My BFF Collagen

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My current obsession is Collagen. I am six months away from turning 30 years old and I cannot help but think about all the wrinkles that will follow thereafter. (It is a little vain I know). But I am being honest here. And while I can’t stop the aging process per se, I can try my best to keep my body healthy, intake alot of antioxidants and boost it with lots of vitamins to keep the skin tight and right.

After getting a really bad cold in January, I strangely started having allergic reactions which turned my skin blotchy and red on a regular basis. Since my skin was so irritated and I was at a loss of what to do, I started taking Collagen because I read that it helps restore the skin’s moisture and improves the elasticity of your skin.

As we age, our skin slowly but surely thins out and loses its elasticity (it’s called elastosis) and hence the wrinkles follow thereafter. But studies show, (see link at end of article ) that women who took collagen peptides for 8 weeks saw a 20% reduction in wrinkles. HECK YES!!!!

Collagen also supports your hair, nails, joints, good digestion and balances hormones. Why not give it a shot right? Well here is how I take it.

Collagen

I take Collagen in three forms. First, I like to put Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides in my coffee in the morning. It is a powder that dissolves and it is tasteless so it does not compromise your morning Joe at all. With that being said, you can put it in whatever drink you choose whether it is a hot or cold beverage.

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I also EAT collagen in two forms. The brand Primal Kitchen sells Collagen Bars (Macadameian Nut and Coconut Cashew) which are delicious! And even better they make DARK CHOCOLATE ALMOND BARS with Collagen in it. Is that not genuis?

I have seen a significant difference in my skin since I started taking Collagen back in January. Give it a try and let me know your results! Sip, Sip and Booch on!

Collagen study:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24401291

Vital Proteins: http://www.vitalproteins.com/health/collagen-peptides.html)

Collagen Chocolate:https://www.primalkitchen.com/)

Photo is from VitalProteins.com -CHECK THEM OUT!

4 PODCASTS to Download RIGHT NOW!

I am so late to the game here – but I am OBSESSED with podcasts lately. My husband actually started listening to them a few years ago and (sorry babe!) I thought podcasts were a weird concept.

However, here I am – obsessed and eager to take trips in the car just to finish my podcasts.

What is a podcast? Well, it is an audio file available on the internet or on your phone. Podcasts are usually part of a series and subscribers receive a new podcast automatically each week. Best part – podcasts are free!

For example, one of my favorite podcasts is Soul on Fire by The Balanced Blonde. Her podcast comes out every Wednesday. So I downloaded the podcast app on my phone and subscribed to Soul on Fire by The Balanced Blonde. Now when I wake up on Wednesday mornings, her podcast is already downloaded on my phone and all I have to do is hit play when I get in the car.

Another great feature about podcasts is the ability to hit pause and listen to the podcast later on or listen to podcasts from 7 months back – unlike the radio where it is one and done type of situation.

Like I said before, I LOVE listening to podcasts in the car. I initially didn’t think I would like it because I love blasting my music and getting lost in the lyrics on the way to work. However, I feel like the biggest multi-tasker ever and so accomplished when I drive and listen to podcasts. I typically listen to health and wellness podcasts – some make me laugh and others are just SO INFORMATIVE.

So without further ado, let me share with you favorite podcasts right now.

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  1. The SKINNY CONFIDENTIAL – This podcast is hosted by Lauryn & Michael Bosstick, a dynamic duo. Lauren has a kick ass vibe that demands your attention and Michael surprisingly always has some great input on the topic at issue. They chat about their personal success and lifestyle hacks including marital advice, sex life, health tips, and LOTS of guidance on creating your own brand success. They are relate-able,  hilarious and I definitely recommend you replace your morning radio show with some Lauren and Michael every Tuesday.FullSizeRender
  2. Soul on Fire by The Balanced Blonde : This wonderful soul talks about everything wellness and health. She is the girl next door who everyone wants to be friends with because she is just so kind. Jordan Younger has already had such an incredible wellness journey before hitting age 30 and is wise beyond her years. Her podcast is more of a conversation with guests such as Jeanette Odgen (Blogger @ShuttheKaleUp), Girls from HighVibeLiving, Sophie Jaffe (Philosophie) and many many more. This is one of my most favorite podcasts – I highly recommend this to anyone looking to tap into their health, wellness, yoga or spiritual side.FullSizeRender(1)
  3. Mr. and Mrs. Guinea Pig: You all know Heather Debrow from Real Housewives of Orange County and Terry Debrow from Botched right?! Well these characters have their own podcast and it is downright HILARIOUS. Listeners call in and ask the couple advice on marriage, health and anything lifestyle. I love the variety and diversity of each and every episode.FullSizeRender(3)
  4. Bulletproof Radio: If you haven’t heard of Dave Asprey then maybe you have been living under a rock….This health guru has spent over $1 million hacking his own biology. He goes over the steps to hacking your bio and explains how it is done – full disclosure, some of the information is pretty intense. Sometimes I have to rewind and listen to parts of the podcast again. But honestly, his podcasts are SO interesting and informative. I highly recommend this podcast while you sip on your Bulletproof coffee (See my post next week on my variations of Bulletproof coffee!).

