Recent Posts

Topics

Archives

20
JUL

10 Magnesium-Rich Foods You Should Add to Your Diet

Filed Under: Diet & Weight Loss,Health Foods,Nutrition,Supplements at 10:43 am | By: Jessica Wozinsky

When it comes to energy levels, vitamin B12 and iron get all of the glory. But magnesium, an essential nutrient that supports almost every function in the body and improves energy, is relatively unknown by most of us.

So, What Does Magnesium Do?

“Magnesium is important in over 300 functions in the body,” says Tina Marinaccio, a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Morristown, New Jersey. “It aids in nerve and muscle conduction, immune function, and stimulates calcitonin, a hormone that helps pull calcium into the skeleton for strong bones.”

And studies suggest that magnesium can prevent:

  • Heart disease (1)
  • Osteoporosis (2)
  • Type 2 diabetes (3)
  • Migraines (4)
  • Preterm labor (5)

Why Americans Aren’t Getting Enough Magnesium

Despite how important magnesium is for overall health, the World Health Organization reports that less than 60 percent of Americans are getting adequate amounts of the mineral (6).

“Soils are not as nutrient-rich as they once were, and Americans are consuming more processed foods high in calories but low in nutrients,” Marinaccio says. Plus, our drinking water, which used to contain magnesium, is now mostly stripped of the mineral.

Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms

According to Marinaccio, signs you’re not getting enough magnesium may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Frequent muscle cramps
  • Mood swings
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irregular heartbeat (or arrhythmia)

If you think you may have a deficiency, talk to your health care provider. There are many simple blood tests that can tell you for sure.

10 Foods High in Magnesium

The National Institutes of Health has set daily recommended allowance (RDA) targets of 400-420 milligrams for men and 310-320 milligrams for women (7). To ensure you’re getting enough of this crucial mineral, incorporate these magnesium-rich foods (8) into your meals:

Spinach (156 mg per cup): Whether you eat it cooked or raw, spinach provides a major nutrition boost. This veggie contains a variety of vitamins (including vitamins A, C and K1) as well as folic acid, iron and calcium (9).

Almonds (80 mg per ounce): Not only do almonds contain 19 percent of your RDA for magnesium, these little powerhouses also pack 6 grams of protein per ounce, plus fiber and 14 grams of heart-healthy fat (10).

Cashews (74 mg per ounce): Snacking on these naturally cholesterol-free nuts may prevent heart disease (11) because, just like almonds, they contain monounsaturated fat. Cashews also contain arginine, which may have a protective effect on artery walls.

Black beans (60 mg per ½ cup): Toss these legumes into salads, chili or tacos to help strengthen your bones. The hefty amount of magnesium in black beans paired with iron, phosphorous, calcium, copper and zinc (12) all work together to help build bone strength and ward off osteoporosis.

Edamame (50 mg per ½ cup, shelled): Next time you get sushi, start with edamame as an appetizer. These beans provide protein, healthy fat, dietary fiber, calcium, iron and phosphorus (13). Plus, like other soy foods, they contain isoflavones, a compound believed to lower the risk of cancer (14).

Avocado (44 mg per 1 cup): Avocado is known as a superfood for good reason. The fruit contains over 17 essential vitamins and minerals, plus protein, healthy fat and fiber (15).

Baked potato (43 mg per potato with skin): Potatoes are naturally free from fat, sodium and cholesterol. And they contain more potassium and magnesium than a banana (16).

Yogurt (42 mg per cup): Like many dairy products, yogurt is known for its high protein and calcium content. But it also contains probiotics, which research suggests may improve digestion and immune function (17).

Brown rice (42 mg per ½ c, cooked): This healthy whole-grain contains fiber, as well as a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Banana (32 mg per medium banana): Although they’re known for their high potassium content, bananas also provide 8 percent of your RDA for magnesium. Studies show the fruit may also help regulate blood sugar (18), promote weight loss and prevent heart disease (19).

When to Try Magnesium Supplements

Adding foods high in magnesium to your diet may help prevent you from developing a magnesium deficiency, but if you already suspect that you have a true deficiency, speak to your health care provider. Your doctor can talk to you about how to choose a magnesium supplement and help you find the one most suited for your needs.

Some magnesium supplements (like those with magnesium oxide) may irritate the gastrointestinal tract or cause diarrhea. It’s also important to take into account how much magnesium you consume naturally in your diet. Although magnesium is a vital mineral and most people don’t get enough, getting too much can cause side effects like low blood pressure, confusion and other serious issues.

Now that you’re aware of how important this mineral is, keep an eye on how much you’re getting. And next time you need an energy boost, turn to foods high in magnesium!



19
JUL

5 Perks of Going Plant-Based

Filed Under: Diet & Weight Loss,Health Foods,Nutrition,Recipes at 4:34 pm | By: Guest Blogger

This post was provided by our friends at 22 Days Nutrition.

Going plant-based sure comes with its perks. The benefits are endless, from increased energy, to guilt-free delicious foods, to saving hundreds of dollars on groceries and more!

Let’s take a dive deep into some of the perks of starting a plant-based diet.

Plant-Based Diet Benefits

Guilt-Free and Delicious Foods

The beauty of a plant-based diet is that you really don’t have to give up the foods you love. If you typically love foods like pizza, burgers and ice cream, you would be amazed with the variety of delicious plant-based alternatives you can find that taste just as good and maybe even better!

Plant Protein Outperforms Whey Protein

Whey protein powders can leave you feeling bloated and gassy, which is why more people are turning to plant-based protein powders. Not only are they easier to digest, but they are also free of antibiotics, cholesterol, gums and lactose. They can also help reduce inflammation and offer a complete amino-acid profile.

Saves Money

Studies show that people can save up to $750 on food when they cut animal products from their diet. Meal planning, especially, is a great way to organize your meals, save money and waste less food. The convenient 22 Days Meal Planner can help you do just that.

Full Body Health

When you take out excessive calories, fat and sugar, what do you get? Better health, of course! The high fiber content can help improve digestion and may prevent certain cancers related to that area. You’re also getting all of the benefits you get from the many nutrient-dense foods, vitamins and minerals you’ll be consuming. A plant-based diet can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and decrease your risk of heart disease and cancer. It can also help promote overall increased health and reduce your risk of illness. Plus, you’ll be cutting all of the fats that make you gain weight!

Environmental Impact

Keep in mind, you’re making an impact even if you eat just one plant-based meal a day. You’re contributing to the reduction of your carbon footprint, conservation of water and the increase of more land and resources.

Plant-Based Recipes 

Here are some favorite recipes from 22 Days Nutrition that feature their organic, non-GMO, gluten-free and soy-free Plant Power Protein Powders, with 20 grams of protein per serving.

Chocolate Ice Cream

Serves 2-3

INGREDIENTS:

2 sliced frozen bananas

4-6 tablespoons almond milk

¼ cup Chocolate Plant Power Protein Powder

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • In food processor or high speed blender, blend together bananas, 4 tablespoons almond milk and protein powder.
  • If necessary, add up to an additional 2 tablespoons almond milk to get the consistency you want.
  • Scoop into two to three bowls if serving now, or put entire mixture in freezer for one hour for a firmer ice cream. Enjoy!

Of course, you can easily make vanilla ice cream by swapping out the chocolate protein for vanilla.

Tropical Sunrise Smoothie Bowl

You can almost taste the tropical sun when you enjoy this smoothie bowl for breakfast!

Serves 1

INGREDIENTS:

1 scoop Strawberry Plant Power Protein Powder

½ cup frozen mango

½ cup frozen peaches

½ cup frozen strawberries

½ cup plant-based milk (coconut tastes especially nice with this blend)

Optional Toppings:

1-2 tablespoons granola

1-2 tablespoons nuts

1 tabelspoon hemp, pumpkin or sunflower seeds

1 tablespoon dried unsweetened coconut flakes

1 banana

2-3 strawberries

¼ cup mango

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Place all ingredients into a blender (or food processor) and blend until desired consistency.
  • Pour into a bowl.
  • Top with toppings of choice.

