Health Improving Bone Broth

I have been wanting to make bone broth for months and months now. The issue was finding HIGH QUALITY bones at a decent price. With working full time as well as working out 5-6 days a week, finding good quality bones often isn’t on my top list of priorities (lol). I finally went to the farmers market over the weekend and found a local business that sells bones at a great price so I got some and made bone broth. It turned out so great and I am hooked!

Bone broth is so good for you because of the gelatin – it contains amino acids which contribute to its healing properties. Bone broth can heal gut issues and fix leaky gut! My favorite reason to love and consume bone broth is because it’s essentially liquid botox due to the collagen! It will help your hair, skin and nails as well as improve the strength of your bones (due to the phosphorus, magnesium and calcium). It’s very inexpensive to make and once you do it you will realize it’s actually quite simple. Bone broth has so many health benefits and with fall coming up you simply must learn to make it yourself and enjoy a soothing cup on a chilly day (or a warm day) to reap the health benefits. It’s also great if and when you are sick because of the immune-boosting properties! I found grassfed/pasture raised pork bones for $3 a pound and beef bones for $4 a pound! You only need a few pounds of bones and then celery, carrots, onion and garlic (which are all very cheap) so once it’s finished you are looking at a cost of less than $2 a serving.

HOW TO MAKE AND WHAT YOU NEED:

  • At least 2 pounds (2-4) of grassfed/pasture raised beef or pork bones (high quality bones are important because the healthier the animal, the healthier the bone broth)
  • 3 stalks roughly chopped organic celery
  • 3 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 onions, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • Splash of apple cider vinegar
  • Thyme, parsley, pink salt, optional

Get your crockpot and plug it in. Put your bones in the crockpot (mine were frozen) and add 8 cups of filtered (important) water. Then add all of your veggies and the vinegar and give it a good stir. The vinegar helps draw out all of the nutrients so you can let the bones sit in the cool water with the vinegar for 30 minutes if you want before cooking. Then turn on crockpot and cook on lowest heat setting for 20-24 hours. I turned mine on low for 10 and then when that finished I restarted it and cooked another 10 hours. Just before it’s done you can add your herbs (I actually forgot this part but it still tasted amazing). Just place as much thyme and parsley as you want in the pot and let it continue to cook a little longer.

When it’s finished, simply remove all of the veggies/bones from the pot and pour through a strainer (it’s great if you have 2 people for this part). I poured mine through a strainer over a large bowl placed in the sink. Then you can ladle it into smaller containers and store in the fridge. This keeps for 1 week so drink a cup a day! Enjoy!! I plan to warm a cup over the stove – not in the microwave – as microwaves destroy nutrients in food so I do try to avoid using them as much as I can. **note that after this cools in the fridge you will need to scrape the fat layer off and into the garbage!

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How it looked when it was finished – they say you will have a layer of nastiness at the top if the bones were not healthy – the healthier the bones, the less foam/junk floats to the top. As you can see I did not have any! Yay! Healthy bones.

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Yum! Enjoy!

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WHY Sugar is SO Bad: 7 things to remember

Everyone knows sugar is not good for you, but WHY is it so detrimental? Besides the fact that no one needs added sugar to survive, and the fact that it makes you fat, sugar also does other terrible things to your insides…such as cause cancer. I am going to list a few reasons why I NEVER consume added sugar (raw local honey/manuka honey/pure maple syrup is ok in moderation). ****NOTE that I am also 100% against sugar substitutes/artificial sweeteners, etc., which are equally as bad!

  1. Addictive. Sugar is HIGHLY addictive. Just like addictive drugs, sugar causes a massive dopamine release in the “reward center” of the brain. This is especially bad for people who are more prone to addictive behaviors. I don’t ever “cheat” on ice cream or anything with refined sugar because of this – there is absolutely zero nutritional value and even if you just have a little bit of this type of sugar, you will want more and more. Many people have no self-control, therefore can’t stop eating the bad food, and then end up very over-weight and unhealthy. Abstinence is the best thing when it comes to this substance! Sugar and other junk foods, because of their effect on the reward center of the brain, function similar to drugs like cocaine and nicotine. You will also crave and need more and more of the substance, the more frequently you consume it!
  2. Fructose turns to fat.  Before sugar enters the bloodstream it is broken down into fructose and glucose. Glucose is found in every living cell on the planet, but fructose is different. Our bodies do not produce fructose and there is no need for fructose, physiologically. Fructose can only be metabolized by the liver. This is fine if you’ve just finished working out or you just eat a piece of fruit – the fructose is turned into glycogen and stored in the liver until we need it. If the liver is already full of glycogen, eating a lot of fructose overloads the liver, forcing it to turn this fructose INTO FAT. When this process is repeated over and over again (very common), this leads to a fatty liver. GROSS. ALSO KEEP IN MIND: it’s almost impossible to overeat fructose by eating FRESH FRUIT – this applies more towards ice cream, doughnuts, soda, candy, etc. Also, people who are extremely active can tolerate all of this much better than people who aren’t (they also probably know about moderation and don’t eat tons of sugar on a daily or even weekly basis).
  3. Causes insulin resistance, and diabetes. Insulin is an important hormone. It allows  glucose to enter the cells and tells the cells to burn the glucose instead of fat. Too much glucose is highly toxic. Insulin resistance occurs when the insulin in the body stops working as it should – the cells become resistant to it. This can lead to so many diseases such as metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions: symptoms are large waist circumference, high blood sugar, fatigue, etc.
  4. Ages your skin. HELLO WRINKLES! This is enough to prevent me from eating sugar. Sugar has zero nutrients and it’s pretty much pointless to consume – unless it’s fresh fruit or occasional honey or pure maple syrup, as previously stated. Too much sugar damages collagen which makes you more prone to getting wrinkles. Sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products – the more sugar you eat, the more of these you develop. As these accumulate they damage adjacent proteins in a “domino-like fashion”. Collagen and elastin are MOST vulnerable to the damage and these are the protein fibers that keep skin firm! Once they are damaged, they become dry and brittle thus leading to wrinkling and sagging. YIKES. These all start around age 35 and increase rapidly afterwards. Read more about that here. Next time someone offers you cake or a doughnut or ice cream, think about all the crows feet and nasty wrinkles it will cause.
  5. Can cause you to get CANCER. Cancer is obviously one of the leading causes of death. It’s characterized by uncontrolled growth and multiplication of cells. Insulin is a key hormone that regulates this growth. Many scientists believe that having constantly elevated insulin levels can contribute to cancer. High sugar consumption also drives up inflammation in the body which is another cause of cancer. People who eat a lot of sugar are at a MUCH HIGHER risk of getting cancer – studies have shown. Sugar and cancer are best friends. Cancer cells love sugar. Also keep in mind WHITE FLOUR is essentially sugar in a different form – hence another reason why I don’t eat any bread or gluten/wheat. Cancer thrives in an acidic environment – sugar is highly acidic! This is why you simply must avoid it at all costs!
  6. Has fat-promoting effects. Different foods have different effects on our brains. Not all calories are created equal – hence the fact I eat super clean but do not even count a single calorie. Studies show that fructose does not have the same effect on satiety as glucose – therefore making you hungrier as opposed to feeling full. Sugar calories are NOT fulfilling, in other words. This will lead to weight gain. Just remember: SUGAR = EMPTY CALORIES, ZERO NUTRITIONAL VALUE. don’t eat it!
  7. Raises cholesterol and causes heart disease. Studies are finally showing that saturated fat, such as found in coconut oil, does not cause heart disease. Sugar is now recognized as the culprit. Large amounts of fructose raise triglycerides, increase bad cholesterol, raise blood glucose and insulin levels AND abdominal obesity (the most dangerous type of fat). These are risk factors for heart disease. The risk of dying from heart disease is more than doubled if 21% of your daily calories are from added sugars. Added sugars = sugars/syrups that are added to foods or drinks when they are PROCESSED. This includes sweetened yogurt, milk, grains, cakes, cookies, candy, soda, juice, etc. Sugar sweetened beverages are the largest source of added sugar in the American diet. Cut them out 100% – this is such an easy fix! I ONLY drink water because it’s the only thing we actually need. And I don’t add anything to my coffee other than coconut oil.

I hope this has opened your eyes to the detrimental effects of sugar. We do not need added sugar at all in our diet! Focusing on eating WHOLE, REAL food that is not processed will eliminate all of the cancer causing sugars. As stated before, sugar found in whole fruit does not have the same effect as processed sugar (although I still limit my fruit intake and focus more on vegetables). If you want to live a long healthy life and anti-age on a daily basis, you must give your body the things it needs. Sugar is not one of these things! Also, you can enjoy clean treats on occasion by eating and living my lifestyle – I sweeten things only with SMALL AMOUNTS of pure, raw local honey or 100% pure maple syrup.

