2020 Gift guide for the healthy woman

Every year when gift guides come out, I am always sad I didn’t release one! Throught the year I’m always recommending different products to my patients in order to help support their health and make their life EASIER! So this year, I am finally complining a list of products that that have made a difference in my life – or that I know a woman in your life will LOVE!

I am not associated with any of these products, and the only affiliate links I share are at the bottom, and labeled!

I hope this guide gives you some great ideas 🙂

For the plant lover:

  1. Hamama growing kit – Grow your own microgreens for salad toppings, at home!
  2. Watering can – The right watering can actually makes a big difference.
  3. Fiddle leaf fig tree – Have a bright window? Your fiddle leaf fig will thrive in front of it.
  4. Plant mister – Keep plants fresh, and it’s cute on display!
  5. Mini succulent pots – Everyone loves a succulent window sill.

For the coffee/tea lover:

  1. Milk frother/blender – Blend powders into drinks easily, or froth warm milk!
  2. Nontoxic French Press – An absolutely ZERO plastic french press
  3. Clean Coffee – Coffee is one of the dirtiest crops – this coffee is mold-free, organic, and more!
  4. Hand wrap mug – Warm up your hands and cozy up with your favorite warm beverage.

For the eco friendly homebody:

  1. Laundry detergent – Actually get the STINK out of your workout gear!
  2. Dr. Bronner’s soap – This basic product can be transformed into floor cleaner or foam soap!
  3. Mason jar pour top – Make storing and pouring liquids easier on your mason jar loving lady!
  4. iLids mason jar storage tops – Storage options with zero-spill.
  5. Clean/dirty magnet – Keep track of what’s in the dishwasher!
  6. Over the cabinet/wall organizer – Hang this on the wall or in the cabinet. Stores cutting boards or baggie boxes!

For the foodie:

  1. Go Macro Bars – Great pre-workout or bedtime snack!
  2. Coconut milk – I love coconut milk that doesn’t taste like a can…
  3. All Clad pan – Non-toxic pans that last forever.
  4. OXO storage – These food storage containers are the best I’ve found (and I’ve tried many).
  5. OXO spatula – This spatula is so useful and stands the test of time!
  6. Lid storage – Not going to lie this product changed my life.

For the beauty products queen:

  1. Shampoo brush – Got dandruff? Scalp psoriasis? Seb derm? This helps exfoliate your scalp.
  2. Dry skin brush – Great for stimulating the lymph = happy skin!
  3. Scrunchies – Scrunchies are back and I am so excited about it.
  4. Face serums – Ladies love serums 😉
  5. Organizer bag set – Organize makeup, serums, scrunchies, travel necessities, and more!
  6. Hydro-Flask water bottle – Gotta hydrate to keep skin glowing, and this water bottle is non-toxic!

*My affiliate products that I love:

  1. Mantra Bands – Wear encouraging, minimalistic, simple jewelry with YOUR OWN mantra on it! (Code: DRMEG)
  2. TempDrop – A wearable basal body temperature tracker, so you can cycle track effortlessly! (Code: BRV433UDFLUE5)
  3. Lucky Iron Fish – Get your iron levels up without an iron supplement. (Code: none – click the link!)
  4. Paleo Treats – The highest quality, most delicious pre-made desserts on the market. (Code: DRMEG)

*As you know, I am very choosy about what I recommend. I am affiliated with these products (meaning if you click the link and buy you get a discount and I get a small amount of $), because I LOVE them, I use them personally, and I recommend them to patients almost daily.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and happy gift-giving! I hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday season!

Choosing Safe Candles

Did you know that most candles are toxic?

I’m here to tell you why and what you should be looking for.

My own research into this topic started when I was young. Candles were a big part of my childhood. Growing up in New England, my mom was BIG into “Yankee Candles” which is a large candle company on the East Coast. They make these really big candles in cool glass containers of all different flavors, and you can burn them for hours.

We started to reevaluate our use of candles when they would leave “soot” on the ceiling, and when scents would give us headaches. We thought — this can’t be right… if it’s making soot, then we are obviously breathing it in right?

My mom and I were on the right track and I started to learn how horrible traditional scented candles are for you.

The good news is that you can still enjoy candles, because they can be made healthfully!

Here’s what you want to avoid:

  • synthetic paraffin candles, and soy wax sometimes isn’t any better*
  • scented candles of all kinds
  • pretty much any traditional candles you see in the store because of their fragrances, dyes,

WHY:

  • they release VOCs (volatile organic compounds) which are widely known for their toxicity, PMID: 25588193
  • candles can release chemicals whether they are being lit or NOT, PMID: 25588193
  • they release formaldehyde, PMID: 26495830
  • lead is commonly used as a stiffening agent for wicks, and when burned release lead into the air, PMID: 12398334, PMID: 10811249
  • ever heard of airborne contact dermatitis? it’s thing, and breathing in fragrances and chemicals helps cause it

Here’s what you want to purchase:

  • 100% beeswax candles
  • 100% natural cotton wick
  • naturally saturated fat candles, like palm or coconut oil
  • candles naturally scented with essential oils and other botanicals

So what about incense? It doesn’t look like incense is any safer or a good alternative, PMID: 26614451. The burning of fragrances plus wood? Exposure to wood smoke is actually a recognize cause of respiratory disease, PMID: 27382275.

If you look this subject of scented candles on on PubMed, you’ll get a variety of opinions. Even one study said that typical use of scented candles doesn’t pose health risk, PMID: 24582651, but I have no idea how they can say that when we know these candles release VOCs and other chemicals like formaldehyde, and we have multiple studies that demonstrate with multiple testing methods the hazards of chemicals released by scented candles being over the acceptable limits.

