Produce Market Visit

Today, my friend Raul and I went to a produce market to get fruit and veggies at dirty cheap prices….

No, not a farmer’s market. This is an outdoor produce market: the market in LA where restaurants and food markets get their produce. These types of markets exist on every major city (even mid-size cities) and it is a great place to discover amazing fruit and vegetables that you may not know about (or re-discover oldies but goodies).

Most of these markets sell in bulk and at less than wholesale prices (we got a box of 16 mangoes for $5 or about $.31 cents per mango. That’s 3-5 times cheaper than in a regular market.

Check out our tour here:

I encourage you to find them in your home town and visit your local produce market. Get a couple of friends, pool your cash together and buy enzyme-filled, super yummy foods for a fraction!

Vegan Restaurant Outing

I went with my friend and fellow #vegan, Raul Ramirez, of VR Vegan to this super yummy Ethiopian Restaurant right on the heart of LA.

It had been well over a decade since I tried Ethiopian food (why did I wait so long) and Raul found this awesome place that offered a lunch buffet, so we decided to give it a go and take you along with it for fun.

What I loved about the experience (apart from the food) is how easy it was to find yummy flavors in foods that I (or you) may not regularly eat AND how easy it was to find different vegan food choices in this cuisine.

Come check out the video and let me know if you’ve ever tried Ethiopian vegan food and what has been your experience!

5 Surprising Reasons why I use Apple Cider Vinegar all the Time (And The Best Way To Take It)

Yes, we all know how amazing apple cider vinegar is but do you know how good? Here are the top 5 reasons why I take it all the time and the best way to take it!

 (Hint: scroll below the video to see the benefits and get a discount code)

  1. Weight Loss:Many people drink apple cider vinegar to help with weight management. Consuming it daily is thought to:
  • help reduce bad cholesterol
  • fight off cravings
  • reduce abdominal fat

Overall, it seems like apple cider vinegar is useful as a weight loss aid, mainly by promoting satiety and lowering blood sugar and insulin levels.

  1. Can Kill Many Types of Harmful Bacteria

Vinegar can help kill pathogens, including bacteria. It has traditionally been used for cleaning and disinfecting, treating nail fungus, lice, warts and ear infections.

  1. Can help manage blood sugar levels and even fight diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar levels, either because of insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin.

However, high blood sugar can also be a problem in people who don’t have diabetes. It is believed to be a major cause of aging and various chronic diseases.

  1. Can Reduce Candida

Candida is a naturally occurring bacteria in the body, often associated with yeast infections and negative bacterial overgrowth. The natural enzymes in apple cider vinegar can help the body get rid of yeasts associated with candida overgrowth in humans. Candida excess symptoms include foggy brain, excessive tiredness, poor memory, sugar cravings and others.

  1. Can Lower Cholesterol and Improve Heart Health

Heart disease is currently the world’s most common cause of premature and preventable deaths. There are a few biological factors linked to heart diseases and those factors can be improved by consuming vinegar.

An observational study from Harvard show that women who ate salad dressings with vinegar had a reduced risk of heart disease.

But this type of study can only show an association, it cannot prove that the vinegar caused anything.

So, how do you take it, how much, for how long?

You can take the raw apple cider vinegar directly from a bottle (mixed with water) every day. But that is often hard to take for a lot of people because:

  • it has a harsh, acidity taste
  • can cause people to gag or even get nauseous
  • the acidity in the vinegar can damage your teeth enable in the long term

A better option is to take it in capsules, like the ones from Apple Cider Vinegar Superior

This one is infused with Spirulina and kelp and all you have to do is take 1 capsule with each meal (3 capsules per day).

If you’re interested in getting it, simply visit:

Apple Cider Vinegar Superior
Use Code JOVANKA15 for a 15% discount

 

Remedies for Gum Disease

What are the best remedies to help maintain teeth and gum health, control gum disease, gingivitis, gum inflammation, bad breath, etc.?

Here are 5 amazing ways I use to keep my smile beautiful and my breath fresh. Check them out!

The remedies mentioned in the video include:

1. Clove gargles
2. Brush with coco oil and tea tree oil
3. Oil of oregano after treatment
4. Salt gargles
5. Floss like crazy

Go to the video to learn why they are so good for you and how to incorporate them!

6 Sugar Craving Hacks

Today, most of us struggle with sugar cravings and more than a few of us are downright sugar addicted! So what to do?

