We’ve all seen images of dolphin returning to the canals of Venice. The holes in the ozone layer closing up. The space photos of clear skies over China and Los Angeles. The environmental impact of the global quarantine has been nothing short of inspiring. The big question will be, now that we’ve seen how the world can heal, how can we keep it going? What can we do now, while we’re staying home that will positively impact our environment.
Here are a few life hacks that you can put into play right now that can have a positive impact on not only your health, but on the health of our planet.
- Eat more plants and less meat. Eating a plant based diet or cutting back on meat can have a large impact on the health of our planet. If you have a hard time cutting out all meat, start with beef and pork as they have the greatest negative impact on the environment.
- Shop local farmer’s markets and community farms. We’ve gotten pretty good at locating alternate food sources locally so keep that going. Buying locally grown produce not only helps your community thrive, it helps by cutting back on all the shipping and fuel used to move food around the globe.
- Use eco-friendly products — especially high-use soaps, and laundry detergent. Now is the time to take stock of the types of products you’re using. Clean up your buying habits by making a commitment to purchasing products that don’t contain harmful chemicals and instead, focus on plant based ingredients that come in eco-friendly packaging.
- Evaluate your buying habits and consume less. This pandemic has brought about an unprecedented focus on what, how much and where we buy products. Shortages and the fear of running into people with the virus at the supermarket have got us all asking, do I really need to go out and buy this? Usually the answer is no. Become very aware of what you really do need and cut back on the unnecessary trips and purchases. In other words, less is definitely more for the environment.
- Unplug and use less energy. If your chargers are plugged into the wall, they are sucking up energy even when a device isn’t connected. It’s called vampire energy. Unplug anything that isn’t actively charging.
Take a hike. 😉 Here are our picks for the Top 5 Hiking Trails in California.
With gym life closed, there’s never been a better time to opt outside and get a healthy dose of fresh air on California’s best hiking trails. We’ve broken down our top five best in California. Below that is a top-line list of LA’s best too, in case you’re looking for local vibes.
CA Top 5 Hikes
- Yosemite Falls Trail, Yosemite
This famous trail rewards hikers with views of Yosemite’s most spectacular waterfalls as well as sweeping panoramas of the valley floor. The Trail includes two parts: The two-mile section to Columbia Rock, a moderate hike that ascends 1,000 feet through a switchback trail. Be sure to stay on the path, since wandering off can lead to dangerous sheer drop-offs near the trail. Most hikers will be satisfied with completing Columbia Rock portion that takes two to three hours round-trip. From here, hikers are awed by the bird’s-eye view of Yosemite Valley’s meadows, with the Merced River winding its way down the center, enclosed by Half Dome and Sentinel Rock.
The second part of the trail up to Yosemite Falls is more difficult. This strenuous seven-mile round-trip hike ascends 2,425 feet, up rugged terrain and steep hillside staircases. To complete this round-trip hike takes another six to eight hours from Colombia Rock. The trail lies thrillingly close to Yosemite Falls. While climbing, hikers often feel mist from the waterfalls, and after reaching the summit of this challenging trail are rewarded with incredible vistas. The panoramic outlook from the top of Yosemite Falls extends over the entire valley.
- Mount Shasta
The majestic snow-capped Mount Shasta is one of the most inspiring places to hike in California. Many visitors come to Mount Shasta seeking a spiritual experience in nature. Adventurous outdoor enthusiasts come for the challenge of climbing to the mountain’s summit. However, Mount Shasta has plenty of hiking trails that are suitable for the average hiker. A popular hike is the Gray Butte Trail, with its trailhead at an impressive 7,500-foot elevation. This moderate four-mile round-trip trail gains 600 feet in elevation and takes about two hours to complete. The trail crosses through the expansive Lower Panther Meadow and continues up through a pristine forest of old-growth Red Fir Trees. At the fork in the trail, the right hand side ascends through a stand of fragrant Mountain Hemlock Trees. The trail continues past the Lower Peak to the Upper Peak of Gray Butte, offering splendid panoramic views at several vantage points along the way.
