IN PRAISE OF ACV

"Apple cider vinegar is one of those things people think can do anything" my friend Doran said. BLOG POST LIGHT BULB! So much to talk about and also such fall vibes. It is true, akin to coconut oil, what cant ACV be used for?! 

Apple cider vinegar benifits

My OG purchase of ACV was actually not for any of the wellness benefits listed below but for FRUIT FLIES. I never had this problem back in Massachusetts, but everywhere I have lived in Austin I have had a horrible fruit fly ish. One way to deal with fruitflies is trapping them in a bottle with some apple cider vinegar. 

The list of health benefits from consuming apple cider vinegar is virtually endless and broad af. 

  • helps with joint pain, neck pain and arthritis with anti-inflammatory properties
  • regulates blood pressure
  • assists in getting deeper sleep
  • lowers cholesterol
  • clears sinus infections and allergies because of it's high level of potassium
  • enzymes aid in metabolism and digestion
  • helps you stay full longer
  • curves sugar cravings
  • help constipation
  • reduces acid reflux (I found this ironic I would have speculated it would cause acid reflux!)
  • helps your body absorb more nutrients from food

As if that was not enough, ACV can be used externally as well!

  • use as toner on to relieve eczema and redness
  • treat sunburn
  • treat bug bites
  • eliminate body odor

wowowow.

Apple cider vinegar benefits

 

How do I consume ACV you ask?

Do not drink this strait unless you enjoy the feeling of tossing back vodka shots. For those who are hard core you can dilute with just water, maybe even add a squeeze of lemon juice. I like to drink it in some hot tea with lemon. Although to be honest, I do not despise the bitter taste, something about the heat makes it less overpowering. If you are turned off by the taste but want to reap the benefits, try drinking with a straw to bypass your taste buds. 

One night this summer I was attending a cookout party and my body was telling me that alcohol was not what it wanted that night. I wanted to bring myself a beverage to keep myself from getting fomo. Naturally I turned to ACV because it honestly tastes like a cocktail. I mixed a little bit of juice, some sparkling water, ACV, and lemon juice to make what I thought was a delicious mocktail.  Some of my friends thought this was very strange but I stand by it!

 

ACV is also a great ingredient in salad dressings. 

Here is a recipe for cilantro lime quinoa salad that looks amazing!

Very refreshing veggie salad recipe here

This is really fun - next time your at Target they sell a beverage by Suja literally called "Drinking Vinegar." I have tried it and absolutely loved it. The taste resembles kombucha but less carbonated. It would not be economical to get in the habit of drinking these pre-made ACV drinks but would be a great place to try it before buying the bottle to make it yourself! 

What kind of ACV do I buy?

When buying ACV there are two key terms to look for; "unfiltered" and "unpasteurized." Unfiltered means that the good bacteria was not removed from the liquid and unpasteurized means that it was not heated to kill any bacteria. The good stuff will look a little murky with some bacteria floating around like in kombucha. Don't be put off by this its the beneficial part! 

 

Fine Print

* I would not recommend consuming ACV on a completely empty stomach. Even though ACV brings good things to your stomach, your body will definitely feel the ACV if its the only thing in there. 

* Another piece of irony - properties of ACV strengthens bones and teeth however too much ACV touching your teeth is not good due to its high acidity. Try using a straw! 

 

Hate the taste? Try a ACV bath!!

I probably have not taken a bath since I was a toddler. That is until recently. I've always felt a little turned off by baths who knows what bacteria is in my tub. But I was really craving the relaxation this month and decided to give it a try. And let me tell you, I wish I came up with this sooner! All my stress melted away down the drain. A funny habit ive gotten into is reading my textbook for class in the tub haha. I find that I lose focus when I'm reading on dry land.... but submerged in hot water there is no where else I need to be. 

That was a tangent but a good introduction to the idea to put ACV in the tub!  Just add 1 - 2 cups to the bath water and soak away. As mentioned above this will reduce redness, itchyness, make you smell natural and amazing, and even make your skin and hair super smooth! Lana Pinchasov, a Dermatology PA in NYC claims “I’ve been using apple cider vinegar off-label to treat warts and fight bacterial infections—as well as combat yeast infections on the skin and scalp—for years.” If your not up for being fully submerged in ACV water she says she has her patients apply some with a cotton ball to areas of interest. I officially took my first ACV bath last night and I am here to say that I endorse this. My skin feels silky smooth! I already have a kitchen and a bathroom jar of coconut oil,  I guess i need some ACV in my bathroom now too! 

