Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Dry Skin Brushing

Hello Readers! 

How is your week going so far? I just got back late last night from sunny California as you know if you follow us on instagram ( @PRTLIVING ). The trip was amazing, but getting back I'm extra exhausted. I need to restock the fridge and go to the grocery and get some organic vegetables to juice for some fresh raw juice to get my energy and immune system back up. Anyway, this week on our lovely blog is all about Candida. We try to focus on one topic or do topics that at least correlate throughout the week, since natural health is a huge umbrella in and of itself. So this week is Candida! Do ya'll know anything about Candida? Have you heard about it before? It's definitely not something that the general population sits around and talks about very often. I heard about it years and years ago, but I never really knew the importance of it and the role it can detrimentally play in your body. Candida can build up for years and years from anything from fast food to a long usage of antibiotics. Now, as I wrote about last week, drinking water is the most important thing in all of this as if you're going to clear Candida drinking water needs to be your first foundation to build off of.  The reason it's so important to clear your body of built up Candida because it can overtake you and cause innumerable health issues you would never even think to attribute to something like Candida. As Laura mentioned yesterday, it can cause anything from feeling tired ALL of the time and not having vibrant energy to not being able to get pregnant. If you're one of those ones that eats good and exercises but complains about not being able to loose the weight you want to easily, that's probably from Candida as well. Today, I'm going to tell you about Dry Skin Brushing and how it can help with this whole Candida issue and also the amazing things it can do for your body. I may have even mentioned dry skin brushing in my interview since I love it so much-- as it is one of the best things I do for my body and overall wellbeing. 

What is Dry Brushing? 

Dry Brushing is a technique that has been around for a while! It's such an easy thing to do for your body and even though I don't do it consistently as I should I still see amazing benefits from it. You can find a dry brush, which is basically a stiff bristled brush like one you would use on a horse, on amazon or at any of your health food stores. I particularly like this one from Amazon and it comes with two! They also sell the same one at Whole Foods but it's much cheaper on Amazon. It's best to dry brush in the morning. It gives you so much energy for your day. However, you will want to take a shower after you do it since you will have dead skin coming off, so just do it right before whenever you take your showers. The process is simple. You basically just brush your skin while naked in circular motions towards your heart. Start at your feet brushing underneath and on top and work in circular motions or clock like fashions towards your heart brushing your whole body (not face or neck, and do not brush any open wounds or rashes). Before I started doing it I didn't know if you use lotion or brush anything on you. I don't think I understood the whole DRY brushing concept that you don't brush any substance on it, it's just the brushing alone that helps. If you do it every day for at least three months you will see drastic changes in your skin and health.

Basic Benefits of Dry Skin Brushing: 

-Glowing skin 
-Gets rid of cellulite, acne, rashes, skin markings, and dryness
-Help the body in it's ability to regulate weight. 
-Building the immune system and preventing you from and stopping any sickness.
-Getting rid of yeast and toxins in your body that make you feel sick and lifeless. 
-Rebuilding and restrengthening your organs to work the way they were designed to, which affects everything in turn. 

Is dry brushing another whacky natural thing or are there actual amazing benefits? 

The benefits listed above are actually real. I've seen this myself. And for $4 for a brush, I don't know why one wouldn't want to to try it?! The reason it is so important is that the skin is the largest organ in the body. There are only two ways of elimination for the body and one of those is the skin. That is huge. Whatever is going on in the inside of your body will come out in some way through your skin. If you experience dry skin, splotching, rashes, itching, acne, dullness, cellulite-- all of those are symptoms of things going on inside your body. That is why when people go to the dermatologist for their skin issues that only treats the symptom not the cause of why that is happening in the first place. By dry skin brushing the skin it stimulates all of the nerve endings which in turn stimulates all of your organs and nervous system. 

Being that the skin is the largest organ of your body, it not only increases the quality of your skin directly it also has direct affects on the other organs inside of your body. Dry brushing directly helps your body in eliminating, getting rid of those toxins, and shedding the dead skin cells which promotes renewal of your cells. It also increases circulation throughout your whole body which helps all of your organs to function and encourages any waste to be discharged. The same benefits of exercising are also attributed to dry skin brushing. It helps get your blood flowing and moving which stimulates all of your body systems to start working and functioning. This is especially good for people who work at an office job all day. However, it's really good no matter how much exercise you get!  If you have any cellulite or acne that is actually a sign of toxic waste in your body. Dry skin brushing can eliminate cellulite by encouraging the waste to be discharged and stimulating new cells to form. The skin is so so important in general health because it is the first thing to show signs of anything going on in your body, and it's the last organ to receive nutrients. So caring for it by dry brushing is one of the easiest and best things you can do for your body as a whole. 

How Dry Brushing Helps with Candida: 

Anything that increases lymph flow and encourages the body to increase immunity will help the body with it's battle against candida. Candida is a waste in your body. Dry Skin Brushing helps your body eliminate that waste and when it would usually get trapped in your body and come out in red blotches, dry skin, acne, or cellulite dry skin brushing rids of those dormant cells and their waste and increases blood flow to those areas.  

