“You are what you eat!” How I supplement my diet.

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Happy Monday, Everyone!! It has been the warmest winter in Virginia since I can remember…tomorrow we are supposed to have a high close to 70…what the heck?? I mean  I am totally soaking it up but inside my mind is like “this isn’t right…”

Anyways, I wanted to share a quick post about some of the healthy lifestyle changes I have done that have truly impacted my health in a positive way. I have posted before about how I aim to lead an anti inflammatory lifestyle based on Ayurvedic principles. You may remember me talking about the Turmeric Supplements I take as well as Vitamin D, and a Probiotic…but I haven’t really discussed the other “Vitamins” I take. I started taking JuicePlus regularly about 6+ months ago.

Ok, what is Juice Plus+?

  • Juice Plus+ is not really a vitamin. Multivitamins contain a number of certain vitamins and minerals often derived from unnatural and sometimes harmful sources.
  • Juice Plus+ is juice powders from 17 fruits, vegetables, and grains. These foods contain naturally occurring vitamins, antioxidants and other phytonutrients (even some of the fiber) found in the fruits and vegetables themselves. It’s the next best thing to eating all 17 of these every single day.
  • Yes, you still have to eat your fruits and veggies! Juice Plus+ does not replace what you should be eating nutritionally but allows you to stay committed to hitting your goal of consuming high amounts of fruits and veggies which we all know leads to a healthier lifestyle. The key is prevention!

To be honest, I was really really hesitant at first. I am not a fan of pyramid structure products and sales and felt that might have an impact on the product and the person selling it to me. You can’t find JP in stores, you order from a dealer. So this was the biggest thing for me to overcome. But then I did some research. And the research is RIDICULOUS and so validating to see how beneficial this little supplement is to my lifestyle. So I was in.

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Why I choose to take Juice Plus+:

  1. They are certified non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) and are free of pesticides and other gross chemicals.
  2. NSF International is an independent, not-for-profit organization that helps protect consumers by certifying products and writing standards for food, water, dietary supplements and consumer goods. They have certified the Juice Plus+ products per NSF/ANSI Standard 173, the only accredited American National Standard for dietary supplements and functional foods.
  3. OMG THE BEST POOPS OF YOUR LIFE. (this is important, people…) One of my first posts mentioned the importance of your digestion and how Ayurvedic theory suggests that disease/illness actually begins in your bowels and digestive system. The more you release toxins from your body, the better!
  4. They give me ENERGY! As a mom of a 2 year old, this is one of the best effects ever.
  5. I’ve lost weight. I wasn’t really meaning to but since taking JP I have lost weight and I have fewer cravings.

So there you have it! If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me. I am going to host a Juice Plus+ party on Facebook next week starting this weekend so if you are interested in learning more just by being a part of the group let me know.

Remember you are what you eat! Let’s reduce the amount of artificial and processed foods we consume and start focusing on feeling good body and mind. Juice Plus+ is a way to help get us there.

Here’s to a healthy and happy you! xoxo

The Return of “Dry brushing”

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Have you ever heard of “dry brushing?” It is an ancient technique poking its head into modern times because it is SO freaking good for your body. I can’t believe I just started, but it is never too late… you too can dry brush!

So what the heck is dry brushing, anyways? Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Brushing your skin with a dry brush which has more benefits than you can imagine. Typically, you dry brush before you get into the shower. At first it feels tingly and maybe tickles a little bit, but soon you get used to it and it becomes another part of your routine.

