3 Tricks for Better Digestion

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Did you know digestion takes up 50% of our energy?

No wonder we feel so sluggish after a big meal. Digestion is one of the most important factors in our health, considering its how we process everything we eat.  But it doesn’t have to take up all of our much needed energy… if we pay more attention to how we eat food, we can digest food much easier, and all that energy will go towards beautifying jobs like growing hair and nails, pumping collagen, and metabolizing.

For those of you who don’t know, we digest food in the order we eat it. I used to think that it somehow all got mixed up down there but its pretty orderly; our bodies are insane machines that work in a precise manner. Kimberly Snyder’s Beauty Detox Solution opened my eyes to this concept of digesting for the first time, I couldn’t believe I had never learned it before, it seems like common sense! Today I’m sharing three simple tricks that you can use every day to improve your digestion and ultimately improve your health and energy.

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1. Eat fruit first and in the morning

Did you know that fruit digests in about 30 minutes!? It moves quicker through our digestive systems than any other type of food. Loaded with fiber, fruit acts like a fast cleaning crew scrubbing your body clean of toxins. So if you have fruit on your plate, eat it first before any other food group, this ensures that your body can absorb optimal amounts of nutrients and enzymes from the fruit, and it can do its cleaning job more easily.

More importantly, don’t eat fruit after you’ve eaten a big meal of heavier food, because it will just sit on top of the heavier food that takes longer to digest and can actually begin to ferment in your system and create toxins, leading to gas, bloating, discomfort and even weight gain. It’s best to eat fruit in the morning or on an empty stomach. I also wouldn’t recommend eating fruit as a dessert, wait at least two hours after you’ve eaten or try dark chocolate with at least 60% cacao!

2. Eat greens before your meal & choose the darkest

Just like above, you want to eat greens before your main entree; greens digest faster than our heavy entrees like meat or potatoes. For example, eating a side salad as an appetizer or snacking on celery before your main meal is one of the simplest ways to improve your digestion. More importantly, eating enzyme-rich vegetables before your meal will help give you more enzymes to help digest food. Obviously, we don’t absorb food, we absorb nutrients, and enzymes are responsible for breaking down our food into protein, carbs, fat, etc. so we can absorb the nutrients.

While our bodies produce enzymes, they may only be able to break down and extract about 40-50% of our food’s true nutrient value. And by the time we’re 50, we’ll produce around half of what we did when we were younger. Raw veggies are the most enzyme dense foods, so make sure you eat them before your meals! Also, choose the darkest greens for more nutrients… opt for Spinach and Romaine over Iceburg. Romaine lettuce has almost twice the nutritional value of Iceburg lettuce, which is 96% water!

3. Don’t drink while you eat

It’s obviously extremely important to drink water throughout the day (aim for half your body weight it ounces, so if you weigh 140, drink 70 oz’s). However, drinking a lot of water while eating can dilute digestive juices and acid making it hard to digest food. Think of it as a big swamp in your stomach. Water molecules can also get trapped in the food which can make you bloat and lead to post-meal discomfort. Try to drink a lot of water 30 minutes before you meal (which can help you feel fuller) and an hour after. Avoid guzzling down water during your meals, but sipping is fine as needed.

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Pineapple Beauty Shot

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Since the beginning of summer, I have amped up my health and workout routine to get in tip-top bikini shape for my cousin’s wedding in Cabo. And now that I’m engaged and there’s a wedding down the line (!!!), my routine has elevated to a whole ‘nother level. The best part about it is that I don’t have to starve myself or crash diet or go to spinning hell everyday like I used to do for Prom or silly events (and gain the weight and then some back the next week)… this is a semi-long-term body investment, just like my best friend Kristen’s blog in Los Angeles, “The Body Project“. Obviously you should practice healthy living everyday, but lets be honest… I’m getting married and I better look damn hot.

In addition to resistance/pilates training at least 3 times a week, and cardio 5 times a week, I (aim) to follow the Tone it Up Pescatarian Nutrition Plan which calls for a morning Beauty Shot to boost metabolism after a 30 minute jog. You totally thought it was beer at first, didn’t you? I love these little shots so much! They are making my skin glow and really curb my post-cardio morning hunger.

