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Cannabis Infused Peanut Butter Fudge (Vegan)

Chocolate peanut butter fudge made without processed sugar that will help me sleep and relax my body? Yes please.

During an especially strong chocolate craving I came up with this simple, and healthy fudge version that is effective as medication and packed with nutrients.

I used a CO2 extracted cannabis oil, purchased from a local pot shop, that I know had been tested for quality and impurities. I like cooking with CO2 oils because they can easily be added to oils and because they are tested for potency making it easy to dose THC or CBD by the milligram.

MMJ Peanut Butter Fudge

1/2C cacao powder

1/2C hemp hearts

1C coconut milk

1t vanilla

6 medjool dates

1/4C maca powder

1g CO2 cannabis concentrate (option for MMJ version)

1C peanut butter

1/3C chopped walnuts

1) Blend cacao, hemp hearts, coconut milk, vanilla, maca powder, and dates until smooth.

2) Gently heat the peanut butter and coconut oil in a double boiler. Remove from heat and add the cannabis concentrate to the warm oils. Mix well.

3) Combine both mixtures then add walnuts.

4) Place in a 6″x9″ pan and chill in fridge for 15 minutes. Cut into pieces and place into freezer until firmly set. Keep refrigerated or in the freezer until ready to eat.

These turned out to be a pleasant way to medicate. Not sugary but with a rich and fudgy texture and effective daytime mmj potency.

Perfect with an afternoon cup of tea.

5 Ways Cannabis Can Help Chronic Back Pain

Chronic back pain is a condition like no other.  It’s a horrible ailment, actually.

I am one of those people who will always have issues with my spine. While I have been dealing with this stuff since I was a child it wasn’t until my very early 20’s when every doctor I saw started freely prescribing me synthetic drugs to manage my spinal condition.

I’ve tried to avoid taking too many synthetic pills too often because they always end up making me feel like crud, they mess up my digestive system, I don’t ever want to be addicted to them, and the idea of having to take them from now until I die as a way to cope with pain is not a future I am about to roll over for. There are better options to consider.

When I first explored using cannabis as part of my long term pain management I honestly thought that it just worked by acting more like a mental mask or a distraction from the pain. I didn’t fully understand how beneficial cannabis would be for managing the enormity of my chronic spinal condition. Turns out a lot of people I know still believe that cannabis only provides a happy distraction for pain, so, for you I write the following… 

5 Ways that Cannabis Helps Manage Chronic Back Pain:

1) Cannabis is a natural pain killer. Cannabis doesn’t just mask pain or distract you from it, it works with your body to relieve physical pain. One of the biggest plusses of using cannabis (for me) has been the pain relief without the unpleasant synthetic drug side effects or the potential risks with long-term use of synthetic medications. When you’re looking at a potential lifetime of chronic pain, you tend to take the  long term side effects of pain medication very seriously. 

2) Cannabis acts as an anti-inflammatory in the body. Having aches and pains caused by inflammation is a miserable experience and over time can negatively impact your overall health. Cannabis brings inflammation down to relieve pain and discomfort. Ideally, your pain management program will also be able to find what may be triggering inflammation in your body so you can address it from all angles.

3) Cannabis acts as a natural muscle relaxer and suppresses muscle spasms. Back spasms take chronic pain to a whole new level. I used to take muscle relaxers regularly to deal with muscle spasms but now that I have been taking cannabis regularly, muscle spasms and super sore overactive back muscles hardly ever happen.

4) Cannabis calms anxiety. Experiencing chronic pain creates anxiety, stress, and tension in the body. The anxiety, stress, and tension in the body create more pain thus building a vicious cycle of pain that never ends. Using the right strain of cannabis can significantly reduce or eliminate anxiety altogether by calming down the body and nervous system. Once you break the cycle of anxiety from creating stress and tension in the body, less pain will follow.

5) Cannabis helps to lift the depression that can come with chronic back pain. Being in pain every day and dealing with a debilitating back condition is one of the most challenging things a person can go through and there are predictably going to be dark spells along the journey. Pain can create a physical depression and depression can create more physical pain. Cannabis can lift the depression that will benefit not just your body but also your mental health.

Cannabis: The pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxer that also acts as an anti-anxiety and an anti-depressant. One plant working naturally and synergistically in the body to heal, calm, and create well-being.

Pain is supposed to be one of those things in our body that is there for our benefit. It is our job to listen to what it has to say,  respect it, and do what is necessary to relieve it in the healthiest way possible. Cannabis is one effective option and worth considering if you are somebody dealing with chronic back pain.