Peanut Butter Smoothie

Serves 1

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 frozen banana

1 scoop Vanilla Plant Power Protein Powder

1 tablespoon peanut butter

½ cup ice (optional)

Optional Toppings:

1 tablespoon crushed peanuts

1 teaspoon of peanut butter

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Blend all ingredients until smooth.
  • Serve, top with peanuts, drizzle peanut butter and enjoy!



18
JUL

5 Easy Summer Hairstyles You Need to Try

Filed Under: Beauty,Personal Care at 2:00 pm | By: Shelby MacIlvain

Looking for quick, summer hairstyles that are easy enough to do yourself? Look no further!

Most of these styles are great for any length and hair type. I’ll touch on some pretty casual looks (cause helllllllo, it’s summer!) and some that you can wear out on date night.

Each of these styles involves little to no product, heat and time. Sounds impossible, right? Wrong! I am here to share some tips and tricks so you look effortlessly cool (pun intended!) this summer. Let’s get started!

5 Easy Summer Hairstyles

#1 Surfer Girl Waves

The first style I’m going to share with you—and I’m guilty of rocking this look almost on a daily basis—is the “bedhead chic,” beachy, surfer girl waves. There are two different ways to create this super easy look. The first being, the night before, spray a texturizing or salt spray throughout towel dried, damp hair. Then, either do one giant braid down the back or section your hair down the middle and do two braids on either side of your head. Make sure your braids aren’t super tight. And that’s it! Sleep on it and wake up the next day with loose, crimpy waves.

Another way, if you’re short on time, follows the same method of sectioning your hair into braids (you can even do twists if you’re not braid savvy) but then you gently and quickly run a flat iron over them. The heat from the flat iron locks in the style so when you take the braids out, you get effortless waves. I also go in with some dry shampoo at my roots for the textured, slept-in look. This style works for almost all hair lengths and types.

#2 Top Knot

Another quick summer go-to hairstyle for me is the top knot. It’s super simple and can be perfect for date night, sit-on-the-couch night, errands or work. Simply gather your hair into a high ponytail, wherever you’d like your knot to sit (I place mine pretty much smack on the top, middle of my head), then twist the hair and wrap into a large bun or knot. Secure with a hair tie and you’re done! You can always pull out some hair on the sides for a more “undone” look or keep it sleek for a more dressed up look. This style is ideal for someone with medium to long hair and any hair type.

#3 Twisted Half-Up

This next style is quick and fun and perfect for day or night, work or going out. It’s the twisted half-up. Spray some dry shampoo throughout your hair if you want a more texturized, lived-in feel, twist strands from either side of your head and pin or tie back. Its’ easy and super stylish. This look is great for almost any hair length and hair type. If you’re pinning your twists back, you can jazz it up by attaching fun hair clips instead of boring old bobby pins.

#4 Low, Wavy Ponytail

A go-to look that I use quite often when I don’t really want to fix my hair but still want to look cute is a low, wavy ponytail. All you have to do is gather your hair into a ponytail at the nape of your neck and secure with a hair tie. Spray the ponytail with a light to medium hold hair spray and taking small sections, wrap the hair around a curling wand, curling iron or flat iron. Once done curling, lightly drag your fingers through the curls, separating them until you achieve the waves you want. You can spray with more hairspray to keep in place and voila! This works on medium length to longer hair and any hair type.

#5 All Slicked Back

The last easy, summery hair look I’m going to share with you that I’ve been seeing a lot recently is the slicked back, almost wet-looking hair trend. Think “I-just-left-the-gym” hair, but with a lot less effort. All you really need is some strong-hold hair gel (fast-drying and humidity-resistant would be your best bet here, with some shine) and a brush for this look. Brush your hair straight back, tuck it behind your ears, and apply that gel throughout until you get the slicked back look you’re going for. This works for all hair lengths and most hair types.

Summer Hair Accessories

Lastly, I want to share some cute trends to follow if you want to dress up boring locks easily. I like to incorporate glitter hair parts, scrunchies (making a comeback!) and fun hair clips into my hair looks (especially during the summer). Remember, it’s all about having fun! These looks are meant to make you look and feel great, while taking the least amount of your time.



18
JUL

Green Smoothie Recipe: Detox and Chill

Filed Under: Recipes,Superfoods at 11:52 am | By: Monica Leigh Barnes
green smoothie recipe - detox and chill breakfast smoothie

I am sure you have heard somewhere, on some Instagram page or wellness blog, that starting your day with a healthy breakfast, like this green smoothie, sets the stage for the entire day.

I’m a firm believer that you can always make the choice to be healthier—doesn’t matter breakfast, lunch, or dinner, but this breakfast smoothie makes it easy to start your day loaded with nutrients. I also love this green smoothie as a midday “pick me up” and to cool down after a workout.

I’ve experimented with multiple green smoothie recipes, and this one stuck. So refreshing!  

It also doesn’t have a banana in it—not hating on bananas (at all), but most all healthy smoothie recipes contain a banana, and I wanted to change it up.  This easy smoothie is absolutely delicious and packed with superfoods, making it highly nutritious, detoxing, and healing.  

Green Smoothie: Key Ingredients

  • Frozen mango and hemp seeds make this green smoothie extra creamy.
  • Dates add a bit of natural sweetness.
  • Spirulina is added in for its detoxifying benefits.
  • Flax and hemp are added for omega-3 and omega-6.
  • Cordyceps, also known as edible medicinal mushroom, give an immunity boost.  

Benefits of a Green Breakfast Smoothie

Starting your day with leafy greens and a healthy breakfast does have validity.  You’ll notice shortly after your nutrient-packed smoothie: better focus, less of a desperate need for caffeine, and healthier food cravings throughout the day. Even though you can always make a healthy choice post-breakfast as well, this smoothie detoxes the body, fuels it properly and sets you up for a day filled with nutritious foods.

I’ve personally tested it for taste and results for the past year. My verdict? You have to make this!  

Detox and Chill Green Smoothie Recipe

Serves 2 (Or if you’re like me, one.)  

You will need:

  • Blender

Ingredients:

  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1 heaping cup of frozen mango (frozen pineapple is also a delicious option)
  • 2 pitted dates
  • 1 tablespoon of flax seed
  • 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds (I like Nutiva)
  • 1 teaspoon spirulina (I like Nutrex Hawaiian)
  • ½ tsp cordyceps (Optional. I like Sun Potion)
  • 2 cups filtered water

Instructions:

  • Place all the ingredients, with the exception of 1 cup of water, in a blender.  
  • Slowly add in the remainder of water while blending to aid in the blending process.
  • Enjoy, detox, and chill (and reap the benefits!).



18
JUL

5 Essential Oils for Hair Loss

Filed Under: Aromatherapy,Beauty,Personal Care at 11:42 am | By: Suki Eleuterio

Losing your hair can be an emotional, stressful and embarrassing experience. I know, because it happened to me.

One day, while combing my hair, I found a bald spot near the back of my head. The pure shock of feeling my bare scalp, with no hair at all, was terrifying. To make matters worse, my wedding was only a few months away. I needed to find the root of the problem…fast.

My doctor called this sporadic hair loss “alopecia areata.” An autoimmune disease in which your body attacks the hair follicles, alopecia areata is often triggered by stress and can cause hair to fall out suddenly.

Although my hair started to slowly grow back as my stress subsided, the experience triggered a desire in me to learn more about the common causes of hair loss, as well as natural ways to treat it.

What Causes Hair Loss?

There are many reasons for losing your hair, the most common one being genetics (that’s right, blame your grandparents). A recent study found that male pattern baldness can be attributed to nearly 280 different genes (1). Aging is another factor, since your hair follicles become more brittle with age. This is why it is important to take good care of your hair and maintain a healthy scalp.

