10.24.2014

3 Fun Fall Projects

3 Fun Fall Projects, No-Carve Painted Pumpkins

If you’re anything like me, you could spend all day browsing on Pinterest, finding hundreds of ideas for imaginative crafts, decor, recipes and more (I know you know what I'm talking about!). There are so many inventive ideas out there in cyberspace, it's impossible to ever be short on creative inspiration. So this week, I can’t help but share with you three fun fall projects that are inspiring me right now:

10.16.2014

Jane Iredale PurePressed Eye Shadow

No-Bake, Raw Paleo Granola Bars
No-Bake, Raw Paleo Granola Bars
No-Bake, Raw Paleo Granola Bars

So as you know, I’m a huge fan of mineral makeup: less harsh chemicals, more nourishing ingredients. I’m still in love with my Youngblood Mineral Foundation and Larenim’s pressed powder, blush and mascara, but I recently realized that it was time to start updating the rest of my eye makeup.

When I came across the Jane Iredale display at my local beauty supply, I couldn’t help but ogle all the eye shadow shade options laid out before me. I was looking to replace some of the colors from the-popular-department-store-brand I’d previously used for many years (which shall remain nameless), so I decided to give Jane Iredale PurePressed Eye Shadows a try.

10.10.2014

Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, Nut-Free
Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, Nut-Free
Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, Nut-Free

’Tis the season for all-things-pumpkin! When creating my Paleo pumpkin bread, I realized that I needed a fun way to use the leftover pureed pumpkin and not let it go to waste. These Paleo pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are a great way to do that.

These cookies are grain-free, nut-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free, plus they’re easy to make and delicious! They are sure to be a festive treat for everyone in the family anytime during the holiday season.

10.02.2014

Why Coconut?

Why Coconut?

If you haven’t figured it out already, I love using coconut ingredients every chance I get. Finding a healthy, versatile and tasty food that I can tolerate is like hitting the jackpot, and coconut has proven to be just that.

Coconut has been consumed for centuries in many cultures and for good reason: the list of coconut oil’s believed health benefits are endless. With anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, coconut has been used for healing and medicinal purposes for generations. It's rich in fiber and many nutrients, and its unique composition of medium-chain triglycerides has been shown to help support healthy weight management and protect against cardiovascular disease. Some studies show it can also help support liver, kidney, bladder, thyroid, brain, digestive and immune health (just to name a few), but even more striking is the evidence of countries who consume vast amounts of coconut in their diets and have significantly lower rates of cardiovascular disease as opposed to more developed countries who have replaced the consumption of saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats and have alarmingly higher rates of heart disease.

Aside from its healing properties, coconut also turns out to be quite versatile. One of the most difficult parts of changing my diet was giving up a lot of my favorite guilty pleasure foods which were often made from conventional ingredients like wheat flour, dairy and refined sugar. But now, I never have to feel deprived because coconut can effectively (and deliciously!) replace each one of these. So if you’re wondering about how you can incorporate this versatile ingredient into your own cooking and baking, here is a breakdown of the coconut ingredients I use often and why I love them so much:

9.26.2014

Paleo Pumpkin Bread

Paleo Pumpkin Bread, Nut-Free
Paleo Pumpkin Bread, Nut-Free
Paleo Pumpkin Bread, Nut-Free
Paleo Pumpkin Bread, Nut-Free

I love autumn. I get giddy when I think about the change to cooler weather, the scent of apples and cinnamon drifting from a warm oven and the excitement of the holidays approaching. It’s pumpkin season, so I’ve been eager to get into the kitchen and have fun with all the fall recipes that celebrate this time of year. The only problem is I haven’t exactly been inspired by the 80 to 90 degree weather that we’ve been experiencing here in southern California. Sweltering heat doesn’t exactly make it easy to get into the autumn spirit, so I’ve been a bit behind in joining the pumpkin frenzy that seems to be going around lately. But I can’t hold off any longer, because if anything can make me feel like autumn has officially begun, it’s this pumpkin bread.

9.20.2014

Understanding Paleo (“Eat the Yolks” Book Review)

Understanding Paleo, Eat the Yolks Book Review

If you’ve heard the word “Paleo,” most likely one of three things comes to mind:

1. “It’s the only way to live!”
2. “It’s just another fad diet and doesn’t sound healthy.”
3. “What the heck is Paleo anyway?”

I first heard the word “Paleo” a couple of years ago. It had been tossed around here and there, but I had no idea what it meant and never bothered to find out. Meanwhile, I’d been experimenting with my diet for quite some time, trying to treat the vicious and painful flare that no doctor, medication or even surgery could seem to control. I had been bed-ridden for months and had lost the ability to work, drive and or participate in any sort of normal life activity. I was deteriorating quickly, and it was literally becoming a matter of life or death.

I’d heard about others finding healing success with dietary changes, so I knew that was my last hope. Up until then, I thought I ate in a relatively healthy way: a semi-vegetarian diet where most of my protein came from legumes, such as lentils (my favorite!), plus whole grains, organic veggies and fruits and desserts (sugar) in small portions and intermittently, justifying it with the old adage, “everything in moderation.” The truth is, I wasn’t a big meat/chicken/seafood eater because (here comes my deep, dark secret) I don’t really like meat/chicken/seafood. I actually preferred a veggie burger over the real meat version, and I’d choose a big plate of whole wheat pasta over a grass-fed steak any day of the week. Sounds healthy, right? Plus, it was a huge improvement over the way I ate for years prior to that: fast food, processed stuff, refined flour, sugary pastries and baked goods...actually, anything my heart (and taste buds) desired. I was super skinny back then (boy, have things changed) and was always trying to put on weight, so I figured I could eat any old way I wanted without facing any consequences. But when my health began to fail, I cut out fast food and switched to more wholesome, low fat foods, thinking my semi-vegetarian diet was the way to go. And it was certainly was a step up from where I was before. But my new “healthy” diet wasn’t helping me get better. In fact, I only got worse.

9.12.2014

Living with an Invisible Illness

Living with an Invisible Illness

This is a topic I’ve been avoiding for quite some time. I really don’t want to be that whiny person who’s always complaining, so I sometimes gloss over the downside of dealing with all this craziness. But as I talk with other people who are going through similar issues, it becomes more and more evident that communication is very important between those experiencing chronic illness and those who know them and play support roles in their lives. There's a social aspect of chronic illness that isn't often discussed, but I'm going to break my silence on the matter. So please, bear with me. Here goes...