Friday, October 24, 2014

Healthy Take Out

Good Morning Readers!

 I have been on the quest to find healthy take out. My boyfriend and I lead extremely busy lifestyles. We are often running from one place to the next and don't have the time we would like to cook for ourselves. We are both extremely fond of being in the kitchen. When we do have the time we prepare well thought out and labor intensive food (which can be a bit exhausting but it is something that we both feel feeds our souls). We also like to put an emphasis on our health and don't often like eating mass produced preservative packed meals. 

The balance between eating healthy and having the time to eat at all has become an issue for both of us. David works until later and I don't typically like to eat big meals that late in the day. In the past few months we often find ourselves starving but unsure of what we really have the energy to cook. We also find it hard to get good quality take out for a decent price and often settle for something subpar like breakfast for dinner or Jimmy Johns. I am sick and tired of compromising my food ideals because I can't find a nice restaurant that provides fresh alternatives to the normal take out options. 

Last Tuesday after David and I went out for one of his friend's going away party that oh so familiar question popped up again, "What should we have for dinner?". We were so stumped that it took us two beers and a game of darts to finally settle on trying the new Agra-Culture restaurant down the block. 

Now I don't typically venture into chain restaurants unless I am absolutely desperate or on vacation. I had heard mixed reviews on the place and was reluctant to try it but I was so sick and tired of never having an answer for that question that I was willing to try anything.

We walked the two blocks it took for us to reach the front doors. Once inside I was greeted by an extremely friendly man behind the counter. He explained how the restaurant worked and where we could find menus and if we had any questions that the gentleman at the cash register could help us. I am a sucker for good customer service. So often when you visit counter service restaurants the service doesn't match the price you are paying for your food. I also always find it a bit intimidating, it is as if they expect you to make a decision out of their 100s of items in the time it takes for you to enter the restaurant and reach the counter. But at Agra-Culture the experience was much different. They offered smaller hand held menus which I appreciate because often I forget to wear my glasses and can't read half of the items available on the large posted menus. 

We were also giving all the time we wanted to peruse the menu and pick out all of the fun foods we wanted to take home for our nights supper. Their menu was chalked full of fun healthy alternatives to the typical take out menus and the prices were perfect. Their mission is to make healthy food accessible to everyone, to give options for every eating style and need, to support non-GMO and organic farms, and to prove that healthy, sustainable and delicious belong together. 

I have always felt there wasn't many places that could really achieve making healthy food fun and delicious. David and I both found foods on the menu that made us not only excited but also gave us the feeling that we would both definitely want to come back. They have a whole "sides" section on the menu where you can mix and match fun foods to create your own nosh plate. The sides are only $3.50 a piece so I had a grand ole time picking my favorites. I decided on a lovely sides of sautéed mushrooms, "untried" rice filled with local vegetables and brown rice and a nice fresh side salad with house made herb vinaigrette. It was funny to me that I was able to find foods on their menu that are staples on my kitchen table on a weekly basis. Besides the sides available they offered all different types of fresh salads and sandwiches including some gourmet style salads that include some fun proteins like seared tuna and caramelized sea scallops. 

Although it wasn't the best food I have ever tasted it provided me with the perfect take out. I will definitely be visiting again and hopefully I will get a chance to indulge in some of their fun baked goods and fresh pressed juices. We got to sample a piece of their raw bar which was made with dark chocolate, figs and pistachios. It was lovely!

For more information on their foods and mission visit their website!

Ps. Don't forget to check out Danielle's posts from this week, Spice to Table and St. Augustine, FL

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

St. Augustine, FL

Hi Readers! This is Part 3 of our travel adventures. I love recommending places to others while they're traveling. It's hard to know where to eat, and especially where you can find good, organic food while you're traveling. Thankfully, my husband is a pro. We definitely found some favorites this past summer. Have you guys heard about St. Augustine, FL? Ben and I hadn't heard much about it at all until we went and visited this summer. We had gone to another part of Florida for a conference and when we had a few open nights while we were there we decided to go to St. Augustine. I was honestly pretty surprised. The town was so adorable, so cute, and so much fun. I kept wondering why I had never heard of it before! I mean I had heard of the name, but I hadn't heard anything about the town itself and we only live about 6 hours away. Ben and I were pleasantly surprised. We hadn't planned on going to St. Augustine before our trip so we hadn't scouted out all of the organic, local restaurants before we went. We usually do that when we are going to visit a city. However, it was very easy to walk around discovering everything as we went. The town sort of felt similar to New Orleans. It just isn't as big and maybe not as crazy as New Orleans, but something about the feel and even architecture reminded me of New Orleans. It looked like a smaller version of New Orleans to me. I loved walking down the Matanzas river to see the Fort Matanzas. I'm not usually one to be interested in history, which isn't my most impressive quality, but I definitely loved learning about their history and seeing Fort Matanzas.

