Category Archives: Healthy Body

Do You Supplement?

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Do You Supplement?

One of the things I get asked often from people are what supplements do I take. As an Integrative Nutrition health coach, we were taught to not solely rely on supplementation for overall health. In fact, it was encouraged to not automatically give supplement suggestions to clients unless they are asking for specific remedies and their doctor is okay with them taking it.

But supplements can be a great thing to add to your health regiment, especially if you are someone that struggles with eating a balanced diet full of fruits, veggies, and lean proteins from sustainably raised sources. And I take supplements because I stay on top of my bloodwork and there are things that my body needs in addition to a healthy lifestyle.

So in this article I wanted to just go over some of the all-natural, more homeopathic supplements I do like to tell clients about when they ask me recommendations. Some of these are prescribed by my general practitioner, and others I take based on the recommendation of my Naturopath or from my own research and education.

Vitamin D3

The first supplement I take is Vitamin D3. My physician recommended I start taking this several years ago after my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Most of us walk around with Vitamin D3 deficiency because we are working inside for longer hours instead of out in the sunshine. Because our bodies don’t make vitamins, we are reliant on outside sources to keep our stores up. And Vitamin D is used up fairly quickly in the body, so it’s hard to keep “reserves.”

Exposure to sunshine (without sunscreen) for 5 to 10 minutes a few times a week can give you what you need for Vitamin D, but this can be hard to do in the winter months when our bodies are covered in coats and warm clothing. So if you take a supplement for Vitamin D, I recommend finding one that is made with olive oil as its carrier oil instead of soybean. In my personal opinion, olive oil is a better alternative than soy products because of the research done on poor sources of soybean oils used in our foods and over-the-counter products.

Food sources for Vitamin D are as follows:

-Cod liver oil, swordfish, herring, tuna (canned too), sardines, eggs, fortified milk (if you consume dairy)

Calcium

My next go-to supplement that I take based on a medical recommendation is Calcium (which also has Vitamin D with it for absorption purposes). Calcium is very important for women, especially those of us in the “40 and Over” club. Calcium is needed to prevent osteoporosis and maintain good bone and teeth health. It also helps with enzyme functions in the body, which are needed to keep our cells running properly and our digestion up to speed. Studies have also shown it to be healthy for the heart muscle.

Sources for Calcium outside of supplements are as follows:

-Dairy products or fortified non-dairy products, broccoli, seaweeds, nuts, seeds, spinach, tofu, and beans

Magnesium

Another mineral many of us walk around deficient in is Magnesium. Our foods today are low in magnesium, so it can be hard to get in the necessary amounts with just diet alone. I take my supplement in a powder form in the evening (it can help you sleep). Magnesium is needed everyday and helps with enzyme function in the body. It is good for bone health, can lower your risk for diabetes through regulation of carbohydrate and glucose metabolism, has been suggested to aid in migraine relief, and can even alleviate anxiety. Another bonus for women is magnesium can help with premenstrual symptoms.

Good food sources for Magnesium include:

-nuts, seeds, spinach, broccoli, shrimp, beans, bananas, peanut butter, milk, brown rice, oatmeal

Probiotics

This is probably something you have heard about, but I am going to reiterate what all the other health gurus are saying about probiotics. These gems are great for the gut!!! Our gut is one of the most important organs in our bodies because it regulates immune function, neurotransmitters, and a slew of other important functionalities. Our gut can make or break our overall health, so you have to keep it rich and full of the good flora! Probiotics are also good with helping regulate bowel diseases, inflammation, and maintaining vaginal health in women.

There are a plenitude of probiotic supplements out there, and I recommend you start small on the dosage so your body can get used to it (you don’t need it to be a laxative!). Around 25 to 30 billion CFU’s is a great place to begin. It has a lot of good bacteria strains in them and if you feel you want to increase further down the road, then just talk with your health practitioner on what is the best fit for you.

Chlorella

This supplement I discovered during my coursework with IIN. It was recommended by Paul Pitchford, a master of ancient Chinese medicine and whole foods nutrition. He has authored several books on healing the body through whole foods and all-natural supplements.

Chlorella is a nutrient-dense freshwater algae that is taken in either a powder, capsule, or tablet form. It’s a great superfood for the body because it supports immune function, contains essential minerals and vitamins (B12, magnesium, beta-carotene are just a few), has protein (small amount), and works to eliminate toxins from the body. If there is one supplement that I make sure I take daily, it’s chlorella.

