Everyday You Practice Something

As humans we are creatures of habit. There are many professionals who have a practice. A lawyer practices law, a Dr. practices medicine, a musician practices their instrument, a dancer practices dance.

So in life pretty much everything we do everyday becomes our practice. If we walk daily, we are practicing walking. If we play tennis, we are practicing tennis, if we watch TV, we are practicing watching TV. If we drink alcohol daily, we are practicing alcoholism, if we eat junk food, we are practicing being a junk food junkie (not that there’s anything wrong with it.)

If you love, you are practicing being a lover, if you hate, you are practicing being a hater and so forth.

What we do daily or weekly are the things we practice in our lives and it becomes who we are. Now maybe you might realize that you have some things you know are no longer serving you and you may choose to change something. You don’t have to change anything but add in that thing you want to become.

Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

Let’s just say you really enjoy bird watching but you spend much of your time watching TV. Well one day plan on going out to watch birds. I bet you will enjoy it so much that you decide to do it again. Say to yourself, I AM a Bird WATCHER. And as you watch birds you are now officially a bird watcher and then you practice watching birds whenever you can.

Keep Calm and PRACTICE,PRACTICE, PRACTICE

Whatever you want to do, JUST DO IT and then as my very smart music teacher says, KEEP CALM AND PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Next thing you know you can say, I AM a tennis player, I AM a YOGINI, I AM a SWIMMER, the mere fact that you are doing something makes you that thing. Now it’s a whole other level to be professional. But even someone that takes photographs is a PHOTOGRAPHER. Being PROFESSIONAL has nothing to do with practice. There’s ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH PRACTICING YOUR JOY AND LOVE. Just think about practicing WHAT YOU ENJOY AND LOVE.

Also if you are grouchy and mean guess what you are practicing? It’s OK. You can change it anytime you want. Perhaps you have a good reason to be grouchy and mean, it’s understandable but unless that’s what you want from your life to be GROUCHY AND MEAN, then maybe you might need more sleep and or think about being nice. You’re just stuck in a negative pattern but you can change it just like changing a channel. It’s all up to you.

Valeria is a Health and Wellness Coach and lives in Nor Cal. She started this Blog because her co-workers were dying from stress. She learned how to heal herself and is not passing it on. She hopes everyone can be healthy and happy. It starts with a peaceful healthy meal. This is what Valerie does when she’s grouchy.
Shake it off!!

Why Palm Oil Free

Originally published on livepuresoap.com 

oil palm

What is palm oil?

Palm oil is a type of edible vegetable oil that is derived from the palm fruit, grown on the African oil palm tree. Oil palms are originally from Western Africa, but can flourish wherever heat and rainfall are abundant. Today, palm oil is grown throughout Africa, Asia, North America, and South America, with 85% of all palm oil globally produced and exported from Indonesia and Malaysia; but most of the time not using sustainable measures.

The Industry:

The industry is linked to major issues such as deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty and indigenous rights abuses in the countries where it is produced, as the land and forests must be cleared for the development of the oil palm plantations. According to the World Wildlife Fund, an area the equivalent size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared each hour to make way for palm oil production. This large-scale deforestation is pushing many species to extinction, and findings show that if nothing changes species like the orangutan could become extinct in the wild within the next 5-10 years, and Sumatran tigers less than 3 years.

In total, 50 million tons of palm oil is produced annually, supplying over 30% of the world’s vegetable oil production. This single vegetable oil is found in approximately 40-50% of household products in countries such as United States, Canada, Australia and England. Palm oil can be present in a wide variety of products, including: baked goods, confectionery, shampoo, cosmetics, cleaning agents, washing detergents and toothpaste.

(information provided by http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/)

Impacts on the environment:

A large proportion of palm oil expansion occurs at the expense of biodiversity and ecosystems in the countries it is produced. Currently, a third of all mammal species in Indonesia are considered to be critically endangered as a consequence of this unsustainable development that is rapidly encroaching on their habitat.

One animal of particular importance according to conservationists is the orangutan, which has become a charismatic icon for deforestation in Borneo and Sumatra. Over 90% of orangutan habitat has been destroyed in the last 20 years, and as such, is considered “a conservation emergency” by the UN. An estimated 1000-5000 orangutans are killed each year for this development. The orangutan is a keystone species and plays a vital role in maintaining the health of the ecosystem. An example of this being the spread of rainforest seeds in Indonesia, many of which can only germinate once passed through the gut of an orangutan, hence this primate is essential for the existence of the forest. But the orangutan is not the only species affected by palm oil development; their situation represents the story of thousands of other species facing the same fate in South-East Asia.

