Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Top 10, Last Minute, Health-Promoting Christmas Gifts!

Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Festivus (from "Seinfeld"), andYule Tidings of Great Joy to All!  I wish everyone of my health-seeking readers the most stupendously happy holiday season ever!  Sorry for my long absence, but many of you know that my latest book, Hands-On Healing Remedies, was just released about a week ago and I've been crazy busy these last 6 weeks with publicity events and planning.  I will get back on a regular "blog-a-zine" schedule in the New Year.  I appreciate your patience.

Today, on this memorable calendar date . . . 12/12/12 . . . I decided to give you a list of some of my favorite Christmas gifts that are both easy to find and easy on the budget . . . AND . . . extremely beneficial for your body and health.  I'm sure not everyone has finished their shopping yet, so hopefully you'll find something on this list that will please that special someone on your list!  Blessings to all!

My 10 Favorite Christmas Gifts for Those Health-Seekers On my List

1.  Bottle of Jojoba Oil:  This medium-textured base oil (techinically a liquid wax ester) derived from pressed plant seeds or beans and chemically similar to our own moisturizing sebum, penetrates well, leaving no oily residue.  It's one of my favorite base oils for homemade perfume, facial elixirs, and bath and massage oil blends because it does not turn rancid and requires no refrigeration.  It's also an excellent conditioner for hair, scalp, skin, and nails and is an all-purpose skin lubricant.  Also removes eye makeup wonderfully well.

2.  Jar of Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil:  Purchase only organically grown, unrefined coconut oil. Its sweet, exotic fragrance and smooth flavor are reminiscent of a tropical paradise.  Refined coconut oil is void of both sweet fragrance and flavor.  Coconut oil is a highly emollient base oil derived from tht fruit of the coconut palm and is solid at temperatures below 76 degrees Fahrenheit. It's an excellent oil for all-over use, and some swear by it as the ultimate skin softener, hair conditioner, and after-sun treatment.  Use this tasty, healing oil as a lip balm; personal lubricant; edible, flavored body balm; or body cream.

3.  My latest book, "Hands-On Healing Remedies":  This new book makes the perfect gift for those who enjoy working with herbs and making their own topically-applied healing remedies at home.  It includes 150 recipes for making herbal balms, salves, oils, oil-blends, body powders, liniments, and clay packs.

4.  The organic skin care Bible . . . my bestselling book, "Organic Body Care Recipes":  The perfect gift for those who like to craft with herbs, make herbal skin and body care gifts, make their own chemical-free personal care products for themselves and family, or are allergic to over-the-counter personal care products and must make their own at home.

5.  Gift Certificate for a Local Yoga Class:  What better way to give the gift of restoration and renewal than to give a certificate for a yoga class??? 

6.  Gift Certificate for a Massage:  A massage is beneficial for anyone - young or old - a wonderful gift to someone in need of total physical release.

7.  Know someone interested in the "raw food revolution" or who wants to take charge of their health?  How about giving my bestselling book, "Raw Energy: 124 Raw Food Recipes for Energy Bars, Smoothies, and Other Snacks to Supercharge Your Body"?  It's chock-full of healthful recipes that require absolutely no cooking . . . they're all raw and all wonderfully good for you and your taste buds!

8. Gift Certificate for a Pampering Facial or Pedicure:  There's nothing like the gift of a relaxing, pampering pedicure or nurturing, rejuvenating facial for that special someone who never gives herself anything!

9.  Jar of Cocoa Butter:  Derived from the cocoa bean, this sweet, chocolate-fragranced, emollient butter is hard at room temperature but melts when applied to the skin.  It can be used as a luscious lip balm or skin conditioner for dried, cracked hands and feet, and as an anti-stretchmark balm for pregnant bellies and breasts.  Wonderful rubbed into baby's skin, too, or anywhere that needs softening.

10. Weleda's Body Oils:  Weleda is one of my favorite, natural, chemical-free skin care companies and I just adore their body oils. They're lubricating, moisturizing, and extraordinarily fragrant. You can choose from rose (for spiritual and physical comfort), lavender (for relaxation), citrus (for stimulating / awakening), arnica (for sore muscles), sea buckthorn (for weather-beaten skin), or pomegranate (for mature, environmentally damaged skin).  A bottle of one of their body oils is a gift the recipient will never forget!  Find them at your favorite health food store or online @

There you have it . . . happy shopping and happy giving!

Until Next Time . . . be well, be happy, be whole, and be thankful for your Blessings!  Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Stephanie Tourles

Saturday, November 3, 2012

New Book Announcement - Hand's On Healing Remedies - In Stores December 2012

Hello Everyone!  Sorry for my prolonged absence.  I'll get back to my regular blogging schedule very soon.  October has been a whirlwind of pre-publication planning for the launch of my new book Hand's-On Healing Remedies - plus I just signed a new book contract to write a follow-up to my 2009 book - Raw Energy: 124 Raw Food Recipes for Energy Bars, Smoothies, and Other Snacks to Supercharge Your Body. Whew!  What a month it's been.  Yes, I'm counting my multiple blessings - believe me!

Hand's-On Healing Remedies

Anyway . . . today's blog will be about my newest book.  I'm happy to announce that by December 10th, 2012, my latest book Hand's-On Healing Remedies: 150 Recipes for Herbal Balms, Salves, Oils, Liniments & Other Topical Therapies, will be available in bookstores nationwide and also as an e-book - just in time for the Holidays!  Right now, you can see what the cover looks like and place a pre-publication order on, if you wish.

I'll share with you a brief description of the book as it reads in my press-release that gets sent to book retailers all over the world.  Here goes:

Most home medicine cabinets hold a variety of salves, balms, liniments, oils, and other topical treatments for everyday skin conditions and body ailments.  Many of these are expensive and contain ingredients that are unrecognizable and unpronounceable.  Often they are chock-full of synthetics, useless fillers, preservatives, artificial colors and fragrances, and other potential irritants.  In Hand's-On Healing Remedies, Licensed Holistic Esthetician and Herbalist, Stephanie Tourles, offers natural herbal alternatives that are effective, easy, safe, and fun to prepare.  With 150 original recipes, this is the essential resource for making your own topical herbal treatments at home.

Listed by ailment, in an easy A-to-Z format, the remedies address everything from backaches to headaches, arthritis to fatigue, athlete's foot to cracked skin.  Recipes include Sweet Annie Serenity Body Oil for soothing anxiety, Aloe Disinfecting Wound Wash for healing minor cuts and scrapes, Dream Weaver's Relaxing Rub for easing insomnia, Black Walnut Clay Pack for drawing out splinters, and many more.

As the only book offering this in-depth focus on herbal topical applications, Hand's-On Healing Remedies is sure to appeal to natural health enthusiasts, crafters, homesteaders, families, massage therapists, estheticians, many practitioners of complimentary medicine, and anyone seeking a more holistic approach to common first-aid and therapeutic needs.

If you have an interest in learning to make topical herbal medicinal formulas, then this is the book for you!  It's a compilation of formulas - some taught to me by my grandfather a long time ago - and the rest I've learned on my own and tested over time.  I know you'll love every page!

I hope you'll pick up a copy or 2 - they'll make great gifts for those you know who love herbs and pure personal care products.  Until next blog - be well, be happy, be healthy, and whole!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Homemade Herbal Face & Body Butter

Fall Blessings To All!  There's a slight chill in the air during the evenings, the maples are nearing their peak of red, orange, and yellow vibrancy, and "summer's bright light" has dimmed.  Fall is indeed here.  I'm so glad.  It's my favorite season.  Along with the fall season comes less humidity and a tendency for skin to become drier, thus the need for the application of a more intense moisturizer for your face and body.

