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The Benefits Of A Sprinkle Of Chia Seeds

SNL enthusiasts may recall the ‘Chia Head” sketch, featuring Kevin Nealon, Chris Rock, and David Spade as balding men who have “tried everything” and failed miserably in their futile attempts to regrow hair. The commercial spoof shows the actors throwing ineffective hair products in the garbage only to be pleasantly surprised by the discovery of “Chia Head.” This product, much like the “Chia Pet” novelty, requires the men to rub the gloppy formula on their heads, only to wake up the next morning having sprouted plantlike follicles in varying afro-like shapes – the most hilarious of which is probably Chris Rock’s Marge Simpson-inspired beehive-like do.

Funny as the sketch was, it is perhaps more amusing to realize that hair growth is one of the many health benefits of chia seeds. If only the SNL alum had known; a little sprinkle of chia really could’ve gone a long way.

Chia seeds

High in Nutrients, Low In Calories
It’s no accident that “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for strength. These tiny black seeds, related to the mint, contain 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 5 grams of omega-3s, as well as a decent percentage of calcium, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorous. Chia seeds are a gluten-free, GMO-free, whole grain food, and one ounce contains a low 137 calories and one gram of carbohydrate.

Antioxidant Rich
The antioxidants in chia seeds prevent the production of free radicals that can cause damage to cell molecules and contribute to cancer and aging.

Fiber Rich
Although chia seeds have 12 grams of carbs per ounce, 11 of those are fiber, which means that these 11 grams are not digested by the body, do not raise blood sugar, and don’t require insulin for disposal. The high-fiber content means that the seeds can absorb as much as 10 to 12 times their weight in water, thereby increasing fullness, slowing food absorption, and decreasing feelings of hunger. Chia seeds are one of the best fiber sources in the world, helping to feed good bacteria in the intestine and promoting proper digestion.

High In Protein
Chia seeds are about 14% protein by weight and contain a good balance of amino acids, which assists in helping our body to process the proteins in them. High protein can reduce appetite and is shown to lower food cravings by 60% and the need for nighttime snacking by 50%.

Can Improve Athletic Performance
A recent study was conducted to find out if there was truth to the legend that Mayans and Aztecs used chia seeds as high-performance fuel. Six participants were given carb-loaded Gatorade or a mix of Gatorade and chia seeds. After a workout involving an hour on the treadmill followed by a 10-kilometer run, it was discovered that both groups performed equally well, suggesting that the chia seeds were just as effective as Gatorade in fueling athletic performance.

Incorporating Chia Seeds In Your Diet
Chia seed can be eaten raw or added to puddings, porridges, and baked goods. They can be sprinkled on yogurt, cereal, vegetables, and rice and can even be used as egg substitutes because of their ability to absorb water and fat. Recommended dosage is 20 grams, or about 1.5 tablespoons, twice daily.

Do you have any chia-seed recommendations for us? We’d love to hear from you!

Woman smiling

Supplements That Nourish Skin From The Inside Out

TV watchers will no doubt have been inundated by a variety of vitamin and supplement commercials. You may have heard pitches for skin restoring supplements with phytoceramides and lipowheat for “maintaining healthy skin hydration” or the multi-collagen protein capsules that “contain 5 sources of potent collagen including Types I, II, III, V, and X.”

Perhaps you’ve even been offered a complimentary sample of the skin and total body dietary supplements to “support cognitive skills while enhancing the look of your skin.’
In short, when it comes to choosing supplements for your skin, it can get pretty confusing, but it all really comes down to the basics.

Vitamin D
Vitamin D is important for helping to prevent colon, esophageal and great cancer and activates your immune system to fight infection. Unfortunately, according to Michael F. Holick, MD, PhD, of women over the age of 50, less than 10% are getting their proper Vitamin D intake. Good sources of vitamin D are fatty fish, milk, egg yolks, cereal and sunlight It is recommended that you get 1,000 IU of Vitamin D per day. Vitamin D can also strengthen muscles and relieve bone and muscle aches in pain sufferers.
Red supplement tablets

Calcium
Calcium builds and preserves strong bones and is crucial for the nerve and muscle function. Unfortunately, when you hit 50, your bone tissue breaks down faster than it is being built, which is why you need more. Try and get 500 mgs up to two times a day. Calcium can also decrease risks of developing polyps that lead to colon cancer.

