At its best, spoken word is a powerful, high-energy form of expression that attracts artists and audiences of all ages from a wide range of disciplines and socio-cultural backgrounds.
Luz McCook … Remember her name, and make sure you remember that you heard it first from Majestical Lips, INC. Luz is a beautiful mother of two darling boys, a working woman, a chef, and the owner and founder of PopupMIA and Discover Gourmet Catering. If that wasn’t enough to empress you Luz recently started a non-profit organization called Flowers Against Hunger, a food pantry that provides healthy fresh food for hungry families in South Florida.
I have seen her passion in food through the food she produces, but I had to ask her how she grew to love cooking so much. Luz explained to me that as a child growing up she bonded with her father by cooking with him. That made cooking enjoyable for her, eventually making it a way for her to express herself. Her main ingredient ? Love <3 Consider yourself lucky if you get invited to her home for any cooked meal, because Luz told me “if i cook for you consider it an extension of love”. Luz specializes in international cuisine, having cooked for celebrities and professional athletes. Before the birth of her youngest son she had an awesome gig cooking for student who lived on campus at FIU. Im sure it was better than mamas cooking !
Through mutual friends and the lovely social media I have had the please of becoming friends with this magnificent woman (If you couldn’t tell I’m all about women empowerment). I am excited to have her as a part of the MLI family. Her energy and positive vibrations are infectious. Growing up with a passion for cooking, Luz has always inspired me with her posts, I made Jamaican Patties years ago since I felt so inspired. None the less her presentation and creativity is beyond any of my home learned skills. Now I leave the cooking up to her and focus of spreading the holistic lifestyle. But, it is has been torturous, salivating over all of her post on Instagram like pan roasted chicken breast braised in homemade roasted chicken stock, served with congri with smoked sausage and steamed veggies YUM !!
I wanted to share Luz with you because Popup MIA will be presenting a series of spring brunches called Nice N’ Easy in the Majestical Lips Garden hosted by herself and Dahlia Brice. The first to be held on April 19, 2015 from 11:00am to 3:00pm Book your ticket here before the 17th and get the early bird special .. A portion of all tickets sold at this event will be donated to Flowers Against Hunger. Flowers Against Hunger is a weekly subscription of $4, with this small donation they send you a small bouquet of flowers for your office or home. So while feeding the less fortunate family you get a little reminder of how awesome you are for donating ! I could go on and on about why she is amazing but, the easiest way for you to find out is by making your way here to meet her and Dahlia for yourself!
Click the above flyer to purchase tickets …
To contact Luz or Dahlia check out the information below
What is it?
Bentonite clay is a natural healing clay that is made up from minerals that are formed by volcanic ash. This volcanic ash was originally found near Fort Benton, Wyoming. It is a very powerful clay that produces a negative electric charge when activated by water, This aids in binding and removing toxins. The water alters the components allowing the clay to become a powerful tool to absorb those nasty toxins. Bentonite clay is used to remove heavy metals from the body in addition to toxins. It can be used both externally and internally, if the quality of clay is high (while we do mention ingesting Bentonite clay we do not recommend that you do so).
How is it used?
Externally, this clay can be applied to any area of your body. Some people go as for as to taking a Bentonite Clay bath, applying it to their entire body.
- Apply the bentonite clay and water paste on the skin. This can be used for any skin irritation like blemishes, insect bites, cuts, skin itching, and burns. It helps with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
- For more severe issues try making a poultice by applying a thick layer of clay on the skin, then a layer of wet gauze or cloth. After the clay and gauze have been applied, wrap the area, changing the poultice every 2 hours.
- Detox Bath – Add 1/4 to 1/2 cups of clay to your bath and soak for 15-20 minutes. It will revitalize your body and awaken your cells.
- Substitute for Baby Powder – The clay can be applied the same way you apply baby powder. It soothes infection and redness.