Interested in learning more about the benefits? Here are a few:

BENEFITS

  • Exfoliation: You will notice the first time you dry brush that the loose and dead skin cells on top of your body are easily removed and softer more supple skin appears below. This is really good for our skin and can even help reduce cellulite! Who doesn’t love soft skin especially in the dry winter???
  • Lymphatic Support: The lymphatic system (think of your lymph nodes) is a HUGE part of our beautiful defense army called our Immune System. Many lymph vessels are located right below our skin and dry brushing claims to help stimulate the normal  lymph flow and detoxify naturally!
  • Increased Blood Flow = More Energy: Don’t dry brush before you go to sleep because you will notice a pump up of energy. Due to the circulation it helps create, a pool of energy is released! Skip that coffee and dry brush 😉
  • Cleans the skin: Dry brushing cleans the pores by clearing oil and residue that accumulate there. While I think exfoliating the face is great, I don’t dry brush my face. I stick to my body 🙂

 

Helpful Dry Brushing Tips:

  1. Select a NATURAL bristle brush with a long handle so you can even get that part in the middle of your back (guess where I got mine, haha – TJ Maxx)
  2. Start at your feet and work your way up slowly to you heart. Your entire body should take anywhere between 2 and 5 minutes to dry brush.
  3. I prefer to do little circles and work my way up my body but you can figure out what works right for you!
  4. Don’t brush too hard! A soft and even pressure of the brush will work the best! My skin will be a little pink, but nothing red or hurting after brushing.
  5. This is great to do before a shower, which will help get rid of the other dead skin cells the brushing helped remove.
  6. Follow up with organic unrefined coconut oil massage of your body or choose a natural and healthy lotion. Questions about which to buy? Message me or leave a comment below!!!

 

Here’s to dry brushing, health, happiness and gratitude. Namaste!

Jess

Homeopathy – Does it work? (Here’s some tips to get over your cold!)

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My post “Sick? My 3 steps to feeling better” gained positive attention online so I decided to follow up with some more homeopathic remedies that have helped me the very moment I feel I could be getting sick. These have either a) reduced my duration of colds (mine used to drag on for days/weeks, now last 1-2 days!) or b) prevented the cold from actually coming (woohoo) [Bonus: I have not gone to the doctor for a common cold/sinus/sniffles/virus in over 2 years!]

Many joke about the quality of OTC Homeopathic medicine- is it the placebo effect? In my opinion, I choose not to use antibiotics unless I REALLY REALLY REALLY have to. I’d prefer the placebo effect to antibiotics any day– especially if it works. Further, I believe homeopathic medicine actually does work. Historically, my immune system was never that powerful…I would get sick constantly, lose my voice, take antibiotics, wait it out, etc…

Everything changed when I started reducing toxins from my body and treating myself at home, homeopathically. I use the netipot, apple cider vinegar, pink salt, honey, cinnamon, raw garlic (natural antibiotic) and the products listed below. I also try extra hard to stay away from Sugar!

Homeopathic Medicines I like:

  1. UMCKA Soothing Hot Drink Mix is my GO-TO. There really is something about fighting a “cold” with heat! Take hot baths, drink lots of hot organic tea, and then drink this about 2-3 times a day until you feel better. I purchase this from Wholefoods but I am sure you can find online. They also have a liquid dropper medicine (doesn’t taste great, just an FYI!) that works well but I prefer this hot drink.
    •  I found them online at Amazon, here.
  2. OXYBUMP: I found this at Target a while ago and knew I had to try it. This in combo with the netipot, clears out my airways and lets me breathe again. It’s awesome!
    • You can purchase it at WALMART! wow who knew? click here.
  3. Essential Oils: You all know I love EO’s but… I tend to be overly careful with them. They are extremely potent and in ancient times used for mostly medicinal purposes. I diffuse Eucalyptus when I am sick because it helps clear my lungs, throat and nose of any gross stuff blocking the airways. You can also buy FRESH eucalyptus and tie it to your shower head when you take a hot, steamy shower- it will clear out your airways so quickly and naturally (WIN WIN!)
    • There are SO many places you can get essential oils, but be careful – find a company you trust and you know puts what they say in their oils. Many companies dilute or mix without your knowledge or even put harmful additives in them. GROSS. I buy mine from PurespiritPotions and YoungLiving(they sell through distributors, so if you don’t know someone I can put you in contact with several of my friends who are YL distributors! I don’t sell it) and occasionally Wholefoods.
  4. Vitamins: I don’t talk too much about vitamins or brands but I personally take Juiceplus vitamins which are micronutrients from fruits and vegetables dehydrated so you can get several of them in a couple of capsules. If I feel sick I double up on them, add Vitamin C and double on Vitamin D!

