Sunday, December 2, 2018

Multivitamins .... A multipurpose gift you give your body

People need multivitamins


People often do not get all the nutrients they need from their diets. Even those with the best intentions may need to take a multivitamin. There are several reasons why most people, if not all, should supplement their diet with a multivitamin. According to studies, 50% of Americans are estimated to be nutrient deficient due to:
  • The soil quality in which plants are grown is declining in quality. 
  • There are increasing environmental and physical stressors which take a toll on the body. 
  • People's diets have more processed food in them than they did in the past. 
  • 1 in 4 adults do not eat a full serving of fruits and vegetables each day
  • 1 in 3 American women are said to be deficient in Folate and Vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, and E
  • 40% of adults do not get enough Vitamins A, C, D, and E as well as calcium and magnesium

How do you know which multivitamin to purchase?

There are numerous multivitamins on the market which means that you need to do your homework to find the best product at the best price.You should purchase from a trusted natural products retailer and look for a product that has natural ingredients that are more easily absorbed by the body and active forms of B's to increase absorption. You should also look for brands that prioritize transparency and quality to guarantee you are getting what is advertised on the packaging.


Benefits of multivitamins

A daily multivitamin can help provide a good foundation for your health. It can also protect you when you experience stress, do not get a good night of sleep, and do not the opportunity for regular exercise

Skin and hair health are supported by biotin, beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
Eye health is supported by vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E
Bone health is supported by vitamin D, calcium and magnesium,  vitamins K1 and K12
A healthy thyroid, balanced metabolism, and high energy are supported by Iodine and B vitamins
Immune support comes from beta carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C, and Vitamin D
A healthy mind is supported by zinc and B vitamins
A healthy heart is supported by E-Vitamins

Are there risks to taking multivitamin?

There are conflicting opinions on the use of supplements. Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine say "there is evidence of possible harm from high doses of certain vitamin supplements". They advocate foe eating balanced meals comprised of real foods as they believe "pills are not a shortcut to better health and the prevention of chronic disease". According to researchers at Harvard, "there are potential benefits and there are no known risks at this time...[therefore] it is worth considering a multivitamin as part of a healthy lifestyle."

Given the conflicting opinions from the medical community, people should not go out and spend money on products they have not researched. Consideration to make when deciding what vitamins you need include analyzing blood test results from your annual exam and critically looking into your diet to see what nutrients you could add from food rather than a supplement. According to the Physicians Health Study II, researchers looked at the effect of long-term multivitamin use in healthy men on various aspects of health. They found men were 8% less likely to be diagnosed with cancer and (The protective effect was greatest in men with a history of cancer) no protection against heart attacks, strokes, or death from cardiovascular disease.





For more information, read Delicious Living's article The Benefits of Multivitamins.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Carpe Diem: Active Aging with Your Tribe

CARPE DIEM! Make the most of each day. 


Strive to be your best self by getting proper nutrition, sleep, and activity. If we can seize each day, we have a chance to age gracefully. Some people are intrinsically motivated and can push themselves to be the best they can be. Many people are extrinsically motivated and need a community to push them to achieve.

To seize the day, we need to invite others into our tribe. A community allows us to become exposed to new ideas and to share our individual and shared experiences.


Build Community ... Find Your Tribe

Aging well is fostered by a community. The world's oldest living people have come from communities that prioritize spending time with family and friends.

Surround yourself with people who have similar interests. Find your tribe and thrive in the energy of the community. Community building provides conversation, a workout partner, and inspiration to try new things.

The Tribe That Gets Fit Together Ages Gracefully Together

The American Council for Exercise, ACE, suggests adults engage in moderate intensity physical activity for at least 150 minutes each week. Many people do not get that amount unless they have an active hobby. Find a tribe that likes to be active doing activities such as: walk, hike, ride bikes, and practice yoga. Studies show that being physically active 2.5 hours per week adds 5 years to your life. Schedule time to be active and add years to your life!

Embrace Nature

People who enjoy spending time in nature have better mental health and a lower risk of dying from cancer and other chronic diseases. According to a July 2018 article in Science Daily, "exposure to greenspace reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure." The author states, "Populations with higher levels of greenspace exposure are also more likely to report good overall health -- according to global data involving more than 290 million people." If you live in a city and can spend leisure time or vacations in greenspace it would be beneficial. 

Young people participate in may outdoor physical activities from impromptu games organized with friends to sporting events in which they are competing. As we age we spend more and more time inside working, taking care of the home, and driving to and from our events and our children's events. As adults, we need to harness our inner child and find a way to get outside when we can. The neighborhood in which we live and work may be filled withe concrete, our family schedules might make this a challenge, but we need to find some way to FIND THE GREEN. Celebrate the moments you can get into nature for physical activity.
 My husband and I like to find outdoor activities when we are on vacation.



Read more at Delicious Living How to age well in the game of life

Sleep Better ... Sleep More

Do you get enough sleep? If the answer is NO, there may not be a simple solution that can help you get the rest you need. It may be work and family responsibilities that are time consuming at the moment. It may be an injury or illness that causes discomfort and makes it difficult to get the rest your body desires. No matter the cause for your lack of adequate sleep, you can find ways to maximize the rest you get as you work to get more sleep!


How Much Sleep Do We Need?

  • Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep. It is a misconception that older adults need less sleep. They may be less tired at the end of the day due to a lighter activity level during the course of the day but they do need 7-9 hours of sleep. 
  • School age children and teens need 8-11 hours of sleep to support their growing and developing bodies. 

