Winter is the time of the year we talk about our immune system. Everyone wants to have stronger immunity
during the cold months in order to prevent sickness, particularly the common cold and flu. One important element is often overlooked as an immunity enhancer, but it shouldn’t as, this mineral plays an essential role on our immune system. We are talking about zinc.
Zinc is important to the body in many different ways but it’s known to keep the immune system strong as well as fight infection, heal wounds, and support normal growth. While zinc deficiency occurs frequently in developing countries, in the U.S. it’s quite rare since most diets provide more than the recommended dietary allowance.
Zinc supplements have become a popular treatment for the common cold and studies have found that zinc lozenges may reduce the duration of cold by as much as 50%. A variety of zinc lozenges are available and people can take them whenever needed without any major side effects. Zinc helps and heal wounds.
The immune system normally works well against disease-causing microorganisms but eventually, particularly during the winter months, it may fail or is unable to stop germs that make you sick. Certain vitamins as well as herbal preparations may help enhance your immune response and zinc is definitely one of these “helpers” that can boost your natural reaction.
It’s important to remember that other factors play an important role on our immunity such as age, diet, exercise, psychological stress, among other things. Overall, healthy-living strategies are a good way to start giving your immune system the upper hand.
How much zinc should one take? The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) includes the zinc you get from both the food you eat and any supplements you take. Women should take 8 mg/day, increasing to 11mg/day when pregnant and 12mg/day when breastfeeding. Men should take 11mg/day.
If you are looking to reach total wellness in 2017, Lucky Vitamin has great news for you. We are proud to introduce PharMeDoc products
to our customers.
PharMeDoc offers a variety of products that cater to the total wellness of each and every single customer. Distinctive in quality and design, PharMeDoc prides itself on introducing healthy, affordable and well-made products such as the Balance Ball with Pump.
PharMeDoc Balance Ball with Pump is designed for multiple training methods, a total body training regimen for maximum results. You can use the Balance Ball to focus on major muscle groups and improve your body’s core strength and natural balance while getting trim and toned. Constructed of latex-free rubber material, expect a durable workout session from PharMeDoc when you can tone, sculpt, and chisel your shoulders, buttocks, back, arms, thighs, abs, as well as improve core strength, agility and balance. The Balance Ball is made of eco-friendly, non-toxic materials and is durable and made to last.
PharMeDoc ensures that every element of the business is designed to exceed your expectations. These unique, high-quality health and fitness accessories are created and designed by a dedicated team of health enthusiasts with years of experience in their respective fields, and are manufactured with at least 15% more material than other brands.
You can save even more when you shop PharMeDoc products at LuckyVitamin.com. No code needed at checkout to save an extra 15% on all items of this new brand as savings are automatically applied.
For most of us, New Year’s “resolutions” — those well-meaning actions plans of self-improvement — are, if we’re being realistic here, better off re-branded as New Year’s “intentions”. It may just be a minor semantical difference but a “resolution” implies a solemn pact — a pledge of unwavering commitment that a simple “intention” does not. If you intend to live to 100 it just kind of means that you expect to do so, whereas resolving to live to 100 means that you’re ready to put in the work to make it happen! In that spirit, we’ve laid out some tips on how to make your best New Year’s intentions a reality.
Be realistic – Nothing happens overnight either. Don’t think if you quitting smoking or give up sweets that this will all happen in the same month. Set realistic goals to achieve. Try monthly check-ins with yourself at 1-, 3- and 6-month intervals and track your progress.
Create a Vision Board– Once you set that goal, back it up with a vision board, which helps clarify your thinking and provides some concrete imagery to help inspire and keep you on track. If you’re resolving to lead a healthier lifestyle then seek images of what that looks like to you. A vision board can definitely sharpen your goal-setting focus as well as what success looks like for you.
Don’t Do it Alone – The age old saying is true, “Together Everyone Achieves More.” Having a partner in your quests makes it way more likely that you’ll achieve your goals. Hey, why not host a vision board party where everyone can create their visions of their better selves? This would be a perfect gathering after all the gluttonous holiday festivities.
Practice Self-love – When you feel down and discouraged, remind yourself of how much you’ve accomplished. Turn up the will power and make a list of 10 things you’re proud of. That will get your spirits lifted in no time.
The Power of Imagery – Tufts University psychologist Christopher Willard, Psy.D. explains the craving center of our brain is highly susceptible to visuals. Trying to lose weight? Keep a picture of yourself at your goal weight on your bathroom mirror to remind yourself that you CAN get there.
Lucky Vitamin is happy to introduce the revolutionary 6 Hour Sleep
product to our customers.
6 Hour Sleep is a brand new, drug-free, pure sleep supplement that promotes natural sleep cycles. This unique formula was created to “revitalize with sleep”, so you can wake up alert and bursting with natural energy.
