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Eat Your Way to a Glowing Complexion

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Your skin is a reflection of your inner health. Creams, serums, and lotions work to a certain degree, but creating beautiful skin from the inside out is a sure fire way to a glowing complexion. By incorporating foods with the right nutrients into your diet, your skin will be clear and bright, and wrinkles and signs of aging will diminish. Look for foods with the following nutrients and your skin will transform beautifully.

1. Beta-Carotene

Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that gives the yellow-orange pigment to certain foods making them so rich in color. The human body converts it into Vitamin A, or retinol, crucial for skin health. Beta-carotene helps stimulate cell regeneration, which reduces wrinkles and improves skin color and texture. It also minimizes the effects of environmental damage from the sun and external pollution.

Sources in nature:

Carrots

Sweet potatoes

Persimmons

Squash

Kale

Spinach

2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omegas are extremely important in hydrating your skin and regulating oil production. If you’re feeling dry and flaky (especially in winter months), incorporating quality sources of omega-3s into your diet can really help. Omega-3s are extremely anti-inflammatory and can soothe skin conditions like rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema. They can prevent the destruction of collagen and increase resilience to internal and external threats.

Sources in nature:

Coconut Oil

Avocados

Olive Oil

Hemp seeds

Flax seeds

Fish oil

Walnuts

Leafy greens

3. Vitamins C and E

These vitamins are imperative for a bright and glowing complexion. They increase collagen growth which gives skin its elasticity and protects against wrinkles. They can actually prevent your skin from harmful effects of the sun, and potentially reverse sun damage including age spots. Incorporating them into your diet will help you restore and maintain youthful skin.

Sources in nature:

Lemons

Grapefruits

Strawberries

Almonds

Spinach

Asparagus

Photo by Steven Spassov

 


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Snack Happy

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Nutrition is such an exciting field because of the immense healing power of food and its ability to help our bodies overcome illness, function at optimal levels, and to calm our minds. I make it a point to eat the highest quality ingredients in every meal of the day. That’s why, when I discovered the raw vegan company Hail Merry, I was over the moon.

Flavorful treats with perfect texture and consistency, Hail Merry products are made with nature’s powerhouses and are packed with nutrient dense ingredients including maca, coconut oil, and cacao. They’re absolutely delicious to boot. And, as fate would have it, I was fortunate enough to meet the owner of the company in Santa Monica last week.

Jovial, glowing, and most certainly a badass, this woman knows her stuff. I met her and her husband as they were celebrating their 17th wedding anniversary, and couldn’t help but notice their Hail Merry gear. Turned out, it was my lucky day, as this swooning couple happened to be the owner of my favorite raw vegan sweet company. I told them what a huge fan I was, and they immediately offered to send me a t-shirt and some samples of their new products.

Needless to say, the snacks and gear did not disappoint.

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The macaroons are heaven. The lemon flavor is zesty and you can taste a little crunch from the coconut pieces. The chocolate chip cookie dough tastes better than any non-vegan options I’ve ever had, and is moist and perfect.

For someone that likes to eat well, nuts can get pretty boring. However, Hail Merry puts a spin on theirs that totally sparks your taste buds. For the vanilla maple almonds, they use organic maple sugar, Madagascar bourbon vanilla, and sea salt, and let me tell you, they are absolutely divine. The sweet and salty combo is subtle yet flavorful, and go perfectly chopped up in oatmeal with some sliced banana and cinnamon.

The ‘Royal Blend’ is equally as tasty and the flavor combo takes your palate for quite the ride. A mix of almonds, cashews and pecans, this pack is seasoned with organic palm sugar (from sustainable farms), Hatch Chimayo chile pepper, Celtic sea salt, and cracked black pepper.

Hail Merry doesn’t roast or bake their nuts, but instead season and then dehydrate at a very low temperature. This ensures the integrity of the ingredients and protects the healthy oils found in nuts. The oils that they use are rich in omega-3s which are great for metabolism, skin, and brain health meaning that these snacks will leave you energized and guilt-free.

Already a proud supporter of Hail Merry, knowing the mission and the people behind the scenes makes it even better for me. Looking forward to trying the rest of the line, and sporting my tats all summer long.

