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20
OCT

How to Become a Morning Workout Person

Filed Under: Diet & Weight Loss,Exercise and Fitness at 8:00 am | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor
Close up of a man running in the park

It’s not an easy task but if you like to take on a challenge, here’s a great one: becoming a morning workout person.

Many people simply cannot exercise in the early hours of the day for different reasons. Some people need a slow start. Some people only start functioning after a cup of coffee or tea. Some people simply don’t have the energy to work out in the morning hours. Plus, the majority of people can’t seem to fit a workout into their busy schedules. Work, school, kids—everything else seems to take up our morning time, but there’s a way to make it happen!

You can wake up earlier, get your workout done and then start your day as you normally would.
Waking up an hour earlier than your usual time may be sufficient, but as we know, this is easier said than done and takes some habit-forming skills. Of course, going to bed earlier is necessary to become a morning person as you still need to sleep enough hours and wake up rested. Making this a habit may actually bring a lot of health benefits for you.

Eating properly is essential. You may choose to eat a light breakfast or a nutritional bar before your workout and then complement with a healthy breakfast once your activity is done. You can also eat a full healthy breakfast and then workout, of course, this option may only work you have enough time in the morning. In both cases, eating well and exercising in the morning hours are two important factors that can help regulate your eating habits, and in some cases, making you less hungry for the rest of day.

Since waking up early and starting a new habit are two, not-so-easy things to do, you can start slowly, exercising just 10-15 minutes, two or three times a week. Once your mind and your body are used to the new workout time, bump up to 20-30 minutes and more frequently if you wish. This way, it may be easier for you to get that great feeling after getting your exercise done in the morning hours without feeling tired during the day.

Remember that it may take time and you may feel like quitting but don’t give up. Once you have established yourself as a morning workout person, you will feel energized every day.



20
OCT

6 Reasons to Try Homeopathy

Filed Under: Homeopathy at 12:01 am | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor
Closeup of bottles with homeopathic remedies with Basil herb and Materia Medica and Repertory books on side, arnica montana, aconite napellus, lycopodium clavatum, arsenicum album … Generic labels with generic names created by me and applied to bottles.

Homeopathy has been growing in the past years for a variety of different reasons. Known to help stimulate the body’s own mechanism, homeopathy is an inexpensive remedy that can help people who are in pain and may be dependent on drugs that may cause more problems than the original issues. Let’s look a 6 good reasons to try homeopathy.

1. No Side Effects

Homeopathy is a treatment without side effects, making it easier for anyone to try and use it on a regular basis. Plus, there is no risk of addiction to homeopathic medicines, a common issue with regular drugs.

2. Effective Treatment

Homeopathy works. This effective treatment can help minimize your health problems permanently and, as long as the remedy is chosen and used correctly, it will provide quick relief, acting within minutes or hours.

3. Affordable

Homeopathic remedies are much more affordable than conventional ones. These inexpensive products are below the $20 range per bottle and can be as low as $2.

4. Works for Everyone

Homeopathy can help adults, children, infants, the elderly, and even pets and livestock. This simple treatment may offer anyone of any age the solution for different health problems that conventional medicine has no cure.

5. FDA Approved

Homeopathy is approved by the FDA, Food and Drug Administration. Unlike conventional drugs, there are no reports of homeopathic remedies which have been forced off the market due to consumers having adverse reactions.

6. Worldwide Data

With over 200 years of data to support its claims, homeopathy has been used throughout the world in many countries in Europe and South America as well as some countries in Asia.



12
OCT

This 10-Step Routine Might Be The Secret To Clear, Glowing Skin

Filed Under: Beauty,Personal Care at 2:38 pm | By: Madeline Reiss
Young beautiful korea woman holding product in hand with relax emotion at pink background, 20-30 year old.

Korean skincare (K-Beauty) products are populating beauty aisles left and right. Characterized by their eye-catching colors and whimsical packaging, K-Beauty products utilize a modern “nature meets technology” formula and thorough 10-step regimen that’s practiced morning and night. Pick up a face mask and you might see ingredients like snail mucin (yes, that’s snail slime), pig collagen and bee venom—all said to boost cell regeneration, calm inflammation and leave you with a dewy glow.

The philosophy behind the K-Beauty regimen is that an individual’s complexion requires a customized routine that addresses their unique skin issues, such as acne, dry skin, premature aging and so on. While 10-steps sound exhausting, keep in mind several steps are only practiced twice a week and a few products are used more than once.

Ready to become an expert on Korean skincare? Buckle up, because we’re taking you through the complete, 10-part system.

The 10-Step Korean Beauty Routine

Step 1: Remove Makeup & Pre-Cleanse…

The first half of the popular K-Beauty “double cleanse” is removing your makeup with an oil-based makeup remover. Massage all over your face to break up dirt and bacteria, adding a splash of lukewarm water to help spread the product, then rinse!

