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Best Essential Oils For Your Skin!



For the last three months are so I have been OBSESSED with essential oils! I have incorporated them into just about every aspect of my life. From my beauty routine to cleaning, to a quick fix for a headache. My box of oils has a solution to any problem I throw at it.

Today I am going to go over the essential oils I use in my beauty routine and the benefits they have. If I missed your favorite essential oil, let me know in the comments below!

~Stella~


Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense oil is wonderful for all types of skin. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits. These benefits make it best for acne-prone skin. You can also use it as a toner. It can reduce the appearance of pores and helps even the skin tone. It also helps encourage new cell growth. This will help tighten skin, reduce wrinkles and the appearance of scars. It also is wonderful for soothing chapped or dry skin.

Lavender Essential Oil
As if Lavender oil needs another reason to be absolutely amazing! Not only does it do wonders to help with anxiety and insomnia it is also amazing for the skin. It helps regenerate skin cells, reduces sun spots and scarring.

Patchouli Essential Oil
Patchouli oil is a pretty recent addition to my collection but I have used it daily since I got it. It also promotes new cell growth and reduces wrinkles. It is also an antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial. This means it helps with skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis and acne.

Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree essential oil is one of the more popular oils for acne control. It is an antibacterial so it helps ward off acne-causing bacteria and assists wound healing. It also helps regulate oil production.

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How To Identify Ripe Fruit

This is such a wide and varied area, it is near impossible to capture all of the necessary points in one article.

Additionally, there are so many fruits worldwide, this is beyond a mammoth task to undertake. That stated, an overview of the basics is attempted in terms of an outline here.
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Fruits are the Hallmark of a Healthy Lifestyle, as far as diet goes. Firstly, in an ideal world, all of your fruits consumed are local and in season. For persons outside of the tropics and subtropical regions, they are not so fortunate to have this luxury.


How Best To Define Fruit What is fruit?
A fruit is a plant source of food, grown mainly on trees( Bell Peppers, cucumbers, zucchinis and tomatoes being some exceptions and are non-sweet fruits) the seed of which often used to grow new trees. Fruits have the characteristics of Internal seed(s)or stone/pit, with an outer external skin, soft( grape, plum, nectarine, peach for example), semi-soft(mango, papaya), hard(watermelon, cantaloupe, kiwi, honeydew, pomegranate, jackfruit, durian, plantain, bananas). Some hard skins are quite edible, especially when fully ripe. Fruits, when fully ripe should be consumed and not before; Unripe fruit a)Offer little to no nutrients available to the body b). Cause stomach upset and other digestive issues as they are near impossible to breakdown by the body, digest and assimilate. The whole purpose of eating for nutritional gain is therefore lost.


Key Pointers On Ripe Fruit:
Some key things to look for in ripe fruits, bearing in mind, they vary from fruit to fruit and even within varieties of the same fruit.

General Characteristics of Ripe Fruit

  1. ‘Bounciness’ of skin, the skin 'gives', when slight pressure is applied using fingers. This is easier to detect with soft-skinned fruits, but work as well with harder skinned fruits, including avocado.
  2. Change in color of exterior. Eg. Cherries turn from green to red.
  3. Fragrance: the fragrance of fruits become more pronounced as they release ethylene in the ripening process, and thus, there is a distinct and noticeable fruit scent emitted at this stage. These features vary from fruit to fruit as well as varieties of the same fruit.
  4. The skin color often changes to a brighter, vibrant one (this is different from a total color change, say green to red, eg. Star Apples become brighter purple, as red bananas become a brighter red when ripe).
  5. Exceptions: Some namely exceptions which we may not readily know are: Plantains ~ These are fully ripe and ready to eat( raw) when the skin is black and the inside becomes very  soft, Bell Peppers - depending on the type, the fruit may  never change from green and fullness of ripeness is gauged by the ease in which it may be plucked from the stalk, zucchinis(botanical fruit/summer squash)are not soft when ready to eat, and the colour becomes darker/deeper/richer, rather than change to another colour.


How To Access Ripe Fruit:
Naturally Ripened Fruit: Naturally ripened fruit these days are a rare commodity.

