Friday, May 30, 2014

The Perfect Travel Snack Sack


Holy Cow! It's almost June. June for some reason is always my busiest month of the year. It might be that it is my birthday month and  between celebrations, vacations and work the days just seem to fly by. It also might be that in Minnesota the weather is always the best in June. Once we hit July the sun is way too hot and the humidity starts to set in. June is just perfect! 

Speaking of vacations I will be traveling a lot in the next couple of weeks. I know that lately Danielle has been the busy bee, buzzing from city to city, but now I get to take over. I will be leaving for North Carolina in the morning to attend my cousin's wedding (Congrats to Emily and Sean, they are an adorable couple!), in a couple weeks I will be heading to a cabin for my sister in law to be's bachelorette weekend and then at the end of June I will be venturing Chicago for a joint birthday celebration for my boyfriend and I. I don't often get to travel this much so it will be a great treat. I love to travel but it does seem that when in transit I tend to snack A LOT more than usual. I know that when I was in Vegas this winter, sitting in class all day really made me hungry and finding healthy snacks when on vacation can sometimes be really challenging. 

My sister put me in charge of purchasing snacks and I thought I would take the time to really find some fun and healthy snacks for the weekend. I decided to share my thought process so that if anyone else is traveling as much as me this summer they will be set!

I ventured to my favorite shop, Seward Co-op, because I feel like the bulk sections at the natural food stores always have a better selection than most other grocery stores. I entered the co-op with no real idea of what I wanted to achieve but I did know I wanted to find snacks that were high in protein and fiber. I always find that foods that are more substantial keep me from turning my snack into a meal. We all know that sick feeling you get when you engorge yourself past the point of full and that is never good when traveling- those darn seat belts always tend to get just a bit too snug once you over do the snack food. 


The bulk section was my first stop. It was full of really fun stuff so I decided to make a raw trail mix. I got a bunch of raw nuts-cashews, almonds, pecans, walnuts and sunflower seeds. I wanted to add just a little salt so I found this organic old fashioned popped corn snack which was perfect. I have a real thing for the salty sweet combination so I added some raisins and chocolate covered ginger at the end to really round it all out. But realistically creating your own trail mix can be really fun. I wanted to make sure the majority was unsalted nuts because they provide the most protein and do not lead to dehydration. When packing the snacks I used the small sized zip-lock bags to keep the portion sizes smaller- people don't put enough emphases on serving size. A snack is supposed to be snack sized!

After my trail mix was complete I scoured the store for more healthy gems. I found a seaweed snack that was incredibly inexpensive called Annie Chun's Roasted Seaweed. It comes in two flavors wasabi and sesame. Seaweed is an incredible source of iodine which is lacking in a lot of peoples diets especially up North here in our landlocked state. A couple other things I found were Earth Balance's P.B Popp (oat and organic peanut butter covered GMO-free popcorn), Lundberg brown rice cakes, and some real fruit vegan agave gummy bears (I die for a good gummy bear). I think my impulse buy, the GIN GINS was my favorite decision. I always have issues with motion sickness and ginger is known to calm the stomach. I absolutely adore The Ginger People's crystallized ginger products.  


When all said and done I might have gone a little bit overboard on the snacks for a two day trip... but it was my sister's fault for putting my in charge! Hopefully you all get an opportunity to pack your own perfect travel snack sack this summer. 

Happy Snacking!



PS. Check out our other post from the week, A Word to the Wise, Meet Dr. Lee Ann Herfort and Treating Injuries with Cold and Heat Therapy are all up for your enjoyment!


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Treating Injuries with Cold & Heat Therapy

Greetings, It's Thursday again! These weeks have just flown by- I can't believe it has almost been two months since we decided to embark on this journey. It has been an incredible experience thus far. I can't say for Danielle but as much handwork as it takes to keep up with it all I feel like every minute has been worth it.

Image provided by http://goo.gl/qjPZkIhttp://goo.gl/qjPZkI
 Yesterday I shared an interview with my mom who is a chiropractor. I thought that I would keep with that theme and give you a little incite to treating injuries with heat and cold therapies. There are definitely a time and place for both mediums- knowing when and how to use them can sometimes be tricky.


Cold

Using cold with gentle compression after you suffer an injury helps stop bleeding in the tissue, relieves pain, reduces muscle spasms, cools the deep tissue, lowers metabolic activity, and reduces swelling and inflammation. It helps dramatically with tissue swelling because cold initially constricts the walls of the blood vessels and lowers the amount of blood that flows to the injury.

Cold's pain-killing effect is caused because it freezes the nerve endings slowing the nerve response triggered to the brain. It can also create a small window of pain relief that can allow the injured a time to rehabilitate without discomfort. Cold decreases muscle spasms by making the muscles less sensitive by stiffening the muscle and keeping it from being stretched.

Cold therapy is used for bruises, muscle pulls, strains and sprains. Apply ice with pressure and elevate the injured body part. Activity can be resumed gradually after the pain and swelling have gone and full use of the limb has returned. Cold eases pain  and helps restore motion.

Make sure to apply the cold therapy as soon as possible- the sooner the better. Continue using it for the next few days or until the swelling is gone. Make sure not to place the ice directly on the skin because you could suffer frostbite- using a damp cloth can keep this from happening.  Keep the ice on for 10 to 15 minutes every three to four hours. Sometimes people are unable to tolerate cold therapy because it can be uncomfortable.

Heat

Heat therapy should be used sparingly. It should ONLY be used during the repair stage of an injury when new tissue is being formed. This is usually 48 to 72 hours after the initial injury, once the swelling and bleeding have stopped and ice treatment has already happened. This is because it helps increase blood flow to the site and if there is any swelling this can increase damage to the tissue.

Heat shouldn't be used to treat small injuries, but like ice is can be used to reduce muscle spasms, relax the muscles and decrease joint stiffness. It can loosen tight muscles and joint stiffness. Moist heat is good for muscles that are sore, tired or overworked (epson salt baths can be great for these problems).  Heat is good for treating cramps along with stretching and massage. Although heat can help reduce muscle spasms, heat should never be used on ligament injuries like sprained ankle- it can relax the muscle too much and allow for further injury.

Hot water bottles, heating pads, warm soaks in the tub or shower, and warm moist towels are effective sources of heat therapy. Like ice it should not come in direct contact with the skin- for fear of skin irritation or burns. Apply heat for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. The proper temperature should not exceed 113 degrees. Do not sleep on your heat source.



I found this amazing guide to making your own hot/cold pack. They are super easy and only require a short list of supplies that you may even be able to find in your own house.


                                                             Hot/ Cold Therapy Pack

There are many different types of these homemade packs but I feel that the rice one seems to be the simplest.

Filler Options
Image provided by http://goo.gl/HQZAzu

- Uncooked Rice
- Corn
- Barley
- Beans
- Flax Seed

Sometimes people add fragrant herbs to their sacks to tap into aroma therapy.

Ideas for Fragrance

- lavender, rose petals, ground cloves, ginger, rosemary, cinnamon, peppermint oil, etc...

Mix herbs, spices and essential oil with choice of filler and let sit in a sealed container for three days. 

Fabric Options

- Cotton Sheet
- Small left over fabric scraps
- Old Socks
- Washcloths
- Old Towels

Just make sure you have enough fabric to fill with your chosen filler and you will need at least 1/2 inch left to seal it all inside.

Instructions

- Cut and sew the fabric in the size and shape you want (usually a large washcloth size works well).

- Leave and inch or two on one side so that you can fill pouch with your choice of filler- about 1/2 full.

- Once its filled, sew opening closed either by hand or machine.

Directions for Heating or Cooling

- If you want to use this as an ice back just leave in the freezer and use when needed.

Heating

Heat for 1 to 3 minutes, depending on size. Do not leave unattended. As a precaution, you can set a cup of water inside along with it to add moisture. This is especially important if you used dried herbs.

Hope that you all have a fun time trying out these really easy hot/cold packs!!

Laura


Ps. We had some really great posts this week. If you were interested in some more information on chiropractics please check out the interview on my mom, Lee Ann Herfort, and Danielle asks some really great questions in her post on Tuesday.

Don't forget to check back tomorrow when I will be blogging about creating the perfect healthy travel snack sack.


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, May 28, 2014

Meet Dr. Lee Ann Herfort Chiropractor/ Real People Wednesdays


What a beautiful day! We have been having some intense weather  this week. It went from 50 degrees to almost 90 degrees in the course of one week. We just love to ride that roller coaster up here in the North. I was so happy that Danielle took the reins yesterday and posted something so off of our normal schedule. I have to tell you blogging everyday can get a bit crazy when its mixed in with the chaos of the everyday. I had mentioned before that I work at a restaurant and it can get a bit tricky to know when I will get a free moment. That all being said, It looked like Danielle had a wonderful Memorial Day with her family. I spent some lovely quality time with my family and my boyfriend this weekend. David and I catered a party that he hosted as a farewell to the house he grew up in. It was a wonderful party and a lot of people showed up to raise a glass to "Tyler" (cute little nickname for the pretty amazing mid century home)- including my mom and her entourage. My family has a great sense of humor and they thought it might be fun to crash the party and see how many different shades of red they could get me to turn. It ended up being really sweet and David's mom and my mother seem to really hit it off.

Now that I went on that big tangent I will get down to business. Today I thought I would take the opportunity to introduce you to my mother. She has been a chiropractor and owned her own practice for 30 years. She is one of the reasons I have such a strong head for things holistic and both Danielle and I find chiropractics to be a very vital part of healthy living. It is hard for me to think of a life that wasn't focused around chiro care- my dad and step mom are chiropractors as well so I have always been treated bio-mechanically for all my ailments. My mom is not only a wonderful chiropractor (I swear she has healing hands its spectacular) but she is also a wonderful mother, a helpful daughter, a supportive sister and a loving wife. We have a big chaotic social family but she has been great at juggling her professional and personal life- it does not amaze me how much she has accomplished in her life. My mom owns a lovely clinic in Minneapolis called South Side Chiropractic. It is located on 5536 Chicago Ave S. She has spent many years as a solo practice owner but now employees three other chiropractors that have begun to bring some really fun and interesting new ideas to her office. Please enjoy and let me know if you have any other questions about chiropractics. 

1. Tell us a little about yourself and why you decided to become a chiropractor.

I was a dental assistant and knew I wanted to be more involved in the process. I went back to college to become a dentist. Somehow I took a right turn and looked at Chiropractic. I was drawn to the small private medical setting and I knew several chiropractors in a family from my home town. The fact that the school was close was also a part of my decision. The interesting this is that I had never been adjusted before I started Chiropractic College.

2. What does a Chiropractor Do?

Your body has an innate sense of being in balance. Often times the things that we do such as work, sports, and just sitting for long periods of time can cause interferences to that balance. Chiropractors adjust the body to remove them and allow your body to return to balance.

