DIY Organic Coconut Peppermint Toothpaste (REPOST)

In my quest to detox my life in as many ways as I can (read more here), re-sharing this simple DIY Organic Coconut Peppermint Toothpaste recipe. With only three ingredients it doesn’t get more simple than this. I already love it 100x more than the Crest I’m used to buying. The benefits of coconut oil are abundant. It’s definitely one of those things that I wish I would have done a while ago and I can’t believe I ever used anything else. Simple. Cheaper. Better. Natural.

DIY Coconut Peppermint Toothpaste

  • 1/4 cup organic coconut oil measured then melted
  • 2-3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 1 drop stevia (optional)
  • Melt coconut oil, add soda and peppermint oil drops. Mix to combine. Allow to set.

Original Post


Five Alternative Therapies for Treating Fibromyalgia Pain | Living with Fibromyalgia

The best piece of advice I can give to anyone living with fibromyalgia or any other chronic illness is to take a holistic approach to managing the disease and its symptoms. In my opinion, a holistic treatment approach is the most effective way to manage chronic disease and live as full of a life as you possibly can.

A holistic treatment approach is the most effective way to manage chronic illness

What Is A Holistic Approach?

What do I mean when I say “holistic approach”?  For me holistic means to treat my whole being or whole self in the way I approach all the different treatments that I use to manage my symptoms. This means asking myself how each and every singular treatment that I impose onto (or into) my body will affect my mind, my body, my soul, and my energy. Looking at my body and my mind as interrelated systems where each piece impacts and affects the others; ensures that I use therapies that compliment and highlight each other and each of my symptoms.

From a medical standpoint, holistic health care is an integrated approach to health care that treats the “whole” person, not simply symptoms and disease. Mind and body are integrated and inseparable.

One example I like to give is that early on in my journey, I was fiercely opposed to using any medication to treat my symptoms. This approach ended up doing more harm than good to my body and mind and so over time I slowly learned what medications and dosages work best for me and eventually led to a pharmacological plan that I feel compliments the non-Western medical approaches that work well for me.

What Is Alternative?

When I use the term “alternative” for this article, I am referring to non-prescription medication treatment options. In holistic medicine alternative therapies cover a wide variety of treatments that include

  • Yoga
  • Acupuncture
  • Meditation
  • Stretching
  • and more

In addition to prescription medication;the following alternative therapies are treatments that have significantly improved my quality of life and allowed me to have a full life even with the daily waxing and waning of the fibromyalgia symptoms that I deal with. The therapies that I’m recommending are relatively inexpensive, have low impact on the body, and naturally integrate the whole person in their approach. These therapies are not a magic pill or “cure” and have not eliminated fibromyalgia for me in any way. However, they have greatly improved my quality of life and made living with fibromyalgia more management and tolerable.

Of course I have to note that these therapies are what work best for me personally and I cannot in any way guarantee that they will work for anyone else. It is always best practice to consult with your medical and intergrated medicine specialist before beginning a new therapy.

1. Diffusing Essential Oils

For the past four years, essentials oils have played a major role in my every day life. Our mind creates powerful connections between scent and our emotions, surroundings, and memories. Diffusing essential oils is a simple but effective way to access these connections. Because diffusion distributes essential oil molecules into the air so effectively, it is an excellent way to maximize the beneficial properties of essential oils. Each essential oil has it’s own therapeutic property but oils that have best helped me are lavendar, peppermint, lemon, and sandalwood. Many essential oils can be ingested, put directly on the skin, and/or diffused. An excellent resource is Young Living. 

2. Acupuncture

According to Dr. Weil.comAcupuncture is a complete medical protocol focused on correcting imbalances of energy in the body. It has been used traditionally to prevent, diagnose and treat disease, as well as to improve general health”. In a nutshell acupuncture modifies the flow of energy (known as qi or chi) throughout the body,  Acupuncture has also proved beneficial for reducing fatigue and addictions, and for promoting overall well-being.

For me personally, acupuncture has proved to me an effective treatment options when my pain levels have spiked beyond the point where prescription medications are effective. Fortunately, my medication regime has proved overall effective so I haven’t used it as much as I have in the past.

3. Water Walking

It probably comes as a surprise, but consistent movement is a top strategy to manage fibromygia pain and muscle stiffness. Moving beyond normal proves difficult with fibromyalgia and it is for this reason why man of us gain weight and have sore stiff muscles because excessive movement can also trigger flares. Finding the right balance between rest and movement is a constant challenge and is why I’ve found moving and/or exercising under water to be an effective solution. The water in takes much of the pressure of the joints and there’s a feeling of weightlessness that you have when moving underwater. Fortunately I live in a town where there are a number of therapy pools that offer walking under water as an option. I especially like participating in the winter time when cold temps make outside exercise even more daunting.

4. Floatation Therapy

Floatation therapy is one f my favostire alternative treatments. I’ve made it my aim to focus on self-care and so now I go at least every other week. Inside each float tank is eight hundred pounds of pharmaceutical-grade Epsom salt dissolved in ten inches of water warmed to skin temperature. Like the Dead Sea, this extremely dense solution enables people of all body types to float effortlessly.The float tank is dark and quiet, greatly reducing sensory stimulation. This unique environment frees the brain from the bulk of its processing duties and prompts the production of theta waves.

The magnesium is absorbed into the body and for me salt water floating is a must do in my bag of treatments to manage fibro.

5. UV Light Therapy

Last but not least on my docket is UV light therapy aka as a tanning bed. As a celiac with IBS I don’t absorb all the nutrients from the food that I eat and one of the vitamins that I am perpetually deficient in is vitamin D. Going to the tanning bed not only helps me with vitamin D but the warmth gets deep into my bones and keeps me toasty warm on these cold winter months.

So that’s my list. In no particular order, all the treatments that help me cope and manage and do all that I do. Let me know in the comments: What alternative therapies work for you?

What alternative therapies work for you?





10 Positive Ways Living with Fibromyalgia Has Changed My Life in 2016

My first blog Living with Fibromyalgia was originally it’s own stand alone website and my initiation into the world of publicly writing about my experiences with the illness. Started during a very tumultuous and emotional time period in my life, one of my fondest memories was closing out the first year (2012) on a positive note and trying to find the good amidst the haze and turmoil that I was going through at the time. Back then, it was my intent to make this positive introspective an annual list but somewhere in the journey of Living with Fibro being absorbed into theglutenfreechefblog, this annual introspective got lost in the shuffle.

So in an effort to restart and pay homage to yesteryear I wanted to reboot this list of the

10 Positive Ways Living with Fibromyalgia Changed My Life in 2017

For as much as I hate living with fibromyalgia, I must admit that the illness has completely transformed my entire existence and I literally owe all the work that I am doing right now (including being the editor of this website) is because of my journey living with fibromyalgia. Part of being mindful is finding positivity in all of life’s challenges so without further adieu here are some ways living with fibro positively affected my life for the better in 2017.

  1. Fibromyalgia taught me to put myself first.  I cannot do good for others if I do not do good for myself. Living with fibro means that I have to put alot of thought every second into what I do and how I do it. Self care has been crucial in helping me build two brands, write a blog, run a non-profit and all the other obligations that I take on. You cannot run on an empty cup so making sure I put as much time into taking care of my whole self is just as important in doing for others.
  2. Fibromyalgia helps me live in the moment. Thinking about the future and my body’s interaction with the future is full-time job in itself. In 2017, practiced more than ever existing in the moment and trying not to think too much about how a decision or activity now will impact tomorrow. By doing so I’m able to benefit from what I am doing right now and not add worry to this moment by thinking about the future.
  3. Fibromyalgia has given me a strength that I gets stronger every day. Life is tough. Life coupled with fibromyalgia is even harder. There were two defining moments in 2017 that I literally thought ” I can’t do this anymore” I literally wanted to go away. By the grace of God every time I feel like I can’t exist like this any longer. He gives me the spirit and the resolve I need to keep going another day. One day becomes two and 363 later another year under my belt.
  4. Fibromyalgia gives me courage to share the good and the bad. I made a concerted effort in 2017 to be more candid about the emotional roller coaster that I experience living with chronic illness. Even though I do my best to see the light everyday, this doesn’t mean that I feel happy at all times. Having and expressing a range of emotions is healthy and normal. I wanted to normalize this by sharing the range of feelings that I have with the world.
  5. Fibromyalgia helps me be easy on myself. As a type A personality I have high expectations on myself and others. Fibromyalgia picks expectations up and throws them into the river. I’ve learned to accept the moments when I’m down and not internalize these times to mean nothing more than I needed a break or I wasn’t able to at that moment.
  6. Fibromyalgia gives me unmatched empathy. As an empath, I literally feel everything including emotions of others. This ability to connect with folks on a deep emotional level is a blessing but if not recognized and harnessed can add to the baggage I already carry. I learned in 2017, how to better do what I can when I can for others and not carry their emotions forever.
  7. Fibromyalgia helps me seek balance at all times. Balance is key to my existence and in 2017 I learned how be better at balance.
  8. Fibromyalgia gives me wisdom to not seek perfection. In this imperfect world perfection is not attainable. Being the best I can be at any given time and doing the best with what I have is. I try to focus on this instead on perfection.
  9. Fibromyalgia teaches me to trust my instinct. I am a spirit and feeling driven person. If it doesn;t feel right, if it doesn’t happen organically, if I find myself trying to force anything to happen; I did a better job in 2017 with letting it go or letting it be. Everything happens if and when it needs to happen naturally.
  10. Fibromyalgia forces me to love surprises. I am a planner and a controller. Life can only be planned so far and I only have control over my actions and my mindset. I can’t control this illness. I can’t control life. I’m learning to love the surprises.

So there you have it. It no partucular order. All the postive ways fibromyalgia changed me in 2017. I look forward to this years lessons and continuing to live one day at a chronically ill time.

Do you live with fibromyalgia?

In what positive ways did it change your life last year? Let me know in the comments.





The Gluten Free Chef Blog’s Top 10 Most Popular Recipes of 2017

It’s the end of the year so you know what that means…

Best of Compilations

That’s right. Although activity on the blog in 2017 wasn’t as plentiful as year’s past, it wouldn’t be the end of the year without a few best of compilation posts. Up first is the Top 10 Most Popular Recipes of 2016. These are all the top recipes that you viewed, liked, loved, and shared throughout the year.

The Gluten Free Chef Blog’s Top 10 Most Popular Recipes of 2017

Vegan Sorghum Pancakes

Vegan Sorghum Biscuits 

Oven Fried Garlic-Chive Potatoes (Vegan)

Chocolate Banana Apple Smoothie

Honey Balsamic Tofu Stir Fry (Vegan)

Slow Cooked White Bean, Lentil & Kale Soup

Sour Cream Pound Cake 

Parmesan Asiago Spaghetti Squash 

Apple Fritters


Sorghum Chocolate Pound Cake

What Is A Fibromyalgia Flare? | Living with Fibromyalgia (REPOST)

The second most common question that people living with fibromyalgia (or any chronic invisible illness for that matter) get asked next to What is Fibromyalgia is What is a Fibromyalgia Flare?

If you know someone living with this illness then you’ve probably heard them tell you on one occasion or another that they are experiencing a “flare up”. Trying to articulate what you mean by a “flare” is perhaps one of the hardest things to do mainly because “flares” look so different for each person.

Surprisingly, attempting to explain a flare is just as difficult as trying to understand a flare and it is for this reason that so many of us living with the illness avoid discussing our symptoms altogether.

However, education, awareness, and knowledge are important when dealing with any chronic illness- fibromyalgia or otherwise and it is only through explaining that we help all people grasp the truly omnipresent nature of chronic invisible illness and help everyone to better understand what we live with day in and day out.

It is only through explaining that we help all people grasp the truly omnipresent nature of chronic invisible illness and help everyone to better understand what we live with day in and day out.

To put it succinctly “Talking about our disease is the only way we can get the support, empathy, and understanding that we need from caretakers, health care providers, family and the greater public.

That being said, the article below (taken from provides the easiest and most succinct explanation of fibromyalgia “flares” and I hope that everyone reading it can understand just alittle bit better what those of us living with the chronic illness experience each and every day.

What Is a fibromyalgia Flare courtesy

While a person with fibromyalgia might experience certain symptoms on a regular basis, when symptoms worsen or happen more frequently for a period of time, it is called a flare.

“A flare is the worsening or exacerbation of symptoms that already exist,” says Daniel Clauw, MD, professor of anesthesiology, rheumatology and psychiatry at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “Patients use different timeframes for what they consider a flare, but it’s generally several days or weeks of worsening symptoms. Anything shorter is considered normal waxing and waning of symptoms that someone with fibromyalgia can expect.”

Symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

  • Widespread muscle pain
  • Fatigue that makes completing daily activities difficult
  • Stiffness, especially in the morning or after a long period of inactivity
  • Cognitive difficulties, also known as fibro fog, including problems with memory, concentration and organization
  • Emotional issues, such as anxiety, sadness or depression
  • Sleep problems, such as taking a long time to fall or sleep, frequent waking or waking up and still not feeling rested

While these are common symptoms among people with fibromyalgia, everyone experiences flares differently.

“People with fibromyalgia do not all experience flares the same way,” Dr. Clauw says. “A good way to explain it is that every person with fibromyalgia has their Achilles heel – their ‘thing’ that really gives them trouble. When their fibromyalgia worsens, that particular thing really gets bad.”

A person’s predominant symptoms during a flare can change over time.

Triggers for fibromyalgia Flares

One of the best ways to prevent a flare is to determine what might be causing it in the first place. These causes are called triggers. Like symptoms, triggers for fibromyalgia vary by person, but they can include:

  • Physical or psychological stress
  • Temperature and/weather changes
  • Hormonal changes
  • Traveling and/or changes in schedule
  • Changes in treatment
  • Diet
  • Poor sleep

“We know that any type of stress – not just psychological, but also physical, immune or anything that disrupts the body’s normal routine – can trigger a flare,” Dr. Clauw says. “Anything from a motor vehicle accident to surgery or another type of stressful life event can cause a worsening of symptoms. Flares can also be caused by behavioral triggers such as not sleeping well, suddenly stopping exercise or overdoing it on activity.”

Some flares are unavoidable, and certain triggers are beyond your control. You can try to identify what aggravates your fibromyalgia symptoms by keeping a log of your activities, what you eat, how you sleep and how all of those factors influence your symptoms. After logging these factors for several weeks, you might be able to see a pattern. This will help you know how to better manage the inputs that might trigger a flare.

To learn more click here

For the entire month of November, the blog will feature articles, features and information that is relented to chronic pain, invisible illness, and rare diseases in celebration of the U.S Pain Foundation’s annual KNOWvember campaign.

Source: (article) The Vanguard Clinic (image)



Happy Fifth Year Anniversary | The Gluten Free Blog

Happy Anniversary to The Gluten Free Chef Blog

Dear Readers,

The Gluten Free Chef Blog is officially five years old. Can you believe it! I never imagined all the places this blogging journey would take me when I started typing five years ago in 2012. Originally, this blog was a place for me to vent and share my experiences as a chronically ill celiac foodie and somewhere along the way it became an entire health and wellness community that is so much bigger than me.

As I noted last year, “each year becomes fuller, scarier, bigger, better, more challenging, and more exciting than the year before.” And even though this gluten free journey continues to surprise in more ways than you could every know; I remain committed to this space; the blog that started it all.

Thank You. From the bottom of my heart.

Here’s to five more years of surprises.


the gluten free chef

P.S. Read the very first blog post here

P.S…P.S. Expect our annual best of posts throughout the week


Twelve Days of Gluten Free Cookies: Pumpkin Cheesecake + Shortbread Bars (Day 12)

It wasn’t until this year working in my bakery and (awesome) business partner that I started loving pumpkin flavored desserts. These quick shortbread cheesecake bars combine the best features of cheesecake atop a soft buttery shortbread cookie crust. The pumpkin flavor is an added bonus as is the nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice oh my. I think I’m making myself drool all over again just writing this post. Get into these cheesecake bars before the pumpkin season unofficially come to an end. Continue reading