Dream Tea

Good sleep is essential to good health. A warm cup of herbal tea before bed is just the thing to relax the body and mind. The following recipe is my own creation. It contains spearmint for flavor and a positive mood, chamomile for relaxation, rose petals for sleep and mugwort for dreams. This tea induces a gentle sleep and may produce vivid dreams.

Combine the herbs in the following way for a lovely tea:

¼ cup dried spearmint

¼ cup dried culinary grade rose petals

¼ cup dried chamomile

1/8 cup dried mugwort

Place the herbs in a bowl and mix well. Store in a clean, dry, sealed glass jar. To use, place 2 TBS in a tea strainer and steep in hot water for 2-3 min. Add honey if desired. Drink one cup before bedtime.  

Be Kind — Plants and Beyond

~Isn’t that simple? Simply Be Kind. It is contagious. A fascinating feature of kindness is that it self-replicating and inspiring kindness in others. When we ourselves perform an act of kindness, this is likely to encourage others to act in a similar way. One study conducted at Cambridge University found that seeing someone else helps […]

via Be Kind — Plants and Beyond

The Importance of Work Life Balance

In an article from Business Insider, Elon Musk states that people need to work 80 to 100 hours a week in order to make significant contributions or “change the world”. The article goes on to say that everyone worked 100 hours per week and Musk worked 120 per week during a period of time in 2018. Is this really necessary? How does productivity change as people become exhausted? Are there more errors to fix which actually slows work down?

Claire Caruso (2013) published a study that investigate the effects of long hours and shift work on nurses. She found that there was less productivity, more errors, more incidence of obesity, poorer health, and more on the job injuries. In healthcare, such issues can translate into errors that cause patient harm.   In 2015, the BMJ published a study that looked at long working hours and alcohol use. The study found that people who worked longer than recommended hours had more incidence of alcohol use and subsequent health problems.

As a nurse executive, I find it a challenge to keep a proper work-life balance. However, I know through experience, that if my life is out of balance, I am not effective at work or at home. David Williams, of Forbes Magazine, recommends several easy strategies.

·         Schedule down time- As a busy executive my calendar is always booked and overbooked. However, I block of time around noon for lunch with my husband. It is a priority and I am able make it work about 90% of the time. I never schedule lunch meetings voluntarily. My husband appreciates the time with me and I get a much needed break. Williams suggests scheduling time for working out and other enjoyable activities.

·         Get rid of things that waste your time and energy-. These things can be friends who gossip and who are negative or activities that are emotionally and mentally draining. Consider delegating some of those things to others.

·         Keep your weekends work free- I look forward to my weekends as a time when I can detach from the intensity of work and focus on things I enjoy and take a minute to relax.

More resources and ideas for maintaining work life balance can be found at Sparkpeople.com and Roche.com. Give yourself permission to unplug, unwind and take a break. Your work will still be there when you return and you will find that you will be more efficient and productive.


The Versatile Avocado

Avocado is one of my very favorites. It is versatile, healthful, and easy to store and use. According to an article on WebMD, avocados contain many nutrients and vitamins that are essential for good health including lutein, folate, and monounsaturated fats.

 Avocados are portable, easy to store, and easy to use. If you buy them green, leave them out at room temperature and they will ripen in a few days. If you want them to ripen slowly, you can store them in the refrigerator and you won’t need to use them right away. To prepare an avocado for use, cut the fruit and split in half the long way. Remove the big seed and discard. At this point, you can scoop out the flesh with a big spoon. Alternatively, you can make slices in the flesh and then scoop. This will make perfect slices.

Below are two of my favorite avocado recipes:


Easy Guacamole


2 large, ripe, avocados split, pitted and the flesh scooped into a bowl.

½ c pre-made pico de gallo from the grocery store.

½ tsp crushed garlic

Juice of 1 lime

2 TBS Fresh cilantro chopped

Salt, pepper to taste


Using a pastry cutter, mash up the avocado. Stir in the pico, garlic, lime juice, salt,  and pepper.

