Healthy Alternative to Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing is an American “thing”. While I was in Scotland, the waiters would wrinkle up their noses and make sounds of disgust if I asked for this kind of salad dressing. Here we slather it on our salads and dip veggies, french fries and fish into it. Although I like ranch dressing, it is most definitely not a healthy choice for me.  

The white dressing so many love is full of dairy products and sugar and non food additives with strange names like  Disodium Phosphate and Sorbic Acid.  I don’t want that stuff in my healing body. Yet I confess, I have missed the dressing. I was thrilled, therefore, to find a real food, dairy free, sugar free ranch dressing that I could easily make fresh at home. 

This recipe is from 

I started the cashews soaking last night. Today I drained and rinsed the nuts and combining all of the ingredients in the blender, mixed until smooth. 

The dressing/dip smelled wonderful, thanks to the dill. But how would a dressing with cashews as its base taste? 

I chilled the mixture for a couple of hours. While I was chopping veggies for a simple stir fry tonight, I sampled the ranch dressing, scooping it up with baby carrots. It was wonderful! The freshly squeezed lemon juice and dill blended to create a savory, tangy dressing. I never would have guessed that there were cashews in the mix, if I had not made the dressing. I couldn’t taste cashews at all. 

I love this real food ranch dressing, that is full of flavor and goodness, without additives or any of the foods on my “no” list. I look forward to trying it with my lunch salad tomorrow and discovering other uses for it as a dipping sauce. 

Home made roasted potato fries, anyone? 

Paradise Found

The mild temperatures and golden sunshine lured me out into the garden this afternoon. My backyard paradise is shifting into fall, as evidenced by tassels appearing on the grasses and the blooms fading on most of the flowers. However, there is beauty to be found in the garden during all seasons. I was happy to grab a bucket and pull weeds. 

Working in the garden fills me with peace and quiet joy. I walk through the garden at least once a day, checking plants, watering or plucking sprigs of herbs for tea. After planting in containers in the spring and freshening mulch, the only other arduous task is staying ahead of the weeds that like to pop up amidst my herbs and flowers. Although a thick layer of cedar mulch helps to keep weeds down, about once a month I work my way through the beds, pulling weeds. 

It’s beneficial to the garden to eliminate weeds. If allowed to grow, they compete with my plants for water, nutrients and sunshine, creating a less than optimal environment for growth. As pulled up these intruders and dropped them into my bucket, I couldn’t help but think about how I am doing the same in my life. 

I choose to eliminate things from my environment that are not optimal for my growth either. This includes negative people and situations, clutter and toxic or unhealthy foods that compromise my health. Just as pulling weeds creates space around the plants, I’m creating space in my life by removing the things that crowd me or bring dis-ease. My garden is flourishing with such care..,and so am I!

Pulling weeds is therapeutic, allowing energy and thoughts to flow. And it brings me close to the plants and the earth as I search among foliage for interlopers. Today I discovered surprised tucked among the flowers, treasures that delighted me. 

This time of year it’s common to find volunteer plants that have matured from seeds sown from nearby flowers. I didn’t plant those seeds. Nature did. I liked coming across unexpected plants today. There were new portulaca (moss roses) near the Peace Gate…one with hot pink and orange blooms and one that sported only white flowers. 

The surprise tomato plant is healthy and sprawled along the ground near the fence. It is covered in green fruit that appears to be cherry tomatos. I suspect this plant came into my garden by way of a bird flying by overhead. The Divine knew before I did, apparently, the important role that veggies would play in my near future!

And near the brickio, actually even on the brick patio, self seeded firework flowers are blooming. I’ve been watching these grow, and decided to leave them alone. They are such cheerful flowers, and so easy to start from seeds, obviously. I sat on the brickio, sipping tea, and the sight of these bright pink and yellow flowers made me smile. 

The best part about working in the garden today was the way my body felt. The healing going on within manifested outwardly as ease of movement. I felt lean, flexible and strong. I stooped, bent, lifted and tugged on weeds without pain in my lower back or legs. I even perched on my low-to-the-ground gardening stool and was able to get up without strange looking contortions. Okay, maybe minor contortions, but again, without pain. I am confident that I will continue to heal and I’ll soon be able to stand up easily and smoothly from a crouched position. 

As I surveyed my work, and wiped sweat from my brow, I felt euphoric there in my garden. It was paradise, indeed.

