4 Quick DIY Detox Drinks

4 Quick DIY Detox Drinks.

Have you ever had too much of a fun weekend… maybe you enjoyed yourself just a little too much? Food, drinks, skipping the gym – it happens to the best of us!

The great news, is that our bodies are extremely resilient. In fact, most cells can regenerate themselves every 28 days (kind of cool when you think that 28 days is also a typical lunar cycle, menstrual cycle…..) Our bodies WANT to be healthy, and if we give our body what it needs – it really can be that easy!

So if you’re feeling sluggish, or have overindulged – maybe you’re just returning for a vacation, or want to look your best for an event. I was recently featured on Sonoran Living TV , where I show exactly how easy it is to make these 4 DIY easy detox drinks. Likely, you can make them from ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen! Learn how to detox your body naturally, feel better, look better and even lose weight!

DIY Detox Drinks – Recipes

1. Salt water – by adding a little bit (about 1/4 tsp) of Himalayan salt or sea salt to water first thing in the morning, this can help to support our adrenal glands and ease our bodies into the day.  Especially for women over 40 that may feel sluggish or have a little bit of extra weight around the midsection, this can be a great detox option! Himalayan and sea salt are also very alkalizing to the body, which is important to help with detox. Most toxic things we put in our bodies are acidic (this includes stress!).

When our bodies are out of balance, they tend to be slightly acidic, so this simple salt drink can quickly bring you back into balance. I don’t recommend regular salt because it is usually processed with a bunch of nasty chemicals, and it also doesn’t have the trace minerals that Himalayan salt or sea salt have.

2. Lemon water – this is also another alkalizing and cleansing detox drink. Simply boil some water, and then add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. The warm lemon water will help to clear out any mucous in the body that has accumulated overnight. If you drink it during the day it can quickly bring your body back into balance, and even help get rid of sweet cravings! This drink works well either warm, or by adding lemon slices to cold water. I like to do both: start my day with the warm lemon water, and then add lemon slices to my cold water bottle to sip throughout the day!

3. Tea – Tea is one of my all time favorite drinks (well – it’s up there with wine for sure!!) The best kinds of tea to detox the body, are either dandelion, or green tea. Both of these types of tea are liver cleansing. So they actually support the liver to filter out toxins from the body. I like to drink at least one cup of green tea daily, to maximize the antioxidant benefits and provide ongoing support. I use the dandelion tea when I feel like my body needs a little extra TLC.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) Drink:
Simple version 1 – ACV with optional stevia. Simply add 1 tsp of ACV to a cup of water, and then sweeten with stevia to taste. I personally love the way this tastes. But it seems to be a kind of ‘love it or hate it kind of drink’. ACV is so powerful to help alkalize the body and flush those nasty toxins out. It also helps with digestion, and gets rid of cravings. I drink this in the afternoon, if I feel a little snacky but I’m not actually hungry. I’ve noticed that drinking this after a meal helps me digest it better, and freshens the breath too!

Option 2 – In addition to ACV, you can also add lemon juice, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and stevia. Experiment with one or all of these to find a combination that works best for you. The addition of the spices is great because it ups the antioxidants in this drink. And that means more protection and detox for the body!

Enjoy one or all of these drinks as daily maintenance (that’s what I do!), or on an as-needed basis. I’d love to hear in the comments, what your favorite detox drinks are!

3 Things Planners Need to Know About Food Allergies

3 Things Planners Need to Know About Food Allergies. Unless you have your own food allergies, or have a loved one who has, it can be difficult to understand why there are so many demands around food today. Without getting too scientific, I’d like to share a bit about what it means for your attendees who live with food allergies—and how you can support every attendee’s health during your event.

What does it mean to have food allergies or sensitivities?

Food allergies and sensitivities range in severity. While some attendees just feel better when they avoid certain foods, there will be others who have life-threatening allergies. An obvious choice for meeting planners is to avoid serving foods that would cause a life-threatening situation during the event. But what about those who aren’t allergic, but whose systems are compromised by the types of food they’re offered, leaving them feeling bloated, headachy, or lethargic?

