5-Minute DIY Calming Spray

Why would you need a calming spray? Great question!

During times of stress, it can be hard to remember to create a calming space for yourself to unwind and relax. Personally, I love to surround myself in an environment that allows me to shake off the day and feel at peace.

If you're in need of a calming space or just want to promote more relaxation in your home, give this calming spray a try.

Featuring lavender, eucalyptus, and chamomile essential oils, this mixture is great to spray in any room at the end of a long day—and there's no diffuser required!

I recommend this recipe for patients who are struggling with stress-related high blood pressure to produce a soothing effect that can help to promote healthy blood pressure levels.

So, how does it work? Well, it’s all centered around the essential oils.

First, this 5-Minute DIY Calming Spray contains lavender, which is known to help relieve stress and anxiety because it helps to calm the central nervous system.

Interestingly, studies have shown that lavender oil is comparable or even more effective than prescription anti-anxiety medications such as benzodiazepines and antidepressants known as SSRIs. [123]

Meanwhile, the eucalyptus oil in this calming spray is also known to help relieve anxiety and combat stress.

In fact, one study found that one of the active constituents of eucalyptus oil known as 1,8-cineole was found to help relieve anxiety. The researchers concluded that inhalation of eucalyptus oil blended with almond oil prior to and after surgery could help relieve anxiety in patients. [4]

Finally, this calming spray also utilizes chamomile essential oil.

According to one animal study, German chamomile extract was revealed to significantly inhibit brain activity related to generalized anxiety disorder. [5]

And several other studies have also noted that chamomile contains sedative effects, largely believed to be due to apigenin, which is a flavonoid known to bind to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain. [6]

As you can see, this 5-Minute DIY Calming Spray contains some powerful ingredients to help produce a calm, serene environment. So, let’s take a look at this quick and easy recipe so you have some on hand the next time you need it.


5-Minute DIY Calming Spray

Time: 5 minutes

Makes: 4 to 5 ounces


Calming spray - Dr. Pingel


2 ounces distilled water

2 ounces witch hazel

1 tablespoon glycerin, melted

8-10 drops lavender essential oil

8-10 drops eucalyptus essential oil

8-10 drops chamomile essential oil



1. In a misting spray bottle, combine all the ingredients. Shake vigorously to combine.

Calming spray - Dr. Pingel

2.  Spray a light mist into the air as needed to produce a calming effect.

Calming spray - Dr. Pingel

The Ultimate Weight Loss Smoothie

Introducing … my Ultimate Weight Loss Smoothie!

It's the new year, which means weight loss is front of mind for many people. But the truth is that it can be hard to reach and maintain a healthy weight during this time of year.

I always say that when you support your body with delicious, nutritious foods, weight loss and management come along with it. And that's exactly what this smoothie does: My Ultimate Weight Loss Smoothie is big on flavor yet filled with ingredients that don't pack on the pounds.

In fact, the ingredients in this smoothie have been known to support weight loss efforts! How? Let’s take a quick look and then get right to the quick and easy recipe.

First, my Ultimate Weight Loss Smoothie contains one cup of frozen strawberries, which not only provide fantastic flavor but also serve as a rich source of flavonoids

Interestingly, increased consumption of the flavonoids found in strawberries has been inversely associated with weight gain.

According to a 2016 study, eating blueberries, apples, pears, prunes, strawberries, and grapes were all shown to promote healthy weight management. [1]

But there’s even more weight management support in The Ultimate Weight Loss Smoothie in the form of spinach.

This recipe calls for one cup of raw spinach, which is known to contain membrane proteins called thylakoids. According to a 2019 review, consuming thylakoids can induce satiety and therefore reduce feelings of hunger. [2]

As a result, the researchers surmised that eating thylakoid-rich foods such as spinach can decrease appetite and overall food intake, which supports weight management efforts.

Finally, one serving of The Ultimate Weight Loss Smoothie calls for one-half of a grapefruit, which is known to support healthy weight management.

According to one study, people who consumed half of a fresh grapefruit daily for 12 weeks lost over five times more weight than people taking a placebo. Specifically the grapefruit group lost more than 3.5 pounds while the placebo group lost only 0.66 pounds! [3]

As you can see, my Ultimate Weight Loss Smoothie is filled with some powerfully proven weight management-supporting ingredients!

Ready to give it a try? Keep scrolling for the recipe, which only takes 5 minutes to make!


The Ultimate Weight Loss Smoothie

Time: 5 minutes

Serves: 1


Ultimate weight loss smoothie - Dr. Pingel


1 cup frozen strawberries

1 cup raw spinach

½ medium grapefruit, segmented

1 medium frozen banana

½ cup dairy-free milk



1. In a high-speed blender, combine all the ingredients. Blend until smooth.

Ultimate weight loss smoothie - Dr. Pingel

2. Enjoy immediately.

Ultimate weight loss smoothie - Dr. Pingel

Lemon Ginger Cayenne Detox Shot

Happy New Year! Let's kick it off right with a little detox in the form of this quick and easy Lemon Ginger Cayenne Detox Shot

Featuring ingredients known to help detoxify the body and give your metabolism a little boost, it's the perfect addition to your daily routine coming off the holidays.

So, what’s the secret behind this Lemon Ginger Cayenne Detox Shot?

First, it features cayenne pepper, which is known to contain capsicum and capsaicin, like many other chili peppers.

Both of these ingredients stimulate the production of nitric oxide in your body. [1] And because nitric oxide is a vasodilator that relaxes your blood vessels and increases blood flow throughout your body, it may help to increase the rate at which your liver detoxifies your blood.

But that’s not all. Cayenne pepper is also known to help increase your metabolism.

One study found that when women were given 5 grams of fresh chili pepper, such as cayenne pepper, they experienced an immediate increase in their metabolism by 20 percent that lasted up to 30 minutes. [2]

Meanwhile, another study measured the effects of dihydrocapsiate, a capsinoid, on the metabolism of 78 people who received varying doses of it over the course of 28 days.

At the end of the study, those who received dihydrocapsiate burned about 50 more calories each day than people in the control group—regardless of the dose! [3]

In addition to the cayenne, this Lemon Ginger Cayenne Detox Shot also capitalizes on the power of lemon.

According to a 2015 study on women who took part in a lemon detox program, consuming a lemon-focused diet for seven days supports healthy weight management.

The researchers randomly divided 84 premenopausal women into three groups; a control group without dietary restriction, a placebo diet group, and a lemon detox diet group.

They found that the lemon detox diet group experienced significantly greater changes in body weight, BMI, percentage of body fat, and waist-to-hip ratio in comparison to the other two groups. In fact, the lemon detox diet group lost, on average, almost six pounds in seven days! [4]

As you can see, this Lemon Ginger Cayenne Detox Shot packs a pretty powerful punch! Keep scrolling to get the recipe and try it for yourself.
And to learn more about what else you can do to support your body's detoxification and shed some excess water weight to get a healthy jumpstart this new year, head over to totalhealthapothecary.com to check out my incredible, easy-to-follow 7-day detox program!


Lemon Ginger Cayenne Detox Shot

Time: 5 minutes

Makes: 3 to 4 ounces


Lemon ginger cayenne detox - Dr. Pingel



2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey or agave

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

¼ teaspoon ginger, minced

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Water, to taste*

*Tip: Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water for a milder flavor.



1. In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients and whisk to combine.

Lemon ginger cayenne detox - Dr. Pingel

2. Transfer to a small cup. Add water as desired and drink the shot immediately.

Lemon ginger cayenne detox - Dr. Pingel

The Top 7 Vegan Appetizers You’re Bound to Love

Whether you're hosting friends or family or just looking for a few healthy dishes to serve your family for New Year's Eve, you'll want to check out my recipe round-up of the best vegan appetizers to serve right now!

They're quick, easy, and oh so delicious! Take a quick peek to get inspired before your next celebration and see which of these incredible vegan appetizers you want to whip up.


7 Incredible Vegan Appetizers You’ll Love


Vegan appetizers - Dr. Pingel

1. The Ultimate Charcuterie Wreath

Featuring antioxidant-rich ingredients, The Ultimate Charcuterie Wreath is the absolute must-have in the world of vegan appetizers.

