Featured: Dr. JJ from the Herb Shoppe in Portland

I feel SO lucky to have the privilege of interviewing Dr. JJ, owner of the Herb Shoppe here in Portland. Since I have moved up here it has been one of my favorite places to go for teas, tinctures, culinary spices or even just education from her friendly staff or Dr. JJ herself. She is a wealth of knowledge and has created a very special business- one that you will have to stop by and see for yourself...

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself...

I'm Dr. JJ and the owner of the Herb Shoppe here in Portland, Oregon and Brooklyn, New York.  I grew up in the Midwest where my Dad had a flower farm my Mom lived in the city.  I had the best of both worlds and being around plants has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.  I also have a 2 year old daughter that I love to spend time with.  I see patients once a week, but outside of that I am focusing on the herbs and being at the shop!

2. What was your vision behind opening up the Herb Shoppe?

When I was going through graduate school, I really missed a good herb shop and I was surprised that there wasn't one in Portland at the time.  It was then I knew I needed to open one.  I started the Herb Shoppe and based it around 3 philosophies:

 -Provide people with the best medicine possible. Having the most alive and vital herbal medicine is what we stand by.
 -Offer people as many resources and references as possible.  Whether it is a piece of information, a   reference, a product or simply a smile- it is important that each person walks out with some sort of takeaway.
 -Community. We want everyone to feel welcome here and for them to feel a sense of community when they walk in the door.

3. What is your general philosophy around health?

Take good care of yourself! We tend to live in a very sympathetic dominant culture, meaning we are encouraged to go, go, go all the time and it is important that we find a balance between our go time and our down time.  That really supersedes into everything in our lives- eating well, working hard/playing hard, having good community, having loving people around you and enjoying your work and hobbies. You also have to own your health and love your body. Give thanks for the beautiful body you have every day. 

4. You guys have some killer tea concoctions, one of my favorites being the "peaceful feeling tea." It literally puts me in an insta calm/happy mood.  What is it about that tea!?

Ah, everyone loves that tea! It is one the top selling teas we have here.  What is great about the tea is that it is filled with nervines.  Nervines are a type of herb that work on the central nervous system. When we are in that sympathetic dominant state I mentioned before, the tea helps to calm our central nervous system and helps us to relax and be able to go through the day at a more steady/calm pace.

5. I find a lot of friends and clients dealing with adrenal fatigue.  What are some herbs, diet suggestions, etc. that you would suggest?

So, the adrenals are two little glands that sit above the kidneys and do a lot of different things.  One of the big things they do is secrete cortisol.  Cortisol helps balance blood sugar, moderate inflammation  and moderate stress- emotionally and physically.  If this is taking place, cortisol is constantly being secreted and at some point the body realizes that it doesn't keep needing to put fires out, so the cortisol stops being secreted.  After all of that, you end up getting extremely depleted.  That's when you want to start working with a group of herbs called adaptogens.  Adaptogens are great at nourishing and tonifying.  They build things up that are low and bring things down that are high.  For adrenals, some great herbs that you want to focus on are rhodiola, schizandra and even a little borage leaf.  Combining those with the nervine herbs will help you gain a good build up.  At the shop we have an adrenal support tea and a great tincture called the adrenal tonifier and stimulator.  My other favorite is the schizandra adrenal complex or stress free capsules.

6. What do you feel is this most proactive thing most of us could be doing for our health?

I believe we need to slow down. Slowing down when we eat and slowing down when we go to bed to really balance out that sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.  Also, just enjoying yourself on a daily basis and giving thanks for all that you have... that is essential.

7. Favorite DYI skin treatment?

I'm all about making homemade face masks.  I like taking French green clay and mixing it with mashed avocado and a little yogurt.  An egg white or honey mask is also great.  Also, I love doing a little steam with some rosemary or lavender.

8. I've noticed candida dieting gaining more spotlight.  What would you suggest to those who aren't willing to to the strict diet, but are still in need of fighting it off?

We have a great supportive yeast free tea at the shop that a lot of people really love.  It has the big anti-candida herbs in it like paul d'arco that really help clean out the intestinal wall.

9.  Favorite meal/recipe?

That changes all the time because I love food and love to cook! Last night, I made some really delicious quinoa salmon cakes that I put together with some beans, kale, quinoa, salmon, and fresh herbs.  I also love making herbed bread and butter.  I like to take some fresh calendula and creaming it into the butter.   The bread is great when baked with some fresh fennel or thyme...

Thanks Dr. JJ for all of your tips and knowledge! 

Oregon Hike-In Camping

Last weekend was incredible. It was my first hike-in camping experience and definitely wont be my last. We headed to a (secret) lake about an hour outside of Sisters, OR. Sisters by the way- excellent. The town is a nice mix of country western and native american influence- essentially the blend of two things I love. You can imagine the goodies I walked away with...

