Coffee with chocolate is rich and satisfying. But the goodness doesn’t stop there. We’ve combined these companion flavors with decadent coconut and a secret ingredient, crème de cacao, and sweetened the mix with raw honey in a Raw, No-Bake Dessert you whip up in your blender.
Raw Chocolate Coconut Coffee Bites Recipe
½ cup E.V. coconut oil
½ cup raw honey
½ cup organic cocoa powder
1 ½ cups unsweetened coconut, shredded
½ cup sliced almonds
1/8 cup brewed coffee
2 teaspoons crème de cacao or Kahlua coffee liqueur
Add the first three ingredients to a Vitamix, blender or food processor, and mix until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend until thoroughly combined.
Pour batter into a 6” x 9” (1-quart) pan lined with parchment or waxed paper. Place in freezer for about one hour, until firm. Remove and slice into one-inch squares. Store bites in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
By Deborah Tukua, editor of Journey to Natural Living, contributing writer for the Farmers' Almanac, and author of the healthy recipe book, Naturally Sweet Blender Treats, and Marketing Strategies for Chiropractic Success.
By Deborah Tukua, editor of Journey to Natural Living and author of the healthy fresh from the blender recipe book, Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. She is a freelance writer for Chiropractic Economics magazine and author of the book, Marketing Strategies for Chiropractic Success.
The History of Apple Cider Vinegar
"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” is a favorite maxim of modern, healthy living advocates. But did you know that this statement is over two thousand years old? In ancient Greece, Hippocrates, The Father of Medicine backed up his admonition by prescribing apple cider vinegar mixed with honey for its healing and cleansing qualities. In biblical times, after laboring in the barley fields, Boaz encouraged Ruth to dip bread in vinegar during their meal. (Ruth 2:14). It was used at this time not only to flavor food but as an energizing drink. Soldiers through the ages consumed diluted vinegar as an energizing and strengthening tonic.
Home remedies and folk medicine have long relied on apple cider vinegar to aide digestion and prevent or relieve heartburn. Today, apple cider vinegar is revered for all these qualities and more. It is used in detox beverages and in weight loss regimens.
Apple cider is made by crushing apples and squeezing out the liquid. To ferment the liquid, bacteria and yeast are added. The sugars are converted into alcohol. The alcohol is then converted into vinegar by acetic acid, which not only gives vinegar its sour flavor, but has health benefits. The process yields a product that is rich in protein enzymes and probiotics (friendly bacteria). It is reported to lower blood sugar levels, improve metabolism, curb appetites, increase satiety and thus assist in weight loss.
Acetic acid (AcOH), a major component of vinegar, has been found to suppress body fat accumulation. In a double-blind trial of obese individuals, participants were divided into three groups of similar: body weight, body mass index, and waist circumference. During the 12-week treatment, the subjects in each group ingested 500 ml daily of a beverage containing either 15 ml of vinegar, 30 ml of vinegar, or 0 ml of vinegar in the placebo group. Both groups ingesting vinegar daily showed significantly reduced body weight, BMI, waist circumference, and serum triglyceride levels. Thus concluding that daily vinegar intake appears to reduce obesity and is useful in reducing the risks of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, high blood sugar levels, and type 2 Diabetes. However, this relatively short study does not prove nor suggest that apple cider vinegar alone will reduce obesity. Rather, it can be part of a healthy lifestyle which includes: eating nutritious foods, exercise, and adequate sleep.
Drinking water with apple cider vinegar between meals, preferably 20 minutes before eating, may help curb cravings, avoid overeating at mealtime, keep you feeling full longer, and boost your metabolism, increase energy, and burn more fat. It is interesting, yet doubtful that Boaz understood when Ruth dipped bread in vinegar that it would help prevent a spike in her blood sugar levels.
Natural health and nutrition professionals recommend consuming only unpasteurized, organic apple cider vinegar with the mother of vinegar, as it contains the beneficial acetic acid bacteria. Another way to incorporate it into your diet is to use it in salad dressing recipes.
