miracle hangover cure: milk thistle extract
as you probably know, one of the recurring themes here at bananas + bellinis is balance, simply because i believe that in order to live a healthy life, you have to live a happy life and happiness doesn’t come from deprivation, restriction or self-inflicted punishment or criticism. i know from personal experience that depriving yourself, obsessing over your food intake and criticizing yourself for your appearance, weight, financial status, life choices, etc. does not lead to happiness… at all.
one thing that i’m not afraid to share is my love for going out and enjoying myself over a few drinks. cocktails, beer, wine… i like all of it. i believe that in moderation, having a drink or two… or three… is perfectly fine and nothing to feel bad about. now, with that being said, there is one kinda out there, health nut thing that i do to give my liver a little prep and that is incorporating milk thistle extract into my supplement regimen the day of an event I know i’ll be drinking at.
milk thistle extract is something that i was introduced to when i was doing a 30-day mind-body cleanse last january and it has seriously changed my life. milk thistle is a plant and the extract that comes from its leaves is known for its ability to detoxify and protect the liver and its vital functions, so obviously this stuff has a place when it comes to the prevention/cure of hangovers.
you can purchase milk thistle extract in tincture or pill form [i prefer the tincture] and take it during the day when you know you have a happy hour or a birthday party to attend. you can put a dropper full in your water or tea as much as you would like throughout the course of the day [the taste isn’t strong] or directly into your drink while at the event. the morning after a night of drinking, especially if I’m not having an #iwokeuplikethis moment, i’ll also put a dropper full into a glass of ice cold water and before i know it, i’m back to 100%.
of course, this trick is much less effective if you drink a lot, a lot or if you start mixing alcohol [that’s never a good idea and I can’t help you there], but give this a try the next time you go out for a few drinks and I promise you won’t know how you ever lived without it.
images courtesy of the glamorous housewife
happy halloween + healthy candy recipe
halloween is tomorrow and over the last few years, it’s become one of my favorite holidays. i usually know what i’m going to dress up as months and months ahead of time and I’ve gotten really into making/building my own costumes rather than buying something pre-packaged at the Halloween store… it’s more fun that way!
another thing i love about Halloween? the candy. duh. unfortunately, the typical halloween candy that you find in stores and probably remember eating as a kid is just… sh*t. sorry, there’s no way around it. so, instead of buying yourself an industrial sized bag of absolute garbage this weekend, you should try making your own healthy candy! the recipe below is incredibly easy to follow, takes about 10 minutes to prepare and is customizable based on what you have on hand/what you like. i can’t stand milk chocolate because a] it tastes like wax and b] it’s terrible for you, so I used dark chocolate [which actually has some health benefits when eaten in moderation] to make my own healthy versions of crunch bars, almond joys and chocolate turtles… with some other variations in there, as well!
for about 24 pieces, all you need is:
- 1 bag of vegan dark chocolate chips [i used these from enjoy life]
- your choice of fillings [i used pecans, almonds, and brown rice cereal]
- your choice of toppings [i used pepitas, coconut flakes, goji berries, caramel sauce, and fleur de sel]
there are just a few, really easy steps to this:
- line a cookie sheet with wax paper.
- place your fillings in little piles on the cookie sheet in whatever arrangement/combination you would like.
- using a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips, stirring constantly, until fully melted and smooth.
- drizzle the melted chocolate onto your fillings, covering the piles completely and then add the toppings.
- place the cookie sheet in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before devouring… and be sure to share!
what are your halloween plans? what are you dressing up as?! i’m off to new orleans for the weekend… i’ll be sure to share the details of my trip [and my costume] next week.
first image courtesy of cute autumn
fall favorites: healthy pumpkin spice latte
the pumpkin spice latte has gotten a lot of attention recently. it’s a fall staple and a seasonal favorite of a lot of people [myself included]. this year, starbucks made it available a few weeks earlier than usual [well before fall officially started], but along with the hype has come quite a bit of negative press, especially among the health and wellness community. why? well, it turns out that a starbucks pumpkin spice latte actually contains zero pumpkin. yep, you read that right. there is no pumpkin in a pumpkin spice latte.
sooo, what is? about 50 grams of sugar [double the recommended daily intake], caramel coloring [made with ammonia], artificial flavors [made with petroleum], g.m.o. milk, preservatives, sulfites, and pesticide residue. the diagram below from food babe breaks it all down.
so, should you cut the p.s.l. habit quick? yes. is there an alternative? who do you think i am? of course there’s an alternative. and i think you’ll be pretty satisfied with it! using ingredients that aren’t harmful to your health and real pumpkin, you can make a healthy pumpkin spice latte right at home. for one latte, you will need:
- 1/2 c. brewed coffee, hot
- 3/4 c. almond milk [or other non-dairy milk of your choice]
- 2 tsp. raw honey or pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp. 100% pumpkin purée
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- a few shakes of cinnamon
- dash of nutmeg
- pinch of ground ginger
- place all ingredients, except coffee, in a blender and blend until slightly frothy [about 2-3 minutes].
- transfer mixture into a saucepan and heat over medium heat, whisking, until hot. do not boil.
- combine with coffee and serve hot or over ice. enjoy!
there are also some health benefits that come along with consuming real pumpkin, including weight loss and immune support, a boost in your mood and a reduction of cholesterol levels. with this healthy pumpkin spice latte you can still indulge and enjoy your favorite fall pick-me-up, but you won’t need to worry about what you’re actually putting into your body and the impact it may have on your health. you’ll probably also save some money if you’re not running to starbucks one, two, maybe three times a day to get your fix.
it’s okay, you can thank me later.
diy all-natural facial toner
one of my favorite things to experiment with these days is all-natural beauty products. conventional beauty products, even high-end ones, are full of harmful chemicals that can cause a variety of health problems, so over the past six months, i have slowly been transitioning my self-care and beauty products to all-natural options and along the way i’ve started dabbling in making my own.
a quick, easy to make all-natural facial toner has become a staple in my morning and evening skincare routine. toner is used to soothe the skin, remove oils and tighten pores and since i’ve stopped using my store-bought toner and making my own, i have noticed a major difference in how my skin looks and feels. there are only three ingredients, all of which are 100% natural and safe, and a small amount goes a long way, making your skin feel clean, refreshed and just all-around amazing [you know, it gives you that healthy, effortless glow]. you will need:
- 1/4 c. organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 c. filtered water
- 10-20 drops therapeutic grade tea tree essential oil
all you have to do is mix these three ingredients together and store the toner in some kind of an airtight container. that’s it. i put just a little bit of this on a cotton pad and gently swipe it over my face and neck after i wash my face and before i apply moisturizer each morning and before bed. the apple cider vinegar helps to even out your complexion and unclog pores, while the tea tree oil acts as an anti-bacterial and and anti-inflammatory, zapping away acne that might be hangin’ around. oh, and don’t worry about the smell! i promise that within a few minutes you won’t be able to tell that you just wiped vinegar all over your face.
i want to share more of these beauty recipes with you guys in addition to all of the other recipes i post, so you can expect to start seeing more posts like this one going forward! what are your all-natural beauty go-tos? what products would you like to see me experiment with and post recipes for? as always, i would love to hear from you!
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