Recent Posts




How to Kick Your Coffee Habit in 3 Steps

Filed Under: Diet & Weight Loss,General Wellness & Wellbeing at 2:23 pm | By: Guest Blogger

You might think trying to kick coffee—or at least drinking less coffee—­­is a tougher task than scaling Everest. After all, coffee isn’t just a drink that gives many of us a much-needed morning boost. It’s also a genuine cultural moment, whether you’re sipping some coffee in a Middle Eastern cafe, enjoying an espresso in Italy, or grabbing a tall double-caf soy nonfat latte on any corner in any American city.

“Besides the fact that it tastes and smells good, coffee plays an important social role in our lives,” says Joan Salge Blake, a clinical associate professor of nutrition at Boston University. “There’s a lot going on besides the caffeine that makes people want to drink it. If you’re meeting with someone after 5 p.m., it’s usually for drinks, but before that, it’s coffee. It’s how we do business, relax, socialize.”

But it’s easy to become enamored of caffeine and its ability to jolt us awake and get us through the day with the energy needed to accomplish often superhuman amounts of work. While a dependence on caffeine can be problematic (e.g., sleep problems, headaches), coffee has been proven to benefit your health in several notable ways.

“There are some healthy things about coffee—polyphenols, antioxidants that can be quite good for you,” Salge Blake says. “It’s been shown that moderate consumers of coffee could lower their risk of Type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and Parkinson’s, among other diseases.”

So perhaps the instinct to give up coffee completely isn’t quite right. Instead, you may want to consider how to give up caffeine. It’s fairly straightforward, even if it’s not always easy. Follow these three steps to quit caffeine without quitting coffee altogether.

Cycle off the Caffeine Slowly

When decaffeinated coffee hit the scene about a century ago, it was a dreadful concoction, Salge Blake says. Today, it’s as good as its “regular” counterpart, and decaf carries with it many of the same health-boosting properties as caffeinated coffee.

The best way to switch from regular to decaf coffee is to cycle off the caffeine gradually. “Start with 75 percent caffeinated and 25 percent decaf, and stick with that for a week,” Salge Blake recommends. “This will prevent you from developing headaches and some of the other physical and mental side effects that occur when people quit abruptly.”

After the first week, Salge Blake says you can reduce your caffeine intake further with a 50-50 caf-decaf mix. The next week, move to 25 percent caffeinated, 75 percent decaf. Your body should then be ready for you to quit caffeine completely. (Just make sure you don’t disrupt this plan by drinking other caffeinated beverages, like soda or certain teas, during this period.)

Feed Your Brain

So you’re off caffeine, but you’re struggling to get going in the morning. Remember the old saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? It’s true.

“Good food does the same thing to your brain that caffeine does,” Salge Blake says. “If you get up in the morning and don’t eat breakfast—or if you spend the morning eating junk—you’re going to reach for something caffeinated by noon.”

That, in turn, can disrupt you throughout the rest of the day and into the night, causing you to repeat this cycle of bad eating and exhaustion the next day.

Break the cycle with some high-quality carbohydrates, Salge Blake suggests. “That’s what your brain loves the most—grains, fruits and veggies.” Start your day with healthy foods and snacks and keep feeding your body this way, especially if you start to drag.

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

For all the brain food you eat over the course of a day, jumpstarting your morning really begins the night before.

“Sleep hygiene is the idea that we’re setting ourselves up for consistent, high-quality sleep every night,” Salge Blake says. “Not many people do it. They think they can’t afford it because their waking lives demand more time, but they’ll find their productivity improve if they give their bodies and minds the sleep they need.”

Eight hours of sleep is the mark you should shoot for every night. Start going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time each day, and say “goodnight” to your electronics about an hour before you plan to hit the hay. The blue light emitted by smartphones and other digital devices is a major sleep quality disruptor. If you plan to use your phone as an alarm, put it in a drawer near the bed.


Article written by John Gilpatrick


Amping Up Your Workouts? Here’s What Your Recovery Should Look Like

Filed Under: Diet & Weight Loss,Exercise and Fitness,Sports Nutrition at 3:13 pm | By: Guest Blogger

There is nothing quite like heading to the gym for a workout. Engaging with your muscles and testing your limits can be an absolutely fantastic way to transform your body and feel good about your choices. Seeing success with your routine is all about focusing on each aspect of the process. You might have a good idea about which workouts are most appropriate for your goals but you also may not have spent much time thinking over other aspects like recovery.

The recovery portion of your workout is absolutely essential if you want to see lasting results from your workout. Though the recovery period is always somewhat important, it can become even more crucial when you decide to amp-up or enhance your routine. In order to be ready for whatever these new attempts bring your way, you might want a bit of advice on how to best find a recovery process that works for your needs.

