Coconut Oil Packets – It’s my Friday Favorite

This week I wanted to share with you a Friday Favorite that I never intended to buy. Ever go to Trader Joe’s and come out with things you’ve never bought before? All the time, right? A couple of weeks ago I bought their box of virgin unrefined coconut oil. I was intrigued by it, but not enough to do anything with it so it went into my pantry and there it sat, until I had a conversation with a client about getting more in our diet while we’re out and about.

After that conversation, I went home and realized I had bought something for this purpose. I had these handy coconut oil packets but never really used them, until this last week. I had a couple of coffee meetings and don’t want to add all the creamers and sugars to my coffee so I popped these little cuties in my bag and off I went.

They worked but I had to have one of the baristas cut the top off since they don’t have easy-to-open tops…or they are Laura proof. But it worked. I stirred it in and my coffee turned into a little vegan bulletproof paradise. Then I started thinking about all the other ways I could use these packets while traveling.

Coconut oil packet uses while traveling

  • If you mix one packet with a packet of sugar available in your hotel room, you have a soothing foot and body scrub.
  • Take one packet and mix it with the used coffee grounds from the coffee pod you just had for breakfast, add a packet of sugar and you have a sweet coffee facial scrub that will wake up your skin and make your skin ultra soft.
  • It’s a great way to continue oil pulling on the road.
  • Need a deep conditioner, work a packet of the oil through your hair before you shampoo, or after you get out of the pool. It protects your hair from the bad chlorine impacts.
  • It also makes the perfect eye makeup remover. Then you can wash your entire face with it and not need a moisturizer.

  • I truly love the sweet coffee scrub.
  • Yes, this is me with absolutely, no makeup on.
  • That’s my Friday Favorite for the week.
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    Find Comfort in the Adventure

    Today, marks the beginning of a new journey for myself. Beginning has always been the most difficult thing for me to do. I heard a great message over the weekend about asking for what we need and just doing it. It’s scary putting myself out there for the world to see. It’s easy to hide behind words, behind a social media persona. But putting myself out there with photos and videos on the different social media platforms, that’s where I get scared and would rather hide in closet and be incognito. But there’s no comfort in being a ghost. I’m helping my husband prepare for a backpacking trip now that he’s lost almost 70 pounds all the while wanting to go with. But knowing that I haven’t disciplined myself in my eating and exercising to have the capability to take that trip. I needed to change the way I viewed comfort. I need to find comfort in the adventure.

    I love my “cooking” adventures, or should I say my “keeping it raw” adventures. I’m in my favorite room of my house…my kitchen. I can spend hours in my kitchen (and have) and never get bored. When I’m prepping a meal, I don’t eat. I’m so immersed in the creativity of the meal, I forget about everything else. It’s like an artist painting or sculpting. I have to remind myself to at least drink water.

    I don’t know what’s so frightening for me to get out of my comfort zone and be on a little screen that I have control of. I can press stop whenever I feel like it. I can write up talking points so I’m not confused, and I know where I want to go with the 45 seconds I’ve allotted myself. 45 seconds seems like a blip in time but when you’re in front of the camera it’s an eternity!

    45 seconds

    Why did I choose 45 seconds?

    If you think about all the things you can accomplish with that short amount of time, you can change your life in 45 second increments.

    Here are some things you can do in 45 seconds that will change your life.

    1. Make your bed
    2. Clean off the dining table
    3. Wipe down the front of your refrigerator
    4. Clean your bathroom mirror
    5. Do 30 crunches, pushups, jumping jacks
    6. Download a podcast or two
    7. Download a movie
    8. Straighten your desk
    9. Tell someone you love them.
    10. Send a text message
    11. Read through some emails
    12. Close your eyes and breathe!
    13. Begin planning an adventure
    14. Say a little prayer.

    Spend time doing these 45-second tasks every day and you’ll change parts of your life.

    Raw Food Adventure

    Raw Vegan Keto Lasagne

    Serves 6 hearty helpings

    • One recipe Macadamia “Ricotta” Cheese
    • 3 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise into thin strips (I used a veggie peeler)
    • 3 medium purple carrots sliced lengthwise into thin strips (veggie peeler)
    • About 1/4 cup snipped purple carrot strips for topping (will look like bacon)

    Bacon lookalike

    Parsley Pumpkin Seed Pesto

    • 1 bunch flat leaf, Italian parsley, chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, sliced
    • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
    • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
    • 1/2 cup avocado oil
    • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt

    Whirl it around in a food processor adding up to 2 Tablespoons water if you like your pesto a bit thinner.

    First zucchini layer and macadamia ricotta

    Prepping the Lasagna

    1. Layer zucchini strips in a small rectangular glass casserole dish. It doesn’t matter which direction they go.
    2. Add some dollops of the macadamia ricotta cheese. Spreading it with a back of a spoon works great. You’ll need to take your time and be patient.
    3. Add a layer of carrot strips.
    4. Pesto layer same as the ricotta layer.
    5. Another layer of zucchini
    6. Pesto
    7. Carrot
    8. Ricotta
    9. Sprinkle on the snipped carrot strips.
  • Can eat immediately or chilled and eaten later. It’s great the day after.

    I’m getting out of my comfort zone and finding comfort in my adventures. How about you! Are you up for an adventure?

    Minding Your Mind and Keeping Your Memories

    With each pen stroke I made to the paper, my memories emptied themselves into beautiful flowery words. Each memory telling a story off my life. I was running out of ink and paper, I resorted to the crayons I found under the chair and wrote on the walls. Memories of childhood, of going to the little grocery store for my mom and the clerk always gave me a Twinkie because she thought I was such a good girl to do this nice thing for my mom. I wrote I wrote about the time a bee flew into our car and my sister freaking out…this first time I thought about being afraid of bees and bugs was a normal thing. For some reason I couldn’t hold onto my memories.

    My kitchen walls were filled with all the recipes I’ve collected in my mind and memory. Recipes I made from memory. Muffins, donuts, pancakes, veggie soup, avocado bliss, chicken and rice, pesto encrusted salmon all my go to recipes were written on the walls with the crayons I found.

    As the crayons and rooms were spent and filled, I found other things to write with and more areas to write on. I used some sharpees and wrote on the garage floor about all the places I’ve ever traveled to from memory. Writing each one out in detail and seeing where I’ve been seemed to be the most freeing exercise in futility I’ve ever done. I stood back and walked from room to room looking at all I had written…reliving each moment in memory.

    As I wrote reach memory out, my mind emptied itself of all the clutter I collected over the 55 years of my life. But I could no longer remember these memories as they were put down on paper (walls, post-it’s, napkins, tables, floors, shower curtains, etc). My mind was empty. It was like a data dump from a computer to a flash drive. I had no memory left, my mind had to be reformatted to accept and build new memories. I thought to myself “Who’s minding my mind?

    That’s when it happened.

    My alarm went off.

    I sat up to write out this strange dream/nightmare. I wrote in detail which is why I’m sharing this here. I kept thinking that it was only a dream, but it was also a wake up call. Then, as usual, for me at least, I asked myself questions about the dream and about how it related to my life as it is now.

    “Do Alzheimer’s patients feel like this when they are losing their memories? Where do their memories go? Do patients know they are losing their memories?” I don’t know the answers to these questions…but it would prove an interesting study. No…I don’t have memory issues, but in my dream I felt compelled to write everything out. If you looked at my computer monitor, I have sticky notes all around it. My office door is arrayed with sticky notes as is my refrigerator, my pantry, and my front door. All a sign of a busy life.

    “What’s the moral of this story?”

    • Keep remembering the moments in your life but try not to get stuck on in the past.
    • Write them out if you need to and read them. Share these memories with your children and grandchildren.
    • Connect or reconnect with family and friends.
    • Protect your memory.

    Minding your mind also includes making better food choices and eliminating those foods that don’t provide nutritional benefits but robs your body of necessary nutrients to support a vibrant quality of life.

    We’ve been told that fat is a culprit and we should eliminate it from our diets but our gray matter which holds our memories is made up of fat and without the right amount of fat we lose that elasticity and our memories will begin to slip at an earlier age.

    While dairy is a big allergy culprit that is being eliminated from diets across the board. It’s part of the Big 4 (dairy, eggs, sugar, grain) we are suggested to remove from our diets that might improve our life. Well, dairy is one of those food groups that is somewhat difficult to remove if you don’t have a food allergy to it. But there are all sorts of dairy alternatives to choose from. Alternative cheeses are great if you want to ingest all sorts of chemicals which are a detriment to our health.

    Being Italian and having to eliminate cheese is like a fish giving up water. I have tried to find good alternatives to ricotta cheese that didn’t have cashews, potatoes, or starches…and something that’s a good raw alternative! They don’t exist.

    So I went into my memory and came up with my own Macadamia “Ricotta” Cheese.