Illnesses like anemia, thyroid conditions and cancer can also trigger hair loss, and aggressive treatments like chemotherapy can cause hair to suddenly and drastically fall out. Autoimmune disorders (as I discovered with alopecia areata) can also lead to sudden hair loss.

Men are not the only ones who suffer from hair loss. Women are often susceptible to hair loss when navigating hormonal changes including pregnancy, postpartum and menopause.

In addition, vitamin or protein deficiencies can cause hair loss, which is why it’s important to take your vitamins daily, particularly a good multivitamin. And finally, stress can cause hair loss, particularly prolonged or chronic stress.

Benefits of Essential Oils for Hair Loss

On my quest to find some natural treatments for hair loss, I was surprised to find something I already have in my closet: my favorite lavender essential oil.

Essential oils are highly concentrated oils derived from plant compounds. The oils are extracted from the plants by a process of distilling. Used in cultures since ancient times as remedies, essential oils have been known to offer natural healing and antiseptic properties.

Essential oils, along with scalp massage, are a great way to maintain a healthy scalp. Nowadays, we are always focused on the best shampoo or conditioner for our hair, but we often forget about taking care of our scalps.

“Healthy hair and a healthy scalp go hand in hand,” says Susie Bennett, a longtime hair care professional and managing market builder at Monat Global. “The proper blend of essential oils can mimic our natural sebum, actually clearing away build up from products, environmental pollutants and dried up natural sebum to reduce hair thinning and encourage healthy new growth.”

Long term use of harsh chemicals in shampoo can lead to dryness, which causes the hair to become frizzy and brittle. The more we itch and scratch our scalps, the more we agitate the already brittle hair, causing it to break. Essential oils can be excellent tools for calming and soothing the scalp and promoting new hair growth.

Studies have shown that certain blends of essential oils have the potential to improve hair growth. In one study, participants in the active group massaged essential oils (thyme, rosemary, lavender and cedarwood) in a mixture of carrier oils (jojoba and grapeseed) into their scalp daily (2). The researchers found that 44 percent of the participants using the essential oils mixture showed improvement.

Let’s take a closer look at five essential oils for hair loss, and how you can incorporate them into your routine:

5 Essential Oils for Hair Loss

Lavender

Known for its sweet, floral smell, lavender is often used in lotions, perfumes and candles. But did you know that lavender is also great for your hair? Lavender essential oils can moisturize and soften your hair and even help stimulate scalp circulation. In a 2016 study, researchers found lavender oil to have hair growth-promoting effects (3).

The calming scent has been known to reduce stress, which promotes well-being. One of nature’s antiseptics, lavender can also reduce itchiness and irritation on your scalp, promoting a healthier scalp.

How to use: Blend lavender in a carrier oil (like coconut oil) and massage into your scalp before bed. Wash in the morning and repeat as needed.

Rosemary

Rosemary essential oil is rich in antioxidants and has been known to strengthen circulation. Often used in cooking, rosemary can also be used for your hair and scalp health.

This strong-smelling herb can be used to reduce dandruff, increase hair thickness and soften and condition your hair. Rosemary can also be used to improve circulation in the scalp, which helps maintain its overall health. In fact, a 2015 trial suggested that rosemary oil may help promote hair growth and be effective in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia (4).

How to use: Blend rosemary oil in a carrier oil (try jojoba) and massage onto the scalp for 30 to 40 minutes. Then wash your hair as usual.

Cedarwood

With a soothing smell and calming effects on the mind, cedarwood essential oils have been used in aromatherapy, natural aftershave and for oil control on your face. Ancient civilizations have used cedarwood oil for its many therapeutic and astringent properties. For hair loss, cedarwood can be used to balance the oil-producing glands on the scalp as well as to treat dandruff and itchy scalp.

How to use: Mix a few drops of cedarwood oil into your shampoo, wash and dry as usual to prevent dandruff buildup.

Peppermint

Cooling peppermint oil is great for rejuvenating and revitalizing. For hair loss, peppermint can be used to stimulate blood flow and increase hair follicle growth. A 2014 study found peppermint to have positive effects on hair growth, including a significant increase in hair thickness, number of hair follicles and follicle depth (5).

This oil has antimicrobial characteristics, which are helpful for clearing and cleansing the scalp. When using peppermint oil, it’s important to do a spot test, because it may cause skin irritation for some people.

How to use: Mix a few drops of peppermint in a carrier oil like coconut oil and apply to the scalp. Leave on for 15 minutes and then wash as normal. You can also add 4-5 drops of peppermint oil to your shampoo or conditioner.

Clary Sage

The name might sound strange but clary sage is a powerful essential oil that has been used in treatments for depression, childbirth, digestive issues, and even as an anticonvulsant. Clary sage has also been shown to stimulate blood circulation, which is why it is used in promoting hair growth. It can also help fight dandruff and naturally conditions your hair.

How to use: Mix clary sage in a carrier oil like jojoba and massage onto the scalp. Cover your hair with a shower cap and let it sit for one to two hours. Wash your hair with water or a natural shampoo and then leave to air dry.



12
JUL

When Protein Concentrate vs. Whey Protein Isolate

Filed Under: Diet & Weight Loss,Sports Nutrition,Supplements at 4:58 pm | By: Guest Blogger

This post was provided by our friends at MTS Nutrition and written by CEO Marc Lobliner.

Whey protein isolate has been touted by some in the sports nutrition industry as superior to whey protein concentrate since it yields more protein per serving, has less carbs and fat, and is “more pure.”

But is it more pure? The reasoning offered is that more filtration will leave you with a superior end product. However, this isn’t accurate.

Let’s take a closer look at the differences between whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate, how they’re processed and which one makes the most sense for you.

How Is Whey Protein Made?

The definition of “pure” is one that is “unmodified by an admixture; simple or homogeneous.” In other words, the less you filter the protein, the better.

For example, take MTS Nutrition Machine Whey Protein, which is a cold-filtered whey protein concentrate and isolate blend. The cold-filtration process leaves us with more than 80 percent whey protein, whereas isolate will be more than 90 percent. MTS blends concentrate with isolate simply to keep the fat and carb content lower.

Processing whey protein, especially when using the ion-exchange process, strips the whey of its immune properties. Ion exchange is a method of isolating whey from milk using ion exchange resins, charge affinity and mild pH adjustments.

Ion exchange resins are polymers. These can exchange specific ions within the polymer with ions in a solution that passes through the resin. They alter the pH to separate the carbohydrate from the protein content.

Ion exchange almost completely eliminates kappa-casein glycomacropeptide (GMP), whereas cold processing doesn’t. This is important because GMP enhances the immune system and protects against toxins, bacteria and viruses.

Cold processing whey protein is a method of isolating whey from dairy based on molecular weight, size and permeation properties in a cold processing environment. It is cold to avoid altering the whey molecule at all. This is about as pure as you can get—even temperature is accounted for to keep the whey molecule as in-tact as possible.

The single discrepancy between whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate is a small amount of carbohydrate and fat. Seeing that this process keeps the immune properties inherent to the whole whey protein, we feel it is worth the miniscule amount of carbs and fat left over.

To be fair, we will compare the nutritional profiles of two products, both from MTS Nutrition: All Natural Grass Fed Whey Protein Isolate (pure isolate) and Machine Whey (concentrate and isolate blend):

Machine All Natural Grass Fed Isolate

Protein: 25 grams

Carbs: 2 grams

Fat: 1 gram

Machine Whey

Protein: 25 grams

Carbs: 3 grams

Fat: 2 grams

When Is When Protein Isolate a Better Choice?

Whey protein isolate is a better option if you suffer from lactose intolerance. But unless severe, taking something like MTS Nutrition Machine Uptake with the shake can eliminate most, if not all, issues.

Whey protein isolate might also be a better choice if you are preparing for a sporting event or contest prep where every macronutrient counts, and there aren’t very many. The difference is only 2 to 3 grams, so even in this case, it’s not a big deal.

Isn’t Whey Protein Isolate Absorbed Faster?

