RAW THOUGHTS

Here’s to a Healthier 4th of July.  

Delicious food swaps for your celebration.   

 

Celebrating the 4th of July is as American as apple pie and hot dogs.  Add to that macaroni salad, potato salad full of mayo, pie-eating-contests and burgers on the grill and we go downhill on the food-that’s-good-for-you scale pretty quickly.  Tradition aside, we thought we’d offer a few healthy menu swaps you can make so that your celebration aligns with your summer wellness goals.  

Here’s to a happy, healthy 4th of July.  

 

Menu Swap Ideas:  

  • Instead of regular hot dogs, offer Turkey dogs and vegan options. 
  • Replace beef burgers with healthy veg options or use grass-fed beef and put out fresh lettuce to wrap them in instead of buns. 
  • Make BBQ chicken in a slow cooker and make your own BBQ sauce.  It’s easier than you think! 
  • Deviled eggs can be replaced with hard boiled eggs, cut in half and added to a crudite platter full of veggies and healthy dips like hummus or avocado dip.   
  • Instead of potato salad, try organic roasted potatoes with or without a chimichurri sauce or baked sweet potato “fries”. 
  • Rather than dousing your fruit salad with dressing, put fresh red, white and blue fruit such as watermelon cubes, grapes, strawberries and blueberries on skewers. Grilling fruit like peaches, nectarines and plums is an amazing side dish as well and really brings out summer fruit flavors.    
  • Replace baked beans which are loaded with brown sugar and preservatives with a healthy side bean salad. One with black beans, avocado, corn, tomatoes, red onion and a lime vinaigrette is a favorite.  
  • Coleslaw is loaded with mayo and sometimes buttermilk. Keep the cabbage, add some shredded carrots and use a vinegar based recipe instead.  Better yet, serve a chopped fresh green salad with a homemade dressing of lemon, olive oil, a pinch of dry mustard and salt and pepper. 
  • Instead of pies full of butter and sugar, make a patriotic berry trifle with real cream so you can limit the sugar content or make a berry fruit crumble that is just like a pie, but with a healthier crispy topping made from almond flour, oats, a little maple syrup for sweetener and some chopped nuts. 

July Horoscope  

Let love reign…or rein it in?  

 

With five planets in retrograde and two full moons, July is a busy astrological month, full of girl power, finding our balance and honoring the Yin and Yang. We start the month in the midst of a Mercury retrograde, so we sadly don’t get to start off free from astrological baggage and it continues to be a time of expansion and contraction — especially where love is concerned.

 

Alpha-female Cancer is ruling the skies and this is no shrinking violet situation, as the Cancer-positioned planets will but heads with Pluto in masculine Capricorn on July 6 and 16. It will be imperative that we have the right balance of structure and sensuality, yin and yang, sensitivity and sensibility. A few ego battles or power struggles could certainly ensue along the way. Here’s hoping the Cancer new moon on July 15 will get us all put a little more love in our hearts. The Sun will move into fiery Leo on July 22, lightening up the mood swings. But, on July 25, TWO planets turn retrograde (backward): sensual Venus and rebellious Uranus. All manner of interpersonal relations can go wonky while Venus backslides until September 6—first in Virgo, then in Leo from July 31 onward. To add some kind of silver lining, it’s a favorable time to work on relationship issues, resolve conflicts or even to reunite with an ex if that’s a positive. Retrograde high season officially kicks into gear the last week of July with FIVE planets—Venus, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus and Pluto—all retrograde. It’s a great time to take a big, step backward and reflect on your life from a distance or even press pause. If you’ve been forcing an agenda, this is a good time to loosen your grip and let the universe lend an assist. The month ends with an Aquarius full moon on July 31. This one is also turbo-charged, so double the manifestations should be headed your way. Since Aquarius rules the unexpected, it’s anyone’s guess how things will come together. Embrace the spirit of adventure—and camaraderie. 

 

To find out about your personal July Horscope, click here at Instyle.  

7 Best Exercise Moves to Do at Home

Not all of us feel safe heading back to the gym quite yet but want to keep our fitness level on point. Using only your own body weight, these versatile moves can help you create a mini, full-body at-home workout without a single piece of workout equipment. Just by using the weight of your body and the power of gravity, you can build muscle and burn fat. For a more intense, sweat-inducing session, plan to do three sets of all seven exercises with 1 minute of high knee, in place running or jumping jacks in between exercises.  Get it, girl!! 

 

Front Plank: 
Lay on your stomach, and raise to your elbows and toes.  Keep your body as tight and straight as possible.  It’s best to look in a mirror so you can make sure your body is straight and your rear end isn’t raised.  Hold for a minute if you can then relax and repeat! 

 

Reverse Lunges: 

Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Step back with your left foot, landing on the ball of your foot and bending your knees to create 90 degree angles.  Push through your right heel to return to standing and repeat on other side.  Repeat 15 times.  

 

Spider Man Mountain Climbers:  

Start in a high plank on hands and toes with body straight and tight.  Drive your right knee out and up toward your right elbow. As you do, turn and watch your knee meet with your arm. Alternate sides as fast as you can while maintaining a sturdy plank and keeping torso tight and still.  

 

Squat Jumps:  

Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart.  Sit your butt back and bend your knees to drop into a squat, keeping your chest upright.  Jump into the air as hight as you can and straighten your legs.  Land back on the floor with soft knees and repeat.  

 

Wide Grip Push Ups 

Start in high plank position with your hands flat on the floor — a little wider than shoulder-width apart, wrists under shoulders.  Keeping your body in one long line, bend your arms and lower  yourself as close to the floor as you can, Push back up to start.  Extra challenging, do this slow… 

 

Standing Oblique Crunches:  

Stand with your feet hip—width apart and hands behind your head and elbows out wide.  Lift your left kneed toward your left elbow while you bend your torso up and over to the left.  Make sure you’re squeezing your abs tight as you do it.  Repeat on other side. 

 

Glute Bridge: 

Laying on your back, with hands to your side, scoot your heels as close to your body as you can then lift your rear end as high as you can.  Squeeze everything as tight as you can then raise up and lower for a count of 20.  Try one legged version of this for an extra challenge. 

5 Good News stories we all need right now.

Love wins.  

A 90 year old couple that were separated because of the Coronavirus were reunited. Upon seeing each other at their heartwarming reunion, they told each other how cute they were and haven’t stopped holding hands since.  See the video here:  https://www.today.com/news/good-news

 

Pangolins Are Now as Protected as Pandas.  

Pangolins, the world’s most trafficked animal, gets a reprieve as China gives them the same level of protection as the giant Panda and declares it illegal to use Pangolin body parts for medicinal purposes.  Pangolins have been teetering on the verge of extinction.  Read the full story here.  

https://www.positive.news/environment/conservation/pangolins-protected-in-china-as-scales-removed-from-medicine-list/

 

Drones Deliver Books to Keep Kids Reading!

 If a drone can deliver pizzas, why not books?  The COVID-19 pandemic has closed schools and public libraries across the United States, but a librarian in Virginia has thought of a creative way to keep kids reading, free of charge. The solution? Drones will deliver books of their choice straight to their door.  https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org

 

Selfless High School Senior Spends 10 Hours Straight Cleaning Up After Protests and This Happens…  
A high school senior in Buffalo, NY  was dismayed by damage done to his community after the protests left it in a wake of destruction.  Without wasting a minute, he went to work for 10 hours straight, cleaning up without any thought to reward or notoriety.  After his story got attention from the news stations, he was rewarded with a car and a scholarship.  Read the whole heartwarming story here:  https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/teen-that-cleaned-up-city-after-protest-receives-car-and-scholarship/

 

John Krasinksi Arranges a ZoomBomb for One Lucky Hamilton Super Fan.  

