Wellness Encyclopedia: The Benefits of Raw Honey

Wellness Encyclopedia: The Benefits of Raw Honey

The golden wonder that is raw honey can help keep you at the top of your game this season…

It’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s true: Cold and flu season is almost here. While I’m celebrating the arrival of fall like the best of them, it took one 30°F morning this week to remind me that along with picking pumpkins and brainstorming Halloween costumes, ensuring healthy immunity should be at the top of my to-do list. I love this time of year, so the last thing I want is to be sidetracked by a cough or sore throat. Luckily my first line of defense just happens to be delicious and all natural: Organic, locally-sourced raw honey. The cloudy variety that comes straight from happy bees tended to by a kind keeper. Why honey? The benefits are almost too numerous to list, but today I’ve tried. Read on to learn why raw honey could help keep you at the top of your game this season.

What’s the difference between raw honey and regular honey?  

Regular, commercial honey, the kind that typically comes in a bear-shaped container and runs clear and easy from the jar, is filtered and then pasteurized at a high temperature to kill off any yeast that may be present. Raw honey is unprocessed and unpasteurized to preserve the beneficial nutrients present. While commercial honey still tastes amazing and is an adequate substitute for liquid sweetener in recipes, it lacks the same incredible benefits of raw honey. To see whether or not the raw honey you’ve purchased is truly raw, take a spoonful and place it in a glass of water. If it settles to the bottom, it’s raw. However, if it dissolves easily and sticks the the edges of the glass, it could be processed and even counterfeit (yes, counterfeit honey is a thing).

Benefits of raw honey.

So, what are all these incredible nutrients available in raw, unprocessed honey? If you’re prone to seasonal allergies, local raw honey could help! Raw honey contains bee pollen, which could help your body adjust to the pollen in the air when consumed. By eating honey produced locally, you consume trace amounts of the same pollen that could be wreaking havoc via allergies, helping to regulate your body to the pollen in the air. By regularly eating raw honey, your body could build up antibodies and produce less histamine when allergy season rolls around.

Trouble sleeping? A little raw honey before bed could help you sleep by helping to promote the production of melatonin. Similar to sugar, raw honey generates a rise in insulin, which produces serotonin, which is eventually converted to melatonin. Try adding a small amount of honey to a mug of tea before bed to help you relax and ready your body for rest.

As cold and flu season fast approaches, raw honey should be at the forefront of your seasonal sickness arsenal. Soothe a sore throat and suppress a cough with a spoonful of raw honey, which not only soothes but contains antibacterial properties to shorten the lifespan of a cold. Raw honey has been found to be as effective as traditional cough syrup in treating a sore throat and reducing mucus production (gross, but true). Honey is naturally antibacterial and antifungal, meaning that not only will it not go bad (as long as it’s kept pure and free of contamination from water and other factors), but the same antibacterial and antifungal properties can benefit the body by supporting immunity and warding off minor colds and seasonal illnesses. These same antibacterial properties are incredibly beneficial for acne-prone skin and raw honey has long been used as an ingredient in masks and even as a cleanser.

How to use raw honey.

Raw honey is incredibly versatile, but in order to harness its full range of benefits, it’s best consumed straight from the jar (tough, I know). However, it makes a great substitute for processed sugar if you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of its nutritional power. Sub honey for corn sugar in most recipes where it’s called for, or add a small amount to coffee or tea in place of white sugar. Tough workout ahead? Take a spoonful of raw honey beforehand to power through. Or, put some of our favorite tried and tested raw honey recipes to work:

DIY Honey Rose Lip Scrub

Apple Ginger Honey Spritzer

Honey Face Mask

Honey Ginger Throat Drops

 

+ Be sure to check out more Wellness Encyclopedia posts!

Follow Julie on Instagram + check out her blog.

 

Free People Blog

On-the-Go Beauty & Wellness

On-the-Go Beauty & Wellness

You’ve got a trip coming up and it’s time to pack… consider some of these tried-and-true go-to’s for that overnight bag…

Whether you’re out of space in your bag (you just need that fifth pair of shoes) or you just can’t be bothered to schlep your whole beauty-and-wellness routine, we’ve rounded up some of the best on-the-go products to take with you. Happy travels!

Spending a lot of time in nature?

