Get on board for the 24/7 Challenge!  Change is hard.  Health advice can be overwhelming.  My purpose in creating and populating this Start Somewhere Wellness blog is to help people along their own personal journey to increased physical vitality, enhanced mental strength, and an abundant spiritual life.  In my 30-plus years as a private practice dentist, I have had the privilege of getting invited into the personal lives of many people.  I call it “my front row seat of life.”  It has been my observation that most people really want to be able to experience their hopes and dreams.  Nobody plans to be sick.  Unfortunately, many don’t do the necessary preparation to stay well simply because the information is difficult to decipher.  Here’s my 24/7 Challenge to get a great start, no matter where you are on your health journey:

START SOMEWHERE today making positive progress toward a brighter future with more energy, heightened clarity of thought, and fewer ailments.  We’ll do it together!

Ask Dr. Debbie:  I received some lavender oil for my birthday.  What ideas do you have for putting it to good use? (from Lou H.)

What a lovely question!  Lavender oil has been used medicinally for centuries and the word actually comes from the Latin name Lavare, meaning “to wash” because of it’s delicately clean aroma.  Extracted from the flowers of the lavender plant typically via steam distillation, the essential oil has many researched health benefits:

  • Bug Repellent:  The potent smell of Lavender oil can be effective against many bugs, including mosquitoes, moths, and midges.  (I keep some with my wool yarn!)  If you do get a bug bite, the oil has an anti-inflammatory quality that will reduce pain and irritation.
  • Sleep Remedy:  A common insomnia remedy, Lavender oil can be effective when a few drops are placed on the pillow.  I like to douse it into an Epsom Salts bath at bedtime.
  • Increased Calm:  An excellent topical medication for anxiety, Lavender essential oil can be effective in soothing migraine headache pain.   
  • Acne and Acne Scars:  Some dermatologists and aromatherapists are now recommending Lavender essential oil as an additive to other skin creams or ointments.  It inhibits the bacteria and can reduce the signs of scarring.  
  • Pain Relief:  Lavender oil is an excellent remedy for sore and tense muscles, rheumatism, and sprains.  Rub it in topically.
  • Improved Circulation:  Aromatherapy research suggests that this oil can increase the level of oxygen to all parts of the body, including the heart and brain.  

The above are really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this fragrant essential oil.  It is important to remember that Lavender oil should never be taken internally.  It should never be ingested but applied or inhaled only.  There are lots of great studies to back up it’s effectiveness.  What a great gift, Lou!  Relax and enjoy!

Homemade Ranch & Taco Seasonings + My Taco Soup Recipe

We know that the ranch and taco seasoning packets are not the best for us. Most have unwanted additives like MSG. It’s easy and inexpensive just to make your own, so below are the recipes for each. Enjoy!

Homemade Ranch Seasoning Ingredients:

  • ⅓ C dry Buttermilk
  • 2 T dried Parsley
  • 2 t dried Dill Weed
  • 2 t Garlic Powder
  • 2 t Onion Powder
  • 2 t dried Onion Flakes
  • 1 t ground Black Pepper
  • 1 t dried Chives

*Mix all ingredients together.  I like to make several batches and store in a glass jar.  

Homemade Taco Seasoning Ingredients:

  • 1 T Chili Powder
  • ½  t Garlic Powder
  • ¼ t Onion Powder
  • ¼ t crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • ¼ t dried Oregano
  • ½ t Paprika
  • 1 ½ t ground Cumin
  • 1 t Sea Salt

* Mix all ingredients together.  Again, it’s great to make and store in glass.  

Now for the soup!

  • 2 lbs. Lean, Ground Beef (organic, grass fed if possible)
  • 1 small Onion, chopped
  • 3 cans (4 oz.) Green Chiles, chopped
  • 1 t Sea Salt
  • 1 t Pepper
  • 1 can (15 oz.) Pinto Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 ¼ oz. homemade Taco Seasoning
  • 1 oz.  homemade Ranch Seasoning
  • 1 ½ C Water
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) Stewed Tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 oz.) Red Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) Black Beans
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.)  Yellow Hominy
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese for serving
  • Sour Cream for serving
  • Tortilla Chips for serving

Here’s the drill:

  1. In a large Dutch oven, brown beef and onion. Drain any fat.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients except cheese, sour cream, and chips. Bring to a gentle boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes. Top with cheese and serve with chips, if desired.

This is a great “make ahead” meal and is easily transported.  Modify the spice ratios to fit your own tastebuds!

Happy New Year! It’s never too late to START SOMEWHERE!

“So take a deep breath,

Pick yourself up,

Dust yourself off,

Start all over again.”  (Frank Sinatra)

24/7 Challenge

24/7 Challenge