Today, I will share one of my favorite homemade recipes that can be used to moisturize normal-to-dry and dry skin on both the face and body, or just used on the body if your face tends to be on the normal-to-oily or oily side.  Some people prefer to use it only on their "dry patches" such as knees, elbows, shins, feet, and hands.  It also makes a terrific nail and cuticle conditioning cream, cleansing cream for removal of heavy makeup, diaper rash prevention cream, after-sun treatment cream, and anti-frizz cream when sparingly scrunched into very curly hair after the hair has dried. I modify the formulation every few years as I continue to learn how to improve the texture and stability of homemade creams.  The recipe is the best ever!  Hope you enjoy it.

Herbal Face & Body Butter

This herbal butter deeply feeds your skin from the outside and smells so amazingly fresh.  It's chock-full skin-nourishing vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, plus acts as a potent anti-inflammatory.  Your skin will feel velvety soft with regular application.  It may become your favorite fall and winter cream like it has mine.


- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive or almond base oil
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin, unrefined coconut base oil
- 4 tablespoons beeswax
- 1 teaspoon soybean lecithin granules
- 2 teaspoons shea butter, unrefined or refined
- 1 cup distilled water or lavender or chamomile hydrosol
- 60 drops German chamomile or lavender essential oil (the chamomile will make the formula greenish-blue and is highly recommended if you have inflamed, environmentally damaged, or chapped skin)
- 1,000 IU Vitamin E oil

Prep Time:  Approximately 20 to 30 minutes, plus 30 minutes to completely cool and set

Blending Tools:  Blender; long, slender spatula

Store In:  Plastic or glass jars (sterilize and dry them before pouring in cream)

Yield:  Approximately 2+ cups


HEAT:  In a saucepan over low heat or in a double boiler, warm the base oils, beeswax, shea butter, soybean lecithin granules, and vitamin E oil until the wax is just melted.  In another pan, warm the water or hydrosol.

COOL:  Remove both pans from heat and allow their contents to cool almost to body temperature which may take 5-10 minutes, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.  Make sure the oil/wax mixture doesn't begin to thicken, it must remain liquid.  Stir a few times to blend.  Important:  the watery solution and oil/wax mixture must be approximately the same temperature when blending so that they don't separate.

BLEND:  Immediately pour the water or hydrosol into the blender.  Place the lid on the blender and remove the lid's plastic piece.  Turn the blender on medium and slowly drizzle the oil/wax mixture through the center of the lid into the vortex of swirling water below.  Closely watch what happens:  Almost immediately, the body butter will begin to thicken.  Blend for 5 to 10 seconds more, turn off the blender, and check the consistency of the butter.  It should have a smooth texture.  If the water isn't combining thoroughly with the fat mixture, turn off the blender and give the mixture a few stirs with a spatula to free up the blender blades.  Then replace the lid and blend on medium for another 5 to10 seconds.  Repeat if necessary.  The body butter will be thick.

Turn off the blender and add the essential oils, manually stirring a few times to incorporate them, then blend completely on medium for another 5 to 10 seconds.

Note:  If the temperature of your kitchen is above 76 degrees F., the body butter will remain a softer consistency.  If the temperature is below 76 degrees F., the body butter will be firmer.

PACKAGE & COOL:  Either by pouring or using a spoon, fill your storage containers.  Lightly cover each container with a paper towel and allow the blend to cool for 30 minutes before capping.  If you notice, after a few hours or days, that water begins to separate from your body butter, don't worry.  The mixture can separate if the temperature of the fats and temperature of the water were not relatively equal and cool enough when the two portions are blended.  Keep trying - making perfect creams is an art!

No refrigeration is required if used within 60-90 days.  If refrigerated, please use within 6 months.  Refrigeration may change the texture of the product, but potency will not be affected.

Application Tips:  Immediately following a bath or shower, slather this butter onto your damp skin - really massage it in.  Because it's very concentrated, begin with 1 teaspoon at a time.  If skin has an oily residue after 5 minutes, you've used too much.  Simply wipe off the excess with a coarse towel and use less the next time around.  To use as a face cream, cleanse face first, pat damp-dry, then place a tiny, pea-size amount into your palm.  Rub palms together to warm and soften the cream, then press into face, neck, and chest.  Wait 5 minutes before applying makeup.

NOTE:  This article was written by Stephanie Tourles, Lic. Esthetician, Herbalist, and Aromatherapist, and author of Organic Body Care Recipes, Storey Publishing, 2007.   The information is true and complete to the best of the author's knowledge.  All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of Ms. Tourles.  She disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information.  It is for educational purposes only.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fabulous Skin Over 40 & Beyond

Blessed Early Fall Greetings To Everyone!  I had a deeply emotional and introspective day yesterday as it was my 50th birthday!  Thanks to all of you who wished me well on my special day - it was much appreciated.  I decided to take a good long look in the mirror . . . taking inventory of my facial skin, its texture, hydration level, sun spots (hyperpigmentation), and slight wrinkling.  To be honest, I was pleased with what I saw.  My facial, throat, and chest skin has actually improved over the last 2 years due to my vigilant natural care using very gentle, hydrating products and augmented supplementation routine. Today, I want to tell you about my skin and how I care for it.  Perhaps it might help you age more slowly and gracefully, too. 

FYI:  my skin is a medium-to-fair skin color, Irish/Scottish/Dutch (& tiny bit of Cherokee Indian) heritage, brown eyes, slight capillary breakage on right cheek, and a background of LOTS of unprotected sun exposure as a child, teen, and young adult growing up in the deep south - Georgia and Texas.  Never had pimples or acne until I was in my mid-40's, then experienced 2 years of adult-acne, which was humiliating.  I think I went through that stage due to hormonal fluctuation, heavy stress, and (I'll be honest) a bout with constipation (which I never had in my life).

Cleansing:  I always make sure to remove my makeup each and every night as I wear a good layer of protective skin-loving makeup during the day and it must be removed so that my skin can breathe and renew itself at night.  I wear a tinted moisturizing sunscreen everyday along with a Dr. Hauschka tinted moisturizer, if I need extra moisture and coverage.  I always use a concealer around my eyes, too.  My favorite, commercially-prepared makeup and skin care products are made by MyChelle Dermaceuticals, Dr. Hauschka, Aubrey Organics, Lavera, Simpler's Botanicals, derma-e, and bareMinerals.

My favorite liquid cleanser is made by Lavera and is called "Basis Sensitiv 2-in-1 Cleasing Milk".  Ultra gentle, fragrance-free, and hydrating.  I use it twice daily and in the morning I use it with my Clarisonic Mia,,  skin brush with the "sensitive-skin bristle attachment".  I can't say enough about the Clarisonic . . . I swear that, with regular use, it has stimulated collagen and elastin growth within my skin, plumped my skin tissue, and encouraged a slight thickening of my facial and neck skin - which is a good thing as skin naturally thins as you age.

Toning & Moisturizing:  After cleansing, I pat my skin almost dry then spray it lightly with an organic lavender or rose hydrosol made by Simplers Botanicals,, followed by a light application of Pomegranate Firming Serum made by Weleda, Next, I apply a layer of DMAE - Alpha Lipoic C-Ester Creme by derma-e,  If it is in the dead of winter and the air in my home is severely dry (plus I'm outdoors a lot), I will probably apply another layer of moisturizer - which will be a homemade one:  Blue Chamomile & Olive Body Butter.  I'll share that recipe with you in my next blog!  I slather my face and body with it in winter, and just my arms and legs during the rest of the year.

