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Non-Toxic Ninjas

  • InDairy-Free, Low Sugar, Real Food

    Healthy Cookie Dough Dip Recipe (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

    Recipe provided by Chef Christina Murray.

    HEALTHY CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIE DOUGH DIP {VEGAN & GLUTEN FREE!}

    Since transitioning to dairy-free, sometimes we just crave a big bowl of cookie dough. When it comes to finding a great dairy-free and plant-based cookie dough recipe on Pinterest, unfortunately, most of them are either loaded with sugar or made with Garbanzo Beans. 😲

    Ingredients for healthy vegan dairy-free cookie dough dip: cashews, coconut, coconut oil, flax seed, dates, vanilla, salt

    So when Chef Christina Murray shared this dessert dip with us–which also happens to be healthy, delicious, and even kid-approved–we may or may not have eaten the whole batch. Twice.

    It's perfect as a dip for apples or as the filling between your favorite cookies . . . or straight from the bowl with a spoon.

    Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

    2 Cups Raw Cashews or Cashew Butter

    1/2 C. Nutiva Coconut Manna or Unsweetened Shredded Coconut

    4 T. Nutiva Coconut Oil

    1 T. Vanilla

    3 T. Ground Flax Seed

    1/2 C. Pitted Dates Soaked {or 1/4 C. Agave, Maple Syrup, or Honey}

    2 t. Sea Salt

    1/2 C. Dark Chocolate Chopped {or Enjoy Life Vegan Chocolate Chips}

    Ingredients for healthy vegan dairy-free cookie dough dip: cashews, coconut, coconut oil, flax seed, dates, vanilla, salt


    Blend Cashews into a fine powder not quite as fine as flour {I used a Vitamix. If you don’t have one, use a food processor.}. Spoon into a large bowl. Place remaining ingredients {except for chocolate chips} into food processor, blend well. Gently stir in cashew mixture a little at a time. Stir until well combined. Fold in chocolate. You can use dark chocolate pieces roughly chopped in the Vitamix or use chocolate chips.

    Word to the wise: Try not to eat it all in one sitting. 😉

    Christina Murray is a classically trained chef + recipe developer. Her passion is creating allergen-friendly recipes that taste as good (or better!) than their traditional counterpart. She has her Bachelors of Science in Food Politics from The New School and her Culinary Health certification from Harvard Medical School.

    Currently, she is developing recipes for restaurants and consumer product companies. She loves the outdoors and perusing (aka snacking her way through) her local farmers market. You can always find her with a cup of joe in hand and basking in the sunshine.

    You can learn more about Chef Murray at www.chefchristinamurray.com

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  • InHolistic Health, Non-toxic Home, Personal Care Products

    Staying Healthy and Comfortable While Traveling: What to do before travel, what to pack + how to keep healthy on a long flight

    From airports to airplanes to your final destination, you're coming in contact with a LOT of different bacteria and viruses. Even a robust, healthy immune system can fall prey to one of these insidious bugs. It can start as a tickle in the throat, or feeling hot all of a sudden, but when you're suddenly struck ill on a vacation, it can ruin the whole trip.

    Back in the day, traveling when we were younger, we didn’t spend time thinking of the possible negative health + wellness side effects of a long flight, the subtle-to-super-obvious inconveniences and discomforts of being in a small-ish space for half a day or more, or the recirculating cabin air and germs in airports.

    But, as we traveled more (and grew up, by the way), we started to notice more and care more. Thousands upon thousands of air miles later, we created this guide to help anyone else about to embark on a long flight know that there are several ways to avoid the swollen feet, aching hips, dehydration, icky feeling, harsh breath, restlessness, boredom, and even some of the anxiety for the flight itself. And of course . . . coming down with something nasty during your trip.

    How to stay healthy and comfortable on flights

    These tips are the compilation of our experiences from short-long flights (4 hours) and medium-long flights (8 hours) all the way to long-long flights (14 hours or more), but the focus is on tips that will hopefully help you survive a long flight without losing your mind or feeling horrible before, during, and after.

