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The National Institute of Health reports that 70 million people, about a ¼ of us, suffer from digestive disorders; ranging from bloating, gas, heartburn, nausea, diarrhea and constipation, to name a few. And feeling discomfort isn’t the only consequence of an angry stomach: a growing legion of experts, alternative and mainstream practitioners alike, agree that there is a connection between what happens inside our gut and what goes on throughout the rest of our bodies.

Researcher shows the poor gut health is linked to the like of allergies, arthritis, autoimmune disease and mood disorders; further confirming that a healthy gut leads to a healthier outlook on life. Our stomachs are a phenomenal indicator of what is occurring within; whether we experience gurgles or gas, stomach upsets typically signal a problem linked to bacteria, stress or even our favorite foods.

A healthy gut is cultivated from birth, when the digestive system immediately fills with trillions of bacteria; so much in fact, that digestive bacteria outnumber our body cells by 10 to 1. Sadly, many of us struggle to maintain a healthy balance of flora from an early age. With the typical North American diet being low in fiber and high in processed, sugary foods; it is no wonder why many of us have digestive systems that lack equilibrium. Even those among us who prioritize a clean lifestyle, can be doing much harm by overusing medications; certain antibiotics, anti inflammatory and acid blocking drugs can impeded normal digestive function.

You would be surprised to know that exposure to germs, in fact, strengthens a developed immune system and fills the gut with beneficial bacteria. Over use of antibiotics can be harmful to health because they destroy not only the bad bacteria in the body, but the good stuff too.

And for women who find themselves wound up on more than one occasion, take heed; there is a nervous system in our bowels that works independently of our brains and has been dubbed the second brain; so research is beginning to suggest that stress upsets our stomach and an upset gut is likely to cause depression as the brain is to cause IBS. One of the reasons anti-depressants that maintain serotonin levels incite GI problems because 95% of serotonin in the body is found within the gut. Bombarding the system with neurotransmitters can upset the GI tracts balance and trigger nausea, diarrhea and constipation.

Sometimes food that we refer to as healthy can be upset stomach catalysts. Bloating, cramping, gas, nausea and diarrhea can result in irritation from the following:

Dairy: Milk contains a sugar called lactose; and normally the body produces lactase in order to digest it. However, some people make less lactase as they age, leading to stomach upsets. Try low fat milk or other alternatives like almond milk to find relief.

Soy: Tofu, edamame, soy milk are obvious sources of soy; but soy is found in many cereals, broths and soups. So be sure to read the labels closely.

Fructose: Like lactose, many people lack the ability to digest fructose, a condition called fructose malabsorption. Eat less fruit, fruit juice, honey, sugar and high fructose corn syrup to find relief.

Gluten: Although one would think that Celiac disease is intolerance; it is in fact an auto immune disease. Celiac suffers should steer clear of wheat, barley, rye as they all contain gluten.

To keep our guts working at an optimal level, we should follow these rules to stay on track.

A few indulgences here or there will not affect too much change; but a daily junk food habit can cause harm. The majority of our diets should consist of natural and unrefined foods that can be easily broken down by our bodies.

Fiber filled foods act like fertilizer for bacteria within our stomachs; insoluble fiber like wheat, beans, bran and green leafy vegetables help move waste out of our bodies. Aim for 25 grams per day.

We should all have one bowel movement per day; and it should be banana shaped and float. This is a sign that things are working okay on the inside. For those struggling to “get moving”, try 2 tablespoons of flaxseed, or vitamin C powder to jump start the system.

Adding a probiotic to our regimen can have dramatic effects on our intestinal flora but limiting harmful bacteria and growth of yeast. Look for products containing at least 10 billion CFUs; high levels of probiotics are found in fermented foods such as kimchi, miso, sauerkraut and yogurt.

  • Say No To Colonics and Enemas

Although many celebrities report using colonics to detoxify; the best way to speed transit time is to consume plenty of fiber. Colonics can perforate the colon and introduce harmful bacteria.

Staying hydrated increases the chance of your stools being soft and easy to pass. An easy way to know that you are consuming enough water is to check the color of your urine; very light yellow means you are on track.

