Chai Tea Recipe

Do you love the aromatic and spicy smell and taste of chai tea – but hate the huge amount of added sugar that’s usually included in most pre-made chai’s today? Try this recipe for a caffeine free, warming chai tea. Because this has no caffeine, it is the perfect night-time beverage to drink while being comfy on your couch. One batch will last you several servings, and it will make your house smell amazing while making it. I have also made extra large batches and given quart mason jars of it as gifts.

10 cloves
12 peppercorns
3 sticks cinnamon
15 cardamom pods, smashed
8 thin slices of ginger
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp vanilla powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 star anise pod (optional)

Fill a large soup pot with the spices and as much water as you want… I usually make a large batch using a few quarts of water. Bring the water to boil, cover, and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Strain and serve as is or with some almond milk and/or raw honey. Leftover tea will keep in the fridge for a week.

What to eat for fall (with recipe)

Well, it’s been a bit since I’ve posted here. I’ve recently started a 2-3 year program to become an Ayurvedic practitioner. I’ll be sharing a lot more about that at a later time, but basically Ayurveda is an 5,000 year old system of health and wellness that originated in India. Needless to say, school had been a lot of time and a lot of work that I am just now starting to get in front of. They say that learning Ayurveda is like trying to drink water out of a firehouse, and they are right!

We are definitely in the thick of fall here in Colorado. The air is cold and dry, and all of the leaves have fallen. Thanksgiving and the holidays are right around the corner. This is the time of year to indulge in all of the fruits and vegetables that in season in the fall. The fruits and vegetables that are in season in your area are the ones that will be the freshest and tastiest, and have the nutrients your body needs for this time of year.

Fall just happens to supply some of my favorite fruits and veggies! First, all of the winter squash like butternut, buttercup, delicata, kabocha, acorn, spaghetti, and pumpkin of course. This is also a good time for sweet potatoes, parsnips, potatoes, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and beets. There are some delicious fruits in season now too, like apples, pears and pomegranates. Some of you might be lucky enough to live where persimmons are in season too.

As the weather gets colder and the air gets drier, this is the time to focus on making meals that are warming and hydrating, like soups and stews. Below is a simple recipe for a sweet potato lentil stew. Oatmeal is wonderful choice for breakfast.  Be sure to include lots of warming spices into your meals like cinnamon, cloves and turmeric. At this time of year, try to avoid cold food and beverages like smoothies made with frozen fruit, raw salads and cold water. Instead of drinking cold water, sip on warm or hot water or herbal tea. If you notice your digestion is sluggish try adding some fresh ginger to your food, or drink a ginger tea.

In addition to eating warming foods and seasonal produce, I have a few other fall tips for health and happiness. First, if you find your house is dry from heating, use a humidifier. I like to use a few drops of grape seed oil in my humidifier for antimicrobial properties. This may seem obvious, but be sure that you are dressing warmly for both outdoor activities, and time spent indoors. I find that my body does best with cold weather if I spend time outdoors everyday. My dog Rosco and I go for a one hour walk everyday. Finally, this is the time of year that colds and flues go around. I like to be prepared for this by stocking up on elderberry supplements, throat coat and breathe easy herbal teas, manuka honey throat lozenges.

Recipe: Sweet Potato Lentil Stew

IMG-03641 tbsp coconut oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 medium size sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup of lentils, soaked in water overnight*
32 fl oz container of organic vegetable broth**
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
Pinch of fennel seeds
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, melt the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the diced onions, and saute until the onions are soft, about 5-10 minutes. Add all of the spices except the salt and pepper, stir and cook for another 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, drain the rinse the lentils.

Add the lentils and sweet potatoes to the onions, and stir. Cook for one minute. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer, and cook covered with a lid for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid, and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve or its own, or over a bed of quinoa or basmati rice.

*can skip this, but the stew may take longer to cook
**or substitute with 4 cups of water

Two easy salad dressing recipes


We all know that a good salad dressing can elevate any salad. What can make your salad dressing taste even more fresh and delicious is to make your own at home. Home-made salad dressing are more delicious without all of the added preservatives. Below I’ve got 2 basic salad dressing recipes that can be customized by adding additional herbs and spices. These recipes will keep for 4-5 days sealed in your refrigerator.

Basic Vinaigrette Dressing:
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
Fresh ground black pepper
Pinch of Celtic Sea Salt
Whisk to combine.

Lemon-Tahini Dressing:
2 tbsp tahini
1 garlic clove
3 tbsp lemon juice
Pinch of Celtic Sea Salt
Approx 1/3 cup filtered water.

How to make an herbal tonic

IMG-0268Something I’ve become very interested this year is making herbal tonics. I use herbs that have a healing effect on the body. I’ve always enjoyed herbal tea, so when I saw people start sharing their herbal tonics on social media, I knew I had to give it a try. They are very easy to make. I’m not an expert on herbalism, if you are looking for more information there is a lot you can find online.

