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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.



27
JUN

The Ultimate Crystal Guide for Beginners

Filed Under: General Wellness & Wellbeing,Home,Mindfulness at 12:42 pm | By: Suki Eleuterio

Colorful or dark, shimmery or opaque, crystals come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes. Sprinkled throughout the earth, these precious gems possess the power to help you tune into your higher self, clear yourself of toxic energy and even mend a broken heart.

Don’t believe me? Just take a look through history. It’s easy to see how crystals have played an important part in our evolution. Crystals like amethyst, opal, amber and citrine have been carried as talismans, adorned in jewelry, used in healing ceremonies and activated as part of shamanic rituals and rites. They even decorated the tombs of ancient Egyptian kings. To this day, crystals are used in jewelry and technology, and line the homes of those of us who are fascinated by their spiritual energy.

Crystals are so much more than just pretty ornaments. Often discredited as “woo-woo” nonsense, crystals sometimes get a bad rap. The truth is, when used correctly, crystals can be magical, uplifting and enlightening. If you’re anything like me, the pure beauty of these crystals draws you in. But maybe you’re left wondering, “What are these crystals and what do they mean? How do I use them? Do they really work or is this just some spiritual mumbo jumbo?”

Hey, it’s alright; you’re a crystal beginner! I was once in your shoes. I remember feeling the draw to be around these crystals, to bring them into my home, but never knowing what else to do with them. Ready to take your crystal knowledge to the next level? Consider this your ultimate crystal guide.

Crystal Guide: Choosing the Right Crystal

Just as every human being is a divine work of art, each crystal foraged from the earth has a distinct healing property and meaning. These crystals carry within them the wisdom and power of Mother Earth itself, and just holding them in your hand can be a transforming experience.

When deciding to buy a crystal, there are several ways to find the best one for you. The first way would be to research the healing properties of certain crystals. For example, if you’re looking for a crystal that is used to help with insomnia, you could try searching for “crystals to help you sleep.” The second and the more organic way is to simply purchase a crystal because you feel naturally drawn or attracted to it. Then watch as the crystal teaches you all you need to know.

I always say crystals will find you. Of my collection of crystals in my home, almost half of them have been given to me as gifts. Once you begin to believe in the power of crystals and accept their assistance, the exact crystal you need will step into your life.

Crystal Guide: How to Cleanse Crystals 

Before you bring a crystal into your home or life, remember to treat the crystal with care. Keep your crystals in a safe place and away from harsh sunlight. When I work with crystals, I like to begin by setting an intention. I ask myself, “What do I want to learn from this crystal?” or “Why am I adding this crystal to my collection?”

Once you set the intention, start by clearing the energy of the crystal. Crystals need to be cleared because they can absorb the energy of everyone who has touched or held them.

“Before using any crystal, the easiest way to clear them is to put them on a plate of non-iodized or kosher salt,” explains Alison Olkowski, a reiki master, life coach and sales manager at Crystal Vision LTC in Hollywood, Florida. “The other option is to place the crystal directly on the Earth, because the vibrational frequency of the Earth is 432Hz, which is a naturally cleansing vibration.”

Many people wonder why you need to clear a crystal before using it. “Everything has an energy field and crystals come into contact with many different energy fields in their lifetime,” Olkowski explains. “Cleansing resets the energy of the crystal back to zero, back to its natural state. Then you can set your intention and create a personal relationship with that crystal, one that best suits your energy.”

Crystal Guide: Charging Crystals

When I start working with a crystal, I like to carry it with me or take it along to important events. I might have the crystal in my purse, or if I feel I need extra support, I might carry it in my hand. Using your crystal in your daily life is the best way to build a relationship with your crystal and helps you to really start to feel its energy.

