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Top 5 Favorite All Natural Sleep Aids


Top 5 all natural sleep aids

When it comes to health in general and weight loss in particular, there’s a lot of attention placed on nutrition and exercise – and rightfully so. But there are other essential components to living a healthy life at your optimal weight – and one of the crucial components that is often overlooked is sleep.

I’ve already written about sleep deprivation linked to weight gain. Put simply: improving your sleep should be on your radar. Chronic lack of sleep can make you fat, unmotivated and your journey towards health and wellness a seriously uphill battle. And it may not be a coincidence that 2/3’s of the American population are either overweight or obese and it’s estimated that 70% of Americans are sleep deprived.

With the unprecedented rise of stress in our culture, it can be challenging to stop the thought train full of worries before going to bed. In addition to meditation and the other natural ways you can improve the quality of your sleep, which I highly recommend, here are a few of my favorite all natural sleep aids to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night.

My Top 5 Favorite All Natural Sleep Aids

1. Valerian

Valerian is an herb commonly used for sleep disorders and is usually made from the root of the plant. It’s a mild sedative as well as pain reliever and is also used for stress, anxiety, headaches as well as menstrual cramps. The effectiveness of this all natural sleep aid makes it a great alternative to pharmaceutical options. It’s known to help you fall asleep faster (which can be hard to do when incessant thinking takes over) and improve the quality of sleep. [Read more...]

Raw Butternut Squash Soup

Raw Butternut Squash Soup


Looking for some fun new raw food recipes for the fall? I love using local, organic, whole-food ingredients that are in season. The farmers markets are overflowing with all sorts of pumpkins and squashes right now. Next time you’re at your local farmers market, pick up a butternut squash and try out this raw butternut squash soup recipe – it’s delicious!

I know there’s some controversy about whether you should eat squash raw or cooked. Some say that it’s too hard to digest raw squash, and others disagree. I personally don’t find this to be true at all, especially when blended in a raw soup.  I find raw squash to be sweet, tasty and very easy to digest. Like with all foods, you need to discover what’s true for you. I know that since I transitioned to a raw food diet many years ago, my digestion has immensely improved. I rarely, if ever, get gas or bloating from eating these “hardier” raw foods.

Raw butternut squash is not only super tasty, but it’s super nutritious too. Butternut squash is a great source of vitamin A, (100 grams contains a whopping 10,630 IU Vitamin A! That’s over 350% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA). It’s also high in fibre, vitamin C, and also a great source of vitamin E, B1, and B6. 

Butternut squash is one particular food that I like to eat both raw and cooked. On occasion I like to bake a whole squash in the oven, especially when I’m feeling colder and would like some warming up. But this raw butternut squash soup also does the trick. You can even warm it on low eat for a few minutes to (slightly) warm it up if you like.

Essential Kitchen Equipment

For this raw butternut squash soup recipe, all you will need is a a high powered blender. Vitamix Blender.

I personally use and recommend the Vitamix Blender. If you’re looking to buy a new blender, check out the review I wrote comparing the Vitamix with the Blendtec. A high-powered blender is one of the top 4 raw food kitchen tools I recommend stocking your kitchen with.

Ingredients for Raw Butternut Squash Soup

Add the following ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth:

  • 1 pound of squash cut up into smaller cubes
  • 2 inch of turmeric
  • 1.5 cups coconut water (or coconut milk for extra creaminess)
  • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper
  • 2 dates
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Juice from 1 medium lemon

Want to know why I don’t add salt to my recipes? I had no idea that eat salt was actually sabotaging my weight loss efforts. Want to know more? Get your free download on Salt here.

Sun-dried Tomato Garnish

Blend in a high-powered blender:

  • ½ cup sun-dried tomato soaked in 1 cup of water
  • Add to blender the juice from 1 lemon

Kaffir Lime LeafPutting it All Together

Place butternut squash soup in a bowl and add a dollop of tomato blend.

Slice kefir lime leaves as thinly as possible and add that as your last garnish on top of the sun-dried tomato.

Kaffir lime leaves come from a kaffir lime tree and are regularly used in traditional Asian cuisine. You can check your local Asian markets for kaffir lime leaves.

Hope you enjoy this raw butternut squash soup during these beautiful fall months.

Aloha from the Big Island of Hawaii,

Laura Dawn

Five Ways to Get Through Tough Times


Everyone on the planet has one thing in common – we all have tough days. You know those days, right? When you just don’t feel that you have what it takes to keep going, to summon up the strength to face what needs to be faced. You can help yourself get over the hurdle by trying some, or all, of these suggestions.

1. Focus On What Is Working

[Read more...]

Raw Slaw Recipe: Rainbow Hemp Coleslaw


Going for a fall picnic or potluck? Impress your friends by making a colorful rainbow raw slaw with hemp dressing. I’ve learned to recreate so many of my favorite more “conventional” meals into healthier raw-food versions. This one is especially easy: simply minus the mayonnaise, and add in the hemp seeds for a dairy-free salad dressing.

Hemp seeds are not only creamy with a delicate nutty flavor, but they’re also an incredible superfood. Hemp seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. In just one ounce of hemp seeds (about 30 grams) there is almost 3 grams of omega-3, which is more than double your daily requirement. I talk about the benefits of hemp seeds and show you how easy it is to make raw hemp milk in my ebook “Your Essential Guide to Raw Vegan Dairy Alternatives“. Hemp seeds aren’t the only powerhouse in this meal. The incredibly benefits of cabbage also adds to the nutritional density of this meal.