Staying balanced with a healthy diet, exercise and stress free living contributes to our digestive health; and the occasional flare up is pretty common- we are human and imperfect after all. But more than a few episodes could signal something beyond the occasional over indulgence. If your problems persist, even after making lifestyle changes, consult your health practitioner to assess the issues; and learn tools, tips and tricks to love your gut again!

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When you are suffering from a yeast infection, you may experience some very annoying symptoms such as itching, burning, and pain depending on where the yeast infection occurs on the body. Luckily, you don’t need to run off to the doctor right away, there are many holistic home remedies that you can do to treat the yeast infection to prevent it from coming back.

A yeast infection develops when the Candida albicans fungus in the body experiences an overgrowth. This overgrowth is caused by an imbalance in bacterial levels within the body. The yeast then feeds off of this imbalance and begins to grow. Once the yeast grows, the body begins to experience the uncomfortable symptoms associated with a yeast infection.

You can find a long list of natural remedies that people claim really work to treat a yeast infection, but how do you know which ones are truly effective at treating a yeast infection and which ones are just a waste of time and money? What we eat can have a dramatic effect on the bacteria growth, negative or positive; here is a list of bacteria busting foods that can help treat one of the most annoying afflictions that women find themselves faced with…The Yeast Infection.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar. Raw apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries to treat various illness and disease. It is filled with nutrients, enzymes, and antioxidants including many essential vitamins and minerals. It is fairly well known to be very effective at treating a yeast infection. It must be raw apple cider vinegar and not the distilled version as the distillation process kills all of the important ingredients and it will no longer treat the yeast infection. Apple cider vinegar can be used in a few ways to treat a yeast infection. Dilute the vinegar with water and dip a tampon in it before inserting the tampon into the vagina to treat a vaginal yeast infection; this is an unconventional use, but it rumored to work very well. If inserting a vinegar soaked tampon is too farfetched for you, washing the affected area with diluted apple cider vinegar, or adding a few drops to your bath water to soak in for 20 minutes works too.
  • Garlic. Garlic has long been used to treat infections and it also kills yeast. To use garlic for a vaginal yeast infection you can insert one garlic clove into the vagina before bed and take it out in the morning. Some women prefer to wrap it in gauze or tie a string around it so that it will be easy to remove in the morning. If the garlic clove has any sort of cut in it, the activity of the garlic increases. If one uncut garlic clove doesn’t work, you can try putting a tiny slit in the clove for added strength. You may have to try this a few times to get the proper strength for your body. Some women need a garlic clove that is completely cut in half. For non-vaginal yeast infections, cut open a fresh garlic clove and rub it onto the affected area or you can also make a garlic paste to apply to the area.
  • Yogurt. Yogurt is another common treatment for yeast infection. It must be only the unsweetened plain yogurt that contains acidophilus which kills the yeast in the body. Any sugar added to the yogurt will destroy the yeast killing properties and only give the yeast something to feed on.  Eating ½ a cup a day of plain yogurt will also work to keep yeast levels in check. If you don’t like the taste of unsweetened yogurt, you can purchase acidophilus supplements to take.
  • Boric Acid. Another effective treatment for yeast infection is the use of Boric Acid. You can purchase boric acid supplements and then insert one or two into the vagina overnight for a few days. Some women may experience some burning after insertion. Although inserting acid may seem scary and dangerous; boric acid is found in almost fruit and a variety of plants.
  • Diet. Diet can play a big part in how yeast grows in the body. Consumption of a lot of carbohydrates and any type of sugary foods can feed the yeast and help it to grow. Beer should also be kept out of your diet as it contains yeast. Eat a healthy balanced diet that is low in carbohydrates and high in vitamins and minerals. It may take a few weeks to feel the effects of a better diet, but it will also work to keep yeast infections from coming back. This diet is very helpful for anyone suffering from an intestinal yeast infection.

