Quick & Easy Vegetarian Tacos

I am always looking for quick (but still healthy) vegetarian dinner ideas that my meat loving family will enjoy.  So when Made in Nature sent me a box of goodies to try I created this take on the standard taco,  quick, easy and perfect for Meatless Monday!

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I used the Southwestern Ancient Grain Fusion but the Cuban Mojo would be awesome in it too!

Ingredients:

  • Made in Nature Ancient Grain Fusion: Southwestern Blend(see photo above)
  • Soft taco shells (we prefer flour, but corn would be good too, just make sure it is GMO Free!)
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Cheese (optional)
  • Sour Cream (optional)
  • Hot Sauce
  • Avocado
  • Any other taco  toppings you enjoy, get creative :)

Super Easy Instructions

This is a great recipe for make your own taco night, my boys can be finicky eaters at times, but I’ve found when they get to create their own they tend to try stuff they normally wouldn’t and it makes for a more enjoyable & fun family mealtime. So I assemble all the ingredients in the middle of the dinner table and all the boys get to create their own taco with whatever toppings they want.

To assemble the tacos:

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  1. Take your desired number of tortillas
  2. Add sour cream, if using
  3. Add to that the warmed Ancient Grain Fusion (it literally takes less than five minutes to warm it on the stove)
  4. Add hot sauce
  5. Add Cheese, if using
  6. Add veggies, I used Spring Lettuce Mix, sliced, fresh jalapeno, and avocado

Yum!

I had dinner ready in less than fifteen minutes, WIN!

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I always recommend using the best ingredients you can afford, preferably certified organic or GMO free.

If you try the recipe, I would love to know what you think :)

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Nutritional Info On the Ancient Grain Fusion Southwestern Blend

Serving Size: 1 Cup (140g)   Servings Per Containing: About 2
Amount Per Serving Calories: 130   Calories From Fat: 20
% Daily Value**
Total Fat: 2.5g 4%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 190mg 8%
Potassium
% Daily Value**
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Sugars 2g
Protein 5g
Vitamin A 25%
Vitamin C 25%
Calcium 2%
Iron 10%
*Contains less than 2% of the daily values of these nutrients
**Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your day values may be higher or lower depending on calorie needsIngredients: Organic Southwestern Sauce (Organic Roasted Red Bell Pepper, Organic Sweet Yellow Corn, Organic Roasted Tomatoes, Organic Red Onion, Organic Mango, Organic Poblano Pepper, Organic Vegetable Flavour (Organic Cooked Vegetables (Organic Carrots, Organic Celery and Organic Onion), Organic Canola Oil, Organic Carrot Powder, Organic Potato Flour, and Organic Onion Powder), Organic Chipolte Pepper, Organic Cilantro, Organic Cumin Powder, Organic Garlic Powder, Organic Coriander Powder, Organic Cardamom Powder, Organic Cayenne Powder), Organic 7 Grain and Legume Blend (Water, Organic Red Beans, Organic Black Beans, Organic Brown Rice, Organic Black Rice, Organic Red Quinoa, Organic Amaranth, Organic Canahua).

Announcing the July doTERRA promotions!

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Parkinson’s disease may begin in the gut

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A major epidemiological registry-based study indicates that Parkinson’s disease begins in the gastrointestinal tract. The study is the largest in the field so far.

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The chronic neurodegenerative Parkinson’s disease affects an increasing number of people. However, scientists still do not know why some people develop Parkinson’s disease. Now researchers from Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital have taken an important step towards a better understanding of the disease.

New research indicates that Parkinson’s disease may begin in the gastrointestinal tract and spread through the vagus nerve to the brain.

“We have conducted a registry study of almost 15,000 patients who have had the vagus nerve in their stomach severed. Between approximately 1970-1995 this procedure was a very common method of ulcer treatment. If it really is correct that Parkinson’s starts in the gut and spreads through the vagus nerve, then these vagotomy patients should naturally be protected against developing Parkinson’s disease,” explains postdoc at Aarhus University Elisabeth Svensson on the hypothesis behind the study.

A hypothesis that turned out to be correct

“Our study shows that patients who have had the the entire vagus nerve severed were protected against Parkinson’s disease. Their risk was halved after 20 years. However, patients who had only had a small part of the vagus nerve severed where not protected. This also fits the hypothesis that the disease process is strongly dependent on a fully or partially intact vagus nerve to be able to reach and affect the brain,” she says.

The research project has just been published in the internationally recognised journal Annals of Neurology.

The first clinical examination

The research has presented strong evidence that Parkinson’s disease begins in the gastrointestinal tract and spreads via the vagus nerve to the brain. Many patients have also suffered from gastrointestinal symptoms before the Parkinson’s diagnosis is made.

“Patients with Parkinson’s disease are often constipated many years before they receive the diagnosis, which may be an early marker of the link between neurologic and gastroenterologic pathology related to the vagus nerve ,” says Elisabeth Svensson.