    Slightly wet ricotta cheese

    Macadamia “Ricotta” Cheese

    • 1 cup organic raw macadamia nuts, water soaked overnight in a covered container
    • 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk, no additives or emulsifiers
    • 1 clove garlic, minced and let to sit for 10 minutes to activate the alicin.
    • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
    • 1 teaspoon basil, oregano, Italian seasoning (optional)

    In a nutribullet or high powered blender, purée all the ingredients. Adding a teaspoon of water or more if necessary to make the mixture resemble ricotta cheese. Pour into a container and use as a dip or use as a component of a raw zucchini lasagne.

    Makes 1 cup ricotta cheese.

    Minding our mind and holding onto our memories is up to each of us. We make choices every day that will either keep our memories intact or make them disappear into nothingness.

    Choose wisely and protect those memories!

    Avocado Oil, My Skin’s Best Friend

    Since I take Friday’s off, I thought I would write about my favorite things I use each week. As you know, I use mostly organic personal products and eat mostly organic foods. I try my best to steer away from products that have too many ingredients. I try to buy the black of my food without a label from the produce and bulk sections of the store. The first of my Friday Faves is Avocado Oil. It really is my skin’s best friend!

    I use avocado oil in salad dressings and vinaigrettes. I use it as a topper on my soups. I put it on mashed cauliflower, and even carry it in a little eye dropper bottle in my purse so I can put it on my salads if I happen to be eating out. But the the best place I use avocado oil is in my daily facial routine.

    I wash my face with it. I don’t need any moisturizer afterwards. You’re probably asking yourself, “Is she crazy?” Most people think I am but that’s another story for another day. Did you know that the oil in avocados is the most similar to the oils in our skin? This makes perfect sense to me that we should be washing our faces with this any stop buying all the different products that cost an arm and leg. I love how this oil absorbs into my skin in about 10 minutes instead of the other moisturizers I’ve used in the past which just sat on the surface of my skin.

    I also love how I can use it to remove eye makeup without a burning sensation on my upper eyelid. It’s wonderful for a hair conditioner too, if you have extremely dry hair. I use it once a month as a follow up to my hair dye (organic too) as an extra precaution since any type of hair treatments and days of curling and straightening leave my hair dry.

    If you’re going to try some avocado oil either in your meals or in place of your facial and hair care, make sure it’s organic and cold pressed. Any oils you use should be organic and cold pressed since heating them kills all the nutrients. Also make sure it’s 100% avocado oil. Some brands are mixing avocado oil with soybean oil which contaminates the whole thing.

    Hats off to my skin’s best friend and probably yours!

    Raw Cream of Purple Carrot Soup

    I love everything purple. My phone is purple, my bathroom is purple, even my hair has streaks of purple. I find myself gravitating toward everything purple even in my food choices. Purple cabbage, purple radishes, purple cauliflower and even purple carrots I love these varieties. You never know what you’re going to get when you create a dish. These colors bring out the artist in me. I’m the colorful side of my marriage relationship, my husband is all black and white. Yet, he truly liked this Raw Cream of Purple Carrot Soup.

    My husband is a landscape photographer, he does everything in fine art quality black and white in Ansel Adams style. You can view some of his photos here and you’ll see what I mean. I on the other hand I bring color to his life, at least that’s what he always tells everyone! He also tells our friends he never know what I’m making for dinners or what’s in his food because I don’t use recipes. It’s true I don’t, I wrote a whole blog post about how I dream in flavors. I don’t anyone who does this.

    Most people will have a dream and get up to write….Nope! I get up to cook what I’ve dreamed about. This soup was in my dream last night. I was serving it to guests and they were really liking it. So here it is.

    Raw Cream of Purple Carrot Soup

    • 2 Purple carrots, chopped
    • 1 stalk celery, chopped
    • 1/8 cup chopped shallots
    • 1/2 of a large avocado, chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, sliced
    • 1/4 cup avocado oil
    • 1/4 t Himalayan salt
    • 1/8 t ground ginger
    • 1 teaspoon coconut amino acids
    • 1 cup water
    • 1/2 cup full fat coconut cream
    • 1 Tablespoon avocado oil for the topping
    • Toppings: pumpkin or sunflower seeds, cauliflower croutons, or chopped mint leaves

    Blend the first eight ingredients in a nutribullet or blender. Top with remaining tablespoon of the avocado oil and a topping of your choice. Makes 1 large serving or 2 smaller servings.

    Eating a raw, alkaline, keto, plant-based, vegan plan does take some creative out-of-the-box thinking but it’s so worth it in the end. Trust me. Your body will thank you. And maybe you’ll start dreaming in the flavors of this soup.

