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Health Benefits of Apricot

This adorable and bright fruit is rich in flavor and nutritional value and its flavor range from sweet to sweet-tart depending on the varietal. The best way to consume fresh apricot is unpeeled because the skin is loaded with fiber and nutrients.

Check out the health benefits of apricot below and uncover a sumptuous guilt-free recipe that you’ll surely enjoy!

Skin Elixir

The combination of Vitamin C and A in apricot makes it a potent elixir for keeping your skin glowing and healthy! Apricot oil derived from apricot seeds is known to treat skin problems such as eczema and dermatitis, while the flesh can be used to soothe itching caused by sunburn or scabies.

Fortified with Fiber

Fiber is your go-to mineral for fierce and healthy digestion! A diet rich in fiber also helps protect you from heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and weight gain.

Enhance Bone Strength

Apricot is rich in calcium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, and iron. These minerals promote bone growth and prevent age-related bone conditions such as osteoporosis.

Improve Metabolism

Apricot contains potassium which evenly distributes the fluids in your body, therefore, there is a healthy balance of electrolytes that amplifies your energy and keeps your blood pumping.

Apricot Bars (Paleo, Vegan)

Ingredients:

 Crust:
 Filling:
Crumb topping:

Instructions:

  1. Begin by making your filling. Set aside dried apricots in a medium-sized bowl. Boil 3 cups water, and pour over dried apricots. Let sit for about 20 minutes. Now drain the water, and add apricots to your food processor or blender. Add in lemon juice and maple syrup. Pulse until mostly smooth, a few chunks are fine. You may need to add a bit of water to get the right consistency, but the filling should be thick.
  2. Now make the crust: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 square pan with parchment paper and lightly grease. Combine all of the crust ingredients into a food processor and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Take the mixture and carefully distribute it over the parchment paper, pressing down firmly and evenly. Place inside the oven and bake for 13 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 20 minutes. Leave the oven hot.
  3. While crust is cooling, make the crumb mixture. Combine all ingredients into your food processor and pulse for about 10 seconds, or until the mixture is crumbly.
  4. Once the crust is cooled, spread the apricot filling over the crust. Complete by topping with the crumb mixture. Now bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
  5. Remove from oven and cool completely. Once cooled, slice into squares.

Adapted from Wholesomelicious

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Health Benefits of Blueberry

A fruit that makes you feel blue? Well the kind of blue that amplifies your immunity, strengthens your brain function and shields you from cancer. It is the indomitable, mighty, yet delicate blueberry!

Blueberry is housed with powerful nutrients which is why is it is named as one of the top super foods. The best thing about this fruit is it is typically available year round and it is a great alternative for artificial or sugary sweets.

Hop in and together let us discover the health benefits of blueberry and make sure to stay tuned up until the last bits of this article to uncover a sweet tooth-satisfaction-guaranteed recipe!

POTENT ANTIOXIDANTS

Your body’s cells produce free radicals due to artificial foods and environmental stressors which can cause prostate cancer in men, arthritis, and heart disease. The reason why this fruit is classified as one of the most powerful food is because of its potent and high level of antioxidants which shields your body against the damages caused by free radicals.

PRESERVES AND ENHANCES BRAIN FUNCTION

Blueberry contains two nutrients that protect and upgrade your brain function! Phytochemicals can reverse age-related deficiencies such as short-term and long-term memory loss while flavonoids promotes blood flow to the brain and interacts with your signal pathway, thereby, improving memory and concentration.

REGULATES SUGAR LEVEL

A 150g serving of blueberry may contain up to 15g of sugar, but the anthocyanins in this fruit can improve insulin sensitivity which lowers the risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Moreover, it can also reduce a spike in blood sugar by blocking certain digestive enzymes. 

SUPER IMMUNITY

Regular exercising, healthy sleeping habits, a healthy diet, and a dose of blueberry snacks or smoothies can help empower your immune system. Our body contains a gene called cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide (or CAMP gene) which plays a significant role in our innate immunity and blueberry can increase the activity of that gene through the help of pterostilbene. Flavonoids abundantly existing in blueberry have anti-inflammatory properties.