Previous hypotheses about the relationship between Parkinson’s and the vagus nerve have led to animal studies and cell studies in the field. However, the current study is the first and largest epidemiological study in humans.

The research project is an important piece of the puzzle in terms of the causes of the disease. In the future the researchers expect to be able to use the new knowledge to identify risk factors for Parkinson’s disease and thus prevent the disease.

“Now that we have found an association between the vagus nerve and the development of Parkinson’s disease, it is important to carry out research into the factors that may trigger this neurological degeneration, so that we can prevent the development of the disease. To be able to do this will naturally be a major breakthrough,” says Elisabeth Svensson.

Background

  • Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and neurodegenerative disease which affects approx. 1 out of every 1,000 people.
  • The first signs of the disease are most often seen between the ages of 50-60.
  • The researchers carried out a registry study involving 14,883 patients who had undergone a vagotomy.
  • The research project was supported by the Danish Parkinson’s Disease Association and PROCRIN (Program for Clinical Research Infrastructure).

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Aarhus University.Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Elisabeth Svensson, Erzsébet Horváth-Puhó, Reimar W Thomsen, Jens Christian Djurhuus, Lars Pedersen, Per Borghammer, Henrik Toft Sørensen. Vagotomy and subsequent risk of Parkinson’s disease.Annals of Neurology, 2015; DOI: 10.1002/ana.24448

Cite This Page:

Aarhus University. “Parkinson’s disease may begin in the gut: Parkinson’s disease begins in the gastrointestinal tract, large study indicates.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 June 2015. >.

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To Heal a Wound…

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To Heal a Wound You Need to Stop Touching it!

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Does Working Out Matter If You’re Not Eating Right?

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Here’s Why You’re Wasting Your Time Working Out

No matter how many calories you burn working out, it’s hard to burn off a bad diet. Exercise does burn off tons of calories — on average, an hour of vigorous yoga burns around 287 calories, biking burns 487 calories, and jogging burns 391 calories. And while that seems like a lot of calories, if you eat a crappy diet, just one slip up like a candy bar, scoop of ice cream, or hamburger and fries can send you in the wrong direction, negating your workout.

According to an editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, you (literally) can’t run away from a bad diet. If your goal is to lose weight, your diet should be your number one focus. In fact, the article even says that a bad diet is worse than physical inactivity, alcohol, and smoking combined. That’s why even those with a normal body mass index (BMI) can suffer from metabolic abnormalities like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease.

What sort of a diet is the most effective for those trying to drop the pounds? Lean protein with tons of veggies is your best option. While sugar and other white carbs are the most detrimental to your overall health.

According to Dr. Michael W. Smith (also a personal trainer), “research has shown that cutting carbohydrates in your diet is the most effective thing you can do to reduce problems including high blood pressure and high cholesterol and manage diabetes, the editorial notes. Those benefits are seen even if you don’t lose weight.”

Exercise and working out are still critical to managing a healthy life. In fact, I wrote recently that those who exercised the most reduced their risk of premature death by 39 percent. They exercised for an average hour per day. Exercise is still critical to reducing problems with heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and some cancers.

Focus less on cutting calories and focus more on the quality of the foods that you’re eating. My best advice in terms of losing weight and keeping it off is to eat whole foods. Hit the farmers market every week and then plan meals according to all the fabulous veggies that you picked up. Eat high quality lean proteins like eggs, tofu, tempeh, beans, nuts, and if you’re not a vegetarian, fish, chicken, and beef. Cut out the sugar and when you do eat sugar choose a touch of honey, brown rice syrup, or maple syrup. But the key is to avoid processed foods with all their added sugar, saturated fats, and chemical additives.

This way, you won’t be wasting your time at the gym, rather, you’ll be getting the most bang for your buck. It’s not that you can never have foods like pasta, bread, ice cream, and baked goods, but they should be a treat rather than an everyday occurrence.

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6 Tips for Establishing Good Habits (And Sticking to Them!)

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6 Tips to Maintaining Good Habits

At the very beginning of this year my husband and I decided that we wanted to start saving more money. We wanted to enjoy the freedom that goes along with living within our means. We also wanted to eat out less and travel more with our savings. It hasn’t been easy, but over the past 6 months we’ve drastically changed the way we spend money and established some really good habits. Here’s how you can do the same:

1. Set small and large goals.

In order to accomplish goals you have to be able to look at both the large and small picture. This means that you need to set monthly goals but you also need to set five year goals. For example, in terms of budgeting, we’ve outlined a precise budget and how much money we can spend in each category. At the same time, we’ve chosen how much we need to save and what we want to do with our savings in the next five years. Make your goals reachable so you don’t get thrown off by missed achievements.

2. Choose one habit at a time.

Don’t try and change your life all at once. Be realistic and choose one goal at a time that you’d like to achieve. Don’t decide that you want to lose weight, budget, and work out everyday all at one time. When you have too many goals, you’re sure to water down your intention.

