Spirulina

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What is Spirulina?

Spirulina is a blue-green “algae” (cyanbacteria) that is a complete powerhouse of nutrients. This is an ancient freshwater algae that has been living on this Earth from the beginning of time. Though it seems as if it is a ‘newer’ superfood, it has actually been consumed for centuries by humans for its nutrient rich healing properties. Spirulina grows naturally in lakes, rivers and ponds; originating from tropical climates such as Mexico and Hawaii. 

Benefits:

  1. Nutrient Powerhouse:
        • Protein: As with the rise in popularity of plant based diets, this algae has become a very popular food choice for its high protein content. With about 60% of each serving being a complete protein, it is the highest source of plant based protein in existence. Often times with other plant based sources of protein such as beans, nuts, and seeds, they will have to be paired with another food to attain all amino acids to be a complete protein. But spirulina is already a complete protein by itself, serving as the most effective plant based source of protein. This plant based protein is also very easily digested and absorbed by the human body. 
        • Iron: Meat is a very commonly known source of iron for many. But for those looking for a plant based source, look no further. Spirulina provides you with roughly 11% of your daily need in just one tablespoon. Spirulina is also a very bio
        • Calcium: Compared to milk, there is over twenty-six times more calcium in one serving on spirulina. 
  1. Decrease Anxiety and Depression: 
        • The elements of Spirulina are known to help balance the brain chemistry, promote better brain functioning and prevent depression. One amino acid found in spirulina, tryptophan, is essential in the body’s process of producing serotonin. Serotonin is the happy chemical in the brain that elevates mood and alleviates depression. Tryptophan can also help the body get a better nights sleep. 
  1. 3. A Powerful Antioxidant: 
        • Oxidative stress is known to cause free radicals in the body, which are extremely detrimental to ones health. One side effect of free radicals is a chronic inflammation, which then leads to a variety of chronic diseases and physical ailments. Spirulina has a very large concentration of antioxidants, which fight free radicals. The main active component is phycocyanin, which also gives Spirulina that blue-green color. Phycocyanin is the power behind Spirulina’s amazing free radical fighting properties, lowering ones overall risk for chronic disease. 
  1. Helps Rid of Heavy Metals:
        • Spirulina is known to bind to heavy metals in the body and flush them out of the system. Seeing as Spirulina is very high in chlorophyll, which is a nutrient that helps remove toxins from the bloodstream and helps to give the immune system a boost as well.
  1. Extreme Immune Boost:
        • Spirulina is rich with beta-carotene and phycocyanins, which are plant pigments that act as very effective boosts to the immune system. The phycocyanin specifically helps fight the damage to cells that would have otherwise caused disease in the body. 

How to consume:

There are a number of ways to consume spirulina, but my personal preference is capsule. Some refer to the taste of spirulina as ‘nutty’ and love to sprinkle it over a salad. Personally I think it tastes extremely fishy and the flavor isn’t necessarily to my liking. So I prefer to take capsules, just purely to avoid the taste. But if the taste doesn’t bother you, spirulina can be mixed in a smoothie, juice or just a glass of water. Your method of consumption is based on personal preference, one way is not better than another.

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One single tablespoon (roughly 7 grams) of Spirulina powder contains:

      • Calories: 20
      • Protein: 4 grams
      • Vitamin B1 (thiamine): 11% of the USDA’s recommended daily allowance
      • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 15% of the RDA
      • Vitamin B3 (niacin): 4% of the RDA
      • Copper: 21% of the RDA 
      • Iron: 11% of the RDA
      • Also containing significant amounts of calcium, 

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Canna-Cacao Doughnut Holes

Canna-Cacao Doughnut Holes

This recipe blends two of my favorite plants in the whole world, Cacao and Cannabis. Cacao offers natural anti-depressant properties, is a high source of antioxidants, highest plant-based source of iron, and is an intense heart-opener. And for all of those (like me) suffering from food allergies, this recipe is 100% gluten free and vegan. It is quite simple to make and has even simpler ingredients. ENJOY!

Ingredients

1 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup cacao powder
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup canna-coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

Directions:

With these you have quite a few options, I found this recipe originally as a doughnut recipe, I tweaked a few of the ingredients to make it gluten and dairy free and also changed the size because cupcakes are so much more fun. But the size and shape of the end product is based on what tools you have on hand.
For the doughnut holes: I used mini cupcake pan or add some more buckwheat flower until the consistency is think enough to hold shape and spoon into little balls and place on a cookie sheet. Cook at about 350 for 8-10 minutes. Checking after the first 5 minutes because they will cook fast.

