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Um. So, Almonds aren't really nuts! Who knew?

Fun factoid:  Almonds aren't actually nuts... they are called drupes (like a coconut) which are a type of fruit that has an "outer fleshy part that surrounds a pit (or stone), with a seed inside this pit."   If you are a visual person, like myself, check out these photos.  

 Seriously, though.  All this time, calling almonds nuts... and the love affair I have for almonds are quite strong.  We are talking WAY past first names... I call them "Al".   

(scenario)

me:  hon.  can you grab me a couple of Al for the road, I may get hungry. 

hubs:  um... what the heck is Al?  are you trying to be cute? 

See.  Way past first names.  Anywho.

My love for almonds has grown tremendously over the years... since I have learned all the benefits these little powerhouses hold.  I use a wee bit of almond milk as a creamer for my morning cup of Joe... dab a spoonful in my daily superfoodie smoothie for a...

How I Keep a Positive Mindset... well, try, at least!

alright, loves. 

first let me start off by saying I am not all rainbows and sunshines... but I have been asked more than once in our virtual Brain + Gut Health community, "How do you stay so positive?!?".  

so. 

after being asked for the second or third time, I thought... maybe I should jot these down to remind myself to DO THEM but also to inspire YOU {if you need}!  because sometimes... life happens and you find it hard to keep riding the positivity train.  trust me, I get it.  but... if one of these tidbits HELPS you find your joy each day, then why not share it, right? 

ME LAUGHING. CAUGHT BY BETTER TOGETHER PHOTOGRAPHY


here goes: 

1. Background: my sisters... I know... that's a wee bit unfair, because you didn't have them as sisters growing up.  but let me explain.  without getting too much into THEIR story, I'll share with you this.  my sisters were diagnosed with a form of muscular dystrophy at a young age......

Sugar: few health hacks to kick the sweet tooth... buh-bye!

With the holidays wrapping up, I finally had time to sit... rest... and FEEL the effects of all the holiday goodies had on my body.  Seriously.  I was a wee bit cranky... and the mama-fanny pack, aka. MFP, was protruding more than I care to admit.  But, hey.  I couldn't resist some of those homemade desserts that only come out during Christmas celebrations... right?  You feel me?

Anywho. 

I figured it was the PERFECT time to do a quick "5 Day Sugar Detox"... and thankfully, some beautiful ladies in our Brain + Gut Health Community were ready to link arms with me and kick the sweet cravings together!    

 

 

But... you may be wondering, "why on EARTH would I need to do a sugar detox?" Hmm... Well. Check it. 



A few benefits one may see when reducing their sugar consumption, include a reduction in: 

  • Acid Reflux        
  • Migraines    
  • Fatigue     
  • Joint Pain
  • ...

Amber's 2018 Reading List

so.  here's the thing.  recently the hubster + I were talking about our 2018 goals... maybe I should interject here and state this:  my hubster has this amazing ability to spit out truth bombs when you least expect it.  or want it.  

now... back to the story.  we were talking about our 2018 goals... when insert his truth bomb:  

hubs:  love.  if you want to serve others, you need to stay up on your material.  consider reading a new book every few weeks to staying in the 'know'.  

{ boom }  

right?  and he is so true.  however, being a working relief veterinarian with twin 4yr olds who we currently homeschool (see the keyword: currently) and provide daily physical therapy + run a coaching business from home... WHEN am I suppose to find time to read?  hmm... 

and then it hit me... if it's important to me.  I will find the time... and by finding time meant giving up on my Netflix series binge watching....

Rosemary

rosemary. 

fun factoid about rosemary... Shakespeare wrote something about it in Hamlet a few hundred years back.  something like, Rosemary it helps with remembrance.   (obviously, completely paraphrasing that little nugget for you).  but how cool, right?   

anywho.  we planted this little bugger in our herb garden two years ago... and has been thriving.  one of the most fascinating things about rosemary (to me, anyways) is where it thrives.  

rosemary is a plant which grows in damp climates which tend to have cooler temps... um, we live in the hot state of Texas.  so how this little guy is thriving in our garden is astounding.  but, here's the fascinating part. 

this plant aids in healing illnesses which are associated with cool and damp environments.   

*** and as my dear sweet aunt reminded me, this herb's history originates from the Mediterranean region... which is not cool or damp.  so.  I'll just...

Banana

Bananas.  

Bananas are a weird fruit to me... you can mash it up to make pancakes.  freeze it to make smoothies.  blend with a few ingredients and get non-dairy version of "ice cream".  carry it in a tote for a quick snack (without it getting mushy or ruined).  It's so versatile.  

And, of course, the hubster HATES the texture of bananas.  

{ face palm } 

Good news for me, though.  Our 4-yr old twins LOVE bananas and will actually eat a banana while mama is making a meal... for instance, last night, I was whipping up dinner.   The little miss comes into the kitchen asking, "mama, can I have a nana?"  Before I could answer, the hubster says "Honey, mama is working hard on dinner.  Let's wait to eat then, Okay?"  (sweet, right? but not the response I was hoping for from him.)

Dumbfounded.  I stare at this man who is looking at me like he solved the world's greatest problem.  

"What?" he asked.  "Well, you...

Pumpkin

Here's a few things you should know about me... things that I love: 

  • Autumn.

  • Everything having to do with autumn. Period.

Seriously.  When you think about autumn (or the fall), if you are like me, your mind goes to... football games, local parish fairs (I'm from Louisiana, we have parishes, not counties), cool temperatures which let you stay outside later and not swat at mosquitoes, bonfires with roasted marshmallows, flannel shirts with your favorite pair of boots... and pumpkins.  

How can you NOT like fall, right?  Plus... my birthday is in the fall, just sayin'.  That's awesome.  

So.  With fall peeping around the corner, I busted out with my FIRST pumpkin spice latte at the "Bucks of the Star" coffee shop while heading to work.  (sometimes, vet life calls for coffee).  

Wow.  I am sharing ALOT about myself in this blog... I'm a Louisiana girl.  Autumn birthday.  Veterinarian.  

{ BOOM }  

But...

Matcha Green Tea

Matcha Green Tea came into my life about 3 years ago... I was browsing along in the nearby mall when I stumbled into a tea shop.  The saleslady asked if I'd like to take a sample of the "tea du jour".   um, yep.  I pretty much don't turn down samples :)  

for the next few minutes I watched in awe as she poured and whisked the green tea powder into a frothy mixture.  when she handed me the sample, I thought I was in love... until I sampled it- literally, tasted like I licked a lawnmower.  I gagged.  I retched.  it was awful... thinking I was not a novice tea drinker, she apologized and sweetened the tea with a wee bit of honey.  

now we were talking... I loved it (with a bit of sweetness). and as she explained all the benefits of matcha green tea... I fell more in love and purchased on the spot.  the saleslady was good... but so were all the goodness in matcha green tea.  check it: 

How to select Matcha Green Tea? 

  • ...

Lemon

lemons. 

this little powerhouses of sunshine seriously make my day.  I love the fact the scent reminds me of summer and the amazing properties they hold.  plus, they are so versatile.  we drink fresh lemon juice... shave lemon rind into baked goods... add drops of lemon essential oils into cleaning products... and even use lemons for beauty products (like our sugar lemon scrub).  AMAZE-BALLS!  

my love affair with lemons began about 3 years ago, when I actually WON a lemon tree at an Arbor Day festival... YES.  I WON A TREE!!!  I literally have won TWO things in my life... 1) a lemon tree  2) an old-smokey BBQ pit 

*I won the Old Smokey in a raffle at a High School Conference*  

anywho. let's dive a wee bit deeper into the lands of lemons. 

How to select the right one? 

  • Always opt for the vibrant, yellow one with a little shine. It should be a wee bit heavy and semi-soft.

  • We avoid the hard, dull and wrinkled ones....

Adding Healthy Fats to Our Plates: Avocado

avocados. 

it was not love at first sight with these little green powerhouses... (gasp of horror).  but truthfully, it wasn't.  growing up, I wasn't a fan of avocados or even guacamole.  more of a chips and salsa kinda girl.  

yet. somehow along the way, I realized all the amazing benefits of avocados... and started to incorporate them on my plate... in my smoothies... and even in my beauty routine!  

seriously!  

so. let's dive a wee bit deeper and learn more about these amazing fruits! 

How to select the right avocado? 
This is something that seems to trip people UP on... and here are a few tips I have learned along my way! 

  • ripe avocados will be slightly soft when you press on them

  • ripe avocados will be dark in color

  • firm avocados will ripen in a couple of days

  • you want to avoid ones that are cracked or have sunken spots

  • you also want to avoid ones that are dull in color

How to store your avocado? 
Here's the...

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