After our quick stop we headed onto a long gravel road and caravanned our cars to where we had to park them to begin our hike in. Four girls, four guys, a massive canoe and all of our stuff- you can imagine that the mile hike at a high elevation was no walk in the park.

We made it! We set up the tents, opened some wine and the night began.

Dinner? Mahi mahi, sweet potato, asparagus, and a nice big glass (or uhhh, tin coffee mug) of red wine. Not bad for camping, right? Dinner was followed by good stories, brandy hot chocolates, and a sky full of stars and a roaring camp fire. Pure happiness...

I must have said I wanted to live in a tent here forever about 20 times. Gotta love simple living and some peace and quiet. Oh, and no cell phone service... thank god.

Waking up in the morning was incredible. The air was crisp and all you could really hear were the birds and the occasional fish hopping out of the water. I wake up early (like sunrise early), so I laid in bed and read my book for a bit until I heard the first person wake up. After that, some fried eggs and potatoes along with a big cup of coffee was in order for breakfast. Trader Joes coffee packets are THE BEST- perfect for camping.

The day proceeded with some time around the campfire, laying around in the sun, and taking the canoe out around the lake. It was one relaxing weekend, that's for sure and I was lucky to spend it with some incredible scenery and a great group of friends.

Until next time...

Featured: Blogger Delighted Momma Interview

If you have yet to visit her blog to read about her family, try one of her DYI skin care tricks, or make one of her tasty, low glycemic recipes- it's time for a visit!  Lindsay Kujawa's blog, Delighted Momma is one of my regular reads, so you can imagine how thrilled I am to have her featured on my blog today.

1. Tell everyone a little bit about you and your blog...
I blog about healthy recipes, "real" life stuff, my family, skin care (I am a licensed Esthetican) and fun do-able DIY's.  It's a little bit of everything really :)     

2. What is your overall philosophy on eating healthy?  
Make it fun! Healthy eating does not need to be boring.  If you want cookies- make them healthy.  Use almond flour instead of wheat flour and honey instead of processed sugar.  

3. What is your favorite go-to, quick recipe that you love making for you and your family?  Lately, I have been loving the crock pot.  I stick some chicken in there with onions, carrots and whatever other veggies I have on hand.  I love serving this up with a side of cauliflower rice.  So easy and delicious. 

4. You just had another baby not too long ago (who is adorable by the way) and you look amazing.  How did you bounce back so quickly?  
Oh you are too kind. The secret is...there is no secret.  After you have a baby you must make exercise and eating healthy a priority.  I try to make it to the gym or do at least an hour of weights/cardio a minimum of 4 days out of the week.  I also really watch what I eat and try to stay away from processed food. 

5. Being a diabetic can't be easy, but you seem to do a great job at getting your sweet tooth fix without spiking your blood sugar.  What are the best eating tips you have for other diabetics trying to manage?  
These are great questions! My best tip would be to stick with a low glycemic low carb diet.  It is just not worth it to eat a bagel and have horrible blood sugars for the remainder of the day.  It makes you feel like crap! BUT if you do have a a craving, get your running shoes out and take a little jog.  This will help with the blood sugar spike. 

6. What tips do you have for eating a low glycemic diet? 
Get creative with your veggies and cooking!  For example, if you want pasta, make it using shredded zucchini or baked spaghetti squash.  Top it with your favorite "pasta" sauce and ta da!  My other favorite camouflage veggie is cauliflower.  You can make mashed "potatoes" with it "rice" and so much more! If you want pancakes make them with almond flour.  You can still have all the things you love, you just need to find alternative ways to prepare them.

7. I've noticed more paleo recipes lately.  How are you feeling eating that way?  
I can not say enough good things about eating Paleo.  I have completely cut dairy, wheat, and processed sugar out of my diet and I have never felt better! My skin is the clearest it has ever been and I have so much energy...and that's saying a lot considering I am still getting up in the middle of the night to feed my five month old.  

8. What does a typical day of eating look like for you?  
I always start my day with a cup of coffee and a green smoothie.   I carry around a little zip lock baggie of mixed nuts and snack on those up until lunch time.  For lunch I typically eat some type of protein (usually chicken that I prepared in the beginning of the week) with a spinach salad.  Dinner is my favorite meal to prepare since I feel like this is the only meal where we are all actually sitting down and eating together, so I try to make it fun.  I tend to cook a lot of salmon, grilled shrimp, baked chicken, etc.... And I like to pair it with a big side of stir fried veggies.  If I am feeling like making a quick and easy treat I will make coconut milk ice cream with gluten free chocolate chips.  It is SO yummy and my two year old always thinks I'm pretty cool when I make it :)  

How awesome is she?  Thanks for the inspiration Lindsay!