- McWay Waterfall Trail, Big Sur
This trail lies in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, named after the pioneer and frontier woman who owned a ranch in Big Sur country in the early 1900s. The park stretches along the mountainous Big Sur coastline with its 3,000-foot ridges that drop off dramatically into the Pacific Ocean. Lush wooded areas flourish with redwood trees, oaks, and chaparral. The McWay Waterfall Trail is a marvelous hike leading to an overlook that affords a stunning view of the 80-foot waterfall, one of the most breathtaking and frequently photographed sites in Big Sur. Hikers are awestruck by the sight of this magnificent waterfall descending from a sheer granite cliff into the ocean. Despite the grandeur of the scenery, this trail is surprisingly easy and short. The 0.7-mile round-trip hike has only a slight elevation gain of 50 feet and takes only about 30 minutes to complete. Hikers may spend more time admiring the amazing scenery than actually hiking.
- Sea Lion Point Trail, Point Lobos
The Sea Lion Point Trail delights nature lovers who appreciate marine wildlife and ocean views. A short and easy hike, the 0.6-mile loop trail is an especially scenic portion of Point Lobos State Reserve in Carmel. The trail winds around peaceful coves and rocky ocean bluffs that meet with crashing waves. Along the way, hikers will have a chance to spot barking sea lions on offshore rocks. The trail also passes by Headland Cove and Sea Lion Cove, quiet coves where seals swim, and sea otters bask in the protected waters. To get a closer view of the animals, hikers may walk down a staircase that provides access to the coves.
- Fern Canyon at Prairie Creek, Redwoods State Park
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park lies 50 miles north of Eureka, an off-the-beaten-path destination. This beautiful state park is dedicated to the protection of coastal redwood trees, the tallest living plant on earth. With their giant amber-hued trunks and leafy canopies, the stately redwood trees create a refreshingly serene, shady environment. Bordering the coast, the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park also has sandy beaches and expansive open meadows. Many visitors enjoy the gentle nature walk to the Fern Canyon, a site so remarkable that is was chosen by Hollywood directors as a backdrop for scenes in the Jurassic Park film. In fact, relatives of today’s living coastal redwoods existed 160 million years ago, during the Jurassic Era. Visitors are delighted by the breathtaking scenery of majestic densely wooded redwood stands, a pristine fresh-water creek, and lush ferns cascading down the canyon walls.
Top 5 Hiking Trails in Los Angeles
Located in the Hollywood Hills, Runyon is a fairly known hike and trail around Los Angeles. Often, you may see the beautiful view of Hollywood posted on Instagram or Facebook tagged at Runyon. People commonly known Runyon as a place to bring dogs, spot celebrities, and see a full skyline. This trail is not very long, as it only extends around 3 miles round trip.
Solstice Canyon is located near Malibu just West of Los Angeles. Aside from the 2.6 mile round trip hike, Solstice Canyon also features historical ruins and a waterfall. Also, along the Solstice Creek there are picnic tables for a nice outdoor lunch.
Another park in the Hollywood Hills is Cahuenga Park, which leads to a view of the Hollywood Sign and the Wisdom Tree. Heading up the East trail, there is a 1.6 mile round trip hike to the Wisdom Tree. This trail is more rugged and less paved than Runyon Canyon, and it gets steep at points. To the West, the trail gets even steeper and more rugged, but eventually leads to the back side of the Hollywood Sign. Both of these trails offer a large amount of elevation for a short distance.
Santa Anita Canyon
The most challenging hike on this list, the Santa Anita Canyon, is an 8.7 mile loop, best made for a full day hike with lunch and swimming stops. The Santa Anita Canyon is located Northeast of Pasadena. Along this trail, there are numerous cabins, a 60-foot waterfall, and a total escape from Los Angeles. The waterfall is comes up in the first half of the trail, so you can jump in then dry off the rest of the way.
Sandstone Peak is the furthest hike to the East, past Santa Monica and Malibu but is one of the highest points in Southern California. You can see jaw-dropping views of the Pacific Ocean and Santa Monica Bay. The summit is over 3,000 feet and follows a 6.25 mile loop. This hike features a picnic area and plenty of shade on the way up. Another beautiful aspect are the Grottoes with creeks and pools.
