Any Day Juice Love

To an avid juicer like myself the benefits of juicing fresh fruits and vegetables seem endless – it is convenient, nutritious, great for the immune system, helps to detox, and on it goes… All of the above are true. For me, however, first and foremost the intense smells, flavors, and colors of the vegetables and fruits I juice connect me with all Nature’s goodness has to offer, and allow me to feel connected mind, body and spirit.  I love the taste and smell of fresh cut ginger and its vibrant yellow color. I love the unique aroma of freshly cut flat parsley. And the intense flavor of freshly pressed, picked from the Tower Garden kale. I love the bright orange of the freshly pressed turmeric. Or the sound of a stem of celery snapping, announces its freshness and vigor. And the sweet-sour note and promise of health a fresh cut ruby red grapefruit carries.

Yet it is specifically the unique and intense colors of many fruits and vegetables that announce their healing and nutritional properties. Watermelon and Red Grapefruit get their red pinkish color from a uniquely high concentration of the phytochemical lycopene, known for its strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant characteristics. Red Beets’ betalain antioxidant pigments give them their red color and are a powerful and relatively unique antioxidant that helps to improve cardiovascular health and lower blood pressure. Red Apples have a high concentration of anthocyanin, key to lowering blood sugar.

Kale, Spinach, Parsley, dandelion are some of the healthiest vegetables and herbs around. Their high levels of chlorophyll are responsible for their bright, full green color. They are powerhouses of concentrated vitamins, minerals, and a whole spectrum of phytonutrients – all essential to a healthy body.  Unbeknownst to many, one cup of raw kale contains more and often multiples of 100% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Vitamin K.

As these fruits and vegetables are allowed to ripen to maturity, their nutritional content increases and their flavors intensify. Government health bodies now recommend to eat at least 9-13 servings or more of fruits and vegetables every day to increase health, improve longevity and prevent disease. By eating fruits and vegetables from a variety of color groups, we benefit from the unique array of phytochemicals, essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that each color group has to offer. Think of eating the rainbow!!

While it may be difficult to eat 9 to 13 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables everyday, juicing can help significantly. I do know that not all can or will juice and that’s okay too. There are simpler ways to getting the good stuff and a bit more affordable too. It’s important to recognize that we all need to bridge the gap between what we do eat and what we should be eating.


When juicing, I recommend the following:

  • Use organic vegetables and fruit when possible (meta studies have shown that their antioxidant and nutritional content is 2 to 3 times higher than in their conventional counterparts).
  • Either use a slow juicer to press most nutrients from the fruits and vegetables as well as some amount of fiber. Alternatively use a blender if you wish all the fiber to be in your juice smoothie.
  • Add some lemon to delay oxidation (fiber will help as well).
  • Be adventurous, creative, have fun, and go with colors that speak to you. Somehow, I have found that my body knows what (color) it needs. Remember that in the end, you have to like your juice to drink it.
  • Be mindful when you drink your juice – take a moment to taste its bounty!
  • When buying juices, try to buy local and organic if you can, as it will always be fresher and healthier. Juices made from concentrate and that are heat pasteurized will have most of their naturally occurring nutrients destroyed in the process.

Live a Juicy Life, Jackie

Herbs and Essential Oil Wrinkle Cream DIY

As we age, our natural oil production decreases, creating dry skin that, over time, is less resilient to the constant stretching of our muscles, resulting in wrinkles. Besides eating healthy, plant based foods, the logical solution to prevent wrinkles is to simply replace the lost oils! There are plenty of products on the market that claim to do just that. But pick up any bottle of the latest anti-aging or wrinkle cream and read the ingredient list; if you aren’t shocked by the difficult-to-pronounce-or-identify ingredients, then you just might be shocked by how many ingredients there are!
Our skin is the largest organ in our body and the first barrier of defense against bacteria, viruses, and disease. Natural oils are lipophilic, which means they slip easily and quickly right into the lipid layer of the skin, trapping water and moisture inside. Many commercial wrinkle creams contain oils, but those oils are mixed with chemical fragrances and other toxic ingredients that hitch a ride right into that lipid layer. Rather than be boosted by the supplemental oils, your body now must spend energy combating those toxic intruders!
Natural oils contain nothing to cause the immune system alarm, can be absorbed safely, effectively, and retain moisture. Plus, the nutrients and proteins in essential oils actually encourage cell-regeneration and won’t clog pores! Why spend excessive amounts of money on counterproductive poisonous commercial creams when you can make your own safe and effective recipes at home? Here are 5 DIY Anti-Aging Serums that contain natural oils to prevent and combat wrinkles:
1. Rosehip & Carrot Seed Facial Serum