First select your herb or herbal blend. I use organic loose leaf dried herbs that I get at either or Mountain Rose Herbs. These are some my favorite herbs to use – along with just a few of their healing properties:

  • Hibiscus – My very favorite, has a sour  taste and a beautiful red hue. Good for skin, vitamin C, anti-inflammatory and very healing for the liver.
  • Nettle – Bitter taste – helps with immunity, anti-inflammatory, helps with seasonal allergies, detoxifying.
  • Raspberry leaf – wonderful for women’s health. Helps balance hormones, good for immunity and anti-inflammatory.
  • Oatstraw – grassy/sweet flavor, great for brain health
  • Rosehips – The fruit of a rose plant, has a tart flavor. Great for skin, high in Vitamin C, anti-inflammatory.
  • Chamomile – Floral taste – promotes immunity and digestive health.
  • Burdock – Very bitter taste. I only really use burdock when I am having menstrual cramps, it really helps! Also a good detoxifier.

To make the tonic, I use a standard size french press (I purchase a cheap on off of amazon just for tonics). Then I will either just use one herb, or more often create a blend. To create my blend, I just use my intuition to decide what I’m using. I love the taste of hibiscus, and almost always use it in my blends. You can also find many combinations online. (Hibiscus Raspberry leaf blend shown in photos).


Add 1/4 – 1/2 cups of herbs (total amount) to your french press. Bring water to boil, let it sit for a few minutes, then add to your press. You want hot, but not boiling, water. Fill the french press, put the top on, but do not press the plunger down. Let it sit like this at least 8 hours – I usually let it sit more like 24 hours. Then push the press down and you have your tonic. You can jazz it up with lime or lemon juice. A lot of people will also add stevia to sweeten, but I prefer mine bitter tasting and have gotten use to the taste.

New Recipe: Zucchini Chips

Is your garden producing an overabundance of zucchini? Consider this dehydrator recipe to make a healthy snack (option to also make these in the oven as well). Kept in an airtight container, these savory snacks will keep for a few weeks.


6 large zucchini (or however many you want to use)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Sea salt to taste (I used about 1 tsp)
1 tsp smoked paprika
Optional: 1/4 tsp cayenne


Slice the zucchini into rounds 1/4″ thick. In a large bowl, mix the zuke rounds, vinegar, salt and paprika.

Spread rounds out on a dehydrator try, and dry at 115 degrees for about 18 hours, or until dry.

If using an oven, spread out on a parchment paper lined baking tray, and bake at 200 degrees. I haven’t tried this method but would guess it would take around 2-3 hours for the chips to dry.

Sugar Cleanse :: Slow Down


It has never been easier to connect with someone on the other side of the world, yet it’s so easy to feel disconnected from the people closest to us.  We have more tools than ever to simplify tasks and accomplish more things quickly, yet our to-do lists have never been longer. Life is short, and time flies, especially in today’s fast-paced world.  

These exercises are meant to help you slow down, enjoy life, and focus on the most important parts of your day.

Take the time to prioritize daily objectives. By focusing on the most important tasks to get done, we eliminate the hustle and stress of trying to accomplish everything at once.

Cut personal Internet use by half. Technology has become a major element in most of our lives. Social networking, email, and web-surfing can occasionally cause our minds to lose focus and wander through hundreds of topics, thoughts and ideas. Try to use half your designated Internet time to explore new hobbies, exercise, or meditate.

Enjoy nature. When time permits – take a five to ten minute break to step outside and breathe in some fresh air. Disconnect from the rest of the world and concentrate on the beauty of nature.

Eat slower. A lot of us tend to speed through meals – missing the chance to appreciate different textures and flavors. Start to chew foods slower and distinguish new tastes, aromas, and consistencies.

Connect with family and friends. We all try to make a considerable amount of time to spend with close friends and family. We discuss life events and exchange stories – but how often do we catch up while truly listening and connecting? Put away the cell phones and steer clear of noisy environments. Connect on a deeper level.

Make time for yourself. When did you last spend valuable time with yourself? Take a night to find a new book, watch a favorite movie, try yoga, meditate, or cook a new recipe.

Give yourself more time. Some of us like to stick to a tight schedule and plan all our daily events. Next time you’re jotting down new tasks in your planner, try to factor in a few extra minutes when estimating how long things will take. This will help you not rush through daily tasks.

Take the scenic route. Next time you’re driving a somewhat long distance – try taking the scenic route. Driving through open fields, mountains, or viewing a city skyline can be very relaxing.

Sit for a moment with your eyes closed when you start your computer. Even just a few moments of meditation can set the tone for the rest of your day. Try to empty your mind and take deep breaths before jumping into your day’s tasks.

