Place coconut oil in a quart sized pot and melt until liquid. Pour into glass bowl and combine with remaining ingredients. Stir together until well mixed and place in a quart sized Mason jar. To use, scoop out a small amount and add a little water for a creamier like texture. Give some extra love to areas that need some extra exfoliating like knees, elbows and feet.
Fermentation is essentially one of the oldest forms of food preservation but did you know that consuming fermented foods can provide a lot of health benefits? When you eat fermented foods you obtain probiotics known to promote a healthier digestive system as well as enhance your immunity. Even better, some of these foods are easy to ferment at home. So, let’s present you 7 fermented foods that are easy to make at home.
Make your own yogurt. Known for its probiotic content, yogurt is perhaps the most popular fermented food. Super easy to make, there are a lot of yogurt recipes available online from the conventional ones made with milk and acidophilus to the alternative ones such as soy or coconut yogurt.
Sauerkraut is made from fermented cabbage, caraway seeds, dill or other spices, and contains natural prebiotics as well as vitamins and is known to improve overall digestion. One of the easiest fermented foods to make, sauerkraut simply requires that you add the ingredients into a clean jar and ferment for a few days.
Another popular choice, kombucha can be easily made at home. Kombucha products can be pretty expensive but you can save money by making your own sugar-tea solution fermented by bacteria and yeast commonly known as SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast).
A traditional Korean sauerkraut made through the process of lacto-fermentation, Kimchi is an easy-to-make great source of probiotics. It is made in a base of cabbage but contains peppers and a variety of vegetables rich in antioxidants
Kefir contains about 10 times more probiotics than yogurt as this ancient healing beverage is known to boost the immune system and regulate digestion. If you do not tolerate dairy, you can make an alternative version of water or coconut kefir.
6. Fermented Juice
Delicious, healthy and easy-to-make, fermented apple juice is a probiotic rich drink made from fresh apples. You can find several different recipes on how to make a probiotic sparkling apple juice loaded with vitamins and minerals.
Organic cucumbers, salt and water. Simple and easy-to-make, pickled cucumbers contain probiotics as well as gut healing properties along with sources of minerals like silica which aids the health of the hair, skin, and nails.
So you buy organic food, shop at the local farmers market and own more reusable bags than there are days in month – but what about your personal care? Did you know that you are exposed to more than 100 chemicals found in cosmetics, soaps, and other personal hygiene products before leaving the house each morning? Sad but true.
But before you swear off showering forever, you should know that there are other safer, greener options out there for you. Read on to get the lowdown on some of our favorite basic beauty supplies.
Let’s start in the shower. For shampoo and conditioner, go with a combo that’s fragrance-free and lacks the synthetic scents that can be derived from crude oil and contain carcinogenic derivatives. A 2001 study by the Environmental Protection Agency found that synthetic fragrances often contained hormone disruptors linked to abnormal cell reproduction. Our solution? A shampoo and conditioner ranked first overall by the Environmental Working Group, so you know it’s that good.
Castille soap isn’t just for cleaning floors. My favorite brand, Dr. Bronners, with 18-in-one uses, goes above and beyond the shower. It contains a combination of organic extra virgin coconut, olive, jojoba and hemp oils, that when combined with pure essential oils creates a refreshing, velvety lather that cleans effectively without being aggressive.
Out of the shower, you’ll want to nourish your skin with a lotion like this that combines emollient-rich olive oil and healing aloe. And it works under makeup too!
Now that you have the basics, keep in mind that this transition won’t happen overnight. Just remember to read labels and look out for the major three no no’s: parabens, phthalates and triclosan. Once you find a product that fits the bill, it may or may not work for you—this is especially true when it comes to deodorant! Everyone’s body chemistry is different so allow yourself at least two weeks for your body to detox and adjust.
Spirulina contains great amounts of vitamins, minerals, protein, and antioxidants. This algae is high in high-quality protein, often compared to eggs, and it’s also a great source of vitamin B1, calcium, and iron.
Spirulina has been considered by many specialists as a top natural energy enhancer. Spirulina can help unlock sugar from our cells and improve metabolic energy, giving our bodies a tremendous boost.
