healthy holidays: 5 tips to keep your glow

lemon water detox bitters liver holiday glow vegan

Whew!  Can you guys believe its already DECEMBER 4th?!?!  I feel like things are shifting up to top speed already.

Welcome to the crazy holiday season: traveling, cooking, cleaning, hosting, wondering what the f@#$ happened to your healthy habits.  butter! candy! cheese and crackers!!  people you can’t really stand but have to play nice with!  traveling!

If there’s any time of the year where you need some extra energy and grace, it’s definitely now.  Not to mention you want to look your best, glowy, vibrant self when you’re heading out to 3495069 dinners, holiday parties, family reunions etc.  So, here’s 5 tips to keep it healthy during the festivities.

palm tree holiday christmas

  1.  start every day with warm lemon water and green smoothie.  This simple habit is especially great during the holidays because it kicks sugar cravings and boosts the liver.  You’re getting your greens in FIRST THING which is promoting healthy, clear skin and resetting your palate.  Add in hemp, chia, or flax for a nice omega boost which helps keep you full longer (so that later you won’t be rummaging through that box of candy your neighbor gave you).  This recipe is nice and creamy.  Not a fan of green smoothies?  Try a turmeric carrot smoothie for similar anti-inflammatory, detoxifying properties.
  2. practice meditation daily.  Even if it’s just 5 minutes!  Taking that time for yourself to ground down, breathe, and stop the constant flow of thinking what you need to do next.  This is ESSENTIAL any time of year, but especially when you have a to-do list with no end.  I like to meditate 5-15 minutes right when I wake up to start with a calm, clean slate + right before I go to bed, to let go of whatever happened/didn’t happen that day.  You don’t have to be sitting, either- sometimes I do this when I take a shower, especially at night.   I like to visualize the water taking my stress, worries, and attachments + rinsing them right down the drain like mud.  If you need a little help meditating, I highly recommend the app Headspace.
  3. chlorophyll.  These little green drops are magic, especially when you’re lacking in sleep and/or drinking alcohol.  You just add a few drops to water and they boost liver function, support detox + are intensely alkaline.  That extra alkalinity will help balance out any acidity you may have from coffee, less-than-ideal foods, and stress.  Chlorophyll also increases energy, immunity + oxygenates skin to support that glow.  Of course, whole plant greens are better than extracts, but when you’re traveling or just need an extra boost, the drops are amazing.  You should be able to find these at any health food store, but here’s a link just in case.4272A317-86EB-4E04-A811-F231EB1E61E3.jpeg
  4. digestive bitters.  It’s all too easy to over indulge during the holidays, even if you normally eat healthy.  Keeping a bottle of digestive bitters in your purse is an easy way to help.  You can take them after eating if you overdid it to soothe a too full, bloated, or gassy tummy.  You can also take them before eating to stimulate your digestion and reduce cravings (even do a dropper full right into your cocktail!).  Bitters are super supportive for your liver + keep skin glowing and clear.  I like these from Urban Moonshine + they have a tiny spray bottle version too which can tuck into even the smallest bag.
  5. meal prep.  INVEST IN YOURSELF by prepping a breakfast/lunch the night before so you don’t even have to think about what to eat when things get crazy during the day.  That way, no matter what, you will be eating healthy.  Prep some of Loni Jane’s burcha the night before and keep it in jars in the fridge to grab and go.  Make a big batch of quinoa and chickpeas and a dressing or two.  Roast a big sheet pan of veggies and pick up some fresh salad greens.  Now you have everything you need to make a buddha bowl for lunch- just mix and match.  If you’re really exhausted, bring your own container to a salad bar like at Whole Foods and get your own healthy takeout.  No excuse to eat like crap, no matter how busy you are.  There’s always a better way + you deserve better.

Make your self care a priority this holiday season so that you look + feel your best.  I’m sure you guys have some tried and true tricks yourself for keeping it healthy in a hectic time- if so, comment below!  I’d love to hear them.

xx Amanda

package free: sauerkraut

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I see sauerkraut all the time at the co-op in tiny plastic containers for upwards of $5. I’m here to tell you that making your own kraut is so easy and delicious, plus its WAY cheaper.  I bought a head of organic, local cabbage at my farmers market this weekend for $2 and it make a quart of delicious kraut, no plastic needed.  Plus, you can flavor it however you like!  Here I went classic and added just caraway seeds, but you can add grated beet, a handful of red cabbage for pink kraut, garlic, chiles, dill, whatever tickles your palate.