3. Why is chiropractic so important for the body?

It is one of the only ways to influence the central nervous system without drugs or surgery. We balance the energy in the body similarly to acupuncture. We also have a strong background in muscle balancing and nutrition.

4. What is your practice like and what do you do that might be more unique than other chiropractors?

My practice is very personal, we get to know our patients well and we listen carefully to tailor our care to fit their needs and goals. Patients often say that our offices, "Feels like coming home." I am also a teaching clinic. I have interns that rotate into my clinic. I am able to further their understanding of working in the field and they always bring new concepts and the latest research into my clinic. It ends up being a really exciting collaboration.

5. What is your favorite thing about being a chiropractor?

Being able to touch people both physically and in their hearts. Sometimes there are amazing results with chiropractic manipulation. We call them "Chiropractic Miracles". It can change the course of lives. I believe that diagnosing issues with my hands is the most important thing and it is a skill that one develops. I think most people have it but don't know that they can tap into it. For me it is automatic and essential.

6. What are some of the other things that chiropractors might help that others might not know?

We treat many issues: Headaches, ear infections- I have kept many children from surgery to implant tubes in the ear  drum. We treat intestinal issues such as irritable bowel syndrome and hiatal hernias. Many of the bodies systems can be influenced or resolved with bio-mechanical work- this can include anything from stress to helping your immune system. We also treat every joint in the body including knees, hips, ankles and shoulders. I do a lot of work on wrists and forearms due to computer work and smart phones. Tech neck is another common problem.

7. Do you work with other Modalities?

I work very closely with massage therapists. The work they do is essential to achieving and maintaining the adjustments and process that I attain for my patients. I also recommend acupuncture which is an excellent adjunctive therapy with chiropractic. It utilizes a very similar philosophy of body balancing.

8. Was there any point in which you felt regret towards steering away from dentistry?

I am glad I got turned towards chiropractic it has been fun and exciting. I feel that my mission in life is to employ people. I have a busy office and my employees are the heart of the practice. I really never wanted to run a solo practice and I feel lucky to have such wonderful doctors, chiropractic assistants, massage therapists and office staff. It has made for a lovely career in helping people to feel their best. 


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Word To The Wise / A Question Of Advice To The Wise


Good Morning / Afternoon Readers! 

Disclaimer: Usually we (try to) schedule our posts far in advance. They're usually thought-out, mulled over, and sometimes even researched. This one however, is not. I was going to provide a few pictures of our Army family Memorial Day weekend and I realized I had much more to write. If you're not interested in random Post-Memorial-Day-ramblings this post is not for you. We will resume normal natural health posting tomorrow, but for today thanks for indulging me and please scroll down to the bottom where I ask your advice and give your thoughts and wisdom. Thanks in advance. 

Have you seen the giveaway we are doing yet? If not you should! It isn't a sponsored giveaway, and what we are giving away has been purchased by us. We are that excited about this chai and we wanted a lucky reader to get to experience the taste and the medicinal benefits as well. So, be sure to check that out and will you please oh please "like us" and "share us" on your facebooks? We would be so grateful. I'm writing this post today from the waiting room of my chiropractor. I'm leaving today for New Orleans, as Dr. Shumway is coming in town this weekend to see clients and patients. It's going to be a very busy week. I had to sneak in a chiropractic visit before I leave. Tomorrow you will get to hear a little more about chiropractors as Laura's mom (and dad) is one and we will be interviewing her. I absolutely adore my chiropractor and I really can't imagine my life without him. Sometimes I'm not sure if my dad comes all the way from New Orleans to see our boxer Lucy, to get adjusted by my chiropractor or to see me. My chiropractor here has become my dad's favorite chiropractor of all time, and that's surely saying a lot. I have definitely seen differences in my health since seeing him and I feel strongly that just going in for visits when I'm able to helps keep anxiety/stress levels low for me. Before a full week such as this one ahead where the days will be long and full, and there may be late nights and early mornings and lots of visiting and working and friend-seeing, I always like to take some time and moments to care for my body and go see my chiropractor. It always seems to help release tension in my body and keep me centered and structured for the week ahead. I'm definitely excited to read Laura's mom's interview tomorrow. I know it will be a good one. 

How was ya'lls weekend? 


Ours' was definitely so good and so restful. Ben and I have had a lot of busy weeks and weekends the past few months. We've traveled a lot and worked a lot too. It was so nice to just have a restful weekend getting some chores done that have been long forgotten and necessary and just be able to spend some time at our actual house-- such a novel concept for us recently! We actually did travel just a bit to North Carolina for a few hours. It was just long enough to stop by one of our most favorite places on this beautiful Earth-- Old Edwards Inn. Ben and I got married there and it continues to be one of our most favorite places. Somehow you feel like you're in the countryside of Europe when you're staying there. We also can't help but adore the people who are staff there. They have some of the sweetest spirits and hearts and Ben and I think of them almost even as family now. We're not quite sure how one of the most gorgeous, lavish and professional places can also be a place filled with the sweetest and heart-felt staff? Staying at Old Edwards is more than a restful vacation-- it's almost even a spiritual experience. I am still pondering over and being affected by something one of our favorites said to Ben in passing while we were there for not even thirty minutes this weekend. It may have been the most deeply heartfelt and profound thing someone has said to me in the past month, or even year. They truly never cease to amaze and we were happy just to spend an hour walking around this beautiful place, even though we didn't stay for the night this trip. 

