Gut Healthy Persimmon Coconut Eggnog Shake

While indulging in our favorite seasonal goodies is part of what makes this time of year special, going in with a hefty dose of mindfulness will help ensure we’re not stressing our bodies with too much sugar. Finding recipes that are equally delicious and festive as they are healthy is also a huge key to coming out of the holiday season looking and feeling fab. This persimmon shake is just that. Full of nutrients, absolutely thick, creamy and delicious, free of refined sugar, and with that perfect hint of holiday spice.

Persimmons are a special treat you do not want to miss out on this time of year – they appear fast and go out of season faster. They’re sweet and succulent and also happen to be a powerhouse of nutrition. Just one 3.5 oz serving of persimmon offers 33% of the RDA for Vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. This nutrient is incredible for supporting healthy skin cells and eyesight as we age. It is an antioxidant helping to repair oxidative damage and helps keep us looking youthful. Persimmons also offer a hefty dose of Vitamin C for healthy immunity, as well as the trace mineral manganese which is a cofactor for the enzyme superoxide dismutase  – one of the body’s master antioxidants. Not only that but persimmons are a gut-healthy food, offering lots of soluble fiber which helps gently sweep waste from our GI system. This tasty shake contains an added dose of probiotics which also supports gut health and will help boost immunity during cold and flu season. Not to mention, probiotics will also help combat that post-Thanksgiving dinner bloat. Can we get an amen?

Enjoy this festive recipe!

Gut Healthy Persimmon Coconut Eggnog Shake

The Recipe

Gut Healthy Persimmon Coconut “Eggnog” Shake 

Ingredients

8 oz coconut milk

1/2 packet frozen young Thai coconut meat

1/2 large Fuyu persimmon chopped and frozen (or 1 small)

1 frozen banana

1 serving of Sunbiotics Vanilla Probiotics with Prebiotics Powder

2 drops therapeutic grade nutmeg oil or 1/2 tsp organic nutmeg powder

2 dashes cinnamon

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Optional: 1/2 tsp maca powder

Instructions

1. Blend ingredients until smooth and creamy

 

windycityorganics.com
windycityorganics.com

Winterizing Your Skin Care Routine: 6 Tips for a Glowing Complexion

6 Tips to Winterize Your Skin Care Routine

Freezing temperatures. High winds. Dry indoor air. It goes without saying that these harsh winter variables do not exactly provide us with an ideal recipe for dewy, glowy skin. Keeping our skin looking and feeling good this time of year requires a little (or a lot…) of extra TLC. If you’re someone who tends to battle dry, irritated skin all winter long we’ve got a few tips that will certainly help.

1. Hydrate and up those EFA’s

Every skin care routine should start from the inside out. After all – our skin is our body’s largest organ. It’s the body’s first line of defense against the outside world, it helps regulate our body temperature, contains nerves that are in constant communication with our brain, and even produces important hormones and Vitamin D. Yet it’s easy to forget all that it does for us. In order for the skin to be well hydrated, our body has to be well hydrated too. This means drinking plenty of water, and also ingesting enough essential fatty acids. Aim for several liters of water per day, and be sure to eat plenty of healthy plant-based fat sources like cold-pressed oils, avocados, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and raw nut butter. Not only will water and EFAs help keep our skin happy and hydrated all winter long, but those two things are also vital for our detoxification processes, healthy nerve function, and also help keep inflammation at bay. Be conscious of caffeine consumption. It’s easy to lean on things like coffee to give us an energy boost during the winter, but caffeine is also a well-known diuretic. If you do drink coffee, be sure to drink extra water to help compensate for what your body is flushing out.

2. Cover up

The best way to keep the skin from being stripped of all moisture when outdoors is to cover up. Most of us have experienced dry, red, chapped skin from being outdoors without the proper protection, especially on areas that tend to be the most exposed like the hands and face. Make sure to put on a hat, gloves, and/or a scarf when you go outside. Your skin will thank you every time.