Many commercial fruit suppliers harvest unripe fruit, for export and/or commercial gain. A chemical or chemicals will then be used to make them appear ripe. To bypass this, seek produce directly from your local farmers who harvest ripe or close to ripe fruits. Eating unripe fruit which only appear ripe is counterproductive in seeking to gain benefits from the fruit ~ both in taste and nutrient quality along with availability.

Sourcing Naturally Ripened Fruits:
Volunteering to assist the farmer to reap his goods/fruits when they are ready is another way to ensure you are getting good quality and tree ripened produce. Offer or ask, it is the only way to know if there is this opportunity to secure high-quality food items from nature. If in a position to be present at the time of produce harvest, the ease with which the stem loosens from the branch and/or how easy it is to peel/open are key indicators of the degree of ripeness of the fruit. Eg. ' Breaking away a banana from the bunch as well as peeling should be effortless when fully ripe. With some banana varieties, this is evidenced by spotty skins, yet firmness of the edible part while retaining their ' white flesh ' and full tastefulness.


Why is this important?
Locally grown, fresh,  in season ( preferably organic) fruits are the very best to consume. Nutrients are most readily available from properly ripened fruits. Properly ripened fruits have nutrients at and in  their most simple state( simple sugars- fructose and sucrose), this, is in contrast to carbohydrates in unripe fruit, which the body has to first break down to simple sugars,  then assimilate ~ thus utilizing more energy and delaying nutrient benefits to the cells and by extrapolation,  the entire  anatomy.

This also can only occur if the fruit is masticated properly, as ' digestion starts in the buccal cavity' Clearly, it is far easier to chew fully ripe fruit ~ something we need to be ever mindful of at all times.

-Jan 

Is The Zero Waste Movement Really Making a Difference?



The last few months I have really been focusing my efforts on losing the waste coming from my home. One of the responses I have gotten from people when this topic comes up in conversation is "Do you really think you would be able to save the planet?" To me, this question basically means do you think your efforts mean anything? Because I don't.

So, do I think I am making a difference? The average American throws away 4.4 pounds of trash a day, or 29 pounds per week, or 1,600 pounds per year. The average American lives to be 77 years old. This is 123,000 pounds of trash over the lifespan of one person.


By taking a few steps I have reduced my household's trash by half. Going by the statics above, my husband and I should produce 58 pounds of trash a week, but at this point, we fill up one tall trash bag a week. It weighs between 6-8 pounds every week. We feel that this is still quite a bit of trash and want to reduce it even more. This is the change we have seen in our own household. 

We have also inspired friends and family to at least be a bit more concussions of the waste they are creating if not starting on their own zero waste journey. At this point, we have reached about 5 other households and have helped them reduce their trash also. 
The thing is that the Zero Waste movement is kind of a ripple effect. The main problem with trash today is that people have an "out of sight, out of mind" mentality. This means after we put our trash in the trash bin, we do not think about where it goes next. Once people start to learn about what happens after they are horrified and start looking for ways to reduce their own trash. 

The first step is education. We need to make sure we are education those who do not know. But we need to do it in a respectful manner. Remember, we are not helping our cause by getting in people's faces and being nasty. Luckily, social media has done a pretty good job about spamming us all with photos and videos of the effects of plastic and trash on the enforcement. 


This is one of those photos circulating around. This one also happens to be very accurate. So if you really think about it, most of the trash we have made in our lifetime is still around. From infancy all the way to present. I don't know about you but thinking of how much of these things I have encountered and disposed of in my life makes me a bit overwhelmed. Then to think about that the trash from every person is still hanging around makes me even more overwhelmed.

This leaves me with my next question, what can I do? If every person does their part to reduce their waste, imagine the effect it could have! Realistically, not every person will not want to reduce their waste, but even if we can spread the message to a portion of the population, it would still make a difference.

A few steps you can do to reduce your waste are:

1. Buy reusable shopping bags and produce bags

2. Try not to buy products wrapped in plastic

3. Start a garden

4. Buy your food locally and shop at farmers markets

5. Make purchases that will last so that you will not have to buy it again

6. Compost you food scraps

7. Reuse everything you can.


Over the next few weeks, I plan to post more content about my Zero Waste journey and the steps we can take to reduce our waste overall! 

