Four Teas You Should Try This Fall

As a woman raised in a Haitian household, tea was the cure for everything. Haitians believe that drinking tea isn’t just a pastime but a means for healing and apart of there lifestyle. There's a special tea for every ailment you can think of. As you could imagine, they usually tasted awful. So you could imagine why I wasn’t always such an avid tea drinker. Whether it’s garlic tea for stomach aches or orange leaves for fevers and colds, I never understood how vital these concoctions were to my overall well being. However, now that I am older and wiser, I’ve come to appreciate tea. So let's delve into a few teas that are filled with nutritional benefits for us.
Orange Leaves/ Orange Peel Tea - We all know how great a fresh cup of orange juice is and that it’s packed with vitamin C, right?  Well, let me tell you, the tea is just as amazing! As a young girl, my mommy would give me orange tea to drink with some honey to relieve cold and flu symptoms. She would even use the tea (leaves and all) to wash my hair during that time. Orange peels aren’t only helpful when you’re sick. It also has antihistamine properties due it the abundance of Vitamin C, which is a lifesaver during allergy season. Orange leaves cleanse the lungs and aids with respiratory illness. .
Garlic Tea - I hated this tea growing up! My mom would boil of garlic cloves with the skin, lemon peels, and cloves then add a little salt for taste. Each of these ingredients have quite the healing benefits. Although my mom gave me this tea whenever I complained of a tummy ache or gas, the benefits go way beyond this. Garlic aids in dissolving excess fats. It’s good for heart health and filled with antioxidants, which prevents premature aging. Lemon peels help to eliminate gas and decongest the liver. It cleanses your body by reducing water retention, leading to some weight loss. Cloves contain anti-inflammatory agents and antioxidants. So all together this tea is dynamic and powerful, though it doesn’t have the best taste.
Soursop Tea - This tea is very popular throughout the Caribbean. It taste really good and can probably be consumed regularly. Some believe it can treat cancer by killing free radicals in your body. It’s a great immune booster and it’s known to lower glucose levels in diabetics. When you encounter those sleepless nights, soursop tea will send you straight to dreamland. My son doesn’t mind a cup or two of this tea, so try sharing it with your little ones, you’d be surprised.
Cerasee Tea - Cerasee tea is very bitter, which is why my siblings and I hated drinking it. However, we didn’t have much of a choice. We were forced to drink cerasee at the beginning of the school year because it was good for “cleaning our bodies”. If you have Caribbean parents, you probably went through the same thing. It may have been gross but there was a method to our parents’ madness. Cerasee leaves rids the body of harmful toxins. It’s used to prevent fevers, headaches, colds and the like.
Do yourself a favor and put these teas into your rotation. It may be a little difficult getting some ingredients but most could be found at your local Asian grocery stores. I'm pretty sure a lot of the leaves can be found at most authentic tea boutique shops popping up across Brooklyn.
If you are too afraid to try these, start slow and get some fresh peppermint leaves and make your own peppermint tea. You could also try making homemade spicy ginger tea using fresh ginger and cinnamon. Regardless of which you choose, start drinking tea. Your body will thank you for it.
I would love to read some of your tea recipes. So feel free to comment and tell me what teas you’re drinking.
 

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Friendships And How Do We Get Them To Work

No one is meant to journey through life alone. We are made to relate. Relationships are essential to our way of being, and they evolve and change as we do when we age. As kids, you develop your first relationship with your parent/caregiver. As you get older, you still maintain that relationship but your relationship with your friends take precedence. Even older, you begin to build and cultivate romantic relationships, professional relationships, etc. Many use the term relationship to refer to romantic involvements, and that’s probably due to the fact that we have developed names for all the other relationships in our lives (i.e. associates, co-workers, family, friends, and so on).

As mommies, we rely on our friends. They're our support system. We go to them for love, conversation, and stress relief – especially on those precious nights away from our kids! At times, it’s so hard to maintain these friendships. I mean it’s already difficult to maintain a relationship with your man who’s around daily, let alone friends you potentially see a few times a year. As we get older things change and friends aren’t always on the same page. Some of us are still enjoying the single life, traveling the world, building their careers, while others are building families. Unfortunately, there are times when a friend is dealing with life changing tragedies or struggling to make it day by day. Though all of this may be occurring, how do I fit in a girl’s night on a regular basis?

