Well, I am back with a book review. I have made my love of herbal remedies known and have spent a good chunk of change on teas, tinctures, and vinegars from local shops and one in Hilton Head. While I like the convenience of ready-made options, I am curious about making my own. Katja Swift and Ryn Midura’s book for beginners makes me feel more comfortable about taking the plunge.
Over the years I’ve played with adding herbs to my food and making skin care products that include pain-relieving benefits. I have made bath oils and body washes to help boost my energy and clear my sinuses. I am in love with the spicy goodness of the Herbal Fire Tonic from The Herb Room in Hilton Head, SC. I worry about not getting the recipes right, mold, and the cost of messing up a batch if I make more medicinal remedies. Swift and Midura’s Herbal Medicine for Beginners addresses these concerns and makes me feel like I can do this. I was lucky enough to receive a review copy and have already made the Warming Compress (page 141). It’s on my wonky ankle now.
This book covers the bases in a way that is easy to understand. There are recipes and general processes for making herbal medicines, profiles of medicinal herbs, a list of required and optional tools, and full descriptions of the types of remedies available. Even if you don’t decide to make your own remedies, this book may help make you more comfortable about reaching for these options when you need them. Each recipe includes a list of “Herbal Allies” that help with the healing process. I easily see the Sinusitis and Sore Throat remedies coming into rotation thanks to these allergies.
Will I break out this book every time I need something? Probably not. Wil I make a few things to have on hand during certain times of year? yes. Will I use the information I’ve learned to help me with my future purchases? Most definitely.
Are you a fan of herbal medicines? Thinking about it? Swift and Midura have answers for you. Check out what other readers think about this book. Herbal Medicine for Beginners is available now and if you’d rather have a physical copy, pre-orders are available.
On that note, I have more reading to do. Or dinner to make. Whichever appeals more. Until next time.
It’s been a minute since I’ve posted here. Time literally got away from me. Wasn’t it just August? Anyway, the end if one year always results in me looking back and ahead. Join me in my look back.
2017 was my PlantFusion New Year that saw me rock my second 5K, increase flexibility training, and come out as a person with Type 2 Diabetes. I added new knives to my kitchen collection and embraced both the Instant Pot and Air Fryer as necessities. I also spent a few months back in physical therapy after a car accident (and hubby was right there with me). Now that the year is about over, I do not regret any of it. Off-plan meals, iffy days, and other things that made up my days were part of what made me. Embracing the good, bad, and ugly experiences of life helps keep me honest. That’s my short and sweet review of 2017. Come on, 2018!
What about you? It’s not too late to end 2017 on a high note and not too soon to make plans for 2018. I’m always around on Facebook and Instagram, so if you want to cheer each other on, give me a shout. I always have your back!
It’s been a while, eh? You may be wondering where I’ve been. If not, I’ll tell you anyway.
It started with a car accident on July 31. Hubs and I were minding our own business when another driver hit us hard enough to bend the car’s frame. We did not think we were hurt at first, but we were both wrong. We both felt the result of the impact a few days later and are both currently in recovery (meaning physical therapy, massage therapy, and meds).
What else am I up to these days? Working as much as I can. Because two kids in college are almost as expensive as they were when they were younger. Scratch that. They’re more expensive now because the needs grew up with them.
Something had to give, so my blogs took a back seat while I worked out the kinks. My fellow spoonies, you know how it is. I’m still around (just check out my Facebook and Twitter feeds), but not as chatty as I have been.
So, let me know what you;d like to see. The holidays are coming up, so expect sample menus and other yummy goodness. Until next time, peace!
Morning, y’all. Your friendly neighborhood Sherrie is slowly coming out of hiding. Between losing my boy Oz, extended pain flares, and a bit of a spiral, I have slacked off on taking care of myself. Eating like crap (mostly junk) and minimal exercise (stretching enough to make moving easier and walking while shopping) led to increased pain, more fatigue, and losing a little bit of me every day.
Between losing my boy Oz, extended pain flares, and a bit of a spiral, I have slacked off on taking care of myself. Eating like crap (mostly junk) and minimal exercise (stretching enough to make moving easier and walking while shopping) led to increased pain, more fatigue, and losing a little bit of me every day. Although I have realized that my normal means that I will hurt and feel tired more often than not, I started feeling sorry for myself and pictured my future with more pain and less mobility. This sent me down a darker path and binge eating.