Deforestation for palm oil production also contributes significantly to climate change. The removal of the native forests often involves the burning of invaluable timber and remaining forest undergrowth, emitting immense quantities of smoke into the atmosphere and making Indonesia the third highest greenhouse gas emitter in the world.

{CLIMATE}

Pollution caused by the burning of secondary forests across Borneo and Sumatra increases the quantity of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, subsequently helping to excel climate change. Trees and plants filter such gas and release oxygen intern (through a process called photosynthesis). The removal of the forests themselves in these regions is therefore also a key factor contributing to the increase in atmospheric pollution, as less carbon dioxide is being removed from the air due to diminishing forests.

{LAND}

In addition to its impacts on the climate, conventional palm oil development causes severe damage to the landscape of Borneo and Sumatra and has been linked to issues such as land erosion and the pollution of rivers. The root systems of rainforest trees help to stabilize the soil and therefore if the forests are cleared, land erosion after rainfall can become a common occurrence.

(information provided by http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/)

Impact on animals:

There are over 300,000 different animals found throughout the jungles of Borneo and Sumatra, many of which are injured, killed and displaced during deforestation. In addition, palm oil development increases accessibility of animals to poachers and wildlife smugglers who capture and sell wildlife as pets, use them for medicinal purposes or kill them for their body parts. The destruction of rainforests in Borneo and Sumatra is therefore not only a conservation emergency, but a major animal welfare crisis as well.

Wildlife such as orangutans have been found buried alive,  killed from machete attacks, guns and other weaponry. Government data has shown that over 50,000 orangutans have already died as a result of deforestation due to palm oil in the last two decades. This either occurs during the deforestation process, or after the animal enters a village or existing palm oil plantation in search of food. Mother orangutans are also often killed by poachers and have their babies taken to be sold or kept as pets, or used for entertainment in wildlife tourism parks in countries such as Thailand and Bali.

Other mega fauna that suffer as a result of this development include species like the Sumatran Tiger, Sumatran Rhinoceros, Sun Bear, Pygmy Elephant, Clouded Leopard and Proboscis Monkey. Road networks that are constructed to allow palm oil plantation workers and equipment access to the forest also increase accessibility of these areas to poachers that are looking for these kinds of valuable animals. This allows poachers to comfortably drive to an area to sit and wait for their target where previously they may have had to trek through inaccessible areas of forest.

(information provided by http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/)

Impacts on people:

The establishment of oil palm plantations is often promoted as a way of bringing development to poor, rural regions of Borneo and Sumatra. In reality, the industry often has devastating impacts on the people in these areas. All too often, the government’s main interest in the country’s economy leads them to allow corporations to take the land owned by indigenous peoples for their own financial benefit.

The palm oil industry is also linked to major human rights violations, including child labor in remote areas of Indonesia and Malaysia. Children are made to carry large loads of heavy fruit, weed fields and spend hours every day bent over collecting fruit from the plantation floor. Heat exhaustion and cuts and bruises from climbing thorny oil palms are commonplace in this damaging workspace. More than often not, children receive little or no pay for their efforts.

With plantations systematically destroying the rainforest land that the local people depend on, communities are continuously finding themselves with no choice but to become plantation workers. Faced with poor and degrading working conditions, they often earn barely enough income to survive and support their families. Instead of being able to thrive without it, indigenous communities become reliant on the success of the palm oil industry for their income and survival, leaving these villagers incredibly vulnerable to the world market price of palm oil which they have no control over.

(information provided by http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/)

For more information on the dammaging effects of palm oil – visit: http://www.saynotopalmoil.com

 Live Pure Soap is committed to creating sustainable, palm oil free body products for a better tomorrow. We understand that every person on Earth can make a difference, this is one of ours.

Live Pure Soap – Good for the planet, and your body!

Tap Dancing To Santana is Hard!!

My Dad was a music teacher and we had a family band in the 70’s. My dad played keyboards and trumpet. My eldest brother, Chris played the drums, Ben played the guitar and Adam played the bass guitar and vocals. They played this song in 1975 and Chris was 15, Ben 14 and Adam was 12.

