All Posts by Suzy Brown

Top 10 FAQs on Essential Oils

When teaching my cooking classes on How to Use Essential Oils in your Culinary Creation, people always ask some great questions. I hope this article will help answer your specific question.

Let’s get started.

Before modern medicine and drug stores, people relied on plant-based remedies to address a condition.

1.What exactly are Essential Oils

    • EOs (essential oils) are fragrant, vital fluids *distilled from flowers, shrubs, leaves, trees, roots, and/or seeds
    • EOs are the aromatic compounds that come off plants that are in an oil form
    • EOs are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) made up of a variety of chemicals.
        • A VOC will dissipate rapidly into the air
    • EOs distinctive chemistry enables them to permeate every cell to administer it’s healing properties at the greatest essential level in our body
    • We call these oils “essential” not because our bodies do not create them and we need them to survive such as “Essential Amino Acids” or “Essential Fatty Acids”. Essential oils got their name from the word “Quintessential” meaning embodying the essence of something.
      • Quintessential “the 5th Essence” translated means: the life force or essence of the plant 
    • EOs are made by:
      • Steam distillation from plants (just like distilling spirits)
      • This is extraction is the best to achieve the highest quality of EO
      • Cold press for Citrus fruits because you only use the skin of the citrus (similar to olive oil cold pressing)
      • Different extractions: Water vapor distillation (steam), Pressure extractions, Expression, Enlfeurage, Solvent extraction, CO2, Synthetic imitation

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Boost Up Your January With, Surprise, Booster Foods!

Hopefully everyone’s 2017 has been lovely, but be aware, Saturn is in orbit. So, for those who follow these spatial changes, if everything is turned upside down, don’t worry, it will turn right side up following taxes. Regardless, last week I mentioned booster foods. I guess it comes at no surprise that booster foods is what we will thus cover! So, here we go, you ready?

Foods, in their essential unadulterated forms, provide nutrients that support growth and healing. Food becomes diminished in its original value when it has been grown in poor soil and thus been treated with synthetic herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers. It is also diminished when it is highly processed as to increase its shelf life in stores and at home. When you digest these various compounds it comes at no surprise that they become metabolic disrupters of vital nervous, endocrine, and immune system functions.

“What was the point of this quick lesson Suzy?”

The point was to say that booster foods help provide the balance of nutrients for protection against environmental pollutants and neutralize these various antigens and microorganisms that can compromise our health. Not only that, these booster foods add umami to dishes; umami is a Japanese word for describing pleasant and savory tastes to foods and dishes. Here’s some fun facts about these healing foods: they contain important macro, micro, and phytonutrients, they contain energetic properties, they have tastes that influence organs, glands and tissues, they are sweet, they are salty, they are bitter, they are sour, they are pungent, they are hot, and they have natural chemicals that calm or excite the brain and/or nerve cells. When I mention sweet it’s directed at the pancreas, salty is the adrenal and kidneys, bitter is the lymph and protein metabolism, sour is the liver detox and fat metabolism, pungent is the anti-inflammatory and improved assimilation, and hot is the blood circulation and antimicrobial. All of these various tastes and properties work together to become healing!

Let’s spent time talking about some types of booster foods and their particular healing properties now that we’ve gone over the general idea behind booster foods. To start off, you’re looking to add two to four servings into your various dishes each day, or one teaspoon to one tablespoon per day. Categories for booster foods include, but are not necessarily limited to, nuts, yeast, seaweed, algae, and spices. The ones we will talk about include flax seeds, sea vegetables, and alliums genus (garlic and onions).

Flax seeds contain twenty-seven anti-cancer compounds, fiber, pectin, vitamin E, magnesium, and sitosterol. They are a great source of lignans that deactivate potent estrogens and testosterones that contribute to cancer growth. Furthermore, these seeds are rich in omega threes and are anti-inflammatory. Sea vegetables are protective against electromagnetic radiation and chemical/metal toxicity. They provide diverse and balanced trace minerals. Lastly, allums genus are natural antibiotics, antifungal, and chemical detoxifiers. These garlic and onions are useful in prevention of Alzheimer’s, but not only that, they can help balance depression by normalizing serotonin. A few quick other things, they can possess antioxidant properties, and protect against and help in treatment of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and hypertension.

WHOO! That was a lot of information. Don’t you worry, we’re almost ready to wrap up. However, before we do that I am going to give you a couple recipes to try out at home.

Recipe #1: Cashew Parmesan Cheese


  • Raw cashews (1 cup)
  • Nutritional yeast (¼ cup)
  • Sea Salt (1 tsp)


  • Combine all of the ingredients and pulse until a crumbly, uniform texture is created in a food processor.
  • Place in an airtight container for up to one month.

How to use:

  • Replace this for parmesan, asiago, or romano in any recipe that calls for these various ingredients.
  • Mix it with popcorn and crushed red pepper flakes.

Recipe #2: Garlic-Ginger-Turmeric Mix


  • Garlic cloves (equal parts)
  • Fresh ginger (equal parts)
  • Fresh turmeric (equal parts)

Note: I make enough of this mix to last about seven days, and approximately twenty-four grams of each will give you almost ⅓ of a cup.