As Ben and I were driving into their downtown area we saw so many cute little shops that we wanted to go into. We did a quick look of the restaurants in the area on Urbanspoon under the St. Augustine Organic tab. We have found a lot of fun places on Urbanspoon under their organic tags. We decided on this little organic Mexican Restaurant, the Casa Maya. They source a lot of their ingredients from local, organic purveyors. When they can't get them local they source from other organic farms in the US. Their food was delicious!! Being that St. Augustine is such a small town, I didn't think that we would be able to find local, organic, and good restaurants there. However, Casa Maya fit all three of those caveats perfectly. It was so delicious that we went back the next day for Sangrias and lunch! I loved their atmosphere as well. This would be one of the first places we would go if we were to return to St. Augustine. I'm craving their food as I sit here and write about our visit!

Another place we went was The Hyppo for "gourmet pops." Now being that we live near Atlanta, we are pretty snobby when it comes to the whole popsicle scene. 

We love getting our King of Pops popsicles whenever we have the chance, and they're pretty hard to beat. However, we saw the sign from outside and the bright colors inside and we decided to check them out. We were so glad that we did!

Not only do the popsicles taste just as good as King of Pops, they also source their ingredients from local farmers. "Fresh fruit matters!" as they say! They pride themselves on their quality ingredients-- no gmo's, no hormones in their dairy products, and no artificial colorings. That's amazing!! They have a lot of dairy-free options as well. They use fresh herbs, spices, and of course fresh fruit and that makes for a wide variety of flavors to choose from. We bought quite a few different ones-- I mean we had to taste them, right?! They even gave an option to dip them in chocolate-- the chocolate was dark chocolate and coconut. I dipped my Avocado Coconut Pop in chocolate. To die for!

We chatted with the manager for a little while and heard about the vision of The Hyppo and about their shoppe. Come to find out, King of Pops was a guiding factor in how they modeled their store and popsicles. The manager had also moved from St. Augustine from Atlanta. It was a fun little connection to make. They also have a little cafe where you can order breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We didn't get a chance to go to their cafe, but we did go back the next day for more pops!

The restaurant scene was super cute in St. Augustine. We went to a few other little places, that I loved including Cousteau's Waffle and Milkshake Bar-- so cute and so delicious! Other than eating, we walked around to all of the cute little shops their. We found one that I wish I could remember the name of! It was very Anthropologie-esque, only smaller and with more true vintage items. They had pages of books blown up and framed such as the one above. I loved that idea! 

All in all, our little trip to St. Augustine was so much fun. We loved the history of the town and their culture. We would definitely go back and would even considering taking our future kids back one day. 

Have you guys ever been to St. Augustine? Did you love it? What were your favorite places? 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Spice to Table + Atlanta, Ga.

Hi Readers! 

This is sort of Part II of Local Eats and Summer Finds. I wrote about 30A in Florida last week. This is more of our Travel Editions here on our blog. ;) Do any of you have any food that every so often you just crave and have to have?! I'm not talking about potato chips or chocolate, but more so a genre of food that once you get a craving for said food you non-stop think about it until you put it in your mouth. For me, that food would be Indian food. Whenever I ask my husband to guess what kind of food I'm craving, he always knows it's Indian food. I don't know what it is, but indian food is such comfort food to me. I feel like I'm eating a bowl of stew at my grandmother's kitchen table, but just with a very different and unique flavor profile. I love that it is often laden with fresh spices and herbs making it extra nutritious. I love that the taste and health benefits are both enhanced and increased in their style of cooking. Indian food definitely so comforting as well. My husband and I are friends with friends of the chef Asha Gomez and we had been hearing about her new Indian patisserie, Spice to Table, for a little while. 

Picture from Asha Gomez's lovely instagram
Let me describe to you our experience at Spice to Table. We pulled up to the restaurant and by the looks of the outside, I thought that the inside would be somewhat sterile and plain. However, as soon as we stepped foot inside there was a very alluring, enticing feel to it that drew us in and made me forget I was in metro-capital of Atlanta. I honestly felt like I had walked into someone's house, not restaurant. We later chatted with Asha Gomez and learned that was intentional and purposed, but for us it was a new feeling walking into an eatery and feeling so at home

Picture from Asha Gomez's Instagram
We walked up to the lovely counter where all of the daily food is arrayed and displayed. I can't tell you how much I loved being able to see the food before I ordered. I often have trouble deciding what to order and wish that I could just see the different dishes before I pick. I loved that I was able to do so. It also sort of felt like a feast or brunch with friends, passing around big platters and bowls full of delicious, colorful food. We weren't passing around the platters, but the feel was still the same. We had trouble deciding what to order as everything looked so beautiful. When we asked Asha what her favorite dish was that day she told us about a few of her different dishes including her braised beef dishes and curried chicken. She mentioned that in the region of India where she is from the climate is very hot, and they often have cooler side dishes such as the yogurt rice below in an effort to cool down. I could have listened to her talk about food for hours!

Picture From: Asha Gomez's Instagram

Ben ordered curried chicken with yogurt rice (pictured above) and I decided to order the vegetarian option for the daily which consisted of homemade Naan, chickpea curry, a potato cake, and creme fraiche (pictured below). There was also a large pitcher full of Carrot + Ginger juice next to the food and we decided to try some of that as well. Although everything that we tasted we loved, the fresh carrot + ginger juice turned out to be the best decision of our day!  My husband and I have talked about this juice non-stop since we had it. We are definitely going to try recreating this juice at home and add it to our regular juicing routine.

