Wednesday, April 12, 2017

So Irritated!

Hey everyone...once again, a lull in my posts...  I have had a challenging Winter/Spring, I am now enrolled in a course and have lots of homework, my back and neck went out consecutive weeks, and my son just got over having the flu for a week-and-a-half, yada, yada, yada...I'm tired.  Hahaha!

I have had all sorts of grand ideas for posts since you last heard from me...insomnia, a great Spring hand lotion you must try, and more, but here I am sharing what is absolutely top of mind, and top of season for me right now.

Unfortunately I am having a "flare-up" of some sort right now, and that is not all that uncommon for me this time of year.  The bonus about having a "chronic" illness is that you start to notice very helpful patterns, and you are able to make very interesting connections, and therefore come up with solutions.

A few weeks ago I woke-up very early one morning and my neck had completely seized up...such an awful "surprise" to have just appear like that.  Before that my back was out, and in the last week I have developed a "problem tooth."  I started freaking out and worrying that I would have to go to the dentist...and since I have never had dental work (knock on wood), I was painting a picture of how awful it was potentially going to be (thoughts can also be an unhealthy contributor, of course...which I will address in another post).  All of these issues have something in common...inflammation.

For my tooth I did what I usually do when I have a significant symptom...head to my acupuncturist...then the next day I hit my craniosacral therapist for a little jaw/mouth work...etc...  All the while throwing every home remedy I could come up with at my tooth in hopes of avoiding the dentist.  Well, here I sit today, pain-free (in the mouth, anyway), and seemingly not having to go to the dentist.

However, my insomnia is back, and it's not the old "Damn, I can't sleep" kind, it's the full-blown waking up gasping for air, heart racing, shaking, having to poop immediately (TMI?!), feel-like-you-are-dying, kind.  I like to call it "Seasonal Sleep Apnea" nasal and oral tissues get so inflamed from allergens that the poor breathing sends me into fight-or-flight/panic.  Not a fun way to "wake up."  Unfortunately I have had this off and on for the last 6 years of dealing with a chronic illness, and it is by far the worst symptom I have had.  Usually it hits me in Spring and Fall (or after a chemical exposure), but in my strongest, healthiest times it isn't as bad.  I know that the cumulative stress I have been dealing with lately set me up for the perfect storm this time.  Just a reminder that stress management and self-care are KEY!

I have written about allergies before (you can check out my allergy tips and tricks here), and I could go on and on about the crazy, Private-Investigator-dots I have connected for myself and the people I coach (things like allergies AND digestive issues, sleep disorders - teeth grinding/insomnia, dental issues, muscle/joint/nerve pain), but I really want to highlight the connection between what you eat and histamine intolerance/allergies.  About three years ago I discovered an absolutely AMAZING resource ("Foods, Food Families, and Other Food Lists") that lists many foods and what "family" they are in.  This can serve like a key or a legend to a map that will help you figure out some pretty incredible cross-reactivity stuff...for instance I was always insanely allergic to poison ivy as a kid (so reactive I had to have prednisone every Summer to reel it in)...cashews, mangos, and pistachios are in the same family!  AVOID!  I have shared this resource with anyone who is interested in decoding their sensitivities...including my son's former Kindergarten teacher, because her son has major allergies.  She looked at his diagnosed food allergies on the list (mostly tree nuts), and she found that some of the trees in their yard were in the same "family" as her son's biggest food offenders, so they cut them down, and it helped!  Knowledge is power...and sometimes even very powerful medicine!

Just this week a new MindBodyGreen article popped up: "The Surprising Foods That Are Making Your Seasonal Allergies Worse."  This is such important information to be aware of.  You may be like me, no real "obvious" signs of seasonal allergies, but just experiencing an overall not feeling well.  It could be digestive issues, body aches and pains, a general sense of agitation or anxiety.  There may be foods that you are fine eating most of the year, but can't tolerate during allergy surges...for example, you might want to skip that chamomile tea or sunflower seed butter during ragweed season!