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Juicing Basics

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Juicing Basics

Try these delicious and easy juice recipes at home!


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5 Habits for Exceptional Health

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1. Start your day with awareness

Meditate. Drink tea. Write down three things you’re grateful for.

By paying attention to yourself first thing in the morning you set a peaceful tone for the day ahead, and honor the possibilities of a new day.

2. Only eat when you’re hungry

We make thousands of choices about food every day. Eating should only be done when you’re hungry. Not bored. Not sad. Not lonely. Not drunk. By eating when you’re not hungry you don’t allow your digestive system to relax, and more than likely you’ve got waste hanging out in your intestines that won’t get properly broken down and used for energy. This leads to weight gain, lack of energy, inflammation, and toxicity in the body. When you feel hungry, ask yourself if that’s really what it is. Most of the time, a glass of water, cup of tea, or walk around the block will help get rid of the urge and tide you over until your next meal.

3. Don’t punish yourself

We all do things we’re not proud of, but when it comes to food we tend to be typically brutal on ourselves. If you want desert, eat desert. If you want a glass of wine, enjoy a glass of wine. Don’t look back on it and hate on yourself for it.

By making reasonable indulgences part of your regimen, you won’t go crazy at your niece’s pizza party and pass out covered in ice cream. Commit to a solid foundation of whole, nutrient dense foods, and mindfully appreciate when it comes to enjoying things that aren’t necessarily so healthy.

4. Make exercise an enjoyable ritual

If you hate yoga, don’t do yoga. If running the stairs ten times makes you nauseous at the thought of it, stay away from the stairs.

Being active is a critical part of a vibrant life. The most important part of exercising is finding activity that suits you as an individual. This is the only way you’ll stick with it and the only way it will benefit you. Do whatever is in line with what makes you happy. Ride your bike at sunset. Walk your dog for an extra twenty minutes. Join a local team for a sport you played in high school. Pick something and get to it.

5. Eat the colors of the rainbow

Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds – these foods are completely packed with all the nutrients you need for a healthy body and mind. Do as best you can to start all your meals with vegetables, and to snack on fruit and nuts during the day.  You’ll have tons of energy, great skin, and a strong immune system, and will save money at the store not buying packaged products.

Photo by Ben Moore


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5 Powerful Changes to Make Now

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1. Begin your day with awareness

We tend to jump out of bed in the morning and get on with our day without paying much attention to our actual bodies. When you get up, try noticing how it feels to put your feet on the floor, and take a moment to honor your body for carrying you through your daily activities. Making an effort to be aware of the movements we take on a daily basis nourishes our spirit and offers gratitude for the mobility that allows us to experience life.

2. Drink hot water with organic lemon in the mornings, and after meals

Hot water with lemon is an excellent way to cleanse your system, activate your metabolism, and alkalize your body. Drinking it first thing in the morning flushes toxins, gently wakes up your lymphatic system and prepares you for the day. Sipping it slowly after a meal helps assist in digestion and aids in clearing your arteries of build up that accumulates over time. This simple ritual is both healing and energizing, and a great way to boost your overall health.

3. Snack only on fruit

Fruits are the best thing to snack on for the simple reason that they’re packed with nutrients, are easily digested by your body, and come in countless flavors and textures.  Various fruits are packed with fiber, b-vitamins, electrolytes, antioxidants, anti-aging compounds, and nutrients that boost your immune system. You body is very good at digesting them so they have little chance of putting a strain on your body and depleting your energy, and they won’t encourage weight gain. Eating fruit is also a great way to incorporate more raw food into your diet, providing you with a pure source of nutrients. There are so many delicious options out there that are easy to keep on your at all times. Shop your local farmers market for great prices and pesticide-free seasonal treats.

4. Have light dinners and don’t eat after 8 pm

According to ayurverdic medicine, our bodies are very good at digesting between the hours of six and eight AM, twelve and two PM, and six and eight PM, with midday having the most active digestive fire. When we eat a large dinner late at night, it interferes with some of the most important processes of our bodies, which involve regeneration and repair. It’s important to give our systems the space for this so that we sleep well, have energy the following day, and so that we don’t expedite the aging process by denying our systems the time they need to rest.