The pond behind our house

Ben showing me the "silk tree" growing by our house.
This is good for getting a good nights rest and
for any insomnia.
Ben and I have been really struck by a lot of concepts lately and one of those has been to practice being in the present moment without adding to it or detracting from it-- to sit and think about your body, how it's working, and to just be aware that you're alive. I know when we do this for a few minutes, you start to feel the blood pumping in your veins and the mere thought that you're alive in turns makes you feel so-- alive. We spent a good chunk of time during this weekend just enjoying the Army post on which we live.  It really is a beautiful place filled with rich colors as deep as the culture that embodies it. Ben and I live in the same neighborhood, just a few houses down from the same houses that his dad and grandfather ( and even President Eisenhower ) lived in. This weekend Ben and I went for a "herb walk" not even a block from our house and were completely stopped by all of the lush beauty growing wildly around us. I almost felt for a minute as if we were in Hawaii when I had passed these same streets numerous times without even noticing the herbs, wild lettuce, berries, and flowers that were beautifully growing.  I thought about all of the wild animals we see by our house almost daily that just eat off of this beautiful, fresh, organic produce as their food and sustenance. How amazing of a concept that their food is doubly provided for them and for us as well. Ben gathered a whole basket full of blackberries I used to make into tiny tartlets for Memorial Day. Beautiful fresh blackberries just growing, given to us to enjoy-- for free!  Sometimes I forget ( or fail to see ) the beauty around us. 

I had leftover pie crust from the batch I made for the Strawberry Pie.
It made for a great little "basket" for the blackberries Ben picked
right near our house. 

As much as Memorial Day is about the food ( how can we Americans not swoon over the strawberry pies and meat this day comes along with -- and we will definitely talk about the food! ) and the patriotic decor (when else do we have an excuse to pull out our 4th of July decorations), we all know it's centered around something much more. My husband is in the Army and I've had the privilege of seeing what life in the Army world is like. Before we were married I never knew. I honestly had no idea. I was completely naive to what men and women ( oh the families! ) sacrifice on a daily basis for the sake of the whole country's freedom. I've seen a lot. I know a lot more-- even more than I would like to know, that's for sure. I can't help but be deeply grateful. If any of you are spiritual and God-believing in the least, you can't help but notice how parallel the example of giving one's life for freedom is to what Jesus did for the world. I've known, personally now, a lot who have done this and I am deeply grateful for the men and women who go and for the women (and men) who stay behind. I will never, ever cease to be thankful for the families who stay behind. Their struggle is beyond any I've seen on this Earth to date. It's a daily gut-wrenching and heart-pulling reality that is often silently and most humbly carried. It tugs at the core of who you are and makes you daily have to decide upfront who it is you really are and who you want to be. When I was a new Army wife I felt it was my duty to help others understand what these military families go through, since I had been so naive all those years. I felt it was wrong that so many Army families sacrifice so much unbeknownst to so many. I became a little bit, er, passionate to help people understand for the sake of these amazing families who go through so much. Word to the wise-- I quickly realized that my initial approach was not a lovely one-- as one who comments long lengthy (slightly angry) posts on Facebook ( about any subject really )  to other people is not a pretty look for anyone.  I quickly realized that frustration ( no matter how warranted or how good the cause ) is not a good foundation for helping others understand, or even for advocacy. Is not love, peace, and hope the best foundation of everything anyway? I know for me coming from that foundation has changed my life in amazing ways, as I know for certain that there is so much Hope within us and to be given out through us in this world.  I know I want to be one who gives that out more than anything. 



I can't write this post without talking about the food we ate and were blessed with yesterday. I don't know about ya'll, but even with as long as I've been cooking I'm still impressed ( sometimes even shocked ) with any food that comes out tasting yummy and also looks half way presentable. Ben always says he loves the face I make when I'm proud of myself-- and it's true, I do make a certain face when I'm proud of myself. I love food and I absolutely adore sharing it with others, so when I'm able to do that and others enjoy it and it is half-way presentable, I'm happily proud of myself. We had a friend from church over yesterday, who also brought some delicious brownies that were yummy to add to our not very extensive menu. Ben juiced a big juicy watermelon to have fresh watermelon/strawberry juice with some freshly picked blackberry juice drizzled in. 


We also did hamburgers with Riverview Farms meat-- love that Riverview Farms! Their bacon is some of the best I've ever had in my life. I also made the kale salad ( with  beautiful multi-colored carrots ) that is posted on here with a few variations-- I just can't help myself with sticking to/ or not sticking to recipes. We made a Strawberry pie with fresh Strawberries from D & A Farms and a homemade pie crust-- pie crusts sound daunting but they are one of the easiest things to make. If you don't know how to make a pie crust, I will teach you soon, I promise! 

