Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Golden Healing Broth


 > This post may contain Affiliate or Referral link, please see Disclaimer

Yup, I'm someone with mobile joints which means I can get injured easily. My challenge is to find an exercise that will strengthen the muscles to support my joints. It's been a battle trying to find ways of pushing myself just hard enough but not too much. I've been slowly getting stronger from my TRX class and even added heavier plates onto my free weights at home. So there's progress, but when I landed funny from the cardio portion in class, I heard a snap in my knee. Uh-Oh! it sounded bad. Luckily I had my essential oils with me, I immediately applied the first bottle I grabbed - Frankincense on it and eased up the rest of the class. The swelling appeared in the evening. The next day, I got in to see my chiropractor, he implied that it would take a while to heal - 6 weeks. Yikes! The adjustment helped set things into place but I know from experience that torn ligament takes time to heal. Unlike past injuries, this time I didn't wait. I did all the things to support the healing, I iced it daily, made some Golden Healing Broth with turmeric and applied my NHP ( Natural Health Products ) essential oils that can " help relieve joint or muscle pain associated with sprains, strains & rheumatoid arthritis." Did you know that there are over 30 Young Living essential oils and products approved by Health Canada as Natural Health Products? Helichrysum, Lemongrass, Celery Seed, the ones I used for my knee, are just three of many NHP you can use as natural alternative remedy to support your wellness. I was wowed by how quickly things improved. The swelling came down and seriously no pain! All I felt was weakness around the knee but pretty darn good compared to the day before. When I posted my quick and easy anti-inflammatory Golden Healing Broth on Instagram, many people asked if I've posted the recipe, so here it is.



To learn more about Young Living's Natural Remedies Guide click HERE
To see all of the Young Living's Natural Health Products click HERE
NHP FAQ
To learn how to order your own pure essential oils click HERE or contact me, I'll help you.

Makes 2 servings     Prep time 5 mins      

Ingredients

  • 2 cups bone broth (see recipe HERE)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped 
  • 1-2 tbsp ginger,  peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric 
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp coconut concentrate/ aka coconut manna
  • Salt to taste 


              Instructions

              1. In a pot over medium heat, bring bone broth to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer
              2. Add garlic, ginger to bone broth and let simmer for 2-3 minutes
              3. Remove from heat and pour into high speed blender like a Vitamix, THIS is the one I have
              4. Add turmeric, coconut manna, parsley to blender
              5. Blend at low to med speed until smooth, for 30 secs*
              6. Pour and serve

              Make sure your blender can take hot liquids and be careful not to burn yourself 


              ENJOY






              Sunday, December 17, 2017

              2017 Reflection - my IBD journey

              Photo by Takemaru Hirai on Unsplash

              It's a dreary Sunday today, and I'm housebound with a sick teen, luckily, the little guy is still unaffected. So it's been a bone broth, garlic and essential oils, kind of day. I was getting a bit antsy but thought it'd be a good opportunity to chill and do some housekeeping on my computer. I started sorting through my overstuffed mailbox, and deleted a whole bunch of emails, actually about 2000 of them, you know how it is... when I came across one I wrote to my cousin back in January 2014. It was a bit hard to read and to believe where I was at only three years ago. Never would I imagine I'd be in remission with my Ulcerative Colitis as I am now. I'm sharing this with you because some of you might be at the same spot, a low in your journey, trying to make sense of what's going on with your body. If you're desperately seeking for answers and directions to regain health, try to set your fears aside, tuck away the uncertain thoughts and push the frustration away.  If you're on a rocky path in your healing, I hope this short little post will offer some hope and encouragement. The mind is powerful, the knowledge is out there, the community is growing stronger.  Let's focus on a brighter year, together,  where there'll be progress and new ideas. Let's manifest a 2018 that is filled with joy, abundance and health.  I'm excited to welcome great things to come with you. 

              Wishing you the best year to come!

              With gratitude

              Astrid 


              Excerpt from an email to my cousin on January 2014

              "Sorry my visit was so brief and awkward. That 40 min nap was exactly what I needed and I couldn't chase the little one around anymore. I had help come for 2 days when all I could do was sleep 18 hrs a day. I 'm feeling better but just pushed myself too much today. It pains me to let auntie see me in this state but I just needed the help with the little one while big brother was at tutor. The progress is ever so slow but I'm hopeful. 

              Went to see my GP yesterday and he offered no help. I just have to do my own research. "
               I did get a book from the library that has promising information about my condition. It's called Listen to Your Gut. It's actually by a woman who lives in Vancouver. She's living proof there're other ways to heal the condition other than drugs and surgery. 
               
              My boys are pretty awesome. Big brother, being the older one, is always forced to grow up faster. I explained to him yesterday about how I really need his help with my health condition. It's not just earning points to buy toys, it's real life taking care of the family. He's really shown more maturity and understanding. The little one is still young, he has always been very independent but head strong. He is at the extremely inquisitive and boundaries testing age,  but he's so sweet. He kept bringing me the green oil saying it'll make me strong.

              I look in the mirror and can hardly recognize myself sometimes. The upside is I can model more clothes from the store. LOL.

              Auntie and Uncle will always worry.  I tried to hide my face under my jacket and scarf, but my weight loss is pretty obvious. At least I'm slowly consuming more day by day. 
              Hope to catch up with you in better spirit next time."