A beautiful way to arrange your crystals in your home is to try an altar or crystal grid. An altar is a spiritual way to invite more peace, love and happiness into your home. You can create an altar using crystals, pictures, candles, statues, feathers or anything that feels deep and meaningful to you. Clear a space in your home—maybe it is near the front door or maybe it is right next to your bed—and set up a little spot for your altar. As you place your crystals and spiritual items on your altar, notice how you feel. This is always a great time to do a little meditation or say a little blessing.

Another great way to decorate your home with crystals is to form a crystal grid. This is a geometric pattern that you can form using crystals; it’s done for the specific purpose of directing your energy toward a goal. As you create your grid, you don’t need to follow any particular pattern. Instead, just feel what feels right for you. Instead of putting your thoughts and focus into what the grid looks like, redirect your thoughts into, “What does this experience feel like?”

Crystals need to be charged in order to perform at their highest energies. My favorite time to charge my crystals is to use the power of the full moon. Every full moon (or even better, super moon), I take my crystals outside and let them sit under the light of the moon. In the morning, you can collect them again and take them inside. You can also charge your crystals using sunlight. Just be careful, because some crystals will fade after prolonged exposure to the sun.

Crystal Guide: How to Use Crystals 

Beginning Your Spiritual Awakening? Try Amethyst 

If you’ve been ramping up your yoga classes, you have a passion for Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday and you just started reading Gabby Bernstein’s The Universe Has Your Back, it might be time to invite amethyst into your life. The name amethyst comes from the Greek word for “not intoxicated,” and it was a crystal known for invoking a sense of inner peace and tranquility. Often used to help reduce nightmares and insomnia, this brilliant purple crystal will take your meditations to a new level. Also known for enhancing psychic abilities, amethyst is perfect for the spiritual seeker.

How to use it: Place a small amethyst crystal on your third eye (the spot right between your brows), lay down and practice a one- to two-minute guided meditation (you can find them on YouTube). Notice any sensations you might feel as you meditate.

Suffering from Headaches? Try Apatite 

Oh no, you’ve found yourself in a bit of a pickle. It seems like everything is falling apart and no matter how hard you try, you cannot seem to get yourself out of this funk. If you’ve been suffering from headaches, confusion, uncertainty or doubt, it’s time for a problem-solving crystal like apatite to enter your life. This bright blue crystal, which is often associated with the throat chakra, comes from the Greek word for “to deceive” for its ability to act like a chameleon and resemble other stones. Apatite is a great problem solver; it is believed to help soothe headaches and clear away uncertainty and lower emotions. Apatite can help you see things from a new perspective.

How to use it: You can try apatite in one of three ways. The first is to create a crystal grid and put your apatite crystal at the center. Ask a question to the crystal as you create the grid and see how the crystal goes to work for you. Secondly, you can sleep with the crystal next to your bed and notice any dreams you might have. Finally, you can journal and place the apatite next to your journal, ask yourself specific questions and see what comes through in your writing.

Tired of the Toxic Friends? Try Black Tourmaline 

You’ve been thinking about the type of people in your life and the term “toxic friendship.” If you’ve been debating pressing the “unfriend” button, or you feel what everyone else feels, or you’re very sensitive to chemicals, allergens and toxins, black tourmaline might be your new best friend. This crystal can be used to clear toxic energy, purify your thoughts and psyche and even remove deep-seated fears. This is a very grounding gem and perfect for those moments when you feel the toxic energy of the world. Do you need a digital detox? Use black tourmaline to recharge your spiritual batteries and bring you back to the present moment.

How to use it: I like to use black tourmaline along with an affirmation ritual. Pick an affirmation you like, for example, “I am attracting healthy, happy relationships into my life,” and then make that affirmation part of your daily ritual. Hold the black tourmaline in your hand as you say the affirmation out loud. Take the crystal with you as you go about your day or place it next to your bed at night.

