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10
MAY

5 Signs You’re Not Getting Enough Vitamin D (and How To Fix It)

Filed Under: Health Concerns & Ailments,Nutrition,Supplements,Vitamins and Minerals at 10:26 am | By: Joe Palinsky

Summer’s arrival means more time spent outside. If you are headed outdoors, you have to take steps to protect yourself from the sun. Though responsible for allowing life on Earth to thrive, the rays of the sun are also a cause for concern. Consistent exposure to sunlight without wearing sunscreen or a similar layer of protection can lead to skin damage and other more serious illnesses (1).

Now, the frustrating part of this is that you also need to expose your body to sunlight in order to get a healthy dose of vitamin D. Produced by the human body after it is exposed to sunlight, vitamin D ensures heart health, creates strong bones and helps the nervous system to function at its best (2). If you’ve spent more time indoors than out in recent months, then your body might not be producing the right amount of vitamin D. To remedy this, pay attention to the signs your body sends when it requires more of this essential vitamin.

1. Feeling Sleepy

Do you feel tired, like, a lot? Plenty of people do. When you work long hours, have an active social life and binge Netflix all night, feeling a bit tired can seem normal. Of course, you also could be feeling exhausted because you aren’t getting the right amount of vitamin D. One of the easiest signs to spot when your body needs a boost of this vitamin is fatigue (3).

Research suggests that working indoors for long periods of time can lead to a vitamin D deficiency. Nurses, for example, were reported to suffer from a lack of vitamin D. Due to the nature of working as a nurse, many of the people in this profession assume feelings of fatigue stemmed from the long hours and physical demands (4). In truth, a lack of vitamin D was to blame. If you’re a nurse, be sure to take supplements to ensure your body is getting ample vitamin D to keep up with all the amazing work you do.

2. Chronic Pain

Living with pain is definitely not enjoyable. Unfortunately, millions of people all over the world deal with persistent pain on a daily basis. Though there are numerous reasons why a person could be suffering from this sort of lasting discomfort, some studies suggest the pain could be linked to a lack of vitamin D (5). Since this vitamin is responsible for helping the body absorb calcium, having less of it in your system can weaken your bones and teeth. This makes it easier for bones to break when you fall or bump into a piece of furniture.

Low levels of vitamin D might also lead to chronic back pain. According to one study, people with vitamin D deficiencies tended to experience lower-back pain more often than people who got ample amounts of vitamin D (6). If you feel like you’ve been living with mysterious pain and want to know why, visit with your physician to determine whether more vitamin D is the solution. In the meantime, play it safe and start your day with a big glass of orange juice. Fortified drinks like OJ and milk contain a healthy dose of vitamin D.

3. Losing Hair

Do you ever feel so stressed out that you just want to pull your hair out? Maybe that’s a bit extreme, but you probably know the feeling. While you might not be yanking out your own hair, losing follicles could actually be a sign that you need more vitamin D in your diet (7). Various reports have revealed that a vast majority of women suffer from nutrient deficiencies without realizing it (8). Usually, it takes a more extreme sign like hair loss to alert one to the fact that something is wrong.

Don’t panic, you most likely won’t lose significant chunks of your hair because of a lack of vitamin D. Still, you definitely don’t want to allow this to persist. Protecting your hair is important to ensuring its longevity. Salmon can do wonders when it comes to restoring your vitamin D levels, though you need to make the fish a weekly meal to see lasting benefits (9). This fish also contains omega-3 fatty acids, perfect for encouraging hair growth and giving your locks a chance to shine.

4. Experiencing Depression

Feeling depressed can also be a warning sign you need a bit more vitamin D. There’s a good reason being exposed to sunlight makes people feel happy and alive. Not getting enough of this vitamin can encourage symptoms of anxiety and depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 16.2 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in 2016 (10). If you are prone to depression and feel like your symptoms have gotten worse recently, you might find some relief by adding more vitamin D to your diet.

Oatmeal can be a perfect way to boost how much vitamin D you get each day. Though somewhat bland at first, you can customize this morning dish in a number of ways to make it more appealing. Top your oats with some chia seeds, fresh berries or slices of banana, and treat yourself to something delicious while helping your body. Be kind to yourself when you feel low and be sure to speak to a professional should your depression become more severe.

5. Sweating Buckets

Some people sweat more than others. It might be gross, but bodies aren’t always the most pleasant things. If you suddenly begin to sweat more than normal without engaging in additional physical activity, then your body could be telling you something important. In most cases, it is the forehead that will see increased sweat production. Adding more egg yolks into your diet can help to balance your vitamin D so you don’t have to constantly wipe down your brow (11).

Though a majority of people would prefer spending their days outside in the sunlight, most lifestyles won’t allow for it. When you notice any of these symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, be sure to take action by improving your diet or taking the appropriate supplements. Should symptoms persist, be sure to visit with your doctor as soon as possible.




