Experience Truth in Wellness

Living Shalom is a Biblically-based endeavor that exists to inspire and equip you to experience greater health and wellness. Wellness Advocate, Lisa Gautier, shares knowledge, resources, and her own experiences related to health and wellness, and invites you to join her on the journey toward more abundant life and health!

Did you know you can implement birth control without any hormonal pills? Alternatively, did you know that you can figure out (on your own) when you are fertile and thus able to conceive?

I, for one, prefer to avoid medicines whenever possible. And, in particular, am not comfortable with many birth control methods for a variety of reasons. But now that I have been using an app to track my cycle, I have – through additional reading and personal education – learned that if you know how your cycle works you can know when you ovulate and thus know when to try to get pregnant (if you are trying) or when to avoid sex (or otherwise use a barrier method at the appropriate time) if you do not want to become pregnant. No drugs required!

Why didn’t anyone teach us this a long time ago?!?!

Could it be because pharmaceutical companies would rather have your money than tell you how to accomplish the same goals without their drugs?

It’s pretty exciting stuff, actually, the concept of tracking your cycle. You learn so much more about how the female body works! And using a free app, like Kindara, makes it both fun and simple!

Trying to get pregnant? Wanting to avoid pregnancy? Either way, this app is for you!

Read more about this concept and how it works in this insightful article here. As the article explains, this app is like the FitBit for your period!

Any apps you like to use for fertility tracking?

From the Inside Out

“The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in.

“The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums.

“The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment.

“The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.”

- Ezra Taft Benson

Who are you allowing to work in your life?

Is the transformation you are seeking from the outside in or the inside out?

There is only one Way through which true wellness can come.

Thoughts to ponder as we experience this Easter season.

He has risen! He has risen, indeed. Hallelujah!

Evolve Pilates

Pilates Reformer Machines

Pilates Reformer Machines

Today I want to share about my newest fitness felicity: pilates!

Living and working near this Classical Pilates studio called Evolve, I have been able to attend classes regularly for the past 6 weeks and to begin taking semi-privates with my husband as well.

Pilates Mats & Equipment

Pilates Mats & Equipment

We both love it! There are classes that use the pilates reformers (machines shown in first photo above) and classes that use the mats (photo immediately above). Additionally, there is even more equipment that fills the studio for pilates training (see below)!

More Pilates Equipment

More Pilates Equipment

Pilates is a great exercise for dancers, as it especially strengthens your core muscles. Part of why I love it so much is because it helps me both stretch and strengthen in a low-impact manner. I don’t know about you, but high-impact workouts can be stressful to both mind and body! This exercise, however, is wonderful refreshing and renewing. I wish I had tried this many years ago!

It’s also wonderful for people with injuries and I believe can help with back problems (that is what my professional dancer husband says, anyway!)

Evolve Pilates Studio

Evolve Pilates Studio

The staff at Evolve are wonderful and very knowledgable with their technique as well, which makes me feel like every time I go I am getting a truly valuable workout.

Inside Evolve Pilates

Inside Evolve Pilates

The next thing my hubby and I plan to start incorporating into our fitness routine is the gyrotonics (picture of the gyrotonic machine below). This appears to also be a great exercise for core training and we feel it could really help us as dancers as well. Hopefully we will be able to start that in the near future!

Gyrotonic Machines

Gyrotonic Machines

I’d love to hear your stores with pilates or gyrotonics if you have any to share! If you live in the Silicon Valley area of the San Francisco Bay, definitely check out Evolve Pilates. It’s a wonderful studio…and I truly am loving it so much that I am finding pilates to be an exercise I could do every day!

Hi Everyone!

As you may recall, I blogged a while back about the best high-powered blender on the market. You may recall that my full-sized blender of choice is the BlendTec. I still love mine and use it regularly. I have also found their customer service to be great about resolving any issues I have had. They make things right!