Magnesium
Lack of magnesium puts you at higher risk for type 2 diabetes, according to the Harvard’s Women’s Health Study and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that older adults have a lower ability to absorb it from food. In addition, diuretics and antibiotics can also hamper your absorption, Try to find a multivitamin with 350 mg of magnesium. You may also find it lowers your blood pressure, as indicated by preliminary research.

B Vitamins
Studies suggest that B6, B12, and folate may all lower risk of stroke and heart disease, according to David L. Katz, MD, MPH, director of Yale Prevention Research Center. As you age, the quantity of acid in your stomach goes down, and that acid is necessary to release B12 from foods. Because of this, between 10 and 20% of older Americans have trouble with B12 absorption. Try and find a multivitamin with 400 mcg of folic acid, 2.4mcg of B12 and 1.5 mg of B6 and get ready for trouble from the cops about being too young to drive.

What supplements do you use to nourish your skin? Let us know!

Cinnamon sticks and powder

Sprinkle On A Little Cinnamon

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld once said, “Cinnamon. It should be on tables in restaurants along with salt and pepper. Anytime someone says, “Oooh, this is so good- what is this?’ The answer invariably comes back, ‘cinnamon.’ Cinnamon. Again and again.” Indeed, one can’t go too wrong with cinnamon. It goes with everything from toast to apples, tea to coffee, rice pudding to noodle pudding. Even Pizza Hut can hardly deny the boost to their sales caused by the addition of cinnamon sticks to their dessert menu. And now cinnamon can add another feather in its cap. It’s good for you!

Source of Antioxidants
Cinnamon is full of antioxidants that protect against free radical damage and slow the process of aging. Researchers have found forty-one protective compounds in the spice, and that’s only to date!

The OTAC scale, used to measure antioxidant concentration ranks cinnamon a respectable number 7 in all herbs, spices, and foods and was the hands down antioxidant- concentration winner in the herbs and spices category, beating out rosemary, thyme and oregano.

Cinnamon in a mug

Inflammatory
The antioxidants in cinnamon also contribute to its anti -inflammatory effects, which can help decrease the risk of cancer, diminish decline of brain function, and heart disease. Research has revealed the presence of over seven kinds of flavanoid compounds in cinnamon, which are known for their ability in fighting disease -causing inflammation throughout the body. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, cinnamon is also an effective source of pain relief, helping to soothe muscle soreness, allergic reactions, and PMS pains.

Heart Health
Another health benefit of cinnamon is its ability to reduce cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, two of the most common factors for heart disease. Compounds in the spice can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol while stabilizing HDL (good) cholesterol, promoting heart health.

Research also shows cinnamon boosts blood circulation and aids the body in its ability to repair tissue after it’s been damaged, including heart tissue.

Fights Diabetes
Also an effective anti-diabetic, cinnamon can help lower levels of blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity. This is because cinnamon is capable of blocking enzymes that allow the blood to absorb glucose, decreasing the amount of sugars that enter the bloodstream, which is especially beneficial to diabetics.

Cinnamon powder

Prevents Cognitive Decline
Cinnamon protects cognitive function by activating proteins that protect brain cells from damage and reduces oxidative stress. Furthermore, its high concentration of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds make it a candidate for possible therapeutic treatment in preventing age-related disease.

Lowers Risk of Cancer
You can also add the ability to lower cancer risk to this spice’s already impressive resume. Cinnamon protects against cell mutation, DNA damage and tumor growth, Studies show that is the compound cinnamaldehyde that is responsible for the inhibition of cancer growth and also the cause of apoptosis, the self-destruction of cancer cells.

Protects Against Bad Breath
Cinnamon Trident, anyone? Studies show cinnamon contains extracts that protect against bacteria that cause bad breath, cavities and tooth decay. Furthermore, the essential oils in cinnamon have proven more potent than any other known plant extracts. It can be used naturally as an anti-bacterial mouthwash and as a flavoring agent in chewing gum to remove oral bacteria.

