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The What and Why on Probiotics

As increasingly more studies have been published demonstrating the importance of gastrointestinal (GI) or “gut” health on our overall well being, naturally the popularity of methods to improve gut health has also become more mainstream. Enter probiotics.  The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization defines probiotics as “living microorganisms, which when administered in adequate amounts confer health benefits on the host”.  

We have 10x as many microbes in our body than we do human cells, and around 1,000 different species! Some species have been associated with different health benefits, and the benefits of these little organisms have been known since 1907, when Elie Metchnikoff published a report linking the longevity of Bulgarians with consumption of fermented milk products containing Lactobacilli. Ever since, foods and supplements containing probiotics have been widely marketed and consumed. 

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Golden Latte Recipe

As winter approaches I find myself craving soothing, warm beverages I can cozy up with. This recipe is particularly wonderful because of its bright yellow-orange color and frothy texture!

Although fancy flavored coffee drinks from chain cafes may be tempting, they can be loaded in sugar and other chemicals like artificial flavors and colorings. Skip the toxin-laden (and expensive) store bought lattes and enjoy this tasty treat with all of its anti-inflammatory and digestive health benefits instead!

This Golden Latte is made with turmeric, the spice that gives curry its yellow color. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, a potent antioxidant with powerful anti-inflammatory effects. It is best absorbed in the body when combined with perperine (found in black pepper) and a bit of fat (because curcumin is a fat soluble compound).

Golden Milk Latte

Delicious, healthy spin on a latte, made with turmeric.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Drinks

Ingredients
  

  • ¼ cup turmeric
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 cups almond milk could also use coconut or oat milk
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • pepper add to taste
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil

Instructions
 

Turmeric Paste

  • Cook turmeric and water for 7-10 minutes to make a paste
  • Store paste in a jar and refridgerate

Golden Latte

  • Combine 2 tsp of turmeric paste with the rest of ingredients in a small pot
  • Cook 7-10 minutes on medium heat
  • Pour into your favorite coffee cup, and top with a dash of cinnamon and turmeric
  • Sip and enjoy!
Keyword healthy beverages, latte, warm beverages

Have you had a golden latte before? If not, try this one and let me know how you like it below!

Cacao is Medicine – Eat Your Medicine

Our first week in Costa Rica my husband and I had the opportunity to do a chocolate tour! It was at a lovely place called Reina’s Chocolate and was run by Reina and her husband, Ron. Throughout the tour we tasted 16+ types and flavors of chocolate (including sipping chocolate, chocolate tea, and my favorite, lime/sea salt/tequila flavored chocolate)!

Cacao has long been boasted as a superfood, a food with significantly higher nutritional value compared to other foods. In fact, polyphenols in cacao contribute to about 12-18% of the dry weight of the whole bean! Cacao (pronounced cu-COW) is not to be confused with “cocoa”, which many of us grew up drinking in our Hershey’s hot chocolate. Cacao, on the other hand, refers to the mature fruit of the cacao tree, which can be consumed raw and is a serious superfood! It grows best in tropical regions near the equator. About 70% is grown in West Africa, while the rest is cultivated in other humid climates such as Brazil and Ecuador.

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Health Benefits of Papaya

Papaya is a tropical fruit long promoted for it’s health benefits. It has a sweet flavor with musky undertones, and a butter-like consistency. Although the papaya tree can produce fruit year round, it peaks in early summer and fall.

health benefits

  • Digestion: Good source of fiber (~2.5 grams per cup) to help enhance digestion and bind to toxins and “bad” cholesterol in your body. Fiber also helps you stay full longer! In addition, papaya contains a digestive enzyme, called papain, which helps to digest protein.
  • Immunity: It is an excellent source of vitamin C, which is also helpful in reducing inflammation. It’s beautiful orange color provides beta-carotene, which converts into antioxidant vitamin A. 
  • Skin: Incredibly hydrating and packed with Vitamins A, C and E, all essential for healthy and radiant skin. As a natural source of alpha-hydroxy acids, it helps rejuvenate the skin and brighten complexion.
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6 Reasons Why You’re Experiencing Food Cravings

We all can experience food cravings. This is one of the many methods our body uses to communicate with us. Learning how to listen to our body in order understand what it needs will enable us to adjust our habits to help prevent cravings and provide our body with what it needs to thrive.

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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