Author Archives: Judy Moon

It’s About Thyme!

I’ve added a new tea to my arsenal of healing teas – thyme tea.

I gave up coffee years ago and tea became my new best friend. I have an absurd amount of teas in my collection but I love them all for different reasons and I often use them medicinally.

Enter thyme tea.

When my husband and I did our annual cleanse this year, I was looking for some new teas, just to shake things up a bit. I had recently read about the healing property of thyme in the medical medium Anthony Williams book Life Changing Foods. Thyme has the ability to kill off bacteria and viruses, is a rich source of several vitamins, is a good purifying herb for the digestive tract, can ease headaches and muscle soreness, and is a good overall tonic for the nervous system. These are just a few things that this powerhouse can do.

I’ve added thyme tea in to my repertoire. You can pour boiling water over fresh thyme sprigs and steep for about 15 minutes or so. I am more of a teabag/loose tea kinda gal, so I purchased some thyme tea bags. The flavor is a light herbal taste and I add a pinch of stevia. I’ve had it warm and cold; it’s tasty either way. Anthony has a great blog specifically about thyme tea if you want to read more about the nitty gritties of drinking it. I like his suggestion of infusing a large amount of water with it overnight and then sipping it throughout the day.


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40 Bags

I’m getting a jump on my Spring cleaning this year!

I saw a Facebook post from a pal in Chicago who is doing the 40 Bags in 40 Days clutter clearing challenge. I had never heard of it, so I did some poking around and immediately made my list.

If it’s new to you too, here’s the skinny – you make a list of areas in your home to clutter clear for the next 40 days. What was appealing to me about this process is that you can really break it down in to SMALL, DOABLE areas. For example, the buffet in my dining room has two drawers and two little cubby hole areas with a door on each side – if I were to empty it out, go through my normal – “does this spark joy” process, that would take a chunk of time, therefore, it hasn’t been done in quite a long time. So I broke that down into four different times. There are things that I know will be quick, maybe 5 minutes, so I do those on days that my schedule is tight; I save the areas that will take a little longer for weekends or days that I can squeeze a longer project in.

Often people start this challenge at the beginning of Lent since Lent is 40 days long. I’m a little late to the party, so I started the last week of February and I can’t tell you how much stuff I’ve donated, put through the shredder, and discarded already. The best part for me is that it’s not overwhelming. I’d say I spend an average of 15-20 minutes a day so far just tackling one drawer, desk top, or cabinet at a time.

Since I practice Feng Shui in my home and I am always mindful of the quality of energy in my home, clutter clearing is a no-brainer for me and something I do my best to stay on top of. This challenge is making the process even easier!

Excess clutter can affect us on many levels. This is great article, from Psychology Today, really explains the mental, emotional, and physical effects too much clutter can have on our lives.

Who’s ready to join me?

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More Immune Boosting Fun!

Have you tried elderberry syrup?

Using elderberries medicinally dates back as far as Hippocrates. The “father of medicine” called the plant his “medicine chest” due to all of the health challenges it was used for.

It is known as one of the top antiviral herbs and is an antioxidant power house – with more flavonoids than blueberries, cranberries, goji berries and black berries.

It’s probably best know for it’s use for fighting cold, flu and upper respiratory viruses. Studies have shown that if taken within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms, it can reduce the duration of the symptoms by as much as 4 days.

I started stocking it on the shelves this year at our studio and I was happy to have it during the holidays. During that week between Christmas and New Year, I found myself feeling run down. I wasn’t sick, I just felt …blah. I felt like my immune system was working very hard, so I started taking the elderberry syrup and made a batch of “Healing Soup” and I dodged whatever bug was trying to shake me down.

If you have any auto immune issues, are pregnant or breast feeding, have any organ transplants or any other ongoing health issues, like with anything – always check with your doctor before trying anything new.

