Monday, October 21, 2013

Salad of the Week: Sweet and Spicy Peanut Butter Salad

Today's salad is delicious and full of fat! 

 This week there is an amazing conference going on about eating real food. The conference is online and it is free so go check it out Real Food Con! Yesterday one of the speakers, Abel James from Fat Burning Man, gave an excellent lecture on why we should eat fat. 

We are going to talk about the importance of good fat, but for today I am going to share with you a fat filled salad. 

Last week I told you why I love homemade salad dressings, and today's dressing is no exception. It is extremely rich and creamy will fill you up to conquer the day! Plus I added some crushed red peppers to this dressing, I love something spicy to heat up my raw veggies. 

Sweet and Spicy Peanut Butter Salad

For the Salad

Finely sliced carrots
Any other veggies you have on hand would be great, trying adding snap peas or broccoli

For the Dressing

2 tbsp natural peanut butter
1/2 cup olive oil
crushed red pepper flakes
1-2 tsp coconut aminos, tamari or soy sauce

Friday, October 18, 2013

Trees with Tea and Honey

        As I sat on my back porch today drinking tea with my head buried in my kindle, I searched over all of my herbal eBooks trying to think of one thing to write about today. Day #9 of blogging, and already I was out of inspiration. I was not so sure this blog thing was made for me. In a moment of frustration, I closed my tablet and looked out.

       I saw the sun breaking through the trees and warming my tea, and remembered I use to dream about mornings like this. I had everything I really needed: my pets, my tea and some plants. This is after all why I became a herbalist in the first place. To be one step closer to nature, to be reminded everyday how miraculous of a world we live in where the plants give life. Not to stick my head in a computer.

      I urge you today to go for a walk, for a swim, if nothing else go outside for one minute and breathe deeply. Many people say that we live in a broken world, but I disagree. We live in a healing world, if we would just learn to take it in.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Katie's Dairy Free Greek Salad with Hummus Dressing

I have recently decided to serve a salad everyday for lunch, and was rewarded the other day when my husband said, "I love having this fresh food for lunch, I have so much more energy!" I felt like hearing these words from my husband's mouth was one of the best things that had ever happened to me. Raw food does give you more energy.
I often hear clients say that they do not really enjoy eating salads or any fresh veggies for that matter, but I believe that eating healthy can truly be delicious. I also don't think it has to be that hard, you don't have to decide to eat a salad everyday, but maybe try eating an extra salad every week.
The salad I want to share with you today is not only tasty, but also hearty and filling.

Katie's Dairy Free Greek Salad with Hummus Dressing

For the Salad:

Salad greens
Sliced Cucumber
Olives (Kalamata are delicious, but I only had black on hand)
Quartered Marinated Artichoke Hearts (These are one of my top picks for salad toppings)
Cherry Tomatoes Sliced Lengthwise
Red Onion
Fresh Parsley 
Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

What makes this salad wonderful is not just the great ingredients, but this fabulous dressing. My one issue with salads, especially if you go out to eat them, is that the dressing are usually full of sugar. According to Health-Alicious-Ness salad dressings ranked as the number eighth food to avoid because of the sugar content, which can be around 29% of the product.

Creamy Hummus Dressing

Why I love this dressing...
It is super easy and quick to make.
The dressing is made with yummy hummus and apple cider vinegar. (Yes, chickpeas are high in carbohydrates which break down into sugars in your body, but there are no nasty refined sugars in this dressing like in many packaged bottles.)
Chickpeas are a great source of protein, so this will give you some energy to keep you going the rest of the day.
Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar is amazing stuff, with tons of health benefits such as promoting digestions because of the high levels of enzymes.
Fresh garlic is great for the immune system.
Finally, this dressing is perfect for someone who is trying to cut back on dairy. It is so rich and creamy, the feta cheese that is normally in a Greek Salad is not even missed.

For the Dressing
2 pts. Hummus
1 pt. Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Clove Minced Garlic
Crushed Red Pepper and Oregano to taste

My Version of a Dairy Free Greek Salad with Hummus Dressing

Here are a few of my favorite tips for a delicious salad:

*Always add fresh herbs if you have them. They add so much flavor and health benefits as well!

*I hate buying prepackaged salad mixes. Sometimes they seem convenient, but I find that the greens always go bad because they are stored in plastic. Plus you do not get much for you money. I prefer buying an assortment of fresh greens and herbs, bringing them home to chop them up, and storing them in a cloth salad bag. This homemade version stays fresher longer and you get more bang for your buck.

*Try out different homemade salad dressing. They are usually easy to make, and so much better for you. Most dressing will store great in the fridge for a few days.  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Herb of the Week: Arnica

Today's herb of the week is one that I have considered a life saver on many occasions: Arnica Montana. The plant itself is not a huge plant, standing only one to two feet tall, but its medicinal qualities are quiet powerful. The arnica flower is somewhat similar to that of a daisy with its yellow head,  and blooms between mid summer and autumn. Like most herbs used for its flowers, it is best harvested at the beginning of the blooming season.  According to the plant can be found in the northern hemisphere worldwide. The plant prefers sandy and acidic soils and full sun. 

Arnica Montana Botanical Drawing

The most common uses for arnica is for bruising and pain. A study posted on PubMed was conducted to determine the results of using arnica on laser-induced bruises. The study compared the results of using arnica, white petruleum, 1% vitamin K cream with .3% retinol, and 5% vitamin K cream.   The study found that arnica was more effective for the reduction of bruising than the placebo or low dosages of vitamin K cream with retinol. Arnica can also be taken internally if it is in a homeopathic form to help with bruising. Many doctors recommend this herb to their patients before surgery, to help with the bruising and soreness that will follow. According to Henriette's Herbal Homepage, "In all cases after sever cutting operations, where there has been destruction of muscular tissue, soreness follows and pain, which is ameliorated to an excellent advantage by the internal use of small doses of arnica."  Please note: this herb should be used in topical applications only, unless it is in homeopathic form, as it is poisonous if ingested or used on open wounds. 

Arnica Pain Relief Salve by Muir Botanicals
What makes arnica so efficient in treating bruises is that it is capable to quicken the healing of tissues and the re-absorption of discharged blood. Circulation and blood supply are also improved when using this herb, which makes it not only great for bruising, but for sprains, inflammation and muscle pain as well. Arnica has been used for relief for arthritis, muscle cramps and spasms, for children who have pain from bumping into something, and even broken bones. 

Herbs2000 states that it is also good for fighting off infections, especially caused by listeria and salmonella bacteria. When mixed with other herbs such as Calendula it is uses in treating skin rashes. It is also very useful for nerve pain and damage because it is not only anti-inflammatory but has analgesic properties as well. My favorite application of arnica is in a salve I've created with other pain relieving herbs and essential oils that help with inflammation. This is an excellent concoction for pain of the joints, muscles and nerves.

For more information about arnica or to set up a consultation please comment below or email me me at

*All information on this page is intended for educational uses only, and is not to be taken as medical advice. It is always improtant that you consult your health care professional before taking any herbs or natural remedies, as it may do harm to your body or conflict with medication.*

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


"I have random pimples or more like boils appearing on my body. For example underneath the boob I know i sweat a lot when I work out at the gym...could this be causing boils?"                                                      -Anonymous 

     Thank you for your question. This could be one reason for the boils. According to PJ Hamel writer of Breast Boils: What They Are, How to Treat Them, "Hidradenitis suppurativa is an acne-related skin condition that can manifest as chronic infections (boils) or abscesses around and on the breast – particularly in the crease underneath....Plugged apocrine (sweat) glands and/or hair follicles trigger inflammation, pain, swelling, and the formation of pus. This is especially likely to happen in areas of the body subject to heat buildup, and thus the site of more sweat glands: your underarms, groin, buttocks, and the area under your breasts, particularly if you’re large-breasted."

     To find out if this may be what you are experiencing, or if the boils worsen or persist, you will want to talk to your health care professional. Though rare, boils can cause a serious systemic infection. WebMD gives these guidelines as to when you want to contact a doctor:
        The boil is on your face, near your spine, or near your anus.
        A boil is getting larger.
        You have any other lumps near the boil, especially if they hurt.
        You are in a lot of pain.
        You have a fever.
        The area around the boil is red or has red streaks leading from it.
        You have diabetes and you get a boil.
        The boil is as large as a ping-pong ball.
        The boil has not improved after 5 to 7 days of home treatment.
        You get many boils over several months.

     There are, however, home remedies you can try to help with the symptoms of boils before they reach this point. Herbs2000 states that the bacterial species that most commonly is linked to the cause of boils is Staphylococcus aureus. The first thing I would suggest to help with any type of bacteria infection would be a good probiotic. Simply put a probiotic puts the good bacteria back into the gut to fight off the bad bacteria. You can find a probiotic at your local health food store, I would suggest using a refrigerated probiotic if available. Currently, I am using Garden of Life's Raw Probiotic for Women.

     Secondly, trying adding a warm compress to the boils. I would suggest soaking the cloth in freshly brewed ginger tea, this will help to open the boil and allow it to drain. Use the compress for 20-30 minutes 4 times daily. Continue doing this for 3 days after the boil opens as it may take time to completely drain.  Use a bandage over the boil so that it does not spread, and change it every day. You can also add antiseptic herbs and essential oils to the compress. I would suggest tea tree, thyme, lavender, or clove. 

    Finally, skin irritations can often indicate that it is time for a good body cleanse. What we see on the outside always reflects what is going on inside of our bodies. Unfortunately, I am not making any herbal products until December, but there are many herbal cleanses available. You can learn more about my thoughts on cleansing here.     

Monday, October 14, 2013

Dear Readers

To start off this week I would like to encourage you, not with one of my own writings, but by another blog that I found incredibly inspiring this past weekend. This entry entitled "Dear Mom Who Can't Afford Organic Food" by the Humbled Homemaker addresses the issue of when organic food is just out of reach for families.

While I do believe in eating organic foods, and I always use organic or wild harvested herbs in my products, I also understand the high cost of organic is not always feasible. I stand with the writer when she says, "Even if you don’t eat organic, you can still eat real food–fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, meat that hasn’t been processed. Cook from scratch."  

You can find this beautifully written entry here. I would you encourage you to read it whether you have a difficult time putting clean food on the table, or you do not sway from eating only organic.
I believe that you can be healthy and have a great diet on a tight budget. I would love to hear your questions and comments on this subject.

To set up a consultations on how you can use diet and herbs to improve your health please email me at

Friday, October 11, 2013

Heart Beets

This year I fell in love.
 I saw them from across the farmer's market, they were calling my name, asking me to take them home. It was as if I was seeing them for the first time. Suddenly everything was clear, they had been there all along waiting for me. "It was always you," I said to them, "my one true... beet." 

To understand my love story you must first know something about me. I was not a picky eater when I was a child. In fact, I prided myself on the fact that I would eat my veggies like a big girl. But every year around the fourth week of November it would happen. The beets were sat on the table and my family would dance and sing songs of their beauty, and I would try them... and I would hate them. I despised the fact that I did not like beets. They were so pretty, and everybody else loved them. I really felt that I was missing out on something wonderful, so I would try them every chance I had.  Year after year it was the same story, until this past spring. 

I don't know what happened, I think it was the magic of the Farmer's Market. It must have been that fresh fairy dust sprinkled on top (aka soil) or the chalkboard happily claiming "Herbicide and Pesticide Free!" Perhaps it was the adorable girl in the straw hat and freckled cheeks whose smile said that she had grown these beautiful rubies specifically for me. Or maybe it was the abundance of nitrates that made my heart go pitter patter. 

I do not think it will be a shock for you when I say that beets are good for your heart, and it is largely impart to the antioxidants and naturally occurring nitrates that they contain.  These dietary sources help decrease blood pressure and improves circulation and stamina. According to WebMD the nitrates in beets are converted by the body into nitric oxid which can help increase blood flow to the brain, muscles and the heart. The nitric oxid opens up the blood vessels allowing for better oxygen flow, which explains the the burst of energy and enhanced stamina.

On a recent episode of a popular natural health show (that caused a shortage of beet root juice in health stores all across America) this vegetable was praised for its ability to lower blood pressure.  A meta-analysis was shared that showed sixteen different studies conducted between 2006 and 2012. All concluded that there is a link between significant blood pressure reduction and the supplementation of inorganic nitrate and beetroot root juice. You can read the study here.

And so, I took my beets home and ate them to my heart's content. I made three recipes using all parts of the beets: the root, the stalk and the greens. Although to get the full nutrients from beets they should be eaten raw or juiced, I want to share with you my absolute favorite beet salad using roasted beets. I have adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart, you can find her version here. Secondly, you will find a recipe using the beet greens, which have slightly different health benefits. 

If your passion for beets has dwindled throughout the years, or you never even truly loved them to begin with. I urge you please, it is not to late to give them a chance. 
It will be good for your heart. 

Roasted Beet & Apple Salad with Lemon Honey Dressing

Kale or other salad greens
3 unpeeled beets
1 Granny Smith apple
Crumbled Goat Cheese
1/2 Lemon
Olive Oil

For the Beets
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Place unpeeled beets in baking dish and add water until 3/4 of the beets are covered. Sprinkle with salt and olive oil. Cover with foil and bake for about 1 hours. When beets are tender remove from oven and let cool. Once they are cool enough to handle, gently remove skins and cut beets into cubes. 

For the Salad
Fill salad bowl with kale, cubed apple and beets. Sprinkle the crumbled goat cheese on top. Squeeze 1/2 lemon on the salad and lightly drizzle on honey and olive oil. 

Beet Greens & Strawberry Salad with Honey Roasted Walnuts

For the Walnuts:
1 cup walnuts
1 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp salt

Melt butter and honey and cover walnuts with the mixture.
Roast nuts at 350 degrees on a baking sheet for 5-10 minutes. Stir the walnuts and then check and stir every 1-2 minutes until they are golden brown.
Sprinkle salt on top and let cool.

For the Salad:
Beet Greens
Red Onions
Strawberry Slices
Feta Cheese
Fresh Parsley
Honey Roasted Walnuts
Black Pepper

Combine all ingredients in the salad and dress with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Top with fresh ground black pepper.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mountains, Desert and The Sea

     My husband and I have been blessed to have lived in a variety of beautiful places. We started off out marriage by traveling north to British Columbia, Canada where I began my schooling as an herbalist. It was here that my foundation of herbal knowledge was built. I studied under an amazing herbalist who had received her training in Europe. She would take us on fabulous herb walks where we would learn to identify a number of wild herbs (many of which did not grow where I was from.)  My classmates were astonished to learn that I had never seen plants like nettles or horsetail growing in the wild. It was a wonderful adventure. A time to discover, what was to me, an unknown world.

near our home in BC

     From Canada we traveled south again to our home: New Mexico. Here I was able to rediscover where I was raised. The world of cactus and succulents like nopal, aloe vera and yucca. I found a new appreciation for the desert and the herbalists there. I became aware of the richness of the land and the amount of healing it could provide, even with its lack of water.

enchanting New Mexico sunset

     Now we have moved on once again, and arrived in Florida about nine minutes from the ocean. Another adventure awaits as I am challenged with a new world of plants to discover. As the popular cruise commercial puts it, I feel as if "the sea is calling." I look forward to diving into the world of kelp, bladderwrack, spiralina and sea salt as well as the other tropical herbs that await.

me, standing in awe of the waves

     From the cool calm mountains of Canada, to the enchanting deserts of New Mexico  and the wild yet relaxing waves of the ocean, my training as an herbalist has truly been non-ceasing. I have learned not only healing plants of different regions, but also that wherever you are, if you are listening, the land will always teach her students and never fail to show them her beauty.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


     It is beginning to feel a lot like fall here in the state of Florida and as my husband puts it, "it is time to pumpkinfy everything." I made be a little obsessed with the sweet smell and the creamy taste of pumpkin but I also love it for all of it's amazing health benefits. 

     One health benefit you receive from pumpkins is obvious just by looking at it: antioxidants. What do I mean when I say it is obvious? It is because of its bright bold orange color. Anytime you find a fruit or vegetable with deep orange or red colors, you can know right away that it is full of antioxidants. 


     Pumpkins are also full of vitamin A which aids in vision. They contain fiber, so they are good for weight loss (be sure to drink your water with fiber!) Another benefit that I love, is that pumpkins are great for your skin. You can use them either internally or make a fun face mask to apply it topically.
    You don't have to stop with the tasty gooey flesh of the pumpkin, those crunchy little seeds are great for you too. They are alkalizing and anti-inflammatory. They also contain high amounts of zinc which is great for prostate health.
    So today I leave you with a few delicious pumpkin recipes from some blogs I enjoy. Please check them out as they have other great recipes too! Feel free to leave a comment and let us all know your favorite pumpkin recipe below! 

Paleo Pumpkin Spice Latte 
(The Nourishing Gourmet)

¼ cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon full fat coconut milk, cream, milk of choice, or water
½ teaspoon vanilla (gluten-free, as needed)
⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
8 drops of liquid stevia (such as NuNatural’s version) or 1-4 tablespoons of sweetener of choice such as rapadura, maple syrup, honey, etc.
1 ½ -2 cups of strongly brewed coffee or 4 shots of espresso with added water to equal 2 cups
¾- 1 cup of full fat coconut milk, dairy-free milk of choice, or cow or goat milk
Cinnamon for sprinkling on the top, optional
Coconut whipped cream, optional

Mix the pumpkin puree, tablespoon of milk, spices, and sweetener in a small bowl. Whisk well.In a small pot or saucepan, whisk the coffee and pumpkin mixture together, and heat until at desired temperature.In a separate small pot or saucepan, heat the milk of choice, and using a handheld frother, froth it. (I find this works best when the milk is JUST hot, not boiling).Divide the coffee mixture into two cups, and pour the foamed milk over it. Top with coconut whipped cream, if desired, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve and enjoy.

(Husband Tested Recipes from Alice's Kitchen) 

For the vinaigrette:
1 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
¼ cup olive oil
Place the vinaigrette ingredients in a small jar. Screw on a tight fitting lid.  Shake the jar vigorously.  Set aside. (This can be made a day or two in advance and left at room temperature.)
For spicy pepitas: Place 1 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds) with 1 teaspoon oil, 1 teaspoon chili powder, and ¾ teaspoon Kosher salt on a rimmed baking sheet.  Toss to coat the seeds.  Slightly shake the baking sheet to evenly spread the seeds on the baking sheet. Roast at 375 until golden and fragrant, 6-8 minutes (you’ll hear them popping).  Cool completely on the baking sheet.  (Can be made ahead and stored at room temperature in an airtight container.)
For the salad:
4 cups very thinly sliced red cabbage
1 medium red onion, very thinly sliced
4 cups mixed baby greens
6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (blue cheese or goat cheese would be nice substitutes)
Cilantro, chopped (optional)
1 cup spicy pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
To assemble the salad, combine the cabbage and onion in a medium bowl and set aside.  Up to an hour before serving, add the beet wedges to the cabbage and onion and gently toss with half the vinaigrette.
Just before serving, add the baby greens, half of the feta, and half of the pepitas; toss with the remaining vinaigrette.  Arrange on a big serving platter and garnish with the remaining feta and pepitas.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


     I can not tell you the number of times that I have had someone ask me for advice on herbal support for stress. In fact, even when I meet with a client for a completely different concern, they always seem to bring up their high levels of stress.Now don't get me wrong stress is not necessarily a bad thing, it causes us to react quickly to a stressor. We have all heard of the Fight or Flight response, if you see a bear in the woods you will have one of two responses: stay and fight, or flee the area. The good news is, our bodies were designed to be able to respond to these situations.
     During the Fight or Flight response the adrenal glands release hormones such as adrenaline, norardrenaline and cortisol into the body. These hormones help your body to react, putting energy into the parts of your body that need it at that moment and taking it away from the ones that are not as important for the time being. For example, blood flow will increase and the air passages will dilate, making it easier for one to run or breathe.
     Unfortunately, many people in the U.S. experiences an ongoing state of stress, causing the adrenal glands to overwork and eventually burn out. This is known as adrenal fatigue. Some common side effects to adrenal fatigue include: feeling tired for no apparent reason, difficulty getting out of bed in the morning, craving sweet or salty foods, unexplained weight gain or loss, and so on.
     The good news is that there is an amazing group of herbs called adaptogens that help the body adapt to stress by supporting the adrenal glands. These herbs can help to balance hormones and bring homeostasis to the body. The term "adaptongenic substance" was first coined in 1946, but there is evidence of these herbs being used thousands of years ago by China, Japan, Korea, Russia, and Europe for stress, fatigue and anxiety.
     If you know that you undergo large amounts of stress, or can relate to any of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue, you may want to consider talking to an herbalist about finding an adaptogen herb that is right for you.

*All information on this page is intended for educational uses only, and is not to be taken as medical advice. It is always important that you consult your health care professional before taking any herbs or natural remedies, as it may do harm to your body or conflict with medication.*