What do your sprinkle your cinnamon on? Let us know your innovative ways of spicing things up!

Bread and pasta

Change Up Your Diet By Avoiding Bread, Pasta, and Chocolate

For many of us, the idea of avoiding bread, pasta, and chocolate is akin to depriving ourselves of air, food, and water. In fact, if most of us were told that were suddenly required to eliminate these three things from our diets, a good percentage of us would probably find our meals shrunk to half the size, leaving a large chunk of the population both clueless and dinner less. And that definitely puts the kibosh on the chocolate spaghetti you were thinking of making for dessert tonight.

Carbohydrates are a vital part of a nutrient-rich diet. They’re naturally occurring sugars that supply our bodies with energy and help with glucose production. However, when it comes to carbohydrates, as with everything else, its all about making the right choices.

Simple and Complex Carbs
Our bodies need carbohydrates to keep healthy there are two types. Complex carbs take our bodies a reasonable amount of time to digest, and, as a result, glucose is released at a reasonable rate. Simple carbohydrates release the sugar at a much higher rate, causing sugar levels to spike and, bring on hunger, increasing food cravings, and

Bread
Bread, namely white bread, is the most commonly consumed carbohydrate, and, fortunately, it is also the one easiest to remove. Here are a few replacement ideas.

Lettuce Wraps
If you’re new to the lettuce wrap, romaine is the best flatbread replacement while radicchio and butter lettuce are excellent alternatives to sandwich bread. Just fold the lettuce around your favorite filling or use two pieces, one on top, one under.

Whole Grains
If you can’t envision life without bread, go for the whole grains, enriched with germ intact, if possible.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms
A veg with some substance, portobello mushrooms can be a great and delicious substitute for a sandwich bun, and are also a great source of vitamin D.

Pasta
Like bread, pasta is a processed grain and is best when consumed in a whole grain variety. If you’re thinking of kicking pasta off the shopping list, here are some backup ideas.

Veggies
Zucchini sliced into long ribbons can serve as a substitute for fettuccine noodles and lasagna, and broccoli slaw and spaghetti squash can replace spaghetti noodles when blanched lightly.

Quinoa
You may not be sure of how to pronounce it, but quinoa (“keen-waa”) is a low carb, high protein grain that can be a great pasta replacement in salads and soups.

Shirataki Noodles
These carb-less, low-calorie Japanese noodles owe their consistency to yam starch. That said, you may find a difference in texture from your typical wheat noodles, but shirataki noodles are a healthy pasta alternative.

Shirataki Noodles

Chocolate
Although you may have heard of dark chocolate as an antioxidant superfood, chocolate in large quantities is not a recommended source of nutrition. It provides only simple carbohydrates and is bad for teeth and digestion. For an alternative source of sweetness try:

Fruit
Try keeping a Tupperware container full of fruit for when the sweet cravings hit.

Cocoa powder
Try making chocolate pudding with cocoa powder, skim milk and a sugar substitute.

Get the good stuff
If you must eat chocolate, go for quality over quantity. Chocolate with high cacao content and low sugar contain a high antioxidant level and is good for you in small quantities. Try to avoid “candy chocolate” that is more likely to contain artificial flavoring and colorings.

Let us know how you manage to survive without pasta, bread, and chocolate. What are your favorite go-to substitutes?

Wine and Other Heart Healthy Foods And Beverages

In Greek history, wine has always played a major role in sparking profound dialogue and wild sex. From the orgiastic Dionysian rituals to the philosophical discussions between Plato and Socrates, wine was just as openly exchanged as thoughts and bodily fluids. Indeed, the connection between wine, intense conversation, and physical pleasure seems to have held up through the years and cultures, but, in comparison to its history, the connection between wine and heart health is a rather new discovery.

In the past years, researcher have looked at foods and supplements to analyze the ideal components of a heart-healthy diet. Here are some heart healthy foods and beverages, wine included, that made the list.

