Category Archives: Two Cents

Ramblings on life

How Essential Oils are Changing my Life

It’s been a little while since I wrote, but life has thrown me a few things and it’s taken a bit to finally get it into balance. One thing that I’ve been taking a lot of time to learn about and experiment with in recent months though, is essential oils. I had been using vitamin and health food store brands until one day my yoga instructor introduced me to doTERRA. While the health food store brands have been helpful, they smell beautiful, and I’ve seen the effect they can have on me; none of them compare to doTERRA.

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What makes doTERRA so special? This particular brand goes above and beyond the precious “organic” label by testing and re-testing their product to achieve “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade” status. To be considered organic, all a company needs to do is prove that the growing conditions of the plants are organic and organic certified pesticides are used. This doesn’t require prime growing conditions for the plant and it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re clean and free of the yucky stuff we’re aiming to avoid. DoTERRA on the other hand, sources all of it’s oils from plants that are grown in their natural, native habitats. The plants are harvested and distilled for their oils, where they’re tested for any unsavory chemicals. If they are detected, the batch gets thrown out.

How are these little oils life-changing, though?

Given the pure nature of doTERRA’s oils, you can take many of them internally to reap the benefits of the oils. They can be cooked with (vegan vanilla cupcakes with lavender scented icing, anyone? or perhaps some rosemary and oregano oil in that focaccia you’re baking?) They are also one hundred percent pure and never blended with any carrier oils, which if you do some digging- you’ll find many brands do. Because they’re pure, they absorb readily into the skin. I don’t know all the scientific nuts and bolts of it, so I won’t go into it without absolutely knowing how they work on a chemical and physiological level. I do know that by putting a few drops of lavender oil in the arches of my feet before bedtime will allow me to sleep soundly through the night. That rubbing a few drops of peppermint oil on my belly will nix any nausea. That rubbing a citrus blend of oils into my palms in the morning helps me to wake up and be alert with out that cup’o’joe. That rubbing a few drops of eucalyptus on my chest and getting into a hot shower or bath will stop a stuffy nose or head cold in it’s tracks. The list goes on (and on, and on).

Virtually all of the items in your medicine cabinet can be replaced with a natural alternative. For me, the realistic approach is to buy a pure oil that will last longer than the cheaper varieties as it will save you money in the long run while also delivering what it promises.

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Because doTERRA oils have affected me so deeply, I have made the decision to become a doTERRA Independent Product Consultant. I believe in the product, and I want to share them with anyone who is willing to keep an open mind and try them. I invite you to learn more about doTERRA by exploring my web page. I am more than happy to answer any questions you have, so feel free to comment!

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Perception of Beauty

I don’t have a recipe for you today, but I’m working on a new cupcake recipe that I’m excited to share with you! Hopefully I’ll have it up within the next few days.

That’s not the reason I’m posting, though. Last night I was dawdling around on Facebook and stumbled onto this video: 

Now I know Dove and Unilever aren’t cruelty-free or vegan, but the message this video gives is so important for people to see. This video is part of the Dove Real Beauty Campaign, which is mostly aiming towards women; but I feel the message reaches more widely than just the female audience. Seeing this makes you wonder and try to reflect on how you see yourself, versus the beauty others see.

So what can we do to see the beauty others see in us? Why must we focus so hard on the negatives? The imperfections? Most of us have already come to terms with the fact that media is all photoshopped and airbrushed, but why are we still holding ourselves to that “standard”? Why would we be “more beautiful” if we had a smaller nose; less freckles; fuller lips; no wrinkles etc. Why can’t these features contribute to our own unique brand of beauty? For some reason, we can look around at all of our peers and see their beauty. Sadly, we’re entirely reluctant to see ourselves through the same lens.

What can we do to embrace the looks we have rather than try to come up with ways to wear masks? This video is a start. Instead of focusing on the dark circles you got from staying up a bit too late, maybe emphasize your gorgeous brown eyes. Have a  prominent nose, like me? Maybe it’s time to start embracing it instead of wishing you could afford a nose job (guilty). Maybe you have strong cheekbones, maybe you have a round face, an angular jaw… each one of us has the power to be beautiful. It’s already there, it’s just a matter of opening our eyes to see it.

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A Tofu Scramble and Thoughts on Confidence

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Being a woman, and having female friends, our confidence is something that is relatively easy to shatter, and like trust; it can take a very long time to earn it back again. We can break our own confidence, or it can break at the will of another’s harsh words; simply a look by another, or worse, just by seeing someone walk by. I don’t even mean confidence about only our physical appearance. Society has shaped itself into something that has made every one of us very vulnerable and what we look like, do, or believe is only okay upon receiving the approval of the majority.

Knowing this fact, how many days do you look in the mirror and throw on an outfit that you might like, but are worried someone else might think you look ridiculous? You try a new hair do out, you like it, but you’re afraid you just “can’t pull it off”, you don’t want to wear make-up, or you do want to wear make-up one day; but decide against it because of how other people might react to this different facade? Have you ever stood in front of the mirror in your 2 piece swimsuit and thought for a second “wow I actually look pretty hot!” but decided against wearing it? What about all that “embarrassing” music you have in your ipod? Don’t want people to see it? Collect something that you don’t want people to “judge”
Why?

