Exploring Blissful Plant Sprays with Baume Des Anges

Nearly a year ago, at a friend’s 40th birthday party, I had the chance to sample some amazing herbal extracts by a company called Baume Des Anges. My friend Matt (who works with the company’s founder in France) carefully emptied the contents of a small black bag onto the breakfast table, sharing tiny glass bottles of aromatic liquid.Baume des Anges

They came in all sorts of flavors and could be sprayed directly onto food for added herbal essence. Basil, celery, cilantro, and lavender were the ones I liked best, so Matt gave me a bottle of the cilantro to use at home in my kitchen. I could immediately understand the appeal of these perpetually fresh-tasting culinary sprays. How convenient to always have the full flavor of fresh-picked cilantro or lavender just sitting on the shelf! They solve two common problems that home cooks tend to have:

  1. Half-used fresh herbs going bad in the refrigerator
  2. Flavorless dried herbs that are devoid of all nutritional value (and sometimes even moldy!) taking up space in the pantry

As a home gardener who has lots of fresh herbs in the yard, I find it really difficult to grow cilantro and basil. They both bolt so quickly that I can barely use them before they’re gone. And dried basil and cilantro might as well be sawdust, as far as my taste buds are concerned, so these little bottles were pretty impressive.

Baume Des Anges

A Chance Trip to France

When the opportunity arose for me to go to Paris in June, I decided to make the most of it by extending my trip through the rest of the week and visiting the French countryside. My friend Matt, who is still living there, offered to organize a visit to the Baume Des Anges farm, where I’d spend the day with the founder, Laurent Dreyfus-Schmidt. The plan was for me to tour his beautiful property, learn about the plants and the extraction process, and enjoy the spectacular views of Provence. After using the cilantro in my cooking and loving how easy and convenient it was, I realized what an exciting opportunity it would be to learn more about these products and the process of making them.

Baumes Des Anges

Baume Des Anges Farm

Nestled in the countryside of Provence, overlooking the cave from which the company name is derived, the Baume Des Anges property is nothing short of breath-taking. The views at the edge of the property are spectacular, overlooking the Rhône and the many narrow bridges stretching across it. From the edge of the cliffs, farmland stretches as far as the eye can see, with patches of solid purple marking the iconic lavender farms for which the region is known.

Baumes Des AngesLaurent rebuilt his farm and lab at the base of an ancient water source, which trickles into his basement in the spring when the water is flowing from the mountains above. He’s set up a home lab where he blends his pure plant essences with organic sunflower oil and mineral water to make Blissful Plant Sprays. He is growing a number of culinary herbs, flowers, and trees on his farm, and gave me a tour of the property, which ended at a beautiful limestone cave hidden in a grove of oak trees. It was clear that this was a special spot for Laurent.

I even got to meet his adorable pup L, who’s trained to sniff out truffles on the property — pretty sweet dog trick!! (I don’t think Laurent was very impressed when I shared that Dexter’s best trick is putting her head on my shoulder on command.) 

Baumes Des Anges

The farm is irrigated using well water that Laurent collects in the freshwater pools on his property (one is shown above), contributing yet another natural, unadulterated ingredient into these amazingly pure and thoughtfully designed products. Laurent’s farm is one of just twelve farms (all organic or GLOBALG.A.P. certified) that provide the resources for the Baume Des Anges operation, including the farm that provides fresh-pressed organic sunflower oil for every batch of the Blissful Plant line for home cooks. I learned on my trip that the oil is pressed on-demand, leaving zero chance for rancidity or premature oxidation. 

The ‘Better than Fresh’ Process

Baume Des Anges utilizes an extraction facility that Laurent designed and built himself, just off site from the farm. His proprietary, dry, cold extraction process transforms 2.5 cubic meters of fresh herbs per batch into tiny amounts of highly concentrated Baumes Des Angesessence, retaining the complex aromas and flavors of every plant that runs through the system.

Now, I have to admit, the first time I ever earned a grade lower than a B in school, it was in chemistry class my junior year. This fact, combined with Laurent’s thick French accent (I know zero French), made for a somewhat painstaking attempt on Laurent’s part to explain the process to me. The patience he displayed should probably qualify him for sainthood. But I’m pretty sure I got it all down correctly.

Here’s what I learned from my chemistry lesson:

In order to properly extract the essence from the herbs without damaging the plant, two things need to be precisely calibrated:

  • Pressure (needs to be low)
  • Temperature (needs to be 167° F)

Laurent has built vacuum pumps into his extraction system in order to accomplish this precision. Competing companies extract essences at temperatures at or above 212° F, which Laurent believes harms some of the valuable botanical properties.

You can read more about the process from seed to bottle here

Professional Grade vs. Home Chef

I was surprised to learn that the Blissful Plant line for home cooks (the cilantro I’d been using at home) is actually significantly diluted when compared to the liquid that comes out of the dry steam extractor. Laurent explained that he only sells the pure extracts to professionals. These pure essences draw the attention of world famous chefs like Thomas Keller of The French Laundry in the Napa Valley wine country and Per Se in NYC. These are just two among the 150 Michelin-starred restaurants using Laurent’s pure essences all over the world.

The Blissful line flavors are intense, but only 1% of what’s in the bottle is the pure extract. The rest is organic sunflower oil, pressed to order, and locally sourced mineral water. When you try the home chef line, you’ll understand why I was so surprised that they were diluted at all. The flavor is amazing with just a spray or two per person.

And it’s not just professional chefs who use these essences. Top of the line perfumers like Chanel, Guerlain, and Burberry source lavender essence from Laurent, which just goes to show you how fancy this stuff really is!

Baume des Anges

I was lucky enough to walk away from this unique experience with a professional-grade bottle of Basil Essence, which Laurent recommended diluting by adding 7 drops to an entire liter of EVOO! Pretty powerful stuff! I have used it to infuse basil flavor into steak, homemade salad dressing, and roasted chicken, and I’ve loved the finished product every time. 

You can check out their full line of products and recipes on their website. In the meantime, I’ll keep using my cilantro and basil extracts in salad dressings, marinades, and as finishing touches on both protein and veggie dishes.

Keep Your Cooking Oil Fresh with Infinity Jars [REVIEW]

Some cooking oils are more sensitive than others when it comes to light and heat exposure. Although most oils are shelf-stable, proper storage is still important, particular for mono- and poly-unsaturated oils, which are liquid at room temperature. This is not to say that saturated fats like ghee or coconut oil won’t eventually go rancid on your shelf (or lose some flavor and nutritional value over time), but the liquid oils (especially high-quality ones) are especially vulnerable to oxidation over time. 

Infinity Jars: Stellar Storage

I’m sharing this today, because a company called Infinity Jars reached out to me and asked me to review their products. I’ll be honest, at first I was reluctant. I took a look at the prices and thought, “I wouldn’t buy empty bottles at these prices, why would I tell my readers to buy them?” But then I saw that they offer freebies, even with small orders as low as $25, and new customers get a 10% discount. Orders over $100 get free shipping (plus more freebies), so my curiosity got the best of me, and I decided to have them send me a couple to test out. 

Today’s product review will be about the incredible difference I saw and tasted after storing fresh avocado oil in an Infinity Jar for a little over two months. 

Infinity Jars

Planning is for Suckers

Initially, I had big plans to make a really cool video that showed my experiment from start to finish. But, alas, life got in the way. I started this oil experiment before I quit my job, and in the hectic transition out of office life, I ended up forgetting about it until two months later. I’d originally intended to do a taste test every week for a month, and then report out the findings to you. But that absolutely did not happen. Instead, I poured the oils into two different jars and left them on my counter, exposed to partial sunlight from my kitchen window for just over 2 months.

Details: The Infinity Jar Experiment

I started by opening a fresh bottle of La Tourangelle avocado oil. This oil comes in an opaque, metal container with a loose-fitting rubbery plastic top. It’s really nice oil. I poured about a cup of it into an Infinity Jar oil bottle with a pour top spout and another cup into a glass bottle. This bottle is roughly the same light green/blue color that you’d find in a super market filled with an average, not-very-special olive oil or vegetable oil. I also purchased a bottle of Chosen Foods avocado oil, which comes in a nicer, darker green bottle, such as what you might find at a boutique olive oil dispensary in the wine country or a high-end market. Here are the three of them all lined up.

Two months later, I did a not-blind taste test with myself, along with a totally blind taste test with my husband. (He was also unaware I’d been conducting this experiment prominently on our kitchen counter for 2 months, and confused as to why I was asking him to drink oil out of a shot glass. I share that detail so that you know he had NO idea what a “right answer” should be.)

Results: Infinity Jars for the Win

The clear winner was not only obvious to our taste buds, it was also very clear in just looking at the oils in the shot glasses. (I asked Loren not to look as he tasted, so he didn’t see until afterwards.) 

Here are the oils after two months on the counter.

infinity jars product review

Top: clear green/blue bottle
Left: Chosen Foods green bottle
Right: Infinity Jar oil bottle

So there you have it folks: I was initially a skeptic, and now I’m a loyal user of Infinity Jars. If you peruse their website, you’ll see how they report to measure up against dark brown glass as well. I didn’t run that experiment, but as a dabbler in essential oil potions and homemade body care (which I have been storing in brown jars), I am certainly curious about how my homemade goods are holding up after running this experiment in my kitchen with plain oil.

