Hydrate with Food

All we hear during the summer months is “Stay hydrated!” So we automatically assume to grab a glass or a bottle of water and start chugging. Well we don’t just have to drink to stay hydrated, we can eat too (yes!) No more feeling water bloated (and having to run to the bathroom all the time) this summer to just stay hydrated! Let’s look into the top 5 hydration foods to add to our everyday meals.

Cucumbers Cucumber_and_cross_section

This summer veggie has a 96.7% water content. Add cucumbers to a salad, puree it with a non-fat yogurt with some herbs and make a cucumber soon, or just dunk them in your favorite hummus. Simply adding cucumbers to a meal will help you keep hydrated.

CeleryCelery-Stalks

This stalk packs in fiber, folate, Vitamin A, C and K. 95.4% water content, celery can help us all keep hydrated when we are sweating a lot of our liquids out. Remember that rumor that celery had negative calories? Well that isn’t entirely true since it does have 6 calories per serving, but this low-calorie veg helps maintain and balance our stomach acids. A few celery stalks a day can help with blood pressure, asthma, and helps keep the urinary tract clean. Celery is a perfect beach snack to dip in peanut butter, chop into a salad, or to throw into a light tuna salad.

Radishesradishes-02

Still high up there on the water content with 95.3% ranking, radishes can pack a punch for this summer. Radishes can had a sweet and spicy flavor to any dish you make this summer. Every crunch packs on the antioxidants found in radishes. Radishes can help with sinuses, stimulates appetites, and cleanses the kidneys. A simple radish coleslaw made with olive oil and lemon juice is a perfect side dish, or radish can be garnished on any salad this summer.

Tomatoes29tomato1-superJumbo

For those of us that live in the Philadelphia area, we all know that summer time is the perfect time for Jersey Tomatoes. Tomatoes have 94.5% water content. Ripe and in season tomatoes are easy to put into any dish: putting a few slices on a sandwich for the beach, cut into wedges for a salad, or sliced and ready to eat with a little salt a pepper YUM! Not only are tomatoes a great hydrating food they contain so many vitamins and antioxidants in them. Tomatoes can also help to prevent cervix, bladder, and pancreas cancers.

Green Peppersgreen-pepper

Green for go! Load up on the green peppers at your local farmers markets and grocery stores. Though all bell peppers contain high water content the green pepper comes in at the top of the list with 93.9% water content. Green peppers make the perfect snack for anytime, on kabobs, or stuff them up with your favorite quinoa recipes. Getting your daily dose to peppers can help improve your hair, skin, and nails!

These are just 5 simple fruits and veggies that can help us keep hydrated when our water gets a little bland. They also pack in lots of nutrients and vitamins, along with other added health benefits. Remember to also make sure the kiddies that you’re spending time with keep hydrated while they are in and out of the water, building sand castles, and riding bikes. You can also add your favorite fruits, veggies, and herbs to water to add a little flavor without added sugar. Some of our favorites: cucumber and strawberry, lemon and ginger, or mint.

There are plenty of ways to stay hydrated this summer – be creative and have fun with it!

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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.

Final Day of our Fall Detox!

I can’t believe we are on the final day of our Fall Detox! I hope everyone is feeling energized and grounded after nourishing our bodies and releasing those unwanted toxins. Do you feel a difference in your energy level? Your mood? Your cravings? I would love to hear your feedback.  I really enjoyed seeing everyone and working together this past week. It’s always great to have support during a cleanse or any kind of health goal you are trying to achieve.

Today’s smoothie is especially appropriate for the noticeably colder weather today. It is grounding and filling, packed with antioxidants, fiber, essential fatty acids, vitamins and other nourishing components. It is also creamy and delicious, and the warming spices are especially comforting.  It contains three different parts of the coconut, which in my opinion is one of the most underrated foods for all of its various health benefits. In sanskrit, coconut is referred to as kalpa vriksha, which is literally translated to ““the tree that supplies all that is needed to live.”