8
MAY

Harness the Power of Coconut with Thai Green Chicken Curry

Filed Under: Diet & Weight Loss,Nutrition,Recipes at 10:17 am | By: Theodore Loftus

Coconuts are having a moment in the sun. Fans of the fruit trumpet its virtues, claiming that it’s great for your brain, your body and even your hair. While coconuts aren’t exactly the miracle food may “experts” claim that they are, products made from the fruit can be a nutritious addition to your diet.

A brief, geeky scientific aside: Coconuts contain lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that has been linked to the prevention of “vascular events” (think: heart attack) in patients with advanced coronary troubles, according to a 2016 study review published in the journal Open Heart.

Another bonus: Anything made from coconuts is delicious. If you’ve ever had Thai curry, which is often made with coconut milk, you know this. You also know that if you order this dish out at a restaurant, it can often taste sickly sweet.

That’s because restaurants often use sweetened coconut milk. Make your own coconut curry at home with unsweetened coconut milk and you’ll cut sugar, calories and regret. This recipe is so simple, it’ll even take you less time to make than going out to eat.

But no matter what you do, please don’t rub it in your hair.

Thai Green Chicken Curry with Basil and Cashews

Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tablespoon canola oil or coconut oil

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 medium shallot, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced

½ jalapeno, minced (optional)

1 cup low sodium chicken stock

1 cup unsweetened light coconut milk

1 Tbsp Thai green curry paste

1 bunch fresh basil, torn

¼ cup unsalted cashews, roughly chopped

1 cup jasmine or basmati rice, cooked

DIRECTIONS:

  • In a nonstick pan over medium heat, add the oil. When it shimmers, add the chicken, plus a big pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is well browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
  • Using the same pan, reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the shallot, garlic, ginger and jalapeno (if using) and stir constantly until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the reserved chicken, chicken stock and green curry paste. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors meld, about 5 minutes.
  • Serve the curry with the rice. Top with basil and cashews, to taste.




16
APR

3 Reasons You Should Eat More Peanut Butter

Filed Under: Ask The ND,Diet & Weight Loss,General Wellness & Wellbeing,Nutrition at 10:55 am | By: Deidre Grieves

Peanut butter sometimes gets a bad rap from consumers who think it will pack on fat and calories. But the truth is that natural peanut butter—made without hydrogenated oils and added sugars—is a beneficial addition to any diet.

What to Look for in Peanut Butter

“Keep in mind that not all peanut butter products are created equal, so make sure to look for natural peanut butter that is lower in sodium and sugar than its traditional counterpart,” recommends Jeremy Wolf, a naturopathic doctor and lead health advisor at LuckyVitamin. Most natural brands will have 1-2 grams of sugar and anywhere from 40-65 milligrams of sodium.

Let’s look at a few reasons why you should add more peanut butter to your diet.

It’s Super Nutritious

First things first, peanut butter really does pack a punch when it comes to beneficial vitamins and nutrients. “It’s high in magnesium, which builds bone density; potassium, which amps up muscle mass; and vitamin B6, which boosts immune health,” Dr. Wolf says. “And everyone knows that peanut butter is a great source of protein, averaging about 8 grams per serving.”

It’s Filling

While you might think the recommended serving size for peanut butter—2 tablespoons—is relatively small, don’t be fooled. “The combination of fiber and the previously mentioned protein helps you feel full longer,” Dr. Wolf says. “So if you’re feeling hungry, eating a spoonful of peanut butter might actually keep you satisfied until your next mealtime.”

It Fights Off Disease

Although peanut butter is high in fat and calorie content, research shows that the popular spread can actually help prevent heart disease and diabetes. “This is because peanut butter is full of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats—also known as good fats,” Dr. Wolf says. “Like olive oil, eating peanut butter in moderation may actually lead to a healthier lifestyle.”

How to Add More Peanut Butter to Your Diet

If you’re looking to add more peanut butter to your diet, here are a few tips:

Spread it on fruit and vegetables. There are tons of fruits and vegetables that go great with a spoonful of peanut butter, so try adding a bit to apple slices, your daily banana, or some celery sticks.

Mix it into a marinade. Although it might not seem like an obvious choice, a peanut-butter-heavy marinade can be the perfect complement to meats such as chicken or steak. This will lock that nutty flavor into more savory dishes and bump up the PB intake.

Make it a breakfast addition. Who says peanut butter is only for PB&J sandwiches at lunchtime? You can jumpstart your day by adding a bit of peanut butter to your oatmeal or your morning smoothie for a nutrient boost.

 

Subscribe to LuckyVitamin’s YouTube Channel!

 




27
MAR

I Tried to Make Cauliflower Rice and Here’s What Happened

Filed Under: Diet & Weight Loss,Nutrition at 1:24 pm | By: Susan Marque

Grains like quinoa, teff, barley, millet, and brown rice are my jam­─they are the base of what I eat. Breakfast might be a little rice pudding with honey and blueberries, or quinoa with apples and cinnamon. Lunch and dinner usually have a cup of whole grain on the side, or incorporated into the main dish. Even though cauliflower rice sounded interesting, it has taken me a long time to try it. I finally did.