You can also do a variety of other things to try to prevent a yeast infection from recurring. Some of these things include proper hygiene (including oral hygiene for oral yeast infections), staying away from nylon or any tight fitting clothing that can hold moisture and heat in, using only unscented products including soaps, tampons, and sanitary pads, and not staying in wet or sweaty clothing. These are things that give yeast what it needs to grow. Any one of these things could be the trigger that is causing the yeast infection to occur in your body. Diabetics are more likely to develop yeast infections so they should ensure that that their glucose stays at a safe level.

Having a yeast infection is not the end of the world, even though it may feel like it at times. You have a choice of a variety of things you can do to treat it naturally. You may need to try a few different things to find out exactly what works for you as everyone’s body is different. Just keep in mind that if you don’t see a difference within a few days or if the infection comes back, you should contact your physician to get stronger treatment and to make sure that it is indeed a yeast infection and not something more serious, and to get the underlying cause of the infection treated to prevent it from coming back. Also, a yeast infection that is left untreated can cause more serious problems down the road.

Author Bio

Amanda Smith is a young web entrepreneur. She is the owner of a few health websites dedicated to share natural home remedies and to help young families dealing with minor help issues. Most of her work is done from home while taking care of her two lovely children.

The holiday season is upon us, and this morning I paid a visit to my friends at CTV Morning Live to share my natural hangover cures; because I don’t know about you, but I enjoy my holiday season with a drink or two…or four.

Hangovers are terrible but they seem to feel much worse this time of year, when the holiday party season is in full swing- hangovers zap all kinds of yuletide cheer. The following cures will help you enjoy yourself, while being able to function as a human being the next day; consider this an early gift!

Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Whether you take them in the morning, or whether you take them at night, we ALL should take them. Alcohol is incredibly inflammatory in the body, and inflammation is considered a key player in all sorts of chronic disease. Omega 3 fatty acids are inflammation scavenger, being incredibly potent at fighting inflammation in the body. VANITY POINT– omega 3 fatty acids will help reduce your blotchy and red hangover complexion!


  • Supplement Pills
  • Hemp Seeds (the BEST plant source)
  • Omega oils, ideal for smoothies

Hair of the dog is a common turn of phrase in reference to hangovers, but hangovers compound; meaning, just because you hair of the dog’d it, doesn’t mean you avoid a hangover, it means the eventual hangover is going to KNOCK. YOU. OFF. YOUR. FEET. Unless, of course, you healthy hair of the dog it!

Kombucha is fermented tea and one of the most potent liver tonics out there; and because of the small amount of alcohol that is produced as a by-product of fermentation, our body feels better without adding more toxic load to our liver. Not to mention kombucha aid the liver in effectively removing toxins from the body. It’s win-win!

Favourite Brands

  • RISE
  • GT’s, not for the faint of heart due to live bacteria piece aka slimy stuff
  • Tonica

Coconut Water
There truly is NOTHING that coconut cannot do; it is the most perfect food on the planet. While many turn to sports drinks when hungover, as a means of replenishing lost electrolytes, the cons to drinking sports drink outweigh the pro’s; namely, more sugar than required by any human being and tons of unnecessary dyes.

Coconut water on the other hand replenished ALL FIVE of the electrolytes the body needs, whereas the aforementioned sport drink replenish, at best, two. Coconut water helps to balance out the diuretic effects of alcohol and makes a hangover a whole lot shorter. This is time tested to work…

Some people find both coconut water and kombucha not very pleasing to their palates, but for some reason when combined, the taste of both is much improved; have this fizzy coconut drink waiting for you the morning after a great time, you will not regret it!

Fizzy Coconut Refresher
1 pt coconut water
1 pt kombucha
ice to serve

Second Sleep
I often hear people say that alcohol helps them sleep, but I’m here to dispel that myth. You see being drunk and passing out is the body’s mechanism to save itself from you, but make no mistake you aren’t getting rest. In fact most people, myself included, wake up after a night of drinking after maybe 4 or 5 hours of sleep, this is because alcohol withdrawal jolts the body awake; and often times we will wake up fine but begin to fade as time goes on, this is the time for second sleep.

