Archive of ‘body’ category

Fabulous Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is packed with nutrition, flavor, and beauty-enhancing benefits. It’s also incredibly versatile and can be used in dozens of recipes. It belongs to the Cucurbitaceae (try pronouncing that!) family, along with pumpkins and other forms of squash. It’s uses vary from food sources of its meat and seeds, as well as medicinal uses from it’s rich oils.  I included one of my most recent recipes that was so good I had to share. It pretty much tastes like Thanksgiving! But first, lets explore the nutritional and beauty properties of this awesome fall veggie.

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NUTRITION &  BEAUTY

Vitamin A

  • Nutrition: the richest source in its family, Vitamin A helps fight cancer cells, boosts immunity, lowers risk of cardiovascular disease and keeps your eyes healthy and improves eyesight, including improved night vision
  • Beauty: Its retinoids nourish skin cells and keep your skin soft, hydrated and glowing while preventing aging and treats psoriasis and acne

Vitamin C

  • Nutrition: attacks free radicals in the body, boosts immunity and T-cells, and helps fight cancer
  • Beauty: super important for collagen production, keeps skin supple and prevents and reverses premature aging, corrects sun spots and blemish scars

Folic Acid (Vitamin B9)

  • Nutrition: important for neural tube formation in growing fetus’s, promotes heart health and better hearing, helps healthy cell division and turnover,  enhances mood and reduces depression – how about that for those winter moody blues?!
  • Beauty: stimulates faster and stronger hair and nail growth, gives skin a natural moisturized glow, firms the skin and prevents acne.

Butternut squash is also low-cal and cholesterol free. Its high fiber content keeps things “regular” in the body, which is vital for one’s health. Now for the recipe…

You will need one butternut squash, 1/2 cup diced onions, 1.5 cups almond milk (or any milk of your liking) sea salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin and one glove of garlic.

In a pan, steam butternut squash in one inch of water until the meat is soft for a fork to go all the way through. While this is steaming, in another pan add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Once squash starts getting soft, scoop chunks and add it to your sauce mixture until all ingredients are mixed and the squash is soft to your liking. Enjoy :)

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Wake Up Your Face

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Most people have found their tried and true beauty routine that works for their special needs. How is yours looking? Over time, our skin cells and chemistry can change, yet our morning and nightly beauty regimes remain the same. Could your beauty routine use a little spicing up? If so, here are 2 awesome hacks that will give you glorious skin!

COFFEE BEAN FACE MASKS:  I swear by these. Not only does coffee jolt your nervous system; it also jolts life into your skin by increasing circulation which brings extra blood flow and oxygen to your face. This all leads to an awesome glow.

The texture of the grounds act as an exfoliant that slough off dead skin cells as well as dirt, bacteria, etc. Caffeine has been proven to tighten your skin, and make your pores smaller which all contribute to more youthful skin.

Also, if you leave it on long enough, you’ll look like you just got back from a short trip to Jamaica. The color of coffee grounds can give your skin a mild tan stain that looks au naturale.

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APPLICATION: On wet skin, rub coffee grounds on your face in clockwise/counter-clockwise motions for 1 minute.  If you could use some extra color, leave the grounds on your skin for at least 5 minutes and gently wash off.

To make a face mask, mix: ¼ cup coffee grounds with 1 tbs.  honey and 1 tsp of coconut oil. Apply on your face and wash off after 30 minutes.

If you have under-eye circles or backs, lightly dab coffee grounds under your eyes and leave on for 5 minutes. This adds circulation to get rid of any blue hues while also dislodging excess water weight that contributes to puffiness.

PINCH YOUR FACE: Left your blush at home? Skin looking kinda dull? No worries. Pinch your cheeks where you would normally apply blush. Do quick pinches along this area for a minute to create a natural glow. One of the main reasons for dull skin is insufficient circulation to our faces. Pinching helps take care of that.

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Whenever your skin could use a little oomph, coffee and pinching to the rescue!!

Lets Talk About Collagen

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Ah, collagen! The highly coveted matrix that has created a billion dollar industry in America. Collagen is a mesh like substance found in the skin that keeps your skin firm, tight, and wrinkle-free. As we age, collagen production begins to slow down, and visits to plastic surgeons begin to speed up.