    Oh, and before you read the next heading (about what to do two weeks beforehand) and possibly think we are over-prepared weirdos (which is true), here’s the #1 concept for all of this >> Just like a long-distance fitness event or something along those lines, preparing for a long flight needs to start ahead of time.

    What to do 2 weeks before your long flight:

    1. Get the things.

    You may be in need of a few items you don’t have yet in order to travel comfortably, and, instead of getting the best version available last minute at the nearest store, you might want to order them online and have them shipped, or take the time to go to a store in your area that you normally don’t shop at.

    Order or purchase:

    • Any special containers to hold your products, medicine, or personal items. Check out the type of non-drip, BPA-free travel containers we use below. And if you’re like us, and like to carry natural plant/herb oils and other hippie stuff, check out the travel oil carrier below as well.
    • Replacements or travel-size quantities of any special soap, face care, makeup, lotion, essential oils, etc. that you enjoy. Even though it’s slightly more work to pack up your favorite items in travel tubes or be forced to check a bag because you’re carrying so many liquidy substances, once you’re at your destination, being able to use products you’re familiar with that you know make you feel good and don’t cause allergic reactions is golden.
    • Any special clothing or shoes that you will require/want in the place(s) you’re traveling to.
    • Any other supplies you think you'll need

    2. Test things.

    For all the products mentioned above, make sure to test them out if you haven’t used them before. Roll your luggage around, put your backpack on, wash and fill your travel tubes, try on your new clothing and wash it, walk in your new shoes, etc.

    Also, test out any sleep aids or (legal) drugs beforehand. If you’re anxious about your flight, alcohol and certain drugs might now have the effect you want. (I have a friend who hates flying and took a sleep aid for the first time on a flight, and it kept him awake and jittery the whole time. And it was his honeymoon. Don’t do drugs kids. Or at least test them out before you need them.)

    3. Add in extra self-care.

    If you need to get something done that needs some advanced planning on your part (ex: you have to adjust your work schedule), or that needs some advanced notice with a business or service provider, then schedule it out.

    Think about whether or not you want or need to:

    • Get more sleep.
    • Adjust your sleep if you’ll be crossing the international date line (or making a big time zone jump) so that you can minimize the effects of jet lag
    • Make a doctor’s appointment.
    • Reduce your stress if needed. Get a massage and take care of things in advance (such as getting your currency exchanged, if needed, and arranging a reliable pet sitter).

    What to do 1 week before your long flight:

    1. Check things.

    Not only is it a good idea to check:

    • that you have everything you will need to pack
    • and everything you will need to pack it in

    . . . but it’s also an amazing time to start working with your body to get it in healthy shape beforehand.

    2. Do (healthy) things.

    If you’ve never done it before it can be grueling, painful, or at least uncomfortable to be confined to a small space for hours on end. You run the risk of getting a bit dehydrated, feeling gross, attracting lots of unwanted germs, and getting sore or swollen in certain areas. The good news is that you can do something to prevent or minimize these effects, starting one or more weeks before your flight.

    7 (or even 14) days before your flight, begin to:

    • Do yoga. Or some other form of exercise that both stretches you (your hips, shoulders, arms, legs, neck, etc.) and helps you to strengthen key areas (your back, core, arms, etc.), such as Tai Chi, Pilates, or other.
      • Consider yin yoga: A style of yoga that holds deep stretches for 2 – 5 minutes.
      • Try hatha yoga: A style of yoga that helps you strengthen and stretch through different positions and movements.
      • Consider hot yoga or vinyasa if you’ve been doing yoga for a while. These classes will really increase body heat and help you lengthen + strengthen.
    • Start hydrating. A lot. More water and coconut water will likely help you sleep better, will definitely make it less likely that you get dehydrated on your long day(s) of travel, and will hopefully help your bladder get used to better intake levels of fluids. We can’t stress enough the personal benefits we’ve experienced by hydrating well before, during, and after long flights. It’s amazing.
    • Consider taking the natural vitamins and supplements your doctor recommends or that you take normally for your health. We like to up my Vitamin C before getting on a crowded plane full of germs.