3. Eliminate slip up moments.

In order to establish good habits you have to eliminate slip up moments. One realistic way of doing this is envisioning your long term goal and truly and completely knowing why you want to achieve it. If you make the goal truly worth your while you’re a lot more likely to want to meet it. Additionally, by being focused on just one good habit at a time, you’re much less likely to have such moments.

4. Remove temptation.

Know your triggers and remove them when you can. For example, if you tend to snack and you want to lose weight, stop buying snacks. If you’re trying to budget, and window shopping causes you to spend money, stop window shopping.

5. Get your partner on board.

It’s much easier to stick to a good habit when you’re both on board. It’s nearly impossible to stick to a morning workout routine if you stay up late with your husband and it’s difficult to diet if your partner keeps chocolate bars in the fridge. It’s much easier to accomplish the task at hand when you’re both working toward similar goals. If you don’t live with someone, then it’s a little simpler, but if you live together, work with your partner to establish and maintain the habits you want to keep in your life. Then you’ll enjoy the since of accomplishment that comes with meeting goals.

Related on Organic Authority

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Clif Bar Pledges $10 Million to Organic Agricultural Research

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Clif Bar and Organic Valley Pledge $10 Million to Organic Agricultural Research

Two major organic food brands, Clif Bar & Company and Organic Valley, have named the University of Wisconsin-Madison as the recipient of the nation’s first endowed chair focused on plant breeding for organic crops. The companies have contributed a $1 million gift, which is being matched by $1 million from UW graduates John and Tashia Morgridge. The funds will help to develop crops designed specifically to be grown in organic farming systems.

“Today’s first endowed chair is an investment in our national organic legacy and serves as an assurance that organic agriculture will play a critical role in feeding a healthy America into the future,” Kit Crawford, owner and co-visionary officer for Clif Bar said in a statement. “We’re grateful for Organic Valley and the University of Wisconsin’s partnership in this first-of-its-kind commitment, and look forward to working with other organizations to make more organic research a reality.”

The UW-Madison Clif Bar and Organic Valley Chair in Plant Breeding for Organic Agriculture is the first of five organic research chairs to be led by Clif Bar. And Clif says it’s currently working with other organizations to raise an estimated $10 million by 2020 in order to fund chairs committed to organic plant breeding.

According to Clif Bar, organic agricultural research receives less than one percent of public tax dollars, even though the public demand for organic food is at an all time high. The snack bar company says 84 percent of American consumers purchased organic food in 2014. “As such, public funding for organic crop research has not kept up with consumer demand, and has hindered organic agricultural innovation, slowing the growth of organic production in the United States,” the company said.

“We can no longer depend on an agricultural system that is reliant on toxic chemicals,” said Kevin Cleary, CEO of Clif Bar. “We must instead invest in our organic future by spurring innovation and diversifying away from these temporary spray-on solutions. Today’s endowed chair is an important first step toward this goal.”

“On behalf of our 1,800 farmer-owners across the country, Organic Valley is pleased to work with Clif Bar to gain this foothold in one of the United States’ most important agricultural education systems. With this grant, and the creation of this chair, students will have an opportunity to learn about this organic model of agriculture,” said George Siemon, CEO of Organic Valley. “It is critically important that our young people know the benefits of organics and leverage them to develop solutions for all of agriculture. We deeply believe that healthy seeds and healthy soils are key to healthy plants and animals. This is an exciting start right here in our home state of Wisconsin, with the promise of national impact.”

Clif Bar, which manufactures snack and energy bars for adults and children, and Organic Valley, the leading cooperative of organic dairy and egg farmers, say they chose UW-Madison for its history as a land-grant public university with a commitment to rural communities and serving the public good.

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Antibiotics in Our Food Supply Suck: Meet the Farmers Who Ditched Them Forever [Video]

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Antibiotics in Our Food Supply Suck: Meet the Farmers Who Ditched Them Forever [Video]

Yes, there is a way out of the gross industrial food complex. Just have a look at these farmers who took antibiotics out of their animals.

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How to Make Sangria for 4th of July: A Red, Blue and White Wine Recipe

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how to make sangria

Learn how to make sangria for the perfect summer drink. It’s easy and does the double duty of both looking amazing in a glass and tasting delicious. The concept is extremely simple: add fruit to wine and chill. There are hundreds of ways to customize your sangria but I find that simple is best. Simply add fresh blueberries, strawberries and apples to white wine with a squeeze of lemon, chill and serve with a splash of sparkling water.

