Monday, April 30, 2012

Summer Time Meals

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

Summer is quickly approaching!

This is the PERFECT time to kick start your fitness routines and start trying to incorporate healthy meals into your menu to help you achieve your health and fitness goals!

Some people think that eating healthy means you have to eat boring…dry…bland food. Well that is not true at all! Today I am sharing with you several food options that should add some flavor to your meals so your healthy meals can be fun and tasty!

Beer-Battered Tilapia with Mango Salsa


3 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup beer
1 pound tilapia fillets, (about 3), cut in half lengthwise
4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
Mango Salsa, (recipe follows)

1. Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cumin, salt and cayenne in a medium bowl. Whisk in beer to create a batter.
2. Coat half the tilapia pieces in the batter. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Letting excess batter drip back into the bowl, add the fish to the pan; cook until crispy and golden, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and loosely cover with foil. Coat the remaining fish with batter and cook in the remaining 2 teaspoons oil; adjust heat as necessary for even browning. Serve immediately with Mango Salsa.

Calories 242, Total Fat 7 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat 4 g, Cholesterol 48 mg, Sodium 234 mg, Carbohydrate 22 g, Fiber 2 g, Protein 23 g, Potassium 468 mg. Daily Values: Vitamin C 35%, Calcium 13%.

Strawberry, Melon & Avocado Salad


1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, or red-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pinch of salt
4 cups baby spinach
1 small avocado, (4-5 ounces), peeled, pitted and cut into 16 slices
16 thin slices cantaloupe, (about 1/2 small cantaloupe), rind removed
1 1/2 cups hulled strawberries, sliced
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted (see Tip)

1. Whisk honey, vinegar, mint, pepper and salt in a small bowl.
2. Divide spinach among 4 salad plates. Arrange alternating slices of avocado and cantaloupe in a fan on top of the spinach. Top each salad with strawberries, drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Tip: To toast sesame seeds, heat a small dry skillet over low heat. Add sesame seeds and stir constantly until golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool.
MAKE AHEAD TIP: The dressing will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.

Calories 202, Total Fat 8 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat 1 g, Sodium 90 mg, Carbohydrate 24 g, Fiber 7 g, Protein 3 g, Potassium 503 mg. Daily Values: Vitamin A 60%, Vitamin C 100%.

Parmesan Orzo with Smoked Salmon


2 14 ounce can low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat orzo
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced leeks (white part only)
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
8 ounces smoked salmon, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. In a medium saucepan, bring broth to a boil over high heat. Add orzo and return to a boil, stirring once. Reduce heat to low and simmer until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain orzo over a bowl, reserving 1 cup broth. Return orzo to saucepan and stir in 1 tablespoon oil.
2. In a large skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add leeks and saute until softened, about 1 minute. Add reserved broth and asparagus and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in cooked orzo, 1/4 cup Parmesan, sourcream, salmon, parsley and pepper. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.

Hope that these are some great options for you! REMEMBER…you can always substitute or leave ingredients out that you do not like! The key to creating tasteful healthy meals are to make it how YOU like it!

Also, please feel free to stop by my personal health and fitness blog at!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pura Body Naturals GIVEAWAY Winner!

This was a really tough decision.  All -- and I mean ALL -- of your responses were great and thorough.  I was impressed by the various healthy hair tips.  Additionally, I intend to incorporate many of the suggested blog posts.  So yes, there were so many great responses.  Thank you for sharing and entering ... each and every one of you.  And now for the winner ...


Dgilly was chosen in hopes that the Pura Body Naturals products would help to decrease her night baggy routines.  (I say this in fun.  Baggying is actually one of few tips I have yet to discuss on this blog, so thanks for writing about it.) :o)

Please email your mailing address to xxxxxx before 8am EST April 27 in order to secure your prize.

Don't worry, ladies.  There will be another giveaway soon. :o)

12-Hour Pura Body Naturals GIVEAWAY!

I promised a giveaway when the blog officially hit 500 followers.  Well here it is!  Welcome new followers, and Thank to you to my old followers who have remained loyal ...

As a token of my appreciation, I am hosting a Pura Body Naturals Giveaway, the first giveaway of this year.  The winner will receive a small package of Pura Body Naturals products put together by moi.  The contest will last for twelve hours, at which point a winner will be announced and must claim her prize by 8am EST on April 27 (tomorrow).  If unclaimed, a new winner will be announced immediately.

So, how do you enter?

Well leave a comment below with 1) your best healthy hair tip AND 2) what you would like to see on this blog. A winner will be chosen based on her response.

