There Are No Additional Health Benefits from Eating a Plant-based Diet | The Divine Hostess

“Are you a vegan?”, someone asked me this weekend, as they served themselves a plate of not so vegan-friendly food.  I get asked this question a lot when I am out and about– it could be the grocery store, a party, or in the workplace. When you choose to abstain from certain foods, people get curious and want to know why.

 

I happen to be vegetarian, and have been for almost 11 years now. As of late, I’ve started to lean more towards plant-based. I have stopped buying eggs and I am really getting into vegan cheeses.

 

Even still– I am not so sure I will ever be a card-carrying member of the vegan community like some others. For me, the title comes with much weight and controversy, and there have sadly been many times I have witnessed people forcefully try to teach others to be compassionate to animals, all while showing no compassion for the human being with whom they are conversing. I believe I can eat in a way that suits my needs and values, without a title.

 

But as I quietly went back to sipping my water, someone said:

 

“There are no additional health benefits from eating a plant-based diet. It doesn’t make you live longer and it doesn’t fight illnesses. There is no point.”

 

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Now, I know better, and I am not one to debate– especially when I do not see people bringing any scientific facts to the argument. At this point in time, I believe it is quite obvious whether a person is vegan or not– they will benefit greatly from a diet made up of a large amount of vegetables, fruits, and herbs.

When eating intentionally, one can find that not only does food heal, but it works as a preventative measure before ever getting sick in the first place.

 

I want to share a few of the benefits, but keep in mind this only works if you actually eat plants.  It’s possible to be unhealthy as a vegan, just like any other diet. So when I share these benefits, I am assuming you eat more than lettuce and tomatoes and soy veggie patties.  That’s always the argument– that not all vegans are healthy.

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Some of the benefits of a plant-based diet are:

  1. It can lower blood sugar levels
  2. A diet rich in phytochemicals, which helps prevent cancer.
  3. Lower risk of heart disease.
  4. Prevention of diabetes.
  5. Higher intake of fiber, potassium, magnesium and folate.

 

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If you’re curious about a plant-based diet, I would encourage you to check it out by doing your own research, visiting a restaurant, trying a new recipe, or talking to someone with experience. One great way is stopping by a food fair in a major city near you. When I went to Vegan Street Fair in Los Angeles, many visitors were not vegans, but simply were curious about this lifestyle or thinking of making major changes.

 

In my latest vlog, I share a little of what we tried. I am not a fan of fairs because they are usually very crowded and I don’t really like to walk and eat at the same time. Nonetheless, I find a way to have fun wherever I go! Click below to watch.

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Hiking Adventures and Entrepreneurship Networking Apps and Meeting Shaun, Owner of OURA | Divine Hostess

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you probably know hiking is a favorite pastime of mine. It’s not the work I love or even the heat from direct sun– it’s reward. I love being rewarded after the work of the climb with an amazing view, cool breeze at the higher altitude, and the sense of achievement.

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Walker Canyon Reserve, Lake Elsinore

Although I do enjoy solo hikes, I’ve already learned hiking is wonderful activity to share with friends or even people you’re getting to know.

Recently I joined a networking app called Shapr which connects to your LinkedIn account and you can find like minded people to collaborate with, hire, be a mentor, etc. I’ve made a solid handful of great connects including Shaun, co-founder of OURA.

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After learning a bit more about his social enterprise, I had to share more about their mission with all of you. OURA makes a  sleek, sporty baseball cap which is uniquely designed to remain clean while granting the wishes of pediatric cancer patients.

 Hats are filthy. They’re one of the few things we wear but rarely wash. OURA’s hats have millions of microscopic minerals infused directly into the thread, so their hats are self-cleaning while being completely sustainable and environmentally friendly. Their hats have 9 other healthy features which you can explore here.

“My brother, Keane, and I started OURA after Keane survived childhood cancer”, said Shaun. “We wanted to create a healthier hat but we also wanted to give back to pediatric cancer patients. For Keane, having his wish to meet President Obama granted completely changed his outlook towards treatment and propelled him towards survivorship. We wanted to help other young patients in their recovery journey as well.”

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Now it’s OURA’s mission to grant a wish each time 1000 hats are sold, and they are well on their way.

OURA is named after origami.

There is a Japanese legend that folding 1000 origami cranes results in a wish. With every 1000 OURAgami hats sold, we grant a pediatric patient’s wish and bring healing hope to their recovery. Every hat is a part of that wish. It is 1000 people coming together to help a child in their fight against cancer.

What I love most about meeting new people is the reminder of how connected we all are– even before we meet. I too have have family members diagnosed with cancer, and if you’re reading this you may have as well.

Now when I hike, I’m super excited to wear my OURA hat while knowing they’re just one step closer to granting a wish. To support this amazing company by purchasing a hat, you can visit their website and use the discount code: DIVINEHOSTESS for 10% off.

If I’ve learned anything in my life it is that we are all connected, and knowing this makes the journey a little easier, and lot more enjoyable.