Peace.

3 Postural Improvement Exercises For This Week

21 Days Of Blogging- Day 5

Motivational Monday is upon us. This week’s health Improvement assignment is to be posture aware.

Think about sitting, standing, and walking taller this week as you work on improving your posture.

To help further this cause I share 3 simple Postural training Exercises that I regularly do to give my spine a healthy break from sitting and fighting gravity all day.

1. Stand Tall Against the Wall- 1 minute

2. Air Chair Against the Wall- 1-4 minutes

3. Seated Against the Wall- 2-5 minutes

4. *Bonus- Legs up the Wall- 3-5 minutes

Better posture brings fewer back aches, improved breathing, and improved confidence.

Stay Tall! Peace.

What Happened When I Ate Raw Cannabis For Two Weeks

Eating raw cannabis had been a dream of mine ever since I was enrolled in nutrition school and heard David Wolfe, a raw food expert, speak about the advantages of eating a raw food diet.

During his presentation he briefly mentioned how cannabis was one of the most superior plants for nutrition on the planet and described with passion and delight how amazing it is to eat. I immediately wanted to be eating leaves on my salad but it took some time before I could find access to raw cannabis. It’s not like you can buy it with the kale at a grocery store.

IMG_0597I was told that for the first few days of me taking the raw juice that I might feel kind of gross as it has a detoxifying effect on the body. That is exactly what happened. I had a headache for 5 days and my digestive system got worked over. I felt like crud. Towards the end of the first week, though, everything started feeling better.

I noticed that my back pain in the morning wasn’t as bad and getting dressed was not quite as difficult. I would say that my overall pain dropped by 1/3! I felt more motivated to exercise and my energy increased. My mood seemed to be set on a steady “happy” into week two.

The other thing that I noticed is that my tolerance for other cannabis medicine went way down. My overall use dropped in half not because I was trying to use less, I just didn’t seem to need as much. That is a totally new experience and it felt great.

During those two weeks I took about 1 ounce of raw juice (flowers+leaves) and 7-10 leaves per day.

To eat the leaves, I chopped them up and mixed them in with my salads or blended them in smoothies. They blended nicely with other raw herbs and vegetables.

Adding raw cannabis to my diet felt like I upgraded my entire nutrition regime. I felt healthy, clear, and energized.

IMG_0608My initial goal was to try it for two weeks and five years later I am still learning more about using cannabis everyday. Eating it raw changed the way I look at my medicine and how I can get the most from this amazing plant.

Just when I thought marijuana couldn’t get any better it goes and does this to me. Thanks Mary Jane.

Until next time…Eat your greens.

How To Save Money By Wasting Less Food

22 Days Of Blogging- Day 3

The tips in this post could potentially save you 40% on your food bill forever.

Wasting food is a common health coaching conversation because most people are spending a lot of money on their healthy food only to throw a large portion of it out.

Throwing away food is unfortunately the current norm in our society. About 40% of all food that is ever produced is never eaten, it is thrown away and wasted. Think on that for a moment. All of the energy that is spent to create food and almost half of it is destined for the landfill rather than the tables of people who it was grown for. On a personal level, the average individual is also throwing away about 40% of the food they purchase at the grocery store.

Since I have learned how to stop throwing out my fair share of food, I can tell you that using all of the food you buy without waste is a skill. It requires you to become food conscious from the time you are at the store to the time you are forced to deal with the leftovers.

Here are 5 ways that I keep food waste to a minimum:

  1. Plan your meals. Make a menu of what you’re going to eat for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners this week and then fill your pantry and fridge. Keeping a regular theme (i.e. Taco Tuesday) is a great way to keep your favorites on the menu and your fridge stocked.
  2. Keep a whiteboard note of what is available or possible to eat in the fridge right on the door. This is also a good place for family members to make requests and write down food items you will need for your next grocery shopping trip.
  3. Store your food properly. Veggies that are stuck in a plastic bag on the bottom of that drawer in the fridge often get forgotten. Instead, place them into a reusable airtight container and that will preserve their flavors and nutrients better. Most vegetables will only store for a few days so have a plan to use them or freeze them.
  4. Plan to eat leftovers. Cook once, eat twice. Put aside a few servings for later that week or in the freezer for anytime. It can be really helpful to make a few things in one cooking session so overall you end up spending way less time over the stove.
  5. Pick one day a week to clean out the fridge. This can also be when you challenge yourself to make a meal with only what you have in the fridge and pantry. Get rid of the stuff before it goes bad.

