Post Vacation Detox!


Last week I celebrated my birthday at one of my favorite places, Disneyland. No I didn’t turn 12, I am a grown-up. It was awesome, fast-paced and my family had some much-needed high-quality bonding time. I loved everything… except not having access to my home kitchen for real food and maybe my quiet time on the couch in the evenings. So as amazing as it was, I started planning my post vacation detox about two days into the trip.

On said trip, I brought a 40-pound suitcase full of real snacks to keep us on our A-game (or at least B-game), to save some money, and to enjoy our long days. We aimed to buy food with veggies and protein, usually salads, soups and sandwiches. But who knows what was in those salad dressings and I can only assume the meat we ate was – well – gross. On top of the toxins I know we consumed, also impacting our health and well-being were the things we did not eat while vacationing. I missed my kefir and Kombucha every day, as I ate so much dead “food.” I missed greens. I missed my blueberry smoothies with coconut oil.

It’s all good. We were only gone four days, and I came back ready to hop back on the real food train. Here are a few things I did to help my detoxing body out:


1. I drank water with fresh squeezed lemon juice and apple cider vinegar to start out each morning. Hello swamped liver, love you!!

2. I got my over-walked bod back to Bikram yoga as quickly as my over-stimulated feet could get there. I found ways each day to keep moving and get the blood flowing. Hello whirling brain and achy body, love you!

3. I cooked and enjoyed all my meals at home, going big on veggies and fruit and low on sugar and grains. Got my kefir and Kombucha fermenting on the counter as quickly as possible and started gulping down my smoothies. Hello over-worked gut, love you!

4. I went to bed and got some high quality sleep. I diffused lots of essential oils (my big birthday gift to myself!) and made some new face products to hopefully help out my upset complexion. Hello congested skin and frenzied spirit, love you!

Guess what, it worked! I feel great, ready to catch up with everything and enjoy the final year of my thirties. I no longer wish for more energy, I just need more time in each day.

Maybe this spring we could all use a little detox! Feel free to use these strategies for some personal Spring Cleaning! What are you going to do for you body this spring? Game on!!

happy campers

Clean Up! Elderberry Syrup Immunity Booster


Happy January 2014! Today we are going to dive into our first Kids Clean Up of the year, but let’s define “Kids” as anyone between the ages of 2 and 110 – kind of a broad definition, so hang with me. And I love to start these kind of posts out by declaring “I’m not a doctor! I don’t even play one on t.v.” As though you couldn’t tell. I’m just a blogger sharing some info I’ve researched and a recipe made of real food that I think you might like to try. Do what’s right for you! Talk to your health experts, whoever they may be! This is just a little information in case you haven’t heard of Elderberry Syrup before…

With cold and flu season really ripping through the cold land, taking down the big and the little with coughs and aches and worse, I have suggested to no less than 10 people this week to look into the benefits of adding Elderberry Syrup to their daily regimen to keep immunity levels boosted. They are wonderful conversations because I’ve got great answers to all their questions. Kids love the taste! A serving of a teaspoon to a tablespoon (depending on how big you are and how your immunity is holding up) a day contains big calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, betacarotene, potassium, iron, antioxidants, anthocyanins! It’s antiviral! And anti-inflammatory! It’s a beautiful color! Delish on pancakes!

On a serious note, for those of us attempting to avoid the H1N1 flu virus moving through the Sacramento region, this statement I found at sealed the deal that my family would be consuming Elderberry Syrup each day:

Antiviral components of elderberry fruit extract were tested and found to effectively inhibit Human Influenza A (H1N1 virus) in vitro, possibly by blocking the ability of the virus to infect host cells. The extract was so effective, that researchers compared it with the prescription medications Amantadine and Oseltamivir (Tamiflu).2


So off to the natural foods store, right?? Well yeah, but bring your credit card. This stuff is expensive!! And I want four people to consume it twice a day?? Oh boy. Only one thing to do… let’s clean this up and make our own!

Here’s what we are “cleaning up” – Black Elderberry Syrup. Seems funny to be cleaning it up, since I would recommend this product and have used it successfully before. But even “good” products can be made “great!”

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Ingredients: Black elderberry, acerola fruit, sugar cane, water, natural flavor from lemon juice.


The recipe I used to make my own can be found in this completely EASY (six-minute) tutorial video put together by Mountain Rose Herbs. You owe it to yourself to watch this video and see the ease of this process. It’s called simmer stuff in water. Then stir in honey. That’s all.

I followed their ingredient list (elderberries, honey, cinnamon, cloves, fresh ginger) with the following changes:

  • I used 2/3 cup of dried elderberries, instead of 1/2 cup.
  • I used 1t of ground cinnamon instead of the cinnamon stick.
  • I used beautiful local raw honey from my favorite honey guy at the farmers market to add in all the extra benefits of local pollen and more antioxidants.

I made two cups (16 ounces) in less than an hour. I used 2/3 cup of dried berries from the (approximately) 3.5 cups in the pound size bag. ($19.75 for a pound from Amazon). The ginger, cinnamon and cloves I had from other things, but we’ll say they cost $0.50 for those tiny amounts. The honey was more expensive than usual because my farmers market honey guy only had the small containers left, instead of the bulk jars at a much better deal. But I was desperate and at the market at the end of the day, so my bad. $12 for a pint (–no judging–) and I used half of it. Advanced math here, my batch cost $10 and some change for sixteen ounces. (And could be done even cheaper with a more reasonable priced local honey).

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At $7.33 per ounce at Whole Foods, that much would have cost me $117 regular or $82 on sale. Now that’s a clean up!!

Doesn’t take much to get this going! Here’s an affiliate link to grab those dried elderberries from Amazon: Elder Berries Whole Organic – 1 lb,(Frontier)

If you are not eating honey at this time and are still interested in the benefits of elderberries, this link to the Nourishing Herbalist is a beautiful recipe for a winter immunity tincture that highlights elderberry. It’s another (much cheaper) option.

Let me know if you give syrup a try. Be well!!