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Kombucha – Probiotic Goodness

Why do people drink kombucha or kefir or eat saurkraut or yogurt? Do you know what prebiotics or probiotics are?

Let’s start at the beginning

Microbes all around us, and for the longest time, the world thought that all microbes were bad. But that’s not necessarily the case. Microbes consist of bacteria, yeast, viruses, and other small cellular organisms. Mostly bacteria, they live on our skin, inside our airways, and our digestive system, working as first line defense  against pathogens or “foreign invaders” that might cause an infection or set off other reactions like inflammation.

The good, the bad and the ever changing

Each person acquires a personalized set of bacteria starting from birth but modifiable with time, called a microbiome, that sets the balance for their body, affecting the ways that person digests sugars or breaks down toxins (1), smells when they sweat, helps the body absorb essential fatty acids or make vitamin folate, and helps to repair the cells of the digestive system or help to regulate inflammation (2). These beneficial functions are usually from what we call good bacteria.

Bad bacteria can result in diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even obesity (3). Your body’s microbiome has a combination of good and bad bacteria, with bad bacteria in the minority. The bad bacteria can sometimes take over when your balanced microbiome changes either via stress, a course of antibiotics or even a change in diet (4).

Prebiotics &  Probiotics

Although more research is still needed, there are early signs that foods with good bacteria, like kombucha or yogurt with active cultures, can improve our health and our cells. The theory is that these foods with good bacteria can help to seed your digestive system with good bacteria. There is also research that feeding the good bacteria by eating prebiotic foods high in fiber humans cannot but bacteria can digest like onions, garlic, flax seeds, apples, bananas, oats, cocoa and konjac help to support the flourishing balance of good bacteria in your system.

And your Skin

So we have talked a lot about how microbes affect your health and your gut, but what does all of this do for your skin? Keep your skin healthy and hydrated so that the good bacteria can proliferate and fight off the bad bacteria while keeping your skin’s immune system functioning well. And if you’d rather drink your kombucha, then apply that sweet black tea ferment of organic acids, minerals, and amino acids to your skin in the form of Sweet Black Tea and Rice Moisturizer, Ginger Moisturizer, and Miracle Tea Eye Creme. Cheers!

Turmeric Bioavailability – Easy tricks to maximize its benefits

Turmeric is a key ingredient in Jamu, the ancient Indonesian herbal medicine.  Since the scientific community in European and American started taking an interest in this rhizome in the last 20th century, Turmeric has become one of the most studied herbs.  The key nutrient in Turmeric that has been shown anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and potential anti-cancer properties is Curcumin.  Unfortunately, the health benefits of Curcumin when ingested, cannot be fully realized because if poor bioavailability, meaning that Curcumin is quickly broken down and metabolized by the liver and intestinal walls before it can work its magic where needed.

The good news is that there are simple tricks to improve Curcumin’s bioavailability – tricks that can be done daily and easily as part of your regular diet:

1.Mix it with fat

Curcumin is fat soluble.  By combining or dissolving it with a fat, it is better absorbed into the bloodstream (1).  It’s easy:  Combine Turmeric with a heart-healthy oil in a vegetable stir fry.  Or add it to your smoothie together with coconut milk or full-fat kefir.

2.  Fresh Turmeric vs. dried Turmeric

Dried Turmeric powder is more widely available than the fresh rhizome, but fresh Turmeric actually has better “built-in” bioavailability (2) because is about 10% fat content.

3.  Heat it up

Bioavailability of Curcuma is even further improved, when Turmeric is lightly heated in oil (3), which is why Turmeric is ideal to incorporate into your daily cooking, whether it is a stir fry or a curry sauce.

4.  Add a dash of Black Pepper

Black pepper contains piperine, which blocks the body from rapidly metabolizing Curcumin.  In fact, consuming fresh black pepper together with Turmeric, can improve bioavailability of Curcumin by 2000% (4).

5.  Combine it with Quercetin-rich fruits & vegetables

Quercetin is an antioxidant that gives certain fruits and vegetables their dark, blue-ish color.  Research shows that Quercetin blocks an enzyme that would metabolizes Curcumin, thus making it more bioavailable (5).  Quercetin-rich foods include blueberries, red grapes, red onions, green tea but also red apples.