If you currently take any of the following medications, you should talk to your health care provider before taking any elder plant products:
• Diabetes medications
• Diuretics (water pills)
• Chemotherapy
• Immune-supressing drugs, including corticosteroids (prednisone), and medications used to treat autoimmune diseases
• Laxatives
• Theophylline (TheoDur)

Dr. Axe has this great chart with some of the top benefits of elderberry.

There’s plenty of DIY recipes out there for elderberry syrup. You can also buy it in health food stores, and as I mentioned we are carrying it now as well. There is elderberry tea, lozenges, and even gummy bears for the kiddos.

Let me know if you try it and what your experience is like!

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Our Secret Healing Soup

Holy Flu Season Batman!

With the amount of people that I know that have been down with the flu or any one of the various viruses that are circulating around right now, I thought it would be helpful to re-post the “Healing Soup” recipe as we call it in my house.

I was originally given this recipe by my sister-in-law who is a former hospice nurse. It’s great for the immune system and can be used if you are already feeling ill and want to speed up your recovery or as a preventative. We are on our second batch since the end of December, just to be on the safe side. Don’t be alarmed by the amount of garlic and onions. The flavors mellow out quite a bit with sautéing and slow cooking.

Old Fashioned Garlic and Onion Soup
For colds, flu, respiratory infections or for prevention especially in winter season.

4 large white or yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 whole heads of garlic, separated and peeled
2 tsp. thyme
4 tbs. olive oil
6 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 bay leaf
2 tbs. honey
4 tbs. each fresh basil and parsley
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
sea salt, fresh ground pepper to taste

In a large stockpot sauté the onions, garlic, and thyme in olive oil until golden brown. This step sweetens and mellows the intensity of the garlic and onions. (To peel garlic cloves, smash the individual cloves with the flat side of a chef’s knife and slip out of the skins.) Add the vegetable stock, white wine, and bay leaf. Slowly cook for 2 to 3 hours. Strain liquid, and then add honey, fresh basil and parsley, sea salt, fresh ground black pepper and cayenne.

Onions and garlic are both antibacterial in action, as is the herb thyme. Cayenne pepper is recommended if there is a fever present, while basil and parsley are detoxifying herbs.
This is an excellent soup to drink during any type of infection or cold, or to simply enjoy as a first course to a meal.

I tend to sauté everything till the onions are wilted and then finish it in the slow cooker for about 8 hours. We don’t even bother to strain it. It’s like eating onion soup without the toast and melted cheese.

You’ll also keep the vampires away! Enjoy!

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Who Do You Love?

Being in the spirit of Valentine’s Day and riding on the love wave, I thought it would be fun to explore Loving Kindness Meditation.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve been hearing and seeing a lot about all of the health benefits of meditation. There are apps now to make it even easier for you.

There is a lot of different types of meditation – Transcendental, Kundalini, Mindfulness, and Guided Visualization, to name a few.

Many types of meditation have you focus on your breath, your awareness, or visualizing something in your mind’s eye.

Loving Kindness Meditation has you focus on compassion and love and what that feels like in your body.

There is a common set of words that are used for this meditation.
Here is a script to get you started:

Sit in a comfortable position for you. Take a few deep slow breaths.

Start with yourself first. Give yourself the feeling of compassion while saying these words aloud:

May I be safe and free from harm.
May I be happy and free from stress.
May I be healthy and free from pain.
May I be able to live in this world peacefully and joyfully

The next target is someone that is easy to love.
Choose someone other than your romantic partner so that you don’t experience feelings of romantic love or lust. Choose a friend, child or family member.

May you be safe and free from harm.
May you be happy and free from stress.
May you be healthy and free from pain.
May you be able to live in this world peacefully and joyfully.

The next target is a neutral target.
You can choose one person that you don’t know very well or you can choose a group of people that you don’t know. For example, you could choose the person in line behind you at the store yesterday or everyone that lives in Miami, Florida. The goal is to choose someone that you don’t feel anything towards.

May you be safe and free from harm.
May you be happy and free from stress.
May you be healthy and free from pain.
May you be able to live in this world peacefully and joyfully.

