{Guest Post} Overcome Addiction With Exercise

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Here is How Making Exercise Part of Your Lifestyle Helps You Overcome Addiction

By: Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott shares stories about the ups and downs of her anxiety and depression at SpiritFinder. She runs SpiritFinder to provide information for people with mental illness.

Improving your physical fitness can be the key to your recovery from addiction.  A good workout routine can improve how you feel and help you cope.  Here are some of the ways taking care of your body can restore you physically and mentally.

Working out is good for what ails you

We’ve all heard that exercise is good for your body, but you may be surprised to find that working out can also benefit your mind.  Some studies show that aerobic exercises like walking, swimming, gardening and dancing reduce anxiety and depression.  

There are many benefits in making exercise part of your lifestyle.  Participating in a regular exercise routine can:

  • Help you sleep better
  • Relieve your stress
  • Increase your energy and stamina 
  • Put you in a better mood
  • Make you feel more alert
  • Help you lose weight
  • Reduce cholesterol and improve cardiovascular health
  • Improve your sex drive

Exercise can help you cope

Recovering addicts may have even more reasons to start exercising.  According to studies cited by CNN, exercise increases levels of a chemical in the brain called dopamine.  Dopamine can give you a healthy version of the “high” sensation you may feel you are missing.  Additionally, a new workout routine can help you give up old social networks that may be stumbling blocks.  Exercising can help redefine your social life by filling time, by expending energy, and by connecting you with other people who share your new hobby.  In these ways, exercise provides you with a new coping mechanism, replacing an unhealthy one with a healthy one. 

Alternative options for coping

Many lifestyle changes can benefit your mind and your body and provide you with positive coping mechanisms.  Aside from typical workouts involving weights and gym memberships, here are some other options to consider:

  • Swimming.  Swimming is often touted as a low-impact sport that is easier on your joints than land pursuits such as jogging and walking.  According to Swimming World Magazine there are many other reasons you should swim.  Swimming can help you set goals, increase your team-building skills, and improve your social life and your self-confidence.  It’s an exercise for people of all ages, and you can enjoy it alone or in groups.
  • Meditation.  Some research suggests that spending as little as twenty-five minutes a day focused on your surroundings and concentrating on your breathing can alleviate pain, anxiety and depression.  You can also benefit by taking “purposeful pauses” throughout your day, making the most of routine moments.  By savoring the sensations of mundane tasks like brushing your teeth, you can alleviate worries and feel more relaxed.  
  • Yoga.  Yoga is receiving increasing attention for its physical and mental health benefits.  Research shows that yoga can reduce your stress, put you in a better mood, lower depression and anxiety, and increase your energy.  Harvard University even goes so far as to say that “the scientific study of yoga demonstrates that mental and physical health are not just closely allied, but are essentially equivalent,” and that “evidence is growing that yoga practice is a relatively low-risk, high-yield approach to improving overall health.”

Good for your body, your mind, and your recovery

There are many choices you can make that will improve your physical and mental well-being while you are recovering from addiction.  By developing a workout routine, you can reduce anxiety and depression, improve your fitness level and give yourself a healthy coping mechanism.  Similarly, you can incorporate an alternative coping method that benefits you physically and mentally such as swimming, meditation or yoga.  Whatever option you choose, you’ll find that taking care of your body and taking care of your mind will help you in your recovery.

Do you suffer from any addictions?  What do you do to cope with this issue?

Self-Care Tips for Valentine's Day

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Valentine’s Day is great day to reset New Year’s goals or resolutions that have fallen off in an act of self-love.  Our attention is usually on others this day, but take a few moments to reset some self-care intentions to keep yourself on track and focused.  Remind yourself about what your new goals were going into this year and think about why you made those goals a priority.  

Here are some self-care ideas for you to start today to incorporate into your daily or weekly routines to support your wellness journey!

Try a Detox Bath for Self-Care. Although there are many ways to detoxify your body, detox baths are one of the most relaxing and effective ways to do it. Detox baths help remove toxins through the pores of your skin and ease the burden on the liver. • 2 cups epsom salt, 1 cup baking soda, 8 drops lavender EO 

Make a sugar scrub. This is one of my favorite things to use on dry hands in the winter and year round in the shower. I keep small jars at the sinks in my home and a large container in the shower. A sugar scrub will exfoliate and moisturize at the same time leaving your skin feeling super soft and hydrated. Making it homemade will save you money, too! • 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup sweet almond oil, 10 drops lavender EO, 10 drops orange EO

Pay attention to your nails • Nail Whitener Soak - Combine 4 tbsp. of lemon juice with 3 tbsp. warm water in a glass bowl. Soak nails for ten minutes or until nails have whitened, rinse well then apply a good cuticle oil or Vitamin E. 