Apple cider vinegar benifits

Apple cider vinegar beauty products to check out: 

 

 

 

{FITNESS FAVE} THE MEGAFORMER

 
pilates reformer group fitness class at pure pilates

Group fitness classes have become a huge part of my life this past year. I often went to yoga classes downtown but found that a monthly membership to a single studio was too expensive for the amount of times I wanted to go to yoga a month. I wanted more variety so I decided to try a membership to ClassPass. If you have not heard of ClassPass it is an app where you pay a monthly membership to have access to hundreds of different fitness classes in your area with studios in over 30 cities across the country. There are different packages but the one I do is 10 total classes per month a any studio I want. The only catch is that you can not attend the same class more than 3 times within each month. But this has never been a problem for me, there are so many studios I love going to. I usually go to a mix of yoga, pilates, and barre classes each month. I love that I can decide what kind of workout my body needs in the moment and not have to pay for multiple gym memberships. Also the best part is that the cost of a ClassPass membership is significantly less than an membership to any of the studios I attend regularly. I now have about 6 studios I am faithful to, but I have been to more than I can count around the Austin! 

I've never been able to stick with a habit of going to a gym. Everyone has a different type of exercise that works best for them! For me, I like the structure of a group fitness class and that it forces me to keep pushing myself for the full duration. I hope to start sharing more about my favorite fitness classes with you. I'll start with a pilates class at Pure Pilates Austin that uses "megaformer" machines. Workouts on these resistance machines have sprouted up all over the U.S. in the last ten years. They became popular because of their high intensity yet low impact nature. (Clarification: not all pilates classes use machines like this, others I have attended simply take place on a yoga mat with weights!). 

 

Michelle Obama and Kim Kardashian, two of my fave ladies, are mega fans of the Megaformer!

 

This Pilates studio is right down the street from my apartment. Confession #1: I passed people working out on these machines everyday for over two years and was so intimidated. It took me so long to work up the courage to actually try it even though my intrigue was always strong. I will never forget the first day I went to a class. I had been going to regular pilates classes for months now and felt like I was finally in good enough shape to take on the scary machines. Confession #2: my body shook the entire class and I sweat more than I sweat in hot yoga! Confession #3: I FELL IN LOVE

Yes, this class was one of the most challenging workout classes I have ever attended but the pace was slow and relaxing and the way my body felt after was so rewarding. Also its only 45 minutes! Express lane to getting swole?! The feeling of being "good" sore the next day is addicting, it makes me feel like the time I took to workout was worth it! My fave workout buddy Jayme has also gotten hooked on the megaformer. "I think the megaformer is a great combination of a lot of different workouts but more effective! I always leave class feeling like I really worked my entire body and gained strength. It's the most toned I've ever felt!" Jayme told me when I mentioned that I was going to post about megaformers

Pure Pilates shares on their website "Building on the foundations of traditional pilates, Pure Pilates Austin incorporates strength training and cardio-intervals to maximize your workout and make those muscles burn. By integrating the key elements of resistance and counter-resistance, a unique dynamic occurs whereby clients are able to encourage maximum muscle exertion in an exhilarating, yet, low-impact environment. Many clients have experienced increased body awareness and improved muscle stabilization." 

The moral of my story is - if you are intimated by megaformers like I was (the name alone is scary).... don't be! It's like a more creative way to lift weights! And getting to slide around on the carriage is fun!   

 photocred: pure pilates austin

photocred: pure pilates austin

Holy Basil + Other "Magic" Potions

 
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I am about to let you in on one of my biggest anti-stress secrets, brace yourselves. It all began few summers ago when I was hit with a brutal case of Mono. If any of you have ever had Mono you will feel me on this one - the world stops and you are in a dark place for longer than socially acceptable. I was taking Tylenol for over two weeks straight trying to get my fever to subside. Eventually one of my mom's co-workers convinced us that I needed to try "Tulsi" drops which I later learned was also known as "Holy Basil." We were both very skeptical but I was desperate to feel at least a little better. Now, call this magic, but after I started putting a few drops of Holy Basil in my water twice a day my Mono virtually disappeared. I did not even have the typical long recovery and or added fatigue. This was my first experience using adaptogens and my love for them has only grown. I learned that fevers and colds are not the only thing that Holy Basil can combat. It is actually something you can take on a daily basis even in good health to reduce any stress you may have, or even headaches. Let me tell you why Holy basil has become an important staple in my daily routine. 

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I will start by explaining exactly what an adaptogen is. Gaia Herbs CEO and founder, Ric Scalzo, describes them as "a class of herbs and mushrooms that offer heavy-duty support for the body’s natural resistance to 'adverse influences.' They may seem knew to the healthy trend scene, but they have been around for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. They work by assisting your adrenals, the home to your hormone glands, to find balance. They are generally used as a healthy and natural way to help reduce stress and anxiety. The name adaptogens stems from the notion that they help your body "adapt" to situations. They can be taken in liquid form called "tinkturs" (this is my favorite, it adds to the feeling of magic potion), capsuls, or powder to be used in smoothies or cooking. Some adaptogens you may have heard of are maca powder (often in smoothies), ginseng, licorice root, cinnamon, and turmeric. I am no expert in this field by any means, I am only here to tell you about my experience and review of the adaptogens I incorporate into my life. 

Although the anti-stress benefits I have experienced when drinking Holy Basil each morning feel like magic, there is actually a science behind it! It helps your body combat the physical response to the emotion of stress at the hormonal level. Whether I am going through a very overwhelming time or a typical day I see a noticeable difference in my calmness with Holy Basil.  It makes me happier and more open minded. I put 5-10 drops in my water each morning and occasionally take days off. It is safe and natural, it is really just a concentrated liquid form of strand of basil leaf. 

There's a new member to my daily herbal routine, ashwaganda! I love to say "ashwaganda!" This one has become even more popular in the health world lately. It has very similar benefits to Holy Basil, stress management being high on the list. It is also said to increase energy and productive sleep. 

These can usually be found in the nutrition aisle of your grocery store. If you have not ever thought about herbal supplements before this may seem a little out there. Feel free to comment or message me if you have any more questions about my experience. I would also love to hear if you have any other favorite adaptogens! 

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{TREND TALK} WHAT IS AYURVEDA?

 
Ayurveda Kitchari Bowl

You know that phenomenon where once you learn about something new you start to see it everywhere? That happened to me with "Ayurveda" this summer. I had never heard of it and now I feel as though Ayurveda is haunting me - in a good way. 

I am still a newbie to the world of Ayurveda but I am going to do my best to explain some of what I have learned so far. It is often identified as a diet, but it is more so a way of living intentionally under the idea that our mind and body are completely interconnected. Ayurveda is a holistic life science (Ayur = life, Veda = science or knowledge). Meditation, yoga, eating with intention, and sleeping habits are all important to an Ayurvedic lifestyle.

As far as diet goes, Ayurvedic meals are all plant-based and aim to incorporate all 6 rasas, or tastes; sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent. Having these tastes in combination is said to help balance your digestion and eliminate feelings of bloating or hunger. There are three different doshas, or body / personality types (1. pitta 2. kapha 3. vatta). Depending on your dosha, you need different flavors to balance your digestion. I like this notion that we all have different bodies so different "healthy foods" are healthier for different people. I know it would be a major jump to start eating every meal with this in mind. As much as I am fascinated by Ayurveda I am not ready to fully commit, instead I have been trying to embody things I have learned about the practice. One way to incorporate some Ayurvedic practices into your meal is to add ingredients that have health benifits that you wouldn't normally get in your diet such as turmeric! This is a very common ingredient in Ayurvedic recipes... we all know I love turmeric! Other Ayurvedic practices to consider when eating include sitting upright, chewing slowly, and being mindful of when you are hungry. 

There are so many more layers of things to learn about Ayurveda, this website is a good place to start. 

 photo credit:  eatcurcuma

photo credit: eatcurcuma

I recently had lunch at the food truck in Austin, TX called Curcuma. Curcuma has an Ayurvedic inspired menu. "Our tag line 'Food with Intention' represents a commitment to choosing the best option on sourcing ingredients, and crafting each menu item. With a balance of flavors and health benefits, every sip and bite is not only delicious but also nourishing and consciously sourced."  - Curcuma

I ordered the kitchari bowl (photographed above): Warm quinoa & mung bean topped with massaged organic spinach, avocado, pickled onion, ginger chutney, crispy chickpeas & turmeric tahini dressing. It was a very new flavor pallet and I liked that about it! Maybe because of the combination of so many rasas! It really was a lot of food but I left feeling perfectly satisfied and comfortable.

6 Ayurvedic rasas. Combine 6 flavors for smooth digestion. Ayurveda chart.

{TREND TALK} WHAT IS HYGGE?

 

What is Hygge?? Home Decor v. Lifestyle

 

You may have seen the trend on pinterest lately about "hygge" in the home. If you don't know, hygge, pronounced  "hue-gah," is a danish word that describes a feeling of comfort that is cozy and special. Hygge can be found alone, or surrounded by good company. An important quality of hygge is being present in the moment. This concept is exploding in the U.S. right now with the wave of mindfulness and meditation. I find it so fascinating to come across words in other languages that take a while to explain in English because we do not have a direct translation. If you want to learn even more about living "hygge" the following book is a really great place to start. 

A blog post I read recently describes "Hygge is the outcome of the political, educational and social climate in Denmark. It is part of who they are. Danes aren’t hustling or striving or performing. They are just enjoying the simple things because everyone is on a very level plane in terms of their socioeconomic status." 

There is some debate over hygge lately. The fear is that the word "hygge" is becoming synonymous with imagery of fuzzy white blankets, twinkle lights, candles and tea. This Scandinavian inspired home decor is starting to embody the whole concept. 

 

Hygge is not just an aesthetic of home decor, it is a way of thinking and being.

 

Now, the warm fuzzy home decor comes in to the picture because the things you surround yourself with play a major role in feeling comfortable and content. As a designer, I find utmost importance in the correlation between visuals and senses. However, in an effort to fully explain the original Danish use of the word, I want to reiterate how important it is that you can't buy hygge, you can't photograph hygge, it is a way of feeling.

I am clearly on the bandwagon of the white fuzzy blanket + candle + tea because those are things that help me slow down and enjoy where I physically am in the present. If bright red walls, florescent light and cold glass of OJ make you feel content in the moment in a physical place - that's hygge too! 

Okay - I'm about to add another layer to the definition of hygge (how crazy is this word?!) A major source of comfort from hygge in Denmark often comes from the feeling of entertaining and welcoming people into your home. This episode of The Simple Show Podcast does a good job explaining this idea. “The art of creating intimacy” is another way to define hygge. So when applying this concept to entertaining, the idea is to feel surrounded by people who care about each other and provide ways for guests to feel comfortable in your home. You can do this by simply pouring them a drink, serving warm cookies, ~or~ perhaps providing guests with slippers!

 

Hygge-ify your home with these! (Remember to only buy home decor that you love and appreciate!)

 

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DAY JOURNAL

 

Keeping a "Highlights of the Day" journal is one of the most important things I do to feel content. I contribute so much of my positivity to this habit that only takes five minutes a day. This is my OG bullet journal. 


The tradition started back when I spent my summers at a girls sleep-away camp in Massachusetts called Chimney Corners. Every night before going to bed we sat around in a circle on the floor of our cabin around a single candle. This was a time to calm down from all of the days activities and reflect on everything we did. We would go around in a circle and share the highlight of our day with our cabin-mates. Its so easy to forget most of the things that happen in a day because we get so busy with so many things and start looking forward to tomorrow. 

I find that negative thoughts, exhaustion, and stress surface at the end of the day and it is so easy for me to think I didn't have a great day. But I have never sat down to write my highlight of the day and not been able to think of something. Sometimes the smallest interactions make me feel so fulfilled. 


I have tried journaling or keeping a diary so many times in my life but that habit has never stuck. I have been keeping a highlights journal for 7 years now! Of course I miss a days here and there but its hard to get myself to do it when I know I'm only committing to writing one or two bullet points when I pick up my pen. Prior to this my journals were usually long rants when I was really upset about something and then a month of no journaling in between. I think the magic of a highlights journal is that its just highs, no lows, I can write about my lows elsewhere. I love flipping back through my highlights and smiling about little things all over again that I forgot had happened. 

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If your like me, you are always on the hunt for the perfect pen. This is my current favorite, it has the perfect amount of juice and has a ridiculously fine tip 0.25 to be exact. 

THE POWER OF GOLDEN MILK

 

Turmeric is a spice that has been used in cooking and medicine for thousands of years in India and Ayurveda. This may be * t m i * but I recently had an infected cyst on my back. It had been swollen, red, and sore for a few weeks. I was casually reading about the countless benefits of turmeric when I came across a claim that the spice's ant-inflammatory properties help with infections. I had been meaning to try making my own golden milk, this seemed like the perfect time. I was't sure if I believed that drinking golden milk would completely cure me but hoped that it may help. Well, call this a coincidence, but after a few days of making this turmeric recipe each day the pain and swelling went away! The cyst is still there but I am so much more comfortable without the infection.

I take it most of you are not also dealing with an infected cyst, however the amount of benefits turmeric has are astounding. But in all honesty, my most important take away from this little experiment of mine was that golden milk is SO GOOD!!!!! I have been loving this new twist on a warm cup of tea, especially when I don't necessarily feel like I need caffeine.

ingredients:

  • water{1/2 cup}
  • unsweetened coconut or almond milk {1 cup}
  • turmeric {1 tbsp}
  • cinnamon {1 tbsp}
  • vanilla {1 tsp}
  • ground black pepper {1/4 tsp}
  • coconut oil {1 tsp} *optional

directions:

  1. Heat water in a kettle, microwave, or stove.
  2. Stir in turmeric, cinnamon, vanilla, pepper, and coconut oil until thoroughly dissolved.
  3. Pour your choice of milk into the mixture.  (you may heat the milk as well. I find if I am going to drink my golden milk right away the cold milk cools the hot water to the perfect temperature!)

Because turmeric is digested quickly, the body does not absorb all of the antioxidants and benefits that are available. Studies show that eating turmeric in combination with black pepper aids the absorption process.

Read about other benefits  of turmeric including cancer prevention and  improving brain function here ⟶ 

Other mouth - watering recipes using turmeric:

ginger turmeric vanilla cookies
turmeric cauliflower soup
golden pancakes
pineapple tofu kebabs
mango ginger turmeric smoothie