Ah, the great outdoors: Excellent for reconnecting with nature and getting off the grid, not so great when it comes to access to the running water you need to wash your face every night. If you want to go full primal, by all means… but if you’d rather stick to some sort of skincare routine on the trail, cleansing cloths are your best bet.

Juicy Bamboo’s Natural Facial Cleansing Cloths are ideal here because they cleanse and wipe away a day’s worth of sweat, bug spray and mountain dirt while also depositing essential oils and vitamins to keep skin nourished. (Just remember to take the used cloths and packets with you — not littering!)

Getting on a plane, train or bus?

When you’re packed into a small space with a bunch of strangers for a prolonged period of times, germs are pretty much inevitable. So if you’re flying, busing or training your way anywhere, make sure you load up on vitamins and minerals to keep your immune system in tip-top shape.

Luckily, the 8 Greens tablets make it incredibly easy to treat your body right on the go. Crammed with a nourishing blend of spirulina, kale, spinach, chlorella, wheatgrass, barley grass, aloe vera and blue green algae, they pack a nourishing punch of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals — and all you have to do is drop one a day into your water bottle.

Relaxing on a beach?

First and foremost, make sure sunscreen has a place in your bag. You don’t want to fry on the first day of your trip and be miserable and burnt and peeling for the rest of the vacation. For travel purposes, opt for the ease of an SPF stick like Salt And Stone’s Face SPF 50 or Bare Republic’s Mineral SPF 50 Sport Sunscreen Stick. They’re easy to toss in a bag, take up almost no space and are a breeze to apply.

When you’re done on the sand, you’ll want to be sure you totally remove the sunscreen from your skin, which is where an oil cleanser (like the one the one in this Face the Day skincare kit from Kopari) comes in handy. The toner will also help to reduce any accidental redness and the face cream makes sure your sun-kissed skin stays well-hydrated.

Sightseeing in a big city?

Cities are great for the culture they offer, the never-ending list of possible things to do and see, and of course, the food. And while that last one is no doubt delicious, vacation eating can sometimes send your digestive system into a tailspin. So if you know you’re on your way to a food mecca, make sure to toss a few packets of The Super Elixir Alkalizing Greens Sachets in your bag. The blend of omegas, fiber, vitamins and minerals will help restore your body’s pH balance and promote digestion, even if you’re eating eight meals a day (no judgement –vacation food is the best food).

Free People Blog

Wellness Encyclopedia: Sage Benefits and Sage-Rosemary Oil DIY

Wellness Encyclopedia: Sage Benefits and Sage-Rosemary Oil DIY

More than just a pretty-smelling oil, sage has been used for centuries for everything from memory enhancement to wound healing…

This week, I’m pulling off one of the most stressful things a person can experience: A multi-state move. Come Saturday, I’ll be packing up my truck and making the journey from Pennsylvania to Maine, and right now I’m feeling that stress all over. Head to toe. Even though this move is one I’m excited about, it’s been said that moving, even in the best of times, is akin to experiencing a death in the family when it comes to stress level – and I believe it! To keep calm and grounded as my move-out date approaches, I’ve been turning to tried and true practices that bring peace of mind while everything around me is chaos. A favorite? Sage oil and smudges. While sage smudging is often thought of as a move-in ritual, the smoke from sage can help clear the air anytime. Add sage essential oil to the equation, and you’re in for decreased levels of stress and a great-smelling apartment (even if it is filled with boxes). But sage is more than just a pretty-smelling oil, the herb has been used for centuries for everything from memory enhancement to wound healing. Learn more about this incredible herb below!

What is sage?

Salvia officinalis, also called common sage or garden sage, is a light green herb with small purple flowers in the mint family. Native to the Mediterranean, sage now grows worldwide and has been used for thousands of years for both culinary and spiritual practices. Believed to promote everything from fertility to warding off evil to promoting brain function, When burned as a smudge, sage is thought to clear energy from a space or an object, much the same way as it was used centuries ago..

What are the benefits of sage?

Considered a sister herb to rosemary, when paired together sage and rosemary are believed to enhance cognitive function and could improve memory. On its own, sage could help boost brain power whether consumed as part of a dish, or simply used in aromatherapy by potentially stimulating neural pathways in the brain and possibly reducing overall inflammation, which has been linked to brain function. The same antioxidant properties in sage that may lead to reduced inflammation have also been found to possibly help with reduced muscle pain; in fact, the oils derived from sage have long been used to ease muscle aches and pains throughout the body. Sage has been found to contain some antibacterial and antiviral effects, and when applied as a poultice or tincture has been shown to improve symptoms of a variety of skin conditions, including eczema, acne and psoriasis.