Well, readers, that's my first post on dry skin brushing. I hope you venture out and try it! I think I may have even mentioned it in my interview, as it really has helped me be the best I can be and I've seen so many amazing benefits from it. You can also read the Detoxinista's short story about the effects she saw from dry brushing here and also Dr. Shumway's short little story about his wife and dry brushing here. Have a happy Tuesday! 

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.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Signs You Have Candida & Treatments


Happy candida cleanse week! We had a great week last week talking about allergies and natural remedies and also signs and symptoms of dehydration (and how mason jars help with that).  I had mentioned Friday that a friend of mine and I are going to take a week off of our normal eating schedule and embark on a candida free diet.  I want to see how my body feels after a week and if I see a difference I may just continue down the path and keep myself feeling healthy.

Because of candida cleanse week I felt it was necessary to give you a bit of a background on the effect of yeast on our bodies. I have provided a quick introduction to candida and some symptoms and helpful natural remedies. I hope all of you have a wonderful week and again thank you for visiting!

What are the common causes of Candida overgrowth?

Candida is a fungus, which is in the form of yeast. Candida is naturally occurring in the body to help aid digestion and absorption in the small intestine. But if for some reason the yeast is overproduced it can break down the lining of the intestine and enter the blood stream. Once in the bloodstream it releases toxic byproducts and can cause problems ranging from rashes to depression.


There can be many different reasons for an over production of yeast in specific areas of the body. Most people associate candida as a sexually transmitted infection. Yeast can be transferred between sex partners but usually one or both of the partners are also struggling with candida overgrowth inside their body that is ultimately leading to the infection.

Your body uses yeast to break up small sugars that enter the small intestine after being broken down in the stomach. There are many minor causes to yeast overgrowth like taking antibiotics that kill off good bacteria, consuming hormonal birth control that can throw off your pH and even leading a stressful lifestyle. But there are two main reasons that can lead to an over population in the intestines. The first is if you are ingesting large amounts of carbohydrates or alcohol. The second is if your body is not correctly digesting the carbohydrates in the stomach. Both of these can lead to an increased amount of carbohydrate entering the small intestine which feeds the yeast and causes it to grow and multiply.

What are some of the symptoms of Candida overgrowth?

  • Skin and nail infections (including athletes foot, psoriasis, eczema, and dandruff)
  • Mouth sores
  • Thrush
  • Irritability, mood swings and depression
  • Vaginal infections, bladder infections and or rectal infections
  • Severe allergies and itchy ears
  • Fatigue
  • Foggy brain
  • Strong sugar cravings
  • Chronic sinus infections
  • Respiratory issues
  • Arthritis or chronic joint pain
  • Bloating and stomach cramps 
  • Migraines 
  • Weight Gain that you are unable to loose 
  • Infertility

How can you test for Candida at home?

Of course you can have your blood tested to see how much candida is present in your body. There are also a couple tests you can do at home that might detect a candida overgrowth in your body.

Saliva Test

Take a clear glass of water and spit into it within 30 minutes of waking up. Make sure you build up a bunch of saliva, but just saliva from your mouth, don’t cough up anything. Do this
before you rinse, spit or put anything into your mouth. Then wait for 15 minutes.
Your saliva will float on the surface of the water, which is normal. However, if you see cloudy saliva that sinks to the bottom of the glass like sediment, you may be seeing colonies of yeast. You may also see the saliva on the top with tiny strings that start to hang down that may look like jellyfish, hair, or spider legs, or suspended specks of yeast floating in the middle of the glass

Urine Test
Look for bubbles in your urine. Tartaric acid is a common byproduct of yeast and if your body is high in yeast your urine will have a high amount of tartaric acid which creates bubbles or a foamy look to the urine. 
Common Natural Treatments: 

Candida Diet

Diet and exercise can be the key to eliminate candida from your body.

The candida diet is essentially eliminating carbohydrates, alcohol, fermented foods and inflammation causing foods. (Later this week I will do a post where I talk about some Candida Diet Recipes). 

Enzymes are substances  produced by a living organism that acts as a catalyst to bring about a specific biochemical reaction.

Enzymes from our food and bodies help aid in breaking up our food so that we are able to digest and absorb the nutrients in our food.

There are certain enzymes that can help break down excess yeast in our intestines and throughout our bloodstream. Plant enzymes especially cellulase and protease when taken in combination can be very effective at helping decrease yeast counts.

Biofase is a complete enzyme formula including these enzymes -cellulase, protease, hemicellulase, glucoamylase and amylase. All of which help to break down and destroy destructive candida. They also help to digest the carbohydrates that may be contributing to the yeast overgrowth. Many times it is essential to take your regular digestive enzyme, along with cellulase to rid of Candida. 

Essential Oils

Using essential oils can also be helpful in treating yeast infections. They can help reduce stress levels and also help normalize pH. Candida flourish in alkaline environments because probiotics that help stabilize yeast levels die off at extreme pH.

For yeast infections soaking in a mint oil bath can be effective. Other oils such as tea tree oil and ocotea oil are also effective in helping with this issue.