 

In Skincare – Proven Effective

Turmeric has a long tradition in Indonesian beauty rituals as well, most famously in the Lulur bridal spa treatment.  While it is an age old recipe to boost skin radiance and luminosity, there is a growing body of recent scientific evidence that underscores topical Turmeric’s benefits in helping prevent and reduce oxidative stress, inflammation, acne, and signs of premature aging such as irregular skin tone and sun damage.  When we at JUARA craft formulations, we draw our inspiration from Indonesian tradition, but we also ensure that we select botanicals that have been tested for efficacy and safety according to today’s standards.

Several of JUARA products are formulated with Turmeric, including our

Clove Flower & Turmeric Anti-Aging Serum, Turmeric Antioxidant Radiance Mask, Radiance Vitality Oil, Sweet Black Tea & Rice Moisturizer and Miracle Tea Complete Eye Creme, but also in body treatments such as our Kartini Body Oil.

To explore JUARA treatments that feature Turmeric and other active Jamu botanicals, click here.

A Jamu Lifestyle of Wellness, Community & Love

Let’s start with what we know. We know Jamu is an herbal healing tradition from Indonesia that spans across centuries, and is a part of everyone from ancient royalty, the villager, and the cosmopolitan youth today. We know Jamu utilizes ingredients including turmeric, tamarind, ginger, rice, and many more roots and plants indigenous to the Indonesian islands. But, did you know that Jamu is a tradition that is more than just the tonics – but also about the people who participate in a lifestyle of wellness, including the stories and relationships we have with people around this healing tradition?

One of the oldest Jamu companies that started over 4 generations ago is called Nonya Meneer. Mrs. Meneer has her own story and it starts like this: One day, Mrs. Meneer finds her husband is sick. No one can find a cure, and he’s not getting better. She, in her determination to save her husband, starts concocting herbs to see if she can cure him. She takes her basic knowledge and starts researching far and wide (not an easy feat back in the day,) to create something, anything that would work. One day, after repeated efforts, she concocted something that worked, (and yes, it contained turmeric too,) and thus his life was saved. Word spread of her ability to cure her husband and others in her village started coming to her for tonics that could also bring them back to health… and that’s how her business started. Her great granddaughter, who remains one of the Jamu recipe-bearers handed down today told me this story; she said her great grandmother was motivated by love to find a cure for her husband.

Everywhere I turn in Indonesia there is a story; my Indonesian friend laughs as she says her old, worried grandmother used to make her and her other grandkids drink a dark, bitter her tonic as a child for illness prevention and to treat my friend’s condition of perpetually cold hands. Even as my friend makes an icky face when talking about the taste of the tonic (occasionally being naughty and pouring it out in the toilet), the entire story is told with love and smiles. And my mom, the cosmetics junkie with all her expensive department store cremes and potions, dragged me into her bathroom one day before I had to go to work to show me her best skin tonic is smashing fresh tamarind into cold water and rubbing it on her face after cleansing saying “I’ve tried everything, my mom taught me this, and this still works better…”

Jamu used to come from the word “Jampi” which means “magical concoction.” There is a spiritual (not necessarily religious) aspect of Jamu in its history as centuries ago, the early healers who would create these tonics would also say a mantra/prayer and ask for a blessing form the gods before serving them so that these “magical recipes” would work to bring the patient back to wellness. Therefore Jamu isn’t only about the ingredients alone but the intent of wellness as well.

Today, as much as life may have changed, it really hasn’t – the basics of human relationships, eating and drinking healthily, taking are of our skin in a holistic, balanced fashion is as important now, if not more than ever in our fast paced world. Keeping the basics, bringing elements of the Jamu lifestyle centering around inner health, outer beauty and overall peace and happiness from self care still exists.

How do we maintain a Jamu lifestlye? It’s not hard – it starts with a belief that our own happiness matters, and therefore our health and wellness matters. Next is incorporation the healthy ingredients of Jamu and positive intentions in our lives in various ways, reminding us of our own journey to wellness and self care. We know the ingredients of Jamu are healthy, and now they are more accessible to all of us. Turmeric, tamarind, candlenut, rice, cinnamon – we consume Jamu ingredients for health and enjoyment more than we know today, it’s just becoming more intentional about it.