              Wednesday, August 30, 2017

              Island travels + product review

               > This post may contain Affiliate or Referral link, please see Disclaimer

              My recent Island family wedding not only filled me with joy, connected me with new friends, I was practically basking in warmth and love all weekend long. As an only child, I never got to watch the magic of siblings team work. Both the bride and the groom are from a large clan, the bride is one of 5 and the groom is one of 7. Impressive right? On the wellness angle, I'm going to relive how a trip away from the city refreshes us and how we can bring some of that getaway magic into our everyday lives? I also have a product review and COUPON CODE to share, discovering MCT oil powder from Perfect Keto was great for travels. So keep reading!

              In this post, I'm going to dissect the magical weekend and break it down to how it gave me a better perspective on my healing progress through reconnecting with nature, foraging, and experiencing intuitive eating at it's best. My goal is to see if I can inject some of these elements into my day to day to keep me this machine of mine running smoothly after returning home. 


              crushed shells beach and sea star


              Put down the devices and turn on Nature


              I know, we don't really need to turn "on" Nature, it's always there and around us, it's when we decide to turn it off because we're so consumed by technology that throws things out of balance. Remote areas can mean unreliable internet connections, which can be a good thing when you're trying to unplug. Recently I went to a wedding on one of the Southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia, Galiano Island, since I had committed to enjoying my time without trying to work, I didn't stress about the shotty "connections". Funny thing is I found a different kind of connection that was running full force everywhere I looked. While on the island, I learned that simply by reconnecting with nature, I found fulfillment easily without social medias. Even being partially unplugged, I felt the freedom of not being tied to an invisible weight. During the day, we were out exploring the island, we walked along beaches, it was fascinating to see some were filled with crushed shells instead of the sand. I felt like a kid again jumping from rock to rock while trying not to step on the slippery seaweeds. It sure beats any "games" on the devices. Real life games are the best! One night, an 80 feet tree fell on my family's 20-acre property, so the next day, a few of us gathered and watched my cousin go to work.  He cut down the limbs to prep it for his freshly build band saw. Cracked me up when one of his sisters said, "... he's doing that just for a core workout." I can't decide which activity was my favourite, either watching the children play in a natural setting or my blackberries picking. I fully enjoyed soaking up nature's magic while basking under the sun, wading in the ocean, and roaming in the woods. How can I inject more nature into my city living? Being on the Westcoast, it's actually not that hard, the tricky part is the distraction from the device. A little trick I use now is set most of the apps on my phone to use Wifi only, adding that extra step to connect to the internet when I'm out will encourage me to explore my surroundings and enjoy the present betters.


              Directions

              Tuesday, August 15, 2017

              AIP/ Paleo/ Keto Singapore Fried "Vermicelli"


              >This blog post may contain affiliate links. Click HERE to learn more what it means.

              This recipe came from my memories of Mom's Ladies Luncheon, where the ladies got together with friends to chit chat and catch up on children and husbands, which I now see how important these little shindigs are for the moms' mental healths.  Mom told me that no matter which restaurant they went to, everytime someone will order this noodle dish. The funny thing is no one remembered whose this favourite dish was, they would always go back and forth trying to figure it out.  The original Singapore Fried Vermicelli uses curry powder and galangal for a mildly spicey flavour. Decades later, I've discovered my version with just enough turmeric to mimic the traditional taste. I purposely chose cabbage as the vermicelli substitute because it can stay dryer than other veggie noodles. Hope you enjoy it.

              Makes 2 servings     Prep time 10 mins      Cook time 15 mins  


              Ingredients
              • 3 c thinly shredded white cabbage
              • 2 tsp turmeric
              • 1 tsp galangal powder ( check your local Asian store or order it here
              • 1/2 thinly sliced small red onion
              • 1 stalk of green onions, cut into 1/2" 
              • 1 stalk of celery, thinly sliced
              • 1/2 c sliced cooked chicken breast or pork
              • 1/8 tsp fish sauce ( I use Red Boat
              • 1/2 tsp grated ginger for heat
              • 2 tbsp avocado oil or coconut oil

              Instructions
              1. Heat pan over medium heat
              2. Dry fried the turmeric, galangal for a couple minutes until the spices smoke slightly
              3. Add oil of your choice and heat for a couple minutes, turn heat up slightly say from a 4 to a 5
              4. Fry grated ginger, celery, shredded white cabbage for 5 minutes or until cabbage starts to soften
              5. If too much liquid is coming from the veggies, increase the heat another notch to dry it up.
              6. Add cut green onions, sliced red onion and meat, stir fry together for 1 minute
              7. Add fish sauce and toss to coat

              Serve as a main dish or side.

              Enjoy!

              Monday, August 7, 2017

              Interview with Mary B. Lapp


              Have you ever talked to someone and immediately feel a sense of calmness? I recently had the priviledge to interview Mary B. Lapp, Transformational Stress Coach and Nutritional Therapist and I left the conversation feeling really good about myself. In this interview, Mary points out the different ways she can help her clients navigate health by "finding creative solutions for their life and health"
              I completely agree when Mary says  "...in order to support your body's natural senses of healing, we must pay attention to selfcare, otherwise no supplements can make you feel better. "

              A: Hi Mary, How are you? Can you tell me how your work help people feel better about themselves?