5. Write a thank you note once a week

Gratitude is the source of happiness. Giving thanks and recognizing people for small or large accomplishments multiplies your positive vibrations and in turn enhances the way that people feel and act towards you. By sending out a quick message or note every Monday morning, you’ll brighten someone’s day, improve your relationships, and establish a quality of servitude and appreciation.


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Cultivating Simplicity

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Certain people, it seems, are blessed with an ease of living. Life is gentle on them, and they are gentle towards life. The ability to go with the flow, to take things in stride, and to accept life as it is, is ingrained in some, but for others it is something that must be cultivated. Everyone is different, but when we transfer our resistance to acceptance, and turn fear into faith, we have an opportunity to recalibrate the direction of our existence.

The way is through simplicity.

By simplifying, we minimize our need to control and place great faith in the universal power that holds planets and stars in place, and supports all life on earth. Of course, this isn’t the easiest thing to do, but we can beginn to cultivate simplicity through our everyday actions and beliefs.

1. Practice forgiveness

Forgiveness is the ability to let go of emotions that do not serve us to make space for thoughts and experiences that do. When we hold on to negative emotions about the past we prevent exceptional things from happening in the present. Commit to letting go of hurtful things in the past. It takes time, but once you free yourself from the grip of the past you will be able to flourish in the present.

2. Simplify your foods

Reading nutrition labels, counting calories, and trying to interpret ingredient lists takes away from the true purpose of eating. Food is there to nourish our bodies, minds and souls. We receive the properties of that which we put in our bodies. Thus, when we eat food that is alive and thriving, our entire being thrives. Make the majority of what you eat come straight from the ground. It’s as simple as that. A plant based diet means eating things that will nurture your body and your life, and nourishing your being with the vibrance of the earth.

3. Let go of that which does not serve you

Bad TV. Gossip magazines. People who make you doubt yourself. Food that makes you feel guilty. All of these things create negative energy in your life and complicate your existence. Everything you do, read, see and interact with should have an essence of love. That is not to say that difficult circumstances should be avoided, or that life should be peachy at all times, but anything you choose to make part of your life should serve your higher purpose of peace and wellbeing.

4. Give what you wish to receive

That which you do not give you will not receive. Where are you holding back in life? What are you wanting that’s not coming to you? Try showing it to everyone, to loved ones, friends, grocery store attendants and the postman. Once you share the love and generosity you desire, without exception it will come flooding into your life.

It’s a journey to practice these principles at all times, but by holding them in our mind’s eye we can work towards a more peaceful, meaningful and happier existence.


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The Way of the Heart

“The way of the heart is the way of courage. It is to live in insecurity; it is to live in love, and trust; it is to move into the unknown. It is leaving the past and allowing the future to be. Courage is to move on dangerous paths. A person who is alive, really alive, vitally alive, will always move into the unknown.”
-Osho

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5 Ways to Lose Weight Without Dieting

Weight loss is a complicated beast, and there are a lot of things that we do over time that affect our weight. Instead of dieting, I suggest cultivating healthy habits that support your ultimate goals and enable you to feel great all the time. Here are some tips that when incorporated into your lifestyle can help you to feel slimmer and more energetic.

1. Stop eating late at night

Your body is not very good at digesting food late at night. It’s winding down from the day and slowly moving towards rest, and since you’re most likely not very active at that time of day the food isn’t used for energy and is stored pretty inefficiently. Eating late at night is the probably the best way to put on pounds, so try and stop eating anything after 8:00 pm. If you find yourself wanting to eat, drink water or tea, and if you really are hungry (and not just bored), eat something easy to digest like fruit or soup.

2. Drink more water

Being properly hydrated is extremely important for all functions of the body, but when it comes to keeping a healthy weight it’s especially necessary. Drinking plenty of water helps to flush toxins from the body that can interfere with the optimal functioning of hormones that regulate how your food is used and stored, your metabolism, and your hunger levels.

Not only that, but many times when we are thirsty we take that as a signal we’re hungry so we start eating. Instead of giving our body what it wants we end up eating unnecessarily and not satisfying our craving. Next time you feel like going for a snack in between meals, try slowly drinking a glass of water and see if that tempers your hunger.

