Monday, 8 September 2014

5 Healthy Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar


One of my favourite things to have on hand is apple cider vinegar. I absolutely love the taste of vinegar, and I love that it is so useful and multipurpose. Today I want to share with you 5 uses for apple cider vinegar, and why you should always have a bottle in your cupboard!

Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting the juice from crushed apples. It is rich in minerals and friendly bacteria (also known as the "mother"), so long as you choose a raw, unpasteurized brand. I like Bragg's, and Omega Nutrition is a good choice too.

1. Digestion

Apple cider vinegar is great to stimulate gastric juices. In fact, the acidic nature of apple cider vinegar mimics stomach acid and in turn aids digestion. That's why many people find relief from taking apple cider vinegar for heartburn -- often the issue is not too much stomach acid, but too little.

Just like lemon and water, a spoonful of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water is excellent as an alkalizing tonic. Despite its acidity, apple cider vinegar actually becomes alkaline internally after it has been metabolized.

1tsp in a little water before a meal is all you need to stimulate digestion.

2. Salad Dressings

This is of course one of the best uses of all - apple cider vinegar is a delicious addition to all kinds of salads, dressings and marinades. One of my favourite salad dressing combinations is olive oil, apple cider vinegar, tahini and basil. You can find my recipe here.

3. For Healthy, Silky Hair

One of my most recent uses for apple cider vinegar is as a hair conditioner in the shower, and it works marvellously. Two of my good friends can both vouch for this: it truly leaves your hair feeling soft and clean, and is great for detangling. Apple cider vinegar is also useful for dandruff.

I add equal parts apple cider vinegar to water in a spray bottle, spray it on wet hair in the shower, and leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing. This is my favourite new conditioner! You'll know what I mean if you try it. Best part is it's inexpensive, too.

4. Skin

If you're looking for super soft skin, try adding 1 cup of apple cider vinegar in your bath. Fun fact: the inside of our body loves a more alkaline environment, but the outside of our body - like our hair and skin - prefers more acidity. The pH of apple cider vinegar helps to balance us both internally and externally (and is also why #3 works so well!) Apple cider vinegar can also be used topically for a variety of skin ailments including insect bites, warts, and sunburn. Apply directly to skin, or dilute in a little water.

5. Fruit Flies

Apple cider vinegar works wonders for getting rid of fruit flies! I discovered this recently thanks to my brother: Simply pour undiluted apple cider vinegar into a small container, cover with plastic wrap, and poke a few holes in the top. The flies will collect in the container. It's actually pretty gross. But it works.

Sidenote: these tips are for apple cider vinegar and do not refer to white or other vinegars. Make sure to dilute apple cider vinegar when consuming, or when used topically if you have sensitive skin.

There are dozens of uses for apple cider vinegar. It is an inexpensive, highly versatile addition to anyone's lifestyle. What have you used it for? Leave me a comment below!

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

late summer


September has arrived and my favourite season is approaching, making subtle appearances in the chill of the wind, the crisp of the morning, the dull of the sky, the rusting of leaves. It is the utmost inspiring of all seasons, at least for me, where I am somehow propelled into a world of imagination, ambition, daydream.

Today it rained and my back yard was beaming wildly with the red and orange of the setting sun, droplets on leaves and florets by my feet. I am, in essence, changing once again. And maybe not so much changing but exploring, finding, who I am perhaps. The past year of my life was wobbly and imbalanced and sensational and perfect and took me where I didn't want to go, and at the same time, exactly where I want to be. I am a true believer that every single thing that we are presented with in this life is exactly what we need to take us where we need to go, to teach us what we need to know.

August was a test for strength and I am in fact stronger than I once was, in head and in heart: it's not always easy doing the right thing. But at least it proves to be freeing; a liberation of sorts, and there's no better feeling than looking ahead at the future knowing it is an entirely blank canvas, nothing and everything and neutral, perched atop an easel, awaiting creation from my fingertips, my footsteps.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

DIY: natural homemade facial moisturizer


For the video version of this recipe, click here.

For the longest time I've been on the search for a completely natural moisturizer for my face. I have used a moisturizer since I was really young and I'd have to say it's one of the most important parts of my skincare regime.

I have tried coconut oil, shea oil, shea butter, jojoba oil, safflower seed oil, vitamin e oil, and they all have a tendency to make my skin break out, so I avoid oils. Recently I realized that glycerin might be a good option: I figured it's the main ingredient in most lotions that have never caused me a problem, and it's water-soluble. And that's how this super simple, two-ingredient moisturizer spray was born. I love using it on my skin and it provides the same amount of moisture as any other lotion.