What brought me out of it was a combination of things. Well, I’m still in it, but fighting to pull out of it. Physically, I’m getting better (thank you anti-inflammatory foods and support sleeves), but the brain still needs work. Hubs and I joined a gym and are still tweaking our schedule. I’m learning to recognize and listen to my body. I know when I need to switch to a different body part while training, when to start getting my heart rate down, and to start more slowly so that I can get stronger without hurting myself. After a little over an hour yesterday (treadmill and a full-body lifting session), I don’t feel that bad. The BCAAs do make a difference.
I would love to skip supplements and get off all meds, but that is not in the cards for me now and may not be later. And I’m okay with that. I refuse to let anyone shame me for doing what I need to do.
Some days are better than others, but that’s how things are with everyone. I may move more slowly than I used to, but my inner athlete is coming back. And she is badass.
I think that my new nickname should be Human Barometer. It doesn’t matter how good I’m feeling or moving when the changes in barometric pressure are dramatic.
It always starts in my ankles. They feel a little tight, but not tight enough for a support or anything. I’ve I’d been training, I usually chalk it up to that. Then my knees get sore. That makes me check the weather a little more closely. If I see rain in the forecast, I know what is on the way and get out the turmeric and Aleve.
Once my hip and spine stiffen and go from an ache to throbbing pain, it’s on. So much on. Right now I’m typing this in a recliner with my back, neck, and head firmly against the back of the chair, legs raised in a partial recline. It’s the only comfortable position at the moment. My ribs, elbows, wrists, and shoulders are feeling it now, too. Tropical Storm Cindy is not heading my way (be safe, y’all), but I feel it anyway. Rain is coming ad we’ve had some here in Charleston since Sunday night’s thunderstorm.
Weather-related pain flare aside, I will get in some yoga today. It is International Yoga Day after all. I recognize my current limits and have a mix of workouts in my arsenal. I also know that I will always have a dog on my yoga mat if I step away. Flexibility training helps make these bad days easier and make good days better.
Between yoga and walking, I am getting stronger physically. It just doesn’t feel like it on days like this. I’m trying not to fall into the pit that seems to open up whenever a flare is extended. Spoonies, you get me, right?
Happy Wednesday, Happy Solstice, and Happy International Yoga Day! May it be amazing!
If you like to cook, then you may share my problem — I’m addicted to kitchen toys. I love them! Knives, scales, mandolins, containers, blenders, mixers, Instant Pot – all of them. I don’t use love to have them around, I use them. I don’t like spending money on anything I won’t use just because an ad or infomercial caught my eye.
But before I grew to love kitchen toys, I had to pick up the essentials. You know, the basic kitchen equipment that fit my needs. Here’s a quick peek at some of my kitchen essentials. This is not a list of thinks everyone must have, but my personal collection of go-to tools. If I did not have these, I could not get anything done in the kitchen.
I’m working on my fat/weight loss goals, so the right tools are essential. I picked up Snapware bowls for the things I cook in bulk for the family and the individual portions I make for myself. I’ve noticed that when I pack leftovers as full meals, I tend to stick to the cleaner path. I also use divided containers by Orgalif to refrigerate or freeze perfectly portioned meals.
They help me keep on point on bad pain days. If I don’t have something ready to roll, I give in to the pb&j (well, Sumbutter and jelly or jam) on whole wheat rut.
Containers and a lunch box that holds them at the right temperature all day are important because Hubs (aka FM) takes lunch to work almost every day. We picked up a couple of lunchboxes that came complete with container and a shaker bottle this year and tossed all of the older ones that needed to go. With these, hubs or the kids can take enough food to last most of the day. This gray, black, and red bag from HomEquip came with 2 2-cup containers, 4 1-cup containers, a pill/supplement box, bottle, and ice pack that fit nicely. It’s a little snug when all of the containers are in place, but he doesn’t usually take more than a sandwich, fruit and veggie sides, a utensil, napkins, and a protein or granola bar for emergency snackage. The grey with turquoise bag behind this one is Hubs’ preferred bag because he can fit his water bottle inside with his lunch containers. Both bags work nicely when needed.
You don’t need to buy a lot of containers when you have Mason jars on hand. Pasta sauce jars, pickle jars, and others with tight lids work nicely as storage for dry goods, in the freezer (just don’t fill it to the rim), and fridge for salads or oats. I also use jars for dressings and dips that I whip up. Besides overnight oats with berries, I have some Cashew Cream Cheese from Meal Mentor in jars now.
