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Aug 8, 2018

Disagreeing with Parental Choices - What Do You Do?

by Aspen Anderson, Herbal Authoress

Recently at a family gathering, my sister, who has five children and has been a mother for fifteen years, was holding my first and only baby as I cooked in her kitchen. He started to fuss loudly, and I looked over and saw that she was scrolling through her Facebook and doing nothing to calm him. Frustrated, I called my brother over to take the baby. She grew snappy and started lecturing me about how “children just cry sometimes.” As a millennial parent, I don’t follow the “cry it out” method. She knew this, but chose to implement her parenting style over mine. But as his mother, I believe I have the right to ask my family to follow my parenting style with him, even if my family may not understand or agree. I would be horrified if they took it upon themselves to make decisions – especially medical ones - that affected my child that they knew were counter to what I wished.

This stance was challenged as I was at my holistic pet boutique, where we focus on food-based solutions to health problems. I had an older deaf woman in a vegan-support t-shirt bring her brother’s whippet into the store and indicated that the dog had cancerous tumors. She was familiar with the benefits of raw feeding, and we got her set up at the register with cannabis oil, turkey tail mushroom, and Steve’s Real Food Beef raw food, all of which experience had taught me could reduce tumor size and make a world of difference for the comfort and health of the dog. Just as I was about to run the woman’s credit card, she received a text from her brother that said, “Please don’t buy him anything, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The woman was in tears, and she pulled out her phone and wrote me a novel about how she knew she could help this dog, that it didn’t have to suffer, and that her brother was an egotistical surgeon with a slice and dice mentality who didn’t take her seriously because she wasn’t a doctor. I watched her actively go through a moral quandary of whether respecting her brother’s wishes was more important than what she felt would be best for the dog.

I felt sadness for the surgeon’s choice, but my automatic response was to respect his decision. The woman struggled and ended up purchasing the supplements but not the raw food with the hope that she could make enough of a difference in the week she had left to dog-sit him to convince her family of the benefits.

I can see both sides of the story. I understand where she was coming from, and I think her choices would have led to a happier dog. But ultimately, I think she was probably wrong. I think that the owner/parent has ultimate say over the way they wish to parent, and that even if you don’t like it, or disagree completely with their style, if it isn’t your kid, it’s not your place to interfere. What do you think?

Aug 8, 2018

Holistic Pet Health

by Aspen Anderson, Herbal Authoress

In 2013, I graduated from grad school and was looking to begin my career in writing or teaching. More importantly, I had a terrier named Baxter who was my whole world, and he was getting on in years. So when I found a writing job for a holistic pet food company that said, “must be dog-friendly,” I pounced at the opportunity to be able to bring my dog to work.

I was ecstatic to receive the job, and after taking advantage of the employee discount on the food, I realized I had been wrong - my Baxter wasn’t getting old, I was just feeding him wrong! When I switched him to a species-appropriate food, his energy came back, his arthritis disappeared, he lost weight, and now, at ten years old, he looks and acts younger than he did when he was six. I believe I literally doubled his life expectancy by switching him to the right diet. I had been feeding him kibble from Whole Foods, so it’s not like I had been going the super-cheap route to begin with, but I didn’t realize that dogs were not biologically designed to eat kibble in any way. When I moved him to a diet better designed for his biology, his health dramatically improved. Since then I have made it my mission to spread the joy and educate pet owners about the issues facing the pet food industry and how to feed pets properly to keep them healthy.

The pet food industry has, like many others, descended into chaos in pursuit of profits. With next to no regulation, large corporations have been able to twist their marketing into completely unrecognizable representations of what is essentially animal byproducts and cheap fillers disguised as food. Because pets can’t advocate for themselves, they are left victims, suffering from astronomical rises in disease, cancer, and shortened life-expectancy. There are three fundamental nutritional needs that have been abandoned by the industry that are essential to pet health:

Moisture: Throughout their evolution, cats and dogs have received most of the moisture their bodies need to function directly from the food they eat. An appropriate diet is rich in moisture, but kibble is only 10% moisture on average. This puts stress on the digestive system and internal organs as animals live in a constant state of dehydration. This is especially true for cats, who evolved in desert environments and received over 90% of the moisture they needed from their food, so they did not develop a good sense of thirst. This is why renal failure is the #1 cause of death in house cats but is completely unheard of in feral cats.

