Saturday, December 19, 2015

Healthy & Raw: Vegan "Shortbread" Cookies

Happy Holidays To All!  I hope everyone is happy, healthy, warm, and joyous. Don't forget to spread your wealth of blessings with those less fortunate!  For the 2nd year in a row - here in Maine - we are having an unseasonably warm December and I anticipate a damp, green Christmas.  That's just wrong!  A wee bit of snowfall would be welcome right now to put me in the Holiday Spirit.  Though, I should be careful what I wish for, 'cuz right after Christmas last year, January delivered a winter whammy . . . 3 straight months of frigid, sub-zero, snowy weather.  A blast from winter's past!

Speaking of the Holidays, have you been invited to a couple of festive parties this year and asked to "bring a dish" or "nibbles"?  Want to take something a little unusual, healthy, unexpected, and yet still ultra yummy?  Of course you do!  Well, I've got just the perfect simple recipe to share with you . . . it's my version of vegan, gluten-free "shortbread" cookies and they're RAW, too boot!  If you're a shortbread fanatic, but must avoid wheat and dairy, like me, then you'll absolutely love these.  The recipe comes from page 245 of my popular book, Raw Energy:  124 Raw Food Recipes for Energy Bars, Smoothies, and Other Snacks to Supercharge Your Body (Storey Publishing, c2009).  I've been known to eat 3 or 4 of these delicate, melt-in-your-mouth cookies in the morning with a cup of strong, black, organic coffee and call it breakfast . . . they're oh-so-wonderful!  Give 'em a try . . . and celebrate the season, won't you?

Vanilla-Walnut "Shortbread" Cookies

Perfect for Holiday noshing!  These goodies are ultra-rich with a velvety texture - simply bursting with creamy vanilla flavor; they taste a bit like traditional baked shortbread but provide a definite healthy twist.  No white, refined sugar or flour here, nor butter.  The dough makes a terrific crust for a raw pie!  Enjoy!

- 2 cups raw walnuts
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut, finely shredded
- 1/4 cup raw honey
- 1 teaspoon pure, natural vanilla extract
- Pinch of sea salt 


1.  Blend the walnuts, coconut, honey, vanilla, and salt in a food processor until a granular, moist dough forms, about 60 seconds.  It will NOT form a cohesive ball and will be very oily when handled.

2.  Scrape the dough into a medium bowl.  Pinch off pieces of the dough and gently squeeze, knead, and roll the pieces into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  Press each ball between your palms to slightly flatten into cookies.

3.  Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months.  Prior to serving, chill in a covered container in the fridge for a few hours.  This will allow the flavors to meld and the cookies to firm up a bit.

Yield:  About 22 cookies

A good source of:   omega-3 fatty acids plus B vitamins, calcium, zinc, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, natural sugars, protein, and fiber - all of which provide for a constant flow of energy

NOTE:  This blog was written by Stephanie Tourles. The recipe was used with permission of Storey Publishing and was adapted from her book "Raw Energy: 124 Raw Food Recipes for Energy Bars, Smoothies, and Other Snacks to Supercharge Your Body." The information put forth is true and complete to the best of Ms. Tourles' 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, November 27, 2015

DIY: All-Purpose Citrus Cleaner For Home & Hands

Happy Holidays Everyone! Let's get right to it and talk gift-giving. I'm sure the subject is weighing heavy on your brain right now.  Well . . . put your mind at ease because I've got a great idea . . .   Are you a crafty sort?  I certainly am, and I like to make useful, practical, and economically-priced gifts to give to my friends and family - gifts that I know they'll enjoy receiving and find uniquely appealing.  So, what to do . . . what to do?  How about putting together a quart-size Mason jar full of homemade "All-Purpose Citrus Cleaner For Home & Hands"?  It contains 4 easy-to-find ingredients and can be made in a snap. This blend is perfect for cleaning greasy or dirty hands and feet, as well as dirty bath and shower stalls, ceramic tiles, sinks, or ovens.  Works great on filthy garage floors, too.  It smells wonderfully citrusy, though it can also be scented with spruce or balsam fir essential oil so it has the essence of Christmas trees (which is nice this time of year), contains no toxic cleaning ingredients, and if you use it to clean your bathroom, kitchen, or garage, the fabulously fresh fragrance lingers!  Wonderful stuff!  Perfect for gardeners, mechanics, cooks, landscapers . . . anybody who works with their hands and gets dirty, plus, everyone who wants to avoid chemical-filled, home cleaning products.  This is my go-to formula - I've used it for years.

