Category Archives: Luscious Organics

Organic Spray Tan = Miracle in a Bottle!

It’s arrived!  A spray tan that is organic!  This may not be the first, but it is certainly the first I have heard about!  I have not had a chance to use this product yet, but it seems to be getting rave reviews all over the place!

The product is called Lavish Tan and it consists of a 99% organic solution made from brown sugar naturally derived from apples and combined with anti-aging ingredients, aloe, CoQ10, and vitamins.  The tan is supposed to be free from streaks and will not make you look orange.

Check out the before and after photo of Blake Lively after using the product.  Looks pretty realistic to me!

The only immediate draw back that I noticed is that it appears to be pretty pricey (as most quality products are).  One bottle is $45, and you are supposed to be able to get about 2-3 full body tans out of it, or 30-40 facial/chest tans.  In the winter you can probably get away with only spraying your face and upper chest area, but in the summer you might look a little silly.

Winter is almost over, or at least I am dreaming that it will be soon!  Then you can get back to getting your lovely vitamin D from natural sunlight, but this might be something worth trying to hold you over until summer officially arrives.

If anyone has tried this product, please let me know if you liked it!  If I decide to splurge, I will let you know what I think!

Until next time,

Be Well!

Check out their website! http://www.lavishtan.com/

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What’s Holding You Back From Feeling Amazing?

If you are a health goddess that is oozing with energy and vitality you can ignore this post, but if you feel like your body could use some TLC, please continue reading.  What I want to accomplish with this post, is to have you take a look at your life in regards to your health.  Do you like what you see?  If not, then let’s change things up my lovely friends!!  After all, wasn’t it Albert Einstein who said, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  If you sincerely want to feel better you need to have a reality check!

What is holding you back?  Friends?  Bad Habits?  Time?  You can make new friends, you can create new habits, and you can always find more time, but you only get one body, and you need to treat it as your temple.  You need to surround yourself with people who are going to encourage a healthy lifestyle, not derail you.  You need to instill daily habits that are going to steer you towards healthy choices.  Sometimes, this means just giving yourself more time to prepare a healthy lunch. We all find time for the things we value in life.  Do you value television over your health?  That is not the path you want to take.  Take a minute to think about the quote below.

“So many people spend their health gaining wealth, and then have to spend their wealth to regain their health.”

A. J. Reb Materi

As with most things in life, you will find that what you put into it, is going to determine what you get out of it.  In regards to our bodies, if you want health, energy, and a long life, you need to put things into your body that are good for you!  If you put junk food, soda, excessive caffeine, and sugar into your system on a daily basis, your body is going to be too busy trying to digest all that garbage, to give you the energy you need throughout the day.

The way I try to think of it is, would I rather be happy for 30 minutes out of my day enjoying a junk food platter over lunch or enjoy 24 hours of high energy, proper digestion, improved mood and a clear conscious?  Everyone can make the change to put your health first, you just have to take baby steps.  I read the book, “Crazy, Sexy, Diet” by Kris Carr, and was immediately inspired to dramatically change my diet!   At first I tried to go cold turkey and gave up meat, dairy, sugar, caffeine, and gluten.  You might be wondering what was left for me to eat?  So was I!  Well, the answer is veggies, veggies and more veggies!  Of course, I could eat fruits, nuts, and some other grains, but for the most part I ate a lot of vegetables and drank a lot of spring water with lemon slices.  While this was super healthy, my mind and body could not handle all the withdrawal symptoms at once.

I decided to start over and take things a little bit slower.  I figured I should think of this like a relationship.  The fast relationships where you are just racing to the finish line never last and I wanted this diet change to last a lifetime.  I decided to give up chunks of things rather than everything all at once.  At this point I have now been dairy and caffeine free for 2 months, and have only had sugar in very small amounts.  If I am craving sugar I usually try to only eat dark chocolate from cocoa(which is the most healthy for you).  My body couldn’t be happier!!

Ok, so let’s get back on track here.  This is about YOU!  All of you lovely ladies and gentlemen out there in the great abyss!  In all of my research on preventative health, it really comes back to common sense in regards to what you should be feeding your body.  It is so important to eat organic vegetables, organic fruits, and lots of water!  Of course, you need to get protein as well, so you can try out raw, unsalted organic nuts.  I still have not been able to completely give up meat, so if you are in the same boat as me try at least switching to organic, free range chicken and turkey.  I don’t want this post to go on forever so please click on the resources below to learn more about how you can change your diet to let that inner health goddess out!  The changes may be a challenge at first, but trust me, your body will start to crave foods that will keep you functioning at top-notch!  You just need to give yourself some time to get all the nasties out!