3. Pick up a serum (or two!)

Serums are concentrated skin elixirs that are used to target very specific concerns and issues within the skin. They’re an excellent way to give the skin TLC when it needs the extra support. During the winter, when the air is typically cold and dry, it is important to be using products that help do two important things: bind water to the skin yet also seal in the moisture with lipids (oils). Harsh winter weather can easily zap vital moisture from the skin, and damage the skin’s barrier function. By using a water-based serum with humectants (water-binding agents), followed by an oil-based serum, or an oil-rich moisturizer or balm, this really helps create an important seal which inhibits dehydration and minimizes irritation. Try an oil-rich serum infused with hemp CBD extract for added anti-inflammatory benefits. You’ll be plumped up, glowing, and hydrated in no time.

4. Give up the suds

While many of us correlate soap suds with cleanliness, those soapy bubbles may actually be doing more harm than good. If your skin tends to be dry and more sensitive during the winter, try swapping out your normal gel or foaming cleanser for a cleansing cream, oil, or balm. These products work to cleanse the skin by breaking down the excess oils, makeup, and the day’s dirt and grime through emulsification instead of soap. They are generally less stripping, more pH balanced, and more gentle. A great option for winter.

5. Take advantage of the night

During the winter, the nighttime can become a very important time to restore balance and hydration within the skin while you’re not out braving the elements. We have more control over our climate indoors. We can use a humidifier to add more moisture to the air, and can also use products while we sleep to help calm the skin and prepare it for battle, i.e the next (cold and dry) day ahead. The skin goes through deeper healing processes while we sleep, making it an ideal time to layer on the serums, thicker moisturizers, and sleep masks so that we wake up glowing and rejuvenated.

6. Cool it down

This tip may not be well received if you tend to live for long, hot showers, but hear us out. One of the worst enemies of dry skin is hot water. Not only does it damage the lipid barrier, which may already be in a delicate state during the winter, it also has a tendency of increasing redness and inflammation, two symptoms that are typically already exasperated by cold, dry winter air. You don’t have to give up taking your favorite soul-nurturing, restorative baths. That would be cruel. Just be mindful to use only warm water to cleanse the face, never hot. And if you do take a hot bath try adding some coconut oil or argan oil to the water, and always apply a moisturizer, oil, or balm afterward.

windycityorganics.com
windycityorganics.com

8 Ways Indoor Plants Can Improve Your Health

8 Ways Indoor Plants Can Improve Your Health

 

While there is no doubt that bringing a bit of greenery into a space is an easy way to add beauty, color and life, embellishing your home with plants does so much more than just add a chic, instagram-worthy esthetic. House plants can actually help optimize your health in profound ways. And with fall and subsequent chillier temperatures right around the corner, now is the perfect time to start thinking of ways to improve the quality of your indoor living space.
How Plants Can Help….

1. More Oxygen

Our human respiration process involves taking in oxygen, and exhaling Co2. Plants do the very opposite – they take in the Co2 released from our lungs and give us clean oxygen in return. Every cell in the body will benefit from a more abundant supply of pure oxygen. Proper oxygenation is vital to every aspect of our health, from our metabolism, immune system, and detoxification processes, to our mood and energy levels.

2. Less Toxins

Both plant leaves and roots work to help eliminate toxins from the air via a process called phytoremediation. Our modern-day indoor work and living environments have the potential to contain a true cocktail of toxicity from trace amounts of carbon monoxide gas, to common household toxins of benzene, formaldahyde and trichloroethylene which enter into homes through things like vinyl, adhesives, paints, or plastics. Most mainstream cleaning products are also full of chemicals which can toxify the air through vapors, fumes, and residues. The level of indoor air pollution has become such a concern that the EPA has even warned that our indoor environment has the potential to be even more polluted than the outdoor air in large, industrialized cities. While it’s best to try and minimize the presence of these chemicals in our environment as much as possible, plants do have the ability to help absorb and filter out many of these toxins naturally while we go about our daily lives. We’re breathing deeper already.

3. Allergy Relief

Whether it’s dust, pollen, or pet allergies, house plants can bring a world of relief to your sinuses by helping to reduce allergy-inducing particulate matter that may be floating around in the air. Because of their large surface area, plants attract particulate matter that may be stimulating mild or moderate environmental allergies. Just be sure to show your plants some TLC by gently wiping the dust from their leaves every so often. They will show their appreciation by becoming greener, healthier, and better able to cleanse your air.