The next target is a difficult target.
Think of someone that has hurt you very deeply.
Maybe they betrayed your trust or abused you physically or emotionally. Maybe someone took advantage of you or simply ignored you. Choose someone that it is difficult to feel compassion and forgiveness towards.

May you be safe and free from harm.
May you be happy and free from stress.
May you be healthy and free from pain.
May you be able to live in this world peacefully and joyfully.

Finally, offer your compassion to the entire world. Imagine your compassion as a light that shines from your heart and encompasses the entire globe.

May everyone be safe and free from harm.
May everyone be happy and free from stress.
May everyone be healthy and free from pain.
May everyone be able to live in this world peacefully and joyfully.

What can you expect to feel after practicing this? Here are 18  Science-Based reasons to practice Loving Kindness Meditation.

Need a little extra help? Here’s a 5 minute guided version of it.

There’s an abundance of different versions and options on YouTube. Find one that speaks to you or record yourself saying the script above.

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What’s Different This Time?

As my 21 day cleanse wraps up for this year I was looking over what I have done previously and what is different this time.

Here is the list from the previous post from 2015 and I’ll comment on what’s a “yay” and what’s a “not so much” or a “nay’.

Here is s what a typical day looks like on Clean (and sometimes even after Clean)

  • Wake up and Tongue Scrape – Yay, first thing I do every morning after my meditation
  • Oil Pull for 10 minutes with coconut oil (this is new this year for me!) – Nay, I love oil pulling, but I’ve switched to The Dirt tooth powder for whitening:
  • Brush teeth
  • Axe Detox drink – Kind of..I drink warm water with lemon and Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar religiously, sometimes I throw in some ginger depending on my mood.
  • Meditation – Big Yay. This is actually the FIRST thing I do when I wake up. I sit up in bed and get it done.
  • Exercise – Yay.
  • Dry brush – Yay.
  • Shower – Yay.
  • Plant fusion shake with frozen berries, flax seed, almond milk, raw coconut cream, colloidal minerals (the minerals are a new addition this year), – Variation, this is now my afternoon snack, sometimes split in two. I also don’t use the coconut cream anymore and no flax. I had forgotten about the minerals, so they may go back in.
  • Cup of Kukicha tea with stevia – Big yay, my favorite tea.
  • Snack if I need it – raw nuts – Yay.
  • Lunch – salad from the list of foods you can have – Yay.
  • Snack – green drink with wheat grass powder, kale, more berries, coconut water and an apple. (this is my go to afternoon pick me up everyday) – Green drink is now breakfast , my recipe is in the last post.
  • Dinner – meal or soup from list of foods you can have. – Yay. We ate alot more soup for dinner than on previous cleanses. We didn’t feel as hungry this time for some reason. Plus, it’s been freezing here is Philadelphia, so a bowl of hearty soup was very appealing!
  • Water with lemon throughout the day. (also started adding chlorophyll to the water) – Yay – I forgot about the chlorophyll, so I’m adding that back to our routine.
  • Herbal tea after dinner, Tulsi Rose is a favorite.- Yay, also added Tulsi Lavender Tea to the repertoire.
  • Natural Calm before bed- Yay.
  • I take the supplements according to directions on labels – Yay.
  • Alternating detox epsom salt baths, and Castor Oil Wraps through out the week. – Yay to the baths, not so much to the Castor Oil Wraps. To be completely honest, I’ve been out of Castor Oil! Just ordered some and I’m planning some wraps post cleanse to keep the vibe going.
  • “Cocktails” made with kombucha – New! I started making us a ‘cocktail” before dinner with coconut water, kombucha, fresh mint, fresh lemon, a few pieces of pineapple or some berries. I’d kind of wing it each night and the tang from the kombucha satisfied my craving for a glass of wine.

I also scoured through all of my healthy cookbooks before the cleanse even started searching for new recipes made from the foods we are able to eat. I made a giant list of possibilities and we tried some new recipes that were definitely keepers. The key to success I believe is being creative with the list of what you can have. As long as the the meals are tasty, you don’t feel like you are being deprived or you are missing out. Although my husband may beg to differ since he is counting the minutes till he can have bread.