Before You Begin

What you eat before you hit the gym is definitely going to have influence over what your recovery period looks like. You are most likely going to hear a lot of varying opinions on what you should be munching on before a workout. Some people claim you should avoid eating altogether and others are big proponents of loading up on carbs and proteins. What you are attempting to work out will change what you should be eating.

Lean proteins are always your best bet when eating close to a workout. These proteins are going to be present in your body for several hours after you ingest them and can be used to your advantage during and after the exercise routine. A number of health specialists also believe in the power of BCAAs and what these vitamins can offer the body during and after a workout. Many specialists in the world of fitness rave about BCAAs and how these products can lower fatigue and reduce soreness while a person is engaging in intense physical activity.

Chocolate is Key

Do you want an excuse to eat a bit more chocolate each day? Most people do but refrain from this because of how sugary most chocolates can be. While you will definitely regret eating a couple of candy bars after your workout, you can still incorporate chocolate into your recovery period for some impressive results. A glass of chocolate milk after a workout has been shown to assist in muscle recovery due to the protein found in the milk.

The chocolate itself is also said to assist the body with speeding along the recovery process. Carbs found in chocolate syrups and sauces aid the muscles with recovery by helping them to be ready for action in a shorter amount of time. When you want to sweeten the process of exercising while also improving the way you feel, a glass of this delicious drink can be a great fit.

Tart and Sweet

Have you ever had such an intense workout that you are still feeling it pretty seriously the next day? This is commonplace for many people who are just starting to increase their workouts. Though part of the process, the pain felt after a workout can often deter many people from pushing themselves as hard as they might like. Instead of giving up the moment you feel too sore to get out of bed, you can drink a glass of cherry juice. Though not as sweet as chocolate milk, pure cherry juice has been shown to reduce swelling in the muscles and make the experiences far less painful.

When you hit the gym, you probably have some very specific goals in your mind. If you want to reach those goals and develop the body of your dreams, you are going to need to take time to learn about each stage of the fitness process. Discover the best recovery techniques for what you are hoping to accomplish and in no time you are going to feel ready to take on lots more!


Introducing: LuckyVitamin Pure Collagen!

Filed Under: Beauty,Exercise and Fitness,Supplements at 11:35 am | By: Madeline Reiss
Keep skin, hair, nails and joints healthy with LuckyVitamin’s Pure Collagen. It provides your body with essential building blocks for tissue growth and repair so you can look and feel your best. This flavorless powder easily mixes with water, coffee, juice or your favorite smoothie!

Subscribe to LuckyVitamin’s YouTube Channel!



Refreshing Reasons to Drink More Water

Filed Under: Health Foods,Nutrition,Water Purification and Storage at 4:06 pm | By: Guest Blogger

Water is the most important beverage available to human beings across the world. In order for a person to live a long and healthy life, experts have stated it is crucial for an individual to drink an average of eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Despite this, most people do not drink anywhere near this amount. Not only do most people forget to drink the correct amount of water each day, several surveys have suggested it has always been more likely a person will reach for a soft drink than a bottle of thirst-quenching agua.

Though there are several recent reports showing public attitudes have changed toward water consumption, millions still forget to fill their glasses with the right frequency. While you are probably already familiar with some of the more common reasons to stay hydrated, there are untold benefits that come from making water consumption a part of your daily regimen. Explore these refreshing and original reasons to load your body with H20 each day and see how you can benefit.

Wake Up

Ever have one of those days where you feel sluggish from the moment you wake up until the second you hit the pillow at the end of the night? You are not alone. Millions of people all over the planet suffer from a lack of proper sleep and go about their days in a hazy state. While fatigue might come about for a number of different reasons, several studies have linked exhaustion with dehydration. When your body is not getting the right amount of water on a regular basis, it can eventually catch up to you and make you feel slow and sleepy throughout the course of your daily routine.

Similar studies also suggest water is a mood enhancer. While not drinking enough water can lead to your body operating at a reduced capacity, the same is true of the mind and associated functions of the endocrine system. Without an appropriate daily dose of water, mood-altering hormones are not released in the right way. This means you are not likely to receive any positive mood boosts from endorphins. If you find yourself irritable, anxious, or exhausted on a routine basis, you might want to see if increasing your water intake changes the way you feel.

Strong Muscles

How you feel goes a bit beyond the hormones flowing through your body. While you might feel awake and alert without drinking the right levels of water, you may notice a difference in other aspects of your routine. Most people are aware of the fact that water provides essential lubrication to muscles so they can operate exceptionally well. What they might not realize, however, is that a person needs to drink water in the right way for the full impact to be felt. When you are out for a night of drinking with friends, you most likely keep hydration in the back of your mind. Without drinking enough water, you are far more likely to develop the symptoms of a hangover the next morning.

