Remington I-Light Pro Review

I know, I know. The idea of a laser parts ways from my typically all natural stance. The truth is though, that I absolutely hate shaving. My legs get irritated by it and if I shave just slightly the wrong way I end up with in-grown hairs. Not fun. Not fun at all.

Electrolysis was something I considered for years before finally taking the plunge and before I made this purchase I did a ton of research on which laser to use. I have very light (almost transparent) skin, and very dark hair… in other words I am the perfect candidate for this particular laser. I still I questioned if it would work, but it seemed like a good bet. The idea that this was something I could do at home was a plus as well, since electrolysis at a medical spa can be extremely expensive. Not to mention, awkward.

Fast forward a few months and the investment was well worth it! Since I am quite an impatient person and I don’t go carefully over every inch of skin during each application there are still some patches where the hair grows in, but overall there is a great deal less of it. If anything can prove the effectiveness of this product, the bald patches from where I actually applied the laser certainly do. I figure that over the next year or so I will eventually cover everything.

For those wondering, the laser hurts much less than waxing or epilating. The first application did sting slightly, particularly on the armpits. Similar to a rubber band hitting the skin. It was no where near as bad as waxing though. The third time through, I hardly feel a thing.

If you do decide to go the same route I did, don’t forget that hair grows in cycles. This means that even once you have stopped the hair growing in one cycle you will need to wait and repeat the same area again to remove hair from other cycles. This is the same whether you have this done at a spa or do it yourself.

Tip 1: Don’t shave after using the laser. Wait a few days and let the hair fall out on its own. It will get itchy, and exfoliation will help things along. Tip 2: Buy a few extra light cartridges because it is a bummer to have to stop halfway through when you run out.

Cheers to a much less hairy summer ahead!

Cream of Mushroom Soup – Vegan

Cream of Mushroom Soup - VeganIngredients:
2 cups flax or coconut milk
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 yellow onion
1 sweet potato (optional)
1/2 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste

 

If you choose to include a sweet potato (I used a sweet potato in place of the traditional white potato because it is healthier, but for a more authentic taste and look you could use a white potato), be sure to cook it first. Add the cooked sweet potato into a food processor along with the milk, onion, mushrooms (if you want a smooth soup) and water. You can keep the mushroom slices whole of course if you prefer them that way.  Process until smooth and transfer all the ingredients to a pot.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer on low until cooked through and serve immediately.

Green Goddess Dressing – Vegan

Vegan Green Goddess DressingIngredients:
1/2 cup vegan cheese spread
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup parsley
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp capers
1 tsp black pepper
salt to taste

First make the cheese spread using the recipe here: Vegan Cheese Spread Recipe and measure out 1/2 cup.  Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Serve over salad or vegetables. Leftovers may be stored in the freezer for later use.

Vegan Cheese Spread

Vegan Cheese Spread RecipeI am not a very fussy person, so this is not a fussy recipe. I have tried almost every gluten free version of vegan cheeses that exists and while some of them taste ok, I am not a fan of the ingredients list on most of them. This is a homemade cheese spread recipe that can work well for some recipes that call for cheese or a cheese spread. If you took the time to dehydrate this it could even be sliced. Some day when I have extra time to spare I might try that, but for now this will suffice. :)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups nuts (I used raw cashews) soaked overnight. You can use plain water, or this is also a great use for the coconut water left over after using the cream portion of a can of coconut milk for other recipes.
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
salt to taste

Place all ingredients into a food processor and transfer into tart or cupcake molds once smooth. The molds you select should be based on the portion sizes you intend to use it for later. Allow to set up in freezer and you can then unmold them and keep any portions you don’t use immediately in the freezer for future use. The molds not only keep the spread in usable portions, but it makes for a lovely presentation as well.

You can use this as a base for dip, in place of cheese or mayo on sandwiches, or as a spread for crackers or veggies. It could easily accept additional flavors as well if you wanted to make it tex-mex, or onion flavored. Enjoy!