Step 2: …And Cleanse Again

A crucial step in the K-Beauty regime is proper, thorough cleansing. This helps activate a radiant, acne-free complexion! Using a mild, water-based cleanser, rinse away impurities leftover from the pre-cleansing step with soft, circular motions.

Step 3: Exfoliate

Soft, supple skin means no dead skin cells collecting on the surface, so slough it off and don’t neglect your lips! A big note on this step: you don’t need to scrub your entire face every night. Try this step twice a week, as exfoliated skin allows your skin to effectively absorb the rest of the products.

Step 4: Toner

K-Beauty toners are not your typical, overdrying, alcohol-filled formulas. Their goal is to hydrate and clarify, balancing your skin’s pH levels and prepping the surface for better absorption of other products.

Step 5: Face Mist

Regarded as the most important step of K-Beauty skincare, an essence is a kind of toner-serum hybrid made for aiding skin repair, brightening your complexion and assisting with cell turnover. Apply it to freshly toned skin and pat it in.

Step 6: Serum

Think of a serum as a concentrated essence that directly treats the issues unique to your skin type. Different serums target large pores, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, etc. This is what makes the 10-step routine super customizable to your own skincare needs.

Step 7: Sheet Mask

While essences are the most important step, sheet masks are definitely the most popular and recognizable step of the K-beauty routine. Apply and let the mask sit for 15-20 minutes, once or twice a week for best results. If you’ve been wanting to add a mindfulness practice to your daily routine, this is the perfect time for some meditation!

Step 8: Eye Cream

K-Beauty recognizes that the skin surrounding your eyes is different from the rest of your face—soft delicate and fragile. An eye cream provides this special area with the hydration and protection it needs to stay bright and free of dark circles. Always tap to apply & never rub!

Step 9: Moisturizer

If dewy, glowing skin is the ultimate goal, it’s paramount to find a moisturizer that suits your skin type. K-Beauty moisturizers span the entire realm of face care formulations, from creams to gels to lotions, all working to seal in the hydration that will keep your skin firm and fine-lines in check.

Step 10: SPF Or Sleep Cream

If you’re sealing off your AM routine, the K-Beauty regimen always encourages an SPF of 30+, even if you’re only going outside for a few minutes. It’s the easiest and most effective way to prevent premature aging and skin cancer. If you’re practicing your nighttime routine, smooth on a second layer of moisturizer with a sleep cream. This step locks in moisture and keeps your skin hydrated through the night.

Whew! Though it seems like you’ll need a spreadsheet to keep all these products organized, many people are raving about the 10-step K-Beauty routine. Will you be giving it a try? Let us know your thoughts!



11
OCT

Butternut Squash & Cranberry Quinoa Salad

Filed Under: Recipes at 10:46 am | By: Madeline Reiss
Quinoa salad with cranberries and orange. Superfoods concept. View from above

This salad made with protein-packed quinoa, tasty cranberry, pumpkin seeds & butternut squash is bursting with fall flavors! Easy to mix up in large batches so you always have a healthy meal on hand.

Ingredients

3 cups butternut squash, chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1½ cups water
⅓ cup dried cranberries
⅓ cup red onion, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. toasted pumpkin seeds
Salt & black pepper

For Balsamic Vinaigrette
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt & black pepper

Instructions

For Balsamic Vinaigrette

  1. Whisk all the ingredients in a small bowl until combined. Season with salt & pepper, to taste.

For Salad

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the butternut squash with olive oil. Season with salt & pepper, to taste.
  3. Arrange coated squash on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until squash is tender & lightly browned.
  4. While the squash is roasting, rinse quinoa under cold water until water runs clear.
  5. Place quinoa and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer & cook partially covered until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
  6. To assemble the salad, combine the cooked quinoa, roasted squash, cranberries, red onion, toasted pumpkin seeds in a large bowl.
  7. Add the vinaigrette and mix until combined. Season with salt & pepper, to taste. Chill in the refrigerator for couple hours & serve.

Recipe source: LittleBroken.com



10
OCT

5 Best Mindful Activities When Meditation Isn’t Cutting It

Filed Under: Exercise and Fitness,Mental Wellbeing,Mindfulness at 12:27 pm | By: Guest Blogger
Mid adult woman riding bike

Article Written by Jessica Thiefels

“Mindfulness” is a buzzword we can’t seem to ignore any longer because it’s more than just a passing trend. In fact, this concept is rooted in ancient Eastern customs and culture and, when practiced regularly, can have a wide variety of holistic benefits that strengthen the mind, body and spirit.

Greater Good Magazine defines this term as “moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and the surrounding environment.” This mental exercise grounds us in the present, enables us to observe our inner selves without judgment, and keeps our focus off the “white noise” of this distracted, hyper-frenetic world.

