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The Ultimate Green Breakfast | Nutrition Stripped


Give your body exactly what it wants to start the day off right with The Ultimate Green Breakfast.

We all know it’s important to eat our greens. Eating a big salad for lunch, or a veggie-heavy focused dinner is a shoo-in, but how do we eat more greens for breakfast? No need to worry, because we figured it out for you with The Ultimate Green Breakfast!

We took a few of our favorite healthy and savory ingredients to whip up a breakfast that would fill you up without slowing you down.

 

Stripped

Kale

A fiber-rich dark leafy green rich in vitamins A and K, potassium, B vitamins, and not to mention fiber! Fiber is crucial to keeping our digestive systems happy, i.e. functioning optimally and regularly. Kale is great raw in smoothies and juices or lightly steamed, roasted, or cooked. I prefer cooked kale more than raw and recommend you consume it with a healthy fat like coconut oil, avocado, nuts/seeds, etc. to increase the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins in kale such as vitamins A and K.

Healthy Fats

Eating healthy fats like avocado is important for our overall health, whether we’re trying to balance hormones, nourish our skin and hair, or balance our blood sugars for disease prevention and weight management — healthy fats are where it’s at.

Eggs

Egg whites are a great source of protein, actually, most of the protein that comes from an egg is in the egg white, but the egg yolk also contains minerals that are crucial to our health including vitamin B12, zinc, iron, vitamin D, choline, and vitamin A. Learn more about eggs here.

Balance is key

The trick to incorporating more healthy foods into your diet really is simple. It takes a little creativity and sometimes a willingness to try new foods. Here’s a couple of our favorite breakfast recipes that are packed with greens like The Ultimate Green Breakfast!

Veggie Egg Bake

Refreshing Citrus Mint Green Juice

Pesto Green Eggs & Avocado Toast



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Wellness

Our Wedding Story and My 5 Top Tips For Wedding Planning


Ever since we got married last year, 1.11.19, I’ve had so many questions about how to plan for a wedding, the details of everything I wore, the food, the reception, and tips I learned.

I’m sharing our wedding story, how we met, and all the details in hopes that I can support you if you’re currently wedding planning or newly engaged! Scroll down to see our wedding video too!

Planning a wedding is so unique to you and your soon to be spouse, so keep that in mind whenever you’re reading resources about “how to plan a wedding”, including mine!

That one was the thing I kept in mind when we first got engaged — I found myself reading so many blogs and magazines about what to do and it was incredibly overwhelming, so I’m sharing exactly what we did to have a very relaxed, chill, and special wedding planning experience. If you haven’t checked out my previous wedding series posts, then check out The Best Wedding Diet, How To Have a Healthy Bachelorette Party and the Wedding Week Self-care Checklist.

How We Met

I’ll preface this story by sharing that I totally believe in soulmates, I’m a big advocate for manifesting what you want in life and designing a way to achieve your dreams, and most importantly how to call in and align your life with what you want and deserve. That also goes with relationships and partners! Back in 2015-2016, I created what I call a manifestation list where I wrote out everything I wanted and deserved in a partnership — from characteristics of this partner, passions they may have, and how I wanted to show up in a partnership. So much of my mindset was in the truth that I was enough on my own, that I didn’t need anyone to create happiness for me, my self-worth was and is really high, and the standards I set were also what I felt I deserved in life.

In short, I only wanted someone to come into my life if they were the person for me and I could see him like that, otherwise, I was so happy and at ease with being alone with Luna pup for however long it took. I’m often asked about this mindset and how to cultivate self-worth so please let me know if you’re interested in me talking more about this because it absolutely fuels the mentality around how you nourish your body, mind, and heart. 

I got a text one day from a close friend asking me if he could set me up on a blind date and without hesitation, I was like sure why not! Fast forward a few days of texting, we went on a date to meet for the first time and it all happened like that — so quick and so strong. All my friends and family know how I’m like and I’m not one to jump into anything nor am I one to settle and within two dates, I immediately knew Jesse was the person I wanted to spend my entire life with and explore all the chapters of life with.

We moved in as a little family of three (Luna pup) after six months of dating, then bought our first home together after a year, and a year and a half after our first date Jesse popped the question on New Year’s Eve in the heart of our home, the kitchen.  We got married on January 11, 2019, and now are in the process of building our dream home out in nature similar to how Jesse grew up (come follow our journey! @thenatureelement).

Life is such a whirlwind and it’s so beautiful to be present in the moment enough to soak it up and enjoy. I’ve learned so much about not only relationships, but marriage, and I learned the most while planning for our wedding. So many things come up when planning a wedding and many of them have nothing to do with the logistics of the wedding itself, but the relationships, family, and juggling your own needs with others.

This leads me to why we chose to have an intimate no-fuss wedding.

Why We Chose A Small Wedding

We chose to have a very small wedding to keep it simple.

We adore all our friends, extended family members, and community but for our wedding, it was getting to be a bit much for us personally — our wedding could’ve easily been in the 200’s! We wanted to keep our wedding intimate so we could spend this special time with our immediate family, create space for meaningful conversations, dancing, but more importantly, so Jesse and I could enjoy each other.

We’ve been to so many weddings with over 100 guests where the bride and groom spend the entire night just greeting people, then the night slips away and the couple have barely been able to dance and spend alone time together to soak up all the fruits of their labor in organizing the wedding and getting everyone together. 

We chose this because it just felt so right in our hearts to do and our families were fully supportive of going that route.

On the logistical front, planning a wedding for 15-20 people still required organization and, but it was something that I could personally manage mostly by myself until the weekend of when our day of wedding planning hopped in.

My Top 5 Tips For Planning A Wedding

1. Get crystal clear on the vision and the vibe.

Establish your vision with your wedding from the aesthetic to the experience. Having this firm vision in mind will keep you from going off the path while planning and while you may have a lot of opinions from family, planners, and friends. I had a Pinterest board where I gathered images, vibes, colors, and moods of how I wanted our ceremony and the experience to feel and look. This helped so much when finalizing all the details and picking florals, accessories, etc. that kept in line with the original vision — it can be so easy to get thrown off with so many options shared with you.

