5 Companies to Support Now …

Let’s face it. Health is trending. Juice Cleanses are more popular than ever. People have finally stopped counting calories and started counting ingredients. Amy’s Organic built the first completely organic “fast food” drive through in a small town in Northern California and Food Babe recently convinced Subway to remove the Yoga Mat Chemical from their breads. As happy as I am to see the results of our demanding healthier options in the last five years, there’s also a disturbing trend of corporate companies supported by Monsanto (Dean Foods), jumping on the bandwagon and releasing “healthy” options themselves, without the consumer understanding that the additives are anything but healthy, not to mention, they’re supporting Monsanto without knowing it. Horizon and Silk to be specific. Let’s take Almond Milk for example. Most Almond Milks, including brands at Whole Foods like Blue Diamond, contain less than 2% almonds, and neither are certified organic. Organic is important when it comes to almonds, otherwise you’re ingesting harsh pesticides and an almond that has lost it’s nutrition during the chemical process. Whole Foods has a great Organic Almond Milk option, but then you’re still dealing with the issue of a watered down version which should be made with mostly almonds, not water. So with all of this being said, here are my top five fave brands to support right now.

New Barn Organic Almond Milk

New Barn is the first Almond Milk I’ve found that is not only certified organic, but averages 55 almonds per bottle. Yes, the bottles are small and expensive, but often go on sale monthly for $2 off. You seriously can’t find a thicker, creamier and tastier almond milk than this. I use it for my lattes daily, and compared to all other almond milks, when I use it in my electric frother, it’s the only one that stands the true test of frothing as perfectly, rich and full as cow’s milk. More importantly, the ingredients list is short and sweet. No additives you can’t pronounce and the only Vanilla Almond Milk on the market sweetened with Organic Maple Syrup and real Vanilla Extract. I highly recommend this for iced or hot coffee. If you want to get into a discussion about the amount of water we’re using in California to deal with the increase in almond consumption over cow dairy, the documentary Cowspiracy is a great place to start. The meat and dairy industry is the #1 reason for our water problem, not growing almonds, millet and other grains, which actually ranks 11th in California’s water use. The demand for meat in America is so ridiculously high it’s literally killing us, and our planet. Not to mention, when you buy meat in a conventional grocery store, you’re at risk for contamination from very sick and abused animals. New Barn wins for taste, texture and a near perfect ingredients list. http://www.thenewbarn.com

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Jackson’s Honest Chips

I choose these Purple Heirloom Potato Chips for one huge reason. They’re the only one on the market cooked in Coconut Oil. Need I say more? I steered away from chips years ago when I went through my clean eating shift in 2011, because the majority of them are cooked in Canola Oil/Safflower Oil. Coconut Oil is a super nutrient dense oil that actually has tons of health benefits, all of which you probably know by now. Yes, we health nuts use it for everything, from makeup remover to face serum to oil pulling to baking. In fact, I replace all recipes using butter with coconut oil. Jackson’s also now has GMO free Corn Chips, cooked in Coconut Oil of course. http://www.jacksonshonest.com

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Artizan Organic Coffee Nespresso Pods (BPA Free/Recyclable)

Although I always liked the idea of owning a Nespresso to ditch my $5 a day Urth Cafe (LA) Organic Latte habit, I couldn’t justify the huge waste involved with using toxic plastic pods owned by Nestle filled with a crappy, pesticide ridden coffee. So late last year, in a last ditch effort, I did a quick Google search for “organic coffee pods” to see if anyone had yet decided to invent an organic pod using BPA free plastic and recyclable materials. I almost gave up the search. It was a hit overseas in the UK and Australia, but nothing was coming up for the USA. At the last minute Artizan popped up, and suddenly my $5 a day latte habit became a $.58 cents per pod miracle. I’m also super impressed with their email customer service and comprehensive, easy to navigate subscription option which ships monthly. For true doubles, I use two pods per latte using the single shot setting on my Nespresso machine, then top off with New Barn Vanilla Almond milk, add a little coconut sugar and voila: Cheaper than Starbucks, totally organic and environmentally guilt-free. http://www.artizancoffee.com

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Addictive Wellness Chocolates

I stumbled upon Addictive Wellness Chocolates one day while shopping at Erewhon Market here in Los Angeles. I was immediately intrigued by their “Tranquility” Chocolate, as the caffeine content in some dark chocolate can actually keep me up at night, but night time is my favorite time to nosh on this antioxidant rich superfood. I actually slept better after “Tranquility”. Creating a medicinal chocolate is brilliant in my opinion, because it’s taking my love for herbs and plant based medicine and mixing it with my love for dark chocolate. They’re actually incorporating Taoist and Ayurvedic herbs in to a super nutrient dense dark cacao, and incorporating my favorite adaptogenic herb of all, Ashwagandha. The benefits are endless, but I use Ashwagandha to balance hormones and battle stress. It has a calming effect, but not sedating. The “Energy” is perfect if you’re on the go, with the energy buzz coming from Mesquite. Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Non GMO and Soy Free. http://www.addictivewellness.com

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Raw Coconut Aminos

I use this almost daily to replace vinegars for salad dressing and soy sauce. Raw Coconut Aminos contains over 17 active amino acids and tastes sweet like soy sauce, without the phytoestrogens. Soy is no longer the health food it was once considered. Not because it didn’t start out that way, because it certainly did, but because soy sauce manufacturers utilize a chemical process known as acid hydrolysis that does not incorporate fermentation. Fermentation is super important when it comes to soy. With this process, the harmful effects of the soybean are not inactivated. I’ve brought the controversial topic of soy up in many of my blog posts since 2011 because eliminating soy from my diet completely (along with gluten) was one of the main reasons I was able to heal my thyroid completely without drugs. Functional Medicine doctors go in to detail about why and how this works if you’d like more information, find one in your area. A lot of people are also unaware that soy sauce also contains gluten from wheat. In 1997 GMO soybeans went from 17% of U.S. soybean average to 68% in 2001, to an astounding 94% in 2014. Enough said. I do a very simple dressing using Organic Olive Oil, Coconut Aminos, Himalayan Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper. http://www.coconutsecret.com

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Girl Vs. Wild Paleo Pancakes …

Today I am simply sharing a killer recipe for gluten free Paleo Pancakes via my gorgeous girlfriend over at “Girl Vs. Wild”, Bri Kip Lindemulder. I added blueberries to the mix and a little extra coconut sugar. Make these pronto and subscribe to her blog for great recipes!

Disclaimer: Eating these will not give you Bri’s gorgeous hair or perfect smile, but they are super yummy AND healthy! http://girlvsthewild.blogspot.com/

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Tinted Moisturizer: A Girl’s Best Friend

One year ago, on my quest for a healthier, chemical free life, l learned the truth about Parabens and how they effect us, inside and out. I quickly trashed hundreds of dollars worth of products, not feeling a tinge of guilt, until it came to one: “Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer”. It’s like the Holy Grail of makeup, leaving your skin flawless and positively  glowing. I was so peeved about having to let this one go, that I actually sat down and wrote a letter to the company, begging them to keep the same formula while removing any trace of parabens. I was totally shocked when I  received a response from the president the very next day exclaiming excitedly that they were in the process of doing just that, and understood my concern! WOW. Seriously? Major kudos for the response time alone. Unfortunately, it would take months before the newly formulated product hit the market, so in the meantime, I had to search….. and search…. and search for something just as fabulous, and totally natural.

Cut to Holy Grail Senior: “Josie Maran Argan Oil Tinted Moisturizer”. Holy perfect, flawless, even coverage loaded with amazing organic ingredients. Not to mention, “Butter” was a perfect color match for my winter white skin. Downside: There are only four shades, but they are all lovely. In the summertime, I am “Linen”, just a shade darker, giving me a nice summer glow. The Argan Oil alone makes this product super moisturizing, but it’s also thick enough for thorough coverage. Evens out the skin beautifully.

If you don’t live in a dry climate, like Cali…. and you’re in a hot, humid climate, like my home state of South Carolina, this is likely to be a little too moisturizing. If this is the case, and you prefer powder to tinted moisturizer, I highly recommend “Mineral Fusion” powder from Whole Foods. This is the BEST powder makeup I have found to date, and it’s loaded with antioxidants and minerals. Never cakey.

In the meantime, while browsing Nordstrom’s the other day, I headed over to the Laura Mercier counter to find out if they ever did change the formula of my previously fave product. I was beyond thrilled to see the new, Paraben Free version of America’s number one selling tinted moisturizer. I smiled a very big smile. The world is changing, one beauty product at a time. So please, take the time to learn about the toxic ingredients in the products we use daily…..

It can literally save your life.

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