Coconut Chai -Chia Smoothie (say that 3 times) Image

1/4 cup organic shredded coconut, unsweetened
1/2 cup coconut milk, unsweetened
1/4 cup coconut cream, (canned or homemade)
1-2 T Tbs cashew or almond butter
1 tsp chia gel (soaked chia seeds in water overnight)
1 scoop of ice
1/4 c filtered water
1 tsp cinnamon
dash of nutmeg and allspice
1/2-1 tsp ginger (depending on how spicy you like it)
thin slice of fresh ginger
*make sure to blend on high

Health Benefits

Chia Seeds are tiny, yet mighty. They are loaded with omega 3s, which are essential for optimal health, specifically in healthy brain functioning. Chia also help to slow digestion, preventing blood sugar from spiking. Chia’s stabilizing effect on blood sugar may also fights insulin resistance which can be associated with excess belly fat. They also contain a high dose of fiber (11 g in 1 oz serving), aiding digestion and helping to keep fuller longer. They pack in a healthy dose of protein, calcium, phosphorous and manganese.

Coconut – the flesh of coconut contains essential fatty acids (the medium chain), fiber, manganese (helps stabilize blood sugar and aid in a healthy immune and nervous system function. It also contains copper, which promotes healthy red cell production and potassium, which maintains proper level of water in the cells and helps regulate water retention.  The coconut cream is just the water of the coconut blended with the coconut meat (usually found in a can, or you can make your own).  Coconut water is very hydrating and restores and balances electrolytes. Although coconut oil isn’t added into this smoothie, it definitely can be. I already went over the benefits of coconut oil here. Coconut is also known to speed your metabolism while regulating blood sugar and keeping you full. Although it is often looked down upon because of its high saturated fat content, I believe it should be included in a healthy diet. As I mentioned in my previous post, the fat comes from Medium Chain Fatty Acids, which have healthy benefits, unlike the Long Chain Fatty Acids.

Cinnamon not only adds flavor to any meal, it has many notable health properties. Cinnamon is known to increase energy, vitality, and circulation. It is also known to level blood sugar levels and also have anti-inflammatory properties.

I hope you enjoyed the smoothies and your week of mindful eating and cleansing. Remember to slowly ease off of your cleanse and try not to indulge too much too soon! You don’t want to overload your body with sugars, caffeine, alcohol, or meats if you have been totally eliminating. You may experience some digestive discomfort if so. Just introduce foods you were cutting out gradually. It is a great idea to just avoid processed and high sugar foods all together  😉

Be sure to check back on my blog for healthy tips and some yummy recipes! Please be in touch and let me know any health questions or concerns you may have.

Day 3 + half way through our detox!

Mango, Ginger + Coconut with Aloe Vera Juice

This smoothie has all sorts of goodness in it. Get ready to wake up your tastebuds, body, and mind with its refreshing and invigorating ingredients.

1/2 cup mango
1/4 inch cube fresh ginger, peeled
2 tsp coconut oil
2 oz natural aloe vera juice, unsweetened
1 Tbs ground flaxseed (can reduce)
1/2 cup coconut milk, unsweetened
1/2 cup pure/filtered water

Mango is rich in vitamins, minerals, pre-biotic dietary fiber, and antioxidants. It is an excellent source of Vitamin-A and flavonoids beta-carotene, alpha-carotene,and beta-cryptoxanthin. It is high in Vitamin C, which helps neutralize harmful oxygen-free radicals and contains potassium which is essential in maintaining healthy blood pressure and fluid balance.  Compared to most fruits, mango is fairly low on the glycemic index chart (41-60),  so enjoying mango occasionally will not spike your blood sugar levels.

Aloe Vera is an incredible plant that has many health benefits and medicinal uses. It contains loads of  health benefits and components such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, polysaccharide, and fatty acids.  Some vitamins include, folic acid, choline, Vitamins A, C + E, B vitamins, including B12 which is rarely found in plants. Minerals include calcium, magnesium, as well as selenium, sodium, iron, potassium, copper, and manganese. Aloe vera also contains all 8 essential amino acids, as well as fatty acids which help lower fat in the blood cells and help reduce allergy symptoms as well as acid indigestion.

Aside from all of the vitamins and minerals aloe vera juice is extremely beneficial in the detoxification process. It also helps to soothe the digestion track, and regulates the digestive system. Because aloe vera is a gelatinous plant, when digested,  the gel moves through the intestines and absorbs any toxins and unwanted waste, helping to eliminate and flush out of the body. Aloe vera is alkalizing, which helps balance the pH in your body, as well as an anti-inflammatory and immune booster.