P/C: Pinterest 

After a long productive and full day with a wonderful friend, as Ben and I were getting in to bed for the night I began to tell him a few of the ideas/concepts I had been pondering in my heart over this week especially.  I love those talks and they've become one of my favorite things. I began to tell my husband that I see so much greatness within so many of my friends it's almost insane. I was telling him that often times one ( me ) can read quotes such as the one above and think where are all those kind of people in my life that should be lined up ready to tell me how much greatness they see in me? I can sometimes read things and all I see are the holes or vacancies in my life, leading me to feel discontent with high expectations of others to fulfill. That's a really sad life to live in most cases and only breeds more wants and vacancies I've found. I've been there far too often in my life, but I can say it's definitely 100% worth it to move past those negative thoughts as there's a free and truly happier life awaiting for me and for every single one of us on this beautiful Earth. I know I want to be a life-giver and not a drain in this amazing world. This week when I read this quote, my mind did not go down those yucky paths, thankfully. Instead, this time, when I read this quote above I was reminded of all of my dear friends that I see so much greatness within-- all of my incredible, genius, creative friends from Laura who I write this blog with, to my friend Lauren, to my other friend Asharae. Just typing their three names makes me think of how insanely amazing each of them are and how talented and gifted they are in such unique ways.  ( If I didn't mention you in that sentence it's just because I am trying to give shout outs to the wonderful blogs these specific friends write. It's not because you're not loved, believe me. ) I marvel sometimes at who all of my friends are today and what I know they will also be one day. Yet, I've wondered this week in thinking about all of this if my friends know that I see them that way and what I see that in them. Do they know I see greatness within them? Do they know I truly think the world of them and see such potential for them to do amazing things today and every day of their lives? I'm not sure if they know that, and more importantly I'm not sure if I communicate that to them adequately. Would they know I stand in their lines to cheer them on? Would they know that they are known and that I see them and know their greatness? I don't know, but it surely has been interesting to think about. I don't want to be the kind of friend that sees those things and does not communicate that for whatever reason. I want to ask you dear readers how do you communicate that to your friends, loved ones, and even parents and spouses? Please give me your seasoned, tried and true wisdom on this. I have come to realize that I can fall short in the communicating area at times, and I want your help in how you have found ways to communicate that clearly to the people you see greatness in? Let me learn from you! Even if I didn't write a blog, I would be asking this question to people. This blog just makes it easier to do so. I truly am wondering as it's something that has been on my mind and heart heavily. I want to be better at communicating that, and I would love to know your experience with that if you feel so inclined. 
Thank you for bearing with my random ramblings today.

Sincerely and Gratefully, 



Friday, May 23, 2014

Shop with the DOC / Gray Duck Chai Giveaway

Happy Friday!

We hit 5,000 views this week! Thank you all for showing your support and visiting us on a daily basis. Danielle and I have been so busy this past month it is amazing that we have even had time to keep up with the daily posting. I think teaming up on this blog has been an amazing decision. It gives us the time we need to really research our topics and allows us a couple days off just in case we need it. Speaking of days off we will be taking Monday off next week in honor of Memorial Day. Danielle's husband is in the Army and we thought it was necessary for us to take that day to reflect and let our readers catch up.

So I had an amazing opportunity last week. My mom is a chiropractor and she owns a practice in South Minneapolis. She recently hired a couple new doctors and one of them has a real knack for nutrition. She has teamed up with a local grocery store, Kowalski's, to start a series called "Shop with the Doc". During this series of seminars she will teach participants the importance of shopping clean, local and healthy. Anyone is welcome to join and samples are provided by Kowalski's.

The first of the series was just an introductory seminar that focused on the steps to becoming a healthy shopper. We learned about "the dirty dozen", which Danielle had mentioned in her post about buying vegetables. Dr. Erin also gave us some great tips on slowly cutting unhealthy foods from our diets and some ways to cleanse our bodies. It was actually a really fun experience. The staff  at Kowalski's knew everything about all of their products. We walked the whole store and got a chance to check out all their local and organic foods.
Some of my favorites were theBilinski's chicken products (all natural and organic sausages and meatballs), Food for Life's sprouted breads, and Kowalski's all natural peanut butter. I have been shopping at Kowalski's since I was a child and it was amazing how much I learned about their inventory. I really didn't know that they put such a strong emphasis on buying local and providing some really great all natural house made products like their guacamole- which was free of any preservatives only lemon juice, avocado, tomatoes, onions and a little vinegar.

If you are interested in the next "Shop with the Doc" installment, they will be focusing on shopping for a healthy summer picnic, you can sign up either on the Southside Chiropractic facebook or by visiting the Park view Kowalski's at 5615 Chicago Ave S in Minneapolis. It is a really unique opportunity and who doesn't like free samples?

Talking about facebook, we are officially launching our PRTliving facebook page today! We decided the best way to launch was to do our first giveaway. I mentioned on wednesday that we would be featuring the Gray Duck Chai as our prize for the giveaway. So here is the deal-- you need to do two simple things... First like our page on facebook then share one of your favorite posts on your facebook page and you will be entered to win a free retail size chai. I will ship it anywhere so don't feel discouraged if you are not a MN local. We will give you the weekend to enter and  announce our winner on Tuesday! Well that's all for today! Have a wonderful holiday weekend and "may the odds be in your favor".

Laura

PS. Don't forget to check out our other posts from this week. I touched on some great facts about spicy herbs, along with a great recipe on how to make your own homemade bitters. Danielle also gave us a great recipe for a spiced vegetable soup.  REMEMBER to LIKE our new FACEBOOK and share one of your favorite posts!




Thursday, May 22, 2014

Vegetable Soup with Garlic & Ginger

Hello Lovely Readers! 

How is your week going? Did you get to read yesterday's post? I haven't tried Jon and Katey's wonderful chai yet, but Laura said she will be sending me some soon and I can't wait. Tomorrow we will do a Gray Duck Chai giveaway so one of you lucky readers can enjoy the medicinal qualities and wonderful taste yourselves! Be sure to check back. 