-Face Mask Recipes-
- 1 tablespoon bentonite clay
- 1 tablespoon water, apple cider vinegar, or kombucha
- essential oils like tea tree and lavender are optional
- a cup or bowl and a spoon to mix (plastic only)
Mix the ingredients together and apply to the face or area of skin you wish to focus on. Allow the mask to dry for 15-20 or until hard, this will allow the sponge like mixture to draw out all toxins and heavy metals in the skin. Once the mask has hardened, rinse with warm water and pat dry. It is always important to moisturize your skin, keep it natural and try raw shea butter. If you find it to be too greasy try a light weight moisturizer that contains SPF.
– Add 4-5 drops tea tree essential oil and 1 tablespoon of ground oats (grind in food processor or blender until flour like) for an acne fighting mask
-Add 1 tablespoon of raw organic honey for an antibacterial acne fighting mask
– Substitute the water, apple cider vinegar, or kombucha for a plain yogurt for a soothing face mask
Let’s talk about it … the Immortal Health Elixir, commonly known as Kombucha. In a nut shell it is the superfood of beverages, but before we rant and rave about how amazing it is, we need to know WHAT it is.
Kombucha is fermented tea, plain and simple. Fermentation, as per Webster’s definition is, a : a chemical change with effervescence b : an enzymatically controlled anaerobic breakdown of an energy-rich compound (as a carbohydrate to carbon dioxide and alcohol or to an organic acid); broadly : an enzymatically controlled transformation of an organic compound (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fermentation). It is the process of that the ecosystem uses to digest complex matter into simpler molecules, which brings it down to base level to be re-entered into the food chain.
The drink is alive ! After the fermentation process, it has the power to nourish the body with compounds that can detoxify, energize, support your immune system, promote healthy skin, aides in digestion, and elevates your mood.
So, what’s in it ? Kombucha is made with tea, we use a green tea, but you may find it made with white or black teas as well. The tea is sweetened with white sugar. I know, I know, white sugar … this is probably the only time when white sugar is the only option. During the fermentation process the SCOBY, which I’ll get to in a second, eats up all the sugar. Finally, and the most important part of the fermentation process, the SCOBY. SCOBY which stands for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast, is what gets the party started…. (There will be a later post on how to make Kombucha which I will go into detail about the process and all its ingredients.)
Okay, now that we got the business out the way… let’s talk about how AMAZING kombucha is.
First and foremost it is a probiotic drink. It is rich is many of the enzymes and bacterial acids your body naturally produces and uses to detox your system. While almost every batch can very in it components, I will give you a list of a few of them that have been found by scientific studies.
- Glucosamines – Increases the hyaluronic acid in synovial fluid
- Probiotics – Aides in digestions and fights candida overgrowth
- Acetic Acid – The longer the tea is left to ferment, the higher the levels of acetic acid. This particular acid has the effect of leveling blood sugar spikes by disturbing the process of the breakdown of starches and sugar.
- Caprylic acid – This acid is associated with the reduction of high blood pressure, as well as the treatment of Crohn’s disease. Caprylic acid is often used to treat vaginal and other yeast infections, including thrush.
- B vitamins – Now we all know the importance of B vitamins, in Kombucha you may find …
- B1 – Thiamine; deficiencies in this particular vitamin can cause optical, neurological, cardiovascular, and other serious diseases.
- B2 – Riboflavin; This helps to prevent migraine headaches, treat anemia, breakdown fat and carbs, and aides in the production of energy in your body.
- B3 – Niacin – Decreases the risk of <3 disease !!! Also, it is helpful in regulating hormones; specifically, sexual hormones.
- B5 – Pantothenic Acid; helps to regulate the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol & it is also a great defender against heart disease
- B12 – Cyanocobalamin; cell maintenance, particularly in the blood and nervous system. It helps with fatigue, Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer, and anemia.
- Catechins and other polyphenols – Basically … antioxidants. Antioxidants do not live long in the body, therefore it is beneficial to consume them throughout the day. That does not mean that you have to only sip Kombucha throughout your day, it just means that now you have another option to your daily consumption of antioxidants. Oh, and if you weren’t familiar with polyphenols before, you should start. Polyphenols help to reduce body fat. You’re welcome.