I hope you find value in this!

Here’s to a healthy and happy (non-sniffly!) you! xoxo

Ancient Ayurvedic Practice: The Neti Pot

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Have you heard of the Neti Pot before? It’s one of the more popular Ayurvedic practices in the Western World…you can even find them sold at Wal-Mart (I know, shocking!). It may be thousands of years old, but it is one of the best at-home remedies to cure or prevent a cold!

Now that Fall is here in full swing, I can’t help but hear people with the sniffles. Our bodies are AMAZING-There is an ENTIRE universe inside of us that operates on its own. Creating new cells, fighting off bad bacteria, making sure our heart beats, and our lungs breathe oxygen and convert it to carbon dioxide, etc. Our nasal passages are one of the first defenses combating illness, allergens, irritants, and even pollution! There are little hairs in there that trap the bad stuff and try to get rid of it via mucus production.

The Neti Pot is a nasal saline irrigation therapy. Neti pots can be made of plastic, ceramic, glass and other materials–My opinion on the bacteria alone is to stay away from plastic. (Although you may remember my views on plastic in this old blog post here.) My neti pot is ceramic and I love being able to put it in the dishwasher for a deep clean.

During the fall/winter time or when it’s your allergy season I would incorporate the Neti pot into your morning routine every single day. I know it’s tough to incorporate yet another thing into your morning regimen especially when it’s cold and your bed is beckoning you to stay for a few more hours, but this will truly help prevent illness and clear out the sinuses for the rest of the day. If I am feeling under the weather I will incorporate the routine morning and night.

Neti Pot Benefits*:

  • Reduces snoring!!!-every gf should gift this for Christmas!
  • Cleared nostrils resulting in improved breathing
  • Reducing dryness in your nose
  • Helping with sinus headaches
  • Improved sense of taste and smell
  • Allergy relief
  • Allowing deeper breathing
  • Prevention cold/illness
  • Reduces the need for over the counter medications or going to see your doctor

*Benefits are from SpiritScience’s article, seen here.

The most important part of using the neti pot is using distilled water–I boil mine extra and then let it cool down to just warm before using in the netipot.

Let me know if you guys have any questions!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you, xo

Sick? My 3 Steps to feeling better!

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It’s that time of year again…the sniffles, head cold, sore throat, allergies, feeling crappy “season.” I used to run to the doctor whenever I thought I had a cold and always left with a script for antibiotics. YIKES. If you read my blog before, you know how I feel about antibiotics- they are an AMAZING drug but scientifically it is best to save them for the time(s) you REALLY need them (hopefully never!)

Most common colds and ailments can be cured holistically by my 3 step method! The key is to start the regimen at the FIRST sign of feeling sick (waking up with a sore throat, a case of the sniffles, etc.)

What you will need:

  • Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Local Honey (better if Raw!)
  • Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (Bragg’s pictured above is my favorite)

My 3-Step Sickness Cure:

  1. Salt Water Gargle
    • Dissolve pink salt into warm water. GARGLE and spit out contents several times until the water mixture is gone. The salt will do a wonderful job of destroying the icky bacteria but leaves the good stuff in the back of the throat. Win, win.
  2. Shot of Apple Cider Vinegar
    • Shots, shots, shots! Take a shot of apple cider vinegar. WARNING- this is the toughest part of the 3 steps. I don’t pour an entire shot because it really is tough to take. BUT, the benefits of this outweigh the difficulty of keeping it down. You will get used to it!
  3. Spoonful of local honey with cinnamon
    • This is my favorite step to the process- pour some honey on a spoon and top with cinnamon. Both have beautiful natural antibiotic effects – try to coat the back of your throat as you suck on the spoon.

Pretty soon, you will be back feeling well in no time! I repeat this process morning and night until I am feeling better. It has worked for me for years and I swear by it!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you, xo!