  • Pulse until finely minced in a food processor.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

How to use:

  • Spice up your food! Mix it into any recipe that needs a little umph or use your personal discretion.

Alright, that’s it! I’m too beat to write any more for today. So, until next week! I won’t give it away this time and you’ll be left guessing until the following Friday for what I choose to discuss. Have an amazing weekend, and keep chugging along with these recipes!

~ Suzy Brown, Personal Chef and Nutrition Consultant ~

Essential Oils’ Organ of the Month (November/December/January): Pancreas, Balancing Blood Sugar


I know that it has been some time since I have made an appearance, and we can tack that up to a couple months worth of holiday-ing and getting reorganized for 2017. Regardless, I feel as if I am apologizing more than I am writing. So, we’ll skip the “I’m sorry for my absence” and dive right in. I made a reference to balancing blood sugar the other month. So, mysteries aside, that is what we will be talking about. Here are a few questions to kickstart:

Q1: What is blood sugar?

A1: Blood sugar is glucose.

Q2: What is Glucose?

A2: Glucose is the building block to energy, and using specific terminology, is a monosaccharide.

Q3: Why is Glucose important?

A3: Glucose is important because every body cell depends on its presence for fuel.

Side note: The brain and the nervous system depend, almost exclusively, on glucose for energy. Since these activities never cease they have limited ability to store glucose and continually draw on its supply in the fluid surrounding them to maintain their function.

Now that we know glucose is a phenomenon that keeps us running, the next question regards the means to maintaining its homeostasis. The body must maintain blood glucose limits that permit the cells to nourish themselves for optimal function. When there is a drop in blood sugar levels you may start to feel dizzy or weak; i.e. fatigue that could turn fatal if left untreated. When there is an overabundance of glucose it turns into a permanent energy-storage compound also known as fat. So, with that knowledge we tread forward. There are two hormones that primarily regulate glucose in the body. The first is insulin.

Insulin is a hormone secreted by the special cells in the pancreas that is in response to an increased glucose concentration. The primary role of insulin is to control the transportation of glucose between the bloodstream, muscle cells, and fat cells. So, “how does this work Suzy?” Good question as always! After a meal blood glucose rises and in turn sends a message to the pancreas via these special cells. The pancreas responds by secreting insulin into the blood, and logically, the amount of insulin secreted corresponds to the rise in glucose. As the circulating insulin contacts the receptors on the body’s other cells, the receptors respond by ushering glucose from the blood into the various cells. Most of these cells only take the glucose that they can use for energy right away whereas the liver and muscle cells can assemble the small glucose units into long, branching chains of glycogen for storage. These liver cells can also convert glucose to fat for exportation and make way for elevated blood glucose levels to return to normal as the excess is stored.

Side note: normal blood glucose (fasting) is 70 to 100 mg/dl, and homeostasis is the maintenance of constant internal conditions by the body’s control system.

I jumped into insulin having said that “the first is insulin.” This obviously insinuates that there are more hormones to cover. Amongst them is glucagon. This particular hormone is secreted by special cells in the pancreas. This occurs in response to low glucose concentration and elicits release of glucose from the liver’s stored glycogen. When blood glucose falls, as occurs after a meal, other special cells of the pancreas respond by secreting glucagon into the blood. Glucagon raises blood glucose by signaling the liver to break down its glycogen stores and releasing glucose into the blood. As a result, this glucose will become ready for all other cells in the body to use.

So, that’s the second hormone, but there is one more! This third and final hormone is epinephrine. Epinephrine’s job is to signal the liver cells to release glucose. This particular hormone is a **FIGHT or FLIGHT** stress responder. It acts quickly, ensuring that all cells have energy in the case of an “emergency.” It also works to release glucose from liver glycogen into the blood.

In the off chance that this all this information went over your head, here is a seven step solution.

  1. When a person eats, blood glucose rises.
  2. High blood glucose stimulates the pancreas to release insulin.
  3. Insulin stimulates the uptake of glucose into cells and conversion of excess glucose into fat for storage (i.e. glycogen in the liver and muscles).
  4. As the body’s cells use glucose, blood levels decline.
  5. Low blood glucose stimulates the pancreas to release glucagon into the bloodstream.
  6. Glucagon stimulates liver cells to break down glycogen and release glucose into the blood.
  7. Blood glucose begins to rise.

Okay, so there you go! Glucose at its finest. There is more to say, but I am already looking ahead to our next blog post. I cannot promise that there will be a rhyme or reason to the way these following blogs are set up, but I will have an abundance of information for all of you to chew on. So, in that line of thought, look forward to a comment on booster foods! We all know that they’re needed with our new year resolutions in play. Until then, take care of yourself, nourish your body, and listen to it! I can’t wait for all that we will accomplish together with 2017 in play.
~ Suzy Brown, Personal Chef and Nutrition Consultant ~

Essential Oil(s) of the Month (November): Cinnamon and Dill

“You only live once, lick the bowl!” – Unknown

So, here we are yet again discussing another couple essential oils. You could say that I get overly excited and end up wanting to share more than one more often than naught. That was a lot of “more” in one sentence. Let’s say it one more time! More, more, more, more essential oils Suzy! Alright, calm down everyone. I’ll hop to it. My picks for this month consist of cinnamon and dill. Like per usual, although in variations over the past few months, we will cover the following questions:

Q1: How does this essential oil help?

