Author Archives: rawgirl

Healthy Action of the Week: Get Yo Greens In!

GREENSEvery day this week try to incorporate fresh organic green vegetables in at least one meal. Your body will thank you. -Xo Raw Girl 

Some benefits of chlorophyll found in green vegetables include:

  • Increases the functioning of the heart
  • Improves the health and wellness of the intestines
  • Cleanses the liver
  • Improves the overall health of the vascular system
  • Maintains healthy bones and strong muscles
  • Protein. Yes! Greens have protein
  • Lowers or maintain healthy blood pressure
  • Helps body to detox and cleanse of impurities naturally
  • Improves the quality of your skin
  • Can increase the quality and quantity of your red blood cells because the compound has a chemical composition very similar to hemoglobin
  • Can lower your risk for developing certain types of cancer

***Warning: eating a larger amount of green vegetables may accelerate healing or cause an increase in joie de vivre, sexiness, youthfulness, and overall magnetism. Heed this advice at your own risk.****

The Skinny on B Vitamins

b-vitamin-fruits-vegetables-dietWe’ve all heard about RDA or recommended daily allowance for vitamins and minerals that are set by the Food and Drug Nutrition Board and give us the estimated minimal amount that people need to consume in order to avoid deficiencies. However, the optimal level of consumption of any micronutrient should actually fall well above the RDA for maintaining adequate nutrition and optimal health. B vitamins in particular can be consumed several times more than the RDA. When it comes to the optimal level, it’s an amount that can be consumed in order to allow for the nutrient to provide proper functioning while now allowing symptoms of toxicity to develop or any adverse symptoms. B-vitamins are essential for the metabolism of glucose, act as co-enzymes in mitochondrial aerobic respiration, and are instrumental in cellular energy production and the production of ATP (basically the process of turning our food into energy).

How B vitamins get to the brain?

The B vitamins for brain function are actively transported across the blood barrier by dedicated transport mechanisms. Cellular uptake mechanisms dictate the distribution of where all the B vitamins are allocate once in the brain. Following that B vitamin levels are controlled by several homeostatic mechanisms which guarantee that brain concentrations remain comparatively high. Much of the evidence related to the impact of B vitamins on the brain has not been consistent. Some studies suggest that B vitamins do have significant benefits to brain function.

The pentose phosphate pathway is a necessary step in the synthesis of fatty acids, steroids, nucleic acids and the aromatic amino acid precursors to a range of neurotransmitters and other bioactive compounds essential for brain function. In essence B vitamins will help keep our thinking sharp and keep us from going cray cray. Thiamine is a coenzyme in that pathway and acts as a cofactor during metabolic processes and contributes to the structure and function of cellular membranes.

Why you care? Although B vitamins are totally essential, prevalence of B vitamin deficiencies has increased in developed societies. Figures calculated for RDA and other nutritional requirements have barely changed over the past four decades despite glaring facts that point to the decreasing ability to absorb nutrients from our food and soil. Studies have found that populations in developed countries such as the U.S. do not consume the RDA of B vitamins. As obesity continues to climb there is a clear relationship between obesity and malnutrition because the SAD (Standard American Diet) consists of too much high fat, sugary, processed or fast foods which have little to no nutrition in the form of vitamins and mineral. Large portions of developed populations have been shown by studies to have biochemical levels of B vitamins that could cause deficiency related diseases, or reaching levels considered “marginal deficiency” which isn’t completed deprived but still not optimal either. All of these factors are a part of why deficiencies in developed societies occur.

Supplementation

Studies have shown that supplements higher in B vitamins and lower in other micronutrients have stronger effects than supplements with lower levels of B vitamins and higher concentrations of other micronutrients. So it may be wise if supplementing to purchase a B-complex or B vitamins as separate from your daily multivitamin. Some foods rich in essential B vitamins like B1, B2, B3, and B5 include: spirulina, goji berries, beans, broccoli, turnip greens, asparagus,  spinach, tomatoes, carrots, oranges, dandelion greens. –Xo Raw Girl

References

Kennedy, D.O. (2016). B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy – A Review. Nutrients. 27(8), 2. doi: 10.3390/nu8020068.