Looking forward to keeping the inspiration for clean eating going, I still have many new recipes to try from the list that I had made.
Our goal is to be in the 80/20 range. Clean eating 80 % of the time.

As for me personally, I’m  looking forward to my next knitting night with my peeps – the cleanse will be over and there will be cheese…..

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Shake It Up

It was really fun to read my cleanse post from 2015. It was interesting to see what I’m still doing, what I’ve changed and what I forgot about!

The first thing that jumped out at me is that I’ve flip flopped my smoothies.

I have a green drink in the morning now and I absolutely love the green powder I am using. I kept reading about a company called Organifi. I read the list of ingredients and the reviews were outstanding so I switched.

I just want to point out that this is not a paid endorsement, I am just sharing the love.

In the past, I was using Amazing Grass Wheat Grass powder as my base , with a bunch of other fun stuff added to make it taste great and that worked just fine. The thing that caught my eye about the Organifi green powder was the Moringa powder – talk about a super food power house! I had been considering adding that to the wheat grass shake already. This green juice from Organifi has Moringa, Spirulina, Ashwaganda, and other super duper healthy things.It tastes great and blends perfectly – not grainy at all.

Why did I switch it to breakfast you may ask?

Many of the ingredients help with blood sugar stability, and increasing metabolism and energy, so it seemed like it would make sense to start the day with that rather than having it later in the day. It’s also really refreshing first thing in the morning.

So my new go to breakfast which started actually about two months before the cleanse-

  • 1 cup of coconut water
  • 1 apple  (minus the small  piece I cut off and share with my dog Murphy)
  • 1 handful of frozen mixed berries
  • 1 small handful of kale ( I know there’s probably already kale in it, I’m just a creature of habit)
  • 2 TBL raw cashews
  • 1 scoop of Organifi Green Superfood powder
  • 2 ice cubes
  • Blend in the Vitamix and enjoy!

I will say that it is expensive in comparison to other green powders. I think that if I were to buy all of those ingredients individually to create this blend, it would probably end up costing more. I bought it when they were running a super deal, I stocked up and now because I’ve bought it a few times, I just qualified for a free delivery.

Thanks Organifi!

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How Did You Pick This One?

In my last post, I decided to just focus this whole month on the cleanse since I get asked so many questions and I know how overwhelming and confusing it can be if you’ve never done one before.

The #1 question I get asked is – why the Clean Program?

The answer is simple – because you can eat!

It’s not a juice fast, or the Master Cleanse,  which I truly feel anyone who does the Master Cleanse should receive a trophy and a parade. That is one thing I don’t think I could do. I did a juice cleanse for 3 days once. I bought it from a local company. It was made to be very easy – 5 juices a day, they were labeled 1-5, each one having specific ingredients that you would need at certain times of the day for your energy, etc. They tasted great and were filling. Day 1,  I was fine – thinking “this is easy”. Day 2,  I felt a little less excited and was kind of wanting to chew something. Day 3 – full on cranky and I felt like there was gallons of liquid sloshing around every time I moved. Not the cleanse for me, but for some people that’s the ticket.

So being able to choose from a huge list of foods that I CAN have seemed more my speed and I knew I could get Joe on board as long as we could still EAT. It’s always easier to do something like this when you have a buddy and someone to keep you accountable.

It’s also not one of those cleanses where you have to be camped by the bathroom. Anyone who has done Dr. Natura cleanse, you know what I’m talking about.

The nice thing too is that it inspires me to cook more creatively and it kind of changes my relationship with food in general. There are definitely things we stick with when the cleanse is over and things that sneak their way back in to our diets. My love affair with cheese will never die.

My intention this year is to keep up the creativity and mindfulness about what I’m preparing and we have both vowed to not go as crazy as we did this past holiday season.

We’ll see how that goes in December….

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More Dirty Talk

Yup, it’s that time again.
Hubby and I are on our annual cleanse.