Sun-Chlorella is a great brand available at most health food stores, or Prime Chlorella brand is high quality and can be ordered online.

If you are interested in adding supplements to your daily routine, I first recommend you speak with your health practitioner to make sure nothing interferes with any other medication you might be on. It’s also wise to get a blood panel done to see what vitamins and minerals you are deficient in before adding a new regiment to your diet.

When it comes to purchasing supplements, I would be very cautious buying online unless you know the brand you are purchasing is valid and safe. The health and wellness industry is one of the largest money makers out there today, and a lot of companies are exploiting consumers through supplements. Do your research and ask questions to avoid products made with fillers and other harmful ingredients. Your local health food store is also a great resource for supplements, and you can ask questions and get customer feedback about products.

For me, I like to use products from these companies:

Now Foods – http://www.nowfoods.com

Garden of Life – http://www.gardenoflife.com

Prime Chlorella – http://www.primechlorella.com

Pure Encapsulations – http://www.pureformulas.com; http://www.amazon.com

Leading a healthy life is so important nowadays and sometimes that means adding supplements to our daily routine. It’s all about learning your body, what it needs, and finding high-quality sources to fuel it.

Until next time,

Cheers!

Social Media: The Tail that Wags the Dog?

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Which is First, the Chicken or the Egg?

It’s funny how we spend a majority of our lives trying to “belong” and “fit in” with the right crowd. This happens during childhood, but it also continues when we become adults. In the world of social media, this need to “belong” is even stronger, both for adults and kids (at least those with access). I used to think I was one of those people that liked social media because it allowed me to connect with friends and family, post funny pictures of my kids, and share healthy living tips on my business page. But the last 24 hours had me thinking differently about social media, and how I belong more to it than it does to me.

Let me explain what I mean here a bit. As some of you may know, Instagram and Facebook, maybe even Twitter, had pretty rough days this week. Accounts were down, including mine, and rumors where flying about what was happening at headquarters. Who was winning and who was loosing the battle for control. All the while, faithful patrons were waiting with angst to get back on to personal and business accounts and “re-connect” with the world. On Wednesday, both my personal and business Instagram accounts went really wonky. I couldn’t post and nothing was refreshing. Finally after a day of trying to figure out if it was Wi-Fi related or just bad service, I needed to log out. When I did that, suddenly I couldn’t log back in. Message after message read “ERROR.” Suddenly I panicked. I panicked because I thought of all the hard work I had put into my business account to get it up-to-par and gain followers. I panicked because the information I had was now gone. I panicked because pictures I had shared were now unavailable to me, and I didn’t know who had control of them. What would happened if I could never get back in? It’s not like any of the social media sites actually offer contact support for their programs. You are at the mercy of whomever sits behind their keyboards.

Finally by 10:30 that evening the veil was lifted and I was allowed back into BOTH my personal and my private accounts. Praise Jesus!!! And I did just that-I had prayed hard that day not to just get my stuff back, but for calmness. To not get anxious and stressed out, as is my norm in situations that I can’t control. So I had really kept my cool. But I was also glad all my work to try and build this personal business of mine had not been lost.

But the Story Continues…

Fast forward to the next day and I am posting on my business account what I wanted to post the previous day on Instagram (both my Facebook and Instagram are linked). Picture placed, post written, and…click. It was up and loaded. Then suddenly when I went to respond to a comment on my Facebook business page, I was kicked out. I mean I was completely logged out and a message came up saying a picture needed to be reviewed by the security team and until then I was denied access to Facebook in any way. I was completely shunned from the “social crowd.” All of my accounts on all my devices were locked up. Suddenly I felt isolated. I felt really stressed and upset because I couldn’t understand how a picture of my previous day’s veggie burger and Kale Tonic was considered to be profane. I mean, if you are a junk food junkie, maybe, but seriously?

For over 24 hours I was not allowed access to either my personal Facebook account or my business account. I couldn’t communicate with clients, friends, family members, etc. I was an outcast, an outsider to the social media world. I had my Instagram account, but a lot of stuff is connected to Facebook. We take it for granted that we are always going to have it, so we link various accounts with our social media page instead of giving a simple e-mail address. When that account is locked up, nothing works!

