Flu busting elderberry syrup and gummies

So excited to share this post with you all! I have been taking Elderberry extract for years when I have been fighting illnesses or to help prevent them. Elderberry from the Sambuccus Nigra plant is known to have anti viral, immune boosting properties. Check out this article on pubmed. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11399518

As this flu season is soon to be hitting record-breaking numbers be proactive and make your own syrup. This has no alcohol so it’s safe for young ones. Frontier herbs sells this bag on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Frontier-Elder-Berries-Whole-Organic/dp/B000UVUHXY/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8 and it will make several batches of this syrup. To make the syrup boil 4 cups of water then add 1 cup of elderberries, six cloves, a tbsp of cinnamon or one cinnamon stick and 1 tbsp grated ginger. Bring this down to a simmer and simmer for 45-60 min. Strain the berries and spices out and put liquid in a canning mason jar. Add 1/2 cup of raw honey or maple syrup and set in the fridge to cool. This will keep for 3-4 weeks in a tight sealed canning jar. Adults take 1 tbsp daily and children 1/2 tbsp daily. If you are ill take the dose every four hours for 2 days and then back off to maintenance dose when symptoms subside.

Now to take it another step make elderberry gummies with collagen protein! I like this collagen powder https://www.amazon.com/Vital-Proteins-Pasture-Raised-Grass-Fed-Collagen/dp/B00K6JUG4K?th=1. Take 1/4 cup of collagen powder and 1/4 cup of your elderberry syrup and whisk together. Add in 1/2 cup of warm water and stir to dissolve the collagen and remove any lumps. Add remaining 3/4 cup of elderberry syrup to the mixture and set in jello molds. Pop one of these in your mouth daily for immune boosting, gut boosting and collagen boosting benefits!

January’s Skin and Body Care Highlights

In January our skin is often dry and irritated with the lack of moisture and forced indoor heat.  One of my favorites products this time of year is Hyaluronic Acid layered under my moisturizer.  Hyaluronic Acid is a naturally occurring polysaccharide in the body that cushions and lubricates joints, nerves, hair, skin and the eyes.  This substance can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water.  So when we apply this to our skin externally moisture is magically drawn to our skin allowing for repair and hydration.   Here is a link to a great hyaluronic product from Sanitas Skincare  http://www.sanitas-skincare.com/store/hyaluronic-concentrate

One of my favorite moisturizers this time of year is Naturopathica’s Cassis Ultra Replenishing Cream which has 10% Hyaluronic Acid and is so luxurious and moisturizing https://www.naturopathica.com/products/cassis_ultra_replenishing_cream

For your lips and any rough areas such as elbows and knees I have been a fan of this Alba Botanical product for years https://www.amazon.com/Alba-Botanica-Petroleum-Multi-Purpose-Jelly/dp/B000OO7546

Go ahead and get comfortable with body oil and body butters if you aren’t already.  They are so nourishing and hydrating.  Here is one of my favorite body oils from Tata Harper https://www.tataharperskincare.com/revitalizing-body-oil

I have been trying this shampoo and conditioner lately and I am in love.  The coconut oil hydrates and smooths your hair.  I have very fine hair and it doesn’t weigh my hair down.  Also it’s 100% gluten free. https://www.amazon.com/Desert-Essence-Coconut-Shampoo-Conditioner/dp/B00N648M66/ref=sr_1_4_s_it?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1515084651&sr=1-4&keywords=desert+essence

And always drink tons of water!  At a minimum drink eight eight ounce glasses a day, more if you are active, pregnant or breastfeeding.

Ardha Navasana

8587373 - woman lay and training on ground

Ardha means half.  Nava is a ship, boat or vessel.  Postures are named from the shape the body takes, in this case of a boat.

How to do:

Sit on the floor and stretch your legs out in front of you.   Exhale and recline the upper body back so that you are on your sits bones (the boney protuberance at the attachment of the glutes and hamstrings).  Keep your torso stick straight as you raise your legs up.  Keep your knees bent and lift your feet off the floor, feet pointed.   Continue to lift your feet until your shins are parallel to the ceiling.  Extend your arms straight out from your shoulders with your palms facing in towards your legs.  The balance of the body is resting on the sits bones deep in the buttocks.  Feel the power of your abdominal and deep spinal muscles as you hold this pose for three inhales and exhales.  To further challenge yourself in this pose straighten your legs up towards the ceiling with your feet pointed.  You will look like an upside down capital A.   Do this three times holding each set for three inhales and exhales.


  • Strengthens the back
  • Strengthens the abdominals
  • Stretches the hamstrings
  • Tones the internal abdominal organs
  • Tones the liver, gall bladder and spleen

Elimination/Provocation Diet – Why and When

cooking picture

I have been plagued by allergies my whole life.  Until my 30’s it was just seasonal allergies, or so I thought.  But my on-and-off stomach pain and distress beginning in my late teens was actually allergies to food, little did I know it.  I was diagnosed with cheese and milk allergies when I was a young girl and then supposedly outgrew them.  My IBS was “stress induced” in college.  And my ulcerative colitis in my 30’s was “endurance sports induced”.  OK so I see a pattern….lots of blame but no underlying root cause.

When I was in my early 30’s I started investigating due to so much stomach discomfort.   I have had skin and blood allergy tests which come up with completely different results….I mean completely.  That doesn’t give you much hope for diagnosis especially when it’s so hard to give up food groups.  The last time I ended up in the hospital for extreme stomach pain I resolved to give up gluten.  That was eight years ago.  I have been mostly pain and symptom free since, but I have this nagging feeling that there are more to foods to give up to feel even better.

This is where the gold standard -the elimination/provocation diet- comes in.  This is a legitimate approach to removing food groups for two weeks then one by one adding them back in and recording your body’s reactions for sensitivities.  Now you would know if you have a true IgE food allergy, but you don’t necessarily know if you have a sensitivity because your body produces a low-level of inflammation which leads to any of the below examples.

If you are experiencing these symptoms then it’s time to try an Elimination Diet

  • Weight Gain / Weight Loss
  • Fatigue / Lethargy
  • Foggy Thinking / Memory Issues / Lack of Focus
  • Moodiness / Anxiety / Depression / Racing Thoughts
  • Aggression / Hyperactivity
  • Gas / Diarrhea / Constipation / Bloating / Cramping
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Reflux (GERD)
  • Recurring Nausea & Vomiting
  • Muscle Pain / Joint Pain / Chronic Pain
  • Headaches / Migraines
  • Sinus Congestion / Chronic Coughing
  • Asthma
  • Skin Rashes / Eczema / Psoriasis / Hives/Acne
  • Heart Palpitations / Rapid Pulse / Rapid Breathing
  • Heartburn
  • Numbness / Tingling

Back to seeing yourself as an experiment and not taking yourself too seriously…..

When we get too attached to food or drinks or lifestyle we are inevitable setting ourself up for a hard time.  Habits are hard to break and both mentally and physically.  I can already tell you giving up eggs and nuts will be hard.  But it’s the reward at the end that I know will be the big payoff.  I will be less attached to food and drink and have figured out if I have any more food sensitivities that are keeping me from feeling my best.

If you are curious but need guided support to begin your own elimination diet on Feb 1st I will be starting an elimination/provocation diet group class.  I will give you a guided step by step plan to complete this diet in a supportive group setting.  We will meet once a week for six weeks with days 1-2 being detox, 3-17 being elimination and 18-42 being reintroduction.   I will be doing exactly what I am asking you to do and know just how much work and the challenges this shift in diet and lifestyle will bring.  But for a better/healthier you isn’t it worth it?

Location: Riverdell Herbs 2211 East Broadway Avenue Maryville, TN 37804

Dates: Feb 1, 8, 15 March 1, 8

Cost $175

January’s Food Focus and Recipes

soupIt’s time for the slow-cookers and Instant-pots!  I have to tell you I am in love with my Instant-pot.  I have done so many fun recipes in this gadget and it really is amazing.  I am a big fan of homemade bone broth and the Instant-pot makes it so accessible.  Making your own soups with homemade bone broth is a true wellness labor of love!

Homemade chicken bone broth (AIP, Elimination Diet, Paleo, GAPS)

Ingredients:  One chicken carcass, 8 cups of water, 1/2 tsp salt,  1/4 tsp of pepper or a few peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, 1 cut up carrot, 1 cut up stalk of celery, 1 cut in quarters yellow onion, 2 gloves of garlic and 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar

Directions: Put all ingredients in the Instant-pot and press the manual button adjust time to 90 minutes.  When the time is up press the cancel button and allow the pot to do a natural release (about 15 min).  Once the pressure is released you open the pot and strain the stock and season more if desired.

The stock can be kept in the fridge for three days or frozen for up to six months.

Butternut Squash Soup (AIP, Elimination Diet, Paleo, GAPS)

Prep Time: 20 m | Cook Time: 1 h 0 m


3/4 large butternut squash, 3/4 onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 1/2 inches fresh ginger, 3 tbsp. coconut oil, 3/4 tsp. coarse sea salt, plus more to taste, 1 qt. chicken or vegetable stock or bone broth

Directions:   Roast butternut squash at 375F for 30-40 minutes or until squash is soft when punctured with a fork. When cool enough to handle, slice squash lengthwise, scoop out seeds and discard; scoop out flesh and set aside.  While the squash is baking, peel and dice the onion; peel and mince the garlic and ginger.    Sauté onion, garlic, and ginger in coconut oil with salt.  When translucent, add squash and stock. Heat thoroughly over medium flame.  Using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth, and add salt to taste, and serve.

Detox Cilantro Sweet Potato Soup

(AIP, Paleo, Elimination diet- remove lemon juice and cayenne pepper)

Ingredients (all organic if possible):

1 Tbsp. coconut oil, 2 medium onions, chopped, 5 cloves garlic, minced, 1 tsp. sea salt, 3 cups / 700ml water, 2 medium-large sweet potato, scrubbed and cut into 1” cubes, 1 Tbsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice, pinch – ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper (to your taste), 2 cups  cilantro (leaves and tender stems), 2 cups firmly packed baby spinach


Heat coconut oil in a large stockpot. Add onions and salt, stir to coat and let cook until onions have softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic, stir, cook 1 minute. Add sweet potato and water. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 12-15 minutes.

Place soup contents in a blender. Blend on high until smooth, then add spinach, cilantro, lemon and cayenne. Season to taste. Serve and enjoy. Store cooled leftovers in the fridge.

Source: https://www.mynewroots.org/site/2015/01/a-winter-weekend-cleanse/

Self Care for the Holidays

So it’s time to start thinking about your holiday wish list.  When I start browsing the internet for ideas I immediately get overwhelmed.  Does that happen to you? Last year for Christmas I had a 4 month old and all I wanted was to sleep and feel back to my old self.  I decided to ask for gifts that would allow me to get back to this place.  I wanted and needed SELF-CARE!  I asked for gift certificates for a mani-pedi, a massage, a 10 pack class of yoga sessions and a tune up for my bike.  Awesome right!  Yes it was awesome, and I didn’t acquire any new things that took up space in my closet or house.  It was a thrill each time I used one of these gift cards and I felt myself coming back to life.  Now I am not saying that I didn’t need or want for other tangible goods but the experiences of self-care was what I needed most.

As you are thinking on your list this year ponder what makes you feel the most balanced, the happiest and healthiest you.  Maybe it is experiences with loved ones, adventures with friends and family or cooking gadgets to make your meals even better.  I am also offering a few programs and services that you might want to add to your list.

I have a 30 day Clean Eating Program which starts on January 4th (perfect for right after the holidays).  We will meet each Thursday night from 6-7 at Riverdell Herbs in Maryville.  I can also do this via web if you are not local.  You will receive a menu each week with step by step recipes, a corresponding grocery list and meal prep planner.  You will also pick one self-care ritual that is new to you each week and integrate it daily, an example is body-brushing.  In this small group setting you will have support and accountability which will make all the difference when you think about “slipping” or “slip”.  This clean eating plan is the perfect reset which will get you feeling, thinking and looking better.

The second program I offer is a six month health coaching program.  We will meet in person or via web twice a month for six months and tackle your main health concerns and make positive life changes.  You will develop a deeper understanding of food and lifestyle choices that work best for you ultimately improving your energy, balance, health and happiness.

The third program is specific to pregnant and post-natal women and their families.  This programs is customized based on your needs, and however long you need them.  Optional services include: learning what foods to eat and when that are both safe and nutritious; weekly meal plans, recipes and grocery lists; stress management techniques including personalized yoga and meditation; creating a toxin free home and personal care routine.

And last but not least I am offering private yoga and meditation sessions in the comfort of your own home.  You can have as many people as you want or space allows.

Enjoy gifts of self-care this holiday season and get a jump-start on your 2018 wellness goals. Contact me for pricing and availability at nourishyh@gmail.com

Yours in Health,