Picture from my iPhone
My husband and I sat in her beautiful space sighing over and over again, commenting on how amazing the flavors were. She makes all of her breads in house and the Naan was particularly delicious. I loved the texture and flavor. All of her food was perfectly balanced and yet so flavorful. I could taste the spices along with fresh herbs. It was perfection. We felt so at home sitting at the table with fresh flowers and cookbooks layered on all of the tables for guests to browse. I can't say we looked at any of the cookbooks, because we were busy obsessing over her food! 

Picture taken from Asha Gomez's instagram

We went up and thanked her at the end of the meal and she was so sweet. She mentioned that she loves her new patisserie because it makes her feel like she is having guests over to her home for a meal. I'm sure it goes without saying, but we will definitely be back. It felt like a meal-- an actual experience of eating slow-simmered food flavored with spices and herbs around a beautiful table. It felt like being at someone's home, except for the fact that none of my friends' food tastes quite as good!! ;) 

P.S. You can see Atlanta Eater's full coverage of Spice to Table here

Friday, October 17, 2014

Finding your Flower Essence

Good morning and happy friday!

I hope you all enjoyed your week. I have still be recovering from my busy weekend but spending a lot of time researching and learning about Bach flowers. I have a friend at work who has been taking Bach flowers for years and since she found out that I also participate she has been super stoked to talk about it. As I had said on Wednesday I am really fascinated with the whole process of using Bach flowers to help ease your fears and calm the mind.

You can find whole bottles of each Bach flower at your local natural food stores but finding the correct flowers for you is a bit more challenging. Every flower is designated to enhance or tone down a certain personality trait or mood. In combination the flowers work together to bring your mind back to a happy and healthy state. Every individual is different and struggling with their own demons so to begin your Bach flower routine you must take the questionnaire. Once you complete the questions it will provide you with a number of recommend flowers. Because you want the best results you don't want to combine too many flowers. Stick with 6 or 7 flowers at a given time. I took the questionnaire a few weeks ago and got 14 suggested flowers. I definitely had to narrow them down to ones that seemed most important so I read about all 14 flowers and eliminated ones that might be very close to another or that seemed to be not as important as the rest.

Even if you still feel skeptical about taking the flowers it is fun to take the test and see your results. I know that I have been struggling with a lot of fear and anxiety lately so it was no surprise to me that I would come up with so many different flowers.

Making your Mixture

Once you have selected your flowers there is a specific way to make your solution. 

You make a Bach Flower treatment bottle by adding 2 drops of each of the selected Bach Flower Remedies to a 30 ml/1 oz mixing bottle. You can combine up to 6 or 7 Remedies in a treatment bottle.
As preservative (optional) you can add 1 teaspoon brandy, apple cider vinegar or vegetable glycerin.
You then  fill the bottle to the top with water (use bottled mineral water because not only does it contain good minerals but it also helps preserve the solution for longer).
Make sure to use a dark glass container to conceal your Bach flower solution. Exposure to light can disrupt the activity of the solution.
Once you have your solution if you keep it stored in a cool dry place your flower should last you at least a month. If you are following the dosage directions your solution probably won't last longer than  that month but if you forget to take it regularly it won't expire during that month.
* Make sure to shake your bottle before using
You should take 4 drops under the tongue, 4 times a day until you feel better. 
If you wake up one day feeling a bit out of sort, you can add 1-2 drops of a remedy or more, to a drink and take small sips throughout the day until you feel better.
After you have taken the Bach flowers for a good amount of time you should take the questionnaire again. You flowers should change over time because you should be overcoming some of the issues that you have been struggling with by taking the solution. 
Danielle and I both have the complete set of Bach flowers at our finger tips so if you are interested in purchasing a specialized solution through us please don't hesitate to email us at

“We can judge our health by our happiness.” Dr. Edward Bach

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Introduction to Bach Flowers

Hey Everyone! It has been another crazy weekend for both Danielle and I. Danielle had a huge garage sale and was busy selling her stuff all weekend. I had mentioned last week that I was putting on a huge event for the restaurant I work for Meritage.

Oysterfest was a huge success! After my 15 hour work day I am ready for some real R&R. We talked a lot about stress last week. On friday Danielle went through some great ways to deal with stress which I found extremely informative. My stress levels being so high lately that finding new ways to cope with it can even be a bit stressful.

During our healthy pets week I had briefly touched on Edward Bach and his magnificent flowers. When Danielle and I were attending out CNHP lectures last winter we learned a lot about Dr. Bach. I found it absolutely fascinating. After a bit more research I was so excited about the remedies I purchased the kit of 38 flowers so that I could make my own tinctures at home. I made a few when I first received the kit, some for friends and some for myself but soon I completely forgot that I had the kit. I have been struggling for months with unwanted fear and anxiety and because I was so busy I failed to remember that I had some of the most powerful mood enhancers right under my nose.

Edward Bach was a doctor who was born in Birmingham, England in 1886. He suffered from an illness that made his body very sensitive to its environment. This sensitivity, although considered a curse by many, was a key to his ability to discern the remedies in nature.