John Krasinski of The Office fame, has been sharing “Some Good News” as way to highlight heroes and humor during the coronavirus pandemic.  Last week, he surprised a 9 year old fan of the musical Hamilton with a Zoombomb that included Lin Manuel Miranda and the original singers of the opening song.  He also gave the girl tickets to the show when it resumes on Broadway.  Nice surprise!   

Watch it here! https://mashable.com/video/lin-manuel-miranda-john-krasinski-some-good-news-hamilton-surprise/

Ingredient Spotlight: Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera has always been a super-botanical in the skin healing world. We slather it on our sunburns and use it to relieve irritated skin so it makes sense that Aloe Vera has made its way into our skin products as a way to deliver a wide range of goodies, including a heavy dose of moisture plus vitamins  and minerals that are both anti-aging and restorative.  

 

Aloe doesn’t just soothe our skin — it goes deeper as a nutrient dense skincare ingredient that can treat, exfoliate, restore, reveal and provide impressive nutrition to your skin.  

 

Here are the top benefits of Aloe Vera.  Shop for it in our Sensitive Skin Formula lotion and Body Wash and Hand Wash now.  

 

  • Aloe Vera is nutrient rich with both vitamins (A, B, C, D and E)  as well as minerals like zinc, magnesium and potassium.  
  • It has an extremely high water content and is very hydrating for dry skin without making it greasy.   
  • It is rich in vitamin C, E and beta carotene which are all nourishing and anti-aging.  
  • It has polysaccharides that not only give skin a hydrating boost, but anti-inflammatory benefits. 
  • Aloe Vera provides a natural barrier to protect skin.  
  • It contains phytosterols which help soothe itchiness and irritation.  
  • Calms irritations and puffiness with anti-inflammatory properties. 
  • Can help increase skin elasticity.  
  • Aloe is a collagen-booster which can help skin look younger and reduce the appearance of scarring. 
  • It’s 100% natural and good for sensitive skin. 

June Horoscopes 

According to the stars, the drama isn’t over quite yet. Apparently,  June is going to be a bit of a roller coaster. (Hasn’t the entire year been a one big wild ride?)  While the weather is warming up and life is re-opening, this month is slated to be astrologically stressful with six planets spinning in retrograde motion by the end of the month. The strongest of these will be Venus, the planet that rules our romantic relationships and yet another infamous Mercury retrograde that happens from June 18-July 12. That means back up your laptops, watch for flaring tempers and know that conflicts are much harder to solve during this time. There are two eclipses to watch for; Friday, June 5, and Sunday, June 21. The first affects romantic relationships and the second brings some misinformation and political conflict. Plan to stay at home those days and engage in self care, being extra careful to avoid conflict or drama. The end of June is a good time to reconnect with family and revisit some spiritual practices or creative endeavors.  Some signs hold powerful advances and transformations while others will be in career change mode.  All in all, it looks like we’re taking two steps forward, one step back in June.  

To view your full horoscope from the Astro Twins, click on your sign below.

Aries
Taurus 
Gemini 
Cancer
Leo
Virgo  
Libra
Scorpio 
Sagittarius
Capricorn 
Aquarius 
Pisces  

5 Tips to maintain Home/Work Balance in Isolation 

Working from home has become the new normal during quarantine. We’ve started zooming and binge-watching Netflix with equal gusto. But one of our biggest challenges has been drawing the line between work and home when it’s all happening under one roof. How do you turn off at the end of the day? How do you find balance when everyone needs you, the computer is your lifeline to the outside world and your living room is now your office?  

 

Here are 5 basic tips to help you find balance and peace as you continue to work from home. 

 

  1. Draw the line and know where “work” ends and “home” begins. That means employing physical strategies such as very specific work hours and a designated office space that is away from the home-center such as the kitchen and living room. Don’t lay on the couch with your laptop or take it to bed because you didn’t finish your emails. Set up a desk in a quiet room, preferably somewhere you can close the door when work is “over” and you can re enter home life.