Some people will tout the speed of whey protein isolate over whey protein concentrate, but this is illogical. They are both whey protein, so absorption will be similar. And unless taken in a completely fasted state (no food in over 24 hours) with no other food sources (like peanut butter for fat or oatmeal for carbs), it will make no noticeable difference.

What About Cholesterol in Whey Protein?

The cholesterol in whey protein is naturally occurring, and the new scientific consensus is that dietary cholesterol will not lead to cholesterol increases in healthy individuals. Cholesterol is also critical for healthy hormone production.

What Are the Benefits of Whey Blends?

There are a number of benefits of consuming a whey protein blend compared to other protein sources:

  • Whey protein has a higher biological value than any other protein, period. This includes casein, eggs, soy and beef.
  • Whey protein concentrate is much easier to flavor than other proteins.
  • In-tact whey protein concentrate has tremendous immune benefits.
  • Speedy absorption when you want it: Whey protein is fast when taken on its own, but if you want to slow it down, you can add fat or fiber and it becomes more of a meal.
  • When using a trusted product like Machine Whey, you can be assured of truth to label and no amino spiking.

It’s time to stop falling for inaccurate claims and sales tactics. Whey protein is the highest quality protein source, period. Whey protein concentrate is not only less expensive than isolate, but also has tremendous benefits beyond lean mass and fat loss.

If you want the best for health and gains, incorporate a high-quality whey protein concentrate like MTS Nutrition Machine Whey into your program and reap the results!



10
JUL

7 Surprising Uses for Coconut Oil

Filed Under: Beauty,Nutrition,Personal Care,Recipes at 2:44 pm | By: admin

From a star ingredient in DIY beauty treatments to a nutritious substitute for conventional cooking oils, coconut oil has more uses than we can count. Here are seven surprising uses for coconut oil you may not know about:

1. Coconut Oil Coffee Creamer

Instead of using dairy creamer, try using coconut oil. It’s a natural sweetener, and it could be good for heart health. So try a cup of Coco-Joe!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

1 cup of hot coffee

1-2 teaspoons organic LuckyEats coconut oil

Natural sweetener (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Add coconut oil to your coffee and stir to blend. Add natural sweetener to taste. Sip and enjoy!

2. Coconut Oil Super Smoothie

Add coconut oil to your favorite smoothie for added flavor.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

1.5 cups ice

1 medium banana

1 tablespoon Greek nonfat yogurt

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

2 scoops protein powder

1 piece peeled fresh ginger

2 teaspoons black elderberry syrup

1 tablespoon organic LuckyEats coconut oil

INSTRUCTIONS:

Mix all ingredients and blend until smooth. Sip and enjoy!

3. Coconut Shampoo

You can use coconut oil to make a DIY ultra-nourishing coconut shampoo.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

1 teaspoon organic LuckyEats coconut oil, melted

½ cup unsweetened coconut milk

2/3 cup liquid castile soap

Few drops of your favorite LuckyAromas essential oil

Empty bottle

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Heat coconut oil in a microwave-safe dish for 30 seconds.
  • Pour unsweetened coconut milk and castile soap into an empty bottle.
  • Add the liquid coconut oil and a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
  • Shake vigorously to mix.
  • Shower and see the results for yourself!

4. Swap Out Unhealthy Oil with Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a trans-fat-free and tasty substitute for conventional cooking oils, butter or shortening in recipes. Simply replace at a 1:1 ratio. For flaky baked products, use coconut oil at room temperature. To replace vegetable oil and butter, melt coconut oil and use it in its liquid state. Try using it in your favorite brownie mix!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

1 package of brownie mix

3 eggs

1/2 cup LuckyEats coconut oil, melted

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Add brownie mix, eggs and coconut oil in a large bowl.
  • Stir until well blended.
  • Pour batter into baking pan and spread with a spatula.
  • Bake according to brownie mix directions.
  • Let cool completely before cutting and serving.

5. Coconut Oil Deodorant

Whip up an effective natural deodorant using coconut oil!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

2 tablespoons shea butter

3 tablespoons beeswax

1/3 cup arrowroot powder

2 tablespoons baking soda

1/3 cup organic LuckyEats coconut oil, melted

10-15 drops LuckyAromas essential oils

2 empty deodorant containers

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Melt shea butter and beeswax in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir continuously until melted.
  • Once completely melted, remove off heat and whisk in arrowroot powder and baking soda.
  • Add coconut oil and essential oils. Mix thoroughly, but quickly, as mixture will start to thicken.
  • Pour into two empty deodorant containers and let your homemade deodorant sit until completely set. Place on lid.
  • Use as you would any other deodorant!

6. DIY Coconut Sugar Face Scrub

Get super-smooth skin with this all-natural DIY coconut sugar scrub.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

1 cup of organic sugar

¼ cup organic LuckyEats coconut oil

6-12 drops of LuckyAromas lavender essential oil

8-ounce mason jar

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Add the sugar to a medium-sized bowl.
  • Add the melted coconut oil to the sugar and mix with a spoon until you arrive at a nice, fluffy consistency.
  • Add a few drops of lavender essential oil.
  • Transfer the scrub to the jar.

7. Coconut Oil Hand Soap

Make a super-creamy coconut oil hand soap that’s great for healing chapped hands.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

1 natural fragrance-free soap bar

Cheese grater

Large pot

10 cups water

2 tablespoons organic LuckyEats coconut oil

20-25 drops of your favorite LuckyAromas essential oil

Liquid soap dispenser

Large mason jar for refills

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Grate the entire bar of soap with your cheese grater and put it in a pot. Add water and coonut oil over the grated soap.
  • Heat the soap, coconut oil and water on medium heat until all the soap and coconut oil have dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool.
  • Add between 20 to 25 drops of your favorite essential oil into the mixture.
  • Let it sit and cool. Stir every hour. After five hours, the soap should be ready!
  • Pour the soap into the dispenser and you can start using it right away.



9
JUL

Keto Coconut-Lemon Mug Cake Recipe

Filed Under: Diet & Weight Loss,Recipes at 12:32 pm | By: Megan Sullivan

If you’re on a ketogenic diet, you’re brave enough to give up indulgences like sugary treats. But guess what? You can still satisfy your sweet tooth with keto desserts, like this easy-to-make Keto Coconut-Lemon Mug Cake! It’s a single serving, so you don’t have to worry about going overboard.

Eating healthy fats is a key component of the keto diet. MCTs, or medium-chain triglycerides, are a form of saturated fatty acids that are especially useful to incorporate into the keto diet. Coconut oil is a rich source of MCTs, but you can also get your daily dose in supplement form.

This particular recipe incorporates MCT oil powder. The healthy fats in MCT powder are converted to ketones, which can help sharpen your focus, boost energy and enhance weight loss.

Powdered MCT is easier on the digestive system than MCT oil in its raw form.  The powder is also easier to incorporate into baked goods, like this guilt-free mug cake!

The MCT powder here is used in place of butter as a fat source. (If you don’t have MCT oil powder on hand, you can substitute 1 tablespoon of grass-fed butter or coconut oil per scoop.)

Consuming MCTs has never tasted so good. Trust us.

Keto Coconut-Lemon Mug Cake

Servings: 1

Prep time: 3 minutes

Cook time: 2 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

2 scoops MCT oil powder

2 tablespoons coconut flour

¼ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon cream of tartar

Pinch of salt

1 large egg, lightly whisked

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons coconut cream

Topping:

Dollop of coconut cream

Stevia or other zero-calorie sweetener to taste

½ teaspoon lemon zest (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Add MCT oil powder, coconut flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt to microwave-safe mug.
  • Stir in whisked egg, lemon juice, lemon zest and coconut cream until batter forms.
  • Microwave for about 90 seconds, or until the top of the cake is firm to the touch.
  • Mix dollop of coconut cream with stevia or other zero-calorie sweetener.
  • Wait until cake is slightly cooled, then spread on coconut cream topping. Scatter with bits of lemon zest, if desired. Devour.



