Thursday, January 30, 2014

Skin Care Products

In a recent blog post, I mentioned my new love of raw, organic, unrefined coconut oil and my soon-to-be new love of raw, organic, unrefined shea butter (I was waiting to receive it in the mail). Well, I can tell you I absolutely love mixing coconut oil and shea butter for an amazing body moisturizer. Not only am I using a safe product on my skin, but I'm saving so much money compared to the coconut body butter I was using. A little goes a long way and I'm very happy with the results.

Where I've changed my mind is using coconut oil on my face. Unlike on my body, the coconut oil is just too much for my delicate face. I started getting clogged pores and even dry spots! Switching to my previous Alba Botanica moisturizer for just a day cleared up the issues. With that said, I did some more research on coconut oil and alternative pure organic products for my face.

It turns out many people experienced the same as me. Coconut oil was great at first, but it's no good long term. Even my two favorite authors, Kris Carr and Kimberly Snyder, recommend using coconut oil on the body, but not the face. Kris Carr thoroughly recommends Annmarie Gianni Skin Care. She has been using Annmarie Gianni's products on her face for several years and she explains here that although many of the products are made with oils, the products don't cause breakouts or clogged pores. I ordered a sample kit (and received a $10 off coupon for next time) and I started using the products today. I'm hoping for amazing results. I think I'll be very pleased, so stay tuned for a review in the next few weeks.

Remember, the skin is your largest organ. Anything you put on your skin will be absorbed into the body.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

America's Bathroom Dilemma

In his book, Conscious Eating, Gabriel Cousens explains that Americans spend $725 million a year on laxatives alone. Holy crap!!

America's bathroom dilemma comes up in book after book. Who knew? I didn't!! I've never had any issues. A recent conversation with two young women about their health inspired me to write today. These two women both experience irregular bowel movements. I know, you weren't expecting me to write about this! By irregular, I mean they get backed up for many days. One girl explained that when she went to her doctor for something she thought was unrelated, an x-ray revealed a massive build-up!

Funny Confession Ecard: If 2 out of 3 people suffer from constipation, does that mean one person enjoys it?

So what is the solution? Fiber!! The Standard American Diet (SAD) lacks crucial fiber to keep everything moving as it should. Daily elimination is vital for your health. According to Kimberly Snyder, most Americans get about eight to fourteen grams of fiber each day, whereas plant-based diets or diets including plenty of fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes can have upwards of forty grams or more.

Are you eating plenty of fiber and still having troubles? Consider food combining. I've discussed this on a few occasions. The stomach secretes different juices and enzymes to allow for proper digestion of certain foods. Some foods need a more alkaline environment, while others need a more acidic environment. A bad food combination can wreak havoc on your digestive system. Your body will use excessive energy (leaving you exhausted!) to deal with the issue. Also, the longer the food is in your body, the more likely fermentation will occur and harmful bacteria and toxins will be reabsorbed into the body.

The basic food combining rules are:

Good Combinations (leading to better absorption of nutrients, regularity, increased energy, less toxins in the body, etc)
  • Starches with vegetables
  • Proteins with vegetables
  • Fats with starches
  • Fruit (except melons) with greens
  • Melons should be consumed on their own

Bad Combinations (leading to a number of digestive issues)
  • Proteins with starches
  • More than one type of protein together
  • Fats with proteins
  • Fruit with proteins
  • Fruit with starches

Additional Tips
  • Due to the water content, eat melons (watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, etc) on their own and preferably first thing in the morning
  • Allow fruit to digest for 30 minutes before eating anything else
  • Allow 3 hours to digest a starch-based meal (grains, potatoes, bread, etc)
  • Allow 4 hours to digest a protein-based meal
  • Greens digest well with everything 
  • Try to keep meals simple for better digestion (fewer ingredients = easier to digest!)
  • Eat in the order of light to heavy
  • Desserts can interrupt digestion and cause fermentation in the stomach. Try to wait a few hours (yes, a few hours!) before indulging in a dessert.
  • Be sure to thoroughly chew your food
  • Try to incorporate chia or ground flax seeds into your diet each day for extra fiber and omega-3s. I add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of chia or flax seeds to smoothies each morning.
  • Check out my other posts on food combining: Food Combining & Food Combining Charts

So, stop buying laxatives and get your body sorted out! Constipation may be common, but it is NOT normal and it is NOT healthy!! Food can heal, but you need to be eating the right foods and keep it simple.