The last few resources I am going to share with you are absolutely BRILLIANT "must reads."  The first gives an excellent overview of why so many more people have allergies in today's world...and that number is growing all the time.  I found it in one of my favorite magazines, "Experience Life" - "Taking On the Allergy Epidemic."  You will learn so much about the many factors that contribute to allergies.  "Pollen Is Not The Problem," by "The Healthy Home Economist" goes hand-in-hand with the previous article.  Sarah gets right to the heart of the matter...and per usual, it all comes down to your gut!

The other very timely article that showed up in my inbox today is by one of my fave docs of all-time, Dr. Aviva Romm - "Histamine Intolerance: Could It Be Causing Your Symptoms?"  The reason I was inspired to bust out this blog post TODAY, is because she is having a Facebook Live tonight (4/12/17 @7:00PM Eastern) to go along with this super informative article.  You might be (pleasantly) shocked by learning more about Histamine Intolerance, because much like other things (Lyme, etc.) it can be in disguise and causing significant misery...and it just might be the answer you (or a loved one) have been searching for!  Speaking of Lyme, Histamine Intolerance is sometimes triggered by (and shows up following) a virus, bacterial infection, or the onset of an autoimmune illness...think immune system overreaction (or one that can't calm/shut off after the threat is gone) if you have a chronic infection (like Lyme, Mono/EBV, etc.), a thyroid condition, or a digestive condition like Inflammatory Bowel Disease, H.I. just might be more common for you.  Though it is not common in the general population, as a whole, it is quite common in the chronically unwell/ill (especially those with "mystery"/undiagnosed conditions).

Not sure if you have allergies and/or histamine intolerance?  One clue would be you (or your child) having a "flu" or cold for a week or more, at the same time every year (this is not reserved for Spring only).  A personal example I can share of the initial immune response someone can have to a change in the air is when we bring our live Christmas tree into the house my son always has a "cold" for about the first 3-5 days until his system adjusts.  This year we didn't have one, and NO "cold."  I highly recommend keeping a detailed journal noting days you don't feel your best and adding details about what that day was like (weather, food you ate, pollen count/noticing buds/green stuff in the air).  Over time you will be able to connect your own dots and improve your quality of life!  What's better than getting more deeply in touch with yourself and how to cultivate your optimal wellness?!

If you do suspect histamine intolerance, run to this AWESOMELY AMAZING RESOURCE: Healing Histamine, created by a former CNN journalist who went through her own battle and won.

Again, I have only given a few examples and clues...allergies and histamine intolerance can come in MANY shapes and sizes.  You could be on an anxiety medication, when really you just need to cut out some of the foods you are eating and focus on healing your gut.  This is why I am studying to be a Functional Medicine coach, because in FM we investigate, connect the dots, and tend the soil, instead of spraying the leaves repeatedly with a chemical...hoping the tree will just survive, instead of thriving as it has the innate potential to do.  Inform yourself and you heal yourself in the process!
BONUS TIP: 2 "Quick Fixes" I use to stop a reaction (chemical, allergy, etc.) are 1. Activated Charcoal & 2. Alka-Seltzer Gold.  They are not meant for long-term healing but can relieve the most intense symptoms while you eliminate foods/triggers and work on a longterm wellness solution.  These are about bringing some much needed RELIEF!  (And always make sure you are drinking plenty of water!)

Friday, January 27, 2017

Pump It Up

Well, if you haven't noticed, it's Winter...sort of, anyway.  Winter can be a great time of reflection, slowing down, and rebuilding before the higher energy Spring & Summer come back around.  It can also be a time of stagnation and sluggishness.  Many people are deeply impacted by the lack of sunlight and having to constantly brace against colder temperatures.  The struggle is very real!