6
JUL

Full Body Park Bench Workout

Filed Under: Exercise and Fitness at 2:51 pm | By: Rachel Agranove

Busy weekend? Too much time to be spent at little league games and no time to hit the gym? Take advantage of the beautiful weather and take your workout outside. Here’s a great full body park bench workout that can be done anywhere with a park bench.

This workout uses body-weight exercises, which can be just as effective as weighted exercises for gaining muscle and losing fat. Without the external load, you can focus totally on your form and your breathing. This workout will also incorporate a lot of unilateral (single-sided) exercises to work on balance, which is so important in everyday life!

This workout consists of three different circuits. You will complete each circuit two to three times before moving on to the next one. Try to keep rest minimal during each circuit and rest one to two minutes in between each circuit.

This park bench workout is all about going slow and controlled on the strength-based exercises in circuits one and two, and then finding some intensity and power during the last circuit of cardio-based exercises.

Park Bench Workout

Go through each circuit two to three times before moving on to the next.

CIRCUIT 1

  1. Step-ups (16 reps): Start standing in front of the bench. Step your right foot onto the bench and drive through your heel to stand all the way up. Make sure your entire foot is on the bench. Slowly lower down and repeat on the left side.
  2. Tricep dips (12 reps): Start seated on the edge of the bench with your hands just outside of your hips. Lower your hips off the edge of the bench, keeping your hips close to the edge. Bend 90 degrees at your elbows to lower down. Press through your palms and squeeze the back of your arms to come back up. Keep your shoulders down and back away from your ears.
  3. Elevated plank with knee tucks (16 reps): Start in a high plank position with your hands on the bench and feet together. Stack your shoulders right over your wrists and squeeze your inner thighs together. Round your spine and bend your right knee in toward your nose. Alternate sides until you finish your reps. Go real slow with these to feel the burn in your core and obliques!

CIRCUIT 2

  1. One-leg squat to bench (16 reps, 8 each side): Start standing on one leg in front of a bench. Squat down on one leg until you hit the bench and stand back up. This one is great for balance! If you fall, you’ll just fall right into a seated position, so don’t be afraid to try it if you’re a little uneasy about moving on one leg.
  2. Elevated push-ups (8-12 reps): Start in a plank position, shoulders right over your wrists. Lower your chest to the bench while keeping your core engaged. Think of the push-up as a moving plank! Your spine should stay neutral the whole time. Elevated push-ups are an awesome way to build up strength to do push-ups from the ground.
  3. Elevated shoulder taps (20 reps, 10 each side): Start in plank position with feet about hip width apart. Tap your right hand to left shoulder and repeat on the other side. The goal here is to keep your hips square to the ground! This is an anti-rotation exercise because you’re fighting the rotation of your body when you lift your hands, so it’s wonderful for building core strength and stability when we need to fight rotation and stay stable in our core in real life (think carrying a heavy load of laundry down stairs!)

CIRCUIT 3

  1. Bench squat jump (30 seconds): Start seated on the bench with arms straight in front of you. Drive through your heels and jump up. Land softly back to a seated position. This is great for getting your heart rate up and building power! It also teaches you how to accelerate and decelerate properly as you will start and stop in a seated position.
  2. Lateral shuffle (30 seconds): Use the bench as your width. Start in an athletic stance with soft knees. Shuffle to one side of the bench and back quickly. This drill will help improve your coordination and agility…again, two things that will make everyday life much easier!
  3. Mountain climbers (30 seconds): Start in a plank position on the bench. One at a time, drive your knees into your chest at a quick pace. Keep your spine neutral and your shoulders right over your wrists.



6
JUL

How to Eat Keto When You’re Vegan

Filed Under: Diet & Weight Loss,Nutrition,Supplements at 11:16 am | By: Guest Blogger

This post was provided by our friends at Nuzest and written by Cliff Harvey, N.D., Dip.Fit, Ph.D.

The ketogenic diet is becoming one of, if not the most popular diet in the mainstream right now. Despite this popularity, the ketogenic diet is misunderstood. Many people think that it is solely a carnivore-style diet and that its very nature excludes vegans. But not so! There are plenty of ways to follow a keto diet and still be vegan. In fact, several of my colleagues and students are keto-vegans.

What Is Ketosis?

Ketogenic diets elicit the state of ketosis. Ketosis is when the body produces ketone bodies, mainly from fats (and some amino acids) to use as an alternative fuel in times of fasting or drastic carbohydrate restriction. When stored carbohydrate (glycogen) reserves become insufficient to supply the glucose normally necessary for fuel metabolism and for the supply of glucose to the brain and central nervous system, an alternative fuel source is needed. Ketones (especially β-hydroxybutyrate or BOHB) are created in the liver to supply fuel to the body and brain.

What Is a Ketogenic Diet?

The ketogenic diet itself is a form of low-carb, high-fat, low-to-moderate protein diet. Originally developed as a treatment for childhood epilepsy beginning nearly a century ago, keto and other low-carb, high-fat diets are now being studied for their potential use for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, autism, cancer, diabetes and obesity.

Ketogenic diets typically require that you eat around 4-parts fat to 1-part protein and carbohydrate (a 4:1 protocol). This is what leads people to believe that they can’t follow a ketogenic diet if they are eating an entirely plant-based diet.

The Problem with Ketogenic Diet Is Protein

In order to get quality protein, most people rely on meat, fish, chicken and eggs, which are nearly devoid of carbohydrate and packed with complete protein and with (depending on the meat and cut) relatively high levels of fat. This is great if you’re on a keto diet, but not so great if you’re vegan!

So, vegans typically rely on eating foods that contain protein but also have higher amounts of carbohydrate, which is a keto no-no.

How Vegans Can Get Enough Protein for a Ketogenic Diet, Without the Carbs

To be successful on a vegan keto diet, you need to find protein choices that are relatively low in carbohydrate. Fat intake is easy, as any vegan oil is going to fit the bill for keto. Protein is the tricky part.

Some vegan proteins that are relatively low in carbohydrate include:

Food (g per 100 g) Protein Carbs Fat
Firm tofu 8 1.9 4.8
Tempeh 19 9 11
Sprouted lentils* 9 22 1
Almonds 21 22 49
Walnuts 15 14 65
Pea protein isolate 89 2 1

*These are still relatively high in carbohydrate, but as part of a mixed meal, with vegetables, oils added, and other protein sources, can still be part of a keto diet.

Tips for Meal Planning for the Keto-Vegan

1. Plan Your Meals. The key to planning a vegan keto meal is to prioritize lower-carb protein foods, eat a lot of vegetables, and then add oils to the meal to increase the fat: protein/carb ratio. One of the common problems in going lower-carb is that vegan diets often tend to be based on starchy foods such as rice and potatoes. These often make up the greatest bulk of the diet, but in a vegan keto diet, this needs to be reversed, with the greatest bulk made up of vegetables, followed by low-carb protein foods, and then dressed in healthy fats and oils.

So, a vegan keto meal looks a little something like this: veggies + low-carb protein + oils

Example: 3 servings of veggies (kale, spinach, etc.) + mixed nuts, seeds and sprouted lentils + olive oil vinaigrette

2. Boost Ketones with MCTs. One thing that really helps a vegan keto diet is the use of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Ketosis can be achieved with a little more protein and carbohydrate, and less fat, if you supplement with MCTs, as they are taken up into the liver (as compared to entering the body via the lymph) and are then converted into ketone bodies. If you add a tablespoon of MCT oil to smoothies and use it as part of your salad and vegetable dressings, you’ll make your keto-vegan journey a whole lot easier.

3. Use Pea Protein Isolate. There’s nothing magical about protein powder…but it is a convenient, cost effective way to provide high-quality protein to your diet. A protein smoothie can provide a meal, and for vegan keto, this meal can be tailored to exactly the amount of protein and fat you require. For example, a great option could be to have a scoop of pea protein isolate, with a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter, flax seeds, some kale, blueberries and a tablespoon of MCT—a perfect keto meal with around 65 percent of the calories from fat (mostly MCT) and more than 20 grams of protein.