Dehydration is a key factor in a hangover, which is why so many make sure to order a water or two while at the bar. It might be good to keep water in the mix but you need to pace yourself in the right manner. Drink a glass of water after every alcoholic beverage you consume and one extra large glass before bed and you’re likely to provide your muscles with ample hydration to beat a hangover.

Mental Integrity

Staying sharp is also a lot easier when you have access to fresh, clean water whenever you require it. Memory can be funny in an age where distractions run rampant. If you find yourself struggling to remember basic facts on a routine basis, it could be stemming from dehydration. Though many of these studies produced varying results, a number of scientific reports conducted on young children reveal some interesting results. According to these studies, children on average were more likely to perform well with visual memory tests after drinking the correct amount of water for their ages and weights.

Though the benefits of water are obvious and powerful, millions still turn away from the clear liquid when it is offered. If you find yourself struggling to drink enough water each day, be sure to take time to research why it is a vital aspect of your existence and get into the habit of refreshing yourself with eight glasses a day.


Article written by Joe Palinsky

Joe Palinsky is a full-time writer and theater professional in Philadelphia. He predominantly works with ensemble-based Found Theater Company, where his writing has been featured in numerous productions. Though primarily a ghostwriter, his work has been published in the now-defunct Spirit News and as a guest on Found Theater’s blog.


Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free Lemon Meringue Pie

Filed Under: Recipes at 10:35 am | By: Madeline Reiss

It’s Pi Day, and what better way to celebrate than with…pie! This lemon pie features a delicious, gluten-free pie crust and sugar-free lemon curd. A low calorie, low-carb option for a light, fresh dessert. Serve with fresh strawberries or a sugar-free meringue (recipe below).

Recipe authored by
Sugar-free Lemon curd
Soft sugar-free meringue frosting
  1. Prepare and set aside gluten-free pie crust
Sugar-Free Lemon Curd
  1. Whisk the lemon juice, sweetener, eggs and egg yolks together in a saucepan.

  2. Bring to medium heat and add the coconut oil, stirring continuously, to prevent the eggs from cooking and scrambling.

  3. When the coconut oil is melted, increase the heat to medium-high and keep stirring until it thickens up.

  4. When thick, remove from heat and transfer into a bowl to cool down at room temperature for 15 minutes.

  5. Fill in the coconut flour pie crust with the lemon curd. Refrigerate the lemon pie for at least 2 hours to firm up.

Sugar-free meringue frosting
  1. In a bowl, whisk the egg white until it starts producing a good volume. Usually 30 seconds on high speed.
  2. Keep whisking on high speed and slowly add the sugar-free sweetener of your choice.

  3. After 90 seconds, the meringue should be really fluffy and triple its volume.
  4. Flip over the bowl to check if the meringue is ready. If it sticks to the bowl, transfer on the top of the lemon curd pie.

  5. Torch the top of the meringue or place in the oven for 2 minutes until the top is slightly brown.


5 Safe & Natural Teeth Whitening Techniques

Filed Under: Personal Care at 8:00 pm | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor
Many people use teeth-whitening products in hopes to achieve a beautiful, white smile. The majority of conventional products are quite efficient but some of them contain questionable and potentially dangerous ingredients. Try to do this in a more natural way and you might be impressed by how efficient some of these natural ways really are. Let’s check out 5 safe and natural teeth whitening techniques.

1. Strawberry

The delicious fruit can also keep your teeth white. Whitening your teeth with a strawberry and baking soda mixture is a natural remedy that may help exfoliate your teeth and make them whiter. The malic acid found in strawberries will remove discoloration on your teeth, while the baking soda will buff away stains.

2. Charcoal

Brushing your teeth with activated charcoal from a food/medical grade source is a super easy and very effective method. Just mix a teaspoon of charcoal powder into water and swish with it for a few minutes. Then, spit the water and leave the remaining charcoal in for a few minutes. Activated charcoal is a highly absorbent porous substance that binds to things like tannins that stain teeth and leave them yellow or brown. Note that activated charcoal is not the same product used for barbeque/grilling.

3. Turmeric

Turmeric contains a few properties known to remove stains. The funny thing is that turmeric is known for staining things yellow but, somehow, it’s an efficient technique for whitening teeth.

4. Baking Soda

Baking soda is popular ingredient in toothpaste and as it has natural whitening properties. It’s a mild abrasive that can help scrub away surface stains on teeth and is also creates an alkaline environment in your mouth, which prevents bacteria from growing. Brushing your teeth with baking soda a few times per week will not whiten your teeth overnight, but your teeth tend to get whiter and whiter as you continue to use it.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, a main active ingredient known to effectively kill bacteria. This antibacterial property of vinegar makes it useful for cleaning your mouth and whitening your teeth but do not use apple cider vinegar every day. Simple to use, just dilute it with water and swish it around in your mouth for several minutes. Make sure to rinse your mouth with plain water afterwards.