I like cruciferous veggies, but I was prepared to be underwhelmed with cauliflower’s ability to hold up to ultra-versatile rice. (I like my rice.)

I set out to make a Colombian-inspired recipe. I have a friend from South America who told me about a dish like this one, and it has sat in the back of my mind for years. The way he told it to me, it sounded like a good everyday type of thing that you could have alongside a heavy protein or add the protein right into it another day. You could put a sauce over it, or even enjoy it alone as a snack.

Colombian-Inspired Cauliflower Rice

Serves 2

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1/2 regular to large cauliflower, broken into florets

1 large clove garlic, chopped

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2/3 Cup broth (could be vegetable, chicken, or bone broth.)

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Trim away the stem and leaves from a head of cauliflower and slice in half.
  2. Break up the half of cauliflower into florets and reserve the other half for another use.
  3. Place the florets into a blender and pulse until crumbled. (About 10 seconds if using a high-powered blender.)
  4. Place the oil into a pan over medium heat.
  5. Add the chopped garlic and sauté for a minute.
  6. Add the crumbled cauliflower, parsley, broth, salt, and pepper.
  7. Cook until the liquid has evaporated and the vegetables are cooked through. Approximately 7 minutes.

I figured this idea was simple enough to test a vegetable’s ability to hold up to a time-tested grain. My cauliflower seemed big, so I sliced it in two to start. If you have a whole family to feed, or love leftovers, you could easily double the recipe and use the entire head.

The blender could probably chop up the half intact, but I didn’t want to potentially have a broken blade or something, so I broke it up into florets.

The first thing I was surprised about was how crazy fast the florets crumbled into rice-sized bits in the blender. It was fairly instant.

Like, six seconds of holding the pulse button and florets turned into grainy bits. A hand blender would definitely take a bit more time but probably do the job.

The second surprise was also about speed. I only sautéed a clove of chopped garlic in olive oil for less than a minute, added the rest of the ingredients, and literally, it was done in under 10 minutes. I didn’t have to continuously stir either.

I like bland food with subtle flavors. If you like spices, it would probably work nicely with a bit more herb, like tarragon, or a little jalapeño.

The third surprise was the biggest. I paired my new dish with a salad just like I would have if it were an actual whole grain. I wasn’t expecting to feel full or satisfied. I mean, cauliflower is a vegetable, so essentially I was just adding a hot salad on the side of a cold one, right? OK, yeah, I felt a little lighter than usual, but not hungry. Cauliflower rice kind of won me over. My skepticism dissolved. I liked it a lot.

Since I had the other half of cauliflower to use, I did a fried rice dish. You know what happened with that don’t you? I liked it even better. This idea had way more flavor and was just as fast. The fried rice idea is another super speedy dish to make, and the best part is, it’s a one-pan complete meal.

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Serves 2-3

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1/2 large cauliflower, pulsed into grain-sized bits

1/4 large onion, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

1/4 cup petit frozen peas (just because they are sweeter; use any peas or green beans)

8-9 small leaves of Chinese cabbage, chopped

1-2 eggs, whisked or 1/4-1/2 block of tofu

2 Tablespoons olive oil (or sesame oil for a more authentic flavor)

Tamari (soy sauce) to taste

Black pepper to taste

Method:

    1. Heat a pan over medium heat and add the oil.
    2. Sauté the onion for one minute and then add the carrots, cauliflower, and cabbage pieces. Depending on your pan, you may need to turn the heat to low. Cook for 2-5 minutes.
    3. Stir in the remaining ingredients and cook for a few minutes more, for everything to cook through and incorporate the flavors.

The cleanup on both dishes might be enough reason to repeat these recipes again and again. Actual grains can be sticky and require scrubbing to get the pans clean. Nothing stuck here. Even that blender with bits wedged in under the blade came clean in less than two minutes. I’ll definitely be buying more cauliflower.




15
MAR

Refreshing Reasons to Drink More Water

Filed Under: Health Foods,Nutrition,Water Purification and Storage at 4:06 pm | By: Joe Palinsky

Water is the most important beverage available to human beings across the world. In order for a person to live a long and healthy life, experts have stated it is crucial for an individual to drink an average of eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Despite this, most people do not drink anywhere near this amount. Not only do most people forget to drink the correct amount of water each day, several surveys have suggested it has always been more likely a person will reach for a soft drink than a bottle of thirst-quenching agua.

Though there are several recent reports showing public attitudes have changed toward water consumption, millions still forget to fill their glasses with the right frequency. While you are probably already familiar with some of the more common reasons to stay hydrated, there are untold benefits that come from making water consumption a part of your daily regimen. Explore these refreshing and original reasons to load your body with H20 each day and see how you can benefit.

