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Pesticides are no laughing matter! They are and have been poisoning us and our environment for way too long. We are overdue in putting a stop to using these chemicals to destroy unwanted insects and other organisms.

There are quite a few toxic substances that fall under the category of pesticides. Herbicides are used to kill weeds, insecticides are used to annihilate insects, fungicides are for fighting different fungus, rodenticides are utilized for wiping out rodents, and the list goes on.

Pesticides are taking its toll and it is becoming more and more challenging to correct the consequences that follow. These noxious substances are harmful to our water sources. These chemicals are flowing into our rivers, streams, oceans, and groundwater (think about this the next time you drink a glass of water, shower, or brush your teeth!) and the run-off is destroying whole ecosystems which are affecting the fish, animals, bees, and the human population.

"According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), more than one billion pounds of pesticides are used annually in the U.S., and many grains have been genetically modified to include pesticides within the nucleus of the seed. When livestock are fed these grains, the pesticides build up in their fatty tissues. When we eat the livestock, we inherit the same pesticides. Though humans receive plenty of pesticides in this manner, it is suspected that residue on produce is by far the real culprit when it comes to how much pesticide we ingest on a daily basis" (www.smartlivingnetwork.com).

So, how does this affect our health? The answer is in a plethora of ways. As reported by, www.nature.com, "After countless studies, pesticides have been linked to cancer, Alzheimer's Disease, ADHD, and even birth defects. Pesticides also have the potential to harm the nervous system, the reproductive system, and the endocrine system. Pesticides can even be very harmful to fetuses because the chemicals can pass from the mother during pregnancy or if a woman nurses her child. Although one piece of fruit with pesticides won't kill you, if they build up in your body, they can be potentially detrimental to your health and should be avoided as much as possible."

My advice to you is to start investing in your health and the health of the environment now. A few recommendations for doing this is growing your own food, frequenting your Farmers Market and looking for the organic vendors, shopping organic at your supermarkets, and finding non-toxic chemicals to do your "dirty work." If budget is a concern when it comes to purchasing organics, pick and choose. Check out www.ewg.org for the 'Dirty Dozen List.' It will educate you on the most heavily sprayed crops. In addition, there are all sorts of recipes for household cleaners such as using  white distilled vinegar diluted with water for disinfecting kitchens and bathrooms. Add a few drops of essential oil such as lavender, rose, or cedar for a fresh smelling home. Furthermore, when you get the hankering for combatting those pesky weeds, I beg YOU, please don't buy Round Up or other killers and try this simple, homemade recipe called Weed-Be-Gone: 1 Gallon of Vinegar, 2 cups Epson Salt, & 1/4 cup Dawn Dish Soap (the blue original). Just mix it up and spray it in the morning after the dew has evaporated. Then, you walk away. By dinner time, the weeds have been "burned out" and your work is done!

So, beautiful people, look for these safer alternatives and treat yourselves right.

                                                                                                                             Wishing you all the best of health and happiness,

                                                                                                                                                                     Stacy xoxo     




 
 
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Whoever said that turnips aren't sexy certainly didn't know what they were talking about! Turnip season is upon us and after my first official harvest of the season, I thought that I owed tribute to this nutritious and delicious root vegetable. This cruciferous veggie is in the same family as kale, broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprouts (just to name a few of my favorites) and it is action packed with nutritional benefits.

A few winning attributes are its propensity for weight loss and management due to the turnip being a low calorie food. Also, it is a cancer fighter thanks to its antioxidant properties. Additionally, it is chock full of fiber, as well as, vitamins and minerals.

Turnips hold an abundance of vitamin C which is great for the immune system, excellent for skin, prevention of cardiovascular issues, beneficial for the eyes, and helps with the absorption of calcium. Calcium weighs heavy in this often forgotten underdog of the veggie world contributing to bone health. Vitamin A, B, and K also shine in this edible tuber, as well as, potassium, copper, iron, and manganese.

And...let's not forget about those super, green turnip tops! The greens contain a fantastic source of calcium, even surpassing milk. In addition to all of the same nutrients that the actual tuber embodies, the tops also consist of carotenoids, xanthin, and lutein (the latter being awesome for eye health and the two former are antioxidants, as well as, beneficial for hair, the immune system, and heart health). Just a little tip: the turnips will stay fresher for longer by removing the tops (the greens tend to rob nutrients from the turnip itself).