One thing we have to be very mindful of is keeping ourselves moving somehow.  For me, after the holidays come and go, I can get a little depressed and literally just want to sit around, doing stuff on my computer.  That's bad for many reasons, but mostly because it means I am more sedentary and I am getting more EMFs and artificial light on my eyes from too much screen-time (more to come about all of this soon).

I have been helping people through a lot of "stagnant" conditions lately...numbness and tingling in extremities, constipation, and ovarian cysts, to name a few.  Something that most of the conditions I am seeing right now have in common is LACK OF CIRCULATION!  The cold, the sitting around, it's a vicious cycle for things to get backed up, just like traffic at rush hour.  And that sets the perfect stage for problems to develop.

Today I urge you to learn more about your lymphatic system!  Some of you might be saying, "Huh...what?!"  Hopefully by now we have learned a lot about our bodies and the various organs and systems, but poor little lymphatics usually get left out.  We know that our blood has a pump (our hearts) but our lymphatic fluid relies solely on us to pump it around.  This is VERY important, because our lymphatics are our "garbage disposals."  If we leave them to their own devices they back-up and start to stink everything up.  As always, your gut is a major player in all of this as well...can you say "IMMUNE SYSTEM?!"  This is a big reason why so many more people get sick this time of year.

I want to share one of the absolute best, most helpful articles I have found on the topic, "The Secret to Staying Healthy: Get The Lymphatic System Moving!"  It explains the basics of the lymphatic system and beyond, AND it gives you many ideas to get your lymph moving.  If you are going to alert people to a concern, then providing solutions is an absolute must in my eyes!  Some of my favorite things to do are dry brushing (here is the brush I use), rebounding, yoga/deep breathing, saunas/hot baths, and massage, which are all discussed in the article.  I would like to specifically add one of my loves...dancing!

The good news is that it doesn't have to be strenuous.  Since a big "pumper" of our lymph is our big toes you can take a gentle walk, go up and down some stairs, do some toe-raises, or even sit and manually massage/bend/pump your big toes.  You can even manage some of these moves while standing in line at the store, under your desk at work, or even while sick in bed.  Do what you can!  As someone who has managed a chronic health challenge I know that exercise is not always possible.  I completely understand the fine line between moving your body and overexertion.  Saving energy for healing is very important, too!

If you are interested in learning even more, you can also check out this great mindbodygreen article, "9 Ways To Reset Lymph Flow And Decrease Bloating."

So put on some good music, and get moving...and keep yourself warm (heat packs are my best friend...especially on the abdomen and neck/shoulders)!  Your lymphatic system is counting on you!!!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Cooking Up A Storm

Hi everyone!  Happy New Year!  I fully intended to keep posting between Christmas and New Years...and beyond...but family-time and "life" was my priority instead, and this took a backseat.  I'm good with that!  Still, I have missed posting and the awesome comments, interactions, and feedback from all of you wonderful people.

I have some great news to share.  As I have been trying to figure out how I am going to channel my passion and help more people I applied to become a certified "Functional Medicine Coach," and I was accepted into the program.  I start February 1st, and will be back in "school" for a year.  I have some other good stuff in the works around becoming certified in Mind-Body Medicine as well.  I am beyond excited and look forward to sharing the journey with you.

I knew I had to get back to blogging when within the same week I had two totally unrelated people in my life (one a high school friend, and the other a newer friend) ask me the same question..."What kind of cookware do you use?"

In my attempt to keep blogging "doable" for me, especially now that I will have homework, I will do my best to keep these posts shorter, pointing you to the resources that will help you learn more.  To find out more about the toxins lurking in your cookware, this article by Dr. Axe (one of my fave docs) is a great starting place.  You might be surprised, or even overwhelmed, by the information, but once you know better you can do better.  From this point, forward is all that matters.