Today, I saw on Groupon that you can get yourself a BlendTec for half off!! Instead of $399 retail price it’s going for $199! There are only 7 hours left on the deal! Click here to head to Groupon with my referral and then search for the BlendTec to find it in their inventory.

Additionally, I believe they are still running an extra 20% off promotion. Enter the code GREEN20 to see if you can get that applied too!

Enjoy!

 

Make Your Own Veggie Pasta!

Make Your Own Veggie Pasta!

Don’t eat wheat? Need to avoid pasta? And yet, do you wish you COULD eat pasta?

Well, wish no longer.

You can make non-wheat, non-grain noodles using VEGETABLES!

And it’s so easy. Use zucchini, squash, carrots, beets, raw sweet potato…whatever your heart desires!

I usually use zucchini and squash in the summer months when they are super fresh and abundant. But you could certainly use the root vegetables in the winter!

All you need to make these wonderful, healthy, and totally glutne-free veggie noodles is some kind of spiralizer.

I have a Japanese one which was one of the best at the time I got it about 10 years ago (but it admittedly wobbles a bit when I use it and I can tell it’s cheaply made).  It’s the Benriner Spiralizer here.

Recently, however, I found out that Sur La Table (a kitchen store popular in my area) carries this cool tool below that does the same thing. It’s inexpensive, easy to use, and my guess is – easier to clean than the one I have. I’d go for this one instead.

OXO Spiralizer

OXO Spiralizer

Once you have your noodles, you can top them with a homemade (preferably also raw) marinara sauce. It’s great to make that fresh in the summer with ripe tomatoes, garlic, basil, and whatever else you want to add to the food processor! Blend together and top over pasta. Sprinkle with pine nuts, if you like, olives, and/or raw parmesan cheese, for a wonderfully healthy alternative to spaghetti that is gluten-free!

Raw Pasta and Marinara

Raw Pasta and Marinara

 

Homemade Bar Soap

Homemade Goat's Milk Soap

Homemade Goat’s Milk Soap

While I’m on a kick with homemade skincare products, our next stop is going to be on how to make homemade soap.

This was what I got from my younger sister for Christmas.

What is it with sisters giving homemade beauty products this past Christmas??? I have no idea…

However, I do know that my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed these soaps. And my husband has very sensitive skin and cannot use all skin care products. He liked these soaps so much I found him finally saying to me, “Um…is it hard to make this??” which I translated to mean, “Hey, I really like this soap we’ve been using from your sister. Could YOU make some more for us?”

Ok, I get the hint.

So, I started to find out from my sister what the ingredients were and how to make it. It’s really super simple, and I’ll give you a tip for how to save money on it too!

Here goes…

Ingredients you need:

  • Goat’s milk soap base – package at Michaels Craft Store makes four 2.5 oz bars of soap
  • Loaf pan to pour soap into
  • Exfoliant of choice (coffee grounds, dried lavender, etc.)
  • Essential oil or extract of choice (lavender, vanilla, etc.)

How to make the soap:

To make the soap, obtain goat’s milk base from a craft store. Tip: to save 50% off, get a coupon at the Michaels website or in their regular flyers which makes the $10 base only $5. Melt the soap base in the microwave. Once melted, stir in your desired exfoliant and essential oil(s) / extract(s) in the preferred amounts. Pour mixture into loaf pan and let harden. Once hardened, pop out and slice into four 2.5 oz soap bars.

Enjoy bathing with your new homemade body bars!

Homemade Lotion

Homemade Hand Lotion

Homemade Lotion

Ok, so I seriously need to learn how to make this. My sister-in-law gave me this homemade lotion for Christmas and it is the BEST HAND CREAM I HAVE EVER USED!!! (That’s what I’ve been using it for…my hands…cause they get so dry in the winter.)

Yay for great presents from even better sisters. :0)

Ever made your own homemade hand cream? I made homemade lotion years ago, but as much as I like that, even this beats that…

Below are her ingredients. I’m planning to get the full recipe from her on proportions so I can make this once I’m out!