So...enjoy this versatile veggie raw (best when young and tender), in stews, pickled, roasted, or blend it up in order to savor a healthy glass of turnip juice. Please note that, if juicing, do not drink alone. It is best if combined with a source of magnesium (such as dark, leafy greens) to help in the absorption of calcium. Also, tossing in some carrots will definitely improve the flavor. This liquid wonder has been known to combat rheumatoid arthritis, lung issues such as asthma, bad skin, as well as, circulatory, liver, and bladder problems.

What are you waiting for???!!!??? Did I mention that this is a cool season crop?? Get it while you can!

                                                                                                                                 Wishing you the best of health and happiness,

                                                                                                                                                                  Stacy xoxo       


 
 
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"I want to grow my own food but I can't find any bacon seeds" (www.paleocupboard.com). Stop the madness! Don't let this be one more issue that we need to grapple with in our society and the world that we exist in.

Seed saving is of upmost importance. If you like to eat food, then it plays a pertinent role in your life.  

This movie trailer just recently "came across my desk" and I have decided to share it. So...if you have about 3 minutes to spare, feel free to click on  http://www.opensesamemovie.com/. Enjoy!

                                                                                                                               Wishing you all the best of health and happiness,

                                                                                                                                                                     Stacy xoxo








 
 
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Well...judging from the photo, it looks as if Coca Cola has finally honored their word and stopped putting flame retardant in SOME of their beverages, but now look what happened?? Ha! 

Yes, sad, but true. Coca Cola has been using brominated vegetable oil (BVO) in quite a few of their drinks. Thanks to a teenager who discovered this frightening fact and acted upon it by getting a petition going, Coca Cola has now agreed to banish this synthetic chemical from some, but not all, of their liquid refreshments. So, in essence, this is one more small victory for the human population, but WHY is this toxic compound in our sodas and power drinks??

The answer is a simple one, according to the Huffington Post, "BVO is used to improve the stability of its drinks and prevent certain ingredients from separating." Well, that explains everything! (The previous sentence is sarcasm for those of you who might have missed the tone).

BVO, which is not approved to be used in various countries, does pose its health risks. According to www.webmd.com, this flame retardant can "disrupt normal hormone function, leading to problems with brain development in children, fertility, thyroid function, and possibly cancer." There have also been reports of memory loss, psychosis, and skin and nerve problems. Additionally, Dr. Mercola has sources that state that the chemical displaces iodine which can lead to iodine deficiency. This deficiency has the ability to contribute to thyroid issues, affect all tissues in the body, and act as a central nervous system depressant.

My advice to you is, as always, read your nutrition labels and exercise due diligence with those names of ingredients that are unfamiliar. Don't be caught drinking flame retardant!

                                                                                                                          Wishing you all the best of health and happiness,

                                                                                                                                                                    Stacy xoxo

           






 
 
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Oh...poor, little radishes. They always seem to be the underdog in the world of produce. These spicy, mini root vegetables pack quite a punch for their diminutive size, but they are nothing shy of a superhero minus the cape.

As per request from one of my most devoted followers and in honor of my first radish harvest of the season, I thought that it was nothing but proper to bring you the "skinny"  on these cruciferous veggies. Red Bull may "give you wings", but the radish will supply you with an abundance of health benefits.  

This tiny "powerhouse" is capable of soothing sore throats thanks to its pungent flavor and spice. It's these qualities that help rid excess mucus, as well as, clearing sinuses and bringing relief to scratchy throats. The radish is also a natural cleansing agent which makes it optimum for aiding in digestion. Additionally, it is chock full of vitamin C which boosts the immune system and assists in the prevention of viral infections. As if these reasons aren't enough to ingest some of these delicious and nutritious treats, they are also fantastic for kidney health due to the fact that they are natural diuretics and help prevent urinary tract infections. Furthermore, they eliminate toxins and fight off the big, bad villain otherwise known as cancer.

So, if your in the mood to spice up your life then grab yourself a bunch of radishes and let all of those vitamins and minerals go to work. These indigestion fighting, fiber laden, hydrating, naturally decongesting, low calorie, tasty morsels are waiting for you to enjoy! 

                                                                                                                             Wishing you all the best of health and happiness,

                                                                                                                                                                     Stacy xoxo




 
 
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The gift of vision is truly a gift. I do believe that the eyes are often taken for granted. We use them during every waking hour and often do not think twice about them. So, on this Wishing Well~ness Wednesday, we shall give our thanks to our beloved eyeballs!

