July Self-Care Retreat, June GFE VSG Giveaway Winners, and Antioxidant A-Pear-Atif

blog event, self care, meditation, movement

Along with our host, Cheryl Harris (Gluten-Free Goodness and Harris Whole Health), I am really excited to announce The 2nd Annual July Self-Care Retreat!

Here are some words from Cheryl:

“We’ve got a great line-up of wonderful bloggers committed to making an extra effort to practicing self-care this month, and we’re hoping that you join us, too!

To me, self-care is like learning a second language as an adult. I certainly wasn’t born knowing how to do it, it wasn’t a natural impulse for me, and it’s something that I to make a conscious effort to weave into my daily life. The other two self-care retreats were helpful by keeping my goals and commitments on my radar, and I’m hoping it had the same effect on others as well.

Self-care is about compassion and kindness. At the essence, it comes down to intention. Movement, dietary changes and even commitments with others, are all about context. We’ve all seen how, say, exercise can be incredibly invigorating and enriching, and how it can also be another measuring stick, another “should” or way to judge ourselves. Or how we can bake a cake for the joy of it, or for the celebration of friends and family and the pleasure of having a chocolaty-smelling kitchen. Yet how easily this can be distorted into overcommitting to doing something out of obligation.

So my intention here for myself and for everyone who joins us to is to encourage you incorporate or even try out different self-care practices because you want to feel and live well, not because of some additional arbitrary standard to live up to.

Our fantastic group of bloggers:

June 30th:  Cheryl of Gluten-Free Goodness ~ Food

July 7th:  Valerie of City|Life|Eats ~ Support and Connection

July 14th:  Shirley of gluten free easily (gfe) ~ Movement

July 21st:  Carrie of Ginger Lemon Girl ~ Creativity

July 28th:  Iris of The Daily Dietribe ~ Inward Reflection

These posts are to inspire you all to make July a month of reflecting on self-care and the many ways to nourish ourselves. We encourage everyone to participate in this event in a way that feels appropriate to them, whether through personal reflection, journal or other self-care. If you would like to share your experience with self-care, we would love to include you in the experience, whether you join us for one week or every week. You can write generally about self-care and how you include it in your life, or “try on” one of the practices we’re blogging about over the course of the next week (movement, food, family/friends/pets, creativity and inward reflection). We ask that you link back to this post so that more people can learn about this retreat, and leave a comment for the weekly theme host, too! If you would like to be included in our roundup and the drawing, please email a link to your post, along with your name and blog name, to us at selfcareretreat at gmail dot com by July 30, 2011.

As a little added incentive, for each post on your goals and your progress you link back here or one of the other co-hosts, you’ll be entered to receive a $50 gift certificate to Nuts.com (they are not sponsoring, I just wanted something with healthy gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free, etc. options)

Valerie of City|Life|Eats designed our badge; feel free to use the badge in your posts. Non-bloggers who would like to contribute, please email the full text to the same address and it will be included in the roundup.

For a “flavor” of previous retreats, here’s a link to the July Self-Care Retreat and the December Sanity Retreat.

I’m so looking forward to this event and I couldn’t agree more with what Cheryl has said. July is my birthday and every birthday brings more of a reminder how important it is to take care of myself. Taking care of ourselves is the thing that so many of us—to put it frankly—totally stink at. Let’s all take some baby steps this July to get better at that. Each week, you’ll want to check out the posts of those participating and look for my post on Self Care Through Movement on July 14—right before my birthday.

UPDATE: Cheryl has created a Facebook group for those who are participating in the July Self-Care Retreat. Individuals who wish to participate are welcome to join us there. Anyone can read or follow the July Self-Care Retreat just by visiting the page. If you want to share your own progress, you may request to join the group. Check out the 2012 July Self-Care Retreat here on Facebook!

gluten free, support group, virtual, online

For the June GFE June Virtual Support Group, which focused on Healing the Gut, there was a giveaway with four winners. Two folks won a copy of the new book by Sandor Katz, The Art of Fermentation, and two won a quart of Tropical Traditions Gold Label Organic Coconut Oil. Here are the lucky gfe readers!