 You will want to increase your probiotic (good bacteria) intake with a high-quality probiotic supplement or by eating cultured foods like organic plain yogurt. These contain the good bacteria that keep your gastrointestinal tract healthy and will ultimately replace the Candida.

Decreasing stress levels

Lastly, it is extremely important to try and decrease your stress levels. All of us work too hard and put so much energy into our daily lives we forget that if we burn the candle at both ends we will eventually burn out.

Making sure you are taking the time to rest and get a good nights sleep is crucial. Also meditation techniques can be helpful in reducing stress. Keeping your body calm can be very beneficial in keeping you healthy.

Danielle's Candida Cleanse Recipe: 

Hi! Danielle, here now. I thought I would just include my Candida Cleanse "recipe" to this already established and thorough post of Laura's. She gives a lot of helpful and accurate information. In the recent weeks I've put a few people on this Candida Cleanse with surprising and amazing results. Below is the "recipe" I use for clearing Candida and it has worked with insane results.

To clear Candida I would prescribe: Digestive Enzymes, a Magnesium Supplement/Enzyme (or Colon Health Support), Cellulase (an enzyme specifically formulated that fights candida), good probiotics, the candida diet, a whole lot of water, and dry brushing. *It is also very important when considering cleaning candida that you take into account your bowel movements. The last thing you want to be doing is ridding of toxins in your body without having a way to eliminate them. You need to make sure you have at least 1-2 bowel movements a day while cleansing candida. If not, the candida will be released into your blood stream and it will only have a backlash of affects. If you do not have regular bowel movements, it is important to start with addressing that by taking a Colon Health Support or MagZ for up to two weeks before you start cleansing.* 

I only use specific brands that I trust, and that is very important in this process. If you have any questions about those specific brands for enzymes or probiotics, you can email us at prtliving@gmail.com. To see some of our "candida friendly" recipes you can see these: Vegetable Soup with Garlic and Ginger,  Candida Friendly RecipesSpring Ratatouille Recipe, Roasted Chicken, Chicken Broth, Hard Boiled Eggs, and Parsley Chimichurri.

P.S. You can find the rest of the posts in this week's series here: Tuesday's: Dry Brushing (and how can alleviate candida), Wednesday's: Candida Diet Recipes, Friday's RecapYou can also view Dr. Shumway's interview where he talks about Candida as well.

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.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Sugar Is Sweet but a Healthy Brain is Sweeter!


Good Afternoon All!

 It has been another extremely successful week. We are really happy that our "Real People Wednesdays" are going over so well with all of you. We have an idea of who we are going to interview for next week so hopefully you continue to enjoy this series. 

It has been a busy week and my fatigue level has just been incredibly high. I was talking with a friend of mine that has been struggling lately with a lot of stress and some symptoms that seem to be candida related. I decided that next week we will focus on candida and in honor of this my friend and I are going to do a week long candida cleanse. I am excited to embark on this journey with him and I hope that both of us can increase our energy levels. 

Here are some links from the web this week

I was doing some early research for next week and me being an extreme film nerd I came across a documentary that is coming out this next week. It is called Fed Up. It focuses on the negative influence the sugar industry has had on the overall health of our nation. I encourage you all to go a watch the trailer. It really looks well done and filled with some solid information on how sugar is killing the future of the
United states' next generation.

A blog that I wanted to highlight this week is Love and Lemons. They just won the Saveur Award for best food blog. She has really created a clean and interesting space to post some lovely recipes. I think her blog will come in handy next week when I am creating a carb-less menu for myself. 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and check back Monday for my blog post on candida!

~ Laura

P.S. You can read all of the posts from this week here: Monday's: Allergies and Natural remedies post, Tuesday's: Common Symptoms of Dehydration and Why You Should Drink More Water, Wednesday's: Interview with Laura, and Thursday's: The Importance of Good Mason Jars and Dehydration. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Importance of Good Mason Jars & Dehydration


Wasn't Laura's interview so good yesterday?! I loved it! Today I want to tell you about why mason jars are not just a craze but also a good investment. This also has to do with my Tuesday's post on dehydration. A few nights ago my husband and I did a late night run to my less than favorite place— Walmart. He needed a last minute item (by last minute, I mean he had 7 hours before he needed to be at work the next morning with this particular item). So we ventured to Walmart at that ungodly hour. We found what he needed and then I grabbed his arm and asked him if we could please go down the aisle with the mason jars just to look at them! I’m not a girl who asks to go walking around a jewelry shop just day dreaming of what I would love to have, and I’m not even the girl anymore so much who pours over baking aisles… but mason jars, I will go find the aisle at midnight at Walmart just to stand there looking at them. I love them. 