    Stalking It Raw Creamy Celery Soup

    I’ve said it a thousand times. I love cold soups in the summertime. But when I say this to my friends, I get gazpacho which I can’t eat because of my all my nightshade allergies. With so many other veggies to choose from, why do we think gazpacho when we think cold soup? I could never understand that. Eating the mostly raw vegan keto alkaline way is great because we get to try new flavors and sample new dishes or in this case bowls. I bought a boat load of celery the last week and need to use it. I came up with this new cold soup Stalking It Raw Creamy Celery Soup, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

    STALKING IT RAW CREAMY CELERY SOUP

    • 8 stalks of celery with leaves, chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, sliced
    • 1 Small shallot, chopped
    • 1/2 of a lime juiced
    • 1/4 cup avocado oil
    • 1/2 of a large avocado, chopped
    • 1 3/4 cup water
    • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
    • 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes, ground habanero pepper, or white pepper

    Directions

    1. It’s better to do this in batches. Put half the chopped celery, garlic, shallot, 1/8 of a cup of the avocado oil, 1 cup of water, 1/4 of the avocado and whirl around until smooth and creamy. Pour into a medium bowl. Repeat with the rest of the celery, avocado, avocado oil, and 3/4 cup water and salt. Whirl until smooth and creamy. Mix into the bowl with the first batch.
    2. Spoon into bowls. Sprinkle with hot pepper flakes and more salt if needed. I had it with my cauliflower tortilla chips. I also swirled on another 2 tablespoonfuls of more avocado oil.

    What’s really neat about this soup is you can change up it up. If you’d rather have a cold cucumber soup, use cucumbers with fresh dill instead of the red pepper flakes. If you’d rather it be a creamed spinach soup, just add spinach. Just remember to keep the avocado and oil to keep it keto!

    Stalking It Raw!

    Willpower Begins the Journey But Discipline Helps You Stay on the Path!

    It’s been some time since my last post and the many reasons fill my head now as just excuses. But time is of the essence, it’s fleeting, and there are just 24 hours in a day. The business is flourishing, and I’m writing curriculum which takes the place of writing about my health challenges…practices. Time is incremental when I look at the health of both us…myself and my husband. My health is like a rollercoaster lately running the gamut of hills and valleys – sunny days and cloudy disparity. While my husband turned his willpower into the discipline he needed to stay on the path.

    Willpower, is it a power of wills? Is it a will of power? Do you have control of your will? Dictionary. com says willpower is the control of one’s impulses and will. Well, what it doesn’t say is that my husband has an abundance of it when he finally makes up his mind to do or not do something. Dictionary.com says this about discipline. It’s a training, activity or a regimen that develops or improves a skill. Well, this explains a lot of why the two nouns go together. You have to possess the willpower to discipline yourself so you can improve your life or a part of your life.

    Starting Point

    So what’s the point of talking about willpower and discipline?  You see, back in January of 2017 my husband had bilateral pulmonary embolisms, his left leg had a blood clot from his ankle to his groin. The doctors at the hospital told us how lucky he was because normally they don’t give this diagnoses to men over 50 – they find it in an autopsy. So, yes, he was lucky,  but I liked to think that he was blessed.

    Over the last year and a half, we changed diets, we changed lifestyle and we changed our health outlook. My husband spent only 6 months on the meds and with my research help and finding the right naturopath he transitioned to supplements. But he had a strange inflammation issue in his left leg that would worsen if he moved or sat still. Nothing would work long term. Diuretics (prescription and natural) only work when you’re taking them, they don’t address the cause of the inflammation. So back to the research I went.

    About three months ago, my research took me to a place I never thought about, but wow it’s changed our lives. Health research more precise alternative health research is my forte, in being a holistic life coach. I had exhausted every avenue I knew but I was coming up short on answers. I remember it was about 2 a.m. one morning back in March,  I laid it all out on my desk before God and asked God to direct me. I got an answer three days later when my husband was talking to our friend who’s a doctor. “Have you looked into the lymph system?” I had never thought about that. I was thinking food allergies, side effects of the meds, scar tissue from the damaged veins,  wrong exercises, not enough exercising, etc.

    The lymph system

    We have more lymph fluid in our bodies than we do blood. And the lymph nodes in our abdomen area control the lymph movement in our legs. The lymph nodes in our neck control the lymph movement in our chest and arms. (Organic Lifestyle Magazine) This is fascinating stuff to me, and I’m talking about it constantly to my husband but, as is his usual,  he just wants the cliff notes. To make a long story shorter, I found a lymph cleanse for my husband to do. I used my knowledge of intermittent fasting and combined a raw, plant-based, high-fat, low-carb, low protein, alkaline plan to help my husband lose the inflammation.

    First Three Week Regimen

    A gallon of Cranberry Cayenne Flush

    He also ate one huge salad every day made with alkaline veggies especially the red ones: beets, red cabbage, red carrots (nightshades excluded because they cause inflammation). I make salad dressings for him with avocado oil, garlic, cucumbers, ginger, blackberries, lemon juice, avocados and Himalayan salt.

    The calorie count during this the first two weeks was 300 and 400 calories every day.

    During the third week, we added a veggie smoothie to his huge salad. It was filled with full-fat coconut milk (no gums added), kale, carrots, beets, celery, avocado, cucumbers, cherries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries (I would alternate the fruit for him), maca powder, our favorite raw vegan protein powder (Sunwarrior’s Warrior Blend has no sugar, soy, or grains in it, it’s raw and it’s our favorite) and some water.

    Fourth week and Onward

    We added raw organic nuts but only the high fat, low carb, and low protein varieties: macadamias, pecans, and walnuts. We also added coconut oil fat bombs. I make my own with coconut oil, coconut butter, sunflower butter, maca powder, and carob (recipe below) which my husband calls fudge chunks because of their texture. Coconut Mama has a pretty good recipe that I started with and then started tweaking to make my own recipe with ingredients we can eat.

    And he continues this plan now at the 8-week mark.

    As you can see he doesn’t eat much only about 600 – 800 calories a day. He cut out all sugar even high sugar fruits and veggies. He doesn’t eat any grains. He eats all raw veggies, nothing steamed. He drinks a gallon of lemon water daily. He walks about 3 miles a day and does about 50 squats a day (squats are great at getting our lymph fluid moving). He also spends time on his spinning bike when it’s raining out.

    2-month stats:

    • 50 pounds lost
    • Down 4 pant sizes
    • Lost 6 inches off his waist
    • Demeanor changed, he’s calmer and happier
    • Tons more energy
    • He’s got laser focus now
    • He doesn’t get overheated anymore. He had an issue since he was a teenager (he was a runner and very fit then) where he would overheat when the temps rose above 70. It was 87 degrees a couple of weeks ago and he was fine, even had on a long sleeve shirt.
    • His recovery time from hikes and workouts is getting shorter and shorter. As a landscape photographer, he hikes all over the place on different types of terrain. His first hike of the season was last week where the grade was steep at 19%. Yes, he was sore and what used to take 3 – 4 days to recover only took 24 hours.

    This plan is a cleanse that will clean up your lymph system and your whole body. It will balance your hormones. It will reset you on a health journey by cleaning out the toxins that not only clogged your arteries but your life. This plan is not for the faint of heart. If you don’t have the willpower to start and the discipline to say “NO” to food that’s sitting right in front of you or all around you at your office and social gatherings then it’s not for you. It’s not for everyone. But, if you are at the end of your rope, and you need to make a change that’s going to save the quality of your life, then you may want to take a look at some of the links I’ve posted above.

    My husband’s willpower led him to say yes to this journey but it’s his discipline that keeps getting stronger every time he says “NO” to food that’s not right for him.

    He can say yes to these!

    carob-fat-fudge-e1528995792940.jpg

    Carob Fat Fudge

    • 1/2 cup each coconut oil, coconut butter, and sunbutter (no sugar or salt)
    • 1/4 cup carob powder or raw cacao (cocoa and cacao have caffeine)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
    • 10 drops liquid stevia
    • 1/8 teaspoon Himalayan salt
    • 1 Tablespoon organic maca powder

    Melt the coconut oil and butters in a small saucepan over very low heat. You only want to melt it without boiling it. Stirring till melted. When totally melted, immediately remove from heat. Let it sit for a couple of minutes to cool. Then add the vanilla, almond extract, and stevia. Whisk till blended. While whisking, add in the carob powder, salt, and maca powder. Whisk until smooth and incorporated. Pour into a 2-cup glass measuring cup for easy pouring. Pour into small candy molds or a mini muffin pan with paper liners. Only pour to about 1/4 to 1/3 full. Refrigerate about two hours to set. Remove from molds or pan (I removed the paper liners.) These can be stored on the counter or in the fridge. Makes 20 pieces of fudge.