*By the way, if you have not checked out Meal Mentor yet, you can get a free sample at GetMealPlans.com. Whole food, low fat, high carb goodness. Most of the dishes I’ve made are omni-approved.*
In addition to the containers, I need my cutting boards, cast iron skillet and griddle, 5 qt. stainless steel pot, baking pans, and cookie sheets. I need the, so I have a safe place to chop produce (and there is a separate board for the fam to us for non-veggie stuff). When I get the desire to bake, I pull out the loaf pans, cookie sheets, or square or rectangular pans depending on what mood strikes. I feel the need for a bean loaf and possibly muffins for next week.
My main tools are my knives. I have both steel and Ceramic knives. Until Ozeri sent me this set of three ceramic knives, I had not taken the plunge. I wasn’t convinced I would like them as much as steel. I use them several times a week. I’d use them daily, but I don’t cook or prep on a daily basis. The handles feel good in my hands and the light weight make it easier for me to work longer. Those features alone make my arthritic hands happy. And they look good. I kind of dig the black stainless appliances and these knives remind me of that look.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the peek at my kitchen essentials. I’ll share more about my possibly unhealthy obsession with the InstantPot, air fryer, and J.L Fields’ cookbooks for both another time.
Diabetes. I did not want to hear that diagnosis. It was already around me (family and friends) and I thought I’d escape it personally. Nope.
I was first diagnosed in 2015, but I was more pre-Diabetic than Diabetic according to everything I was ordered to review. Once my script ran out, I did not rush to refill it. I believed I could handle things on my own with diet and exercise. I did not plan for extended periods without more exercise due to pain, the depression- and stress-fueled binging, or the frequent ‘eff this’ days that led to fast food dinners.
The ‘yes, you have Type 2,’ was repeated in December 2016. I’ve been taking my meds, eating decently for the most part until this past March-April, and moving more when I can. I’m going back in sometime next month for an A1C test re-do and am not sure if I’ll be given the green light to stop meds. My fasting Glucose has been in the 140+ range for a couple of weeks now. I’m a little worried.
Yes, plant-based people can develop diseases like Diabetes and Hypertension. It happens. No, I will not go Paleo unless it’s completely plant-based. You heard me.
I have noticed that my Glucose jumps after TexMex restaurant meals, fattier meals. and when I eat at random times in general. I’ve also noticed that my pain flares are longer and have higher spikes. Yes, Diabetes can cause that. And my fat loss is currently at a standstill. Why? Pain. It always goes back to pain.
I don’t mean a general discomfort, Dr. Who-Thinks-I’m-Just-Lazy (yes, a former doc said this to me and she knew about my spinal issues). I am in pain. Pain that makes it difficult to even breathe sometimes.
I am trying to keep it positive, though. I have a dusted off my copy of Eat to Live and Happy Herbivore cookbooks, have few new cookbooks with oil-free and high nutrient recipes, and follow more blogs that feature the dietary guidelines I need to follow. I also registered for the 2018 Cooper River Bridge Run and ordered my shirt a size smaller than I wear now. Training begins now! Goals! My PLant-Fusion New Year is still in full-effect.
So, that’s what I’m up to now. Well, in addition to more appointments to figure out what exactly is ailing me. You know the drill – blood tests say this, but symptoms point to another thing.
Go with love, y’all. Always choose love. If you need me, I’ll be over here with a book, game, or napping. No telling.
Are you ready for Mother’s Day? It’s Sunday. Yes, two days from now. Did you forget? Let me assure you, your mother-figure did not forget to watch you grow, deal with your teen angst, walk you through many firsts. If you need ideas, Merilee Kern has them. Check out this guest post and run with it. Kids, if you’re reading this, I could use a waffle iron.
7 Marvelous Mother’s Day Gifts Under $100
By Merilee Kern, ‘The Luxe List’ Executive Editor
According to the National Retail Federation, Mother’s Day shoppers are expected to spend an average of $186.39 for the holiday, up from last year’s $172.22. That’s a lot of retail-driven adoration. From food to flowers to frocks, well-intentioned gifters are indelibly on the hunt for that perfect present that’ll light up Mom’s face and warm her heart—not just on Mother’s Day but, optimally, all year through. Towards this end, here’s an apt assortment of gift ideas priced under $100 that she can enjoy on the daily.
