Steps to creating the perfect green smoothie

By now you must be familiar with the awesome health trend of making thick, creamy and delicious green smoothies as a way of getting in vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. If you have given this trend a try, however, you may have realized how hard it is to make a smoothie full of vegetables taste sweet and yummy like the typical smoothie profiles you have come to know and love.

Here are some easy tips and tricks to ensure that you enjoy sucking down your veggies without tasting the ground from which they sprouted.

  1. Follow the 60/40 formula. Dumping every ingredient at once into a blender will probably not result in a sweet smoothie. Break out your measuring cups and measure out 60% fruits to 40% leafy greens. Ideally your smoothie will be around 2 cups greens + 2 cups liquid + 3 cups ripe fruit
  2. Ditch the ice and freeze your fruit ahead of time to grab and throw in the blender. Your drink will be extra chilly, you won’t waste the ripe fruit you haven’t gotten around to eating yet, and the ice won’t water down the smoothie.
  3. Blend in Stages. The whole point of making a green smoothie is so you won’t have to chew your veggies, and no one likes a chunky smoothie. Try blending up your leafy greens and liquid base first then add the fruit and whatever else you may want and blend again.
  4. Get creative. Don’t be scared to throw in some nuts, or some organic raw honey for that extra super-food boost or touch of sweetness. Just don’t go crazy with too many ingredients, stick to a few good ones and you are in for a sweet and easy treat!

For more ideas on some great green smoothie recipes check out these articles!

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The unparalleled health benefits of Yerba Maté tea and the café serving it up


The Maté Factor located in the Ithaca Commons has been serving up delicious sandwiches, smoothies and homemade energy bars since it first opened its doors. But the real customer draw stems from its production and usage of yerba maté, a tea native to South America.

As of now the Maté Factor is the only café in upstate New York to produce and serve homemade yerba maté products. Co-owners Zahar Hazday and Andrew Peter hope to show everyone just how versatile and healthy this drink is.

Originating from a holly plant in many South American countries, yerba maté is growing in popularity as it has been commercialized and sold in various places throughout North America.

This plant-based tea has significantly surpassed all of the common health-benefits and antioxidants recognized in its cousin, green tea. Yerba maté is comparable to green tea on steroids, or like drinking multiple cups of coffee, but without the jitters or headache inducing side effects.

Co-owner of the Maté Factor, Zahar Hazday, said he fell in love with the yerba maté plant while in Brazil and immediately wanted to open a café representing the South American culture surrounding this famous drink.

The Maté Factor Café offers a variety of yerba maté drinks including the popular “Maté Latte,” yerba maté smoothies, and iced yerba maté tea. The café even serves the drink in a traditional manner, from a handmade hollowed gourd complete with a metal straw.

Yerba maté comes in many different forms, but the owners at the Maté Factor prefer to work with the tea finely grinded from which they then produce all of their own products.

“The components of Yerba maté are all within the xanthine alkaloid family, which has a unique caffeine alternative property, referred to as mateine. After you drink maté you will notice a drastic difference between drinking this tea compared to a caffeinated beverage,” said Hazday.

Co-owner of the Maté Factor, Andrew Peter, found his interest in this tea when he had to stop consuming coffee. “Many people either do not like the taste of coffee, or sometimes it can cause them headaches or stomachaches. But the uniqueness of the yerba maté plants acts as an excellence coffee alternative to those caffeine intolerant,” said Peter.

At the Maté factor the loose tea is not aged in order to preserve the nutritional value and fresh flavor of the herb. The yerba maté is also dry rubbed and produced using a smoke free process, which saves the natural flavor as opposed to other establishments whose maté produces a somewhat smoky flavor. All of the techniques used to preserve and keep this precious herb new and flavorful are recognized in the customer’s satisfaction of the Maté Factor’s products.

“I was never a big tea drinker and I usually relied on coffee to keep me going. But one day I tried a ‘Maté Latte’ and not only did I enjoy the taste of the yerba maté tea but I honestly felt better drinking it then when I consumed coffee,” said Maté Factor customer Andie Louer.

The reason behind the appeal of yerba maté, other than the rich flavors of the herb, is the scientifically backed health benefits of this drink.

