Paleo Strawberry Shortcake

Sarah’s Rap: My family and I have been very fortunate this summer berry season as my organic strawberry plants have born a boatload of sweet, fresh fruit. I filled 2 2’x4′ raised garden beds with strawberry plants two years ago and they barely gave up a pint each season those years. This spring they took off finally, filling out nicely and growing tall, full of white flowers that turned into berries as the summer heat came on. We’ve reaped an estimated six pounds of the juicy red berries this year, spread out over several weeks, and there are more to come! I’m in berry heaven!

I considered making strawberry jam but to be honest we’ve been eating them too fast to have much left each week for jam. But Strawberry Shortcake? That we can do! And even better…a Paleo version that is high in protein for a satisfying and healthy treat. Continue reading

Yoga for Stress Relief

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Melissa’s Rap: The topic of Yoga for Stress Relief may seem a bit redundant, since yoga is known for reducing stress more than anything else. Perhaps it is, but as a yoga instructor and a woman who has dealt with chronic anxiety for much of my life, I do feel that some poses and practices are more effective than others in reducing stress in one’s life.
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Health Crisis Part 1: The Standard American Diet

Sarah’s Rap: Look around and you may notice that Americans (and others) are SADDLED with disease and worsening in rapid numbers. Not only are many people suffering from chronic illnesses, they’re getting worse  for many reasons, including:

Standard 
American 
Diet, 
Disabling healthcare system, 
Lifestyle, 
Environment and 
Denial

As a result of a combination of the above factors,  alarming numbers of people suffering from disease and obesity are being reported. The end result is a civilization that is unhealthy, dying, depressed, malnourished, overweight, brain-addled, irritable and stressed. I’m going to dive into each of these disease-causing factors to give you a better understanding of the risks with each and hopefully some ideas for how those suffering can turn their life around and enjoy life without the burden of these debilitating encumbrances. What would you rather be – SADDLED and led through life on a path you didn’t choose and might not be happy with, or to run free and fast, stopping to smell the roses when you want and steering your own course through life? I know which one I’d prefer, which is why I’m taking actions to get my health in order! I hope you choose to do the same. Continue reading

Yogic Principles Help Create Healthy Habits

Melissa’s Rap: A few months ago, we went on a Healthy Habits adventure, learning exactly what steps to take to create healthy, long-lasting habits. Now that you have had a few months to practice, how has the journey been? Have you found the process of creating and maintaining these new habits easy or challenging? What habits did you create that you are still doing now? If you have lapsed on some, how long were you able to stick with it? What do you feel your barriers to success have been? It is important to analyze what worked and what didn’t, so you can learn and grow from the process and gradually get better and better at the process of creating new habits. Today, let’s talk about some yoga (yes, yoga!) concepts that can help you with your healthy habit mission. Continue reading

Paleo Banana Muffins / Bread

Sarah’s Rap: Apparently I’m in a mood to bake this week (which is definitely not an unusual phenomenon), so thought I’d share another of my go-to recipes with you. I recently wrote a post about my Paleo Blueberry Muffins, which I have baked at least 4 times over the last two weeks, sharing it with friends and family. I even made a batch and baked it in a 13×9″ cake pan and it turned out fabulous! Another favorite in our household is my Paleo Banana Muffin and Bread recipe.

I was typing it up today to send to Melissa at her request, as I made it the other day for her while I’m here visiting. Yup, you heard me right! The Sister Rap sisters are reunited for the first time in almost a year. I’m so thankful to be visiting while she has her post-mastectomy reconstructive surgery and my mom is also having a surgery. Otherwise I’d be a country apart, fretting. Now that I’m here, I do what I always do when I want to take care of someone – I bake for them!  Continue reading

 Paleo Blueberry Muffins

BlueberriesSarah’s Rap: I adore blueberry muffins, particularly warm from the oven when the blueberries burst when you bite them.  In this Paleo version, almond flour and coconut oil come together with eggs, sweet dates, wild blueberries and vanilla to form a luscious treat for the senses. My kids, who are extremely picky about texture, vote “thumbs-up” on this recipe.  I made a batch the other day so that my kids would have a healthy snack alternative after school. My son informed me this morning that he ate 5 yesterday! Five! I consider that a success in the mom-approved snack department! Once I finished patting myself on the back, I realized that I may need to put these under lock and key. Although these are chock full of healthy ingredients, that’s quite a few almonds to consume in one day, even for an active twelve year old. 🙂

“I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill” ~ Fats Domino

I’ve included two optional crumb topping recipes that can be put on these muffins before baking. A gluten-free (non-Paleo) topping that includes oats and maple sugar and a Paleo topping made with coconut sugar, chopped pecans and cinnamon. Pick your poison, do half-and-half or skip the toppings all-together and enjoy the pure unadulterated goodness of freshly baked blueberry muffins without any guilt!

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Tick Prevention and Proper Tick Removal

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Melissa’s Rap: May is Lyme disease awareness month. This disease has greatly impacted me and my family, as I was diagnosed CDC-positive with Lyme on Cinco de Mayo 2011. I spent the next two years treating with IV antibiotics, oral antibiotics, herbs, supplements and other  treatments. To this day, I see effects  of the disease in my low immune function, brain fog, and fatigue. Now that I know what I know about Lyme and its coinfections (Lyme rarely travels alone), I am diligent about prevention and work  to educate others about how to prevent this debilitating disease.
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Be The Change You Want to see in Yourself

Sarah’s Rap: Everyone has likely heard the oft-used quote by Mahatma Ghandi, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” I’ve always loved this and try to live by it best I can. I try to treat others as I wish to be treated, I do what I can for the environment, and have a passion for helping others to grow and succeed.

But I’ve also had a personal motto that I try to follow over the years:

No one will make you happy but yourself.

Sticking to this hasn’t always come easy, but whenever I find myself struggling with dissatisfaction, I’ve tried to remind myself of this and use it to motivate me to make a change. This motto means two things to me:

  • Even if I have everything I ever wanted, I may still not be happy unless I let myself. I can receive love, money, security, a family, or whatever I desire, but if I continue to think negative thoughts, don’t take time to appreciate what I have, carry around anger or resentment, never feel good-enough, etc, I won’t truly be happy.
  • If I am unhappy about my circumstances, it is up to me to make changes to get to a desired state. If I am unhappy with my job, I cannot expect someone to read my mind, the perfect job to fall into my lap or some other miracle to occur in which the desired job is attained. Instead I’m much better taking action myself that will help me to reach my goal. In the end, I’ll actually be all the more happier for reaching it, by having taken control and gone after what I need.

The first interpretation is the one I struggle with the most. I’ve actually become quite adept at the second – it actually gets easier the more one does it. I imagine the first does as well, but I’m still working on it.

Over the last seven years of suffering from gut dysbiosis, Leaky Gut, SIBO and other digestive ailments, I’ve subconsciously expanded my motto to also include:

No one will make you healthy but yourself.

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Mastectomy Post-Op Prep

Melissa’s Rap: On March 30th of this year, I had a preventative mastectomy. So far, my recovery has been better than I expected. To date, I have not had any complications. Since I have chosen to do reconstruction, I still have two more surgeries to go.

In preparation for my mastectomy, I researched the experience and recommendations of others and it was a tremendous help. The preparation helped me physically prepare, but also mentally. I have had many surgeries in my life, but I felt this one I needed input on from those who had been through it.

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