For Overcoming Obstacles, Try Bloodstone 

They say when it rains, it pours and sometimes you find yourself in circumstances beyond your control. Instead of turning to Facebook to vent your frustrations, why not pick out a beautiful bloodstone to help you overcome your obstacles? Used for thousands of years as a powerful healing crystal, bloodstone is thought to help detoxify the body and specifically to stimulate the blood-rich organs. Think about your liver, your spleen and your kidneys—the parts of your body that work to rid you of toxins. Use bloodstone to help you release and let go, welcome the change and rise above the fear.

How to use it: Bloodstone is a great stone to use during a full moon. Full moons are often chaotic, energy-packed times of the year. Sit down with your bloodstone and feel its calming energy. You can journal or meditate, think about the things you would like to let go of and watch as the crystal helps you through the tough times.

Been Wishing for a Baby? Try Moonstone 

Fertility, motherhood, nurturing and flowing—these are all qualities associated with the soft, semi-transparent crystal known as moonstone. Found all over the world and very popular in the ancient world, moonstone is tied to the concept of the “divine feminine” and the power of the moon. Often linked to fertility, romantic love and sensuality, women were known to carry moonstone as talismans or good luck charms.

How to use it: Wear moonstone close to your heart as a pendant or carry it with you in your purse or pocket. Set an intention with moonstone and be clear with the universe by asking for what you truly desire.

Recovering from a Broken Heart? Try Rose Quartz

The heart is one of our most powerful organs and one that can be so easily bruised. If you have ever been through heartbreak (because, let’s face it, who hasn’t?) you know that feeling in your chest when you just feel like your heart has been split into two. Rose quartz is a delicate, pale pink crystal that can help mend a broken heart. This crystal is great for attracting love into your life or to help your heart to heal from emotional pain or loss. It’s a powerful crystal and yet so subtle and divine. When you invite the rose quartz in, be sure to treat it with extra tender love and care.

How to use it: Place a few rose quartz crystals in your bedroom or around your house. When you pass the crystal in your home, pick it up or just stand by it and let the crystal be a reminder that you deserve love and that your heart will heal. Be open to the messages you might receive from the crystal or just acknowledging how the crystal makes you feel when you touch it or feel it.

Now that you know a little more about crystals and what they mean, which crystal will you choose to take home?



26
JUN

Bright Eye Makeup Tutorial

Filed Under: Beauty,Personal Care at 2:14 pm | By: Shelby MacIlvain

A lot of people tend to shy away from the more brightly colored eyeshadows, but this type of look can work for school, the office, day or night! I’m going to show you how with this easy bright eye makeup tutorial.

Right now, I’ve been seeing a lot of bright yellow, green and red eye looks with the occasional pastel purple thrown in there. Colorful eyeshadow is a fun way to jazz up your look and can take your makeup from dull to effortlessly cool in a matter of minutes.

My personal favorite bright eye look right now that is a super trendy color for the summer is bright yellow. I actually wear it out a lot now on the weekends. I feel the yellow complements my eyes, then I swipe on a dark purple lipstick and the contrast of colors really makes the makeup look pop!

Complementary Eyeshadow Colors

Certain eyeshadow colors complement different skin tones and eye colors. I always refer back to the good old color wheel when looking for eyeshadow colors for a particular eye color. For blue eyes, try rich, warm browns, taupes, bronzey and champagne colors. You can always go for a gray color too if you’re more into cool-toned looks (like me!).

For all the brown-eyed girls out there, you’re in luck! You have the most options when it comes to complementing shades for your eyes, since brown is a neutral color. Go for browns, blues, greens, grays, reds, even purples. Seriously, any color!

Green-eyed gals, your best bet is to use deep, rusty browns and reds, darker purples, and even some peachy-pink colors can look great. But remember, makeup has no rules..so have fun with it!

Bright Eye Makeup Looks

When I’m prepping to do a fun, bold eye look, I like to keep the rest of my makeup minimal. Maybe use a BB cream or just concealer versus a full-coverage foundation, go light on the highlight and blush, and use a lighter lip color or gloss. It’s all about balance here!

There are also a multitude of different ways to incorporate a brighter eye look without covering your whole lid in bright green shadow. Many companies have come out with different colored eyeliners that can be applied to your lower waterline (or even the top of your eyelid for a cat-eye look), and you can keep your eyeshadow shade neutral. Or, if you’re a bit more comfortable with color, try smoking out your lower lashline with a fun color.

To start my bright eye routine, I’m going to begin by priming my entire face with the Emani Perfect 10 Primer Serum. I used this in my Minimalist Makeup Routine and raved about it then, but I’ll just reiterate it here: this stuff is amazing! Try it. You can always apply a little concealer or primer to your eyelids, which will make the color stick and provide a smoother application. (I highly recommend not skipping this step for bold, bright eye looks.)

I’m going to use my Emani HD Corrective Concealer to prep the eyelid. Next, I’m going to dip into my J. Cat Hollywood eyeshadow palette to set my primer with a neutral shade. I’m going to apply it all over my lid using my eye shader brush from my Eco Tools brush set.

Next, I’m going to go back into my J. Cat Beauty palette. There’s a bright yellow in here that I’m going to dip into for my bright eye look. I’m not using any transitions shades here, so this is a one color, easy look!

After I’m done blending everything, it’s time for some mascara. I’m going to use Emani’s Soy Mascara on my top and bottom lashes.

I’m going to keep my face pretty fresh and bare, so I’m going in with my Dr. Jart BB cream all over. You can use a sponge, brush or your fingers to apply. I’m going to use my Nu Sponge, because I’ve recently fallen in love with these silicone sponges to apply any liquid face product.

I’ll finish this look off with some Zao blush, which I’ll apply with my Eco Tools stippling brush using circular, sweeping motions and dragging the color back toward my ear. Then I’m going to apply a little bit of highlight to really tie this look together. I’m going to use a shade from theBalm’s Highlite N ConTour palette, using my Eco Tools tiny, fluffy brush to blend into the skin.

Lastly, I’m adding some lipstick. I’m going to use Tattoo Junkee’s matte lipstick in the shade Skinny Dip.

And that finishes up this look! I hope this little tutorial makes bright eyes a little less scary for some of you and helps inspire you to try out this super fun makeup trend!

If you have any questions on any of the products I used or just need help with something, leave me a comment down below!



26
JUN

3 Protein Powder Recipes for Fueling on the Go

Filed Under: Nutrition,Recipes,Supplements,Vitamins and Minerals at 10:23 am | By: Susan Marque

Protein powders have advanced from being something only a body builder might want to swallow, to a delicious way to have a quick meal. They make for fast fuel that is often assimilated more easily than eating a sandwich or a salad, and are versatile enough to eat anytime. With such a wide variety to choose from, you can get a day’s worth of vitamins, minerals, energy boosters, skin brighteners and more, all in a convenient form.

Forget the old school dehydrated milk or eggs—the newest protein powders have ingredients like bone broth, vegetable concentrates and whole grains. You can find one for most any diet restriction, such as vegan, ketogenic or paleo, or choose for enhancements such as collagen.

Most of the directions say to simply add a scoop or two to water and stir. That makes things easy if you want to leave some of the product at your office or gym locker, but making recipes with your protein powder keeps things fun and delicious.

Here are three different protein powder recipes you can try:

Maple Mango Peach Energy Smoothie

Yield: 1 serving (16 ounces)

The frozen fruits blend up easily with either a traditional or immersion blender. The difference between making a smoothie versus a bowl is simply how much water you add. With maple, mango and peach as a base, you can also add additional fruits such as strawberry or pineapple. Mangos are full of vitamins A and C and are said to beautify the skin. Unlike most fruits, they have iron and thicken a beverage, making it silky smooth and sweet.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup water

2 teaspoons pure maple syrup

1-2 scoops protein powder

1/2 cup frozen peaches

1/2 cup frozen mango

1/2 cup frozen strawberries (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Blend the ingredients in a blender and enjoy.