              M: I love that you asked that, because helping people feel better is what I love to do best!  There are a myriad of ways that I help people in my life feel better – cooking them delicious and nutritious food, helping them, etc…  But when it comes to clients, I help them find creative solutions for their life and health, which offers them hope (coaching).  I also help them find healing through supporting their organs (nutritional therapy/diet/supplements/essential oils/lifestyle shifts.)

              A: That sounds really nice, so what kind of help can your clients expect to get from you? 
              • People (usually women) reach out to me for help!  They talk to me about which of my services would be most helpful – and we decide together based on their needs and budget.  I have programs full spectrum from free to high end.
              • Next, they buy a program.
              • Programs Include:
              • Physical Support: Nutritional therapy with hair tissue mineral analysis (which supplies information on organ health).  Supplements, dietary and lifestyle shifts.  Essential oils for organ support.
              • Emotional Support: Individual or group coaching sessions with lifestyle and essential oil recommendations.
              • How does your area of expertise support or offer relief to someone with chronic/acute conditions?
              • There is a grief process that people go through when they feel betrayed by their body.  I don’t think bodies intentionally betray us, I just think they get sick and confused.  
              • When this first happens, often people need to make a lot of changes – both in how we live, and how we think.  It is astonishing how difficult and overwhelming that process can be.
              • I cannot only help navigate the process of finding healing solutions, but I can also help navigate the grief process so that hope is found.
              A: So what can someone expect to feel during your sessions?


              M: I am a very grounded person, and my clients typically feel better after having spent an hour with me.  But for that to really last, they need to go home and start doing the things that we talk about in our session.  Sometimes those action steps are tiny, sometimes they are big – but they are what we both feel would be the most beneficial – and are a way for your body and mind to feel cared for.
              A: How quickly can they expect to feel improvement?
              M: Emotional relief usually comes very quickly.  Physical relief can take time – but how long is dependent on the issue.  
              A: How often should they repeat and commit to their sessions with you?
              M: I like at least 4 sessions with clients – but after that, it depends on what the client’s needs are.  
              Through our chat, I learned that Mary is also an essential oils user, so I asked her if and why she uses them in her practice. She also shared her favorite oils to pack for travels.  

              M: For emotional healing, I like to let people use whatever oil they are most drawn to.  My husband lost his brother unexpectedly and was dealing with some intense grief.  He was drawn to lime oil - so we put it on his heart center and diffused it.  It was so helpful!  Later, we discovered that lime oil is especially good for those who need their heart restored.  It brings forth courage, cheer, and revitalizes people above the mire of grief.  It was just what he was needing.  I especially love lime diffused with bergamot and find that it is incredibly energizing and uplifting - even if you aren't grieving.

              I was also pleased to learn that Mary is also an essential oil lover, so I asked her for her favourite oils to pack for travelling.

              M: As for my favorite Young Living Essential Oils for Travel

              Peppermint

              • Rub on roof of mouth for occasional head discomfort
              • Dilute and rub on belly for digestive support.
              • Rub on any minor achey areas for support.
              • Sniff for uplifting energy.

              Lavender

              • Rub on belly if you feel you may be reacting to something.
              • Rub on a minor bug bite to calm it.
              • Rub on belly or bottom of feet for gentle sleep support.

              Lemon
              • Sniff for uplifting energy.
              • Rub over liver for occasional detoxification support.

              Thieves

              • Rub on belly or bottom of feet to support a healthy immune system.
              Mary concludes that for her clients to find success in healing their bodies, they need to do the work. Self care is a good place to start like getting enough sleep, spending some time doing meal planning and home cooking and find a way to manage stress level.


              Here's how to connect with Mary to get more of her edifying support. 
              maryblountlapp.com.
              To Schedule a Free Discovery Session: Click Here or Call 717-823-8334
                



              Sunday, July 30, 2017

              AIP/ Paleo/ Keto No Bake Crustless "Cheese"cake


              >This blog post contains affiliate links. Click HERE to learn more what it means.

              Hey Summer Babies, Happy Birthday! Are you scratching your heads about finding a compliant cake for your celebration? Try my No Bake Crustless "Cheese" Cake. It's a solo serving but you can easily do the math and multiply to serve the number of people coming to your party. 

              Makes 1 servings     Prep time 10 mins       Set time 2 hours

              Ingredients
              • 1/2 c coconut milk divided into two 1/4c, I used this one
              • 1 tsp grass fed gelatin, I use this one
              • 2 tbsp coconut concentrate ( aka. Coconut Manna), I make my own but you can use this one
              • 1/4 c hot water
              • Optional1/8 tsp vanilla powder or compliant vanilla extract
              • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
              • Optional: your choice of compliant sweetener to taste
              • 2 drops of lime extract or if you're in the United States, 2 drops of Young Living Lime Vitality
              ( Please note that internal use of essential oils is not recommended by Health Canada ) 

              Instructions
              1. In a bowl, bloom gelatin in 1/4 c coconut milk for 5 mins
              2. Mix coconut concentrate ( manna) with the other 1/4 c coconut milk until smooth
              3. Pour hot water into bloomed gelatin coconut milk mixture and stir well
              4. Stir in Lime flavouring, vanilla and sweetener if you choose to
              5. Pour mixture into Mason Jar and let set in fridge ( around 2 hours) 
              6. Top with your favourite fruit and serve
              Enjoy

              Tuesday, July 18, 2017

              Eat more fat and skip meals got me to remission - One year Nutritional Ketosis update


               > This post contains Affiliate or Referral link, please see Disclaimer

              Even with my UC symptoms slowly subsiding, I was still denying my health was returning. I hung on the old habit of spotting public bathroom while I was out even when my tummy was nice and calm. I guess it takes a long time to shed the insecurities of a sick body and embrace the health most people take for granted. It's been one year since I added Nutritional Ketosis to my wellness equation. By teaching my body to use fat as fuel,  I was able to bring my Ulcerative Colitis to full remission. There, I said it! The improvements I noticed in my health include mental clarity and stable energy throughout the day, in other words, I feel pretty darn amazing. In this update, I'll be talking about how I'm diving deeper into my keto practice with intermittent fasting and how intuitive eating helps me find balance that led me to the improvements mentioned above. 

              Intermittent Fasting

              If you start researching about the ketogenic healing approach, sooner or later you will come across the talk about intermittent fasting. Like most people, it took me a long time to warm up to the idea of not eating to help heal the body. This was also triggering memories of UC flare up where I was forced to fast because everything I ate or drank hurt. Even as weak as I was from fasting, I remembered that the bowel rest made me feel better. At that time, I chalked it up to the much needed rest for my raw gut helped my body focus on healing instead of digesting foods,  but there is actually more to that. When I learned this funny sounding word Autophagy "... a housekeeping role in removing misfolded or aggregated proteins, clearing damaged organelles, such as mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, and peroxisomes, as well as eliminating intracellular pathogens. " through my research, I was fascinated by how smart our bodies are designed. This " biological process ... plays a key role in your body’s ability to detoxify, repair, and regenerate itself" In plain English, our own self clean system!

              If you want to read more about autophagy, click HERE or HERE

              I eat when I'm hungry instead of for other emotional reasons; 

              boredom, stress or thirst. 


              So how does Intermittent Fasting fit so perfectly into my schedule and lifestyle? As I experimented with Intermittent Fasting ( IF), I found that I was able to carry out my day with longer periods in between meals. First I started with early dinners and late morning brunches with no snacks in between, then I found I could power straight through to lunch effortlessly. The next transition came when I just didn't feel hungry until late afternoon. Now, most of the days I would enjoy an evening feast with nutrient dense foods like my favourite meat dish, my must have giant salad, sometimes two, and a side of cooked vegetables with healthy servings of good fats of course. That's it. I feel like a Queen with no drama hanger in between. Initially, what motivated me to give IF a try was how it fit into my day. Back when I was still nervous about my unsettled gut especially shortly after I ate, I found that if I could fast during the day when I was most busy running around, I could enjoy my more elaborately prepared dinner at home where I would have no stress about finding a public bathroom.  That plan worked well for me so I stuck to it. Throughout the day, to make sure I keep well hydrated, I drink lots of fluids like noncaffeinated herbal teas.  AIP Bulletproof style Dandelion Chicory Coffee with a sprinkle of Himalayan pink salt to balance my electrolytes was one of my favourite.  I also discovered diluted Keto Lemonade sans the sweetener was refreshing for warmer days.  

              Intuitive eating 

              I have to admit, in the beginning of my IF, I was following my schedule so I don't mess up my routine. As I became more comfortable and confident in my new way of fueling my body, I loosened up the grip and learned about the art of intuitive eating. This doesn't mean I can go about being unprepared, it just means that if I needed to delay my food intake a bit longer, I wouldn't have a meltdown and crash. This also means that I eat when I'm hungry instead of for other emotional reasons; boredom, stress or thirst. It's a very empowering and freeing practice. 

              Evidence of Improvement

              Fueling my body with fat instead of sugar continues to hold first place in making my UC remission a reality. My bloodwork shows a drop in my Hemoglobin A1C from  5.5 to 5.1. It would make sense that by regulating my blood sugar, my mind was sharper and my energy remains stable throughout the day. You would think that since I wasn't eating as often as before, I'd crash sometime in the day, that's the beauty of using fat as fuel, once the body adapts, it can tap into the stored energy - body fat. 

              Keto Tastebuds

              You know when people go on any kind of eliminations diet like a sugar detox, all of a sudden their taste buds come alive, waking up from a deep sleep. Well, I have been experiencing that with ketosis. When refined sugar was initially removed from Paleo/ AIP, I had noticed a change in my taste buds. But eventually, I let the natural sugars from fruits and starchy root vegetables creep back in my diet. When I began my Keto journey, my sense of taste REALLY awakened. Did I miss the sweet taste at first?  Yes, but once the increase fat intake stepped in to help me feel more satiated, my cravings for sweets slowly went away. Lately, I've been having urges to chow down whole lemons like rinds and all, you know like how people eat kumquats? My husband's caramelized lemons on the BBQ might have started it or it could be from my current crush on Lemon Essential oils, either way, my sweet craving is pretty nonexistent. Instead, I crave for some lemon power on a spoonful of coconut "butter".  A tasty tart fat bomb is what this girl craves for now.

