Herbal Cocktail Party By Rachael Keener& Lexie Donovan, July 28, 2016

Herbal Cocktails

Here at Urban Moonshine, we’re big believers in work-life balance. We most certainly work hard and we most certainly know how to have a good time. Whether it’s skipping the first hour of work for an occasional guided plant walk with Guido, stopping as a team to share lunch once a week, or taking a run/walk break as a midday refresh, the culture here promotes joy and balance in relationship to work. Last week Jovial, our founder and owner, invited us over for cocktails. So, we clocked out early and headed to her little city slice of heaven overlooking the lake and teaming with herbs and flowers. Of course pretty much everything we do together takes on an herbal spin, and mixed drinks are certainly no exception. Here’s what Lexie, our financial and administrative manager, whipped up for us. Herbal, refreshing and perfect for a summer evening.

 

Urban Moonshine staff drinking herbal cocktails

Cucumber & Lemon Verbena Gimlet: (serves 1)

Ingredients

-1.5 oz Vodka (could substitute Gin)

-1.5 oz Fresh Cucumber Juice

-1 oz Fresh Lime Juice

-.5oz Simple Syrup

-1 oz Fevertree Tonic Water or Soda Water

-1 Large Verbena Leaf

-A few sprigs Lemonbalm (optional) 

 -Ice

Instructions

-(Optional: If you want an extra herbal flavor, muddle lemonbalm with a dash of simple syrup in the bottom of martini shaker as the first step)

-Add ice to martini shaker. Pour vodka, cucumber juice, lime juice, and simple syrup over ice and stir until chilled.

Strain into martini glasses. Top […]

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5 Ways To Love Up Your Gut By Dr. Maya Shetreat-Klein, author of The Dirt Cure, guest blogger, July 19, 2016

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All health begins in the gut. If you want to optimize your health, loving up your gut is the first step. Here are five ways to improve gut health:

dandelions on picnic table

1. Eat (or drink) bitter.

Did you know that we have over 25 different types of receptors that detect bitter? And they line not just our mouth, but our entire digestive tracts, including liver, pancreas, and gallbladder. What do bitters do that’s so important? The bigger question is, what don’t they do? Bitters boost gut health by stimulating stomach acid (boosting digestion of proteins), improving gastric motility (helping with gas, bloating, and constipation), and enhancing the release of bile that break down food and enhance absorption of fats and important nutrients like vitamins A and D. Bitters have a balancing effect on appetite, blood sugar, and insulin release (Black coffee with dessert, anyone?) The bitter receptors, which also line the sinuses and lungs, stimulate gut and respiratory immune systems to protect us. In other words, consuming bitter plants in food and drink are among the best things you can do for your gut– and whole body– health. Some people love consuming bitters– whether coffee, beer, dark chocolate, leafy greens, dandelion root tea, or many more. Others prefer to take a daily herbal tonic before each meal. For kids, a little goes a long way. Bitter is better!

2. Ferment your foods.

These days, most people have heard of the beneficial microbes that live in our guts. Many have even taken the occasional probiotic—“bacteria in a capsule”—to repopulate these organisms during or after antibiotics. The biodiversity of gut organisms demands more than one or two strains in probiotics. Eating fermented foods offers greater microbial biodiversity […]

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Adrenal Balance Guido MasÉ, July 7, 2016

Our two adrenal glands are located on top of each kidney. From this perch, they not only have access to a rich blood supply, but are also close to the site of fluid and mineral balance in the body. This makes sense given their role: they participate in the stress response, of course, but are also involved in energy, libido, lean muscle growth, immune response, blood pressure, blood sugar, and water balance. So you can see how the hormones secreted by our adrenal glands have far-ranging effects: from the short-acting jolt of adrenaline to the longer-term influence of cortisol, which modulates metabolism in the liver, reduces our sensitivity to insulin, and suppresses inflammation (and immunity). We think of the adrenal glands as producing stress hormones, and this is true – but while we can perceive the effects of acute stress (heart racing, clammy hands, perhaps some anxiety), it is the more subtle ongoing hormonal activity of the adrenals that ends up having more profound effects on energy, metabolism, sleep, and mood. Unfortunately, this is hard to see until it’s gone: when our adrenal function begins to drop off, we notice fatigue, lack of motivation, metabolic slowdown, sleep disruptions, and more pain.

Running Shoes

It is this last piece that usually serves as a good indicator that our adrenal function is sub-optimal: if we recover more slowly from vigorous exercise, feeling more fatigue – and crucially, more pain – after a big hike, or an extra-long jog, it can often mean that our reserve of adrenal hormones is flagging. This ability to recover and feel ready again is a key piece of the adrenal response, and, as it turns out, to healthy sleep patterns, too. […]

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DIY Herbal Salt Glow for Vibrant Summer Skin by Rachael Keener, July 5, 2016

I have to say, I love being in my body in the summertime. My senses are constantly indulged by the burgeoning world around me, and the simple fact that more of my skin is exposed to the elements makes summer an intimate time of being in the world. My hands are in the dirt, my feet are in the sand, and my nose in every blooming flower that crosses my path. The earth is always near, and my body feels like another one of its fruits. With the sun on my skin and the wind in my hair, life flows and my heart is warm and open. The days just seems a little easier simply from being surrounded by earthly pleasures. Having soft skin is one of those earthy pleasures that I just adore. This is true anytime, but especially in the sun-kissed summer months. Using an exfoliating salt scrub is hands down the best way I know to get silky soft summer skin.

 

Chamomile and lavender

When it comes to making salt scrubs, there are many different approaches. I like including lots of herbs, of course, for their therapeutic and aromatic properties and also because they help with exfoliation. This recipe includes lavender and chamomile flowers–both of which are anti-inflammatory and soothing to the skin as well as cooling and relaxing to the nervous system. The bergamot essential oil is an added aromatic boon, providing a soft citrus note that is at once uplifting and relaxing. Emollient coconut oil and sweet almond oil in the recipe help seal in moisture.

Exfoliation softens and smooths your skin by removing dull, […]

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