Posts in Category: blog

Tips for Health and Dangers of Fad Diets

weight-lossOften times people want to start fresh, lose a little weight to honor their New Year’s Resolution.  The problem that happens with many people and why their resolutions fall to the way-side is that they go about this in the wrong way.  Many of us have never had proper nutrition and fitness education, except maybe in middle school when we don’t really care anyway because, well, our hormones are running wild and there is too much social stuff going on.  We tend to reach for the quick fix or what the food companies call “diet foods”.  These highly processed foods can  be unhealthy and dangerous.  This article helps to explain what some of these “diet” foods do to your system.

When you want to lose weight (or what I like to say: Lose fat), here are some of the more important things to remember:

1). Eat whole foods.  This does not mean you have to go to Whole Foods to shop.  This means that you want to eat food that is unprocessed and in it’s natural form.

2.)Stay away from foods that are Non-fat or Low-fat or loaded with simple carbohydrates (sugar): naturally occuring fats actually satiate you, allow to to feel full, and help your brain to function. The good fats that are out there are in nuts and fish mostly, but even animal fats are ok once in a while.  Most non-fat or low-fat foods are loaded with chemicals and fillers that act like fats, but because they are added or synthetic can have a worse effect on your system than full fat foods. Sugar is converted to fat when your body is not using it.  Because so many processed foods contain added sugar and especially high fructose sugars your body get “empty calories” so your body is not feeling satiated and wants more to eat.  You are also jacking up your insulin and your body is becoming immune to this response and can ultimately cause diabetes.

3.) Never drink “Diet Soda” or use artificial Sweeteners:  These so-called food products contain dangers that your can’t overlook. Here are some reasons not to use these.

4). Don’t Starve yourself: If you are trying to lose weight by not eating, this can have the opposite effect on your weight loss.  Your body actually starts shutting down it’s digestive and metabolic functions so to stay healthy with less food. When you starve yourself and you may lose weight at first, but will then gain it back when you start eating normally again.

5.) Drink Water and Tea to stay hydrated: Hydration helps your body to work more efficiently as well as helps you feel more full.  If you drink a glass of water 5-10 minutes before a meal, you will tend not to over eat as much.

6). Exercise: Try to get out 5-7 days a week.  This can be a brisk walk or jog, a bike ride, yoga, dancing, really anything active.  If you make 1-2 days of your week resistance or weight training then you will lose fat faster.  (Remember when you build muscle you might gain weight, but you are losing fat).

7.) Don’t eat after 6 or 7pm and wait 10minutes before having seconds: When you eat late at night, your body is still working to digest the food and doesn’t allow a good night’s sleep.  Sleep is key to stress reduction, which in turn allows for less cortisol.  Cortisol is a stress hormone that make your body gain weight around the middle.  When you keep eating after a meal you can tend to over eat as it takes a while for your stomach to feel full.  Try waiting 10minutes before having seconds of a meal.

8.) Balance your food intake: 30% of your calories should come from Fats, 40% from proteens, and 30% from complex carbs like whole grains and vegetables

9.) Use the 80/20 Rule: If you follow these rules for most of the time (80%), and maybe indulge yourself a little bit (20%), then you will have more success. Make it a conscious decision to indulge and treat yourself and don’t think that you have failed just because you eat an oreo or two (maybe not the whole package).

If you want more information or want to work with me to keep on track I offer individual health coaching sessions. Contact me and I’ll get back to you.

Stress Relief!

teaOk, so the holidays are hectic.  Fun, but hectic.  This time of year is full of excited kids, family and friends traveling and and connecting at parties, stressing out with family and friends, and making things perfect.  AAAGGGHHH! What a trial for your body and emotions! The stress hormone, coritsol, is on the rise with the lack of sleep, stressful shopping, and sicknesses from all over the world being co-mingled at airports and shopping malls. Because cortisol goes up with stress and sugary cookies and cakes and pies, how do you stay healthy and stress free during this onslaught?

Here are a few ways to try to keep yourself healthy at parties and with sick family members this season:

1.  Drink water and herbal teas.  Tea and water will help to keep you hydrated and flush out your system.  This is extremely important through the sugary treats, salty roasts, and alcohol consumption.  When we are stressed sometimes we forget to drink, which makes us hungry and thirsty.  One fabulous drink for this time of year right before bed is Phytology Calming Tea.

2.  Try to get some sleep!   I know parties and shopping and sick kids can play a little part in this.  But try.  Sleep is the best healing your body can do when you are stressed out and starting to feel sick.