As far as what I have in my kitchen, though it may not be the most perfect thing out there, I use ceramic coated cook/bakeware.  I can't say for sure what the healthiest brand is.  I think this is a space that could really use a lot more attention, but for now we will just choose as best we can.  The most important thing is knowing what to stay away from (teflon, etc.)  I was happy to see Dr. Mercola adding his efforts, but I can't say for sure what his products are like, because I have never used them.  Lots of other countries are putting safer products out there, but they are harder to get for the time being.

For baking/cookie sheets I have the "Orgreenic" Ceramic Jelly Roll Pans, but there is some debate over if the material/product actually lives up to its name (this happens a lot, so don't just believe in a product that has "Organic" in its name) - and they are no longer available, so hmmmmm?  I am still looking for a good replacement.  A good idea is to use parchment paper or a silicone sheet over the surface for extra protection.  My favorite parchment, and additional kitchen products (like the sandwich/snack bags we use), comes from "If You Care."  For pots and pans I have the "WearEver Pure Living" ceramic sets.  I purchased them from Amazon.

Other brands I would consider:
- xtrema

*Don't forget to pick up some great silicone cooking spoons, etc. to use in your ceramic pots & pans! You definitely don't want to use metal or anything harsh, and also in an effort to preserve your cookware stack them with a cloth in-between (I like to use old dishcloths/towels).

Of course glass is usually a safe way to go (check lead levels), and some people love cast iron.  Some articles claim that stainless steel is a good option, but a lot of times it has ingredients in it like nickel, which many are sensitive to.  If you have heavy metal toxicity/burden, then you want to avoid such products.  You can find this out through Functional Medicine/Naturopathic testing.  Way before I ever had such testing I knew I couldn't tolerate nickel, or lots of metals, because my skin would blister, ooze, and turn green from jewelry made from those materials.  That's a big reason I use bamboo cutlery much of the time, because every time you eat you could be exposing yourself to something that doesn't agree with your system, and that is an added burden your body does't need.  Listen to your body's messages!

I hope this article points you in some helpful directions to green up your kitchen and keep yourself and your loved ones as healthy as possible!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Last Minute Gifts You Are Never "Too Late" For

Hopefully all of your holiday shopping is done and you are nice and that groove of just enjoying all that is going on around you.  But...if you are finding yourself panicked about those last-minute gifts you didn't get and the fact that you are now "out of time," get your loved ones something digital.  It's NEVER "too late"...that's just a story we tell ourselves.  There are always solutions.  Here are a couple of my suggestions...

1. Access to "Food Matters TV (FMTV)," where they have amazing documentaries and other content around healthy eating and mind/body/spirit stuff...and they add new videos each week.

2. Something from "Sounds True"...loads of awesome life improvement stuff from meditation to online courses, audio, video, etc...just hit the little "shop by category" tab in the upper left, and it is all sorted out for you.

3. A mindbodygreen class...there are so many topics to choose from including yoga, meditation, fitness, nutrition, home, relationships, etc.  So many goodies to check out!

What's better than helping someone live a healthier and fuller life?!  It's truly the gift that keeps on giving (and you can get it right up to the last minute!)  Good luck out there!  I am hoping to continue with some more of my faves between Christmas and New Years...there are so many I haven't gotten to yet!  That's a good "problem" to have!  HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU AND YOURS!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Helping Hands

I have always loved scents.  Give me a good song to listen to, and a sweet scent to smell, and I am happy.  There are so many cues around us that tell us it's the "Holiday Season."  One of my favorites is the various smells.