How to Make Cleaning Products with Plants from the Garden

Filed Under: Natural Cleaning Aids at 6:00 pm | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor
Cleaning products can be one of the biggest risks to your family’s health. The majority of conventional cleaning products contain harmful ingredients, from dangerous chemicals to additives and much more.

Shopping eco-friendly cleaning products is one of the easiest ways to avoid these potentially dangerous products. Made with sustainable manufacturing practices and only naturally derived, safe, non-toxic and biodegradable ingredients, eco-friendly natural cleaners are safe for you and your family and do not negatively impact the environment.

However, if you really want to “go green” when it comes to cleaning products, you can start making your own, plant-based cleaners using herbs, oils, and other natural ingredients. Easy-to-make and easy-to-use, you can also save money making your own products as most of the ingredients don’t cost too much.

For example, you can make a very efficient and safe all-purpose cleaner made of water and vinegar. Plus, water and vinegar can make great glass cleaner products. You can clean windows using newspaper, which works better than paper towels. So, you recycle newspapers and save money by not buying paper towels.

Another great homemade product can be made if you need a potent surface scrub. Try mixing one cup of baking soda with ¼ cup of liquid castile soap as well as add a little bit of glycerin and about 10 drops of tea tree oil.

Additionally, laundry detergent can be very expensive particularly for families with children and/or babies. You can also make your own products ensuring that no harmful ingredients are used on your little ones’ clothes. A simple recipe includes washing soda, borax (sodium borate), and grated natural soap such as coconut soap. You can find several good recipes online to create safe and natural laundry detergent.


Should You Try Healing Clay? Benefits + 4 Ways To Use

Filed Under: Detoxification and Cleansing,Personal Care,Recipes at 3:25 pm | By: Madeline Reiss

Clay masks are definitely having a moment in the wellness spotlight! You may have seen people with grayish-greenish, mud-slathered faces in your social feeds all in the name of #selfcaresunday. Believe it or not, clay masks have actually been used for centuries to beautify, refresh and heal a variety of skin and health issues. There are a number of clays on the market that boast their own set of health benefits, but the most popular of which is bentonite clay.

What is Bentonite clay and how does it work?

Also known as green clay, bentonite clay is composed of aged volcanic ash. It’s known for its unique ability to produce a negative charge when hydrated, allowing it to act like a magnet and bind to heavy metals and toxins, which typically have positive charges. It has an alkalizing effect on the body and may help balance gut bacteria when taken in small doses.

Best ways to use

  • Face mask: To detoxify skin and remove impurities, mix up a paste of clay and water. Typically a teaspoon of water to a tablespoon of clay works best, but it depends on how thick of a paste you prefer. Swapping apple cider vinegar for water will deepen the cleansing effect, but might not be a good choice for sensitive skin!
  • Skin Irritations: Applying a mask of bentonite clay and water to skin irritations may help them heal faster. Clay is able to bind to bacteria and toxins living on the surface of the skin, making it an excellent antibiotic treatment to reduce redness, itchiness, and help fight allergic reactions.
  • Detox Bath: Add 1/4-1/2 cup of clay to a bath for a relaxing and detoxifying soak. This can help soften skin and soothe any irritations by removing impurities.
  • Detox drink: A daily dose of bentonite clay may help balance gut bacteria and relieve indigestion. Start small by stirring a 1/4-1/2 teaspoon to see how your body reacts, before increasing to 1 teaspoon.

A few words of caution…

  • Never mix bentonite clay with metal utensils! It can bind to toxins in the metal which will then end up on your skin.
  • Always do a skin patch test before applying a face mask or treating skin irritations. Bentonite clay is ideal for normal to oily skin types and may be too harsh for those with dry or sensitive skin.
  • As with any supplement, check with your doctor before ingesting bentonite clay as a detox drink, as it may interfere with any existing supplements or medications you’re taking.

Have you ever tried healing clay masks? Share your experience in the comments?



4 Reasons To Go Vegan (Not Related To Diet)

Filed Under: Diet & Weight Loss,Food Politics,Health Foods at 11:02 am | By: Guest Blogger

When you want to get on a healthier path in life, focusing on what you eat can be a wonderful place to begin. Even though you probably spend a lot of time thinking about what to eat and how to best prepare it for your health, specific food groups tend to contain more negative elements than others. The choice to go vegan, for example, is usually made when a person no longer wishes to consume animal meat or byproducts. Whether you’re making this change for your health or for a moral reason, it can be useful to take a look at what benefits come with the decision.

If you’ve been thinking about making the switch to a vegan lifestyle and need just a teensy bit more encouragement, then now is the time to learn all about the benefits. Changing your eating habits can take time and patience but dedicating your time to the effort has a way of yielding some useful results for your future.