Olive Oil Remedy - Soak nails in olive oil for up to 20 minutes, which is extremely moisturizing and easily absorbed. This is a great practice to start, especially during the winter time! If I don’t have the 20 minutes, I will also rub some coconut oil or olive oil on my nails as I’m winding down for the night. This is a great weekly ritual! 

Quiet Time w/ Herbal Tea • Allow yourself to take a moment. Turn off ALL electronics, dim your lights and just be present. Sit on the floor, your bed, the couch, wherever, but just sit and calm your mind. First, set your tea up beside you, close your eyes and then slowly inhale and exhale three or four really deep breaths. Keep your eyes closed and pray, meditate, or think of all the ways you are blessed. When you’re finished, open your eyes and drink your tea while remaining in this quiet, blissful state. Simple, but powerful. Include herbal teas like chamomile, mint, raspberry leaf, lavender, and lemon balm

Hot Towel Scrub • Helps with relaxation, circulation, and detoxification • Helps to break down cellulite • How it works: take a washcloth and run it under hot water, wring it out, then rub your entire body for 5-10 minutes • It’s invigorating if you do it in the morning & relaxing if you do it at night.  You can also use a dry brush and detox right before jumping in the shower. 

What are you doing today for self-love?

Happy Valentine's Day!



Healthy Gingersnap Cookies

Golden Milk w/ MCT Oil & Anise Pods

Sweet Potato Chili Boats

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Sweet Potato Chili Boats

Homemade Taco and Chili Seasoning

Prep Time: 5 minutes Ingredients:

2 tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

1 tsp. dried oregano

2 tsp. paprika

6 tbsp. ground cumin

4 tsp. salt

3 tsp. black pepper

Directions: Mix everything in a bowl and then store in an airtight container.

Notes: Use 1.5 tbsp. of seasoning for every 1 pound of meat.


Make the sweet potatoes up to 3-4 days ahead of time if desired. First, rinse and poke each potato with a knife or fork to allow steam to escape. Next, wrap each rinsed (but not dried - some moisture is needed for the steam) sweet potato into a square of aluminum foil. Wrap tightly to prevent juice from seeping out then place in a crockpot and cook on high for 4-6 hours. Store in refrigerator until needed.

Flax Freezer Waffles

{Guest Post} Finding Peace in Pennsylvania: 6 Mental Health Getaways

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Finding Peace in Pennsylvania: 6 Mental Health Getaways

By Jennifer Scott

When I sense stress building and my patience wearing thin, I know it’s time to take a step back and tend to my mental wellness. While I’m a big proponent of mental health days, I think people do themselves a disservice by spending them indoors in front of the television. Since living in Pennsylvania situates us in some of the most beautiful parts of the country, why not take advantage of that fact and spend your next mental health day soaking up the state’s unique heritage? Here are six Pennsylvania sites that are perfect for your next mental health getaway.

Tranquil Retreats

Need to escape the demands of home and work for some relaxing alone time? Across the state, you’ll find peaceful retreats where you can let everyday worries wash away. When you want to rest, relax, and bask in the serenity of nature, reserve a stay at one of these tranquil locales.

The Nature Inn at Bald Eagle

Located in the heart of Bald Eagle State Park, this cozy bed-and-breakfast overlooks the 1,730-acre Foster Joseph Sayers Lake and offers convenient access to the Pennsylvania Wilds, a unique natural area where visitors will find plenty of bird-watching and stargazing to enjoy.

Himalayan Institute Retreat Center

People seeking spiritual guidance on their path to mental wellness can find inspiration at the Himalayan Institute Retreat Center. A stay at the center includes daily yoga classes, access to a meditation room and wellness center, and ample time to explore the 400-acre campus. For a more immersive experience, guests can sign up for a multiday wellness retreat

Active Getaways

Sometimes the best way to relax is by getting active. According to the American Psychological Association, exercise is effective at improving moods, reducing anxiety, and alleviating depression. If getting moving is your preferred stress-busting strategy, pay a visit to one of these sites the next time you feel anxiety mounting.