Do the D.

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Winter is Coming! (For all my GOT fans out there) – That typically means you are encouraged to get your flu shot and often times there’s a lot of illness passing around. One of our greatest deficiencies in the US as a whole is Vitamin D “the sunshine vitamin”. It is essential for your immune system. The BEST way to get some Vitamin D is directly from Mr. Sun himself (our skin creates vitamin D in response to sunlight-how cool is that?). However, particularly in the winter when we stay indoors more, we begin to grow deficient in this element resulting in illness, ailments, and other symptoms.

Vitamin D Deficiencies look like:

  1. Inability for the body to absorb calcium
  2. Inflammation in the body
  3. Unexplained Fatigue
  4. Muscle Weakness
  5. Bone Deficiencies
  6. Weight Gain
  7. Depression/Sadness

It’s important to always speak to a Medical Professional about your health and ask about your Vitamin D levels. You can get a blood test to examine the levels of Vitamin D in your system.

How is vitamin D deficiency treated?

According to an article by Healthline by Rachel Nail titled, “The Effects of Vitamin D Deficiency“:

Doctors often treat vitamin D deficiencies by prescribing or recommending vitamin D supplements. The amount you should take usually depends on how low your vitamin D levels are. For example, some people may reach their vitamin D intake by taking a multivitamin. These usually have between 400 and 800 IU of vitamin D with each serving. However, people who are very deficient in vitamin D may need higher levels of supplementation — about 1,000 IU per day. Ask your doctor how much vitamin D you need every day.

The ODS recommends the following dietary allowances for eating foods that contain vitamin D as well as taking supplements:

  • ages 0 to 12 months: 400 IU
  • ages 1 to 70 years (including pregnancy and lactating): 600 IU
  • ages 70 and older: 800 IU

Few unfortified foods in a person’s diet are high in vitamin D. Foods that are naturally high in vitamin D include:

  • fatty fish, such as mackerel, salmon, and tuna
  • beef
  • cheese
  • egg yolks
  • fish liver oils
  • mushrooms

After growing up in Florida and now living in the DC area, my vitamin D levels were running extremely low. Also, if you breastfeed for a long time you also run the result of having low vitamin D. For these reasons, I make sure to take a supplement on the days I cannot get natural yummy sunshine.

The photos above are of the supplement I take. It is organic, gluten free and comes from Mushrooms which are one of the best ways of getting Vitamin D. I have tried others but this has been my favorite so far because it has minimal “bad stuff” in there. The only thing I am not a fan of is in the capsule casing- carageenan. I will be looking for other ones and if you have any recommendations let me know. I love how easy it is to order from Amazon prime and have them here in 2 days! Also, if you do the subscriptions you can get even more discounts.

This coming winter, I recommend talking to your doctor and adding a Vitamin D supplement to your daily routine.

Here’s to a healthy and happy you! xo

Time to throw out your table salt.

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Salt is an amazing thing – it’s one of the most important elements in almost all living things. Not just for cooking and seasoning foods it can be used as a muscle soak, body scrub and more…

***BUT*** your everyday normal white table salt could be killing you. According to Dr. Edward Group in his article “The Health Dangers of Table Salt,” ‘Table Salt’ is a manufactured form of sodium called sodium chloride. While similar, this version of ‘salt’ is meant to taste a lot like its natural form by boiling/cooking sodium at 1200 degrees Fahrenheit! Natural Salt is alkaline (great for anti-inflammation) has over 80 naturally good for you elements that help with adrenal glands, boosting your immune system and thyroid balancing. When you cook the sodium this high you get rid of all of the good for you stuff, and THEN in MOST cases, synthetic material is added to this mixture.

According to Group’s Article:

These chemicals include everything from manufactured forms of sodium solo-co-aluminate, iodide, sodium bicarbonate, fluoride, anti-caking agents, toxic amounts of potassium iodide and aluminium derivatives. It may come as a shock, but most table salt is not only unhealthy, but can sometimes be toxic.

