• How I Left My Dairy Life Behind (And How Doing So Did Wonders for My Skin)

    Hi, everyone. I’m Eliza and I used to be a self-proclaimed dairy addict. In fact, I always took my coffee, extra light, with cream. Whenever I could, I would season my meals with an overabundance of cheese. And, truth be told, I had this special bond with full-fat dairy yogurt. But, one day, I decided to leave that life behind in pursuit of a dairy-free diet. This is my story.

    Read More

  • Six Tips for a Healthy Vacation

    Hi Everyone!

    Vacation (or “vacay” as I call it) is the perfect time to relax and hit the reset button on our hectic daily lives.

    At the same time, however, vacay often comes with plenty of opportunities to indulge in not-so-healthy activities opposite from your usual routine.

    Because you’ve worked so hard to earn your much-deserved time off, the last thing you need is to stress about ways to stay healthy. Why ruin feeling amazing in your own skin just because you’re in a new place?

    Check out these six tips for ways to stay healthy while traveling!

    EXPLORE
    IMG_8103

    Walk everywhere! There is so much to see and do when you are in a new place. Make nature your playground–take a hike, go for a run, or ride a bike to soak everything in. Get around town with your own two feet! When I am traveling I always pack a pair of sneakers, ditch public transportation and soak up the atmosphere.

    TREAT YOURSELF

    I always allow myself one treat a day.

    I always allow myself one treat a day. It could be a meal, dessert or even a frozen drink from the tiki bar. It will satisfy your cravings and meet your body’s vacation needs! Always follow up your not-so-healthy treat with something healthy. Ate a crazy chocolate filled croissant for breakfast? Make sure to have a big, refreshing salad for lunch.

    PLAN IT OUT

    IMG_8301

    I don’t travel without snacks. My go-to snack is an RXBAR. They’re made of few, healthy ingredients that are extremely filling. Real meals, however, require some more planning. I always brow through menus and YELP before heading to the restaurant. I plan out exactly what I’m going to have beforehand to avoid any mind-wandering, last minute, unhealthy impulses.

    ATTEND FREE WORKOUTS

    IMG_8298Search the area you are visiting for fun free workouts. I was just at LOCKN’ Music Festival in Virginia where they had free yoga every morning. I made sure to take full advantage of this! Traveling with friends or family that don’t want to workout? Find a fun restaurant or venue that has live music where you can go get your groove on and burn calories while having fun!

    DRINK UP

    IMG_4807Make sure to drink plenty of water. And no, drinking bottomless mimosas or rosé does not count as hydrating just because it contains water. At the same time, it is totally OK to have few alcoholic beverages. Try not to drink away your daily calorie intake by going for something nice and light. My go-to drink is a white wine spritzer with just a little bit of wine and extra spritzer. It allows me to have a few drinks with my friends and family without feeling the calorie guilt.

    EAT LOCAL AND FRESH

    Find restaurants in the neighborhood that are farm to table or use ingredients from local farms.

    The ingredients spend less time in transit, which keeps the product as fresh as possible. Unlike their processed counterparts, they retain a good amount of nutrients. Step outside of your comfort zone and try new meals!

     

    Are ready to vacay the healthy way? Book your next trip and ENJOY!

    Peace, Love & Happy Traveling,

    Emily Burkhardt

  • Aloe Vera For The Soul

    Hooray For Succulents

    Tips From A Self-Proclaimed #PlantSlut

    This summer, I moved into my new apartment in the East Village. It’s a fourth-floor walk-up, it was 92 degrees out, and I had an overwhelming amount of crap. Needless to say, it was a tough afternoon. After everything was somewhat where it needed to be, I obviously went to Liquiteria, down the block and around the corner, for my favorite Berry Powerful smoothing. Full disclosure: I’m so basic it’s embarrassing. I also bought what I thought was water. It wasn’t. It was aloe water.

    I was intrigued.

    Hold on a minute, isn’t aloe aloe was used for burns? Why does it taste like cucumber? After some research, from which I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly educated, I ordered a jug of the succulent in liquid form from Amazon to my apartment. Thank you, delivery man, for carrying the huge gallon up four flights of stairs because I had no intention of doing it myself. Anyway, a sucker for health fads, I was instantly hooked.

    What’s In It?

    Let me break it down for you

    • Vitamins: A, C, E, folic acid, choline, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6, B12 (!!!!)
    • Minerals: calcium, magnesium, zinc, chromium, selenium, sodium, iron, potassium, copper, manganese & more

    Come again?