Presque Isle State Park

Pay a visit to the 9,910-square mile Lake Erie, and you’ll forget you’re in Pennsylvania. Rent a kayak at Presque Isle State Park and spend the day exploring lagoons, or take a bike ride along the Great Lakes Seaway Trail before resting up in one of Erie, Pennsylvania’s quaint bed-and-breakfasts.

The Ranch at Pocono Manor

If riding through a forested landscape on horseback is your idea of pure serenity, look no further than The Ranch at Pocono Manor. With rides that range from flat terrain suitable for beginners to hilly routes that meander past waterfalls, the ranch is perfect for a day trip to the Poconos.

Historic Sites

When you’re mired in stress from the small details of life, like laundry piling up or a nosy coworker at the office, zooming out can be a great way to get some perspective. Pennsylvania is full of interesting historic sites where you can learn about American history dating back to the nation’s independence and forget about what’s weighing on your mind.

Valley Forge National Historical Park

Immerse yourself in the story of the Continental Army’s harrowing encampment at Valley Forge, where soldiers fought freezing temperatures and famine during the winter of 1777-78. After a tour, visitors can explore the nearly 20 miles of hiking trails and absorb the site’s history.

Eckley’s Miners Village

Learn about life in a 19th-century coal-patch town with a visit to Eckley’s Miners Village in Luzerne County. This historic site is located on the site of a former coal mining company town and features a museum, guided tours, and living-history reenactments.

These sites are some of my favorites, but they hardly encompass all the beauty that Pennsylvania has to offer. Take a look at this list for ideas you can try no matter where in the state you live, and share your own favorites with family, friends, and coworkers. You never know when someone you care about might be struggling, and your tips could make a difference.

Jennifer Scott shares stories about the ups and downs of her anxiety and depression at SpiritFinder. She runs SpiritFinder to provide information for people with mental illness.

Red Velvet Cake Smoothie

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This recipe is loaded with potassium and superfoods, but tastes like dessert, with beets being the star of the show. Pre-roast the beets prior to making this by wrapping them in aluminum foil, drizzling with oil and roasting at 375 degrees for about an hour. Peel, chop, and store in refrigerator or freezer until ready to make recipe!

Red Velvet Cake Smoothie

Healthy Holiday Gift Guide

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It’s that time of year again!  I just finished putting up the decorations outside and for the first time in a very long time, put up a real tree for Christmas.  The boys and I are busy making memories and taking advantage of all the fun festive activities going on in our neighborhood and city.  Even just stepping outside to look at the moon these past few nights has been refreshing and such a fun bonding experience.  I’m feeling pretty good about Christmas this year.  My family and I are actually opting for less gift giving this year in lieu of spending time together doing something special and meaningful.  I highly encourage you to go this route, but I also wanted to provide you with a list of products that will work double-duty:  giving a thoughtful gift + making an impact in someone’s life.  SO all these gifts are ideas that will encourage your recipient to live a healthier lifestyle and/or support a good cause or small business owner.  Check it out:


1.  Membership to Thrive Market - I use Thrive Market to get really good deals on natural and/or organic foods and superfoods that are too expensive to buy at Whole Foods.  The yearly membership is $59, but using my link http://thrv.me/thewellsideoflife will get you 25% off your first order.  Some of my favorite things to purchase are the Simple Mills brand products, Primal Kitchen products and my ancient grains flours. 


2.  Hanselmann Pottery - Hand thrown stoneware with a minimalistic look

http://hanselmannpottery.com/ I don’t personally own any of his pottery yet, but I do collect pottery and I love the look of every piece on this site.  Who wouldn’t want to make beautiful food even if it’s just to use this stoneware!


3.  Jade Roller - I recently purchased this jade roller from Kae as one of my 2017 goals was to revamp my skincare regiment and products.  Talk about relaxing.  This roller is made of jade stone and helps with circulation and stimulating meridian points on the face.  Use PROMO CODE KAE20 for 20% off any item.


Benefits of the Jade Roller includes:

Improves blood circulation and skin tone

Improves elasticity of the skin

Promotes lymphatic drainage

Reduces puffiness and wrinkles

Reduces dark under eye circles

Eliminates toxins

Tightens and reduces pore size 


4.  New Year’s Resolution Coaching - I just created this program for those of you who want to seriously tackle wellness in the New Year.  You start 2018 off with the best intentions, but by February you're stuck in the same old habits doing the same old thing that you swore was going to be different this year.  Life gets in the way, you fall back into "the kids come first" mentality and before you know it, it's the middle of the summer and you're stuck...like really bad. 

