Welcome to Strawberry Koi. Here is a hodgepodge of photography, fashion, and design. I am eclectic, self-taught, imaginative, silly, and still learning so much about myselves and my potential.

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Why Probiotics are the Perfect Gut Food?

It is not a secret that in the past year or two probiotics have become synonymous with good gut health.  They have been known to help anywhere from simple gut conditions like bloating and diarrhea to affecting mood.  It is not a surprise probiotics was a 36 billion dollar industry in 2015 and is only proposed to grow more hitting 64 billion (yes with a B) by 2020.  People are only now beginning to understand how profoundly the fauna and bacteria in our gut affects our everyday life.  With the all out full scale attack on bacteria on our body in the past with anything from antibiotics loaded livestock to antibacterial hand-wash and alcohol based hand sanitizer it’s not a surprise why there has started being an imbalance of bacteria in our bodies.

Some of the most popular ways to get probiotics is to either get it as a supplement or to get it from daily foods that we eat.  Obviously the best way is to get it naturally, this is done by consuming fermented foods which have a great variety and quantity of so called good bacteria.  Some of these foods include sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, pickles to name a few.  All of these are delicious and healthy in moderate quantities.  Now if you don’t have access to these or just find the taste too acidic or salty for your liking or maybe even don’t like how they make your mouth smell then an easy alternative is to eat them in the form of a supplement.  I myself try to consume both the supplement form (when I am going out) and in the food form (when I am home).

One of the recommended probiotics that I keep reading about a lot and also use my self is the Hyperbiotics Pro 15.  You can read a good review here.  One thing to keep in mind is that probiotcs are generally safe and well tolerated.  There are tons of brands in the market and each one has different composition of the good bacteria.  So it can be worth experimenting and testing different types to see which one may work better for you.  We have not gotten to the point where we can do a simple stool test and figure out what exact bacteria we need or have an abundance of, because the gut is super complex and made of trillions of bacteria.  Hence for now a simple try-one-probiotic at a time and see how you feel is the method to go.

Old Fashioned Trends That Are Making a Comeback – 2016

As they say, history tends to repeat itself, and true to the saying, we see so many old fashioned trends that are making a comeback.  Some of them are like “yeah that was the bomb and was expected” and some are like “seriously?”.  Well I want to cover some of the top ones here, take a look and see what you think?  Do you agree?  Did I miss something?

Wine Lipstick

These were really popular in the 1920s and 1930s, you could spot most of the A-lister’s having some sort of dark shade of red.  I feel we are seeing this again with celebrities like Emma Watson and Jessica Chastain.

My Vote: YAY!

Choker Necklace

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Yeah, you see these popping up everywhere, with musicians like Rihanna pulling them.  But are they are good thing?

My Vote: NAH

Friendship Bracelets

In the world of digital and social media, we all crave something that is real, tangible and something we can hold and call our own.  There is something to be said about the touch and feel of a real life object as compared to a mechanical, cold LIKE on Facebook.  I think friendship bracelets are needed to give us that closure and feeling of worldly desire.

My Vote: YAY!

Adult Coloring Books

I think this is another one of those real vs digital things.  We are all so caught up in our own lives, fast paced, busy, hectic, stressful, we need some downtime.  Some downtime where we are not just launching angry birds into the sky or mindlessly making jewel/candy pairs.  We need adult coloring books so that we can focus our attention while being disconnected from world and bring out that little child in all of us.

My Vote: YAY!

How To Easily Make Your Own Cold Brewed Coffee

Coffee has been a popular drink for a long, long time, and certain methods of brewing and drinking coffee have earned almost magical elements and served as rituals. Coffee has followed human race through many different phases and historical periods, but it always remained present and a lot of people were addicted to the effects it caused in our heads. The same thing is present today, and although we like to believe that we live in a modern world – it is easy to see that we drink coffee in pretty much the same manner as our ancestors have done it (besides plastic cups and fancy fixings). This is perhaps the reason why so meany people decide to return to basics and to drink coffee in ways which are traditional and reliable, and one method which is often taken for granted is called cold brewed coffee.