One of the best natural products to help reduce elevated cholesterol levels, spirulina supplements contain 65% protein and amino acids including the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA). Difficult to be found in food sources. GLA normally has to be created by the body but spirulina is one of the few foods with high content of GLA.
5. Blood Pressure
Phycocyanin is a pigment found in the spirulina that scientists have discovered possesses antihypertensive effects, in other words, it lowers blood pressure. Consuming the blue-green algae reverses endothelial dysfunction in metabolic syndrome.
6. Blood Sugar
Spirulina may be especially helpful in balancing blood sugar, and may even be as effective as diabetes medication in some instances. It can also lower HbA1c, which is a long term marker of blood sugar levels.
7. Weight Loss
Spirulina can promote weight loss and low-fat stores through a variety of mechanisms. Spirulina has the ability to improve fat burning but it can also curb hunger and overweight people seem to benefit the most. To maximize this benefit, try eating your high protein spirulina in the morning or during midday instead of at night.
8. Allergies and Sinus
Spirulina may help reduce allergies as well as alleviate sinus issues. Research suggests spirulina can reduce inflammation that leads to nasal congestion and other issues such as itching and sneezing.
We have all caught ourselves worrying about our busy lives. Wake up, make breakfast, pack lunch, get the kids off to school, go to work, finish the big project at work, pick the kids up from school, take one kid to music lessons and another to practice, make dinner, do the laundry…the list goes on. Whatever fills your day, thinking about the exhaustive list of tasks and chores is likely to cause stress and anxiety, which can lead to health issues. What if we stopped worrying about everything that needs to get done and instead focused our attention on the present moment? The moment we’re actively experiencing. This is mindfulness: being present in your everyday life.
Practicing mindfulness means paying attention to your experiences, both physical and mental, and not judging them. This means instead of rejecting a feeling because it is “bad” or “good,” you learn to cope with it by not labeling it. For example, maybe you are working on a big project at work and you start to feel your heart racing as you realize the deadline is approaching. In mindfulness, you acknowledge the fact that your heart is racing, but don’t judge the feeling. Just acknowledge it’s there and accept it. While mindfulness is most often associated with meditation, the two don’t have to coexist. The best thing about incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine is that you can do it anywhere!
Benefits to consider of mindfulness:
May help reduce anxiety and depression
Improves focus and cognition
Enhances emotional regulation and control
Helps promote stress reduction while allowing the brain to become more adaptive to stressful or negative situations.
Lower stress levels are associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, improved immune function, lower blood sugar levels and reduced risk of early mortality.
Enhanced self-insight, morality, intuition and the ability to modulate fear.
May help improve sleep and reduce insomnia
People who practice mindfulness report more positive moods
May help reduce pain
What’s the difference between mindfulness and meditation?
There is a lot of overlap between mindfulness and meditation. Mindfulness is specifically the awareness of what is going on that present moment. It can be both a formal or informal practice. For instance, mindfulness is stopping to breathe when the phone rings versus rushing to immediately answer it. Just because you are mindful of your experiences does not mean you are meditating. Just as there are many forms of meditations, there are many ways to define the practice as well.
Meditation is the formal practice that encourages relaxation and attaining a state of consciousness different from your normal, waking state. One of the most common forms of meditation is mindfulness meditation. In mindfulness meditation, you set aside time to intentionally pay attention to whatever is happening in the moment, bringing awareness to your breath, body and mind without judging any thoughts that come and pass.
Ways to incorporate mindfulness into your life
We all live busy lives. Being mindful doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to stop what you are doing to meditate. Here some ways to bring attention to your daily routines:
Eating: Focus your attention on your meal. Invoke all your senses. How does the food smell? What is the taste and texture? What does it look like? Take note of all the colors on the plate. Be present at the meal without watching TV or scrolling through your phone.
Walking: Mindful walking means being aware of every step you take. Take note to how your feet strike the ground and your specific, heal-to-toe rhythm. Notice the muscles in the legs and how your hips move. Is there any discomfort? If so that’s OK, remember not to judge! Take note to your breath, every inhale and exhale. Bring attention to your surroundings.
Mindfulness meditation(the body scan): There are plenty of ways to meditate. One of my favorites is the body scan. The core of almost any meditation is the breath, so start your focus there, noticing the rise and fall of your stomach and the change in temperature from inhale to exhale. As you relax, bring focus to your head. Note any sensations on the top of your head, maybe there is tension in your scalp or you feel a draft. After a few minutes, shift your focus to your face, then neck, shoulders, arms, chest etc. until you have reached your feet. Always remember your mind is allowed to wander. If you have a thought pop up, simply acknowledge it without judgment and recognize that your mind has wandered off, and then return to your awareness back to your breath or scan. Start with a couple of minutes each day and increase over time.
Showering: The shower is a perfect time to relax and forget about past and future events to focus on the now. As you stand in the shower, take note the temperature of the water, how does the water feel as it hits your body? Be mindful of the smell of your shower gel, soap or shampoo, the feeling of your hand or wash cloth passing through your hair or over your skin. Listen to the sound the water makes as it hits the shower floor. Take note to any thoughts that come up while you’re in the shower—remembering the importance of not passing judgment on them. Lastly, notice the feeling of the towel as you dry yourself off.
Teeth brushing: Become mindful of the taste and texture of your toothpaste, the sensation in your arms as they go from side to side. Take note of the pressure of your feet on the surface of the bathroom floor.
In the digital world we live in, there are many apps that can help you incorporate mindfulness into your day. Just like anything else we do, learning mindfulness takes practice. Take some time today to be mindful and see how it can improve your day!
Crazy hair, don’t care? Well, we do! Say goodbye to those dreaded bad hair days courtesy of non-toxic and rejuvenating oils.
Maybe you’re wondering, how rubbing oil in your hair is going to yield anything other than a greasy mess. The key to getting all the benefits from oil and none of the grease is in the application! Read on to learn how to use hair oil properly.
1. Weekly treatments
You can use oil to give your hair some extra love by masking with oil 1-2 times a week. Simply apply your oil from root to tip and wrap your hair up (preferably with a towel or clip—not an elastic). Let this sit for an hour or two, or even overnight! Just be sure to sleep with a towel on your pillowcase or use one you aren’t worried about getting messy. Masking your hair with oil helps keep it smooth and shiny, prevent additional breakage and promote healthy hair growth.
2. Condition before shampooing?
15 minutes before getting in the shower and shampooing, apply oil to the length and ends of your hair and let sit. During this time you can brush your teeth or accomplish other small tasks. Doing this before a shower helps detangle and condition your hair to protect it from becoming too dried out from washing. This is a great method if you’re not into doing weekly mask treatments.
3. Seal off and prevent split ends
You can also use oil after you wash your hair. Taking a VERY small amount of oil, run your fingers through the length and ends of your hair. Doing this while your hair is wet will allow your hair to better absorb the oil and prevent that greasy look. This method is beneficial to protect the ends of your hair from styling and prevents frizz if your air drying.
4. Tame frizz
As your hair drys or after your finished styling, you can use a very light amount of oil to tame frizz and flyaways and add a shiny finish to your hair. Add a very small amount and rub into your hands so that there’s just a light coating of oil. Run your fingers lightly over the frizzy areas to “smooth” them out and add shine.
5. Protect hair from the sun
Your hair needs extra care in the sunshine too! Add a drop or two of oil to your hair and tie it back if you’re heading to the pool, the beach or just out for a long day in the sunshine. Protecting your hair from the sun will promote less damage and healthier hair overall.
What kind of oil should you choose?
Castor Oil is super high in proteins, Vitamin E, Omega 6 and 9 fatty acids and is known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties. All this goodness makes it great for hair, especially revitalizing and moisturizing the hair shaft. Dip a q-tip in the oil and apply to eyebrows overnight for brows that have been over-plucked.
There are hundreds of uses forcoconut oil and hair repair definitely ranks on the list. Essential fatty acids nourish the scalp and remove harmful build up. If you suffer from extremely dry and damaged hair then you need to buy a tub of this go-to remedy and apply nightly.
As someone cursed with very thin and dry hair, I feel jojoba oil works best for me since it’s not super greasy. Funny enough, jojoba oil is actually not an oil at all, but a wax ester that mimics sebum produced by our bodies. Translation? It moisturizes like nobody’s business. Just add a few drops to your shampoo and lather up the goodness from rich omega fatty acids and docosanol.
