Apple Cider Vinegar- The Mother of Internal and External Health

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Apple Cider Vinegar- You’ve most likely seen it lingering in the dark, dusty corners of your grandmother’s pantry and paid no mind to it. Not gonna lie, it looks pretty unappealing with its orangey-brown hue and its stringy pulp (also known as “The Mother”). The smell, like most other vinegars, is extraordinarily pungent. Its no wonder why this stuff isn’t widely touted as a beauty product or yummy, fancy pantry item.

But it should be. 

Let me tell you a bit about apple cider vinegar. This bottle of goodness can be used as a simple, cost-effective, and cruelty-free remedy for essentially anything. Most of apple cider vinegar’s health benefits come from “The Mother”- the scary looking pulp that sits at the bottom of a bottle of raw, unfiltered ACV. This pulp contains live, beneficial bacteria and countless nutrients. These nutrients and bacteria are created primarily through the double fermentation of apple cider, wherein enzymes are produced and countless health benefits come to life.

Here are some notable nutrients that raw, unfiltered ACV contains:

Potassium – Potassium is responsible for maintaining regular heartbeat, lowering blood pressure, and keeping a normal fluid balance between the body’s cells.

Pectin – Pectin can help to reduce LDL cholesterol in the body.

Malic Acid and Acetic Acid – Malic acid can help the body fight off certain infections and viruses while acetic acid aids in the body’s absorption of certain minerals.

Calcium –
Calcium, as we’re all aware, helps to maintain strong teeth and bones.

Ash – Ash helps the body maintain healthy alkalinity and normal pH levels. 

Vitamin A – Vitamin A is responsible for the health and growth of many different organ systems in the body. It’s important for vision, reproduction, the heart, the liver, and the kidneys. 

Vitamins B1 + B2 + B6 – These B vitamins help the body stay energized through the absorption of different vitamins and minerals of foods we eat. Additionally, the B vitamins can promote healthy skin and hair.

Vitamin C – Vitamin C is vital in maintaining a strong immune system and strong eyesight. 

Vitamin E – Vitamin E functions mainly as an antioxidant in the body, protecting cells in the body from damage.

If the above benefits aren’t enough to convince you to add apple cider vinegar into your daily daily diet, allow me to introduce you to the beauty benefits of the stuff! Apple cider vinegar quite recently became a critical element of my beauty regime after I discovered how much it helped my skin in staying blemish-free, balanced, and supple. Apple cider vinegar contains alpha-hydroxy acid, which helps to remove dead skin. This, over time, reduces age spots and stubborn acne scars. Additionally, the malic acid in ACV fights acne and other blemishes because its a natural antibacterial agent. Lastly, ACV works to draw out toxins and clogged pores from the depths of your skin, leaving you with a balanced, clean facial glow.

When you first start using ACV on your face, you should dilute it with water until your skin gets used to its strength. I dilute 2 teaspoons of ACV with 1 teaspoon of water and apply it to my problem areas with a cotton pad. It may sting a bit at first, but your skin will become pretty resistant to the sting after a few days.

In addition to adding apple cider vinegar to your beauty regime, there are countless ways to incorporate it into your everyday diet. Below, I’ve provided a recipe for an ACV salad dressing as well as an ACV “tonic”. I strongly recommend trying these recipes out to introduce your body to the goodness of ACV- you won’t regret it!

Apple Cider Vinaigrette:

1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp + 2 tsp olive oil OR tahini
2 tbsp raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp maple syrup
sprinkle of salt + pepper
Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic:

1 apple, juiced
1/2 tbsp raw, unfiltered ACV
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp ginger juice
1 small sprinkle cayenne
1/2 tsp maple syrup

xoxo,
Lyndsey

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Thrive Market- The New Place to Buy Groceries

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I’m often asked about how I, as a college student, am able to adhere to a budget on a vegan diet while still enjoying some of the tastiest snacks and specialty grocery items on the market. At grocery stores and health food stores, you can expect to find these specialty goods at pretty expensive prices and in limited supply. Luckily for us, we live in a time where plant-based eating is evolving and access to healthy snacks in growing every day.

