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I Have a Favor to Ask… May 17, 2010

After finishing my academic *stuff* on Wednesday, I was left with a strange void and question in my mind… “What now?!” The feeling was too much for me ūüôā

So, I went back to my second home (my MAC) and stumbled across a contest for the OWN Network. I was stoked to see what the contest was for– the chance to win your own show! Having a show focused on complementary health and preventative health has always been my dream. It has been the goal that has guided me through my last 10 years of education and experiences. So, amidst my finals hangover, I applied for the show and threw together an audition video.

To my surprise, I’ve actually received some votes! But, I’ll need a lot more to move onto the second round. The five people with the most votes on July 3 will go on. So, I’ll need a group of people who are willing to vote 100+ times per day until July 3. I’m hoping our WG community can help do that ūüôā

It only takes about 2 minutes to vote 100 times. People have told me that they just click on the vote button and hold down the enter key! It’s like rapid fire from then on!

If you believe in spreading the message of integrative health, then I would LOVE it if you’d vote for me and help to make this happen. Let’s create something awesome together!

Click here to watch the video and vote as much as you can.

And please send this on to your contacts and post on your social media sites!

Much love and many, many thanks guys ūüôā


Homemade Chai: Quick, Healthy and Cheap September 28, 2009

Filed under: Recipes — aprasek @ 9:55 pm

Expensive Chai...

I’ll admit it, I¬†have a soy chai obsession.¬†But, I’m trying¬†to quit.

Chai has become the “it” drink for those who don’t indulge in coffee. It sounds healthy… it’s made with tea… what’s the big deal?

Here’s the main problem:¬†my medium soy chai sets me back almost $5.00. That’s insane. I could buy dinner for that.¬†Another reason I’m committed to quitting¬†may come as a surprise. A small coffee shop chai can¬†soar over¬†300 calories and hold more than 30 grams of sugar.¬†

Worse yet, many of these concoctions don’t use tea anymore.¬†A lot of¬†chai drinks¬†are now¬†created by stirring in some¬†chai-flavored powder or syrup into¬†a cup. The nutritional¬†benefits are lost in these blends– essentially creating some really expensive¬†flavored¬†milk.

My solution has been homemade chai (a speedy version). Here’s what I do:

1-2 cups hot water

1 tea bag Chai Rooibos from Yogi (Yogi is my fave brand of the moment. You can sub with any chai, tea bags or loose.) 

1 Tablespoon honey

Lots of cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and ginger (fresh grated ginger if available)

1/2 cup –¬†1 cup heated almond milk (or soy, skim, rice, grain, hemp, whatever you dig)


Add tea bag, honey and spices to the water and steep for 8-10 minutes to get a very strong brew. Add milk and stir.  

You can also make a chai concentrate by steeping tea, honey and spices for 10 minutes and then putting the concentrate in the fridge to cool. Just pour some of the cooled concentrate over ice, add a splach of milk and you have an iced chai. Or, pour some concentrate in a blender with your choice of milk and add some ice for a blended chai. So yummy. 

If you¬†sub¬†a homemade¬†chai for a¬†coffee shop¬†one just¬†once a week,¬†you’ll¬†save¬†more than $200¬†in a year. Ooh, and you’ll save¬†one cup every week which makes a big difference. Check it out:¬†


Arugula Pesto July 31, 2008

Filed under: Recipes — aprasek @ 8:40 am


¬† Here‚Äôs a recipe inspired by one of my favorite movies, ‚ÄúMy Blue Heaven‚ÄĚ. In the movie, the manager of the supermarket asks Vinnie Antonelli (Steve Martin) if he found everything he wanted:

Vinnie: Arugula. I haven’t had arugula in six weeks.

Manager: What’s that?

Vinnie (with his mafia/gangster accent): It’s a ve-get-able.