I remember hearing this song A LOT when I was a kid too. It’s not a very fast paced song and tap dancing to a slow song is a little bit like slowing down a stampede. When I TAP I generally want to go fast. IT’S JUST SO FUN!!

I decided to dance to this song just to honor my brothers that were playing this music when they were just kids. It just amazes me!! I thought well the least I can do is TAP dance to the song.

This is what I was doing well they were playing music.

Well you can obviously watch the video. This is improvisational dance. It’s not a perfect performance by any stretch of the imagination. I look at it and cringe. But then I’m like, OH WELL. I just want to let people know that it’s OK to do your thing even if your not PERFECT. Get over the PERFECTION thing anyway. There is no such thing.

I just wonder if I’m going to dance on a bigger floor than that little piece of wood. Time will tell sweetheart…

If my mom wouldn’t have been cooking, we’d all be dead. Thanks Mom!! She was behind the scenes making sure we all ate. XOXO


Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach in Northern California. She encourages everyone to relax, eat healthy and just enjoy our lives.

CBD Hemp Oil: Benefits, Uses, & Side Effects

Originally Published on organicfacts.net on March 01, 2019 By John Staughton
CBD Hemp Oil Benefits Uses, & Side Effects_2

CBD hemp oil has a huge range of potential health benefits and uses, including reducing pain, soothing anxiety, fighting chronic diseases, improving mood, eliminating depression, preventing inflammatory arthritis, protecting the immune system, balancing the metabolism, aiding sleep disorders, and healing the skin, among others. CBD oil can also be used in many different ways and has a variety of applications for natural health.

It may have side effects such as low blood pressure, lightheadedness, fatigue, dry mouth, and slowed motor functions. However, these side effects have been found to be mild according to various studies. Use of CBD oil is recommended if you live in a country or region where the possession, use, and distribution of marijuana is legal.

What is CBD Hemp Oil?

CBD hemp oil is the product derived from the hemp plant, which is high in CBD (cannabidiol) and low in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). This oil has received a large amount of attention in recent years, due to the growing wave of marijuana legislation and debate in many countries, including the United States. While cannabis and smoking marijuana (which often has a high level of the psychotropic compound THC) is still illegal in many places, as more is being learned about CBD, and its potential effects on health, it is becoming more and more accepted as a legal and safe remedy for a wide variety of health conditions. Since it has a minimal amount of the psychotropic compound THC, use of this oil does not result in a traditional “high”, so its effects are generally considered therapeutic, not mind-altering.

There are more than 80 cannabinoids found in cannabis plants, with THC being the primary one, followed by CBD. However, in the hemp plant, which is a different strain of the species Cannabis sativa, CBD is the main active ingredient, and THC is barely present, making its use and legality more widespread. The reason that CBD is such an effective form of support for human health is due to the body’s endogenous cannabinoid system. This regulatory structure of the body has millions of cannabinoid receptors in the brain and nervous system, which react not only to plant-derived cannabinoids (such as hemp and marijuana) but also to natural cannabinoids produced within our body. When hemp oil is used and processed by the body, it is effectively boosting the function of the endocannabinoid system, helping our body regulate itself in many different ways.

Not only does true CBD hemp oil contain high levels of cannabidiol, but it also vitamins, nutrients, minerals, volatile acids, and antioxidants that will further supplement your health.

CBD Hemp Oil Benefits

CBD hemp oil has become very popular with people suffering from various health issues including

  • Chronic pain and inflammation
  • Arthritis
  • Sleep disorders and insomnia
  • Anxiety, stress, and depression
  • Skin conditions
  • Low appetite and poor metabolic function
  • Weaker immune system
  • Chronic diseases

Relieves Pain

Researchers at the Department of Pharmacognosy, The School of Pharmacy, University of London, UK, basis the study conducted on mice found that CBD oil has analgesic properties and may relieve chronic pain of all kinds . It can disrupt the activity of pain receptors in the body and instead cause a release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine – “feel good” compounds that can ease discomfort and pain, even if the pharmaceutical painkillers have no effect.