Q2: What are the applications of this essential oil?

Q3: Which vitamins and minerals can we find in this essential oil?


A1: Cinnamon is an excellent proponent of removing blood impurities, improving blood circulation, regulating blood glucose, and aiding diabetic cases by lowering insulin usage. Want to know a helpful note? I do too, and here it is:

Helpful note: you can lessen the impact of “high carb food” on blood glucose levels by seasoning the chosen food with cinnamon.

A2: Look to adding a few drops of cinnamon essential oil into teas, smoothies, warm milk, and baking as to reap its benefits.

A3: Manganese and calcium can be found in cinnamon.


A1: Dill is beneficial to the pancreas. It simulates this particular organ and helps regulate insulin. Even more? Ha, see, I did it again with more. Regardless, even more points to dill’s known antibacterial and anti-spasmodic properties.

A2:  One to four drops of dill essential oil into seafood, cream cheese, pickles, and soups should do the trick for the quote-unquote “applications.”

A3: You can find manganese and vitamin C in dill essential oil.

Side note: since we touched on manganese a couple times, it’s good to know that manganese acts as a coenzyme to assist with metabolic activity in the human body, regulate blood glucose levels, and process fats and carbohydrates more effectively.

Alright, now that we’ve used our brains for a little bit, it is time to use our hands. Here are a couple recipes for you all to munch on, literally. First off, cinnamon, and then, dill!

Zanzibar Cinnamon Milk


  • Walnuts (1 cup)
  • 1 Medjool date
  • Cacao powder (1 tbsp)
  • Filtered water (4 cups)
  • Cinnamon EO (~2 drops)
  • Orange EO, optional (~4 drops)


  • Soak walnuts in 2 cups of water between 2 and 24 hours.
  • Drain the walnuts and place them into a blender.
  • Pit the date(s) and add them into the blender.
  • Add cacao powder, and then add the 4 cups of filtered, clean water.
  • Blend until smooth, very smooth.
  • Strain into a glass bowl or a pitcher using a nut cloth.
  • Stir in the essential oil(s), taste, and enjoy!

Dill and Tahini Dressing


  • Orange juice, fresh (1 cup)
  • Tahini (6 tbsps)
  • Tamari or soy sauce (1 tsp)
  • Dill EO (~2 drops)
  • Black pepper EO (~2 drops)


  • In a large bowl or blender whisk or blend the dressing ingredients together.
  • If needed, thin with water.
  • Taste, if the results are bitter, add a touch of sugar or honey.

Chef’s note: as ALWAYS, start with one drop of noted EO(s) and build your way up. You can always add, but you can’t subtract. Better to taste, go slow than have to start over.


That’s it for this week! Next week we will dive into more commentary on how these particular essential oils benefit your blood sugar levels. It will be a hefty blog, so take a moment to enjoy this week’s and get some cooking therapy in! Until then, happy eating, and don’t be afraid to add a variety of spice into your life.

~ Suzy Brown, Personal Chef & Nutrition Consultant ~

Essential Oils’ and Hydrosol’s Organ of the Month (October Slash November): Autoimmune System

“Cooking is love made visible.” – Unknown

Without much surprise, we will be spending today discussing autoimmune disorders per the schedule articulated the week before last. There’s a lot of information to swallow up which is why, yet again, we find ourselves behind. Not to fret! We will have plenty of time in the future to continue talking about various essential oils and fun facts. Getting into specifics, the focus of this blog post will be directed towards Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. These two, which last post highlighted, can be assisted with our very own essential oils, Ginger and Sweet Marjoram. Oh! And don’t forget our new(er) topic, H-Y-D-R-O-S-O-L-S. Rosemary hydrosol is also a helper in calming the side effects of these coupled disorders! Now, let’s get to it! To avoid being too redundant, we will spend time discussing these disorders so that I can offer other reasons towards becoming a more holistic foodie, and in turn, help you cultivate a better understanding of how to nourish your body with simple essential oils and hydrosols.

So, question Suzy, “What is an autoimmune disorder?”

Great start!

Autoimmune disorders are diseases resulting from a faulty immune reaction where, generally speaking, antibodies are produced and act against the body’s various tissues. The most common of these disorders are as follows: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Celiac, Sjogren’s Syndrome, Polymyalgia Rheumatica, Multiple Sclerosis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Type 1 Diabetes, Alopecia Areata, Vasculitis, Temporal Arthritis. We don’t have nearly enough time to go over all of these. So, like I mentioned before, we are going to focus on a couple and go forward from there.

So, again, another question Suzy, “What is Rheumatoid Arthritis, and what in the world is Fibromyalgia?”

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder affecting many joints, including the hands and feet. In severe cases it may attack internal organs, but it tends to target joint tissue. Symptoms of this disorder include joint pain, swollen joints, fever, limping, polyarthritis, loss of range of motion, tenderness in joints, stiffness in joints, fatigue, redness at joints, nodules or other deformity, joint warmth, and anemia.