Reducing your food waste is a simple and smart way to save money. Imagine how different your food budget might feel if you were eating all of it.

Surviving The Holidays With Food Sensitivities

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21 Days of Blogging- Day 2.

Few things seem to bring out people’s food issues like sharing a meal at the holidays.

During this time of year you’ll hear about people gaining 10 pounds of ‘holiday weight’ as they gorge themselves on the lovely indulgence of traditional dishes that don’t always serve a healthy or healing body.

During these festive get togethers my sensitivity and avoidance to foods that contain gluten, dairy, sugar, some nightshades, and corn frequently feels like an issue or an inconvenience if I’m the only one eating that way.

If you would have known me several years ago I was the first one to the table as I sampled through everything the table had to offer and then go back for seconds. Family dinners were awesome.

Those awesome eating experiences changed when I quit eating gluten and dairy. People generally don’t have any idea how to modify their recipes (nor do I ever expect them to do so only for me) so unless I expose my digestive system to gluten and dairy I am left out from enjoying everything on the menu. My experience has often been that I will be able to eat the meat (when I’m eating meat) if it doesn’t have any weird spices or sauces and I can eat the veggies if they are not dressed with butter or cheese. It is a very limiting experience and if not planned for a major let down while everybody else is drooling over their decadent food and you are left with plain food.

  1. When possible, talk with the host beforehand about what is being planned for the menu and ask if you can bring anything and/or if they can set aside your portions without dairy and sauces containing gluten.
  2. Bring your own dishes or sauces and make enough to share. Your dish might be the one thing on the table you will eat.
  3. Be grateful. No matter if you can only eat one thing on the table, you can eat one thing. Enjoy every healthy bite while you share time with loved ones.
  4. Prepare to have other people feel bad for you because you are so fragile and limited and can’t indulge like they can. Ugh.
  5. Try to keep your manners and not be judgemental when people tell you how they know they would be much healthier if they gave up certain foods and then proceed to pile said foods on their plate, eat them up in front of you then complain about their indigestion and bloated bellies after dinner. Its an odd experience for me to watch and an exercise in holding my tongue.
  6. Prepare to not be able to have dessert. This one hurts. As a foodie, this one hurts. Bring your own, if possible.
  7. Remember why you are skipping the foods that cause angst in your body. Honoring your body with the best food possible will leave you feeling better in the morning.

When you face food limitations because of your health, you also get to witness how limited other people are in the same old food habits they don’t feel are necessary to upgrade.

Good luck keeping your food healthy this holiday season! We got this.

See you tomorrow.

21 Days Of Health Blogging- Day 1

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21 days of blogging…

My life’s passion of pursuing health, wellness, and happiness while motivating and helping others do the same runs thick in my veins.

The first time somebody asked me why I work out (I was 18 and being picked up on in the middle of my workout) triggered an immediate answer, “I workout for life.” While the answer came out as a forceful deflection (#metoo) that served its purpose it also cultivated a voice of dedication to my body and health as not only my present self but for my future self in the same body with the same chronic ailments.

‘I workout for life’ is still a motto of mine. The major physical pains, migraines, and muscle spasms along the journey have shaped my workouts and health habits. This body has kept me humble in so many ways.

My spine has been a rollercoaster of chronic pain and physical challenges that has been so tough the very act of just living with it has made me stronger. I have held firm to the mindful part of doing activities that are nourishing my body not just for now but so I can walk as long as I live and have a higher quality of life because I’m super mindful of my health habits.

It has been 18 years since the first doctor told me to accept the fact that I would be on pain medication my whole life. My response was to go to library and get smarter then to the gym to get stronger. I’m proud to say that I have found multiple ways to manage my scoliosis, migraines, and other ailments without spinal fusion surgery or pharmaceuticals.

Healthy mindfulness takes work and dedication…and its really tough to do all by yourself. This brings me to the 21 days of blogging…

I want to do more here.

I started this blog in order to support and give back to my health conscious tribe with a regular dose of motivation and that is what I intend to do more of. I also started it as a way to progress my own healthy living as an art.

In an effort to reset my content creation habits I have challenged myself to blog daily for the next 21 days. Watch for Motivational Mondays, healthy holiday recipes, and the launch of two projects I am super excited to roll out.

For the 299 people who subscribe to this blog, thank you all so much for supporting my words, passion, and free speech by tuning in. You are the reason I have big goals for this blog in 2018!

