How to make Green Smoothies

It’s all about taking small steps in making smoothies! 

One must start with acquiring the habit of eating Green Smoothies more regularly, if not daily in the mornings. The body is ready to absorb tons of nutrients in the morning and so, if any, it’s the best time to eat a smoothie.

The basics you’ll need

A blender: We had an Oyster Blender that was about $50 for a couple years. After daily use for those 2 years, we decided it was time for a Vitamix Blender which we purchased from Costco. Vitamix usually has a 7 year guarantee, but Costco offers a lifetime guarantee.

Greens: Start with Kale (organic if possible from Trader Joes, Whole Foods, or a local organic farm). You’ll need about 3-5 bunches of kale a week if you’re going to be eating 1 smoothie a day. (If you get to the end of a week and find you didn’t need as much, either up the amount of greens going into your smoothie, make a meal out of the leftovers, or even freeze the leftovers. Frozen Kale can be used in smoothies. So no need to waste extra kale.)

Bananas: Again, organic is best, but bananas are sprayed with less chemicals and absorb less than other fruits so you can go either way on this. Bananas are best when completely ripe with brown spots as their full nutrient content is available at that point. (Plus, they taste yummier and sweater.) During the winter I buy a case of bananas at a time and whatever starts getting too ripe before I finish the box, I freeze. At Whole Foods, whenever you buy a case of a product, they give you a 10% discount off the case. But for the summer, I can not leave the bananas in my back-hallway that is usually cold during the winter because it’s too warm. Thus, I’ve just been buying 20-30 bananas a week. Fortunately, bananas are one of the cheaper fruits, so it’s not a big loss on the discount I don’t get for a few months. And really, I could still buy a case of bananas during the summer but I would have to freeze it much quicker, which again would be fine. A case of bananas last 3 weeks for us (eating about 4-5 bananas a day).

Those are the basics for smoothie making. Bananas and Kale are the foundation in most of my smoothies. Also, unfiltered organic apple juice by Lakewood can be added for a little extra sweetness (but the less sugars the better).

Other things that can be added to smoothies are:

  • Raspberries
  • Fresh squeezed orange juice (make sure you fresh squeeze it (by hand or through your juicer) because the kind you can buy already squeeze, organic or not, is inflammatory to the body).
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Maca Powder
  • Cayenne Pepper or Turmeric
  • Mangos
  • Berries of any kind
  • Greens of any kind
  • Fruits & Veggies of many kinds
  • Honey Propolis
  • Raw Almond Milk (homemade)
  • Spirulina
  • Stevia (fresh or tincture)
  • Maple syrup (Grade B)
  • Unfiltered Organic Apple Juice (fresh made juice is best!)

But for now, start with this basic foundational recipe:

1 cup Water

1 Banana

Fill the blender with greens (at least 4-5 leaves….i usually do 75% of the blender container with green)

4 cubes of ice (optional)

And right now I’ve been adding 1/4 cup of frozen organic raspberries. But thats not for everyone…for example, my neighbor tried that and did not like it. She likes JUST the water, banana, and greens. Plus she puts in 1-2 tablespoons of sweetener to help to sweeten it. But again, if you have to start with a sweetener like Organic Unfiltered Apple Juice or Stevia or Grade B Maple syrup, thats okay…but slowly take it out as your palate gets used to the taste of greens in the smoothie.

And remember, the riper the banana, the sweeter the smoothie. Sometimes I have to add a little sweetener to my smoothies to make it a tad sweeter on those days I don’t have a banana that is sweet/ripe enough. But usually, I plan ahead and buy a bulk of bananas to always have some around. If they get TOO ripe, I just take off the peels and throw them into the freezer!

For further resources on recipes and smoothies you can visit:

Smoothies are high in fiber and nutrients. They are going to give your body what it needs nutritionally, while cleaning out the junk that your body doesn’t need, thus freeing you of that added undesirable weight, giving you more energy and a happier you!