This recipe can be found in my book, How To Feel Fabulous Today:  250 Simple and Natural Ways to Achieve Spiritual, Emotional, and Physical Well-Being (Storey Publishing, c2001).  It's full of all kinds of useful information to make your life more comfortable.  So, without further adieu, here's the recipe:

All-Purpose Citrus Cleaner For Home & Hands

- 1 cup soap flakes or washing soda
- 1 cup borax (20 Mule Team brand is great - find it in the laundry detergent
    aisle at the grocery store) 
- 1 cup baking soda
- 2 teaspoons sweet orange or lemon essential oil ( is a good brand).  Substitute an equal amount of spruce or balsam fir essential oil, if desired.)

1.  In a medium-sized bowl, using a hand-held whisk or wooden spoon, gently mix the soap flakes, borax, and baking soda until well blended.

2.  Slowly add the essential oil of choice, one drop at a time, stirring to incorporate. 

Storage: Store the finished product in a quart-size Mason jar (canning jar).

To Use:  Blend one tablespoon or more of the formula in a small bowl with enough water to form a slushy texture.  Use it to wash hands or scrub bathroom or kitchen surfaces, or garage floors.  Rinse with water.

Yield:  3 cups

To make as a gift: Wrap a length of twine or colored raffia around the top of your jar, attach a handmade custom label or find a unique one at a craft store, and write the name of the recipe, ingredients, and directions for use on the label.  Great gift, now isn't it?  Don't forget to make one for yourself, too!

Disclaimer:  This blog was written by Stephanie Tourles,   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. 


Friday, October 23, 2015

Herbal Vapor Rub - Make It Yourself!

Hello Everyone!  Healthy Fall Blessings To All!  I don't know about your neck of the woods, but up here in northern, coastal Maine, the cold and flu season is already rearing its ugly head . . . nearly half the population, it seems, is complaining of major bodily aches and pains, sniffles, earaches, headaches, stomach-aches, powerful nausea/vomiting, chills, and high fevers . . . all of which is lingering for weeks.  I've been around lots of folks who've had  it BAD, and I've even been the caretaker for a sick friend and his sick son . . . but, luckily, I haven't succumbed.  

As an herbalist, I always have my "winter cold & flu preventive herbal pantry" stocked for the season - ready for the attempted assault on my immune system.  Here's what I keep on hand for fortification - all homemade:  echinacea root/flower tincture; elderberry tonic w/ cloves and brandy; usnea tincture; "Be Clear Sinus Vapor Rub" - see recipe below; an antibacterial/antiviral essential oil blend of cloves, cinnamon bark, lemon, and orange that I use by the drop in my hot tea and diffuse into my home environment with my ultrasonic aromatherapy essential oil diffuser (which you can get by going to my NYR Organic website: ); sage-infused body oil; plus I drink plenty of ginger root/lemon tea; take Juice Plus capsules (go to; sleep a lot; get plenty of fresh air and exercise; and don't allow myself to get overly chilled or stressed out.

Today, I'm going to share my recipe for the amazingly aromatic and effective herbal vapor rub mentioned above, and if you are "into" essential oils, as I am, then you will probably have most of the required essential oils on hand.  For more topically-applied herbal medicine recipes, you can find them in my best-selling book, "Hands-On Healing Remedies: 150 Recipes for Herbal Balms, Salves, Oils, Liniments & Other Topical Therapies".  Here's to a healthy fall/winter season!!  

Be Clear Sinus Vapor Rub

This vapor rub is an essential oil blend that contains strong respiratory antiseptics to help fight infection and mucolytics to aid in dissolving and loosening mucous congestion.  Antiviral, decongestant, and analgesic properties help heal the source of your stuffiness, shrink swollen mucous membranes, and alleviate tightness in your chest.

This particular remedy calls for a wide variety of essential oils, but they can be used in many other recipes in this book and I recommend having them all.

NOTE:  This is an aromatherapeutically concentrated formula, so use only as directed.