The pretty combination of red strawberries, blue blueberries and white apples makes this a must-serve at your 4th of July barbecue. And the best part: it’s easy to transport if you’re not the one doing the hosting. Simply pour the wine and fruit into a large jar with a lid or use plastic 32-ounce soup containers. A bottle of wine  usually contains 25 ounces so figure 5 ounces per person.

how to make sangria

White wine sangria is best with a bright and light wine, something like chardonnay or pinot grigio. Adding a few dashes of bitters just before serving makes this wine cocktail less sweet. This sangria is best enjoyed VERY cold. So make sure you keep it in the fridge or in a cooler and have plenty of ice to serve with it. Use dainty cocktail glasses or champagne flutes to serve smaller drinks that guests can enjoy before it warms up.

4th of July Red, White and Blue Sangria

Serves 8

Ingredients
2 bottles of chilled white wine (chardonnay or pinot grigio)
1 cup blueberries
10 strawberries, thinly sliced
1 apple (Gala or Honeycrisp is best), peeled and thinly sliced
1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons juice)
4 ounces sparkling water
Angostura bitters (optional)

Directions
Pour the wine into a large bowl or jar. Add the blueberries, strawberries and apples and use the back of a wooden spoon to mash the fruit (only slightly, for about 15 seconds). Cut the lemon in half and squeeze in the juice.

Chill in fridge overnight. Serve with ice in wine glasses with a splash of sparkling water and a dash of bitters.

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17 Fresh 4th of July Recipes for a Tasty Independence Day!

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4th of july fruit

Still scrambling for ideas for a 4th of July menu to be reckoned with? Don’t worry — we can help!

Our goal in choosing 4th of July recipes is to select items that can either be made in advance or be thrown on the grill, so even the cook can take full advantage of the party. Our recipes are fresh, fast and colorful, perfect for playing up the hues and flavors of the season.

Patriotic Main Courses and Sides

When it comes to mains, most people have only one criteria: dishes have to be prepared on the grill. And why not? Even the grillmaster can participate in the party when it’s celebrated al fresco. With that in mind, here are some of our favorite mains and sides, most of which can be prepared entirely on the grill or in advance.

1. Grilled Shishito Peppers

shishito peppers recipe

Photo by Ally-Jane

Mild grilled shishito peppers make an awesome appetizer or side. A nice crunchy salt like sea salt or Maldon salt will make all the difference with these two-bite appetizers, which are lightly sweet but mostly charred and savory in taste. But perhaps what we love most of all about these peppers are how easy they are to get right!

2. Baja Ceviche (2 for 1 recipe!)

ceviche recipe

Photography by Poland Persson

We also love these baja ceviches as a somewhat cooler appetizer or main. No cooking involved! Just two flavorful marinades — one more classic, with lime, jalapeñ0 and cilantro, the other a bit more modern with cucumber and herby salsa. Choose a fresh, sushi-grade, sustainable fish, and you’ll be ready to enjoy in no time!

3. Grilled Whole Chicken with Chipotle Sauce

Grilling ideas, chicken

Photography by Asa Dahlgren

We bet you never even thought of grilling a whole chicken — until now, that is. What could be more perfect as a special occasion summer meal than a whole chicken, slathered with a rich, spicy chipotle sauce and grilled to perfection? The answer? Not much.

4. Barbecue Chicken “Legs of Fire”

'Legs of Fire' Barbecue Chicken Legs Recipe

Photography by Poland Persson

Can’t be bothered to grill a whole chicken? These legs are just as tasty but a whole lot quicker to make — and for fans of heat, these “legs of fire” couldn’t be better — a hot, sticky, slightly sweet sauce coats the legs to perfection.

5. Grilled Pizza

grilled pizza

Pizza on the grill image via Shutterstock

Have some vegetarians at your 4th of July bash? No big deal — these grilled pizzas will have everyone clambering for more. The base recipe is purposefully simple, allowing you to supply all sorts of toppings so that everyone has the pizza they were hoping for.

6. Chimichurri Sauce

chimichurri sauce recipe

Photo by Ally-Jane

Whatever you’re grilling, be sure you have some tasty chimichurri sauce to go with it. While the Argentinian herb sauce is most traditionally served as an accompaniment for meat, it’s just as good with char-grilled veggies or even as a topping for corn on the cob.

Speaking of which — have you decided how you’re serving your corn?

7. 4 Compound Corn Butters for the Price of 1

corn on the cob

Photo by North Charleston Farmers Market

After all, that’s the real question when it comes to the 4th — not if, but how the corn on the cob is going to be served up. We’ve got a few suggestions for you, including 4 delicious, flavorful compound butters perfect for corn, like maple, bacon and jalapeño, cilantro and lime, peach, honey and cinnamon or buffalo bleu cheese. Choose just one or two, or mix up all four and let your guests choose! They’re just as good on warm rolls.

8. Grilled Corn on the Cob

corns-ccflcr-anathea

Image: anathea

And as for the corn itself, you can either go the traditional route and boil it, or you can grill it. We’ve got two different ways to get the job done.

9. Fresh Southern Corn Succotash

Succotash Recipe

Image: Laura Klein

But corn doesn’t have to be served whole on the cob. If you are looking for something a bit different, this sweet corn summer succotash is a good option, filled with the flavors of sweet corn, a touch of garlic, cherry tomatoes and basil — plus a touch of pecorino cheese. While it is cooked over the stove, it goes so fast your guests will hardly have time to notice you’re gone!

Red, White, and Blue Desserts

Desserts at the 4th of July can be tough, if you want to move past flag cake. Luckily, we’ve found one to fulfill all your wildest 4th of July dessert dreams.

10. 4th of July Cupcakes

4th of july desserts

Photos by Ally-Jane

These 4th of July cupcakes take the idea of a red, white and blue cake to the next level, with red velvet cake, fresh whipped cream and fresh berries. You can’t get more festive!

11. Rainbow Superfruit Popsicles

Rainbow Superfruit Popsicles

Photography by Oliver Barth

But if you also want something to beat the heat, these rainbow superfood popsicles are a great make-ahead choice. While they’re filled with color — and may even resemble some of those fake popsicles you find at the store — they’re actually chock-a-block with superfoods.

12. Mini Red, White and Blue Pies

tart

Image: Emily Monaco

If you want an even simpler individually sized dessert for the 4th, nothing beats these mini red, white and blue tarts. The crust is actually just a sugar cookie dough, so there’s no pesky rolling or worrying about keeping your butter cold. After that, it’s just a matter of whipping some cream and choosing some fresh fruits to decorate.

13. Panna Cotta Pie

panna cotta pie

Photography by Asa Dahlgren

This beautiful pie is an impressive dessert for any summer cookout, but especially for 4th of July. Pick whatever fresh berries you can find near you for the beautiful topping to this creamy panna cotta pie, made in the spirit of the Italian dessert but complete with a flaky, buttery crust.

Creative, Colorful Cocktails

14. Spicy Sangria Popsicles

popsicle-ccflcr-lifesupercharger

Image: LifeSupercharger

It’s hard to know whether these spicy sangria popsicles count as a cocktail or a dessert — we’ll let you choose! As a cocktail, they’re the perfect way to cool down after a long day, filled with just the right hint of spice. As a dessert, they’re sweet and full of seasonal fruit, and a virgin version for kiddies means everyone can partake!

Top fruit image via Shutterstock: Elena Shashkina

15. Red, Blue and White Wine Sangria

how to make sangria

Image: Ally Jane Grossan

Sangria is a typical summer beverage, but we love this white wine version, perfect for the 4th thanks to its color scheme. Pick fresh, organic berries to float in the glasses for a colorful, flavorful punch!

16. Sparkling Blueberry-Basil Lemonade

blueberry lemonade

Image: culinarycara

This sparkling blueberry-basil lemonade recipe is just as tasty virgin as it is spiked with a touch of vodka. Whichever version you pick, be sure you opt for the freshest blueberries and basil you can find.

17. Watermelon Cooler Cocktail

watermelon_cooler

Image by Sheri Giblin

Watermelon is definitely a 4th of July standby — we love serving it fresh, but consider adding some to this cooling watermelon cocktail too. Club soda, lime juice and ice is all it needs to shine, but a little vodka never hurt — for the over 21s only, please!

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5 Natural Home Remedies for Sunburn Relief

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5 Natural Home Remedies for Sunburn Relief

Nothing feels like summer quite like a day at the beach under a sunny, cloud-free sky. However, the aftermath of such joy can be much less enjoyable: a painful sunburn. Instead of enduring the pain and discomfort until it goes away or treating it with some kind of topical medication, resort to common household pantry items that naturally and effectively alleviate the pain, redness and discomfort associated with sunburn. The following 5 natural remedies for sunburn relief will make all the difference.

5 Natural Remedies for Sunburn Relief

1. Vitamin E Oil

Vitamin E has been shown to protect the skin from the adverse effects of oxidative stress and to have anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin E oil is generally found in gel-capsule form. To use, prick the capsule with a pin and squeeze the oil onto the affected area of skin. Lightly rub the oil into the skin so that it thoroughly covers the sunburn. Repeat 3-5 times per day for one to two days until an improvement is seen.

2. Cucumbers

Cucumbers are incredibly therapeutic to the skin and are among the best (and cheapest) natural sunburn remedies out there. They soothe skin irritations, reduce swelling and relax and alleviate sunburn’s pain. Put 1-2 cucumbers through the juicer and place resulting juice into the refrigerator to cool. After about 30 minutes to one hour, apply the juice to the sunburnt skin. Reapply a few more times throughout the day.

3. Milk

The fat, protein and pH of milk together create a soothing, anti-inflammatory effect on the skin. Soak a clean cloth in a bowl with equal parts milk, ice cubes and water. Hold the cloth on the burned area for about 5 minutes. Repeat three times per day.