Homemade Lotion Ingredients

Homemade Lotion Ingredients

Homemade Lip Balm

Homemade lip balm

Homemade lip balm

Well the holidays have come and gone, and I’ve been crazy busy between my husband preparing for and performing at the U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships at Thanksgiving, and then the Christmas and New Year holiday (which was the time I totaled our new – to us – Prius). Sheesh.

Needless to say, blogging got the back burner.

But here I am! And today sharing about a homemade, healthy lip balm you can make that is super easy and super cheap.

Items you need:

  • Small srew-on make-up containers – the beauty store sells plastic ones for under $1 each
  • Pure shea butter – you can get it organic at Amazon.com for $5
  • Pure, raw, extra-virgin, organic coconut oil – I got mine on sale at Ross of all places for $5. But you can get that at all kinds of grocery stores or probably online too. Your choice.

How to make the lip balm:

Just melt equal parts shea butter and coconut oil together (in a glass pyrex container, for example) in the microwave or – even better, in a pot on the stovetop – until just melted together. 2 tablespoons of each (2 shea, 2 coconut oil) will make 8 little lip balms.

Lip balm ingredients

Lip balm ingredients

Make sure it’s mixed well after it’s done melting together (stir with a spoon if necessary). Pour liquid into cleaned small containers and carefully put lids on, ensuring you don’t spill the contents. Let the mixture congeal / harden. This takes a few days, so don’t be surprised if it’s not hardened by the next day. Also, make sure to keep these lip balms cool. If they get too warm, it will melt.

This lip balm is supposed to be a good one for night time, so that is when I tend to put it on – just like I put on a special facial cream on at night.

These lip balms make great gifts and are very inexpensive! I gave out several at Christmas!

Ever made your own homemade, health-conscious lip balm? If so, I’d love to hear your recipe!

Lots of Lip Balms!

Lots of Lip Balms!

 

Best Healthy Turkey Chili Recipe

Best Healthy Turkey Chili Recipe

So, it just got cold here in Northern California and my husband starting wanting soup. Given that I also quickly contracted bronchitis after the temperature drop, I also wanted some hot soup type of food too!

The idea of making turkey chili popped into my head a few days ago, and I began meandering the web for recipes – recipes for the best turkey chili.

I saw many recipes that had elements of what I wanted, but none with everything all-in-one. I finally gave up my search and decided to make my own recipe using what I felt were the exact ingredients needed for a delicious turkey chili!

I must say – it turned out incredibly delicious.

So, without further ado, I am going to share it with you!

Best Healthy Turkey Chili Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. ground turkey (Whole Foods has for $5.99 / lb here, which is much cheaper than their $9.99 / lb beef!)
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, minced (3 large or 5 small)
  • 2 cans Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles (fire-roasted tomatoes make for a nicer flavor and the green chiles in it are perfect for chili!); Whole Foods carries this brand tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce, organic
  • 1 can pinto beans, organic (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can kidney beans, organic (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 t. dried ground cumin
  • 2 t. dried oregano
  • 2 T. chili powder (all these last 3 items are cheapest purchased in bulk at Whole Foods)
  • Pink Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat / saute the onion, garlic, and turkey all together in a large pot, cooking over medium low heat. I recommend cast iron for even heating. If you are using any other kind of pot, you may have to add a little olive oil as needed to prevent sticking.

Once meat is browned on the outside, add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook until all ingredients are warmed. The longer you simmer, the better, as it will further meld the flavors.

That’s it! Enjoy thoroughly on cold nights and share it with the ones you love!

 

Make the Best Smoothie EVER!

Make the Best Smoothie EVER!

I am about to give you the recipe for the BEST healthy smoothie imaginable (…and the most versatile, too!)

I have tried a lot of smoothies out there, and this is one of the most tried and true, fail-proof ones. It’s so good, in fact, that one of my friends, a fellow blogger at Highlighted Pink, repeatedly asks me for the recipe and it’s ingredients!