The Kennedy Tote from RuMe (pronounced “Room-ey”) is a stylish tote that’s great for the woman on-the-go. Available in 27 unique patterns and colors, these trendy bags are designed with extra-long vegan leather handles to ensure it’s comfortable to carry over your shoulder, and boast a durable polyester body sure to stand the test of time. The Kennedy Tote is the perfect size for Mom to fit everything from laptops and tablets, to library books, clothes and even those random toys and snacks that always seem to make their way into her bag. It’s bigger than the average purse, but not so big that it’s overwhelming. The Kennedy Tote is handmade in the USA and all are made to order. With this, Mom can leave that boring canvas tote at home and rock some style-sense!
Clipa Bag Hanger (www.Clipa.us) – $15.99
While Mom is out and about, give you an easy and attractive way to secure her Kennedy Tote or any other stylish handbag off the dirty floor—especially in restaurants, bathrooms, movie theaters and other public places. Clipa, which means “instant” in Romanian, is a decidedly fashionable, USA-made handbag hanger that goes on—not in—the bag for quick and easy use at any time. This strong, circular purse hanger is designed for heavy bags—it can actually hold up to 33 pounds! It’ll keep her handbag off the ground or floor, safe from germs and filth. It works in seconds. Simply open and place on the bag strap to have whenever needed. To use, just open one end and hang. When finished, just pull the strap and Clipa automatically closes and slides back onto the bag. The new Clipa2 is a lighter and sleeker model that works in more places including thicker countertops and tables. It’s ideal for bathroom stall doors and walls, shopping carts even rails. Also durable, it’s been tested to last for 10 years of daily use. Also fashion-adaptable, Clipa comes in a variety of colors, designs, and metals including matte and polished, hematite, gold, and silver. I’ve used a variety of handbag hangers and Clipa is by far the most versatile and durable.
This spring and summer, Mom will surely love staying warm and cozy with fashionable Heat Holders’ Lounge Socks—especially when ensconced in a chilly, air-conditioned environment. This short ankle length slipper-style sock with turn over cuffs is ideal for lounging around the home. Perfect to express your love for mom, they include cute heart shaped non-slip grippers on the bottom to provide better traction on hard indoor surfaces like wood or tile. Thick and chunky with long pile cushioning, these thermal socks help keep feet fully comfortable and supported. The inside of each sock has been intensively brushed, which makes it not only feel sensationally soft but also traps warm air close to the skin keeping feet warmer for longer. Wrapped in a pretty ribbon that says “Just for you”, these socks (available in stripe or solid patterns) make a thoughtful gift she’ll use time and time again. BELLA Rotating Belgian Waffle Maker (www.BellaHousewares.com) – $29.99
Perfect for those culinary Moms who love to impress and indulge, the new BELLA Ceramic Copper Titanium rotating Belgian waffle maker will surely be well-received. With it, Mom and the whole family can enjoy 1″ thick crisp and fluffy restaurant quality Belgian waffles at home in mere minutes. The true non-stick coating allows the use of any batter desired—so she can get super creative! This enduring appliance has a unique ceramic non-stick coating that is 8 times more durable and cooks up to 30% faster than standard non-stick coatings. This ultra-durable coating is actually reinforced with titanium for outstanding resilience and resistance to metal utensils, resisting scratches and scuffs. It’s even a healthy “eco-coating” as it doesn’t contain lead or cadmium and is also PTFE and PFOA free. Mom will also appreciate the space saving design with a folding handle that allows for convenient storage, along with the drip tray making cleaning a breeze.
Moms are constantly looking for ways to make cooking simpler. The CRUX Toaster Oven with Convection function is one easy way to improve and expedite her cooking efforts and is a practical gift she’s certain to appreciate. This device delivers faster, more even heating and also maintains enhanced temperature accuracy. In all, the highly uniform heating profile without hot-spots yields fantastic toasting results. And, the large 17-liter capacity holds up to six slices of bread or a 12” pizza. Other notable features of the CRUX Toaster oven include 700-watt heating elements that preheat quickly and cook efficiently; bake, broil, bagel, toast and warm functions; 60-minute timer with stay-on and auto shut-off; and a grill rack with three positions to accommodate various size casseroles and baking pans. The unit also comes complete with a bake pan and external removable crumb tray. Whether she’s looking for convenience for breakfast, lunch or dinner—for herself or the whole family—or wanting to bake a quick late-night snack, she’ll love the ease and power of this appliance.