Blueberry Date Smoothie Bowls

Ingredients

Instruction

  1. Place all ingredients into a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Top with chopped medjool dates, kiwi, blueberries, flaked coconut, and chia seeds.

Adapted from Fit Foodie Finds 

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Peachy Keen Smoothie

Summer season is here and you know what that means?!? PEACHES – I love this summer time fruit and one of my favorite ways to have peaches is in my smoothies. The sweet and summery goodness of peach is more than just a culinary treat to the world. Let’s unwrap the health benefits of this fruit with my delicious smoothie recipe for your indulgence!

Sweet and Hydrating

This fruit is a good supplement to your daily hydration needs. It contains 85 to 89 percent water, a perfect way to satisfy both your thirst and palate at the same time.

Optimized with Fiber

Eat the whole fruit to maximize the fiber content which is good for digestive support and regulating sugar levels. One-medium sized peach contains 3 grams of fiber when you include the skin.

Your Vitamin C Buddy

Unlikely it may seem, but the peach is going for the citrus fruit gig. This fruit contains 10 milligrams of vitamin c for every medium-sized peach which are about 13 percent of your recommended daily intake. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant known to protect your body against oxidative damage.

Healthy Gut

While Vitamin A is known for keeping your skin and eyes healthy, it is also a primary nutrient that keeps your organs and gut lining healthy thus, fending off the pathogens that we absorb through food. 

Peachy Keen Smoothie

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Layer the ingredients into your blender in the order listed in the ingredients section.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into your glass and enjoy!

Watch the recipe tutorial video here:

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Choosing the Right Sunscreen this Summer

Whether you are going for a vacation or just taking a stroll along the neighborhood, it is essential to wear sunscreen during the day to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun. According to one study, excessive exposure to UV rays that are received from the sun may cause skin cancer, and this gives us more reason to start lathering our skin with some protection.

Not all skin types are the same; some people are sensitive to a particular ingredient which is why choosing the right sunscreen can be tricky. There are also ingredients which can cause harm rather than help which is why for this article, we are going to focus on what ingredients should be AVOIDED in a sunscreen.

Parabens

This ingredient has been associated with breast cancer, and they also disrupt the hormones. They are not just used in sunscreen, but also in other skincare products as well.

Titanium dioxide nanoparticles

These nanoparticles can absorb the sun’s radiation, and when they slither into the system, it can cause inflammation. Titanium Dioxide can also cause lung damage and is a potential carcinogen.

Retinol

A form of Vitamin A which can be useful for the skin because of its anti-aging effects but when it comes to contact with sunlight, it can cause damage such as tumors or skin lesions.

Chemical Filters

These chemicals are supposed to help the sunscreen to penetrate our skin, even more, when it is exposed to sunlight. But when they enters our body, they can damage the endocrine system and distort the hormones. The chemicals to watch out for under this category are oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxat.

Here’s a few healthy alternatives that I like:

  1. 365 by Whole Foods Market, Sunscreen, Mineral Sport Lotion
  2. Bare Republic Mineral SPF 50 Baby Sunscreen Lotion.
  3. PACIFICA Coconut Probiotic SPF30 Mineral Face Shade

Not all products that promise protection are safe, and we are thankful for this generation because of the vast information and advanced technology that supports the research of the people from the skincare division keeping the consumers safe and healthy. 

Finally, the Environmental Working Group has created a sunscreen database where you can look up how your current sunscreen scores as far as toxic chemicals goes.  Or you can also you that site to search for a better brand for yourself and your family.

Here’s to staying active and healthy this summer.

Cheers,

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Health Benefits of Prunes

Prunes are dried plums that are a close relative of peach and cherry. This dried fruit is most commonly from the European Plum variety. Just like raisins, it may take time for some people to adjust to its distinctive taste, but once you love it, you just can’t get enough of it!

Let us discover the health benefits of this fruit are and pick up a nutritious recipe at the end of this article!

Builds Muscle

Exercising is a great way to build muscles along with a nutrient that promotes muscle growth and development and that is where prunes’ prowess comes in. Boron is a mineral that can be found in prune and it helps support muscle growth, muscle coordination, and a sharp mind.

Energy Food

Prunes are a delicious and sweet treat that you can snack on during the day or in between your work to energize your body. But what makes this fruit special is it can sustain your appetite and energy without spiking your sugar levels due to the union blend of fiber, sorbitol, and fructose. This is a great alternative for an energy drink!

Anti-Anemia

Prunes are rich in iron which can help prevent or treat anemia. If you are going for a vegetarian source for iron, then go for prunes!

Better Sleep

Prunes are a good snack for pre-bedtime because it contains magnesium which improves sleep by activating mechanism in your nervous system that calm you down. 

Prune Bars – Gluten Free

Ingredients

Prune Filling:

  • 8 ounces Prunes
  • 1 1/2 cups organic apple or white grape juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Bar Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups gluten free flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons organic butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon coconut or avocado oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1–2 tablespoons water

Instructions

  1. Make the Prune filling: Place the prunes, juice, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Let simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the prunes are very soft and there is little liquid left (about 2-3 tablespoons.) Let cool slightly.
  2. Place the prunes and remaining liquid in a food processor and puree until the mixture is thick and jammy. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, then lightly spray with cooking spray to grease. Set aside.
  4. Make the crust: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add in the oil, vanilla, and water and beat again.
  5. Slowly stir in the flour mixture and beat until the flour is just incorporated. Reserve ~3/4 cup of the dough, wrap in plastic, and place in the fridge until ready to use.
  6. Take the other remaining dough and press it into the prepared pan in an even layer. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Remove the crust from the oven and spread the prune mixture over the crust. For the remaining crust- up to you! You can dollop the remaining dough onto the prune coating or, you can roll the remaining dough into a square, then place it onto the prune mixture.
  8. Place the bars back into the oven and bake until the crust is golden brown, another 25 minutes. Let the prune bars cool in the pan, then remove and place in on a wire cooling rack or the fridge to cool completely for about 1 hour.
  9. Cut into squares and serve! Store leftovers in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge.

Adapted from Delish Knowledge

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Cilantro Lime & Garlic Chicken

I’m a huge fan of healthy, delicious, fast and fresh tasting meals and when I recently made this one my mouth was like WOW! This has absolutely been my favorite dish hands down lately – I’ve been making it about once a week because it is seriously Just. That. Good. Not only is it yummy but also a fairly quick meal – you can pre prep that marinade in the morning and you’re good to cook that chicken once it’s time for dinner. This recipe as written will serve two but feel free to double or triple it up for more people or leftovers. Finally, this entrée pairs nicely with a side of cauliflower rice, avocado and corn salsa, guacamole or grilled veggies. I hope you enjoy!

Serving size – 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/8 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 cloves minced fresh garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper – to taste

Instructions:

  1. Make that marinade – add all of the ingredients with the exception of the chicken into a large bowl and stir until well combined.
  2. Add the chicken to the large bowl and spoon the marinade over the chicken until well coated.
  3. Place the chicken marinade bowl in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes and up to 8 hours.
  4. In a large skillet over medium heat place one teaspoon of olive oil.
  5. Once the oil has warmed – add your chicken thighs to the skillet.
  6. Cook for about 5-7 minutes on each side (the size and thickness of your chicken will determine final cook times) until the internal temperature is at least 165 degrees and no pinkness remaining.
  7. Remove chicken from pan and add to your serving dish – garnish with cilantro leaves and enjoy!

Pro Tips:

  • Choose chicken thighs or chicken breasts if you want a dish that is more juicy, tender and will tend to hold more of the flavors.
  • You can marinate for 20 minutes or up to 8 hours depending on how much time you have – BUT basically the longer you marinate the better your finished dish.
  • Use as many fresh ingredients as you can in this recipe – lime juice, cilantro, garlic – it DOES make a difference in how much the flavors will POP – I promise it’s worth the extra few minutes in prep.
  • Leftovers – this one does really well saved and reheated again so make extra if you need another meal on a different week night for a quick after work meal.
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AChoo – Welcome Spring (And Allergy Season)

AChoo – Welcome Spring (And Allergy Season)

Happy Spring Everyone and welcome to pollen season.  If you live in the South like I do, then you’ve most likely woken up with the “yellow snow” as we like to call it down here – all of those lovelies blooming flowers that create a yellow blanket over EVERYTHING!  Not only is it tough to keep your car clean right now, but this is the time of year where my patients’ allergies start acting up. 

This post is dedicated to giving you all of the goods on the recommendations and exact protocols I have used for over 20 years for allergy support in my office for my patients.  Many times my patients are able to swap out their over the counter medications for these natural alternatives. My hope is that if I can provide you any relief now or throughout the year then I’ve done my job!

So without further ado, let’s jump to my recommendations –

  • Feed Your Body – what you eat definitely plays a role in how your immune system functions – the biggest culprits that will knock your immune system down the fastest are sugar, alcohol, and the chemicals in processed foods.  Instead opt to eat more veggies, fruits high in Vitamin C, quality proteins and stay hydrated.
  • Clean your Air – As deemed appropriate and possible, environmental changes may be advisable to minimize ongoing allergen exposures. Relatively straightforward changes include using a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) air filters, house plants, and essential oils in the home. HEPA filters work to decrease the amount of allergens floating around your home by trapping airborne irritants such as pollen, dust, and pet dander.  House plants can assist with air filtration – here’s a link to an entire blog post I wrote dedicated to that topic.
  • Rinse that Nose:  A number of studies have indicated that saline nasal irrigation such as a netti pot can be useful in individuals with hay fever (acute rhinitis). A 2012 study looked at 10 research papers on the topic of saline nasal irrigation and found that saline nasal irrigation produced a “27.66% improvement in nasal symptoms, a 62.1% reduction in medicine consumption, a 31.19% acceleration of mucociliary clearance time, and a 27.88% improvement in quality of life”.  Another over the counter option is a nasal wash kit – this one has been my favorite to use.
  • Supplement your System – There are a number of key nutrients needed to keep the immune system strong and assist with allergy symptoms during pollen season.  I have created overall protocols that will support the system as well as protocols for those pesky allergy symptoms.  You can click the link for each product to read more about the product and if you feel inclined, you can place an online order on our authorized website.

Allergy Support Protocols

  • Adult Allergy Support Bundle –– this protocol is ideally taken as prevention during allergy season.
  • Adult Acute Allergy Bundle – “I’m experiencing allergy symptoms and need to get over this quick”
  • Anti-histamine support – Itchy eyes and sneezing
  • Post nasal drip support – dripping nose and sore throat – the fenugreek in this product will dry you up faster than you can say “pollen count”
  • Respiratory and breathing support – allergies, and asthma

** If you have any questions or trouble with the ordering platform just reach out and my team will be happy to assist you! **

My goal is to empower you with the tools to help you and your family feel your best this allergy season.  Please reach out to me if you have any questions and here’s to your health this spring!

Cheers

Dr Z

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Order Standard Process and MediHerb Online

EXCITING

ANNOUNCEMENT!

Hello lovelies!

I have some very exciting news that made me jump for joy when I heard it because I know this is a GAME CHANGER for many of you.

The current pandemic has brought lots of change – I’ve redesigned how I see patients by offering more virtual and zoom style appointments. We’ve been shipping out your protocols to you and offering curbside pick ups as well.

Last week I was invited by Standard Process to be one of their health care practitioners with a full integrated website!!!

I jumped with joy!!!

What this means for Lime and Lotus is that our office is now an approved and authorized distributor and seller of Standard Process and MediHerb products online!

What this means for you is that you can now order and buy Standard Process and MediHerb products online through this website. Products will be shipped from the company directly to you anywhere in the United States.

Check it out here.

Online orders through the site over $100 also receive FREE SHIPPING!

I am happy and excited to be able to bring you this additional resource. We will still continue to offer curb side pick up and products from the office but this will be one more option to make your life easier!

Let us know if you have any questions.

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Dr. Stephanie Zgraggen, DC, MS, ACN, CNS, CCN

** Order your Standard Process and MediHerb Products Here **

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Health Benefits of Kale

This cruciferous vegetable is certainly one of the healthiest and nutritious plant foods that Mother Nature has offered. It is widely adored by the masses due to its powerhouse nutritional content and the continuous demands for this food have expanded its form of consumption from salads, to power juices, to dried chips. 

Let’s munch and crunch the factors one by one on what makes this vegetable extra special!

Fortified with Antioxidants

Kale is equipped with antioxidants that are potent in relieving inflammation and countering oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Antioxidants also help protect your DNA from damage and can slow down cancer growth and spread. 

Strengthens Bones

Kale is rich in Vitamin K which plays a significant part in bone formation, therefore, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

Strong Heart

Kale contains bile acid sequestrants which can lower cholesterol levels, therefore, reducing the risk of heart disease.

Healthy Skin & Hair

Kale is rich in Vitamin C which is necessary for collagen production and Vitamin A, a compound retinoid that increases collagen production reducing fine lines and improves the color of the skin.


As always the best way to consume this food is by eating it in your diet.  However, if you want a way to consistently add it to your daily protocol via supplement my favorite recommendation is Cruciferous Complete by Standard Process.

Kale Guacamole

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 to 4 big leaves of curly green kale (the Tuscan/lacinato variety also works well)
  • 4 medium ripe avocados, halved and pitted
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 ½ medium limes), divided, to taste
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
  • ⅓ cup roughly chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro, lightly packed
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeds and membranes removed, roughly chopped

NSTRUCTIONS:

  1. To prepare the kale, first remove the tough ribs with a chef’s knife and discard them. Chop the kale into small, bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle it lightly with salt, followed by a squeeze of lime juice (about 1 teaspoon). Massage the kale by scrunching it up in your hands, repeating until the kale is darker green and fragrant (this step softens the kale and makes it less bitter). You’ll need 1 cup (packed) kale for the guacamole, so measure it out and set it aside.
  2. Next, use a spoon to scoop the flesh of the avocados into the bowl of a food processor, discarding any bruised, browned areas. Add 3 tablespoons of lime juice and salt. Blend until the mixture is fairly smooth, pausing to scrape down the sides as necessary.
  3. Add the massaged kale, onion, cilantro, and jalapeño. Blend until the mixture is mostly smooth, with only tiny bits of kale and onion remaining (or completely smooth if you prefer). Taste, and add additional salt and/or lime juice, if necessary, and blend again (I usually add up to ½ teaspoon more salt and another tablespoon of lime juice). Serve immediately.

Adapted from Cookie and Kate

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Health Benefits of Papaya

This fruit was once deemed exotic, but now, you can experience the heavenly sweetness and buttery texture of papaya in both markets and restaurants! Moreover, this tropical fruit is filled with nutrients that can help improve your body’s daily performance. 


Let us unveil the health secrets of papaya along with a delicious recipe that you can prepare as a side dish or as a snack.

Powerful Antioxidants

This fruit is a fortress of nutrients but one stands out among them and that is the antioxidant beta-carotene which can reduce the risk of cancer and plays a vital role in shielding men against prostate cancer.

Improves Digestion

Papaya contains 2 key ingredients that normalize the flow of digestion which are fiber and papain. 

Fun Fact: Papain is also used as a meat tenderizer and it works by tearing down proteins through a process called hydrolysis

Supports Skin and Healing

Aside from consuming this fruit fresh, mashed papaya applied to a wound or burned skin can help improve the condition of the affected area through the power of proteolytic enzymes, chymopapain, and papain. Ointments containing papain enzyme are also now manufactured to treat bedsores.

Anti-Arthritis

People who are suffering or may want to protect themselves from arthritis might want to start incorporating papaya into their diet as it is a good source of Calcium which helps strengthen your bones and Vitamin C which keeps any inflammation at bay. 

Spicy Ripe Papaya Salad (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Ingredients

  • 1 large ripe papaya, diced to 1 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 red pepper, diced 1/2 inch
  • 1/2 red onion, slivered
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp minced hot pepper, optional
  • 1 tsp brown sugar, maple syrup or sweetener of your choice.
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger root.

Instruction

  1. Place all the ingredients in a big bowl and give a good tossing. Allow the spicy ripe papaya salad to sit for ten minutes for flavors to meld. 

Adapted from Sunny Side Hanne