During my “lockdown time,” my mind kept swirling with thoughts of “maybe I got hacked,” or “what if Facebook eliminates my page completely?” It was a truly helpless feeling in the sense that I had lost total control over my personal and my business information. All because of some picture they had to review. And I had followed all the rules. I had even changed my e-mail and password two days earlier because I wanted to make sure to keep my accounts safe. I have all the security measures placed on my social media accounts to prevent fraudulent activity. But wow, couldn’t see any of it, and I couldn’t get in touch with anyone who works there because Facebook, like Instagram, doesn’t have a contact section on their web site.

I did find a link to help guide me to the right submission page so at least I could submit a form to get in touch with someone, anyone. I sent that form in twice within a 5 hour period hoping to get someone’s attention. Whatever needed to happen or whatever the security team needed to asses, by this afternoon my accounts were finally up and running again. And there was another Praise Jesus moment! That I had actually kept pretty calm, although this afternoon was hard. I tried vigilantly not to think of all the pictures of my father I had posted after his death, or the volunteer organizations I like to support on social media through sharing and tagging. I tried not to think of clients I couldn’t respond to on my business page. I just kept thinking, Lord, keep me calm. You’ve got this all. Even when people tried to “find” me on social media, it was like I totally disappeared. I had completely vanished, and not from my own choosing! I had my friend tell me, “it’s going to be okay, Sam. The sun is out, you have a roof over your head, and your family is safe.” Total. Perspective. She was absolutely right, too.

So now that I type this up and really think about the last 24 hours, it amazes me how co-dependent we have become as a society on social media. I am not saying everyone is like this, because social media is definitely a generational thing. But when you are on the other side of the table and your account is suddenly deemed “unworthy,” you feel like the awkward kid standing in the corner at the school dance wondering why no one else wants to talk to them. Are we really that dependent on these programs to make us feel worthy? How is it that much of our life is centered around social media applications?

It’s definitely something worth pondering over and assessing because until this moment, I didn’t realize just how much I looked to see those notifications pop up on my phone. Maybe I need to make sure that if I am using social media, I need to house it mentally in a certain place in my mind. So if one day the entire system crashes, it doesn’t feel like my life completely depends on it. I won’t feel “shunned” or left out of the cool club in school. It will still be me, and my business will still flourish, and friends and family will still know that I love them all dearly.

So I ask you, how does social media affect your life? Are you a total addict to it? Or do you like to use it for recreational purposes, like keeping in touch with old friends and such? And when life takes a turn and you are not in the driver’s seat, how do you react to it?

Until next time,

Cheers!

Listen to Your Heart

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Okay, I’m not talking about the song by Roxette. I’m talking about, “if your heart could speak, what would it say?”

I think we forget how important our hearts our to our health, and not just in the physical capacity. It’s important in the mental capacity too. The human heart is the beginning for a lot of things in life-how we feel, what we think, the way we live, and even our ability to lead others. When our hearts are out of balance, our entire being becomes out of balance.

This weekend I attended a Christian women’s conference called the “If: Gathering.” This conference covered a lot of areas that affect women, from recognizing our self-worth, to understand our heart, and it was all based within an awe-inspiring spiritual platform that was extremely motivational. Our spirituality, however it presents itself in us, determines the way our heart functions. Spirituality is so important when it comes to listening to our hearts. So this weekend I listened to mine over and over again. I listened to what Jesus was trying to say to my own heart. That I am worth it, that He loves me, and that I need to play closer attention to my heart. I need to do this because everything flows from our hearts. I feel like I need to type this again…EVERYTHING FLOWS FROM OUR HEARTS.

When we guard our heart, we implement a protection mechanism against the world around us. But we also have to be very careful that we don’t shut things off completely and isolate our hearts. How we think about ourselves, or our ability at self-awareness, can change our entire biological make-up. It is the mind-body connection we hear often about from health guru’s like Deepak Chopra.

Have you ever thought about happiness? Did you know that just by being around someone who is a happy person, you increase your own happiness by 15%? And if that happy person you are around chooses to surround themselves with happy people, regardless if you come into contact with them or not, you can increase your personal happiness by another 10%? Crazy, right? But Deepak Chopra has the science to back this after years of studying well-being and the mind-body connection to this concept. So as I sat in this conference for two days, surrounded by people who were filled with the love of Jesus, of course I felt that energy inside me!