What podcasts are you all listening to? I love hearing podcast recommendations to add to my repertoire. Till next time, sip on that BOOCH! xx Erica

The Day I Threw ALL My Tupperware Away

Wow – that title makes me feel like an old lady. But it is true – I am definitely going to be talking about tupperware in this post. I promise, it is a post worth reading.

About two months ago, my husband and I tossed all of our plastic tupperware including all those food containers you accumulate every time you buy chinese food. Since then, we have transitioned to using glass storage containers.

There are SO many toxic chemicals that can transfer to your food from plastic packaging. These chemicals are being strongly linked to asthma, allergies, ADHS in children and may even cause certain types of cancer. Experts advise that the most toxic plastics include #3 (PVC), #6 (PS), #7 (PC). (Want to learn about each individual plastic? Check out the link at the end of this article).

Instead, experts advise you to instead choose safer plastics such as #1 (PETE), #2 (HDPE), #4 (LDPE), or #5 (PP) whenever plastic cannot be avoided. This is as EASY as looking for the number in the triangle usually located at the bottom of a product.

I ended up purchasing these glass containers from Thrive Market. (https://thrivemarket.com/u-konserve-glass-container-with-silicone-sleeve-large-slate). If you have not tried Thrive Market yet, I would HIGHLY suggest it! (Try my code for a free 1 month trial: http://thrv.me/bringyourownkombucha).

What I really love about these UKonserve containers is that they are made of glass, silicon sleeves AND you can pop these bad boys in the microwave, the oven (up to 425 degrees) and the dishwasher. The lids are made of #5 plastic (remember NOT ALL PLASTICS ARE CREATED equal) and the containers are BPA-free, phthalate-free and lead-free.

Lifefactory also makes a similar container however I found UKonserve to be of the same quality and a better price. Just being honest here!

Both my husband and I also bring lunch to work every day and although we don’t use paper bags, we do go through ziplock plastic bags like crazy. I always feel guilty because it is such a waste as we use it one time and then toss it out.

Apparently, I am not the only one who does this.

Did you know that 50% of the plastic used in the U.S. is used just once then thrown away????
Did you know Americans discard more than 30 million tons of plastic a year, and only 8 percent gets recycled???? That means the remaining 92% piles up in landfills, is incinerated or becomes litter.
Did you know there are over 5 trillion pieces of plastic, weighing more than 250,000 tons, floating in our oceans????
Did you know a school-age child using a disposable lunch generates 67 pounds of lunch waste per school year????
Did you know every year Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags????
(Facts taken from UKonserve)

FullSizeRender(6)Luckily, I found a earth friendly solution for that problem. I purchased Blue Advocado re(zip) bags from Thrive Market (https://thrivemarket.com/blueavocado-rezip-seal-bags-4-piece-kit). I also bought a couple Stasher bags from amazon.

Both brands are made food-safe, PVC-free, lead-free and BPA-free. One bag can replace up to 300 zip lock bags!!

Additionally, I also started using Healthy Human and UKonserve bottles for my coffee and water intake. You can find both of those on Thrive Market or Amazon as well.

I will not ever share a product unless I have used it, loved it, and can honestly vouch for it. I always research the brand before buying it. So far we are two months plastic tupperware free and we love it.

I strongly encourage you to read more about the risks of plastics and consider making the transition to glass or reusable zip lock bags as well. The Earth cannot digest these plastics and it is truly time to make a change. For more information check out the Plastic Pollution Coalition at http://www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org/.

Let me know your thoughts below. Till next time, sip on that BOOCH! xx Erica

Facts shared from: http://www.ukonserve.com/Articles.asp?ID=253
http://www.healthychild.org/easy-steps/find-safe-plastics-for-your-familys-foo/
https://www.lifewithoutplastic.com/store/common_plastics_no_1_to_no_7#.WOmHMvkrKt8

(Pictures are from ThriveMarket.com, Stasher, Healthy Human Living and UKonserve).

Lavender, Cedar Wood, Peppermint, OH MY!

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My interest in essential oils sparked from a friend of mine who kept posting on instagram about how life changing essential oils were for her. She was not selling them or employed by the company, but merely just vocalizing her content with the oils and how she has integrated them into her life.

I mean, if these oils are LIFE CHANGING, why not give them a shot. Right?

So I began my quest into exploring essential oils and I asked my friend Margherita Alberto, R.N. and essential oil expert , to enlighten us all about the benefits of them.