Sleep is integral to health, period. All things aside, if we give our bodies time to repair the damage done, it will; the body is amazing in that it is able to 100% recuperate if we give it the time and tools (sleep) to do so.

Miso Soup Stracciatella
Miso, fermented soy bean paste, like coconut water helps replace a great deal of the things our bodies need to recover from a hangover; water, sodium and other nutrients depleted by the diuretic effects of boozin’. And because miso is fermented, it protects the digestive tract; curing all kinds of hangover related digestive upsets, caused by alcohols disruption of the stomach lining.

Stratiatella is egg drop soup, made by dropping eggs into boiling broth; it’s “I have a hangover” easy.

  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp miso paste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring the vegetable broth to a boil. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs. In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup of warmed broth with miso paste and set aside. Push the egg through a mesh strainer over the boiling broth. Whisk on low for 1 minute.  Remove from heat, add green onions, salt (if needed), pepper and the reserved broth/miso mixture; and serve hot.

***Can be made without eggs for the same hangover benefits.

REMEMBER: Immunity plays a BIG role in how bad your hangover is and how long it will last; keep hangovers at bay with The Vitality Kitchen WINTER ESSENTIALS IMMUNITY PACK!

As a natural foods chef, nutrition is so important to my everyday life- from my career to my health; which is why I was instantly drawn to Toronto based nutritionist Joy McCarthy. Joy is an expert in holistic health including Super Foods and natural beauty. Through her workshops she empowers people to harness the goodness of food for health and vitality- it’s not called Eat Well, Feel Well for nothing! Her down to earth delivery of nutritional information makes it easy to digest and implement for those starting their journey to health.

If you’re in the Toronto area, be sure to register for her newest workshop is Super Foods For Beauty or her 6 week Eat Well, Feel Well course at the lovely Ritz Carlton! And if you aren’t in Toronto, Joy also offers nutrition coaching via Skype!

I genuine look up to people like Joy; she has improved her health holistically and enthusiastically teaches people to do the same for themselves. She is a champion for holistic health; and I am honored to have her as a part of this series.


Vitality Guide For Women: What’s your favorite super food, and how would you prepare it?

Joy McCarthy: I have so many it’s so hard to choose! A food that I eat on an everyday basis that keeps me energized and stimulates my liver’s detoxifying properties, plus tastes delicious is leafy greens. Kale and arugula being my absolute favorite! I eat them raw and cooked. My fave way to cook kale is to lightly sautee it in organic butter or coconut oil, sprinkle some sea salt and pepper and eat it as a side dish. As for arugula, I love making pestos by tossing in a handful of arugula with some walnuts, garlic, sea salt and extra virgin olive oil or hemp oil into my food processor and putting it on top of brown rice pasta – deeeeelicious!

Vitality Guide For Women: You are an advocate for natural beauty products; if my readers could replace only one item in their beauty cabinet which one do you think is the most important; and why?

Joy McCarthy: Body Moisturizer! Many products are chock-full of chemicals and preservatives that can be hormone disrupting, immune-lowering and even promote the growth of cancer. It is extremely important to do your research on your beauty products because what you put ON you, get’s IN you. Your skin is your largest organ, so make sure what you slather on yourself is clean. I love organic coconut oil for a moisturizer or Dessert Essence brand of moisturizers. 

Vitality Guide For Women: What one thing do you do every day that contributes to your health?

Joy McCarthy: I drink lemon and water every single morning on an empty stomach. Not only is it incredible refreshing, but it is detoxifying and excellent for stimulating good digestion. Many people notice their skin improves in just a couple of weeks of drinking lemon and water every morning. Oh and if I could pick one other thing that contributes to my health, it’s giving and receiving a nice warm hug!

Well, my cleanse is in full swing, how is yours going? I’m, thankfully, at the point where things are becoming far easier; and while it’s smooth sailing now, I have to admit, the first two days were wrought with mood swings and headaches, as my body was getting into its cleansing groove; but now I’m on a roll- I feel lighter, I’m sleeping even better than I normally do and my mood has improved greatly.

