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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Tea : Powerful Health Benefits + Recipes for Energy, Stress-relief and Detox

Next to our number one hydration buddy, water, tea is the runner up on the most consumed beverage in the world. I love this statistic! Whether you like it for the taste, the endless health benefits, the comforting warmth or just the sophistication of having a cup of tea, there are plenty of health benefits as to why we should up our tea consumption. Eastern medicine has looked towards teas and herbs for centuries, and there are proven studies to show just how powerful these plants can be in health and longevity. The 5 most common teas are black, white, green, herbal and oolong. Each tea has its own special powers  – all benefitting our body in different and powerful ways.

Tea_in_different_grade_of_fermentation

Below we give a brief summary of the main benefits of the different popular types.

Looking and feeling younger is something that we all aspire  – white tea can give us a lift here. The properties of white tea can help inhibit the wrinkle process with its power of strengthening elastin and collagen. Goodbye crow’s feet and forehead wrinkles!

Black tea is shown to lower our blood pressure, decreasing out risk for a heart attack or stroke.

Green tea is our saving grace with its ability to increase the body’s ability to burn fat. Also, with weight loss, green tea is shown to increase our metabolisms, therefore making it easier to burn off calories faster. The antioxidants in green tea help our immune system put those free radicals to rest – fighting off cancer and other harmful disease. Green tea can also strengthen our bones.

Oolong tea is fragrant with a fruity hint that includes multiple benefits to our bodies. Oolong tea can help reduce heart disease, inflammatory issues and aids with high cholesterol levels. Many Eastern practices use this for weight loss as well.

Herbal teas have endless amounts of health properties and medicinal purposes.  Depending on what you need (stress relief, sleeping aid, energy booster) specific herbs blends in can be your cure-all in a cup. From detoxing, energy boosting, nausea reducing, skin healing, constipation, even helping mother with lactation and women with menstrual cycles, different herbal teas and blends can work wonders. Do some research on what you are looking for and go to your local loose leaf supplier for the cure  (instead of your pharmacy!) Make sure to contact your physician or an experienced herbalist when consuming large amounts or different herbals teas/blends (especially when pregnant).

Also, make sure you aren’t overdoing teas that contain caffeine (green, black, white and red). Caffeine is good in moderation but can also cause added anxiety, sleep disturbances and dehydration. Feel free to sip on most herbal teas all day though!

Now let’s get specific. What do we need? What does our body crave? Check out these 3 tea recipes: one for detox, energy and last but not least a stress reliever tea!

Ginger Turmeric Detox Tea Recipe
Ingredients:
• 2 inch knob of ginger
• 2-3 inch piece of turmeric root or substitute 2 tsp turmeric powder
• 1-2 dashes of cayenne (or you could juice 1/2 a habanero or jalapeño pepper)
o Circulatory stimulant: increases pulse of lymphatic and digestive rhythms
• 4 lemons (3 for juicing and 1 for slicing as a garnish)
• 3 droppers vanilla stevia
• 2 quarts waterginger_tea

1. In a juicer, juice your ginger root, turmeric, and 3 lemons
2. In a large pitcher add your juice to about 2 quarts of water, a couple droppers of vanilla stevia to taste, a couple dashes of cayenne and your thinly cut lemon slices.
3.  Mix well with a wooden spoon and adjust flavors to taste.
4. Let sit for about 10 mins before serving to let the flavors blend. Will last about 5 days in the fridge.

