ROCK TALK: QUARTZ

This week we will be learning about the crystal clear healer: Quartz. I was given the option between magical Labradorite and the cleansing power of Clear Quartz. My Heart immediately sunk into a gracious sigh of relief when Amanda suggested Quartz. I had naturally been drawn to it over my time with Fluorite (the featured stone of our first Rock Talk). I took this as a message that a focus on healing and clarity were necessary for this second entry.

A few of our favorite sources to do crystal research include The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall, The Pocket Book of Stones by Robert Simmons, and The Crystal Healer by Philip Permutt. One of the earliest steps in the process of writing one of these posts is the research. To start, I ask myself what my first impressions of this particular crystal are and how does that align with the information already out there. I noticed this crystal is more focused on the Spiritual/Metaphysical and the Physical realms, whereas Fluorite was much more concerned with healing our Mental and Emotional connections. While all crystals have various properties in all realms, it is interesting to note their favorites. 

Personally, my favorite realms to spend time in are the Mental and Spiritual. I will be the first to admit I find challenges when it comes to expressing my emotions or remaining grounded. So last month, I was asked to work on healing my mental health and its connection to my unhealed, unconscious emotional patterns. It has been incredible to watch my life unfold as I take responsibility for how I feel about a situation or environment by standing up for myself, honoring my feelings, and asking for what I want/need. This month my lessons were to begin understanding the deep connections between the Spirit world and the physical world we live in.

The intention I consciously chose for my Quartz is Clarity. Conscious, decisive, heart-felt Clarity became the mirror of my world. This was not consistently an easy task. Healing takes accountability and contemplation of the very Shadows that exist within our depths. These are much easier to run from, to ignore, to drown with alcohol, but with faith in Spirit and love of ourselves, we can watch ourselves transform. Unlike Fluorite, I did not find my Quartz with me in every moment or situation. This was partially because I chose a cluster rather than a pocket stone but I also believe that the healing I was being asked to do was not something I needed to be focused on at all times. When the work goes deep, it is healthy and often necessary, to take a step back from the work and rest. I witnessed this naturally happen over my course with Quartz.

There was one particular message that seemed to echo over this month and that message concerned the truth of our human form being deeply connected to the Divine. I took this message to heart as I focused with Clarity on my own conditioning patterns that denied any part of this truth.

Clarity is a gift of working with your intuition. Based on my self-study, I understood that my intuitive guidance was carrying deep wounding before I received this Quartz assignment. “Be gentle,” echos in my ears from my best friend as she voices her concern when I am very clearly being unkind, from Amanda who whispers softly to Copper behind me as we work amongst the healing energy of the crystals. “Be gentle!” my Quartz rather screamed at me as I sat down to do my crystal practice.

During a rather emotionally chaotic and distraught moment of thinking, there it was, a small piece of my Quartz cluster, disconnected from its original form. How it felt for me: as if a very clear pattern was being forcefully ripped out of my awareness. It hurt, I had to look at it, my Quartz and Spirit were sure to make me see. Have you ever stared at yourself in a mirror at night with only a few candles lit? You should try it. I have seen unfathomable things inside myself in those Shadows, but in witnessing them, I experience deep compassion for myself. Last night was no different, I sat before my mirror, broken Quartz offered to Spirit to heal and transform, and I stared. I watched the light flicker from demon to goddess, from Shadow to Siddhi, and back and forth until a deep sigh allowed for Acceptance and Transformation.

“Be Gentle,” my Heart whispered as my attacks came marching in. How could I have been so careless? How could I allow this gift of Quartz to break? I listened to that critical voice, allowed it to be heard and patiently listened for it… that gentle voice of affirmation. As I sat and contemplated, I looked to the worksheet I created for you to practice with your own Quartz and there I had listed some possible messages your Quartz might be giving you. One in particular hit me right in the space that was asking to be healed: maybe you are experiencing intensified feelings which your Quartz would like to address. YES, actually. I did not expect that to be my message. I sort of added that specific suggestion as an afterthought, but apparently, it was really a deeper message I had hidden for myself within my work. How cool.

After all of this, I was able to sit in the silence of my mind and soon felt guided to do a tarot practice. Maybe it was time to commit to yourself, as Karen Neverland so beautifully reminded me the night before, maybe it was simply time to fully embody what I am experiencing in my heart, to embody the Light of Grace that resides within me. I reached for my Sacred Rebels deck but then thought, maybe that is not actually the deck my intuition is asking me to work with. So I laid out each of my three decks, closed my eyes, connected to my right hand as I hovered over my three options, back and forth as Amanda would when she’s choosing the crystal for her daily practice. When I opened my eyes, I was astonished to be guided toward my Black Moon Astrology deck, the only deck I have purchased for myself. I looked up an Aquarius New Moon spread and landed on an adorable, quirky, somewhat silly looking one from 2017, but the message really resonated, so I went with it. Again the affirmations came streaming in. A reminder to remain grounded emotionally by my creativity, to continue practicing my art, my craft, sharing them with others along the way. A reminder to enjoy being a Divine being in a physical body, to celebrate that fact by allowing my roots to fully plant. A beautiful message after a day of making room in our home for the most wonderfully gorgeous little bedroom yucca.

Quartz is a stone whose main purpose and intention is to ground the Spiritual into the physical realm. It is a powerful stone because its clear color gives it access to all of your chakras. There is no Shadow this stone cannot touch and, as I learned, it will. If there is a wound, Quartz will reach out to touch it. It is powerful yet gentle. It sees all, nothing is hidden from its healing. Intuition is always gentle even if every now and then it needs to scream at you to get your attention. The screaming will subside as you allow it to be heard and you will then have access to what the voice of your unique intuition really sounds like. I feel my Intuition in my Heart, in its intention and power. I feel it in my openness and vulnerability. I sense it in my solar plexus. I notice it as I release my critical nature and make room for the sense of farsightedness. I feel it in my gut. I feel it in my aches and pains and in the softness I have learned to extend towards them. The voice of your Intuition is probably much different than mine and I would be curious to hear how others have learned to listen to their intuitive voice. I am grateful to this practice, the gentle guidance of this blog to allow me to tap into my own and share the discoveries with all of you.

