How to Use Essential Oils for Camping and Hiking

essential oils for camping and hiking

Do you enjoy camping and hiking? Summer is upon us and camping and hiking are two favorite Summer activities for many people. Did it ever occur to you that there are ways to use essential oils for a more fun and a safer camping and hiking experience? For years, the thought never even occurred to me that using essential oils for camping and hiking can make these activities more pleasurable. Here are some ways you can use essential oils for camping and hiking:

1. Use eucalyptus and lemongrass essential oils to help reduce or avoid bug bites. Have you ever gone hiking or camping and then when you came home you felt like you had been eaten alive by bugs? The chemical deet that is used in a lot of bug sprays is very unhealthy and has been shown to even cause heart problems in some people. There are other studies that have shown that essential oils can be just as effective. My favorite way to apply these oils is to dilute them in some coconut oil and rub the mixture all over my hands, feet, arms and legs. You can also mix the oils into some unscented body lotion and apply as well.

2. Use lavender essential oil to make your own sunscreen and or as an after sun to help reduce the effects of a sunburn. You do still want to be careful though because using lavender does not mean that you can or should expose yourself to direct rays of sunlight for more than a few minutes. You can also mix lavender with aloe vera for soothing relief.

3. Use lavender essential oil to help obtain a calmer and more restful sleep. I don’t know about you, but as much as I love camping, sometimes trying to fall asleep can be tough and lavender can help.

4. Ever go hiking and come home and find random scratches, rashes, and other skin irritations that you have no idea how they got there? Lavender and melaleuca essential oils can provide soothing relief and can help these skin irritations to heal faster.

5. Have you ever accidentally pulled a muscle while hiking? Or maybe you all of a sudden feel a little bit of tension in your knee or leg and you can’t figure out how it got there? You can try rubbing 2-3 drops of peppermint essential oil, cypress essential oil or frankincense essential oil on your knee or leg for a cooling sensation and for help to be able to finish your hike.

These are just a few ideas of many. Once you start using essential oils for camping and hiking, you will find many more uses. I’d love to hear how you have used them in the comments below.

Ultimade Guide to Gluten Free and Dairy Free Salads

gluten free dairy free salads

Salads are a great staple for any healthy diet. However, making sure that your salads are gluten free and dairy free can be challenging, especially when it comes to dressings. Here are some steps to take to make sure that you always have plenty of ideas for healthy gluten free and dairy free salads.

1. Prepare ahead. Gather your ingredients and prepare up to 1 week’s worth of salads ahead of time. For some ideas on how to make this work, check out the book Salads In A Jar: 30 Delicious & Healthy Salad Recipes You Can Make with a Mason Jar or Container & Eat on the Go Wherever You Are (Essential Kitchen Series Book 24). There are other similar books as well. While not all the recipes in this book are gluten free and dairy free you can find ideas in that book and the idea behind it is the same. You use mason jars to store the ingredients for your salad.

2. Purchase 1-2 continers of spring mix to use as a base for your gluten free and dairy free salads. I recommend Costco or Sam’s Club as they have them less expensive. However, you can also find similar containers of lettuce at other grocery stores too.

3. Keep an on hand supply of the ingredients that you will use on a regular basis. My favorites include:
Canned olives
Canned tuna fish
Canned chicken
Tomatoes either the regular size you can chop or baby tomatoes that don’t need to be
Red onions or green onions- red onions just happen to be my favorite
Humus- I really like humus and it makes it so that you will use less salad dressing and
save calories and fat.
Sprouts- best in the summer as they are more expensive in the other seasons of the year.
Hemp seeds- create for adding crunch without the calories and fat
Nuts- Almonds, Pecans, Walnuts and Cashews are always great
Carrots- you can shred them and use them in your salad
Peppers- red, green, orange and yellow- some seasons of the year green may be the least expensive.

I usually use between 3-5 ingredients besides the lettuce mix. I don’t use everything on this list.

4. Consider using other ingridents that you have not previously thought about. Sometimes
I like to add things like fresh strawberries or other berries for example.

5. Decide what salad dressings you will use. Most dressings have gluten and or dairy in them. However, you can make your own. 5 delicious and simple gluten free and dairy free salad dressings You can also find some organic ones that are gluten free and dairy free.

How to Have a Successful Gluten Free Barbecue

gluten free barbecue

With the arrival of Memorial Day at the end of May, barbecue season is upon us. Who doesn’t love a good barbeque? However, if you are gluten free you need to do some advance planning and be careful because otherwise having a gluten free barbecue may or may not happen and you may even accidentally get glutened at your barbecue. Here are the steps to follow to have a successful gluten free barbecue.

1. Plan in advance. If you are not doing the barbecue at your residence, make sure that the host knows that you are gluten free and if necessary explain to him or her what that means.

2. Have some tin foil ready for cooking your meat in order to avoid cross contamination with the other meats and items being cooked on the grill. If you ask the cook to use it politely or if you offer to cook your meat yourself it won’t be a problem.

3. If you like buns purchase your own gluten free buns rather than expecting a host to provide them.

4. Do what you can to find out what other foods will be served and if necessary offer to bring your own sides or appetizers that are gluten free.

5. Do your own research to find a gluten free barbecue sauce and other condiments that you can eat. Bring your own 1-2 person serving portions if necessary.

6. Avoid making a big deal about being gluten free and just eat your own food indescretely if necessary. The only person who really has to know unless they ask, is the person or people doing the cooking if it isn’t you.

Check out these additional links for information on some great gluten free barbeque recipes:

17 Gluten Free BBQ Side Dishes

Gluten Free Grilling Recipes

How a Sleep Journal Can Improve Your Child’s Sleep

sleep journal


Have you ever considered using a sleep journal to help improve your child’s sleep? What about your sleep? The concept of using a sleep journal might seem like an unusual thing but it can really help if you or your child or both of you are struggling to get the kind of sleep you need. Here is how a sleep journal works:

1. It’s a guide and a document that helps you track all of the details relating to sleep. This includes things such as the time you went to bed, the time you woke up, how many times you woke up during the night, whether or not you were tired later in the day, what you ate and drank within the last two hours before going to bed etc.

2. It’s a tool to help you track patterns in your sleep and to identify reasons why you or your child may not be getting the kind of sleep you or your child needs.

Using a sleep journal can help improve your child’s sleep when you’ve tried everything. If you’ve already tried essential oils, herbal remedies, drugs, music, changing the lighting and anything else you can think of then using a sleep journal may the just the missing piece you need.

still curious? Check out my sleep journal here.

Cracked Candy Review


Have you tried cracked candy yet? If not, you really should. It tastes really good and I can’t believe it is sugar free. Learn more about what I think about cracked candy, why you should consider purchasing some cracked candy and what I think the biggest problem with it is.

Buy a 2 pack on Amazon. Check out the cracked candy website.

Simple Healthy Eating for Kids Made Easy

Does trying to do healthy eating for kids drive you nuts? It does a lot of people and it can be difficult, unless you know a few tricks. However, simple healthy eating for kids can be really easy once you know what to do. Watch this video presentation below and let me share with you all about simple healthy eating for kids made easy.

What did you learn from this video? What will you implement right now? Questions? Comments? Post them below or use my contact me page.

How to Cook With Cocoa


Are you a chocolate addict like I am? If so you probably really really like anything chocolate. Did you know that chocolate comes from the cocoa bean? Did you know that you can buy cocoa beans or raw cocoa that is coca beans ground up? Did you know that you can learn how to cook with cocoa and make your own delicious sugar free or reduced sugar, gluten free and dairy free chocolate recipes?

Here are the steps to follow in order to cook with cocoa and make delicious chocolate recipes that won’t leave you feeling guilty and that are actually good for you.

1. Buy some raw cocoa powder or cocoa beans. This is a great one you can buy on Amazon. Healthworks Raw Certified Organic Cacao Powder, 1 lb(affiliate link). I do not recommend purchasing cocoa powder from Hersheys or anything that is not a pure certified organic or raw powder. You may also be able to find it in the bulk section at Whole Foods or any other health food store. If there is a Sprouts in your area, they also cary some less expensive brands of raw cocoa that are really good. If you want to buy the cocoa beans, You can also find those on Amazon or at a health food store. Navitas Naturals Organic Raw Cacao Beans, 8-Ounce Pouches. I recommend buying the cocoa powder for most recipes, especially when you are first learning how to cook with cocoa.

2. Decide what recipe you want to make. Some of my favorites include:

A. A healthier version of hot chocolate. To make this all you do is boil some water, or heat up some almond or coconut milk, then stir in 1-2 tablespoons of raw cocoa and a few drops of liquid stevia.

B. Chocolate flavored gluten free pancakes or waffles. To make this you just add 1 tablespoon or a little more if it is a large amount of batter to your already prepared gluten free pancake or waffle batter.

C. A healthier version of homemade brownies. You can use the cocoa powder in place of chocolate chips, or a chocolate bar.

D. In your green smoothie. You can add a tablespoon in with your greens and other fruit to give it a chocolate taste.

3. Keep experimenting. Cooking with cocoa is actually pretty easy as you can add it to any recipe that calls for chocolate or where you would like a chocolate taste. The only trick is to make sure that you do not use too much, especially when you are cooking a recipe with dry and wet ingredients since this can throw off the balance of dry and wet and make your recipe too dry.

Almond Flour Recipes

almond flour recipes

almond flour cupcakes

If you’ve been reading about gluten free foods and the gluten free lifestyle for any amount of time you have probably come across almond flour recipes. Personally it’s not my first choice for gluten free breads, pancakes and other gluten free baked goods. I personally have a moderate food sensitivity to almonds and so too many of them will make my sinuses and throat swell so eating too many almonds which includes almond flour recipes is hard for me to do. I prefer mixes with almond flour and coconut flour, or almond flour and flaxseeds or other combinations. However, I’m currently fighting off a yeast infection and therefore can’t have any grains for at least a month and so I figured this would be a food time to explore and experiment with almond flour recipes. Not only that but almond flour is such a staple in many gluten free cookbooks that I decided that this blog wouldn’t be complete without at least one blog post on almond flour recipes.

So how do you bake with almond flour?

The short answer is that you can make almost anything that you would make with wheat flour or other gluten free flours including pizza crust, bread, pancakes, waffles etc. However, there are lots of other things you can do with almond flour as well including using it as a thickener in soups, and sauces.

To start with here is a basic almond flour waffle recipe: Courtesy of Laura Hofsetter at:

1/2 cup Almond Flour
1 pinch Sea salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
2 Eggs
2 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup

Preheat waffle iron.
Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Whisk together eggs and maple syrup in separate bowl. Combine wet with dry ingredients and stir until thoroughly mixed.
Lightly coat waffle iron with olive oil to prevent sticking. Spoon batter into waffle iron and cook until golden.
Makes 1 serving

I would imagine that you could also use 1/4 a cup of almond flour and 1/4 a cup of coconut flour and then double the amount of eggs as coconut flour requires more eggs. I haven’t tried this yet though. You could also add in cinnamon, raw cocoa, a few drops of orange essential oil, honey instead of maple syrup etc just for some different varieties.

I also really like the almond flour chocolate muffins pictured above. Simple Mills Chocolate Muffin & Cake Mix, 10.4 Ounce (affiliate link). The only thing I would add is that this recipe does not have any sugar other than some coconut sugar and therefore is not at all sweet. So adding 1-2 drops of stevia or a little bit of maple syrup is a good idea as well.

There are also a lot of almond flour recipe ebooks available on the kindle. This one is one of my favorites: Almond Flour Recipes: An Alternative to Wheat Flour Cookbook for Celiac, Paleo, and Gluten Free Diets (Quick and Easy Series).

Which almond flour recipe is your favorite? Please tell me in the comments below.

How Working with a Health Coach Can Change Your Life

Have you ever considered working with a health coach? If not, you really should. In this video blog post, I share with you some reasons why working with a health coach is a good idea. I also talk about how working with me as your health coach can change your life and what to expect by working with a health coach.

Benefits of Hiring an IIN Health Coach

How to Handle Food Allergies and Autism Without Going Insane

food allergies and autism

Do you have a child with both food allergies and autism? If so, it can be doubly challenging and overwhelming at times. However, it is possible to manage both without going nuts. Here are some tips to help you accomplish this:

1. Take inventory of what kind of help and resources you need. I recommend hiring a health coach, or nutritionist to help you with the nutrition and meal planning part. You can of course hire me. Check out what I offer on my coaching page. Otherwise I can provide you with referrals for pretty much anyone or anything you might need.

2. Take time to breathe and focus on your needs and health as well as those of your child. Too many parents who have a child with health issues and or special needs don’t do this and you really must or you will crack and lose it.

3. Get support from others who have been there, done that. You can find groups on Facebook, blogs and other online places for support as well as offline groups. I have a group on Facebook that you can check out as well. You can also search or ask for recommendations from friends, family, neighbors, your church and doctor.

4. Take things one step at a time. If food allergies are causing more problems than the autism or sensory issues, then focus on learning to live with and manage those first. If sensory issues are a bigger problem than work on those first.

5. Plan ahead on Sunday night for the week to come. Do meal planning, gather snacks to use throughout the week, and be prepared for any situations you will encounter throughout that week.

Need more detailed help? Check out my Healthy Eating for Children with Autism Online Course