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Monthly Archives

April 2013

Amazing Benefits of Castor Oil

We’ve previously talked about the ability of castor oil to aid in hair growth, but what are some other amazing benefits of castor oil? Read on…

1) Castor oil is great for the skin. It is easily absorbed which makes is a great Benefits of Castor Oilmoisturizer and if often added to skin care and cosmetic products.

2) Can fade scars with regular application and can help prevent the formation of new scars when applied to cuts and scrapes, for example. It is also great for wrinkles, stretch marks, and dark under eye circles.

3) Has antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-fungal properties. Can heal cystic acne and even scored low on the comedogenic scale so it isn’t extremely pore clogging.

4) Can increase lymphocyte production, detox the organs, and relieve constipation. See here.

5) Castor oil has also been shown to reduce inflammation and aid relieve arthritis symptoms.

>> Opt for cold pressed castor oil, as this process of extracting the castor oil preserves the benefits from the oil’s phytonutrients.

 

 

Click here to purchase your bottle of castor oil!

*Be sure to use castor oil in moderation and do a patch test on your skin to assure you do not have an allergy. May cause abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and skin irritation. Always consult your physician before incorporating a new treatment into your lifestyle, particularly if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have an existing condition, or illness.

– Letisha

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Bentonite Clay Face Mask

My go-to detox mask has always been the all powerful bentonite clay mask. It’s one of the only masks I use that is somewhat uncomfortable to wear but it’s extraordinary  benefits definitely outweigh any tightness or redness.

bentonite clay acv

I usually whip up a batch when my skin is feeling particularly oily and just plain UGH. Immediately after washing the mask off I notice tighter, brighter, and oil free skin. The mask gets super tight when drying  but the resulting redness eventually subsides and I’m left with soft, glowing skin!

Bentonite Clay’s *Magical* Capabilities:

  • Draws out impurities and toxins from the skin
  • Exfoliates dead skin cells and remove flaky dry skin
  • Repairs damage skin tissue and encourage skin wounds to heal faster
  • Encourages blood flow to the skin
  • Tones and tightens face
  • Absorbs excess oil from the skin

To whip up a batch I mix a few spoonfuls of the bentonite clay with apple cider vinegar. I never measure; just mix enough of each until you have a yogurt like consistency.
bentonite claybentonite clay
I leave the mask on for a few hours or just until it is dry. I find that the best way to remove the mask is to apply a warm face cloth to my face for few minutes. Then, I use the face cloth to gently wipe away the clay.
maskPeace, Love, & Coconuts!

– Zeena

Detox Your Taste Buds!

When it comes to eating clean and healthy, a major deterrent is giving up our favorite unhealthy/junk foods.

A diet made up of processed, chemical-filled, sodium-rich, & sugar-loaded foods has berliner-17811_640desensitized our taste buds, making the foods that are healthier for us seems bland and unappealing. A piece of fruit which is naturally sweet, suddenly doesn’t taste so sweet because your taste buds grow accustomed to the extremely sweet “not-so-good for you” foods.

Once you detox your taste buds, you’ll notice that foods taste differently, more vibrant, and you’ll even find the foods that are overly salty or sweet to be somewhat unbearable.

For myself, even a very small amount of sodium tastes very salty to me. Same goes for crisps-71157_640sweet foods. On the rare occasion I happen to eat processed and/or chemical-filled foods, I can immediately taste the unnatural substances in the food. YUCK! Usually, I can’t even bring myself to swallow the food and will spit it out. (I don’t even chew gum anymore.)

You will also notice that as you eliminate these processed and unhealthy foods from your diet, you will crave them less and less, to the point where you don’t crave them any longer. That is the goal, isn’t it?? Simultaneously, you will find that fruits and vegetables taste sweeter and more appealing! It’s like you are eating an apple for the first time. I bet you will begin to enjoy and even crave vegetables, some of whichapple-17092_640 you used to hate, trust me! It’s like your taste buds are waking up after a long slumber.

It can take approximately two weeks to notice a change, but this time frame can vary from person to person.

What do you think? Are you up to the  clean eating challenge?

We’d love to hear your thoughts!

– Letisha

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How to Control Your Post-Workout Appetite!

Has this happened to? You have a great workout and soond after you finish, your appetite turns into a raging monster with a mind of its own! I can tell you that I am no stranger to this. Women more so than men in fact, tend to have a much larger increase in their appetite post-workout.

So what should you do to control your appetite so that you don’t completely undo your workout session by eating more calories than you should?

Here are a few tips that should keep you on track:

1. If your last meal is several HOURS before your workout, Be sure to have a light snack an hour or so before you workout. If you happened to have a heavy meal, you should be fine without a snack

2. Stay hydrated throughout your day so you have enough energy to last through your workout. It is better to have enough energy to get you through your workout so you can maximize your calorie burn or strength training as opposed to going into a workout with little energy and putting in only half of the effort. Half the effort means a LESS effective workout.

3. Properly hydrate after your workout. Stick to water if you’re workout doesn’t last longer than an hour or so and avoid sugary sports drinks. They are empty calories and won’t keep you full/satisfied and you will end up hungry not long after. People often confuse hunger pains with signals of dehydration. Be sure to drink 8oz of water before baked-fish-80083_640you eat if you are unsure if you are truly hungry. If after 15 minutes your hunger pains come back, then you should go ahead and eat something.

4. Don’t wait too long after a workout to refuel. Waiting will only send your appetite into overdrive and you are MUCH more likely to overeat, especially foods that are high in fat and calories.

5. After your workout, when you are refueling, only consume about HALF of the calories you burned. This is more so for anyone who is trying to lose or maintain weight. If you are tying to bulk up/gain muscle mass, I would not recommend this.

6. If you workout for 60 minutes or less, consume only water during your workout. If you are doing an intense workout that lasts longer than an hour, you should probably have a sports drink handy so that the carbs in the sports drink can replenish you depleted glycogen stores.

7. GET MORE SLEEP! Aim for around 8 hours, no less than 7 to keep your appetite at bay.

8. For you post workout meal, consume protein and carbohydrates to replenish your energy stores as well as provide you body with the protein needed to repair your muscles. You should consume little to no fat and aim to consume your post workout meal 30 – 60 minutes after your workout.

What do you do to control your post-workout appetite?

– Letisha

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DIY Fixes for Yellowed & Stained Nails

One of the pitfalls to polishing your nails is the dreadful yellow staining. DUN DUN DUN… But, have no fear! Removing and preventing your nails from staining is super easy and cheap!

nail stains

Here are some fantastic options:

1) Lemon Juice

Soak your nails in lemon juice! Add warm water to a bowl and squirt in some fresh lemon juice. You can dilute the lemon juice with the water or you can just soak your nails in the lemon juice! I typically soak for about 5-10 minutes depending on how distracted I get.

lemon soak

But wait!! Don’t throw away that lemon squeeze! After the soak I rub the lemon squeeze over my nails for added stain removing benefits! Don’t be discouraged if you only see a small difference! Feel free to repeat if your nails are heavily stained.

2) White Vinegar

Another option is using white vinegar as your soak. You may need to wash your hands or feet a few times to get rid of the vinegar smell, but it will fade eventually! I mix equal parts warm water and vinegar and soak for about 10 minutes.

3) Baking Soda

I absolutely love using baking soda as a stain remover. Baking soda removes stains and exfoliates your cuticles! To make the paste, I mix enough water and baking to create a  paste. The mixture can be any consistency. We just need the water to help the baking soda stick to the nails. I let the paste sit on my nails for about 10 minutes (enough time for a cat-nap??) then rinse with warm water.

baking soda-001

4) Nail Buff

This method goes great coupled with one of the above soaks. After I finish soaking my nails in lemon juice, I buff (ever-so-gently) the top layer of my nail. This helps remove a small amount of the stained area. Be careful not to buff too hard or too long! Doing so will make your nails thin and brittle.

nail buff

5) Base Coat

When I don’t use a base coat I feel like a criminal! I love dark polishes so I always make sure I have a good base coat to act as a shield against staining. My favorite is Sally Hansen Triple Strong Advanced Gel Nail Fortifier. After 2 coats, my nails feel stronger and are not yellowed by the time I remove my polish a week later!

6) Go Bare

Going without nail polish for a few days allows the stains to fade naturally. Give your nails a week or so to be natural or try just using a good clear coat. My favorite clear coat is Seche Natural Matte Nail Treatment.

seche-001

This polish is only slightly matte and leaves a really nice natural finish. Plus, it has protein to strengthen nails! I prefer to use this polish only when I am not adding any color on top because it may not be heavy enough to protect against staining.

nails before and after

Here are my nails before and after using the lemon juice, baking soda, and applying a the Seche clear coat. I soaked my nails in lemon juice then applied the baking soda. I applied the clear coat after letting my bare nails breathe for 2 full days. 🙂

*If these methods do not work for you, please consult your doctor because nail yellowing may signify another medical issue.

