Epsom Salt – Natural moisturizing / hand & body wash

So long late night soaks!

So long late night soaks!

Now that I am done with my regular soaks for competition I have all of this unscented (and putrid scented) Epsom salt I need to get rid of.

The best way (other than bathing in that is) is to create harmless household and body cleaners!

Here is a simple recipe for you to start out with. I like the coconut/vanilla/bergamot combo below, but feel free to try your own. Use as a general moisturizer or wet your body and lather/scrub then rinse!

Ingredients: 

2 tbsp scented or unscented Epsom Salts

1 cup cup scented liquid coconut oil – deep conditioner, vitamin E – even works as a makeup remover!

5 drops vanilla essential oil – aphrodisiac and anti-depressant

2 drops bergamot essential oil – speed healing oil, treats anxiety

Method: 

Heat coconut oil on stove-top on very low heat until melted.

Add remaining ingredients and stir until salt is disintegrated.

Pour liquid into jar and allow to cool.

Keep stored in a room temperature and dark space until needed.

More info on Epsom Salts: 

CLICK HERE FOR A GREAT LINK ON EPSOM SALTS. 

Advertisements

What to plant this spring? Here are some MUST haves for the budding Herbalist.

 

687dc-edibleland

An old herb garden looking alive and potent.

 

When I first started learning about herbal medicine, I had NO idea about how much medicine we have at our fingertips. I also had no idea how medicinal our food could be if we ate things that weren’t necessarily found on our grocers shelves. Trying to incorporate a little bit of herbalism into your every day, or even better – into your kitchen, helps your body to stay healed and grow stronger as you age. Eventually, your body will be chock full of vitamins, minerals and virus fighting medicines without much effort at all.

Of course, not all plant types are going to be found or thrive in every environment SO take some time to get to know these easy growing fellows below. If you find them to be easy to care for, spread your wings and try growing your own at home.

It’s only February BUT looking forward to spring and looking into my seed stores gets me excited to start planting and reaping the benefits of home-grown medicine. I look forward to adding nettles to my ferments, drying herbs in my dehydrator and making skin salves to pass out to my friends and family. I certainly miss all of the classes and students I had in Vancouver, I might have time to squeeze some teaching in again this spring in Calgary.

As always, when using any type of medication, make sure that you consult with your GP and do your research before ingesting unconsciously. Your body deserves a little curious research before undertaking a new regime.

 

Aloe Vera

You can purchase this plant at nearly every home garden supply store. Even Home Depot. Because you aren’t going to be ingesting this plant I feel that you are ok to be a little less questioning of it’s origin.

Why do you want to keep Aloe Vera around? Simply, there are so many topical benefits that there isn’t a reason NOT to. Snap a sample of a well-grown leaf off and you are on your way to healing cuts, wounds, burns, eczema and inflammation.

Marsh Mallow

You can find seeds or starters for this plant at select growers. I order my seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds or Vesey’s. These are pretty hardy plants – but watch out for wet feet!

There are a number of great uses for marshmallow both inside and out. You can take the root internally to help treat inflammation and UT irritations, gastritis or peptic ulcers. Topically, you can use a poultice, salve or cream to treat bruises, sprains, muscle aches, insect bites, slivers or skin inflammation.

Fun food fact: The leaves of the marshmallow plant are edible! Add to salads, boil or fry.

Pot Marigold

These hardy ladies will grown in almost any soil condition. Use a tea consisting of marigold petals to increase circulation and ease varicose viens. A poultice of marigold stems will aid in removing corns and warts.

Camomile

You probably know this as a great fruity tea! Camomile works well in aiding digestive issues and also has a soothing effect in its aroma. This helps reduce stress and induce sleep.

Echinacea

 If you’re living without it, you probably shouldn’t be. This beautiful flower has amazing antibiotic properties that relieve allergies and help prevent viral and bacterial infections. The roots, beneficial in treating sores, wounds and burns when applied as a poultice, salve or cream. She grows well in well-drained soil with a lot of sunlight.

Lemon Balm

By far, the easiest herb I have ever unintentionally grown. The leaves give off a lovely lemony mint scent that cannot be mistaken. Crushed leaves used as a poultice help relieve pain from herpes, sores, gout and bug bites. The leaves infused with hot water can treat colds, fevers, indigestion, depression, headaches and insomnia.

I grew this herb for years in the wet wet wetness that is Vancouver BC!

Peppermint

Nearly another weed, as easy to grown and impossible to kill as Lemon Balm. peppermint is high in manganese, vitamin A and vitamin C. Leaves ground into a salve or cream help to sooth and relax muscles.

Sage

Another herb that is nearly impossible to kill is Sage. When consumed it can help to ease indigestion, flatulence, anxiety and excessive sweating.

 

Here’s to spring, and happy plantings. Stay tuned for my inevitable posts containing the trials and tribulations of trying to sustain plant life in the Rocky Mountains.

 

Sasha

 

 

 

Welcome to the flungle

flu

Over the last few days at my office most employees seem to have picked up a sniffle, cough, hack or sneezing disease which I have been completely immune to. At this time of year I often wonder what it is exactly that gets people so run down that they inadvertently let sickness in. In the hopes that they would help themselves with a little help, I passed on some wisdom to them via email.

I am in the in-house health and nutrition consultant after all. Maybe you’ll let some of this work for you too!

” From the looks and sounds of it, we are under attack by some kind of virus or several viruses. There are a number of things you can do to prevent illness and speed up recovery.

Prevention:

  • Sleep – the body needs recovery time. There’s an article in the kitchen for you to read up on.
  • Exercise – don’t stagnate & stress out. Keep strong and purge physical and emotional toxins with movement. Any kind, 25 minutes per day.
  • Water – at least 1 litre per day to keep fluids moving and toxins with them. If you have trouble remembering, try this app: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/watango-daily-water-intake/id875850852?mt=8
  • Nutrition – you are what you eat. Fast food, lots of meat & dairy slow down your system and tax it heavily JUST to digest what you’re eating. If your gut spends its life digesting it’s taking a lot of energy away from your immune system. You’re also taking away precious recharge time with MORE digestion. Eat HIGH alkaline foods that are easily digested.
  • Things to avoid – alcohol, mass amounts of caffeine, drugs, late nights, stress, mass amounts of meat.
  • Hygiene – throw away old Kleenexes immediately after use, wash hands frequently, wipe down your workstations daily, use hand sanitizer, wash hands after shaking hands, opening doors and before you eat, cough/sneeze into your arm, wear a mask while contagious or out in public.

Recovery:

  • Sleep : your body needs rest. Put down the remote and have a nap, turn on the humidifier while you do!
  • Fluids : Warm water with lemon and honey. Hydrating and encourages mucus to take virus away. Also see prevention.
  • Nutrition : Warm soups like garlic or bone broths – clears sinuses and packed with nutrients. Try a “hot toddy”. Alcohol takes the medicinal qualities of foods/herbs directly to our bloodstream.
  • RECIPE: 1 oz brandy, ¾ cup hot water, 1 tsp honey, juice of ½ lemon – add ginger or licorice root or any other immunity boosting herb. Steep for 5-10 minutes and drink.
  • Herbs: Echinacea, ginseng, elderberry tea, ginger, turmeric, licorice root, garlic.

Maintenance:

Hygiene is the most important part of keeping healthy. If you keep clean it’s half the battle. The other half of the battle is staying healthy. I have an annual talk I used to give on influenza, in part of it I asked the audience:

“If you were given ONE car to drive for the rest of your life, how would you treat it?”

Your body is that vehicle and a reflection of who you are and what matters to you most – start with YOU. If you are healthy and happy and taken care of you can help your family and friends do the same for themselves.

Stay healthy over the holidays people!!

S “

 

Rosemary Salt

IMG_1850.JPG

 

Homesteading. Fun, creative and easy on the pocket-book. Not to mention the fact that you are in the most powerful position to know about nearly 100% of what you’re putting in your body. Try this recipe and you’ll be hooked on homesteading, promise.

 

Ingredients:

1 cup Himalayan salt

3 large sprigs fresh rosemary

Method:

Dice up fresh rosemary.

Combine with salt and place in lidded pan on stove top – medium low. Heat for 10-12 minutes & set aside to cool.

Add to salt mill or store in jar with fresh sprig of rosemary on top.

Yep, that’s it.

Zingy homemade salsa

IMG_2236

 

There is nothing I dislike more than having to eat pre-made sauces and dips that can easily be made at home. There are so many sauces that are easy to create, taste fresh, have more nutrient content and have no preservatives! For these reasons, I accept no excuses for why homemade salsa cannot be added to the repertoire of all would-be foodies, busy moms and lazy Larry’s out there.

Use this recipe on eggs, nachos, burritos, as a tapenade or for your bruschetta.

Ingredients:

1 juicy lime

2 medium tomatoes

1/2 red onion diced

1/3 cup diced cilantro

1/4 tsp garlic salt OR 1 clove freshly pressed garlic

1/2 tbsp coconut or avocado oil

Fresh ground pepper

Optional: 1 diced red hot pepper or jalapeno

Method:

Dice up all ingredients, sprinkle with salt, toss with liquid ingredients, top with freshly ground pepper.

Serves 2-4

 

Health Facts:

Cilantro is a natural preservative, antioxidant, detoxifier and anti-bacterial.

Recipe for Disappointment – wildcrafting

20140624-074739.jpg

This winter I was contacted by a magazine for an interview on wild foraging in the Canadian Rockies. Needless to say, I was thrilled to be able to put together my thoughts on wildcrafting and put forth some ideas on sustainable foraging for the local mountain curious & cultured to peruse through.

I completed a 1 hour interview where ideas on how to, where to and what to forage for in this micro-climate of Alberta were discussed. I shared a great recipe (which is here for you in the photo) and knew that my web info, picture and 500 word or less article would appear in the summer issue of this mountain culture magazine.

I searched and search and subscribed to the magazine to ensure that I would get a copy to keep for myself. To no avail. When I finally attended a concert in Banff this past weekend, I managed to scoop one up at a local outdoors store.

I plucked up the magazine and lined up for breakfast, frantically thumbing the pages to reach “my” article. What I saw made my heart sink. I was SO excited to see my face and words on the page. Instead, I saw what you’re looking at. A full page for my recipe and a small tag with virtually nothing about me inserted in it.

I wont go overboard and say I was devastated, but I was kind of beside myself with confusion on how the article seemed to have gotten cut…and why I wasn’t advised. Hmpf.

Most publications I have been featured in would have handled this differently, I felt……embarrassed that I had be so stoked and felt like I amounted to NOTHING. Later on in the weekend Jeff went on to say that he was proud of me that I got into a magazine at all, and that I should be happy.

I have to agree with him. I do. Sometimes the old performer in me just wants that moment in the sun. When the lights aren’t as bright as I’d hoped, they might as well be off!

Not very grateful, not very positive. Time to work on that, right?

Enjoy the recipe. Get out and be wild -even if no one is looking.

xo
S

Oil infusions – insert extra dollar bills saved here

20140403-193134.jpg

 

I hadn’t made an infused oil in quite some time until I saw a “specialty” shop while cutting through a mall as well as on 17th Avenue here in Calgary. What sparked me to start up this easy process again wasn’t anything more than the fact that these oils were highly priced and in a lot of cases, of very poor quality.

I pride myself on knowing (as often as possible) where my food comes from and what businesses I am supporting with my money. In the case of two “chain” oil specialty stores, I could not apply this desire.

So, if you have some energy, ingredients and about 5 minutes, you’ll be infusing your own oils in no time.

This recipe is based on my last Spicy oil pictured.

Base oils I like to work with: 

Olive

Grapeseed

 

Additions: 

Dried or fresh spices/fruit – go wild. I used fresh hot Thai peppers in this one!

Ingredients:

-Glass receptacle
-Volume of oil for that will fill that receptacle (in this case 2 oz)
– Seranno peppers diced with seeds in (in this case 3)

Method:

Use whatever spices and oil you have. Place herbs/fruit in a GLASS receptacle only!!  Why? Plastic leaches toxins into the things it touches, don’t let that be your food.

Cover with oil.

Allow to sit for at least 30 days, out of the sun so that the oil will not turn acrid. I keep mine in my pantry.

Start to sample your oil in 3-4 weeks to see the level of flavour you like is achieved.

The hot peppers in this recipe release endorphins, boost your metabolism, relieves nerve pain if applied topically – try this spicy oil as a topical pain management treatment.

Try garlic, rosemary, basil – whatever you like! Strain or don’t strain, it’s all up to you!

Fear not the kitchen!!

Need tips? Comment below!