Wake Up

Ever have one of those days where you feel sluggish from the moment you wake up until the second you hit the pillow at the end of the night? You are not alone. Millions of people all over the planet suffer from a lack of proper sleep and go about their days in a hazy state. While fatigue might come about for a number of different reasons, several studies have linked exhaustion with dehydration. When your body is not getting the right amount of water on a regular basis, it can eventually catch up to you and make you feel slow and sleepy throughout the course of your daily routine.

Similar studies also suggest water is a mood enhancer. While not drinking enough water can lead to your body operating at a reduced capacity, the same is true of the mind and associated functions of the endocrine system. Without an appropriate daily dose of water, mood-altering hormones are not released in the right way. This means you are not likely to receive any positive mood boosts from endorphins. If you find yourself irritable, anxious, or exhausted on a routine basis, you might want to see if increasing your water intake changes the way you feel.

Strong Muscles

How you feel goes a bit beyond the hormones flowing through your body. While you might feel awake and alert without drinking the right levels of water, you may notice a difference in other aspects of your routine. Most people are aware of the fact that water provides essential lubrication to muscles so they can operate exceptionally well. What they might not realize, however, is that a person needs to drink water in the right way for the full impact to be felt. When you are out for a night of drinking with friends, you most likely keep hydration in the back of your mind. Without drinking enough water, you are far more likely to develop the symptoms of a hangover the next morning.

Dehydration is a key factor in a hangover, which is why so many make sure to order a water or two while at the bar. It might be good to keep water in the mix but you need to pace yourself in the right manner. Drink a glass of water after every alcoholic beverage you consume and one extra large glass before bed and you’re likely to provide your muscles with ample hydration to beat a hangover.

Mental Integrity

Staying sharp is also a lot easier when you have access to fresh, clean water whenever you require it. Memory can be funny in an age where distractions run rampant. If you find yourself struggling to remember basic facts on a routine basis, it could be stemming from dehydration. Though many of these studies produced varying results, a number of scientific reports conducted on young children reveal some interesting results. According to these studies, children on average were more likely to perform well with visual memory tests after drinking the correct amount of water for their ages and weights.

Though the benefits of water are obvious and powerful, millions still turn away from the clear liquid when it is offered. If you find yourself struggling to drink enough water each day, be sure to take time to research why it is a vital aspect of your existence and get into the habit of refreshing yourself with eight glasses a day.

 




19
JAN

Going Vegan? Make Sure You’re Not Lacking These Nutrients

Filed Under: Nutrition,Supplements at 4:39 pm | By: Guest Blogger

Switching to a vegan diet can have a number of positive impacts on your body. For some, the idea of eating meat and animal byproducts can be an off-putting proposal. If you are the type of person who would rather consume plants and grains than once-living flesh, now is a great time to think about the pros and cons of the lifestyle. Veganism is said to have a number of scientifically-based advantages, though it is imperative you go about the switch in the correct manner to actually see these benefits.

While going vegan might seem like a healthier option on the surface, this is not always the case. When you are used to eating meat and animal byproducts, your body is used to receiving certain nutrients. Switching to a vegan diet can take away some of those important vitamins. Luckily, you can ensure that your body is getting everything it needs by paying attention to a few key supplements.

B12

Though consuming large amounts of meat can have an adverse impact on your body, there are a number of essential vitamins and minerals found in most animal products. One of the more important vitamins you receive through meat is B12. This amazing vitamin can be found in everything from beef to fish to cheese to eggs and helps the body in a number of crucial ways. Consuming foods rich in B12 can help to improve your body’s production of blood, mental capacities, and nerve function.

Switching to a vegan way of eating means you are no longer going to be receiving the amount of B12 your body has become accustomed to. One way to get the B12 your body requires on a vegan diet is by exploring your options with milk alternatives like soy or almond milk. Still, this might not be an adequate daily amount for your body. Anyone looking to make the change to a vegan diet should look into the importance of B12 supplements.

Iron Challenge

Meat also tends to contain high amounts of iron. As most people know, iron is an essential mineral needed for oxygenated blood to be evenly transported around the body. Iron deficiencies can lead to anemia and other serious blood disorders. All people have different iron requirements, with adults often needing somewhere between 19 and 27 milligrams per day depending on other dietary considerations. While meat might be rich in iron, there are a number of alternative sources to consider for your diet.

Greens like spinach and broccoli should be found in your daily meals to keep your iron levels in a good place. Lentils, potatoes, black beans, and raisins are also worth adding to your daily diet. Getting enough iron is incredibly important, so be sure to think about adding an iron supplement to your routine should you discover your body requires a bit more of this nutrient to stay functional.

