By Jashima Wadehra

I am ALL about the wellness train that defined 2017. I am not, however, the most well-versed on spending hours peeling, chopping and blending my nutrients into instagram- worthy mason jar smoothies. I used to be a start-my-morning-with-a-cup-of-coffee kind of girl, until I discovered my morning elixir 3 months ago, life hasn’t been the same.

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In an effort to assist de-bloating and promote a sunnier disposition I decided to incorporate the tried and true warm lemon water into my morning routine, which was great but it got me thinking…..I had heard A LOT about the benefits of unadulterated Apple Cider Vinegar  and wanted to experience it for myself while integrating a few other key ingredients.

Say Hello to your new favorite hair, skin and energy life hack:
I compile the following ingredients in my trusty 32.oz  water tumbler:


1 Tablespoon of Turmeric:
We’ve all heard the hype behind turmeric, beyond its skin cleansing and yellow coloring benefits- it contains Curcumin. Curcumin possess an endless list of benefits and will soon become a staple in your cabinet.
Anti-inflammatory properties
Antioxidants
Promotes digestion
Enhances your brain’s neurotrophic factor
Lowers risk of heart disease
Has been used to treat arthritis


1 Lemon: 
Re-Open the lemonstand because baby, we bout’ to make some lemonade!! The age old lemon water is NOT a myth, it works. Not only does lemon alkalize, but its properties also encourage a boost in energy. Beyonce was onto something with that album…
Acidic properties
Digestive assistant
Flushes the liver and lymphatic system naturally
Contains vitamin C


2-3 Drops of Liquid Chlorophyll:
If you can get past the potentially green tinted bowels, liquid chlorophyll is a skin and internal health power player. There is a reason plants produce this incredible component and thrive because of its abilities.

Here is my favorite rundown on Chlorophyll:
Detoxes your liver
Expedites wound healing
Protects skin


½ Teaspoon of Cinnamon:
Cinnamon contains Cassia, it does much more than make apple pie and decorate hot cocoa. This sweet spice has several benefits beyond skin health.
Antioxidant
Lowers blood sugar
Anti Inflammatory


Pinch of Cayenne:
Capsaicin is a component in cayenne pepper, aside from its hint of heat, cayenne pepper can boost immunity!
Detoxifies
Lowers Cholesterol
Pain reliever
Packed with vitamins like B, E, and C.


Pinch of Black pepper
This underrated flavor enhancer is more than just for your potatoes. Black pepper not only assists your body in absorbing more curcumin because it contains piperidine, but has a slew of positive attributes!
Contains Vitamin K, Manganese, Iron, Fiber and Zinc.
Fights against intestinal gas
Anti-Inflammatory
Digestive assistant courtesy presence of Potassium



Drizzle of organic honey
The honeybear comes with more than just a sweet cuddle. Locally sourced organic honey can help combat your seasonal allergies as well as provide incredible skin benefits and lighten hair naturally!
Antioxidants
Lightening properties
DELICIOUS!!!!
Will combat the ACV and intense spice flavors


Apple Cider Vinegar
Ya’ll already know this beautiful probiotic filled vinegar is where it’s at. More than a salad dressing must- ACV is #bae.
Packed with probiotics ( if you can’t stand greek yogurt like me, this is the #PLUG)
Acetic acid
Reduces acid reflux
Helps manage blood pressure
Can assist in weight loss

Voila mix and mingle!

Drink this first thing in the morning for a week straight and reap the benefits!
I noticed the following,  changes within the first two weeks:
Clearer skin
Brighter skin
Shinier hair
Reduced eczema breakouts
Improved digestion
Decreased inflammation
Better quality sleep
Increased energy throughout the day
Less junk food cravings

Will this become a part of your morning routine? Let me know in the comments below! 
 P.S. I am NOT a doctor, so be sure to consult yours! 
Jashima Wadehra is a writer, dancer, entrepreneur, and lover of people based in NYC.  She can be found blogging at overpriced coffee shops or on a plane heading to a new place to write about.  Follow her on instagram at @TheChatterboxlifeEnthusiast and check out her new blog TheChatterBoxLifeEnthusiast.com.  