Yerba maté contains a very high level of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Levels six times higher than green tea.   A long kept immune boosting and weight loss secret of South Americans, yerba maté has now made its way into mainstream consumer products.

“The uniqueness of yerba maté is something in which we can all appreciate. It is not too often we stumble upon a completely natural product possessing highly sought after heath and energizing properties,” said Hazday.

How to stay germ-free at the gym

The gym is a mecca for germs. Whether it be from those seriously sweating all over the cardio machines, dripping on the communal exercise mats, or those die-hards coughing and sneezing everywhere because they can’t just seem to miss a workout even when sick. The gym is literally crawling with all types of germs and viruses, turning the place that should get you into tip-top shape into one of the most common places to get you sick.

To avoid coming into constant contact with unwanted germs, here are four tricks to keep you healthy and your workouts full of energy.

  1. Go for the clean machines

The spray bottles of sanitizer and towels are there for a purpose. Use them. A quick swipe of a machine before and after your use can significantly reduce the risk of coming into contact with any sweat or germs left behind from the previous user.

  1. Cover any open cuts or scrapes

By covering any minor open cuts will ensure quicker healing time for your wounds as well as reducing the risk of picking up an infection, or giving one to anybody you may come in contact with.

  1. Bring your own personal equipment

The communal exercise mats, towels, or jump ropes are used quite frequently every day. They also are most likely not properly cleaned as often or as thorough as they should be. Reduce the risk of working out in someone else’s sweat by bringing your own mat or towel. Just be sure to keep your equipment clean too with a wash or rinse after every use.

  1. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before leaving

During your workout, class, or pick-up game you will come into contact with many people or pieces of equipment. If you plan on waiting to shower until you get home, be sure to at least do a scrub down of your hands so you reduce the rick of carrying any germs outside of the gym and into your own personal space.

Germs are everywhere, including the gym. But that should not discourage you from getting involved and staying healthy. Be cautious but always remember to enjoy your workout and get the most out of all your gym has to offer! For more tips on how to stay germ free at the gym, check out these articles.

The new trend in tea: Yerba Mate

Green tea is hailed as one of the best drinks you could consume, loaded with plenty of health benefits and antioxidants. While this is all true, green tea is indeed a fantastic drink, there is another Spanish tea gaining extreme popularity. It is called Yerba Mate. Some of you may have heard of this drink, but are you familiar with it, and why it is now being called “the drink of the Gods?”

Here are some basic facts about the tea, and what exactly it will do for your mind and your body:

Yerba Mate is the green tea of South America and has been consumed for millennia by the ancient Guarani Tribes. It has been used as a communal and medicinal drink for a long time, and is now being commercialized to the people.

Yerba Mate is traditionally consumed from a hollowed squash with a metal straw that has a filter used to draw up the freshly steeped hot water infused with the herb. If you don’t happen to have a hollowed squash or metal straw on hand you can find some Yerba Mate tea bags or even use a frenchpress. Here is a video on how you can prepare your own Yerba Mate.

Green tea is taken from the tea plant called camellia sinensis, while Yerba Mate comes from the holly plant ilex paraguariensis. While the drinks do offer similar health benefits, here are some added benefits found in Yerba Mate not found in other plant based drinks.

  1. Yerba Mate contains high concentrations of Chlorogenic Acid. Because of this Yerba Mate is highly effective with reducing cancer cells, clearing arteries, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and destroying bacteria
  1. It helps to enhance your physical endurance. The chemical compounds and nutrients in yerba mater helps your body use up carbohydrates easier, so you will get more energy from the food you eat. The tea also helps keep lactic acid from building up in your muscle, helping to reduce recovery time.
  1. Yerba Mate has been proven to help with one’s ability to focus. The minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, amino acids, and polyphenols in this beverage have a balancing effect on the caffeine. Users also claim to have clarity and focus without any of the jitters or headaches associated with coffee consumption.

You really can’t go wrong with sipping a cup of Yerba Mate. If you are still not convinced of all the amazing health benefits, check out these articles.

If you want to give Yerba Mate a try yourself, check out this store locator website, or go online to goyerbamate.com.