Raw Oatmeal Recipe

If you are looking for a raw, gluten free* meal that is cheap, yummy, easy, and quick to prepare try this Raw Oatmeal Recipe! (*look for gluten free labeled oats if you need them gluten free)

>>No cooking necessary!<<

Raw Oatmeal Recipe

  • 1/2 cup Dry oats (usually I buy Bob’s Red Mill Organic oats or his gluten free option…rolled oats or quick oats…I alternate between the two)
  • 2 tablespoons Chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon flax seed, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, buckwheat (optional)
  • Small handfull of raisins
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1-2 tablespoons Grade B Maple Syrup (Grade B is actually most nutritious) or Organic Raw Agave Nectar
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon of cinnamon (I LOVE cinnamon so I shake quite a bit on!)
  • Pour enough water or home-made almond milk to moisten everything. and let sit for 5 minutes.>> (I do not buy my own milk because it has too many additive and dairy milk will kill the absorption of nutrients and not let the fiber in the oats do it’s cleaning work in your gut)<<

Other toppings…Organic Dried Cranberries, walnuts.

 

Why use Natural & Organic Hand Soaps / Sanitizers?

(banner photo) The Kirk Estate organic bar soap.

FOR OVER 6 YEARS MY FAMILY HAS BEEN USING NATURAL AND ORGANIC HAND SOAPS & SANITIZERS.

What I learned to look for when purchasing (or making my own) hand soap or sanitizer:

  • a Certified Organic symbol on the label or some Certified Organic ingredients on the ingredient list (the more the better). Some companies will put that they are 70% organic on the front of the label, for example, but what about the other 30%? is the other 30% of ingredients close enough to organic to be considered healthy? Read the label, research ingredients, and decide for yourself what's healthy for you and your family.

  • EWG.org (Environmental Working Group) is "a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment".  You can research hand soaps, body soaps, hand sanitizers, household cleansers, air fresheners, and much more for ingredient ratings on whether they are a threat to your health. Here's a link to to EWG's SkinDeep site where you can search for the ratings for soaps/sanitizers.  

Two common products used on the skin that have moderate to high health hazards in review of ingredients by EWG.org are Dial Hand Soap and Purell Hand Sanitizer:

Dial Hand Soap -> has a 5 out of 10 rating saying that it's a moderate health hazard. For Dial's Antibaterial Hand Soap, Gold with Moisturizer, we find it says this "HIGH concerns: Contamination concernsIrritation (skin, eyes, or lungs)MiscellaneousOccupational hazardsPersistence and bioaccumulationOther MODERATE concerns: Endocrine disruptionOrgan system toxicity (non-reproductive)Other LOW concerns: Enhanced skin absorptionCancerData gapsEcotoxicology".

Purell Hand Sanitizer -> has a 4-8 out of 10 rating saying that it's a moderate to high health hazard. "HIGH concerns: Multiple, additive exposure sourcesIrritation (skin, eyes, or lungs)MiscellaneousOther MODERATE concerns: Contamination concernsOrgan system toxicity (non-reproductive)Occupational hazardsOther LOW concerns: Enhanced skin absorptionBiochemical or cellular level changesCancerData gaps, Ecotoxicology, Endocrine disruption, Neurotoxicity, Persistence and bioaccumulation".

So, as you can see, there are moderate to high health risk factors with These two very commonly used products: Dial Soap & Purell.

So what do we do about this? Well, it's easy to control what's going on in our own home by make sure we read ingredient labels and searching for the closest thing to pure, wildcrafted, and organic as possible - but what about when we are out using the bathroom at a grocery store or at another public location? 

  • Decide to bring your own alternative in your purse. Choosing to carry your own travel sized soap or hand sanitizer may seem silly (maybe not for the sanitizer) - but this can benefit your health - based off the resource above. 
  • Influence education about this subject to your local/online community. 
  • Stop supporting the companies that don't make healthy products - choose healthier alternatives. 

 

Natural & Organic Hand/Body Soaps

Aren't antibacterial soaps more beneficial than plain old soap?