Why We Do Not Sleep Enough

  • Stress is a factor stated by many people. Pressure is felt at work and at home. There is no time in some people's daily routines to relax after fulfilling all of the must-dos. 
  • Caffeine and alcohol rob many people of a good night's sleep. Both alter sleep cycles and mask the feeling of fatigue. 
  • Blue lights from technology make it difficult to fall asleep quickly. The blue light is the brain's cue to wake up. If your eyes are focused on the blue light in the hours before bedtime, your brain may have a difficult time gearing down to shut down for the night. Studies have also linked that blue light before bed to serious eye problems like Macular Degeneration.
  • Aging people often have difficulty sleeping as well as they did when they were younger as the body produces less of the hormone that regulates deep sleep. Older women have a more difficult time than older men due to hormonal changes during menopause. 

What happens if We Do NOT Get Enough Sleep?

  • The brain does not function properly without enough sleep. You may feel "cloudy" in your thought processes and your reflexes a bit slower.
  • Lack of sleep weakens your immune system, increases inflammation, and increases your perception of pain. 
  • Sleep deprivation can also lead to depression and mood swings.
  • Studies have shown that driving exhausted can be as dangerous as driving under the influence. According to WedMD, "Driver fatigue was responsible for an estimated 83,000 motor vehicle accidents between 2005 and 2009 and 803 deaths in 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration."
  • Lack of sleep can lead to obesity and an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Chamomile Tea

How Can We Get More Sleep...Naturally?

  • Nutrition can help us get more sleep. We can eat foods that foster relaxation and sleep. 
  • Practicing relaxation techniques before bed. Some people take a yoga class to unwind after all day while others prefer to do some gentle stretches and meditation on their own, in their bedroom, just before getting into bed. LINK to Yoga for Stress Poses.
  • Meditation on your own or through a guided practice is helpful for some people.  
  • Turning away from blue light technology an hour or two before bed will help the eyes rest and prepare for sleep. 
  • Regular exercise will help you sleep better (and crave healthier, sleep fostering foods).
  • Drink a cup of chamomile or passion flower tea before bed.
  • Take a supplement like melatonin.

Passion Flower


Read More at Delicious Living Own the night: natural tips to get more sleep

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Coconut Oil is a MUST-HAVE product for your home!

Coconut Oil is a MUST-HAVE product for your home!

Why use Coconut Oil?

It is easy to digest and is NOT stored as fat.
It provides you with FAST energy and is full of medium chain fatty acids
It provides benefits to your heart, brain, eyes, skin, and joints 
It is free from gluten and animal products

Coconut Oil Has Uses Outside the Kitchen

Yes, coconut oil is great to use in the kitchen but it also can be used for NATURAL BEAUTY.
1 TBSP contains 640 mg of the antifungal caprylic acid
1 TBSP contains 550 mg of capric acid to support healthy inflammation response

Coconut Oil for Natural Beauty

Coconut Oil is rich in fatty acids to nourish skin, hair, and nails
Coconut Oil can be used to make:
Coconut Oil can also be used to:
  • REMOVE EYE MAKEUP
  • RESTORE DRY SCALP
  • PREVENT NAIL BREAKAGE

Purchase Products Made with Coconut Oil

I enjoy using Fractionated Coconut Oil as a carrier for essential oils to reduce the rate at which the essential oil evaporates. 




Read More at Delicious Living Coconut for Health

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Natural Wellness Through Cocoa Butter

What is Cocoa Butter?

Cocoa Butter is the natural fat extracted from cocoa beans. It has a silky texture, mild cocoa fragrance, and hydrating properties.  Researchers have determined that cocoa butter has numerous applications to help with natural wellness and beauty.

To make cocoa butter, cocoa beans are first fermented then roasted. At this point, the cocoa “butter” (which isn’t actually the kind of butter made from any type of milk at all) is able to be separated from the rest of the beans, leaving behind solids that are used for other purposes. Many brands deodorize and de-colorize cocoa butter so the product is a yellow-beige color and smells pretty neutral, not much like cocoa liquor or chocolate.

Uses For Cocoa Butter

Cocoa butter is an active ingredient in many skin care products as well as a food or supplement additive as it helps stabilize products’ textures. Because it remains solid at room temperature but melts at higher temps, such as those within the human body, the pharmaceutical industry uses it as a digestible base for certain medicines. Cocoa butter has a melting point of around 93–101 degrees F, which means it becomes liquid once ingested or sometimes when rubbed into the skin — exactly why it has such an attractive “mouth feel” when added to chocolate or when used in lotions.


Hydration

  • Cocoa butter is rich in Vitamin K and fatty acids enabling it to help repair dry skin while you sleep. 
  • Cocoa butter can hydrate your lips, providing a protective layer of hydration.

Skin

  • Applying cocoa butter to a pregnant belly or any stretched skin can reduce stretch marks over time. It is advised to apply the cocoa butter after a shower when your skin is moist.
  • Pure cocoa butter (without added fragrances or colors) can soothe burns, eczema, dermatitis, and rashes to help speed healing. 
  • Cocoa butter as a shaving cream hydrates while allowing the shaver to do its job. 
  • Cocoa butter melts in hot water so it can be added to bath as a soothing bath oil. Just be careful to clean your tub after so you do not slip!

Hair

  • To reduce friz, rub a dime size amount of cocoa butter into your hair before styling. 
  • Melted cocoa butter can be massaged into the hair and scalp as a deep conditioner. Use it up to 20 minutes before your shower, then rinse off.

Read more in Jenny Ivy's article, 10 ways to use cocoa butter for beauty and health,  at Delicious Living and at Dr. Axe.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Understanding CBD Oil

Many products are entering the marketplace containing CBD oil. In order to know what I am getting when I purchase products with the supplement, I did some research.

What is CBD Oil?

 Marijuana and hemp are derived from different parts of the cannabis plant.  Cannabis that is grown for industrial use is what has been legalized in a handful of states and, most recently, in Canada. This plant contains less than .3% THC and is used for supplements, oils, clothing fibers, paper, and more.