The Art of Fermentation, Sandor Katz, fermented foods, probiotics, healing gut, gluten freeDebi (Hunter’s Lyonesse) won The Art of Fermentation. ~ “I’m so tickled seeing familiar faces in the pictures. It made my heart smile. And now having been to one of your groups, I really get the format and how you present the information now. You’re so good at making sure we have all the information, even when you have to stop and correct some of it.

I’m surprised to see raw eggs yolks, too. Not that I will go out and consume a lot of raw yolks, but it makes me feel better about loving runny egg yolks on my food. I do love a good bone broth and while I don’t think I would consume a jar of it daily, I absolutely love to use it when I make soups, stews, and other dishes. I love the idea of fermenting, and I’m sure Chaz would LOVE if I made kim chee (he still can’t believe I had some at the support group).”

Dori also won The Art of Fermentation. ~ Her comment on the post: “Wonderful post! I would LOVE to win the fermentation book! Kefir water has changed my life and I am trying to get up the nerve to try fermenting cabbage, as I have read that it is a healing food too.

Tropical Traditions, Coconut Oil, organicKate won a quart of the Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil. ~ Her comment on the post: “Now that is a masterpiece of information that resonates with my unhealthy gut. I would love to win either of the products. Does Ms Hetrick do house calls?!!!!” (Shirley’s Note: Donna Hetrick of Lifestyle Fitness and Nutrition actually does do long-distance consultations via Skype.)

Finally, Carolyn also won a quart of Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil. ~ Her comment on the post:  “Shirley – I am loving your VSG. You have me hooked on coconut oil and now I am purchasing it by the gallon! BTW, the gluten free food at LCBR was great. The chefs are making more of it every day because so many people ask for it!”

Congrats to all! I’ll be contacting you via email for your mailing addresses! Be sure to join us next month (which starts tomorrow—wow!) for the next GFE Virtual Gluten-Free Support Group.

fruit smothie, antioxidants, gluten free, dairy free, aperatif, pears, banana, lemons, limes, cranberries, almond milk

Last, I made one of my clean-out-the-fridge/freezer cooling concoctions for Son and I earlier this week. Pears, lemons, limes, bananas, and cranberries (or cherries), with a little water … all blended together. Even with the optional almond milk and sweetener added, this beverage is a tart creation, but I was in the mood for a tart, “crisp,” and chilly concoction and this Antioxidant A-Pear-Atif fit the bill. Merriam-Webster defines aperitif as “an alcoholic drink taken before a meal as an appetizer.” I skipped the alcohol as we were enjoying ours before breakfast and the emphasis was on the antioxidant value of the ingredients. This beverage also made for a pretty drink … even suitable for Valentine’s Day perhaps with its cranberry flecks and when served on a pink heart doily.

beverage, smoothie, antioxidant, gluten free, dairy free, pears, lemons, limes, cranberries

Antioxidant A-Pear-Atif
(Click here for a printable version of this recipe.)

Juice from 2 small lemons
Juice from 1 small lime
2 to 3 pears, cored and diced (can leave peel on if desired)
2 bananas (frozen whole bananas or frozen banana slices works great)
1/4 cup fresh cherries (for raw version) (OR 1/4 fresh cranberries OR 1/8 cup (or more) dried cranberries plus ½ cup boiling water, if using dried cranberries for a non-raw version; see notes)
sweetener of choice, in amount desired (honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, etc.—I used one tbsp honey, but also added one tbsp coconut sugar to Son’s)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (optional)

Juice lemons and limes over strainer/bowl. Discard peels and seeds.

Peel and or chop pears over a strainer/bowl. You don’t want to miss out on any of that wonderful juice!