Of course, the food you eat is just the first step.  We can tackle exercise in the next post!

“Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.”

-Buddha

Until next time,

Be Well!

Resources

Crazy Sexy Diet – Kris Carr: http://crazysexydiet.com/

Death By Diet- Robert Barefoot: http://barefootscureamerica.com/

Photos

http://www.vitaminddeficiency.me/always-tired-no-energy-no-motivation/

http://www.ebookreviewdownload.com/2011/01/crazy-sexy-diet-e-book-download.html

http://4bizmoms.com/products_and_services.htm

 http://www.vancouvernutritionist.com/blog/vancouver-nutritionist-avoid-ice-cold-water/

http://brianmaines.com/why-should-i-eat-more-fruits-and-vegetables/

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Tea is the New Coffee

“The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family…”  How beautiful and timeless.  The above quote is a Balti proverb and it is also in the book Three Cups of Tea.  What is it about tea that gives it transcendent properties?  Tea has taken on a noticeable presence in the United States recently, but what have other cultures known for centuries that we are only beginning to tap into?

Tea has been known to be called, “liquid wisdom,” and perhaps that is because of the amazing benefits it has on the mind, body, and soul.  Of course, not all teas are created equal, so you need to be crafty consumer and do your homework first.

But first, let’s talk about why tea may be a wonderful replacement to coffee.  While coffee has been shown to have some health benefits, they are often overshadowed by the caffeine addiction that comes along with drinking it. The caffeine in coffee is absorbed into the blood stream quickly and can cause you to feel jumpy and shaky, I think many of us know the feeling!  Coffee is also acidic and causes dehydration… what do you think was happening during all those trips to the bathroom?!  To quote one of my favorite authors, Kris Carr, in her book Crazy Sexy Diet, “It’s kinda obvious that this stuff isn’t good for you.  The fact that you get the jitters when you drink it, and migraines when you don’t should tell you something… You are sharp enough. Your natural, holy state is more than enough.  You just think you need that extra boost.  But your body knows exactly how to create it naturally.”  And it’s so true!  You just need to focus on bringing your body back into a state of health.  We can talk more about that in another post!

Tea brings you numerous health benefits without the problem of caffeine addiction. While most teas do contain some caffeine, it is significantly less than coffee.  I have found a list of the top ten benefits of tea that I would love to share with you!

1. Fights Cancer

2. Fights Heart Disease

3. Lowers Cholesterol

4. Burns Fat

5. Prevents Diabetes

6. Prevents Stroke

7. Staves off Dementia

8. Improves Heart Health

9. Relieves Stress                                                  Tea should be taken in solitude.  ~C.S. Lewis

10. Improves Digestion (1 & 2)

Alright, so now that you have some information on why tea is fabulous for you, let’s talk about which type is the best choice.  White and Green Tea have the most health benefits because they have undergone the least amount of processing.  White tea leaves are actually picked before the buds even open and are covered in fine white hairs.  White tea has the least amount of caffeine with only 15mg, and green tea only has about 20mg.  White tea tends to be a little more expensive, but it also has a less grassy taste than green tea.  White tea is light, sweet, and absolutely delicious in my opinion!

Ok, so in addition to health benefits and knowing which teas are the best for you, what else makes tea so special?  Tea happens to play a significant role in many cultures around the world, specifically in the East, and it has been around since 2700 B.C.  Tea is used commonly as a way to greet guests, newcomers, and friends.  An appreciation for tea culture can help you get past language or cultural barriers when traveling abroad.  And after water, tea is the most widely-consumed beverage in the world.(2)

You may be wondering if I have been drinking tea while writing this blog… of course!  The tea I am drinking right now is called Pomegranate White Tea and I bought it at my local Trader’s Joe’s grocery shop.  It is probably the best tea I have ever had and I just can’t get enough of it!  You should definitely give it a try if you are looking for a new tea to taste!

“If you are cold, tea will warm you. If you are too heated,

it will cool you. If you are depressed, it will cheer you. 

If you are excited, it will calm you.”  – Gladstone

fear less.

1. WebMd: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/health-benefits-of-green-tea

2. Tea Views: http://www.teaviews.com/2009/03/24/10-reasons-why-tea-is-better-than-coffee/

3. Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr

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Watch Out Gatorade, Here Comes Coconut Water!