Vegetable glycerine is great for dry skin; it's a humectant meaning it helps to draw and retain moisture. It's water-soluble, which I love as it's not a heavy oil, and it leaves your skin super soft.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 tbsp vegetable glycerine (I use Now's non-gmo glycerine)
  • a little under 3oz water
  • empty 3oz spray bottle (I got mine from the travel section in Target)




Directions:

Simply add 1/2 tbsp of glycerin into the empty bottle, add water, twist on cap and shake the mixture together. If you're looking for extra moisture, you can use 1 full tbsp. I just find it takes a little longer for your skin to absorb it. For an additional touch, add a drop or two of your favourite essential oil to give it a refreshing or soothing scent. Lavender, grapefruit or tangerine would work well.

Spray onto hands or directly on face, and gently massage into skin.

And that's it -- let me know if you give it a try! Do you moisturize? What works best for your skin?

Meghan

Friday, 1 August 2014

july reflection 2014


I have had a terrible month. I'm happy to say (crossing my fingers) that now that the first of August has come along, things are perhaps officially starting to look up. There is not one or two things that troubled me this past little while, but many. Too many. Too much. Unbearable overwhelm. The worst possible things. Or, at least, too many bad things all at the same time.

It all started with my 1 year old cat, Juniper "Junie" who spontaneously broke her hip on a sunday when all regular veterinary offices were closed. $2000 later, she underwent a femoral head ostectomy. The whole ordeal was maybe just a little unexpected.

Of course a day or two later, after many sleepless hours of managing her sedated, stubborn, aggressive refusal to take her pain medication or wear her cone, my car, in which I had only just purchased six weeks prior, decided it was a fine time to stall on me. This wasn't even the first time it happened. Needless to say, I was a combination of absolutely furious, hysterical, and hyperventilating all the way home whilst revving the engine in park to keep it from shutting off at red lights.

The day got even more fantastic when I arrived home only to discover Junie has torn out half her stitches, with a vet on the phone telling me this is an emergency. Keep in mind, all in one afternoon I've got a car that doesn't work, a cat in need of immediate assistance, and I just so happen to need to be at work in an hours time, all the while panicking about just how many more dollars I will need to put in to anything at this point.

My adrenal glands were definitely on the verge of exploding in July. I literally have never cried so many consecutive days in a row.

The other four or five unfortunate events I'm not even going to discuss, because things just got plain weird by the fourth week of the month. But as of now, I am finally finding my ground again, and things I think will be just fine. Things feel as a haze it seems, like when a terrible storm passes and it's all a mere memory.

If there's one thing I've learned this month, it's to breathe. And to remember that this too shall pass, and that there are indeed lessons in everything: like don't buy a mini cooper, and make good decisions. I was, in essence, robbed of too many dollars and on more than one occasion this month. Car purchasing is no walk in the park, and salespeople are terrifyingly greedy.

On a positive note, my car situation has improved dramatically, and I finally obtained the car I wish I got all along: my beloved Toyota Yaris! Hello reliability!

It feels good to rant.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

recipe: easy green smoothie


I used to be really terrible at making smoothies, but over the years I've learned a thing or two and now really enjoy throwing them together and playing around with different ingredients. I want to share a very basic but delicious green smoothie recipe that I shared on my youtube channel recently, too.
*Tip: I like to buy packages of frozen fruit and thaw what I need for my smoothies. I find frozen fruit makes them too icy and soft fruit makes them smoother.

Easy Green Smoothie

Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup mango (fresh or you can thaw frozen fruit)
  • 1/3 cup peaches or pineapple (fresh or you can thaw frozen fruit)
  • 1/4 avocado
  • handful baby spinach
  • few ice cubes (optional)
Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth!

What are some of your favourite smoothie ingredients?

Meg

Sunday, 13 July 2014

natural cold sore remedies


I get cold sores. About once a year. Ever since I was really little. *cries*. And I just got over one so I thought this would be the perfect topic to discuss.

As much as I wish I didn't get them, and feel like my life is over the moment I know I'm getting one (seriously), there is simply nothing I can do about the fact that the virus will forever lie dormant in my system. However, I have a few tricks up my sleeve on how to prevent them from coming, or to at the very least, reduce their severity and get rid of them faster, which is always the first thing that comes to mind.