Fibromyalgia is a common chronic disorder defined by its extensive pain with circulated tenderness. Hey, look to the roots of the word! F-I-B-R-O is latin for fibrous tissue, M-Y-O is Greek for muscle, and A-L-G-I-A is greek for pain. Sounds like a basket of fun! Ha, not. That said, many people wonder whether or not Fibromyalgia is really an autoimmune disorder. In that line, it is considered an arthritis-related condition. It DOES NOT cause damage to the joints, muscles, or other tissues. It DOES cause inflammation in the areas affected. It CAN cause significant pain and fatigue. This inevitably interferes with a person’s ability to complete daily tasks, and with that said, because it is thereby a rheumatic condition, it does impair the joints, muscles, and surrounding tissues.

Despite paralleling qualities, these two disorders remain different. Let’s delve a little deeper into that statement. While inflammation may be present with both disorders, Fibromyalgia DOES NOT show inflammation in your joints, muscles, and/or tissues, and results in NO damage to joints, muscles, and/or tissues. On the other hand, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) DOES damage your joints, muscles, and/or tissues because there is inflammation present in those areas. That being said, while RA does cause damage, its pain characteristics ebb and flow while Fibromyalgia results in chronic pain if rheumatic qualities appear. RA is also a progressive disorder whereas Fibromyalgia is episodic. If you’re not already confused, I am, ha! Regardless, there are some more quirks about both.

Fibromyalgia is inflammation that results from an abnormal immune system response. This is why I placed it amongst other autoimmune disorders. However, Fibromyalgia has no test to determine its presence. The only way to diagnose this disorder is if RA has been ruled out. RA on the other hand can be detected by way of a doctor checking for swelling, redness, and warmth in the joints. Furthermore, blood tests that detect elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rates or C-reactive proteins can point towards rheumatoid factors and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies. X-rays can also track progression of the disorder while MRI’s and ultrasounds are able to test its severity.

So now with all this information at our fingertips, the remaining question is, “Suzy, can these conditions be cured?”

Unfortunately, according to multiple sites and sources, no, they cannot be cured. Rather, they can only be treated. There is extensive evidence suggesting that Fibromyalgia can be placed in a remission state through a clean diet. HEY-OOO. You’ve come to the right place! The trick? Change your diet towards building food intake as to help boost and build up the system while simultaneously applying a balanced diet program. Concentrate on a lifestyle primarily built on 90% plant based with lean/clean organic animal proteins and you’ve set yourself up for success! As for RA, following this same diet direction and working with one’s doctor can assist a person in going longer without flare-ups and reduce their pain.

There you go! That’s about all the information I have to impart on you today. As a wrap up, check back on previous posts and continue to find ways to incorporate some daily essential oils into your diet and continue fighting to eat cleaner! I can say without hesitation that these two in tandem will make you feel as if you can conquer anything!

Oh, I lied, last statement: I’ll be taking the time this week, or at least by next Wednesday to delve into our next topic “Balancing Blood Sugar.” There’s going to be a lot of goodies, so don’t miss out and tune in.

~ Suzy Brown, Personal Chef & Nutrition Consultant ~

Essential Oil(s) of the Month (October): Ginger and Sweet Marjoram

“One thing [you] have to remember is consistency. You can’t make up for three years of eating poorly in just one workout.” – Apolo Ohno

It seems that this month of October is shaky, but alas, I am here now to push forward and share our essential oils of the month. Granted, we agreed to only cover one a month, but in order to satiate everyone after my absence this past week I elected for the following two: ginger and sweet marjoram. Don’t you worry though! We will spend time on each and discuss their benefits, application, and attributing vitamins and minerals by asking these few questions:

Q1: How does this essential oil help?

Q2: What are the applications of this essential oil?

Q3: Which vitamins and minerals can we find in this essential oil?


A1: Ginger helps with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. It acts as an anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic antispasmodic, antiseptic, and builds the immune system up to keep cold and flu viruses at bay.

Note: Ginger is a great essential oil to assist with muscle aches, poor circulation, nausea (think back to ginger-ale), and digestive issues.

A2: You can put this essential oil into your daily diet by adding a few drops into teas, smoothies, savory cooking, massage oil, and hot compresses.

A3: Some vitamins and minerals found in this particular essential oil are magnesium, potassium, and choline.


A1: Sweet marjoram also assists with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. It acts, similarly to ginger, as an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antioxidant, anti-viral, and immune booster through ascorbic acid properties.

Note: Sweet marjoram also helps with muscle aches, poor circulation, nausea, and digestive issues.

A2: Add a few drops of this essential oil into salad dressings, marinades, soups, and stews for daily application.

A3: Some vitamins and minerals found in sweet marjoram include vitamin-A, vitamin-C, vitamin-K, lutein, iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, copper, zinc, magnesium, and iron.

Now that you’ve got some information on these two similar, albeit, equally special essential oils, it is time for some recipes! Don’t get too excited over there! Also, heads up, I will be incorporating some of our previously discussed H-Y-D-R-O-S-O-L-S into one of these recipes. Also, last little note, remember, like always, start off with one drop of EO and then build up. You can always add, but you can’t subtract.

Ginger Carrots in Orange Hydrosol


  • Carrots, sliced (1 lbs)
  • Orange hydrosol (1/2 cup)
  • Coconut sugar OR brown sugar (1 tsp)
  • Sea salt (1/2 tsp)
  • Parsley (1/2 tsp)
  • Olive Oil (1 touch)
  • Ginger EO (~2 drops)
  • Black Pepper EO (~2 drops)


  • Peel and slice carrots on the bias.
  • Heat a large skillet with olive oil.
  • Toss in the carrots and sauté them until they start to caramelize.
  • Pour in the hydrosol and sugar, stir, and let the water evaporate.
  • Add in essential oils, salt, and parsley.
  • Season to taste.

Trumpet Mushroom “Scallops”


  • Olive oil (3 tbsps)
  • Trumpet mushrooms (10 oz)
  • Tamari OR coconut aminos (1 tbsp)
  • Parsley (1/2 tbsp)
  • Dry white wine (1/4 cup)
  • 1 Lemon, juice and zest
  • Garlic, minced (2 cloves)
  • Sweet marjoram EO (~2 drops)
  • Black Pepper (~2 drops)


  • Cut the trumpet mushrooms’ stems 1-1.5” thick.
  • In a small glass dish mix 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of tamari together.
  • Dip both sides of “scallops” into the sauce and set them aside.
  • Heat the remaining 2 tbsps of olive oil to medium heat and pan sear scallops until they are golden brown on each side.
  • Remove and set aside.
  • Add wine to skillet and deglaze the pan.
  • Add lemon juice and zest, parsley, and garlic into the pan.
  • Add back the “scallops” with the EOs.
  • Toss to coat.
  • Adjust seasoning as needed (i.e. season to taste)


Well, it’s safe to say that that is all for this week. Seeing as we’ve been behind a little bit, you can expect that the wrap-up of this month will be at the beginning of next. If you have any questions, feel free to comment and ask me directly. I hope that you have fun cooking away and finding more ways to add in a diverse set of EOs that we have previously discussed. Remember, cooking is creative work! Tune in next Wednesday to learn more about how these particular EOs work in conjunction with hydrosols to combat autoimmune disorders. Promise that it will be exciting (as it always is).

~ Suzy Brown, Personal Chef & Nutrition Consultant ~


Essential Oils Versus Hydrosols

“Eating is more than a fix, it’s nature’s way to nourish cells — it’s a way to extend life. Don’t give a natural body unnatural food.” ~ Nancy S. Mure

As much as I would like to continue reviewing everything that I have said thus far, I can’t. I think it is safe to say we are far enough along where reiterating all previous content would be overwhelming and somewhat redundant. Alas, I know some of you are starting to join our jaunt through essential oils (EOs). Don’t worry! You will not be left to your own devices. Simply, if something becomes obscure, review previous blogs and hop back on the October train. I’m sure you’re wondering why these few statements have been warranted. Well, to answer your titillating questions I ask you to turn to the word H-Y-D-R-O-S-O-L. That’s right, hydrosol.

“What is hydrosol, or better yet, what is a hydrosol?”

Hydrosol is a form of distillation. It is the resulting collection of steam acquired during an EO’s cultivation. Hydrosols are more commonly regarded as herbal waters, hydrolate, essential water, or floral water. They have a tendency to be used in skin care products, medicine, and flavorings. Some examples are as follows: rose water, orange flower water, and witch hazel.

Despite the hydrosols’ growth in popularity amongst makeup fanatics and beauty blogs you can cook with hydrosol! They, like EOs, offer vibrant, healthy alternatives to a variety of spices that are placed throughout your kitchen. Hydrosols and EOs maintain similar properties in that they add flavor, depth, and profound cellular nutrition into your cooking. However, there are some differences between the two that should be noted. Hydrosols are 30-40% stronger than an infusion; an infusion is herbs infused into a carrier liquid. They are water soluble, and as a result, are easily absorbed and ingested. This allows hydrosols to be gentle on the body, but with a punch!


NOTE: If you are allergic to the plant, you will be allergic to its corresponding hydrosol (just like EOs)! So, in other words, don’t dive headfirst into integrating a hydrofoil or EO into your cooking if you’re unsure as to your body’s (possible) negative reaction to the plant form.

Now that you know a little about hydrosols, let us investigate one in particular, rosemary. I will take the time to tell you about its benefits as well as how to get your own rosemary hydrosol! So, to answer the question, “What is so great about rosemary hydrosol Suzy?” Well, my devoted followers, rosemary acts as an anti-inflammatory, pain reliever, antiseptic, stress reliever, stimulator of the immune system, mood and energy booster, helper of circulation and digestion, and inhibitor of arthritis progression. On that last comment, rosemary contains rosmarinic acid, phytochemicals, that have be hypothesized to combat arthritic symptoms. Tangents aside, this particular hydrosol contains vitamins and minerals like foliate, vitamin A, magnesium, and potassium. Simply replace some of the water in your tea, soup, ice, or recipe of choice with rosemary hydrosol to receive its positive effects, vitamins, and minerals.