Dr. Axe’s Secret Detox Drink Recipe
(Secret Detox Drink Recipe used with permission)
If you want to cleanse, lose body fat, boost energy and reverse disease then adding natural detox drinks to your diet can help you improve your quality of life fast. The ingredients in this beverage work together to balance blood sugar, lower blood pressure and increase metabolism. Dr. Josh Axe recommends consuming this drink 3x daily, 20 minutes before meals for 2 weeks, and then consuming it 1x daily before lunch or breakfast.
12-16 ounces of quality water
2 Tablespoons organic, apple cider vinegar (Braggs)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground, cinnamon
1 dash cayenne pepper
Stevia, to taste (I use ¼ teaspoon stevia powder)
Add all ingredients to a glass and stir vigorously to blend.
Note: You can substitute 2-4 drops of lemon and cinnamon essential oils, if you prefer, but make sure to use quality oils only. I actually like the taste of this drink, especially when adding essential oils. See Dr. Axe’s website for more information.
About the Author:
Deborah Tukua is the editor of Journey to Natural Living, a freelance writer for the Farmers' Almanac, and the author of the books: Naturally Sweet Blender Treats and Marketing Strategies for Chiropractic Success.
Once upon a pumpkin
If you are a writer or an avid reader, you'll want to put the storybook pumpkin at the top of your fall to-do crafts list. If you've written a short story, poem or a book, this project is a creative, and eye catching way to showcase your work at book signings or other public events, or to delight your family and guests at home.
All you need to make a storybook pumpkin is a plump pumpkin, and a sharpie marker. As you can see in the photograph, I used an orange pumpkin, but a white one would yield a greater contrast. Select a mysterious, exciting, scary or action-packed paragraph or two from a favorite book or poem. I used a couple of paragraphs from a story that I wrote. If you have a writer in the family, feature their work.
Place the pumpkin in the kitchen sink and gently scrub with a soapy, wet cloth to remove soil. Rinse with water and place on a towel. Dry thoroughly.
Set the pumpkin on a stool or counter. Start writing the selected title and text at the top of the pumpkin with a black sharpie marker. Turn the pumpkin as you write large, flowing cursive, a line at a time around the entire pumpkin, dropping down slightly as you arrive at the starting point, continuing to wrap your story around the pumpkin in a spiral.
Display your pumpkin for all to see. We gave this one a traditional, early American look, placing it on a colonial towel. Now the fun part. Try reading the story on your pumpkin to family and friends.
Equally important to me is that by not carving this pumpkin, I can still bake it at a later date and use the tasty seeds and pumpkin inside for all my favorite pumpkin recipes: pumpkin bread, pancakes, pumpkin butter, and more. (See our recipe index for pumpkin recipes.)
About the Author:
Deborah Tukua is the editor of Journey to Natural Living,
a freelance writer for the Farmers' Almanac, the author of Marketing Strategies for Chiropractic Success and the cookbook, Naturally Sweet Blender Treats.
By Dr. Michael Trayford
Dizziness and vertigo are at the top of the list of symptoms that lead individuals to seek medical attention. Some clarification of the differences between dizziness, disequilibrium, and vertigo may be helpful in understanding these symptoms and describing them to a healthcare provider.
Nausea and/or vomiting often accompany vertigo and although less often, may be associated with dizziness and disequilibrium. Dizziness and disequilibrium typically do not lead to vertigo. However, untreated vertigo will often lead to these symptoms due to compensatory changes within the brain. Any of these symptoms can be frightening and debilitating.
Dizziness, disequilibrium, and vertigo have many potential causes. Inner ear disorders, blood pressure issues, medication side effects, anxiety, drug and alcohol use, metabolic issues (e.g. blood sugar related), sedentary behavior, and brain injury are just a few that I have seen in my clients over the years in clinical practice.
Dizziness has many causes, a list too exhaustive to explore here, but many cases are related to:
Disequilibrium is often related to an alteration in brain feedback from any of the major systems related to balance including visual, muscle and joint, and inner ear systems. The number of metabolic, physical, and functional conditions that may affect these systems is quite lengthy as you could imagine! Alcohol, recreational and therapeutic drugs, environmental exposures, and head injuries, among many other triggering agents, can play a large role in the disruption of equilibrium. As noted, untreated vertigo will also lead to symptoms of both dizziness and disequilibrium.
The leading cause of Vertigo, by far is related to debris (otoconia) made up of calcium carbonate crystals that dislodge from their proper place within the inner ear canal system. This condition, called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), is due to the disruption of signals transmitted to the brain regarding angular acceleration of the head from this debris in the affected ear canal. Fortunately this condition is treated with great success via head positioning maneuvers designed to relocate the debris to its proper location, followed by rehabilitation for the inner ear vestibular (balance) organs. Aging and head trauma are the two main predisposing factors for BPPV. The one major drawback is that this condition is often not assessed appropriately, therefore leading to incorrect or non-treatment.
Other causes of vertigo include:
It is critical for anyone who is experiencing dizziness or vertigo to seek proper assessment and intervention to feel steady once again. Many people walk around for months and even years with mild to severe challenges in navigating their everyday world before getting adequate care. Even when care is sought, vertigo and dizziness often go under-treated because these symptoms are frequently overlooked or dismissed by many healthcare providers. Worse yet, they are often improperly treated.
Treatment for all of these disorders is wide ranging and the effectiveness of any given treatment is dependent upon the accurate diagnosis of the condition creating the symptoms. All conditions affecting balance will benefit from active rehabilitation of the involved systems once the causative factor has been established. Although, to the individual experiencing these symptoms, it appears that the prognosis is hopeless, long term outcomes are favorable for the vast majority of conditions outlined!
For comprehensive evaluation and intervention aimed at eliminating the cause of these symptoms and not just covering them up, one should seek the services of a qualified Functional Neurologist (visit the doctor locator at www.acnb.org). In addition to comprehensive neurological evaluations of the many systems related to balance, many functional neurologists utilize diagnostic testing services such as Computerized Assessment of Postural Systems (CAPS) and testing of eye movements with videonystagmography (VNG), among others. More importantly, they train the deficiencies identified in the various systems in order for the brain to realize what “normal” is once again. Once the brain is re-trained to process environmental input more efficiently, the likelihood of symptoms returning is greatly reduced!
Over the past 15 years in clinical practice, it has been my experience that the vast majority of these cases can be very successfully treated. Let me introduce to you one of the hundreds of cases of dizziness and spinning I have personally worked with that resulted in a complete reduction in symptoms. Please meet Bonnie:
Story: Bonnie was in her mid-50s when she presented to me for generalized dizziness that impacted her everyday activities. Bonnie had become socially withdrawn, could not drive, and had given up her greatest passion in life, knitting. She had been to numerous doctors and placed on the standard medications, which did not work and tended to make her feel increasingly anxious, nauseous and withdrawn.
Problem: The moment Bonnie walked through my door I instantly noticed two striking things that spoke volumes about her symptoms. Number one, her eyes jumped all around as she talked to me; number two, she could not walk a straight line. Neither of these issues had been addressed prior to my examination of her. Her inability to perceive the environment appropriately through her eyes was aggravating her balance system and causing extreme dizziness, among other symptoms.
Details: Through routine neurological examination and sophisticated testing of eye moments (VNG) and balance (dynamic posturography), it was quickly and easily uncovered that Bonnie had severe deficits in her balance due to the poor feedback from her eyes to her balance system. These deficits were as great as 85% as compared to standardized age and gender matches. It is no wonder she was so dizzy!
