La Rayia’s: Providing Healthy Meals to Homeless in LA

Today I have a super special video for you. A few months ago, I learned about and visited a new Bodega (little market in Spanish) owned and run by a fellow Afro-Latina.

If you don’t know this powerful little bodega in the heart of Los Angeles, you must! LaRayia’s is the first and only organic plant-based, vegan bodega known.

Through food recovery programs, they offer organic, vegan and whole foods to the community for less than $5.

They also make their own vegan foods, juicing and snacks. The store also sells crystals, candles and merchandise with profits going to fund their food delivery programs. Their non profit arm, Lunch on Me, provides organic food & healing for those experiencing homelessness in downtown Los Angeles.

This is truly a group of exemplary women doing incredible work. I’m especially proud about this fellow Afro-Latinas changing the world for good one meal at a time.

Visit LaRayia’s Bodega at 2713 W. 6th Street in Los Angeles or on Instagram at: @larayiasbodega.

To learn more about Lunch on Me, check out IG: @lunchonme 🇵🇷🇨🇺 www.crowdrise.com/la-bodega  

Five Veggies That Burn Belly Fat

Belly fat, why are you still with me? That’s the question most of us have asked of the little extra round soft stuff in our mid-sections. Belly fat is not just about how we look but more importantly, how we feel and how we stay healthy long term.

Scientific studies have now shown that fat around your belly is a potential precursor to heart disease and can put you at risk for diabetes, chronic inflammation and other health issues.

Sadly, most of us struggle to lose that pesky fat that seemingly refuses to leave our bellies. Especially if you have a sedentary lifestyle, you can only expect that belly fat to get larger still.

Luckily, there are whole foods now easily available in most markets across cities that have natural belly fat burning abilities. Consuming these foods can be a great compliment to slowly reducing fat from your abdomen and achieve your healthy living goals.

Some of the ingredients that have fat-burning abilities are also anti-oxidant, high in fiber and densely nourishing, making them superfoods in the true sense of the word.

Let’s check these amazing foods that can help you lose belly fat:

1. Mushrooms

One of my favorite superfoods, mushrooms are immunity powerhouses. You can find dozens of edible mushrooms in supermarkets but my favorites are shiitake, maitake and portobello. They have been known to promote weight loss and fat burn by regulating the levels of glucose in the blood. They are also rich in protein and can help you increase your metabolism, resulting in eventual fat loss.

2. Cauliflower

Cauliflower has become a go-to option for folks who don’t want to eat starchy foods like potatoes or rice. Cauliflower contains phytochemicals that can help enhance fat loss in the body. It is a highly versatile vegetable that can also help regular digestion, making it easier for your body to absorb nutrients and prevent fat storage.

3. Asparagus

I often consume mushrooms and asparagus together. For some reason, they go together really well. Asparagus contains the chemical asparagine, an alkaloid that acts directly at a cellular level to break down fat within the body. Also highly versatile and can be consumed roasted, in stews and stir fry’s alike.

4. Cucumbers

Cucumbers are highly cleansing, filling and rich in vitamins. They are ubiquitous in the juicing world, especially because they are water rich and help you feel fuller longer, eventually helping you consume less calories.

5.  Pumpkins

Who doesn’t love pumpkins? They are relatively dense (because of their  high fiber content) yet low in calories. Pumpkins are common in weight loss programs as one of the few starchy vegetables “allowed”. They will help you feel full, grounded and satisfied when you are consuming less calories than normal.

Why losing Weight Is Hard (And What You Can Do About It)

What is the one thing you might be missing that could lead to long term, healthy weight loss. For years, dieters have been told that less calories equal more weight loss. But the truth is a lot more complex than that (you already know that!)

Set Point Weight... Have you heard about this concept? Set Point Weight is a concept that believes that each person’s brain fights to keep a pre-determined weight where the body functions at an optimum or comfortable level. It’s like a thermostat, that different people keep at different temperatures to stay comfortable.

Learn more in the video and follow these 3 simple steps:

1. Change the structure of your diet.

2. Change the structure of your gut.

3. Change your background.

What do you think about this concept? Does it make sense? Are you willing to try just a wee bit harder to reach those weight loss goals? Let me know in the comment section below the video.

Vegan Keto Diet – Is it possible? Is It Healthy?

My clients keep asking me about the ketogenic diet and whether it is healthy.

More importantly, they (and I) want to know if you can do keto and still follow a plant-based, whole foods, vegan diet.

Here’s my take on the keto craze and a vegan version of a keto diet.

1st effect

Anyone eating a plant whole foods diet with no white crap, sugars and junk will get into a mild ketogenic state

2nd effect

Intermittent fasting – can also put you in a mild ketosis state

13-16 hrs without solids

3rd effect

Exercise can help you achieve a mild ketogenic state

fat moves faster out when moving regularly

less free radicals = more longevity

The Poopy Fish Tank – Dr Romeo, Part II

Dr Romeo (founder and CEO of Roots Nutrition) – www.RootsNutrition.com sat to chat a few days ago and I had such a great time learning and sharing healthy truth bombs that I decided to make a second video with just a few more healthy living tips.

Check out part one of this interview here.

Do you have any questions for Dr Romeo? Make sure you share it here and I’ll make sure to pass it on and get you an answer ASAP.

The Poopy Fish Tank | Interview with Dr Romeo

A few months ago, I met the owner of a supplement company that specializes in green powders and other herbal blends for detox, cleansing, reducing inflammation and restoring balance in the body.

Dr Romeo is the founder of Roots Nutrition, a true character and someone that teaches people in the most logical of ways how to transform their bodies and feel incredible again.

I had a chance to pick Dr Romeos in his training studio in LA and wanted to share what we talked about here. There are a ton of anecdotes and life-changing healthy living tips on this one, so don’t miss it.

Whiter Teeth At Home In 5 Minutes A Day

You love teas and herbal remedies as much as I do… but after months of drinking teas, coffee and other drinks, your teeth are looking a bit yellowish… what do you?

Whitening gels bought in stores can be very abrasive and irritating to your gums. And similar procedures at the dentist office can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. What to do?

Check out my one-two teeth whitening routine that will get you a beautiful smile in a giffy.

1. Coconut swish / oil puling

3-10 mins TOPS per day

You don’t want to aspirate some of the oil into your lungs

Always spit out the oil in the trash, never in the pipes

ALWAYS brush your teeth immediately after oil pulling.

2. Activated charcoal

Gets rid of free radicals and pollutants too

Use a thin layer of charcoal

Brush LIGHTLY, never too harsh

Do it 3-4 days in a row, then rest for 3-4 days

After brushing gently, I follow with another brush and clear water, to remove the charcoal excess from my tongue, gums, etc.

Copper Vessel Water Benefits

Storing water in a copper vessel creates a natural purification process. It can kill all the microorganisms, molds, fungi, algae and bacteria, present in the water that could be harmful to the body and make the water perfectly fit for drinking. In addition, water stored in a copper vessel for a few hours acquires some quality from the copper. Copper is an essential trace mineral that is vital to human health. It has antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps neutralize toxins.

Unlike some nutritional elements, the body cannot synthesize copper, so you need to get it from dietary sources. The best dietary sources of copper include seafood, organ meats, whole grains, lentils, nuts, seeds, chocolate, cereals, potatoes, peas and some dark green leafy vegetables. Or you can drink water stored in copper.

According to Ayurveda, drinking copper-enriched water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach helps balance all three doshas (Kapha, Vata and Pitta). This also ensures proper functioning of different organs and several metabolic processes.

In addition to that, here are 10 reasons why drinking water from a copper vessel is beneficial for you.

1. Helps the digestive system perform better

2. Aids weight loss

3.Helps heal wounds faster

4. Slows down aging

5.Helps reduce high blood pressure

6. Can reduce the risk of cancer

7. Protects you from infections

8. Helps arthritis and inflamed joints

9. Boosts skin health and melanin production

10. Beats anemia

Drinking 2 to 3 glasses of water that has been stored in a copper vessel is another easy way to supply your body with enough copper.

Have you tried this or think you would? Let me know in the comments below!

PMS Natural Remedies

90% of women report having painful menstrual cramps from time to time. In parts of the world, women use fennel seeds to relieve cramps and pain during menses. In studies done with fennel versus placebo, they worked just as well as over the counter pain drugs and without the side effects.

Fennels seeds also have the added bonus of helping reduce bloat and painful abdominal gas. They’re like tiny 1-2 punches of goodness.

Note: Fennel seeds relax the uterus so you may bleed heavier than normal. Please exercise caution if you have very heavy periods.

On the other hand, ginger is one of the most effective herbs for cramps AND to reduce bleeding. Having ginger tea regularly throughout your period can just do the trick. In studies, ginger seems to appears to be a highly effective treatment for the reduction of menstrual blood loss.

And of course, it is safer than most prescription medication, and with fewer side effects

In combination, these 2 powerhouses may work incredibly well to manage PMS symptoms.

Here’s how I used them:

BENEFITS:
(1) Ginger Root
Effective for cramps
Reduces inflammation
Relieves pain
Reduces bleeding
Helps with anxiety and depression

(2) Fennel Seeds
Reduces gas and bloating
Can increase blood flow
Reduces cramps and discomfort
Anti-inflammatory
Relaxes muscles

Tea Recipe
1-2 inches of ginger root
1 Tbsp of fennel seeds
3-4 cups of water

Boil at low heat for 5 mins. Let cool and drink 1 cup twice a day at least one week prior to your period or when the first symptoms appear.

5 Tips To Stay Healthy When Stress Is High

Let’s say you’re traveling, working crazy hours or overwhelmed with school. You’re running in a million direction and can’t really pay attention to your diet or your routine. What to do?

These super simple 5 tips can make the difference between getting sick as a dog or staying healthy in the face of high stress!

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!

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!

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.

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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