              Nutritional Ketosis has definitely fine-tuned my body's natural healing senses. This way of eating has sharpened my thinking, improved my focus, uplifted my moods, and stabilized my energy, of course, I didn't forget the silencing of my Ulcerative Colitis. I love how my body feels being fat adapted, I feel more confident and stable in my ability to carry out my days without crashes. I'm finally at a place where my body is running like the magnificent machine it was designed to do. Like all protocols, there is no one size fit all, but I'm sure glad I found what works for my body. If you're still searching, hang in there, "Rome wasn't built in a day". Your body is great and it needs time and patient to nurture it. If you follow your intuition, you can find our personal protocol too. 

              Here is my post from last year shortly after I started incoperated Nutritional Ketosis into my Paleo Autoimmune Protocol. 

              For more interest on Nutritional Ketosis, Fat Fuel and Fasting, please refer to the following resources

              Wahls Protocol
              Healthful Pursuit
              Dr. Jason Fung

              Monday, July 3, 2017

              AIP/Paleo/Keto Instant Pot Braised Pigs Feet


              >This blog post contains affiliate links. Click HERE to learn more what it means.

              Adapted from Maomaomom's recipe

              Serves: 4 servings   Prepare time: 15 minutes  Cook time: 50 minutes
              Ingredients:
              • 2 Pigs feet ( about 1.5 lbs) , rinsed and ask butcher to cut into 3" pieces )
              • 1 Tbsp Avocado oil ( or other compliant high temp cooking ) 
              • 1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
              • 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
              • 1 tsp Fish Sauce ( Red Boat is the best) 
              • 1 Tbsp Coconut Aminos
              • 4 Tbsp water
              • 2 cloves
              • 1/8 tsp mace
              • 1/4 tsp cinnamon 
              • 1/4 tsp galangal
              • Fresh ginger, sliced
              • 1 stalk green onion, cut into 2" lengths


              Directions:

              1. Fill Instant Pot with boiling water
              2. Place pig’s feet inside InstantPot 
              3. Press “Sauté”  on “High”, Blanch pigs' feet for 2 minutes, drain water and rinse off with fresh water.
              4. In an empty and dry instant pot, heat oil over Sauté and brown green onions, ginger and cloves for a minute
              5. Add the sauces in Instant Pot to coat herbs and spices
              6. Put pig’s feet back into the InstantPot, and sauté for 1-2 minutes 
              7. Add water and mix well 
              8. Cover the lid and set the pressure valve to “Seal” position. 
              9. Press “Manual”  and set 40 minutes of cooking time.
              Let pressure release naturally 

              Serve with your favourite sides as a snack or meal. Here I served it with coleslaw. 

              Enjoy!

              Monday, June 19, 2017

              Can everyone benefit from the use of Essential oils?

              Photo by @verophotoart


              > This post contains Referral link, please see Disclaimer



              Through my health reset, my way of eating is now at a happy place with a Paleo Autoimmune/ Nutritional Ketosis approach,  so now I am exploring other useful tools to support my wellness. 

              In this post,  I will be telling you why I chose Young Living Essential Oils amongst all the other companies out there and how I support my body's major systems with them. 

              I know,  I am probably only one of millions of people using essential oils to support their health, so why should my post be any different?  Because,  as an IBD ( Inflammatory Bowel Disease ) warrior who is currently in remission,  I humbly remember what rock bottom means.  I still recall the windy curvy road to recovery and I know the fear of never being able to live a normal life is real.  For these reasons,   I will continue to do everything in my power to prevent myself from getting back to that dark and scary place and spread encouraging words to anyone trying to discover their wellness. 

              A month ago,  I was honoured for being one of 19 most uplifting IBD bloggers for 2017 picked by mytherapyapp,  I am SO grateful for this recognition and THANK YOU all from the bottom of my heart for your support.  Knowing that my blog is reaching out to people on a similar journey, I am motivated to break out of my comfort zone and open up to share more of my beyond food resources.


              I am passionate about encouraging people to conduct their own research so that they can find the right resource they truly need


              How I got started with Essential oils

              Let start by going back to my 20s. Like many young adults, I was going to school full-time, enrolled in an exciting but demanding arts and design program, working early opening shifts at a fast pace, well know coffee shop, and hanging out with friends in between it all. Sleep wasn't a priority, my diet was better than most students because I was living at home but I often indulged on the free flowing coffee and staff priced pastries from work and always kept a bottle of Pepto Bismol in my bag. Eventually, my body had enough, I started having excruciating stomach pains and knew that something was not right. After visiting a naturopath,  I started on an elimination diet. This diet consisted of white rice, chicken, zucchinis, pears, salt, pepper and thyme for seasoning. I used to carry a little rice cooker to school with my pre-cooked meals in them. Needless to say, my taste buds were very deprived.  Around that time,  one of my friends got a job at a new little aromatherapy shop in town. She introduced me to essential oils which filled the void my senses were missing from a restrictive diet. So I have been using essential oils on and off since then for emotional support but never imagined I would experience the supportive effects I do now with the highest quality essential oils on the market. 

              A couple years ago,  a friend of mine told me about a really high-quality essential oil she is using,  Young Living.  She says that they are of highest therapeutic grade and I should try them out.  Since I already had a pretty good stash of essential oils from years of collecting them,  I tucked her offer way in the back of my mind. 