Aren't these purple carrots gorgeous? I bought them from Crystal Farms
at Morning Side Farmer's Market in Atlanta.
As for today, I wanted to go along with our spice theme of this week and post a recipe. It's hard to believe I haven't posted a recipe since my Perfect Hard Boiled Egg recipe, and you can hardly even call it a recipe! This recipe, however, is very dear to my heart and I think you will love it also. First off-- a little personal background to this wonderful soup. I first started making soups when I first got married. Towards the end of the week we always tended to have leftover vegetables and/or meat leftover from other recipes or random ones I would pick up at the farmer's market. I would have a random bunch of carrots, pieces of celery, and maybe half of a cauliflower. I never wanted to waste them, as I've already mentioned a few times how much I dislike doing that. I never knew what to do with the leftover produce and it was going to be a few days until I went to the grocery again so I needed to come up with an extra meal. One day I decided to make a soup with it all. I could just throw everything in the pot, a little herbs, and a little broth and a warm, flavorful soup was the result. I have become known for these soups in a way as they're one of the first things I bring to others when I bring someone a meal. It's comforting and also contains so many vitamins and minerals that make you feel better all around. I always get inquisitions for the recipe. However, I never use a recipe-- as the recipe is mainly to use whatever you have on hand. So it's been difficult to nail down measurements for others. I think the main point of this "recipe" is all about comfort-- comfort in the process of making it and comfort in the process of eating it. When my grandfather was diagnosed with leukemia, my homemade soups were one of the only things that he would eat.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Meet Katey & Jon Gray Duck Chai Brewers / Real People Wednesdays


Good Morning Everyone!

I hope you are all having a wonderful week. I see you really like our last week's interview on Dr. Shumway.  I am very excited to introduce two close friends of mine that have created a product that is not only unique but extremely tasty. I currently work with Katey and Jon at Meritage. They are both extremely creative and driven individuals and I really hope you  enjoy getting to know them. Danielle and I will also be doing a giveaway of Gray Duck Chai . We will be starting a facebook page and we would love if you would follow us. Details about the giveaway will be detailed in our Friday post. If you are interested in purchasing their product just click the link above they have direct contact information along with all the locations their chai is available.

Happy Reading,

Laura

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Making Your Own Bitters

Greetings!

I have been having some really awesome computer problems this week so I apologize that my post yesterday didn't get up until after dinner time last night. I have been fighting with my old dell for a couple weeks now and eventually will be getting a new computer so it won't affect my blogging.

So today I have a really awesome recipe for you all. I knew the minute I started this blog I was going to be super interested in making my own bitters- with the huge craft cocktail movement there has been a surge in the usage of bitters in the restaurant industry. We also talked a little bit about the history of digestive bitters at the conference in Vegas, where I met Danielle. The history is super interesting and the tradition of using a bitter liqueur as a digestif or apéritif is still in practice today.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Health Benefit of Cooking with Spices

picture provided by our healthy diets

Hey Everyone!

I've had the most wonderfully spectacular weekend working with dried herbs and spices. Danielle has also been working on some delicious recipes that she will be featuring later this week! I am very excited to get a sneak peak at what she has been creating in her kitchen.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Happy 1 Month!


Happy First Month, Little Blog! 

Another week has gone by and this actually marks a full month of our blog being live! One month of writing, cooking, traveling, cleansing, gardening, and learning.  We definitely don't claim to be experts on healthy living and this blog isn't meant to show-case our expertise or how healthy we are, but mainly to just be a space where we can share our journeys with natural health and living and where we can learn. That's why we love it when we get questions from readers.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Parsley

Good Morning Readers!

I hope that you all enjoyed our interview with Marcus Shumway yesterday. I really enjoyed reading his interview, Danielle asked some really great questions. Next week I will be interviewing the minds behind Gray Duck Chai. 

I thought I would stick to the now Thursday ritual and post some recipes. I also wanted to keep with our herbal theme and write an ode to my favorite herb, parsley. Parsley is a bright green plant with a very clean flavor profile. The name comes from is country of origin Iran (Pars). I always keep fresh parsley in the house because its subtle clean flavor adds complexity to any dish!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Meet Dr. Marcus Shumway / Real People Wednesday Series




Readers! 

We have our first Real People Interview with another aside from Laura and myself. I am thrilled to introduce you to a true expert in this field! Yesterday I talked about the herb conference my husband and I went to with CNHP . I also met Dr. Shumway through the CNHP conference we went to in Las Vegas. I've seen many natural experts, but none like Dr. Shumway.  

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Herb Making Boot Camp

Hi Everyone! 




I see we have some new readers from all over the world. How wonderful! I'm glad to have ya'll visiting our page. I hope you comment and let us know how you found us and a little bit about yourselves! 

This week we have a big topic on our hands. Herbs! I am just coming off of vacation time, so I am definitely feeling relaxed (a bit lazy!) as I try to focus on writing about herbs today-- when all I can think about is the ocean and sand I left behind! I do love herbs though. I love thinking about my husband Ben as I write about herbs. He was sort of like the general population (I assume) who thought of herbs as solely for flavors in cooking. When we talk about herbs now, he is almost more excited and enthusiastic than I am. We realize the potential and power they have in helping our bodies become healthy. My husband quickly has become an avid herbalist. I've told some of my friends that I'll never forget one morning that I was inside making breakfast and Ben walked in with a handful of freshly picked dandelion (and a subsequent handful of mud) from a field across from our house. Yes, dandelion leaves that you can now buy at Whole Foods grow as weeds in most gardens and land. Whole foods sells it for salads and juicing-- which it's so good for. Ben just went outside and picked a handful and we scrambled it in our eggs for breakfast, for free! It definitely gives you a whole new meaning to saving money eating organically. We've definitely saved some money as Ben has started foraging on his own which adds some unique produce to our table--- I only suggest this if you know what it is you are picking and what you should stay away from. It's easy to learn some general lessons, and I would encourage anyone to talk to us if you are interested in doing so and learning more! We are still learning more and more and I'm excited to tell you about a conference Ben and I recently went to for the sole purpose of learning about picking and processing herbs. We took this class through CNHP. Laura and I met through attending a CNHP course in Las Vegas, as you've heard about in some of our posts already. CNHP also offers this herb making boot camp, and I'm happy to tell you about how it went! 