Dr. Bach spent the majority of his adulthood trying to investigate the world of Western medicine. During this time in history infectious disease was rampant in most communities. Desperate times lead to desperate measures. Many of the techniques used in hospitals were very invasive and sometimes caused more harm than good in patients. Dr. Bach found himself discouraged because he was a follower of Hippocrates in that he believed that healing should be gentle, painless and non-invasive.

Dr. Bach observed that the same treatment did not always cure the same disease in each patient. He noted that much could be learned by observing the sick person's response to his complaint and seeing the various reactions of the sick to their diseases, which seemed to influence their prognosis. He also discovered that the personality of the individual was more important in the healing process than that of the state of the physical body. If our psyche is unhealthy it takes a lot more energy for the body to heal because we are not focused on the real problems but rather we are preoccupied with the stress and fear our mind may be clouded by.

Bach's most amazing discovery was the understanding of the mind and that the mind controlled the physical. Amply by normalizing the mind, a sick body could correct its own infections. Bach was a real student of people and an observer of the sick. Bach propounded that there were several moods, which were evident in those who were sick. He identified them as fear, terror, worry, indecision, uncertainty, indifference, apathy, doubt, discouragement, over caring, weakness, impatience, self distrust, over enthusiasm, pride and aloofness.

His goal was to find homeopathic remedies to help calm the mind and lead his subjects on a path to healing. He eventually discovered that flowers of certain plants when mixed with water and sunlight could produce calming essences that helped patients overcome some of their strong personality traits that might disrupt their path to feeling healthy. He came up with 38 different remedies that could be used in combination or alone to help stabilize an individuals psyche in a non-invasive and homeopathic way.

Now that we spoke a bit about the history of Edward Bach and how he found his remedies here are some facts about using Bach flowers. Friday I will give you the lowdown on how to choose and make your own flower tinctures.

 What do Bach Flowers Treat?

The Bach remedies don't treat physical complaints directly. Instead they help by treating the negative emotional states that provoke or worsen illnesses.
This means the way to select the correct remedies is always to think about the sort of person you are and about your current emotional state, and forget the physical symptoms.

How do the remedies actually work?

Dr Bach used a metaphor to describe how the remedies work. He said, ‘they are able, like beautiful music, or any gloriously uplifting thing which gives us inspiration, to raise our very natures, and bring us nearer to our Souls: and by that very act, to bring us peace, and relieve our sufferings.’ Just as a beautiful sunset or a photograph can move us so that we feel more at peace, so taking a remedy uplifts us in a gentle way and helps us be the best we are.
There are many theories about the mechanism the remedies use to achieve this. Most believe the active ingredient in the remedies is a kind of energy or vibration that is transferred from the living flower to the water during the process of making the mother tinctures. Some believe the energy forms a pattern in the water; others talk of quantum mechanics and spiritual vibrations. Attempts to capture this energy have produced beautiful Kirlian photographs showing distinct patterns and colours for different remedies - but little hard research has been done. Any firm conclusions are just speculation.
The real proof that these flower energies exist, however, is the effect they have on people. Taking Mimulus when we are afraid is just a more specific form of the emotional reaction we feel when we listen to Beethoven or gaze up at the stars.

Why not mix all the remedies together and have a single mix for every problem?

         Just as most healing processes it is better to focus on a smaller amount of problems than to blanket yourself with an "overall" cure. Also the flowers are their to treat all different types of people and personalities. If you were to mix all of them together they wouldn't be specialized enough to do anything for the individual.

Is it safe to take the remedies alongside other kinds of medicine?

Normally there is no problem with taking Bach remedies alongside other medicines. The active ingredient in a flower remedy is an energy from the plant, not a physical substance, so it will not interfere with the physical action of the other medicine. Nor will the other medicine stop the Bach remedy from working.
The only point of caution concerns the alcohol used to bottle and preserve the remedies. This can usually be ignored as the amount of alcohol in a single dose is minute. But you should check with your prescribing doctor, pharmacist or health advisor before taking an alcohol-based Bach remedy if you have been advised to avoid all traces of alcohol.

I will show you on Friday how to create your own specialized remedy. I will also go over how to take these remedies and how you can go about making these remedies. 
If you would like to check out some of the different flowers and there treatments visit The Bach Centre

See you friday!

Disclaimer: PRTLIVING (and all of those feature and interviewed) is limited to providing self-help education in natural health matters and advocating of a healthy lifestyle. If you have a medical problem, please seek the advice of your medical doctor. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Alys Beach + Rosemary Beach + Seaside, Florida EATS

Hi Readers! 

