Category Archives Food
Today, I would like to discuss the use of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy to treat stress. We spoke about Lavender before and today I would like to discuss this remarkable gift from nature even more.
Everyone from time to time goes through stressful times. We have all been there. Whether it is something temporary–such as worrying about a car repair or an upcoming test, or longer lasting such as an unhappy relationship, financial troubles, etc.–stress affects our bodies on so many levels. Holiday time, while a time of happiness, can also be a stress-inducer.
If I were to ask you what the main symptom of stress is in terms of health, you might say “a headache.” Tension headaches are a very common sign. Other signs, though, is a rapid heart rate, an increase in blood sugar levels, decreased energy, skin troubles ranging from paleness to breakouts, insomnia, and depression.
When I am stressed out, my skin just looks tired. My heart will race. My shoulders will tense up and have knots. I think we’ve all experiences these symptoms before. Then there’s insomnia. If I am stressed, I go to bed and then my mind starts zooming from issue to issue and I cannot relax. Then I worry that I’ll be tired the next day for not sleeping well. It’s quite a cycle. It’s at that time when I experience those symptoms that I realize I really need to get more in touch with my tranquil side once again.
Using Essential Oils can help relieve the symptoms of stress and find our way back to that peaceful and relaxed state. Ideally, you’ll also be using exercise, meditation, and healthy eating to help things along as well.
The most well known oil for relaxation and stress relief is Lavender.
It is, perhaps, the most well known of the Essential Oils.
Lavender, or Lavandula Angustifolia, is commonly grown throughout Europe, particularly in Bulgaria, France, and England. It can be grown here, though. I live in New York and our climate really isn’t the best for growing an abundance of beautiful lavender. That is not to say it cannot be done, though. This fragrant herb is just lovely. It works well on its own or can be used in blends to enchance its effects. I actually have some in my summer garden.
Lavender, though, does much more than smell nice. A scientific research team at Texas A & M University conducted a study to measure a human’s response to odor. Study participants were asleep and given EEG tests. This study was conducted in 1992 and had interesting results. It showed that Lavender Essential Oil essentially lulled the participants to sleep sooner.
Lavender, though, isn’t the only beneficial Essential Oil when it comes to relaxation.
Chamomile is another. Chamomile, or Anthemis Nobilis, is distilled from dried flowers of the chamomile plant. Its usage dates back to ancient Egypt. Chamomile usually is found in England, North America and in most southern parts of Europe. You often hear people saying to have some chamomile tea if you need to relax a bit. Why? This Essential Oil has been shown to calm nervous personalities, anger and irritability, and anxiety. It is very soothing. I’ll talk more about this another week, but just as it calms the mood, it calms even troubled skin.
Lemon Essential Oil is another relaxing oil. This is surprising to many people, as Lemon (Citrus Limonum) can also be energizing. When combined with other Essential Oils, it can be wonderfully stress-relieving. It improves mental clarity and can even “lift” heavy emotions when used in conjunction with oils in a blend. Lemon calm help relieve the symptoms of tension and migraine headaches as well. Lemon Essential Oil originated in India.
Ginger (Zingiber Officinale) is said to have originated in India. It also comes from the West Indies, Africa, and China. This warming oil is often used to treat muscle aches and pains and I have personally found it helpful to me when I had knots in my shoulder blades and back and need to relax and de-stress. I have found it to be particularly helpful in a recipe I am going to share with you today down below.
Cedarwood is another beneficial oil, but isn’t talked about as much as the others. Cedarwood, or Cedrus Atlantica, is commonly grown in Morocco, among other countries in the area. While it is woodsy and not something you’d think of as a relaxing oil, it actually is known by aromatherapists as a gentle sedative and can help to calm symptoms of anxiety.
How can you reap the benefits of the Essential Oils I have mentioned?
You can gently and carefully add some of them to a handkerchief and take a small sniff. You can put some in a carrier oil and apply a dab or two to the skin. Personally, I like an aromatherapy spray.
