3 Ways to use Coconut Oil

You’ve heard about the huge amount of health benefits associated with Coconut Oil and how good it is for you, but how exactly should you consume or even use it on a daily basis? Given that the fatty goodness is now easily accessible in local stores and supermarkets, paired with its proven beauty and health benefits, we’ve put together a handy list on how to use the in-demand oil:

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5 useful tips for easing into veganism

So you want to go vegan. You’ve heard about the ethical, environmental and health benefits the vegan lifestyle delivers and you want in. You’ve been planning it all year, but just haven’t quite gotten around to it. You reason that after the holidays and into the new year is the best time to make the transition – when the slate is clean and motivations are high.

But… how do you make the change, and make it successfully? Here are some useful tips and guidelines to ensure your transition to veganism is one that sticks.

Festival ’16 shot by Ming Nomchong | Spell & The Gypsy Collective

Educate yourself.

Before anything else, make the effort to learn everything there is to know about veganism. This will really help you feel prepared and get you excited to embark on a positive life change. Read all about the benefits of the vegan lifestyle. Learn how to optimally nourish yourself on this diet so you won’t have any deficiencies. Start understanding ingredients lists and which ingredients are off-limits. All the insights will help you ease into a plant-based lifestyle with confidence and ease.

Add before you subtract.

Rather than just going cold turkey and eliminating all meat, dairy and eggs from your diet straight off the bat – start incorporating more vegan-friendly foods before you take anything out. That way, the transition will be smoother and won’t shock your body. Start adding more legumes, seeds, nuts, vegetables, non-dairy milk (like almond, rice, or soy) and tofu into your diet. You can also start a collection of delicious vegan recipes you can get excited about making.

Leave the hardest till last.

What’s your favorite food ever? That one you think you’re gonna have a really, really hard time letting go? That one. Maybe it’s a creamy feta cheese, or your Sunday morning eggs on toast. Whatever it is, don’t cut it out straight away. Leave it until last. Phase it out in a slow, controlled manner – this could take weeks or even months. You’ll find that the less you have it, the less you’ll crave it.

Learn all the good substitutes.

Being vegan doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the good stuff. Did you know that nutritional yeast flakes make a great substitute for parmesan cheese? Or that coconut yogurt tastes just as good (if not better) than dairy yogurt? Experiment with all these substitutes to find which ones you like best. Soon enough, you’ll be creating your own new plant-based versions of traditional favorite recipes.

Image via kiyoaki.tumblr.com

Don’t lose sight of why.

When the going gets tough, it’s easy to be tempted into giving in. But, when you know exactly why you decided to be vegan and remind yourself of that, you can quickly reign the temptations in. This is why it really helps to know all the benefits of a plant-based diet and the positive effects it has on our health, environment, and humanity.

6 benefits of honey you didn’t know about

There’s nothing we love more than finding new uses for seemingly standard pantry items. And honey is one of the very best multi-purpose foods we can think of.

Before sugar as we know it today was introduced into society, honey was commonly used as the (natural) sweetener of choice. And, did you know that historically, this sweeter-than-sweet substance has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for an array of things – it has bucket loads of great health benefits.

Packed with therapeutic properties, the benefits of honey vary from skincare to lowering blood-sugar levels.

Honey has, quite literally, hundreds of benefits – many of them very well documented. But here are 6 great ones you may not necessarily know about yet.

Image via Catherine Frawley

It’s an effective cough medicine.

Who knew curing a pesky cough was as easy as a spoonful of honey? Considered a natural cough medicine, it helps to relieve itchiness and discomfort in your throat by developing a protective layer. In fact, clinical research has shown that raw honey can be just as effective as dextromethorphan – an active ingredient in most traditional forms of cough medicines.

It can reduce allergies.

Allergies getting in the way of your day-to-day? Honey to the rescue! Containing pollen spores that were picked up by bees from different flowers, honey will slowly add allergens to your body – working kind of like a natural anti-allergy vaccine. To make it work, try having a teaspoon of raw honey every morning a month before pollen season hits.

It fights infections.

Honey is powerful. Some might even say it has super powers. It fights the good fight, and infections are one of its main enemies in combat. Before penicillin was popular, honey was used to fight skin infections and heal wounds – all thanks to its antibacterial, anti fungal, and antioxidant properties.

It can cure eye diseases.

Back in the day (like way, way back), Egyptians discovered that honey can play a part in curing eye disease. Applying honey on your eyes can improve sight, prevent loss of eye-sight, cure redness, eye infections and conjunctivitis.

It can cure acne.

Blemish sufferers rejoice, the cure you’ve been searching for may just be sitting pretty in your pantry. Honey can help you rid yourself of acne by absorbing impurities from the pores – it’s a soothing antiseptic.

It’s wonderful for healthy hair.

To round off our list of the magical benefits of honey, we have hair health. Yes – honey can help to restore strength and shine to dull, dry hair. And, it can help you get rid of dandruff by restoring moisture and reviving hair follicles. Perfect.

7 WAYS TO CARE FOR DRY SKIN

Winter is SO GOOD for your skin… said literally no one ever. From dryness to flakiness and even scaliness – those few bitter and frosty months are no friend to your complexion. First you notice a dry patch on your chin, then your elbows start to get a little rougher, and then – before you know it, the skin on your hands is cracking in a desperate plea for help from this unsettling change in temperature.

But we believe cooler weather should be celebrated, not chastised. Think chunky, cozy sweaters, warm cinnamon and turmeric lattes, and nights in watching old Goldie Hawn movies by the fireplace. Heaven. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of good-to-know tips that’ll allow you to be be properly prepared for the frost and enjoy the best of the cold months flake-free and fabulous. Because, let it be said… winter is coming.