Calcium Deposit

Finally, going vegan means you need to think about how your body will receive a daily dose of calcium. For many, a glass of milk is an excellent source of calcium. When you remove animal milk from your diet, finding an easy source of calcium can become a bit of a challenge. Almonds are a great snack when you need to give your body an energy boost and many studies show that this nut can keep your body supplied with the calcium it requires. Other foods worth considering for calcium include oranges, kale, and tofu.

To safely make the switch to a vegan lifestyle, you need to know which vitamins and minerals your body will be lacking. Discover which supplements will be the most useful for your new way of eating and see the greatest odds of success on your new path.

 

Article written by Joe Palinsky

Joe Palinsky is a full-time writer and theater professional in Philadelphia. He predominantly works with ensemble-based Found Theater Company, where his writing has been featured in numerous productions. Though primarily a ghostwriter, his work has been published in the now-defunct Spirit News and as a guest on Found Theater’s blog.




12
JAN

Why You Should Try Silica For Joint & Bone Health

Filed Under: Health Concerns & Ailments,Nutrition,Supplements at 10:40 am | By: Guest Blogger
woman runner hold her injured leg on road

If you’ve been experiencing joint pain, silica supplementation may be the key to finding relief! Several studies have examined silica for its ability to provide the body what it needs to boost collagen and form healthy connective tissue. Silica is a critical component in the substances that make up bones, muscles, joints, cartilage, ligaments and tendons, so how can supplementation benefit you?

Silica for your joints

Collagen is the steel chain that unites our tissues. It’s more resistant and is present in all parts of our body, but especially in our joints. Therefore, our body’s collagen levels affect the way our joints perform.

Healthy, youthful, well-nourished collagen is flexible, strong and rich in silica. As we age, overwork our joints and neglect our nutrition, our collagen starts to deteriorate. This can manifest as limited mobility, sore and inflamed joints, tendonitis and more. By supplementing silica, you can help offset the decline in collagen levels and promote healthy cartilage

Silica for your bones

Calcium and vitamin D alone are not enough for healthy bone growth, density, strength and flexibility. Research data suggests excessive calcium intake can actually accelerate the deterioration of bone minerals, leading to osteoporosis and similar diseases that affect the joints and connective tissues.

Silica has a unique function that supports the calcium and phosphorus that make up our bones, and is required to re-mineral the damage and wear and tear they face as we age.

Experiments in which a silica deficiency is induced demonstrate the importance of silica for the healthy development of connective tissue and bone. Deficiency always produced deformities in joints and bones often characterized by poorly formed joints, defective bone growth, reduced cartilage and low calcium, magnesium and phosphorus levels

Why Living Silica

As we age, silica naturally decreases in the body, slowing functions that are essential to health. Living Silica is a doctor-formulated, professional-grade supplement that boosts your biological collagen production. Increasing your daily intake of silica with this safe but potent supplement can improve your quality of life, athletic performance and make beauty concerns a thing of the past.

The active ingredient in Living Silica ™ contains a breakthrough Si molecule, created through a proprietary process that locks silica in its most active form. Living Silica has the highest bioavailability which helps you to absorb silica into your body more effectively.

An independent comparative study published in the British Journal Nutrition was conducted to investigate the bioavailability of Si from eight different sources. Living Silica ™ was found considerably higher than for other known silica supplements.

 

chart

Source: The comparative absorption of silicon from different foods and food supplements. Supannee Sripanyakorn, Ravin Jugdaohsingh. 2009.

Are you ready to feel more energized, flexible, and healthy? Get your Living Silica daily supplement to make aches and dullness a thing of the past!




5
DEC

4 Tips To Keep You Productive All Winter Long

Beautiful happy young adult woman drinking coffee near New York City skyline wearing winter clothes and smiling. Beautiful woman holding coffee cup outdoors in the city.

Article written by Joe Palinsky

Once the dazzling colors of autumn have faded and the temperature has begun its shift in colder directions, it means winter has arrived. While the end of the year tends to get people all caught up in the excitement of the holidays, the winter also has a way of taking away a person’s motivation. Whether you are someone who suffers from seasonal depression or you can’t seem to find the mental energy to be productive on a bitterly chilly day, it can be almost impossible to get anything done.

If you are trying to break the mold this winter and be the most productive version of yourself, you might need a bit of help. Follow these suggestions to stay as motivated as possible this season.

1.) Consume Quality Foods

What you eat plays a huge part in the way you feel throughout the season. The short days and freezing temperatures of the winter tend to push people towards specific food groups. “Comfort foods” are popular at this time of year because they can make a person feel safe and content. Unfortunately, these dishes are usually packed with butter and fat. Though you might feel inclined to make a huge batch of macaroni and cheese every night, your motivation requires something a bit more nourishing.

Maintaining a productive lifestyle is a challenge in the winter because many people face depression or decreased moods. For some, this comes from a lack of exposure to sunlight. To counteract this, it can be in your best interests to eat meals loaded with Vitamin D. Salmon, yogurt, and tofu are all excellent choices. By consuming a healthy amount of Vitamin D throughout the winter, you are more likely to feel motivated, have a strengthened immune system, and keep your metabolism running efficiently.