At first mason jars were a fad that came around the same time pinterest came along. I feel like the newness of pinterest was directly correlated with the excitement and my new found love for mason jars! Suddenly you have girls going to antique stores looking for jars. And not just any jars, but jars to display pasta, beans, and coffee grinds, jars in a chic way, to make hanging pendant lights out of, jars for filling with cranberries and floating candles for Christmas, jars for succulents you bought off of etsy, jars as vases filled with peonies, jars for indoor plants, jars for snow globes at Christmastime, jars to make cute soap dispensers for your guest bathroom, jars to gift cookie mixes or even pre-made blueberry pies, jars to make chandeliers out of, jars to spray paint gold, jars to glue, JARS. Just as chips are a vehicle for the queso dip, pinterest was the vehicle for mason jars- an item probably used in Little House on the Prairie time period when they traded salt for meat! 

Anyway, as much as I understand the whole fad and the consequent cynical being “over” the whole idea, I’m not over mason jars. In fact, I feel like I’m just starting to fall in love with them. If I had to pick some of my top five favorite things in my kitchen to have, mason jars would definitely be included in that list. The little ones are great for leftover sauces and dips, loose spices you bought from the bulk section of whole foods or from Herb Boot Camps that get lost in your spice drawer if they’re in those weird bags, fresh peanut butter, the remains of salad dressing from dinner, and yes cute individual desserts. The larger ones— what are they not good for? Of course they bring a warmth to your dinner table as dinner glasses. They’re good for silverware dispensers when you’re having people over. They’re amazing though for leftovers of dinner as well! I don’t love putting hot food in plastic. I don’t love the chemicals plastic emits when a hot substance comes in contact with it. I'm not paranoid about it, but I definitely prefer glass for hot substances (and most substances really) over plastic. As much as I don’t want to be crazy, I really do not like putting leftovers from dinner in the plastic Tupperware unless they are completely cooled. Mason Jars make for a great and easy substitute. I also like that they look a lot better than the messy plastic Tupperware drawer or cabinet or whatever I try to organize them into. I’ve also found that in the summer when beautiful berries and fruits are plentiful, washing my fruit and then putting them into mason jars preserves them far longer than any other method I’ve tried-- and especially longer than leaving them in those plastic little crates they come in. ( Update: This is such a revolutionary thing that helps me save money that I later wrote a post solely on that you can find here. ) I also love freezing homemade broth and homemade soups in mason jars. I don’t love freezing in plastic bags because defrosting is so messy. With the jars, I defrost by running them under warm water or sitting them in a bowl filled with warm water. I wouldn’t be doing that with plastic, because of the chemicals of course. In that same line of thinking, kind of, mason jars also help me melt coconut oil for various recipes. I don't love melting it in the microwaves since it destroys some of it's insane nutrients, so I just put some coconut oil in one of my little jars and warm it in the oven, as demonstrated in this post.

Another reason I love mason jars is because of how they help me stay hydrated. When I started drinking more filtered water on a good consistent basis I saw so many benefits in my health and overall wellness. The only problem in all of that was the inconvenience of it. I had to find a way that made it easier to track how much water I was getting, and for it to be easily accessible throughout the day— whatever my schedule entailed. I tended to loose track of how many cups I was drinking and I even tended to loose track of the cups themselves and I would get confused with how much I really drank. So, I started using mason jars. Every morning I will fill two mason jars (3 cup mason jars that have the markers for the measurements) full of purified water and I stick them in the fridge to get cold. Cold water is so much better tasting to me. I start drinking water as soon as I wake up and then I carry the mason jar throughout the day. If I’m leaving my house I’ll just screw on the top of the jar and stick it in my purse to have with me as I’m on the run. I only have two jars to keep track of and since the jars are already marked with measurements, it makes it so easy!  It is one of the most convenient things I’ve ever done. It is the best way to track how much water I’m drinking and it is the easiest. I also love that the jars are GLASS and I’m not having random plastic water bottles all over-- and I don't even trust drinking out of those plastic water bottles sold at the store anymore. Like I said, I'm not paranoid, but I’m just not as into plastic anything anymore so I don’t love plastic water bottles and my beloved mason jars fix that problem immensely! Also, I find the water tastes so much better in the mason jars. I sometimes wonder if that's in my head, but I really like the water so much better! 

Tip: I have found that the best mason jars for freezing are the wide mouth jars. Now, the only jars I buy are the wide mouth ones. When you go to defrost it is much easier to get everything out. There are usually big chunks of frozen ice that are last to defrost and it’s much easier to be able to dump them out instead of waiting until every last drop has defrosted to be able to get it out of the little mouthed jars. Also if you do end up freezing broths or soups or anything in mason jars, it’s best to make sure that you let it cool to room temp before putting in the freezer, because I have had far too many jars split and break in the freezer sadly. 

Like I said above, you can find my other post on how Mason Jars help me save money buying organically and making food last the longest here

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Meet Laura / Real People Wednesdays

Good Morning! 