Keto Power Bowl

Yield: 1 serving (16 ounces)

Whether you are on a ketogenic diet or not, the chocolate keto performance fuel powder can make a great shake instantly, or pour it into your favorite yogurt for a lightning-quick bowl that is all around satisfying. To stay within the low-carb limits, you can use monkfruit or stevia to sweeten it. If you have room in your diet for a few carbs, add banana to round out the flavor.

INGREDIENTS:

1 packet (2 scoops) chocolate keto protein powder

2 teaspoons monkfruit or other sweetener

8 ounces yogurt (we used a coconut yogurt)

1/2 cup frozen banana (optional)

Berries to decorate (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Blend or mix the protein powder and sweetener into the yogurt. Blend in the banana if using.

Protein Power Bites

Yield: 16 power bites

These are powerful nuggets that you can eat for a snack, dessert or have a few as a meal if you want to. The vanilla protein powder adds a nice hint of flavor along with a whole list of vegetables, grains and legumes. While they taste a lot like a crispy rice treat, the quinoa crisps add even more protein to the mix. The brown rice syrup adds sweetness that works for a wide variety of dietary restrictions.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup almond butter

1/2 cup brown rice syrup

1-2 scoops vegan vanilla meal replacement powder

1 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup quinoa crisps

INSTRUCTIONS:

Melt the chocolate chips in a saucepan over low heat.

Mix the almond butter, protein powder and brown rice syrup together.

Mix in half of the quinoa crisps.

Roll the mixture into small balls and dip into the melted chocolate.

Sprinkle the rest of the quinoa crisps on top.

Cool in the fridge to set.



25
JUN

Turmeric Golden Milk Popsicles Recipe

Filed Under: Herbs,Recipes,Superfoods at 5:29 pm | By: Megan Sullivan

Golden milk doesn’t just have to be a cold-weather staple. As the temperature heats up, why not trade in your turmeric tea or latte for a frozen treat that packs the same punch? Enter golden milk popsicles.

If you need a refresher on the health benefits of turmeric—golden milk’s star ingredient—it has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The brightly colored spice is also known to fight infection and soothe digestive issues.

You’ll have to be patient while these freeze, but they’re worth the wait! Here’s how to make a batch of golden milk popsicles at home.

Golden Milk Popsicles

Yield: Approximately 4 ice pops (depending on mold size)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • A couple dashes of vanilla extract
  • Pinch of ground pepper
  • Pinch of salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

Whisk together all ingredients until smooth. Pour mixture into ice pop mold and freeze for five hours or until solid. When ready to eat, take ice pop mold out of freezer and briefly run under warm water to loosen pops. Remove and enjoy!



25
JUN

Complete Guide to Mineral Makeup

Filed Under: Beauty,Personal Care at 4:23 pm | By: Kate Hughes

In today’s health- and wellness-conscious society, more and more people are taking a closer look not just at the food that they eat, but also the products that they put on their skin. This movement has made many people adamant about avoiding makeups that contain unnecessary chemicals in favor of more “natural” alternatives.

The quest for natural beauty products has led to a renewed interest in mineral makeup, which has a long and storied history. The first mineral makeups can be traced back thousands of years to ancient civilizations that ground up minerals to apply to their faces as decoration—think Cleopatra’s kohl-based eyeliner (1). But, for all intents and purposes, mineral makeup as it exists today first became commercially available in the 1970s.

Now, mineral makeup seems to be everywhere, available from high-end makeup counters and drugstores alike. But what is mineral makeup, and how is it different from all of the other types of makeup out there?

What Exactly Is Mineral Makeup?

Mineral makeup is typically composed of minerals like iron oxides, talc, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that have been ground into a fine powder. The fineness of the powder varies, depending on the type of makeup and the coverage it is meant to offer. The coarser the particles, the lighter the coverage.

