Walking the Walk

new juicer

I’ve been preaching a lot about the wonders of fresh squeezed green juice. I’m loving the effects of juicing on my body and mind, but not so much on my wallet. And to my shame I did not have a juicer of my own.

Until now.

I am the new proud owner of a retro chic Jack LaLanne Power Juicer that I found on Craigslist for $30.

It’s not the juicer I set out to buy. It’s been well used. It’s named after a retro fitness guru. (Although I do own a George Foreman Grill – maybe they can lift together.) And I need to use chopsticks to remove the blade because the former owner lost the tool. But the price was right, and now I have fresh juice whenever I want it. And for a lot less than the $6-7 a pop most juice bars charge.

There are a bewildering number of juicer options out there – masticating, single gear, twin gear. Spendy, super spendy, and “cost of a small car”. They all have benefits and drawbacks. Some work quickly and are easy to clean, but don’t get all the juice from your veggies. Some are very efficient but painfully slow. And some are just too far outside of most people’s budget.

In nutrition school I learned that the best juicer for you is the one you’ll use.

For $30, I know I’ll get my money’s worth from this little guy.

Welcome to my kitchen, Jack LaLanne!

xoxo,
Sondra

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Unspoken Needs

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Wanna hear something weird? There’s a company that makes fake coffee out of herbs, grains, fruits, and nuts. Kind of like people used to drink during wars.

Wanna hear something even weirder? I like it!

I didn’t know this was a thing, and I certainly didn’t go looking for it. I profoundly love the smell and taste of coffee, but I can’t handle the acid and caffeine. Even decaf coffee makes me jittery. A decaf espresso after dinner will keep me up until 1:30 AM.

But how I love the smell! Given a choice between meeting up at a coffee shop or a tea shop, I will usually pick a coffee shop. Just for the vicarious thrill.

Back at Expo West I met the rep for TeeChia. They are riding the oatmeal-hybrid trend with an oatmeal/chia seed breakfast line that looks pretty good. They sent me some samples to write about, and I’ll get to that eventually. But the surprise at the bottom of the box was samples of Teeccino, “America’s #1 coffee alternative”.

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Two of the flavors are gluten free—Dandelion Dark Roast and Dandelion Caramel Nut. I’ve tried them both. And dang it, they fill a hole in my heart that I didn’t even know was there.

Trust me when I say I that I was not swayed by getting a few free teabags in the mail. Don’t get me wrong, being taken seriously as a blogger by a food company was pretty cool. Career affirming. Ego inflating. But I’m not going to sell my integrity down the river quite that cheaply. Now if someone wants to send me a Tesla… But I digress.

The Dandelion Dark Roast was a little strong. It satisfied my coffee jones, but I didn’t fall in love. But the Dandelion Caramel Nut is another story entirely. Smooth, sweet, buttery tasting, with a roasted undertone. Really satisfying. I want to drink this all the time.

Dandelion tea was a big trend at the Expo. All the major tea houses are doing it. Dandelion is detoxifying and provides a nice, dark, full bodied tea without the caffeine. But this was far better than the others. It’s got carob, chicory, dandelion, dates, almonds, figs, and “natural caramel nut flavor”. I’m not quite sure about that last one, but everything else in it is organic so I’ll let it slide.

They sent a bunch of other, non-dandelion based flavors to try, but unfortunately they all contain barley, which contains gluten, so I’m going to pass on them. Local friends—they’re up for grabs! You know you want to!

Scratch that itch you didn’t even know you had! Enjoy coffee, without the coffee.

xoxo,
Sondra

Sunburn—a Cautionary Tale with a Silver Lining

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A few weeks ago I spent a glorious day in the California sun in a black V-neck t-shirt and my creamy white skin. And no sunscreen. I got swept up in the warmth after weeks of Seattle chill and rain and I forgot all about it. Rookie mistake. So of course I got burnt.

Of course I didn’t have aloe or heavy moisturizers with me. But I was on my way to the Natural Products Expo the next day, so I figured someone would have something useful. It would be embarrassing to show up at a conference where I’m passing myself off as a health expert who clearly does not practice what she preaches. But I decided to play the pity card and look for a great burn cream.

In the meantime I had a secret weapon – Lavender essential oil. Since I started selling doTerra essential oils I always carry a variety of sample bottles. Peppermint for headaches and achy muscles. Lemon for infections. Lavender for anxiety and – little known fact – burns! It’s a great help for cooking burns. Rub a little on the burn immediately and the pain goes away quickly, and if I keep rubbing it on for a few days the burn mark disappears completely.