About a year ago, I discovered the world of Thrive Market. Since then, I’ve discovered how to eliminate the financial burden of a grocery shopping trip for a choosy vegan college student. Thrive Market offers an online store of thousands of goods for any individual with any dietary preference. The items are marked down at 25%-50% the original retail prices. Wait- it gets better. Thrive Market allows you to fill up a virtual shopping cart with as many items as you’d like, allowing you to choose from categories of foods such as cooking and meal ingredients, snacks, condiments, beverages, cereals, superfoods, and many more. Additionally, Thrive Market offers products for bath and body, health, home, pets, and beauty.

Thrive Market offers a free membership for all who choose to join, giving a 15% discount on any first purchase. If you’re looking to go further, you can join the Thrive Market community for one payment of $59.95. With this membership, you can expect to save hundreds on healthy and delicious specialty products all throughout the year.

The mission of Thrive Market, according to their website, is to provide the opportunity for a healthy lifestyle to all people of all income levels; they strive to expand access to wholesome products at just a portion of their retail prices. The mission statement of Thrive Market revolves around the values of “making healthy living easy and accessible for every American family”. Who wouldn’t want to support such a cause? I stand behind this company and their values, missions, and integrity as retailers of sustainable goods.

About once a month, I like to order myself a jumbo assortment of stuff. Let me tell you, there is nothing more exciting to me than coming home at the end of the day to see a Thrive Market box on my doorstep. Since I buy my dry goods, snacks, and beauty products from Thrive Market, I can expect only to hit the grocery store for produce and frozen goods. I have saved massive amounts of money over the past year with a Thrive Market membership. If a box of delicious vegan goodies doesn’t excite you enough, just know that Thrive Market includes free gifts in just about every purchase! With a $65 purchase last week, I received a free jar of organic coconut oil and a jumbo bag of sustainably-sourced and eco-friendly laundry detergent pods.

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Thrive Market aims to give back to the community; for every one membership, Thrive Market donates a membership to low-income family. According to their  website, they also anticipate some educational content and custom merchandising coming to their site in the next year or so. This will not only provide goods at low prices to all individuals, but it will also give consumers the opportunity to learn more about nutrition, sustainability, and a healthy lifestyle.

Honestly guys, now is a great time to delve into the world of sustainable lifestyle because ideas are so prevalent. Countless numbers of individuals and teams of individuals are carrying out new, exciting business endeavors and are providing us with widespread opportunities to support healthy bodies and healthy minds all around the world. This is a business model that I can get behind. The healthy food world is bustling- lets take full advantage of it by supporting businesses like Thrive Market.

Some products from Thrive Market that I recommend are listed and pictured below. Enjoy!

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1. Brown Basmati Rice by Seeds of Change.

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2. Spinach Dal by Tasty Bite.

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3. Falafel Roasted Chickpeas by Saffron Road.

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4. Cheesy Raw Brussel Bytes by Brussel Bytes/

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5. Ancient Grain Granola Cereal by Purely Elizabeth.

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6. Maple Almond Butter by Justin’s.

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7. Quinoa Elbow Pasta by Ancient Harvest.

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8. Raw Chocolate Coconut Chips by Go Raw.

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9. Coconut Lemon Shower Gel by EO.

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10. Coconut Nectar by Coconut Secret.

 

Enjoy!

Lyndsey x

Best Produce for May in North Florida + Recipe

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(Graphic courtesy of Farmer’s Row at RAM)

Hi everybody! As many of you may already know, eating local, fresh, and in-season produce is the key to achieving great flavor in your meals and helping to preserve the natural cycle of seasonal harvest. Additionally, this helps to support local farms and community-supported agriculture organizations. If that isn’t enough to convince you to support your local farms, keep in mind that fresh produce, when at the peak of its harvest, carries optimum nutrition levels.

If you’re lucky enough to live in Jacksonville, Florida, you may know about Farmer’s Row at the Riverside Arts Market. Farmers Row supports the community agriculture by providing the freshest seasonal produce at the Riverside Arts Market every Saturday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. I highly suggest stopping by; you’d be amazed at the sheer variety and beauty of the crops we’re able to grow, nurture, and harvest here in North Florida. I recently visited Farmer’s Row and felt like a child in a candy store; I chomped on some mighty delicious micro greens, butter lettuce, and snow peas as pictured below.

Now, I understand that it may be perhaps intimidating to approach these raw vegetables (I mean, look that Romanesco Cauliflower!) while trying to conjure up a meal with them, but I have some tips and recipes help out some of you curious foodies who’re eager to support local farms. It’s important to note, however, which produce is freshest during specific months of the year. Luckily, Farmer’s Row has provided a very useful harvest calendar to teach the community which foods to look out for. Provided below is the harvest calendar by Farmer’s Row; I keep a copy of this posted on the wall in my kitchen because it gets my creativity flowing when I’m prepping meals for the week. Additionally, it gives you an idea of what produce to keep an eye out for on your grocery store runs.

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(Graphic courtesy of Farmer’s Row)

In order for me to provide you all with a recipe idea, I picked the vegetables and fruits that I have the most experience in preparing and am confident in my skills to bring out delicious flavors.

The first recipe here is a very simple, minimal-ingredient recipe that makes a wonderful summertime lunch. It’s fresh, satisfying, and absolutely divine. It takes just minutes to throw together and it can be stored in the fridge- enjoy warm or hot!

Broccoli, Avocado, and Tahini Salad

Ingredients:

(Serves 4)
2 ripe avocados
1 head broccoli
1 tsp fresh lime zest
1 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds (or nut of choice)
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 handful of mixed greens (spinach, spring mix, ect.)

Dressing:

2 tbsp tahini paste
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1-2 tsp cold water
1 tsp agave nectar or sweetener of choice
small squeeze of fresh lime juice


Method:

1) The preparation for this salad, as I mentioned above, is incredibly easy and requires minimal ingredients or time. First off, wash your broccoli, mixed greens, and limes thoroughly.

2) Next, chop off some broccoli florets (don’t discard the stems- compost compost compost!) Steam the broccoli florets for about 5-8 minutes until they’re tender but not falling apart. While the broccoli is steaming, you can go ahead and cut up your avocados into cubes, being careful to remove the pits safely. If you’re looking for ways to use your avocado pits, check out this site for some tips on how to use avocado pits.

3) Next, combine the broccoli and avocado in a medium-sized bowl and massage the avocado into the broccoli gently, making sure not to completely break apart the florets. Next, add in some lime zest, a pinch of sea salt, and stir gently until incorporated. Add in the mixed greens, pumpkin seeds, and hemp seeds and fold into the salad with a fork.

4) Assemble the dressing in a separate bowl and mix it thoroughly to ensure that you have the desired texture. If it’s too thick, add a few drops of water and if it’s too thin, add just a spoonful of tahini.

5) Dress the salad and store in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. (The avocados may begin to brown, but they should be safe because the acidity of the limes plus the sea salt helps to preserve them).

6) Enjoy! xx

Keep an eye out or more seasonal recipes to be uploaded very soon! Thanks for reading!

Self-Love and Its Power to Heal

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What is love? Well, to put it in technical terms, love is a biochemical reaction in the brain. When we experience love in its many forms, heightened chemical activity and release in the brain takes place- dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and vasopressin. This may all seem like foreign language to you and me, but I assure you that there is so much significance behind these reactions in the brain when one experiences love (and I promise to elaborate further for anyone whose already lost interest in this post).

What is love? Well, to put it in familiar terms, it’s that warm feeling in your stomach that you get when you look at someone whom you love. This could be a family member, a best friend, your dog, or a significant other. No matter the nature of the relationship, love manifests itself in more ways than we can count. Love may be hugging your parents in the morning before leaving for school, it may be surprising a best friend with a quirky gift, or it may mean a passionate kiss shared with a romantic partner. These are all examples of love as we most commonly see it, but there’s much more to the concept of love that contributes to well-being on all levels.

What is love? Well, to put it in more broad terms, love is the foundation of good health- both physical and mental. When we learn to truly love others, our surroundings, our lives, and most importantly ourselves, we consequently attract more love into our lives and radiate positive energy. The “feel-good” chemicals in our brains manifest themselves the most when we we’re in love. My goal in writing this post is to express how an ability to love allows us to build, nurture, and maintain balanced, positive relationships with others and ourselves.