*Today I would like to share a recipe with you. It is a relatively simply do it yourself project with a handful of ingredients. This is a pillow mist and body spray. It’s one I came up with using stress-relieving essential oils combined into a synergistic blend and will provide the great benefits of aromatherapy.
You can spray this right on your linens. I spray it on my pillowcases, sheets, and curtains. I spray it on unscented dryer sheets and even place it underneath my mattress pad. This recipe is gentle, so you can even spritz a bit on (spot test for sensitivity first, please) and enjoy its effects.
One of my favorite relaxation ideas is to spray this on my towels, pop them in the dryer while I am in the tub, and then when I come out I have warm towels and aromatherapy.
Here is the recipe:
2 ounces of distilled water
2 ounces of witch hazel
15 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops lemon essential oil
10 drops ginger essential oil
4-5 drops Cedarwood Essential Oil
Combine in a bottle. This makes just over 4 ounces. You can divide it into 1 ounce or 2 ounce bottles with misting spray tops.
*Another favorite means of relaxation: add some lavender sprigs to a small sauce pan of honey and simmer for about 20 minutes. Then pour into airtight canning jars. I actually made a bunch of jars and will give some in Christmas baskets full of handmade goodies. I like Buckwheat honey, but there are so many other lovely varieties. It takes hardly and time and VOILA! — lavender infused honey. It tastes particularly delicious in Chamomile tea. If you recall from above, this herb is great for R & R, too!
*Make sure you’re using your favorite (seed) products infused with lavender as well to help unwind and de-stress. In addition, why not make a little R & R basket for your gift recipients? Body products from (seed) are affordably priced, high quality gifts! Put our lavender products in a gift basket with some herbal tea and maybe a pair of slippers and you’ll have a fabulous gift to give someone who needs some stress reduction!
Enjoy…and be well rested!
You’ve heard the term before: “antioxidant”. From skin care advertisements to healthy living magazines, the term is used often. Most of us, though, aren’t 100% sure about what the hoopla is over.
Antioxidants are found in food and in skin care, but do you know exactly what they do? Let’s learn more about one of the most potent ingredients from nature. This is a two-part post, with today’s being about antioxidants and our skin. Look for a post aout the health benefits of antioxidants in our next post.
Think of the term “antioxidant” as a shield against harmful flying objects. In reality, these “flying objects” are free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that cause tissue damage and aging. These could be things such as cigarette smoke, radiation, UV rays, pesticides, various drugs, smog, and other forms of environmental pollution.
The result of these free radicals? Skin sallowness, skin sagging, lost of firmness, and increase in fine lines.
Picture these harmful things flying at you, swirling around. Antioxidants will help shield you from harm, essentially. Think of them as superheroes! They are special molecules that can help stop those free radicals–they can neutralize their effects. Antioxidants are working hard to protect your skin and shield it from harm. They help to protect vulnerable skin cells.
That is why the use of antioxidants in skin care is so important. Antioxidants aren’t just a buzz word. They really are little superheroes, helping to protect our skin. Antioxidant protection is a key benefit of seedology®.
Would you believe that a tiny little seed is packed full of antioxidant powers? Amazingly, seeds are amazing sources of antioxidants. In fact, the seed-based ingredients we use in our products contain antioxidant benefits. Take a look:
Grape Seeds: this highly sustainable seed (a byproduct of the winemaking process) is rich in antioxidants like Vitamin E, a known nutrient to help diminish the signs of aging. Grape seed oil is rich in lineoleic essential fatty acids and phtyosterols. And, it feels great — wonderfully light, it absorbs quickly, and offers moisturization.
Sunflower Seeds: Rich in sesamol, an antioxidant for minimizing sun damage, it is also rich in oleic essential fatty acid and phytosterols, which plumps the skin, and makes it look healthy.
Jojoba Seeds: A long chain fatty acid, which is close to human oils, jojoba seed oil is actually a wax ester that creates a moisture barrier on the skin, protecting your soft, healthy hands from frequent hand washing.
