Category Archives: Health

SHOTS! SHOTS! SHOTS! SHOTS! SHOTS!

You guys, I have a little confession to make.  I really need to get this off my chest…  I am kind of addicted to taking shots right after I wake up. It has become a part of my daily routine.  I mean hey, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere right?  Before you go signing me up for the show Intervention, let me clarify.  These are alcohol-free shots…I’m talking about mega nutrient packed shots! These bad boys (or I guess I should call them ‘good guys’) will put a pep in your step, and provide you with a potent punch of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mojo.

If you are feeling run-down, a cold coming on, or just want a boost of energy, try taking one of these shots and you’ll be walking on sunshine!

Here are my 3 favorite shots:

1) Ginger-Lemon-Turmeric

  • 2-inch piece of Ginger, juiced
  • 1/4 Lemon, juiced
  • 1-Inch turmeric juiced, or 1 tsp. ground Turmeric

ginger lemon

Ginger– Ginger contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols, which diminish pain, fight cancer, and boost immune function. Historically, ginger has long been known to diminish GI distress and is also packed with antioxidants.

Lemon– This provides a concentrated dose of Vitamin C and boosts your immune system. Lemons act as a natural diuretic and detoxifier. They also aid in combating diseases and viruses.

Turmeric– I could rant about the health benefits of turmeric forever. In short, the main compound found in turmeric, curcumin, is known to inhibit cancer cell growth.  Other health benefits include potent anti-inflammatory, effective treatment for IBS, Rheumatoid Arthritis relief, help for Cystic Fibrosis sufferers, improves liver function, lowers cholesterol, promotes heart health, and prevents Alzheimer’s disease. Yeah.. awesome sauce!

2) Ginger-Green Apple-Cayenne

  • 2-inch piece of ginger, juiced
  • A big splash of green apple juice
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper

ginger apple

Ginger-Listed above

Green Apple– Rich in antioxidants, regulates blood sugar, promotes healthy teeth, and boosts energy.

Cayenne– Increases metabolism, improves blood circulation, promotes heart health, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and fights cancer.

And last but certainly not least:

3) Wheatgrass

  • Wheatgrass, juiced (enough to fill shot glass)
  • I also like to add a splash of coconut water from time to time.

wheatgrass shot

Health benefits of Wheatgrass:

  • The most notable feature of the wheatgrass is its extremely high content of chlorophyll, approximately 70%, making it a superfood which is energizing and alkalizing.
  • It is a complete food and an outstanding source of vitamin C, E, K and B complex (even B12). It is also rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, cobalt, germanium,, potassium, protein, and zinc.
  • Contains a wide variety of amino acids (about 17 types) as well as a plethora of enzymes
  • Boosts energy and mood
  • Reduces stress
  • Boosts immunity
  • Promotes hair health
  • Purifies the blood
  • Anti-aging
  • Fights diseases, viruses, and cancers
  • Improves skin complexion
  • Regulates blood pressure

These are nutritional powerhouse shots which also have a potent flavor, just a heads up.

The added bonus of these shots: Hangover not included 🙂

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Filed under Energy, Health, Healthy Recipes, Juicing, Tips/Tricks

10 Day Juice Fast/Cleanse

Juice fasting.

I know, when you hear the word “fasting” negative thoughts such as starvation and impossible come to mind. But I’m talking about a JUICE fast. Juice fasting is about obtaining optimal health, boosting nutrition, detoxing, increasing energy, clearing your mind, and freeing yourself of stress and toxins. Juice fasting rejuvenates your body from the inside out. It completely detoxifies your body at the cellular and metabolic level. Think about how many times you eat during a day (I’m typically snacking every 3 hours), now imagine how much energy and time your body utilizes to digest that food. When you give your digestive tract a rest by only consuming fresh fruit and vegetable juices packed with nutrients and live enzymes, your body has massive amounts of energy to focus on detoxifying and healing itself. The body has an innate ability to heal itself, we just have to allow it to do so. For those of you that may not know, a juice fast consists of drinking only fresh fruit and vegetable juices (notably green juices) and water for a set period of time (typically lasting 3-10 days, but many people have gone much longer).

Completing a juice cleanse will provide you with a wide array of health benefits, including:
-More energy
-Toxin removal
-Increases mental clarity
-Regulates digestive system
-Aids in Weight loss
-Improves sleep patterns
-Glowing complexion/clearer skin
-Stops food addictions and cravings
-Improves immune function

I am currently on day five of a ten day juice cleanse. I embarked on a juice fast over a year ago and feel it’s time to conquer another one. I did not blog about the first one so this time I figured I could give you guys some insight into my 10 day juice fast/cleanse. For me, juice fasting is about improving my mental, physical, and spiritual state. I am so passionate about incorporating fresh fruit and vegetable juices into your life. The rewards and benefits are undeniable. I drink at least one or two per day as it is so drinking only juice for 10 days actually excites me. I know it may seem like an impossible task to not chew anything for 10 days, but trust me you can do it! It is a difficult task, but a doable one.

The juice I made for the first few days:
juice fast

Here’s some insight into my fast thus far:

Day 1:

Today I was super stoked about starting the fast so it was easier than I thought. I have a cold press juicer and made enough juices to last me for the first three days which made it super convenient for me to grab a juice when I needed one. I’m drinking at least five- 16 oz. juices a day. Days 1-3 are typically the worst and hardest days of the fast. If you can get through those, the following days should get easier as your body welcomes the fast. I walked outside for an hour today. Mild exercise is okay, but anything too strenuous would be an overload. Walking outdoors is my  tranquil, spiritual, “me” time which I love and need. It allows me to reflect on things, clear my head, and focus on what is important. Overall, today was a great first day of fasting!

Day 2:

My energy level was a bit low today. I had a few headaches today, which is normal. Fatigue, irritability, insomnia, hunger pangs, and headaches are common in the first few days as the detoxification process begins and your body weans itself off food cravings and addictions. I craved food a few times throughout the day but drank tons of water anytime this occurred which helped! I did get a burst of energy late at night. Overall, I’d say today was a bit rough but not too horrible.

Day 3:

Today was much like day 2, still craved food a few times and had a headache at one point. My energy level seems to be higher today than it was yesterday. I have found that I have highs and lows when it comes to my energy level. Sometimes I feel run down and then there are times I will get random spurts of energy where I feel like Wonder Woman! I also felt a bit achy today.

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Day 4:

I didn’t really think about food at all today. I almost have the mentality of being “too good” for food which helps in this process haha. I went for a walk in the morning and at night and found my energy level was quite high today. The fast has definitely become much easier today. I feel like I’m on top of the world and am excited about completing the ten days (crazy, right?!)

Day 5:

The past two days I have woken up at 5am on the dot without an alarm aka my sleep patterns are starting to regulate themselves and I sleep like a baby at night. My skin is clearing up and I feel super light and full of energy. Added bonus, I’m down five pounds. I have noticed an increase in mental clarity as well. I’d say the hardest part thus far is the cold weather. I allow myself a hot non-caffeinated herbal tea from time to time (which is allowed on a fast) to warm me up. I am pumped to see where the next five days take me and feel so much better than I did before starting this fast. Don’t let me fool you though, it does take mad willpower to stick to this. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

Tips for Fasting/Cleansing:

-Drink at least 5 juices per day
-Drink TONS of water to help flush out toxins
-Experiment with juice recipes and find ones that you love. Creating a variety of tasty ones will make it much more appealing to drink.
-Don’t over exert yourself, especially the first few days when your energy level is low
-Know that symptoms of fatigue, irritability, headache, joint aches, hunger pangs, food cravings, and insomnia are normal during the first several days and should not be an excuse to give up.
-Drink non-caffeinated herbal teas from time to time to add some heat to your week
-Devote some time to yourself, whether it be through meditation, walking, prayer, etc.
-The first 3 days are rough…don’t let them get you down.
-Avoid watching TV- food commercials are torturous and hey, who needs TV anyways?!
-Get a juice fasting partner- It’s so much easier to complete with someone who is in the same boat as you and that provides encouragement.
-Make enough juices to last you several days for added convenience.
-If you need some juice recipes, I have lots on my blog!

I’ll keep you guys updated on my 10 day fast. I am most worried about Thanksgiving, Yes I will be that crazy girl juicing on Thanksgiving. I didn’t think that one through, but I know I can do it! If you have any questions about juice fasting, please feel free to ask!

**If you live in the Greenville, SC area and would like to order a cold-pressed juice cleanse, check out www.kukajuice.com

Have any of you completed a juice fast? What are your thoughts or experiences with juice fasting?

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Filed under Energy, GO RAW, Health, Juicing, Tips/Tricks, Weight loss

7 Reasons to Eat and Love Pumpkin!

Pumpkins: they are not just for carving anymore! One of my favorite things about Fall is pumpkins.  I love decorating them, but eating them ranks pretty high on my list of fall musts. This is the time of year where you see pumpkin flavored things everywhere.  Let me give you some reasons why you should be eating this vibrant fruit.

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  1. High Fiber-Low Cal.  One cup of pumpkin has 5 grams of fiber and only 30 calories!  Thus, eating pumpkin will work wonders for your digestion while making you feel full faster. Studies also link diets high in dietary fiber to increased weight loss.
  2. Disease Fighting.  It’s rich orange color tells you that pumpkin is high in carotenoids.  Carotenoids are known to protect you from cancers, heart disease, lower your cholesterol, and even diminish signs of aging.
  3. Electrolytes.  Pumpkin actually contains more potassium than a banana  (560 mg compared to 420 mg). So, snacking on some pumpkin after a workout can be a great electrolyte booster!
  4. Vision Improver. Pumpkin contains large amounts of Vitamin A and Zeaxanthin which enhance your eye health. One serving of pumpkin will provide you with twice your daily needs for vitamin A.
  5. Mood Booster.  Pumpkin seeds contain high amounts of tryptophan, the amino acid necessary for serotonin production.  Thus, snacking on pumpkin seeds will keep you happy for the holidays.
  6. Immunity.  The large amounts of carotenoids, zinc, and vitamin C found in pumpkin will improve your immune system and reduce your chances of getting sick.
  7. Detox.   Pumpkins are natural diuretics, which aid in flushing out toxins from the body, keeping you feeling refreshed and snazzy.

Fun Fact of the day: Pumpkins were once used for removing freckles and curing snake bites. Hmm….

Try avoiding pumpkin sweets.  Pureed pumpkin can be added to almost any of your favorite recipes.  Try roasting pumpkin with some of your favorite vegetables, Add pumpkin cubes to soups and chili,  Toss pumpkin seeds into your salads, or even try pumpkin juice and smoothies!

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Fights diseases, aids in weight loss, and boosts mood? No wonder that pumpkin has a huge grin on its face!

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Top Foods to Help Beat the Cold/Flu Season

The time has come my friends.  Cold weather, runny noses, the flu epidemic. With busy schedules and the holidays, this is by far the worst time to get sick.  Lucky for you, there are a wide array of foods you can eat to help keep you healthy and happy during this time of year. Studies show that infection-fighting vitamins and nutrients work best before symptoms start, so load up on these immune-boosting foods now to help keep you and your family strong during this cold/flu season.

immune

  • GARLIC.  Garlic has been known as a powerful infection fighter since the beginning of time.  Garlic contains a compound, allicin, which has been proven to stave off drug-resistant strains of bacteria and viruses.   You can add fresh garlic to almost anything! I love throwing some garlic in with sautéed veggies, soups, sandwiches, etc.  Add some garlic to your favorite recipes and you will keep those nasty infections away…as well as some vampires 😉
  • FERMENTED FOODS.  These have also been eaten by cultures for thousands of years and for good reason. Fermented foods help restore healthy bacteria in your gut which is a necessity for a healthy immune system.  Some of the best fermented foods include kombucha, sauerkraut, miso, pickles, non-dairy yogurt, etc.  My favorite is Cultured Coconut Milk and kombucha which you can find at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.
  • BRAZIL NUTS.  Brazil nuts are one of the richest sources of Selenium.  Selenium forms selenoproteins which act as powerful antioxidants and increase your amount of T cells which fight infections.  Selenium has also been found to help regulate intestinal flora, boosting your overall immunity.
  • MUSHROOMS.  These contain high amounts of Vitamin D as well as beta-glucans.  Beta-glucans have the innate ability to activate macrophages and white blood cells within your immune system which fight off infection.  Mushrooms are also a great meat replacer so it’s a win-win if you can include these in your diet.
  • COCONUTS/COCONUT OIL.  Coconuts and coconut oil are rich in lauric acid, a compound proven to boost immunity. Lauric acid is actually known to disrupt the membranes of invading pathogens.  Try substituting your cooking oil with coconut oil or try adding coconut oil to your oatmeal, smoothies, etc. When buying coconut oil, always be sure to buy the organic unrefined kind. Eventually, you’ll be going kookoo for coconut oil 🙂
  • BLUEBERRIES.  These are packed with antioxidants.  They contain potent phytochemicals, such as anthocyanins, which keep your immune system strong. Berries also contain lower amounts of sugar in comparison to other fruits which is an added bonus.
  • CHLORELLA/SPIRULINA.  I’ve mentioned these super foods many times before but I cannot reiterate their health value enough! These are freshwater algae which bind to harmful toxins and transport them out of your body. They contain high amounts of chlorophyll which promotes tissue repair, cleanses your blood, and helps you process oxygen. You can buy these in powder or supplement form. Try adding a teaspoon of the powder to your smoothies for a mega boost of nutrients.
  • SWEET POTATOES.  Beta-carotene increases the number of infection fighting cells (natural killer and T cells)  within your immune system. Sweet potatoes actually pack more beta carotene than carrots.  Baked sweet potato fries are a yummy treat everyone will love.  Also, sweet potato-orange-pineapple juice tastes like an orange creamsicle…who would’ve thought!
  • LOCAL ORGANIC VEGETABLES.  For your immune system to work optimally, you need a wide array of nutrients.  Choosing vibrant, diverse vegetables will ensure you are receiving a wide array of nutrients which help protect you from that nasty cold and flu. Fresh green juices and smoothies are a quick and easy way to boost your nutrient intake.
  • GREEN TEA.  Green teas are rich in  polyphenols, most specifically catechins. The most  potent catechin in green tea is epigallocatechin (EGCG), which is found to be 25-100 times more powerful than vitamins C and E. Matcha green tea is one of the most beneficial types to incorporate into your daily routine.
  • VITAMIN C. We all know Vitamin C keeps colds away. Foods highest in vitamin C include papaya, bell peppers, broccoli, pineapple, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, oranges, and dark leafy greens such as kale (kale is by far one of the top foods you can eat). Vitamin C supplements also work wonders.  Add Vitamin C to your routine and say “C ya” to that cold….If you’re at a point of no return and already have a cold, try taking 1000 mg of vitamin C every few hours and your cold will be gone within a day or 2.
  • SPICES.  Powerful Immune boosting spices include cinnamon, oregano, turmeric, black pepper, and cloves. All of these have high antioxidant values as well as antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory properties.

By adding these immune boosting foods you will not only keep that cold away, you will improve your overall health and well-being!

berries

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Filed under Food, Health, Tips/Tricks, Vitamins

100 Calories- Vegetable Edition!

100 Calorie packs are everywhere, but have you ever wondered how many vegetables would equal the same amount? You might be surprised by how much more you could be eating if you choose these options instead.  Check out my findings below…

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*20 Baby Bella Mushrooms = 100 Calories

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*30 Baby Carrots = 100 Calories

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*4 Medium Green Peppers = 100 Calories

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* 3 1/2- 5 oz. packages of Baby Spinach = 100 Calories

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*2 Medium Onions = 100 Calories

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* 14 Brussels Sprouts = 100 Calories

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*3 Medium Summer Squash = 100 Calories

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*3- 5 oz. containers of Baby Kale = 100 Calories

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*45 Grape Tomatoes = 100 Calories

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*30 Asparagus Spears = 100 Calories

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*2 Medium Cucumbers = 100 Calories

cucumber

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Filed under Food, Health, Tips/Tricks, Weight loss

Eat The Rainbow!

Here’s why you should EAT THE RAINBOW…

color

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Filed under Health, Tips/Tricks, Vitamins

Fresh Cherries

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One of my favorite things about summer is FRESH CHERRIES! They are such a delicious and nutritious snack!

Here are some fun facts about cherries:

  • A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that tart cherries ranked 14 in the top 50 foods for highest antioxidant content per serving size—surpassing red wine, prunes, dark chocolate and orange juice. Thus cherry consumption can help fight cancers and chronic diseases.
  • Cherries have 19 times more beta carotene than blueberries and strawberries.
  • They are also high in Vitamin C and Vitamin E. They also contain potassium, magnesium, folate, iron, and fiber.
  • Scientific studies have shown that anthocyanins in the cherries act like anti-inflammatory agents by blocking the actions of cyclooxygenase-1, and 2 enzymes. Thus, eating cherries has potential health benefits against chronic painful episodes such as gout arthritis, fibromyalgia, and sports injuries.
  • Cherries are very rich in melatonin. Melatonin can cross the blood-brain barrier easily and triggers soothing effects on the brain, calming down nervous system irritability, which helps relieve neurosis, insomnia and headache conditions.
  • Cherries were brought to America by settlers in the 1600s

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