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  • Today is all about Sugar.I am going to talk about what sweetener we use …

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  • Join Us This Week for Wellness Wednesday where we talk about healing food I have …

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  • This week we are talking about wellness and the great outdoors

    I have teamed up again with Stephanie, Shellie and Michelle to bring you another Wellness Wednesday. This week we are talking about the great outdoors.  I am excited because these ladies are so knowledgeable I love learning from them. 

     

    I just love making soap and have found this recipe to be the best soap for cleaning the grit and grime out of the cracks of my hands after a long day of working in the garden. There have been times when I can’t get it off. This soap was made from my christmas tree. Its is a great way to bring the outdoors in and then scrub the outdoors off. Check it out here. 

    Shellie has such a great post to help with spring time ailments. Essential oils are so powerful and I love how they heal and smell good too. She is has some really great information up about how to use them in the spring. If you suffer from allergies then this post is for you. 

    One of my goals is to grow herbs and actually use them. Michelle lays out some very simple herbs to grow to get started over at Garden of Auarius . I grow many of the ones she talks about in her article and I love them. They are easy to grow, easy to use and beautiful. 

    Stephanie over at Steph’s Social Pie is talking about the benefits of simply stepping outdoors. She has a entire list of ways to engage with nature and the health benefits it brings. If you are looking for a way to boost your mental and physical health check out what she has to say on her latest post

    Thanks for Joining Us this week for Wellness Wednesday

    We get together and share with you twice a month for some of the best information we can give you to from our journey to yours. If you stop by any of these wonderful blogs remember to leave them a comment. 

    Have a happy healthy week!

    This post may contain affiliate links. I would only ever recommend products that I personally love and use. All opinions are my own. 

    When you are just getting started with essential oils it can be hard to figure out what to buy.

    I have been using essential oils for the better part of a decade now. When I say that outloud it makes me feel so old. Remembering back to when I was just getting started it was so hard to know where to begin. Researching them was like falling down a rabbit hole and everyone had something to say about what brand was the “best.” I spent the better part of a year trying to learn about them before just jumping in and finally ended up deciding that it was OK to like more then one brand. 

    That said, I also decided that I loved Butterfly Express. They provide high quality oils, tons of proprietary blends alongside their many options of singles. Butterfly Express also sells other holistic healing products such as herb packs, hydrosols, tinctures, and more. If you love oils and natural health they are for you. 

    Lastly, I have to say that I call them all the time. They are so helpful knowledgeable. I still buy oils from other companies but for the quality and the price you can’t compare to Butterfly Express. Now that I am blogging I am just so excited to share them with you. 

    starter kits

    Often with essential oil companies you can get starter kits. I think there are some really good options out there to get your feet wet. Starter kits can be a good way to go because they do the thinking for you. Butterfly Express sells kits as well. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t such a free spirit, while I like the idea of a starter kit, I like picking out what I want even more. 

    If you are interested in purchasing a starter kit so you don’t have to think too hard about how to get started with essential oils check this one out here. It has the basics (great basic oils, carrier oils, and Miracle Salve). 

    I wanted to show you my basic list and what I would pick for a starter kit. Hopefully this will help you get started using quality essential oils for a fraction of the cost.

    The following is my short list of essential oils that I can’t live without. If you just get started with these you will be on your way to becoming an essential oil expert in no time. 

    Sweet Orange- This oil is a gentle mood lifting oil. It is great diffused, in cleaners, handmade soaps, and sparingly in smoothies . It can relieve nausea, and clean up sticky residue. 

    Lavender– I love this oil for the smell. A lot of people use it as a sleep aid. I like it for minor burns and cuts and insect bites. It is our favorite in the summer for mild sunburns. 

    Eucalyptus– This oil is so good when you have a head cold. Put some on a cotton ball inside your pillow case or use it in a hot bath. I love it in handmade salves. 

    Tea Tree– We use this for almost everything. It has been used to freshen stinky smells, healing skin infections, and clearing up dandruff. It also is a great additive to hand soap and shampoo. You can use it as a laundry aid as well. 

    Copiaba Balsam– If you are looking for a natural anti-inflammatory look no further. We rub this oil on sore muscles and use if for headaches. I always put it in handmade salve. 

    Lemon– Lemon is one of my favorites. I love a drop in my water, or several drops in my dish soap. It is also great in any cleaner. Lemon can be a powerful aid when trying to heal from a cold. 

    Rosemary– The smell of rosemary is all I need to lift my mood. I often combine this oil in anything I would put the lemon oil in. It can also be a stimulating and refreshing oil to use for massage. Just make sure to use a carrier oil.  

    Peppermint– I have used peppermint to cool myself when in a hot overcrowded room. It is also a great oil for muscle rubs and head aches. We like it in sunburn sprays. 

