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Health & Nutrition

Coconut Oil

July 6th, 2013

Coconut Oil Benefits

On Saturdays HSK will publish an article on diet, nutrition and general well-being, written by nutritional consultant and chef, Laura B. Leff. Know why? because a healthy body with a spiritual mind is a blessed soul.

Pacific Islanders pegged coconuts as the “tree of life”. Technically, they are seeds, and the largest ones in the world! The oil extracted from coconuts has been used as a source of food and medicine, by numerous cultures, for thousands of years. Here are a number of ways that coconut oil may be used for it’s health benefits: Continue Reading…

Maca Root

June 14th, 2013

Maca Root Tips

On Saturdays HSK will publish an article on diet, nutrition and general well-being, written by nutritional consultant and chef, Laura B. Leff. Know why? because a healthy body with a spiritual mind is a blessed soul.

Many of us have heard of the term, “superfoods”. They have been quite the rave and the term has been tossed around quite a bit, particularly in the health/food industry. I’d like to ‘let you in on’ one of my favorite “superfoods”, Maca root. Maca is a root vegetable, of the crucifer family, originating from the high Andes mountains of Peru, growing at 7,000 to 11,000 feet, making it the highest altitude growing plant in the world. With this type of standing title, imagine what it does to your body when you consume it! Continue Reading…


March 23rd, 2013

Springtime Nutrition

On Saturdays HSK will publish an article on diet, nutrition and general well-being, written by nutritional consultant and chef, Laura B. Leff. Know why? because a healthy body with a spiritual mind is a blessed soul.

Spring is upon us; the much awaited time of year when flowers are abundant, lovers walk hand in hand on sun-kissed days, the sun sets later in the day…allowing more time to play, and the farmers’ markets fill up with delicious produce. As most of us know, eating in season is the most natural and nutritional way to eat. Seasonal eating provides you with the most nutritionally-dense foods, rendering the body with all it’s goodness when eaten! Being that our world is so globalized, sometimes it’s difficult to know what foods are in season and which ones are being shipped in from various parts of the world. Therefore, I’d like to let you in on what’s made for eatin’ this time of year, followed with some preparation tips. Continue Reading…

Are You Still Eating Fat-Free and Low Fat Foods?

February 7th, 2013

Low & Fat Free Are Bad For You

On Saturdays HSK will publish an article on diet, nutrition and general well-being, written by nutritional consultant and chef, Laura B. Leff. Know why? because a healthy body with a spiritual mind is a blessed soul.

I would like to clear things up about fat-free and low-fat foods. The hype around these foods started in the 80s and it still has a bit of a hold in the food industry.

Fat isn’t good for us, right? Wrong!

The issue around these foods is that you are stripping away the fat, which is the main satiating macronutrient. Fat assists in sending hormonal signals to our brain to let us know that we are satisfied. What happens when those signals aren’t met? You guessed it; you keep on eating because you’re not satisfied. Psychologically people tend to think that they can eat more of the fat-free or low-fat products, but in hindsight, you end up overeating and the body stores those extra calories as fat in the body. Causing you to become fatter. Crazy, huh? Continue Reading…

Health & Wellness – New Year’s Intentions

February 2nd, 2013


Every Saturday, HSK tries to publish an article on diet, nutrition and general well-being, written by HSK contributor, nutritional consultant and chef, Laura B. Leff. Know why? because a healthy body with a spiritual mind is a blessed soul.

Happy 2013, everybody!

We’ve already checked off the month of January, but I still think it’s important for us to be really clear on want we want to happen or accomplish in 2013; our resolutions, or as I like to
call them, our intentions. By now, most of you have already decided and started to implement your intentions for this year. However, my hopes are that after reading this article you will be left with a few, pondering thoughts that will enrich this young year for you further. Continue Reading…

HSK’s Hollywood Beauty Tips @ A Bargain!

February 2nd, 2013


Keep Your Skin Wet During Winter Without Money Woes!!!

Do you want to know how to exfoliate your skin without forking out big bucks on pricey products and potentially painful chemical peels? We’ve got the answer! You may not believe it, but the fountain of youth could already be right in your own kitchen!

Brittnie Fountain is a nationally-acclaimed make-up artist, recognized for the intricate special effects art she’s contributed to the faces of some of Hollywood’s leading actors and actresses.

Now, she’s bringing some of Tinseltown’s top organic beauty secrets to you, HSK readers. Know why? Because it’s important to stay fly and do you!!! Continue Reading…

What Are You Grateful For?