CBD oil is also known as hemp oil. It is extracted from the hemp portion of the cannabis plant. CBD offers health benefits, but includes none of the psychoactive properties of THC, thus products containing hemp/CBD extract can be legally sold, used and shipped nationwide.

Why Use CBD Oil?

Cannabis products work on the body’s innate endocannabinoid system, a recently discovered whole-body system, similar to your nervous system or cardiovascular system. Cannabinoids don’t just come from the cannabis plant, we also make them in our bodies. The ones we make are called endocannabinoids (endo meaning coming from within). The well-known “runner’s high” is actually an endocannabinoid, which increases in the blood during aerobic exercise and then crosses the blood-brain barrier and binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain. One of the primary jobs of the endocannabinoid system is to keep the body in balance, a state known as homeostasis. The ES has a profound effect on sleep, appetite, exercise, pain, inflammation, female reproduction, metabolism, anxiety, and immunity.

The cannabis related products unlock the body without providing a high like THC does. The FDA has begun to approve pharmaceutical-grade CBD for medicinal purposes as it has been proven to be an anti-inflammatory, aid sleep, reduce anxiety, ease chronic pain, reduce nausea from chemotherapy, and more.

What CBD Oil Products Should I Purchase?

CBD Isolate is similar to the drug the FDA is about to approve.

Full Spectrum CBD Oil is an industrial, hemp-derived oil that is found in mainstream, over-the-counter products.

Are There Any Precautions I Should Take?

Because of the legally murky nature of marijuana, the FDA has not stepped in to regulate products like CBD oil. States are struggling to put regulations in place, but they don't have the deep pockets of the federal government.  According to WebMD, a 2017 study led by Bonn-Miller found that nearly 7 of 10 CBD products didn't contain the amount of marijuana extract promised on the label.
Nearly 43 percent of the products contained too little CBD, while about 26 percent contained too much, Bonn-Miller said.

Studies on CBD also have raised concerns about possible interactions with other drugs. There is also concern about long term use and organ damage. There also is some indication that CBD might harm the liver. About 10 percent of people taking CBD in studies had increases in liver enzymes, which would indicate possible liver damage.

What is the Bottom Line?

CBD oil is new to the market and we will know more after more and more people use the product. Consult a doctor who knows your medical history and has read up on CBD Oil to advise you what might be best for YOUR body. 

More information can be found at WebMD , Better Nutrition, and  Delicious Living Magazine

Sunday, September 30, 2018

A Lemon A Day ... Keeps the Allergies at Bay


I start each day with HOT WATER and a WEDGE of LEMON. I learned about this Ayurvedic technique at a workshop and have been a fan of it ever since. Not only is the warm liquid soothing to start the day, but also the health benefits are amazing! I know lemon water works as it has helped me tremendously! My food allergies have been minimized, my skin is clearer, and my digestion improved.


Hot water with lemon at the start of your day is beneficial. It does the following:
·      Boosts immune system
·      Sparks metabolism
·      Is a gentle diuretic
·      Removes toxins/fights allergies
·      Aids digestion/elimination of waste
·      Clears skin
·      Balances the body’s pH level
Lemons are an inexpensive item in the produce section of the store. Depending on the size of the lemon, you could get 4-6 days of lemon wedges from a lemon. Lemons will keep in the refrigerator, stock up a bit when they are on sale OR find a friend with a lemon tree and do an exchange!
NOTE: If you find the lemon too bitter you could add ½ tsp of local honey to the water.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Natural Beauty Starts With Natural Foods

The saying You Are What You Eat has some traction. The foods you eat fuel your body and nourish your organs. When you make healthy choices, your results are more often than not a healthy and energized body. Genetics do play a role in our health, nutrition can help us fight our "inheritance" as long as we can!

Natural Beauty Starts From ...

Nutrition

 Skip or limit your consumption of refined sugars, fried foods, and alcohol. Instead, get your daily calories from whole foods following some of the guidelines below.

Hydration

Hydration is important for keeping skin cells healthy, lubricating joints, and promoting healthy digestion. Most people are familiar with the target for hydration: 8 glasses (8 ounce) of water a day. This number is just a target. The Mayo Clinic has a great resource for hydration which will help you decide what you need based on your activity level and climate in which you live. A good rule of thumb to use to know if you are hydrated is to look at your urine. Clear urine is a common sign of hydration.

Brassica Vegetables

You may wonder what vegetables fall into this category of plants from the mustard family. They are  cruciferous vegetables including: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, collards, turnip/turnip greens, and bok choy. These vegetables help detoxify the body and can be enjoyed raw or cooked. More resources can be found here.

Read my recipe for Cauliflower Steak (pictured to the right).

Spices

Turmeric can help fight UV rays and is an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. I love adding turmeric to rice. My recipe can be found here.
Cocoa is an anti-oxidant that promotes circulation which brings nutrients to the skin.

Omega-3 Rich Foods

Salmon and avocado provide generous amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids to nourish the skin and make it supple

Green Tea

Drinking green tea provides the body with an anti-oxidant to protect it from UV damage and protect collagen. If you are a coffee drinker, consider swapping your last cup of coffee for green tea each day to begin to integrate tea into your daily routine. 

Dark Red and Purple Fruits/Vegetables

These fruits provide anthocyanins which fight UV rays, support skin elasticity, and provent collagen breakdown.  Foods high in anthocyanins include: black raspberries, black currants, blueberries, blackberries, red cabbage, black plumbs, red radish, and red raspberries.




Read more at Delicious Living Building natural beauty from the inside out.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Chemical Free and Clean Nail Salons

A Manicure or Pedicure is a Decadent Treat!