- 25 drops cajeput essential oil
- 20 drops eucalyptus (species "radiata") essential oil
- 10 drops balsam fir essential oil
- 10 drops lavender essential oil
- 10 drops peppermint essential oil
- 10 drops sage essential oil
- 5 drops clove essential oil
- 5 drops tea tree essential oil
- 5 drops thyme (chemotype "linalool") essential oil
- 1/2 cup jojoba base oil 

Equipment:  Glass dropper, dark glass 4-ounce storage bottle with dropper top or screw cap

Prep Time:  15 minutes, plus 24 hours to synergize

Yield:  Approximately 1/2 cup

Storage:  Store at room temperature, away from heat and light; use within 2 years

Application:  2 or 3 times per day


Add the cajeput, eucalyptus, balsam fir, lavender, peppermint, sage, clove, tea tree, and thyme essential oils drop by drop directly into a 4-ounce storage bottle.  Add the jojoba base oil.  Screw the top on the bottle and shake vigorously for 2 minutes to blend.  Label the bottle and place it in a dark location that's between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours so that the oils can synergize, becoming a more potent blend.

Application Instructions:

Shake well before using.  Apply a drop or two of this aromatic oil under your hose, on your throat, on your temples, and behind your ears.  If your skin is not too sensitive, place a drop on each cheekbone as well.  Spread several drops on your chest and even on the soles of your feet so they can be absorbed via all those sweat glands.  Be sure to massage the oil drops in well, until they are totally absorbed into your skin with nary an oil slick in sight.

After you've rubbed the oil into the skin, inhale the essences from your hands by cupping them over your mouth and nose.  Close your eyes and breathe deeply.

BONUS:  This formula acts as an aid in fighting athlete's foot and nail fungus.  Simply massage into your clean feet and nails twice daily.  It also acts as an antiseptic for minor to moderate skin ailments and as a spot treatment for blemishes!

DISCLAIMER:  Portions of this blog were adapted from "Hands-On Healing Remedies" (Storey Publishing c2012). The information in this blog is true and complete to the best of Ms. Tourles' knowledge.  All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of the author or Storey Publishing.  The author and publisher disclaim any liability in connection with the use of this information.  It is for educational purposes only.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Stoke Your Health With A Blueberry Shake!

Hi Everyone!  As I sit at my computer writing this, it is about 84 degrees in my south-facing home office (I don't have air-conditioning) and it's a sticky, humid, hair-frizzing 88 degrees outside - in the shade!  Dang hot - especially for coastal Maine!  Whew . . . good thing I just made one of my favorite fresh & fruity blueberry shakes to cool me down.  

Here in Maine, late summer is harvest time for one of our largest commercial crops . . . the low-bush wild blueberry.  By comparison to the high bush variety, with it's rather large berries, our berries are tiny, but mighty, mighty sweet.  So, without further adieu, I'd like to share one of my favorite blueberry blender recipes with you . . . It tastes fabulous and will ramp up your youthifying antioxidant intake while boosting your immune system!  A win, win, win, if you ask me!  Enjoy!

For this and other healthy and delicious blended, raw beverages, read my latest book, Raw Energy In A Glass: 126 Nutrition-Packed Smoothies, Green Drinks, and Other Satisfying Raw Beverages to Boost Your Well-Being (Storey Publishing, 2014).


Blueberry Blast-Off Protein Shake

Anthocyanins, the pigment molecules that make blueberries blue, help protect and strengthen the walls of the blood vessels and capillaries throughout the body and improve nocturnal vision.  During Maine summers, when our wild blueberries are at their peak of ripeness, I'll frequently enjoy the entire recipe of this shake as an evening meal - quite satisfying and filling.  Young children, in particular, love this shake because it makes their tongues turn purple!  Makes the perfect after-school snack, too!  NOTE:  If you want to avoid staining your teeth slightly blue, be sure to brush immediately after drinking.

Blender Type Suggestion:  This recipe contains hard frozen fruit and is best blended using a high-speed blender such as a Nutribullet or Nutribullet RX, Nutri-Ninja, Blendtec, KitchenAid, or Vitamix.  If you don't have one of these, just let your fruit soften on the counter for 10 minutes before adding to your blender.


- 1 1/2 cups purified water
- 2 cups frozen blueberries
- 2 medium or 3 small frozen bananas, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 4 tablespoons raw almond or cashew butter (may substitute toasted nut butter varieties if the raw are unavailable - sunflower butter tastes good, too)
- 1 tablespoon raw honey, raw agave nectar, or maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon natural vanilla flavoring
- Pinch of sea salt
 1.  Put the water, blueberries, bananas, nut butter, honey, vanilla, and salt in a blender and blend on high until smooth, 30 - 45 seconds.

2.  Serve in glasses or insulated mugs.  This shake is rather fiber-rich and high in natural sugars and fats, so be sure to sip slowly so that it digests with ease. 

Yield:  2 servings

A good source of:  powerful antioxidants, vitamins B, C, and E, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, manganese, copper, zinc, other trace minerals, tryptophan, protein, healthy fat, complex carbohydrates, natural sugars, and fiber

NOTE:  This blog was written by Stephanie Tourles, Lic. Esthetician & Herbalist, and the recipe adapted from her book, "Raw Energy In A Glass", Storey Publishing (c2014).  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.


Friday, July 10, 2015

Celebrate Chamomile - The Health and Beauty Flower

Warm Summer Greetings To All!  Hope everyone is healthy, happy, and soaking up the vitamin D!  Here in Maine, summer is short, so I try to get outside as often as I can and revel in her glory as fall will arrive all too soon!  As I was walking through my garden this morning, I discovered that my little patch of German chamomile was in full bloom. Here's a photo of the herb, if you're unfamiliar . . . it's about 12" +/- tall.

When you purchase chamomile tea, either loose or in tea bags, or a bulk bag of dried chamomile from an herb shop, what you get are the dried tiny yellow flowers w/ bits of petals attached that smell delightfully fragrant, slightly sweet, herbaceous, and a hint musty.  If you have room in your garden, please plant a patch.  Fresh flower tea is sooooo much sweeter, with a heady apple-like aroma and flavor.

Allow me to extol the virtues of German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) . . .

Pleasing and relaxing to the senses, that's how I'd sum up a cup of chamomile tea. A cup of tea taken after your evening meal will ease the stomach, relax the body, and reduce stress from a long, tension-filled day. Drunk right before bedtime, chamomile will promote deep sleep. Chamomile has a cooling energy with anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties which assist in the healing of duodenal and gastric ulcers, plus it's great for those of you with painful diverticulitis, as well as babies who are teething or are experiencing colic. Got hyperactive children?  Chamomile's a wonderful nervine (relaxant), and if you mix strong chamomile tea 50/50 with apple juice, it makes the perfect beverage to calm rowdy children!  Soooooothing and comforting . . . that's chamomile!

For making chamomile tea with dried herbs: I add 1 relatively level tablespoon per 1 cup of boiling water, remove from heat, and steep for 10 minutes.  Strain.

For making tea with fresh flowers:  I add 1 heaping tablespoon per 1 cup of boiling water, remove from heat, and steep fro 20 minutes.  Strain.

Chamomile and body care . . .

To relieve and revive sore "computer" eyes and reduce puffiness and dark circles, soak chamomile tea bags in a small amount of hot water (just enough to thoroughly soften the herb), the allow to cool or refrigerate them for 20 minutes. Lie down, relax, and place them on your closed eyes for about 10 minutes. Ooooo - that feels good!

Chilled chamomile tea makes an excellent toner for all types of skin, but especially sensitive, irritated, sunburned, windburned, inflamed (acne and/or rosacea), and dehydrated. After cleansing, apply a generous amount of tea to your face and neck (or where you need pampering) with a soaked cotton ball. Do 2x daily.  Follow with your favorite moisturizer.  A cup of "toner tea", covered, will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Classic chamomile "brightening" hair rinse - to enliven light brown or blonde hair, make 1 quart of strong tea, allow to cool, and use as your final rinse liquid following your shampoo.  Used consistently - at least a couple times per week - this should improve the color and texture of your hair while imparting a delightful, subtle, sweet fragrance.

Chamomile infused oil - one of my favorite chamomile products, is made by macerating (steeping) the fresh or dried flowers into almond, jojoba, or sunflower oil for 1 month. This is an exquisite oil that can be used everyday as an all over moisturizing/conditioning body oil, facial oil, or diaper rash preventive oil for baby's bum. Perfect for thin, fragile, and sensitive skin of all ages . . . from infants to elderly. It sinks right in with nary an oily residue. Today, I'm going to share a recipe for this oil, "Chamomile Baby Massage Oil" - taken from my book, "Hands-On Healing Remedies" (Storey Publishing, c2012). The recipe is on page 106 - if you have the book. Even though it's called 'baby massage oil', it can be used by everyone - please keep that in mind.

