Perfect Morning Smoothie

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It is important to start your day of with the right nutrition, and sometimes I just don’t feel like eating a big meal first thing in the morning.  So, some days, I make a delicious smoothie to get me through the first half of the day and to jump-start my metabolism.  Below is my current favorite recipe with links to the brands I use.  This recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free and is packed with vitamins, protein and healthy fats…did I mention it was delicious?!

Ingredients

1 organic banana

3-4 Frozen Organic Strawberries

1 Small handful of Frozen Organic Blueberries

1-2 Leaves of Dino Kale

1 Heaping spoonful of Raw Organic Almond Butter

1 Spoonful of Raw Organic Coconut Oil

Homemade Organic Almond Milk (enough to fill the cup about 3/4 of my 20 oz vitamix cup.  Add more or less depending on your consistency preference)

5 Drops of Vitamin D3 (5000 IU total)

Two droppers full of Liquid Vitamin B Complex

1 tsp  Vitamin C Powder

1-2 tbls Protein Powder

 

Directions

Put all ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

 

 

An apple a day…can cause cancer?!

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Apples have always been associated with good health, hence the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”.  They are full of fiber and antioxidants. Unfortunately, according to a new study, this saying does not apply to conventional apples in the US.  This new study found that 80% of conventional apples in the US are treated with a pesticide called Diphenylamine that is banned in Europe because it has been linked to Nitrosamines, which are well-known and well-studied cancer-causing chemicals.  This also goes for applesauce and apples used in non organic baby food. Thanks America!(sarcasm)  I’ll never understand why US food companies will continue to use known carcinogens and/or toxic ingredients in their products that have been deemed unsafe in other parts of the world.  I find it very upsetting. To avoid this pesticide and other toxic chemicals on your produce, please buy organic whenever possible.  Another alternative is to check out The Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list.  It tells you which foods show the highest concentrations of pesticides so that you can avoid those at the very least.  So, I guess we should change the old saying to “An ORGANIC apple a day keeps the doctor away”.

3 good reasons to use organic tampons

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When most of us think of tampons, we think of all of the typical brands we see at the drug store and we assume that they are safe to use.  I mean, why wouldn’t they be?  Why would they be approved for use inside our bodies if they were not safe for us?  Right?  Well, after doing some research I have found some pretty upsetting information about the ingredients in conventional tampons and the possible harm they can cause.  I am so glad that I switched to organic cotton tampons a few years back and I hope after reading this post that you do too!

Here are three  good reasons to switch to organic cotton tampons:

1) Chlorine bleach- To get that clean-looking white color, tampons (unless otherwise stated) are bleached with Chlorine.  This process creates Dioxins and Furans, which are defined as highly toxic compounds produced as a byproduct in certain manufacturing processes.

2) Pesticide residue- Yup, unless it is organic cotton, cotton plants are treated with chemical pesticides that can leave a residue on the cotton.  Not to mention that  85% of cotton in the united states in GMO (genetically modified), bad for us and the environment. The chemicals in these pesticides are known carcinogens (substances capable of causing cancer in living tissue).

3) Unknown fragrance chemicals- Unfortunately, “fragrance” is considered a trade secret, so companies are not required to disclose their ingredients.  Even “unscented” products may contain masking fragrances, which are chemicals used to cover up the odor of other chemicals.  Fragrances (in not only feminine products, but soaps, lotions,  shampoos, candles, cleaning products and more) can contain allergens, phthalates (a class of chemicals linked to hormone disruption), neurotoxins (chemicals that are toxic to the brain), and/or synthetic musks ( a class of synthetic aromachemicals to emulate the scent of natural musks, and are known to be toxic to the environment and to proliferate estrogen-responsive human breast cancer cells).

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want any of these things near by body, let alone inside it!  The vaginal area has extremely permeable mucus membranes and sensitive tissue that readily absorb whatever is in the products we put on or in it.  That’s why I urge you to switch to organic cotton tampons.  Know what you are putting in your body.  You can buy the brand I choose here or find them in a store near you here.

Review: May Lindstrom Skin Collection

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Back in November, I posted an interview with the lovely Spirit Demerson of Spirit Beauty Lounge.  In that post I expressed my extreme joy and gratitude for the lovely box of natural/non toxic goodies that Spirit sent to me to try, and I promised to share with you any products that I loved.  After testing them out over the last few months, I am now ready to share some of  my favorites!  The first product I would like to introduce you to is actually a few products from a skin care line by May Lindstrom.  May is a model and make up artist who spent 3 years developing this line of luxurious skin care products that are made with bio dynamic, organic and all natural ingredients and never any chemicals.  Below are my three favorite products.  They feel luxurious, well made, effective, yet simple.  They are not your typical cleanser, mask and moisturizer, and takes a little getting used to, but I have learned to love the ritual of using these products and my skin truly glows afterwards.  I hope you all get a chance to experience the magic for yourselves!

1) The Clean Dirt: A cleansing clay, this cleanser comes in powder form and gets activated when you add a few drops of water.   It is made with a blend of cleansing clays, warming spices and healing salts and is like a daily micro-dermabrasion.  My experience: It is a brown powder so when activated with water can get a bit messy, also you don’t want to put it on your eye area to remove make up.  So, I use it whenever I am getting into the shower and don’t have any make up on.  That way, it doesn’t matter if it’s messy, cause you are in the shower, and your face is already free of make up and ready to be exfoliated, leaving you free to enjoy the primal feeling of rubbing clay all over your face.