Americans tend to hold onto existential happiness, meaning we might feel happy right now in this monument, but we tend to focus on how miserable we could feel an hour from now, or how unhappy we were in our youth. And that doesn’t bode well for the heart because that type of happiness isn’t deep and it isn’t genuine. To change our ability for our hearts to remain healthy, we have to change our thinking. Again, it’s a mind-body connection that can make our break our health.

So what can you do to begin listening to your own heart? The first step is to be open to change. Be open to the idea that you have the power to transform how your brain functions. Nothing is set in stone, and you, my friend, are in the pilot’s seat. Find your spiritual ground and let that love and acceptance pour into your own heart. Never underestimate the power of Spirituality. I never underestimate Jesus, and when I stop and listen, it blows me away how He impacts my heart.

Break negative patterns that bring you down and place a blanket of heaviness over your heart. Negativity and anxiety will tear down a healthy body brick by brick if you allow it. Examine your relationships and find people to be around who are happy. I’m not talking about existential happy, I’m talking about that person that can sense the joy in just about anything. They CHOOSE happiness, and by surrounding yourself within their positive energy, you too can become happier. It’s okay to let relationships go that pull you down. Sometimes it’s the healthiest and safest thing we can do to guard our heart.

Our bodies are information and energy fields, so how we process information and where we place ourselves in life can and will determine our body’s ability to be healthy, balanced, and happy. Loving up on others creates happiness within us; giving attention and appreciation to another person will automatically induce happy hormones within your body. So go out today and just pay someone a compliment out of the blue. See how their facial muscles change in an instant. You will reap the benefits, I promise.

Our hearts are something we need to guard and protect because it determines the path our health can follow. But we also need to recognize when it’s okay to let it open and let people in. Let in love and happiness, find ways to fill your mind with things that will leave a lasting impression on your heart, not just a temporary sense of elation. Once you begin to listen to your heart, I believe you will be amazed by the way your body responds.

Until next time,

Cheers

Liver Rescue

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If there is one organ in the body that could be deemed amazing, it is the liver. Our liver is not only the largest organ in our body (about the size of a football), it’s also one of the most hardworking. The liver acts acts as the body’s filter system. Anything we eat, drink, breath, touch, or come into contact with is filtered through the liver at some point. So, it’s not hard to imagine how a liver can become sluggish and bogged down when too much toxicity exists in your life.

The liver also serves a metabolic function and holds onto vitamins and minerals to be used by the body when needed. It breaks down fats, processes alcohol, regulates immune function in the body, aids in blood reproduction and regulation, and it can even regenerate itself after surgery or an injury. How amazing is that for one organ!

So with all these important roles of our liver, there is little reason to wonder why it’s so imperative to take care of it and try to keep it running as smooth as possible. But how can you do that, you might ask? First you need to know what is affecting your liver. Then it’s easier to find solutions to get it running better.

Toxins and heavy metals are in our everyday environment and they can affect how your liver performs. Think about the detergent you use in the laundry, or the cleaner used on your desk at work. It can even be the paint on the walls. It’s just next to impossible to eliminate certain chemicals from our life. It can be the exhaust from traffic, the type of beauty products you use, or even the swimming pool you go to during those warm summer months. But don’t freak out or feel you have to move into a mud house and give up showering or wearing clean clothes. Sure, some of these toxins we can’t avoid even if we tried, it’s the world we live in today. But there are ways to eliminate so many chemicals in your life, which I will discuss further down.

Viruses and bacteria can also harm the liver. Because the liver plays a role in our immune system and with our blood, viruses can cause the liver to run slow and sluggish. That’s why certain autoimmune diseases and and other illnesses can damage the liver. You must also be watchful of medication because there are many out there that affect the liver since medicine is metabolized in the bloodstream. And remember your water source! Many water systems have been polluted with medications and other drugs, and can still have an affect on the body despite going through the harsh cleaning process regulated by city governments. It just goes to show you need to look at the source of what you eat and drink before you stick it in your body.