For muffins: Place the batter into a muffin pan and cook at 350 for 12-15 minutes, again checking often to ensure they don’t burn.

For Doughnuts: you can use a doughnut pan or thicken the batter and shape the doughnuts yourself, cooking at 350 for about 10 minutes.

*The recipe for canna-coconut oil can be found here!*

PB Choco Bliss Balls ft Canna-coconut oil

So these date balls have been quite popular lately and it is super easy, super quick, store great, super healthy, and they are delicious. So I thought I would make them just a little better, add a little cannabis! So in the coconut oil, I just replaced it with some canna-coconut oil, and Voilà a beautifully nutrient dense edible!

Please enjoy  responsibly 🙂

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PB Choco Bliss Balls ft Mary Jane

Ball:

  • 20 Medium- pitted dates
  • 1/4 c coconut flour 
  • 1/4 oat flour 
  • 2 tablespoons flax meal
  • 1/4 c some kind of CREAMY nut or seed butter 
  • 1/4 c Canna-Coconut Oil
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • Coating:

Coating:

  • 1 c Dried coconut shreds- 

 

Procedure:

 1. Put everything in a food processor and process until a dough is formed and all ingredients thoroughly mixed. But do not over mix, it will turn into a paste. If you find it too paste-like, just add a little bit more almond/coconut flour, until desired consistency!

2. Take a spoonful of processed mixture, form into a ball shape and roll that into a bowl with coconut shreds until fully coated.

3. Place in fridge for 30 min

4. ENJOY!

 

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Why Dry Brushing Should be Added to Your Daily Routine

A Brief History

Beauty rituals have been used for centuries by men and women of ancient civilizations to keep their appearance in tip top shape. One very common ritual is that of dry brushing. Being used throughout many ancient civilizations such as Egypt, India (very prominent in Ayurveda), Greece and Rome as well as its use in traditional Chinese and Japanese rituals bathing rituals. Dry Brushing is another one of those ‘new fads’ that have actually been around and being used for centuries.

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What is Dry Brushing?

Dry brushing is actually very simple, easy and exactly what it sounds like. You brush the skin in a particular pattern to obtain a number of amazing benefits.

How/When to:

  1. Starting at the feet and brushing upwards, brushing towards the heart as you make your way up the body.
  2. Using long and light, yet brisk strokes along the skin.
  3. On the stomach brush in a clockwise circular motion
  4. When you reach your upper body, start at the hands and brush inward toward the heart. Women avoid the breast area.
  5. When you reach the neck, start at the back and bring the strokes to the front.
  6. Avoiding the face as the brush can be a little too rough for the skin on your face.

Keeping in mind to dry brush before a shower to exfoliate and increase the blood circulation while keeping the moisture, the hot water from the shower can often dehydrate the skin. Also dry brushing exfoliates the skin, so brushing prior to showering allows you to wash off all the dead and dry skin.

Benefits

Our skin is our largest organ, which means it is soooooo important to take care of it. We try to eat a healthy diet and participate in activities that keep our other organs happy, why not do the same for the skin. Dry brushing is used to stimulate the skin and exfoliate. Which clears the pores of the skin, allowing them to perspire freely. When we perspire we rid the body of toxins and waste, it is a very effective way to detox the body. But without the ability to perspire freely, our pores will get clogged and then the waste/toxins build up causing issues with the skin and then the body and other organs that also participate in elimination have to work twice as hard or the waste just stays in the body, causing a whole other bunch of issues. Brushing also helps stimulate the oil glands which are located in the second layer of skin. The oil is brought to the surface and helps keep the skin moisturized and increases the elasticity. Brushing is also known to help improve blood circulation, aids in balancing fat distribution, and increases nerve function through out the whole organ.

“Hello Dry Brush, Goodbye Cellulite”

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External Benefits

· Exfoliates and eliminates dead skin cells
· Works to tighten skin (which yes reduces appearance of cellulite)
· Helps to more evenly distribute fat deposits
· Allows for better absorption of products you use on skin
· Stimulates oil glands, smoothing and softening skin

Internal Benefits

· Stimulates elimination of cellular waste
· Helps with lymphatic drainage
· Improves circulation
· Increases metabolism
· Stimulates nerve endings which Rejuvenates the nervous system
· Aids in the body’s natural detoxification process

 

Who is Dry Brushing for?