See you tomorrow.

 

 

Using Cannabis For Depression

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Talking about depression is tough. Even just writing about it right now is making my skin uncomfortable but I still feel compelled to get out that this is one of the most beneficial things that cannabis has helped me with on top of the chronic pain that I deal with because of ongoing health issues.

If you were to ask the people in my life to describe me they would use words like “bubbly, optimistic, happy, or funny.” Most people don’t know about my very dark side, the depressed one that dwells in a secret closet under a very heavy black cloud. I prefer not to share this part of me to the world. But the reality is that I do deal with depression and anxiety which is very connected to experiencing chronic physical pain and discomfort.

I have never taken prescription drugs for depression or anxiety but I have been using cannabis specifically for my scoliotic spine and experienced the added bonus of relieving my depression. When I look back I can see that I totally have been using cannabis during the blue times in my life, I just would never have admitted to being depressed at the time.

To be really honest occasionally I feel kind of guilty about whether I am using cannabis solely for pain management but also recreationally. I had always associated the getting happy part of marijuana use as recreational largely because that was its purpose as a recreational user until I got my medical cannabis recommendation. I mean, is it ok for me to use cannabis just to brighten my mood when I am feeling blue? The answer is yes. 

The compassionate (and logical) side of me has realized that it is totally ok and beneficial for using cannabis for the depression and anxiety. It kind of all goes together. Pain gets worse when you are depressed and stressed. I know that first hand. For me, depression has nothing to do with the fact that I have a good life and I am grateful for every single person, thing, and experience in it.

Cannabis is simply one tool that I use to keep the dark clouds parted so that I can see sunshine too. I also use regular exercise, a healthy diet, meditation, a practice of gratitude, journaling, and positive peers to keep my spirits lifted. Add cannabis to the mix and I become much more equipped to handle what this little body of mine is throwing at me on a daily basis.

There is no shame in saying you deal with depression or anxiety but it can feel that way when the person you are talking to either does not relate or is not open to listening to you talk about it. There is also no shame in saying that you use a non-toxic, natural plant with no risky side effects that not only relieves your pain but also keeps your spirit lifted so you can experience life on a happier level.

In fact, the more that we talk about depression the less power it will have over us and the more compassionate we can be to ourselves during times of darkness, we just might make it through.

Stay lifted my friends.

 

The Legal Washington CBD/THC Suppository Experience

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*NOTE: This is an independent, unsolicited review of a legal Washington product in stores now. 

There is only one cannabis suppository in the legal 502 retail marketplace brought to us by the good people at CPC in Seattle. I’ve been really waiting to try it because I’m super skeptical about the effectiveness of their 10mg/THC dosages.

I like to keep cannabis infused suppositories in my medicine cabinet as a method of managing back and body pain, pelvic cramps, sleeping issues, or anytime I can feel my body is really run down. I swear by them as one of the most effective ways to benefit from medical cannabis.

The challenge comes in being able to buy a good cannabis suppository. Before legal retail cannabis was set up in Washington and consolidated with medical, I was getting my suppositories in the former system from a reputable medical provider and eventually  learned how to safely make my own.

My former suppository experiences have involved using 50-200mg/THC doses with the effects being substantial in relieving pain, and helping me have restful sleep without a heady high.  I’ve only ever used ones made with coconut and whole plant cannabis concentrates, not a very solid product at most room temperatures.

The product I tried from CPC is made with two ingredients, shea butter and cannabis concentrate. From briefly talking to the gentleman who created them, I learned that they chose shea butter due to its ability to hold a form and still be bioavailable to people who are sensitive or allergic to other commonly used oils such as coconut, a personal favorite of mine.

The packaging was easy to read, allowed me to see exactly what I was purchasing, and was not messy to get into. Major bonus.

I also know that the cannabis oil they use is from a company who is conscientious about only using plant matter that was not treated with pesticides. This is a very important point for me.

I took a dose about an hour before bedtime and waited. In the past I would feel a warmth in my pelvis that would wash over my lower body and relax everything in about 15-20 minutes and depending on the dose put me into a restful sleep. After about 30 minutes I still felt nothing. The nagging ache in my hip was not softened or muted, it did nothing to help me sleep that night, plus I woke up just as sore as I would have any other morning.

Basically, taking this suppository felt like a total joke to me, not noticeably beneficial at all. Because of state laws on dosage control, this product is limited to provide 10mg/THC. Weak.

When using it, I appreciated that it mostly held its form during insertion even being stored at room temperature. I would definitely suggest putting it in the fridge or freezer before use to make it a little more firm for easy insertion.