You can control the chunkiness of the guacamole by how much you mash it up.

avocado and oil

Avocado face Mask

During the winter, when your face needs a little extra boost, an avocado face mask is wonderful for adding moisture, vitamins and minerals.  This face mask is super easy to make.

Mash up one ripe avocado and add a tsp of olive oil. Apply to a clean face and let sit for 15 minutes. Wash your face with clean water and pat dry.

Healthful Teas for the Cold and Flu Season: Part 2 Symptom Relievers

In part two of my article on herbal teas for colds and flu, we will focus on symptom management. Many times, the common cold and other viruses required time and rest for a cure. The symptoms associated with colds, flu, and flu-like virus are uncomfortable and tend to keep us from our daily activities and work. Annoying symptoms include fever, congestion, cough, sore throat and stomach upset. Herbal teas are wonderful to relieve symptoms, hydrate, and promote comfort. Common herbs for these symptoms include:

Ginger- stomach upset and nausea

Garlic- well known for antiseptic properties

Cayenne pepper- warms the body and acts as a tonic

Honey- also a well-known antiseptic and throat soother

Peppermint- clears congestion, sooths stomach upset and relieves nausea

Lemon- boosts healing with vitamin C and soothes a sore throat

Anti-Nausea Tea

Boil 4 cups of pure water and steep the following ingredients for 20 min. Strain and drink warm.

Lemon- 2 slices with rind

Ginger- 2 TBS of sliced fresh root

Lemon balm- ½ c

Chamomile-  ½ c

Congestion Reliever

Boil 2 cups of pure water and steep the following ingredients for 20 min. Strain and drink warm.

Peppermint- 1 C fresh leaves

Cinnamon- 1 cinnamon stick

Ginger- 1 TBS sliced fresh root

Cayenne Pepper- 1-2 tsp—adjust to your preference

Honey to taste

These teas can were adapted from The Herbal Academy.

In addition to teas, juices can be used to improve cold and flu symptoms. Here a couple of my favorites.


2 quarts unsweetened grape juice

4 TBS cayenne pepper

Combine in closed container and shake. Refrigerate and shake prior to serving. Drink 8 ounces two times per day until symptoms improve. This is also a wonderful daily tonic.

Bold Orange-Garlic Juice

Combine in a Nutribullet or similar blender

1 Orange peeled and sectioned

Natural orange juice- enough to reach the fill line on the Nutribullet cup

1/2 frozen mango

Handful of baby spinach leaves

4 slices cucumber

3 cloves garlic

1 slice onion

1 tsp cayenne pepper

3 TBS honey

Whiz up in your Nutribullet and drink. Adjust the garlic and onion to your taste. This juice can also be made in a juicer rather than a Nutribullet. Substitute the orange juice for a couple more oranges and the frozen mango for fresh mango. Add the honey and pepper after juicing the other ingredients.

Related articles

Healthful Teas for the Cold and Flu Season: Part 1 Immune Boosters

Cold and flu season is upon us. Symptoms of colds and flu are uncomfortable and include congestion, fever, body aches, cough and stomach upset. The healthful teas for colds and flu can be divided into two categories. The first is immune boosting teas to help prevent illness and the second group is for symptom management.

One important thing to know about immune boosters is that they are preventative and you should start using them prior catching a cold. Some common herbs and spices that are known immune boosters are

  • Echinacea root
  • Elderberries
  • Ginger
  • Ginseng
  • Rose hips
  • Tumeric
  • Cinnamon

Drinking herbal teas not only boosts your immunity, but helps you stay hydrated. Here are some great recipes for teas you can make with readily available ingredients.

From the The Herbal Academy

Immune Boosting Tea

This tea includes rose hips which are well known to be rich in vitamin C.

1 part Dried elderberries

1 part Rosehips

¼ Part Cinnamon chips

¼ Part Ginger Root

Steep for 20 min, strain and enjoy!

Vitamin C Tea

1  Part Hibiscus

1 Part Rose Hips

½  Part Lemongrass

½ Lemon Peel

¼ Cinnamon Chips

Honey to taste

Steep for 20 min, strain and enjoy!