References:

Why You Should Use Natural Deodorant

I want to express why this is so important and whether you are male or female you should be analyzing what you are putting in AND on your body : especially deodorant. I do not use antiperspirant and I haven’t for a few years. I was using TOM’S deodorant, but, I JUST LITERALLY discovered that it has a bad ingredient as well: propylene glycol – which can cause contact dermatitis (I get eczema occasionally so yes I am trashing my Tom’s deodorant and will have to search at Whole Foods for a good one OR just make my own deodorant using this recipe here – **note that 1/8 of a teaspoon is about 12.5 drops (in regards to essential oils), to be safe I will use 10-11 drops of each oil recommended in this recipe.** (SEE NOTE AT END OF BLOG REGARDING THIS)

Antiperspirant’s main ingredient is an aluminum-based compound. They block sweat glands. This is particularly worrisome because our body’s natural way of detoxifying is through sweat. The aluminum compounds may be absorbed by the skin and cause changes in estrogen receptors of breast cells (research suggests). Due to the fact estrogen can promote the growth of both cancer and non-cancer breast cells, I avoid aluminum-based deodorants (as well as birth control with estrogen). Studies have shown that using aluminum-based deodorants may be a risk factor for developing breast cancer. I definitely don’t want to fall into that category, y’all. I would rather sweat (but still smell nice). Plus, who sweats that much at work or on a daily basis anyways? Sure, I get DRENCHED in sweat at the gym but WHO CARES. You. Are. At. The. GYM! Sweat and get over it – you are supposed to be sweaty. Let your body detox how it wants – stop blocking sweat from your armpits because you think it’s gross. As long as you don’t reek (and you still might after an intense workout, but go shower, duh), who cares if you are sweaty? Most people really don’t care! Use a towel. Move on with your life.

Other scary ingredients found in conventional antiperspirants and deodorants include parabens (artificial preservatives that mimic activity of estrogen in the body – estrogen promotes breast cancer cells). As far as parabens go, although they have estrogen-like properties, the estrogens that are made in the body are apparently hundreds of times stronger. In other words, estrogen taken as hormone replacement (or birth control/aka natural estrogens) are more likely to play a role in breast cancer development, according to studies. So I would avoid estrogen in all forms at all costs!

Propylene glycol  is often added to cosmetics and deodorants as well. It’s used in Tom’s deodorant too and this is why I am chunking mine. It was originally developed as an anti-freeze; it can cause contact dermatitis and skin irritation. Like I said before, I tend to have eczema-like spots on occasion as my skin is sensitive so I try to steer clear of chemicals. I will likely be making my own deodorant TONIGHT and will share how that goes! FYI: synonyms for propylene glycol = propanediol as well as steareth-21 (Propylene glycol and stearyl alcohol), and humectant.

TEA & DEA can be toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time; this is often used in deodorants/antiperspirants and cosmetics. It can cause allergic reactions. TEA and DEA = stand for triethanolamine and diethanolamine. Due to the fact these can be toxic if used too frequently, it’s best to avoid these as well! Especially if you are applying a deodorant every single day! You can see how over a lifetime this could become toxic.

Triclosan can cause contact dermatitis as well and is found in tons of cosmetics and deodorants, antiperspirants, etc. It is a skin irritant and may disrupt thyroid function and other hormone systems. Triclosan may also encourage bacterial resistance to antibiotics. I know we cannot be 100% perfect, so, just avoid it where you can!

FD&C COLORS: synthetic colors; can cause allergic skin reactions. Some are made from coal tar derivatives and are known to be carcinogenic. I know I personally don’t want to take any chances with putting these chemicals on my body so avoid artificial colorings in food as well as cosmetics and things of that nature.

Talc: Hydrous magnesium silicate; it is a soft mineral used as an absorbent and color additive. It is classified as carcinogen if contains asbestiform fibers. There is no way to know if the product contains asbestiform fibers or not so this is best avoided as well.

I recommend you start reading the labels of your cosmetics. And while perfumes do not have labels of ingredients, it is likely that they contain toxic chemicals too! I trashed all of my perfumes (correct, chunked them). I prefer the smell of coconuts via coconut oil anyways! I love knowing my body is free of chemicals and toxins!

Just read this article discussing what happens to the levels of chemicals in your body when you switch your cosmetic products!

**Note and update 8/2/16: I am using Tom’s deodorant again as I made my own with beeswax but it did not turn out well. The deodorant got all stuck in the container..what a bust. I think the propylene glycol found in tom’s is OK since it’s plant derived – and sometimes I will choose what is convenient rather than make my own (this does not apply to food, obviously).

 

Why Lotion is Toxic: Choose Coconut Oil!

Are you still putting on lotions? Have you ever read the ingredients and wondered what they were? I recommend you sit down and google some of the ingredients on the label of your lotion and see what you find. Our skin is our largest organ so it absorbs EVERYTHING you put on it! Think about it: if your lotion is filled with chemicals, what do you think that’s doing for you and your body? It can’t be good. This is why I choose to only use coconut oil. Not only is it natural and 100% safe, it’s not very expensive! Below I will list some common ingredients in lotions and what they actually do to your skin. Hopefully this convinces some of you to not only clean out your cabinets and fridge of processed food, but also your bathroom cabinets!