The bottom line for me was that the overall experience was weak and totally overpriced. I certainly can’t blame the company for not putting out a higher dosage when they are limited by laws. More than anything I appreciate that they have stepped up to put out a quality medical type product in a recreational market.

However, would I ever buy it again? Probably not until the dosages significantly increase. I would rather go through the effort to make my own higher dosed recipe with reputable concentrates and coconut oil at home than ever waste my budgeted medical cannabis money on this particular product again.

I have talked to only one other person who has used these and they said they did feel slightly less achy the next morning when using it before bed but did not have a significantly therapeutic experience.

There must be somebody out there finding them helpful though because they have stayed on the market for a while now. If there is ever a better product to come out in the legal market, I will let you know.

Peace.

Becoming An American Immigrant In 2017

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This week I proudly became an American citizen. They told me at my oath ceremony that it is my right to pursue happiness and that is what I plan to do. Up until now I haven’t talked much about the fact that I am an immigrant. I’ve lived in the US for twelve years and while I may have only moved across the Canadian border it has been a major shift in my world.

When I first moved here George Bush was president and performing shock and awe in the middle east. Moving to a place where you see a military presence everywhere including overhead from a place where you rarely see military is a really crazy feeling. Mildly unnerving at first, but you do somewhat get used to it. Same with the number of guns that people have either in their house or on them at all times, they take the right to bear arms very seriously here and that was a major culture shock for a Canadian farm girl that had never held a gun until she moved to America.

Moving from a country that provides health care to everybody to a country where people regularly go bankrupt and lose everything because they get sick and cannot afford the costs of their medical bills- that makes me uncomfortable on every level. I don’t dare get sick here even if I have insurance and am certainly proactive in making healthy choices to prevent anything worse than the chronic conditions I already have that they can’t cure.

I started reading food labels here and noticed that the ingredient lists are different. There seems to be a lot more ingredients and additives in the food.  Since moving here I either become acutely aware of or actually developed sensitivities to gluten and dairy. I don’t dare eat things with gluten and dairy anymore. On the bonus side, food is way less expensive than in Canada.

Obesity is a real thing here. One of my first times going to a county fair, I experienced my own kind of shock and awe witnessing the excessive amount and size of the food they were serving and the size of the people eating that food. Before moving here I had been working in a health bubble of sorts as the Fitness Manager of two women’s only clubs in Vancouver, BC personal training, teaching classes, and running boot camps on the beaches. Seeing such blatant obesity and obvious imbalance was a major culture shock to me. I adjusted by personal training outdoors, out of my garage studio, and improving my home cooking skills to avoid the ridiculous portions of low quality or low nutrient food served everywhere.

What is next for me now that I am a citizen of the country I’m living in? Why not start with free speech? I have a lot to say and this blog is one of the ways that I plan to practice that right. I want to spread wellness, self-health awareness, and positivity on a much larger scale.

I want to share the holistic options available to other people like myself who are seeking natural ways to manage long term health issues. One of these options that I have been using for my chronic pain, muscle spasms, and migraines is medical cannabis. Instead of taking multiple pharmaceutical pills I have one  non-toxic medicine I have a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, sleep aid, anti-anxiety and antidepressant. One unique way that I use this plant is eating it like a vegetable. I juice the fresh leaves or put them in my smoothies. I can’t wait to share this stuff with you!

I also am a huge fan of hemp. When I was learning about the nutritional and medicinal benefits of cannabis leaves I learned about eating hemp that doesn’t contain THC. This plant has the perfect ratio of omega 3, 6, and 9 for the human body. Plus it provides easily digestible protein and fiber. I have a lot of healthy recipes and ideas to share with you. You may have already noticed that every recipe I post has hemp in it, that is intentional. Check out this Blueberry Hemp Cake

I am a healthy food advocate. I started volunteering for a local food organization that feeds those in need with the less perfect but perfectly edible food that doesn’t end up in the grocery stores. They have a number of programs that help feed hungry children in the community, and that is really important to me. I would love to make it possible for every child in this country to have access to healthy food even if their parents cannot provide. That is my American dream.

Oh, and one more thing. When I told people that I had applied for my citizenship most of them asked me why. The simple answer…President Donald Trump. Not being able to vote in the last election really bothered me and I vowed to be a voter in the next one. I feel connected to this country and although it is certainly not perfect, its optimistic ideals move me.

Thank you for sharing this journey with me.