Chamomile Baby Massage Oil

Delicate, fragile, tender skin needs ultra-mild, conditioning care to keep it soft, supple, hydrated, nourished, and healthy as an effective barrier to the outside world. This fresh and oh-so-useful recipe is straight from the garden.  The simple luxury of almond, sunflower, or jojoba oil infused with chamomile flowers, with their anti-inflammatory and vulnerary (tissue healing) properties and apple-like, relaxing aroma, is all that's needed to care for your young one's skin (or your own sensitive skin, for that matter).

If you grow only one herb in your garden, you MUST grow a patch of German chamomile flowers.  In addition to using them for bath, facial, and massage oils, you can brew them for tea, make sleep pillows, and use the infused oil for sleep and dream balms. 


- 2 cups dried or 3 cups freshly wilted chamomile flowers (To wilt flowers, lay them out in a single layer on paper towels or a kitchen cloth for 48 hours - away from heat and sunlight. This allows the excess moisture to evaporate prior to adding them to the oil.)

- 3 to 4 cups almond, sunflower, or jojoba base oil (enough to completely cover flowers)

- 2,000 IU Vitamin E oil

Equipment: Widemouthed 1-quart canning jar, stirring utensil, plastic wrap, strainer, fine filter, funnel, glass or plastic storage containers

Prep Time:  1 month

Yield:  Approximately 2 1/2 - 3 cups

Storage:  Store at room temperature, away from heat and light; use within 1 year (if using jojoba oil, then shelf life is 2 years)

Method:  If using fresh flowers, it's okay to have bits of fine stem and leaves in the mix - as long as it's not more than 10%.  Place the chamomile flowers in a 1-quart canning jar.  Drizzle the base oil over the plant material until the oil comes to within 1 inch of the top of the jar.  The dried herb may pack in the bottom and the wilted herb matter will settle with the weight of the oil, so don't worry if it looks as though you don't have enough plant matter in the jar.  Gently stir to remove air bubbles and make sure that all the plant matter is submerged.

Place a piece of plastic wrap over the mouth of the jar (to prevent the metal lid from coming into contact with the flowers) and tightly screw on the lid.  Shake the jar several times to blend the flowers and oil thoroughly.  Place the jar in a warm, sunny location such as a south-facing windowsill, and allow the herb to infuse for 1 month.  Shake the jar every day for 30 seconds or so.

After 1 month, carefully strain the oil through a fine-mesh strainer lined with a fine filter such as muslin cloth or, preferably, a paper coffee filter, then strain again if necessary to remove all herb debris.  Squeeze the flowers to extract as much of the precious oil as possible.  Discard the marc, or spent herbs.  Add the vitamin E oil and stir to blend.  The resulting chamomile oil will be golden in color, varying a bit depending on which base oil you chose.

Pour the finished oil into storage containers, then cap, label and date, and store in a dark cabinet.

Application Instructions: After a warm bath, pat the skin almost dry.  Apply a small amount of infused oil onto slightly moist skin, massaging it in with gentle, circular motions (always towards the heart) until it is completely absorbed.  If there is an oily residue, you've used too much. Use less next time.  This oil can easily be massaged into dry skin anytime you desire - it sinks in so nicely.  Allow oil to soak into skin for at least 5 minutes before dressing.

For use as a facial oil:  Place 5-8 drops into palm of hand, rub hands together to warm and thin the oil, then gently massage into freshly clean, slightly damp face, neck, and chest for 1 minute. Follow with an application of your favorite mineral-oil-free moisturizing cream or lotion, if desired.  Repeat 2x per day.

Note: This blog was written by Stephanie Tourles, Lic. holistic esthetician, certified aromatherapist, and herbalist, and adapted from her book, "Hands-On Healing Remedies", Storey Publishing (c2012). 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.