Jamu is a living tradition; in Indonesia, Jamu cafes are popping up, the next generation adding their spin on the older recipes, and even in the US, I go to restaurants that spice their food with “Bali spice.” I was just in LA and 2 nights in a row, that was on the menu – even the west is coming up with its own variation on ingredients of an ancient tradition. The point is Jamu is about infusing these specific ingredients in our daily lives for holistic wellness and care – not only for ourselves but also for others around us who we love. So share the love of life by incorporating a more Jamu-infused lifestyle!

Tea Synergy: The Benefits of Togetherness

Antioxidants are supposed to be good for us, and most of us try to consume antioxidants through food, drinks or supplements. But ever wonder if a specific form of antioxidant is better? Like if I love to drink tea, should I drink green, white or black tea? Or should I cut to the chase and load up on antioxidant supplements?

First, what’s the difference between the teas?

Tea, first introduced as a traditional medicine in Asia, is from the Camellia sinensis plant and can vary by processing steps: Green tea and white tea are non‐fermented and minimally or lightly oxidized while black tea is fully fermented and oxidized. (Herbal teas are any teas not made from Camellia sinensis.) The different processing results in different bioactive compounds. Green tea has flavan‐3‐ols (catechins), proanthocyanidins (tannins) and flavonols. Black tea contains theaflavins and thearubigins while white tea contains l‐theanine and gamma‐aminobutyric acid (GABA), among others. The health benefit of teas has been correlated with these bioactive compounds, which have anti‐inflammatory, anti‐diabetic and anti‐cancer activities.

Why does it matter that there are different antioxidants? Don’t they all do the same thing?

Antioxidants, produced by the body or ingested, are part of the body’s defense system against damaging free radicals that are formed during the body’s normal cellular processes or when exposed to UV radiation, pollution or stress, etc. Different antioxidants operate in different parts of cells and participate in different chemical processes throughout the body. Some antioxidants suppress the formation of free radicals, while others “scavenge” to remove the free radicals before they do damage, or work to repair damage once it has been done.

Synergy, A theory of the whole is better than the parts

So it makes sense that combining different teas and herbs with various bioactive components might have synergistic (or antagonistic) effects in their bioactive efforts. Synergy is based on the idea that using a whole plant containing a group of chemicals working together or a combination of plants is more beneficial than using a single compound to achieve a specific effect.  For example, the equal ratio of of black tea, black pepper (Piper nigrum), ginger (Zingiber officinale) and Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) showed higher antioxidant activity compared to that of the individuals. Research on the combination of  green and black tea showed a stronger antimicrobial effect than alone.

Tradition in science

So perhaps that synergistic antioxidant and antimicrobial effect is the reason that people in Indonesia and Asia use a mixture of leftover teas to rinse their face. And that is why the JUARA Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner uses a combination of green, white and black teas for that synergistic antioxidant effect post a day of stress, tiredness and pollution. Oh wait, and I will have a tea with that! Any tea, please!

Candlenut: The Balanced Nut!

Candlenut holds a special place at JUARA.  Our very first JUARA product we launched was our popular Candlenut Body Creme, a.k.a. Bali in a Jar, which became an instant hit with customers, editors and estheticians alike.  By popular demand, many more Candlenut treasures followed.

But what exactly is Candlenut?  Rarely do you ever see it sold in a regular grocery store because its consumption is usually limited to the region where it is cultivated, mostly South East Asia and Hawaii.  It looks like an oversized macadamia nut or hazelnut.  Even though it is not widely known, Candlenut is probably one of the most versatile and healthy nuts out there, having been used for medicinal purposes, cooking as well as skincare for centuries.