              Through my friend's unwavering stand towards this brand of essential oils,  I was intrigued and finally bought myself a Premium Starter Kit.  It took me over a year to be convinced that the Young Living brand is unlike any other brands I have come across before but I had no idea how the simple kit of 11 oils,  a diffuser and a few of their other product samples can open a world of wellness tools I wish I have discovered earlier.


              Why Young Living?


              Not all essential oils are created equal

              Through my on the fence time about Young Living,  I did some investigating on the company and their products.   I learned that they are one of the pioneers in the field and have been in business distilling essential oils for over 20 years.  Some of the factors that set them aside from the rest are owning their farms and running vigorous in-house and third party testings on all their products.  Their Seed to Seal promise is what sold me.  Starting with heirloom seeds collected from previous premium crops,  Young Living only plant on virgin soil,  never been touched by any pesticide.  To top it all, all their fields are hand weeded.  Basically, they take what they do VERY seriously while keeping a transparent profile for anyone who wants to learn more about their passion.

              Beyond Food

              Increasingly,  people are definitely paying attention to what they put in their mouths,  but why are most of them still turning a blind eye when it comes to what they put on their skin, the largest organ of the body, and what they allow to circulate in the air of their homes?

              A Simple System

              Removing as many synthetic chemicals as possible out of your home is the first step in reducing the toxic load in your everyday lives.

              If you are like me, you must have been bombarded by too much information telling us what are the "safer" alternative products to use.  There are lots of " green " products from cleaning to personal care that toots a "safe" label on them,  but if you read the ingredients on these high price products,  they may include many chemicals the average person cannot pronounce.  It sure makes you think twice before buying them.  Once I dug deeper into the Young Living line of products,  I found that they already have ALL NATURAL plant derived products formulated for household cleaning.  My favourite is the THIEVES ALL PURPOSED CLEANER. It is in a concentrated form and can be diluted 1:15/ 1:30/ 1:50  to make a whole lot more cleaners.  For personal care,  you will love to hear that I make my own amazing and cost effective skin serums and shaving oils simply by adding my favourite essential oils to a carrier oil.  That's it!  No more super long and complicated chemical names.  Just two main ingredients - plants and oils. 

              Click HERE to learn how to open your personal Wholesale Account and get some THANKYOU goodies from me 


              Supporting MY body


              I am still exploring the over 300 oils Young Living has to offer,  amongst the many I have tried, here are a few examples of ways I use my oils to support my wellness. 

              Digestion

              Digize is one of the top oil blends for supporting the digestive system.  It contains Tarragon, Ginger, Peppermint and Fennel as the main ingredients.  I like to inhale from putting some in the cup of my hand or to rub diluted with a carrier oil on my stomach for a soothing experience especially when I encounter questionable foods while eating out.

              Essential Oils for Digestion support from Astrid Fox on Vimeo.


              Mood

              As a pick me up mood enhancer,  I turn to my citrus oils for their uplifting properties.  Tangerine, Grapefruit, and Bergamot,  to name a few are in my "happy" collection.  JOY is a blend that does exactly what the name says.  It contains citrus and floral essential oil that bring smiles to my face everytime I smell it.  I like to add these oils to my diffuser earrings so I can smell them when my earrings sway around. 


              My Happy Oils
              My Happy oils



              Hormonal Support

              Ah,  this is a big one!  Many women in my age group maybe experiencing unpleasant symptoms from Hormonal changes,  I am pleased to add Essential oils as one of my tools to support this natural transitional phase in life.  I use Progessence Phyto Plus, which was formulated to support women's health for a grounding yet uplifting effect.  This blend has White Yam Extract, Vitamin E,  Frankincense,  Rosewood,  and Bergamot. 

              Clary Sage is another great hormone support oil.  I use to make my own skin serum and my latest favourite is a blend of Clary Sage, Grapefruit and a carrier oil for a no nick shaving oil. 

              Before I wrap up on my experience with Young Living Essential oils,  I want to point out that 
              my goal is to encourage people to conduct their own research so they can find the right resource they truly need.  Essential oils have transformed my entire wellbeing to a whole new level by supporting the major systems in my body, specifically my emotions, digestive and endocrine system.  Even if you are not interested in the support essential oils can provide the human body, SERIOUSLY consider reducing the toxic load in your everyday lives by swapping out your cleaning products. 
              Thieves Products
              Why is it important for me to share my experience?  The more I learn about essential oil,  the more I realize there are still a lot of myths and resistance in using these potent plant products.  As an IBDer and a wellness advocate,  I want people to know their options on how to support their health.  Can everyone benefit from Essential oils?  My answer is YES.  Everyone can benefit from the fundamental and straightforward practice of using essential oil as a powerful wellness tool that is as simple as the life blood of plants. 

              Are you ready to get your hands on this Simple Tool to support yours and your family's wellness? 
              If your answer is YES, Click HERE 

              Please reach out if you want to learn more about Young Living Essential Oils. 


              Monday, June 12, 2017

              AIP/ Paleo Japanese Ginger Salad Dressing


              No secret that our go to dining out usually lands in a Japanese restaurant. The kids love sushi and I can almost always find something satisfying and compliant to order with my own homemade salad dressing. But everytime I ask the server to hold the dress on my Sashimi Salad, I miss the original Japanese dressing that comes with my meal. What am I to do? Recipe hack it! This simple Japanese inspired tangy dressing will jazz up any salad of your choice. 

