Essentially Nourished

Healthy living for the mind, body and soul.

Chocolate banana kefir smoothie recipe

This one has been a big hit with my little ones at breakfast time. Its delicious, healthy and a great way to get some good probiotics into your kids. Gluten free and refined sugar-free. I use home-made raw milk kefir but you can use plain store-bought kefir if you prefer.


Serves 4

3 over ripe bananas

1 cup kefir

3-4 mejool dates

2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder

A pinch of sea salt

1/2 cup of ice

You can add 1 or Tbs of raw honey if you prefer it sweeter.

Mix it up in a blender on high-speed until smooth. Enjoy!

Why are probiotics important?

Probiotics are good bacteria that live in your gut-where most of your immune system is.  It is important to keep your gut healthy so that your immune system can function properly. When there is plenty of good bacteria in our gut our bodies are more capable of fighting off disease and inflammation. unfortunately, in our modern world the good bacteria that should be thriving in our bodies are diminished by our processed diets, prescription medications and environmental toxins. Aside from living a healthy lifestyle and eating plenty of fresh, local food, consuming probiotics daily is one way to ensure that you are replenishing the good bacteria in your gut and thus helping to keep your body in balance.

Leave a comment »

What is oil pulling? My reflection


What is oil pulling? And what in the world is so great about it that even big-name celebrities are embracing this odd ritual? Oil pulling is a therapeutic practice used in traditional Ayurveda primarily as a means to improve oral health. It is also used to detoxify and rejuvenate the body by drawing out toxins, bacteria and viruses out of the mouth, throat and internal organs. Oil pulling is done by swishing an oil, such as sesame or coconut oil around in the mouth for a short amount of time. Okay, so from an outsiders perspective you might think this sounds a bit…well “whack”. I will admit I was a bit skeptical at first too. However, the researcher in me wanted to know more, so I began doing my own research and what I found intrigued me to give oil pulling a try for myself.

How is it done? In traditional Ayurveda there are two methods for oil pulling, Gandusha and Kavala graha. The Gandusha method is done by filling the mouth completely full of oil so that gargling is not possible. A drop or two of an essential oil such as peppermint oil may be added to make the taste more tolerable. (Where to buy essential oils) The oil is swished around for about 3-5 minutes and then spit out. In Kavala graha only a comfortable amount of oil is placed in the mouth and the oil is swished around anywhere from 3-15 minutes. It is important to note that when using coconut oil it must be spit out in a trash can because it may clog the sink. You should never swallow the oil while it is in your mouth or you might re ingest the toxins bring drawn from the body.

Possible health benefits of oil pulling:

decreased migraines

Improved oral health

increased energy

correct hormone imbalances

smoother skin, hair and nails

allergies and sinus issues

Reduced depression

improved mental health\clarity

How oil pulling has changed me

I was inspired to give oil pulling a try after learning about all the possible health benefits that it claims. For years I have suffered with unexplained chronic fatigue. Even after changing to a healthy diet and lifestyle. Some days are hard for me not only physically but emotionally. Being exhausted all the time is difficult, especially when you have three little ones to chase after all day, but It’s just something I have learned to live with. After oil pulling everyday for about two weeks I noticed that I was sleeping like a baby at night and waking up actually feeling rested! Moreover, I feel like I have more energy throughout the day and no more mid-day “crash”. One thing I definitely did not expect was a change in my emotional state. Every mom and wife at some point experiences burnout. Between kids, housework, husbands, work, endless to-do lists…we get so busy taking care of everyone and everything that we forget to take care of ourselves. We get grouchy and snap at the people we love, even when we don’t mean to. I’m going to be honest with you and I know many moms who will relate to this but I am totally guilty of this. After oil pulling I have noticed less of “grouchy” mom and more ” happy” mom. I feel an uplift in my mood and a general sense of renewed strength and vitality. It’s as if something in my body was off and has somehow balanced itself out. I can’t say for sure whether this was result of the oil pulling or perhaps something else. What I do know is that I am feeling better than I have in a long time! And I extremely grateful for this renewed strength and sense of confidence. Oil pulling will remain an important part of my life for a very long time.

 Scientific studies

TD Anand, C Pothiraj, RM Gopinath, et al. Effect of oil-pulling on dental caries causing bacteria (PDF)African Journal of Microbiology Research, Vol 2:3 pp 63-66, MAR 2008. (PDF Link)

S Asokan, J Rathan, MS Muthu, PV Rathna, P Emmadi, Raghuraman, Chamundeswari.Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva using Dentocult SM Strip mutans test: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. Journal of the Indian Society of Pedodontics & Preventive Dentistry. 26(1):12-7, 2008 Mar

S Thaweboon, J Nakaparksin, B Thaweboon. Effect of Oil-Pulling on Oral Microorganisms in Biofilm ModelsAsia Journal of Public Health: 2011 May-Aug. (PDF)

HV Amith, Anil V Ankola, L Nagesh. Effect of Oil Pulling on Plaque and Gingivitis. Journal of Oral Health & Community Dentistry: 2007 ;1(1)

 I hope that you have learned something from my personal story and opinions. For me oil pulling has been a wonderful and enlightening experience and I encourage you to try it for yourself. I strongly recommend doing your own research and form your own opinions about oil pulling.