By Jashima Wadehra

It all started when I was traveling to India after all the mosquito born viruses were on a rise. I was essentially tired of inhaling chemicals and putting deet filled repellents on my skin. Naturally, I consulted the internet gods, did my research and found the trifecta that would soon be my holy grail; grapefruit, lemongrass and citronella essential oils. Shortly after finding the most effective natural remedy for bug repellent (not one bite!), I decided to invest in a cheap diffuser just too see what all the buzz was about

I’m not one to jump on the hype train y’all, with that said, essential oils have LITERALLY changed my life.
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Essential Oil Diffuser

Let me tell you- I hate being home but I was not going ANYWHERE when my apartment smelled like what I imagine a lavender massage from an attractive man does- delicious!
Here is my first ever blend:
3 drops lavender oil
3 drops eucalyptus oil
3 drops grapefruit oil
3 drops peppermint oil
3 drops of lemongrass

PEPPERMINT
If you’ve ever taken an exam you know that your mother, teacher or sweet tooth always encouraged you to eat those Life Saver Mints. Peppermint has properties that stimulate our senses and encourage focus and alertness- diffusing this oil in your home is a game changer especially if you have a home office or studio.

LAVENDER
If you’re like me sleep does NOT come easily and melatonin and diphenhydramine are not your friends, then lavender essential oil is! Lavender has calming properties that tend to soothe tensions and relax the mind and body, therefore diffuse it, put it on your wrists and wind down with a cup of chamomile tea.

Eucalyptus
EUCALYPTUS
Eucalyptus has MANY, MANY, MANY and I mean MANY benefits. It’s a natural decongestant, pain reliever, wound cleanser and essentially your respiratory saving grace, which my ineffective asthmatic lungs appreciate.

While essential oils can be on the pricier end of the spectrum they do keep on giving and come in great bundles. Ayurvedic and old Asian medicinal practices heavily use many of the herbs and plants that come in essential oil form. Aside from traditional health benefits who doesn’t love a self-curated aroma that also filters the air!

There are hundreds of brands and even more ways to use them but @HolisticHabits does an incredible rundown on her favorite brands and types as well as their hair and skin benefits!

Essential oils are very much your one-stop-shop for a natural alternative. I have gone from a girl with a fear of mosquitoes to someone who uses oils in ALL my household cleaning products, my skin regimen, my diffuser and my scalp care routine. The possibilities are endless as are the medicinal benefits.

My fav essential oils
Below is my favorite multi purpose blend, I use it to stimulate blood flow to my scalp and kick my cold’s A**.

3 drops clary sage oil
3 drops rosemary oil
3 drops eucalyptus oil
2 drops lavender oil

Be sure to mix them with a carrier oil like jojoba, castor or coconut when applying to your scalp 2x a week and reap the benefits!

I’m no aficionado but I know what’s on my #LoveYourself Christmas list this year!

Do you use essential oils? 
Jashima Wadehra is a writer, dancer, entrepreneur, and lover of people based in NYC.  She can be found blogging at overpriced coffee shops or on a plane heading to a new place to write about.  Follow her on instagram at @TheChatterboxlifeEnthusiast and check out her new blog TheChatterBoxLifeEnthusiast.com.  
Photo via Mwabi's instagram
By Mwabi Kaira

I was listening to an interview about the importance of eliminating what we consume and how what we don’t eliminate becomes disease.  I had been practicing meatless Mondays on-and-off and would do a week of being meat free here, a month of it there, and always saw it as a reset before I went back to meat.  This particular interview got me to thinking and I realized elimination was always easiest when I consumed more fruits and vegetables.  I decided to start with a week of being meat free and I felt so much better after the 7 days that I just decided to keep on going.  That was 5 months ago.  My taste buds have adjusted and I don’t miss meat.  Eventually, I’ll go vegan but for now I’m happy.

Being vegetarian or vegan is easy in your own home where you can prepare your meals.  There are not as many choices once you venture out for meals outside the home, but there are choices that just require some research.  The hardest part has to be family gatherings and the holidays.  There will be vegetables at the gathering but they’ll probably have meat in them and for the vegans, it will be hard to find dishes not cooked with eggs, milk and butter.  Fret not, you can still enjoy your holidays and be meat free by doing these things...

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Go to a Vegan Restaurant for your meal.
Several vegan restaurants are open Thanksgiving and offer a wonderful menu for the day.  Go Vegetarian Restaurant in Atlanta offered this menu for Thanksgiving; sliced vegan turkey topped with gravy on top of herb dressing, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, candy yams and cranberry sauce.  They were open from 9 to 4 allowing you enough time to eat and then stop by the family house for drinks and conversation after a full belly and avoid the awkwardness all together.

Prepare and bring your own food.  
This was my first Thanksgiving meat free and when the group texts started coming in with pork in the dressing, I knew I had to be ready.  I went ahead and made shitake mushrooms, green pepper and onion dressing, sweet potato cornbread and roasted butternut squash to bring to dinner.  Be prepared for eye rolls, side eyes and lots of conversation about what you’re missing out on and how you think you’re too good for everyone now that you are meat free, but hey, you can get through it like you do everything else.  There might even be straight clowning and your Mama might bust out the picture of you at 8 months old sucking on a turkey leg.  Your favorite cousin will talk about the time you ate 3 slabs of ribs all by yourself. Just take it and laugh along with them because we all have a history.  After grace just go get your plate you brought with you and enjoy your food.

You’re outnumbered and can’t explain yourself to everyone.
Do not go to the family dinner armed with stacks of facts about the benefits of being meat free and hand out a one pager with bullet points on why meat will kill everyone.  It took time for you to get to your decision and you have to let people come to the decision on their own as well.  You don’t want to be that one person turning up your nose and scrunching your face at people swallowing ham, turkey, and roast beef when once upon a time you were doing the very same and enjoying it.  Instead, allow your sunny disposition and energy to bring people to you to ask about your journey and tips on how to get started should they decide to give up meat.

Have a Friendsgiving with your vegetarian/vegan friends beforehand.
This will be a judge free zone and you can discus tempeh, kale, jack fruit, tofu, almond milk, seitan, and nutritional yeast without puzzled expressions in return.  You can enjoy all the foods you already eat and try some new ones and swap recipes.  You may even come up with strategies to navigate the non-vegetarian/vegan world.

If Thanksgiving was torturous and you couldn’t partake in any of the food, remember that moving forward it doesn’t have to be.  The tips above should get you ready for Christmas and you’ll be doing this no meat thing like a pro before you know it!

How do you survive meatless holidays? 

Mwabi Kaira is an African girl navigating her way in an American world. She is of Zambian and Malawian heritage and moved to the USA in 1993. Writing has been her passion since she could put a sentence together on the page. Mothering her sons is her pride and joy. She has been an avid runner since 2013 and has run 10 half marathons and a full marathon. Keep up with her at http://africanbeautifulme.blogspot.com/

By Winnie Gaturu

I have a close friend, Janice, who always adds a piece of lemon to the water in her water bottle. I've always thought it looks pretty cool so in a bid to improve my water intake on a daily basis, I decided to add a piece of lemon to my water bottle too. After all, I've heard and read about the many benefits of lemons to our bodies. I found myself refilling my 16 ounce water bottle one or twice a day and was really proud of myself. Surprisingly, by the second day my lips, mouth and throat were feeling dry all the time and I started feeling dehydrated, so I  thought that the answer was to drink more lemon water. After two weeks of this, I decided to stop drinking lemon water in exchange for plain old water, and the dehydration was gone. Now we can agree that lemon water has a wide range of benefits. It is supposed to help digestion, boosts the immune system, and is even safe for kids, in a more diluted form, so what was I doing wrong?