1.) Lower Blood Sugar Levels

Each year, more than a million people are diagnosed with a form of diabetes. While genetics and other factors are involved, more often than not it is a person’s diet that encourages the development of this condition. Studies published in recent years have linked specific fats found in animal products to type 2 diabetes. According to these reports, those who were less likely to include animal fats in their meals were also far less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. These same studies also suggest vegans have a higher sensitivity to insulin.

Plant-based proteins are fantastic substitutes for animal fats. The nutrients found in non-meat options like tofu and seitan have been shown to help prevent type 2 diabetes from developing. Additional research in this area also suggests those living with diabetes are able to positively alter how much medication they require on a daily basis by making the switch to a plant-based diet.

2.) Strengthen the Heart

While diabetes can be a serious concern for many, it pales in comparison to stats released about cardiovascular disease. Each year, more people die around the world from heart-related conditions than anything else. These numbers can be frightening and countless people across the globe have begun initiatives to keep their hearts happy and healthy. A great way to achieve this goal is by considering a vegan diet. Switching to a diet comprised mainly of plants and grains has been shown to greatly reduce a person’s chance to developing high blood pressure.

Maintaining healthy blood pressure levels can help to decrease the likelihood of a heart attack, stroke, or other debilitating cardiovascular condition. For your heart to truly reap the benefits of going vegan, you want to focus on ingesting the right plants. Add hearty helpings of asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, and any kind of leafy green to your daily routine and you are likely to provide your body with the nutrients it requires to keep the heart strong.

3.) Kidney Troubles

Switching to plant-based proteins can also help your kidneys. Though meat or animal byproducts are not directly linked to failing kidneys, there are a number of studies suggesting plant proteins can help to strengthen these organs. Nutrients like potassium are primarily found in plants like beets, bananas, spinach leaves, and chard. Potassium is incredibly helpful for detoxing the kidneys and keeping them functioning at their best. Unfortunately, many people who primarily eat meat do not focus enough on ingesting plants containing the right nutrients.

If you want to go vegan, then you need to make sure you do it in a sensible way. Dropping meat and cheese from your daily routine without replacing the nutritional intake can be a very dangerous choice. Before you make any drastic shifts in your diet, be sure to sit down and look over what nutrients your body needs to obtain through fruits, veggies, nuts, and grains.

4.) Potential Cancer Prevention

Those who eat vegan might also be less likely to develop certain cancers. Though cancer can develop from a number of different conditions, a lack of proper plant-based nutrients can be a huge factor. According to specific studies, those who ingest a healthy dose of fruits and veggies each day are far less likely to develop certain types of cancer than those who do not eat produce regularly. Increasing the level of soy in your diet while decreasing how many animal proteins you eat can also help to lower the odds of developing breast cancer.

Switching to a vegan diet requires a little bit of thought. Though it can be healthier, you also want to make sure you are giving your body the correct daily nutrients. Do a bit more research on your own and see if this shift is the right call to make for a healthier future.


Article written by Joe Palinsky

Joe Palinsky is a full-time writer and theater professional in Philadelphia. He predominantly works with ensemble-based Found Theater Company, where his writing has been featured in numerous productions. Though primarily a ghostwriter, his work has been published in the now-defunct Spirit News and as a guest on Found Theater’s blog.


One Pot Vegan Pad Thai Noodles

Filed Under: Recipes at 3:41 pm | By: Madeline Reiss

This Delightful One Pot Pad Thai Recipe is vegan made with tofu and scrumptious pad thai sauce! You can make it just one pot limiting your clean up.

Recipe author:

1 cup rice noodles
2 cloves garlic
1 cup carrot, shredded
1 cup bean sprouts
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup crushed peanuts
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp sesame seeds
2 tsp sriracha sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce (add 2 more if you want extra sauce)
2 tbsp water
1 cup firm tofu, diced



  1. Dice tofu, garlic, and green onions. Add them to a saute’ pan along with sesame oil.
  2. Sauté on med-high heat until tofu slightly starts to turn a golden color.
  3. Add in noodles, half of your peanuts, sriracha sauce, brown sugar, water and soy sauce. Stir and let simmer for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add in carrots and bean sprouts, cover your pan, and cook for another 8 minutes.
  5. Give it a final few stirs, remove from heat and plate.
  6. Top with lime, green onions and the other half of the peanuts.


5 Ways to Declutter Your Mind This Spring

Filed Under: General Wellness & Wellbeing,Health Concerns & Ailments at 12:01 am | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor
Are you always complaining about everything? Do you often worry about the future? Are you constantly ruminating about the past? If you answered yes, you might be in need for a “mental decluttering”.

A cluttered mind affects the way you can think clearly and make the best decisions in your life. When that happens, some people can’t get anything done as a result of a restless and unfocused mind. However, there are a few things you can do to stop feeling overwhelmed. Let’s look at 5 ways to declutter your mind this spring.

