cbd oil bottle and cannbis leaf in white background

What is CBD? Part I | Living with Fibromyalgia

If you follow me on Facebook then you know that it has been about one month since I started incorporating CBD into my daily life and management of fibromyalgia. My foray into CBD has not been a fly by night decision but has been in the works for many years. Recently an incident with my now former primary care physician was just the push I needed to finally move into the direction of using CBD; which up until now I had just been dragging my feet on.

Why the Delay

Not so much because I wasn’t convinced that CBD would work for me but more procrastination.  After finally finding a medication regimen that worked for me after many years of trial, error, and failure, I had been lulled into a comfortable rut of using a prescription cocktail that was more or less working and to be honest I just did not want to interrupt a regimen that worked.

“I just did not want to interrupt a regimen that worked”

Yet, deep down I knew that a change was on the horizon.  Cymbalta was one of those medications in my cocktail and even though it was ‘working”  so were the “the side effects; and these were less than ideal. Additionally, it has been a long term goal of mine to be as natural as possible as I approach the ten year mark of living with fibromyalgia. But before I can tell you all the ways CBD has helped me (even in a short amount of time) I have to tell you what CBD is. Fortunately, my friend sand partners at Endoca have done a great job articulating what is CBD.

What is CBD?

Read the rest here

About Endoca

Endoca is a cannabis production company and leader of organic cannabis products has a  mission to make CBD available globally and affordable without compromising on quality.

This post is sponsored on behalf of Endoca. The opinions expressed are my own. 

Five Reasons You Should Be Oil Pulling (REPOST)

Photo credit: Organic Lifestyle

I type this long overdue post with a mouth full of fractionated coconut oil and cannot help but chuckle. Coconut oil has had a surge of popularity recently and “oil pulling” is just one of the many ways it can be used in your everyday life. But just what is oil pulling? and why in god’s name am I swishing it back in forth in my mouth?


What is Oil Pulling?

A very very long time ago (like ancient) before Colgate, Crest, and Sensodyne, folks used what they found in nature to clean and purify themselves. Oil pulling also known as “kavala” or “gundusha,” is an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique that involves swishing a small amount (less than one tablespoon) of oil in your mouth on an empty stomach for around 15-20 minutes. This action will draw out toxins in your body, improve oral health, and whiten your teeth naturally. The objective is to improve oral health but also to improve your overall health. This all sounds kinda crazy and to good to be true right?

Well I thought so as well. That is until I made it a vow to detox my life and rid myself of man made chemical laden health and beauty products and learn how to use natural substances found in the earth for my every day beauty routines. If you didn’t know, lotions, soaps, toothpaste, shampoo, cleaning sprays and the like are slowly killing us. I started with cleaning products and have now moved on to toothpaste, soaps, deodorant, and now mouth wash.

Why Use Coconut Oil?

When it comes to oil pulling, sesame seed, olive, and coconut work best. Coconut oil is anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory. It has a world of uses in baking, cleaning, moisturizing, cleaning and whitening your teeth. It can also be used a a carrier oil when using essential oils (more on this in a future post). The oil pulls out toxins in your mouth and breaks up hard to clean plague build up.

Does Oil Pulling Work?

I was skeptical at first and of course had to try it out for myself. I use fractionated coconut oil (remains liquid) but organic pressed or unpressed would work just as well. I’ve been pulling for a little over two months now and can’t believe I am just now coming onto this practice. My teeth look and feel significantly cleaner. My dry mouth has decreased and my breath overall remains much fresher than before I began pulling.

Why You Should Oil Pull?

  1. It’s Good for your Oral Health. I’ve already mentioned that coconut oil is a natural antibacterial substance that can be used to rid the body of toxins. Using high quality organic coconut oil is one of the best natural ways to do this.
  2. Balances the PH of your mouth. Dental experts agree that the mouth is the window into the body. Poor health can lead to all sorts of chronic illnesses; many of which can be attributed to off balance acidity levels in the body. Oil pulling helps with that.
  3. Whitens your teeth. A natural, safer, and healthier alternative to expensive teeth whitening treatments, A few weeks of pulling leads to a noticeably whiter smile
  4. Inexpensive. Seriously. Even though a high quality coconut oil may initialy set you back $12-18 dollars using coconut oil in your own toothpaste and to oil pull will save you bundles over time. You barely need a tablespoon for it to work its magic in your mouth.
  5. You Have Nothing to Lose. It’s funny that so many people snark and snicker at using natural products and alternative their health/beauty care but think nothing of buying and using a new over the counter bath and body product that is made in someone’s lab. Oil pulling certainly does not hurt and trying it even once will not kill you. If taste is your concern mix it will a little coconut, orange, or even lemon oil. Don’t knock it until your try it.

How to Oil Pull

Natural health and beauty blogger Fran of Hey Fran Hey demonstrates oil pulling and many many other natural beauty treatments in the Youtube tutorial below.

To learn more about oil pulling and even more A+mazing uses for coconut oil, click one of the links below.

