Your Food Cravings – Exposed

Food cravings are real! Just ask any present day or prehistoric mother. Long before there were pregnancy test and ultrasound imaging, mommas knew they were pregnant when their bodies started talking to them with food cravings, among other things. While we commonly hear about cravings during pregnancy, they happen to most of us all day, every day. The issue is, the natural signals our bodies send telling us ‘Hey you’re getting a little low on magnesium, maybe some nuts might be a good idea;’ the food industry steps in and say’s ‘How ‘bout a Snickers?’ It’s not entirely our own faults that most of us are walking around with our bellies overly full, yet our bodies are starved for nutrients. The majority of the foods you’ll find at any local grocery chain or fast food establishment are stripped of nearly all their original vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, and any trace nutrients that might be left are drowned by the artificial colors, flavors, additives, preservatives, refined salts, sugars, and hydrogenated oils which are added in to totally confuse and manipulate our taste buds. It’s no wonder our bodies are incredibly confused.

Visit my office and you’ll notice this is one of the only photos on the wall. It’s a snapshot of human metabolism. That big M word we often hear that ‘slows as we age’ or ‘gets scarred when we go on deprivation diets’.


Photo cred: Source not known

The reason it gets showcased in my office, is because I want people to know what’s going on in their bodies at all times. Our bodies are complex systems. Like a car, they require regular maintenance of all our parts and pieces if we would like them to operate to the best of their ability. All the reactions you see in the above image are essential to good health. All the reactions here also require nutrients (protein, carbs, fat, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals) in order to operate. While some of these we can certainly get from processed foods, many of them and certainly the best are only found in REAL, WHOLE FOODS.

People like to ask me, do I have to cut out ‘(insert your favorite empty calorie, indulgent food here)’ or I really pigged out last night on ‘(same as above)’ because I knew once I saw you I would never be allowed to eat it again. They’re surprised to learn that never do I say ‘You’re not allowed to have ‘(any food on the face of the planet)’. Generally it’s not what people are eating that so bad, but what they’re missing is what I’m most concerned about.

When we slow down just a bit and really start listening to what our body tells us when we get hungry or experience cravings, and when we choose real, whole foods to satisfy those, I don’t need to tell patients to not eat a certain food… Their bodies will! Go for a week using various fruits to sweeten foods and drinks as opposed to sugar (in all of its various refined and artificial forms). Later, drink a 16oz coke and notice how your body responds. My bet, it’s not going to feel so great! But, don’t just take my word for it. Give it a go!

I know it’s a tricky world out there full of fancy foods, environmental triggers and mixed signals, so I’ve included this awesome chart to help you have an arsenal ready for when hunger strikes.

Food Cravings

Your Craving

What Your Body Probably Needs

Where You Can Find It

Salty foods





Nuts, nut butters and milks, real dairy from goats and cows, fish from the sea and freshwater, unrefined sea salt or Himalayan, apple cider vinegar (on salad)

Fatty foods

Omega 3s


Vitamin D

Mustard or turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes (peas, peanuts, lentils), real cheese, fatty cold water fish, sesame seeds and oil, 15 min of sunshine a day

Starchy foods


B Vitamins

High protein foods: fish, turkey, venison, beef, pork (uncured), chicken, bison, nuts, beans, seeds

Sugary foods






Raw or minimally roasted nuts, seeds, legumes, fruit, broccoli, grapes, real cheese, beans (pinot, black, garbanzo, white, etc.), chicken, fish, free range eggs, real dairy or nut milks, whole intact grains (whole oats, barley, quinoa), cranberries, horseradish, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, sweet potato, spinach



Nuts, seeds, legumes, fresh or frozen strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries

Hunger but you’ve already eaten


Faucet, Spring, Fountain flavored with herbal teas, carbonation, or lemon, lime, grapefruit slices or essential oils

Alcohol or other recreational drugs






Meat, poultry, seafood, real dairy, nuts, beans, seeds, dark leafy greens, black cherries, seaweed, black olives, potato peel broth, bitter greens (dandelion)

Pre-menstrual cravings


Red meat, sea food, leafy vegetables, root vegetables

General overeating






Nuts, seeds and avoidance of refined carbohydrates (sugar, starch)

Real cheese, lamb, dried fruit (without added sugar), sweet potatoes, spinach

Vitamin C rich foods: orange, green, red fruits and vegetables

What are your go to ‘smart swaps’ when cravings hit? Tweet, comment or tag us in a post!

Nosh Nicely,

Lacy Davidson, MS, RDN, LD, CDE, RYT

Nutritionista – Yogini – Wanderluster

Posted in Food Fridays, Nutrition | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Move Over, Kale… There’s a New Chip in Town!