Give it a look and let me know what you think! For more information on cooking oils and choosing the right one for the right temperature to avoid rancidity and toxicity, consult my FREE Ultimate Guide to Cooking Oils! 

Click Here to get your FREE Guide!

No Time to Make Bone Broth? No Problem!

I’ll start off by saying that this post is about bone broth, but I feel like I need to acknowledge some things about my post from last Tuesday first. 

So last week I took a big risk by sharing that things over in CWB land haven’t been going so great. As a self-proclaimed bone broth aficionado and healthy living blogger, it can feel self-sabotaging to admit that things aren’t always going perfectly well in my kitchen and in my body. There’s the fear of losing face, and maybe even losing credibility to you guys, but I felt like being honest about what I’ve been dealing with might bring to light that even professionals who have a body of knowledge and experience to tap into struggle from time to time. We’re all human, even those of us in the blogosphere who put on the rosy cheeks and share our fancy soups and potions every day. 🙂 

I’ve already started the process of turning my health (and sense of wellbeing) around, but it IS a process, and, like everything else in life, I’m taking it one day at a time. Thanks for some of the sweet notes I’ve already received in support of the struggle I shared on Tuesday — you guys are all so great, and I can’t express enough how much I appreciate the CWB community. 

Bone Broth Routine

One of the things that used to be part of my regular routine was making gigantic batches of bone broth and freezing them in jars so that I can use it every day. I let that go for a while, and (likely due to a number of other not-so-great food choices I was making) my skin started to erupt. I also mentioned a while back that I decided to go off of hormonal birth control, and as someone with PCOS, I’ve experienced a whole other set of annoying issues that I’m working on with an ND. You can imagine what physical symptoms like unwanted body hair, acne, and “backne” do to a woman’s self-esteem, so I haven’t been feeling so hot when I look in the mirror lately either.

But I can honestly say that I’m already feeling things shifting in the right direction, and part of what’s helped me jump back into the bone broth habit is getting some of the pre-made stuff to save me from the labor of making my own until I was able to make it a priority again (which I have — the freezer is again filled with jars).

That stopgap of pre-made broth is what I want to talk to you about today. 

free kettle and fire bone broth

Kettle and Fire Bone Broth

I’ve shared this company with you before, but when I did, it was called Bone Broth Co. They’ve since upgraded the name, the website, and the product line to include not only grass-fed beef bone broth, but organic chicken bone broth as well.

I’m in love with this product for a number of reasons, but one is that it’s the only high-quality broth you’ll find in a tetra pak. What does that mean to you? For starters, it means it’s a shelf-stable product, so it can go in your pantry until you’re ready to open it up for immediate use (no thawing required). AND it means that shipping is cheaper and requires less packaging because there’s no need for temperature control like there is with frozen broth competitors. 

So you might be asking yourself what the difference is between Kettle and Fire and the brands you see in boxes on your grocery store shelves. And I can’t emphasize enough the difference in quality between those products (even the ones that are calling themselves bone broth) and what Kettle and Fire delivers. 

Here are a few differences:

  • Kettle and Fire uses only organic or grass-fed animals to produce their broth.
  • Kettle and Fire uses only organic produce to flavor the broth, giving it complexity, not only in flavor but in nutrient profile.
  • Kettle and Fire cooks their broth for 24 hours, ensuring that every ounce of goodness from the bones lands itself into the broth you’ll be sipping.
  • Kettle and Fire is the ONLY shelf-stable broth on the market that actually gels in the refrigerator (believe me, I’ve done a few tests on this myself). 
  • There’s not a single shelf-stable broth on the market that can make ALL of these claims. 

Why does my bone broth need to gel?

A good, nutrient-dense bone broth will gel (like jello) in the refrigerator and need to be scooped out with a spoon into your coffee mug or sauce pan for warming (unless you’re into eating meat jello, in which case you’re my hero, and maybe a little weird). The gel indicates that the joint and skin-supporting nutrient collagen has made its way from the boiled bones into the broth. It’s also a good indicator that everything else you were looking for in your healing potion is in there, namely a substantial amount of protein and amino acids.

Amino acids

FAQ bone broth acne cureGlutamine is a big one for gut health and is prevalent in a well-prepared (gelled) broth. Its anti-inflammatory and healing properties support gut health, muscle development, immune strength, and internal healing — especially from illness or injury due to strong prescription drugs. If you’re showing signs of a leaky gut, glutamine-rich bone broth should be on your list of healing foods to start consuming right away.

Glycine offers a powerhouse of benefits, including joint and skin support, muscle-building and protection against wasting, the
building up of a healthy gut lining, immune support (even protection from certain cancers), and digestive support. It also helps stabilize blood sugar, which is key for those at risk of diabetes or insulin resistance. 

Arginine is another inflammation-fighting amino acid that’s been associated with lowered risk of cardiovascular disease, protection against mental deterioration, performance enhancement, and improved immune function.

Proline another amino acid essential in collagen formation, so it’s helpful in tissue repair and joint and skin support. It also supports cardiovascular function, contributing to the prevention of arteriosclerosis (or hardening of the arteries). 

All of these nutrients are what make up the healing elixir that is bone broth — the same liquid gold that helped me cure my lifelong acne.

Without the gel, there’s no way for you to know how long the broth was cooked, what the ratio of bones to water was, or how much of the good stuff you’re actually getting in each serving. The gel is the simplest and most obvious indicator to look for in order to know that what you’re getting is concentrated and top quality. 

FREE Kettle and Fire Bone Broth

If you’ve been curious about the healing powers of bone broth, it’s probably because you’ve been experiencing some form of gut problem. Whether it’s bloating or indigestion, IBS or IBD, food allergies or sensitivities, skin issues or hormonal imbalance, bone broth is one of the tools you need to help you get back to vibrant health. 

You could spend the next 4 or 5 weeks headed down the rabbit hole on the web in an attempt to learn about how to heal your gut. Combing through the fluff to get to truly useful health information can be a real challenge, especially if it’s not your area of expertise. Lucky for you, starting today, you have access to the Gut Health Super Bundle, which not only gets you the best resources for gut health on the web, it also gets you two FREE boxes of Kettle and Fire Bone Broth! Get into it!

free kettle and fire bone brothGut Health Super Bundle

This amazing selection of resources includes 5 e-Courses, 16 eBooks, 44 videos, and 846 recipes to get you well on your way down the path to gut health. You’ll begin your journey with the Getting Started Guide, which features the first four resources you need if this is all new to you.free kettle and fire bone broth

A great first eBook to flip through is Zero Effort Gut Health: 10 Shockingly Easy Changes Anyone Can Make For Better Gut Health! by Dena Norton. As a wellness coach, I like Norton’s approach of taking small, simple steps to affect long-term changes in overall health and wellbeing. I recommend picking just one of her steps as a starting point and mastering it before adding the next one in. Once you get this bundle, you’ll have plenty of time to make your way through all the resources for maximum benefit — and this year just happens to be the year that the folks at Ultimate Bundle have made massive improvements with how you can access the bundle online. You’ll have a special access page with your own unique login where all of the elements of the bundle are organized in a way that helps you find exactly what you’re looking for exactly when you want it. 

Here’s the thing though. The Gut Health Super Bundle is only available for a limited time. The wonderful experts and bloggers who’ve contributed their books to the bundle can’t afford to slash their prices for long, so you have until March 27th at 11:59pm EST to get your bundle and your FREE Kettle and Fire bone broth. 

More Free Stuff!

And there’s another bonus I almost forgot to mention. Get Kombucha is adding a $20 gift card to every bundle purchase. You’re probably aware of the importance of consuming probiotic foods to help support gut health. If not, you’ll learn everything you need to know with the Lacto-fermentation eCourse in the bundle. And then you’ll be able to go spend $20 at Get Kombucha to get yourself started on the living food journey. 

Don’t forget, this is a limited time offer, so don’t miss it. Get your bundle now. 

FTC DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. All opinions are my own.

Protect Sensitive/Blemished Skin with the Best Natural Sunscreen

I’ll start this post out by saying that I’m a huge fan of Botanic Organic skin care. Today I’m going to give Nancy Newsom (founder of Botanic Organic) the floor to share how best to protect troubled skin (acne, sensitive, blemished) during the sunny summer months with the best natural sunscreen. I met Nancy at a women’s entrepreneur event in San Francisco over a year ago, and after trying out a few sample products, I was hooked. We discussed my years of skin drama (and my eventual cure), the scarring that resulted, and the best ingredients to use for topical skin care to help keep my acne-prone skin looking its best. In fact, we’re working together to get my favorite products to you at a discount, but more on that at the bottom of this post.

Mineral Sunscreen (Natural Sunscreen)

One thing Nancy insisted on without giving me even an inch of leeway was the need for a daily facial sunscreen. The word “natural,” as in “natural sunscreen” is implied here, because BO products are among the cleanest you’ll find out there. I make that distinction, because some of the chemical sunscreens (even those designed for sensitive skin) are so questionable that you might actually be better off without them — wear a hat and call it a day. I haven’t done enough research on my own to draft a solid post about this topic, but here’s a quick reference from the Environmental Working Group that explains some of the risks of chemical sunscreen, including endocrine issues (something women with PCOS certainly don’t need). 

