How to Host a Stress Free Thanksgiving

mlb-lifestyle-studio-chefs-table-holiday-meal-2

If you are anything like me then you love the Holiday season and you love to host, but sometimes you can find yourself in over your head and the joy of the holidays seems to be swept away with a to do list a mile long.

Several years ago my husband and I started hosting Thanksgiving at our home, this year will mark the 5th year in a row that we have opened our doors to family and friends to gather round our table and break bread (or turkey) and give thanks together. We have come to love the tradition of hosting this holiday at our home and over the years we have found a few ways to help alleviate some of the stress and make it a more enjoyable event for all.

Here are some of those ways:

  • Delegate dishes to all that plan to join you, not only does this help in the financial department, it helps take some of the stress off of your shoulders, I have also found that my guests love to contribute their favorite dish or dessert! It’s a win win! We supply the main dish, the TURKEY and a few sides and drinks and our guests bring the rest!
  • Save the new recipes for another time and stick to the tried and true! No one likes the added stress of trying out a new and unfamiliar recipe in the kitchen when guests are on their way, stick to recipes you know well and love to make.
  • Set your table and rearrange furniture the day or evening before Thanksgiving, you do not need the added stress of rearranging the house in order to accommodate everyone as they arrive, have a space ready for them well in advance.
  • Get the family to pitch in and handle chores around the house, clean the bathroom mirror, vacuum the living room and all that other fun stuff! Have this all done in the days leading up to the big event.
  • Will there be little ones at your gathering? Have something fun for them to do, dollar and craft stores have lots of fun little turkey crafts or coloring pages and games to help keep little hands occupied as guests are arriving and even after the meal.
  • Prepare any foods that you can the night before, I usually make any dessert I plan on serving and my cranberry sauce the day prior to Thanksgiving, they are done and in the fridge and out of my way as I prepare my turkey and other sides on Thanksgiving day.
  • Be a team player, especially with your spouse! It can be stressful to pull off a big event in your home, and we often can take that stress out on those we love the most, decide to be a team before the big day, check in and see how you can help each other out, communicate well as you open up your home, believe me, it will make all the difference in the world to set the tone for your gathering!
  • In the end, remember that this is real life, real life is messy and not always perfect so give yourself grace! Have fun, let your hair down and truly marvel in all of your blessings this day, your friends and family will appreciate all of your hard work and more than anything your presence with them, so go on and have some fun!

I hope you find some helpful tips above, do you have a favorite Thanksgiving tradition? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

 

Juice Fast Commonly Asked Questions

Juice-Day1-15

 

I am currently doing a Juice fast, I have done them before and I always get wonderful results. But if you are new to juice fasting and you are planning on joining me as I host a 3 Day Juice Fast Reboot Aug 4-6th then you may have some questions. This blog post is an attempt to answer those questions and help you prepare mentally before you undergo your reboot!

Q: Do I have to own a juicer?

A: No, if you have a high powered blender such as a Vita mix, blend Tech, Ninja, Magic Bullet or another then you will be good to go!

Q: How will I know what to buy and what to juice together for optimal nutrition?

A: I will be taking all of the guess work out of this experience for you, I will tell you exactly what to buy (via lists) and how much you will need to get you all the way through your 3 day juice “feast” I will also tell you what to juice together and what to avoid for certain health conditions (such as thyroid issues) to make sure you get the most optimal nutrition for your body.

Q: Is it hard to make the juice?

A: No, if you are capable of rinsing and chopping veggies and running them through a machine, then… you got this!

Q: How much weight will I lose?

A: It really depends on a lot of variables, such as how much weight you need to release, how toxic your system is, how closely you stick to the fast etc… But look at the weight loss as an added benefit and the improvements to your health, immune system and wellness as first priority.

Q: What if I get hungry or want to give up?

A: You might experience some hunger during your juice fast, if you get hungry, drink more juice 🙂 If you feel like you want to give up… Don’t! 3 days will pass quicker than you think! This is one reason I have created this to be a group experience complete with private Facebook group, this is where you go to get encouragement and support, even if you feel like throwing in the towel midway through, I encourage you to stick it out to get the full benefit!

Q:Will you help me know what to eat when the fast is over so I don’t “undue” all the good I’ve done on the fast?

A: Yes! As part of this 3 Day Juice fast I will be supplying you with a special sheet full of suggestions and ideas to help you ease back into the real world with real food after your 3 day fast is complete.

Q: How often should I juice fast?

