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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The importance of anti-inflammatory foods

Recently I’ve had a lot of client and readers ask questions about inflammation and what are the most anti-inflammatory foods they should be consuming, as well as those foods to avoid.

Trying to keep it in the most simple terms as possible, below is the main difference between acute and chronic inflammation.  I have also included a list of foods to totally avoid, as well as those you should be consuming daily. It’s so important to include foods these foods that promote the anti-inflammation to avoid illness, fatigue, chronic pain and more.

Acute Inflammation

Acute inflammation is a natural defense mechanism that is initiated when body tissue is damaged.  Typically, inflammation is a healthy immune response to injury, illness, or infection. “Healthy” inflammation carries isolates, identifies and removes bad bacteria and cells. The inflammatory response prevents the spread of damaging agents to nearby tissues, disposes of cell debris, and sets the stage for the repair process. It is crucial for our bodies in recovery and healing to experience acute inflammation to encourage recovery, as well as to protect surrounding healthy cells and tissue. The redness, swelling, and pain are all signs of healthy inflammation when our bodies are recovering.

Chronic Inflammation

After the healing process has come to an end, the inflammation response should too. However, in many cases inflammation continues, whether it was brought on from trauma or was present before any healing process has even begun. Chronic inflammation is when our body is unable to turn off the inflammatory response and starts to attack the surrounding healthy tissue. It can manifest in your gut, destroying stomach lining and causing digestive issues, may attack arteries causing heart disease, or in your joints, resulting in arthritis. Many of us experience chronic inflammation, whether we are aware of it or not. Chronic inflammation in our system is caused from poor diet, high stress, and an imbalance of Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio. Chronic inflammation is the number one factor for numerous health issues and is the culprit for most illness and disease such as cancer, joint disease, autoimmune disease, and heart disease.

As you can see, it is crucial to keep inflammation under control. Be sure to eat an anti-inflammatory diet, get adequate rest, and aim to reduce stress in all areas of your life.  It is also a good idea to eliminate pro-inflammatory foods such as sugar, refined grains, alcohol, processed foods, among others. Also, lifestyle suggestions that will help reduce inflammation and boost the immune system are meditation, yoga, exercise, any stress reducing activities, acupuncture, and massage.    TopAntiInflammatoryFoods

  Top Anti-inflammatory Foods

Ginger

Turmeric

Garlic Leafy Greens (spinach)

Beets

Fatty Fish (wild caught Alaskan Salmon, Sardines, Black Cod)

Healthy Fats (Avocados, extra virgin olive oil, expeller pressed coconut oil, nut: walnuts, hemp seeds, flax seed/oil)

Berries and Lemons

                           Pro- inflammatory Foods/Additives to Avoid

Processed Foods

Refined Grains (white bread and pasta Sugar Feed-lot raised meat (fed soy, corn and processed grains) Dairy (limit)
Alcohol Gluten Trans Fats

Omega 6 Fatty Acids (found in low quality oils used in most packaged foods)

MSG

 

 

          List of Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Alfalfa Alfalfa Sprouts Almonds Artichoke Avocado Barley Grass Basil Bee Pollen Beef-grass fed, organic Beets
Boy Choy Boston Lettuce Brussels Sprouts Buckwheat Cabbage Carrots Cauliflower Cayenne Pepper Celery Chard
Cherries Chives Cilantro Cinnamon Cucumber Cumin seed Eggplant Endive Fennel Seed Figs
Garlic Ginger Horseradish Root Jicama Kale Kamut Lemons Lentils Leeks Limes
Mushrooms Mustard Greens Navy Beans Onion Oregano Onion Oregano Parsnips Peas Pecans
Pumpkin Radishes Rutabaga Salmon-wild caught Sardines Sea Vegetables Seaweed Sesame Seeds Spelt Spinach
Sprouted Seeds Squash Sweet Potato Tomatoes Turmeric Turnips Walnuts Wheat Grass Yams

 

 

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!

My Cure All : Ginger, Lemon + Turmeric Elixir

It seems like no matter what you do it is  inevitable to avoid coming down with some kind of cold or flu right now.  ‘Tis the season, right?  Don’t worry! I am here to help with this amazing cure-all Ginger, Lemon + Turmeric elixir.

Whether it’s a debilitating flu, a mild cold, or a pesky cough that you can’t seem to kick – this easy homemade elixir will have you feeling better in no time. It is super easy to make, actually tastes really good, and drastically helps with congestion and inflammation. Aside from its cold and flu curing properties, each ingredient contains amazing health benefits. This is also a great drink for anyone who experiences congested sinuses or chronic sinus problems.