Relieves Nausea

CBD oil can cure vomiting and nausea. The non-psychotropic components of this oil activate certain autoreceptors, which causes antiemetic/anti-nausea effects in the body.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

When it comes to inflammation, an animal study by M Lodzki, et al. suggests that CBD oil has the anti-inflammatory potential and may benefit particularly those with advanced cases of rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, migraines, joint disorders, and pervasive muscle pain.

Another 2016 mice study suggests that CBD has the potential to provide relief from arthritis pain-related inflammation and behavior. Other studies also suggest the anti-inflammatory effects in case of acute pancreatitis, acute lung injury, inflammatory bowel diseases. However, further studies and research are needed to support these benefits

Reduces Anxiety

CBD hemp oil is well known to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress, as well as prevent depressive episodes by increasing the levels of “positive” hormones and neurotransmitters in the body. Although some people claim that marijuana makes them “paranoid” or anxious, that is largely due to the psychotropic THC found in cannabis.

Prevents Alzheimer’s Disease

A study published by David Cheng, Postdoctoral Scientist, Neuroscience Research, University of New South Wales, NSW, Australia, says that CBD has a potential as a preventive measure against symptoms of Alzheimer’s. This presents yet another exciting development for medical researchers, given the persistent challenges to finding effective solutions for this condition.

Anticancer Potential

Another major reason why CBD oil has been positively received in some parts of the medical community is its apparent effect on cancer and tumor growth.A study done by the researchers of the Institute of Toxicology and Pharmacology, University of Rostock, Germany recommends the use of CBD oil (even direct injection into tumors) to eliminate or reduce the size of the tumors. The antioxidants in CBD hemp oil also provide anti-mutagenic properties and lower users’ risk of cancer.

Anti-psychotic

Studies performed on animals and humans have found that CBD oil has anti-psychotic properties too. The research supports the idea that this oil could be a possible therapeutic option in treating psychosis such as schizophrenia.

Promotes Good Sleep

There is a strong sedative quality to CBD hemp oil, making it a popular remedy for people with insomnia, sleeplessness, interrupted sleep, post-traumatic stress disorder, restless leg disorder, and other night-time issues. Dr. Scott Shannon, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, USA, published a report in the Permanete Journal, in which he recommended either inhaling a small amount of CBD oil, applying it to one’s chest, or even putting a few drops on one’s pillow to help get a good night’s sleep.

Boosts Immune System

The majority of cannabinoids have been proven to have positive effects on the body’s immune system, particularly CBD oil, as it can help regulate overactive immune systems. This means less susceptibility to allergens, and a possible application for autoimmune diseases, which are some of the most difficult-to-treat medical conditions.

Controls Appetite

CBD oil is also known to control the appetite. This is largely due to the release of certain hormones in the body that control hunger and satiety. By optimizing the levels of these hormones based on the actual needs of your body, you can establish a healthy appetite, particularly following surgery, extended illness or injury.

Skin Care

Improving the appearance of the skin, especially reducing the signs and symptoms of acne and eczema, are the great benefits of regular CBD oil use. Topical application is quite popular for this, whether in a diluted or undiluted form, depending on the severity of the skin affliction. The powerful anti-inflammatory properties of the oil can also soothe redness, itchiness, and swollen areas of the skin.

Controls Diabetes

A study published in the Autoimmunity Journal shows that cannabidiol present in CBD oil can control diabetes and lower the level of insulin. Although a lot more research needs to be done in this area of study, initial studies have laid the foundation for the use of CBD oil to lower the risk of diabetics.

Promotes Heart Health

CBD oil is highly beneficial for the cardiovascular system too. It enhances the vasorelaxation of the arteries, protecting it against the vascular damage caused by inflammation in a high glucose environment. However, deeper studies need to be made in order to fully explore its dosage and effects on cardiovascular health.

Reduces Drug Relapses

The non-psychoactive constituent of Cannabis sativa, cannabidiol, has therapeutic uses in giving relief from psychiatric disorders. It is used to fight alcoholism and cocaine addiction, which means it reduces alcohol and drug relapses.

Uses of CBD Oil

CBD hemp oil has a number of uses and comes in many forms including capsules, tinctures, sublingual supplements, liquid oil, oil as a paste, sprays, salves, creams and in edible forms, such as candies or sweets. You can also inhale CBD oil from vapor-releasing pens, similar to the technology for e-cigarettes. This variety also provides a lot of controlled flexibility in terms of concentration, making CBD hemp oil useful and desirable for people of all ages, economic means, and personal needs.