I know what you’re thinking: “But I can’t just sit still for 20 minutes; I’ve tried meditation, I just can’t do it.” The good news is you don’t have to sit still to reap the benefits of mindfulness. If you want to experience more balance and peace in your own life, these sports are ideal for practicing mindfulness and getting a workout at the same time.

Cycling

Cycling engages the mind-body connection in several capacities, from the physical act of steering and pedaling to the mental drill of pushing through challenges, finding your pace and anticipating the route ahead.

“Every aspect of cycling can become a meditation,” suggests Nick Moore, author of Mindful Thoughts for Cyclists. He explains that preparing for a ride “has its own rituals that switch us unconsciously from civilian to cyclist—a mental shift of gears in which we transition from one energy state to another, from the potential to the kinetic.” And after, “giving the bike a rub-down, re-lube and once-over is a chance to decompress and gather our thoughts.”

Take your cycling outside for even greater mental health benefits. If you can only cycle in a gym or your home, stay in tune with your body and your breathing to maintain mindfulness.

Tennis

The elements of competition and self-awareness that are prevalent in tennis work to keep your attention engaged in the action and energy of the court rather than your mind. According to a discipline known as Mindfulness-Based Tennis Psychology, this practice “enhances overall performance by increasing an athlete’s ability to function ‘in the zone,’ by sharpening concentration” to hone both “accuracy and precision.”

The Huffington Post also reports that tennis champion Novak Djokovic uses mindfulness in this tennis to release self-doubt, anger and worry, a skill he deems “just as important as physical training.”

You can play tennis alone against a wall, or with a partner; in either case, you may not have to try very hard to maintain mindfulness in this game. The game will keep you naturally focused on breath and movement.

Running

Running has a way of giving you clarity and focus as you move to the rhythm of your footfalls and feel the deepness of your breath. That may be why 22 percent of runners said they started running as a natural form of stress-relief, according to a 2017 runners poll by Fit2Run.

This type of movement leaves room for “reflection and exploration,” suggests Runner’s World, making it the perfect way to practice active mindfulness. Tune into the repetitive motion that engages both the upper- and lower-body and listen to your feet as they strike the ground. Take note of how that feels, as your foot flows from heel to toe and back into the air again.

Archery

This less popular sport is rooted in the “kyudo” tradition of samurai warriors and has been described as a “moving meditation” to synchronize and bring about a sense of equilibrium to a person’s inner world. “Kyudo [which means ‘way of the bow’] is infused with philosophical influences…making it a ritualistic practice,” explains Archery360.

This unique form of archery eliminates all outside diversions to “symbolize leaving your worries at the door.” Instead, you enter the practice range, uninhibited from stressors with a clarity of “pure heart and mind.” The precision needed to align your stance, engage your isometric muscles, then fixate on the target is both an intuitive and immersive experience.

To enjoy this active meditation, look for a local archery school or class, which you may be able to find at a local college or recreation center.

Weightlifting

The breathing sequence of “inhale, exhale, lift, hold, pause and repeat” is a powerful way to activate active meditation during your workout. Tuning into yourself in the weight room, finding stillness in the sound of barbells making contact with a metal rack or the feel of your biceps protruding under a heavy mass, boosts strength, both mental and physical.

Ayurveda expert Larissa Carlson suggests that by noticing the “sensation of muscles contracting and releasing, the roughness of your skin against the weight or the sweat trickling down your back,” it’s possible to achieve a posture she calls “meditation in motion.”

Start Moving Mindfully

Find time for these activities in your regular fitness routine—but don’t expect mindfulness to come naturally. Tune into your breath, make note of how your muscles are feeling, and connect breath with movement as much as possible. Soon, this mindful active state will come naturally, and you’ll leave very workout feeling that familiar post-yoga bliss that comes with focusing on breath and our bodies.

Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than ten years and is currently a full-time writer, ACE Certified Personal Trainer and NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition specialist. She’s also the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Honest Body Fitness, an online health magazine for women who are fed up with being told how to look and how to get there, yet still don’t feel like enough. She’s written for Shape, Reader’s Digest, AARP, Snap Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness and more. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for health articles, workouts tips and more.



7
OCT

Low-sugar Vegan Salted Caramel Brownies

Filed Under: Recipes at 4:40 pm | By: Madeline Reiss
Sea Salt Caramel Brownies

Want to indulge in chocolatey goodness without the guilt? These vegan, salted caramel brownies are rich, fudgy, perfectly sweet, low-sugar and require less than 10 ingredients in total. Great for parties or packing in your lunch for a mid-day treat!

