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Health & Fitness

What Happened After I Quit Sugar

quit sugar

Okay so the title may sound a little overly dramatic, but about 2 months ago I decided that I wanted to quit sugar (added sugar to be exact) and simple carbs completely. Not that my diet consisted of massive amounts of sugary sweet treats, but on occasion I would enjoy frozen yogurt with WAY too many rainbow sprinkles from one of the 50 ice cream shops near my apartment. One night I was up way past my bedtime, doing nutritional research, finding ways to improve my diet even more and decided I needed to eliminate sugar, not because I wanted to play some twisted game of deprivation with myself, but because I wanted to take another step and improve myself for the better.

I’ve known for a while that sugar does absolutely no good for my skin. I was born with eczema and while most people that are born with it, grow out of it, I never did. I’m able to keep it at bay through a healthy diet, fish oil, and a probiotic supplement, but whenever I have sugar, it exacerbates my symptoms. So if it will make me break out in rashes, who knows what else it’s doing. I should also note that right before I decided to eliminate sugar, I was beginning to notice that I was suffering from an increase in breakouts after eating anything with added sugar.

What exactly did I cut out of my diet?

I removed any occasional dessert that I would eat. I also removed ketchup and sauces which almost always have added sugar. I never usually have simple carbs, but I reinforced my habit of avoiding breads, pastas, crackers, cereal, etc.

What am I eating?

My only real carbs right now consist of sweet potatoes, fruit, and plain (unsweetened) oatmeal. Now I am not saying this will always be the only carbs I’ll ever eat as I do like homemade popcorn while watching a great movie on a cozy rainy night 🙂 and even a nice warm cup of tea with honey, but for right now, I’m keeping it simple and clean to test the results on my skin. Let me just say that after 2 months I can’t believe I haven’t done this sooner.

Here’s everything I experienced after I quit sugar:

  • My body looks and feels great
  • My sugar-related breakouts are no more
  • I literally don’t bloat anymore (seriously…)
  • I crave sugar and carbs even LESS
  • I’m sleeping better
  • I feel clear headed
  • I’m more energized
  • I have better control over my eczema
  • My body feels balanced (you know that feeling where your body just feels off? Yea that went away)
  • My cravings for salty snacks have practically disappeared
quit sugar

Feeling good and my skin is looking great! (Photo = unedited!)

Some other benefits that you might see when eliminating added sugars and simple carbs are:

  • Weight loss
  • Improvement of some autoimmune disease symptoms
  • Decreased risk of cancer
  • Decreased occurrence of common colds and infections
  • A healthier heart
  • Decreased risk of diabetes
  • Decreased irritability and better moods

I truly think it’s worthwhile to give sugar elimination a shot. I vouch for the results 100%. I’m not saying it is going to be easy, especially if you are someone who has a carb-heavy diet or regularly eats sweets. Our brains become addicted to sugar much like a drug so the more you consume, the harder it will be to give up. My diet was not carb or sugar heavy so eliminating added sugar and simple carbs wasn’t too difficult of an adjustment.

If you want to give it a shot, you can most definitely go cold turkey (more power to you!), but for anyone else, try making weekly adjustments. One week try swapping your bagel or sugary yogurt in the morning for fruit and protein. The next week, try swapping your soda at lunch for ice-cold water (yum ☺). In another week, skip the sandwich at lunch and go for a salad loaded with protein and veggies or use giant lettuce leaves in place of your lunch wraps.

Would you ever give up sugar and simple carbs or have you already tried it? I would love to hear your thoughts! xx

~ Letisha

10 Dairy Milk Alternatives for Those Giving Milk the Boot

10 Dairy Milk Alternatives for Those Giving Milk the Boot

As a lover of all things dairy, transitioning to a dairy-free lifestyle has been tough. I am a sucker for everything related to cheese and ice-cream. It doesn’t help that I live across the street from a froyo joint and countless restaurants with cheesy goodness.

My love passion for dairy took a backseat, however, when I began experiencing extreme stomach discomfort after an innocent bowl of coconut flavored frozen yogurt. I knew immediately that something wasn’t right. Could it be that my beloved dairy was causing me harm? No, it couldn’t be! Could it?