Let’s say no to frizz this summer withArgan oil. This healing oil is rich in vitamin E and tocopherol that helps boost cell production and overall hair health, which means less frizz. Just a drop or of this non-greasy oil two will leave your hair feeling soft and silky.
Dandruff may be harmless but, come on, no one likes the scalp snow look. Those little white flakes can be plenty embarrassing. No worries – almond oil‘s got your back. Massage two tablespoons of almond oil into your scalp and wrap in a towel. Leave on overnight and rinse in the morning. Just remember to read the labels. Many conventional almond oils are mostly kerosene-derived paraffins (a fancy word for mineral oil) mixed with a small amount of almond oil.
Garden of Life’s commitment to health goes beyond offering some of the most effective nutritional products in the world. They are interested in building relationships with people to help them transform their lives to attain extraordinary health. By combining the best of nature and science, the Garden of Life brand offers a path to healthy living with premium products that are supported by education and innovation.
Cream butter and coconut sugar with a mixer. Add flax seed egg, protein powder, quinoa flakes, spelt flour, baking soda, and salt and stir by hand until a dough forms. Fold in chocolate chips. Form and flatten 3-inch diameter cookies on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and bake at 375°F for 9 minutes. Cool and serve. Makes a dozen 3-inch small cookies or 6 large sized cookies.
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are an extremely popular product as this supplement is known to build muscle growth as well as increase exercise performance. The importance of BCAA’s for muscle recovery has been confirmed time and time again, but did you know that this supplement found in dietary protein, such as meat or eggs, also offers additional health benefits not just to athletes and those looking for muscle growth? Let’s look a 5 ways to benefit from BCAAs.
1. Fat Burning
BCAAs increase fat burning, as it contains Leucine, and glucose tolerance, thanks to Isoleucine. It helps those looking for a leaner body composition as increasing BCAA intake has an immediate impact of the amount of fat loss during training periods and exercise.
2. Reduce Soreness
BCAAs preserve the integrity of muscle fibers, decreasing muscle soreness. Of course this is often a primary target for athletes but it can also help anyone with muscle soreness. From muscle pain from work or extra physical activities to promoting muscle recovery for weekend warriors or those who wish to decrease their recovery time and soreness after endurance exercise, such as running or cycling, anyone can benefit from BCAAs.
3. Regulate Immunity
BCAA supplements can help regulate the immune system. This may be particularly helpful in avoiding illness, as immune function can be weakened after intense or prolonged exercise.
BCAAs have anti-aging properties and have been used in cancer and liver disease treatment strategies. They increase the formation of new mitochondria and thus reduce age related muscle loss.
Nut allergies are not to be taken lightly and these days many schools are not taking any chances. It’s becoming more and more common to see schools banning peanut products in response to the growing number of children affected by life-threatening allergies. Some schools even prohibit any products containing nuts in any form from the cafeteria (almonds, cashews, tree nuts etc). We’re used to PB&J as a foundational food in the childhood experience; a lot of parents are understandably stressed searching for alternatives for finicky children to eat. If your child is less-than-thrilled to part with the PB&J, it might be a great opportunity to introduce them to new foods and get creative when packing lunch.
Whether your child is allergic to peanuts or loves peanut butter but isn’t allowed bring it to school, the guide below will help you explore alternatives to the classic PB&J!
Rinse rice until the water runs clean. Let the rice soak in a bowl of clean water for 30 minutes. Bring 1 and 1/4 cups water and rice to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until water is almost absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 15 minutes.
Place rice in a large bowl. Add natural sweetener, coconut milk, and salt, stirring gently until well combined. Cover and let stand 20 minutes.
Lightly coat hands with cooking spray. Divide rice mixture into 12 equal portions, shaping each into a ball (about 2 tablespoons of rice). Lightly press each rice ball into an oval between palms; place ovals on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Top each rice oval with one kiwi slice, one mandarin orange and one raspberry slice. If the fruit doesn’t readily stick to the rice you can brush the tops of the rice ovals with honey first. Cover and chill frushi for at least one hour, up to 8 hours.
This recipe is great because you can use whatever fresh fruit you like to top the rice! What are some of your go-to, peanut-free packed lunches?
