Juicing vs. Blending

Juices or smoothies? Which one is better? That’s a question we all start to think about once we begin juicing or blending. What we know they have in common is their purpose, which is to detoxify the body and give the digestive system a rest. Also both are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Bellow you’ll find important information about both of them, so you can determine which one is the best for you.

 

FIBER 

  • JUICES have little to no insoluble fiber. During the process of juicing the pulp is separated from the juice, leaving the soluble fiber, which is more easily digested and passed into the bloodstream.

 

  • BLENDERS pulverize the fruits and vegetables as a whole, leaving you with all the fiber. The insoluble fibers found in the smoothies helps slow digestion which means they keep you full longer.

 

NUTRIENTS

Release speed

  • When consuming JUICES the nutrients are released in a much quicker way which could cause your blood sugar levels to rise. That might be helpful before or after exercise to give you a quick boost of energy.

 

  • When consuming SMOOTHIES the nutrients are released in a more slower way because of the insoluble fibers. It can help you keep your blood sugar balanced or curb your appetite between meals.

Absorption

  • When consuming JUICES all the nutrients go directly into the bloodstream because there is no insoluble fiber in them to slow down the absorption process.

 

  • When consuming SMOOTHIES fewer nutrients are absorbed because some of the them attach to the indigestible fiber and are eliminated out of the body.

 

PRODUCE 

  • JUICING requires a larger amount of produce which means juices tend to be more expensive but they can benefit you more because you can pack in more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

 

  • BLENDING has the advantage of using certain produce that can’t be juiced like banana, avocado or figs. And they are more cost-effective because they require less produce.

SUGAR

Sugar is still sugar, even if it comes from fruits!

  • JUICES tend to have more sugar because most of the people chose fruit juices falling into the trap of ” juices are healthy”. Yes they are healthy when you limit the use of fruits and add more vegetables like celery, kale, cucumber.

 

  • SMOOTHIES can be full of sugar as well if you don’t limit the use of fruits. But because the smoothie blends the whole fruit you might use less fruits than you would normally use for juicing which means less sugar per glass.

 

In both cases, JUICING or BLENDING choose high-quality produce. Going organic can be more expensive, but it’s a health investment that pays off long-term.

 

Personally, I have tried both and I do like both. I drink smoothies when I want to achieve a durable satiety. Plus it feels more like a meal for me since I use toppings like almonds, cashews, chia seeds, hemp heart, coconut flakes or fruits. I drink juices when I want to detoxify my body because I feel juices do that to me more than smoothies. Find my favorite smoothie recipes here.

         Take into consideration your personal health goals before deciding whether to juice or blend. You can consume both juices and smoothies depending on your current nutritional needs. They might change from day to day based on how you feel or your activity level.

 

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I hope you find this post helpful; if there are any questions, please feel free to address them below or you can find me on my Instagram, I am always there.

 

LOVE,

R

 


Sweet potato toast with poached egg and mushroom sauté

This happened because I was out of avocados and because I can’t have regular toast since I am following the Whole30 program. I opened my fridge and decided to experiment with whatever ingredients I have ” Ok! Mushroom, arugula, and eggs”, I thought. But on what? All I wanted was my whole grain toast! I’ve seen on Instagram before how some people use sweet potato toast instead of regular toast but honestly, I was always skeptical about it. I have tried lots of  ” uneatable” recipes from the Internet and frankly, some of them turned really bad. But I was hungry and there was no other solution haha so I decided to give it a try!

 

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Ohhhh, man! It is delicious! You need to try this, really! Let go of all your preconceived ideas like ” Sweet potato toast?What?! No. This can’t be yummy!” and try it because it really is yummy.  This approach will benefit you a lot if you apply it in all areas of your life not just with trying a new food or new combinations of ingredients. Whenever you do something you haven’t done before begin with a clear mind, with no expectations so you can have your own true opinion about it and be surprised. After all, what is life without the excitement of not knowing?

 

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Let’s get cooking!

 

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Sweet potato toast with poached egg and mushroom sauté

Ingredients

  • 1 round big sweet potato;
  • a handful of arugula;
  • 3 medium to small mushrooms;
  • 1 egg;
  • salt;
  • black pepper;
  • chili flakes;

Method

Cut the ends of both sides of the sweet potato and slice it into even pieces. Place it on the metal rack in the oven at 350F ( 175C) for 20 minutes. You know they are done when they’re soft but not thoroughly cooked. Meanwhile, slice the mushrooms, heat a little bit of olive oil into a pan and sauté them for 4-5 minutes.

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Meanwhile, boil water in a medium size pot, add salt. In the meantime, slice the mushrooms, heat a little bit of olive oil into a pan and sauté them for 4-5 minutes.