How do I use sage?

Sage bundles can be bought pre-made but are just as easy to create and customize on your own with the benefit of adding in your own herbs and flowers. Sage oil blends beautifully into essential oil blends, like the one below, and fresh sage can be added to everything from salads to soups to desserts for antioxidant and memory-boosting benefits!

Sage-Rosemary Muscle and Memory Blend

Materials

10 drops sage essential oil

10 drops rosemary essential oil

1 oz carrier oil (jojoba, sweet almond, sesame)

Small glass container

Method

Combine essential oils and carrier oil in a small glass container. Mix gently before capping. Store in a cool, dark place. To use: rub on sore muscles or on temples to ease stress and improve mental capacity.

+ Be sure to check out more Wellness Encyclopedia posts!

Follow Julie on Instagram + check out her blog.

 

Free People Blog

Wellness Encyclopedia: Sage Benefits and Sage-Rosemary Oil DIY

Wellness Encyclopedia: Sage Benefits and Sage-Rosemary Oil DIY

More than just a pretty-smelling oil, sage has been used for centuries for everything from memory enhancement to wound healing…

This week, I’m pulling off one of the most stressful things a person can experience: A multi-state move. Come Saturday, I’ll be packing up my truck and making the journey from Pennsylvania to Maine, and right now I’m feeling that stress all over. Head to toe. Even though this move is one I’m excited about, it’s been said that moving, even in the best of times, is akin to experiencing a death in the family when it comes to stress level – and I believe it! To keep calm and grounded as my move-out date approaches, I’ve been turning to tried and true practices that bring peace of mind while everything around me is chaos. A favorite? Sage oil and smudges. While sage smudging is often thought of as a move-in ritual, the smoke from sage can help clear the air anytime. Add sage essential oil to the equation, and you’re in for decreased levels of stress and a great-smelling apartment (even if it is filled with boxes). But sage is more than just a pretty-smelling oil, the herb has been used for centuries for everything from memory enhancement to wound healing. Learn more about this incredible herb below!

What is sage?

Salvia officinalis, also called common sage or garden sage, is a light green herb with small purple flowers in the mint family. Native to the Mediterranean, sage now grows worldwide and has been used for thousands of years for both culinary and spiritual practices. Believed to promote everything from fertility to warding off evil to promoting brain function, When burned as a smudge, sage is thought to clear energy from a space or an object, much the same way as it was used centuries ago..

What are the benefits of sage?

Considered a sister herb to rosemary, when paired together sage and rosemary are believed to enhance cognitive function and could improve memory. On its own, sage could help boost brain power whether consumed as part of a dish, or simply used in aromatherapy by potentially stimulating neural pathways in the brain and possibly reducing overall inflammation, which has been linked to brain function. The same antioxidant properties in sage that may lead to reduced inflammation have also been found to possibly help with reduced muscle pain; in fact, the oils derived from sage have long been used to ease muscle aches and pains throughout the body. Sage has been found to contain some antibacterial and antiviral effects, and when applied as a poultice or tincture has been shown to improve symptoms of a variety of skin conditions, including eczema, acne and psoriasis.

How do I use sage?

Sage bundles can be bought pre-made but are just as easy to create and customize on your own with the benefit of adding in your own herbs and flowers. Sage oil blends beautifully into essential oil blends, like the one below, and fresh sage can be added to everything from salads to soups to desserts for antioxidant and memory-boosting benefits!

Sage-Rosemary Muscle and Memory Blend

Materials

10 drops sage essential oil

10 drops rosemary essential oil

1 oz carrier oil (jojoba, sweet almond, sesame)

Small glass container

Method

Combine essential oils and carrier oil in a small glass container. Mix gently before capping. Store in a cool, dark place. To use: rub on sore muscles or on temples to ease stress and improve mental capacity.

+ Be sure to check out more Wellness Encyclopedia posts!

Follow Julie on Instagram + check out her blog.