Visit the Herbal Academy for guides and resources.

Related information can be found here.

Eating Clean

Eating “clean food” or “clean eating” is a popular concept for those who are trying to be healthier. But, what does clean eating mean? Very simply, clean eating is eating food that is not processed or artificial. That is, eating food that is as close to its natural form as possible. Examples include fresh fruits, fresh veggies, whole grains, brown rice and organic meats and eggs. The idea is that by eating clean foods, the nutrients derived from them are maximized, which is healthier. In addition, we won’t be introducing unwanted chemicals and preservatives into our bodies which can potentially cause health problems.

Fully “clean” food includes organic fruits and veggies, organic meats, organic honey, and pasture raised eggs

Minimally processed foods include items that are frozen or minimally processed such as frozen fruits and veggies.

Processed foods include white flour, sugar, white rice, boxed and canned foods.

Eating healthy on a budget is sometimes difficult. Processed and boxed foods are often cheaper than fresh foods. Some tips from The Daily Burn   for eating clean foods on a budget include the following:

  • Buy fresh produce that is in season. It is often less expensive
  • Be picky about your organic produce. Not all non-organic produce absorbs chemicals. Examples include avocados and onions.
  • Buy frozen produce. Frozen produce is technically processed because it has gone through a freezing process, but it is minimally altered. Frozen fruits and veggies are less expensive and last longer.
  • Buy in bulk when available. Bulk foods are often less expensive. Grains and brown rice are often available in bulk.
  • Cook your meals ahead of time and plan on having leftovers. This makes it easy to continue healthy eating when you don’t have time to cook.
  • Check out store brands. Many grocery stores have store brand items that are either not processed or minimally processed.

Smooth Smoothies with Avocado

Avocado is one of my favorite ingredients to add to a healthy smoothie. They create a silky texture and add all kinds of wonderful nutrients. In addition, the flavor of an avocado is mild and doesn’t dominate the flavor of your drink.

Avocados are considered a super food. They are rich in healthy fats which may help reduce cholesterol. In addition, avocados are known to have anti-inflammatory properties because of the high vitamin C and vitamin E content. Avocados contain lutein which is essential eye health and they are full of omega-3 fatty acids which boost brain health.

Here are a few of my favorite avocado smoothie recipes.

Tip: Keep your avocados in the fridge. They will last longer and cold avocados make better smoothies.


More than Berries- Mixed Berry Smoothie

1 handful of greens (kale, spinach or mixed)

1 frozen banana

1-2 cups frozen mixed berries

4 slices cucumber

1 small avocado scooped out of the skin

1 tsp cinnamon

1 small slice of peeled ginger root

Pure water- enough to achieve your desired texture


Tropical Peach

1 handful of greens (kale, spinach or mixed)

1 frozen banana

1-2 cups frozen peaches, mangos, and pineapples

4 slices cucumber

1 tsp cinnamon

1 small slice of peeled ginger root

Pure water- enough to achieve your desired texture

Whiz this all up in your blender or Nutribullet.

chocolate drink


Decadent Chocolate Smoothie

1 frozen banana

1 small avocado

2 TBS of a high quality, Dutch-process cocoa powder

¼ plain greek yogurt

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp vanilla extract

Almond milk- enough to achieve your desired texture

Optional add ins- handful of greens to add nutrition, honey to sweeten, cayenne pepper for a little kick

Meditation for Physical Health

We’ve all heard the phrase “mind over body”. What does this actually mean? In researching methods for my own healing, I’ve read a lot about meditation to promote physical healing. It is well known that meditation promotes well-being and psycho-spiritual health, but what about actual physical symptoms and disease processes? It turns out that meditation can promote physical healing and relief from chronic illnesses. As always, please note that this article is not medical advice and you should always see your doctor for healthcare issues.

Meditation for physical illness and symptoms can result in improvement. Although the science is relatively new, current thought is that meditation improves self-regulation and emotional regulation. In turn, these changes can result in improvement in physical health. For example, mindfulness meditation has been found to improve pain by triggering pain control areas of the brain. The idea is that the brain accepts meditation as pain therapy.