From a family member that has been hard to convert: “This is better than any of that $hit you bought at the store.” I guess it must be a win. :)

Paleo Diet Update – Late Feb

It has been almost two months now since I began the new Paleo diet.  I am down about 10 pounds and have finally settled back into a consistent workout routine.  I expected to lose more, but some of that weight might be from gaining muscle. My clothes are definitely fitting better, so that is a major plus. After re-introducing things back into my diet there are a few things I did notice however.

1.  Dairy is not my friend.  This is something I will need to learn to do without.
2.  Beans must be eaten in very small quantities.  Bummer.
3. Corn must be eaten in very small quantities.

I haven’t tested quinoa just yet, but that is coming soon. I really hope that I can handle that well because it is so darn nutritious. More updates to come soon!

How To Make Your Own Kombucha Scoby

How to Make a Kombucha ScobyI have been trying to add more probiotics into my diet, but since eliminating dairy my old favorite kefir is no longer an option. Enter Kombucha. I was honestly afraid to try this drink in the first place after hearing horror stories of it being viscous and nasty. I tried it and that simply wasn’t the case. It was bubbly and refreshing instead.

Since I like to save money and drinking store bought kombucha every day can be quite expensive, I decided to make it myself.  Step one of this process is to make (or buy) a scoby.  This is the “film” where all of the good-for-you fermentation microbes live that ferment tea into your next batch of kombucha.  It is similar to the mother used to make vinegar.

It is quite easy to make your own.   All you need is a large bowl and 2 bottles of premade, raw, kombucha from the store.  I poured the first bottle into the bowl and let it sit on the counter for a week or so.  You could see the scoby starting to form on top of the liquid.  After about a week the liquid level started to drop and I added the second bottle.  The scoby should be about ready now to begin our first batch of kombucha, but it is living in the fridge at the moment until I decide on a recipe.

Tip:  if you have a friend who also makes kombucha, they might be able to give you a piece of scoby to get you started.

Review – The Kind Diet Cookbook

Alicia Silverstone’s book The Kind Diet is one of my absolute favorites. A few years back when I discovered I couldn’t eat gluten and wasn’t feeling well some very good friends bought this for me to help me get healthy again. I was already a vegetarian, so having to cut gluten out of my diet had me (and everyone else) wondering what there was left for me to eat. This book helped me to look at eating in an entirely new way. Most importantly I could see that food didn’t have to be just potentially hazardous, it could be potentially healing as well.

It has taken some time for me to learn the in’s and out’s of which foods can harm and which foods can heal, but this book was the beginning. Alicia goes through the superfoods one by one and discusses their benefits and how to avoid any of their potential drawbacks. She also covers vegan sources for nutrients that would be otherwise missing from a vegetarian or vegan diet. While it isn’t a gluten free book, it is a great book for those who want to eat a clean, healthy and vegan or vegetarian diet. For those of us with adequate gluten free knowledge, any of her gluten containing recipes can be easily converted. This book comes highly recommended in my opinion!

Avocado Cream Tarts

Avocado Cream TartsIngredients:

Crust:
1/2 cup mixed nuts

Filling:
2 avocados
1/2 cup coconut cream
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tsp vanilla
2 packets stevia

Topping:
2 cups blueberries
2 packets stevia

Place a can of coconut milk in the refrigerator to allow the liquid and “cream” to separate. While the coconut milk is cooling, put 1/2 cup of mixed nuts into the food processor and process until they start to clump.  You can add an optional pinch of stevia to the nuts if you prefer a sweeter crust for your tarts.

Press the ground nuts into the bottom of each tart mold.

Place the meat from two medium sized avocadoes into the food processor with 1/4 cup of lime juice and 2 packets of stevia. Open the can of coconut milk and remove only the thick white “cream” from the top and set aside the liquid for use in a smoothie or other recipe later. Place the coconut “cream” into the food processor with the other ingredients and mix until smooth.

