Our Favorite Quickie Meals

Our Favorite Quickie Meals for FAST Dinners everyone enjoys

Grilled Burgers + Roasted Veggies

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 pre-shaped burgers from the fresh meat department (plus buns and hamburger fixin's)

Windy Ridge Naturals Grilling Spices

2 pounds of pre-cut veggies (like baby carrots, sweet peppers, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, etc).

Windy Ridge Naturals Citrus Rosemary Seasoning

 

Roasted Veggies - Spread veggies in a thin layer on a baking sheet.  Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle approx 2 Tablespoons Windy Ridge Naturals Citrus Rosemary Seasoning (or for less pizazz just salt + pepper) and gently stir to coat. Bake at 450 for 20-30 minutes or until desired crispness.

Hamburgers - Sprinkle burgers with Windy Ridge Naturals Grilling Spices on both sides (or for less pizazz just salt + pepper).  Grill until desired doneness or cook in skillet until done, flipping to brown both sides. Serve on buns with your favorite burger fixin's

 

*My fav burger fixin's are sweet pickles, BBQ sauce, red onions, & lettuce.


Our Favorite Quickie Meals for FAST Dinners everyone enjoys

Black Bean Burritos + Veggie Stix

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 Burrito Flour Tortillas (or gluten-free wraps)

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1 1/2 Tablespoon Taco Seasoning 

1/3 c salsa

Burrito toppin's: shredded cheddar cheese, salsa, sour cream, cilantro, avocado, etc.

 

4 cups precut veggies (like baby carrots, sweet peppers, cucumbers, baby tomatoes, snap peas, etc.)

Windy Ridge Buttermilk Ranch Dip

 

Place 1 can of beans in a shallow bowl and mash with back of a fork (honestly, I do this step in my food processor) then, add Taco Seasoning and salsa, mixing until smooth.  Spread bean mixture evenly between 4 tortillas, top with remaining black beans and desired toppings and fold into burritos.

 

Serve with veggie stix and Ranch Dip (or blender salsa *recipe coming soon*).

 


Tortilla Pizza + Side Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 large flour tortillas (or gluten-free wraps)

Pizza Sauce

Shredded Mozzarella or Cheddar Cheese

Pizza Toppin's: Pepperoni, diced veggies, cooked sausage, fresh herbs, ham, pineapple, etc.

12 oz Spring greens or favorite salad mix

Favorite salad dressing (like Windy Ridge Ranch or Greek dressing *recipe coming soon*)

 

Place tortillas on a baking sheet and bake at 425 until they begin to crisp (watch 'em carefully so they don't burn...believe me!)  Remove "crusts" from oven and spread approx. 2 Tablespoons pizza sauce, desired toppings (pepperoni, cooked sausage, peppers,  onions, mushrooms, sliced tomatoes, etc.) and shredded cheese.  Return to oven and bake about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

 

Serve with salad and your favorite dressing.

0 Comments

Sweet Potatoes Brownies

Gluten-free, Paleo, Grain-free, naturally sweet Sweet Potato Brownies from www.WindyRidgeNaturals.com

Last year's sweet potato harvest was insane!

 

We've NEVER grown so many sweet potatoes in our 7 years of gardening.  (Nevermind the fact that we've only grown sweet potatoes for 2 seasons.)

 

We never have to fight off bugs, powdery mildew, or other garden pests, besides the deer who love the leaves.  

 

Our sweet potatoes are hiding under this viney, raised bed garden!!!  

 

Sweet Potato Raised Garden Bed Windy Ridge Naturals

 

Sweet potatoes truly are the best crop ever!  From 15 sweet potato "slips" (or starters), THIS was our reward.  

 

2015 Sweet Potato Harvest Windy Ridge Naturals
Giant Sweet Potato from the Windy Ridge Naturals gardens

 

I'm hosting a Raised Bed Gardening Workshop where you can learn how to grow sweet potatoes or your favorite veggies in your own backyard OR on your back porch!!  No need to dig up the grass, buy a tractor, or have a green thumb (believe me...my houseplants are SAD!)  Find out more about the Gardening Workshop here.

 

Because of the MASSIVE amount of sweet potatoes, I've discovered some ingenious ways to use these sweet potato puppies since their October 2015 harvest, but the recipe I'm sharing today is DEFINITELY ones of my favs. 

 

Gluten-free, Paleo, Grain-free, naturally sweet Sweet Potato Brownies from Windy Ridge Naturals.

Sweet Potato Brownies

 

1 c cooked sweet potato, mashed

1/2 c almond butter (peanut butter works but gives the brownies a smooshy texture)
3 T maple syrup
1/4 c cocoa powder
1/4 c semi-sweet chocolate chips 

Preheat oven to 350. 

 

Wash 1-2 medium sweet potatoes and stab with a fork (so the potatoes don't explode and make a mess of your microwave...or so I hear.) 
Gluten-free, Paleo, Grain-free, naturally sweet Sweet Potato Brownies from Windy Ridge Naturals.

 

Wrap a wet paper towel around the potato and tuck that little baby in.  Place it on a microwave safe plate and cook for 3-4 minutes.  

 

Gluten-free, Paleo, Grain-free, naturally sweet Sweet Potato Brownies from Windy Ridge Naturals.

 

Carefully unwrap and check the sweet potato for doneness.  Turn potato and cook until done in microwave..

 

Gluten-free, Paleo, Grain-free, naturally sweet Sweet Potato Brownies from Windy Ridge Naturals.

 

Remove sweet potato skin and mash until smooth.  You'll need 1 cup of mashed sweet potato goodness.  

 

(P.S. - If you think ahead next time you cook sweet potatoes for dinner, throw an extra one in the oven to skip this microwave step!)

 

In a microwave safe bowl, warm 1/2 cup almond butter in microwave for 30 seconds or until smooth and stirrable.  

 

Add mashed sweet potato, warmed almond butter, and remaining ingredients to mixing bowl and mix until really, really smooth ('cause nobody wants sweet potato chunks in their brownies.)

 

Gluten-free, Paleo, Grain-free, naturally sweet Sweet Potato Brownies from Windy Ridge Naturals.

 

Add to 8 in square (or round) pan and spread until smooth and brownie-looking.  Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.  

 

Now, hear me when I tell you this.  You can enjoy these brownies warm - BUT - seriously...stick this in the freezer for just a few hours and cool completely.  Cooling these sweet potato brownies magically transforms this yummy goodness into a rich, fudgey experience!

 

Gluten-free, Paleo, Grain-free, naturally sweet Sweet Potato Brownies from Windy Ridge Naturals.

 

Yum, yum, yum.  Cut into 9 pieces and store in fridge.  

 

Gluten-free, Paleo, Grain-free, naturally sweet Sweet Potato Brownies from Windy Ridge Naturals.
0 Comments

Wrapping paper, crusty mashed potatoes & underwear

This morning, I found wrapping paper (and lots of trash) scattered throughout my living room, crusty mashed potatoes in my crockpot, and underwear on my kitchen island. 

 

Somehow, it's a surprise to me. Each year I forget how my house gets TRASHED on Christmas Day.  

 

December 26th should be declared "Restoration Day" - a day intentionally set aside to restore your house to its state BEFORE to the holiday explosion.  A day to clean it up, to find peace in your comfy chair again, to get it all back! 

 

You're probably feeling the same way about food.  You're done with the sausage balls and cookies and chex mix and casseroles and chocolate covered everything.  It's time to clean up your diet too!

 

A new year brings a time to press reset, for new beginnings, a clean slate. 

 

I challenge you to do something DIFFERENT in 2016!  

It's time to take control of your food, your body, and your life...

not just for January but for your REAL LIFE

 
0 Comments

6 healthy holiday habits

"The holidays are coming!"

 

Does this phrase bring you holiday joy or mild panic?  


For me, it simply depends which day you ask.  November and December are usually a blur for my family. There's turkey to be cooked, presents to be wrapped, family to keep calm, and lots of mouths to feed.  The kids and husband are on vacation from school which throws my daily routine to the curb, but I wouldn't change it for the world!

 

With all the turkeys, fruitcakes, and mixed nuts in my family tree, things can get a bit "dicey" and stressful (concentrated family time, celebrating in tight spaces can do that to the best of us.) 


I want to do MORE than just survive the holidays.  I want to end the day with joy and celebration over the fact that another day "in the books" was beautiful.  Sometimes it's a beautiful disaster, but I'm learning to be joyful and celebrate the gifts of imperfection.


