anti-inflammatory

Creamy Sleep Tonic

One of the most important keys to health is rest. Quality rest and sleep. We live in a fast-paced society where we think we can go forever and don't need to sleep because we have too many other more important things to do.

Perhaps we can get away with it for a short period, but with time, we get worn out and don't function as efficiently as we want.

Personally, I like to tell myself that I can go without a lot of rest and sleep sometimes, but I know that is not true. I've learned that staying up until the very late hours of the night doing work is not very efficient. It takes me twice as long to accomplish a task and the lack of sleep causes me to feel more stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, emotionally unstable, and simply ungrounded.

Not allowing ourselves to rest can play a huge toll on the body, which leads to inflammation, lower immune system, and disease. Lack of rest and sleep is also a common factor to not being able to lose weight.

That said, It’s often hard to slow down and even fall asleep at night since we are so stimulated by technology, lights, and mind chatter. It is very helpful to have a night routine that creates ease, peace, and relaxation before bed.

Here are a few things I do:

  1. Shut off electronics at least 20 minutes before getting in bed

  2. Read a good book or journal

  3. Apply some lavender essential oil on my hands, neck, and nose or light some incense

  4. Drink a hot cup of herbal tea or sleep tonic that I’m sharing below

This routine is still challenging at times, but I do my best because I know that getting good sleep makes me feel refreshed and happier in my life.

Ingredients

1 3/4 cup coconut milk (Homemade or Organic BPA-free canned coconut milk)

cinnamon sticks or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

5 cardamom pods or 1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 inch fresh ginger root

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2-3 Tablespoons raw honey, to taste

Procedure

  1. If using cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods: Add all ingredients to a small pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer with lid on for 15-20 minutes. Strain into mug and enjoy.
  2. If using powdered spices: Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a small pot and bring to a simmer to heat up. Pour into mug and enjoy. 
  3. Garnish with cinnamon, optional. 

Serves 1-2

ote: You can substitute almond milk for coconut milk but the healthy fats in coconut will aid relaxation more than lower fat content. 

Sweet dreams! 

Spiced Sweet Potato Wedges + Avocado Superfood Dip

Spiced sweet potatoes featured image

There's something about sweet potatoes. Don't you love them? I do! Sweet potatoes are the healthy alternative to regular potatoes because they actually pack a punch of essential vitamins and minerals. They are anti-inflammatory and help balance blood sugar. The words 'yams' and 'sweet potatoes' are often interchangeable. They are actually two different vegetables, but are both great options.

Staying clear of all whites is always best (white breads, flours, sugars, etc.), but there is an exception... Japanese sweet potatoes. They are white-light yellow inside and have a purple skin. These are actually the most nutrient dense of all sweet potatoes. So enjoy your sweet potatoes/yams, especially the Japanese ones!

Spiced Sweet Potato Wedges

Ingredients

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges (I used yam & Japanese sweet potato)

2 Tablespoons melted coconut oil

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon turmeric

Pinch of cayenne

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Place sweet potato wedges in an oven safe dish.
  3. Combine coconut oil and spices in a small bowl and drizzle over potatoes. Mix to coat well.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until tender. Turn broiler on towards the end if you want them crispy.
  5. Serve with avocado superfood dip (recipe below).
Spiced sweet potatoes

Avocado Superfood Dip

Ingredients

1 ripe avocado

2 Tablespoons raw tahini

1 teaspoon spirulina (I use HealthForce brand)

1 teaspoon raw honey

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 cup water, or to desired consistency

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Garnish with fresh herbs and enjoy.

What's your favorite way to eat sweet potatoes? Share your creations and recipes below or on social media with #apurifiedlife

Homemade Coconut Milk + Coconut Milk Kefir

coconut kefir featured image

You've probably heard me talk about probiotics already. Perhaps here. In my opinion, most health problems and symptoms are due to poor digestive system (gut) health. Since 70% of our immune system is located in our gut, when one system is compromised, so is the other. This is why I highly recommend eating fermented foods daily that contain probiotics to heal and repair imbalances in the gut. Examples of these foods include: coconut kefir, coconut yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, fermented vegetables, and coconut water kefir.

