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Does Epsom Salt Work?

salt

You’ve likely seen bags and containers galore in stores and boutiques, have had someone tell you that to soak in a bath with epsom salt when your body is feeling sore or achy. But do they actually work?

The Claim

Add 1-2 cups of epsom salt to your bath to relieve muscle aches and pains, medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and even the cold or flu. If you exercise and work your body physically, that can also lead to muscle soreness, which epsom salts can help with or even used as a compress.

What is Epsom Salt?

Epsom salt is mainly made up of magnesium, a mineral that the body needs and, unlike other minerals, is absorbed through the skin as you soak in the bath. After doing a little research I learned that epsom salt was originally made by boiling down mineral waters in Epsom, England – who knew right?!

The mineral helps relax skeletal muscles by flushing lactic acid buildup in the muscles, which may occur during a vigorous workout for example. Other facts you may not know: Magnesium also plays an important role in the absorption of vitamins in the body and it also helps regulate muscle and nerve function. All of these effects significantly influence muscle soreness, which also affects muscle stiffness which is where epsom salt comes into play.

So, Does it Work?

Well it seems that is up for debate unfortunately. Some authors and health and wellness writers state that there is no scientific proof that epsom salt is beneficially, and that often time, soaking in a bath of hot water is enough to help soothe your muscles.

Others tend to think, that yes, the claims of the body absorbing the minerals does in fact work and that it can help ease the muscles.

What say you? Have you had any good, bad or non results after using Epsom salt?

Blog

Self Spring Cleaning

cleaning

Spring is upon us, and while it’s great to get your house all cleaned up after the fall and winter, what about SELF spring cleaning!? Getting yourself ready for the upcoming spring and summer seasons!

I am not crazy, it is so important to spend some time on YOU and get ready to transition into the new seasons after winter!

Here are some ways to do a little self spring cleaning!

Purge Your Clothes

Time to make room for your spring and summer wardrobes in your closet and dressers! If you find that you have clothes that you haven’t worn very much over the winter months, think about purging them completely rather than packing them away for next year. So if you haven’t worn something or if you have clothes that don’t make you feel your absolute best – ditch ‘em!

That could mean donating to a local charity that accepts clothings, posting for sale or contributing to a clothing swap. Whichever you choose, having clothes in your possession that you don’t love, doesn’t add to the good vibes that you want to surround you!

Refresh Your Closet

Once you have gone through and purged your fall and winter clothes, it’s time to restock your closet with spring and summer clothes. So if you have them in storage, pull them out, give them a wash so their fresh and add them into your closet.

Maybe you need to pick a few new items up to add to your wardrobe. This is also a good time to try things on to be sure that they still work for you!

Stock Up on Beauty Products

With the warmer temps comes showing off more skin! So be sure that you are prepared with making sure your beauty products are up to date!

This may look like:

  • purchasing new razors
  • new lotions
  • checking sunscreen expirations and replacing
  • going through your make up and throwing out old products and replenishing them

Clean Out the Kitchen

Did you buy some products in the winter that you didn’t use? Good to check expiry dates in the cupboards and clean out the fridge to be sure that everything in there is fresh and ready to embark on a new season of foods. There are so many fresh fruits and veggies that will be coming into season, make room for them!

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Sandals will soon be all the rage and exposing those toes! Splurge on a good pedicure to make sure that your tootsies are in tip top shape!

What are some other things that you do to get yourself ready for spring and summer?

Blog Nutrition

5 Herbs to Start Growing in the Spring

basil

Spring is just around the corner! To me, Spring makes me think of new growth! Grass getting greener, flowers starting to bloom and getting back into gardening and using fresh ingredients in our meals!

One way to incorporate gardening, blooming and fresh ingredients is by starting to grow your own herbs! Herbs are one of the few plants that don’t take up a lot of space to grow and can be so impactful in your meals! While dried herbs are great and still do the trick, there is nothing quite like having fresh ones that you can pick from daily!

Here are 5 herb staples that you can start growing today easily!

herbsBasil

Basil is one of the most popular kitchen herbs around the world! Known to be a part of many recipes, it is great to serve as a main ingredient with tomatoes and cheeses too. So easy to maintain and transplantable if you would like in the summer! Basil tops my list!

