Love it all! Coconut Water vs. Milk vs. Oil

When I’m thirsty in Indonesia, the first thing I look for on the menu is a fresh young coconut. There’s really nothing that beats the clean, pure, and completely satisfying thirst quench that happens when the delicious juice fills your mouth. It’s a bit of a norm where I’m from, like in the same way that in a restaurant in the US you ask for an orange juice, if I’m in Indonesia at a local restaurant, I ask for a coconut.  
 
The coconut is a pretty standard ingredient of Indonesia used in very many different ways, for inside and out, beauty and health. One interesting tidbit is that Indonesia is the world’s largest producer of coconuts. We use the coconut fruit itself to make coconut milk for curries and desserts, the actual to grate as well and season to cook in savory dishes, or to roll little desserts in (called Kueh Basah – “wet cake”) and the water to drink. We use coconut oil in cooking, to eat as a health supplement, and to use in our hair to make it silky soft – and in the US, I also cook with the oil and milk, drink the water, and even use the oil in our JUARA products – like our JUARA Radiance Vitality Oil
 
There are so many uses for a coconut, but 3 main components we all talk about: the Oil, Water, Milk… do you know the difference in their health benefits? I’m curious myself!
 

COCONUT WATER

This is the water found in the young coconut before it ripens into the coconut meat itself. Coconut water has a slightly sweet taste (so not sugar-free,) contains about 94% water and very little fat. It also contains electrolytes – important in helping your body maintain its proper fluid balance. It contains potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium, so next time you want to reach for that Gatorade, if coconut water is handy at the store, try for that instead! Last but not least, coconut water contains antioxidants that fight free radicals and hormone called cytokinins which help with anti-aging, so it’s a great overall health beverage that only has 45 calories a cup!
 

COCONUT MILK

Contrary to what some may think, coconut milk isn’t really a milk but water added to the grated coconut flesh. Leave it too long, and it will separate; the cream from the water – and the cream that rises to the top is also known as coconut cream. (Fun fact: Coconut milk can be made from boiling 1 part grated coconut with 1 part water. You can make coconut cream by boiling 3 parts grated coconut with 1 part water.)  It is highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6, and contains minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. The interesting thing is that you hear good and bad things about coconut milk. It’s high in saturated fat (bad), however the specific fats in coconut also contain a fatty acid called Lauric acid that has several benefits which may include weight loss, and may also help protect your body from viruses and illnesses (good). So as with living a balanced healthy life, consume in moderation. 
 

COCONUT OIL

The oil is what you get when you press the fat out of the coconut meat. About 84% of the calories of coconut oil come from saturated fat, vs 14% of olive oil and 63% of butter. This is why coconut oil gets hard easily at room temperature. Neat factoid, right? However, the MCT fat in coconut oil (as well as the meat) actually has the benefit of boosting your HDL, aka your good cholesterol and being burned off as energy vs being stored like other saturated fats, though it doesn’t exactly lower your LDL (bad cholesterol) either. Repeating the moderation mantra, one should limit intake to about 13 grams a day, which is around 1 tablespoon. Cooking tip – Don’t fry or cook at high temperatures with coconut oil, as it has a smoke point of 350 degrees. (Likewise, butter and olive oil have similarly lower smoke points.) Frying has a temperature of about 350-400 degrees – so select other high-temperature tolerant oils for that, like avocado oil for best results and better health!
 

EASY HOLIDAY RECIPE

So – coconut is an all year treat – and my current obsession perfect for holidays – making my own coconut milk pumpkin spice latte! How? SUPER EASY: 
  • Combine 2 teaspoons of pumpkin puree from a can (like what you make pumpkin pies out of with 1 teaspoon of agave/sweetener and a pinch of cinnamon. Stir. 
  • Add to a hot cup of coffee – best be a stronger dark roast for a rich flavor; it just blends better with the pumpkin. Trader Joe’s has a great Gingerbread Coffee that’s just a dark roasted coffee blend mixed with holiday spices, but a good French roast will do too.  
  • Add the puree to the coffee and mix, add more sweetener as needed. 
  • Add warmed coconut milk (not from a can, but in the dairy-substitute section of milk, where the have Almond, Soy and other alternative milk) and stir. Enjoy!