One way I get my probiotics is from delicious homemade coconut milk kefir. It's tart and perfect to drink by itself, blended in smoothies, or added to a bowl of fresh fruit and seeds.

Here I will show you how to make the coconut milk first, then the kefir using the milk. I hope you enjoy this easy but healing process.

coconut kefir

Homemade Coconut Milk

Ingredients

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

3 cups filtered or spring water

Vanilla flavor (optional)

1 teaspoon vanilla powder or extract

Pinch of stevia or raw honey

Procedure

  1. Blend ingredients in blender until smooth, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Strain with a nut milk bag or fine mesh strainer. Squeeze solids to get all liquid out.
  3. Blend coconut milk with vanilla and sweetener if flavoring.
  4. Place in a glass bottle/jar and store in refrigerator.
Coconut Milk Kefir

Ingredients

3 cups homemade coconut milk (or 2 cans 'Native Forest' full-fat coconut milk - BPA free)

2 probiotic capsules

Procedure

  1. Blend coconut milk to get rid of any solid pieces.
  2. Place in a jar large enough to fit all of the milk and have some space at the top (you may also separate milk into two smaller jars). Mix in probiotics (open capsule and only use powder) with a wooden spoon. Avoid using metal because it kills probiotic bacteria, and avoid blending at high speed.
  3. Cover loosely and place in oven with pilot light on (do not turn on the oven!). Let sit for 24-48 hours, until it has reached your desired tartness. Taste it at 24 hours with a wooden or plastic spoon.
  4. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Good for up to 3 weeks.

Makes 3 cups 

I would love to hear in the comments from you about how your coconut milk & kefir turned out.

xo,

Giovanna

 

Healing Bone Broth

bone broth 2

Bone broth is incredibly healing. It has been used for years to treat illnesses and speed up recovery and healing. Health benefits of bone broth:

  • Promotes healthy bones
  • Heals and supports gut health and digestion
  • Inhibits infection
  • Reduces joint pain
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Promotes healthy hair and nail growth.

Bone broth can be made with chicken, turkey, duck, lamb, or beef bones. I chose to use beef bone marrow for this one. It doesn't matter what you choose to use, but you must make sure they are organically-raised, pastured or grass-fed animals in order to get the health benefits.

Making bone broth can be a nurturing process if you allow it to be. The more love you put into it, the more healing and nutritious it will be for you and your family. It's a great staple to have at home. And the best part is that you can make huge batches like this one and store in the freezer to have for a few months. This will be your best health supplement. Use it as a base for soups, sauces, or drink it as is.

bone broth 3

Ingredients

3.5-4 pounds organic, grass-fed bones. I used beef bone marrow.

4 Tablespoons unfiltered apple cider vinegar

Filtered water, enough to fill pot

4 large kombu strips

4 Tablespoons dulse flakes

4 large carrots, roughly chopped

4 stalks celery, roughly chopped

1 bunch parsley

1/4 cup goji berries

1 Tablespoon organic ground turmeric or a large chunk of fresh turmeric (peeled)

Procedure:

  1. Place bones and apple cider vinegar in a large stock pot. Fill pot with water and let sit for 30 minutes with the heat off. The acid in the vinegar helps extract the minerals from the bones.
  2. Turn on heat and bring to a simmer, removing scum that rises to the surface for the first hour of cooking. Cover loosely and continue simmering on low for 24-48 hours. The longer, the better. I simmered it for about 28 hours total. You will need to add water along the way to keep bones completely covered.
  3. Add remaining ingredients for the last hour of cooking.
  4. Strain broth and place in air tight containers. Let cool completely before storing in the refrigerator. Broth will keep in the refrigerator for 5 days or in the freezer for a few months.
  5. The next day, there will be a layer of fat on the surface. You can discard this, use it for cooking, or stir it back in - it contains valuable nutrients.

Makes ~20-24 cups 

Don't be afraid to use your choice of herbs, spices, or vegetables to give it your own therapeutic touch.

Happy healing!

Will you be making this therapeutic drink? Let me know in the comments below.