Beautiful, colorful, and full of health-promoting plant-based foods such as olives, artichokes, radishes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and more, this easy charcuterie wreath will be the showstopper at your New Year’s Eve celebration and have you eating healthy foods in style.


Vegan appetizers - Dr. Pingel

2. Easy BBQ Cauliflower Wings with Vegan Ranch Dipping Sauce

We can’t have a vegan appetizers recipe roundup without including an incredible wing recipe.

These BBQ cauliflower wings offer a vegan, healthy spin on a classic appetizer and are perfect for a New Year’s celebration because they’re easily just popped right in the oven! Plus, they’re coated with the most delicious maple sriracha sauce guaranteed to please everyone.


Vegan appetizers - Dr. Pingel

3. Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

I’m a huge fan of this Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip because it uses a cashew cream base instead of processed vegan cheese. Plus, the base makes it taste absolutely incredible!

It only takes 10 minutes of prep time, making it a quick and easy option to serve as one of your vegan appetizers that even dairy lovers will enjoy!


Vegan appetizers - Dr. Pingel

4. Spring Rolls with Spicy Cashew Butter Sauce

If you’re looking to include something crunchy with your vegan appetizers, check o ut these Spring Rolls with Spicy Cashew Butter Sauce.

Featuring a rich, sweet cashew kimchi mix and a garlicky, spicy cashew sauce, these veggie-filled spring rolls are sure to satisfy both sweet and salty cravings.


Vegan appetizers - Dr. Pingel

5. The Ultimate Simple Pico de Gallo Recipe

When you want something easy and simple that appeals to a variety of tastes, this pico de gallo recipe is guaranteed to hit the spot—especially when served with corn chips.

It only takes 10 minutes from start to finish, making it a great last-minute addition to your spread. Depending on how many people you have in your home, you may want to double the recipe—this is one of those vegan appetizers that will go quickly!

Vegan appetizers - Dr. Pingel

6. Roasted Eggplant Dip

Looking for a dish to offer a bright pop of color to your offering of vegan appetizers? This roasted eggplant dip includes beets that offer a beautiful hue.

Serve it with fresh vegetables such as carrots and celery along with gluten-free crackers or bread for a dip everyone can enjoy!


Vegan appetizers - Dr. Pingel

7. Dark Chocolate Dessert Hummus with Hazelnut

While this is technically a dessert hummus, as the recipe title states, I decided to include my Dark Chocolate Dessert Hummus with Hazelnut in my list of top vegan appetizers because it’s not only packed with health benefits but also provides a flavor profile or those who prefer a little sweetness.

Like traditional hummus, this dessert hummus is also made from chickpeas. But instead of featuring common hummus ingredients, this dessert hummus includes sweeter ingredients such as chocolate, maple syrups, and vanilla. Serve it with fresh fruit or gluten-free crackers.

Vegan Pumpkin and Kale Lasagna

I always try to serve a lasagna with my holiday meals—and this year is no exception. So, I decided to try my hand at this Vegan Pumpkin and Kale Lasagna recently, and it did NOT disappoint!

If you're looking for a delicious dish to offer for the holidays this year, this is the one to make!

For this pumpkin and kale lasagna recipe, I included vegan cheese in the ingredients but should note that I actually prefer homemade nut-based cheeses, as they provide more nutritional value.

If you find that you’d like to avoid pre-made vegan cheese, you can find an alternative here with my cashew cream sauce.

Now, let’s talk about the nutritious foods in this recipe! As noted in the name, this Vegan Pumpkin and Kale Lasagna features two incredible sources of nutrients: pumpkin and kale!

As we’ve discussed before, pumpkin is rich in beta-carotene—an antioxidant that produces the red or orange pigment in certain plant-based foods.

Your liver then converts the beta-carotene you consume into vitamin A. And vitamin A is linked to everything from improved immune health to better eye health and vision to even improved memory!

In fact, studies have shown that a deficiency in vitamin A actually impairs your natural immunity by blocking the normal regeneration of your mucosal barriers. [1] That makes beta-carotene consumption even more important.

Additionally, the kale in this Vegan Pumpkin and Kale Lasagna has actually been called the most nutritious food on earth. Also high in beta-carotene, kale serves as a rich source of fiber along with vitamins C and K. [2]

As a result, kale is known to fight inflammation, rid your body of harmful toxins, and help prevent many chronic diseases.

