College O'Natural

My life as an earth-wise health-conscious college student. DIY, budgets, and the occasional rant!

A really well written and informative post!

Nature's Pulchritude

Cinnamon burmannii, Indonesia

Cinnamon is a well known spice that is frequently added to cakes, cookies, and various foods for a savory burst of flavor and fragrant scent. Cinnamon is commercially found ground or as sticks, however, before it has been packaged for your use it was contained in the inner bark of various trees in the Cinnamomum genus. There are four species of cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum, Cinnamomum burmannii, Cinnamomum loureiroi, Cinnamomum cassia), however, “true cinnamon” is native to Sri Lanka (Cinnamomum verum or Cinnamomum zeylancium) and accounts for approximately a quarter of all cinnamon production. Cinnamon has been used and lauded since ancient times, being mentioned several times in religious texts, and was  imported into Egypt by 2000 BC (likely cassia). Some ancient cultures revered Cinnamon so much that it was given as a gift to royals and used for offerings.

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Morning Rock Yoga Routine

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Found this routine at Yoga Journal 

Did it this morning to my yoga rock playlist and was wonderful!

Try it out, this is my playlist:

Fall For You – Secondhand Serenade

The Reason – Hoobastank

My Last Breath – Evanescence

Pushing Me Away – Linkin Park

Headstrong – Trapt

You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid – The Offspring

Going Under – Evanescence

Suck My Kiss – Red Hot Chili Peppers

On Top Of The World – Imagine Dragons

Daughter – Pearl Jam

Bleeding Out – Imagine Dragons

Broken (Feat. Amy Lee) – Seether

Here Without You – 3 Doors Down

Island In The Sun – Weezer

Landslide (Acoustic) – Fleetwood Mac


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Tea! What you should know!

Hey!

As we all know, allergy season is well on its way. If you’re on the East Coast like me it has come and gone more than once; making life difficult for the allergy prone, like me!

Being someone who has had allergies all my life, I’ve become intimately acquainted with the plethora of allergy medicines that are offered. They’re great sometimes, but I hate relying on any medicine; so I stopped.

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Now, I control all my allergies and sicknesses with food.

Tea is always my first step when I feel like I am getting sick, because it’s AMAZING!

But why does it work so well? I’ll tell you 🙂

According to WebMD, some teas:

  • can help with cancer, diabetes, and heart disease
  • encourage weight loss
  • lower cholesterol
  • bring about mental awareness
  • are antimicrobial

Purists consider only green tea, black tea, white tea, oolong tea, and pu-erh tea the real thing. However, no matter the type (with the exception of herbal tea) they all come from the same plant; the tea plant or camellia sinensis.

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The tea plant is full of flavonoids and tannins, which have significant anti-inflammatory properties as well as high antioxidant power.  The most powerful of these antioxidants is ECGC which can help against free radicals. These free radicals contribute to cancer, heart disease, and clogged arteries. The more processed tea leaves are, means the have less of the flavonoids and tannins. An example would be Black and Oolong teas which are oxidized and fermented. This doesn’t mean they are bad for you, in fact they still have high anti oxidizing powers. Also, if you have any sensitivities to tannins, these may be the tea types you want to try.

Here is WebMD’s info on Tea

  • Green tea: Made with steamed tea leaves, it has a high concentration of EGCG and has been widely studied. Green tea’s antioxidants may interfere with the growth of bladder, breast, lung, stomach, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers; prevent clogging of the arteries, burn fat, counteract oxidative stress on the brain, reduce risk of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, reduce risk of stroke, and improve cholesterol levels.
  • Black tea: Made with fermented tea leaves, black tea has the highest caffeine content and forms the basis for flavored teas like chai, along with some instant teas. Studies have shown that black tea may protect lungs from damage caused by exposure to cigarette smoke. It also may reduce the risk of stroke.
  • White tea: Uncured and unfermented. One study showed that white tea has the most potent anticancer properties compared to more processed teas.
  • Oolong tea: In an animal study, those given antioxidants from oolong tea were found to have lower bad cholesterol levels. One variety of oolong, Wuyi, is heavily marketed as a weight loss supplement, but science hasn’t backed the claims.
  • Pu-erh tea: Made from fermented and aged leaves. Considered a black tea, its leaves are pressed into cakes. One animal study showed that animals given pu-erh had less weight gain and reduced LDL cholesterol.

WebMD info on Herbal teas-

  • Chamomile tea: Its antioxidants may help prevent complications from diabetes, like loss of vision and nerve and kidney damage, and stunt the growth of cancer cells.
  • Echinacea: Often touted as a way to fight the common cold, the research on echinacea has been inconclusive.
  • Hibiscus: A small study found that drinking three cups of hibiscus tea daily lowered blood pressure in people with modestly elevated levels.
  • Rooibos (red tea): A South African herb that is fermented. Although it has flavonoids with cancer-fighting properties, medical studies have been limited

It is important to note that there is a lack of concrete research on many herbal remedies. However, this is not because they don’t work. Most of the time, pharmaceutical companies are the ones who fund research, and they won’t want to fund something they can’t sell.

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Now, not everyone has a tea plant in the backyard so we have to buy our teas. This seems simple enough right?

Wrong.

This is where the consumer faces problems. Unfortunately due to the large demand of tea, more tea crops are needed. And how do they keep the tea plants from being eaten? Pesticides. These pesticides find their way into our tea, sometimes at levels that far exceed the regulations. Food Babe did an article not too long ago that investigated what exactly was in our tea and which brands to buy. These were her results:

Numi, Rishi, and Traditional Medicinals are the best brands to buy.

 To see the full chart and the worst offenders click here.

So what are the different types of tea packaging?

Loose leaf tea

Loose leaf tea is just like it sounds, loose. No bag or anything. There are multiple steeping methods.

Click on the photo below to go to a review of the best steeping methods for loose leaf tea.

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Silk Bags

TOXIC!

In Food Babe’s article, she also refers to an article in The Atlantic that covers the toxicity of silk bags and how when steeped, the plastic in the bags in being broken down by the high temperature. So while these bags may seem cool or pretty, they’re also poisonous.

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Paper Bag

This is the most commonly used and well known form of steeping tea. I have yet to find any problems with this form of tea and it is the form I use. However, always read the labels and do your homework! Never assume anything.

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So now you know!

Brew and Enjoy!


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Cosmetic Ingredients

 

Everyday we hear about new things that aren’t safe, but still managed to get into our products.

So what do you do?

Read the labels!!

However, unless you’re in college level chemistry and biology classes, half the stuff on the back of the labels mean squat to you. It’s like they’re in a different language.

That’s because they are!

Oh great, now what? Do I have to enroll in a chemistry class just to understand what is in my product?

NOPE!

Because we on the blogger-sphere and world wide web are here to help!

Nature’s Pulchritude, one of my favorite blogs, has been posting about how to read the pesky labels and understand what you’re buying.

Here they give a comprehensive list of safe, beware, and avoid ingredients.

CHECK IT OUT!

Answer to poll here!


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Monday Mash-up Recipe

I found this recipe awhile ago and fell in love. It is quick, easy, and paleo 🙂  Also, added bonus, my boyfriend loves it!

I don’t know why but it reminds me of a BLT in the taste, most likely because I add hot sauce.

I also include avocado which gives it some green and have made it into a lettuce wrap before.

I have included the original recipe below, but I’ve altered it so here is mine:

Sweet Potato Bacon Mash-up

Original


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Stevia

Hey guys it’s been awhile. Sorry I haven’t posted anything, the weather has been crazy making school crazy as well. Not to mention I’ve been sick and am now again. But I’m finally back! Woohoo.

Now let’s talk Stevia.

As far as I’m concerned, stevia is GOD. An all natural, zero calorie, low glycemic index sweetener, HECK YES!!

But with all foods, you still need to be careful. Just because a package says stevia doesn’t mean it’s 100% stevia.

Food babe, did this article not too long ago that I recommend everyone read. At the bottom she tells what brands are good and bad.

http://foodbabe.com/2013/04/25/stevia-good-or-bad/


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Poll Answer


Ascorbyl Glucoside is the correct answer. It is a stable form of Vitamin C made by combining with glucose.

 

Mineral Oil is on Nature’s Pulchritude’s Beware list.

Mineral Oil aka Parrafinium Liquidium – This is a petrochemical typically derived from crude oil.  It can be found in high concentrations (one of the first 5 ingredients, more on this later) in a variety of lotions, hair lotions, ‘grease’ and conditioners (deep, leave-in, and rinse out), however it appears in highest concentrations to products marketed toward African-Americans.  Mineral Oil prevents moisture from entering or leaving the hair shaft.  This can often lead to hair breakage and clogged pores on the scalp.

Toluene is the Avoid list.

Toluene – Commonly found in nail polish.  Toluene is an extremely volatile chemical (it likes to vaporize and mix with air) therefore its greatest threat is through inhalation exposure (the fumes you smell when you paint your nails).  Inhalation of toluene can cause dizziness, nausea, or even death at high doses.  This ingredient has been phased out of many nail polish formulas, but not all.

Nature’s Pulchritude