Omega 6 & 3 Essential Fatty Acids:  The Ratio is Key

Like most nuts, Candlenut has a high oil content (70%).  What makes Candlenut special amongst its peers is its high content of Essential Fatty Acids (EFA).  And not only that, it has what is considered an ideal ratio of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids.  While both EFAs have health benefits, it has been shown that the typical Western diet is by far too rich in Omega 6 fatty acids relative to Omega 3 fatty acid consumption, leading to chronic inflammation.  Nobody knows what the ideal ratio exactly is, but current estimates state a ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 of anywhere between 1:1 and 4:1 as ideal.  It is estimated that people in developed countries reach a ratio of about 15:1.  It has been shown even higher in the typical American diet, where it reaches levels of 25:1 due to a high consumption of fast & processed foods and fried foods which are typically rich in Omega 6, and a low consumption of Omega 3-rich foods like fish and certain nuts and seeds.  Candlenut has a ratio of Omega 3 and 6 of about 1.7:1, which is considered in the ideal range.  As a comparison, Walnuts have a ratio of about 4:1, Pecans 22:1, Flax Seeds 1:4, Sunflower Seeds:  312:1, Corn Oil 46:1, Wild Salmon 1:12, Canned Tuna 1:30.

Other Health Benefits

Candlenut is also rich in saponin, flavonoid and polyphenols, plant compounds that have  anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting benefits as well as antibacterial effects.  Plus, it contains not only alpha tocopherol (the most familiar form of Vitamin E), but also gamma tocopherol, which works synergistically with alpha tocopherol to provide antioxidant protection.

Try it in Food!

In its native Indonesian and Malay, Candlenut is used in cooking as a thickener for curries and soups.  One easy way to incorporate Candlenuts is to roasted Candlenuts in the oven or frying pan, which brings out their aroma, before chopping or shaving them and sprinkling them over curry, soups or salad.

Try it on your Skin!

Candlenut is rich in EFA, the skincare benefits of which have been well documented.  EFAs help reduce inflammation, strengthens the skin’s own protective barrier, and Omega 6 essential fatty acid specifically helps acne-prone skin clear up clogged pores.  Candlenut’s boasting both Omega-3 and 6 as well as natural anti-microbial properties make it suitable for all skin types, ranging from dry to oily, including sensitive and acne-prone skin.

All of JUARA’s Candlenut products are formulated with Candlenut Oil, but we have added this precious oil to other treatments as well, including:

Kartini Body Oil – $58, 4 oz

The luxurious body oil fit for royalty (hence the name Kartini, named after a Princess who was also a big champion of women’s rights in Indonesia).  A truly nourishing blend of Candlenut, Plumeria, Passionfruit, Moringa and Turmeric Oil, with a silky, light-as-air texture with firming, brightening and softening benefits.

Coconut Illipe Hand & Nail Balm – $20. 2.5 oz

Pure relief and moisture for dry, hard-working hands, that stays on even after washing your hands.  A replenishing blend of oils and butters, plus soothing oat beta glucan and brightening algae Energy immediately comfort skin & cuticles.  Result:  Hands that are soft and smooth, never greasy.

Sweet Black Tea & Rice Facial Moisturizer – $60, 1.7 oz

Energy for dry, dull skin. “Kombucha”, nourishing botanical oils and our unique Radiant Complex hydrate, firm, smooth and boost skin luster.  The perfect daily moisturizer for normal to dry skin. 

Miracle Tea Complete Eye Crème – $53, 0.5 oz

This miracle worker gives the fragile skin around the eyes the whole TLC package:  It hydrates, smooths fine lines & wrinkles, reduces the look of dark circles and under-eye bags for a refreshed look!

Radiance Vitality Oil – $70, 1.0oz

The Queen of Face Oils (Face Oil of the Year, Self Magazine 2015) addresses all signs of aging with 12 pure plant oils and extracts by helping to firm, nourish, smooth and revitalize, with results you can see and feel after only one application.

Nourish your natural beauty all over with Candlenut in JUARA products here!

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!

Body Shaping Ginger – Eat it up or Massage it in!

When winter holiday cheer arrives, the weight gain blues often follow. Did you know that January 2nd is often the fattest day of the average American – gaining an average of 5-10 pounds over the lovely holidays? Who can help it? – less outdoor time, hearty meals with desserts, (oh, desserts!) and shorter sun-filled days inducing sleepy appetite gains. Good news though, the good earth has blessed us with slimming GINGER filled with powerhouse anti-inflammatory gingerols. Although the weight gain is a natural byproduct of the seasons, and we tend to lose most of it once spring arrives, having a little help along the way in the form of ginger certainly doesn’t hurt.