We have gotten amazing feed back about our Real People Wednesday series! Thank ya'll for all of your sweet comments about my interview last Wednesday. Today for our Real People Wednesday Interview Series, I interviewed the other author of our blog, Laura! I'm excited for ya'll to get to know Laura more as I have really enjoyed getting to know her myself over the past few months. Laura and I met at this intensive course in Las Vegas that we have mentioned a few times on our blog. I attended the conference with a friend who wasn't as interested in eating at all of the amazing Las Vegas restaurants as I was. So, the first day when I saw a girl who looked around the same age as me and also looked fun I was set on introducing myself and hanging out with her during these 8 days of craziness. She was super fun, so so sweet, and definitely a foodie. My husband (really just me mostly) and I hard core critique all of the restaurants we go to, the service, the food, the atmosphere. Laura did the same thing probably more so than I did. I knew for sure we would be friends at that point. One thing Laura and I both relate to, is the juxtaposition of living a wholistic lifestyle that is so important to both of us and also being extreme foodies. We both love talking about food, eating food, and making it. We are slowly finding our way with how those things go together and aren't completely separate, but that has been a part of our journeys as well. Anyway, Laura and I are still good friends after our Las Vegas trip and chat everyday, really. Ya'll will really love hearing about Laura's life growing up-- both of her parents are chiropractors! -- And also about her life as an office manager at a restaurant that provides locally sourced French cuisine in the heart of downtown Saint Paul.

                                                                                          Q: Tell the readers about yourself: 

Three "P's" in a pod
A: I am a happy twenty six year old that lives with her cat, Matilda, in Minneapolis, MN. I was born and raised in the actual city of Minneapolis and have not yet found a reason to leave. I grew up in a really gigantic blended family. I am one of 5 children and we are all very close. My mom has always been my rock and taught me everything I know about being a functional adult. :) I have two sisters who are my best friends. We are "three P's in a pod" and have the tattoo to prove it! I also have two wonderful older brothers and an almost sister in law as of this coming September. I would be nowhere without the support and love all of my parents and siblings provide me. Outside of my home I am surrounded by my wonderful work family. I spend a lot of time with my co-workers in and outside of the restaurant. They have become an equally important piece of my everyday existence. I am extremely social and really enjoy educating, counseling and talking with others.

The Goofballs that help inspire me

 Q: Tell the readers where you work. What is it like to work in the restaurant industry and how is it different than what people would expect? Are most of your friends in the restaurant industry as well? 

A: I have spent my whole professional life in the food industry. It all started when I became an ice cream scoop at Pumphouse Creamery when I was 15. I eventually moved on and in college was a line cook and pastry chef at the Turtle Bread restaurants and after graduation I worked as a baker at Birchwood Cafe.

Fruit Tart :)
I have finally found my professional home at Meritage. I have been an office manager for the past three years and spend six days a week in the beautiful Hamm building in downtown Saint Paul. Meritage is a French bistro and in the past week just opened another restaurant in downtown Minneapolis called Brasserie Zentral.  It's weird for me to explain how working in the food industry is different than any other job because realistically I have been in it for over 11 years. Being in an administrative roll is a tiny bit different than you would assume a normal restaurant job would look like... About 50% of my job is communications.. I am either responding to emails, answering phones or directly addressing staff. The other half of my job is split into varying sections. I spend a lot of time filling in where is necessary.

  The restaurant I work for is owned by a married couple and they have created a certain culture at their restaurant that brings us, their employees, together as a cohesive group of individuals that strive to provide excellent service to any guest that steps foot into the restaurant. That being said we all really work as a team to execute that level of service and sometimes that might mean working outside of your hired job title. I am a woman of many hats at Meritage from event planning to human resources. Wherever and whenever I am needed I will report for duty.

Outside of my family most of my friends are in the restaurant industry. We work long odd hours and depend on each other to be successful, so some of my strongest friendships have come from my time spent in the food industry.

Q: How did you learn to cook and what is one of your favorite things to make? 

A: I come from a very food-centric family. I was taught at a very young age that entertaining and food can be the key to happiness. All of the women and most of the men in my family really take pride in the food that they cook and prepare for each other. My mom and step dad have always had full time jobs but entertain most weekends. I know that once I am married and old enough to own my own house I will fill in once my
parents want to pass the torch. But realistically everyone in my family from my grandmother to my youngest sister have played a part in my passion in the kitchen.

I would also like to mention the lovely kitchen family I was accepted into at Levain. I had always been a big part of the kitchen in a home setting but Adam Vickerman, Remle Colestock and Alan Hlebaen really taught me what it takes to have professional kitchen chops. I really learned the ins and outs of fine dining. Working at Levain I became aware of just how detail oriented the life of line cook is...I think it was the first or second day on the job when I was cutting a bunch of parsley that I learned that knife skills are no joking matter and that herb cutting is an art!
Cafe Levain circa 2008

I would say that my favorite thing to prepare would be a traditional fresh Italian tomato sauce. I had the very rare opportunity to venture to Italy my a senior year of college. At that time Turtle Bread was on it's way to opening a Tuscan Italian restaurant and we got sent to learn about their food traditions to help authenticate the menu. Our first day in Lucca we ate at this spectacular family owned rustic bistro where I ordered this incredibly simple tomato sauced pasta. It was so bright, clean and the flavor of tomato just radiated in every bite. I think it has taken me over three years to perfect my sauce but I have finally produced something that I think might be comparable to that sauce that I had in that tiny little restaurant.