Kale chips have long been heralded as the go to, nutrient dense potato chip alternative, and for good reason. With their crunchy texture and crisp bite, the mouth feel is enough to convince any skeptic. Pile that on top of their powerhouse nutrient profile and ability to take on the flavor of whatever seasoning might tickle your taste buds and you’ve got one heck of a snack. But, living the fast paced, multifaceted lives we do, it’s no question that variety is important to keep us interested. This is why we’ve dished up this easy to assemble, make ahead snack food, perfect for tail gates, Halloween parties, kids lunch box or your desk drawer. Just be sure to make enough to go around because these babies will go fast!

Before we break down the recipe, let’s dish really quick about ‘snacking’. More importantly, the not so subtle difference between ‘snacking’ and ‘treating’. In working with clients, when I get to the part where I say, ‘So tell me what you like to snack on.’ It’s not uncommon to hear a muffled, coy and often guilt ridden response along the lines of, ‘Well, sometimes I’ll have cookies, or ice cream, maybe chips when I’m having pizza.’ I make it clear to my patients that snacking everyday, multiple times a day is okay! What’s not as healthful of a behavior and should be regarded as an entirely separate concept is, treating.

Snacks, by my not so official definition, are nutrient dense foods or combinations of foods that serve to get us from meal to meal without drops in energy, blood sugar, and mood. They should be roughly 100-200 calories and should have a good dose of protein and fiber. Think the classic peanut butter and apple or deer jerky and carrot sticks. While a meal should fit in both hands, snacks should easily fit in just one.

Treats on the other hand are foods we know to be high calories with low nutrient contents. Foods that are only available for special occasions and that we still factor into our daily energy needs. Treats include foods like Halloween candy, birthday cake or a hotdog on the Fourth of July. These are typically foods we associate with some sort of nostalgia and should be taken in moderation as part of a balanced meal. Don’t be fooled by foods that are marketed as a ‘healthy snack’. Forget the front label and flip it over to do your own investigation. If the first ingredient is sugar or flour and you could not find the rest of the ingredients in the grocery store if you tried, just leave it!

For a satisfying snack that’s made from real, whole foods we call on the aubergine, more commonly referred to as eggplant. While some say this recipe is a fakin’ bacon, I’ll stick with the less dramatized name, Eggplant Chips. The marinade is similar to how bacon might be cured, but the neat part is that you can get as creative as you’d like with the taste. We’d love to hear what flavor chips you’ve concocted.


Photo cred:


Photo cred:

Eggplant Chips Recipe
1 large aubergine/ eggplant

1-2 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon liquid smoke

2 teaspoon smoked paprika

A pinch of chipotle powder

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

A dehydrator (optional)

*Makes about 20-25 Eggplant Chips


Preheat oven or dehydrator to 225* F.

Slice the eggplant into very thin strips and then again lengthwise.

Place single layer in a casserole dish.

Mix all other ingredients into a small bowl with 6 tablespoons water.

Pour mixture over the eggplant and let marinate for 15 minutes.

Remove from dish and transfer to baking sheet or dehydrator sheet, reserving leftover marinade.

Brush the strips with remaining marinade.

Bake for 4-6 hours (until crispy) or 16-20 hours in the dehydrator.

Enjoy with a friend.

Nosh Nicely,

Lacy Davidson, MS, RDN, LD, CDE, RYT

Nutritionista – Yogini – Wanderluster

Posted in Food Fridays, Nutrition | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy 3rd Blog Birthday

Blog's-Birthday (002)

We here at the Marshall Rec can’t believe that the blog has been around for 3 years today. We feel like time has flown by and are looking forward to doing more with this site as  time goes on. It’s been a wild ride with bloggers coming and going, finding content, pictures and just STUFF that you awesome readers are interested in. Thank you so much for all of your support! So, just for the sake of feeling nostalgic, we’ll take you back to our very first post: October 1, 2012. Enjoy!

Meet John Floyd

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Personal Trainer Austin Holmes

Austin Holmes has been involved with fitness since he was a little kid playing sports, and he has been a personal trainer for the last three years.

“I’ve been playing sports since I was 5,” said Austin “That is what really got me involved with exercise and fitness.”

Austin worked at the Marshall Rec Center as the fitness graduate assistant, teaching classes, while also being a personal trainer. He says being a personal trainer at the Rec allows him to meet new people and make a change in people’s lives.

“The most rewarding thing about being a trainer at the Rec is that I get to come in to work every day and meet people who want to make change in their life,” said Austin. “I couldn’t see myself doing anything else with my life than sharing my compassion for fitness with others!”