    There are a couple proprietary blends I can't live without

    I love DuTerra’s On Guard. They make some cough drops with it and I could eat them nonstop. There a also a lot of people out there that are crazy about Young Living’s Thieves oil.

    If you want an oil that is almost the same but with its own flavor and spin then you should try Spice C. Normally I wouldn’t be so blatant to plug a product or a company but I can’t live without Spice C. I diffuse it almost exclusively throughout my home. It has the same cold and flu fighting qualities and a heavenly smell. Put it in your cleaners, dish soap and hand soap for a divine cleaning experience.

    Lastly, I just love Butterfly Express’s Breezy. We use this for head colds and coughs and sinus congestion. It has a pleasant fresh smell. Besides being good for breathing it has tissue regenerating properties. 

    Some final thoughts about oils and Butterfly Express

    Make sure you are using oils safely. There are very few oils I use neat (without a carrier oil). Carrier oils protect your skin and internal organs since oils can be very powerful. Your oils will also last a lot longer if you dilute them properly. Get some empty roller bottles to blend them and save a lot of money. 

    One other thing besides the quality and price of Butterfly Express that I love is the options on size when you go to order. Did you see my first picture with the different sizes up here on the top of this post? When I find an oil I love I always order the 50 ml bottle. They even offer larger options up to 450 ml! Their size options are so awesome I don’t have to feel like an oil hoarder.  

    Do your own research and decide for yourself on which oils you want to buy. I have been using oils for so many years that it is a no brainier for me to share this brand with you. I love helping people find quality while also helping them to save money. There is no reason to overspend on similar products. 

    One final note. remember, I am not a doctor. This post is in no way offering you medical advise. If you have concerns about your health please consult a health care professional. 

    Do you use oils? What are your favorite varieties and blends? Share your thoughts in the comments below and thank you for joining me today at the farmhouse. 

    Today is all about Sugar.I am going to talk about what sweetener we use and how to make it.

    I am so glad you have joined me today and checked in at the farmhouse. Its been a week since I posted last and it feels like forever. There are big plans in my head where I help you make some super yummy healthy treats, but I realized today that there is an important first step I need to share with you first. We need to discuss the sweetener that I use. As I sat down to write this I thought it would be so fast and easy but as I got into the meat of it I realized there really is so much to say. 

    We try to live sugar free as much as possible. I find my kids behave better and my pants fit longer. I don’t know about you but I really don’t like shopping for pants so this is a pretty good trade off for me. Living sugar free is difficult though. It can be expensive and it is hard to find a good substitute for white granulated processed sugar that gets all around rave reviews backed by solid science.  

    first lets take a minute to talk about inflammation. when my blood sugar gets high I can really feel it.

     I am not getting any younger and I can feel a profound effect on my body when my blood sugar gets too high. Let me clarify,  I don’t have diabetes, I am also not pre diabetic.  However I do tend to be prone to inflammation and I feel it the most when I eat too many sweets or too many grains. 

    I feel this inflammation in my hands and wrists. It’s like carpel tunnel. For instance when I mow the lawn my hands will fall asleep. I also have troubles with my hands and arms falling asleep at night when I am in bed. My tingling arms and fingers wake me often and cause me to be tired in the day. Another place I feel inflammation is in my lower legs and they ache  especially when I try to relax. 

    One last place I can really feel inflammation is in my back. If I am being careless with my diet my back gets so stiff  it hurts to walk. I am a super active gal, I like to garden and keep up with my kids. If I am hurting so much that I don’t want to walk then I know something needs to change.

    Lets just get right to it and see the recipe. You can read more about it if you want later on down below.

    This is so easy to do. The only reason this is important is that you won’t enjoy eating Erytritol as a substitute alone. It needs to be balanced. The easiest way to do that is to balance it with other alternative natural sweeteners. 

    Sugar Free Sweetener Recipe.

    • 1 cup Erythritol
    • 2 tsp Stevia
    • 1/2 cup Xylitol- Optional

    Mix your Erythritol and your Stevia into a quart mason jar (as well as your Xylitol if you choose to use it). Put a lid on it and shake, or you can just stir. 

    Store it at room temperature. You can always double or tipple the recipe, I do. We don’t use Xylitol and the recipe works just as good without it. 

    You will find with this sweetener that yo don’t need nearly as much as with regular sugar. I like to go off of about 1/4 cup of the sweetener blend to every 1 cup of table sugar in the recipe. For things like smoothies it can be even less. When yo start out using it go by taste to get a feel for how much you need. If it starts to tingle in your mouth you have used too much. 

    THERE ARE A LOT OF OPTIONS FOR A SUGAR FREE LIFESTYLE.​

    There are a lot of choices out there for a sugar free lifestyle. With my kids I am much more easy going and liberal with what sweeteners they get to enjoy. I have no problem giving them 100% pure maple syurp or raw honey. I also love to make them treats with dried fruit, especially dates. 