    What to do 2 – 3 days before your long flight:

    1. Pack your regular luggage.

    2. Stock and pack your special flight bag that never leaves your side.

    This one we can help you on. We really recommend having a small bag (perhaps one that slings over your body diagonally (like the examples in #5 of this post) or a small backpack that you can have under the seat in front of you or in the seat back pocket (if it’s small enough). This bag should contain everything you might want to access during the flight. Things such as:

    • Comfy, long, and non-restrictive socks or compression socks. As in: they shouldn’t have elastic on the rims.
    • A blanket or shawl. You can just carry it in your hands or folded over your bag. Don’t rely on the airline blankets to be thick enough, long enough, or awesome enough. You can wear an oversized shawl onto the plane and then use it as a blanket.
    • Headphones. Preferably noise-canceling ones if you can swing it. These will help you actually be able to hear your shows, and actually be able to sleep (if you get a seat next to louder people).
    • A sleep mask. If you’ll want to block out light. Though most airlines provide these on international flights, you can’t be sure and you may prefer your own.
    • A disposable toothbrush and toothpaste. I’d recommend carrying one that isn’t the one you packed in your regular luggage. You’ll be able to refresh during the flight, and if you drop it, lose it, etc., you’ll still have your other one.
    • Snacks. Yes. Airlines typically feed you on long flights. Sometimes the food is even good, but just in case the food isn’t great, or you get hungry between meals, or their vegan/gluten-free/low dairy (or whatever you prefer) options aren’t exactly what you expected or are unavailable, then it’s great to have something you know you can eat. Dried fruit, jerky, trail mix, squeezable applesauce, nuts, small doses of dark chocolate, or chia seed treats can all fit in a small bag and hopefully hold you over.
    • Health care and refreshing items: vitamin packs, essential oils (if you start feeling queasy), medicines, moisturizer (your face and hands can easily get dry), lip balm, wipes (to freshen up in the bathroom), makeup, hand sanitizer (here's our post about our favorites and which to avoid!), or natural deodorant (after a day of travel, you might need some more – we prefer these natural brands).
    • Essentials: chargers, backup batteries for your noise-canceling headphones, actual earplugs, etc.

    3. Download stuff.

    Download all the books, and movies, meditations, podcasts, and music to your phone or device that you want to be able to access without Wi-Fi and in airplane mode. Even though most airlines provide great movie and music services, you never know what you’re going to get or if you’re going to sit in the one seat where the screen or audio is malfunctioning.

    Bring enough work materials, digital treats, and physical entertainment to keep your attention as if the airline won’t provide you any.

    4. Check in, or set a reminder to check in.

    Some airlines will let you check in 48 hours before international flights. Try to get checked in and make sure you’ve selected a seat you think you’ll enjoy. Will you like being tucked in near a window, or having the easy access to getting up frequently by sitting in an aisle seat? Do you feel safe and comfy in between your two friends in a middle seat?

    What to do 1 day before your long flight:

    1. Charge everything. Fully.

    Your phone, your computer, your iPad, your kindle, your fitness watch, etc. Put new batteries in your headphones. Make sure everything is set up to last the maximum amount of time without a power source, even though some airlines will provide plugs.

    2. Then pack the chargers and any adapters you might need.

    Getting to a new country with a work deadline and no adapter to plug your computer in with is not as fun as it sounds. I’ve tried it.

    3. Lay out a comfortable, layered outfit and your with-you-at-all-times bag.

    If you ignore everything else in this guide, then please at least wear comfy clothing with layers and hydrate a lot.

    But, while you’re at it . . . make sure all the refreshing personal items you need are with you in your bag that stays with you in your seat. Check for your blanket and neck pillow as well. Just reassess based on your “needs list” that you have everything. It will make you more comfortable as you sleep the day before your flight and as you head to the airport the next day.

    4. Try to get rest and do some relaxing activities.

    If you’re into long baths, long yoga sessions, tea, movies, whatever . . . do it. You’ll want to relax your body and mind . . . especially if you get anxious about airplanes, or crowded airports, or tight spaces.


    What to do the day of your long flight:

    1. Re-pack anything you took out and used. Make sure your passport, necessary documentation, and necessary identification is on you.