When the water starts boiling crack an egg into the water ( the secret to this is to let the water sizzle; this way the egg white surrounds the egg yolk and transforms it into a poached egg) and leave it for 2-3 minutes. Now, take it out and let it rest for 30 seconds on a napkin.

Take out the sweet potato and let it cool for 5 minutes. Place two of them in the toaster ( I set mine at its highest and they turned out really yum and crunchy) but I think it depends on what toaster you have; The texture I like is crunchy but not burnt.

Place 2 slices of ” toast” on a plate. Add the arugula, put the mushroom sauté on it and finally place the poached egg on top. Add a pinch of salt, a pinch of black pepper and a few chili flakes.

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PS: The remaining sweet potato ” toast” can be stored in the fridge and used for the next day or for other toppings like almond butter with blueberries or bananas. Make sure the ” toasts” are cold when you put them in the fridge because if you do so while still warm they might get mushy.

 

Enjoy!

 

Love,

R


Human Microbiome: what it is and how it works.

 

You may have stumbled upon this word before and if not here it is. I am actually glad somehow you ended up here, reading about it because your Microbiome is very important for your health. I believe everyone ( or at least whoever cares about their health and happiness) should know about it and how it works. There is a ton of research on this topic, as a matter of fact, I once did a paper about it in my fifth year of Medical School. It fascinated me at that time and it fascinates me now.

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The term was coined by Joshua Lederberg in 2001 “microbiome, to signify the ecological community of commensal, symbiotic, and pathogenic microorganisms that literally share our body space”.  Lederberg won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering that bacteria can mate and exchange genes (bacterial conjugation). He also did extensive research in artificial intelligence. So, thank you, Dr. Lederberg!

Now, going back to our main question ” What is The Human Microbiome?”. According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information, ” The human microbiota consists of the 10-100 trillion symbiotic microbial cells harbored by each person, primarily bacteria in the gut; the human microbiome consists of the genes these cells harbor. Microbiome projects worldwide have been launched with the goal of understanding the roles that these symbionts play and their impacts on human health. Just as the question, “what is it to be human?”, has troubled humans from the beginning of recorded history, the question, “what is the human microbiome?” has troubled researchers.”.

Ok, let’s ” translate” this. Many of you might think that bacteria are harmful and that if it enters our body we can get sick or develop diseases. But the truth is that inside of our body there is another ” body” made of trillions of bacteria ( good and bad). The problem arises when there is an imbalance between them, more bad than good. The human microbiome is an integral internal ecosystem. We can think of it as another organ, made of trillions of bacteria, that it’s not just located in one location. Today, microbiome science is playing an important role in fields such as psychology, nutrition, and medicine. Studies show that if you do a fecal transplant ( poop transplant) from someone with normal weight to someone that is obese for example, that person will lose weight. Some support this theory and some don’t. ( read more about it). The concept behind fecal transplants is that, if your microbiome is defective, introducing someone else’s healthy gut bacteria through their poop, will repopulate your gastrointestinal tract with the good one that you’re missing. We can conclude from here that obese people are inclined to have a different composition of gut bacteria compared to lean individuals. Certainly, gut health can impact how your body extracts nutrients from your diet and stores fat.

Humans are born sterile and microbial colonization begins immediately at birth. According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information ” Studies have shown that there are distinct differences in the microbiome profiles of newborns born vaginally compared with those born by cesarean”. Cesarean deliveries and limited breastfeeding have been linked to conditions such as allergies, asthma, allergies, celiac disease, obesity, and Type 1 diabetes. As reported by New York Times ” Recent studies have shown that both a vaginal birth and exclusive breastfeeding can significantly affect the kinds and numbers of their gut microbes and the risk of developing various health problems.”. To reverse the effects of a surgical birth on the baby’s microbiome, some women whose babies are delivered by cesarean are soliciting that medical staff transfer microbes from the mother’s vagina to their infants soon after birth.

I always notice moms who try to protect their kids too much so I feel like I need them to know this. Now, I am not a mother yet so I clearly don’t know how it feels but I can talk from my personal experience as a child who was raised in ” dirt” haha. My mom would let my siblings and I play, get our clothes dirty, sleep next to our dog, lay on the grass, basically do whatever we want in nature. On the other hand, my aunt was always more protective of her child; she would make her wear a baby bonnet even in August. I can never forget how often that child got sick and later on I understood the reason behind this. Her immune system never got the chance to develop properly. So dear moms or future moms, let your child get dirty haha.