The thing about looking at the literature vs thinking critically is that scientifically if they cannot make a positive correlation, then the jury is still out. The way I choose to see some of these controversial topics is thinking back to basic human physiology. If we know a substance releases toxin X, and toxin X is a known carcinogen or xyz, then I am not going to recommend anything or any product that contains the substance that releases or contains toxin X. Simple right?

*It’s important to note, that just like olive oil, the candles can be marketed as a “soy candle” and contain 51% soy wax and 49% cheap paraffin wax. Soy wax candles ARE better than paraffin candles, but because of this, that’s why I said they aren’t much better. You’d need to look for 100% soy wax on the label, and buy from a company that you trust.

Paraffin is a problem because it’s a by-product of the petroleum industry. The way that paraffin is created involves a significant refining and bleaching process to get the “wax” you and me know today. There is no way to ever fully get rid of those chemicals use in the refining process – so when a paraffin candle is burned, some of those chemicals remain and are burned into the air you are breathing.

The candle industry will say there is no issue with “sooting.” But you and I know better. The microscopic particles that are left behind can cause health effects.

So if candles are so bad… what did they use back before electricity? They used BEESWAX candles. Beeswax candles actually release negative ions into the air which are beneficial for human health. Beeswax candles have natural color and do not need to be dyed. They are often scented with natural essential oils and botanicals, which are safe. Beeswax candles do not aggravate asthma, allergies, and most people who are sensitive to fragrances can use beeswax candles comfortably.

One of my favorite companies is a local company in Seattle, WA, where I went to medical school. Big Dipper Wax Works https://www.bigdipperwaxworks.com/ But there are MANY other companies out there at are safe. Take the list above, and do your research. Let me know if you find any hidden gems!
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Now, go switch out your candles! 🙂

Grain-free Chocolate chip cookies

These cookies are my go to for a healthy, simple treat. Versatile in many ways. You can sub the coconut oil for butter. You can add walnuts. You can add raisins. You can use coconut sugar instead of brown sugar. They brown up beautifully in the oven, and have just the right hint of sweetness!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes about 28 cookies (2 dozen, plus 3)

  • 4 cups almond flour
  • 2 TBSP coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil , melted (non-vegans can use butter)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (at room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (or cacao nibs, for sugar-free)

Directions:

  1. Mix wet ingredients (vanilla, egg, maple syrup, coconut oil, egg) plus brown sugar in large bown with a whisk until homogenous and incorporated. Using coconut sugar results in slightly drier cookie, so bake for shorter time.
  2. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredient bowl, and mix well with spatula.
  3. Use a cookie scoop and scoop cookie dough onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Check at the 10 minute mark to assess cookie progress. Cookies will be ready when they are slightly golden in color.
  5. Remove prompty and let cool before serving.
  6. Cookies stay very nicely in a air-tight sealed tupperware container on the counter. For longer shelf life, place in air-tight container in the refridgerator.

Grain-free pumpkin muffins

These muffins are delicious and easy to make. We enjoy adding different ingredients into the batter, whether it’s chocolate chips, raisins, or walnuts!

Grain-free Pumpkin Muffins
makes about 2 dozen muffins

    2 cups  blanched almond flour
    1 tsp  baking soda
    1/2 tsp  sea salt
    1/2 tsp  each: nutmeg, allspice, cloves
    1 cup  pumpkin puree
    3 real eggs – ours were large!
    1/4 cup  organic extra virgin olive oil
    1/2 cup  honey/maple syrup
    1 cup  chopped nuts (for topping)
    Optional add ins: raisins, walnuts, chocolate chips

To make your muffins:
  1.  Preheat oven to 350. Prepare muffin tins with muffin liners.
  2.  Mix dry ingredients together in a medium bowl, be sure to remove lumps.
  3.  Mix wet ingredients together in a large bowl.
  4.  Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
  5.  Pour batter into muffin tin, about 3/4 cup full for each.
  6.  Bake for 22-24 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Nourishing protein Bars

These bars are my go to. They’re super easy to make – just blend in your food processor, and melt some chocolate! Everyone I’ve made these bars for absolutely LOVES them!

Nourishing Protein Bars adapted from Passionate homemaking
    2 cups  whole almonds
    1/4 cup  ground golden flaxseed
    1/2 cup  organic dates  (about 6 whole pitted dates)
    1/2 cup  organic unsweetened coconut flakes
    1/2 cup  organic raw almond butter
    1/2 tsp  unrefined sea salt
    1/2 cup  organic coconut oil, melted
    1-2 Tbsp  organic maple syrup
    2-3 tsp  vanilla
    1 handful 100% baking chips, or 3-4 unsweetened chocolate baking squares, melted
    6 drops  vanilla creme liquid stevia (optional)
    *Use more chocolate for a thicker coating

To make your protein bars:
  1.  Place almonds, flaxseed, dates, coconut, almond butter and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine.
  2.  In a small sauce pan, melt coconut oil using LOW heat. Remove from heat and add vanilla and maple syrup.
  3.  Add melted oil mixture to the food processor and pulse/grind ingredients until it forms a coarse paste.
  4.  Scoop out the mixture and press down hard into an square bar pan.
  5.  Melt chocolate in a double boiler, add stevia last when finally melted. Pour the chocolate mixture on top of the already pressed down bars. Smooth out and place into the fridge or freezer until chocolate has hardened. To serve, take bars out of fridge/freezer for at least 30 minutes. Work a knife around the edges gently and pop out bar onto pieces of plastic wrap. Wrap and freeze or fridge for later enjoyment.