Today I bring you two hand lotions that are sure to make you (and the people around you) feel festive!  The first one will blow your*record scratch*...oops!  I just went to look up the link for this one, and it appears the company (Soap & Paper Factory) did not make their holiday scented hand cream this year.  Such a bummer!  I really can't believe it, because they sold out quickly last year everywhere I went.  So grateful I scored an extra for myself!  However, fingers (and toes) crossed they come back next year, because I have never gotten so many compliments before...people wondering if I had just cut down a Christmas Tree ("Frosted Pine" scent)...not kidding.  In the meantime, you can check out their other lovely hand cream scents (which fit perfectly in just about any purse you might be carrying).  They are super luxurious and would make awesome stocking stuffers!  Also note that the "Roland Pine" scent appears to be the same as the "Frosted Pine" from the past (or at least similar), but for now they only have it in soap, candles, room pray, diffusers, potpourri, etc.  Good stuff!
Soap & Paper Factory - Snow Drop Collection "Frosted Pine" Hand Cream & Indigo Wild "Frankincense & Myrrh Zum Body Lotion"
I did some searching around to find a good "Pine/Fir/Spruce" replacement hand cream to suggest, but I was stumped.  I know there are some out there, but I couldn't find any that meet my safe-ingredient-list-standards!  Then I remembered a product my father received as a gift from one of his customers a few years back.  I discovered it while visiting my parents house.  I found myself sniffing around to find the source of the awesome smell I was smelling, and I finally figured out what it dad's hand salve.  It is called "Hard Core Hand Care," and the scent is "New England Woods."  It has an impressive ingredient list, and it is made not too far away in New Hampshire.  This is a great find for the loved ones in your life who have jobs/hobbies that beat-up their hands...note, it comes in a tin instead of a tube.  I tried it for myself, and this is some serious hand healing!  Check it out!

One of my very favorite scents of all-time, not just during the holidays, is Frankincense.  I really love it at church when they use the incense burner on and around the altar.  There is just something about it that transports me...takes me back...and lifts me up.  I just feel more connected to my roots and to God.  It is like it grounds me and enlightens me all at the same time.  Maybe it is triggering some sort of epigenetic response of my ancestors...whatever it is, I love it!  This time of year when I smell Frankincense and Myrrh I imagine the journey of the Wisemen and the feeling in the air that Holy Night.  All of those warm feelings and images are evoked when I use my "Frankincense & Myrrh Zum Body Lotion" by Indigo Wild.  Personally I only reserve it for use as a hand lotion, which I keep by the door for when I am running out into the cold.  It is silky smooth and packed full of hydrating and soothing ingredients.  And each time I catch a whiff of it I smile and feel content.  The power of aromatherapy!

Maybe you have a practitioner, mail-person, teacher, friend, or someone in your life you want to give a little holiday "Thank You" to...or maybe you deserve to treat yourself for almost making it to the finish-line of the most wonderful (and stressful) time of the year!  For whatever reason...these are the perfect little treasures to pick-up and have on hand this season.

Monday, December 19, 2016

I've Got A Cookie For That

My first education in food allergies came not long after my son was born in 2008.  He was a lethargic eater with digestive issues.  His pediatrician sent us to a G.I. doc who said, "reflux," prescribed "Zantac," and told me there was nothing else I could do...other than raising the head of his bassinet.  My mommy-intuition told me there was more to it, so I started my research.  I found that dairy/soy allergies are fairly common in infants (at least those presenting with digestive issues), so I cut dairy and soy out of my diet (because I was exclusively breastfeeding).  Once the proteins had a chance to work their way out of my system my son did so much better and finally started to gain some weight!  Lessons is a powerful solution, and always trust your gut!

I sort of panicked thinking about not having desserts, since most contain dairy or soy in some form (this was back before my health crashed and I gave up all sugar).  My searching brought me to Erin McKenna and her beautiful Gluten-Free and Vegan "Babycakes Bakery."  Unfortunately I wouldn't be able to make it to NYC to enjoy her treats, but as luck would have it she had a cookbook!  I ordered it right away and started baking.  I think I literally made everything in her first evidenced by the beat-up and stained pages.  Our favorites were her chocolate chip cookies and banana bread.  I was so impressed with her story, and her desire to create a safe place for kids and adults alike to come and enjoy sweet treats...but even more impressed that they actually tasted delicious!  (I was skeptical since this was my first experience in the "allergy-friendly baking world," and baking was sort of my thing.)