 

Recipe! Deliciously Dope Coconut Turmeric Milk Smoothie

osha-key-81006Have you ever tried turmeric milk or “golden milk”? There are many variations and more people seem to be catching on to this awesome drink due to the amazing benefits of turmeric. Not only is turmeric high in antioxidants and useful for reducing inflammation, it can kill cancerous cells. You can make a lovely turmeric milk with similar ingredients sans the banana and hemp seeds and heat it on the stove for a warm, cozy before bedtime drink. Because I heart turmeric, I wanted to come up with a smoothie that incorporates it and this is what I came up with. Below also check out a video on the benefits of turmeric. -Xo Raw Girl 

turmeric smoothie

Coconut Turmeric Milk Smoothie

Ingredients:

2 bananas

1/4 -1/2 cup coconut chunks

coconut water

1 teaspoon coconut palm sugar

1-2 Tablespoons Hemp Seeds

Turmeric to taste and for color, add as much as you prefer (1/2 teaspoon minimum)

Dash of Cardamom

Dash of Nutmeg

2-3 Dashes of Cinnamon

1 dash of black pepper (optional, brings out the flavor of the turmeric more)

What if Your Healthy Food Was Unhealthy?

pexels-photo-247685Today’s exercise in “what the heck? Why not?” was to identify a food that I perceive to be a “good” food and look for primary literature that contradicts my view of that food. Why would I do this? I find it so interested how much health information is out there and depending on what a company or organization stands to gain, you may hear biased evidence about particular kinds of food. Obviously this happens the most in the meat, dairy, and processed food industry; since vegetables have NEVER been proven to cause cancer, hypertension, or osteoporosis. But anywhoo, the gist is, it is healthy to reconsider your viewpoint from time to time and in the healthy living world, it doesn’t happen enough, with various sides clinging to their opinion like it’s the religious truth.

I chose to focus on Nori, a type of seaweed I love to consume especially in dried unsalted form, and consider healthy because of its nutrient content. My personal bias with this food is that I began to consume it, along with other seaweeds when changing my diet to transform my acne problem skin. Seaweeds played a major part in my healing so I have firsthand positive experience with it. Nori is fat-free and provides the body with Vitamin A,C, folate, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and protein.  Although it is highly debated, studies also support that dried Nori is the most excellent source of B12 for vegetarians, and contains less dietary iodine than other seaweeds, (Watanabe et al, 1999).

It was actually difficult to find to many studies or journals that asserted Nori is a “bad” food, but what I did find are studies that confirm the heavy metal contamination of commercially available seaweed (Nori being the most popular). “On April 13, 2021 Enviroreporter.com tested Nori seaweed from Japan bought from a Los Angeles store….the [seaweed] was 94.7% above normal. These tests were performed with an Inspector Alert nuclear radiation monitor, the same detector used in over 1,500 tests for Fukushima radiation beginning four days after the March 11, 2011 triple meltdowns at the destroyed Fukushima Daiichi six-reactor complex in Japan.” Another study found levels of total and inorganic arsenic in seaweed. “Using 31 samples (all purchased as a dried product) covering five varieties of seaweed were collected from various retail outlets across London and the internet. Arsenic was detected in all samples with total arsenic at concentrations ranging from 18 to 124 mg/kg. Inorganic arsenic, which can cause liver cancer, was only found in the nine samples of hijiki seaweed that were analysed, at concentrations in the range 67–96 mg/kg. Other types of seaweed were all found to contain less than 0.3 mg/kg inorganic arsenic, which was the limit of detection for the method used,” (Rose, M. et al, 2007). In this study, Nori was not found inherently toxic, but low levels of arsenic were present.

After conducting this research, my views on this food have not changed. I do believe it is a healthy food. However, obtaining this information has caused me to be concerned and more intent on gathering information about where the Nori I consume is harvested and whether or not it has been tested, especially for radiation. Considering another contradictory opinion wasn’t bad at all, worst case I would have had to give up my delicious Nori rolls, and best case scenario, I learned something new to share with you. –Xo Raw Girl

References:

Netten, C. (2000). Elemental and radioactive analysis of commercially available seaweed.The Science of the Total Environment, 169-175.

Watanabe, F., Takenaka, S., Katsura, H., S. A. M. Zakir Hussain Masumder, Abe, K., Tamura, Y., & Nakano, Y. (1999). Dried Green and Purple Lavers (Nori) Contain Substantial Amounts of Biologically Active Vitamin B12 but Less of Dietary Iodine Relative to Other Edible Seaweeds.Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2341-2343.

Rose, M., Lewis, J., Langford, N., Baxter, M., Origgi, S., Barber, M., … Thomas, K. (n.d.). (2007) Arsenic in seaweed—Forms, concentration and dietary exposure. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 1263-1267.

Collins, M. (2012, April 20). Japanese Seaweed Radiation Doubles. Enviroreporter.

Healthy Action of the Week: Find Your Dosha!