So, a day of vegan keto eating could look a little like this:

Breakfast: Smoothie (as above)

Lunch: Leftovers from dinner

Dinner: Salad or vegetables with tofu, tempeh or mixed nuts and seeds, and dressed with flax and olive oil vinaigrette.

It’s actually relatively easy to give a ketogenic diet a go if you’re vegan. While the keto diet isn’t for everyone, it can be a great diet if you can stick to it. Thankfully, there are more ways to do keto than the old-style, classic keto diets, and if you simply avoid the obligate carbohydrates (grains, tubers and fruits), stick to the tips above, and prioritize non-starchy veggies, lower-carb plant-based proteins and healthy fats, you’ll find vegan keto a breeze.

About the author: Dr. Cliff Harvey is a naturopath and clinical nutritionist, and author and speaker specializing in holistic performance nutrition and mind-body-spirit lifestyle counseling.



5
JUL

Berry Coconut Almond Protein Smoothie Recipe

Filed Under: Health Foods,Nutrition,Recipes at 12:57 pm | By: Megan Sullivan

Fruit smoothies can be a delicious way to start your day, but they often fall short on protein. This Berry Coconut Almond Protein Smoothie recipe doesn’t skimp on nutrients—or flavor! The secret ingredient? Egg white protein.

By adding a scoop of egg white protein to your smoothie, you’ll get a whopping 23 grams of protein. Egg whites are not only high in protein but also free of cholesterol, fats and carbohydrates.

Non-dairy milk, coconut oil and almond butter provide a healthy fat boost, while mixed berries and banana add fiber and potassium.

Egg white protein is also lactose free, making this smoothie an ideal option for people with lactose intolerance. Here’s how to make it:

Berry Coconut Almond Protein Smoothie 

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup frozen mixed berries

½ ripe banana, fresh or frozen

1 scoop MRM Natural Egg White Protein (vanilla)

1 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk

1 tablespoon LuckyEats Coconut Oil, melted

1-2 tablespoons Justin’s Honey Almond Butter

Topping: 1 tablespoon coconut flakes (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Place mixed berries, banana, egg white protein and non-dairy milk in a blender.
  • Slowly pour in coconut oil while blending to avoid clumping. Blend until smooth.
  • Drizzle almond butter inside a glass and swirl to coat the sides.
  • Pour smoothie into the glass and top with coconut flakes, if desired. Sip and enjoy!



3
JUL

What Is Moringa and Why Do You Need It?

Filed Under: Nutrition,Superfoods,Supplements at 5:03 pm | By: Jessica Remitz

This piece was created in partnership with our friends at Kuli Kuli.

You’ve likely heard of superfoods—and may incorporate some into your diet already—but it can be challenging to keep up with the myriad of options aimed at improving your health and well-being. Enter moringa, an incredibly versatile, nutrient-dense plant that goes above and beyond the call of duty, even when compared to other superfoods.

What Is Moringa?

Moringa oleifera is a fast-growing, leafy tree that has been utilized in Eastern medicine for thousands of years and is known for its resistance to drought.

“Morgina possibly dates back as early as 7,000 B.C. to the Siddha healers in India who used it as a traditional herb and the Egyptians who used its oil for their skin,” says Matthew Myers, a wellness consultant at LuckyVitamin. “Moringa is native to the southern foothills of northwestern India and widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical areas where its young seed pods and leaves are used as vegetables or for traditional herbs. Moringa is now grown all over Southeast Asia, Central America, Africa, the Middle East and even Hawaii.”

In addition to being used as a food, supplement and topical ointment, moringa has also been used to purify water and in the production of biodiesel fuel (1). Many parts of the moringa tree are able to be used in some capacity.

“Moringa’s leaves can be dried and crushed into a powder to be used in soups and sauces, the seed pods can be boiled and cooked, the seeds can be roasted and the roots can be shredded and used as a condiment,” Myers says. “In supplement form, the whole leaf or leaf extract is available in capsules, powder, liquid juice blend, tea bags and even bars. Its seed oil is used for the skin, and it is also found in some personal care conditioners and soaps.”

As a food, moringa contains a large number of nutrients, including vitamins A, B, C, K and E, minerals like iron, potassium and calcium, and antioxidants, phytonutrients and fiber, Myers says. Moringa also contains the nine amino acids needed to form a complete protein, which is rare among plant sources of food and is generally derived from animal sources.

Moringa Benefits

Moringa offers a number of health benefits, such as boosting the immune system, improving digestion, and supporting skin, muscle and bone health, Myers says. Moringa can also boost energy and promote healthy blood sugar levels in individuals who already have normal ranges, he adds.

A good source of iron, beta-carotene, potassium and calcium, moringa possesses antioxidants that may help prevent cardiovascular disease, some studies suggest (2). In addition, studies have also suggested that the components of the moringa plant can help treat diabetes (3). It’s important to note, however, that more research is needed to further substantiate both of these claims.

Moringa has also been proven as an excellent source of iron for people with anemia (4). Like other leafy greens, moringa contains high levels of non-heme iron (the type of iron found in plants). Moringa has seven times the amount of iron as spinach and six times the amount of iron as kale (5).

As with all supplements and herbs, talk to your doctor or medical care professional before taking any new products, Myers says, as some medications can interact with supplements and natural herbs. In addition, Myers recommends talking to a specialist before taking moringa if you are on any type of hormone-related medication.

Some studies suggest that the leaves of the moringa plant can be used to increase breast milk production (6), however, there is not enough evidence to confirm that moringa is safe for nursing infants. In addition, the root, bark and flowers of the moringa plant should be avoided entirely by pregnant women. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, speak with your doctor before trying any type of moringa product.

Ways to Add Moringa to Your Diet

Moringa leaves can be eaten fresh, dried or cooked. In powder form, the leaves can also retain their nutritional value for years without refrigeration. Moringa powder can be added to smoothies or mixed into sauces and stews. It can also be found in certain energy shots and health bars.

Used as a seed oil, moringa can help protect and moisturize the skin, Myers says. To use it, wash and pat your skin dry, then apply the oil directly to the face to soothe dry and irritated, skin. It can also be used as a hair oil by massaging two to three drops in damp hair, beginning at the scalp and working toward the ends of the hair, he says.

Myers recommends taking the leaf extract in capsule form and following instruction labels for dosing recommendations.

“All supplements use the leaf and seed part of the plant,” he says. “If you are to consume the actual plant itself in its natural form like in traditional cooking, use precaution when consuming the bark, root and flowers in high doses.”

Moringa Green Tea Lemonade Recipe

Looking for a simple (and refreshing) way to get your daily dose of moringa? Try adding a scoop to a tall glass of green tea lemonade!

Servings: 2

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups boiling water

2 green tea bags

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 5 to 6 lemons)

¼ cup natural sweetener, such as agave or honey (or more to taste)

2 tablespoons pure moringa vegetable powder

Ice

1 cup sparkling water

Lemon slices for garnish (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Add green tea bags to boiling water and steep about three minutes. Remove tea bags and discard.
  • Once tea has cooled a bit, mix in lemon juice, sweetener and moringa powder.
  • Pour lemonade mixture into a pitcher with ice.
  • Top with sparkling water.
  • Garnish with lemon slices and enjoy!



3
JUL

Essential Oils Guide: Top 10 Essential Oils and What They Do

Filed Under: Aromatherapy,General Wellness & Wellbeing at 1:28 pm | By: Aly Semigran

Taking care of your overall physical and emotional wellness is an essential aspect of life, so it makes sense that essential oils are key elements in helping you do just that. It’s why essential oils have become so popular, not only in health care but also in personal care regimens.

But what exactly are essential oils, and how do they benefit us? Our complete essential oils guide tells you everything you need to know about essential oils and what they do.

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils come from various species of flowers, grasses, fruits, leaves, stems and trees,  says Kristin Rondeau, a learning and cultural specialist with Saje Natural Wellness. On average, essential oils are 80 times more potent than the dried herb, she adds.