If you want to fully support your attendees’ health. And ensure they have an exceptional meeting experience, you’ll want to offer food that supports each and every person regardless of the extent of their sensitivity or allergy. One way is to avoid foods that are high in sugar or highly processed. Also, incorporate fresh, whole foods as often as possible, and select gluten-free whole grains for meals.

How is it possible to be respectful of allergies when there are so many to consider?

Get everyone moving in the right direction from the start. Ask your attendees what their allergies/sensitivities are when they register. Once you have their data, take proactive measures. Team with the executive chef to discuss options that will avoid the top two or three allergens. Then serve the greater population. Provide cards to the attendees with allergies so they may place the card on the table for the server to see. The server will then know, without any conversation, that the attendee is in need of an allergen-free meal.

Owner and Speaker, Essential Health and Wellness

Healthy Incentives that Don’t Skimp on Luxe

Luxe incentive programs are all about pampering and making memories. But times have changed. Today’s attendees want to stay in shape, and they don’t want to return home five pounds heavier. What they expect from a luxury incentive program is experiential health and wellness activities with a wow factor. “Health and wellness very much has a place in luxury incentive travel programs, now more than ever,” says Patty Karsten, division vice president, industry relations/incentives at BI WORLDWIDE. “Not only are people more health conscious, but they are traveling more and want to stay fit when they’re away.”

Healthy Incentives that Don’t Skimp on Luxe

What this mindset means for luxury incentive programs is offering creative wellness experiences that take attendees away from their daily grind, says Nathan Boyd, president of RMC, a destination management company in Aspen, Colo. “It used to be that a world-class spa was all that you needed for proper health and wellness on incentive trips, but today, while an amazing spa is nice, we are being asked to incorporate more activities outside the hotel—such as a guided hike to a remote lake for a healthy picnic lunch, or a meditation class in a grove of Aspen trees.”

The healthy living trend is also bringing a new generation of fitness-oriented teambuilding, such as Navy Seal–type boot camps, to luxury incentives, adds Catherine Chaulet, president of Global DMC Partners. “A few of our DMCs have even had requests from clients who want to set up high-impact teambuilding activities for their attendees similar to TV’s ‘American Ninja Warrior’ or ‘Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge.’”

Here are more tips from the experts on how to add wellness “wows” to luxury incentive programs:

Incentive attendees also want healthful food choices—but not the spare spa food of yore. “People definitely want to eat healthier. But they also want to experience local cuisine,”. Says Nancy Matos, vice president, Group Services Inc., Puerto Rico, a Hosts Global Alliance DMC. As well, attendees expect chef-driven menus. Which, says Denise Landis, publisher of The Cook’s Cook magazine, have become part of the general wellness trend. Landis—who is also a long-time professional recipe tester. Recommends that planners work directly with the chef. To design menus for meals and breaks that reflect current farm-to-fork food trends.

Fore more click here for the article on Meetings Net

Lighting is everything

Lighting is everything . Whether just lighting a stage, or creating an awesome effect…. Our team has the expertise and resources to blow you away at your event. They have designed hundreds of events with many different types of lighting effects to create amazing live events and concerts. VNS has worked with many of the top event and show producers in the area. Our production team will design the lighting to fit the style of your event and utilize the latest in stage lighting technologies and capabilities to create impactful lighting designs that will “amaze” your guests.

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In our inventory are the moving heads, beams, lasers gobos, spots, washes, and special effects. These will dazzle your guests at your next show or event. Let us help you design and create an impactful event with our amazing concert effects. A powerful staging design, with just the right colors and angles to enhance presenters and décor on stage, will maximize your program. Carefully designed packages will illuminate your stage set. They as well help your live and recorded video images on the screen, to deliver your message and captivate your audience.

We can provide our clients with an experience unparalleled by any other production company in the business. VNS offers the most client-centric approach when collaborating with your vision. Deciding what can really be done with the latest technology.

In conclusion our goal is to leave a lasting impression.

