6 Secrets To Relieve PMS + Balance Your Hormones

Imagine feeling like you're temporarily somebody else, trapped in the body of a stranger who is angrier, more irrational and sadder than you are. This emotional stranger hijacks your body once a month and consumes your identity. Sometimes this new secondary identity weeps uncontrollably, or even lashes out at loved ones. 

And to make matters worse, your stomach is bloated, your breasts might be sore and you've got mad cravings! 

Sadly, this hypothetical scenario isn't so “make-believe” for thousands of women around the world. It describes PMS; a real and often debilitating condition that affects up to 75% of Western women.

So what can we do about it? Do we need to be victim to this monthly cycle, or can we break free?

In this blog post, I'll be sharing new discoveries and key insights for managing PMS naturally.
But first, let me explain...

What Is PMS?

PMS stands for Premenstrual Syndrome. In its more severe state, it may also be referred to as PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder).

As the name suggests, this disorder is associated with the female menstrual cycle. For most women, symptoms strike two weeks before the onset of menses and subside soon after menses begins.

The symptoms of PMS include:

  • Heightened emotions that are out of character, including anger, sadness and irritability
  • Sugar or other food cravings
  • Headaches
  • Low libido
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Bloating
  • Weight gain (fluid related)
  • Breast tenderness
  • Cramps
  • Disordered sleep

How Can I Manage PMS Naturally?

Many experts believe that the underlying cause of PMS relates to hormonal imbalances that take place during women's menstrual cycle. Therefore, treatment options should seek to address these core issues.

Here are a list of options you might like to consider:

1) Sweat It Out

Exercise has a profound effect on our endocrine system and has been linked to the improvement of other hormonal disorders, such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Furthermore, exercise stimulates the release of feel-good hormones and endorphins which can naturally enhance your mood.

Don't feel like moving your body? If you're cramping and in pain, that's understandable! Even a gentle walk and stretching can help to relieve lower back discomfort and other associated symptoms of PMS.

2) Herbal Treatments

A number of herbs have been traditionally used to assist with PMS. Maca, black cohosh, lemon balm, red raspberry leaf, chasteberry, burdock and gingko number amongst the most common varieties. I visited my Naturopathic doctor and she made me an herbal tincture for the cramping and bleeding and it works wonders!!! 

However, check out any precautions or interactions before using; many herbs can interfere with the effect of the birth control pill and blood thinning medications. Others, such as maca, are not recommended during pregnancy, so it’s best to get an expert opinion before trialling.

3) Eat Clean & Bump Up Your Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Some research shows that women with a high intake of plant foods experience less PMS. So bump up your intake of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts & seeds. The extra fiber will also help to level out your blood sugar levels, which can otherwise exacerbate mood swings.

Anti-inflammatory foods which supply omega-3's, such as wild-caught salmon and flaxseed/linseed also help our bodies to make prostaglandins - these are wonderful natural chemicals that help to relax cramps.

4) Go Green In Your Home

Some evidence shows that many common, toxic chemicals in plastic, pesticides and household products are endocrine disrupters. In other words, prolonged exposure to certain artificial chemicals may interfere with the function and regulation of our hormones. 

5) Essential Oils

Clary sage, lavender, cypress, peppermint and ylang ylang essential oils can all relieve the variety of uncomfortable symptoms that accompany PMS. They work in a variety of ways, ranging from improving circulation to relieving cramping. Just use organic, pure essential oils and check for their safety first. (For example, certain oils shouldn't be used if you are pregnant.)

6) Sleep Well

Studies have shown that lack of sleep - and stress for that matter - can exacerbate your PMS symptoms. Our bodies perform incredible healing and balancing work while we sleep.
Therefore, try to hit the hay at at reasonable hour - especially in the latter part of your menstrual cycle. You could even try keeping a sleep/food/exercise and symptom diary - if you stick to it, it will start to reveal if the extra zzz's are helping.

Contrary to what you may have heard, PMS is not 'all in your head'.
It's a genuine health condition and as such deserves genuine care!
But also doesn't have to be the norm. Try incorporating these secrets into your daily life and see what changes start to transpire! 

If you have any secrets that you have tried for PMS, share with us in the comments below! 

 

Don't Be Fooled By "Greenwashing"!

If you aren’t familiar with the term “greenwashing,” it happens when a company uses misleading statements, words, images, or claims regarding a product’s sustainability or healthiness to increase the sales of their products. Dictionary.com defines it as, “a superficial or insincere display of concern for the environment that is shown by an organization.”

Take a close look at the food we eat, our personal care items, our household cleaners, and many of the disposable items we purchase, and you can easily find examples of greenwashing. And, as we become a more eco-conscious society, our demands for healthier and more sustainable products and services are making all things “green” a VERY big business.

Companies, in turn, are increasingly focusing their marketing efforts on what will appeal to this growing market. Some companies make a genuine effort to move the sustainability bar higher. And some have made it a large part of their mission, identity, and branding. Others, unfortunately, are using greenwashing marketing tactics to pull the wool over our eyes. Sometimes, very successfully! 

Don’t be Fooled by Greenwashing

So, how can we recognize when we are being greenwashed? It all comes down to becoming an educated consumer. Here are some quick tips that might help you recalibrate your greenwashing “bull-Sh$t” detector.

Look beyond pretty packaging and buzzwords

A green leaf on a package, pretty herbs on a shampoo bottle, cows grazing in an open field, images of happy, roaming chickens, or any number of phrases such as all natural, earth-friendly, non-toxic, eco, cage-free, made with organic, naturally derived, etc., can paint a picture of health and sustainability and marketers know it. The images are meant to be a hook you, and then pick up that product and toss it into your cart without digging deeper. In reality, those chickens and cows might be suffering through life on an inhumane factory farm. Or that shampoo might be full of hormone disruptors and potential carcinogens. And that frozen dinner might have one organic ingredient out of twenty. So, when it comes to food, don’t impulsively purchase a product based solely on the front of the package and first impressions!! 
It is important to be a discerning consumer and …

Become an expert label reader

The good news is, if you are a regular Milk and Honey Wellness newsletter reader or coaching client,  you already know there is no shortage of companies who put misleading claims on their food packaging. You also know the REAL truth of how healthy or sustainable a food is shows up clearly in its ingredient list. The simple rule is: the shorter the list the better.

The same holds true for chemical-laden personal care and household cleaning products. This is ever so important because the U.S. has not passed a significant law to regulate personal care product ingredients since 1938. This should make you think a little bit, considering the European Union has banned more than 1,300 ingredients not proven safe, many of which can be found in the products we slather daily on our skin (our largest organ). To date, the US has partially banned only 30.*

Gratefully, once again, I point to The Environmental Working Group as having excellent tools to help consumers get down to the nitty-gritty details in these ingredient lists. Their website has three databases: Skin Deep, the Guide to Healthy Cleaning, as well as Food Scores. And each provides details and ratings on many of the items you buy every day. They also have a handy mobile Healthy Living App which allows you to scan barcodes while shopping, preventing true buyer's remorse.

Avoid greenwashing and chemical ingredients in products by making them yourself

I realize this isn't always feasible, but just like the REAL foods you cook, when you make your own personal care and cleaning products, you get to choose every ingredient. Vinegar, lemons, and cheap vodka go a long way in keeping your house fresh and clean while coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, essential oils, etc. can replace A LOT of commercial personal care products. You can find more information and specific recipes in my exclusive Recipe Box (click here to find out how to access) and check out my BLOG post on all-natural, DIY cleaners to scrub every inch of your home! 

Look for proof, research, and verify

I was in a hotel recently where I was a bit cynical about their many signage reminders to reuse towels. For one thing, we ALWAYS reuse towels in my family. But moreover, I simply doubted this giant corporation’s dedication to sustainability.

It prompted me to dig in and do a bit of research. I found out that they are actually working seriously towards sustainability and have made measurable strides. If a company has serious intentions and actual data behind their claims, you will be able to find it easily on their website because they are proud of it. If you can’t find it or if it is deeply buried with little detail, you can assume their claims are just fluff. When in doubt, Google it with a very critical eye.