    Run back over your packing list one last time if it will bring you peace of mind. And if you are at all prone to stomach aches, headaches, queasiness, or nervousness on flights or in stressful situations, may we make the hippie suggestion of getting some natural plant and herb oils that you can smell, apply to your skin, and even dilute and drink in your water in some cases.

    Always check the proper use of any health oils you buy. Below is a combo pack of essential oils you can check out, but p.s. also having some oregano oil on hand has saved a few long flights for us. It helps us nervous stomach soooo much.

    2. Get to the airport early.

    This will help reduce stress and anxiety before boarding your long flight–if you know your there on time and can just relax in the waiting area instead of rushing right up until the last minute.

    3. Stretch and keep hydrating.

    Even if you feel weird or look weird, taking care of your body is “so in” right now. . . so don’t get too worried about looking foolish. When I see someone stretching in the airport or even doing some yoga in the terminal, we immediately have a high level of respect for their travel game. They know the deal.


    What to do during your long flight:

    1. Keep drinking healthy beverages.

    Sure. You’ll have to go to the bathroom every 3 – 5 hours, but it’s worth it. You won’t get as hungry, you can choose beverages that are providing nutrients, and you’ll be less likely to get dry lips, dry skin, or the fatigue that can come with slight dehydration and it will also force you to get up and stretch your legs.

    Tip: Bring your own stainless steel water bottle.

    2. Get up and walk every few hours. Stretch.

    Stand near the bathroom and hit tree pose (the third exercise in this post). Trust us. It helps. And you’ll typically see other people stretching too, so try not to feel weird, but even if no one else does it, you’ll simply look like the smart, cool, athletic person on the flight . . . and you may even make someone else feel comfortable enough to stretch out and feel better.

    3. Find movement and space within your seat.

    Whether you put your feet up in your seat with you, rotate your ankles, stretch into the aisle every so often, or stretch your arms up and down frequently, try not to remain absolutely still in your seat for hours.

    We love to do our own version of “chair yoga” by crossing one leg over the other and leaning forward to stretch out our lower back and glutes. Your body will thank you for it.

    Move your travel bag to the side so that your feet can go as far forward as possible–this is why it helps to have a small plane bag.


    What to do after your long flight:

    1. Walk. Hydrate. Stretch.

    Pay special attention to your hip joints, knees, and back. They are likely what felt most compressed or stationary during the flight, so try to gently stretch them.

    2. Try to get some seriously restful sleep at your destination at some point that day.

    If at all possible, renew your strength through some good, old-fashioned sleep.


    Our long-flight friend, even if you don’t take the time to do every single thing in the guide above, planning for ways to be hydrated, calm, prepared, and entertained on your long travel days will really make a difference on those days, and in your interactions with the people you may be traveling with, and in the quality of trip you’re able to have.

    Oh, and please consider (1) leaving some tips or thoughts of your own in the comments below, and (2) sharing this post with your friends. You can click the suggested tweet below to do so easily. Thank you travel ninja.

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  • InHolistic Health, Natural Remedies, Sustainable Living

    What Medicinal Mushrooms Do For Your Body

    What Medicinal Mushrooms Do For (and To) Your Body. . . and 7 Medicinal Mushrooms to Try

    There seem to be two types of people in the world: Those that hate mushrooms and those that love them. But. . . there’s good news! it doesn’t even matter which camp you’re in because you don’t have to even like them in order to enjoy the health benefits of medicinal mushrooms. 🍄 Mushroom haters rejoice!

    A mushroom belongs to the Fungi Kingdom (and biologically speaking, a Kingdom is ginormous, we’re talking 1.5 million different types). As with algae (see our post on seaweed) which runs the gamut of toxic algae blooms and superfood seaweeds, there are edible mushrooms and do not eat avoid at all cost mushrooms. With such an enormous variety, the mushroom kingdom contains poisons and antidotes, toxins and medicines, food sources and stranger things that can even eat plastic. . .