3. Have smoothies or juices for breakfast

The best way to start the day is with something light and extremely nutrient dense. Juices and smoothies are a great source of macro and micronutrients, will give you energy and fill you up, and are easily digested and used by your body.

4. Stop watching TV

If you have time to watch TV, you certainly have time to get off your ass and get in shape. TV is a time suck and can distract you from all of the other amazing things out there. If this is too extreme, try rewarding yourself to one hour of tv for every thirty minutes of exercise. If and when you do watch, choose one or two shows you want to watch and then turn the TV off when they’re done. This way, you don’t end up mindlessly flipping through channels and end up accidentally watching Shahs of Sunset.

5. Only snack on whole fruits and nuts

Fruits are really good for your body. They contain fiber, B vitamins, electrolytes, and are powerful sources of antioxidants. Your body digests them really fast so it’s best to eat them on an empty stomach, and you can eat as much as you want. Nuts are an excellent source of Omega-3s which help your body use stored fat for energy, and they also have a lot of protein which makes you feel full and satiated. Snacking on foods that provide your body with nutrients makes your hormones function more efficiently, and will reduce cravings for processed and refined foods that encourage your body to put on weight.


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3 Ways to Strengthen Your Immune System this Season

What if you didn’t have to avoid your sniffly neighbor or that co-worker that refuses to take sick days for fear that you might get whatever they’re suffering from? As we move into the winter months our potential for getting sick increases, but there’s a lot we can do to protect ourselves from it beyond washing our hands and eating vitamin C. The body’s ability to fight off sickness can be significantly enhanced by incorporating certain foods and avoiding things that deplete our wellbeing. Here are some tips on ways to strengthen your immune system and ensure that you’ll be well protected from getting sick.

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Eating Right Before and After Your Workout

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The right nutrients are essential to having good energy for your workouts and in providing your body with a speedy recovery. When it comes to exercise, the first thing that comes to mind for many of us is protein. Protein is certainly a very important part of muscle repair, but there are many other minerals that play an important role such as electrolytes, iron, antioxidants, and essential fats. Here are some tips on getting these into your routine, and at what point around your workout you should enjoy them.

1. First thing in the morning
Start your day of with a large glass of water, or warm water with lemon if you have the time. This will hydrate you after a long night of sleep, and the lemon will alkalize your system. This will help reduce any inflammation you have, aids in strengthening your bones, and improves muscle efficiency.

2. Before your workout
Eat something that’s very easy to digest and full of energy. One of my favorites is a juice with a cucumber, celery, grapefruit, and apple. This juice is highly alkalizing and is a great source of electrolytes, which hydrate you and enhance your heart’s efficiency. Because juice is raw it’s packed with nutrients that our bodies can absorb very easily.
Bananas and dates are two of the most energetically packed fruits out there, and because of their texture they’re very easy to digest. Any other fruit will give you a great boost of energy without depleting you during your workout. Stick with things that are light and easy for your body to process, as these will provide you with the most available source of energy for your workout.

3. After your workout
This is an important time to provide your body with a nutrient rich and easily digested meal. I like to start with a kale smoothie, loaded with omegas, protein, fiber, and iron. Greens are packed with chlorophyll, which oxygenates your cells and boosts your energy after intense exercise. You can add anything you want to a smoothie, which makes it the perfect post-workout meal, as you can take care of all your body’s needs in one drink.
Antioxidant-rich berries are great for after a workout, as they speed recovery and protect cellular health. A soothing cup of green tea can do this too. Nuts like walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, and hemp seeds are excellent sources of protein, so its worth always having those around to snack on. Or, try my raw SuperCereal. If you’re up for it, a spoonful of coconut oil is a quick way to get an omega-3 boost, which will help you burn body fat as fuel more efficiently and improves joint function. A quinoa salad with avocado, tomatoes, spinach, and pumpkin seeds will cleanse your system and provide you with calcium, iron, protein and omega-3s.

By properly taking care of your body before and after your workouts you’ll ensure that you get the most out of your practice, and will also prevent any odd cravings that might arise with an intense regimen. Share your favorite way to get ready for or wind down from a workout, and any recipes you really like!

Photo credit: CityofShamballa.net