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Monthly Archives

May 2013

Favorite Ingredient Friday: Simple Kale Mask

Kale is like the goddess of green leafy vegetables when it comes to important vitamins and minerals our body needs to stay healthy and function properly. It is SO good for us! But what about the possible benefits that come from applying this wondrous plant directly onto our face?

simple kale mask

Kale is full of vitamins A and K both of which are beneficial for the skin. Vitamin A reduces wrinkles and helps the skin repair itself, while Vitamin K helps with dark circles. Kale is also full of lutein, a carotenoid, which helps improve skin elasticity and hydrate the skin. Kale is a great way to tighten the skin, treat acne, and leave you with a glowing, radiant complexion!

After reading those benefits, why not try a skin-illuminating kale mask??

To make this SIMPLE mask, you’ll need:

  • 1 Cup Chopped Fresh Kale
  • 2 TBSP Honey
  • ½ Cup Water

Remove the stem from the kale and chop leaves into small pieces, about the size of a quarter.

In a medium size bowl, add the honey and water to the kale pieces. Using a hand blender or a Magic Bullet (or some mechanism to grind the kale pieces) blend the three ingredients until well mixed. The kale is tough to grind so don’t be discouraged if you don’t have a thick, creamy mask (that’s not the goal!)

step one

Once you start to see the green liquid, strain the remaining kale pieces and collect the juice in a separate bowl.

step two

final product

Apply the VERY watery mask to a freshly washed and dried face. Leave the kale mask on for about 5 or 10 minutes, just long enough for it to dry. Once dry, simply rinse your face with cool water!

*You may have a bit of mask leftover so you can refrigerate the rest for up to 1 week! Feel free to do this mask 1 or 2 times per week.

Peace, love & coconuts!

-Zeena

9 Tips for Staying fit During Summer

We all know the delicious comfort foods served at barbecues, the slush and ice cream on hot days, the yummy summer cocktails, and countless desserts celebrating summer events can have an effect on our waistlines. There are some key things we can do to enjoy summer and all it has to offer, while staying fit and healthy! Summer is a great season to enjoy so I want to show you how to do it the right way. I am a firm believer in making good choices, but no one says you can’t enjoy yourself. It’s all about how you enjoy yourself. Read on for my secret to staying fit during summer.

9 Tips for Staying Fit During Summer

1. Portion Control

It’s easy to overload your plate at cookouts. Pick up a smaller sized plate. You won’t be able to pile on as much that way.

2. Eat a Colorful Plate

At cookouts or any mealtime for that matter, choose lots of fresh fruits and veggies. You will get fuller, faster and are more likely to forgo seconds.

3. Fruits & Veggies Come First

At mealtime, eat your fruits and veggies first, this way, you will start getting full from the fiber/water content and will ideally eat less of everything else on your plate. You can also try drinking a glass of water before your meal to help curb your appetite.

4. Watch the Condiments

The calories in condiments such as BBQ sauce, mayo, and ketchup can add up quickly — use them sparingly!

5. Limit Alcohol Intake

For the most part, alcoholic beverages just add empty calories, not to mention, too much alcohol is hard on your body and can sabotage your health/fitness goals. Enjoy a drink or two, but don’t go crazy

6. Drink More Water

Staying hydrated, especially during hot, sunny days is so important. Dehydration often causes us to overeat because your brain can’t tell the difference between thirst and hunger (fun fact!).

7. Move Your Body

Outdoor activities including swimming, sports, running, roller blading, skateboarding,  hiking, and bike riding are all perfect ways to enjoy the weather and squeeze in a great workout to keep fit during summer.

8. Careful with the sweets!

It’s fine to occasionally indulge in a summer treat like slush, ice cream, or other sweets, but always get the smallest size possible. Watch the toppings and don’t treat yourself every day. Once in a while is fine, but if you are craving something sweet, opt for fresh fruit. Chilled pineapple, watermelon, and other fresh fruits are refreshing and satisfying. Try retraining yourself to crave these instead of processed treats by detoxing your taste buds.

9. Wear Sunscreen

Protect yourself from the suns harmful rays and lather up!