I know fermenting foods can seem a little scary if you’ve never made them before, since there’s a lot of misinformation out there.  It’s really easy to tell if your batch has gone off- it will smell (and look) disgusting.  I’ve never had this happen and I’ve made countless batches of this.  One time I didn’t submerge the top cabbage leaf enough and it grew a bit of mold on the top.  NO BIG DEAL- that’s why you have those leaves on the top.  Just carefully discard the moldy leaf (in the compost please!) and everything underneath (submerged completely in the brine) will be perfectly good.  OF COURSE PLEASE DO NOT EAT IT if if smells bad, looks bad, or generally seems “off”.  Use your intuition but like I said, I’ve never had a problem before.  The key is packing it really tightly and making sure its all submerged in its juice.  If you use a larger jar, you can put a smaller glass jar (like a jelly jar) inside on top of the cabbage, then when you put the lid on the jelly jar will keep the cabbage submerged.

I posted a series on my IG stories while I was making a fresh batch and so many of you reached out to me asking for more info and a way to refer back to the videos.  So here it is!  At the end of the post I added a little compilation video of the IG stories so you can see the recipe in action, it’s super low tech but I thought it might be helpful.  Here we go!

raw organic caraway sauerkraut 

INGREDIENTS

1 medium head of green or red cabbage, 2-3 pounds

1.5 tablespoons kosher salt (NOT granulated or iodized please)

1 tablespoon caraway seeds (optional or sub with any flavoring you like- garlic, onion, ginger, chiles, turmeric etc)

1-2 sterilized mason jar with a lid (I used 1 quart size plus a little extra in a pint jar)

1 large bowl

sharp knife

bowl or baking dish to store the jars in while they ferment

METHOD

Before you begin, it is IMPERATIVE that you make sure everything you will be working with is super clean.  You don’t want any bad bacteria getting in your kraut.  So wash your jar, cutting board, knife, bowl counter, hands with hot soapy water and rinse + dry thoroughly.

Next, peel off the first 3 or 4 leaves of cabbage, reserving them for later.  Cut your cabbage into half, then quarters.  Cut the hard center core wedge out of each quarter and reserve with the outer leaves.  Cut each quarter in half to make 8 wedges.  Cut each wedge crosswise thinly (or use a mandolin if you prefer) and add it to your bowl as you go.

After you have sliced all of it into the bowl, sprinkle your salt over the top.  Using your hands, massage the salt into the cabbage for about 5 minutes or so until the cabbage is limp, softened, and releasing liquid.  The volume should reduce a lot too, as you condense it with the massaging.

Next, add in the caraway seeds and mix thoroughly.  Pack the cabbage mixture into your mason jar(s), pushing it down as you go.  Packing it in as tightly as you can is key here.  There should be a layer of juice at the top of the cabbage, pour in any more juice from the bowl as needed.  You want to leave about 2 inches of empty space between the cabbage and the top of the jar.

Wad up your reserved leaves up and stuff them into your jar tightly, one at a time, until all the shredded cabbage is held down and submerged in the liquid.  Use the cores too as needed.  This is really important- you don’t want ANY of the shredded cabbage exposed to air.  Essentially you’re using the cabbage leaves as “weights” to keep the shredded cabbage pushed down, so pack it tightly.  You should have about 1 inch of empty space between the leaves and the lid to allow for bubbling and expansion.  You can further weight the cabbage down by inserting a CLEAN small glass  jar on top of the cabbage.

Wipe the rims clean with a clean cloth and screw the lids loosely onto the jars.  Do not screw them tightly or your jar may have a mini explosion!  You want to allow the gases to escape as needed.  Place the jars into a baking dish or pan- something with sides in case the jars run over so you don’t end up with a mess.

Place in a dark spot such as a oven, cupboard, pantry, or closet and let ferment 3-7 days, depending on how hot or cold it is in your house.  When its hot, fermentation is quicker and vice versa.  I’ve been keeping mine in the oven with the light on because it’s been cold in the house- I think you get better flavor with a faster ferment.  Check in on your kraut daily, you may need to “burp” it- unscrewing the bands to release gases, then re-screwing them loosely back again.  Look for bubbles to indicate fermentation.  The longer you ferment the kraut, the stronger and tangier the flavor will be.