    While we typically think of fungi as a mushroom, the mushroom is actually the fruiting body of fungi. It’s like the apple on the apple tree. The mycelium is below the surface – or in the trees. A large percentage of mushrooms are cultivated from trees. Did you know that fungi aren’t plants?

    According to Four Sigmatic’s Mushroom Academy, humans share a whopping THIRTY TO FIFTY PERCENT of our DNA with fungi. Whoa. Obviously, in the world of DNA, even a single percentage point is significant, but in terms of health, this crossover allows our bodies to use the compounds in mushrooms much more easily than others.

    Medicinal mushrooms for healing #mushrooms #medicinalmushrooms #healingfoods #superfoods
    The Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms

    For mushrooms that humans can safely consume, there are edible mushrooms and medicinal. You’ll recognize edible varieties from portobello to shiitake to the common brown mushrooms. But what sets medicinal mushrooms apart is that in order to absorb the compounds, the mushrooms need to go through a thorough extraction process. Simply eating them won’t give the results that you’re after and in fact, you wouldn’t want to since their texture may be more like tree bark than the mushrooms you’re familiar with.

    Unlike many plants, using heat and fats actually increase the bioavailability of mushroom compounds rather than destroying them. (Remember, mushrooms aren't plants.)

    Medicinal mushrooms are a form of biomedicine that are being extensively studied by drug companies and research universities. An impresive 40 percent of pharmaceuticals are derived from fungi (penicillin, anyone?).

    The following short list of mushrooms has documented health benefits that you just might want to start adding to your routine.

    Medicinal mushrooms for healing #mushrooms #medicinalmushrooms #healingfoods #superfoods

    7 Medicinal Mushrooms That You May Want to Add To Your Wellness Arsenal

    1. Chaga

    Chaga is known as the King of Mushrooms. It’s a unique mushroom that grows on birch trees and it looks very much like the tree bark itself. Chaga is a powerhouse, containing very high levels of antioxidants, especially SOD (superoxide dismutase) and is also the highest source of melanin.

    It’s also packed with betalin and betalinic acid, which is a very potent antiviral. Chaga has a high mineral level content (even more than other medicinal mushrooms) and is highly anti-inflammatory.

    ✅And as a hefty immune system booster, it’s a good idea for travelers who may be in contact with germs and stress.

    2. Cordyceps

    Cordyceps doesn’t grow on trees like many medicinal mushrooms, but instead. . . grows on bugs (but is now cultivated on fermentation and is #veganfriendly). Cordyceps is a fantastic mushroom for sport recovery and energy boosting. It’s also an adaptogen which supports oxygen uptake and ATP production. (Pssst. It’s also nicknamed “Cordysex” for its blood flow and stimulating properties.)

    ✅Great for athletes and those trying to wean off coffee.

    3. Lion’s Mane

    Lion’s Mane is the most unique of the medicinal mushrooms, and possibly the most interesting as a safe neutropic  (a natural “smart drug”). If you can get it fresh, it’s also a delicious edible mushroom! Lion’s Mane nerve regeneration capability is being researched to treat Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons

    4. Oyster

    Oyster mushrooms can be found in your local supermarket and can even be grown at home on coffee grounds! As with Shiitake, Lion’s Mane, and Maitake, it’s also an edible mushroom.

    ✅It’s an effective natural mood booster due to its high B-vitamin content (especially B6). Oyster is also a cholesterol reducer.

    5. Maitake

    Maitake, also known as Hen of the Woods is both an edible and medicinal mushroom. It balances blood sugar which is great for diabetes and weight management. Like Chaga, this is also healing to the digestive tract.

    ✅Great for gut health and digestion.

    6. Reishi

    Reishi is known as the Queen of Mushrooms and is the most well researched of all the mushrooms, so basically she’s the Beyoncé of fungi. Reishi’s magic is its adaptogenic properties (which can help soothe and calm your body and even help you sleep deeper) and liver detoxification (which occurs during the night). Also has anti-histaminic properties which are great for those with allergies. It’s also one of the mushrooms that’s actually good for fighting candida.

    ✅When you think of Reishi, think stress relief, anti-histamine, and deeper sleep.