How to use Pinterest to market yourself or your business

Pinterest is often described as the social media site for the creative, the bored, or those really into Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects. Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook have all become the social media sites used to market ones personal self or brand. But Pinterest is more than just a site to casually browse when you need some new food or workout tips. The site can very effectively be used to promote a business or your personal agenda.

The median age for Pinterest users is 40, and the average income of those users is over 50K per year. Already, this should interest you and the potential gains your business could achieve from marketing on this site.

Pinterest, although 89% of the users are female, offer a variety of niche markets for men such as fashion, technology, or cars. And for all those products geared towards women, well, you definitely want to spend some time and effort creating visually appealing Pinterest boards.

Here are 5 tips for beginning Pinterest users that will be sure to turn you into a Pinterest Pro:

  1. Include your brand name, a detailed about section, and logo.
  1. Pin, repin, like, and comment on other’s boards as often as possible
  1. Use PinGroupie. This will allow you to filter in boards that are directly related to your brand or product.
  1. Check out your Pinterest Analytics. By using Pinterest Analytics you will learn where most of your Internet traffic is coming from. This will allow you to appeal more to those followers, and increase your site visits.
  1. Self-Promote. But keep it light, detailed, and visually entertaining. Obviously you will want to pin your blog posts, websites, and any products, but you never want to bombard your followers with information relating only to what you are selling until you are well established. Keep it colorful and attractive, while throwing in related topics to your board as well.

Now that you are familiar with the basics, be sure to check out these articles for more tips, sign up, and start pinning!

Ithaca College Hillel Celebrates Annual Inch-A-Thon

When Ithaca College Sophomore Sarah Pearson woke up on Monday morning she had a full head of thick brown hair down past her shoulders. By 1 p.m. that same afternoon, her hair stretched just below her ears.

Pearson had just donated over eight inches of her hair to Ithaca College Hillel’s annual Inch-A-Thon event.

This event, also known as the Shoshana Rudnick event named after it’s creator, has been happening every year in the Campus Center foyer of Ithaca College. Shoshana Rudnick who is now an Ithaca College alumna started the event back in 2005 during her sophomore year of college.

According to Marisa Rosenberg, the social justice chair of IC Hillel, Rudnick originally wanted to start an event that raised awareness for a Jewish organization involving the topic of cancer. Rudnick had been heavily involved in IC’s chapter of Hillel, and also has a strong passion for cancer and the hair loss many experience because of the disease. Rudnick came up with the Inch-A-Thon event and Hillel has carried it on every spring semester for the past ten years.

Each year local salons donate their time and services to provide haircuts to students. The cost of a haircut per student is ten dollars. The entire proceeds are then donated to a Jewish organization of Hillel’s choosing revolving around cancer or cancer research.

The past few years Hillel has chosen to donate the proceeds to the non-profit organization Sharsheret, which focuses on raising awareness and research funds for Jewish adults with breast cancer.

“This has always been a great fundraising event for everyone involved. We raise a lot of money, a lot of hair is donated, and students are able to get haircuts right before spring break which is usually ideal,” said Hillel member Kayla Reisman.

Students also receive a free haircut if they donate more than eight inches of hair.

Freshman Shayna DePersia had no intention of cutting off of her hair, but once she saw her friend getting a trim she realized that she had to get hers cut as well.

“I love my hair, but I just decided while walking by the event that it was time for a cut, and donating my hair to charity could not have been a better reason to do it. Plus getting a free haircut is always a bonus,” said DePersia.

All of the hair that is cut or donated during the event is given to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. Beautiful Lengths is a partnership between Pantene and the American Cancer Society, which is the largest nonprofit health organization committed to improving the quality of life for those facing the disease.

So far, Pantene has donated 18,000 free wigs to the American Cancer Society’s wig banks. Wigs are then distributed to cancer patients around the country.

The organization, however, can only create as many wigs as there is hair being donated. The Shoshana Rudnick Inch-A-Thon donations helps to bring the American Cancer Society even closer in aiding those battling cancer.

This year, the Ithaca College Hillel Inch-A-Thon was able to raise over $800 to donate to Sharsheret. They were also able to donate hair from the heads of twenty-five people to Pantene Beautiful Lengths.

“We hope to continue this event every year in honor of Shoshana and all of those affected by cancer,” said Rosenberg.