There is no doubt, our heart is one of the hardest working organs in our bodies, and is definitely deserving of some good old fashioned TLC. While reducing stress and getting adequate exercise are two very important facets of heart-health, incorporating more heart-healthy superfoods into the diet can have incredible effects. Your heart will thank you if you start eating more of these 12 superfoods, we promise.

1. Cacao (Raw Chocolate )

Raw cacao is rich with flavonol compounds which act as powerful antioxidants and also help protect the heart. Cacao is also an exceptional source of minerals magnesium, calcium, iron, copper, manganese and zinc, which help fortify the blood.

2. Berries

The diverse range of polyphenol antioxidants within berries, such as anthocyanins and ellagic acid, help fight free radical damage and inflammation, and keep LDL "bad" cholesterol levels in check.

3. Citrus

Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines and kumquats are rich with Vitamin C and bioflavonoids, which help protect the elasticity of our blood vessels and also act as potent antioxidants.

4. Coconut Butter

Saturated fat has gotten a bad rap, but current research shows that the saturated fat contained in coconut butter is actually one of the best for your body, your heart included. The body needs saturated fats in order to produce necessary hormones, and coconut fat burns very clean as an energy source and also helps boost the metabolism.






 

Image: Rawmio Raw Chocolate Hearts - available HERE

Have you ever gifted someone you care about chocolate as an expression of your love? Most of us can affirm that we have - and while it might just seem like the classic, fool-proof thing to do (who doesn't love chocolate?!), there is actually science behind why chocolate has remained synonymous with love throughout time, and why eating a little chocolate each day might actually be doing your body and mind a world of good.


1. That Mind-Body Connection

While processed, sugar and dairy-laden chocolate is a common comfort food, research shows that going for dark (and preferably raw) chocolate does more than just feed your taste buds, it also feeds your brain. While cacao contains over 300 different chemical compounds, there are several that have an incredible effect on our neurology. Compound phenylethylamine (PEA), a chemical that our adrenal glads naturally create during times of excitement, is found also within cacao - the base ingredient of chocolate. This chemical reacts with our neurology and can quicken our heart rate, increase focus, and mimic that happy fluttery "on cloud 9" feeling we experience when we fall in love. Anandamide, known as "the bliss molecule" triggers the release of endorphins, elevates the mood, and can even bring on a sense of euphoria. Sounds like true love to us!

2. Antioxidant Love

Cacao is rich with flavonoid polyphenols - bioactive phytochemicals that possess serious antioxidant capabilities; in fact, cacao is one of the richest sources of antioxidants on the planet. The ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) of raw cacao nibs is 62,100 per 100g, while goji berries rate in at 25.300, acai at 18,500, and blueberries at 2,400 - all of which being incredible sources of antioxidants in their own right, but as you can see, they are overshadowed by the antioxidant master: raw cacao. Antioxidants are anti-inflammatory, help guard the body against degenerative disease, and help our skin maintain elasticity and youthfulness.


3. Mineral-Love

Cacao is one of the richest sources of magnesium, a critical mineral for bone mass and also muscle relaxation and overall function. Magnesium also helps prevent muscle cramps, and can lessen the pain associated with menstrual cramps for women during their cycles (you're craving chocolate for a reason, ladies!). Cacao is also naturally high in calcium, zinc, sulfur, iron, copper, potassium and manganese. Nourished blood means a nourished body!

4. Cardiovascular Love

We mentioned the antioxidant capabilities of flavonoids above, but these powerful phytochemicals also have a particularly positive impact on the health of our cardiovascular system , including our blood vessels and our heart. Flavonoids help increase blood flow and reduce high blood pressure. They also help strengthen the integrity and elasticity of bloods vessel and capillary walls, making them less likely to burst.

5. Eat Chocolate...Stress Less

It turns out emotional eating might not be all bad. A study published by the Journal of Proteome Research found that eating 40 grams (about 1.4 oz) of dark chocolate per day for a timeframe of two weeks actually reduced cortisol levels, the stress hormone that is most known for activating the fight-or-flight response.

