Tag: healthy living

Does the Winter Season Make You Gain Weight?

As the last weeks of fall come to a close, most people are squeezing in as much shopping for the holiday season as they can to avoid the last-minute rushes at their local stores. And. if last weekend was any indication, people are starting earlier this year.

It’s also the start of the holiday season, which means lots of calorie-laden foods, like eggnog, turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and cookies.

For many, this means weight gain.

Many people also start going into hibernation mode come dropping temps.  They eat heavier foods. They gain (more) weight. They cozy up and hunker down.

There are numerous holiday parties that start after Thanksgiving leading up to Christmas.  Work parties, family parties, drinks with your friends, neighborhood potlucks, holiday gift parties.  The list goes on. And just when you think it will slow down, Christmas arrives, leading you into New Year’s Eve, and topping it off with Valentines Day.

Holy more weight gain!  Continuous months of indulging and mindless eating and drinking.

So, how are you going to handle the arrival of winter?

Fear not. Winter is a great time to detox, leading to the lightness of spring.

Remember to get your vitamin D.  The days get their shortest come winter.  Researchers at Aberdeen University found that obese people had 10% less vitamin D than people of average weight. The study also found that excess body fat absorbed vitamin D so the body couldn’t use it. Scientists now believe that there is a direct correlation between obesity and low levels of vitamin D. With that, get out there, even in the cold, and get your sunshine, if only for 10 minutes per day.

Move your booty and continue exercising regularly. It can be as simple as taking a walk out in the snowy terrain.

Sometimes you may not feel like it due to the cold weather, but hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Enjoy winter foods. Move toward the more warming winter foods and also emphasize the more warming spices and seasonings including ginger and peppercorns.

Here is a list of the seasonal foods of winter:

Avocado, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celeriac, Celery, Chicory, Endive, Escarole, Fennel, Grapefruit, Horseradish, Jerusalem Artichoke, Kale, Kiwi, Kohlrabi, Kumquats, Leeks, Lemons, Mandarin Oranges, Onions, Oranges, Parsnips, Pears, Persimmons, Potatoes, Radicchio, Rutabaga, Satsumas, Shallots, Squashes, Sweet Potatoes, Tangerines, Turnips, Winter Squash*

Enjoy them all.  Try new things.  Just remember, don’t let the couch lure you into curling up with the unhealthy comfort foods like creamy soups or mac and cheese.

*These were found using the following link, where you can learn more about seasonal produce:  http://localfoods.about.com/od/whatsinseason/a/WinterFruitVeg.htm

My coconut oil is getting soft again!

There’s more than a hint of spring in the air here!

There are blossoms everywhere and… and my coconut oil is soft again.

So what does that mean? If you use coconut oil, you know exactly what I mean!

Coconut oil hardens up in the cold winter months and softens up when the weather starts to get nice again.

If you haven’t tried coconut oil, I recommend you try it…. sooner than later!

It’s an anti-everything that is good! Anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-fungal, antibacterial and much more.


Extra virgin coconut oil is one of the only oils (besides grapeseed oil) that I use for high heat cooking & baking. I used to use olive oil for cooking, until I found out that olive oil’s “good” monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) break down when heated. The nourishing fatty acids start to oxidize, due to the oil’s instability at high temperatures. However, it still has a healthy place in salad dressings, toppings to healthy dips like hummus, etc.

Coconut oil is the “queen” of oils and has been called one of the most versatile health foods on our planet. Not only is it my favorite cooking oil, but coconut oil uses are quite extensive! As a cooking oil, its chemical structure is kept intact and therefore is resistant to breakdown of fatty acid, even when used in higher cooking temperatures. Research shows that coconut oil boosts the body’s metabolism, raises body temperatures, and helps provide greater energy which can lead to weight loss.

**The coconut tree is considered the “tree of life” in much of Southeast Asia, India, the Philippines, and other tropical locations. And today, there are over 1,500 studies proving the health benefits of coconut oil.


Some of the top coconut oil benefits include:

  • Balances Hormones
  • Kills Candida
  • Improves Digestion
  • Moisturizes Skin
  • Reduces Cellulite
  • Decreases Wrinkles and Age Spots
  • Balances Blood Sugar and Improve Energy
  • Improves Alzheimer’s
  • Increases HDL and Lower LDL Cholesterol
  • Burns Fat

**Source: http://draxe.com/coconut-oil-benefits/

Here are just some of the 100’s of uses for coconut oil

  1. Cooking and baking
  2. Moisturizer for dry skin – face & body
  3. Hair super-conditioner – I use overnight (with a large towel to protect my pillowcase)
  4. Hair gel – I warm a small amount in my hands and use as a hair gel
  5. Add to any foods or drink, for added energy. Add chia seeds for an extra boost of energy.
  6. Replace your dairy creamer for your coffee or tea – in a blender, try adding a spoonful of coconut oil, your hot beverage, a dash of cinnamon, and your favorite natural sweetener. Blend together for a rich creamy treat, without dairy or chemicals.
  7. Many top athletes (and professionals who want to increase energy & performance) have begun to blend their morning coffee with coconut oil and/or grass-fed ghee.
  8. Homemade deodorant – sans chemicals and toxins
  9. Homemade toothpaste or mouthwash – 50/50 coconut oil & baking soda make a great toothpaste or mouthwash – and an added bonus – it whitens too! Add a few drops of food grade peppermint oil for taste.
  10. Sunscreen – it’s a safe alternative to chemical-laden sunscreens. Good to use when you need SFP4.
  11. Shower scrub – mix with sugar for a wonderful scrub in the shower (just be careful as the floor might get slippery)
  12. Rub for a few minutes to reduce the appearance of varicose veins.
  13. Natural Makeup Remover – dab a small amount onto eyes and rub off gently with a warm, wet face cloth.
  14. Lighten your toiletry bag! I have been able to reduce the size of my travel bag by bringing coconut oil as a replacement for my moisturizer, hair conditioner, hair gel, deodorant, toothpaste (I pack a small container of baking soda and I can mix up toothpaste & mouthwash), sunscreen, makeup remover, face cream and makeup remover.

Make this delicious and healthy snack with Superfoods (both coconut oil and cacao):

**Raw Coconut and Cacao Bites

1 cup of shredded coconut
1 cup of almonds
1/2 a dozen (medjool, if you can get them) dates
4 tablespoons of cashew (or almond) butter
2 tablespoons of raw cacao
1 tablespoon of coconut oil

  • Start by putting the almonds and coconut in a food processor and blend for a minute or two, until a flour starts to form. Then add the nut butter, coconut oil and cacao blending for a few seconds before slowly adding in the dates.
  • Continue to blend until everything has been combined together to form a sticky mixture. This mixture can then be rolled into balls and covered in more coconut and left in the fridge to firm up for an hour or alternately you can enjoy it with a spoon straight from a cup, or eat it straight from the blender!
  • **http://deliciouslyella.com/raw-coconut-and-cacao-bites-vegan/

Detox Epsom Salt Bath

Relax in a Detox Bath (1)

A great bath starts with a little preparation. Set the mood and get everything ready before you hop into this luxurious hour of relaxation!

Take all phones out of the room, turn off the TV. Light some candles (I now prefer the ones I can turn on and off), a little relaxing music and the lights dimmed. Lock the door. After all, this is your time!

Invest in a natural bristle body brush. Dry skin brushing unclogs your pores and helps your skin absorb more of the nutrients you’re going to get, in your Epsom salt soak. Brush, starting at your feet and moving in long sweeping motions towards your heart…always brush towards your heart. Brush the entire body, being careful when going over sensitive areas. Rinsing the dead skins off in the shower is best.

Note: Detox baths help pull toxins from your skin, which also means that it can be quite dehydrating, so it is recommended that you drink one full glass of water before your detox bath and bring another large glass of water to the bath with you and drink it during your bath.

Combine ingredients in large pitcher:

2 cups Epsom Salt

1 Cup Baking Soda

8-10 drops of organic lavender essential oil

Pour in 5 cups hot water and stir to dissolve.

Run bath water – the warmest water that you can “comfortably” handle is best because this will draw the toxins out to the surface of your skin. And as the water cools, toxins are pulled into the water.

Epsom salt is actually magnesium sulfate, which help relieve your sore muscles and fight inflammation. According to the Journal of the American College of Nutrition “At least 68% of us are magnesium deficient (most likely more), leading to a host of health problems”.

Magnesium is among the long list of minerals that are lost to modern farming practices – the soil that our grandparents grew their produce in, was full of wonderful nutrients. Not so any more. And, if the nutrients aren’t in the soil, they aren’t in our food. The same applies to our drinking water. Years ago, healthy drinking water came directly from streams, rivers, and lakes, rich in mineral content. This is why Epsom salts soaks are so beneficial to our health, as the minerals absorb readily through the skin – our largest organ.

According to the Epsom Salt Industry Council, “A simple salt soak is beneficial to heart and circulatory health, and can lead to lower blood pressure, helps ease muscle pain and eliminates harmful substances from the body. It also improves nerve function by encouraging proper regulation of electrolytes”.

Baking soda helps to make the bath water alkaline, neutralizes skin acidity and helps aid the elimination of toxins. The baking soda can also help refresh, renew and soften your dry skin.

Lavender helps to calm and relax your mind and body,


Any detox process can create flu-like symptoms like headache or nausea, from toxins exiting your body.

Take another glass of water, lie down in bed for a few minutes after your detox bath because you may feel dizzy, which is common after soaking in hot water, and releasing toxins. Also, it’s so beneficial to not just “jump back into life”, as we are prone to do. Relax and take the rest of the hour you set aside for you. You owe it to yourself!