Erin McKenna's second cookbook which includes the sugar cookie recipe
I continued to follow Erin's every move...she opened a couple more bakery locations, and I kept my fingers crossed for the addition of a Boston shop...still waiting...  Thankfully she put out another cookbook for all of us ravenous fans!  Once again I made my way through the gorgeous pages (it really is a work of food art), enjoying each recipe.  However, it was always sort of hanging over my head that the holidays would never be the same again.  I had so many classic, beloved, family-tradition recipes.  It was hard to let go, but when Christmas rolled around it was the perfect time to try out Erin's "Sugar Cookie" recipe.  It is AMAZING!  Seriously.  And it includes modifications to help you get your cookies just the way you like them (I happen to prefer a "cakier" cookie, which means a little more flour and less sugar.)  I have now tried 3 other "allergen-free" sugar cookie recipes, and the Babycakes one comes out heads and tails above all the rest.  It is delicious (as professed by my son and husband...but also by those who don't have food avoidances), and equally important to me is the fact that the dough is very easy to make and handle.  It rolls out well and works with tricky cutouts BEAUTIFULLY!  And one of the best parts, which is a HUGE added bonus, is that it doesn't have eggs in it, so you don't have to worry about your little ones handling the dough...or even eating it!  It is pure perfection!

Erin McKenna's Sugar Cookie Recipe (for the modifications pick up her book!)
Our finished products 2016 - including our vintage cookie-cutters, passed down from my mother
I would urge you to follow Erin McKenna & Babycakes no matter what your diet situation or preferences, because it is just better for you all around, and I PROMISE you will thoroughly enjoy her goodies.  We FINALLY got to try them straight from the bakery while at Disney World...opening a location there was total genius on her part.  I am SO HAPPY for all of the little kiddos with food allergies who can fully enjoy their Disney experience...treats and all!  I ordered one of her adorable and YUMMY birthday cakes to celebrate my son's birthday, and we ALL loved it!  I even had a little piece...vanilla cake, chocolate frosting, with maple frosting in the middle...unbelievable!

My son's delicious birthday cake from Babycakes Orlando, which delivers to Disney World Resorts/Restaurants
I hope this post will help EVERYONE find a way to celebrate and feel included in the festivities this holiday season!  ENJOY!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

What About Your Treat?

So many people ask me how I "treat" myself.  For about 3-4 years I didn't have a single dessert, and I still haven't touched anything with white/refined sugar for almost six years...(most of that time not so much as a piece of fruit or starchy vegetable either)!  People are blown-away, shocked really, when they find out.  "How do you do it?!" they ask, marveling at my willpower.  I tell them that they are giving me way too much's less about willpower and more about fear.  Fear is a very powerful thing.  Fear kept me locked into very black and white thinking about food...there were foods that hurt and foods that healed (feeding the Lyme, Candida, & "bad" bacteria, or starving it), and I didn't want to take any chances in setting myself back.  Dropping the gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, etc. seemed to be a major factor in my getting better and then managing my symptoms as I went forward on my healing journey.  That was good enough for me!

In the last year or two I have experimented a little bit more with breaking out of my core diet staples...not a lot, but I have found ways to "indulge" on my own terms.  It is key to flip your thinking upside-down, and instead of wasting energy focusing on what you "can't" have/do get creative with what you "can" have/do.  You would be surprised what you can come up with!  It is also an amazing turning point when you stop feeling like you are missing out and realize that you love yourself enough to provide your body with only the very best fuel.  It is extremely empowering!