But despite being in the aforementioned groove, a girl still gets the occasional sweet craving or two; but when people think of cleansing foods, sweet things generally don’t come to mind, as most sweet treats are full of sugar. However, as promised, I am going to arm you with the tools aka recipes that will help you sail through your cleanse with ease!

It’s no secret that I’m a raw honey diva with a sprinkle of sweet coconut sugar on the side, and, although, both of those come with a laundry list of health benefits they should be shelved for the duration of a cleanse; so how the heck does one appease a sweet cravings, you ask? With stevia, I reply emphatically!

Now I will admit that it has taken me some time to get on board the stevia bandwagon, I always found it left a metallic like aftertaste to anything I put it into; but as January began I vowed to give stevia another chance. Lo and behold, the second chance was worthwhile. It turns out stevia is one of the most wonderfully cleansing foods, in that it’s a completely plant based sweetening agent that comes complete health benefits.

So here is the rundown on the leaf that is stevia.

Stevia is 300 times sweeter than sugar, so a little goes a very long way; and when I say a little I mean a minute amount. My first forays into stevia I used far too much, which resulted in the aforementioned metallic taste; however, when used sparingly, stevia is a part of the cleansing foods posse, and will help quell any sweet craving. Stevia also has the power to freshen your breath, as it has antibacterial properties; so as far as cleansing foods go, stevia has got your number.

This chocolate drink was born after I was watching a movie and they were sipping on, what appeared to be, the smoothest drinking chocolate on the planet- I needed it, I wanted it, so I made it happen!

By using the protein rich hemp seed milk, this sipper will help to curb your mid afternoon or mid morning craving; and when combined with cinnamon, which is a well known natural appetite suppressant, it will also help prevent another one! Dual purpose cleansing foods- I like.

If something cool is what you fancy, this can be made and chilled for later consumption; I did this and shared it with a friend to which she replied “this cannot be cleanse approved”. But alas, this hot carob chai is delicious and one of my savior cleansing foods, you’re going to love it.

A warm, or cold, treat to satisfy your sweet tooth- sip sip hooray!

1 decaffeinated chai tea bag
½ cup boiling water
1 cup hemp seed milk, warmed
¼ tsp cinnamon, ground
1 ½ tsp carob powder
¼ tsp stevia, liquid

Steep the chai tea in the hot water for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, on the stovetop in a pot, heat the remaining ingredients on medium high heat, while whisking continuously. Once the little bubbles begin to form, remove from heat. Add the steeped chai liquid to the hemp seed milk mixture. You can enjoy the drink at this point, but if you want a latte like experience, place the liquid in a blender for 1 minute- this incorporates air into the mixture!

T’is the season of yuletide cheer, Christmas trees and eggnog lattes, which will be quickly followed by resolutions and hardcore goals setting; but the understood order of things is completely flawed. Resolving to change your life while still recovering from a Christmas hangover is a tall order; this is why most resolutions fail. Most years I resolve to lose five pounds or run five miles a day; and I can tell you that they usually last until February 1st, by which time I’ve long since moved on. This year I have resolved to finally get over “the guy”- because, well, it’s time.

After being in a complicated situation for over a year, I have resolved to move on; but instead of waiting until January first, where I will likely be hung over, I have started my resolution early. It is fact that people who start their resolutions the moment they set their intention are far more successful than those who wait; because waiting until New Year’s Day, tends to lead to failure by the beginning of March; when gyms that were once bustling, go dead.

So how can we keep our resolutions longer than 30 days?

  • Train Ourselves To Act In Reinforcement Of Our Goals

For me this means that I will delete “the guy’s” number from my phone; and then I’ll sign myself up for an online dating service- look at me being progressive! For those who are endeavoring to lose weight or eat healthier, start with small changes like eating breakfast every day, then start packing a lunch, then go start exercising; and so forth. Acting in reinforcement of our goals is essential to any type of long term success.

