Tag Archives: health

the scoop on: coconut oil

coconut

cute… but why? Is coconut oil really everything that everyone hypes it up to be?

Yes – and while the coconut oil I just put in my hair to repair it from a day at the beach sinks in, let me tell you exactly why and how coconut oil can be your new best friend:

1. it’s awesome for your skin! Coconut oil is one of the best skin moisturizers out there… and, what’s better: you know this one is all-natural, chemical free, etc etc. It has loads of antibacterial properties, and can even be used to treat acne (yes, oil to treat acne! Bizarre, but true.) Summer’s the best time to get on the coconut oil train, because in addition to making you smell like you just got off of a tropical island, the oil is also packed full of antioxidants that will help protect your skin from free radical damage caused by the sun! And to get the full range of skin benefits from this miracle oil, don’t just stick to using it alone as a moisturizer – mix it with olive oil for a facial wash, mix it with baking soda for a facial scrub, mix it with honey as a face mask, or scoop it into a little tin and use as a pre-scented lip balm!

2. it’s even better for your hair – and my super damaged beach hair can currently attest to that! It provides a great treatment for dry scalps, but is also incredibly moisturizing for hair, helping it retain its natural moisture and strengthening your strands. Let it soak into your roots and ends for a half hour, and then shampoo out. You can also use just a tiny bit of coconut oil after washing your hair, smoothing it over little flyaways to help fight the summer frizz.

3. Coconut oil is the ultimate DIY tool. Seriously. Not to get too hippie on you here, but in addition to using the stuff for conditioner and moisturizer, you can use it to make homemade deodorant, toothpaste, and even sunscreen. I kid you not. For the deodorant, you just need 3 tbsp of coconut oil, 4 tbsp of baking soda, 2 tbsp of shea butter, and a little bit of your favorite essential oil. Melt the shea butter and coconut oil, then add in the baking soda and oil and mix well. The recipes for toothpaste and sunscreen are just as simple – this oil is pretty much one stop shopping for self care.

4. Not just for beauty, coconut oil has a pretty important place around the house too – its a wonderful way to keep wooden spoons and cutting boards conditioned and treated, just apply generously and give it time to sink into the wood. It can be used to lubricate squeaky hinges, unstick stuck zippers, treat and clean leather, and season cast iron cookware.

5. And last, but certainly not least, coconut oil is incredible for you to eat. You can use it to flavor coffee or tea, dress salads, pop popcorn, cook in, or just add it to smoothies… or really anything. It’s been proven to help maintain a balanced body weight, keep your heart healthy, fight infections, boost digestion and metabolism, and it can significantly reduce your hunger, improve your blood cholesterol levels, and boost brain function. The fatty acids from coconut oil help the body absorb other nutrients too, so in addition to offering its own benefits, it’ll help you get more from everything else you eat! It’s no wonder that people in countries where lots of coconuts are eaten are some of the most healthy in the world… this stuff is an absolute miracle!

annnnnnd, finally, because there’s no way that this post could make you anything less than incredibly psyched on coconut oil, here’s an incredible coconut cookie recipe that will let you start reaping all of these wonderful benefits as soon as possible! Not much better than a cookie that’s actually healthy, right?

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springing into spring juicing

green juice. Juice in general. Cold-pressed, non-pasturized, juice fasting, juice feasting, cleansing, detoxing –  all of it is all the rage right now in the health world, and with good reason. I must admit, I was incredibly skeptical at first, and dragged my feet mightily before jumping on the juicing bandwagon. I heard all the negatives: it’s costly, messy, time consuming, and nowhere close to worth the effort, and I let those convince me that it simply wasn’t worth the time. But oh, how wrong I was. True, my grocery bill may have taken a small jump, and my mornings might require a few extra minutes of preparation and clean up time, but oh man, how incredibly worth the effort these little glasses of freshly pressed vegetable juice are. This afternoon, I found myself (as often happens) lagging in a way that even tea could not fix, so I wandered down to the kitchen and whipped up a quick glass of kale/lemon/cilantro/celery juice (pictured below), and I swear, sipping it was like a shock to my brain, in the best way possible. I felt awake, alert, and layers of cloudiness built up by the day seemed to simply melt away.  Green, lemony heaven.

