This Blog has Moved

Thank you so much for following me. It’s a true pleasure to write about diet and lifestyle strategies to help you look and feel better. I’m still adding new content all the time but this blog has moved and I don’t want you to miss out.

The new blog is located at www.hygealiving.com – my new Web site. I’d really love to stay connected to you! If you want to receive automatic updates, please sign up here.

Warmly,

Lisa

 

 

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A Clean House with Messy Pets

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We cherish our pets as a part of the family. And like our families, they are messy. If you have little ones crawling around the floor it’s essential to keep the place at least somewhat clean, right?

Here are a few simple suggestions to help keep your home clean around those fuzzy family members:

1. Get rid of the carpet! Tell your spouse it’s all my fault that you need new floor. Fibers in carpet soak up the pet stench. Strong enzymes in your pet’s digestive track can damage the carpet as well. Replace the carpet with tile, linoleum, anything that can be mopped up quickly when an accident occurs.

2. Clean up accidents as soon as you find them with soapy water. Keep lots of paper towels handy to soak up the mess as soon as you see a spot. Follow with a vinegar and water solution. Let the solution dry and then use baking soda liberally to soak up the last of the moisture. Then vacuum up. The quicker you get it up, the less likely stains and odor will become a problem.

3. Don’t forget to mop regularly. Vinegar, water, and lemon essential oil is a fabulous, natural solution to mop up with. This keeps fur and odors at bay.

4. Vacuum three times a week (even if it’s just with the dust buster). Just a light vacuum will help you beat the collection of pet hair and keeps flea dust at bay if your animal goes outside often.

5. Change your pet’s bedding often and make sure your pets get plenty of time outside to avoid accidents in the house.

6. Keep up on your pet’s maintenance.  Have your pets groomed regularly to avoid an overabundance of flying fur and stick to a regular brushing routine. C’mon nothing is cuter (funnier) than a shaved cat. Keep them healthy. Take them to the vets for shots and dental care and don’t forget to feed your animals good food and provide them with proper training.

A few simple techniques can make all the difference for a cleaner home. Oh…and don’t forget to shower them with lots of love and affection.

How do you keep up with your pet’s messes?

 

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5 Quick Stress Busters

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Stress is an everyday occurrence for most of us. Whether we work at home, in an office, or work as a full time parent, stress follows us everywhere and can take a toll physically and mentally.

When I contemplate ways to alleviate my stress, a tropical island getaway immediately bursts into my head like a ray of happy sunshine. A large majority of us stress huggers believe that lying on a beach with a fruity beverage is the only way to oust the routine aches and pains associated with too much to do and not enough time. Not so my friend!

Would you believe me if I told you that five minutes of quiet meditation a day can have a significant impact on controlling your stress and elevating your well being?  Did you know that a couple whiffs of essential oils calms your mind and relieves tension in your neck? A quick cup of green tea a day is a nice respite from an aggravating day and contains antioxidants that are fabulous for extra energy!

Here are five simple ways to reduce stress and lead a more serene lifestyle:

1. Take a walk – It doesn’t have to be a long one. 30 Minutes 3-5 times a week can have a significant impact on your health and well being. Simply put, the endorphins you are releasing make you feel calm, relieve pain, and keep you looking good! Don’t forget to bring your pup. Animals make everything more fun!

2. Start a journal – Writing down your thoughts keeps anxiety at bay, and if you are a worrier like me, helps turn off the part of your brain that constantly performs the worry dance. Clarifying your thoughts and emotions helps with all parts of emotional wellbeing.

3. Reach out and call a friend  – Too often, when we’re depressed and overwhelmed, do we forget to reach out to another person. Grab a quick lunch, a facial, or even a brief chat on the phone with a loved one can assuage the soul. A comforting voice at the other end of the line brightens the mood and lightens depression and anxiety.

4. Commune with nature – Head directly to the closest park or the mountains and just SIT! Even if it’s for five minutes. Feel the sun on your face. Listen to the sounds the wind makes as it blows through the trees. Really hear the birds. Appreciate the lingering smells throughout the park. Taking a nature break is beneficial for our minds and makes us more productive, thereby creating a more relaxed you. This works even when you can’t get away. Just go outside, even if it’s just in the driveway.

5. Reward yourself – This is my favorite one. Give yourself something to look forward to. No one can deal with the daily grind of life day in and day out, and not become a depressed, stressed, mess at least sometimes. Treat yourself to a massage, a hot bath, new running shoes, a stood movie or even just an extra hour of sleep a week. Anything that gets you out of your funk and into a smile. Trust me, you deserve it!

Making a few minor adjustments aimed at relieving your stress and tension can make all the difference in your work and personal relationships. As you make more positive lifestyle changes, you will notice your physical symptoms diminish, which will lead to a more happy and healthy you. Go ahead – I dare you to try one or all of these quick, easy methods to help improve your physical pain and promote emotional wellness. Just don’t forget to tell me all about it!

What is your favorite way to relieve stress? I’d love the hear about it in the comments below.

 

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DIY Bubble (Boba) Tea

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I know some people out there have a problem eating strange textures, I’m just not one of them. When Bubble (Boba) Tea came out, I was thrilled to chew on those big gummy balls. It was equally exciting to suck them up through that fat straw. What a fun drink! Right?

It had been a few years since I had one, so I stopped by the little shop in the mall excited to experience Bubble Tea again. This time I was seeing the place through new eyes. Instead of being lured by the sweet concoctions or swayed by the colorful powders lined up against the wall, I was a little horrified. What on earth is in Bubble Tea anyway?

Just like a million times before, I cursed my nutrition education and walked out of the store without a drink in hand.

Not to be dissuaded from my growing craving, I decided to figure out another way. Did you know that you can order Bobas (tapioca pearls) on Amazon? Of course you can! (Small soapbox: Please buy local when you can.) So, I ordered some Boba, and figured out how to make my own version where the ingredients aren’t a mystery.

The basic ingredients of Bubble Tea are great (tea, milk, a little sweet, and tapioca pearls) and easy to combine on your own.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Obtain your bobas
  2. Cook them up according to the directions. It should take a whole 5 minutes. Note: I learned the hard way that Boba doesn’t store well – only make enough for one day.
  3. Make your tea of choice (fruity, black, green, matcha, rooibos, white)
  4. Choose your creamer (dairy, non-dairy, full fat, non-fat)
  5. Choose your level of sweet (stevia, sugar, honey)
  6. Add your Boba
  7. If you’re really fancy, order the big fat straws too (I used an un-cool but eco-friendly spoon)
  8. Enjoy!

Here are my cooked plump Bobas:

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Here is my finished product … a decaf Chai with full-fat coconut milk and stevia – Yummo!

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Hey that sounds like a Starbucks drink. I wonder why they haven’t boarded this train yet? Let me know what your favorite combination is below. I’d love to hear from you!

 

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8 Tips for Better Work-Life Balance

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Balancing work and home life can seem next to impossible especially if you throw kids in the mix. Lost time with friends and loved ones is the first victim of life lost in a rollercoaster of PTA meetings, soccer practice, dental appointments, and the dry cleaners. Throw in a full time job, chores, grocery shopping and you can kiss any down time you have left, goodbye. Life is a balancing act and the best way to get through it, is with a plan of action. Here are a few ideas to help you achieve balance.

Set priorities…

Do you really need to bake 32 muffins for the third grade Valentine’s day party? How about saving some time and purchasing them just this once? Enlist your partner to switch off taking the kids to school or watching the baby. It’s okay to skip scrubbing the tub one week. I promise. The kids will grow up just fine if they buy lunch at school once in awhile. Give yourself a break! These little chores you skip will still be there, but your piece of mind won’t be.

The most important event in your calendar…

When scheduling your appointments, don’t forget to add a bit of downtime in between work and home commitments to enjoy yourself. Make a list right now of the 5 things you need more of in your life. For me it’s things like dancing, time with friends and family, spending time outside, and exercise. I’m a much happier and better me with these things included. Now, go to your calendar and actually schedule your list items. Now, it’s up to you to honor it but you won’t have any trouble once you get the hang of it. Balance feels awesome.

Some fun ideas…

Enjoying a night out with friends can vastly improve an overworked body and mind. While you are out on your adventure, plan the NEXT excursion. Always have something to look forward to. Do something you enjoy every day. Watch a movie, go to the library, work on a hobby, or take a relaxing bath. Keep this time protected from other responsibilities. This is YOUR time. No interruptions!

Work for pleasure…

If you find that the only fun you have is outside the office, maybe it’s time to reconsider your career. I know, easier said than done, but really all it takes is the courage to change your circumstances and taking the first step. How empowering is that!

Time is money…

How much is your time worth per hour? Choose an amount. Then add up all the time you spend on things someone else can do for you. It’s a lot. Most of us are on a budget, but in many cases it is worth paying someone else to do things for you. It’s not extravagance, it’s just smart because what you end up with is time to spend with the people you love and do things that make you happy.

Some “let someone else do it” ideas…

Have the groceries delivered. Look for a local CSA that delivers. Local, organic food delivered…doesn’t get better than that. NM people check out Skarsgard Farms. How about paying the extra fee to have the Christmas gifts wrapped? Have the neighbor kid mow your lawn and help with yard work. How about using the loose-change-jar once in awhile and have your house cleaned? Better yet! Have the kids clean the house while you sit by the pool!

Move it…

Exercise is a very powerful tool especially if it’s done in the morning. It impacts your whole mood and puts a positive touch on your entire day. Schedule at least three, twenty minute workout routines a week, and I promise you you’ll fly through your workweek (and you won’t jiggle). Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, get some extra sleep, and voila! Your energy will get a serious makeover.

Be smart with technology…

Stay off the computer, your smartphone, anything where you can access messages, social media, and emails when you first wake up. I am so guilty of this. Nobody should be reading anything that may contain negative or depressing news first thing in the morning. Not to mention, your morning hours are the most productive. Don’t waste your best on Facebook. Save it for after lunch.

Track your time…

Lastly, track your time. You’d be surprised (or maybe not) how much time we waste during the day on frivolous activities. Cut out unnecessary time on the computer, phone, or errands that can be skipped or combined.

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” – Thomas Merton

 

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Adventures in Making Tallow Moisturizer

This is a blog about my adventure making tallow moisturizer (the best moisturizer I’ve ever used). Tallow is rendered beef fat, which is a little scary, so it took something serious for me to even try it. You can buy similar moisturizer already done for you for ~$30, or you can make your own. Feeling frugal and looking at it as a potential learning opportunity, I went for the diy option. Oh boy, it was an adventure…but an oh-so-worth-it one. Here’s what happened…

Why I ventured down the tallow road in the first place…

I hear your skin freaks out when you’re pregnant. For the most part, (and I’m totally bragging here) my skin was amazing. Better than it’s ever been….ever. No zits. I’m 32 and still get zits so this was a welcome 9-month reprieve. You’d brag too.

Then baby came out and the magic wore off. Pretty soon I developed dry patches on my cheeks. No big deal, I thought. I just have to change my moisturizer. So, I bought stuff with names called “deep repair” which had no effect. I even tried oil that comes from sharks. Knowing that our skin is a reflection of our internal health, I made sure I was hydrated and getting healthy oils….BUT NOTHING WAS WORKING!

In fact, the patches were getting worse and spreading and I was getting desperate. I was literally growing a force field on my face. I reached out to my smarter-than-me holistic FB friends and one gal recommended coconut oil (of which I’d heard a lot) and an alternative I’d never heard of, tallow.

Ok, duh. Why didn’t I think to turn to natural products instead of expensive BS deep repair creams? That’s what I’m all about after all. I’m blaming my baby brain. That night I started slathering coconut oil on my face because I honestly I had no idea what tallow even was.

Um, well my face didn’t like that too much. Not only did my force field get bigger but I developed a red bumpy rash all over my neck. Good lord, I was really good looking at that point. A quick google search confirmed that coconut oil can actually be drying on the face. Great. Not to diss coconut oil. My body loves it as a moisturizer. Not sure what happened there.

Ok, no more messing around, I decided…It was time to pull out the big guns. That night I started using the Oil Cleansing Method that we wrote about a few months ago. I really love it. Vanessa was so right about that … but even that wasn’t enough. It was time to try tallow. But now I’m a total OCM convert. Try it, you’ll love it.

How to Make Tallow Moisturizer…

Tallow, as I learned, is rendered cow fat so you can see why it took me a while to get to this point, right? I got a big chunk of cow fat from a farmer. It was good timing because the hubby and I were picking up our hog that same day so I just happened to ask if they had tallow and they did – I even got it for free.

This is how pretty it is…

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I couldn’t believe I was going to put this on my face either. Another google search revealed how darn good it is for our skin. Basically, your skin recognizes it because it’s so close to our biology and absorbs it – plus it’s full of great vitamins that the skin loves. Google it, you’ll see.

Next step is to cut it into chunks and put it in your food processor like so…

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When you’re done processing, it looks like this. I guess if you don’t have one, you can just chop small. It’s easier if it’s cold.

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Then you put it in your crockpot on low and wait for it to melt.

Note: All of the articles on tallow making talk about being extra careful not to burn it so I was scared to mess it up. I didn’t do anything extra careful and mine didn’t burn. I stirred it some and worried about it. That should work for you too.

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It melts pretty quick but I let it go a few hours. Next, I let the mixture cool down a little and strained it through cheesecloth into a bowl. Throw away the chunkies.

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Then I added some dried herbs like lavender and calendula both of which have soothing properties for the skin and put it all in a big jar. I should have just started with the jar instead of messing with the bowl. Live and learn. The herbs are easily found at a natural herb store.

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I thought I would have longer to let the herbs infuse but the fat solidified on me with the herbs still inside. I wanted them to diffuse longer so I heated it back up. This is where I hit a major bump in the road. I don’t recommend this approach.

I filled the crockpot with water. Placed my solid jar of fat inside, and set it to low. I checked on it a little while later and it was all melted…yay. BUT there was some oil floating in the water. Must have boiled over, I told myself.