    7. Shiitake

    Holy Shiitake, Batman! Shiitake mushrooms are both edible and medicinal, which makes them even easier to incorporate into your daily life. You can get them at your grocery store and use them in your dinner recipes. They’re packed with amino acids, enzymes, minerals, and polysaccharides which support energy production.

    ✅Shiitake has been used traditionally for liver detoxifying, improved circulation, and skin health.

    You Can Drink Your Mushrooms?

    With extracts, powders, and brews, you can incorporate medicinal mushrooms into your life on a daily basis and consume what would otherwise be unpalatable.

    If you’re a coffee drinker, you can make a simple swap of regular coffee for lower caffeine mushroom coffee blends that also supports your adrenals.

    7 Medicinal Mushrooms to Add to Your Wellness Arsenal

    You can get or make your own:

    • Mushroom lattes.
    • Mushroom turmeric drinks.
    • Mushroom coffees.
    • Mushroom hot chocolate.
    • Mushroom supplements.

    And speaking of mushroom lattes, this recipe by the Minimalist Baker might just rock your world.


    A Quick Note ABout Medicinal Mushrooms and Candida

    While candida diets caution against eating mushrooms, there are a few that are okay to consume and some that are recommended to consume. Not all fungi are created equal. As mentioned above, Reishi actually helps fight candida albicans overgrowth.


    Learn More About Fungi and Medicinal Mushrooms

    Medicinal mushrooms for healing

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  • InReal Food, Sustainable Living

    9 Types of Seaweed to Start Adding to Your Diet

    Back 20 years ago, you probably didn’t encounter seaweed too often unless you ate Asian cuisine or if your parents followed a macrobiotic diet. Fast forward to today and you can get multiple kinds of seaweed in virtually every grocery store across the country.

    From Asia to New Zealand and even to Ireland, seaweed has been a nutritional staple in cultures for thousands of years. And now . . . it just might be your turn to start incorporating seaweed into your diet.

    Looking to try seaweed? Check out the 9 types of seaweed we recommend.

    So what is seaweed anyway and is it as healthy as it’s cracked up to be?

    Seaweed (known as sea vegetables and seagreens in other parts of the world) are a type of giant algae picking up a reputation as a superfood. Edible giant algae is very different from other forms of algae which can be either beneficial or toxic.

    My friend from Japan was actually offended that in English, we refer to it as a “weed” since it’s so nutritious. We totally get it! We feel the same way about dandelions being called weeds when we do everything from add them to salads to make our dandelion citrus lotion bars . . . You may recognize seaweed from Japanese restaurants, from the paper-like wrapping around sushi, floating on top of miso soup or seaweed salad, but sea vegetables are starting to make a big splash in American menus too. And for good reason.

    The Health Benefits of Seaweed

    Seaweed is packed with fiber and minerals such as iodine. Research suggests that certain sea vegetables have powerful health benefits, including targeted anti-cancer properties that killed cancer cells but left healthy cells alone. Researchers who have been studying the effect of certain sea vegetables (wakame and mekabu) on breast cancer found that,

    “These effects were stronger than those of a chemotherapeutic agent widely used to treat human breast cancer. Furthermore, no apoptosis induction was observed in normal human mammary cells. In Japan, mekabu is widely consumed as a safe, inexpensive food. Our results suggest that mekabu has potential for chemoprevention of human breast cancer.”

    The research review “Seaweed and Human Health” found that “seaweeds may have an important role in modulating chronic disease.” 

    “Rich in unique bioactive compounds not present in terrestrial food sources, including different proteins (lectins, phycobiliproteins, peptides, and amino acids), polyphenols, and polysaccharides, seaweeds are a novel source of compounds with potential to be exploited in human health applications. Purported benefits include antiviral, anticancer, and anticoagulant properties as well as the ability to modulate gut health and risk factors for obesity and diabetes.”

    In other words, since seaweed grows in a completely different from vegetables that grow in soil, it contains unique properties that we're just beginning to discover. From its fiber that may be beneficial to for human digestion to iodine and mineral content supporting thyroid function, it's worth considering making it a regular part of your meals.