The key to keeping your aging skin firm and smooth and relatively wrinkle-free is hydrating it inside and out and protecting it with layers of moisturizer.  Don't get too much sun exposure, either, but you know that already!  Drink lots of water and herb teas during the day, keeping caffeine to a minumum.  Nettle tea is one of my favorites as it mineralizes your bones and skin.  Your diet has to be free of chemicals, colors, preservatives, excess salt, artificial anything, and transfats.  No sugar of any kind, except some honey or Sucanat, please.  Sugar ages you on the inside just as fast as a sunburn on your exterior, plus it causes glycation - which speeds wrinkling.  Be sure to include plenty of greens, green drinks, berries, sour fruits, lean protein, healthy fats, and very, very complex carbs.  Keep wheat to a minimum . . . whole grain and white.  Today's wheat is not the wheat of your grandparents and can wreak havoc on your skin and the health of your entire body!!  Check out the book "Wheat Belly" - an eye-opening treatise on modern wheat in our diets.

Favorite Skin Supplements:  I have come to love and depend on the following supplements to keep me healthy and my skin absolutely glowing - here's the list:

- I enjoy a raw, vegan green and berry drink almost every morning to ensure I get plenty of fiber, chlorophyll, protein, and low-glycemic carbs to start my day. 
- I consume 4 capsules of a product made by Dee Cee Labratories called GCM-1400, a super high quality MSM/glucosamine/chondroitin blend.  It truly keeps my skin taut and nearly flawless.  MSM is basically sulfur which greatly benefits hair, skin and nails.
- I also take 4 capsules daily of a product called NOAH made by Jean's Greens, NOAH stands for nettle, oatstraw, alfalfa, and horsetail. 
- For my multi-vitamin, I take the Pink Pack for women by Lindberg available through Nutrition Express.  The capsules are high potency and naturally-derived.
- Lastly, I take 2 capsules daily of another product made by Jean's Greens called Women's Power Caps that include dandelion root, spirulina, burdock root, dong quai, astragalus, and yellow dock to help balance my hormones and nourish my liver.

At 50, I have barely experienced any perimenopausal symptoms and no hot flashes.  My periods are becoming more irregular, but at least every 21 to 38 days.  I chalk-up my good health to an active lifestyle, good nutrition, and herbs.  Excess stress has always been present in my life - I'm a work-a-holic, so eating well, exercising, and a good relationship with God has been of great benefit, that's for sure.

There you have it . . . . let me know if you have any questions or want to share your favorites with me.  I'd love to hear your comments.

As a licensed holistic esthetician, I'm always on the lookout for the best products for my skin and body, plus I make many of my own products, as well.  If you want to make some professional-quality personal care products for yourself at home, then you will need to purchase my best-selling book, "Organic Body Care Recipes", Storey Publishing, 2007,  which will lead you down the educated path towards learning to make superb chemical-free herbal skin care. 

In the next blog . . . . I'll share my favorite recipe for a homemade face and body care moisturizer.  It nourishes your skin deep-down . . . keeping it soft and hydrated for days.  Until next time . . . be well, be happy, be nourished, and be blessed! 

NOTE:  This article was written by Stephanie Tourles, author, herbalist and licensed esthetician,  The information is true and complete to the best of  her knowledge.  All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of Ms. Tourles.  She disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information.  It is for educational purposes only.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Rules To Live By - Sage Advice

Hello Everyone!  I hope you have all been enjoying your summer.  Mine has been busy with gardening, weeding, picking-off (by hand) jumbo tomato horn worms from my tomato plants, and squashing the hoards of Japanese beetles that invaded my back-40.  My vegetable and wild blackberry harvest has been quite good considering the lack of rain.  I can't really water my garden too much as I have a small well.  Too much watering renders muddy water in my house tap and shower.  Not pleasant!  My cats wonder why their bowl water is murky with brown sediment and look up at me wide-eyed and curious.

Just two weeks ago, I completed the final edit of my upcoming book, "Hands-On Healing Remedies" - due out in November.  I can't wait to see it in print.  Keep an eye out for it.  I'll announce it on my Facebook page, complete with a cover photo, and again in upcoming blogs.

Today's blog will be a bit of a departure from my regular rantings on natural health and beauty.  I am a member of NEHA (Northeast Herbal Association - and in the latest Summer 2012 issue of their Journal, page 18, there is a list full of "words of wisdom" that I must share with you.  It is sage advice.  Basic, yet profound - that will be of benefit to all who read it.  Plus, I've added a few of my own rules that I live by, followed by a Buddhist prayer.  I hope you enjoy and absorb what you read. 

Native American Ten Commandments

1.  The Earth is our Mother, care for her.

2.  Honor all your relations.

3.  Open your heart and soul to the Great Spirit.

4.  All life is sacred; treat all beings with respect.

5.  Take from the Earth what is needed and nothing more.

6.  Do what needs to be done for the good of all.

7.  Give constant thanks to the Great Spirit for each new day.

8.  Speak the truth; but only of good in others.

9.  Follow the rhythms of nature; rise and retire with the sun.

10. Enjoy life's journey, but leave no tracks.

Three Additional Rules from Me

1.  Always give thanks before every meal.

2.  For the best health, eat local and with the seasons.

3.  Observe the Golden Rule - makes for good Karma . . . "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." 

Buddhist Prayer

"May you dwell in the heart.
May you be free of suffering.
May you be healed.
May you know the joy of your own true nature.
May you be at peace."

Until next time . . . . may you be happy, healthy, and whole.  Be well my friends!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Straight-From-The-Garden "Nearly Raw" Breakfast Smoothie

Greetings Health Seekers!  Here in northern, coastal Maine summer is in full swing and my veggie garden is FINALLY producing some much anticipated food!  What a slow start this year.  Cukes, orange sugar cherry tomatoes, snow peas, chard, baby beets and greens, summer squash, blueberries, raspberries, and wild blackberries are picked daily, but, sad-to-say, my winter squash might not be very productive this season . . . but I won't know until November!  My decorative pumpkins and gourds are very tiny right now . . . so we'll see how my harvest is in October - when I'd like to put them on my front porch for display.

Anyway . . . today I'd like to share with you what I'm drinking for breakfast these days . . . it truly is a straight-from-the-garden meal.  Early every morning I go into my garden shed, take out my two bird feeders, and place them on their posts.  I can't leave them out overnight anymore due to the local, roaming, large black bear - in search of an easy meal - that likes to mutilate my feeders and suck out the seed during the wee hours of the night!  After I've fed the birds, I mosey into my back garden and pick a handful of fat blueberries and raspberries, check the wild blackberry vines and pick what's available, then snip off a generous handful of greens - chard or beet.  I prefer beet greens, chard has a stronger flavor.

I take my fresh, raw bounty back to the house, wash it, and place it into my Nutribullet (aka Magic Bullet)food extracting blender along with other ingredients (see recipe below).  I recently saw David Wolfe's (he's a famous author and raw foodist) infomercial for this machine and decided to buy it . . . I love it.  It fits on my kitchen counter perfectly and really pulverizes whatever you put into it.  Better than a typical blender.  A high-powered Vitamix would work just as well . . . but it is A LOT bigger and much more expensive. Tribest makes a personal blender that works great, too.  For more information about the Nutribullet go to  I should sell these things 'cuz I tell everyone about them.