 

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Now that it’s finally spring (!!!), a season marked by a distinct sense of freshness, it seems like it’s time for an entire system reboot. It’s time for the shaking off of the dreary build ups of winter, both physically and emotionally, and the preparation for rebirth and renewal. Spring cleaning, for the heart, home, and body – and what better way to spring clean your body than by juicing? You don’t have to start drinking gallons of the stuff a day, and you don’t even have to do a juice cleanse. But adding a little bit of cold-pressed vegetable juice to your diet is one of the most amazing ways I can think of to really awaken and renew your body and mind for this season. It’s a great way to get in some concentrated nutrients, and an easy way to add greens and colorful veggies to your diet.

So, for those of you who have never played the juicing game before, I’ve shot a few of my favorite combinations to throw in the juicer, just to give you all some ideas! If these don’t sound quite up your alley, or if you’re already craving more, here are some great resources for juice recipes: rawsome vegan, green kitchen stories, and nutrition stripped.

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1 whole beet + beet greens, 2 lemons, 1 large orange, 1/1.5 apple, and a hefty slice of ginger root. 

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5-7 stalks of celery, 2 large carrots, 1 orange, 1 large lemon, a large chunk of ginger root + grated ginger root and cloves to top.

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4-6 big leaves of kale, 1 lemon, 1 apple, 4 stalks of celery, a large chunk of ginger root.

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on embracing more embracing.

when we think about trying to live in a more healthy way, our minds usually head towards thoughts of eating more vegetables, running more, hitting the gym, or even just being more mindful of our hydration levels. One thing that doesn’t usually find its way into that list, however, is taking more time to cuddle up with your sweetheart… but it should! In it’s own way, hugging a loved one can offer just as many benefits to your health as eating kale, and is probably just a little bit more widely enjoyed.

The main major benefit that hugging has to offer is that an extended hug (we’re talking a real hug here – 10 seconds or more of serious, committed hugging… it’s not that hard) raises the body’s oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is a powerful hormone that lowers our heart rate and cortisol (stress) levels. Fun fact, oxytocin is also the hormone released at childbirth, to make the process a little more bearable and make sure that the new mommas don’t already resent the tiny baby that is causing them so much pain! In addition to lowering your stress and heart rate, the oxytocin released in your body during a hug also works to promote bonding and increased trust with the person you’re hugging. Not surprisingly, studies show that women tend to reap greater oxytocin benefits from hugging than men do, and people who are in loving relationships tend to cultivate even higher levels of this magic hormone during a hug… but that doesn’t mean hugging is a relationship-exclusive thing! Hug everyone, because why not? Spread the love, bonding, and oxytocin.

Another magic hug hormone is dopamine, which most people are familiar with, as it is the same hormone that is targeted by so many addictive drugs. Known as the pleasure hormone, dopamine is released in the brain during a hug… so literally, go for hugs and not drugs! Additionally, holding a hug for an extended period of time can also raise seratonin levels, which causes an elevated mood and increased happiness.

Aside from helping to promote a more healthy lifestyle, giving more hugs can also supplement your already healthy lifestyle – hugging can actually help us recover from that extra-intense workout, since it helps relax the muscles and release tension, promotion extra blood flow to soft tissue, which accelerates your body’s recovery time. Good excuse for more sweaty hugs.The list goes on and on: it has anti-inflammatory properties, can promote skin hydration, and causes an increased white blood cells production, which helps fight off disease. But the main point is this: hugging is literally essential to your health. So today, instead of letting yourself get bogged down by all the things you’re not doing, run out and hug the first person you see. That will give you both all the healing you need.

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for a little more, check out: this, this, this, and this!

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