Hair Issues || High Porosity (and Low Porosity)

Porosity.  What is it?  It is a measure of how easily water and other substances can enter and exit the hair strand.  Depending on the condition of the hair's cuticle layers, the porosity can rank from low (i.e., the result of flat, tightly bound cuticles) to high (i.e., the result of gaps or lifted cuticles).  Highly porous hair, in particular, is more susceptible to moisture loss and breakage.  If your hair is highly porous, read the following article on how to combat the issue:


For low porosity or more on porosity in general:

Another Case for Organic: The Sweet Potato Project

So it certainly is not new news that conventional produce (unlike organic produce) is generally subject to chemical exposure and genetic modification.  Nonetheless, this girl's science project brings an astonishing visual demonstration to the effects of using chemicals on produce.  In her particular project, she compares sprouting between a conventional potato, an organically labeled potato, and an organic potato from a certified organic market.  The project raises the question of what health effects (if any) chlorpropham can have on those who consume conventional potatoes and other produce that contain the chemical.  The project also raises the question of why is there a difference in sprouting between organically-labeled produce and produce from a certified organic market.  If you haven't seen this video yet, I encourage you to do so.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Truth About YOUR Belly!

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

One of the most common questions I get when it comes to health and fitness is “How do I get that amazing six-pack?”


Some people like to try to take shortcuts and use these kinds of items to try to help them get the body they want:


The truth? A pretty strict diet and a steady intense workout. There is NO magic machine, apparatus, pill, juice, or any kind of magic fitness gimmick to help you get a slim tone body!

To get abs of steel you have to have the diet to accompany it along with the right workout routine. You cannot do hundreds of sit ups and other ab exercises and expect your six pack (or flat abs) to just appear. Women tend to carry more weight around their midsection than guys do. So for girls it is naturally harder to have the flat stomach you dream of. What I have found to be helpful for my friends and the people I help is cardio. It helps to shed those extra pounds and it also helps to tone your body. I am not talking about 20 minutes of cardio, it usually takes around 45 min to over an hour along with other exercises and routines.

Along with the perfect routine, you also have to have the correct diet. I would suggest lean meats (such as fish or chicken) and tons of fruits and veggies. Staying away from processed foods is ideal (and also the healthiest diet you can have). Your body can process and use food more efficiently if it is not highly processed and packed full of unnecessary ingredients.

Getting a tone strong physique like the models you see on TV or online takes a lot of hard work and discipline. Starting a new healthy lifestyle is a lifestyle change! It takes extreme dedication and is not always easy! Now I am sure that those models enjoy the occasional cheesecake or other sweet treat, but the other 95% of the time they have a pretty strict diet and steady workout routine!

So when making your health and fitness goals make sure to keep in mind what YOU want! Try not to compare yourself to other people’s body. Make goals that are realistic and that make YOU happy.

Please make sure to check out my website at!

Nutritious Bartending || The Healthier Mimosa

The mimosa is a relatively simple alcoholic drink that makes a great sidekick with a Sunday brunch.  The typical version contains 1/2 to 2/3 Champagne.  Depending on where you go, some mimosas may not be mixed with freshly squeezed orange juice ... and if they are, the oranges are more than likely not organic.  So how do we make the mimosa more healthy?  Well, I suggest the following concoction which involves freshly squeezed organic oranges and the smaller Champagne to juice ratio.  (Organic oranges are said to contain 30% more Vitamin C than conventional oranges.)  Additionally, this recipe calls for less orange liqueur, or none if you wish, thus reducing your sugar and calorie intake.

{Image Source}

Dry, chilled Champagne
2-3 fresh organic oranges
1-2 tbsp of orange liqueur, e.g. Triple Sec

Using a juicer, squeeze your fresh organic oranges.  Fill a chilled Champagne flute 1/2 of the way with your freshly squeezed juice and almost the remainder of the way with the dry Champagne.  Then add the the orange liqueur and voila!  (Refrigerate any remaining orange juice for later.)  NOTE: To reduce your sugar and calorie intake even further, opt out of using the orange liqueur.