My Top 5 Tips for the Daniel Fast

In the month of January, a lot of people start the Daniel Fast on their own, or with their church. I’ve done it many times now, so I want to share some tips that have been very helpful for me. Whether your’re doing the full 21 days, or you chosen set of days, it’s all about planning and preparation.

 

  1. Read The Chosen Fast by Arthur Wallis. This book is extremely helpful and it happens to be a quick read.It breaks down the difference between fasting and abstinence and gives biblical reference for the reasons for doing it. When you truly understand the purpose of your actions, they are easier to commit to.
  2. Meal prep. Since you’re eating in a way you are not as accustomed to, it is best to prepare meals ahead of time. You don’t want to wait till you’re super hungry and then have to scavenge for an appropriate meal for yourself. What will likely happen is you will find yourself breaking the rules and guidelines you set.
  3. Do your research. What types of meals do you want to eat each week? Look for recipes and get an understanding of what plant-based substitutes will work best for you.
  4. Try to minimize your refined sugar and salt intake. This is up to you, but I use this time as an opportunity to cleanse. Removing meat isn’t the main point– the point is to remove rich foods from the diet. I commit to drinking more water, getting more sleep, and eating no refined sugar. There are lots of other options, but generally I use bananas and dates to sweeten just about anything,
  5. Remember that it’s not about food. Some days might be harder than others. Whenever I fast, I get people offering to buy me lunch, or bringing me treats. It can be hard to turn down. I have to remember the focus is supposed to be taken off of food. It gives me an opportunity to see food simply as sustenance and to focus on my relationship with God.  Some days, I kept it really simple– for breakfast, hot cereal sweetened with berries and dates, lunch a kale salad with nuts and homemade dressing, and for dinner a nourishing bowl of brown rice, black beans, salsa, and avocado.

Here are a few recipes you may enjoy!

Chana Masala

Healthy Snack Recipes

Tofu Saltado

What I Eat in a Day

-Fifi

Fighting the Winter Cold & Flu

There’s really no convenient time to get sick, but I really hate getting sick in the Winter because it’s cold, gets dark faster, and there are many damp rainy days. There are some things you can do to prevent getting a cold in the first place, and things you can do if you’re currently sick. I’m sharing my top 7 tips for fighting the cold and flu. If you’re not much into reading blog posts, I recommend you skip to the video and get my easy and  quick tips that way!

  1. Stay hydrated. Staying hydrated has so many benefits, especially when you are feeling sick.If you are properly hydrated this will help you decongest, and it will also help rid your body of toxins. If you have a sore throat, opt for room temperature or warm water. You can add 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar and a little honey to make the drink even more soothing for your throat.fullsizerender-1
  2. Get lots of rest. Some of us are not so great with sitting still because we feel idle and non-productive. Resting and letting your body heal is very productive! If you took the day off of work, maybe try not still working from home, but instead set up a comfortable place to rest and make sure you’re warm, getting enough fresh air, and have everything you will need within reach. I tend to camp out in my bed rather than the couch, because my bed is easier to disinfect than my couch. I bring in a tray with tea, cough drops, water, a good book, my laptop for movies, warm socks, and an aromatic candle. Make yourself comfortable and force yourself to rest.
  3. Blend dark leafy greens into your smoothies. Consuming dark leafy greens will give you a huge boost in vitamin C. If you’re sick you may not have much of an appetite or have trouble swallowing due to swollen tonsils or a sore throat. A smoothie is a way to get a meal that is rich in nutrients, but not a hassle to eat. You can also add other supplements to the drink. I love adding baby spinach to smoothies since it blends easily and you can add about 3 cups without noticing the flavor.turmeric smoothieee
  4. Drink fruit and herb infused water. I love infusing water with citrus and herbs which not only tastes good, but has many health benefits. I feel like it freshens and perks me up  as well since sometimes sickness can give me this slow, sluggish, toxic feeling. I made a video of my favorite ways to infuse water, so you can check that out as well. image-1-1
  5. Don’t overdo it. Some people like to just ignore the cold and go about their day hoping it’ll just get better without effort. This rarely works. What is likely to happen is you go to work and spread germs, overexert yourself and end up feeling worse, and now instead of needing 1 day of rest, you need more. We all have to get rid of the guilt from taking a day off, and just do it. When you need time to get well, take it! You can skip a gym  day and you can also skip work.
  6. Steam vapors. I like to take a hot shower and let the steam open up my lungs when I have an upper respiratory infection. I usually will do this twice a day to improve breathing and this helps me not cough as much. When I get out of the shower, I rub a small amount of essential oil on my chest.
  7. Know when it’s time to visit the doctor. One time I had a horrible cold with a cough that just would not quit! It persisted for more than five days and I felt awful, so I finally went to urgent care. It turns out I had whooping cough and needed anti-biotics. I had been coughing for days at that point, and had actually cracked a rib. It was so painful. If your sickness feels more severe than usual or continues to persist, call or visit your doctor.

 

Here’s a video I made that you can share with others and help people get well and stay well!

xoxo

Fifi

4 Things You Can Do Right Now to Boost Your Mood

Hey healthy bunnies!