4. Cold and Flu Buster

One of the major benefits of more oxygen and less toxicity in the environment is that it sets the body up for more robust health and better resiliency. A cleaner, healthier environment means that the immune system is less burdened on a daily basis, which means that when cold and flu season hits, your immune system will better able to beat the bug.

5. Improved Skin and Respiratory Health

Nothing ages us faster than chronic dehydration. House plants to the rescue! Certain house plants, especially those that live in tropical environments like palms, help to restore moisture levels to dry indoor air at levels comparable to electric humidifiers. And no electricity needed. This can help keep the skin, sinuses, and respiratory tract more hydrated and comfortable during the cold, dry winter season.

6. Mood Boosting

Have you ever wondered why you feel instantaneously uplifted and more grounded when surrounded by nature? Part of this has to do with what’s called the biophilia effect. This hypothesis states that human beings have an inborn tendency to seek connection with nature and other forms of life. It explains why environments rich in visual or physical aspects of nature, whether it’s nature photography, or actual living plants, can have a calming, healing effect. This can be especially helpful during the fall and winter season when most of us tend to go into hibernation mode, spending less time outdoors.

7. Peace and Quiet

Plants have long been used outside to help buffer noise pollution from busy roads and city life, and this same benefit can be used to help buffer background noise in your home or office as well. Plants have the ability to absorb, diffract or reflect sound, making both living and working environments much more comfortable with less distraction or annoyance.

8. Plant Medicine On Tap

A few common house plants even have medicinal benefits that we can enjoy on a regular basis. Aloe vera, for instance, is very low maintenance and easy to grow indoors, and the healing jelly it contains can be harvested fresh directly from the leaves. Aloe jelly is rich in polysaccharides and humectants, which plump up the skin with moisture, stimulate tissue repair, and soothe inflammation. The jelly can be added to smoothie or juices for great benefit to the GI tract, or it can be used topically to nourish and heal the skin.

Our Top Plant Picks

If you’re completely new to the world of house plants – here are a few faves to get you started….

1. Philadendron

2. Schefflera

3. Fiddle Leaf Fig

4. Ferns

5. Peace Lily

6. Succulents

7. Snake Plant

8. Cactus

 

Have fun creating your indoor oasis and breathe deep!

 

 


Cool Your Nerves with This Hemp CBD Iced Matcha Latte

Hemp CBD Iced Matcha Latte

Ahhh there really is nothing better than an iced matcha latte! Wait, scratch that, there is something better. An iced matcha latte with CBD. If you haven’t yet tried this combination you are in for a real treat. Dare we say, it’s a match(a) made in heaven. The perfect way to both energize yourself and boost mental alertness while also promoting a calm, content, and grounded state of being. It’s like the holy grail of benefits. Why do we love these two functional superfood ingredients so much?

Benefits of Matcha

Matcha offers the same health benefits as green tea (hello antioxidants!), only in a much more concentrated delivery package. Unlike green tea which is made by steeping the leaves in hot water, matcha is made from whole green tea leaves which are typically stone ground into a finely milled powder. A serving of matcha (about a tsp) contains about 3 times as much caffeine as a cup of steeped green tea, so it certainly delivers a serious energy boost, but the effect is more gentle than coffee on the nervous system and adrenals. This is thanks to an amino acid glutamate known as L-theanine, which has been shown to stimulate serotonin, dopamine, and GABA – important neurotransmitters in the brain which play a key role in regulating mood, emotions, alertness, energy, appetite, cognitive activity, and sleep. L-theanine has also been shown to help stimulate the brain’s alpha waves, the ones associated with a state of “wakeful relaxation” – where we’re alert and focused but also calm and content.