Meat: While the packaging may make it look like the kibble is full of quality cuts of meat, this couldn’t be farther from the truth for about 95% of the products on the market. What little meat is in the food is often “meal,” which could be quality meat - or it could be rendered meat unfit for consumption containing any part of the animals, including hoofs, intestines, eyes, roadkill, or euthanized shelter animals (yes that really happens - regularly). The nutritional content of these meals, flavorings, and byproducts are so low that they have to pump in cheap fillers and protein substitutes, which is what lead to the melamine scandals of 2007 that killed hundreds of thousands of pets across the globe. Genetically almost identical to wolves and larger cats, our domestic companions are carnivores with digestive systems designed to handle large amounts of protein in raw form - not large amounts of wheat, corn, soy, or peas.

Raw: Humans are the only meat-eaters who have to cook their meat before eating it. No other animal, whether carnivore or omnivore, applies heat to their meat before they eat it. Your cat or dog’s body is designed to combat the bacteria in raw meat with a short, acidic digestive tract that either kills bacteria or allows it to pass safely through. Raw meat contains bioavailable nutrients, especially crucial enzymes that provide support for the digestive process. Without these digestive enzymes that can only be found in raw food, dogs and cats fed a processed diet their entire lives begin to struggle to digest their (usually toxic) food, leading to various health problems that often begin around the age of 6-8. Dogs and cats never cooked their food before a market existed that required shelf-stable products for humans to purchase - so that development has much more to do with profits than health benefits.

Because of these health requirements that are being completely ignored by the current market, more and more people are turning to raw pet food, either commercially purchased or made themselves after careful education. There is a growing movement of advocates who, like those in the human industry, are passionate about the difference proper nutrition and supplementation can make for the health of their loved ones.

Aug 8, 2018

The Benefits of Vermicomposting

by Will Christensen, Ginger-Beard of Power


Aug 8, 2018

Simple Sweet Baked Scones

by Nichole Carver, Your Magical Marketing Millennial


  • 2 1/2 C. Flour (any kind)
  • 1 TBSP Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 8 TBSP. Cold, Unsalted Butter, cut up (sub alternative butter if desired, but it needs to be cold!)
  • 1/4 C. Granulated Sugar (can use less or sub for a cleaner alternative)
  • 2/3 C. Milk (sub almond milk)
  • Herbs (have fun and experiment here!) 

Heat oven to 425 degrees. 

Put flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl; stir, mixing well. Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender (I use my Bosch pastry attachment) or rub in with your fingers, until the mixture looks like fine crumbs.

Add sugar and herbs, if using; toss to mix.

Add milk and stir with a wooden spoon until dough forms (dough may be a bit crumbly).

Place dough on floured counter and knead gently until the dough comes together in a ball. Pat or roll into a circle about 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut circle into 6 or 8 wedges.

Place wedges on a greased cookie sheet - slightly apart for crisp sides (my favorite) or touching for soft.

Bake about 12 minutes, or until medium brown on top. 

Aug 8, 2018

August Organtics

by RidgeCrest Herbals

Jul 19, 2018

Practicing Self-Love

by Meagan Randall

In today's society it isn't uncommon for us to try to meet the status quo, there are so many societal standards. Due to our upbringing and surroundings atmosphere we strive to be what society expects of us. But in doing so, how much of our true selves do we end up sacrificing? I'd like to hit on the topic of self-love and acceptance.

Self-love and acceptance is the state of appreciation and compassion for oneself; it is quieting the inner critic that we have become accustomed to in our day to day lives. In practicing self-love we are able to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses, and can find satisfaction within despite any past errors or mistakes. With this knowledge, we are able to grow and in confidence, acceptance, and love; not just for ourselves, but for others as well.

Here are a few ways to practice in self-love and appreciation.

  • Treat yourself and as you would treat your loved ones.

- Would you talk to your friend or loved one in the same manner you speak to yourself?

  • Forgive Yourself.
    • Allow understanding of an action.
    • What did you need at the time, what need was being fulfilled.
  • Set boundaries.
    • Learn when to say no. It's OK to say no to things that may deplete you.
  • Respect your emotions.
    • Surrender to your emotions, feel them, move through them. Don't hold onto them.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others.
    • We all grow and learn in our own time and space.
    • We all have different talents and abilities.
    • You are where you need to be.
  • Let go of those toxic people in your life.
    • You deserve to be treated well. Make yourself a priority.