When it smells how you like it, you can take the top leaves out (and compost!) to leave just the shredded kraut behind.  Taste to make sure its where you want it flavor-wise and then refrigerate.  Stays good pretty indefinitely in the fridge but I doubt it will last long!

I hope you guys enjoy and share with me if you make it or send me a question @mamaeatsplants on Instagram xx

a fall meal prep: basics edition

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If you can squeeze in a little time on the weekend, do this: head to the market and pick up fresh, seasonal fruits, veggies and greens.  Wash them and store them so that they are ready to use.  Then make a few basics- these will vary depending on your preferences.  For us, I like to make: a vinaigrette, a pot of beans, a pot of grains, hummus, baked tofu, and almond milk.  Maybe a baked good or snack too, if I’m feeling ambitious.  Having these things on hand and ready to go makes eating healthy really easy.  Here’s our basics for this week.

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vinaigrette:

1/2 cup ACV

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup minced shallot

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon whole grain mustard

2 tablespoons honey, agave or maple syrup

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

salt and pepper

whisk all ingredients together and store in a mason jar in the fridge.

pot of beans: chickpeas this week, a double batch (one for hummus and one for eating whole).  3 cups chickpeas soaked overnight, drained, and cooked until tender with salt.

pot of grains: barley this week, 2 cups of the pearled variety, simmered in a pot of boiling, salted water (like pasta) for 40 minutes or until tender.  good for grain salad, morning porridge, as a side, in soup.

hummus: beet hummus this week.  I toasted some pine nuts, too, to serve on top.  a great healthy snack and delicious dolloped on a salad.

baked tofu: super simple, just slice a block or two of super firm up and bake plain or rubbed with olive oil at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes on parchment/silicone mat.  Menawhile, mix up 2 tablespoons of tamari with a teaspoon of maple syrup and a large minced garlic clove.  Remove from oven and drizzle with the tamari mixture while still hot.  Let cool and pack in a glass container to store, making sure to pour in any tamari left in the pan.

almond milk: I’m not sure if anyone even needs a recipe, but it’s 1 cup of almonds soaked overnight.  Drain in the morning and add to a high speed blender with 1 medjool date, pinch of salt, and 4 cups of water.  You can add vanilla too if you like.  Blend on high until smooth and pour through a straining bag- I simply use my organic cotton produce bags to strain and it works great.  You can use cashews, too, without soaking or straining since they are a softer nut.  Same with hemp seeds.

chocolate bark: what’s life without chocolate?  Having this satisfying crunchy little bite in the fridge is a life saver.  Just melt 8 oz. of dark (70% +) chocolate in a bowl set over a small pot of boiling water.  Turn off the heat and mix in whatever flavorings you like- chipotle, orange zest, vanilla, cinnamon, mint extract, almond extract- or keep it plain.  Pour onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat and spread in an even layer as thinly or thickly as you like.  Sprinkle over toasted nuts, seeds, or anything else you want- freeze dried fruit, goji berries, hemp seeds, pepitas, hazelnuts, flaky sea salt, chopped crystallized ginger, cacao nibs- and place int the fridge until set, about 20-30 minutes.  Remove from fridge and break up into 1 oz or so pieces.  I store it in a glass snaplock container in the fridge so it stays snappy.

wash/prep veggies: wash and cut up carrots for snacks.  Wash, dry and store kale, lettuce, spinach, and chard.  Wash, dry, and cut up cauliflower or broccoli or brussels.  This way, everything is ready to use and eat.

Spending a bit of time prepping is a great investment in the week ahead.  When you have things made in the fridge, it’s so much easier to stay on track with healthy eating and stress less when things (inevitably) get crazy during the week.  Even if you only have time to wash your greens and make a batch of dressing, it’s worth it!  Hope you enjoy and be sure to tag me in your meal prep on Instagram @mamaeatsplants !

 

 

 

 

 

sickness + turmeric ginger latte

Turmeric ginger pepper immunity latte flu prevention

(For the turmeric latte recipe, scroll to the very end of the post 🙂 )

My daughter is sick for the 100th time since kindergarten started.  Kids are so germy when they are all together.

Happily, no one else has gotten sick + she has gotten a thousand times better just from herbs and natural remedies.  So, today, let’s talk about about my herbal medicine cabinet.

