the plant of immortality: ALOE VERA

the plant of immortality: ALOE VERA

I absolutely love aloe vera, so I was very excited when my Mom surprised me with an adorable, little baby, aloe vera plant! It’s also entirely appropriate that she bought it for me, since she’s the one who first taught me about all the amazing benefits, and variety of uses for aloe. Thanks Mom!


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It was Father’s day this past weekend, so B and I met my parents at their campsite on the beach. The heatwave in CA made for an epic beach weekend, and some even more epic photos. I mean, look at that view!! Ridiculous.

Mix that view with some quality family time, incredible food – and very competitive games of corn hole – and we had the recipe for a perfect, mini-getaway.

But anyway! Back to the purpose for this post: the incredible, amazing, astounding, aloe vera plant!


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FACTS

* Aloe vera is also called: lily of the desert, aloe, and aloe barbadensis.

* The use of aloe can be traced back to early Egypt – 6,000 yrs ago – where it was referred to as the “plant of immortality”. The plant was depicted on Egyptian stone carvings, and was allegedly given as a burial gift to deceased pharaohs. Pretty cool!

* Aloe is used in many beauty products, but is known most commonly for it’s use in soothing/healing burns.

* The inner gel can be used topically – not only for burns – but also to reduce inflammation, eliminate redness, aide in the healing of cuts, and fade scars! I have hyperpigmentation, so I use aloe to fade dark spots left from acne, and I also use it on actual acne spots to prevent scarring. I ONLY use the inner gel for my skin since that’s where all the nutrients are! Just use a q-tip, to pierce the inner gel, then dab on your trouble areas. For larger scars, or for sun burns, expose the inner gel and rub directly onto your skin. It feels amazing, and the healing properties are much stronger than a commercially produced aloe gel.

* You can buy large aloe leaves at health food stores if you don’t want an aloe plant of your own.  Once cut, you can store the leaf, sealed, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If storing in a plastic bag, make a couple holes in the bag first.

* The latex of the aloe has very strong laxative effects. The use of aloe laxatives was banned by the FDA from over-the-counter use in 2002 because companies refused to supply the proper safety data.

* Aloe gel, (not latex!) can be ingested safely. It has been reported that the use of aloe gel may decrease fasting blood sugar levels in the those with type II diabetes. Make sure to consult with your physician before adding aloe to your dietary routine.

* Aloe aides in cleansing the air you breathe by helping to clear substances such as formaldehyde, and benzene from the air – byproducts of chemical cleaners, paints, etc.

* Aloe is awesome.


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So now that I’ve filled your brain with information, here are some beach pics!!!

Have an amazing day!

XOXO ~Michelle~


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easy green juice recipe: TO JUMPSTART YOUR HEALTHY ROUTINE

easy green juice recipe: TO JUMPSTART YOUR HEALTHY ROUTINE

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Well, it took a month…but I’m BACK! Life has been amazingly busy lately–my husband finally moved here from Paris, and passed his driving test today!!! Welcome to the 405, B. You’re no longer just a metro passenger. I’m proud! 🙂 I graduated from nursing school after two intense years of studying, and I managed to book a couple commercials in my hectic, last month of school–thanks Taco Bell and Ford! B and I started seriously apartment hunting, which is not easy in LA. So between the busyness of life, and all the celebrating (graduation parties, birthdays, B arriving), it was easy to indulge a little more than usual. I’m all for balance–what’s life if you can’t have some tacos and ice cream, amiright? And I say that in all seriousness because I got doooown on some tacos at my graduation party, and do you think I skipped the ice cream sundae bar? No, I most definitely did not. 🙂

So, in honor of the start of summer, and the many celebrations that it brings, I’m here to offer you a little trick to get back on track when you need to jumpstart your healthy eating routine.


MY GO-TO GREEN JUICE RECIPE

This recipe makes about 1L of fresh green juice that can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

* One strainer full of organic power greens–I buy the big bag below from Costco

* One organic apple, sliced. 

* About 15 large, organic carrots. I also buy the large bag from Costco

* 2 slivers of ginger. Ginger is potent (and oh so good for you!), so adjust it to your taste!

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I clean all the fruits and veggies with a combo of vinegar and water that I keep in a glass, amber, spray bottle on the kitchen sink. This is such an affordable and effective fruit and vegetable spray. Just say yes to DIY! I usually wash the greens first so that they can drain while I wash the carrots and chop up the apple. I store my ginger in the freezer (already pre-washed and pre-cut), which makes it really easy to grab it for juicing, or for making my yummy anti-inflammatory tea as well!