 

Free People Blog

How to Wash Your Face the Right Way

How to Wash Your Face the Right Way

Believe it or not, there is a right way and a wrong way to wash your face. Well, maybe not a wrong way, but definitely a better way to do it. Wanna perfect your face washing skills? Read on!

If your current routine consists of sudsing up a bar of whatever soap is in your shower or on your sink, mindlessly rubbing your hands over your face a few times and then rinsing it off with hot water, you’re not alone. If your current routine consists of a 15-step regimen with as many products, you’re also not alone. Whichever approach you take, there’s always a way to up the game a bit with one of the following (or all!) tips on the ideal face washing scenario.

Use the right amount of cleanser.

Consider your face Goldilocks: you don’t want too much product or too little product, but just the right amount, especially when we’re talking about cleanser. A tiny dot? That’s not going to do anything to actually clean your face, especially if you haven’t already removed the top layer of dirt, grime and makeup with the first step of a double cleanse. Half a bottle of cleanser in one go? It’s a waste; you’re washing the bulk of the nutrients straight down the drain.

If you’re using a cream or gel cleanser, a dime-sized amount of the stuff is perfect. Gently massage the product into your skin — all over, seriously — don’t miss a millimeter — for about a minute. It may seem like a long time, but if you wash it off too quickly, your skin won’t get the chance to soak up the good stuff. Same goes for bar soap, except you’ll want to work up a decent lather before the massaging starts.

Pay attention to water temperature.

Still think scalding hot water is the only way to get your face really clean? You’re not a scullery maid in 1850s England trying to get a red wine stain out of an apron — this is your skin we’re talking about and it needs a happy medium when it comes to water temperature. Too hot? Your skin will dry out very, very quickly (and you also run the risk of burning it.) Too cold? A lot of cleanser don’t play nice with ice cold liquid.

The ideal water temperature for washing your face? Good ol’ fashioned warm. Most faucets are finicky, so play around with how open each tap is to find the right blend until you find the one that feels like a cozy blanket. Splash some on your face to prime the canvas before massaging cleanser into skin, wash it all away with that warm water (and really make sure you’re getting rid of all of it — leftover cleanser that lingers can dry out skin) and then finish it off with a splash of cold water to close pores and smooth everything out.

Choose your exfoliator wisely.

Your skin is a delicate flower. Don’t subject it to harsh, intense scrubs. No matter how dull you think your face looks or how dry and flakey things get, stay away from the hard stuff. Rather than vigorously rub seeds or pits or, you know, shards of glass over your face, opt for something gentle yet effective like gommage, an enzyme-packed mask, an AHA peel or scrub towel.

Still not sold on why you should be exfoliating? Get wise.

Free People Blog

How to Wash Your Face the Right Way

How to Wash Your Face the Right Way

Believe it or not, there is a right way and a wrong way to wash your face. Well, maybe not a wrong way, but definitely a better way to do it. Wanna perfect your face washing skills? Read on!

If your current routine consists of sudsing up a bar of whatever soap is in your shower or on your sink, mindlessly rubbing your hands over your face a few times and then rinsing it off with hot water, you’re not alone. If your current routine consists of a 15-step regimen with as many products, you’re also not alone. Whichever approach you take, there’s always a way to up the game a bit with one of the following (or all!) tips on the ideal face washing scenario.

Use the right amount of cleanser.

Consider your face Goldilocks: you don’t want too much product or too little product, but just the right amount, especially when we’re talking about cleanser. A tiny dot? That’s not going to do anything to actually clean your face, especially if you haven’t already removed the top layer of dirt, grime and makeup with the first step of a double cleanse. Half a bottle of cleanser in one go? It’s a waste; you’re washing the bulk of the nutrients straight down the drain.

If you’re using a cream or gel cleanser, a dime-sized amount of the stuff is perfect. Gently massage the product into your skin — all over, seriously — don’t miss a millimeter — for about a minute. It may seem like a long time, but if you wash it off too quickly, your skin won’t get the chance to soak up the good stuff. Same goes for bar soap, except you’ll want to work up a decent lather before the massaging starts.

Pay attention to water temperature.

Still think scalding hot water is the only way to get your face really clean? You’re not a scullery maid in 1850s England trying to get a red wine stain out of an apron — this is your skin we’re talking about and it needs a happy medium when it comes to water temperature. Too hot? Your skin will dry out very, very quickly (and you also run the risk of burning it.) Too cold? A lot of cleanser don’t play nice with ice cold liquid.