See you next time!
~Stella~

Getting ready to explore the great outdoors? Check out THESE Hiking Poles from Montem!



TO JUICE OR TO BLEND?

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Why do `we juice, and why do we blend, and which is better?
The simple answer: Neither is better and selecting one over the other is solely:
a) Out of preference or
b) Based on what one wishes to achieve


Juicing:
Juicing is the process by which the natural liquids within plant foods (fruits and vegetables) is extracted for consumption, without the fibrous component. There are different ways to extract these juices.

Manually
Some persons (many frugivores/fruitarians) opt to making their juice manually; this however, limits the options to juicy fruits which can be easily massaged to release the natural juices. This also means that most if not all vegetables are exempt.


Centrifugal Juicers
These are relatively medium to high speed juicers more geared for rapid output, and more often than not, requires minimal produce preparation. These are ideal for commercial use.


Masticating Low rpm Juicers
These are my favorite, as their output is cold pressed juices with relatively little waste(dry pulp).The nutrient integrity of the juice is considerably high and the juice has a longer life once stored at a low temperature(refrigerated).I recommend these types for persons on a raw vegan Lifestyle. They tend to handle leafy greens very well. There is little to no oxidation taking place as there is little to no heat added in the process of extraction.


Pros of Juicing:


  • Juicing makes it easier to assimilate the adequate vitamins and minerals. . . Nutrients are released quickly and are easily absorbed.


  • You consume more than you would eat, thus a good way to get your greens (2lbs) in for the day.


  • In a VANDERVILT Study over   10 yr period, on some   1,800 Japanese American drinking fresh juice 2-3/wk, it was found that they had a lower risk of Alzheimer’s of up to 76%., compared to their non-juicing counterparts.


  • Easier assimilation minus fiber.

Blending
Blending is the process by which fruits and or vegetables are placed in a device which blends the ingredients, sometimes with added liquid(s). What is blended is consumed (soluble and insoluble fibre) - liquid form of food...


More volume is attained than juicing the same ingredients. Filling and can easily replace a solid meal.


Sadly, the process of blending oxidizes nutrients and results in almost immediate degradation. It is advised that smoothies be consumed within 10-15 minutes s of making, and ideally made on the pulse setting.

Pros of Blending:


  • Smoothies are rich in fibre and aid in elimination, they are semi-liquid and are is easier to ' chew', we must chew our smoothies. Gulping is ineffective, especially since digestion begins in the mouth.


  • Smoothies are fast to make


  • Easy travel food


  • Great meal replacement.


  • Zero produce waste.


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Pros of Juices and Smoothies:
Whatever the case, both are beneficial in some way and rank superior to consuming processed, cooked, meat, dairy, eggs and many animal products or by-products.  As well as anything in the SAD category.


Both are beneficial in terms of providing the body with beneficial nutrients available for absorption


Both juices and smoothies alike offer Micro and Phyto (plant) nutrients available to the body’s cells. Nutrition at a cellular level is one of the most effective ways to ensure the body is adequately nourished.


Assuming pure whole plant based ingredients (preferably organic) are used: Juices and smoothies both

  • Help to reduce inflammation. And
  • Reduce oxidized stress in the body.

How To Be Your Own Valentine




Hey guys, so today is February 14th and it is Valentines day.
I have noticed that there different point of views of the Valentines day. One being the people who are so excited about it. They have been prepping for weeks and this is a day the love and look forward to. I have a friend who has been making her boyfriend little crafts and gifts for the last two months. The second point of view is people who are neutral about Valentines day. These are people like myself, they do not really get into the whole Valentines day thing but they don't hate it. They may go to dinner or buy their significant other a little something special or they may not. The third point of view is the people who are anti-Valentines day. These people are the people who HATE Valentine's day.

No matter what side of the line you stand on there is still a certain pressure to make sure you have a Valintine and to go all out for this one day of the year. Sometimes this pressure can leave a person feeling pretty down on themselves if they do to have a person to spend the day with.

As part of our #loveyourself2017 movement we wanted to take advantage of this day to talk about ways to be your own Valentine. At the end of the day, the most important thing really is that you love yourself. Here are a few things YOU can do to love yourself not only on Valentines day but every day!



1. Take yourself out on a date.
Go out to lunch with yourself. You could take a book or people watch. My favorite places to eat alone are at restaurants in busy locations with an outside eating area. Use this time to clear your head, take a deep breath and smell the flowers.

2. Treat yourself to a shopping trip.
One of my favorite things to do is go to thrift shops. Not only is this a great way to get yourself a little something, it si also better for the environment to shop used then it is to buy new.

3. Dress up for yourself.
There is something nice about putting a little bit more effort into getting ready. When you are getting ready, put on something that makes you feel beautiful. This may very from person to person. Some people may feel best all glammed up others may feel best going all natural. Find what works for you and then work it!

Ultimately the most important thing is to spend time with yourself and show yourself love. It doesn't have to be one of these things, but spend some time today loving yourself!

~Stella~

How To Secure Your Food Supply And Source

How do you currently put food on your table? The advent of supermarkets in the late 1940’s brought commercialization and a decline in overall health as we moved away from the natural to the unnatural. Today’s challenges are a lot more serious and detrimental to health with the introduction of GMO’s(Genetically Modified Organisms), Weed killers severely toxic to humans, more harsh herbicides and pesticides, gene altering preservatives, just to name a few.


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The food we buy is always in question, as we remain in want as to the details of its source/origin.


Do we know?


  1. Was it imported, if yes, from where and when?
  2. Is it organic?
  3. Is it non-GMO?
  4. Is it herbicide and pesticide free?


All the answers to the above  remain largely in the hands of others as long as we are solely consumers.


As many of you may know, I strongly promote eating wholly and fully plant based live/raw foods as part of a healthy lifestyle. This is by far the optimal way to heal as well as nourish the body. It is abundantly clear that reliance on medication to ' sustain ' us is not an answer to our call for health, and using food as our medicine is the tried and tested efficient  way to thrive, once we choose our foods wisely...


Now, in the 21st century, how is it possible to trust your food source? I shall tell you, the ONE and only surefire way to do this is to plant your very own. Some of the greatest 'super foods' are the easiest to grow. Amongst these are: Turmeric, Ginger, Mint, Basil. Most super foods are basic plant herbs and spices.


There are alternative sources of safe, nutritious foods such as direct sourcing from organic farmers, etc. But to truly cut costs, know your food and save on time, having your own garden of food is the most efficient way to go.


To get started, there are many guides which I recommend, starting with those who have the land space, for which not much is required to succeed in achieving same, as this is a relatively easy endeavour. Some examples are listed below:








Raised Bed Gardens: http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/lawn-garden/how-to/g92/build-raised-garden-beds/                                




Confined/Limited Space Gardening.


Definitely, going vertical if you have little space is the way to go and there are numerous indoor and outdoor options. In this era, limited space is quite common place and therefore recommendations in this regard are aplenty:


Gardening in Small Spaces,  15 Ways to squeeze a garden unto Your Deck or Patio: http://www.hgtv.com/design/outdoor-design/outdoor-spaces/ways-to-squeeze-a-garden-onto-your-deck-or-patio-pictures


Rooftop Farming.




Seeds


Make it a priority to source known sources of seeds- heirloom and/or organic. A few trusted sources including your local trusted farmer(s) are:


Baker Creek Heirlom Seeds:  http://www.rareseeds.com/


Organic Seeds: https://www.seedsnow.com/?rfsn=115376.e419a

What You Need for the Best Soil Mix for Raised Beds: http://sumogardener.com/best-soil-mix-for-raised-beds/


Alternative For Limited Space Occupants:


If space is an issue, leasing land, preferably from organic farmers whom you trust is yet another option. Choose an arrangement which best suits your time and budget.


a). Outsource the farming responsibility and oversee operations.
b). Carry out farming responsibilities for yourself   and only pay lease fees
c). Pay lease fee + farming fee/maintenance to land owner/farmer.