Benefits of CBD

Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is one of the two main cannabinoids that have now been isolated in the cannabis plant genus (hemp and marijuana). If when you think cannabinoid you think THC, don’t get the two confused. Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t produce a high (we promise), yet it most definitely has an impact on the body, being responsible for much of hemp’s therapeutic benefits. CBD interacts with what’s known as our endocannabinoid system, a network of special neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in our central and peripheral nervous systems. What does the endocannabinoid system impact? Think hormone regulation, fertility, immunity, appetite signals, pain sensation, mood, and cognition to name a few. CBD helps support our nervous system and mood, has a subtle calming effect, and is also an antioxidant in its own right.

Ready to experience the synergy of these two in one epic, mood-boosting latte?

The Recipe

Hemp CBD Iced Matcha Latte

Hemp CBD Iced Matcha Latte 

Serves 1

Ingredients

1.5 tsp matcha

2 oz water

10 oz plant milk of choice – coconut, almond, hemp, etc.

dropperful Veggimins Hemp CBD (use the strength you’d like)

1/4 tsp vanilla extract or pinch vanilla bean paste

1-2 tsp raw honey or maple syrup

Instructions

1. Blend your milk of choice with sweetener, vanilla and hemp CBD extract.

2. Heat water until near boiling and pour over your matcha in a heat-safe glass or small bowl and whisk until smooth to create a concentrated matcha “shot”.

3. Pour blended nut milk in a glass over ice, then your matcha last.

Hemp CBD Iced Matcha Latte


9 Holistic Tips for Improving Dental Health Naturally

While we might not even be aware of it, the health of our teeth and gums has a huge impact on our day to day life – from our overall health and comfort to our confidence and self-esteem. Yet according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 50% of all adults aged 30 or older – roughly 65 million Americans – are currently experiencing some form of gum disease.

Oral health can be impacted by many factors: genetics, dental hygiene habits, and diet to name a few – some of which we can control, while others (ahem, genetics) can be trickier to address. Ultimately, we have to look at our tooth and gum health as holistically as possible and make sure we’re giving it the attention it deserves. Like everything related to health – preventing issues before they even happen is always better, cheaper, and way less complicated than trying to cure things after the fact. The following tips do a great job of addressing both aspects – preventing issues from happening in the first place, while also improving and supporting the body’s own inherent healing mechanisms.

1. Keep it alkaline + eat more greens

One of the surest ways of developing tooth decay is to maintain a mouth pH that is too acidic. It is said that at a pH of 5.5 the teeth begin to demineralize, leaving them vulnerable to cavities. On the contrary, when the saliva has a pH of 7.5 or above, it means teeth can become stronger and actually remineralize, meaning stronger enamel and less decay. One of the best ways to alkalinize the entire body, mouth included, is to eat plenty of mineral-rich green leafy vegetables and non-sweet green juices. By focusing on greens such as kale, collards, spinach, chard, and lettuces, we introduce a wealth of highly bioavailable trace minerals into the body which helps alkalinize the blood, strengthen our bones, and buffer acidity in the mouth. Keeping the body alkaline also has a side benefit of giving a boost to the entire immune system, as most diseases cannot thrive in an alkaline system.

2. Try oil pulling

Oil pulling, or swishing with oil, may seem like a strange way to promote oral health, but it is actually an ancient practice with some incredible benefits. This Ayurvedic dental health technique helps to draw out toxins from the gums and the body as a whole. Simply take 1 tbs of a high quality, organic, cold pressed plant oil of choice (sesame and coconut work great) and swish for up to 20 minutes, “pulling” the oil between the teeth. Aside from helping to aid in detox, oil pulling can also help brighten the teeth, and prevent plaque from building up throughout the day. Try infusing the oil with a few drops of therapeutic grade orange essential oil (brightening) or tea tree oil (cleansing and purifying) for additional tooth benefits.

3. Take ionic mineral supplements

Minerals are absolutely critical for our bone health, and while many of us forget, our teeth are a very important part of our skeletal system. While calcium is important, our bones also require a host of other trace minerals too such as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and silica. Since our soils are deficient in many key minerals, our food supply is as well, even mineral-rich foods such as greens don’t contain the minerals they once did. A high quality liquid ionic mineral supplement is a great way to get bioavailable minerals into the body for healthy bones and nerves and to help balance the body’s pH.

