Dry Skin Brushing: Benefits & How to Do It

We all brush our teeth and even hair, but have you ever brushed your skin? Perhaps you weren’t even aware this was a thing!

Dry brushing is a practice that has been gaining popularity, and for good reason! It is the practice of quite literally brushing your skin with a firm brush, typically before taking a shower. I started this habit several weeks ago and have noticed softer skin, but there are many other more significant benefits as well worth note.

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Matcha Latte Recipe and Benefits

The chilly weather over the past week has got me sipping all kinds of warming beverages, from hot water with lemon to an old favorite, matcha tea. In addition to its soothing taste, this beautiful green powder is a total powerhouse superfood. In fact, Japanese tea farmers have been growing it for over 1,000 years to obtain its health benefits! This type of tea is unusual in that the whole leaf is ground and consumed, as opposed to conventional green tea where the plant is simply seeped in water.

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Feel A Cold Coming On? Do These 6 Things To Prevent It!

You know when you feel that little tingle in the back of your throat? The kind when you think to yourself “crap that’s not good”. Well that was me last week. My little niece had the sniffles but that really means nothing in regards to social distancing when you’re an obsessed aunt.

A few days later I felt that itchy post-nasal drip tingle and I immediately shifted into prevent mode (my wedding is in less than 3 weeks – I don’t have time for that nonsense!). In the past, starting my prevention regimen immediately after recognizing the first sign has enabled me, at minimum, to reduce the duration and severity of the symptoms or completely prevent the cold altogether. This particular time I had a bit of a runny nose for 2 days then it was dunzo! Pretty awesome right?

Here’s what I did

  1. Cut out absolutely ALL forms of processed and added sugar. Sugar can suppress the immune system and cause inflammation in the body. Just a small amount of sugar can suppress your immunity for up to 6 hours! Sugar is also void of any nutritional value, leaving our body with the extra work of metabolizing it without any benefit in return.
  2. Take a mega-dose of vitamin D. Multiple studies have shown that people with lower vitamin D levels are more susceptible to colds and flu so ensuring adequate levels year-round is an overall great prevention measure. Vitamin D helps regulate our immune response and stimulates it, when needed, to protect against viral and bacterial infections. Refer to this article where Dr. Thorburg explains appropriate dosing to start within 24-36 hours of onset of first symptoms.
  3. Use 4-5 sprays of Beekeeper’s Naturals Propolis Throat Spray. Bee propolis has natural germ fighting properties, is loaded in antioxidants, and 300+ beneficial compounds. I used this twice per day (morning and night) to soothe my scratchy throat and provide natural immune support.
  4. Eat all the immune-boosting foods. Berries, mushrooms, ginger, turmeric, garlic and onions, bone broth, greens and coconut oil are all excellent anti-inflammatory foods. Onions, garlic and coconut oil even provide anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties! Aim to eat at least 1-2 of these foods at each meal.
  5. Optimize your beverages. I love to start the day off with a cup of water with lemon, local raw honey and – since I’m growing it this year – sage. Sage is valued for its immune-boosting properties. It has antiseptic and antiviral properties, and can help break down mucus associated with colds or the flu.
  6. Take a spoonful (or 2) of elderberry syrup. This has been gaining popularity over the years as a natural way to prevent or shorten the duration of colds and the flu. According to Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu, of Hadassah-Hebrew University in Israel, elderberry disarms the enzyme viruses use to penetrate healthy cells in the lining of the nose and throat. When purchasing from the store, check the ingredients to ensure there are no additives or fillers. I prefer to make it on my own — not only do I save A LOT of money, but I am able to fully customize the ingredients. I like to use this recipe.

Do you catch colds often? What do you do to prevent/recover from them quicker? Share below!

Yep! It’s Veggie Chili

This is one of my favorite recipes from my 21 Day Transformational Nutrition Cleanse. Chili is a wonderful option when you are looking for a quick, simple, nutritious recipe. You can load in lots of veggies and have enough to serve a family or have leftovers for the next day!