Cinnamon: For Health & Holiday Cheers!

‘Tis the season for all things Cinnamon!  Ahhh…what would the holidays be without Cinnamon’s signature aroma.  Whether we’re talking aromatic cookies, spiced cakes or hearty stews, Cinnamon is one of the most popular spices, loved and revered around the world.  Its use originates as far back as Ancient Egypt as a key ingredient in the embalmment ritual.  While Cinnamon is readily available in regular grocery stores today, it was so highly prized and considered so precious in the past, it was a gift reserved only for royalty or deity.

Not surprisingly, like many popular spices, humans began using Cinnamon primarily for medicinal purposes first, before it became a popular flavoring agent.  Native to South Asia and South East Asia, Cinnamon has a long tradition in Jamu, Indonesia’s traditional herbal medicine.  What ancient healers have known all along, modern medicine has only begun to discover are the many health benefits of Cinnamon.

CHEERS UP YOUR METABOLISM

While Cinnamon has well-documented antimicrobial and antioxidant properties (…hence a key preservative-like ingredient when the Ancient Egyptians embalmed their kings & queens), a particularly exciting discovery has been that Cinnamon can improve metabolic diseases such as glucose intolerance, high cholesterol and triglycerides (1).  While more studies are necessary, in one study volunteers ate half a teaspoon of Cinnamon daily for 40 days, which cut their cholesterol by about 18% and blood sugar levels by 24% (2).  The theory is that Cinnamon increases insulin sensitivity while also reducing the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after a carbohydrate-rich meal.  And unless you have an allergy Cinnamon or liver disease, this spice can be consumed safely daily in food, drink or as part of a meal.

GOOD FOR SKIN INSIDE & OUT

A healthy glucose metabolism is crucial for healthy skin from the inside since high blood sugar causes inflammation and premature aging in the skin in a process called “glycation”.  What about applying Cinnamon  topically?  Cinnamon is rich in polyphenols and antioxidants, which makes it a great ingredient to prevent skin aging.  Its antimicrobial properties also help break-out prone skin, where proliferation of acne bacteria cause acne blemishes.  JUARA Sweet Black Tea & Ginger Oil-Free Moisturizer combines anti-aging, oil-control and break-out-fighting benefits all in one refreshing gel-crème that contains a potent Jamu combination of Kombucha, Ginger and Cinnamon plus Hyaluronic Acid.

EASY TO INCLUDE IN YOUR DAILY LIFE

Having gone through gestational diabetes and fluctuating blood sugar issues myself, I try to stick to a balanced diet that avoids blood sugar spikes and dips. Cinnamon has become part of my daily ritual – not just in my skincare.  A dash on my morning oatmeal combined with nuts and apples – delicious!  A dash in a cup of Ginger Tea – so soothing!  And in the occasional cookie to indulge…because it’s all about balance!

Don’t Knock the Eggnog! Spice it up.

Happy Holidays! Time for holiday cheer, or at least holiday drinks to keep the festive season going. One of my favorites is actually good ol’ eggnog with its creaminess. Sometimes I’ll add a little rum to it, but other times, I get a little more creative with my Indonesian inspirations.

Choosing Eggnog: If you’re not going to make your own and find yourself wandering down the aisle of Whole Foods (or your favorite grocery store) browsing eggnog varieties, one thing I like to look for is organic milk, and as few “thickeners” as possible, such as guar gum, carrageenan, etc. They are not necessarily bad or “dirty” ingredients per se, but if you can get eggnog with the shortest ingredient list with ingredients such as organic milk, cream, sugar and eggs, why not? If nothing else, it tastes better – to me at least.

Eggnog with Antioxidants? Yes!

I don’t usually associate Eggnog with a health drink, however you can sneak a little bit of spice in there to boost its health benefits without compromising taste – like a pinch of turmeric powder plus a crack of black pepper. Not only does turmeric have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits, it also becomes more easily absorbed by your body in the presence of oils/fats (and if there’s one thing eggnog has, it’s fat!) In small amounts, turmeric powder is fairly flavor-neutral, without the earthy flavor of its natural counterpart often used in Indonesian cuisines or health tonics like Indonesian jamu. The black pepper additionally aids in the absorption of turmeric’s benefits into the body, making it more bio-available, so go ahead – add a little spice to a holiday season!\

Cup o’ Holiday Java…

Coming from a tropical island of coffee and coconuts, I love mixing eggnog with coffee & coconut oil served warm. Coconut oil is great with coffee not only because of coconut oil’s great benefits, but in particular because it helps the caffeine release more slowly in your system so you get a more sustained energy boost vs the big jolt and crash. For festive cheer, I like a good amount of eggnog in it, making it quite yummy and comforting, whether in the office or at home. Add more excitement? Sprinkle with cinnamon, also a common ingredient used in Indonesian beverages to add warmth and sweetness without the sugar. The thick sweetness of the eggnog is cut by the deep, dark, bitter taste of coffee – it’s almost like a super rich, lightly sweetened café-au-lait with a hint of spices. Move over Pumpkin Latte, here comes something new.

Just typing this up got me in the mood for some eggnog – let’s see which one of the two I’m going to make now! Got any interesting holiday concoctions to share?

A Chat With The Founders – Mother’s Day Edition!

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To celebrate this special day, our JUARA moms give their thoughts on life, motherhood and how they have been inspired by their own mothers.Slide1 Slide2 Slide4 Slide5 Slide6

Shop To Save The Earth

Here are some other companies that are encouraging customers to ‘Shop For Good’:

Whole Foods

Check out your local store to find out what sales and donations are going on today! Each location is different 🙂

American Eagle Outfitters

Bring your old jeans into the store to be recycled today and get 20% off a new pair!

J Crew

Save the Bees! Purchase a Save The Bees T-shirt and 50% of the sale will go to the Xerces Society.

No Nonsense

Recycle your used/ripped tights with No Nonsense!

Arbor Day Foundation

Join the Arbor Day Foundation and they will send you 10 trees to plant in your yard. Yay new landscaping!

Beauty Kind

5% of your purchase always goes to a charity of your choice when you shop on this amazing beauty site, so why not donate to the NRDC today!

A Fashion Guide to New Years Sparkle

New Years Eve is Rapidly Approaching

And to be perfectly honest with you, I haven’t bought an outfit yet.

Which is a major problem. You see, it is my belief that your New Years Eve outfit can completely make or break your fashion mojo for 2015. So whether you want to rock a classic understated look or sparkle so bright you rival the lights of Times Square, here’s a guide to totally nailing New Years Eve Sparkle for a fabulously ‘haute’ 2015:

So, You Want To Look…

Effortlessly Timeless

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And what’s more timeless than this 1920s inspired silhouette by Aidan Mattox? The vintage cut is almost universally flattering, and the intricate beading is made much more subtle by the nude-on-nude color palette.

Slightly Sultry

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The back of this leopard-sequined Dress the Population cocktail dress is definitely sultry. The modest boatneck front adds the ‘slightly’. And together they make the perfect New Years Eve outfit. Who knows, maybe it will help you meet Mr. 2015?

 

Like A Disco Ball

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This Alice and Olivia shirt-skirt combo may be the COOLEST New Years Eve outfit I have ever seen… which means I just may have solved my lack of outfit problem. Unlike most dresses that are sequined from head to toe, this two piece doesn’t overwhelm even small frames. I think it’s because of the bare midriff… which makes it 10x as awesome anyway.

Featured Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

Holiday Travel Survival Guide

Holiday Travel is Stressful

Whether you’re driving 3 hours away to visit Great Aunt Eleanor, flying halfway across the world to spend New Years with your in-laws, or just crashing in your childhood room at your parents’ house in the next town over, holiday travel takes a toll on your health and patience. Try these tips for a happy, healthy, limited-stress holiday travel season:

1. Sleep

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Sleep on the plane, sleep on the train, sleep in the passenger seat while your husband drives the car. Just make sure you’re getting enough sleep to fuel you through that 6 hour christmas dinner.

2. Come Prepared

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Even if you have to pack light, don’t skip the essentials. Bring your own cleanser, moisturizer, shampoo, conditioner, and soap at the bare minimum. With stress already taking a toll on your body, your mom’s petunia shower gel is not going to help your skin situation.