Spa days, massages, facial treatments and expensive, trending beauty products are all part of magical self care rituals, but self care doesn’t have to be a splurge to have meaning and be effective. In fact, the best kind of self care are often the consistent things we can do from home, any day of the week and where cost isn’t a factor.
We’ve curated a list of some of the best low cost or no-cost self care ideas. Plan something just for you, every day and the benefits of loving and caring for yourself will keep growing. You deserve this.
•Meditation or breathing exercises for 10 minutes after waking. This will help center you, set your intentions and set the tone for your entire day. Even better if you think of 3 things you’re grateful for while you’re at it.
•Take a bath. Baths are so restorative both physically and mentally. Add some of our incredibly affordable Bath Fizzes, Foaming Bath or detoxifying Unfiltered Salt Soak for a special treat. The plant-derived ingredients nourish your skin while the scents uplift your spirits and refresh your soul.
•Deep condition your hair. How often do you use a masque on your hair? Give yourself an extra 10-15 minutes before you shower and use a face mask along with a hair masque to deep condition and restore your hair’s life and shine. Good hair days are pure confidence.
•Unplug. Turning off the phone for a period of time every day will quickly become addictive. At first, you may have a minor freak out, but when you see the world does not end when you unplug, you’ll come to relish the time unattached to responding and reacting.
•Eat intentionally. Is the food you put in your mouth caring for your body or is it a craving? Choose to cook yourself a warm, delicious meal instead of reaching for the craving that may or may not be an emotional reaction. Your eating will become more and more conscious every time you thoughtfully choose what to put in your body. Weekly meal prepping is also a great way to show yourself some serious love.
•Stargaze. Wrap yourself up in a blanket or jacket and go out at night and watch the stars. Dream. Imagine. Wonder. Just be.
•Be in nature. Go for a walk, sit in the grass and look at flowers growing. Hug a tree, even. Nature is the soul’s most inspiring friend.
•Wash with an uplifting scent. All our products are formulated to fill your senses with touch, texture and scent. An uplifting scent that fills your shower and makes you take a deep breath of something beautiful is such a boost to your day. Smelling good and facing the world clean is the ultimate self-care and confidence boost.
•Buy yourself flowers or pick them wild. Don’t wait for someone else to bring them. Be your own secret admirer.
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You’ve heard the Vegan buzz. There are plant based “burgers” in your supermarket meat aisle and major fast food chains are beefing up their veg options. So if you’re thinking about a plant based diet, here’s just a glimpse into what that means and why you may want to try it.
There are a lot of reasons to go plant based. Overall better health and energy, avoiding chronic illness, helping the environment and maintaining a healthy weight are all by-products of following a whole food plant based diet. GREAT reasons to give it a try. But make sure you follow a WHOLE FOOD plant based diet and don’t get into the trap of thinking French Fries, vegan donuts and pastas (both plant based) are going to give you better health.
When you focus on whole foods that means basing your diet on natural foods that aren’t heavily processed. Plant based means foods that come from plants, and don’t include animal ingredients such as meat, milk and dairy products in general.
Here’s a quick rundown on the basic types of foods you can eat on a whole food, plant based diet:
Vegetables: Every kind of vegetable is encouraged with the exception of white potatoes as the mainstay of your diet. Let’s be real. If we thought we could get by on mashed potatoes or fries, we’d all do it.
Fruits: Every type of fruit is allowed.
Tubers: Root vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beets, etc. All good!
Whole grains: grains, quinoa, brown rice, millet, whole wheat, whole oats, barley, buckwheat, etc. are part of a plant based diet but in conjunction with other whole foods like vegetables and legumes or you’ll find yourself in an unbalanced, major carb-overload situation.
Legumes: Beans of any kind, plus lentils are a great source of protein.
Other Misc: Tempeh, Tofu, seeds and nuts are all allowed. Keep in mind, nuts are really high in calories, so keep nuts, nut based milks and butters as a snack or addition to meals instead of a mainstay if you have weight issues.