Pour the filling neatly into the tart molds and place into the freezer for a half hour or so to set them. After they have taken shape, you can unmold them and transfer them to the fridge.

To make the topping, place 2 cups of blueberries along with 2 packets of stevia into a small saucepan. Simmer until the berries have begun to break down and the sauce starts to thicken. Allow to cool before pouring over the tarts.

Credit for the idea of putting together avocados and coconut goes to the lady behind the Sweetly Raw blog: http://www.sweetlyraw.com/2012/03/greeeen-cheesecake.html

Making Hard Cider

Hard CiderWhat you will need:
1 gallon apple cider
brewers yeast (if needed)
Glass gallon carboy
Airlock

For after fermentation: Siphon or funnel and filter Corked glass bottles

 

 

This is part two of the departure from my clean paleo diet, as this was also started in October of last year. Be sure to sterilize all of your tools, and glassware first. Pour one gallon of apple cider into a glass gallon carboy. You can choose to either add yeast now, or wait to see if the cider ferments on its own without it. If it doesn’t start to ferment within a day or two, you can add in a pinch of yeast to get things going. Cork the carboy with your airlock. Twice a day for at least the first few weeks, mix the ingredients well. You should see the fermentation working, creating bubbles on the top of the liquid. The hard cider was left on the counter along side the mead for a few months before I transferred the mixture into bottles. The bottles will likely need to settle and be filtered once more, but the cider is very tasty!

Detox Soup

Detox Soup RecipeI must admit, this soup isn’t exactly the most decadent recipe in my arsenal.   That being said, if I accidently eat something with gluten in it this is one of the things I usually make for myself to help me get back to normal more quickly.  I looked long and hard to figure out the most nutritious foods, with the most significant benefits so I could put them all into a single meal.  For those that are neither vegan nor vegetarian, you could also consider adding bone broth as I hear that is also very good for you.  Since I am vegetarian though, I have left that out of my recipe.

Ingredients (and why I use them):
Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar (lowers blood sugar, blood pressure and aids in weight loss)
Daikon (Good for digestion, diuretic, blood cleanser)
Watercress (Anti cancer, high in vitamins)
Dandelion (Detoxes liver, diuretic)
Cilantro (Antioxidant, antiseptic, quercitin, carminative)
Garlic (Detoxifier, antibiotic, anticancer, antifungal… acts as weak penicillin)
Turmeric (Anti cancer, liver detox, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory)
Fennel (Anti cancer, anti-gas, anti-inflammatory)
Mushrooms (Anti cancer, immune booster)
Spinach (Anti-cancer, antioxidant, anti-aging)
Diced Tomatoes (Antioxidant, decreases gall and kidney stones, anti-cancer)
Onion (Prevents atherosclerosis, balances colon bacteria, lowers triglycerides/cholesterol and blood pressure, anti-cancer)
Ginger (Decreases nausea, heals IBS, lowers blood pressure, boosts circulation, anti viral, anti-inflammatory)
Horseradish (Aids digestion, helps liver detoxify carcinogens, suppresses growth of tumors, antibiotic, antifungal)
Kale (Anti-cancer, good for eye health, plenty of vitamin k and calcium)
Artichoke (Anti-cancer, increases bile flow, good for liver, helps indigestion, stimulates good bacteria growth in intestines, increases good cholesterol, decreases bad cholesterol)

*I always make sure to use all organic ingredients of course!

Typically I will place all the ingredients for this soup into the blender and process until smooth before cooking so that things can be more easily digested and absorbed.  If I am really sick though, sometimes just the broth is all I can handle.  Either way, I love the way this soup makes me feel.

Disclaimer:  Once again, I am neither a doctor nor a nutritionist and nothing in this post is meant as medical advice. See your doctor if you are not well please. :)

Credit for the detox soup idea comes from Alicia Silverstone’s book, The Kind Diet.