“But, Suzy, how am I supposed to make or get my hands on rosemary hydrosol to follow your wise words regarding holistic cooking?”

Again, another fantastic question! Here are the steps to making hydrosol at home:

* Credit for this step-by-step process goes to

Step #1, collect the materials, and Step #2, follow the correct methodology.


  • Large pot
  • Glass lid
  • Small collecting container (i.e. glass bowl or measuring cup)
  • Heatproof stand (i.e. ramekin or other bowl)
  • Distilled or filtered water
  • Ice cubes
  • Plant material of choice (i.e. rosemary)
  • Storing bottle with lid or mister top


  • Place the heatproof stand in the bottom of the large pot, and then place the collecting container on top of the stand.
  • Fill the bottom of the pot with plant material; the plant material should reach up to the smaller bowl.
  • Fill with water until the plant material is barely submerged.
  • Place glass lid upside down on top of the pot and fill with it with ice cubes.
  • Heat pot on medium to medium-low.
  • Bring the water and plant material to a simmer NOT a boil.
  • Let the collection begin – it will take about 20 minutes – and be patient.
  • Transfer your hydrosol to your storing bottle of choice.
  • DONE!


That’s all I have for this week ladies and gentlemen. I know you were likely suspecting an EO of the month, but don’t fret, that’s for next week! Until then, try out hydrosols! If you have any questions either ask Google, or better yet, post a comment and I will be happy to respond.
~ Suzy Brown, Nutrition Practitioner & Personal Chef ~


Essential Oil’s Organ of the Month (Pretend it is September): Lemongrass and the Thyroid

“You can’t eat [literature], that’s the problem,” he said. “I’ve tried, it’s very dry, and not at all nutritious.” ~ Kenneth Oppel

Apologies for the lapse in time and lack of presence on this blog. It’s been a couple weeks of chaos, but regardless, I am here now! To close up this past month I am going to spend time discussing the Endocrine System and its buddy the thyroid. There is going to be a lot of content this time around. So, if you find yourself getting lost along the way, take a break and cook yourself a little snack as a concentration tactic. Hopefully I won’t be boring you that much though! My goal is to make this an easy read as well as an informative one.

“What is the Endocrine System, and what does it have to do with EOs?” Good question fellow followers. The Endocrine System oversees the cell-to-cell communication using chemical signals that bind to receptor molecules. It includes all glands that secrete chemical messengers called hormones. Goodness knows that we have enough of those traveling around at any given moment. Hormones move away from the glands in blood or tissue fluid, and they alert the metabolism to act in a certain manner by affecting only a particular group of target cells. Unlike their nerve impulse counterparts, hormones act over a relatively long versus short period of time. The organ within the Endocrine System we will be focusing on is the thyroid as mentioned (likely) a few too many times. However, this system includes the Hypothalamus, Pituitary, Parathyroid, Adrenals, Pancreas, Reproductive(s), and Thymus.

Turning our attention to the details of the thyroid we’ll start with its location, attributes, and function. The thyroid Gland is a vascular structure that consists of two large lobes connected by a broad isthmus. It is located just below the larynx on either side of the trachea as well as in front of it. A capsule of connective tissue covers the gland and is comprised of many secretory components known as follicles. The cavity within the follicles are lined with a single layer of cubical epithelial cells, filled with a viscous substance called colloid, and produce and secrete hormones that may be stored in the colloid or released into the blood by neighboring capillaries. These follicular cells of the thyroid synthesize two hormones: Thyroxine (T4) and Tri-iodothyronine (T3).

Thyroxine contains four atoms of iodine. It increases the rate of energy released from carbohydrates, the rate of protein synthesis, the breakdown and mobilization of lipids, and is stimulated from the anterior pituitary gland. Tri-iodothyronine includes three atoms of iodine. It is five times more potent and attributes to the same outcomes as Thyroxine. Both of these hormones help regulate the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. They are the major factors in determining how many calories the body must consume at rest in order to maintain life (Basal Metabolic Rate [BMR]). Simply put, without these two hormones normal growth and development wouldn’t occur; T4 and T3 are essential to the nervous system maturation.

BREAK TIME! Here’s some noteworthy facts to chew on: up to 80% of the iodine in the body is in the thyroid Gland, and the concentration of iodine is 25 times that of the blood stream.

Okay, that was a long enough break. Time to push forward! Another hormone associated with the thyroid Gland includes Calcitonin. Calcitonin is not often considered to be attributed to the thyroid, but regardless, it lowers blood calcium and phosphate ion concentrations by inhibiting the release of calcium and phosphate ions from the bones and increasing excretion of these ions through the kidney.

Now that we have wrapped up the separate hormones it is time to cover the Parathyroid (PTH). This particular attribute of the thyroid is located on the posterior surface of the gland. There are four Parathyroids in total and are associated with each of the thyroid’s lateral lobes. Each is covered by a capsule of connective tissue that gives it a yellowish-brown hue. These little suckers increase blood calcium concentration, decrease blood phosphate ion concentration, affects the bones, kidney, and intestine, are rich in mineral salts, inhibit the activity of osteoblasts, cause the kidneys to conserve blood calcium and excrete more phosphate ions in the urine, and stimulate calcium absorption from food to the intestine.