Another good idea, and something practiced by vegan athletes, is to supplement with a good quality protein supplement once a day, especially if you want to build muscle.
The pressure is on to make resolutions, come up with your new year mantra and define your goals for 2020. All well and good, until February hits and then where will you be. If you’re like 80% of the population, your resolutions will have already been broken and forgotten. So how do you set goals that are actually attainable?
The key is to think small. Instead of grand resolutions, try small micro-goals as a strategy. Setting smaller goals for yourself fosters success and puts you on the road to larger change. Instead of saying you’re going to run a marathon this year, try creating a weekly training schedule and commit to running 4 times a week.
The problem with bigger, all encompassing statements is that they are erroneous and we don’t break down the actionable steps go in to getting us to our goals. Break it down and your chances to create permanent change are much greater.
Don’t start the year expecting to transform every single area of your life. By focusing on one or two key goals, you can really affect change on a deeper level and naturally, that is a catalyst for other positive changes to take place.
So what small goals will you achieve this year?
- Wake up naturally, preferably with the sun and first thing, make yourself some warm lemon water. It clears night time sluggishness and helps your body wake up your digestive track. Not to mention, provides a good boost of vitamin C.
- Take 15 or 20 minutes to do some gentle stretching, deep breathing and meditation. When you begin the day with intention, its a game changer. Start with simple deep breathing as you stretch and wake up your body. Then be still, get comfortable and meditate — start with a list of a few things that you are you grateful for, including your own body; visualize and feel the emotions of gratitude and sending out love and kindness in to the world. To go even further, visualize all the things you’d like to have happen in your perfect day.
- Take a shower or bath using natural lemon products to lift your spirits. The scent of lemon has an uplifting affect on your mind as well as a detoxifying affect on your body. Raw Sugar has an entire line of Lemon Sugar scented natural products from Body Wash, Bar Soap and Sugar Scrub to Lotion, rich Body Butter and Natural Lip Balm. It will leave you feeling fresh, pampered and clear-headed.
- Eat the rainbow. December is a month where we’re all about comfort food and we often neglect our big, fresh salads loaded with veggies or fruits. If you need warmth, Add roasted veggies like squash, beets and carrots to a green salad topped with olive oil and lemon and a few walnuts for crunch.
- Take a walk in nature. Whether you head out your front door and cruise the neighborhood or drive to the beach or hills — it’s all good. The point is to be outside, look at the sky, notice the trees, feel the fresh air and breathe.
- To avoid the afternoon lull, eat something rich in protein (avoid anything sugary) Try a rice cake with nut butter, a hard boiled egg or your favorite protein smoothie.
- Move. Get some exercise. Put on some music, dance around the house, take a yoga class, spin or do whatever you love to do that moves your body and makes you feel alive.
- Cook for yourself and eat dinner on the early side. The simple act of cooking something healthy and delicious for yourself has a profound effect on your self worth. It’s an act of love. Eating early will give your body a chance to digest and may help you have a more restful sleep as well.
- Unplug. At least one hour before you go to bed, unplug from your phone and other electronics. Light some candles. Have some tea. Put on soft music, read a book, write in a journal. Turning off from the constant buzz of electronics alone can help you feel more mindful and in control.
- Take a minute to reflect. When you take life more slowly and practice some self care are your body and spirit more aligned? Do you feel kinder thoughts about yourself and others?
- Go to bed early. Getting enough sleep not only helps your immune system, it has the biggest affect on your overall health from body to brain. Making a commitment to resting and getting enough sleep is the single most important thing you can do for your well being.
Image from: https://veganliftz.com
Do you know what’s lurking in your loofah? The scary truth is that if you have a natural loofah and it’s been awhile since you’ve replaced it, there are likely loads of bacteria and possibly even some mold hiding in there. Especially scary if you’re using it after you shave when there may be small cuts and pores are more open.
Experts agree that you should replace your natural loofah roughly every 3-4 weeks. If you want to try and extend that time, there are a few things you can do. First, don’t leave it in a wet, moist environment. Instead, dry it between uses in a less humid area like an open window. You can also disinfect natural loofahs by soaking them in bleach once a week.