A: This is really up to you, I see nothing wrong with juice fasting as often as one or two days per week, you may want to try to do a juice fast once per month or once every few months, there is no correct amount. Fasting with the aid of organic juice is a wonderful way to improve the bodies own healing mechanisms and correct imbalances. It is also a great way to release excess weight and detox and cleanse the system from the inside out. Using organic juice to cleanse the system is a great preventative medicine and can also be used as alternative medicine if sickness is already present. “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” Hippocrates

 

I hope that I have helped answer some of your questions and concerns regarding juice fasting, it would be my privilege to walk along side you as you work on improving your health! More questions? Contact me today! Ready to get started? You can reserve your spot in the “3 DAy Juice Fast Reboot”  today!! Registration will be open until Aug 3 2014 and all of your printable lists and materials will be e-mailed directly to your inbox by Aug 1 2014! 

Banana, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip Oat Balls…. Yum!

These little balls of deliciousness are vegan, gluten free and powered with plant based protein! They will also give you a good dose of fiber and hit the spot for that sweet tooth without going too far off track! This was an impromptu  recipe that I came up with, and after the fam ate them faster than I could get them out of the oven, I figured it was blog worthy!

 

bananaballs

 

These are best served right out of the oven when the chocolate is good and melty…. I had mine with a cold glass of almond milk!

 

20140714_125824

Here is what you will need:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup organic coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (I prefer silk almond milk because it is part of the non GMO project and it does not use carrageenan as a thickener)
  • 1/4 cup natural no sweetener peanut butter (I used chunky no salt added on these) *plant powered protein
  • 1/2 cup raw almond meal *plant powered protein
  • 1 cup gluten free oats *plant powered protein
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds *plant powered protein
  • 1/4 cup vegan and gluten free chocolate chips such as enjoy life brand

 

Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees. Mash your banana in a medium size mixing bowl, then add your coconut sugar, almond milk and peanut butter, once this is nice and creamy add the rest of your ingredients with the chocolate chips last. Use a cookie scoop if you have one, if not a larger table spoon will do to make the dough into “balls” place on a baking sheet or stone and bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes each. This will make about 2 dozen cookies. Enjoy!

Introducing Sweep and Shop!!!

I’m so excited about this!!! It takes my passion of helping others, shopping, cleaning and healthy foods and rolls them all into one awesome experience!

Okay, so what the heck  is this awesome experience all about?

Well…

Have you ever seen one of those reality type shows where some health guru comes into the home of a normal everyday American family and goes through their pantry and fridge with them and helps them get rid of everything that is not health promoting or nutritious??

junkfood

Do any of these foods look familiar?

Then goes with them to a local health food store and helps them restock their shelves with nutritious health promoting food and even creates one or two delicious recipes with them right in the comfort of their own kitchen?

female chopping food ingredients

Have you ever wished you could have this experience in your own home? ?

Now you can (minus the camera crew!) !  I offer just this opportunity to those of you that live within a 50 mi radios to the 92407 zip code. (I’d be willing to travel farther but you need to contact me so we can talk details! ) During our scheduled sweep and shop day, I will arrive at your home ready to navigate with you through your pantry and fridge and help you decode labels and understand what might not be so optimal for you and your families nutritional needs,then its time to say bye-bye to those not so nutritious foods!

nonorejunk

Once we get done with the “sweep” it will be time to shop, we will go to the most conveniently located health food or natural food store near you (such as Trader Joe’s, Sprouts or Whole Foods)  and I will help you navigate through the aisles and answer questions, make suggestions and even offer great and family friendly alternatives to some of your most loved foods.

woman-shopping-grocery-store1

Let’s take the “scary” out of shopping for healthy foods!

Once we are done at the store we will return to your home, restock your pantry and make one or two simple recipes for you and your family to enjoy right away! This package also includes printed recipes and resource links for you to continue going on your new and improved lifestyle! From start to finish you can expect to make a day of it spending anywhere from 3 to 6 hours together!

 

healthy-refrigerator

 

So here is my question for you?

What might you gain from having a trained expert in the nutrition field make a house call and show you what it takes to turn your pantry, fridge and life around? If you have been struggling with excess weight, blood sugar imbalances, chronic illness, kids with ADD ADHD, food sensitivities, mood swings, constipation, digestive disorders or if just want to practice good preventative medicine with your lifestyle and nutrition choices but don’t know where to start. Then this package is for you!  Contact me today for availability and to schedule your date and time, I am also here to answer any questions you might have about this package!  For pricing of this package and other programs check out my “services” tab .

