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Cooking & Recipes

Cleanse Your Body: Detox Water

Let’s be honest: it’s not easy consuming our required daily intake of water. It requires some serious concerted effort. With our busy schedules the notion can simply slip our mind. Next thing you know it’s 7 o’ clock at night and you’re hastily gulping down glass #2 during commercial breaks. (We’ve all been there).

 

The solution is simple: detox water. This simple technique creates a deliciously refreshing treat that will have you chugging water all day long.

A few benefits, you ask?:

  • Flush toxins
  • Aid in digestion
  • Boost energy
  • Assist in weight loss
  • Promote healthy skin/hair
  • Decrease bloating
  • Curb appetite

When your body is firing off that desperate call for H2O, don’t reach for soda or coffee. Opt for detox water filled with slices of your favorite fruits and vegetables:

Lemon/Lime + Oranges

These citrus gods do the body good. The high levels of Vitamin C  in lemon & lime improve the immune system and reduce the duration of the common cold. These sour treats also improve bad breath while detoxing the body. Besides being a delicious breakfast treat, oranges contain a wonderful amount of flavonoids, which block carcinogenic agents.

Pineapple + Cucumbers

These green slices are not just for your eyes. Adding cucumber slices to your water is a great way to improve your complexion while potentially lowering blood pressure. Let’s not forget to mention that pineapple is a great way to boost your metabolism.

Strawberries + Mint Leaves

Adding a few sprigs of mint to your chilled water is a great way to settle your stomach and improve your breath. The wonderful antioxidants in strawberries work wonders reducing inflammation throughout the body while the necessary fiber can reduce constipation.

Apple + Beet

Apples slices in your H2O aids in weight loss and may improve your heart health. An added bonus? The antioxidant quercetin in apples may improve your physical endurance. Throw in a few slices of beets for added detox and anti-inflammation benefits.

 

What fruits and vegetables do you add to your detox water? Comment below!

Peace, Love & Coconuts!

10 Creative Ways to Use Pumpkin This Fall

 

Halloween may be over but the cherished “pumpkin season” has yet to come to an end. Reusing your pumpkin saves you money and creates a colorful menu for weeks to come! Before you toss your jack-o-lantern into the nearest receptacle try out  a few of these fun and clever ways of reusing this halloween staple:

 

10 Creative Ways to Use Pumpkin:

1. Soothing Mask

As lovers of all things masks, you know we couldn’t pass up on this opportunity! Pumpkin masks are full of essential vitamins, like Vitamin A, C & E, as well as antioxidants and fatty acids. These incredible ingredients soften the skin, improve cell turnover, and brighten your complexion. Let’s not forget to mention that the zinc in pumpkin does wonders for treating acneic skin. Mix a 1/4 cup of pumpkin that has been pureed with a spoonful of honey. Apply the mask and allow to sit for 15-30 minutes. Rinse, pat dry and moisturize!

2. Fall-Inspired Smoothie

The amazing nutrients in pumpkin work wonders inside your body, too! Chop your fresh pumpkin into chunks and boil until tender, about 25 minutes. Allow to cool and remove any skin. In a blender combine the fresh pumpkin with a frozen banana, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, maca powder and coconut milk. This delicious smoothie is full of vital nutrients and tastes like Fall in a glass! To save you time, freeze any unused, boiled pumpkin for future smoothies!

3. Exfoliation:

If you want to smell like a delicious Autumn treat, look no further than that lovely pumpkin. Pumpkin is full of alpha hydroxy acids, which helps with cell turnover and exfoliation. Talk about glowing skin, huh? Scoop out the insides of fresh pumpkin and place into a blender (set aside any seeds). Add in honey and cinnamon and puree until smooth. In a small bowl combine the pumpkin mixture with a few spoonfuls of sugar. Use this mixture to gently exfoliate your skin (avoid sensitive areas like your face).

4. Pumpkin Bread:

This delicious snack is the perfect treat for the holiday season. Baking with a fresh pumpkin is a wonderful way to preserve that fresh flavor while still packing your baked goodies chalk full of powerful nutrients. To create your own pumpkin puree for your bread, start by washing and halving your pumpkin (cut away the stem and pulp). Bake the halves face down covered in foil for about 1 1/2 hours at 375 degrees until tender. After cooling, cut away the skin and scoop out the insides and mash it until a puree forms. Use this puree in place of the store bought puree in your bread recipe.

5. Roasted Seeds:

It’s no secret that pumpkin seeds are just delicious. They are easy to make and are the perfect late night snack. Start by rinsing the seeds under cool water, then spread the seeds onto a baking sheet. Roast the plain seeds for 30 minutes. After roasting, season the seeds with your favorite spices and roast for another 20 or so minutes.

6. Mashed Pumpkin:

A side of mashed pumpkin is the perfect addition to any fall dish. Soften the pumpkin by cutting it into chunks and boiling them for about 25 minutes. Remove the skin and mash the chunks into a desired consistency. Add a few shakes of sea salt and pepper and voilà!

7. Pumpkin Soup:

The perfect treat for any brisk Autumn day. This delicious squash soup recipe is the perfect way to use any left over pumpkin. Simply subtitute the squash for your fresh pumpkin!

8.Compost:

If you just can’t stand to eat anything pumpkin, just toss it right into your composter! Be sure to cut it into smaller chunks so it decomposes faster.

9.Pumpkin Pie:

This Thanksgiving essential is the perfect way to get rid of your pumpkin. Boil chunks of the pumpkin for about 25 minutes. Once cool, cut off the skin and blend until a puree forms. Use this puree in place of the canned pumpkin you  typically use. This preservative free puree can be frozen and used for holiday treats all season long!

10. Waffles:

This breakfast favorite is going to taste all the better when made with fresh pumpkin puree. This delicious pumpkin waffle recipe is perfect for any fall morning. Just swap out the canned pumpkin for your homemade puree (as seen in #4). Did we mention this yummy recipe has 5g of protein per serving?!

 

What are your favorite ways to reuse your Halloween pumpkins?

 

Peace, Love & Coconuts!
-Zeena

How Many Meals Should You Eat a Day?

How Many Meals Should You Eat

How many meals should you eat a day? This is a question that I’m sure many people have asked themselves at some point or another.

The quick answer is that it does NOT matter. Three, four, five, or six meals makes no difference to maintaining a healthy lifestyle or for weight loss.

Here’s what you should know:

– Eating more frequently doesn’t increase your metabolism – Eating 3 larger meals doesn’t make you gain weight or slow your metabolism An article published in the New York Times discusses this idea that there is no difference between 3 or 6 meals when it comes to our body’s metabolism. (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/23/health/23really.html) With that in mind… The decision on how many meals to eat per day really comes down to lifestyle and personal preference. Regardless of the number of meals you eat, make sure you…

1)     Stay within YOUR calorie range, don’t over eat or under eat

2)     Don’t go more than 4 or 5 hours without eating

  • Don’t wait until you are on the brink of starvation bc then you may end up overeating
  •  Don’t skip meals

3)     Eat when you are hungry – stop when you are satisfied, not full or stuffed. 4) Slow down when you eat – your body takes time to register that it is satisfied so your stomach may be physically content (has enough food), but your brain hasn’t registered that yet, so if you slow down, take your time, chew and enjoy the food, it allows your brain to catch up. You may just stop eating mid-meal because you are satisfied. whereas if you wolf it down, 20 minutes later you may suddenly feel overstuffed. 5) Meals should have the right balance of macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats)

What is boils down to is this…

Follow these guidelines and whatever number of meals that equals out to for you is fine:

  • If you hate the idea of not feeling full then more frequent, smaller meals will leave you unsatisfied, opt for larger, less frequent meals.
  • If you hate feeling full or hate any sort of bloating associated with eating somewhat larger meals, then maybe smaller meals, more frequently might be better for you
  • If your lifestyle isn’t well suited for getting several chances to eat throughout the day, then you should opt for fewer meals during the day.
  • If you don’t have time to sit down and eat, (always on the go), smaller more frequent meals may be the way to go.

Eating late at night doesn’t make a difference, as long as you don’t go over you total number of required calories. “Skipping” breakfast doesn’t matter either. What is important is that you do what works for you, I hear some people say that they hate eating early in the morning, I am one of them, it makes me sick to my stomach. So I will eat 2 -3 hours after I wake up. For others, breakfast to be the first thing they do after waking. Again whats important is that you don’t go over the total number of calories that you require per day. More likely than not, you’ve heard that people who skip breakfast end up becoming extremely hungry and they overeat at the next meal because of this. This isn’t always the case, take me for example, I’m fine not eating first thing in the morning, however,  If you are someone who may overeat if you don’t eat your first meal of the day immediately after waking, then it’s a good idea to eat something in the morning.

It may take some experimentation, but remember, you have to figure out what works best for you given your lifestyle and preferences. This is a journey!

How many meals do YOU eat a day? ~ Letisha

DIY Odor Eliminators

DIY Odor Eliminators

Removing odors from your home is serious business. Let’s be frank: who wants to come home to a funky house? Whether the funky stench is coming from the bathroom, bedroom or kitchen, there are plenty of simple DIY Odor Eliminators to rid your home of those funky scents.

Check out these simple DIY Odor Eliminators:

1. Tea Bags

Think of tea bags as a new age potpourri. By hanging a few of your favorite flavors around the house, you’ll take your home from stinky to wonderfully aromatic. I’d recommend Hibiscus tea bags. The scent is both fruity, yet floral: the perfect combination for any bathroom.

2. Lavender Spray

Instead of purchasing those expensive lavender air freshening sprays, just make your own! All you need are 3 simple items: water, lavender essential oil, and a spray bottle. Fill the spray bottle about 3/4 full. Add about 15 to 20 drops of essential oil. If you prefer a stronger scent, add more! Don’t have a spray bottle on hand? Clean and reuse one that’s lying around the house, or try your local pharmacy (they often sell empty spray bottles). Be sure to shake the mixture before spraying any linens or rooms.

3. Apples Lemons & Oranges

You know when you walk into a room and can instantly tell when someones been eating an orange? Well that powerful orange scent is a wonderful way to remove odors from your home! Surprise! Start by boiling a medium pot of water. Add about 2 cups of lemon and orange peels to the boiling water. The summery scent will carry throughout your home in no time!

4. Baking Soda

Using baking soda as a DIY odor eliminator is a wonderful trick that has been around for YEARS. Plagued with a stinky trash can? Pour a layer of baking soda in the bottom of the can and into the bag. The baking soda absorbs the nasty smells before they can reach our noses. The same trick can be used in your refrigerators, behind toilets, and in any room! Simply leave an open container in the stinky location and enjoy your odor free home!

5. Coffee Grounds

If you are looking for a way to give your home a fresh, invigorating scent, look no further than coffee grounds! Leave a few cups of grounds throughout your home for that unmistakeable coffee shop scent that will be hard to resist.

What are your favorite DIY odor eliminators?

Peace, Love & Coconuts!

-Zeena

GMOs: What You Need to Know!

GMO; an acronym tossed around more than a football on a Sunday. It’s no secret that GMOs are present in most of our food, yet how much do we really know about GMOs? Am I the only one whose wondered:

  • What the heck are GMOs?
  • Which of our favorite processed foods (+ home grown) foods contain GMOs?
  • How can we avoid them, whilst making healthier food choices??

GMO

 

What the heck are GMOs?! 

GMOs = Genetically Modified Organisms. Scary, huh? I don’t know about you but I’m not too comfortable with the idea of eating anything who’s genes have been messed with! It’s just weird! Not to freak you out, but GMOS are just thatthe smallest of organisms that have been altered in some way by us humans. Go humans! (Not.)