Many people enjoy getting pampered with a manicure or pedicure.  The opportunity to have one's arms and hands or legs and feet massaged draws some people into a salon. Others enjoy being pampered as it is difficult to properly cut their own nails, cuticles, and remove calluses on their own.

I am in no way advocating that you forgo your manicure or pedicure. I want you make informed choices as you pamper yourself so that you leave relaxed AND healthy. For whatever reason you enter a nail salon, you need to be aware of some risks you may be taking.


Enjoy the Process

Look for salons that embrace innovative brands that are natural and not chemical based. When you transition from chemical based nail polishes to natural ones, it is suggested that you let your nails "rest" for a week or two to be ready for the change. Communicate your needs with the esthetician and relax!

Take Care of Your Nails At Home

Many estheticians recommend massaging oil (neem, coconut, jojoba or even olive) into the nail and cuticle regularly.This simple treatment at home will help maintain the work done by the professionals!

Dermatologists recommend applying lotion to the nails after a pedicure as the treatments can be drying.

Eat a nail boosting diet. The proper amount of iron and protein will keep your nails strong. Having enough zinc in your diet will keep away the lines and white spots that may form on a nail when there is a deficiency.  Eating a diet that includes good fats and adequate hydration will ensure that your nails do not split or peel

Be Aware of Potential Dangers

Chemicals

Chemical based nail salons use caustic chemicals that have been documented to cause medical problems for some workers. Some salons are well-ventilated and the chemicals are not in high concentration in the establishments. If you enter the salon and are greeted by a strong chemical smell, you know the salon is not well-ventilated and you will be inhaling chemicals for the duration of your relaxing treatment.

Brushes

Bring your own nail polish. Do not use the polish the salon has available as the brush MAY have been used on a previous client(s).

Spa Tubs, Sponges, and Nail Files

Make sure the spa tub in which you will soak your feet is clean. If the water is filtered properly you will NOT notice any debris. If you do, ask for a clean tub with fresh water.
Make sure the salon uses a fresh nail file and a clean sponge for your treatment. This will ensure there is no cross-contamination with previous clients.




Jessica Rubino's article for Delicious Living: Nontoxic solutions for healthy nails

Oral Care is Total Body Care

Oral hygiene is something our parents taught as as children. Many of our parents instructed us on the technique we should use to brush our teeth and how long we should brush our teeth. Some of my friends had parents who set timers so they did not rush through the process. The importance of flossing was stressed to remove food from between teeth in an effort to avoid cavities.

Oral Care and Total Body Care

As we became adults we learned that oral care is much more important than having teeth that LOOK GOOD. Oral care is a large component to complete care of one's body. According to Jessica Rubino in her article for Delicious Living Magazine, "science shows there is a connection between periodontal disease (which can stem from severe gum-tissue inflammation caused by bacterial buildup) and cardiovascular disease". Now we KNOW we need to keep our smile looking good to keep our body feeling good.

The Oral Health Nevada infographic above charts the health risks associated with improper oral care.

According to the American Dental Association, medications can affect oral care. Some medications cause dry mouth, some can cause abnormal bleeding, while others alter taste buds while you are taking them.


Oral Care Ingredients

If it is important that we care for our teeth to protect our overall health, shouldn't it be important to consider WHAT we are using to care for our teeth. Many people pick a toothpaste and mouthwash for the flavor it provides. Some people are sold on the "whitens teeth" message on the packaging. Some people go for terms such as "fights bacteria" or "freshens breath".

What is important for consumers to consider is WHAT is in the product to back up the package claims. Consumers need to look for NATURAL INGREDIENTS rather than rely on caustic synthetics. Manufacturers that use natural products such as xylitol, neem, sea salt, peppermint and even cocoa are favored in lieu of triclosan, alcohol, artificial colors and fragrance and other potentially harmful ingredients found in conventional oral care products.

The Environmental Working Group created a Cosmetic Database to analyze products available in the marketplace. Check out their site for product reviews for oral care products and other personal care items.

Personal Preference

I recently switched to natural oral care products and have loved the feeling of clean teeth without the chemical taste in my mouth. The products are out there. Next time you need to purchase oral care products, give a natural product a chance!






If you wish to read the full article: Bruch up on healthy oral care.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Sunscreen Selections

Sunscreen is a summer staple. For people who live in a temperate climate, it is a regular purchase as sunscreen shields the skin from harmful UV rays. Studies have shown that regular application of sunscreen prevents premature signs of aging (wrinkles and fine lines) as well as reduces the rick of developing skin cancer.

Studies have shown the benefits of using sunscreen outweigh the negatives of not applying the product. With so many sunscreens to pick from, how do you know what one will provide you with the best protection? Many researchers agree, a lotion is better than a spray as the spray can accidentally be inhaled or ingested.

What to look for in a sunscreen

Oxybenzone 

Oxybenzone is considered the most troubling chemical additive in sunscreens. It is known to cause skin irritation in some people but, the biggest concern is that it is known as a hormone disruptor. Oxybenzone is easily absorbed in the skin and can even be passed from mother to child through breastfeeding.  When you are applying sunscreen to prevent one problem, you do not need to apply sunscreen and invite in a different problem. There is a push for all sunscreens to be oxybenzone free by 2020.

SPF

A high SPF value does not mean you can apply less and stay in the sun longer. That myth needs to be debunked. What one needs to look for is a BROAD SPECTRUM SPF that shields the skin from UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreen needs to be applied thoroughly and often.

Minerals: Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide

Minerals do not break down in the sun so they provide the skin with greater protection than many chemicals alone can and with a less worry. According to the Environmental Working Group, zinc oxide is an ideal choice for sun protection as it is stable in sunlight and can provide greater protection from UVA rays than titanium oxide or any other sunscreen chemical approved for use in the U.S..Today, sunscreen makers use zinc oxide nanoparticles to formulate lotions with less white tint. Look for products that have at least 15-20% mineral content.
 