- Lactic acid – This particular acid is made by our muscles during exercise, which is what our mitochondria use to maintain performance. Therefore, the more lactic acid our little mitochondria have, the longer and harder they can work. IMPROVED PERFORMANCE.
Those are just a few of the compounds that have been found by multiple scientific studies. Now, and I’ll make it short and brief, I will list a few of the benefits that have been found through cultural wisdom …
- Acid Reflux
- Excess Weight
- Radiation Poisoning
- Sluggish Metabolism
- Thinning Hair
and believe me… ask a few different people whose families have been drinking Kombucha for generations, the list would never end.
So, hopefully you have been convinced to, at least try Kombucha, if you haven’t already.
When you do we recommend that you start off with only 4oz a day. I know that it isn’t much, and when you taste it you will be bummed because it actually taste great, but it does contain live bacteria. You want to first introduce it to your body. So, try the 4oz daily for about a week, then increase it to 8oz. Do a week with the 8oz then move up to 12oz. Baby steps people, baby steps. Once you’ve slowly moved up the Kombucha ladder, stop at 16oz. At 16oz a day you will receive all the benefits from Kombucha without it being in excess.
There is a forever growing supply of knowledge about Kombucha. I have recently started my own journey with it and I am already in love. When I make Kombucha, I make it with love and appreciation for its history. I have learned so much from literature but even more from the Kombucha community around me & the shop. I am excited to document my journey and share my knowledge with anyone who is willing to listen … or in your case read.
Until next time !
Parts used: Roots, flowers, leaves
Also known as: Blowball, Cankerwort, Common Dandelion, Dandelion Herb, Leontodon taracum, Lion’s Tooth, Pissenlit, Priest’s Crown, Swine Snout, Taraxaci herba, Taraxacum vulgare, Wild Endive, Pee in the Bed, Lions Teeth, Fairy Clock, Clock, Clock Flowers, Clocks and Watches, Farmers Clocks, Old Mans Clock, One Clock, Wetweed, Blowball, Cankerwort, Lionstooth, Priests Crown, Puffball, Swinesnout, White Endive, Wild Endive and Pissa-a-beds. Dandelion, comes from Dents Lioness, medieval Latin, or Dent de Lion, French, both meaning tooth of the lion.
Dandelion’s are Blood purifiers and builder. They are high in vitamins and minerals, especially calcium.
The dandelion is hated by men who strive for a golf-course swath of grass in their yards. But is also a herald of spring beloved by children. Children around the world delight in presenting their mothers with tight-fisted bouquets of vivid yellow and love to blow the o’clocks on the puffy seed heads. If the delight of children is not reason enough to appreciate the common dandelions. The medicinal benefits and culinary applications of this carefree plant ought to garner grudging respect.
The dandelion’s use as a medicinal herb reaches far back into Chinese history. The Arabs were the next to recognize its usefulness and wrote about it around the 11th century. It was they who taught Europeans about its medicinal benefits.
When the Mayflower arrived in 1620, there were no dandelions in North America. By 1671, they were everywhere. They were introduced to America by European immigrants whose cultures used dandelions as part of their regular diet.
Contains all the nutritive salts for the blood. Dandelion restores and balances the blood so anemia that is caused by deficiencies of these blood salts disappears. It is used to lower blood pressure, helps build energy and endurance. Overweight people when losing weight can become over acidic. These acids in the blood are destroyed by dandelion. One of the best liver cleansers. It increases the activity of the liver and the flow of bile into the intestines.
It is fantastic for use in hepatitis.
Increases activity of the pancreas and the spleen.
Good for the female organs.
Helps open urinary passages.
Used to treat skin diseases.
High in calcium, rich in Iron, low calories, loaded with antioxidants, ultimate detox and cleansing, lots of minerals, 14% protein, multivitamin green.