I’ve always hated putting sunscreen on my face. I hate that gross slick, that heavy feeling, that non-breathable gross glue that passes for natural sunscreen that you find on the shelves at Whole Foods (and I used to work there, so I’ve tried a LOT of them). Remember that stuff from the 80’s that was made in fluorescent colors trying to make slathering straight zinc oxide all over your face seem cool by making it pink or green or orange? I think it was called Zinc. Or Zinka. I can’t tell if this awesome picture I found is actually from the 80’s or if this is a new product that’s trying to be as “cool” as the one from the 80’s I’m thinking of.

best natural sunscreen

photo source linked

ANYWAY, you get the idea. But in the spirit of practicing sun safety as we approach what will likely be our warmest summer on record, I asked Nancy to write a guest post showcasing her “Toni-friendly” sunscreen options. Hilariously, she starts off right away with the ingredient I just complained about — zinc oxide. And I’m happy she did — I actually learned something about how and why it’s good for problem skin, and I bet you will too. 

Both of natural sunscreen products she shares are great — I use them without complaint, which is definitely saying something. In fact, I’ve already written a review about the Raspberry & Green Tea Daily Defense Moisturizer as part of my Summer Travel Skin Care strategy. It’s my favorite facial sunscreen of all time. 

Take it away, Nancy!

Zinc Oxide for Sun Care and Acne-Prone Skin

nancy newsom botanic organic best natural sunscreen

– Nancy Newsom, Founder and CEO of Botanic Organic

At Botanic Organic, we’re big fans of zinc oxide for skin care because of its ability to both protect and repair skin. Zinc oxide is an inorganic compound that can prevent sunlight and ultraviolet rays from penetrating the skin and can also act as a barrier to protect skin from outside irritants. As a sunscreen, zinc oxide reflects ultraviolet rays away from the skin and provides protection against sun damage. It is particularly effective against long-wave UVA rays and appears to block out the harmful rays without actually penetrating the skin. (The two choices for sunscreen on the market are chemical barriers and physical barriers. Zinc Oxide is a physical (mineral) barrier and doesn’t pose the potential health risks mentioned in the EWG article linked above.) 

Sun Exposure for Acne-prone Skin

Why should acne sufferers be particularly careful about wearing a sunscreen? Tanning appears to cover up redness and dry up the surface of your skin, making some blemishes fade away temporarily. In reality, tanning causes skin irritation, especially if you stay out a bit too long and burn yourself. This adds to redness and leads to peeling, both of which may later aggravate the appearance of acne. Tanning also breaks down collagen. Collagen is one of your prime defenses against wrinkles because it keeps your skin elastic. When skin loses collagen, not only are you more likely to see wrinkles but your pores may appear larger as well.

Sun Exposure for Acne Scars

Those who are dealing with discoloration or scarring from acne may be tempted to sit in the sun to “even out” the dark marks or “camouflage” them with a tan. Unfortunately, sun is the last thing your scars need. Scar tissue is different from normal skin. Scars are less resistant to ultraviolet rays and much more prone to sunburn, especially if they are fresh. Prolonged sun exposure can also permanently darken a scar, especially in people with darker skin complexions. Therefore, scars should be protected from prolonged, direct sun exposure year round, not just during the warmer summer months. Using a sunblock on your face every single day is extremely important for this reason.

A sunblock containing zinc oxide may help to prevent scarring and hyper-pigmentation with moderate acne. Additionally, some potential scarring from severe acne might also be avoided with regular use. By reducing inflammation and encouraging proper collagen growth, the skin is able to repair itself and prevent future damage. Please remember that you may be at risk for increased sun sensitivity if you’re using an acne treatments. Products such as Accutane, Retin-A, and even over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide ointments recommend avoiding sun exposure due to an increased sensitivity.

 botanic organic best natural sunscreen

Natural Sunscreen, Antiseptic, Anti-inflammatory, Antimicrobial, Antioxidant … 

Sun blocking benefits aside, zinc oxide has mild astringent and antiseptic properties making it useful for acne and wound care. It is suggested that zinc for acne is effective because it can kill bacteria that causes red bumps during breakouts. By killing bacteria, the inflammation is reduced and pores can then be easily cleaned. It may also reduce overall inflammation and its antioxidant properties can help reduce skin damage during breakouts. Zinc oxide has been used for a number of dermatological conditions beyond acne, including infections, rosacea, pigmentary disorders (melasma), and basal cell carcinoma. [1]

High SPF zinc sunscreens can feel a bit thick and chalky for daily wear on face and neck. With this in mind Botanic Organic developed Raspberry & Green Tea Daily Defense Moisturizer. We designed this formula to encourage everyday use and included 11% zinc-oxide to provide a significant physical barrier to reflect UVA/UVB rays. Our customers who suffer from blemished skin find that it helps to control oiliness and acne without feeling heavy on the skin. Additionally, vitamin and antioxidant rich oils which are good for acne, provide organic nutrients to replenish skin and guard against environmental depletion. Green tea extract and sea buckthorn oil soothe redness and promote skin cell regeneration to aid in repairing UV damage. Shea butter, raspberry seed, buriti fruit and hemp seed oils have the natural ability to absorb a spectrum of UV radiation and therefore provide an extra degree of sun protection.

Read other Botanic Organic product reviews

Simplify Your Skin Care: Double Cleansing with Botanic Organic

Summer Travel Skin Care Made Easy with Botanic Organic

BO + CWB = <3

Great news! Nancy and I are joining forces to offer you an exclusive discount on all of my favorite Botanic Organic products! As soon as the page is built, you’ll be able to go straight to the products I use to help keep my skin looking great, and try them out for yourself. They’re all natural, organic, pure, and gentle — so clean you can eat them. We’ve been talking about doing this together for quite a while, and I’m so happy it’s finally happening! Stay tuned!


1. Mrinal Gupta, et al., “Zinc Therapy in Dermatology: A Review,” Dermatology Research and Practice, July 10, 2014; http://www.hindawi.com/journals/drp/2014/709152/.

Free Coconut Oil Just for You

Coconut oil has slowly made its way into the main stream, and I couldn’t be happier about it.  Admittedly, I live in my little Bay Area food bubble, and things I see as commonplace are “weird” or “crunchy” in other parts of the country, but I challenge you to check your local super market and see if there isn’t at least one choice for coconut oil on the shelf!

Better still, if you haven’t yet experienced the joys of having this delicious, healthy source of fat and flavor in your kitchen, I challenge you to get yourself a free jar


Yes, a FREE jar of coconut oil

Find out how to get your free jar

But first, let me tell you about why you might want to try it out (if you haven’t already).

Coconut oil has historically been demonized for its high level of saturated fat. But the fat in coconut oil is different. (The saturated fat debate in general is fodder for another separate discussion, but if we’re in search of the “good” saturated fats in the world, coconut oil is at the TOP of the list!)

The main type of fat present in coconut oil is medium­-chain triglycerides (MCTs), fats that the body can burn off quickly for an instant burst of energy. The body doesn’t tend to store MCTs in adipose tissue (fat) in the body, so many prominent paleo bloggers, biohackers, and other nutrition experts are touting coconut oil as an aid for weight loss.* I will put a little asterisk there, because while I don’t advocate counting calories, calories do count. If you start adding a big scoop of coconut oil to your daily diet but don’t change anything else, chances are you’re going to be consuming more calories than usual — not the best weight loss strategy. But eliminating inflammatory, processed oils and replacing them with coconut oils could do wonders for your waistline.

What I WILL say is that lauric acid, an MCT found in coconut oil, is akin to a miracle substance (I won’t say drug). It’s anti-everything: microbial, viral, fungal, and parasitic. It’s an amazing compound that doesn’t harm the good bacteria in your gut but can help take care of the bad stuff in and around you. It’s certainly great for problem skin and for all sorts of homemade products for your body and household.

Check out an amazing guest post by a good friend of mine and coconut oil evangelist, Dana Gelsomino, to learn 9 reasons you should have coconut oil in your life.

Uses for Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is not just great for cooking — although yes, it is great for cooking. It’s a high-heat oil that can be used for frying, baking, roasting and grilling.

Here are the ways I use coconut oil nearly every day of my life:

  1. Facial cleanser (check out my Vibrantly Healthy Skin protocol)
  2. Skin moisturizer (either alone or in homemade hand salve or lotion bars )
  3. Cooking breakfast (I love it with eggs. Some people don’t. Give it a whirl.)
  4. Scooping into smoothies
  5. Calming my dog’s rashes (and trying to prevent her from licking it off)
  6. Roasting
  7. Sauteing vegetables
  8. Stir-frying shrimp (last night I made shrimp with coconut oil, coconut aminos, and top-quality fish sauce. They were perfection.)
  9. Make up remover

Other less daily uses include:

  1. Gunk remover
  2. Baking
  3. Oil Pulling
  4. Deep hair conditioning
  5. Fatty Coffee
  6. Pancakes
  7. Chocolate bark

It’s clear I could go on forever. Coconut oil is really an amazing ingredient to have in your kitchen.  