Austin tries to push his clients to challenge themselves and work harder than they may realize they can.

“I motivate my clients by pushing them past their comfort zone,” said Austin. “I challenge my clients every time they come in for a session.”

Austin aims to create workouts tailor to his clients’ goals. He uses high intensity training to get the best possible work out for his clients.

“Using my own style, I create a workout program tailored specifically for each of my client’s goals,” said Austin. “My personal training style would be high intensity training. I want my client to get the best workout in with the hour that they have with me.”


On a personal note

Favorite workout: shoulders, but specifically shoulder press 100 rep challenge (100 reps of a given weight). It’s a pretty brutal exercise.

Favorite free time activities: Workout, attend Marshall Games, read, and play with his two “awesome” cats; Steve Purry and Marco Thunder

Favorite workout Song: “Can’t Stop” by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Favorite Food: Chicken, “seriously just chicken…”

If you would like to book a session with Austin, visit our website at for more information or visit the Rec Welcome Desk.

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What’s that Smell? – Essential Information on Essential Oils

Maybe you’ve noticed subtle smells of lavender and lemon coming from your coworkers cubical. Perhaps you’ve been eyeing that lady in the gym, who’s been dotting her temples and under eyes with oil and suddenly the room smells of grapefruit and peppermint. Or maybe you walked out of yoga class with feet smelling of frankincense. And perhaps you’ve noticed that as a result of all this, your mood has become a little bit lighter at work, post-work out your ‘high’ lasts a little bit longer, and that yoga class really made you feel totally blissed out! So, could all of this feel-goodness be result of the powers of essential oils? While the jury is still out in the world of modern science and research (although it is increasing), the overwhelming amount of testimonials is a resounding, YES!

Aromatherapy is a field of complementary medicine (treatment that is provided in coordination with standard treatment) where plant materials and aromatic oils are used with a goal of altering ones physical, mental, and emotional state of being. Many companies and aromatherapists have made aromatherapy and essential oil use more widely available to every day consumers by providing access to things like eucalyptus essential oil, without the end user having to spend hours collecting, processing and extracting the oils on their own.

Essential oils seem to be popping up everywhere. There’s no shortage of social media posts and recipes for DIY home and body care products on the internet, and it’s nearly every day at work that someone brings up the topic of oiling for this reason or that. So where’s a person new to the world of aroma therapy to start? Are all oils created the same? How do I know if they’re safe to use? This chart below provides a really nice overview of basic oils/ uses. My advice? Start slow. A few basic essential oils can be a really great place to start without spending a fortune on an oil you may not even really have a use for.

Most important to keep in mind, is that various brands tout that they are the most ‘pure’ or of ‘therapeutic grade’, etc., but know that there’s not really any regulation out there on these claims. They live in the same category with all other foods, drugs and cosmetics we consume on the market today, where the manufacturer is bound by the honestly policy. So, do your research and draw your most common sense conclusion. If something seems fishy or one brand is significantly higher priced than most all others, you could be wasting your pennies. Similarly, if a brand is selling oils a price far lower than the market average, it could very easily be a synthetic – which defeats the purpose of aromatherapy to start with. Asking around before you buy is always a good idea.

This table lists some common oils and uses. Remember, this advice is not used to treat or prevent any disease and should not take place of seeking medical treatment, but merely additional tools in the tool kit for your curious mind to explore.

Essential Oil Uses for Cleaning and Home

  1. All-purpose cleaner: Add three drops each of lemon oil and tea tree oil to a few ounces of warm water, then spray countertops to naturally disinfect.
  1. Natural mosquito repellent: Combine one drop each of lemongrass oil, citronella oil and eucalyptus oil with one teaspoon of coconut oil to make natural bug spray and rub on exposed skin. Reapply as needed.
  1. Sports gear: If your kids play sports, add two drops each of tea tree oil and lemon essential oil to one quart of warm water; next add four tablespoons of baking soda and mix. Use to clean ripe (!) jerseys, cleats and sports gear.
  1. Clean air: Diffuse cinnamon essential oil in the air and enjoy its anti-microbial properties.
  1. Homemade peppermint patties: Use peppermint oil, coconut oil, dark chocolate and raw honey to make real peppermint treats.
  1. Washing machine: Add 10-20 drops of your favorite scent per load.
  1. Vacuum cleaner: Add 5-10 drops of your favorite oil in your vacuum bag or dust container.
  1. Homemade sunscreen: Mix coconut oil, zinc oxide, shea butter, helichrysum oil and lavender essential oil, then store in a squeeze bottle to make homemade toxic-free sunscreen.
  1. Eliminate shower curtain scum: Using a 16-ounce spray bottle, use four drops of eucalyptus essential oil and four drops of tea tree oil (melaleuca) with warm water; spray onto your shower for natural mold killing action.
  1. Clean burnt pans: Use a few drops of lemon oil and some boiling water to help remove burnt food from pots and pans.
  1. Wonderful smelling home: Diffuse clove, rosemary and orange essential oils when guests come over, and they will talk about how amazing your house smells.
  1. Carpet cleaner: Mix 20 drops of tea tree oil with Borax for homemade carpet powder.
  1. Kill pests: Spray orange essential oil and clove oil to kill pests on contact.
  1. Lavender cake: Mix coconut flour, raw honey, organic eggs and lavender essential oil and bake at 350 degrees.
  1. Eliminate mold: Add tea tree oil to your diffuser to kill mold and other pathogens in the air.
  1. Christmas scent: Add a drop of pine, sandalwood or cedarwood oil on a fire log about 30 minutes before burning.
  1. Reduce anxiety: Diffuse lavender essential oil around your home to reduce feelings of stress and tension.
  1. Spiritual enlightenment: Diffuse frankincense essential oil while praying, meditating or reading to increase spiritual awareness.
  1. Bathtub scrub: Mix one-half cup of baking soda, one-half cup of vinegar and five drops of bergamot or lime oil; use as a scrub for a sink or bathtub.
  1. Freshen trash can: Put a cotton ball with two drops each of lemon oil and tea tree oil at the bottom of the trashcan to help decrease the odor and detoxify.
  1. Wash produce: To clean fruit and vegetables, add two drops of lemon oil to a large bowl of water then wash.
  1. Clean kitchen smell: Add a few drops of clove, cinnamon or citrus essential oil to a simmering pan of water to get rid of cooking odors.
  1. Bathroom freshener: Put a cotton ball soaked in lime or lemon oil behind the toilet for a bathroom refresher.
  1. Purify fridge: To freshen up the fridge or freezer when cleaning, add a few drops of lime, grapefruit or bergamot oil to the rinsing water.
  1. Mint tea: Use 1-2 drops of peppermint essential oil in your favorite tea for a hint of mi
  1. Eliminate smoke: To remove cigarette smoke, put four drops of rosemary, tea tree and eucalyptus oil in a spray bottle and spray around the house.
  1. Detoxify the air: Add peppermint and eucalyptus oil to a gallon of paint to dispel fumes.
  1. Get rid of shoe smell: To remove the smell from shoes, add a few drops of tea tree oil and lemon oil to freshen them up.
  1. Bridal shower gift: For a cute bridal shower gift, create a “love potion” with essential oils. Use 20 drops of sandalwood, and four drops of cocoa, vanilla and rose oil to unscented lotion.
  1. Baby shower gift: Give a wall diffuser with a lavender scent to calm the mom and baby.
  1. Flavored lemon water: Use 2-3 drops of lemon oil in water for a delicious citrus flavor.
  1. Cleaner dishes: Add a few drops of lemon oil to the dishwasher before washing for a spot-free rinse.
  1. Physician kit: Makeover your medicine cabinet and create a family physician kit with essential oils of lavender, lemon, peppermint, tea tree, oregano and frankincense.

Essential Oil Uses For Spa and Relaxation

  1. Improve sleep: Lavender oil can alleviate insomnia. Sprinkle a few drops on your pillow to help you fall asleep.
  1. Body butter lotion: Mix coconut oil, shea butter, magnesium oil and essential oils for moisturizing body lotion.
  1. Homemade lip balm: Combine coconut oil, beeswax and lavender oil for an amazing healing balm for chapped lips.
  1. Relieve tension: Help to relieve anxiety by using a single drop of lavender oil on your hands, rub together, and cup your hands to your nose and let the smell flood your senses.
  1. Massage therapy: Use a few drops of cedarwood or lavender oil, mixed with an unscented lotion during a relaxation massage.
  1. Immediate relaxation: Apply 2-4 drops of chamomile, lavender and peppermint essential oil to your temples for a cooling effect and immediate relaxation.
  1. Detox bath: Mix lavender oil, epsom salts and sea salt to a warm bath to cleanse and rejuvenate the body.
  1. Sauna therapy: Add two drops of your favorite essential oil into two cups of water in a sauna.
  1. Calm upset child: Help sooth and calm children by adding lavender or chamomile to their stuffed animals.
  1. Foot bath: Add a few drops of lemon or eucalyptus oil to a large bowl of warm water to help soothe the feet.
  1. Improve depression: To boost mood and relieve depression, add rose oil to baths, inhalations and diffusers to improve mood.
  1. Yoga and Pilates: To relax during yoga or meditation, inhale lavender or sandalwood before class. Also, mix clove and citrus essential oil to clean yoga mats.
  1. Mint chocolate cocoa: Add 2-3 drops of peppermint oil to hot cocoa for instant minty chocolate!