This beauty shot has Cinnamon and Apple Cider Vinegar to reduce hunger and balance blood sugar levels while the Cayenne raises body temperature, gets your blood going (aka beauty flush!) and boosts metabolism to help you burn more calories throughout the day.

Pineapple Beauty Shot

4 oz fresh pineapple juice

1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

Juice of 1/2 lime

1 tsp honey

Pinch of cinnamon

Pinch of cayenne

Shake with ice, pour, enjoy!

Coconut Oil Deep Conditioner

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I have done a lot of hydrating treatments in my life because I highlight my hair and its very dry. I’ve tried keratin, eggs, olive oil  (don’t judge, I know you’ve tried some crazy things too!!) even a beer and mayonnaise treatment you can find here but NOTHING has compared to the feeling after a coconut oil treatment. This has made my hair SO soft and strong I do it at least once a month. Better yet, it grows SO fast, I can’t even keep up with my hair appointments! I also like to rub the oil on my skin before I go to bed it makes my skin so silky smooth and my face glow! Giada de Laurentiis mentions that she also does a coconut oil scalp massage in her new book Feel Good Food.

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What to do:

Rub coconut oil in hands to warm into oil, run through dry, brushed hair. Some people like to rub it in their scalp for a deeper condition but this can make your hair extremely oily so take caution. I leave it in my hair for an hour or so until it dries a little and then shampoo out very well and condition normally. Sometimes 2 washes is necessary.

Hair Secrets

I always get asked about how I grew my hair out so long and healthy. Besides eating a healthy plant-based diet which has truly improved my hair dramatically, I have a secret method that I do with my roommates every Sunday. I know this may sound ridiculous and disgusting but it is the best and most effective (& cheap!)  treatment that I have found. You don’t have to spend exuberant amounts of money on products that will actually strip your hair of its natural beauty. The secret behind these steps are laid out below:

Step 1: Beer Rinse

Liquid Diet for Your Hair?

While the hair products you know and love may give your hair that temporary shine or control you need, daily use can add buildup of residue in your hair. This could be one of the reasons your hair may feel greasy, heavy or lifeless.
In order to rinse away the bad product to reveal shiny bouncy healthy hair follicles, you need to use an acidic rinse at least once every other week. In comes beer – used as an acidic rinse to smooth out your hair cuticles and increase shine. The key is to make sure the beer is flat, letting it settle and pouring into your hair. Massage into roots and rinse. (Don’t do this before you go to a meeting or event)

Step 2: Mayo Me

Most of my friends won’t go near mayonnaise, but this is actually the best deep hair conditioner ever! The thick creaminess quenches the thirst of dry and brittle hair. It not only gives it moisture, shine and body but it improves your hair over time, making it stronger and growing faster. Apply a couple handfuls to hair (I avoid my roots because it can be a little heavy) and comb through hair with fingers, leave on for about an hour or so. I personally put a shower cap on or wrap saran wrap around my head and blowdry heat on it for about 5 minutes after applying mayonnaise. Rinse out and shampoo and lightly condition, combing fingers through hair (make sure you wash it out completely or else it will feel greasy).

The secret to this is the egg yolk in the mayonnaise which contains a form of protein that is commonly found in standard hair treatments. This protein fills in gaps in the hair shaft, making individual micro layers of the hair lie flat, giving the hair a fuller, shinier appearance.

{I buy mayonnaise that has olive oil in it, this gives my hair extra shine}

Happy Pills

I’m not one to take a pill for every little problem I have, but I am an advocate for vitamins and herbal supplements to help your health. With that said, I don’t know if it’s the fact that I have been in the library every second of the day because of midterms or if I am exposed to little sunlight and minimal Vitamin D, but I have definitely been feeling blue and anxious lately. I remember my friend Kristen once suggested I try St. John’s Wort, an herbal remedy for depression and anxiety. So I decided to give it a try and I was thoroughly pleased with the results. I don’t feel anything but hope. Here’s some context:

– St. John’s Wort –

(Wort = Plant). This herb has been medicinally used for about 2400 years, trending in Germany. It’s named after St. John the Baptist and scientifically known as Hyperieum, which is derived from the Greek, meaning ‘over an apparition,’ a reference to the belief that the herb was so obnoxious to evil spirits that a whiff of it would cause them to fly.

