Sunday, July 26, 2015

Chocolate Coconut Bars *raw vegan*

These remind me of nanaimo bars, but they are significantly healthier. Anyone who's tried one says, "Oh my God." I hope you love them too.


2 cups dried desiccated coconut (ground into a powder with a coffee grinder)
1/4 cup maple syrup for those who want to keep it vegan (I use raw honey)
1/2 cup raw coconut oil
2 scoops raw vegan vanilla protein powder (I use Heartland Gold Sprouted Brown Rice Protein Powder and the scoop I used is the one that comes with it)
1/2 cup cocoa butter
1 cup dried desiccated coconut
1 cup ground walnuts

1 cup raw cocoa powder
1/2 cup cocoa butter
1/2 cup raw coconut oil
3 Tbsp maple syrup or raw honey


To make the crust, mix all of the ingredients together and press into a parchment paper lined 9x9 dish. You will have to melt the cocoa butter and possibly the coconut oil using the double boiler method before mixing it in. Then, pop the crust in the freezer while you prepare the topping.

Melt the coconut oil and cocoa butter for the topping, again using the double boiler method, and mix in the cocoa powder and raw honey. Once fully mixed, pour over the crust.

Pop it back in the freezer to harden while you clean up.

This dessert is extremely rich, so be sure to cut it into small pieces. A little smackerel is all you'll need. Plus, they might just last a little bit longer that way.

♥ Andrea ♥

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Milk Thistle // Carduus Marianus

Several weeks ago, I happened upon this lovely thistle flower next to a pond. I love thistles. Part of my love of thistles may have to do with my Celtic heritage, as the thistle is a strong Celtic symbol. I love the story about Scotland being saved from a Viking invasion by a single thistle...

One night, when approaching for a surprise attack in the dark, a Viking stepped on a thistle and his cry woke the sleeping Scotsmen. King Kenneth III adopted the thistle as a symbol of Scotland which continues to endure today. 

In general, I am a big fan of weeds; the wild and free plants growing all around us that we so often consider to be a nuisance. There is so much to learn about them and from them. And I notice that the weeds that are the least liked in one's lawn, such as thistles and dandelions for example, are so often the ones that contain the most potent medicine for us. 

Milk Thistle (Silybum Marianum) is a potent detoxifier. It can actually assist in repairing liver cells! And it protects the liver against the damaging effects of alcohol and other poisons. Although my practice focuses on homeopathic medicine, I will quite often suggest a few other beneficial natural health supplements to my clients that I know will assist in their treatment. I recommend milk thistle to any of my patients who appear to have a sluggish liver and need some additional support. In our modern age, I feel that many of us can benefit from additional support for our over-worked livers. If you are considering a cleanse, which I think is a good idea in the spring and fall, think about taking milk thistle tincture as part of your cleanse.

St. Mary's Thistle (another name for milk thistle) is also a lesser known homeopathic remedy. Carduus Marianus, is not surprisingly used as an organ specific remedy for the liver. This remedy is used to treat inflammation of the liver (especially the left lobe) that is worse from lying on the left side and from motion but better from pressure. Terrible attacks of gallstone colic, fullness and soreness in the hepatic region and cirrhosis with it's characteristic jaundice with clay coloured stools and dark urine can be treated with this great homeopathic remedy. But please don't treat yourself or others for advanced or chronic ailments. Contact a trained homeopath.

Didn't I tell you this plant is amazing? So next time you get pricked by a thistle or find one growing in your garden, please remember how fortunate we are to have such a powerful ally, growing wild and free among us!

♥ Andrea ♥

*The information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice from a qualified health care practitioner.*

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Natural Beauty: Eye Care

Recently, I was approached by, Ming Pao Newspapers, to give my opinion on eye creams. They wanted to know which products on the market I would recommend. I really appreciated being asked and I gave my honest opinion. I thought you might like to hear about my thoughts on natural eye beauty as well.

In my opinion, eating well, drinking plenty of water and sleeping at least eight hours a night is still the absolute best natural beauty advice. As far as products that I would recommend, I am a fan of herbal products that are handmade.

There are many herbs that are wonderful for the skin. In particular, the ones I love most are calendula, chamomile, marshmallow and rose. I use rose water (available at most grocery stores) daily on my skin. The dried herbs calendula, marshmallow and chamomile can be made into an infusion (covered with boiling water and steeped for 20 minutes or longer). Soak a cotton ball in the infusion once strained and cooled and dab it on your face and under your eyes for a soothing wash. An infusion of these herbs will keep in a sealed jar in your fridge for a day or two.