6 Hour Sleep Rest Assured provides you with the two essential components of good sleep: quality and quantity. Its Sleep Synergy formula contain a powerful punch of ingredients that work with your body’s chemistry to help you fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up refreshed.
Designed to help reset your internal clock in just six hours, 6 Hour Sleep’s unique formula includes antioxidants, like the powerful punch of mangosteen, acai and other pure ingredients for sleep, such as the powerful punch of magnesium, gaba and 5 htp. These ingredients are designed to work with your natural rhythms to ease you into consistent and complete sleep cycles. Plus, this zero calorie product contains no sugar and can really improve overall sleep without leaving you feeling groggy the next morning.
Take 6 Hour Sleep approximately 20 minutes before you want to go to sleep. It should also be consumed at any other time you may want to promote restorative sleep such as on an airplane or when you want to take a mid-day nap. If your problem is staying asleep, keep a bottle by your bed and consume 6 Hour Sleep when you wake up in the middle of the night.
You can save even more when you shop 6 Hour Sleep at LuckyVitamin.com. No code needed at checkout to save an extra 15% on all items of this new brand as savings are automatically applied.
With new superfoods and alternative health products popping up in the media every day, it’s hard to know what the cleanest, most effective product innovations really are. Dr. Jeremy Wolf N.D., Lead Wellness Advisor at LuckyVitamin.com, breaks down the trends and how to be a savvy wellness shopper this winter.
SUPERFOODS IN SKIN CARE
Superfoods aren’t just taking over the local grocery stores, they are also taking over your skin care products. More and more superfoods such as chia, moringa, camu camu, spirulina, maca, quinoa, and kale can now be found throughout the personal care and beauty aisle. Superfoods are foods which have a high content of vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants. Camu Camu is a berry that contains a substantial amount of minerals as well as a range of amino acids, organic acids and fatty acids. It is also an antioxidant power house and an extremely rich source of vitamin C. Camu Camu can be found incorporated into Alba’s new individually wrapped Fast Fix Anti-Wrinkle Mask. Another super food making its way into skin care products is chia seeds. Chia seeds have recently been reported as one of the richest botanical sources of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega 3. One study found that topical chia seed oil may be effective for neuritis (severe itching of the skin associated with a variety of conditions) and moisturizing skin. Chia seed oil can be found in products by Nubian Hertiage and CocoKind.
Let’s face it, trends in the natural beauty and personal care industry aren’t just for women. With more & more men growing beards, companies all over are outfitting all natural beard oil, washes, and balms for men. Beard oil works to soften and condition facial hair while moisturizing the skin to prevent dryness, itching and irritation. Badger’s, certified organic man care beard oil is one of my personal favorites. Beard wash is generally a combination of herbs, extracts and other ingredients intended to clean, moisturize and condition the hair and skin of the face. Lastly, beard balms offer a little hold for grooming but also condition the beard to help stop dryness, split ends, tangles and frizz. Use of these products can help any man turn their 5 o’clock shadow into the manliest of beards.
Zinc is a nutritionally vital mineral that is found in foods such as sunflower seeds, red meat, eggs, oysters and beans. It functions as anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and is required by over 200 enzymatic reactions in the body. One of the major benefits of zinc, quite possible one of the reason it is trending right now, is because adequate zinc intake is essential in maintaining the integrity of the immune system. If you are deficient in zinc you may be more susceptible to a variety of infections agents. Researchers have also found that zinc when taken within 24 hours of onset of symptoms for example, a scratchy throat, may reduce the duration of the common cold by as many as 3 days. Taking mega doses of zinc for long periods of time is not suggested as too much zinc may actually weaken the immune system. Check out some of our top rated brands for Zinc as well as LuckyVitamin’s own Zinc formula.
White flour is unfortunately a big part of most individual’s daily food consumption even though it provides little nutritional value. With more and more individuals following specific diets free of allergens or other restrictions, limiting white flour can make baking, cooking and eating out very difficult. It’s no wonder more companies are providing alternative flour options like rice flour, coconut flour, buckwheat flour, almond flour, sorghum flour, amaranth flour and many more. LuckyVitamin has a large selection of alternative flour options from top brands such as Bob’s Red Mill, Nutiva, NOW Foods, Arrowhead Mills and more.
With gas, bloating and heart burn becoming common complaints among many individuals, more and more people are turning to remedies to help improve their digestive health. Probiotics, prebiotics, fiber and digestive enzymes are at the forefront of the digestive support industry. With gut health affecting more than just digestion, for example its role in our immune system function, it’s no wonder that this field is booming with new and innovative products. These products aren’t just found in tiny capsules these days, they can be found in bars, chews, gummy bears, wafers, powder packets and many more delivery methods. LuckyVitamin carries a wide variety of professional grade and top rated digestive support products to help support you gastrointestinal system health needs.
Activated charcoal has long been used by hospitals around the world as a safe and effective treatment for poisoning and drug overdoses. This ingredient is making its way to the beauty realm, from face masks to shampoos, tooth powders and deodorants. These products use activated charcoal, which means the coal has been heated to increase its adsorptive power, increasing the rate at which molecules bind to a surface. Activated charcoal is great at trapping chemicals, absorbing dirt and oil, absorbing 1,000 times its own weight in moisture. Some great beauty products using activated charcoal include Piperwai Natural Deodorant, Dr. Sponge Konjac Facial Sponge, Indigo Wild, Level Naturals, and Collective Wellbeing.
Wellness bloggers and celebrity chefs have been talking about this trend for some time now, and its popularity continues to grow. Bone broth, or stock, is made by boiling the bones from the animal of your choice (commonly turkey, chicken or beef) with vegetables and spices. Part of the reason it’s becoming so popular is because bone broth is easy to make, relatively inexpensive and packed with vitamins, minerals and proteins. Some of the benefits may include promoting strong bones and reducing joint pain and inflammation. It may also help inhibit infection and seal your gut to promote healthy digestion. While it’s best to try and make your own bone broth, Pacific Natural Foods, Kettle and Fire and Osteobroth are great sources of convenient pre-made broths.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
There is nothing new about drinking apple cider vinegar, yet there is a lot of fresh buzz surrounding this popular health trend. In fact vinegar itself has a long history of use as it dates back to around 3000 BC. Vinegar can be made from almost any fermentable carbohydrate source. This includes apples, pears, grapes, potatoes, beets and more. Apple cider vinegar is traditionally sourced from crushing fresh apples and extracting the liquid. The liquid is then added to barrels where yeasts ferment the natural food sugars to alcohol. Next, acetic acid bacteria converts the alcohol to acetic acid. Acetic acid is responsible for the tart flavor, pungent odor and many of the proposed health benefits of vinegar. Popular uses for apple cider vinegar include blood sugar balancing, improving blood cholesterol levels, lowering blood pressure, weight loss, detoxification, digestive stimulant, household cleaners and as an anti-fungal. Check out our new LuckyVitamin’s brand raw organic apple cider vinegar with the mother now available online, as well as many of our other great apple cider vinegar products.
Fiber masks, bamboo sheet masks, collagen masks, eye masks, peptide masks and mud masks, are becoming increasingly popular in the personal care and beauty world. These facial masks are easy to apply and are a great conduit for delivering nutrients and other beneficial ingredients to the skin. Even trendier is the use of these in single serving pouches so the products won’t dry out and are more affordable. When shopping for any type of facial mask, look for products that are 100% organic and non-GMO as well as paraben, sulfate and phthalate free. Many masks also cater to vegans and are cruelty free. A great product to try is the Andalou Naturals Clarifying Instant Pure Pore Hydro Serum Facial Mask with Coconut Water to help hydrate and detoxify the skin, soothe inflammation and minimize pores for a clearer, healthy complexion.
Beets have attracted a lot of attention as a “functional food” meaning they not only provide basic nutrients, but may help promote optimal health and reduce the risk of disease. While this vegetable’s popularity has only recently gained back momentum, its use dates back to ancient Roman times. So why has it become so popular again? Beets are a source of nitrates and provide a natural means of increasing nitric oxide availability. Beetroot is a rich source of phytochemical compounds that include ascorbic acid, carotenoids, phenolic acids, and flavonoids. Beets also contain a group of bioactive pigments known as betalains that are thought to have high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Beet products can be found in the forms of Beet Juice, Beet Chips, Energy Bars, Sports Shots, Protein Powders, Veggie Packs, and Beet Crystals. LuckyVitamin carries a large selection of these products from top rated brands.
Winter is coming and it may be the best time of the year to talk about vitamin D. An estimated 85 percent of Americans are vitamin D deficient
and over 95 percent of senior citizens in the US may possibly be deficient. These numbers may be even higher during the winter months as sun exposure is reduced and vitamin D synthesis
is very unlikely across the country.
Vitamin D is extremely important as it plays a crucial role in maintaining optimal health and preventing diseases. Vitamin D can help reduce the risk of several health conditions including type 2 diabetes, chronic inflammation, age-related macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease, as well as cancer. Plus, vitamin D exhibits its infection-fighting abilities in the treatment of tuberculosis, pneumonia, colds, and flu.
Cases of vitamin D deficiency are more frequently in the winter months from early December to late February as people tend to spend more time indoors than outdoors. On top of that, the sunlight exposure may not be enough to produce D, depending on where you live in the US. People living in Northern states are unlike to produce D as there is very little sun exposure and the sun rays aren’t strong enough to produce vitamin D. Exposing your skin to the sun is not likely to produce vitamin D when the temperature is lower than 50F. This occurs in most regions in the US during the winter months.
Aside from sun exposure, vitamin D is obtained from food sources and supplementation. Common types of vitamin D are vitamin D2 and D3. Compared to D2, vitamin D3 is 87 percent more effective, and is the preferred form for addressing insufficient levels of vitamin D.
Vitamin D supplements may be an excellent addition for the winter months, keeping your D levels healthy at least until you get the chance to get outdoors and product it naturally.
Image credit: www.epa.gov
With the New Year “write” around the corner it’s time to start thinking about what you’re going to accomplish in 2017. Not surprisingly, many people choose to take this time of year to focus on improving their overall health. One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to assess your health needs is to create a daily personal health and wellness journal. This journal can help you to understand your current health status and inspire improvements to better your overall health. Research has shown that individuals who write about traumatic, stressful and emotional events are more likely to have improvements in physical and emotional health than those who do not.
Combine these experiential writings with a log of other daily events such as what you’ve eaten during the day, how you feel, time slept, sleep quality, medications/vitamins/supplements taken that day, physical activity and overall mood, you have the makings of a personal wellness journal that can help you discover causes or correlations among behaviors, symptoms and health issues. These findings can help you assess your current health and help you form goals on where you would like to be in the coming New Year.
Short Term & Long Term Benefits to Consider of Journaling
- Identify personal habits
- Identify potential allergens/sensitivities
- Personal growth and development
- Problem solving
- Stress reduction
- Better diet
- More frequent exercise
- Improved working memory
- Reduced number of visits to general practitioner or health center
10 Tips for Successful Journaling
- Commit to a journaling schedule
- Keep your notebook or journal where you won’t miss it
- Try using email or calendar reminders so you don’t forget
- Write in a private place, free from distractions
- Stay organized
- Keep it short
- Keep it fun and interesting
- Don’t worry about being perfect – write what comes naturally to you
- Make time for some reflection
- Reward yourself!
How to Keep a Health Journal
There are pre-made health journals that you can use to keep yourself organized, but don’t worry, a general spiral notebook will also work just fine. To start, be sure to note the date and day of the week. You can record your blood pressure and sugar level if necessary, along with weight and body temperature. It is best if these are recorded at the same time each day. Record the total amount of sleep you had for that day including naps. You can also record the number of times you woke up during the night and your overall sleep quality.
Since many individuals feel that their health is affected by changes in the weather, you can note the temperature for the day along with any present weather patterns (such as sunny, cloudy, humid, rainy, snowy, windy, etc.). Log any medications you took as well as any over-the-counter items and vitamins, herbs or supplements. Indicate the brand name, the type of medication or supplement and the dosage or strength. As you get comfortable with journaling, you can simply write “same as usual” to save time and only make notes when changes occur. You should also write down any physical activity that you performed that day, including walking, running, weight training or even vigorous housework, gardening, dancing, etc.
Take note to any pain or discomfort that you feel throughout the day. You can log the area where the pain occurs and number it on a scale of 1-10 in terms of its severity (1 being very mild, 10 being severe). Sometimes pain occurs at the same time of the day, so be sure to take note if this happens. In addition to pain and discomfort, you can also note any symptoms that you felt throughout the day. These may include fatigue, nausea, gas, bloating, watery eyes, diarrhea, heart palpitations, constant hunger, etc. Focus on all the areas of the body (from your head all the way down to your feet) and don’t forget to include any mental or emotional symptoms such as anxiety, nervousness, sadness or anger. You may also want to rate the symptom severity and take note to what time of day they occurred. If you notice any rashes, bruises, bites or other skin conditions take note of these and log them as well.
Finally, log your diet for the day including breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Feel free to note the amount of calories, fat, sodium, protein, sugar and other nutritional information consumed at each meal. Also log your water consumption throughout the day. Keeping track of what you eat may help you discover trends in your day to day health to figure out if you are allergic or sensitive to certain food ingredients. For instance, every morning after drinking milk at breakfast you may have noticed excessive gas and diarrhea, which could identify lactose sensitivity. Leave a final section for comments or to include anything else that comes to mind. Congratulations, you’ve finished day one of your health journal!
Cod Liver oil
has been one of the most beneficial supplements in recent years. Known to offer numerous health-promoting effects, this omega-3 supplement is made from the Gadus
fish, popular known as cod, and has been a traditional health food in Nordic countries. The most common species of cod are the Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua
), most supplements are made from this fish which lives in the colder waters and deeper sea regions throughout the North Atlantic, and the Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus
), found in the northern Pacific.
People have known the benefits from cod fish in northern Europe for centuries as this unique oil can help enhance immunity and provide natural relief for joint pain and stiff muscles. Cod Liver oil contains anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) and it is also a nutrient-dense source of essential vitamin such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin E. Each teaspoon of cod liver oil has about 41 calories and 4.5 grams of fat according to the USDA, split between monounsaturated, saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Cod Liver oil supplementation can help reduce levels of pain and swelling due to inflammatory conditions like osteoarthritis, and decrease morning stiffness and pain in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, Cod Liver oil can help decrease risk of heart disease, prevent blood clotting, lower high cholesterol and high triglycerides, prevent and treat diabetes, lower high blood pressure, support brain health, and reduce the risk for eye disorders such as glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.
With so many potential health benefits, Cod Liver oil is a highly recommended supplement to improve overall health, particularly for those who are lacking omega-3 in their diets.
Try to relax and reduce anxiety with some of these stress reducing tips!
Meditation – Research published din the JAMA Internal Medicine found meditation can help ease psychological stresses like anxiety, depression, and pain. It’s easy and free. We suggest beginning with a morning meditation for ten minutes daily. To get started find a quiet space and sit comfortable. Start to focus on the breath and close your eyes. If your mind begins to wander, stop yourself and bring your focis back to your breathing.
Coloring – Once associate with an activity for children, coloring is now trending as a therapeutic creative way to combat stress. The e American Art Therapy Association views the process for creating art as an outlet to resolve emotional conflict, explore feelings and relieve anxiety. When we color we focus on the activity itself and not our problems.
Ecotherapy – this relative new form pf psychology also known as green therapy or nature therapy, believes idea that people are connected to and impacted by the natural environment. A growing body of research highlights the positive benefits of connecting with nature.
Supplements – There are a variety of supplements out there to relieve stress but the one we’re going to focus on is magnesium. In today modern diet, our body is depleted in various vitamins and minerals due to poor soil and polluted waters which causes our food to be void of these vital nutrients. One important mineral is magnesium because it plays an important role in many biochemical reactions. It’s basically natural chill pill that has been shown to enable muscle relaxation.
Essential Oils – The beautiful aroma of plants can be a natural solution for stress relief. Aromatherapy has been used for centuries to quiet the mind and promote overall well-being. Essential oils are created using an extraction method utilizing different parts of a plant including flowers, bark, leaves and roots. It’s always best to look for pure grade essential oils that don’t have chemical additives. Our favorites for calling your nerves are lavender, chamomile, ylang ylang and bergamot.
We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day
but what we may not be 100% sure is what nutrients should be added to our first meal of the day. A boost of nutrients in the early hours is essential to refuel the body and provide energy for the day ahead. Let’s look at 5 nutrients needed for a healthy breakfast.
Protein is one of the most important nutrients for a healthy breakfast as it makes you feel full and helps burn more calories throughout the day. Eggs are a great choice as an average size egg contains 6 grams of protein and only 70 calories. Just be careful with high-fat protein choices such as bacon or sausage, linked with higher risks of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
2. Whole grains
Morning hours are the best time for carbohydrate intake and whole-grain choices are the way to go. Whole-grain foods such as oatmeal, cereals, low-fat granola, breads, and English muffins are full of essential nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Fiber is really important for digestion and adding fruits and whole grains to your breakfast can be a great idea. Insoluble fiber helps prevent constipation and can be found in these traditional breakfast foods such as bananas, apples, cereals, muesli, and oatmeal.
4. Low Sugar
Choosing low sugar ingredients are not only a good choice for the morning hours but also for lunch and dinner. The time between dinner and the next morning’s meal is the longest your body goes without food and eating a full and healthy breakfast can improve the way you metabolize glucose, or blood sugar, all day.
Waking up thirsty is a sign that the body is naturally dehydrated after a long night of sleep. Breakfast is the best time to refill the tank and nothing better than water or juice to provide the cells much needed fluids as well as helping flushing out unwanted toxins out of the body.
The leaves are changing, the temperatures are dropping, and the kids are back in school, this can only mean one thing. Fall has officially begun. One of the biggest highlights to fall besides enjoying the incredible temperatures is the fun that Halloween brings. Children and adults get to dress up in costumes, enjoy parties either at homes or in school and eat delicious treats. It’s common for people to focus on unhealthy snacks this time of year (Americans purchase nearly 600 million pounds of candy each year for Halloween), but it’s important to note that healthy snacks can be just as enjoyable.
We know avoiding traditional, unhealthy candy is the best option for our health. Besides the high sugar content, there are also other unwanted ingredients you might not want yourself or your children to consume. While it’s understandable that we may indulge a little this Halloween, maybe we should all think about fueling those splurges with healthier alternatives instead.
The SpOoKy Ingredients Inside Candy
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- High Fructose Corn Syrup is a sweetener made from corn and an alternative to sucrose (table sugar). Much of the corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified, making high fructose corn syrup highly likely to be a GMO product.
- Saturated and Trans Fats
- Saturated fats come mainly from animal sources and can raise total blood cholesterol levels and LDL levels which can increase the risk for heart disease. While some trans fats occur naturally, most are artificial and made through the process of hydrogenation. Partially hydrogenated trans fat can increase unhealthy LDL levels and may lower healthy HDL levels which may increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Hydrogenated Oils
- Hydrogenation is the process of adding hydrogen to liquid oils to turn them into a solid form. Partially hydrogenated oils are full of trans fat which may negatively impact your heart health.
- Artificial Flavoring
- While natural flavors must be derived from plant or animal material, artificial flavors are synthesized in a lab.
- Synthetic Coloring
- Natural dyes have been used for centuries to color food; however, synthetic dyes can be mass-produced at a fraction of the cost. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration have granted approval to just seven synthetic food colorings for use in food. These include; Blue #1, Blue #2, Green #3, Red #3, Red #40, Yellow #5, Yellow #6. Today, most synthetic food dyes are derived from petroleum, or crude oil.
- Chemical Emulsifiers & Preservatives
- These pertain to ingredients such as Polyglycerol polyricinoleate or PGPR and Tertiary Butylhydroquinone or TBHQ. These preservatives and emulsifiers may have detrimental health effects.
- Artificial Sweeteners
- Artificial sweeteners include acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), sucralose (splenda) and aspartame.
Make sure you leave some time this Halloween to be active. If possible walk from house to house when trick-or-treating instead of driving. Remember to be safe, wear reflective materials and walk on the sidewalk not in the streets.
Lifestyle Tips for a Healthier Halloween
- Just because you fill up an entire king size pillowcase with treats doesn’t mean you have to eat it all in one night or even one week. Moderate the intake of candy and other treats by setting limits and discussing with children beforehand how much they are allowed to eat.
- Balance the intake of candy with other healthy alternatives such as fruits, vegetables, crackers and pretzels.
- Don’t spend the night filling up on candy and junk foods. If you are having a party, give your guests some healthier alternatives and more nutrient-dense foods.
- Remember to eat a well-balanced dinner before trick-or-treating. This will prevent children from overeating candy and snacking throughout the night.
- Remember that there are healthier choices for candy which have less fat, calories and sugar content.
- Use smaller size bags that help to limit the amount of candy you collect.
- Store the leftover candy in places that are “out of the way” so you are less likely to indulge in a treat.
- There are plenty of options for parents and children besides throwing away leftover candy. You can donate to a local Ronald McDonald House, children’s hospital, or help support the troops by giving leftover candy to Operation Gratitude.
In an ideal world healthy food would be available en masse no matter your geographic region or socio economic class. Of course, reality falls quite short of that lofty ideal. It’s well known that many of the highest quality health and wellness items do come at a premium, but would you rather pay the cost up front at the grocery store or kick those payments down the road to your medical practitioner’s office?
Let’s face it – unless you can afford your own personal shopper (in which case you probably don’t care much about clipping coupons anyway), most people are too busy to shop around four or five different grocery and health stores to get the best prices. As a new mom, those days of hanging out in health food aisles reading labels are but a fond, distant-seeming memory. However, thanks to technology and the ease of online shopping, saving on health and wellness items doesn’t have to be such a drain on the little free time you have left. Below you’ll find some of my tricks for living the healthy life, frugally.
- Do Your Homework – This is numero uno for a reason. You need to do some initial research to figure out where you can get the best price on a favorite herb or mushroom growing kit. How anyone was able to do this pre-Google, I have no idea. But now, all you have to do is punch in what you’re interested in and viola! You’ll be able to scan multiple sites that carry that item and compare to see who’s offering the best deal. Three out of four times you’ll find the best prices are here.
- Be a Saavy Shopper – Companies realize that there is a booming market for health and wellness items. The competition is fiercer than ever, with many brands now offering their proprietary blends of your favorite products at a cheaper price in order to undercut the competition. Just check the labels. If the ingredients in the “generic” line are the same as those in your fancy brand name offering, you’re essentially getting the same exact product for a fraction of the price.
- DIY Baby! – This is probably my favorite way to save because you save money, learn something new and get the pride and satisfaction of knowing that YOU made something with your own two hands. You just gotta know where to get supplies. Whether you’re canning, making personal care products, dabbling in aromatherapy or brewing some booch (kombucha, that is), Lucky has got you covered.
- Pay Attention to Holidays – You can rest assured that during major holidays like Independence Day, Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving and Labor Day, online health suppliers offer some pretty sweet site-wide sales. Take advantage of these times to order big ticket items that you’ve been eyeing up but have yet to take the plunge on. I saved big on what I call the “mother of all yoga mats” by waiting until Memorial Day to order.
- Check Your Inbox – Online health and wellness sites offer weekly and monthly sales constantly. It’s hard to keep up with the constant blitz of promotional emails, but it does pay to open them from time to time. You could be missing out on saving an extra 10% off your favorite brands or getting the newest products to hit the health scene for an extra 15% off. I know my mom friends were totally in awe of my Calm-A-Mama drops formulated to eliminate tension and promote positive vibes (even during teething.)
- Always Autoship’n – As a working mom, my brain cannot remember how much protein powder I have left, but my prayers have been answered with this Autoship program. Not only does my favorite protein powder come monthly with no effort on my part, but I get an extra 10% off!