This week, Thrive Market is offering all first­-time members a FREE full­-sized (15 ounce) jar of Nutiva organic, fair­ trade virgin coconut oil! 

Claim your jar before they’re gone! CLICK HERE.  The free coconut oil applies to new members only, but if you are already a member like I am, you can get 10% off your purchase at this link (and pick up some of those coconut aminos while you’re at it). Full disclosure: There is a $1.95 shipping charge for the coconut oil. This still ends up being about 13 cents per ounce, which is an amazing deal.

Don’t miss your chance! Get yours today!


–> Pin this offer to share with your friends! <–

FTC DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. All opinions are my own.

Heal Your Gut with a Free bottle of Get Kombucha PRO

Here’s the thing. I’ve harped about gut health a lot. Maybe even too much, but it’s only because I count it among the most important things you can do for your overall health. At the top of this page, you see a whole section of that main menu dedicated to a series I wrote called “Why Gut Health Matters.” It’s a 6-part series in which I take various health challenges, talk about them from the perspective of gut health, and offer various solutions including probiotics (of which kombucha is a great option), bone broth, and dietary changes, just to name a few.

I actually made a pretty awesome infographic for that series. Here it is again, just in case you forgot (pretty proud of myself) 🙂 If you want to check out the full series after you’re done reading this post, just click the image and a new page will open up and be waiting for you:

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Heal Your Gut and the Rest Will Follow

Anyway, to put it mildly, I happen to think that gut health is the pretty-much the end-all, be-all of health and wellbeing — fix your gut, and you’re about 90% the way there. Whether you’re talking about diabetes, heart disease, immune system support, allergies, stress, anxiety, depression, skin issues, insomnia, weight loss, bloating, food sensitivities, and/or quite possibly even dementia (research is still being done), by reducing inflammation, healing your gut lining, and balancing your gut flora, you’re sure to improve your physical (and very likely mental/emotional) state. 

I’ve shared with you my unbelievable acne story (I’d never have believed it if it had happened to anyone else), and 100% of my success is attributed to healing my gut. How I did that was a multi-step process, with the final step being a daily practice of consuming warm bone broth. I did that for two weeks straight, and twenty years of acne nearly vanished. 

The Good Bugs (Probiotics like those found in Get Kombucha PRO)

One thing I do pretty consistently in conjunction with my daily bone broth is include probiotics in my diet. Probiotics are the “good bugs” that live in your large intestine. They help ward off excessive inflammation and sugar cravings (both caused by the bad bugs), they aid in the assimilation of key nutrients from our food that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to absorb, they regulate our mood and our cravings, and can even have an effect on our sleep. To put it as simply as possible, the good bugs keep us healthy.

Whether it’s with my homemade kombucha recipe, kim chee at my favorite Korean restaurants, raw sauerkraut, or some of my awesome wild pickles, I like to incorporate some beneficial bacteria into my diet every day. But sometimes it’s just not feasible, which is when a supplement comes in. It’s also nice just to mix it up every once in a while.

Get Kombucha PRO

Because when it comes to creating a healthy colony of good bacteria in the belly, variety and quantity are your two best friends, I like to take a supplement from time to time. I will often take different ones to ensure that I’m getting a good variety, and I recently added another super cool product to my probiotic arsenal. Get Kombucha PRO is a pretty remarkable product. It takes all the good stuff from kombucha and concentrates it down into an intensely potent tincture supplement. They do it through a cold-pressing process that presses 5 lbs of the actual SCOBY, not the brewed kombucha, into one tincture. Pretty neat technology if you ask me — especially if you’re one of those people who doesn’t like the taste of kombucha but still wants all the health benefits.

How to Get a FREE bottle of Get Kombucha PRO

So why am I telling you about this product? Besides it being AWESOME, it’s also a FREE GIFT in this, the very last day of the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle Flash Sale. Now is your very last chance to get in on this amazing opportunity to get $1900 worth of eBooks and resources from the best health bloggers in the blogosphere (including me!) at a steep 97% discount.

The collection is really something, and it covers just about anything you could possibly imagine in the way of healthy living, homesteading, parenting, natural remedies, essential oils, whole food diets, homemade body care and cleaning products … and the list goes on and on. I used this eBook as the inspiration to some of my homemade Christmas crafts this year, and I’ve checked out quite a few more too, for guidance in a personal health challenge, recipe ideas, and chemical-free cleaning products. Here’s the full picture of what you get in this bundle. It’s pretty mind-blowing!

Get Kombucha Pro

We as authors and bloggers offer our products at such a deep discount for a tiny amount of time because we know that, when packaged together, our collective knowledge will spread farther and reach more people than we could ever reach alone. And we want to help as many people as possible!

I’m really proud to be a part of this bundle (you can see my Nine Easy Steps to Delicious Gluten-Free Living tucked in there on the second row!), and I’m eager for you to check it out and benefit from the priceless resources inside. 


So about that bonus thing. Not only is the Get Kombucha PRO offered to you absolutely free (a $39.99 value — you just have to pay shipping), but you also get bonuses from five other UHLB partners, totaling a $175 value!

  • ePantry – FREE hand soap + $8 credit on one shipment, FREE dish soap + $8 credit on the next shipment, AND 60-day VIP access with FREE shipping ($30 value)
  • Bloom Naturals – FREE SPOT treatment for acne & eczema OR a $15 gift certificate toward Bloom Naturals products ($15 value)
  • Perfect Supplements – $15 gift certificate toward any Perfect Brand product ($15 value)
  • Strawesome – $15 gift certificate toward the straws and accessories of your choice ($15 value)
  • TriLight Health – FREE 2-oz liquid herbal formula or $15 off larger bottles ($15 value)
  • Craftsy – 1 FREE online class ($44.99 value)

Get Kombucha Pro

Don’t miss your chance to get in on this amazing deal. It goes until 11:59pm TONIGHT, that’s 12/29/15. And of course, there’s a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so there’s zero risk to try out this amazing bundle. Once the sale is over, this bundle is gone forever. 

Get Kombucha Pro

FTC DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. All opinions are my own.

Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle Surprise Sale! 2 DAYS ONLY

Remember over the summer when my eBook was part of the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle — that amazing bundle of eBooks and resources from around the web offered at a super steep discount and alongside a ton of free Bonus gifts? And remember how it was only offered for 7 days??

The folks at Ultimate Bundle have decided to re-open the sale for 2 days only — that’s TODAY and TOMORROW. For the next 39 hours, you get access to this amazing offer one last time! If you got it last time, consider getting it for a friend or family member this time, and if you heard about the sale too late in the game last time, now’s your chance to find out what you missed. 
ultimate healthy living bundle

New Year New You with the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle

This bundle is the perfect tool to jump-start any New Year’s Resolutions you might have around getting fit, going paleo or gluten-free, learning how to make natural body care or cleaning products, starting a garden, learning to pickle, losing weight, and the list goes on and on!

If you want to learn more about what this bundle has done for me, you can read my story here — it’s a short review of one of the 90+ resources available in the bundle along with a key piece of my personal health journey. 

The breadth of material covered in this bundle is really unmatched, and the value is too. If you were to get each of these books individually, you’d be spending $1900+, but this bundle is discounted 97% for just these two days. We as authors agree to do that for the opportunity to have our eBooks in front of more readers than we’d ever be able to do on our own. (At least that’s true for me!)

And the bonuses are endlessly amazing — they’re actually a little different from what they were back in August, so if you’ve already purchased a bundle, you have a few new bonuses waiting for you — for FREE (some have shipping fees).

ultimate healthy living bundle

I ordered my Get Kombucha bonus already (that’s a new one)! Can’t wait to try it. You know I feel about all those good gut bugs! 🙂

After tomorrow, this bundle disappears forever, so don’t miss your chance. 

You know I don’t do a ton of hard-selling without any additional content, but this is a special case because it’s too good a deal to pass up, and the deadline is TOMORROW (12/29/15) at 11:59pm.

Go check it out! If you order it and find that it’s not everything I’ve promised, you can ask for a full refund within 30 days. No strings.

Best wishes to you and yours as we dive in to 2016!!

ultimate healthy living bundle

FTC DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links (CWB Favorite Picks), which means I may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. All opinions are my own.

Give the Gift of Health to a Family in Need: Shop Thrive Market

If you’re anything like me this time of year, you contend with “One for You, One for Me Syndrome” as you make your way through your shopping list for the holidays. You find the purse you were going to buy for your sister and think, “You know, I could use a purse like this too,” and end up with two in your hand as you head to the cashier. I’ve actually been doing this as I make all my crafty homemade gifts this year — something that’s not quite so risky on the pocket book, but I digress. It’s even easier to get caught up in the “One for you, One for me” habit with online shopping — it’s a click of a button to add another, so why not? But what if that syndrome actually did something great for a family in need this holiday season?

That’s where Thrive Market comes in.

Before I go any further, I’ll say up front that I’m an affiliate for Thrive Market. If you choose to stay with me through this post and then click the big red and green button at the bottom, I will get a commission at no extra cost to you. That’s how lots of bloggers make their money. : ) We tell you about things we know, love, and use, and when you give them a try, we get a tiny piece of the pie. Win win for everyone! Yay!

Thrive Market

Why Thrive Market?