    Sugar free living is super popular right now and you may have seen a lot of recipes about it online. Some popular diets like Paleo, Keto, Trim Healthy Mama, and Whole 30 all promote a sugar free lifestyle. Most of the alternatives to sugar are growing in popularity with some taking the lead if you want to loose weight. 

    Stevia, Erythritol, Xylitol and Monk Fruit are all moving to the front of the shelves in the store. You have likely heard of them along side those popular diets I mentioned above. Here at my house we have tried them all. 

    Why do we choose Erythritol?

    Sadly there is no easy answer for many who try to give up sugar. For me the natural sugars in honey, maple syrup, and dates still fuel my inflammation and they still fuel bad bacteria in my gut (which is a topic for another day).  So if I want to have any real relief I need to stick to options that do not raise my blood sugar. I have spent hours reading about all these options and the majority of what I have read is partial to Erythritol being one of the safest options for a sweetener. I still do enjoy honey, maple syrup and dates on rare occasion because they are yummy and they do offer health benefits. 

    One of the reasons that I like Erythritol is that it is natural. It is not the same thing as an artificial sweetener it is a sugar alcohol like Xylitol but is safer to digest. Sugar alcohols do not have an affect on blood sugar. Erythritol is also known to be an antioxidant. 

    why don't we use Xylitol?

    We have tried Xylitol and it can really make my tummy rumble. I don’t like the gassy effect it has on me. There are people online and research has been done that say that Erythritol causes the same upset but I have never gotten any digestive upset from it. I think you would have to eat A LOT to get the same effect as a little of Xylitol.  

    Xylitol is also toxic to dogs, like deadly toxic, worse than chocolate and grapes. We  have a dog. My stress level is so much better when we simply avoid it. We also have chickens and since I can’t guarantee that Xylitol is safe for them its just one more reason to avoid it as an option. Since its flavor is so close to regular sugar I did include it in my recipe. It might be a good match for you. 

    Stevia is another of our favorite alternatives to sugar.

    Stevia is another option we use at our house to replace sugar. As in all things there is no suprise that there can be negative aspects to it as well. It is highly processed and some claim it can affect fertility. Some even claim that it is not actually safe due to the chemicals used to create it. It is also fairly bitter and it can be hard to find a good brand with no fillers. 

    Those negative points are all totally legitimate when it comes to Stevia. But when I know that regular sugar in all its forms is so bad for my health and compare the amounts used in recipes, Stevia is a no brainier. If I wanted to make a smoothie I would need at least 1/4 cup of sugar but only a pinch of Stevia since Stevia is so much sweeter then sugar.

    As always everything in moderation

    You know every time I write a blog post about health that I tell you to be sure to do your own due diligence. Spend some time reading about these sugar alternatives before just jumping in. Some people react differently and some may even be allergic. 

    Remember that it is not good to eat anything in excess. Don’t go and gorge yourself on treats that have been sweetened with sugar free alternatives, even if they are healthy ones. Remember that I am not a doctor and that you should consult with your doctor before making any significant diet changes. 

    further reading

    For those of you who like to fact check I am providing a few links below. Go and read for yourself to see what will work best for you. 

    1. Boesten, Danielle, et al. Health Effects of Erythritol. Research Gate. March 2015.
    2. Artificial Sweeteners and Other Sugar Substitutes. Mayo Clinic. Sept 25, 2018.
    3. Sugar Alcohols. Yale-New Haven Hospital Nutrition Advisor.
    4. de Cock, Peter and Bechert, Claire-Lise. Erythritol. Functionality in non-caloric beverages. Pure Appl. Chem., Vol. 74, No. 7, pp 1281 – 1289. 2002.
    5. Schaefer, Anna. Everything You Need to Know About Erythritol. Medical News Today. July 12, 2017.
    6.  

    Join Us This Week for Wellness Wednesday where we talk about healing food

    I have teamed up with some amazing women bloggers to bring you Wellness Wednesday. Together with Shellie from Shellie Lynn.com,  Stephanie from Steph’s Social Pie, and Michelle from Garden of Aquarius  we will share with you our knowledge  to help you live a happier, healthier life. Join us twice a month for some of the best information we can give you to from our journey to yours.

    Herbal rosemary Lemonade

    Earlier this week I shared how I  bring extra flavor and nutrients to my home cooking by using fresh herbs. I included a recipe for herbal Rosemary lemonade. It is such a refreshing beverage for warmer weather.  You can get this delicious recipe here: Cooking With Herbs and Herbal Rosemary Lemonade.