Cold brewed coffee is present in many coffee shops and it has created a boom on the global market in recent years, but this ancient method has been used for centuries. Nowadays, we have two methods of making cold coffee: we can place hot coffee over ice or we can cold brew it. It is evident that the first method is a bit passé at the moment and that the second one is far superior, at least that is what majority of experts say. When it comes to matters of taste, it is very hard to make decisions and be certain about things, but serious research has been done about the characteristics and features of both of these types – and guess who is the winner?!Cold brewed coffee brings a lot of nuances in flavor and it gives a perfectly balanced and smooth taste. Depending on the type of beans that you use, your coffee can even have a chocolatey or nutty flavor, but what matters more is the fact that this type of coffee is mellow on the stomach because of its low-acid characteristic.

If you had the chance to try cold brewed coffee, you certainly noticed the sweet, clean and refreshing taste, and you also probably asked yourself why haven’t you tried it before. Luckily, it is never too late, and you can easily prepare your cold brewed coffee and enjoy it whenever you feel like it. The process is very simple: grind a certain amount of coffee beans, put them into a container, pour water over them, stir to make all of beans in contact with water. After that your best ally is time – since cold brewed coffee does not rely on temperature, like other methods of coffee brewing do. You should leave the beans immersed in the water for at least 12 hours (up to 24h), and the container can even be placed in the fridge. Once the waiting game is over, carefully filter the beans, using a cheesecloth or some other similar material. What is left is your coffee, but at this point it is extremely high on caffeine so you have to dilute it with water and then pour over ice, and – ENJOY!

Natural Oatmeal Is The Best Breakfast Ever!

We often hear about the importance of breakfast and how much this meal can set the tone of the day and make you more productive. But, health gurus and food experts are repeating this mantra simply because it is the truth, and because a lot of people still ignore this fact and decide to take the easy way out, which includes junk food and some other meals which are easy to prepare but hard to digest. Health can be regulated by our diet, and if we decide to make our body a priority – we need to prepare nutritious and powerful breakfast. This is especially important if you have kids, since they need special attention and their metabolism requires a lot of energy input.

Oatmeal is one of the best solutions for this “problem”, and if you decide to incorporate oatmeal in your daily routine you will soon discover that this classic breakfast food is beneficial to your overall well being and that eating whole grains has a lot of positive aspects. Oatmeal created out of natural ingredients is one of the best meals you can have, but it is also very easy and fast to make, which is also useful for people with small children running around. Besides being convenient, oatmeal can very easily be transformed into a delicious sweet fix, since it can be made with various types of fruits and other products. Versatility is certainly a good thing, but you do not have to spend a lot on making a great oatmeal, which means that your breakfast can also be cheap and affordable for any family.

Just like with any other activity in life – everything is in moderation as they say, and you can experiment with a lot of things when making an oatmeal but be careful to keep the elements balanced and leveled. You can easily create and discover your signature taste by trying out different toppings, and experiments with texture can bring unexpected and exciting results on your breakfast table.

For example, you can add fruit to you oatmeal, such as bananas, apples, strawberries, blueberries and many others, and this can result in a fresh and nutritious meal, which your kids will surely enjoy. Also, you can add raisins, cinnamon, nuts or some seeds to change the flavor of the meal and to give it a more exotic and unorthodox taste. Since refined sugar is not so good for our health, a lot of experts say that you should try maple syrup, almond butter or honey as a sweetener for your oatmeal, and this is a perfectly suitable solution and it can enrich the aroma and make the breakfast the highlight of your day.

Of course, oatmeal is not only good because it tastes so good – it also has many health benefits. For example, it is very rich in fiber, which is known to be good in reducing cholesterol and stabilize glucose levels. A lot of minerals are also found in whole grains, in oats in particular, and this is also good for your body. Also, oats are naturally gluten-free, and many people nowadays eat food which has these characteristics.

How To Heal Your Diastasis Recti

We all know that pregnancy brings many unwanted side effects and that some of them can be pretty unpleasant. However, since this 9-month “ordeal” is responsible for so much joy in the end – we forget about those negative aspects and enjoy in our time with the newborn baby. But, occasionally some women will look at their bodies and discover a feature which was “not there before” and they will even panic, if they are not already familiar with the term Diastasis Recti and the symptoms of this condition.

Diastasis Recti is a condition which mostly affects pregnant women, but it can also happen to men and women who are not undergoing a maternity voyage. The main symptom of DR is a typical ridge or a “pooch” visible in the middle of the abdomen, and this happens when abdominal muscles are unable to hold the strain and they begin to separate. As we know, our abdominals are aligned in two groups and in the middle they are connected with soft tissue known as “linea alba”. This line suffers the biggest pressure, and due to the effects of the hormones during pregnancy – it becomes loose and spreads too much. This leaves a visible symptom on the outside of the belly, and although this condition is fairly harmless – many women want to get rid of it since it does not “look so good” and damages their “aesthetic appeal”.

Before you do anything about your condition it is imperative that you consult your doctor and check with him if you are allowed to perform certain kinds of exercises. Diastasis Recti can be treated successfully, but it is important that you do not make your symptoms worse by using techniques and methods that are not suitable for your current state. First of all, it is necessary to prepare and condition yourself, just like sports people do, since this means that no additional injuries will happen and that your body will react appropriately do the stress. Mobility is a vital part of this treatment and you should loosen up the muscles as much as possible. After you successfully accomplish this, you can use many types of exercises to tone and tighten your abdominal muscles once again and to say goodbye to that unpleasant DR ridge.

Oblique stretches, with a ball or using a foam roll, are a great option when you need to work on your DR and you should also incorporate some abs stretches as well. Of course, before starting with the exercises, it is vital that you learn proper breathing techniques, which means that you must accept breathing with your diaphragm. After that, exercises like seated squeeze or core contraction will help tone your muscles and make them stronger. Standing push ups are also a very good exercise for this condition, as well as some Yoga or Pilates moves, “bridge pose” for instance. However, there are also many exercises which should not be done if you want to heal your DR, and you should therefore avoid crunches, sit ups or push ups.

The Benefits Of Old Fashioned Toys

Christmas season or birthdays of your kids are the days when you think about the toys the most, and you want to buy the best toy you can find. We all want our young ones to be happy and interested in their toys, and also to be able to learn from them and to benefit in some way from using those objects. Toys are an indispensable part of a childhood and all children should have access to them, but there are differences between certain types of toys and they are not all created equal. Many experts and scientists claim that old fashioned toys have many advantages over modern types of toys, especially over super-sophisticated ones that are played on touch screens and with electronic assistance.

Some people say that this idea is simply fueled by unrealistic nostalgia and that such romanticized dreams are not something which should be taken seriously. There may even be some truth in this claim, since we all become overwhelmed with happy memories and the attitude that “things were better in the old days”, so the truth may be somewhere in between. Either way, it is hard to deny the fact that vintage toys are a great way to surprise your child with something “different” and something that not all kids have. Besides that, retro toys are usually cheaper and they generally do not cost too much, unless you buy them in hipster stores where the price exceeds value astronomically, for who knows what reason. Additionally, old fashioned toys make adorable decorations, which can be a precious advantage once your children become bored of them and they are left standing on a shelf.

As mentioned above, a lot of research has been done about the benefits of retro toys and results show that these toys can be very important in a proper development of a child. They can help in language learning, visualization, spatial relations and many other areas which are sensitive in that young age and which need constant exercise to become automatic and independent. Toys that can be taken apart, remade or reassembled are beneficial since they offer a lot of additional ways in which kids can use them, not only following the chain of commands on the flashing screen. Children are active and creative by default, and we only need to let them develop their imagination and uniqueness.

Old fashioned toys like building blocks, clay and crayons, wooden puzzles, etc. are good for kids to become problem-solvers, or to additionally improve those skills. Vintage toys such as animals, dolls, toy soldiers and action figures help in developing social skills and parents should use those toys to improve speaking and language awareness of their children. Kitchen sets and playhouses such are forts, castles and dollhouses are also typical representatives of the toys which are slowly being left behind in time, but they can still easily demonstrate that batteries are not necessarily better! If your kids are somewhat older, you can give them slightly elaborate games, and they will be thrilled when they discover all the charm and qualities of “Uno”, “Monopoly” or “Scrabble”.

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