Monday, April 3, 2017

Chocolate Mousse Smoothie Recipe!

Okay ladies, and probably some of you guys out there, what is your go to food for fun?

If you are female there's a good chance you answered chocolate!!!

I know that especially when I am stressed I go straight for my hidden supply of mini Ghirardelli chocolate bars. If I've got a few extra minute I also love making this homemade chocolate recipe (that's also super healthy!).

Recently I stumbled upon this delicious recipe, then I did some changes to simply the recipe with ingredients that I normally have in my house.

This recipe only has healthy ingredients, so you can feel good about having one anytime of day. So here's the recipe is in all it's deliciousness!...

Chocolate Mousse Smoothie

1 ripe Avocado
2 Frozen Bananas
2 cups of Milk (almond, coconut, cow milk, any milk)
2 Tbls. Cacao or Cocoa powder
2 Tbls. of Honey, or a little more (preferably local and raw if you can get it)

Optional add ins:
Chia Seeds
Colagen Powder (What it is, and why you would use it)
Vanilla Bean

Throw all ingredients into a blender and blend it for about one minute. If too thick add a little more milk to the blender.



Voila!! A rich and creamy chocolate mousse has appeared in only 60 seconds! Feel free to eat it with a spoon or straw.


Serves 4 (feel free to half the recipe, you'll just have a bonus half an avocado left :)

This homemade Chocolate Mint Ice Cream recipe also tells why cacao is such an amazing super food.

I like to make this for breakfast, or as a night time dessert, but really it's great anytime! The healthy fats in the banana and avocado make it nice and filling, while also being a taste I can really enjoy again and again!


Happy Eating!  :-)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

You Might be From Minnesota If

I have lived in MANY states over the years, and for a total of about 13 year now I have been proud to call the great land of Minnesota my home.

So just for fun...

You Might Be From Minnesota If...


  1. You've ever had to stop your car to let the geese cross the road.
  2. You've ever gone 30 mph in a 70 mph zone because the roads were that bad.
  3. You know what "up North" means.
  4. You've switched from having the heat on to a/c and back again in the same day.
  5. You've seen a giant spoon with a cherry on top.
  6. You know to avoid the Mall of America after December 1st until the new year.
  7. You been to the lake that has the largest area of fresh water in the world.
  8. You live a couple of hours from Canada, but have never been there.
  9. You're mind has boggled at the number of fried foods the state fair produces.
  10. You've tried gator bites.
  11. You know Spring starts somewhere between March and June, depending on the year.
  12. You've been through a winter that has lasted more than 6 months.
  13. You've blown bubbles outside and have watched them crack open from the cold.
  14. You debate whether or not your child really needs a jacket for school that day when it's 35 degrees in the morning.
  15. You've been at the grocery store and had someone ask you if you want a "baehg" for your groceries. (They're saying "bag".)
  16. You've asked your neighbor to borrow food or a tool, and they bent over backwards to help you.
  17. You've had a neighbor help clear the snow off your driveway.
  18. You volunteer somewhere.
  19. You've had someone nearly stop to let you over while driving.
  20. Your choice of vehicle depends on how much snow you have to drive over to get to work.
  21. You've seen it snow while the sun is shining.
  22. You've hiked in a state park.
  23. You've seen more lakes than you could possibly keep track of.
  24. You see raccoon road kill on a regular basis.
  25. You have deer wander into your yard.
  26. You've had wild life from coyotes to bears near your house.
  27. You've seen a wide range of birds, and they've made a nest near your home.
  28. You can tell if that's ducks or geese flying in the sky.
  29. You've had recess canceled because the wind chill was -15.
  30. You've had school canceled because the wind chill was -60, and the buses couldn't run.
  31. You get a little edgy in February and March waiting for the world to warm up again.
  32. You've grilled outside in the winter.
  33. You don't understand why someone would wear a hat when it's 35 degrees and sunny.
  34. You know most of your neighbors by name, and say hi to them on a regular basis.
  35. You have more community activities to choose from than you can keep track of.
  36. Your kids have pretended to drive a tractor (or actually have).
  37. You know someone who owns a farm.
  38. You think Spring time in Minnesota is heaven on earth.
  39. You've been on vacation at the Wisconsin Dells.
  40. You've cheered on the Vikings, even if you don't care about football.
  41. You've sledded down a hill as an adult.
  42. You consider snow, and driving in it, no big deal.
  43. You have an enormous variety of quality international cuisine to choose from.
  44. Your local library has events for people who home school.
  45. You've considered homeschooling your kids.
  46. You rarely drive South of Minnesota, or further East than Wisconsin.
  47. You only have people visit you who are either immediate family, or people who live farther North than you do.
  48. You ask for tea and it comes hot.
  49. You have several generations of your family living near you.
  50. You frequently walk in the middle of the road in parking lots.
  51. You have a Target within 5 miles of your house.
  52. You offer your guests dessert 3 times before they accept.
  53. And of course, you call duck duck goose, duck duck grey duck.