Herb Making Boot Camp / Day 1: 

The first day of the camp we went through the woods of Callaway Gardens with Dr. Phil Fritchey-- the master herbalist. You can get his thorough guide to practicing herbalism here. His grandparents were practicing herbalists and used herbs medicinally. So he grew up being familiar with their uses and relationships with them. He has a way with herbs that he so respects them and respects their place in the world. He exuberantly pointed out poison ivy as we walked past it warning us of it, but also pointing out an herb that usually grows next to poison ivy that you can rub on your skin if you do come in contact with the rashy plant, so that you don't end up getting the rash nor the effects. He treats herbs as the living creatures that they are, and it's amazing to see that in action. He begins by "asking" each plant if he can pick it, and he only picks that which he can use. He also always gives something to each plant that he picks-- i.e.: food from his shirt pocket, etc. He walked us through the back woods and would pick up and dig up plants you would initially walk right past thinking they are just weeds! He would talk about the uses for them, what plants are good for helping your body in certain weaknesses, and how to use them. He says even if you know nothing about herbs and their usage, start with the dandelion. Know everything there is to know about the dandelion alone and you will know more than the average person. We spent a while looking at herbs in their natural habitat and hearing about all of their purposes and what specific thing in our bodies they help. The first day was all about growing and picking and the second day was all about what to do after you grow and pick and how to process.





Herb Making Boot Camp / Day 2: 
Dr. Fritchey using fresh herbs to make a poultice
to apply to scrapes and bruises.

The first day we were out in the "field," learning about where herbs grow in their natural habitat and how to identify various ones. The second day we were back to the classroom learning how to use them and process them. You can use herbs medicinally in fresh form and in dried form. I realize this is where most of the common misconceptions occur. Some people think of herbs as the fancy little green things you tie up with baker's twine and add to a pot of simmering chicken noodle soup. That's of course a wonderful way to use herbs and most common, but there's also a whole host of other ways to use them and that's what we spent time learning about on the second day. The most common ways herbs are used for medicinal purposes (and the ways we focused on that day) are the following: to dry them, grind them, and put them in capsule form / to dry the leaves and make them into a tea / to make them into a poultice / to make them into a tincture / to extract them into oils / to use them to make ointments and salves. These are the most common in using them for medicinal purposes. There are of course other uses for them, the least being to add them to your dinner table as greens for salads or vibrant flavorings to your dishes that also contain added health benefits. Below, I will just cover a few of the ways he taught us to process all sorts of herbs and use them effectively.

Capsule Form: 

Jars of Herbs In Their Dried and Powder Forms
Dr. Fritchey taught us how to use herbs in capsule form and what herbs are good for what organs and parts of the body and when to use them. Dr. Fritchey had large jars of herbs that were dried and ground in powder form that we could choose from and fill into tiny capsules (same kind of capsules you would find used for vitamins or traditional medicine). In this picture below I was using black walnut. Black walnut is good for the thyroid and is one of the biggest sources of iodine we can obtain. I plan on taking these to help build up my thyroid.




You also do not have to put the dried powder into capsules, as you can add these into dishes as well. A perfect example of this is cayenne pepper, but also really any other common herbs that are dried and used in cooking.  

Tea Form: 

I do feel this method has become more common in recent years, as there are amazing companies like Traditional Medicine who make fantastic teas that are pretty readily available to everyone these days. Their teas are sold at Whole Foods and they have a whole list of different blends such as: Breathe Easy, Roasted Dandelion Root, Mother's Milk, Organic Nettle, Smooth Move, Nighty Night, etc. You can definitely check out their website as they are a wealth of information about this area of herbalism. During this conference we basically did what companies such as Traditional Medicine do for you. We took different dried leaves and also seeds of herbs and made them into our own tea blends. We even packaged some of them into little individual tea bags. We got to choose from the dried herbs that Dr. Fritchey had available to us and make our own teas. I made a few different blends as you can see. I made one blend for anxiety which I added dried lavender, catnip, and hops flowers to. I made another for general stamina and energy which I added Rose Petals, St. John's Wort, and Chaste Tree.  / St. John's Wort is a used to help with common depressing feelings and general sadness. It helps your body feel alive and happy / I also made another tea of Nettles and Red Raspberry leaf. As Laura wrote, Nettles has been said to alleviate the affects of allergies in your body and also as a general immune support since it's full of minerals. I use it combined with Red Raspberry during different times of the month to help stabilize my immune system and hormones.  / This would also be a good tea to help your body promote fertility. / I also made another blend with dried crushed Juniper Berries which is great to help the body in it's ability to deal with any kidney stones or urinary issues. 

I've really enjoyed sipping on these as I've been home, and I even made a few to give out to others. 


Oitments and Salves: 



This part was especially fun. I'm all about the DIY culture we all admire, but I've never thought making salves and ointments, lotions and even lip balms were so easy. I've also never thought to incorporate herbs in such things and how that can add additional benefits to products we use daily. Dr. Fritchey said we should only put things on our body that we would actually eat. That definitely makes you think about the products we use. I could do a whole How-To on making these ointments, and maybe one day I will. Since this is a overall general post, I will just show a few pictures of how we made these. We also added organic lavender essential oil to the salves for the calming purposes of lavender and how it calms inflammation. 




Well, readers, this is a short recap of my time at the herb making conference. We also made tinctures. I made one with stevia leaves. I will let you know how it tastes (and some of its benefits) after it sits for two weeks! I have really been enjoying sipping on some of my tea since I've been home. I have been traveling, so I haven't gotten to use them as much as I am wanting to in the future. This past week I got a horrible sunburn while at the beach. It was the worst sunburn I've ever gotten. I applied the salve I made with lavender on it and it has gotten increasingly better. So far, I haven't even peeled! I would love to hear some of your stories and uses of herbs! I am looking forward to talking about this topic more as we go forward. As the week goes on we will talk more about this and some sources for referencing, learning, and buying.

Thank you, readers!


P.S. You can read the rest of the posts from this week on herbs here: Monday's: Planting Herbs 101, Wednesday's: Interview with Dr. Shumway (another CNHP professor), Thursday's: recipe on Parsley Chimichurri, and Friday's: post with a little herb video



Disclaimer: PRTLIVING 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, May 12, 2014

Planting Herbs 101



Ashwagandha
It was a wonderful Mother's Day weekend! I got up really early yesterday to venture out to the annual Mother's Day Friends School Plant Sale. It was a humid over cast day but the temperature finally reached 70 degrees so I was not complaining. I was excited all weekend to get to the sale because I knew they had some really unique plants and herbs that I thought would be a wonderful addition to my garden. It was the last day of the sale so everything was a bit picked over but I still found some really interesting stuff-including Ashwagandha and Jiaogulan. Both of these medicinal herbs are special and used in ancient natural healing practices.




Vietnamese Coriander
I also met a really nice man who owns his own plant probiotic company. He makes vegan probitotics for plants that helps control mold and act as a natural fertilizer. They also contain minerals and trace minerals that if inserted into the dirt around the root of the plant are directly absorbed by the plant and helps provide fruits and vegetables that are packed full of all those essential vitamins and minerals. His product is called Prolific Plant Probiotic and he has all the information about his product available on his website. He also doesn't charge for shipping so if you are interested in obtaining the product for your own garden he has a link to order right on his site.

Initially I thought that today I would blog about general herb use at home. I was going to give a little history in the usage of herbs and their importance- but I felt that a how-to would be a nice change to our usual Monday posting.

I have been growing herbs inside for the past couple years. I really love having fresh herbs on hand for both medicinal and cooking purposes. It is incredible how expensive herbs have become at the grocery store and I have found that growing them yourself is really not that hard. It has taken Spring a long time to arrive here in MN and I  really had an itch to get some planters outside this year. So I am going to give you a step by step on how to create your own herb planter.

Step One:  Finding the perfect pot

Finding the right pot for your herbs is one of the most enjoyable parts of creating your own herb garden.  Unlike vegetables or fruits, herbs are super resilient and tend to grow like weeds if you treat them properly. This allows you to get pretty creative when choosing a container for your herbs. I decided to visit a refurbished furniture store called, The Cottage House on 43rd and Chicago Ave S in Minneapolis- I found some really awesome pieces but even just a plastic or ceramic pot from your local hardware store will do just fine.
 Step Two: Picking Out Your Herbs

There are so many different types and varieties of herbs. The first question you want to ask is if you are going to be using the herbs for medicinal or strictly cooking purposes. I have attached a link to a website that lists all medicinal herbs and their health benefits. I decided for the planters on my stairs I would choose herbs that were used for cooking but had medicinal characteristics as well- some of these include sweet basil, peppermint, Greek Oregano, Sage, Coriander, and verbena. When picking our your herbs you also have to keep in mind where you will be growing your plants. Most of the herbs are full sun plants but make sure you are paying attention because that can be key in making your plants grow to their full potential.

Step Three: Water

In general, water and sunlight are two of the most important aspects of plant growing . If you purchased a  pot that was a bit more unconventional like I did, you need to make sure that your pot has holes for drainage-if water is allowed to sit in the pots it can lead to over watering and can potentially drown your plants. On the flip side you need to make sure you are watering your plants on a regular basis especially during the really hot months. Also, make sure not to water the leaves directly, if water is left on the leaves direct contact with the sun can burn holes in the delicate leaves.





Step Four: Filling the Pots

For optimal plant growth put a bed of rocks at the bottom of your planter, this helps stabilize the water expulsion from the soil and the pot. You then want to use a combination of planting soil, peat and manure to start your pots. I also used those Prolific Plant Probiotics to help keep my plants hearty but they aren't absolutely necessary since herbs tend to grow pretty stably on their own. You then want to dig holes deep enough to fit your whole herb plant and then cover the sides with the remaining soil. Make sure when situating your herbs in their allotted pots that you do some research on the spreading of the herbs. Herbs like mint tend to drop seedlings and like to take over the whole pot this may smother some of the other herbs, so just be careful.

Step Five: Up keep

Once your planter is complete make sure to care for your herbs. After you have planted your herbs begin by generously watering them the first couple days. If the pots don't seem like they are draining you may need to add another drainage hole. If after a couple weeks you find dead leaves pruning might be necessary to promote new growth. Also, wait till your plant has grown about twice its initial size before you start extracting leaves for use. This really doesn't take very long but it is crucial because if you don't give the plant a chance to grow it will deplete its resources and then it could kill the plant.


  I hope that this will help all of you create successful herb gardens for the summer! It is really a fun and inexpensive way to keep fresh herbs on hand. I will update you throughout the summer with pictures of my herbs along with some herb focused recipes. Let me know if there are any questions.


Laura

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