1. Laugh

Happy people live better. Laughing is one of the best ways for relieving stress. Try to laugh more often and stop taking everything so seriously. Talk about funny things, watch comedies or read a funny book.

2. Meditate

Meditation is one the best ways to relief stress and feel better, there’s no doubt about it. Meditation is learning to focus the mind completely on the present moment which is essentially the best technique to declutter your mind. Finding a way to zone out and rest your mind is essential to improve focus and feel better.

3. Fresh Start

A fresh start may be an excellent way to clear up your mind. Let go of the past and start taking a new approach to life. Start on the first day of the month, or even on a specific day such as your birthday. Mind clutter is often related to the past and clearing up that stuff off your mind will only bring benefits to you.

4. Minimize Multi-Tasking

Multi-tasking is great, particularly at the workplace but some people have a real hard time turning it off at the end of the working day. You don’t have to multitask at your home all the time as it may be taking too much from your mind. Try to focus all of your attention on one task and try to enjoy doing it.

5. Exercise

Exercise is a great way to declutter your mind. With the winter coming to an end and the warmer temperatures around the corner, the spring season provides a great opportunity to get outdoors, get fresh air, move, stretch, and sweat. Exercise helps clear your mind as well as make you sleep and feel better.


5 Delicious Reasons To Eat More Cacao Nibs (Yay!)

Filed Under: Health Foods,Superfoods at 9:40 am | By: Madeline Reiss

When you feel your sweet tooth start to tingle, you most likely want to satisfy it with something sweet. Unfortunately, the sugary confections and candies you turn to are not always going to be the healthiest. Though this might be disheartening, there is still reason for hope. Chocolate has long been considered a food with health potential, though it tends to go through so many processes it loses most of its health benefits along the way.

To get the most from your sweet snack, opt instead for cacao nibs. Essentially, these little bits of delight are the immediate product of plucking cocoa beans from their original spot, roasting them, and breaking them into tiny bites. If you are hoping to get a boost of nutrition the next time you want to satisfy a craving for something sweet, cacao nibs could be your best bet.

Potassium Push

No matter what you eat, you should always take a moment to consider the nutritional value of the food in front of you. A banana, for example, can make for a perfect snack when you’re hungry because it is light and packed with important nutrients like potassium. Still, there are plenty of people who do not enjoy the taste of banana. Should you want to increase your potassium level without the help of this yellow fruit, cacao nibs might be a good substitute.

Cacao nibs are said to contain a powerful punch of potassium, which can be useful when it comes to improving the condition of your cardiovascular system. Potassium tends to lower blood pressure and strengthen the overall integrity of the heart. If you’re not getting enough potassium and definitely don’t want a banana, grab a handful of some of these tasty little nibs.

Lots of Heart

Potassium might help your heart but there are tons of other nutrients and vitamins found in cacao nibs that help to improve cardiovascular performance. Cacao nibs are said to be an excellent source of flavonoids, which is useful for your heart. Flavonoids are compounds found in many plant-based foods. These compounds operate as antioxidants, specifically helping with lowering inflammation around the arteries. Flavonoids also help to thin blood and improve the way it circulates around the body.

Cacao nibs also contain a number of other useful antioxidants that serve a variety of useful purposes for the heart and related systems. In certain studies, those who ingested cacao nibs for a specific period of time were reported to have lower levels of LDL, which is considered a harmful form of cholesterol responsible for many cardiovascular diseases. If the health of your heart is a top priority for you, see what cacao nibs might be able to do.

 Magnesium Dose

Ever feel fatigued throughout the day even though you got plenty of sleep the night before? This happens to plenty of people and it often can be linked back to a lack of specific nutrients in your system. Magnesium is a vital nutrient people require to stay active and functional on a daily basis but it is also a nutrient most people have a deficiency with. When fatigue is part of your daily ritual, you might want to change your diet around a bit and add cacao nibs into the mix.

Cacao nibs are packed with magnesium, making them an easy and tasty source of this vital chemical. The more magnesium you get each day, the more likely it is you are going to feel energized, alert, and ready for whatever your day is going to bring to you. Magnesium has also been shown to improve overall brain function, so it can never hurt to snack a bit more on cacao for the sake of your mind.

 Mood Boost

Chocolate is a popular snack for many people because it contains ingredients that helps the brain and body to feel good. Specifically, chocolate helps to release serotonin, the chemical responsible for generating feelings of joy. While cacao might be chocolate in a more raw and unrefined form, it still contains more than its fair share of elements that can improve your mood.

Anandamide, for example, can be found in cacao nibs and this fatty acid neurotransmitter is quite impressive. Known far and wide as the molecule of “joy” and “bliss,” eating foods containing anandamide has been said to act as a mood enhancer and even assist a person in combating the negative impacts of conditions like anxiety and depression. You probably already felt chocolate improved your mood on a rough day but you might not have realized how scientific that assumption was.