Remember your goals and aspirations. Each morning when you wake up, take a few moments to think about your life goals and aspirations. Try to recall the milestones you’ve already made in your life, and your drive to achieve new ones. Try doing this for about five minutes before getting out of bed to start your day.

This concludes our 21 day Sugar Cleanse! What have you learned? What has changed for you? Please share in the comments!

Sugar Cleanse :: Food Mood Journal

background-2850091_640Having a food/mood journal can help bring awareness to your eating and daily lifestyle habits.  If you experience certain signs and symptoms from foods, a food diary can be a useful reference to track possible food allergens or sensitivities. Keeping a food/mood journal can also bring into perspective unhealthy eating habits or schedules. For example, did you skip breakfast and then crave sweets later in the day?

Try noting how you feel both physically and emotionally before, during and after meals and beverages.

Here are tips to get you started:

Physical symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Shakiness
  • High energy
  • Focus
  • Strength
  • Bright eyes
  • Alertness

Emotional symptoms:

  • Anxious
  • Depressed
  • Restless
  • Irritable
  • Agitated
  • Energized
  • Humorous
  • Happy
  • Interested
  • Calm

If you happen to miss recording certain meals or foods – don’t stress. You can always pick up from where you left off. Once you begin to make clear connections between physical symptoms, emotions and food – you may find that you no longer need to record everything you eat. Use this helpful tool at your convenience.

Keep a food / mood journal for one week. Then, review your notes. What patterns did you find? How could you make positive changes?

Sugar Cleanse :: Stay Hydrated

drops-of-water-578897_640Did you know that your body is made up of between 60-75% water? It’s no surprise that how much you drink can affect your health. Too much water could result in mineral imbalances, while too little could cause dehydration, headaches or fatigue.

Sweet cravings are often a sign of dehydration. America’s number one source of added sugar? Soft drinks.

So, how much should you drink? Bio-individuality applies not only to food but also to the amount of water our bodies need to function properly. On average, men should ingest about 3 liters (13 cups) and women about 2.2 liters (9 cups) of water each day. In order to satisfy individual needs, various lifestyle factors need to be taken into consideration. For example, the water content in fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables may increase hydration in the body.

Your challenge:  Before you go for the sugar, have a glass of water and wait a few minutes to see what happens. Aim to drink at least 2.5 liters of water a day.

Sugar Cleanse :: What’s the deal with fruit?

fruit-2305192_640.jpgOk, so we all know we are supposed to be eating our fruits and veggies. But, I’m constantly asked about fruit consumption. People have gotten afraid to eat fruit because of the popularity of low carb diets, like Atkins. Some so-called health experts warn that fruit as just as bad as sugar when it comes to overall health and weight maintenance.

Why the stigma? Most of the calories in fruit come from carbohydrates, and most of those carbs are sugar, and most of that sugar is fructose. Recent studies suggest that fructose, in the large quantities most Americans consume, can have adverse effects on blood sugar levels and promote weight gain along with many other health risks.

But, it’s more complicated than that. First, fresh fruit really only account for a very small amount of the fructose most Americans consume. You’d have to eat several servings of fresh fruit to equal the equivalent amount in a soda. And, fruits are also high in fiber, which slows the absorption of sugar in the blood stream.

So what’s the verdict? Fruit is naturally sweet, healthy and delicious. The more you eat, the less you’ll crave sugar. Fruit is rich in vitamins, minerals (like potassium) and antioxidants. Thanks to their fiber and high water content, eating fruit is very satiating. And, it’s the ultimate travel and fast food snack.

Your homework: You guessed it – eat more fruit!

Sugar Cleanse :: Social Media Detox

twitter-292994_640You’re probably wondering – what does social media have to do with sugar? Well, I think eating a lot of sugar and social media are actually pretty related. With social media, we are constantly checking our phones, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and whatever else the kids are using these days. I recently took a flight across the country, and the wifi on the airplane was not working. People were freaking out! Sugar, with its energetic and anxiety producing properties, feeds into this obsession in my opinion.

Well, it’s not really an opinion, it’s fact.  A Canadian study took a look at almost 9,000 teenagers and found that increased use of social media correlated with a decrease in nutrition. Researchers discovered this by surveying the students and controlling for other possible factors. Students who reported using social networking sites (that’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat,etc.) for less than one hour had a 67% chance of consuming sugar-sweetened beverages, for two hours it was almost 1.5 times that, and for five or more hours a day the odds were almost 3.3 times greater.

Our society is go – go – go. We are all time-crunched. But what about all of that time spent obsessively checking our social media accounts? Those moments add up. And, how many times have you done a “quick five minute check,” just to have that turn into an hour without realizing it? Just imagine what you could do with an extra hour or two every day!

Your challenge:

Take a 48 hour social media detox. Turn off any social media alerts. For most of us, this might make the most sense to plan to do this over a weekend. What did you learn about your relationship with social media over these 48 hours?