Ingredients

1½ cups tahini
2 tbsp ground flax + 6 tbsp water (for flax eggs)
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup applesauce
1 tbsp vanilla
½ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ cup dark chocolate chips
½ cup walnuts
½ – ¾ cup vegan salted caramel (recipe makes ~ 1 cup)

For the Caramel Sauce

¼ cup lite coconut milk
⅓ cup maple syrup
½ – ¾ cup tahini
½ tsp molasses, more or less to taste/preference
¼ tsp sea salt, more or less to taste

Instructions

For Caramel Sauce

  1. Add coconut milk, maple syrup and ½ cup tahini to a small saucepan and warm over medium heat, whisking occasionally until well incorporated, about 3 minutes
  2. At this point the caramel sauce will still be fairly liquid and milky. If you’re okay with this texture, you can proceed. If not, whisk in up to ¼ cup more tahini until desired consistency is reached
  3. Taste and adjust sweetener as necessary then stir in molasses until well combined
  4. Remove from heat, stir in salt and vanilla extract if using and adjust salt to taste
  5. Pour into a mason jar and allow to cool to room temperature before covering and storing in the fridge

For Brownies

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease a 9×9 brownie pan or line with parchment paper and set aside
  2. Combine ground flax and water in a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and set aside for 5 minutes until an egg-like gel forms.
  3. Add the tahini, maple syrup, applesauce and vanilla and whisk until well combined
  4. Add the cocoa powder, baking soda, chocolate chips, walnuts and/or other mixins of choice and fold in with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula
  5. Transfer batter to prepared brownie pan and top with extra nuts or chocolate chips if desired
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the brownie comes out clean
  7. While the brownies are baking, prep the caramel sauce if you haven’t already done so and allow to cool slightly
  8. Remove the brownies from the oven and pour the slightly cooled caramel sauce onto the still hot brownies, making sure to spread the caramel evenly with a spatula. Alternatively, you can allow the brownies to cool slightly before slicing then drizzle with caramel sauce
  9. Sprinkle with sea salt, if desired and place the pan on a wire rack on the counter or in the fridge (to speed things up)
  10. Allow cooling completely before slicing and serving

Recipe Source: Exsloth.com



5
OCT

7 Protein Sources for a Plant-Based Diet

Filed Under: Health Foods,Superfoods,Supplements at 10:00 am | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor
Starting a plant-based diet? Get ready for the inevitable question: where are you going to get your protein? Don’t worry. With so many great sources available, it shouldn’t be a problem to find a few foods that can fit into your new diet. Let’s look at 7 protein sources for a plant-based diet.

1. Spirulina

This algae superfood is incredibly rich in protein and is a perfect ingredient for smoothies. With 40 grams of protein per serving, spirulina also contains the highest amount of glutamine found in a plant food.

2. Chia Seeds

No longer a strange superfood, chia seeds have become a stable of health food. Rich in protein and an excellent source of soluble fiber, you can sprinkle chia seeds on oatmeal, cereals, porridges or make a delicious chia seed pudding with almond milk.

3. Black Beans

An awesome source of protein, black beans contain 15 grams per serving and can be easily added to your diet. Used in salads and veggie burritos, black beans also contain lysine and leucine, two amino acids rarely found in plant-based foods.

4. Pumpkin Seeds

Perfect for baking, pumpkin seeds are also a great source of protein as a single cup contains up to 12 grams. Considered a complete protein, these seeds are also high in healthy fats and minerals such as zinc and magnesium.

5. Lentils

Lentils are a great source of protein as well as fiber and carbohydrates. With 20 grams of protein per cup, lentils contain a ton of amino acids and can be easily added to your diet in salads, tacos, or mixed with rice or quinoa for a delicious meal.

6. Hemp Seeds

Hemp Seeds have 9 grams of protein per serving as well as healthy omega-3 fatty acids. A complete amino acid, hemp seeds have a deliciously sweet and nutty flavor that can be added to increase protein content to many recipes of smoothies, baked goods and desserts.

7. Quinoa

A gluten-free grain, quinoa is also a great source of protein with around 15 grams per cup of cooked quinoa. Considered a starchy protein, quinoa also contains carbohydrates and fiber and is widely used in hot or cold cereals, salads, or in meals instead of rice.



4
OCT

Gluten-Free Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Filed Under: Recipes at 3:33 pm | By: Madeline Reiss
Warm Apple Cider Donuts Ready to Eat

Apple cider donuts are truly a mark of the season! This recipe is a gluten-free adaptation of the traditional donuts typically enjoyed after a day of pumpkin picking. These donuts pair perfectly with a mug of hot cider or coffee or topped with ice cream for dessert.

Ingredients

2 cups of unfiltered apple cider
½ cup of coconut sugar
¼ cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
½ cup buttermilk, shaken
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1¾ cups all-purpose gluten-free flour blend
¼ cup almond flour
½ teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your flour blend contains it)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves

For the topping:

¼ cup melted butter
½ cup sugar & 1 teaspoon cinnamon, whisked together in a bowl

Instructions

  1. Heat the cider in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer until the cider has reduced to ½ cup. Set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a 2 mini-donut pans (or 2 regular doughnut pan) with gluten-free cooking spray. (Tip: if you need to bake the donuts in more than one batch, make sure to re-spray the pan with gluten-free cooking spray)
  3. Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and reduced cider until combined. Add the flour blend, almond flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and cloves and beat until smooth.
  4. Pour the mixture into a large zip-top bag and snip about ½ inch off one corner. Carefully pipe mixture into your prepared donut pan, filling each well about ½ full. Do NOT overfill the donut wells or your donuts will come out looking more like leprechaun hats.
  5. Bake the donuts until they spring back when gently touched, about 8 minutes for the minis, 10 minutes for the larger ones.
  6. Dip or brush the donuts with the melted butter just as soon as they are cool enough to handle and gently toss with the cinnamon/sugar mixture.
  7. Serve immediately!