              Makes 4 servings     Prep time 5 mins      Cook time 10 mins  

              Ingredients

              • 1/2 c minced onion
              • 1/2 c avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
              • 1/3 c Apple Cider Vinegar
              • 2 Tbsp water
              • 2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger root
              • 2 Tbsp minced  celery
              • 2 Tbsp grated carrots
              • 2 tsp coconut aminos
              • 2 tsp fish sauce
              • 2 tsp lemon juice
              • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
              • 1/2 tsp raw honey optional

              Instructions
              1. Put all ingredient into a blender and blend until smooth
              2. serve over your favourite vegetables or salad
              Enjoy!

              Friday, June 2, 2017

              Can grief make your sick?

              Photo by  Christian Newman

              What is grief? According to the Cambridge Dictionary, "to feel or express great sadness, especially when someone dies." Everyone grieves differently, most people are sad, others get angry, some might even show little to no emotions. Whichever way you express your emotions, know that this difficult time too shall pass.

              Grief is an intense emotion, which can often cause stress to the body and trigger a flare for those of us with an autoimmune condition. I used to grieve quite differently before I knew about the connection between grieve and wellness. I hope by sharing my new found way to grieve, along with my tools to aid this transition which are journaling, self care and essential oil, I can help ease your passage smoothly into the" life goes on" phase without doing much damage to your body.

              As most of your know, the AIP and IBD community lost an amazing woman, Martine, the blogger behind Eat Heal Thrive last week. Like many people, I was shattered by the news.

              It was in the very beginning of my healing journey, shortly after I started following a Paleo way of eating but still desperately trying to get rid of all my Ulcerative Colitis symptoms when I met Martine over at Instagram.   Following Paleo had helped calm gut, but I was still controlled by many symptoms IBDers are familiar with. I was physically weak and trying to recover from the drastic weight loss that comes with IBD. That's when I learned about a positively charged blogger with Crohn's, who also happens to be Canadian,  known as the Paleo Partridge back then. She shared about a protocol she was following called AIP (Paleo Autoimmune Protocol) and gave me hope that I could have a future that is less trapped in between the four walls of my IBD symptoms. Besides looking into this healing protocol, AIP,  I began practicing gentle yoga and immersing myself in art to distract my mind from my consuming health. Martine and I connected through our mutual love of yoga,  I was immediately drawn to her contagiously positive energy. Seeing someone who also battled IBD with her enthusiasm was so encouraging. I was inspired by her spirit, her cleverness and her brilliance with words. She was such a great writer.  Martine showed me a different world about IBD, her firm mantra says it all, " I have Crohn's. It doesn't have me".  So I decided to model my healing after this remarkable woman. We chatted over IG comments mainly about yoga and art. Our brief conversations sparked me to create a fun project of legging designs, mainly to take my mind off of my limitations. Leggings were just starting to trend then, so I went with the flow and transferred some of the floral paintings onto the leggings designs. I was so excited when Martine supported me by being the first to buy a pair.

              As I got more into blogging, I would cross paths with Martine here and there about recipes and yoga. She always brought a smile to anyone she interacted with and that is no exception for me. We might not have been close, but we were friends, and I felt her support alongside me on my IBD journey.

              A new way of grieving

              Martine's passing shocked and devasted me. Naturally, I fell into my old way of grieving which was to be sad, be very very sad. I cried and wanted to be consumed in sorrows. I always thought that the longer I stayed in sadness means the more I cared about the person I am grieving for. This is how I watched my mother grieved when my father passed away, 10 days after our wedding, so I recognized that to be the way to show your love. As it turns out this was a very unhealthy way to grieve. When my father died unexpectedly, my mother and I felt completely destroyed. I held on the grief far too long because that was what my mother did.  As a result, I helplessly watched her neglect her health through grief. I remember my then new husband asking me "how long are you going to grieve for?" and my thought was "how insensitive of him?" But now I know how lucky I am to have married someone who can be up front with me.

              Now I have finally learned that unhealthy ways of grieving got me in big trouble with my health. My prolong period of grieving was probably part of the cause of my autoimmune disease. Why? Because grief is a stressor, stressor raises cortisol. Read more about this HERE

              After a week of teariness and moping around, something lit up in my head,  I was reminded of Martine's mission, her essence, and how she always empowered people. She made them feel Good! So I thought,  Heck NO! I am not going to bury myself in my old habits and go against everything Martine stood for.

              What did Martine teach me even after she left this earth? She taught me to look into my approach to grieving. There are different stages of grieving. Anger and Sadness are the ones most people are familiar with, the important thing is not to dwell on it for too long. Give yourself the time to BE with it, then RELEASE it and move on.

              As for the tools I used to help me through these heavy times, here they are.

              Journaling

              I wrote and wrote and wrote. Sometimes, I wrote so fast that I did even know what words or letters were pouring out of the pen. This is how this blog post began. The pen to paper action was very therapeutic and freeing for me. If you are used to typing, I encourage you to try the old fashion way of writing and see if it makes you feel more connected with your feelings.

              Self Care

              I really stepped up my self-care. I guess it is a way of honouring the emotions and being with it.  Beside sleeping more and taking Epsom salt baths, I took full advantage of the freshly finished backyard with the hammock my husband built. I think everyone needs hammock time often, it is quite magical to be wrapped up like a baby and feel completely safe and secure.