Pomegranate, Apricot, and Strawberry Seeds: Natural seed exfoliants that slough off dry, dead skin, these refined seeds work to revive your skin while using our gently exfoliating body soap.
Acai, Passion Flower, and Rice Bran Seeds: a proprietary mix of these seed nutrients offer our shampoo bar the ability to rinse your hair clean.
Nature provides us with so many potent ingredients. Antioxidants are a true gift from nature and you can feel confident knowing that (seed) products provide your skin with these amazingly protective benefits.
I have been familiar with what it means to be gluten-free for quite some time now. Many years ago, before the condition was well known, my Aunt Joan was diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease. Her symptoms were severe and truly impacted her quality of life.
Once she knew what the culprit was–gluten–she was able to get her health back on track. And I will be the first to admit that the only time I really gave a thought to “Gluten Free” was when Aunt Joan was in town and I was making a dish to pass.
Over the years, though, paying close attention to food ingredients in skincare has been something I have really had my finger on. I told you a few months back about my own son’s milk allergy. Thankfully, he did outgrow it. Now, though, I have been experiencing some issues of my own when it comes to food and food ingredients.
For instance, I had quite a reaction to clams a few weeks back. My whole body broke out in hives. I itched from head to toe. My tongue even swelled. My doctor told me to avoid clams, mussels, and similar forms of shellfish for good. It took Benadryl and a steroid to give me relief.
I also have been very sensitive to wheat. I have not experienced a true allergic reaction to wheat the way I did to clams, but whenever I consume products with wheat and other grains (such as rye), I feel poorly–bloating, brain “fog”, regular headaches, etc. In March, I eliminated gluten from my diet and the difference has really been amazing. I haven’t had a single headache, I have lost weight, my skin has been radiant, and I don’t feel exhausted. No more tummy aches, bloating, or flustered feeling either! My doctor said that I am gluten-sensitive and she is right. I have seen the amazing difference in how I feel since eliminating Gluten.
Since I have long been a believer in what you put ON your skin gets into your bloodstream, I decided that I would go gluten free with my skincare routine as well. They say that 60% of the personal care products you apply are absorbed into your bloodstream and I believe it. Think about it– if you are applying a lipstick or a lip balm and you should avoid gluten, you will inadvertently be tasting that gluten while the product is on your lips.
We are so happy that we can offer you effective, 100% natural body care products free of gluten.
What are people saying about our products?
Now that I have gone completely gluten free, I am always looking for advice on your favorite makeup items and other products (like toothpaste) that are free of gluten. Red Apple Lipstick makes some nice gluten-free lip products. Do you have a favorite? Let me know!
SHop the (seed) Market for our complete line of gluten free body care products today: Click to shop.
Hello friends. With this week full of tragedy, I thought I would share a “comfort food” recipe with you.
I LOVE chocolate pudding. I love, love, love it.
Most chocolate puddings use dairy milk. If you are vegan, try this recipe for a yummy chocolate chia pudding.
Chia seed is actually VERY healthy for you. It is very high in fiber and has a very large amount of Omega-3
First off, I went to Wegmans and bought myself a package of Bob’s Red Mill Chia Seed. If you’re local, I found them in the Nature’s Marketplace section at our local store for $6.99.
I also found a recipe on another food blog called Food Doodles. The simple and healthy recipe I am going to share below is originally from Love Veggies and Yoga. I tweaked it a bit for my own taste buds. Here is what I did:
2 T. chia seeds
1/2 cup Almond Breeze UNSWEETENED Chocolate Almond Milk
2 packets of Stevia in the Raw Zero Calorie All Natural Sweetener (I get a weird aftertaste from liquid Stevia and avoid it. I do not have this issue with Stevia in the Raw.)
1 T. Dutch process cocoa
1/2 t. pure vanilla extract
You combine all these together and let sit out for about 20 minutes. Then you whisk it up or even put it in the blended (my pick), leave it out and repeat the 20 minute wait. Put in the fridge for a few hours and it will thicken up. You can also freeze for a yummy treat on a hot day.