Leave a comment »

Honey-mustard dressing recipe

Recently I have been trying to come up with a good salad dressing recipe for my VERY picky husband. I avoid buying bottled dressings like the plague. Not only are they loaded with GMO’s and other toxic ingredients but they are also expensive. So I created my own non-GMO, preservative free honey-mustard dressing recipe…and to my surprise it was husband approved! He even let some of his co-workers try his salad I made him and they loved it too! In fact one of them asked me for the recipe…so here you go! It is simple, healthy, yummy and can be whipped up quickly to take with you on the go. I use local raw honey from our farmers market. You should always use local , organic ingredients whenever possible.


1 Tbs organic Dijon mustard

2 Tbs raw honey ( use local if possible)

2 T Organic olive oil

Mix all ingredients until well combined. That’s it! Pairs great with fresh seasonal greens just coming into harvest or even a yummy dip for chicken wings!

#knowyourfarmer #growfoodnotlawns #realfood

Leave a comment »

All about Almonds: How to get the most for your dollar with nature’s super food!

If your like me you like to save money wherever you can, especially when you are on a very tight budget. It’s important to recycle and re purpose whenever possible.  I love making my own almond milk for a few reasons 1. I know exactly what’s in it and what isn’t 2. It saves a ton of money! If you have ever made your own almond milk (see instructions for how to make almond milk) or any kind of nut milk you know it can be quite messy! So what should you with all that left over pulp? Toss it out? Guess Again…I have discovered an amazing money and time-saving secret! It’s possible to actually recycle the pulp and use it as you would use regular almond flour in your recipes! And when you use as much almond flour as I do that’s exciting for you and your wallet! In addition to saving money recycling your almond pulp also saves time because it yields more almond flour at one time. Whereas making almond flour per demand can be tedious, especially when you’re in a pinch! Here’s how to do it…DSC00429

 Step One: Preheat oven to 200 degrees. (pulp may burn at a higher temp) Line a large  baking pan with a rim with some parchment paper. Spread the almonds onto the parchment paper evenly! this is important for them to dry properly.

Step Two: Let the almonds bake for a few hours until thoroughly dry, give them a good mix about every 45 minutes.

Step Three: When the pulp is completely dry it will be slightly clumpy. For a finer texture you can pulse them in a blender or food processor. If you choose to skip this step it’s not really a big deal and won’t likely make a difference in how your recipes turn out. Personally I prefer the finer texture over the slightly grainy texture of store-bought almond meal. This is what it will look like after its pulsed.


Here are some of my favorite almond flour recipes.

1. Paleo “granola” recipe from Carrots n’ Cake  I love to make a double batch of this paleo style granola at the start of the week. Top with some yogurt and fruit and it makes for a quick breakfast and you can play around with the recipe to your liking. I like to use pecans and maple syrup! yum!!!

2. Crispy grain free waffles from Health Starts in the Kitchen These are seriously some of the best waffles I have ever tasted! I love to make them for Sunday brunch or even for dinner. They pair great with sweet or savory toppings. Hayley Rycek is so talented! check out more of her recipes here

3. Dark chocolate peanut butter “granola” bars from Danielle Walker at Against All Grain. My kids love, love, love these for a snack or a special treat. It’s so difficult to find wholesome, real food snacks that don’t come from a box. I like to make huge batches of these bars and freeze them so I always have some on hand.

Why are almonds good for your health?

1. Almonds contain monounsaturated (healthy fats) the same beneficial fats found in olive oil. Studies such as this one from The British Journal of Nutrition have shown that a diet rich in healthy fats and low in enriched carbohydrates may reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

2. Almonds are packed full of protein, vitamins and minerals. Just one-quarter cup of almonds contains over 5g of protein and over 40% of your recommended daily value of vitamin E. Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that helps your body fight off free radicals (toxins). Almonds are also rich in vitamin B which is good for energy, as well as copper and magnesium-magnesium plays an  important role in every function in the human body. 3. Almonds contain phosphorous-an important mineral for building strong bones and teeth.

4. Just 20-25 almonds contains the same amount of calcium as 1/4 cup of dairy milk.

5. Almonds are a good source of prebiotic fiber. Prebiotics feed the good bacteria in your gut which can help contribute to a healthy digestive tract.

There are so many health benefits in almonds it’s easy to why they are touted as a super food. Including just one or two handfuls to your daily diet may have a positive impact on your energy, vitality and overall health.

Read the rest of this entry »

1 Comment »