Tag Archives: integrative nutrition

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!

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Reflections in Your Rearview

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Driving home from school drop-off this morning, I was listening to Andra Day (one of my favorite singers) and her song “Rearview” came up on my playlist. What I love about Andra’s songs are how I can pull something from each one. I love this song because I feel like the idea about looking into your “rearview” is so important as part of a healthy lifestyle.

I seem to always tell people I feel it is so important to know where you come from before you can move forward with your future. Of course, this usually comes after a glass or two of wine and some deep discussions. You gotta know when to go deep with people so they don’t flee from you in the opposite direction! You can’t just randomly bust out your personal “Jack Handy Deep Thoughts” after the first “hello” in a conversation. (Please tell me you remember SNL’s “Deep Thoughts” skits…if not, go find them online and watch some because they’re hysterical.)

Although, I am pretty sure Andra was discussing a personal relationship in the song, based on her lyrics, I couldn’t help find myself connecting it with self-reflection and understanding of one’s past. I started musing to myself of how I felt so far in my own life based on how my own rearview mirror looks. Have a left an impact on society? On a person’s life? Am I leaving the world a better place than when I entered it? Andra continued to sing on as I contemplated these questions, and many more, on my fifteen minute drive back home. Obviously my coffee was kicking in full swing by now, and my brain was pulsating out my own “deep thoughts.” But I couldn’t leave the notion alone, so here we are now writing away on my laptop.

As we are wrapping up the first month into the new year, how do you feel things are going? Do you think about your 2018 Rearview Mirror? I’m almost 40, so I guess entering a new decade has caused me to really pause and think about how my own life has gone so far. There have been some serious ups and downs, there have been huge challenges and triumphs. But for the most part, my Rearview doesn’t look too bad. Can it be better? Sure, there is always room for improvement and I know areas that desperately need it. But my point I want to make here is when you want to move forward in life and work towards higher goals and aspirations, why not take a peek into the mirror of your past. Learn from your mistakes, take notes on your successes and duplicate the process, and pause for a moment to think about how life has impacted your worldview thus far.

Take a piece of paper, a page from your journal, or the notes application on your phone and jot down these things that come to your mind. I guarantee it will impact your next step today and tomorrow for the better. Living life can be a constant roller coaster, so find out how to keep your belt buckled. And do this by self-reflecting and looking into your Rearview Mirror. It can heal you from whatever pain you have, lift you up for the happiness you felt at times, and make you a grateful person for who you can become tomorrow.

Until next time,

Cheers

For more information about my health coaching practice, visit http://www.lifestylelistener.com and sign up for my free cleanse guide.

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!

Damn, the Bottle is Almost Gone.

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Last night I walked over to the counter where the bottle of wine I had opened up earlier sat. I looked at it closely, then closely again, my eyes squinting with chagrin because I just didn’t want to accept what I saw with my own pupils…yep, that damn bottle was almost gone. What the heck just happened? I mean, I opened up the sucker thinking it would be so nice and relaxing to have a glass, turn on my favorite show, and just breathe a bit. I needed to breathe, to think, to process my thoughts. The next thing I know, I’m going back for tiny refill number…4? Now, give me bit of slack here, it was over a long period, like several hours. But the fact is I obviously needed this situation to happen. I needed release and a chance to just “be.”

Can I get a show of hands from the two or three people actually reading this and see if it has ever happened to you? Oh really, both of you? Awesome, so I’m not sailing this ship to crazy town all on my own! Sweet! The point I want to make here is, sometimes that bottle just needs to be half empty.

I’m a pretty positive person, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE coaching others to good health and lifestyle choices (ah, here’s that parenting tip…you know…the “do as I say, not as I do” tip). But I am also a human being and susceptible to “falling off the health wagon,” so-to-speak. Last night was one of those exceptional moments of pure indulgence and embracing my moment of “being bad.” So let me back up a bit and explain how my bottle became drained so fast.

As some of you may know, if you’ve ever read my bio, that I am a mother of two beautiful children whom I love and adore more than life itself. That’s an honest statement, too. But the thing that comes with any responsibility, whether it is parenting, a career, or whatever your jam may be, it also comes with moments of pure, undiluted stress. I could totally do a plug here for my health coaching business on how to manage stress, because I do know those fun little tips, but nope. I’m going to be super real for you here and let you know that I threw all of those out the window. Even I had a moment where stress got the best of me. Parenting got the best of me. I want to have all the answers, and yet, I don’t. I’m not even close. But dammit, I try every stinking day to get this gig right so I can raise Warriors in this world and not take away from society. But raising Warriors can be hard at times, especially when what you want to do for them gets so much backlash and negative feedback. This is where my own spiritual strength kicks in like Chuck Norris.

Raising kids in the age of social media, Google, and Netflix is like trying to get the last section of your zipper on that little black dress of yours. You can bend and twist your elbows in multiple directions, but in the end you have to ask for help because that last section is truly unattainable. And so when I was trying to “zip” up my own section of parenting, I realized I needed to ask for help. So I did. What I got was good stuff, and still is good stuff, but man does it suck some brain power from you. Oh, I’m sticking to my guns and holding strong but standing up for what you know is right and doing what you know is best for the people you love is EXHAUSTING!!!

And yet, it’s what we are supposed to do, people! We are supposed to fight the good fights for what we believe in because deep down we know it is right. And that doesn’t mean strictly parenting principles. It can encompass anything you feel is worthy of your time and mental energy. Rome was not built in a day, and whatever your end-game may be, you’re probably going to need to ask for help (I pray over mine for a long while), see what answers you get, and then drink some wine (or vodka). You are going to cry by yourself for a moment, let that pity party commence, and then move along to task number 2, which is solving the problems and getting to solutions you feel good about. To be fearful of seeking advice is such a detriment to healthy living, especially if you are a spiritual person like me. I can’t tell you the number of times my own faith has pulled me through things or guided me to others that offered exactly what I needed. I just had to simply ask. There are so many credible people and resources out there to offer suggestions, tips, tricks, and plain ol’ support to people out there silently screaming for it. So please, before your ship crashes to shore, find a way to get some answers and then go out there and tackle that problem like a Roman soldier! Once the battle is over, you can do like I did last night and find your own bottle half empty, but your heart completely full.

Until next time,

Cheers!

Want to learn more about my health coaching business and what I can do for you? Visit http://www.lifestylelistener.com and sign up for my free sugar buster sheet!