The above photos shows what I have been up to of late…reading up on gut health and also doing a ten day probiotic challenge.
The book is fantastic. It really makes what seems like a boring topic, absolutely fascinating. I never thought a book about intestines would be a real page turner but honestly I sat down with it one lazy Sunday morning and didn’t want to put it down. Not only is it with fascinating little factoids and details about the gut it is also references studies that have come to show links between poor gut health and more serious ailments and problems.
At the same time that I was reading this gem I was also doing a ten day probiotic challenge to celebrate the ten year anniversary of Ultimate Flora probiotic from Renew Life. Their product has 50 billion live cultures per capsule and 12 probiotic strains. The capsules help relieve digestive discomfort if you have any and they promote digestive and immune health. The latter benefit was really the one I had been going for. I really believe in taking probiotics, I have just gotten lax about it lately. This ten day challenge was a reboot of sorts for me to get me back on the horse. I feel amazing when my gut is healthy and thriving. I feel lighter, I feel healthier, and I feel “sharper”. That was just in ten days too so it gave me the kick in the pants I needed to stay the course.
The season of sickness is upon us. When school comes back in session our families are usually exposed to illnesses much more frequently. The cooler weather, the school grind, and a general lack of physical activity also factors in. Let’s not forget that we are gearing up for the holidays too, when candy and treats are abundant in all their immune suppressing glory. Sad to say many of us moms will have to nurse sick kids and we may even get sick ourselves, the horror!!
This is when a great conundrum faces the natural mom. We know that the body is perfectly capable of fighting off illness and that in general most over the counter cold and flu medications just mask symptoms and create a greater crisis in the body than the original illness. They are often naught but chemical cocktails with many nasty ingredients. BUT we also know that sleep is vital during times of sickness. Our bodies heal when we are sleeping so never is it more important to sleep and sleep well than when we are sick. Cold symptoms such as cough are the enemy of good sleep. So that is the conundrum…drug our children or ourselves with the nasty over the counter cold medications so that sleep (and relief) can be achieved or suffer the symptoms and the lack of sleep so we can avoid the the unsavory ingredients.
Well, it doesn’t have to be either or. There are products on the market that can soothe cough symptoms and help us sleep without the chemical nasties. There is no need to reach for that conventional cough syrup anymore.
NyQuil Cold and Flu is one of the more popular conventional options and when you take a closer look at their ingredients you see things like alcohol, citric acid, D&C Yellow No. 10, FD&C Green No. 3, high fructose corn syrup, saccharin sodium and various others. Mind you, those are inactive ingredients. Not only do they not need to be there (ie sugar and food dyes) they are immune suppressing rather than immune boosting. What sense does it make to take a medication that hides your symptoms whilst it suppresses your immune symptom and your body’s ability to heal. Huh???
Sambrosa Dreams on the other hand is the same type of product with some big differences. It is a European product that is now being introduced in the US. It is a nighttime cough syrup with a base of honey, herbs and doxylamine designed to help soothe your cough and help you get some all important sleep. The ingredients list is radically different. The ingredients are HEALING as well as designed to help soothe and comfort us during a time of stress and discomfort. It’s also GMO free!!
You need a 30 ml per dose of Nyquil, only 5 ml of Sambrosa. Nyquil uses High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sambrosa uses GMO free honey. NyQuil has food dyes, Sambrosa has five organic herbs. I know which one I would rather ingest when the goal is to get and stay healthy!
Honey – Relieves cough and is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and contains antioxidants.
Aniseed Oil – antiseptic, digestive and sedative. It has tranquilizing effects while also being an expectorant; it loosens mucus or phlegm deposited in the lungs and respiratory tracts. So it soothes and also helps you heal.
California Poppy – Calming effect on the body
Eucalyptus – may also have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. The vapor acts as a decongestant when it is inhaled and is used to treat bronchitis.
Hops – Hops is used for its aromaticum but is also believed to benefit conditions such as anxiety and insomnia.
Passionflower – sedative and pain reliever.
Thyme – Calms coughing and acts as a sedative.
Tragacanth – a plant. The sap-like material (resin) of the plant is a binding agent in medicine.
Doxylamine Succinate – an antihistamine used by itself as a sedative, and in combination with other drugs as a nighttime cold and allergy relief drug. Doxylamine helps to relieve common cold symptoms to get a good night’s rest. The dosage normally seen in medicines is usually around 25 mg. Sambrosa contains 9.75mg per dosage.
This product, just like the aforementioned conventional product is a nighttime remedy. It is meant to be used at night to help you get a good night’s sleep. Since it will make you drowsy it is not intended as a daytime remedy.
This product is widely popular in Europe where the standards for safety are radically different than those here in the US. That alone gives it a leg up in my opinion but the ingredients list speaks for itself. Sambrosa likes it natural so we minimize synthetic intake while maximizing a good night’s rest. Find it on Amazon!
This post was written in partnership with Sambrosa Dreams and I was compensated for sharing their great product. All opinions are 100% mine and I stand behind this product as a supporter or I wouldn’t blog about it!
What to drink before, after, and during workouts is not as easy to figure out as it would seem. We all know water is best for us but water typically does not offer the energy boost and electrolytes we may want/need before and during workouts. It also may not be best for helping us to recover quickly from strenuous workouts. We may find ourselves reaching for something with a little more kick, but which drinks are best? What are our hydration options?
