Orange is the New White: 3 Reasons the Turmeric Challenge is Worth It

Over the last ten years, interest in homeopathic, naturopathic, alternative and natural health has completely skyrocketed. I believe this is all for a very good reason —

We’re not recovering anymore. Our society is ridden with chronic ailments that are passed from generation to generation, and we’re tired of it.

That being said, a need for chemical-free, naturally occurring sources of vitality are becoming more valuable. Considering that alternative medicine usage among Americans in all adult age groups hover around 33%, there’s room to grow in such a beneficial resource. I believe the most important time to introduce alternative and holistic health practices is in childhood. Remember: this form of wellness is best introduced as a preventative lifestyle practice. If you think about it, the accumulation of our childhood exposure to the world manifests within our adult bodies. Why not take care of it from the very start?

All of this brings me to the reason for this post. Let’s say you’re new to this whole floofy-doofy health thing. You could be skeptical of how it truly works, or if it actually benefits you. Let’s start with something that over 80% of Americans want — white teeth.
It’s a fantastic change to your entire well being. When we interact with each other, a person with white teeth will appear more healthy and attractive than someone with stained chompers.  It’s no wonder we’re all shelling out cash for whiter teeth. Before you portion out $20 for your next drugstore fix (or worse yet, $200 for a dental whitening), let me convince you to take the holistic road to get to your destination.

The average person swallows 25% of the chemicals stuffed into teeth whitening products and trays, which contain harmful substances you would never think of eating normally. Coal tar and benzene, which are known to lead to lymphomas when inhaled (think of what ingesting them will do), are in whitening products. We can’t forget to mention that the use of teeth whiteners means a heightened tooth sensitivity to hot and cold, which is never a sign of a strong and healthy smile.
The cost of whiter teeth with chemicals can mean a lessened quality of life later down the road.

turmeric

If you’re looking for the 3 reasons this challenge is worth it already, thank you and I’m excited to bring you on board with me! This challenge will give you a naturally brighter and whiter smile without any harmful side effects or causing any foreign materials to be absorbed into your blood stream. This bright orange powder can lift stains and strengthen teeth in ways you may have never known!

This blog lays out the steps beautifully for anyone interested in trying this.
I’m going to try 1/2 tablespoon of turmeric with drops of water until it becomes a paste, and one drop of peppermint oil to give that zing of flavor and cooling effect that’s reminiscent of toothpaste. It’s not needed, nor is it necessary.

Turmeric is the star in this challenge, and here are the reasons that this challenge is worth trying today:

Anti-Inflammatory Heaven

Turmeric is highly anti-inflammatory for the body, and it is also an antioxidant warrior. The compounds within the herb fight inflammation in the body, which is believed to be the source of all chronic diseases. By introducing turmeric into your life, your body can only boost its natural stress fighting resources. Talk about a double whammy.

Banish the Blues

Did you know that this herb has been proven to be as effective as Prozac in treating depression? Believe it! The tiny serving of one gram a day fared exactly as a dosage  of Prozac did in this study. While you’re getting your pearly whites, you can boost your mood even more!

Free Yourself

This last, and frankly most important, reason is not backed by science or proven in a laboratory under strict conditions. It is, however, a source of true freedom for you. Imagine a life where you’re not dictated by schedules and regimes of when you wake up, when you sleep, and which colored pills to take at which times. Imagine feeling a sense of relief instead of dread when you’re reaching for the NSAIDs or allergy medication.
Close your eyes. When you open them, you can be there. In an instant.
I truly believe that it takes small steps to accomplish any goal you set. By starting with small adjustments, like this turmeric whitener, you can gain the momentum to make more small changes until you free yourself from the pains of stress and weight of bad health.

In the inspiration of positive and healthy lifestyles, who’s doing this challenge with me?

Orange is the New White: 3 Reasons the Turmeric Challenge is Worth It

New Year’s Resolutions

Last year I posted about resolutions in 2013 based on sun sign in astrology — how accurate were those themes for you throughout the past 12 months? I know mine was pretty spot on.

It’s time to revisit the 2013 version of, “What is your New Year’s resolution for 2014?” This year, I’m taking a different approach by consolidating the entire entry for each sign into one sentence. Straight to the point, no fluff or confusing fuzzy language. But don’t worry! Here’s the original article if you’d like all the nitty-gritty tid bits as well.

Here we have it — New Year’s resolutions per astrological sun sign for the upcoming 2014 year:

Aries: Stop fueling your anger and scaring everyone else away from you, or else you’ll lose any cultivated stability you have now.