CBD Oil Dosage

An appropriate dosage of CBD oil will depend on the individual, as well as the severity of the health condition a person is trying to remedy.

  • Chronic pain – 5 mg per day until the pain subsides.
  • Multiple sclerosis – Patients may take 80 mg per day for 2-3 weeks at a time to soothe their symptoms.
  • Medicinal applications – The average amount for most medicinal applications is 25 mg, taken twice per day.

If this is not sufficient for calming your symptoms, a gradual increase of another 25 mg per day, over the course of 3-4 weeks, is recommended. While there have been no reports of more serious side effects when this oil is taken in larger concentrations, it is best to slowly increase your dose to find a comfortable and effective level, given your individual characteristics and needs.

More and more medical professionals are becoming informed about the potential benefits of CBD hemp oil, and are more commonly recommending it to their patients. Before adding this potent oil to your daily life, particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition, speak with your doctor about any risks.

Is Hemp and CBD Oil Same?

Unlike CBD oil, hemp oil is derived from the seeds of the hemp plant – typically industrial hemp. This means that a number of cannabinoids found in hemp oil are actually quite low. The CBD content of this oil may be close to 0%, whereas the CBD content of CBD hemp oil can be as high as 15% or more!

Hemp oil does have a number of uses and is often marketed as a cooking oil or a product that is good for moisturizing the skin. It is also used in the production of certain soaps, shampoos, and foods. It is also a basic ingredient for bio-fuel and even a more sustainable form of plastic. Hemp has been cultivated and used for roughly 10,000 years, and it definitely has useful purposes. However, a lack of cannabinoids, namely CBD, means that it has little therapeutic value.

Be wary of any manufacturers who try to market natural hemp oil for its anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory or other medicinal applications. You will be much better off with CBD hemp oil, which can have critical effects on human health that have been proven countless times.

CBD oil is not legal everywhere. It is banned/restricted by countries such as UAE, Dubai, and Saudi Arabia. Although CBD oil is illegal in many of the US states too, some have legalized its use for medicinal purposes. While the number would be ever-changing, as of 2016 there are 17 states in the US which have legalized the use of low THC, high CBD products for medical reasons in limited situations. These states include Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. It is advisable to consult your local health specialist before use.

Side Effects of CBD Oil

There are a number of possible side effects to using CBD oil, such as fatigue, dry mouth, lightheadedness, hypotension, and impaired motor functions. However, when used in moderate amounts, most people do not experience these side effects, and none of them are known for being fatal or particularly dangerous. More than 20,000 studies have been done in the past 15 years on cannabis, hemp, and cannabinoids, and the results have been overwhelmingly supportive of the therapeutic potential and viability of CBD oil. That being said, some people should be cautious before using this powerful oil.

  • Blood Pressure: One of the notable soothing benefits of CBD oil is its effect on blood pressure, helping protect heart health and promote calmness in the body. However, if you are already taking medication for hypertension, combining this with CBD oil can potentially cause dangerously low blood pressure (hypotension).
  • Appropriate Use: Since sedation, fatigue, and lightheadedness are known effects of CBD hemp oil, particularly when consumed in large amounts, it is important that you do not use heavy machinery or attempt to drive while under the effects of this therapeutic oil.
  • Motor Functions: The sluggishness that many people associate with being “high” can be a side effect of concentrated CBD oil use, resulting in motor function impairment. This effect is temporary and passes in a matter of hours.
  • Weight Gain: Appetite stimulation, or at least regulation, is a side effect of CBD oil. So, if you are already struggling with obesity, be sure to monitor your intake of food to prevent overeating, snacking between meals and additional weight gain.
  • Oil Quality: The most dangerous aspect of CBD oil is potentially using low-quality oil or CBD oil that hasn’t been properly produced. With thousands of small businesses getting involved in the medicinal marijuana industry, it is more important than ever to research brands and pay attention to consumer reports concerning these oils.
  • Pregnancy: Research on the use of CBD oil during pregnancy is unfortunately lacking, but most experts do not recommend it. Other anecdotal reports support its use, particularly for aching muscles and anxiety or depression. Before using this oil – or any essential oil – while pregnant, always speak to a doctor about your particular condition.