A fun realization I had over my time with Quartz was allowing it to amplify other stones. In the beginning, I was drawn to use it alongside my Fluorite, hoping to continue the lessons in Discernment I had already begun, maybe this time with deeper Clarity and Self-Knowing. Ironically, my Fluorite parted from me over this month. This happens. Crystals come and go, like all healing, they are not ours to control. As I was nearing the end of this practice with Clear Quartz, preparing to share it with all of you, I noticed a bit of color sneak back into my space in the form of a piece of raw Rose Quartz and Orange Calcite. As I made a mental note, of the brightness of these colors on my Altar, I pondered what stones had made themselves present the last month. It was curious because most of them were dark colors, black stones being associated with the root chakra, grounding our physical body. How beautiful, considering much of my healing dealt with this specific need. A Reiki healer I met this month gifted me Shungite to cleanse my water, my body, to protect me. Amanda handed me a piece of Dalmatian Jasper saying it looked different than the others inviting my Quartz to now amplify my inner youthfulness. My Quartz cluster and a small Amethyst cluster have spent a few weeks together, really enjoying their time urging me to celebrate the habits of sobriety I am slowly, yet surely forming. And slowly, toward the end of the month, color came flooding back in. All of a sudden my Quartz could not part from its Rose Quartz orb friend, asking me to bring more rose into the space, our flower vases overflowing, rose oil becoming my new perfume and acne healer. With the messages affirming that my creativity was crucial in continuing this healing journey, my Quartz was thrilled to welcome the new additions of raw Rose Quartz and Orange Calcite - further reminders to remain gentle and loving. 

I would suggest Quartz to almost anyone, it has allowed me to access a deep trust in myself that I was wondering whether I would ever feel. A reminder, too, that Quartz is abundantly found on Earth so she’s already asking you to heal. The question is are you listening gently with intention? I have created a little worksheet for anyone who would like guidance on working with Quartz. I urge you to have fun with it. One of the biggest lessons I learned about healing myself this week is that I needed to release the control of the experience over to Spirit and my Quartz. As I did, the more I tapped in, the more I learned. We would love to hear about your experience working with Quartz and all of the ways our blog has helped you gain Clarity.

With Love, Encouragement, & Gratitude,

 
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Buzzzz words: Programmable, Amplifier, Magnification, Clearing/CLARITY, and Cleansing

  • Quartz absorbs, stores, releases, and regulates energy

  • Because it’s an amplifier, it harmonizes with all other stones 

  • Concerns all chakras and astrological signs

  • An abundant mineral found on every continent

    • Common sources: Arkansas, Brazil, China, Madagascar, Russia, South Africa, Tibet

  • Ideal for grid work - Learn about gridding here

  • Helps with energy blockage

  • Generates electromagnetism, dispels static electricity

  • Can help filter out distractions while meditating

  • Channels any energy and helps all healing

  • If you are unsure of what crystal to use: try quartz 

PHYSICAL

  • Support for the nervous system

  • Can be programmed to assist in any type of healing

  • Stimulates immune system

  • Brings body into balance

  • Helps soothe burns

  • Useful for multiple sclerosis, obesity, and pain

  • Weight loss

  • Helps diabetes, ear infections, hearing/balance

EMOTIONAL

  • Used to intensify feelings and/or heal the emotional body

MENTAL

  • Aids concentration

  • Unlocks memory

SPIRITUAL/METAPHYSICAL

  • Enhances one’s clarity

  • Aids communication with Spirit guides

  • Brings heightened Spiritual awareness

  • Consciousness expanding

  • Chakra opening

  • Helps with past life recall, inter dimensional travel, and polarity balancing

  • Enhances meditation and dreams

  • Connection with Higher Self

  • Raises energy to highest possible level

ROCK TALK: FLUORITE

Hello All - Happy New Year! Now that we have gone through our first New Moon of the year, I feel it has officially begun. My name is Mary Kate (MK) and I joined Rocks with Sass over the holidays to assist Amanda in packing all of your heartfelt holiday orders. I hope they were received right on time and with immense amounts of joy and love. I am here to chat with you today about the magic of Fluorite.

I did not own a piece of Fluorite until after I had done my research. Before I held my own crystal, I learned Fluorite is a healing stone. I found that it assists with decisiveness, aids in detox, and protects against electromagnetic stress. It also stabilizes the emotions and aura. Fluorite is a stone for those seeking Self-Confidence. It encourages you to break fixed, addictive, or destructive patterns, while simultaneously helping create structure. After my research, I realized this blog post could be so much more for you, for us, if I had a piece of my own, so I waited until after the holiday to write

I returned to Rocks with Sass on January 2. Amanda and I had only been apart for 10 days and as soon as I took my seat in our newly renovated work space, immediately I felt connected to Spirit, to my Soul and its purpose. Amanda and I caught up on our holidays, the black hole that is the week between Christmas and the New Year, how it felt like time both stopped and accelerated all in the same breath. Had I even been able to catch my breath? That week for me was spent researching this post and enjoying time with loved ones. I also spent it shying away from my vegan diet and recoiling from my Artistic projects. I witnessed myself back in bars drinking again, an activity I have been trying to overcome for years. While I enjoyed myself, there was a piece of me asking the entire time, “What are you doing? You know you have work to do.”

Back at Rocks with Sass in Amanda’s intuitive, eager, hopeful presence, I could finally see what that last week of 2018 really was: an end of year review. It was a moment to make a conscious decision about what was essential to my life moving forward. In that first conversation of 2019, I realized I had a vision for myself that included and honored Rocks with Sass. Simultaneously, Amanda had developed a vision for her business that included and honored me. We laughed for both not mentioning how powerful this post could be if I owned the crystal that was being featured. We packed the orders received over the holidays and before I left that day, I picked out my very own tumbled piece of Fluorite. The crystal I chose was oblong and triangular, mostly green with hues of purple and blue. It fit my hand nicely, I especially enjoyed holding it in my fingers right in the crease of my thumb.