Taurus: Relationships are serious business and your face needs to stop showing it; release your soft-hearted side with friends and romantic company.

Gemini: For the love of God, be modest with your finances, re-invest in your friends (if you still can), and gain financial independence from others.

Cancer: You’re worth anything you can dream of and the key to success lies in being vulnerable and open, so drop the hard shell off your back and embrace life.

Leo: Exhausted from using all your energy toward others, resolve to take care of you and make a solid decision about moving your (and no one else’s) life forward.

Virgo: Sometimes our inner circle of friends needs re-evaluating and it’s more than vital for you to assess who’s really out to nourish, or deplete, you.

Libra: Your home life is going to get a shake up and you may wish to make newer, but more improved, changes to the way you’re living.

Scorpio: Pay attention to your body’s messages, because it is important you respond to them and center your emotional body as well.

Sagittarius: You are valuable and it’s time to embrace what you bring to your relationships to prevent being taken advantage of any longer.

Capricorn: Breathe; okay, relax and accept that what makes the world beautiful are not the decisions we make but how we react to what’s around us — you may want to try yoga this year.

Aquarius: There’s a lot of repressed emotion within you, so deal with them in a healthy way to stop burning yourself (and your energy levels) out.

Pisces: Finances are your friend, so try an investment in the people you can connect with in order to grow within your career and support the life you’re living.

Are these resolutions resonating with you? Are they completely off track? Either way, here’s to a happy and fulfilling new year for all of us! 2014, here we come!

New Year’s Resolutions

Do Attractive People Have Advantages That Others Don’t?

jumping_joy

I urge you to read and integrate this question into your mind as a serious consideration of your thoughts and decisions. Do attractive people have advantages that others don’t? Is it true that those who have genetically superior traits can more easily escape a speeding ticket than a disheveled, aged old woman with a broken nose? Even if they both have the same intent — “I’m sorry officer, I’m trying to get to my daughter at the hospital–” would they treat both of them fairly?

Statistics, unsurprisingly, state this is not the case at all. In fact, our sexy, young and hip woman would easily escape the ticket without even a plea of consideration to her circumstance. Every day there are examples of the more attractive counterpart being superior: job interviews, dating, and income all correlate with beauty levels. This is tragic, but it remains to be our natural reaction to a person’s features.

How does science play a role in determining this advantageous act? Many of us assume that a more attractive person is healthier than a less attractive person. And for the most part, this is true. Global signs of beauty, like shiny hair and symmetrical features, are physical manifestations of a healthy body.

Did you know that by wearing a little defining eyeliner and a highlighting powder, you can persuade that cop to let you go with a warning? In research, those who appear more beautiful tend to have traits correlating with intelligence and social skills. In turn, this allows the beauty to get ahead with their physicality and their words.

Did you know that your boss and higher ups actually can contribute to the company’s success? Executives that were rated more beautiful tended to see rising value and profits in their respective companies. We like to support those who are beautiful — or so it seems.

Harvard University also conducted a study to determine how everyone else perceives an attractive person. Overall, if you are attractive, most people will assume that you are trustworthy and amicable.
What I’d like to ask in return is, “are attractive people more trustworthy and likable because you want to associate with them? Are you giving them that power through your own vulnerabilities?”

 

I personally believe that all people are attractive; more than just their physical manifestation. Humans, as a race, are sturdy and intelligent. They are witty, creative, and able to move in ways no other species can move. They discover. Humans have emotions that we understand and can communicate. They carry others through the world with their boundless support and love. Humans grow from infants, to children, to adults, and to an elderly human full of wisdom and experience to share with others.
Humans are attractive in that their gift of life is an unending story that takes you on a journey to appreciate, learn, and take on new perspectives about your own life’s journey. We have a spirit, and every day our spirits collide with other people’s spirits to laugh and connect with love.

So, yes. Physically attractive people do receive more advantages than less attractive people. But I dare you to ask yourself and others around you,
“Can you see the beauty in every person that walks by?”

Do Attractive People Have Advantages That Others Don’t?

Low Carb, Gluten Free Infinity Muffins

Long time no see, foodie bloggers and foodie browsers!
It’s been a very extended break (unintentional) from this blog. I don’t really mind– it’s mostly been spent working, studying in school, and reading other food blogs.

We have to get inspiration from somewhere, right?

Black bean as a brownie, cake batter as a milkshake (don’t forget it’s vegan!), and low carb cookies made out of coconuts?! The world, seriously, is evolving into a bakery and I’m kind of liking what I see.
So long as the ingredients are thoughtfully sourced, ethically made, and organically treated though.

Which brings us to today:
I’ll be honest; eating out and eating pre-made foods has pretty much been a staple in my diet since said break from blog. Kind of depressing. My stevia didn’t even see the light in the kitchen, only to be used when I felt like making a muffin in the microwave. Or a single-person batch of fiber cookies.

Baking became my necessary — in order to get fiber in for the day. Not because I wanted to.
WHAT?! But I was still concocting fun and exciting flavors in my head. Raspberry pistachio mousse, basil orange scones, chocolate ancho chile cookies! For crying out loud!

But let’s cut to the chase here. As appetizing as these recipes sound, I don’t quite have the time yet (or the money) to make them.
Also, a rather big note, pretty much all recipes from here on out will be LOW-CARB and maybe even sometimes KETOGENIC.
This means low in carbohydrate (but not fiber), and high in fat (but not artery-clogging).

Since the start of 2013, I’ve been toying with the idea of going vegetarian (and -gasp- even VEGAN) because most of the time, being low-carb means your only option at restaurants is a bun-less turkey burger (I don’t eat much beef), or some other meat-laden dish. No problem, but the source of the meat is what spooks me. Who knows what factory farm their piggies and chicks came from?!

All considerations aside, we can now properly introduce today’s sparkling, illuminated, brand-new all original RECIPE!

It’s a BASIC recipe but can be modified hundreds of ways.
Especially if you aren’t low-carb, adding fruit (dried or fresh) would seriously up the wow factor on these slam-dunk snacks.

I stuck with a basic vanilla-cinnamon theme. These tasty morsels work great for mid-day munches, teamed up with some ice cream or yogurt for a healthy dessert, and even as a savory dinner item (minus the vanilla of course).

This recipe makes 4 muffins. I usually only need 4 at a time. Double it for friends or family. They’ll be asking for it.

InfiniteMuffin1

Infinity Muffins (Low carb, sugar free, dairy-free options)

Serves 4

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup flax meal
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 5 scoops Trader Joe’s Organic Stevia (or about 1/3 cup erythritol, xylitol, Splenda)
  • 3 T Just Like Sugar (Most Whole Foods carry it)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Wet ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 3 T egg whites (alternately, another egg)
  • 2 T greek yogurt (or pumpkin for dairy-free)
  • 1/2 tsp Penzey’s Double Vanilla (or 1 tsp any vanilla extract)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Here is where it gets fun: Add in another extract, such as lemon, maple, or almond for a kick.

Combine the wet into the dry ingredients, whisking as you hear the sweet, sweet sound of baking soda and apple cider vinegar combining. This is what will give your muffins RISE!
Pour into muffin tin and bake for 15-17 minutes. Mine took about 18 minutes for a nice crunchy, slightly toasted top (how I like it).

For a savory muffin, leave out the stevia and vanilla. Opt for spices like rosemary, thyme, tarragon, or basil. Add chopped sun-dried tomatoes or crushed walnuts. Enjoy spicy muffins by adding cayenne and your favorite shredded cheese to the batter.
Let me know if you try another variation and how you liked it!

InfiniteMuffins

A good muffin is always a fantastic recipe to keep on hand for parties, celebrations (add a few extra ingredients and you’ve got a cake/cupcakes), and breakfast champions.

Here’s to a new year full of life, fun, and MORE RECIPES!

I missed you.

Low Carb, Gluten Free Infinity Muffins

Paleo Sugar Free Little Christmas Scones

Today’s post is beginning with an homage to low-carb.

Never before have I seen weekend transformations such as these:

 

And today’s recorded weight?
120.6, baby!

Didn’t even know that was possible! No exercising or training during this past week, and I’ve pulled some great numbers! My pants are sagging and clothing isn’t fitting. Our inflammatory response to carbohydrates is ridiculous.

Moving on.

Today’s post is a result from the carb-starved cravings kicking in. I wanted snickerdoodles, peanut butter Kisses cookies, chai cookies, peppermint hot chocolate, shortbread, and (oddly enough) Christmas treats.
Christmas is my hands-down favorite time of year. Don’t get me started. You’ll regret it.
You’ll be introduced to Christmas Kayleigh in October.

There is, apparently, a huge issue with said cravings. I really don’t wish to indulge in them.
That’s not true; my health doesn’t. So, I scrambled into the kitchen and laid out ingredients that seemed promising, yet I honestly had no clue if it would work.
(I really shouldn’t reveal how many times I stood at the front door, justifying a grocery store trip to pick up peanut butter chips, just in case.)

So, I was set out to make something that resembled cinnamon-y, moist, and sinfully decadent. BUT was also grain-free, sugar free, and low calorie.
A girl’s gotta stay fit, you know.

 

What emerged from the oven was so much more than I had expected. Let me tell you. Introducing…. Little Christmas. In July.

little christmas scones
makes 10 drop scones

  • 3/4 cup sifted coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2T white stevia powder
  • dash of sea salt
  • dash of cayenne (optional, didn’t taste it in the finished product.)
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt mixed with 1/2 cup water *note for paleo substitution below
  • 1/2 cup + 2T egg whites (alternately, 6 large eggs)
  • 1 capful vanilla extract
  • 3-4 T water *note
Preheat the oven to 340 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients into a large bowl, whisk until mixed. In another bowl, combine greek yogurt and milk into a liquid, then add vanilla. Add egg whites or eggs slowly, mixing it into the yogurt water mixture until well incorporated.
Pour your liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and begin to whisk. The coconut flour will soak up the liquid really quickly. Keep whisking until it sticks to your whisk and add 2T of water at a time until the batter is looking moist but not wet or liquid-y. (I ended up adding 4 whole tablespoons!)

Prepare a Silpat mat for your drop scones. About 2 inch balls should be rolled and dropped onto your baking mat/sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes. For an added crunch, I broiled mine for 2 minutes before removing from the oven (totally not necessary, though).
*For paleo, not primal, substitute the yogurt and water mixture for 1/2 cup coconut oil.

Well “hello,” Christmas scone! I do believe I love you. The rich spice flavor definitely hits your tastebuds, while the coconut flour retains a moisture within the scone and it’s not super dense. The whole experience is a lot like eating a warm, toasty biscuit that’s been soaked in eggnog (no joke)!
Success!

Are you craving Christmastime yet? Is Summer your favorite season?
Paleo Sugar Free Little Christmas Scones

Talk About a Scandal: Coffee


Special thanks to Flickr users Market Lane Coffee, ubrayj02, & turoczy for images.

Deep, dark, dreamy, perk-you-up java. Just the mere sight and smell of the magical coffee bean calls you to royally bow in its presence. Your taste buds are  dancing on the tip of your tongue, awaiting the sweet reward of that very first sip of your muddy cup.

Don’t be surprised– 3 out of 4 Americans drink coffee. Roughly 60% enjoy their routine and drink it daily. Here in Seattle, people watching and coffee cup counting should be a sport. We just aren’t as complete without our earthy, rich and zesty brew.

If we had sunnier weather, on the other hand…
 

All gripes aside, coffee seems to be under the radar as of late. This is for many different reasons. Today’s post will hone in specifically on coffee bean composition, and the concerning changes that coffee companies worldwide are making.
Why? Because coffee enthusiasts are griping– for good reason.

“The Bitter Truth”

Daily Finance wrote a short article covering the recent Arabica and Robusta scandal. If you are well-versed in coffee bean location and how this affects flavor and quality, you already may know about why this is concerning.
Being a coffee enthusiast, but not a coffee bean archaeologist, I found out that Arabica beans and Robusta beans are entirely different strains of java once they are brewed.

Arabica Versus Robusta

Arabica coffee beans originate from high and cool mountain environments and come in 25 different bean varieties. Many people consider Arabica as the “gold standard” in coffee bean. Why? Their “inferiority” in flavor: Arabica is the boldest, richest, and most full-bodied cup of joe.

Sounds like a dream?
Don’t worry. You’re likely already drinking it. 70% of all coffee production is based on Arabica beans. If you visit cafes or coffee houses, many of them refuse to sell anything but the best.

Everything that Arabica is, Robusta is not. Not to harp on Robusta, the response of Arabica versus Robusta is extremely apparent. A higher acidity and bitter flavor dominate Robusta’s best qualities.

Guess what? Because the demand in Robusta beans has risen, due to crop yields, coffee companies everywhere are infusing their delicious all-Arabica coffee with rudimentary Robusta.

Even though Robusta tastes worse than Arabica, the fact that there’s more Robusta available is reason enough to degrade coffee quality.

Kristine put it simply in response to Daily Finance’s post:

And, like in most cases, the change in flavor isn’t the only problem.

You pay more to get less.

We’re still being charged just as much money for our beans, without the high-quality Arabica beans our hearts have swooned over for decades. It has become a blended coffee.

Other Americans, like Lila, prefer to voice their concerns and empathize with many other coffee courting folks, disappointed in the loss of flavor and complexity in their java. “WHAT is the HARM?!” she writes. “Are you serious? It does NOT taste the SAME and we are being CHARGED the same.” 