So what can you do to help your liver? First off, it starts with the foods you eat. If you can get leafy greens incorporated into your daily routine, you are already doing the liver a load of good. Other veggies, like celery, broccoli, asparagus, and tomatoes are also foods that keep your liver functioning at maximum capacity. Berries, apples, bananas are some fruits which can help keep the liver working properly.

Drinking plenty of filtered water and limiting the amount of alcohol and caffeine are two ways to ease the load on your liver. Because the liver is our body’s filtration system, it has to process both of these stimulants. Having too much of them can cause the liver to become sluggish, which starts a domino effect on the rest of your body. So try to limit your intake to one drink a day (or a couple times a week) and maybe just one cup of coffee in the morning instead of, say, four?

Sugar is another culprit, and eliminating refined sugars from your diet will not only help your liver out, it will do wonders for the rest of your body. Refined sugars have such detrimental effects on the body, it would take an entirely new post to just address that issue! It’s also important to assess how much fat and protein you have in your diet because those can make a difference in how your liver functions. It’s kinda like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, your body needs just the right amount of everything to function properly. Too much or too little throws everything out of whack.

Other ways to inadvertently help your liver is by finding way to eliminate some of the chemicals I wrote about earlier. Pesticides and fertilizers are an obvious area, and that can be reduced by buying organic, going to farmers markets, or washing non-organic produce with warm water and non-scented soap. This last little trick may help in the finance department since many organic products can be costly on a person’s budget.

Many large companies are getting on the bandwagon to offer cleaning products and personal beauty products that are free of dyes, perfumes, and other synthetic chemicals. So it’s easier to find items to purchase at places like Wall-Mart, Target, or your local grocery store. Just remember read those labels before you purchase! Many times these products are more expensive, but can still contain some of the toxins you are trying to eliminate. I look for companies that have plant-based product lines and I try to steer clear of dyes and perfumes that are not derived from natural oils.

When it comes to any kind of detox, liver or no, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and frustrated. But don’t do this to yourself. The liver is an amazing organ and even the littlest change in your lifestyle can make a huge difference. Just take things one step at a time based on your personal needs and what your budget allows. Creating a healthy lifestyle is about doing things you can remember and easily fit into your normal routines. Otherwise the trend will pass and you will go back to old habits.

If you have any questions or need advice, you can e-mail me at samantha@lifestylelistener.com or visit my website at http://www.lifestylelistener.com. Facebook (Lifestyle Listener) and Instagram (@lifestyle_listener) also have daily posts on healthy tips and tricks to help create a healthier you.

Until next time,

Cheers!

Maneuvering Through Food Label Mania

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I always like to tell those seeking healthy eating advice to read labels before purchasing a product.  But sometimes label-reading can be a little like figuring out a Rubik’s Cube.  So I thought it might be helpful to explain what some of the labels mean on the foods you decide to stick in your grocery cart.  I also do my research online from reputable sites.  One of my go-to’s is http://www.sustainabletable.org.  They have some of the latest news when it comes to the food industry.