The natural forms of important iodine is lost when we manufacture salt. Without this natural iodine, the thyroid is severely harmed, leading to growth and metabolism issues. Because of this, the chemical-based salt industry began to add synthetic forms of iodine to their products.

Other salts add things such as processed white sugar and toxic MSG (mono-sodium-glutamate). And what about the color of table salt? Salt found in the natural world is not usually white. Table salt has been colored white with bleach. And where does this salt come from? Much of it is the actual flaky residue from oil digging. That is correct. Crude oil extract is one way we produce table salt.

 

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Get rid of your white table salt!!!
  2. Try not to use the table salt at restaurants (remember most of you food out has this salt in it already so try to reduce eating out as much as possible!)
  3. Try a good for you salt such as the Pink Himalayan Salt above.
    • Himalayan Salt is dried in the sun and therefore, maintains its alkalinity and the good for you elements.
    • It tastes better.
  4. TIP: Homegoods/TJ Maxx has some great finds– I love getting our pink salt from there.

 

Let me know what you guys think!

 

Here’s to a healthy and happy you xo

Which eggs are you buying?

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Eggs are one of the best proteins you can eat to fuel your body. According to an article titled, “The Truth about your Eggs”

The six grams of protein in each egg has the highest biological value—a measure of how well it supports your body’s protein needs—of any food, including beef.’ (Check out the article here.)

Eggs are superfoods! They are high in B12 vitamins, which helps improve mood swings, attention issues and more. BUT- there is a HUUUUUGE BUT– where you get your eggs/the eggs you purchase make a huge difference.

First of all, in the mass production world, chickens are typically stuck in cages, given antibiotics on the regular for the diseases they get for being stuck in those cages or crappy living situations because all the chickens can’t move and are pooping everywhere. Those eggs have been found to have high traces of ARSENIC (because it promotes the size of the chickens) and ANTIBIOTICS. Not to mention they usually cut the beaks off these chickens early on so they don’t hurt each other 😦

A 2010 study published in the journal Veterinary Record found that the eggs from hens confined to cages, as they often are in factory farms, had 7.77-times greater odds of harboring salmonella bacteria than eggs from non-caged hens. (The Truth About Your Eggs)

 

Now and days, marketing strategies try to trick you into thinking you are getting your eggs from a fresh farm down the road with UN-REGULATED words such as “Cage-Free” or “NATURAL”.

What does Cage-Free mean?

While it technically is true that cage-free eggs are better for you because they aren’t kept in super small cages, these animals are not free from being fed food with arsenic and antibiotics or treated humanely. 😦 There is no independent third party that certifies or checks if they are actually cage-free so it can just be a marketing scam.

What does Free-Range or Free Roaming mean?

Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that they are required to be outside or treated humanely (ie no debeaking etc…) and similar to cage-free there is no third party certifying the eggs as free-range or free-roaming…

Natural?

Most things that say Natural without the word “organic” means that they are marketing scammers and don’t trust them for ONE second. Natural is unregulated by the FDA and it means absolutely nothing. In the eggs case, it means yes you are getting an “egg.” But I call BS on all of these labels and I’m mad at companies that use these mechanisms to treat people who are trying to make the best decisions for them and for their families!!!

ORGANIC!

Organic food is REGULATED and held up to high standards. Typically you will find that organic eggs often have a third party stamp of approval as well as the USDA ceritification. Egg producers are subject to annual audits that must prove themselves as organic and then must pay a fee every year (Seems a little backwards, right?…why aren’t the companies producing poisonous eggs being regulated and required to pay a fee every year?)

The eggs I buy are Organic, cage-free, free-range/roaming. They are between $5-$6 compared to conventional eggs which are around $3.00. They taste better, they are healthier for you and they even come with a little newsletter. If you are buying eggs I encourage you to at the very least, purchase ORGANIC EGGS! Even better, go to your local farmers market and ask them if they are selling organic eggs. It helps to talk to the farmer, who knows the chickens by name!

I hope this blog post opened your eyes a little bit to which eggs are better for you.