The ideal water temperature for washing your face? Good ol’ fashioned warm. Most faucets are finicky, so play around with how open each tap is to find the right blend until you find the one that feels like a cozy blanket. Splash some on your face to prime the canvas before massaging cleanser into skin, wash it all away with that warm water (and really make sure you’re getting rid of all of it — leftover cleanser that lingers can dry out skin) and then finish it off with a splash of cold water to close pores and smooth everything out.

Choose your exfoliator wisely.

Your skin is a delicate flower. Don’t subject it to harsh, intense scrubs. No matter how dull you think your face looks or how dry and flakey things get, stay away from the hard stuff. Rather than vigorously rub seeds or pits or, you know, shards of glass over your face, opt for something gentle yet effective like gommage, an enzyme-packed mask, an AHA peel or scrub towel.

Still not sold on why you should be exfoliating? Get wise.

Free People Blog

Fall Cleaning

Fall Cleaning

What better time to tackle that bathroom cabinet…

Spring cleaning gets all the glory, but if you ask me, fall is the best season for a purge. You finally got to open your windows during spring and set foot outside without a parka and layers of wool to keep warm. Then you basked in the long, lazy days of summer. I’d bet cleaning your home and tossing things you don’t want or need was the literal last thing on your mind from April to August.

But there’s something about the first notes of fall that make me want to shut those windows halfway, dust off the cute mid-weight jackets that haven’t seen the light of day for half a year and get to cleaning. The trees are shedding their leaves so why can’t you shed some of the stuff that’s been piling up for months?

After you’re done moving bathing suits and cutoffs to the back of your closet and chunky knits and booties to the front, it’s time to tackle that bathroom cabinet. I guarantee there’s something lurking in there you definitely don’t use regularly/you definitely don’t remember owning. Rather than let it languish in the depths of your bathroom for another year, get rid of it. Seriously, nothing feels better than taking a few hours to clean and organize. After all, the more you toss, the more space you have for fun, new stuff.

First thing’s first — clean your dang brushes!

Take a look at your makeup brushes. Are they caked with layers of makeup from months of use or are they clean and shiny? If you remember to clean your brushes and tools regularly, kudos. If not, you’re like the majority of us who only remember when someone tells you to. So this is me telling you to clean those little bacteria farms.

All you need is a gentle foaming cleanser, water and your hand: Mix a few drops of the cleanser in your palm with a bit of water, then swish one brush at a time around in the mixture until it starts to foam. You’ll see the foam start to take on the color of makeup hiding in the bristles — that means it’s working. Repeat this process as many times as is necessary for that foam to stay clear or white, which means you’ve removed all the makeup. Then gently rinse the brush in warm water, swirl around a little on a clean towel to remove excess moisture, and then lay flat to dry.

And if you just can’t be bothered, invest in a new set. The bristles are breeding grounds for bacteria that can’t wait to take up residence in your pores. While you’re out it, get a new konjac sponge and loofah, and please, for the love of all that is holy, change your pillowcase.

Check expiration dates.

Now that you’re well-versed in the language of when things go bad (cough cough READ THIS cough), you know how to interpret packaging, symbols and language as far as expiration and use-by dates are concerned. If anything is past its prime, toss it.

The same thing goes for stuff you only use during the summer that won’t make it to see another solstice. If there’s a heavy-duty sunscreen you only wear at the beach and you know you won’t be headed back to the sand and waves until winter break at the earliest, get rid of it. Even though it may still be good for another month or two, you won’t actually use it before it goes bad and it’ll sit in your bathroom, forgotten. Then, months down the road when you do need a heavy duty sunscreen again, you’ll likely just grab last summer’s because it’s there — even though its active ingredients aren’t effective anymore. Save yourself the trouble of zinc oxide that won’t rub in and a killer sunburn by just throwing it out. Then you’ll know you need to replace it when the time comes and you’ll be able to pick up a fresh batch that will last you well into next summer.

When in doubt, get rid of anything you’ve had for more than a year.

