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Health & Fitness

Men: 6 Things You’re Missing That Could Improve Your Overall Health

improve your overall health

Brown & Coconut would like to welcome fitness professional Matthew Ibrahim, who’s chock full of fitness knowledge that EVERYONE needs to know! Read on for his fabulous fitness tips & tricks. You’ll be glad you did…

Hi, my name is Matthew Ibrahim. My passion is helping you move better, and I specialize in bridging the gap between rehabilitation and performance.

Matthew Ibrahim

I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise and Health Sciences from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Currently, I work as a rehabilitation aide at the Bay State Physical Therapy clinic in Arlington, where I have spent the last three years gaining a deeper appreciation for the human body and how it was meant to move and function. In addition to my therapeutic background, I also have a passion for the field of performance, and I’ve been able to tie the two together by working as a strength and conditioning performance coach at the Vantedge Performance center in Woburn. During the upcoming fall I will be applying to Doctor of Physical Therapy programs in order to eventually become licensed to treat and heal patients, athletes and the average weekend warrior.

I’m a huge advocate of continued learning and helping others optimize their true level of performance by meeting and exceeding each of their goals. Please feel free to reach me by email at matthew.ibrahim001@gmail.com and check out my free Mobility 101 blog to learn more.

Today, I’d like to touch on some topics related to men and what they aren’t doing enough of, in terms of their overall health and wellness. Yes, you heard that right, fellas. There are things you’re missing that could improve your overall health.

Here’s your chance to step it up a notch!

Let’s go:

6 Things That Could Improve Your Overall Health

1) Push-Ups

I often see a ton of guys in the gym primarily focusing on benching their way to the ‘promised land’ of increased chest size and definition. Don’t get me wrong – bench pressing is a great tool to add into any workout program. However, by adding a variation of push-ups into your workout routine, in concert with your benching, you’ll have the ability to target all of the different muscle fibers and muscle groups in the chest and shoulder areas that benching alone can’t hit. For starters, try these three push-up variations:

  • Push-Up with One-Arm Raise

push-up in the down position yes

Down Position

push-up in down the position

Up Position

  • Yoga Pike Push-Up

push-up in the down position yes improve your overall health

Down Position

push-up with the yoga pike up

Up Position

  • Push-Up with Feet on Wall

push-up feet on wall in the down position yes

Down Position


push-up feet on wall in the up position

Up Position

2) Recovery

I could go on a long journey with this one, but suffice to say that I don’t see enough men devoting adequate time to the recovery aspect of training: mobility drills, movement preparation prior to lifting, static stretching post-lift, and soft tissue work in the form of foam rolling and lacrosse ball rolling.

These recovery drills and mobility fillers are a monumental ingredient to the overall recipe that is health and wellness. If you’re trying to increase the weight in any of your lifts and if you’re trying to increase range of motion in any of your joints, than you’ll undoubtedly need to start incorporating recovery drills, mobility fillers and stretching.

Recovery is one of the most important aspects of training that often goes overlooked. To put it in better terms, if you just purchased a brand new Ferrari, wouldn’t you constantly take care of it in order to keep it clean and also free from scratches and dents? Well, why don’t you treat your body the same way? You only get one body, so treat it right.

Here are a few recovery and mobility techniques that I use on a daily basis to ensure consistent quality movements for later on when I’m lifting weights and also during any function of my life:

  • Feet — At the beginning and end of every day, try rolling out the bottom of your feet and heel with either a tennis or lacrosse ball. The goal here is to roll out for 45 seconds per foot. You’ll notice a markedly improved awareness between your body and the ground, along with helping to loosen up some of the tissues of your feet that go through a pounding each day.
  • Hips — You can add the 1/2 Kneeling Quad/Hip Flexor Couch Stretch as a mobility filler during your workout in between strength movements, at the end of your workout as a form of recovery, and even at the end of a long day at work, especially if you sit in a chair for the majority of the day. This stretch does a wonderful job of increasing your range of motion and opening up the anterior aspect of your hips and lower abdominal region. If you’re in the crowd that sits at work all day, than this stretch is even more important for your long-term lower back health. Tight hips eventually lead to lower back problems. Address the problem early though, and your spine will thank you later. The goal here will be to perform the stretch for 2 rounds of 30 second holds per side. When the right leg is in front with the right foot down, you’re stretching the left hip. At this point, you’ll want to actively engage the left glute muscle in order to get deeper into the stretch for the anterior aspect of the left hip. You’ll want to repeat this for the right side as well.
  • Mid-Upper Back (Thoracic Spine) — Pick up a foam roller from Perform Better and start using it to roll out and extend your mid-upper back (thoracic spine) region, especially if you’re someone who sits in a poor “stooped-over” posture throughout the day. This will help to open up the tiny little segments in your spine, which will ultimately lead to a better posture and a better feeling back. You can also add this one in pre-workout, during your workout, and even after your workout. The goal here is to roll on the foam roller from your mid-back to your upper-back, and then back to your mid-back. This equals 1 repetition. You’ll want to perform 8 total repetitions. Once those are complete, find an area in between your mid- and upper-back that is especially tight. Pin it down and raise your elbows up in front of your face with your hands next to your ears, but do not grab your head or neck. The point here is to clear some space on your spine to give the foam roller more room to work with. Once everything is set in place, slowly extend back while keeping a gentle chin-tuck (neutral cervical spine), followed by slowly coming back to the starting position. Keep performing this extension pattern for 5 total repetitions. As a side note, a chin-tuck (neutral cervical spine) means that you’ll want to keep your neck straight in line with the rest of your spine, all the way to your hips. Imagine when you are nodding ‘yes’ to someone. Let’s take 10% of that range of motion that you used from top to bottom of the nod. Now, use that 10% to gently nod down and go into a nice neutral cervical spine (i.e., chin-tuck). This position should not be aggressive or strenuous. It should be very subtle.
  • Here is a video demonstrating all three recovery drills:

3) Vitamin D and Fish Oil Supplements

Unless you’re living in an area that provides a hefty amount of sun each day throughout the year, you’ll want to start adding some Vitamin D supplements into your diet. Research has proven that men in particular simply don’t get enough sunlight and that they are showing a large deficiency in Vitamin D. That’s pretty important, especially since low levels of Vitamin D are connected to heart disease and cancer. I recommend taking a look at brands such as Nature Made and Athletic Greens that carry this product.

If your diet includes fish and seafood with high contents of omega-3 fatty acids throughout the week on at least 3-4 days, then you’re in a good position. However, if that’s not the case, than I suggest you look into adding some fish oil supplements on a daily basis. Even if you’re someone who eats fish regularly, I still recommend adding in the fish oil supplements in order to ensure a proper amount in your diet. Not only is fish oil imperative to increasing overall brain functioning and efficiency, but it can also help in decreasing body fat, improving skin quality and also in increasing the rate of recovery after exercise. Take a look at brands such as Athletic Greens and Nordic Naturals for high quality fish oil supplements.

4) Reading

Are you ever in a group conversation and find yourself guessing at some of the words being used? Yup, I’ve been there too. Not only does reading help to facilitate a greater toolbox of verbiage, it also enhances your intellectuality, broadens your social awareness and improves your cognitive skills.

Reading can go a long way in increasing the health of your brain functioning by constantly providing the thought-provoking stimulus that nurtures learning. Select a topic that interests you most and start plugging away. Here are a few books that I recommend taking a look at:

5) Trying New Things

Most people, and men in particular, seem to ‘know it all’ and are set in their ways. I get it — you like the way you do things and are comfortable with your routine. There’s nothing wrong with that at all, but it doesn’t hurt to extend your branches and to try new things. Who knows, you might even learn something along the way.

Here are a few new things I’ve started trying over the past couple years that have helped me become a better overall person:

  • Cooking — Every human should learn the basic skill of cooking and preparing food. Work with what you have. You don’t need to be a chef to cook. You just need to love food and to have the options available to you. Be creative and have fun with it. Here are some examples of the aftermath of when I storm into the kitchen:
spanish-rizzoto improve your overall health

Spanish Rizzoto


Asian Chicken & Broccoli


Surf and Turf

  • Yoga — I don’t need to win you over with this one. Yoga is one of the oldest forms of physical practice that has stood the test of time. Along with being restorative and soothing, yoga is also beneficial in the following areas: mobility, flexibility, balance, proprioception and awareness.
  • New Foods  Your palate changes over time, so the food you didn’t enjoy at a young age is probably much tastier now. I didn’t even know what broccoli was when I was 4 years old. Now, I try to eat broccoli every day. (As a side note, I refer to broccoli as ‘little green trees’. Yes, that’s how much I love broccoli).

6) Fun Cardio

When was the last time you heard someone brag about how intense their cardio session was yesterday at the gym? Crickets. Everyone I talk to always mentions a distance or volume of time in relation to what they performed for cardio. No one ever discusses at which intensity they trained at. I suggest looking into purchasing a Polar watch that displays and records your heart rate so that you can gauge it during your conditioning. Once you get used to it, you can start playing around with different intensities (i.e., heart rates) and create your own zones of training. Keep a record of your heart rates, so that the next time around you can crush your previous score on that same conditioning circuit.

No more boring treadmill running for hours on-end. You can now mix it up with a variety of other ‘cardio’ options. I prefer using the term ‘Energy Systems Development (ESD)’ over plain cardio. Why? In addition to improving our cardiovascular endurance and strength, ESD also taxes all areas of our energy tank when we’re pushing the limits and adding in different tempos, ratios and intensity level percentages. However, the term ‘cardio’ alone only stands for the former on most occasions, and not the latter. In essence, we are developing our energy systems on all levels when we perform our conditioning this way, which bodes well for our long-term aerobic and anaerobic capacities. I’m a huge fan of selecting 2-3 options and bulking them together for my ESD conditioning circuits. I tend to use a handful of options, such as the following: Concept 2 Erg Rower, Schwinn Airdyne, upright bike, agility and plyometric drills on the turf, sprinting drills on the track, Kettlebell exercises (i.e., swings), Battling Ropes, medicine-ball exercises (i.e., overhead slams), swimming, uphill sprints, and even bodyweight movements (i.e., push-ups and reverse lunges).

Here are a few routines you should try out:

Routine 1 —

  • A1: Erg Rower — Row for 100 meters.
  • A2: Airdyne — Work at 70-85% for 20 seconds, followed by 30-45% for 20 seconds, and immediately followed by 70-85% for another 20 seconds (total time = 1 minute).
  • Rotate between A1 and A2 for 5-6 total rounds (total time = roughly 8-12 minutes).
  • Try to limit rest periods as best as possible.

Routine 2 —

  • A1: Kettlebell Swings — Select a bell that you would consider to be a moderate weight and swing it for 20 seconds.
  • A2: Push-Ups — Perform for 20 seconds.
  • A3: Reverse Lunges — Perform by alternating sides for 20 seconds.
  • A4: Medicine-Ball Overhead Slams — Perform for 20 seconds.
  • Cycle through A1-A4 with very little to no rest periods. At the end of round 1, take a 30 second breather. Continue this sequence for a total of 3-4 rounds (total time = roughly 6-8 minutes).

Routine 3 —

  • Find a hill that you would consider to be pretty steep with a high incline. The goal is to work at a high intensity here for very short bouts.
  • Run up the hill 2-3 times in order to warm-up to the hill and to get used to the feel of the incline.
  • Once you’re ready to work, perform 8-10 uphill sprints working at 80-85%. After each sprint, walk down the hill slowly to recover and to catch your breath.
  • Spend no longer than 30 seconds of rest in between uphill sprints.

I hope you start incorporating some of these elements into your life moving forward. I suggest to try adding one new element each week rather than going full-speed with all at once. Best of luck!

Start Mobilizing


These Foods Make Seasonal Allergies Worse

These Foods Make Seasonal Allergies Worse

Ah yes, allergy season is here, and if you happen to be someone who suffers from seasonal allergies, you know all too well how miserable they can be. I’m pretty sure we could do without the sneezing, runny nose, itchy & watery eyes, and scratchy throat. It seems as though the market for seasonal allergy related drugs is not going away anytime soon, as allergy symptom-relieving products can be quite effective. With that being said, they don’t always work.

But, did you know that there’s more you can do to fight your seasonal allergies? It’s more than just popping a pill, or squirting (ew) medication up that nose of yours. What you are eating is actually playing a role in how mild (or severe) your allergies actually are. That’s right, there are certain foods that worsen allergies. You see, our bodies are oh so complex, but can sometimes confuse the different proteins in food with pollen exacerbating our seasonal allergy symptoms.

There are three basic types of seasonal allergies.

Types of Allergies


(Typically pollinates from late winter through early spring). In some areas of the world, some weeds will also pollinate in the springtime.

  • Common sources: Alder, Ash, Aspen, Beech, Birch, Box elder, Cedar, Cottonwood, Cypress, Elm, Hickory, Juniper, Maple, Mountain Elder, Mulberry, Oak, Olive, Palm, Pecan, Pine, Poplar, Sycamore, Walnut, Willow
  • Food to avoid: Almonds, Apples, Apricot, Carrots, Celery, Cherries, Coriander, Fennel, Hazelnuts, Kiwi, Lychee, Nectarine, Orange, Parsley, Parsnip, Peaches, Pears, Pepper, Persimmon, Plums, Potato, Prune, Soy, and Wheat.


(Typically pollinates late spring through early summer). 

  • Common sources: Bermuda, Johnson, Kentucky Blue Grass, Orchard, Redtop, Rye, Sweet Vernal, Timothy.
  • Food to avoid: Celery, Melons, Peaches, Oranges, and Tomatoes


(Typically pollinates from late summer through early fall)  ragweed, sagebrush, tumbleweed (Russian thistle),

  • Common sources: Burning Bush, Cocklebur, Lamb’s Quarter, Pigweed, Plantain, Ragweed, Red Sorrel, Russian Thistle, Sagebrush, Mugwort, Scales, and Tumbleweeds.
  • Food to avoid: Banana, Camomille, Cantaloupe, Carrot, Celery, Coriander, Cucumber, Fennel, Honeydew, Parsley, Pepper, Sunflower, Watermelon, and Zucchini

How to Determine You Type of Seasonal Allergies

An easy way to answer this question without any sort of formal test would be to take a look at when your symptoms are present. Do your symptoms seem to arrive early on in the spring? Well, you most likely suffer from Tree Allergies. Do you suffer at the end of spring and right at the beginning of summer? Well, you most likely have grass allergies. And if your allergies don’t kick in until the end of summer and into Fall, you probably have weed allergies. It’s also possible to suffer from more than one type of seasonal allergy.

What should you eat to help your allergy symptoms?

Just as there are foods that worsen allergies , there are certain foods that can help to alleviate symptoms. Eating foods that have anti-inflammatory properties are important to help ease allergies symptoms, as well as staying hydrated to flush your body of the histamine released as a result of your allergies. Try some of the foods below:

  • Fish
  • Water
  • Flaxseeds
  • Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Miso
  • Grapes
  • Onions
  • Red Wine
  • Probiotics
  • Garlic
  • Honey
  • Broccoli
  • Nettle
  • Elderberry

Do you suffer from seasonal allergies?

Comment below! Oh and don’t forget to like & share the post!

~ Letisha

My Secret to Staying Fit

If you’re like the majority of the people in the world, being healthy is important (on some level). Despite this, so many people have a great deal of difficulty doing so, often due to lack of information or to the overwhelming number of temptations we are presented with on a daily basis. Now let me first say that there is no one secret way to be healthy, but after much trial and error, I have had success with a few different techniques.

Read on for my secret to staying fit & healthy.

(Excuse the mess, I'm a busy young lady)

(Excuse the mess, I’m a busy young lady)

1. Gather information.
This is important. The more knowledge you have, the smarter you will be to be when it comes to making decisions about your health and fitness. You’ll be much less likely to fall for weight-loss “gimmicks” because you’ll be armed with the information that easily and quite often debunks the outlandish claims made by a lot of these fad diet pills, shakes, smoothies, and ab crunchers. You’ll also know what it’s going to take for YOU to be healthy. For example, I know my weight, my body fat %, my muscle mass, my BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), and my Caloric Maintenance Level. With this information, you’ll be able to determine the best plan for your road to better health.

2. Get a fitness routine.
Many reasons that people avoid exercise is yes, due to laziness, but it is also largely due to uncertainty. People often don’t know what exercises are best for them, which are most effective, or even what exercises they might actually enjoy. The focus is often on what they hate about working out. You’ve got to change your mindset and focus on what you love. Do some experimenting, do research, take a fitness class, get a trainer – do what ever you feel is best for you to learn the best fitness routine for YOU.

3. Set Goals.
You’re far more likely to see success if you know what you’re striving for. You’re also more likely to stick to your routine each time you achieve a goal. It acts like a mini push or motivation to keep going. People often say “I want to lose weight/ get in shape”, then they join a gym (often after New Years), work out for a month or two, and then quit. You have to set goals. Saying you want to lose 30 lbs is not enough. So you want to lose 30 lbs, well typically people lose fat at a rate of .5 – 2 lbs per week. The more overweight you are, the faster the weight will come off. With that being said, to lose 30 lbs (of fat), it will take approximately 4 MONTHS (at least) or up to 1 YEAR and 3 MONTHS. So, quitting your routine after 2 months isn’t going to cut it. You’ll also be able to use your weekly fat loss rate to ensure you’re staying on track. Suddenly you go from seeing yourself losing 1 pound per week to having lost almost 10 pounds in 2 months! What a huge motivator!

4. Get more protein.
The general rule is: consume 1 gram of protein for every pound you weigh. So, for me I should be eating 123 grams of protein per day (sounds like a lot, I know) BUT it’s DOABLE! Most people get nowhere near what they need with all of that processed junk food out there.
(Note: 1g of protein = 4 calories. Be sure to factor this into your caloric intake for the day. Example: 123g of protein = 492 calories. That means the rest of your calories should come from carbohydrates and fat.)

Sleep is so much more important than people think. Get your 8 hours, period. My generation loves using the terminology “Team no sleep” I cringe when I hear this. It somehow seems to imply that those who forgo sleep in pursuit of professional endevours are in some way superior to those who “succumb” to a decent nights rest. The reality is, those who make a decent nights sleep a priority know how important it is your health. Those who sleep more and lead a healthy lifestyle can critically think and process information far better than someone who is sleep deprived and are also less likely to get sick or have mood disorders. Now if you ask me, someone who’s brain is half asleep because they have not slept or is constantly sick and/or moody and irritable is not someone who is superior by any means. Not to mention when your sleep deprived, you are more likely to overeat junk because your body is looking for quick energy. Get your sleep.

6. DRINK…water.
All other health benefits aside, water is so important when it comes to regulating your cravings. Forget about some super pill thats going to keep your cravings at bay. A huge part of the equation is WATER (and sleep). So drink up.

7. Monitor your snacking.
No matter how hard you work out, if you pack all those calories back on through snacking, your are essentially undoing all of the hard work you just did. Snack healthy, but snack smart and most importantly, don’t go over your caloric intake requirements for the day.

What are you doing to stay fit?

~ Letisha

15 Reasons You NEED Probiotics

15 Reasons You Need Probiotics

Have you incorporated probiotics into your diet yet? If not, I highly recommend that you do and after taking them myself, I see that there are so many reasons you need probiotics in your diet.

A few years back I had these awful, sharp stomach pains that would occur like clockwork, right after I ate, no matter what I ate. Unfortunately, I did not know what caused these pains, so you can imagine what a frustrating situation this was. Right around this time, I was also experiencing awful breakouts. My face was a disaster area. As someone who did not suffer from hormone-related teenage acne, this came as quite a shock.

One fine day, I was in my second home Whole Foods, browsing the health and beauty section when a helpful associate offered me a sample of Pearls Probiotics. She told me it would help me clear up my skin. Initially I was a little off-put by this, as I hated when anyone mentioned my face, helpful intentions or not. Reluctantly I accepted the free sample and years later, I am so glad that I did. Not only did the probiotics clear my skin, but they stopped my stomach pains!! Yay! It was a pleasant side effect of something that was meant to clear my skin by balancing my intestinal flora, BUT is it a coincidence that my digestive tract was out of whack around the same time I was experiencing stomach pains and acne? I think not!

Probiotics offer a number of benefits, including:

  1. Reduces bloating
  2. Reduces gas
  3. Prevents stomach cramping
  4. Regulates bowel movements
  5. Reduces acne
  6. Strengthens immune system
  7. Improves vaginal health
  8. Reduces chances of allergy occurrence & eczema in children when taken by women during pregnancy & breast feeding
  9. Improves urinary tract health
  10. Can help stop diarrhea
  11. Reduces bad cholesterol
  12. Lessens tooth decay & gum disease
  13. Reduces chances of common colds & illness in children
  14. Reduces upper respiratory infections
  15. Improves throat, ear, and tonsil health (fewer occurrences of ear infection, strep throat and tonsilitis)

Over the years I have tried different brands and want to share with you my top 2 probiotic supplements that I’ve had excellent digestive and skin related success with:

1) Bio-Kult Probiotics

Contains 14 probiotic strains that are are cryo-protected during the freeze drying process, which protects the bacteria from the harsh stomach acid and safely reach the gastrointestinal tract. This brand does not require refrigeration. Each capsule contains 2 billion microorganisms.

2) Pearls Probiotics “Elite”

Offering 5 billion probiotics, Pearls Elite is formulated with True Delivery technology that ensures these little probiotic supplements will survive your stomachs harsh acids and arrive to your intestines in tact. This brand does not require refrigeration.

2) Nordic Naturals Probiotics

With 12 billion live cultures, Nordic Naturals probiotics do not require refrigeration and is enhanced with prebiotics and help to support immune function.

Some excellent food sources of probiotics include:

  • Yogurt (opt for brands that don’t add sugar; some individuals, myself included, do not do well on dairy at all so, full disclosure, I do not eat yogurt or any dairy product for that matter)
  • Kefir
  • Soy Milk
  • Buttermilk
  • Some cheese: Cheddar, swiss, gouda, parmesean (note: cooking kills the good bacteria – consume raw)
  • Kombucha
  • Sauerkraut
  • Blue Algae
  • Pickles
  • Olives
  • Kimchi
  • Tempeh
  • Miso Soup

Currently, I use Bio-Kult Probiotics and GT’s Kombucha as my main sources of probiotics.

Do you incorporate probiotics into your diet? Comment below!

~ Letisha

Ban Bad Breath for Good!

ban bad breath

Bad breath: we’ve all been there. With the amount of stuff we put into our mouths on a daily basis, it’s no wonder our pie holes begin to stink after a while! So, what exactly IS bad breath? Well folks, bad breath happens when bacteria builds up in your mouth and creates a foul odor. This is also known as halitosis or malodor. Bad breath and its lovely foulness seems to pop up and surprise you when you least expect it: during that morning yawn, when you’re talking with your friend after a tasty onion-filled lunch, or just mid-day! The good news is there are easy ways to ban bad breath for good!:

Brush Well

Brush your teeth thoroughly before bed. I know–it’s like pointing out the obvious. However, not brushing your teeth properly before bed allows ample bacteria to grow and cause stronger bad breath than if you had brushed correctly. Make sure to brush, floss and rinse thoroughly.


Chew Mint Leaves

Mint leaves contain wonderful antibacterial properties. Chewing on the leaves for a few minutes can help to reduce bad breath and leave you with a minty aftertaste. Instead of gum, store a few mint leaves in your bag for easy access!


Lemon Water

Another great reason to use lemons! Lemon water is not only refreshing and detoxifying but it helps to freshen breath by rinsing away any leftover residue that’s causing the bad breath.


Less Meat & Diary

Higher consumption of meat and dairy products has been linked to bad breath. Try reducing the amount of meat and dairy to help alleviate the odor.


Clean Your Tongue

The tongue holds onto food residue and bacteria. Keeping it clean by brushing it or using a tongue scraper can help to reduce bad breath.

How do you keep your breath fresh? We want to hear your natural tips and tricks for how you ban bad breath!


**Chronic bad breath could indicate an underlying health issue such as acid reflux. In this case, you may want to visit a doctor or health specialist.


Peace, Love, and Coconuts.


Eat This….But Not With That!

As if maintaining a healthy diet in a busy, junk food-filled society wasn’t enough, but it turns out there are actually certain foods that should NOT be eaten together.

Yup, there are different foods, that when eaten together can actually do more harm than good. That fatigued feeling after a meal or the stomach ache that follows a meal is often the result of a bad food combination.
bad food combinations
All of that can be avoided though! Below are a few quick rules that will ensure you stomach and body is energized, happy, & healthy!
  • Eat fruit alone. Because fruits are digested so quickly, if they are combined with other foods (starches, proteins, or fats), your stomach will choose to digest the other contents, leaving the fruit to rot in your stomach. This of course is quite toxic. Avoid it. The only exception is that fruits can be combined with other fruits or nuts.


  • Don’t combine protein & starch. Protein and starch are both digested differently, each needing a  different enzyme, different acidity levels, and time taken to digest. Our stomachs can only focus one one however, and will choose to digest protein first. This will cause the starch to sit in your stomach for longer, leading to decomposition and this can be toxic for your body

  • Stick to one protein at a time. Too many different types of proteins eaten together are a lot to handle and can take quite a bit of energy to digest. Avoid it if you can.
Below are 10 common food combinations that should be avoided:
  1. Banana & Dairy Milk
  2. Yogurt & Fruit Parfait
  3. Spaghetti with tomatoes or tomato sauce
  4. Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  5. Cheese Filled Omelets
  6. Eggs & Bacon
  7. Eggs & Fruit
  8. Hamburgers, Hotdogs, or any other meat filled sandwiches
  9. Chips & Salsa
  10. Rice & Beans
Generally protein & veggies are fine when combined, starches & veggies are okay, and fruit & nuts are okay together too. Also, certain food combinations can become tolerable depending on how they are prepared, when they are combined with different spices, or if veggies are added to the meal. It should also be noted that certain people who have been eating particular food combinations for many years, may have adapted to the food combination and can tolerate them better than someone who is not used to eating those foods together.
Do you think you might be experiencing the negative side effects of bad food combinations? For the next week or two, try only eating the right combination of foods together and see how your body responds. See how you feel. Your stomach might just surprise you!
~ Letisha

5 Ways to Jumpstart Your Morning

Ever have those mornings where you feel like you just can’t WAKE UP?? Let’s be honest folks; getting through the day tired and groggy with droopy eyelids is unbearable, especially when you have be on your toes! I definitely have those days where I’m tired but need to stay on point!


Jumpstart Your Morning

So, what’s a person to do when they need to seriously wake up ASAP? Most quick fixes such as energy drinks/shots are chock full of questionable ingredients that can wreak havoc on your body. For folks with restrictive diets, especially ones that focus on natural ingredients, choosing these popular energy supplements can be a big no-no. There is good news, however! These 5 pick-me-ups listed below will not only jumpstart your morning, but they are natural and healthy too! It’s a win-win!

1.Ginger Orange Sunrise Smoothie

The B vitamins in this fresh, fruity and tangy smoothie always perk me up. The ginger makes me feel like I’m breathing in new life by clearing up a minor sinus congestion. The vitamins in the delicious fruit provide that necessary energy boost.

How to Make:

Start with…

–        1 fresh ginger (about the size of a quarter)

–        1 large orange

–        ½ cup pineapple chunks

–        1 tbsp chia seeds

–        1 ½  cups coconut water

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth and enjoy right away!

2. Kombucha

This carbonated tea contains a good amount vitamins and probiotics that help provide an energy boost and support the immune system all at once.

3. 5 Minute Cardio Routine

It’s all about getting the blood flowing. A quick 5 minute cardio-based workout can really help wake you up. The hardest part is actually doing it! Once you get going, you won’t regret it. Try a quick 5 minute run, jumping jacks, dancing or a combo of each! Choose your favorite workout to get that morning boost.

4. Ice Cube Facial

This may sound a bit crazy but ice cubes can be a wonderful part of your morning routine. Ice cubes aren’t just for icing your coffee.  Take an ice cube and rub it all over your face until ice cube melts. The shock of the cold ice will wake you up in an instant and will help reduce puffiness, dark circles, and blemishes.

5. Iced Green Tea with Lemon

It’s no mystery that caffeine boosts energy but if you’re looking for a healthier alternative to the typical caffeinated beverages then try green tea. Green tea is widely known for its health benefits and antioxidants. Adding ice and lemon gives the tea a tangy and cool way to wake up while still supporting your health.

What is your favorite way to jumpstart your morning??


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 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).


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!


Eating out of Habit: Are YOU guilty of it?

Are you guilty of habit eating? We all are in one way or another. We are creatures of habit so it is only natural that habits are going to shape how and what we eat. The important thing is to be aware of this so that we can break potentially destructive eating habits we may already have, and prevent any new ones from forming.

habit eating

Habit eating is largely affected by our environment, as was confirmed in a study by thePersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin journal. This study involved participants who were watching movie clips/trailers in a movie theater. Participants of the study were either regular consumers of popcorn when attending the movies or were not regular consumers of popcorn when attending movies. Two types of popcorn were distributed for the movie clips, fresh popcorn and stale popcorn.

At the end of the study, the group of regular popcorn consumers had eaten the same amount of stale popcorn as fresh. Among the group that does not regularly eat popcorn at the movies, less stale popcorn was consumed than fresh.

Altering the location of the movie clip showing. Participants were given popcorn (fresh or stale) while watching movie clips in a meeting room. This time, both habitual and non habitual popcorn eaters ate less stale popcorn than fresh. Changing the environment seemed to disrupt the habit thus altering the pattern of behavior.

Lastly, a new group of participants were given stale or fresh popcorn at the movies while watching movie clips. This time, participants were instructed to either use their dominant or non-dominant hand to eat. Participants who used their non-dominant hand, whether they were regular consumers of popcorn at the movies or not, ate much less of the stale popcorn than fresh. Again, changing part of the “equation” seemed to disrupt the habitual behavior.

The important thing is to become more aware of your habits before they negatively affect your health.


  • Eat a varied diet. Even with healthy foods,  eating the same thing all the time can cause you to miss out on other nutrients offered by other foods.
  • Try not to eat in front of the TV or while distracted. You want to be aware so you know what and how much you are eating and also so you know when to stop. If it’s a must, try switching the hand you eat with.
  • Change the hand you eat with or the location. These will disrupt the patter or habit that you formed and help stop you from habit eating!

Try eating with a different hand next time you are at the movies. Come back and tell me the effect it had!

Don’t forget to comment, like, and share!! 🙂

~ Letisha