I’ve had a passive link to Thrive on my home page for quite a while now, so there’s a chance that you’ve clicked on it at least once. But in case you haven’t, I’ll give you a short run-down of why I choose and recommend this beautiful online marketplace.

We all love the foods and products at Whole Foods, but we don’t love the price tags there right? For the average American, it’s not financially tenable to do all the weekly grocery shopping at such an expensive market. The prices at places like Costco or Sams Club are much more appealing. But the hassle of going to those club stores — the parking, the crowds, and the QUANTITY requirement to actually get the savings — is huge. You really need to have a big garage or lots of storage if you want to do the club thing. For me, it’s prohibitive.

I am not a member of a single large-scale wholesale club like Costco or Sams. And there are two reasons for that. One I just named (the hassle/space problem). The second is that I don’t want most of what they sell. I don’t want a 12-pack of Lean Cuisine or the biggest wheel of brie cheese on earth. I want what’s in the aisles of Whole Foods. Having been involved in the natural foods industry and/or holistic health (including working at Whole Foods) for close to 10 years, I’ve come to trust the quality of certain brands and products. And the Venn Diagram of what’s both at Costco and at Whole Foods (while certainly growing) isn’t very big. 

Thrive Market

So in short, I want:

  • the healthy brands I trust
  • in whatever quantity I choose
  • delivered to my doorstep
  • at wholesale prices

That’s Thrive Market.

One for You, One for Me

So back to this holiday conundrum. We’re upon the season of giving, the time of year when most of us ramp up the charity work, the donations to important causes, the deliveries to food banks, and the volunteering at soup kitchens. Many of us join forces with coworkers or neighbors and adopt a family to ensure that they have a Merry Christmas just like we will, filled with gifts and ashop thrive market and give the gift of access yummy meal. Thrive Market can be a part of your gift-giving experience this holiday season. When you join Thrive Market for the year, you sponsor a membership for a family in need. In short, you provide access to top quality staples, snacks, home goods, and baby products for a family that would otherwise be without.

You’re giving them an opportunity to get more for their food dollar (with discounts of 25-50%), improve their health, and enjoy a home cleaned with non-toxic products. And you get all those things too. One for them, one for you. It’s a win-win. And the best part is when you sign up through my link, you get your first month of Thrive Market for free. You can try it out and take advantage of the savings before you commit to an annual membership. Give it a whirl, you might just find some great last-minute, under-$20 holiday gift items. To make it easy for you, I’ve compiled some things I think would make adorable gifts and stocking stuffers!

Gift-giving with Thrive Market

Sisters Gourmet Cookie Mixes

Mrs. Clause Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

Gingerbread Cookie Mix

Cookies for Santa Mix


Ornaments 4 Orphans

Rwandan Ball Ornament


Chocolate and Candy

Dark Chocolate Sampler


Coombs Pure Maple Candy


And the list goes on …

Baby Gifts

Pet Toys and Accessories

Body Care (loving the nail polish!)

Lip Care (balm, scrub, gloss)

They just keep coming. 

Find out what you could save by shopping at Thrive Market, and give the gift of access to healthy living this holiday season!

Start Your Free Trial Now (1)


Special Edition: Cultivated Wellbeing 2 Year Anniversary!

It’s officially been 2 YEARS since I started Cultivated Wellbeing (CWB), and I have to say, it’s been SUCH a fun ride. I’ve enjoyed pretty-much every minute of the journey so far, and I’m looking ahead at what’s to come in all aspects of my life — personal, professional physical, psychological (well, I guess I’m only looking forward to things that start with a “p”).

A pretty cool side-effect of having a blog in the style of CWB is that it sort of doubles as a virtual scrapbook, chronicling the adventures in the aspects of my life that I’m most eager to write about: those in the kitchen, the great outdoors, the garden, and inside my mind. This project started out as an expression of all the ways I wanted to create and feel personally fulfilled, and over the course of the last two years, I’ve whittled away some of the hobby-style aspects of the blog and focused more deeply on the activities I think would be most useful for others — the lessons I’ve learned and discoveries I’ve made along the way that might benefit someone else. 


I shared this image in my very first CWB post back in 2013. It was taken on a climbing adventure in Pinnacles National Park, and the only proper gear I had for climbing was my harness and shoes. Seeing this — what I’m wearing from head to toe really highlights for me that this was the beginning of an epic adventure in the sport of rock climbing. I barely recognize the person in this picture. She certainly had no idea what was to come!

Progress Report

Over the course of the last two years, I’ve forged relationships with other bloggers through workshops, conferences (like BlogHer), and on the interwebs. These relationships have taught me how to make genuine connections through blogging, how to reach more readers, how to use social media as best I can to get my message out, and ultimately how to create better content for you to read.

I’ve been a guest on radio shows and podcastsfeatured on other blogs and wellness sites, hosted guest bloggers here at CWB, even had a spot on a news show in Milwaukee!

I’ve published three eBooks, one of which was bundled together with masterpieces from some of my peers in the blogosphere in the 2015 Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle.

I’ve forged relationships with companies I believe in and just recently launched a YouTube station dedicated to answering your questions about the Bone Broth Acne Cure.

Oh yeah, and before your very eyes, I cleared 20 years of acne in two weeks with traditionally prepared bone broth. That was a big one. 🙂

The Bone Broth Acne Cure Question and Answer

In the garden

Over the past two years, I’ve built out my garden (even won a competition!) and seen both successes and failures in the front and back yard. I learned that slugs love to get drunk and that peppers and tomatoes prefer the front yard over the back.

I’ve discovered that succulents prefer less sunlight than I thought they did, and that food won’t grow under the shade of a redwood tree.

I’ve set up an indoor seed-sprouting station, been ready to kill my dog over a destroyed green bean crop, and found joy and magic in the surprisingly delicious brassica bean

Above all else, I’ve learned that organic gardening is a humbling endeavor, and that what worked one year might not work the next. In the garden, you will always be surprised (maybe not always pleasantly), and you will inevitably find powdery mildew, aphids, and leaf miners. I’ve learned that nature rules, and there are plenty of variables you can’t control — a lesson that applies on many fronts of life. No matter what you do, or how long you’ve been at it (for me, not all that long), you will always learn something in the garden. I started gardening because I wanted to cultivate my own food, but I’ve ended up cultivating a lot more than that. CWB Garden Spoils (1)

In the kitchen

The CWB kitchen has turned out some pretty fantastic flavors over the last two years, if I might say so myself! Of course, there have been some flops too, which you’ve probably seen if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook. My sad cauliflower pizza crust that crumbled on the plate, the chewiest turkey necks known to man, burning things, under-boiling Dungeness crab … the list goes on and on.

But the gems are in there too! I’m planning to dedicate a whole post to recipe highlights of 2015 at the end of this year, but for now, suffice it to say that if you want to get a bunch of winners all in one package (or three), consider downloading my eBooks! And here are some teasers just because I can’t help myself:

Recipe Round up Sneak Peek!

In the Great Outdoors

The amount of character that has been built entirely out of the perils of climbing and being in the elements could fill a whole book. Granted, we got our van this year, which was HUGE for cold weather camping, but in the end, it’s the adventuring that’s paved the way to a more contemplative and deliberate me. 

Let’s not kid ourselves. Sometimes there’s crying. I’d say that on multi-pitch climbs, there might even often be crying. But I never regret the push. I never regret getting to see the view at the top, struggling with a move I don’t think I can do and then finally pushing through it. Climbing forces you to be in the moment — right there, nowhere else.

It’s not the kind of sport that allows you to check out and move forward mindlessly — there is no multitasking in climbing. You have to be completely in it. And that element of singular focus can really be a challenge for me sometimes. I’m juggling a lot right now in my professional life, and it’s often difficult to turn it off at the day’s end. Climbing forces you to clear your mind and solve the problem in front of you.  And all the while you get to be in some of the most beautiful places on earth.


Brag Over

Ok, so I’ve spent this whole post telling you all the great things life has brought in the last 2 years. Sorry if it was over the top. But the point of this post was to encapsulate this moment in time — this two year mark where I look back to see where I was, look in the mirror to see where I am, and look ahead to see where I’m going. And I’m doing all three things with the utmost gratitude and humility.

This work is fun, but it’s a commitment to making tiny little steps forward. There aren’t a ton of overnight blogging success stories, but sometimes it’s hard to resist comparing myself to others, and wondering if there’s something more I could be doing to get to the next level. A little sense of competition never hurt anyone, but that urge to compare can be intoxicating — and toxic. A lesson I’ve learned across everything I’m doing: in blogging, in business, in gardening, cooking, lifting, and ESPECIALLY climbing, is that nothing good comes from comparing myself to other people. All I can do is see where I was, see where I am, and see where I’m going. 

One of the more treacherous experiences of the last two years -- Cathedral Peak in Tuolomne Meadows. This was a multi-pitch climb that involved altitude sickness, getting lost on the route, and realizing as the sun was setting that two out of three of us had forgotten our headlamps. If it weren't for the patient and generous soloers who topped out with us, we might have had to camp out up there.

One of the more treacherous experiences of the last two years — Cathedral Peak in Tuolomne Meadows. This was a multi-pitch climb that involved altitude sickness, getting lost on the route, and realizing as the sun was setting that two out of three of us had forgotten our headlamps. If it weren’t for the patient and generous group of soloers who topped out with us, we might have had to camp out up there. Sure is pretty though, right?