A friend recently asked me some questions regarding just exactly what we do and I said, “I’ll forward you a blog post I wrote and that maps it all out“.

It was from 2015 and it was actually really great for me to reread it – it reminded me of some fun stuff that I haven’t been doing and it made me realize that it might be fun to just blog all month about the cleanse since I’ve been getting asked ALOT of questions.

I think the concept of cleansing is so overwhelming to people – I know it was for me. I have one thing to say – if my beer drinking, cheese steak eating, husband can do it – anyone can! You just have to pick what works for you.

Do you even HAVE to cleanse or detox – nope! It’s a very personal choice.

Let’s just say that Joe and I really have a lot of fun over the holidays. It is definitely a time of overindulgence across the boards.

For us, the cleanse gets us back on track, you lose the excess holiday weight and puffiness, reset your energy, get rid of food cravings (eating Christmas cookies seems to unleash this insatiable sugar monster for me, and I’m not really a sugar craver, I’d much prefer a stinky cheese), and it feels good to practice some discipline and really take care of myself in a very mindful way for 21 days.

Here are some of the benefits of doing a cleanse/detox –

  • You feel better!
  • You lose weight
  • Decreases inflammation
  • Helps eliminate food cravings
  • Better sleep
  • Increase in energy
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Improves the quality of the skin
  • Better digestion
  • Clear thinking

There’s all kinds of ways to detox and clean things up. There’s 10 day cleanses, juice cleanses, liver cleanses – you need to figure out what will work for you if you’re feeling a call to make a change. You could even go really small and just practice Meatless Monday every week. -That might be New Year’s resolution you might actually keep!

If you are looking for some great inspiration I highly recommend the book Clean, by Alejandro Junger. It’s his story and journey and how he came up with this particular program. It’s an easy read and I found it to be very motivating.

Cheers! *as she raises her glass with water, lemon and mint leaves ☺

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Face Yoga – I’m Not Kidding!

Everyone holds stress in different areas of their body. For some people it’s neck and shoulders, others it can be in the lower back.

Yours truly likes to hold her tension in her jaw.

I have a tendency to clench my teeth when I am stressed. I don’t grind my teeth at night but I actually catch myself during the day at times, clenching my teeth. The condition is called Bruxism and it’s defined as “the habit of unconsciously gritting or grinding the teeth especially in situations of stress or during sleep”.

The alarming part came when one day I realized that my jaw was totally out of alignment. When I closed my teeth together – they didn’t line up.
Yikes! That is one bizarre feeling.

I did some research and found that this is a common side effect when left untreated. Typically a bite guard at night is recommended but I don’t really do it in my sleep. When I would wake up, my bite was normal and in alignment.

I decided to  do some work on releasing some of the tension in the muscles in my face. There are 43 muscles in the face. I began doing some daily massage and working any areas that were more sore than others. I also started to really focus on stress reduction in general. My jaw and face were definitely more relaxed and then I saw an article about Face Yoga. I actually giggled and rolled my eyes when I first saw it. I did some more research and thought, what the heck!

So here is my facial yoga routine every morning. I do this right after I meditate so that I don’t forget to do it.

  1. Look up, tilting your head back  with mouth closed (you’ll feel this in the front of the neck too) and lower the head. Repeat 20 times.
  2. Look up, tilting your head back. Push the lower jaw out like you have an underbite. Open and close the mouth with the lower jaw pushing out 20 times.
  3. Turn your head to the right. Stick your tongue out and in 10 times.
  4. Repeat above on the left side.
  5. Air kisses – tilt head back , look up and do a very exagerated “muah” kiss in to the air . Repeat 10 times.
  6. Repeat the vowels in a very slow , exagerrated way – A E I O U. 5 times.

I know it sounds crazy, but my face feels sooo much better and the really good news is that my jaw is back to normal and my teeth close naturally again. Phew!
One of the added bonuses of Face Yoga is that it is also supposed to help prevent signs of aging, sagging, drooping, etc.

Kind of makes sense if you think of it as “exercise” for your face.

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