The plastic loofah’s can be used for up to two months, but keep an eye out for signs of mold and toss it if you get a wiff of any musty or mildewy odor.
Self-care isn’t just for women. While men may not be in to 24k gold face masks or weekly pedicures, that doesn’t mean they don’t love a good product that makes them look, feel — and smell their best.
The most basic place to start for men is their Body Wash. It’s the foundation for everything else that happens after the shower. Using one that is good for the skin and made with plant-based ingredients means it not only loves their skin, but the planet too.
Raw Men Body Wash and Bar Soaps from Raw Sugar Living are just the ticket. They come in four irresistible scents which leads us to a big must-have for male grooming. A signature scent.
Finding and claiming a signature scent or two is a must-have for any man that wants to leave an impression on the people he comes in contact with. Using a Body Wash or Bar Soap that lathers into a clean, subtle scent and fills the shower with good vibes is incredibly sexy and can even eliminate the need for overpowering cologne.
Raw Men Body Wash and Bar Soaps come in four scents that evoke the character, essence and life of a man. Black Coconut + Sea Salt for wild, bold, adventure; Eucalyptus + Cedar Leaf for strength, calm and sureness; Blue Citrus + Agave for clean, crisp, salt air and So. Cal vibes plus Charcoal + Bamboo for vibrant, fearless and good to go.
A daily routine for men should be quick, simple and low maintenance. A Body Wash that does double duty and gives the freshest feel, cleanest clean and leaves a fresh scent is the top men’s self-care must-have.
Lets face it. Confidence is sexy. We admire people that have it and we all want more of it. We’re talking about the kind of confidence that is self-assured, self-aware, unintimidated, doesn’t try to impress and lives without fear and negative talk. So how do we get more of it? How do you cultivate confidence and inner strength?
Understand that no-one is perfect. Even people that you think are perfect are not. Everyone struggles with something. Start seeing yourself as equal to others and not less than. It is what you do with what you have everyday that makes you who you are.
Gain knowledge or get good at something.
Challenging yourself by learning something new or committing to knowing more about a particular subject, or doing one thing really well. Becoming good at something makes you interesting and being interesting boosts confidence.
Silence your inner critic. The first step toward self confidence is self love. This is huge because it’s something most people don’t even realize they’re doing. Even positive thinkers can walk around criticizing themselves all day long and it’s one of the most destructive barriers to self confidence.
Pay attention to the thoughts you’re having. Just observe and listen to yourself. Then question every thought. Is that true or is that a habitual reaction — then, reject the negative self talk. Truly reject it by saying I reject that thought — “I’m not stupid, I just wasn’t paying attention.” Or “I’m not a loser, but I am overcommitting and neglecting to pay attention.” Or “I’m not fat, I have strong arms to carry my babies and legs that I can use everyday to take me places.“ Replacing negative talk with positive thoughts or solutions is key.
Move. When we are stagnant and unmoving, we don’t get the body confidence that comes from being strong and capable. This doesn’t mean you have to run a marathon or become a body builder — just move. Whether its walking, dancing, running, yoga, stretching, taking the stairs, becoming stronger and allowing your body to perform increases confidence.
Affirm yourself. Affirmations are positive and uplifting statements that we say to ourselves. We tend to believe what we tell ourselves constantly, whether positive or negative. Make sure you’re affirming yourself and envisioning the confident person you want to become.
Care for yourself. This quote says it all; “Self-care is never a selfish act — it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.” — Parker Palmer
Self-confidence depends on a combination of good physical care, emotional health and social fulfillment. It is hard to feel good about yourself if you are not taking care of yourself. Make time to shower, spend an extra few minutes lovingly massaging a rich, beautiful smelling lotion in to your body, try new products that nurture you and uplift you, get sleep, dress in something you’re proud of and build your self-confidence by making the effort to look after your own needs.
Lastly, set yourself up to win. Make small goals and keep track of your wins. Your confidence will begin to creep in every day you are aware of what is derailing your confidence and every day you do something good for yourself or someone else. You got this!