I’ve had my juicer for 3 years now, and I absolutely love it. I use the Omega J8006 Juicer, and I bought it from Amazon. Feel free to click the link above if you’re interested in buying one! It’s definitely an investment, but I’m telling you honestly, I can’t imagine my life without it. Paying for someone else to make your juice at a juice bar is super expensive if you’re a regular juice drinker, and buying a juicer is a decision to invest in your health. The benefits of cold pressed juicing are immense.


FACTS

* Juice is more rapidly absorbed by the body because it lacks fiber and does not need to go through the typical digestion process. 

* Like I said, juice lacks fiber. Fiber is important for elimination, and shouldn’t be avoided for an extended period of time. 

* Juicing allows you to ingest large amounts of nutrients in one serving. It would be hard to eat that much lettuce, or that many carrots, in one sitting because of the fiber. You’d be full! But juicing gives you all the same nutrients you’d get if you did eat that many fruits and veggies at once! 

* Juice helps create an alkaline environment in the body, which may help prevent cancer. 

* Juice provides concentrated phytonutrients that help combat free radicals, enhance the immune system, and aide in cleansing the liver and kidneys. 

* It’s best to drink juice immediately after juicing. Once juiced, the oxidation process begins, but will happen more quickly for juicers that use heat. It’s best to use a centrifugal or masticating juicer in order to preserve the enzymes present in the fruits and veggies.

* If you’d like to store your juice, do so in a glass container, like a mason jar, seal it tightly, and refrigerate it immediately. Juice can only last for 72 hours in the fridge, no more. 


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This is a masticating juicer, which preserves all of the enzymes of the fruits and vegetables (since masticating breaks down the food the same way you chew), allowing you to drink up all the amazing benefits! It’s easy to clean, and there aren’t too many parts–which I think is super important. After you’ve spent the time and energy to juice, who wants to spend forever cleaning? Not me.


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Even if you’re not interested in buying a juicer of your own, there are many great juice bars/grocery stores out there where you can buy organic, fresh juice. Just try to pick a flavor with more greens or vegetables than fruits, so you’re not just drinking a glass of sugar.

After some heavy indulging, I like to let my digestive system rest and have a chance to catch up. The next morning I’d get back to my exercise routine–go to the gym, or go for a run–and replace breakfast with a nice, big glass of juice. I’d make some quinoa in the rice cooker (enough to store for a few days), and I’d go about my regular routine. Lunch would be my biggest meal, I’d have quinoa and veggies with eggs, or a big salad with quinoa, beans, and nuts. I’d have some fruit for a snack, and I’d avoid animal protein, (aside from the eggs). I’d have a light dinner, and all day I’d be drinking lots of water, and maybe a glass or two of my anti-inflammatory tea!

By the next day, I’d feel like I’m back on track, and I’d go back to eating normally!

If you have any health or dietary restrictions please consult with your healthcare professional before drastically altering your regular routine.

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I wish you an amazing start to your summer! Bottoms up!

XOXO ~Michelle~

beat belly bloat – AND FIGHT INFLAMMATION

beat belly bloat – AND FIGHT INFLAMMATION

We’ve all been there–had one too many bites at dinner, and now we’re unbuttoning our pants to make room for our bellies. Maybe this leads to heart burn. Maybe not. But either way, we’re uncomfortable. Nobody likes that feeling.

What we eat has a direct impact on how we feel, and how our bodies function. Some foods increase inflammation throughout the entire body–like typical processed junk foods high in salt, sugar, and bad fats. Other foods naturally assist in decreasing systemic inflammation. The more of these anti-inflammatory foods we can eat, the better we will feel, and the more energy we will have!


FACTS

* Citrus fruits–like lemon–decrease inflammation and help to balance the body’s pH level.

* Ginger has been used as a natural anti-inflammatory agent for centuries. It has been shown to alleviate pain by decreasing inflammation.

* Ginger combats nausea (including morning sickness), and improves absorption of nutrients by stimulating the release of digestive enzymes (which also helps with elimination).

* Ginger and honey are commonly used as natural cold remedies.

* Honey has antimicrobial properties which help to fight infection.

* Honey has been shown to suppress a cough more effectively than over the counter cough medicines.


I make this lemon, ginger, honey tea very regularly–nearly everyday. I love the way it tastes. It feels very soothing, not just for my body, but for my soul. I feel like I’m taking care of myself every time I make it, and the five minutes it takes to drink it are my time to just unplug, unwind, and recharge in an otherwise busy day.