What do you guys do to remove and prevent nail stains? Have any favorite products?

Peace, Love & Coconuts

– Zeena

My Top 5 Sources of Protein for Vegetarians!

A healthy diet is so important to living a healthy life. One way that many people (including myself) have developed healthier eating habits is by becoming a vegetarian. Now, I know being a vegetarian doesn’t = healthy diet. Many vegetarians eat junk food like many others would, because technically “it doesn’t contain meat” (that can be up for debate at times).  Another aspect of vegetarianism that is brought to light is the issue of protein sources. To some experienced vegetarians or vegans this may be a no brainer, but to others that are new, it can be a little challenging finding those key protein sources (currently I am eating eggs, until I can fully replace them with other sources).

My top 5 favorite vegan sources for protein are:

1. Nuts (these bad boys also contain healthy fats, antioxidants, and many nuts-96232_640other crucial vitamins)

2.  Beans (Many beans contain additional fiber and iron)

3. Almond or Soy Milk (dairy free milk can be an easy way to sneak protein into your diet via coffee, smoothies, cereal, whatever!)

4. Chickpeas (This ingredient is so versatile and tasty)broccoli-5736_640

5. Veggies! (Contrary to popular belief some veggies like mushrooms, lettuce, broccoli, and corn do contain some protein…and every gram counts!)

What are your favorite sources of protein? And how do you prepare them?

Let us know! Comment below or visit our Facebook page!

Peace, Love, and Coconuts.

– Nalani

DIY: Apple Cider Vinegar Toner

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is an amazing thing. With so many uses for this product, both internally, externally, and in our homes, it’s obvious why we love ACV. You can learn more about Apple Cider Vinegar by clicking here.

One way to use ACV is for your skin! ACV has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties. Therefore, it makes it great for helping to keep you skin clear and healthy.

As I have mentioned in previous posts regarding my sensitive and acne prone skin, I use ACV has an acne treatment, skin detoxifier, and inflammation reducer.

How to use it?

Simply use ACV as a toner. That’s it! A toner is simply a solution (generally in liquid form) that is meant remove excess dirt and bacteria and benefit skin (depending on skin issue). For example for a person with red, irritated skin might want to use a toner (alcohol free) that contains chamomile and rose water to calm the complexion. My recipe ACV toner is super simple!

photo-33

Apple Cider Vinegar Toner

  • ¼ cup distilled water
  • ¼ cup organic unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar

Simply combine the water and apple cider vinegar and put into any small bottle. Apply toner to cotton ball and wipe over entire face (except lips, and don’t get too close to eyes.)

I like to put mine into a mini spray bottle that I got from the drugstore, so I can spray onto a cotton pad or directly to my face and back. I only apply this toner at night because you will smell slightly like vinegar, so it may be best to just stay home when you apply.

ACV has helped so much with breakouts, and made my pores smaller, while giving my complexion an overall cleaner appearance.

It is also worthy to note that I find much better results using the unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar. Many medicinal properties of ACV can be reduced or destroyed by processing (i.e. becoming white vinegar or clear brown apple cider vinegar.) Be sure to look for a bottle that says “unpasteurized” and refrigerate if necessary.

– Nalani

How I Got Control of My Eczema!

I was born with eczema and while many people outgrow this disease by the time they reach their teenage years, about 3% of the population continue to suffer from this skin condition throughout adulthood. My mother would tell me stories of how severe my rashes actually got when I was younger, however, thankfully at 25, my eczema is under control.

I still have scarring on my wrists from how badly I scratched my skin, but no rashes at all! My eczema flare ups got pretty bad a few years ago affecting mainly the back of knees, wrists, the upper-back of my thighs, and the skin between my thumb and index finger. Pretty randomly spread across my body but I narrowed it down to any spots that either can sweat easily or don’t get a lot of air flow. I of course have a prescribed topical cream for my eczema but it contains a steroid and I don’t feel comfortable using this regularly. I would rather treat my eczema using natural methods, and while it took some experimenting, I eventually figured out what worked for me!

So how did I get my eczema under control without chemicals or steroids??