    It also means setting internal boundaries too. Psychologically, working from home can be confusing. You may experience feelings of guilt from working while the kids are in the other room and conversely, have anxiety about an upcoming meeting while you’re with the kids. Have clear expectations and open communication with everyone in the family, make a calendar with play, work and personal time so everyone knows what to expect.  

  2. Keep active.  Since you can’t get to the gym or yoga studio, sign up for free classes at home. Set up an exercise zone and make the time to move.  You won’t feel balanced if all you’re doing is working and cooking and homeschooling. To maximize your mental health, take small movement breaks throughout your work day as well.  Five minutes an hour to walk or take a stretch/yoga break or even practice breath-work will do wonders for your sanity.

  3. Create a shutdown ritual. A few minutes before your “work hours” are completed, make a plan for the next day, make sure you’re not leaving any emails hanging that may nag at you and understand what your calendar is for the next day. You’ll give yourself peace of mind to close the door to reenter home life.

  4. Plan and prioritize social interactions. Right now, this means family zoom time or happy hour or a nature walk with close friends. The isolation factor is real and can quickly throw you into a depression unless you have some social interactions to look forward to. Remember, we are social animals.  Even if you think you’re okay on your own, the connection can help keep you grounded when things get rough.

  5. Give yourself grace. Working from home is hard and working at home during a pandemic is even harder. Our focus isn’t the same, because our brains are subconsciously pulling focus to our survival needs so we may feel like we’re in a constant state of brain fog. If you get any work done, you’re doing well. 🙂

Happy Memorial Day

Today we remember all the men and women who have bravely sacrificed so we can follow our dreams. For the selflessness and commitment to the greater good and country above all else. To all the veterans and active duty military men and women who have given us the precious gift of freedom. To all who have lost their lives in times of war and peace. This Memorial Day, we thank you, we honor you and we salute you.

This pandemic has given us all a little glimpse into what life would be like without all the rights and freedoms we often take for granted. It has given us a new perspective and has changed us in a multitude of ways. It has given us all a deeper respect and appreciation for the lives we have and the rights we enjoy. For the opportunities and privileges we have because of the warriors, fighters and peacemakers that have gone before us.

Happy Memorial Day in remembrance of our greatest heroes.

Ingredient Spotlight: Eucalyptus 

We love Eucalyptus — and not just because we associate it with the adorable faces of koala bears and dreams of Australia. Eucalyptus is a purifying, cleansing, clarifying, healing, immune-boosting powerhouse that is used in everything from aromatherapy and naturopathic remedies to our Raw Men Eucalyptus + Cedar Leaf Body Wash. 

 

The scent alone is enough to hook you for life, but check out the host of other skin benefits you get from the combined advantage of having antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties. All fabulous things when it comes to getting skin that is soothed, protected and younger looking.  

 

  • It’s a phenomenal cleanser.  It cleans on a deeper level, removing dead skin cells and pulling dirt from pores.  
  • It’s a natural antiseptic. It can help heal wounds and skin conditions like acne, psoriasis and eczema. 
  • Eucalyptus oil is a powerful antioxidant. It can actually form a protective barrier against pollution, toxins, cigarette smoke, harmful UV Rays and other environmental aggressors.  
  • It’s an excellent weapon in the fight against aging. The anti-inflammotory and antioxidants properties help soothe skin and defend from photoaging.  
  • It’s a natural anti-viral. It can help inhibit the development of viruses.    
  • Boosts collagen. Eucalyptus helps generate new cell growth so it aids in collagen production which creates more elasticity and less sagging and fine lines.

5 Hacks To Be More Eco-Friendly At Home

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.  

 

  1. 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.  

 

  1. 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. 

 

  1. 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.  

 

  1. 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.  

 

  1. 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.
A little Raw Sugar Love

Crafted and produced in sunny SoCal, Raw Sugar Living is a natural lifestyle brand on a mission to promote clean and healthy living through products that are good for the body and nourish the soul.

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