The Juice of Life – Holly’s Story

Juicing has been used for years to rid the body of toxins, promote physical well-being and encourage mental clarity. Since 95% of vitamins come from the juice of fruits and vegetables, no amount of synthetic medicines or supplements can ever match the power of the healing properties in leafy green vegetables and fruits.

When I heard my friend, Holly’s story then I was really convinced of these healing powers firsthand. She had been a vibrant athlete who found herself stricken with an at first undiagnosed disease which took a terrible toll on her body. Only through juicing did she find a way to heal herself of this disease.

Here is her story….

“I started martial arts at the age of twelve, and have remained in it to this day. I have practiced seven different styles, achieving a black belt in Taekwondo and also Choy Lay Fut Kung Fu. Aside from hiking, biking and rock climbing, I played rugby in college, and also for the Berkeley All-Blues.

Up until 2002, I was always super fit and healthy, or so I thought. In July of 2002, I developed a relatively rare auto-immune disorder called Mixed Connective Tissue Disorder or MCTD. My life as I knew it was over. This illness has every nastiness one could imagine. I developed chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, Reynaud’s syndrome, scleroderma, trigeminal neuralgia, facial numbness, acid reflux, difficulty swallowing and loss of motility and digestive capabilities. My life was filled with one misery after another, and it seemed each day brought a new type of pain or suffering. My brain was in a fog, and I couldn’t distance myself enough from my misery to formulate a healing plan. I took many harsh western drugs. Methotrexate, prednisone, morphine, and neurontin, to name a few.

I felt my body wasting away and my life energy leaving. Realizing that the Western drugs were only speeding my descent I discarded them in 2004, but I continued to spiral downwards. In 2005, I was at a lifetime low, the epitome of misery, and I came within a hair’s breadth to ending it all.

Holly – Before, During & After her illness

In trying to end my life, I had to give up, completely. In that moment of letting go, I opened myself to receive guidance. I realized I wasn’t finished with this life yet, and I wanted to stay. My guidance revealed the universal truth that led me to know I could change things. I took responsibility for creating my life as it was, and resolved to manifest a new one. I embarked on an inner journey of exploration in order to change my outer journey.

There wasn’t much left of my physical body, I had gone from 148 lbs. of solid muscle, to 115 lbs. of skin and bones. I couldn’t digest solid food, but knew I needed intense nutrition, lots of it, and fast. I consulted with a nutritionist and put together a juicing program, along with protein shakes. For an entire year, I stayed on my super nutritious liquid diet, drinking 48 to 64 oz. of my juice every day.

I noticed improvements in pain, inflammation, and energy within days of starting. When I was strong enough I added my herbal formulas back into my wellness program. I opened myself to receiving help from people, experiences, and from spirit. I discovered treasures of healing: a useful tip overheard; watching someone accomplish a task; a line in a song; a book reread that I had forgotten about; a workshop that inspired. If what I learned helped me, I kept it, if it didn’t, I moved on. Slowly, inch by inch, I made progress. It was hard work, and sometimes it seemed as if I moved backwards. I learned to be grateful for all the little miracles, celebrating my successes. All the while, I did not let anyone tell me I could not be well again. I held tenaciously to visions of my own wellness, constantly creating positive affirmations and working to surround myself with positive inspirational objects.

Now, there is not a trace of chronic fatigue, or fibromyalgia, I have full use of my hands, having beaten back the scleroderma. My acid reflux is gone and I can eat and digest solid food once more. There were so many things that came into my life to help me become well, and each one was indispensable. But, I absolutely would not be alive right now, if I had not started drinking my ‘Juice of Life’ as I have fondly named it. It contains a cornucopia of vegetables and fruits, more servings in one glass than most people get in a month. I continue to drink it almost every day, and will continue to do so, happily for the rest of my now healthy life.

It contains a combination of the following organic fruits and vegetables: Carrots, red beets, beet greens, cucumber, parsley, spinach, celery, chard, kale, dandelion greens, zucchini, broccoli, yams, green peppers, red/orange peppers, red cabbage, green cabbage, apples, pears, kiwis, and either cantaloupe, honeydew, or blueberries depending upon availability.

I happily talk about my ‘Juice of Life’ to friends, or anyone who is curious, and now unexpectedly, I have several people who wanted in on my juice. They started buying it from me on a weekly basis, and are hooked on the ‘Juice of Life’. My clients have told me that their energy has improved dramatically, their diets have improved because of reduced sugar cravings, they feel more mental clarity and focus, and continue to see positive changes in their well being on a weekly basis.”

Where you can buy juice:
The Can Can Cleanse – San Francisco
Living Greens – San Francisco

Need more ideas for Cooking Healthy Meals, then check out: The Healthy Urban Kitchen Cookbook The Healthy Urban Kitchen is a simple, step by step system for shopping, cooking and eating the world’s healthiest foods. It was created for busy people who want to improve health, have more energy, and prevent disease.

Oh No! I’m Sick. What do I do Now?