“They are composed of plant molecules that are highly volatile, complex chemical structures created in nature,” Rondeau explains. “They are known to be the life force of the plant—concentrated energy that collects in the secretory system of plants and supports their metabolic functions.”

These oils not only capture the concentrated aroma of the plant they are derived from, but can also harness the healing power from their plant source, Rondeau says. “Essential oils are thought to work in a complementary fashion to offer a holistic effect.”

But, as clinical aromatherapist and reflexologist Amy Kreydin points out, calling them oils is “a bit of a misnomer.” That’s because unlike oils, fats, waxes and butters like coconut oil, cocoa butter or jojoba liquid wax, essential oils aren’t lipids, they are actually volatiles.

Volatile substances like essential oils evaporate into the breathing space, Rondeau says. They can be inhaled or applied directly to the skin when properly diluted.

Benefits of Essential Oils

The benefits of essential oils are vast. “Most essential oils are going to fit into the category of having some sort of antimicrobial, meaning they can be antibacterial, antiviral or antifungal,” Kreydin says.

They’ve also been used around the world for centuries. “Essential oils have been used medicinally and therapeutically for as long as human beings have had relationships with plants,” says aromatherapist and founder of the New York Institute of Aromatic Studies, Amy Galper. “There is evidence of plants being used for healing over 5,000 years ago, in civilizations like Babylonia, Egypt, China, India and Israel.”

These various essential oils, which have stood the test of time, can be used for everything from pain management to reducing stress, and so much more. Kreydin says that essential oils “tend to have a Swiss Army knife function,” in that they have a plethora of benefits and uses. There are also a variety of ways to apply essential oils and their accompanying carrier oils.

10 Essential Oils and Their Uses

To better understand the benefits and uses of essential oils, let’s take a closer look at 10 of the most popular essential oils out there:

Lavender Essential Oil Benefits

Arguably the most popular of the essential oils, lavender is loved because of its “whole-body calming and balancing benefits,” Rondeau says.

Easily adaptable and versatile to the body’s needs, the “floral and herbaceous” lavender can help calm our mental and emotional states, she adds.

Lavender is said to help with everything from stress management to sleep issues, including falling or staying asleep. When it comes to using lavender for sleep, Kreydin recommends turning on a diffuser 30 minutes before bed and unplugging it before going to sleep so that the room smells like lavender. “Your brain will remember, ‘This is the smell we use to sleep,’” she says.

Lavender, which is an anti-inflammatory, can also be used for pain management, such as sore muscles, body aches and tension headaches. For this use, Kreydin suggests pairing lavender with a carrier oil, such as jojoba. (A carrier oil is a fatty acid that works with the volatile so that the skin recognizes it as a form of nutrition and hydration, Kreydin explains.)

Tea Tree Essential Oil Benefits 

Right behind lavender in terms of popularity and overall usage is tea tree. Native to Australia, this essential oil is “pungently fresh,” Rondeau describes. “It balances the skin with its refreshing and clearing properties.”

Used aromatically and topically (when mixed with a carrier oil), tea tree is widely used in both traditional and alternative medicine.

That’s because it’s an antimicrobial, which makes it helpful for first aid when it comes to treating minor cuts, scrapes and burns, Kreydin points out.

The cooling and cleansing properties can also be beneficial in preventing head lice and dandruff, which is why you’ll sometimes see tea tree oil in shampoos and conditioners.

Some also say that tea tree’s purifying properties make it ideal for chakra healing and balance, Rondeau adds.

Eucalyptus Essential Oil Benefits 

An “invigorating and uplifting” essential oil, eucalyptus can be used to refresh and stimulate, Kreydin says. For instance, if you need a good jump-start to your day that isn’t coffee, eucalyptus may give you the energy you need. “This essential oil is fresh and light, and often one of the first aromas to reach the nose and dissipate quickly,” Rondeau says.

Since eucalyptus works so quickly in the nose passageways, it can also aid in opening up the lungs and chest during high allergy seasons. That said, because it travels in the airways and lungs, Kreydin notes that people with breathing issues, such as asthma, should use caution around eucalyptus as it could trigger an asthmatic attack. For those with asthma, she recommends using it in a well-ventilated room until you know how you will respond to it personally.

In order to get the benefits of eucalyptus, Rondeau suggests adding the recommended amount to a bowl of steaming water or to an ultrasonic diffuser. Kreydin says you can also put a couple of drops on your shower wall or into a washcloth on your shower floor.

Peppermint Essential Oil Benefits 

Peppermint is a “zingy, herbaceous oil” that is designed to lift our moods and soothe the body, Rondeau says. “It creates a cooling, tingling effect that is known to help relieve pain and soothe tension. It provides a distinct cooling sensation to the skin while inspiring feelings of clarity and purpose.”

When applying peppermint to the skin, our experts recommend diluting it first as directed on the label.

Peppermint is also often found in over-the-counter products to aid with relieving coughs, due to its natural menthol elements. It can be a lifesaver during high-allergy times, such as ragweed season, Kreydin says. “Where eucalyptus goes toward the lung or chest, peppermint goes toward the sinuses.”

Lemon Essential Oil Benefits

When you think of lemons, you think of summer and happiness, right? Well, there’s a reason for that. Lemon essential oil is often referred to as “sunshine liquid,” Rondeau says, thanks to its “ability to brighten your mood and your outlook.

“Lemon energizes the body, balances your skin tone and can be used to freshen your home,” she adds.

Cold pressed from the rind of ripe yellow lemons, this essential oil is used to uplift and inspire. For example, you might try using lemon with an inhaler or aromatherapy stick to help sharpen your mind while studying or to clear your head.

For many, lemon is tied to scent memory, Kreydin points out. The scent may remind you of cleaning, so don’t be surprised if it motivates you to do just that.

In addition to being an antimicrobial (meaning it can be used for first aid, such as helping with paper cuts or scratches), lemon is also a natural astringent. Galper suggests adding lemon essential oil to a sugar scrub as a detox remedy.

However, because lemon is a phototoxic oil, it can maximize the damage of UV rays, including sunburn and dark spots. You’ll want to dilute lemon before going into the sun and follow all instructions, Kreydin says.

Orange Essential Oil Benefits

Another citrus-based essential oil, orange is known to have mood-boosting properties. It’s derived from the peel of the flowering plant, Rutaceae, which is a hybrid of pomelo and mandarin. “Sweet yet soothing, orange can gently lull you into a deeper state of rest and help to remind you of the positive in life,” Rondeau says.

Since it’s not as overpowering as lemon, orange is ideal to use for seasonal affective disorder, Kreydin says. During those dreary winter months, you can use an aromatherapy stick or wear aromatherapy jewelry with diffuser stones to get that burst of summer smell.

However, orange oil is just as helpful in the summer months, Kreydin points out. When paired with cypress in a massage oil, the properly diluted amount of orange may help with fluid congestion in the legs.

Orange can even help with removing the residue of adhesives from stickers!

Cypress Essential Oil Benefits 

Obtained from steam distillation of the needles and twigs of the evergreen tree, cypress has a variety of potential uses, including aromatherapy for relieving cough and flu symptoms and rheumatoid arthritis pain, Rondeau explains.

Kreydin notes that people who want (or need) to avoid commercial antiperspirants containing aluminum can use cypress as an ingredient in homemade deodorant. It also works well in body scrubs and cleansers “to wash away germs and improve vitality,” Galper adds.

Known for its notable, forest-like odor, cypress can be diffused indoors. You can add cypress to a diffuser to clear the air, Galper says, as it’s “good for circulation…it’s cleansing and detoxifying.”

For those who desire a less pungent, outdoorsy smell, Kreydin suggests mixing cypress with rose geranium for a lighter, more floral scent.

Rosemary Essential Oil Benefits 

Rosemary is a stimulating and warming herbal essential oil that is known to help release stressful feelings, Rondeau says. It can also help “soothe muscular aches and pains, while keeping your mind sharp and your senses invigorated.”