What’s The Big Deal About Essential Oils Anyway?

????????????????????????????????????????

 

You may have seen the growing popularity of essential oils circulating on the internet lately and thought to yourself, what is this new fad? The truth is essential oils are not new, they have been around and have been a viable source of natural remedies for a millennia.

 

I am certain that essential oils were one of God’s designs for medicine (along with foods and other natural sources) and that is why I affectionately refer to them as “God’s pharmacy”

There are many essential oils and many uses for them today. In fact I find myself saying “there’s an oil for that” quite often among the many complaints of aches, pains and troubles that people face on a daily basis. In our current day and age we have been taught that going to the doctor and getting a prescription is the way to handle our sickness’ and ailments to the point that we look at something as natural as a “plant essence” as uncivilized at best and “woo woo new age” at worst. I hope to help clear up any confusion and tell you that is simply not the case!

Essential oils are age old wisdom, I want you to think of a plant that grows in nature, take peppermint for example, the plant was created to thrive, to fight off harsh elements, disease, fungi bacterial threats etc..
The essence of the plant or its essential oil within is literally the “life blood” of the plant. It is the plants own defense mechanism that will protect it against such threats.

When you take a plant and steam distill all of this “essence” (not all essential oil manufactures use steam distillation, but doTERRA does!) out of it, what you have is a very powerful, very concentrated natural medicine. For every chemical pharmaceutical on the market today, there is a remedy found in nature that it has copied, that is something to really think about.

As a holistic health coach it is my passion to use the most natural means when treating my family, my clients and even my own ailments. As a mom it gives me joy when my child says to me, “mom, my ear hurts, can you rub some oil on it?” she asks for this because she knows it makes her feel better, she has no other agenda. Essential oils are good safe medicine, plain and simple.

Are you intrigued? Does what you have just read make sense to you? I invite you to watch the brief and informative video below and get to know doTERRA brand essential oils a little better, and here about the “Family Physician Kit” one of doTERRA’s most popular choices!

I know what you are going to say “But Michelle, those oils are too expensive!” Really…. they are not. Or “Michelle, do they really work?” Take a look at the cost break down and time of effectiveness of a doTERRA oil (which is a certified pure therapeutic grade essential oil by the way) vs. a traditional pharmaceutical remedy:

For a child’s fever: peppermint oil 33 cents vs 50 cents of traditional medicine
peppermint oil for fever works in 5-10 min vs 30+ for traditional med

For ear infection: Lavender & Melaleuca oils 64 cents vs Doctors visit and antibiotics $28.99
Lavender & Melaleuca oils works in 1 day vs 7-10 days of antibiotics (not to mention the damage that unnecessary antibiotics cause to stomach flora and gut health)

These are just 2 simple examples of how doTERRA essential oils can positively influence the health and financial savings in your home!

Make sure to watch the video below to the end to hear about the special offer from me! Also if you join as a wellness associate in July and have a qualifying pv order of 100 doTERRA will give you $50 in free product value as a thank you! This is the month to join if you have been sitting on the fence, take advantage of this great deal!

 

Patriotic Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

fruitsalad

 

4th of July is here! I’ve shared this before but some of my best summertime memories as a kid were from the 4th of July, swimming all day in my grandma’s pool, enjoying all the family and friends that were there and then when night fall finally came setting off what seemed like endless hours of fireworks!

Good memories 🙂

Unfortunately, I’m sure I spent the day also eating less than nutritious foods, chips, soda, popsicle’s and hot dogs… sigh

4th of July is a time when many get together to celebrate friends and family and summer and freedom, and it does not have to be unhealthy! Try this recipe for a natural red white and blue fruit salad! Fruit is simple, refreshing, tasty and this festive recipe is perfect to adorn any 4th of July table!

For the salad: (organic ingredients are always best whenever possible)

  • 2 boxes strawberries hulled, stemmed and sliced
  • 3 small boxes blueberries or one large box
  • 3 apples any variety peeled, cored and chopped into cubes
  • 3 cups of seedless watermelon balls
  • mint leaves to garnish

For the dressing:

  • juice of 2 large limes
  • 2 tbsp of organic raw honey
  • optional additional mint leaves finely chopped

Clean and prepare all fruit, in a large bowl mix all your fruit together, in a small mixing bowl, combine your lime juice, honey and optional mint leaves, pour over fruit salad and toss until all is coated, cover and place in fridge for a minimum of one hour before serving for all the flavors to mingle together. Garnish with extra mint leaves just before serving. Simple, healthy, clean eating. Enjoy!  









How To Take A Detox Bath

Detox-101-Simple-Ways-to-Detoxify-Lavender-Detox-Bath

 

What is a detox bath you ask? A detox bath is an easy and relaxing way to end your day and help your body eliminate unwanted stored  up toxins and soothe stress away. It’s safe enough that it can be done daily, it’s gentle and effective so it is safe enough for children as well!

If you are having trouble sleeping or going through a particularly stressful time in your life, then a detox bath is a great way to lavish some much needed love on yourself! A detox bath is also a great addition to any cleanse or detox program you undergo like my upcoming 12 Day Spring Cleanse .

An effective detox bath only needs 3 ingredients; Epsom Salts, Baking Soda and Therapeutic Grade Lavender Oil, you may also want to take the time to create a quiet space for yourself, light some candles play some soft music and take the time to unwind.

Here is what to do:

Draw a warm bath and while the water is filling up pour 2 cups of Epsom salts under the running water and 1 cup of baking soda, swirl the salts and soda around with your hand until dissolved. Once the bath is full and the salts and soda are dissolved, place 10 drops of lavender oil (you can purchase here) get in and soak for 20 to 30 minutes.

*One word of caution! Depending on your bodies level of toxicity you may experience a slight dizziness or light headedness upon standing, so use caution and stand up slowly, this is a good thing if it happens because it means that a lot of toxins have just escaped from your pores! Thank you Epsom Salts!!

The Benefits include:

The Epsom salts help to eliminate toxins by opening up pores and drawing out toxic waste through the skin, this is also a great way for your body to absorb some much needed magnesium (most American’s are deficient in this important mineral!)

baking soda is a great way to help balance your PH levels and help with an over acidic body.

This bath helps to relax tired muscles and joints and reduce dangerous cortisol levels (the belly fat hormone) the lavender oil is very soothing and healing and will help you to sleep like a baby!

I am a big fan of these baths and think everyone should add them to part of their regular health maintenance routine!

 

Be sure to leave any comments or questions you might have below and join the conversation with Graciously Organic on FaceBook!

 

 

 

Do You Spring Clean Your Home? How About Your Body?

springcleanse

 

I love to spring clean, my husband say’s I love to throw things away, and in all honesty it’s kind of true! Cleaning out closets, taking down the cob webs and giving away boxes of old toys to the good will. It feels so good to get rid of the old and make way for the new doesn’t it?

So… How about your body? Have you ever thought about giving it a good cleanse… and I mean on the inside? Just like our homes our bodies can easily become cluttered and “hold onto” more junk then they need! In today’s modern world we are bombarded with toxins, they are in the air we breath, the water we drink and bathe in, the chemicals we put on our skin in forms of make up and lotions etc.. And sadly we eat a toxic diet, loaded with sugar, hydrogenated fats, artificial chemicals and preservatives.

Doing a cleanse is a good way to “re-set” to give your over stimulated system a much needed rest, to let your digestive system “cool down” allow your liver and other main organs a chance to catch up and run more optimally, allowing them to “clean house” more efficiently.

I am a firm believer in the benefits of internally cleansing the body, I have done many cleanses of various types over the years and I have seen great results, I believe cleansing the body should be looked at as a normal part of life, not some weird woo-woo thing we tried that one time 🙂 but something we do as part of healthy maintenance, just like getting the oil changed in your car! Doing a cleanse (I recommend at the very least doing one at the change of each season) should be looked at as great preventative medicine!

This particular cleanse is all about eating real nourishing food! Food that tastes great and gives you optimal energy without weighing you down! Best of all, there is nothing special or weird to buy, most everything you will be consuming can be purchased at a regular grocery store. You will have access to great recipes that you can use again and again! And this cleanse is designed to balance and stabilize your blood sugar levels, helping to eliminate cravings for sweets, refined carbs and caffeine! More than any other concern I hear when I coach clients is “I am addicted to sugar” this cleanse will help kick that sugar addiction to the curb!

Now that Spring is here is a great time to do a cleanse, and that is why I am offering this spring cleanse at a very affordable rate, not only will you get the cleansers E-Book delivered right to your inbox which contains all the info you need (menus, recipes, grocery lists) to follow this cleanse, but also daily journaling exercises to help you set goals, stay the course and visualize your ideal self. You will also get daily affirmations OR daily bible verses (depending on which format you choose) to help encourage you on your way! During this 12 days you will also have access to health coaching from yours truly 🙂 a private facebook group for others going through this cleanse with you and all the guidance and support you need to make it from day #1 through day #12 successfully! All of this for only $49!

