healthy swaps

Homemade Almond Milk

Many people are moving away from dairy milk and are using more nut milks in their daily diet, but have you ever read the labels of store bought almond milk?  As carrageenan (a naturally derived seaweed linked to brain issues and tumors) is being phased out of the main ingredients, the options aren't as dim, but there are still added sugars and preservatives included that just aren't necessary.  And let's talk about the taste for a second...I have a hard time drinking store bought almond milk because the taste is too sugary and dull (meaning, I couldn't decipher any almond taste).  Homemade almond milk is very rich, with its own sweetness and you can tell that it's fresh.  This recipe takes about ten minutes to make and will yield about 2 1/2 cups of milk.  I will often double or triple this recipe.

Ingredients and Materials: 

Instructions:

  • Start by soaking the almonds in water overnight or for a few hours (this first step is optional, but your body will be better able to absorb the nutrients from the almonds if they are soaked).
  • Place the almonds and three cups of water into your high speed blender and blend on high for about two minutes.
  • Pour the mixture through the nut bag into the large measuring bowl with pour spout, working the liquid through the almond pulp until the pulp is almost completely dry.  
  • Toss the almond pulp and pour the almond milk into your glass container.  
  • Keep the almond milk in your refrigerator.  It will stay fresh for 3-4 days, probably longer. 

Let me know how your almond milk turns out!  I can guarantee that once you realize how simple it is to make your own and how much better tasting it is, you'll want to avoid the store bought stuff, too.  Have fun!

While you're at it, give this video a peek because if you love almond milk, I have a hunch you're going to love what's inside the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle as well ;) 

xoxo,

Stephanie

Puro Co. Product Review

Hey everyone!  I’ve had the pleasure of using some of Puro Co. new skin care products and I wanted to share my experience with you.  The owner of Puro Co. has gone to great lengths to make sure she only uses the purest ingredients in her products and it shows.  The products are completely chemical-free, non-toxic, hand crafted in small batches and have had a remarkable impact on my skin.

 

Here are the products I tested:

1. Crema Body Butter - Hands down, this is the best smelling product I’ve ever used.  Since its base is cocoa butter, you not only get an amazing creamy texture, but you get a clean cocoa scent that I was tempted to eat it smelled so good.  Cocoa butter is so nourishing for the skin and made of such high quality fats that this is definitely worth a shot for anyone suffering from eczema.  The other thing I really love about this product is that a very little bit goes a long way.  This body butter is sold in 2 oz. glass containers, which doesn’t seem like very much, but you’ll be surprised by how long it lasts.  My skin responds really well to the combination of ingredients used.  Normally I apply this body butter after showering and my skin will still feel nourished well into the next day, which never happened with commercial lotions.  Great investment for your skin.

2. Lavender Shave Oil and Clove Shave Oil - The star of this product is the hand infused calendula olive oil, which offers many anti-inflammatory skin related benefits.  It’s an awesome product for anyone who has sore, inflamed or itchy skin conditions and/or have terrible reactions to normal shaving cream (like me).  The product is packaged with a dropper, which is nice, to prevent any from being wasted by spilling over the edge.  I fill my hand up with the oil and rub it deeply into my skin and then I shave.  The oil smells great, goes on smoothly and gives a close shave.  The best part is how my legs feel afterwards - soooo smooth and noticeably nourished.  I like both scents equally, but definitely will lean towards using the lavender if I’m showering in the evening to help me relax.  I will then hop in bed and rub the shave oil on my hands and feet, too - it’s very versatile!  

3.  Ylang Ylang Perfume Oil and Rosewood Perfume Oil - Do you know how many toxic chemicals are in commercial perfumes?  Enough to cause hormone disruption, fertility issues and even cancer.  There are THREE ingredients in the Ylang Ylang perfume and FOUR in the Rosewood Perfume and they are all natural.  I haven’t worn perfume in at least six years because there weren’t many all-natural, affordable options with scents that I actually liked.  Enter Puro Co. and their new line of all natural perfumes!  Both scents are completely different, but equally pleasant.  The Ylang Ylang scent is light and uplifting so I tend to wear it during the morning and daytime hours where the Rosewood is a richer, more savory scent so I find myself wearing it more often during the evening hours.  I also carry the Ylang Ylang perfume in my purse so if I’m out and I start feeling stressed, anxious or tired, this perfume will do the trick as Ylang Ylang essential oil is a natural antidepressant.  

Aesthetically pleasing, therapeutic, intentional and pure.  You won’t be disappointed and you’ll be wanting more!  To view products or to order go to www.puro.co

Until next time, Be Well.

 

Your Morning Cup of Joe +5 Healthy Coffee Swaps

If you are one of the average Americans drinking 3.5 cups of caffeinated coffee a day, I’m pretty sure you’re going to tell me that you need your coffee, you can’t live without it and you feel awful if you don’t get it.  If you are one to say that you think coffee is “drug in a mug,” you probably have reason to believe through reading or through personal experience that you and coffee (or more accurately the caffeine) don’t mix.  

I get the question, “Is coffee bad for me?” all the time and to be honest I don’t have a straightforward answer because the reaction of caffeine in a person’s body is very bio-individual.  Personally, I am sensitive to caffeine and cannot drink coffee everyday because I have a hard time metabolizing it.  This is a very genetic tolerance. Some people can metabolize caffeine better than others based on the production of certain enzymes in the liver.  Therefore, I often resort to green teas or some of the other options on my list below.

However, most of the population can handle about two cups of coffee (caffeine) per day and then a smaller percentage of the population can drink coffee right before going to bed and still get a restful nights sleep. Again, this happens because we all metabolize caffeine differently from one another.  However, just because someone can metabolize caffeine doesn’t necessarily mean that they can tolerate caffeine.  Caffeine tolerance is basically how your body will respond to caffeine over a long period of time and there’s a lot of research backing both ends of the spectrum here.  

Yes, coffee in and of itself is a superfood.  It’s packed with phytonutrients and there are some health benefits associated with moderate consumption, like increased stamina during exercise, increased memory, reduced kidney stone risk, and reduced mouth and throat cancer risk, just to name a few.  

So based on this it sounds like we should be drinking coffee all day every day, right?  Not so fast.  There is something else going on in the body with two little tent shaped glands that sit on top of each kidney.  These are your adrenal glands and they are receiving the full brunt of your coffee habit in not so great a way.  Their job?  To release hormones so that we can decipher between the fight-or-flight response when we’re confronted with stress. The caffeine keeps the adrenal glands constantly “on alert” and overtime this can lead to exhaustion or adrenal fatigue.  Caffeine consumption also has a negative influence on cortisol.  It will throw the balance of cortisol that we have in our body all out of whack.  Naturally, cortisol levels are high in the morning to help us get moving to start the day, but people who have stressed adrenal glands are over producing cortisol so that it’s low instead of high in the morning.  What happens next?  You reach for your caffeine and an unhealthy cycle continues.  High cortisol levels will also cause you to overeat and deprive you of a good night’s sleep.

Some other negative side effects associated with the overuse of caffeine include headaches and migraines (even though the reverse of this is believed to be true), poor fertility in women, indigestion and insomnia (among others).  Coffee will also prevent some from getting their necessary water intake for the day and will create a very acidic environment inside us, which is never good for those of us wishing to have a hearty immune system.

If you are looking to reduce your caffeine consumption, my advice would be to drink two glasses of water in the morning before having your coffee.  This will help to jump start and flush out your system so that over time coffee may not be the first thing it needs.  

Check out these awesome healthy coffee swaps:

  1. Matcha Green Tea - I can’t get enough of this stuff. Matcha tea trumps other green teas because you are ingesting the entire leaf as opposed to just the brewed water.  It’s filled with nutrients and high in antioxidants and it tastes great!

  2. Warm Lemon Water - I’ve talked about this before and I know it doesn’t resemble or taste anything like coffee, but give it a try!  It will gently detox your liver and leave you feeling refreshed.

  3. Drink Local Coffee - If you think I’m crazy for even suggesting you bring it down a notch, then don’t!  But do yourself the favor of finding a local coffee roaster.  Chances are it will taste much fresher and the chances of it containing mycotoxins (mold) are slim.

  4. Herbal Coffee - Mountain Rose Herbs (.com) sells an herbal blend of organic roasted dandelion root, chicory root, roasted carob and maca powder.  It has a rich and bold roasted flavor and is caffeine-free.

  5. Vanilla “Latte” - Dr. Lipman says, “If you want something warm and comforting in the morning, you can heat up a mug of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (on the stove or in the microwave) with a dash of cinnamon and stevia to taste. It’s delicious! You could also add a teaspoon of cacao powder for a chocolate-y treat.”  

These alternatives also do well for those experiencing afternoon dips.  Instead of drinking a cold cup of coffee or brewing a new one, try one of these options first!  I think you will be surprised by how much your body likes them.  Good luck!

Until next time, Be Well.


 

Resources:

pubmed.gov

caffeineinformer.com

drjessechappus.com

livestrong.com

drfranklipman.com