Essential Oil Uses for Skin and Beauty

  1. Reduce cellulite: Mix five drops of grapefruit essential oil with two teaspoons of coconut oil and massage into dimpled areas.
  1. Natural perfume: Use 1-2 drops of jasmine essential oil on your wrist as a fresh natural fragrance. Lavender and vanilla also agree with most women, while cypress and clove work well for men’s cologne.
  1. Acne face wash: To get rid of acne, make a homemade face wash by mixing tea tree oil (melaleuca) with raw honey and rub on your face. Then rinse off with water.
  1. Freshen breath: Use a drop of peppermint essential oil for a natural way to freshen breath.
  1. Homemade shampoo: To make homemade shampoo, mix lavender oil, rosemary oil, aloe vera gel and coconut milk. Use as you would regular shampoo. It lasts 2-4 weeks.
  1. Homemade deodorant: Combine coconut oil, beeswax and your favorite essential oils like cedarwood and clove oil for men and lavender and tea tree oil for women.
  1. Sugar scrub: Mix a few drops of an essential oil with almond oil and rock salt or sugar to make your own salt or sugar scrub.
  1. Homemade toothpaste: Combine sea salt, baking soda, coconut oil and xylitol with peppermint essential oil to make homemade remineralizing toothpaste. Then brush.
  1. Body spray: Add 5-10 drops to four ounces of water and use as a fragrant body spray.
  1. Itchy scalp: Add lavender, cedarwood or basil essential oil to shampoo to reduce itching.
  1. Thicken hair: Add rosemary to shampoo to naturally thicken hair and increase volume.
  1. Strengthen nails: Mix 10 drops of frankincense, myrrh and lemon essential oils into two tablespoons of vitamin E oil, then rub on cuticles.
  1. Reduce wrinkles: Mix 3-5 drops of sandalwood, geranium, lavender and frankincense essential oils with an unscented lotion and apply to face. Avoid applying to eyes.
  1. Teeth whitener: Combine lemon essential oil, coconut oil and fresh strawberries, then rub on your teeth. Rinse after two minutes.
  1. Cure dandruff: Mix five drops of rosemary and lavender essential oils with three tablespoons of unscented oil. Massage into your scalp and leave on for 10 minutes. Shampoo mixture out.
  1. Reduce stretch marks: Mix five drops of frankincense, myrrh and grapefruit essential oils with coconut oil and apply to stretch marks.
  1. Facial scrub: Mix one-fourth cup yogurt, one-fourth cup cornmeal, and five drops of patchouli, grapefruit and lavender oil. Apply to face and wash off.
  1. Natural skin toner: Mix eight ounces of water with two drops of lavender, geranium and frankincense.
  1. Deep hair conditioner: Mix 15 drops of rosewood with five drops of sandalwood and lavender into unscented oil. Place mixture in a small plastic bag and dunk into warm water to heat up. Apply to hair and wrap for 20 minutes. Shampoo as usual.
  1. Reduce age spots: Put on frankincense essential oil three times daily directly on skin to improve sun spots and age spots.
  1. For oily hair: Mix 10 drops of ylang ylang, lime and rosemary oil with two ounces of unscented oil. Massage it scalp 2-3 times per week. Wash out as usual.
  1. Heal dry cracked feet: Add three drops of lavender oil to two tablespoons of coconut oil. Apply to the feet at night and put on some socks.
  1. Relieve nausea: Breathe in peppermint oil through your nose to alleviate nausea, and also apply to your neck and upper chest. Ginger and lavender may also help.

Essential Oil Remedies and Natural Medicine

  1. Migraine headache relief: Try combining a few drops of lavender oil and peppermint oil and apply to temples to help with headaches and migraines.
  1. Reduce cough or sinusitis: Eucalyptus oil is known for its powerful ability to fight coughs and open airways. Add a few drops into steaming hot water or diffuser. Inhale to help clear nasal passage.
  1. Repair broken bones: To support healing of broken bones, apply helichrysum, fir and cypress essential oils.
  1. Heal burns: Mix lavender oil with aloe vera to treat burns.
  1. Soothe bug bites: Use lavender oil for bug bites and stings.
  1. Improve digestion; Take ginger oil, peppermint oil and fennel essential oil to support digestion and healing leaky gut.
  1. Bronchitis and asthma remedy: Make a homemade vapor rub by combining eucalyptus, peppermint and coconut oil. Rub on your chest and neck.
  1. Treat bruises; Use essential oils as a hot compress to treat bruises or other wounds. Add five drops of lavender and five drops of frankincense to four ounces of hot water and soak. Apply to affected area.
  1. Improve concentration: Inhale bergamot, grapefruit or peppermint oil to increase concentration during the day.
  1. Sore feet soak: Add 10 drops of peppermint oil with a tablespoon of Epson salt and add to a warm-water foot bath.
  1. Reduce teeth grinding: Massage 1-3 drops of lavender on the bottom of the feet and behind ears before bed.
  1. Relieve PMS: Mix two drops of sage, basil and rosemary, then apply to a warm, moist hand towel and apply to abdomen.
  1. Eczema and psoriasis cream: To treat eczema, psoriasis or red dry skin, apply a mixture of lavender essential oil with shea butter.
  1. Improve circulation: Add 8-10 drops of grapefruit essential oil to warm bath water.
  1. Relieve hangover symptoms: Add six drops each of juniper berry, cedarwood, grapefruit, lavender, rosemary and lemon oil into a warm bath.
  1. Curb food cravings: Inhale peppermint and cinnamon oil to reduce your appetite and balance blood sugar.
  1. Energize your workout: Inhale peppermint oil before a workout to reduce fatigue.
  1. Reduce fever: Add 1-3 drops of eucalyptus, peppermint and lavender to a cool cloth and sponge the body.
  1. Relieve motion sickness: Use peppermint, lavender and ginger oil to reduce motion sickness.
  1. Arthritis relief: Mix two drops of wintergreen, cypress and lemongrass into an unscented lotion. Massage into affected areas.
  1. Treat ringworm: Combine three drops of tea tree oil with coconut oil and massage over the affected area twice a day.
  1. Head lice cure: Mix three drops of thyme, lavender and eucalyptus oil with unscented oil and apply to scalp. Cover head with a shower cap and leave on for 30 minutes. Shampoo out.
  1. Heal blistered skin: Mix two drops of tea tree oil with two drops of unscented oil and apply to the blistered area up to five times per day.
  1. Soothe a sunburn: Combine lavender or chamomile oil with one tablespoon of coconut oil and apply to the skin with a cotton ball to reduce swelling and pain.
  1. Treat poison oak or poison ivy: Mix three drops of peppermint oil with unscented oil and apply to affected area.
  1. Lose weight: Combine grapefruit, ginger and cinnamon oil and take as a supplement three times daily to support metabolism.
  1. Boost immune system: Mix one drop of oregano oil with four drops of carrier oil and rub on the bottom of your feet before flying on a plane.
  1. Achy muscle rub: Mix eucalyptus, wintergreen and cypress with an unscented lotion or coconut oil and apply to muscles.
  1. Reduce morning sickness caused by pregnancy: Add a few drops of wild orange, lemon or ginger oil to a handkerchief and inhale.
  1. Improve allergies: Rub frankincense and lavender on your palms and inhale deeply to relieve itchy eyes and throat.
  1. Kick a cold fast: Take three drops of oil of oregano and frankincense three daily for one week.
  1. Reduce back and neck pain: Combine peppermint, cypress and ginger oils with cayenne pepper and coconut oil for a homemade pain relieving muscle rub.


Nosh Nicely,

Lacy Davidson, MS, RDN, LD, CED, RYT

Dietitian- Nutritionist – Yogini – Wanderluster

Posted in Random Rants, Wellness | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Eat From the Earth Where You Are on the Earth – Foraging Appalachia

While the notion of eating seasonally and locally may seem like a novel idea to some, it’s actually a practice that our ancestors have been doing for years and one that our grandparents could probably share quite a bit of knowledge about. One reason, people ‘lived off the land’ out of necessity, but more importantly to obtain the best possible heath by being entirely in sync with nature.

When the settlers first moved into the lands we lovingly call home here in West Virginia, living off the land was already and established way of life. Whatever Mother Nature happened to provide was what was eaten. That meant morels mushrooms and dandelion greens in the spring. Wild ramps and various greens were bountiful in summer. Apples and persimmons were the fruit of fall. Most food was stored and rationed for winter, but Mother Earth continued to provide in subtle ways with wild ginger, various mushrooms, saps, berries and barks. Of course, wild animals were harvested, but to supplement meals in times of scarcity, not as the main course, and were a rare but privileged treat. Spring water was readily available and could be enjoyed as is or flavored with twigs from the Birch tree or sap from a Sugar Maple. Honey was a rare, but welcomed treat.

The dawning of the industrial revolution among other shifts in way of life, allowed for more foods to be harvested and traded and fewer foods to be foraged for. Farmers became really good at one or two crops and those that were the most ‘shelf stable’ were the ones prized and cultivated in mass quantities.