  • Whole Grain:  This is not something new in today’s society.  You can find it on most “health” food items.  It means the food contains the entire grain and has not been refined in processing.
  • Non-GMO, GMO-Free, or No-GMO’s:  There could be an entire post done on this one.  So I am keeping it simple.  Foods with this label do not contain any genetically modified or genetically engineered products.  GMO means scientists have altered the state of an organism’s genetic make-up by taking a specific gene from one organism and sticking it into a plant or animal that has an entirely different genetic make-up.  Many crops today use GMO seeds to withstand pesticides during the farming process.
  • Free-Range:  This is used in the egg and poultry industry to indicate chickens that have access to the outdoors and are not restricted to chicken coups.  Be mindful because “free-range” is different that the term “pastured.”  Free-range chickens can still be limited to the amount of time they get to “freely” roam outside.  The USDA has set the standards for this classification and products may not always be cruelty-free or antibiotic-free.
  • Antibiotic-free and Hormone-free:  This one is pretty self-explanatory and means animals were not given any form of antibiotics or hormones during their life span.  By federal law, hogs and poultry are not allowed to be given hormones.  Of course, there is always room to dig with this topic….what you see or read may not be what you get.  Just be sure to check the company, even if the product is organic.  Not everyone abides by the same standards.
  • Grain-fed vs. Grass-fed:  When you buy your meats you definitely want to lean on the side of grass-fed.  Grass fed animals are allowed to eat from their own natural habitat, while grain-fed animals are given feed.  Here is where you have to really watch your labels.  If you purchase grain-fed products, be sure the label reads “100% Vegetarian Fed.”  Otherwise, producers could be putting animal by-product in their feed.  Yuck!
  • RBGH-free or RBST-free:  This simply means the animals were not injected with any hormones before going to slaughter.  You DEFINITELY want your meats to be free of these.  Some studies have linked these injections with increasing hormone development in children, especially girls.  Also, the hormones have been linked to different illnesses and cancers.  Do your investigation through reliable sources, or just avoid it if that is easier.  In my book, I just stay as clean as possible with what I put in my body, or the body of my kids.
  • Pasture-raised:  You will start to see more and more of this on food labels, and that is thanks to the huge movement from consumers demanding better quality food.  This is what I always look for when I buy my eggs at the supermarket.  Just because it says “cage-free” doesn’t mean it was allowed to roam around a farm and eat it’s natural food-source.  Remember, you are what you eat!
  • Healthy:  Many food companies will make the claim that their product is considered “healthy.”  WATCH YOUR FOOD LABELS!  If the ingredient lists contains a slew of words you can’t pronounce or they have a lot of numbers in them, place it back on the shelf.  Many people are floored when they realize what they thought was a healthy food to eat really wasn’t, especially when they could never figure out the cause behind weight gain or other health issues.  Labels are your best bet, not what is printed on the front of the package.

Buying good, quality food does not have to be a challenge.  You just need to educate yourself a bit and be proactive when it comes to purchasing.  We, alone, are the ones in charge of our well-being, and the habits we develop to become healthier will only funnel over into the next generation.  Maybe one day we will see the end of harmful preservatives and chemicals placed in our food supply.

For more information on healthy living ideas, visit my website at http://www.lifestylelistener.com or my Facebook page, @lifestylelistener for recipes and tips for a healthy lifestyle.

Happy shopping, and until next time,

Cheers

Breaking Free

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I hate to generalize, but I will here for a bit. American culture can exude a propensity for living by the “work hard, play hard” mentality. Don’t get me wrong here, I don’t necessarily disagree with it. But I do find myself at times wondering why we spin our wheels so fast each and every day but fail to stop and take notice of the ground we are traveling on? Let me explain my meaning. During my program to become a health coach, there were consistent lectures given by some of the best and brightest in the health and wellness industry tackling this very notion. And to be honest, a lot of what they said made sense. We overcrowd our schedules with things we feel “need” to be accomplished and wonder why at the end of the day we crash and burn in a blaze of cranky attitudes and a failure to connect with those we love.

I often find myself chewing on the idea of “slowing down.” I am not talking about a vacation where you sit for a week and relax. I am talking about each and every day taking time to stop, let my brain rest and recharge, and not constantly go at Mach speed. It’s not an easy change, trust me. You feel lazy and unproductive because your mind is telling you, if you have a moment to spare, get something useful accomplished. But perhaps the things we need to get accomplished could be done more efficiently if we had a better “head space?”

If we can break free from the chains of expectations that bind us daily, we might be able to have healthier lives and more meaningful relationships. Of course, this way of thinking is so far from our norm, the change won’t happen overnight. It might happen in generations, if we are lucky. But I do truly feel we age ourselves, body and soul, because we fail to take in the simple beauties this world has to offer.

So what will your starting point be to create more space in your day for mental and physical rest? Today I chose to sit outside on my back porch and listen to the gentle roll of thunder and rain provided by a summer storm. And in that moment of time, my headspace became clearer and my attitude heightened.

I highly suggest you give it a try sooner than later.

Until next time,

Cheers

The Art of Oil Pulling

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The first time I ever tried oil pulling I thought I wasn’t going to make it.  I had used solid coconut oil, scooped out a heaping tablespoon of the substance, and then had to maneuver the chunks in my mouth until the heat of my saliva turned it into a liquid. But I persevered through it a few more times until I finally became used to the texture of the solid oil, and I tried a smaller amount so my mouth was not overtaken by coconuts.  Then, one day I was shopping and I found a good form of liquid coconut oil, and suddenly the practice of oil pulling became a part of my habitual routine.