Immediately, on my drive home, I noticed an ability to cut through my anxiety, to pinpoint the emotional patterns that were on repeat in my life. I kept the stone on me as I settled into the New Year. I allowed my mind to wander back to its intentions when I felt familiar fears and anxieties arise. For me, the biggest intention I was drawn to was that Fluorite promotes Discernment - a concept that continues to come up in my practice.

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I began studying Astrology as a way to better understand myself and the energy of the world around me in 2014. Over the course of my studies, I discovered Human Design - a system that creates an energetic blueprint of an individual at the time of their birth. From the beginning I was most drawn to a specific part of my chart - the Gene Keys made up of 64 Hexagrams. I spent this last year enveloping myself in the language of the Gene Keys, uncovering myself, getting deeply uncomfortable with the language of my conditioning and the extreme, polarized Shadow patterns keeping my heart and Spirit locked tight.

In my Practice, I began to notice I was being drawn to the 13th Hexagram over and over. The gift received within this Hexagram is that of Discernment: the same gift Fluorite is known to bring.

Discernment develops when we get in touch with our emotions, when we begin to take responsibility for the patterns our emotional nature plays out. When we are repressing our Soul’s ability to discern an enriching experience from a draining one, we are literally avoiding the pain and pleasure spectrum. As energetic beings we have a deep need to know and understand extremes - the realm of good and bad, wanted and unwanted. Because of our past experiences in unwanted realms, we can often discount experiences that could potentially bring great wholeness to our Being.

The end of 2018 brought up a great need for Discernment in my life. I spent the year allowing myself to connect to an Art project that was begging to be explored. I created my first altar, my sacred space away from the world where I go to connect to my center, my Spirit, my Soul. In this space, I always choose love: self-love, forgiveness, compassion. It was in this space, I saw a Shadow of myself in an incorrect work situation. I meditated on what I was doing for work and saw a grotesque, ugly, undesirable image of myself. I chose to hold space for this image, I chose to gaze directly into my eyes as a reminder it was not the only path, as a reminder to be patient. It was in this space that Mary Magduh was born - an Art project that brings together my deep love of sound, specifically the magic of musical journeys and my obsessive study of Gene Keys, Human Design, the cycles of the Moon, the subtle changes of time. It was at my altar that I gave myself permission to step outside of my comfort zone and email Amanda about the opportunity to work with her. I was confident when I sent the email that I was someone she was looking for as well. 

In our first interaction, we both had a deep knowingness that this was an important, fruitful connection. We even knew in that first encounter I would end up writing a blog. Finally, I felt that I was in alignment with a future that held space for my past misalignments and honored the hope and promise of a more beautiful, joyful, centered, peaceful future.

In 2019, I promised myself I would ease out of situations and environments that no longer brought me feelings of beauty, joy, wholeness and peace. I promised myself I would leave my other job in search of a more suitable pace and environment. This is the year I received this beautiful Fluorite in order to protect me as I make the necessary changes in order to honor all aspects of myself.  With this Fluorite, I set the intention in my heart for discernment and decisiveness. 

Fluorite dispels confusion and anxiety about our future. Since having my Fluorite, I have committed myself to Rocks with Sass, to writing this blog. I have received permission and encouragement to be who I am, to speak from my heart, to trust Spirit’s guidance in all that I do. I am aligning with a business partner and friend who strengthens her intuition by sharing it with others, who has a pure heart, and a life filled with magic. I have begun the process of removing myself from my old work environment, one I used to enjoy, but have now outgrown. With the aid of Fluorite, I have learned to trust the guidance of my heart. I can feel people upset with some of my decisions, but instead of leaning into the guilt like I would in the past, I have witnessed strength and resilience in myself like never before.

If you are interested in working with Fluorite yourself, we have many different styles available in our online shop as it is one of Amanda’s absolute favorites to work with. Some stones I paired with my Fluorite are Clear Quartz for added clarity, Rose Quartz for a dose of self-love within all of my decision making, and Moonstone to be sure I was connected to my Highest Self when making discerned decisions. There’s no right or wrong way to do this work. Trust that your Spirit and intuition will guide you.

I look forward to continue working with this incredibly powerful and beautiful stone. If you have questions about any of the subject matter in this post, I would love to hear from you. I am looking forward to watching this blog evolve and learning with all of you in 2019. Thank you for reading. Thank you, Amanda, for building this business and welcoming me on board with an open heart. I feel blessed and I cannot wait to continue sharing this journey with all of you.

Until next time, be Gentle & Kind, love always,

 
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  • Clears environment of confusion, cluttered thoughts, negativity, astral contamination

  • Helps develop Discernment: who/what is allowed into one’s world

  • Improved decision making

  • Associated with progress & creating structure

  • Clearing energy fields

  • Concerns all chakras

  • Element: Wind

  • A highly protective crystal - especially on a psychic level

  • Harmonizing Stones: Black Tourmaline, Smoky Quartz, Jet, Obsidian, Lapis, Golden Labradorite, emerald, Pink Tourmaline, Rose Quartz, Kunzite, Morganite, Calcite

  • Since Fluorite absorbs negative energy and stress, it must be cleansed after each use

    PHYSICAL

  • Supports brain chemistry

  • Bones & teeth

  • Repairs DNA

  • Powerful against viruses

  • Regenerative for skin

  • Particularly useful with respiratory infection, ulcers, and wounds

  • Beneficial for colds, flu, sinuses

  • Alleviates arthritis, rheumatism, and spinal injury

  • Aids detox

  • Good in early stages of cancer, herpes, ulcers, weight gain, backache, lumbago, eating disorders

  • Provides pain relief

  • Rekindles sexual libido

  • Helps with vertigo/dizziness

  • Balance and coordination

  • Effective against computer/electromagnetic stress

  • Good for spleen

  • EMOTIONAL

  • Aids in dispelling confusion, dishonesty, anxiety about future

  • Stabilizes emotions

  • Helps you understand the effects the mind and emotions have on the body

  • Teaches balance in relationships

  • Enhances self-confidence

    SPIRITUAL

  • Helps with cleansing astral body

  • Stabilizes aura

  • Grounds and integrates Spiritual energies

  • Heightens intuition

  • Makes you aware of higher spiritual realities

  • Can quicken spiritual awakening

  • Links mind with Universal Mind

  • Dissolves illusions/reveals truth

    MENTAL/PSYCHOLOGICAL

  • Dissolves fixed patterns of behavior

  • Opens door to subconscious

  • Brings suppressed feelings to the surface to be resolved

  • Good for learning — increased concentration - helps absorb new info

  • Promotes quick thinking

    POSITIONING

  • Place on computer or between yourself and source of electromagnetic smog

  • Hold during meditation

  • Place somewhere in your environment, especially in your workspace

  • Position as appropriate for healing

  • Wear as jewelry

Diving Deep Into: AMETHYST

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If you are looking to grow in your spirituality, find inner peace and step away from destructive behaviors, Amethyst is the stone for you. Before we dive into the transformative healing properties of this powerful crystal lets talk basics. Amethyst is a purple variety of the mineral Quartz that ranges in color from pale to deep purple, depending on the combination of trace amounts of Iron and Aluminum. Be sure you don't leave your Amethyst baby in the sun for too long or that dark deep purple will fade to a lighter hue. As one of the most common crystals, it can be found in Brazil, Bolivia, Mexico, Africa, Canada, Russia, the USA and Europe.

Amethyst is February’s birthstone, so this crystal will naturally be even more powerful during this time. Astrologically speaking Amethyst associates with the Virgo, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces signs.

Many choose to decorate their home with Amethyst based off its appearance. However, if placed in the right room it can have many metaphysical benefits as well. For instance, in the family room it can help facilitate family bonding time and provide the confidence and calmness necessary for open communication. Amethyst in the office can help you with making tough decisions and is a stress-reliever for long workdays. And lastly, place Amethyst in the bathroom to relieve anxiety during a soothing bath.

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With its high spiritual vibration, Amethyst stimulates the third eye chakra (read about chakras here) and enhances higher states of consciousness during meditation. Hold this crystal while you meditate to still your thoughts and improve your intuition and open-mindedness. As one of the most spiritual stones it connects us to our higher power (All That Is, The One, Source, God etc), allowing us to reconnect with our own divinity. Once we are connected to our higher power true spiritual and energy healing may begin.

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Amethyst is especially supportive of the emotional body, bringing those who are overworked, overstressed, or overwhelmed back to center. It can elicit the feeling that you are surrounded by a "bubble of light", thus creating a calmness, protecting you against the stresses of everyday life. It balances out your highs and lows, promoting emotional centering. This is a wonderful crystal to use if you frequently find yourself in situations where you are unsure how to take action because of your emotions. 

Amethyst is widely known for supporting sobriety, but sobriety doesn't translate into alcohol alone. This also applies to food, drugs, gambling and anything else that is a compulsive destructive behavior. This stone interacts with your auric field turning those addictive, self-sabotaging thoughts into positive ideas and actions. Meditating and setting a clear intention to break free from whatever addiction you have will increase the effectiveness. 

A great alleviator of sadness, it supports coming to terms with loss. Its presence helps one understand that there is no death, only transitioning and changing of forms. It encourages the release of grief, and rejoicing in a loved one’s spirit being freed from the confinement of the physical body.

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In addition to Mind and Spirit, Amethyst has powerful physical healing effects. If you have trouble with insomnia, place Amethyst under your pillow or mattress (I recommend a small tumbled stone), or rub on the center of the forehead counter-clockwise. Likewise, you can use this technique for headaches and migraines. Amethyst also strengthens the cleansing and eliminating organs by regulating flora, removing parasites and encouraging reabsorption of water. It's an excellent cleanser for the blood and increases circulation. Good for the health of the immune, circulatory and sympathetic nervous systems, bones, heart, skin, teeth, liver, and endocrine glands.

There are many ways to incorporate Amethyst into your life! Here are a few ideas:

  • Mediate with your crystal - Hold your crystal in your hand. Close your eyes and quiet your mind. Focus your attention on your breathing and set an intention or repeat an affirmation. Imagine your words spiraling down into the crystal. Feel that energy.

  • Wear as jewelry. This is the easiest way to always have crystal energy near you.

  • Decorate your home with good vibes.

  • Create a crystal grid - you can learn how here.

  • Carry tumbled stones in your pocket or purse. By carrying your crystal around with you it is a constant reminder of the energy you are harnessing. Take it out and hold it in your hand when you are feeling nervous or need a little boost.

 

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**Please understand the above description is not a promise to cure ailments. Points of the description have been taken from my favorite crystal books and online resources.**

FEATURED FIGHTER: Samantha Proeschel

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Hello, there! I’m Samantha and in December 2015 my life was forever changed when I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC). UC is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation in the large intestine (colon and rectum). Researchers believe UC is caused by a combination of factors that involve genetics, the environment, and the immune system. Symptoms of UC can include diarrhea (often with blood or pus), abdominal pain, urgency to defecate, weight loss, fatigue, and fever. Outside of the GI tract, UC can also affect the eyes, skin, and joints. By April 2016 my disease became so aggressive that it was classified as severe. At that time my disease was also complicated by a very antibiotic resistant infection of C. diff and my health was declining quickly. I was having anywhere from 15-20 bowel movements a day, which mostly consisted of blood and blood clots. Along with that, I experienced extreme nausea and vomiting, fatigue, and sharp stabbing pain in my lower abdomen, which was by far the worst pain I’ve ever experienced.

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From April 2016 to July 2016, I spent more than 60 days hospitalized because I was so ill and was losing too much blood. During this time I received multiple blood transfusions, iron infusions, total parenteral nutrition (tpn), a fecal transplant, battled C. diff infections twice, lost more than 30 pounds, and failed all of my treatments which included lialda, prednisone, humira, and remicade. I could hardly eat anything and eventually it was difficult to even tolerate and keep down water. Anything that passed through my diseased colon was excruciatingly painful. It was the most trying time of my life, to say the least. There is no denying that I had truly hit my rock bottom. Physically I went from being a healthy 24 year old who ran half marathons to a frail 94 pounds, unable to walk up a flight of steps. Mentally I was in despair, and many days I questioned if my body would make it. By late July 2016, I had no other option than to undergo a total proctocolectomy, which involved removing my entire colon and most of my rectum. Following my proctocolectomy, I began my recovery with an ileostomy.

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I had a second surgery in November 2016 to create an internal reservoir what is known as a “j-pouch” and change my end ileostomy to a loop ileostomy while my j-pouch healed. Three months later in February 2017, I had my third surgery to bring down my ileostomy and connect my j-pouch. Although promising, my j-pouch journey was unfortunately not a successful one. From the beginning, I battled chronic pouchitis and eventually discovered that my j-pouch had prolapsed. I was having 20-30 bowel movements per day, waking up every 2 hours at night, and having constant pressure pain in my j-pouch. It was absolutely devastating. From there I spent nearly 8 months seeing a j-pouch specialist at the Cleveland clinic, who worked very hard with me in attempt to turn things around. After numerous medications, therapies and treatments, it was clear that my j-pouch had failed. In January of 2018 I had my fourth surgery that took me back to an ileostomy.

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Being reversed back to an ileostomy was bittersweet. As much as I was looking forward to getting my life and health back, I was also fully aware of the reality of living with an ostomy bag. Living with an ileostomy is not always easy and some days are harder than others when dealing with bag leaks, skin irritation, and bag changes that can sometimes require a lot of time. However, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages when living with severe UC or a failed j-pouch. Connecting with other young women through social media, who also have an ileostomy due to UC or Crohn’s, has really made accepting my circumstances so much easier. I am ever so grateful for the many brave men and women who have shared their stories. I have come across many women on Instagram who have created accounts solely related to their disease and ostomy journey. Seeing their daily struggles, but also their positivity truly makes me feel like I’m not alone.

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My battle with illness has made me appreciate the small things in life. Like the ability to eat, the strength to walk, and the freedom to do simple everyday things. The truth is that you don’t realize how debilitating it can be to live without a major organ until you have to. Living without a colon, I’ve had to accept that my body has forever completely changed, however, that doesn’t mean my life can’t be good. I’ve learned to listen to my body, do what I can, and not beat myself up because I don’t have the ability to do everything that I used to. These diseases, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s, will test everything in your life from your relationships to your strength and faith. My battle with this disease has given me so many reasons to be thankful. During the most difficult times, my heart was changed, my faith was restored, and I was reminded of the thoughtful and caring hearts of so many family and friends. Having my entire colon removed and living with an ileostomy has enabled me to live life again, eat nearly anything I desire, and most importantly, be healthy. Today, my life is so much more than my disease, and I am so grateful for my ileostomy and the life it gives me.

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Crystals, Chakras & Affirmations

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Life is about balance - and, as we all know, imbalance.  Whether it’s in our work life, personal life, or family life, we’re constantly working on creating, maintaining, and realigning our balance.  

For most of our day, we are usually balancing our external self - trying to juggle hobbies, jobs, and pleasures without toppling over.  However, there is an internal balance that requires our attention as well: it encompasses the physical, emotional, and mental states within the body and mind.

Common methods to maintain our internal balance include healthy diets and getting plenty of rest; scheduling a spa day or making time to exercise are also great ideas.  However, it can be overwhelming to try and maintain our external and internal needs at the same time.

Chakras are an internal balance system that works as a foundation for balancing all parts of our lives.  The best way to envision the seven chakras is suggested from the root of its name, which comes from Sanskrit: “wheel.” Chakras are not a hierarchy, though they are commonly depicted this way; each chakra is no more important than another, but can appear more prevalent than another in any given moment of our day.  They are constantly in motion among each other, never in perfect balance but constantly fluctuating, carrying energy up and down our spine, where they are housed. 

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Each chakra has an influence on our physical body, along with a specific color and energy vibration that influences our mental and emotional bodies.  These vibrations, which can be positive or negative, constantly resonate within ourselves and radiate into our environments.

Imbalanced chakras are a consequence of a chakra being blocked or too open.  If a chakra is blocked, it’s positive effects are limited or nonexistent; the chakra has no influence on our being in any way.  If a chakra is too open, the opposite effect occurs: the chakra’s positive effects become poisonous on our being; a chakra’s positive influence of confidence twists into over-confidence, resulting in egotism and bullying, as an example.  With imbalanced chakras, it’s important to remember that too much of a good thing can be bad, and too little of a good thing isn’t sustainable.

Rebalancing the seven chakras can be done with active or passive attention, making it a perfect solution to balancing the internal and external part of life.   Light energy is a crucial energy source for passive chakra realignment.  Sun light is the best source; the second best light energy source comes from crystals.  Active realignment comes by, at its core, practicing happiness for yourself: positive thinking, meditation, yoga, even doing a little dance to your favorite song can aid in chakra rebalancing.  Pair these activities with placing or wearing crystals that correspond with the chakras that need realignment. This is the ultimate way to bring balance - and, consequently, happiness - into your body and life.

The seven chakras can be divided into the lower and upper chakras.  The lower chakras are not lesser than the upper chakras; each group serves a different purpose.  The lower chakras - root, sacral, solar plexus - are more concrete, and primarily influence our physical, every day selves.  The upper chakras - throat, third eye, crown - are more abstract and intangible.  The heart chakra is the only chakra that isn’t solely lower or upper; it bridges the tangible and intangible.

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The crown chakra is physically the topmost chakra on our body. It has direct alignment with our mind; its white energy influences consciousness, awareness, personal expression, and absolute perception. The crown chakra can be blocked by alienation or condemnation.

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The third eye chakra rules over our intuition, awareness, and wisdom.  It guides our ability to think, analyze, and form reason.  It is housed where our third eye would be located, between our eyes. This indigo chakra can be blinded by egotism, controlling issues, and eye issues.

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The throat chakra is the first of the upper chakras, and resides in our throat.  Its blue energies influence creativity, communication, and truth. The throat chakra is choked by sore throats, creative blocks, prejudice, and close-mindedness.

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The heart chakra is the chakra of all love.  It is housed in our chest, and can radiate a green or pink energy.  This chakra signifies where the upper and lower chakras meet, and embodies compassion, intuition, and contentment. The heart chakra can be blocked by suppression, heart or immune ailments, withdrawn emotions, and rage or hatred.

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The solar plexus chakra intertwines with the nervous system.  It’s our call to action, and where willpower lies.  The yellow chakra houses determination, sense of purpose, destiny, self-control, and laughter.  This chakra can be blocked by victimization, over-emotional or attached love, or a fear of being alone.

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The sacral chakra is the emotional chakra.  Radiating orange energies, it is located in the body’s core.  This chakra affects our emotional health and relationships with ourselves and others.  Pleasure, desire, and tolerance are rooted within this chakra. Blockages occur from emotional toil, guilt, and lust.

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The root chakra is the base chakra, and can be found at the literal base of the spine.  It embodies a source of vitality, a life force for the body.  Embodying stability, courage, and patience, this chakra keeps us grounded to the world around us.  The root chakra can be blocked by paranoia, insecurity, and a sense of disassociation, or displacement from reality.  Blockage of any kind disrupts growth.  

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How to Create a Crystal Grid

A sole crystal can be a great reminder of our own personal intentions all on its own.  However, there are times when one crystal just doesn't have the energy to aid us when we need it most.  Whether your goal is to practice self-love, to balance your mind and body, or to sleep more soundly through the night, crystal grids are a powerful, easy, and fun method to set a much more powerful reminder of your intention!

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Crystal grids unify the energies of the crystals its made up of within a sacred geometry to amplify the focus of an intention.  There are many different geometries and crystal combinations you can use. The crystals and geometry you choose, based on their meanings or shapes, compliment the intention and amplify its energy.  A quick guide to crystal meanings can be found on our Crystal Meanings page to help you choose the crystals that resonate best with your grid's purpose.  The crystals you choose for your grid can be in any form: geodes, points, clusters, tumbled, raw, or a combination.  Points, namely, are best for directing energy, and are often used for a grid's center crystal, best known as the Master Crystal.  However, the most effective crystal grids are created by listening to your intuition and choosing the crystals, geometry, and crystal placement that speak most to you.  

How to make a crystal grid

After selecting your crystals and geometry, cleansing your space and crystals creates a fresh, neutral base for your crystal grid.  Cleansing removes negative energy, allowing your crystal grid to embody the whole of your intention with no lingering and distracting energies.  A full guide to cleansing your crystals and space can be found here.  You should choose a space that will help amplify the positive energy of your grid: your office, bedroom, a study space etc.  Placing your grid on a flat, safe surface, such as a table or shelf, is best.

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As your intention is the focal point of your crystal grid, crystals should be placed on your grid from the outside in.  As you're placing your crystals on your grid, keep your intention in mind, filling each crystal with a piece its positive energies.  The crystal you place at the core of your grid is your Master Crystal: the whole of your intention and the direction of the other crystals' energies on your grid lead to this sole crystal.  When placing this crystal, be sure to really hone in your focus on your intention; if you wish, you can also write your intention on a piece of paper, fold it, and place it underneath your Master Crystal.  Once the Master Crystal is placed in the center of your grid, your crystal grid is complete!  

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Once your grid is completely pieced together, you may take a quartz crystal and connect the dots with the crystals on your grid.  This is one method of activating your grid; another is to quietly meditate, centering yourself and visualizing your intention being completed.  

Download FREE printable PDFs below to practice putting together your very own crystal grid!

How to Cleanse Crystals

When you first dive into the magical world of crystals and their various uses, it can be overwhelming to take in the abundance of information about proper uses, meanings and methods to having a crystal enriched life.

One topic that people have a lot of confusion about is cleansing their crystals; they don’t know how to do it, let alone the reasoning behind it. The purpose of this post is to help you figure that out.

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Crystals have many uses both in everyday life and healing. They can:

  • Draw out negative energy

  • Distribute positive energy back into the world

  • Be programmed based on their original properties

As crystals draw out your negative energy, they store it. However, like a flash drive, they can fill up and no longer work as well as they once did. That is why you must cleanse your crystals regularly, so they can continue to properly absorb and release energy.

You should also cleanse new crystals as they can pick up unwanted energy from anyone they’ve come in contact with previously. (This does not apply to a crystal that has been programmed for you.)

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There are many methods for cleansing your crystals:

  • Salt

  • Water

  • Earth

  • Smudging

  • Visualization

  • Use of other crystal forms

Some crystals do not do well with the use of water or earth, so we will focus on the methods that work well for the majority of crystals and stones.

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Placing a crystal into an Amethyst or Quartz geode / cluster for 24 to 48 hours is another simple way to cleanse a crystal. Although simple, this method is extremely effective as Amethyst and Quartz will also recharge your crystal for you.

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Smudging can be done with incense or smudge sticks composed of a combination of sage and either sweetgrass, sandalwood, or cedar wood. Simply ensure the crystals are exposed to the smoke for 20-30 seconds and you have successfully cleansed your crystals.

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Visualization requires no outside materials and can be useful if you want to program a crystal as well. To use the visualization method:

  • Simply hold the crystal and clear your mind

  • Imagine a bright white light surrounding the crystal and passing through it completely

  • Keep the light there until you feel the crystal is sufficiently cleansed

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You can program a crystal after any cleansing by holding the crystal for a few minutes and focusing on the power you want to enhance in the crystal.

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After you cleanse the crystal, you need to recharge the positive energy as cleansing leaves the crystal essentially blank.

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You can recharge the crystal by leaving it in direct moonlight for one to two nights for a gentler energy or sunlight for a stronger energy. However, be warned that the strong sunlight can change the colors of crystals, so use sunlight near sunrise or sundown to reduce damage.

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You can also recharge a crystal through positive physical contact. The Native Americans believe you can use your own energy field in order to recharge crystals. Think positive thoughts while you handle the crystal and allow your energy to flow into the crystal for a few minutes.

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Overall, cleansing your crystals is an important yet simple process that helps you fully utilize their energetic abilities.

How often you cleanse will depend on your level of use, but once a month will do for the average user. Remember to research the types of crystals you have before exposing them to certain cleansing methods to prevent damage.

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A Month of Intention: February + Rose Quartz

February is the month for a warm drink on a dreary day, for restarting some of those New Year's Resolutions we set in January, and, of course, for love.  Love is present in every month of the year, but it is sometimes unbearably present during February.  Chocolates, teddy bears, and secret admirers aside, this month gives us the perfect excuse to exercise a little more love than usual.

Love comes in various forms: it can be platonic or romantic, familial or unconditional.  Each is expressed in unique ways, distinct from culture to culture, individual to individual.  No matter how different love appears, though, the most important of all kinds of love is self-love.

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Rose Quartz is the little pink stone of universal love.  It is the stone of the heart: it restores trust and peace in relationships while encouraging us to release the tensions of past relationships. It clears out anger, jealousy, and resentment of others, allowing us to heal and open our hearts to let more love in.  

No matter where it’s directed, this crystal helps us to remember love’s pure intent.  The pink crystal opens the heart chakra and fills it with the warm and gentle vibrations of love, protection, healing, positivity, and emotional health.  Just like the effects of love, the warmth found in this crystal doesn't just affect you: these soft vibrations also radiate like warm sun-rays to those around you, whether it be to your partner, your family, or a stranger.

Rose Quartz can easily fit into any unique lifestyle:

  • Meditate with your stones. Relax your vibes and let it resonate with your energy.
  • Carry it with you.  Hold it in the palm of your hand, or slip it into your pocket/purse for benefits all day long.
  • Feng shui in your home, your office, or wherever you need a little boost of love the most.
  • Create a crystal grid to embody your intentions and serve as a reminder of love's intent.
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This month, treat yourself to some real love: let it's unconditional, warm vibrations radiate from you and, most importantly, resound within you.  You deserve it.

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-

SHOP ROSE QUARTZ

FIGHTER: Madison Williams

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Hello! My name is Madison and I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2001 as a first grader. However, I think it is important to note that my diagnosis was not a simple one - though really, I am not sure they ever are.

Over the years I have gotten accustomed to the phrase “I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease.” because that has become accepted as the general consensus by my doctors over the years. However, a more realistic statement would be, “I was diagnosed with an Irritable Bowel Disease”. When I was younger, despite countless tests and various medical procedures, it has always been a bit of a toss up between Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. I often forget about this since it has largely been accepted that I have Crohn’s Disease, but recently, I was reminded of this discrepancy and told by my surgeon that it actually may actually be Crohn’s Colitis - though there is no way for us to confirm this one way or another. Regardless, I have struggled to get a handle on this disease for the past 16 years and still have yet to find a medication that works for me. A few weeks ago, I tried to go through my medical history and assign a number to the ridiculous amount of medications I have tried, but honestly, I lost patience with this daunting task after listing about 20 different medications without even making a dent. What’s important though is this: if it can be used to treat an IBD, then trust me, I’ve tried it.

Now, as a 22 year old college student, having this illness is second nature to me. I grew up dealing with the difficulties that come along with an IBD and after more than a decade, have more or less learned how to deal with them. However, over the past few months I have been giving a lot of thought to how simply dealing with these issues is stopping me from living the life I want. I want to be able to get in my car and drive to school without feeling the rush of panic that comes along with not knowing if I’ll make it to the nearest restroom. I want to know what it’s like to go somewhere without having to meticulously plan out every last detail and ensure that I will have access to the facilities. I want to reclaim the freedom that this illness took from me as a young child. For this reason, I, along with the help and support from both my GI doctor and my family, have decided to embark on a new part of this journey. Currently, I am in the midst of an array of pre-op appointments and procedures to prepare for what is to come at the end of this year: a total proctocolectomy with permanent end ileostomy.  

Looking back, it’s hard not to be sad for the younger version of myself who had to go through all of the testing, trial and errors, and pain that unfortunetly comes along with such a diagnosis. I tear up when I look at pictures of myself from the times I was on prednisone and had the signature “moon face”.  When I think of the times spent with my friends in middle school and high school, rather than remembering the fun I’m sure we all had, I recall the anxiety - which I desperately tried to repress at the time - of not being near a restroom constantly. Even looking back on some of my college years, which I’ve been told are supposed to be some of the best years of my life, I can’t help but lament for the girl who just wanted to go on a normal date or tailgate with her friends without having to worry about hiding the stomach pain and urgency to use the restroom in an effort to feel slightly more normal, if only for a few hours. However, despite all of this, I am also able to look back and see some pretty amazing positives come out of these circumstances. Living with an IBD has made me a much stronger person than I ever thought possible. Beyond simply being able to get blood drawn without even blinking an eye, it has forced me to appreciate even the smallest of things. Days that I am able to go on a bike ride and not feel that tinge of fear just as I reach the furthest point from my house are some of the best days - and though they are rare, they mean the world to me.

However, I think the most powerful thing that this disease has taught me is that it is okay to be different. I spent a large portion of my life doing everything I could just to keep up the appearance that I was “normal”. But now, as I am rapidly approaching my surgery date, I am finding that feeling better and gaining back control of my life is exponentially more important than maintaining a perfectly healthy appearance. For one, who decides what a “healthy appearance” is anyways? While yes, for some, this may be a perfectly sculpted body and flawless skin, for other - myself included - it is the proud display of an ostomy bag that afforded us the freedom that was stripped away before we could even begin to comprehend what was happening in the first place. For the past few years, I had started to feel as though there was no point in trying new medications because I had began to accept that fact that I would never get my life back. However, with a new outlook on my condition, I am proud of how far I have come and genuinely look forward to conquering my symptoms in the new year.  

Instagram post @thesimplespoonie - LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN 🎉 After my appointment with hepatology this morning, we found out that my surgery is officially a go! Thanks to some minor changes to my pre/post-op schedule, as well as a change in blood thinners to help get rid of the one in my neck, this time next month I will be colon free and on my way to recovery!

Instagram post @thesimplespoonie - LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN 🎉 After my appointment with hepatology this morning, we found out that my surgery is officially a go! Thanks to some minor changes to my pre/post-op schedule, as well as a change in blood thinners to help get rid of the one in my neck, this time next month I will be colon free and on my way to recovery!

Instagram post @thesimplespoonie - Just a little appreciation post for pretty pink bathrooms and white tile

Instagram post @thesimplespoonie - Just a little appreciation post for pretty pink bathrooms and white tile

Instagram post @thesimplespoonie - Sometimes, life just really does not seem fair. Yesterday morning, I was still experiencing some pretty intense neck pain and was having difficulty breathing so I made the decision to go ahead and go to the ER. After about 7 hours, a chest x-ray, an ultrasound of my neck, and a CT scan, they discovered that a blood clot had developed in my neck as a result of my pre-op procedure last Friday. So, I will now be on blood thinners for the next three months. • • •  Normally, figuring out what the issue is and coming up with a plan to solve it is something I am grateful for. However, for this, the only emotion I’ve been feeling since I left the hospital is anger. Because I am now blood thinners, it is not likely that I will be able to have my surgery next month - and if I can’t get it done next month, I’ll have to wait until next May and start this entire process over again. (This also means I won’t be able to take any internships over the summer which has been something I was very much looking forward to.) I have been planning and preparing for this surgery for quite some time and now I’m being told that it probably won’t even happen. To say I am upset at this point, is an understatement. • • •  I keep trying to tell myself that I should be glad they found the blood clot and that something is being done about it, but when you’ve been looking forward to finally having a break from the suffering you’ve been dealing with for 16 years, and then in the blink of an eye every ounce of hope you had for the new year is just ripped away from you, it feels impossible to stay positive. While yes, there is a very small chance that my surgeon will agree to do the surgery - right now it really isn’t looking like this will happen. • • • Note: I realize this picture does not accurately encompass how I was feeling yesterday. I took it right when I got to the hospital and was thinking they would simply tell me I was still healing and needed to give it time - which, was clearly not the case. Head over to the blog if you want to read more about everything going on and what led up to this!

Instagram post @thesimplespoonie - Sometimes, life just really does not seem fair. Yesterday morning, I was still experiencing some pretty intense neck pain and was having difficulty breathing so I made the decision to go ahead and go to the ER. After about 7 hours, a chest x-ray, an ultrasound of my neck, and a CT scan, they discovered that a blood clot had developed in my neck as a result of my pre-op procedure last Friday. So, I will now be on blood thinners for the next three months.
• • • 
Normally, figuring out what the issue is and coming up with a plan to solve it is something I am grateful for. However, for this, the only emotion I’ve been feeling since I left the hospital is anger. Because I am now blood thinners, it is not likely that I will be able to have my surgery next month - and if I can’t get it done next month, I’ll have to wait until next May and start this entire process over again. (This also means I won’t be able to take any internships over the summer which has been something I was very much looking forward to.) I have been planning and preparing for this surgery for quite some time and now I’m being told that it probably won’t even happen. To say I am upset at this point, is an understatement.
• • • 
I keep trying to tell myself that I should be glad they found the blood clot and that something is being done about it, but when you’ve been looking forward to finally having a break from the suffering you’ve been dealing with for 16 years, and then in the blink of an eye every ounce of hope you had for the new year is just ripped away from you, it feels impossible to stay positive. While yes, there is a very small chance that my surgeon will agree to do the surgery - right now it really isn’t looking like this will happen.
• • •
Note: I realize this picture does not accurately encompass how I was feeling yesterday. I took it right when I got to the hospital and was thinking they would simply tell me I was still healing and needed to give it time - which, was clearly not the case. Head over to the blog if you want to read more about everything going on and what led up to this!

 

 

Vegan Basil Pesto

My garden is bursting with basil! I don't know about you, but I've only been able to find one type of vegan (cheese free) pesto in the stores - and $6 for tiny jar of pesto just seems absurd. This recipe is the perfect alternative and freezer friendly! Need some inspiration on how to use pesto in your meals? Check the bottom of this post for a list of ideas!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: nutritional yeast

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine the basil, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice and red pepper flakes in a food processor or high powered blender and pulse until the ingredients are finely chopped.
  2. While the machine runs, slowly add  olive oil in a steady stream until it becomes a smooth paste. If the pesto is too thick for your taste, continue to add olive oil until you reach your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

     As you can see from the photo above, I made a huge batch and separated it in little ball canning jars. These will last in the freezer for months, just defrost in the refrigerator before using. 

Looking for some fun new ways to add pesto to your meals? Check out these ideas!

Lasagna Soup Recipe - Gluten & Dairy Free

Since building the new website, I have been brainstorming ideas for using the blog feature, and then it hit me: RECIPES! As a Crohn's fighter, it has been a long winding road finding recipes and products that fit my dietary restrictions (gluten, dairy, beef free) and still taste good. So get ready, here is the first of many recipes to come!

Spring may be just around the corner, but I'm not through with my winter soups! This crockpot recipe is super easy and can be thrown together in 30 minutes or so. It's made with gluten and dairy free ingredients, but can easily appease the cheese lover with some shredded mozzarella added on top! 

I like to think of recipes as guides, so add mushrooms, use beef sausage, or less garlic and don't worry so much about measuring! I personally like to use salt free canned goods, so much healthier! And turkey sausage instead of beef - you save on calories and fat, but don't sacrifice the flavor (trust me! in this recipe it works, normally I wouldn't enjoy turkey as a beef substitute).

Ingredients

  • 1 package Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 2.5 cans water
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp basil
  • heaping 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • salt and pepper
  • gluten free rotini pasta
  • OPTIONAL: mozzarella cheese, for topping

directions

  1. Combine sausage, onions, and carrots in a large skillet over medium-high heat. You can easily squeeze the sausage out of one side of the casing. Cook for about 7 minutes, until the sausage is browned and the vegetables have softened. Be sure to break up any large pieces of the sausage. Stir in minced garlic for the last 30 seconds of cooking.
  2. Meanwhile, mix tomatoes, sauce, spices, and water in crockpot.
  3. Use slotted spoon to scoop the sausage mixture into crockpot, leaving any grease in the pan.
  4. Cover and heat on high for 4-6 hours or low for 8-10 hours.
  5. Cook pasta separately. Drain and add individually to each serving.
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This recipe is a great freezer recipe! Freeze the soup in separate containers and make a fresh batch of pasta when you are ready to eat. If you are not interested in freezing any of the soup you can simply add the pasta to the crockpot for the last 10 minutes of cooking. I just like to keep it separate, because then you get to scoop exactly how many noodles you want and they don't get soggy!