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I'm Crystal Vaughn

a classically trained chef taking holistic plant-based nutrition on a grand adventure through North America. When I’m not creating in our traveling kitchen, you can usually find me on my yoga mat or a hiking trail.

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Germs are all around us…year round.  But they seem to creep up on us more often through the winter months.  With the changing temperatures and drier air it lets the germs linger in the air a little longer and leaves us more vulnerable.  Here are my favorite winter essentials to keep my immune system at its peak and feeling good all season long.  I hope you’ll adopt a couple or all of these for you and your family.  Four of these you can do easily every day!

1.  Wellness Tonic – I have come across this in various ways since I first began at the Academy of Healing Nutrition.  I have adapted my own recipe and I would like to share it with you.  Whenever I am feeling a little under the weather, the first hint of a sore throat or cold I mix up this little potion.  It also helps kick start digestion!

Wellness Tonic


5 to 7 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
juice of 5 lemons, fresh squeezed (about 4 oz.)
pinch of cayenne
¼ tsp turmeric powder (optional)


1. Blend all ingredients together and keep in a sealed jar/container. 

2. Add 1 or 2 tbsp to 1 cup of warm (not boiling) water and sip throughout the day OR Mix 2 tbsp water with 2 tbsp mixture and shoot it as a wellness shot for a quick boost!


2. Thieves Essential Oil – I use this oil blend daily to keep me healthy.  It is a blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils.  I rub a drop onto the bottom of my feet before bedtime or throughout the day if I’m not feeling quite 100%.  Legend has it these herbs were worn by thieves throughout the Middle Ages as they stole from plague victims.  Supposedly, this blend kept them alive and well.  If you would like to order some shoot me an email.

3. Drink Herbal Tea – sometimes it is as simple as steeping a few slices of ginger into my morning lemon water.  I also love Traditional Medicinals brand, in the winter I reach for Gypsy Cold Care and Echinacea Plus.   Drinking tea keeps you hydrated and warm and with these immune supporting herbal teas you can help keep sickness at bay. (Bonus:  I do this year round but it is especially important in winter: drink room temperature or warm water and drinks.  Cold drinks shock the system and in winter we really want to keep our body and digestive system warm.)

4. Eat seasonally!  Eat warming and grounding winter foods.  Add warming spices or just more spices in general, mix in some root vegetables and winter squashes, switch to dark leafy greens (as opposed to light and bright ones), and eat more cooked foods, soups and stews (minimal raw this time of year). 

5. Turmeric – This spice is wonderful for its anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial properties.  It helps to detoxify the system and packs a large amount of antioxidants.  It is a great addition to many dishes or you can also take it as a supplement.  I take 500mg in the morning and double it to 1000 mg if I am feeling under the weather.  Black pepper helps the bio-availability of turmeric so I like a supplement with it included.   The one I use can be purchased here.

Do you have any favorite wellness tips or recipes you would like to share?  Please leave them in the comments below!  I would love to hear them!

Warmth and wellness, 


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It feels like we live in a country where people obsess over losing weight and being skinny.  It is probably a time where more people worry about their weight than ever before.  You would think, if this is the case, we would all be thin but as a culture our waistlines are expanding.  Obviously, there is a huge disconnect. 

Skinny and weight lose have become advertising ploys and everywhere we look there is someone selling the next thing to make us skinnier.  Some of these may be a quick fix or a get skinny quick scheme but are we seeing lasting results?  No.  There must be a better way!  I know there is.  I propose that we change the discussion.  I think we need to look at it in a whole new light.

Let's work on being healthy instead of trying to be skinny.

I believe the healthier we become we will naturally shed our extra pounds.  I know it doesn't sound glamorous and it doesn't promise quick results (although, some may have them).  We really need to focus on getting healthy.  Over time, as we heal our bodies we will lose our unwanted pounds.  It will take time and we need to learn to listen to our bodies.  I know sometimes we don't feel like doing the work and it seems like it may take a while but take a minute to think back... to a time in your past when you started a diet.  Where are you today in comparison to where you started back then?  Any better?  Probably not, so this time make a different choice.  Choose healthy over skinny.  Decide to work on your health and on feeling better.  This is more about changing habits.  If you make positive and sustainable changes you will get lasting results.  If you go back to your old ways you go back to your old waistline.

This blog post is part of a small series I am creating called Healthy vs. Skinny.  Over the next couple months I will be diving in deeper and sharing more on this subject (but don't worry, you will still get recipes too).

I'll see your inbox next week with my plant happy Gumbo recipe.  Just in time for Fat Tuesday!

Take care of yourself,


P.S. If you would like to learn more on this subject please contact me.  I would love to be a part of your healing journey, whether it is just answering questions for you along the way or if you would like to work with me one on one.

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The information on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any health condition or disease. It does not replace medical advice from a licensed professional.