Susan Layton

Film Producer - ASL Performer - Life Learner

Category: Nutrition

Mmmm Muesli!


One of my most favorite breakfast cereals is muesli! It’s easy to make, plus it’s delicious and nutritious!  This breakfast cereal is made the night before and ready to go in the morning!  Muesli is well known for its diversity in how you make it.  That means that you can mix it up and enjoy it different every time you make it!  You can enjoy it cold or warm!  You really can’t go wrong with muesli!

Here is my favorite way to make it: (Makes 4 servings)

2 cups rolled oatsIMG_7535

2 1/2 cups almond-coconut milk

1/2 cup flaked almonds

1/4 black chia seeds

1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

*Mix this up, cover and refrigerate.  It will be ready to eat in the morning.

In the morning, I add diced up strawberries, and maybe a touch more almond-coconut milk.  Stir and enjoy!  … Mmmmm Muesli!


Other topping suggestions:


Peaches, sliced

Bananas, sliced

Green apple, grated or diced in small pieces

Dried fruit: Apricots, prunes, figs, dates, raisins,

Greek yogurt

Walnuts, chopped

Brazil nuts, chopped

Sunflower seeds


More variations:

Try using quinoa as your base grain.

Instead of almond-coconut milk, use almond milk, coconut water, rice milk or low-fat milk.

Best if use fresh, thawed frozen fruit or dried fruit.  🙂

Some people even make it and eat it, without much soak time.   See, it’s hard to go wrong with this delicious dish! … ENJOY!

Mmmmm Muesli!


Lavender Lemonade

IMG_7408Today is April 15th, one of the most stressful days of the year for many Americans. TAX DAY! … But regardless, of when you are reading this blog, have a quiet, honest moment with yourself … Are you feeling stressed? Overwhelmed? Need a little something to relax you and refresh you?  Why not try something quite delightful to help eliminate the stresses of life:

Lavender Lemonade!

Lavender is well known for it’s aroma and essential oil properties of helping to sooth, refresh, relax, and aid in winding down.  So mix the miracles of lavender into some refreshing lemonade and you’ve got a win-win refreshing drink!  Tax day?  You’ve got this!  Bogged down?  Ahh, just take a moment to collect yourself, sip some of this refreshing Lavender Lemonade and then go back to life, taking it one sip, I mean, step at a time!  Mmmm.


Recipe 1:

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup boiling water

6 cups cold water

1 1/2 cups lemon juice (approx. 6-8 medium-sized lemons)

1 drop Lavender Essential Oil

*Boil water.  Take off heat.  Combine sugar and boiling water until sugar dissolves completely. Next, combine the simple syrup and all other ingredients …. Smile your stresses away!

Recipe 2:

IMG_74693/4 cup raw honey

7 cups pure water

2 cups lemon juiced (approx. 8-10 medium-sized lemons)

1 drop lavender essential oil

*Mix all ingredients together …. Remarkably Refreshing!


I get all of my essential oils at Mountain Rose Herbs.  They offer superior quality organic essential oils at a superb price! I love (and trust!) Mountain Rose Herbs!

Organic Essential Oils

All organic essential oils featured here are my own personal oils.  I bought them and I love them!



Oh, the shelves of supplements, shakes, powders, labels! Oh, the choices, the many, many choices!  … For me, it can feel like a jigsaw puzzle: WHAT, HUH, WHERE, HOW, and “Oh, forget it!”

Is your head spinning?  Oh yeah, mine too!

Being educated about what you are eating is vital!  And I read labels religiously!  I am still working on eating right myself!  Many years in the making and still learning!  But I have found that I love to eat healthy.  It gives me energy, my nails grow, my hair is shiny, I don’t have that sick feeling after I eat.  One thing that I add to my everyday regimen is a HEALTHY shake that A- tastes good, B- gives me all the vitamins and energy I need and C- doesn’t include the gunk and caffeine that I don’t want in the first place! (Did you know? Most “healthy” powder supplements include caffeine of some sort.  For me, this is always a turn-off.)  So, my honey and I went on a quest to find a supplement powder that is not a supplement of fillers, filled with GMOs, caffeine, soy, gluten, but instead full of natural, raw, organic plant goodness that is affordable.

The only powders we have found that meet our requirements and we can drink without gagging (and that’s important, especially with little people in our home), is Garden of Life Raw Protein and Garden of Life Perfect Food Raw.