Audio/Visual Production

In addition our production team has years of experience operating a full spectrum of event types in many different environments. Such as traditional hotel ballrooms and convention center environments to highway tunnels, open fields and urban streets. We have worked with Fortune 500 corporate clients, sports agencies, and private celebrities to execute meetings and conferences, trade shows, national brand product launches, fashion shows, concerts, non-profit gala fundraisers and exclusive private functions. In addition we provide our clients with the most client-centric focused technical team of professionals who have seen it all.  Therefore bringing this level of experience to your live event always delivers a lasting impression with your guests.



Our Culinary Skills rock!

Our Culinary Skills rock!

Our Culinary Skills rock! VNS has corporate event planning and catering that presents incomparable event capabilities. Our desire is to provide you and your guests with a flawless culinary experience highlighting sustainability produced, inventive and luscious menus. The highest caliber of service in our industry, trend setting design and attention to every detail.


At VNS we always tailor-makes our menus to suit your imaginative, organizational and budgetary requests.


More than a catering company. We have a culinary team focused on delivering experiential events for a clientele who have seen it all. Let our team bring to life your next corporate event. Our amazing team is equally at home planning a wedding as a corporate event.

Our catering, food styling and event production services include

Creative menu design with sophisticated, innovative cuisine
We provide custom tailoring of buffets and plates as well as bar accessories
Liquid refreshment synchronization
Novelty kitchens
Provision guidelines, timing and coordination
Exceptional trained service staff that are professionals
Creating the perfect custom menu for your event that will be talked about for years is our specialty. Chefs are well versed in food allergies and preferences; vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options.

We are known for our locally produced food. We have a strong relationship with our purveyors, from farmers to bakers, to cheese makers. Our focus is on the freshest, most seasonal ingredients available. Our team is constantly connecting seasonal and local foods with innovative menu ideas. From our food presentation to beautiful table designs, we will help capture your vision for the perfect event that will impress your guests and make you shine

Whether you are celebrating a corporate anniversary or hosting your annual company party, let us make you look good. From casual to upscale, our corporate catering division can create an event that reflects the caliber and style of your company.

If you need interactive games, entertainment, live music, or out of the box ideas for a unique celebration – we are here to help. Santa Barbara Catering offers one stop shopping and can coordinate all of this for you.

The next time your company needs to plan a memorable corporate celebration or corporate meeting, look to our event planners to bring your vision to life.

We would love to start planning your custom menu!



The amazing health benefits of chocolate

The amazing health benefits of chocolate

The amazing health benefits of chocolate.  Research has shown health benefits in the regular consumption of chocolate. However, it depends on the chocolate. The sugary, fat-imbibed cocoa confection most often consumed is far different than the cacao bean drink used for medicinal purposes in ancient cultures. But if the sugar is limited and the milk omitted, a dose of dark chocolate can be considered healthy.

The cacao beans from the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao) are used to make chocolate. Theobroma means “food of the gods” in Greek. The earliest evidence of cacao consumption is estimated to be between 1400 and 1100 B.C. when Mayans and Aztecs in Central and South America used the beans in a room-temperature drink for ceremonial and medicinal purposes.

How did chocolate (Unsweetened cocoa powder0  is one of the highest antioxidant, flavonoid-rich foods. take its current form? During the Industrial Revolution era, Swiss inventor Rodolphe Lindt developed a process to solidify the chocolate by adding cocoa butter. The often bitter beverage morphed into a delicacy.

By 1875, Daniel Peter had established a method to combine milk and cocoa powder to make what we consider milk chocolate. He combined this expertise with Henri Nestle, who had a line of baby formula products to form the company still internationally recognized — Nestle.

In their meta-analysis review of published literature in 2009, Steffen Desch, M.D., and his colleagues from the University of Leipzig-Heart Center in Germany found that chocolate does contribute to the lowering of blood pressure. They also concluded that more research is needed to determine what amount and frequency of consumption is ideal.

The amazing health benefits of chocolate seems to benefit those with cardiovascular risk factors by having acute and short-term effects on the endothelial function of vessels. The positive effects are attributed to flavonoids in foods and the flavonoids act to increase nitric oxide bioavailability, which is important for vascular and cardiac health.