Mineral makeup may encompass anything from foundation to setting powder to eyeshadows and bronzers. Some liquid makeups are also now including minerals for their perceived skincare benefits.

“Mineral makeup is similar to traditional makeup, but without the oils, binding agents, fragrance, preservatives and other fillers,” explains David Pollock, a health and beauty expert, beauty chemist and founder of JustAskDavid.com. Pollock notes that because mineral makeups are free of these components, it’s much lighter than many of the other makeups on the market. “It’s also less irritating to the skin and clogs pores less,” he adds.

What Skin Types Can Benefit from Mineral Makeup?

There are mineral makeups out there being marketed for all skin types, but due to its lack of fillers and oils, the product has a reputation for being particularly good for sensitive skin or skin prone to breakouts. Some dermatologists even recommend it to patients with rosacea and eczema (2).

Pollock adds that people with oily skin are perhaps best served by mineral makeup, because it does not add further oils or pore-clogging ingredients to their skincare routines. “However, those with dry skin or sensitive skin may benefit from the added ingredients in traditional makeup,” he notes. “I suggest trying both and comparing to find the right one. Keep in mind, it may not be a ‘this or that’ situation. Maybe your foundation or concealer end up being traditional, while some of the other steps like eyeshadow or finishing powder are mineral makeup.”

Mineral makeup isn’t just good for sensitive skin and avoiding breakouts, some also offer SPF. Users concerned about sun exposure should look for products that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which protect against both UVA and UVB rays (3) . It won’t replace regular sunscreen on a sunny day, but it’s better than nothing if you’re going to work or running around on the weekend.

Finding a Good Mineral Makeup

Like most cosmetics, there are good mineral makeups and not-so-good mineral makeups. Pollock recommends looking for products with just a few ingredients, namely zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, mica and iron oxides. “While it’s comforting to see some other healthy additives or powdered extracts, they aren’t necessary and not worth spending a lot more for,” he says. “Facial skincare serums and moisturizers will contain higher levels and go on before makeup, so the benefits of additional additives in mineral makeup are minimized by the layering of skincare first.”

Potential Drawbacks 

While mineral makeup does come with many benefits, there some drawbacks that come with the product. Some people find that mineral makeup powder accentuates fine lines and wrinkles, rather than hiding them. Pollock also notes that mineral makeup lacks the ingredients needed to help color adhere as well as traditional makeup. “Additionally, since it is missing some of the oils and humectants, it can be less hydrating or even drying to some,” he says.

Mineral Makeup Myths

Because mineral makeup has a reputation for being good for your skin, some people believe that you can sleep in it without causing any issues. Pollock is very clear, this is not the case. “Never, ever sleep in makeup. You should wash your skin every night before going to bed to remove makeup, dirt and even dead skin cells. All of these, including mineral makeup, can clog and enlarge pores and irritate the skin.”

Mineral makeup has also been said to clear up acne, but most dermatologists agree that the calming agents in mineral makeups won’t actively speed the healing of breakouts (1). However, it is less likely to clog pores and cause acne in the first place.

Application Tips

For people who are used to traditional makeup, getting the hang of mineral makeup application may take some trial and error. According to mineral makeup brand Mineral Fusion, perhaps the most common issue first-time wearers have is that they apply too much. “Because they are used to using makeup that has large amounts of filler and not a lot of ‘pay-off,’ they use the same techniques when applying Mineral Fusion,” the brand’s website describes (4). The brand recommends lightly building layers until you achieve the desired coverage.

Mineral makeup users should invest in the proper tools, which include brushes specifically made for this purpose. Because powders are so loose, having a brush with the right density and made of the right materials will result in a more even application. “You can alter the coverage by using the right brush,” Mineral Fusion writes. “The longer the hair is on the brush, the more coverage you will achieve.”

For people looking to create more elaborate looks, we recommend checking out YouTube tutorials.