Recipe source here.



25
SEP

3 Frighteningly Delicious Halloween Party Snacks

Filed Under: Recipes at 11:24 am | By: Madeline Reiss
 

Throwing a Halloween party, or just looking for snacks that are as adorable as they are spooky? These three treat recipes are delicious and (mostly) healthy…because we all want to indulge a little on holidays!

Banana Ghosts & Tangerine Pumpkins

Healthy Halloween treats, banana ghosts and orange pumpkins, on a plate with holiday decor

Ingredients

  • Tangerines, peeled
  • Celery, cut into small sticks
  • Bananas, peeled and cut in half
  • Mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Stick celery into tops of tangerines.
  2. Stick a chocolate chip eyes & nose into bananas.
  3. Now wasn’t that easy!

Recipe: Flo & Grace

 

Monster Apples

Spooky halloween edible apple monsters healthy natural dessert. Horror party decoration delicious snack. Homemade cute cyclop mouth with teeth and peanut butter on dark vintage wooden table background.

Ingredients

  • 2 green apples, each quartered
  • almond butter (or nut butter of choice)
  • 32 sunflower seeds
  • 2-3 strawberries, sliced
  • 1-2 googly eyes (marshmallows) per apple quarter
  • Chocolate sauce for the googly-eye pupils

Instructions

  1. Cut the middle out of each quarter of the apple in order to create a mouth. Don’t worry about it being perfect, as you are filling this gap with almond butter anyway so if you cut too deep, you can always cover it up and you won’t even be able to notice.
  2. Coat the inside of the gap where you just cut with a filling of almond or hazelnut butter.
  3. Place sunflower seeds on the top of where the “mouth” is to resemble the teeth.
  4. Place 1 sliced strawberry inside the mouth to resemble the tongue.
  5. “Glue” each eye above the mouth, using a dab of almond butter to make it stick in place.
    Serve your monsters and enjoy!

Recipe Source: Parenting Chaos

 

Candy Corn Fruit Cocktail

Colorful Candy Corn for Halloween on a Background

Ingredients

  • pineapple, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • oranges, cut into bite-sized chunks ( or I used small Cuties)
  • whipped cream
  • candy corn

Instructions

  • In a clear glass, layer pineapple, then oranges and top with whipped cream and a couple pieces of candy corn. Serve right away or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe: Family Fresh Meals 



25
SEP

5-Minute Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal

Filed Under: Recipes at 10:23 am | By: Madeline Reiss
Bowl of oatmeal porridge with banana and caramel sauce on rustic table, hot and healthy breakfast every day, diet food

Now there really is no excuse to skip breakfast! These nutritious oats are extremely easy to make, use what you probably already have in your kitchen and are ready to eat in 5 minutes. If bananas aren’t your thing, quick oats are great with any fruit, but we think the classic peanut butter and banana duo is too delicious to resist.

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups almond milk (or any milk substitute)
1 cup quick oats
1 large ripe banana, mashed
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 to 3 teaspoons honey, optional
Sliced bananas and chopped peanuts for serving

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, bring milk to a boil, watching carefully so that it doesn’t boil over.
  2. Stir in oats, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from heat and cover for a few minutes.
  4. Stir in mashed banana, peanut butter, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Stir in honey, to taste, if desired. Top with sliced bananas, chopped peanuts, and additional cinnamon before serving.

Recipe source: fivehearthome.com



23
SEP

How to Brew Your Own Kombucha

Filed Under: Ask The ND,Detoxification and Cleansing,General Wellness & Wellbeing,Recipes at 9:12 am | By: Dr. Jeremy Wolf, ND & Lead Wellness Advisor
Homemade Fermented Raw Kombucha Tea Ready to Drink

You’ve seen Kombucha lining health store aisles, maybe mispronounced it a few times and probably tried it at least once…but what exactly is it and why is it so popular? Kombucha (Kom-booch-uh) is a fermented tea that originated in Northeast China around 220 B.C. and was revered for its health-boosting and gut-healing properties. It’s made by mixing black tea (or green tea) and sugar, then fermenting the blend into a fizzy, probiotic-packed wellness drink. Fermentation, by definition, is the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts or other microorganisms.