    DW, I had to look it up too

    A soothing, anti-inflammatory adaptogen

    We all know aloe for it’s soothing properties because it’s commonly used to heal burns and sores. But, when taken internally, it can also soothing for your digestive track. With unique properties like B-sisterole, aloe reduces inflammation in the body and helps to get rid of the unhealthy bacteria in your gut. Also an adatogen, a compound with balancing properties, the succulent helps balance the body internally which essentially makes you more prepared to deal with stress and fight off illness!

    You should totally read more about mental and digestive health here, because I definitely preached a little something something 😉 .

    You Got Me Hooked

    Where do I start?

    George’s 100% Aloe Liquid is the best. They do something magical that takes away the bitter taste inherent in aloe. It seriously tastes just like water with a slightly thicker consistency!

    Recommended dosage: 2 ounces, twice daily

    Try it for yourself! I’ve been taking it twice daily for several months now and I feel amazing. It’s hard to put my finger on why, so you’ll just have to trust me. I’ve also seen a huge difference in my skin. It’s been more supple, elastic, and hydrated. I would love to think it’s because of my new BFF, George.

  • Gut Feelings

    You Are What You Eat

    A Guide To Digestive Health

    Let’s face it, digestion isn’t a fun thing to talk about. But, we can’t talk about wellness without talking about the importance of digestion. So, let’s just get down to the nitty-gritty, shall we?

    Your digestive system, commonly referred to as your gut, is made up of nine unique parts—each of which play a crucial role in maintaining your overall health. Individually and collectively, they reap the nutrients from the food you eat. We’ll get into what I call “gut-healthy” foods in a bit, but I want to begin my pointing out the important link between your mental health and your digestive system.

    Is “Gut Stress” a Thing?

    We’re all stressed out about something. Whether it a final exam, relationship, or pimple, stress is both an unfortunate and inevitable part of life. Believe it or not, emotional stress can often lead to digestive stress. Yes, your feelings can affect your gut. Last week, we talked about how essential oils can help keep your mental wellness in check before your anxiety wrecks your insides. This week we’re going to talk about what happens when that anxiety can’t be prevented.

    To put things into perspective, your gut is responsible for 95% of your body’s serotonin production. Serotonin, for those who don’t know, is the chemical responsible for your mood, memory, and sleep. Basically, if your digestive system isn’t functioning at optimal levels, your body won’t produce enough serotonin needed for you to be the awesome and happy person you’re meant to be.

    What REALLY Happens to Your Intestines

    Stress causes the walls of our intestines to become inflamed. Because our intestines are responsible for the majority of our water and nutrient absorption, we definitely need them to function properly.

    Intestine

    The inflammation of our intestinal walls compromises the villi—a.k.a. the teeny tiny protrusions on the walls of our intestines that start the nutrient transportation process. At the same time, inflammation also clogs the lymph drainage system. What happens when the lymph (fluid that travels within and around our body collecting waste) drainage system doesn’t work properly? Well, everyone’s worst nightmare of course! Skin irritations and breakouts. Fun.

    Unfortunately, chronic stress also affects our output of digestive enzymes which are responsible for breaking down food in the small intestine and pancreas for proper nutrient absorption. The older we get, the fewer digestive enzymes we produce—a perk right next to hot flashes and grey hair.

    What Happens Inside Your Liver

    Liver

    When our gut isn’t doing its job, our liver overcompensates by performing waste-removing duties that aren’t being met by the rest of our digestive system. As a result, it doesn’t cleanse our blood like it normally would or should. Dull, lack-luster, eczema, and breakout-prone skin are telltale signs your liver is in overdrive.

    Why All Of This Matters

    Digestion is important not just for your waistline, but also for your beauty! In the up-coming weeks, we’re going to be talking a lot about health and eating your way to beautiful skin. Sure, products help, but real beauty always starts on the inside.

    Gut Healthy Nomz

    Hope is not lost. There are tasty and gut-healthy foods that can be introduced to your diet immediately.

    Fermented Foods

    By definition, fermented food is food that has already begun to break down or exposed to natural yeast and bacteria. While this may sound unappetizing, fermented food has trillions, yes, trillions of healthy bacteria that help fight infection and inflammation. Miso, Kimchi, Kefir, Kombucha, and Tempeh are common examples of fermented food. Kefir is a thinner, tangier yogurt that contains beneficial yeast and probiotics that are oh-so-important for your gut health. I, for example, recently started substituting almond milk with kefir for my smoothies. Kefir is 99% lactose-free! It’s also a great source of protein—9 grams per cup!

    Herbs & Spices

    You don’t need to look far. Take a peek into your pantry! Ginger is an easy root to introduce to your diet because it not only keeps your digestive system chugging along but it also reduces nausea and inflammation. Lo’s recipe for Ginger Tea From Scratch would be a great place to start. Otherwise, fennel, licorice, turmeric, dandelion, and peppermint will also have your gut saying thank you.