Here’s to a healthy and happy you! xo

Throw out your soap!

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I know a lot of my posts have to deal with what you put inside of your body, but what you put on your body matters just as much. The FDA recently came out saying that there is no scientific evidence that “antibacterial soaps” are safe…(cue my smh face and eye roll). This is why I question everything, even when the FDA deems it as “safe”. According to EWG, The FDA banned triclosan, triclocarban and 17 other antibacterial ingredients in hand soaps, effective September 2017- check out the rest of the article here.

According to the American Cleaning Institute, 74% of American Households use Antibacterial Soap- and when polled about soap, Mothers of households were the most apt to become “angry” if antibacterial soap was not on the market (See Dr. Mercola’s article here.) Most antibacterial soap companies use fear based marketing suggesting that other soaps are not good enough, you will get sick more often, you will spread more germs unless you use their 99.9% bacteria killing soap… It’s a great marketing slogan because it has worked so well (for their profits…) – but it has lead to a brainwashing of a product that is not healthy or good for your body at all. In fact, existing on your hands right now is GOOD bacteria. The stuff that fights away the bad guys. The .01% of bacteria left on your hand after using an antibacterial soap (in most cases) is the bad stuff. How unfortunate!

Antibiotics are VASTLY overused, not just in soaps that we find in schools, restaurants, houses, etc., but in livestock, in the products we use and the food we eat. No wonder there is a new fear of SUPER BUGS – bacteria so strong, no antibiotic will kill it…yikes.

Yes, you should use soap when you wash your hands, especially when using the bathroom or handling raw meat. A few years ago, I had a hunch that the $1.99 sale of Softsoap at the grocery store meant that stuff was probably not so good for you so I did some research and decided to switch to Mrs. Myers (pictured above) or Seventh Generation. There are several products out there that are safe and effective. I encourage you to check them out! (ask me if you have any questions!)

PLEASE stop using anti-bacterial hand sanitizer, too. My two favorites are from the Honest Company (available online or at Target) and Pure Spirit Potions (available on Etsy!).

If you are interested in making your own soap check out Wellness Mama’s article here about “The slippery slope of Soap.”

Hope this is informative and helps you make decisions that are best for you and your family.

Here’s to a healthy and happy you!

xo

 

Why you need a tongue scraper…

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Historically, the tongue scraper dates back to ancient history with its emergence in India. There is basically no disadvantage to tongue scraping. It is SO good for you. It just adds a little extra step in the process of oral hygiene.

When we sleep, our body goes through a period of detoxification. Toxins can build up on the tongue overnight so it’s particularly a good idea to start your morning with a tongue scrape. 2-3 times, nice even pressure but not too hard will take stuff off your tongue you didn’t even know was there!

As you can see in the video Sofia is a big fan, whenever she sees us with our tongue scraper she says, “Me! Me me me me me!”

Instead of just taking my word for it here are some facts for you from the Banyan Botanicals Institute in their article, the Benefits of a Tongue Scraper:

Benefits of Using a Tongue Scraper

  • Clears toxins & bacteria from the tongue
  • Helps remove coating on the tongue that leads to bad breath
  • Helps eliminate undigested food particles from the tongue
  • Enhances the sense of taste
  • Promotes overall oral & digestive health
  • Gently stimulates the internal organs
  • Increases your awareness of your state of health

So where can you buy a tongue scraper? A lot of health food stores offer them but I would be careful to get one that is made from stainless steel. I ordered one for every member of my family here.

The tongue and mouth is the first step in the digestion process. Ayurveda believes that disease begins with improper digestion so ideally taking an approach to ensuring a healthy mouth is your first step to disease prevention.

I challenge you to try it and let me know what you think!!! I swear by it and can’t believe it took me this long to start using one.

Here’s to a happy and healthy you!

Jess

 

For more reading on this topic check out:

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12028/5-reasons-why-everyone-needs-a-tongue-scraper.html

http://www.chopra.com/ccl/the-benefits-of-tongue-scraping