacterial. Some other options would be lemon/citrus*, purification, thyme, thieves, melissa, and cinnamon bark.

* Citrus oils can begin to deteriorate plastics, so if using lemon or citrus oils, be sure that the soap is not being stored in a plastic container.

I would recommend testing oils and the soap first before using this all over.

Let me know if you try adding essential oils to your bodywash and how you like it.

Hugs & Health <3,
Katie

YL Essential Oils + Body Lotion

Hey Oily friends!

If you’re like me, one of the reasons why you decided to try Young Living essential oils was to reduce the toxins that you are exposed to in your everyday life. For me, that means reevaluating the products I use in my skincare routine each and every day. And artificial fragrances are on the top of my chopping block. In addition to avoiding the artificial junk, I wanted to start trying out oils that can support healthy skin.

I know many people like to just buy ready made body lotions. Others prefer to make it all from homemade ingredients. For me, I wanted something in the “Goldliocks” zone, not too much work and not too expensive. Here’s what I’ve been trying out:

1. For a full bottle of lotion, I add about 10-15 drops each of lavender, geranium, and frankincense. Then shake like crazy to mix!

2. Here’s a new recipe I’m trying: For a full bottle of lotion: 10-15 drops of lavender, geranium, and frankincense, and then 5-10 drops of peppermint, tea tree, and rosemary. Again, shake like crazy to mix! 🙂

I like this lotion because it’s fair trade, lightweight, and paraben free, but I’m sure you could add these oils to other lotions that work well for you. I would recommend only using oils that agree with you before you lather it on. 🙂

Let me know if you try an essential oil blend in your lotion and how you like it.

Hugs & Health <3,
Katie