What Should I Purchase?

The Environmental Working Group created a guide that you can find here. The beach and sport sunscreens listed meet the EWG's strict standard for Ingredient hazard and product efficacy:
  • Health Hazards
  • UVA Protection
  • UVB Protection
  • Balance of UVA/UVB Protection
  • Sunscreen Stability

Want more information?

Read Jessica Rubio's Article Not all mineral sunscreens are created equal at Delicious Living.
Read the Environmental Working Group's Guide to Sunscreens (Updated 2018).

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Natural First Aid

Before the plethora of stores on each and every corner and the online shopping, people found ways to take care of simple first aid needs at home. Yes, this may have been a generation or two ago, but the stories of our grandparents can teach us something. Some "home remedies" are tried-and-true and work very well. Below is a list of home remedies from Jessica Rubino at Delicious Living.

We need to take care of our bodies. why not use natural ingredients? Some of these you can keep on hand, others you need to purchase rather than chemical based products.


ALOE

Aloe is great for healing burns. If you can keep a small plant on hand in your garden, in a container, or on a shelf, you could break off a portion and put it on a small burn.

Arnica

This homeopathic remedy is known to ease bruises, reduce swelling and speed recovery. Research is inconclusive, but some studies show promise for bruise and muscle relief

Calendula

Calendula, nicknamed the “mother of the skin", has been used since the 12th century for its range of healing benefits, including antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Lotions, oils and ointments using calendula alleviate chafing, blisters, bites and burns. A beautiful calendula flower is pictured below. If you can, try to plant some on your yard or in a container garden!

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is not just for cooking; it makes a great salve. You can rub coconut oil on your skin while in the shower to get a deep tissue massage without the oily skin residue.  To make a salve that lessens and lightens scars, mix a bit of lemon juice into coconut oil.

Eucalyptus Oil

Why not have on hand a toxin free bug repellent? Research shows that lemon eucalyptus oil is as effective against mosquitos as low concentrations of DEET. The Environmental Working Group recommends products with a concentration of 30 to 40 percent eucalyptus oil to protect for long periods of time (but don’t use on children younger than 3 because they might get it in their noses, where it could be toxic at high doses).

Manuka Honey

Thanks to the New Zealand manuka bush pictured below (and the bees that pollinate it), dark manuka honey is considerably more potent and therapeutic than the honey sitting in your pantry. It exhibits well-researched antimicrobial, antifungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to heal wounds, subdue irritation and even regenerate skin cells.

Lavendar Essential Oil

Lavender oil is a multi-tasker with its soothing, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that work on everything from scrapes and burns to bites. Lavender is a favorite first-aid ingredient because while it heals it can also reduce scarring from burns. Dilute it in a carrier oil before applying to skin.

Mugwort

This herb (which, fun fact, flavored beer in pre-hops days) shows promise in fending off bacterial infection. Try using a moxa stick (a cigar-like stick packed with mugwort) for bites and stings. You’ll also find mugwort in salves. The mugwort plant, an Irish wildflower, is pictured below.

Neem

The neen tree, pictured below, is native to India. Locals gave it the title “village pharmacy” as it has been touted for its range of beauty uses and beyond for more than 5,000 years. Its versatility holds true for modern applications, too. Why add it to your first-aid kit? Thanks to antihistamine and antibacterial qualities, neem combats irritation and even infection from cuts and scrapes.

Cognitive Function ... It's Up To You

Medicine is helping people live longer. We need to find ways to ensure we have QUALITY of life as the LONGEVITY increases. Memory and cognition are important to me as cognitive troubles run in my family.  According to the Alzheimer's Association, "someone in the world develops dementia every 3 seconds". They estimate 75 million people will develop dementia by 2030. 

According to Delicious Living Magazine, food affects our bodies on a MOLECULAR LEVEL. This means that there is a possibility that we can harness the power of food to help us cognitively. 

Nutrition Affects Cognitive Function


Fruits and Vegetables
400 grams (2-3 cups) of fruits and vegetables a day is a target 

Omega 3s
Support healthy brain function
Some sources include: 
Salmon, herring, halibut, oysters, and fresh tuna
Milk, soy milk, and yogurt 
Flaxseed pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts
Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower

My recipe for Simple Scrumptious Smoothis Bowl provides Fruits and Omega3s:


Lifestyle Affects Cognitive Function

Physical Activity
Physically we can help our cognitive function through 30 minutes of exercise and by reducing stress in our lives. Exercise helps all of our organs to work efficiently.

Mental Stimulation
We can challenge our mind through learning new information. There are many platforms for this:
  • Take a class in-person or online just for fun. Canvas has many enrichment classes from which people can choose. 
  • Learn a new language
  • Read a book
  • Complete crossword puzzles/sudoku

What to Avoid

  • Trans Fats
  • Excess white sugar
  • Refined foods
  • Household chemicals (BPA and dioxin)
  • Heavy metals
  • Phthalates (binding agents to make plastics flexible) Phthlates can be found in household items, personal care products, fragrance, and food. More information on Phthalates can be found in this article by The Guardian.  
  • Organophosphate metabolites (pesticides) One way to avoid these is to purchase produce following the Environmental Working Group Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 List





Friday, August 3, 2018

The Buzz About Bees ... Bee Better Certification Coming Soon

Bees are important for the environment. I read an article once that said that bees are responsible for about every third bite of food we take! Unfortunately, the bee population is in decline. People need to be aware of the importance of bees in our food chain. WE NEED BEES!

Bees Provide People With MORE Than Honey
Bees are hard workers. For many of our favorite crops to develop, they need bees to help in the germination process. If we did not have bees, we would not have apples, melons, squash, almonds, or broccoli.