You’ve likely heard the term Retinol tossed around in skincare advertisements. That’s because retinol is a form of Vitamin A, which is highly antioxidant, great at repairing damaged tissue, and reducing scars and wrinkles. Rosehip seed oil is especially high in retinol, as well as omega fatty acids, and the potent antioxidants lycopene and beta-carotene.
Carrot seed oil is packed with vitamins and nutrients, most important of which are carotenoids. Carotenoids can boost the body’s immune response to UV rays, which makes it excellent at preventing sun damage. Carrot seed oil also detoxifies and stimulates the rejuvenation of cells.
This great recipe combines both these amazing oils to create a fantastic moisturizing serum for mature, dry, or damaged skin.
2. Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream

This Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream recipe is thickened with beeswax, so if you choose not to use bee products, you can substitute with any of these natural waxes. In addition to rosehip and carrot seed oils, this cream uses apricot kernel oil. Apricot kernel oil is high in gamma linoleum acid, which helps balance moisture levels in the skin. It’s also full of vitamins A & E; both super skin rejuvenating. It’s easily absorbed and non-greasy.
3. Eczema Cream

Worse than wrinkles are dry scaly patches caused by eczema! If you suffer from this common skin condition (or even if you don’t) you’ll love the hydrating and repairing power of this great DIY cream. It contains only four ingredients, one of which is geranium oil. Geranium oil is astringent, which means it tightens the skin, reducing sagging. In addition to stimulating cell regeneration, it’s antibacterial — great for those prone to acne!
4. Coconut Whipped Body Butter

Coconut oil is readily available and very popular right now because of its ample benefits to skin and body. It’s a natural, easily absorbed moisturizer that is solid at room temperature. Coconut oil can protect from free radicals and delays wrinkles and sagging skin. When whipped in a stand mixer, this delicious body butter is silky smooth, and can be used on the face as well as the body.
5. Olive Oil Cleanser and Moisturizer

Many natural oils can be used to clean skin as well as moisturize, as is the case with this simple Olive Oil Cleanser and Moisturizer recipe. And olive oil is highly anti-inflammatory, making it ideal for sensitive or acne riddled skin. It protects against free radicals, as well as having antimicrobial properties.
Give some of these recipes a try, and let us know how it goes!

Simple Savior, Jackie

What if the Grocery Store was Empty Tomorrow? 

What if you went to the grocery store tomorrow, and you found that the shelves were mostly empty? Would it be too late for you to learn to grow your own food? 


Would you need to prepare a whole new garden bed from scratch? If there’s been a major crash, you might not even be able to get gas to power your tiller. 


And if you’re scrambling to get a garden started, then you probably haven’t even thought about supplies of seeds, fertilizer, or water. 


Out of all the possible times you could pick to start growing your own food, the worst time to start is when your life depends on it. Because, chances are, you’re going to make some mistakes! 


But we’ve got a great resource that can help. We’ve got a great tool for gardening that’s great for beginners and veterans alike. 

If there’s someone in your life who is interested in growing their own food, but they’re a late bloomer – this growing system would make an awesome gift. The Tower Garden is oriented towards preppers and survivalists, and there is a great “how to” guide for anyone who wants to start gardening or take their garden up to the next level.

How to Grow Your Own Sensational Salads

In the middle of a sweltering summer, you know what sounds amazing? A chilled bowl packed to the brim with crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, refreshing cucumbers and crunchy celery.
No wonder the last week of July, (I vote for every week), is designated National Salad Week. I can’t think of a more satisfying dish for this time of year.
Yes, eating salads is quite good. But growing them is even better.

I’m going to show you how to grow a Salad-lover Tower Garden.
Salad-lover Tower Gardens are “full of things like lettuces, greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, edible flowers and other crops commonly used in salads.”

Sound like your ideal garden? Let’s dive in!

It’s the little things in life, right?
20 Plants Salad Lovers Should Grow
To help you plan your Tower Garden, here are 20 plants to grow for delicious, raw salads:
Amaranth – spinach substitute that grows remarkably well in warm, humid weather

Arugula ­– popular mixed salad green with a pleasant, peppery kick

Asian greens ­– tasty family that includes the bold mizuna, spinach-like tatsoi and others

Beans – delicious (and healthy!) ingredient in hearty, filling salads

Borage – produces edible, cucumber-flavored flowers

Broccoli ­– a single serving has about twice as much vitamin C as an orange

Cauliflower ­– pale cousin of broccoli with similar health benefits and taste

Celery ­– rich with fiber, easy way to add more texture to a salad

Chard – top superfood, often included in premade salad mixes

Cress – recently ranked as the most nutrient dense food

Cucumbers – iconic summer crop, increase the cool, crisp factor of any salad

Kale ­– packed with iron, often shredded to make a simple salad

Lettuces – with so many interesting varieties to choose from, you could easily grow a lettuce-only Tower Garden! (And some people do.)