Ginger is a great anti-inflammatory and immune booster. It helps to also improve digestion, absorb and assimilate essential nutrients throughout the body, ease muscle or joint discomfort, clears ‘microcirculatory channels’  (including sinus cavities),  and helps to clear nose and throat congestion. 

Flax seeds – these tiny little seeds are nutritional power houses. First, they are a great source of fiber, helping to regulate digestion and aid in the detoxification process. Flax is a great plant source of the essential fatty acid, Omega 3. Theses little seeds also contain potassium for a healthy heart and muscles, as well as iron and zinc to boost your immunity. They contain trace minerals such as riboflavin and niacin, thiamin, and B vitamins (all which help to turn food into energy). They must be ground in order to gain all of the benefits they have to offer. When consumed whole they pass right through and are not digested fully.

Coconut oil is an amazing superfood filled with so many health benefits and nutrients. Coconut oil contains antioxidants, helps to absorb nutrients and vitamins, has antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. It is made up of mostly  Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs), which unlike Long Chain Fatty Acids, are sent straight to the liver for energy production. It kills candida growth,  corrects many skin conditions, helps with hypothyroidism, and helps speed metabolism.

Day 2 of our 5 Day Fall Detox

Blueberry Super Detox with SpirulinaDivine Organics Inka Spirulina

  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ½ banana (may be replaced with 1/4 avocado)
  • ¼ green apple
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp spirulina
  • filtered/pure water

Health Benefits

Spirulina is on my list as one of the top superfoods. It is a micro-alga (you can’t taste it inthe smoothie, I promise!) that has a high concentrate of protein, specifically made of essential amino acids. It is also has a high content of calcium, vitamins, nutrients and trace minerals, as well as iron and beta-carotene. Spirulina stimulates and boosts the immune system and detoxifies the body of pollutants and heavy metals.It is high in Chlorophyll, which purifies the blood, removing toxins from your system. It has anti-inflammatory properties, may lower cholesterol, and even fight off allergies due to its histamine blocking effects. Spirulina also helps produce healthy stomach flora and promote digestion.

Blueberries are full of anti-oxidants such as vitamin C, B complex,vitamin E, vitamin A, Anthocyanin, copper, selenium, zinc, and iron.  Blueberries help to build the immune system and repair free radicals caused by oxidative stress (helping to combat the effects of aging) These tiny berries contain high amounts of fiber, which promote a healthy heart by lowering LDL or ‘bad’ levels of cholesterol.

Spinach- so many reasons to love this dark leafy green! It has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory components and helps fight against cardiovascular problems. Spinach is loaded with Vitamin K, calcium and magnesium-all which help promote strong bones. It is also loaded with Vitamin C + A and Iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins. among others.  It is great for your skin as well, fighting acne and giving you that natural glow we all want. The high count of lutein in spinach helps to keep your eyes healthy and clear.

The added purified water in the smoothie helps to hydrate your body while flushing out the toxins that are being lifted from cells and tissues.

Make sure to continue drinking lots of water throughout the day. Its benefits are maximized when drank at room temperature, with fresh juice from half of a lemon.

Remember to embrace the mindfulness and awareness you are practicing while making healthy choices this week. Make sure to be good to your body and give it credit for being the tool that which allows us to move through life.   Our bodies are so resilient that even through times when we aren’t so good to it, we are able to restore and rebuild within by nourishing ourselves with all of these nutrient- dense foods.

So love your body today and everyday. Keep nourishing and it will love you back 😉

Day 1 of the 5 Day Fall Detox

Yay for the start of our detox!  It is the beginning  of a week of cleansing and rejuvenation. I hope everyone had a great weekend and is feeling as excited and ready for the detox as I am. If you are just learning about the detox, it’s not too late to sign up or join me, using my smoothie recipes I will be posting this week. Read here for more details about the cleanse and some basic  guidelines on what foods are included and what to avoid.

I started to ease myself into our cleanse last week and began my detox Saturday.  I also did a meditation course on Saturday that was amazing, helping me to mentally prepare. I really enjoy meditation and try to incorporate it in my daily life. Meditation helps me feel grounded, reminds me to practice mindfulness + compassion, and helps to put things in perspective.  It is also a great way to take a few minutes out of our stressful and busy routine, to breathe, reflect and look deeper into our inner selves.  If anyone is interested in meditation in the Philadelphia area I highly recommend going to the Shambhala Meditation Center. The mediation instructors (in my humble opinion) are the best in the area. 