CBD Hemp Oil Benefits Uses, & Side Effects_3

John Staughton (BASc, BFA)

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

What To Do When You Are Freaking Out

During a recent conversation with a wise friend, I told him I was freaking out. I had too many things on my mind, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, I was very angry and knew I was not thinking straight.

This wise friend told me to get a pen and paper and make three columns:

This is made from vegetables so this counts. XOXO

Column 1)Things that are going good in my life that I have control over them. Example: I’m walking everyday, I am eating fruits and vegetables, I am physically able to do everything I do in my life, I can listen to any song I want at any given time ( whoa that’s huge!!) My sacred dance.

Column 2)Things that I can control that are not good: example recent weight gain (whatever), clutter around my home, my attitude, talking too much

Photo by Jaymantri on Pexels.com

Column 3) What other people think, feel, do, how people eat, commit crimes, other people’s diseases, politics.

After I wrote this down, I realized that I was putting a great deal of my frustration on things I have no control over. I said “Whoa, I need to focus on my own issues and let those other things go for a minute. It doesn’t mean I don’t care about social issues but, take a rest from it for a minute and focus on what you can control for a couple of days.” And he said, absolutely. I kind of had that Dorothy feeling when she found out all she had to do was click her heels together and she could go home.

I instantly calmed down and I didn’t feel so lost. I just have to keep reminding myself, “This is not my problem today.” Then I finish folding towels after I take a deep breath of course.

Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach. She lives in Nor Cal with her Black Lab and daughter. She shares her healthy living ideas with the world because she knows if it helped her, it can help millions. And as you Heal Yourself, You Heal the Planet.

Recipe: Creamy Vegan Queso Dip

Originally Published on Thekitchn.com on February 26, 2016 By Gina Eykemans

Recipe Creamy Vegan Queso Dip_1

Let’s be honest — thinking of vegan cheese substitutes leaves something to be desired. Maybe you’ve taken a peek at the vegan cheese options in the grocery stores or even dabbled in coaxing a couple hunks of almond cheese to melt atop slices of bread under the broiler. In my experience, that stuff does not melt and will leave your cheese dreams hopelessly shattered. So when coming up with a creamy vegan queso recipe, I wanted to make sure it was as good as the real thing! No shattered dreams here. We’re dreaming big with veggies, cashews, and a ton of spices — and it’s paying off by the chip-ful.

Recipe Creamy Vegan Queso Dip_2

My husband came into the kitchen while I was prepping the veggies for the queso dip. He asked me what I was making, and when I said, “Um, I’m making queso,” he gave me a quizzical glance and looked very skeptically at the piles of carrots and butternut squash I was chopping. “Where’s the cheese?” he asked. I broke the news that there would be no cheese in this queso. Eventually he gave up on trying to understand my cheese-less antics, and left the kitchen.

As I cooked the veggies with plenty of spices, I heard his voice yelling from the living room, “Oh, gosh. That smells really good!” So I knew I was on the right track. The softened vegetables went into my Vitamix with green chiles, salsa, cashews, almond milk, and a bunch of nutritional yeast to give it that cheesy flavor. The results were mind-blowing. I dipped a spoon in the finished product, tasted it, and smirked a little bit, knowing that this dip could fool any cheese-lover.

Recipe Creamy Vegan Queso Dip_3

I made up a party platter of vegan queso and chips, and called my husband in to the living room to help me “taste test.” After the first bite, we both descended on the dip like a couple of famished hyenas — occasionally stopping to tell each other, with full mouths, how much this dip tasted like the real thing.

Vegan Queso Dip

Makesabout 4 cups; serves about 16

Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoonsolive oil

 

    • 1/2large yellow onion, finely diced

 

    • 3cloves garlic, minced

 

    • 2large carrots, very finely chopped

 

    • 1cup thinly sliced butternut squash

 

    • 2 teaspoonskosher salt, divided

 

    • 1 teaspoonground cumin

 

    • 1/2 teaspoonchili powder

 

    • 1/4 teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper

 

    • 1 cuplow-sodium vegetable broth

 

    • 1(4-ounce) can green chiles, drained

 

    • 1 1/2 cupsunsweetened plain almond milk

 

    • 1raw cashews, soaked for 30 minutes or up to overnight and then drained

 

    • 1/4 cupnutritional yeast

 

    • 1/2 cupchunky tomato salsa or pico de gallo

 

  • 1 tablespoonapple cider vinegar

Optional toppings:

    • Chunky salsa or Rotel

 

    • Pickled jalapeños

 

    • Chopped cherry tomatoes

 

  • Cilantro
 

Instructions

    1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are soft and the garlic is fragrant.