     

    Homemade Vanilla Extract

    Vanilla Extract is a must for any home kitchen. I can’t survive without it. With the rising costs and questionable ingredients found in some store bought varieties you will always be better off just making your own. To learn how to make your own vanilla extract for just pennies go see what Michelle has to say with her: Practically Free Homemade Vanilla Extract Recipe.

    Learn about foods that boost your mood

    Shellie is one of the most inspirational health coaches out there. I love her knowledge base and how much she can teach about how to live a healthier life. Go learn some amazing information on plant based foods that will boost your mood from her at: 9 Plant Based Foods That Will Boost Your Mood.

    Have you heard about the dopamine diet? Stephanie’s article about it so informative. She gives some great information about healthy foods that can help you feel the powerful effects of dopamine.  I am over the moon about the recipes she links too. To enjoy the powerful effects of this diet learn about it straight from her at: Dopamine Diet, Eat Your Way To Happiness. 

    Keep an eye out for future Wellness Wednesday’s where we will continue to share what we know to help you live your best life. 

    Thank you so much for stopping by.

    I love delicious healthy food.

    Most of the time I want to eat decadent delicious food. In all honesty though I don’t have the time or energy to actually make it. Since we try to live simply I also don’t want to spend too much money on food or get take out too often. Cooking at home gives me a lot of enjoyment and I love providing for my family in that way. Over the years I have discovered a few simple things I can do in my kitchen to make our food more flavorful with less effort while keeping what is on our table healthy and nutritious.

    One of the easiest ways to up your game in the kitchen is to use more fresh herbs

    Fresh herbs are one of those ingredients that are so easy to forget about. They grow almost all year but remembering to utilize them is hard. I have found that when I make a conscious effort to cook with them more often my food tastes so much better. It is such a small change that makes a huge impact. Often I will buy those small packages of  herbs at the grocery store if I don’t have what I need growing in my garden. 

    Herbs are healthy too

    Most herbs that are common to cooking pack a powerful nutrient punch. They are often easy to grow which makes them an affordable addition to your kitchen. Many can be purchased locally at the store and are important ingredients in seasonal cooking. Parsley for example is extremely high in vitamin K, vitamin C and vitamin A. That is why it is a often found in winter soups like chicken noodle. 

    Some of my favorite herbs to cook with are Rosemary, Thyme, and Chives. I also love fresh Bay Leaves, Sage, Ginger, and Garlic. My hope is that over the next few months I can share with you simple recipes that are so fast and easy to make that utilize beneficial qualities of herbs. 

    Today I am going to share how to make Rosemary Lemonade. This is one of my favorite ways to make lemonade. Its has is such a unique and refreshing flavor. 

    Rosemary Lemonade Recipe

    • 6 cups of water
    • one cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • honey to taste (I used almost 1 cup)
    • fresh rosemary

    Warm the water in a saucepan. When the water comes to a boil turn it off and add 3 sprigs of rosemary. Each sprig should be about 3 inches long, if you put too much rosemary in or let it steep too long it may get a little bitter.  Keep the rosemary infusion covered so that the water doesn’t evaporate out of the pot. After about 20 minutes take the rosemary out and stir the honey into the water and mix it in so it all dissolves. Pour the rosemary and honey infusion through a strainer into a pitcher and add your freshly squeezed lemon juice. Then refrigerate until cold.

    Once cool, garnish with more fresh rosemary and fresh cut lemon slices. Top with ice and enjoy. 

    Why did I use Rosemary?

    You can make a lot of different kinds of herbal lemonade. I actually love to make Lavender lemonade and have considered Basil lemonade or Thyme lemonade. The process is gong to be the same for most herbal lemonades.

    I have fond memories of drinking Rosemary lemonade. There was a hip little pizza place in my college town that sold it. We used to think we were so cool when we went there.  The flavor is sharp and refreshing. It paired well with pizza 10 years ago but it would also go well at an upscale BBQ or a child’s birthday party today. 

    Rosemary like most herbs, delivers a powerhouse of nutrients and health benefits. There are too many to list here, but some of the top benefits are antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Rosemary also has an ability to improve digestion. I also love how it is known for helping with neurological protection and improving memory and concentration.

    Don’t take my word for it, go search online and you will see how awesome and healthy it is. 

    you might have noticed that this recipe uses honey instead of sugar.

    Sugar is my favorite taste in lemonade but I don’t love the side effects. In our house we try to avoid it as much as possible. This recipe uses honey. Honey has a more complex flavor and it took me a while to get used to it in my lemonade. Also different honey varieties will change the flavor of the lemonade. That is why the recipe only said “to taste”. The health benefits of honey really pair well with the rosemary. You can substitute the honey for sugar if you want and you would just add it in while the water is still fairly hot. If you decide to make that substitution it would be 1.5 cups of sugar instead of honey. 

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