Still getting that morning brain fog, no matter how much coffee you slug? You might need an AM nutrition boost when caffeine alone isn’t cutting it. This smoothie is packed with raspberries, blueberries and acai berries rich in antioxidants that support memory. Walnuts and almonds contain omega-3 fatty acids for improved learning. Bananas that help regulate mood and support cognitive function and raw honey reduces inflammation.
I recommend using Spiru-Tein as your protein source for this recipe because it contains Spirulina, a strong antioxidant packed with energy-boosting nutrients. I always notice improved focus when I start my day with a dose of spirulina!
Place all ingredients into a blender and mix until smooth! Garnish with mint and chia seeds or drink as-is. For some added brain power and energy, I add Maca root powder to my smoothie and top with hemp seeds!
Give this recipe a try and let us know how it turns out below!
Want the best advice on skin, hair, and nails? Follow these simple tips from The American Academy of Dermatology, one of the largest organizations of dermatologists (over 18,000 dermatologists) in the world.
Best Tips for Your Hair
Match frequency of shampooing to your hair type. If your scalp is oily, wash it once a day. For chemically treated hair, wash it less frequently. As you get older, your scalp makes less oil so you may not need to shampoo as often.
Concentrate shampoo on the scalp. When washing your hair, concentrate on cleaning primarily the scalp, rather than washing the entire length of hair. Washing only your hair can create flyaway hair that is dull and coarse.
Use conditioner after every shampoo. Using a conditioner can significantly improve the look of damaged or weathered hair by increasing shine, decreasing static electricity, improving strength, and offering some protection from harmful UV rays.
Choose a shampoo and conditioner formulated specifically for your hair type.
Best Tips for Your Skin
Apply sunscreen when outdoors. Use a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection, SPF 30 (or higher), and water resistance.
Resist the urge to scrub your skin clean. Never, ever, scrub your skin. It irritates your skin and can actually worsen any skin condition, including acne.
Wash your face gently. Wet your face with lukewarm water, apply a mild cleanser, and use a gentle, circular motion with your fingertips. Rinse and gently pat your face dry with a clean towel.
Always wash your face when waking, before bed, and after sweating.
Best Tips for Your Nails
Keep nails clean and dry.
Cut nails straight across, then “round off.” Use sharp nail scissors or clippers, then round the nails slightly at the tips for maximum strength.
Keep nails shaped and free of snags by filing with an emery board.
Do not remove the cuticle as it can damage your nails.
What to do when all else fails!
Tried everything, and nothing seems to work. You’re not alone. Fortunately, skin, hair, and nail researchers have identified a compound that’s been clinically proven to increase skin elasticity 89%, thicken and strengthen hair by 13%, and strengthen and clarify nails dramatically. The compound “choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid” (ch-OSA®) can be found in a product called BioSil® Hair, Skin, Nails from Natural Factors. BioSil is one of supermodel Christie Brinkley’s secrets to looking youthful, beautiful, and healthy!
Performing regular body cleanses and detoxes are essential for good health and healing, but some people tend to think detoxing should be a one-time event, ranging from 24 hours to 2-weeks. Detoxification doesn’t always have to be a dramatic juice cleanse or intensive fasting. In fact, we should be making smaller lifestyle choices every day to continuously clear the body of toxins since we are often in contact with harmful organisms and pollutants. In order to prevent a buildup of these toxins, here are 10 easy ways to make every day a detox.
1. Natural, organic foods
Eating whole, organic foods is one of the best ways to improve your body’s detoxification process and reduce the intake of toxins. Choose fresh organic vegetables and fruits instead of fast food, processed food, GMO products and pesticide contaminated foods.
Exfoliating your skin is also a simple way to detox your body. Removing toxins present in your skin creates better circulation through daily oil massages and skin brushing. Before taking a shower, take a dry loofah sponge and brush your body to improve results.
3. Drinking water
You can purify your body by drinking lots of water. Staying hydrated all day and having adequate amounts of water is essential as your body needs water to produce saliva, help with perspiration and remove plenty of toxins each time you go to the bathroom.
Exercising helps you sweat and consequently release toxins through your skin. Sweating it out in the sauna can also help your body eliminate waste through increased body temperature and perspiration.