Unsweetened cocoa powder is one of the highest antioxidant, flavonoid-rich foods. While several spices have a higher antioxidant value than chocolate; only the foods sumac, sorghum and acai berries exceed unsweetened cocoa powder in antioxidant value rating.

While more research is needed,

The amazing health benefits of chocolateincreased benefit to the cardiovascular system was shown to translate to an increase in functional abilities for those suffering from peripheral artery disease in a recent study published by the American Heart Association. But only dark chocolate did the trick.

Lorenzo Loffredo, M.D., and his team from the Sapienza University of Rome investigated whether dark chocolate could improve walking function in those with peripheral artery disease. They looked at the blood levels of nitrites and nitrates, maximum walking distance and maximum walking times with the regular consumption of either dark chocolate with 85 percent cocoa or milk chocolate with less than 35 percent cocoa. They found improvements from chocolate but only in the group consuming dark cocoa.

This is in contrast to work by Alexandra Hammer, M.D., and her colleagues from the Medical University of Vienna. In comparing dark chocolate to a cocoa-free chocolate, they found no measurable signs of difference between the one-time dose of cocoa compared to the one-time dose of a product not containing any cocoa.

There is further evidence of health benefits of cocoa products containing little sugar and no fat. How much and how often to use such a food is not clear. But in the meantime, cocoa “pills” in the form of dark chocolate confections are ones that most of us would have little trouble swallowing.

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About the Author

Denise A. Valenti

Dr. Denise A. Valenti is a residency-trained, low-vision/blind-rehabilitation optometrist with additional education and expertise in the field of age-related neurodegenerative diseases with the emphasis on Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Her research has included the study of imaging of retinal neural tissue using Optical Coherence Tomography and functional assessment of neural processing in the visual system using Frequency Doubling Technology. Dr. Valenti provided direct clinical care for more than 25 years and currently is active in research and consultation related to vision, aging, neuroprocessing and cognitive functions.

Extras To Pack for an Event?

Extras To Pack for an Event?

The wireless powerpoint controller

One of the easiest things to miss off the AV list and possibly one which annoys speakers most, a clicker. That’s right this small bit of kit can make your event go a lot easier and allow your speakers to relax in their presentations. We enjoy the Logitech version which combines a powerpoint controller and laser pointer built in, but there are loads out there.

Portable Wifi Hub

Since we all know that hotel and expo centre wifi can often cost an arm and a leg. If you’re not in your home country this can become event more exasperating. We admit they’re not 100% perfect, but if you’re in a  bind they can be pretty useful. Consider getting a portable wifi hub and purchase an international sim card to work in it. Cheap and a good back up.

Handheld Scanner

If you’re phone camera won’t do and you need accurate and multiple scans then it may be worth taking along a portable scanner. Therefore these little gadgets can store a vast volume of data and are pretty small to boot. We use the Canon and it’s served us pretty well over the years

Portable Phone Charger

It always happens at every event, you will always run out of power. No matter how many phone charging stations you will use, whether you take an extra iphone cable with you or not. You will 100% always run out of power. Then why not take one of these little gadgets with you and charge your phone on the go. Cheap and loads to choose from, portable phone chargers

Travel Adapter

….and while we’re at it charging, don’t forget the travel adaptor. More modern ones have additional USB ports built in

Business Card Holder and Folio

In addition they may be a little old school, but it’s hard to see a day when we will actually get rid of them fully. The business cad holder as it’s always awkward being caught short and if you can a matching folio to carry around your numerous papers on the day.

Don’t forget the Apps!

Business Card Reader – why carry round a piece of hardware if your phone can scan them and type them up for you?

The translator – This amazingly cool app from Google allows you to hold your phone camera at a number of foreign languages and it will translate them instantly for you….what a time to be alive!

Uber  – this one goes without saying, easier to expense your company and far more fun than hailing a taxi.

Flight Track – Ensure you and everyone else coming to the event is on time, it’s alway best to plan ahead

Plan with a list – Finally All #eventprofs have a secret passion for list writing, here’s the best one of them all. It allows you to sign them and it’s surprisingly a lot of fun

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