I’ve learned that in order to create great friendships you have to be intentional. You have to schedule check-ins, phone calls, short visits, fun activities and precious nights away from the kids and anything else that you all may need a siesta from. It may seem like a lot of work but it’s necessary if you want to have a fruitful relationship. We’re at a juncture in our lives when so many new things are becoming priority and we are beginning to learn who we are. Catering to a friendship will only work when we are intentional with it.

The most important thing to remember is to do everything with love and not obligation. So often life gets in the way and messes everything up and stress becomes synonymous with life. Anger and frustration sort of take precedence and the love we have to share gets buried underneath all that mess. Building lasting friendships requires us to love, to love patiently and sometimes from a distance.  

 

So for the rest of the week, I challenge you to be intentional with old friends and new friends alike. Remember to come from a place of love and patience. Don’t be afraid to reach out. In situations that seem beyond you, if you miss your friend, don’t be afraid to start over. Like I said, relationships are essential to our way of being, and I bet you were a lot happier when that person was in your life. Make a call, send a text, every girl needs a friend.


 

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Five Hacks to Keep You Focused on Your Health Journey!

So often we say that we’ll start eating healthier but take no action in doing so.  Some of us say it’s too expensive without giving it an honest try. Or we put no effort into our healthy goals but still expect it to magically happen. For me, anything worth working hard for must be a good thing. Some days, I may not have it all together and get sidetracked because I’m unable to afford healthier options on my tight budget. Or it's that time of the month and I really just want cookies for breakfast or maybe I forgot my lunch and I have to succumb to the unhealthy foods in the neighborhood.  But it’s ok because every day is a new day and I get to start it however I choose to and so can you. So I gathered a few tips that help me stay on track or get back on track.

1.         Preparation is always a great way to start off on the right foot.  When getting ready to go grocery shopping, make a list of the items you need before you get there. A list keeps you focused on not only what you came for but to prevent you from spending on the items you don't need.

2.         Look over the circulars for the markets you’ll visit, this will help you know what’s on sale and gives you time to clip some coupons. You can't lose when your saving money. 

3.         Buy pantry items in bulk. Items like rice, pasta, flour, canned tomato’s and dry beans should always be on hand in your kitchen. If you have things in your pantry, it’ll keep you from ordering take out.

4.         Cooking! The benefits of cooking your own meals are priceless. So priceless that it’ll save you so much money and your food will always be healthier than your local fast food restaurant. Cooking also encourages and furthers your goal of creating that healthy lifestyle you yearn for. You’ll learn more about foods and appreciate it a whole lot more. So will your family!

5.         You haven’t been to the gym in over a week?  Just start over. So what if I had a turkey burger with fries! Don’t get to crazy, one step at a time. It’s a health journey not a destination.

 

I’d love to hear what you all have to say on track with your goals. Don’t forget to comment below. 

Five Reasons to Stop Drinking Soda Right Now!