Chives

Chives are similar in taste to garlic and onion. I don’t think that there is an easier herb to grow than chives, and it has a pretty purple flower that sprouts too! Add chives to potatoes dishes, in salads and even to top your popcorn! So versatile!

Cilantro

Not only is cilantro great to serve with meats, in salsas and as a garnish for soups; cilantro is an herb that aids with digestion and relieves inflammation that may cause gastric problems.

While cilantro isn’t as easy as some herbs to grow, it it worth it!

Oregano

While oregano is a main staple in many Greek dishes, did you know that it also has medicinal properties making it so good for you?

Oil from oregano leaves have been used for respiratory illnesses and colds, digestive upset, and muscle aches to name a few.  Another bonus to having oregano around: it’s a natural insect repellant. So it is a good thing to have in your gardens if you live rurally!

Parsley

Parsley, probably the best known herb right? Parsley can be used to help bad breath and amp up your immune system, as well as compliment soups, salads and makes a great garnish for practically any dish! So versatile and something that is a must in your herb garden!

There are so many other herbs that I could have mentioned, like mint, rosemary, sage…the list goes on! Start off by trying out some of the herbs that you use a lot dried, and attempt to grow fresh ones to use instead!

There are great planters that you can buy to keep indoors always, or move outside when it’s warmer; or start a little greenhouse now and transplant outside when the weather is warm. If you’re new to gardening, herbs are a great place to start!

Have you grown herbs before? What tips or tricks would you have for someone starting out?

Blog Nutrition Recipes

Recipe: Coconut Oil Blueberry Scones with Rosemary

Scone laid out
I have been craving something sweet and savory and the perfect thing came to mind . . . Scones!
 
Scones are the perfect breakfast treat or afternoon snack with your tea. There are so many varieties out there and with blueberries coming back into season, I began my search for the best recipe to be able to incorporate them.
 
This week I am featuring Dana Shultz who is the brains and beauty behind The Minimalist Baker. With all of her recipes, she creates them to be less than 30 minutes to prepare and 10 ingredients or less!
Scone mise en place
 
Scone misxed
 
Scone shaped

Coconut Oil Blueberry Scones with Rosemary
Serves 6
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Prep Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 flax egg (1 Tbsp (7 g) flaxseed meal + 2 ½ Tbsp (37 ml) water)
  2. 3/4 cup (180 ml) unsweetened plain almond milk
  3. 3/4 cup (90 g) spelt flour (or sub more all purpose)
  4. 1 1/4 cups (170 g) unbleached all purpose flour
  5. 1 Tbsp (7 g) baking powder
  6. 1/4 cup (50 g) organic cane sugar, plus more for topping
  7. 1/2 tsp sea salt
  8. 1 Tbsp (3 g) fresh rosemary (stems removed), roughly chopped (organic when possible)
  9. 6 Tbsp (90 g) room temperature coconut oil (scoopable, not liquid or frozen* | or vegan butter)
  10. 1/3 cup (60 g) frozen wild blueberries (organic when possible)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or leave bare).
  2. Prepare flax egg in a small mixing bowl, then add almond milk.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine spelt flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, organic cane sugar, salt, and rosemary. Whisk to combine.
  4. Add room temperature coconut oil and use a pastry cutter (or fork) to cut it into the mixture until only small bits remain.
  5. Whisk the flax-almond milk mixture once more and add to the dry ingredients a little at a time while stirring with a wooden spoon. Add blueberries and gently stir once more to incorporate.
  6. Gently transfer to a floured surface and use your hands to form it into a disc about 1 inch in height. Use a large knife to cut the circle into 6 even wedges (or 8 for smaller scones). Then use a floured spatula to transfer the scones to the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with a bit more cane sugar.
  7. Bake for 22-27 min, or until fluffy and light golden brown on the edges. Let cool slightly before enjoying.
  8. Best when fresh. Once completely cooled, store leftovers at room temperature in a well-sealed container for up to 3 days. Freezer for longer term storage. These are delicious plain, but would also be delicious heated with a bit of vegan butter.
Notes
  1. Make sure your coconut oil is scoopable (in the state it typically is when you buy it at the store), not liquid. If it's too liquidy and pourable, this will negatively affect the scones. To fix, set jar in refrigerator to firm up for 30 minutes, then stir and let rest another 30 minutes at room temperature. The oil should be consistently solid, not partially solid and partially liquid. Repeat this process (of chilling, stirring, resting), until the right texture is achieved (see photo of spoon with oil). This is key to ensuring the scones' texture is just right and dough is easy to work with. (For best and most consistent results, be sure to store your coconut oil in a cool, dark place to keep it at the right texture/consistency.)
  2. *Recipe loosely adapted from Alton Brown. Inspired by the rosemary blueberry scones at Sea Level in Cannon Beach, OR.
Adapted from Alton Brown
Adapted from Alton Brown
The Young & The Healthy http://www.theyoungandthehealthy.com/
Photos and recipe courtesy of The Minimalist Baker. Please do not use without giving her credit. 

Follow her on Instagram @minimalistbaker. Find more mouth watering recipes on her site here

Let us know below how you liked the recipe. I would love to hear from you!
Blog

Lotion is About More Than Just Your Skin!

lotion

We’ve talked over the past couple of weeks about staying hydrated – easy tips to drink more water as well as how your body is dehydrating while you sleep. So while water keeps your body hydrated, do you find that your skin is still dry?

Putting on lotion may seem to be the practical answer, but there are more reasons to take the time to lotion up than the obvious!

Self Love

We’re all busy, right? So by taking time once or twice per day to apply lotion to our bodies, it is slowing us down and showing ourselves some much needed self love. Bet you never thought of it like that, did you?

So as you are adding moisture back into your skin, you are also showing your body how much you care for it and taking time to just do something for you!

Massage Makes Us Feel Good

Massaging our bodies, even doing it ourselves, relieves tension. So take your time, and lovingly apply your creams and lotions and come away feeling better.

Makes Scents 😉

There is a plethora of different scents on the market when it comes to creams and lotions. Choose one you LOVE and you may find yourself wanting to take the time to apply it daily.

Another option is to get a few different scents – one to relieve stress, one with lavender maybe to help bring on sleep, a tropical scent that can take you away from the cold, snowy winters, etc. Not to mention you’ll smell great, while keeping your skin moisturized.

Do I have you thinking now about your skin routine? Choosing and applying moisturizers and lotions is definitely more than just about dry skin, don’t you agree?

Blog Nutrition Recipes

Fresh Take on Pizza!

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I hope you all are having a fabulous week!
 
This week we have guest blogger, Jasmine John aka fitfedandhealthy!

Thank you again for your interest and sharing my page with others who are passionate about learning more about health and fitness thru a plant-based diet!
 
As a flexible dieter, I’m always experimenting with ways I can reconfigure my favorite foods into workable meals that suit my nutritional needs as well as my fitness goals. This is also one of the things that has allowed me to stay committed to a vegan diet; I eat what I like so long as I can hit all my macro-nutrient goals for the day, get all the vitamins and fiber my body needs and avoid consuming animal products. This has forced me to really get creative in my kitchen, but it also has given me something to look forward to. I can always find a way to still enjoy the foods I’ve always loved in a much more balanced and healthier way and because of that, there is nothing I miss from my omnivorous past life.
 
Pizza has long been one of my ALL time favorites and I found the perfect solution to what used to be a very heavy, glutenous meal in my tortilla pizzas. These are quick and easy to make with endless possibilities as to what flavors you can create and the toppings you choose! 
 
I’ve made them with an Indian flair before using hummus instead of vegan cheese, Mexican pizza that was something like nachos by the slice, and more traditional versions using meatless substitutes like Soyrizo or Beyond Meat’s beefy crumble. 
 
However, they all begin and end the same; with a tortilla – I prefer gluten-free ones. Lightly toast the tortilla(s) on a baking sheet in your broiler or toaster oven. Then top at will and place back into the oven for just a couple minutes to warm thru, or get all nice and melted if you’re using a dairy-free cheese replacement such as Daiya or Follow Your Heart. 

2016-02-21 19.46.46

I use a variety of ready-made sauces just depending on what I’m going for – BBQ, teriyaki, pesto, whatever.

Sometimes I like to change things up and use hummus instead of cheese which still lends to the texture and helps all your toppings adhere. Which can be any combo of veggies, beans if you avoid faux meats, or fun stuff like eggplant bacon.

2016-02-21 19.46.31a

If you want to add fresh greens, do so at the end after the pizza is done crisping in the oven. These are great for lunch, movie nights, or when you just really want to indulge without blowing your diet.  They are ready to eat before the delivery man can get to your doorstep! 

Thanks again!
Jasmine

Let us know what you think in the comments below! You can follow Jasmine on Instagram @fitfedandhealthy
Blog Nutrition

What’s For Dinner? Meal Planning Makes it Easy!

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Do you meal plan? Not necessarily meal prep, but meal plan?

What is the difference you ask?

When you are meal prepping, it may involve cutting up vegetables or fruit for your meals for your week; cooking your protein ahead; preparing sauces; putting together meals to pull out and re-heat; or putting meals in containers for easy grab and go access.

Meal planning is less time consuming, but super helpful! It is also a good first step to move towards meal prep. 😉

I find that meal prepping has so many advantages!

Saves You Time

When you have a busy week, you already know what you’re having. Instead of standing in front of the fridge or freezer, wondering what you will make for lunch or dinner, you already know!

Saves You Money

hand-859522_960_720More often than not, if you are planning your meals for the week, you will only have to buy what you need to prepare the meals you planned. So instead of grazing the grocery store aisles, putting items in your cart that you may make that week, you’ll know that the items you are buying will get used. It also helps prevent fresh produce from going unused and end up going bad since you didn’t eat it like you thought you might have.

Keeps Your Healthy Eating on Track

If you can take a little time each week and plan your meals, you can choose healthier options. Once you’ve bought the groceries, you are all set. Knowing what you will eat each day, makes it easier to stay on track as you don’t have to play the “what to make” game, and maybe opt for quicker, less healthy meals!

You Can Try New Recipes

Add one or two new recipes in each week! It’s a great way to try new foods and gather new recipes to add to your collection!

A good plan is to do your meal planning on a Friday night. If you have a whiteboard and erasable marker, you can use that to write down what you’ll be having for the next week. Grab your recipe books or go to your fave recipe sites, and add them to the days of the week. While you go, add any groceries items to your list that you’ll need. Then on the weekend, you can get your groceries for the week!

It doesn’t have to be a Friday night, but the day or night before you go grocery shopping is always a good idea!

I’d love to know, do you meal plan? What do you like about it? Let me know in the comments below!

Blog Nutrition Recipes

Recipe: Steamed Purple Sweet Potatoes

Purple Sweet Potato
This week we have guest blogger Ryza Jake and their Steamed Purple Sweet Potatoes.

Sweet potatoes are an absolute staple in my household as well as in the meal planning with my clients. They are high in vitamin A, vitamin C and manganese along with being a good source of copper, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium and iron. Sweet potatoes are known to improve blood sugar regulation and some studies have discovered significant antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Purple sweet potatoes are especially prized with high antioxidant levels.
 
The antioxidant known as anthocyanin is the pigment which is responsible for the brilliant purple color of the flesh. It is the same pigment that gives blueberries, red grapes and red cabbage their color. Blueberries are well known for their high antioxidant levels, however, the purple sweet potato actually has 150 percent more antioxidants than blueberries. Antioxidants help to guard against cardiovascular disease and cancer.
 
I always recommend antioxidant rich food with each meal so why not give this dish a try and give your tastebuds a treat!
Steamed Purple Sweet Potatoes
An antioxidant rich food with each meal so why not give this dish a try and give your tastebuds a treat!
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Ingredients
  1. 3 Purple Sweet Potatoes
Topping 1
  1. 6 Pitted Black Olives, sliced
  2. 1 Red Chili, diced
  3. 1 Green Chili, diced
  4. 2 Tbsp Sweet Relish
  5. 2 Tbsp Tahini Paste
  6. Hot Water
  7. Black Pepper to taste
  8. Salt to taste
Topping 2
  1. 1 1/2 Tbsp Walnuts, crushed
  2. 1 1/2 Tbsp Peanut Butter
  3. 2 1/2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  4. Cinnamon to taste
Instructions
  1. Steam sweet potatoes until fork tender. Once done, leave to cool slightly then slice in half, lengthwise.
Topping 1
  1. 2a. To make the tahini sauce, add a tiny bit of hot water to the tahini paste & mix. Repeat until the desired consistency is achieved.
  2. 3a. Season the sauce with salt & pepper to your liking.
  3. 4a. Top half of the sweet potatoes with the sweet relish, black olives & fresh chilies.
  4. 5a. Drizzle generously with the tahini sauce.
Topping 2
  1. 2b. Drizzle half of the sweet potatoes with maple syrup.
  2. 2c. Sprinkle with crushed walnuts & cinnamon powder.
  3. 3d. Drizzle generously with peanut butter.
The Young & The Healthy http://www.theyoungandthehealthy.com/
Let us know what you think in the comments below and don’t forget to follow Ryza Jake here! 

Periscope, Snapchat & Twitter: @RyzaJake
Tumblr & IG: @theveganmumnson
 
Purple Sweet Potato Facts courtesy of Down to Earth 
Blog Nutrition Recipes

Recipe: Black Bean Brownies

File Feb 15, 4 43 44 PM

Many of you have asked for my go-to dessert recipe and this is it!

These Black Bean Brownies are rich, creamy and packed full of protein with just a hint of peppermint. One bite and it just melts in your mouth. Make sure to make extra as these will go fast!

Black Bean Brownies
Serves 12
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Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. -15 ounces black beans
  2. -2 faux eggs(use vegan egg or Ener G)
  3. -1/4 cup cacao powder
  4. -2/3 cup agave nectar
  5. -1/3 cup coconut oil
  6. -1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  7. -3/4 cup chocolate chips divided
  8. -4 drops essential oil
  9. -Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place all ingredients except chocolate chips into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Pour batter into a large bowl and stir in 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
  4. Pour into a greased 8x8 inch pan and top with the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips.
  5. Bake for 30 to 35 mins or until a toothpick in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Let cool and cut into pieces. Store in the fridge and Enjoy!!
The Young & The Healthy http://www.theyoungandthehealthy.com/
 Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Blog Nutrition

You’re Dehydrating Yourself as You Sleep!

sleep

Last week I talked about tips to keep you hydrated throughout the day and to up your water intake (you can read the post here!), one of the tips I gave was to have a glass first thing in the morning. Since writing that post, I have read so many things that further to validate my thinking that I thought were interesting and wanted to share with you all!

Let’s say that you you sleep for approximately 8 hour each night. During those 8 hours, did you know that your body is becoming dehydrated!?

While you sleep, your body slowly becomes dehydrated because it needs fluid to operate. Naturally, you don’t drink water while you sleep because, well, you’re sleeping! So even if you wake up and don’t feel thirsty, your body needs this replenishment.

water 2The human body is made up of 70% water, and it only makes sense then that water plays an important role in the proper functioning of your body. When we say that drinking water as soon as you wake up gets your body going, it is literally true!

When you think about it, the human brain contains roughly 85% of water; 75% of muscles is water; bones also contain about 25% water and 82% of blood consists of water…so when you have a glass or two in the morning, you are re-hydrating your WHOLE body and kicking it into gear for the day! Who knew!?

It is well known that water helps your body flush out toxins. So naturally, getting fluids into your body right after your wake up will help your body flush out toxins first thing in the morning. The Japanese actually believe water can be used to treat various conditions completely.

Other benefits of drinking a glass or two of water each morning as soon as you wake up and before you eat breakfast include: healthier, clearer skin; boost your metabolism and help you lose weight; and start your body off on a healthy diet for the day.

So while it may not be something that you are currently doing, you can easily add this into your schedule. While some recommend as much as 5-6 glasses of water first thing in the morning, I say start slow and to your own liking. Have a glass when you wake up and build upon that every day!

Do you drink water as soon as you wake up? If so, do you notice any differences from the days where you may not drink water as soon as you wake up? I’d love to hear how it works for you, in the comments below!