Okay, so let’s narrow it down; the type of love that I want to focus on here is self-love. We hear this term all the time-so much so that its essentially lost its true meaning. I’m here to help you explore the meaning of self-love through your sense of cognitive thinking, spirituality, and actions. I’m sure we’ve all heard the term “people show their love in different ways”, right? This is certainly true and we can, in fact, apply this concept to self-love as well by loving ourself in a variety of ways. Here are a handful of methods that you can practice to achieve self-love. This process is by no means easy or quick, but with determination, awareness, and positivity, you’re capable of falling in love with yourself.

Start With Healing Your Thoughts 

Modern research indicates a very strong relationship between cognitive thoughts and the biological processes of the body. Now, it’s time to start monitoring your thoughts, conscious or unconscious, and analyze the role these thoughts play in your perception of self. For example, a consistent pattern of negative, intrusive thoughts can manifest in physical symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other personality disorders. Often, we allow thoughts to come and go, and sometimes it’s hard to keep the monsters out of our heads. Even I, on occasion, get the “wow, my skin looks extra bad today- I don’t want to go out in public today” thoughts; we all do. The idea is to let these thoughts go just as easily as they come. Let these thoughts fade out of your consciousness and move onto the next thing, preferably something that brings you up. In the next section, I’m going to give you a rather simple method of healing your thought processes through self-praise.

Honor What Makes You Special 

Whether you believe it or not, your good qualities will always outweigh your flaws. Oftentimes our flaws, physically speaking, are oftentimes trivial but we have a tendency to obsess over them. Our personality flaws, while sometimes not so trivial, add a lot of weight on our shoulders and we’re left constantly feeling like we should just be better. Stop, these thoughts are toxic to your psyche. It’s totally okay to be introspective and self-analyze from time-to-time, but when this becomes compulsive and oppressive, that’s when you need to start making some changes in the way you perceive yourself. Simply start by making a list of just ten qualities about yourself that make you unique, special, or talented. In this list you can also include physical features of yours that you particularly like; for example, “I like the color of my eyes”. Small things such as making lists of your best, most proudest qualities are absolutely a step in the direction to achieving self-love. Try writing a list once per week, heck, you can even make a list once a day, whatever suits you. Be appreciative of your qualities, positive or negative, and allow yourself to accept all of them just simply as they are. 

Forgive Yourself and Achieve Gratitude 

Another part of learning to love yourself is learning to let the past fly free; let all your mistakes and failures go. We must learn to stop beating ourselves up over the past because it hinders your growth in the present. We can replace the thoughts of our missteps or failures with thoughts of appreciation for our various qualities. See how this works? It’s almost like a displacement-replacement method of improving your healing your cognitive thinking processes. After we learn to forgive ourselves for our various past mistakes, we’re able to reach gratitude on many levels. In this sense, gratitude applies to all aspects of our lives, particularly a gratitude for our resilience from times of darkness and failure. This gratitude welcomes more positive energy into our lives and allows us to become closer to our spirituality and ability to connect with others and ultimately with ourselves. Do you see how one thing leads to another, here? Practicing self-love leads us down paths of beauty, bliss, and new, exciting beginnings.

Work to Develop Qualities That You Wish to See in Others

This practice, at first, may appear daunting and perhaps counterproductive. I promise, it’ll all make sense soon. When we encounter individuals with lovable, personable, and attractive qualities, we’re obviously drawn to them and we seek to build relationships with them. Oftentimes, we’re even envious of these people because they appear to possess these positive qualities and express them with such ease. Envy is, without a doubt, the enemy of self-love. Fear not! There’s a way for you to rid yourself of any envy, nurture your love for yourself, and work towards building some of these positive qualities within yourself. Let me be clear- I’m not encouraging you to change every aspect of your person just because you like the way it looks on someone else. I’m encouraging you to identify these pleasant qualities in others, analyze them for what they are, and slowly incorporate them into your own personality. This can certainly help in your journey to achieving self-love because you start by identify qualities that you’d like to see in yourself, you plant them in yourself, watch them grow, and then admire the beautiful new flower you’ve created within your psyche.