Essential Kitchen Equipment

For this raw slaw, you will need a high powered blender to make the creamy hemp salad dressing. I personally use and recommend the Vitamix Blender. I wrote a comparison review between the Vitamix and Blendtec that’s worth reading if you’re looking at buying a new blender. [Read more...]

6 Common Weight Loss Mistakes that Are Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Efforts

6 common weight loss mistakes that are sabotaging your weight loss efforts Have you been trying to lose weight but can’t figure out why you keep tipping the scale in the wrong direction? You might be falling into one of these 6 common weight loss mistakes that are preventing you from achieving your optimal weight levels.

6 Common Weight Loss Mistakes that Are Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Efforts

Weight Loss Mistake #1: Avoiding all “sugars”

In our complex food environment, you can’t say the word “sugar” and mean one thing anymore, it’s become more complex than that with the advent of refined processed foods. But all sugars have come under attack and some health professionals are recommending people steer clear of all “sugars”, including the nutrient-dense, whole-food sugars contained in fruits – this is a major weight loss mistake. When thinking about sugar, a distinction needs to be made between refined sugars and the sugars found in whole foods. Fruits are one of the healthiest foods we can eat: they are high in water and fiber, rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, co-enzymes, phytonutrients. The water and fiber content in fruit allows the natural sugars to digest more slowly and also prevents over-consumption and best of all, it’s low in calories. Cutting out fruit as a food group could be doing you more harm than good. When it comes to “sugars” stay away from the processed kind and stick to whole-food sugars found in fruits and vegetables. [Read more...]

Raw Gluten-Free Pie Crust in Under 5 Minutes

Raw Gluten-Free Pie Crust in Under 5 Minutes

One of the great things about the raw food diet is that it’s 100% gluten-free. I love to enjoy raw treats on occasion – without having to worry about gluten. When it comes to raw food desserts, it’s actually a lot easier than you might think to make your own gluten-free treats at home. Since I started eating clean, I realized that I could always  improve the quality of what I eat. Just because it’s dessert, doesn’t mean it has to be unhealthy! This raw, gluten-free pie crust is a perfect example. Today, I’m going to show you just how easy it is to opt out of traditional ingredients like flour and dairy and make a gluten-free pie crust with less than 5 ingredients – in less than 5 minutes.

[Read more...]

7 Things Your Food Cravings are Trying to Tell You

7 THINGS YOUR FOOD CRAVINGS ARE TRYING TO TELL YOU Food cravings are like the scary monster that hides in your closet. They’re hard to get a good look at because most of the time, you’re either resisting them or running like hell in the other direction. They also leave you with a sense of uneasiness because you’re never really sure when they will jump out and strike next. Food cravings can hijack your willpower, sabotage your judgment and interfere with your health goals, all in the blink of an eye.

They can even take over your rational brain and cause you to unintentionally lapse into mindless eating – sounds like the scary monster most of us fear the most! Being struck by food cravings can oftentimes feel overwhelming and can wreak havoc on daily living. But what you might not know is that this big bad scary monster is simply trying to talk to you. Facing your food cravings rather than avoiding them is a good place to start. If you’re willing to face your fears and listen to what they have to say, they may have the key to help you drop your struggle with food cravings for good.

7 Things Your Food Cravings are Trying to Tell You

1. It’s time to ditch the refined and packaged foods

When was the last time you had an intense craving for apples? How about bananas or figs? Most often, the foods we crave are processed junk foods that all tend to have one thing in common: they’re high in sugar, fat and salt. Not only are real foods not refined, but they’re also not naturally high in all three of these ingredients in the same bite. But food manufactures found out that they could combine refined sugar, fat and salt to find a perfect “bliss point” that literally rewires your brain to want and crave these fabricated foods – and prompt you to keep eating them despite being full. Getting unhooked from food cravings means returning to a whole foods lifestyle where real, fresh, organic foods predominate. [Read more...]

Gluten-free Raw Falafel Recipe – That Even Your Family Will Love

Gluten Free Raw Falafel Recipe

It’s not always easy to repeatedly come up with new recipe and meal ideas, day in and day out to keep your family happy – and more importantly – healthy.  Try making this raw falafel, gluten-free recipe for (or better yet - with) your family for a fun, nutritious and delicious raw food meal.

Raw Food Kitchen Equipment

For this raw falafel recipe, you’ll need a food processor and a dehydrator. I use and recommend the 14-cup Cuisinart Food Processor, but if this is too big to suite your needs and you’re looking for something smaller, consider the 7-cup Cuisinart Food Processor, it’s a smaller and more affordable model. As for dehydrators, if you don’t yet have one, I recommend the 9-tray Excalibur - I’ve had mine for years and it’s still working great.  Owning a good quality food processor and dehydrator are two of the top 4 raw food kitchen tools I recommend stocking your kitchen with.  [Read more...]

Disclaimer: Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits of any foods or supplements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This also applies to recommended lifestyle changes, mentioned with the intention to help you achieve better health. This site is for informational and educational purposes only, readers are advised to take full responsibility for their actions and consult with a health care practitioner before making changes to diet or lifestyle.
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