Here is my pudding before it has had time to set. It will thicken up–don’t worry!
Top with fresh berries and Voila!
Calories: Cocoa powder (12), Stevia (0), Vanilla Extract (6), chia seed (140), almond milk (22.5)
TOTAL CALORIES: 180.5 for the entire dessert, which is divided into 2 portions of 90 calories each.
We’ve spoken of our love for lavender before here on the (seed) blog–and with good reason. There are so many benefits of lavender, such as promoting a sense of relaxtion and calm.
At (seed), we really respect the benefits that lavender possesses. That is why we incorporate it into so many of our natural body care products. We use lavender oil in the (seed) Body Oil Relaxing Blend because of its stress-relieving properties. In our Relaxing Blend Body Lotion, lavender is combined with sage. Sage is shown to help clear the mind and lavender is known for its soothing of the senses. We also use lavender in our Relaxing Lavender Hand Cream, which I love because midway through the day I can get that burst of aromatherapy while I am softening my hands. It’s a great pick me up! You’ll also find lavender oil in our Relaxing Lavender Body Cream.
Our body cream is thick and rich without being greasy and it absorbs into your skin without feeling heavy. Your skin will feel pampered, soothed & nourished day after day. With grape seed oil and shea butter, our Relaxing Lavender Body Cream is just what your elbows, knees, and other areas in need of extra moisture.
We want you to experience the aromatherapy benefits of lavender and the benefits of seedology® in our body cream, so we have a fabulous lavender collection to tell you about” our Loving Lavender Variety Pack.
This collection includes three full sized items for just $26. Here is what is included:
- One (1) Body Cream Lavender 8 oz.
- One (1) Body Lotion Lavender Sage 8 oz.
- One (1) Healthy Hand Cream – Lavender 3.5 oz
Lavender is truly special! I’d like to share some of my other lavender favorites with you today.
I love a good book, and this book by Jeannie Ralston is wonderful. It is called The Unlikely Lavender Queen:
This chocolate bar is interesting, yet delicious! It is the Dagoba Organic Chocolate Lavender Blueberry Bar. I buy mine at Wegmans.
Lavender Mint Sparkling Water from Ayala’s is also a refreshing zero calorie drink!
Do you have lavender favorites? Share them with us!
We know that so many of you require foods and products that are gluten-free. That can sure be hard to accomplish! We have you covered when it comes to body care products here at (seed), but I was just thinking about how hard this could be when preparing an Easter dinner.
I looked around my favorite sites on the Internet looking for some Easter recipes to share. Here is a selection of my favorites:
Scalloped Pineapple (recipe from Rachel Young, the Glady Gluten Free blogger for Chicago Now)
4 cups gluten free bread, broken into chunks (Breadsmith’s gluten free white bread is perfect for this dish)
1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan shortening, melted
1 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup vanilla flavored almond milk (Soy or Rice milk can be used as well)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine bread, sugar, earth balance, and
eggs. Add pineapple and almond milk and pour into greased baking dish.
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until top appears golden.
Carrot Cake with “Cream Cheese” Frosting (from Tricia Goss, Yahoo! Contributor)
What would Easter dinner be without a decadent dessert? Enjoy this flavorful, spiced cake on any special occasion.
5 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups gluten-free flour mix
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
3 cups shredded carrots
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans or one 9 x 13 pan with nonstick cooking spray. Beat eggs, oil and sugar in large bowl on medium for three minutes. Sift together dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Gradually add dry ingredients to the first bowl while mixing just until blended. Fold in remaining ingredients. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes until toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool for 20 minutes and then remove from pans onto cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.
“Cream Cheese” Frosting
1/2 cup gluten-free, non-dairy spread, such as Earth Balance
9 ounces gluten-free, non-dairy cream cheese substitute, such as Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
6 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Beat spread in medium bowl on medium for one to two minutes until creamy. Add cream cheese substitute and continue beating until smooth, about five minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Mix on low until smooth. Turn mixer to medium and whip until fluffy. Spread onto cooled cake.
