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.

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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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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.

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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).

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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.

Happy Re-New Week at Vincera Institute! Repair and restore with me…

Happy New Year friends!  I hope everyone is doing great and enjoyed the holidays. You may have heard Vincera Institute’s team has come together for Re-New Week through January 13-17.

If you are like a majority of us, the overindulgence of the holidays has left you dragging. You may be feeling bloated, tired, irritable, you may even be experiencing indigestion and digestive disruption.

The Happy Re-new Year cleanse will focus on restoring healthy gut flora and balancing pH levels to help rid these discomforts. Our digestive systems are often disrupted during the holidays from all of the over-indulging in rich food, alcohol, and even from being off of our normal routine. Thus we create an acidic environment, which more than likely has an overgrowth of ‘bad’ bacteria. When there is not enough of the good bacteria unpleasant symptoms and health issues occur  such as constipation, bloat, excess belly fat, moodiness, hormonal imbalances, candida, allergies, and many more.

I will be creating  fresh smoothies/juices daily that will contain healthy probiotics and supplements such as L-Glutamine to repair and regulate your digestive system, restoring the good bacteria needed to heal. They will help with bloat, acidity, inflammation, constipation, and the rebuilding a healthy flora. We will work together on creating an environment that will promote healthy digestion and overall health.

I’ll be giving daily tips and suggestions on supplements and foods to incorporate to maintain a healthy gut and pH levels.

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We will also focus on balancing  pH levels by introducing more alkalizing foods and supplements.  I will guide you in neutralizing the highly acidic environment caused from rich foods, sugars, alcohol consumption, stress, and/or simply from going off of your daily eating rituals during the hectic holiday season.

Many people underestimate the importance of a healthy digestive system and stomach flora. Not only is it crucial for nutrient absorption and proper waste elimination, but did you know that 80% of your immune system is located in your gut?  It is only when we have healthy digestion that we can experience optimal health and vitality, physically and mentally.

Vincera has amazing offers and events going on, from yoga to acupuncture to massage therapy. Learn more details here.

Join me for a week of restorative smoothies and guidance for a healthy gut and digestive system. Get that belly back in shape, gain energy, and nix those mood swings and irritability.

Details: $45 a person. 1 restorative smoothie a day for 5 days. Sign up via email or in person at The Galley.  Please let me know in advance if you will be picking up smoothie in am/pm.

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.

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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!