Live Healthy. Live Happy. Live Longer

Author: <span class="vcard">Ellen</span>

Homemade Green Coffee Bean Serum

Homemade Green Coffee Bean Serum






I’m constantly on the lookout for effective skin-care products made from non-toxic ingredients. There are more and more options popping up everywhere, making it easier to find safe and effective skin care products. Some of my favorites are 100 Percent Pure and Primal Life Organics. […]

Ditching the Bra May Improve Your Health

Ditching the Bra May Improve Your Health






Are you like the many women I know who throw off their bras immediately upon arriving home? It’s freeing and infinitely more comfortable to be braless. And there is a growing body of evidence showing that, beyond being uncomfortable, consistent bra use may have a […]

6 Ways Broccoli Sprouts Can Improve Your Health and Help You Live Longer (and How to Easily Grow Them at Home)

6 Ways Broccoli Sprouts Can Improve Your Health and Help You Live Longer (and How to Easily Grow Them at Home)

Broccoli Sprouts Have Impressive Health Benefits

Numerous studies support the profound positive health effects of consuming cruciferous vegetables. These benefits are partly due to compounds unique to cruciferous vegetables that have impressive effects on the body. These compounds, such as sulforaphane, have benefits for just about every part of your body, from your skin to your liver to your hormones. Unfortunately, these compounds, along with many micronutrients, are depleted during the packaging and transport of broccoli from farm to grocery store.

One way to mitigate this effect is to grow your own broccoli or find some at your local farmer’s market that was grown locally and harvested the same day or the day before. Another option is to eat broccoli sprouts in order to ingest large amounts of these beneficial compounds.

I hesitate ever to call something a panacea, but broccoli sprouts come pretty darn close. Some of the most powerful compounds found in broccoli are packed into these tiny little sprouts at up to 100 times the concentration1.

Below are a few of the reasons I love broccoli sprouts, and some scientific studies to back up all of these claims of vegetable magic. Many of the beneficial effects of broccoli sprouts are due to their potent anti-inflammatory properties. I have a jar growing at all times (I even bring them with me when I travel to visit family for the weekend to make sure I can keep up with the rinsing).

Skip to the end of this post for super simple instructions for how to grow broccoli sprouts in your kitchen. (more…)

Starting an Urban Homestead

Starting an Urban Homestead






A New Home and Plans for an Urban Farm I have been MIA for a few months here, and I am finally ending my blog hiatus. Life kind of got in the way of blogging, and Phil and I spent most of our non-working hours hunting […]

All About Moringa

All About Moringa






What is Moringa? Moringa oleifera is currently enjoying a bit of a spotlight moment in the superfood world, and deservedly so. In the world of superfoods, moringa deserves a top spot. It has been a staple of traditional medicine for over 4,000 years, and Ayurvedic […]

Hike of the Month: Beckler Peak

Hike of the Month: Beckler Peak

Beckler Peak Hike

A relatively new hike, Beckler Peak is absolutely stunning and much less busy than other trails in the surrounding area. You are provided with incredible views for a moderate amount of work, and a manageable distance. The trail to Beckler Peak is about 7.5 miles long. There are a few somewhat steep switchbacks, but nothing too grueling or technical.

The starts at the Jennifer Dunn trailhead, where you will set out on a decommissioned Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 10.08.08 PMlogging road. This section continues for just under a mile, with minimal tree cover and a moderate incline. The first stretch of trial is still recovering from its previous status as a logging road. You will find some invasive plants, such as tansy and non-native grasses. As time goes on, increasing growth of trees and other native plants will hopefully start to shade out some of the invasives and allow the area to recover further.

In just under a mile, you will reach landing with a peak at some of surrounding mountains and a teaser of views to come. At this point, the old logging road transitions into a traditional trail that winds its way up the mountain and through beautiful old growth forest.

The trail switchbacks up the mountain, gaining about 2000 feet in a little over 3 miles. I crossed two or three streams early on that were deep enough for filtering water and for Newton to get a drink. Even with those, I was glad that I came prepared with several liters for myself and some to share with Newton along the way. The climb to the top can feel long and steep at times, and there was not any water past the first couple of miles.

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 8.38.32 PMThe trail levels out when you reach an open, blueberry-covered ridge. A couple more switchbacks take you across granite outcroppings and bring you to a few sets of rock steps. Ascend the steps and make your way just a little further to the summit. There is enough space for 5 or 6 people to sit and enjoy the view. Any additional hikers will need to hang out a little further down the mountain. Stay mindful of the whereabouts of your pets and kids at the top and keep them a safe distance from the edge – the north side of the peak is a sheer cliff with a long drop to the rocks below.