 

    1. Add the carrots, butternut squash, 1 teaspoon of the salt, cumin, chili powder, and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for a couple of minutes. Add the vegetable broth and simmer, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft and tender. You want them to be soft enough to blend up in a blender without any problems.

 

    1. Transfer the mixture to a high-powered blender. Add the green chiles, almond milk, drained cashews, nutritional yeast, salsa, vinegar, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Blend, scraping down the sides as needed, until the mixture has reached a thick and creamy consistency.

 

  1. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. If it’s cooled off, transfer to a saucepan and gently warm over low heat to desired temperature. Serve it in a bowl alongside tortilla chips and garnish it with your favorite toppings.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

 
 

Get Healthy Without Food

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Many think that whenever it comes to being healthier than it must involve food. While food is definitely important, it’s usually a process to make changes regarding food. So here are some things to consider that do not involve food.

  1. Take a breath to the count of 3,4 or 5. That’s it. Exhale and just feel your body relaxing with each exhale. It doesn’t have to be a big production, you don’t even have to tell anyone your doing it but while your at it, give a little thanks for clean air.
  2. Walk tall: Do you realize how many people only dream about being able to walk? Give thanks to your body for giving you the strength and privilege to be able to walk. A 10 minute walk can do wonders for depression, mental health. Just breathe and walk… Hey do 1 and 2 together. Now we’re multi tasking. If you have pain while walking, maybe a good time to visit the doctor to find out what’s the problem.
  3. Think for one minute about what your favorite song is. This is the song (old or new) that you know the words to the song and you hear it and it just makes you happy. For me it would be Dance Sister Dance by Santana but what’s your favorite song? All you have to do is listen to that song and breathe. Hey if you want you can do 1, 2 and 3 together and you will be a triple threat… But you can listen in the car or shower or wherever you feel like listening to it is cool!! But a triple threat will be cool!!
  4. Feel grateful for whatever you want to acknowledge. If you can walk and talk and breathe, be grateful. How about being grateful for this life that you have been given. Life can be hard but believe it or not, you are a miracle and there is nobody else exactly like you. The mold was broken and you are a beautiful soul. Even if you have done terrible things, your soul is still good. Your body just did some stuff but your soul is pure light.
  5. Have you ever day dreamed? You know just think about whatever wonderful little thing you love or a fantasy that you would love to have come true. Spend a little time dreaming about anything you want but if you want to integrate all 5 concepts. Breathing, walking, listening to your favorite song and while you are at it be grateful that you can day dream. Pretend you are a super hero and everywhere you go it’s just easy breezy and you have cool super powers. What would that feel like for you? If you want to write about it, do it but not any pressure. This is fun stuff. But writing it down would be super cool!!
Maybe just hang out and relax. This looks heavenly!!

In the spirit of not giving you more than you can chew, we’re going to end this so you can go on and practice. In the words of my music teacher, Keep Calm and Practice, Practice, Practice.

Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach that lives In Nor Cal. She encourages everyone to find their passion and enjoy life. Valerie wishes to sleep in a tee pee one day. But she’s not the camping type right now. Maybe one day she will find her tribe. Dreaming of my tribe. Donde estas?

Pour It On! Maple Syrup Is Good for You

Originally Published on Foodnetwork.com By Kiri Tannenbaum

Pour It On! Maple Syrup Is Good for You

In addition to its natural caramely sweetness, there’s one more reason to pour on the maple syrup: it’s actually good for you. Yes, pure maple syrup is not only high in antioxidants, but every spoonful offers nutrients like riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, calcium and potassium. According to Helen Thomas of the New York State Maple Association, maple syrup has a higher concentration of minerals and antioxidants, yet fewer calories than honey.“Everything the tree filters out from Mother Nature and all of the good minerals, antioxidants, and everything it is doing for the food for the tree, stays in the sugar,” explains Thomas. “[Sap] has complex components that are things we also need to stay healthy, just like the trees.”Other than syrup, maple comes in several forms such as maple sugar. You probably remember the leaf-shaped molded candy in the souvenir shops you visited on family road trips to New England. Or perhaps you have a maple producer at your local farmers market selling maple cotton candy or spreadable maple cream — a great topper on crackers with sharp cheddar cheese. A new phenomenon is maple water — pure sap as it comes from the tree. Proponents of this beverage say it is a great substitute for energy drinks to be consumed before, during and after workouts.