November 17th, 2012

Be Grateful for Life

On Saturdays HSK will publish an article on diet, nutrition and general well-being, written by nutritional consultant and chef, Laura B. Leff. Know why? because a healthy body with a spiritual mind is a blessed soul.

The holidays are upon us once again. Often I hear of people feeling stressed out and uneasy around the holidays. Why is this? This time of year should be filled with aromatic smells in the air from home-cooked food, joyous days brimming with friends and family, and feelings of appreciation towards life. Continue Reading…

Antioxidants and Aging

October 26th, 2012

Antioxidants and Aging

Every Saturday HSK will again be publishing an article on diet, nutrition and general well-being, written by nutritional consultant and chef, Laura B. Leff. Know why? because a healthy body with a spiritual mind is a blessed soul.

It’s just a matter of time before we all look in the mirror one day and realize how fast our lives have flown by before us. But, wouldn’t it be nice to look into that mirror and say to yourself, “Damn. I’m looking and feeling awesome for my age”? Well, I have good news. There is a way to achieve that feeling of inner vibrant health, along with great skin, hair and an overall youthful look, no matter what your age. Continue Reading…

What Does Stress Look Like in the Body?

October 12th, 2012

How to Recognize Stress in your Body

Every Saturday HSK will again be publishing an article on diet, nutrition and general well-being, written by nutritional consultant and chef, Laura B. Leff. Know why? because a healthy body with a spiritual mind is a blessed soul.

Life is full of curve balls and sometimes those unexpected situations can send us into a stress frenzy. Ever wonder what’s happening biologically while your under all that stress? Maybe your wondering why you can’t get rid of that belly fat no matter how much you watch your diet or exercise. Let’s take a look inside. Continue Reading…

What’s All the Fuss About Drinking Soda, Including Diet Soda?

October 6th, 2012

Soda Pop Poison

Every Saturday HSK will again be publishing an article on diet, nutrition and general well-being, written by nutritional consultant and chef, Laura B. Leff. Know why? because a healthy body with a spiritual mind is a blessed soul.

We’ve all heard it: “You shouldn’t drink soda, that stuff is bad for you”. Most of us know the claims around how soda can cause weight gain; but are there more reasons not to drink the ever-so-popular bubbly? According to “Beverage Digest” in 2008 soft drinks, diet and non-diet, were worth nearly 73 billion dollars. Continue Reading…

What’s for breakfast?

September 22nd, 2012

What's for Breakfast?

Every Saturday HSK will again be publishing an article on diet, nutrition and general well-being, written by nutritional consultant and chef, Laura B. Leff. Know why? because a healthy body with a spiritual mind is a blessed soul.

You’ve heard it before, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Imagine; it’s the very first thing you introduce into your body after sleeping for hours. It kick starts your whole day; “waking you up” nutritionally so all of the chemical processes in your body and mind can start to function! Yes, it’s very important!

So, what should you be feeding yourself on a daily basis to get off to a healthy and energized start of the day? Firstly, variety is very important. The more variety in your diet, the more mix of nutrients you feed your body, allowing it to optimally make use of all that goodness.  Continue Reading…

How Healthy Are You?

September 15th, 2012

Are You Healthy?

Every Saturday HSK will again be publishing an article on diet, nutrition and general well-being, written by nutritional consultant and chef, Laura B. Leff. Know why? because a healthy body with a spiritual mind is a blessed soul.

Here’s the first article from HSK’s new in house nutritionist, Laura Leff: Continue Reading…

Essentials for Maintaining Healthy Bones…

April 21st, 2012

Bone Health Essentials
The impact of bone density goes far beyond simply getting enough calcium. Many women face concerns about bone loss, especially as they get older and the risk of osteoperosis rises. Getting the right nutrients when you are young can help prevent the loss of bone density as you age, but even the bones of older women can benefit from a diet full of bone density vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.

Calcium gets the most press as a bone-boosting mineral, and for good reason. Deficiencies can lead to osteoperosis and a loss of bone density. Women between 19 and 50 require 1,000 mg of calcium daily. The requirement rises to 1,300 mg daily for those over 50 and currently already experiencing some type of bone deficiency any foods contain calcium, but milk is probably the most well known source. Other dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt, and other leafy green vegetables, such as Swiss Chard and spinach, also contain high levels of calcium. Consuming canned sardines or salmon with bones can also boost your calcium intake. If you take a calcium supplement, take only 500 mg at a time, since the body cannot effectively absorb more than that. Continue Reading…

Agave Nectar: The Lighter Healthier Sweetener

March 23rd, 2012

Monique Cash Advice Column

It used to be pretty inconvenient and quite distasteful to open my cabinet to pull out honey for my freshly brewed tea or maple syrup for my hot buttery pancakes to find both products in a sticky-glue like condition. I also did not particularly care for the rich sweet taste of maple syrup although I wanted it to cover every inch of my pancakes. That is until I started using Blue Agave nectar syrup in its place a couple of years ago. Now, not only do I not have to worry about its messiness but I use agave nectar as a lighter and healthier substitute for both honey and maple syrup (among other things), also lessoning the amount of products to buy when grocery shopping.