Monday, May 4, 2015

May Is Osteoporosis Awareness & Prevention Month: Tips For Stronger Bones

Happy Spring To Everyone!  The season of earth's awakening is upon us . . .  vibrant greens, shocking yellow jonquils and forsythia, warm breezes, and oh-so-vocal peepers peeping.  Mother Nature is indeed sounding her trumpet of things to come.  Spring has sprung - finally - up here in coastal Maine!  Always late to arrive in this part of the country, but when she does . . . she's awesome!  I think we appreciate it so much more here because our winters are so terribly long, frigid, dark, and dreary!

When you live in an environment that requires months of time spent indoors - away from the life-giving sunshine -  if you're a health-conscious person, you begin to wonder about how much vitamin D (aka the Sunshine Vitamin) you're NOT getting!  And if you aren't aware of why vitamin D (a fat-soluble vitamin) is necessary, then I'll give you one of the main reasons and focus on this today (since May is Osteoporosis Awareness & Prevention Month) . . . vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium (and other minerals) that are necessary for building strong bones.  You can obtain it via exposing your skin (sans sunscreen) to sunshine for 15 - 30 minutes per day where it is synthesized in the skin in response to exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays; and/or get it through your diet by eating plenty of organic egg yolks, shrimp, sardines, halibut, organic whole milk/yogurt/butter, fresh cod, salmon, bee pollen, royal jelly, fish liver oil, organic beef & chicken liver, and tuna;  fortified foods such as tofu, or soy, almond, coconut, or cashew milks; plus plant foods that include small amounts of vitamin D such as alfalfa, horsetail, nettle, parsley, oatmeal, and sweet potatoes. 

Vitamin D2 and D3 supplements can be taken, but obtaining your daily intake is best via sunshine or food, if possible.  Make sure you ingest between 600-1,000 IU per dayIf you live up north, like I do, work inside all day and rarely go outside, wear sunscreen ALL the time, have dark skin, have digestive disorders or food sensitivities that prevent you from eating some vitamin D-rich foods, or are vegan/vegetarian, then you may need supplementation.  Be sure to talk to your health care provider about this serious issue and do some research yourself.  "Bone up" on the importance of vitamin D.  I suggest having a blood test done to see if you are deficient.  Many times, this test is covered by health insurance.

Today, I'd like to share with you some interesting information about Osteoporosis . . . some facts that might surprise you, some facts you probably know, and some nutritional tips to help you get more calcium and other minerals in your diet.  Plus, I'd like to let you know that I have joined efforts with the American Recall Center who have made it their mission to share the information for Osteoporosis Awareness & Prevention Month.  The American Recall Center is HONcode verified, they focus on patient safety, and aspire to educate others about healthy living.  I take a very personal interest in the Center's mission as I had a total left hip replacement in 2013 (as a result of two painful falls that I took down my home stairs in the winter of 2012).  I'm ultra mindful of the wear-and-tear that can occur to my replacement device as well as being proactive with regard to the maintenance of my bone health as I age.

Poster credit:

Here's a link to an article - "64 Interesting Facts About Osteoporosis" that I'm sure you'll find rather educational . . . it's a bit long, but enlightening:

Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease, is a chronic disorder characterized by degeneration of joint cartilage and adjacent bone that can cause pain, stiffness, localized soft tissue swelling, redness, heat, inflammation, and decreased movement of the joint.  It is the most common joint disorder and affects many people to some degree by the age of 70.  It also affects almost all animals with a backbone, even fish, but 2 animals that don't develop it are sloths and bats - both of which hang upside down.  Interesting!  Inversion boots, anyone?

Treatment can include appropriate, low-impact exercises that stretch and strengthen the muscles, tendons, and ligaments, such as yoga and Pilates, plus a daily gentle walk or swim, in order to help increase a joint's range of motion, maintain healthy cartilage, and strengthen surrounding muscles so that they better absorb shock.  Application of heat to the joint, very warm baths, and dressing properly to avoid chill are also beneficial.

On a dietary note, many people find significant relief from the severity of arthritic flare-ups when they eliminate the eight foods most likely to cause food sensitivities:  wheat, soy, dairy, chocolate, eggs, peanuts, refined sugar, and corn.  These foods, which we modern folk eat far too often and in too great a quantity, often can result in bloating, inflammation, pain, fatigue, stiffness, and myriad other uncomfortable symptoms.  A blood test can determine if you do indeed have food sensitivities or allergies.  The addition of probiotics, gamma-linolenic acid from evening primrose oil or borage oil, and omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseeds, walnuts, fish, or chia seeds can help ease inflammation, as can eating a predominately vegetarian diet.  Chlorella and spirulina, single-cell algae's, are wonderful dietary additives as they are both rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, omega-3's, and contain potent anti-inflammatory properties.

