In Good Health: Sweet Summer Salad

Sometimes you just need a mid-week salad to pick you up a bit. Something that tastes like it took a LOT longer to make… like you put MUCH more effort into it. But you also want a little surprise and a little sweetness to edge off your sugar craving. Here’s your answer.

Meet my sweet summer salad. Unoriginal name, I know. But at least I gave you an alliteration. It has greens. It has herbs. It has tangy balsamic. It has sweet berries. And it’s delicious.

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ingredients
red leaf lettuce, chopped
strawberries, sliced
blackberries, halved
blue cheese, crumbled
fresh dill, chopped
fresh mint, chopped
balsamic glaze
extra virgin olive oil
salt + pepper

instructions
(1)  combine lettuce, berries, herbs, and cheese
(2)  drizzle balsamic glaze + olive oil over the top
(3)  add salt + pepper to taste
(4)  toss ingredients together & serve

In Good Health: Bobbing for Apples

I have three words for you and you’ve probably already heard them. Because honestly, it’s all over the place. Ready? Apple cider vinegar. I know, I know. But seriously, the stuff is amazing and you can spend hours reading about everything it does.

I remember standing in my kitchen nearly a decade ago. My best friend and I had just finished a hike and decided the next logical thing to do in our quest for overall health was to take a shot of apple cider vinegar. What a mistake. 

I feel like there’s this gradual build up that has to happen with apple cider vin. It’s a full process. For me, the easiest way to start is by mixing 1/2 tablespoon of it in a full glass of hot water. If I’m able to continue that on a daily basis, I gradually keep increasing the amount of vinegar. You have to ease yourself into it.

Something kind of amazing happened though. Bragg came out with a version that’s pre-blended WITH HONEY. You have absolutely no idea how much more tolerable this makes it. It’s everything you could want in a bottle… minus the tequila.

Here are some ways that I try to sneak apple cider vinegar into my everyday diet:

  • One word: marinate! Equal parts oil + vinegar are classic parings for a great marinade. Add in some extra goodies like fresh chopped garlic and shallots, a little sea salt + black pepper, and you’re good to go! Throw it all in a bag and forget about it for a few hours.
  • Make a salad for lunch and throw together a simple oil-vinegar dressing. Mix a little olive oil, a generous splash of apple cider vin, a little sea salt + black pepper, and maybe some fresh squeezed lemon or chopped garlic. From there, you can be as simple or as creative as you’d like with the rest of your ingredients. The best part is that you can just keep building on it and taste as you go. The possibilities are endless!
  • Make your morning smoothie as normal, but add 1/2 tablespoon of apple cider vin. Chances are you won’t even taste the kick of vinegar in there!
  • If you gravitate towards cold, carbonated drinks (read: sodas), then try mixing sparkling water with lime juice and a tablespoon of apple cider vin over ice. You’ll end up with a cold, refreshing boost of energy.
  • Add a bottle to your bar cart and start testing out new cocktail recipes. You’ll be surprised at how versatile it can be… and at how you’ll hardly notice it’s there when you’re sipping on your gin + tonic!
  • Keep it classic: Drink a glass of hot water in the morning with a tablespoon (or less) of apple cider vin.

 

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In Good Health: Diffusing Essential Oils

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As you will soon discover with the In Good Health series, I am a purist at heart. I gravitate towards natural health remedies, and tend to be skeptical of solutions that are chock-full of ingredients you can’t pronounce and promise overnight transformation.

With that said, essential oils have been something that I’ve incorporated into my daily life for the past 5+ years. You can do so many different things with them… the applications and benefits are (nearly) endless.

In my opinion, the easiest way to start incorporating oils into your daily life is to use a diffuser.

  • I currently have this diffuser in my bedroom, kitchen, and living room. You can fill it up and it will run for five hours. I turn it on every night before I get in bed and let it run as I fall asleep.
  • I prefer this smaller option for my desk at work. It plugs directly into a USB port and runs for four hours. I usually run it a few times per week, especially when I feel a headache coming on from staring at a computer screen, or if I have low energy and can’t focus.
  • This nebulizing diffuser is on my wishlist. Unlike the ones listed above that require you to dilute the oils with water, this one releases only pure essential oil into the air.

 

Once you have your diffuser, you can start your collection of oils. Before you start your shopping, there are a few things you should keep in mind…

  • Oils get old, so be cautious of over-purchasing when you’re just starting off.
  • Some brands sell organic options. If that’s important in your home, then look for organic when you’re shopping— especially for “the basics.” Note: Organic is going to be particularly significant if you are planning to ingest the oils or put them on your skin.
  • Some brands dilute oils. I prefer to buy 100% pure essential oil, so that’s always something I look for on the label. Again, this is more of a personal preference. Be cautious though because 100% pure essential oils are highly concentrated. If you are going to apply them to your body at all, you will need to combine them with a “carrier” oil. 
  • Visiting a health foods store or another shop that carries oils is always a good idea so you can smell scents before buying them. However, you can sometimes find better deals online.
  • Read the labels! They usually list health benefits and give you ideas of what other oils to blend them with.

 

There are hundreds of combinations of oils that you can create. My suggestion is to start with the basics and round off your collection as you discover what you like. I’m a big fan of Vitacost, especially for buying oils. However, I’m not always buying enough to qualify for free shipping. In those cases, I usually order my oils from Amazon. Here are some of my favorites with direct links to Amazon:

  • Lavender — try mixing with rosemary
  • Eucalyptus — try mixing with lemon
  • Peppermint — try mixing with tea tree
  • Lemon — try mixing with peppermint
  • Clary Sage — try mixing with bergamot & rosewood
  • Bergamot — try mixing with rosemary
  • Rosewood — try mixing with clary sage
  • Patchouli — try mixing with bergamot
  • Rosemary — try mixing with peppermint
  • Clove — try mixing with orange
  • Cedarwood — try mixing with tea tree


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In Good Health: An Introduction

I’m all about moderation… in between excessiveness. For example, when I have a sugar craving and consume an excessive amount of it, I like to throw in a green juice to balance things out. So, you know… moderation.

I am by no means a “health guru.” I like to think that I make healthy-ish decisions and that my overall approach to life leans more towards wellness than towards, well, un-wellness. In Good Health will serve as a collection of those tendencies towards wellness and well-being; an accumulation of those healthy decisions and moments that balance out all of our bad habits and cravings.

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