2. What are your unique elements?

Having a few or many like we did, non-traditional elements to your wedding that completely feel like you is what makes your wedding, your wedding! We had our wedding in a greenhouse in the winter because we both love nature and envisioned getting married in the winter.

We had special moments of citrus fruits in the fountain, Indian food at our reception, a gluten-free wedding cake, Luna in the wedding party photos, my family singing and playing guitar during the ceremony, meditation during the ceremony, and Jesse’s father who officiated the wedding.

3. Delegate and DIY.

Establishing what things you can delegate and what things you can easily do yourself is key! For example, I hired a day of a wedding planner because I’m incredibly organized and very efficient so I felt more than capable of doing all of the wedding planning up to the day of.

I also designed all our stationery because the design is in my wheelhouse and it was really fun to do. We delegated florals, rentals, food, video, and photo to the experts so we had peace of mind knowing all of that was taken care of. In a nutshell, get a day of wedding coordinator or planner if you’re hosting a larger wedding, they’re so amazing at what they do!

4. Future thinking.

Think about how you want to feel after your wedding — when you reflect on your big day what are the moments you most want to remember? Maybe it’s your first dance, your dances with your parents, cutting the cake, dancing with friends, etc. Whatever those big moments that stand out for you, make sure those are top of mind when you’re planning your big day — make sure they are a top priority in the schedule so that when the day is over, you’ll have those moments and memories.

5. Set a budget and stick to it.

Do you know what it’s like when you go grocery shopping while hungry? You walk away with so many things you didn’t really need. Same with wedding planning! It’s so easy to get caught up in adding things here or there and then your initial vision and budget might be off alignment.

Jesse and I both had strong feelings about not spending a lot of money on our wedding because we wanted to save or put those resources towards other things we wanted to accomplish in life such as building our home and we did! Again, everyone is so different especially if there are family members contributing to the wedding or if that’s simply where you want to put resources, just listen in to your gut and what you and your spouse want to do and go with that.

A Wedding Isn’t Complete Without A Trip To The ER?

Just 3 days before the big day, and my first day off work so I could relax and prepare for the big day, I was chatting with my mom about last-minute details when I got a few back-to-back phone calls from Jesse’s brother. I immediately knew something was wrong. Jesse had an accident moving a 1500 pound rose quartz art sculpture for his father’s business, which landed on his foot putting him in the ER.

Talk about pre-wedding stress, anxiety, and panic mode! For Jesse who was in shock, I was cool, calm, and collected on the outside because I’m actually pretty great under extreme circumstances, but the second I had a moment alone I completely caved and allowed myself to feel the anxiety, the panic, but also the gratitude that it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been. I look back at that time around our wedding and despite having a very low-key and low-stress wedding experience, I was undergoing so much stress with work with tying up loose ends with some huge projects — that wasn’t the best example of my time management or setting boundaries but I learned so much from that experience that I’m grateful.

Luckily with crutches, lots of love from our families, and good spirits, the wedding day went on without a hiccup. Fast forward to the present day, we have such a great wedding story to share haha! 

The Day Of

While Jesse was with his brother Sascha getting ready for the day, I got ready at home with my sister-in-law Katya who did my hair and makeup with my friend Jana, it was so special and pretty chill. We had champagne, veggies and hummus, and gummy bears (it’s my go-to sweet treat). 

Our niece Saschenka was our flower girl and she was so perfect! She and I had a special little moment before I walked down the aisle with my dad to our violinist playing Bluebird by Alexis Ffrrench. Jesse’s father William was our officiant and he weaved in poems by Pablo Neruda into the ceremony along with stories of Jesse and I which was so special to hear him share.

The space alone was calming and we were surrounded by nature — very aligned with Jesse and I. But to add another extra layer of peace and calm to the wedding, William shared a guided meditation for us and the wedding party — it felt so right to have something grounding and connecting us all. Before the exchange of vows, my dad Joe, brother Josh, and sister-in-law Cristina sung and played acoustic guitar to one of our favorite songs, Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen.

We walked out of the ceremony to My Winding Wheel by Ryan Adams played on the violin, taking wedding photos with the family, followed by going to an intimate reception at Mayker Creative filled with our favorite Indian food, a gluten-free German Chocolate wedding cake, and champagne to celebrate on the dance floor.

We had our first dance to Something by The Beatles and danced the night away with their family, crutches in all!

The Wedding Details

Wedding gown

My wedding gown was designed by Liz Martinez Bridal from BHLDN and it was my dream gown! I had a BHLDN showroom appointment with my brother and sister-in-law in New York and instantly fell in love with the gown after trying on a few I saw on their website first. We had such a fun time trying on dresses, I highly recommend this activity as a bride to be!

As soon as I tried it on I knew it was made for me — long, flowy, blush and ivory tones, lace, see-through on the sides that showed off my first (and favorite) tattoo of a feather I sketched in my early twenties after a really rough time in my life. It was a small visual reminder of all the chapters of life I’ve walked through already, and the new ones before me. I also got my shoes and hair accessories from BHLDN. I loved everything about their gowns, the process, and accessories so I highly recommend it! I’ve even gone back to them for party gowns as a guest to weddings.

Jewelry

I chose Catbird earrings, a Pascale Monvoisin navy shell necklace, and Zoey Lev charm locket necklace with J and M initials, all were so special and I wear them in my day to day life. Our wedding bands and my engagement ring were custom from Consider Bridal who is based in Nashville, but has an online shop for everyone around the world — highly recommend her amazing rings and jewelry and the customer care is incredible! 

Rentals and florals

Our color palette was very calming and focused on nature and the elements of greens from the greenhouse with pops of champagne, white, ivory, and blush to play off the color tones of the wedding gown. All rentals and florals were done by Mayker Creative and I couldn’t recommend their services more, they were incredible! They also recommended a fantastic day of wedding planner, Brandy Lester, for us that day as well.