Fresh and Young

Finally, it is important to focus on the antioxidants found in cacao nibs one last time, specifically the polyphenols. These compounds are important for improving the integrity of your cardiovascular system but they do a lot more. Cacao nibs have the same polyphenols as green tea, which aids the skin in appearing fresh and healthy. Snack on some nibs and fight off the aging process in a sweet and simplistic way.

While you might not need any more excuses to snack on chocolate, the many health benefits associated with cacao nibs can sweeten the deal just a bit. Add these tasty little bits to your daily snacking routine and feel the difference yourself.


Can You Kick Seasonal Allergies Naturally? Our ND Explains

Filed Under: Ask The ND,Health Concerns & Ailments,Homeopathy,Supplements at 12:48 pm | By: Madeline Reiss

What’s the telltale sign of spring for you? Is it the weather finally breaking and the trees starting to bloom? Or is it relentless itchy eyes and a runny nose that has you reaching for the antihistamines?

To put it simply, allergies are an immune system overreaction to allergens. This triggers the annoying puffy eyes, sneezing, and congestion that can leave you stuck inside on gorgeous spring days. While conventional drugs may relieve allergy symptoms, they don’t address the root cause and often come with side effects—like heavy drowsiness that can leave you nodding off at your desk.

So what’s the solution? We talked to our ND, Dr. Jeremy Wolf, about a few natural remedies to help keep you from sniffling through an entire season!

Treating allergies through diet

When it comes to diet, Dr. Wolf says, “natural substances such as quercetin, stinging nettles, bromelain, vitamin-C, and omega 3 fatty acids may help kick the allergy symptoms. You can find many of these ingredients in every day foods such as onions and berries for quercetin, salmon and fatty fish for omega 3’s, citrus fruits for vitamin c and pineapple for bromelain.” Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods can help keep your immune system strong so it can help fight off common allergies.

Try homeopathic formulas

“There are some homeopathic remedies that are more commonly used for allergies than others,” says Dr. Wolf. “One of these is Allium Cepa, a formula made from onions. If you think about the symptoms you experience when chopping an onion (burning and watery discharge from the eyes and nose) it makes sense that this may be used to combat allergies.” This follows the homeopathic principle of “like cures like.”

You can also try combination remedies “which include a variety of single remedies that are commonly used to treat allergies. The idea is if you take a variety of different remedies, your body is likely to react to one of them.”

An important note from Dr. Wolf: “there isn’t one homeopathic remedy for allergies that trumps others, as it depends on the individual and the symptoms a person is experiencing.” This is why you should always talk to your physician before starting a new supplement or treatment.

Can eating local honey prevent allergies?

A common practice touted in the wellness world is taking a tablespoon of local raw honey every day in the weeks prior to allergy season. When asked about this, Dr. Wolf replied “The thought process behind that treatment is if you eat local honey, you might be ingesting local pollen, and over time you may become less sensitive to pollen which could result in fewer allergy symptoms. This is similar to using allergy shots or sublingual drops to desensitize the body to the allergens.”

He continues to say “It’s hard to know exactly how much pollen you’re actually ingesting. I don’t recommend this to my patients as I don’t think there is any research that currently proves the honey trick to have actually worked.”

You don’t have to stay stuck indoors this spring! Talk with your doctor about your options, and consider taking a natural route to allergy prevention this season.


7 Ways to Replenish Your Electrolytes Naturally

Filed Under: Exercise and Fitness,Health Foods at 12:01 am | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor

Electrolytes are essential nutrients that help maintain fluid balance and conduct electrical activity. Directly responsible for muscle contractions and neural activity, electrolyte imbalance may happen when you lose an excessive amount of body fluids through sweat, vomiting, diarrhea, or a high fever. Most common symptoms include feeling woozy or experiencing muscles cramps. You can easily get your body back in balance by eating or drinking foods that contain these essential nutrients and avoiding highly processed foods loaded with sodium but lacking important electrolytes such as potassium or magnesium. So, let’s check out 7 ways to replenish your electrolytes naturally.

1. Coconut water

One of the richest natural sources of electrolytes, coconut water is high in potassium as one cup contains about 600mg of potassium as well as 250mg of sodium. Coconut water is also lower in carbohydrates compared to other sports drinks, making it a great electrolyte replacement during or after a workout.

2. Bananas

Need potassium? Go bananas.  Known as the best source of this impotent mineral among fruits and vegetables, one single banana provides over 400mg of potassium which helps control muscles and blood pressure. It’s the perfect snack for pre and post workout.

3. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are also a great way to naturally replace electrolytes. This amazing superfood is loaded with vital nutrients such as omega-3 essential fatty acids, antioxidants, protein, vitamins, and lots of minerals like calcium, iron, and potassium.