Dry Brushing can be used by anyone who wants to improve overall wellness. But it is especially great for those with cellulite and water retention. So this is a great practice for those who easily retain water, after a flight, or a long day of standing. Personally I use dry brushing to exfoliate my skin and to give it a natural glow. This is a practice you have to do consistently to get the full range go benefits, but if you only have time to add this in a few days a week you will still gain what it has to offer. I have been dry brushing almost everyday for a few months and have noticed a drastic difference in my skin’s moisture levels. Since dry brushing I have had to use less external products (oils and lotions) to moisturize my skin because it seems to have a increased natural moisture about it. So long story, dry brushing can benefit everyone, whether you are an avid brusher or you get around to it every once in a while.

Things to Aware of

You should avoid brushing any area with skin wounds, cuts or rashes. As well as completely avoiding the facial area, if you are looking for something to exfoliate the face I would suggest something a lot easier on the skin because a dry brush can be very tough. As well as if you are battling any kind of other condition, it is important to talk to your health care provider before adding something new into your routine.

 

Adaptogens: What the heck are they?!

What is an Adaptogen?

Adaptogens may seem like they are just the ‘next big fad’, but actually they have been around for quite some time. Used for centuries in ancient Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine as well as the term ‘adaptogen’ was coined by the Soviet Union’s ministry of health in 1947. Adaptogens were used in traditional medicines to enhance the body’s natural ability to acclimate to both external stress (toxins, pollution) and internal stress (loss of sleep, anxiety, depression).

Adaptogens and Stress

The word adaptogen refers to a class of herbs and mushrooms that protect your body from the side effects of stress, which is arguably one of the worst epidemics this world has seen. Stress can be compared to invisible mold in the body, when the body is stressed it enters fight or flight mode. Which releases chemicals into the body to elevate the heart rate and prepare the body for the stress it thinks it is about to endure. Stress was a great tool a long time ago, when it helped your body react quickly in dangerous situation; such as getting chased by a wild animal. But now in the world we live in today most of our stress comes from our environment, illness, working out, money, relationships, aka rarely are our stressors a life or death situation. The body cannot differentiate between the types of stress, it thinks any kind of ‘stress’ is life or death. So the body will send out the same response if you were to get attacked by a bear or getting audited. And in today’s world people are constantly stressed, which means their body is always living in that fight or flight mode. Having extremely terrible long term effects; GI issues, headaches,  change in sex drive, premature aging (yes, stress causes wrinkles!!), sleep issues, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, depression, restlessness, short temper, addiction problems, social withdrawal- the list could go on forever.

Adaptogens offer heavy duty support for your body during times of stress, yet are also great to take every day due to their preventative properties. The more you add these adaptogens to your diet, the better equipped your body will be to deal with stress, say if you were to get sick or find yourself in an extremely stressful situation. Adaptogens help by bringing your body back into a state of balance, homeostasis is such a powerful tool in preserving your health.

What counts as an Adaptogen?

They must be non-toxic to the body’s physiological functions, offer widespread support, and help bring the body back to equilibrium. Only when they incorporate all three of those properties, they are an adaptogen. There are a lot of herbs that have some adaptogenic properties, for example tumeric works on reducing inflammation, which it does have some properties of an adaptogen yet its not their primary effect.

There are some that stimulate the body, increasing mental performance, and aiding in physical endurance.  Such as Asian ginseng, eleuthero (or Siberian ginseng), rhodiola rosea, and maca powder.

There are also others that help calm the body and adrenals when the body is under large amounts of stress, like reishi, ashwagandha and holy basil.

As well as there are adaptogens with immune boosting properties such as Astragalus and Chaga.

How/when to take them

Adaptogens come in many forms, vitamin like pills, tinctures, and powders. There is no particularly ‘right way’ to take them. It is more of a personal preference, some of them don’t have the best taste (ashwagandha), so mixing it with other things that have a strong flavor to mask the ashwagandha. Common ways consumed are in smoothies, teas, juices, yogurt, really if you can hide them anywhere in your daily meals I would. Adding to the morning coffee is also a popular way to consume!

How often you should take them is something you and your health care provider can talk about. Many take them every day- depending on what they might be feeling that day and/or if the body needs a little boost consumption twice a day is also safe. But as with starting any new health care routine- check with your doctor first!

Also something to be aware of is that this is not an overnight cure to the toxic effects of stress, adaptogens are extremely powerful but slow-acting. So be patient, some effects might take up to a few weeks to notice a difference.

Do you need them?

Adaptogens aren’t there to cure a one specific ailment, they work on the bodies overall wellness. Helping to bring the body back into a balanced state so that the body can optimally heal itself. For example, the herbs that help with mental abilities, don’t just cure anxiety- they will improve over all cognitive functioning. So with that being said, if you are willing to be patient and looking for overall wellness then yes adaptogens are for you!