If using dried cranberries for a non-raw version of this recipe, soak them in boiling water to soften. Let cool a few minutes.

Add all ingredients to regular or high-speed blender. Blend a few minutes until all ingredients are fully incorporated.

Shirley’s Notes:  If not using frozen bananas, you may wish to add some ice before blending. Add additional almond milk or water as needed for desired thickness.

This recipe is the perfect kind of recipe for Ricki’s (Diet, Dessert and Dogs) Wellness Weekend event, which features a wide assortment of healthy, vegan recipes each week. (Note that not all are gluten free.) Head on over and take a look at this week’s entries, plus read all the news that Ricki shares, too. Enjoy!

This post is linked to Allergy-Free Wednesday, Gluten-Free Wednesday, and Raw Foods Thursdays.

Not just gf, but gfe!

Full Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post may contain one or more affiliate links. If you purchase through them, your cost will always be the same, but I will receive a small commission. Thanks for the support! Read the full disclaimer here.


37 Responses to “July Self-Care Retreat, June GFE VSG Giveaway Winners, and Antioxidant A-Pear-Atif”

  1. Ricki on June 30th, 2012 6:54 pm

    I agree–a perfect recipe for WW! And love the cute name! :) Looking forward to reading the posts for July’s Self-Care retreat–something we could all use more of, I think. Happy 4th, Shirley! :D xo

    • Shirley on July 3rd, 2012 4:46 pm

      Hey Ricki–I love it whenever I can join in for WW, although I have to say that I have to let my ego go and just share whatever fits the requirements. There are some seriously amazing recipes shared each week!

      The July Self-Care Retreat is already keeping me on track. Gotta love Cheryl for hosting that one for us all!

      Belated Happy Canada Day, Ricki! Thank for the 4th wishes! :-) xo,

  2. Carolyn on June 30th, 2012 7:28 pm

    Shirley – thank you so much for drawing my name! I can’t believe I won. And, coconut oil, Yeah! My favorite. Again, thank you!!

    • Shirley on July 3rd, 2012 4:48 pm

      Hi Carolyn–You’ve become such a convert because of me that I was so tickled to see your name come up! :-) Coconut oil goes very quickly in our house, too. ;-)


  3. Kristina on June 30th, 2012 10:53 pm

    apearatif – I LOVE it! sounds delicious and refreshing. I often do those clean out the fridge smoothies or juices… most of the time they taste great! :)

    • Shirley on July 3rd, 2012 4:51 pm

      Hey there Kristina!–You are the queen of juicing so you can probably make this recipe even better. If I’d had one more lime, I would have thrown it in, but I think Son would have protested even more. I guess my appreciation for tartness is surpassing my desire for sweetness these days. ;-) I agree that one *almost* can’t go wrong with refrigerator concoctions. I’ve always been able to salvage the less tasty ones, even if the color wasn’t always appealing. LOL

      Thanks, dear!

  4. Sarah @ Celiac in the City on July 1st, 2012 2:09 am

    Looking forward to all of the self-care posts — and hoping that you are already planning some self-care-birthday fun! Just start celebrating early… make it a month of joy. :)

    • Shirley on July 3rd, 2012 4:53 pm

      Sarah–Now that I’ve talked about self care for my birthday, I think I’ll focus on it even more than I originally planned! I truly love your joyful outlook, dear. :-)


  5. cheryl on July 1st, 2012 7:31 am

    happy early birthday! What a fun way to celebrate. I am excited for this month and very much looking forward to it!

    • Shirley on July 3rd, 2012 4:56 pm

      Thanks, Cheryl! I’m famous for strettttching out my birthday celebrations. ;-) Happy to make your/our July Self-Care Retreat part of the celebration. What better way to celebrate than self-care, huh? :-) Thank you so much for hosting this event again. I know it helps so very many of us!


  6. Ina Gawne on July 1st, 2012 8:42 am

    Shirley – Happy July Birthday to you! What a fun and great way to celebrate with this wellness event! :)

    • Shirley on July 3rd, 2012 4:57 pm

      Thank you, Ina! Wellness leads to longevity, right? I’d like to celebrate many, many more birthdays. ;-)


  7. Melissa @ glutenfreeforgood on July 1st, 2012 12:49 pm

    This is perfect timing, Cheryl and Shirley! Although self-care is a huge part of my philosophy, I’ve been so busy the past few years that I’ve lost some of my focus with that. I made a commitment to RADICAL self-care about 2 weeks ago and I plan to continue that for the next 6 weeks in a very serious and dedicated way. And you know “movement” is part of my holistic approach to wellness!! It’s a mandatory piece to the puzzle.

    Have a great birthday, Shirley!!
    Peace, love, and radical self-care!

    • Shirley on July 3rd, 2012 4:59 pm

      Hey Melissa–It’s hard to believe that you’ve ever lost any focus on self-care, but sometimes the demands of life pull us away from even our firmest commitment. Bravo to you for doing your RADICAL self care again! Movement is mandatory–YES! Even for those who think they can’t. I keep remembering the video of the Wounded Warrior and his amazing transformation via yoga!

      Thank you, dear! xoxo,

  8. Shelly on July 1st, 2012 1:24 pm

    Apearatif, is a definite must try. Already added it to my smoothie book. I am really looking forward to the July self care retreat. I have made a commitment to reach my maximum level of healing, or at least get on a path to it this summer. I know I may never fully recover, but I know I can feel better than I do now. Self care has been out on the back burner for me for years as I have worked on healing my daughter’s aspergers, and then then a year ago the 6week old that walked into our lives that we are now adopting. I know crazy! I thought I am way to old for a baby and way too sick. But it has worked. And now time to feel better. Movement has been well nearly non-existent for me the last few years from either migraines, or fatigue, I have pretty much lived in my bed.

    But I have been creating a game plan, and this retreat could not have been better timed! I am really excited to now have a support group to turn to for ideas! It is going to be a fun month!

    • Shirley on July 3rd, 2012 5:05 pm

      Hi Shelly–Reading your comment moved me. I urge you to believe that you can fully recover. Visualize yourself well, healthy, and beautiful (as you are, of course!) every single day, several times a day. That’s as important to healing as all the other pieces. We give so much to others that we have to remember that the advice about the oxygen mask holds true in all parts of our lives, not just when the plane is going down. Put your oxygen mask on first and then you can successfully help others, too. I didn’t know the details on your new baby. Congrats! Sometimes things are meant to be. Amazingly and wonderfully, the joy of such a life change can outweigh everything else. I hate to think of you in bed so much in the past, but I love that you have created a game plan and that you will think of the July Self-Care Retreat as a support group. :-)

      Onward and upward, baby! xo,

  9. Dori on July 1st, 2012 2:01 pm

    OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!!!! Be still my beating heart-I have never won ANYTHING in my life-thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so excited, I haven’t even read the article yet! :)

    • Shirley on July 3rd, 2012 5:11 pm

      Hi Dori–I’m so excited for you! I just sent you an email so I can get your mailing address and have this book shipped out to you. :-) Congrats again!! I do hope you went back and read the post though. ;-)


  10. Kate on July 1st, 2012 9:51 pm

    I’m with your other winners…can’t believe my name was drawn. Thank you so much :) Love me some coconut oil!

    • Shirley on July 3rd, 2012 5:12 pm

      Hi Kate–It’s so much fun to spread/support the love of healthy foods! I’m excited for you! :-)


  11. Debi on July 1st, 2012 10:21 pm

    Thank you, Shirley! I can’t wait to read that book! And oh my gosh. If my fridge weren’t totally empty after cleaning it out thanks to the power outage, I would be scrounging up the goodies for the A-Pear-Atif! Need to write down the ingredients and add to my shopping list for tomorrow!

