Don’t Get Naked? : Have We Lowered Our Standards of ‘Au-Naturel’?

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(via free people)

So the other day I bought a bag of ‘natural caramel corn.’ The label offering its’ kindest words of, “Hey! I’m sorta’ healthy, and I’ve got pretty packaging with that lucky word, ‘Natural’, on it! Buy me!” It was, indeed, only three ingredients- so I bought it without a second thought.  And, being a pretty healthy-minded young woman I felt that was about the ‘healthiest’ caramel corn I could have bought (i.e. justified, sort of). That is, until recently when I started hearing about the Naked Juice ordeal. How they have been using synthetic added ingredients (i.e. GMO soy, synthetic fiber, etc.) that they didn’t have to necessarily label on their packaging because of the lack of regulation of food here in the US. They are trying to deny all of this, of course, which is why they decided to ‘settle’ the matter, rather than tackle it. Which brings me to my point and back to my lovely caramel corn; Exactly how did we manage to get ‘Natural’ out of caramel corn (of all things) and an array of other foods parading the grocery aisles? I will kindly wait for an explanation, all while considering myself guilty as charged– I’m clearly no saint. And, for that second of justifying both the caramel corn and a product made by Pepsi Co. as being ‘au-natural’– what does that say about our society and what we consider, well, just plain healthy?

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Clearly, as the years have brought a bounty of trying to get back to ‘simple’, we’ve also allowed marketing to create a field of ignorant bliss. I will be the first to say I am horrid at saying “no” to packaging that promises what’s inside. That, of course is the wonders of great marketing, but I think Naked Juice is a lesson that needed to be learned. If we truly are moving towards more ‘home-grown health’, we have to think outside the box of consumerism. These days, marketing health is almost as necessary as actually obtaining it.  Companies will, and always will, try and take the easy way out for a buck or two (or millions, ya’ know), especially when our country makes it blatantly okay to do so.  If the FDA would let them have it, they were only bound to have their cake and eat it, too. That’s exactly what Naked Juice did.  The only ‘natural’ and ‘simple’ intention they had was to sell us $4 dollar juices, that is only worth about a couple of nickels.

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With that, I don’t think we’ve necessarily lowered our standards of what ‘natural’ constitutes (fresh, local produce, etc.), we have just lowered our standards of what that looks like. Let’s be honest, we are attracted to pretty things. If we weren’t there wouldn’t be a fashion industry, or marketing, a multi-billion dollar beauty industry, etc. There has to be more ‘conscious consumerism’ to counteract companies like Pepsi Co. who are making money off of what isn’t really there. ‘Natural’ is pretty simple, and it isn’t caramel corn (sadly) or processed juice made by a company that is known for soda. Health is natural.  Moderation, being smart about the food we choose to buy, and most certainly our own awareness of what our own standards are when it comes to these choices. Hopefully this was a thoughtful message that came across you today, we are in control of the world we live in by these simple choices we make everyday.

That’s my Friday rant, my random thought, and quick point. Cheers to Friday, loves! xoxo

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(via the local rose, lovely blog)

Pretty Simple: Wanna’ Be Healthier?

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Back when I used to juice basically every single day and eat like a fairy, I felt pretty damn amazing.  All the hype is true, juicing and eating a lot of raw foods is a wonderful, marvelous, amazing idea. But there’s this thing…perhaps you’ve heard of it? It’s called real life.

Rewind to a mere few years ago- I remember the days I used to prance around and say in my best granola accent, “It’s so easy to eat like this everyday! What’s the problem? Just bring your juicer everywhere you go and you’ve got that shit down!” I’m no hypocrite either, I’ve been known to carry a couple grocery bags/juicer/small basil plant/etc. around with me wherever I went- in the glorious name of, “I’ll be fuc*ing healthy if it’s the last thing I do.” I had no shame. People looked at me like I was some crazy green-juice lady…and I still was full speed ahead, taking the name with pride.

However, after time I started to shed some of my old ways here and there (i.e. the juicer is no longer a staple in my…pocketbook), but I still wanted to keep the energy I seemed to have infinite amounts of when I was a walking produce isle. And so, here and now, I give to the, the loveliest green single-celled microalgae you will ever lay your pretty little eyes on. Okay, aside from how it sounds, Chlorella is basically a life-support for anyone who needs something to keep their bodies more balanced (i.e. alkaline, etc.), cleaner, and energy efficient. I had to share it on here because every time I go without it, I can tell my body just doesn’t feel as, well, well. Chlorella is full of naturally occurring chlorophyll, iron, protein, vitamin C, and beta-carotene. So, it’s obviously pretty amazing stuff, and I’ve recommended it to my friends only about one million times.  So now it’s your turn, woo! It can be used as a daily super-detox as well, to protect us from everyday free radicals and heavy metals that are constantly around us, trying to make us…useless.

This was just a quick thought I wanted to share with you guys, it’s such an amazing, quick thing to do that has amazing benefits- so why not? If you decide to make a trip to your health food store, you want to make sure it reads ‘broken cell wall‘ on the bottle, that way it is most easily digested and used by our bodies. If it is not, it basically is worthless, so that’s very important! ‘Organic’ chlorella is also the best way to make sure the sourcing is clean and not…iffy. I recommend taking anywhere from 200-1000mg starting off, depending on how much you juice, eating habits, etc. It is definitely worth a try if you want more natural energy. Oh, and it’s also AMAZING for our skin, so if you are dealing with any breakouts or feel like your skin needs some tlc, chlorella is my go-to option. If you have any questions, or other ideas for quick natural ways to have more energy- feel free to leave me a comment! xoxo.

p.s here are some informational videos on chlorella…

Dr. Oz on chlorella and heavy metals.

really interesting talk with internationally renown natural health physician, Dr. Mercola (it’s long, but interesting- starts talking about chlorella at 5:18)

and these two, who are basically as excited as I am about chlorella, I mean, they’re really excited. (p.s.s…at least you’ll laugh) via natural news

happy granola-eatin’ themed Thursday! ha, xoxo.

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Monday Morning Madness: New Age Martha Stewart, Here.

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Hello Monday, you’ve really kicked my ass. Stress-wise, that is. You know the feeling, so I’m not going to harp, or keep the negative energy flowing, I’m going to make peach and fig tarts. As I did above. And, yes, they are pretty mostly because I like pretty things, but note, they fell apart the second you tried to eat them because, again, yes, I insisted they be gluten-free. So no worries, I’m no real Martha Stewart, my tarts are all show. But they tasted amazing and were also vegan, so woo! I only used honey and a tad of agave to sweeten, so I suppose it’s ‘a give and a take’ sorta’ thing. The flour was gluten-free obviously, so they were a brown-rice flour, so it makes the dough a little, hm, flakier, we’ll say. However, it did singe the ‘guilt’ a bit. Anyhow, this was the inspiration for a Monday afternoon full of attempt-to-be-Martha-Stewart fun. Of course, I opted for the ‘Laura-version’, trying to make it vegan and such. Note: I am no longer vegan (vegetarian), yet I sometimes find making things vegan are easier, and no, I have no idea as to why. I am definitely by no means good at baking, but it was actually quite lovely and stress-relieving. Maybe it was the wine? Probably, but we’ll go with the baking on this one. Perhaps we’ll be drunken Martha’s together? Perfect. Creative endeavors come in all forms, we’ll stick to that. xoxo. 

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{p.s…when you are trying to ‘vibe’ with your inner Martha, if you mix honey and cinnamon…it makes a mean natural and delicious decorating tool/option when you put it in a ketchup bottle, etc., so you can make frilly hearts, like above, without all the added refined sugar, hell yea!}

p.s.s…check out my 10 Reasons He Doesn’t Have a Girlfriend, with all the other awesome writers over at 20something. xoxo.

5 Ravishing Recipes for Weekend Festivities.

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{Mini Fish Tacos via: A Beautiful Mess}

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{Vegan Espresso Fudgesicles via: Take a MegaBite}

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{Herb and Feta Polenta Bites via: Diet, Dessert, and Dogs}

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{Booze Infused Pops: Watermelon Margarita via: Refinery29}

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{Stuffed Avocado with Chipotle Mayo (vegan, raw) via: Rawmazing}

Because it’s Friday and everything about these recipes are simple, beautiful, and healthy! The booze too, let’s be honest. Cheers to a happy and delicious weekend, loves! xoxo.

What I’m Adoring: Favorites, Here, And There.

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{This Urban Outfitters Pink Striped Tank is heavenly soft (wearing above) and on sale}

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{Rebecca Taylor shared the best summertime cocktail, ever}

This week has been pretty sweet, so far; I got a call from a prior employer that made me feel like I was made of honeysuckles and sweet molasses (wrong number? perhaps.), I am just about finished with an awesome interview with Vitamin Angel’s that I’m super stoked about sharing with you guys, a somewhat troubled friendship is perhaps on it’s way to health, fun writing opportunities are falling out of the sky, and awesome people are randomly everywhere all of the sudden and I’m surely diggin’ it. I just can’t complain right now. So, I’m feelin’ pretty ‘roll the windows down and blare the music’-ish. I can actually see me now…”I DON’T CARE, I LOVE IT!”, as the people beside me at the stoplight whisper sweet nothings at the sheer epic-ness of my less-than-impressive adaptation of the song. Whatever, as long as my destination serves the best Sparkling Sangria ever (above) let em’ laugh, I’m untouchable!…kind of.

Anyway, I think a really awesome lesson I’m beginning to learn is if you put yourself out there enough- even when it scares you a little bit- good things start to be created in the midst. There are people out there just like you that really are worth finding, and I’m a big believer in everything happening for reason. Ah, the life of being in your twenties…and the lessons you accidentally stumble upon, brilliant. But on with it, here’s what I’m adoring and inspiring me as of late…xoxo.

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{ Paul Octavious’s Pantone Project shows us the beauty of choosing colors that remind us of the brightness we can find in daily life, how freakin’ awesome}

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 {Peppermint tea infused with local peaches + lemons, my pick for a summer refresher}

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{What an easy, beautiful, tart for get-togethers this summer, Luscious Magazine is becoming a favorite read}

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{I’m kind of dying to see ‘Frances Ha’ in theatre’s, it looks hilarious and very ‘coming-of-age-ish’, see the trailer here}

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 {Because of this, vegan ‘BLT Salads’ are quickly becoming my life in a lunch, as clearly seen above}

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 {love on a sidewalk}

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 {a vintage gold clutch that belonged to my Grandmother, which I finally decided to wear yesterday-I realized how nice it was to carry a piece of her with me xoxo}

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 {Tiny dogs named Ciel basking in the sun + our botanical garden blossoming in the window- the basil plant is absolute love, far right}

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 {The most enticing combination, Tobacco + Honey all-natural lotion. I feel so rustic putting it on, but it has this wonderfully intoxicating sweetness to it as well, brilliant. Found at a new vintage shop around the corner, here}

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Monday Morning Madness: Creamy Coconut-Garlic Dressing

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The other day we were grilling out and I was in the mood for a homemade salad dressing. I wanted something with a punch and yet had a light feel to it, quick to prepare, and of course- fresh ‘laying around the house’ ingredients. I whipped this together and it was a hit, even with people who definitely would rather slide the idea of ‘healthy’ over. The coconut oil gives the dressing a light and subtle sweet coconut flavor, while the garlic is a balance of rustic and savory, and the avocado I used helps to give everything just the right creaminess for a dressing I plan to use quite often. Plus, it’s super versatile- you can use it a lot this summer in a pinch; sandwiches, a quick dip, or a good toss in a tried and true pasta salad recipe…

Continue reading “Monday Morning Madness: Creamy Coconut-Garlic Dressing”

Monday Morning Madness: ‘Pretty Simple ways to’ get ‘glow-worthy’ in your recipes.

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Hello loves, I hope your weekend was all that you dreamed it would be. If not, there is plenty of time for wine tonight. Today, I was just hoping to share a few tips to get glowing for summer, and not to mention, healthier. Summertime is definitely full of flavor. From barbecues to seasoning, it’s easy to stick to tried-and-true recipes and habits. However, sometimes it’s nice to get out there and try some new ideas and shake things up a bit. Plus, I promise if you give these three ‘swaps’ a chance, you might be pleasantly surprised at how versatile they become around your kitchen, and how often you’ll be using them. And no, you don’t have to only use these for everything, I have definitely learned not to be a preacher, but ‘here and there’ can make a pretty big difference to your summertime glow, and your health.

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1. Nutritional yeast has a bit of a ‘cult-following’ by many vegans, and it’s kind of no secret as to why. Besides the name itself being less-than-‘yum’, it is actually one of the best kept secrets in the glow-worthy department of eating for health. The first time I heard of the stuff, I was a bit hesitant, I mean- it sounded more like a bread-starter than a delicious good-for-you cheesy treat. However, I went to my health food store and grabbed some, hoping all it’s glam and gossip would deliver the promises I had read all about. I started mixing and baking and tasting…and sure enough- the stuff can be absolutely delicious, with the flavor consistent with cheese. I am most fond of its’ power when it comes to Macaroni and Cheese, and Strawberry Cheesecakes. The above picture was from just the other night, it’s quick and easy and can be subbed for any cheesy-dish. I like to play around and add things like bell pepper and garlic, for extra health benefits and taste.

Why it’s Glow-Worthy: It is chock-full of good-for-you protein, so it has all the essential amino acids your body needs to be its’ healthiest. Also, one of the best reasons to add some to your recipes, is its’ high content of vitamins; especially B-complex vitamins for extra energy, most notedly B-12. Just a little bit, goes a long way! It is ironically very low in fat and sodium, yet when added to different recipes takes on the flavor of richer dishes. So go ahead and eat your Macaroni and Cheese, it’s really good for you! 😉

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Dulse is an amazing substitute for regular table salt, I’m kind of addicted. However, the best part is that it’s super low in sodium, yet brings a salty flavor we all want. I’m also a big fan of simply adding half pink himalayan salt, and the other half subbed for dulse. I have been finding it adds a good balance, mostly because dulse can have a certain taste that many have to grow used to- yet it is very subtle. What is it, you ask? It is actually a sea vegetable and is used in a lot of asian dishes, so it does have a certain undertone in its’ flavor. It is actually quite versatile in the different recipes you can create with it. I for one, think this recipe would make for a great use of dulse vs salt. And, of course, my above ‘Sweet and Salty Mash’, which is essentially just lots of dulse and garlic, complimented by the sweetness of the sweet potatoes. It’s really good for a summertime side-dish.

Why it’s Glow-Worthy: It is full of beautifying minerals that regular salt just doesn’t add up to (although I’m talking sea salt here vs pink himalayan salt, that I’m also a big fan of), plus the big difference is it’s low-sodium. Dulse also is great for under-eye darkness and can help eliminate puffiness. Which is mostly caused by our over-consumption of salt, which then leads to water retention/a load of problems. When we consume dulse it helps balance the electrolytes in our body, and therefore help to keep us less bloated. It is also a great form of B-vitamins.

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This is a new ‘to do’, with me. I have talked about my bread obsession here, but this is actually such a simple way to add an extra punch of vitamins and minerals to the norm’ ‘sandwiches’ we (or at least I) tend to grab for during the summertime months. It’s something I’m still playing around with and trying to swap a lot more, but with the farmer’s markets getting more dense with an array of fresh, green, leafy veggies, it’s kind of a no-brainer to keep it a routine. As you can see above, all you have to do is cut along the stem to make it easier for wrapping, and voila. I made the above wrap the other day and it was absolutely delicious. I have been thinking of ways to make it a little tastier and I came up with this: in a bowl just throw some apple cider vinegar, pinkhima’ salt, garlic, and dill- then toss the leaves around and let them stay in for at least an hour or so. So now, you have infused them with a little extra spice & flavor- and they are still full of all their goodness. Cooking them, to me, still kind of defeats the purpose of why they are so good for us. However, if you want to give them a light blanche, to make them a little more tender, I suppose it wouldn’t be so bad.

Why it’ Glow-Worthy: Well ironically, they literally brighten our skin’s tone. No joke. Only one cup provides us with up to 70% of our daily vitamin C. It also has a very high content of chlorophyll which helps to create a cleansing effect to our blood, and overall gives us better circulation which =’s a healthy glow. I suppose you can judge a vegetable by its’ denseness, and kind of put together how much ‘good stuff’ it is brimming with. Collards are definitely super dense- to me- even more so than cult-standing kale. It is also very high in body (and skin)-loving vitamin A, B vitamins, and E. While also providing a serious amount of calcium and iron, which many of us girls need a lot of in our early 20s-30s. Plus, it’s super absorbable when in the form of collard leafs.

So, with nothing else to really say, get glowing my dears with these three simple swaps. Kind of crazy all the good the littlest changes can create. Oh, and a mantra for your Monday, because it’s so true. 😉 xoxo.

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