I also found some gluten-free Easter boards over on Pinterest:
From Julia Black
From Fave Gluten Free
From Amanda Reilly
From Genius Gluten Free
From Jessica McK
And do not forget the next time you’re shopping online or browsing the aisles of your grocery store to pick up some (seed) Body Care products, which are all gluten free.
Speaking of gluten free, have you checked out the blog called Gluten Free Makeup Gal? Afton has created such a fabulous blog and she happens to love our products– check out the reviews and mentions here, here, and here.
Have a fabulous weekend, friends!
I love salsa. One of my most favorite ones to make is with mango and avocado. The best part? This does double duty as a SALAD (instead of mayo-laden alternatives). Since (seed) products are vegan, I know many of our readers are too. If you are not a vegan, try this on fish tacos!
I’d like to share a yummy recipe from my American Heart Association cookbook. This one is really fantastic. You can use this as a salsa or eat it as a side dish. With the creamy texture of the avocado, it makes a nice stand it for a healthy alternative to mayo-laden potato salad.
Today, I’d like to share a vegan chili recipe with you. I like to make a big batch because we can use it for chili, then have the leftovers for chili “dogs” over veggie dogs, and as a fun snack of tortilla chips. It has been so cold in New York lately (18 yesterday) and I love to have a nice warm bowl in the winter!
How does one make a nice “meaty” chili without meat? Easy. If you haven’t tried it before, try Textured Vegetable Protein. It’s also known as TVP and I only recently became introduced to it. I like Bob’s Red Mill, as it is non-GMO. You need to rehydrate it, which simply involves pouring boiling water over it and letting it sit for a few minutes. Easy peasy.
I also prefer my chili to have a warmth and cinnamon tinge a la Cincinnati chili. I’ve been tinkering around for the past few weeks to get a recipe that gets my family’s seal of approval. My husband loves a beefy chili and my 9 year old also loves chili (my 7 year old, not so much!).
Here is my recipe:
2 cans black beans, drained
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 can red kidney beans, drained
2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/2 diced onion
1/2 cup water or vegetable broth
1 can (4 oz.) mild diced green chiles
1/8 t. ground cloves
2 T. chili powder
1 t. cumin
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1 t. cocoa powder
3 T. ground cinnamon (this seems like a large amount, but gives a really comforting flavor!)
1/2 cup to 1 cup TVP (which needs to be soaked in the same amount of boiling water that you used for the TVP)
Combine all in a crock pot on low for 6 hours.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I just cannot eat my chili without cheddar on top. That’s pretty hard when you’re not eating dairy. So, folks, I cannot say enough about the Daiya cheddar style shreds. I put this on my chili. Yum!
I learn lots of neat information reading various healthy living magazines and scouring the fabulous boards over on Pinterest. I thought I would share some really great tidbits all about fruits and vegetables today.
#1 — Did you know that you can grow your own celery from the celery you have in your fridge right now? Just cut off the base that you will toss out anyway and plant it in your garden. Voila! More celery!
#2 — Consuming one cup of strawberries may relieve stress! This serving of strawberries contains 160% of the daily value of Vitamin C, which is believed to help get rid of stree-inducing cortisol.
#3 – Did you know that bananas may help with your heartburn? That’s right! I just read that bananas may have an antacid effect.
#4 – The darker the green veggie is, the more Vitamin C it has. So your light green lettuce doesn’t have as much Vitamin C as, say, spinach would.
#5 – Did you know that it takes about 2½ pounds of grapes to produce a bottle of wine?
It never fails — I walk over to school at 3 to pick up my boys and they moan, “I’m STARVING” as we walk our few hundred feet. They are growing little guys and are always burning off what they eat because they’re so busy running around.
My boys, Nick and Ben, love granola bars, but have you checked out the ingredients list lately for the popular ones found in the grocery store?