I challenge you to begin using these healthy habits to truly enjoy your family, your blessings, and yourself today AND throughout the holiday season!  

6 Healthy Holiday Habits


1.  Show Gratitude.  

Giving thanks allows us to shift our focus away from our not-enough-ness toward the reasons we gather with family and celebrate.  The abundance of blessings by which we're surrounded.  The hard things we've gone through or accomplished.  Each day is another in the unfolding of our life.  Thank the Creator for the fullness it!  

 

2.  Be present. 

Create a mindful environment around mealtime.  Instead of inhaling food while buzzing around doing holiday shopping or cooking, create space to sit down and enjoy your meal.  Calm yourself and be fully present at the table by turning off your phone, TV, and other screens.  Perhaps even light candles and listen to quiet music over dinner.  My kids LOVE it when we do this, even when we're serving something simple like hamburgers!  Sit down and pay attention to your food and your people.  

 

3.  Eat balanced meals. 

Begin the meal with eating a salad, your veggies, or fiber filled foods.  The fiber helps to regulate your blood sugar which stabilizes your energy.  Include a "palm-sized" portion of protein alongside healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil, ghee, nuts or olive oil.  Protein helps slow the increase in blood sugar which increases satiety (feeling satisfied) while healthy fats are like the "cruise-control" of your metabolism, keeping you full, longer.  

 

4.  Leave your serving dishes in the kitchen. 

Set up the meal as a buffet on the counter in the kitchen or a separate table from your dining.  If you choose to get more food, you're intentionally getting up from the table and putting it on your plate instead of "picking at" the food left at the table.

 

5.  Move.  

After your meal, take a walk around the neighborhood.  Play a family game outside with the kids or have a tickle-fest in the floor.   


6.  Practice self-compassion.  

Know that things are not always going to happen as you planned.  (Preaching to myself a bit here!!)  More than anything, your kids and your family want YOU - sometimes even when they don't realize it.  Your best is all you have to offer...and that is enough.  


My memories of the holidays have nothing to do with perfection.  I remember the crammed family dinner table, surrounded by my people and food.  I think of Mamaw's Christmas cups (the ones she earned as a gift from Avon that change colors when filled with ice cold drinks.)  I remember scouring the Christmas trees of hodge-podge decorations, searching for my favorite hand-made ornament from 3rd grade.  


Your people will remember the time you share and the traditions you create together.  Go easy on yourself.


Which of these healthy habits will you include during your family's holiday?

0 Comments

Two BIG thoughts keeping you stuck

“Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts."  Proverbs 4:23  

Sometimes, the words in my head keep me small, afraid to be seen, and fearful of failure.  Quite often, the things I tell myself are usually the only obstacle standing in the way of my success.  


The words scrambling through my head, my self-talk, shapes what I do (and what I don't do.)  Our self-talk shapes our actions. Negative self-talk keeps us trapped in a place of not-enough-ness.

What have you told yourself lately?

  • You're not successful enough to ...
  • Everyone is smarter than you, why would they ask your opinion?
  • You couldn't possibly think you're pretty enough for ...
  • You're not brave enough to ...
  • You have to be a better mom before ...
  • You don't know enough to ...

The enemy likes to keep us in a place of unworthiness and waiting, but, as followers of Christ, we were made for more than the cycle of defeat.  


"You have circled the mountain long enough...turn north."  Deut. 2:3    

 

When you're in a place of defeat, fear, and shadows, you're unable to take the next step. This stuck place is usually joined by confusion and perfection paralysis.  A lack of clarity and the fear of failure keeps you from becoming the person you were created to be and from sharing the gifts you were meant to give the world. 

 

I'm gonna be really vulnerable here.  My biggest negative self-talk thoughts are:

1.  I'm not good enough yet.

2.  Who says I could _____.


When my self-talk is "I'm not good enough," perfection is keeping me stuck.  It sounds something like this: "If people knew how much I, as a Health Coach, struggle with keeping my kids' Halloween candy out of my mouth, they would disregard everything I teach about overcoming cravings." 


Is waiting for perfection keeping you stuck?  I want to share what I've learned...perfect ain't ever gonna happen sister.  It's been done once!  Only Jesus holds the "perfect person" prize and no amount of trying, wishing, or planning is going to get me or you that spot.  


You were created to be perfectly YOU.   Excuses over.  

 

When my self-talk says, "Who said you could ___", then waiting for permission is keeping me stuck.  I become a people pleaser again (read this post for more of my people pleasing.)  Instead of doing what I think is the next step, I'm waiting for someone to ask me to do it or waiting for someone to pat me on the back and tell me what a great job I'm doing in order to validate my abilities.  


Do you find yourself stuck, waiting for permission?   You already have permission from the Creator of the Universe to be yourself.  You'll never be the perfect person, but you weren't created to be a perfect person. You are enough because Jesus set you free.   

 

Which thought keeps you stuck?  Waiting for perfection or waiting for permission?

0 Comments

On the road

Well, I can tell you that it WASN'T to get to the other side like the chicken!

My family had just moved into our new house in the mountains of East Tennessee.  I was 4 years old.  We lived on a little farm, on a dead-end road, in the country.  Mama told my sister and I to play outside.  We could play anywhere on our little farm.  Anywhere!  

"Just don't go in the road!" she said.

My sister started playing something obedient on the porch, while I marched my little self out to the edge of our property - THE ROAD.  I walked along the edge for a few steps while making sure mama wasn't distracted by my sister.  When I was sure she had her eyes on me, I put my big toe on road (where the white line would be if we didn't live on a dead-end-country-road.)  

My foot was barely touching pavement.  I glanced at mama...no threat from her, except for "the look." Then, I stepped my whole foot on the road. 

Some experts call this personality trait "leadership skills," but my mama called it "plain ol' disobedience" and spanked my butt.  

If someone told me NOT to do something, I made sure they were watching BEFORE I went ahead and did it anyway. My way.  

Why did the little girl put her foot on the road?  Because I could.  I was testing my boundaries.  I was proving I was in control of my little body, mind, and heart.  

My mama always told me I marched to the beat of my own drum.  

Somewhere along the line of becoming an adult, I recognized the drum my mama was talking about.  I noticed that my "drum" was playing a different beat.  It seemed to be out of rhythm from the other "drums" around me.  Perhaps, someone pointed out the difference to me or, perhaps, it was just a part of growing up, but I began to try marching with the other rhythms.  While it didn't feel right, the "fitting in" and "playing along" earned me smiles, applause, and approval. 

Apparently, I like affirmation.  Becoming a "People Pleaser" became easier than creating my own beat.  

The desire to fit in won, and I did things because I was "supposed to."  I marked achievements off my bucket list (before I even knew what a bucket list was).  I was crazy productive.  I built a house, launched a business, and lost 85 lbs. without crazy diets, supplements, or surgery.    

Even after all of my accomplishments, all of the applause and approval...I didn't feel successful or accomplished even after all my "doing."  

Standing in the road wasn't anything like I thought it would be.

At my goal weight, in the smallest size I had worn since the 6th grade, I was still marching with "the band", I still compared myself to everyone - in all aspects of my life. 
  • "Her house is waaaay cuter than mine.  How does she do it!?  I can't even get it together enough to run the vacuum around here?  Her house is clean AND decorated for every season."
  • "Look!  She's eating pizza AND chips AND she's a size 6.  I gained 10 lbs just looking at HER pizza."
  • "Doing [that thing] helped her get to the next level at work.  I'm going to do [that thing]!  If it worked for her, surely I can pull it off too!?"
When your actions aren't in alignment with who you really are, you compare yourself to everyone.  You become extremely judgmental.  - Christy Dickison  www.WindyRidgeNaturals.com
You find fault in everyone else so you feel better about yourself.
 
I can identify points in my life I felt I was doing what I was created to do.  I had peace in my mind, body, and spirit.  My heart simply sang!  
Ironically, on my journey towards health, I arrived at my "magic number", wearing a size I NEVER thought possible yet didn't find the peace I had expected.  My heart was NOT singing.  I was still searching, looking, reaching for more.  
 
"Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it...only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light." Brene Brown author of 'The Gifts of Imperfection'
 
I began owning my story when I recognized I am enough outside of "fitting in".  
  • I am enough even when I'm not doing what I'm "supposed to do" (according to the other drums).  
  • I am enough when I do something boring - or something zany and unexpected.  
  • I am enough when I'm brave, when I've afraid.  
My enough-ness isn't found in how much I weigh, what size I wear, or even what I do (or don't do.)  My enough-ness is found in my soul.  
Ultimately, I had to choose to get unstuck.  I chose to continue becoming instead of just "fitting in."  www.WindyRidgeNaturals.com
Is your enough-ness tank feeling empty?  