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Dr. Ruebush, the “Why Dirt Is Good” author writes “Children raised in an ultraclean environment, are not being exposed to organisms that help them develop appropriate immune regulatory circuits.” . Dr. Weinstock a leading researcher and the director of gastroenterology and hepatology at Tufts Medical Center in Boston said “Children should be allowed to go barefoot in the dirt, play in the dirt, and not have to wash their hands when they come in to eat,”  He and Dr. Elliott, a gastroenterologist and immunologist at the University of Iowa that he conducted the study with, pointed out that children who grow up on farms and are frequently exposed to worms and other organisms from farm animals are much less likely to develop allergies and autoimmune diseases. He adds by saying “let kids have two dogs and a cat,” which will expose them to intestinal worms that can promote a healthy immune system.

 

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The majority of the microbiome exist in the gut so yes, ” You are what you eat!”. Dr. Mark Lyte conducted a study that shows how the bacteria in your gut can influence your mood. Poor gut health can also contribute to autoimmune diseases and disorders like heart disease, arthritis, dementia, Alzheimer’s, depression, anxiety, ADHD, autism, infertility, and cancer, while our health, happiness, fertility, and longevity are influenced by a healthy gut.

 

Functions of good bacteria:

  • Produce vitamins;
  • Digest food and unused nutrients;
  • Balances hormones and lowers inflammation;
  • Strengthens immune function;
  • Protects against overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria and yeast;
  • Balances blood sugar;
  • calms stress and emotional response;
  • helps your brain to function at its maximum potential ( some refer to the microbiome as ” the second brain” );
  • behavioral development;

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What can damage the microbiome?

 

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How to build a better microbiome?

  • Avoid antibiotics, birth control pills, acid blockers, NSAIDs, antibacterial soap;
  • Increase your intake of natural organic food instead of GMOs.
  • Skip the trans fats/hydrogenated fats ( doughnuts, cookies, crackers, muffins, pies, cakes, fried foods);
  • Avoid refined carbohydrates and refined vegetable oils (canola, soybean, corn);
  • Eat more fresh vegetables like beets, carrots, onions, peas, salad greens, squash, sea vegetables, leafy greens.
  • Avoid pasteurized dairy products and conventional meat, eggs, and poultry;
  • Eat more fresh fruits such as apples, blackberries, blueberries, grapefruit, cherries, oranges, pomegranates.
  • Avoid added sugar ( anhydrous dextrose, confectioner’s powdered sugar, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, dextrose, fructose, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), invert sugar, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, maple syrup, molasses, pancake syrup, raw sugar, sucrose, white granulated sugar);
  • Use herbs and spices like turmeric, ginger, basil, oregano, thyme.
  • Drink green tea and organic coffee;
  • Eat probiotic foods: sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt, kombucha, fermented foods like pickles;
  • Take probiotic supplements;
  • Use wild-caught fish instead of farm-raised, pasture raised eggs, grass-fed/pasture raised meat;
  • Healthy fats: coconut oil, organic butter, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, and seeds;
  • Drink red wine!  I am serious. The National Center for Biotechnology Information studied this.
  • Eat dark chocolate.
  • Lower stress by finding methods of relaxation ( walks, yoga, exercise);
  • Exercise more. Jeffrey Woods, a professor of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois conducted a study which revealed that a few weeks of exercise can alter the makeup and function of people’s microbiomes. 

 

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‘‘If you transfer the microbiota from one animal to another, you can transfer the behavior’’ – Mark Lyte PhD, MS, MT(ASCP)

 

There are approximately 22,000 genes in the human gene catalog and 3.3 million non-redundant genes in the human gut microbiome. Without a doubt, the microorganisms present in the human gut are critical for human health. Exactly to what length, how and what areas of human health are influenced by our “friends” is yet to be established.

 

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Haha, with all my love,

R

 

 

 

 

 

 


Apple Toast with Almond butter

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From all meals of the day, I have to say breakfast is my favorite one. It’s my fuel for the entire day so I’ve always given more attention to it. If I don’t eat breakfast, I have a problem with everyone. Whenever that happens ( rarely) I honestly chose not to talk because I know I’ll be mean. Oops!

When I don’t have enough time to prepare breakfast ( mostly during the week) I usually have a whole grain toast with crunchy almond butter/peanut butter, slices of banana and hemp hearts or chia seeds. I tend to get obsessed with anything that has almond/peanut butter so I can eat this toast every single day and still love it.

 

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Like I said in other posts, being on the Whole30 program really inspires me to find foods or solutions to the foods I like but I am not allowed to eat. Therefore, I came up with this apple toast instead of the whole grain one. Delicioussss! More crunchiness! More flavor!

 

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Ingredients:

  • almond butter or peanut butter ( most of them have a huge list of ingredients, so make sure it’s natural by reading the label, it should say roasted almond or peanuts, nothing more);
  • 3 slices of apple;
  • hemp hearts;
  • chia seeds;
  • for fruits, you can use anything, banana, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries. Whatever you like.

 

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Enjoy!

 

Love, 

R

 

 

 

 


Omelette wraps ( perfect breakfast/brunch for Whole30)

I don’t know how is it where you live but here, in Chicago, today is officially the first day of spring, 62F ( 17C). It’s been such a long, cold winter that I almost forgot how summer feels. I am definitely a person that gets affected by the weather; while winter deprives me of all the energy, summer restores it. That said, today I feel awesome, full of energy and ready for new projects, ideas, and experiences. So let’s get started!

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Today I want to present to you my latest discovery, Omelette wraps. I must say, being on the Whole30 program forces me to get creative in the kitchen which I know it may sound weird ( force doesn’t work well with creativity) but believe me when I say it’s the need that gets you to your ” creative cloud”. Because grains are not allowed on the Whole30 which means no wraps/pitas  ( except lettuce wraps or any other vegetable wrap), I thought I could make an egg wrap. The only secret you need to know to get it done perfectly is that you must add water to the egg composition.

 

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Omelette wrap recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs;
  • 1/4 cup water;
  • a handful of spinach;
  • juice of half a lemon;
  • 2 medium raw mushrooms;
  • arugula;
  • 1 medium tomato or 3-4 cherry tomatoes;
  • half a teaspoon chives;
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon of olive oil;
  • green olives;
  • salt, pepper.

 

Method:

Mix the eggs with the water, add salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a medium size pan, add half of the egg mixture and cover on low to medium temperature making sure it’s spread evenly on the bottom of the pan. Cook it for about 5 minutes. You can shake the pan a little bit or grab the omelette from the edges to see if it’s done. Turn it upside down using a plate. Pour the other half into the pan and repeat all the instructions.

After letting it cool down a little bit ( 1-2 minutes) wrap it with whatever you like. I did mine with spinach and mushrooms sprinkled with chives.

For the salad, I mixed spinach with arugula, tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, olives, and salt.

 

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Enjoy!

 

Love,

R


The ” uneatable” truth about some bloggers

        Blogging has become a very popular thing nowadays. Either you are doing it as a hobby, as a job or as a hobby that turned into an income, being a blogger gives you a certain credibility amongst the ” non- bloggers”. Most of the people tend to believe anything they read/see on the internet, thinking that ” If it’s here then it must be true!”. Especially when they see words like ” recent studies”, ” study”, etc.  But really, if there is no link attached to it, proving that there is actually a study about it, you should think twice before believing it. You can also ask the blogger that’s writing about it or try and find the study by yourself and see if it exists. Don’t just believe it because, without any doubt, social media/blogs/websites are influencing what we eat, what clothes we wear and eventually who we are as human beings so make sure you are following genuine people that tell the truth.

 There is nothing bad about this naivety, we are all in the same boat. We don’t know until we know. I used to believe everything that was shared on social media or what I read on certain websites until I really looked into an article and found out that the study implied was actually an invented lie. Yes! People do that! I was once talking to my dad about a new diet he was following at that time. I asked him how did he found out about it, he said he found it on the internet ” recommended by the best cardiologist in the world”. Now, this might be true, but I strongly doubt it. The diet was very poor and lacking in lots of nutrients.

Today, you can find all kinds of websites with all kinds of people writing about all kinds of things. You can learn about almost anything from all the sources out there if first, you make sure they are the good ones. I am talking about it because I am mad and I want others to know that they can’t really trust everyone out there, even if that website looks credible ( professional photos, great writing, lots of followers, etc. ).

Don’t just believe it because, without any doubt, social media/blogs/websites are influencing what we eat and eventually who we are as human beings so make sure you are following genuine people that tell the truth. 

My last conversation with a dear colleague from elementary school that offered to help me with my website ( how nice is that huh)  inspired me to write this post. Somewhere in the mid of our conversation, I told her about my recent experience with a recipe I had tried, from a very ” professional”  popular ” healthy eating” website. I am not going to give it to you because I just learned that if I do that it will benefit them and that is the last thing I want. The recipe is ” raspberry chia seed pudding”. Now, I have been seeing this recipe everywhere but never tried it so I thought since I am doing the Whole30 program ( a program for deconstructing unhealthy habits, find more about it) I can try something new that fits the diet I am following. The recipe is pretty simple, blend coconut milk with raspberries, add the chia seeds and leave it in the fridge overnight. So that’s exactly what I did! Nevertheless, on the website I took the recipe from, the photos are so amazing you can literally swear you can eat chia seed pudding forever every single day and not get bored. Too bad, photos are not real life. The taste of it was awful, actually uneatable and it’s not the first time this happens to me with these so-called “delicious recipes”; what they should really name them is ” beautiful recipes” because they really look better than they taste.

Not every ” recipe developer” out there tastes its own food.

I am not saying chia seed pudding is bad, I am just saying this one was bad and that not every ” recipe developer” out there tastes its own food. Also, the real problem is that there are people out there who will try it and then decide that ” healthy eating” tastes bad which is so wrong. Healthy eating is delicious, don’t give up on it because of some people that misguide and trick you. I will definitely try to make a chia pudding again and share with you my results.

Healthy eating is delicious

I hope you find this post helpful; if there are any questions, please feel free to address them below or you can find me on my Instagram, I am always there.

Love,

R


5 fruits that promote weight loss

 

 

           Most of us know that fruits are high in sugar so we tend to avoid them when we want to lose some extra pounds we gained during the cold season. What most of us don’t know is that fruits are also high in nutrients that our body needs in order to function at its maximum potential. Plus fruits are so delicious! So can we eat fruits and lose weight? Well, it turns out there are some fruits that actually promote fat burn. Sounds interesting, right?

 

  • GRAPEFRUIT

I remember my dad, who is a doctor and a diet/healthy eating/gym addict, how he used to buy huge boxes of grapefruit and drink its juice with lemons every day after work out. That was until he would read about another super fruit or some other doctor would tell him about ” the most healthy soup ever”. Haha, I guess I got this ” health craziness” from him. Anyways, according to Dr. Axe, the reason grapefruit is a fruit that burns fat ” may be an enzyme called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which appears to be activated by an organic compound in grapefruit called nootkatone. When AMPK gets activated, it encourages the body’s energy-producing processes, like glucose uptake, for example, which helps boost metabolism. That, in turn, can encourage weight loss.”

It also contains naringenin, an antioxidant that helps your body use insulin more efficiently, keeping your blood sugar in check and improving calorie burn by preventing carbohydrate absorption from the intestines. Many people refer to this super fruit as the ” cure” for obesity.

It’s a cellulite killer too! A study from Japan done by Shiseido Co. demonstrates that grapefruit oil attenuates adipogenesis in cultures subcutaneous adipocytes, in other words, it slows down the formation of fat cells ( find the study here). You can make yourself a grapefruit cream at home by mixing a few drops of grapefruit oil with coconut oil ( find the recipe here). I’ll definitely try it and share with you my results in another blog post.

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  • BERRIES

Besides their beautiful color and delicious taste, berries have a lot more to offer. Studies show that a diet rich in blueberries can help you lose abdominal weight and lower cholesterol levels, according to WebMD.

Another study, performed by the Department of Nutrition at Havard T H Chan School of Public Health found that consuming fruits can prevent weight gain due to flavonoids,  organic compounds naturally found in fruits. “Our results suggest that choosing high flavonoid fruits and vegetables, such as apples, pears, berries, and peppers, may help with weight control ” says Monica Bertoia, Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health.

To test out their flavonoids theory, researchers followed almost 125,000 people between the ages of 27 and 65 for more than 25 years. They looked at participants’ diets, lifestyle habits and of course, weight.

The study revealed that high levels of anthocyanins, flavonoid polymers and flavonols (which are found in blueberries, strawberries, apples, and pears) had the greatest impact on weight loss. ( find out more about it here and here).

 

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  • WATERMELON

A bite of watermelon has almost 90% water and a two-cup serving gives has 1 gram of fiber, which slows digestion and keeps you feeling full longer. According to NBC, a new study in the Journal of Nutrition found that the amino acid arginine, which is abundant in watermelon, might promote weight loss. ” Researchers supplemented the diets of obese mice with arginine over 3 months and found that it decreased body-fat gains by a whopping 64 percent. Adding this amino acid to the diet enhanced the oxidation of fat and glucose and increased lean muscle, which burns more calories than fat does.”

Watermelon is the Lycopene Leader among fresh fruits and vegetables. What is Lycopene? A carotenoid that is responsible for the bright red color of the watermelon. But not just that. In addition to that, lycopene is also a very powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants benefit the body by neutralizing and removing the free radicals from the bloodstream.

 

  • PEACHES

Due to their phenolic compounds that are known to have anti-obesity, anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory properties, peaches are great for preventing weight gain. A large fresh peach provides 2.5 grams of dietary fiber and has 87% water, which helps you feel full so you eat less.

 

  • PLUMS

Like all of the fruits above, plums are too low in energy density but high in nutrient density. The secret of plums is anthocyanin, an antioxidant that gives this fruit its remarkable blue-purplish color, which has been associated with being protective against cardiovascular disease. Research shows that it can help with losing weight.

Plums can also be consumed as prunes ( dried fruit). Consumption of dried fruit is not recommended for weight loss but according to ScienceDaily ” Eating prunes as part of a weight control diet can improve weight loss, research shows. A study by the University’s Institute of Psychology, Health and Society of 100 overweight and obese low fiber consumers tested whether eating prunes as part of a weight loss diet helped or hindered weight control over a 12-week period.” ( read the article here) .

As you can see, there is enough evidence that proves consuming fruits not only prevents weight gain but also promote weight loss. Therefore, fruit intake should be part of a healthy balanced diet.

 

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I hope you find this post helpful and if there are any questions, please feel free to address them below or you can find me on my Instagram, I am always there.

 

Enjoy your Saturday

Love,

 


The benefits of drinking warm water with lemon juice on an empty stomach

      I open my eyes but can’t see anything. Oh, I have a pillow on my face. I gently take it away and turn to my right. Noor’s not there which reminds me that it’s Thursday. Yes, I have days when I wake up and can’t remember what day it is. Probably because I dream too much at night; sometimes it feels like I live another life during the night.

         I open the curtains and am reminded of in a second that spring’s not here yet. It’s April and outside it’s snowing. I love when it snows but not when it snows in April. To me, these two words really don’t match. April and snow. So I decide, if spring is not coming, to bring it into my home. I turn on the music, something that includes words like sun, breeze, sand, and ocean. Flowers? I already got some tulips and every time I look at them, they whisper ” sunshine” to me. The only thing that still reminds me of winter is my UGG Scuffette Shearling Slide Slippers. They are too fluffy, I can’t give up on them. 

          I stretch my back and look at myself in the mirror a little bit. My skin and hair are dry. Again, I blame the weather and plan to take a coconut oil bath today. I head to the kitchen and take out my new favorite baby pink mug. Turn on the kettle and head to the bathroom. There is nothing like cold water on my face in the morning. Literally wakes me up! I clean my face with Acne Solution Cleansing Gel and apply my new favorite cream from Clinique ( Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel) and Dr. Babor Dual Eye Solution. For my lips, I use a natural cream made from Calendula plant, called ” crema de galbenele” in Romanian. 

 

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           I go back to the kitchen and start preparing my warm water & lemon drink. I pour 4 cups of warm water, squeeze a lemon and add a slice of it in my mug. Hmmm. . . smells so refreshing. I move towards the carpet where I do a five minutes Child Pose stretching until my drink cools down a bit. It’s Instagram & e-mails time now so I grab my phone and start exploring my virtual world. Check what’ s new and good, read a few articles that I share on my Facebook or Linkedin. Like this one that I really enjoyed reading today or this one.

 

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         Now let’s talk about warm water & lemon and its benefits. I have heard of this before but never done it. Why? Because we hear/read so many things every day, every minute. Information is literally “attacking” us in a way or another from everywhere. Eventually, it becomes overwhelming and we end up applying none of them. You see a post or a video, you read/watch it, plan to start doing it but then you don’t. That’s why I believe it’s good to take things slowly and do things one step at a time. It’s easy to get caught in this fast superficial world but I always try to remind myself these three words ” Slowly but surely”. It helps, it really does.

        Before I started my research about ” why warm water & lemon is beneficial”, I decided to try it and feel if it brings any good changes to me. I have been drinking it for almost 10 days now and I can already see some great results. 

  • My digestion has improved;
  • Cravings stopped even though I am before my period and usually during this time I want to eat mountains of chocolate and ice cream;
  • I feel that my creative channel has opened more. The thing is I didn’t change anything else so I can clearly observe if the changes that are occurring are because of this;
  • I don’t get that hungry anymore throughout the day; 
  • I developed a new healthy habit. The Child Pose stretch. I thought of doing something that relaxes me while I wait for my brew to cool down. Now, I can’t imagine having warm water & lemon without doing my stretch first;
  • My facial skin has improved.

 

Now, these are facts that I have been experiencing. Let’s see what the Internet & the Science is saying.

 

The benefits of drinking WARM WATER with LEMON JUICE

 

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  • Lemons have the highest concentration of citrate;

Citrate attaches to calcium in the urine, preventing the formation of mineral crystals that can develop into kidney stones. Consuming dilute lemon juice daily has been shown to decrease the rate of stone formation.

  • Lemons contain hesperidin;

A flavonoid that is also referred to as vitamin P, which can reduce symptoms of hypertension, protect your body from conditions like heart disease, and cancer. Even though it’s also called vitamin P, theoretically it’s not. It’s not naturally secreted in the body, you can only get it through foods or synthetic supplements.

  • Lemons contain pectin and limonoid compounds;

Pectin is a fiber and limonoids are antioxidants which are responsible for the tartness and occasional bitterness of the lemon. They can slow atherosclerosis ( hardening of the arteries) and decrease the ” unhealthy” cholesterol in the blood, LDL. Limonoids also promote weight loss.

  • Lemons are a natural diuretic;

They can help reduce swelling, inflammation, and water retention ( edema).

  • Lemons have antibacterial properties;

They flush out the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections and according to Google ” experiments have found that the juice of lemons destroys the bacteria of malaria, cholera, diphtheria, typhoid and other deadly diseases.”. Also, it can help with halitosis ( bad breath) caused by bacteria that build up in the mouth. 

  • Lemons have anti-cancer properties;

In a study in Saudi Arabia, lemon in extract form also showed promise as a treatment for breast cancer patients. The study ” concluded that LE extract can induce the apoptosis of MCF-7 breast cancer cells”. Find the study here.

  • Relieves indigestion;

Although lemon juice is acidic, when you combine it with water at the right temperature it helps cleanse your body of toxins and balance your pH. Mixed with hot water, lemon juice can relieve nausea, heartburn, bloating, gas, and stomach aches. 

  • Support the immune system;

When you’re stressed your vitamin levels drop dramatically, making you more likely to become sick. To avoid this, there’s no better prevention than to drink a cup of warm water and lemon juice every morning. I also mixed it with honey and ginger when I feel like a cold is trying to get to me.

  • Great for your facial skin;

Why? Because lemon juice contains alpha hydroxy acid. Alpha hydroxy acid can remove dull skin cells and generate new ones, working as a type of exfoliant. This acid is used in peels and skincare products. The vitamin C in lemons can also work together to lighten skin.

  • Prevents constipation;

Drinking warm or hot water can help improve intestinal movements to fight constipation.

 

As you can see there are lots of benefits ( some supported by science) associated with drinking warm water and lemon juice first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach. The secret is to use fresh lemon juice, not bottled so that the nutrients will stay active. 

 

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  After getting my Instagram ” dose” haha, I head towards the window and realize that it’s not snowing anymore. I move closer to get some light from the few rays of sunshine that are hiding between the clouds and wait for my babe to get home so we can have lunch together while I sip on this lemonish warm water.

       I hope you enjoyed this blog post and if there are any questions, please feel free to address them below or you can find me on my Instagram, I am always there haha. 

 

Love,

R

 


Whole30 – Part One –

 

Whole30? What is that? 

        Just like its name says ” Whole30″ it’s a commitment to healthy eating for a Whole month (30 days) that will break all your unhealthy habits. If you type Whole30 on Google you’ll find their website ( go to the website here ) which will explain in details what is this all about. ” Founded by Melissa Hartwig (and Dallas Hartwig) in April 2009, the Whole30® is designed to change your life in 30 days. Think of it as a short-term nutrition reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.” – http://www.whole30.com.

They claim that participants document the improvement or “cure” of lifestyle-related diseases and conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, asthma, allergies, sinus infections, skin conditions,infertility, migraines, depression, bipolar disorder, heartburn, GERD, arthritis, joint pain, ADD, thyroid dysfunction, chronic fatigue, Celiac disease ,diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, etc.  They say that and I quote ” more than 95% of participants lose weight and improve their body composition, without counting or restricting calories.”

 

What are the rules?  

 

  • NO sugar;

Real or artificial, including honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, coconut sugar, date syrup, stevia, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, etc. Also be careful and read labels because companies sneak sugar into some products.

  • NO alcohol;

Not even for cooking and not even a glass of wine.

  • NO grains;

Including wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, and all gluten-free pseudo-cereals like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat.

  • NO legumes;

Beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas ( hummus I’ll miss you), lentils ( lentil soup addict), and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. ( I thought ” Nooo! I love peanut butter. But then I remembered there is almond butter. Yuhuu! ). Plus all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).

  • NO dairy;

Oh, this one is hard. No cheese ( I love cheese, I think I am addicted). No milk ( I missed it a lot in my coffee until I discovered coconut milk. Yummy!). No ice cream with dairy. No yogurt.

  • NO carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites. 

What is carrageenan? According to Google ” Carrageenans or carrageenins are a family of linear sulfated polysaccharides that are extracted from red edible seaweeds. They are widely used in the food industry, for their gelling, thickening, and stabilizing properties.” Even though it’s derived from a natural source ( seaweed), it appears to be destructive to the digestive system. It provokes an immune response similar to that your body has when invaded by pathogens.

What is MSG? According to this article ” Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer commonly added to Chinese food, canned vegetables, soups and processed meats. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified MSG as a food ingredient that’s generally recognized as safe, but its use remains controversial. For this reason, when MSG is added to food, the FDA requires that it be listed on the label.” The reactions include symptoms such as headaches, flushing, sweating, facial pressure or tightness, numbness, tingling or burning in the face, neck and other areas, rapid, fluttering heartbeats (heart palpitations), chest pain, etc.

What are sulfites? Sulfites are preservatives and antioxidants. They’re used to keep dried fruit like apricots from turning brown and to prevent unwanted bacteria from spoiling the wine. Sulfites can cause diarrhea, low blood pressure, abdominal pain and itchy skin. However, you have to be sensitive to sulfites to see these reactions.