After making plans to attend a residential course to learn the ancient meditation called Vipassana, I told my friends about it. Their collective response included the words “relaxing” and “retreat”. I let them know that it’s actually intense and challenging – about 100 hours of meditation packed into 10 days – and noble silence, meaning no speaking, writing, gestures, or eye contact. Their encouraging facial expressions twisted as I added that course participants awake at 4am, the last vegetarian meal of the day is served at 11am, and there are no phones or internet. No reading, stretching, yoga, or entertainment is allowed and the accommodations are very modest. I realized it didn’t sound very vacation-worthy, but I knew it offered the possibility of changing my life.
Now that I’m back I can tell you that indeed, it did change my life for the better. And yes, it was different than an average vacation. I didn’t come home tan – or enlightened – but I now understand the choices I make and how they result in happiness or misery. I am now acquainted with this simple non-sectarian technique that has been trusted for over 2,500 years by people of all backgrounds and faiths. The practice helps me stay focused, loving kind, and receptive. I’m more emotionally balanced – responsive, not reactive – and I know how to enjoy life more thoroughly. I now recognize when I’m multiplying a physical pain into a mental pain, and vice versa.
What is Vipassana?
Vipassana is mental training that helps practitioners see things as they really are, not as they would like things to be. This provides groundwork for transformation through self-observation, and liberation resulting in true happiness, harmony, love, and compassion for self and others. The highly concentrated 10-day teaching (as taught by S.N. Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin) offers a way to become established in this technique that can provide understanding of the depth of your mind and the way it works – to understand at the experiential level (not just intellectually) – in the framework of your own body – how and where you started generating negativity and multiplying misery. By understanding and using the technique, you can locate the roots of your misery and break free from old habit patterns.
Vipassana is the simplest, yet most difficult form of meditation because it asks so little of the practitioner. There is no visualization, mantra, or breath control. The technique only requires equanimous awareness of bodily sensations and the impermanent quality of all things. Basically, it’s a body scanning process that can be learned intellectually in minutes. However, a concentrated and almost continual practice of at least 10 days is necessary to establish experiential understanding of the technique and its benefits. Awareness is moved systematically through the body while sensations are observed objectively and neutrally. Pleasant feelings are not to be craved and unpleasant feelings are not to be averted.
The course merely provides a Kindergarten-level understanding, yet for many, the subtle sensations experienced are so different than the gross sensations they are accustomed to, they may think they are experiencing enlightenment or bliss. During the 10 days, one learns to sweep one’s awareness of subtle sensations throughout the body, the result of which can feel something like a shower of tingling vibrations. Not all the sensations are pleasant however. Many people have to work through a variety of physical and emotional pains, so it can be cathartic and healing as well. Experienced practitioners explore even subtler sensations, penetrating their awareness through muscles and organs, while more advanced practitioners go even deeper, becoming aware of the subtlest of sensations, even into the depth of the spine.
During the course, one is to consider it as working in isolation. This is the first time that most people will ever be alone with their mind with no distractions. While everyone’s experience is unique, many get a chance to power through internal struggles in a way that makes them stronger.
Session duration is usually 1 or 2 hours long with 10 minute breaks in between. After 3 days of being able to shift position and futilely attempt to gain comfort, participants are asked to resist the urge to move during each 1 hour sitting. This teaches strong determination and practitioners learn they can make it through nearly torturous mental and physical pain. Everything arises and eventually passes away.
There are no charges for the course, food, or accommodations. Expenses are met exclusively by donations from students who complete the course. Donations pay it forward by providing someone else with the opportunity to experience the benefits of Vipassana. About 300 Vipassana centers located globally offer this unique experience to learn the basics of the technique in an uninterrupted, safe environment where one can practice almost continuously without concern for the chores of a householder. Volunteers silently cook, clean, and manage daily tasks so students may focus on learning and practicing.
If you are interested in learning more about the pure, original form of Vipassana and its benefits, visit dhamma.org. There are also many interesting anecdotal videos you may want to explore that have been posted online by individuals who have experienced the 10-day course. If you do not want to commit to 10-day course, know that the simple act of quieting the mind and paying attention to breath is in itself an act of meditation and can be a very beneficial way to begin a meditation practice.
Vitamin B supplements
have been one of the top-selling products for many years. The importance of B vitamins is never in question and among all B’s, biotin (B7) seems to be one of the most popular ones, along with B6 and B12. Biotin is a vitamin
needed by every living cell of your body and food sources include eggs, cheese, mushrooms, tuna, sardines, berries, and peanuts. When it comes to health benefits, biotin
offers many but this incredible nutrient is also well-known to promote healthy hair, skin, and nails.
Biotin can help promote glowing, wrinkle-free skin and a variety of skin care products like massage oils and creams use this type of vitamin B in their formulas. On the other hand, lack of biotin may cause several skin problems including rashes, dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema and acne. Known as one of the best natural products to prevent hair loss and promote hair growth, biotin has the ability to improve hair condition as well. Many shampoos and conditioners contain biotin to improve problems like dry, brittle hair and hair fall. Biotin can also promote healthy nails and a good number of products targeted for “hair, skin, and nails” contain high amounts of this vitamin B. For many years, the cosmetic industry has been using biotin in a variety of nail products to promote beautiful and strong nails.
If hair, skin, and nails sound more like a personal care, beauty type of health benefits, it’s important to know that biotin supplementation can also help improve digestion as well as boost metabolism.
Biotin’s main function is carrying out metabolic processes of the body. When you eat, several reactions rely on biotin to properly breakdown the food, including proteins, fats and carbohydrates. If your body has sufficient levels of biotin, your body is able to breakdown food at a faster rate and the food will instantly be processed, improving overall digestion. On top of that, the combination of high biotin levels, increased metabolic rates, and efficient digestion is essential to help in weight loss.
You might not realize it, but certain foods may be the culprit to everyday problems such as daily headaches, joint pain, fatigue and digestive issues including gas, bloating or constipation. Did you know that often time these symptoms are your body’s way of telling you that what you are eating might be aggravating you? Even your food cravings may be a hidden sign of food sensitivities. If you’re an individual who is suffering from food sensitivities, an elimination diet, where you take out certain foods from your diet, could be a helpful tool to identify the causal factors.
Possible Benefits to Consider:
Food Allergy vs. Sensitivity vs. Intolerance
This is an immediate immune-mediated response to a specific protein in food. This is what you would think of when you hear an individual say they are allergic to peanuts or shellfish. Common symptoms include itchy skin, hives, coughing or wheezing and swelling of the throat. Food allergies can be fatal and for that reason most of these individuals needs to carry epinephrine pens with them when they go out to eat.
Food sensitivities also refer to an immune-mediated reaction. While allergies are mediated by IgE antibodies, sensitivities are mediated by slower acting IgG antibodies. Typically food allergies occur immediately while sensitivities tend to be a delayed reaction occurring hours or days after ingesting the aggravating food. Symptoms may vary but typically include brain fog, fatigue, gas, bloating, constipation, mood disorders, joint pain and more.
Food intolerance occurs when the body can’t digest a food or food component properly. This type of reaction does not involve the immune system and is what you might think of when someone says that they are lactose intolerant. Normally the enzyme lactase is responsible for breaking down lactose into simpler sugars. If a person is lactose intolerant, this enzyme activity is low and the lactose sugar does not get broken down properly, which can give rise to symptoms of flatulence, pain and diarrhea. Unlike food allergies, individuals with food intolerances may be able to tolerate small amounts of these foods.
How to Perform an Elimination Diet
Before starting the diet you should consult your health care provider. Make a note of how you feel. Start at your head and work your way down towards your feet, jotting down any major or minor complaints. You can also work with your health care practitioner to help get a better understanding of which foods might be causing you problems.
The elimination diet is often times performed for a period of 3 weeks to 1 month. In general, adults and children can do an elimination diet. Make sure to pick out a time that works best for you where you can commit to completing the diet.
Below are the food groups most often recommended to avoid (this may vary person to person). When performing an elimination diet, choose one food group to avoid entirely. For instance if you think egg causes a problem, avoid eating eggs and anything that has egg in it. However, to rule out multiple possible culprits, I usually recommend people avoid all of the main culprits at the same time.
- Main Culprits To Avoid: Gluten, Dairy, Corn, Soy, Egg, Peanuts and Tomatoes
- Since the elimination diet is a good time to help the body detox, it is also a good idea to avoid alcohol, caffeine, sodas and other sweetened fruit juices as well as any other foods you believe may be causing issues. Try to avoid processed foods, fast foods and simple sugars such as candy and sweets as well.
While on the diet, it is important to read the entire ingredients label before purchasing any foods. In order for the elimination diet to be successful, 100% elimination of these foods is a must. Don’t eat the foods whole or as ingredients in other foods. For example, if you are avoiding all dairy products, you need to check labels for whey, casein, and lactose so you can avoid them as well.
Once the elimination diet is finished, you will gradually reintroduce these foods back into your diet. It is best to do this one food at a time over a period of 3 days. You will want to eat that food during at least two of the three meals daily for those 3 days. The reason for doing this is because once you being to reintroduce foods back into your diet, you may notice your symptoms flare again. This is an important sign that means you are sensitive to that food. If you notice a reaction before the 3 days are up, stop eating the offending food. It is also important to wait until any reactions have subsided before re-introducing another food.
When reintroducing foods back into your diet pay attention to your energy level, any joint or muscle pain, skin condition, headaches, bowel function and gut symptoms or any symptoms you noted before starting the diet.
Other Tips to Consider