Margherita explained she became engaged in essential oils after her significant other had passed away. She was on anti-depressants, anxiety pills, sleeping pills and even migraine medication.

“Doctors kept prescribing me medications and I was a zombie. Now I’ve create blends to treat my feelings and grief. I use them for not only illness but depression, focus, physical pain, to sleep and wake up, everything you can think of!”

FullSizeRender(1)Essential oils are responsible for triggering the brain’s hypothalamus which in return controls hormones, energy and drive. (For more information on the science of it check out:  http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/essential-oils)

Margherita applies the oils topically, using a diffuser, or (believe it or not!) mixes it into her drinks. FUN FACT: Young Living is the only company that is FDA regulated for consumption.

Aside from the emotional affects essential oils can have on ones body, you can also use them to clean your household or make your own deodorant.

FullSizeRender (2)She shared her concoction for home made deodorant below:
6 tablespoons of a carrier oil (ex: coconut oil, aloe oil, jojoba, grape seed, etc)
¼ cup arrowroot powder
¼ cup baking soda
10-20 drops of an essential oil

She also pointed out that Copaiba can be used as a deodorant with nothing else. Theives can be used to clean your house or as a toothpaste. Lemon oil can be used as a degreaser or insect repellant. My personal favorite is rose oil – which helps with dry skin and AGING!!!! These are non-toxic alternatives that you can easily incorporate into your every day life.

Not convinced yet? Margherita recommends downloading the app called ‘Think Dirty.” It is a free app where you can scan all the products in your house (think cleaning supplies, cosmetics, baby products, etc) and it grades them based on toxicity and carcinogenic chemical levels.

“You would be surprised with how many chemicals we douse ourselves in. The average woman uses hundreds of chemicals just before breakfast alone. Scan 5 products in your house and tell me you aren’t afraid! Johnson and Johnson baby shampoo FAILED. Baby shampoo! I’m telling you, oils are better 100% of the time, this is the way to go.”

I am sure by now you can sense her passion and see why I was so intrigued. After having such a life changing experience utilizing the oils, Margherita decided to become a part of the YOUNG LIVING company so that she could spread her knowledge and experience with others.

She feels really passionate about her company and their message. She explained an important fact to remember is that: Not all oils are created equal. Young Living has a seed to seal promise which basically means the company owns all of their farms globally. They are responsible for planting and harvesting each plant/root/leaf/bark/etc, distills it and tests it, all without a 3rd party participant.

The pricing on the oils are based on the time it takes to grow the plant, amount needed to create the oil, etc.

For good measure, ask you doctor if you have any medical concerns. Interested in Young Living Oils? Margherita, who is so informative and just has an overall kind soul, can be reached at: margheritaalberto@gmail.com.

Facebook: @soloyallyoily

Instagram: @margheritaaaaaa

And her link to sign up for essential oils is https://www.youngliving.com/signup/?site=US&sponsorid=10974487&enrollerid=10974487

And of course, feel free to ask questions below! LAVENDER ON my friends! Till next time, sip on that BOOCH! xx Erica

(Please note: All photos were provided by Margherita and incorporated with her permission as a employee of Young Living).

What kind of music does the Easter Bunny listen to? HIP HOP.

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How about some other goods ones:

Why did the Easter egg hide? He was a chicken!
Where is the Easter bunny’s favorite place to eat? Ihop!
What kind of jewelry does the Easter Bunny wear? 14 carrot gold!

It is official. Easter is just a few days away so here is my Easter edition blog post. I promise you – no more corny jokes. However, I will be providing you with a DIY tutorial on how to make naturally dyed Easter eggs.

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There are so many kitchen ingredients you can use to dye eggs. For example, I used beets (which turned the eggs a light tan), tumeric (yellow) and purple cabbage (blue). I only dyed three different colored eggs because I don’t have kids so there is no Easter egg hunt in our apartment. But according to Pinterest, here are some other options:

Coffee – brown
Spinach – green
Blueberries – blue
Yellow onion – orange
Red onion – charcoal
Beets – pink (mine came out tan!)

First, hard boil your eggs. In another pot, boil the vinegar, water and the kitchen ingredient of your choice for 10 minutes. Then let the mixture cool for another 10 minutes. You have the option of straining the kitchen ingredient out or leaving it in the mixture. Finally, put your eggs in the mixture to absorb the natural dye.

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I let my eggs sit in the mixture overnight because I wanted them to come out bright instead of a light pastel color. I also read somewhere that if you keep the ingredient in the mixture, instead of straining it out, you can create a speckled egg. So I left the red cabbage in the mixture overnight with the eggs and it did come out speckled.

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Note that it only takes an hour for the color to set in. So if you are doing this project with little kids, I suggest making the mixture yourself and then letting them participate by putting the eggs in the mixture. Perhaps put on an Easter movie for them while you wait an hour for the eggs to absorb the color.