I try and eat my 3 cups/day of fruit and vegetables in the raw and natural form, which is the best form.  However, I’m just not that good sometimes or I just don’t have the time or I just want something yummy (without the *blah* of sugar/calories/after-sick, but with the satisfaction that it was good for me).  I know my weakness… my lack of time or lack of access or *whatever* will most likely keep me from consuming the good stuff (nutrients that my body needs).  (…Sometimes I have to eat and run – eating a salad while driving is not ideal, nor is it safe ha.) Garden of Life Perfect Food Raw and Garden of Life Raw Protein make it possible to enjoy the nutrients, and be fed all the good stuff!  That’s why it is a staple in our home!

If Ryan makes it, his recipe looks like this:

1 cup of Almond Milk (Chocolate or Almond/Coconut)

1 Scoop of Garden of Life Perfect Food Raw (Chocolate Cacao)

1 Scoop of Garden of Life Raw Protein (Chocolate Cacao)

Bunch of baby kale

Bunch of spinach


And whatever other added fruit or vegetable he sees on hand. Ha.

*Blend it up real good.  Drink and wipe your mouth because you might have an organic mustache! Ha.

IMG_7158If I make it, my recipe looks like this:

1/2 cup Aloe Vera Juice – Inner Filet (I use Lily of the Desert Aloe Vera Juice)

1/2 cup water

1 Scoop of Garden of Life Perfect Food Raw (Regular)

1 Scoop of Garden of Life Raw Protein (Vanilla)

2 cap-fulls of Bragg Organic Vinegar Apple Cider

Bunch of baby kale

Bunch of spinach

Fresh or Frozen berries (or whatever frozen fruit I have- mango/peach/strawberry blend is another favorite of mine.)

*Blend it up real good and drink up pure goodness.

If my kids make it, their recipe looks like this:

1/2 cup Almond Milk (Almond/Coconut)

1/2 cup water (Or 1 cup of almond milk, no water)

1/2 Scoop of Garden of Life Perfect Food Raw (Regular)

Small bunch of Spinach

Bunch of strawberries (frozen or fresh)

Banana (1-2)

*Blend it up real good and prepare for “Mmmm”.

My kids will also go the chocolate route. Or they’ll add frozen blueberries or other fruit. That’s what is awesome about this glass full of goodness – SHAKE IT UP and create them as the tastebuds desire!


Garden of Life Raw Protein and Garden of Life Perfect Food Raw are a staple in our home.  If my kids like it for the taste, and I like it for the nutrition, and my hubby likes it for both, then that’s that!  😀

Sometimes, learning to eat nutritious can feel like figuring out a jigsaw puzzle!  “How, where, what will work and what won’t?”  Don’t give up on this jigsaw puzzle!  It’s worth the learning curve.  -Susan

My New Job …

I’m almost the big 4-0!

big 40

A number I always thought I’d embrace, but now that it’s knocking at my door, I feel like I’m trying to roller-skate backwards, on ice, as fast as I can because a swarm of bumble-bees are headed straight towards me.  “Aaack!”  Are you with me?  Haha. That!

As I turn a new chapter in my life, I am also reminded that I am not getting any younger.  So with a lot of thought, I decided there is no better time to start a new job.  I’m really excited.   This job has been a dream job for a very long time.  My duties as a mother, a wife are not secondary to my new job but stand equal to the duties of my new job; however, it is a job and it cannot take the back burner.  It is a job that I have always wanted to do but for reasons, mostly created from my own fear or ability to stand up for myself, have never really been able to accomplish or sustain for long periods of time.  My new job: PERSONAL CARE-TAKER!

Yes, my new job is to be my very own personal care taker!  I hired me!  And it’s a job I am taking seriously!  Since starting my new job, I am a happier and stronger person.  My motherly responsibilities are accomplished easier.  My new job has created a more positive wife.  Since starting this new position, the dividends have paid well:  I am positive. My physical and mental health are stronger.  I feel balanced.  I …. accomplish! *Jaw drop!* (haha-but true!) I am happy.  I am able.

Prior to accepting this new position, I felt either physically sick, down in the dumps, or fatigued.  Every day, I would be taken back to the days I felt strong and able to do what I wanted to do.  Oh yes, I knew exactly what helped me: exercise and eating healthy.  But I feel like I have tried to get back to doing that, but was overwhelmed with the almost impossible task at hand.  Something was in my way, mentally.   I finally got to the point *clap clap* that I would eat a healthy breakfast and a healthy dinner, but everything in between I consumed what was easy, fast, and often “oh my, I’ll just make a PBJ for me too” because I’m too (blank: tired, busy, overwhelmed, or just don’t want to bother with healthy).  But why did I still feel sick, tired, or whatever other ‘blah’ feeling?  As far as exercise, I had really great intentions, ALL of the time! But if I’m honest with myself, and you, those great intentions came with their own set of “IF’s” …  “if I could fit in the time”, “if I didn’t need a nap”, “if I didn’t have to work early that day”, “if…. if…. if….”. I never really thought those excuses, they just kinda happened naturally.  Sometimes I really did get in a run and I would feel ON TOP of the world!  Then I’d think, I’ll do that again tomorrow cuz that was awesome!  Do you know what I’m talking about?

Fast forward to a Sunday, not too long ago. Church had just finished and a sweet friend (and AMAZING cook) asked if our family would join theirs for dinner.  Oh wow, of course!  We’d love that!  … The food was amazing, as always!  Our visit was just splendid, as always!  … And then, my intestines or something inside of me felt like they were being strangled and twisted in tight fists!  It was one of the worst pains I had ever felt.   It went on and on… I didn’t know what to do.  It finally calmed down but within a few seconds, it started up again.  Slowly the feeling moved to the center of my innards.  And then back to the side again.  It went on for almost an hour!  It finally settled to where I could stand.  The pain, though not as excruciating, continued over the next 5+ days.  That made me reconsider my struggles with food and exercise.  That was my “AHA!” moment!


Why did I wait till I had so much pain, (I even considered going to the hospital … and for anyone who knows me, I will do anything not to go to a doctor or hospital! Ha), to put MY needs first?

The day after the severe attack, I said, I am hiring a personal care-taker.  I am hiring ME!  Because I KNOW what it is I NEED!  I KNOW what I CAN do!  I KNOW how STRONG I am!  I AM the best candidate!  I am tired of feeling sick.  I am tired of feeling tired.  I am tired of being put last on my very own list!  I AM STANDING UP FOR ME NOW!

Exercise Quote

Within those 6+ days of pain, I ate healthy and exercised, without fail!  What resulted was feeling stronger.  I developed an “I CAN” attitude, an “I HAVE TO” slogan, an “I LOVE MY FAMILY ENOUGH TO…” mentality, an “THEY WILL LOVE ME FOR IT” and “I WILL LOVE ME FOR IT” thought process.  This is a JOB!  I go to work each day.  And if you notice its not work with quotation marks.  Because “work” to me means “wink wink – haha – isn’t that cute? I’m going to “work”” … And I’ve decided its not that kind of work.  This is a job!  No exception, no excuses.  It comes regardless of my other jobs, employed inside/outside of my home.

I decided I COULD come up with every excuse “not to” but I have used up all those excuses, and it turns out, none of them love me back!

I am getting older.  Life is carrying on.  And it will carry on with or without me.  I want to be here as long as I can.  The only way for that to happen, and to minimize the aches, pains, sad faces, and all that I can control, and as long as the good Lord will let me stay, is for me to excel at my new job.  😀


Fitbit Activity + Sleep Trackers

Game Plan

I was talking with my sister not long ago, about my eating, and I said, “Today I am doing good .. This last week has been hard because I was filming out of town, and  then I got back home and the weather was not my friend.  So I went from not cooking for myself to welcome home, here’s your cloak of depression.”  I know the food that I was eating the weekend before did not help my situation when I got home.  She suggested that I need to have a pre-film plan to keep me eating right and a pre-game plan for when unexpected depression hits.

Game Plan2

If I’m going out of town or know that stuff that is not on my ‘okay-to-eat’ list will be graciously put before me, to be frank with people.  She said this (and I quote– cuz I love this response so much): “The people (even your friends) who cook for you will understand if you vocalize even more about your food needs and why.  Tell them of your experiences afterwards. … I bet they will want to help by making sure you eat on plan throughout recordings.  People will understand when you are pleading for their help. They love you … plus … figuring out a plan to help yourself will just help them too.”  My point with this story is that when depression hits, it is the most difficult thing to reason with yourself and say, “I should eat healthy because it helps my brain be happy and will help my depression” .. You mostly feel like: “Eat? Whatever.  Fine.  What is out that I can put in my mouth. (Notice there is no question mark – it is a statement.)  If nothing, forget it!”  It is difficult to reason!  A Pre-Game Plan … okay!  I am well today and can do that!  Tell people who may be cooking for me out of town (aka my friends) and tell my family that when I’m down with depression, that I can only eat XYZ (healthy food only on the list) – I need my family to know that when I’m down its not “a free-day, mom’s not cooking, we can eat whatever” …. cuz then I eat whatever, the cycle continues.  It’s vicious!  PRE-GAME PLAN!

The Big D – Let’s talk food …

DISCLAIMER:  I am not a doctor, therapist, or anything of the sort.  For all medical, fitness or therapeutic information/advice/plan, seek professional help.

When it comes to food, we live in a very convenient society!  Of course, the things that come to mind first are the obvious: fast food restaurants and microwave dinners.  But if you think of it, the delicious dinners that Costco cooks for us (and I love Costco!!), the neighborhood pizzeria, box of crackers, “fruit” snacks, chips, macaroni and cheese and other pastas, soda fountains and the cute little donuts at the gas station all offer our taste buds a bit of delight for a few moments but are highly processed, are loaded with sugars, sodium and fat, and (obviously) offer a poor diet that can lead to OR exasperate what many of us suffer from: depression.

Pizza in a box

Research and articles from the Mayo Clinic, Psychology Today, Prevention magazine, WebMD and other sources state time and again that what we eat has a DIRECT IMPACT on our well-being.  Then why do we feed ourselves these platefuls of unhappiness, discouragement and not to mention, more weight?  I’m guilty too!  It’s hard.  Processed food is convenient.  Oh yeah, I know all the excuses in the book!   But from poor eating comes nutritionally imbalanced people! … (Depression loves nutritionally imbalanced people. Ugh!)

In my own personal research, through learning from professional sources, through therapy and journaling, I have found that this convenient food that I am eating is really tearing me down while filling me up.   I guess, in essence, I am digging my own grave, physically and psychologically, with the very spoon I eat.



To start with, NUTRIENTS.  (The foods we consume that are “fortified with nutrients and vitamins” really start off pretty bad so adding a little good doesn’t erase the bad.  Heh.)   We can, HOWEVER, eat our nutrients a better way!  THINK HIGH NUTRIENTS!  Oh, this list may seem so cut and dry.  It kind of is.  Don’t get me wrong, I get it! Especially when you are down it is hard (and sometimes even a task that feels impossible) to think passed the cloud and muck you are consumed in, but we gotta figure a way to EAT THEM!

1. Increase your fruits and vegetables.

Add fruit (fresh or frozen) to your morning oatmeal.  Some carrots or cucumbers for lunch.  A salad with your dinner.  Baby steps is okay!  GET THEM DOWN and pat yourself on the back.  Tomorrow, do it again.  When you can, add an extra fruit/vegetable to your plate.  Rejoice every time!

2. Eat your essential antioxidants.  

Blueberries, apricots, broccoli, strawberries, cantaloupe, spinach, grapefruit, nuts, seeds, kiwi, oranges, peaches, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, wheat germ (sprinkle that on your oatmeal), etc.

These will reduce the free radical damage in the brain.  Yeah, we need that!

3. Reduce the amount of carbs.  

The carbs you eat need to be COMPLEX: whole grains, fruits, vegs, legumes …

Did you know that there is a connection between carbs and mood?  They are linked to the levels of serotonin in the brain!  That is why when we are depressed, we eat more carbs, more breads, more cookies – we are feeding the mood.  Which means to turn around the mood, we must be careful on the amount and types of carbs we consume – so we don’t feed the mood.

4. Limit sugary foods.

The sugars in cereals, breads, cookies, cakes, candy, etc, decrease the serotonin in our brains!  .. If you don’t know, that’s  the happy stuff.  Eeek.  That means, sugar lessens our happy brain power.  That’s bad.


5. Eat protein-rich foods several times a day.

 Fish, poultry, beans and peas, low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt.

Eating protein-rich foods boosts the dopamine in the brain.  Those who experience depression often feel the desire to sleep more or to be alone, maybe even in a dark room.  Your dopamine levels are probably low! … Add protein-rich foods to help up your alertness, energy level and mood!

6. Get plenty of Vitamin D, Vitamin D, Vitamin D!  

Vitamin supplements, light therapy, the sun.  Those who are affected by depression are likely to be deficient or very deficient in Vitamin D.  Talk with your doctor to find how much Vitamin D you need.

7. Include Omega-3 Fatty Acids. 

Salmon, Tuna, Flaxseed (you can buy it pre-ground and add to your oatmeal or over your salad), nuts, avocados, dark-leafy greens. Oh boy, that sounds like a great salad!


1.  Caffeine, alcohol, high-calorie/low-nutrient (processed, high-sugar foods), vegetable shortening/margarines (including the kind they cook our potato chips in), artificial sweeteners…  Consuming these products deplete the good and increase the bad.  No bueno!

Healthy Heart1

FOOD can be hard to master … especially for those who are imbalanced to start with!  Wherever you are in your journey of life, take my advice and follow the above.  Start with baby steps if you have to!  Just start.  The more healthy you eat, the better off you will be!

Although starting can be difficult, I KNOW from personal experience, that eating healthy and nutritious foods, as well as limiting food that should be limited, and avoiding the other stuff does, in fact, HELP with depression.  Nutritious food is part of my “medication” regimen.  It’s a must …. EVERY DAY! 

Healthy Smile

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