By practicing these few things on a daily basis you will find yourself on a journey towards the self- love, appreciation, forgiveness, and positivity you deserve in your life.

Jul 19, 2018

Massage is for Everyone - Even you!

by Shaelynn Brackett

There is a lot of reasons people think they don’t need a massage. They may believe it is a luxury, an indulgence of rich, bored housewives, that it has sexual undertones, etc. None of this is true. In fact, true massage therapy is incredibly good for your health, and an essential part of your preventative care. It has many benefits, and with all the different modalities available, there is something for everyone. Let’s talk about massage therapy and its benefits, and how it really is for YOU!


Massage therapy dates back at least over 5,000 years, used in many ancient cultures for its medical benefits. It has been passed down through oral traditions, and the first written records are found in China & Egypt as early as 2700 BCE, found in the first known Chinese text called “The Yellow Emperor's Classic Book of Internal Medicine.” Depictions of massage therapy can be found in Egyptian tomb paintings.  Modern Swedish massage was developed in the early 1800’s. Ayurvedic massage dates back thousands of years as well.

Massage Modalities

Now that we have gotten the hard stuff out of the way. There is a massage for EVERYONE! Let's talk about the different modalities of massage and which modality will work the best for you. There are as many as 250 different types of massage and bodywork, and the list keeps getting bigger. These modalities range from energy work (that doesn’t involve touch) to deep, rigorous work. Each modality uses different strokes, techniques, approaches, pressure, and movements as well as focus on different targeted areas.

Here are some of the modalities:

  • Swedish massage is the most common massage and was developed in the 1800’s. It utilizes light to medium pressure and is good for improving circulation, easing muscle tension, relaxation and improving flexibility.
  • Deep Tissue massage manipulates the deeper tissues and uses moderate to hard pressure for tension release, focusing on the muscles located just below the surface of the top muscle. It is used to release toxins and for deeply held problems and issues such as chronically tight muscles, strains and injury.
  • Deep Pressure massage is performed with deep pressure that is sustained and strong with intense pressure throughout the entire full body session. This is typically used to prep the muscles for deep tissue massage and will open the first two layers of muscle tissue, helping to eliminate aches and pains.
  • Trigger point is commonly used and paired with deep tissue work for the release of specific tight areas within the muscle tissue. These tight areas are caused by adhesions of the fascia and a shortening of muscle fibers resulting in a trigger point. These specific points can cause what is called a referred pain pattern in another area.
  • Prenatal or Pregnancy massage incorporates basic massage techniques that are safe for a pregnant woman. This is most commonly done with the client positioned on her side with pillows or cushions for support. Prenatal massage helps to reduce swelling and fatigue as well as tension and aches that arise from the additional weight of pregnancy.
  • Hot Stone utilizes hot stone to help relax the tissues on a deeper level. Heated rocks are used to provide compression with a slower rhythm. Typically found in a spa. Other Spa techniques used are scrubs, dry brushing, and aromatherapy, which utilizes essential oils to enhance the massage.
  • Sports Massage is a targeted form of massage for athletes. Done both before and after sporting events, it helps to relieve swelling and tension, improve flexibility, prevent injuries, enhance performance and reduce fatigue.
  • Thai or Thai Yoga massage is based on ancient healing techniques from India & Asia. It is an interactive manipulation of the body using passive stretching, gentle pressure and deep compressions to improve flexibility, stimulate internal organs, reduce stress & tension, as well as loosen stagnation in the body leaving you energized and renewed.
  • Myofascial Release is where therapists manipulate connective tissue, using friction and stretching. All muscles, arteries, bones and organs are held together by a thin sheath of fibrous tissue called fascia (that thin, translucent, layer covering a chicken breast when you cut into it). Fascia can be affected by prolonged tension, trauma, stress, injury and not enough movement. When the fascia gets tight or damaged it can lead to tension, inflammation, constricted movement and pain.
  • Lymph Drainage Massage uses very light, circular massage in the direction of the body’s lymphatic flow. Lymph is the clear fluid containing white blood cells that flows throughout our tissues, collecting bacteria (not unlike a garbage truck) and brings them to our lymph nodes where the bacteria can be destroyed. The lymphatic system is responsible for our immunity. Lymph massage is helpful in moving metabolic waste out of the body, reducing swelling after surgery or injury, cellulite reduction and improving the immune system. It is contraindicated for people with infections, tumors, undiagnosed lumps or people with heart issues.
  • Craniosacral is a form of bodywork that uses gentle touch to manipulate the synarthrodial joints of the cranium. The craniosacral system is comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds and protects the brain and spinal cord. This system plays a vital role in maintaining the environment that the central nervous system functions in. This modality helps to free up the tissues in this system, enhancing the flow of the fluid which helps improve whole body function, boost the immune system, promote relaxation and balances the central nervous system.
  • Acupressure dates back 5000 years and is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is similar to acupuncture but uses deep finger pressure instead of needles to stimulate energy. It applies pressure to specific points in the body to help remove blockages, increase energy flow, reduce stress and promote health and harmony in the body.
  • Shiatsu is the most widely known form of acupressure and uses rhythmic pressure from 3-10 seconds on specific points along the body's meridians to unblock and stimulate the flow of energy. This modality may also use gentle stretching and range of motion manipulation.
  • Reflexology is an acupressure technique that focuses on the hands and feet and is used to relieve tension and treat illness using reflex points or meridian pathways that are linked to every part of the body. It is an ancient form of therapy with evidence dating back to China, Egypt and the North American, Native American Tribes from hundreds to thousands of years. 
  • Structural Integration, Rolfing, and Hellerwork all work on the idea that when one part of the body is out of balance or misaligned, the rest of the body attempts to compensate until the entire structure is weakened. These modalities manipulate the myofascial tissues and assist the body to reorganize, lengthen and integrate itself into wholeness. While Hellerwork follows the same principles as Rolfing & Structural Integration, it has more emphasis on client/practitioner dialogue to work on releasing patterns of stress and movement exercises to eliminate bad habits.
  • Lomi Lomi is a Hawaiian restorative massage technique that has been handed down from ancient Hawaiian healers. The strokes are similar to shiatsu but gentler and shorter, using pressure with the fingers at certain points. Two identifying techniques of authentic LomiLomi are the emphasis on spirit-body connection and the use of the forearms and elbows as practitioner tools. There are two styles of Lomi Lomi. The first style is Temple Style, which uses primarily forearms while integrating movements that are circles or figure eights. This is designed to confuse the thinking mind, inviting the client to surrender and let go of anything no longer serving them. The second style is Sacred Lomi which has roots in Temple Style, but also incorporates many principles and practices that support practitioners and clients on their quest to heal themselves and others. The practitioner is taught to listen with their entire being and to surrender to the guidance of divinity, which allows grace to transmute all stuck energies to pure light and love.  All styles of Lomi Lomi integrate some form of movement, chant, prayers, as well as the core intention of aloha.
  • Integrative massage is combined with the use of deep breath work to help assist in the release of emotional issues trapped in the body. Long fluid strokes are used to move energy from the head down and out through the hands and feet.
  • Reiki is a spiritual, vibrational healing art practice. The word Reiki comes from the Japanese words, Rei- Universal Life and Ki- Energy. This tradition was founded in the early 20th century and is based on the principle that the therapist can help channel energy into the client by means of light, non-invasive placement of the hands in specific positions, either on or above the body. There is no massage or manipulation. It is believed to help relieve pain, restore vitality, promote balance physically and emotionally and aid in spiritual growth.
  • Trauma Touch Therapy is a ten-session certified program designed to meet the needs of clients who have experienced trauma or abuse in their lives. The client and therapist create an emotionally safe and nurturing environment where healthy boundaries can develop. Through this focused awareness of sensation, breath, and movement in the body, one can be gently reconnected with the emotions, mind and spirit, while helping to heal trauma.

These are just some of the many modalities out there. Each modality has a specific target and there could be multiple modalities for one issue. Massage isn’t just for vacation or the rich. Massage isn’t “sex work.” Massage is a necessity for your body! Do some research to find out what will work best for you and then go look for a therapist that will be your perfect fit. Happy massaging!

Jul 19, 2018

National Parks and the Road Less Traveled

by Scott VanZalinge

There are 58 National Parks in the US, many of which are visited often, and are known even to those who haven't visited them. Among the most visited parks are: The Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier Bay, and The Grand Canyon. But how much do we know about the rest of the parks? I've chosen a handful of lesser visited National Parks which I find very interesting, and worth making a trip.