Are you so overwhelmed with today that you can't begin to even think about tomorrow (or your future, or your weight, or your family, etc.?) 
 
Know this...
Courage.  www.WindyRidgeNaturals.com
 
I had to choose to get unstuck. I had to choose to play my own drum. I had to choose to be brave.  I choose to be me.
Ultimately, I chose to continue becoming instead of settling for just "fitting in."  
 
I'm so incredibly excited to share my journey with you on a life-changing weekend retreat. A weekend that can bring you hope, restore your body, and give you peace.  Click here to send me an email for more details.  (or shoot an email to christy@windyridgenaturals.com)

It takes courage to become who you really are!  Come stand in the road with me.

1 Comments

The Secret to Picking the Perfect Avocado

Picking an "adequately ripe" avocado from the produce section can be a bit tricky unless you know the secret.  Learn the Secret to picking the PERFECT avocado  www.WindyRidgeNaturals.com/living-light-blog

Food!...  

I love food !  

The rainbow of colors, the variety of textures and incredible flavors.  I'm pretty sure there will be food in Heaven.  I used to say Heaven would be filled with Pizza and green Kool-aid...but, now, I'm thinking bigger now, my friend!  I'm imagining a good old fashioned church potluck.  Good grief...

 

My tastebuds have discovered yet another super yum, incredibly nutrient packed food that I now buy in bulk at Sam's Club because we eat so much of it.  

 

Four years ago, I would have told you that I hated it, when, in reality, I had never really eaten it.  It's just a strange looking food, but, once I tried it and discovered how much it nourishes my bod, there was no turning back.  

 

Let me introduce you to my new-found love for...


Picking an "adequately ripe" avocado from the produce section can be a bit tricky unless you know the secret.  Learn the Secret to picking the PERFECT avocado  www.WindyRidgeNaturals.com/living-light-blog

Picking an "adequately ripe" avocado from the produce section can be a bit tricky unless you know the secrets. 

The secret to picking the PERFECT avocado:  

Picking an "adequately ripe" avocado from the produce section can be a bit tricky unless you know the secret.  Learn the Secret to picking the PERFECT avocado  www.WindyRidgeNaturals.com/living-light-blog

1.  Eyeball it 
Take a look at the color of the avocado skin.
-If the skin is very green, it's probably NOT ripe. 
-If the skin is brown, it's probably just right.
-If the skin is black, it's probably too ripe.

2.  Squeeze it 

Select an avocado and give it a gentle squeeze.  
-If it's very firm, like an apple, it is NOT ripe.  Purchase avocados like this if you won't be ready to use it for 4-6 days.  It will ripen on the counter.
-If the skin is a bit squooshy, like a ripe peach, it's JUST right and ready to be eaten today or tomorrow.  
-If your fingers leave dents in the skin and it's very squishy, it's too ripe and will probably have dark spots on the inside (which are safe to eat but yucky to look it).  Leave it at the store!

3.  Pop it

Pop the little stem off the avocado.  
-If it's tough to pop off and the area under the stem is white, it's NOT ripe.  It will ripen on your counter within 4-6 days or will keep for a few weeks in the fridge.  (Note: Avocados don't ripen in the fridge but can still get gross if you leave them too long.  I recommend storing them in the fridge no more than 2 weeks and allowing them to ripen one at a time on the counter.)
-If it pops off easily, and the area under the stem is a tan color, it is JUST right and ready to be eaten today or tomorrow.
-If the stem practically falls off and the area under the stem is dark brown, it's TOO ripe (even if it's not squishy.)  Leave it at the store!

The PERFECT avocado is brownish green, the skin gives just slightly when squeezed, and is tan under the stem area.


For a super easy way to cut your avocado, watch this video from my farmhouse kitchen!

Super yum ways to use the Perfect Avocado

Picking an "adequately ripe" avocado from the produce section can be a bit tricky unless you know the secret.  Learn the Secret to picking the PERFECT avocado  www.WindyRidgeNaturals.com/living-light-blog
Picking an "adequately ripe" avocado from the produce section can be a bit tricky unless you know the secret.  Learn the Secret to picking the PERFECT avocado  www.WindyRidgeNaturals.com/living-light-blog

Picking an "adequately ripe" avocado from the produce section can be a bit tricky unless you know the secret.  Learn the Secret to picking the PERFECT avocado  www.WindyRidgeNaturals.com/living-light-blog

Our kids eat chocolate mousse for breakfast...


Shhh...please don't tell them it's not dessert.  


Chocolate Mousse Recipe (yes, avocado is on the ingredient list) coming NEXT WEEK!




0 Comments

The Simplest Way To Stay Healthy This Season

You can naturally resist allergies, colds and flu, and other seasonal sickness by keeping your immune system functioning at full capacity.  When your body's immune system is functioning at 100%, your body should resist viruses and seasonal sickies.

This week started out COLD in the mountains of East Tennessee, kinda out of nowhere (that's how the weather rolls around here.)  Along with the changing of seasons comes changes in how we care for our bodies at Windy Ridge.  

 

My teacher husband and my 2 girls attend public school where there's lots of people and their germs.  School is kind of a petri dish this time of year, and I really hate for my people to get sick or feel yuck.  They're just pitiful and sad when they don't feel well.  

 

 

I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but it's true.  

 

The simplest way to stay healthy this season is to NOT get sick.  

 

You can naturally resist allergies, colds and flu, and other seasonal sickness by keeping your immune system functioning at full capacity.  

 

When your body's immune system is functioning at 100%, your body should resist viruses and seasonal sickies.  

 

Small changes that make a big impact on the health of your body's immunity:

 

1.  Eat balanced meals including protein, veggies/fruits, healthy fats, and fiber.  Your body needs these important nutrients to survive.  When it's lacking something, your body's systems slow down and are easier to attack.

 

2.  Limit sugar and packaged foods.  Most packaged foods contain sugar or artificial sweeteners (which is another story all in itself) and unhealthy fats.  Your body has to work overtime to eliminate toxins or deal with a system overload of sugar.  Reach for string cheese, nuts, yogurt, fruit, veggies & dip or air-popped popcorn for snacks that won't burden your body.

 

3.  Support your immune system by drinking elderberry syrup.  (Read more about using elderberry here.)  Elderberry syrup combines the immune boost of elderberries with the immune boost of raw, local honey for double protection for your family's health this season.    It tastes yummy too!  (My kids love it and ask for more.)  You can also support your immune system by adding essential vitamins and minerals to your daily routine.

 

4.  Rest and relax.  Ever notice how you get sick after finishing a huge project at work?  Your body has been racing to keep up with the frantic pace, but once the race is over...your body truly crashes to catch up and restore.  Avoid the crash by getting adequate sleep (adult 7-9 hours, school-aged children 10 hours)[source]  Schedule some down time for your brain as well.  Setting aside 10-15 minutes to read, relax in the bathtub, or snuggle with your people can allow your body to recover a bit from the day's strain and demands.  Downtime that doesn't involve sleep is especially important for children.

 

Are you looking for more natural immune system boosters to keep your family healthy and happy this season?  Click here to join me for our next Wellness Workshop


Body Armor: Boost Your Immune System Naturally  

 

Wellness Workshop brought to you by WindyRidgeNaturals.com


You'll learn how your immune system works, what depletes your immunity, and simple steps to build your body's armor against seasonal allergies, cold & flu, plus other "sick bugs".  

 

The first 5 to register receive a FREE Body Armor Kit.

1 Comments

Is there a "clean" protein supplement?

Not all protein powders are created equal.  Most protein supplements available at the grocery or health food store contain artificial flavors and sweeteners - sucralose, and other additives I don't feel comfy eating or sharing with my kids.
You're familiar with the dangers of artificial sweeteners but "natural flavors" sounds innocent enough. I mean, they're natural.  Isn't that like a healthy addition to my food?
Think again!  "Natural" flavors aren't that different from artificial  flavors".  
What separates an artificial flavor from a "natural" flavor?
"The largest difference is that natural flavors are coming from natural sources. The original ingredient is found in nature and then purified and extracted and added back into the food..." [source]
This doesn't mean the strawberry "flavor"in your Berry Blend Protein is actually dried strawberries. It probably consists of a chemical originally found in strawberries, enhanced in a food lab, and then added to the ingredients. 
I've searched for a LONG time for the "perfect protein supplement" that contains the ingredients I need AND the with the taste I want.