Research suggests that St. John’s Wort raises levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine — neurotransmitters that help boost morale and mood. More specifically, the Hypericin is the red pigment of the plant and it seems to inhibit monoamine oxidase (MAO) and the breakdown of the brain’s neurotransmitters and is also a SRI, serotonin reuptake inhibitor

This herb is commonly used for depressions and the associated symptoms like anxiety/nervousness, tiredness, hysteria, irritability, trouble sleeping… Other uses include heart palpitations, moodiness and other symptoms of menopause, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), pain & menstrual cramps, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which I suffer from in the colder months. It has also been evidenced to help with chronic fatigue, IBS & bladder discomfort, nausea, migraines/headaches, muscle & nerve pains.

– Vitamin D –

Another lifesaver: I suggest that every college student take Vitamin D supplements. We are commonly in the library for so long and staring at a screen for hours, we don’t get the sunshine needed to be naturally happy and walk home groggy, pissed off and hungry.  Being from California, it is absolutely vital for me to get at least 30 minutes of sun a day or I get oober depressed. I’ve even considered buying those “fake sun” lightbulbs for my house.

Here’s the jist of it: Vitamin D has been found to be prevalent in areas of the brain associated with behavior and emotions, in the amygdala & hippocampus. So when levels are low, they can’t function like they should. It’s also involved in the release of certain neurotransmitters like dopamine, seratonin and epinephrine — the SAME ones many antidepressants are designed to target.

Another theory of why this might help is it reduces the production of cytokines. Cytokines are proteins that increase inflammation and have been shown to be a possible risk factor for depression.

Vitamin D has other roles in the body, including modulation of cell growth, neuro-muscular and immune function. It protects & lubricane bones, teeth and hair as well as regulate hair growth and cell activity. Reduces inflammation, protects against osteoporosis (a lot more than dairy does!), and  reduces risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer.

For us women, our recommended dietary allowance is 200 IU (intenational units).Most sources say that highest forms of vitamin D are found in fish, margarine (wtf?) or fortified fruits & cereals. Are we dumb? Plants DRINK sunlight! The reason most plants are green is because of the chlorophyll, plants naturally absorb the sun giving us all those amazing benefits, leaving you radiant.

Vegan Sources:

SUNSHINE

Shittake & Button Mushrooms (Sundried): 168 IU in

1 cup of Soy Milk: 338 IU

1 serving of light tofu: 581 IU

Dry Brushing

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This is my newest favorite tradition and one of the, if not THE best way to keep your skin clear of debris, soft, velvety and naturally glowing. People always ask me how I make my skin so glowing and baby soft, and this is my secret. Dry brushing helps us “detoxify” by loosening dead cells, stimulating acupressure points, wakes up your immune system by circulating your blood flow and it ultimately REDUCES the appearance of CELLULITE! Skin is our biggest organ and we often forget that, and neglect to care for it. A loofa to your skin is like fiber to your colon. Your body naturally sheds skin cells out from our skin and its important to scrub away this toxic build up, or else it will be reabsorbed back into our skin which leads to, you guessed it: breakouts! Did you know that 70% of what we put on our skin is absorbed into our liver? This can create a very toxic body.

Look for a natural bristle brush and throw on some Hendrix and go to town, brushing all areas of your skin in upward circular motions (especially your thighs, bum and dimply areas). Don’t brush too hard and be kind to sensitive areas –> ( . Y . ) ;) . When targeting your face, use a washcloth. I like to use a baby washcloth because its softer and won’t tug at your skin (CVS). After you shower definitely lather up with lotion (try to use natural lotions, I love using coconut oil before bed – you smell and feel so amazing). Once you do this, you will be amazed at the feeling of your skin actually breathing and you actually feel lighter. I can’t stop feeling how soft my skin is after! Its seriously the best. Go try!

I’m really excited to get these loofah gloves! Makes it so much easier…

Terry Loofah Gloves $8

Dr Oz’s Green Coffee Bean Supplement

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I recently stumbled upon Dr. Oz’s green coffee bean pure extract episode (video at the bottom of this post) which introduced a revolutionary supplement that actually is proven to aid weight loss for any body type without exercising or changing your diet according to scientists. I’m also not one to believe in “weight loss supplements” but this is an all natural, organic extract from the original coffee bean before it has been destroyed by the coffee industry. This supplement can be viewed as the green coffee bean is to Starbucks as the wheat plant is to white bread.

Unfortunately, my guru Kimberly Snyder disagrees with caffeine as it damages the liver (which is all true and I will touch on later), but this is a holistic, pure and raw alternative for those of you who need your caffeine and also would do anything to get rid of belly fat. Excited to try this experiment out personally, I went to whole foods and got Genesis Today’s vegetarian 400mg supplements (shown above) “Pure Coffee Bean” which states on the front “Supports: Weight Management”. It has less caffeine than 1/2 a cup of coffee (less than 40mg per serving) and is standardized to 50% Cholorogenic Acids, which is the essential ingredient for its miraculous fat burning (details below).

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“The study showed women and men who took green coffee extract lost an outstanding amount of fat and weight: 17 pounds in 22 weeks by doing absolutely nothing extra in their day!” They took the capsules, didn’t exercise or change their diet and actually consumed 2400 calories a day and burned only 400 calories (that’s weight gain, not weight loss!) and lost over 10% of their total body weight, 16% of total body fat and they lost about 17 pounds per participant with ZERO side effects and took the supplements for 12 weeks ONLY.”

In the episode, naturopathic doctor and certified nutritionist Lindsey Dunkun shares with us, “that the regular coffee that we drink is roasted at 475 degrees Fahrenheit, which changes the color (from green to brown), taste, aroma and removes the essential Chlorogenic Acid which is the triple threat. Chlorogenic acid causes the body to burn glucose (or sugar) and burn fat, mainly in the liver (belly fat). It also slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream, so when you don’t have sugar building up in the bloodstream, you don’t have fat building up, because sugar turns to fat. When the two are combined together, you get this synergistic effect that basically burns and blocks and stops fat, but it also is natural and safe.”

{more information on the episode}

Again, I’m very against the idea of losing weight without exercising and a healthy diet. I think it’s better to be healthy and active versus skinny, so if you are interested in this supplement, take it in addition to having a healthy lifestyle, and you’ll reap even more incredible benefits!

Ginger Lemon & Mint Detox Tea

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Ginger Lemon & Mint Detox Tea

Forget the tea bags, this free floating tea may be the best remedy for life. The medicinal properties of these ingredients flourish in the hot detoxifying purified water. Health benefits below:

LEMON WATER

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Good for Stomach
Lemon can help relieve many digestion problems when mixed with hot water. These include nauseaheartburn and parasites. Due to the digestive qualities of lemon juice, symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn, bloating and belching are relieved. By drinking lemon juice regularly, the bowels are aided in eliminating waste more efficiently. Lemon acts as a blood purifier and as a cleansing agent. The intake of lemon juice can cure constipation. It is even known to help relieve hiccups when consumed as a juice. Lemon juice acts as a liver tonic and helps you digest your food by helping your liver produce more bile. It decreases the amount of phlegm produced by your body. It is also thought to help dissolve gallstones.

Excellent for Skin Care
Lemon, being a natural antiseptic medicine, can participate to cure problems related to skin. Lemon is a Vitamin C rich citrus fruit that enhances your beauty, by rejuvenating skin from within and thus bringing a glow on your face. Daily consumption of lemon water can make a huge difference in the appearance of your skin. It acts as an anti-aging remedy and can remove wrinkles and blackheads. Lemon water if applied on the areas of burns can fade the scars. As lemon is a cooling agent, it reduces the burning sensation on the skin.