You don't need a diet or even a gym membership, but what you do need is a plan.  You need a plan that works for you.  Check it out as a gift or for yourself!




5.  Big Berkey Water Filter - I love my Big Berkey as an affordable option for filtered water.  http://www.bigberkeywaterfilters.com/big-berkey-water-filter.html  This information is taken from their website: This system removes pathogenic bacteria, viruses, cysts and parasites entirely and extracts harmful chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, VOCs, organic solvents, radon 222 and trihalomethanes. It also reduces nitrates, nitrites and heavy metals such as lead and mercury. This system is so powerful it can remove food coloring from water without removing the beneficial minerals your body needs. Virtually no other system can duplicate this performance.


6.  Hydroflask - These water bottles are top-notch and made of stainless steel.  They keep my water cold all day long without fail.  This gift is also a perfect stocking stuffer!



7.  Primally Pure Products - All kinds of natural skincare products including deodorant, body oils, body butters and gifts for men and children.  The ingredients are very minimal and top-notch!




8.  Beauty Counter - Along with Primally Pure, Beauty Counter is another company that I recommend.  I personally love their Nourishing line of day creams and night creams, but they have come out with smaller sampler type sets just in time for the holidays.  Again, these products are extremely clean and non-toxic with a wide range of products from skincare to makeup.  Also, check out their Never List while you’re shopping for a good education about some of the harmful chemicals hiding in our skincare products. 




9.  TOMS Birch Sweater Knit Ivory Slippers - These may or may not be on my own wish list, but I had to share them because this company GIVES one pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of shoes (or slippers) purchased through their 1 for 1 program.  




10.  Vital Proteins Collagen Powder - Everyone who works with me knows that gut healing is going to be in the line-up somewhere and I usually recommend collagen powder.  Vital Proteins has seriously upped their game by offering things like coffee creamer, flavored collagen, beauty water and matcha!  Check it out. 



11.  Spiralizer Vegetable Slicer - Pasta has a new face, but you need a spiralizer to join in on the fun! 



12.  Year Long Soap Subscription - One less thing you have to worry about.  Small batch, hand crafted soap completely free of chemicals, using the highest quality essential oils.  I’ve used this soap for years.  Awesome stocking stuffer idea. 



13.  Eating Evolved Gift Basket - Ok, to be honest, I would be totally psyched to get something like this for Christmas lol!  If you’re looking to reduce sugar in the new year, then consider this chocolate health coach approved! 



14. Diffuser - Perfect Christmas gift for those looking to expand their holistic practices or to make their house smell amazing in lieu of chemically based air fresheners.  Always a favorite!



15.  The Gifting Plate & Natural Life Makeup Bags

I love the idea of this Gift Giving plate and it makes the perfect gift that keeps on giving.  Check it out!


Also, they have some super cute canvas makeup bags that are practical and motivational :) 



16.  The Love Bomb Jars - Cool little mason jars with motivational sayings to help you stay focused throughout the day.  




17.  Wildlife Trust for Baby Elephants - THIS. Anything that has to do with protecting animals, especially baby animals is a winner in my book.  The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust helps to protect and care for the baby elephants whose mamas and families are killed by poachers.  What an awesome movement and an awesome gift.  




18. Heifer International - I’ve used Heifer International many times and love it.  You can purchase items to help a family in poverty internationally and just recently in the US, too.  You can purchase anything from a chicken to a water well to an education for a child.  The world needs more of this.  Check it out. 




19. Light Therapy Lamp - For all my SAD peeps, get this on your wish list ASAP.  You’re welcome. 




20.  Salt Blends - I received some salt from Steel City Salt Company based right here in Pittsburgh as a gift a few years ago and I loved it!  https://steelcitysalt.com/t/gift-sets  Great gift idea or stocking stuffer and perfect for anyone who likes to experiment a little bit in the kitchen! 


Happy Holidays, friends!



Oven Roasted Chicken

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This recipe is so versatile and easy and should absolutely become one of your favorites.  My favorite herb to use with this dish is thyme, but I've also used rosemary and sage and find it just as yummy.  Don't be afraid to really massage the seasonings into the meat on top of and under the skin.  I remove the skin before eating, but I keep it on while roasting because it will keep the meat nice and moist.  If you prefer to take the skin off, you can always cover the baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper to keep the moisture locked in.  This is a really nice recipe to make over the weekend to pull from for quick sandwiches, salads or snacks.   Enjoy!