Mustard greens – like lettuce, a pretty big family that includes several delicious, spicy varieties

Nasturtium – edible flower with a peppery, cress-like flavor, doubles as natural pest control

Peas – sweet, snap varieties often added to salads

Spinach – perhaps the most popular salad ingredient next to lettuce, very sensitive to heat

Strawberries – delightful topping if you like sweet salads

Sweet peppers – enliven salads with color and crunch

Tomatoes – bursting with flavor, cherry tomatoes are a popular variety for salads

These are my top recommendations, but there’s really no wrong way to make a salad. What would your list of ideal salad plants look like? Leave a comment to let me know!
How to Arrange a Salad-lover Tower Garden 

Want to eat fresh salads every day? You’ll need to reserve about 2–3 growing ports per family member for lettuces and greens.
Feel free to adapt the above plan as needed. For example, if you don’t like mustard greens but love lettuce, grow lettuce in two ports and leave out the mustards. As you tweak the plan, just try to keep the same big-to-small, pyramid-like arrangement. This will help keep your Tower Garden balanced.

“Lettuce” Eat! 

Lettuce and other greens grow quickly, and yours may be ready to harvest just weeks after planting. Salads are pretty simple to make, but you should check out the 5 Tower Gardener-vetted salad recipes in the Tower-to-Table Cookbook if you haven’t yet. (I’ve been meaning to try the Thai kale salad!) And here’s a fun idea: take your greens on the go by packing a salad in a jar. If you don’t eat harvests right away, place your lettuce and greens between paper towels in a sealed container and refrigerate them. When you’re ready to use them, follow these easy steps to make your produce fresh and crisp again:

Do you have a question? A must-try salad recipe? Let’s continue the conversation in the comments below. 

– See more at:

There’s a Pharmacy in my Yard

“We must take our children into the wild, introduce them to the plants, and teach them of their connection to the earth. In instilling in our children a respect for plant medicine, we not only care for their tender bodies but help pass along the seeds of a tradition that is as old as human life itself.” – Rosemary Gladstar

Children are the best students when it comes to plants. They have no prejudice against any of them (except for what we teach them), no preconceived notions of how a plant should work or how its medicine should heal. Just as we can accept an orange has lots of vitamin C, a banana is high in potassium, and beans contain protein, they can accept that peppermint is soothing to the stomach and comfrey can heal wounds and scars. And why not? They are all plants after all. Certainly if garden ‘vegetables’ can be nutritious and keep us healthy, so can herbs, weeds, and other plants. As adults we tend to be narrow minded when it comes to our food sources, but if we allow ourselves to open up, we can realize that this wonderful world we live on has given us an abundance of nutrition and healing through the plants and didn’t just reserve it for a select few. All plants have importance and value. We herbalists, scientists, and the like have yet to discover them all.

Nurture this attribute in children and reserve your opinions. Encourage them to keep an open mind as they grow to all the possibilities plants offer us. Let them learn for themselves. Teach them to trust their instincts. This doesn’t mean to let them eat anything, especially when it comes to fungi, however, when teaching them the difference between poke and elderberry, or hemlock and Queen Anne’s Lace, teach them respect of the plant and reverence for the medicine each plant offers whether it is mild (chickweed, lemon balm, plantain) or overly strong (foxglove, hemlock, etc.). Time will teach the appropriate use and application of each variance.

Giving a good herbal foundation will stay with children for their lifetime. Knowledge is empowering. Even though the majority will not choose this calling as their lifework, they will have a solid foundation of herbal knowledge which they will one day be able to pass along to their friends, family, community, and children of their own. They will have the ability to take control of their own health and teach others to do the same. There is nothing more empowering than knowing you have the ability to take charge of your own healthcare.

Here are 10 ways to incorporate herbal learning into everyday activities:

1. Start a notebook of the plants in your yard. Head outside with a notebook and make a list of each plant you have, starting with the common name and adding the Latin name if you know it or later when you can look it up. Have your child(ren) look around and tell you what they see first. Don’t forget the trees! Even if you don’t think a plant has medicinal uses, write it down anyway. You’ll be surprised at the number of ‘just weeds’ that really are medicinal. Remember, all plants have value, some are just yet undiscovered.