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So that night I slathered Lavender oil all over my face and neck. It did help with the pain, but I was still bright as a cherry. I followed it with my usual moisturizer, but that wasn’t nearly enough. I was both dry and oily in the morning. But—and here’s the big win—very little pain! The Lavender oil had sucked out the heat, or something. So while I looked like a hot mess, I didn’t feel like one. Winning! And after my shower, some of the red came off on my white hotel towel. So the Lavender was clearly helping.

I slathered on more Lavender oil and then carefully applied the BB lotion with sunscreen that I should have worn the day before–and every day, until I die—and headed off to the show. Well, after a beach detour. I mean, how often am I in California in March?
Eventually I made it to the Natural Products Expo and hooked up with my friend Katie at Love Grown foods. She gave me the lay of the land, heading me off in search of skin care booths.

I was right about playing the sympathy card. I had strategically covered my cleavage, but my neck and face were on full display so there was no hiding my shame. Even before I spoke up, staffers were quick to point out their sunscreen offerings. But no one had anything for burns. I could see the lightbulbs going on over their heads, so next year that could be the new trend. You heard it here first!  But for now I seemed out of luck. Until one nice lady thought about it, and sent me to a competitor in another part of the show floor to ask about Kukui oil. She’d heard it was a Hawaiian oil that was good for sunburns. I figured if it was good enough for people who lived in endless sun on a tropical island, it was good enough for me.

kukui oil

Kukui oil, also known as Candlenut, was a godsend. A staffer took pity on me and gave me an entire bottle from Life-Flo. I went right into the bathroom and applied some on my neck and chest, and I could feel my skin saying “Ahhhhhhhh.” That night I slathered both the Lavender oil and the Kukui oil all over, including my hands, feet, arms and legs, and in the morning I felt like a whole new person. Still a red person, mind you. It didn’t go away over night. But my skin felt soft, the oils had entirely absorbed, and I looked more sun-kissed than sun victim. I used both oils morning and night for around three days, and by then my skin was close enough to normal to start using my usual products again.

But the funny thing is, I didn’t want to. The Kukui oil is really beautifying – I have a healthier glow than I’ve had in years, and my skin is really soft. So I’ve adjusted my skin care regime to include Kukui oil at night, and sometimes before my shower in the morning. Better nourished skin is allowing all of my products to work better.

I guess that’s the silver lining!

xoxo,

Sondra

Need a pick me up? Iced green tea might do the trick

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This morning*, as I sipped my little paper cup of iced green tea after my Chinese herbal reflexology foot massage,  I was reminded of the most lovely drink I sampled at Natural Products Expo West. Iced Rose Green Tea from Teas’ Teas. Which, in turn, reminded me of my trip to Japan, still one of the highlights of my career in business class.

I can’t go a day without green tea. I drink it every day in its natural, warm form. The way God intended. Or whoever’s up there. But I rarely think to have it iced. Only at coffee shops, for some odd reason. Everywhere else I am satisfied with iced black tea, which I never drink warm. Too much caffeine. Makes me jittery. Especially at night. A few glasses of iced black tea at dinner or out for girls night** and I am up until all hours.

But as I wandered the aisles of Natural Products Expo West – or Expo West, as it’s known in the food biz — a little overwhelmed, tired, and thirsty from all those sugary natural power bar samples, the Teas’ Teas booth was an oasis of calm. Smiling ladies served generous sample cups of a variety of iced green teas. Their big push was around the new matcha green tea latte, which I didn’t sample because of the milk.

But when I tried the unsweetened green and rose green teas, I was transported back to Tokyo a few summers ago. Iced green tea was everywhere – markets, soda machines, newsstands. It was as popular as coconut water in New York and L.A.

I especially liked the rose green tea. It’s a surprising taste sensation. Rose doesn’t have flavor but it has a smell, and despite all of our taste buds, taste is mainly about smell. So, while I know it’s all in my head, the rose green tea tasted better than the plain green. Prettier. Happier. Sunnier.

Next time you’re in the market take a look for this stuff, and enjoy a little pick-me-up on a hot day.

xoxo,
Sondra

*To be honest, it was more like afternoon.
** Par-tay! I am a wild one these days.