Here's my complete morning smoothie recipe:

- handful of blueberries
- handful of blackberries or mix of raspberries and blackberries
- big handful of greens:  chard, beet, kale, romaine lettuce, spinach etc.
- 2 tablespoons of brown flax seeds
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup Silk unsweetened soy milk
- 1 scoop of Garden of Life Raw Protein Powder

I blend all of this for about 45 seconds until it is smooth and deep green.  The more blueberries or blackberries you add, the more blue-green it becomes.  This blend really fills me up for several hours and keeps me mentally alert with loads of energy.  It's the perfect breakfast for those on-the-go and also for those with dental problems, elderly, and infants (who can't chew) but still need nutrient-dense meals. It's easy on the digestive system, as well.  My skin glows as a result of regular consumption and I have to say this . . . after initially drinking this green smoothie for 2-3 days, I lost 4 pounds.  I swear that my colon emptied out all of the retained waste.  All I did was poop for days (sorry, but I'm being honest) - in case this happens to you.  My belly is very flat!  That's a big plus. 

If you think about it . . . this particular smoothie is loaded with live enzymes, plus easy-to-assimilate, blood-building chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, complex carbohydrates, protein, essential fats, fiber, natural sugars, and superb flavor!  I hope you want to give it a try.  If you don't have a garden "out back" like I do, then visit a farmer's market, better grocery store, or local food co-op for your ingredients.

And . . . if you dont' have a copy already of my book, Raw Energy:  124 Raw Food Recipes for Energy Bars, Smoothies, and Other Snacks to Supercharge Your Body then it's time to get one.  In it you'll find all kinds of raw food recipes to stoke your energetic fire . . . and they're all ultra-yummy!  Until my next blog . . . be well, be happy, and be blessed!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Got Nut Milk? - Part 3

Greetings Health Seekers!  Summer is in full swing here on coastal Maine, though my garden is slow to grow and flourish this year due to a long, cool rainy spell we had in June.  I'm harvesting the first of the fresh snow peas today, though . . . and looking forward to adding them to my big veggie salad at dinner time.

Today, I will share with you the last in the 3-part series on making vegan nut milk.  This recipe is super yummy and turns basic nut milk "up a notch" with added spices and flavors.  Hope you like it as much as I do!

Cheater's Mexican Chocolate Almond Milk

Craving something rich, creamy, and chocolaty?  This quick, delicious beverage will satisfy the kid in everyone.  Raw cocoa (cacao), almond butter, and cinnamon blend together to form a smooth, indulgent, yet highly nutritious beverage to add zip to your day.  Great poured over a bowl of muesli, too!  You can always leave out the cinnamon and just enjoy it as simply super vegan chocolate milk, if you desire.

For a spicy variation suitable for a holiday party, substitute a dash of nutmeg for the cinnamon and cocoa, and you've got a vegan version of raw holiday nog, sans eggs.

- 2 cups purified water
- 3 tablespoons raw almond butter
- 1 tablespoon raw cocoa (cacao) powder
- 1 tablespoon raw honey or raw agave nectar (if you can find it)
- dash of ground cinnamon (taste tip:  Vietnamese cinnamon is the sweetest & my favorite)
- smidgen of cayenne pepper powder (optional, but adds hint of zip and a bit of bite, but not much heat)
- pinch of sea salt
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract

1.  Put the water, nut butter, cocoa powder, honey, cinnamon, optional cayenne (if you wish), salt, and vanilla in a blender and blend on medium until smooth, about 30 seconds.

2.  Transfer the nut milk into a liquid storage container and store in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.  It will freeze quite nicely for future use.  Shake vigorously before using, as the stored milk tends to separate.

Yield:  2 servings

NOTE:  This blog was written by Stephanie Tourles and adapted from her book, "Raw Energy", Storey Publishing 2009.  The information is true and complete to the best of her knowledge.  All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of the author.  She discalims any liability in connection with the use of this information.  It is for educational purposes only.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Got Nut Milk? - Part 2

Greetings & Salutations My Healthy Friends!  It's been a while since I posted!  FYI . . . I just completed round #5 of editing my latest manuscript for "Hands-On Healing Remedies" - due out in December of this year.  This book is requiring a lot of my time and the editing process has been daunting, to say the least.  But . . . perfection in print will win out!  One more big "final edit" to go and I'm done!  Yahoo . . . then it's off to the printing presses!

Today we will continue with the Raw Nut Milk series and I'll share a super-easy recipe for whipping up "quick nut milk" - perfect for when you've no time to soak, sprout, blend, and strain raw almonds, or whatever nut suits your fancy.  This recipe is wonderful for busy mothers and others on-the-go.  Enjoy!

Cheater's Almond, Sesame, or Cashew Milk

Pressed for time, but want a glass of fresh nut or seed milk?  This recipe provides an easy way to "cheat" when making milk - no soaking and straining of nuts or seeds required.  These milks are made with premade raw butters, available from your local health food store.  They're lightly sweet, creamy and rich in minerals, vitamins B and E, protein, and healthful fat.  A small glass is energy-boosting and surprisingly filling.  Excellent over oatmeal, raw buckwheat groats, or in a smoothie.

If you read the ingredients below, you will notice that the raw honey / agave nectar, sea salt, and vanilla extract are all optional add-ins.  I prefer my nut / seed milks unsweetened as they are naturally slightly sweet anyway, but many folks like things on the sweeter side.  The pinch of sea salt adds "roundness" and "fullness" to the flavor as does the vanilla extract.  Experiment with the add-ins and customize to suit your tastes!


- 2 cups purified water
- 3 tablespoons raw almond or raw cashew butter or raw sesame tahini
- 1 tablespoon raw honey or agave nectar (optional, but adds sweetness)
- pinch of sea salt (optional)
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract (optional)


1.  Put the water, nut or seed butter, and honey, salt, and vanilla (if using) in a blender and blend on medium until smooth and frothy - about 30 seconds.

2.  Transfer the milk mixture into a liquid storage container and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.  It will also freeze quite nicely for future use.  Shake vigorously before using as the stored milk tends to separate.

Yield:  2 servings

NOTE:  This blog was written by Stephanie Tourles and adapted from her book, "Raw Energy", Storey Publishing, 2009.  The information is true and complete to the best of the author's knowledge.  All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of the author.  She disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information.  It is for educational purposes only.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Got Nut Milk? - Part 1

Greetings Health Seekers!  The greening of Maine is in full force - finally.  I'll be planting my garden at the start of the waxing moon on May 21st.  My grandmother always said to plant seeds as the moon begins to wax or show itself in the sky - encourages growth and seeds to sprout.  She also said to weed your garden just after the full moon as the moon is waning - or disappearing from view.  Ancient wisdom worth heeding.  My grandfather always said that my grandmother could "put a dead stick in the ground and make it grow".  I believe this to be true and inherited my insanely green thumb from her.  Nice energy to inherit!

Today we will begin a new series on the creation of raw nut milks.  Yummy stuff, and if you've sworn off dairy or can't tolerate it but still want something white and milky to pour atop your cereal, oatmeal, or add to smoothies, then this topic is for you.  Tasty, easy-to-make, and oh-so-good-for-you . . . you'll absolutely love homemade nut milks . . . or nut mylks, as they are sometimes called.  Learn and reap the benefits!  Children love nut milks!