Q: What is your favorite place you have eaten at this year / or favorite meal you have had? 

A: Hands Down! Oysters at Island Creek Oyster Bar in Boston, MA.  Last July I traveled to Boston over Independence Day. I am telling your right now that I think one of the reasons why this is such a strong food memory is because if you have traveled to Boston in the summer you will know what I am saying when I say, "WOOOOOOH it is HOT" We were on our way to a Boston Red Sox game and decided  before the game we would venture to the oyster bar. Meritage, the restaurant I work for, sources oysters from both the East and West coasts daily so actually being at the source was a huge treat. We were staying in Cambridge at the time and the trip to that side of Boston was about an hour. By the time we reached the restaurant we were sweating... 90% humidity is absolutely dreadful. Once inside the combination of air conditioning, cold seafood and excellent cocktails really hit the spot. We were so excited that we went back a few days later just to enjoy it one last time before heading back to the Twin cities.

Q: What made you want to start blogging? 

A: After coming back from Las Vegas and graduating from CNHP with such a head full of knowledge I really wanted to have a path to explore the natural health world. I felt like goal setting would be much easy if I created deadlines for myself. I also thought it would be really fun to work with someone I respect and relate to on a professional and personal level. Danielle and I work really well together. We both have our certain strengths and it has made launching a blog a lot easier than I feel like either of us thought it would be if we tried to tackle this project on our own. 

Q: What does being healthy and living a natural lifestyle mean to you? 

A: Growing up with three Chiropractors for parents, I was taught at a very young age the importance of wellness. Like I said before my family has always been very food-centric but we have always put a strong emphasis on being healthy.

I graduated with a bachelors in Science and Nutrition at the University of MN and have always worked for restaurants that have a moral belief in sourcing local. In the last year I have visited a wonderful natural doctor that inspired me to take the nine day natural health certification through CNHP. I feel that the skills that I have learned working in the hospitality industry and my educational background in food and nutrition served as a great foundation for this field.

Now getting closer to the stage in life where I will have to be making decisions for not only myself but eventually my family I really think leading a natural lifestyle has become a lot more important to me outside of my professional life. I think that this is one of the biggest reasons I wanted to start this blog was just to gain a stronger knowledge into the realm of living a healthy and natural lifestyle. 

Q: Do you feel as though you have to sacrifice eating well in order to be healthy?

A: I think this is a HUGELY important question. I have always felt that there is the deep disconnection between the health world and the food industry. Being one of the unique individuals that has sort of grown up along both sides of these worlds I sometimes struggle to find a balance. Being around people in the food industry six out of the seven days of the week does sometimes make it hard for me to keep myself on a healthy living track. I work long hours and a lot of the time I forget simple things like drinking water or eating vegetables. But I find it hard not to want to enjoy the finer things in life. I have tried really hard to find the sweet spot between indulgence and restraint. I think that if you play the game of give and take you really can achieve a happy and healthy lifestyle.

Q: What's one of the most common questions you are asked?

A: Most of the people I have been approached by right now are people that are in medical crisis. People that are going through bouts of pain or mental strife and really just want some guidance as to how they can find the path to wellness.

I have also been working with Bach Flowers since my return and find that people seem to really be interested in their personality types and how Bach Flowers can help with personality weaknesses and emotions. I think that working with these flowers has slowly helped me discover the true nature of counseling.

Q: What is a few funny facts about yourself? 

A: HMMMMM... Well I am VERY clumsy. I was born with twisted femurs and in turn it has robbed me blind of any and all of my grace. My mom used to tease me and tell me I could not both chew gum and walk at the same time. But mostly I am just plain goofy. I love to have a good time and bring a smiles to faces.

Q: Interview is over, is there anything else you would like to say to your readers? 

A:I just want to say thank you to all of you who have supported us thus far. I am always open for questions and I hope that you will seek me out whenever curious. I am always looking for new topics to explore and I would love to hear some suggestions from you.

Now that it will soon be summer in Minnesota I have some really fun blog topics to share with you and hope that you continue to read and share us with your communities. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Common Symptoms of Dehydration & Why You Should Drink More Water

Good Afternoon, Readers! 

I often hear from people that they want to be healthy, but they don't have the money to buy organic produce or a lot of resources. I probably hear that at least once a week. I definitely understand the sentiment, but I want to make sure everyone knows no matter how much money you have to spend and how many resources you have to help your health, there are things you can do right now with what you have at your house, even without spending one penny. Honestly, the most important thing you can do to live a wholistic lifestyle and be well is to drink good water every day-- and that's something you already have at your home right now!