I am sure many of you have heard of Coconut Water, as it seems to be the latest craze in the natural health world.  If you haven’t, this is definitely something you need to try!
While Coconut Water seems to be relatively new to the United States, people in Latin America and Southeast Asia have been enjoying the benefits of this amazing Mother Nature Cocktail for hundreds of years.  The list below shows just a few of the health benefits from drinking coconut water.

  • 569mg Potassium: This is greater than one banana and equal to 15 regular sports drinks.
  • 5 Essential Electrolytes:  Sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus.
  • Helps you lose fat:  ZERO fat, ZERO cholesterol and ZERO added sugar.
  • The Ultimate Hydration Drink:  Supports rapid hydration.
  • Natural: Coconut water has been used as an intravenous fluid and saved lives
  • Low Acid: Lower acidity than sports drinks and juices, with a pH of just 5.
  • Is great for healthy skin: It helps hydrate your skin but can also be used topically to cure acne scars and other types of blemishes.(1)
There are several different brands of coconut water, but my favorite is Zico.  We purchase Zico at our local Trader Joe’s grocery shop.  Regular coconut water tastes pretty good, but I usually get chocolate flavored because it is absolutely to die for!
The ingredients for ZICO Pure Premium Coconut Water Chocolate Flavor includes: 100% natural coconut water from concentrate, cane sugar, coconut cream, cocoa, vanilla, Carrageenan.  It contains 110 calories, 160mg sodium, 680mg potassium and 18g sugar with Vitamin A, Iron, Phosphorus, and Magnesium. I usually drink this after working out to replenish my electrolytes.  It is a fantastic alternative to other sports drinks such as Gatorade or Propel.
If you drink pure coconut water without any flavoring, you can expect the ingredients and breakdown to be a little different.  Zico Natural ingredients include 100% natural coconut water from concentrate and natural flavors.  It contains 60 calories, 160mg sodium, 569mg potassium, and 12g sugar.  So, if you don’t have a sweet tooth like me, this option is definitely a bit more healthy for you!
Other brands on the market include:
Vita Coco 
     –>  http://vitacoco.com/
O.N.E. 
Zico 
     –>  http://zico.com/
Harvest Bay
If anyone has tried any of the other brands I would love to hear feedback on what you thought of them!  As far as flavors go, I have only tried Natural, Chocolate, and Mango.  I thought Mango tasted absolutely terrible, but I can’t remember which brand I was drinking, although I know it wasn’t Zico.
This is definitely a drink you should consider swapping your sports drink or pop out for.  Your body will thank you for it, and you will begin to feel the benefits very quickly.
Happy Coconut Drinking!

1. http://www.coconutwaterlife.com & http://zico.com/

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Why Go Organic?

Here I am again, backtracking a bit.  Before we start diving into topics surrounding living an organic lifestyle, we should probably do an overview of why I think “going organic” is important enough to write about.  There are several steps you can take to decide if you think eating organic is going to be right for you.

I think the first thing someone should do to find out if they want to eat organic foods or not, is to learn a bit more about where their food comes from.  While consumers are becoming more aware and concerned of what is actually in their food, the average individual usually has little or no idea what they are truly eating.  Quick, go take a look at the list of ingredients on some food you have lying around the house!  If you find things that you cannot pronounce, that is your first clue that it is probably not going to be good for your body.  Kinda makes sense, right!

If you find any of the following ten ingredients in your food you should just toss it.  Seriously folks, chuck the junk!  Or as they say in Texas, chunk it!  Below is a list of the top ten worst ingredients out there and should be avoided at all costs.