Oh No! I’m Sick. What do I do Now?

leaf-and-herbal-bottleThere are many things you can do to recover, too many to put them all in this blog, but I will list a few of my favorites for you.

1] Go to Bed!

YOU NEED REST FOR YOUR BODY TO WIN! The sooner you give yourself what you need, the quicker you will heal. It’s really that simple.

2] Food:

Eat light broth, vegetable soups with a bit of meat (like fish or chicken, not red meat). Throw in scallions and lots of garlic; they are great for fighting colds and flus. You can also have room temperature fruit like apples, pears, melons, papayas. Please no fruit juices; it’s just a glass of sugar. Your body needs access to solid nutrition without having to work hard to get it. Do not eat dairy, fried foods, or wheat products – they are mucus factories.

3] Herbal Medicinal Teas:

Besides drinking a lot of room temperature water. Medicinal teas are your super cold and flu ass-kicking arsenal.

Rosehip Plus – This tea is my personal favorite that I will start drinking immediately if I feel anything coming on. You will be amazed at its effectiveness. Drink cup after cup, the more, the better. Here are the incredibly simple ingredients. Please use organic wherever possible, since pesticides do not help you beat a cold or flu. [ How to Dry & Store Rose Hips for Rose Hip Tea ]

    • 4 Tbsp. dried rosehip pieces.
    • 2-4 slices of ¼” fresh ginger.
    • Juice of ½ a fresh lemon.
    • A whopping big tablespoon of raw, organic honey. (Note: Not suitable for infants.)
    • Boil 6 cups water and add ingredients in a steeping teapot, steep for at least 10 minutes, more is even better. Drink one cup right away, then simply reheat the tea for additional cups.
    • I use the same batch of rosehips and ginger slices for two teapots, and I let the second pot steep longer. Just add more lemon and honey to the second batch and off you go again.

grinding-herbsCustom Medicinal Blend – I will make a custom blend of ingredients to address different symptoms. There are too many herbs to list them all here, but I’ll give my favorites and their functions. You can pick and choose which ones you want and create your own healing blend of tea. It’s actually fun to make your own medicine! You can put together any of the ingredients listed below, and follow the same steps as described previously for Rosehip Plus Tea. Always sweeten your tea with raw, honey which has loads of antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic properties in it and a lot of nutrition besides. These teas are for older children 4+ and adults, do not give to infants, mother’s milk is best for their immune system.


    • Actions include: antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, antispasmodic, expectorant, blood tonic, menstrual regulator, kidney tonic, digestive stimulant, sedative, cleansing, and increases bile production, astringent.
    • Pretty gosh darn amazing herb. I put it in all of my cold and flu herbal teas.
    • I usually use 3-4 tablespoons per batch.


    • Actions include: antibiotic, immune stimulant, antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, anti-allergenic, lymphatic tonic.
    • Echinacea is fabulous for boosting your body’s ability to fight off colds and flus and infections and inflammation of any type.
    • It’s expensive, but I add it to all of my cold and flu herbal teas along with the rosehips.
    • Dosage: 1 tablespoon.


    • Actions include: anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, soothing digestive remedy, diuretic, promotes sweating.
    • Meadowsweet is used to reduce inflammations and fevers. Although meadowsweet contains salicylic acid, like aspirin, this herb modifies the action of salicylic acid and actually protects the digestive tract. Long use of aspirin can lead to gastric ulceration and bleeding, but meadowsweet does not show these side effects, and is actually a gently digestive remedy for acidity and some types of diarrhea.
    • If you have a fever add meadowsweet, it will also help to reduce the aches and pains associated with colds and flus.
    • Dosage: 1 tablespoon.


    • Actions include: febrifuge, promotes sweating, relaxes peripheral blood vessels, digestive stimulant, and as a menstrual system restorative.
    • Yarrow is another good herb to add for reducing fevers.
    • Dosage: 1 tablespoon.


    • Actions include: relaxing expectorant, reduces phlegm, antispasmodic, demulcent.
    • Coltsfoot leaves and flowers are great for coughs and reducing phlegm, acute or chronic.
    • Dosage: 1 tablespoon.


    • Actions include: expectorant, demulcent, mild diuretic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, sedative.
    • Mullein is great to use for coughs and to soothe a sore throat.
    • Dosage: 1 tablespoon.


    • Actions include: expectorant, promotes sweating, reduces phlegm, antispasmodic, carminative, and relaxes peripheral blood vessels.
    • Hyssop is another great herb for coughs and phlegm. Great in combination with mullein.
    • Dosage: 1 tablespoon.


    • Actions include: anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, sedative, anti-emetic.
    • I add chamomile to help reduce the stress and anxiety that comes with a cold or flu. It helps one relax and sleep, and it soothes the stomach and reduces nausea.
    • Dosage: 1 tablespoon.

These are just some of my favorite herbs that I keep stocked all the time, there are many more. I encourage you to do a bit of research and discover your own favorites to add to your herbal pharmacy. It’s a great feeling not to run to the pharmacy for drugs when you’re not feeling well, but instead to start a pot of a good medicinal herbal tea brewing! You can find these wonderful organic herbs offered in my cold and flu first aid kits on my website at

4] Medicinal Herbal Formulas

If you do start to come down with a cold or flu, there are some fantastic herbal formulas you can use in addition to your medicinal teas. They are a MUST HAVE for your herbal medicine cabinet.

Gan Mao Ling:

This is one of my two first line of defense formulas. It can be used as a cold or flu preventative when you’ve been around already sick people and don’t want to come down with anything. It may just stop a cold or flu dead in its tracks before anything happens. However, if you do start to feel any of the symptoms associated with a cold or flu such as fever with chills, headache, sore throat, red eyes, stiff neck and back, nasal discharge, cough, swollen lymph glands and general aching. Start taking Gan Mao Ling as directed on the bottle or package.

Gan Mao Ling is especially good to use when a cough or sinus congestion is present at the onset of a cold or flu. Gan Mao Ling is safe for children to use, but don’t use on children under four.

Yin Qiao Wan (or sometimes spelled Yin Chiao):

This formula is my other first line of defense formulas. It’s similar to Gan Mao Ling in that it can also be used as a preventative if you’ve been exposed to others who are already sick or you can even take it before you go on a plane trip as added protection from all those airborne germs.

    • If you come down with a cold or flu and feel any of the symptoms associated with a cold or flu as listed above in the Gan Mao Ling description you can use Yin Qiao Wan. The difference between this and Gan Mao Ling is that Yin Qiao is stronger for helping the sore throat. If you wake up and your throat is killing you, just run for the Yin Qiao Wan.
    • For added punch – Gan Mao Ling and Yin Qiao Wan are great to use together, no problem.

Zhong Gan Lin:

This formula is the big guns of the terrific trio. If you’re symptoms are advancing and now you’ve got a severe head cold or flu with headache, sore throat, nasal congestion, body aches, fever and chills add Zhong Gan Ling to the group. You can use it alone or with Yin Qiao and/or Gan Mao Ling depending on whether the congestion or throat is bothering you more. All three are fine to use together, the herbs complement each other.

I keep all three formulas on hand, and they are a must to bring along whenever you travel. Again, for convenience, I do offer Gan Mao Ling, Yin Qiao, and Zhong Gan Ling on my website at

5] Remove stress from your environment:

To give yourself the best fighting chance to recover. Relax, let go of your worries, it’s not helping. You’re stuck in bed for the moment, so take it like an adult, and relax. Listen to soothing music, watch a movie that leaves you feeling good, or just sleep. Please no brain work outs while you’re sick. That means NO working in bed either. This is a time to surround you with a pleasant, happy, healing environment. The more you do to help yourself recover, the faster it will happen.

Cold and Flu First Aid Kits

If you don’t want the bother of trying to find the herbs and putting all the formulas together for yourself, I’ve designed several ‘cold and flu first aid kits’ that are perfect to take care of your medicinal needs. They include all the formulas and herbs for the medicinal teas that are mentioned above. Plus, the herbs are organic. They are the Cold and Flu Prevention Kit, the Cold and Flu First Aid Kit, the Deluxe Cold and Flu First Aid Kit, and the All-In-One Deluxe Cold and Flu Kit. You can pick and choose the ones you feel best suit your needs. Again, you can find these indispensable natural and holistic first aid kits on my website at


Well, I hope this little cold and flu primer has been helpful for you, and gives you more tools in your wellness toolkit. One note of caution, however, is that if your symptoms persist for longer than two weeks or you feel you’re getting worse, not better, than by all means take your health care to the next level and consult an acupuncturist or western medical professional. As a special note, several of these herbs are not suitable to take if pregnant. Please consult myself, or another acupuncturist or herbalist for herbal remedies suitable for pregnancy.
holly-reeseWritten by: Holly Reese, MSOM, L.Ac. She is an acupuncturist, herbalist, wellness coach, food-healing expert, founder of the Inspire Wellness Center, which specializes in natural and holistic health alternatives for the recovery of chronic illness. Holly Reese is also author of Rising from the Abyss: My Journey into and out of Chronic Illness a gripping memoir that details Holly’s personal descent into and eventual rise from a nearly fatal auto-immune disorder using all the natural and holistic health methods that she espouses and uses for her wellness practice. Feel free to contact her at:

Build Your Own (BYO) EarthBox Salad Gardens

I love fresh greens everyday in my salads and since I work at home a lot, I enjoy walking out onto my deck and harvesting my lettuce greens fresh from the garden everyday. Since my actual garden is down in the back yard I decided to make it more convenient by creating these EarthBox Salad gardens on my deck instead. I can harvest about 2 salads/day when they are in full bloom and they easy to make and even easier to keep growing once you have them built.

So check out my video and let me know what you think:



Here are some photos of the EarthBox Salad Gardens in full swing…these have several different greens and spinach.

Earth Box Salad Gardens

This EarthBox has Serano Chilies and 3 Varities of Basil, and Chives

Earth Box Salad Gardens