Results: Two days into a 5-day course of brain training designed to improve her eye movements and their impact on her balance system, Bonnie began to feel much less dizzy. She reported decreases in her symptoms of up to 75%. By the end of the 5 days her dizziness was gone, as was the anxiety that went along with it. Eye and balance re-testing after she completed training revealed no more than 12% deficits in the very functions that were causing her symptoms. To her delight, once the dizziness lessened, Bonnie was able to return to a happy and productive life that included socializing, driving, and knitting.
Although to Bonnie it may have seemed so, this was no “miracle story.” Her situation was as routine as they come for centers that deal with and understand the brain’s control over movement and balance, as well as the role the eyes and other systems play in maintaining equilibrium. We can only hope that others who are suffering from dizziness or vertigo find such a place for themselves.
About the Author:
Dr. Michael Trayford is a Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist and co-founder of APEX Brain Centers in Asheville, NC. APEX is a progressive intensive brain training program that helps individuals with learning and behavioral issues, peak performance, and neurological issues such as brain injury and movement and balance disorders. www.ApexBrainCenters.com, 828.708.5274.
To treat your family as naturally as possible, it’s important to begin treatment at the onset of cold symptoms and to be consistent in administering the herbs and vitamins. I’ll also assume you’re working to give your children a healthy immune system by providing: healthy food, clean water, and lots of fresh air, sunshine and exercise.
There’s usually no need to run to the doctor if you have these natural remedies on hand. Colds are caused by viruses which cannot be treated with antibiotics. Fevers are effective infection fighters.
12 Natural Cold Remedies --
1. Moist air makes breathing easier, so if you have a dry house (especially if you heat with wood or forced air) you should have a humidifier running, especially where the sick child sleeps. Drops of Eucalyptus oil in the water can be helpful along with a eucalyptus rub on the chest and bottom of the feet.
2. During the day, make a steam tent with steaming water in a large pot and drops of eucalyptus oil in it for the child to breathe.
3. For chest congestion, which is worse upon waking, have your child lie face down on a bed or couch, with his or her head hanging over the side. Cup your hands and firmly pat the child’s back up and down (over the lungs) to help loosen the phlegm and encourage him to cough it up and out.
4. Take Ester C several times per day, up to 10,000 mg per day depending on age. Crush in honey for young children, one-year-old and older.
5. If raw garlic can be tolerated, it is highly recommended. Pieces of fresh garlic cloves can be swallowed whole like a pill and followed by drinking water or juice. Or, mince raw garlic and put in a spoonful of honey 3 times per day. Garlic pills also work, but don’t seem as effective as raw.
6. For earaches, steep sliced garlic in olive oil for at least 20 minutes. Mash, strain and cool. Drop garlic oil at a comfortably warm temperature into the ear canal. Have the child lay still several minutes before sitting up (wipe off any runoff from the ear). Place drops in both ears 2-3 times per day. If there’s sinus congestion, start this immediately.
7. Olive leaf extract is an excellent supplement that can be bought in capsule or drops. It is considered to be anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and antibiotic.
8. Slippery elm, licorice and marshmallow root (herbs, not candy) are soothing to mucus membranes and can be purchased in capsules or teas.
9. Make homemade cough syrup of raw honey, apple cider vinegar and garlic is effective.
10. Drink lots of water with fresh lemon juice.
11. Twice a day, wipe down all commonly handled spots in the home with a disinfectant spray.
12. Other helpful resources: motheringherbs.com and the book, Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child are excellent sources of information.
Important Notes: Honey should only be administered to children one-year-old and older. When pregnant or nursing consult a midwife or other natural health care provider before taking herbs.
About the Author:
Heidi Miller is a homeschooling mama of 9 children and 7 grandchildren. She lives on a farm in NW Alabama and enjoys gardening, reading, animals, meeting new friends and learning new things. Feel free to contact her at email@example.com.
Articles and recipes by health and natural living author and freelance writer,
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