 

Because this hike isn’t as frequently talked about as others in the area, I wasn’t sure what to expect and was very pleasantly surprised. Looking from the top of Beckler Peak, the surrounding area is really quite stunning – there are clear views of the Monte Cristo Range, Glacier Peak, Mount Index, Mount Daniel, Chimney Rock, and Evergreen Mountain.

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 8.39.26 PM

Getting There

From I-5, take Highway 2 East to Skykomish. Pass the ranger station and continue for another 1.9 miles and turn left onto FR 6066. Continue on FR 6066, bearing right at the fork in 1.8 miles, then continue another 4.8 miles to the trailhead. The road can be rough at times, especially early in the season, but it is manageable if taken slow.

Day Hiking Gear

These are some of my favorite gear items for day hiking:

  • Day Pack – My Osprey day pack is the perfect size to fit all my snacks and hiking accessories and  small enough to be light and unobtrusive, even for someone short like me
  • Water Filter – A little bulkier than some other options, my Katadyn filter is still by far my favorite of any that I’ve used
  • SunscreenBadger is free of toxic chemicals like oxybenzone, instead relying on zinc as a safe physical barrier to protect your skin from sunburn
  • Knife – A good knife is an absolute must-have on day hikes and longer backpacking trips
  • Whistle – One of the simplest and more important safety tools for hiking
  • Water Bottle – I like to have a traditional water bottle and a bladder hydration system to keep in my pack to drink while walking
  • Bug Repellent (non-toxic) – For particularly buggy hikes, it’s nice to have some repellent to prevent bites from mosquitos and flies

Hiking Snacks

In addition to being important for nourishment, tasty hiking snacks are so rewarding at the end of a tough hike. For summits, I prefer treats that include chocolate – these are some of my favorites:

  • Peanut Butter Cups – Theo makes delicious peanut butter cups that are free of palm oil.
  • Mint Coconut Butter Cups – Eating evolved coconut butter cups are a great alternative to peanut butter if you don’t tolerate or prefer not to eat peanuts. Mint is by far my favorite flavor.
  • Chocolate Covered Banana Bites – I recently learned that these are made with mis-shapen bananas that were slated for disposal, which makes my love for them even stronger.
  • Vegan Chocolate-Covered PeanutsThese candies are an awesome vegan alternative to M&M’s. They taste surprisingly similar and are free of dairy and artificial colors.
4 Habits for Longer Telomeres

4 Habits for Longer Telomeres






Longer telomeres mean a healthier and longer life. So it behooves us to engage in activities and behaviors that protect our telomeres and consequently help us to avoid cancer, heart disease, and other age-related illnesses (for more information about what telomeres are and why they’re important, […]

My 5 Favorite Podcasts

My 5 Favorite Podcasts






1. Fearless Rebelle Radio  Summer Innanen’s podcast and website have helped me more than any other resource to overcome body image issues and disordered eating behavior. Listening to Fearless Rebelle Radio is largely responsible for my ability to see my body for what it is capable […]

Vegan Paleo

Vegan Paleo

Vegan Paleo

The vegan movement has been growing rapidly. Whether it be due to environmental, animal welfare, or other issues, more and more people are gravitating toward a plant-based way of eating. This includes paleo dieters who, like me, have been inundated with messages saying that meat consumption is absolutely necessary to be healthy, that fruit contains too much sugar, and that grains and legumes will cause chronic inflammation and severe digestive issues.

Paleo messages seem to conflict strongly with veganism and plant-based diets, which eschew animal products and often consist of grains, legumes, starches, and large amounts of fruit. With these factors in mind, is it possible to be entirely plant-based while still following paleo principles? I think it is absolutely possible, especially with all of the amazing, nutritious food that exists in the world.

Despite often being thought of as completely opposite ways of eating, plant-based and paleo diets have a great deal in common. Both promote consumption of whole foods and large amounts of vegetables and recommend removing all processed foods. Both also encapsulate a variety of different ways to eating. There are people who follow a high-carb low-fat vegan, fruitarian, and many other types of vegan diets. Similarly, paleo dieters fall into a seemingly endless variety of paleo-type diets, including ketogenic, high-carb, high protein, and autoimmune protocol.

On top of that, some vegan diets, such as fruitarian, are technically paleo-compliant, as they don’t include non-paleo foods such as grains and legumes. And most real, whole foods fit into both a vegan and a paleo lifestyle. These include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and tubers.

Having transitioned from a paleo to a plant-based diet, I thought I would share some of my favorite foods that fit into both a vegan and a paleo template. (more…)

Plantain Pancakes

Plantain Pancakes






Over the past year, I have developed a serious love for plantains. They are the perfect combination of starchy and sweet and offer an amazing texture to a variety of dishes. They make an exceptionally creamy vegan ice cream, far surpassing bananas in both flavor […]