4. Cornstarch

The cool, silky texture of cornstarch treats sunburn and is a very practical solution. Mix cornstarch with cool water until it reaches a paste-like consistency. Smear the paste over the sunburn and leave on until the sunburn is less painful. Rinse and repeat 2-3 times daily.

5. Vinegar

Vinegar is a common treatment for sunburn. Place apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle and spritz onto you the burned area after a shower and whenever the pain peaks.

Related on Organic Authority

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Sunburn image via Shutterstock

 

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The Real Reason Impulse Buying Is So Hard to Resist

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The Real Reason Impulse Buying Is So Hard to Resist

Let’s face facts: Impulse buying is evil. Yes, it’s thrilling in the moment, but like the man-child dating phase many of us go through in our twenties, it eventually becomes a soul-sucking, money-draining experience. So what makes impulse buying so irresistible, often defying our better judgement and causing us to go home with everything but what we went to the store for? Well…

According to a recent study in the Journal of Marketing, your impulse buying tendencies may depend on your budget and the length of your shopping trip.

“Shoppers enter the grocery store planning to buy certain things, but are tempted to buy unplanned items,” write study authors Timothy J. Gilbride (University of Notre Dame), Jeffrey Inman (University of Pittsburgh), and Karen Melville Stilley (Market Rise Consulting). “Over the course of the shopping trip, the tendency to buy unplanned items increases. As shoppers spend more on planned items, the tendency to purchase unplanned items goes up. Depending on the shopper’s budget, the later an unplanned purchase is made, the more likely the next purchase will be unplanned. The likelihood of an unplanned purchase can be as much as 9.6% higher toward the end of the trip.”

Four-hundred customers at two grocery stores were approached as they entered and were asked how much they expected to spend on their planned purchases, and how much they expected to spend as a whole (because, you know). Shoppers then used a handheld scanner to scan the barcode of each item as they placed it in their cart, in order to track the order each item was chosen. Two sets of impulse buying spending habits emerged:

Self-regulation Theory

When people who shopped with smaller budgets (less than $64) made an unplanned purchase, it decreased the probability that the next purchase would be unplanned—but as the shopping trip went on, the opposite became true.

Cuing Theory

When people who shopped with a medium budget (between $64 and $109) made a unplanned purchase, the odds that the next item would be unplanned increased—and kept increasing throughout the trip.

With penny-pinching being one of the most annoying things on the planet, this makes total sense: Between the “shopping high” you get from finding a spontaneous item that excites you, and the exhaustion that comes from a shopping trip dragging on, there are times when it feels like you don’t stand a chance against your impulse buying cravings.

“Consumers should be aware that their urge to make unplanned purchases grows as a shopping trip unfolds, and that using a mental budget or app could help them avoid an unexpectedly large bill while still enjoying a certain amount of impulse buying,” the authors conclude.

Other ways to help combat impulse buying: Don’t shop when you’re upset (or you might come home with an entire aisle), only shop with budget-friendly besties, and give yourself a splurge budget—or if you’re forever a sucker of impulse buying, make sure you buy from stores that have a good return policy (you know, in case regret kicks in the second you get home).

How do you keep your impulse buying in check?

Related on Organic Authority

6 Tips for How to Save Money on Groceries

11 Sneaky Ways to Save Money

16 Spending Tricks to Save Money on Groceries

Food shopping image via Shutterstock

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Floral essential oil

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Floral essential oils are great for your skin and can help soothe your body and mind. What is your favorite dōTERRA floral essential oil?

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Be Happy!

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There are so many beautiful reasons to be happy.

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3 Reasons to Support Smooth Oats on Kickstarter

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smooth oat

It’s no secret that consumers have started caring more and more about what’s going into their food. What may be more of a secret is whether we can really trust labels to say what they mean and mean what they say. Luckily, some companies are willing to be completely open, not only about what’s in their products, but about the reasons behind those choices. Smooth Oats, a brand-new nondairy protein drink option, is one such company.

Helena Lumme, one of the founders of Smooth Oats, was keen to share the ins and outs of this new product with Organic Authority.

1. The Natural Power of Oats

Smooth Oat is a vegan milk that harnesses the power of oats, which Helena calls a “miracle grain.”

“The soluble fiber in oat, called beta glucan, has the power to curb hunger and balance the blood sugar, naturally, without having to use any type of chemicals,” she says.

Beta glucans have been proven to help boost the immune system and improve heart health as well, and while there are several producers of beta glucans in pill forms, most doctors agree that the best way to get in your vitamins and minerals is through diet: all good reasons to eat oats.

“I wanted to develop a drink where I harnessed this natural power of oats and combined with the cleanest possible pea protein,” Helena says. “And of course, it had to be delicious!”

2. A GMO-Free, European Outlook

When it came to developing a completely clean vegan protein drink, one of the main worries Helena had was with GMOs. She and cofounder Mika are activists within the GMO-Free movement, even going so far as to organize the GMO-Free Finland Summit at the Finnish Parliament in 2013.