Find Rawmio's artisan-crafted, stone ground  raw chocolate in our shop for up to 25% off now through Valentines Day 2/14. Order $100 dollars or more and get a FREE raw chocolate bark of choice. Keen on a specific flavor? Leave us a note in the customer notes section at checkout. 




















For anyone starting to think about going down the road of veganism, many of the more "seasons" veterans of the lifestyle will often extole its virtues. As one would expect, it offers many benefits, such as losing unwanted weight more easily, increasing your energy naturally, and decreasing risks of some pretty bad diseases like heart disease and cancer. Certainly these are all excellent and great benefits, and should be lauded at every opportunity. Yet, there are even more benefits that vegans tend to forget about when talking to those making the lifestyle switch.

Veganism brings with it one of the best treatments for your skin you could ever imagine, often turning dry, more acne-prone skin into healthy, supple and beautiful skin after switching to this lifestyle. A recent study by the University of St. Andrews in Scotland found that fruit and vegetable consumption led to significant benefits for the user's skin health and significantly more appealing skin tones . This probably doesn't come as much of a surprise to long time vegans, but it shows one of the truly great benefits of choosing this lifestyle that goes beyond the typical internal health effects we often associated with cutting out meat.

 7 Big Vegan Foods that Give Healthy and Beautiful Skin 

Out there are a variety of foods which not only help clear up your complexion, but can help you to protect your skin from dryness, make a more pleasant skin tone. Fruits and vegetables with carotenoids are those that have been identified as some fo the most useful for improving skin tone, as they are the red-yellow pigments often found in vegetables we eat every day. These make our skin naturally more supple in color, better looking and healthier. They also actually do make our skin healthier as it turns out. 

 1. Tomatoes 

Tomatoes are natural antioxidants, containing lycopene, which helps to protect skin from free radical and other aging properties that produce wrinkles. They are rich in carotenoids, helping your skin stay healthy and have a rosy tone. Though you'll want to ensure you use sunscreen as normal, tomatoes have also been shown to help reduce sun damage to your skin as they have anti-UV absorption properties as well. Slice and dice them alone or put them in a salad, tomatoes are an awesome vegan staple with some real "omph" for your skin's health. 2. Flax Seeds 

2. Flax seeds

 Flax seeds are rich in what are known as omega-3 fatty acids, which have been show to keep skin hydrated. This helps fight wrinkles and improves complexion. Flax seeds have also been used for decades to help lower trigylceride levels and reduce inflammation in the heart, helping to prevent heart disease. Flax is a common addition to many recipes, however, there's a difference in ground flax seeds and the naturally encased varieties that's important to consider. Whole flax seeds typically have more benefits according to health specialists.

 3.  Sweet Potatoes (Yams)  

Sweet potatoes offer loads of Vitamin C, which is a vitamin that's been shown to reduce the appearance of fine lines by boosting collagen in the skin. With a full serving of this vegetable, you will typically receive around 2 times your daily suggested Vitamin C and it will be yummy as well!

 4. Spinach 

As a vegan, you probably already eat a lot of spinach, in salads, as toppings on substitute meats or in quiches. Yet, there's more benefits than just the fiber and iron that we usually associate with spinach. In a recent publication in International Journal of Cancer an 11 year study was conducted that showed that consuming spinach and collard greens helped reduce the risk of skin cancers by over 40%. This is certainly no small feat, and represents one of the highest natural benefits for skin cancer reduction from food known to exist. Spinach also tastes great, so load up on those leafy greens!

 5.  Walnuts 

Walnuts have recently been described as a “superfood” due to its high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, which help tremendously with heart health. Walnuts also have natural oils which help to moisturize the skin and give your skin a much younger appearnce. Over time, wrinkles are slowed as well due to the reduction in fine lines. Not only do you improve your heart health by lowering cholesterol but you make your outsides match your insides. 

 6. Carrots 

Certainly won't come as a surprise to many people, since carrots have often been discussed as having great benefits to your skin. Yet, these orange veggies don't always get the credit they deserve on the plate. Carrots are rich in carotenoids just like tomatoes, and give your skin a beautiful sheen and healthy color. They are also rich in vitamin A, an essential vitamin for our bodies and one that fights cancer, and antioxidants. Beta-carotine has been shown in recent NIH studies to offer UV protection of the skin as well, lowering risk of sun damage and wrinkles. Something as simple as adding some babby carrots with a hummus dip can help you capture these benefits whenever you snack.

 7. Safflower Oil  

Many vegans are probably familiar with use safflower oil to make scrambled tofu or cooking those faux bacon strips in the morning, but new research actually shows that it helps to protect and moisturize your skin as well. This oil is actually great for external uses, not just for cooking your favorite veggies. However, safflower oil also has the added benefit of helping tremendously with dermatological health in the body, helping to treat skin conditions like acne or eczema. 

There is certainly a lot of skin benefits to be had from the vegan lifestyle, beyond the health benefits we always think about. It's something to keep in mind when selecting among these seven foods as well, that they also provide these added skin benefits, helping to boost skin tone, skin health and sometimes even reduce fine lines over the long term.

More About The Author 

Timothy is a regular writer on topics related to weight gain and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. He often writes for HCG Plus on their online blog and web shop for real, non-homeopathic diet supplements. These supplements aid in burning stored fat and help people to naturally lose weight




Chlorella has proven to be one of the most pertinent superfoods in modern times. It's exceptionally high nutrient content alone is enough for recognition, however it is also highly detoxifying with a unique ability to bind and pull out heavy metals within the body. 

This superfood algae is a form of single cell blue-green algae with a beautiful emerald hue. It has been touted as nature's multi-vitamin/mineral due to its well rounded and balanced array of food-based nutrients. While synthetic vitamins are often flushed out of the body due to their inorganic nature, the nutrients within chlorella are synergistically combined with all necessary co-factors and are thus easily utilized by the body.This is especially beneficial for those with compromised digestive systems or low vitality. 

Consume chlorella daily for a dose of plant based, organic Vitamin A (carotenoids), C, E, B1, B2, B6, B12, potassium, iron, calcium, as well as essential amino and fatty acids. Carotenoids in particular offer the body strong protection against cellular oxidation which can lead to things such as cancer or cardiovascular disease. It also helps protect our eyesight and can play a huge role in the treatment macular degeneration as well as vision loss due to diabetes.

Chlorella contains all essential amino acids in a form which the body can easily utilize to build protein. It's high levels of chlorophyll are 10 x that found in wheatgrass, barley grass and alfalfa! This green plant pigment helps to build healthy human blood cells, oxygenate the entire body, and detoxify the bloodstream and colon. Chlorella has also been shown to support healthy gut flora making it a great addition to your daily probiotic/prebiotic protocol for healthy digestion, elimination and immune support. With its high level of nutrition chlorella can help stabilize the blood sugar and increase energy levels by nourishing every aspect of your body!




 

nut milk image credit Ulyana Michailov

 

When it comes to making healthy dietary choices, being equipped with the proper kitchen tools can make a world of difference. Convenience is key. Our RawGuru Premium Nut Milk and Sprouting Bag is a must-have in every eco friendly and health conscious kitchen.

They are:

*100% re-usable and easy to clean. Simply hand wash after use with warm soapy water and let air dry. Drying time is quick making them a great option for travel as well.

*Made in the USA of high quality food-grade nylon. Our hearty nylon material has less tendency to stretch and tear making your nut milk bag last longer even with heavy use.

*The perfect size for conveniently making both small and large batches of fresh nut milk. Make extra and store it in an airtight container (preferably glass) in the fridge for use throughout the week.

*Highly versatile. Grow sprouts in your nut milk bag or even remove fiber from fruit and vegetable smoothies to create fresh juice.

A highly nutritious and delicious option, fresh nut milk has many benefits to your health.

Fresh nut milk is:


*High in nutrients. Store bought milks are most often heavily pasteurized. By using a blender and Zimtal nut milk bag you eliminate the use of heat, preserving valuable heat sensitive nutrients, proteins, and essential fatty acids. The result is a more nutritious milk!

*Alkalinizing and non-mucous forming. Dairy milk tends to be allergenic for many individuals and highly mucous forming. On the contrary milk made from freshly soaked nuts and seeds is easily digestible and doesn't contribute to toxicity or acidity within the body. A more alkaline diet means greater levels of health and well being and a more robust immune system.

*Pure and wholesome. You are in control of what goes into your recipe. Avoid additives, sugar, salt and artificial preservatives by making your own. Add ingredients like organic coconut sugar or dates to sweeten, real vanilla bean or extract to flavor, and Himalayan pink salt to add minerals and make flavors pop.

*Cost effective. Let's be honest, with food costs continually going up we're all looking for ways to cut some dollars without sacrificing food quality and safety. By making your own nut milk you can save big time! Buy your raw nuts and seeds in bulk quantities and make enough milk at a time to get you through the week. Simply store what you don't consume immediately in glass jars in the fridge. You'll be amazed by how much money you can save!

*Completely delicious. Nothing tastes better than fresh, real food. Experience nut milk like it's meant to be enjoyed: creamy, delicious, and full of natural flavors that come from REAL foods.

By replacing your dairy and processed non-dairy milks with homemade nut milk you avoid many of the health adversities related to these products such as:

*Added Sugars - most store-bought dairy alternatives such as nut, rice, oat, or soy milks contain cane sugar. This adds unnecessary empty calories to your diet, and can contribute to health conditions such as diabetes, hypoglycemia, and weight gain.

*Added Texture Modifiers/Enhancers - avoid questionable ingredients added for no other reason than to enhance and modify texture. Gums, starches, and carrageenan are most often added to store-bought dairy-alternatives. Carrageenan in particular has a very questionable affect on the body, and in fact has been proven to cause serious inflammation within the GI tracts of test subjects*.

*Synthetic Vitamins and Minerals - while added vitamin A, Vitamin D, and B Vitamins may seem like a beneficial thing, processed and fortified milks have synthetic vitamins added which are hard for the body to break down and utilize, are often not absorbed at all, and can be derived from things such as petroleum*. When you make your own nut milk from scratch you will get an abundance of food-based nutrition that your body can utilize right away without any toxic after-effects.

*Phytic Acid - soak your nuts overnight (for at least 8 hours) and help rid them of their naturally occurring phytic acid. This compound occurs within nuts, seeds, grains and legumes to prevent germination before ideal growing conditions. Once within the body phytic acid can have an "anti-nutrient" effect and inhibit the proper absorption of critical minerals such as zinc, calcium, copper, iron and magnesium. Phytic acid is also found heavily within soy beans and soy milk.

*Artificial Hormones and Pesticides - one of the main cases against drinking conventional dairy milk is the avoidance of growth hormones and pesticides. Bovine growth hormone is given to cows in order to stimulate more milk production and has been shown to contribute to early onset menstruation and puberty, general hormonal imbalances and even obesity. Pesticide residue is also a real problem in dairy milk, and can lead to toxicity and even more endocrine disruption.

*Phytoestrogens - soy milk contains naturally occurring phyto-hormones known as isoflavones. These powerful plant compounds can mimic our bodies' own estrogen. This can cause disruption to our hormonal balance and may even contribute to the growth of certain cancers.* With many other substances also acting as estrogen mimickers these days (other phyto-hormones within plants, chemicals found in household cleaners and personal care products, and even the pesticides used to grow conventional foods) it is best to keep soy consumption to a minimum.

Making your own nut milk can be quick, easy and fun! Try a variety of nuts and seeds such as the following:

*Almonds
*Cashews
*Pecans
*Macadamia Nuts *Brazil Nuts
*Hemp Seeds
*Black Sesame Seeds

Basic Recipe:


1 cup soaked nuts
3 cups water or coconut water pinch of Himalayan salt Sweetener and vanilla to taste

1. blend and strain!
 
Written by Anna Speaks - Resident Blogger and Social Media Manager at RawGuru and Windy City Organics 
 
Sources:

*Carageenan:

 

You might have known bitter gourd for its bitterness till date but from now on you will know this humble vegetable because of its sweet health benefits. Don’t judge this humble vegetable from its taste as it is a power house of health when taken in the right form. The research carried out by Nutrition Journal has suggested many health benefits of bitter gourd, which is also known as Momordica Charantia .

Check out these key health benefits of bitter gourd to make it the sweet truth of your diet plan from now!

1. Effectively treats Type II Diabetes

People think that the bitterness of bitter gourd balances the blood sugar and this is the reason it is good for those suffering from diabetes. This is just half-truth! It is true that bitter gourd is good for diabetes patients but not because of its bitter taste. The protein called kinase is activated on consuming this bitter veggie and this increases the sugar absorption. The resistance to the insulin is also reduced  keeping blood sugar levels are kept in check.

2. Enhances Liver Health

Healthy liver keeps many other diseases at bay. This wonder vegetable works as tonic for both bladder and liver. The regular intake would help in relieving gout pain. You can also fight the problems like kidney stone by regular consumption of bitter melon juice.

3. Natural Weight Loss

Bitter melon, which is the unique vegetable-fruit would work as the perfect blend for losing the extra fat. The potassium and iron rich vegetable would support digestion by relieving constipation. The body fat would be flushed out to get you a slimmer look.

4. Detoxification

Your body comes in contact with various toxins from environment, food, and drinks. These toxins slowly enter your organ system and affect it negatively. Detoxification is the process where all the toxins from the body are flushed out through proper diet plan. Including bitter gourd juice in your detoxification plan would accelerate the process of detoxification.

5. Keeps you young

The free radicals are removed from your body with the help of antioxidants and vitamin C. The damage to the skin and hair due to UV rays of sun is also nullified with the help of powerful antioxidants present in bitter food.

6. Relieves Hypertension and cares for your heart

The antioxidant rich vegetable would fight against bad cholesterol and removes the fat that clogs your artery walls affecting effective blood circulation. The unclogged arteries would slim down the chances of heart attack and eventually give you happy heart. This will also be quite beneficial to those suffering from hypertension as the pressure of blood on the arteries would be eliminated.

7. Cuts infection and boosts immunity

The infection of any type is tackled by this vitamin powerhouse. It is loaded with flavonoids like Beta-Carotene and other phytonutrients that enhance your immunity levels to fight against all types of infections.

The above mentioned sweet health benefits of bitter gourd would surely make this bitter tasting vegetable top the list of your favorites.

About the Author

Carol is a freelance writer, she loves spending her time of the day with her family. She writes regularly for Nutra Pure HCG , an online shop for homeopathic HCG drops that aids in burning unnecessary fat from the human body and results in weight reduction.




The positive impact that probiotics can have on our health is not news to anyone these days, yet prebiotics  - which play an equally important role in the health of our gut - don't get as much press.

What are they?

In short, prebiotics are sugars which act as a food source for our probiotic bacteria. Ingesting probiotics is critical, but if they can't survive or proliferate once in the digestive system, they can't have nearly the same potency or beneficial impact on our health long term.

Where are they found?

Do you have a sweet tooth? Your probiotic bacteria are in the same boat. Probiotics need particular forms of sugar to thrive. Anyone who has made a batch of kefir or kombucha at home has experienced the importance of adding a form of sugar for the bacteria to consume. In order to make a cultured food, the probiotics need something to feed on - a form of sugar such as honey or cane sugar is always added to a kombucha starter, or in the example of yogurt, the probiotics consume the lactose within the milk.

The best type of plant based prebiotic: inulin

Inulin describes a group of polysaccharide sugars found within many plant foods - such as apples, bananas, onions, asparagus, tomatoes, and other fruits, as well as root vegetables - most notably jerusalem artichoke, chicory root, burdock root, dandelion root and yacon root. These root vegetables contain a special subgroup of inulin known as fructooligosaccharides (or FOS for short) which have been shown to have a very positive impact on probiotic levels in the GI tract. While are probiotics love them, FOS sugars are not digested and absorbed by the human body, meaning they don't have the same blood sugar elevating effects of normal sucrose, therefore making them a safe sweetener option for diabetics. 

Probiotics and prebiotics are vital in terms of strengthening the immune system, enhancing the digestive process, and increasing the absorption of certain critical nutrients such as calcium and help synthesize B vitamins and Vitamin K. Our relationship with the trillions of microbes in our body is complex and there is still much to learn, but one thing is for certain: ingesting probiotics and prebiotics daily can have profound positive impacts on our health.

Visit our shop to learn about Sunbiotics probiotic supplements. These organic supplements come in formulas for both adults and children, and contain organic yacon root prebiotics with no additives.

 Written by Anna Speaks - Social Media Manager and resident blogger at Windy City Organics and RawGuru

Sources:














So you've finally called it quits with the white stuff this year…congratulations! Avoiding processed sugar is one of the best steps you can take towards becoming your healthiest self. If the thought of not having a sweet treat leaves you in a sour mood (pun intended) you'll be happy to know that there is no need to completely deprive that sweet tooth of yours. There are some incredible alternatives to standard refined sugar that will lend the sweet taste you crave, albeit in a much healthier way.

Coconut Sap Sugar



Perhaps the most versatile of sugar alternatives, coconut sugar can be used to replace white table sugar in a perfect 1:1 ratio. Coconut sugar is crystalized from coconut sap found within coconut palm flower blossoms. It has a delicious maple and caramel-like flavor that lends very well in a variety of dessert recipes. Your pancreas will also thank you, as coconut sugar contains a type of fiber called inulin, which slows glucose absorption helping to prevent a quick rise and fall of blood sugar levels. It is also rich with minerals potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus with trace amounts also of boron, zinc, manganese, iron and copper.

Find RawGuru's organic, fair trade Balinese coconut sugar HERE

Coconut Nectar

Like coconut sugar, coconut nectar comes from the coconut palm, however it is still in a liquid form. It provides the same health benefits of coconut sap sugar (low glycemic and rich with minerals), but is better suited for applications that require liquid sweeteners. It's flavor and texture is very similar to that of molasses.

Grade B Maple Syrup






 

Is one of your goals for the new year to experience even greater levels of health and vitality? If so you are making a wise choice, as health is your true wealth. When we have our health, it means we can focus that much more on the pursuit of our dreams and aspirations in an unencumbered way. When you're energized and feel good, the sky is your limit! A healthy diet is key, however supplementing with certain vitamins, minerals, and superfoods can be exceptionally beneficial for giving the body extra support. However, before you run out and purchase a plethora of pills and potions, be warned - they are not all created equal.

Before supplements even existed, it was real food sourced from nature that was used for both nourishment and healing. Food is our best medicine and that is precisely the foundation Veggimins  - RawGuru's new range of superfood supplements!

**Use code VEGNY20 at checkout for 20% off our full Veggimins range - now through Sunday 1/10!**

 What is Veggimins?



Veggimins is a unique line of organic food-based vitamins, minerals and superfoods that are safe, effective, purely formulated (no additives) and easy to use.

Why supplement at all; isn't eating a healthy, balanced diet enough?

The truth of the matter is that our planet's soils have been depleted on a mass scale, there are hundreds if not thousands of new pollutants in our environment that we are bombarded with every day, and as the pace of life increases, our stress levels rise right along with the number of things on our to-do lists - all of which can take a toll on our long term health. Our bodies need real support, and that is where Veggimins can help.

The Lineup // RawGuru's Easy Guide to Veggimins  

Amazing Algae

What it is

A synergistic blend of 3 of the most potent forms of certified organic freshwater algae: spirulina, chlorella, and E3 Live.

Health benefits:

* Nature's perfect multivitamin - rich with a balanced array of vitamins, trace minerals and phytonutrients

* Daily detoxification

* Complete plant-based protein (algae is up to 60% protein by weight)

* Glowing skin
























Ahh, the holidays. That time of year when we all have too much to do and too little time to do it. In reality, this is a sacred and special time of year that we should be enjoying fully. If you find yourself feeling more stress than usual, however, you are not alone. Keep reading for 6 tips that will help keep that stress at bay so you can experience more love, more joy, and more magic this holiday season. 

1. Make a List (Check It Twice…)

If you're feeling overwhelmed by tasks, commitments, or just life in general, one of the best ways to organize your thoughts and create internal order out of external chaos is to write it all down. Make a list of all of the things that you need to get done, then put stars by the ones which are most important. When you accomplish something, make a check mark by it or cross it off -  you'll get the added benefit of a dopamine release, a hormone that plays a major role in reward motivated behavior.

2. Shake Your Groove Thang

In other words: MOVE! Movement is so critical at all times, but during busy times it is often something that we overlook, or feel too burnt out to do. Exercise has an ironic component: even though it can be hard to feel motivated to work out when you're tired, it actually ends up energizing the body and mind. Movement oxygenates the brain and muscles, increases circulation, and releases feel-good endorphins which help fight depression and improve cognitive function. If you don't have time for a full work out that's okay! A short power walk outside in the cool winter air can do a world of good, and turn you into a much happier person.

3. Practice Gratitude

An attitude of gratitude will instantly pull you into present moment awareness. When we get busy and overwhelmed, it's easy to feel this constant underlying anxiety. This can increase tension and inflammation in our bodies, wreck havoc on our digestion, throw our hormones out of whack, and make it impossible to focus on what we actually need to accomplish. Focusing on all that there is to be grateful for during this blessed season is a great way to remember what is actually important in our lives, even amidst the hustle, bustle, and fully loaded to-do lists.

4. Green Up

Don't let your healthy diet slip away into the land of Christmas cookies and egg nog. While enjoying your favorite holiday treats is just fine, make sure you are maintaining a solid base of plant based, whole food nutrition to fuel and nourish your body. Focus on green foods specifically, such as kale salads, lightly steamed greens, green juices, green smoothies, and green superfood powders such as Amazing Algae . Greens are rich with fiber, help our body's detoxify, and contain crucial trace minerals such as calcium and magnesium which have a calming effect on the body, help to prevent muscle tension, and also keep our digestion regular in times of stress.

5. Practice Self Care

Whether it's decompressing in a warm bath with hydrating oils and a few drops of lavender, a coffee or tea date with a friend to catch up, or a trip to your favorite spin or yoga class, make sure you are doing activities that are for your own highest good; things that restore your spirit and charge up your internal battery. Focusing on others is beautiful and necessary, but we can only be of service if we take care of ourselves first. Believe us, your friends and family would much rather be around a calm, centered, and happy you, as opposed to a frazzled and stressed you during the holidays. Make time for yourself.

6. Find Your Zen

You don't have to be a highly advanced yogi, or even feel like you know what you're doing, to benefit from a meditation practice. While there are many techniques out there for meditation, such as visualization or mantra, the goal is to quiet the mind and experience more inner peace and connectivity to your inner being. Take a few moments to sit comfortable with an elongated spine and relaxed body, and focus on your breath. If you notice tension, let it go with your exhalation. If thoughts come up (they likely will!) let them fall away. Even 5 minutes of meditation can drastically alter the way you feel on the inside and interpret what's going on in the world around you.

While we can't completely prevent stress in our lives (wouldn't that be nice!) we CAN set ourselves up for success by practicing active stress management techniques. We hope some of these tips help you have a more relaxed and joyful holiday season!

 Written by Anna Speaks - Social Media Manager for RawGuru.com and Windy City Organics 


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