The other important thing to realize is that emotions are tied to eating...BIG TIME...and not just for those with true eating disorders.  I associated treats with good times.  Growing up we weren't allowed to have junk food or many sweets (if we did have them they were homemade).  These foods were reserved for special occasions, so my brain associated those foods with happy memories.  Then when I was old enough to make my own food choices I overindulged in sweets, to the point that I was addicted (we now know sugar is more addictive than cocaine).  If I couldn't get my hands on something sugary I would literally go to the pantry and stick a spoon in the bag of sugar and eat it straight.  As an adult I would reward myself with food after college exams, or a hard day of work...comfort myself with food when I had to do something stressful or if I was upset about something...and of course celebrate anything and everything I could come up with (cupcakes were my #1 obsession).  It's not a sin by any means, but it is something really worth exploring more through journaling, therapy, or just mindful awareness and curiosity.  That is how we can loosen the old tethers and make positive habit changes for ourselves.

Now on to the good part!  MY go-to treats!  First, I have ALWAYS LOVED chocolate.  Unfortunately many varieties are low-quality and loaded with refined sugar and other toxic ingredients.  Healthy cocoa/cacao crops (organic, non-GMO, etc.) that are processed in a pure/clean way can actually be very good for you!  On the other hand, heavily sprayed or modified versions, processed with chemicals and stored in a way that accumulates molds can actually be detrimental to your health.

That's where "Not Your Sugar Mamas" comes to the rescue!  One day while investigating the extensive chocolate section at my local health food store I did what I always do...scan for unfamiliar labels and immediately flip over any new finds to study their ingredient list.  Usually there is SOMETHING that makes me have to put them back in their cute little display box.  This time I was pleasantly surprised..."Organic raw cacao powder, organic raw cacao butter, organic grade B maple syrup, organic Madagascar vanilla bean."  (Hello...maple syrup?!  The healing properties of that liquid gold alone merits its own blog post!)  I did a little happy dance right then and there before I grabbed a couple bars and checked out.  I couldn't wait to get home to savor my newly found treasure in peace.  It did NOT disappoint!  I broke off a square and let it melt in my mouth...then the next one I bit off and chewed.  There is just something so rich and satisfying about this chocolate!  The fact that it is high quality is obvious, but there is something else that is so special about it that I can't quite put into words.

My "Not Your Sugar Mamas - Pure & Simple" minis are not only cute but portable, too! 
When I went to the "Not Your Sugar Mamas" website it became clear.  Their ingredients, their story, their philosophy...they had me at "everything is energy."  These are my peeps, my tribe, speaking my language!  The founders, Bennett & Ky, are a couple of super cool yoga chicks who really get it...spreading "health, happiness, and love" in their own special way.  Now THAT is how to really rock life!  And they are doing it all from Martha's Vineyard, so they are also local (for me).  It doesn't get better than that!  I look forward to supporting this company foreva-eva...and hopefully getting to their  yummy "Organic Cafe" in the very near future!  Who wants to come along?  Start by trying their products ASAP (my son also LOVES their cookies!), and you will be hooked like me!

Not sure how many times I will feature "tea" in my "Favorite Things" blog series, but you can bet it will probably be quite a bit since tea is one of my very favorite things in life (and the health benefits are longer than any Christmas list).  You can also imagine that my discovery of chocolate tea was one of the best things that has ever happened to my tastebuds!  Seriously, though, this one will really put you in the holiday spirit.  "The Republic of Tea" totally nailed it when they created their "Peppermint Bark" flavor.  It is organic and caffeine-free, which are musts for me.  The flavor is so refreshing, soothing, and slightly sweet to satisfying your cravings.  It is a great after-meal treat.  It is just so smooth and comforting, all while rushing in the joy of the holiday season.  I love to curl up with a mug full and my favorite Christmas special, or sip it while doing my holiday baking.  It is only available for a limited time (seasonally), so try it now while you can...and if you love it, stock up so you can enjoy it all year long!

This mug tells the truth, and this tea really delivers!
I hope this blog will help even those who are the most sensitive or feel very restricted find a little more bliss for their senses.  Believe me, I get it.  There really are solutions and joy bombs out there for's just a matter of finding yours.  Directions: savor mindfully!