I store my ginger in a plastic bag in the freezer. I just buy a large piece of ginger, wash it well, then cut it up into approximately quarter size pieces, pop them into a freezer bag, and freeze them! I’ll use the ginger for juicing too, and it’s so nice to have it ready to go. If you have the time to peel the ginger, it will prevent the skin from flaking off into your tea once it hits the hot water. I don’t really mind it, but if you do, then peel the ginger first.


RECIPE

* One quarter sized piece of ginger (fresh or frozen)

* One or two slices of lemon

* 1/2 – 1 tablespoon of organic, raw honey. (If my sweet tooth needs some attention I go for the full tablespoon)

* Enough hot water to fill your cup!

I leave the ginger in the cup the whole time I’m drinking it, but I normally just squeeze the lemon juice into the cup and then toss the wedges. There’s no right or wrong way, it’s totally up to you! One requirement is, you must lick the honey spoon!! I know I always do. 

Sidenote: 

Sometimes I’ll just put a bit of honey on a spoon midday to curb a sugar craving. 🙂 If you enjoy honey, I highly recommend this.


There are many, many foods that help to fight inflammation, but this is just one of the everyday things I do!

Do you have any favorite inflammation fighting recipes?

Have an amazing day!

XOXO ~Michelle~

insider tips: SIGHTSEEING – Paris

insider tips: SIGHTSEEING – Paris

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So, you’ve spent an entire day inside the Louvre, a half-day at Musée d’Orsay, and you’ve walked around the Jardin de Tuileries. You’ve waited in line to take a peak inside the beauty that is Notre-Dame, and you’ve most definitely picnicked in front of the eiffel tower. You’ve seen the catacombs and Sacré-Coeur, and you may have enjoyed a show at the Moulin Rouge. You’ve eaten baguette, croissant, and pastries to your heart’s content (for now!). So what next? Here’s one insider tip for you my fellow traveler.

 

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The Promenade Plantée, also known as Coulée Verte René-Dumont, is a 4.7 km (2.9 mile), elevated garden/walkway in the 12th district of Paris. Resting 10 meters above the busy streets, atop the remnants of the Vincennes railway tracks, it would be easy to miss this hidden gem if you didn’t know to look for it!

Gratefully, my husband lives within walking distance, so I came here for a run and some outdoor exercise on my recent trip. For a step-by-step video of that workout routine, click here!

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I am beyond blessed to have been introduced to this beautiful greenbelt on my very first trip to France. I make it a point to go for a run on the promenade every time I visit. In a city filled with so many people, it’s a luxury to feel the solitude you experience while walking through this park. This was my first time seeing the city during springtime, and this garden has never been more beautiful! My heart was so happy being up there with all the flowers and greenery, like cherry trees, lavender, rose bushes, and those cute little white flowers I don’t know the name of.

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The promenade is just east of the Opéra Bastille, and runs parallel to the avenue Daumesnil. It sits atop the Viaduc des Arts, which is a row of very nice art studios and boutique shops. I’ll often finish my run on street-level just to peak inside the windows and catch a glimpse of artists, or some of their unique work!

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Jardin (garden) de Reuilly-Paul-Pernin intersects the promenade. My first summer in France, I caught a ton of local Parisians sunbathing there.

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#couplegoals

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This is where you enter, near the Opéra Bastille. There’s also elevator access!

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FUN FACTS

(Fun for me because I’m a nerd. Possibly boring for you if history isn’t your thing, so feel free to keep scrolling!)

  • It was the first rail-to-trail park constructed in an urban area. The next being New York City’s High Line in 2009!
  • Designed by landscape architect Jacques Vergely and architect Phillipe Mathieux, the Promenade Plantée was inaugurated in 1993 as part of then-president Mitterrand’s ongoing Grands Projets. The projets included the Louvre pyramid, and the Opéra Bastille.
  • The eastern portion is reserved for pedestrians. The western portion is open to cyclists and those on foot! If you’re a cyclist or rollerblader, hit that sh*t up!
  • The Vincennes railway line began in 1859 and closed in 1969.
  • More elevated gardens will be popping up all around the world: London, Washington DC, Toronto, and Rotterdam.

Future travel destinations? I think so!


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Traveling can be exhausting. You’re trying to do so much in such a short period of time. You’re balancing personalities, and preferences. You’re outside your comfort zone. I love all that. So much. But that doesn’t mean I don’t need a break from it for like an hour. Exercise does that for me. It’s my me time. I cherish it.

So if you need a respite from the insanity, come up here alone, take a walk or a jog, or just sit with your favorite treat and zone out.

And if alone time isn’t your thing, bring your travel companions and experience this spot together! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


Would you want to go here? Or did you already know about it? Feel free to comment below!

Have an amazing day!

XOXO ~Michelle~