Venue

The wedding venue was at Long Hollow Gardens in TN. It was a lush greenhouse featuring dangling vines over the ceremony alter, gorgeous champagne and blush-toned florals, all placed organically amongst white twinkling candlelight votives. From fruits displayed by the champagne bar and sliced citrus in the fountain, there were small details of the theme of abundance and nourishment. They have two event rooms and typically they host weddings in a gorgeous event space overlooking a vineyard, but I threw them a curveball and asked if we could just use their gorgeous greenhouse space as our setting. They were so accommodating and incredible to work with!

Food

Food plays such a big role in our lives — not only in what I do each day with Nutrition Stripped (and now Jesse too!), but also our love and enjoyment of trying new dishes, eating food, and cooking. We know we had to make the food component so special and unique to us, yet very cozy, casual like we were sharing a meal with our family at home.

We chose our favorite Indian food restaurant here in Nashville, Bombay, which was also one of our early date spots that we visit frequently. The food had such sentimental value and experience to it, that it was our way of sharing with our families and they loved the warming meal on a cold night.

Our wedding cake was a delicious german chocolate cake which was my late grandfather’s favorite dessert, one that inspired the same recipe in the Nutrition Stripped Cookbook. The wedding cake was by Baked on 8th (gluten-free and dairy-free).

Photography and Video

Photography was done by Tec Petaja. Videography was done by Jessica Steddom. They’re both so creative and incredible at what they do.

Memories

After we got our photos, we put them all in a stunning coffee table book so we could flip through the pages and relive that day over and over again. There are so many choices to do this online, but Artifact Uprising is hands down my favorite with all the customization of the page layouts, the cover, and the quality of the product. I reached out to them to get a discount code for any of you who are getting your pictures printed soon and they graciously are giving you all 20% off a photo album using the code MCKEL20.

The One Question To Answer!

My biggest piece of advice for brides to be is to ask yourself this question: What do you truly need, want, and desire from this one day, from this moment?

There’s so much pressure put on brides to look a certain way, feel a certain way, spend a certain amount of money or just follow what a traditional wedding looks like. Go with what you uniquely want and what represents you well and as a couple!

After all, this day is about you and your partner, not about anyone else’s wants or wishes. Also, have a little fun doing things that don’t feel traditional, we had meditation in the ceremony which felt magical and very aligned with who we are and Indian food regardless of people telling us that was a unique idea. We went with it and are so happy we did what felt right for us! 

Whew, that was a long one! I hope it was entertaining, insightful, or you enjoyed it. Let me know if you’d like me to write more personal-style posts like this, I’m always excited to hear what you’d like to see. xx M





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Wellness

What’s Really in Your Protein Powder?


Adding protein powder to your daily routine is often considered a quick and convenient way to bump up your intake of this essential nutrient. But do you know what’s lurking in your protein powder?

Take a quick look at the label and you’ll probably spot a few familiar ingredients, such as whey, casein, pea protein, or soy. But keep reading and you may notice a few other ingredients, many of which sound like they belong in a chemistry lab rather than on your shelf. From fillers to food thickeners to artificial sweeteners and beyond, let’s take a look at some of the most common ingredients in protein powder, plus how to pick the best type next time you go shopping.

6 Common Protein Powder Ingredients

1. Whey/Casein

Whey and casein are two types of protein found in milk, and they’re among the most common sources of protein in many supplements. Whey protein is digested very quickly in the body while casein is digested much slower. However, both can be highly beneficial for muscle-building and tissue repair.

That being said, these milk proteins are high in lactose, a type of milk sugar that many are unable to digest. For those with lactose intolerance, consuming protein powders with whey or casein can cause side effects like gas, bloating, stomach pain, and diarrhea (1).

Plant-based protein powders made from ingredients like hemp, pea, brown rice, or chia seeds may be a good alternative if you find that you can’t tolerate milk-based products.

2. Milk solids

The term “milk solids” refers to the non-liquid components of milk, including proteins, lactose, and certain minerals. Milk solids are often used as a bulking agent for protein powders, and they’re especially common in low-quality products to help keep costs down.

For the most part, the milk solids found in protein powders have few benefits when it comes to health. The protein is not well-absorbed or utilized by the body and the lactose can cause issues for those who are unable to digest it. For this reason, it’s best to skip products that contain milk solids whenever possible.

3. Artificial sweeteners

Often used as a quick way to enhance the flavor of protein powders without significantly altering the nutritional profile, artificial sweeteners are increasingly common in many products currently on the market.

Although the use of these products remains highly controversial, non-nutritive sweeteners like saccharine, aspartame, sucralose, neotame, and acesulfame-K are considered safe by the United States Food and Drug Administration (2). However, several human and animal studies have found that some artificial sweeteners could have adverse effects on gut health, blood sugar levels, and body weight (3, 4, 5). Therefore, it’s best to use with caution or opt for natural sweeteners like stevia instead.

4. Fillers

Fillers such as psyllium, cellulose, or coconut flour are added to many products by manufacturers looking to boost profits by cutting costs. While these ingredients aren’t necessarily harmful, they can be a sign of a lower-quality product. For some, they may also trigger digestive issues like gas, bloating, or belching (6).

5. Food thickeners

Thickening agents like xanthan gum, dextrin, arrowroot, or gelatin are used to improve the texture of many food products, including protein powders. When consumed in large amounts, however, these ingredients can impact regularity, gut health, and digestion (7). Some are also sourced from common allergens such as wheat, soy, dairy, or corn, which can be problematic for those with a sensitivity to these ingredients.

6. Vegetable oils

Many types of protein powder contain vegetable oils to improve the flavor and texture while also adding richness to the final product. Unfortunately, these oils are often heavily processed and may contain hydrogenated fats, also known as trans fats.

Trans fats can be detrimental to several aspects of health. In fact, research has found that an increased intake of trans fats could be linked to a higher risk of heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and even certain types of cancer (8). The American Heart Association recommends reducing your intake of trans fats by limiting consumption of fried foods, hydrogenated oils, and processed ingredients whenever possible (9).