Also known as fever blisters, these common, small little annoying and unsightly outbreaks on the lip area are probably one of the worst things one should have to deal with, in my humble opinion. They are caused by the herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1) that lies inactive in nerve cells until one of many triggers cause it to become active again (HSV-1 is not to be confused with HSV-2, which is sexually transmitted). Triggers include:

  • stress, anxiety
  • compromised immune system
  • general illness (cold, flu, etc.)
  • fatigue
  • excessive sun exposure
  • trauma to affected area
  • menstruation
I know for myself, if I'm really emotionally stressed or if my anxiety is particularly heightened, I tend to be more prone to getting one. Not fun. It's important to remember that a weakened immune system plays a huge role, too. Supporting these things are truly of primary importance. 

Some things to consider for prevention include the herbs ashwagandha or rhodiola for some nourishing, adaptogenic, anti-stress support. Magnesium is my favourite mineral and is very calming and anti-stress. Meditation and yoga are always good, too. Support your immune system with things like vitamin C, zinc, and avoiding dairy and sugar.

Stages of a Cold Sore:

The stages of a cold sore suck. They just suck. The first stage involves the infamous tingle followed by redness and the inevitable fate. The second stage involves the dreaded blister, and for me personally, an insanely swollen lip. This stage is particularly uncomfortable, itchy, sometimes painful, embarrassing, and just overall bad and sucks a lot. It lasts about 1-2 days. The third and final stage is the friendly ol' scab at which point it becomes very tolerable and free of swelling. For me this begins on the third day and lasts for about 4-5 days, with the total duration of about a week or so.

My Absolute Essentials for Warding off Cold Sores:

Lysine: I cannot stress enough the importance of taking the amino acid Lysine internally. I take it as a supplement, at least 3,000mg per day. Sometimes I'll pop a few more. Lysine definitely makes a huge difference in the duration and severity of the cold sores I experience.

Lysine works by essentially blocking arginine. HSV requires arginine to replicate and arginine itself is suggested to stimulate replication of the virus. In this way it's vital to avoid foods high in arginine (chocolate, peanuts, almonds and other nuts and seeds) and eat loads of foods high in lysine (vegetables, legumes, fish, turkey, chicken).

Ointment: Topically I love to use a lysine cream called Super Lysine+. It's a blend of zinc oxide, lysine, echinacea, propolis, goldenseal and a few other ingredients that I find really aid healing and reducing duration.

Supplemental lysine and the lysine cream are pretty much the top two items I find are most important, but additionally I like to use a few other soothing creams to aid healing and cellular repair:

Aloe blend: This time around I used a skin gel called Nature's Aid, which is a blend of aloe vera, tea tree oil, witch hazel, rosemary and vitamin e. It is so soothing and has literally dozens of uses for the skin. It's antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory.

Oil of Oregano: This is one of those things that everyone should have on hand, for a whole variety of first aid uses. It's extremely antibacterial, antiviral, and actually a natural antibiotic. You can apply a drop or two directly onto the area.

Vitamin E oil: I use vitamin e oil to remove makeup and to moisturize my eye area lightly, but I find it's also nice to use around the cold sore area just to add a bit of moisture as it can get a bit uncomfortable, usually from drying the crap out of it. I take a cotton swab and dab it on where needed.

Arnica Montana: I thought I'd throw this one in for good measure. If you dig homeopathics, then I highly suggest the use of arnica. Arnica is used for injuries, inflammation, bruising, pain, and is a great way to ease pain that may be present. A few pellets taken internally throughout the day will suffice.

That's it for what I wanted to share today, I do hope this helps!

Meghan

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

june favourites | health, food & fashion








On my youtube channel the other day I shared my favourites from the month of June, and I thought I would share them on here as well!

1. Floral skirt - Forever 21
2. Hat - H&M
3. M necklace - Suzy Shier
4. Pearl earrings - my mum (I've wanted a pair of pearl earrings for ages but I'm not able to wear many earrings as they make my ears itchy. My mom had a pair of gold pearl earrings from years ago that she no longer wants and they don't irritate me at all! I was so happy!)
5. Cucumber & Calendula soap - The Soap Works (from the health food store). I am loving the scent of cucumber these days, and I'm currently on the lookout for some extract!
6. Nut milk bag - came with my Vitamix!
7. Limes - I have been loving limes lately; in my water, and last night squeezed into my stir fry!

For the full list of the health and style items I loved throughout June, you can check out the video here.