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Initially, after that experience, I had sworn to myself not to drink lemon water ever again. It was only after talking to Janice and some of my other friends that I realized some of the mistakes I had made.
For starters, I would put a half-lemon piece in the water bottle which made it hard to monitor the concentration of lemon I was drinking. Since I weigh 150 pounds, I should squeeze a lemon to get 1/2 ounce of lemon juice and mix it with 8 to 12 ounces of water. Janice didn't have a problem since she would only put a thin slice of lemon not half of it like I did. Secondly, I'd drink and refill the bottle once or twice during the day. Apparently, drinking too much concentrated lemon water leads to dehydration. Janice doesn't refill her bottle once the water she left home with is over. So maybe that’s why our outcomes were different.

I also realized that lemon water has its share of disadvantages too, like heartburn, frequent urination, aggravated stomach ulcers, and tooth sensitivity caused by the citric acid that can lead to tooth erosion. To avoid this, simply swish clean water in your mouth once or twice after drinking lemon water.

Clearly, there was a lot I hadn’t considered before starting my lemon water journey. I am wiser now! I’ve learnt that there's a limit to the amount of lemon water I can take daily and some of the precautions I should take. Although I'm now sticking to drinking plain water, I'll go back to drinking at least a glass of lemon water every morning soon.

What do you think? Yay or Nay to lemon water?

Winnie Gaturu is a writer, tech lover, mom, wife and student from Nairobi, Kenya. During her free time, she loves trying out new recipes, diy projects, filling in crossword puzzles and spending time with her family. You can catch up with her on yourhairandbeautywrite.wordpress.com.

By Winnie Gaturu

I have a close friend, Janice, who always adds a piece of lemon to the water in her water bottle. I've always thought it looks pretty cool so in a bid to improve my water intake on a daily basis, I decided to add a piece of lemon to my water bottle too. After all, I've heard and read about the many benefits of lemons to our bodies. I found myself refilling my 16 ounce water bottle one or twice a day and was really proud of myself. Surprisingly, by the second day my lips, mouth and throat were feeling dry all the time and I started feeling dehydrated, so I  thought that the answer was to drink more lemon water. After two weeks of this, I decided to stop drinking lemon water in exchange for plain old water, and the dehydration was gone. Now we can agree that lemon water has a wide range of benefits. It is supposed to help digestion, boosts the immune system, and is even safe for kids, in a more diluted form, so what was I doing wrong?

Continue


Initially, after that experience, I had sworn to myself not to drink lemon water ever again. It was only after talking to Janice and some of my other friends that I realized some of the mistakes I had made.
For starters, I would put a half-lemon piece in the water bottle which made it hard to monitor the concentration of lemon I was drinking. Since I weigh 150 pounds, I should squeeze a lemon to get 1/2 ounce of lemon juice and mix it with 8 to 12 ounces of water. Janice didn't have a problem since she would only put a thin slice of lemon not half of it like I did. Secondly, I'd drink and refill the bottle once or twice during the day. Apparently, drinking too much concentrated lemon water leads to dehydration. Janice doesn't refill her bottle once the water she left home with is over. So maybe that’s why our outcomes were different.

I also realized that lemon water has its share of disadvantages too, like heartburn, frequent urination, aggravated stomach ulcers, and tooth sensitivity caused by the citric acid that can lead to tooth erosion. To avoid this, simply swish clean water in your mouth once or twice after drinking lemon water.

Clearly, there was a lot I hadn’t considered before starting my lemon water journey. I am wiser now! I’ve learnt that there's a limit to the amount of lemon water I can take daily and some of the precautions I should take. Although I'm now sticking to drinking plain water, I'll go back to drinking at least a glass of lemon water every morning soon.

What do you think? Yay or Nay to lemon water?

Winnie Gaturu is a writer, tech lover, mom, wife and student from Nairobi, Kenya. During her free time, she loves trying out new recipes, diy projects, filling in crossword puzzles and spending time with her family. You can catch up with her on yourhairandbeautywrite.wordpress.com.