I remember when my mom brought Coca Cola from America to Russia for my 8th birthday. I have never seen canned drinks before and it was so cool to open one, then feel the bite of soda water in the back of my throat. We had soda drinks in Russia, but they weren't nearly as good as Coke was. And we now know why - it has the perfect combination of sugar, salt and fizz to get us asking for more.
Unfortunately conventional sodas like Coke, Sprite, etc are loaded with high fructose corn syrup and chemicals that can weaken our immune systems, cause acne, add extra pounds, elevate blood pressure and even cause diabetes.
If you find yourself craving a bubbly soda, here are my top Z-Tips for choosing the best options:
MY TOP Z-TIPS FOR SODA DRINKERS:
1. My favorite soda by far is by SpinDrift and I can't get enough of their grapefruit flavor. It has no sugar added and instead it is sweetened with a little bit of freshly squeezed juice. It is divine!
2. La Croix soda - this brand can be found in almost all grocery stores around the country and they even have a cola flavored variety.
3. 365 Brand Italian Sparkling Water in Raspberry-Lemon flavor. I love that this water comes in big glass bottles, so it is healthier for you and it tastes incredible even though it has zero calories and no sweeteners. The only thing I don't love about it is that it goes flat quickly if you don't drink it all. I wish they sold it in smaller bottles so it had that fizzy bite.
4. Zevia is another brand that's not too shabby. They do have stevia in it to sweeten the flavor, but personally I prefer no sweetener at all.
5. If you don't want to give up your Coca Cola and still want to indulge in the original, then I suggest doing just that - go for the original version with real sugar and no high fructose corn syrup. You can even try "Mexican" coke - coke that's made in Mexico and actually has cleaner ingredients! Also, stick to small 8-oz portions and keep your intake to a minimum. Do indulge if you must, but don't make it a daily habit if you want your body to keep strong!
FUN FACT: Did you know that Diet Coke is excellent for cleaning toilets! Yes, I would rather put in the toilet that in my body. In my opinion, anything that has aspartame and other artificial sweeteners belongs in the garbage - your body is too precious to be fed chemicals!
Share with me what your favorite comfort drinks and foods are.
Hi everyone! So I am continuing to video my adventures as a Single and Hungry gal and here is a recap of my Saturday!
I decided to do a cleanse, tried a pole dance class and went to a play performed by people with autism and other disabilities.
The play I went had actors that couldn't even walk! Do you think that stopped them from doing something they enjoy? Nope, not at all. They went for it and they were great! But even if they weren't (for the sake of the argument only, cause they were great!), they still had a great time being a part of the evening.
If you are single and hungry, but afraid to go out and try something new, I want to encourage you to put your fears aside and just go for it!
This is your life, live it up! 💫🙏💖
I have been soul-searching for a quite a bit figuring out how to put my passion for delicious and healthy food and travel while helping people do the same. So.... I decided to take a solo trip to Vancouver and created this video.
If you are single and hungry for yummy food, travel and adventure, then this video is for you! Since my book is called Single & Hungry, A Realistic Guide To Food & Self-Love, I am using that name for these segments! Yey :))
I hope you enjoy this video about my solo travels to Vancouver and let me know what locations and foods you want me to cover.
Sending you lots of love, today and always!
Chef Alina Z
I get a lot of questions about easy ways to help you detox and also can assist in reducing cellulite. It this blog I want to share a trick that I use every single day in the morning.
Let me introduce you to the Lymphatic Dry Skin Massage!
Did you know that your lymphatic fluid makes up about 75% of the total fluid in your body, while blood is only 25%. Think of your lymph system as your sewage that removes the waste on the cellular level.
As your body goes through deep detoxication inside your tissue every night while you sleep, you can help your lymphatic system move that waste out with dry skin brushing. This process can help stimulate your main lymph nodes that are located behind your knees, under your arms, in your neck and in your stomach.
The most important thing about dry skin brushing is the direction – moving from your toes, brush your legs upward towards your torso, stroking each area 3-5 times. After your legs, brush your arms - start from your fingers and move in the direction of you shoulders.
Lastly, brush your neck and shoulders, followed by your stomach, which should be brushed in a clock-wise direction. Don’t hurt yourself pressing too hard, but know that seeing you skin get more pink is a good sign – you are increasing fluid flow in your body!
The key here is to move the lymph in the direction of your kidneys that are responsible for regulating fluid. A common misconception is in moving the lymph in the direction of your heart. That is not correct because your heart is a pump for your blood, not your lymph. As the matter of fact, there is no pump for your lymph, that is why it is best to exercise your body daily, do light jumps and stimulate the lymph with dry skin brushing.
Here is how I incorporate dry skin brushing into my day. My usual morning routine is drinking about 24 oz of plain water or hot water, the do the lymph dry skin brushing followed by oil massage. Then I take a light shower, which I always finish with a cold-water rinse, and move on with my day. After the shower I drink coconut water with blue-green algae and then I usually have a superfood smoothie.
I just spoke with a friend that asked me about ways to boost his energy. I thought that other people may have similar concerts, so I decided to share my advice in this blog.
If you are feeling lethargic and as a result experience sugar and caffeine cravings, then this blog is for you.
My number ONE favorite way to boost energy and fight fatigue is algae supplements. There are three types of algaes that I like – Spirulina, Chlorella and Blue-Green Algae. The main difference is in taste and personally I am team Chlorella as it has the mildest taste.
Algae is known as the oldest type of food on our planet and it contains large amounts of nutrients including:
Algae is great for:
• Building and purifying blood
• Helps boost the immune system and help promote healthy eyesight, hair and skin.
• Powerful energy booster due to its incredibly high nutrient concentration.
• Anti-aging effects on skin, hair and organs
• Stimulates stem cell release and movement, helping to regenerate damaged body tissue.
• Very absorbable to the body. Around 97% of the vitamins, minerals and enzymes found in blue-green algae are easily absorbed into the system. Most vitamin supplements are only 5-25% absorbable.
• Powerful detox effects allow us to rest easier, as they body does not have to work so hard to cleanse while we sleep.
• Weight reduction. Helps to balance food cravings.
The only DON’T with the algae, is – DON’T overdo it. Too much of a good thing can be too much and we urge you experiment with it in moderation. Start with a ½ a teaspoon (or 2 tablets) of one kind and see how you feel. You can either take it alone, blend with a smoothie or mix with coconut water.
If you have any medical issues, please check with your doctor before starting a new food/supplement as it can alter existing conditions. Algae can be a very powerful detoxifier, so please listen to your body and reduce the dose if you feel you detox symptoms are too strong.
Here is a simple green smoothie recipe to get you started. You can make a batch of 2-3 portions and drink it during the day as meal replacements or as snacks. My favorite way is to have a smoothie in the morning to start the day strong.
GREEN SMOOTHIE RECIPE
1 Frozen Ripe Banana
1 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1 Cup Frozen Strawberries
½ Teaspoon Chlorella
½ Cup Fresh Spinach
½ Cup Water
Blend to a creamy consistency and enjoy!
When dining with a group of friends or family, sometimes we don’t have a choice of the restaurant and creativity is key. Being mostly vegan, I prefer to eat plant-based meals when going out and with experience I learned how to order a healthy meal even at a steakhouse. In this blog I will share my favorite choices that can help you healthy while going out. Use these guidelines to create your own healthy meal at any other steakhouse around the country. You will be surprised how easy it can be to eat at the meat-eaters paradise!
NEW YORK PRIME and MORTON’S
When eating here, I would begin with either the New York Prime's Chopped Italian Salad without anchovies and blue cheese or at Morton’s you can get their chopped salad without the cheese or bacon. For the entrée you can create your own main course of steamed garlic spinach, asparagus (sans the hollandaise) and a plain baked potato, drizzled with olive oil and a little bit of salt. The salad will provide you with a plethora of vitamins and enzymes to boost your energy and your immune system. Spinach will love your body with a good doze of iron, asparagus will help detoxify your system and baked potato will keep you full as it is high in fiber.
ABE AND LOUIE’S
Here I would recommend the Abe & Louie’s Salad that features bibb lettuce, apples and pistachio nuts and I usually ask to hold the cheese and place the dressing on the side. This is one of the most interesting salads I have seen at steakhouse and it is pretty nutritious as lettuce is high in blood-purifying chlorophyll, apples are rich in fat-reducing pectin and pistachios are known to be the highest-protein and lowest-calorie nut. For my entrée, I would go with a Cauliflower Steak, Jumbo Baked Sweet Potato (without the brown sugar) and Brussels sprouts. Cauliflower is a great low-calorie vegetable that is high in fiber and low in starch. Sweet potatoes are rich in bloat-reducing potassium and Brussels sprouts are a part of cruciferous family of vegetables that help detoxify your liver.
BOA STEAK HOUSE
It was a complete shock to me to find that this steak house actually has a Vegan Menu! Here you can find a Beyond Meat burger with mushrooms, Pasta Bolognese and Butternut Squash-stuffed Cabbage. Yes, please! Other great veggie options are Beet Poke that has the same seasoning as a traditional favorite and Smashed Broccoli that tastes similar to mashed potatoes. I also like to get their Bamboo Steamed Veggies and Sautéed Mushrooms. Together they create a hearty and satisfying meal.
What are your favorite healthy dishes at steak houses in your area?
While being single can be a lot of fun, sometimes it can also make you feel excluded from some experiences. For example, I have been afraid to go to a concert of theater solo. I imagined it would feel awkward and lonely to go to a place where I would be surrounded by couples and groups of friends.
But you know what? At the end of the day, it is things we don't do that we regret the most. So, I decided to bite the bullet and bought tickets - one to a Russian rock concert and one to a ballet. And I went!
It was scary, yes. But only before I got there. Once I got to the concert, for example, my attention went to enjoying the venue and the music. I even met some new people, two of which really stood out. They were two women in their 50's who admitted they were too afraid to do things alone. They said they would rather be on the couch than go out alone.
They have been sitting their whole lives waiting for a man to do things with, and if he didn't want to go, they wouldn't either!
This got me thinking. Do they even want to be with their husbands or do they settle just so they don't face their own company?
And what's so bad with your own company anyway? I got to have fun, meet people and listen to music, just like everyone else.
No one cast a stone at me for being their alone. Not one person pointed a finger or laughed (which wouldn't really bother me anyway, since it would be the reflection of the other person's internal pain)
Instead, a man came up to me and said I looked beautiful and asked me to dance. Someone commented how I inspired them to do things they actually want to do and not put that desire away.
A few days later someone messaged me on Instagram and said that my post inspired him. After a few messages back and forth, he asked me out on a date. Wowza. What a turn of events, right?
But regardless of the outcome, I want to advise to not let your life pass you by just because you don't have a companion!
Be your own best friend and go out! Enjoy your life!
Of course, I would love to have a significant other take me, but until he shows up, I am going to LIVE my life instead of merely exist in waiting.
If you are tempted to break out of your fear and do something new, but not sure how, here is my Z-TIP:
IMAGINE & PRETEND!
Imagine a character you would love to play. Someone who is fearless and fun. Then pretend to play that character. Walk into the room, playing that person. Look at the world from their eyes. See what it feels like. Really sense that feeling and get familiar with it. Then try to live your life from that space - of courage and excitement. Over time you will stop pretending and start embodying that new energy.
So, please go out and LIVE, even if you have had fears! Your mind may be afraid, but keep those feet moving anyway :)
This is not a dress rehearsal!
If you need help boosting your energy throughout the day, here are some easy Z-Tips!
What are you favorite go-to energy-boosting foods?
Do you ever feel lonely? Ever get that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach? You know what I’m talking about, right? If you have, then you are not alone and hopefully you are feeling a little better already knowing that you are not alone in your loneliness. We are all in this together.
I know exactly what it feels like, but when it comes down to dissecting that feeling, what’s so bad about it? There is a definite distinction between loneliness and being alone. Being alone can be a good thing. For example, going to the bathroom alone is usually preferred. Focusing on a work project can be best when done alone.
Loneliness is different, and from my experience of allowing myself to feel it fully, I realize that the real pain comes from the thought that no one cares about us. Just recently I was seeing a guy who would text to check up on me and he would be available whenever I needed him. He’s the kind of a guy who has that presence about him that says he will take care of you, that he’s got this. I will admit that it felt very good to feel that energy around me.
However, there were other sides to that relationship that weren’t aligned with what I needed and so I broke it off. Standing in my kitchen a few days later I felt lonely all of a sudden. No texts checking in, no attention.
That’s when it hit me, the feeling of loneliness was caused by the thought that the person I cared about wasn’t there anymore and that caused me the pain in the pit of my stomach.
But you know what? This thought wasn’t so silent. On the contrary, my head was quite busy with internal chatter. This chatter made me realize that I am not alone. In fact, none of us are ever alone. Instead, we have this voice in our heads that keeps us company non-stop. If you just asked yourself "What voice? I don't have any voice in my head", that's the voice!
At that moment the voice was rather annoying with its monologue of how I should have stayed in that relationship because he care about me and at least I wasn't alone and so on. You know how that voice can be a bit of a downer?
The good news is that we have the power to change those thoughts and maybe, just maybe, we can make that voice be the one who takes care of us and loves us?
We often miss people because they took care of us. Well, now you can get YOU to take care of you. You can check in on yourself during the day, you can get yourself flowers, you can take yourself out and you can laugh at your own jokes. (I know I already do the latter quite a bit). Why is it that we give so much power to other people (that we may not even fully like) to make us feel good or bad?
As soon as I realized that the true feeling of loneliness stems from the unmet desire to be taken care of and cared for, I picked up my book “Let Yourself Blossom: The un-diet guide to food and self-love” and started to re-read it and do the homework.
I originally wrote this book to help myself navigate the overwhelming world of diets and to find peace with my body. Now, I turned to the book to help me overcome the feeling of loneliness.
If you are feeling lonely, check out the book. It’s an easy read, I promise. It has lots of blank pages that you can fill out with your own ideas of what makes you feel good, so the book becomes customized to you. You also will get lots of easy comfort-food recipes, so if you feel like treating yourself to something yummy without the guilt, you have many great options.
When you realize that you will NEVER be alone, that you always have YOU to keep you company and all you have to do is fall in love with yourself, then you will never feel lonely again. I promise you that.
And as far as relationships go, you will only be truly happy in a relationship when you don't need anything from the other person, but instead are happy just being with them and loving them unconditionally.
So, let's start loving ourselves up and creating happier and healthier lives for own sake and for the sake of others.
A few clients have been asking me about the difference between juices and smoothies, so I created this graphic to help you with it.
Make sure to download my free JUICE AND SMOOTHIE RECIPES FOR RADIANT HEALTH.
One of the biggest challenges my clients face when they start working with me is discovering that deep inside them there is a voice that sabotages their successes. Somewhere deep inside there is a voice that keeps telling them that they are not good enough… Continue reading here.
One of my favorite Disney movies is Beauty and the Beast. Little girls from an early age are taught to look through the looks and love people for who they are. I think we all consciously try to do that. Except for one person. In my line of work I often see women who can't fall in love with themselves. Continue reading here.