Meditation for physical health relies on a deepening awareness of your body and changing how the brain perceives the illness or symptom. When beginning meditation for physical health, do not expect immediate results. It takes practice and discipline and patience. Experiment with different techniques in order to determine which one works the best for you. One popular meditation type is the “Body Scan” for pain relief. The following steps from are from Mrs. Mindfulness. This website is a dedicated to mindfulness.

Here are the steps for the Body Scan- Time requirement is about 20 min.

Step 1 Preparation

The first step involves setting yourself up for your practice. Choose a quiet and comfortable place you can lie down. You don’t want to be distracted so let others know not to disturb you for the duration of your meditation. Turn off your phone or turn it to silent. Maybe even hang a ‘do not disturb’ sign on your door.

Step 2 Grounding

After you are comfortable turn your awareness to your body. Feel the parts of your body that are in contact with the surface on which you’re lying. Also notice the position your body is in. Mentally examine your body for any areas where there may be tension—the shoulders, the jaw, the stomach. See if you can consciously release or soften those areas of the body so that you can be totally relaxed.

Step 3 Present Moment Awareness

The third step is a decision to let go of the past and the future, let go of thoughts, and to be fully engaged in the present moment. Here you focus your awareness only on your body and let everything else drop away. You make the decision that whatever you do encounter while examining your body will be met with a sense of ‘friendliness’.

Basically, what that means is that you allow whatever you encounter to be as it is. You aim to meet it with equanimity and not to judge or label certain parts of the body or treat painful body parts as an enemy.

Step 4 Body Scan

The fourth step is the actual “scan” part. With your mind, you scan—or turn your attention—to each part of your body, one at a time. You may start with one foot and give it all your attention. Feel into the whole foot. Notice any sensation of temperature. Be aware of any fabrics that may be in touch with the skin or the point where the air meets the skin. Any sensations are welcome. Does it feel heavy or tired?

Don’t start engaging in thinking about it though- Simply aim to be aware of the sensations here. Continue the scan, moving your attention progressively up one leg and then the other, then to the torso, back arms, head and neck, focusing on part by part, one at a time.

Step 5 Whole Body Awareness

The fifth and final step is to become aware of the entire body as a connected whole. Bring awareness to your entire physical body and maintain that awareness for a few minutes. Feel the body from within. Again, aim to stay fully present. There is no need to think about the body. Simply feel into it.

In addition to the steps above- you may find the following video helpful.

I hope that you find meditation for physical health and symptom control helpful. I will be incorporating meditation techniques for my own physical health and will be discussing how well it works in future posts.

Herbal Tea Blends for You

Mint Magic

4C pure water boiled

Mint leaves- ¼ cup fresh leaves

Peppermint Leaves-¼ cup fresh leaves

¼ tsp lemon juice

Steep for 20 min

Strain into a container or teapot

Honey to taste

Substitute different types of mints to experiment with the flavors. This tea is great for the digestion and can be served hot or iced.


Soothing Chamomile

4C pure water boiled

½ c dried chamomile flowers

Steep for 20 min

Strain into a teapot or container

Honey or sugar to taste

Drink prior bed time. Left over tea can be stored in the refrigerator and heated up later.


Easy Cinnamon Tea

4 cups boiling water

2 bags of high quality black tea

1 orange cut into slices

1 cinnamon stick

Steep for 20 min. Strain and serve warm or iced.


Spicy Cardamom Tea

4 Cups of pure water- bring to a boil

Add the following:

1TBS of crushed cardamom seeds

3 whole cloves

3 pepper corns

1 cinnamon stick

2 slices of orange with the rind

Steep for 20 min and add honey to sweeten

Strain into a teapot or teacups


Lavender Lemon Balm Tea

4C pure water boiled

½ C fresh lemon balm leaves

2 TBS dried lavender flowers

Steep for 20 min

Strain into a teapot or container

Add honey to taste and serve warm or iced.

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