Capitol Reef - I've started in Utah, my home, and the home of RidgeCrest Herbals, and I’ve chosen the two least visited National Parks in the state - Capitol Reef and Canyonlands. Capitol Reef National Park is an extraordinary place, which encompasses the “Waterpocket Fold” a 65 million year old warp in the earth’s crust, and the largest exposed monocline in North America. It offers vibrantly colored cliffs, arches, white domes shaped like the US capitol building (for which this park is named), and hundreds of miles of trails and unpaved roads that allow you to access the all-encompassing beauty.

Canyonlands National Park is just east of Capitol Reef, both of which are located in South Central Utah. Canyonlands is broken into four districts - the Island in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze, and the rivers that course through the park. The districts share a primitive desert atmosphere while they each retain their own character. The park is suited for many recreational uses including mountain biking, hiking, backpacking, and four-wheeling. Both parks are full of historical and cultural remnants, and both are absolutely awesome places to visit. Whether sticking to the highways or hiking deep into the backcountry, you're sure to find something spectacular.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison is a very narrow and deep canyon located in western Colorado. Through the canyon flows the Gunnison river, which drops an average of 34 feet per mile, making it the 5th steepest mountain descent in North America. What I like about a place like this is its ability to make you feel small - this is what drives me to visit National Parks. Upon their magnificence, they have the ability to make one feel insignificant. In these moments, when I'm a speck in size compared to my surroundings, I find tranquility.

Congaree - This park in South Carolina preserves the largest portion of old growth floodplain forest left in North America. I chose this park because it is unique, and living in Utah does not subject me to a lot of swampland. I would very much like to experience this unique environment. Some of the trees in this forest are the tallest in the Eastern United States, and there are a wide array of animal species including bobcats, deer, coyotes, armadillos, turkeys, feral dogs, and pigs. The waters have amphibians, turtles, snakes, alligators, and many varieties of fish. There are both primitive and backcountry campsites available, and many trails to navigate your way through the forest, including both land and mapped out waterways which are accessed via canoe. There is also a 2.4 mile elevated boardwalk which you can use for strolling or bird watching.

Dry Tortugas - This national park is one of the most interesting I have read about - It is a small group of islands located in the Gulf of Mexico, near the Florida Keys. On one of the islands holds an old civil war fort, Fort Jefferson. The fort is the largest masonry structure in the Americas, constructed from over 16 million bricks. There's a lot of history here, stories about Fort Jefferson, shipwrecks, early Spanish explorers, island battles, and even tales found in fictional literary works like “Treasure Island” and “The President's Shadow.” Another thing I found interesting about Dry Tortugas is the disappearance and reappearance of some of its smaller islands. Its former islands include Southwest Key, Northeast Key, and North Key, which all disappeared by 1875, while Bird Key disappeared in 1935. The islands are only accessible by boat or plane.

There is so much to do in this world, so many places to see, and so many experiences just waiting to take place. Yet, these experiences don't need to come at the higher cost associated with more popular parks such as higher priced hotel accommodations, having to drive further distances, or putting up with a crowd. Solidarity is held high in my book, and I'm finding that just because a place (whether a National Park or some other attraction) is less visited, doesn’t mean it's any less extraordinary or enjoyable. I encourage everyone to find a National Park near you, one you haven't visited, and go. I've made it my New Year's resolution to visit all of the National Parks in Utah that I haven't been to, and I hope you make it out to explore the world. Safe travels!

Jul 19, 2018

Homemade Compost Tea

by RidgeCrest Herbals

Homemade Compost Tea Fertilizer

What you'll need:

Weeds, relatively dirt free.

A 5-gallon bucket

Heavy rocks



A few days (depending on where you live and the amount of sunlight)

Container to keep Compost Tea in (another bucket with a lid or something similar that pours easily)

Place your bucket in a sunny location. Fill your bucket about 1/3 with weeds. Place heavy rocks on top of your weeds. Fill with water. Let rest 3-5 days in the sun or until it starts to stink (WARNING: DO NOT get this on your clothes or wear clothes you don't care about. The smell is permanent and will not come out). Pour liquid into a container (keeping particles out of it - may want a strainer of some kind). When you're ready to use - dilute tea as follows: 10 parts water, 1 part tea. Water plants accordingly. 

NOTE: Do not use the tea full strength - it is highly concentrated and can kill your plants! It must be diluted before use. 

Jul 18, 2018

July Window to Wanderlust

by Abbie Warnock-Matthews

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