Yep! It’s Veggie Chili

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 4 servings

Equipment

  • large pot

Ingredients
  

  • 3 ears corn or 10oz bag of frozen corn
  • 1 ½ cups cooked kidney beans or 15oz can, rinsed and drained
  • 4 large tomatos diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper diced
  • 1 medium sweet onion diced
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 Tbsp sea salt Celtic is one of the best types
  • ½ Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¾ cup high quality protein (grass-fed groud beef, ground turkey) OPTIONAL

Instructions
 

  • Heat a large pot over meadium heat and add the oil and onion. Sauté for 3 minutes.
  • Add the corn, garlic, cumin, salt, chili powder and cayenne pepper. Sauté for another 4 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes and peppers and cover pot.
  • Turn heat to love and simmer for ~30 minutes.
  • Add more salt to taste and enjoy!
Keyword chili

Lemon Asparagus Soup

I made this soup last week with some leftover asparagus ends and it turned out amazing! It is very flavorful and light. It can also be enjoyed cold if preferred during the summer. I was excited to include kale picked fresh from my garden in this recipe! Try to use local, fresh and organic ingredients when possible to optimize nutrient density and support your local community!

Lemon Asparagus Soup

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Soup

Equipment

  • large pot
  • wooden spoon
  • blender (I used my Vitamix but you can also use an immersion blender)

Ingredients
  

  • 1 bunch asparagus diced
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic pealed and smashed
  • 2 Tbsp butter substitute extra virgin olive oil for dairy-free option
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed, if possible
  • 1-2 kale leaves
  • pepper, freshly ground
  • sea salt
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese grated

Instructions
 

  • Melt butter in large pot on medium heat. Add onions and garlic and let sauté until soft and translucent.
  • In the meantime, cut off the tips of the asparagus to use later as garnish. Chop the ends up into 1/2 inch pieces.
  • Once onions are soft, add chopped asparagus, broth, salt and pepper to pot. Let soup come to a boil, then turn down heat to let simmer and cover with a lid.
  • Cook vegetables until tender, about ~20 minutes.
  • **Once fully cooked, blend ingredients together until completely smooth.
  • Transfer soup back to pot. Add lemon juice and chopped kale and gently stir in. If you desire a thicker consistency, allow soup to simmer, uncovered, until desired consistency is reached.
  • Sauté asparagus tips in pan with some butter until tender.
  • Top soup with asparagus tips and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Enjoy!

Notes

**If using a regular blender (as oppose to an immersion blender) let soup cool for 5-10 minutes before blending, as blending hot ingredients can increase the internal pressure in the vessel, causing it to explode (yes, I am speaking from experience). 
Keyword asparagus, soup

How to Supercharge Your Detoxification Systems

On a daily basis we are exposed to hundreds of different toxins. They are found in the air we breathe, water we drink, food we eat, and even the different products we expose our skin to. Our body has natural fighting systems to clear out these toxins such as our lymphatic system and liver. However, our lifestyle choices can determine how efficient these systems work. Although detoxification is a naturally occurring process, there are many steps you can take to raise the level of efficiency. Supporting your daily detoxification processes is essential to prevent disease and feel your best!

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Berry Overnight Oats

This is an excellent recipe to prepare the evening prior to a busy morning. I love the convenience of simply grabbing my jar of overnight oats and going! This meal is high in fiber, and contains both healthy fats and protein to ensure you will stay full all morning and avoid blood sugar spikes.

Gluten-free oats: oats are naturally gluten-free, but the facilities and processing methods pose high rates of contamination. Regular oats are fine if you don’t have a gluten intolerance, but if you’re eliminating gluten for whatever reason, be sure to choose gluten-free.
Cinnamon: helps lower blood sugar, loaded with phytonutrients that decrease inflammation
Bee pollen: local pollen to your area can help with seasonal allergies; packed with vitamins and beneficial enzymes
Raw honey: local raw honey can help with seasonal allergies; antiviral, high in antioxidants
Chia seeds: good source of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber

Berry Overnight Oats

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 6 hrs
Course Breakfast
Servings 1 serving

Equipment

  • glass jar

Ingredients
  

  • ½ cup gluten free oats
  • ½ cup almond or coconut milk
  • 1 Tbs chia seeds
  • 1 Tbs almond or peanut butter make sure there is no added sugar listed in ingredients list
  • ½ cup strawberries
  • ¼ cup blueberries
  • ¼ tsp bee pollen
  • dash cinnamon
  • drizzle honey omit or use stevia if monitoring blood sugar

Instructions
 

  • Add non-dairy milk, nut butter, chia seeds and honey (optional) to a glass container. Mix well, then add oats. Make sure oats are fully submerged in milk.
  • Put in fridge for 6 hours or overnight.
  • In the morning, top with fresh berries, bee pollen and cinnamon!

Notes

This recipe is a total of 37 grams of carbohydrates, making it appropriate for diabetics on a consistent carb diet of 30-35 grams per meal. 
*If you prefer to use frozen berries, add those the night before.

How to Acheive Beautiful Skin From Within

Throughout high school and college, nearly all of us deal with some form of acne. We brush it off and attribute it to hormones and just part of growing up. Dermatologists recommend harsh and often toxic facial cleansers that can dry out the skin. When those don’t work, females are often prescribed birth control pills to control it. However, neither of these options do anything to resolve the underlying issue. Because there is almost always an underlying issue.

Throughout my studies I have been told over and over that our skin is a reflection of what is going on inside our body. If we are detoxifying optimally and have minimal internal inflammation, our skin will reflect it and be clear and glowing. If toxins start to build up or your body is inflamed, whether it be from poor diet, environmental contaminants or constipation, to name a few, our skin will reflect that as well through acne, rashes, etc.

If you have struggled with any type of skin issue, here are some tips on ways to help get to the bottom of it.

  1. Do an elimination diet. Food sensitivities are infamous for causing skin irritation. Dairy commonly causes acne while gluten has been attributed to different rashes such as eczema. Try eliminating these two foods for 3-6 weeks to determine if a food sensitivity could be the cause.
  2. Avoid white sugar and processed foods. Fried food, pop and other forms of processed sugar, and highly processed packaged food can cause inflammation in the body and alter the gut microbiome. Focus on eating a whole food diet with loads of vegetables. Avoid frying foods at high temperatures with low quality oils such as canola, soy and corn oil. Use avocado or coconut oil instead.
  3. Drink more water. Many Americans, are chronically dehydrated. This could cause many issues such as weakened hair and dry skin. It can also lead to inefficient removal of metabolic waste, contributing to accelerated aging. Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day. If you sweat a lot in your workouts, live in a hot climate, or drink excessive amounts of caffeine, you may need to increase this further.
  4. Start your day with hot water with lemon. This is a great habit for digestion and detoxification of the liver.
  5. Take probiotics and eat probiotic-rich foods. Check out this post to learn all about probiotics.
  6. “Detox” your skin care routine. Most soaps, shampoos, and lotions contain fragrances, formaldehyde (yes, formaldehyde!), preservatives, and foaming agents that can be carcinogenic, hormone disrupting, and irritating to the skin. Download the ThinkDirty app, which allows you to actually scan your products to see what harmful ingredients are in it. You can also look up products on the EWG’s Skin Deep Database. Curious about my favorite products? Shoot me an email!

Have you struggled with some type of skin issue? Look up your skin care products in one of the programs recommended above — comment below what you learned!

Top Foods and Habits For A Healthy Brain

Most of us know someone with some type of neurological disease. Globally, neurological disease accounts for over 6% of disease burden, and it can be extremely traumatic for both the individual and their family. Diseases such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, multiple sclerosis (MS), stroke, and headache disorders all fall into this category.

At the present, conventional medicine lacks effective and long-term treatments for most of these diseases, and most are seen as irreversible. Prevention is by far the best option. To keep our nervous system healthy and functioning optimally, we must keep channels of communication open between the gut and the brain. This is referred to as the gut-brain axis. A healthy intestinal microbiome facilitates efficient communication between the gut and the brain. Therefore, supporting our microbiome with good nutrition is key. Stress, certain medications, inadequate sleep, junk food, and vitamin deficiencies can all impact your microbiome and cause your “good bacteria” to be replaced by “bad bacteria”. Below I will dive into some of my favorite foods and habits to help optimize brain health and function.

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Pre-Workout Fuel for a Happy Gut

What you eat before a workout is just as important as what you eat to recover after. Eating the wrong food could cause gas, cramping, and bloating, and impact your performance. Optimizing your pre-workout meal will help avoid these issues and set you up for success.

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