lavender flowers


Lavender love!
Want to stay  healthy during cold and flu season? Here are some helpful ways to use lavender to fight off all those yucky germs lurking everywhere this time of year:

1. Make your own hand sanitizer

– In a leak proof  bottle combine 1 tablespoon aloe vera gel, 3 tablespoons grain alcohol and 10 drops lavender essential oil. Shake thoroughly and use liberally throughout the day.

2. Direct use

–   By placing a few drops of lavender oil on the skin several times per day, the immune system will be ready to tackle cold bugs and flu viruses.

3. Antiseptic soap

– Washing your hands frequently is one of the best way to prevent illness. To take it up a notch, use lavender oil to make a natural germicidal soap. In a mixing bottle, add 20 drops of lavender essential oil per 8 ounces neutral liquid soap (such as castile). Shake vigorously to combine. Transfer to a hand soap dispenser and use frequently.

4. Disinfectant

– Use lavender essential oil as a disinfectant spray!  This will help keep your environment free of breeding pathogens. Add 40 drops of the oil to a spray bottle and fill with 2 cups water. Shake
well before each use. Use it to spray countertops, toilet seats,handles and doorknobs as well as cell phones and other high traffic surfaces.

5. Air sanitation

– This is a simple practice which minimizes infectious disease at home or in the office. By placing several drops of lavender oil in a pot of simmering water or use a nebulizer you will disinfect the air naturally and your immune system will get a boost! Diffuse for about 30 minutes.



How to eat clean during the holidays

It’s holiday season once again! Is it just me or does it seem like from Halloween to New Year’s it’s just one eating temptation after another?  It can be super difficult to resist the abundance of holiday goodies that pop up around this time of year. Here are some strategies that always seem to help me stay on track:

  • ALWAYS eat something before going to a holiday party. The plates of appetizers and dessert trays will be far less appealing if you eat a healthy meal at home beforehand. Even if you just have a protein bar in the car on the way there, that’s better than going to the party hungry.
  • Watch the alcohol intake. You can pack on serious calories with alcohol. And it’s not just obvious things like eggnog. Beer, wine and mixed drinks are all loaded with calories. If you really want to have a drink then consider it a cheat and have just ONE light beer or wine spritzer. Try to avoid drinking alcoholic beverages for the rest of the week.
  • When attending a holiday meal with family and friends, offer to bring something. I think people actually appreciate having a healthy alternative to all the junk that’s usually served at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Most people won’t even realize it’s a clean item!
  • Avoid “emotional eating”! It’s stressful this time of year with all the shopping,  expenses, visiting relatives, finding the perfect gift, traveling, etc.  Many times when we’re stressed we overeat and don’t even realize what we’re putting in our mouths. Find some time to relax with a cup of tea, meditate for 10 minutes or call a friend who always makes you laugh.
  • Keep up with your exercise routine! I know it’s tough this time of year to fit in exercise with the gazillion other things there are to do. Even if you just walk a few times a week, that’s better than nothing.
  • Weigh yourself daily. Some people advise against this but I’ve found it’s the best way to keep myself in check. It’s too easy to go into denial mode and simply ignore the scale. Seriously, wouldn’t you rather know NOW if you’re starting to gain weight rather than discovering in January that you’ve packed on 10 pounds?

Remember, it’s okay to indulge a bit every once in awhile. Life isn’t supposed to feel like deprivation – you’re allowed to enjoy yourself.  By practicing awareness while eating, you’ll not only get more pleasure out of eating, you’ll eat less as well!



how to keep it clean


How do YOU “keep it clean”? We have all developed strategies for maintaining our clean eating way of life. I have found that sometimes it ends up being the smallest tricks that keep me on the path of healthy eating. Some tips that have helped me tremendously throughout the years include:

– No eating after 8:00. I simply tell myself the kitchen is closed and I don’t go in there. If I absolutely MUST have something I drink a cup of peppermint tea. I’m not even sure why this works but it seems to help calm my food cravings in the evening.

– Get adequate sleep. This is a biggie. When I’m tired from lack of sleep I tend to eat the wrong things and at the wrong time. I also tend to graze more when I’m tired. Go to bed!

– ALWAYS eat breakfast. think about it this way: You’ve just gone several hours without eating. You need to eat something shortly after waking up. Skipping breakfast is like saying you’re going to drive from Florida to Texas without putting gas in the car. Even if it’s just a piece of toast with a bit of peanut butter, that’s better than nothing. Eating breakfast will also prevent you from overeating at lunchtime. Eat!

– Include protein at all meals and snacks. Protein makes you feel full! Great protein sources (in addition to meat) include nuts, Greek yogurt, cheese and eggs.

– Replace soda and juice with water. This is one of the best things you can do for your body. We all need to consume lots of water to aid digestion, flush out toxins, and stay hydrated throughout the day. Sodas and fruit juice are full of sugar and chemicals that do not belong in the human body. If you already have a serious soda addiction try gradually replacing one can of soda a day with a glass of  water. Then work up to replacing two cans a day with two glasses of water, and so on. You’ll feel so much better after you rid yourself of soda!

What tips help you to stay with your clean eating lifestyle?


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Gluten free, vegetarian and economical! This simple, tasty dessert costs just 41 cents per serving to make!


2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp crushed cardamom seeds

4 bananas, cut in half lengthwise

2 tsp unsalted butter

1/4 cup orange juice


Combine brown sugar and cardamom and mix thoroughly. Set bananas on large plate, cut side up. Sprinkle sugar cardamom mixture over bananas, pressing down to help mixture adhere.

Heat 12 inch skillet over high heat and add butter. Swirl to coat pan. Add bananas, cut side down, and cook for 1 minute. While bananas are cooking, sprinkle with any remaining  sugar cardamom mixture. Turn bananas over and cook for about 15 more seconds. Remove from skillet and divide among 4 plates, browned cut sides up.

Pour juice into skillet, stir for about 10 seconds to collect any browned bits on bottom of pan. Pour over bananas and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional information (per serving): Calories: 146, Fat: 2 g., Protein: 2 g., Fiber: 3 g., Sodium: 2 mg.