 

I truly LOVE Aloha Protein!  Both the vanilla and the chocolate are delish.  

 

I also love that it is plant based protein instead of whey protein isolate. Dairy can sometimes create internal inflammation and sensitivities in your body which can hinder mineral absorption and weight loss.  (Plus, my family already eats enough yogurt and cheese to sink a ship.)  

 

 

If you're looking for a TRULY natural and great tasting protein for your morning smoothie, then try Aloha Protein.  

 

Click here and save $20 off your first order!!

 

My "Go to" Morning Smoothie  

Serves 1

1 c almond milk

2 T peanuts or chia seeds

1 t cinnamon

3/4 c frozen mixed berries

1/2 banana (frozen or fresh)

1 packet Aloha Vanilla Protein (or 2 scoops from the tin)

 

If you're feeling brave, throw in 2 c baby kale or spinach.  (It's ok to omit this on your first smoothie trial...!)

 

Toss ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.  (If you're using a "traditional blender" - aka - non-high powered, add the frozen fruit after the other ingredients are well combined.)  

 

Pour into 20 oz cup and enjoy!

0 Comments

Fastest Healthy Breakfast EVER

Mornings around here are CRAZY!  


Between finding clean underwear for everyone and making sure my youngest hasn't climbed back up into her loft bed and fallen asleep (again), I feel guilty shoving my people out the door.  Ok...so not THAT guilty... unless they haven't eaten a breakfast that will fuel their budding brains for the morning.


I rarely have time to prepare the "I-cooked-up-something-healthy-cute-AND-yummy" breakfast the Pinterest boards show off, but I do want to give my girls and my handsome school-teacher husband a balanced meal that won't leave them starving before lunch.


When there's no time for bacon, scrambled eggs, and fruit salad, I turn to our family favorite...


THE SMOOTHIE


I love that our smoothies are healthy, quick, and versatile.  My kids love that our smoothies are fun, yummy, and portable!  This is the "magic formula" we use to create Healthy Simple Smoothies.

Choose 1 ingredient from each group in the pic above and toss them in your blender.  Blend until smooth, adding liquid as necessary.  


If you're using a "traditional blender" - aka - non-high powered, add the frozen fruit after the other ingredients are well combined.)  Pour into 20 oz cup and enjoy!  


Not all protein powders are created equal.  Join me here next week for my favorite protein source and a yummy breakfast recipe!

Click the pic to join "6 Weeks to a More Amazing You" where you'll receive 6 weeks of more amazing healthful tips and recipes like this.


Not all protein powders are created equal.  Join me next week for my favorite protein source and a yummy breakfast recipe!


0 Comments

5 Simple Ways to Relax + Change Your Body

How would taking time for yourself make you a better mom...wife...friend...person?


Most of us would like more free time, but packing more than 24 hours in one day just hasn't happened yet. 

 

I actually told a coach of mine that I didn't like the word "relax."  I said, "It just doesn't resonate with me."  Lol.  

 

As a high strung, high energy kind of gal, relaxing can be hard work doesn't come naturally.  My default mode is go, go, go, go, go, go, CRASH!  That is NOT the abundant life intended for me...or for YOU.  

 

"It seems that living and loving with our whole hearts requires us to respect our bodies need for renewal." 

~ Brene Brown from the book 'The Gifts of Imperfections'

 

When we burn the candle at both ends, it's impossible for healthy changes to stick because our bodies are in survival mode.  Your body senses stress and releases a hormone called cortisol...whether you're being chased by a bear or rushing to meet a deadline - your body sees both the same - as a threat to your life.  It's difficult to lose weight because your body is screaming, "Ahhhhhhh!"

 

When we're living life at 300 mph, there's no time for thinking, processing the events of the day, or taking care of yourself.  Girls, we have a difficult time putting ourselves first (or 2nd, or third even...)  We quite often give ourselves the "leftovers" which means we go to bed exhausted, mentally spent, and simply needing to crash.  


 Use these five simple ways to care for your body and change your mind, mood, and attitude.


1.  Breathe.  
Close your eyes.  (This simply "shuts down" one of your senses and allows your body to focus and not work as hard.)  Find the rhythm of your heartbeat and inhale slowly as you count four beats.  Hold the breath for four beats.  Then, exhale slowly for four beats and hold the exhaled space for 4 beats.  This is called boxed breathing.  As you practice this form of breathing, your heartbeat slows and your mind stills.  It's like a trip to the spa...minus the lavender and lovely massage. 

 

2.  Set aside 10 minutes of Spirit Space - daily.  
Clear space in your life for God, some Spirit space to focus on the beauty of creation and the blessings you're living.  Close the bathroom door.  Take a few moments in your car before leaving the parking lot (or pulling into your driveway.)  Walk in the woods/park/neighborhood.   A book, bible, and/or journal can be helpful to process your thoughts or spur some inner dialog.  Seriously, 10 minutes.  (I can easily spend more than 10 minutes surfing Facebook before I even get out of bed...what would it look like to reinvest this time to create this habit)

 

3.  Go to bed.  (period)  
Set a bedtime for yourself and begin to wrap up your evening 30 minutes prior to bedtime.  Ditch the computer, TV, and iThing screens, soak in the tub for 10 minutes, or read in bed.  Your kids will begin to ask what happened to the hateful zombie in the morning (or maybe that's just my girls...?)

 

4.   Get out(side).   
Relocating your body to the outdoors for just 10 minutes of the sun's natural Vitamin D can boost your mood, reset your focus/attention, and relax your body.   A small dose of sunshine could be walking the dog, weeding a flower bed, swinging on your kid's playset, or just sitting in the sun.  

 

5.  Enjoy fiction for fun.  
With all of the information out there at our fingertips, we're reading A LOT...stories on Facebook, blogs, news updates, work-related stuff, etc.  When was the last time you read a book for FUN?  A story (like with characters, plot development, conflict, and resolution?)  

 

Try one of these simple "chill pills" today and join me for a
FREE Health Discovery Session 
where you'll discover how to
ditch the diets, recharge your energy, 
and nourish your body with simple steps like these!
  

0 Comments

Healthy Happy Summer Tip #1

As a health coach, people are asking me questions all of the time:

What can I do to lose weight?

How can I have more energy?

What are the best foods for me?

How can I get anything accomplished with my kids here ALL DAY LONG?


Ok.  That last question was mine and I'm searching (desperately) for that answer myself *sigh*.  


Seriously though, the #1 answer to MOST of the questions I get asked as a health & wellness coach is...

 

True story!!!  I get to tell people to EAT MORE...  

 

Most diets focus on restriction and the "bad foods."  My eating philosophy keeps the focus on the "GOOD for ya" foods which simply crowd out the foods that aren't as nutritious.  You're intentionally eating so much more healthy stuff, so when you DO have fried chicken or that unbelievable dessert your grandmother brought to the picnic, it doesn't send you into a throw-in-the-towel-because-I'm an-all-or-nothing-kind-of-girl downward spiral (believe me...I know THAT spiral well myself.  It's a tough, dark place to recover from!!)  

 

Eating more yummy, healthy foods are going to be the answers to your questions.  I HATE telling myself "I can't have that..."  "That is BAD for me..." My inner 4-year-old rebel comes driving through all logic and pushes me past the "I shouldn'ts" into the "Watch this people...."  I don't do well with keeping my attention on what I CAN'T have.  So, truly, I tell my clients to eat more real food.  

 

The number one recommendation I can give to anybody about changing their health is to:


Being intentional about doubling the # of "produce" (especially vegetable) servings each day will definitely be a game changer for your health and your body.  To help you do that, I've put together a video about our #1 best seller at Windy Ridge Naturals.  It's sure to relieve the "yuck vegetables" mood for your family!




You can get your own Windy Ridge Naturals Buttermilk Ranch Mix and create your own dressing and dip delight! 


Our family drizzles a bit of the dressing over steamed veggies, adds the dry herb mix to hamburgers and soups, and we "baptize" pounds of veggie stix each week in the dip.  



Eat more ranch!  Add this yummy goodness to your shopping cart and use the discount code RANCHSUMMER to save 10% off any Windy Ridge Naturals order until June 30, 2015!


Leave me a comment below telling me how YOU use ranch in your family's real food.


0 Comments

Sanity in a Bottle.

