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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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~