2.) Life is Company

Feeling less motivated in the winter can be detrimental to your life in a number of ways. For one, you are not going to want to take on personal projects or engage in hobbies you normally find appealing. It also stands to reason you’ll want to stay home and limit your social interactions. This is no coincidence. According to several studies, people feel less social when there is an absence of warm light for extended periods. Though it might be natural to limit your social interactions at this time of year, it actually adds to depression.

Winter can be isolating. Since you might not be planning on going out after work as much as you did in the summer, you need to find ways to interact with others whenever possible. Small steps like making the decision to meet with friends for lunch on a Saturday or spend some extra time talking with coworkers at the start of the workday can be great moves. The more you interact with other people on a daily basis, even if it is only your local barista, the more likely it is you will feel motivated to be productive.

3.) Fight the Sickness

A lack of motivation is not the only issue people deal with in the winter. Colder weather also makes it far easier for germs to spread, with influenza and the common cold being most prevalent between December and March. Since coming down with a cold can easily ruin any motivation you have drummed up, you want to go above and beyond to stay as healthy as possible. A bowl of oatmeal each morning can provide your body with fiber and zinc, both which aid in keeping your body regular and well.

Foods high in Vitamin C should also make appearances on your plate throughout the season. Broccoli, brussels sprouts, oranges, spinach, and tomatoes are all practical choices.

4.) Get Out and Move

Finally, nothing beats exercise when it comes to staying motivated. Getting off the couch and heading to the gym for a workout might feel like an impossible feat in the winter but it can make a huge difference in your mood. The more you engage with your body, the less likely you are to feel stuck in a rut. Exercise releases endorphins, allowing for an improved mood and a newfound feeling of self-worth.

Winter can be harsh and unforgiving. To stay one step ahead of the blues that come from this time of year, remember to motivate yourself in the right ways. Eat foods rich in both Vitamin C and D, exercise regularly, and keep social to make it through the winter in one piece.

 

Joe Palinsky is a full-time writer and theater professional in Philadelphia. He predominantly works with ensemble-based Found Theater Company, where his writing has been featured in numerous productions. Though primarily a ghostwriter, his work has been published in the now-defunct Spirit News and as a guest on Found Theater’s blog.




31
AUG

3 Reasons To Switch To Himalayan Salt

Filed Under: Green Living,Health Foods,Nutrition at 2:57 pm | By: Jessica Justh
salt

Everyone knows the health risks of regular table salt. For decades, the medical profession has urged us to limit our intake of the flavorful additive. But what you may not know is that all salt is not created equal.

Still not convinced why you should make the switch? Before you get all salty, read below…

Nutrients, nutrients, nutrients

Himalayan salt is so much more than its pretty pink hue. Packed with 84 minerals and trace elements, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and iron, it’ll make the transition away from standard table salt seamless. Plus, it’s naturally occurring without chemical processing or refinement. Due to the high mineral content, you actually get less sodium per serving, too. Wins all around.

It’s a culinary thing

Gourmet cooks recommend the exquisite taste of wholesome, natural, pink Himalayan crystal salt for cooking and curing. Compared to table salt, it’s more easily metabolized by your body. Ready to elevate your grilled veggies? Trying cooking on a Himalayan salt slab. Your taste buds will thank you!

Look at the source

Currently, our oceans and waterways are polluted with toxic chemicals. So it’s safe to say that Himalayan salt is a healthy alternative compared to sea salt. About 250 million years ago, the Himalayan mountain range was covered by a primordial ocean. When the ocean floor rose, it created a salt lake that evaporated and formed the salt range across most of Asia where one of our favorite Himalayan salt brands are from. Some believe it to one of the purest forms of salt around.

Remember, everything in moderation – even Himalayan salt. Before you go dousing your food with it, remember to limit your sodium consumption to no more than 2300 mg per day, and if you suffer from high blood pressure,  keep it under 1500 mg.

 




21
AUG

How to Make Homemade Coconut Yogurt

Filed Under: Health Foods,Nutrition,Recipes at 4:35 pm | By: Leah Hazuda, Contributing Editor
Learn how to use the Belle + Bella Yogurt Maker with traveling chef and TV host, Charles Chen!

Subscribe to LuckyVitamin’s YouTube Channel!





28
JUL

LuckyFit Vegan Protein Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies

Filed Under: Health Foods,Nutrition,Recipes at 10:30 am | By: Leah Hazuda, Contributing Editor
LuckyFit Vegan Protein Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies copy

Try this healthy spin on chocolate chip cookies featuring LuckyFit Vegan Protein Powder and I Heart Keenwah Toasted Quinoa Flakes!