Ready to serve up a holiday dish you can feel confident about? With its rich nutrient offerings and incredible taste, this Vegan Pumpkin and Kale Lasagna is guaranteed to be a show stopper for your holiday this year!


Vegan Pumpkin and Kale Lasagna

Serves: 4 to 6

Time: 55 minutes


Pumpkin and kale lasagna - Dr. Pingel



For the sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

15 ounces unsweetened tomato sauce

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

½ cup unsweetened pumpkin puree

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste


For the ricotta:

8 ounces vegan ricotta

¼ cup unsweetened pumpkin puree

2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

¼ cup raw sunflower seeds

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste


For the assembly:

8 ounces pumpkin, peeled and seeded

6 sheets ready-to-bake vegan gluten-free lasagna noodles

6 ounces kale, roughly chopped

5 ounces vegan mozzarella cheese, sliced or shredded (optional)



1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. For the sauce: In a pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute, or until fragrant and golden. Add the tomato sauce, balsamic, pumpkin, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat.

Pumpkin and kale lasagna - Dr. Pingel

3. For the ricotta: In a mixing bowl, combine the vegan ricotta, pumpkin puree, chopped sage, sunflower seeds, and salt and pepper. Mix well.

Pumpkin and kale lasagna - Dr. Pingel

4. For the assembly: With a grate or food processor, shred the pumpkin.

Pumpkin and kale lasagna - Dr. Pingel

5. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the sauce into a loaf pan and spread into an even layer. Place 2 sheets of lasagna to cover the bottom of the pan. Top with half of the kale and half of the pumpkin. Top with one-third of the sauce.

Pumpkin and kale lasagna - Dr. Pingel

6. Top with half of the ricotta and spread into an even layer. Repeat to make 2 layers.

Pumpkin and kale lasagna - Dr. Pingel

7. Top the lasagna with the remaining 2 lasagna noodles, remaining sauce, and vegan mozzarella.

Pumpkin and kale lasagna - Dr. Pingel

8. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes, or until bubbling and lightly golden. Serve and enjoy!

Pumpkin and kale lasagna - Dr. Pingel

The Most Delicious Vegan Eggnog

If you’re looking for an incredible vegan eggnog recipe, you’ve come to the right place! My recipe for The Most Delicious Vegan Eggnog is rich, creamy, and easy—and it doesn’t contain any inflammatory dairy, meaning it’s a recipe you can serve to almost anyone.

While traditional eggnog is made with eggs, sugar, and dairy, this vegan eggnog recipe features oat milk, cashews, and pure maple syrup. It also contains flavorful portions of the traditional eggnog spices cinnamon and nutmeg.

So, aside from being dairy-free, what makes The Most Delicious Vegan Eggnog a halthier alternative to traditional eggnog?

First, oat milk is made from nutritious oats, and it’s a great source of dietary and soluble fiber along with many nutrients, such as vitamin D, vitamin A, calcium, potassium, vitamin B12, riboflavin, phosphorus, and more. [1]

Meanwhile, the cashews contain high amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs)—the fatty acid known to promote heart health, satiety, and more.

Plus, they have a rich nutrient profile, containing significant amounts of copper, manganese, magnesium, zinc, iron, phosphorus, vitamin K, vitamin E, B vitamins, and more.

The result? This vegan eggnog recipe will support satiety, heart health, bone strength, and even healthy blood sugar levels.

Ready to find out for yourself how amazing The Most Delicious Vegan Eggnog tastes? Keep reading for the recipe!


The Most Delicious Vegan Eggnog

Serves: 1

Time: 5 minutes


Vegan eggnog - Dr. Pingel



1½ cup unsweetened oat milk

½ cup raw cashews, soaked in water overnight

2 tablespoons flax seeds

¼ cup pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg



1. In a high-speed blender, combine all the ingredients. Blend until completely smooth.

Vegan eggnog - Dr. Pingel

2. Transfer the mixture to the refrigerator to thicken and chill. Shake well and serve cold.

Vegan eggnog - Dr. Pingel