Serving size: 1

For an even healthier mimosa that is packed with Vitamin A, check out this SPICY CARROT SUNRISE MIMOSA:

RECIPE for Spicy Carrot Sunrise Mimosa


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Twist Series: Loose Twists Tutorial

Loose twists, which were officially introduced on the internet by Cipriana of, are becoming the big rave these days.  What are they?  They are basically two-strand twists done very loosely.  One of the major benefits of doing loose twists is that it takes less time to do than regular twists.  One drawback is that the style ages faster, but that may not be a problem if you love frizzies or re-stretch the twists periodically.  I have toyed with trying loose twists but haven't gathered up the courage to do so yet.  Below is a video tutorial of the style by youtuber Alicia James.  For more on the loose twist regimen, check out

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Mixology || Natural Bubble Bath

Does your use of commercial bubble baths trigger yeast infections? Perhaps these natural alternatives will be more gentle for you, but consult with your doctor first ...


2 cups almond oil
2 cups distilled water
1 cup 100% pure soap flakes (or grated soap)
2 tbsp witch hazel--2 Tbsp

Boil the spring water and melt the soap in it. In another container, mixthe witch hazel and almond oil together and shake well. (If possible, do this in a blender.) Then slowly add the soap mixture to the witch hazel and oil blend and again, shake or blend well. These amounts will make a large quantity of basic bubble bath mixture to which you can add the essential oils of your choice as and when required. For each 2 tablespoons of base bubble bath, use 15 drops of essential oil and mix well. Use 1-2 teaspoons of the final product in each bath.


1 quart water
1 bar Castille soap (grated or flaked)
3 oz glycerin
5 drops lilac fragrant oil

Mix all ingredients together.  Store in a container.  Pour in running water.

FOR MORE: 250 Bath Body Recipes

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Beet Juice, Beet Smoothie: Blood Pressure & Stamina

Don't sleep on beet juice. Studies performed over the past several years suggest that drinking beetroot juice may lower blood pressure and thus have implications for the treatment of cardiovascular disease.  What is the underlying cause of this lowering of blood pressure?  It is the nitrate content of beetroot.  Additionally, other studies suggest that this juice boosts stamina, which can prolong exercising.

So how does one incorporate this vegetable into one's diet?  Well below is a recipe for a delicious, beet smoothie.  As always, please consult with your doctor before adjusting your diet or lifestyle.


1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup mixed frozen berries or blueberries
2 tablespoons granola
1/3 cup diced beet, raw (50 grams)
1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt or low-fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon honey or agave syrup
2 or 3 ice cubes
sliced orange for garnish (optional)

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend for 1 full minute. Pour into a glass, garnish with an orange slice and enjoy.

Yield: 1 generous serving.
{Recipe Source}


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Oldies, But Goodies

1. Red Meat and Cancer Link?
2. More on Eggs ... Food for the Hair
3. A Clean Scalp & Hair Growth
4. Lighten Hair Color Naturally
5. Healthy Hairstyling #5: Phony Ponytails & Buns

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ingredients You May Not Want In Your Food

Original article from Food Republic

TBHQ, A.K.A: Butane


Turns out butane isn't just for lighters anymore - it's also an artificial antioxidant that they put it in chicken nuggets to keep them "fresh" tasting. So instead of your chicken nuggets being fresh, butane keeps them "fresh." Eating butane probably wasn't what you had in mind last time you lit up, got the munchies, and ordered those nuggets. Try these homemade chicken tenders instead, for fuel-free fuel. Found in: Frozen, packaged or pre-made processed foods with long shelf lives such as frozen meals, crackers, chips, cereal bars and fast food.


Regular milk is full of hormones used by the milk industry to keep the cows knocked up and lactating all year round. Sound gross? It is. So when you drink regular milk you take a shot of hormones with it. And all you wanted was a bowl of cereal. Found in: All non-organic dairy, so organic is recommended. But don't jump straight to raw milk before you know the facts.

Continue reading here.

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Mixology || Jasmine Body Powder

Do you like body powders but want to avoid talc? (There is some suggestion of a possible increase in ovarian cancer risk when using talcium powder [1]).  Do you prefer an alternative with more natural ingredients?  Well here is a recipe for a homemade jasmine body powder.

Cornstarch--1 cup
Jasmine flowers (dried), finely ground--1 Tbsp
Sweet almond oil--1 tsp
Jasmine absolute oil --1-2 drops

Mix the cornstarch, jasmine flowers, and oils together. Mix well. Place in an airtight container or shaker container.

FOR MORE RECIPES: 250 Bath Body Recipes

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Healthy Styles for Transitioning or Stretching Relaxers

Are you transitioning from relaxed or texturized to natural ... or stretching your relaxers for a long period of time?  Do you want to minimize heat usage during this period?  Well, below are some styles you can wear to disguise the texture difference between your new growth and chemically straightened ends.  None of the styles require direct heat; in some cases, one can just airdry or sit under a hooded dryer.  Enjoy!