Dimethicone:

  • Covers skin like rubber
  • can cause acne because it does not allow skin to breathe
  • traps impurities, bacteria, clogs pores

Propylene Glycol:

  • preservative
  • absorbs water

Cetearyl alcohol:

  • thickening agent
  • may cause allergic reactions as it changes lipid bilayer of epidermis – not good for people with psoriasis, eczema, etc.

Paraffinum Liquidum/Mineral Oil:

  • Coats the skin like plastic
  • Causes premature aging (does not allow cells to breathe!)
  • Very cheap filler
  • Increases risk for cancer
  • **you would be wise to avoid any lotion or product with mineral oil (baby oil = 100% mineral oil!). Other names for this are paraffin oil, paraffin wax, petrolatum.

We can’t be perfect all the time and I am by no means perfect. I do my BEST to fuel my body with clean food, as well as only use non-toxic substances on my skin. I think lotions are such a huge problem because people use them continuously throughout the day which ends up coating your skin in chemicals constantly! Try switching to coconut oil (go and chunk all the toxins in your bathroom cabinet. You don’t need lotion – I promise it’s doing more harm that good!) only and see how you feel! You will also save tons of $$$! I have very sensitive skin so it is all that I use. Let your skin breathe and improve your skin through coconut oil rather than coating it with chemicals and plastic-like substances!

Also for body washes I love Dr. Bronner’s!!! They have tons of different scents and it lathers nicely. Men would love it too – the peppermint one is great and so is lavender and tea tree. Really all of them are! (You can also wash clothes and pets with this stuff!)

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Daily Cleanse: Lemon Water

Happy Monday!!! Today is a good day to tell you all about my morning ritual that I’ve done every day since summer 2011. I never ever miss a morning of this–even when I travel I carry lemons and cayenne pepper with me! I also got my boyfriend doing this every day too-he loves it! Here’s the ritual, it’s so easy and the benefits are enormous.

  1. Upon waking: Take a large mug and fill with purified water
  2. Microwave for about 60-70 seconds
  3. Squeeze in 1/2 FRESH lemon juice (not store bought lemon juice as it has preservatives and garbage added to it)
  4. Add a dash or two of cayenne
  5. Drink quickly, followed by regular water as well!

I do this every day and I also take a few swigs of Bragg’s apple cider vinegar! (Note: start small with the ACV–perhaps 1 tsp and work your way up to 1-2 tbsp if you have a sensitive stomach). These (lemon and ACV) cleanse the liver and help the body get rid of toxins (if you drink alcohol you MUST do this). The cayenne boosts your metabolism and gets things going – It also wakes you up in the morning! I wait probably 20 minutes or so before eating after I do this (unless of course it’s a gym morning – then I wait a couple hours before eating as I work out in a fasted state).

That’s it! This is one of the easiest, best things you can do for yourself upon waking. We are very dehydrated first thing in the morning as we obviously have been asleep (and not drinking water). This is why it’s so important to wake up and drink warm lemon water, followed by a large glass of regular water (I prefer room temperature) to make sure you hydrate your body! This also helps with anti-aging! I highly recommend you up your water intake to your body weight, or at least 100 ounces, and see the difference in how you look and feel.

I promise you won’t regret it! *note: if you have sensitive teeth or feel that the acidity is too much (although it should be ok since it’s diluted with 10+ ounces of water, I use big mugs like the one pictured below), you can drink this out of a straw instead!

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Detox Your Body: Dry Skin Brushing

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Chances are, most of you are unaware of the benefits of dry skin brushing-much less heard of it! This is such a beneficial habit to get into and it only takes a couple of minutes each day. Benefits of dry skin brushing are immense! It exfoliates tons of dead skin, helps to remove toxins from the body as it stimulates the lymphatic system, reduces cellulite, unclogs pores, and it just simply feels great! It’s yet another way I detox my body on a daily basis. I dry skin brush almost every morning (right after I make my warm lemon cayenne water)and here’s how you do it:

  • Remove clothes and step in the shower
  • Take a natural bristle brush (important) and begin to brush your skin, starting with your feet and work your way up, in long strokes – no scrubbing
  • Work your way up your body, always brushing towards the heart (you can increase pressure as you get used to this)
  • Brush your stomach in a large clockwise motion
  • Spend a few minutes doing this and then rinse off! I alternate between hot and cold water to further stimulate my circulatory system (plus it wakes me up!)

I recommend y’all try this and promise you won’t be disappointed. It feels super amazing and it’s the best way to exfoliate your skin, which is the body’s largest organ! Let me know what y’all think or if you have any questions feel free to ask. Go get brushing!

**Note: please wash the brush once per week with either shampoo or my fav: Dr. Bronner’s soap and let air dry.