So, we not only give natural remedies on our blog, and recipes, but we also love to highlight various places that we go. It can be trying to be a healthy eater and person while traveling often. So, today I wanted to write a little bit about traveling to the beach this summer and what I ate there. I know that I've wrote about Seaside, Fl before. I wrote about it when I posted my all-natural, diy, sunburn relief that has been popular on the blog and if you follow me on instagram you've seen pictures. Even though I've mentioned that we have been to Seaside before I've never quite talked about all of our favorite spots there. Before Ben and I go anywhere we always try to scout out the organic or local restaurants in the area. If you haven't been to a city before it's hard to know where to go and what to do. Thankfully, we live in a day and age where the internet makes that a lot easier to deal with. People write blog posts (such as this one) and reviews these days offering a lot of suggestions of what to do and where to go. When Ben and I first went to Seaside last year it was a very last minute decision to go. If I remember correctly we were only there for two nights as well. We didn't have any time to look at restaurants beforehand. Thankfully, Seaside is pretty self-explanatory and you can pretty much walk and bike most places. I hadn't been to Seaside for years, since I was a little girl to be exact. Even though Seaside has become so much more popular since I was little, the charm and quaintness is exactly the same. Seaside is only about 30 minutes from Destin, FL, but it feels like a totally different world in my opinion. It's such a beautiful little place full of charm and character. It's very family-oriented and not as "crazy" as some of the other beach towns. The beach is pristine and so is the town. Everything looks like a page out of a magazine. I have been many places before and there is something about Seaside that makes it one of my top five favorite places that I have ever been. I just feel so relaxed there. There aren't many places that beckon me to really and truly relax in that type of way. I'm not sure if it's all of the natural Vitamin D I get from the sun or just the beauty of the town. I also love that I can get local, organic food there. I wanted to share with you a few of our favorites. 

Seaside Farmer's Market: 
As you guys know, I try to go to a farmer's market in every city that I visit. I wrote about some that we went to in San Diego a while ago. I love farmer's markets and this one in Seaside is adorable. 
My husband and I rode our bikes from the house to the farmer's market. It was so idyllic and romantic! It was romantic until we were riding back home with our green juices in our hands and I somehow fell and my bike fell on ben's bike and he crashed into the bushes and the green juice fell on top of us both. Haha! It was still really fun. 
The market was laden with beautiful fruits and vegetables and all kinds of local goods. One of my favorite artisans and farms was Twin Oaks Farm, pictured in the two pictures above. The owner is from Switzerland and she makes some of the best preserves I've ever tasted in my life. I brought a jar of Strawberry and Fig jam home to my grandmother and she loved it so much that she ordered two more jars when she finished that one. She also makes vinegars, hot chocolate mixes, and sells salts, Florida Organic Rice and Florida Organic Pecans. She is amazing and so is all of her food! We had the privilege of being able to go to her farm and volunteer for a day, and I will write about that sometime soon. 
The pastries were to die for as well!

Seaside Food Trucks:
Seaside has the most adorable food truck scene that I've ever scene in my life. Every food truck has to be an Airstream trailer and look the same as the rest. Food trucks are becoming quite a common (maybe ever overdone?!) thing in our day and age. However, Seaside food trucks do not feel overdone or boring in the least. 
One of our favorite food trucks is the Raw & Juicy fresh juice and lunch truck. They juice freshly made raw juices in front of you. They also do green smoothies and a few different lunch and snack options. Everything they make is raw. They also use local and organic ingredients. I love getting their zippy hula and pina verde juice, as well as their Almond Love smoothie-- it tastes like a milkshake it's so good!

Bud & Alley's: 
Bud & Alley's is such a fun place. They have a roof top bar that overlooks the beach, a pizza bar, and a taco bar. I've only ever eaten at the pizza bar and it was delicious. The roof top bar always has music playing and people dancing. The view could not be more gorgeous. I definitely want to eat at the roof top bar when I go back! 

Alys Beach: 
Alys Beach is gorgeous. Most of the houses are white and it makes the town look like it comes straight out of a magazine.  A lot of celebrities and athletes live there. My favorite restaurant in Alys Beach is George's. They have many accolades and they deserve every one of them. Their ingredients are very high-quality and sourced from local places. Their food tastes fresh and delicious. George's is a little more fancy, so it's definitely for "dress-up" night. I recommended George's to my cousin when they went to Rosemary Beach for their anniversary and they loved it! I can't imagine anyone not loving it. I had the scallops with their freshly made ravioli, and I'm still thinking about that dish today. 

Rosemary Beach: 
Alys Beach, Rosemary Beach, and Seaside are all right next to each other. While Alys beach is in the middle of the two, I would say the distance between Seaside and Rosemary beach would be 20-30 minutes? Don't quote me on that. The drive between the two is right on the coast through their quaint neighborhoods. Rosemary Beach is a cute little town. 
A favorite attraction in Rosemary is The Pearl, pictured above. . It's a chic boutique hotel with a lovely restaurant that overlooks the beach. Rosemary Beach also has really unique shops to walk through. One of my favorites is Moonpize. My Aunt Donna sells her beautiful paintings that you can see below at Moonpize's

We had an amazing time at Seaside, Fl. I told Ben that any time I get to go there I feel like it's a dream come true for me. Really. I would rather go to Seaside, Fl over Disney any day of the year! I will have to post another time about our picnic on the beach there and how to plan for that. In the meantime, I'll miss what the salty water does to my hair and how I don't have to even fix it while I'm there! 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Natural Remedies For Stress