    Probiotics

    Probiotic supplements are designed to make it to your intestines before releasing the beneficial bacteria that keeps your gut healthy. There are different strains of probiotic bacteria available, the industry hasn’t proven which is best. Experts recommend looking for Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. 

    Raw Fruits & Veggies

    Our mothers didn’t make us eat our veggies for nothing! Raw fruits and vegetables contain enzymes that encourage our body to break down and take in nutrients. It’s best to eat fruits and vegetables raw because the enzymes are destroyed when you cook them.

    Other Tips & Tricks

    Get ready, this is probably the only time you’ll hear someone comparing exercise to eating. Just like the way you warm-up your body when you work out, you have to warm-up your digestion system before you eat. Drink a glass of water 15 minutes before your meal to hydrate your digestive tract. This helps the intestinal villi (the protrusions on the intestinal walls we talked about before) perform their best.

    This next tip is especially tricky for me, who, mind you, can finish a meal in six minutes flat. Since the digestion process begins in your mouth, experts recommend recommend chewing your food, even if it’s a green juice or a smoothie, 20-30 times before swallowing. By doing so, you’re releasing special enzymes that help spark the start of the digestive process.

    Congratulations

    We talked about your gut like adults!

    Now, that wasn’t too bad, was it?

     

     

     

  • Should I Go Back to School?

    As I get older my mind continues to expand, to crave knowledge, and be nimble and busy.  I’ve always loved to be a student and I continue to enhance my education as an adult by taking classes at different universities and trade schools.  I received my undergraduate degree in Art History from UCLA, my degree in the culinary arts from The International Culinary Center (formerly The French Culinary Institute) and now I’m ready for more.  Simply put, I adore learning.  This week’s Dear Lo focuses on the question I ask myself again and again:


    Dear Lo,

    Should I Go Back to School?

    Love, Lo


     

    The answer: if you have the time, energy, and desire to do so, YES!  Continuing to learn and develop is essential to my personal growth as a human being and I’m sure yours as well.  Today is my first day back at school in some time, and I couldn’t be more excited.  As you know I love to cook – it’s my passion.  When I began studying at culinary school I also dedicated myself to exercise in an effort to stay slim through the pounds of butter and salt I’d be consuming in class.  When paired together, cooking and exercise really allowed me to love treating my body with kindness in every way.  The next step in my health and wellness evolution is to receive a proper education in nutrition, and that’s the new journey I’m embarking on today.

    I’m starting a fantastic program at Tufts University and will receive a Certificate of Graduate Studies in Nutrition early next fall. The program is taught online, is at the graduate level, and will teach me the basic and beyond of nutrition, responsible food sourcing, disease prevention, and overall wellness.  I cannot wait to share what Iearn with all of you.

    As part of the admissions process I was asked to write a short personal essay sharing why I want to study Nutrition at Tufts.  I thought it would be fun to share that with you here, and I’ll continue to share my adventures in education with you guys over the course of the next year.  Three cheers to learning, yay!


    Imagine this: it’s the fall of 2015 and the moment we’ve all been waiting for (or dreading, depending on who you ask) is upon us.  An alien visitor from a faraway planet­­ has made literal contact with our Earth, landing neatly in Union Square in lower Manhattan.  Ignoring the military presence, the media frenzy, the people with their camera phones, and the religious zealots interpreting the event as the end of times, the alien visitor introduces himself to me as RALPH33 and asks me if I know a good place to grab a bite in this part of the galaxy.

    The responsibility I have as an ambassador of Planet Earth dawns on me.  Never before has a single meal held so much meaning; the information I choose to share will influence RALPH33’s perspective on Earth food forever.  And it’s not just the taste, look, and feel that he’ll learn about and remember.  I’m certain that because he’s new to this whole food thing we’ve got going here he’ll also want to know why I chose this meal, how it will interact with his body, whether it helps it or hurts it, the source of the food, and the emotional, cultural, and economic relationship humans have with it.

    I want to share only the sweetness of our bounty with him.  To fuel him with clean, whole ingredients.  To teach him that you really are what you eat, and that disease, and mood, and energy, and sickness can be greatly influenced by what you feed your body.  I’d rather RALPH33 not know that we are sick, our planet is sick, and that we’re quickly running out of time to right our wrongs.  But we do have time.  We can create a clean slate.  We have every tool we need at our disposal.  I want to be a part of that movement, to join the era of food enlightenment we’re experiencing as a voice of reason and to teach those around me what I know and learn.  I care about the future of health and wellness and firmly believe that sound nutrition is the foundational core of our society.