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So in the middle of August, I started chatting with a friend about Ayurveda and finding her dosha. She was like “girl, what the heck is a dosha?” I explained that doshas are archetypes, or body types in the Ayurvedic tradition that help us to understand our constitution, personality, diet, and lifestyle choices and even how we may react to different environments. The three major doshas are: Pitta, Vatta, and Kapha. Your dosha usually stays constant throughout your lifetime and can be a mix of more than one type; for instance mine is Vata-Pitta. That day we both decided to find quizzes online to help us find our dosha. What we learned was so spot on we ended up reading for a few hours. I was amazed that pretty much everything pertaining to my type was spot on. My type didn’t do well with extremely strenuous exercise (check – it makes me tired), would react sensitively to caffeine or alcohol (check – I don’t drink either), and takes well to a cooling diet, sorta like raw food, but at the same time needs stews or warm cozy comfort food (check – this essentially sums up my life in the winter). Seriously reading the results of the quiz was like opening up a page in my diary and realizing someone had read it. I was like: how do they know all my business? This week’s healthy action is for you to take a moment to find your dosha and read up about it. I really like this QUIZ over at Holistic Highway, so give it a try. Message me or comment on FB or Instagram if your results ring true for you our you find out something interesting. -Xo Raw Girl 

Want to read more about Ayurveda? Check out this past article.

The Great H2O Debate: How Much is Enough?

ethan-sykes-222960We have all heard the guideline since childhood that the average person should “drink eight cups of water a day,” or “drink half of your body weight in ounces per day.”  Recently I wondered to myself is this advice based on sound physiology? How can you tell that an individual is actually ingesting enough fluids? Is it possible to drink too much water?

My conclusion after a little digging was the healthy advise that people should drink eight cups of water or day is not necessarily based in sound physiology. The amount that a person should drink “differs by what people eat, where they live, how big they are ( in pounds, body mass etc), and what they are doing. It makes sense that for instance in a climate that is hotter year round, water intake for the average individual would increase. Because there are many variables it may be impossible to come up with adequate water intake that can be widely applied.

In a European study after choosing to monitor total water intake of both men and women they observed that: “The mean TWI was 2.3 L for men and 2.1 L for women, close to the EFSA “adequate intake” (AI) recommendations for adults: 2.5 L and 2 L, respectively, though lower for men and higher for women,” (de Edelenyi, F. et al, 2). When discussing water intake it’s clear that it is important to take into consideration that water intake is not only fulfilled by drinking water or beverages (70-80%); our bodies also receive about (20-30%) water from solid foods, (de Edelenyi, F. et al, 2).

The best way to know if there is adequate water intake is to pay attention to our bodies and be on the look out for signs of dehydration, or inadequate water intake. Some signs of mild to moderate dehydration include: increased thirst, dry mouth, tired of drowsiness, decreased urine output, yellowish urine, headache, dry skin, dizziness, producing few or no tears. It doesn’t happen often, but apparently it is also possible to drink too much water. The condition is called hyponatremia. When our bodies intake excess water the kidneys are unable to excrete it, and the electrolyte (mineral) content of the blood gets diluted. This in turn causes low sodium levels in the blood. Obviously, that’s rare! Despite the debate, the truth is most of us do NOT get enough water in a day, so it’s always better to err on the side of caution and guzzle up as much as you can. -Xo Raw Girl

 

References:

Drewnowski, A. (2015). Evidence behind daily water and beverage intake recommendations. Nutricion Hospitalaria,32(S2), 17. doi:10.3305/nh.2015.32.sup2.10270

de Edelenyi, F. S., Druesne-Pecollo, N., Arnault, N., González, R., Buscail, C., & Galan, P. (2016). Characteristics of Beverage Consumption Habits among a Large Sample of French Adults: Associations with Total Water and Energy Intakes. Nutrients8(10), 1-15. doi:10.3390/nu8100627

Caroll, A. E. (n.d.). No, You Do Not Have to Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day. Retrieved November 23, 2016, from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/25/upshot/no-you-do-not-have-to-drink-8-glasses-of-water-a-day.html?_r=0

 

 

Practicing Contentment

Want to enroll or find out more about our class: Yoga for Radiance & Beauty? Visit rawbeautyinabox.com. -Xo Raw Girl

Recipe! Banana Chips

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Bananas anyone? Eating high raw requires you step yo snack game up to a new level. It’s always great to have something to take with you on-the-go. But time is money, and sometimes we get lazy about preparation. These banana chips take no time at all to prepare. Just stick them in the dehydrator, go about your business, and by the end of the day you’ll have a yummy snack ready. -Xo Raw Girl 

Ingredients:

Bananas

Lemon Juice

Spice Mix: 1- 2 Tablespoons Cinnamon, Dash of Cardamom, Dash of Nutmeg

Directions:

Peel and slice to about a ¼ – inch thickness.

Dip banana slices into a bowl of lemon juice. This lessens the browning of the banana chip. (optional)

Shake off extra lemon juice. Put spices onto a small plate or bowl and dip banana chip into spices.

Can dip half or all of the chip. Then lay the banana slices on the dehydrator tray.

Dehydrate at 140 degrees F for 1 hour

Turn the temperature down to 115 degrees F, dehydrate 8 hours.

Half way through, stop the dehydrator and flip over all the banana slices. The slices are easy to peel off the dehydrator tray when they are warm, and turning ensures dryness.

If the banana chips are leathery to crisp, they are done.

Cool the banana chips for a few hours in the dehydrator before removing them. Pack the dried chips into a Ziploc bag when they are cool. Store at room temperature.

Other Variations:

Make Plain

Dip banana slices into chopped nuts or dried coconut flakes prior to drying.

Sprinkle with cinnamon only.

Sprinkle with Celtic sea salt

Why Taking a Bath in Nature is Good For You

bryan-minear-315906I take my nature baths regularly. You may be imagining me in a bathing suit jumping into a lake, but that’s not exactly what I mean. Our family home is minutes away from a gorgeous park with a dense forest and hiking trail. Since moving to this area, one of my staple rituals has been to take a weekly walk or run on the forest trails. When I am stressed I walk it out on that trail. I have gone into that park feeling sad, stressed, and a host of other emotions, and I always feel like I leave whole. There’s something about the sounds of nature, the fresh air, the trees that just brings me back to one. Well it turns out, there is science behind it that suggests that exposure to nature can have remarkable benefits on human health. Not only can regular time in natural environments promote positive emotions, lower stress levels, improve working memory and increase feeling of being alive it also has been associate with increasing physical and mental energy, and accelerating the healing process when disease is present in the body. The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture jumped on nature bathing full force in the 1990s when their coined the term Shinrin-yoku, which literally means forest bathing! Some researchers say that the health benefits of forest bathing may be attributed to organic compounds called phytoncides that are given off by plants and allow those who breathe them in to achieve a more relaxed state. Others say benefits may come from the pure wonder and awe one feels when immersed in nature. Although the reasons are not necessarily definitive, we do know that taking a bath in nature is a good thing. So leave your bath salts and swimming trunks at home, grab your trail sneakers, and a hoodie and try to find some time to hit a trail. Your health: mind, body, and spirit will say thank you. –Xo Raw Girl

 

Health Action of the Week: Get Creative with Your Salads

peach summer salad

If you want to start eating high raw, the first thing on your to-do list should be to learn how to prepare a kick ass, finger licking, victory dance, booty shaking salad so good, it will convert your most vegetable apprehensive aunty. I am proud to say I have mastered the art of converting people to a love of fruits and veg, just by making salads that provide a magical flavorful experience. How do you do this? Well first off you have to get creative. You CANNOT make enticing salads by sticking to the romaine lettuce and tomato formula found in restaurants the world over. Try other greens, and don’t be afraid to mix them together: kale, mixed greens, arugula. Add in unexpected toppings like fennel, artichokes, olives. Or go the fruity route and try things like strawberries, cranberries, etc. You can also throw together “salads” using additional ingredients that bulk them up like quinoa, adding hummus, or guac, and a wide variety of diced vegetables.  After you get some dope ingredients, the secret you must employ to achieve the holy grail of all salads, is you must massage your salad with your hands. This is non-negotiable. I like to use either olive oil with lemon, lime, or apple cider vinegar as the acid, sea salt, sometimes a dash of Braggs, and other seasonings, and work them all in with my hands. Even when I make a dressing, I like to massage the greens first using this method, because it makes them easier to digest and works in some intrinsic flavor. Below are links to a few salad recipes from this blog. Your challenge this week is to experiment with combinations you’ve never tried to make a glorious and hearty salad. Sharing is caring, so tag me on Instagram or shoot me a message on Facebook with some of your creations so I can try too! -Xo Raw Girl 

Mediterranean Salad w/ Cilantro Goddess Dressing

The Ultimate Beauty Salad

Raw Curried Okra Cobb Salad

Collard Green Salad w/ Grapefruit Vinagrette

Sweet n’ Scrumptious Summer Salad w/ Orange Strawberry Dressing

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Have you checked out my new online classes yet? In my new course, Staying Ageless 30+  you will learn about Diet Basics, Lifestyle Factors, and elements of Longevity that promote an ageless way of life.  Over the course of three modules you learn what to eliminate from your diet to stay ageless, how to ensure your body is receiving adequate nutrition, powerful detox rituals you can incorporate to increase your longevity, beauty remedies that will leave you glowing, and how to exercise effectively and get results.  In addition you will learn health lessons directly from renowned longevity and health experts that will equip you to transform your lifestyle. You can still enroll! Check out the class HERE to preview the curriculum our save your seat! -Xo