I love this beautiful land, and it's great people. If you don't live hear I hope you get the chance to visit it someday!

Natalie





Monday, January 18, 2016

Great Green Juice Recipes!!! How To Make Your Own


Today we are very fortunate to have a special guest blogger. Welcome to Garrick from the Philippines!

It’s the New Year and lots of resolutions are being made and I’m pretty sure that a majority of them has something to do with weight loss. 
There are a lot of ways to lose weight from straight up dieting to working out, but for me a more sustainable way of doing so is combining the two.

Based on my experience losing weight does not have to involve crash course diets which involve depriving your body of solid food for extended periods of time. A more sustainable solution involves radically changing what you eat. That involves removing greasy, fried, sugar rich foods from your diet and replacing them with healthy food choices.

One of the best ways of incorporating these healthy foods into your diet is through juicing. 
When done right juicing can help you fast track your weight loss goals by providing your body with nutrients it craves for. Another benefit of juicing is that it realigns your taste buds from craving for sugary sweet to craving for something more natural.
The biggest reason why a lot of pundits say that juicing is bad is because they fear that juicing feeds the body lots of sugar, which is a valid concern if you add a lot of fruit into recipes but what I’m going to share with you is something totally opposite of fruit based juice recipes. Let me introduce to you to the world of green juice.
These juice recipes contain mostly vegetables and low-sugar fruit like lemon or cucumber so the drinks that result are generally low in terms of the amount of fructose which is one of the main causes of weight gain.
In the infographic below you’ll see how to concoct your own green juice recipes by combining different types of ingredients I broke down into four different categories.
How To Juice
The first category is the juice base which is what every juice recipe should have. I’d recommend that you either should have cucumber or zucchini + lemon as these ingredients add to the content of juice because it has high water content plus it only contains very minimal amount of sugar so it is safe to add this without worrying about the negative effects of sugar.
On occasion to satisfy your sweet tooth you can use the carrot and apple combo but not everyday.
The second category is the main ingredient which is vegetables. You could add any of the suggested leafy green vegetables, or combine it with other vegetables like a celery or beet. These combinations have been tried and tested by myself and other experienced juicers.
The third category are the sweeteners, basically these ingredients add flavor to an otherwise unappealing concoction. Hey, being healthy doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy your drink. The important thing here is to limit the amount of fruit you will add, and follow the 80/20 principle or 20 percent of the ingredients in your juice recipe are fruit and the other 80 percent are vegetables.
The last category are optional add ins. If you’re feeling adventurous and want some heat in your recipes you can add a clove of garlic or thumb of ginger to it. Why not add some plant based protein like chia seeds or flax seeds to fill you up – the options are endless!
How to Make Green Juice


Let me know in the comments section if you’ve tried any of the combinations I’ve presented in the infograph. How do you like the taste? These are just the basic combinations, you can experiment your own once you’ve gotten the hang of it. Enjoy!



Guest Author: 
Garrick Dee, Founder of Juicing with G
Garrick started his blog Juicing with G after his mom gave him a juicer to encourage him to live a healthier lifestyle by eating right. 
He shares different recipes and other health topics in hopes of inspiring others to live a healthier lifestyle by making the right choices. You can also follow him in social media through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
*For more of Garrick's story on what got him into juicing and how it's helped his health, check out this link on his site.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Vitamin D- The Vitamin You Need to Stay Healthy


When winter hits there's a good chance we're all getting vitamin D deficient.

Vitamin D is a crucial vitamin to get enough of because it reduces inflammation, and you're much more susceptible to many types of disease, sickness and even asthma when you're deficient in it.

My doctor once told me that there are two supplements she recommends everyone take, vitamin D and B complex. We also add probiotics to that at our house.

During the summer and warmer months we tend to be outside more.  When the sunlight hits our skin it causes a reaction in our bodies that actually creates vitamin D.  Isn't that cool?