With these simple steps…photo-32

  • Nordic Naturals Omega 3 Fish Oil supplements twice daily (this played a HUGE role in helping my eczema) – If you suffer from eczema and don’t already take an omega 3 supplement, I would start.
  • At least 8 glasses of water daily
  • Working out in loose fitting shorts to promote air flow
  • Ice packs on my rashes or easily irritated areas after sweaty summer workouts
  • Limiting sugar and dairy intake
  • Showering immediately after I workout
  • No thick lotions or oils because my skin can’t breathe (heavy creams always make me itchy!)
  • Avoiding lotions that are too watered down (Despite the fact that my skin hates thick creams, it still needs to stay hydrated because dry skin will become itchy)
  • Reducing stress in my life (stress worsens the problem and drives me to scratch!)
  • Resisting the urge to scratch (I’ll admit this is the one I have the hardest time with..)

Do you suffer from eczema?

What do you do to combat it?

– Letisha

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Coffee Face Mask

coffee face mask

It’s official. I have a new, favorite face mask! While making coffee, I decided to make use of the coffee grounds that we typically trash after making a fresh brew. When applied topically, caffeinated coffee has so many amazing health benefits for our skin.

Some of the incredible benefits of topical application of caffeinated coffee to skin:

  • UV Protection from sun rays that may cause skin cancer
  • Full of antioxidants that fight the free radicals in skin cells
  • Works as a vasoconstrictor (constricts blood cells) which firms and tightens complexion
  • Diminish dark under eye circles, reduces blood buildup under eyes
  • Reduces redness/inflammation of skin
  • Exfoliate dead skin cells
  • Anti-aging properties
  • Tightens fines lines (may reduce appearance of cellulite) by moving fluid out of cells
  • Anti-carcinogenic benefits

To make this amazing coffee face mask you’ll need 3 simple ingredients:

-Coffee
-Milk
-Honey

Mix the coffee grounds, milk, and honey until a thick paste forms. I didn’t exactly measure the ingredients but added enough of each until it reached the desired consistency. Apply the coffee paste to a freshly washed face and allow to sit for however long you desire (20 minutes or so should be enough time). I left mine on for about 2 hours (I am easily distracted, plus I forgot I had the mask on!). Then, simply rinse the mask off with cool water and pat skin dry. The mask rinses off very easily and does not leave any brown discoloration, but you may smell a bit like coffee!

I loved the results I had with this mask. My skin instantly looked and felt refreshed and calm.  I did not experience any irritation whatsoever. I can’t wait to add this mask to my weekly routine!

Peace, Love & Coconuts (& Coffee)

-Zeena


hibiscus cleansing grains

Favorite Ingredient Friday: Apple Cider Vinegar!

A new month means a new favorite for Favorite Ingredient Fridays. For the month of April, our favorite ingredient is..

Apple Cider Vinegar!

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been used for thousands of years and primarily for its apple cider vinegarmedicinal properties and as a condiment for food. In many regions in the United States and around the world ACV is being reintroduced to populations and praised as an all-in-one health promoter.

What is Apple Cider Vinegar?

This great ingredient is made from exactly what you think…apple cider. Apples are crushed and strained to produce a cider which is then fermented. The result is a health beneficial acidic product.

Why is Apple Cider Vinegar so great?

There are many reasons!

First, ACV possess anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties. This is why for thousands of years it has been used for preventing or treating illness such as the common cold to more severe ailments such as cancer.

Many of the benefits of ACV are believed to stem from its ability to balance the body’s pH. When in the body, the vinegar produces malic acid and acetic acid which makes the body become alkaline (pH level 7.35 to 7.45). It is good to have your body be in this alkaline range because if it is too acidic or basic then it can lead to a variety of health issues such as formation of kidney stones (this also depends on the foods you consume and your lifestyle).

The second reason that ACV is so great is that it can be used so many different ways in order to treat a number of health ailments and provide health benefits. Vinegar has been used for:apple-5764_640

  • Personal Care:
    • Acne treatment
    • Weight Loss
    • Dandruff relief
    • Immune system booster
    • Allergy relief
    • Acid Reflux
    • Detoxifier
    • Inflammation reduction
    • Whiter teeth
  • Home Care:
    • Bathtubs
    • Toilets
    • Floors
    • Laundry

Here are some other great resources for Apple Cider Vinegar…

Check back every Friday this month to learn about our favorite ways to use this natural magical ingredient!

– Nalani