According to several sources, such as Dr. Mercola, NPR,  phys.org, and Wellness Mama (to name a few), plain soap is just as effective as antibacterial hand soap in removing germs/bacteria. 

In fact, Dr. Mercola (along with several others) state that there are actually harmful effects in the use of antibacterial hand soaps affecting hormonal imbalance and much more because of the chemical triclosan found in some antibacterial handsoaps.

Massachusetts Democrat Edward Markey has called for strict limits on the use of triclosan. “Despite the fact that this chemical is found in everything from soaps to socks,” said Markey, “There are many troubling questions about triclosan’s effectiveness and potentially harmful effects, especially for children.”

One study showed that the chemical can alter hormone regulation. A number of other studies have demonstrated that bacteria exposed to triclosan could potentially become resistant to antibiotics.
— Dr. Mercola

Here's a video from CNN (from 2010) on this subject of the possible harm of triclosan:

Where to purchase soap? How to make it myself?

  1. Oils of Shakan offers a line of hand/body soaps made with all natural pure essential oils some of which are organic. I use their products and for the ingredients that are not organic, they are pure & natural and I feel safe using them for my family. These products can only be purchased locally in one of their retail locations in Connecticut.
  2. Vermont Soap Company has been a leader in the natural & organic soap industry for some time. They offer personal size to large sized bulk containers of their soaps and have a wide variety for sale online. I have purchased their 1 gallon sized castile soap and used that to make my own foam soap (see Wellness Mama's recipe)
  3. Call or visit your local health food store for options.
  4. To make it yourself, see Wellness Mama's recipe.

 

Natural & Organic Hand Sanitizers

DIYNatural.com gives a recipe for a homemade hand sanitizer and talks about the risk to commonly used hand sanitizer's on the market and compares them to natural alternatives, including a recipe to make your own. If you look on Pub Med, you can see the research that backs this up. Here's link to >> Tea Tree research and here's the link to >> Lavender research. These oils, DIYNatural.com, says are considered to have these "beneficial properties: antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal". 

Pub Med says that tea tree oil has been found in clinical studies to kill most types of bacteria at a concentration of 0.5-1% (so to make sure you adjust recipes to follow this concentration). 

Amoung the claims made for lavender oil are that it is antibacterial, antifungal, carminative (smooth muscle relaxing), sedative, antidepressive and effective for burns and insect bites (Grieves 1931, Gattefosse, 1937).

Where to purchase Hand Sanitizer? How to make it Myself?

  1. Oils of Shakan offers a hand sanitizer that contains similar ingredients to that of DIYNATURAL.com's recipe. There is a 1% amount in tea, 1% in lavender, and 1% of lemon in Oil's of Shakan's hand sanitizer. It can be purchased in one of their retail store locations in Connecticut. 
  2. EO Products offers an Organic Lavender Hand Sanitizer Spray
  3. Call or visit your local health food store for options. 
  4. To make it yourself, see DIYNatural.com's recipe
         www.oilsofshakan.com                       www.vermontsoap.com                           www.eoproducts.com

         www.oilsofshakan.com                       www.vermontsoap.com                           www.eoproducts.com


How to Pray | Faith in Prayer

Faith is foundational in prayer. If we believe there is a God that created the universe, then surely He can do more than we might be asking Him for. He can talk to us in prayer and fully direct our entire lives so we can have CONFIDENCE in everything we do!

The 700s Club interviews Todd White, who demonstrates faith in praying for others. This can also be done for yourself in listening to the Lord. Its a matter of practice because it is something that some people don’t regularly practice, and they may not believe for the supernatural. But God is a supernatural God and the more we pray, the more our faith grows deeper in believing for the supernatural. Testimonies of others, like seen through Todd White in this video, can also can build faith.

There can be much said about the topic of prayer and specifically how to pray.

Over time, more will be added here but let’s start with the foundation.