Unless it’s shampoo, conditioner, or a dry product (like a clay mask you add water to), you’re better off safe than sorry. That goes for the glittery eyeshadow you bought for a theme party last fall, the deodorant you’ve had since college, the mascara you don’t remember buying that you just found under your couch and the sample of face oil you got with a purchase you made years ago. Not only will this help you free up space and declutter, but it’ll help put into perspective what you actually use regularly.

Admit you have a thing for season-specific makeup.

Far be it from me to dictate what type of makeup you wear when, but if something really screams summer (like that coverup that only matches your skin after a tropical vacation or the bronzer that makes you look crazy when you’re dead-of-winter-pale), I’d advise getting rid of it. As you know, natural and organic products have a limited shelf life and like I mentioned above, that seasonal makeup will likely go bad before you get the chance to wear it again.

Rather than be stubborn and insist on wearing a shade of makeup that doesn’t work on your skin post-summer, invest in a few products that will last you through the whole year. Find a coverup that makes sense for your skin when it’s at its least sun-kissed, then mix it with a complimentary bronzer as the seasons change. Or learn to mix a powdered bronzer with face oil for a subtle glow when you need it. More ideas here!

Embrace seasonal scents.

No, I’m not talking about that sickly-sweet pumpkin pie candle your great aunt insists on burning as soon as Labor Day rolls around. What I am talking about is the stuff that lends itself to cooler temperatures and cozier vibes. If you’ve been rocking a light floral or bright citrus scent all summer, think about switching it up with notes of musk, chai and other earthy smells. Fall is the time for cozying up and allowing smells to linger a bit longer, so you need something with more oomph.

Whether it’s a musky body oil you slather on post-shower, a rich aromatherapy oil you dab on your pulse points for a pick-me-up as the days get shorter or a smoky cinnamon-based perfume for nights out embrace the smells of the season — don’t fight the gorgeous, spicy, crispness in the air.

+ Let’s get Fall ready… Check out more articles from Allie here

Free People Blog

4 Telltale Signs Your Body Is Ready For a Cleanse

Juice cleansing and fasting might be a “trend,” but find out why this healing tradition has been around since ancient times…

This post is part of an ongoing collaboration with The Chalkboard Mag.

Fasting isn’t for everyone, but if you’re frequently feeling blah or simply wanting a mind-body reboot, it could be just what the doctor ordered. Here’s functional medicine guru and former TCM Guest Editor, Dr. Josh Axe on the four signs it’s time for a cleanse, and how fasting can help us heal…

It’s time for spring cleaning — and that includes our bodies as well as our homes. “Fasting” is the term for any period of time in which you choose to abstain from eating any solid foods, although some choose to still consume juices, other beverages or moderate caffeine. Fasting is also one of the best ways to detox the body naturally. Unfortunately, though, many people who could benefit most from a fast don’t often realize that they are in need of one.

The history of fasting is long, with people engaging in this ancient practice — and reaping the many health benefits — for thousands of years. The positive effects associated with fasting have been the focus of medical studies since about the 1940s, but fasting itself is a practice mentioned in the major text of just about every major religion, including those of the Hindu, Christian, Jewish and Buddhist traditions. As an example, according to traditional Chinese medicine, fasting is noted as a route to purification and a way to both increase energy and train the mind to deny cravings.

Fasting can be intense, with people giving up food for days or weeks at a time, but today a more gentle (yet equally effective) form of fasting is increasing in popularity. Intermittent fasting involves eating only during a short window of time during the day, and then abstaining from food the rest of the time (typically 12 to 16 hours). It’s a great way to reset the body with deprivation. And for those who have never tried fasting, I like to say that intermittent fasting is so easy that anyone can do it.

So what are some signs that a fast could serve you well? The symptoms can vary from individual to individual, as each of our bodies have different ways of telling us that something is “off.” Here are some of the more common ways that your body may be telling you it’s time to fast.

You’re feeling sluggish. 

Fatigue, lethargy and brain fog are all tied to decreased blood flow, poor management of blood sugar and sometimes stress or nutrient deficiencies. In certain eastern traditions, such as Taoism, practitioners view fasting as a helpful method for “balancing chi,” or bringing warmth to the middle of the body near the heart and digestive organs, which improves circulation and, as a result, boosts energy. And while some assume that fasting would cause you to feel more tired, research shows that fasting usually doesn’t have any negative affects on most adults’ sleep/wake schedule, sleep duration, energy during the day or energy expenditure — as long as they’re practicing otherwise healthy habits.

You constantly crave junk food. 

Cravings for things like sugar, fast food, refined carbs and sugary drinks are often tied to both unhealthy habits and dysfunctional physiological processes like insulin resistance. Fasting can be great for normalizing insulin sensitivity, which will help supply your cells with the right amount of glucose needed for maintaining energy. This can also prevent spikes and dips in blood sugar and, in more serious cases, the development of diseases like diabetes, cancer and/or heart complications. Studies also show that fasting can help regulate the hunger hormones ghrelin (which is responsible for telling your body that it is hungry) and leptin (which helps you feel full after eating).

You have high cholesterol.

(or other risk factors for chronic disease)According to a 2015 review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, fasting has been shown in at least three randomized controlled clinical trials to cause improvements in glucose-lipid metabolism, cholesterol, body weight and other risk factors associated with coronary artery disease (CAD) and diabetes. Studies suggest that fasting can decrease levels of “bad cholesterol” in the body and regulate triglycerides, and it also seems to have neutral or even positive effects on “good cholesterol.”

Your digestion is off. 

Digestion can suffer for many reasons, including emotional stress, poor food choices, allergies and intake of food pollutants or bad bacteria. Digestive problems can manifest in a variety of ways that include constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, reflux or the development of leaky gut. Giving your digestive system a break from metabolizing solid foods for a period of time — especially processed foods with synthetic additives that stress the organs — can encourage healing.

+ Read more collaborations with The Chalkboard Mag here

The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. 
All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health related program. 

Eat Pretty: Spring Detox, Week 4

This week, we look at the detox that begins outside your body…

This post comes to you from Jolene Hart.

Over the past three weeks, we’ve explored some of the most effective nutrition and lifestyle shifts that you can make to rev up your body’s natural detoxification during the spring months. This is the key moment of the year to support detox, ensuring that your energy soars, your skin glows, and your body naturally lets go of any winter weight that you’ve been carrying. Spring detox can be an annual ritual that’s refreshing, delicious, and gentle—no stress and no juice cleanse necessary. In case you missed the earlier posts in this series, check out why you’ll want to eat green this season, use hot water for hydration, and pare down some specific foods that make detox more difficult. This week, we look at the detox that begins outside your body—within your daily environment— and can help make your spring detox last all year. The goal, as always, is for you to look and feel your best, from the inside out.

Week 4: Detox Your Environment

Your body is constantly detoxing unfamiliar, unnecessary and unwanted compounds, in the interest of keeping you at your healthiest. But that natural detox process has become increasingly more difficult for our bodies, given the frequency of daily exposure to environmental chemicals, in our beauty products, and our food supply. In the US, about 700 new chemicals are introduced every year, adding to the approximately 84,000 chemicals already in use. It’s become hard to calculate the number to which we are exposed on any given day (that number is likely to be several hundred). This spring, commit to some easy shifts in your routine that will lighten your body’s exposure to unnecessary compounds that could negatively impact your beauty and health. This is where little changes really add up, so it’s just fine to start small.

If you’re wondering where to begin, look first at personal care. Rather than stressing out about the need to go 100% organic overnight, look at the big picture– make sure the top five products you use most often, or over the greatest area of your body, are as safe and natural as possible. Body lotion, deodorant and lipstick are some of the top products I recommend switching first, to cut down unnecessary exposure to hormone-disrupting phthalates and parabens that truly impact our health and hormone balance. Just a note: Free People has a great selection of natural and organic personal care products, from brands like Maya Chia, Zoe Organics and Vapour Organic Beauty.

Beyond your beauty routine, think about the products used in the places you spend most of your time. Are there cleaning products, detergents or room sprays you use at home or in your office? Plastic products or Teflon pans that you use regularly? Walk through your day with fresh eyes, taking note of some of the places you may be able to switch to chemical-free or -reduced alternatives. An easy change with a big impact? Cut synthetic fragrances, which are a source of phthalate exposure, from your home. Skip the scented trash bags and plug-in air fresheners and try an essential oil diffuser instead. To detox your environment even further, bring air-purifying green plants like peace lily, philodendron and ferns inside to clean the air. As well, consider removing your shoes when you enter your home, which can prevent tracking pesticides into your space. The goal isn’t to live a completely chemical-free life; but, a few small changes can make a major difference. You’ll be supporting balanced hormones, radiant skin, energy, good mood and a healthier body with every change you make.