EAT IT UP

One research study showed that the consumption of just 2 grams of ginger (1 teaspoon of ground ginger) a day for 12 weeks significantly decreased body mass index (BMI) (1). And this was a gold standard human, placebo-controlled, double-blinded study. Not a BMI fan, ginger was also shown in gold standard meta-analyses to significantly decrease weight loss. (2) Yay- support for the idea that consumption of a simple natural earth provided ingredient can make a change. Ginger tea for winter, yum AND easy! Even the powder works, not just the fresh root. Plus, ginger helps to ease that indigestion we all get from too much holiday food by helping to empty the stomach faster. (3)

MASSAGE IT IN

Ginger is a major Jamu ingredient. And that traditional use for its well known benefits, is now supported by science, not just for ingestion, but topically too. JUARA’s Ginger Coffee Firming Treatment smooths and firms orange peel thighs, post baby stretch marks, and flabby underarm wings. Although I always remind my children (and myself) that beauty is who you are, not how you look, a little help from ginger never hurts.

This winter, I have a plan – 1 teaspoon of ground ginger tea a day, and Coffee Ginger Firming Treatment for …pretty much, all over!

4 Fast Facts to Add Ginger to Your Diet!

 Ever since I learned that ginger is one of only a few spices that has proven anti-inflammatory benefits after consumption. I have been avidly trying to figure out how to add it, and it’s other anti-inflammatory spice friends into my cooking. Don’t like reading articles, watch this video. So let’s get to the point. Why is it exciting to add ginger to your food regimen?

1.It’s anti-inflammatory…

Not sure what’s great about being anti-inflammatory? It means that when your body faces stress or pain – ginger can help stop it. It’s been shown to be effective against osteoarthritis, muscle pain and soreness and even pro-inflammatory cancers like colon, ovarian, or pancreatic.

 

2.  It’s an anti-oxidant!

By now, we all know anti-oxidants help slow down aging or damage of our cells, but ginger’s 6-gingerol’s antioxidant ability is posited for being the reason ginger helps to slow down cognitive decline or even improve brain function in some.

3.  It can help with nausea, menstrual pain, stomach discomfort etc.

1-1.5 grams was shown to be as effective as medication against sea sickness, morning sickness, and pain from the menstrual cycle.

4.  It may be slimming!

Ginger activates the same slimming pathway as sleeping in a cold room or eating capsaicin in peppers. How cold? 62 F degrees cold. Cayenne pepper, like ginger, increases energy expenditure by activating brown fat tissue which helps to burn calories and thus lose weight.

Don’t get me started on the budding research showing ginger’s effects on diabetes and heart disease risk factors.

Convinced?!? Let’s do this!

Tips on how to use ginger…

  1. Crush it! Release the juices and increase the surface area. If you like the spiciness of ginger, but don’t want to eat it, take a large piece and crush it with the side of your knife, sharp side away from you of course. Then you can use the piece of ginger for soups, sautéing, etc. but fish it out since it’s still one big chunk.
  2. Add a chunk to your morning smoothie – wakes up your senses and potentially keeps that blood sugar down. My smoothie this morning: banana, apple, fingertip of ginger, strawberries, and kale with cold brewed hibiscus green tea and crushed flax seeds.
  3. Remove the skin with the side of a spoon. Then grate, julienne or mince it. Use it to make tea, spice up soup, add it to almost every stir fry, or brighten up anything sweet. Or try making ginger beer – a probiotic gingery drink!
  4. No fresh ginger? Or don’t want to bother with the root? (I buy mine in bulk and freeze it), ground ginger from the spice rack works too. Ginger tea is just 1/4 teaspoon with hot water, and a touch of honey.

I hope you find more ways and reasons to keep Ginger around! Please share your tricks!

Why Ginger Can Help You Lose Weight PLUS a Lemongrass Ginger Tea Recipe

by JUARA Co-Founder Yoshiko Roth-Hidalgo

Losing, or at least not gaining weight, is hard for most of us. While there is no magic bullet, the good news is that nature has a lot of the answers.  Movement, fresh foods, fresh air, sleep, mindfulness… For most of us, it’s the good old basics that are the foundation for a healthy weight.  And it is also nature that provides us with “tricks” to help us along the way.  Ginger is one of nature’s brilliant “tricks”.  Humans have used ginger for thousands of years.  In Jamu, Indonesia’s traditional herbal medicine, ginger is one of the most revered staples for a healthy metabolism and immune system  Here is why it helps with weight management. It works!

Ginger Boosts Your Metabolism

Ginger is a spice.  If you notice how your belly gets warm after eating ginger, it’s not your imagination.  Ginger warms the body because it increases your metabolism, which is crucial for loosing weight and maintaining it.

Ginger Suppresses Your Appetite and Increases Satiety

A study by the New York Obesity Research Center and Columbia University showed that participants that consumed ginger before breakfast felt fuller right after breakfast and long thereafter, compared to those that did not take the ginger supplement. It has been theorized that ginger improves leptin levels. Leptin is a compound that plays a role in feeling full and satisfied after a meal

It really works. I have tried it as a way to control my appetite, by drinking a cup of ginger tea before the meal. I will still be hungry but less ravenous, which means it’s easier to slow down, be mindful with every bite, which in turn makes you more aware of when you are full.

Ginger Suppresses Stress Hormone Production

Hormonal changes and chronic stress can spike your cortisol levels, which disrupts our metabolism and our finely calibrated mechanism that signals hunger and satiety. By balancing cortisol production, as research has shown, ginger helps protect this natural mechanism.

Ginger Improves Digestion

Researchers have theorized that poor nutritional absorption is partly responsible for not feeling satisfied after a meal. Your body feels like it needs more nutrients! By helping in the digestive process, you “get more” from the food you eat, plus you will have fewer annoying symptoms like bloating, cramps and heart burn.

How to Consume Ginger for Weightloss?

Ginger is extremely versatile and can be consumed in various ways.  While a simple ginger tea is an easy way to incorporate it as a weight loss supplement before meals, why not get creative and have fun with it, even outside of your daily meals?  Here is a refreshing ice tea recipe my partner Metta Murdaya for those balmy Summer get-togethers:

 

REFRESHING LEMONGRASS GINGER TEA RECIPE (by JUARA Co-Founder Metta Murdaya)

The weather is warming up, time to pop out the colorful glasses and get ready for outdoor cheer with friends! What easy to spruce up a party or a meal by upping the ante on the simple iced tea with this 2-ingredient charmer. The best part is you can make this in bulk and save it!

Great things come in pairs. Lemongrass and Ginger-a combination so happy together it’s like the Peanut Butter and Jelly of teas in Indonesia. Ginger’s signature spice is warming and familiar, while lemongrass is citrusy with floral/grassy notes-together they balance each other and create a flavor that is both comforting an rejuvenating-a winning combo.

To prepare your Ginger-Lemongrass happy-duo:

  • 2 stalks of Lemongrass, cut into pieces 3″ long (or approximately the length of your index finger.)
  • A generous handful of fresh ginger
  • Honey, brown sugar, or coconut sugar to taste

Slice the ginger into thin pieces and rinse until the loose skin pieces falls off and water runs clear. Slice the lemongrass pieces down the middle from top to bottom so it exposes the center and lets the aroma out.

Fill a pot with a quart of water, add ginger slices, lemongrass and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20-30 minutes. Note this recipe is loose in ingredient percentages as it can be adjusted to taste. For a brighter, citrusy note preference, add more lemongrass. For a heatier, hotter punch, add more ginger. The amount of water used can also be adjusted to taste.

Pro tip: Smash and pan roast the ginger pieces before slicing until the skin is dark. We do this in Indonesia as this process helps release the flavors and brings out the heat of the ginger. To decorate like we do in Indonesia, add a stalk of lemongrass to the beverage which can be used as a stirrer for the sweetener. Slip in a few pieces of the boiled ginger slices in the drink as well for that exotic and enticing look.

This tea can be served hot or iced, during a meal or after a meal for a nice digestive.

