Thoughtful Thursday

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Many Uses of Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar has become the latest buzz with all of it’s health benefits. Growing up, it was a staple in our house. My mom would use it to make delicious foods and salads, color Easter eggs (my favorite thing to do, although I remember not liking the smell too much) and to clean just about anything. There really wasn’t anything that vinegar couldn’t do.

Apple Cider Vinegar is made from fermented ripe apples. Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar, which is cloudy and has cobweb looking pieces in the bottle contain lots of gut friendly bacteria and is often referred to as “The Mother.” The unfiltered variety is considered to be the most nutritious.

Studies have shown that it can help with weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, reduce cholesterol, improve heart health, improve skin health, detoxify the body, reduce dandruff, clean and disinfect fruits and vegetables, soothe sunburns and the list goes on.

Too much vinegar however can cause nausea, itching, sore throat, head aches, loss of tooth enamel to name a few. It can also adversely interact with medications.

I believe that moderation is the key to success with any health regime you start. But always check with your doctor/health practitioner before starting anything new to make sure it’s right for you.

“Nature itself, is the best physician.” ~Hippocrates

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Thoughtful Thursday

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Soap Nuts

Soap nuts, also known as Sapindus mukorossi are native to India and Nepal. They are not nuts, but actually a fruit, a berry to be specific. However, when you dry them, it forms a hard outer shell that looks like a nut. The shell contains saponin, a natural detergent. Saponin gets released when the shell absorbs water, it also softens your clothes. Soap nuts are a great alternative for people with allergies who need a chemical free detergent.

To use soap nuts you would need to put about 4-6 of them in a muslin bag and then toss it in your washing machine with your laundry. If you prefer a scent just add essential oils to the muslin bag before tossing them in. Soap nuts don’t create a lot of bubbles and can be used several times before they break down. They are very eco friendly and cost effective!

You can also use soap nuts to make facial washes, shampoos and natural soaps. I found quite a few site online that sell soap nuts. So I’m going to buy some and see how it goes.

 

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

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Thoughtful Thursday

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Choices

I think we can all agree, 2020 is a year we will not soon forget. But the New Year has begun and it’s filled with endless possibilities. More importantly these possibilities will be a direct result of the choices that are made.

When you think about it, our lives all boil down to the choices we’ve made through the years. There are the good choices we’ve made when everything was simply peachy. Then there are those choices that when we look back, we question what the heck were we thinking at that time. It would be great if we had a crystal ball to see how things would turn out based on our choices. But where’s the fun in that?

I strongly feel that in the “not so great choices that are made” are important lessons to be learned. Sometimes the lessons are revealed quickly while other times, it just takes a while before it shows itself to you.

Make 2021 a Great Year! Be patient and kind to yourself, as well as with others. Do the best that you can. When faced with adversity, take a minute to breathe deep before responding harshly. Make the choice to have a positive enlightening day! Turn those days into a week, month and year!!

“May your choices reflect your hopes not your fears.” Nelson Mandela

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Thoughtful Thursday

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Holiday Indulging

The holiday season is a very special time of year for celebration and good cheer with those you love. But they also can be tough for many reasons and this year goes without saying. I’m always looking for the silver lining in the cloud and I’ve found that for me, all this craziness has meant more time with my family. So tomorrow night we’re doing a little bit of baking, something we haven’t done for the last several years.

I’m not sure how you do with indulging in holiday treats but I know at this stage in my life, the weight goes on quickly and fairly easily but is hard to get off. Sometime it seems like I just look at the sweets and the weight goes on, lol. But seriously, the holidays only come once a year and this year, I’ve decided it’s okay to indulge a little. Now, I’m not going gung ho and eating an entire batch of cookies but I’m definitely going to savor each bite enjoy a few.

The more you avoid something you really want, the more likely you are to binge eat. So having a few sweet treats is acceptable and should be enjoyed guilt free! But then just make sure you get back on track to eating healthy again and exercising if possible.

To compensate for my indulgences, I’m planning on running an extra mile here and there but nothing crazy. So my words of wisdom to you are enjoy this special time of year with loved ones and really cherish these special moments together, and “ENJOY” your holidays treats because I’m sure they’re well deserved!

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Thoughtful Thursday

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Holiday Essential Oil Blends

Aromatherapy is defined as the use of fragrances to affect or alter a person’s mood. And it does just that. Smelling a fragrant essential oil can completely change your mood. Some fragrances may even transport you back in time to a wonderful memory.

There are a lot of synthetic ways to bring fragrance into your home but most are loaded with harmful chemicals. Not to mention a lot of people can’t tolerate them and that’s where aromatherapy is a blessing because it’s natural.

Essential oils are a great way to add a nice fragrance to your home with a room diffuser. There are a lot of different blends. If you’re not sure where to start, I found a great website EssentialOilHaven.com hosted by Emma. Below are her 12 Favorite Holiday Blends. Now you can also create your blend. You just need to experiment a little and find what speaks to you. But at least you have a place to start.

12 Christmas Diffuser Blend Recipes

My favorite scents for the holidays are cinnamon and pine. I’ve been enjoying sipping Cinnamon Chai Tea and smelling the fragrant pine from our Christmas tree. It really gets you in a great mood for the holidays!

Would love to hear from you. What’s your favorite holiday scent?

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Thoughtful Thursday

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Treasure the Moments

The holidays themselves can be rather stressful, throw our unusual circumstances into the mix and it can easily become mega stressful. But this season, I’m finding the utmost joy in the little things.

I’m slowing down and simply enjoying being in the moment with my family. I’m making the time to bake cookies and cakes which is something I wasn’t able to do last year. I’m watching lots of holiday “feel good” movies and reading really good books. I’ve been playing a lot of holiday music, singing and bopping along as I work throughout the day which makes everything more fun 😊

My creative mind has been hard at work. Instead of buying all store bought gifts, I’m coming up with creative ways to make some unique handmade gifts. I’m even getting back to basics with giftwrapping and using brown craft paper nicely decorated with bakers twine and pine greens.

By slowing down and simply savoring each moment, it has made life more calm. I’m very grateful for that. I plan on capturing lots of special moments with my camera this year, so I can look back and always remember the love I share with my family.

What will you do to find the joy in all the treasured moments this year?

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Thoughtful Thursday

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Happy Thanksgiving!

It has been one heck of year and we have all been through a lot. But we have so much to be grateful for. I’m grateful for my family and friends and all of you! Thank you for your love and support, it is so greatly appreciated!

I wish you a very Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!

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Thoughtful Thursday

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10 Essentials Oils for Colds and Flu

When I start to feel a little off, I always turn to my essential oils. They’re my first line of defense against colds or flu. Essential oils have wonderful therapeutic properties and help shorten the duration of the illness when used at the first signs of symptoms including itchy eyes, sore throat, cough, sneezing and mild fever or just the general overall feeling of being unwell.

My favorite way to use essential oils when I start to get sick is through steam inhalation in the shower or bath or by using a diffuser. You can rub some blends directly on your skin, however you need to use caution because they can be irritating to some. Also, if you are pregnant you should consult your doctor before using essential oils.

  • Basil – useful in treating colds, aches and pains
  • Bergamot – useful in treating fevers and coughs
  • Cinnamon – useful in treating colds, flu, coughs and viral infections
  • Clove – useful as an analgesic and antiseptic
  • Eucalyptus – useful in treating sore throats, coughs, sinusitis, aches, pains and as an antiseptic
  • Lavender – useful in treating colds, flu, coughs, sinus congestion
  • Peppermint – useful in treating fevers, flu and can ease breathing
  • Sandalwood – useful in treating colds
  • Tea Tree – useful in treating colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections
  • Thyme – useful in treating bacterial and viral infections also helps to boost immunity

There are many books and online resources for finding oil blends but I recently came across a great book by Stephanie Gerber titled “Essential glow.” Below are a few of her recipes and I encourage you to check out her site at HellowGlow.com

11 Essential Oil Diffuser Blends for Cold + Flu Season

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Thoughtful Thursday

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The Benefits of Exercise

I wake up groggy like most and go through my morning routine, sometimes half asleep. But before I do any work of any kind, I work my body. I do 30 minute weight training and 30 minute cardio either on the elliptical or outside for a walk, weather permitting. On the days I don’t do my workout, it takes me longer to get going.

My morning workout literally crank starts my engine. It gets my blood flowing and my mind starts to click along. Exercising increases your energy levels too. It also helps you feel better and puts you in a better mood to start your day. Working out tones your muscles and helps build bone density and helps you avoid injuries by maintaining your strength. Plus it helps with weight loss and to get a better night of sleep.

Now I’m not saying you have to workout for an hour a day. For some that’s too much and for others, it’s not enough. You need to create a workout routine that works for you. It doesn’t need to be complicated with lots of equipment. You can do yoga, sit ups, push ups or walk in place to name a few. Make it easy so you’ll do it and stick with it. If you have limitations, there is a lot of information available online for doing modified exercises. Before starting any new exercise routine you should consult with your doctor or health practitioner. Just moving your body for 5 minutes a day will benefit you greatly and make you feel good!

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Thoughtful Thursday

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Plant Based Diet

Five years ago, I was a pretty big meat eater. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted. I thought I ate healthy for the most part but as the years rolled by, things slowly started to go wrong. Looking around at everyone else, I thought this is how it’s supposed to be. This is what happens when you get older. But every now and then, I’d see an older person who was not the norm. They looked great, were in shape and had their wits about them. I thought Wow! They must have good genes because they weren’t like everyone else.

Then one day, my kids thought it’d be fun to gross me out by having me watch Food Inc. Great documentary by the way, but it definitely changes your perspective on food. After seeing it, I went even more organic than I already was with my diet and thought I was safe but more problems started showing up like joint pain, weight gain, the never ending cold/flu that would last for 2-3+ weeks when the season would come around, fatigue and head aches to name a few.

The cherry on the cake was when I developed sciatica. This was extremely painful. On a scale of 1 to 10, my pain was at 18. I was bed ridden for 2.5 months. I could barely walk, had to eat standing because I couldn’t sit down. I saw the chiropractor and physical therapist 3-4 times every week with little or no improvement.

I was getting desperate as the pain was unbearable and I’d search the internet on my phone in bed on how to alleviate sciatica. One of the things I found was that meat along with other certain foods, makes the body acidic and worsens the pain. So I decided to go cold turkey, no pun intended, and eat only plant based foods. I had very little appetite because of the excruciating pain and for over 2 months I lived on vegan shakes. Everyday I would have 1 plant based protein shake and 2 raw plant based shakes.

Then a funny thing started to happen. I began improving. The pain lessened and I lost weight! I lost a total of 25 pounds in that 2.5 month period with no exercise at all, just changing my diet. I felt so much better. Then just as I was getting back to my normal self, we were going to be hit by a hurricane which can be a little stressful and I resorted back to my old eating habits of meat, cheese, etc. It only took 2 days, and pain started to return. There was no way I was going back to that! I immediately started eating a vegan diet again and never looked back.

It’s been over 3 years now since I went vegan and all of my symptoms are pretty much gone. The weight stayed off, I rarely have headaches, the joint pain is gone, I have more energy and the fog lifted from my brain. Now when I get a cold, I get very mild symptoms and just feel a little off for about 2 -3 days instead of becoming really sick and feeling miserable for 2-3+ weeks like before.

Being vegan is not for everyone. We are so programmed from birth to eat the meat, dairy products and sugary processed foods that we think we can’t survive without them. But I’m living proof you can. Even if you only replace 1 meal a day with a vegan one, you’ll notice improvements in your body and how your feel. You can also replace dairy with plant based products that taste really good.

I think we all pretty much know how to eat more healthy but choose not to and that’s okay too. But I know for me, I didn’t want to spend the later years of my life in pain or with limited mobility and being stuck with constant doctor visits and lots of prescription medications. I want to enjoy life to the very end with strength, vigor and vitality!

If you want to give it a try but don’t know where to start, Forks Over Knives has a website with lots of information and recipes. They also publish a quarterly magazine full of delicious plant based recipes and success stories to inspire you which can be found in most grocery stores.

So ask yourself, what is it going to take for you to change your diet and eat more healthy?

Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food.” – Hippocrates

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