The benefits of Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is an incredibly versatile plant for your health. Its benefits can help you externally and internally. The plant is high in vitamins such as A, C, E, folic acid, choline, B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, chromium, selenium, sodium, iron, potassium, copper, and manganese. Aloe is also high in those essential amino and fatty acids. Here are just five active ways this powerhouse plant can improve your health:

  • Aloe aids digestion—the soothing juice found within the leaf is an adaptogen, which means it can help with either constipation or diarrhea, regulating your elimination cycles. It is also beneficial for people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome and acid reflux, and decreases the amount of bad bacteria in your gut thus balancing your flora.

 

  • Aloe alkalizes the system—making sure the body is alkalized if one of the best things you can do for your body to avoid acidic digestion and prevent disease. Disease is more prone in acidic conditions.

 

  • Aloe is an external disinfectant—its active ingredients are sulfur, salicylic acid, lupeol, cinnamic acid, phenol, and urea nitrogen. They all protect against bacteria, and are antimicrobial thus fighting off infections externally and internally. Great for healing scrapes, cuts, and soothing burns. It is also really hydrating for your skin as it is made of 90% water.

 

  • Aloe helps boost the immune system—with its rich antioxidant content and polysaccharides, aloe vera juice can help stimulate macrophages (white blood cells that fight off viruses) and thus prevent illness and promote wellbeing.

 

  • Aloe is anti-inflammatory—aloe contains B-sisterole which can slow down or prevent inflammation, helping with joint stiffness and pain, and can promote joint flexibility.

 

You can buy aloe vera juice at the store, or buy a plant and make your own! It’s an added boost to your cooking, smoothies, or on its own. And don’t forget about its amazing skin benefits. Having a plant in the kitchen is great for any emergencies (cuts, scrapes etc.), especially with children around.

 

LiveWell!

 

The benefits of coconut oil

Coconuts are hot on the health-food scene right now, and deservedly so! They are so versatile in what parts can be used—oil, water, sugar, flour, milk, or flesh—how each part can be used, and their health benefits. Coconut oil, however, is becoming more and more popular for its cure-all properties. This healthy fat made from pressing mature coconuts is a great substitute for, or addition to, your traditional kitchen oils and fats.

 

  • Lowers “bad” cholesterol—Despite being high in saturated fat, coconut oil is an exceptional food because these fats are healthy for your body. One of the fats, lauric acid, a medium chain fat, increases the good HDL cholesterol in the blood thus improving healthy cholesterol ratios.

 

  • Boosts the immune system—Rich in anti-oxidants, coconut oil can prevent heart disease and promote overall wellness. Coconut oil is also rich in anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, and studies have shown a connection between the oil and helping to prevent certain cancers.

 

  • Skin and hair care—Coconut oil can promote glowing, moisture-rich skin and hair internally and externally. The fatty acids help your skin stay youthful and clear, and your hair soft, strong, and shiny. But when applied to the surface of your skin, it can perform as a non-greasy moisturizer or anti-aging cream. It can also be a great conditioner for your hair, and can be mixed with other ingredients to make more products such as body scrubs for a natural glow. A great alternative to the harsh chemicals we find in commercial products.

 

  • Improves brain function—Coconut oil is said to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and this is because of the connection between the medium chain fatty acids (MCTs) and brain function. These healthy fats may maintain cognitive functioning and good memory as well as helping to repair neural pathways.

 

Don’t dismiss the rest of the coconut though! Coconut water is extremely refreshing and hydrating as it is high in electrolytes. Give it a try it in my Green Goddess Smoothie. Dried or fresh coconut flesh is a great low G.I snack to give you energy and it is packed with fiber. The meat also works well for cooking, like in my delicious Unbaked Creamy Corn & Coconut Casserole.  Check out these recipes and more in my book, The Goddess of Raw Foods.  

 

Happy healthy eating, all!

Foods to Lower High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, in this country is a growing epidemic. It occurs when the force of blood against the artery walls is too high so that it can lead to heart disease. And if it is ignored it can also lead to stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, and blindness.  An effective way to avoid high blood pressure or to lower you blood pressure without relying on medication is to include these five foods in your diet.

  • Avocado—This nutrient-dense food contains heart-healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. It’s so versatile too, making it easy to incorporate into your diet! You can add it to salads and smoothies, or make it into dips and salad dressings. From my cookbook, The Goddess of Raw Foods, try the cucumber avocado salad dressing—a refreshing and healthy addition to your salads.
  • Dark Chocolate—Hurray! Dark chocolate is antioxidant-rich, and packed with bioactive phytochemicals called polyphenols that are proven to protect against vascular and heart disease. This is great news for those with a sweet tooth.
  • Blueberries, Raspberries, and Strawberries—These berries contain compounds called anthocyanins that protect against hypertension, and can lower your blood pressure. The Oh So Berry Smoothie from my book is perfect for a vitamin and antioxidant-rich breakfast or as an afternoon snack.
  • Unsalted Sunflower Seeds—These little seeds are jam-packed with magnesium, and make a perfect snack or an addition to salads for heart-health. Make sure you go for unsalted though; salted can be really high in sodium which will have a negative impact on your blood pressure if over-consumed.
  • Oats—A diet rich in fiber and whole grains such as oats has been proven to help keep blood pressure low, and can decrease both systolic and diastolic pressure. For a delicious and healthy start to your day, try my Rawsome Oatmeal and add berries and bananas for an extra boost to your vascular health!

Stay Healthy & Happy!

Pregnancy and The Vegan Diet

There are a lot of minerals, nutrients, and vitamins that are essential for pregnant women to consume to maintain their own health and to produce a healthy baby. Iron, calcium, and protein are extremely important, and while these key items are typically sourced from meat and dairy products, there is a huge range of plant-based foods that offer those vital nutrients and more.

Iron—Iron is important for cardiovascular health, brain development, and the immune system. Therefore the iron intake for a pregnant woman needs to be higher because of the increase in the mother’s blood and the blood for the baby. Some plant-based sources of iron include:

  • Collard greens and other dark leafy greens
  • Chickpeas
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Dried Apricots

From my book, The Goddess of Raw Foods, I have a recipe for collard green burritos which is perfect for an iron-rich meal as in addition to those collard greens, the recipe contains tomatoes and spinach. It’s delicious, and inexpensive and easy to make.

Protein—Protein is the building block to our bodies, and therefore essential to healthy baby growth. Some foods that are an excellent source of protein include:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Hemp
  • Beans
  • Lentils

Another great recipe the hemp burger. The burger is high in protein thanks to the hemp and sunflower seeds, and is a fabulous and healthy alternative.

Calcium—Calcium is important for strong bones, and even more important during pregnancy for the mother because of the stress put on the body and for healthy growth of the baby’s bones and teeth. Calcium is also essential for healthy muscle development and function.

  • Almond butter and milk
  • Broccoli
  • Oranges
  • Figs and black molasses
  • Kale and leafy greens

In the book, My Apple Butter takes almond butter to a whole new level with flavors of cinnamon and maple. Its decadence makes it deceptively healthy, and as an added bonus is high in calcium.

And considering we are expecting our little one in December, we know that she will be off to a good start with healthy eating habits!

Are you a woman who is pregnant and wants to go vegan or is thinking about more vegan options?  Share with us your story and qustions.