Red Wine
Red Wine and Heart Health
Studies show that people who drink moderate amounts of alcohol have a lower risk of heart disease than nondrinkers, with further studies showing that red wine may actually offer extra health benefits. It contains flavonoids and resveratrol, which can limit hardening of the arteries.
In addition, according to the American Heart Association, one to two alcoholic drinks per day has been shown to increase “good” (HDL) cholesterol, while lowering “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and may also reduce instances of blood clots.

Chocolate and Heart Health
The discovery that dark chocolate and cocoa are good for the heart is truly revelatory. Chocolate is rich in antioxidants called flavanoids which keep blood vessels healthy and aids them in their ability to expand.

Those of who prefer white chocolate are less fortunate. While one study showed that eating dark chocolate daily reduced blood pressure and reduced LDL, no such benefits were found as a result of eating the white variety.

Fish Oil and Heart Health
Fatty fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that may help fight heart disease. According to the AHA, the best aquatic candidates for a healthy heart include lake trout, salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, and sardines.

Alice Lichtenstein, DSc and professor of nutrition science and policy, says that she has reviewed studies crediting fish oil with decreased instances of cardiovascular disease, concluding that those who eat more than two servings per week are at a lower risk level.

Cholesterol Lowering Foods
Certain foods contain plant sterols that are shown to decrease bad cholesterol. These include cholesterol lowering margarine, chocolate bars, yogurt, and some orange juices. However, although these products have been shown to lower cholesterol, they should be used in moderation as part of a heart-healthy diet low in saturated fat.

Veggies
Fruits and Vegetables and Heart Health
Lichtenstein says, “We’ve been very disappointed with supplements in general, especially with respect to cardiovascular disease.” She adds, “All the major vitamin E intervention studies have shown no significant effects.”

The solution? More fruits and veggies! Judith Levine, RD, MS advises eating ” a rainbow of fruits and veggies, incorporating reds, blues, greens, and orange/yellows for a well-balanced heart healthy diet.

What do you eat to keep your heart healthy? Let us know what tops your list of heart-healthy indulgences!

Transform Dull Pasty Skin

If you’re looking a little more zombie-like than you would prefer, here are some ways you can transform your dull and pasty skin into something a bit more life affirming.

Smiling woman 1. Exfoliate
When you exfoliate, your skin reflects more light. If you’re younger than 20, your skin cells rejuvenate ever 28 days, but by the time you hit for 20’s, turnover slows to between 30 and 40 days. According to Jeannette Graf, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, “Dead skin cells pile up, diffusing the light and making skin dull. ” Exfoliate at night rather than in the morning for best results and to remove all the dirt and grime buildup from the day.

2. Use a Highlighter
Makeup artist Mally Roncal says a champagne highlighter, “looks good on anyone.” For normal to dry skin, Roncal advises using your fingers for application. “Tap up and down your cheekbones and dab whatever’s leftover on your brow bones, the center of your chin, and the tip of your nose.” If your complexion is on the oily side, you may want to dust some powder formula over those areas with a fluffy brush.

3. Allover Body Glow
To get an all over body radiance, try botanical oils instead of lotion. The lipids found in botanical oils are the same ones that are in your skin’s natural moisture barrier. Cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson recommends coconut oil. “It’s rich in fatty acids, so it gets absorbed really quickly and leaves behind a glow instead of a shine-it looks more like your skin is lit up than lotioned up.”
Roncal weighs in on the importance of an full body shine, saying, “if your face is radiant and your body is ashy, it can look jarring. Your glow will be much more believable if you highlight your body too. However, when it comes to your body, a tinted highlighter is preferable to an untinted, which is easier to blend, while still providing a healthy glow.

Woman exfoliating skin
4. Optimal Skin Care Tips
In addition to exfoliation, there are certain ingredients you should look for to give your skin that extra brilliance.

Ceramides
Although your skin has natural enzymes to slough off dead skin cells, they don’t work as well when your skin is dry. Moisturizers with ceramides can reinforce the natural barrier of your skin and help it to rejuvenate.

Retinoids
Frederic Brandt, dermatologist says, “Your skin reflects light even better when its firm.” He suggests an over the counter or prescription strength retinoid to boost production of collagen.