For Kombucha, fermentation happens through “SCOBY”—an acronym for a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. The SCOBY is part of the brewing process and a new layer of SCOBY will grow on the surface of the original used to begin the brew. For your first batch, you need to purchase a SCOBY from a reputable source. Once added to the tea-sugar blend, SCOBY breaks down most of the sugar in the mixture. The batch is left to ferment for 1-2 weeks and is then transferred to bottles where it sits for another 1-2 weeks to encourage carbonation. During bottling, different flavors are infused to create a refreshing, bubbly, health beverage. Kombucha is popular because it combines the health benefits of tea with those of probiotics and healthy bacteria!

Health Benefits of Kombucha

  1. Packed with antioxidants, enzymes and organic acids such as acetic, caprylic and more
  2. Contains B-Vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, B5, B12
  3. May reduce heart disease risk
  4. Improves digestion and supports a healthy gut
  5. Promotes detoxification
  6. May have immune system boosting & antiviral properties
  7. Antioxidants in Kombucha may help protect the liver

 

Recipe For Brewing Kombucha

 

Ingredients:
*This recipe makes 1 gallon

  • Active SCOBY
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 96 oz. of water
  • 6 bags (12 g) black or green tea
  • Pot, mason jars, 1 gallon glass fermentation vessel/jar, wooden spoons, mesh tea ball (if using loose leaf tea)
  • Thermometer strips
  • pH test strips
  • Organic cotton cloth cover
  • Rubber bands
  • Herbs, spices, fruits or flavoring of your choice (optional)

Brewing Instructions

  1. Clean all surfaces, utensils, pots, jars & hands with soap & water—leaving no residue behind. Always use glass vessels and wooden or plastic utensils.
  2. Bring ¼ gallon of filtered water to a boil.
  3. While the water is heating, prepare your tea. If you are using loose leaf tea you will need a mesh tea ball. The tea for this step should be simple & unflavored. Earl Grey and other flavored teas are not recommended.
  4. Once the water has reached a boil, steep six tea bags (12 grams) of black or green tea in hot water for 20 minutes, mixing frequently. Make sure to do this step in a pot that can withstand high temperatures.
  5. Remove the tea bags and stir 1 cup of sugar into the pot. Mix this for a couple of minutes to help the sugar dissolve.
  6. Pour your mixture into your 1 gallon, glass fermentation jar.
  7. Fill the jar with 8 cups of cold, filtered water.
  8. Use your thermometer to ensure the temperature reads between 68-84 degrees F before adding your SCOBY or Kombucha culture.
  9. Once the temperature is right, add your culture to the mixture.
  10. Cover your fermentation jar with an organic cotton cover and seal it with a rubber band.
  11. Place your mixture in a warm place out of direct sunlight & with plenty of airflow (not in a closed cupboard). The best temperature for this process is between 72 and 80 degrees F. Make sure to check the temperature gauge frequently & adjust locations as needed.
  12. After a couple of days you will begin to notice a cream-colored layer growing on top of your brew. This is your new culture! Your batch should be ready in about 9-14 days depending on the temperature, water quality & your taste preference. Cool temperatures slow fermentation while warm temperatures speed it up. The typical fermentation period is about 7-10 days.
  13. If your batch is too sweet, put the cloth back on and let it brew a few more days. If it is too tart you can sweeten during the bottling process.
  14. After you have made your Kombucha, it’s time to bottle it!

Bottling & “Second Fermentation”

  1. Remove the SCOBY & place into a glass or porcelain container. Pour some of the Kombucha liquid on top, enough to cover your SCOBY. This will be the starter liquid for your next batch and keeps the SCOBY fresh.
  2. Add your brew to a 32 oz. glass bottle with a tight-fitting lid. Your brew may contain brown blobs, strands, or debris after removing the SCOBY & that it is perfectly fine! It’s just parts leftover from the mother SCOBY. If you don’t like the blobs, you can use a strainer if when pouring your Kombucha into the bottle.
  3. It’s best to leave an inch or less of air at the top of the bottle. This should allow for the appropriate amount of carbonation.
  4. You can use crushed leaves of fresh herbs, ground or whole spices, fruit purees, veggie juices & host of other options to flavor your brew. Add the individual flavors directly into your Kombucha bottle and cap. If your lid is metal, be sure to place plastic wrap in between the lid & your Kombucha.
  5. If you are looking for a carbonated beverage, let the sealed bottle continue to ferment at room temperature for 3-7 days. Then put the mixture into the fridge & enjoy. If you don’t like fizzy drinks or carbonation, you can just put the flavored bottle straight into the fridge after bottling. You can strain out the fruits, herbs etc. after if preferred.

Some Cautions…

  • Always use caution when brewing your own Kombucha & be careful about fermenting it too long.
  • Never touch the Kombucha or SCOBY with metal as it may kill it.
  • Look out for mold! Brown, clear and cream are acceptable colors for your SCOBY. Black, green, blue or white, fuzzy mold & dark, round spots should never be present. If you see any of those make sure to throw the culture and brew away.
  • If you ever have any reserves about your Kombucha, reach out to someone for help. You should also check the pH of your Kombucha using test strips to make sure it’s between 2.5-3.5—the ideal range for Kombucha.