Not so. I carefully removed the jar and to my great dismay only the top half of the broken jar came out. Oil in water mystery – solved. Darnit! I was left with a big crockpot full of water, oil, herbs, and broken glass. Now I’m thinking to myself that I’m a real genius and how much I freaking hate tallow.  What was I thinking trying to make moisturizer out of fat anyway???

I cooled off and decided that there had to be a way to finish this project after all the time I’d spent on it. Now my crockpot looked like this….a giant herby fat cookie floating in a bath. Image

I dislodged it. Poured out the water. Threw away the glass and remelted the herby fat cookie. I restrained the herbs out – let it cool a little and sighed with relief. By george, I think I’ve got it!

Next I grabbed an old empty moisturizer tub and filled it up 1/4 of the way with olive oil. This helps keep the consistency workable. Otherwise it would be too hard to use. I also added Citrus Bliss™ doTerra essential oil and OMG it is amazing stuff. For all that work, and learning the hard way, it was worth it. Look how pretty now…

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Two days is all it took for the force field on my face to go away. And that was after weeks of trying other things. I swear my skin looks younger and I can hardly see my fine lines. I LOVE this stuff. I still have more fat sitting in the fridge and it’s going to make several more containers.

I might just start a tallow rendering business….ha ha, got ya.

In the end, I think it’s worth it to make your own but only if you learn from my mishaps. It’s better than spending $30 for someone else to do it, in my opinion. I’ll have enough to make moisturizer to last me a couple years now I bet. Think about how much that saves you in moisturizers that don’t really work. No brainer.

Try it out and enjoy your soft beautiful skin. Then let me know what you think.

 

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Healthy Kid Lunches Made Easy

Are you constantly on the go with the children in tow? Is the lunch packing, breakfast eating, fast track you call a school morning creating familial meltdowns? Trying to feed your family is tough. Trying to feed your family healthy, unprocessed foods, especially at school, can be tougher. If you’d like your kids to eat a healthy lunch that doesn’t take too much time to make, then keep reading!

Make a Plan…

I have two words for you: advanced planning. Five days a week we have to make lunch interesting enough for our children to want to eat it. Here are a few fun, quick, nutritious suggestions that will make the morning scramble a little less hectic.

Chop, chop…

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Chop fruits and vegetables up at the beginning week that will last until Friday. Veggies are a bit harder than fruit for children to get jazzed up about. You can cut up green beans, carrots, cucumbers, and corn niblets. Choose veggies that you know your children like and make them fun. I make little eye and mouth holes in the cucumbers, add a touch of light ranch to incite more interest in the carrots. Corn and green beans are fabulous warm or cold and great finger foods. Strawberries, sliced bananas, blackberries, and grapes are all wonderful, healthy treats for lunchtime. Throw the grapes in the freezer for snack time! A frozen, tasty tidbit!

Rollups the healthy way…

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Sick of PBJ and Lunchables? Try a deli-meat roll-up instead. You can use turkey, ham, roast beef, chicken. Any sliced deli-meat will do (preferably organic and without nitrates). Fill them with cream cheese, pineapple, peas, red peppers, greek yogurt….anything and everything. You can prepare these in advance so that half their lunch is already made for the week!

Get them involved….

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Have your children get involved with making their own lunch the night before. Ask them what they want for lunch. See what kind of suggestions they make, and counter offer with a healthier choice. Instead of cookies, suggest graham crackers. If they ask for a sugary yogurt, give them greek yogurt and sweeten it up with some strawberries or honey. Instead of chips, how about some pretzel sticks? Let them make their own sandwich, and make fun shapes with them using cookie cutters.

Try a blended approach…

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I’ve never met a kid who wasn’t crazy for a smoothie. Use your blender and add bite-sized pieces of fruit (or veggies). I love to add dark leafy greens. Add a dollop of yogurt and some crushed ice or some frozen fruit and blend. Voila! A healthy snack for lunch time (and they won’t know it’s healthy)! You can play around with different flavors by adding peanut butter, coconut, nuts, etc. This one is also easy to avoid particular diet allergies you may have.

Don’t forget to utilize that thermos…

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Remember that Steve Martin thermos song? “I’m picking out a thermos for you. Not an ordinary thermos for you.” I digress, but check it out for a laugh, here. How about chicken noodle soup or turkey chili for a cold day? Instead of sending them to school with juice, trade it out with some tea sweetened with a bit of honey.

Try a Bento Box…

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You can really shake your child’s lunchtime routine up by picking up a bento box. They make them specifically for kids now, and have several different compartments for a variety of lunchtime offerings! Let’s have fun with lunchtime and keep the kids from trading their dull lunches for Cheetos!

What works for your family? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

 

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