“Turmeric contains curcumin, which is hailed for its antioxidant properties, antibacterial properties, stimulates our adrenal glands and has even been found to actually help rebuild the immune system. Ginger, its cousin and the other half of this power couple has been shown to reduce inflammation and be a powerful decongestant. The powers of these herbs are only enhanced when combined with a spice like cayenne or black pepper. -Turmeric Life”

Ginger, Lemon + Turmeric Elixir

Ingredientslemon-ginger-tea
2 inches fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp turmeric powder, or 2 tsp fresh grated
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper powder
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbs Raw Honey or Manuka Honey
1 liter water

Procedure
Boil water, add all ingredients and mix well. May garnish with parsley or basil leaves.

Additional Health Benefits

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.

Lemons 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.

Cayenne has many health benefits. It contains anti-inflammatory, anti-allergen and anti-fungal properties. Cayenne is a great anti-flu and anti-cold agent as well, as it breaks down mucus and flushes from the body. It increases circulation, speeds metabolism, helps digestion, and significantly aids in digestion.

Raw Honey contains many vitamins and nutrients, including B vitamins and Vitamin C. It also contains vitamins such as sodium chlorine,magnesiumcalcium,potassium, calcium, copper, iron, manganese, zinc and phosphate. It is soothing to the throat and also contains anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties.  Honey is a great source of anti-oxidants, supports healthy bacteria in the gut, and provides a natural energy boost (much needed when you are recovering from being sick!). 

Make this today and I promise you will experience a notably faster recovery. I sip it warm throughout the day, or have a big mug of it at night after dinner.  Even when I am not sick, I like to drink it to maintain a healthy immune system and gain all of the health benefits it has to offer.

Drink up!

Preparing for a cleanse

It is just as important to properly prepare your body for a cleanse, as it is for the cleansing process itself.   In order to avoid or reduce some of the not-so-pleasant side effects and to ease your body into a natural cleanse, follow some of the steps below.

There are some practices you want to introduce to your daily routine a few days before you begin a detox. In addition, there are foods to start eliminating in order to tremendously enhance the overall cleanse.

First, you want to start your mornings with a warm glass of water with freshly squeezed lemon. This simple practice is very powerful. The citric acid from the lemon juice helps to get the enzymes functioning, stimulating the liver, which helps the detoxifying process. It is also helps to restore hydration, while flushing out the kidneys.  Lemons also contain Vitamin C, which helps to boost the immune system.

lemon_detox_diet_187s21k-187s2cv

I know this may be hard, but because we are going to be nixing the caffeine next week, try to ween yourself off of it this weekend. Instead enjoy a cup of herbal tea in the morning or have some fresh green juice or smoothie. You will be surprised at the amount of energy you gain from the nutrients from the juice, which are instantly absorbed into the blood stream. You may not even miss that cup of coffee when you experience the natural and steady energy all morning long. Not to mention your mood will be more stable and you won’t experience that “crash” you tend to get when the effects of caffeine wear off.

You also want to try and abstain from alcohol this weekend, as well as processed foods, meat, and sugar. If these take up a large percentage of your weekend habits and/or indulgences, try to tremendously cut back this weekend. It will make the process much smoother next week and you won’t be going cold turkey right away. This way, your body won’t be too shocked come Monday.

Aside from the diet adjustments, you want to prepare yourself mentally. Get as much relaxation you can this weekend, with moderate exercise and adequate amounts of sleep. Think about what else you want to achieve from this cleanse. Maybe journal or write down your thoughts to clean out your mind.  Sometimes just writing your thoughts on paper helps restore mindfulness, allowing space for positivity and clarity.

The third way to prepare for your cleanse is by organizing and planning your week. Get rid of all the junk in your pantry and fridge – making room for the good stuff.  Think of this as your kitchen cleanse! This way you won’t be tempted next week to only have one cookie or chip… we all know what that can lead to.

Stock up for your cleanse with whole foods, mainly only shopping the perimeter of the grocery store or by going to your local farmers market. Fill your bags with fresh produce (loads of veggies and greens), raw nuts (except peanuts), unsweetened rice or almond milk, cold pressed oils (think coconut, olive and sesame), herbal teas, plant-based protein powders,  and whatever else you wish that is on our approved list or that you will be incorporating in our cleanse. Plan out your meals throughout the week and have healthy snacks on hand.  I’ll be posting yummy and easy recipe ideas next week, so check back!

Lastly, don’t stress over preparing yourself or for the actual detox. The idea is to feel good, practice mindfulness, restore balance, and build your immune system.

Don’t forget to sign up at Nava Yoga Center! Joining a group detox will not only keep you motivated and committed, it will also provide you with the support and guidance from your peers and mentors.

Enjoy your weekend and get ready to soon be looking and feeling radiant!