The Bible says in Mark 11:24

Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray,believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

Thus, we must #1 Have FAITH in prayer. If we don’t believe that the Lord can or will answer prayer or even cares about us, then why would we pray? Praying just because of religious duty or because family or friends told us to do so will not keep us grounded and convinced to pray for very long.

My personal testimony in faith and prayer

I (Michelle) having grown up in a full-time Christian atmosphere in home, church, and school was surrounded by people telling me that God exists. Yes, I was in a Christian home with two dedicated, loving parents, attended a Bible believing church, and was educated K-College in Christian schools. And although, looking back, God certainly was very present in those places; I never found God until I was on my own to decide for myself.

A couple months after I had graduated from college, I was sitting in my parents living room and feeling empty and lost. I was feeling like if God really existed, I needed to know Him differently. I could not just be told that He existed. I needed to personally experience Him alive daily in my life or I wanted to move on from “religion” as I put it. I was crying and passionately told the Lord these things.

And IMMEDIATELY the Lord spoke to me. Such a loving, patient voice so clear I feel like it was not just in my head but like God was speaking to me audibly right next to me saying

Michelle, I want to challenge you: Read the Bible from the beginning to end and if you don’t know Me after you’ve finished then you can dismiss Me altogether!

Well, by that point I was already convinced He existed because He came to me when I called upon Him with a real and open heart! haha! But, I took to that challenge and for the first time I opened up the Bible and could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit coming alive within me. The Bible was and is still my charger! Yes, I have batteries that run out and need to be charged Lord! And that was a defining moment for me because I was ready to move on from God and religion, but God made Himself known and marked me for life.

I tell you all this to show the foundation that I’ve found is most crucial to prayer: FAITH!

Without faith, it will be very difficult to pray.

Prayer should bring energy and excitement, joy and peace, power and enlightenment, direction and purpose. Talking to the Lord, your Maker, should brighten your day, give you strength for tomorrow, and peace for your life. Thus, if you actually have faith that the Lord exists, that He is who He says He is in the Bible, and that He loves you so much and actually wants to hold your hand and walk through your life with you,  you have to find out WHAT you need to have faith in. This can primarily be found in the Bible and through listening to Him. Something to remember on the note of listening to the Lord: He will always say things that are in line with what the Bible says.

A book I recommend on learning to listen to God speak to you is Can You Hear Me? by Brad Jersak

Here is a video teaching from Brad on this very topic of listening to the Lord’s voice in your life.

If you believe God exists, that means ALOT.

That means your faith in talking to Him should (as the Bible portrays) be extravagant…heal the sick, cure the leapers, cast out demons and even raise the dead! (Matthew 10:8)

Prayer is more than just having faith for yourself

It’s about having faith for other people. We are not just here for ourselves. Anyone who works in community service, Christian or not, will tell you how rewarding it is to serve others. That’s because the Lord tells us to serve, and when someone (again Christian or not) follows a Biblical principle, there is a rewarding feeling that follows. (Another example of this is saving your money: the Bible teaches us to save (Matthew 25:14-30) or even tithe (Malichi 3:10), and when anyone follows these principles, they will see blessings.)

Challenge the Lord to make Himself known to you!

So what does it come down to: FAITH is needed to truly find God in prayer. If you don’t know whether He exists, I challenge you to find a quiet place and sit for at least 10 minutes. Ask Him if He exists with an open heart, and I am confident He will come to you. At that point, with no doubt that He does exist, continuing to ask Him how to have more faith and reading the Bible will point you to a powerful prayer life!

Whenever a study of the principles of prayer is made, lessons concerning faith must accompany it. Faith is the essential quality in the heart of any man who desires to communicate with God. He must believe and stretch out the hands of faith for that which he cannot see or prove. Prayer is actually faith claiming and taking hold of its natural, immeasurable inheritance. True godliness is just as important in the realm of faith as it is in the area of prayer. Moreover, when faith ceases to pray, it ceases to live. (p. 107, E.M. Bounds, On Prayer, 1997)

And remember, when you initiate prayer beyond yourself and reach out in prayer with others you will be even more blessed. (Acts 20:35)