Coconut Oil: Your Natural Healing Potion

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My own sad lips => happy lips after three applications of coconut oil.

One of the best natural cures for chapped winter lips comes in a jar of oil. Coconut oil is your one-stop beauty healing potion with the power to defrizz your hair, heal your ravaged lips and keep you from getting scorched by the sun while hitting the slopes. It is a true winter miracle :)

Here are some additional benefits that you may not know about:

-Shaving cream – Store bought shaving cream is an expensive cocktail of chemicals that you don’t need to get a clean shave. Coconut oil, on the other hand, is inexpensive, naturally antimicrobial, and smells divine. Plus, it has skin-soothing properties will leave your legs looking hydrated and feeling great.

-Body and hand lotion – An animal study found that when applied topically, virgin coconut oil can speed up wound healing, and a human study found it to be effective in increasing hydration and reducing water loss in seriously dry skin. A great recipe for body and hand moisture!

-Body scrub - It’s wonderfully moisturizing, great for the skin, inexpensive, and blissfully absent of chemicals you can’t pronounce! A definite win over $30 Sephora body scrubs.

-Eye makeup remover – Coconut oil works wonderfully in removing your eye makeup at the end of the night – it even works on waterproof mascara! Put a little on a cotton ball and gently sweep it over your eyes, paying attention to your under-eyes as well. The oil does a great job breaking down waxy, inky eye makeup, and leaves the delicate area hydrated too.

-A natural cheekbone highlighter – Who doesn’t love a little shimmer and shine? You don’t need expensive, store-bought products to achieve the same dazzling effect. Simply sweep a small amount of coconut oil on top of makeup and leave it alone. It looks like your skin but glowier, which is why many natural makeup brands use it as a base ingredient in their formulas.

Want to learn more? Read up on 101 uses for coconut oil from Wellness Mama.

What’s in Your Salad? A World of Difference

There is a wide variety of the choice for which leaf lettuce to choose for your salads. Heading to the salad section can almost be overwhelming as many leafies peer out at you waiting to be explored. While all have some nutritional benefits, some are much greater than others. Check out the infographic below that lists the five most popular lettuce options; then compare their value in the A, B, C, and K vitamin levels. The graph shows the % of your daily needs (on a 2,000 calorie diet). The column for kale is off the charts.

Next time you make a salad, think about switching out the standard head lettuce to something more beneficial. Like and share this post if you enjoy spring mix, romaine, spinach, or kale in your salads.

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Veggie Loving Burrito Bowl

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This delicious Mexican-inspired meal is a super quick and easy way to enjoy your favorite treat. Substituting meat, cheese, and fat for fresh beans and veggies will make this a much better lunch options. This recipe serves 2-4 portions and takes less than 20 minute to prepare. Quick and easy!

INGREDIENTS:

  • Baked tortilla chips (optional – I like to make this treat without these)
  • 2-4 cups cooked grains (you can use a variety of whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, or barley)
  • 2-4 cups cooked beans (I like to use black or kidney beans)
  • 2-4 cups of steamed kale (you can also use romaine lettuce but I like kale the best)
  • 2-4 chopped tomatoes (make sure to use fresh tomatoes instead of canned)
  • 1-2 chopped green onions (red onions is a great treat too)
  • 1-2 cups corn kernels (used organic frozen veggies instead of canned options)
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • Fresh salsa

Getting Naturally Pretty with Apple Cider Vinegar

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ACV is widely used as a do-it-yourself beauty and health remedy, yet many people have no idea of the power it holds besides an afterthought for your evening salad dressing. Behold, the numerous uses of Apple Cider Vinegar!

Health Benefits: The main way in which ACV has the power to help and heal you is by maintaining homeostasis in your body. It balances the inner ecosystem – making the internal pH more alkaline. Disease prefers an acid environment, provided by processed food, artificial sweeteners, etc. It can cure sinus infections, headaches, sore throats, and even the flu. It can also help you lower cholesterol and blood pressure, often in just a few short weeks of use. It can also help you slim down by breaking down fat cells. it kills Candida (and yeast infections) and fungus, and populates the gut with friendly microflora (good bacteria and yeast). This usually stops sugar cravings as well. If you would like to kick up your diet a bit, try adding some organic ACV to your morning juice or your lunchtime drink.

Beauty Benefits: It provides a rosy complexion; is used as an aftershave, teeth whitener, facial toner, age-spot lightener,  and an effective hair rinse (for body and shine). lt can clear up acne, contact dermatitis, warts, varicose veins, and other skin problems. It can encourage hair growth: ACV will stimulate hair follicles, and can also treat dandruff and an itchy scalp. You can give yourself an at-home pedicure by soaking your feet in equal parts warm water and ACV. Its anti-fungal properties will keep your feet healthy, soft, and clean. It will help with varicose veins because of its high levels of vitamins, which will work to deter and reduce the veins. You can also target age spots: mix 1 tablespoon orange juice with 2 tablespoons ACV to fade age spots. It also soothes sunburns, and even relieves swelling in hands and feet. It has been proven as a safe and natural way to even out skin tone from bumps and acne to moles and skin tags.

Not only does this vinegar have a multitude of health and beauty functions, it is also very accessible and affordable.

Screen Shot 2014-10-05 at 10.31.31 PMI found the all natural raw, unfiltered brand (pictured above) at Whole Foods for $4.69. You will be able to find this at any health food store and even some supermarkets, but want to make sure that you go for an unfiltered option that is as raw and organic as possible. With all of the health and beauty benefits discovered, I would definitely classify that as a beauty bargain :)

Top 10 Benefits of Kale

Today is national Kale Day y’all! So why should you care? Fair Point. There are quite a few reasons why you should give this green leafy a chance, actually.

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1.) Kale is low in calorie, high in fiber and has zero fat: one cup of kale has only 36 calories meaning you could eat bags upon bags of this stuff and never gain a pound.

2.) Kale is high in iron: per calorie, kale has more iron than beef. Take that, meat lobby!

3.) Kale is high in Vitamin K: this protects you from cancers and helps prevent blood clots as well. Both closer personal friends of mine these days. Both highly fetal if not treated correctly.

4.) Kale is filled with powerful antioxidants: prevent various cancers with carotenoids and flavonoids.

5.) Kale is a great anti-inflammatory food: fight against arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disorders.

6.)  Kale is great for cardiovascular support: keep your heart happy and healthy :)

7.) Kale is high in Vitamin A: prevent lung and oral cancers plus it’s great for your 20/20 vision.

8.) Kale is high in Vitamin C: helps keep your metabolism humming all day long!

9.) Kale is a calcium powerhouse: per calorie, kale has more calcium than milk so take your pick.

10.) Kale is a great detox food: fiber like woahhhh keeps your body clean and your liver healthy.

*med facts from health journo, Alison Lewis.

4 Homemade Vitamin Waters for Detoxification

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You may have noticed that the Vitamin Water brand is filled with chemicals and sugar, right? While staying away from 99% of the “health” drinks available at our local supermarkets can seem like a challenge, finding ways to make your own vitamin waters is a simple and affordable alternative to promote natural toxin removal and abundant daily hydration.

I have been experimenting with my own vitamin waters over the last few weeks and have come up with four easy-to-make recipies sure to satisfy your thirst (and sweet tooth as well). Feel free to make a big pitcher in the morning and then sip on these naturally sweet treats throughout the day. They are far more fun than filtered water (also can ease with taste for those who are naturally water taste picky) and are great at keeping you away from soda or processed juice sweetness.

Check out a few of my favorite finds as well as their not-so-hidden health benefits:

(1) Green Tea, Mint & Lime – wonderful to aid in fat burning and assist with digestion, combating headaches and congestion; also a natural breath freshener and metabolism booster.

(2) Strawberry/Kiwi – promotes cardiovascular health, immune system protection, blood sugar regulation and aids digestion. Also is sweetly delicious!

(3) Cucumber/Lemon (or Lime) – supports water weight management, reduces bloating, assists with appetite control, hydration and aids smooth digestion.

(4) Oragne/Lemon (or Lime) – aids proper digestion, contains added vitamin C, supports immune defense, reduces heartburn. This one will give you a zesty morning kick!

Feel free to try out your own flavors and combinations but adding a little sweet kick to your daily waters will ensure that you are enjoying what you are drinking and staying energized and hydrated throughout the day :)

A Simplistic Buddha Bowl

What If I told you that three simple ingredients is all it takes for an uber delish lunch? That’s right friends: kale + polenta + eggplant is all it takes. Throw them in your favorite bowl and enjoyyyyy with tasty gratitude :) poleta-eggplant-kale-bowl

Reversing Heart Disease with a Plant-based Diet

Dr. Esselstyn of the Cleveland Clinic discusses how he set up his wildly successful 25-year study proving that a natural, plantbased diet can stop and reverse heart disease. Dr. Esselstyn’s diet program the same diet used by former President Bill Clinton to reverse his heart disease.

Study Results: After a few drop outs a few years into the study, of the remaining 18 people, 12 years after the study, only one had experienced a heart problem. This person had strayed from the diet for two years, experienced chest pain, and then went back on the diet, which eliminated the chest pain.

Amazing, right? Those are the same people who had gone through 49 coronary events before the study. Now they had none! It is amazing, but it makes so much sense. A healthy, plant-based diet is what humans were made to eat, and when you are kind to your body, your body will be kind in return.

Guess what else happened with those patients… their heart disease not only stopped progressing, but it actually reversed as well!

Of the 18 members in the study, eleven of them had their hearts x-rayed, and Dr. Esselstyn found that 70% of them had new openings in their clogged arteries. This is absolutely astounding data since these patients did not take any medicine and simply followed a natural and nutritious plant-based diet.