For a full year, I saw this fella as the one who I was going to marry, letting go of that thought, although incredibly difficult, is a huge part of getting over him; it may seems like a small change but small changes make all the difference. Starting with baby steps and rewarding ourselves for meeting tiny milestones is essential to success. Setting huge goals like “I will lose 60 lbs” or “I’m going to find another man to love” are daunting goals to set; because the end seems so out of sight. By setting small goals like “I will burn 500 calories every day” or “Iwill go on three dates a month” a far more attainable goals; and are stepping stones to our end result.

  • Be Accountable To Ourselves

Making promises to ourselves is big one; I don’t know about you, but I hate letting myself down, so making a promise to do one thing daily that brings me closer my goals keeps me accountable. Accountability for some means screaming their goal from the rooftops, so that they don’t let others down; for others, like me, it’s about making the promise to myself; because what other people think means nothing to me, but I have a hard time living with a failed promise to myself.

Being rigid is detrimental to resolutions because people change and so do our goals. I will surely see “the guy” out and about, and because I am an adult, I’ll say hello- we did, after all, have good times; and for others it might mean that a cookie or a chicken wing passes their lips- shit happens, we’re human. But resolutions are about resolve, resolving to make a change- resolving to rise above any challenge that is presented and succeeding because and despite of it.

The main point when it comes to resolutions is START NOW- why wait? Waiting only makes the goals seem even bigger, but if we start making small changes right now, by January 1st we’ll all be well on our way to the end result; because if change is what we’re after, now is as good a time as any!

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(video below)

Kombucha. You either love this stuff more than words can describe or find yourself repulsed at the thought; however, regardless of where you stand on kombucha, you cannot deny the power of this fermented life juice.

So what is kombucha anyway? Kombucha is a fermented sweet tea, that is either served the way nature intended or with the addition of fresh fruit, fruit juice or fancy tea blends. And as with all fermented food, kombucha is a very potent liver and digestive tonic, long touted as a holistic cure for mild depression, arthritis and heart burn; which we have the probiotics to thank for. Not bad for old tea.

Now before I show you how to make kombucha, let’s talk about motherhood. Kombucha brewing is akin to parenthood, as the SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria) or mother is driving force behind this vitality elixir. The SCOBY or mother protects its baby (the liquid), while creating an environment where the tea can thrive, in order to reach its full potential- see, just like real mothers! The mother can be slightly off putting, she’s a slimy growth of bacteria; and if you find yourself squeamish, get over it, it’s a part of the process.

Keeping a kombucha mother healthy requires a little bit of TLC, and understanding how to make kombucha, inevitably means understanding how a SCOBY behaves. Bubbles around the edges of the culture and sediment at the bottom of your jar is all normal; in fact, it’s what you want to see, as it means your kombucha is alive and fermenting. And although SCOBY’s have long lives, they aren’t invicible. If your SCOBY is black, it’s lived a long life and the time has come to retire it; and if your SCOBY has green or black mold, it’s time to start over- trust me when I say, you don’t want anything to do with moldy bacteria. In order to avoid overworking your mother, after a few batches, peel away the old bottom layer and either discard it, compost it, start a new brew or gift it to a friend and share your “How To Make Kombucha” love!

The very basic recipe is the foundation of how to make kombucha; and it’s very simple. Sugar, tea, water and the SCOBY; the water brews the tea, the yeast bacteria eats the sugar, throw in a little bit of time and your very own kombucha is born.

Kombucha, is considered a non alcoholic indulgence, but, alas, this libation contains about 1% of alcohol; which is by no means going to bring about a regretful night, but I thought you should know.

So now for the basic How To Make Kombucha recipe

3 1/2 qt water
1 cup white sugar
8 bags black tea
2 cup starter tea from last batch or neutral store bought variety
1 fermentation jar

Optional Flavorings- this is where you get to customize!
1-2 cup fresh fruit
2-3 cups fruit juice
1-2 tbsp flavored tea
1/4 cup honey
2-4 tbsp fresh herbs

Step 1- Make Tea Base

  • Boil water
  • Remove from heat and stir in sugar
  • Steep tea until water has cooled

Step 2- Add Your Starter

  • Strain or remove tea bags
  • Stir in starter tea- this is important for acidity and protection of the liquid during the first few days of fermentation.