Heath Benefits

Ginger:
Colon Cancer Prevention
Reduces Pain and Inflammation
Cold and Flu Prevention Treatment
Turmeric:
Natural Antiseptic and Antibacterial agent
Natural liver detoxifier
Assists in healing of damaged skin
Cayenne
Anti-Cold and Flu Agent
Anti-fungal Properties
Digestive Aid

Give Me Energy Tea
Ingredients:
• A clean glass bottle or container
• 1 kaffir lime leaf
• Organic yerba mate – about 3 tablespoons per cup of water
• A few slices of fresh ginger
• Water

1)Combine all ingredients, stick’em in the bottle.
2)Let it sit overnight.
3) Bottle up and enjoy!
Yerba mate is full of antioxidants, aids digestion, and has a natural caffeherbal_lavender_flower_tea_1ine

Stress Relief Tea
Ingredients:
• 1 Tbsp St John’s Wort (suggestion)
• 1 Tbsp Oatstraw
• 1/3 c Chamomile
• 1 Tbsp Lavender
• 2 Tbsp Lemon Balm
• 2 tsp Catnip
• 1 Tbsp Orange or lemon rind.

1. Heat 2 quarts water until almost boiling.
2. Add the St. John’s wort and oatstraw and steep for 6 minutes.
3. Add the rest of the herbs and steep for an additional 3-4 minutes.
4. Strain herbs and sweeten with honey if desired.

I love purchasing loose tea in bulk- it cuts down on price and more importantly – wasteful packaging materials. If you do prefer buying packaged bags that are conveniently prepared, make sure the tea is organic. Many commercial tea bags can contain harmful toxins and chemicals that will end up counter acting the health benefits from the teas. My two favorite brands for herbal and medicinal teas are organic Alvita and Traditional Medicinals.

Rosemary Ginger Lemonade (+cocktail recipe)

rosemaryginger
Let’s switch it up this summer and combat the heat with this refreshing Rosemary Ginger Lemonade.   I know some of us can be dependent on our iced coffees, but what about something even more energizing and delicious? A cool, refreshing drink that will jump start our energy levels and contains more nutritional benefits than our old cup of joe.

This Rosemary Ginger Lemonade will pick us up, cool us down and will leave us feeling stable throughout the day without the crash (will also help flush out those nasty toxins we build up over time)  Try this simple recipe below,  your tastebuds and body will be so very grateful!

Rosemary Ginger Lemonade

Ingredients
7 cups water
3 rosemary sprigs
1 8-10 inch ginger hand, peeled and diced
1 cup honey/agave
1.5 cups fresh juice from lemons

Directions
Simple syrup: Place 1 cup water in sauce pan with ginger. Bring to a boil add agave and rosemary sprigs and return to boil. Remove from heat and let cool.

Lemonade:
Mix remaining 6 cups water, lemon juice and cooled simple syrup. Keep in pitcher refrigerated. Feel free to add more agave or honey for desired sweetness.

Health Benefits

Rosemary in this refreshing, detoxifying elixir has loads of health benefits. Rosemary will help jumpstart our bodies in the morning with its powers to increase blood flow. Getting that blood pumping throughout the body is exactly what our body needs to get itself moving and gain natural energy (great for mid-day slumps too).  Everyone needs a little immune booster , no matter what season it is  – and rosemary will do just the trick. Rosemary also has many anti-inflammatory properties. And get this:  during a long workday (when your brain is feeling a bit fried)  rosemary can be your life saver with its memory boosting abilities. Rosemary also has the perk of reducing severity of asthma attacks, help cure congestion and allergies – who knew?!

how-to-peel-chop-grate-ginger-verticalGinger is the perfect pick me up because it helps jump start your metabolism and awakens your body and mind – preparing you for the busy day ahead. Along with rosemary, ginger is an anti-inflammatory and a great immune booster. For those readers that get motion sickness, ginger can ease that stomach pain and it is also great for seasickness for you adventurous ocean goers. Ginger can help fight and cure infections like athletes foot and nail infections with its anti-fungal properties. Lastly, ginger is great for digestion and helps absorb essential nutrients consumed throughout the day, don’t let them go to waste! Get your ginger in.

Lemons are made up of citric acid that allows the breakdown of bile and dissolves any other toxins in the body. Lemon also helps flush out the kidneys and colon of toxic that tends to build up, the perfect detox! Remember, our goal is to achieve balance in the body, and lemon is a great way to balance the pH levels.  Lemons are packed with Vitamin C, which helps neutralize free radicals in the body and also boosts the immune system!