With love,
Meghan

Monday, 23 June 2014

Recipe: Fruit-Infused Detox Water


Hello everyone out there,

It has been little while since I last made a post, so I thought I would share with you three fruit infused "detox water" recipes that I shared on my youtube channel recently. These are so easy to make. I hope  you give them a try, or they simply inspire you to experiment with your favourite herbs and fruits. All of these are super hydrating, refreshing, and gently cleansing.

These measurements are for a 1L sized mason jar. (I love mason jars, I use them for most everything!)

1) Lemon, Cucumber & Mint
  • 1/4 cucumber sliced
  • 1/2 lemon sliced
  • 5-10 fresh mint leaves
  • Add ingredients to container, and fill to the top with water!
Lemon alkalizes the body, and stimulates digestion and liver function.

2) Raspberry, Lime & Cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 lime sliced
  • small handful cilantro sprigs
  • Add ingredients to container, and fill to the top with water!
Lime, like lemon, alkalizes the body, stimulates digestion, and supplies us with many beneficial minerals. Cilantro helps to pull heavy metals out of our body, such as mercury.

3) Strawberry, Grapefruit & Rosemary
  • 2-4 fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 - 1/2 grapefruit, sliced
  • 1-2 sprigs rosemary
  • Add ingredients to container, and fill to the top with water!
Grapefruit is another great refreshing, alkalizing and mineral-rich citrus. Rosemary is known to enhance memory, and helps to support our livers ability to detoxify!

I hope you enjoy these simple detox water recipes! If you've ever made them before, let me know in the comments what some of your favourite combinations are!

With love,
Meghan

Saturday, 24 May 2014

woman refined


Spring is such an inspiring, promising season. So much to look forward to as the days brighten and bloom. There is flourish all around. It has been so nice to see some blossoms, albeit a few weeks late this year, but there are blossoms nonetheless. And there is warm wind, and no need for a jacket, and this my friends, has been nice.

The other day I took a trip to my local bookstore for one of my favourite bi-annual outings: a new journal. I go through one journal about every 6 months, and I simply love choosing a new one. When I finish a journal this means I am on to a new chapter, and it always feels that way when my hands brush over new, blank pages, and my pen meets the paper.

The timing of needing a new journal truly fell at a time where I really do feel I am entering a new chapter. I think I have been entering this new chapter for many moons now, but only recently have I felt more solidity in the changes in my life. I always like to choose the look and feel of a journal based on what represents myself at that time, and the journal I gravitated towards feels simple, contemporary, refined.

Refined has been a major word for me this month. As I have felt myself shifting I have felt a refining within myself. And quite literally, as the definition says, removing impurities and unwanted elements.

That is precisely what I have found myself doing. Removing unwanted elements from my life: opinions, beliefs, obsessions, things, that no longer resonate with me. There has been an unleashing, a letting go, a letting in.

2014 has been the first year where I have actually felt more mature. More responsible. More independent. I've always been an independent person, but for the longest time I always felt like I was still in some sort of teenager stage. As I creep closer to 24 and as I find myself in a space of very invigorating and life-changing scenarios, I realize I am no longer a little girl, and I realize I am indeed a woman.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

How To: Basic Homemade Almond Milk


This morning I made a fresh batch of homemade almond milk, a very simple recipe that I'd like to share today. For the longest time I would use store-bought almond milk until I made it for the first time and realized how incredible easy and quick it is. It also tastes so much better; I find store-bought almond milk has a stronger flavour, whereas homemade almond milk has a much lighter, neutral, real taste.

Almond milk is a great alternative to regular cow's milk. It's easy to digest, and rich in magnesium.

Basic Almond Milk
  • 1 cup soaked almonds (that's about 3/4 cup dried almonds, as they expand once soaked)
  • 4 cups water
Those are the only ingredients you will need! Simple as can be.

Directions

Soak almonds in a bowl for about 12 hours, or overnight. (Soaking nuts releases what are known as "enzyme inhibitors", and allows for optimal digestion). Strain water. Add soaked almonds and water to blender and blend on high speed for 20 seconds.



Wrap a nut milk bag, cheese cloth or kitchen towel over medium sized bowl and pour mixture through. Tighten bag and squeeze, and that's it! This recipe fills one 1L mason jar. Store for up to one week. You can use the leftover almond pulp in any of your favourite smoothies or baking recipes.

This recipe can easily be made into a sweet vanilla or chocolate almond milk.

Enjoy,
Meghan