¬†¬†¬†¬† Oh yes, arugula is a vegetable- and a really good one at that. It’s a peppery/spicy¬†green that makes an amazing pesto. Here‚Äôs my recipe (Remember that my recipes should have the word ‚Äúabout‚ÄĚ pasted before each ingredient- I just can‚Äôt follow the rules…):


Arugula Pesto

2 cups packed, fresh arugula leaves (I throw the soft/pliable stems in too)
¬Ĺ cup extra virgin olive oil (cold-pressed, organic if possible)
¬Ĺ cup RAW¬†pine nuts (I like walnuts too)
1 clove garlic (this is a minimum of one clove- roasted garlic is yummy too)
1-2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
A bit of freshly ground pepper and salt to taste

Put all ingredients into blender/food processor and pulse until it reaches the consistency you like (some say to add the oil last- I don‚Äôt notice a difference, but feel free to experiment). Use pesto on bruschetta, pizza, mixed with sauteed veggies, in soups, with pastas…

You can keep pesto sealed tight in the fridge for several days or fill pesto into ice cube trays, freeze and then transfer the ‚Äúpesto cubes‚ÄĚ to a sealed container in the freezer. Add frozen pesto right into dishes when heating or thaw in the fridge for use.


A few quick things:

  • If you like parmesan in your pesto, only add it if you’re not planning on freezing¬†the pesto (add the cheese into the dish later).
  • If you don’t want arugula, try Basil, Parsley or Cilantro.
  • You can also experiment with walnuts or almonds instead of pine nuts.
  • Try to get organic herbs/greens if possible- they’re all over the farmer’s markets¬†or you can always grow herbs inside (come on over and visit my herb and hot pepper garden in our apartment!).
  • Arugula is full of vitamins C & A, folic acid, iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium and more. It was also once considered an aphrodisiac… which leads me to a side note…¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

¬†¬†¬†¬†This would be a great date night- arugula pesto and “My Blue Heaven”!¬†If you need to go to the store to pick up any of these ingredients, Vinnie Antonelli has a great pickup line for you to use on an unsuspecting shopper or your significant other:

Vinnie:¬† You know it’s dangerous for you to be here in the frozen food section.

Shaldeen:  Why is that?

Vinnie:  Because you could melt all this stuff.


Happy Arugula eating¬†and movie watching ūüôā



Homemade Body Scrub July 13, 2008

Filed under: Recipes — aprasek @ 7:58 pm

     Sugar scrubs are my non-guilty pleasure. You can use them on the body before you shave for a smoother feel and to prevent ingrown hairs and razor burn. Scrubs are great at sloughing the yuckies off the skin surface and leaving you with a sexy glow. As an added benefit, sloughing off dead skin allows the body to detoxify more easily. Bring on the sugar!

¬†¬†¬†¬† The downside is these scrubs are usually pretty expensive. I refuse to pay $20.00 for something I can make at home for $1.00. If you agree, here’s my recipe:


Sugar (you can also use kosher salt)

¬Ĺ cup Olive oil (there are other oil options- this is a good general one)

Essential oils (or add some grated ginger root, fair trade cocoa, orange zest, vanilla, chamomile tea, the options are endless!) 


¬†¬†¬†¬† Take ¬Ĺ cup olive oil and mix with enough sugar/salt to achieve the scrub consistency you like. Add about 5 drops of essential oil (or other fragrance/healing ingredient you desire). Be sure to get a 100% pure, organic essential oil or oil blend (when possible). Stay away from “fragrance oils” which may have artificial fragrances or chemicals. Mix¬†all ingredients together, put in a¬†sealed container¬†and store in the fridge. This gentle scrub can be used a few times per week. I just grab a condiment dish, fill it with some scrub and bring it into my shower/bath. Be sure to put the scrub out of waters way or it will melt before you use it. Take a bit out at a time and massage gently onto skin in circular motions. If you have any skin issues that may be irritated by scrubbing or sensitive to particular ingredients, talk to your dermatologist/aesthetician first. She/he might be able to give you other ingredient ideas that may work better for you.