Protect The Bees, Plant Pollinator Friendly Plants
Over the past several years, large numbers of hives have diminished. Honey bees provide a key service to our agricultural production. You can help the honey bees through careful planting in your garden.

  • Spring flowers that bees are drawn to include: crocus, hyacinth, borage, calendula, and wild lilac. 
  • Summer flowers that bees feast on include: cosmos, echinacea, snapdragons foxglove, and hosta. 
  • Late summer and early fall flowers that bees like include: zinnias, sedum, asters, witch hazel, and goldenrod. 
Purchase Products Labeled Bee Better Certified
Be an informed consumer and look for the new labeling "BEE BETTER CERTIFIED" that will be available soon. The new label will help guide you in choosing ethical, environmentally-sound products: a certification for foods produced on bee-friendly farms. "The pillars of the program are: dedicating a minimum 5 percent of land to providing habitat—meaning abundant sources of pollen and nectar, such as hedgerows or flowering cover crops; providing nesting sites for pollinators in the form of (depending on the pollinator species) plants with pity-stems, undisturbed ground and plants butterflies can lay eggs in; and eliminating or minimizing the use of chemical pesticides" (Cernansky, Delicious Living).

Yes, You Can Make A Difference
Plant flowers that attract bees, purchase products labeled BEE BETTER CERTIFIED, and avoid using neonicotinoids in your gardening.

For more information, read the Delicious Living's Article "Be Better Certified" Could Help With Pollinator-Friendly Choices and the BBC Article Would We Starve Without Bees.

Yoga for Digestion and Detox

Many people take supplements or go on a cleanse to aid in digestion or to detox. A regular yoga practice can help the body digest better and to detoxify. Add in a nutrition component and the process can be natural.

A yoga practice that involves twists, forward folds, and side stretches stokes the digestive fire. Yoga Journal has an online sequence that you can follow if you are looking for a set series to help you get started.

A rule of thumb when eating that will help your digestion is to fill your belly 1/3 with food, 1/3 with water, and 1/3 leave empty. Adding prebiotic fiber like that found in Gutzy is helpful to maintain your digestive flora. Gutzy is an on-the-go pack that you can take in your car and eat after a class if you feel you need to refuel.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Environmental Awareness in the Kitchen

Taking care of the environment is important to me. Over the past several years I have made changes in my kitchen to make it more environmentally friendly. The SWAPS I made were gradual, as managing my finances was necessary. My Journey to Zero Waste is not over, I am committed to the journey.

Simple Kitchen Swap #1: Replace Plastic Food Storage Containers with Glass

I looked for sales and started to replace my plastic storage containers with glass. The glass containers are safe to use in the microwave, oven, and freezer. They are versatile and do not have compounds that will leach out into my food.

I pack glass storage containers in my lunch and take them to work. They weigh a bit more, but the health benefits are worth it!

I did NOT waste the plastic containers! I continue to use them for other purposes in my home and classroom.

Simple Kitchen Swap #2: Reuse Packaging when you purchase packaged goods

The products that I do purchase packaged/pre-made has decreased over the years. When I do purchase packaged goods, I find a way for the packaging to have at least one more use.

Plastic bags or packaging with a ziploc seal are used for food storage or for kitty litter.

Glass jars are washed and rinsed and used again to store my homemade nut butters, prepare my overnight oats, make a smoothie, or store bulk purchased items.


 Image above is Berry Overnight Oats Featuring Sunwarrior.


Image above is coconut water from a coconut I opened. 

 Simple Kitchen Swap #3: Use cloth rather than paper

Yes, I know you might be thinking that using cloth towels is not a good idea because they can hold germs. This is true, but then can be washed! I prefer to use cloth towels in the kitchen to dry my hands after washing, to dry pots and pans after washing, and to clean up spills. I switch the towels out regularly to maintain a sanitary kitchen. Cloth napkins can be used instead of paper to reduce waste.

TIP: Each time I run the dishwasher I put my kitchen sponge in to sanitize it. Another way to sanitize it is to soak the sponge with water and put it in the microwave for a minute. The sponge is sanitized and the humidity helps clean the microwave (wipe clean after you remove the HOT sponge)
 
 Kitchen Swap #4 .... Reusable storage wrap

Delicious Living has an article about using reusable food storage wrap. This is my next path to explore! What sustainable food storage wraps do you use? What products have you found to work well? Please share so we can all learn from one another! Read the full article Sustainability tip: Why you should switch to reusable food wrap.



Monday, June 25, 2018

Age with Grace Through the Decades - 40s Edition

Since I am a fitness instructor, personal trainer, and wellness coach, I encounter a variety of people each day. Through my observations and life experiences, I have developed a mantra: Life is a blank canvas, a masterpiece waiting to be made through food, fitness, family, and friends. The more I see, the more I believe that our DNA plays a role in our health, but the environment in which we live and the choices we make play a large role in the aging process.

I believe in aging gracefully. We cannot stop time but we can embrace change and make the most of what we have. We need to focus on positives rather than on negatives. If we stay young at heart, we have a better chance of welcoming each birthday with a smile.

As a woman in her mid 40s, I am looking to make choices that work for me at this stage of my life. Chatting with female friends that are from multiple decades will not only keep you young and teach you a few practical lessons. These same friends might give you beauty advice that works for them, but may not work for you. One thing that we need to remember when sharing advice with friends, our body's needs change over time so we need to customize for where we are today.