Ingredient

Negative Effects

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) May stimulate appetite & cause headaches, nausea, weakness, wheezing, edema, change in heart rate, burning sensations and difficulty in breathing
Artificial Sweeteners Can negatively impact metabolism. Linked to cancer, headaches, dizziness, & hallucinations.
High Fructose Corn Syrup May predispose the body to turn fructose into fat.  Increases risk for type-2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer.  Isn’t easily metabolized by the liver.
Artificial Food Coloring Linked to allergic reactions, fatigue, asthma, skin rashes, hyperactivity, and headaches.
Benzoate Preservatives (BHT, BHA, TBHQ) May result in hyperactivity, angiodema, asthma, rhinitis, dermatitis, tumors, and urticaria.  Can affect estrogen balance and levels.
Sodium Nitrite and Nitrate Can combine with chemicals in stomach to form nitrosamines – a carcinogen.
Refined Vegetable Oil Increases triglycerides and cholesterol.  Can damage liver, testicles, thyroid, heart and kidneys.
Artificial Flavorings Linked to allergic reactions, dermatitis, eczema, hyperactivity and asthma.  Can affect enzymes, RNA, and thyroid.
Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) “rBGH milk” contains high levels of insulin – like growth factor (IGF-1), excess levels of which have been implicated as a major cause of breast, colon , and prostate cancers.  Giving cows rBGH has been shown to increase the incidence of mastitis.  When a cow has mastitis, pus and blood are secreted into the milk.
Potassium Bromate Has been shown to cause cancer in animals, is banned in EU, Canada and several other countries.  Bromide is considered to be an endocrine disruptor.

(1)

Now that you know what to avoid, you should also be aware of the living conditions of the animals that you consume.  Some of the conditions are downright horrifying, and we can no longer be ignorant of this situation.  The pictures below give me the shudders and I cannot actually believe we are treating animals in this way.  Imagine being penned in an enclosure just barely bigger than the size of your body for your whole life.  This is not only unsanitary, but simply unacceptable.

If you purchase free range USDA Organic Meat you can be assured that you are not supporting the pictures above.  Free Range Organic Meat means the producer of an organic livestock operation must establish and maintain year-round livestock living conditions which accommodate the health and natural behavior of animals.(2)  The requirements are extremely strict, and they should be.  If we, as consumers, stop supporting factory farms, then they will be forced to either go out of business or adopt the Free Range principles.  Please consider paying a few extra dollars to ensure that this type of treatment comes to an end.

To wrap up this post on a lighter note please check out the video below.  You can also find it on Chipotle’s website, but I feel like it sums up this blog post rather well.

Happy Label Reading!

1. http://www.healthiertalk.com/10-worst-food-ingredients-you-should-avoid-plague-4066

1. http://life.gaiam.com/article/10-worst-food-additives-where-they-lurk

2. http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/nop

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Natural vs. Organic

I am sure many of you have seen food in your local grocery store with the labels, natural, all natural, or organic.  One of the most important things to know about these terms is that they do not mean the same thing.  While the manufactures would love for you to believe that, it is simply not true.

The term “natural” has been defined by the USDA that the product must not contain any artificial ingredients or added colors and that it is minimally processed.  However, the term “natural” does not truly have any regulatory meaning; which means it can get slapped on just about anything.

The USDA ensures that products labeled as “100 percent organic” must contain (excluding water and salt) only organically produced ingredients and processing aids.  They also ensure that agricultural products labeled as 100 percent organic and organic cannot be produced using excluded methods such as sewage sludge or ionizing radiation.

Sewage sludge is the mix of water and any domestic and industrial wastes that got put down the drain, flushed down the toilet, or sent directly into the sewer.  This waste was previously dumped into the ocean after being fed through a cleansing process, before the Ocean Dumping Ban went into effect in 1987.  Now, sewage sludge is dumped onto farmland.  Yum.

Ionizing radiation creates free radicals which are a big no-no for your body.  I will probably need to do an entirely different post just about free radicals.  For now, you can google it if you want more information right away.

Basically, if you want to make sure you are eating completely organic and unaltered food, you need to make sure it has the USDA Organic seal on the product.  I think the most important foods that should be organic in your diet are meats, fruits, vegetables, and any dairy products.

Be a smart and savvy consumer and show those corporations that you do care about what is in your food!  Your body will thank you for it!

Happy Smart Shopping!

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When taking a Shot is Healthy!

When you first think about taking a shot, you may have flashbacks to your college years or you may even cringe just at the thought of it.  However, the shots that I am talking about are filled with a lovely little hero called wheatgrass.  This gloriously potent green machine may still make you cringe at the thought of fresh grass about to be guzzled down your throat; but thankfully, this kind of shot will not leave you feeling like a pile of manure the next day.  Instead, you will reap the amazing benefits that wheatgrass has on the body.

The benefits of wheatgrass can seem to be never-ending, but to save you some time I found a list with 15 of the most impressive benefits.

1.) It boosts the immune system and nervous system.

2.) It enhances the capillaries and reduces high blood pressure. 

3.) It prevents graying of hair and removes dandruff. 

4.) It improves digestion and metabolism.