 

Recipe Spotlight: Coffee & Coconut Creamy Chia Pudding

Healthy, sweet, and special – that’s how I like my snacks and desserts, and not to mention, easy to make if I’m the one dishing out the goodies! Lack of time and a small pantry shouldn’t stop anyone from being able to whip up something delightfully yummy, so here’s a go-to treat I whipped up just last week. Inspired by tropical theme, but perfect for a city girl, this pudding combines energy boosting coffee, healthy fat and electrolyte filled coconut milk, and omega-rich chia seeds to give you instant – and sustained – energy through the day!

Why is this so good for you:

Benefits of Coconut Milk:

There is a reason the coconut is a staple in Indonesian cuisine – from being cooked in curries to freshly grated in desserts. And the water – we drink it straight out of the coconut! The electrolytes, including potassium and magnesium, and fatty acids in coconut milk help you, contrary to what intuition says, build muscle and lose fat. It also helps fight fatigue and sustain your energy. The healthy fats also curb your appetite, reducing the desire for snacking. It also is rich in lauric acid, which contains natural anti-bacterial properties. Lauric acid is also linked to improved cholesterol and overall heart health.

Benefits of Coffee:

Indonesia is known for its famous coffee regions: Sumatra, Bali, Sulawesi, the list goes on. This energy boosting cup of java we love contains antioxidants and other nutrients including Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid, Manganese, Potassium, Magnesium and Niacin. It also has shown to have protective effects on the liver and may also reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes when drunk in moderation. Other studies have linked coffee to a decreased chance of developing Parkinson’s and Alzheimers.

Benefits of Chia Seeds:

Chia seeds are a superfood loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals (calcium, potassium, magnesium to name a few,) and of course, are a chock-full of omegas to help skin, hair and nails remain lustrous and smooth – a great anti-aging benefit. Chia seeds are also shown to help reverse inflammation, regulate cholesterol and lower blood pressure, all elements that contribute to a healthy heart. Also loaded with fiber and protein, a lot is packed in this tiny seed!

Recipe time! Coffee & Coconut Creamy Chia Seed Pudding

Coffee & Coconut Cream-ChiaSeed PuddingServes 2:

4 heaping tablespoons Chia Seeds

3/4 cup coconut milk (or other coconut creme or milk blends.)

3/4 cup hot coffee (or I like to take an espresso shot and add water)

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon molasses

To add for variety (Mix and match to taste):

  • Chopped, dried figs  (medium to fine pieces – I prefer medium so it keeps its texture.)
  • Finely chopped almonds or walnuts
  • A Splash (or 2) of Rum to taste
  • Toasted coconut

Directions:

Spoon 4 tablespoons of Chia Seeds into a bowl or a large cup. Slowly add in the coconut milk, stirring so the seeds don’t clump on the bottom of the bowl.

Add honey and molasses to the coffee separately, until completely dissolved. It’s much easier to dissolve the thick sweeteners in warm-to-hot liquid than in the cold coconut milk. If accessible, you can use palm sugar or coconut sugar instead of honey if available. But if using honey or agave, I like the molasses because it adds a bit of a rich flavor to the sweetness.

Pour the sweetened coffee into the chia seed-coconut milk mixture and stir. Add the extras (nuts, rum, figs , etc…) and stir some more. Wait about 2-3 minutes, and stir the bowl to keep the chia seeds from sinking as they soak up the liquids. Once you see them starting to suspend in the coffee-coconut cream mixture, cover the top and refrigerate for 30 minutes or more.

Garnish with chopped figs, coconut pieces, or just dig right in! (For sheer decadence, if you want to go for a dessert vs snack, this pudding tastes great with a side of coffee or coconut ice cream!)

Beauty Beat: Coffee & Creme on you!

If you don’t have time to make the pudding, but a huge fan of coffee & creme, I highly recommend the JUARA Skincare Coffee & Creme Skin Smoothing Body Ritual. It is a duo of a rich, dark roasted coffee scrub that cleanses and exfoliates in the shower, followed by the decadent Candlenut Body Creme  – its fluffy, buttery texture and deep hydration with a signature velvety, non-greasy feel. It’s like a dessert in the shower!

Coffee & Creme Set - Invigorating Coffee Scrub + Candlenut Body Creme

Best Selling: Coffee & Creme Skin Smoothing Body Ritual

You can see the JUARA products here.