Rosemary, which is steam-distilled from the flowering tops, stalks and leaves of the rosemary plant, can also be used to clear up sinus congestion, Rondeau adds.

Rosemary verbenone oil is gentle on the skin. It can be used to help treat acne, repair damaged skin and reduce wrinkles and age spots, especially when paired with rose geranium, Kreydin says. Rosemary cineole oil, on the other hand, should never be used on the face, she says.

As with all essential oils, follow labeled instructions for proper dosage, Rondeau advises.

Lemongrass Essential Oil Benefits 

Lemongrass, which is derived from a slender, yellowish tropical grass, has a myriad of uses. “It has a long history of use as a folk remedy, Rondeau says. “Invigorating with a cleansing, fresh aroma, lemongrass has uplifting properties that make it a valuable addition to blends for promoting a sense of joy and releasing stressful thoughts.”

That very same “tropical” smell lemongrass possesses can also be useful for getting rid of musty odors in the home, Kreydin says.

In addition to its aromatherapeutic properties, lemongrass can work as an effective bug repellent, Rondeau notes.

However, since lemongrass can irritate the skin, it’s important to dilute it properly and is best used through a diffuser, Kreydin says.

Sage Essential Oil Benefits

There are different types of sage available, but overall, Rondeau describes the essential oil as “a warm, sweet and lively herb that inspires clearing and feelings of inner balance.” (For instance, dried sage—with its sweet and herbaceous aroma— can be burned to clear out negative feelings from physical surroundings.)

Sage, in its various uses in aromatherapy, may help soothe digestive discomfort, headaches, sore throats and muscular aches and pains, Rondeau says.

One of the most popular types is clary sage, Kreydin notes. “Generally considered a women’s essential oil, it’s popular for use during PMS and menopause.”

If you spritz diluted clary sage onto your sheets before going to bed, it can help cool you down. It provides hormonal support, Kreydin says, and can “gently nudge your body in the direction” you need it to go.

Essential Oil Safety

When using essential oils, there are important safety precautions to remember. Some oils are not safe to use around children or pets, for example. In addition, pregnant or breastfeeding women and people with medical conditions, such as epilepsy or high or low blood pressure, should always use essential oils with caution and follow their labeled instructions, Rondeau warns.

Proper use and dilution of essential oils is key. Guidelines must be followed, Galper explains. For instance, “If you’re using essential oils on the face, the portion should never be higher than 1 percent.” (In other words, for a 1-ounce bottle, you should only use 8-10 drops of the essential oil.)

However, if you’re using an essential oil for something like physical pain, the dilution will be higher, around 5 to 8 percent. That’s why following instructions and dosage is of the utmost importance.



28
JUN

3 Guilt-Free Summer Margarita Recipes

Filed Under: Recipes at 2:48 pm | By: Guest Blogger

This post was provided by our friends at NuNaturals. 

These margaritas are exactly what you need this summer (or any time of year!). Nutritionist Alix Turoff created these delicious margaritas to be guilt-free. Not only are they sugar-free, but each margarita is only around 160 calories!

Spicy Grapefruit Margarita

INGREDIENTS:

For spicy salt: 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt, ½ tablespoon chili powder

Lime wedge

Ice

4 ounces tequila

3 ounces fresh squeezed lime juice

2 ounces freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

1 jalapeño pepper, cut into thin slices

½ teaspoon NuStevia simple syrup

2 ounces seltzer

Optional garnish: lime wedges, jalapeño slices

INSTRUCTIONS: 

  • To make your salt, combine kosher salt and chili powder in a small bowl (choose a bowl that will fit the rim of your glass).
  • To salt the rim of your glass, take a lime wedge and coat the rim. Dip in spicy salt and rotate glass until coated.
  • Fill your glass with ice and set aside.
  • Fill a cocktail shaker with additional ice and add tequila, lime juice, grapefruit juice, jalapeño and simple syrup.
  • Close shaker and shake for about 30 seconds. Strain into rimmed glass with ice.
  • Top with seltzer.
  • Garnish with lime wedges and jalapeño slices.

Strawberry Basil Margarita

INGREDIENTS:

½ tablespoon kosher salt

Lime wedge

Ice

1 cup fresh strawberries

5 basil leaves

1 teaspoon NuStevia simple syrup

2 ounces tequila

2.5 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice

2 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice

Optional garnish: Fresh strawberry or lime wedge

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Put kosher salt in a small bowl (choose a bowl that will fit the rim of your glass).
  • To salt the rim of your glass, take a lime wedge and coat the rim. Dip in salt mixture and rotate glass until coated.
  • Fill your glass with ice and set aside.
  • Remove the stems from your strawberries and place in a blender with fresh basil leaves and simple syrup. Pulse the blender until you have a liquid with small bits of strawberries.
  • Add strawberry mixture to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Add tequila, lime juice and orange juice.
  • Close shaker and shake for about 30 seconds. Strain into rimmed glass with ice.
  • Garnish with a fresh strawberry and/or lime wedge.

Ginger Margarita

INGREDIENTS:

For salt: ½ tablespoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon freshly grated ginger

Lime wedge

Ice

4 ounces tequila

3 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice

2 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice

1 teaspoon NuStevia ginger syrup

1 ounce seltzer

Optional garnish: Lime wedges and/or candied ginger

INSTRUCTIONS: 

  • To make your salt, combine kosher salt and freshly grated ginger in a small bowl (choose a bowl that will fit the rim of your glass).
  • To salt the rim of your glass, take a lime wedge and coat the rim. Dip in salt mixture and rotate glass until coated.
  • Fill your glass with ice and set aside.
  • Fill a cocktail shaker with additional ice and add tequila, lime juice, orange juice and ginger syrup.
  • Close shaker and shake for about seconds. Strain into rimmed glass with ice.
  • Top with seltzer.
  • Garnish with lime wedges and/or candied ginger.



27
JUN

Are You Getting Enough Protein?

Filed Under: Nutrition,Supplements,Vitamins and Minerals at 4:51 pm | By: Guest Blogger

This post was provided by our friends at Bodylogix.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by protein information overload? If so, you’re not alone. And while you may know protein is beneficial for a healthy muscular makeup and optimally functioning immune system, you may not know exactly how much protein you need each day or what the best sources for a healthy lifestyle are.

Dr. Spencer Nadolsky, coined “America’s Fat Loss Doc,” once said, “Protein is king.” In fact, if you don’t get enough protein in your diet, it can have negative effects on your health.

How Much Protein Do I Need?

The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight for adults, or 0.36 grams per pound.

Of course, there are a few factors that can affect that number, including lifestyle habits and your activity level. Lucky for you, Bodylogix has created a new app that not only calculates how much protein you need each day, but also provides product recommendations and alternative protein sources. Best of all, it helps you to live a life congruent with your fitness goals by integrating recipes and fit workout inspiration.

High-Quality Sources of Protein

It should be noted that protein, like many other things in life, is not created equal. When it comes to protein, choosing non-GMO animal products free of needless antibiotics and sustainably fished seafood are good options. Examples of alternative, high-quality sources of protein include:

  • Eggs, 6 grams per egg
  • Almonds, 6 grams per ounce
  • Chicken breast, 53 grams per breast
  • Cottage cheese, 17 grams per 6 ounces
  • Greek yogurt, 17 grams per 6 ounces
  • Tuna, 16 grams per 3 ounces
  • Quinoa, 6 grams per 5 ounces

Do I Need a Protein Supplement?

If you find getting enough protein from food is a challenge, you can try supplementing your day and diet with protein products. For example, Bodylogix Vegan Protein contains 25 grams of non-GMO multisource plant-based protein.

Go ahead and play the extra match or book an additional session with your trainer— just do so with a protein mindset. Getting enough protein after your workout will not only help with muscle recovery, it will help to feel your best at work or afterward, hanging out with friends or on-the-go with your family.