 

Cocktail Recipe

The Rosemary Ginger Lemonade can be very versatile. Had enough detoxifying and energy boosting? Need to do a little more winding down and  some re-toxing? 😉

It’s so easy to transform this elixir into a fun sumer cocktail – perfect for those warm summer evenings. Just pour 1 cup of the Rosemary Ginger Lemonade in a shaker with ice, add 1 oz vodka, gin or tequila and give it a good shake. Serve in a martini glass with a sprig of rosemary for garnish. Like your drinks on the rocks? Just pour lemonade over ice in a tumbler, top with our choice of liquor and garnish with rosemary, lemon slice or candied ginger.

Relax, cool down and feel better about indulging in a cocktail (or two) with the added health benefits of this light, refreshing libation.   Enjoy!

a few meal inspirations

Hello fellow detoxers!  I can’t believe how  many people have decided to join me on the 21 day detox. I am so thrilled to have you with me on this journey with me to vibrant health and new beginnings.

YAY! You made it through the first few days. Pat yourself on the back, they really are the hardest.  It’s like the minute you tell yourself you aren’t eating gluten you want that bagel staring at you on your co-workers desk…even if you usually don’t even eat bagels. Humans are strange creatures.  I promise though, those cravings will quiet everyday until they are gone completely. Sugar and caffeine seem to be the hardest part for people, especially eliminating them if you are used to having them daily.

If you are having headaches due to caffeine withdrawal, have some green tea. You can even buy flavored green tea that may help with a sweet tooth. If that sweet tooth will not give up, have a small piece of fruit or a green smoothie with 1/2 a banana or green apple and some coconut oil and unsweetened almond milk.

I swear they will soon start tasting like milkshakes to you (once your taste buds adjust to the natural flavors). I make this smoothie for my husband when he is having a sweet craving and he wouldn’t swap this for his favorite milkshake now, would you Mike? 😉

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

hi Mike! came across this pic in my phone

A clean treat that is loaded with protein, fiber, antioxidants and other vitamins.

ChocoBanana Protein Smoothie
1 cup spinach
1/2 frozen banana
1 Tbs almond butter
1-2 Tbs raw cacao powder
1.5 tsp coconut oil (organic, cold-pressed)
1 Tbs hemp protein powder
3/4 cup unsweentened almond milk
1/2 cup ice
1 tsp honey or maple syrup(optional)
Additional add-ins : ground flaxseed, chia seed, raw cacao nibs (add after for choc chip pieces)

Blend until smooth.

Sorry, I went off on a smoothie tangent.  Anyway, I am really enjoying all of the emails about your progress so far- mentally and physically. It has only been a few days but I am seeing that a lot of you are already noticing positive affects. Whether it’s a noticeable change in energy levels, moods, stress, bloat, or any other digestive health issues, I am beyond excited hear all of your feedback! It only keeps getting better from here.

I’ve been getting a lot of inquiries about menu and meal ideas. Instead of sending each of you different recipes and ideas, I’ve decided to compile some of my favorite recipes and dishes from friends and fellow bloggers.

Many of these are dinner ideas – but can easily be stored and made into lunch the next day. Switch it up by adding a few more spices or vegetables to it, or even throw it in a saute pan in the morning, crack and egg on it and you’ve got a delicious and easy breakfast.

Be creative and switch out different ingredients and spices to your liking. Most of them are gluten and dairy free, however if one of the items happens to be just swap it out or just nix it. Enjoy!

Recipes:

Cauliflower Lentil Taco Salad,  Food Babe

Quinoa Fried Rice with PorkThe Queen of Quinoa
I substitute with organic chicken, beef or egg. Most of the time I  eliminate meat all together – as quinoa is very high in protein

Kale Rice Bowl , 101cookbooks
Can substitute yogurt with coconut milk yogurt or add avocado for creaminess. Great for breakfast or dinner. 

Roasted Sweet Potato, Kale and Sage Skillet Quinoa , Recipes to Nourish 

Jerk Chicken with Mango Salsa and Creamy Coconut Millet, Inspired Edibles

Quinoa Crusted Sole in a Chili-Lime Glaze, Inspired Edibles

25 Soups and Stews, With Food + Love
All Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg + Meat Free

Here are two recipes I’ve made this past week:

Spiced Salmon with mustard sauce
(I halved for 2 people and still had leftovers) 

Ingredients
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets

Directions
Preheat broiler.

Combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well with a fork. Rub mustard mixture evenly over each fillet. Place fillets, skin side down, on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Broil 8 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness.

I know some of you were asking about substituting  breads/wraps for lunch, especially when packing a lunch for work. If you are not going 100% Gluten Free (which is okay, as long as you are eating the right kinds of grains) As I mentioned before, this should be tailored and manageable for your life. Don’t make too drastic of changes unless you know you can plan on maintaining. It’s better to set realistic goals for the detox and be in it for the long haul, then to cut it short or give up.

Creamy Kale + Basil Sauce
Great on any dish. Try it on chicken, fish, quinoa/rice bowls. I even put it on sautéed spinach and eggs for breakfast.

Ingredients
4-5 kale leaves
1 small bunch basil
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 clove garlic
sea salt and pepper to taste
approx. 1/2 cup olive oil
optional: 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (great for vegetarian dishes and adds a cheesy flavor) 

Directions: Place all ingredients in a vitamix/food processor. Blend until well incorporated. Slowly drizzle in olive oil until creamy and well emulsified.

This is so flavorful and adds a nutritional punch to any of your favorite dishes. It’s full of vitamins, fiber, protein, anti-oxidants, and healthy fats.

The other night we made lettuce wraps with our left over salmon. We shredded the salmon on large Boston lettuce leaves, added avocado, cucumber, radishes, chives and fresh dill. Drizzled them with this sauce and it was so good!

salmonwraps

You can make the sauce in large batches and store in the fridge. (Mix well before using, you may also have to add a little more olive oil if consistency thickened).

I am posting my Vegan Cheesy Broccoli Casserole tomorrow, as well as a vegan Shamrock Shake we made this weekend, just in time for St. Patty’s Day (think spinach, fresh mint and vanilla bean, yum!)

21 Day Detox – who’s with me?

Tomorrow begins my 21 Day detox.

I am getting Spring fever and so over this snow (for those of us who have been blasted with seemingly endless snowstorms, you understand).  That tease of warm weather last weekend here in Philadelphia brought on that indescribable feeling  you get when you know nice weather is around the corner. I could feel it in the air, hear it in the chirping birds, see it in the tulips peaking through the thawing earth.

I decided that Sunday I was in a need of a pre-Spring cleanse. I want to feel as alive and vibrant as Spring, whenever it arrives.  If you are like me in the winter you tend to eat more comforting, heartier meals, while hibernating in your cozy home.

That little blast of warm weather was like a wake up call for me. I knew it was time to get my body and mind back in shape and to shed not only a few winter pounds, but to also shed those winter blues and revive my mind and spirit.

hello-sunshine

Nothing helps more with that than a good detox (mind, body, spirit) –  mindful eating, more rest, less social media, more journaling, less stressing, more juicing, less processed foods.

So tomorrow I begin my 21 day detox –  just in time for Spring and warm weather.

My detox goes as follows:

I will be eliminating completely : sugar, dairy, gluten, processed foods. 

My main source of nourishment will come from : vegetables (lots of dark leafy greens); grass-fed, organic lean meats; wild-caught fish (smaller the better- less mercury and toxins); healthy fats such as coconut oil, cold-pressed olive oil, nuts, seeds and avocado; grains such as quinoa, brown rice and millet.

I’ll be limiting fruits, caffeine (rarely drink it but occasional green tea is okay).
*If you are a coffee drinker limit to black coffee if you absolutely need.

Aside from the diet guidelines of the detox, I will also be cleansing my mind and building my spirit by adding/eliminating certain actions and activities. I will be off of social media (except for limited time for my nourish and nosh facebook page and blog). I will be limiting stress by adding more meditation, more yoga, morning and night time journaling (this is my all time favorite way to rid anxiety, organize thoughts, and relieve stress). I’ll also be taking epsom salt baths with lavender. The epsom salt pulls toxins from your skin, while the lavender helps to soothe any tension and stress (also good for insomnia and/or headaches).

memed

I will be digging deeper into my own spirituality and practice it with more devotion and discipline. I also would like to exercise more awareness in my words, thoughts, decisions and actions.

I am really looking forward to this and hope you’ll join me.  If 21 days seems too long, aim for 5-7. Any amount of cleansing time will help jump start your body into Spring mode and help to revive you mentally, physically and spiritually.

Please feel free to email me for recipes and different meals, snacks, smoothies and juices I will be making the next 21 days.  I look forward to hearing from you and to share this amazing journey I am about to embark on.

*Please begin whenever you are ready. Make sure to read these guidelines to prep your body for a cleanse. If you heavily rely on foods that contain dairy or gluten, you may tailor this cleanse to your specific needs. I know what my body can handle and I limit gluten, dairy and sugar on a daily basis, so it will not be such a drastic change for me. It is important you ween yourself into any change in diet by going slow. Contact me with any questions.

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 4… did somebody say chocolate?

Yum. Today’s smoothie is packed with a ton of health benefits and anti-oxidants from the mix of berries and raw cacao powder. Cranberries are highlighted in this smoothie, not only are they in season and deliciously tart, they contain loads of detoxifying properties!

Super Antioxidant Berry and Cacao Smoothie

3/4 cup mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries, cherries and raspberries)
1/4 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup almond milk, unsweetened (or your choice of non-dairy milk)
1/4 avocado, optional (I included to add more protein and healthy fat, also helps to keep you fuller, longer)
1 slice green apple, optional
1/2 cup filtered water
1 Tbs raw, organic cacao powder (or more to taste)

Image
Health Benefits

Cranberries – they contain one of the highest count of antioxidants of all berries. They also contain high amounts of fiber and phytonutrients. These phytonutrients give cranberries their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties, In fact, cranberries have been shown to provide crucial anti-inflammatory benefits for the cardiovascular system and for many parts of the digestive tract (including the mouth and gums, stomach, and colon). Cranberries help to balance out the good and bad bacteria in our stomach and are proven to reduce the risk of urinary track infections (because they contain proanthocyanidins (PACs), which fight certain ‘bad’ bacteria, including E.coli). They help to keep the kidney functioning well and flush out unwanted waste and bacteria.

Raw Cacao Powder – (another superfood!) is high in magnesium and iron content, and contains other essential minerals such as calcium, sulfur, zinc, copper, potassium, and manganese. It is loaded with antioxidants, protecting and neutralizing against free radicals and contains heart-healthy fat  oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat.  Cacao improves digestion, stimulating the body’s production of digestive enzymes, helping with elimination (essential for a detox).
Certain components of cacao powder help to stimulate the central nervous system and dilate blood vessels, causing you to experience elevated energy boosts. Also, certain chemicals, referred to as “bliss” chemicals,  improve circulation, increasing the amount of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, which helps to improve mood and fight depression.

Berries  – in general berries contain the highest amount of antioxidants of fruits. Specifically blueberries and cranberries.   They contain anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties, as well cancer fighting components. They also contain high amounts of Vitamin C and fiber, which as we know is great for eliminating during a detox. The high fiber and other components of berries help cardiovascular health and decrease the LDL levels of cholesterol.

You can find the health benefits of apples and avocados from our Day 1 smoothie recipe this week.

Who knew raw cacao and the taste of chocolaty goodness had so many amazing health benefits. Add it to smoothies and desserts for the added health benefits and decadent taste.

Enjoy!

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!