What do you do to stay fit and healthy during summer?

– Letisha

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Natural Deodorant for Your Pits!

Switching over to all-natural deodorant is not a pretty process…(it’s smelly!). It takes some time for your body to get used to not using the powerful chemicals on your pits to aborb wetness and odors (trust me..its takes TIME). But after you find one that works, you won’t regret it, it feels great!

If you are looking for all-natural deodorant definitely experiment! My sisters and I all prefer different ones. Some have left me with dry skin, while others have not had ANY odor protection (had to learn that the hard way).

I have tried lots and lots of natural deos and my favorite by far is Adama Minerals Clay Dry Deodorant. This deodorant uses clay minerals and essential oils to absorb perspiration and odor and is aluminum & propylene glycol free. It is long-lasting and has a lovely fresh fragrance. My pits aren’t smelly or wet by the end of the day (woo!). The only downside is that it costs about $8 and you probably won’t smell like peaches after a good workout but who does, anyway??

photo-24

Have any of you lovely followers experimented with a natural deo? Comment below!

Peace, love & coconuts!

-Zeena

6 Steps for Glowing, Summer Ready Skin

Summer is only about a month away but we still have plenty of time to get our skin glowing, smooth and summer ready. Check out our 6 steps to getting your skin ready for this summer:

beach-84560_640

Exfoliate

Exfoliating about 1 or 2 times a week is wonderful for removing dead skin cells that can build up on your skin throughout the week. Exfoliating is especially important during the colder seasons like winter and spring because of the drying effect the weather has on our face and body. Exfoliating is also great for clogged pores, flaky skin, dark marks, and scars. You can exfoliate with “chemical” exfoliants (like Alpha Hydroxy Acid) or by using a “physical” exfoliant that contains small beads. Stay away from exfoliators like St. Ives Apricot Scrub as it is too abrasive and actually causes microscopic tears in the skin. My favorite “chemical” exfoliant is an overnight peel called Derma E Evenly Radiant Overnight Peel. This 1X per week peel works its magic overnight and leaves your face baby soft in the morning! When I feel like I need a good scrub during other days, I always stick with my trusty Nelsons Pure & Clear Apricot Seed Exfoliating Wash (the NATURAL/SAFE version of the St. Ives Apricot Scrub).

Hands Off:

Unless your hands are clean, don’t touch your face. Our hands are constantly in contact with surfaces that are ridden with bacteria and germs. Imagine how much bacteria you are spreading on to your precious face after touching a keyboard, riding the train, or holding your cell phone. Try to avoid touching or picking at your skin, let it do its own thing!

Hydrate:

Drink water! Staying hydrated is one of the most important tips for keeping your skin smooth and glowing. I try to get down at least 2 liters (only four 500ml Poland Spring water bottles) a day to keep my body fully hydrated. I notice that when I am strict with my water regimen, my skin is clearer, brighter, smoother and more supple. Staying hydrated is super important because it not only improves your mental/physical performance but aids in the removal of toxins from your body (this is especially important with all of the environmental pollution!). As the weather starts to get warmer I am going to up my water intake to accommodate for any water loss through perspiration. To add more water to your diet try having a bottle of water instead of juice or soda at lunch and dinner. Start small and build up from there.

Cleanse:

Everyone knows to not go to bed with out washing their face but sometimes this can be easily forgotten. My sisters and I joke that no matter how tired we are we will ALWAYS get up to wash our face. After a long day, your face has accumulated a tremendous amount of bacteria and dirt that you don’t want to collect on your precious pillows!! Make sure you wash your face when you first wake up and before going to bed!

Moisturize:

One of the most important steps in keeping your skin glowing and smooth is the moisturizer you use. I always know if I forget to put on a moisturizer because my skin gets dry and my face gets super tight. From these effects alone you can only imagine the long-term effects that come from RARELY using a good moisturizer. In the morning, I prefer to use a light hyaluronic acid serum and at night a heavier tea tree oil and vitamin e cream. For a light SPF that won’t clog your pores try Reviva Labs Light Cream Sun Protective Moisturizer (SPF 25). It may take some time to find a moisturization regimen that works best for your skin but once you do, you won’t regret it!

Masks:

I cannot stress enough how much I love a good mask! I devote at least 1 day a week to a soothing mask to give my skin a clean slate. My FAVORITE is the turmeric mask, the BEST mask I have ever used. The turmeric mask removes dry skin, evens skin tone, shrinks acne, and brightens your complexion. Check out the turmeric mask here as well as our other favorite masks to find the one that works best for your skin!

So there you have our 6 steps for glowing, smooth, summer skin! By following these 6 steps your skin will look amazing all summer long!

Peace, love & coconuts.

-Zeena

Processed Is Still Processed.

More people are concerned with buying local or organic foods, reducing waste, supporting their local natural health food stores, etc.  With the growing popularity of healthier and more naturally focused lifestyle choices, many companies have capitalized on this opportunity. Although may folks have opted more healthier food and natural options, just as many do not want give up the foods they enjoy (despite being less than healthy). I am talking about those processed foods. Soda, cereal, chips, cookies, prepackaged meals, crackers, fruit snacks are all generally considered unhealthy due to their often high caloric content, unhealthy fats, sodium, sugar, and preservatives. However, many health food stores are selling the same products. Stores such as Whole Foods sell cereals, chips, meals, etc. but these foods are being marketed as more natural options (and I am not arguing that all are not). It is important that despite that fact that a cereal may be comprised of more natural ingredients that doesn’t mean it is necessarily sooo much better for you.

Let’s examine a popular processed comfort food: macaroni and cheese.kraft                         amy

There is the ever so recognizable Kraft’s Macaroni & Cheese and there is also Amy’s Macaroni & Cheese sold stores such as Whole Foods. Let’s compare the nutrition. Both products when prepared will cost you 400 calories, at least 500 mg of sodium (Yikes!), and 47g of carbs. To be fair, I know I am using a comfort food, which is going to be unhealthy regardless of any way you spin it. The point is simply this, processed is still processed AND natural always doesn’t equal better nutritional value.

Remember when you are in the grocery store:

1.       Limit the processed foods. Many of the foods we already need, nature has prepared for us already. Try to stick with fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other extremely minimally processed items.

2.       If you DO buy processed, opt for the one with less “i-can’t-even-pronounce-these-words” ingredients in it.

3.       Always look at the nutritional value. Even when buying items with more natural ingredients please don’t assume that it has less calories and trick yourself into believing that it is automatically better for you.

4.       Don’t get frustrated. Developing healthier eating habits can take a good amount time. Unfortunately there are many things that can get you off track but it’s important always jump back on!

Peace, love, and coconuts!

– Nalani

Product Review: Shred – The Revolutionary Diet!

So I’ve always believed that the key to a healthy body is a healthy lifestyle, not a sfad, crash diet, temporary diet, miracle pill, the latest diet smoothie on the market, or even surgery.

The recipe for good health is proper nutrition, adequate physical exercise, sufficient water intake, sleep, and happiness! 🙂 No magic involved.

Now I happened to see a book on the market called Shred: The Revolutionary Diet by Ian K. Smith, M.D., and as bloggers, my sisters and I are always on the lookout for newly released products, books, information, etc. So I thought, well let me give this a try for my readers and let them know what I find…

The program length was to last 6 weeks. I stuck to it for about 2½ weeks before life became too hectic and I could no longer keep up with the strict eating timeline /schedule that the book requires you to follow.

Essentially the schedule was:

  • Meal 1 at 8:30 am
  • Snack 1 at 10:00 am
  • Meal 2 at 11:30 am
  • Snack 2 at 1:00 pm
  • Meal 3 at 3:30 pm
  • Meal 4 at 7:00 pm
  • Snack 3 at 8:30 pm

I tend to already eat small meals and snacks spread throughout the day so this wasn’t too difficult to follow initially, but sticking to the requirements of what I was allowed to eat and when just became a hassle!

Overall…

PROS:

  • The book offers a great balanced diet, full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, water, & unprocessed foods
  • Conceptually, it can offer up some helpful information with regards to proper nutrition
  • Can help you establish good eating habits (what to eat vs. what not to eat)
  • Helps with portion control & calorie intake
  • Helps improve water intake
  • Offers food substitutions if you don’t like a particular choice on a certain day
  • Great for people who may just be starting out on their journey to better

CONS:

  • Unrealistic demands with regard to time/schedule for eating. (no two people have the exact same life schedule!)
  • Not realistic for long term

Honestly, this is not a bad book! This is not a bad diet, in fact it is one of the better ones I have seen. What I hope to communicate is that this book did not work for ME and as a reader, you should not look to this book to solve your problems, fix your diet, make you healthy, etc. You need to look within yourself for that. This book can be your guide, but remeber that you are the driver and YOU decide what works best for you. If you have had success with this book, I am truly glad you were able to find something that worked for you. If this book doesn’t work for you or suit your needs/lifestyle, don’t view it as a failure on your part, just know that it was not the solution for YOU and you simply need to figure out what DOES work for you on your journey to better health! 🙂

Have you heard of/read this book?

– Letisha

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Feeling blue? Blame your food.

Ok so the title is a little misleading. You shouldn’t blame your food for the reason why you may be in such a sad sappy mood, but your mood can be greatly influenced by the foods you consume. This influence happens chemically and physically. Let’s start with the chemical reaction in the brain.

In the brain…

Many components that make up food influence key parts of the brain such as amino acids and fatty acids. These substances actually catalyze the release of chemicals such as serotonin or dopamine (which are responsible for that happy feeling). Vitamins such as B and D also help with serotonin levels in order to help stabilize mood.

In the body…

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates (complex and simple ones like cookies) often give a person the feeling of cookies-1805_640happiness. Carbohydrates influence the serotonin in the brain. Also, carbs like pasta and bread often fill the stomach up pretty quickly and gives the satisfaction of fullness. Full stomach and happy brain means that you feel happy all over.

Protein

Like carbs, protein makes you feel satiated for longer.  The omegas found in nuts also help stabilize the brain. The body also loves the fat and feels as though it is not going into starvation mode. The result means you feel in a good mood and not hungry.

almonds

Vitamins/Minerals

There are many vitamins and minerals that are good for you, but there are certain ones that definitely help with your mood. Vitamin B and Vitamin D are great for immunity and energy boosting.

Now with all this info in mind, you may be thinking that eating some fatty, vitamin blueenriched sweet carb will help make you happier, but chances are that it wont. And any happiness probably will be extremely short lived. Simple carbs like white bread and sweets may make you feel good by giving you a sugar rush and filling you up quickly but in few hours you’re hungry and perhaps even feeling depressed that you ate something unhealthy.  It’s important maintain a healthy diet that is full of fruits, vegetables, fats, protein, and complex carbohydrates. A healthier diet means more energy for more activities that, like foods, stimulate feelings of happiness.

Remember to take your time when creating a well balanced for yourself and your sure to find your inner peace, love and coconuts.

 – Nalani

What the heck is MSG?

Okay, so we all know we are supposed to avoid MSG like our life depends on it…but what the heck is it??

MSG aka Monosodium Glutamate is basically a food flavor enhancer. It is a free amino acid salt that is designed to trick the brain into thinking that whatever we are eating is nutritious, flavorful and full of protein.

msg

Food companies add it to their products to essentially save money. The more MSG they add, the less of a need to create nutritious and tasty food products. Why spend more money on actual ingredients when they can just add MSG??

Glutamate is found naturally in our bodies and other foods like mushrooms and tomatoes but it is different than monosodium glutamate. MSG is “free” meaning it acts as a neurotransmitter whichs stimulate processes in our body, the same neurotransmitter used by our nervous system.

But it doesn’t end there. MSG also stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin; higher insulin levels are correlated with fat storage and aging. MSG also stimulates our appetite which encourages us to eat. Because MSG makes us think that what we are eating is nutritious and healthy, we end up hungry only a short time after eating the meal with MSG because of the drop in blood sugar.

What are the potential side effects from consuming MSG products?

  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Sweating
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Asthma Attacks

…just to name a few!

Always read the ingredient labels to protect your body from the harmful effects of MSG. However, we cannot only look out for the ingredient “Monosodium Glutamate”. We must be wary of its other nicknames including:

Autolyzed Yeast, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Hydrolyzed Protein, Hydrolyzed Plant Protein, Plant Protein Extract, Sodium Caseinate, Calcium Caseinate, Yeast Extract, Textured Protein (Including TVP), Hydrolyzed Oat Flour, Corn Oil

After a while, checking ingredient labels becomes a habit. Soon you’ll be checking everything you put in your cart for MSG!

Check out these helpful links for more info:

http://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/msg-reaction.html

http://www.scq.ubc.ca/msg-more-than-meets-the-tongue/

http://www.msgtruth.org/whatisit.htm

Peace, love & coconuts!

– Zeena

Homemade Flavored Water!

Many people are well aware that drinking water is an essential part of a healthy drinking-87155_640diet and for weight loss. Sadly, many are lured into sweet temptation of sugary juices, sodas, and energy drinks. A lot of drinks market themselves as “healthy” and “natural”, but in fact they are FULL of sugar, artificial sweeteners, dyes, and preservatives. For example, manufacturers of cranberry juice market their juices as “containing antioxidants” and as “an immune booster”. glass-618_640BUT! Cranberry juice often sold in popular supermarkets is sweetened with other juices (like apple) from concentrate. So this “antioxidant super drink” may not be so super. Also, the calorie and sugar content can be as high as a can of regular soda.

Switching from fruity and sugary beverages to simply water may be a little challenging for some people. A great compromise for those who love juice and those who want to add some flavor to their water routine is homemade & natural flavored water!

Flavored water is a combination of certain types of fruit and/or herbs infused with water. The sweetness and tanginess of the fruit when infused can provide a nice surprise to your ordinary beverage.

Why is flavored water good for you?

  1. Water = hydration. This means a happier and healthier body for you J
  2. Curbs cravings for the sweet stuff! You may love the fruity taste of juices, but flavored water can fulfill those cravings without all the calories and high sugar and other preservatives.
  3. Can help with weight loss. With flavored water you are savings on the calories. Also, ingredients such as mint and grapefruit which are great to infuse with your water, have be reported by some folks has fat flushers.

Here are some recipes for your own homemade and natural flavored water. Try ‘em and let us know what you think!

Cucumber & Melon

16 oz watercucumber-78789_640
8 slices cucumber (thin = about 2/8 inch thickness)
8 cubes honey dew melon (1/2 inch)
1 tbsp fresh lavender

~ Combine in a pitcher and let sit overnight in fridge, then enjoy.

Tangy Citrus Sunrise

16 oz waterfruit-15408_640
8 tbsp fresh grapefruit (scoop only the fruit on the inside)
5 thin slices lime
3 thin slices lemon
5 mint leaves

~ Give the mint leaves a slight smash between your palms. Add all ingredients to a pitcher. Let sit overnight in fridge and enjoy in the morning!

Berry Elixir

16oz waterbackground-2277_640
½ cup fresh blueberry
½ cup fresh raspberry
½ cup fresh blackberry
5 thin slices lemon

~ Combine berries and lemon into a pitcher and give them a slight smash with a spoon. Add water and refrigerate overnight, then enjoy the berry goodness! 

Tip! If you love bubbles, but want to quit soda, try adding seltzer water to your infusion.

If you have your own favorite water we’d love to know the recipe!

Peace, love, & coconuts!

– Nalani

Beginngers Booty Workout!! No Gym Required!

It can be very overwhelming for some people to enter a gym, let alone, figure out how to work all of the machines and equipment they have. Exercising outdoors or in the comfort of your own home can be more enjoyable for some, but it can often be difficult to find workouts to do, especially if you are just starting out. Here is a basic but VERY EFFECTIVE legs and butt workout for beginners. For others who may be slightly more advanced, you can do these moves too, just add weights or more reps to intensify the workout.

These moves are tried and true and are perfect for building & toning your muscles, giving your legs and butt great shape!

This routine will:

  • Define your calves
  • Lift and round your butt
  • Tone the front & back of your thighs

Remember that cardiovascular exercise is just as important as strength/resistance training, especially if you are looking to lose extra fat. Shedding those layers of fat will make your newly toned muscles more visible! So be sure to include some cardio with your workouts.

Routine:

  • Move 1) 100 Squats
  • Move 2) 100 Stationary lunges per leg
  • Move 3) 100 Plié Squats
  • Move 4) 100 Minute Wall Squat
  • Move 5) 100 Reverse Pelvic Thrust
  • Move 6) 100 Calf Raises

**Each individual move can be done in 1 set of 100 reps, or broken up into multiple sets where the reps all total 100. (Example: 100 jumping jacks or 4 sets of 25 jumping jacks, with a small break in between each set)**

**Rest 1-2 minutes between sets**

Breakdown:

1) Squats:

Targets – Butt, Thighs

Stand with heels shoulder width apart and toes pointing slightly outward. Begin to sit backwards like you are trying to avoid touching a dirty toilet (yea, I said it!) Extend your arms out in front of you as you do this. Keep your back flat The move should be exaggerated and your knees should NOT extend past your toes. If you’re a beginner you probably wont be able to do all 100 at once, so try 4 sets of 25 or 3 sets of 33, plus 1 for good luck 😉 . Push yourself, but not to the point where you will cause injury.

photo 12 Squats

2) Stationary Lunges:

Targets – Butt, Thighs

Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Take one step forward. Keeping your feet planted in position, bend your front leg and lower your body as low as you can then stand back up, straightening both legs without moving feet. Repeat! After 100, switch legs. Again, feel free to do 4 sets of 25, or 2 sets of 50, etc. **Be sure your knees do NOT pass your toes**

photo 1 photo 2

3) Plié Squats

Targets – Butt, Inner Thighs

Stand with feet wider than shoulder width apart, and squat as if you were doing a plié in ballet class, only be sure to go all the way down, sinking as low as you can. (Your knees should NOT pass your toes.) Repeat.

photo 16 photo-1

4) Wall Squat:

Targets – Thighs (also abdominals & back)

With your back against a wall, lower yourself so you are essentially in a squatting position. Your back should be flat against the wall and your legs should form a 90 degree angle. Again, your knees should NOT extend past your toes. Hold this position for a total of 100 minutes (aka 1 minute and 40 seconds), however you’ll need to break this up into sets. Try 5 sets of 20 seconds each, to start. Don’t forget to rest in between each set!

photo 14 photo 15

5) Reverse Pelvic Thrust:

Targets – Butt, Thighs

Lay with your back on the floor, keeping your feet planted, bend your knees so your legs form a 90 degree angle. Place your arms by your sides. Curl up your feet so only your heels are touching the floor, now lift your butt off of the floor an push your pelvis up as if you wanted to touch the ceiling, then lower it back down, BUT don’t let your butt touch the ground. Repeat this move, really pushing your pelvis to the sky and squeezing your butt as you do this.

photo 9 photo 10

6) Calf Raises:

Targets – Calves (aka hamstring)

Standing upright, lift your heels off of the floor and onto the balls of your feet, lower yourself back down but do not let your heels touch the floor. Repeat this move 100 times, break into sets if you need. You can also stand on a stair step or another raised surface of some sort, where your heels hang off the edge. The move is performed the same way, only the move is intensified.

photo 3 photo 5

Repeat this entire circuit (ALL 6 moves) once more! 🙂

Listen to your body and don’t strain yourself! The LAST thing you want to do is injure yourself! If you can’t complete a move, gradually build up your strength until you can complete it fully!

There you have it! A beginner’s workout, great for getting toned and sexy legs and butt! Again, pair this routine with cardio and a clean & healthy diet and you will see results in no time!

Don’t forget that for a more advanced spin on these movies, you can add weights, do more reps, or hold your position in the middle of a move to intensify your workout! Be sure you are challenging yourself and once you begin to feel like a workout has become easy, it means that it you have gotten used to your routine and either need to add more resistance (ie: weight) or switch up the move entirely!

– Letisha

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