This post was inspired by an article in the Well Being Journal by Tommy Rosa & Stephen Sinatra, MD- “Prescription for Self-Love”

Southern Roots- A Small Token of My Appreciation

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Hey guys, so I’m writing this on behalf of my undying appreciation for my favorite Jacksonville eatery- Southern Roots. Southern Roots is an all-organic, vegan, and gluten free restaurant in the Riverside area of Jacksonville. It’s only a few years old, but it’s already become established as a highly-acclaimed eatery among vegans, vegetarians, and even omnivores! (I’ve taken several of my meat-eater friends here and I’ve received nothing but absolutely amazing feedback from them!).

Southern Roots uses produce from community farms, bread from local bakeries, and divine artisan coffee. This aspect of the restaurant is what initially drew me to them- they seek to support local. In addition to this, their mission is to connect communities through a love for organic, sustainable, and truly delicious meals- something I, myself, hope to accomplish some day. Southern Roots’ goal of maintaining community, integrity, sustainability, and quality has truly manifested itself in every experience I’ve had there. Mariah and JP, the two owners, are so incredibly dedicated to these values; I’ve met them both on a few occasions and they’re passionate, kind, and always willing to improve the experience of their customers. I also must praise the wonderful staff they’ve accumulated over at Southern Roots. Much like Mariah and JP, every one of the employees at Southern Roots exemplifies the mission of the entire establishment- community. The employees are polite, interactive, and consistently appear enthusiastic about their jobs, despite any long lines or brunch rushes (ha ha).

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This is a sneak peek of the interior- it’s small but indefinitely cozy, earthy, and decorated with a delicate touch. In addition to serving up delicious food, Southern Roots also offers a filling station where you can stock up on some local and seasonably-available produce, spices, soaps, flowers, tea leaves, herbs, and dry goods such as rice, lentils, beans, granola, ect. They also have a refrigerated section where you can purchase such things as bread, greens, some of their in-house sauces and dips, small packages of tofu salads and such, as well as an impressive selection of kombucha and other beverages.

I have to mention that I visit Southern Roots at least three or four times weekly- they have a daily special, savory and sweet, which changes every day. They offer salads that can be served over bread, rice, greens, cornbread, or a combination of those mentioned. Their dishes are relatively simple at first glance, but once you bite into a fluffy sandwich or take a bite of a vibrant salad, you’ll quickly realize that it’s anything but simple. The flavor profiles are complex, bold yet delicate, perfectly balanced, composed of the absolute freshest ingredients, and most importantly, made with so much love. 

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As a vegan living in the South, I almost constantly crave the staples (and Southern Roots’ cornbread hits the spot!). Although I’ve tried nearly every item on the menu, some few dishes remain my indefinite favorites- the “everything” bagel and the “Beacon” over rice and greens which is a bowl of tasty local greens, short-grain brown rice, carrot slaw, and a smokey nut spread. Pictured above is what I crave almost every morning when I wake up and any time I’m in the area, I’ll pick up one of Southern Roots’ bagels. This delicacy pictured above is a fluffy “everything” bagel stuffed full of locally-made vegan Boursin Cheese by Shakti Life Kitchen, creamy avocado, picked red onions, and capers. If you’re a fan of savory breakfasts, this will be your addiction. It’s got the most flawless balance of saltiness, savoriness, and creaminess packed in such a hearty, herb-spiced bagel. In the background (yes, my boyfriend and I eat ourselves into a coma every time we go) is Southern Roots’ sweet potato toast- another divine item on their menu for those with a sweet tooth. If you’re looking to sink your teeth into some nutty, fluffy bread topped with a silky sweet potato butter, this is your addiction.

Southern Roots carries something for everyone- vegan or not. I adore this establishment with my whole heart not only for its otherworldly flavors, but for its mission to bring the community together through sustainably-sourced and cruelty-free eats. I recommend this restaurant to all of my friends, family, and even strangers who inquire about the best places in Jacksonville. I’m so excited to see Southern Roots increasing in popularity among the Jacksonville community and I hope to see it thrive even further in the future. This post is an appreciation for Southern Roots and everything they serve Jacksonville and stand for in value and moral principle.

As a vegan foodie, chef, and avid blogger, I ask that you please pay Southern Roots a visit if you’re in the Jacksonville area- I assure you that you won’t be anything but pleased.

Follow Southern Roots on Instagram (@mysouthernroots) to receive updates on their daily specials and follow them on their Facebook page to learn more about them as individuals and as a business!

Thank you for reading!

Lyndsey x

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