It wasn’t long before I realized that my body just couldn’t comfortably process dairy. I tried everything from cheesy pizza, frosted cakes and those fancy Starbucks drinks. Like clockwork, I would be doubled over with sharp pains and an upset stomach. This is not ANY way to live, even if you once loved dairy. 🙁

After quitting dairy, I have experienced zero stomach discomfort. My cystic acne has also subsided. Before giving dairy the boot, I refused to admit that it was making my acneic skin worse. If you do suffer from acne, I highly suggest eliminating dairy to see if it is negatively affecting your skin.

The transition to a dairy-free life has certainly not been an easy one. For the first few weeks I craved froyo like nobody’s business. I wanted ALL the froyos. Once the cravings subsided I began experimenting with different dairy alternatives.  Some have an acquired taste, but I found that all of them were very comparable to cow’s milk.

If you’re intrigued by the idea of going dairy-free, check out these 10 dairy milk alternatives for those giving milk the boot:

Rice Milk

Rice milk holds a special place in my heart. Currently my favorite dairy-free alternative, rice milk is mild in taste and easy to digest. Rice Dream, my brand of choice, is fortified and contains 30% daily value of Calcium and 25% daily value of Vitamin D and B12. This lovely alternative to cow’s milk has a delicious nutty flavor that goes well in cereals and smoothies.

Almond Milk

For those without a nut allergy, almond milk is a great dairy-free, soy-free and lactose-free option. Made by straining almonds and water, most almond milks are primarily water with other thickening agents. Fortunately, unsweetened almond milk is full of healthy fats!

Cashew Milk

Similar to almond milk, cashew milk is a blend of cashews and water. If you prefer the taste of cashews this creamy milk is for you. If you looking to obtain more nutrients from your milk, try making your cashew milk at home.

Hazelnut Milk

Like most dairy-free alternatives, hazelnut milk doesn’t contain much protein but is full of nutrients that our body needs. This low calorie alternative is also a great source of vitamin D and E, calcium, and riboflavin, which is naturally occurring in hazelnuts.

Coconut Milk

If you’re someone who loves the taste of coconut and enjoys milk with a thicker consistency, coconut milk is a great alternative. Consisting of good fats (medium chain fatty acids), coconut milk is highly nutritious. Our favorite brand (So Delicious Coconut Milk) is fortified with essential vitamins and nutrients — we’re talking vitamin A, B, B12, C, and D, calcium, zinc, iron, folate, magnesium, and selenium. Not to mention, it’s dairy-free!

Hemp Milk

Made from hemp seeds and water, hemp milk has somewhat of a nutty flavor. Full of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, hemp milk provides our bodies with a burst of vitamins and nutrients. Much like other dairy-free alternatives, hemp milk contains vitamins A, B12, D, and E, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, riboflavin, and zinc.

Soy Milk

Produced from soybeans and water, soy milk is the most widely consumed dairy alternative. Unlike its alternatives, soy milk is actually a common allergen. My sister and I no longer consume soy milk due to an adverse reaction (itching of the mouth and hives). This is not to say that soy milk won’t work for you. It’s best to find the healthiest option for your body.

Flax Milk

This low calorie option, much like its competitors, is filled with essential vitamins and nutrients (vitamins B12 and D, as well as calcium). If you’re someone looking for more protein in your diet, flax milk can also be infused with protein (5g to be exact). The taste is a bit unique and may take some getting used to, but it’s worth a try!

Sunflower Milk

Made from sunflower seeds and water, sunflower milk is a unique way to enjoy the pleasures that come with drinking cow’s milk without actually consuming it (such as enjoying a bowl of cereal or milk and cookies). Sunflower milk can be easily made at home or purchased at natural health food stores.

Oat Milk

An easy and inexpensive dairy alternative to make at home, oat milk is great for our skin and hair. Those with gluten allergies should avoid oat milk unless it is specifically a gluten-free version. Oat milk is naturally high in sugar though so be sure to limit your intake! You can also use a homemade version topically for added skin benefits!

What is your favorite dairy-free alternative? Have you given cow’s milk the boot?

-Zeena

The Amazing Benefits of Chamomile

Chamomile, a daisy-like plant of the Asteraceae family, has been used for centuries for its vast health and healing benefits. Today it is used across the globe and only continues to amaze for its medicinal properties. Although there are a number of species, German Chamomile and Roman Chamomile tend to be the most sought after in the chamomile family. Chamomile is commonly used in the western part of the world in teas to help settle the stomach and aid in sleep, yet there are so many reasons to love chamomile that some may not fully grasp the scope of this flowering plant’s wonders. Read on for all of the amazing benefits of chamomile…

 

The Amazing Benefits of Chamomile

  1. Heals common skin conditions — Helps to treat eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis and helps to heal damaged skin tissue.
  2. Reduces inflammation
  3. Reduces fevers
  4. Soothes the digestive system — Can help to alleviate gas, diarrhea, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, and motion sickness, and also protects against ulcers
  5. Helps to flush out toxins by inducing perspiration
  6. Fights allergens and infections — Anti-parasitic, anti-microbial, antibacterial, anti-fungal
  7. Alleviates muscle spasms
  8. Acts as a pain reliever — Alleviates pain from sore muscles, arthritis, headaches and migraines, as well as eases colic and teething pain in babies
  9. Can help to manage diabetes and regulate blood sugar
  10. Acts as a sedative — Calms nerves, reduces anxiety and treats hysteria, nightmares, insomnia, and other sleep problems
  11. Prevents cell damage (from antioxidants)
  12. Anti-aging
  13. Stops the growth of and destroys human cancer cells

It should be noted that German Chamomile is known to be better suited for external uses while Roman chamomile is better suited for internal uses.

How do you use chamomile? Comment below, we’d love to hear!


A special thank you to Cara Cooperman for her knowledge, her love of chamomile, and for her inspiration! Studying to be a herbalist, and like us, she is a believer in using what nature has to offer, rather than pharmaceuticals when it comes to health and healing.  Learn more about Cara here and browse her website for tons of articles about natural and healthy living!

Smoke Hookah? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider

Do you currently smoke hookah? If the answer is yes, you may want to reconsider after reading this.

Hookah, with origins tracing back to India, has been around for at least 500 years. More recently, it has made its way across the globe and is continuing to increase in popularity particularly among teens and young adults in the United States. Unlike cigarettes, which have become a social stigma in the U.S., hookah is considered more socially acceptable and a group activity despite both being vehicles for smoking tobacco.

It seems that many hookah smokers view this often social activity to be much less harmful than cigarettes or other tobacco products. Some hookah smokers make it a point to not actually inhale the smoke, arguing that this is completely safe and no damage is really done by simply rolling the smoke around the mouth and exhaling.

Unfortunately this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

What is hookah?

Hookah consists of a pipe and a long flexible tube connected to an urn of water through which smoke passes upon inhalation from the tube. The act of the smoke passing through the water cools the smoke before it is inhaled.

Shisha generally refers to the tobacco that is smoked from a hookah pipe (yes, you are in fact smoking tobacco — this fact comes as a surprise to some hookah smokers). Shisha is often sweetened with molasses or honey and flavored extracts. During a hookah session, charcoal is used to heat the tobacco to produce the smoke for inhalation.

The Potential Dangers of Hookah

Tobacco, which naturally contains the compound nicotine is extremely toxic. It enters the body via the smoke you inhale and is absorbed by mucous membranes in the mouth, nose, and lungs.

So, even the hookah smokers that don’t inhale the tobacco smoke into their lungs, still absorb nicotine in their mouths.

It’s also worthwhile to point out the fact that it would be difficult to ensure that absolutely zero smoke slips past your mouth and into your throat while inhaling, so it is quite likely that your throat is exposed to the hookah smoke more than you realize.

Nicotine is extremely addictive and considered by the U.S. Surgeon General to be just as addictive as cocaine or heroin. It’s side effects extend throughout the body, affecting the cardiovascular, renal, respiratory, and reproductive systems.

The immediate affects of nicotine include irritation of the mouth and throat, nausea, pain in the abdomen, an increase salivation, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Longterm effects of nicotine include:

  • DNA damage
  • DNA mutations
  • An increase in cell growth

All of this essentially creates the perfect environment that promotes and accelerates tumor growth.

Nicotine alone has been linked to lung, pancreatic, and breast cancer, as well as coronary vascular disease, erectile dysfunction, and altered hormone production. Nicotine also causes a delay in wound healing and an increased risk of infection.What’s more is nicotine can also cause insulin sensitivity or resistance and poses an increased risk of smokers developing type 2 diabetes.

While smoking hookah, you are also inhaling carbon monoxide and other toxins that are a byproduct of the heated mixture. These toxins include Acrolein (irritates the nose, eyes, and throat), Acrylamide (damages the nervous system), Naphthalene (damages the red blood cells), and Benzene (linked to cancers such as leukemia).

One common misconception is that the water in the hookah urn absorbs or filters out all of the toxins in the smoke, but this is not the case. According to a report released by the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, researchers analyzed the urine of 105 hookah smokers and 103 nonsmokers who were exposed to smoke from a water pipe. The results revealed that after an event in a hookah lounge, the levels of S-phenylmercapturic acid (SPMA), a byproduct of benzene was 4 times higher than normal in the smokers and 2.6 times higher in the nonsmokers. The same analysis was done after a hookah smoking event that took place in a private home. The SPMA levels in the urine of the hookah smokers were 2 times higher than normal and levels were normal in the nonsmokers. It should be noted that there is no safe level of exposure to Benzene.

More research needs to be done to fully understand all of the risks associated with hookah, but what is currently known about hookah is definitely cause for concern.

Do you currently smoke hookah or have you in the past? I would love to hear your thoughts below.

~ Letisha

 

Sources:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/hookahs-deliver-toxic-benzene-in-every-puff/
http://www.ucsf.edu/news/2013/04/105236/smoking-hookah-not-harmless-alternative-cigarettes
http://www.cdc.gov/features/hookahsmoking/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4363846/

7 Natural Toothpaste Alternatives You Need to Try

When it comes to brushing our teeth, we are not limited to just the tubes we see in the grocery store aisle. These toothpastes can be chalk full of chemicals that have no place in our body. NO PLACE.

A popular brand, that is no stranger to our households, totes the following inactive ingredients:

Hydrated Silica, Water, Glycerin, Sorbitol, PVM/MA Copolymer, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Cellulose Gum, Flavor, Sodium Hydroxide, Carrageenan, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Saccharin, Titanium Dioxide

Woah.

Not to mention the active ingredients, which include Triclosan, an anti-bacterial compound used in personal cleaning products.

In fact:

The state of Minnesota has banned the sale Triclosan from personal care cleaning products.

Procter and Gambled vowed to removed Triclosan from their products by 2014. (I hope they followed through!)

The hidden chemicals in toothpaste is scary stuff.

Fortunately, there is a plethora of ways you can clean your teeth without going anywhere near your current toothpaste.

 

Natural Toothpaste Alternatives:

  • Baking Soda + Water: Baking Soda polishes teeth, increases white appearance, fights bad breath, helps remove place, and improves dental health.
  • Bentonite Clay + Water + Essential Oils: Known for its abilities to draw out toxins, bentonite clay makes for the perfect teeth cleaning agent. Clay paired with minty essential oils (think Peppermint) will leave your mouth feeling fresh and clean.
  • Clay + Coconut Oil + Peppermint Essential Oil: While the clay draws out toxins, the coconut oil destroys bacteria and microbes. The addition of Peppermint Oil keeps your breath minty fresh.
  • Coconut Oil + Baking Soda: Coconut oil is antibacterial and antimicrobial works in conjunction with the Baking Soda to help polish and clean your teeth.

Not a fan of whipping up your own toothpaste? There is a plethora of pre-made, healthy options.

Too much of anything is not always a good thing. Limit brushing your teeth with baking soda to just a couple times a week; too much usage can result in damage to your teeth. As always, be careful with essential oils; too much can result in burns.

None of these recipes contain fluoride. It’s your choice if you prefer to use a fluoride toothpaste. These are simply alternatives you can choose from if you want to avoid chemicals in your toothpaste. Your choice! 🙂

Happy Toothpaste Trails!

Got Tummy Troubles? Learn to Cure Digestive Issues with Food

We recently had the pleasure of interviewing the author of the new book Your Solution to a Healthy Gut, by Kimberly Tessmer, RDN, LD. The book discusses common digestive issues (which I’m sure we can all relate to) and ways cure digestive issues with food. Check out our interview below to learn more about Kimberly Tessmer and her new book!

Our Interview with Kimberly Tessmer, author of Your Solution to a Healthy Gut

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

“I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and licensed in the state of Ohio. I have been an RDN for about 23 years and have worked in various fields including hospitals, nursing homes and corporate weight loss. My writing career started in 2001 and I have been authoring books ever since. In addition to writing, I own a consulting company called Nutrition Focus in which I provide services including writing, menu development/analysis/editing, weight management and other nutritional services.
I am also a wife and mother of a beautiful 9 year old girl. I love to workout and take care of myself! No better feeling”!

2. What prompted your interest in health/nutrition?

“I started off as a business major in college but quickly realized that helping others was my true calling. I switched my major to dietetics and never looked back. My parents always raised me to take care of myself and others so helping others to get and stay healthy just seemed like a great fit. Not to mention that it is awesome to learn all I can about health and nutrition to put in practice for myself and my family”.

3. What inspired you to write this book? 

“So many people deal with digestive issues and the majority turn to prescription and over-the-counter medications as both a short-term and worse, long-term solution. My goal with this book, and the whole Your Nutrition Solution series of books, is to help people solve their problem instead of masking it with medications. My hope is to empower people to take a look and make changes to what they are feeding their bodies as a way of healing and feeling their best”.

4. Can you tell us a little bit about the book?

“This book takes a look at common “gut” or digestive issues and explains how most people get there. It discusses the gut in general and what we can do through nutrition to both heal our gut and keep our gut healthy in order to prevent issues. The goal of the book is to get people to take a look at their nutritional intake as a means for treating and/or preventing common digestive disorders instead of simply popping a pill to try to temporarily fix the problem. It is my hope that readers will begin to understand how big of a role the foods they eat play in their overall health”.

5. If you could pick one or two messages or tips from the book what would they be?

“Wow, that’s a tough one because there is so much GREAT and important information in the book!! Probably the most important tip is to become fully aware of your present diet and evaluate it. Investigate whether any of the foods/beverages you are consuming can be provoking your digestive issues. Make it your ultimate goal to clean up your diet and stick with it!”

6. What can readers expect to learn from your book?

Readers can learn about common digestive disorders and what they are all about. Even if they don’t deal with a digestive disorder they can still learn what to do NOW to keep their gut healthy so they don’t end up with one. They will learn what they need to be doing nutritionally, including what helps and what harms. Readers can expect to be made aware of just how much nutrition (good or bad) effects our health!

7. Have you written any other books?

Yes! I have written many other books. In fact I have written 3 others in just this series of books:

They all have the same goal in mind and that is to make readers aware of how nutritional intake can play a major role in their health issues!

Readers can check out all of my books at: www.Nutrifocus.net

8. Do you have any thoughts on what your next book might be?

“I am working on that right now! It will be another title in the Your Nutrition Solution series and will definitely be another topic that many people deal with! Stay tuned”!!

9. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Yes, that the more you learn about good nutrition and which foods can have a positive impact on your health the more you will benefit. No one can do it for you! It is up to YOU to make changes and stick to them. Don’t take the easy way out, no matter what your health issue. Learn what YOU can do to benefit your health. Empower yourself and get started NOW!!


We’d like to thank Kimberly Tessmer for sharing her new book and taking the time to allow us to interview her! She provides such valuable insight into a topic that relates to every single one of us and one that is of such great importance.

We’ll be giving away a copy of this fantastic book to one lucky winner! To enter simply:

  1. Follow us on instagram (@brownandcoconut).
  2. Like the photo of the book on our instagram page
  3. Share the photo on Instagram and tag us in it!.

Giveaway ends 7/15 at midnight! — Good Luck!

10 Reasons Every Woman Should Try Reusable Pads

Reusable pads. Yes, I said it. These two words don’t always go hand in hand. Why would anyone want to reuse a pad? Simple. The benefits are endless. Reusable pads are great for your mind and body, not to mention Mother Earth. Glad Rags, a brand of reusable pads, offers an amazing selection for both beginners and the pros alike. The Glad Rag reusables had me hooked after one use! Here are 10 reasons every woman should try reusable pads, at least once!:
1. The comfort is undeniable.
When it comes to comfort, Glad Rags exceeds any form of menstrual pads. In fact, Glad Rags reusables are the most comfortable thing you can wear during your period. You almost forget it’s even there! Made of 100% cotton, these reusable pads are perfect for sensitive skin. No need to worry about irritation unlike traditional pads.

2. Better for your body.
Unlike traditional pads, Glad Rags are chemical free! The pads that most of us have grown up using are full of chemicals that may not be so good for our body like plastic and artificial fragrance.

3. Saves you a pretty penny.
Why spend your hard-earned buckaroos every month when you can use Glad Rags? These affordable pads will save you $1000s each year! Pretty nice, huh? It’s no surprise that many women have found their Glad Rags to have lasted 20+ years! I’d liked to see a traditional pad that could last that long…well, actually…maybe I wouldn’t. 🙂

Day Pad
4. The environment will thank you.
R-E-C-Y-C-L-E…RECYCLE! Unlike traditional pads, reusable pads are not contributing to the ever growing landfills. In fact, in just one lifetime the average woman uses up to 16,000 pads and tampons. Glad Rags delicately packages their reusables in a cardboard box, with no plastic in sight.

5. You will feel fierce.
Not only are you bettering your body, but the environment as well. Does it get any better than that? Call me crazy, but wearing Glad Rags made me feel in control of my body. Oh, and also like a fierce trendsetter. Periods are 100% normal. Menstruating is not nasty nor is it embarrassing. It’s a natural part of life that you begin to embrace once switch to reusables.  You go, girl!

6. Be funk free.
Unlike traditional pads, Glad Rags do not contain a plastic liner, which prevents moisture from becoming trapped and resulting in odor.

reusable pad
7. Be care free.
Does anyone else forget to buy pads until the day of their period? It’s not the most pleasant thought, especially when you’re in a time crunch. With resuable pads, there is no need to worry! No emergency trips to the drugstore required.

8. Enjoy a cycle without dread.
Let’s be honest-no one looks forward to throwing on those crinkly, stiff pads one week of the month. They’re just not the most comfortable thing in the world. Glad Rags take away nearly all of that dread, leaving you with 100% comfort and ease of mind throughout your whole cycle.

Reusable Pad
9. Support the cause.
Glad Rags is committed to sustainability. What started as a small, home business has grown into a source of inspiration for women around the world. Glad Rags is determined to improve  the lives of women and Mother Earth simultaneously. 🙂

10. It’s a conversation starter.
Seriously–reusable pads are a conversation starter. It’s guaranteed that you may get a few quizzical looks, but hey–don’t knock it until you try it! Sharing your positive experiences with other women may encourage them to hop on the reusable pad boat.

 

Are you willing to give up your traditional pads for a day to try reusables? Comment below!

5 Fruits You Should Be Eating This Summer

Okay seriously, who doesn’t love Summer? You’ve got the sun, sand, blue skies, yummy barbecued foods, maxi dresses (I have an obsession), and refreshingly delicious summer fruits! With all the different fruits, though, how can you possibly choose which to eat? Allow me to narrow things down a bit. Read on to learn the 5 fruits you should be eating this summer and why.

5 Fruits You Should Be Eating This Summer

Watermelon

 

fruits

I swear this fruit is a must! First things first it’s not summer without watermelon. This is one of my favorite fruits and is definitely one you should be eating. Watermelon is loaded with water and will help to keep you hydrated during those hot summer days. It will also keep you satiated, to aid in warding off any undesired weight gain. Watermelon is also an excellent source of vitamin A and C, both excellent for your immune system, and a good source of vitamin B6, which helps your immune system to make antibodies, as well as red blood cells. Vitamin B6 also maintains nerve function. With watermelon, you’ll remain healthy and hydrated throughout the season!

Passionfruit

Passion fruits juice on wooden background

Native to South America, 1 serving of this fruit literally has a day’s worth of fiber (about 25 grams), which will help regulate your digestive system while keeping you full and the pounds off. If that’s not amazing enough for you, it’s packed with over half of your daily requirement of vitamin A, all of your recommended daily value of vitamin C, and 5 grams of protein! Enough said.

Pineapple

Pineapple fruit cut on wooden background

 

This yummy tropical fruit is one of my favorites! Not only is it delicious, but it contains a variety of vitamins and antioxidants which are excellent for fighting those free radicals, especially if you’ll be spending a lot of time at the beach and under the sun! It also contains the enzyme bromelain, which fights inflammation and helps our bodies digest protein. At a cookout, have a slice or two after your burger, BBQ chicken, or any other protein to help you digest.

Guava

Fresh Organic Green Guava

This bad boy contains almost 9 grams of fiber per cup to keep your stomach full and happy, while staving off constipation. It also has the highest amount of lycopene that any other fruit or vegetable. Lycopene is an enzyme that helps fight prostate cancer. Not only that, but guava is packed with antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A, and carotene to combat free radicals. This anti-inflammatory fruit also reduces blood sugar levels, which when combined with its high fiber content and low glycemic index, makes it a good choice for diabetic patients. Guavas benefits even extend beyond fruit itself. Its leaves have been known to treat acne, wrinkles, inflammation, and dark spots when used topically.

Prickly-Pear

 

Cactus fig

Prickly-Pear is an immune boosting fruit with a high concentration of magnesium which reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes and can even reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.  High in fiber, carotenoids, and antioxidants, this fruit is also great for bone health, your heart and blood vessels, and vision, all while reducing inflammation. Not to mention its anti-inflammatory properties make it perfect for arthritis sufferers. Eat up!

Papaya

papaya fruit

This immune boosting fruit is packed with beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E and helps to reduce inflammation, is said to help relieve symptoms of asthma and might even lower your risk of uterine cancer. It also contains the enzyme papain, which like bromelain, helps to digest protein, which is perfect for all that BBQ meet being eaten at those summer cookouts! Dice up some papaya and pineapple for your guests at cookouts, they’ll thank you later. 🙂

What are some of your favorite fruits?

~ Letisha

9 Ways to Kick Allergies’ A** This Spring!

Brace yourself, allergy season is upon us…

Prepare for the runny nose, itchy eyes and constant sneezing–the type of allergies where one sneeze just isn’t enough. Seriously–how much sneezing can one person take? When it’s not the catastrophic avalanche of sneezing, it’s the itchy throat and eyes…maybe that pesky fly that just won’t take a hint, too. I digress.

In between sneezing and throat scratching, one may begin to ponder about the plethora of ways to get rid of flies to solve these allergy woes. One may even wander into their local pharmacy in hopes of immediate relief. Sadly enough, traditional allergy medications are not only ridiculously expensive, but don’t always work! (Home Remedies Enter, Stage Right).

These au-natural tips and tricks are all you need to ward off irritating allergies all season long!:

Peppermint Tea

The menthol-y goodness in mint tea works wonders for allergies. Pretty cool, huh? The minty aroma opens our nasal passages and helps clear away the mucous. The steam provides necessary moisture for our dry, irritated nasal passages. Simply allow your nose and mouth to inhale the warm steam from a bowl of hot water. I find it best to place a towel over my head and the bowl. This trick can even be done on the go with your favorite mint tea in your mug!

Steam

Breathe in…breathe out… It’s as simple as that! This allergy-fighting trick is similar to the peppermint tea, just minus the peppermint tea. By carefully inhaling steam, your nasal passages will open, allowing for almost instant relief. Try steaming for about 10 minutes. *The trick also works wonders for your skin!

Shower

Just don’t have time to steam? Then hop in the shower! Not only will the hot shower open your nasal passages, but you will also wash away any pollen that may be lingering on your body. Be sure to put on fresh, clean clothes after!

Probiotics

The sterilized world many of us live in does not leave much room for the ‘good’ bacteria. The more ‘good’ bacteria in your gut (which is what probiotics provide), the less likely you are to suffer from allergies. By building up your immune system, probiotics increase your defense against allergies as well as asthma and eczema. Remember; Healthy gut=less allergies. Some awesome sources of probiotics: yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kim chi, and probiotic capsules. 

Butterbur

This European herb has been found to be just as effective as traditional antihistamines. The added bonus? Butterbur does not induce drowsiness, unlike many common antihistamines and can be purchased in tablet form! 

Fish Oil

The anti-inflamatory response of Omega 3’s fights the inflamation caused by our allergies. The omega 3’s also work to increase our immune system. Our favorite brand is Nordic Naturals. 

Turmeric

This magical spice not only works wonders for our skin, but for our allergies, as well. The antioxidant curcumin found in turmeric is anti-inflammatory and has been proven to show the same effects as antihistamine drugs. Turmeric is available as a spice to add to your favorite recipes or in capsule form.

Quercetin

This plant pigment (found in plants and food) contains anti-histamine and anti-inflamatory properties. To reap the full benefits of Quercetin, consume more foods such as onions, apples, citrus, cranberries, broccoli, green tea, just to name a few.

Eucalyptus Oil

Much like peppermint tea, the anti-inflamatory eucalyptus oil works by loosening the phlegm caused by allergies. This magnificent oil comes in many forms: lozenges, vapor rubs, oils. I’d recommend adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil to your steam facial.

 

My favorite home remedy has always been a quick and easy shower. This may not work for everyone, especially for those who suffer from severe allergies. Although, there are countless medications available to prevent and relieve allergy symptoms, home remedies can often prove to be more effective and less costly.

*Please seek the advice of your doctor before trying any of these home remedies.

 

-Zeena

7 Surprising Ways to Use Epsom Salt

Epsom salt is just one of those ingredients that should be a staple your home. There are so many incredible uses for it! From body aches to foot infections, epsom salt treats a variety of ailments. In fact, there are a few ways to use epsom salt you may not have heard of! Ready to be surprised?

 

Acne Mask

It’s no secret that we are addicted to face masks; epsom salt is no exception. A simple mask made of epsom salt and honey soothes irritated skin while reducing inflammation and acne. To make this gentle mask, combine equal parts honey with equal parts epsom salt. Gently apply this mixture to clean, dry skin, before washing off after 30 or so minutes.

Foot Soak

Epsom foot baths are the perfect way to begin any pedicure. Soaking your feet in a warm foot bath soothes sore feet while relieving odor. Not to mention it draws out infections of the foot. Start by filling a good size basin with warm water (just enough to immerse your feet). Add 1/2 cup of epsom salt and soak away!

Exfoliate

One of the best ways to remove dead skin cells is exfoliation. Using epsom salt to exfoliate your skin removes dead, dry skin cells, while supplying your body with nutrients. Could this get any better? Mix a 1-2 tablespoons of epsom salt with 1/2 cup of coconut oil or olive oil. While in the shower, gently rub the mixture around your skin before rinsing clean. The oil leaves your skin moisturized and radiant.

Dish Cleaner

Removing buildup from pots and pans only takes a few minutes when using epsom salt. The rough grains help to remove stuck on food or oil without using harsh chemicals. Add a tablespoon or two to your pots or pans and gently scrub in a circular motion.

Remove Black Heads

A simple mix of water and epsom salt works wonders in removing black heads from your skin. Simply apply the mixture with a cotton ball to a clean dry face and allow to sit for a few minutes before rinsing clean.

Fertilize Plants

Plants not doing so hot? Epsom salt might be the solution. The magnesium is used by plants to produce chlorophyll, while sulfur aids in plant growth. In fact, plants that have been fed epsom salt produce larger flowers! Simply mix a few tablespoons of epsom salt with 2 gallons of water. Use the mixture to feed plants with low soil magnesium levels a few times a month.

Constipation Relief

Epsom salt is a super effective way to relieve constipation. The salt increases the amount of water in the intestines, softening stools for easy passing. The epsom salt may also detoxify the colon. Dissolve 1 tsp of epsom salt in 4 ounces of water and consume. A bowel movement should occur between 30 minutes to 6 hours*.

How do you use epsom salt?

Comment below!

Peace, Love & Coconuts!

-Zeena

*This does not replace the advice of your doctor. Please consult your physician before beginning any regimen.

Skincare Guide