Pour It On! Maple Syrup Is Good for You_2Other than jazzing up whole grain pancakes and homemade waffles, or taking a sip before you go to the gym, how can you get more maple syrup in your diet? Try using maple syrup as a sweetener for coffee, tea (both hot and iced) in homemade sodas and lemonades. It works great to brighten up roasted autumn veggies like acorn or butternut squash, frozen organic berries, breakfast oatmeal or hot cereal, soups, salmon, chicken, ham, pulled pork, roast turkey, and is a perfect substitute for honey in salad dressings.

You can also use maple sugar in recipes that call for granulated sugar. “If you are using granulated maple sugar while baking,” says Thomas, “it is a 1:1 replacement.” However, the same does not hold true for substituting syrup for the sugar in the ingredients list. “If you use syrup, you need to take into account that you are adding additional liquid,” explains Thomas. “Basically, a cup of maple syrup has a 1/2 cup of water in it. If a recipe calls for 1 cup sugar, find the liquids in the recipe, and reduce the liquid, usually water or milk, so you get the same consistency.”Before grabbing that jug, look to see the label says “pure” maple syrup and be sure what you’ve got is from a single source. A farm’s label will ensure you have an artisan product and not a blended syrup. Maple syrup should be put in the refrigerator or freezer once opened and always kept as cold as possible. As long as it is tightly sealed, it can last for months, and even years. But we doubt it’ll take that long to polish it off. Go ahead and pour it on!Kiri Tannenbaum is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Paris and holds an M.A. in food studies from New York University where she is currently an adjunct professor. When her schedule allows, she leads culinary walking tours in New York City and is currently at work on her first book. 

Can Being Bossy Save a Life?

It was 1999 in Bakersfield, CA. Lea went to visit her daughter, Gigi and after the long drive from Northern California to Kern County they decided to grab a bite to eat at a Chinese restaurant. They entered and sat at a booth with cool vinyl seats.

As they sat down waiting to place their order, Gigi who was a trained responder during emergency situations noticed a young family and the Mom was carrying a 3 month old swaddled baby. It was a multigenerational family and Gigi noticed that the baby was turning blue. The mom was patting the baby on the back but seemed completely oblivious to the fact that her baby was choking.

Lea had over 30 years experience as a nurse. She was the oldest of nine children plus had four of her own. Gigi knew that her mom was better able to deal with the situation than she was. After all Gigi was the youngest of 4 children, never had kids and knew that this situation really needed a professional.

Valerie’s mom Leonora

Gigi had experience being very bossy. When she told people to do stuff, they did it or else there was some kind of consequence. That’s just reality baby. So she did what any intelligent person would do, she said, “Mom that baby is choking, go over there and save it.”

Without blinking an eye, Lea stood up, walked over there and grabbed the baby from the young mom, turned it over on it’s stomach on her arm and gave the baby two good whacks to the back to its shoulder blades. Instantly the baby coughed up and started to cry. She gave the baby back to the mom and they cleaned up the baby and went on to eat their meal.

Lea went back to their table like a boss and it was like nothing happened. Gigi said, “Oh my, you saved that babies life and the parents don’t even realize what you did.” They started to laugh and Gigi told her mom, “You’re a hero Mom. You just saved that kids life.” She said, “I know.” She looked over and saw them enjoying their meal. She said, “Well I wouldn’t have known what to do if you hadn’t told me.”

Moral to the story, don’t be afraid to tell someone what to do if you know what needs to be done. If Lea wouldn’t have taken action, Gigi would have but all is well that ends well. Also Lea and Gigi got a lot of points from God for saving a life. God said, thanks, I got your back.

This is Lea (Eleanor) and Gigi (Valerie). This story is a factual story told in Third person but it really did happen. Valerie just wanted to write a lil short story. Thank God Lea didn’t start asking questions and she just followed orders. Guess being bossy comes in handy now and then.