Have you ever noticed that there’s at least one corner store on each block in your neighborhood? Have you ever wondered why? Well, a lot of money is spent promoting the items sold (I.e. soda, chips, candy) to the American public, mainly to our youth. Aggressive marketing strategies play a big role in why these businesses are thriving in our neighborhood. Packaging designs and flavors have adapted over the years to keep you interested.
Now, do you remember those days when you and your friends visited the corner store religiously? Always leaving with a hero, a bag of chips, some candy or gum, and a bottle of soda (especially on those days when you had a school trip). At the time, it didn’t seem like a bad thing because everyone was doing it but thank goodness those days are behind you. If they’re not, make every effort to adjust your routine. Regular consumption of soda and the like increases your risk for diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. It even messes with your teeth. Do you want to be 45 with a full mouth of dentures? I didn’t think so. Now that I’ve got your attention, let’s get deeper into why we shouldn’t drink soda:
1. Soda doesn’t quench your thirst! Soda and other sugary drinks causes dehydration. After the soda is finished, it tends to leave you wanting more, right? Let me tell you this, it’s not because it tastes really good. It’s because the extremely high sugar content, caffeine, and sodium gives way to dehydration.
2. When you’ve given your body too much sugar, it doesn’t know what else to do with it so it turns it into fat. That fat gets stored in places you don’t want it stored; hence, belly fat. Your body then builds a resistance to sugar, therefore testing a higher risk for diabetes becomes all too real.
3. Soda isn’t good for your bones. Studies have shown that soda contains a lot of phosphate, and when you consume more phosphate than calcium it can be harmful to your bone health, increasing your risk for osteoporosis.
4. It could force you to make that trip to the dentist you’ve been avoiding. Just like candy, soda rots your teeth. It causes plague buildup and dissolves tooth enamel, leaving your teeth pretty defenseless.
5. Soda has absolutely no nutritional value. It contains sugar and that’s pretty much it. No minerals, no vitamins… nothing! So what’s the point of consuming empty calories?
Trying to stop drinking soda can’t happen in one day. Many health professionals believe that sugar is addictive and can overwhelm any thought we have of trying to stop us from consuming it. So start slowly. Always keep a glass of water by you. Sip it when you get thirsty to avoid the urge to get soda.
On another note, many juices targeted for kids contain the same horrible ingredients we find in soda. We need to be more mindful about what we’re feeding our kids. I know this is easier said than done but we have to try. Keep in mind the future benefits or the future disadvantages. My son is very persistent when asking for juice, and sometimes I give in. We just have to remember to give them the good stuff more often than not.

Four Ways to Get Your Family Ready for the School Year

The new school year is upon us and it’s time to get our lives in order. The summer was full of barbecues, sandy beaches and late nights. Now that’s it’s almost over, we are all looking forward to early mornings, long days and parent teacher meetings. Getting prepared to go back to school can be costly and it eats away at the precious summer time we have left. I don’t know if I’m alone in this but I love this time! I love the start of a new season! I am even more excited this year because my son is getting older and I’m learning more and more new ways to get us all ready for the new school year.
First on the agenda is developing a system for preparing breakfast and lunch. Try to keep it simple and organization is key. Create a space in the fridge just for items you are sure you’ll be using in the mornings. For instance, things like rolls, butter, cream cheese, milk, or whatever else you have for breakfast should be sectioned off together. The same goes for lunch items. Keep in mind, your are not limited to the fridge, feel free to do the same in the pantry. Not only does it save time but your children will always know where to find them.
Second, food preparation may take the most time when school starts however there are a million ideas across the web to make it easier and more fun for you and your family. The best thing to do here is to experiment. Utilize these last days of summer to cook up a few things and see what your family takes a liking to. This will help you create a rotation because, trust me, you will get tired of egg muffins very quickly.  Click here to find a few breakfast ideas. 
Next, create a routine to make getting dressed for school easier and more efficient. It seems to me like every school has a uniform policy and it works! If your child wears a uniform then you know what I mean. It makes preparing for the week go ever so smoothly but here’s a tip to make it go even smoother. Take about an hour every Sunday to go through this week’s uniform as well as the gym clothes with your child. Put them on hangers and label the days of the week on each. Make sure the younger kids can reach. This gets them started on dressing themselves in the morning, and it allows for a little bit more “me” time in those busy mornings.
The last tip I have is my favorite! Create a homework station. This is where it all goes down after school. It doesn’t matter if it’s at a desk/table or it’s simply a space held for a basket filled with school supplies, it’ll work once you reinforce that this space is where we come to work not play. This year I’ll be adding a large bin, which will be divided by months to collect all those many, many school papers my son comes home with. It’s a great tool for recognition of growth and achievement.  I keep my homework station pretty simple  but click here to find a few more fancy ideas for creating homework stations.
To make the back to school transition easy, you have to prepare. To make healthier breakfast, snack, and lunch choices, you have to prepare. So use these last few weeks to start doing just that. I guarantee you that the school days will go by easier if you follow these simple tips.
I encourage you all to share any other ideas you may have or plan on implementing to make back to school a breeze. I’d love to hear from you!