Back to the detox.  I am already feeling my energy levels rise and my mood more positive and stable. I rarely feel THIS good on a Monday.. and I don’t think it’s a coincidence. 😉 Aren’t you excited to start feeling great?

Our smoothie this morning is packed with so many great ingredients and some of my favorite foods. It is extremely refreshing from the cucumber and mint, and is loaded with kale and spinach. The only bit of sweetness comes from half of a green apple, which contains many detoxifying properties itself. I added hemp protein powder, which I love because hemp seeds naturally contain 21 known amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids. This makes hemp a complete protein. It also contains the proper 3:1 ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6.  Hemp protein is more easily digested because of the globular proteins it contains. Globular proteins dissolve faster and are thus more readily used. Hemp protein is a great source of plant protein, providing a large dose of healthy fats and protein. It also happens to be one of the most earth friendly proteins. Because it grows tall and extremely fast- being naturally invasive to all weeds that may grow around the crop- the use of herbicides or pesticides is not necessary. My favorite brand is Manitoba Harvest. It dissolves great in smoothies and doesn’t seem to leave a chalky after taste.

I recommend making this smoothie on a daily basis. It will give you more energy than any cup of coffee, not to mention providing many nutrients and vitamins your body needs. It is great for healthy skin, digestion, hydration, and obviously works wonders in the cleansing process. Enjoy!

apple-kale-ginger-smoothie

Day 1 Smoothie

Green Refresher

  • 3-4 kale leaves
  • handful of spinach
  • ½ green apple
  • ¼ avocado
  • ½ cucumber
  • 2 celery stalks
  • ½ c coconut water
  • ¼ c unsweetened almond or rice milk
  • 1 scoop vanilla hemp powder
  • ½ lemon
  • mint


Health Benefits

Apples aid in blood sugar regulation (nixing sugar cravings), contain loads of antioxidants, vitamins and fiber. They help to slow down carbohydrate and glucose absorption, lessening the sugar load on our blood stream.

Kale provides one of the most powerful antioxidant and detox properties than any other leafy green. When digested, kale forms a substance called sulforaphane, which causes the liver to produce enzymes that actually flush out harmful chemicals that cause cancer. Kale is high in fiber, Vitamin A, C and E, iron, and calcium.

Cucumber has many detoxifying, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is high in fiber, Vitamin A and K, hydrating, improves digestion, helps to eliminate constipation and reduces the risk of colon, breast and ovarian cancer.

Avocados are high in heart healthy fat  Omega 3s. Fat is important during detoxification as it promotes the release of bile from the gallbladder, aiding in the elimination of toxins from the body and the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Avocados contain a healthy dose of potassium, folate, Vitamin E + B5 and fiber.

Lemons are a powerful detoxification aid.  They are alkaline forming, helping to balance the pH balance in the body. The citric acid allows the breakdown of bile and dissolves any other toxins in the body, also helps flush out the kidneys and colon of toxic build up. Lemons also contain Vitamin C, which helps to neutralize free radicals and boost the immune system.

Mint is a natural stimulant, which helps with digestion and soothing the digestive track. It also stimulates the digestive enzymes that absorb nutrients from food and consume fat and convert it into energy. Therefore, it is helping you convert the food you consume to energy rather than storing it as fat. As a natural stimulant, mint is known to naturally combat fatigue and help to recharge your batteries. Great for a Monday morning boost!

Get excited for our Fall 5 Day Cleanse! Here’s a little preview of what to expect and some guidelines…

Are you getting pumped about the start of our Fall Detox next week? We are! 

I want to give a little more information about the cleanse and what to expect. 

First, this isn’t strictly a juice cleanse or fast. Although I support fasting and juice cleansing, based on Ayurveda practice, fall is a time for nourishing our bodies. We will be incorporating vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and certain grains. Our goal is to eliminate toxicity, build strong immune systems, correct digestive issues and become awakened and mindful. In Ayurvedic practice the overload of toxins in our bodies are referred to as ama, which in Sanskrit means ‘undigested’ or ‘that which harms or weakens.” Ama weakens the body physically and internally, allowing an environment for cold and flu viruses. It also slows us down mentally and can have a negative impact on our minds, causing mood swings, depression, anxiety and stress. 