Plants or animals are modified for several reasons:

  • Improve resistances to pesticides/insects
  • Increase nutrients
  • Increase environmental tolerance (ie, temperature)
  • Enhance growth
  • Control reproductive activity

The list goes on…

The genetic modification process involves combining the genes of different plant and animal species. The result is unlike anything that can occur through cross-breeding. In fact, about 80% of the crops that are genetically modified are able to withstand toxic levels of pesticides! The toxins that these genetically modified plants produce are actually rupturing the stomachs of insects that feed off of these crops. (thanks, but NO thanks!)

So, just how bad are GMOs? Well, take a look at this lovely little video for a better idea:

When fed to rats, mice, pigs and cows, GMO crops have been shown to cause precancerous growths, bleeding stomachs, intestinal damage, sterility…the list could go on, folks.

Which of our favorite processed foods (+ home grown) foods contain GMOs?

How do we know if our food contains GMOs? Well, that’s the tricky part. The FDA does not require companies to disclose whether their products contain GMOs. Some choose to disclose that info on their own (hence the “GMO-free) labels you see on some supermarket shelves. Certain health food stores, like Whole Foods, are much more transparent in the GMO world. Last year, Whole Foods announced that all products would be labeled if they contained GMOs. This process is expected to be completed by 2018. (Go Whole Foods!) The state of Vermont is in the process of passing legislation that would require all GMO foods in Vermont be labeled as such by 2016! (Go Vermont!)

Despite these concerted efforts, not all GMO-ladden food is labeled. Some of our favorite foods may actually be the worst culprits on the GMO boat. Here are just a few of the food items that are known to contain GMOs:

  • Corn
  • Papaya
  • Soy
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes
  • Banana
  • Sugar Beets
  • Rice

About 80% of processed foods contain GMOs (eek!). That’s basically all of the processed food we’d consume in any given day!

So, how can we avoid GMOs, whilst making healthier food choices? 

It’s important that we continue to be aware of the foods that DO contain GMOs in order to make the right food choices for ourselves and families. Luckily, the wonderful people at the Non GMO Project have compiled a fabulous list of food products and brands that do NOT contain GMOs (yay!).

A few personal favorites:

  • So Delicious
  • 365 Brand (Whole Foods)
  • Arrowhead Mills

Steering clear of GMO ridden food is a challenge but it is not impossible. Do research and find out if any of the foods you love contain GMOs. Buy organic and avoid processed food all together while enjoying more GMO-free fruits and veggies!

For more information on GMOs, check out the Non GMO Project!

 

Peace, love & GMO-free Coconuts!

-Zeena

The Truth about Salt

Our world is changing. More and more of our food has become prepackaged; vacuumed sealed, stickered-up, and labelled with its nutritional facts.

As a society, we have also grown increasingly concerned over the exact nutritional content of the foods we eat: calories, carbs, sugar, protein — the list goes on! We almost HAVE to become obsessed because it’s so easy to go over our nutritional requirements for any particular nutrient. You can eat a whole bag of chips and end up meeting or even exceeding certain nutritional requirements. Not in the good way though, particularly when referring to something like salt.

salt

Salt is everywhere: from the ground we walk on to the food we eat. The salt we generally think of is typically consumed in the Sodium-Chloride form. Each nutrient that we consume generally serves a purpose and is important to our body’s function and sodium is one of them. Sodium and Salt, has gotten a bad rap over the years, for being the destroyer of blood pressure and synonymous with the sodium in all those processed foods. Salt & sodium are not the bad guys though.

Why is salt good for us?

1. Assists in the regulation of  nerve and muscle function

2. Regulates body fluid balance

Now, too much salt is where the problem lies. The recommended daily sodium intake is 1,500 mg. The highest recommended level is 2,300 mg (Source: CDC, 2014).

There are different types of salt on the market such as processed table salt, Himalayan, sea salt, pink salt, to name a few. Regular processed table salt typically lacks minerals that can be found in salts that are less processed such as pink or Himalayan.

Before you swear off salt consider using a less processed, more natural salt. Also, you may just need to reduce the amount you use. Try adding a sprinkle of salt at the end of cooking, that way you can really get that salty flavor. Lastly, reduce the processed foods you eat which usually adds huge amounts of sodium to your daily intake. The key to a healthy life is balance with everything.

Peace, Love, & Coconuts

~ Nalani

Fight the Flu, Naturally

Being sick sucks, it really does. You’re tired, achy, stuffed up, irritated… Not to mention every task becomes so bothersome.  A few months ago, I wrote an article on how to get over your cold with a few DIY methods (click here to read). Sometimes when you’re sick, doing anything at all is just too much, even DIYs!. So, I thought I could provide some tips to help you fight the flu naturally! Some you can make at home and some might require a quick trip to the store (the last thing you want to do when you’re sick, I know).

herbal-163891_640

1. Sambucol Cold & Flu Relief

This homeopathic formula is designed to alleviate symptoms such as congestion, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, sore throat, and chills/fever. This product contains Black Elderberry, which is plant that has been used for centuries to support the immune system and functions. It is best taken when you first start to notice symptoms.

 2. Kombucha

This product makes no claim to help you fight a cold or flu, but it sure makes me feel better! Kombucha claims to have a high nutritional value while supporting a healthy immune function. I love it because it tastes great, gets rid of my sugar cravings, and gives me a boost of energy. The carbonation in kombucha seems to help clear up my nasal congestion! Pretty awesome, right?

3. Green Tea

Okay, this is mix between a visit to the store and DIY, but making this tea is pretty simple. A simple mix of warm water and green tea is all you need! I love having green tea when I’m ill because it soothes my throat, clears my nasal passage, and also improves my immune function! Adding honey and lemon makes it even better. Try looking for a quality, organic green tea which may contain higher amounts of immune boosting ingredients.

 

 Stay happy and healthy, Coconuts!

-Nalani

DIY Housekeeping: Disinfecting Spray

Wait! Before you wipe those counters down, hear me out. Have you ever tried making your own disinfecting spray?

Let me explain.

Common household disinfectants such as Lysol and Fantastik are full of TOXIC chemicals. These toxic chemicals that most of us use on a daily basis to disinfect our living spaces are dangerous to our health and the environment. Think about the last time you had to stick your head out of the window for fresh air while cleaning.

(pause for reflection)

Homemade disinfectant is not only better for your health and for the environment, but for your wallet, as well. Instead of buying 7 different toxic cleaning agents for your home, why not use something more cost effective AND better for you and your family? Just check out some of these amazing benefits these ingredients have to offer:

White VinegarNon-toxic, kills most mold, germs and bacteria. Wallet and environment friendly.

Peppermint Oil-Antibacterial and a pest deterrent.

Tea Tree Oil-Antibacterial, antiseptic and antifungal (great for showers!)

 

disinfecting spray

Ready to get started?

 

DIY Disinfecting Spray

What you’ll need:

  • 12 ounces water
  • 8 ounces white vinegar
  • 30 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 30 drops tea tree essential oil

In a spray bottle combine the water, vinegar and essential oils.  Simply shake the mixture for a few seconds to combine all of the lovely ingredients.

Done shaking?  Spray the desired location and allow the mixture to sit for 3 to 5 minutes before wiping away with a clean cloth.

I know what you’re thinking–“What about that terrible vinegar smell??” Well, the smell is greatly masked by the essential oils, so it’s barely noticeable. Plus, vinegar doesn’t smell so bad once you get used to it! 🙂

This disinfecting spray can be used anywhere in your home: shower, bathroom, countertops, tables, toys, floors, you name it!

Tips & Tricks:

  • Do not mix vinegar with any other chemical as this may result in a toxic combination.
  • Do not use vinegar on surfaces such as marble and stoneware. This will result in corrosion. 
  • Do not use vinegar on waxed surfaces. 

Ready to start cleaning the safe way? 🙂

-Zeena

What’s the deal with Coconut Water?

What’s the deal with Coconut Water?

Coconut water is popping up everywhere! This super refreshing substance has been showing up more and more often in stores and retailers and who can blame them?! Coconut water is a tasty and healthy beverage. Nutrition wise (per 8 fl oz) it generally contains:

  • 30-50 calories
  •  250 mg sodium
  •  5-10 g sugar

coconut water

Reasons why it’s often considered a “super drink” …

Reason #1:

The natural electrolytes. It contains loads of potassium and a good amount of calcium, vitamin C, iron, and sodium. These vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients needed by the body.

Reason#2:

It’s natural! Coconut water is nothing new to people where coconuts are grown natively, but here in the US (excluding Hawaii) natural foods often take a back seat to the processed. Hopping on the natural, organic trend, coconut water has made its debut and become so popular because it is a natural, healthy, refreshing option for those who dislike more processed drinks like Gatorade.

Reason #3:

Coconut water is tasty! It’s a mildly sweet and salty yet fruity combination that manages to work so well together. Also, it is available in super convenient to go containers, which I will support as a MUCH better option than grabbing a soda or other healthy, but high calorie drinks like orange juice.

Recommendation:

Overall coconut water is great and I do enjoy it. It’s important to know that there are different brands out there with wide variance in taste. One of the most popular brand is Zico.  The coconut water featured in my photo is AMAzon, this is a mix of coconut water and white tea …delicious!)

What’s your favorite healthy drink? Comment below or let us know on Facebook!

Peace, Love, & Coconuts

~ Nalani

Save Your Halloween Pumpkin!

Still have your pumpkin left over from Halloween?

You’re not the only one. It’s easy to pop the sucker on the porch and forget all about it. If you’re lazy like us and didn’t want to take the time to carve a jack-o-lantern, your pumpkin is probably still is great shape!

So what the heck do you do with it now? Well, you could leave it on that porch of yours through Thanksgiving, OR reduce it down to pumpkin puree so you can use it in a variety of pumpkin dishes!

Making Pumpkin Purée

pumpkin pulp

What you’ll need:

  • A whole pumpkin
  • Serrated knife
  • Pot with steaming compartment
  • Ice cream scoop or large spoon
  • 1 small bowl
  • 1 large bowl

Directions:

  1. Grab your pumpkin off that porch pronto!
  2. Wash it with soap and water.
  3. Cut pumpkin in half from stem to stem.
  4. Take an ice cream scoop or large spoon and scrape pulp & seeds from the inside and set aside in a bowl.
  5. Now take your pumpkin halves and cut down into smaller boiling pumpkinchunks so they can fit in your pot. My pumpkin was huge so I had to steam in batches.
  6. Steam each batch for about 30 minutes or long enough so that pumpkin is soft and penetrates easily with a fork (should have  a mashed potato-like consistency)
  7. Once it’s soft, remove from pot and scrape out the pumpkin meat and place in a bowl. You may discard the exterior skin. You’ll notice that a lot of water will seep out of the pumpkin meat into your bowl. Unless you will be using your puree to make pumpkin soup, you may strain this water out.
  8. Now that you’re left with the pumpkin meat, grab an electric mixer and beat until pumpkin becomes a smooth puree. Pulp will begin to wrap around the  paddle(s) of your mixer. Continue to beat your pumpkin letting the pulp build up on the paddles, occasionally stopping to remove and discard this buildup. Do this until all pulp strands are gone and you’re left with smooth pumpkin puree.pumpkin puree

You can use this puree to make a ton of yummy pumpkin dishes.

Why not make our Super Moist Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins??

As for your pulp and seeds….

You remember what was scraped out of your pumpkin early on? Pick through that and remove the pumpkin seeds then throw away the pulp. Rinse and dry the seeds. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet and sprinkle with a little seasoning, salt, and/or pepper.

Bake at 350 degrees fahrenheit until seeds are toasted on both sides. Shake cookie sheet a couple of times while cooking to flip them around on cookie sheet. Should take no more than 20-30 minutes.

 Peace, Love, & Coconut PUMPKIN!

Just kidding coconut!

Come back!…. WE STILL LOVE YOU!

~ Letisha