Alright, now that we have covered all of the specifics of the thyroid, its attributed hormones, and its actors it is time to segue into what can go wrong and how EOs can offer some help. I am sure that you all have heard (at least in some point in time)  the words Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism, right? Well, if not, I am offering a quick lesson. If it isn’t quick I give you permission to seek out some cat videos on YouTube before you make your way back to this post.

Many thyroid disorders produce overactivity or underactivity of the glandular cells; Hyperthyroidism is over activity and Hypothyroidism is under activity. Hyperthyroidism produces an elevated metabolic rate, restlessness, overeating, protrusion of the eyes due to tissue swelling, and enlarged glands that may or may not result in a goiter (neck bulge). Hypothyroidism, through some knowledge of words, produces the opposite adverse effects. However there is another disorder and it is referred to as Hyperparathyroidism. This occurs in the event that a tumor in the parathyroid gland is present and increases PTH secretion. Osteoblast activity is simulated, and as bone tissue is reabsorbed, the bones soften, deform, and become more easily fractured. An excess of calcium and phosphate is released and are then deposited in abnormal places. To say the least, it is not a pleasant disorder. Kidney stones are not far out in the future if a person is diagnosed with this disorder. Regardless of the disorder, the thyroid is the master control for the metabolic function of every cell in the body. It has the power to disrupt every part of your body and produce serious changes in every aspect of your life including disease, mood, weight gain, and low energy.

I am sure I could keep going with obscure medical diagnoses related to the thyroid, but I would rather offer a holistic approach to prevent or assist in the event your glands are not functioning as smoothly as you would like them to. EOs, as a broader gesture, help keep the body in homeostasis and work towards restoring and maintaining balance. EOs are not a cure, but you would be surprised at how many bodily issues can be resolved with the use of high quality, pure essential oils. Due to the molecular composition of EOs they are easily absorbed into the bloodstream. Take note here of two topical EO protocols for an underactive thyroid:

Blend #1, Week #1:

  • Lemongrass (1 part)
  • Myrrh [or] Peppermint (1 part)
  • Carrier Oil (1 part)
  • Frankincense

Combine all in a 5 ml bottle. Apply topically over thyroid area, and add a few drops of Frankincense on top of the blend while applying. Massage three times daily, and feel free to target the big toe as well (it is a reflexology point for the thyroid).

Blend #2, Week #2:

  • Zen (1 part)
  • Geranium (1 part)
  • Carrier Oil (1 part)
  • Frankincense

Combine all in a 5 ml bottle. Apply topically over thyroid area, and before I repeat everything, do the same as indicated for Blend #1, Week #1.

Alright ladies and gentleman. That’s all she wrote! Not literally though, because I am going to continue wrapping this up in a neat little bow so that we all feel as if we have reached a conclusion to this past month of September. Either this same week or next Wednesday you can expect a grand October kickoff. We will be extending EOs to include Hydrosol. Which, before I continue on tangent and its following definition, tune in and expect an update sooner as opposed to later. Happy thoughts and cooking juju sent your various ways!
~ Suzy Brown, Nutrition Practitioner & Personal Chef ~

Essential Oil(s) of the Month (September): Basil and Lemongrass

 “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates

There’s a surprise this blog post. I have decided to touch on my generous side and share two essential oils this month versus one due to the fact that I am bedridden with a broken ankle. You ask “why Suzy? Well, it is because I have learned that having two working ankles versus one is preferable. So, why not set the tone this month with a pair that sets the tone in your dishes? Are you ready to learn what that pair is? Promise I won’t keep the suspense any longer. Actually, you probably already figured out the pair from the title. So I will discontinue my ridiculous question fanatics. The two essential oils that this post will spend time on is basil and lemongrass EO. We will touch on four “categories” with each EO, and those categories include the following:

How does this essential oil help the body?

How do we apply this particular essential oil?

What vitamins and minerals do we find in this essential oil?

What recipes are there that include either essential oil?

So, let us start.




Basil helps the body through adrenal balance. In other words, it increases the body’s natural response to both physical and emotional stress. The result is a body that can cope better with various stresses. Basil can be applied with a few drops into salad dressings, sauces, soups, and oils. The vitamins and minerals it contains are vitamin A, magnesium, potassium, iron, and calcium. Now, here’s a recipe for you to follow if you have not been hit with creative dishes while reading, Kale Power Salad.

  • Dino kale (1 bunch)
  • Brussels sprouts (8 oz)
  • Almond slices (1/4 cup)
  • Nutritional yeast (1 tbsp)
  • Chives, minced (1 bunch)
  • Red pepper flakes (1 pinch)
  • Fresh lemon juice (1/4 cup)
  • Dijon mustard (1 tbsp)
  • 1 Garlic clove, minced
  • Olive oil (1/3 cup)
  • Sea salt (1 tbsp)
  • Basil EO (~2 drops)
  • Black pepper EO (~2 drops)

Prep the vegetables by setting them aside. Remove the ribs from the kale leaves and slice them thinly. Trim and shred the Brussels sprouts, and toast the almond slices if desired. To create the dressing retrieve a large bowl. Add lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt, and the thus articulated EOs. Add in all the salad ingredients and toss them until everything is coated. Adjust the seasoning as needed.