Know your green product certifications

A symbol on a package is meaningless unless it is legitimately tied to a certification process. Become familiar with those that are truly improving sustainability. That said, also be aware that smaller companies, local small businesses, and small farms might not be able to jump through all the hoops of various certification processes such as USDA organic labeling. In these cases, ASK the businesses or farmers directly about the details of their products and practices regarding health and sustainability.

Know the parent company of the products you purchase

Be aware that some of the once small, independent companies that we loved to trust have been bought up by corporate giants. Do a little research and you’ll see that Annie’s was purchased by General Mills, Burt’s Bees went to Clorox, Tom’s of Maine is now owned by Colgate, and Applegate was bought by Hormel, to name a few. This does not mean that their standards were automatically compromised. It just means you can’t take their old standards for granted.

See greenwashing for what it is and hold corporations responsible for sustainable practices

400px-Bird_in_oil_spill.jpg

Can we get candid for a few minutes please? I mean, come on, images of an oil company doing the right thing by cleaning up an environmental mess they created should not really give us warm fuzzies.

Yes, we are glad they are cleaning up beaches and saving some of the lives of oil-covered wildlife. But it would have been far better if that spill hadn’t happened in the first place!!  And better yet, if they legitimately cleaned up their image by looking for truly sustainable solutions and channeling their extensive resources into the development of clean alternative/non-fossil fuel energy.

Bottom line, companies and corporations will change their greenwashing practices if their customers demand it

Think about this. Four billion paper coffee cups get thrown away every year courtesy of one coffee company that touts its efforts toward sustainability. All but around 1% of these cups end up in landfills. Why? It’s due to a layer of polyethylene, which makes this mostly paper cup mostly not recyclable. That’s shameful.

The truly green solution is promoting and consistently providing meaningful incentives for bringing reusables. But let’s be honest, the consumer has a big role to play here, too. We have to take responsibility for what we are willing to purchase and the conveniences we are willing to sacrifice.

One of our guiding principles at Milk and Honey Wellness is that we “vote” with our wallets and our forks. WE hold that power.  As a community if we continue to refuse to buy products that are harmful to ourselves and to our environment, companies will have no choice but to make better, safer, healthier, and more sustainable products. With that power, we can help shape the overall health of ourselves and this planet. But it is 100% up to us to DEMAND it.

*source BeautyCounter

 

My 6 Favorite Vegan Protein Bars

In a dream world, everyone would walk around with pre-workout fuel from real, whole foods, but that’s not realistic for everyone, and if you’re on the go and didn’t have time to plan accordingly or you are traveling, a bar can be a saving grace.

If you’re a vegan, though, you’ll have to spend even more time flipping over the zillion bars in your nearest market and scouring the ingredient list and nutrition facts to find out if it will give you a healthy boost or destroy your balance diet in one packaged swoop.

Things to watch out for? The amount of sugar and how many different types of sugar are included is the most important. A lot of these are glorified candy bars. The source of sweetness is also key. Many vegan bars are filled with dates, for example, which is way better than high fructose corn syrup but can still raise the sugar numbers to a not-so-great place. Finally, check the protein source. Vegan bars can be packed with cheap, super-processed soy byproducts, which are no good for your long-term health or short-term digestion.

Too much to handle? Don't worry, I put together a list of some popular vegan bars on the market to bring you this quick go-to list of six you can rely on in a pinch.

 

the 6 best vegan protein bars

 

Aloha Protein Bar Vanilla Almond Crunch

I like this one because it contains lots of nuts and seeds and the ingredients are almost all organic whole foods. While there are a few different types of sugar added (a phenomenon you have to watch for), the 10g it adds up to is balanced by a whopping 18g of protein and 6g of fiber. One thing to note: added inulin (a type of fiber) can cause digestive issues for some people, so be aware of this ingredient if you have a sensitive stomach!

 

Evo Hemp Pineapple Almond Protein Bar

Evo’s line of bars are all powered by hemp, a clean, complete, plant protein source, and the company avoids using heat in processing to preserve healthy enzymes and minerals. This protein bar is lower in sugar than most of the other bars, and ingredients are clean and very minimal. The bar also has a decent amount of protein, vitamin E, and iron from the raisins. Bonus: It’s USDA-certified organic.

Health Warrior Dark Chocolate Coconut Sea Salt

This one can really fill someone up and fuel them. This bar is made with superfood chia seeds for protein. Many of its other clean, whole-food, plant-based ingredients are organic, and it has 10g of protein and 5g of fiber to balance out the sugar, plus an omega-3 boost you’ll get from the chia.

 

Perfect Bar Almond Coconut

Perfect Bar makes some of the best tasting protein bars available, and while most are made with honey for sweetness, this one was formulated without, just for vegans. This one is interesting, you’re getting fruits and vegetables and protein. The superfood powder is made with ingredients like dried kale, carrot, and kelp that’s included alongside whole food ingredients like dates, almond butter, and coconut oil. It’s also USDA-certified organic, although you should watch the sugar and calories coming from the dried fruits. They’re both high, so maybe choose this one before or after a tough workout, not as a small snack between meals.
 

Pure Bar Organic Vanilla Almond

Pure Bar’s signature “ancient grain blend” made with quinoa, flax, and hemp is the first reason this bar gets high marks. It also contains lots of heart-healthy nuts and is certified organic, and while it has three kinds of added sugar (tapioca syrup, agave, cane sugar), they’re in small amounts, since it comes in at just 6g total. Eat this one as more of a small snack, since it’s got fewer calories and a lower protein count (4g).

Rise Protein Bar Lemon Cashew

This vegan bar is as simple as it gets, with just five ingredients—cashews, coconut nectar, pea protein, and lemon extract—and it delivers a serious serving of protein, at 15g. The calories are on the higher side, mainly because of the cashews, but it’s also a larger, dense bar that takes longer to consume, which can be a good thing since mindless eating can lead to you chow down on less healthy snacks, later.

Bars aren’t the only way to get your protein on the go—Bites are totally trending. Keep your eyes peeled for one of my favorite recipes for healthy pumpkin energy bites!  

 

Vegan Gluten-Free & Soy Free Diet Guide

One of the Milk and Honey Wellness Community members reached out to me for help. She wants to embrace a vegan diet, but wants to avoid soy and wheat. She needed help finding the right foods to eat and worried about protein. I told her that it's easy for a vegan diet to meet all the requirements of protein, vitamins and minerals even if you are following a gluten and soy-free diet. Here is why.

According to Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of the China Study, there has been a historical overemphasis on protein. Dr Campbell recommends that 8-10% of total calories should be protein. Most of us believe it is between 25-50%, but as we now know, excess animal protein is a potent trigger for cancer growth and other disease. Eating a varied whole-food, plant-based diet will naturally provide approximately 10% of protein from total calories without any special effort.

Below are some good rules to follow and a mix and match list of high protein foods to enjoy on a vegan gluten-free soy-free diet.

Vegan Food Plate.jpg

Rule #1

Never believe anything on the front of a package!

"Natural" does not mean organic. Always read the nutritional facts and ingredients list. Some natural, gluten-free products can be contaminated by wheat. Check that label to make sure it is certified vegan gluten-free.

Rule #2

Get your cruciferous veggies!

Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, and bok choy are all brimming with nutrients to boost your body! With sulfur compounds these veggies are satisfying and remarkably healthy, so you won’t miss tofu or glutenous muffins. If you do, just make a lentil loaf and get yourself a gluten-free, vegan dessert cookbook! Goodbye blueberry muffin, hello lentil loaf! 

Rule #3

Dream of beans!

Dream of beans, the magical fruit! Beans lower cholesterol and triglycerides levels, unlike animal proteins which do the antithesis. Fiber and resistant starch are where it’s at, and beans have mass quantities of both.

Get yourself some dried beans; they’re super cheap! Find some canned beans that aren’t contaminated with lots of salt. Honestly, what better way to get your protein than from a beautiful, bounty of beans! Just leave out the soybeans. 

Rule #4

Don’t forget ancient grains!

Just because you don’t do gluten, doesn’t mean you can’t do grains! Quinoa, oats, rice, and other grains do not have the same structural protein as spelt, wheat, and rye, so you can eat them if you’re celiac. You can’t eat them if you’re a grain and gluten-free vegan, but give them a go if you can, or try garbanzo and coconut flour.

Rule #5

Don't dis starches

People say they make you fat, but I am ready to bust that myth! Be responsible with your starch consumption, and you’re tummy will stay flat and happy! Starches keep you full: whether they are sweet potatoes or Kabocha squash, they are sure to satiate and silence your growling pains. 

A vegan gluten-free and soy free diet is easy if you mix and match high-protein foods everyday from the list below. Try to include sources of protein in every meal and snack. Get your vitamins and minerals from leafy greens, veggies and fruits.

COACH NOTE: A really fantastic thing about a plant-based diet, you can eat all the natural foods you want without counting calories!! 

LIST OF HIGH PROTEIN VEGAN GLUTEN-FREE & SOY FREE FOODS

LEGUMES (one cup)

BAKED BEANS ….12.2 grams of protein

BLACK BEANS ….15.2 grams of protein

CHICKPEAS………11.9 grams of protein

KIDNEY BEANS….15.4 grams of protein

LENTILS…………..17.9 grams of protein

LIMA BEANS……..14.7 grams of protein

NAVY BEANS…….15.8 grams of protein

DRIED PEAS……….8.6 grams of protein

PINTO BEANS……14.0 grams of protein

SPLIT PEAS……….16.4 grams of protein

BLACK-EYED PEAS…11 grams of protein

WHOLE GRAINS(one cup cooked)

QUINOA………………..8 grams of protein

BROWN RICE……..5 grams of protein

AMARANTH…………9 grams of protein

BUCKWHEAT BERRIES…10 grams of protein

MILLET………………6 grams of protein

POLENTA………….5 grams of protein

POPCORN (one ounce)….3 grams of protein

SORGHUM…………10 grams of protein

WILD RICE…………..7 grams of protein (*Bob's Red Mill makes many gluten-free grains and available online)

SEEDS AND NUTS (1/4 CUP)

ALMONDS………………….8 grams protein

CASHEWS…………………5 grams protein

WALNUTS…………………5 grams protein

PISTACHIOS……………..6 grams protein

PINE NUTS……………….4.5 grams protein

SUNFLOWER SEEDS….6 grams protein

PUMPKIN SEEDS……….3 grams protein

HEMP SEEDS…………….10 grams protein

CHIA SEEDS……………….8 grams protein

VEGETABLES (1 CUP)

SPINACH………………….5 grams protein

BROCCOLI……………….4 grams protein

PEAS………………………..9 grams protein

POTATO (MED)……….4 grams of protein

CORN……………………..5 grams of protein

KALE………………………2.5 grams of protein

SWEET POTATO……4 grams of protein

BRUSSEL SPROUTS….4 grams of protein

SWISS CHARD……..3.4 grams of protein

ASPARAGUS………..4.6 grams of protein (Eat all and any veggies you want)

FRUITS

APPLES, BANANAS, ORANGES & STRAWBERRIES are packed with essential vitamins and approximately .5-1 gram of protein.

DRIED FRUITS

FIGS (10 dried)………….5.7 grams of protein

RAISINS……………………4.8 grams of protein

NOODLES

ASIAN NOODLES are delicious and mostly gluten-free. They are made from ingredients like acorns, mung beans and sweet potatoes. Rice noodles are made from rice flour. Soba noodles are made from buckwheat.

B-12 The only reliable sources of vitamin B12 on a plant-based diet are fortified foods and supplements.
*
always check with your doctor and have blood tests to check for B-12 deficiencies

B-12 SUPPLEMENT IRON SUPPLEMENT PROTEIN SHAKES

B-12 FORTIFIED FOODS

ALMOND MILK (one cup)………………………1.5 grams of protein

COCONUT MILK (one cup)……………………1 gram of protein

NUTRITIONAL YEAST…………………………Amounts vary depending on brand – fortified nutritional yeast is my go-to for B-12 everyday. Mix it in practically anything. I especially like it in
baking, sprinkled on popcorn & salads or stirred in oatmeal for a more savory version (my favorite is to add avocado + fresh sliced tomatoes).

B-12 SUPPLEMENT IRON SUPPLEMENT PROTEIN SHAKES

TIPS FOR A VEGAN GLUTEN-FREE & SOY-FREE DIET

1. Use vinegar on greens and nutritional yeast on popcorn to add flavor.

2. Hummus is a wonderful high-protein snack. Serve with carrots, cucumbers,  cherry tomatoes or spread on GF pita bread or crackers with cucumbers & sprouts.

3. Make lots of salads and top with high protein nuts or seeds.

4. Use frozen fruits for topping almond/coconut milk yogurt, oatmeal or for smoothies.

5. Make a vegan, gluten-free banana bread or muffins for quick and easy snacking.

6. Use organic maple syrup as a sweetener. Delicious on baked sweet potatoes.

7. When you crave ice cream – try some almond, cashew or coconut milk ice cream. Equally as delicious.

8. Call ahead to restaurants to make sure they have gluten-free, vegan meals. Sometimes you have to explain what that means exactly. Most restaurants will accommodate you especially with a heads up before you arrive.

9. If you live in an area where stores aren't carrying many gluten-free, vegan products and grains, shop online for products.

10. When someone asks what you want for Christmas or your birthday, tell them gift certificates to plant-based stores locally or Thrive Market online. 

I hope this vegan gluten-free soy-free guide helps all our new vegans on-board and anyone with food allergies. Please share this list with everybody you know, and encourage them to embrace a plant-based diet for the planet, for the animals and most importantly for their health.

Don't miss any of Milk and Honey Wellness soy-free, vegan gluten-free recipes by signing up for a REVIVIFY Membership. Also, please join or community on Instagram & Facebook.
It is fun and full of wonderful, people wanting to live the healthiest, happiest versions of themselves, just like you!

 

Rainbow Rice Salad

Makes 4 large portions

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of pre-cooked and chilled whole grain rice (you can use brown, black, wild) 
  • 1 carrot, chopped into tiny cubes
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, very finely chopped
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped into tiny squares
  • 1 large mild red chili, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, very finely chopped
  • Small can of sweetcorn 115g, rinsed thoroughly
  • Handful of frozen or fresh peas
  • Handful of mixed olives, very finely chopped
  • Large handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 small clove of garlic, minced or very finely chopped
  • Large squeeze of lime juice, to taste
  • Splash of red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp. french mustard
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions: 

  1. In a large bowl mix together all vegetables with the chilled rice
  2. In a small bowl or jar, mix together the mustard, vinegar and garlic to make the dressing. 
  3. Add the dressing and fresh parsley to rice and vegetable mixture. 
  4. Squeeze in the lemon and lime juice and mix well to combine flavours.
  5. Taste and season with salt and pepper and more citrus juice if necessary. 
  6. Serve salad chilled. 
 

All-Natural, DIY Cleaners to Scrub Every Inch of Your Home

Americans use 35 million pounds of toxic household cleaning products annually. According to the Children’s Health Environmental Coalition, in Los Angeles, traces of cleaning chemicals can be found throughout the human body within seconds of exposure, posing risks like asthma, allergies, cancer, reproductive toxicity, hormone disruption, neurotoxicity and death.

Equally sobering is the decades of research suggesting a relationship between the overuse of powerful disinfectants and the rise of antibiotic-resistant super bacteria like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus(MRSA), as well as concerns over these toxins entering water supplies and wildlife food chains.

Cleaning product labels lack transparency, says Johanna Congleton, Ph.D., a senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group, because “manufacturers aren’t required to specify ingredients.”

One approach to assure safe ingredients is do-it-yourself (DIY) products. So the next time you have a sink to scrub or a window to wipe, just raid your cupboards. Everyday products like club soda (the bubbles help break down stains by loosening grime), vinegar (the acidity inhibits the growth of bacteria and prevents mold and mildew from forming), and even vodka (a proven germ eliminator) make for fast, cheap, and effective house cleaners.

More than 95 percent of “green” products manipulate labels by providing irrelevant information (declaring a product is free of an already illegal chemical), being vague (masking poisons as natural ingredients), outright lying (claiming false endorsements) and other maneuvers.
~ TerraChoice Group

For me, making homemade all-natural cleaning projects was a logical first step, because I love to follow recipes, which is all that is really involved in making your own cleansers! After lots of trial and error, I have found a few that are my go-to faves, and I’m sharing them today so that you don’t have to do all of the leg work!

Before I get into the specific recipes, though, let me just say this: white vinegar and baking soda clean Just. About. Everything.  You’ll see it’s the main combination in a bunch of the recipes below, but there are oodles of other things it can clean, too!  

HOMEMADE ALL-PURPOSE CLEANER

  • 1/2 c white vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp baking soda
  • 10 drops tea tree, lavender, or lemon essential oil (for their disinfectant properties)
  1. Mix the vinegar, essential oils and a little water before adding baking soda in a clean spray bottle (glass is best).
  2. Then fill to top with water. I use about a 12 oz bottle. Gently shake to mix ingredients, and then spray, wipe with a cloth, and allow it to dry.

HERE ARE SOME OTHER CLEANERS TO USE IN THE KITCHEN:

HOMEMADE “SOFT-SCRUB” CLEANER

  • 1 ½ cups baking soda
  • ½ cup environmentally safe liquid laundry soap (ECOS, for example)
  • 10 drops tea tree, lavender, or lemon essential oil
  1. Mix baking soda and laundry soap in a mixing bowl, stirring vigorously to combine into a paste.  Add essential oil and mix well.  Store in an airtight food container. 
  2. If the mixture begins to dry out, add a small amount of water and mix well.

HOMEMADE DISINFECTANT WIPES

  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup with vinegar
  • 8 drops tea tree oil
  • 8 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 8 drops lemon essential oil
  • Empty “wipe” container (baby wipe, for example)
  • 15 – 20 squares of cloth (old t-shirts work well, as do old dish towels or similar material)
  1. Fold and place the cloth squares into the empty wipe container and set aside. 
  2. Combine in a mixing bowl the water, vinegar, and 3 essential oils, stirring until well mixed. 
  3. Pour this mixture over the cloths in the container where they will soak in and be ready for you to pull out and use! 
  4. Launder and repeat as often as the cloths hold up!

HOMEMADE DISHWASHER DETERGENT

  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 2 cups Borax
  • 1 cup of Lemi-Shine (non-toxic, found in the detergent aisle)
  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Transfer to an air-tight storage container.  It will last a long time: each load uses only 2 tablespoons of detergent!  (I recommend keeping white vinegar in the rinse agent compartment, too.)

HOMEMADE OVEN CLEANER

  • ½ cup baking soda
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp water (or more/less)
  • White vinegar (1/2 cup or so)
  1. In a small bowl, mix ½ cup of baking soda and stir in 2 – 3 tablespoons of water, adjusting as needed to get a spreadable paste. 
  2. Spread this all over the walls of your ovens, rubbing it in for a scrubbing effect. 
  3. Let that mixture rest overnight.
  4. In the morning, you will put some vinegar in a spray bottle and spritz everywhere you see baking soda, which will create a foaming action.  Wipe clean with a damp cloth, rinsing until clean.

HOMEMADE DRAIN CLEANER

  • ¼ – ½ cup baking soda
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  1. Sprinkle baking soda down the clogged or smelly drain, and follow that with the vinegar.  Let the bubbling mixture sit for an hour or so, then pour boiling hot water down the drain to rinse.   
  2. Depending on how smelly or clogged the drain is, you may need to repeat the process again.  Once you do it regularly, you’ll find that one time usually takes care of it!

MOVING OUT OF THE KITCHEN, LET’S TALK BATHROOM CLEANING.

A lot of the same principles that apply to cleaning the kitchen carry over into the bathroom. 

For example, vinegar and baking soda still play a large role, and the disinfectant power of certain essential oils is key.  Here are some of my favorite ways to tackle one of the most-used rooms in the house:

HOMEMADE MIRROR AND GLASS CLEANER

  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 cups water
  • 8 – 10 drops essential oil of choice, optional
  1. Combine everything in a spray bottle.  Shake to mix well.  Spray onto glass surface and wipe clean. 
  2. Be sure you shake well to fully integrate the cornstarch, which is the ingredient that reduces streaking.  You’ll want to shake before each use. 

HOMEMADE AIR FRESHENER

  • 12 – 15 drops of pure essential oil (grapefruit, lemon, orange, lavender are favorites)
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 1/12 cups water
  1. Combine in a spray bottle, shake, and spray to freshen the room! (Shake before each use). 
  2. You can experiment with higher ratios of vinegar to water and upping the essential oil if this is not strong enough for your preference. 

MOVING INTO THE LAUNDRY ROOM NOW…

HOMEMADE NON-TOXIC LIQUID LAUNDRY DETERGENT

  • ½ cup Borax
  • ½ cup washing soda(i.e. Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda Laundry Booster)
  • ½ cup of eco-friendly dish soap (every mother of baseball-playing, grass-stain gettin’ boys knows this!)
  • 4 cups hot water
  • Clean, empty gallon plastic jug  (i.e. recycled juice/milk jug)
  1. Combine the first three ingredients in the container (you may need a funnel to get it in there) and then pour in the water to dissolve the ingredients.  
  2. Fill the container to the top with cold water.  Shake before each use.  For a standard-sized load of laundry, ¼ cup should work.  Use a little more for a more heavily-soiled load. 

HOMEMADE STAIN REMOVER

There are a few ways I like to tackle stains in the laundry room.  First, let me just say that a 3% Hydrogen Peroxide solution is a super stain remover!  I’ve used it on lots of stains where I spray it on, let it soak, and then launder as normal.  (Note to moms of girls just getting their first periods:  there is nothing better to deal with the "period stains" in the underwear or on the sheets!)

There’s also the mixture of washing soda and white vinegar.  You simply sprinkle the washing soda onto the stain, spray with white vinegar that has been diluted in a 1:1 ratio with water.  Scrub the paste into the stain and let it stand for about 20 minutes.  Launder as normal. 

For really tough stains, like grass stains, the magic of Dawn dish soap comes in handy.  
This one calls for a bit of a recipe:

  • 2/3 cup Dawn dish detergent
  • 2/3 cup ammonia
  • 6 Tbsp baking soda
  • 2 cups warm water
  1. Mix together all ingredients, and then pour into a spray bottle.  Spray onto the stain, let it rest a bit, then launder as normal. 
  2. Because of the ammonia, you should NOT want this in chlorine bleach!

HOMEMADE DRYER SHEETS

This is super easy to do!  Find a bunch of hubby’s old t-shirts (not his beloved old t-shirts, but the others!) and cut them into washcloth sized squares. 

Next, you will take some of the homemade fabric softener from the recipe above, and fill about ½ of an airtight, lidded storage container with this.  Place the t-shirts in the container, and press them down to soak up the fabric softener. 

Squeeze out excess before tossing a square into the dryer with your clothes.  These are obviously recyclable, and don’t have to be laundered between uses!

AND FINALLY, TO THE LIVING AREAS OF THE HOUSE.

HOMEMADE WOOD POLISHING SPRAY

  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 30 drops essential oil, optional (I like lemon, orange, or lavender best)

Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and shake vigorously.  Spray directly on wood furniture and buff with a clean, dry cloth.  Shake before each use. 

HOMEMADE CARPET FRESHENER (WITH ADDED BENEFITS)

In addition to freshening the smell in a room, this combination of ingredients can disinfect, kill fleas and their eggs, and act as a rodent deterrent.

  • 2 cups Borax
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 10 drops essential oil
  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well.  Store in an air-tight container.  When you’re ready to use, just sprinkle around the carpet and let sit for about half an hour.  Vacuum up, and you’re good to go!

HOMEMADE CARPET STAIN REMOVER

  1. Sprinkle the stain with baking soda and let it sit for about 10 minutes, then vacuum it up. 
  2. Next, mix 1 Tbsp Dawn dish soap, 1 Tbsp white vinegar, and 2 cups of warm water. 
  3. Sponge this onto the stain and blot with dry cloth, repeating until stain disappears. 

So, those are the go-to recipes that I find most helpful around the house.  Let me know if you’ve got a recipe or potion that works wonders in your household!

What are your favorite homemade all-natural cleaning recipes?

 

How To Pick A #MHWApproved Bar

If you take a peek in my purse or desk drawer you’ll always find a few must haves: a journal, day planner, lipgloss, tweezers, booty bands, lots of colored pens, crayons, and then there are always some random surprises!

One thing I ALWAYS have on hand: MHW approved protein bars! I love chia pudding, hummus + veggies, and apples + cinnamon for snacks, but on days when I'm running to a meeting, picking up my kiddo from school, or traveling, a bar is the perfect grab-and-go for your early morning snack (M2) or late afternoon snack (M4). It’s just SO EASY and makes sure I never get hangry. 

I get a lot of questions about what makes a bar Milk and Honey Wellness (MHW) approved? 
So I'm giving you all the info on what to look for so that when you are in the store so you can break it down with a lot less stress and time!  

When selecting a bar, first, think about the purpose of the protein bar. 

Did you miss a meal? 

For a meal replacement, choose one that totals up to between 200 and 300 calories (or two 150-calorie bars) and that contains 15 to 20 grams of protein--but doesn't have any coating, like chocolate or yogurt. If you’re replacing a meal, you should make it less candy or treat and more meal. 

Did you just finish a workout?

Choose a bar that has 10 to 15 grams of protein, as well as similar ratios of carbs and fats. Don’t be afraid of fat if the fat is naturally occurring. Nuts, seeds, and avocado are all great sources.
A bar with 150 to 200 calories will ensure you don’t blow your entire workout in a few bites. Shoot for a carb + protein ratio of 2:1. 

Do you need an afternoon snack? 

They be but little, but protein bars may be packed with more calories than you need in a snack. As an afternoon pick-me-up (M4) select one in the 130 to 200 calorie range. If you choose a bar with good ingredients, it has all the parts of a healthy and nutritious snack. Some carbs to help with blood sugar, protein to slow the release of blood sugar so you get sustained and long lasting energy, and healthy fat to help with absorption of certain vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients!

#MHWApproved

Navigating the hundreds of different bars in grocery and health food stores can be overwhelming. Which one is #MHWapproved?! I put together this criteria for choosing the perfect bar to fit within the REVIVIFY Nutrition Plan guidelines. This is what I personally look for.....

When choosing a bar for your morning snack (M2) or afternoon snack (M4), make sure it falls between these guidelines PER SERVING:

 Less than 200 calories

4-8g fat

6-10g protein

 Less than 20g carbohydrates

 Less than 10g sugars

 Non-GMO

Avoid high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners

Simple, clean ingredients you can pronounce and see

Keeps you feeling light and energized!


Just for you…

6 Easy Tips To Spot The Healthiest Protein Bars

I have scoured the market for bars that fit my criteria AND tasted great. There are plenty of health bars that are nutritious, but not very fun to eat. And who wants that? On the flip side, there are also some “health” bars that are actually packed with sugars and not-so-good-for-you ingredients. With flavors like “chocolate covered brownie,” it’s hard to tell if what’s lurking inside is really better for you than treats from the candy aisle.  No thank you!! 🙅

1. Eyeball ingredients.
Glance at the list of ingredients before checking out the nutrition stats. Many protein bars have a lot of junk added to them!  While skimming the packaging, ask yourself, “Can I pronounce the ingredients?” and “Do I recognize them?” If not, put it back on the shelf.

2. Scope out sneaky sugar sources.
Beware the protein bar that contains the same amount of sugar as the Snickers you’re trying so hard to avoid. The sweet stuff can go by many different names. I have seen up to five different forms of sugar in some bars.

Maltodextrin, agave, brown sugar, dextrose, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, corn sweetener, fruit juice, maple syrup, molasses and any of the –ose words are sugar sources. 

The sugar is broken down super quickly in your body, which could result in a sugar high and crash later on. Your goal: Aim for eight to 10 grams of sugar per bar.
If the product is fruit-based, it’s OK for the sugar count to be higher, as long as the bar also contains three to four grams of fiber. 

3. Check in on calorie counts.
If you’re scarfing down 100-calorie diet bars only to feel ‘hangry’ later on, choose something more substantial next time. Your snack’s calories should correlate with your weight, gender and fitness goals. For a 130-pound woman, I recommends munching on between 175 to 250 calories per snack. For a 180-pound man, you could try eating 200 to 350 calories. After a workout, you’ll need even more to replenish your energy and prevent soreness. Most women should aim for 300 calories, and men should shoot for 350 to 400 calories, which can come from a combination of a bar and protein shake or other high-protein snack.

3. Refuel with the right ratios.
Are carbs your sworn enemy? Well, they shouldn’t be!!  Carbs are essential after a tough workout session, and carbs help stimulate muscle repair and growth by replenishing glycogen. 
When eaten before a workout, they can provide energy for the central nervous system, which helps you mentally power through long runs or bike rides. You’ve got to refuel your muscles and the key is to consume the proper ratio of carbs to protein. When looking at all the bars out there, the ratio can range anywhere from 1:1 to 4:1. I actually prefer [consuming] closer to a 2:1 ratio, especially for people who are going to the gym and need a good source of protein without so many calories. A 4:1 ratio (or close to that) is optimal for longer endurance events like marathons.

5. Avoid fake sweeteners.
If you have a sensitive stomach, steer clear of sugar alcohols and substitutes because they can cause GI problems like bloating or diarrhea. Plus, studies show that these additives could spur you to binge later on. There’s a lot of research that shows when you eat or drink something sweet but you don’t get the sugar, you end up craving something sweet later on.

Red flag ingredients include erythritol, hydrogenated starch hydrolysates, isomalt, lactitol, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol.

6. Focus on healthy fats.
Fats are your friend — as long as they come from natural and nutritious sources. Nuts about nuts? That’s a good thing because almonds and other nuts will fuel you and keep you satiated.
Less healthy types of fats can come from added oils…like partially hydrogenated oils. 
Less than 10 grams of fat and six grams of saturated fat per bar is ideal.

What is your favorite on-the-go protein bar? What do you look for when picking the perfect protein bar? Share with us in the comments below. 

 

S'more Pie With Graham + Granola Crust

Ingredients:

FILLING

  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil 

** you can also use raw cacao or unsweetened organic chocolate and sweeten with honey to your taste. 

TOPPING

6-8 marshmallows cut in half or left whole

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, add graham crackers, granola, butter and peanut butter. 
  3. Process until grains are finely chopped and formed into dough like consistency. 
  4. Press mixture into a pie pan and place in the oven for 10-12 minutes. 
  5. Meanwhile, heat a pot over medium to high heat. Add coconut milk and bring to a boil. 
  6. In a separate bowl, add chocolate and coconut oil. 
  7. Pour boiling coconut milk over chocolate and coconut oil and whisk until a smooth consistency is formed. Pour over the pie crust and store in fridge until chocolate has hardened. 
  8. Put the oven on broil. 
  9. Add marshmallows on top and place in the oven for 5 minutes or until marshmallows are toasted brown. 
 

Edamame Hummus

I can never get hummus right when I make it with chickpeas, but edamame works so much better. And it doesn’t have that bean-y taste that you sometimes get with chickpeas. This is good!

My favorite way to use edamame hummus is as a sandwich spread. I don’t like mayo or mustard, so edamame hummus makes a great substitute. I have eaten it on flatbread and topped it with roasted summer veggies for an easy weeknight meal. And of course, any kind of hummus is great as a dip for fresh vegetables, pita bread, or crackers. And the best part? It is as easy as 1-2-3!! 

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 pound frozen shelled edamame (green soy beans), about 1 1/2 cups
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons), juiced
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Suggested serving: Sliced cucumbers, celery, and olives, carrots, sliced peppers, cauliflower. Anything goes! Just eat the colors of the rainbow. 

Directions: 

  1. Boil the beans in salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, or microwave, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. In a food processor, puree the edamame, tahini, water, lemon zest and juice, garlic, salt, cumin, and coriander until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and mix until absorbed.
  3. Transfer to a small bowl, stir in the parsley and drizzle with remaining oil. Serve with the suggested vegetables, or refrigerate, covered, up to 1 day.
 

Tips To Create Your Healthy Road Trip Action Plan!

In my mind there is nothing more that screams “freedom” and “summer” than a few friends, a dusty car, and the open road! But more often than not, road trips go hand-in-hand with unhealthy road foods (fried onions, anyone?), cramped legs, and sunburned noses. This summer, try these tips for a road trip that’s fun, entertaining, safe, and — best of all — healthy.

On the Road — Your Travel Action Plan!


1. Bring smart snacks.
Fill a cooler with ice or cool packs and load it with plenty of nutritious, easy-to-eat snacks like individual low-sugar yogurt cups (choose plain or Greek to avoid mega-doses of sugar), string cheese, fresh fruit, homemade granola bars (I am loving these right now) cut-up veggies and hummus, healthy trail mix (keep track of portions to stay out of "dangerzone" territory), unsalted nuts, dried seaweed snacks, or preservative-free jerky.

2. Choose water.
Bring a few reusable (BPA-free) water bottles and fill ‘em up at every rest stop. If overnight lodgings include a freezer, chill bottles while you sleep for ice-cold H20 all day long. Avoid soda and creamy, sweet coffee drinks, which pack unnecessary sugar and fat and (if caffeinated) actually contribute to dehydration.

3. Stretch your legs (and shoulders and neck).
Stop frequently (at least a few times a day) to get out of the car, move around, and stretch out. The hip flexorslower backshoulders, and neck are most likely to tense up after a few hours at the wheel.  If the road runs along a national park or other hiking areas, try to build in some time to make a pit stop every once in a while for a short walk in the woods.

4. Don’t forget the SPF.
No trucker burn here! Windshields and windows don’t fully protect our skin from the sun. Slather on some broad spectrum SPF 30 or higher at regular intervals to keep skin safe.

roadtrip.jpg

5. Keep your eyes on the prize.
A good set of sunglasses is essential to protecting eyes from the sun. Exposure to too much sunshine can damage vision and can even cause certain kinds of eye cancers! Yes, really! 
Light-colored eyes are often more sensitive to light, so all you blue, green, or grey-eyed folks should take special care to protect peepers from the sun. Bring along a pair of high-quality sunnies that protect against UVA, UVB, and HEV light. A polarized pair can help cut down on glare, making driving safer and more enjoyable.

6. BYO gym.
No treadmill? No problem. Pack your sneakers, gym clothes, and small exercise equipment like resistance bands or a yoga mat to turn any quick stretch break into a mini-workout. Print out (or save on a smartphone) plenty of bodyweight workouts for hotel rooms or mornings when your fellow road-trippers are moving slow.

7. Practice posture.
Especially if driving for more than one day, comfort in the driver’s (or passenger’s) seat is essential. Adjust the seat and bring pillows and seat supports to make the car seat as comfy (and ergonomically correct) as possible. Sit up tall and again, take breaks to roll the shoulders, stretch the neck, and realign posture.

8. Stay engaged at the wheel.
Don’t just sit there like a bump on a log! It’s not exactly an hour-long cardio-fest, but even when sitting in traffic you can suck in the abs and squeeze the glutes to keep muscles working.

9. Choose your meals wisely.
There are only so many carrot sticks a person can eat before hankering for something more substantial.  From fast food drive-ins to gas station markets, road food is notoriously unhealthy!!  For a lighter meal, look for grilled items, plenty of greens, and don’t be shy about asking for a sauce on the side.

10. Go loosey goosey.
Tight tops and snug shorts may look fine at “da club,” but they can be super uncomfortable for hours in the car. Choose loose, light layers to aid circulation and prevent chafing and overheating. Compression socks look dorky, but they can prevent achy muscles (and in more extreme circumstances, deep vein thrombosis, a condition where blood clots form in the legs after sitting for a long time) if you’re planning on long stretches of sitting.

11. Get plenty of rest.
Drowsy driving” is just downright dangerous. Get off the road when you start feeling sleepy or alternate drivers to keep fresh eyes on the road.

12. Keep the brain active.
What’s a road trip without a bumpin’ playlist and plenty of off-key singing at the top of your lungs? The tunes make the trip, but an audiobook or podcast can help pass the time when travel buddies are too tired for a sing-a-long. Everyone will learn something new, exercise their brains, and a bit of new knowledge or an interesting story will make the miles fly by.

13. Be flexible.
Unless scurrying cross-country to meet a specific deadline, factor in an extra day or two of travel time. That way there’s plenty of time to explore a hidden waterfall a few miles off-road, take plenty of scenic detours, and keep the overall mood stress-free.

Who’s road trippin’ this summer? What are your go-to snacks and travel tips for the road?

Let us know in the comments below!

 

Skinny Summer Cocktails!

Photo by Rhianon Lassila on Unsplash

Hot steamy Summer nights just seem to call for a summery cocktail.  But did you know that a typical 8 oz. margarita has about 8 teaspoons (or more) of added sugars???  That’s more sugar than the daily woman should have all day!
** According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are: Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons) and Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons). 
Plus, a lot of drink mixes have preservatives, colorings, and other stuff that we (or our livers) don’t need.


That’s why I am sharing my 4 favorite Summer cocktails – these are all very simple, and “upgraded” versions so you can grab your friends and fam and go rock that red, white, & blue! 

Note: these recipes contain alcohol and are for ages 21 and up.  You can also make these “virgin” cocktails by omitting the alcohol.

THE MEXICAN MULE

My version of a Moscow Mule is actually technically a “Mexican Mule” – because instead of the traditional vodka, I like to use tequila.  In fact, I am using tequila for all of these drinks, because tequila has some unusual benefits that other alcohols don’t have.

Moscow-Mule-6-630-630x660.jpg

Read: 10 Surprising Benefits of Tequila You Never Knew to learn more about the unique health benefits of tequila (note: make sure you choose a good quality tequila, and moderation is also key! But if you are simply just a vodka lover, then of course, make it to your liking!)

Ingredients: 

  • 1. 5 oz. tequila (good quality, blanco – such as Casamigos)
  • 7 – 8 oz. of Zevia ginger beer mixer (1 can) – which is a zero calorie stevia-sweetened soda mixer
  • 2 oz. fresh lime juice (about the the juice of 1 lime)
  • A slice of lime for the rim
  • Ice

Directions: 

This drink is traditionally served in a copper mug – if you like, you can chill it in the freezer for 5-10 mins before making this to keep your drink nice and cold. Pour all into the cup, stir to combine, add ice.  Serve! How easy is that?

THE CLASSIC MARGARITA

Ingredients: 

  • 1.5 oz. tequila (good quality, blanco)
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • .5 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. Agave Five Syrup from Madhava.  (organic, and less than 5 calories per serving)
  • 1 oz. cold water (sometimes I like to use sparkling – I know it’s not traditional, but I like bubbles with everything!)
  • Ice
  • Lime and Real Salt or Tahin for rim of glass

Directions: 

If salting, prepare your glasses first. Rub a lime wedge around the rim of the glass, then pour some salt or Tahin on a plate, and roll or dip the glass into the salt or Tahin.

Mix all your ingredients, shake or stir, pour over ice into glasses. Serve!

MIX IT UP MOJITO

MandH053 copy.jpg

Usually a mojito is made by muddling the mint and sugar, and then mixed together with rum and sparkling water.  Again – I am swapping the traditional rum for tequila in this drink – because lately I have been into drinking tequila and mescal.  You can use the traditional rum if you prefer. And I am hitting the “Easy Button” – by skipping over the muddling and using KeVita Mojito – a probiotic beverage that is dairy free, naturally sparkling, and delicious.  Each bottle of KeVita has 4 billion CFUs, and 4 strains of probiotics- good for the gut, mood, and immunity. Many of their flavors make delicious and probiotic mixers – their Lemon Ginger is delish, and so is the Mango Coconut!

Ingredients: 

Directions: 

Mix into a glass, add the mint sprig and ice – and voila!

Orange Citrus Cocktail .jpeg

THE ESSENTIAL SPARKLING CITRUS COCKTAIL

Out of citrus fruit? No problem – as long as you have citrus essential oils!

I love my essential oils in the summer.  I add a drop to sparkling water all the time – it is a refreshing treat.  You can also make a really clean cocktail this way too.

Ingredients: 

  • 1.5 oz.  tequila (good quality, blanco)
  • 7 oz. sparkling water
  • 1-2 drops* of your favorite essential oil – I like lime, grapefruit, wild organge, lemon – or a combo of two.  Make sure to only use the highest quality food grade essential oils, such as doTERRA* or PURE. 
  • Optional – stir in 1 teaspoon of Madhava Agave Five Syrup to slightly sweeten. You could also add a mint sprig to decorate if you have it!

Directions: 

Shake and pour over ice; or stir together ingredients into a glass, add ice & serve!
*essential oils are very powerful – all you need is a drop of two!


PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY!  TO UNDERSTAND HOW ALCOHOL AFFECTS US, AND HOW TO PREVENT A HANGOVER – READ: HANGOVER PREVENTION TIPS.

 

Holiday Hangover Prevention!

We’re at a summer party or BBQ, the rosé’s flown’ and OOPS…maybe that was one glass too many!  
It happens to all of us!! Hangovers are killer and they can be especially common in the summer if it’s really hot out and your body is dehydrated.

You know I am the last Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach to ever tell you to skip out on your glass of vino or a fun cocktail. I want you to enjoy life and have fun with your family and friends while keeping it healthy!!  So with 4th of July celebrations coming up this weekend, I am sharing a few tips and tricks to prevent a summer hangover and what to do if one strikes. Just in case.......
Cheers to a happy and healthy weekend! 

How Alcohol Affects Us: 

First, let's understand how alcohol affects the body. Approximately 20% of alcohol is absorbed through the stomach and most of the remaining 80% is absorbed through the small intestine.  So making sure to eat something before your first cocktail is super important!
Then the liver goes to work – it sends out enzymes to break down and metabolize the alcohol. Generally, the liver can only process one ounce of alcohol (approx. one standard drink) on average in one hour. Consuming more than the liver can metabolize, causes alcohol to accumulate in the blood and body tissues.

Alcohol Affects Women Faster:

Women shouldn’t try to keep up pace with the guy next to them – women tend to be affected by alcohol more than men for several reasons:

  • Women have less water in their bodies by volume, they will dilute alcohol less than men.
  • Women have less dehydrogenase, a liver enzyme that breaks down alcohol, so they will break it down slower.
  • Estrogen can also slow down the body’s ability to process alcohol.

Alcohol is a toxin:

Consuming more alcohol than the liver can process, will cause the alcohol to accumulate in the blood and tissues. Ethanol is metabolized into acetaldehyde, which is a toxin.  Until it can be broken down into acetic acid, the body will be experiencing the negative effects of the acetaldehyde.

Some of the preservatives, sulfites and chemicals in wine and alcoholic beverages can add to the burden on the liver and make you feel crummy the next day, so using more natural alternatives will help lighten the liver’s toxic load.

Prevent With......

All the H2O

Water is essential for preventing a hangover. Ethanol increases urine production, and therefore can make you extremely dehydrated, which can cause that nasty morning hangover headache. A good rule of thumb is to always have a glass of water between drinks so you stay hydrated — and you still have a glass in hand! ;)  You’ll be feelin’ good and ready to slay your morning workout!

I also like to mix my vino with sparkling water. Half the alcohol, extra hydration, and bubbles…perfect! Try my fave rosé spritzer recipe HERE!

Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal works by absorbing toxins that cause hangovers and eliminating them before they enter your system. You can find activated charcoal tablets at your local nutrition store or grab activated charcoal drinks at juice shops!

Nutritious + Delicious Dinner.  

Always eat a healthy meal before ordering up a glass of wine or a cocktail. The fiber, lean protein, and healthy fats in your #MHWapproved dinner helps to slow the digestion of alcohol and ward off late night munchies. 

Recover With.....

But first…water

Noticing a trend? If a hangover hits, the first thing you should do is drink up! The earlier you start pouring yourself some H2O, the better you’ll feel later in the day. Water helps prevent and shorten the hangover headache. I usually try to have 12-16 ounces as soon as I wake up. Keep a water bottle at your bed as a reminder. So no matter how you want to drink it, just drink up!! 

Ginger To The Rescue

Ginger is an old school remedy to help ease an upset stomach. And after a night of a few too many cocktails, your stomach might feel a little uneasy. I like to brew up a batch of fresh ginger tea and sip on a few cups all morning long. It’s super simple too: Boil 1 inch of ginger, sliced with 1/2 lemon and 8 ounces water. This serves 1 so feel free to double or triple.

Get Nutty. Coconutty! 

Alcohol acts as a major diuretic, leading to dehydration and loss of electrolytes. Coconut water – called “Natures Gatorade,” provides the body with more potassium than a banana, a daily supply of vitamins C, and other important vitamins and minerals.  Coconut water provides electrolytes to help prevent dehydration. I like to go for the raw coconut water.

Multiple studies show that the medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil protect the liver.  So if I am going to have a drink or two, I like to have a teaspoon of coconut oil first.  Add it to tea or stir it into a smoothie!

Chi-Chi- Chia Seeds! 

When chia seeds come into contact with liquid, it soaks up about 10 times it’s own weight in liquid, creating a gel – this chia gel slows the absorption of sugar and alcohol into blood stream, and helps to keep you hydrated. You never want to drink on an empty stomach!!  Add some chia seeds to a smoothie or grab a Mamma Chia drink or squeeze pack.  Always make sure to take chia seeds with plenty of fluids, it is best if you let them soak for a few minutes before ingesting them too. 

Beet Juice

Rich in a class of antioxidants called betalains, beets are well known for detoxifying the liver, also provide loads of energy (Olympic athletes use beet juice for training – and they say it is like legal blood doping!). 


So instead of an energy drink before the party – take a shot of beet juice, it will give you energy and get your liver ready to do it’s work!!

Vitamins B & C

Alcohol depletes the body of vitamins and minerals – taking a multivitamin with B & C helps with alcohol metabolism & replenish the lost vitamins.

 Magnesium

Alcohol consumption depletes magnesium, and low magnesium can bring on migraines among other symptoms (restless legs, eye twitches, muscle aches & pains).  Low magnesium levels even raise our risk of heart attack and stroke.  The majority of Americans are deficient in magnesium, so I recommend that most people take supplemental magnesium.  Magnesium is also responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body.  Too much magnesium can lead to loose stools, so start with a low dose initially.

Skip The “House Margarita"

It probably is made with cheap tequila and a premade mix. A lot of premade mixers contain preservatives, artificial colors, HFCS, and other chemicals that will just add to the toxic load on your liver.  Fructose was shown in multiple studies to boost alcohol metabolism by as much as 80%, so using fresh fruit juice and/or organic agave nectar in place of processed mixers to sweeten your drinks is a better choice than a premade mix with chemicals and preservatives.


Share with us your hangover tips and tricks in the comments below!! 

 

 

 

Rose' Spritzer!

This rosé spritzer is so refreshing and versatile!  It is the perfect way to end the work week!  

SERVINGS:
1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz. of your favorite rose' 
  • 3 pz. sparkling water
  • Frozen strawberries, frozen peaches or ice
  • Fresh mint or lemon to garnish

Directions: 

  1. Pour the rosé and sparkling water over ice, frozen strawberries, or frozen peaches.
  2. Cheers to YOU!! 

How To Detox Your Beauty Routine

Did you see the title and roll your eyes? I know. I’ve been there. There’s only so much you can do to protect your family from the toxins of the world and just when you think you’ve got a lot of it covered, you learn about something else to avoid or change.  Here’s the thing, when you know better you make better choices. So learning about a few ways to detoxify your home can be an easy fix that you can control, unlike so many of the toxins in our environment that you can’t.

Chemicals and toxins are not just in your food – they are also widely used in your favorite personal care products such as makeup, deodorant, mouthwash, toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner! I have personally started to switch out all of my personal care products as I read more on how these toxic ingredients are endocrine disruptors, lead to cancer, autoimmune disease & other illnesses.

Our skin absorbs 60% of any topical product we use and more than 10,000 ingredients are allowed for use in our personal care items. Many of these ingredients are hazardous to our health but they are used in everything from makeup to facial moisturizer and nail polish remover!

The average American woman uses 12 skincare and beauty products before she leaves the house, every day. If you are using conventional products, this equals 12 potentially toxic loads applied directly to your body. The skin is an organ of digestion, and the same way it digests nicotine through a patch, it absorbs these toxins into your bloodstream, where your circulation propels them into contact with every single cell.

By entering through the skin, these toxins also bypass the detoxifying bacteria, selective cellular barrier, and sensitive immune system in your gut, meaning they can be deposited and even stored throughout your tissues before your liver has a chance to metabolize and detoxify them.

It’s amazing that the average woman wears nearly 515 chemicals a day and will eat nearly 4 pounds of lipstick in her lifetime, so make sure your lipstick does NOT contain lead or any chemicals.

On the other hand, you could also view this as 12 opportunities to nourish your cells with plant-based non-toxic phytonutrient and antioxidant-rich shampoos, conditioners, soaps, lotions, oils, toners, moisturizers, foundations, eye shadows, lipsticks, blushes and perfumes!! (It's all mindset and how you view it).

Which would you choose? The answer is of course obvi, but most people don’t realize they're making this choice when they stock up on their daily regimen. Even many products that claim to be “natural” or are branded with seemingly eco-friendly packaging, are filled with potentially harmful or known-to-be harmful substances.

You've probably seen variations of this list before, but to recap, here are 10 of the most problematic (and frequently used) ingredients to watch out for:

  1. Parabens—These are known hormone disruptors and estrogen-mimickers.
  2. Fragrance—There's actually no way to know what "fragrance" is. It's usually a proprietary blend and it's a way that companies often hide potentially harmful substances. Unless you 100% trust the brand, avoid it.
  3. Phthalates, including “dibutyl phthalate” in nail polish. These are known hormone disruptors in men and pregnant women.
  4. BHA (aka butylated hyrdroxyanisole). Banned in Europe, this substance has strong evidence of being a carcinogen and a known hormone disruptor. 
  5. Boric Acid or Sodium borate. Also restricted in Europe and known to disrupt male hormones.
  6. Heavy metals—especially lead in dark hair dyes and mercury in some skin lighteners. Lead is a naturally occurring element in the ground and so many plant-based products may contain minute amounts of it. Ideally, all manufacturers test their botanical sources for heavy metal contamination, especially botanicals from overseas. High levels of heavy metals in the body disrupt biological detoxification processes and are linked with higher rates of everything from Alzheimer’s to cardiovascular disease.
  7. PEG aka “polyethelyne glycol” or “Carbomax Sentry.” PEGs are frequently used in household products and cosmetics and are often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a known carcinogen.
  8. Formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasers like Bromopol, DMDM Hydrantoin and Quanterium-15. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen used commonly as a preservative.
  9. Preservatives that end in “-thiazolinone” like “Methylisothiazolinone,” for example, are skin irritants and there's some evidence that they may be neurotoxic.
  10. Triclosan and triclocarban in antimicrobial soaps can disrupt thyroid and reproductive hormones.

Overwhelmed yet?

You’re not alone!

It’s good to keep these harmful chemicals in mind when you shop, but if reading the fine print on every bottle has you cross-eyed, it’s understandable.

I have made some important lifestyle changes in order to stay healthy. I closely examined the everyday products I used and found that many harbored harmful metals and chemicals that can adversely impact overall health. That is why I am here to help educate you about which ingredients are safe and which are not. 

Here are 7 easy ways to eliminate these toxins from your life:

1. Put your mobile device to work.
An app called Think Dirty Shop Clean allows you to can scan a barcode and learn which products in your medicine cabinet are the worst offenders.

2. Do the research.
The Environmental Working Group has a great database of products called Skin Deep, where you can plug in tens of thousands of products and find out how harmful or clean they really are according to best the scientific research available. It's also available as an app.

3. Ask a trusted practitioner, like an integrative doctor or naturopath, for guidance.
He or she can review your products or recommend the ones they trust and love. In my practice, I’m always encouraging clients to take a hard look at the soaps, cleaning products, body care, and makeup they use at home. And if you utilize a house cleaning service, make sure that they use a “green” & non-toxic products.

4. Detox your beauty cabinet
Chemicals like parabens are added to personal care products to keep bacteria and mold from growing in the packaging. These additives are considered endocrine disruptors, which can lead to hormone-related cancers in adults and early onset of puberty in girls. Parabens can be found in many household items, including cosmetics, lotions, soaps, toothpaste, shampoos, moisturizers, shaving gels, fragrances and soaps. Read labels carefully and choose products with a short list of all-natural ingredients.

5. Replace the products you use heavily and regularly every day like lotions and moisturizers first.
I make my own Ayurvedic body oils using organic base oils like sesame, sunflower, and coconut. I then add my favorite essential oils such as lavender, jasmine, sandalwood, and Moroccan rose, to make them aromatherapeutic and herbally active.

6. Replace your shower curtain
Vinyl shower curtains are made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which can release chemical fumes that linger in your home for months and can impact your health. I now use a water-resistant cotton shower liner made with organic fabric. 

One fact about vinyl chloride I find extra scary is this: An excess of spontaneous abortions has been reported among spouses of workers who had been exposed to vinyl chloride (Hazardous Substance fact Sheet).
Yes, I realize this wasn’t from exposure in the shower, but the fact is that if it can do this much damage secondhand, it’s not safe to have around in an area where it’s used daily, especially in a shower, because the chemicals used to make PVC are released under warm and moist conditions, thus making a shower a dangerous place for these already hazardous compounds. What makes them leach is that the additives to PVC do not form a chemical bond with the plastic but exist within the PVC as a mixture. As a result plasticisers and other additives can migrate from the PVC polymer into the environment (Greenpeace).
If you are looking for something on the more affordable side, especially if you are looking to make a quick change, a nylon shower curtain is the way to go. This is the one I have. I was a little wary upon purchase, as I got it to double as a liner and as a curtain and I wasn’t sure if it would leak, being made of a light fabric, but I have had it for five months now and there has been no leakage and no mold, to boot. It’s really more liner material. You can also choose a curtain made out of hemp material or organic cotton. 

7. Replace your sheets and towels
Certain fabrics may be laced with toxic chemicals. I have started removing all the towels and sheets from my home and replacing them with items made with organic, all-natural fibers.

Get Even Healthier!!
If you are wanting to create more health and wellness in your life, find the support and accountability you need to make a change. The time is NOW
Through a holistic approach, I support clients in their quests for health, wholeness, and joy. Using nutrition as a starting point, I work with you as partners in health. Together we will reset your natural vitality, reveal your most radiant self, recharge your relationships, and experience exquisite nourishment.  Would you like to create and maintain whole-self wellness? Let's get started!

 

P.S. Share with us your favorite products in the comments below!! 

6 Tips To Make A Positive Switch

Picture a big glass filled to the halfway mark with water. How do you see it – half-full or half-empty?
 
Consistently finding the glass half-empty – and the world as a difficult place – is a hallmark of negativity.
 
Research has found that a negative outlook can contribute to everything from depression to heart disease to lowered immune system function. It can affect sleep, weight maintenance, the quality of your relationships, your social life, and even your ability to hold a job.
 
Now imagine what it would feel like to approach life from a place of positivity, fun, connection, health, and possibility. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

 
To help wipe out negativity, try one or more of the following action steps:

  1. Go complaint-free. Try going an hour without complaining and see the positive things in your life. Next, try a day, a week, and so on.
  2. Keep a gratitude journal. Each evening, list 10 or more things that you are grateful for.
  3. Give compliments freely. Notice the good in others. Praise every person you interact with.
  4. Find beauty everywhere in your world. Notice its gorgeousness.
  5. Share your good news. Studies show that sharing happy events brings even more happiness.
  6. Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want.

 
Maintaining a positive outlook takes practice, and the more you do it, the easier it gets. The payoff – a happier, healthier life – is absolutely worth the effort.

Get Even Healthier!

Want to learn how to make positive choices in your own life? Want support in creating your healthiest, happiest life ever? Let’s talk! Schedule a complimentary health coaching consultation with me today – or pass this offer on to someone you care about!