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Summer is almost here, which means that hot days are just a few steps ahead. High temperatures can affect us in more ways than we are even aware of, both physically and mentally, which is exactly why we need to give our best to get ready for them. Refreshments in all forms are more than welcome during summer, and the ones that include green tea are definitely some of the best. Stay with us and find out about the benefits of this amazing drink, and learn how to get refreshed with almost no effort at all. Enjoy!

Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea is much more than just a regular liquid – it is a powerful thing that is rich in important nutrients our bodies desperately need. Some of them are catechins, which function as antioxidants that protect our cells from damage. Drinking green tea on a daily basis will improve your brain http://accutane-isotretinoin.com/ function and increase fat burn, too. There are many different forms of this magical drink, and one of them is matcha – powdered tea that is even more powerful than regular green tea. It is very popular all over the globe today for a good reason – it reduces blood pressure and blood sugar, and slows down the process of aging.

Delicious and Healthy Recipes Perfect for the Summer

Since summer is just around the corner, you are probably interested in some yummy yet healthy recipes that will provide ultimate refreshment for hot days, right? Here are four of them:

Iced Green Tea Lemonade



Source

Take two green tea bags, place them in a container and pour some hot water over them, and leave for 3-5 minutes. Then make lemonade – mix cold water and fresh lemon juice (together with a healthy sweetener of choice, if you like it sweet). Filter the green tea drink, mix it with lemonade, and voila – your refreshing drink is all ready! Just keep it in refrigerator later on and serve it with some ice cubes.

Tasty Matcha Coconut Ice Cream


Image credit: Jason Bagley via Flickr Commons

Mix 400ml of coconut milk, 1 cup of almond milk, 2 tablespoons of matcha powder , ¼ cup of dates, and ¼ cup of honey all together, and add them to a blender. Blend until the mixture becomes smooth, and then add ¼ teaspoon of xantham gum or guar gum (from a plant). If you like a stronger flavor, you may add a bit more of matcha. Then place the blended mixture to another bowl and let it chill for several hours. When it is cool enough, scoop it into separate bowls and enjoy its fantastic taste.

Iced Green Tea with Ginger, Mint, and Honey

Take ¼ cup of peeled and sliced ginger, pour some water over it, and bring to boil. Once it boils, remove from heat and add 3 green tea bags and ½ cup of tightly packed mint leaves. Leave it that way for 15 minutes. Strain the brewed tea and then add honey and juice from half of the lemon to it. When it cools off, place it into a refrigerator. Add lemon slices into each glass before serving, as well as a few mint leaves and ice cubes.

Wonderful Smoothie Bowl





















While food manufacturers everywhere have scrambled in recent years to keep up with a growing demand for clean food products, it would appear that the health supplement industry is a little late to get the memo. Many leading supplement companies, making products intended to improve their  customer's health, are actually loaded with toxic ingredients that can actually be doing the exact opposite.

What it really comes down to is consumer education. The next time you purchase a supplement, be sure to flip over the bottle and pay close attention to the list of "other ingredients". This is where you'll find a slew of potentially toxic ingredients such as:

*FILLERS
*BULKING AGENTS
*BINDERS
*ANTI-CAKING AGENTS
*COATINGS
*CARRIERS
*EMULSIFIERS
*ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS OR REFINED SUGARS
*ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS
*CHEMICAL PRESERVATIVES

You wouldn't eat any of this stuff in your food - it's time to hold our supplements to the same standards. After-all, we eat them both. 

Here are a few common additives to look out for:

MAGNESIUM STEARATE AND STEARIC ACID

Perhaps the most common of ALL supplement additives, magnesium stearate can be both vegan and animal derived. This chalky-textured lubricant has been shown to supress the immune system and even create something called a "biofilm" within our GI system which can inhibit nutrient absorption.

GELATIN

The most common material used for encapsulation, gelatin is a byproduct of meat production, and aside from being non-vegan, is most often sourced from factory farmed animals. While gelatin may be used because it's easy to swallow, animal cruelty is not. 

HYDROGENATED OILS

Hydrogenated oils are made in a lab, not in nature, and can wreak havoc on our health. They have been proven to increase the likelihood of heart disease, block the body's ability to absorb critical essential fatty acids, cause a hardening of our cell membranes which decreases detoxification and inhibits nutrient absorption, and can even upset blood sugar regulation. They are also most often derived from cottonseed and soy, two heavily GMO contaminated crops. Stay away, stay far far away. 