While Mother Nature continues to provide, we rely on her natural offerings less and less and on modern conveniences more and more. It’ worth pondering, if nature continues to thrive in perfect harmony with the seasons and without ills of epidemic proportions (how many obese deer or squirrels with type two diabetes have you seen roaming the lands?), perhaps we could as well if we simply provided to and took from her in a similar fashion? The ancient art and science of Ayurveda has much to teach us on that note, but we’ll save that for a separate post.

So maybe you’re not ready to live entirely off the land, but your curiosity is piqued to learn more. Below is a list of some of the foods that can be found growing naturally in our region of the Appalachia’s. If you’re looking for a historic overview of foods eaten in our area, you’ll want to check out this lecture on Thursday, September 17th in Charleston. Or, maybe you’d like to do a little more foraging with a trusted friend. The West Virginia Native Plants Society. is an invaluable resource. Both Beech Fork State Park and the Huntington Museum of Art have established nature trails that highlight native species and can be a great place to begin your adventure while Heritage Farm just outside the city of Huntington hold reenactments of traditional farming and cooking techniques.

Show off your harvest by tagging us in a picture of what you’ve found in your own backyard!


black morel, ramp, wild ginger, violet leaf & flower, redbud flower, daylily shoot and tuber, burdock root, Japanese knotweed shoot, creasy greens, bittercress, onion grass, stinging & wood nettle, dandelion leaf & flower, dead nettle, evening primrose root, waterleaf, sweet cicely, sochane, chickweed, wild mustard, garlic mustard, daisy leaf, oyster mushroom, toothwort leaf & flower, spring beauty leaf & flower, spiderwort, basswood leaf, solomon seal leaf, stone crop, sweet birch twig, spicebush twig, trout lily leaf, angelica leaf & stem, cattail pollen, trout, turkey


waterleaf, violet flower, leaf, onion grass, ramps, yellow morel, wild ginger, bamboo shoot, wisteria flower, black locust flower, milkweed asparagus, dryad’s saddle mushroom, chickweed, money plant pods, stinging & wood nettle, sochane, reishi mushroom, greenbriar tips, spruce & hemlock (tree) tips, strawberry, elder flower, chicken of the woods, rose, sassafras leaf, sweet birch twig, spicebush leaf, stone crop


chicken of the woods, strawberry, reishi mushroom, greenbriar tips, mulberry, serviceberry, feral cherry, elderflower, day lily bud, daisy, honeysuckle & other flowers, blackberry, wood nettle, milkweed flower buds, sassafras leaf, sweet birch twig, mimosa flower


chanterelle mushroom, lambsquarter, wineberry, blackberry, may apple fruit, purslane, elderberry, bee balm leaf & flower, day lily, milkweed, & rose of Sharon flower, quickweed leaf, sassafras leaf


elderberry, blueberry, lambsquarter, purslane, milkweed pod, paw paw fruit, lobster mushroom, leatherback milk cap, boletes, and other mushrooms


honey mushrooms and many others, fairy potatoes, autumn olive berry, amaranth seed, paw paw, persimmon, wild black cherry, chestnut, kousa dogwood fruit, pears, apples, quince, lambsquarter seed


acorn, hen of the woods mushroom, fairy potato, autumn olive berry, kousa dogwood fruit, persimmon, chestnut (for grubs), chickweed, beauty berry, calendula, honey locust pod, nettle, sochane, waterleaf, fox grape, prickly pear fruit, red sumac berry, quince, hickory nut, spicebush berry, hawthorne berry, evening primrose seed, squirrel


acorn, jerusalem artichoke, burdock root, dandelion root, sassafras root, lambsquarter seed, chickweed, black walnut, beauty berry, prickly pear fruit, passionfruit, red sumac berry, deer, acorn grubs


burdock root, dandelion root, sassafras root, chickweed, foxtail millet, oyster mushrooms, brick top mushrooms


onion grass, bittercress, rose hips, sweet birch twig, sassafras root, dandelion root, honey locust pod, turkey tail mushroom & chaga fungus (both year-round), carpenter ants


rose hips, onion grass, bittercress, sweet birch twig, pine needle, honey locust pod, chaga fungus, carpenter ants


pine needle, sweet birch twig, tree syrups, wintercress, chickweed, dead nettle, garlic mustard, chaga fungus

Nosh Nicely,

Lacy Davidson, MS, RDN, LD, CDE, RYT

Nutritionista – Yogini – Wanderluster

Posted in Nutrition, Outdoors | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

food-Diary of a Yogi

A weekend spent in the woods at The Floyd Yoga Jam, without cell service, and with some of your closest friends (and strangers that make you feel like you’ve been friends since birth), leaves a bit of down time to discuss, share, and journal about, you guessed it…food!