While there are a dozen options I can recommend, especially involving herbal remedies, I wanted to share here the top 6 hacks: quick and easy ways that are scientifically proven ways to help you reduce your sugar cravings in the short term and give you a chance to slowly learn to control and reduce your sugar intake.

Check them out here:

1. Breathe – activates parasympathetic nervous system
2. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar – Take it in pills or liquid (1 TSP in a glass of water)
3. Cinnamon spice – use in your smoothies, oatmeal, breakfasts and even soups
4. Shake around or walk around for just 5-10 mins drastically reduces your post meal sugar spike
5. Eat sour foods. When you crave sugar, eat foods that are sour and bitter. This helps to counteract sweet cravings. Include bitter ingredients like endive, dandelion greens and kale into your green smoothies or green juices. I also recommend drinking lemon-infused water daily.
6. Add fat to your meals – slows down your gastric empty

Do you know of any others? Let me know in the comments section below!

Detox Oil Massage (Abhyanga)

An Abhyanga Massage is a warm oil, self-administered massage that helps balance your physical constitution, moisturize the skin, helps the skin to release toxins, and is known to help tone muscles all over your body.

You can use a variety of oils and Ayurveda, the science of life and Eastern medicine traditions in India, recommends sesame or almond oils for Vata types, coconut and sunflower for Pitta and corn and olive oils for balancing Kapha. However, if you don’t know your Ayurvedic type, do not despair: simply pick sesame and almond oils in winter and coconut or sunflower in summer.

The massage can be done in the morning before your shower, or in the evening before bed. I often do it once a week in the evenings.

Check out the video and the description on how to do another version of the Abhyanga massage below the video:

How to Do The Massage

  1. Start by warming the oil to skin temperature, and drizzle a small amount of oil into the palms of your hands. (Warm the oil by holding the bottle under warm water, never use a microwave).
  2. Massage the top of your scalp (on days when you wash your hair), pay particular attention to the circumference of your ears, and the soles of your feet.
  3. Massage with long strokes on your limbs, and round strokes on your joints.
  4. It’s best to leave the oil on the body for 20 minutes before washing it off in a warm shower or bath.
  5. Try not to use a lot of soap, let the water rinse out the excess and the towel get rid of the rest. At the end of the shower, your skin should feel silky but not oily.

I hope you love it as much as I love it. Let me know in the comments below!

How Acupuncture Can Help Your Chronic Pain

Today I have such a treat! My friend, amazing vegan and acupuncturist / Chinese medicine man Raul Ramirez is here to show you how acupuncture can help reduce tension and chronic pain in your back, shoulders, pretty much everywhere you hurt!

I’ve been using acupuncture for well over a decade, to help with everything from balancing hormones, reduce pain and anxiety, heal and reduce inflammation.

Acupuncture is a science that’s been around for thousands of years. It comes from China and it is often part of what we know as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which includes herbal remedies, diet and other therapies to restore balance and help the body heal.

On this video, instead of needles, Raul will use known as “cups” to help bring circulation into the areas of my body who are in spasm and sore from workouts and bad posture.

Can’t wait for you to check out the video!

 

Have you tried acupuncture before? If so, what has been your experience? Let me know if the comments section below!

Your Best Skin Ever with this Eczema Salve

When dealing with eczema and any other inflammatory auto-immune condition, starting with the diet and supplementation could be critical. My clients with eczema are always advised by their doctors to consume anti-inflammatory foods, eliminate dairy to reduce symptoms and take an omega-3 supplement.

You can also follow some lifestyle practices like reducing the amount of baths you take, avoid harsh detergents and beauty products and do a cleanse/detox a few times a year.

As an herbalist, I also recommend a fantastic balm/cream to keep the skin moisturized with anti-eczema and anti-inflammatory properties.

Homemade Eczema Cream

Key Ingredient: Lavender

Lavender is known for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Other studies have shown its ability to combat fungal infections by destroying the cells of the fungus and killing it. Lavender also has an acceleratory effect on wound healing.

Key Ingredient: Shea Butter

Shea has been used by women in the African continent for centuries and I personally believe it is the main reason why African women have such incredible-looking, silky, shiny skin (I challenge you to find me an African woman whose skin is not smooth and healthy-looking). It is full of all-natural vitamin A, works as an anti-inflammatory and aids in numerous skin conditions.