    But before you rush out and fill your shopping cart with seaweed, there’s one thing to be aware of. . . heavy metals.

    But. . . what about heavy metals? Is seaweed safe to eat?

    Seaweed can act like a sponge for minerals in ocean water. For healthy minerals such as iodine, that’s a nutritional bonus. Unfortunately, algae can absorb heavy metals (particularly in polluted waters). 

    According to WFFoods.org:

    “Among all of the heavy metals, arsenic appears to be most problematic when it comes to sea vegetable toxicity risk. Virtually all types of sea vegetables have been determined to contain traces of arsenic. These types include arame, hijiki, kombu, nori, and wakame. Among all types of sea vegetable, however, hijiki stands out as being particularly high-risk when it comes to arsenic exposure.”

    Even the Australian government did some digging on whether seaweed was safe to eat due to inorganic arsenic levels and they came to the conclusion that with the exception of hijiki, seaweed products met safety standards. You can avoid most of the heavy metal concern by purchasing farmed sea vegetables, which are closely monitored or even have controlled water environments but it may be a good idea to avoid hijiki until an organic farmed source becomes available. Because of the arsenic risk, we’ve left it off of our list of seaweeds to try. Until there's an organically farmed source of hijiki, you can think of it as the Metallica of the ocean. . .🤣

    And speaking of farming, that brings us to another benefit of eating sea vegetables. . . sustainable aquaculture.

    Sustainability Seaweed Farming

    Although seaweed is a fast-growing plant (giant kelp can grow 12 – 24 inches per day), pollution and over-harvesting in the wild is a key consideration as edible seaweed grows in popularity. Responsible aquaculture, ocean farming, is a way for seaweed to be sustainable and renewable as well as ensuring that the crops are monitored for safety.

    9 Types of Sea Vegetables to Try

    So how do you actually start eating seaweed and have it taste good? Good question, even if you didn't ask it, my friend. An easy way to get started is to incorporate what I call the 4 S approach.

    • Salads
    • Stir-fries
    • Soups
    • Snacks
    1. Arame. This brown seaweed is part of the kelp family and looks like long grass. It's often used in stir-fries and soups and pairs well with mushrooms.
    2. Agar. This fiber is made from a variety of red algaes and is used in Asian desserts as a thickener. It can be purchased at an Asian grocery store (or Amazon) and used as vegan gelatin.
    3. Dulse. While dulse normally tastes like the ocean, Bon Appetit Magazine has discovered that pan-fried fresh dulse tastes like – are you ready for this – bacon. Expect to see more of this ingredient in restaurants and even in products on the shelves very soon.
    4. Green seaweed/sea lettuce. This is a popular form of seaweed for foragers and harvesters as it can be eaten raw or lightly dehydrated.
    5. Irish Moss/Sea Moss. While carrageenan (a thickener used in commercial food products) is derived from Irish Moss and may be harmful to health, whole Irish Moss is not the same thing. Sea moss is often used as an ingredient in smoothies, soups, or sauces and is not eaten on its own.
    6. Kelp. We think of kelp as the king of seaweed! A favorite of ours is kelp noodles (sold on the shelf or in the refrigerated section of your local health food store), which are low carb, crunchy, and the perfect vehicle for a delicious sauce. We toss kelp noodles with shredded carrots, tamari, lime juice, and sesame oil for a perfect chilled salad.
    7. Kombu. Kombu is used as a flavoring to give that umami flavor to soups and stocks. Add a 2-6″ strip of dried kombu to simmering soups to add a meaty flavor without meat.
    8. Nori/Laver. Popular with kids, this seaweed is rolled into sheets and toasted and is what you may be used to seeing on the shelves of the grocery store. Nori is commonly used to wrap sushi and is now a flavored snack that kids love. This is a staple in our household and even though sometimes the kids are too shy to bring it out of their lunchboxes, they eat them 2-3 packages at a time at home. You can get these as mini packages of toasted snacks at your local grocery store, Costco, or Amazon.
    9. Wakame. Closely related to kombu, this variety is a form of kelp that's versatile in cooking and fun to eat in seaweed salads. 