Agave is best recognized as the plant from which tequila is made. The nectar made from the plant is known in Mexico as aguamiel or “honey water”. The Aztecs prized the agave as a gift from the gods and used the liquid from its core to flavor foods and drinks. Agave nectar is most often produced from the Blue Agaves that thrive in the volcanic soles of Southern Mexico. Agaves are large, spikey plants that resemble cactus or yuccas in both form and habitat, but they are actually succulents similar to the Aloe Vera plant. Continue Reading…


March 16th, 2012

Research has revealed that more than two thirds of all deaths in the United States are diet related. More than 50% of all deaths are caused from coronary occlusion, blockage of blood flow to the heart and/or the brain. These are all preventable deaths according to the Journal of American Medical Association which published in 1961 that, “All coronary occlusion can be eliminated by 97% through a vegetarian diet.” Fourteen hundred Americans are dying of cancer everyday. In the prestigious Advances in Cancer Research, they concluded, “At present, we have overwhelming evidence that none of the risk factors for cancer is more significant than diet and nutrition.”

My purpose is not convince you to reform to a vegetarian lifestyle (although it would definitely be a healthy choice). I would like to introduce you to a “super” food that all would agree on. It is known as the Chia Seed. Once valued so much that it was used as currency, this unique little seed has exceptional nutritious and structural benefits.

Chia, is familiar to most of us as the seed used for the novelty of the Chi Pet, clay animals with sprouted Chi seeds covering their bodies. For centuries this tiny little seed was used as a staple food by the Indians of the south west and Mexico. Known as the running food, its use as a high energy endurance food has been recorded as far back as the Aztecs. Continue Reading…

Pulling Out The Big Guns: Oil of Oregano

March 9th, 2012

Oil of oregano is a completely natural substance derived from wild oregano species. The plant grows in remote mountainous regions free of pollution. Being wild, it is a chemical free and the oil is extracted via a completely natural process- no chemicals or solvents are used. The oil is the source of virtually all of the plant’s active ingredients.

The key element in oil of oregano is the oil, which contains carvacrol and thymol as the primary components. These two phenols (carvacrol and thymol) work “synergistically” and is the reason oil of oregano packs a double punch in antiseptic power and explains why it is so potent when taken internally. Wild oregano is rich in a long list of minerals including calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium, boron, manganese, vitamins C, A (beta carotene) and niacin. Judging from its mineral content alone it isn’t hard to figure out why oil of oregano is such a valuable commodity. Continue Reading…

The G’s, C and Teas For Fighting The Common Cold & Flu

February 25th, 2012

Flu fight with Food

As we continue to add different herbs and remedies to our list in fighting the common cold and flu, you can see that it is possible to ease the pain and discomfort of these symptoms naturally. The time to treat a cold is when you don’t have it! Prevention is always better than cure.

No treatment of colds would be complete without Garlic. This pungent herb was highly esteemed by the ancient Egyptians, who ensured that slaves building the Great Pyramids at Cheops were given a daily supply. The Romans also acknowledged garlic’s strengthening powers and fed it to their soldiers before battle. Garlic has anti-bacterial properties that help the immune system to fight infection, it is an excellent boost to the immune system. The reason for this is garlic contains several helpful compounds, including allicin, one of the plant kingdom’s most potent antibiotics. Garlic combines well with echinacea and together they make a strong fighting force against infections. Continue Reading…

Echinacea and Goldenseal: The Dynamic Duo

February 18th, 2012

The Dynamic Duo of Supplements

Synthetic cold remedies from the druggist shelves do not look as pretty as they did years ago. The warning labels barely fit into the small space on the product box, and it is well known to medical researchers that some of the ingredients in these products, such as aspirin and acetominophen, can cause stomach irritation, bleeding and liver damage at therapeutic levels.

Echinacea is the purple Kansas-coned flower. The plant group Echinacea is made up of different kinds or species, Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea angustifolia which have been popular in American and European medicine for over 100 years. For centuries, they were considered the best remedies available, for rattle snake bites, infections, and colds and flu by the Native American Indians. Pieces of echinacea root have been found in archeological digs from villages that were over 200 years old.

Before synthetic medicine replaced most of the medicinal herbs prescribed by practitioners of “official” medicine, echinacea was included in one of America’s two official drug books – The National Formulary. Continue Reading…

What Do You Know About The Astragalus Leaf?

February 11th, 2012

Although we are fastly aproaching the upcoming spring months and moving away from the midst of the heavy cold and flu seasons, it is always important to educate ourselves on how to keep our immune system functioning properly. Over the next few weeks I will be covering different herbs and natural ways to keep our immune system boosted.

Astragalus has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years. It was often combined with other herbs to strengthen the body against disease. Astragalus is called an adaptogen, meaning it is thought to help protect the body against various stresses, including physical, mental or emotional stress.

Astragalus may help protect the body from diseases such as cancer and diabetes. It contains antioxidants, which protects cells against damage caused by free radicals, by-products of cellular energy. Astragalus is used to protect and support the immune system, for preventing colds, to treat diabetes and to protect the liver. Continue Reading…

What’s Keeping Our Men from Necessary Dr. Checkups?

February 4th, 2012

Fellas you asked for it. Now the spotlight is on you and your health and well being. Although there are many beneficial natural products available for men’s health, the key to the best optimum health is preventative care which would require visits with your health care practitioner for necessary screenings and tests.

Recent studies from The American Heart Association and The American Cancer Society have shown higher death rates for men than women. Black men in particular continue to be among the highest ethinic group with long term chronic illnesses or even death due to their misconceptions about doctor visits and annual exams.

According to recent medical studies and polls, black men do not go to the doctor because they do not trust the health care system. “Men’s concepts about what it means to be a “real man” are generally shaped by traditional masculine role norms, which encourage men to be extremely self-reliant and these norms often affect their health behavior.”, says Wizdom Powell Hammond, assistant professor of health behavior and health education at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Men also do not get seen by a physician without prodding from a wife or girlfriend. The most important thing to do when choosing a medical home is to carefully research and find a doctor that you trust and preferrably who knows your medical history. Though you may not need annual checkups as often as women, men do need to be on the lookout for certain conditions as they age. Below, you will find a list of recommended tests that every man should have performed routinely. Continue Reading…

Removing Toxins and Waste From Your Blood

January 27th, 2012

Importance of Detoxifying Blood

By Ms. Monique Cash

Regular detoxification of our blood is important. We take toxins into our body daily and these toxins disrupts the functions of our internal organs such as the kidney and liver. When our body has too many toxins, our vital organs start to get damaged and under perform and we start to develop symptoms of allergies, low immunity, headaches, fatigue and several other related health problems.

Purifying the blood will help remove toxins and allow the blood to better carry the necessary nutrients and oxygen to all parts of the body. The blood is not only responsible for removing harmful toxins and wastes from our body but it also acts as a transporter of good nutrients, hormones and oxygen to all parts of the body that help the organs perform at their optimum. Continue Reading…

A Woman’s Short Hand Guide to Optimal Health

January 14th, 2012

This week I would like to take time to focus on my sistas and our well being. More often, women are generally considered as the care-givers. Whether playing the role as mother, grandmother, wife, spouse, daughter, sister or aunt women are often much better with the care of others better than we do for ourselves. By the time you are strapped in your seatbelt on a flight, whether you are truly listening or not, the airline stewardess is giving instructions to adults to first cover your face with the oxygen mask before doing so for another, even a child. Get it? You cannot be helpful to someone else before taking care of yourself.

Artificial preservatives, flavors, colors and sweetners do absolutely nothing good for your health and most processed foods are nutrient poor. Eating poorly is linked to poor blood circulation, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Among all U.S. women who die each year, one in four dies of heart disease. After age 20 have your blood cholesterol and tryglyceride levels checked at least once every 5 years. I would also recommend any female 25 years or older to consider using a supplement called CoQ10, which is a naturally occuring nutrient found in each cell of the body. This nutrient was first identified by University of Wisconsin researchers in 1957. It is found in foods, particularly in fish and meats. CoQ10 plays a significant role in the energy system of our cells in addition to having antioxidant and heart health properties. Continue Reading…

Reflect On 2011 but Prepare For 2012 – By Monique Cash

January 7th, 2012

Health & Well-being for 2012
As we approach the year 2012, I am sure that most of us are reflecting back on our thoughts and actions of the previous year and whether or not they have impacted our lives and those around us in a negative or positive way.

