Potassium-rich coconut water

My favourite hydrating and electrolyte-replenishing drink is definitely coconut water and nothing beats getting it fresh from the beach!

Coconuts are just awesome in general. Apparently, in Sanskrit, coconuts are called kalpa vriksha, meaning “tree which gives all that is necessary for living” (source). I believe it! They offer a full-on combo of nutrients, fats and hydration plus have incredible uses in cooking and for skin care.

Coconut water is a great source of hydration due to its electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals. You might as well call it nature’s sports drink. I like adding it to my smoothies or mixing it with chia seeds along with a squeeze of lemon for an energy boost.

This year, I also discovered eating the coconut “flesh” or “meat” with some lime and spices. Coconut flesh, found on the inside of the coconut, is said to help restore oxidative tissue damage and contains healthy fats, proteins, and various vitamins and minerals (source).

Of course, coconut oil also has amazing health benefits but I’ll save that for another post 😉

M.

 

Rebounding: trampoline for grown-ups

A few years ago, my awesome friend gave me her spare mini-trampoline. I had been hearing a lot about rebounding and its health benefits, and I wanted to give it a shot.

It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with it! These are the main reasons why:

  • It makes me feel like a kid and, according to Harvard, feeling young at heart makes you live longer. Yes, please!
  • When I get stressed and restless, it literally helps me shake off those uncomfortable feelings. It also helps me when I feel in a funk and uninspired.
  • It’s a super easy and low maintenance way to get a bit of cardio in. As you can see, I don’t even bother to change into any fancy workout attire. (Warning: if you wear something on your feet, make sure there’s grip underneath)
  • It’s small, compact and can be stored out of sight. I’ve had exercise bikes in my living room in the past… no more. I just roll this away behind a storage unit.
  • It’s like dancing by yourself but a notch up cardio-wise. Crank some tunes and go crazy. Just make sure your neighbours can’t see you 😉

From a health perspective, rebounding is actually quite impressive. The list goes on but here are some highlights:

  • Boosts lymphatic drainage and immune function
  • Great for skeletal system and increasing bone mass
  • Good for reducing cellulite
  • Helps improve digestion
  • Helps improve balance by stimulating the vestibule in the middle ear
  • Helps improve the effects of other exercise
  • Helps circulate oxygen throughout the body to increase energy
  • Whole body exercise that improves muscle tone throughout the body
  • Some sources claim that the unique motion of rebounding can also help support the thyroid and adrenals.

(Source: adapted from Wellness Mama)

If you can get past the idea of bouncing on a mini-trampoline, I highly recommend you give it a try! The fringe benefits are awesome.

M.

Daily morning detox drink

I am totally a morning person. After 9 pm, and even leading up to that, I literally start shutting down. So the morning is when I try to do most of my work, chores and health-boosting rituals.

One of these rituals is my daily morning detox drink, which includes a pinch of cayenne pepper, the juice of half a lemon and a teaspoon of chlorophyll. Here’s why I chose these ingredients:

  • Cayenne pepper: this kick starts your metabolism and is good for weight loss. It’s also anti-inflammatory and reduces pain. I especially like it for its role in detoxifying.
  • Lemon: this is also a great one for detoxifying and an energy boost. It’s loaded with vitamin C and even has rejuvenating properties (holla!)
  • Chlorophyll: again – more antioxidants and a detox powerhouse. It also helps with alkalinity and deodorizing.

It’s not the tastiest drink but I’ve grown to love it.

Give it a try 😉

M.

Natural nail polish remover

Nail polish remover was one of the last items I replaced as I transitioned towards a chemical-free lifestyle. Honestly, I didn’t think it would be possible to replace this one until I accidentally messed up my manicure with lemongrass essential oil.

Until then, acetone nail polish remover was my go-to.

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Acetone is a super smelly, colourless, volatile and flammable solvent often found in nail polish. It’s actually present in many other household items such as paint remover, detergents and cleaning products.

Although it may be a useful substance, the nasty side of acetone is that it can cause:

  • nose, throat, lung and eye irritation
  • headaches and fatigue
  • light-headedness, dizziness and confusion
  • nausea and vomiting
  • a bunch more unpleasant side effects…

(Source: Tox Town)

These are just some of the reasons I wanted to find an alternative to standard nail polish remover. I researched a variety of different natural options on the Web; however, they never worked well for me. Lemongrass worked amazing.

Caution: lemongrass essential oil is considered a “hot” oil and can cause permanent skin sensitivity. Always do a skin patch test when introducing a new essential oil: for adults, one drop of essential oil in one teaspoon of carrier oil massaged on the inside of the wrist; for children, one drop of essential oil in one tablespoon of carrier oil. Should you experience an adverse reaction such as redness, burning sensation or rash, add more carrier oil to the site and rinse with water.

Once the nail polish is removed, I add myrrh essential oil to my cuticles and carrier oil to my hands to moisturize. At the same time, the carrier oil dilutes any lemongrass essential oil that may end up on your fingers.

Enjoy!

M.

 

Simple pomegranate kitchen hack

Pomegranate season is in full swing and I couldn’t be happier since it’s definitely one of my favourite fruits! It’s also a powerhouse of nutrition – so not a bad favourite fruit to have!

However, I used to hate eating them because it was so hard to get the seeds out and would always make such a HUGE mess! Buying the seed on their own can be overly expensive. Until I discovered this kitchen hack…

(Shameless plug: subscribe to my YouTube channel for more videos like this)

Here are the top 3 reasons I love pomegranates so much (on top of them tasting amazing):

  1. Powerful antioxidant: antioxidants protect your cells and help ward off disease and inflammation. There are actually three different types of polyphenol antioxidants in pomegranates: tannins, anthocyanins and ellagic acid.
  2. Protect your heart: pomegranates can improve blood flow to the heart, support healthy blood pressure levels and prevent damage to your artery walls.
  3. Improve memory: I need all the help I can with this… A study found that pomegranate juice can significantly improve memory and brain function by increasing oxygen-rich blood to the regions of the brain needed during such tasks.

I encourage you to go out and get yourself a pomegranate so you can smash it repeatedly. It’s actually very therapeutic at the same time. Just don’t wear a white shirt while you’re doing this 😉

Enjoy!

M.

Last days of challenge

Pumpkin and bowl of chickpeas
Halloween pumpkin and dried chickpeas from the pantry

These final days of the grocery challenge were quite… well… “challenging”. There were a lot of repeat meals and another supper out at the restaurant (oops). I did not buy any additional groceries and continued to use “existing” and “new” ingredients to fill our plates. However, I found the week to be EXTREMELY stressful.

Grocery shopping is actually one of my favourite things to do. I would rather buy food than any other item – that is always my splurge. So limiting myself at the grocery store and not going back at all during the week made me slightly miserable.

On the bright side, I did learn to make better use of the food I already have. I went to the back of the pantry and found dried legumes I’ve had for way too long and started soaking them. That Halloween pumpkin we have? It’s time to bake something with that!

I also found it stressful to not have as many healthy options in the house. I like to have a large variety of different vegetables, fruits, superfoods, etc. Limiting my groceries also meant limiting the different types of smoothies I could make during the week and I’m getting tired of broccoli as a side dish…

All in all, I discovered I will have to plan MUCH better if I want to succeed at this.

Any tips and tricks?

M.

(PS – I spent $169 on groceries for this coming week and feel soooo much better already!)

 

Challenge day 2 & 3

Triple chocolate cake
Triple chocolate cake

Day 2 of the challenge was a bit of a cheat day… we basically had the same thing as yesterday for breakfast and for lunch. The afternoon and evening was a bit of a disaster from a health perspective. I didn’t mention this earlier but our household can include anywhere from 2 – 5 people at any given time. It just so happened that on day 2 we were five… and I definitely didn’t have enough snacks in the house to satisfy everyone.

So this happened:

snacks on kitchen counter
I’m still having nightmares about this

The family went to the corner store without me and stocked up on missing staples, apparently. Note to self: next week, make sure to buy better snack options!

In the evening, we celebrated a birthday and so we ordered take-out and bought a cake. I unintentionally bought a ton of food so we had some leftovers for lunch on day 3. For breakfast, however, I made my homemade granola. All ingredients were existing except for the cranberries and walnuts, which I bought on Friday.

Day 3 supper

Homemade beef stir-fry consisting of:

  • Ground beef (new)
  • Broccoli (existing)
  • Mushrooms (existing)
  • Rice (leftover from day 2)

Leftover birthday cake

I’m a bit worried about the next few days. I get the feeling I will have to start getting creative tomorrow. Plus, I have to prepare a school lunch and I’m wishing I had a few more items.

Time to rummage through the pantry…

M.