3. Pack Re-wearables and Laundry Detergent

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Instead of packing your entire wardrobe for your 5 day holiday tour, pack a few essentials that you can mix, match and wash to create different outfits. Navy pants, a blazer, a cardigan, a skirt, a few tops and some statement jewelry should do the trick! Just remember to bring your own detergent to avoid any skin sensitivities.

4. Treat to Prevent

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Don’t wait for your New Years Eve pimple scare to start treating your skin right! Bring your favorite treatment mask to detox and de-stress the skin at the end of a long day. For oily/combination skin, a clay mask will draw out impurities. For dry skin or skin damaged by harsh winter wind, a nourishing moisture mask with phytosterols will restore the skin’s natural barrier and protect it from further damage.

 

Photo Credit Breakfast At Tiffany’s: Flickr Creative Commons

The Definitive Stocking Stuffer Guide

You’re Ahead of the Game

Derek Jeter Signed Baseball Steiner Sports

 

You’ve purchased all of your big ticket items. The signed baseball for your boyfriend, the juicer for your sister, the new watch for your mom. That was easy. You knew what you wanted. 

 

Now comes the hard part: Stocking Stuffers. Little gems and gag gifts to fill the stockings of family and 

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 12.50.57 PMfriends. So we’re bringing you this ultimate guide to make your holiday season just a little bit brighter.

 

For The Ladies

ModCloth Sock Slippers $10

Because everybody loves socks. And socks that are also slippers are 100% better.

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Crabtree-Evelyn Gel Eye Mask $6

So much cooler than a regular sleep mask. Pop it in the refrigerator for even more relaxing anti-puffy fun.

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JUARA Stoplight Mask Trio $16

Does your best friend have oily, dry, combination, sometimes breakout-y skin? These 3 masks cover every problem in the book… and they’re travel size!

Stoplight Travel (1)

For The Gentlemen

The Chillsner $25

Store in the freezer. Pop into open beer. Boom. Cold ass beer.

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JUARA Travel Size Rice Facial Scrub $12

Because your man likes to have baby smooth skin. And you like it too.

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W+P Carry On Cocktail Kit $24

For those who like to stay classy at 30,000 feet.

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Cocktails!

It’s the Holiday Season!

 

Which means it’s also the season for delicious, cold weather cocktails. Warm up from the inside out with these JUARA favorite dessert drinks.

Ginger Tea Hot Toddy

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You can feel good about sipping this delicious detox cocktail… well, sort of. Lemon and ginger cleanse your body of holiday sugar, and whiskey gives it the kick you need to cleanse your mind of holiday craziness.

INGREDIENTS

2 Cups Freshly Brewed Ginger Tea

2 Shots Whiskey

1 Tbsp Honey

1 Tsp Clove

1 Cinnamon Stick

1/2 Lemon

1/2 Tsp Vanilla

DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients (except lemon) in a small saucepan.

Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Transfer into mugs and garnish with lemon wedges.

White Chocolate Irishman

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A twist on the classic Nutty Irishman, this creamy drink is like an iced adult white hot chocolate… complete with marshmallows on top!

INGREDIENTS

2 Parts Baileys Irish Creme

1 Part White Chocolate Liquor

1 Part Frangelico

2 Marshmallows

DIRECTIONS

In a large tumblr, pour the first 3 ingredients over ice.

Shake to combine, then pour.

Add marshmallows and enjoy!

Holiday Mulled Sangria

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“Hot Sangria?” you ask. Yes. And it’s delicious. Just trust us.

INGREDIENTS

1 Bottle Red Wine (your favorite kind)

1/2 Cup Rum

1 Cup Sugar

1 Tbsp Cinnamon

1 Tbsp Nutmeg

1 Macintosh Apple

Rind of 1 Orange (organic)*

DIRECTIONS

Dice the apple into bite sized pieces.

Combine wine, rum, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg into a medium sized saucepan.

Bring to a boil, then add apple and orange rind.

Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes, then garnish with cinnamon sticks and serve.

*Be sure to use an organic orange rind to keep toxic pesticides from cooking into your sangria.

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons