Friday, April 18, 2014

Holistic Wellness - Dealing With Stress Naturally

Dealing With Stress Naturally
Stress can cause headaches,
fatigue, and anxiety
Stress is a normal part of life! It is our physical and emotional response to pressure. Most of us can handle some stress and, in fact, would probably be bored with life if we didn't experience any. It also helps us stay safe, giving us the ability to take action if we need to. The trouble comes when we have to deal with too much.

Holistic Wellness - Dealing With Stress Naturally
Stress helped early humans
react quickly when danger looked
them in the eye
When we are under pressure, the body releases neurochemicals and hormones which prepare us to take action (the fight or flight response). That was perfect in cave-man days when a person's safety was in constant jeopardy. To survive, early humans had to recognize danger and be able to fight it off or flee. But in today's world, we aren't fighting off dinosaurs or running for our lives. We are typically dealing with stressful situations while doing such things as sitting at a desk or driving. So, the chemicals released in our body simply stay there. And that causes us harm.

What causes stress

There are some situations which are expected stressors, like the loss of a loved one, trouble at work, divorce, or financial problems. Other situations might include bad service in a restaurant or heavy traffic when you're in a hurry.

Holistic Wellness - Dealing With Stress Naturally
Happy occasions, like a wedding,
can cause stress
Stress is not, however, just about the "bad" stuff that happens. The birth of a baby, a marriage, a new home, or even the holidays can cause stress. It's all about how we deal with situations.

How to recognize stress

Since we each respond to situations differently, how does one know if they are experiencing stress? Here are some common symptoms:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Loss of enthusiasm or energy
  • Muscle tension and/or muscle aches
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nervousness
  • Stomach problems
  • Changes in eating habits (over- or under- eating)
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Mood changes (irritability, depression, sadness, etc.)
  • Trouble remembering or concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless and/or helpless

The important thing to remember is that we all react to pressure differently. The above list is not, by any means, definitive. It is up to each of us to evaluate our response to determine if we are reacting normally or in an unusual manner.

Strategies to naturally deal with stress

If at all possible, leave stressful situations. For example, walk away from an argument or take a break from a particularly uncomfortable business meeting. If traffic is heavy, take an alternate route or visit a park until traffic clears.

Remember the "fight or flight" response and the build up of chemicals in our bodies? Exercise helps remove them and, in fact, helps slow their production. It also is an antidepressant, combats anxiety, and helps us sleep. If you can't manage daily exercise, try for 30 minutes a day, 3-5 times a week.

Eat foods high in B Vitamins like nuts, potatoes, bananas, lentils, chili peppers, beans, molasses, and whole grains. Reduce alcohol, caffeine, sugar and junk food. Drink a lot of water to stay hydrated.

Have you ever noticed that when you're stressed you breathe quickly and shallowly? Quick, shallow breaths deplete the brain of oxygen. Take five deep breaths to bring your body back to normal. Deep breathing will also improve your mood.

Get Busy
Sometimes we can divert our minds by simply doing something ordinary, like cleaning house, reading, gardening, or cooking. Even watching TV can stop worrisome thoughts.

Talking to a close friend or a trusted family member may help relieve our anxiety. Simply airing the problems we face can minimize their impact on our lives.

Relax both the body and the mind. Try guided meditation or yoga. Take a scented bath. Focus on the positive in your life and list the things you are grateful for. Take a nap. Listen to soothing music or take a walk in nature.

Holistic Wellness - Dealing With Stress Naturally
Laughter is the
best medicine
Laughter tends to relax your whole body. It also increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. And, remember those stress chemicals and hormones? Laughter decreases them while, at the same time, causes the release of endorphins into our system (they are the body’s natural feel-good chemicals). So, watch a comedy, call your funniest friend, or read a funny book. Or simply start laughing ... before you know it, you'll be doubling over with a good belly laugh.

Stress is inevitable. Managing it properly can be the difference between using it as a motivating, learning tool or letting it cause illness.

William James, an American philosopher and psychologist, said this of stress: "The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another."

How do you manage stress in your life?

Sneak Peek: Have you heard of The People's Movement? Join us next week for an introduction!

The information presented in our holistic living series is not, and should not be used as, a substitute for medical advice.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Kidney Health

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)!

Wondering how to live greener? You've come to the right place. Each week we challenge ourselves to try a new task ... or "amp up" something we're already doing. We raise our awareness, learn from each other and develop Eco-friendly skills which will improve our lives and protect our planet. Doing so together gives us power ... the power to Change The World!

If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.

This post contains great information and I encourage you to read through it at your leisure ... however, if you are short on time, you might find the following quick links helpful:

Last week we tackled air pollution. I organized my errands such that I could get everything done in one day. For the rest of the time, the car remained parked. There are no commercial air fresheners in my living space, I don't use power tools, and I don't smoke. We have indoor plants and use only natural cleaning supplies (vinegar and baking soda). So my home is good to go! Once we leave our house, though, things go down hill fast. Our community is kept pristine by a landscape company. They use many gas powered tools. I walked into a store and immediately got a headache from (I'm guessing) the toxic cleaning solutions used the night before. Traffic, on the roads around our apartment, is heavy and it always seems to me that people are in a hurry and driving erratically. Not far from here, two smoke stacks pump pollutants into the air, 24/7. This challenge opened my eyes and showed me that we have a ways to go to clean up the air quality in our world.

The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments.

Lady JC stopped by and left this comment regarding our "Protect The Ocean" challenge: "This is such a great list. I'll be coming back to check it very often. At our house we've been systematically trying to lower or eliminate our plastic usage for years now, both for environmental and heath reasons. It's a challenge, especially when it comes to packaged goods, but we're getting there. Every once in a while we do bring in a few plastic bags home. We recycle any and all plastic that comes in. Drinking water and food is only kept in glass containers. As for substances that go down the drain, using personal care products and cleaners that are completely biodegradable is a process that took a while and lots of research but now my main cleaners are baking soda, citrus peels, white vinegar and lemon juice. I'll be sure to check out any new recipes anyone has to share! :) "

Ann also left a comment on the ocean challenge: "My favourite topic teaching my kids is Rubbish. Simply adore it getting the kids to think outside the box."

In Change the World Wednesday, It Smells Cleaner, Lois offers some great recipes for air freshener. She also talks about the best way to "dispose" of old paint ... her solution might surprise you!

Did you know that Argentum Vulgaris is an artist? Or that he grows hairy potatoes? How do those things tie into our challenge? Find out in Change the World Wednesday – 9th Apr. That post also includes a picture of the newest member of his family.

This edition of the Shopping Charity includes some of your CTWW articles. Hop over to find out if yours was one of them!

Alicia shares her "ah ha" moment with us: "When we lived in California I had a rude awaking about air pollution! I made a comment one day about how pretty the sky looked that it was an unusual color of orange and pink. My husband and son both said at the same time that is was air pollution that made it that color!! It bothered me so much to think that we were having to breathe that awful pollution! I remember thinking at the time that there was nothing really that could be done about it. That was such wrong thinking. It would be amazing the difference that could be made by doing this very challenge. Look how much less pollution there would be if everyone would just not drive st least one day out of the week. Unless we are delivering to our dealers we don't have to drive a whole lot of miles. We ship our products out all over the U.S. so we do drive into the post office at least three to four times a week. I make sure that I do my shopping during those trips. We are changing over to a new system where we can have our postal carrier pick up our packages. So that is going to help eliminate a lot of our in town trips which is not only helping the environment but going to save a lot of money since we live out in the country and it is several miles into town. We always try to buy local whenever we can. I know that it is so important to have your food source come from no more than a 100 mile or so radius.This is a good challenge to make us more aware of the awful pollutants that are in the air that we breathe."

In addition to turning off the heat for a week, Cody planted a tree and prepared her garden beds for planting veggies. All in support of clean air. But that's not all ... her husband participated, as well, by working from home for a day. How great is that!! Cody offers a bunch of tips for keeping our air clean in Change the World Wednesday - Clean Air for All!

Our Twitter friends joined the conversation and shared the following:

From @GiveTreeGifts
- Four places to cut your carbon | Reduce your carbon footprint | What you can do | David Suzuki Foundation #CTWW
- Ways to Reduce Air Pollution | Plain English Guide to The Clean Air Act | US EPA #CTWW
- 5 Easy Steps to Reduce Air Pollution #CTWW
- Top 10 ways to reduce air pollution #CTWW
- 4 Ways to Take Action to Reduce Air Pollution #CTWW
- How can I help reduce air pollution? #CTWW
- What Can I Do to Help Reduce Air Pollution? #CTWW
- 50 Tips To Prevent Air Pollution #CTWW

From @KrmbalClothing
- We bought this last year instead of using the landlord's gas mower - makes mowing SO much better #CTWW
- plus, it makes it feel more like I'm just taking a walk up and down my yard ;)

The #CTWW Gang are those folks who tweet our challenges using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I recommend following them ... they share great things. Let's meet them:

@89linz @a_kiasi @aussierichluck
@barrydarrdixon @biculturalmama @biggreenpen
@book_oftheday @bstoneblog @collegegogreen
@conservationm @counselorholley @debsmikdav1
@dehelen @dominiquegoh @ecoexpert1
@ecothrifty @etsyrecyclersgt @factorydpromos
@fallenfeathers1 @familybetty @fineswap
@frederickbrooke @freshcleanersaz @ginavalley
@givetreegifts @green_vibes @greenageworld
@groovygreenlivi @guayaba @herbgir1972
@hismerecry @jaydauthor @justanotherhat
@kanelstrand @kayelleallen @kiser_krafts
@krmbalclothing @laalicia @ladyladuke
@leadsafeamerica @leslieveg @lu_and_ed
@magnushrm @marikokoloco @marjoriemcatee
@michaelinla3 @mimibarbour @momfindsout
@mzazeela @najaficosmetics @nerddreamer
@newworldfilmsco @pamela_o_plays @perithelabel
@pinecone_grove @rayforchion @rckweddings
@realityarts @rtmiii1958 @rulesofgreen
@sensuouspromos @shadowdogdesign @shannongrissom
@shoppingcharity @soulfullab @spafloating
@superbsolutions @susanheaney @theworld4realz
@trashn2tees @treesgroup @vanbordelon
@violetsbuds @voiceboksmedia @wencdj
@whopaysthepiper @wsdreams @zenfarmz

Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share features located below this post.

This Week's Challenge:

Meatless meals are good for the body and the planet!
Meatless meals are good for health!
Did you know that 1 in 3 Americans are at risk for developing kidney disease? Here's another interesting fact: our kidneys work 2-3 times harder when processing animal proteins.

The consumption of animal products is also directly related to the environment because it takes more natural resources to produce them.

Sounds like a challenge to me.

Here you go ...

This week, for at least one full day, go vegan. That means no animal products ... no beef, chicken, pork, or fish ... not even milk, cheese, eggs, or honey.

OR ...

If you are vegan or find this challenge too easy, please share a recipe with your readers and encourage them to try meatless meals ... for their health and for the planet.

Are you ready to enjoy some fabulous, healthy food? I know that you are!

Sneak Peek: How do you deal with stress?

Until then ...


Image courtesy of BrianHolm /

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Vegan Recipe - Pizza

Please welcome Deborah, head "chef" at Urban Naturale. Deborah has a goal ... to live healthy, green and natural ... by design! "Urban Naturale" encompasses all aspects of that goal and offers readers a ton of great information. I was particularly interested in a section entitled "Nourish" where I found yummy recipes like one for black bean soup and another for oven baked kale chips. That section, however, isn't just about recipes. Readers will learn about nutrition, too. Curious about plant-based calcium sources? How about the healing powers of moringa? Deborah shares that information and more.

While browsing through "Urban Naturale", I came upon a Pizza recipe which made my mouth water! Deborah graciously gave me permission to share it with you. I hope that you'll give it a try!

Vegan Pizza Recipe

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough


1 teaspoon Raw Sugar
1 1/4 ounce-package Active Dry Yeast
1 cup lukewarm Water
3 cups Whole Wheat Flour (or substitute with a Gluten-free Flour)
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
Additional flour for dusting


  • In a bowl, combine water, sugar, and active dry yeast and let it sit for at least 5 minutes.
  • In a mixer with a dough hook attachment, combine dry ingredients for dough and mix lightly.
  • Add yeast mixture and olive oil and mix until well-combined.
  • Transfer into a bowl and cover with cloth.
  • Let stand for about 1/2 hour or until the dough doubles in size.
  • After the dough rises, release any excess gas by thumping it down on the counter.
  • Sprinkle the counter with flour and put the dough on it.
  • Press the dough and roll it using a rolling pin.
  • Lightly grease a 9-inch spring-form pan and place the dough into it.
  • Make sure that the sides of the pan are also covered with dough, since we are making deep-dish vegan pizza.
  • Preheat oven to 450 F.
Note: If you do not want a deep-dish pizza, you can divide the dough into two and roll them out thinly for a crispy, thin-crust vegan pizza.

Tomato Based Pizza Sauce


Olive oil, as needed
2 Onions, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 (8 ounce) can organic tomato sauce or fresh organic tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried Oregano
1 tablespoon dried Basil
Sea salt & Pepper, to taste


  • To prepare the sauce, sauté garlic and onion, add the rest of the sauce ingredients and let simmer until reduced into a thick sauce.
  • Brush the crust with olive oil.
  • Spread sauce on the crust.
  • When ready, layer toppings on the sauce.

Pizza Toppings


Olive Oil, as needed
Vegan Mozzarella Chesse
Sauteed Broccoli
Shitake Mushrooms – sauteed
Maitake Mushroom – sauteed
Caramelized Onions
Roasted Garlic
Sliced Tomatoes
Vegan Feta Cheese


  • Brush the crust with olive oil.
  • Spread tomato sauce on the crust.
  • Layer sauteed sauteed broccoli, caramelized onions, roasted garlic and vegan feta cheese on the dough.
  • Top with mozzarella cheese and repeat the process until all the ingredients are used.
  • Top with tomato slices.
  • Sprinkle with herbs.
  • Bake until edges are crispy and toppings are set, about 10-15 minutes.
  • Slice and serve while hot.
  • Sprinkle your slice with red pepper, garlic powder or oregano, as desired.

The original recipe, along with alternate topping ideas and more mouth-watering photos, can be found HERE.

If you have a vegan recipe which you'd like to share, please contact me HERE. And for all the recipes we've shared so far, be sure to visit our recipe page using the tabs at the top of this blog ... or by clicking HERE.

Sneak Peek: Want to make a positive impact on the earth? Join us tomorrow for Change The World Wednesday, your chance to make a difference!