Support for the Journey

Any time life changes are made, it is so important to receive support from someone who is a little further…or a lot further…down the path that seems so new and unfamiliar at first. Anthony offers a free course called The Healing Path on his website. This encouraging and informative course became a crucial part of my healing journey. And it is benefit #3, from the 28 day healing cleanse.

The Healing Path consists of 18 essential steps toward a healthy life. There are short audio segments, averaging ten minutes each, that cover topics such as Fruits, Vegetables and Hydration, which are all key components of a healthy diet. 

However, the course is so much more than healthy eating tips. There are lessons on Sleep, Play, Faith and Purpose. Because this journey encompasses the body and the soul, the mind and beliefs, the course offers encouragement and healing in all areas of life. 

After listening to the audio, there is a “take action” section to complete that puts into immediate practice the lesson learned. And there is a transcript of the audio that can be printed out for future reference. 

All of the modules have been helpful. I love listening to Anthony’s conversational narratives. He exudes joy and compassion. And I appreciate the connectedness of all things, as is evident in this series of lessons. Humor is part of the healing journey, as is Creativity. That lesson moved me deeply. Having a healthy, active body goes hand in hand with a vibrant, creative spirit. I can see that. I feel that. 

After the 18th lesson there are more audios with answers to frequently asked questions. And there are lists of suggested supplements, kitchen tools and appliances. Also included is a recipe booklet with attractive and delicious ways to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables. I’ve already tried some of those and I’m excited to experience recipes for cooked vegetable dishes, as I complete the cleanse. 

Anthony has dedicated his life to helping people heal, from diseases, disorders and chronic pain. He offers his insights to the world, from his life and his generous heart. I am extremely grateful for the support given as I walk along The Healing Path. What an incredible gift. 

To learn more, check out the website and click on The Healing Path:

Fruit Bowl with Banana Milk

I’ve had a fruit smoothie every morning for the last 21 days, and they’ve been delicious. However, when I saw this new and super easy recipe on Anthony’s Facebook page, I was excited to give it a try for breakfast this morning. 

Fruit Bowl with Banana Milk

1 banana

1 frozen banana, cut into chunks

1 cup of water

1-2 cups of fruit (berries and mangoes are great) 

Cut up the fruit, if necessary, and arrange in a large bowl. In a blender, process bananas and water. Pour cold banana “milk” over fruit and enjoy. 

This was a great alternative to having a bowl of cereal with milk. I used strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. I popped a couple of chopped up bananas into the freezer beforehand and used one this morning. 

The banana milk was cold and a bit frothy and very yummy. Although I am really enjoying the morning smoothies, I like having this alternative breakfast choice. And this is definitely better for than a bowl of sugary cereal. It’s all about daily choices, on this healing journey, and ultimately I’m choosing health. 

Creating an Environment That Supports My Journey

Today is day 21 of my healing cleanse. I just have seven days to go! As I am entering the last week of this part of the journey, I am preparing for the next phase. This cleanse, and all of the supporting practices, has changed my eating habits. I’ll be sharing posts  later in the week that give more details about how my body and health have shifted. Today my focus has been on creating an environment that supports my continuing health journey. 

The foundation of the cleanse is eating raw fresh fruits and vegetables. I’ve become a frequent shopper at the local farmer’s market. And at the supermarket, I primarily shop in the produce section. At home, my purchases have been going into the fridge, in various plastic bags and containers covered in plastic wrap or foil. It’s a very ineffective way to store produce! I rustle through the bags, hunting for the right foods to make a salad or smoothie. 

I just received an order from Amazon…a Rubbermaid Produce Saver set. I was excited today to totally empty the refrigerator, wipe it down, and get rid of those plastic bags! The large container easily holds a head of butterhead lettuce. Each container has a vented lid and a crisp tray that fits in the bottom, allowing air to circulate and keeping the produce moisture free. The company claims that produce stays fresh up to 33% longer. I’ll let you know! 

I’ve made other changes in my life, during this cleanse, to support a healthy lifestyle. It was time to make my refrigerator “clean”, both literally and in terms of the way I store my nutritious food. Creating a supportive environment sends messages to my brain, and to the Divine, that this journey is crucial and that I embrace a healthier lifestyle.  

Every time I open the refrigerator door, I’ll be reminded of my commitment to my health and well being. And I’ll be able to find the spinach!