How to Pick the Best Protein Powder

After decoding the ingredients on your protein powder, you may be wondering how to get the best bang for your buck next time you shop for supplements. Here are a few simple tips to help you pick the best protein powder:

  1. Check the ingredients label and look for products that contain as few ingredients as possible
  2. Pick a protein powder that is free of artificial flavorings, additives, and fillers
  3. Select unsweetened protein powders without any added sugars or artificial sweeteners
  4. Look for products that have undergone third-party testing to ensure quality and safety
  5. Opt for GMO-free, sustainably-sourced products whenever possible
  6. Check out my list of the best plant-based protein powders for a few of my favorites in terms of taste, price, and quality

NS Recommends

There are plenty of options available for increasing your protein intake. Whether it’s from food sources or supplements, it’s important to be sure that you’re getting the best quality possible to help optimize your health, and picking a protein powder that’s free of fillers, additives, and chemicals is a great place to start.

If you’re looking for more support and ways to boost your protein intake, then check out our Wellness Coaching. We offer appointments virtually and all of our NS Wellness Coaches are professionally trained to give you expert guidance and practical plans for long-term health! Click here to take the client quiz.



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Wellness

Smokey Cashew Queso Dip | Nutrition Stripped


Spice up your next friendly gathering, or solo snack session with this delightfully-dippable plant-based Smokey Cashew Queso Dip!

It’s no secret at this point that we here at NS are big-time fans of snacking. We also believe that the best healthy snacks include recipes that not only taste delicious but also check some of the nutritional boxes. Using lightly toasted raw cashews and almond milk gives this Smokey Cashew Queso dip a boost of protein.

Finding substitutes for dairy isn’t always easy. Especially when it comes to mimicking the texture of a perfectly creamy cheese sauce. In our home, we’ve personally tried numerous store-bought options, most of which were packed with extra oil and preservatives.

By adding a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast, you get a big boost of B vitamins, while adding the perfect “cheesy” flavor. The real game-changer came from a recipe created by chef and author Kenji López-Alt where he uses a potato to improve texture. Once cooked, the natural starches from the potato give this dip a smooth “cheesy” texture, without the use of dairy.

Drag it through the garden

Looking to jazz up your Smokey Cashew Queso Dip with all the bells and whistles? Here are some of our favorite ingredients that take this dip to the next level.

  • Chopped peppers and red onion
  • Diced avocado and tomatoes
  • Black beans
  • Crumbled tempeh
  • Fresh cilantro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did someone say batch-cooking? Whether you’re a seasoned batch-cooking vet, or just learning the ropes, this plant-based Smokey Cashew Queso Dip is the perfect recipe to incorporate into your repetoiré. It’s quick and easy to make, packed with healthy vitamins and nutrients, and stores perfectly in our favorite glass containers.



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Wellness

Refreshing Citrus Mint Green Juice


Treat yourself to a bright green boost with this Refreshing Citrus Mint Green Juice!

There are many ways to start your day off on the right foot. Hydration, mindfulness, and self-appreciation, simple stretching and exercise — the list goes on and on! We do our best to check off as many of these boxes each day, but we get it. Sometimes “life happens” and there just isn’t enough time. One thing we can be sure of is that we are blocking out enough time each day to whip up this perfectly healthy and vitalizing Refreshing Citrus Mint Green Juice!

A little change for the better

We’re no stranger to green juice here at Nutrition Stripped, and we LOVE to support our local juice shops here in Nashville. That being said, good juice just isn’t cheap, and if you like to enjoy it as much as we do, it can rack up quite the price tag. By simply investing in a juicer, using organic/seasonal vegetables, you can make delicious juice for a fraction of the cost.

Whatever the day throws your way, this Refreshing Citrus Minty Green Juice will add some pep in your step!

 

STRIPPED

Cucumber

Cucumbers not only taste light and refreshing but contain unique antioxidants and polyphenols that have been studied for their effects on reducing some cancers, reducing cardiovascular disease, has anti-microbial properties, and reducing inflammation.

As with most fruits and vegetables, cucumbers contain good amounts of fiber that help our digestive system moving, keeps us fuller for a longer period of time, and releases a steady flow of energy into our bodies.

Celery

Celery is also mostly made of water, containing vitamins A, K, C, B vitamins, beta-carotene (our body then converts to vitamin A). As well as phytonutrients, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and phosphorus.

Ginger

Ginger has been shown to help fight inflammation with certain cancers, such as ovarian and colon cancers. Diseases such as arthritis, muscular pain or swelling, and joint pain. As well as reducing symptoms of common ailments like colds, nausea, arthritis, migraines, and hypertension.



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Child Prodigies Renee Mendonca & Rhea Mendonca Are Trailblazers In The Anti-Vaping Campaign Globally

HOW DID YOU START WINGS OF HOPE?

We started WINGS OF HOPE at the age of 10. Death of our beloved Grandpa, who was our CONFIDANTE, FRIEND and ROLE MODEL due to Pulmonary Fibrosis crumbled our lives.

He was a chain smoker from the age of 14. From that day, we vowed to save young lives caught in trauma due to addictions. This is how WINGS OF HOPE was born.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO  LAUNCH AMERICAN CHAPTER OF WINGS OF HOPE?

Recently when we immigrated to the United States. We were spending sleepless nights, as we observed our underage peers vaping E-Cigarettes. When we conducted a survey, we were baffled to find that out of 3,000 students, 97% use flavoured E- Cigarettes, 90% vaped Juul, 85% of the ages of 12 – 17 year olds vape.

Our classrooms were transformed into VAPING DENS. My twin sister Renee Mendonca and I, Rhea Mendonca felt that we couldn’t remain silent anymore and watch the youth being robbed of their lives due to this evil addiction of Vaping E- Cigarettes. This inspired us to form the American Chapter of Wings of Hope.

WHAT TRIGGERED YOU TO WRITE TO PRESIDENT TRUMP, GOVERNORS OF 50 STATE IN USA, ?

The death of our 17 year Instagram friend due to VAPING left us devastated. So we took matters into our hands by putting pen to paper and started writing letters to President Donald Trump, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Governors of the 50 States in America demanding to ban E- Cigarettes in whole of USA.

We received letters of appreciation from Governors of the 50 States in America.

Due to the magnitude of our actions, we realised at the age of 16, it created a SNOWBALL EFFECT. New York was the First State to ban Flavoured E-Cigarettes, followed by 10 States in America.

WHAT EFFECT DID YOUR LETTER HAVE ON E-CIGARETTE COMPANY JUUL?

We accidentally came across the advertisement by E-Cigarette Company, JUUL on Social Media “SAVE ROOM FOR TASTY TREATS AND REWARDS”.

We wrote a letter to E-Cigarette Company, JUUL, them expressing our disapproval how they were using social media to target underage teenagers where Middle and High School students live.

We also protested about the sweet dessert flavours they were using such as Gummy Bears, Cotton Candy, Creme, Mango to entice teenagers and hook them to Nicotine. It was a JESUS MOMENT for us.

We felt we were like MISSIONARIES sent to America to save lives of youth due to VAPING. E-Cigarette Company, JUUL withdrew all Social Media Marketing Campaigns and flavored pods targeted at youth. 

HOW DID TO TURN INTO STRONG OPINIONATED YOUNG LEADERS?

At the Dinner table, my mom would throw at us different Global issues and each of us had to give our opinion. This developed us into young leaders who were not afraid to voice our  opinion and to stand up for injustice in this world. 

HOW CAN VAPING ADDICTS CONTACT YOU?

Wings of Hope is a youth led organisation to help youth all over the world. Till date we have helped 1,50,000 youth from USA, UK, Nigeria, South  Africa, Kenya, Nicaragua, Haiti, Mexico, Columbia, Cuba, Congo, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Australia and India.

The vaping addicts can send us a SECRET LETTER about the trauma they are facing and ask for help on on our INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT @wings_ofhope and Email- wingsofhope555@gmail.com 

HOW DO YOU SPREAD AWARENESS OF DANGERS OF VAPING?

We share our wisdom on QUORA, MEDIUM and write on international teen magazines to caution the youth of dangers of VAPING.

We also utilized the use social media to spread awareness to the youth. We also made youtube videos urging President Donald Trump, E-Cigarette Companies to STOP E-  Cigarettes in whole of USA.

I HAVE HEARD YOU HAVE COMPOSED YOUR OWN LYRICS TO SPREAD MESSAGE OF ANTI-VAPING?

WE KNOW YOUTH LOVE MUSIC. SO WE USED OUR TALENT OF WRITING AND SINGING TO COMPOSE OUR OWN LYRICS AND “ BREAK FREE FROM ADDICTIONS” to inspire the youth to choose LIFE and give up VAPING. SING A SONG.

WHAT WAS SPECIAL OF YOUR 17TH BIRTHDAY?

For our 17th birthday we traded our birthday presents to save the lives of the youth addicted to vaping by asking all our friends, relatives and well wishers to donate to our favorite charity ST JUDE HOSPITAL as our BIRTHDAY GIFT.

We felt truly blessed to celebrate our birthday – FOR A  WORTHY CAUSE BIGGER THAN OURSELVES. We raised $1,50,000 dollars.

WHAT INVALUABLE GIFT DID U GET FROM YOUR MOM?.

At the beginning of every school year my mom would handover us an EMPTY BUCKET.

My mom said, “Everyday I want you to fill this bucket with a minimum of 10 GOOD DEEDS”

At the end of the day, she would ask us what good deeds we have done towards our peers, teachers, blue-collared staff, strangers and animals. This ritual imbibed in us a practice of being an angel in our community. Doing good came naturally to us.

How do u celebrate THANKSGIVING?

We had a special RITUAL at THANKSGIVING. At the begnining of the year, each of us had a GRATITUDE JAR with our name on it.

Every morning we had to write a minimum of 10 things we are grateful for and drop it in the Gratitude Jar before rushing off to school.

At Thanksgiving we would empty our jar and read aloud what each one is grateful for.

It was a competition. My mom was the judge for the event. The person with most items in the GRATITUDE JAR won a PRIZE.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE NIGHT RITUAL? 

From the age of 3 at bedtime, my mom she would always share with us life lessons and stories of great women and men like Mother Theresa, Bill Gates, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela.

We grew up believing we were sent to this world with a MISSION TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THIS WORLD. This is our favourite NIGHT RITUAL TILL DATE. We look forward to this time together. It is a time of bonding, sharing and celebrating the good in this world. 

HOW DO U FEEL WINNING THE INTERNATIONAL UN YOUTH SERVICE AWARD FOR EXCEPTIONAL COMMUNITY SERVICE GLOBALLY?

We feel honored and happy to receive the AWARD. We do not do it for the recognition, but do it to save the lives of youth caught in the web of vaping. Our hearts break into a million pieces every time we read that a youth has died due to vaping.

BIOGRAPHY: 

Rhea Mendonca and Renee Mendonca, 17 year old twins are social entrepreneurs, activists, humanitarians, composer and singer of songs.

They are currently  Seniors at Susan E Wagner high school. They are Co- Founders of Wings of Hope, a Global Not For Profit Organisation, Co-Founder and President of Model UN Club in their School.

They are advisors on QUORA, writers for the International Teen Magazine, Youtubers, Bloggers at Medium.

They have podcasts about our Wings of Hope, Not For Profit on spotify, apple podcasts, itunes. So far, Wings of Hope  has helped 1,50,000 youth from countries like Haiti, Africa, Nicaragua, Srilanka, Pakistan, India addicted to VAPING. 

When children of their age were playing with toys, riding bikes, playing video games Renee and Rhea every Sunday used to spend their time visiting ORPHANAGES, HOMES OF DESTITUTE GIRLS AND terminally ill AIDS home giving motivational talks to orphans in destitute and aids home from the age of ten. 

Mendonca twins, Renee Mendonca and Rhea Mendonca besides holding Leadership roles in their school are HONOR ROLL STUDENTS and belong to the prestigious NATIONAL HONORS SOCIETY. They are Mathematics and Science National Level Olympiads Champions.

If you liked this article checkout our article about vaping: Is vaping good for teenagers?

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Wellness

What are the benefits of eating fewer carbs?

Keeping Fit And Trim With A Low Carb Diet

They say that losing weight and keeping it off is tough, but the good news is that there is a way to keep obesity at bay without going hungry.

Despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noting that nearly one in five children/youths aged six to 19 in America has obesity, teens don’t need to go hungry to feel their very best.

One diet you may have read a lot about is the ‘keto’ or low carbohydrate diet. For many teens, it’s attractive because you don’t have to count calories and you can easily eat out without having to tell anyone you’re on a diet. Is the low carb diet effective though? What does science say?

Low Carb Diets Can Help You Burn More Calories

Although the emphasis of diets like keto are on consuming low percentages of carbohydrates, weight loss can be enhanced if you also burn more calories.

A 2018 study by scientists at Boston Children’s Hospital found that eating fewer carbohydrates can help you burn more calories, thus aiding in weight maintenance as well as weight loss.

If you have successfully taken off excess pounds, take note: most people regain the weight they have lost in one to two years, partly because their body adapts to eating fewer calories.

By adding low carb in to the equation, you can boost your metabolism and keep weight off in the long-term. Eating low carb can also stand you in good stead when you reach adulthood.

This is because as a teen, your metabolism is faster than it will be when you hit your 30s, 40s or 50s. By becoming accustomed to a low-sugar, high-protein style of eating, you can keep your internal machine running at full steam ahead, thus keeping adult obesity at bay.

Start Your Day With A Low Carb Breakfast

Your body is still growing, and if you do sport at school or on an extra-curricular basis, you will need plenty of energy throughout the day.

The good news about low carb diets is that they can help you battle fatigue and keep energy levels stable all day.

University of British Columbia study found that having a high protein, low-carb diet can help keep your glucose levels stable, not only for the hours following breakfast, but also for a full 24 hours.

This means that you are less likely to feel fatigued and to reach for unhealthy, sugary foods to give you a lift. One of the best things about a low carb breakfast is how easy it is to make.

A spinach or mixed veggie omelette can be made in under five minutes, yet is super yummy. You can also have a cheat breakfast once in a while, following lazy keto principles and enjoying foods like bacon and eggs, or a low-carb muffin topped with melted cheese.

Lazy keto essentially involves keeping your carbohydrate content to under 20 grams a day.

Is Low Carb The Only Solution?

In order to lose weight, it’s important to find a diet that most suits your lifestyle. Research has shown that low calorie diets and low carb diets can be equally efficient.

The key is to be consistent and to back a sound nutritional regimen with daily physical activity. Aim for a combination of cardio and weights workouts to build muscles and burn calories.

Doctors recommend that teens aged 13 to 18 enjoy at least one hour of moderate to vigorous activity a day. At the very least, you should be aiming for three half-hour sessions.

Think activities that might appeal to your friends as well – including dance, cycling, and choreographed weights routines.

This way, you can head to the gym together for a workout and a healthy low-carb smoothie afterwards.

If you would like to lose a little weight, think about the different options open to you. Sometimes, simply being more active can help tone and shape you in the way you wish.

If obesity is an issue, then embrace a healthy diet, consulting with your parents and doctor on an appropriate and ‘doable’ duty for your lifestyle.

Written By: Katlyn Upson

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Wellness

Your body language reveals your deepest secrets: [3 ways to improve body language]

Body language can tell a person everything about you

Body language explores the way we use our bodies to communicate, the way we hold ourselves, the way we sit, stand, and point our hands, feet, and eyes can all reveal how we are feeling in any given situation.

Have you ever talked to someone and they say to you “ I know your lying because when you lie you always play with your hair” or “I can tell when you’re nervous because when you’re nervous you bite your nails”

I’m sure we can all agree to this, body language signs can reveal ourselves through the emotions we portray.

According to Author Elizabeth Kuhnke, body language explores the way we use our bodies to communicate, the way we hold ourselves, the way we sit, stand, and point our hands, feet, and eyes can all reveal how we are feeling in any given situation.  

Your body language can determine if You’re lying, or incredibly nervous

Ways people determine if a person is nervous or lying is, Poor or no eye contact, most people tend to look away because they tend to fear your reaction and they usually don’t have confidence in their message and their body reveals it.  

Signs of nervousness include covering your mouth, sweating, shaking of the body, and licking your lips. People tend to do this because they are very shy, or they are not very sociable.

Ways to determine if someone is showing positive emotions or negative emotions.

Every human experiences emotion, they are a part of our lives. We all experience positive and negative emotions and if you don’t then you are not human.  

Happiness, joy, excitement, love, and interest are examples of positive emotions and positive emotions feel good.  

Examples of Negative emotions

Examples of negative emotions are sadness, anger, jealousy, fear, or rejection, I’m sure we have all experienced those.

That’s especially true when they say people feel a negative emotion too often, too strongly, or we dwell on it too long. Negative emotions are impossible to avoid.

Though, everyone feels them from time to time. They may be difficult, but you can learn to handle them.

3 Ways to show confidence with your body language.

Many may struggle with showing confidence, so here are some body language tips to show confidence in your body language.

  1. Good eye contact
  2. Stand up straight
  3. Smile.

1. Good Eye Contact

Good eye contact, Good eye contact shows others that you are interested and comfortable.

If you have low eye, contact it shows others that you don’t want to engage in conversation or have interest interacting.

2. Stand Up Straight

Second, stand up straight and tall with your shoulders relaxed back, standing up straight is one of the most important things to show confidence through body language.

By doing this it shows that you are comfortable around that person. Standing up straight is one of the key components of someone determining if you are confident or not.

3. Smile

Last but not least Smile, everyone loves a genuine smile, a smile can change someone’s day. It shows that you are a nice person.

If you walk past someone and you show them your award-winning smile, most likely they are going to smile back.  

Be Confident in who you are

According to Xiaoling Yang “Body language means action, expression, and posture with something meaningful”.

Body language explores the way we use our bodies to communicate, the way we present ourselves, the way we sit, stand, and eyes can all reveal how we are feeling in any given situation.

Body language leaves a first impression; First impressions can tell you a lot about a person without even meeting them.

Many people have different body languages that’s just who they are, showing confident body language helps reduce stress and anxiety. Confidence is key.

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Wellness

Is Teen Vaping A Good Thing?

Teen vaping: what you need to know

Vaping for teenagers has became a big thing. Many teens love to vape, you can’t get mad at them or judge them for choosing to do this. If they can afford to buy the product then they have the every right to use it.

I see teen vaping almost everywhere I go pretty much. It has truly taken the world by storm.

I am just here to tell teenagers the precautions of why vaping is bad for them, now it is totally up to you guys on how you decide to live your lives. I am just here to help! 

How did vaping become so popular for teenagers?

Vaping for teenagers has increased tremendously. Here is a mind blowing teenage vaping statistic, Seventy-five percent of teenagers today vape.

Teenagers see vaping as a safer and less dangerous alternative to smoking cigarettes. Because there have been commercials about how cigarettes are so bad and deadly, e-cigarettes were invented, which are battery powered devices which allow anyone to smoke.

Some people say vape and e-cigarettes are bad for you, but others say they are not harmful. Vaping can hurt teenagers in ways that they might not even know. Vaping causes many health problems, contains addicting traits and has even been cases of teenage vaping deaths.

How easily teenagers can get vapes.

Firstly, vaping can hurt people and is an alternative version of a real cigarette. Many teenagers have the advantage in today’s society, which is the internet, that I like to call easy access.

Many teenagers are able to purchase vapes online just by ordering them but only if they are eighteen years or older.

It allows you access to vapes without any further questions so you can easily pretend to be an older age and that allows you to buy whatever vape product you want.

Kids, even at the early age of seven, have been caught vaping by their parents. If teenagers can have this amount of easy access in today’s society, imagine what they can get in the future. The internet needs better security with age limits.

How teenagers can become addicted to vaping.

Furthermore, many of the vapes contain addicting traits. Vaping causes many people to get addicted to nicotine (webmd.com). Because they use it so much. They cost less money so you are able to use them more. They also contain substances like nicotine in them, which cause people to become addicted.

They also have many options and flavors to choose from. Which can lead to people becoming addicted. Vaping is the new trend now, so many teenagers will want to try it because it’s hot and kids love fitting in with the new trends; it’s just the way life goes. Vaping simulates real life smoking, it’s just in a different form. 

Teen vaping linked to more health risks

Vaping causes several health problems. It may seem healthy at the beginning and many people say it’s water vapor so it’s fine.

Vaping can cause many harmful things to your body such as popcorn lungs and heart disease. It can harm the development of kids, it can cause cancer and is it is a public health concern.

Many people don’t see public issues about vaping but there are stories in the world about vaping that we just don’t hear about. Honestly, I get uncomfortable around people vaping because I have asthma and I feel concerned that it could affect my breathing.

So I just decide not to participate in it. We should try not inhale anything else but clean fresh oxygen. 

Deciding as a teenager whether to vape or not

I’m not saying you cant vape or that you shouldn’t I am just trying to inform you the other side of this topic. I want teenagers to know what they are getting into before they actually do it, if you decide to vape thats your choice it’s your life but just make sure that you are responsible.

For more interesting teen news checkout Durrelliott.com!

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Wellness

World Obesity in 2019: [How it’s spreading]

World Obesity is a rising challenge the world faces

According to Thrive Global, nearly 604 million adults and 108 million children around the world meet the criteria for obesity. I and many others struggle with obesity because the accessibility to food is unbelievable.

We can access food anytime they want due to fast food restaurants being open twenty-four seven.

I know this from experience because I am guilty of this; going on late night food runs with your friends and stuffing our faces until we cannot eat anymore. 

I love food just like everyone else, some people eat more food than others for different reasons.

One of the biggest reasons why people overeat is because we love to fill our plates with extra food.

Dinner plates have increased with more portions of food, it has become popular to serve food on huge white plates.

Second obesity factor is tiredness.

People mistake symptoms of tiredness for hunger.

Third, people always feel hungry, but that feeling is really thirst.  

Some of the leading causes of obesity throughout the world are genetics, food availability, and sugar. The biggest thing that stood out to me is genetics.

Genetics can have the biggest influence on a person’s health and obesity rate.

The first article I researched was, “In the researched was, “10 Leading Causes of Weight Gain and Obesity” by Kris Gunnars.

In the article, it states, “Obesity has a strong genetic component. Children of obese parents are much more likely to become obese than children of lean parents.” (Gunnars).

Food availability is another huge component too and junk food

Everywhere, whether it is in stores, or vending machines, you can literally get them at any time you choose.

Stores are displaying these junk foods to catch your eye, so you purchase them. A huge problem is that junk food is way cheaper than healthy food products, or whole foods.

This occurs heavily in the United States. That is why the obesity in america is very high.

I did not realize how much sugar was really in a serving size of a candy bar or junk food. Junk food is mostly all sugar and people need to read the label before they eat that food.

Sugar is one of the main causes of weight gain.

Humans need sugar for their bodies to function, but these junk foods contain an overwhelming amount of sugar.

Eating too much sugar can cause problems throughout the body and can cause you to get diabetes.

People who eat junk food, they should eat them in small portions, this causes the body to takie in less sugar.

Doctors recommend people drink about around eight glasses of water a day which is around a half gallon.

Some struggle with this issue, people enjoy their meals with other delicious beverages such as: like alcohol, pop, or juice.

The best strategy for drinking a gallon of water a day is to drink periodically throughout the day.

Everyone might not time to drink water in portions of the day because of their busy schedule.

Another personal recommendation is to drink right when you awake before to sleep or drink during your meals.   

Sometimes you may feel like you need cheesecake or pizza, and nothing else will do.

We tend to feel if we eat the food we are craving it cause the crsving to go away.

But in reality that is where we are wrong.

Food contains opioids which is an ingredient that is in drugs such as heroin and cocaine.

Food can activate the brain’s pleasure and reward system causing food to become an addiction. This causes food to take away the pain because food feels rewarding to some people.   

As I did more researching, I found a huge thing that links to world obesity is bullying.

The number of children who are bullied about their obesity is horrific.

The second article I reaserched

“How Obesity and Bullying Are Connected” by Sherri Gordon. In this article, it stated, “Moreover, the amount of abuse a child receives is often directly related to his or her weight. ” (Gordon).

The fact kids get bullied for being overweight is disgusting.

Kids should not be bullied just because they have different physical appearances than others.

Some kids eat food to escape and use it as comfort, food can provide this feeling for people.

Some believe they can “eat their sorrows away” as people say. Childhood obesity has increased drastically.

When we feel hungry, pretty much any food near sounds delicious.

We tend to ease toward our favorite junk food or sugary snacks.

We find any excuse to eat them and they provide us with an instant rush.    

I never knew that this much bullying happened to kids who are obese

People need to open their eyes about this subject. Everyone teases or has been teased at some point in their lives.

I did not know how many kids who are obese bully other kids because they are smaller.

Sherri Gordon also stated her article that, “Most studies suggest that obese children bully because they are either reflecting the same behavior they’ve experienced or are acting preemptively to discourage others from bullying them. Rather than seeing their weight as a deficit, obese bullies will use their size to their advantage, allowing them to wield more power over a smaller victim.” (Gordon).

Kids who are obese bully other kids to boost their confidence, inside they are the ones who are really insecure.  

Bullies aim for smaller kids because of their smaller figure.

When in reality, they wish they were as skinny as the person they are bullying.

Also, they do this to get attention and to feel powerful because inside they feel powerless.

I believe that more kids need to be more informed on how terrible bullying is.

There should be more bully prevention groups throughout society and schools.

Kids who are bullied need to feel like they are able to talk to someone.

Everyone has insecurities whether it is looks, weight, or physical appearance.  

After I discovered that bullying can cause obesity, I came across an article that discusses emotional eating. The article is, “Emotional Eating” by Help Guide. The article went in depth on ways to help stop emotional eating.

The tips they suggested were: exercise, replacing your favorite junk food with vegetables, or adding more healthy foods with a small portion of your favorite junk food.

Exercise is proven to reduce stress and can be an escape for some because its people take all their stress during the workout.  

People love the results of what their body’s look like after they had a nice workout. Replacing junk food with vegetables make your body healthier.

Vegetables provide our bodies with the nutrients we need to stay healthy. If people just will not budge and cannot manage to give away their sweets, they can always eat those sweets but less of them.

You can eat a normal serving size of vegetables and then add a little of your favorite junk food, this allows you to still eat healthy and eat sweets.  

Exercising is one of the main components for decreasing obesity throughout the world as I stated earlier. In the article “1.4 billion people aren’t exercising, WHO reveals. Here’s why that’s a big problem” by Brett Molina.

One in four people worldwide do not participate in physical activity.

Which is increasing the risk for diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.

Molina states, “This puts more than 1.4 billion adults at risk of developing or exacerbating diseases linked to inactivity, and needs to be urgently addressed,” read an excerpt from the study, which also notes declines in mental health and quality of life for people who don’t exercise enough.” (Molina).

Obesity causes diseases like diabetes and many more people are getting diagnosed due to obesity risk factors. Exercise is needed for every human, exercise keeps your body durable and your bones healthy.

The standard requirement for people to participate in physical activity is at least twice a week, one hundred and fifty minutes per week or seventy-five minutes per week if you do extreme workouts.

Numerous studies have shown that exercise and a healthy diet can lower the risk of health problems such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

Just by exercising, a healthy diet, other factors such as drinking water and no drug activity could add up to more than ten years to your life expectancy.

Studies have shown that women were less physically active than men, with 32 percent of women failing to exercise enough, compared to 23 percent of men.  

Countries with higher incomes tend to show higher rates of inactivity because they are doing more social like eating out, vacations, or hanging with friends. The regions with the highest rates of inactivity include Latin America and the Caribbean (39 percent), high-income Western countries (37 percent) and high-income Asia Pacific countries (36 percent)” (Molina).

In low-income countries, the percentage of physically inactive is lowered, this is because people don’t have the luxury of doing these social activities such as a person who could afford the luxury lifestyle.  

If you do not eat healthy, or exercise then you can become very sick with diseases such as Heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes. These diseases can lead to serious health issues throughout life and can even lead to death.

In the article “Links between obesity and mental health” by Clinical Advisor. The article states that the risk obesity can do more than just hurt your physical health, it also can affect you mentally, “Recent studies have shown that many cases of obesity are the result of such mental illnesses as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), binge eating disorder, and night eating syndrome” (Clinical Advisor).

Economic characteristics are also associated with childhood obesity.

The main link between mental health and obesity can vary based on individuals: gender, race, ethnicity, and culture or structural.   

For example, obesity rates are higher for children growing up in poor families and families with low incomes than for children from higher-income families.

A person with a larger income has the accessibility of choosing more foods than a person who is receiving a lower income, this mostly occurs in minority populations.

Age links to obesity as well, the highest obesity age varies. The highest obesity rate linked to men aged fifty to fifty-four and women aged sixty to sixty-four. The youngest ages that link to obesity are ten to fourteen. Obesity rates increase as children grow older in age.  

Before I did my research

I never know that race had relations with obesity, I thought only income, culture and gender only played large roles in links to obesity.

Studies have found that in America African Americans are the most obese, Hispanics are second, and White/Caucasian is last. African Americans are number one because they eat a lot of fried foods, I know this because in a lot of black cultures that is what they predominantly serve.

In most African American culture’s healthy foods like vegetables and fruits are not served as much as they should be. These foods that are in the African Cultures are cornbread, fried catfish, BBQ ribs, chitterlings, and neckbones.

Many may not know what these foods are, but they are not very healthy because they contain a lot of sodium and carbohydrates. Another reason why African Americans are the highest obese in America is because they like to use a lot of salt on their food, this creates the food to have more flavor.  

Throughout all my research I have found out many different things, I found out that there are more causes to obesity than what the common eye sees.

I also learned that kids go through depression and get bullied for simply just being overweight.

Obesity can lead to many health issues as well, many that I have never heard of or never imagined that could possibly link to obesity.

Obesity is a rising issue that many around the world are facing, if people are not careful this will become a bigger issue than what it is now.

More people must become more aware of these issues and the precautions that come with it. Store owners need to lower their prices on vegetables and fruits, this will increase everyone to eat healthier because the prices are reasonable.  

Checkout this cool link as well:

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