Dandelion leaves provide vitamins A and C, (the vitamin A content is higher than that of carrots)
Dandelion flowers are one of the best sources of lecithin, a nutrient that elevates the brains acetylcholine and may play a role in boosting memory and mental focus. Lecithin is also good for liver problems. Dandelion root taraxacin, a hepatic stimulant, insulin, as sugar, lacvulin, choline (a basic constituent of lecithin), phytosterols, (which prevent the body from accumulating cholesterol), and potash, (a diuretic).
Dandelion root helps the body dispose of unwanted skin bacteria. It also stimulates digestion and supports the liver – the major organ that helps rid the body of toxins and excess hormones, including the androgens that trigger acne breakouts.
Dandelion root contains bitter principles that have a tonic effect on the liver and digestive system. It is also a natural diureticthat doesn’t rob the body of potassium. This detoxifying, diuretic action also earns dandelion a place in many herbal weight loss formulations. In recent studies, Taraxacum officinalis was shown to have a positive effect on weight management. Dandelion root also contains sugars and starches easily assimilated by diabetics, and can be incorporated into a diet meant to help control blood sugar levels.
Constituents: the bitter principle taraxacin, triterpenes (including taraxol and taraxasterol), sterols, inulin, sugars, pectin, glycosides, choline, phenolic acids, asparagine, vitamins, potassium. leaves: lutein, violaxan-thin, and other carotenoids; bitter substance
Properties: * AntiCancer * Bitter * Cholagogue * Depurative * Diuretic * Galactagogue * Stomachic * Tonic
Ways to prepare Dandelion root/ leaf:
Preparation Methods & Dosage : All parts of the dandelion are used for food and medicine, the roots are roasted and used in herbal decoctions, the leaves and crowns for salads and cooked greens, the flowers for making dandelion wine, and the juice to cure warts and blisters.
Drink dandelion root tea to eliminate the toxins that cause skin breakouts and acne.
Drink a cup of dandelion tea in the morning to increase regularity. It is a natural diuretic, and gentle laxative that doesn’t rob the body of potassium.
Dandelion flowers are a feline safe pain reliever. (cats cannot tolerate aspirin) Drop a generous handful in near-boiling water. When the water has darkened, it can be cooled and administered with a dropper.
Squeeze the juice of a dandelion flower stem and apply the milky juice to a wart and leave it to dry on. Repeat as necessarily until wart falls off.
Combos / Recipes:
Chopped dandelion root can be combined with myrrh to make a poultice for boils and abscesses, with honeysuckle flowers to make a tea to be drunk to treat boils and abscesses, with skullcap and/or chrysanthemum flowers to make a tea to be drunk to treat sore eyes, or with heal-all to treat hard phlegm in bronchitis. Can also be administered in capsule or extract form for convenience.
Dandelion and bilberry “coffee”:
This dark, sweet, and spicy herbal combo also tastes great which makes it a pleasure to include a morning cup in your daily routine. Helpful for heart health, and improved circulation, gout and arthritis.
1 tablespoon dandelion root
2 teaspoons tablespoon dried ginger
1 tablespoon bilberry fruits
3 cups of water
Additions:Cinnamon, cardamom, ramon nut
Recipe Instructions: Decoction :Bring to a boil slowly over low heat, simmer for 10 minutes, then serve hot.
Those who suffer from sensitivity to latex should not harvest their own dandelion leaves, since the stem of the dandelion contains a liquid latex substance that could trigger an allergic skin reaction.
Because the FDA does not oversee the production of dandelion herbal products, the risk exists for contamination of the product from pesticides and other chemicals. As a general safety precaution, do not give dandelion products to children, pregnant women or nursing mothers, unless directed to do so by a doctor.
Chickweed / Stellaria media
Parts used : leaves and stems
Parts used : leaves and stems
Also known as : Alsine media, Capiqui, Fleur en Satin, Herbe de Langue, Hierba Gallinera, Morgeline, Mouron des Oiseaux, Pamplina, Star Chickweed, Starweed, Stellaire Intermédiaire, Stellaire Moyenne, Stellaria media.