Other Tips

  • If you are brewing for the first time & nervous about making your own Kombucha, there are an assortment of kits you can purchase which provide you with everything you need to brew your own. They also come with easy-to-follow instructions that make the process very enjoyable!
  • It’s recommended to start with a little Kombucha a day & gradually work your way up to drinking more. Stick with about 8 oz. per day or less, especially in the beginning.
  • If you are pregnant, breast feeding or have underlying health conditions, make sure to check with your health care provider before trying Kombucha.
  • Kombucha is brewed using black tea and sugar which, when fermented, turns into alcohol in very small amounts. However, only about 1% of Kombucha is believed to be alcohol.



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6 Resistance Band Workouts You Can Do Anywhere

Filed Under: Exercise and Fitness,Men's Health,Women's Health at 5:00 pm | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor
Athlete training with a resistance band

If you want to get in shape but can’t afford a gym membership or kettlebells and dumbbells, we have great news for you. Resistance bands are the way to go! Affordable, space-efficient, highly portable and even more effective than a set of dumbbells, these bands are known to improve strength and balance by working in a full range of motion, targeting muscles that you may miss with weights. So, let’s look at 6 resistance band workouts you can do anywhere.

1. Band Pull Apart

This exercise targets chest, triceps, and upper back. Simply stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and head facing forward. Hold a resistance band in front of you with your arms extended straight out. Leave a little bit of band left at the ends and pull the band apart by bringing your shoulder blades together so that the band touches your chest. Slowly return to the starting position by bringing your arms back down in front you at eye level. Repeat slowly and under control, up to 10 reps.

2. Lunge with Biceps Curl

Place the center of the band under the instep of your left foot and position your right foot about two feet behind you. With an underhand grip on the band’s handles, perform a biceps curl while bending your knees to lower into a lunge position, repeating up to 20 times, then switch legs.

3. Donkey Kicks

A great exercise for legs. Get down on all fours holding the ends of the band with your hands and loop it around your foot. Kick your leg straight back while raising your foot slightly towards the ceiling against the resistance of the band. Hold for a couple of seconds at the top and slowly lower to starting position. Repeat as many times as you can and up to 15 reps per leg.

4. Squat with Overhead Press

Stand in the middle of the band with feet parallel and shoulder-width apart. Hold handles at shoulder height, with palms facing away from you and elbows bent. Squat deeply while pressing your arms directly over your head. Keep your weight on your heels and resist the band as you return to standing position. Repeat about 10-15 times.

5. Glute Bridge

An easy and effective exercise. Tie a band around your legs right above your knees. Lie on your back with your feet on the floor, bending your knees to 90 degrees. Rise up with your hips until your shoulders, hips and knees align, contracting your glutes through the entire movement.

6. Lateral Band Wall

This exercise targets hips, glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings. Just place the band around your ankles and get into a squat position with your thighs parallel to the ground and feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart. Step out laterally to the left against the band, remaining in the squat position with your hands in front you in an athletic stance. Alternate sides and step to your right against the band. Step out five times on each side and repeat up to 10 reps.

 

 



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The Best Essential Oil Blends for Focus & Concentration

Filed Under: Aromatherapy,Health Concerns & Ailments,Mental Wellbeing at 9:22 pm | By: Jessica Justh, Senior Editor
Woman working on computer and writing down her thoughts

Aromatherapy is so much more than cleverly named and pleasant smelling candles. When practiced correctly, and to the fullest, aromatherapy has the potential to not only enhance and elevate moods but positively alter fundamental brain functions in amazing ways.

With another summer firmly in our rearview, and with several months of colder weather and darker days ahead, now is a great time to unlock the full slate of healing and rejuvenating benefits aromatherapy can offer. Whether you work in an office or stay at home with your littles, get through these hectic times with these essential oil blends that will have you feeling laser-focused and ready to conquer the world (or just back to school season).

Memory & Concentration Blend

This blend uses rosemary essential oil which is known for boosting memory and concentration. Throw in some lemon essential oil to heighten the senses and you’ve got yourself a dynamic pairing that will keep you on point all day.

INDREDIENTS

1 tablespoon jojoba oil

3 drops rosemary essential oil

3 drops lemon essential oil

DIRECTIONS

Pour the carrier oil (jojoba) in a glass dropper bottle or a roller bottle. Then add your essential oils. With essential oils it’s important to remember that a little goes a long way. Just add a drop or two and rub on your temples.

Crunchy Concentration Blend

Calling all bohemians! Sandalwood is the star of this earthy blend that provides a sense of clarity and pairs well with the calming effect of patchouli.