If you are looking to purchase a handmade cream, I love the Rose Petal Cream made by herbalist, Celina Ainsworth and available through The Herbal Clinic and Dispensary in Toronto. Although it is not specifically an eye cream, it is a natural and gentle formula that is perfectly suited for the entire face including the under eye area. For anyone not in the GTA, the cream can be ordered by phone for mail order. The bulk herbs listed above can also be ordered through The Herbal Clinic and Dispensary or may be available at your local health food store.

Other natural beauty treatments I use myself include, raw coconut oil, cucumber, tea bags and vitamin E. Cucumber is so refreshing for the eyes and feels incredibly soothing on the skin. And of course antioxidant rich tea bags can be placed on the eyes to reduce puffiness and nourish the eye area. I give myself a vitamin E treatment about once a week. To give yourself one, just open a capsule and massage the oil all over your face. Be gentle though when applying it under your eyes. And I really love raw coconut oil! It is an amazingly nourishing oil and it smells and feels fantastic on your skin. I use it on my face everyday.

For internal treatment, I always recommend cell salts (also called, tissue salts). They are homeopathic preparations of the twelve minerals that make up all of the tissues in our bodies and are available at most health food stores. 

Tissue Salts for Beautiful Eyes

Dark Circles Under the Eyes
Ferrum Phos and Nat Mur 

Puffy Eye Bags
Nat Sulph 

Wrinkles Around the Eyes

I hope you find these tips for natural eye beauty to be helpful. Please leave me a comment or send me an e-mail if you have any questions.

♥ Andrea ♥

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Natural Recipe: Post Partum Herbal Sitz Bath

Immersing yourself in an herbal bath anytime is such a wonderful thing. After giving birth and becoming a new mother, taking time alone to soak in a healing bath is truly heavenly. And a handmade jar full of beautiful, wonderful smelling, healing herbs makes a lovely gift for a pregnant friend. I made this recipe for my friend who had a baby very recently. There are so many ways to make an herbal sitz bath. I've made these up many times for friends and for myself over the years and I don't think I've ever made it the same twice. This is the recipe I used most recently.

Typically, a sitz bath is one in which only the buttocks and hips are immersed in hot water in order to generate energy and circulation to that particular area of the body. You can use this recipe as a sitz bath or you can add it to a regular bath. For a traditional sitz bath, you will need a large tub or bucket to sit in.

1 part yarrow
2 parts lavender flowers
1 part chamomile flowers
1 part comfrey leaf
1 part marshmallow root
1 part uva ursi
1 part calendula flowers
sea salt   

You can decide how much of the mixture you would like to make. I used 1/2 cup quantities per each part to fill the large jar I had chosen. If you are filling a smaller jar, use a smaller amount for each part.
Mix all of the herbs together in a large bowl. 
Fill up your jar with the herb mixture.
I finished my jar off with a small square of fabric that I cut with pinking shears and then just fastened it to the top of the jar with an elastic band.

For the Bath
Add one cup of herbs to 8 cups of boiling water. Cover the pot, remove from heat and let stand for 30 to 60 minutes or so. Strain and add this infusion to your bath along with a 1/4 cup of sea salt.

This herbal recipe is used to assist the healing process after birth. It works wonders on the physical body and the ritual of taking time out for a warm lovely aromatic bath is also incredibly healing mentally and emotionally. Just writing this is making me want to go and have one myself. In fact, I think that's just what I will do!

You can purchase these herbs at health food stores who carry bulk herbs or you can order them through The Herbal Clinic and Dispensary and have them delivered right to you. You can also have herbalist, Celina Ainsworth, make up an herbal recipe for you if you don't want to make it yourself. Call the Herbal Dispensary at, 416.537.5303, to place your order.

Leave me a comment if you have any questions!

♥ Andrea ♥

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Harvesting Herbs With Kids: Horsetail

A couple of weeks ago, my son pulled some horsetail out of the ground and asked me what it was. I had been looking at the horsetail and thinking that we should harvest some. It's a lovely herb, high in silica, an essential trace mineral important for the formation of bone, connective tissue, as well as healthy hair, skin and nails. We have a nice big patch of horsetail in our yard and it was the perfect time to harvest it, so that's just what we did! We cut our horsetail a few inches above the root. This ensures that they will grow back.

After we collected all of our horsetail, we spread them out in a single layer to dry. Using a sheet tacked to the ceiling works really well. After a few days, the horsetail is ready to be placed in a sealed jar for storage.

I didn't know that much about horsetail, just how to identify it, that it is high in silica and can be used as a diuretic. I enjoyed reading about horsetail on and in a few of my herbals here at home. I think it's really neat to note that horsetail used to be a big tree and reproduces by spores and not by seed. After millions of years of evolution, it is now just a little tree-like herb instead of the towering tree it was hundreds of millions of years ago.

I love introducing the children to herbs this way. They think it's so exciting to make a tea of the horsetail we picked ourselves. And so do I.

♥ Andrea ♥