How To Make Your Own Eczema Cream

INGREDIENTS:

½ cup raw shea butter

½ cup coconut oil

30 drops of lavender essential oil

8 drops of tea tree essential oil

1 Tbsp of Jojoba oil

1 Tbsp of vitamin E oil

DIRECTIONS:

Using a double boiler or something similar, melt the shea butter and coconut oil until they’re combined and fully liquified.

Once everything has melted, remove from heat and add the lavender, tea tree and jojoba oils.

Mix together with a spoon and let it cool slightly cool until mix begins to thicken, but keep it soft. Do not let it to harden too much.

Transfer to the mason jar or other container. Store at room temperature.

Important Note: Always test in a patch of skin first, to make sure you don’t have a reaction to any of the ingredients.

Once you have tested the product, simply apply once or twice a day over the affected area. Make sure to avoid eye contact.

Stay Healthy While Traveling | My Top 5 Travel Essential Products

I love travel! Visiting new places, learning about new cultures, people, ways of living. I especially love trying the local foods. Even as a vegan, I rarely run out of options because almost every culture and corner of the world has a ton of plant-based dishes to enjoy.

Yep, travel is amazing…. but it can have its drawbacks.

Jet lag, eating during off hours, indulging in a lot of process and sugary treats are all part of the experience but it can impair your immune function and make you feel ill. And that’s a perfect way to ruin an otherwise amazing experience.

So today, I wanted to share my top 5 go-to supplements and herbs I take with me everywhere I go. These are packaged in small container so that they are easy to travel with and take with you while on the road.

Check out the video below:

Here is the full list and a link where you can buy them:
1. Melatonin
2. Oil of Oregano
3. Wellness Fizz
4. I Travel Well drops
5. Organifi Go

Get them all at:
https://kit.com/JovankaCiares/travel-essentials

Herbal Blend That Fights Stress, Fatigue and Burnout

Stress and metabolism play a significant role in the process of cleansing, weight loss, disease prevention and keeping your body strong and healthy.

Your immune function, your ability to absorb the nourishment that your foods provide, your emotions all stem from that “gut feeling” people talk about a lot.

When you’re stress out, you don’t feel well. You are strong, content, happy, healthy in a relaxed state.

Living in a chronic state of low level stress response impacts everything: cortisol levels, gut flora, nutrient excretion, digestion, nutrient retention, hormones (growth, sex, stress, relaxation).

That’s why I love these “adaptogens”, herbs that help your body reduce the stress response to the craziness of life. Adaptogens help your body adapt to mental, emotional, physical and environmental stress, while also help regulate your immune system. AND… they are very safe to use for most of  us.

 

Here are the 3 I love the most plus a bonus “non-herb” that rocks my world. Check out the video here and learn more about the herbs below the video.

 

Eleuthero, or Siberian Ginseng

  • Improves normal mental clarity and emotional stamina during stressful situations
  • Boosts physical endurance
  • Helps with sleeplessness
  • Supports healthy immune system functioning

 

Rhodiola

  • Improves the brain’s ability to analyze and plan
  • Helps support the heart rate after exercise or a stressful event
  • Stimulates release of dopamine and serotoni.
  • Supports healthy immune system functioning

 

Schisandra

  • Supports normal concentration, coordination, and endurance
  • Calms the heart and quiets the spirit
  • Supports normal central nervous system functioning

 

Codyceps – a mushroom, a fungus

  • Increases Immune Function and Have Anti-Aging Effects
  • Improve Stamina and Athletic Performance
  • Act Like a Natural Aphrodisiac
  • Fight Diabetes
  • Improve Liver Function and Detoxification
  • Fight Respiratory Infections

Get the herb blend by clicking on this link!

Enjoy!

Cure-All Lentil Soup from Sweet Potato Soul

Today’s blog is a super awesome vegan recipe from my dear friend Jenné Claiborne’s new book Sweet Potato Soul. I love soups so decided to make one of the soups featured in the book, a “Cure-All Lentil Soup”.

This one has a ton of great spices/herbs and ingredients to boost your immunity, and comfort you on those days you feel under the weather.

I also love soups because they are an easy way to consume a lot of nourishing ingredients in a single bowl. Even for the not-so-great-at-cooking, this recipe is perfect for its ease and flavor.