Oil Pulling for Oral Health by Wellness Mama

35 Things You Could Do with Coconut Oil by Organic Lifestyle Magazine

What Is Oil Pulling by Health Ambition


Introducing The Gluten Free Chef’s Natural Product Challenge | Pure Haven Essentials 

I am pleased to announce the Pure Haven Essential Challenge

I was introduced to Pure Haven Essentials through Rochester, NY based Pure Haven Essentials Consultant Heidi Jarvis. Heidi was a vendor at The 2016 Rochester Makers Market at 540WMain Learning Academy (our headquarters) as well as this year’s Rochester Gluten Free Health & Wellness Expo. The Makers Market is all about highlighting local artists, makers, and health and wellness professionals and Heidi and I connected immediately over a shared love of natural and organic home, health, bath and body care.

What is Pure Haven Essentials

What I immediately liked about Pure Haven is their dedication to creating products that are 100% toxin free. The company’s mission is to educate consumers about pure & safe, alternative choices that are easy to add to your daily routine. For the last two years, I’ve been on a quest to remove toxins from my everyday life and begin to make my own all- natural deodorant and toothpaste as well as using purely natural organic essential oils and shea butter based moisturizes. This stems from the knowledge that living gluten free is about more than just what we eat but also what we use on our bodies. The skin is our largest organ and what we put on it is just as important to our overall well-being as what we eat.

Of course, making products from scratch takes a certain level of time and dedication that I do not always have as a business owner. So it is important to have commercial products that are just as trustworthy what I make for myself in my kitchen from scratch.

What is the Pure Haven Challenge

Heidi recently gifted me a box full of  Pure Haven Essentials products and in my excitement I wanted to create a challenge where I tasked myself to use the project line for two weeks at home and at 540WMain and document my honest thoughts and opinions here on the blog. Before I can give my full endorsement of any product line I have to know the products inside and out and genuinely use them in my personal life. This challenge is a perfect way to do that.

What Products Will I be Using?

My gift set includes the following Pure Haven Products:

  1. Glass Cleaner
  2. Moisturizing Hand Soap
  3. Aloe Vera Shea Butter
  4. Shave Gel: Aloe Vera
  5. Surface Cleaner
  6. Lemon Peel Dish Soap

I am beyond excited to get cleaning with Pure Haven and share my experiences with you all two weeks from today.

Happy cleaning 🙂

P.S I was not financially compensated for this post or for the two week challenge. I received products for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my personal experience with the products.

Do Vegans Sleep Better Than Meat Eaters? | Vegan Commentary

As a society we are becoming more demanding of food producers, brands and manufacturers to be more transparent and up front as to how our food is being produced, grown, manufactured and sourced. This has not only been the case in the gluten free industry but in all industries. More and more we are seeing and hearing seeing buzz words like fair trade, non-gmo, organic and more. The meat production industry has not been immune from these discussions.

In fact, advocates for a vegan lifestyle are seeing the tides change with more individuals learning and understanding  the benefits of going vegan and the dire conditions that have long plagued meat production in the United States. Here on the gluten free chef blog, I have been open about my journey through veganism and advocating a whole foods mainly plant based lifestyle. Many of my recipes are vegan and or vegetarian and contain ingredients that are whole and processed as minimally as possible. The gluten free chef blog, has never touted itself to be a vegan food site but has always spoke highly of the benefits of holistic and plant based living in all areas of life.

A simple Google search will give you a seemingly endless list of the benefits of incorporating more whole foods into your diet and how you can improve your overall healthy by striving to be more plant based. From lower blood pressure, to weightloss and healthier skin; eating more fruits and veggies is one of the easiest ways to impove overall health including our sleep health.

What on earth is sleep health?

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute:

“Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. The way you feel while you’re awake depends in part on what happens while you’re sleeping”

Everyone knows all to well the headache that lack of sleep can induce and when lack of sleep becomes a chronic issue, a whole host of biological issues can be impacted. Our friends over at The Sleep Advisor created a wonderful infographic article that further details the importance of quality sleep here https://www.sleepadvisor.org/importance-of-healthy-sleep/

Since how we eat and what we eat plays a huge impact into our body and living functions it would only make sense to deduce that what we eat, can and does impact how we sleep…another way to ask is?

Do Vegans Sleep Better Than Meat Eaters?

We all know that certain foods like (coffee) caffeine can inhibit sleep and also trigger restful. The primary diet of vegans are vegetable and there are a few known veggies that can actually impact restful sleep

Veggies to Avoid Before Bed

Broccoli/cauliflower – Packed full of healthy nutrients, the downside of these veggies is the high amount of fiber that can keep the digestive system working overtime while you try to get shut-eye.
Avocados – We love all things avocado but they’re chocked full of fats (good fats) at 21 grams per serving. They’re good for your body but before bed they take longer to digest.

Veggies to Eat for Better Sleep

Sweet potatoes – A sleepers dream. They promote sleep-friendly carbs and contain potassium, which helps relax muscles.If you do eat meat have you ever asked yourself why? Meat is a good source of protein but should we be eating a steak before bed?

Why Avoid Meat Before Bed?

Meats like steak and other red meat are very high in protein but also high in fat. High fat foods like red meat have been linked to sleep apnea, which can lead to a whole host of health issues over time. Chicken can backfill the digestive system during sleep.