The Strawset: VIDEO TUTORIAL (PART I) (best done on damp hair), PART II


The Rollerset + Saran Wrap: VIDEO TUTORIAL


The Braid/Twist Extensions: VIDEO TUTORIAL

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Youtube: Self-Love Regimen

"Your hair care, body care, skin care ... everything about you is a direct reflection of your level of self love ..." Shanel Cooper

In the video below, Shanel Cooper discusses her daily self-love routine.  The video is really worth the watch, and you might pick up some new steps!

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

3in6: Starting Month #4

For the challenge guidelines, see this post.

Ladies, we are officially in month #4 of the 3in6 Challenge! Last month, I wore mini twists for three weeks and a loose bun for one week.  (See the photo to the right for mini twists.)  I also stayed on top of my internal regimen: intake of multivitamins, water, and veggies/fruits.  This April, I'll either do medium twists or experiment with loose twists.  (If I do loose twists, I will probably write a post further explaining the technique.) Cinnamon and honey highlights update: I used the recipe twice but haven't noticed a change in hair color; it may require more uses.

Ladies, have you noticed any growth or health benefits? What style will you wear in month #4?

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Healthy Eating || Best and Worst Juices

Acai berry? Apple? Cranberry? Orange?

"Although the best kinds of juice deliver a bounty of vitamins, the worst are hardly better than liquid candy. WebMD helps you spot the difference."

Continue reading here.

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Reader's Question: Running Long Distances

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

"Welcome Stephanie! I have a query about preparing to run. I work out a few times during the week (yoga and a cardio class). I decided that I would like to give running a try and possibly do a marathon next year. Are there any tips that you can share with a novice such as myself?


Howdy Mona!

First I would like to say that is awesome that you want to run a marathon! Training for a marathon does take a little discipline and you have to set your goals and try to achieve them!

For those who are looking for where to start when it comes to starting a new running routine, the best way to start is slow. Try not to jump into any exercise routine. You have to start out slow and gradually build up to the desired routines that you would like to do.

You should set your first running goal by setting a workout/running schedule for the first two weeks of your new program. Schedule consistent runs by shooting for running at least 2 days in a row. You want to try to run 3 to 5 days a week! Try not to take more than two days off in a row, because doing that makes running each day like it’s the first day all over again.

For starting out, 20 minutes is the magic number because that is when the body starts to produce physiological benefits; increased heart size, stoke volume, and capillarization to name a few. You should start out by pushing yourself to run for at least 20 minutes per workout session for the first 2 weeks. You want to maintain a steady run for the duration of the 20 minutes (this is of course after your warm up and stretching!) If you need to stop during this time it is OK! But keep moving! Either briskly walk or significantly decrease the speed at which you are running so you can catch your breath and get a small rest. You want to maintain this routine for at least 14 days. At the end of those 2 weeks you can monitor the progress you have made since the start of your program. Once you have been able to run no stop over your 20 minute run, then slowly add time to your runs (I usually suggest adding times in increments of 10 minutes).

When getting ready for a marathon you want to set a goal at what time you would like to accomplish when you finish the race. So as you gradually build up your tolerance to run longer amounts of time, which is when you try to run a little faster and push yourself to reach the time you would like to accomplish for the race. Like I said before, START OFF SLOW and then gradually build up to the desired time you want.

For those veteran runners out there I suggest incorporating sprint intervals into your run. Let’s say that you have a 40 min run planned for this evening. Start your run (after stretching of course!!) and do your usual run for 15-20 minutes. It is then at that point that you sprint (yes as hard as you can!!) for 15-30 seconds (I suggest to start off with 15 seconds and then gradually build up). After the 15 second sprint, go back to your regular jog for 30 seconds. You can continue this sprint interval for the next 10 minutes (which is suggested), but for those who are in better shape you can do this for the remainder of your jog.

There are always other suggestions you could do to help you start off with your new running routine, but these are just some suggestions that I have personally used with friends that have been beneficial to their success in completing their workouts and getting them started with training for races. Hope this helps! And please feel free to ask any other questions you have!

Also, please feel free to stop by my website for more health and fitness tips!

Up-Do for Medium to Long Hair

Though this video was made for those with curly or wavy hair, the style can also work on straight hair ... or stretched kinky hair ... or braid extensions.  The only limitation is hair length.  Without further ado, here is one of the Luxy sisters demonstrating an easy, beautiful up-do:

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