3. Wash your hands.  We have some fabulous products to keep you clear of yucky germs using antibacterial and antifungal herbs. Phytology Gent Scent Soap is made with pine, tea tree and anise essential oils which help kill germs and keep you healthy.  Our version of “Thieves” essential oil is used in our Winter Whip Lotion and our hand santizer which you can bring with you on the plane or traveling.  Apply often to gain health benefits of this fabulous germ-fighting essential oil!

4. Exercise.  Go for a walk (outside).  You don’t have to do a massive workout at the cross-fit gym, all you need to do is get some fresh air and start moving the blood around your body. Regular exercise can help decrease the release of cortisol and causes the body to have a healthier response to stress.  According to a 2010 study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. Researchers found that people experienced the largest boosts to their mood and self-esteem after just spending five minutes outside doing some form of light exercise, like walking.

Good luck and make time to stay healthy this season!


Babies-of-different-racesWell, I’ve had three friends in three days have babies.  So fun and cute and full of love and life potential!  As my partner and I also try for a little bundle of joy,I worry about all of the environmental factors that can have an effect on his or her health and of course this relates to how I make my own life choices with exercise, food, drink, and products that I use in my life.  With recent elections not labeling the GMO products on the market, pesticide use at all time highs, food allergies closely related to these products, pollutions rates skyrocketing, Any big corporations running the FDA, it is more important than ever to take time to read labels, stay local for many items, and know what we are eating, drinking, and slathering on our skin.

At Phytology we are now in the process of the creating a natural baby product line including, but not limited to, non-talc herbal baby powder, baby oil, baby body wash and shampoo, and baby lotion.  We already have a great Baby Bum Butter for diaper rash or other rashes like eczema.  We also have a Mama line which includes Buddha Belly Rub and Sitz baths for pregnant mamas. We’ll be adding to the Mama line with nipple salves and tonics safe for Mamas and babies. Stay tuned all you mamas-to-be and dads-to-be.  We are looking forward to these new products! If you have any product suggestions let us know and we’d love to do some trials!

Phytology Natural Salves and Oils for Massage and Physical Therapy

photo(17)For the last few months Phytology has provided Rock and Roll Salve to the the Atlantic Physical Therapy of Falmouth, Maine for their massage and treatment of deep tissue, muscle tendon and ligament injuries.  Due to the growing concern of parabens, and other chemicals in the lotions and salves available in today’s market, and concern for using these products on a daily basis as practitioners, Jill Newell of Atlantic Physical Therapy and co-owner of SOPOSUP contacted us to make a salve for treatment.  Phytology Rock and Roll Salve has been perfect for treatment as it only has natural ingredients (no chemicals), has the consistency needed for some of the instruments used, and has added deep tissue healing herbs like arnica, wintergreen, comfrey and camphor.  This salve has also been a favorite of gardeners and rock climbers.  Order salves here.



DSCN4758Many massage therapists are interested in both the oils and salves (depending on the technique used), as they too are becoming more and more concerned about chemicals in the products they use on a daily basis. Phytology massage oils are made of apricot kernel, almond and grapeseed oils.  Into-the-Deep Massage oil is a deep healer like the Rock and Roll Salve but in oil form.  Lavish Lavender uses Lavender’s relaxing and soothing effects for an aromatic massage.  Invigoration is a citrus blend for an invigorating aromatherapy massage.  All the oils are very subtle as some people are very sensitive to fragrance and all use essential oils and/or oil infusions, not “fragrance oil” (which is not usually a derivative of anything natural).  Order massage oil here



As with all Phytology products,our oils and salves do have a shelf life of about a year and if kept cool and out of the sun or heat can tend to last longer.  Refrigerate when not in use and the products will last.  Isn’t it better to have something that parishes like natural food products then have a product with chemicals seeping into your skin, possibly causing cancers, blindness, allergic reactions, reproductive issues, etc

Let us know if you’d like a different massage oil or salve combination and we can help!


Toxins in Deodorant and Shampoo

armpitSo, many of you are reading about all the chemicals and toxins in shampoo, and deodorant and toothpaste.  In fact most commercially made home products have many of these chemicals due to needing to be on the store shelves for long periods of time. Deodorant is one of the worst due to the fact that you are applying toxic chemicals close to lymph nodes and breasts on freshly shaven skin, which allows chemicals a bee-line to your bloodstream. Learn about Toxins in Deodorant here.

At Phytology, we are trying out all kinds of natural ways to make your life healthier and actually have these products work!  One big dilemma that many of my customers go through is the deodorant dilemma.  “None of the natural products work”, they say. Or,” I still stink when I use these products”.  Well, let me tell you, coming from a very sweaty, active family, in a very humid environment like Maine, I too am skeptical.  However, I have been testing out some natural deodorant recipes (hopefully to make it to market soon).  I have had great success with the smell factor, and am working on the dryness factor.  Though, to be honest, sweating is the best way to clean out toxins.  I know, I know, tell that to the teacher at the head of the class with the pit-stains from wrist to waist.  But, I think this can work and in a healthy way for us all.