So Do Vegans Sleep Better?

The answer may surprise you (and frustrate) you – there’s no definite answer if vegetarians or meat eaters sleep better. Studies have shown that vegan friendly foods like bananas, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cashew butter, peanut butter, avocados, kale, almonds, walnuts, spinach, and squash all contain vitamin B6, trytophan, and magnesium, which ensure a healthy sleep cycle.  There are also many anecdotal studies that show that those adopting a vegan diet have more energy, better digestion, and in turn better quality sleep.

But don’t just take my word for it. Take the 30 Day Vegan Challenge and see for yourself if you sleep better adopting a vegan diet. Also be sure to learn more about the importance of sleep and how to get more of it courtesy of The Sleep Advisor.

Photo credit: Jon Butterworth  | Sources: One Green Planet |Restonic


Strawberry Poppyseed Vinaigrette (REVISTED)

I originally developed this recipe for Strawberry Poppseed Vinaigrette back in the summer of 2015 long before I had discovered the purity and A+mazingness of F. Oliver’s EVOOs and aged balsamics. Not only did I revisit this dressing this past weekend at my March demo at Hart’s Local Grocers; but I reworked the recipe using the velvety goodness that is F. Oliver’s Farmstand Strawberry balsamic & Fresh Basil olive oil. Now that I’ve gone F. Oliver’s I can never go back. Neither will you.

Strawberry Poppyseed Vinaigrette (Reworked)


1/2 cup roasted strawberries
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons F. Oliver’s Farmstand Strawberry Balsamic 
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons F. Oliver’s Fresh Basil Olive Oil
1 tablespoon poppy seeds


In a blender or food processor combine, roasted strawberries, brown sugar, F. Oliver’s Farmstand Strawberry Balsamic, salt, and mustard. Process for 30 seconds. With blender or food processor on high, gradually add F. Oliver’s Fresh Basil Olive Oil in a slow, steady stream. Stir in poppy seeds.

Spicy Ginger-Garlic Chicken & Rice Soup

I’m thrilled to be back in the recipe development habit. As a spoonie my illness quite literally gets in the way of my activities of daily living every single day and I’ve had to learn how to live each day functionally flared. However, sometimes (like over the last 2 months) the roller coaster stays down and renders me stuck in a perpetual flare for months or weeks on end. When this happens functions like; eating, cooking, thinking, writing, and creativity take a huge hit which is reflected every aspect of my life; including running this blog. 

Fortunately, I am back in the habit and rolling with recipes, writing, and creativity to boot. To celebrate, I’m sharing this simple and effective cold weather soup that will wake you up and invigorate your soul on the coldest of days and most depressing moments.

Spicy Ginger-Garlic Chicken & Rice Soup


  • 1 pre-cooked Rotisserie Chicken, separated and chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, washed and chopped
  • 1 vegan bouillon cube
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic root
  • 2 teaspoons garlic power
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup sliced white mushrooms
  • 1 white onion, thinly sliced
  • ¾ cup green onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 cups spinach or kale, washed
  • 2 cup pre-cooked brown rice
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 cups distilled water
  • salt pepper to taste
  • onion powder to taste


  1. Cut chicken off of bone into chunks until the bones are left. Set aside.
  2. In a large stock pot add chicken bones and skin, cover with 3 cups of distilled water and bring to boil then simmer on medium heat.
  3. Peel, wash and chop celery, onions, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic root. Set aside (Note: celery, carrots, and onion are staples in my crisper. Peeling and chopping are fairly easy for me, however for some chronic pain sufferers this step is to much. It may be easier for you to buy your veggies pre-cut, making this recipe even quicker)
  4. Using a strainer, drain chicken stock from the bone into a large bowl. Discard boiled chicken carcass and skin.
  5. Pour the homemade chicken stock into stockpot, add chopped veggies, vegetable broth, bouillon, ginger root, salt pepper and other desired seasonings to taste.
  6. Simmer on med-low heat or until veggies are tender. Add kale, rice, red pepper flakes, onion powder, and garlic powder.
  7. During the he last 30 minutes of cooking add diced chicken.

DIY Organic Shea Butter Eucalyptus Deodorant

My odyssey into the land of DIY all natural lifestyle products with this super effective shea butter based deodorant that came together by accident. After months of using my simple DIY Organic Coconut Peppermint Deodorant I finally ran out of it and the ingredients to make more. For the past few weeks I’ve been  using a dab of shea butter with baking soda. After a few weeks of using this combination and being clean and fresh as ever, I finally thought to create a formal recipe. This deodorant combines the soothing scent of peppermint oil and the cleaning properties of Eucalyptus oil.. Simple. Cheaper. Better. Natural.


DIY Organic Shea Butter Eucalyptus Natural Deodorant



  • Combine all ingredients in one mason jar
  • Stir mix until well combined
  • Using a silicone spatula or spoon, scoop deodorant paste into clear jar
  • . Allow to set then cover

P.S Silly me forgot to share the recipe for my DIY Organic Coconut Peppermint Deodorant. Be on the look out for it later in the week. 🙂 

Photo credit (cover): Mary Makes Good