2. Make some medicine. You might start with a few simple items such as making a salve to replace the Neosporin and perhaps a tincture of Meadowsweet or Willow Bark to replace the aspirin. As your child(ren)’s knowledge grows, they may wish to make a salve for general wounds, a salve for skin afflictions, a drawing salve, and a muscle salve. Likewise, they may add tinctures for various types of headaches: skullcap, wood betony, dandelion, feverfew, and so on. The key is to start simply and have them build on that knowledge.

3. Assemble a home herbal medicine kit. Begin by making a list of all the over the counter medications you currently use. Then study your list of plants growing in your back yard and cross reference…ask your child(ren): which medications can be substituted with herbs? As they learn about the herbs that are growing in your yard, they can begin making medicines to replace them with.

4. Start an herb garden in your back yard or in containers. Begin with a few simple herbs such as chamomile, mint, basil, rosemary, lemon balm. Let your child decide on 10 or so herbs that they would like to become familiar with. Have them help create the garden, pot the plants, weed the garden, and water regularly. Encourage them to work with the plants and observe them as they grow. Make sure they taste each plant regularly and record how the flavors change as the plant grows; Mint becomes extremely strong when it flowers, Dandelion leaves become bitter as they mature. Be sure to have them record all this information (see journaling below).

Giving your children a part of the garden to grow their own plants is very empowering and also teaches them responsibility. They will take pride in growing their own medicine and when it comes time to use it, they will be more receptive to using it since it’s something they themselves planted, grew, harvested, and created medicine from.

5. Explore the herbs. As you work with the herbs, talk with them about the Latin names and the family they come from. Discuss characteristics of each family and similarities between plants. Have your child(ren) sample the herbs and state how that taste makes them feel (puckered, dry mouth, thirsty, etc) and what they think the plant may be useful for. Have them write down these ideas and put their theory to work the next time they have need to. If they are having trouble getting started, try offering them mint and say something like, “This is good for upset stomachs. When you eat it, what else do you think it would be helpful for?” (freshen breath, pick me up, etc.).

Encourage them to discover medicinal uses through their own intuition. Never discourage them. If they say lemon balm would be good to stop bleeding on a cut, let them try the theory out the next time they get cut. If it doesn’t work out, offer some suggestions of plants that may be more suited (something more astringent such as yarrow or plantain) or ask what they think might be more suitable.

6. Keep a journal of experiences. Have your child(ren) regularly sketch drawings of the plants’ progression over the course of the growing season, keep notes on the changes such as when they bloom, when they go to seed, etc. They can write down harvest information and any remedies you and they make with the herbs.

7. Have an herbal ally. Once your kids get more familiar with herbs, encourage them to pick one herb to learn about for 3 – 6 months to a year depending on their age. Have them focus on one herb and use it as much as possible, making as many remedies as possible from it and really getting to know it. Encourage them to be immersed in the plant, writing songs, stories, and poems about their ally. They should also be making as many medicines as possible with their herbal ally: salves, tinctures, vinegars, elixirs, oils, poultices, compresses and so on. Even if it doesn’t seem to make sense doing this with a plant, have them try it anyway, even if it’s just a few ounces.

8. Use the herbs in every way possible. This seems like a given but a lot of people overlook this. Incorporate herbs with your everyday living. Experiment with dyeing clothing with plants. Use them in floral arrangements, crafts, nature tables, and other seasonal decorations. Eat them. Make them be an integral part of your life.

9. Play games. Wildcraft! from Learning Herbs is an excellent cooperative board game that will teach children about herbs. Other games such as Walk in the Woods can also be a good teaching tool. Look into getting knowledge cards from Pomegranate such as Herbs and Medicinal Plants, Darcy Williamson’s Medicinal Flower Cards or Linda Runyon’s Wild Cards. Also, although not herbal-based, it is a great tool for teaching plant families: Shanleya’s Quest book and card game.

10. Start a Medicinal Herbal Library. Offering a variety of books to children is a great way to let them explore herbs on their own. There are a few children’s books available and a wealth of adult herbals that are kid appropriate. For a complete list of books to stock your library with go to: or visit Mountain Rose Herbs book section.

Above all, be open to experiences and allow your child(ren) to participate in all your herbal endeavors. Weave a tapestry of herbal love and knowledge into your child(ren)’s lives by letting them observe and help. Even the smallest child can add the oil to the double boiler to make an infused oil or help strip herbs from stems. And when they grow tired of the task, let them move on to another while you finish up what you are working on. In time, they will naturally start helping longer and eventually take over some of the tasks of medicine making in the home, creating their own recipes as their knowledge grows. Always gently nurture this and remind them to keep records of their experiences.

“Can we teach children to look at a flower and see all the things it represents: beauty, the health of an ecosystem, and the potential for healing?” – Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder