Warm Lemon Water

warm-lemon-water

My friends know my morning ritual. No matter where I am or how busy things become, I get in the morning, do a couple sun salutations and drink warm lemon water, workout and have breakfast.  I love lemons and always have tons of lemons in my fridge. I use them for cooking, warm lemon water, and even in DIY beauty recipes.

I’ve been drinking warm lemon water a few years and it’s one of the best habits I’ve incorporated.  It is a great and healthy way to start the day, and it makes me feel good to do something for myself. Some people may be skeptical of its benefits, but several of my friends and clients have also started drinking warm lemon water and rave about its benefits.  And when they do, I bite my tongue down to refrain from saying “I told you so!”

How to drink warm lemon water

  1. Ideally, warm lemon water should be consumed in the morning, after brushing your teeth, on an empty stomach to maximize its benefits.
  2. Water should be slightly warmer than room temperature, but not boiling hot. Hot water is not ideal because it can kill the enzymes in the lemons.
  3. Juice at least 1/3 lemon in 16oz of warm water. If 16oz feels like too much, start with 8oz and work your way up.
  4. Usually, I drink to drink plain warm lemon water, but you can also try to add a pinch of cayenne or fresh grated ginger.
  5. When traveling you can pack a few lemons in your luggage or you can order warm lemon water at a restaurant when dining out.

Benefits of Warm Lemon Water

  • Hydrates – After sleeping for 7-8 hours, the body can become dehydrated from a lack of water. Warm lemon water hydrates and rejuvenates the body. In contrast, drinking coffee on an empty stomach further dehydrates because it has a diuretic effect. If you want to consume coffee, you can still do it by drinking water lemon water first, and then having coffee.
  • Warms – Warm lemon water instantly warms the body and has a calming effect.
  • Detoxes – Warm lemon water detoxes the liver, kidneys and other internal organs, improves digestion, and leads to a stronger immune system and clearer and brighter skin.
  • Alkalizes – Although lemon juice is acidic, once it enters the body, it has an alkalizing effect. An alkaline system may also be less susceptible to disease and illness than an acidic system.

So, the next time life hands you lemons, ask for more because you will need them for warm lemon water!

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All About That Pit

deo

 

I am always looking for fun and interesting ways to live a healthier and cleaner lifestyle. I am not just talking about food and drinks, but also personal care, cleaning and beauty products. I love trying and making new things, and this DIY deodorant is one of my favorites!

You may have heard about the dangers of aluminum in deodorants (or heard that it is all hype). From everything I’ve seen and read, I don’t have enough information to conclude with any level of certainty whether it is dangerous or safe or somewhere in between. Certainly, there are a myriad of other questionable ingredients (i.e., parabens, phthalates and triclosan) used in commercial deodorants that have come under scrutiny lately.

I do believe that human beings are meant to sweat. Sweating releases toxins and blocking toxins from being released in any way (chemically or manually) is probably not healthy. Thus, antiperspirants cause me to raise an eyebrow. Odor is caused not by the sweat itself, but by the accumulation of bacteria metabolizing sweat emitted from sweat glands. Different types of foods, illness, or even long periods of stress will result in different types of odors.

I also believe that it is better to be safe than sorry, and so I looked around for alternatives. I’ve tried natural deodorants, spray deodorants, and crystal deodorants. If you’re curious, take a look at: http://wellandgood.com/2015/01/27/7-effective-natural-deodorants/

Eventually, I came upon a recipe for a natural deodorant and tweaked it to my liking. It works better than any natural or unnatural deodorant that I’ve ever tried. My friends ask me for samples and they love it too. The best part is that it is very gentle and makes my skin unbelievably soft and smooth. You can even use it on your feet if needed.

This recipe uses coconut oil, which is antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial and helps prevent the buildup of bacteria and, thus, naturally reduce odor. Baking soda, cornstarch and arrowroot powder help absorb moisture without blocking toxins, and the tea-tree oil helps disinfect and also smells great. A 2 oz batch will last me a couple months. It does require reapplication before and after working out, but it does the trick.

Try it and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 tbsp organic extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1.5 tbsp raw organic shea butter
  • 1 tbsp organic arrowroot powder
  • 1 tbsp organic cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 3-5 drops tea tree oil
  • 3-5 drops lavender essential oil

Directions:

  1. Melt coconut oil and shea butter together in a double boiler (you can use a small glass bowl in a larger saucepan filled with water on low heat).
  2. Mix the rest of the ingredients in until it forms a smooth paste and pour into a glass jar.
  3. Allow the mixture to cool or harden in the fridge if a more solid texture is desired.
  4. To use, apply a small amount underarms as needed.

Motivation

Motivation

Workout motivation, or as I would call it: gym-tivation, is tough to come by if you are overwhelmed with responsibilities, sleep-deprived or are just bored out of your mind.

After skipping the gym for days, I had a great workout today. Here are some tips to motivate yourself to move (indoors or outdoors):

  1. Sleep.  When I lack sleep, I can’t exercise as well, and when I don’t exercise, I don’t sleep well (bad cycle).  Break out of this pattern by ensuring you get a good night’s rest.
  2. Look the part.  Never underestimate the power of cute workout clothes and accessories.  I am not saying that you must shell out a fortune, but wear something that is comfortable and makes you look good.  When you look good, you will feel good and motivated.  Set out your clothes, shoes and accessories the night before so that they are within your line of sight as soon as you are ready to workout. Even if you don’t feel like working out, put on your workout clothes anyway.  As long as you’re dressed for the part, you are more likely to exercise.
  3. Warm up.  Have some green tea and relax before the workout.  Breathe deeply.  Listen to upbeat music and do some stretches.
  4. Have fun.  Find out what you enjoy to do physically (run, dance, jump, jog, yoga, pull, push).  Take a new class that you had been curious about and try something new.
  5. Do something (anything).  If you are just not feeling it, give yourself some measure or goal to reach.  For example, aim to stay on the treadmill for X minutes, run at least Y miles, or until you burn Z amount of calories.   Even a short workout is better than none.  Reaching an attainable goal will make you feel more productive and more likely to exercise again.  For when you feel really exhausted, try something relaxing like yoga.
  6. Music.  I love listening to music when working out. It’s my chance to disconnect from the world, social media, all sorts of nagging thoughts about what I need to get done, and just enjoy my alone time.  Depending on my mood, my workout repertoire can be either upbeat or relaxing.
  7. Get support.  A gym buddy can either help or detract.  I tend to workout best alone, but I also keep promises I make to other people.  So when I really need motivation to exercise, I ask a friend to join me to go for a walk or take a new class.
  8. Schedule.  Put it in your schedule / day planner.  Not only will it be a good reminder, but when you schedule something, you can visualize what your day looks like and what type of workout fits in with the rest of the day’s activities.  On a similar note, sometimes, scheduled classes offered at gyms or studios help me stay on track.
  9. Make it a habit.  It becomes easier to do something if you make it habit.  You don’t need motivation to brush your teeth in the morning or take a shower, do you?  It’s because those activities have been so ingrained that you don’t question whether you should do them. For tips on how to change or form new habits, see Changing Habits.
  10. Rest.  The frequency and intensity of your workout sessions will depend on your schedule, personality and body.  However, everyone needs some rest.  Allow yourself at least one or two rest days each week to give your body a chance to heal and become stronger.

What’s your gym-tivation?

Neti-Pots

Why You Should (and How To) Use a Neti Pot

Neti

When I first saw my mom’s yoga teacher use a neti-pot, I thought “Eww, gross, I am NEVER doing that!  Who puts water up the nose?”

Fast forward several years.  I now use a neti-pot regularly – usually every Sunday before I drink hot lemon water and sometimes mid-week, as needed.  While the actual process isn’t the most pleasurable (at least not for me), I breathe noticeably easier immediately after and (maybe I am just imagining it) my nose looks slimmer after all the gunk is out.  When I skip a week, I can see and feel a change.  The process becomes more comfortable if done regularly.

Narcissism aside, using a neti-pot has several benefits, including relief from nasal and sinus congestion without the use of drugs.  This is especially beneficial for those suffering from seasonal allergies.  It is also relatively easy to incorporate in your weekly routine and is inexpensive (neti-pots range from $10 to $30).

Using a neti-pot is very simple (once you get the hang of it) and its benefits are tremendous (and this comes from a person who thought “eww, no way” the first time she heard of it).  It’s best done at least once a week, or more as needed.

Here is what you do:

  1. Clear your nose out as much as possible before using the neti-pot.
  2. Dissolve about ¼ teaspoon salt in lukewarm water in the neti-pot.
  3. Lean your head forward over the sink, with your chin slightly down toward your chest.  Insert the neti-pot spout at the entrance of your right nostril.  The positioning is different for each person, so experiment to see what works for you.
  4. Tilt your head to the left until water starts pouring into the nostril from the neti-pot.  Keep your mouth open and breathe through your mouth (don’t inhale through your nose).  Allow the water to pour in between your nasal passage and drain out the other nostril, taking out any excess mucus and gunk.  It may feel a bit funny (it tickles the back of my throat), but continue on until you have drained the pot.
  5. Blow out any excess water.
  6. Repeat the process with fresh water and salt for the other nostril.
  7. Use a mild soap and warm water to clean the Neti-pot, and let it air-dry.

More Tips:

  • Use warm boiled and distilled water.
  • Use sea salt or a salt designed for use in a neti-pot.
  • After using the neti-pot, insert a few drops of sesame oil or coconut oil inside the nostril to moisturize.  Dabbing a Q-tip with oil and using it to coat the inside of your nostrils works well.

If it doesn’t work the first time (and it didn’t for me), don’t give up.  Practice again until it feels comfortable.  Try and let me know how it goes!