    My favorite way to include sea vegetables in my family's diet is using kelp noodles to make a chilled Asian salad. Seagreens are low carb, packed with fiber and minerals, and suited for most diets – including gluten-free, vegan, paleo, and keto. On a low carb or keto diet? Nori snacks are a perfect chip replacement for when you're craving something salty.

    9 types of seaweed to try

    Seaweed. It’s what’s for dinner.

    Looking for a way to get started swapping out a few vegetables for seagreens in your cooking? Check out these cookbooks for a little inspiration on your seaweed cooking adventure. These recipes focus on simple swaps with vegetables you're already familiar with. 

    Ways to eat seaweed

    And. . . are you a seaweed fan? Let us know your favorite way to eat seaweed in the comments!

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  • InDIY & How-to, DIY Natural Beauty, Eco Gifts

    9 DIY Eco-Friendly Holiday Gifts

    ‘Tis the season for sharing and giving! When you choose a handmade gift, so often you end up creating a wonderful experience for everyone involved: you, your recipient, and the environment. Obviously, here at Clear + Well, we love the idea of giving gifts that support wellness, along with a “healthy” dose of happiness. 

    Here’s the roundup of our favorite DIY gifts that you can make at home this weekend.

    1. DIY Eucalyptus Oatmeal Soak

    We love the idea of creating an all-natural luxury spa experience at home by pairing these DIY gifts with a reusable basket, an organic cotton face towel, and loofah! Get our recipe for handmade Eucalyptus and Oatmeal Bath Salts to soothe sore muscles and irritated skin.

     

    2. Rejuvenating Body Butter

    How about a super moisturizing body butter that's also effective, all natural and affordable? Yes please! Get our nontoxic Body Butter recipe right here

    DIY Body Butter

    3. Brown Sugar Body Scrub

    It smells heavenly. It's nontoxic. It's amazingly simple. With only 3 ingredients, our brown sugar body scrub is made with items we all have at home that gently treats and prevents skin problems. Here's our favorite Brown Sugar Body Scrub (perfect for dry winter skin).

    DIY Brown Sugar Scrub for Dry Winter Skin

    4. Detoxifying Body Scrub

    Mix and match your essential oils to make this scrumptiously nontoxic body scrub! Grab our simple recipe for DIY Detoxifying Body Scrub right here.

    5. Detoxifying Activated Charcoal Bars

    We love this gift paired with an organic washcloth and nontoxic nail polish. We highly recommend spending a Saturday making a bit batch of Detoxifying Activated Charcoal Bars

    Activated Charcoal Soap Bars - Activated charcoal soap also reduces pore size and unclogs skin thereby minimizing the development of breakouts and infection of broken skin, helps heal pimples and rashes, and calms inflammation. #activatedcharcoal #naturalskincare #homemadesoap

    6. Natural Beard Oil

    For that bearded friend in your life, why not gift a personalized beard oil blend? Get our recipe for Natural Beard Oil.

     

    7. Safe Holiday Scents

    It's no secret how much we love essential oils. Did you know you can make a variety of holidays scents using your favorite oils? Package these up in small glass bottles for the perfect stocking stuffer.

     

    DIY Safe Home Fragrances Made With Essential Oils #safehomefragrance #nontoxic #essentialoil #aromatherapy

    8. DIY “Upcycled” Succulent Planter

    Make a DIY Succulent Planter to cheer up their office during those bleak winter months!

    How to make a cute succulent planter

    9. Elderberry Syrup

    Paired with a basket packed with healthy treats and herbal teas, homemade elderberry syrup for when your loved ones are down with the flu makes a great gift. 

    We've been building our arsenal of natural remedies to combat the flu as it continues run to rampant and homemade elderberry syrup tops the list! #elderberrysyrup #naturalremedies #colds #flu

     

    As for a few gift wrapping ideas? Our favorites include:

    • Last year's wrapping paper
    • Using fabric with the Japanese method of Furoshiki
    • Gift bags (and reusing them until they fall apart!)
    • Glass jars 

    What about you? Do you have a few tried and true handmade gifts that you give year after year? We'd love to hear about your favorites ways to give.

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