I honestly feel so hesitant to write this post and go on a long spiel of why we should drink more water and how we aren't drinking enough, because I find it’s one of those things like exercising— we know we should do it but we just don't feel like hearing about it because as much as we would love to we just don’t. As much as this topic seems self explanatory, I've come to realize it's not. Water is probably the single most important ingredient for our bodies to obtain for being and living well. The lack of it is also probably the cause of more illnesses and diseases than we could ever truly imagine. Adequate amounts of water are paramount for the kidneys to function, and in turn all organs really. It's invaluable in releasing any forms of waste. The most essential ingredient for brain function is water. It's the main ingredient needed for skin health. It's also crucial for hydrating cells and getting and receiving enough oxygen to breathe. This also has to do with what we talked about yesterday-- allergies. If the body is not getting enough H2O, it won't your body will not be able to get oxygen to your body where it needs it. Basically, not getting enough water causes a myriad of negative things such as constipation, skin rashes, acne, heartburn, low immune system (getting sick often), malnourishment, allergies, hormone imbalances, PMS, depression, inability to loose weight, hair loss, sleeplessness, asthma, headaches, the flu, infertility, ADHD, ADD, and even anxiety! Actually, one of the main contributing factors of fatigue and anxiety is a lack of water. 

A Little Background on My Relationship with Drinking Water: 

Before I was even fully committed to this wholistic lifestyle, I was reading a random article about a make up blogger who decided to commit to drinking 8 cups of water a day for 2 weeks. She did it as an experiment to see how it would affect the beauty and health of her skin, and after the two weeks her skin looked drastically different. I thought that if her skin looked that differently, I couldn't imagine what good it could do for the inside of your body and all of its' organs. This happened around the time that whole 30’s were becoming a thing and 20 day sugar detoxes were popular. I wasn't as much into those since I like to focus on my lifestyle as a whole and not just small chunks of time; however, I did think it was a feasible to commit to doing anything for 20 days, and why not make sure I was getting enough water for those twenty days-- since I wanted that to be a part of my lifestyle anyway? So I did, and I saw so many drastic changes in my overall health and well-being that I decided to keep drinking adequate amounts even after the 20 days. Even my levels of anxiety during the day were drastically different. It was insane— in a good way. Drinking water did not fix everything going on in my body, but I did quickly realize that trying to do any other thing without drinking water was not working for me. Water was and is so essential to my well being that it is crazy to me sometimes! 

The only problem in all of this was the inconvenience of it. I had to find a way that made it easier to track how much water I was getting, and for it to be easily accessible throughout the day— whatever my schedule entailed. I tended to loose track of how many cups I was drinking and I even tended to loose track of the cups themselves and I would get confused with how much I really drank. I found an amazing solution for this dilemma that I will share with ya'll on Thursday! 

A few helpful facts for your drinking please- 

-Just because you've heard 8 cups of water a day ten thousand times, does not mean that 8 cups is the number you should be drinking. A quick and easy way to determine a good number for you is to divide how many pounds you weigh in half and that is how much you should drink in ounces. So if you weigh 200 pounds divide it in half and you would get 100. Then you should drink 100 ounces of water a day. There are 8 ounces in a cup. So then you would divide 100 by 8. I realize it’s a lot of math for a Tuesday morning, but a calculator always works well. If your calculation ends up with a high number of needed ounces for your body weight, it's best to start with drinking 7 cups a day and you can work up from there. 

-It is best not to drown yourself with tons of water at once, but rather to drink here and there over a period of a time. A good rule of thumb would be to drink 5 ounces every half hour. Obviously that would be different for everyone depending on how much you need in one day, but that’s a really good starting place. I used to drink a cup or two of water on average every day and then at night I would realize I hadn't drank much water and then I would just drink a cup or two all at once out of guilt. That is not ideal, and it's not a good way for your body to ingest all of the water in order to best do its' job.  It’s better than nothing, but it’s generally best to drink a healthy amount over the course of your day intermittently. 

-Usually people drink while eating. It’s better to drink your water ten to thirty minutes before you eat, and then refrain right before and during the meal. If you absolutely need water during your meal to be able to swallow then that is a sign of mineral deficiency and often a lack of digesting carbs or fat. We will talk more about that later, but if you have any questions on that specifically, feel free to email us.  

- Kids who are diagnosed with ADHD and ADD are most often also dehydrated. A lot of times those kids drink a lot of milk and they don't drink as much water. Make sure they get adequate water everyday and often times their symptoms will decrease. / Citrus essential oils also help with this as well /  

-I usually drink room temperature filtered water for most of my consumption, but I like to drink at least one glass of ice cold water a day. It seems to stimulate me and give me energy. 

-Many times we can be drinking enough water, but the nutrients are not getting delivered to all of our cells. If you are drinking a high amount of water (which usually not that many people are really) but you are still having affects of dehydration, you may want to consider adding some "Cell Food" to your water intake. I have started doing this and have seen amazing results. Now, I don't go a day without it! 

-Depending on your preference for water, there are many types of water people choose to drink. In the future I will do a post highlighting the different types. For now, I recommend any type of filtered water, spring water, and distilled. Just don't drink tap water for your water consumption. 

P.S. Check back tomorrow where you can find Dehydration Part II and the most helpful tip that I have ever found that has helped me keep track of how much water I drink and how I can drink enough. This was definitely a game changer for me.

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.

Monday, April 21, 2014

'Tis the Season / Seasonal Allergies

Good Afternoon All!