It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that Smooth Oats is entirely GMO-free. But people who are well-informed on GMO policies won’t actually find this all that confounding… for two reasons.

The first is that oats are GMO-free all over the world — there’s no such thing as GMO oats (good news for frequent oatmeal eaters!)

The second is that in Finland, where the Smooth Oats ingredients come from, there is no GMO farming. And what’s more, the European Food Safety Authority published a recent report on the pesticide content of food sold in Europe, showing that Finnish food is the cleanest in Europe.

While obviously not all European food adheres to the same standards as in Finland, there are a few differences between the food industries in Europe and in the US that makes this GMO-free standard easier to adhere to. For example, canola oil — known as rapeseed oil elsewhere in the world — is nearly all GMO in the US, whereas since 2001, virtually all EU rapeseed oil production has been GMO-free.

While enormous strides have been made in the US to restore farming to its more natural roots, in European countries, there was never a large-scale switch to industrial farming — and the prevention of this switch is one of the oldest EU policies to dateBy using European farmers to source the ingredients for this drink, it’s far easier to avoid GMOs than it would be in the US.

Smooth Oats is working with the Non-GMO Project for the certification of their product.

3. Looking Past Labels – It’s All About What’s Not in it

The resulting product is GMO-free, it’s true, but that’s not all. In looking past the labels we’re so keen to search for in the supermarket shelves, an even more progressive product is revealed.

For Smooth Oats, this means trying to be as “clean” as possible, devoid also of whey protein, which is dairy-based, so not appropriate for a vegan diet.

Some other ingredients that the producers of Smooth Oats chose to exclude were carrageenan and gums, often used as a binder in vegan milks and yogurts, and tricalcium phosphate, a frequent source of calcium. While studies have shown no adverse effects for human consumption of tricalcium phosphate, Helena explains that they chose to leave it out of the final recipe.

“We don’t want to scare people away with a ingredient list that sounds ‘chemical,’” she says.

Which means that the final, GMO-free ingredients list is as follows: water, pea protein, whole grain oats, agave nectar, rapeseed oil, demerara sugar, beta glucan and salt.

Where to Find It

If it sounds too good to be true, it is… for now.

The unfortunate news is that you can’t find Smooth Oats in stores — not yet, anyway. Helena is using a Kickstarter campaign to raise awareness for this protein drink and hopefully make it available soon. The Kickstarter campaign ends on the 25th, which means that you still have a bit of time to help and make sure that this product will soon be available in your supermarket.

Related on Organic Authority

Not Milk? A Guide to Non-Dairy Milks

Are Store-Bought Nut Milks All They’re Cracked Up to Be? Here’s the Nutty Truth

7 Lactose Intolerance-Friendly, Frugal and Healthy Milk Options

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Recommended Daily Vitamin D Doses May Be Erroneously Low, Research Finds

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Recommended Daily Vitamin D Doses May Be Erroneously Low, Research Finds

Is there a massive vitamin D deficiency epidemic underway?

The sunshine vitamin, better known as vitamin D, isn’t technically a vitamin. It’s actually a hormone made in the skin when exposed to sunlight. And that confusion may be part of a bigger problem: an error in the Institute of Medicines recommendation of 600 IU’s per day of vitamin D for adults.

That’s the findings of a 2014 research study published in the journal Nutrients. According to the researchers out of the University of Alberta, the IOM based its vitamin D recommendation on “an average that was far too low to achieve healthy levels of D in the blood,” reports Prevention. “After rerunning the numbers [the researchers] discovered that adults might need more than 8,000 IU to reach safe levels.” This is particularly true for people who live in northern or sun-deprived climates.

Another study released earlier this year by researchers out of the University of San Diego and Creighton University analyzed data on people who were taking high levels of vitamin D, which the researchers say confirms the 2014 Canadian research. “The new findings suggested that the daily recommendations for vitamin D should be around 7,000 IU,” says Prevention.

If people are so grossly vitamin D deficient, you’d think there would be more obvious signs, like widespread cases of rickets. But mild vitamin D deficiencies rarely present with immediate onset of diseases or health issues, but rather can look like other illnesses down the road. A vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of broken bones, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and dementia.

Vitamin D is found naturally in animal products including fatty fish, liver, eggs, and dairy. If that’s not on your menu, you can look for vitamin D fortified foods or find a high quality vitamin D supplement. Spending more time in the sun can be helpful, but it is not a guarantee to ensuring your vitamin D levels are at a safe number. Your primary care physician can conduct a simple blood test to measure your vitamin D levels and recommend dietary adjustments.

Find Jill on Twitter and Instagram

Related on Organic Authority

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Whole Foods Market Caught Grossly Overcharging On Pre-Packaged Food Items

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Whole Foods Market Caught Grossly Overcharging On Pre-Packaged Food ItemsInvestigators with the Department of Consumer Affairs say they’ve found fraudulent practices at Whole Foods Market locations in New York City where stores have been overcharging for pre-packaged foods.