Chickweed is a member of the Caryophyllaceae, or carnation, family. Chickweed has been used for centuries as an early spring tonic, eaten fresh or steamed, to cleanse the kidneys and liver. English physician Nicholas Culpeper described chickweed as “a fine soft pleasing herb under the dominion of the Moon.”
In early modern English herbals, chickweed is recommended as a healing salve or ointment. Some Native Americans used the herb as a wound poultice. It is considered by contemporary herbalists to be an anti-inflammatory herb, good for relieving coughs, congestion and other symptoms of the common cold.
Stomach and bowel problems.
Muscle and joint pain.
Skin conditions including boils, abscesses, and ulcers, when applied directly to the skin.
As chickweed is a very rich source of nutrients that are necessary for balancing the metabolic functions of the body, its intake lessens mucus buildup. It is beneficial in the treatment of various respiratory diseases like bronchitis, chronic cough, cold, asthma and allergy symptoms.
As a poultice, chickweed is used for reducing inflammation of the eyes, in people affected with pink eye or any other eye infection.Chickweed tea benefits include its use in treating coughs and strep throat. Honey can also be added to it for sweetening.Chickweed has diuretic properties, which help the body to flush out toxins through urine and also to reduce fluid retention, weight gain and bloating. Maintaining a healthy urinary system is one of the health benefits of chickweed. It is also used for treating urinary tract infections and cystitis, as it purifies the blood and the kidneys.
Chickweed is also used for weight loss, which is said to be due to the presence of saponins in this herb. It is also used in the treatment of cysts, ovarian cancer and thyroid disorders. Ingested as a tea or tincture, chickweed is indicated as an antitussive (for coughs), a mild diuretic, and as a demulcent for stomach ulcers and sore throats. As an ointment or salve, chickweed is used for inflammatory skin diseases such a eczema and psoriasis. It is also good for rashes, insect bites and burns.
Coumarins, rutin , vitamins A B C , irons, saponins, carbolic acids, flavanoids, fatty acids, mucilage, minerals, silica , triterpenoid.
- Anti inflammatory
- Anticancer Demulent
tea , tincture , salve , poultice, essential oil, and ointment.
Gather chickweed from young plants before or during flowering and throughout the year. Snipping the stems will encourage growth of new branches for later harvest. The freshly harvested herb will keep for several days if refrigerated. The fresh herb may be eaten in salads, or very, very lightly steamed as a potherb. Chickweed has a somewhat bland taste, so other edible greens may be added to the pot to enhance the flavor.
Infusion: Place 2 oz of fresh chickweed leaves and stems in a warmed glass container. Bring 2.5 cups of fresh, nonchlorinated water to the boiling point, and add it to the herbs. Cover and infuse the tea for about 10 minutes. Strain and drink warm. The prepared tea will store for about two days in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Chickweed tea may be enjoyed by the cupful up to three times a day. A strong infusion may be used as a skin wash or bath additive to soothe itching and inflamed skin.
Poultice: Chop fresh chickweed leaves and stems in sufficient quantity to cover the area being treated. Sprinkle the herb with water and place over the area. Cover the herbal mass with a strip of wet cotton gauze to hold the poultice in place. When gathering the older, tougher plant, the herb may be simmered either in water alone or in a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar for about five minutes. Apply to the skin after the mixture has sufficiently cooled.
Tincture: Combine four ounces of finely-cut fresh or powdered dry herb with one pint of brandy, gin, or vodka, in a glass container. The alcohol should be enough to cover the plant parts. Place the mixture away from light for about two weeks, shaking several times each day. Strain and store in a tightly-capped, dark glass bottle. A standard dose is 1–4 ml of the tincture three times a day.bly safe in non-allergic people when ingested in food amounts, based on its use as a wild edible plant in Spain.
A general cleansing combination that you can make yourself, which helps you lose weight, is a blend of:
- Black Walnut
- Gota Kola
- Hawthorne Berries
- Fennel Seed
Also known as: Chaste Tree, Monk’s Pepper, Chaste Lamb-Tree, Safe Tree. It has also been called Indian-Spice, and Wild-Pepper, referring to the use of the fruits as a pepper substitute. The small round fruits (seeds) have a pungent scent and flavor reminiscent of black pepper.