Don’t get me wrong, the Chocolate Cherry Smoothie recipe I shared a while back is completely amazing, too, but I think this one is slightly more adaptable and versatile. Think of this recipe below as a template for your smoothies that you can adjust to your personal tastes. That’s why it’s the best. It is the perfect healthy smoothie recipe that can be used with different kinds of fruits, liquids, and even green powders.

But enough jibberish…let’s get to it!

Best Healthy Breakfast Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana, medium or large size is best (or if small, use 2); ripe bananas are sweeter than unripe!
  • 1/4 cup hemp – use raw hemp powder (Manitoba is a great brand, and more reasonably priced at Vitacost.com than Whole Foods) or use non-ground organic hemp seeds (which I now get at Costco for a similar per serving price point as the hemp powder, but don’t have to worry about the shipping piece). Hemp is your protein powder in this smoothie that is great if you want an option other than soy or dairy protein powder. Hemp powder is my favorite protein powder choice and does not mess with my fickle tummy!
  • 1 cup spinach - I buy the 1 lb. clamshells at Costco for around $3.50 each. That usually lasts me a week.
  • 1 scoop superfood or wheatgrass powder – I used to used the greenfood here, but I don’t think they are even in business anymore, and I have found an cheaper alternative anyway. Costco carries powdered wheatgrass with 90 servings for about $20. Alternatively, I was previously using Amazing Grass Superfood, another very clean superfood and quite tasty, which you can buy on Amazon cheaper than at Whole Foods for about $18 for 30 servings. You can see why I prefer the Costco wheatgrass now…it ends up being nearly 1/3 of the price over time.
  • 1 Tbs. spirulina powder – Starwest is a good brand and $18 for a pound. Should last you a good long while. I would guess my bag lasts me about 3 months. Spirulina is the highest source of plant protein on the planet. Very good stuff and I notice it makes my smoothies more filling, keeping me full longer when I use it. Plus it has a nice “sweet” flavor. I really like it, though I’m not sure everyone does. I crave the stuff and miss it when it’s not in my smoothies.
  • 1 cup frozen fruit, your choice. I mix it up using the different options Costco carries. Sometimes I get a single fruit – such as dark cherries, strawberries, or blueberries – and other times I get a mixed fruit blend, like a tropical-type one ( mango, banana, peach, strawberry) or mixed berry (like strawberry, blackberry, blueberry).
  • 1 cup liquid of choice - I typically use distilled water. It’s cheap, and frankly, the smoothie is already sweet enough for me with the above ingredients. But if you prefer you can use a milk – dairy or non-dairy – or use juice. Sometimes I’ll substitute my standard water for almond milk or orange juice when I have it on hand.
  • 1/4 c. healthy sweetener, optional - if the above ingredients don’t sweeten the smoothie to your tastes, you can always add something like raw honey or agave nectar to the blender.
Smoothie Ingredients

Smoothie Ingredients

Directions

To make your smoothie, simply add the above ingredients to your high-powered blender, like a BlendTec or VitaMix, in the order listed. The order is important here, because you need the softer ingredients at the bottom to blend first and get the smoothie creaming up before it can handle the frozen fruit. One other tip on this, you might have to run your blender a few times to get the smoothie thoroughly mixed. The frozen fruit can take a few cycles to puree, despite the use of a high-powered blender. Alternatively, you can prep the ingredients in the blender 10-15 minutes prior to running it to let the fruit start to thaw a bit. It will make for slightly easier and faster pureeing in your blender. I like to dump the ingredients into the blender in between my morning efforts to get ready and dressed for work. That way they start to warm up before I give them a good blending.

That’s it! Drink or spoon your smoothie out depending on how thick it is. And you can always increase or decrease your liquid to make the smoothie thicker or thinner, respectively.

Let me know how you like this smoothie!

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