Using Essential Oils to Relax and Calm

The month of May is always a blur for our family.  In addition to the 3,000 end-of-the-school-year events and music recitals, I'm pretty sure EVERY one of my kids' friends were born in the Spring, judging by our birthday party schedule!  

 

Life.  Is.  Crazy.


Such PERFECT TIMING for this tip about bringing peace, calm, and balance to your mood and world!


These 4 essential oils have saved my sanity (and my children) and have helped me to be more relaxed & calm.  Windy Ridge Naturals presents...

Sanity in a Bottle!

(Click below to view video)



Top 4 Essential Oils to relax & calm

 

BALANCE : the grounding blend

*Use aromatically in a diffuser or topically on your wrists & back of the neck to relax and increase focus, promote relaxation, and relieve anxiety. 


  • Begin your day by putting Balance on the bottom of your feet to lessen stress throughout the day. 
  • Balance is a great oil blend to use during an AromaTouch Hand Massage. 
  • Feeling anxious? Apply Balance to your wrists or neck to help with nerves. 
  • Diffuse in your car during road trips to create a calming, soothing environment. 

Oil Blend Ingredients:  Spruce Needle/Leaf, Ho Wood, Frankincense Resin, Blue Tansy Flower, and Blue Chamomile Flower essential oils in a base of Fractionated Coconut Oil. 

 

LAVENDER : soothing

*Use aromatically in a diffuser to promote a sense of calm and relaxation.  Apply topically to sooth skin irritations.  


  • Add a few drops of Lavender to pillows, bedding, or bottoms of feet for a restful night’s sleep. 
  • Keep a bottle of Lavender on hand for minor burns, cuts, and scrapes. 
  • Freshen your linen closet, mattress, car, or the air by combining Lavender with distilled water in a spray bottle. 
  • Add to bath water to soak away stress or apply to the temples and the back of the neck to ease muscle tension. 
  • Use in cooking to soften citrus flavors and add a flavorful twist to marinades, baked goods, and desserts. 


SERENITY : the calming blend

*Promotes relaxation and restful sleep.  Creates a perfect escape with a calming, renewing fragrance.


  • Apply to bottoms of feet at bedtime to promote restful sleep. 
  • Add 2–3 drops into a warm bath to create a peaceful, renewing aroma. 
  • Diffuse to help promote relaxation and decrease stress.
  • Apply to an aromatherapy necklace to help reduce anxiety. 

Oil Blend Ingredients:  Lavender Flower, Sweet Marjoram Leaf, Roman Chamomile Flower, Ylang Ylang Flower, Hawaiian Sandalwood essential oils and Vanilla Bean Absolute. 

 

AROMATOUCH : the massage blend

*Relaxes muscles and soothes joints.  Promotes circulation and supports a healthy inflammatory response.


  • Apply to neck and shoulders to promote relaxation and lessen tension or use with a carrier oil (or lotion) for massage. 
  • Use with a hand massage using the AromaTouch Hand Technique and AromaTouch essential oil blend. 
  • Add to hot bath water after a busy, stressful day. 

Oil blend Ingredients:  Cypress Plant, Peppermint Plant, Marjoram Leaf, Basil Leaf, Grapefruit Peel, Lavender Flower essential oils. 


0 Comments

Spasanga = Baked Pizza Spaghetti (gluten free)

Spasagna:  Gluten free, Grain free Baked Pizza Spaghetti from Windy Ridge Naturals

GLUTEN FREE.  GRAIN FREE.


I am a recipe blog stalker.  There.  It's out!  I'm one of the RARE people who pin yummy goodness on Pinterest and then ACTUALLY make it and eat it!!!  (I cannot, however, say the same for my "Home Sweet Home" board...I'm not sure I've done ANYTHING I've pinned on that one.)

 

In my YEARS of recipe blog stalking, the thing that irritates me most is the needless verbiage BEFORE the recipe.  

 

Yes, I know your Great Aunt Hilda passed down the family heirloom recipe for a German Chocolate cake that crossed the Ocean Blue in 1492 with Christopher Columbus, but, quite frankly...

 

I JUST WANT TO EAT IT!

 

Therefore, my dear readers, I vow to NOT junk up this UNBELIEVABLY DELICIOUS pan of "wow" with my rants about how awesome it is.  (It IS awesome, GRAIN-FREE and a favorite around Windy Ridge Farm!)  Without further ado...I present to you:

Spasagna:  Gluten free, Grain free Baked Pizza Spaghetti from Windy Ridge Naturals

Spasanga Grain free/Gluten free Spaghetti Pizza Bake

Serves 8

 

INGREDIENTS

1 spaghetti squash

1/2 pound sausage

1/2 pound lean ground beef (93/7)

1 small onion diced

24 oz pasta sauce

3 large eggs

1 T Italian seasoning

4 oz shredded mozzarella cheese

16 pepperoni (optional)

 

DIRECTIONS


1. Cut spaghetti squash in half and place cut side down on a baking sheet.  Roast in 425 oven for 35-45 minutes or until squash flakes out with a fork like spaghetti noodles. 

Spasagna:  Gluten free, Grain free Baked Pizza Spaghetti from Windy Ridge Naturals

 

2. While spaghetti squash is cooking, place diced onions, 1/2 pound sausage, and 1/2 pound ground beef in large skillet.  Brown over medium high until meat is cooked through.


3. Break eggs into small bowl and whisk.  Set aside.


4. Place spaghetti squash “noodles” in 9x13  baking dish.  Mix in cooked sausage/ground beef/onions, pasta sauce, whisked eggs, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning until well combined.


(If it looks completely and utterly disgusting, like you're pretty sure it doesn't appear to be edible, you're SOOO doing it right! - and nothing that a little mozzarella won't cure!)

Spasagna:  Gluten free, Grain free Baked Pizza Spaghetti from Windy Ridge Naturals


5. Bake at 425 for 30-35 minutes.

 

6. Remove from oven and top with shredded mozzarella cheese & pepperoni.  Return to oven and broil for 3-5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and browned. 


Enjoy!


Living light together,

Christy

Spasagna:  Gluten free, Grain free Baked Pizza Spaghetti from Windy Ridge Naturals
6 Comments

Flu & Cold Prevention Tips

People are afraid of the flu...and rightfully so.  Many people get the "flu shot" to avoid losing a week of their life stuck in bed, feeling horrible.  Not to mention, there's the following week of recovery when you're exhausted, and you think you'll never feel "right" again.  (We won't even GO into why parents have their children get the flu shot...being a sick adult is bad enough...don't mess with my kids!)

 

***Just to clear any doubts, I do NOT personally advocate flu shots for all people.  It is each family's CHOICE whether or not to get a flu shot.  Our family chooses to use prevention methods in place of the flu shot.*** 

Unfortunately, the flu shot doesn't always prevent you from getting the flu, as the vaccine doesn't protect from ALL flu strains, just the ones the labs believe will be the most prevalent this year.  (Thank you medical lab people for doing your best...)


 

Your BEST bet is flu prevention.  Our family chooses to do everything we can in order to build strong immune systems to combat the flu virus.

 


1. Eat your medicine.


Good nutrition is crucial to a strong immune system.  Focus on eating lots (and lots) of veggies and fruits!  The best are fresh, then comes frozen, and if all else fails, go for low-sodium canned veggies and no sugar added (in fruit juice NOT syrup) fruits.  Berries (either fresh or frozen), especially, can help reduce inflammation and keep your immune system rockin'.

 

Your plate should consist of 75-80% veggies/fruits and 20-25% good quality lean protein with 1 serving of healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, raw nuts/seeds, etc.

 

Some specific foods to include in your flu-fighting diet include carrots, raw almonds, yogurt, herbal or green tea, pink grapefruit, and black-eyed peas (source).  Avoid sugar, sugar-substitutes, alcohol, and processed foods as they suppress the immune system.

 

Join my Fit & Lean 2015 Challenge to unpack more about nutrition packed eating!

2.  Wash your hands.  


Your momma knew what she was talking about.  No need for antimicrobial soaps here (those dry out your skin and lead to more resistant infections), just plain soap & water works great!

 

This is especially important before eating (wash up for dinner) and after spending time in public (ie church, the Wal-mart, school, anyplace with lots and people/germs!)

 

Alcohol based hand sanitizer will do if there's no sink available, but good ol' soap and water are your best bets!  We HIGHLY recommend Free Reign Farm all natural soaps!  I, seriously, have never met anyone so meticulous about the ingredients in their products.  You MUST "visit"!