 

I am thinking of you. There are a lot of things that stress people out or get them down this time of year. It can be a rough time if we do nothing to combat the stress, anxiety and sadness– I know this personally. I am going to share 4 quick ways to boost your mood. I want you to have a wonderful and productive day.

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  1. Go for a quick walk. Walking will give you an opportunity to stretch your legs, get fresh air, and get your heart pumping. Hormones which are helpful for boosting your mood are released when you exercise, but it does not have to be intense exercise. If you work in an office environment, it can be especially helpful to get outside and change your scenery. Even 5 minutes can make a difference.
  2. Talk to a friend or loved one. Though you may need to vent or commiserate, the choice is up to you. What tone/topic will best help you move forward with your day and leave on a positive note? Try sending someone a nice note to let them know you love and appreciate them and that you’re thinking of them. Reminders like this will help them and you! Life is too short not to tell the special people in your life that they are special and it is amazing how this simple act can give us perspective and make us more grateful.
  3. Listen to upbeat or inspiring music. The type of music will vary person to person, but music can really help. I never leave home without a pair of earbuds so that I can listen to music or even a podcast when I’m on the go or stuck waiting in line somewhere. This little trick can be especially helpful when you’re waiting and finding yourself becoming frustrated or impatient. There are duties we have which we cannot avoid, but a little music to lift the spirits can help. The music is also nice if you do not like the current ambient noise where you are, which could be causing you agitation or the inability to concentrate.
  4. Eat a snack. Yes, eat something! As your blood sugar drops low, your mood will as well. Make sure you bring snacks wherever you go so that you do not find yourself with low energy and crankiness. I love to pack fun and interesting snacks like the ones in my video on quick and easy snack ideas, but if all else fails– an apple or a banana will hold me over for about an hour.

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I hope these tips were helpful to you! For more inspiration similar to this, subscribe to my weekly podcast which provides helpful advice for everyday life. It is called the Wonderfully Made Podcast and it is available on Soundcloud and iTunes.

xoxo

Fifi

Where I’ve Been & How to Deal with Grief, Anxiety and Depression

I took a break from business and social media for about two weeks and many of you have wondered why. First, let me say the concerned messages, snaps, emails and tweets mean so much to me. It is so easy to get caught up being a spectator on social media that we lose the intimacy and personal touch of real communication. Some of you are near, some are far– but always close to my heart. You’re my pals.
I took a break because I lost a family member, and I’m sure you will understand when I say– no one can really fully be prepared. It was sudden, and I just felt like a bunch of time was just snatched from me. I love my family dearly and I do spend a lot of time with them–but it’s never enough. I assumed I had time. Have you been there? You think of something a person you love would enjoy and you think “I’ll take them here one day” or “I’ll share this with them tomorrow”. You just never know how long you really have…
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What made this both easy and difficult at the same time was the fact that every single person I would normally go to for comfort was hurting just like I was. In this time we have leaned closer together, bearing one another up and showering each other with love. I have just felt like– this is private– this is a family thing and no one else will understand what I need right now.
Grieving is a process and there’s no set time for how long it will take for you to reach a point of closure. I at first felt shocked, then sad, then a deeper form of devastation. It happened just 5 days before my birthday, and when I thought of that I felt like not celebrating at all. My cousin who is also one of my best friends said, “No. You celebrate with your friends and you celebrate with us, your family. He would have wanted you to celebrate life. Especially at a time like this.” She was right.
It felt wonderful to be surrounded by friends, and my birthday fell on Easter this year so it also just felt like I was closer to God.
A few things I’ve learned about grieving, anxiety and depression that may help you or someone you know.
  1. Be honest. Don’t try to cover up the pain so much that you avoid it altogether. It isn’t healthy, and it doesn’t promote healing.
  2. Eat well. Our inclination may be for fast, easy, comforting foods– but just make sure they promote life. Bad food will sink you further into depression.
  3. Get out and enjoy nature. The day I walked to the beach and breathed in the salty sea air and watched the sunset, I felt so grateful and so alive.
  4. Seek therapy. There are counselors who can  help you work through your grief, depression or anxiety. You may not be able to simply “shake it off”.
  5. Sleep more.This can be a very exhausting time, and sleep is a way to repair and heal. It can help restore your immune system and clear your head as well.
  6. Know yourself. Do you need to be alone? Do you need to be around people? Don’t do it for others, do it for you. If you get around a crowd and that overwhelms you, leave. Don’t feel guilty about it.
  7. Tell the people who matter. Talk to your close friends and family, your boss, and whomever may be affected by your change of pace.
  8. Get lost in good music or a book. You don’t have to dwell on your troubles all day long. You’re allowed to escape as needed.
  9. Be around children. They are so sensitive, sweet, and full of joy. Being around my niece and nephew was awesome. Not that I’m comparing children to animals, but being around animals is also very soothing!
  10. There are no rules. Just remember– everyone responds differently. Don’t judge yourself!

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