What more quintessential way to celebrate Mom than with a homemade brunch on Mother’s Day? And while you’re at it, go ahead and whip her up a tasty mixed elixir. One recipe idea is the Pompelmoncello Rosemary Mojito made with Everclear. This delicious cocktail mixes together grapefruit, rum and rosemary, creating a sweet and refreshing cocktail that’ll help her relax and enjoy her special day. The Everclear spirit component is distilled from 100% selected grains, providing a neutral flavor profile along with a high proof—so do be mindful of the amount used. Because it’s flavor neutral, it has a unique ability to extract even the subtlest of flavors, providing home mixologists with a clean slate, a blank canvas and endless potential. For those who insist a mojito requires mint, this cocktail politely disagrees. The flavors of grapefruit, rum and rosemary combine perfectly to help you forget everything you thought you knew about the Havana classic—and delight Mom in kind.
Nonni’s Dark Chocolate Almond THINaddictives (www.Nonnis.com) – Starting at $3.49
Another delightful indulgence for Mom—particularly those who are health conscious and ever on-the-go—is the better-for-you Dark Chocolate Almond THINaddictives from Nonni’s artisan bakery. They’re thin, crunchy, and super addictive…but in the best way. THINaddictives are handmade quality from a cherished family recipe passed down from generation to generation with no two cookies alike. Averaging only 70 to 80 calories per pack, each almond thin is lightly drizzled with decadent dark chocolate and made with real ingredients such as California almonds, bananas and sweet cherries for a guilt-free anytime snack. These crunchy delights come in three delectable flavors: Dark Chocolate Banana Almond, Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond and Double Dark Chocolate Almond. THINaddictives pair perfectly with hot or cold beverages like iced coffee or tea or are certainly delectable by themselves. With each pack individually wrapped, they’re awesome to take on-the-go. Find these tasty treats at retailers nationwide. ~~~
As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List,” Merilee Kern is an internationally-regarded consumer product trends expert and hospitality industry voice of authority—a travel, dining, leisure and lifestyle expert who spotlights noteworthy marketplace innovations, change makers, movers and shakers. She reports on exemplary travel destinations and experiences, extraordinary events and newsworthy products and services across all categories. Reach her online at www.TheLuxeList.com, on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/LuxeListEditor, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList and on Instagram at www.Instagram.com/LuxeListReviews.
***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above may have been provided or sponsored at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***
May 12 is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. Send good thoughts to someone who deals with this. If you don;t have it, imagine a daily migraine, but all over your body. Or a horrible case of the flu. Some days are better than others. Some of us can work, others can’t. The pain and fatigue can be debilitating. And don’t get me started on the brain fog.
What’s your Fibro story? My personal Fibro story began years before my diagnosis, You’ve heard it before, so I won’t repeat it. I’m sure you’re tired of hearing it by now. Pain is my constant companion and I am incredibly thankful for a family who gets it for the most part. The kids (adults now) know when I need the sleep and don’t necessarily see it as me taking a lazy day. Hubs has taken over 95% of laundry duties because the bending and reaching tend to lead to pain spikes.
After my official diagnosis in 2016, I went into research mode; searching on and offline for resources that would help. The National Fibromyalgia Association has been a weekly stop. The resources have been invaluable to me. If you know someone with Fibro and don’t know much about it, this is a great place to start.
To my fellow spoonies, let’s raise our glasses to the doctors and researchers who get it and are looking for ways to make our lives better. Cheers!
Howdy, y’all. It’s been a minute since I’ve posted anything here. I’ve been active on Instagram and Facebook, but not really blogging.
Grief is natural. We have to get through it however we can. Laughing, crying, staring off into space – all natural. Feeling lost is natural. Feeling like you can’t hold it together is natural. Grief is universal and individual. Grief is an asshole.
Watching the people I love in pain has taken the wind out of me somewhat. Some days I feel like I’m here and others not so much. I wonder if what I’m doing is enough, but I know there is only so much I can do.
The grief has brought on a few days of mindless eating and tears. Not just for the ones who left, but for those who left long ago. I’ve dreamed of my grandmother, mother-in-law, father, and old friends. Not memory-inspired dreams, but scenes of happy times with all of them in the present. They have been both sad and comforting, but mostly sad. I hate that they have and will miss so many good things. Graduations, births, new jobs, new homes, all of it.
It will get easier, I know. If you’re grieving, you’re not alone.