The department says it tested 80 different pre-packaged foods sold at Whole Foods locations, and in every case, each one of them had mislabeled weights, leading to overcharging. And the DCA investigators say that 89 percent of the packages tested did not meet “federal standard for the maximum amount that an individual package can deviate from its actual weight, as set by the U.S. Department of Commerce,” reports NBC New York.

Overcharges ranged from $0.80 to nearly $15 over what the prices should have been.

“Our inspectors tell me this is the worst case of mislabeling they have seen in their careers,” DCA Commissioner Julie Menin told NBC New York.

The findings, Menin says, point to a “systematic problem” with the chain’s pre-packaged food process. The DCA says the pre-packaged food items are routinely not weighed at all or weighed inaccurately.

“Some items had all been labeled with the same weight, despite the fact that it would be practically impossible for the individual packages of the items to weigh the same amount,” reports NBC New York. “These products included nuts, berries, vegetables and seafood. In some cases, the labeling issue was found with the same exact products at multiple stores throughout NYC.”

The fine for falsely labeling a package can be as much as $950 for the first violation and up to $1,700 for subsequent violations, says the DCA. The violations noted in this investigation could cost the retailer tens of thousands of dollars. But that hardly addresses the bigger problem: consumers being overcharged at the market already nicknamed “Whole Paycheck” for its high prices.

“It is unacceptable that New Yorkers shopping for a summer BBQ or who grab something to eat from the self-service aisles at New York City’s Whole Foods stores have a good chance of being overcharged,” Menin said. “As a large chain grocery store, Whole Foods has the money and resources to ensure greater accuracy and to correct what appears to be a widespread problem.”

In a statement to NBC New York, Whole Foods spokesman Michael Sinatra said, “We disagree with the DCA’s overreaching allegations.” He said Whole Foods cooperated fully with the department until it made “grossly excessive monetary demands” to settle the dispute.

“Despite our requests to the DCA, they have not provided evidence to back up their demands nor have they requested any additional information from us, but instead have taken this to the media to coerce us,” Sinatra said. “Our customers are our number one stakeholder and we highly value their trust in us.”

This is not the first claim of Whole Foods overcharging. Organic Authority reported on a similar issue in California Whole Foods stores in 2014.

Now, the DCA says it may look at investigating all of the chain’s more than 400 stores for overcharging issues.

Find Jill on Twitter and Instagram

Related on Organic Authority

New Lower-Priced Whole Foods Chain Finally Has a Name, Sort Of

Another Reason to Shop at Whole Foods Market: New Produce Rating System Goes Beyond ‘Organic’

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Panna Cotta Pie Recipe with Fresh Berries

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panna cotta pie recipe

There’s a reason why the creamy Italian dream called panna cotta is the favorite dessert at a large party: it’s easy to make and flavor any way you like. In this panna cotta pie recipe, I use only fine vanilla beans and use the panna cotta as pie filling. Just before serving, I scatter an assortment of fresh summer berries over the top. It’s so simple and yet so insanely good!

Panna Cotta Pie with Summer Berries

About 8–10 portions ✦ 40 + 35 minutes

Ingredients

Pie Dough:

SCANT 2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick cold butter
1 small egg

Egg Wash:

1 whipped egg white
1 teaspoon heavy cream or milk

Filling:

41/2 gelatin sheets (about 1 rounded tablespoon powdered gelatin, such as Knox)
1–2 vanilla beans
3 1/4 cups whipping cream
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 pint berries in season

Directions

Combine all the dry ingredients for the pie dough in a bowl or food processor. Cut the butter into cubes and work them into the dry ingredients to form a crumbly mixture. Add the egg and work it in quickly to form a dough.

Roll out the dough into a circle (slightly less than ⅛-inch thick) on a sheet of parchment paper with a little flour, then roll up the paper into a roll and let it chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Cover a 9-inch springform pan with the pie dough. Prick the bottom and let the pie dough rest in the fridge for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 425°F.

Bake the pie shell in the middle of the oven for 12–15 minutes or until it begins to get some color. Mix the egg white and cream for the egg wash and immediately brush the warm bottom of the pie crust with the mixture. This seals the tiny holes in the bottom of the crust so that the filling doesn’t leak out. Let the pie shell cool.

Place the gelatin sheets for the filling in cold water and let them soak for 10 minutes. Split the vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Place the seeds and the scraped beans in a pot together with the cream and sugar and bring to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat and transfer the gelatin sheets to the pot. Stir the mixture with a spoon and let it rest for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the vanilla beans with a slotted spoon and pour the mixture into the pie crust. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge at least three hours or until the filling has solidified. Top the pie with berries just before you serve it.

Reprinted with permission from “The Summer Table” published in 2015 by Sterling Epicure. Text© Lisa Lemke. Photography by Asa Dahlgren

Related on Organic Authority

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