I love helping people get results and I am excited for you to make this commitment to yourself and see those results first hand, because if you don’t take care of you… who will?

If you are interested in joining us or have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below or contact me today to register!

Spring Cleanse April 7th – 18th just $49 

 

St. Patrick’s Day Vegan Creamy Asparagus Soup

1912029_624278754305390_870775576_n

Happy St. Patty’s Day! How about something festive AND healthy for a change 🙂 This soup is called creamy asparagus, but it actually has few different veggies in it!  And you can make it any time of year, it just so happens to feel a little more festive when served on March 17!

Here is a list of what you will need:

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves of fresh garlic 
  • 2 cups chopped up raw asparagus (with woody ends removed)
  • 1 whole head of cauliflower cut up
  • 1 cup chopped up kale
  • 6 cups low sodium and organic vegetable broth
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • sea salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp dill
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

And here is what you do with all those ingredients 🙂 :

In a large stock pot heat the olive oil and add your 3 garlic cloves, either minced or pressed, cook the garlic for 1 min, then add your chopped up asparagus and cauliflower pieces, cook for an additional few minutes. Now add your 6 cups of vegetable broth and kale and bring to a mild boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer for aprox 10 min (or until cauliflower is nice and tender) add your seasonings and then transfer your veggie soup mixture to the blender (I love my vita mix!) I did mine in two separate batches, in the second batch I added the raw cilantro and parsley. Once everything is blended until nice and smooth, transfer back to your stock pot and serve nice and warm!

Not only is this soup pretty and green for St. Patty’s day, but it is highly nutritious! The asparagus provides anti oxidants and is a great anti inflammatory food and the cilantro and parsley are both great blood purifiers so this soup could easily be incorporated into a cleansing or detoxing program!

If you try this soup let me know what you think! Be sure to join Graciously Organic’s community of followers on Facebook!

Organic Creamy Dilled Butternut Squash Soup

1511738_600664583333474_1866854922_nWinter food at its finest 🙂 even though here in CA we have been experiencing a heat wave for this time of year! I know some of you have been dealing with frigid temps, and so… Well, this one is for you! Have I ever mentioned that I am a fan of easy as well as nutritious? Well, this soup is SOOO easy, with only a few ingredients and minimal prep its a great one for a cold winters night.  Here is what you will need:

  • 1 organic butternut squash
  • 1 32 oz container of free range organic chicken stock (I get mine from Trader Joes)
  • 1 8 oz package of full fat organic cream cheese (if you cant find the organic variety, go for all natural full fat)
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp Dill (fresh or dried will work)
  • dried spice blend to taste (mine had onion, celery, turmeric, black pepper and paprika in it)

First thing you want to do is take a vegetable peeler and peel the skin off of your squash, then cut it in half and scoop all the seeds and strings out of it, it’s sorta like a pumpkin in this way. Once you have it nice and cleaned out chop it up into squares for boiling like so…

1536468_600643953335537_203495379_n

Victoria chopping away

Boil the squash over medium heat for about 40 min, just keep an eye on it and get it to the fork tender point. When it is nice and soft, drain ALL of the water and replace the liquid with the chicken stock (I only used about 3/4 of the box, it depends on the consistency you want, creamier use less, thinner use more) and the entire 8 oz block of cream cheese, break it up into chunks if you can. Now you are going to transfer it to your blender, unless of course you have an emersion stick blender then you could skip this part entirely  and just blend it up in your stock pot. But for the rest of us, we are going to transfer this into a high powered blender (I love my vita mix) and blend until smooth, you may have to do this step in batches depending on the size of your blender.

1010402_600661556667110_1907406041_n

Creamy goodness

Once it is nice and smooth, transfer it back to your stock pot and add your seasonings and reheat just before serving. That is it! I told you this was easy 🙂 now I do want to talk just a bit about the nutritional value of this soup. Butternut squash packs a big nutrient punch giving your body adequate doses of Vit C, Vit A, Vit B6, Folate and Potassium, All great to eat during cold and flu season, but…. in order for your body to assimilate these nutrients you need to eat them with some fat…. enter cream cheese to the rescue! These nutrients will satisfy your body and the taste will satisfy your taste buds (even the kids will ask for seconds!!) I hope you enjoy this recipe, be sure to come back and let me know what you think. Also come on over and lets continue the discussion on Facebook, I’d love to chat with you more about all things natural 🙂