For more spring detox and nutrition inspiration, check out the Eat Pretty book series.

Jolene Hart, CHC, AADP is a Philadelphia-based health coach and founder of Beauty Is Wellness, a natural beauty and health coaching practice. Her coaching and Eat Pretty book series teach women to use nutrition and lifestyle choices to look and feel their best from the inside out. 

Text and recipes ©Jolene Hart. All rights reserved.

Eat Pretty: Spring Detox, Week 3

Continue to further the process by reducing your intake of the foods that either interfere with detox or introduce additional toxins into your body…

This post comes to you from Jolene Hart.

Now that spring’s officially here, it’s time to get your body and skin prepped for sunny days ahead. This is the key moment of the year to support your body’s detox processes, ensuring that your energy soars, your skin glows, and your body naturally lets go of any winter weight that you’ve been carrying. Spring detox can be an annual ritual that’s refreshing and delicious—no juice cleanse necessary.

If you’ve followed along with this series so far, you’ve already added more green foods to your spring meals, and tapped into a powerful detox ritual using hot water. Keep those practices going in the weeks ahead! This week, we look at the foods that can hold you back from detoxing optimally, from pesticide-sprayed produce to foods that contain BPA and sugar. My clients are focusing on these very same spring strategies, so consider this your free health coach check-in, and be sure to check back in the weeks ahead. The goal, as always, is to get you looking and feeling your best this season, from the inside out.

Week 3: Paring Down

Now that you’ve supercharged your spring meals with key foods to support your body’s natural detox pathways, you can continue to further the process by reducing your intake of the foods that either interfere with detox or introduce additional toxins into your body. I don’t recommend that you push yourself toward a strict, complete elimination of these foods, rather that you make a conscious effort to reduce them significantly, using your goal of looking and feeling your best this spring as motivation. At the top of the list of foods to pare down on is sugar, as it creates inflammation in the body, suppresses your immune system (which is working to support you as you detox), and leaves your skin prone to blemishes, redness, and premature wrinkles. Cutting your sugar intake can make dramatic improvements to the way you look and feel this spring and beyond. I recommend that you set a goal to get your sweetness from whole foods (like the recipe below, which uses dried cherries to sweeten) rather than added sugar. Other key foods to avoid as your body detoxes this spring are pesticide-sprayed produce and foods from cans or plastics that contain BPA, both of which introduce additional toxins into your body while you are trying to remove them. Some of the most important foods to buy organic are strawberries, apples, peppers, and spinach, simply because they are sprayed with the highest levels of pesticides.

This week, and throughout the spring, try to reduce sugar, pesticide-sprayed foods, and BPA in your diet, and watch your energy soar and your skin glow as the weeks go by. To read through a more in-depth list of foods to reduce or eliminate this spring, check out the Beauty Betrayers list in Eat Pretty.

Sweet C Bites

These delicious bites conquer sugar cravings with a sweet combination of cherries, chia, and coconut—but no added sweeteners. Chia seeds further your spring detox, while coconut nourishes supple skin. Keep them in the fridge for a perfect spring snack.

Makes 12

Ingredients

Heaping ¼ cup dried cherries (look for unsweetened)

2 tbsp chia seeds

½ cup warm or room temperature water

1 cup unsweetened, finely shredded coconut flakes

½ tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp almond extract

Pinch of unrefined salt

Method

In a small bowl, combine dried cherries, chia seeds and water. Set aside for at least 15 minutes to allow the cherries to soften and the chia seeds to gel.

In a high-powered blender or food processor, blend cherry-chia-water mixture, about one-third of the coconut flakes, vanilla and almond extracts, and a pinch of sea salt, until the mixture comes together and the cherries have broken down into tiny pieces. Return the mixture to the bowl and stir in the remaining coconut flakes. Roll into 1-inch balls and chill until ready to serve.

 

Jolene Hart, CHC, AADP is a Philadelphia-based health coach and founder of Beauty Is Wellness, a natural beauty and health coaching practice. Her coaching and Eat Pretty book series teach women to use nutrition and lifestyle choices to look and feel their best from the inside out. 

Text, images and recipes ©Jolene Hart. All rights reserved.