With that being said, I also do feel the need to spread a little awareness surrounding eye health and that big ball of fiery brightness that we have come to know as the sun. Spring is here and summer is quickly approaching down here in the beautiful South. This is the typical time of year that we tend to spend more time in the outdoors having fun in the sun. Although it is important to protect your eyes all year round, it is especially pertinent now.

According to www.webmd.com, "The sun can harm the lens and cornea of the eyes." Not to mention, the sun is capable of damaging the tissue and skin surrounding the eyes. This is mainly responsible due to the ultraviolet (UV) rays, which are invisible, but are the most dangerous aspects of sunlight. Believe it or not, eyes can get sunburned, too.

Additionally, overexposure to these UV rays can contribute to vision loss, cataracts, macular degeneration, and eye lid cancers. Moreover, for those of you who air on the side of vanity, it can lead to your worst nightmare...wrinkles!

While you are in the process of singing your gratitude to the health of your eyes, do not forget to show some appreciation to those lids. The eye lids offer great protection, but they are not enough to combat the forces of nature. Investing in a pair of sunglasses that are able to block 99-100% of UV rays is a fantastic idea. Also, seek out some shades that offer polarized lenses in a "wrap around" style. And, while you're at it, buy a nice hat, preferably one with a 3 inch brim. Lastly, find some shade for the peak of the day, pay your eye doctor a visit at least every two years, and stay away from those tanning beds, if possible.

                                                                                                                            Wishing you all the best of health and happiness,

                                                                                                                                                                   Stacy xoxo   

     




 
 
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Oh...the incredible, edible avocado! This delicious and nutritious fruit was a late discovery in my life now bordering on obsession. Not only is it nutrient dense, but versatile, as well.

Avocados contain 20 vitamins and minerals and are chock full of health benefits. This perfect, little package, compliments of Mother Nature, is great for blood sugar health thanks to its ability to stabilize. It is also advantageous for the eyes due to the powerful antioxidant, lutein. Additionally, avocados are beneficial for heart health by virtue of the unsaturated oils and folic acid that it holds. Not to mention, it's a super immune booster and valuable for weight loss as a result of the fiber it contains which keeps you fuller for longer. Lastly, an interesting tidbit of information about our much beloved avocado, according to the Huffington Post, "One avocado contains more than twice as much potassium as a banana at 975 milligrams." How's that for "food for thought"?

So how do we consume this delectable treat? Slice it open, scoop the pit out and proceed to either mash it with a few other prime ingredients to make guacamole, smear it on sandwiches and wraps, add it to salads, crack an egg into it, whip it into an awesome dressing, incorporate it into smoothies and soups for extra creaminess, smush it up and apply it to your face for a fantastic mask, or work it into your hair to create more luster and shine.

What ever you decide, savor the flavor and enjoy the many benefits of this much revered food.

                                                                                                                      Wishing you all the best of health and happiness,

                                                                                                                                                             Stacy xoxo 







 
 
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To be or not to be vegetarian? This is the question. There has been much debate over the years of whether or not vegetarianism is the way to go. As always, my school of thought is that EVERY BODY is different and each of our magnificent "temples" require different foods to run optimally. With this being said, a plant-based diet has proven to be beneficial for all, and whether or not you add some lean, animal protein to this protocol is up to you.

People often worry that they will not be able to obtain enough protein without eating meat, but this is far from true. There are fantastic, protein-packed vegetarian options such as beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds, eggs, and dairy products.

Aside from a vegetarian diet being delicious and nutritious, there are many health benefits, as well. According to The Atlantic, "A plant based diet can lower your blood pressure." Additionally, it is easier to attain weight loss, increase longevity, decrease the risk of food borne illnesses, ease the symptoms of menopause, enable regular bowel health, increase energy since the body does not need to expend so much on digestion, and reduce pollution.

If these reasons aren't enough to make you ponder, check out the article, "Why Go Veg?" at http://www.vegetariantimes.com/article/why-go-veg-learn-about-becoming-a-vegetarian/. They do a great job of divulging not only the health benefits, but the environmental benefits, as well, of a plant- based diet. They report that "An estimated 70 percent of all diseases, including one-third of all cancers, are related to diet."