Step 3- Transfer and Addition of SCOBY

  • Pour liquid into glass fermentation jar (I use a large mason jar)
  • With clean hands, place the SCOBY into the liquid. I repeat, CLEAN HANDS ARE IMPERATIVE, you will introduce unfriendly bacteria and increase your chance of mold growth if your hands aren’t obsessively clean.
  • Cover the mason jar with cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band- this is a living and breathing entity, so it needs to do just that, breathe.


  • At room temperature
  • Out of direct sunlight
  • Allow to ferment for 7-30 days. Be sure to check your SCOBY daily to keep an eye out for mold. If you’re anything like me, you will be admiring your Kombucha baby five times a day!

Step 5- Bottle Ferment

  • Once your Kombucha is to your liking, bottle it in airtight jars.
    Leave at room temperature for 1-3 days to make way for carbonation. To halt fermentation refrigerate.

I was so excited to learn how to make Kombucha that I made a few mistakes in my haste. Firstly, I ordered a dry SCOBY online, but it was a dud, which happens about 25% of the time with dry SCOBY’s; so if you can get a live one, that is your best bet. I would also suggesting making your first batch of kombucha plain, just to keep an eye on your SCOBY; once you’ve made one healthy batch of kombucha, then feel free to go nuts.

Learning how to make kombucha was on my 2013 bucket list, and here we are in the early days of March and I can cross it off my list!

Now it’s your turn, have you always wanted to learn how to make kombucha; are you an expert kombucha maker; or is this the very beginning of your How To Make Kombucha journey? I would love to know!

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter then you are well aware of my reignited love for yoga. You see, I’ve always dabbled in yoga, but for whatever reason I would fall out of the habit; but when my mom completed her yoga designation, I was introduced to yoga through my mothers eyes, and things changed. But when when it came to hot yoga, our relationship has always run hot and cold; whenever I would practice I would get either a raging headache or slow burning pressure point headache that would persist throughout the day. Of course I knew this had to do with hydration, but I hydrate- LOTS; and still, headaches.

But I didn’t want to give up. With the Polar Vortex, there’s nothing better than yoga in a hot room to escape; so I did what I always do, I researched. Turns out there are HEAPS of tips out there that can help you, me and anyone who wants to enjoy hot yoga, but can’t seem to shake the headaches.

Boost Your Water
It’s said time and time again, you must hydrate if you plan on doing hot yoga- 32 ounces per day; but if you’re like me, you sweat a lot, and thus lose water quickly, so no matter how much water you drink, you are left feeling depleted, it’s time to boost your water. Salts and other electrolytes are lost when we sweat, so it essential to replenish them to bring balance back to the body.

Foods like cucumber and celery have adequate salt content and are fantastic options for maintaining salt balance. Prepare the following recipe at the start of the week and enjoy before yoga class all week long; the reason that you want to consume this drink BEFORE class, is that the salt content will help the body retain some of the water you’ve been chugging- in this case, water retention is good!

  • 1 cucumber
  • 3 ribs celery
  • 2 lemons, peeled
  • 1 pear
  • 2 cups distilled water

Juice the cucumber, celery, lemon and pear; combine the juice with water and refrigerate for up to one week.

Fall In Love with Coconut
I cannot say enough about coconut, I really can’t; but in this case, my fawning praise is warranted. When it comes to replenishing lost electrolytes, coconut water is TOPS!

You often hear people recommend sports drinks to replenish electrolytes, but I want to caution you against this; sports drinks are full of sugar, in such large amounts that it completely negates the benefits of consuming them. Also, sports drinks only replenish up to 2 of the body’s 5 key electrolytes, while coconut water replenishes all 5. It’s a no brainer!

But I understand how some people find the taste off putting- I did too; so I found a way to accommodate. Just add chocolate; when given the opportunity, I ALWAYS add chocolate!

  • 2 cups coconut water, not from concentrate
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 drop stevia liquid

In a blender combine all the ingredients; pour the combined liquid through a fine mesh sieve, lined with cheesecloth, to filter out any cacao crumbs. Keep refrigerated for up 4 days.