Some key advice I took from the article is that:

  • Women in their 40s may experience JOINT PAIN so adding fish oil, tart cherry juice, and nuts (walnuts are great) to their diet could help reduce inflammation and increase bone density. 
  • Women in their 40s need to make sure to get some exercise. The movement lubricates the joints to help with movement and elimination of waste. 
  • Women in their 40s may benefit from acupuncture to reduce pain rather than become dependent on medications for pain reduction. The medication may be necessary in the future, but an alternative is great if possible. 
  • Women in their 40s may benefit from taking supplements like Type 2 collagen to restore mobility to joints, turmeric to detox and cut inflammation, astaxanthin as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, and pycnogenol as an antioxidant and collagen protector.
  •  Skin that appears to be less vibrant can be enhanced through a diet high in anti-oxidant rich foods, through stress reduction (yoga/fitness), through the use of a daily broad spectrum sunscreen, and through enough sleep.

There is a great article on Delicious Living Magazine about Lifelong Vitality that you may with to read if you want more details about YOUR DECADE. The article lists KEY steps to take through the decades.

Natural Skincare

I am interested in NATURAL SKINCARE and am looking to eliminate chemicals from my beauty routine and my home. I love this infographic from Delicious Living as it helps me make informed choices.

The natural, non-toxic ingredients provide your skin with just what it needs. Customize the natural elements you seek out based upon your skin type or the season if your skin's need change through the year.

I know that I take a daily prebiotic/probiotic and that helps not only my gut but also my skin. Take care of your body both inside and outside!

Look for these ingredients as the main ingredients in products when you need to replenish your supply. Be mindful of the packaging too .... you want to make sure chemicals do not leach from packaging into your product

Life is a blank canvas; a masterpiece waiting to me made through food, fitness, family, and friends. Make healthy choices and encourage others to do so as well.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Make Informed Decisions when Purchasing Beauty Products

Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore is not an act but a habit". We need to get into a habit of making good decisions about the products we use to care for our bodies. A group of women at the University of Massachusetts Amherst started a program called Protect Our Breasts in an effort to encourage women to steer away from toxin exposure from everyday products and choices. The mission of POB is to reduce rates of breast cancer and other diseases linked to toxin exposure through educating consumers.


We can have a better chance at excellent health if we make informed choices. We are on the right start when we look to purchase Certified Organic skin care products and seek out products that do not include chemical hormone disruptors like tricolsan.

We can also make good choices by being mindful of the packaging out products are in as the packaging can be harmful. Look for products in packaging that does not leach potential carcinogens like BPA. Seek out products in packages that use PET/PETE and HDPE, so-called “good plastics.”

Make healthy choices a routine and encourage others to do so as well. It could save lives!

If you have questions about any body care ingredient, search The Endocrine Disruptor Exchange, a comprehensive, nonprofit site that disseminates scientific evidence about these toxins.

If you wish more, read the full article How to Choose Safer Beauty Products on Delicious Living Magazine.

Summer Skin Safety Sunscreen Selection

Summer is here that means more hours in the sun and more opportunities to apply and reapply sunscreen. If you live in a sunny climate, sunscreen is a regular purchase of yours. If you do not, you more than likely purchase sunscreen for a vacation and/or summer adventures.How do you know what sunscreen to choose to protect your skin, and to protect the environment?

In May of 2018, Hawaii outlawed sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate as scientists have proven they lead to coral bleaching. This ban could go into effect as soon as 2021. (If you are interested in the full article, you can read it here.) When we make decisions about what to use on our body we need to be careful that the products are safe for us, as well as be mindful of how they were sourced. We need to think about our body and the impact we have on the environment. Oxybenzone has not only been found to damage the environment, it has been linked to hormone disruptions in the body. The coral do not need it, nor do humans.

Some dermatologists are suggesting their patients use products containing minerals zinc oxide and titanium oxide rather than chemicals. These minerals provide broad spectrum coverage without the chemical side effects. The marketplace is catching up with the research and many brands are now offering at least one mineral option. Not all minerals sunscreens are as effective as their neighbor on the shelf. The research is still being done and no conclusive evidence is available but, researchers agree that the best thing we can do when we purchase sunscreen is to look or adequate concentrations of the active mineral ingredients: zinc oxide (15%-20%) and titanium dioxide (7.5%).

Sunscreen is important to include in your daily routine. Use a daily facial lotion that has sunscreen to protect your face and neck as you drive to work. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, striking one in five Americans in their lifetime. We need to protect ourselves and advocate that those we love protect themselves.

According to experts, we need to protect against UVA and UVB rays through BROAD SPECTRUM sunscreens.

If you wish more, read the full article How to Choose a Safe Sunscreen from Delicious Living Magazine.

Summer Skin Safety

Our skin is our largest organ and we need to take care of it. When I was young, there was not a strong push to use sunscreen. People would TRY to go in the sun and bake themselves to get a "great tan". People even applied baby oil to their skin to speed up the burn/tan. As I got older people started a trend of understanding that a sunburn was not healthy, so going to a tanning booth for a "baseline tan" to ward off a sunburn was healthy.Today we understand that none of that is good.

I know I have caused damage to my skin because I did not know any better when I was younger and the adults around me did not as well. Today I consult friends who are Dermatologists to make sure I am purchasing the best products to protect my skin.

Today I want you to consider checking yourself for PAST sun damage. We can take steps to prevent any future damage, but we need to remedy what happened before we knew any better. Delicious Living Magazine posted an article, 8 Steps to Self Check for Skin Cancer. I highly suggest you follow at least one step. Last year I went to a Dermatologist for what I thought was a concerning spot on my leg. I left with three skin cancer spots sprayed. What I thought was a big deal was not. What I did not even realize was a concern was skin cancer.

According to the article, the rate of melanoma cases is on the rise. At least 90,000 new cases will be diagnosed this year alone. Do not wait for your annual exam to have your doctor scan your body, follow the guidelines of the Skin Cancer Foundation and do a head-to-toe exam of your skin every month. Since this is an important NEW ROUTINE, it might be best to create a schedule and do the test on the same day so you remember. After a few months it will become routine! You’ll want to look for new or changing lesions that may be cancerous or pre-cancerous. The organization says skin cancers are almost curable when found and removed early.