What exactly is oil pulling anyway?  Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic practice (an ancient Indian principle that dates to around 3,000 years old).  It involves swishing about a tablespoon of oil, usually coconut, sesame, or sunflower, in your mouth for 20 minutes each day, preferably during your morning routine.  The benefits of oil pulling are numerous, believe it or not.  When you swish oil in your mouth, the antibacterial properties of the oil help to pull toxins out of your body.  Sounds crazy, right?  But it’s true, especially when you use a good quality oil.  Swishing and pulling the oil in your mouth can eliminate bacteria and fungus floating around on your teeth and gums (I know, gross, right?).  This happens because most of the stuff wafting around in our mouth consist of a single cell.  The oil coats these nasty particles, thus helping them stick to one another instead of on your gums or teeth.  So when you are finished with your pulling, you spit out all these little microorganisms, ridding your system of them completely.  Oil pulling also helps to whiten teeth, freshen breath, ease sensitive teeth, wipe out plaque, not to mention moisten the mouth, throat, and lips.

If you are not sure how to go about oil pulling, here are my own personal tips.  Start small your first few times, like five minutes, during the morning right before you brush your teeth.  Then, when you finish, you can simply spit the used oil out into your trash can.  For me, once I was able to get over my five minute mark, I started doing my oil pulling in the shower.  With hair washing, face washing, etc., that usually gives me a good 15 minutes to swish and swoosh my coconut oil.  Like I wrote earlier, I do like to use a liquid version of coconut oil to swish, but make sure it is a good grade, and organic.  The plus of using coconut oil instead of sesame or sunflower is coconut oil contains anti-microbial properties by way of lauric acid.

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And be sure to NOT SWALLOW the oil.  After it has been in your mouth, getting rid of all those repugnant particles, swallowing it would completely negate all the good you just accomplished. Lastly, when you are finished pulling, it is recommended you spit the used oil out in the trash can instead of down your sink.  The oil could possibly clog your drains after an extended period of time.  After you do your allotted time, finish up your routine with a good tooth brushing and flossing to remove any leftover particles from your pull.

So if you are in the market for whitening your teeth in a safe and natural way while protecting your gums and mouth from various dental diseases, then you should definitely give oil pulling a “swirl” during your everyday morning routine.  Who knew a simple tablespoon of oil could have so many benefits for your mouth!?! And if you are like me and enjoy drinking red wine, it can help ward off those irritating “wine teeth” stains that so lovingly go with one of my favorite adult beverages.

So go out there, pull some oil, and flash your pearly whites to the world with a smile!

Until next time,

Cheers

 

 

Discovering a New and Healthy You

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Do you ever think about the day after a holiday?  Like after Christmas or July 4th, and the stores have all the decorations reduced down.  It takes the wind out of my sail a bit when I see those lonely decorations, unused and unwanted on their shelf.  The day after Valentine’s Day is like that for me, not because all the pink and red heart decorations are left un-purchased.  No, for me February 15 marks the anniversary of my dad’s death.  But this year is a little different for me.  I am turning a day that is usually filled with sadness into something positive.  Today, I am officially putting myself out there in the world as a certified health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  And with that announcement comes my personal website that offers information on what I do and the various ways I can help people discover the healthiest, happiest version of themselves.

My journey to living a healthy lifestyle did not always start on an easy track. I have posted about my experience with battling an eating disorder in college, so I won’t go into excessive detail here. If you want to get that whole story, check out my post “The Shadow of Control.” It will be filed under February of 2017 on this blog, http://www.myglasstoshare.com. This piece basically lines out how I ended up where I am today in regards to healthy eating habits and beneficial lifestyle routines.

My passion for good nutrition and overall wellness practices started when I was in my twenties, continuing on and growing stronger as I entered my thirties. Now as I approach my forties, I feel so blessed and excited to have the knowledge I do under my belt so I can help others around me get on track with their own lives.

Health and nutrition, well, those can be tricky subjects. There is so much information out there about what the “correct” way to live should be, or who has the best diet to loose weight or detoxify your liver. But what I learned, and absolutely loved, about the certification program through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition was their belief that everyone is a bio-individual. What is considered one individual’s perfect diet plan may be completely toxic for another. Bio-individuality is the key when it comes to finding the perfect food plan to follow for your body.