So you can see how in winter, when we are getting a lot less sunlight, we have a greater shortage of vitamin D in our systems.  So where are healthy places to get vitamin D in winter?


We have a few choices...

Snow Canyon 1The Sun

Whenever possible get at least a few minutes of sun exposure directly on the skin, but not to the point of sun burn which can happen even in winter.  Even if it's just on the face, direct sun light will produce vitamin D.  The sun is our most natural source, so enjoy the warmth!

UVA rays from the sun can increase your risk of skin cancer.  However, UVB rays convert a cholesterol derivative into vitamin D3, which is an oil soluble steroid hormone.  It takes up to 48 hours for it to be absorbed into your blood stream, so Dr. Mercola recommends not washing the sunlight exposed skin with soap right after sun exposure.

To get the most amount of UVB rays Dr. Mercola also recommends being in the sunlight when the sun is at least 50% above the horizon.  The UVA has a longer wavelength than the UVB and can therefore penetrate the ozone layer more easily.
It's important to remember that vitamin D3 is formed from exposure to UVB rays, whereas UVA radiation actually destroys vitamin D. This helps keep your body in balance; it's one of the protective mechanisms your body has to avoid overdosing on vitamin D when you're outside. However, when you're exposed to sunlight through windows -- in your office, your home or your car -- you get the UVA but virtually none of the beneficial UVB. (source)

Tanning Beds

Sunbed

This one took me by surprise, but there are some tanning beds out there that mimic sunlight and can help you relax away the blues.  Dr. Mercola recommends tanning beds with low pressure UV lamps with a reasonable percentage of UVB.  Ask the tanning salon for further information.







Cod Liver Oil

The most natural supplement, besides sunlight, is cod liver oil.  A high quality one is most recommended because the more processed ones are likely to be lacking in minerals which help with absorption.  Many find the Green Pasture brand to be the best quality. I take their pill form to minimize the yucky taste (the pill really isn't bad at all).



Vitamin D3  

Our bodies change UVB rays into vitamin D3.  When looking for a supplement make sure to look for the "3" after the D, it's the most like natural sunlight.

"Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorous from the small intestine. It is essential for the growth and maintenance of bones and teeth and can boost your immune system. People who get sufficient vitamin D are less likely to get colon cancer and research suggests it may help treat irritable bowel diseases."  (source)
"The main source of vitamin D in food is in milk and dairy products. Manufacturers fortify milk, yogurt, cream, butter and cheese with vitamin D; breakfast cereals are also often fortified with vitamin D.
Another way to get it through food is by eating seafood, such as salmon, tuna and sardines and oysters, with the nutrient. Additional sources of dietary vitamin D include liver, egg yolk and (fortified) orange juice." (source)

Being deficient in vitamin D leads to many health problems, and can easily lead to feelings of depression. Make sure you're taking care of your self and getting a good dose of it every day.

Sources:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/03/26/maximizing-vitamin-d-exposure.aspx
http://www.vitamin-insight.com/vitamins/vitamin-d.aspx#
http://www.livestrong.com/article/393312-the-best-sources-of-vitamin-d/

Friday, November 27, 2015

A Simple Change that Can Reduce Headaches, Sore Throats and Coughs by up to 40%

That smell of dust in the heat vents kicked in a few weeks ago, as we delve into the colder season here in Minnesota. 

Is it Friday yet?I once heard someone say they like that warmed dust smell, and I thought they were a little crazy, but after nearly 15 years of calling this colder climate home, I get it now.

That isn't just a smell its a memory trigger. It triggers the memory of heat that makes you warmer, of sitting in front of a fire place, snuggled under a blanket and drinking some hot chocolate. All in all it's a happy smell!


Unfortunately with all that delicious warmth also comes the air getting dried out from that welcomed heat. Dry air that dries out our sinuses and makes us more susceptible to getting sick. Yuck! We'd all rather pass on that one, right?

While we are stuck inside, getting less sunshine in winter than at other times of the year, our bodies need all the help we can get to stay healthy.

A study conducted by Professor Tove Fjeld of the Agricultural University in Oslo, Norway found one important change we can make to our homes and offices to keep us from getting more sore throats, headaches and coughs.


That one change is more plants.


Here are the results of Dr. Fjeld's study...


Plants
(Source)

As you can see the results show an improvement in over all well being, as well as help with warding off fatigue, headaches, dry throats, and coughs.


Further study showed that...
"Neuro-psychological and mucous membrane symptoms were also 'significantly reduced’. 
A study conducted by Dr. Virginia Lohr at Washington State University found that plants can lower computer lab test participants’ stress (systolic blood pressure was lower) while raising attentiveness and reaction times."(source)

The plants used in the study were common foliage plants. 

Now that we know what a great benefit plants can be to our health, and they just make everything look nice, let's all go get some more plants!


If you'd like an added boost to your plant purchase you can buy plants that also help clean the air. 


Here are 4 air improving plants...


1. Dryness With Bamboo Palm
Growing between 3 to 6 feet tall, the long, elegant leaves of this sturdy palm sweep away toxins such as formaldehyde, benzene, carbon monoxide, xylene, and chloroform. In addition to helping you breathe fresh air, it is an excellent spider mite repellant. During the cold winter months when air is very dry, the bamboo palm emits some much-needed moisture. It is best kept out of direct sunlight and feeds on all-purpose liquid fertilizer during the summer months.


2. Cleanse With Chrysanthemums
Purple DahliaOriginally cultivated in China in 15th century BC, this plant boasts multiple medicinal and culinary uses. Its yellow and white flowers are enjoyed as a sweet drink in some parts of Asia, while the greens are boiled and served as a delicious meal in China. In addition to being a tasty treat, the NASA study found that chrysanthemums were effective at removing benzene from the air. Benzene is one of the most common odorless pollutants found in inks, paints, plastic, dyes, detergents, gasoline, pharmaceuticals, and pesticides. The flowers last about six weeks and thrive in bright, indirect light.  These should be kept out of reach of pets and children.

Arum

3. Purify With Peace Lily
Native to tropical regions, this beautiful perennial plant contains large leaves that vacuum benzene, trichloroethylene, and other hard-to-pronounce pollutants. Peace lilies thrive in low and bright light with a slightly moist soil. The next time you need an air freshener, don’t reach for the chemical spray! Breath in the bloom and serenity of a peace lily.


4. Doze Off With Gerbera Daisies
Flowers
If getting a good night’s rest is not on your agenda this evening, you may want to add some gerbera daisies on your night stand. While most plants release oxygen during the day, their respiratory cycle decreases in the evening hours. However, gerbera daisies continue releasing oxygen all through the night to help you breath and sleep better. Gerbera daisies are especially helpful for those suffering from sleep apnea or breathing disorders. These daisies will have you dozing off in no time!  

Here's to our health!
Natalie  :-)

Pin It for later: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/245024035954637979/


Articles you may also like:

A Hidden Winter Danger
Fumes


Eggs, To Eat or Not to Eat?
eggs - 2


How to Make Chocolate!



How to Make Your Drinking Water Safe Again
ZeroWater ZD-018 23-Cup Water Dispenser and Filtration System

Monday, September 28, 2015

Transitions

Hey everyone! Sorry I haven't been writing as faithfully on here, but I have not forgotten you, or my passion to share simple and healthy ways to eat and live better.

Our family is currently in a time of transition. After years of dreaming of living in the country we have found ourselves a little bit of it to call our own, and we're in the process of moving there. What a pain moving is. I think it's like giving birth, you forget how painful it is until you're going through it again. LOL

Nothing about the NaturalNats site will change as a result of this, just want you all to know I haven't dropped off of the internet planet.

I am learning during this process how much harder it really is for those of you who are constantly busy to find the time and energy to eat healthy.

With that I offer this small bit of advice.

Although you may be eating out more than you'd like to try to focus on small healthy choices.

When you are able to cook focus on buying quality ingredients like grass fed beef and butter, they really will make a big difference in your health!

Try to keep fresh fruits and vegetables on hand to snack on and add to meals. I've found it extremely easy to eat "brown meals" when eating out. There is no color because there are no vegetables beyond a processed potato.

Cook up meat in larger amounts, then freeze the cooked meat so that future meals can be made faster.


I look forward to sharing some of the faster recipes I've come across with you very soon!

With joy in my heart for our journeys ahead,
Natalie  (ie NaturalNat)


PS. What are some of your favorite fast meals? I'd love to have you share by clicking on the pencil below and leaving a comment. :-)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Help for Depression that You've Probably Never Thought of

There is someone in my life whom I've known well for many years now. He has struggled with depression for over 2 decades.

Footpath in snowy ForestI've done my best to support my friend and encourage counseling, but to no avail. I've tried to encourage him to take St. John's Wort (funny sounding name for an herb), which is very effective for many people, but not a good enough long term solution for him because it reduces the effectiveness of other medications.

My biggest surprise was yet to come.

He tried a Paleo diet about a year ago and the results shocked me. The diet calls for all common allergens to be removed from the diet. As he reintroduced wheat he noticed somethings, like he became depressed each time he ate wheat.

There are a few other helps I've discovered along the way, and I'd like to share them with you in the hope that this will help others to overcome their depression.

By sharing these suggestions I in no way mean to minimize depression and its potential consequences on someones life. I do mean to show that for many there can be real solutions that don't involve being on anti depressants for the rest of your life. No matter what road you choose know that there is no judgement here, we are all just trying to do the best we can.

Here are some suggestions that I hope help you and those that you care for...


Food Sensitivities
This guy I'm referring to had no idea that he had any food allergies. Our bodies change over the years and can change what we're allergic to.

I recommend trying the Paleo diet as a starting place. The Paleo diet removes most common allergens such as corn, wheat, grains, peanuts, dairy, sugar, processed food and fast food. Don't worry there's still plenty left to eat! There are lot's of sites to help get you started. Here's an example of one.

Photo by Chrisss s
Try the diet for about 1 month, then gradually add back in the foods you've taken out. For example, try adding corn back into your diet for a week and see how you do with it. If all goes well a week later try adding another food like wheat back into your diet.

If you don't notice anything then you probably don't have a sensitivity to that food. However, if you do notice effects on your body or moods, take that food out of your diet for another 2 weeks, then try adding it back in again. If you still have a sensitivity to it then should probably stop eating that food.

I've got a Pintrest page just for Paleo recipes which can be found here on my NaturalNats board.

So why does food effect us emotionally? Approximately 50% of our emotional receptors are in the lining of our intestines. That means that what we eat has a big effect on how our bodies respond.


Probiotics
fruit shake
aschaeffer
To create a happy environment in the lining of our intestines we need good bacteria.

There are several ways to get more of the happy bacteria in there, and here's more info on varieties of probiotics. Since writing that article I have also discovered kombucha, a fermented tea that is very high in probiotcs. It's even for sale at my local Target.




Magnessium
Many people suffering from depression seem to experience muscle aches and pains, magnesium can often help. Here's what I use that works wonders! If you can dissolve salt in warm water you can make your own, or it can be purchased.


Vitamin D
Snow Canyon 1Ahhhh vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin! Approximately 90% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D, which I would consider the most important vitamin of all.

From sunshine to supplements here's more info on how to get your dose and boost your mood!



Exercise
Exercise releases endorphines, the happy hormones in our brain. Even small amounts of exercise can do a lot to help. Try going for a walk, doing an exercise class, or whatever you can find to get you moving, and get those happy hormones moving in your brain.


Earthing
Child Standing in Dirt
Photo by d Sharon Pruitt
Also called grounding, is a great mood improver. I'm no expert, but it has to do with the electrical impulses in our bodies getting a release by contact with the earth (and by earth I mean dirt, sand, grass).

It sounded ridiculous to me until I tried it. Even a couple of short minutes walking in the grass outside and I'm a calmer person.




Vitamin B
Depression often leaves a feeling of lack of energy. Eating food high in B vitamins, or taking a good quality supplement can be a big energy booster. For the food approach eat lot's of dark green leafy vegetables, or a quality nutritional yeast.

A supplement that I have started taking every day is the the Country Life brand B complex (which includes all of the B vitamins). I've read that taking just one of the B vitamins can cause deficiencies in the others, so it's best if you're taking a supplement to get one that's got all of the B vitamins.

I notice an improved mood and much more energy when taking these.


Sleep
sleeping babyWhat a huge difference a good nights sleep can make on both body and mind! When we are stressed it becomes harder for our bodies to produce melatonin which we need to sleep.

One natural source of melatonin is tart cherry juice. Try drinking a small amount before bed time.

I keep the NOW brand of melatonin in my cabinet and use it as needed. The consensus among doctors seems to be that 1mg is the recommended amount, 1 per night, and that melatonin should not be used for an on going basis but just as needed. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have further questions about melatonin.



I know how hard depression can be on people. With all my heart I hope that you and those that you love can find the relief needed. Feel free to contact me at naturalnatmn@gmail.com if I can be of any further help.



Disclaimer: The above advice is not medical advice, just well meant sharing of information.


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