Aloe : skin saver or delicious and healthy beverage?

The cool, jelly like substance that comes in a transparent bottle and is usually an electric green color or a frigid blue. Give the bottle a nice squeeze and the gel oozes out with an odd squishy noise following it. It’s our dear old friend aloe that only shows its face in the summer hot months. Sticky, cold and leaves you stuck in scarecrow position for a few minutes to let it sit in and dry off, then you try to sit down and realize it’s less painful just to stay in that position because Mr. Golden Sun did a number to your skin earlier today. But, I’m not here to remind you to put your sunscreen on or to bring back painful memories of a family member rubbing aloe on your bright red back, I’m talking about drinking it. NOT the topical kind!!! Have you ever considered drinking the juice from an aloe vera plant?  Is it good? Is it healthy for us? Let’s dive on in.

ganoderma-aloe-vera-juvebrew
Benefits:
Detox: aloe works as a natural detox. Aloe contains different trace elements, vitamins and minerals that help the body flush out.

Digestion: Aloe has the power to increase protein absorption and regulates the bowel. Aloe helps reduce yeast and bacteria by moving it along the digestive system and aloe soothes heartburn.

The Immunity Booster: Full of antioxidants! Sending those free radicals away with a dose of aloe.

Anti-inflammation: Aloe Contains 12 different substances that reduces and prevents inflammation. The kind of inflammation that aloe can help with are swollenness, stiff or painful joints.

Healthy Skin: We all know aloe helps are skin on a topical level, but consuming the drinkable kind of aloe can repair out caloe-vera-juiceollagen and elastin from the inside. Aloe also helps sooth minor skin irritations, scrapes, cute and burns.

Energy: Because aloe works our digestive system, this can go hand in hand with energy. Aloe regulates the system which prevents you from feeling sluggish.

Vitamins: Aloe includes Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, niacin and folic acid. In addition chromium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, potassium, iron and calcium. Maybe it would have been easier for me to list what aloe doesn’t contain!

Amino Acid: Aloe contains amino acids which aid the process of building protein.
Smile: Aloe helps your gums and mouth hygiene. It helps with mouth ulcers and bleeding gums.

Cardiovascular Health: Aloe boost the ability to diffuse red blood cells in return aids the oxygen transportation. It improves the oxidation process, circulation and lowers cholesterol.

As you can see, the benefits of consuming Aloe Vera Juice are abundant. There are brands at local health food stores and Whole Foods that are ready to drink. Others are concentrated and can be diluted in water or juice. I love adding either kids to my smoothies as well for added benefits.

Let’s get one thing straight, we are drinking only the consumable kind of aloe, NOT the topical kind. Drink up and enjoy, let us know your thoughts on the taste, results or experience you have with drinking aloe vera juice.

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Summer’s Bounty

Did you know some of our staple summer produce holds some of the most nutritious vitamins? Here they are right in front of us, in bulk, at our grocery stores and farm stands! They are as fresh as can be and less expensive compared to the colder months. Now that we have all of these fresh and nutritious options at our finger tips lets gobble them in before it’s too late! Some things to keep in mind when buying produce is to consider organic. We can understand that buying 100% organic can be expensive. The “Dirty Dozen List” is a list of fruits and vegetables that are at the top 12 pesticide infested fruits and vegetables, and therefore should be priority when choosing which foods to purchase organic.  Going organic for these 12 are definitely worth your pretty penny!

The Dirty Dozen

Apples Strawberries Grapes Celery Peaches

Spinach

Sweet bell peppers Nectarines Cucumbers Potatoes Cherry tomatoes

Hot peppers

If there is produce available that is organic and locally grown, that’s a double whammy! Buying local doesn’t only benefit you, but the people around you. Your produce will taste better if it is locally grown because it doesn’t have to go through being picked before being ripe and shipping. Local food also promotes energy conservation by decreasing our carbon foot print by traveling miles to grocery stores. Buying local helps local farmers and builds the community as a whole.

One of my favorite summer fruits are BLUEBERRIES. I could go through a carton all by myself, no shame. Blueberries are low in fat with only 80 calories per serving. They are also full of dietary fiber, which helps keep your body regular during digestion, keeps our heart healthy and keeps our cholesterol in check. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that help with cardiovascular disease, cancer and other age related diseases. These small little blueberries carry a lot of Vitamin C on their shoulders; Vitamin C helps with collagen formation, maintains healthy gums and capillaries and boosts that immune system. Manganese can also be found in blueberries which aids with bone development and with converting proteins, carbs and fats into energy. Who would have thought blueberries came with such a punch?!

Nothing says summer like a juicy peach. Taking the first bite of a perfectly ripened peach is a force to be reckoned with. You are bound to get peach juice all over your cheeks and then it starts to drip down your hand and then it somehow ends up on your lap, but…it’s all worth it. When there is nothing but the pit left you could go in for another peach. Not only are they delicious this time of year, they benefit our bodies. Peaches contribute to our eye health because they have beta carotene in them which improves eye vision by increasing circulation of blood. Peaches can make our skin glow! They are packed with Vitamin C, which can help with dark circles and wrinkles. Hallelujah. Peaches are a rich source of antioxidants and fiber. Antioxidants help with the immune system and fiber keeping our digestion regular.

watermelonA slice of watermelon is always a special treat during the summer because we all know winter watermelon and summer watermelon don’t even compare. Watermelon helps with cardiovascular and bone health because it improves blood flow and  it’s also rich in potassium which holds onto calcium in the body, therefore promotes healthy strong bones. Watermelon is known to reduce body fat with its partner citrulline that reduces the accumulation of fat in our fat cells. Along with the other fruits, watermelon contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant support.

 These are just a few of summer’s special treats to us. Whenever you feel a sweet tooth craving come in, give in with fresh fruit! Looking for something a little more complex on your tastebuds? Check out some simple healthy recipes using our favorite summer treasures!

 

Blueberry Peach Cobbler 

Ingredients

  • 5 lb peaches, pitted and sliced
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup organic cane  sugar or coconut sugar, divided
  • 3/8 tsp salt, divided
  • 6 3/4 oz plus 2 tbsp 100% whole wheat flour, divided (or brown rice flour for GF + 1/4 tsp xantham gum)peach
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup organic butter or EarthBalance soy-free vegan butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk (or dairy free with 1/2 tsp lemon juice)
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 tbsp turbinado sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In a large bowl, toss peaches with lemon juice, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/8 tsp salt and 2 tbsp flour.  Arrange peaches in a 9×13-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and remaining 1/4 tsp salt.  Place the butter and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes on medium-high speed.  Add in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  Mix in the vanilla extract.  Add the flour and buttermilk, alternating between the two, starting and ending with the flour.  Stir in the blueberries.  Pour the batter over the peaches and spread evenly.  Sprinkle the top with the turbinado sugar.
  4. Place pan on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 1 hour or until topping is golden and filling is bubbly.

 

Watermelon Blueberry- Mint Popsicle 

Ingredients

  • 6 heaping cups diced seedless watermelon (or remove the seeds)
  • 3 tablespoons agave or honey
  • ½ tablespoon lime juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced mint leaves
  • ½ cup fresh blueberries

Instructions

  1. In a blender, puree watermelon along with sugar, lime juice, and salt until smooth.
  2. Add mint and blend briefly to finely mince the mint and get it mixed in.
  3. Pour puree into popsicle molds. (You should be able to make at least 10, but it will depend on the size of your molds.)
  4. Freeze until hard.

 

 

Can’t cool down this summer? Check out these Ayurvedic Cooling Foods + Recipes

It’s a hot one this summer!  The high temperatures are  really making up for this frigid winter we had here  in Philadelphia. Looking for some other ways to beat the heat besides hogging the closest AC units? We have some helpful tips and recipes to help keep you feeling cool from the inside out.

First, if you are filling up your glasses with more ice cubes than water, stop there!  Although it’s tempting, consuming ice cold drinks will make your body work harder in the digestion process. Working harder = more heat.  Room temperature water is the best choice for cooling yourself down while hydrating (add cucumbers and fresh mint for extra benefits and cooling properties!)

There are many foods that can help cool our bodies down through the summer months. You may or may not be familiar with Ayurvedic practices –  in short Ayurveda focuses on balancing the body’s systems through diet, herbs, yoga and breathing techniques. The dosha Pitta is associated with heat (among other properties) and its effects are greatly felt throughout the hot summer months. If you tend to experience heartburn, excess stomach acid, irritableness and/or skin breakouts you may be experiencing an aggravated Pitta. Be sure to incorporate the cooling foods listed below to help balance and cool your body from within.

SPOSTeasons play a large role in Ayuvedic practices as well, during which the foods we consume help to balance our doshas through out the year.  The following Ayurvedic cooling foods will help to lower our body temperature and help correct any Pitta related discomforts.

 

Ayurvedic Cooling Foods

Avocado         Cherries        Plums        Grapes       Pineapples      Peaches      Mangoes      Cilantro           Mint              Asparagus       Cucumbers          Sweet potatoes    Broccoli           Green leafy vegetables       Zucchini          Green beans          Almonds             Sunflower seeds  Coconut       Melons          Pomegranate     Apples          Pears          Dates      Figs

All of these foods are perfect for snacking alone or get creative and try them in a fun summer recipe. We provided a few of our favorites below. Enjoy 🙂

Hibiscus Tea with Lime
Ingredients
• 1 tablespoon dried hibiscus flowers
• 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
• 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
• Lime slices, for serving

Directions
Bring 2 cups water and the hibiscus to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 5 minutes. Strain and discard flowers. Let cool to room temperature. Before serving, stir in honey and lime juice and garnish with lime.

cool-drinks-mbd108831_vert

Melon, Mint + Cucumber Smoothie
Ingredients
• 1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
• 2 cups cantaloupe chunks (from about 1/4 large cantaloupe)
• 1 cup finely chopped kale or baby spinach leaves
• 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
• 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
• 3/4 cup plain unsweetened almondmilk
• 1 teaspoon honey (optional)
Blend until smooth.

Cool As A Cucumber Raita
Ingredients
• 1 cup fresh yogurt or coconut milk yogurt for dairy free version
• 1/4 cup cucumber, peeled and finely diced
• 1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, peeled and finely grated
• 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
• Salt to taste
• 1/4 cup fresh chopped coriander leaves
Simply combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.

Sinfully Delicious Rice Pudding
Ingredients
• ¾ cup basmati rice, uncooked
• 3 cups cow’s milk
• 1/8 teaspoon saffron
• 15 cardamom seeds
• 3-5 tablespoons brown rice syrup, honey or maple syrup  (adjust for sweetness)
• Garnish: 2 teaspoons organic lemon peel, grated and 2 tablespoons toasted unsweetened shredded coconut

Directions
Wash the rice until the water is clear. Combine the rice, milk, saffron, and cardamom seeds in the top of a double boiler. Cover and cook (with water in the bottom or your double boiler) over low heat for 1 hour. While it is simmering, you can toast the coconut in a dry skillet if you like, unless you have happened upon a source of pre-toasted unsweetened coconut. It just takes a few minutes, stirring occasionally so it does not get too brown. Let it cool. When the rice is done, stir in the sweetener and top with lemon and coconut. Serve hot or cold.

Cantaloupe Smoothie
Ingredients
• 1/2 fresh ripe cantaloupe (feel free to add or combine any of your favorite melons)
• 1/2 cup water or almond milk
• 1/4 teaspoon coriander powder
Blend all ingredients together well in a blender.

Sivananda Yoga Cookie Recipe
Ingredients
• 2 cups rolled oats
• 1 cup  wholewheat (or spelt flour)
• 1/3 c brown sugar
• 1/3 c raisins
• 1/3 c nuts/ seeds/ dessicated coconut
• 1 1/2 tsp each of ground cinnamon and ginger
• 1/2 tsp nutmeg grated
• 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 6 oz oil or ghee
• 6 oz water

Directions
Preheat oven to 400F. Oil 2 baking sheets or use greaseproof paper. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl, add oil and mix. stir in enough water to make a firm texture. Take a ping pong ball sized amount and shape into cookie shape (about 10cm in diameter). Repeate with rest. Bake in oven for around 15 minutes until golden at edges. Cool on a wire rack. Try experimenting with adding goji berries, raw cocoa nibs etc.