1. Don’t just moisturize… nourish.

Many people don’t know the difference between moisturizing and nourishing. But there is one. A big one. Nourishing means you get nutrients – you’re feeding your skin the good stuff, and your oil levels are being replenished. It’s richer and REALLY beneficial to dry skin.

Moisturizing, on the other hand,  means that only your hydration levels are being addressed. So, to kill two birds with one stone and attend to both dry and dehydrated skin, use a nutrient-rich, thick body butter like Raw Sugar’s Raw Coconut + Mango or Pineapple + Maqui Berry + Coconut butters – ColdPressed to lock in a bunch of skin-loving vitamins and minerals. Just what thirsty skin needs.

2. Take it easy in the shower.

When you feel the chill, fight the urge to have a hot ’n’ steamy shower. Hot showers strip your skin of its natural oil barrier, which helps keep the moisture in. To prevent this from happening, keep your shower warm, sure, but not hot. And don’t linger. A quick 5-10 minutes will ensure your skin isn’t being  stripped of its natural oils (plus it’s good for the environment!). And try to work in your body butter straight out of the shower when your pores are soft and open.

3. Be gentle with your cleanser.

Cleansers can be harsh. They’re often packed with chemicals and fragrances that dry out your precious complexion. To avoid this, use a gentle and natural skin cleanser that works to hydrate your skin as well as clean it. Raw Sugar’s Reviving Facial Cleanser does the trick – it’s packed with vitamins, fruit extracts and all-round natural goodness.

4. Glove yourself.

Our poor, precious, hardworking hands are one of the first places on our body we notice dry skin. Care for your hands and prevent them from cracking by giving them protection in the form of gloves. Get a nice pair of thick, warm ones to wear outside when it’s cold – and make sure you use rubber gloves when doing the dishes or housework that involves dunking your hands in water. Trust us – your mitts will thank you for it.

5. Sleep with a humidifier.

It’s all well and good to keep your home warm and cozy with heating in the winter, but it means that much of the moisture in the air gets sucked out. And with dry air comes dry skin. Enter the humble humidifier. Humidifiers work wonders in replenishing the moisture of the air indoors and preventing parched skin. Keep one in your bedroom for a more regulated sleeping environment.

6. Shaving matters.

Put your hand up if you stop shaving your legs in winter. Ok, that rules out 90% of you – so the other 10% that keeps their pins silky and smooth even when they’re being hidden away by stockings and leggings, listen up. Shaving can irritate dry skin – and scrape away its natural oils. To care for your skin mid-shave, always use a proper shaving cream, oil or gel – and ensure that you’re shaving in the right direction, which is against the direction of the hair growth, for those wondering. A sharp razor is also essential as blunt ones just cause added irritation to your skin.

7. Be sun smart (even when it’s cold).

The sun is one of the major causes of dry and irritated skin. And make no mistake, just because it’s not sizzling out there doesn’t mean you’re not being hit with UV rays when you’re outdoors. Your body is probably safe with all the layers you’re wearing, but be sure to use an SPF 30 sun cream (year-round, that is) on your face in addition to your makeup and/or moisturizer. And to prevent chapped lips, keep them protected with an SPF 15 lip balm and reapply regularly

6 simple ways to incorporate meditation into your everyday routine

Question: what are you doing right now? Are you on the train into work? Indulging in a snack on the couch? Sitting on a park bench waiting for a friend?

Well, here’s the good news – any of those seemingly mundane everyday moments can easily be transformed into meaningful meditation time.

With the gazillion things we have to do in our hectic modern-day lives, it may seem difficult (or in some cases, impossible) to find time for mindfulness. But, alas, never fear – we’ve done some digging and found six simple ways to sneak a spot of meditation into the everyday. Because a peaceful state of mind should never be too far away.

1. Make the most of your commute

Put your morning commute to good use and start the day with a clear mind by meditating while you travel. Whether you catch the bus or train, drive, or walk into work or school – there are a bunch of great mindfulness apps you can listen to that will help you switch off and get lost in mantras and affirmations.

2. Why wait when you can meditate?

We all have that one friend (or client… or husband… ) who just can’t seem to help but turn up 15 minutes after schedule… every time. Instead of wasting time scrolling through social media or texting, try meditation instead. Put in your ear buds, listen to some soothing music, and be transported to another, much more calm, horizon. Then, when your companion finally does arrive – you’ll give them a smile instead of an eye-roll.

3. Stay in bed

Who’d have thought snoozing your alarm and staying in bed longer in the mornings could be good for you? It can! Squeeze the most out of your morning glory and take a few moments to think about the day ahead, consider your thoughts and feelings, and envision your ideal 24 hours ahead. Observe these barely-conscious thoughts and we promise you’ll kick your day off to a sublime start.

4. Snack time for the senses

Here’s one your going to love! As if we needed another reason to snack, right?! Next time you catch yourself wandering over to the fridge to grab your coconut ice-cream, make a conscious effort to be mindful during your wee indulgence. Focus on the enjoyment and sensations you feel while eating it – how does it feel on your lips, tongue, throat? Mindful eating is a an ancient practice, as well as a great way to express gratitude for our food.

5. Shower power

Practicing presence in the shower can have great effects. Most people like to think in the shower – it’s often the one part of our day we feel we’re getting some ‘me-time’. Breathe, be present, and observe the sensations of hot water on your body. Bonus points if you add some essential oils into the mix.

6. Bring on the chores!

You can always add a little awareness into physical everyday activities like cooking, vacuuming or doing the dishes. Feel the warm water over your hands receive while you wash dishes. Focus on the smells of vegetables as you chop them. It’s that simple.

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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