The article points out the following places to scan with a bit more attention:
  1. Face
  2. Scalp
  3. Hands
  4. Upper Arms
  5. Neck, Chest, Torso
  6. Back of the neck and Shoulders
  7. Calves
  8. Parts of the body generally covered with clothes when in the sun
Contact your doctor if you notice anything unusual. Use a good sunscreen to protect your skin from today and each coming day. Cloudy days still provide UV radiation, use a facial lotion that includes sunscreen to protect your face and skin while driving.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Earth Friendly Beauty

I believe in using plant based products to reduce waste and eliminate toxins from my home and body. The plant based products I use, I hope, come from sustainable sources. I do my best to research to make informed decisions. Delicious Living Magazine has a great article that discusses the trend of ORGANIC personal care becoming EARTH FRIENDLY. Take time to look at the article if you wish to read more.

The trend toward clean eating has been going on for quite some time. Clean home and clean beauty is catching up at a rapid pace! The biodynamic certifier Demeter USA lauds companies that invest in doing more for the land and grow ingredients using regenerative practices that support the environment. We need to be aware that companies that list plant based ingredients are using plants that are grown using environmentally sound practices. Formulating with organic or biodynamic ingredients ensures the product is clean and pro-planet. As with organic, biodynamic farming prohibits chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers; it also requires various other seasonal practices that keep the soil healthy and focus on carbon sequestration with the hope of mitigating climate change.


Experts say "consumers should look for companies that engage with farmers directly, or partner with supplier partners who do, to implement best organic and regenerative practices, like cover cropping and using compost to build soil health and organic matter". A Chinese Proverb states, a journey a thousand miles begins with a single step. If each of us take the step to purchase EARTH FRIENDLY BEAUTY, not only will we feel and look good, but we will also help the planet.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

IDEA WORLD FITNESS BLOG FEST

Are you attending IDEA WORLD in San Diego this month? If so, I hope to see you there! If not, what topics would you like me to cover while I am there ... and after the event? Please let me know!

Until then, meet me on the mat in  Downward Dog or adho mukha shvanasana in Sanskrit.



Benefits of Downward Facing Dog:
  • Stretches hands, shoulders,  hamstrings, calves, and arches
  • Strengthens arms and legs
  • Lengthens spine to help relieve/prevent osteoporosis
  • Calms brain
  • Relieves stress
  • Energizes body
  • Improves digestion 

If you only have time for one pose, downward facing dog and its variations are a good option!

Variations coming in posts in the next few days!







Thursday, June 14, 2018

Yoga's Simple Seated Twist

Parivrtta Sukhasana or simple easy twist stretches your lower extremities: hips, knees, and ankles. The pose has many variations which I will explore with you over the course of this month.

You can use this pose to increases flexibility throughout the spine, shoulders, hips, and chest.

This pose allows you the opportunity to reduce stress and anxiety.

The benefits of abdominal twists are many. Twisting stimulates and tones your abdominal organs so it is beneficial it is done when your stomach is not FULL (hint ... you need room to twist). Be kind to your kidneys and digestive organs and twist! 

Twisting allows your body to detox, boosts your energy, and can improve your health. As Tubby Checker sings, "Come On Everybody ... Lets Twist Again"!

Meet me on the mat to twist!

TIP: Sit with your non-dominate leg (if right handed it is your left leg) in front to begin. Do twist twice ... once with each leg in front. 

TIP: Twist the RIGHT side first (ascending colon) then the left (descending colon) to help with digestion.

TIP: Twist AFTER your food is digested ... perhaps 2 hours after a meal



Sunday, May 27, 2018

Perform Well on High School Final Exams ... Reduce Stress and Eat for Mental Clarity

Each day we get closer to summer vacation the interest in school lessens as the dreams of what to do in the weeks ahead fills a teen's mind. To fight "summer fever" and find the tenacity and mental clarity on test day, there are a few steps that can be taken.

Research shows that eating a nutritious meal helps with mental clarity. Blueberries contain antioxidants which help increase blood flow to the brain. Flax seeds contain magnesium which helps with focus. Avocados contain B vitamins and potassium which enhance blood flow and activate brain cells, help reduce stress, and lower blood pressure. Eggs contain choline which enhances memory. You could have avocado toast with yogurt that has blueberries and flax seeds sprinkled on it for a nutritious breakfast or a scrambled egg with a side of avocado and yogurt and toppings. Enjoy a glass of orange juice or a sliced orange with your breakfast. The vitamin C in oranges lowers blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol.


Snacks that help with clarity include dark chocolate (not sweet milk chocolate), nuts, and seeds. Create a snack mix with small chunks of dark chocolate, almonds, cashews, and seeds like pumpkin and sesame. The fuel will keep your mind and body ready for sustained focus.Almonds are a good choice for the snack mix as they contain vitamin B2 and E which supports the immune system in times of stress. Snack on almonds or almond butter!

If your exams are later in the day, or you wish a nutritious mind bolstering and stress reducing dinner, you could include the following:

  • Turkey which contains the amino acid tryptophan which signals the brain to reduce serotonin which leads to an overall sense of calm.
  • Salmon which contain omega-3s which help the body regulate cortisol and adrenaline when stressed. 
  • Spinach which contains magnesium which helps your body regulate the stress hormone cortisol.
  • Rosemary contains carnosic acid which enhances learning and spatial memory. Recent research is looking into the possibility of rosemary preventing the advancement of cognitive diseases. 
If you cannot get all the nutrients you need in your diet, supplements might be right for you. Some people also react well to scents. Diffusing essential oils in a room may be something that resonates with you too!