3.  Use Elderberry Syrup

 

NATURAL COLD & FLU PREVENTION/ RELIEF :: Elder has been used for centuries. Elderberry syrup is immune system support, helping your body to resist colds/flu virus. Studies have shown that elderberry syrup reduces excessive sinus mucus secretion, and some even suggest that it can help lessen swelling of mucous membranes, improve sinus drainage, and decrease nasal congestion. Elderberries are high in bioflavonoids and antioxidants. 

 

Our kids love elderberry syrup...and remind us to take our daily dose just before bedtime every night during cold/flu season.  

 

According to herbalist Paul Bergner, elderberry disables an enzyme present in the flu virus that prevents it from being able to enter a cell. In other words, it stops the flu from getting into your body, thus preventing the spread of the virus. In clinical trials, taking elderberry has removed all flu symptoms within 2 days in 90% of participants. Patients who took the placebo took, on average, 6 days to recover*.

 

Elderberries on bush
Elderberries on bush

According to a 2002 study in the Journal of International Medical Research.  "It's likely that antioxidants called flavonoids -- which are contained in the extract -- stimulate the immune system, writes Thom. Also, other compounds in elderberry, called anthocyanins, have an anti-inflammatory effect; this could explain the effect on aches, pains, and fever." (source)

 

Russell Greenfield, MD, a leading practitioner of integrative medicine and medical director of Carolinas Integrative Health, advocates treating flu with black elderberry, he says in a news release. 'It can be given to children and adults, and with no known side effects or negative interactions,' he says. " (source)

 

Boost your immune system!  

 

Order your family Windy Ridge Naturals' Elderberry Syrup

 

 

$5  DIY Elderberry Extract Herb Mix

$20 premade syrup 

 

Living Light,

 

Christy Dickison, Certified Holistic Health Coach

 

DISCLAIMER:  This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any illness or disease and has not been reviewed nor approved by the FDA.  This information is not intended to take the place of advice from your medical professional, licensed dietician or nutritionist.  You are solely responsible for your health care choices.


0 Comments

Pumpkin Pie deserves a National Holiday

In the US, today is Thanksgiving.  Some lovingly refer to this National Holiday as "Turkey Day."  Friends....this is wrong!  Now, I DO love turkey (and stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, and ALL the fixin's that accompany the bird) 

BUT...

I believe this holiday was dubbed with the incorrect nickname!  What is today without Pumpkin Pie?!  NOTHING!!  I'm filling my day with as much pumpkin-ness as possible starting with this beauty for breakfast.


Delicious and packed with protein AND veggies (shh...don't tell the kiddos that pumpkin is a vegetable), this smoothie will fill you up, tame some afternoon cravings, and use up that can of pumpkin you bought just in case you decided to actually MAKE pumpkin pie instead of buying that premade one from the bakery.


Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Servings - 1 large or 2 mini-smoothies


1 banana, peeled frozen (or use 1 fresh banana and a few ice cubes)

1/2 c pumpkin

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

1 t unsweetened coconut (or almond butter)

1 T maple syrup

1 t vanilla extract

1 t pumpkin pie spice

1 c milk (your choice almond, 2%, etc.)


Add ingredients to high powered blender and blend until smooth and creamy. (If not using a high-powered blender, start with banana & milk blending until smooth.  Then add the remaining ingredients.)


Serve in a glass and sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice and a dollop of whipped cream on top!



Living light,

Christy Dickison
Certified Health Coach


0 Comments

Simplify Your Holiday

You can today's post at

"Be Still and Live"

I've been invited to share tips for how to simplify your holiday!


0 Comments

The Benefits of Yoga

yoga class in Elizabethton

Pictured here are some of the local Elizabethton yoga crew. 

The Benefits of Yoga

by Crystal Gray, CYI, E-RYT200

Have you ever tried to get your husband to attend a yoga class only to hear – I don’t have time for meditation – or I'd rather do a "real workout" - or the classic . . . I don’t have a sleepy mat . . . Those are all myths.

 

The truth is - the benefits of yoga span far and wide. Here are just a couple more reasons to get started today.

 

Yoga and Alignment

Yoga can help undo the ills of the day, a.k.a. bad postural habits. You know what those habits are – slumping at the computer, craning the neck to hold the phone, sitting with your legs crossed, etc. Correct your postural ills with yoga poses. Alignment is a key to less pain, optimal blood flow and improved organ function.

“Standing yoga poses are invigorating. They refresh the body and mind by removing tension, aches, and pains, They stimulate digestion, regulate the kidneys, and relieve constipation. They improve circulation and breathing. The back, hips, knees, neck and shoulders all gain strength and mobility through practice. 

 

Yoga for Joint Care

As we age, our joints wear down. Especially with the same day-in, day-out movements wearing the joints down in the same places. Different movements facilitated by yoga poses will bring nutrients to the parts of the joints not normally nourished. Currently I currently have 8 yoga topics in rotation for my classes. This helps ensure all areas of the body are being worked equally. You will not be bored as you start improving on your strength and flexibility.

“Twists are very effective in relieving backaches, headaches and stiffness in the neck and shoulders. As the trunk turns, the kidneys and abdominal organs are activated and exercised. This improves digestion and removes sluggishness. The spine becomes flexible and the hips move more easily.” 

 

Yoga to improve Blood Pressure

As many know, blood pressure has been known to drop with relaxation. If you have high blood pressure your doctor may have already recommend. Savasana, guided imagery and controlled breathing have all been cited to reduce blood pressure. This does not mean yoga is sleepy time – not at all. With proper breathing you will help reduce stress and lighten your shoulders.

As Nirmala Heriza says in her “Dr. Yoga” book, sun salutes stretch the entire body, increasing circulation into the heart, lungs and all of the major organs, muscles and joints. It tones all of the major muscle groups and promotes spinal flexibility, rejuvenating the nervous system. It is beneficial in the prevention and treatment of arthritis by promoting the secretion of synovial fluid in the joints. 

 

I hope this helps entice you to attend a yoga class in the future. ~ Namaste


yoga classABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Crystal Gray has been teaching yoga for 10 years and has been an active “yogini”, a female who practices yoga, for over 15 years. Crystal has two yoga teaching certifications; a 230-hour teaching certificate from Johnson City, TN based Kudzu Yoga; and a 500-hour teaching certificate from LightenUp Yoga in Asheville, NC. She has taught 1700+ hours over her 10 years as an instructor.

To attend one of Crystals local yoga classes in Johnson City, Elizabethon or Erwin visit her website for full details. www.Yogaforthehealthofit.com

References: Timothy McCall, M.D., Yoga As Medicine, 2007, Yoga Journal Contributor

 

BELOW ARE DIRECTIONS TO YOGA CLASS AT:
Elizabethton Recreation Center
300 W. Mill Street, Elizabethton, TN 37643
Tel. 423-547-6441

0 Comments

Digestive Distress?? Real Food answers

From gas, bloating, acid reflux, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, "digestive distress" affect everyone at some point in time!  We appreciate REAL food answers to our health stuff.  And so I share with you...

7 Foods for a Healthy Belly

 

 

 

If you don't subscribe to Food Matters newsletter, do it now!  And find the movies "Food Matters" and "Hungry for Change" on Netflix.  Life changing...


Incorporating healthy foods can be overwhelming!  As a health coach, I support my clients to make changes based on your unique needs, lifestyle, and preferences.  I use a personalized, holisic approach so that you have LONG TERM success.

 

Maybe you want more energy and are tired of always being tired. Maybe you have those nagging cravings that you can’t seem to get under control. Or, perhaps it’s time to finally figure out how to look and feel great in your own body.  If any of this sounds familiar, then we need to talk.  

 

Can one conversation change your life? YES!!

 

Your next step is to schedule a free health consultation.

 

Happy Digesting...

-:- Christy

Like it?  Share it.

0 Comments

Little baby seedings...

I'm so glad that sprouting seeds takes less time (and energy) than growing a baby!  Seed starting is so rewarding and makes me feel like I can conquer the world...or at least keep a basil plant alive for 3 days.  

 

We started out with a garden plan from www.GrowVeg.com that I mentioned in last Friday's post "Seed Starting Tips".  I don't garden without this plan!  It's my garden brain!  

According to my garden "brain's" feature that tells you how many plants of each variety you need,  (I'm telling ya, www.GrowVeg.com !)  I need 85 tomato plants and 8 basil plants.  Do you know how much it would cost to get 85 tomato plants!?  A lot more than planting these seeds did!

 

Only 3 short days ago, these little baby seedlings were simply just "boring ol'" seeds!  Now, they're one step closer to being FOOD!


Click to share:

0 Comments

Seed Starting Tips

 

I've found that making healthier choices in food leads to a desire to grow your own food!  That's how it happened for our family.  

 

 

 

To begin a garden "adventure," I always suggest starting with Square Foot Gardening (or container gardening if you're in a borrowed space or have limited available land).

 


If you're new to gardening, learn from me…TAKE SMALL STEPS!  It's a great idea to buy plants from a local greenhouse so that you can focus your time and efforts on building your garden area and adding good stuff to your soil instead of fretting over why your Hillbilly Potato Leaf Tomato seeds didn’t germinate!  

 

Build garden + build soil = great accomplishment

If you’ve established your garden space, amended your soil, and have a season of gardening "under your belt", you might be ready to dive into starting your own seeds.  Know this, you DO NOT need an elaborate setup for seed starting.  The top of the refrigerator is a great, warm, spot to sprout seeds.  A warm, sunny window provides some great “grow lights”.  Remember my advice, “Learn from me…take small steps”?  That being said, check out our “Germination Station”.  

Here’s my system for seed starting.  It’s definitely not the only way (or necessarily the easiest), but it works perfectly for us!

FAQ

-Is it too late/too early to start seeds?  I'll refer you to MY seed starting "bible." www.PlantingByColor.com

-Do I plant various seeds differently?  The seed packets typically have good instructions for how to plant the seed inside.  I never can remember the germination time, the plant spacing

-How deep do I plant a seed?  A general "rule of thumb"  is to cover the seed with dirt only as deep as the seed size.  For example:  Basil seeds are tiny, specks the size of black pepper  and only should be covered with a sprinkling of soil.  

-How long do I leave the seeds covered with a clear "dome"?  When the seeds begin to sprout, just uncover them and be sure they are getting adequate light.  A "shop light" is an inexpensive alternative to "grow lights."

-When do I water my seeds?  It's best to combine your seed starting mix with some water before placing into your pots.  This allows the soil to be damp without adding water that could disturb the newly placed seeds.  I do this by combining seed starting mix and a little water in a bucket (with a little shovel) until the "dirt" can be squeezed into a ball.  Be sure you CAN'T squeeze water out of the ball of dirt.  If there's too much water, just add a bit more seed starting mix and stir again.  Moniter the dirt over the next few days and use a spray bottle of water to keep the dirt moist.  Once the seeds have sprouted, begin "bottom watering" by placing the pots in a tub/pan of water and allowing the soil to soak it up. Don't use a a watering can or cup!   You could disturb the seedling and "wash away" your hard work!

Tips & Tricks

We get our vegetable, herb & flower seeds from seed saving family & friends and these places:

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds - www.rareseeds.com

Seed Savers - www.seedsavers.org

Sow True Seed - www.sowtrueseed.com

 

I could NOT plan my garden without www.GrowVeg.com  SERIOUSLY!   They feature a 30-day free trial too!!  My favorite feature begins in the 2nd year of gardening with this service.  Let me explain...  It's best practice to rotate crops around your garden so that the soil isn't depleted of nutrients!  Grow Veg shows an "alert" when I plan to plant a crop that isn't a good crop rotation!  This feature ALONE is worth the $25 annual subscription!  

 

Then, there's www.MySquareFootGarden.net  Again, could NOT garden without this one!  Based on your location in the United States and your area's "frost date", My Square Foot Garden offers a planting & transplating schedule by the week!  I no longer have to wonder if it's time to plant cucumbers or is it too late to plant broccoli in the spring!  I LOVE this tool!  (And it's FREE!)

 

*These are not affiliate links, and we don't "earn" anything for recommedning them.  These suggested companies helps are what WE use for planning, planting, and growing in our own gardens!*

0 Comments

Yoga for the health of it

I have the honor of introducting you to today's guest blogger, Crystal Gray, certified Yoga instructor!  Enjoy -  Christy

 

Crystal Gray, Yoga Instructor

The Benefits of Yoga

by Crystal Gray, CYI, E-RYT200

The benefits of yoga span far and wide. As a matter of fact, that is what attracted me to pursue a career as a yoga instructor.  Yoga allows me to help others preserve their health – and in many situations reclaim their health.  At the same time it keeps me healthy and happy. 

 

Here are just a few benefits of yoga;


Yoga and Flexibility – yoga seems to be best known for its stretching component.  Flexibility leads to improved internal and external health.  Have you ever heard that if you can touch your toes, your veins and arteries could be more flexible, too?  It’s true. This means that blood clots may have a better chance of passing through veins and that your arteries may be less likely to stiffen.

Yoga and Strength – weight-bearing exercises build muscle (strength), as do repetitions of seated and reclining poses.  It is a myth to believe that you don’t build muscle in yoga classes. Let us not forget that weight-bearing exercise prevents osteoporosis. If you are out to build muscle, ask your instructor about the focus of the yoga class you are about to attend.  Each instructor teaches differently; some teach all stretching others all strength, I teach a blend.

I hope this helps entice you to attend a yoga class in the future.
~ Namaste

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Crystal Gray has been teaching yoga for 10 years and has been an active “yogini”, a female who practices yoga, for over 15 years.  Crystal has two yoga teaching certifications; a 230-hour teaching certificate from Johnson City, TN based Kudzu Yoga; and a 500-hour teaching certificate from LightenUp Yoga in Asheville, NC.  She has taught 1700+ hours over her 10 years as an instructor.

 

To attend one of Crystals local yoga classes in Johnson City, Elizabethon or Erwin visit her website for full details www.Yogaforthehealthofit.com

 

References:  Timothy McCall, M.D., Yoga As Medicine, 2007, Yoga Journal Contributor

Click to share:

Green Cleaning - Citrus Infused Cleaner

Cleaning sprays contain loads of chemicals and toxins that contaminate the air of your home for you and your family.  Detoxify your home by switching to natural cleaners like citrus infused vinegar.

Vinegar is effective in eliminating bacteria, mold, and germs because of it’s acidity. It works GREAT, is super cheap, AND is non toxic which is a win for the environment PLUS it’s safe to use around kids & pets.  

 

A lot of people like the idea of using vinegar as a natural cleaner but can't tolerate the "coloring Easter eggs" smell.  I love to infused vinegar so that I get the cleansing properties but not the strong smell.  This is my favorite cleaning solution - Citrus Infused Vinegar.  You won't find this "specialty" Citrus vinegar at your local Walmart store. 

 

To make your own Citrus Infused cleaner:

 

Save citrus rinds from lemons, grapefruit, limes, etc.  (No "fruit" or white stringy (pith) parts are helpful, just the peel is needed) and store them in a quart sized mason jar in the freezer.  When the jar is full of citrus rinds, fill the jar to the top with white vinegar.  Cover with the lid (if using a metal lid, please place a pieces of plastic wrap between the jar & the lid or the lid with rust and corrode from the prolonged contact with the vinegar.)

Place jar in a sunny place like your kitchen windowsill for about 4 weeks or until the citrus peels lose their color.  The vinegar will resemble the color of strong lemonade (or…well, other things) and will smell citrusy when opened.

Remove and compost the citrus peels and pour citrus infused vinegar into a clearly labeled jar.  (Or this "suspect concoction" might be discarded by your husband who might think it's something besides Citrus Vinegar...just sayin').

 

Add to your bucket/refillable mop as you would traditional floor cleaner and dilute with warm water.  Add 2-3 drops of doTERRA's lemon essential oil or Citrus Bliss essential oil blend for an added bonus of a cleaning booster plus a refreshing, natural scent that will cleanse your home.

A few years ago, I purchased the Rubbermaid Reveal Mop from Sam's Club.  Mainly, I purchased it because I loved my Swiffer Wet Jet but DID NOT love the refill price!  The cleaning solution + the Swiffer refills adds up quickly!  The 2nd reason came much later when we started using organic/natural stuff to clean with.  The Rubbermaid Reveal mop was a perfect fit because you can fill the cleaner reservoir with your choice of cleaner AND the mop cloth is washable and reusable.  I purchased an extra mop cloth too so one can be in the laundry without leaving me mop-less.


To learn more about detoxifying your home and "green cleaning", join us for Clean Green  and Medicine Cabinet Makeover!

Just some of the ways we live naturally at Windy Ridge Naturals.  

Share this quick tip...

0 Comments

Spring's a-comin'


I'm dying to get my garden into order. 