5.) Gargling with wheat-grass juice relieves sore throats. (Be sure to swallow after gargling, this stuff is expensive!)

6.) It is an excellent skin cleanser.

7.) It improves blood disorders. 

8.) It contains antioxidants which repair damaged cells and rejuvenates aging cells.

9.) It treats acne and pimple problems.  It removes acne scars.

10.) It removes weakness and fatigue.  It is immediately absorbed in the blood stream & gives instant energy.

11.) It purifies the blood and cleanses the kidneys, liver and urinary tract.

12.) It increases red blood cell count. 

13.) It is an appetite suppressant.

14.) It is suitable for diabetics, as it regulates blood sugar levels.

15.) Wheat-grass juice is very beneficial for cancer patients. (1)

Out of all 15 benefits, there are four that I can personally attest to.  When I was taking wheatgrass shots more regularly in Austin, TX, I only became sick one time in an entire year.  I also notice a significant difference in the health of my skin when I am drinking wheatgrass on a regular basis.  I have struggled with moderate to severe acne since I was 15, so I am always looking for a natural solution to my skin woes.  However, I would have to say the benefit that you will notice the fastest, is the instant energy boost you will receive from the shot.  The absorption process happens so quickly because it goes right to your blood stream.  You will literally feel like you are getting “life juice” pumped into your body.  It is amazing! 

Studies

The buzz around wheatgrass juice is also being fueled by studies conducted by doctors around the world.  I found two studies that were quite impressive.

The first study sought to find out if wheatgrass juice had cancer preventative properties.  Dr. Chiu Nan Lai found that when, “using the standard Ames Test, she showed that an extract of wheatgrass, when applied to known chemical mutagens (compounds that cause cells to become cancerous), decreased their cancer causing ability by up to 99 percent.”(2)  I find anything that reduces cancer causing ability by 99% to be astounding!

The second study looked at if wheatgrass could improve the quality of life in terminally ill cancer patients. The study was conducted from January 2003 – December 2005 on 400 solid organ cancer patients.  The age range was 22 – 87 years old and they had several different types of cancers, including lung, breast, esophagus, colon, ovary, liver cancer, and stomach cancer.

The study found that, “improvements in health of blood were noted. Also, performance status was improved from 50% to 70%. It was concluded that wheatgrass juice is an effective natural alternative for blood transfusion. It’s use in terminally ill cancer patients should be encouraged.” (2)

Try It!

With all that you have learned in the last 3 minutes you spent reading this post, I bet you are just itching to try a lovely swig of that glorious green energy.

If this is going to be your first time throwing back a shot of wheatgrass, I would recommend stopping by your local Jamba Juice.  They offer different sized shots, and they will even serve your shot with an orange wedge to chase it.  Once you start to notice the amazing benefits of wheatgrass, you may want to invest in an electric or manual juicer.  Ben, my husband, and I have been drinking wheatgrass long enough to realize it is something we would like to have as a part of our daily routine, so we are going to invest in a manual wheatgrass juicer.

Juicing at home requires much more commitment, because you have to grow the grass, clean up the pulp/mess you will make while juicing, etc.  But, it is much more cost-effective and convenient to juice in your own home.  I am going to post links to Jamba Juice and a website called WheatGrassKits, that displays several different types of wheatgrass juicers below.

In general, a healthy amount of wheatgrass to drink is 1 – 2 ounces a day.  If you are just starting out, you may want to start at 1 ounce.  Please give wheatgrass a shot…(pun intended) and let me know how you enjoyed it!  Also, please comment if you have already tried wheatgrass and love it… or hate it!

All this talk about shots has left me with the wonderfully, annoying song, Shots by LMFAO featuring Lil Wayne, stuck in my head… you know what I’m talking about!  Maybe this can be your theme song in the morning when taking your wheatgrass shot!  Come on everybody! Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots!

Links

Jamba Juice: www.jambajuice.com

Manual & Electric Wheatgrass Juicers: http://www.wheatgrasskits.com/juicers.htm

Photo 1: http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/2TOGHE311FrAUiwVY48FVw?select=KZ1aG7DPfzlNX0eBe816Pg

Photo 2: http://www.healthbanquet.com/manual-wheatgrass-juicer.html

Shots Music Video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNtTEibFvlQ

References

1. http://www.drgranny.com/2010/05/22/top-15-health-benefits-of-wheat-grass-juice/

2. http://www.healthbanquet.com/wheatgrass-juice-research.html

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