So this week we have talked a little bit about stress and anxiety. Panic attacks lately, anyone?  I would love to say there is one go to pill one can take that would eradicate stress from one's life, but there's not. We'll maybe there is, but not one we would advertise here on prtliving! Stress and anxiety can really be a such a life-sucker. It's hard to live life dreaming of changing the world and fulfilling our purpose when we are being run over with stress and worry. How can we find our calm, our own peace, and our rhythm amidst feelings that seem to overtake us and then even cause us physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach pains, chest pains, and fatigue. It's interesting that I'm talking about stress today because in my life these days I don't feel bogged down and run ragged by stress half as much as I used to. I mean it definitely still happens from time to time but not even half as much as it used to. My lifestyle has changed so much without even effort or hard work, but almost seamlessly as I've continued on a journey of wellness and healing. I always, always say healing is not about loosing weight or just physical symptoms. It's about our spiritual healing, our physical healing, and emotional. Health is about all of those things and they're all connected and in my mind one in the same. If you have a mental deficiency it will show somewhere, somehow in your physical body through some symptom and vice versa. It's important when we talk about something like stress and anxiety that we talk about our lifestyles. It's funny because I was at the orthodontist two days ago when the secretary said something about how she hates it when people talk about loosing weight and about changing their lifestyle. She said "I don't want to change my lifestyle, I want to be able to eat unhealthy fattening things all of the time!" I just laughed. It's totally the opposite of what I teach and believe. I do believe reducing stress takes some serious consideration towards a lifestyle change. Here are some of my thoughts and recommendations below~

1. YOU are in charge of your own happiness 

Probably the single most thing that I would talk about first with anyone approaching me about stress is this: The realization that YOU are in charge of your own  happiness. No one ever wants to hear that! And especially people who are stressed! Hah. Realizing you are the only thing in charge of your own happiness means a whole lot of other things for your life, but once you really do come to that realization other things start to fall into place pretty seamlessly. (I've used that word twice in this post, so I must like it today!) It's very easy for us to believe life just happens to us, people just treat us horribly, such and such has never been what you want and never will be, we are victims to our horrendous circumstances, and everyone else seems to have it better than us. People come to me and tell me all of their live this and that has happened over and over and over again and they've never had xyz and how horrible their lives are.  I can't tell you HOW many people I talk to that try to convince me "No, danielle, no really my life is way harder than most people!" They tell me how so and so has it so much easier than them, and then the next day I go to lunch with so and so and that person tells me how much easier the other person has it than them! It wasn't until a point came in my life that I had to really come to terms that junk happens to EVERYONE. Seriously, everyone has storms and obstacles and you can make even more obstacles by how you respond. We can ALL make a case for our problems, failures, regrets and even make a good case for it. We can all find negative things to talk about or dwell on. Every human alive can do that. I had to come to terms with the realization that I could have whatever in life I wanted and that I could create the life I always dreamed of that was inside of my heart all along. I had to do that, along with God who makes all things possible. I could let life happen to me and sulk and throw pity parties or I could decide to quit complaining get off my butt and start doing things about it and create the life I believe in and am proud of. No more complaints, no more obstacles would I even talk about. No use in giving my energy away to talking about such things. I was going to give my energy to good! So I started and I've been in that process of doing that ever since! I can't tell you the freedom that comes from that! You can be your best hero or your worst enemy and we need to choose wisely! Our lives depend on it and other's do too. You may wonder how this relates to stress, but just try it and see for yourself. ;)

2. Eating foods that are going to give to your body, not take away

We can be full of faith, full of inspiration, ready to conquer our dreams and be weighed down with sickness. As I've said above, our minds get healed simultaneously with our bodies. We need to feed (notice, I didn't say fight against! I said feed.) our bodies and minds. One of my wise mentors said to me recently, "Processed foods equal unprocessed thoughts!" I was like wow! So true! Do you want crap to be swimming around in our heads, not able to discern our left from our right? No. So we really shouldn't be putting junk into our mouths either. Feed your mind by feeding your body healthy foods. I highly recommend my posts on How To Listen To Your Body. Eating healthy foods doesn't mean freak out crazy calorie counting or eating grilled chicken and drinking low-fat milk for the rest of your days. Not in my mind at least. I stray away from that. I want you to feed your body things that will make you feel alive and make you feel energized and good! We all need to learn what those foods are for us, while keeping in mind you can pretty much cancel out processed foods, chemicals, and hormone laden meats. Those will surely make you stressed trying to figure out what cloud you're living under and make you feel all sorts of bad emotions you never want to feel. If you're having a week where you're already prone to struggle and feel crazy anxious, be wise about your food choices. Fill yourself with greens, live raw vegetables, fermented foods full of live enzymes, and grass-fed meats and butters that will stabilize your hormones. These foods will help you and not take away from your body's desire to stabilize your body and mind.

3. Juicing 

We've talked a bit about juicing on our blog already. We haven't delved deep into it, but we've answered some questions and given some recipes. Juicing is one of my lifesavers, my go-to's, my priorities. A few weeks ago we were in the thick of packing, moving, and traveling. I had been out of my regular routine and I noticed anxiety creeped in like a vengeance. All of the sudden out of no where I felt so anxious. The very first thing I did was to go to Whole Foods and get some vegetable green juice freshly juiced. Juicing is something we do usually at least every other day. However, with the moving and packing and traveling it had been something I hadn't done or had in a while. As soon as I noticed the anxiety I drove to Whole Foods and got some juice and went back every day for a week to get some. The anxiety subsided within a day. It's very hard to eat that many raw vegetables all at once, but juicing is a way to flood my system with vital nutrients and minerals I would never otherwise get. Those minerals help sustain my hormones and give my body what it needs to keep my immune system working well and to make me stay healthy. Juicing is definitely one of my go-to's with stress and anxiety.