Water – Even though you might bring more than just plain water to the gym with you, it is good to have some basic H2O on hand. Drink some about an hour before you workout and take a few small sips all throughout the workout as well. You are likely losing water in great amounts as you work up a decent sweat and plain old water is in fact necessary. Drink up liberally after your workout as well and throughout the day. I also recommend using a water ionizer to make sure the pH of your water is alkaline. Our cells love to bathe in healthy alkaline conditions.
Energy Drinks – There are numerous drinks out there in a can and in small bottles that supposedly boost energy and performance. I think most of them taste nasty so I do not partake but I am not opposed to energy candy so I cannot come out hard against these drinks. Just make sure to read the ingredient labels carefully to make sure you aren’t drinking some unsavory things that negate what you are trying to do by working out. And be careful while working out while hopped up on caffeine (which these drinks usually have in abundance). I ended up with a case of rhabdomyolysis doing this.
Protein Shakes – It is very common to see shaker bottles at the gym with some kind of protein concoction. They can help boost performance and help with building muscle but as before read ingredient labels closely and go for the highest quality you can afford. If it is a whey based product go for grassfed. Avoid soy based protein, which mimics estrogen and can cause and exacerbate thyroid issues.
Sports Drinks -Sadly most of these are filled with sugar, salt, and artificial dyes. Lately we have seen headlines that these sports drinks actually have flame retardants in them. IMO it is best to stay far away and really who needs them when we have more natural options like the one below…
Coconut Water – This is my favorite beverage for working out. It is healthy, natural, and it has plenty of electrolytes. Also if you want to up the calorie content and give yourself an energy boost you can get a variety that has chunks of coconut pulp in it (those are my favorite). I also like chocolate flavored coconut water…delish!
What is your beverage of choice for workouts?
The collection of goodies below I recently recieved from Now Foods as a #NOWWellness blog ambassador.
About a year ago this former gym rat fell off the health and fitness bandwagon. You see it was about that time that my mom started her final decline after a 4 year battle with breast cancer. She lost that battle a couple months ago. In recent days I feel as though I am maybe starting to get my head above water and realize that I have let my own health decline far too much.
Not long ago I was sharing on Facebook when I would PR my deadlifts or my hang cleans. I was sharing paleo recipes that fueled me for intense and grueling CrossFit workouts. I was walking, running, hiking, and lifting heavy weights. It was a hobby as much as it was a concern for my health. But then it all faded away. I started to feel run down and I lost my love for working out. I lost my love for cooking good meals and opted instead for quick and easy. With everything going on in my personal life I had no more energy to give or rather I had no desire to give it. Life was losing its luster.
Eventually I did find some medical stuff going that explained my lack of energy (such as non existent vitamin D levels) but much of it was probably good old fashioned stress and depression from a loved one declining. I am feeling like I am in a better place and perhaps ready to focus on my health and wellness once again. I have gained a ton of weight and I have lost so much muscle mass and physical stamina. I need to get serious again.
To that end I am excited to to be using some great products from Now Foods to help me kickstart my goals.
The sprouted brown rice and plant protein complex make great shakes and smoothies to fill me up and fuel some workouts. The Acai Lemonade sticks will give me something beyond water.
I think gut health is extremely important for health and for weight loss so I am happy to take Probiotic-10 for healthy intestinal flora. I have gotten away from eating yogurt lately and my fermented foods in general have been lacking because I haven’t had the time or desire to make them. This will help until I get some ferment batches going.
Biotin is an all around good supplement to take. It is a coenzyme and a B vitamin and it is great for nails and hair, which need some help. There is also some data out there to support that it might help decrease insulin resistance and my sugar habits of late are shocking frankly.
The bottle of vitamin d3 cream is just one more step to fighting my tendency to be vitamin d deficient. I am taking supplements but this lotion can’t help either. Its also silky smooth.
I feel I am armed and ready to take on this challenge and takes my first steps back to a healthier mind and a healthier body.
This post was created as part of a #NOWWellness campaign in which I am a financially compensated Now Foods Ambassador. The opinions I share here are my own and based on my own experiences with the products.
Spices and seasonings have a lot to offer by way of health benefits. They aren’t just for making your food taste amazing, they can also do amazing things for your health and wellness. This is typically the “season” for stress, over indulging in empty calories, and also getting sick so we might as well add some “seasoning” to kick our wellness efforts up a notch.
Clove – Clove has one of the highest antioxidant rankings of any spice. This makes it excellent for antiaging. Add it to fruit salads, mulled cider, or spicy curries.
Cumin – This is what gives Mexican food it’s fire. It has also been shown in studies to reduce levels of bad cholesterol, reduce inflammation, and significantly lower blood sugar. This makes it a powerful fighter in the war against type 2 diabetes.
Cinnamon – This is another great spice for blood sugar and preventing or controlling diabetes. Take one teaspoon daily in fall soups (pumpkin, squash) or on sweet potatoes.
Anise – Helps with tummy troubles and digestion. It actually relaxes your gastrointestinal muscles and provides you with relief.
Sage – Helps with mental clarity and memory. Perhaps this is why a profoundly wise person is called a sage??
Horseradish – This seasoning is a natural antibiotic and infection fighter. It can be taken to fight everything from bronchitis to UTIs.
Thyme – The antioxidants in thyme help with respiratory issues such as bronchitis. It just helps you breathe easier. Roast it along with meats, and add to seafood and soups.
Fennel Seed – This seed can help relive menstrual cramps and pain just as effectively and sometimes more effectively than those using the drug.
Turmeric – This spice is antiaging, it helps boost immunity, it fights disease by inhibiting the metastasis of cancer cells, and it helps you maintain a healthy weight. It is amazing.
It might be the season for stress and illness but a little “seasoning” can help!