Aids in Dental Care
Lemon water is used in dental care also. If fresh lemon juice is applied on the areas of toothache, it can assist in getting rid of the pain. The massages of lemon juice on gums can stop gum bleeding. It gives relief from bad smell and other problems related to gums. (But go easy, you don’t want to remove enamel because once it’s gone, it’s gone.)

Cures Throat Infections
Lemon is an excellent fruit that aids in fighting problems related to throat infections, sore throat and tonsillitis as it has an antibacterial property. For sore throat, dilute one-half lemon juice with one-half water and gargle frequently.

Good for WEIGHT LOSS
One of the major health benefits of drinking lemon water is that it paves way for losing weight faster, thus acting as a great weight loss remedy. If a person takes lemon juice mixed with hot water and honey, it can reduce the body weight as well by flushing out toxins, which rids water weight.

Controls High Blood Pressure
Lemon water works wonders for people having heart problem, owing to its high potassium content. It controls high blood pressure, dizziness, nausea as well as provides relaxation to mind and body. It also reduces mental stress and depression.

GINGER

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Acts as a Blood Purifier
The diseases like cholera or malaria can be treated with lemon water as it can act as a blood purifier.

Colon Cancer Prevention
A study at the University of Minnesota found that ginger may slow the growth of colorectal cancer cells.

Morning Sickness
A review of several studies has concluded that ginger is just as effective as vitamin B6 in the treatment of morning sickness.

Motion Sickness Remedy
Ginger has been shown to be an effective remedy for the nausea associated with motion sickness.

Reduces Pain and Inflammation
One study showed that ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and is a powerful natural painkiller.

Heartburn Relief
Ginger has long been used as a natural heartburn remedy. It is most often taken in the form of tea for this purpose.

Cold and Flu Prevention and Treatment
Ginger has long been used as a natural treatment for colds and the flu. Many people also find ginger to be helpful in the case of stomach flus or food poisoning, which is not surprising given the positive effects ginger has upon the digestive tract.

Migraine Relief
Research has shown that ginger may provide migraine relief due to its ability to stop prostaglandins from causing pain and inflammation in blood vessels.

Menstrual Cramp Relief
In Chinese medicine, ginger tea with brown sugar is used in the treatment of menstrual cramps.

Prevention of Diabetic Nephropathy
A study done on diabetic rats found that those rats given ginger had a reduced incidence of diabetic nephropathy (kidney damage)

TO MAKE:

Simply pour boiling water over sliced ginger ginger (try 4 or 5 the size of quarters), let steep for about 5mins then add lemon juice and stevia to taste. Rub mint leaves in your palms to release oils and add to brew. Sip and enjoy!

I drink this the day after thanksgiving, for hangovers, migraines, pms, indigestion, to promote drowsiness, to clear sinuses, or just relax.


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The Book That Changed My Life

The Beauty Detox Solution (or as I like to refer to it as, “my Bible”) by Kimberly Snyder , has changed my life in so many ways. Her book not only cured me of my illness, gave me incredible health improvements and physical benefits, but it has breathed new life into my soul and led me to my true passion: nutrition. Kimberly Snyder started a fire inside of me that has caught on to every area of my life. I have since changed my major to a nutritional based curriculum, became vegan and a passionate chef. I have found my inner fire, my love for adventure and life. Most importantly, I have shared my love for nutrition and inner beauty to everyone around me, spreading health and life and creating more veg-heads (mwahaha). Like my brother, Chas, who now understands the inner peace, intuition, energy and happiness that comes from a holistic lifestyle. Check out his blog, My Quantum Life,  for more wisdom on inner health and peace as he begins his journey as a massage therapist.

Kimberly Snyder is a celebrity nutritionist for Fergie, Drew Barrymore, Owen Wilson, Olivia Wilde, Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan, Vince Vaughn and many more. She is best known for her “Glowing Green Smoothie”, which I will touch on soon!

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The Beauty Detox Solution, Kimberly Snyder