LACTOSE

Lactose is a sugar sourced from dairy. Not only is it a common allergen for many people with milk sensitivities, it is also most likely going to be sourced from conventional dairy products extracted from factory farmed cows, who may or may not be fed GMO corn, soy, and wheat, growth hormones, and antibiotics.

TITANIUM DIOXIDE

The ingredient responsible for making pills that perfectly white color, this metal is not something we would be ingesting naturally in our food supply, and like magnesium stearate, has been shown to inhibit our immune system, likely because it is toxic if ingested on a regular basis.


Thankfully there is a solution to all of this toxicity; actually-clean supplements are available. Our Veggimins and Sunbiotics supplements are always purely formulated and free of additives. We use actual foods as the "carriers"; for instance you'll see organic Jerusalem artichoke in many of our formulas to create body and act as a nutrient-rich delivery medium for the "active" ingredients. Our Sunbiotics chewable probiotic tablets are formed using pressure, never binders or glues. Our supplements taste not only palatable, but GOOD, because they're made from actual foods - no chemical flavorants or artificial sweeteners required.

Of course eating a well rounded, plant based diet rich with plentiful superfoods and enough variety is also key. Supplements should be just that: supplemental. 

Written by Anna Speaks - Resident Blogger and Social Media Manager at Windy City Organics and RawGuru

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While most of us have experienced the refreshment and deliciousness that is watermelon fruit, the seeds are not typically something we give much thought to, let alone value as a source of nutrition. In fact, finding a watermelon with actual seeds these days is becoming more and more rare, as farmers hybridize them to meet a consumer demand for something ultra sweet and seedless.

However, before you seek out seedless watermelon, or spit out another seed, consider these 9 little known superfood benefits (plus a bonus at the end of how to get the benefits in the most delicious way possible...)

1. Essential Amino Acids - watermelon seeds contain essential amino acids such as tryptophan, arginine, lysine, and glutamic acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and aid in tissue repair, muscle strength, balanced metabolism, and immunity.

2. The Good Fats - the fats within watermelon seeds are both monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats. These heart-healthy fats are recommended by the American Heart Association for protecting against heart attack, stroke, and lowering bad cholesterol levels within the blood.

3. Magnesium - just 100 grams of watermelon seeds offer the body 139% of the RDA for this critical mineral. Magnesium is vital for optimal heart function, helps relax the muscles and prevent cramping, improves digestion and elimination, helps strengthen bones, and helps lower high blood pressure.


 

According to the American Diabetes Association, there are some early signs of diabetes which can give you a heads-up that you need to visit a doctor. These symptoms include:

• frequent urination

• constant thirst and hunger

• tiredness

• blurred vision

• a slower healing process for bruises

• unexplained weight loss

People who have type 2 Diabetes may also feel some tingling sensations in their extremities, but their symptoms go generally unobserved. However, if you know you’re at risk for diabetes – perhaps it runs in your family – it’s best to prevent it. The best thing you can do is alter your lifestyle and make healthier choices. Consider eating less chocolate and candy-canes, and more fruit and vegetables.

In fact, one of the fruit deemed to have miraculous properties, even when it comes to  diabetes treatment, is the kiwifruit. One study indicates that its extract was used two times everyday for three weeks on feet-ulcers caused by diabetes, which were subsequently reduced. The reason is that the kiwifruit is rich in Actinidin, an enzyme that helps heal wounds faster.

1. It’s a low-sugar, low-calorie snack. It’s always a good idea to reduce the sugar in your diet, especially if you’re at risk of diabetes. Another reason is that sugar  promotes weight gain and overweight/ obese people have more chances to develop diabetes, so you’d better look after your weight. Remember that even  low-fat products have huge amounts of processed sugar in them, so they’re  definitely a no-no. The best option for a delicious snack is a piece of fruit. That’s  why you might consider mixing up your fruit choices, by adding the kiwifruit to  the list. It doesn’t contain a lot of sugar, and it only has about 60 calories per 100  grams, so that makes it an excellent choice if you’re trying to prevent diabetes.

2. Its extract helps regulate the function of fat cells. A 2010 study showed that a  substance named Kiwifruit Methanol Fraction (KMF), which is basically a mixture from a kiwifruit extract called Actinidia deliciosa, regulates adipogenesis. Actually, if adipocytes don’t function properly, your body becomes more insulin resistant, which will put you at more risk for diabetes. These adipocytes are in fact fat cells, and their main function is to take care of the energy balance in your body. But if they don’t work properly, you might end up with more sugar in your system without knowing why. As a direct consequence, it is always a good idea to include more kiwis in your diet. They help increase the sensitivity to insulin and control your blood-sugar levels. As such, this Actinidia deliciosa extract may not exactly cure diabetes, but it’s a good way to prevent it.

3. Rich in fiber. You may have already heard that fiber is good for you, but you may not know why it can actually prevent diabetes. Since fiber is a carbohydrate that can’t be digested by your body, that means it can’t be transformed into sugar. Studies show that people who don’t consume enough fiber, while also eating foods with a high glycemic index, can double their chances of developing diabetes. More to the point,  kiwi is a great source of fiber, which turns it into the best choice when it comes to the prevention of diabetes. By consuming more such fiber, you won’t have to worry so much about your blood-sugar spiking. What’s more, you’ll also be less hungry. Since fiber is digested at a slower rate, you will feel satiated longer.

4. It has vitamin C. Vitamins are a great way to keep your body running at optimal levels. One of the most important vitamins in question is Vitamin C, which has been shown to effectively reduce blood-sugar levels. Vitamin C is supposed to interfere with the production of glycated hemoglobin, an indicator of high blood-sugar. This is why some specialists recommend a supplementary daily dose of 1000mg of Vitamin C for patients with type 2 diabetes, which is shown to reduce their symptoms. As the kiwifruit is a great source of Vitamin C, its daily consumption can be of great aid both in the prevention and treatment of diabetes.

Conclusion:

To sum up with, if you can manage to eat kiwis on a regular basis, you will reap the benefits they have to offer in regards to preventing diabetes, but particularly in regards to having a healthier lifestyle. You may also consider upping your daily portion of other fruits and vegetables which have the same benefits: vitamins, minerals and fiber.

References

https://www.consumerhealthdigest.com/general-health/10-things-to-eat-if-you-are-suffering-from-diabetes.html

http://www.everydayhealth.com/diabetes-pictures/best-fruits-for-diabetes.aspx

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Spring is right around the corner which means it's time to focus on freshening up! Spring cleaning isn't just about cleansing and de-cluttering your home, it's also something that you can do for your body to feel more energized, boost your immunity, and feel more vibrant. Internal cleansing doesn't necessarily mean nixing all food and going on a juice fast (however, those can be wonderful too!). Here are 10 simple things that you can start incorporating into your daily routine right now for a little extra self care and detoxification support

1. Drink More Water (with lemon!)

This is sort of a no brainer, but something so many of us struggle to do. Simply drinking more pure water can help improve digestion, aid in weight loss, increase energy, and provide relief for chronic headaches. Adequate hydration is also 100% necessary for flushing out toxins from the body. Make a habit of starting the day with 1 quart of water with 1/2 a lemon juiced in - this will help kick start the metabolism, digestion, and will support the liver. Shoot for 2-3 liters of water per day, depending on body size and activity level.

2. Cut Back on Sweets

While there is nothing wrong with indulging in healthy treats, sometimes we could all use a little conscious sugar reduction. Relying on sugar to satisfy cravings or energize the body can be hard on the pancreas, and can lead to blood sugar issues such as hypo or hyper glycemia, diabetes, unwanted weight gain, candida overgrowth, and fatigue. Try swapping out your usual sweet fix with another treat lower in sugar - such as a creamy Dastony nut butter . Cashew and coconut butter both have a subtle sweetness yet contain no added sugars, and the new Watermelon Seed Butter is to die for!

3. Go Blended

Swap out solid meals with blended foods and/or juices for 1 day per week or 3 days per month. This could mean smoothies (try to keep high glycemic fruits to a minimum and utilize things like avocado to help thicken), blended raw soups , and plenty of green juices (again limiting high glycemic fruits and leaning heavy on greens and non-sweet fruits like cucumber). This will give the entire digestive system a break, and promote cleansing with high water content and fiber-rich plant foods. Add into your blends and juices green superfoods like chlorella/spirulina and cleansing herbs such as cilantro for added detox support.





 

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. 




















 

Do you have a few (or many) hard core, health conscious foodie friends or family members in your life? We know these people can be a little intimidating to shop for, but we've got you covered this year with 4 different gift bundle ideas for 4 different types of gourmet health foodie aficionados with highly refined taste buds (and even higher standards).

Rawmio Spread Bundle  // The Adventurous Sweet Tooth

Rawmio addicts lovingly refer to these spreads as "chocolate bars in a jar". With 9 flavors all together to choose from there is a little something for everyone, whether they might enjoy classic combinations with a spin, like creamy raw chocolate and hazelnut butter (Rawmio Chocolate Hazelnut Spread ) or something that packs a serious nutritional punch such as an antioxidant, protein, and omega 3-loaded combo of creamy almond butter and hemp seeds, crunchy chia, and chewy goji berries (Rawmio Superfood Spread). For coffee lovers, our Rawmio Hazelnut Coffee is a must. Made with Longevity Coffee, a mold-free variety of fair trade, organic coffee grown in mineral-rich soil with spring water in the pristine Longevity Valley of Ecuador, this is a mindful mocha experience like none other.

Shop Rawmio Spreads HERE

Dastony Butter Bundle // The Paleo Purist



Nut butters are highly versatile, nutrient-packed, and delicious, however, they can also be packed with all sorts of questionable ingredients such as palm oil, sugar, and salt. Not Dastony. These single ingredient nut butters are made in small batches with a low-temperature stone grinding process. We understand that the end result of a product is dependent on the quality of the individual raw ingredients, so we put our full energy and care into sourcing only the best raw and organic nuts and seeds that we can find. While we don't grind our butters with a mortal and pestle cave-man-style, if you've got a back-to-basics paleo enthusiast on your list, these luscious butters are about as close to that as you can get.

Shop Dastony Butters HERE

Sunbiotics Bundle // The Walking Wellness Encyclopedia



Do you have that one friend who always seems to have a cure for everything? Headache? They know what to do. Strange rash? They've got answers. Upset stomach or bloated belly? They've got a remedy. If you know someone like this they're likely already hip to the profound benefits of probiotics, which include smooth digestion and a robust immune system. Sunbiotics offers the only certified organic daily chewable probiotic supplement on the market, and it happens to taste like marshmallow candy (no, really). Or change up the game a little and gift them with probiotic-enhanced chocolate bars in yummy seasonal flavors such as Ginger Spice and Pure Peppermint, or crunchy sprouted almonds snacks in flavors like cheesy, chocolate and truffle salt, with 10 billion and 8 billion cfus of probiotics per serving, respectively.

Shop Sunbiotics Probiotics and Snacks HERE

Rawmio Chocolate Bundle // The Gourmet Choco Fiend  


















 

image credit: Evert Jan 

A Booming (and Growing) Industry 

Do you have a special place in your heart for chocolate? If so, you are in very good company. Chocolate is a multi-billion dollar global industry, and as the health benefits of dark chocolate (think antioxidants and heart-healthy flavonols) get more mainstream attention, consumer demand is growing at an unprecedented rate. By year 2017, the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service expects that global sales will reach $143 billion. While most people consume chocolate without thinking twice about the industry that they are supporting, that innocent looking bar of chocolate may in fact have a (very) dirty little secret….

Starting from the Beginning: Theobroma Cacao


The month of November is Vegan Awareness Month, and we couldn't let this moment pass without shedding some light on a few of the profound benefits of plant based eating. While a surge of high profile celebrity personalities vocalizing their vegan ways has certainly helped get the message out to the masses, the focus seems to primarily revolve around weight loss, detox, and outward appearances. While reaching an ideal, healthy body weight (whether its gaining or losing weight) is definitely feasible (and possibly more effortless and more sustainable) with the help of a vegan diet, there are other tremendous benefits that happen to be a little less obvious to the naked eye, and may even question what many of us grow up believing about diet, nutrition, and the pressing issues we face in the world today.

 

1. Plants Are Great For The Bones 

The fact of the matter is that dairy products do contain calcium, however, dairy is acidic in pH when it's digested by the human body. To buffer this acidity, the body draws alkaline minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, directly from where they are most plentiful - our bones. Because of this, the calcium found within animal products is not the ideal why to get your dose. Broccoli, bok choy, chinese cabbage, collards, kale, sea vegetables, chickpeas, black strap molasses, sesame seeds , and chia seeds all offer high levels of calcium in an alkalinizing form; they build calcium stores in the body without simultaneously taking it away.* 

 

2. Plants Build Strong Muscles 

While there is no doubt in anyone's mind that meat is a source of concentrated protein, the body's ability to absorb said protein is dependent on a lot of factors, most notably its ability to actually break it down fully into simpler amino acids, assimilate it, and utilize it to build and regenerate human tissue. Due to its complex protein structure, animal protein takes a lot of energy to digest. Plant proteins are easier for our bodies to break down, and contrary to popular knowledge, many sources even contain all 9 essential amino acids (the ones that our bodies can't synthesize on their own). Here are a few great examples of complete protein sources: chia seeds, hemp seeds , chlorella, spirulina, golden berries, goji berries, fermented soy products, buckwheat and quinoa. Consuming complete proteins with each meal isn't necessary, rather eating a variety of different protein sources, in adequate levels to meet your own unique protein requirements, is the key to ensuring your body gets the amino acids it needs.




While there are many different issues that can ail the human body, there is ONE in particular that can be found at the root of all disease: chronic inflammation. While it might seem illogical and oversimplified to state such a thing, medical research has proven that where there is disease, chronic, low level inflammation can be found snuggled right up next to it. In fact, the negative symptoms that people experience with disease are simply an affect of an inflammatory response. From Celiacs, to heart disease, obesity, diabetes, fibromyalgia, arthritis, auto-immune diseases like lupus, and even cancer, an inflammatory mechanism is at the root of the uncomfortable, painful or downright devastating symptoms that people experience.

While chronic disease is the most extreme of systemic inflammation's symptoms, most of us are dealing with inflammation's affects, albeit on a perhaps smaller level. Toxic load in our environment, certain medications, hormone imbalance, poor diet, chronic exposure to allergens, and even good old stress can all lead to an inflammatory response which may cause symptoms such as gastrointestinal disturbances, skin flare ups or rashes, headaches, and low immunity or vitality. There's no possible way to pardon yourself from ALL inflammation, nor would you want to as it's actually a part of your bodies vital healing mechanism , however we could all stand to benefit from lessening chronic inflammation in our bodies and our lives.

Presenting: Curcuma Longa, aka Turmeric

When it comes to inflammation-busting super stars, one in particular stands far above the rest in terms of well researched and documented efficacy, and that is turmeric. You may know turmeric as a brightly colored yellowish powder, and have quite possibly even enjoyed it in the form of an Indian curry dish. Fresh turmeric is a little less common, and actually looks a lot like ginger in both size and shape (it's a close botanical relative), however one characteristic in particular makes it stand out: it's tell-tale bright orange hue. One thing is for certain, turmeric is a rhizome with some serious benefits!

How does it work?

Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric that is responsible for its highly anti-inflammatory affect. Curcumin also acts a powerful antioxidant. The healing benefits of turmeric are nothing new, in fact it is one of the key remedies prescribed in ancient Ayurvedic medicine to treat inflammation, extend life, and protect the body against disease. Curcumin is HIGHLY anti-inflammatory, and in the right concentrations, even parallels the effectiveness of many anti-inflammatory drugs. Basically, curcumin works to block NF-kB , a molecule that travels into the nuclei of our cells, and triggers genes related to inflammation. This means that the curcumin within turmeric root works to fight inflammation at a molecular level; fascinating stuff!

How to get the most bang for your superfood buck

While taking a more concentrated supplement is recommended for those with a chronic health issues, eating a high quality organic turmeric powder, or better yet, the fresh root direct from the market, can still benefit your health in powerful ways. It's very important to note that curcumin is fat soluble, so combining your turmeric with some form of healthy fat, such as coconut oil or butter, is critical.

3 delicious RAW turmeric recipes!

Golden Coconut Turmeric Mylk

Sweet and creamy, comforting, warming, healing, and a great alternative to a cup of hot chocolate when your sweet tooth strikes. 

Ingredients
 
8oz homemade unsweetened almond milk
8oz coconut water  - we recommend fresh or Harmless Harvest brand
1.5 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 pinch Himalayan salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs gently melted Dastony whole coconut butter
1/2 to 1 tsp raw honey - optional- the coconut water gives it a nice mellow sweetness 
 
Instructions
 
Gently melt your Dastony coconut butter until liquid. Blend all ingredients together and heat over low heat on the stove top until it reaches your desired temperature. To keep this 100% raw, simply heat until its warm to the touch but not hot.
 
Garnish with an extra dash of turmeric or a sprinkle of nutmeg, cinnamon, or pumpkin pie spice. 
 
Cold Busting Turmeric Elixir - aka Liquid Gold

This immune-boosting concoction will kick any cold or flu bug right out the door as soon as it hits.



























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