Nut And Seed Milks

Homemade raw nut and seed milks are the vegan alternative to dairy milk.  I also highly recommend them as nutritious replacements for the ultra-pasteurized soy, oat, almond, and rice milks that are now commonly available.  Fresh, raw nut and seed milks, with their creamy flavor and silky texture, serve as an excellent base for smoothies, shakes, and frozen vegan ice cream and are delicious enjoyed alone or poured over raw muesli (raw whole grain & dried fruit cereal).  These highly versatile drinks can be flavored and sweetened with foods such as dried figs, dates, prunes, raw honey, agave nectar, and even raw cacao or carob.

When making fresh nut milks, the more powerful your blender's motor, the better.  A KitchenAid or VitaMix works wonderfully well!  Soaked and softened nuts must be thoroughly pulverized for the maximum flavor and nutrients to be extracted from the nut pulp.

Rich and slightly sweet, nut and seed milks contain a wonderful balance of protein, carbohydrates, and healthful fats, plus vitamins B and E and minerals such as magnesium, manganese, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium - nutrients that help to enhance memory and concentration, steady your nerves, increase resilience to stress, plus add a healthy glow to your complexion, hair, and nails.

When stored in the fridge, the milk's yummy, rich "cream" will separate from the more watery portion and rise to the top.  When this happens, simply shake vigorously for a few seconds to reblend prior to serving.

The leftover pulp can be used for making dehydrated nut-or-seed-based cookies or raw candy or fed to the birds and chipmunks as a special treat.  It can also be composted if you don't want to eat it.  A skin care tip:  The pulp can be used as an organic facial cleanser and exfoliant . . . leaving your skin silky soft and smooth!  Give it a try.  No salon treatment compares.

Raw Almond or Walnut Milk

If you're not already a fan of raw nut milks, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by how fabulous they can taste, especially if you choose to use one of the sweetening options listed in the recipe below.  If you or a family member is allergic to dairy milk, please give this basic recipe a try.  I'm sure it will win rave reviews!

- 1 1/2 cups raw almonds or walnut pieces
- Enough water to soak nuts plus 4 more cups of purified water
- Pinch of sea salt
- Sweetening options:  4 dried figs, stems removed; or 4 pitted medjool dates; or 1 tablespoon raw honey; or 1 tablespoon raw agave nectar.  If using figs or dates, soak these in a separate small bowl overnight to soften.

1.  Soak the nuts in a medium bowl covered by at least 1 inch of purified water for at least 8 hours.  Drain and rinse.

2.  Place the nuts in a blender along with the 4 cups of water, sea salt, and a sweetening option, if desired.  Blend on high for 2 full minutes.

3.  Strain the milk through a nut milk bag, seed sprout bag, muslin bag, or large strainer lined with muslin or other finely woven cloth.  I do this procedure in the kitchen sink over a medium bowl.  Using two hands, wring out the bag or gathered cloth so that you can extract every last drop of precious milk.  This procedure may take a few minutes or so depending on how thoroughly your blender pulverized the nuts.

4.  Transfer the nut milk to a quart-size liquid storage container.  Store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.  It will also freeze quite nicely for future use.  Shake vigorously before using, as the stored milk tends to separate.

Yield:  3 or 4 servings

NOTE:  This article was written by Stephanie Tourles and adapted from her book, "Raw Energy", Storey Publishing, copyright 2009.  The information is true and complete to the best of Stephanie's knowledge.  All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of the author.  She disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information.  It is for educational purposes only.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Herbal Oral Hygiene - Part 3

Greetings My Friends!  I've been tidying up my herb and vegetable gardens in preparation for a mid-May planting.  Still too cold here in Maine to set out seedlings or plant seeds yet.  I did notice that the St. John's Wort seeds that I planted last year are sprouting up as are the fuzzy, gray-green Pearly Everlasting flowers   - two of my favorite herbs.

An update on the progress of my latest book manuscript . . . I just completed the third BIG EDIT on my soon-to-be-published "Hands-On Healing Remedies" book.  In June, I'll get to edit it for the last time and see the almost-final page layout.  When you reach this phase of writing a new book . . . it's very exciting!  Feels like I'm about to give birth to yet another "herbal child"!

Today, I will conclude the three-part series on Herbal Oral Hygiene with a recipe for making tasty, tingly herbal toothpicks.  Hope you enjoy them!

Flavored Herbal Toothpicks

Peppermint- or cinnamon-flavored toothpicks are often free for the taking at restaurants and are sometimes handed out as samples at health food stores where they're sold.  They're tasty and simple to make at home, and are convenient tools to clean food debris from between your teeth, stimulate your gums, and freshen your breath.

Here's what you'll need:  A half or full box (depending on how many you want to make) of quality wooden toothpicks (round or flat style); a small, lidded glass jar; and enough of your favorite edible essential oil (sweet orange, fennel, anise, peppermint, spearmint, clove, cinnamon bark, tea tree, or tangerine) to cover the toothpicks.

Here's how to make them:  Place the toothpicks either vertically or horizontally in the glass jar, pour in enough essential oil to completely cover them, tighten the lid, and allow them to absorb some of the essential oil for a couple of days.  Next, remove the toothpicks with sanitized tweezers and lay them on a plate covered with several layers of paper towels so they can dry for an hour or so.  Store them in an airtight glass jar or tin.  The leftover essential oil is perfectly good to use again, so don't throw it away!

You can use these toothpicks whenever you want to - just be careful not to stab your gums or rub your eyes after handling them.  Depending on the flavor, they just might satisfy your sweet tooth, too!

For the next blog . . . . I'll begin a new series discussing the benefits of consuming raw nut milk - versus dairy milk - and share a few yummy recipes for you to make at home.  Raw chocolate almond milk is out of this world!

NOTE:  This article was written by Stephanie Tourles and adapted from her book, "Organic Body Care Recipes" (Storey Publishing, 2007).  The information is true and complete to the best of Ms. Tourles' knowledge.  All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of the author.  She disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information.  It is for educational purposes only.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Herbal Oral Hygiene - Part 2

Hello Again Fellow Health Seekers! I trust everyone is feeling a bit of "spring in their step" by now? Hope so. We had blissful, summer-like temps here in Maine last week, but alas, they were short-lived. Unfortunately, Mother Nature has not completely relinquished her icy grip just yet . . . as we have returned to winter-like weather this week! The forsythia buds are about to burst forth and the pansies have begun to bloom . . . harbingers of spring's soon-to-come warmth.

Today, I will continue the discussion of Herbal Oral Hygiene by sharing a natural tooth-brightening recipe plus herbal tips for freshening your breath while improving digestion.

Strawberry Tooth Brightener

Strawberries produce a slight bleaching action upon the teeth due to their naturally-occurring, mild fruit acid and, if used daily, help to rid the teeth of tea, coffee, and cigarette stains. This treatment leaves your mouth feeling clean and tasting wonderful. A strawberry is much safer to use than lemon juice, which is much, much more acidic and can damage tooth enamel when used over time. When the fruit is in season, eating a bowl of strawberries daily is also another good way to brighten teeth and improve health.

- 1 medium-sized ripe strawberry

Recommended For: everyone, especially those with stained teeth
Use: daily or as desired
Follow With: water rinse or herbal mouthwash
Prep Time: approximately 2 minutes
Blending Tools: small bowl and fork or mortar and pestle; toothbrush
Store In: do not store; mix as needed
Yield: 1 treatment

Remove the green top and stem first. Using a small bowl and fork or a small mortar and pestle, mash the strawberry into a pulp.

Application Tips:
Dip your toothbrish into the pulp and brush normally. Rinse thoroughly. Now, doesn't your mouth feel clean? Your teeth should show signs of brightening with consistent use.

Herbal Breath Freshening Tips

- Gargle twice daily with strong peppermint tea. Make peppermint tea as you normally would, but leave either the tea bag or loose leaves in to steep for at least 30 minutes. Tea may be stored in the refrigerator in a covered container for up to 3 days.

- Drink 1 cup of peppermint tea immediately following meals. Peppermint helps eliminate mouth odors and acts as a natural digestive, helping to prevent indigestion, gas, and burping.

- If you have access to fresh peppermint leaves, chew on 1 for a few minutes, then spit out or swallow. Your mouth will feel cool, clean, and minty fresh!

- Place 1 drop of peppermint essential oil (no more than this) on your tongue followed by a sip of water. Swish the icy cool liquid around for about 30 seconds, then swallow. Peppermint essential oil produces an amazing fresh chill on your tongue and helps improve digestion when swallowed.

- Keep a little container of fennel seeds, anise seeds, or cardamom seeds in your purse, desk drawer, brief case, gym bag, or back pack. Chew on a few of these flavorful seeds whenever your breath needs freshening. You can swallow them if you wish. All of these seeds also double as carminatives or digestives, encouraging saliva flow and calming the formation of intestinal gas.

- Let's not forget our green friend . . . parsley. This poor lowly plate decoration need not be tossed in the garbage heap along with leftover food. It is loaded with odor-neutralizing chlorophyll plus energizing nutrients such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and anti-oxidants. Next time you're at a restaurant, make sure to munch on that sprig of parsley when you finish your dinner. Your breath and digestion will thank you!

NOTE: This article was written by Stephanie Tourles and some of the information was adapted from her book, Organic Body Care Recipes, Storey Publishing, 2007. The information is true and complete to the best of the author's knowledge. All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of Ms. Tourles. She disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information. It is for educational purposes only.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Herbal Oral Hygiene - Part 1

Greetings My Health-Seeking Friends! Hope everyone is feeling great . . . spring is coming and the weather is warming up here in northern Maine. Yippee! The spring birds are arriving in droves - earlier than usual this year due to the unusually warm weather nationwide. Their "cheeps and chirps and melodious songs" are indeed a blessing to the ears!

Today's topic may seem a bit unusual, but I frequently get e-mails from the readers of my blogs and books (see and for more info.) asking about how they can naturally take care of their teeth, gums, and breath without depending on potentially toxic, commerically-prepared toothpastes, mouthwashes, and other types of breath fresheners. Beginning today, I'll present a series of blogs highlighting easy-to-make, herbal oral hygiene recipes that offer effective, tasty care for your pearly whites that also leave your breath fresh, and gums in tip-top shape. Enjoy!

The Negative Side of Commercial Oral Hygiene Products

Most commercial toothpastes contain artificial sweeteners or actual sugar, foaming agents, detergents, fluoride (a potentially toxic ingredient which an increasing number of people like to avoid), and synthetic whitening agents or bleaches, many of which, over the years, can wear down tooth enamel, erode gum tissue, and be absorbed into your body through the lining of your mouth. Most mouthwashes are colored with artificial dyes, infused with bad-breath-masking, synthetic flavors, and contain irritating chemicals and preservatives.

Why do most commercial oral hygiene products come with a warning on the label stating, "Do Not Swallow"?? Could it be that the ingredients might make you ill? I've never understood why a product that was designed to promote a clean, fresh, healthy mouth should come with a warning. I find that most perplexing!

The Benefits of Natural, Homemade Oral Hygiene Products

It's easy to make effective, inexpensive, tasty, nontoxic alternatives to standard oral care products. Though they won't taste as sweet as their commercial cousins, the flavors will grow on you, and you may notice that your mouth feels cleaner and fresher longer without the use of chemicals. Try a gentle, natural approach to maintain strong teeth and healthy gums with these recipes that I'll be sharing with you.

NOTE: If you have chronic bad breath or dental problems, see a dental professional.

Soda & Salt Toothpaste

This is a simple, inexpensive, odor-eliminating, tooth-whitening, and highly effective formula. It leaves your mouth feeling super-clean. Note: Cinnamon and clove essential oils may irritate sensitive gums and tongue.

- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, finely ground
- 1 drop of any of the following essential oils: peppermint, spearmint, sweet orange, clove, or cinnamon bark. Or, you may use 1 drop of tea tree essential oil if you have a gum infection that needs help in healing.
- A few drops of water
- Optional: 1-2 drops of thick vegetable glycerin for added sweet taste and smooth texture

Recommended For: everyone
Use: twice daily
Follow With: water rinse or mouthwash
Prep Time: approximately 2 minutes
Blending Tools: small bowl, toothbrush, or small spoon
Store In: do not store; mix as needed
Yield: 1 treatment

Method: Combine ingredients in a small bowl and mix them thoroughly with a toothbrush, your finger, or a small spoon until a smooth, thick paste forms. The paste shouldn't be too runny; it has to stay on your toothbrush.

Application Tips: Dip your toothbrush into the paste and use as you would regular commercial toothpaste.

Alternatively, if you don't want to try your hand at making any of the recipes I'll be presenting in this herbal hygiene series, thankfully, there are chemical-free, effective commercial brands available at better health food stores . . . such as Tom's of Maine (fluoride free), Auromere, Nature's Gate, and Weleda. Until next time . . . be well, happy, healthy, and here's to fresh breath and smooth, glossy teeth.

Note: This article is by Stephanie Tourles, Lic. Esthetician & Herbalist, and adapted from her book, Organic Body Care Recipes, Storey Publishing, 2007. The information is true and complete to the best of Mrs. Tourles' knowledge. All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of Mrs. Tourles. She disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information. It is for educational purposes only.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Walk For Life

Hello Friends! Hope everyone is happy, well, and warm! It's March already - can you believe it? Yahoo . . . spring should visit Maine in about two months. Can't wait for the greening!

I'm going to share with you an article I wrote over 10 years ago . . . as it is still very relevant today. It's about the simple act of walking for exercise - it never goes out of style. Daily movement, such as walking (whether fast, slow, or somewhere inbetween), is sooooo important for your mental and physical health, and general wellbeing. I just can't stress it enough.

Walking Fun Fact: Speed walking at a 4-mile per hour pace works up a healthy sweat and burns approximately 400 calories.

Remember Sir Isaac Newton's First Law of Motion? It states, "An object at rest tends to remain at rest. An object in motion tends to remain in motion." So how does this physics law relate to you? Well, try thinking of it this way: A sedentary body has no get-up-and-go and can easily remain sedentary, but an active body often has an easier time continuing to exercise throughout life because of increased energy and vitality. The less you do, the less you can do. The more you do, the more you can do. Energy begets energy. Get it?

What exercise do I, and thousands of health and fitness experts, recommend to recharge your life and get the fitness ball in motion? Walking . . . and it can be done at any time of the year. Think you don't have a place to walk? Think again, my friend. I live in a rural locale with a climate that's very cold and snowy for at least 4 months out of the year - most years, that is. That doesn't give me an excuse not to walk. I simply bundle up and strap on my short-frame, aluminum snowshoes and off I go - whether in the woods, field, or on the golf course. If you can walk, you can snowshoe, so don't let the winter slow you down.

I really like to walk on the beach or mountain trail, but city parks, and local sidewalks are nice, too. If outdoor walking is not practical due to inclement weather or safety reasons, then try the local mall. Just give the mall management team a call and ask about their "mall walking" schedule. Lots of people do it, especially early in the morning. If you like to exercise at home, then a treadmill is a great way to get in your daily mileage while viewing the news or listening to music or audio books.

I like simple exercises and walking fills the bill. It's completely portable, very easy, and it's something you can do (and enjoy) for the rest of your life. If you invite a friend or two along, it becomes a pleasant and uplifting social event as well. If you've got a dog companion, he will enjoy (and benefit from) the exercise, too. So I'm telling you this . . . you don't have an excuse to sit on your duff and physically expand from lack of exercise. Walking is convenient, plain and simple. No more excuses . . . just get up and go!

Did you know tht brisk walking, in particular, is superior in many aspects to running and jogging in terms of overall health benefits? Why? First, almost everyone can walk. Second, your risk of injury is far less than for most other types of aerobic exercises. Third, you can do it almost anywhere. Finally, it's low cost; the only equipment required is a good pair of walking shoes.

Chinese Proverb: Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still.

Personally, I think walking is the best exercise for women. Running, jogging, jumping rope, and some other vigorous aerobic activities can be extremely jarring and damaging to the joints and breasts. But walking is one exercise you can truly start ultra-slowly and gradually build up to speed.

Walking Benefits For All Ages . . .

A walking program will help prevent and protect you from all manner of health concerns, such as osteoporosis, weight gain, problem pregnancies, menopause, stress, muscle loss, flagging energy, heart disease, and stroke. Daily walking will go a long way toward keeping you happy and healthy. It full engages your body, mind, and spirit.

1. Put in your time. 45 to 60 minutes daily: That's what your eventual goal should be. Sound like a long time? Well, once you get started, it's over in a flash, and, besides that, it's the amount of time necessary to spur your metabolism into burning plenty of fat and calories and give your heart a good workout. NOTE: If you're a beginner or have been sedentary for a while, start a walking program slowly, doing what you can without too much stress on your body. As you get stronger, increase your intensity gradually.

2. Go for the glow. Brisk walking makes you sweat, and with this increased perspiration toxins are excreted through the skin. Within a few weeks after starting a walking program, you'll definitely notice a more radiant, more clarified complexion.

3. Pump those arms. Don't just let your arms hang down by your sides as you walk, really swing and pump them. In addition to burning more calories and enabling you to walk faster, pumping will firm the pectoral muscles in your chest, giving it a more sculpted, rounded appearance.

4. A pelvic plus. With age (and childbirth) comes the tendency toward urinary incontinence. Walking will help to tighten the ligaments and muscles in the pelvic floor. Make sure to do your Kegel exercises or pelvic diaphragm contractions daily, as well.

5. Walking meditation. Your mind can be totally relaxed and void of all thought or clearly focused on a particular idea while you move along. I frequently carry a small pen and pad with me to jot down notes (ideas for my upcoming books). Walking can also be a time of spiritual renewal - especially if spent outdoors in a rather peaceful, tranquil location.

6. Climb that hill. Brisk, uphill walking, for a sustained period of time, expecially as part of your daily walking routine, can actually give you a better overall workout than jogging, running, or going to the gym for aerobics class. Walking uphill is your best bet for aerobic fat burning and anaerobic muscle conditioning. This activity will trim, tone, and lift your lower body, especially your posterior, in no time flat!

7. Mind your mood. Walking will improve your outlook on life, lift depression, and boost your self-esteem and confidence. The exercise-induced beta-endorphins that the brain releases during exercise will help lessen mood swings and bouts of anxiety.

8. Offset estrogen loss. With menopause comes the loss of heart-protecting estrogen, increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease. Regular walking can raise good cholesterol (HDL) and lower bad cholesterol (LDL), lessening the risk of disease.

9. Improve foot health. Walking is the number one exercise for your feet as well as your body. It strengthens and stretches foot muscles, revs up the circulation to help keep your feet warm, and if your feet tend to swell, helps alleviate that problem, too.

10. Treat your feet. Low on your body's totem pole, your feet tend to suffer the added insult of neglect. Many of you rarely give a thought to all the force they absorb on your behalf! No matter whether you are a casual stroller or serious power walker, your feet take a beating. Constant neglect lays the groundwork for tough, callused heels and soles that can crack, hurt and become unsightly. I suggesting using a refreshing foot scrub thrice weekly and indulging your "dogs" in a good, long, relaxing, hot foot bath twice a week. Moisturize daily to keep dry skin at bay and be sure to keep toenails trimmed and tidy.

NOTE: This article is by Stephanie Tourles, Lic. Esthetician, Aromatherapist, and Herbalist. Portions of this article were adapted from one of her many books, "How To Feel Fabulous Today!", Storey Publishing 2001. The information is for educational purposes only.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Burn, Baby, Burn: Power Workouts

Greetings and Many Blessings To All! It's mid-winter here in Maine and a rather mild, uneventful one at that. Still not much snow on the ground as evidence of the season, but we do have some treacherous ice that's hanging around preventing outdoor exercise, which is a real downer.

Speaking of exercise . . . I've been revamping my routine of late and am attempting to get the most caloric bang for my exercise buck - if you know what I mean. I'm a very busy person and need to get the highest attainable results in the least amount of time expended. Since I can't exercise outdoors right now, I'm doing power yoga at home and on alternating days, using my Total Gym (an amazing piece of equipment). I exercise semi-vigorously for 30 to 60 minutes per day. I've also rid my diet of all refined carbohydrates and concentrate on wild-caught tuna and salmon for my animal protein, plus beans, raw nuts and seeds, dark leafy greens and vegetables, green drinks, oatmeal with added walnuts, almond milk, and cooked apple, and fruit smoothies with added vegan unsweetened protein powder made by Spirutein "Simply Natural Original Vanilla". At 49, I'm seeing superior results within 8 weeks of doing this program. I'm much more toned all over, my skin is radiant, my perimenopausal "moody" symptoms are more even keel, and my energy level is much better. At my age . . . it takes a lot of work and continuous effort to maintain youth and a feeling of well being! But . . . it's worth it in the long run.

Go for the glow . . . all exercise, but especially semi-vigorous-to-vigorous exercise will increase circulation and blood flow throughout the body, put roses in your cheeks, strengthen the bones, improve skin tone, improve your mood, and in general, promote longevity. Daily exercise = maintained & retained youth!

Burn, Baby, Burn

Today, I'm going to share with you my top exercises that will get you in shape in no time flat provided your diet is in tip-top shape, too. The calories listed by each exercise are based on the energy a 150-pound person would expend in one hour. (I have to say this . . . but if you have been sedentary for quite some time, then ease yourself into a new exercise routine, such as slow walking, and work up from there as you gain cardiovascular conditioning.)

- Cross -country skiing. One of the best exercises for overall body toning, skiing at a 5-mile-per-hour pace, which is quite vigorous, burns approximately 700 calories per hour.

- Snow Shoveling. Try throwing away your snow blower and picking up a shovel - if your back can handle it. This exercise, performed at a moderate pace, burns approximately 600 calories an hour. Caution: Snow shoveling can be extremely demanding for arm and back muscles, so pace yourself.

- Rollerblading. This exercise (one of my favorites) will chisel the saddlebags right off your hips and thighs in no time (think Olympic ice skater legs and buns!) and give your heart a terrific workout. At a moderate skating pace, this activity burns approximately 600 calories per hour.

- Power Yoga. A more active style of yoga that encourages prolific sweating while toning and elongating your muscles and incredibly improving your mind-set. This form of exercise burns approximately 300-400 calories per hour.

- Mowing The Lawn. Using a push-style power mower or push-style non-power mower versus a self-propelled power or riding mower provides all-over body conditioning and burns approximately 450 calories per hour, just don't take too many lemonade breaks!

- Running. Running at a moderate pace, 5.5 miles per hour, burns approximately 650 calories per hour. I don't recommend running for women as it is too jarring to the breasts and other female organs (my opinion) and large joints in the legs. Speed walking is much better, I feel.

- Walking. Speed walking at a 4 mile-per-hour pace works up a sweat and burns approximately 400 calories per hour. Take a friend with you . . . it's more fun and the time passes much faster!

- Bicycling. Pumping those pedals at a moderate 10-mile-per-hour pace burns approximately 400 calories per hour.

- Domestic Goddess Work. This includes washing floors and windows, vacuuming, washing the car, ironing, hanging clothes out to dry, cleaning the bathroom, and other chores, and it burns approximately 250 calories per hour or more. Not bad for drudgery!

- Weight Lifting. Builds metabolism-boosting muscles. Depending on your routing, weight lifting has the ability to lift and tone every muscle in your body - just what's needed when you're over 40 and losing valuable and beautiful muscle tone by the decade. An hour of weight training burns approximately 300 calories. Roll that into aerobic weight training and you can increase the calories burned by nearly 200 or so.

- Mountain Climbing or Vigorous Hiking Up Hills. This is serious exercise - even more than running and cross-country skiing - requiring incredible muscular endurance, but if this is your thing, it burns approximately 500 to 900 calories per hour!

NOTE: This blog was written by Stephanie Tourles, Lic. holistic esthetician, herbalist, and author, and adapted from one of her many published books, "How To Feel Fabulous Today", Storey Publishing 2001. The information is true and complete to the best of her knowledge. All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of Ms. Tourles. She disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Preventing & Treating Acne During The Winter

Healthy Greetings and Wellness Wishes To All! Hope everyone is feeling wonderful and on top of their game . . . if not . . . as the saying goes, "There's no time like the present", to begin to take good care of yourself by really paying attention to what you eat, how often you exercise, your stress level, and how you preserve and pamper that skin of yours. It's never too late to begin a quality course of action to improve how you feel, look, and project yourself to others.

Today, well begin a new blog series on topics of great interest to all . . . troubling skin and body care issues, increasing physical and mental energy, nutrition through whole foods, anti-aging protocol and benefits of natural sunscreen, raw food, low-carb eating, and the "Caveman Diet". I hope you'll enjoy the new blog "look" and future topics.

I have to interject this . . . before I proceed . . . My latest book on topically-applied herbal healing remedies is in the final stages of "heavy editing". As soon as I have a firm working title and release date, I'll let you know. It should be approximately 340 pages and contain 150 recipes for making your own herbal medicines to apply to your body, thereby improving comfort and wellness. If you liked my previous book, "Organic Body Care Recipes", this is to be the companion book. Look for it in December 2012 . . . I think!

For today's topic of discussion, we'll delve into the care of acne conditions that occur in the winter months. Acne in winter often needs different treatment from the acne flare-ups that occur in the late spring and summer.

Preventing & Treating Acne During The Winter

Acne is a year-round inflammatory skin condition and not simply reserved for the warmer, more humid months. Whether you suffer from facial, back, chest, neck, or shoulder acne - or all of the above - you should know that winter treatment of acne (especially if you live north of Kentucky where it gets quite cold and arid) is a bit different from the treatment of acne in warm or hot, moist, sticky climates where the skin can sweat profusely and the skin's sebum or oil flows onto the surface more readily. Here are some tips to help you care for your late fall, winter, and early spring acne symptoms:

- Cleansing Regimen: Cleansing a normally oily skin in the drier, cooler months of the year should be done very gently and with a slightly richer cleanser than you would use during the warmer months of the year when your skin is oilier and exhibiting a sheen or "oil slick". In the cooler months, your skin doesn't exude as much lubricating oil, so you don't want to strip it dry by using a harsh soap or high-foaming cleanser. Cleanse in the morning and evening with a natural, chemical-free cleanser that contains salicylic acid or willow bark (The Body Shop has a good anti-aging line that contains salicylic acid and other herbs and works wonderfully well on oily/acneic skin). DHC has a great olive oil-based cleanser and gentle soap that is excellent for all skin types. They also have a salicylic acid line especially for oily skin. Aubrey Organics (a totally chemical-free line) offers a superior herbal product line for normal and oily skin.

Gentle cleansing twice a day will help to minimize oil production and impurities from forming in your pores. The hand-held Clarisonic Mia skin brush, is an amazing tool that I highly recommend to thoroughly cleanse your skin while also exfoliating. It is of professional quality, unlike Oil of Olay's rotating skin brush, which I don't recommend at all. If you do decide to get the Clarisonic brand, order the soft bristle head for sensitive skin. Acneic skin should be treated with tender loving care, not abrasives that will further irritate it.

- Moisturizing Regimen: The key is to use a non-clogging, oil-based moisturizer during the colder, drier months. Indoor heat and cold temperatures can lead to dehydration or surface dryness which can further lead to discomfort and skin damage - preventing your skin from holding in valuable moisture. A dry, flaky surface looks dull and also tends towards the clogging of pores which exacerbates acne breakouts. Moisturizers with hyaluronic acid, NAPCA, honey, seaweed, vegetable glycerin, or jojoba oil work will to keep skin soft and supple. Weleda, Inc., has a line called "Iris" that is specifically designed for gentle care of normal and oily skin.

If you are "into" outdoor winter activities, please be sure to protect your skin with the appropriate moisturizer/natural sunscreen so that it doesn't get environmentally damaged from the assault of sun, cold wind, and dehydrating temps.

- Hydrating Regimen: Drinking lots of water, fresh-pressed vegetable juices, and non-caffeinated herbal tea is recommended to keep your skin hydrated from the inside-out. A properly hydrated body and surface skin will help avoid cellular breakdown and painful acneic flare-ups, extreme, irritating dryness, and pre-mature aging. Sufficient fluid intake will keep waste products flowing out of your body via the kidneys and colon and not backing up in your system, potentially looking for another exit . . . your skin. A constipated body tends to exhibit lackluster, irritated, pimply skin. Not a look anyone's after!

Misting your face throughout the day with a herbal hydrosol or flower water is a great idea, especially if you travel a lot by airplane or live in an especially arid climate.

- Exfoliation Regimen: Exfoliating regularly, say . . . twice per week, whether summer or winter, prevents dead skin cell build-up and clogged pores. Sloughing off dead skin cells will help keep your skin functioning and looking its best. The Clarisonic Mia, mentioned above, is my favorite way to exfoliate and cleanse my skin, but you can also use a clay mask, or clay-based scrub twice per week, as well. Exfoliants with ground oats, almonds, or jojoba beads are also gentle products that won't irritate. Mountain Rose Herbs, makes a delightful facial scrub that I especially like.

I hope these tips help you achieve radiant, smooth, youthful , comfortable skin during the winter months. Let me know if you have any other tips for caring for your oily/acneic skin and I'll pass them along to my readers. Until next time . . . be well!

NOTE: The blog was written by Stephanie Tourles, author of "Organic Body Care Recipes", Storey Publishing, 2007. The information is true and complete to the best of her knowledge. All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of Ms. Tourles. She disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information. It is for educational purposes only.