If your skin could use a little “firming up” lately, consider your diet before hitting up your cosmetic specialist. Collagen is mostly made up of the amino acids Glycine (about 60%) and Proline (30ish %), as well as hydroxyproline. The 3rd component,  hydroxyproline, is derived from proline but needs its dear BFF, VITAMIN C in order to successfully be manufactured into collagen. These 3 substances together must be present to complete the collagen matrix that will keep your skin fabulous. You can consume all the proline and glycine you want to, but without sufficient vitamin C, you’re skin is SOL. Sorry :(

So…what to do? Incorporate as many foods and organic amino acid supplements into your diet so you have the ingredients to complete the collagen-boosting cocktail. They are both non-essential amino acids, meaning that our bodies produce them in the liver. However, if your liver isn’t functioning at its best (unfortunately this applies to anyone with a healthy social life and consumes adult beverages), then your production levels could use a boost.

Milk thistle is awesome for cleansing and toning your liver…so it helps your body assemble amino acids more efficiently. Get some.

FOR GLYCINE, consume these:

  • Spirulina- a potent superfood containing all 20 amino acids
  • Animal sources: Pork, fish, dairy and turkey
  • Plant sources: Sesame seeds, seaweed, beans, spinach, pumpkin, kale, kiwi, banana, cauliflower and burdock root.

*Be sure to consume vitamin C along with these! Oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits are awesome sources!
FOR PROLINE, consume these:

  • Asparagus, avocado, bamboo, broccoli rabe, brown rice, cauliflower, seafood, seaweed, spinach, watercress, whey, and eggs.

You can always take collagen supplements as well. Though I’m in my 20′s and still have smooth skin, I’m all about being proactive and just started to use the Supercollagen +C. So far so good!

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Other ways to boost collagen production are facial yoga and massage, laser treatments, yoga (increased circulation brings more oxygenated and amino acid-rich blood to your face), and collagen powder facial masks to name a few.

Also, be sure to avoid lotions and make-up if you can, they are loaded with creepy chemicals and fragrances that break the collagen matrix. Not cute!!

I attached a pic of the chemical structures of these aminos….since I’m sure you were curious as to what they look like ;)

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(how nerdy am I!)

 

Grow Longer, Sexier Lashes with 1 Natural Ingredient

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Ladies! Want longer, thicker lashes? Thicker eyebrows? 

If so, you can say goodbye to false lashes and those toxic store-bought lash growth serums. Instead do your self a huge favor and go pick up a bottle of organic castor oil and some Q-tips. That’s all you need!

This is the kind I use…

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Castor oil comes from a seed native to India, and has been used for centuries for medicinal remedies as well as promoting hair growth.

Before bed, apply some castor oil on a Q-tip and line your lash lines and your eyebrows. You don’t need that much, just enough to see a thin visible line of oil on your skin.  In the morning, wash it off gently.

Caution! Be sure to avoid the inner corners of your eyes, and only line the outside of your lash lines – lining the inner lash line can clog tear ducts and clogged tear ducts are not cute! So please do this slowly and carefully and wash your eyes ASAP if any gets in your eye or in the corners.

Do this 3X a week and you’ll be batting sexier lashes in less than a month. Oh heyy! Oh, and it costs under $4. See ya, Latisse!

You can also add castor oil to hair masks to help grow those locks out too! For example, 1/4 cup of warm castor oil, 2 tsp. coconut oil, and 6 rosemary drops and massage it into your hair and scalp. Leave on for 30 minutes and wash out. Do this 3X a week as well.

BONUS: castor oil scalp massages have been proven as a powerful remedy for men and women who have thinning hair/hair loss. 

Ginger & Coconut Kale Salad

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This recipe is nothing short of fabulous!  Very tasty and hearty, it is packed with nutrition that  gives you tons of energy while it detoxes your body, builds immunity, reverses aging and makes you GLOW!

Prep time: 15 minutes or less!

All you need is….

  • 1 inch of grated ginger root
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. iodized sea salt or celtic sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. of coconut oil
  • 4-6 cups of kale or your leafy green of choice
  • Some L<3V

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In a small bowl, mix garlic, ginger, salt, pepper and coconut oil together. Pour over kale and use tongs or hands to mix thoroughly and serve. That’s it! This takes less than 15 minutes to prepare and costs under 10 bucks.

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This recipe is versatile so you can get creative and add other toppings if you prefer. I added shredded carrots, avocado, diced radishes, dulse flakes (for thyroid health), and cayenne pepper. YUM! ;)

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Why this is a powerful recipe…..