4. Water 

I've talked many times about the value of water.  Water is one of the primary things responsible for a strong immune system which prevents us from getting sick. Our bodies cannot exist off of little water and a very high number of people are dehydrated without having any idea. Are you tired a lot? Headaches? Water, water, water is what you need. When people come to me with health dilemmas usually one of the first things I suggest is water-- it's not even because I know everyone needs it, it's just that what they're telling me usually sounds like a water deficiency. Whenever I suggest water people always tell me, "Oh I drink TONS of water!! I carry my water bottle with me all day long and I drink tons of water!" I often find though that they really don't. :/ It's not until I started actually tracking my water consumption with actual measurements that I found out how much water I really drink. Water plays a HUGE role in stress and anxiety. Your body needs hydration to it's cells so that they can all do their job accordingly. One can never underestimate the power that water plays in our healing. Children especially are highly dehydrated. I can't suggest enough to track your water consumption (and I give you a really easy way to do this!) and make sure you're getting enough! It's also really important to make sure you are drinking it at the right times and in the right ways. Just a tip... drinking water during your meal will give you heartburn! You can find out other tips for how and when to drink water in my Dehydration Post.

For some reason my Epsom Salt post has gotten extra popular this week. Epsom Salt baths are definitely very popular in my household. I have everyone taking epsom salt baths. Epsom salt baths are like juicing... to me I realize when I haven't been doing these faster than I realize I haven't been eating well or drinking enough water. My body LOVES taking epsom salt baths. I've said before that Epsom salt baths are an amazing way to get magnesium which our body desperately needs and receives best through absorption in the skin. Magnesium is especially helpful for stress levels. The warm bath (which I also add lavender essential oil to!) is completely relaxing as well. Sometimes I light a candle, sometimes I listen to music, sometimes I read. I love it. Basically, if you want to stay sane, take epsom salt baths and take them regularly! I do at least one a week. If I'm having a particularly stressful week I take up to one a day! I can't get enough. Read more about which brands are my favorite and my warnings and tips for Epsom Salt baths on this post.

Besides the five things listed above I love to incorporate chiropractic visits into my life. I also just started craniosacral sessions. These are intense, but amazing! If you truly want to walk in freedom and experience healing, I can't recommend these therapy sessions enough, but be prepared for some emotional work on your part. It's worth it in the end and it definitely reduces stress and anxiety in the long run! I also absolutely love my Bach Flowers. We will talk more about those as the days go on.

My last and final suggestion is lavender oil. You can never go wrong with lavender oil. I used to have major problems falling asleep every night and when I was younger I would have to take bennadryl every night just to fall asleep. Lavender oil mixed with coconut oil on my arms, hands, and feet helped tremendously. (I also take melatonin now when I'm having trouble, but that's for another post!)

Disclaimer: PRTLIVING (and all of those feature and interviewed) is limited to providing self-help education in natural health matters and advocating of a healthy lifestyle for the sole purpose of sharing personal experiences and historical information about the traditional use of God-given herbs and natural remedies. This information is not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any specific disease. No medical claims are made. If you have a medical problem, please seek the advice of your medical doctor.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Real People Wednesday / Meet Cindy!

Hi Readers! We have another Real People Wednesday Interview today. I'm excited about featuring Cindy today for many reasons. One is that I love Cindy and her family! Her daughter McCartney was in my small group at church and I got to know her and her parents and they're so sweet! Their whole family is one of the sweetest family's I've ever known. They're so welcoming and they make everyone feel so comfortable at their house. Not to mention, they have a thousand animals including a barn full of horses. Cindy is a counselor as well as a mom and horse lover. In our day and age a lot of people have stigmas against going to see a counselor-- especially within various churches. There's this whole concept that because you have church you don't or shouldn't need anything else. However, I like to view things a little different. We can have church... and other things too! That's such a luxury and freedom! Talking through issues that affect our lives and those around us can only better us and help us walk in freedom and healthy relationships. Being healthy isn't just about what you eat. It's definitely a mindset and lifestyle as well, as I've talked about here. We have to grow in having healthy minds, healthy emotions, and healthy relationships. Sometimes you just need to sit down and chat with "a Cindy" to take stock of your mind and heart and to see things you otherwise didn't. It's also always helpful to have a listening ear and Cindy is one of those perfect people to do that! I love what she says (especially about when to see a counselor) below and I know you will too! 

Meet Cindy! 

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself! Who is your family comprised of / what do you do / what you do  /  what you are passionate about / your hobbies / etc. 

A: I was born in Long Island, New York but moved to Palm Beach Gardens, Florida when I was three or four years old. I consider South Florida to be my home of origin as that is where the majority of my childhood memories are from. I grew up the middle of five children with many fond childhood memories. I have now lived in Phenix City, Alabama for over 20 years where I live with my husband, William, and my daughter McCartney. We also have a grown son, Trent, who lives in Lafayette, Louisiana. We live on my husband’s family farm where five generations have now lived. Many years ago my husband’s grandfather, William Howard, ran a successful turkey business, Howard Turkey Farm, on the property. For the past 14 years we have run C Bar W Boarding Stables. Gosh, it is hard to say any one thing that I feel passionate about as I can think of so many things. What first comes to my mind is passion for my faith, my family, my friends and life in general. I love crafting of any kind but especially hand stitching pine needle baskets, crocheting and sewing. I also enjoy gardening and working in my greenhouse and I always look forward to working in the hayfield with my husband. As a family, we all enjoy being active, I especially love going camping and kayaking.

Q: How long have you been a counselor and what led you to this doing this? 
To Read Cindy's Response And The Rest Of Her Interview Click Here... 

Monday, October 6, 2014

A little about Anxiety and Stress

It is CRUNCH time! I have been planning an event, Oysterfest, for the past six months. We are now a week out. I feel a little overwhelmed and worried that I am missing something crucial but because I have so much going on I can not think of anything that seems out of place. Only seven days separates me from the moments when I will be standing and staring at 1,000 hungry oyster fans.

This will be out forth annual Oysterfest. It is amazing how many people love oysters in this landlocked state. Until you have planned an event for 1,000 people you really don't understand how many details go into throwing a festival. Especially in the last couple months my life has consisted of checklists,  emails, permit meetings and tons and tons of guest phone calls. With all the hoopla that goes a long with planning a large event my anxiety and stress levels have skyrocketed. Bedtime gets confusing... I am either exhausted and struggling to keep my eyes open or I am sitting up waiting for my brain to finally stop running through all my "to-do" lists. The lack of sleep leads to other issues... My need for comfort food has risen to an all time high. I know we have talked about listening to your body and trying to appease your cravings but lately my body has been screaming BUTTER, CHEESE, BREAD and DESSERT, way too often.

My complexion has also suffered during this stressful time. I often get breakouts when I am going through bouts of stress but lately it has been a lot worse. I don't go a day without a major breakout which is not only frustrating but also extremely painful. Both of these issues add to both my stress and anxiety which in turn leads to more breakouts.... it is a vicious cycle.

Our country was founded on the idea that we will all work our way to the top. We put such a strong emphasis on working hard that almost all of us forget that there is more to life than our jobs. We shouldn't let our jobs define us. We should work to sustain but only to allow us to lead more enjoyable lives outside of our work. Isn't that essentially why we have jobs? If we are spending so much time focused on creating a life for ourselves but never living what is the point? With all this work and no play stress starts to rule our existence.

To Read More Click Here...

Friday, October 3, 2014

Baked Butternut Squash French Fries


Well, it's officially fall! Every single year I can't wait for this time of the year. I can't wait for that first cool day where the breeze changes and you can tell fall is coming! For most of my life Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday and I've always loved the season leading up to it. I get so excited for pumpkin everything! However, this year... this year for the first time in my entire life existence I did not want summer to end. I was actually sad fall was coming since it would be the end of summer! I don't ever remember feeling that way in my entire life. I even told my husband that I was very worried because I wasn't dying for fall to come fast and usually I am. I told him that I didn't want gazpacho and fresh black krim tomato sauce season to be over!  and season?! I barely had time to make those this summer it feels like! I am going to miss trips to the beach with my family and I feel like I just started learning how to can and preserve and started loving it. For whatever reason, it wasn't until we were driving from San Diego to Los Angeles this weekend and I caught a glimpse of a huge field of pumpkins growing right across from the ocean that I even had my first moment of being excited for fall. The gorgeous blue ocean was on my left and this beautiful field of pumpkins was on my right. It looked like a seen straight out of Southern Living Magazine, until I remembered the Ocean doesn't appear in any Southern landscapes so it probably wouldn't appear in Southern Living Magazine either! ;) Once I saw that field of pumpkins I got excited for the first time that fall was approaching. Today I got my second glimpse of fall happiness when I had a butternut squash salad for breakfast. I forgot how much I love butternut squash! I always cook and eat in season and this is definitely the season for all things butternut squash. I love making soups out of it, salads, roasting it, pureeing it for "mashed" cinnamon and spice butternut squash, making enchiladas with it, and best of all making butternut squash french fries. To me they're even more flavorful than regular potato french fries! I've been waiting to share this recipe with you readers. I took these pictures a while ago, but I wanted to wait until it was the season for it. Now that it is officially the season, I am so excited to share this recipe with you. These fries are SO yummy. They're also easy and you get so much nutrition out of these little fries. I made these a while back when we were eating vegan. I still make a lots of vegan recipes that we have come to love, even though we do eat some grass-fed meat now. I've made these as a side, and I've also made these for lunch one day! I mean they are full of nutrition! They're so simple and they taste like french fries!

P.S. Did you know that butternut squash used to be known as the vegetable for fertility? The American Indians used to believe that the seeds increased fertility! One cup of cooked butternut squash has 457% of your daily vitamin A-- which is responsible for your immune system! It's an amazing source of magnesium and fiber too which is responsible for a healthy gut and balanced hormones! We all need that! 

To See The Recipe Click Below...

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