4. Avoid fluoridated water

Fluoride continues to be one of the most widely used tooth treatments in the dental community, but it doesn’t come without risk. While fluoride is technically a natural element found in the earth, it differs greatly from the fluorosilicic acid – a synthetic industrial fluoride chemical – that is typically added to drinking water. Research shows that this chemical is a dangerous neurotoxin and endocrine disruptor and can negatively impact the health of our bones and teeth, thyroid gland, pineal gland, and blood sugar levels, to name just a few of the health implications. While fluoride may have benefits for some if used topically, it certainly doesn’t need to be consumed every day in drinking water. Many household filters can effectively remove fluoride from tap water, and given the importance of clean drinking water to our health, are a worthy investment. Not sure if your city fluoridates its water supply? Check the EWG’s Tap Water Database here.

5. Brush + floss after meals

Yep, we all know we should, but it’s often easier said than done. However, if you’re serious about achieving better oral health, cleaning the teeth thoroughly after eating can do wonders. Removing any residual food particles from the teeth can prevent plaque from accumulating, harmful bacteria from multiplying, and pH from becoming too acidic. If brushing and flossing isn’t an option, thoroughly swishing with water to loosen food particles and rinse the teeth of any residual sugars or acids is better than nothing.

6. Use a tongue scraper

Have you ever looked at your tongue, and noticed a white or greyish coating? This is actually a build-up of dead cells, food particles, toxins, and bacteria. Yep, not exactly appetizing. Cleaning the tongue properly and regularly is an incredibly important part of overall oral health and hygiene, and it’s very easy (and cheap!) to do. Tongue scrapers are just as they sound: a small, slightly rounded tool, typically made from metal or plastic, that scrapes the surface of the tongue removing the daily build up. This simple step can vastly improve the freshness of ones breathe, and also eliminate bacteria that may otherwise be contributing to tooth decay and gum disease.

7. Use oral-specific probiotics

While it’s no news that probiotics play an absolutely critical role in our overall gut health and immunity, we often don’t think of the bacteria living in our mouth as part of that equation. It turns out, the two are intimately linked, which only makes sense since the mouth is, by definition, the beginning of our digestive system. Beneficial oral microbes work along with the immune system to help prevent harmful bacteria, the ones associated with tooth decay and gum disease, from becoming too dominant. They keep the bad bugs in check within our mouth, just like they do in our gut. They also help facilitate important enzymatic activity and help balance the pH of the mouth. Bacteria love to hide out in the small gaps between your teeth and gums and using a daily tooth product that features beneficial microbes can do wonders in helping keep the bad guys from proliferating.

9 Holistic Tips for Improving Dental Health Naturally

8. Whiten with charcoal, not chemicals

It may seem counter-intuitive, but using charcoal, which is blacker than night, can actually whiten and brighten the teeth. Charcoal is a highly absorbent substance and can help to absorb toxins, bacteria, and also particles that are staining the teeth. Sunbiotics Remineralizing Tooth Whitening Powder(pictured above) addresses many issues such as staining, demineralization, and healthy microbial balance with a blend of activated coconut charcoal, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), bamboo silica, and coconut oil powder, calcium from algae, organic essential oils, and oral-specific probiotics. This is a much safer alternative to chemical-based bleaching agents which can weaken and sensitize the teeth.

9. Boost your toothpaste with essential oils

Essential oils are the highly concentrated oils found in many areas of the plant such as leaves, flowers, grasses, and roots, that contain many of the plant’s beneficial constituents. They are typically extracted via steam distillation, extraction with a solvent or CO2 gas, or resin tapping. Certain essential oils such as tea tree, wintergreen, peppermint, clove, rosemary, and thyme are excellent oils for purifying the mouth, freshening breath, and also help support healthy blood circulation in the gums and to the teeth. Citrus oils such as orange and tangerine are also brightening and can help loosen and dissolve stains. Therapeutic grade essential oils can be used in DIY toothpaste or mouthwash recipes and can be added to base oils for oil pulling, or can be added to your favorite toothpaste to further enhance its ability to perform well.