    • Shirley on July 3rd, 2012 5:14 pm

      Hi Debi–Knowing that you are no longer a consumer of very sweet foods, I’ll be interested to see what you think, or if you make changes. ;-) I loved your FB comment on thanking the power outage for getting you to clean out your fridge. Sometimes it does take that and the initial dread turns to glee. LOL


      • Debi on July 7th, 2012 6:27 pm

        I did get the pears, lemons, and lime, but forgot the bananas. lol I do have frozen bananas somewhere in the freezer… I’ve been trying to use up the watermelon that I got for Kim’s Watermelon Slushies first though. I was thinking about needing to make this last night!

        Chaz just commented last night about how he likes how “empty” the fridge is right now.” We’re both hoping we can keep it that way. We’ll see! :D

        • Shirley on July 9th, 2012 2:34 pm

          Debi–I hate it when I don’t have bananas! I hope you found yours. ;-) Kim’s Watermelon Strawberry Slushies look totally amazing. If I had strawberries, I’d make one this evening!

          Even a fridge full of good food can seem cluttered and overwhelming, right? I actually think that all of us real food consumers deserve commercial refrigerators! :-)


          • Debi on July 9th, 2012 2:44 pm

            I have bananas now and just made it with my lunch. So yummy! I’ve been using cherries and raspberries with the Watermelon slushies, too. Alternating between strawberries and the other two. :D We call that onolicious back home. hehehe

            You are correct! I would love to have a unit that is just a fridge and a separate freezer unit. I wind up freezing so much fresh fruit and broth that there is no room in there sometimes! :D

          • Shirley on July 10th, 2012 10:51 am

            Oh, terrific, Debi! Thanks for letting me know. :-) Great idea on using cherries or raspberries in combo with the watermelon! I’ve been using watermelon as my base for smoothies the last few days. All different, all delish. I had to look up “onolicious” … cool word!

            I have a separate freezer and do pretty well with having enough freezing space, but the fridge … well, that is a completely different matter. ;-)


  12. SunnyB @ andloveittoo on July 4th, 2012 12:03 am

    I love all of the ingredients here! What a great treat this would be.

    • Shirley on July 9th, 2012 1:51 pm

      Sunny–I hope you love it! I enjoyed it and loved knowing I was consuming all those antioxidants. ;-)


  13. amber on July 4th, 2012 12:40 am

    Congratulations to all the winners! How awesome.

    Shirley, I’m looking forward to all the posts. I’m continually working on my emotional self; it’s really key to keeping up a strong immune system and peaceful state of mind. So I’m appreciative of this retreat.

    And thank you for sharing this awesome smoothie! And I love that it’s tart. My absolute favorite. Some of the best recipes are created from what is leftover. I find it’s a fun challenge to create something out of nothing (or seemingly nothing). :-)

    Have a great rest of your week Shirley. And have a safe, fun 4th. :-)

    • Shirley on July 9th, 2012 2:32 pm

      Hi Amber–Belated, but thanks, dear! We actually didn’t finish celebrating the 4th until this weekend. ;-)

      You do a fantastic at creating all kinds of recipes, so I appreciate the compliment on my latest “throw-together” creation. :-) And you certainly set a fine example emotionally, providing us with a positive approach to facing ongoing challenges. Please feel free to join our new Facebook group (2nd Annual July Self-Care Retreat), too, if you’d like.

      Happy New Week! xo,

  14. Heather @Gluten-Free Cat on August 1st, 2013 4:45 pm

    Pears are something that I’ve never thought of putting in a smoothie. I love juicing pears, so I have no idea why I haven’t blended them up! Thanks for this inspiration!!

    • Shirley on August 3rd, 2013 10:02 pm

      Heather–I love adding pears to smoothies. Their natural sweetness is wonderful! :-) Can’t wait to see the new recipes that use pears that you come up with in the future. ;-)


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