We’re always second guessing ourselves! Maybe it was a cruel ex who never thought we looked good enough, maybe it was a parent that was just a little too hard on us, maybe we got picked on in school, maybe one friend (as much as we claim to appreciate it) is a little too brutal in their honesty. We can even blame it on the media; dictating what’s cool to do, wear, listen to, watch, speak like, look like, weigh, and what’s not. Where do you think these fad diets come from? It’s all some bologna to get you to fit the cookie cutter mold we’ve been trained to look up to. Everyone in their own shape and size is beautiful in their own way, some are naturally very thin, and some are heavier.

Regardless of whom or what may have kicked our confidence out at the back of the knees; upon talking to several women in recent weeks and realizing just how low our confidence is as a whole, I think it’s time to really sit back and think about why we look upon ourselves with such disapproval, and think of reasons why we shouldn’t. Confidence isn’t really something that just happens. Think of it like getting over a bad break-up. Can you get over someone if you don’t try? No, you can’t. You cry, and you cry, and you cry some more, but if you’re only thinking about how much you miss your S.O., then how on earth are you ever going to get over them? You need to think of why you broke up, and why you’ll be okay. You have to think of what you can do. That’s how confidence works. Why is it gone? Why did I let go of it? Don’t I deserve to have it back?

My confidence didn’t used to be what it is today, and it will continue to grow and change. Life is rough, and I’ve had my years in the toilet; everyone has their tough patches. There was a time when I would see my reflection and feel nauseous at what I saw, because of my weight, my face; I would look and see not only my physical appearance, but what a “loser” I thought I was. One day I realized how my being so hard on myself would influence the most important person in my life: my little sister. If I keep doing this to myself, will she pick up on my traits? Will she feel so terrible about herself if it’s okay for me? That day, I forced myself to strip down in front of a full length mirror and say ten things that were beautiful about myself. 5 physical, and 5 personality. I think the first day I did this I was up until 4 in the morning with nothing to say to myself. I forced myself to keep doing this until I started to believe it. In the morning while getting ready I would finally not have to think about it, and a compliment to myself would pop into my head. I encourage you all to try this, male or female. No one has to know that you’re doing this so don’t feel embarrassed… I know it feels silly but I really think this helped to pick me up from a very unhappy place.

I think it’s fair to say that we all have at least one outside person in our lives that tells us how beautiful or handsome we are. I can say this because I already know that we are all beautiful people; inside and out. I was lucky in finding a boy that really opened my eyes to this, and helped to really BELIEVE what I had been telling myself since I was 16 years old: “you are beautiful”, and this means something to me, because he actually knows and believes this, pure and simple.

I’m here writing this to you all right now to be to you; what his eyes are to me.

You’re all on this journey, and we’re all on different levels. We need to learn to accept ourselves and better ourselves on a deeper level than looking like whichever celebrity. I am hoping that you are doing this to please yourself and no one else. I hope that envisioning your final “product” isn’t the only thing keeping you going; because I know that every single one of us deserves to truly love every single facet of ourselves, in progress or not. The journey is the part that really matters, I want you all to sit back and think about what you’re telling yourself to motivate you through this ride: You are already beautiful, and you deserve to be happier.

You hold all the power in the world to make yourself beautiful, and all it takes is the confidence to see it in your own reflection.

Now: On to the food!

Today we have a Tofu Scramble

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I normally don’t like tofu unless it’s marinated to taste like something else. I hate using it in frostings and dessert recipes. I don’t like it in smoothies. To me, it just tastes like mushy beans. Tofu scramble is the main exception for me.

In my pre-vegan days, eggs were my favorite food (that weren’t ice cream.) They’re versatile! They’re filling! They’re delicious! But those days are over, and I have no choice but to try to make tofu taste as amazing as possible- and that’s where this tofu scramble comes in.

The goods (This is how much I use to feed just myself):

  • 1/3 cup of extra firm tofu, drained and pressed, then crumbled
  • 1/2 medium green bell pepper, diced or julienne
  • 3 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • a small handful of seitan crumbles or slices
  • 1 tsp curry powder (make sure it doesn’t have ginger! if you don’t have this, just use cumin, coriander, turmeric- about 1/4 tsp each.)
  • a healthy pinch of sea salt (I like to use celtic grey salt)
  • a few cranks of fresh black pepper
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 tbsp of water or veggie/mushroom broth
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional!)

First things first, heat up your non-stick skillet. Add your olive oil and start to saute your onions and garlic with the salt, pepper, red pepper, and curry.

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Once your onions start to become translucent, add your mushrooms. They’ll only start to brown on the edges when you want to add your water/broth, seitan, and your tofu. If you don’t like your peppers raw, you can add them in now, but I like to save them for last so they’re nice and crunchy.

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Once the liquid is almost cooked off, add your nutritional yeast and turn off the heat. Mix it in so that the yeast becomes smooth, but you don’t want to keep it hot for too long so as to prevent the vitamin B12 from denaturing. Once that’s all mixed in, toss in your peppers if you haven’t already and eat up!

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Filed under Meals, Two Cents, Vegan Meals, Vegetarian Meals