Here are the exact directions below:

Ingredients
1 dozen Eggs
1 cup Vinegar
2 tablespoons Tumeric
4 cups Spinach
4 cups Red Cabbage
2 cups Coffee
4 cups Beets

Instructions
1. Hard boil the eggs.
2. In another pot, take 2 tablespoons of tumeric (or kitchen ingredient of your choice) with 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil and continue to let the mixture boil for 10 minutes.
3. Set the mixture aside for 10 minutes to cool down (or until the water is luke warm).
4. Place the dye and eggs in a cup. Let sit for 1 hour (or longer if you wish the eggs to come out brighter).
5. Continue for each ingredient.

Happy Easter everyone! Till next time, sip on that BOOCH! xx Erica

Sippin’ booch, baby

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Hello there! Welcome to the BRING YOUR OWN KOMBUCHA Blog, where I will post about everything health and wellness. Let me start off by telling you, I am in no way purporting to be an expert on wellness. On the contrary, this blog will document MY journey to wellness – everything I have learned thus far and thereafter. Hopefully, you will find my journey useful and interesting.

This blog came about because every since I can remember I have wanted to become a journalist. I swear it stems back to my preschool days watching teenage mutant ninja turtles and being in awe of April, the reporter on the show. I wrote for my local newspaper in high school, majored in journalism in college, and was a website correspondent in law school. And now here I am – starting my own blog.

The name Bring Your Own Kombucha came about because I wanted to create a blog that was more of a conversation instead of a lecture. I literally want you to bring your kombucha, kick your feet up, and read my blog!

My obnoxious obsession with kombucha has taken over my social media accounts and in return my friends and family keep asking me, what the heck is kombucha. So I figured why not write my first post about my favorite fizzy, good for you, go to drink.

I actually heard of kombucha for the first time from @ShutTheKaleUp’s instagram page. (Find her here: https://www.instagram.com/shutthekaleup/?hl=en). Let me just note, I am OBSESSED with her instagram stories as she is SO SO SO informative and just a really cool human. Anyways, I found alot of health and wellness bloggers were drinking it so I decided to give it a try.

I sipped it. And I became OBSESSED with it. So what is it?

Kombucha is a fermented tea made of water, tea, sugar and SCOBY. SCOBY is a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. The SCOBY is responsible for fermenting the sugar and tea solution.

Kombucha may be all the rage right now but it has actually been around for thousands of years. Allegedly it has been around since 220BC!

Kombucha contains probiotics (naturally of course!) which helps promote good digestion, detoxification, reduces bloating and it is naturally energizing. In fact, some mornings I replace my cup of coffee with some good ole’ booch. (In case you didn’t know, the short name for kombucha is booch).

I drink 1/2 bottle to 1 bottle of kombucha a day. (It can cost anywhere from $2-$5 a bottle). But it makes you feel so GOOD. This is how I describe it to my friends who are trying it for the first time: You know the feeling you have when wake up in the morning, you feel the skinniest you feel all day. When you drink kombucha, you feel that kind of skinny all day.

The first time my best friend tasted it (Health-ade Pink Lady Apple flavor) she told me it tasted like champagne (maybe that is why we love it so much). I really love the fizzy taste. It satisfies my cravings for soda. Now if that isn’t a healthy replacement, then I do not know what is!

And if your local – you should check out Nourished by Nature located in Bradley Beach, NJ – where they actually serve kombucha on TAP! (Check them out here: https://www.instagram.com/nourished4u/?hl=en)

As for the store bands, my favorites are Health-ade and KeVita. My favorite flavors are Maca-Berry, Pink Lady Apple, Pomegranate, and Beet. (I also cannot help singing “We got the beat” everytime I drink the beet flavor – whoops!).

The Health-ade brand is organic, non-GMO, raw, natural, vegan, gluten-free, kosher, has no artificial ingredients, no preservatives and no dyes!

Best part: EVEN SHOPRITE NOW CARRIES KOMBUCHA – and for slightly less than Whole Foods. It just goes to show how accessible being healthy can be.

If you decide you love it, but you do not love the price of it, no problem. There are plenty of kombucha kits where you can make it yourself at home. Here is a kit I recently purchased on Thrive Market. (https://thrivemarket.com/cultures-for-health-kombucha-tea-starter-culture).

(P.S. If you want a free month of Thrive Market here is my referral link: http://thrv.me/bringyourownkombucha )

Like I said previously, I am not a doctor but I know how it makes my body feel and that is why I am sharing it with you. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Till next time, sip on that BOOCH! xx Erica

Want to read more about Kombucha? Here are some reliable articles.
http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2013/09/30/226531998/kombucha-magical-health-elixir-or-just-funky-tea
http://www.health.com/nutrition/info-about-kombucha

Link to my favorite brand: http://health-ade.com/

Picture was taken at Nourished by Nature.