If this isn't food for thought, I don't know what is. Regardless, how ever you choose to nourish your body, remember that "knowledge is power" and don't forget to eat your veggies!

                                                                                                                             Wishing you all the best of health and happiness,

                                                                                                                                                                  Stacy xoxo 






 
 
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If this isn't evidence that all life-force loves hugs, I don't know what is. Carrots are chock full of nutrients, health benefits, and, apparently, love, as well. Feel free to indulge on these sweet, tasty root vegetables and they will love you right back with the gift of vision, prevention of heart disease, combater of cancer, glowing skin, and healthy teeth and gums. A few other beneficial qualities of this affectionate veggie is its ability to aid in anti-aging, its power to cleanse the liver by flushing out those nasty toxins, and its capability to prevent infection serving as an antiseptic. If you are interested in pursuing the latter, experiment by applying some shredded raw carrot or some boiled and mashed carrots into a gaping wound or a minor cut. 

So whether you are munching away on these nutritious and delicious treats or testing your First Aid skills, enjoy and keep spreading the love! 

                                                                                                                                Wishing you all the best of health and happiness,

                                                                                                                                                                  Stacy xoxo   






 
 
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Olive oil is a dreamy oil, for sure. You can eat it, cook with it, and use it on your skin and hair. On top of all of this awesome~ness, the health benefits reign a-plenty!

Olive oil has been proven to be fantastic for cardiovascular health. Studies have shown time and time again that this magnificent oil has the ability to diminish the risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol, and decrease blood pressure. It has also been beneficial for those dealing with type 2 diabetes, as well as, those interested in NOT acquiring the disease. Additionally, olive oil has had significant effects on cancer prevention (especially, the digestive tract) due to those amazingly, helpful antioxidants that fight the battle against free radicals. Not to mention, the anti-inflammatory properties assist in the combat against all cancers and disease. Other advantages of this delicate and delicious oil is its contribution to bone health, as well as, its cognitive benefits. According to www.whfoods.com, olive oil is capable of improving "visual memory and verbal fluency." So, what are we waiting for??

Well, some of you might need a little more information, right? Navigating the market shelves full of this precious oil does offer us many options which often equals a few questions such as: Which kind of olive oil shall I buy? Why? What's the difference? Personally, I always choose Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO). I spend the extra few bucks for this healthy, monosaturated fat. EVOO has higher amounts of nutrients which means more health benefits! Oh, the quest for optimum nutrition! In simplest terms, EVOO requires the "cream of the crop" when it comes to the olives. Extra Virgin and Virgin Olive Oils (choice #2 after EVOO) are unrefined which means that they, literally, extract the oil and bottle it. It does not undergo any chemical refining process. Olive oils that are labeled as Pure Olive Oil or Olive Oil are refined. Often, it is because these particular oils are not derived from the tastiest olives and their flavor needs to be masked in order to produce an edible product. This is accomplished by a process using solvents and high heat. The folks over at www.oliveoilsource.com state, "Many countries deem it unfit for human consumption due to poor flavor, not due to safety concerns."

After you have purchased your health- laden olive oil, make sure that you treat it right. Store it in a room temperature pantry or cupboard or in the fridge to keep it cool. If possible, buy oil that comes in a dark, green glass bottle or one that is made from materials that will protect it from light. Basically, keep in mind that "heat and light can damage the oil by creating oxidation, which changes the beneficial chemical compounds" (www.cnn.com).

The goal is to obtain all of the nutritious abundance that this oil has to offer. As mentioned above, heat can be a villain. Olive oil has a smoke point of approximately 200- 300 degrees Fahrenheit. When cooked and heated to higher temperatures, you are killing off all of the properties that make it beneficial for us. More importantly, when olive oil is heated past its smoke point it becomes a carcinogen. The oil becomes rancid, toxic, and void of nutrition. Better choices for high heat are coconut oil, avocado oil, butter, and, if you really need to get your fry on, then sunflower oil.

It's all about respect, right?? Love your food and it will love you right back. The season is here to enjoy EVOO on all of your favorite salads, drizzling it on steamed veggies, and whatever else your healthy heart desires. If these reasons aren't enough to sway you, check out http://www.robbinsfamilyfarm.com/101-olive-oil-benefits.

                                                                                                                           Wishing you all the best of health and happiness,

                                                                                                                                                           Stacy xo