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon of coconut oil melted

2 drops of sandalwood

2 drops of patchouli essential oil

2 drops of orange essential oil

DIRECTIONS

Pour the carrier oil (coconut) in a glass dropper bottle or a roller bottle. Then add your essential oils. When using, a little goes a long way. Just add a drop or two and rub on your wrists.

Fresh Focus Blend

Knock out brain fog with frankincense. Applying frankincense topically can work wonders for you mood and peppermint puts pep in your step and improves concentration.

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon of almond oil

3 drops of frankincense

3 drops peppermint essential oil

DIRECTIONS

Pour the carrier oil (almond) in a glass dropper bottle or a roller bottle. Then add your essential oils. You only need a few dabs to feel the effects. Just add a drop or two and rub on your wrists.

 



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Are Your Fitness Supplements “Clean?” Here’s How To Tell

Filed Under: General Wellness & Wellbeing,Supplements at 3:00 pm | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor
Whey protein powder in scoop with vitamins and plastic shaker on wooden background

Finding a good supplement can be difficult. With so many different products and brands available, one might find it complicated to choose the right one. Plus, recent reports on supplements are making this task even more difficult.

According to the World Health Organization, a variety of supplements available in a number of retailers including large, national chains do not contain the ingredients listed on their labels.  In other words, some products, particularly fitness supplements, are fake and contain phony ingredients. This adulteration of herbal products is a threat to consumer safety as these supplements may be contaminated or substituted with alternative plant species and fillers that are not listed on the labels.

So, how can you tell if your fitness supplements are unhealthy? How can a regular customer check if the product they are buying contain additives, unhealthy fillers, or harmful ingredients?

Checking for verification labels should be the first thing to do. Look for the USP certification label which ensures that the product has been tested and looked at by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, which verifies that the listed ingredients do indeed exist, and that there is no contamination. Plus, a NSF label is a certification that the product is what it claims to be.

Additionally, find a brand known and certified for good practices. A lot of top-quality brands embrace DNA barcoding for authenticating herbal products through testing of raw materials used in the manufacturing of the products.

Lastly, avoid cheap, conventional brands sold at large chain stores as those seem to be the most “fishy” when it comes to providing consumers with safe, high quality herbal products.



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3 DIY Face Masks + Clear Skin Commandments

Filed Under: Aromatherapy,Beauty,Personal Care at 9:30 am | By: Jessica Justh, Senior Editor
clearskin

If asked, “what’s your largest organ?” it’s doubtful that “skin” would be in most people’s top 10 (or even top 100) guesses – but it’s true. And what you apply TO your skin can greatly affect not only how you look, but how you feel.

Feel the glow by following our clear skin commandments…

1. Drink water

This is not only about downing eight glasses a day but starting your morning right with hot water and lemon. It helps aid digestion and is a better alternative to coffee.

2. Practice self-care

Take time for self-care. Take that yoga class you’ve been meaning to for ages. Planning time for self-care can reduce stress-inducing hormones that wreak havoc on your skin.

3. Supplement

Help cover any nutrient gaps with supplements. A daily multivitamin with nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc, selenium and chromium all play an essential role in reducing excess sebum, helps build collagen and repairs skin cells.

4. Eat a balanced diet

A well-balanced diet high in antioxidants and omegas will do your skin (and your health) a world of good. Start stocking up on blueberries, oranges, strawberries and sweet potatoes – all great sources of the types of antioxidants that help fight acne and result in radiant skin . Acne has another enemy in the form of Omega-3s. Consuming salmon, nutsand olive oil help reduce inflammation, a root cause of those pesky blemishes.

5. Sleep!

Get plenty of “beauty sleep.” Less sleep lowers circulation, which could leave you looking pale and washed out. Your body’s cellular renewal occurs at night, so the night time really is the right time to apply as many nutrients and hydrating ingredients as it needs.

3 DIY Masks For Better Skin

1. Pore-fect Honey Mask

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons of honey

1 tablespoon of baking soda

1-2 drops of tea tree essential oil

DIRECTIONS

Combine together all the ingredients in a bowl and massage onto face. Leave on for 15 minutes and rinse with warm water.

 

2. Calming Crunchy Acne Mask

INGREDIENTS

½ tsp turmeric

1 tablespoon yogurt

1 tablespoon oatmeal

1-2 drops lavender essential oil

DIRECTIONS

Carefully mix together all the ingredients (turmeric can stain!). Gently massage onto face and leave on for 20 minutes before rinsing.

 

3. Ultimate Acne Mask

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon our fave facial clay – your face will pulse!

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 drop lavender essential oil

1 teaspoon aloe vera gel

2 drops vitamin e oil

DIRECTIONS

Mix together everything except the aloe and vitamin E oil until a paste forms. Apply to skin and leave on for 10 minutes or until dry. Remove using a warm cloth. Follow up by applying the aloe vera and vitamin e oil to prevent overdrying.