Spoiler Alert!

I won’t spoil everything I have in my bag of goodies, but there are some exciting things in the works at CWB. In this third year of the blog, I plan to launch some exciting new offerings, write another eBook (more to come on that!), and who knows? maybe there will be some new developments in the CWB kitchen that are worth writing home about!  

Until then, THANK YOU for your support over the last two years (or whenever you started reading)! Thank you for subscribing to my newsletter, for replying to my emails, for taking my surveys and answering my questions, for participating in the comments section, for watching my YouTube channel, and for following me on social. The CWB community is amazing, and as we move into this third year, I plan to call on you more and more to ask for your input as I build the next phase of this project. 

Partnering with Bone Broths Co to Bring You the Best Bone Broth on the Market

Editor’s Note (3/20/16): Since writing this post, Bone Broths Co. has changed names to Kettle and Fire. This post has been updated to reflect the changes. The product is still the same top quality.

The questions I get most often at CWB are about my Bone Broth Acne Cure — how to make it, how it works, and will it work for this or that type of skin condition, allergy, or gut problem. I also hear a lot of reservations about actually taking the time to make the bone broth itself.

Over the course of the last two years since sharing my own gut-healing story, I’ve learned that asking people to spend time in the kitchen when they’re not used to it; to leave their stove on low all night or all day while they’re fast asleep or away at work; to buy a bunch of jars and clear space in their freezer — these requests can be pretty uncomfortable for some.

As someone who loves to cook (and someone who suffered long and hard for years with gut and skin problems), it never occurred to me just how big these barriers to entry might be. To those of you who love making your own bone broth, by all means, keep on keeping on; but if you have been curious about bone broth but haven’t tried it because it seemed like a hassle or too much work, I’m talking directly to you for the remainder of this post. 

Shortcut to success with the Bone Broth Acne Cure

Today, I’m offering the ultimate shortcut to getting this nourishing, gut-healing elixir into your belly, so that it can do the important work of sealing your gut lining and clearing your skin. 

I’ve hinted at this collaboration for long enough, and it’s finally time for me to announce that I’ve officially found a pre-made, slow-cooked bone broth that’s up to my quality standards and nutritional snuff — one that I can stand behind and feel good about offering to you with a full vote of confidence. 

bone broth acne cure kettle and fire
Believe it or not, there is a lot of high-quality bone broth companies to choose from, and I’ve tried quite a few. But a big problem lies in the packaging and the shelf life. Not a single one of the high-quality brands I’ve tried comes shelf-stable.

Kettle & Fire reduces waste with minimal packaging (and no ice packs, which saves you money on shipping) and uses only top quality bones from grass-fed cows and organic veggies, and they slow-cook the broth just like I do at home. 

Bone Broths Co partnership acne cure

The box on the left shipped two cartons of Kettle & Fire product. The box on the left shipped two freezer bags of the same size from a competitor.

Does it gel?

This is an important question. It might be THE question in fact. 

For the past 6 months, I’ve been on a mission to find the right company to work with in my quest to offer YOU, my readers, an excellent pre-made bone broth solution. Upon gently turning down one of the frozen brands I’d sampled, they responded back to me that I’d be sacrificing quality by choosing a shelf-stable bone broth. They said that the broths you find in tetra-packs aren’t cooked long enough, use fewer bones, and don’t gel. While that’s true for one brand I’ve tried that shall remain nameless — and flavorless — it’s patently false about Kettle & Fire

Their product is the absolute exception to this rule. They cook their broth for at least 24 hours to ensure that all the important healing constituents in the bone matrix make it into the liquid. Otherwise, it would be a bland, watery mess like some of their competitors.

Does it gel? YES it gels. Here’s proof: 
Bone Broths Gel

Bone Broth for Travel

The box in the picture above was pulled out of my suitcase, not out of the refrigerator. One of the beauties of having a shelf-stable product (in addition to sparing the environment, skipping the waste, and saving on shipping costs), is that you can now travel with your bone broth. This summer on my 10-day vacation, I packed two of these little boxes in my luggage so that I could enjoy my morning ritual away from home.

And honestly, traveling could be when you need bone broth most — the immune-boosting qualities can protect you when you’re on an airplane breathing recycled air and touching everything that everyone else is touching. 

I’ve tried a number of the pre-made bone broths on the market right now, and I can honestly say that this one not only tastes the best, but is of the absolute highest quality. And the portability is basically priceless — especially for someone like me who likes to escape to the van from time to time and go adventuring. 

Bone Broths Co partnership acne cure

photo credit: Loren Rothman

The CWB/Kettle & Fire Affiliate Partnership

If you’ve been struggling with gut issues or skin problems and haven’t found the time to make homemade bone broth yet, this is your chance to try it without spending more than 1 minute in the kitchen to warm up the mug. 

The Bone Broth Acne Cure

I won’t pretend to know how every individual will react to adding this healing liquid gold into their diet, but as most of you have read, it took just two weeks of drinking the stuff for 20 years of acne to disappear from my face

curing acne naturally

These little boxes make two servings each, so if you want to guarantee that you’ll have enough for two weeks straight, I suggest you start with 7 boxes. Your other option is to get the subscription package (which I happen to see as more of a maintenance plan). Either way, you save 15% by using my affiliate link, and you get free shipping too!

bone broth acne cure kettle and fire
If you have any questions before you purchase, feel free to hit me up. I love helping you guys out, so don’t hesitate to ask!

I can’t wait to hear how you like this bone broth! I love it and have already placed my order for my Thanksgiving travels and a few recipes I plan to feature right here between now and the end of the year.

Addendum #1: Two weeks ago, in an effort to answer the flood of questions that come in about the BBAC, I announced the launch of my new YouTube Channel: Bone Broth Acne Cure: Question and Answer, where I address your burning questions about this amazing remedy. New episodes drop every Thursday at 2pm PST. Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss anything, and if you have a question of your own, please reach out to me directly so I can get it answered on a future show. 

Addendum #2: If you haven’t already subscribed to my newsletter, it’s high time you did. You’ll get a free eBook just in time for the fall season. It’s filled with amazing pumpkin recipes that range from sweet to savory, even spicy — and they’re all simple to make! You’ll also have your pick of some of my other clear skin resources, including how to take your skin to the next level: Vibrantly Healthy Skin. Just reply to your welcome email to let me know you want my Bone Broth Acne Cure Resources and I’ll shoot them right over to you as soon as humanly possible.   Subscribe Now

FTC DISCLOSURE: This is not a sponsored post but I will receive compensation if you use the links in this post to purchase Bone Broths Co. bone broth. I’m proud to call this company a partner and work with them to bring bone broth to as many people as possible. All opinions are my own.

Handmade Gift Ideas for the Gift-Giving Season and Beyond

I made a deal with myself that I was not going to let this holiday season sneak up on me again. I was going to get everything done far in advance and sit back while everyone else scrambles. Last year, I’d wanted to do all homemade gifts for Christmas, and I failed miserably (well, I did get some yummy flourless rum balls made for my coworkers, I’ll give myself that). But I didn’t give myself enough time to research or actually make any of the things I wanted to give to my family. Since I’d already bought a few little jars to play with some recipes, I decided to at least try making a hand creme, just for 3 people that I knew wouldn’t be upset if it was terrible. And because it was rushed and I didn’t know what I was doing, it ended up being a little too waxy — and kind of weird.

Not what I wanted.

Full disclosure: I’m terrible at giving gifts on time. Christmas is the one exception — well, sometimes Loren gets some late Christmas gifts — but for the most part, because I am traveling to see my family in Texas, I have to get all those gifts together before we head down there. In general, because I want to get the perfect thing, I put it off and put it off until, alas, the gift is late. It’s a bad habit I’m trying to break. (Sorry, friends I owe wedding presents!)

handmade gift ideas homemade gift ideas

click here to get my flourless rum ball recipe!

‘Tis Not Yet the Season!

I know it seems too early to talk about this — and it kind of is, we haven’t even started with the pumpkins yet — but I made a deal with myself people! I am NOT going to fall behind! I’ve been gathering ideas and recipes and containers and all kinds of goodies for this year’s gift-giving extravaganza, and I’ve even started making stuff already. So far, I’ve stuck to shelf-stable culinary gifts — which by the way, I cannot WAIT to share with you in some upcoming posts — but I’d also like to try my hand at some decent homemade body care products this year.

And that’s where this beautiful little number comes in!

A Sonoma Garden’s Simple Handcrafted Body Care

handmade gift ideas

This beautiful eBook, created by Kendra from A Sonoma Garden, features recipes for everything from lotions to lip balms, and the best part is that they’re simple! Part of my problem last winter was that when I did a cursory search for homemade hand creme online, the formulas I found called for all sorts of expensive ingredients that sort of defeated the purpose of making a homemade gift.