Moving forward, we begin to make mental notes of the things that we would like to change and how we would like to see ourselves approach our goals a bit differently than we did before. Our introduction to eachother via this blog was by far no mistake and you have no idea how being able to share weekly health and nutrition facts with you has impacted my life on so many levels. We are a team and a family so I would like to recap the information from the beginning until this point so that we can all be on the same page moving forward towards the goal of creating the healthiest state of mind, body and soul to our fullest potential going into the year 2012. So if you missed out on some of our previous topucs, here is your chance to catch up.

In my first blog, I shared with you a personal story about a time when my daughter had become ill to a point to where she needed to be prescribed antibiotics in order to aid her back to health. However, between the bad bacteria that her body was trying to fight off and the use of the prescribed antibiotics, her pre-existing gum disease had flarred up during this time, leaving her with painful sores in and around the lining of her mouth. I immediately researched natural ways of fighting gum disease which led me to creating a tincture that included mixing hydrogen peroxide mouthwash along with about 40 drops of an herb called myrrh that cleared the infection in her mouth instantaniously. We have since been using this cocktail as part of our daily oral hygiene routine for maintenance and prevention. Continue Reading…

Monique Cash Says… We Need That Good B!!

December 24th, 2011

Proper Probiotics Consumption
Along the lining of our intestines and colon there are millions of (B)acterial strands. Realistically, it is necessary for our bodies to inhabit both good and bad bacteria because they aid our bodies in defense of foreign hosts and keep our immune systems functioning properly to become immune against certain harmful diseases. However, having too much bad bacteria can cause serious harm , therefore we must feed our bodies with good bacteria called Probiotics.

According to the World Health Organization probiotics are “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host”. Probiotics help intestinal bacteria perform their tasks more efficiently. They take over when your intestinal bacteria are over worked or weakened or even destroyed by antibiotics, stress, poor nutrition or any other factors. Continue Reading…

Alkaline vs Acidic: Why Our Bodies Crave A Healthy pH Environment

December 17th, 2011

Have you ever wondered why deodorant commercials brand their products by insuring that they are pH balanced?

The body is largely made up of water, which can either have acid or alkaline properties, measured by a graduated scale called pH (potential hydrogen). The pH levels in our bodies have profound effects on all body chemistry, health, and disease. The management of pH is so important that the body has developed strict accounting procedures to monitor acid-alkaline balances in every cell. Nothing does well in an overly acidic pH state, especially in the human body.

Think about it…. Just as acid rain can destroy a forest, an imbalanced pH continuously corrodes all body tissues, slowly eating into the 60,000 miles of our veins and arteries like corrosives eating into marble. Furthermore, none of the supplements that we discuss are properly assimilated by the body in an acidodic state, thus not having the proper environment to serve our body any justice. Continue Reading…

Pass With Flying Colors: Get D

December 10th, 2011

After reading the comments from my last article on Omega 3 fish oil supplements, I was pleased to see that so many of you are already up to speed about this week’s topic. Actually, you took the words right out of my thoughts as I wrote my last article, preparing for the next.

So let’s sunbathe in the importance of why vitamin D has become one of the most talked about and written about supplements of the decade.

According to ongoing medical research, the fact remains that a huge part of our population from newborns to the frail elderly, and many others in between are deficient in this essential nutrient. The potential consequence of this deficiency are likely to go far beyond inadequate bone development and excessive bone loss that can result in falls and fractures.

Every tissue in the body, including the brain, heart, muscles and immune system, has receptors for vitamin D. In other words, this nutrient is essential at proper levels for the tissues in our bodies to function well. Studies indicate that the effects of a vitamin D deficiency include an elevated risk of developing (and dying from) colon, breast and prostate cancers; high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases, osteoarthritis; immune system abnormalities that can result in disorders such as multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Continue Reading…

Let’s Talk About Sex…

November 27th, 2011

Sex is a taboo subject in most arenas. Although it’s being discussed more and more explicitly in the media and in lyrics to popular songs than generations before us, we are still not having as many candid conversations about the flip side of sex at home or with our elder role models . That’s why I’m down to dish it out this weekend. I’m about to take you all over the place with sex so enjoy the ride (no pun intended).

The Reality:

What is so great and mysterious about it? It can produce “pleasure” and a source of validation for certain people’s “ego”. It can also be a way to bond and express love. But what are the real life consequences or results? Well first of all a child. While some may have played with a baby doll at some point in their life, the reality of a real life human being to take care of does not sometimes fully register until a person becomes pregnant. Neither does abortion, because I know women who have done this and feel complete remorse or even suicidal afterward. So reality lesson #1, it’s a serious matter when it comes to bringing a new life into this world. Continue Reading…



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