2) The Youth Dew: A hydrating facial serum made with 20 regenerating plant and botanical oils and is infused with CoEnzyme Q10, known to rejuvenate skin cells. My experience: This is essentially a moisturizing oil.  It is in a small bottle, but you only use 1-2 pumps, so it lasts a really long time.  It smells absolutely amazing and soaks in nicely.  I personally feel like it is a tad too oily to use under make up, so if I plan on putting make up on, I use a squirt of my daily moisturizer and I mix in a drop or two of the youth Dew.  At night I use 2 pumps of The Youth Dew only and wake up with soft, supple, clear skin. I’m obsessed with this product!

3) The Problem Solver: A corrective mask made of antioxidant-rich cacao, healing bamboo charcoal, soil nutrients, salts and warming spices.  This mask comes in powder form and activates with water to purify, tighten pores, fight & heal blemishes, detoxify and jump-start circulation.  My experience: This sh*t is intense!!!  It gives a serious burning/tingling sensation, but don’t get scared, as that will diminish as it dries.  I was afraid that my skin my be red afterwards because it feels so intense, but quite the opposite, my pores were tight and my skin was even-toned and glowing. I’m hooked.

You can find all of these products at Spirit Beauty Lounge  here.

The Truth About Your Favorite Tea

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I don’t know about you, but I love myself some tea.  I always try to drink organic teas, but on occasion I drink conventional if that is all that is available.  I never gave much thought to what the tea was packaged in and what the actual tea bag itself was made of, until I read this alarming post by Food Babe.  If you love tea or know someone who does, it is definitely worth a read.  You can find it here.

Learn how to read the stickers on your fruits and vegies!

You know those annoying little stickers on your fruit and veggies that you have to peel off and they usually leave a sticky residue that you have to pick or cut off??  Well, those little stickers actually have a purpose and can tell you a lot about what you are about to eat!   Think of them like your produce’s passport, that tells you where it is from and where it has been.   Read below to become fluent in produce sticker reading…

If the number starts with 3 or 4 and has 4 digits-  It is a conventionally grown and therefore has been farmed with conventional methods using pesticides and herbicides.

If the number starts with 9 and has 5 digits- It is organically grown and therefore has not been treated with any pesticides or herbicides and is not genetically modified (GMO).

If the number starts with 8 and has 5 digits- The fruit has been genetically modified (GMO) and has been farmed using conventional methods using pesticides and herbicides.

 

 

The perfect oil for your skin: Jojoba Oil

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It took me a while to get into putting oil on my skin.  I mean, it goes against everything that we have been taught!  “Oil will clog your pores”, “oil causes zits”, etc.  Well, I’ve learned a few things that really turned it all around for me.  First of all, your skin needs oil to be balanced.  So if you are terrified of oil, and constantly washing, blotting, and/or using drying products, your skin is actually going to become more oily!  Why?  Cause it is smart!!  It starts to over produce oil to try to give back your skin the nourishment it needs.  Unfortunately, this can lead to more skin problems.  So, the lesson is, if you are giving your skin the moisture it needs, it will not over produce oil.  Secondly, not all oils are created equal.  Sure, if you rub grease from your pizza slice on your face, you will probably break out.  You want to use all-natural, unheated, raw, organic oils.  I used to use coconut oil on my face and body, which I still do occasionally, but I recently learned why Jojoba oil is a better choice.  Jojoba oil is a natural antiseptic, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory.  It is a non greasy, dry oil that soaks into your skin quickly.  The number one reason why it is best for your skin is because, out of all oils, Jojoba most closely resembles human sebum.  Therefore your skin can easily absorb and utilize it.  It will keep your skin moisturized, balanced and looking youthful!  I put it on my arms and legs (a little goes a long way) and I add a drop or two to my moisturizer when I’m feeling dry or straight on my face if I’m feeling super dry.  The brand I use is NOW Foods Organic Jojoba Oil.  Give it a try!

Delicious Almond Zucchini Bread Recipe!

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Hi friends!  I apologize for being gone for what seemed like forever! (at least to me)  July was full of fun travels, but I’m happy to be home.  Today, I have another yummy recipe to share with you!  Now that my son is a little older, he wants a little variety in his meals.  So, I’ve been spending some time experimenting with different recipes.  Most recently, I wanted to find a bread recipe that was gluten and sugar-free.  Well, I nailed it on the first try with this Almond Zucchini Bread recipe I found on Running to the Kitchen.  I just made one small adjustment in adding walnuts for a lil crunch.  It is quick and easy, moist (I know, you hate that word) and delish!  See the recipe below and enjoy!  PS.  I shared this recipe with a gluten-free friend who made it as a cake, added homemade cream cheese frosting and served it at her daughters 1st birthday party.  It was a hit!

Almond Zucchini Bread

*All ingredients preferably organic

1 1/2 cups almond flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup grated zucchini (squeeze water out after measuring)

3 eggs

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1 mashed banana

1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil

1/4 cup of walnuts (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease one loaf pan or two mini loaf pans with a lil coconut oil.  ( I used one normal size loaf pan)

2. Combine dry ingredients, except nuts,  in a small bowl and set aside.

3. Combine wet ingredients, except zucchini, in a large bowl and whisk together vigorously.

4. Add zucchini mix until combined.

5. Pour dry ingredients into wet and mix until incorporated.

6. Stir in nuts.

7. Pour into loaf pan(s).

8. Bake for 32-35 mins.  Until a toothpick comes out clean.

9. Transfer bread out of pan(s) to cool on wire rack.