Of course, I want my homemade gifts to come from the heart and be something that people will love and appreciate that I took the time to make myself. BUT I don’t want to spend twice as much as I would have if I’d just gone out and bought a version of what I was making them. That seems silly. Kendra’s formulas and recipes feature ingredients that are easy to find and don’t cost an arm and a leg. And she encourages experimentation, which you know I love! I usually call it “intuitive cooking” but in this case, I guess it’s “intuitive mixing.” Either way, I’ve already bookmarked the items I’m adding to my crafting list for this winter’s gift-giving season, and thanks to the bonus gifts in this year’s Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle, I already have three essential oils to to use in my handcrafted gifts! This bundle offer is now over. If you’d like to be informed of the next time an offer this good comes around, fill out this super short form and I’ll be sure to let you know! (They happen at least once a year)

handmade gift ideas homemade gift ideas

This Year’s Bonuses

“What’s this you say about free essential oils?” (Surely that’s what you’re asking.) That’s right! Plant Therapy is giving away their three favorite oils to everyone who purchases this year’s bundle. Quite a few of this year’s bonus gifts are physical items that will be mailed to your home, including these three bottles of pure essential oils. (and one of my bonuses is too if you fill out this form to let me know you ordered!) This bundle offer is now over. If you’d like to be informed of the next time an offer this good comes around, fill out this super short form and I’ll be sure to let you know! (They happen at least once a year)

Here are all of the amazing sponsors for this year’s bundle!

Natural Home in the Ultimate Bundle

Kendra’s Simple Handcrafted Body Care is just one of many amazing eBooks included in a section of the Healthy Living bundle called Natural Home, which features 9 other resources, including Detox Your Home by Katie the Wellness Mama. These two books alone are worth nearly as much as the cost of entire bundle of 90+ resources on healthy living and holistic health. In fact, the whole bundle is worth $1900, and until 11:59pm EST tonight, it can be yours for a whopping 97% off. This offer isn’t just a steal, it’s access to resources that can help you give your home and your health a makeover.

If you’ve been curious about the best natural replacements for the toxic cleaners under your kitchen sink and in your bathroom cabinet, or if you’re curious about handmade gift ideas like I was, this is the bundle for you.

Allergy Free

If you feel stifled by food sensitivities and want new ideas that cater to your special diet, this is the bundle for you.

Essential Oils

If you’ve been wanting to explore the power of aromatherapy and the healing potential of essential oils, this is the bundle for you.

Fitness and Weight Loss

If you’re short on motivation to kick your activity up a notch and lose a few inches off your waistline, this bundle is just the thing to spring you into action.

Healthy Kids

If you’re thinking about having kids and you want to prepare yourself, your home, and your body for your new family member, this is the bundle for you.


If you’re like me and you fantasize about one day raising chickens and canning all your garden spoils, or you’re curious about starting an organic garden from scratch, this is the bundle for you.

Natural Remedies

If you don’t like taking over the counter meds and want to try more natural home remedies for colds, flus, aches, and pains — and even some chronic conditions — this is the bundle for you.


If you’ve been curious about the Paleo diet but have had trouble sifting through all the recipe websites and media hype, this is the bundle for you.

Real Food

If you want a crash course in traditional eating (cheese making, fermenting foods and beverages) or are simply looking for strategies for eating more of a whole foods diet, this is the bundle for you. 

Time’s Running Out

This bundle offer is now over. If you’d like to be informed of the next time an offer this good comes around, fill out this super short form and I’ll be sure to let you know! (They happen at least once a year)

I think I made my point. But seriously, there really isn’t much time left to cash in on bundle pricing. You have until midnight tonight to make it happen, and I’d really hate to see you miss out on such a killer deal. I’ve already started perusing the resources in this bundle, and I’ve yet to be disappointed.

The beautiful thing is though, if you aren’t as excited as I am about your bundle once you get it, there’s a 30 day money back guarantee. I know it seems rushed (we do this sale for just one week, and today’s the last day), but that’s kind of the whole deal. The authors in this bundle (including me!) agree to put their (our) eBooks and eCourses together for just a short time. We do this to get these amazing resources out to as many people as possible within this little window so that everybody wins! 

Go have a look at it and see what you think. You won’t regret it!

Back from Vacation with Something Exciting to Share!

I just got home from an eventful 10-day vacation that started in Texas and ended in Maine. With two back to back wedding weekends and a short New Hampshire climbing trip in between, we had a jam-packed time. I wish we could have had a bit more relaxing mixed into this whirlwind trip, but to be honest, it was so much fun it doesn’t matter. I was able to recharge my battery by reconnecting with great friends while enjoying the beautiful natural landscape in central Maine. We swam, we ate, we drank, we laughed, we cried. (Might have been the crying-est wedding I’ve ever attended — and most unique and beautiful.)

4 essential habits of healthy families

Spending quality time with friends and family is always fodder for a sweet (potentially sappy) post about how much I cherish the people in my life. I’ve done that a few times on this blog, so I’ll sum up my sentiments with this: I am so so so grateful for the path I’ve taken in my life that’s led me to amazing people, all doing amazing things with their talents and passions. I cherish the relationships I have — my cousins who are getting older and have become young adults that I love talking to and listening to, and the friends I’ve made over the years. 

4 essential habits of healthy families

Baby Bonanza

The last weekend of my vacation was spent entirely surrounded by kids. I seriously don’t think I’ve ever seen so many children in one place at one time that wasn’t some sort of school or camp in my entire life. There might have been close to a 1 to 1 ratio of adult to child at this wedding. It was bananas. 

4 essential habits of healthy families

A few of the little ones gathered to play in the ice inside the booze-filled canoe

But there was also something cool about it. My friends who got married draw a special type of person into their lives — the DIY, off the grid, natural-living, adventure-seeking, sincere type. I was excited to reunite with the mutual friends we share, but I was also fascinated to meet people I’d heard about by name but never met (and their 2 to 5 kids in tow). I was interested to learn about the unique and fulfilling ways they were living their lives and raising their families.

And that brings me to the “something exciting to share”!

The 4 Essential Habits of Healthy Families

I skipped a post last week while I was on my vacation, but what I wanted to give you is ready today! It’s free and it’s awesome. Get excited.

Here it is:


My friends over at Spark Health and Ultimate Bundles have put together a FREE mini-course called “The 4 Essential Habits of Healthy Families” Hey Folks, sorry, but this promo is over. But there’s a new one running through the folks at Ultimate Bundle! Go on over and check it out! (affiliate link)

The course contains a collection of quick and easy-to-follow lessons from trusted bloggers (like me!) to help awesome people (like YOU) learn simple, helpful ways to get yourself and your family on track for a healthy fall and winter season (and beyond!)

Here are the 4 Habits:

  • Essential Habit #1: “Nurturing your Best Self” (with Heather from Mommypotamus)
  • Essential Habit #2: “Staying Fit as a Family (Gym Membership Not Required)” (with Crystal from Money Saving Mom)
  • Essential Habit #3: “From Scratch Meal-Making” (with Katie from Kitchen Stewardship)
  • Essential Habit #4: “Using Natural Remedies” (with Katie from Wellness Mama

Each lesson comes with a 25-minute audio lesson, PDF transcript, and a practical “Take Action” guide.

Why You Need this Free Course:

If you’re like me, you’re often on the hunt for an easy, healthy snack to bring on the trail (or to the office), a new natural dish soap that actually works (and doesn’t just spread the grease around on your dishes), or a natural remedy for a head cold or sore throat that doesn’t destroy your gut bacteria (or taste like chemical grossness, not that herbal formulas taste that great).

You think about all this stuff because you want to be healthy and you want your family to be healthy too, right? You want to have plenty of energy to do things you love — get outside for a hike, play with your furry friends and children, do some yard work, create something beautiful.

And maybe you’re curious about what natural alternatives you could use in your house to get rid of the chemical-laden cleaners and sprays you use at home. I know I’ve been working on a chemical-free household for quite some time, and I’m almost there. My husband and housemate can’t quite let go of the chemical bathroom stuff, but I’m still working on him.

This course sets you up for success in the most essential areas of health and wellness, and it’s great for the whole family. And I love it because you can listen to it on the go and check out the “Take Action” guide when you’re ready to get started. I don’t know about you, but anything that gives me the option to listen instead of read is probably more likely to get consumed, because I can do it while I drive. I love that about modern technology!

If you want to get your family on the road to real health, it’s simple to get started: sign up for your FREE mini-course now!

P.S. Hurry because this mini course is only available until Sunday, September 6th. Don’t miss your chance to access this exclusive content! Grab it now.

Update: Sorry, this free offer is no longer available. Click here to make sure you catch the next one!

4 essential habits of healthy families


FTC DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. All opinions are my own.

Summer Travel Skin Care Made Easy with Botanic Organic

Traveling can really mess up a daily skin care routine, can’t it? At least my kind of travel does: sleeping in the back of our camper van in the woods with no running water or amenities. Missing out on warm running water can put a minor crimp in my regimen — have you ever tried to rinse off something oily or soapy with freezing cold water? It’s a pain. But I’m excited to share that I’ve found a great travel skin care solution in an awesome product from Botanic Organic. In fact, I’m going to share two fantastic Botanic Organic products today — together I’m calling them Botanic Organic’s Traveling Skin Care Solution

botanic organic coupon botanic organic giveaway travel skincare

Travel Skin Care: Summer Edition

Even if you aren’t the weekend warrior type like me, you might find that going through a whole skin care routine when you’re on the road can be a hassle. And you might also find that in the summertime, globbing greasy sunscreen all over your face is uncomfortable and annoying — especially when it’s hot or humid.