Parts used: berries
With a rich traditional of use as a remedy for controlling and regulating the female reproductive system. Also used to regularize monthly periods and treat amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea, it also helped ease menopausal problems and aided the birth process. modern research supports historical wisdom, and has made chaste tree fruit preparations a phytomedicine of choice by European gynecologists for treatment of various menstrual disorders, PMS, and other conditions.
Chaste tree was associated with ancient Greek festivals. In the Thesmophoria, a festival held in honor of Demeter, the Greek goddess of agriculture, fertility and marriage, women (who remained “chaste” during the festival), used chaste tree blossoms for adornment, while bows of twigs and leaves, were strewn around Demeter’s temple during the festival. In Rome, vestal virgins carried twigs of chaste tree as a symbol of chastity. According to Greek mythology, Hera, sister and wife of Zeus, regarded as protectress of marriage, was born under a chaste tree. Ancient traditions associating the shrub with chastity were adopted in Christian ritual. Novitiates entering a monastery walked on a path strewn with the blossoms of the tree, a ritual that continues to the present day in some regions of Italy.
Vitex neither represses sexual passion, as the ancient Greeks who gave it the name Agnus casus (chaste), believed, nor does it act as a true aphrodisiac. Vitex is a normalizing herb for the female reproductive system, a regulator of the hormonal balance of estrogen and progesterone. This normalizing of hormones is what makes the herb valuable in treating painful and irregular menses, PMS, menopause and infertility. For chronic problems, it is most effective when taken over a prolonged period of time.
Vitex berry tinctures were also traditionally prescribed for pain and weakness in the limbs.
Chasteberry is not just for women. It has also been used as a natural remedy to help balance hormones in men. It has a natural anti-androgen that lowers testosterone levels and may suppress the onset of prostate cancer.
Chasteberry also has antioxidant properties for removing free radicals as well as anti-inflammatory qualities. It can be effective for digestive problems, and can be useful in reducing overall cholesterol levels.
Chasteberry is often used by herbalists to regulate hormone imbalances in women and lower the testosterone levels in men. It is known for its effectiveness in the treatment of menstrual disorders, PMS, menopausal symptoms such as breast tenderness, hot flashes and mood swings, infertility and decreased milk production in lactating women. Due to its anti-androgen activity, Chasteberry has been used as a natural supplement to lower testosterone levels in transgenders (in male to female), and to suppress the onset of prostate cancer which is also associated with high testosterone levels. Its anti-androgen activity may also help clear up acne, reduce Hirsutism (excessive hair growth) in women.
Ways to prepare:
one teaspoon of (dried or fresh) Chasteberrys crushed lightly
one cup of boiling water
let sit 3-5 minutes before you drink
The Chasteberry herb works primarily on the pituitary gland to balance and stabilize the hormonal fluctuations women experience every month with their menstrual cycle. Chasteberry increases the body’s secretion of luteinizing hormone which helps to reduce prolactin and increase both progesterone and follicle-stimulating hormones. Higher levels of prolactin contribute to irregular or the absence of the menstruation cycle, thus, using chasteberry helps to normalize the menstrual cycle, including symptoms of PMS. Evidence suggests that the chasteberry flowers contain the plant world’s equivalent of human testosterone, which would help to stimulate libido.
There are not any known adverse side effects of Chasteberry when taken in moderation. Chasteberry should not be taken more than 6-8 months on a regular basis. However, overdose of Chasteberry may cause headache, dizziness, nausea, upset stomach, rash, and itchiness. Since Chasteberry is considered a hormone regulator, it should be avoided when you are being treated for any kind of hormone related condition, are pregnant or lactating or are taking oral contraceptives or medications with dopamine and bromocriptine. Also anti-androgen activity of Chasteberry might affect the fertility in men. Therefore it should be taken into consideration when trying to conceive. It is recommended to consult your health care provider before taking chasteberry or its supplements therapeutically to rule any potential clash with any other medications that you may be taking.