Those familiar with the practice of yoga are aware that the eating habits of a yogi today are as varied as the different styles routinely practiced. While there are no ‘food rules’ of a yoga practitioner etched in stone, vegetarian style meal patterns (including flexitarina, pescatarian, ovo-lacto vegetarian, vegan, raw food vegan, fruitarian, etc.) are probably more common than not.

How the two elements of yoga and plant based eating evolved to be synonymous primarily stems from ancient texts, thousand years old traditions, and other principles of yoga like ahimsa, or non-harming. Whether or not one should or shouldn’t include meat on their plate (we’d love to hear your feedback below), one thing is certain; plants should probably be the main attraction. Providing more nutrients, less waste, more food, less pollution, more energy while promoting better digestion, less disease and improved health overall, there’s no question that a whole foods, plant based meal style of eating (one that includes animal product od doesn’t) can be right for everyone, yogi or not.

If you’ve been toying with the idea of exploring a plant-based lifestyle or simply feel it’s time to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, grains and legumes, herbs and spices, etc. check out the simple ‘how to’ tips below:

1. But First… Real, Whole, Food

It can seem easy and convenient to stock up on frozen veggie burgers and sausages, potato and corn chips, and hey, even ice cream and cake are vegetarian, right? But lets get down to the heart of the matter. It’s probably more important to focus on what you are eating, rather than what you are not! Take a step back, or maybe a step forward by keeping a food diary, and ask yourself, ‘How often am I eating real whole foods, and how often am I eating processed food product (aka, junk)?’


Pictured: Yogini Joan of Studio 8 whipping up a vegetarian Thai veggie medley over a camp stove.


(Pictured: Moroccan stew using lentils and chickpeas for protein in place of meat, along with lots of filling, nutrient dense vegetables like butternut squash, tomatoes, artichoke hearts and carrots for flavor)

2. Plant Power Your Favorite or Traditional Meals

It can be daunting to think about completely overhauling your lifestyle when adopting a plant based meal pattern, so that’s why my biggest advice is, don’t! Start slow, ease your way in and think about what you already eat. Can you continue to eat your favorite foods, but simply swap the animal product out for a plant based, whole food alternative. For example, pizza this weekend was served up locally by DogTown Pizza in Floyd, VA and instead of processed meat product, they sliced a few summer vegetables just the same and threw them on the pizza for more flavor, more nutrients, and less waste!clip_image006clip_image008clip_image010

Pictured: Food from DogTown Pizza – Floyd, – Garden vegetable woodfire pizza and a warm kale salad!

3. Keep it Simple, But be Adventurous

People often ask what to snack when they’re trying to scale back on animal snacks (it’s still up for debate where animal crackers fall into play), but rather than trying to decipher the ingredients in all the bars, cookies, chips and frozen treats, try whole foods. Take a look at how Colby and Jen fuel up in between Acro-Yoga classes at The Jam. Grabbing a whole cucumber, a pear, and a handful of nuts is not only quick and convenient, but gives them the energy they need to balance, fly, and have fun for hours on end.

(Psst check out Floyd Yoga Jam Facebook Page for more cool pics).clip_image012


(Pictured: Portable and convenient snack food – grapes, pears, cucumbers and a premade trail mix are all free of added sugar, animal products, and chocked full of energy boosting nutrients)

4. Create the Environment to Create the Change

No question, change isn’t easy, but rather than trying to overhaul everything and change your life completely, focus on trying to change your environment to support your lifestyle change. For example, if you’re trying to cut back on the meat you and your family consume, start by buying less at the grocery store. Maybe only enough for 2 or three meals a week as opposed to every day. More importantly, set yourself up for success by seeking out the guidance of an experienced plant based eater or the expertise of a registered dietitian. There are also thousands of books, websites, and documentaries that can be great resources for helping families and individuals shift their lifestyle. Some of my favorites include:



(Pictured above:

Local Floydian sharing his grape harvest with other festival growers.

BBQ temphe burrito with brown rice and Asian slaw

Blackeyed pea hummus with fresh veggies, goat cheese and artisan whole grain bread

Local Lynn sipping White Grass Café’s fresh pressed juice)

Looking forward to your feedback. Let us know if, how, and why you veg out!

Nosh Nicely,

Lacy Davidson – RDN, LD, CDE, RYT

Nutritionista – Yogini – Wanderluster


(Pictured: Studio 8 Yogis having a wild time at The Jam!)

Posted in Food Fridays, Nutrition, Outdoors, Wellness | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment