Sure-fire Ways to Reduce Stress and Avoid Disease

 

walking_dog

Everyone gets stressed out from time to time. But when it goes on for  a long period of time that’s when you put your health in danger. Chronic stress can cause serious health problems especially for women.  Adrenal fatigue, depression, anxiety, insomnia, weight gain, abnormal periods and heart disease are just some of the negative effects chronic stress can cause. Our bodies are built to handle acute stress (the fight or flight response) which is short-lived, but not chronic stress, which is steady over a long term.

Chronic stress can come from many different sources like high pressured jobs, loneliness, family life, marriage, even traffic. When the body remains in a constant state of alarm, it affects virtually every system in the body, either directly or indirectly. It’s estimated that up to 90% of doctor’s visits are for conditions in which stress at least plays a role! That’s why it’s so important to learn stress management techniques and make some healthy lifestyle changes to protect yourself from the negative impact of chronic stress.

Here are some of my favorite stress busting strategies:

Lifestyle :

  • Take a walk
  • Get a good night sleep
  • Healthy diet
  • Exercise
  • Get a pet

Stress Management Techniques:

  • Deep belly breathing
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Soothing music

Incorporate one or all of these stress reducing activities to your life and see your stress levels plummet. Even small changes will yield big results. You can fight stress and keep yourself healthy even during very crazy times as long as you know how to cope. These simple changes and activities can help you keep stress under control and stop it from damaging your health.

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3 Steps to Toxic Free Personal Products

ingredients

How many personal care products do you use everyday? Toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, cosmetics, deodorant, soap or body wash, maybe some, baby lotion or moisturizing lotion? The average adult uses 9 personal care products each day, that contain known or probable human carcinogens.

Your skin is very porous, so putting a harmful chemical on it is just as bad as eating the toxin. According to the EWG an organization that promotes personal care product safety, the FDA doesn’t require certain chemicals to be listed on the labels.

1,4-Dioxane is a known carcinogen that can cause some serious side effects. A carcinogen is substance that is directly involved in causing cancer. Even though it is harmful, 1,4-Dioxane is used as a solvent in many personal care products even some leading healthy brands. The big problem here is that you might or might not find on the label. Here is the EPA’s summary of 1,4-Dioxane:

  • 1,4-Dioxane is used as a solvent.  Acute (short-term) inhalation exposure to high levels of 1,4-dioxane has caused vertigo, drowsiness, headache, anorexia and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs in humans.  It may also irritate the skin.  Damage to the liver and kidneys has been observed in rats chronically (long-term) exposed in their drinking water.  In three epidemiologic studies on workers exposed to 1,4-dioxane, the observed number of cancer cases did not differ from the expected cancer deaths.  Tumors have been observed in orally exposed animals.  EPA has classified 1,4-dioxane as a Group B2, probable human carcinogen.

http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/hlthef/dioxane.html

3 Steps to Become Toxin Free

1) Before buying any product that you will use on your skin read labels and then do some research. Chances are if it has the USDA Organic seal on it you’re safe. Dr. Bronner’s is one brand that I found to be free of the nasty stuff.I use Dr. Bronner’s Organic Pure Castile Liquid Soap. You can find it here.

2) EWG Skin Deep Cosmetic Database is a great resource. You can enter product names in the search box and then instantly get a product summary, ingredient concerns and even suggestions on where to purchase.  http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/  To make buying healthy products even easier try Skin Deep Mobile App. Just scan the bar code. It’s free. Get it here.

3) And of course you could always make your own. Many ingredients you already have in your kitchen can be used to make personal care products. Coconut oil, and sugar can be used to replace your body scrub. Olive oil is a good make up remover. Baking soda, coconut oil and essential oils (mint) can be used for toothpaste. Here’s where I have gotten many recipe ideas for making safe product for me and my family.

Please comment and let me know what your favorite brands are. Also please post any favorite DIY recipes for a personal products that you love. Thanks and I look forward to reading your comments.

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If you are reading this chances are you are interested in improving your health.  Fill out the form on the bottom right side of this page or use this link to stay connected to me. I wouldn’t  want you to miss out on any of my health information. I also have a free gift for you. After you subscribe I will send you a link to download my free Sleep Guide

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3 Easy Ways to Beat Midlife Weight Gain

Is the shape of your body changing, as you’re getting older? Were you once a healthy pear shape but recently you have noticed your body changing into an unhealthy apple shape?

pear_apple_shapes

• Pear-shaped body: wider hips and thighs, with more weight below the waist

• Apple-shaped body: wider waist and belly, with more weight above the waist

The sad fact is that most women in the United States are overweight by the time they reach midlife. Aging and poor lifestyle choices are the main causes. Additionally, as we get older our metabolism slows down. Several studies have shown that peri-menopause, regardless of age, is associated with increased fat in the belly area as well as decreased lean body mass (muscle). When we reach our midlife years we have to work harder to keep the same body we had in our younger years.

Excess weight raises the risk of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease (which is particularly linked with excess fat in the belly area), type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, and some types of cancer (including breast and colon). Luckily, there are some things you can do to prevent midlife weight gain.

1. Clean up your diet

Add whole foods to your diet and stop eating the junk. Find out if you have any food allergies; if you suspect that you do eliminate those foods from your diet for at least 2 weeks. At midlife we need to adjust the balance of our macronutrients—proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. We need more good fats to help with dwindling hormone production, fewer carbohydrates to keep blood sugar low, and moderate amounts of protein to build muscle. However, too much protein can also cause weight gain.

2. Get Some Sleep

Some people brag about functioning on little sleep, but we pay a huge price when we stay up late and get up early. Studies show that sleeping less than 5 hours per night promotes weight gain. The amount of sleep you get affects levels of ghrelin and leptin, the hormones that regulate hunger. Ghrelin is the hormone that tells you when to eat and leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating. When you are sleep deprived, your body secretes more ghrelin and less leptin, which leads to weight gain. Lack of sleep also leads to fatigue, which generally leads to a decrease in physical activity which leads to increased fat.

 2. Stay Active

The best exercise for losing weight is the one you’ll do on a consistent basis. In my opinion, whole body workouts are the best for us mid-lifers. The more muscles that are used the more calories can be burned and the greater the weight loss will be. Exercising isn’t only for weigh loss, it also helps balance hormones and improves mood. Working out intensely raises the heart rate and burns even more calories. Interval training, where short bursts of intense activity are followed by a recovery period, is especially helpful. Strength training is also important because it will helps to build muscle, which raises the metabolic rate and causes you to burn more calories. Strength training also has an added benefit called “after burn”.

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Crispy, Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

I love crispy fries, don’t you? Making them can be a quite a challenge. I’ve attempted many times only to end up with soggy, tasteless fries. Finally I have come up with a perfect recipe that I want to share with you. There are two secrets to making them crispy – one is soaking the potatoes and the second coating then with the oil and egg white mixture.

But first, I have a question for you. Do you know the difference between a sweet potato and a yam?

I used to think that the sweet, orange root vegetable that  I commonly see in the grocery store was a yam and the yellow, rounder potato was a sweet potato. But that’s not the case at all!

Sweet potatoes and yams aren’t even related. They are two different species of root vegetable. Yams differs greatly from the sweet potato in taste, texture, and appearance. They have an almost black bark-like skin and white, purple or reddish flesh and come in many varieties. They’re generally imported from the Caribbean. It’s probable that you have never tasted a real yam. I haven’t.

Depending on the variety, sweet potato flesh can vary. The insides can be white, orange or purple. The orange-fleshed variety was introduced to the US several decades ago. In order to distinguish them from the white variety everyone was accustomed to, marketers chose to call them “yams”.

Here are some different varieties of sweet potatoes that I have come across. They all taste slightly different. All of them will work for my recipe. I love experimenting and coming up with different tastes and textures.

 

 

sweetpotatoe

Classic Sweet Potato

It has light tan skin, slightly yellow, creamy in texture inside and tastes slightly sweet.

yam

 “The Yam” (Garnet, Jewel, Beauregard)

These are commonly thought of as yams but they aren’t. They are a member of the sweet potato family. These have orange insides with reddish brown skin. They are sweeter than the classic sweet potato.

japanese sweetpotato

Japanese Sweet Potato, or Satsumaimo

This has purplish skin with a light interior. If you like extra sweet this variety is for you. The sugar caramelizes while baking. Look in Asian markets to find this gem.

okinawan purpleseweetpotato

Okinawan Purple Sweet Potato

These are my favorite. Not only because of of the beautiful purple color and heavenly taste but they are also very nutritious. They contains anthocyanins (think blueberries) which are antioxidants that provide beneficial health benefits.

 Purple Sweet Potatos have white skin with a deep purple inside that becomes velvety smooth and very sweet after baking. You might have to search a little harder fro this variety but it’s worth it.

What’s your favorite kind of sweet potato and how do you prepare it? Let me know in the comments down below.

 

 

Crispy & Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients

  • sweet potatoes (scrubbed and sliced)
  • coconut oil or olive oil (enough to coat)
  • paprika
  • chili pepper
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • salt (to taste)
  • egg white

Note

The cooking time will largely depend on the variety, size and shape of your french fries. Keep an eye on them while they are in the oven until you get the hang of making them.

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Step 2
Slice potatoes into thin strips (like regular french fries). Next soak them in a bowl full of water for about 30 minutes. Soak will remove the starch from the fries which will then help the fries crisp. Drain and pat dry.
Step 3
Mix egg white, oil and seasoning in a big bowl (big enough to fit potatoes) After the potatoes are dry dump them in the bowl and mix to coat. Transfer to a cookie sheet. You can use parchment paper to prevent sicking.
Step 4
Bake for 45 minutes, being sure to flip them every 15 minutes to make sure they cook evenly. Turn down oven to 350 degrees and cook for an additional 15 minutes. For extra crisp put under broiler for a few minutes. Be careful they don' burn.

 

 

 

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If you are reading this chances are you are interested in improving your health.  Fill out the form on the bottom right side of this page or use this link to stay connected to me. I wouldn’t  want you to miss out on any of my health information. I also have a free gift for you. After you subscribe I will send you a link to download my free Sleep Guide

 

 

Get Ready for Strawberry Salsa

Strawberry Salsa



 

Do you like Strawberries?? I sure do! They are the first fruit to ripen in spring and early summer. Strawberries are the most cultivated berry in the US. They’re grown in every state and are available at most farmers markets. Nothing beats fresh, local berries. Besides being delicious. they are also nutritious. They have a unique combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients.

When buying strawberries stick with organic, or locally grown or at least grown in the US. They are mostly imported from countries that have less stringent regulations for pesticide use. 50+ pesticides have been detected on certain strawberries. The pesticides can’t be washed off. The strawberry’s external seeds make it very difficult to properly wash.

Here are instructions for the best way to clean, dry, and store berries:

1. Soak the strawberries in a bowl filled with 3 cups of water mixed with 1 cup white vinegar for about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly under running water .

2. Place berries on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels and let them dry or carefully place in a salad spinner lined with a few layers of paper towels. Spin for 10-15 seconds or until berries are dry.

3. Store strawberries in an uncovered bowl in the refrigerator. The vinegar/water mixture kills any mold spores on the strawberries and keeps them fresh longer. The vinegar does not affect the taste. (This also works for all kinds of berries blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
Yes, it really works!!

Strawberry-Avocado Salsa
Ingredients
1 cup chopped strawberries
1 chopped peeled avocado*
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
salt to taste

* slightly under ripe avocados if you want them to hold shape, a ripe avocado
will give you a creamier texture

Preparation:
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl; toss gently.
Serve immediately.

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If you are reading this chances are you are interested in improving your health.  Fill out the form on the bottom right side of this page or use this link to stay connected to me. I wouldn’t  want you to miss out on any of my health information. I also have a free gift for you. After you subscribe I will send you a link to download my free Sleep Guide

Please comment and let me know what’s your favorite way to eat strawberries?

 

Are You Eating Like a Lab Rat?

If you eat processed foods you’re an unknowing participant in a huge experiment. In the U.S. there are more than 80,000 chemicals that have been approved for use in processed foods. Unfortunately, only about 15 percent have been tested for long-term impacts on human health.

Solution: Cook like your grandmother. If an ingredient looks like it belongs in a science lab, avoid the product. If you can’t pronounce it DON’T eat it. Support your local farmer’s market regularly and try fresh ingredients. If you live in a friendly neighborhood form a cooking club and hold meetings at which members cook different bulk meals from whole food ingredients. Then break the dishes down into smaller servings, and swap, and share for healthy options all week long for everyone. Or you can do what I do – devote a few hours on the weekend preparing food for the week.

Quick and Easy Coconut Crispy Chicken Fingers

Allergy Wheat
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Breakfast, Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable
Occasion Birthday Party

Ingredients

  • sea salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)
  • paprika
  • cayenne pepper
  • nutmeg
  • egg ((whisked))
  • chicken (cut into strips)
  • blanched almond flour
  • shredded unsweetened coconut

Directions

Step 1
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Step 2
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or grease with coconut oil.
Step 3
Whisk one egg in a bowl and set aside. In a larger bowl, mix the almond flour, shredded coconut, paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a bowl.
Step 4
Take one strip of chicken and dip it in the egg, then drag it in the coconut mixture and place it on the cookie sheet.
Step 5
Repeat with the rest of the chicken. Bake for 25 minutes or until it looks golden brown and crispy.

 

 

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long bnaner

 

If you are reading this chances are you are interested in improving your health.  Fill out the form on the bottom right side of this page or use this link to stay connected to me. I wouldn’t  want you to miss out on any of my health information. I also have a free gift for you. After you subscribe I will send you a link to download my free Sleep Guide

 

Have You Been Told Colorful Lies?

artificial color

Processed foods, even pickles, cake mixes, and “healthy” juices, often contain food dyes that make food appear fresher than it really is. Yes, you are getting tricked. Not that I think anyone should drink juice but if you do you should know that some berry juices contain ZERO percent fruit juice! The color comes solely from artificial coloring. So what’s the problem? Some food dyes are tied to serious health problems like ADHD, asthma, allergies, and cancer.

Solution: Buy organic foods. Organic standards ban the use of artificial food dyes. Organics are colored with food sources like turmeric, blueberries and beets. If you really want to take control of your health and avoid harmful additives. try making your own.

Here’s one of my favorite recipe for homemade pickles. I think you will find that they look and taste just fine without artificial coloring.

 

Ridiculously Simple Homemade Dill Pickles

Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Appetizer, Condiment, Lunch, Main Dish, Salad, Side Dish, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold

Ingredients

  • filtered water (more if needed)
  • sea salt
  • coriander seeds
  • mustard seeds
  • whole peppercorns
  • red pepper flakes
  • cucumbers (as many fit in your jar)
  • cloves of garlic
  • sprigs of fresh dill ((flowered heads of the dill taste the best for these pickles))

Directions

Step 1
Cut your cucumbers into your desired size. Sliced cucumbers will ferment faster than whole cucumbers. Pack your cucumber slices tightly into your jar. Add the spices on top. Mix the water and sea salt together until the salt is dissolved. Pour your water/salt over the pickles. Leave about an inch of space between the water and the top of the jar. All the cucumbers MUST be submerged in the water. If you are having trouble getting them totally under the water, you may need to add a “weight” to the jar to keep them submerged. I like to add a big chunk of onion. Not only does the onion give great flavor, but it does a good job of keeping the cucumbers under the water. You may also add a clean rock if you don’t want to use an onion.
Step 2
Put a top on your jar and leave on the counter for 3 days. Test a pickle on day 3. If it is to your liking, put the jar in the fridge. This stops the fermentation process. You won’t have to worry about keeping the pickles submerged once they go in the fridge. If the pickles are not to your liking, keep testing them each day. You know they are perfect when they taste great to you and they still have their crunch. If you leave them out on the counter too long, they will lose their crunch and get really soft so it’s important to put them in the fridge when they are to your liking.
Step 3
If you start to see a white film or mold on top, just skim it off. It is harmless (just yeast!), but it will impact the taste of the pickles, so you want to skim it off as soon as you see it.
Step 4
Your pickles will keep for 6 months in the fridge. Enjoy!

 

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If you are reading this chances are you are interested in improving your health.  Fill out the form on the bottom right side of this page or use this link to stay connected to me. I wouldn’t  want you to miss out on any of my health information. I also have a free gift for you. After you subscribe I will send you a link to download my free Sleep Guide

Please comment and let me know if you miss the artificial dyes or preservatives.

 

Ever Wonder How Sugar Affects the Brain?

Sugar. Fiend or foe? Watch this and you tell me.

When you eat something loaded with sugar, your taste buds, your gut and your brain all take notice. This activation of your reward system is not unlike how bodies process addictive substances such as alcohol or nicotine — an overload of sugar spikes dopamine levels and leaves you craving more. Nicole Avena explains why sweets and treats should be enjoyed in moderation.

 

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Why Do We Get Fat?

We’ve been told gaining and losing weight is all about a simple math equation: calories in vs calories out. Just one problem: the research says otherwise. Diabetics undergo dramatic weight changes when they adjust their insulin levels and so do you. Your diet determines how much insulin your body will produce over time. Watch this little clip from the documentary “Fat Head.”

 

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