March 2014
March 2014
Disorder and chaos make me crazy (not that you could tell this fact by looking at the state of my kitchen right now...)

I garden only because we do "raised bed" gardens in neat rows with lots of order and intention. When the end of September rolls around, I'm done!!!!  Not because I'm "done" with harvesting, canning, fighting bugs/pests, etc but because its looks HORRIBLE. The weeds have usually won the fight and the tomato vines are crawling everywhere...it's nothing like this...
July 2013
July 2013
Ahhh!  That's better.  Now I can breathe again. 

March and July look vastly different!!!  Spring is a-comin'!

What are you planting first?





0 Comments

HELP....I've got the flu!

People are afraid of the flu...and rightfully so.  You get the "flu shot" is to avoid losing a week of your life stuck in bed, feeling horrible.  Not to mention, there's the following week of recovery when you're exhausted, and you think you'll never feel "right" again.  (We won't even GO into why parents have their children get the flu shot...being a sick adult is bad enough...don't mess with my kids!)

 

Unfortunately, the flu shot doesn't always prevent you from getting the flu, as the vaccine doesn't protect from ALL flu strains, just the ones the labs believe will be the most prevalent this year.  (Thank you medical lab people for doing your best...)  

 

 

 

Your BEST bet is flu prevention.  Our family chooses to do everything we can in order to build strong immune systems to combat the flu virus.

 

by jackthumm from freedigitalphotos.net
by jackthumm from freedigitalphotos.net

1.  Wash your hands.  

Your momma knew what she was talking about.  No need for antimicrobial soaps here (those dry out your skin and lead to more resistant infections), just plain soap & water works great!

 

This is especially important before eating (wash up for dinner) and after spending time in public (ie church, the Wal-mart, school, anyplace with lots and people/germs!)

 

Alcohol based hand sanitizer will do if there's no sink available, but good ol' soap and water are your best bets!

 

from freedigitalphotos.net
from freedigitalphotos.net

2. Eat your medicine.

Good nutrition is crucical to a strong immune system.  Focus on eating lots (and lots) of veggies and fruits!  The best are fresh, then comes frozen, and if all else fails, go for low-sodium canned veggies and no sugar added (in fruit juice NOT syrup) fruits.  Berries (either fresh or frozen), especially, can help reduce inflammation and keep your immune system rockin'.

 

Your plate should consist of 75-80% veggies/fruits and 20-25% good quality lean protein with 1 serving of healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, raw nuts/seeds, etc.

 

Some specific foods to include in your flu-fighting diet include carrots, raw almonds, yogurt, herbal or green tea, pink grapefuit, and black-eyed peas (source).  Avoid sugar, sugar-substitutes, alcohol, and processed foods as they supress the immune system.

3.  Use Elderberry Syrup

 

NATURAL COLD & FLU RELIEF/PREVENTION :: Elder has been used for centuries. Elderberry syrup is an immune system support helping your body to resist colds/flu. Studies have shown that elderberry syrup reduces excessive sinus mucus secretion, and some even suggest that it can help lessen swelling of mucous membranes, improve sinus drainage, and decrease nasal congestion. Elderberries are high in bioflavonoids and antioxidants. 

 

Our kids love elderberry syrup...and remind us to take our daily dose just before bedtime every night during cold/flu season.

 

According to herbalist Paul Bergner, elderberry disables an enzyme present in the flu virus that prevents it from being able to enter a cell. In other words, it stops the flu from getting into your body, thus preventing the spread of the virus. In clinical trials, taking elderberry has removed all flu symptoms within 2 days in 90% of participants. Patients who took the placebo took, on average, 6 days to recover*.

Elderberries                        by xedos4 from freedigitalphotos.net
Elderberries by xedos4 from freedigitalphotos.net

According to the a 2002 study in the Journal of International Medical Research.  "It's likely that antioxidants called flavonoids -- which are contained in the extract -- stimulate the immune system, writes Thom. Also, other compounds in elderberry, called anthocyanins, have an anti-inflammatory effect; this could explain the effect on aches, pains, and fever. " (source)


Russell Greenfield, MD, a leading practitioner of integrative medicine and medical director of Carolinas Integrative Health, advocates treating flu with black elderberry, he says in a news release. 'It can be given to children and adults, and with no known side effects or negative interactions,' he says. " (source)


You can find organic Elderberry Syrup, ALL NATURAL, handcrafted and made to order, in our shop or purchase Sambucol from your local pharmacy.  (During cold and flu season, many pharmacies find it difficult to keep in stock.)

 

* Paul Bergner. The Healing Power of Echinacea and Goldenseal, 1997.

0 Comments

I wrote a book by accident...


I love to eat.  I love to cook.  I love to teach.  Put it all together and what do you get...?  Real food...Real easy! 

 

After my husband, Larry, and I together lost over 125 pounds, we're always asked, "How did you do it?"  Our reply, "We ate real food, not too much, mostly produce & protein."  Their blank stare that followed is expected.  Almost as if they are saying, "Of course you ate REAL food...who eats pretend food?!  Now seriously, how'd you do it?" 

 

After countless times of explaining what real food was, we decided to offer a wellness class that discussed real food and provided an opportunity for guests to get hands on cooking experience with real food.  I always write a booklet to go along with the courses, so I sat down a week before our first class to sketch out a few meal plans and some recipes to include.  I stopped writing 88 pages later.  Dear goodness...my little course booklet had multiplied into a real BOOK.


It's is published and available on Amazon or you can get a FREE copy when you come to a "Real food, Real easy" wellness class at our farm!  Find out for yourself what "real food" is and how it can change your life...

 

...just like it did ours!


Share with:

0 Comments

Make Real Food...Real Easy with my favorite kitchen tools!

 

 

I almost titled this post "Tools I CANNOT live without", but thought that might be a bit meladramtic; however, to make cooking REAL food, real easy, these tools ARE super duper helpful and I highly recommend each one!  Dinner (and breakfast and lunch) would NOT be the same without them...

The following are affiliate links. 

Veggie Spiralizer

Honestly, this is a summer time tool around my kitchen.  We have a big garden and have a love affair with fresh zucchini (especially the organic, FREE kind that grows in our own garden.)  I use this almost daily during the summer for lots of different veggies.  We turn zucchini and yellow squash into "Zoodles" (zuchinni noodles) for spaghetti,  & "pasta" salads, Asian stirfry, and a simple side dish kind of veggie.

 

We use this "spirilizer" to create spiral Oven Fries using white potatoes (the spiral cutter isn't the easiest to use with dense sweet potatoes, although we HAVE used the slicing blade.) 

 

$30 WELL SPENT!



KitchenAid Mixer

 

 

The KitchenAid mixer is great for those messy jobs, like mixing meatballs, and especially for kneeding breads and crusts.  You might have some sticker shock, but this tool will big a work horse in your Real food kitchen!



Blender

 

 

Our blender is over 10 years old (and is on it's way out)...this  will be the one to replace it soon.  I would LOVE to have a Vitamix someday...



Food Processor

I'm not sure I could cook without a food processor. We own a large one for family sized things like salsa, cauliflower rice, pesto.  Our small one chopps veggies and makes chocolate mousse in no time flat.

 

It is a must have in our Real Food kitchen!



Crock Pot

In our opinion, a Crock-Pot is a must have for any kitchen.  (We have the basic one without the time but I would use the timer A LOT!)  Real food is sooooooo easy when you take 3 minutes in the morning to mix a few things in the crock-pot!  You come home after a long day at work and dinner is served!  



Salad Shooter

The Salad Shooter makes shredded cheese and slicing veggies so easy.  We have worn out 2 of these in the last 10 years shredding carrots, zucchini (for Zoodles and cheese), and countless pounds of cheese.  

 

Save money and avoid chemicals by grating blocks of REAL cheese instead of buying the shredded cheese (with that powdery white yuck on it).  



Rada Knives


These are our all time favorite knives!! They are sturdy, sharp and reasonably priced. We have a few of each size (because it seems like they're always dirty.) The peeler makes peeling veggies so easy, the paring knife is the perfect size for most jobs and is very sharp.  The tomato knife is the ONLY knife for cutting a ripe tomato without it squishing out everwhere.  

 

 

Be sure to pick up the sharpener too!  A dull knife is dangerous.



Favorite Cookbooks



More favorites

Make poached eggs super easy!

 

Healthy, homemade "lunachables"


Share this with a friend.

0 Comments


Click to access


2013 Blog Archive