Check out the recipe and more details about the book on today’s video blog

 

Get Jenne’s Book Here

Learn About Jenne’s YouTube channel here

Recipe

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 cup diced yellow onion

1 cup diced celery

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup diced carrots

1 unpeeled white potato, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes

1 cup dried green lentils, sorted and rinsed

8 cups Veggie stock

 

Herbs/Spices

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon celery seeds

1⁄2 teaspoon dried sage

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon pepper

Salt to taste

 

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion, celery, and garlic and sauté́ until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the carrots, potato, lentils, and stock and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low
  5. Add the fennel seeds, thyme, celery seeds, sage, and bay leaf.
  6. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until the lentils become tender.
  7. Season the soup with soy sauce and pepper.
  8. Season to taste with salt

Serve hot.

How To Get Rid Of Dark Circles Under Your Eyes

Suffering from dark circles under your eyes? You’re not alone. Millions of men and women suffer from them on a daily basis. The reasons are as numerous as there are people in the world. But what’s common for all of us is that dark circles under your eyes do not allow you to have a young, fresh-looking face.

Yes, resting little and maintaining a life with no stress are factors that can reduce the appearance of dark circles.

However, you should evaluate other aspects, such as genetics and age; since, with the passage of time, the elasticity of the skin is lost and becomes thinner.

Here are my top three go-to remedies for dark circles under your eyes! And see the remedies listed below the video!

Remedy for dark circles #1: If you are very dark circles, use sweet almond oil, which moisturizes and reduces dark spots and stains in your skin. Apply it in a circular way in your eyes.

Remedy for dark circles #2: Perform twice a day massages with aloe vera gel, with upward movements, without pressing the skin too hard.

Remedy for dark circles #3: Immerse cotton ball in freshly brewed coffee, put them in the freezer overnight (or until they freeze. Place them over your eyes and let them sit there for 5-7 minutes. Remove them and wash the area with clear warm water.

Home Made Colon Cleanse

At any point in the year, a homemade colon cleanse can be very helpful to help flush out some of the toxins in your body. These toxins can be a contributing factor to your GI troubles and other symptoms, including constipation, lack of energy and more.

This is super easy to do: Just plan a day when you do not need to leave home and allow the colon cleansing process and your body to adapt to each other, especially since you’ll be eliminating a ton of waste and detoxing in the process.

Check out the video with instructions here and the ingredients below the video:

Homemade DIY Colon Cleanse 

INGREDIENTS:

½ cup apple juice (organic and with no added sugar)

½ cup filtered water

½ teaspoon ginger powder or paste

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon sea salt

 

HOW TO

Mix the water and apple juice together.

Add the lemon juice, salt and ginger paste and mix thoroughly

You can drink warm or chilled, although do not put it in the fridge for hours. This is meant to be drank immediately.

Drink 8 ounces first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.

Drink again with lunch and again in the afternoon, before dinner.

 

WHAT TO EXPECT

You should have a bowel movement from 30-90 minutes after each drink. You should not feel crampy or a bad urge, just a fullness and a need to empty your bowels.

Do not drink this after dinner or you might end up getting woken up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.

This cleanse is safe for most and should not present any issues. But, as always, it is a good idea to check with your doctor if you’re ill, pregnant or are under medical care.

Coaching Session And Colitis Herbal Remedy with Vince Lia

Today I’m featuring a new client, a friend, who also happens to be a great wellness warrior and vegan YouTuber… Vince Lia!

Vince mentioned that he was struggling with colitis (a type of severe bowel inflammatory disease) for years and recently had a bad flare-up caused by stress.

I of course jumped at the opportunity to help a fellow wellness seeker and we agreed to do an herbalism health coaching session.

If you ever wondered what a session with me looks like, this will give you a great insight into what it is to work with me (a full session involves other steps not shown in the video but you’ll definitely get the picture).

Check out the content of the video:

Vince’s story – 1:22

His transition to veganism – 5:35

Holistic Approach – 9:15

Herbs for Colitis – 12:00

Herbal Remedy for digestive issues – 14:55

And the herbs I recommended Vince include:

Gingko Biloba

 

 

 

Get It Here

Boswellia

 

 

 

Get It Here

Have you heard of them? Plan on trying one or another? Let me know in the comments below the video.

UTI prevention: Uqora’s founder explains how to cover your bases

A few weeks ago, I met Jenna Ryan, a wellness advocate and entrepreneur who had such a relevant and poignant story, I asked her if she could share it here with me and my community. She gracefully agreed and here’s the post she wrote for us…

************************

Sometimes you’re doing everything right, and you’re still getting slammed with UTI after UTI. Uqora’s CEO and co-founder Jenna Ryan explains how she  their pink lemonade with a purpose gives you the defense against UTIs, and outlines the daily habits that minimize your risk.

In 2014, I had eight UTIs. I’ve always been susceptible to UTIs, but I had averaged two per year up until that point. This was a new record. My physicians couldn’t explain the sudden onslaught, nor could they craft a better preventive regime than daily antibiotics. Although antibiotics did work for prevention, with antibiotics came yeast infections and other pesky side effects. Plus, there was also the risk of antibiotic resistance with long-term use, which is a risk I refused to take.

For me, the cause of my UTIs was fairly obvious; that familiar tinge would sometimes come an hour after sex or sometimes take days to rear its ugly little UTI head. Either way, my ability to sit back and enjoy an après-sex cuddle pretty much disappeared. Instead, I was immediately sprinting to the bathroom, beating myself up if I couldn’t manage to squeeze the tiniest amount of urine out. Often times I would just immediately jump in the shower.

This isn’t a new and unusual story by any means. UTIs are the second most common infection in the United States, impacting millions of women like me. It’s also been shown to share links with UI. Despite its prevalence, UTI prevention options have not been up to snuff. My own prevention pursuit led me down dead-end, antibiotic-filled paths, with tired, useless cranberry products at every turn.

As a result of my UTI apocalypse, I teamed up with a team of top urologists and physicians to develop Uqora—a pink lemonade with a purpose. You can mix Uqora with a glass of water to flush UTI-causing bacteria after sex, exercise, or every day.

Uqora works in three key ways:

  1. Prevents bacteria from sticking to your urinary tract, keeping an infection from taking hold in the first place.
  2. Stimulates urine production so you don’t have to sit on the toilet for 20 minutes struggling to squeeze out a drop and tell yourself you’ve done your post-sex duty.
  3. Bolsters your immune system function with vitamins and electrolytes to give your body the boost it needs to fend off infections.

What can you do to prevent UTIs?

Often with UTI prevention, there is no silver bullet. Uqora has been a game changer for me and our customers, but it’s important to cover all your bases.

Below I’ve outlined the habits that are key to avoiding UTIs day in and day out.

  1. Treat your water bottle like your phone—don’t leave your house without it

Fluid helps move things through the urinary tract, but it also dilutes the urine so bacteria can’t grow, so get serious about staying hydrated.

  1. Wipe from front to back
  2. Coli is responsible for 90 percent of UTIs. Wiping from front to back instead back to front ensures that you aren’t helping harmful bacteria to migrate from your rectum to your urinary tract.
  3. Urinate after sex

Try your best to urinate after sex, which will help flush out any bacteria that may have migrated from the vagina to the urethra during sex.

  1. Let her breathe!

Wet bathing suits, tight pants, and sweaty gym clothes trap moisture which harbors bacteria. If you are prone to UTIs, change right after your workout or beach day.

  1. Ditch the douche

As if there aren’t enough reasons to keep douches far away from your vagina, they also kill the good bacteria (lactobacillus) you need to combat a UTI.

  1. Avoid holding your pee for prolonged amounts of time

This might be a moot point with the UI crowd, but holding your urine for a long time allows bacteria to multiply in the urinary tract, resulting in a bladder infection or UTI. Don’t wait until it’s an emergency.

What about antibiotics?

Although antibiotics are likely to be effective in the short term, continuing to use them can have a serious, long-term impact on your health. If you suffer from recurrent UTIs you may build a tolerance to antibiotics. Also consider the short-term side effects like nausea, diarrhea or opportunistic infections like yeast infections. You can talk to your doctor about preventative (prophylactic) antibiotic use—but do consider the long-term implications first.  

Despite your best efforts, sometimes UTIs can be out of your control—some people just have a higher propensity toward UTIs. This can be a result of hormonal changes, anatomy, pregnancy, conditions like diabetes, or yes, UI. If you’re in that camp—doing everything right but still suffering from UTI after UTI—then check out www.uqora.com.

— Jenna Ryan, CEO and co-founder of Uqora

About Jovanka

Jovanka Ciares is a former entertainment executive turned Wellness expert, detox specialist, nutrition educator and author. She is the creator of the Wellness Smackdown™, a proprietary detox and weight loss program for natural weight loss which was featured on the first season of ABC’s “My Diet Is Better Than Yours”...

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