Eat Your Electrolytes
All this liquid talk makes it seem like electrolytes are only delivered via beverages, but that’s not the case. Cucumber, celery and many other balancing foods can and SHOULD be eaten as well; I personally find that drinking my electrolytes pre yoga and eating them post yoga is the best method- but everyone is different, so find what works for you.

A delicious post yoga salad is a Vitality Kitchen favourite, Pomegranate, Mint and Cucumber Salad; it’s got bite, crunch, sweet and salt- it’s the perfect post yoga treat, that’s does the body good!

I hope these tips help you get your glow on and help you get your hot yoga groove back!

It is estimated on average that we absorb almost five pounds of chemicals each year from the cosmetics and toiletries that are a part of our ever growing skincare routines. Given that we women use about twelve products a day, containing a whopping 175 chemicals; I mean it’s no wonder that our skin can sometimes feel overloaded. Just think about it, if we’re using twenty products a day on our already over stimulated skin, it can result in inflammation, irritation and premature aging; yes, you read that right, too many product, including those touted as anti aging, can negatively affect the way our skin ages. Overzealous bathing with harsh soaps and detergents are giving rise to more cases of psoriasis and eczema.

By paring down our routines, we not only save time but money as well. The first step is streamlining; and determining which products to eliminate- think, “I use two products, but will one do?

And because I consider myself a food warrior, I urge everyone to assess what goes into our bodies as well. A skincare regime is important but our lifestyle choices are crucial. Before we purchase another anti aging skincare cure-all we must first consider our diet and daily habits. For dry skin, look into water intake. Loss of radiance and “that glow”? Be sure to catch enough Zzz’s. It’s a fact that those of us that are still lighting up are to blame for premature signs of aging; and that’s the least of the worry- but this discussion is best reserved for another time.

I will not sit here and preach that we should strive to eliminate all the chemicals we use in our products; sometimes that isn’t possible, and it can get expensive buying organic products, because they are still relatively high priced. But we can all strive to eliminate the really bad guys; including parabens which are very easily absorbed by our bodies and have been found to mimic the effects of the female hormone oestrogen. Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) is a detergent that is added to shampoo, toothpaste and shower gel to boost lathering quality and it can lead to serious reactions. Ethanol, sometimes referred to as ethyl alcohol, is used to scent and color. Benzyl alcohol and acetone which used in nail polish removers are very strong chemicals that also absorb well into our bodies through our skin and nails. And another serious irritant is cocamide DEA (or MEA), this is a derivative of coconut oil and used as a thickener. If we can eliminate just these, we dramatically reduce our exposure to harmful chemicals. The real world application would be to look for unscented products and opt for gel toothpastes when possible. Also look for acetone free nail polish remover.

These days the dispute that plant based creams and cleansers aren’t effective has been put to bed; as in the last few years natural skincare has come a very long way. Many big brands have developed ways to combine scientific innovation in anti aging skincare with plant ingredients; and more and more companies are catching on to the fact that women are looking to limit their exposure to harmful chemicals, yet still desire the same results.

Antioxidant vitamins A, C and E, fight free radicals involved in inflammation and aging inside our bodies; and they have been known to battle acne, rosacea, wrinkles and pigmentation issues. Beta carotene, in the vitamin A family, provides protection against the sun, acting as a natural sunscreen. Goji and Acai are becoming big trends in the natural skincare world; as they are renowned for their high antioxidant content. These natural remedies are popping up in commercial and natural brands; so be sure to look for them on the label. Another thing to remember is the more ingredients, the more likely there is to be nasty additives. And if you grandmother would have a hard time recognizing 60% of ingredients- it’s probably best to pass.

When it comes to skincare, we should strive to educate ourselves on what we slather on our skin daily. Doing this empowers us to control what types of contaminants are entering our bodies. But we must remember, always, that the best anti aging products lie within the nutrients of the foods we eat. And for those of us on a budget, look at paring down and finding natural products that do the job of three commercial/synthetic products; this helps to save money and limit chemical exposure. Because when it comes to our skin, less IS more!

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