But here’s the problem: 

You still want your skin to be clean, healthy, and protected from the elements, even when you’re on the road — perhaps especially when you’re on the road — when stress, sleeping in a different bed, and other external challenges could cause a breakout.

So what are my choices here? Should I just deal with a greasy face to make sure it stays protected from the sun, possibly risking a few clogged pores in the process? Should I plan on bringing my whole bathroom cabinet of facial care with me on the road and hope that I feel like doing my standard nightly routine when I’m exhausted at the end of a day of travel? Certainly these aren’t my only choices. 

The solution: Botanic Organic’s Traveling Skin Care Solution

Today’s product review is going to address both of these quandaries with two products from Botanic Organic, a beautiful little homespun company based right here in the San Francisco Bay. This is my second review of BO products (you can check out my first review here), and just like in the last post, I’ll be giving away the dynamic duo I’m touting at the end of this review. I’ll also be sharing a 20% off coupon with all of you, so don’t leave without that coupon code!

Traveling Cleanser Solution: Chamomile and Lavender Facial Cleansing Spraybotanic organic travel skincare

I decided to try this product after learning that the lemon oil in my favorite Botanic Organic cleanser could be leaving me vulnerable to hyperpigmentation on my already sun-damaged face. Apparently lemon oil is phototoxic, which means that I shouldn’t use it on my skin before a weekend out in the sun (which is basically every weekend this time of year). I didn’t stop using the oil cleanser (most everything I read said that if you don’t leave the product on your face, you aren’t at risk), but I wanted something I could use on sunny days without worrying about it.

I didn’t realize that the two products were so dramatically different until I tried the Chamomile and Lavender Spray for myself. When I used the spray, at first I felt like I was just using a toner, and I wasn’t sure that I was actually cleaning anything. Then I decided to wipe down my sprayed face with a clean cloth and I saw just how much of a day’s worth of climbing outside came off. The spray and all its healing ingredients left me feeling refreshed and clean. On big days outside, I usually do two or three passes of the spray with a wash cloth or cotton pads for good measure, and it works great.

The ingredient profile is chalk-full of healing, calming, cooling properties — great for sensitive skin, acne-prone skin, or even sunburnt skin. In addition to the two oils named in the product, this cleansing spray also features calendula and aloe vera; both great for the indications I just listed.

Traveling Sunblock Solution: Raspberry and Green Tea Daily Defense Moisturizerbotanic organic travel skincare

I’ve resisted wearing a daily sunblock for years, rationalizing that my mineral makeup was enough to protect my skin. While mineral makeup does provide a physical barrier to the sun, it doesn’t stay on all day, and it’s certainly not reliable enough to count on when temperatures rise. Plus I don’t wear make up when I’m out adventuring, so my quest has been to find facial sun protection that doesn’t drip into my eyes when I’m sweating on the side of a rock somewhere.

My resistance to a daily facial sunscreen has always been rooted in the grease factor and the gross factor. Basically every single one I’ve ever tried has either been too greasy or laden with all manner of gross chemicals that I didn’t want to put on my face (or both). When I told Nancy (founder of Botanic Organics) my issue, she insisted that I try the Raspberry and Green Tea Daily Defense Moisturizer and gave me a couple of sample bottles.

I love it.

I can wear it under my make up or I can skip the make up completely without having too much of a shine from it, which I’ve literally never experienced with another facial sunscreen. Nancy made sure to mention that while this product isn’t officially/legally called “sunscreen,”  it contains 11% zinc oxide which gives about an equivalent of 15 SPF protection. Plus there are additional oils in the product that provide a measure of sun protection, including shea butter, raspberry seed, buriti fruit and hemp seed oils.

There are also a few ingredients in there that repair UV damage, which I need after years of outdoor softball, sunbathing, hiking, swimming, and now climbing. Admittedly, this is not a cheap product at $34 a bottle, but it’s worth it to have the perfect sunscreen after years of avoiding it entirely. And a little bit goes a long way, so a bottle should last at least a few months.

Mad Giveaway Time!

Not only am I giving away two sets of this awesome duo for traveling greatness, I’m also offering a coupon to every single human who reads this post! The coupon will expire Oct 1st, so if yo don’t win this raffle, I suggest you take advantage of this 20% discount while you can. (Must be a US Resident to win.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As if That Weren’t Enough?!

CWB has partnered with Botanic Organic to get those of you who won’t be lucky enough to win these free gifts a 20% off coupon for all your purchases at Botanic Organic through the end of September! (And even if you win, you can use it too!) If you want to see my review for two other fantastic products in this line of natural and organic skin care before you purchase, knock yourself out. Just don’t forget to use the code below before October 1st!

That’s a long time to stock up on these awesome products, so get started today to find out what you fancy so you’ll have time to get more!

Go! Now! Go!

botanic organic coupon, travel skincare

FTC DISCLOSURE: I do not have a partnership agreement with Botanic Organic, but I was given free samples of these products to try. I will not be compensated for purchases made using this coupon. All opinions are my own.

Sprouting in the Springtime [GIVEAWAY]

Today I’m proud to be sharing another awesome product — one that I’ve been curious about for a long time. A sprouting kit! When the folks at Mercola reached out to me to share this product with you, I jumped at the chance because I’ve been wanting to grow my own sprouts to add to salads, smoothies, and stir fries for quite a long time now. This was my chance to get a kit for free, try it out, and then share my results with you!

health benefits of sprouts sprout seeds at home

Who Cares About Sprouts?

Sprouts are baby plants, just sprouted from the seed or bean, so isn’t it wasteful to munch on them before they grow into full-grown plants? Maybe not! I remember learning in school that sprouting a bean or seed unlocks the nutritional value stored inside, and that some nutrients aren’t bioavailable in the dormant seed. That makes sense to me, but for some reason it never occurred to me that a sprout might also be far more nutrient-dense than the full-grown plant as well.

Health Benefits of Sprouts

It turns out that research on the nutritional potency and protective properties (antioxidants and other phytonutrients) found in sprouts shows that all 25 of the sprout (microgreens) studied were richer in phytonutrients than their mature plant counterparts (source). Broccoli sprouts have not only been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth, but also to prevent age-related macular degeneration and stomach ulcers. One prominent researcher (Juurlink) estimates that you would need to eat 20 to 50 times as much of the mature plant to get the same benefits (source). Crazy! 

“Broccoli sprouts are rich in one class of cancer protecting agents. This family of compounds or agents induce the activity of a particular class of enzymes called phase 2 enzymes. These are enzymes that assist in getting rid of or detoxifying many cancer causing chemicals in the body and increase the level of a particularly important metabolite called glutathione. As a consequence cells in the body are protected against various harmful events such as carcinogenesis, mutagenesis and other forms of toxicity and oxidative damage.” (source)

health benefits of sprouts sprout seeds at home

Here’s how my broccoli sprouts looked after I rinsed and dried them. I stored them in a plastic clam shell with a paper towel at the bottom to absorb the remaining moisture.

Sprouting Seeds at Home

This awesome sprouting kit included three bags of High Mowing Organic Sprouting seeds — broccoli, sunflower, and pea — and a sprouting tray (comes with a top to hold the soil and a bottom to hold the water). It retails for $24.85, and at the end of this post, you’ll get a chance to win one of your very own! (US Residents only)

Full disclosure: I sprouted these seeds under a grow light, but according to the packages of seeds, you can have just as much success sprouting in a sunny windowsill. I also didn’t follow the directions on the broccoli sprouts, which tells you to grow them hydroponically in a jar. I tossed them into the sprouting tray with the other much larger seeds. I learned in doing that that the tiny seeds grab dirt as they burst through the surface of the soil. Kind of annoying to wash and dry, so next time I think I’ll try the jar. 

I also learned that following the directions of how many seeds to sprout at once yielded too many sprouts all ready to eat at the same time for my two-person household. Next time I’ll probably do half of the sunflowers and peas and 1/4 of the broccoli sprouts recommended. 

How to Sprout

The process of getting these seeds started was super simple. I soaked them overnight (6 to 8 hours), rinsed them (had to rinse the broccoli seeds more often than the others), and then added them to about 1.5 inches of potting soil in the top sprouting tray. Then I covered them with another thin layer of soil, filled the bottom tray with water, stacked the trays, and set them under the grow light. It only took 24 hours before I started to see a few little green specks peeking through. It took about a week for the full-grown sprouts to be ready to eat. Here’s a video that shows you the step by step process. I didn’t place the heavy objects on top of the seeds, but I’ll try that next time to see if I get thicker sprouts.




 See more on sprouting and the health benefits of sprouts from Dr. Mercola here 

Raffle Time!*

The kit we’re raffling off does not include Dr. Mercola’s Sprout Doctor, but I had great success with just plain organic potting soil. You can also purchase the Sprout Doctor advertised in the video above of you want to try that. 

Your kit will include:

  • 1 bag High Mowing Organic broccoli seeds
  • 1 bag High Mowing Organic sunflower seeds
  • 1 bag High Mowing Organic pea shoot seeds
  • sprouting trays (top and bottom)

Get Ready to Get Social!

*You must be a US Resident to win this contest.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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