    My desire to inspire great change began 2 years ago through an intensive culinary program at the International Culinary Center in New York City.  I’ve always been a passionate foodie and chef and wanted to authoritatively expand my personal brand and business by learning to cook at a professional level.  My background is in entertainment, having spent 8 years on television and growing a digital audience of over 2 million individuals.  My program at the ICC also included an intensive look at farm-to-table cuisine, the content curated by Dan Barber of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, a leader in the farm-to-table food movement.

    I’ve always held food in higher regard than most.  I don’t just consume food – I love it, and part of loving the way it sizzles in a pan and tastes in my mouth comes from having a direct knowledge of the way it will interact with my body.  The food to body relationship is a fascinating one to me, tapping into my love of science, biology, and wellness.  Expanding my knowledge on the subject matter of nutrition science will feed my brain in the same way an excellent egg gives me the energy I need to get through my morning.  I crave information: for myself and to share with others.

    My long-term goal upon receiving a Certificate of Graduate Studies in Nutritional Studies from Tufts University is to share the information I learn with my audience around me in a way that inspires them to take action in their own lives.  I’m already creating influential food content with a focus on sustainability and wellness.   To have the opportunity to grow my knowledge of nutrition to create even more meaningful content is critically important in my endeavor to use my influence for good.

    Thank you for taking the time to review my personal statement and I hope to have the opportunity to study at Tufts University soon.

     

    Image from thekitchn.com

     

  • Healthy Workout Snacks and Meals

    Salad

    Strong Body, Strong Mind

    Fuel Your Body Right

    You know that familiar feeling all too well: you’ve returned from the gym exhausted, sweaty and hungry. Rummaging through your pantry, you find a chocolate bar that just seems to be calling your name. But after a long and exhausting workout, is it really worth it? Sometimes you luck out and find something nutritious, but unfortunately, that chocolate bar looked so good, and well, you had to have it… We’ve all been there and can understand the struggle (I’ve been known to splurge on bags of pretzels after exercising myself). I’m a fan of raw almonds and fruits as much as the next person, but after a difficult workout, I crave something more exciting and more satisfying. Next time you’re looking for something to munch on, skip the pantry and head for these healthy workout snacks that are well-worth your time and hunger:

    Salads

    Whether you’re in the mood for something sweet or savory, with the right ingredients, salads give you endless possibilities for a well-balanced, post-workout meal. Try a salad made with dinosaur kale, cherry tomatoes, white button mushrooms, heirloom bell peppers, Colby and a farm fresh egg (pictured above!) for a heartier meal. If you want something lighter, a side of watermelon pairs perfectly with a small helping of quinoa and arugula.

    tastes like summer – happy #superbowlsundae 🍉🌾🍅

    A post shared by Lily Kunin (@cleanfooddirtycity) on

    Clean Food Dirty City

    Smoothies 

    Instead of just having a piece of fruit on its own, combine your favorites into a refreshing smoothie. My favorite? The ever-classic Strawberry Banana (for the perfect Strawbana Smoothie, try Sarah of My New Roots‘ recipe). For all of you chocolate lovers, try a chocolate malt milo slushie– the name sounds deadly but it is 100% clean and made with maca for a boost of energy. Head on over to Simple Straws for the recipe.

    My New Roots

    Acai Bowls

    You’ve probably seen these colorful combinations on your Instagram before. They’re taking social media by storm, and with this much color and nutrients, are we really ones to complain? Made with acai berries and blended to a smoothie-like consistency, acai bowls can be topped with your favorite granola, fruits and nuts for a healthy and satisfying treat. Well-worth the hype? Try David Frenkel’s recipe and see for yourself!

    GK Stories

    Nana Ice Cream Bowls

    Ice cream? Sign me up! Similar to an acai bowl, nana ice cream is made with frozen bananas and other fruits and garnished with different toppings like cocoa bits, a drizzle of almond butter and fresh fruit. Light, creamy and delicious, nana ice cream is super easy to make. Take inspiration from Carina of Road to Everywhere for this snack– just don’t burn out your blender in the process!

    http://instagram.com/p/smjA35HCXV/

    Road To Everywhere

    Granola Bars 

    Smart snacking in its ultimate form: granola bars. You can buy them in the store, yes, but for a healthy bar without any artificial flavors and sugars, making your own is the way to go. Better yet, you can make big batches and save them for later. If you’ve never made your own before, start off with these hemp protein granola bars.

    Oh She Glows

    Tell me… what are some of your favorite post-workout snacks and meals? Share in the comments (don’t be afraid to throw in your own quick recipes)! Happy eating!

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