I don’t use conventional medicines for kids, they are most often unnecessary + very harsh to a little body who is not equipped to process such toxins.  Remember when they recalled cough and cold medicines for kids because they are dangerous and don’t even work?!  I go the herbal route and it has worked for us almost every time, excluding a MRSA infection (antibiotics do have their place).

For fevers, I don’t give fever reducing meds like ibuprofen unless the fever is over 104 degrees Fahrenheit.  Children can safely have higher fevers than adults.  Fever is a natural defense your body utilizes to get rid of the virus/bacteria.

If you lower the fever, you are lowering the body’s ability to heal itself!  Lukewarm baths and cool washcloths for the head can help to comfort a child with a fever.  I’m not a doctor obviously, but my pediatrician agrees with me 100% on this.

Do not give cold liquids!  This is jolting for the body and it has to struggle to bring it back up to equilibrium.  Warm liquids encourage the removal and dislodging of mucus and congestion and are soothing for a sore throat.

Especially beneficial are herbal teas like chamomile, elderberry, slippery elm, and echinacea.  Traditional Medicinals brand teas has a great blend just for kids.  Stir in a tablespoon of coconut oil to coat a sore throat.  Also great: warm water with lemon juice added, and diluted warmed citrus or apple juices.

Support the body’s natural ability to heal with herbs!  I love the herbs for kids brand of tinctures, they have lots of different blends for different ailments.  The two I use the most are the echinacea +astralagus for deep immune support and the cherry bark blend for respiratory support.

If there is mucus, I always give marshmallow root.  It has mucilaginous qualities which help to remove mucus and break up congestion.  I buy it in capsules + empty 2  into hot liquid + stir it up.

For coughs and colds, I find Umcka syrup to be amazing.  It is a homeopathic syrup that is widely used in Europe to shorten the duration and severity of colds and it really works well.

Elderberry syrup is also wonderful for supporting the immune system and reducing the severity of illness.

As far as homeopathic medicines, I always keep belladonna (for high fevers, infections and inflammations) and pulsatilla (runny nose, mucus, clinging child) around.

Ear infections respond really well to warmed oil with garlic and mullein.  You can buy a ear oil blend in a little dropper bottle.  Just warm up the whole bottle by submerging it in hot water.  Test some oil on your wrist to make sure it’s not too hot.  Then have your child lay on their side and drop 5 drops of the warmed oil in each ear.  Sing or tell a story while you do this so that they will stay at least a minute on their side.  Do the other ear the same way too even if it doesn’t hurt.  HOWEVER if the ear is leaking pus/blood/liquid do NOT put anything in it, this means the eardrum has perforated.

If your child doesn’t want to eat, it’s OK!  Sick animals do not eat.  This is because digestion takes LOTS of energy.  Energy going towards digestion=energy taken away from healing and fighting sickness.  Give foods that are easy to digest with high water content, like juicy fruits (citrus, pineapple, grapes, mango) white rice, warmed broth and steamed broccoli.  Absolutely do not give your child dairy or wheat when they are sick.  These foods produce mucus in the body, adding to the mucus that is already there when they are sick, and are generally hard to digest and irritating to the digestive tract.

Essential oils are another great tool to have.

eucualyptus: breaks up congestion, good to dilute and rub on chest and to put in a diffuser and or humidifier, or in the bath.

peppermint: relieves headache.  Dilute and rub on temples, jaw, forehead to relieve pain.

Clove and cinnamon oils: are potent anti virals, dilute and rub on the bottoms of feet to fight and prevent illness.

lavender: very calming.  Great for massage or in the bath to calm an irritated or sad child.

And lastly, to ensure no one else gets sick, up your intake of immunity boosting foods…mushrooms, greens, vitamin c rich foods, lemons, spirulina, turmeric, ginger, garlic, etc.  If you feel like you are getting sick my favorite remedy is to blend lemon juice, ginger, cayenne pepper, garlic and honey all together and drink it.  It really works!  Also, this turmeric-ginger latte is a delicious favorite.  Here’s the recipe:

Turmeric ginger immunity latte

2c plant milk (almond, hemp, coconut, whatever)

A few quarter sized slices of ginger

1t ground turmeric

1/8t fresh ground black pepper (this increases the turmeric’s bioavailability a lot)

honey/sweetener to taste

bring the milk and finger slices to boil in a small saucepan.  Let them simmer for 5 minutes, covered.  Fish out the ginger and add the turmeric, pepper, and sweetener.  Pour into a cup and enjoy!

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