The three options are self explanatory in context and give an idea of available options.

Recipe!! Jerusalem Salad

Hey guys! Today, I am going to share with you one of my favorite recipes. It is so light and delicious! Although this is an original recipe, I got the inspiration from my favorite middle eastern restaurant here in Louisville, Kentucky. It is called Jerlusum Kitchen.

Restaurants like this are a god send when on a plant based diet. This restaurant in particular as many wonderful vegan dishes and I always enjoy my meal there. They also have some dishes that have meat in them so it is an awesome place to take my family as well.

This can be eaten on it's own, added on top of something else. or eaten as a side. At Jerlusum Kitchen, I always order it with falafel and hummus. I love to break up the falafel and mix it with the hummus and salad.

When I make it at home, I eat it as a side with something else or on top of a bean burger. 
I hope you enjoy this recipe!

Happy cooking!
~Stella~





Jerusalem Salad
makes 2 servings

- 1 Cucumber diced
- 1 tomato diced
- 1 teaspoon tahini
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Juice from one lemon
- 1 teaspoon cilantro chopped

1. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl
2 Serve! It can stay in the refrigerator for up to a week

Going on a camping trip? Try THIS One-Night Camping Menu from Montem!

Minimalism, Why?

As I began my minimalist lifestyle Journey last year (2016), I thought I would share a nugget of what is about, in as concise a manner as possible.

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My favorite definition of minimalism comes from  Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus, on the site, ‘The Minimalists’, here is what it states:


‘Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.’

Some Benefits of Minimalism:


'The World is full of material things, but real living happens in the space between all of our stuff'- Patrick Allan.  ‘You can be owned by stuff. ’


Just to name a few, and please check out this site for more info.  http://www.becomingminimalist.com/what-is-minimalism/


  • Sense of liberation.


  • Freeing your space helps you to plan and think more clearly... Almost as true as ' freeing your mind ‘!


  • More Productive Time


  • Help out others with low priced used items whilst gaining extra income ~ garage sales and similar events.


  • Donate to Thrift Stores, or simply donate to the homeless, Salvation Army etc.  


  • Choices in attire become less confusing,


  • Laundry and electricity bills can easily be reduced.

Some Simple Steps to achieving a minimalist’s Lifestyle:


  • Dispose of unwanted, worn items in poor condition, these will be taking up physical and mental space and not serving any useful purpose.


  • Go through each room and bag ALL items not used in the past 6 months or more, included here are unappreciated items which bring you no joy. This step may well be the highest hurdle to overcome yet.


  • Once this hurdle (above) has been overcome, categorize accordingly – Donate, sell etc.


  • Repeat every 6-8 months.


There are numerous ways to approach this lifestyle. First and of utmost importance is to recognise NEEDS  vs. WANTS; separate the two,  and rid self of unnecessary wants. Keep the ' needs', and overtime reduce to a bare minimum your 'wants' . Never acquire a ' need ' or ' want ', until an existing need or want is discarded with good reason.


Having more space ensures you have only what you need.


Less is more holds true in the pursuit of minimalism.


Those whom have found themselves successful at achieving a minimalist lifestyle have done so in various ways with varying goals and varying results. For eg. A person traveling much and living out of a suitcase, will have different wants and needs from the person living in a home and having a job in their hometown per se. Additionally, this process is a) An ongoing one and b)' Actual State of Satisfaction ' may take years to accomplish.


More thinking space is made and what one may consider ' room to grow/expand '~ in many other  areas/aspects  of life : self development, introspection, connection with the Holy Spirit. And more. . .


In an era of busyness, tight deadlines, increased expectations, significant home and family  demands, and other  responsibilities, whilst seeking to carve out recreational time,  having at the least, one aspect of your life less demanding is more than a charm.


Aside from the above, many persons concerned about the environment who make dietary changes (veganism ), as well as adopt green living(recycling, thrifting etc). tend to recognize the importance of minimalism as part and parcel of ' simple ', user friendly living. . . This lends to simplicity in thinking, actions, everyday activity planning etc. By default in most cases.


From the words of Milbourn and Nicodemus: ‘Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.’


So set yourself free and start TODAY!

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