It has been a wonderful week! Thank you all so much for reading, following and sharing our posts. We really didn't think we could get so many views in just one week. Danielle has been wonderful about posting and I am extremely grateful to have her to help me with this project.

It is an absolutely stunning  in Minnesota today! It is it hard to believe that last week we got an inch of snow and now  the grass is green and the sun is bright. I even spotted some early flowers budding on the edge of my lawn. What a fabulous sight! It hasn't reached seventy degrees since October... I have been itching to retire my winter boots and dust off my ballet flats, find my sunglasses and enjoy the great Minnesota outdoors. It sure has been a VERY long winter.

Although I am ecstatic to open my windows and air out my stale heated apartment I quickly remembered 'tis the season for all those lovely seasonal allergies. We have been receiving a lot of direct requests to do some research on some good natural allergy relievers. Since I am also one of those allergy suffers I felt that it would be good if I touched on this subject earlier than later.

Not only can seasonal allergies effect you physically but they can have a pretty extreme effect mentally as well. I know that in the spring my anxiety and fatigue levels tend to grow. I could really feel it this weekend. I felt like for most of the weekend I was practically knocked out and drained of most of my energy. It can be really frustrating especially since these first days of spring are always pretty special and should help relieve cabin fever that has been caused from such a long winter.

Why do allergies cause fatigue?

Allergies, especially those caused by pollens, dust, and other airborne substances, can interfere with breathing and prevent a good night’s rest. When your nose gets stuffy, your tongue starts to fall back, creating a vacuum effect in your throat and this can cause you to wake up because you cannot breath. I know that lately I have been waking up often throughout the night. I have always had some trouble sleeping but in the past week or two I have not had a restful nights sleep and I do believe it has a direct correlation to my allergies.

Why do allergies cause increased anxiety?

Allergies are our immune system’s overreaction to an allergen, commonly causing itching, hives, runny or dry nose, watery or red eyes, fatigue and headache. We know that stress, anxiety and depression are a direct response from running our endocrine system too thin, especially our adrenals. When we go through extreme bouts of being exposed to certain allergens our bodies release histamine. Histamines are chemicals used to transmit signals between neurons in the body. Extra histamine in the system can be responsible for causing that "fight or flight" response that our body has imbedded in us to protect ourselves from outside predators. If our bodies are always in a state of crisis because of the histamines we tend to burn out our adrenals and in turn feel anxious, stressed and worn out.

What are some natural allergen remedies?

All of this being said there is some good news! I have found some really great natural allergen remedies that should allow you to really enjoy this season for all the beauty it provides and not all the grief it might have caused you in the past.

Stinging Nettles

Danielle and I have heard a lot about the stinging nettle plant and its amazing effect on allergies.

"Stinging Nettle" is the name given to the common nettle plant. Everyone knows that this plant can cause an extremely uncomfortable rash if it comes in direct contact with the skin. But few know that the immune response that the nettle plant provides the body can help reduce your allergic reaction to other allergens.

Nettles can be used in many different ways in the kitchen. Nettle soup, tea or puree are just a few of the pretty common preps for the plant. You can also get pretty creative with it, the restaurant I work for uses the leaf for a nettle ravioli that is absolutely delicious.

Nettles can also be found in capsule form at your local co-op or health food store such as Whole Foods.
Brasserie Zentral's Nettle Ravioli

How to brew Nettle tea

One of the most common ways to use nettles is to drink it in tea form. In order to brew it yourself, simply add water to your collected nettle leaves and heat to a near boil. Use about two cups of water for a cup of leaves; there’s no need to measure. You can make the tea stronger by steeping longer, or weaker by adding more water. Once the water is near boiling, reduce heat and simmer for a couple minutes. Pour through a small strainer and the tea is ready to drink. Some people prefer a small bit of sugar added to the tea, but local honey has the most added benefits. You can also purchase organic Nettle Tea at Whole Foods or other local health foods-- it is not only great for allergies but also for anxiety, immune support, and even fertility.

Bee Pollen and Raw Honey

It is pretty amazing how much the local honey bee can aid us through our allergy blues.

Raw local honey and bee pollen contain a lot of the same pollen spores that we are exposed to that can be allergy causing. That is why it is important to buy local honey in your area, because different areas will have different types of pollen spores and allergens. Introducing these spores to our body in small amounts can allow us to help build a tollerance and keep us from inducing a strong allergic response to certain pollens. It has also shown that it can help reduce the high amount of histamine in the blood which would help with that "fight or flight" response our body goes through when fighting an allergen.  Raw honey and bee pollen from your area is a natural relief that will be able to help with the specific allergens in your area. Bee pollen can be found in both the capsule and raw forms. The raw form is really great in smoothies or with your yogurt. Local honey can be found at most farmer's markets and even at your local Whole Foods. Ask one of the counter representatives at whole foods to help you find raw, local, unfiltered honey.

Other natural resources that may help with some of the problems during allergy season are adrenal support supplements, calming essence bach flowers and increased magnesium intake. All three of these can help support the systems that seem to go a bit haywire from repeated exposure to allergens. 

 Please let me know if you have any other questions about allergies.



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.

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