Another important aspect to having a healthy lifestyle is finding balance in areas outside the kitchen. Relationships matter and have a huge impact on your overall well-being. A career that is stressful, or a lack of physical activity are other areas important to keep balanced when trying to be healthy and whole. My training program calls these things “Primary Foods.” We get so hung up on thinking diet is the way to a balanced life, we tend to forget the other things going on that can affect the “what” we eat and the “why” we eat.

It has taken myself a few years to figure out my own balance with my life, as well as with my diet regiment. And I feel my experiences, my knowledge, and my ability to just simply sit back and listen helps me put power back into YOUR hands. You will be the designer of this new pathway to balance and health. I will simply provide you the much needed support and tools to get you there. So stop trying the latest fad diet, or running yourself mentally into the ground with obligations and commitments. Let’s do this together because being healthy doesn’t have to be hard!

For more information and to contact me for a free consultation, visit http://www.lifestylelistener.com.

Red, White, and…Green!

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Happy 4th of July America! In honor of the holiday I decided to post my most recent creation in the kitchen.  I called it my “red, white, and green salad” to go along with the patriotic theme.  Our household is learning how to cook in a gluten-free environment nowadays, so I have found myself experimenting with gluten-free swaps.  This recipe used a gluten-free elbow macaroni, and the consensus was a total thumbs up!  I think I even heard the words, “you can’t tell the difference.”  Sweetness to my ears!

Going gluten free is more common nowadays than it was even ten years ago.  My household is doing it for medical purposes, but many people choose to go gluten-free for a variety of reasons.  The time it would take to fully go into this topic would make this post longer than necessary, so I will save gluten-free issues for another day.  Needless to say, if you need or want to take gluten out of your diet, it doesn’t mean you can never have pasta, cakes, or sandwiches again.  

So if you want to try gluten-free, and get some healthy greens in your diet, perhaps you can give this recipe a whirl at your next meal.

For the “meat” of the salad:

  • 2 cups of gluten-free elbow macaroni (any brand will work) 
  • 3 large leaves of lacinato kale, stems removed and roughly chopped 
  • 1/2 cup of julienne sun-dried tomatoes 
  • 1/2 cup of chopped artichoke hearts
  • 1/4 cup of diced red onion

For the dressing:

  • 3/4 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar 
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 or 2 small anchovies, chopped 
  • 1 to 2 tsp freshly chopped parsley 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 

I mixed the dressing ingredients together and set aside while I assembled the salad ingredients.  For the kale, I did massage the juice of half a lemon with the leaves to help break down the fibers and cut the bitterness a bit.  Once everything was cooked and chopped, I combined it all in a large bowl and let it cool in the fridge for a bit.  Then it was ready to serve! For hot summer cookouts, this is a great accompaniment without worrying about what is secretly hiding inside.  If you can’t do the kale, substitute fresh spinach leaves instead.  Easy-peasy and still just as healthy. 

So at your next gathering, instead of going to your grocery store’s deli section, surprise your guests with a healthy alternative to pasta salad.  

Happy Birthday America, and until next time,

Cheers!

Dinner on the Run

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If you would have asked me years ago how I felt about green peas, I probably would have made a gagging motion.  Especially the kind that come in a can and appear to be a funky green color from over-processing.  

But today I was able to find some fresh green peas while in St. Louis, and decided I wanted to do something for dinner.  I was in between obligations for my kids, and I needed to figure out what everyone was going to eat and when.  I also needed to clear out some vegetables in my refrigerator.  What better way to incorporate both than through a salad? 

Here is what I used to whip up this tasty, but really healthy “Dinner on the Run.”

For the salad:

  • 1 10 oz bag of fresh spring peas
  • 1 cup of broccoli florets, chopped
  • 1/2 English cucumber, sliced and halved
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, set aside.

For the dressing:

  • 2 heaping TBSP Primal Kitchen brand paleo mayonnaise
  • 1-2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard 
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • 1/4 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp garlic powder 
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste 

Wisk all ingredients together and pour over the vegetables.  Toss and then enjoy!  It gets better as it sits in the refrigerator.  So if you feel stretched for time, but want to make something healthy for yourself, always remember vegetables make a great salad.  If mayonnaise-based dressings are not your thing, then use a vinaigrette you love.  Whatever you do, make it your own.

Until next time,

Cheers!