Vitamin C
Use this antioxidant to brighten skin and help fade dulling sun spots.

Best Exfoliators for Your Skin

For Fair, Dry, and Sensitive Skin
If your skin comes under one of these categories, you should probably go easy on the exfoliation. Your skin type is the type most likely to become irritated and prone to dryness and age spots. Dr. Brandt recommends a lactic peel once a week. Lactic acid is made of fairly large molecules, which doesn’t penetrate as deeply as harsher acids.

For Oily and Combination Skin
If you’ve got combination or oily skin, you require deeper exfoliation than other skin types. Brandt says a cleanser with salicylic acid used daily and a scrub with microbeads used once a weel are the ways to go. “The scrub sweeps aways dead cells so the salicylic acid can clean clogged pores,” he says.

For Normal Skin
Brandt says you should use a glycolic acid peel one a week if you’ve got normal skin. Says he, “it’s one of the most effective exfoliators because it penetrates deeply.”

What do you do when your glow is low? We want to know!

Secrets Of The Chronically Sickless

There is a Japanese superstition that stupid people are immune to colds. Similarly, In France, coryza, a condition similar to a cold, is called “rhume de cerveau” or brain cold, the takeaway being that people without brains can’t catch the sickness. And, of course, you may be more familiar with the English expression, “too slow to catch a cold.” Perhaps this is a reference to idiots being too stupid to realize they have a cold, or perhaps it means that only an idiot would do things that cause colds. Or maybe it’s just sour grapes on the part of the chronically infirm.
Either way, the outtake is this, you have to be pretty smart to outsmart a cold. So, let’s take some time to explore the “Secrets of the Chronically Sickless.”

Woman exercising
1. They Exercise
According to David Nieman, DrPH. director oaf the Human Performance Lab, “exercise is the single most important thing o can do to reduce sick days.” Although scientists are yet to find a likely explanation, one thing is for sure, consistent exercise is good for the immune system. And, you don’t have to take up a second residence at the gym to reap the rewards. Says Nieman,” People who exercise for 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week have a 46% reduction in the number of days of illness compared with those who don’t exercise.”

2. They Wash Their Hands
Your fingertips can be breeding ground for bacteria, and research shows you touch your face about 16 times each hour. The CDC recommends washing hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds to keep germs to a minimum. If you can’t get to a sink, hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol can provide a decent backup, although a proper hand washing is preferable.

3. They Have Lots of Sex
Well, if you needed an excuse, researchers at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania found that college students who had sex once or twice a week had higher levels of an immune system protein called immunoglobin A, as compared with their less lucky counterparts.

Woman eating 4. They Mix Up Their Meals
Jackie Newgent, RDB says, “There’s not just one specific nutrient or food component that’s linked to staying healthy. Instead, it’s about synergy. Aim to fill half your plate with non starchy vegetables.” They are full of antioxidants to support your immune system. Include green tea in your diet. It increases the number of regulatory T cells, which are important to the immune system and try probiotics. A study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that college students who consumed probiotics had fewer sick days and recovered faster that those who didn’t.

5. They Get Lots of Z’s
Americans who say they have above average health sleep an average of 18 to 23 minutes more per night than those who reported their health as fair or poor, says the National Sleep Foundation. The immune system needs sleep to keep healthy and studies found that people who get less than 6 yours shuteye a night are four times as likely to catch a cold than those who get 7 hours.

How do you stay chronically sickless? We would all love to know your secrets! Send them on in!

Natural Ingredients That Keep Skin Soft, Flexible, and Resilient

Of course, the modern women knows that wit and ingenuity are our greatest weapons, but we also know its not a bad idea to keep a few tricks up our sleeves for when the going gets tough. Like when it comes to the war against aging skin. That’s when it time to call in the coven for a little witch’s brew. How do you think Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer and Susan Sarandon stayed so young looking for the Witches of Eastwick sequel?

When it comes to magic potions for your skin, nature is your best resource. There are plenty of ingredients bestowed by the good grace of Mother Nature that can keep your skin flexible strong, and resilient.

Coconut Oil
1. Coconut Oil
Not just for monkeys! Coconut oil’s many talents include removing dead skin cells, protecting against sunburns and strengthening epidermal tissue. In fact, research shows that coconut oil can even fight chronic skin disease and curb cutaneous inflammation. You can use this miracle of nature on your hair and skin to remove makeup, cleanse, heal wounds and scars, and prevent razor burns. When taken internally, coconut helps to bring oxygen and nutrients to the cells and wash away toxins, making it indispensable for skin health.

2. Tea Tree Oil
Also known as mealeuca alternifolia, tea tree oil has been used in Australia for hundreds of years to fight inflammation, redness, and breakouts. It is also known as a well-tolerated alternative for people who react poorly to harsh acne treatments. and its hydrocarbons contribute to its anti-bacterial properties. Researchers have found more than 100 different chemical components that are aromatic and capable of traveling through the pores of the skin and mucus membranes, which is why tea tree oil is so effective as a home remedy for acne.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar
This inexpensive skin product can kill pathogens like bacteria, and clear skin problems resulting from gut issues as well as cleanse the skin and prevent acne. It also contains vitamins like magnesium and potassium, which are can be effective detoxifying agents when taken internally because of their ability to improve liver function and balance gut bacteria.

Raw honey
4. Raw Honey
Bring on the sweet stuff for reducing breakouts, healing wounds, fighting allergic rashes, and reducing scars. This unheated, unpasteurized ingredient keep all of its nutrients intact because it is not subject to processing, like other honey. Honey is also an effective antimicrobial and can be used for dressing burns and wounds, and has been used in treatments to heal dandruff, psoriasis, diaper dermatitis and more.

5. Sea Salt
One of the more recent stars of the nutritional world, sea salt is chockfull of calcium, magnesium and potassium that it absorbs from seawater. because these minerals are the same as those found within the skin else in our body, sea salt is an excellent ingredient that can protect, balance and restore skin. Ir contains anti-inflammatory properties to fight breakouts, remove dead cells, balance oil production and help skin retain moisture.

So what potions are you stirring up this week? We would love to know!

Add Some Avocado Oil To Your Diet

Life seems to be getting better. First, olive oil becomes the new superfood, and Italian food is back on the menu. Then, we find out dark chocolate has antioxidants and our afternoon snack got a lot more interesting, But now, a true star has emerged, avocado oil, and indeed, it may be the happiest thing to happen to food thus far.

When scientist David Fairchild declared avocados to be, “the veritable fruit of paradise,” he literally said a mouthful. The avocado is in no way your usual fruit. It is full of healthy fat and produces oil. Avocado oil may not be as popular as olive oil, but it is certainly just as chockfull of health benefits and every bit as tasty.

avocado oil
Lowers Blood Pressure
The mono saturated fats in avocado oil can lower blood pressure naturally when used as a replacement for transfats and saturated fats in your diet. According to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association, partially substituting carbohydrates with mono saturated fats and protein can improve lipid levels, lower blood pressure and reduce cardiovascular disease.

Eases Arthritis Pain
ASU is an extract made from a combination of soybean and avocado extract which has recently received prescription drug status in France as a treatment for knee and hip osteoarthritis. In Denmark, ASU is used as a dietary supplement for its anti inflammatory properties and ability to stimulate growth and repair of cartilage.

Benefits Skin Problems Like Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a common skin problem causing the buildup of dead skin cells. A study published in Dermatology proved a B12 cream with avocado oil to be effective as a topical treatment for psoriasis. Patients using the oil for 12 weeks showed regular improvement during the study period. This is a significant finding, as most psoriasis medications are associated with side effects. Avocado oil may offer a risk free alternative.

Lowers Cholesterol and Improves Heart Health
Because it is high in content of monounsaturated oleic acid, avocado oil has the ability to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease by raising the body’s “good” cholesterol and lowering bad cholesterol. Monosaturated fatty acids, such as oleic acid have also been shown in clinical studies to reduce risk factors for coronary heart disease, such as factors affecting formation of blood clots and insulin sensitivity.

