Aug
16

NAMASTE

by Nina Vachkova

NAMASTE

Yoga. It seems like everyone is doing it these days, from professional athletes, to Hollywood celebrities and their fitness trainers, to stay-at-home moms and busy managers who need a moment to unwind after a stressful day. Originally, yoga came from India and before it spread worldwide, it had a deeply religious element to it. It has always been a mind-body practice that focused on mindfulness, physical well-being, and healing both body and mind, but the religious aspect was less and less prominent as teachers started to bring yoga to the masses. To many people, yoga is just stretching to ambient music or sitting in a painful looking twisted position while praying to some higher power. Before I tried it, I even thought I had to have some athletic and spiritual background in order to start attending yoga classes.

But just like meditation, yoga practice today is studied as a very powerful healing tool, and you do not have to believe in any higher spirit(s) or god(s) to embrace all the benefits of yoga. Everyone has different beliefs and nobody should feel excluded from this practice, so we are not going to focus on the religious origins of yoga; whether you are Atheist, Buddhist, Muslim, or Christian, the healing power of yoga is available to you!

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Aug
12

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

by Nina Vachkova

ACV_UNFILTERED

We all know the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” right? While the saying does not literally promise that a daily apple will forever keep you out of the doctor’s office, we understand the hidden message behind it: real food is the way to go. Consuming food in the most natural form possible comes with great health benefits. Some people might argue that man made vinegar, sold in a glass bottle with a bright colored label couldn’t be further away from the natural state of an apple, but we are living in a modern world where convenience sometimes has to come first, especially when we know the processed form comes with such significant benefits!

Apple cider vinegar is a wonderful tool; it serves as a multi-purpose elixir and a remedy that was known and used even back in the times of Hippocrates. Vinegar in general is not too far from real food actually. It is a product of fermentation, a process that happens in carbohydrate rich foods when bacteria feed on sugar to create alcohol, and if you let that process continue even longer, alcohol is turned into vinegar. Just like fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, or kombucha, vinegar has probiotic benefits. You can read about all the benefits of fermented foods in the post we made not that long ago, but I think apple cider vinegar with all the positive effects it has on the body deserves more attention.

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Aug
05

STEP UP YOUR SMOOTHIE GAME

by Nina Vachkova

SMOOTHIE

Smoothies (or shakes) are a very popular breakfast option for people who need a quick on-the-go meal they can make in less than five minutes. Whether you are a busy mom, are rushing between the gym and work, don’t know how to cook, or you just don’t feel like making eggs and bacon that morning, it is always nice to have an easy, convenient option available. It doesn’t involve much planning ahead; you need very little equipment, and zero cooking skills, and there are so many options you will never get bored with your creations.

But just like everything else that is marketed by the fitness and health industry, there is a downside to smoothies. Don’t get me wrong, I like to make a smoothie from time to time as a meal replacement when I am busy, lazy, or don’t feel like chewing steak and salad. But smoothies have to be done right in order to be considered a healthy option. Let’s take a look at all the reasons why your smoothie might need an upgrade in order to serve its original purpose: to be a nutrient dense, nourishing meal replacement. Read the rest of this post

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Jul
26

SEAWEED

by Nina Vachkova

SEAWEED_A

The benefits of eating vegetables are undeniable, pretty much everyone agrees on this. I like to challenge myself to try a new vegetable every time I go to a grocery store or farmer’s market, because there is still so much stuff out there I haven’t tried. Mostly I either don’t know how to prepare them, or I am not able to get my hands on a wide variety because they aren’t available where I live.. I prefer sticking to local produce because I want to support my local farmers and I can actually track where the food is coming from. But honestly, eating only local fruits and vegetables can get a bit boring in the long run, and you can also miss some amazing, nutrient-dense dishes if you avoid all exotic and imported produce. I can’t imagine never eating bananas or coconuts, just because they are not grown in my country or even on my continent.

One of these vegetables you definitely don’t want to miss out on is seaweed. You probably never thought about sea plants as a group of vegetables, did you? But just like fish and other seafood, seaweed is packed with nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and many health benefits! Seaweed is particularly rich in calcium (1400 mg in 100g in hijiki seaweed, compared to only 113g in 100g of whole milk), Iodine, Iron, and Omega 3 fatty acids. It also contains a lot of protein, but of course, with the amount of seaweed we are likely to consume, we can’t rely on it as a substitute for a regular protein source like grass-fed meat or eggs. But it is a nice bonus if you sprinkle some seaweed flakes over your hearty salad.

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Jul
20

GELATIN AND COLLAGEN

by Nina Vachkova

gelatin

WHAT IS GELATIN?

Gelatin is the cooked form of collagen, and collagen is one of the most important proteins in the human body. Actually, our bodies contain more collagen than any other protein. Connective tissues, skin, hair, joints, and bones – they are all made mostly from collagen. Pure collagen only comes from animals and it is very rare for people to eat it in its raw form. Honestly, who wants to eat pounds of raw chicken skin or chew on beef knuckles? Sure, some people do, I remember my brother sucking on chicken bones from grilled wings or drumsticks when we were little, but for me, the idea of eating even cooked animal cartilage was extremely off putting.

Back in the early paleolithic era (this was also generally true before the industrialization of food, and has remained true in some other cultures – the consumption of chicken feet in China for instance), our ancestors used to eat plenty of collagen rich food; before they started cooking their food, raw animal parts was all they were left with. Unlike us, they didn’t have the luxury of farmer’s markets or supermarkets and when they caught an animal, they ate the whole beast, largely because they did not know when their next feast was going to happen. There were no leftovers in those days, there were no freezers or food dehydrators (and you didn’t always have the luxury of staying put long enough for sun drying). You either ate the food or let it spoil and go to waste (or left the rest to predators like wolves, hyenas, or vultures). The first peoples ate organs, muscle meats, skin, and usually even the soft parts of the bone (aka marrow) – the most collagen rich part of the animal.

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