5. Herbal tea
Drinking herbal tea can offer different cleansing benefits as these infusions are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are high on health benefits. Look for ingredients such as ginseng, ginger, peppermint, spearmint, lemongrass and cinnamon.
6. Purify the air
Breathing clean air is another way to reduce your exposure to toxins. Clean up the air in your home and keep up a high-quality, toxin-free air by reducing smoke, fumes, mold, and microorganisms.
7. Vitamin C
Increasing vitamin C intake is especially helpful for detox since it induces the production of glutathione, which is a compound that flushes toxins out. Try to eat fruits high on vitamin C such as oranges, pineapples, and papayas regularly.
Probiotic supplements are one of the best ways to enhance detoxification. These products, as well as digestive enzymes, can help your body digest and process the food you’re eating.
Hydrotherapy is an effective way to detox the body. While hot water relaxes blood vessels and dilates them, cold water stimulates them, and this process may decrease inflammation and naturally remove toxins from tissues.
Increase fiber intake as the kidney and liver are crucial for the filtration of the toxins in the body and thus promote overall cleansing.
What are some little steps you take every day to keep your body as toxin-free as possible? Let us know in the comments.
There’s a lot of information swirling around about the ingredients in conventional deodorant and how they can negatively affect your health. Maybe after a little research of your own, you decide to ditch the stuff for something natural (good on you!) With enthusiasm, you apply your new natural deodorant and go about your day, only to discover it’s not exactly what you were expecting—as in your getting hit mid-day with sticky pits…what gives?
If you can relate to that experience, you are not alone! I found myself in that exact situation when I first made the switch and almost reached the point of giving up. I tried several products before I finally found what worked, but once I did I never looked back! Natural deodorant works wonders when your body adjusts to it—I’ve found I’m even sweating less than I used to. It’s a very different product than conventional deodorant and antiperspirant that requires a little bit of knowledge to get it to work properly.
Don’t be like me, blindly trying product after product, here are tips for choosing a natural deodorant that works for you!
1. Understand the difference between antiperspirant and deodorant
Unlike deodorant, antiperspirant physically plugs up your pores to prevent sweat from escaping and keeping you dry and fresh using aluminum particles. Having bone-dry pits all day is super convenient, but our bodies were meant to sweat and clogging up your pores with chemicals only band-aids the actual problem: bacteria growth. Natural deodorants won’t physically stop sweat from happening, but they will reduce the amount of sweat and help tame odor. Eventually, your body will get used to it and balance out naturally.
2. Know the types of natural deodorants out there
When it comes to natural deodorant, the good news is, you have options! There are a lot of great products to choose from so you’re bound to find the one that works for you.
Sticks – the most recognizable form of deodorant, these make for great on-the-go application since they are easily thrown in a bag and can be stealthily applied at work if necessary (come on, we’ve all been there, stress happens).
Sprays – these tend to be a crowd favorite as there’s usually no risk of any residue getting on your clothes. The downside is having to hold your arms up for several seconds until it dries, and you may need to reapply frequently.
Cremes/pastes – if taking a literal “hands-on” approach to applying your deodorant doesn’t bother you, then you might want to try a paste. Although they’re applied with your fingers and sometimes messy, these tend to have the best results. I use this one and never have to reapply at work and it even passed the sweaty, hot yoga test!
3. Embrace your sweaty self
Like I mentioned earlier, deodorant is not going to plug up your pores and stop sweating the way antiperspirant does. A common misconception that sweat is the odor offender, but in actuality, the smell comes from bacteria that builds up in our armpits. If you have an event where you need to be certain sweat is kept at bay, consider using an antiperspirant sparingly for those critical moments (there are natural options for those too!)
4. Be patient!
Like many natural solutions, this takes a little time to work! Your body will need to adjust to not being blocked up with aluminum from conventional products, and it might take some trial and error with different brands and formulas. For me, I learned baking soda was way to harsh of an ingredient for my sensitive skin, so I opted for formulas that weren’t as baking soda heavy. Other people swear by baking soda formulas! You’ll have to find what works best for you. Just be patient and have fun with it!
Have you ever given natural deodorant a try? What are some of your tricks and tips for staying odor-free?