I am here for guidance, to answer any questions you may have and to give you helpful tips and support on naturally cleansing and releasing ama, or these excess toxins. If you feel that you need to incorporate certain foods that are not on the “foods to include” list, go ahead and listen to your body. This is about nourishing your body and feeling good, not depriving (except processed foods and sugars- the cravings will subside, I promise!)  Our goal is to feed our bodies wholesome and nutrient-rich and nourishing foods, allowing us to feel energized and rejuvenated- mentally and physically. 

At times your body may start to feel slightly sick during the first few days of the detox. This is because we are awakening the toxins we have been building up and storing in our cells from processed foods over time. During this process, the alkalizing properties of the vegetables and fruits help lift the toxins out of the cells. Once we awaken and lift the toxins, it is important to release them from our body, which is mainly through the skin and colon, along with other organs such as the liver and intestines. Some detox symptoms you may experience in the beginning stages are headaches, constipation, skin break outs, and/or tiredness.  These will pass through proper elimination. We need to make sure we are properly flushing these toxins out.  One way to help move the process forward is through saunas. Since an intense workout is not recommended when detoxing, a sauna helps to break a sweat and eliminate these toxins through the skin. Epsom salt baths are also great and help pull toxins from your skin as well.  Your detox yoga classes from Nava Yoga Center will also help the process of elimination through gentle movements and classes geared to cleanse, restore, and renew internally. 

Again, I will be giving you basic guidelines and helpful tips to lead you through the week of gentle detox.  The smoothie you will be receiving daily is designed to replace your typical breakfast or lunch. This is meant to give your digestive system a rest and to give you a huge nutrient and vitamin boost through food that has already been broken down and easily absorbed. Each drink will contain a plant or nut- based protein source, ranging from vanilla hemp protein powder, to almonds and cashew butter. If you feel that you need more for breakfast or lunch than the smoothie, feel free to have some raw veggies, nuts,  quinoa or brown rice, organic chicken or turkey, or anything on the approved list provided below. 

Besides the naturally delicious, clean food we will be consuming next week, it is important to know what foods should  be eliminated from your diet.

During this natural cleanse we want to eliminate the following:

  • Processed foods- anything packaged!
  • White sugars + flours
  • Dairy:   butter, cheese and dairy-based yogurt
  • Drinks: alcohol, caffeine, soda
  • Grains: wheat, barley, corn, rye, kamut and most oats (unless they are gluten-free brand)
  • Animal Proteins: cold cuts, pork, beef, canned meat, shellfish, processed meats such as sausage and hot dogs
  • Peanuts/peanut butter

Foods that may be included: 

  • Fruits and Vegetables:   raw, roasted, steamed and juiced vegetables; diluted fresh veggie or fruit juice
  • Dairy Substitutes: almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk
  • Drinks: distilled or filtered water, room temperature water with fresh squeezed lemon (very helpful for detoxification), naturally decaffeinated herbal teas, cold pressed vegetable juices, my mineral broth  
  • Grains: brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet, tapioca, buckwheat 
  • Oils: cold-pressed olive, flax, safflower, sesame, almond, sunflower, walnut,  pumpkin
  • Plant Proteins: legumes, peas, lentils
  • Nuts and seeds (except peanuts)
  • Condiments: vinegar (especially apple cider vinegar), fresh lemon,  sea salt, pepper, all spices and herbs (herbs add a tremendous amount of flavor and are also micro-nutrient powerhouses that are easily absorbed by our bodies)

If you feel you need to add animal protein to your diet do it with fresh fish, steamed or baked or organic chicken or turkey.   

These are basic guidelines for the Fall 5 Day detox next week. The hardest part is committing, but once you start feeling the positive affects  a natural cleanse has on your body and mind, you will be so happy you did! 

It’s not too late to sign up. Simply click here and scroll down to the “5 Day Detox” option. Once you sign up, make sure to check back on the blog for simple detox recipes and more tips. I also want to help you prepare for the detox.  Check back soon for simple steps to help your body prepare for and easily transition into our detox. 

Looking forward to working with you and embarking on this upcoming week of cleansing and renewing.