Avocado Oil Uses
Boosts Absorption of Nutrients

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that avocado oil can also help to increase the body’s absorption of carotenoids. Carotenoids are antioxidants that depend on healthy fats for absorption. Dietary carotenoids are thought to have numerous health benefits, including the ability to decrease risk of cancers and eye disease.

Using Avocado Oil
When purchasing avocado oil, make sure the oil is 100% pure, for the healthiest and highest quality. It can be used in the same way olive pile is used, that is as a dressing on a salad or sandwich, or to roast or sautee foods. Avocado oil is also known for its regenerative properties and can used in hair to moisturize and improve texture and in skincare for eye makefup removal, dry cuticles, and cracked heels and wrinkle reduction.

Have you tried avocado oil yet? Let us know how you used it, whether on your skin or in your food!

Host A Cozy Wine and Cheese Gathering

It has been said that man cannot live on bread alone, but maybe if the bread had a little cheese on it? There are few things in life that speak of pleasure quite like a well-aged cheese accompanied by a nice glass of vino. If you want to be the friend with benefits this year, you should probably look into hosting a comfy wine and cheese gathering for some close friends. Not sure about what to put on the shopping list? Maybe this will help.

Know Your Cheese
Although wine is a critical component of many parties, a good wine and cheese party needs to start with good cheese. In order to do this, there are a few things you need to know.

Cheese Platter
Variety
Cheese is usually classified by moisture level, type of milk used, mold or rind, and moisture level. The best wine and cheese parties consist of three to five cheeses from a variety of categories, including hard cheese, soft cheese, semi-hard cheese, semi-soft cheese, soft ripened cheese, washed rind cheese, and blue cheese. Here are some cheeses you may want to include in your spread, along with wine and food accompaniment suggestions.

Blue Cheese
Blue Cheese is known for its strong, pungent flavor. It goes well with candied nuts, blackberries and honey. It is best spread on a sweet cracker, such as an oat cracker. While it pairs well with sweet dessert wines and robust reds, it can also go with a Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay for a slightly different approach.

Parmesan Cheese
Chèvre
Chèvre has a light tang that goes well with pecans or toasted pine nuts. Blackberries and raspberries are suitable fruit accompaniments. The taste of chèvre is best balanced when spread on a light cracker, like a water cracker, or on sourdough bread. It also blends quite nicely with moderately spicy peppers. When it comes to wine, Champagne, Riesling. Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay are your best bets.

Manchego
Machego is a bold -tasting cheese that can be paired with nuts like walnuts and macron almonds, and fruits such as apples and grapes. This cheese is especially flavorful when spread on a toasted of freshly baked baguette. Quince paste is traditionally served with manchego in Spain, and it also pairs well with rosemary. Generally, this Spanish cheese should be served with Spanish wine. Cava is a sparkling wine similar to champagne, while Tempranillo is a robust red, both of which suit the cheese well.

Vine-Vera-host-a-cozy-wine-and-cheese-gathering-Gouda
Gouda
Gouda is a sweet fruity cheese that becomes more fruity with age. Serve it with salted or lightly spiced nuts, pears, or green apples. The best crackers and bread for gouda are salted wheat crackers or whole wheat bread rounds and it also goes well with baked squash. The semi -sweetness and low acid content in Semi-sweet or semi-dry Rieslings are best for bringing out the flavor accents in this Dutch cheese.

Parmesan
Nutty and salty with hints of fruit and mildly sweet, parmesan cheese pairs well with pecans, figs, or pears. When it comes to crackers and bread, the baguette is the best choice and you might want to include some hard sausage, balsamic vinegar, and sweet mustard in your spread if you are serving parmesan. Prosecco and Nebbiolo are both good choices for rounding out the heaviness of the cheese.

Vine-Vera-host-a-cozy-wine-and-cheese-gathering-Cheddar
Cheddar
Cranberries are a recommended fruit choice for salty, sharp cheddar cheese. Serve this cheese on a light cracker, like a water cracker and top with beets or horseradish. Cheddars go with red wines like Rose, Pinot Noir, and Bourdeaux.

What are you planning for your cozy wine and cheese nosh? Let us know! We love to hear it!