Also on the heavy toxins to the body list is shampoo.  Again many commercial shampoos out there are loaded with chemicals.  These chemicals strip your hair and scalp of the natural oils, either leading to really dry hair and scalp problems due to the “cleaning” of the hair.  Or they lead to an over abundance of oils because your body want to combat the drying out effect that your shampoo has.  You should not have to wash your hair everyday.  We at Phytology are testing out shampoo bars (yes that may take some getting used to).  These bars are similar to basic soaps that have nourishing oils and herbs to help your hair and scalp, not dry or strip the hair.  This allows the body processes to naturally balance and restore hair and scalp to a healthy state.  Here are some chemicals found in shampoos.

Basically this post is to bring awareness to the dangers in these products that we use everyday.  If we can decrease our use then maybe we can decrease cancer rates, birth defects, and allergies.  Feel free to contact us at Phytology if you wan to start going chemical free in your home and we can help you with where to start!


Blue Berries and Fog

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Morning fog, something that we rarely experience in Colorado, was what what we woke up to most mornings in Maine on our vacation.  It is a mysterious, magical and sometimes eerie feeling of not being able to see what is coming at you or what is there just beyond sight.

Similar to future goals and wishes and hopes, sometimes we are so caught in the fog of not knowing, hoping and wishing that we forget to experience the beauty of the fog itself.  We forget to enjoy the time we have now and forget to experience family and life and love in the here and now.

In the fog in the mornings in Maine were hundreds of gorgeous flowers, lively birds, chirpy bats, blueberries, butterflies, thunder and lightning, sailboats, seashells, fireflies, tennis courts, corn on the cob, friends and family (both new and old).  I challenge you all to experience your fog just as much as your wishes and hopes for the future, because when you blink the fog could be gone, as well as the magic and the mystery.


Lupine and Lighthouses

Maine lupineIn anticipation for my trip to Maine to visit family, I had to put up a picture of lupine in a field, the light house was just a perk in the picture.  But, both lupine and lighthouses are quintessential Maine symbols.

Lighthouses, of course, have their own symbolic meaning.  Helping sailors find their way home.  Sometimes returning to home after years at sea, sailors found the lighthouse to be a saving grace and a beacon to safety.  As I head home the light house symbolizes home, water ( a much missed element in the dry heat of Colorado), and the quaint relaxing energy of Maine.

Lupine are also a lovely reminder of how beautiful Maine is. In June there are lupine festivals. Lupine photography and paintings adorn much of Maine art and craft. When I was a ceramist’s mentor back in the 90’s I painted lots and lots of lupines on pots and plates and tiles. Lupine with its star-shaped leaves and tall proud purple and pink rockets are gorgeous en mass and they are certainly a main-stay in Maine.

There are many Lupine species and only one or two are native to Maine.  The roadside lupine that is all over Maine is actually an invasive species, though is relatively benign.  Lupine in many parts of the world is grown for culinary purposes, though only the sweet lupine or Australia is apparently palatable.

So, more pictures and posts to come from Maine in the next few weeks as we venture to that part of the country, and are guided home to Maine to the Lupines and Lighthouses.






Honey bees

photo(29)Honey bees are incredibly important pollinators for our nation’s food production. Honey bees and consequently our food supply are in danger. Neonicotinoids are to blame.  They are in common everyday pesticides that many farmers and plant grower use to keep pests off the plants.  The problem is that this substance is messing with the bee nervous system and is killing of the bees at an alarming rate. It is closely related to nicotine and we all know how that effects humans!  Here is a list of products containing neonicotinoids so that we as consumers can choose not to use these products in our own garden.

If you would like to plant your own garden to help the honey bees find clean food here are some things to consider:

  • Try to find starter plants that have not been treated with neonics
  • Plant your own seedlings
  • Use only organic herbicides and pesticides  (better for your health too)
  • Learn how to attract beneficial bees here
  • Learn how to plant a bee garden here at the Honey Bee Conservancy

Fairy Gardening

photo (2)I will be helping out at the Living Arts School Fairy Gardening Camp this week.  We’ll be making fairy gardens and fairy houses out of found objects.  So excited to see what the campers come up with.  Here is a picture of the demo for the class.  The tray was found at resource center and the house is made of found beach glass!

Lavish Lavender


Lavender is an amazing herb! It’s uses include: digestive healing, disinfecting, improving circulation, treatment for skin conditions, treats minor respiratory ailments, induces sleep and helps to release tension and stress! As a plant it is great for a low-water garden and it smells terrific!