According to the Whole30 website ” If these ingredients appear in any form on the label of your processed food or beverage, it’s out for the Whole30.”

  • No junk foods, or treats with “approved” ingredients.

” A pancake is still a pancake, even if it is made with coconut flour.” – www.whole30.com

  • No stepping on the scale and No body measurements the entire month.

 

Ok,I got it. No everything. Now, what CAN I EAT?

 

Well, you can basically eat everything else.

  • Vegetables;
  • Fruits;
  • Organic and grass-fed beef;
  • Organic chicken and pork;
  • Seafood;
  • Eggs;
  • Nuts and seeds ( except peanuts);
  • Oils such as olive and coconut oil;
  • Coffee;
  • Homemade everything such as dressings, sauces, ketchup, mayo;
  • Smoothies; ( Find recipes here ).
  • Coconut and almond milk.

As you can see there are plenty of things to eat, actually there are more ” YES” than “NO’s” so prepare yourself mentally because that’s your only barrier. I came to this conclusion when I did a detox for 5 days. The only thing I ate was ” juices”. Every two hours I would drink one ( mostly vegetables). By the second day, I realized that it’s not hunger that I am feeling, it’s craving. My body was being fed but my mind was the one used to chewing and feeling the food in the mouth. By the fifth day, I felt awesome. Therefore my advice to you is to start this ( if you want to) with an open mind and no expectations. Just let your body be surprised and amazed, you just watch and see how this experiment goes with a clear mind.

You can embark on this adventure with me as I am going to start on Monday ( April 9th). I will be posting about it on my Instagram so make sure you follow me. I will also create an Instagram group for us where we can talk about it, share recipes and everything else that we will be experiencing during these 30 days. There are a lot of Instagram pages that offer Whole30 recipes. We have a lot of places to get inspiration from. Also on Whole30  website, you will find packages where they offer meal plans. They vary from 30$ to 99$. Check it out.

 

Love,

R

 

 

 


The easiest best chicken soup ever!

Fatigue, loss of smell, a runny nose, chills… sounds familiar?  I am sure it does. We all went through these symptoms when we were kids and to some of us, it’s still happening from time to time.

But why? There are many factors to consider, such as poor immune system, smoking, age ( young children) or exposure ( work, school, malls). But sometimes even when we stay away from cigarettes, crowds and consume foods that strengthen our immune system we still get it. Over-the-counter famous Advil becomes our friend ( or enemy) while our body is desperately trying to fight the infection. But what most of us don’t know is that Advil could be more of an enemy than a friend and it shouldn’t be our first choice. First of all, if we take it every time our body gets an infection ” our soldiers” ( the white cells) who are responsible for protecting us might get lazy or simply ” forget” how to fight. Second of all, research clearly states that in time it might affect our health; ” Research links this class of drugs, also known as NSAIDs, to an increase in stomach problems, ulcers, kidney failure, heart attacks, and stroke. According to experts, the truth about anti-inflammatory drugs is that when used properly, they are generally safe — but you should avoid them if you can.” ( find more about it, here).

So what should be our first choice? It might sound crazy to many of you but the answer is The famous ” Grandma’s chicken soup” also known as ” Mom’s chicken soup”. CNN talks about it in one of their posts called ” Does chicken soup really help fight a cold? ” – ” Researchers specifically studied the movement of neutrophils — a type of white blood cell — when combined with soup. They found that the movement of neutrophils was reduced in the presence of soup, suggesting a possible anti-inflammatory mechanism that could at least theoretically alleviate cold symptoms.” ( find more about it, here). I have read lots of opinions about this famous soup and found that some think it’s actually grandma’s loving and caring that heals. Some others think it’s because of its nutrients and others say it’s just a placebo effect. New York Times wrote about it too in 2007 in a post entitled ”  The Science of Chicken Soup” ( read more about it, here). As you can see this soup is really popular.

That said, next time you find yourself under the wheater have a cup of this mysterious, salty, nurturing, warm chicken soup.

RECIPE

Prep time: 10 minutes;

Cook time: 25 minutes;

Total time: 35 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken breast cut into small cubes;
  • 4-5 cups of chicken stock/broth;
  • 1/3 cup of rice;
  • 2 carrots peeled and cut into small cubes;
  • 1 celery stalk thinly sliced;
  • 1 medium onion minced;
  • half a cup minced celery root;
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped parsley;
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter;
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil;
  • salt, pepper;

Melt the butter in the vegetable oil. Add the chicken and cook it until slightly brown ( 5 minutes). Set aside.

Bring stock/broth to a boil; add chicken, carrots, celery, onions, the celery root, parsley, and rice. Season with salt and pepper. Let it simmer on low temperature for 20 minutes.

That’s it! Really! It’s the easiest healthiest most tasteful soup ever. I hope you enjoy it!

LOVE,

R