A holistic physician, naturopath, herbalist, massage therapist, or acupuncturist may be of therapeutic assistance, if need be.  Topically-applied herbal remedies can also deliver comfort, easing the pain and other unwelcome symptoms that accompany the disease.  You can find some wonderful DIY remedies in my book, "Hands-On Healing Remedies: 150 Recipes for Herbal Balms, Salves, Oils, Liniments & Other Topical Therapies" (c2012, Storey Publishing).

Here's a yummy, healthy "protect your bones" candy recipe I'd like to share with you that is chock full of vitamins B & E, iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, natural sugars, protein, healthful fat, and fiber . . . it's called:

Sesame Calcium Chews

Regular consumption of this mildly sweet, raw candy will lend a glow to your hair, skin, and nails, replenish your core energy reserve, or ojas, and strengthen your bones.


- 20 small dried, Black Mission figs
- 1 cup raw sesame seeds, hulled or unhulled
- 2 tablespoons raw honey
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut, finely shredded


1.  Remove the stems from the figs.  Soak the figs for 4 hours in enough purified water to cover by 1 inch.  Drain.  Reserve the chilled soak water to drink later for a refreshing treat.

2.  Put the figs, sesame seeds, honey, and salt in a food processor and blend for 20 to 30 seconds.  Remove the lid and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.  Replace the lid and blend again until a moist, slightly sticky, granular dough forms, about 10 seconds.

3.  Scrape the dough into a medium bowl.  Put the coconut in another medium bowl.

4.  Pinch off pieces of the dough and roll into balls approximately 1 inch in diameter.  Toss the balls in the coconut to coat.  

5. Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks or in the freezer for up to 6 months.  The chews are delicious eaten right out of the freezer.

Yield:  25 to 30 balls 

You can find this recipe in my book, "Raw Energy: 124 Raw Food Recipes for Energy Bars, Smoothies, and Other Snacks to Supercharge Your Body" (c2009 Storey Publishing).

If you'd like to drink your "bone-building nutrition", then here's a fabulous recipe that can be blended up in a snap and it's a fabulous source of blood-building iron and chlorophyll, antioxidants, vitamins B, C, and K, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulfur, other trace minerals, tryptophan, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, natural sugars, and fiber . . . it's called:

Banana-Kale Sweet-n-Smoothie
I've downed a lot of really bad kale smoothies in my time, but this is one of the first kale smoothies I ever made of which I could actually say that I enjoyed the flavor.  Kale is a strong-tasting, sulfurous, leafy green and can easily overwhelm the flavor of a smoothie if not blended with the right "masking" fruit - just a simple banana does the trick.  This pale green beverage is wonderful for nourishing strong hair, nails, bones, and radiant skin and promoting bowel regularity.  Due to the duo's stabilizing effect on the nervous system, it is the perfect balancing drink for those who tend to be hyperactive.


- 1 1/2 cups purified water
- 2 cups baby kale leaves, packed
- 1 large or 2 medium bananas, peeled, cut into chunks
- 1 tablespoon flaxseed oil, unfiltered preferred
- Pinch of sea salt 


1.  Place the water, kale, banana, flaxseed oil, and salt into a blender and blend on high until the kale leaves are completely liquefied, about 30 seconds.

2.  Serve immediately.  This blend contains a moderate amount of natural sugars and fiber, so sip slowly, and delight in the silky green smoothness. 
Yield:  2 servings

You can find this recipe in my book, "Raw Energy In A Glass: 126 Nutrition-Packed Smoothies, Green Drinks, and Other Satisfying Raw Beverages to Boost Your Well-Being" (c2014 Storey Publishing).

NOTE:  This blog was written by Stephanie Tourles; portions were adapted from her books, "Raw Energy" (c2009 Storey Publishing), "Hands-On Healing Remedies" (c2012 Storey Publishing), and "Raw Energy In A Glass" (c2014 Storey Publishing).  The information in this article is true and complete to the best of Ms. Tourles' 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.