Ingredients

1/2 cup vegan butter, cold
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1 flax seed egg OR 1 tsp ground flax seed + 2 tbsp of water
1/2 cup LuckyFit Vegan Protein Powder (Vanilla)
3/4 cup I Heart Keenwah Toasted Quinoa Flakes
1/2 cup spelt flour
1 tsp baking soda
sprinkle salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions

Cream butter and coconut sugar with a mixer. Add flax seed egg, protein powder, quinoa flakes, spelt flour, baking soda, and salt and stir by hand until a dough forms. Fold in chocolate chips. Form and flatten 3-inch diameter cookies on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and bake at 375°F for 9 minutes. Cool and serve. Makes a dozen 3-inch small cookies or 6 large sized cookies.

Enjoy!




18
JUN

Why Sparkling Water Might Be Good For Your Health

Filed Under: Health Concerns & Ailments,Nutrition,Water Purification and Storage at 10:00 am | By: Mauricio Matusiak
Ever wonder if drinking sparkling water has any health benefits? It sure does. It’s water in a very refreshing form but other than keep you hydrated, sparkling water has also a few other benefits to your health.

Proper hydration is key to optimal health and adding carbonated water to your drinking routine may help you meet your daily fluid needs to stay hydrated. Sparkling water is a calorie and sugar-free fluid that can maintain adequate hydration by helping your body cool itself, keeping your mouth, nose and eyes moist, promoting optimal joint and muscle function, maintaining healthy skin, cleansing your body of toxins, and improving cardiovascular health.

Additionally, sparkling water offers a little more.

It can help improve Indigestion, particularly if you’re feeling sick to your stomach after eating. Drinking a glass of carbonated water might help as it can reduce bloating and nausea, and may even prevent vomiting.

Sparkling water can help alleviate constipation as well. Research has suggested that carbonated water along with the intake of foods high in fiber help when you’re dealing with constipation. Fluids, such as carbonated water, can help enhance the way fiber work in your gut and make stools normal and regular.

Sparkling water is also a healthful alternative to soda as carbonated water is just plain water with dissolved carbon dioxide. When choosing a sparkling water, opt for a variety that’s high in minerals and free from sugar and artificial sweeteners, flavorings and colors. You may add fresh fruit to your sparkling water for some natural sweetness or even mix in with juices such as orange, apple, blueberry, or cranberry. You can also make flavored carbonated drinks with slices of orange, lemon, lime, cucumber, or sprigs of mint.




8
JUN

How To Follow A Mediterranean Diet

Filed Under: Ask The ND,Diet & Weight Loss,Health Foods,Nutrition,Recipes at 2:28 pm | By: Dr. Jeremy Wolf, ND & Lead Wellness Advisor
Salmon seasoned with salt, cashews, walnuts, sliced avocado, and olive oil on a butcher block, garnished with parsley.

Over the last couple of decades, the Mediterranean diet has been studied by researchers all over the world. The general consensus from these studies revealed that the diet is nothing short of amazing. The Mediterranean diet consists of increasing your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains and fish, while limiting red meat and sweets. So, why has this diet become so popular? Maybe because it’s flexible and offers users ease of compliance. Maybe it’s because Mediterranean food is delicious and the diet allows users to drink red wine in moderation. Or, maybe it’s because all of the research over the past couple of decades shows an incredible amount of health benefits. One meta-analysis article showed that greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with significant improvement in overall health status.

Benefits of a Mediterranean diet to consider:

  • Prevention of major chronic diseases
  • Improved quality of life
  • Reduced risk of heart disease, stroke and obesity
  • Reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and cancer
  • Low in processed foods and sugar
  • May help to lose or maintain a healthier weight
  • May improve mood and decrease depression
  • Naturally low-glycemic foods, which may help control blood sugar

Key components of the Mediterranean diet

Base every meal on these foods and eat them daily:

  • Legumes and Beans: chickpeas, lentils, and fava beans
  • Olives and Olive Oil: extra virgin olive oil is preferred
  • Whole grains and whole wheat pasta
  • Nuts: cashews, almonds and sesame seeds
  • Vegetables such as leafy greens, garlic, onion and other non-starchy veggies like eggplant cauliflower, artichokes and tomatoes
  • Fresh organic fruits such as grapes, apples, strawberries and avocados

Eat these at least two times per week:

  • Fish (wild caught preferred) and seafood

In moderate portions (daily to weekly):

  •  Eggs
  • Low-fat cheese & yogurt
  • Poultry

Eat these a few times per month in small amounts:

  •  Red meat
  •  Sweets

Organic Mediterranean bean salad recipe

Organic Ingredients:
◦ 15 ounce can of dark red kidney beans drained and rinsed
◦ 15 ounce can of fava beans drained and rinsed
◦ 15 ounce can of black beans drained and rinsed
◦ 1 cup of organic corn
◦ 1 large organic tomato, chopped
◦ 1 small organic red onion, chopped
◦ 1 avocado, sliced
◦ ½ organic cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped.
◦ 1 cup of organic parsley, chopped.