This issue is also bringing up common complaints in the slightly sketchy, tasteless tactics of our food industry’s reputation. “At least the new ingredient is actually coffee beans. I wouldn’t have been, and would not be, surprised if it turned out to be … a filler,” commenter smjonz writes.

But, we’re living in a “recession.”

It’s easy to see that during our ever-changing global economic state, all aspects of everyday living are affected in their own way. This switch to Arabica-Robusta blends is being met with great resistance, and I hope to see major changes in the way that coffee producers and growers approach their product development.
Brand reputation and customer satisfaction used to be the marker of success– but when money seems to be a rare commodity, basic human values like trust and genuine intent are carelessly tossed out the window.

I wrote a quick and brief post on the lovely Jolkona blog last year in celebration of World Coffee Day, focusing on the environmental effects of coffee production. Offset your “coffee footprint,” and find out why this is so important.

What issues surrounding coffee have been “grinding your gears” lately? Do you drink coffee? How important is taste and quality in your coffee bean?

Talk About a Scandal: Coffee

Steroid Rice Krispie Treats

I know this sounds bad.
meant to update with the last portion of my blog series “Talk About a Scandal.”

I have great content on the unfair labor practices surrounding the cocoa farms all over the Ivory coast and our dying coffee plantations. Prices are soaring through the roof. I live in Seattle.
We recognize when our daily caffeinated beverage of choice becomes even slightly more expensive.

All of the stereotypes about caffeinated Seattleites are true. I promise.

Today, however, calls for a celebration. I was recently inspired by god-knows-what in Trader Joe’s and inbetween my painful, tragic, and heart breaking avoidance of the Chocolate Covered Potato Chips I spotted something out of the ordinary.

Puffed rice cereal.
Ohhh boy. I haven’t had anything carby or starchy in a long time. It looked sensually addictive and I couldn’t help myself. In the basket it went, along with some almond butter.

(Which is my trade off for buying the rice cereal. Because I overeat peanut butter.)

But that is another story for another day. Today is all about

RICE KRISPIE TREATS ON STEROIDS!


What is this, you may be asking? Well, child, let me tell you! Those old marshmallow, sugary insulin-spiking sweet treats are of the past! Oh yes! It’s all about the slow absorbing sugars and rich, robust earthy flavors! Like an iron-pumping protein-stuffing flex-hungry bodybuilder, we have upgraded and turned the wimpy Rice Krispie treat into a gold medal athlete!

Away we go! Become a gladiator and utilize those arm muscles!

rice krispie treats on steroids

  • 2 cups puffed rice cereal
  • 1/4 cup nut meal of choice (I used a combination of hazelnuts and almonds)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds (or any nut you’d like– chopped walnuts or pecans may be nice!)
  • 1/2 cup almond butter (sub any other nut butter)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil  (or butter, or vegan margarine)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

optional: 2 tablespoons cocoa powder for caffeine and richness.
2 scoops of protein powder for ULTIMATE BODYBUILDING STAMINA.
Be sure to add an additional 2 tablespoons maple syrup or almond butter for the powder in these optional mix-ins.

Alright, warriors! Begin by heartily centering a pot on a high heat stovetop. With the world’s most grandiose strength, plow the coconut oil and almond butter into the pot. Carefully observe as it melts, combines, and shines with glory. Pat yourself on the back, tough guy/gal! If it doesn’t burn, you’ve accomplished the most difficult task in the entire recipe.
Once well melted and combined,  resist and pour the thick and heavy maple syrup among your kill, stirring with bicep and tricep momentum. Feel the burn!
(Not the scorching sugars. Do be wary of that.)
Your medium heated stovetop has really taken a beating. But GUESS WHAT? IT’S NOT OVER YET. Vigorously shake (in one direction, please) your nut meal into the pot and stir. Let your stove and sweet mixture cry with hisses, pops, and bubbles.  Laugh in fury as you slap off the heat and bruntly sweep the mixture to the side. Gather your last victims: sliced almonds, cinnamon, and cocoa powder if you’ve chosen to maximize your killings for the day. Stir heartily to combine, and suffocate the crowd with rice cereal. Quickly combine everything together until sad, sloppy, and sticky.
These kinds of kills are never clean.

A proper good-bye: lay out the warm mixture into a glass pan, cake pan, or dirt hole. Leave your massacre to rest in the refrigerator. Wait patiently for 30 minutes, slice and cut into bars of any size or shape you prefer.

Enjoy the muscle toting and strength building power of these bars of madness.

My camping trip was not complete without them!

Steroid Rice Krispie Treats