Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Cilantro Lime Dressing Recipe

I've been on an obsession with grain bowls (watch for an upcoming blog post). If you aren't familiar with them, they usually start with a grain, most often rice, and are topped off with a wide array of vegetables. They are quite versatile and can be created in endless flavor combinations. I decided to create a Southwest grain bowl using barley. I topped it with roasted sweet potatoes, corn, avocado slices, and black beans. To make it even more flavorful, I whipped up a batch of Cilantro Lime Dressing to drizzle over the vegetables. My picky eater devoured it.

No doubt this dressing would be great on refreshing summer salads, too. Mix it up in a wide mouth jar so you can easily refrigerate left overs.

Cilantro Lime Dressing

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 TBSP mayonnaise
  • 3-6 TBSP milk
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 2 pinches cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 TBSP fresh lime juice
Add all ingredients to a wide mouth jar. Mix until smooth. Add more milk a tablespoon at a time if mixture is too thick. Cover and refrigerate before using. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Natural Relief for Sore Muscles

It hurt to move this morning. Yesterday, I really pushed myself hard with overhead presses during my crossfit class. My shoulders were in intense pain. I've been doing crossfit for about a year and a half, so it's not the first time my muscles have complained after a workout. It's almost a constant, actually.

It obviously doesn't take a grinding workout to leave you with aching muscles, though. I've woken up with tight, aching neck muscles just from sleeping wrong.

Instead of popping an over the counter pain medication, try one of these natural remedies for soothing those aches and pains:

Foam Roller

I love my foam roller. I use it regularly. It's great for working out tight leg and thigh muscles, as well as your upper back and shoulders. You can find them just about everywhere these days. I bought mine off of Amazon, but I've also seen them at Target and some discount stores. I've included the following video to with some good tips on how to use a foam roller.

Hot Pepper Stick

The Hot Pepper Sha-Bang muscle stick was a life saver for me after I injured my back last December. I was looking for natural pain relief when my friend Crystal posted about the muscle stick on her Facebook timeline, so I gave it a try. Capsaicin is the soothing ingredient, radiating a nice, warm feeling across sore muscles. I'd put it on the injured area before a workout. When my body heated up, so did the hot pepper stick. It was like a portable heating pad. You can also apply direct heat with a hot towel or heating pad. I recommend keeping some in your medicine cabinet. You can find it here: Perfectly Posh.


You can use either oral magnesium tablets or take a nice, warm bath with magnesium salt, more commonly known as Epsom Salt. Add about a cup of Epsom Salt and soak for about 15 minutes. For the extra benefit of relaxing the muscles and easing inflammation, add about 3 drops of lavender oil to the water.

If your body is deficient in magnesium, it can cause muscle soreness and cramps. Keep foods like almonds, sunflower seeds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds on hand for a healthy snack high in magnesium. A good magnesium supplement can help, too. I can tell when my body isn't getting enough magnesium when I start craving chocolate. 

Tart Cherry Juice

According to an article by Oregon Health and Science University, runners participating in a study showed less inflammation and significantly less pain after consuming tart cherry juice a week before they ran a long distance race compared to runners in a placebo group. They also had faster muscle recovery. You can read the entire article here: Tart Cherry Juice Reduces Muscle Pain and Inflammation.


A massage after an intense workout can not only make you feel better, but it also helps with muscle recovery by decreasing inflammation. So go ahead and book that massage after your next workout. Just a short, 10 minute massage is all that is needed to feel the benefits, however, book me for the whole hour! Make sure to request essential oils like rosemary, eucalyptus, and thyme for added relief.

Over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen may bring relief, however they have been shown to cause heart, stomach, and kidney issues. So toss out the pills and use one of these proven natural choices for pain relief. Oh, and be sure to drink plenty of water. Dehydration can cause muscle cramping and soreness as well.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Redefining Earning a Living

I've always felt a calling toward creating. Painting, photography, writing. I was always told those weren't legitimate choices. People like to throw out the much overused "starving artist". Then they pick some poor artist or writer who remained unknown until his or her death to use as an example. You'll end up like that, they'd say. So I've always held on to the belief that as long as I pursued these callings I wouldn't make any money from it. And, guess what? I've never really earned any money from any of these endeavors. I mean, yeah, I've earned a little here or there, but not really what I was worth. Because I wasn't expecting to.

Our American society, and perhaps all societies built on similar economic systems, holds that the only worthy way of earning a living is by sacrificing your time and your dreams. It's the American dream you are supposed to be going after. Big house, nice car, pretty things. You get a J-O-B working for someone else at least 40 hours a week. If you are lucky, it's something that both pays well and brings some level of satisfaction. If you are lucky. If not, you slog away your days for someone else just so you can keep a roof over your family and food on the table. In our society it's never been about what brings you joy. It's how much money you make and all of the things that you can buy with that money.

Earn a living. The word "living" should never be associated with monetary worth. That's where we have gone horribly wrong. You earn an income for the deemed value of your work. That value often seems arbitrary to the whims of society, e.g. starving artist.

There is another way.

Minimalism and the tiny house movement are a part of this revolution to rethink and redefine what it means to earn a living. If you have less stuff, you need less money to maintain or replace that stuff. You can work less or chose work not by how much it pays, but by how much joy it brings you. That is liberating, especially for someone who doesn't fit in with this consumerist mold.

Someone like me.

And now here I am J-O-B less. Falling into the same traps. Hearing those old voices. You can't make a living blogging. No one wants to buy your art. The photography market is over saturated. You can't earn a living that way. You need to get a real job. Rent is coming due and you are broke. Get real.

I've given up on those dreams too many times. I quit art school. I stopped painting for a while. I stopped writing, stopped trying to get published. I gave up my photography business because the ex told me I needed to get that "real" job. Start. Stop. Start. Stop.

I'm tired of stopping. I'm angry at those voices. It's time to prove them wrong.

I've read about people young and old who sold everything to live a mobile life. Some earn a living through their computers. Some live off of the funds from selling everything that held them down. I've read about people who live off a small plot of land, modern day homesteaders who need very little from the outside world. There are the urban minimalists who live in small apartments and use their time and money on experiences instead of filling up an oversized house with stuff. These people are truly redefining what it means to earn a living. If they can do it, so can I. If they can do it, so can you.

Embrace your joy and earn a livable income. The two aren't mutually exclusive, contrary to what we've been taught.