Slough on, Peace out…



Homemade Ginger Ale July 11, 2008

Filed under: Recipes — aprasek @ 11:57 pm

About 3 years ago I gave up conventional soda (“pop” as we call it in the Midwest).¬†It was only a few weeks until¬†I¬†was really¬†bored with my limited healthy drink¬†options- water and iced tea. I was craving something a little sweet…

So,¬†I¬†concocted my own version of fresh ginger ale and found it to be¬†a really yummy and healthy drink to mix up my beverage lineup. Here’s my secret recipe; I have to warn you though, there are no specific amounts for ingredients (I can never follow recipes!).¬†After a few batches,¬†you’ll¬†find out the thickness you like for your concentrate and can eye it out every time. ¬†


What you’ll need:¬†

Peeled Ginger root

(Get a root that is firm and free of spots or shriveled ends. You can peel the skin off easily with a spoon.)


Local Honey

(Find a local honey to help reduce spring/summer allergy symptoms. If you rather, you can use another type of natural sweetener- of course, the less refined the better.)

Carbonated Water/Club Soda  

(I like to use a natural, unsweetened lime or berry sparkling water)

Fresh Mint

Fresh Limes

Optional juices to mix in

(Orange, pomegranate and cranberry are my favorite)


What you’ll do:

To create the ginger concentrate: Peel ginger root with spoon and chop/slice into pieces (or grate if you like). Put ginger pieces in a medium sized sauce pot. Add honey (or other sweetener) into pot and place pot over medium heat. Slowly add enough tablespoons of water to the pot until you reach a simple syrup consistency (thinner than honey, thicker than water- you get the idea). This may take up to 10 minutes depending on the sweetener you’re using and how much concentrate you’re making. Remove pot from stove and let cool. When concentrate has cooled for 30 minutes or so, pour it into a glass mason jar and refrigerate until you’re ready to use it (it doesn’t have to be used immediately and continues to strengthen its flavor over time).¬†¬†¬†

To assemble the drink:¬† Fill a glass with sparkling water and as much concentrate as you’d like, depending on the sweetness you desire (add a little less if you will be adding juice). Add a bit of torn fresh mint and lime slices and muddle it all at the bottom of your glass. Add a splash of juice if you like and stir everything up¬†to let the mint and lime release from the bottom of the glass. Add ice and garnish with more lime and mint if you like. Enjoy!¬†

Fresh ginger ale has a lot of great health benefits. Here are just a few:  

Depending on how much concentrate you put in, you can have a low-calorie beverage. 

Honey is a great sweetener that is all-natural, safe and recognized by the body (unlike the high fructose corn syrups or artificial sweeteners in most carbonated beverages). Honey can also reduce allergy symptoms.

Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory (research has shown benefits for those with arthritis and other inflammatory issues), a great detoxifier for the body and can ease nausea (great for PMS and tummy aches).

Mint also aids in digestion, stimulates the body and mind and has antiseptic properties (minty fresh breath!).

Limes are a great source for vitamin C, antioxidants and have cleansing effects in the body.  


Drink up, Chill out…



It’s hot outside. July 6, 2008

Filed under: Recipes — aprasek @ 7:20 pm

¬†¬†¬†¬† I love the heat of summer. But, sometimes it gets a bit uncomfortable.¬†You know, it’s¬†the¬†days when your legs stick to the car seat, uncontrollable sweat overwhelms you and that lazy-tired feeling sets in. Here’s a great homemade cooling mist to use on days like that:


Rose Cooling Mist

4 drops of Rose Oil (aka: “rose otto essential oil” or “attar of roses”. Just be sure to get organic and make sure it’s 100% rose oil. Damask roses make the best oil for this use.)

8oz of water


Fill a clean spray bottle with the water and rose oil. Keep your cooling mist refrigerated. Spray on face and body to cool the skin and rejuvenate body and mood.