4. Nuts and Seeds

Almonds, cashews, peanuts, and pumpkin seeds are great sources of magnesium and snacking them helps to replenish levels of this important mineral.

5. Salt

It might sound weird, but adding a pinch of salt to a glass of water helps with rehydration by replacing sodium and chloride. Some salty foods, such as broth or vegetable juice, are also good for replenishing sodium levels.

6. Yogurt

Including calcium-rich foods are also important to prevent dehydration and restore electrolytes lost during sweaty workout sessions. Yogurt is an excellent choice not only for the amount of calcium provided but also for the beneficial probiotics.

7. Water

The amount of water you need to drink on a daily basis depends on your age, how often and how intense you exercise, the climate you live in, and even your body size. One thing is for certain: drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.


5 Tips For Growing Your Hair Long & Strong

Filed Under: Beauty,Personal Care at 2:36 pm | By: Guest Blogger

Feeling like your hair is as healthy as it should be is not always easy. People are born with different hair types and some are more prone to damage than others. On top of this, growing out your hair can often be a very lengthy process for some. Getting your hair to a healthy, long, and strong place can seem like a difficult journey but there are some simple options worth your consideration.

Focus on Health

Hosting a head full of strong follicles is not always about speed. While you might want your hair to grow to a desired length in the fastest way possible, it can also prove counterintuitive to your goals. No matter how fast your hair grows out, you still want to ensure its strength. Damaged hair often gives off an unhealthy appearance and can even make your locks look shorter than they already are. One simple way of fighting off split ends and other problematic hair conditions is by getting regular trims at the salon.

The more you cut away split ends, the longer your hair is going to appear. Your hair is not going to grow any faster from this service but it definitely will aid in maintaining a strong and healthy mane.

Orange is Your Color

Eating the right foods will also help you along your way to healthier hair. Vitamin A is a nutrient responsible for assisting with a variety of important processes in the body. One way it helps is by keeping the production of sebum on the scalp consistent. Sebum is an oily secretion put off by the scalp to preserve hair follicles and keep them from drying out. This means you can benefit greatly by making sure that you are receiving an ample amount of Vitamin A in your daily diet.

A simple way of finding the best sources of Vitamin A is by looking at the color of the fruits and veggies in the supermarket. Produce with a dark orange appearance tend to contain a large amount of beta-carotene, which is said to be one of the easiest ways for the body to obtain Vitamin A. When you need Vitamin A in your diet, grab options like carrots, oranges, and even peaches. Supplements can also be a wonderful way to make sure you are getting enough Vitamin A to keep your hair in a healthy state.

Common Deficiencies 

According to a number of recent surveys, many Americans are living with serious vitamin deficiencies of which they were mostly unaware. Surprisingly, a number of people seemed to be deficient when it came to magnesium. On a biological level, magnesium is responsible for activating more than 300 different enzymes in the body. When there is not enough magnesium to keep all of these processes going strong, several areas suffer. For many, a lack of magnesium can lead to slowed hair growth and even a thinning or loss of follicles.

Without magnesium, your hair is far less strong than it should be. Luckily, it is easy to get this nutrient back into your diet. Seeds and nuts are usually the best sources of magnesium, so you are going to benefit from grabbing a few bags of pumpkin seeds the next time you’re looking for a snack. Almonds, cashews, and peanuts can also be great options. Those with nut allergies can turn to options like spinach or supplements to receive the correct daily dose.

Skin Deep

It is not always easy to tell how healthy your hair is by looking at it in the mirror. There is, however, a simple way of gauging things. Your skin is usually a good reflection of the health of your hair. When your skin seems to be dry or excessively greasy, then you might need to adjust your diet or habits to balance chemical productions.

A cup of green tea might serve you well when you are looking to improve the condition of your hair and skin. The detoxifying nature of green tea will help to cleanse your follicles of any toxins that might have collected. Dark chocolate, eggs, spinach, and sweet potato are also great options for improving the overall health of your skin and hair.

Stop Processing 

Finally, your hair will benefit greatly when you decide to take a break from coloring and other salon processes. Intense chemicals and temperatures are typically involved with coloring or straightening hair. This can damage your hair to extreme degrees and prevent it from growing in the way you’d like. Take a year away from treating your follicles with any of these services and see the difference yourself.

There are a number of fantastic options for you to think over when it comes to the health of your hair. Find the method that works best for you and watch your locks flow.


Article written by Joe Palinsky

Joe Palinsky is a full-time writer and theater professional in Philadelphia. He predominantly works with ensemble-based Found Theater Company, where his writing has been featured in numerous productions. Though primarily a ghostwriter, his work has been published in the now-defunct Spirit News and as a guest on Found Theater’s blog.