Monday, January 20, 2014

What I'm Loving Lately

What's in my Kitchen?

I think I have far too much food in my house right now. My parents would be so overwhelmed to see this considering their kitchen is always bare. ;) To give you an idea of what's in my kitchen, I have:

  • 19 bananas - Oh, yeah! I usually don't have this many, but I freeze them to use in smoothies or make pure banana ice cream.
  • 3 mangoes - I love mangoes! I can't believe I didn't like them for the first 27 years of my life!
  • 7 satsuma oranges - Great snack! No seeds.
  • 4 meyer lemons - I drink water (either hot or room temperature) with lemon in the morning. Amazing for cleansing your liver, improving digestion, boosting your immune system, balancing pH levels, and hydrating the body when you wake up.
  • 1 small container of dates - I'm planning to make an easy raw dessert this week.
  • 1 plantain - Great in coconut-based soups
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1 pear 
  • Oh, and frozen berries. Great for smoothies!

  • 1 butternut squash - I always have some kind of squash in my kitchen. Easy dinners!
  • 1 bunch collard greens - Mainly to use for collard wraps
  • 5 carrots
  • 1 bunch celery
  • 1/2 a head of broccoli
  • 3 red potatoes
  • 1 bunch bok choy
  • 1 leek
  • 1/2 an onion
  • Arugula and mixed greens for salads
  • 3 bells peppers - Great snacks! 
  • 1/2 a cucumber
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 small jicama
  • 1 container of sunflower sprouts
  • 1/2 cooked spaghetti squash from tonight's dinner

  • Wheatgrass powder - Great for veggie smoothies!
  • Hemp seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Raw cacao powder
  • Maca powder
  • Dulse flakes 
  • Tempeh
  • Black beans
  • Cold-brewed organic coffee I made yesterday
  • Peanut butter - I use a little every day in my morning smoothie
  • Almond milk
  • And everything else in my cupboards - seeds, nuts, grains, dried beans, caffeine-free tea...

So, yes, I have far too much food, but it will keep me eating at home and I definitely won't want to eat out. All of my food is organic, so that right there is worth it to stay home! I made spaghetti squash with tomato sauce tonight. I just used tomatoes, onion, and garlic for the sauce. Love it. While dinner was cooking, I threw together a salad for lunch tomorrow with greens, mushrooms, bell pepper, cucumber, sprouts, and black beans. I also cut up a little broccoli and bell pepper for snacking.

My Daily Diet

My diet has been pretty similar day to day. I have water with lemon when I get up, a coffee smoothie for breakfast, sometimes veggies or fruit mid-morning as a snack, either salad or soup for lunch, and squash, sweet potatoes, soup, or salad for dinner. The more I think about it, it seems I'm unintentionally gluten-free. I need to get back on Pinterest for some dinner inspiration to switch it up.

I look forward to my coffee smoothie every day. I really should cut out the caffeine, but I only add a splash to my smoothie. The smoothie has almond milk, cold-brewed coffee, 1 frozen banana (or half a large), 1 tbsp peanut or almond butter, 1 tbsp maca powder, 1/2 a tbsp or so raw cacao powder, and either hemp, chia, or ground flax seeds. This baby is goooood.

Cold-Brewed Coffee

Wondering what I'm talking about when I say cold-brewed coffee? I first learned about cold-brewed coffee when I tried the New Orleans Iced Coffee from Blue Bottle in San Francisco. They add chicory to the New Orleans Iced Coffee and it's SO good. Click here for Blue Bottle's brewing instructions.

A Google search gives me mixed instructions for making cold-brewed coffee. Some say use coarsely ground coffee, some say medium ground is better. I went with medium this time and it turned out great, but it doesn't have to be perfect since I'm just adding a small amount to my smoothie each morning. I combined about 1 3/4 cups of medium ground coffee with 3 1/2 cups of cold water and let it sit overnight. If you want perfect, go with Blue Bottle's instructions and add some chicory! :)

Nut Milk Bags

I bought a nut milk bag recently. Best decision ever. I used it yesterday to make my cold-brewed coffee. The bag is SO much easier than using my annoying tiny strainer. The bag is really easy to clean with water and dish soap. I might buy a second one soon just to keep one for coffee and the other for nut milks.

I bought the Pure Joy Planet nut milk bag since it was recommended to me. Yes, it looks like a diaper. They all do!

I bought raw, organic, sprouted almonds from Whole Foods to make a homemade almond milk. I've wanted to make my own nut milks for a long time now, but didn't quite feel like taking the plunge. They're so easy to make, but I just had to follow my own pace. The carton nut milks in the grocery stores are convenient, but they have additives that are just not worth it to my health. So my plan is to make almond milk this week sometime.

What I'm Loving Lately

1. Kimberly Snyder's books: The Beauty Detox Solution and The Beauty Detox Foods


Not only do I love these books, but Kimberly Snyder always has such positive and inspirational posts on Facebook and Instagram, too. 

Speaking of social networking websites...

2. I'm loving all the positive, inspirational, and informative posts from a number of sources on Facebook and Instagram. Most people are on Facebook to read about their friends and to keep up on gossip. Well, I'm on Facebook and Instagram to get a daily dose of positive information about healthy living, healthy eating, healthy relationships, events, etc. I love it. I have plenty to complain about, but the positive reinforcement and constant reminders of what is good keeps me focused on what is important. Some of the pages I've "liked" on Facebook are:

  • Eco-Vegan Gal
  • FatFreeVegan
  • Food is Our Medicine
  • Fully Raw
  • Kimberly Snyder
  • Kris Carr
  • Life Vest Inside
  • Mind Body Green
  • North Coast Organics
  • Raw Guru
  • The San Francisco Vegetarian Society
  • The Vegan Society
  • Veg News Magazine

3. I'm loving Peggy Kotsopoulos' book, Kitchen Cures. This is one of my favorites! I bought the actual book (not the Kindle version) because it is that amazing. Peggy Kotsopoulos discusses the connections between food and mood, weight, beauty, and health. She also includes a number of recipes.

4. Oh, and I read some of Jessica Alba's book, The Honest Life, in Target last night. I'll be reading this one soon. I loved all her tips for clean and toxic-free living.


4. North Coast Organics!! This company is one of the best. Finding a healthy, effective, amazing deodorant was very difficult. I read blog after blog, review after review and I tried many recommended deodorants that just didn't cut it for me. North Coast Organics was a great find! Their deodorant has just a few pure, organic ingredients. I recently ordered lip balm and two lotion bars (lotion in a bar!) from North Coast Organics when I reordered the deodorant. I love all their products!

North Coast Organics USDA Organic Deodorant Lip Balm Vegan Lotion 

5. Raw, Organic, Unrefined Coconut Oil. I LOVE coconut oil as a moisturizer. This healthy living journey I'm on always leads me to better and better things. I use Artisana raw, organic coconut oil on my face and neck every day. It smells AMAZING. I feel like I'm having a spa moment every day. (UPDATE: Skin Care Products)

6. I will soon be loving raw, organic, unrefined shea butter. I ordered some through Amazon recently. I'll be using the shea butter as a much healthier alternative to the body butter I currently use. Apparently mixing coconut oil and shea butter is also amazing. I might try whipping it together. Should be fun. :) 

7. Flameless Candles. I love the way candles create a calm and relaxing atmosphere. Between the coconut oil and the flameless candles, I feel like I'm living in a spa. :)

8. Lastly, Hiking at Bodega Head. I have the healthy diet and healthy living down, but exercising is a struggle for me. I'm trying! I absolutely love hiking in Bodega Bay. I feel safe there and I love the ocean. I hiked around Bodega Head twice this weekend. I loved it! Here's a photo from last Spring. I can't wait until the flowers start blooming again this year. 



Saturday, January 4, 2014

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

I'm surprised my last post was from October! I've been keeping busy with school, pet-sitting, the holidays, working on my house, and reading plenty of Kindle books (check out my favorites on the Documentaries, Books, & Blogs page!). The new year is here and I plan to be healthier than ever. I feel great. February 17th is right around the corner, which will mark one year as a vegan!

I've had a great Saturday. I enjoyed a tempeh scramble at Redwood Cafe in Cotati this morning (tempeh is less processed than tofu; always choose organic, non-GMO), wandered around a few stores during the day, and saw a movie in Santa Rosa. I made a salad for dinner with mixed greens, avocado, bell pepper, cucumber, sunchokes, freshly cooked chickpeas, sunflower sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, and a little fresh lemon juice. I'm still on a big soup kick. Soup is so easy to throw together. I've also been eating plenty of lentils, beans, squash, veggies, smoothies, and fruit!

We enjoyed butternut squash, brussels sprouts, parsnips, and roasted potatoes for our Christmas dinner. :)