              Essential Oils

              For emotional support, I pulled out my Young Living essential oils blends like Release, Valor, Believe to focus on my intentions. I liked putting drops of Believe on my head to diminish doubt,  Release on my heart dissolve tension or pain and Valor on feet for the courage to move forward. All of Young Living's blends are specifically created with the frequency to match their purposefully chose names. And Yes they work!

              Through exploring essential oils as part of the process, I learned about a fascinating healing technique that uses the oils to facilitate an emotional transformation called Aroma Freedom Technique. You can read more about it HERE but I plan to dedicate a blog post in this technique in the near future.

              So, whoever you are grieving for, cry if you want to but don't dwell on the sadness for too long. Honour your loved ones and keep their legacy alive. #herworkliveson because so will ours. I hope by sharing how I grieve and using journaling, self care and essential oils as support,  I can offer some comfort in easing yours during a time of need so that this necessary process will not secretly harm your health.

              Friday, May 26, 2017

              Vital Protein Collagen Veggies Blend Review and Recipe - AIP/ Paleo Gazpacho


              >This blog post contains affiliate links. Click HERE to learn more what it means.

              Have you heard, have you heard? I finally got my hands on Sarah Ballantyne's Vital Protein Collagen Veggie Blend and the anticipation was well worth it. 

              If you have been on a whole food healing journey, you will know that spending a lot of time in the kitchen is often necessary. I was one of them, hence the name of my blog. But as my body became stronger, I am able to get out of my kitchen and enjoy life a whole lot more. So the search for easy to prepare and pack nourishment for AIP/Paleo life on to go began. I guess Sarah Ballantyne aka The Paleo Mom heard mine and countless health seeker's call when she teamed up with Vital Protein to create this AIP/ Paleo Collagen with veggies. Thanks. Read all about it HERE.

              This is what Sarah set out to create and I think she did a fantastic job achieving it.  "a tall order for Vital Proteins.  I wanted a simple product that packed in a ton of whole veggies (fiber and all), just enough fruit to balance the bitterness of the veggies and add some vital nutrients, and a full 20 grams of protein from collagen peptides all in a palatable portable powder that could be mixed easily with water, didn’t need a blender, that wasn’t gritty or thick to drink, and that completely complied with the Autoimmune Protocol. "

              When I first heard about the new AIP Vital Protein Collagen Veggie Blend,  I was super excited about it. With this amazing AIP/Paleo supplement in hand,  I can pack lighter and feel more confident about my on the go nourishment. Like most people, I was curious about the taste.  Sarah described the taste as " green ". Ok?!? I wasn't sure how to interrupted that so the best way for me to know is to try it.

              My first attempt was simply by mixing 2 scoops with 8 oz of water, the suggested instruction was to mix 2 scoops with 8-12 oz of water so I tested it with the lower amount to see how it faired. First sip, hmm... I tasted like cold tomato soup.  Texture, mixes well with water, not too thick, if you want it runnier, just add more water. Colour - well, with all the goodness of veggies and fruits, you are not going to get some artificial looking, eye pleasing colour, but I don't mind because I know it is the colour of nature's palette.  Oh! how I missed those plump red nightshades. So that got me thinking about creating a refreshing Gazpacho with the Vital Proteins Collagen Veggie Blend to enjoy in the warm weather to come. Below you will find my recipe. 

              I was pleased with AIP/Paleo Gazpacho and enjoyed it in the new backyard my husband built.


              To preserve the chunky texture of a Gazpacho, I made sure I kept the Blender dial low ( I am using my Vitamix but I think a regular blender will do a good job. )  With the added good fats, this recipe packed a satiating,  easy to prepare, nutrient dense,  snack or even meal because when dinner time came around I had to think twice why I wasn't that hungry. 

              So I am giving Sarah Ballantyne's new product Vital Protein Collagen Veggie Blend  2 thumbs up for convenience, nutritional value and versatility. I can't wait to hear more about how people are using this product to boost their health and support their healing journey. You can get your Vital Protein Collagen Veggie Blend HERE.  Make sure you tag your experience with #vitalveggies




              AIP/Paleo Gazpacho

              Makes 1 serving     Prep time 5 mins      


              Ingredients

              • 2 scoops Vital Protein Collagen Veggie Blend
              • 2 c water
              • 1/2 c cucumber, peeled and chopped 
              • 2 tsp celery, chopped
              • 2 Tbsp onions, finely chopped
              • juice of 1/2 a lime
              • 1 Tbsp AIP compliant oil, like Avocado/ Extra Virgin Olive
              • 1 tsp cilantro and a few sprigs for garnish

              Instructions

              1. In a blender, add water, cucumber, and celery
              2. Blend at low ( 2 ) for 30 sec, not too long unless you want a smooth textured drink 
              3. Add onions, 1 tsp of cilantro, lime juice and a pinch of Himalayan pink or Grey sea salt
              4. Blend at low ( 2 ) for another 30 sec to mix
              5. Lastly add in Vital Protein Collagen Veggie Blend and oil
              6. Blend at low for another 30 sec to mix
              7. Pour into glass or bowl and garnish with cilantro 

              Enjoy!