Note: Remember back to last month’s recipes. Do you remember? No, well, that is what I am here for! Start with one drop of oil, taste, and then go from there. You can always add, but you cannot take away.



Lemongrass helps with headaches, digestives problems, and inflammation caused by an under active thyroid. You can apply this particular EO with a few drops into your tea or salad dressing. As for the vitamins and minerals it contains, those are vitamin A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), foliate, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, copper, zinc, and iron. Okay, not to disappoint, but there is one last thing to cover, and that is a recipe for Cucumber Ribbons with Lemongrass Ginger Dressing. Other that that, and we are done for this week! So sad, I know. Read on fellow followers.

  • 4 Persian cucumbers
  • Sesame seeds (1 tsp)
  • Chives, minced (1 bunch)
  • Red pepper flakes, optional (1 pinch)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (1/4 cup)
  • Rice vinegar (2 tbsp)
  • Tamari or soy sauce (1 tbsp)
  • 1 Garlic clove, minced
  • Ginger, minced (1 tbsp)
  • Coconut sugar (1 tsp)
  • Lemongrass EO (~2 drops)
  • Black Pepper EO (~2 drops)

Set aside the vegetables and prep them by starting with a vegetable peeper or mandolin slice. Lengthwise, into ribbons, thinly cut the cucumbers. In a large bowl add the rice vinegar, tamari, garlic, ginger, coconut sugar, lemongrass EO, and the black pepper EO. Whisk in the oil until it is emulsified and add in all the salad ingredients. Toss until all is coated, and adjust the seasonings as needed.

Note: Start small with the drops of EO. So, in other words, one drop, mix and taste, two drops, mix and taste, three drops, mix and taste, and so on so forth.

That is it for this particular blog post! Next week we will spend time discussing how these two particular EOs assist the endocrine system. What this entails you will have to wait and see, but either way be sure to tune in to the prior and future posts! Until next week enjoy these recipes and continue exploring the magic behind essential oils in your food and day-to-day foodie tasks.

~ Suzy Brown, Nutrition Practitioner & Personal Chef ~


Essential Oils Versus Dried Herbs

Flashback to last month and essential oils were a brand new concept (at least for those who have been following the blog religiously). To expand on essential oils and what they have to bring to the table – ahh, there’s a good metaphor – we will be covering the difference(s) between essential oils and dried herbs. So, in a sportsmanship-like manner, ladies and gentlemen, we’re about to start a competition between…





Essential oils are extremely concentrated with intense flavor. As a result they are 50 to 70 times more potent than fresh or dried herbs. In turn, less is more, and 1 to 2 drops followed by maybe a couple more will suffice. Dried herbs on the other hand, generally speaking, require at least ½ a teaspoon in a recipe. One teaspoon of essential oil would be approximately 76 drops, and ½ a teaspoon, well you can do the math! That’s pretty asinine. Here is an applicable example of these proportions:

  • 1 drop of peppermint oil = approximately 28 cups of tea.
  • Fresh peppermint leaves need a few leaves for on cup.
  • It takes 5 pounds of peppermint leaves to make 1 ounce of essential oil (look back to previous posts for a closer look at this statement).

That being said, essential oils win out, and having a good set of them is just as convenient as having those dried herbs. Not to oversell, but essential oils (like their frequented counterparts) are an excellent choice for simmering, braising, and stewing.

Essential oils, fresh, and dried herbs all provide flavor and aroma to the maze of culinary creation. Yet, essential oils provide their own remedies in the same way that herbs are known to possess. Funny thing is that dried herbs lose up to 90% of their healing nutrients and only contain 3-5% of their essential oils after the drying process. Leaving us with these facts: essential oils contain virtually all of the plant’s healing nutrients, are 50-70 times more therapeutically potent than the herbs or plants they are derived from, and have a longer shelf life than dried herbs (no stale essential oils). Oh, and if you’re wondering what those healing nutrients are, they include, but are not limited to, oxygenating molecules, amino acid precursors, coenzyme A facts, trace minerals, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, and hormones.

So again, essential oils is our winner!

Let’s quickly sum things up and let you avid readers on your way. Essential oils, unlike dried herbs, keep their intense flavor for years. Certain essential oils can be harmful in high dosages, but remember, you must consume a lot to feel or get sick. Essential oils can be used to flavor a variety of dishes and drinks leaving you satisfied with a hunger satiated. Essential oils like herbs can be the star player or the co-star.

Now that you know the difference, go forth my health minions (just kidding), go forth and cook some delicious food that you can brag about to your family, friends, or coworkers. Tune in next time to get the DL (down low) on this month’s pick of an essential oil. You know I can’t wait to give you all the details.

~ Suzy Brown, Nutrition Practitioner & Personal Chef ~