Dressing:
◦ ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
◦ 1 lemon, freshly squeezed
◦ 2 garlic cloves, minced
◦ ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar
◦ ½ teaspoon of cumin
◦ salt and pepper to taste.

Directions:

  1.  In large mixing bowl, combine kidney beans, fava beans, black beans, corn, tomato, onion, cucumber and parsley. Mix well.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, apple cider vinegar, cumin, salt and pepper and whisk.
  3. Pour dressing over salad and gently toss together.

Other helpful information:

  • On top of diet, the Mediterranean lifestyle encourages individuals to be physically active and enjoy meals in a relaxing environment with others vs. on the go. Try to set aside time to sit down and enjoy your meals.
  •  Most of the foods found in the Mediterranean diet can be found on the perimeter of the grocery store.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables that vary in choice of colors as each color has specific properties and nutrients.
  • Replace butter and margarine with healthy, unrefined oils as often as possible.
  • The Mediterranean diet has broad definitions since there are many countries around the Mediterranean Sea.
  • In summary, the diet should focus on vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, legumes and whole grains. Enjoy fresh, wild caught fish and seafood, while limiting poultry, eggs and cheese. Rarely eat red meat and avoid sugar.




6
JUN

Xylitol-Sweetened, Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Filed Under: Health Foods,Nutrition,Recipes at 9:05 am | By: Madeline Reiss
Fresh baked, homemade peanut butter cookies and milk.

If you’re trying to avoid excess sugar, that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice sweet treats! Xylitol is a wonderful, all-natural sugar substitute with a number of health benefits. It’s metabolized without insulin, giving it a low glycemic index and can even help promote healthy dental hygiene.

This recipe uses xylitol instead of sugar and makes about 2 dozen small cookies.

You will need:
1 large egg
1 cup Xylo-Sweet
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup creamy, natural peanut butter
1 tsp. water
1/3 cup chopped peanuts or these sugar-free chocolate chips* (optional)

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large mixing bowl, use an electric beater to mix the egg, Xylo-Sweet, baking powder and vanilla for about a minute. Then add in the peanut butter and water mix them together. *Note: the mixture is fairly dry. Be sure the peanut butter is mixed well with the other ingredients.
  • Add peanuts or chocolate chips if using and blend into dough.
  • Use a large non-stick cookie sheet. Measure out a heaping teaspoon of batter for each cookie, roll into a ball, and then smash down with a fork.
  • Bake 15 minutes, or slightly longer, until cookies feel firm and are slightly browned.

This is a quick and easy recipe when you’re in need of that sweet fix. If baking isn’t your forte, try these amazing low-sugar, gluten-free, dairy free cookies from Simple Mills.

What are some of your favorite, low-sugar recipes?

*recipe sourced from Kalyn’s Kitchen.




31
MAY

3 Effective Digestive Enzymes

Filed Under: Health Concerns & Ailments,Nutrition,Supplements at 12:01 am | By: Mauricio Matusiak
Digestive enzymes can improve the functionality of your digestive system and make you feel a lot better after eating a meal. The majority of digestive support supplements contain a blend of enzymes, but with so many ingredients on every label, it can be hard to choose the right supplement for your needs.

Below are three highly effective digestive enzymes to consider when choosing a supplement.

1. Papaya
Papayas are a rich source of valuable proteolytic enzymes, such as papain, chymopapain, caricain and glycyl endopeptidase, that can greatly aid in the digestive process. The enzyme papain is one of the most effective at breaking down meat and other proteins, comparable to the enzyme pepsin that we produce in our pancreas.

In fact, papain is often considered a more effective enzyme than pepsin. Eating the papaya enzyme papain in a meal containing meat can significantly speed up its digestion. It may also help with the breakdown of other troublesome proteins, such as the gluten in wheat and the casein in milk, that are often implicated in digestive problems.

2. Bromelain
Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple juice and in the pineapple stem and is known to improve digestion. Used for reducing swelling and inflammation, bromelain has been shown to treat a bowel condition that includes swelling and ulcers. Often used in digestive support products, bromelain can also help improve the absorption of antibiotics. Bromelain seems to cause the body to produce substances that fight pain and inflammation.

3. Hydrochloric Acid (HCL)
Hydrochloric acid, also called HCL, is one of the many chemicals released in our stomach when we eat a meal. The role of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, along with the other gastric juices, is to break down foods and cause the release of enzymes that further aid digestion. HCl also protects the body from illness by killing pathogens commonly found in foods.

HCL supplements can aid the stomach’s acid to destroy harmful bacteria as well as relieve the symptoms of heartburn. Low stomach acid causes indigestion, gas, bloating, acid reflux, constipation, and diarrhea. Supplementing with Hydrochloric Acid in the form of Betaine HCL can dramatically help people with low stomach acid. Make sure you choose an HCL product that contains pepsin because, without it, the body can’t break down proteins into the peptides required for proper absorption.