KALE has more iron than beef and is packed with fiber. Also, it has high amounts vitamin K for bone health and prevention of blood clots; has antioxidants to prevent cancer and disease; is loaded with Vitamins A & C; is great for heart health and is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Oh, and it cleanses your liver too! A cleaner liver = healthier skin and eyes!

GARLIC AND GINGER are anti-inflammatory, kills parasites and infections, stabilizes blood pressure, are natural antibiotics, fights cholesterol, are antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial. Whew. The list goes on and on but I don’t want to overwhelm you!

COCONUT OIL reverses aging, kills fungal infections, candida and parasites; gives you tons of energy and gives you awesome skin.

Try this recipe today! You and your friends and family will love it!

3 Awesome Hacks for Home Cleaning & Self Care

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When it comes to cleaning the house and beauty routines, going natural has tremendous benefits on/in you, your furniture and the environment. Mother Nature has gifted us with 3 amazing gifts that take care of most household and grooming needs.

First, I want to briefly discuss why most store-bought items should be avoided…

Most household cleaners get the job done. Great! But – they are loaded with super toxic chemicals that are awful to ingest through your senses, as well as the environment’s ozone layer. Clean your glass tables with something like Windex, for example, (I dont mean to bash Windex – it’s the first thing to pop into my mind) and you are most likely going to inhale a plethora of toxic chemicals into your respiratory tract which can harm your beautiful and life-sustaining lungs and nasal cavity. Cue the Twilight Zone music.

If it comes into contact with your skin, these chemicals quickly become absorbed into your pores and travel through your bloodstream to hopefully be eliminated through the liver. Our liver is our biggest detox organ and it HATES man-made chemicals. Unnatural household cleaners = toxic city! Also, these cocktails of toxins have been proven to disrupt the body’s endocrine and nervous systems. Hello anxiety and hormonal imbalances! Please don’t hate me for this….but most beauty and hygiene products are just as bad :(

But I have really awesome news!!

You can clean your whole house with some natural random staples that are incredibly effective, cheap and won’t make your liver want to punch you. Also, they have some great beautifying benefits! Score!

COCONUT OIL

HOME: This oil is a miracle worker. Rub or pour (depends on your climate!) some onto a barely damp cloth, mix with baking soda and rub on a carpet or upholstery to remove stains. Polish leather, coat your pans for healthier cooking, remove gum, and clean your sinks and showers with coconut oil on a cloth.

YOU: Known to be loaded with nutrients and hydrating properties, coconut oil is awesome for your skin, face, preventing and buffing out fine lines, kills fungal infections and makes a great eye make-up remover.  Nix those toxic lotions and face creams and lather up in coconut oil. You can also mix it with some baking soda to make a whitening toothpaste.

BAKING SODA

HOUSE: Baking soda is very binding and works as a natural deodorizer. Unpleasant science projects growing in your fridge? Toss in a punctured box of baking soda ( and please throw out the science project). Use in liter boxes, sprinkle on your carpet before vacuuming, in between the liner of your trash bag/can, or anywhere in your home that’s not smelling so fresh. Peace out, Febreeze!

YOU: Sprinkle some on a wet toothbrush and brush for one minute in the AM and PM. It’s a common ingredient in whitening toothpastes, sans the toxins. Your teeth will become insanely whiter in no time. Lackluster skin? Mix with water and rub in circles on your face for a minute every night. It will bind to and remove toxins and target those pesky oil zones.

VINEGAR

HOME: White vinegar is a great alternative to cleaning countertops, glass, and floors. It’s cheap and harmless, and gets the job done like a boss. Add some lemon juice if the smell bothers you. Clogged drains? Vinegar and baking soda gives Draino a run for its money. Pour a cup of or vinegar and 2 tbsp of baking soda into a clogged drain. Wait 15 minutes and pour hot water down it. This works for toilets too. Follow the same process and flush 5 minutes after your pour in hot water. If this doesnt work, it’s time to call your plumber.

YOU: Apple Cider Vinegar clears up your skin and gives you silky hair. Apply ACV to a cotton ball as your new astringent. It clears your skin and dissolves oil while delivering tons of nutrients. In the shower, use ACV as a post-shampoo rinse to help get rid of any build-up while it packs in nutrients for a gorgeous sheen.

These 3 ingredients are versatile, bank account friendly, and 100% safe to you, your home, and the environment. Try them today :)

 

 

 

Why I Judge Food by its Colors

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Skittles isn’t the only one that agrees you should eat the rainbow. Eating a nice range of different colors will give you a vibrant glow and make you insanely healthier. Everything we eat manifests in all of our cells, which in turn affects the health and color of our skin.

Consumption of produce that consists of reds, greens, blues, yellows, purples, and oranges will give your skin an awesome hue. Who doesn’t want to manifest the full spectrum!

Flooding your body with the rainbow every day also delivers you a plethora of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and enzymes. This in turn boost energy, improves immune function, kills cancer and candida cells, detoxes your liver, kidneys and colon, and makes your skin vibrant and less prone to wrinkles and other fun byproducts of aging.

However, this does not include food that is dyed with artificial coloring. Avoid those dyes like your life depends on it – because it does! Fake dyes are one of your brains biggest adversaries. There are dozens of studies that show strong correlations between artificial food dye consumption and impaired visual, cognitive, and metabolic  function.

On the bright side, color extracts from many veggies and spices are being used to dye food now. So rest assured – you can still splurge on red velvet cake. Just be sure to make sure it is dyed with beet juice.

Steer clear of foods that are white and brown like bread, pasta, red meat, cookies, sugar, dairy, you get the picture! These foods wreak havoc on your body which leads to excess mucus. This is a recipe for your skin to show pallor and sallow hues.

Some suggestions on eating the rainbow include salads, smoothies, juicing, adding veggies to wraps and sandwiches, experimenting with your food processor, or just eating them how they are :)

Radiantly Awesome Health Recap:

  • No artificial food dyes
  • Avoid whites and browns
  • Eat the rainbow
  • Love your body
  • Do it!
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3 Moves to Tone Your Body in < 10 Minutes a Day!

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Exercise is nothing short of fantastic. Not only does it give you a toned and healthier body, it also:

  • Lowers BMI % (body mass index)
  • Increases endorphins – and we all know endorphins = happiness!
  • Lowers rates of disease such as heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers
  • Allows for deeper inhalations promoting lung health and toning your diaphragm
  • Allows you to sweat out toxins
  • Boosts confidence. Skinny jeans, anyone?

And much more….

Some people may have a hard time fitting exercise into their busy daily schedules and forgo it all together. This is no Bueno! Especially if your work/school involves being sedentary all day. So, if you’re having trouble squeezing in workout sessions, these 3 killer moves are for you. You can do them anywhere, and they won’t take up more than 10 minutes of your time.

  1. TRICEP DIPS These bad boys work every muscle in your arms, plus your traps, lats, core, and legs. Dips torch fat and tone you like no other. Do 3 sets of 15, and rotate sets with these other exercises if it’s easier for you. To really challenge yourself and get a tighter core, lift one leg as you dip down and don’t let that foot touch the ground.Be sure to alternate legs.
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  2. DEADLIFTS No better way to tone and target your glutes, quads, hamstrings, arms, shoulders, core, and lower back than with this exercise. The more weight the better. Oh, and to reap the full benefits be sure to have your knees slightly bent and keep your back straight as you bend down. Slouching ruins the move!  3 sets of 15 for this round too.
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  3. JUMPING JACKS Try to get in at least 100 a day, such as 50 in the AM and 50 in the PM, or however you can squeeze these in. They tone your legs, derriere, arms and shoulders, in addition to boosting circulation and giving you a sweet cardio workout to keep that heart healthy.

These 3 exercises will target all of your muscles groups, tone your body, torch calories, and leave you feeling fabulous. Start them today!

Do You Need Some MSM in Your Life?

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What is MSM?
MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is a type of naturally occurring sulfur found in all living beings. It helps to soften tissues in the body while also building strong connective tissue and helps to repair collagen. According to David Wolfe, a raw and superfood guru, “This is how MSM lives up to its reputation of building collagen and maintaining healthy joints. This is also why MSM increases flexibility (good for yoga), hastens recovery time from sore muscles, and is excellent for recovery from athletic injuries.”
MSM has numerous benefits and is vital for our every day functioning and well-being. It is the 3rd most abundant mineral in the human body, and a deficiency can have serious health benefits. It aids in repairing tissues and wounds, as well as being known for building up keratin and collagen, coining it the “beauty nutrient.”
BENEFITS OF MSM
  • Makes hair grow faster, thicker, silkier and more lustrous
  • Tightens skin and can reduce wrinkles when applied externally
  • Makes nails grow faster and stronger
  • Makes your skin glow. MSM aids in collagen in keratin production, making our elastic tissues much tighter and firmer. See ya, wrinkles!
  • Relieves pain from arthritis. If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis or stiff joints, stock up on MSM – you may be deficient
  • Reduces inflammation. Dr. Stanley Jacob states that “Sulfur is found in over 150 compounds within the human body and that sulfur components are in every cell, so it is very important.”
  • Rejuvenates the liver and helps deliver nutrient rich compounds to the skin
  • Allows nutrients to permeate into tissues better
  • Has important detoxing properties. Glutathione, an important antioxidant that is  produced in our bodies cannot function correctly without sulfur present. 
Where to get MSM?
MSM is abundant in leafy greens and meat. It can also be found in capsule form at your nearest health store. You can also empty the capsules into smoothies. Externally, I break open two capsules of MSM into some coconut oil and use it as a face mask. I leave it on for 30 minutes, 3X a week and this has dramatically tightened my skin.  I highly recommend you get some MSM into your life!

Leave the Hamster Wheel and Wander From Your Comfort Zone

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As we get older its easy and common to become comfortable and content in our daily lives. We have our jobs, our house, car, maybe kids and a spouse, etc. Most people are in a cycle of wake up, work, hang out with the family, watch TV, eat, sleep, repeat. It’s the easy and stable comfort zone that minimizes stress and anxiety.

Yet, comfort zones lead to boredom, mental decay, losing zest for life, aging and frustration. Recent findings show that we only perform maximum performance when in a state of relative anxiety, which is slightly outside the comfort zones. This “optimal anxiety” is the peak point where we learn, challenge ourselves, and prosper.

I have been through this for a few years, and believe me….I have grown very bored to where my life resembles a hamster on a wheel, or better yet – the man in the movie Groundhog’s Day. NOT FUN! This can lead to things like addiction and/or depression, or positive things like new hobbies, or better yet – FINDING YOUR PURPOSE!

Luckily, I have found my life purpose (and still continue to find new ones) a few years ago and am slowly taking the steps to manifest it and escape the hamster wheel. Ya know how I found it? CURIOSITY. Yes, it did kill the cat. But we are not cats; so it is safe to be curious.

Being curious can help you find what it takes to leave your comfort zone and live a more exciting and meaningful life.

After browsing the halls of the library for a book that looked interesting, I stumbled upon a book with an odd title, checked it out and it forever changed my life and I discovered one of  my biggest life passions.

While this isnt as easy for just anyone to find their passion, my point is that staying curious in life will keep your brain and mind sharp, carve out new neural pathways, trigger new synapses, which all lead to fireworks in your brain. You will discover things that really excite you and make you want to wake up in the morning, even if you have a day full of dreaded meetings on a topic that makes you want to jump off a cliff.

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Awesome ways to stay curious are….

  • Keep an open mind to people, situations, ideas, etc.
  • Travel to new territories. Leave the country if you can. Leave behind the travel guides and let fate dictate your journey. If time is limited, take a 2 hour road trip and get away for a few days.
  • Reminisce on what really sparked you when you were 10 years old and bring back the top  5 things into your life that really lit your fire (this shouldn’t include barbies and toy trucks). 10 is a great age to use because its when your interests were mostly guided by your own intuition, when you are most curious, free, and naive to the objectives of adult life.
  • Read books on topics you’d like to learn more about.
  • Have a water fight with your friends.
  • Exercise, even its 10 minutes a day. Keep the oxygen and blood circulating to keep your mind and body sharp.
  • Take a new route to work
  • Learn a new language
  • Volunteer for a non-profit or organization you admire
  • Write everyday.  Maybe start a blog on your daily life or on a topic that interests you. You never know where the doors will take you. BELIEVE ME!
  • Start a small side business offering a service or product that you are awesome at creating. Do you have a talent, knowledge for, or service people are constantly coming to you for advice for? If so, its time to start a business. In T. Harv Eker’s best selling book, “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind,” he embraces this concept, as it turned him into a millionaire.
  • Join a kickball, running, or bowling team.
  • Play more boardgames.
  • Meditate
  • Try taking yoga classes. These clears out all the “clutter,” and frees your mind to allow creativity to flow through.
  • List 10 things you are grateful for immediately after you wake up.

Stay curious. Stay positive. And please don’t settle your whole life in the comfort zone. Baby steps or leaps of faith promote the change everyone needs in their lives to avoid the hamster wheel. DO IT!

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