Archive for the ‘Healthy Living’ Category

03/26/10
Amy

(Healthy Living) Sweet Endings


If you are like me, you and your family are probably somewhat programed to finish off your meal with a bit of something sweet. When we are used to having desserts, our body is faithful in reminding us of that fact. But sweet doesn’t have to mean a lot of sugar.

At the end of dinner, bring out a bowl of fruit salad or even just an open a can of fruit (in fruit juice, not corn syrup). This sweet ending to your meal can help curb the sugar cravings and possibly help eliminate a couple of desserts a week.

strawberries1

01/27/10
Amy
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(Healthy Living) Deodorant


deodorantIn an ideal world, I would use an all natural deodorant with no antiperspirant. I’m all too aware of the less-than-ideal ingredients in mainstream deodorants. But I will admit to you that I like to be dry and I like the extra-strength protection more. So it is one ideal that I have decided to let slide.

There is one simple thing you can do, though, to help reduce the amount of deodorant your body absorbs: wait for 10-15 minutes after you shower before applying your deodorant. The moisture and steam from the shower causes your pores to open, allowing them to easily absorb anything you apply to your skin. In contrast, pores close more tightly when your skin is dry and cool. So if natural deodorant isn’t your cup of tea, try making a simple adjustment to when you apply your deodorant. Maybe you don’t have to completely write off your ideal either.

01/20/10
Amy
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(Deep Cleaning) Medicine Cabinet


Taking vitamins and supplements on a routine basis is a challenge to keep up with, especially when you are orchestrating it for the entire family. The key is to keep the process as intuitive as possible. Simple decluttering and organization is the first step. Spend a few minutes this week cleaning out your medicine cabinet. Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Get rid of expired medications and supplements.

2. Discard items that you no longer use.

3. Separate medications from nutritional supplements.

4. Further divide into adults’ and children’s groups.

5. Store your regularly used supplements at the front of the cabinet where they can be easily accessed.

medcab

01/02/10
Amy
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(Healthy Living) Garlic Oil


Ear infections. Those two words can make the strongest mother shudder. If you have been up in the night with your hurting baby who is crying hour after hour, you know exactly what I mean. Antibiotics certainly don’t fall under the “ideal” category, but even the most idealistic parent can succumb when seeing their child in such pain. But what if, as long as the infection was not severe, there was an alternative treatment? Or even a preventative?

Garlic OilGarlic oil is a fabulous alternative treatment option. It is famous for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, thus addressing some of the main concerns in ear infections. By putting just a couple of drops in each ear several times a day, the infection is addressed as well as the pain. It can also be used as a preventative, and can be helpful if, for example, you have a child who you know is prone to ear infections after colds.

Some infections can grow too intense and need to be treated by a doctor, but you can continue to use the garlic oil in conjunction with antibiotics.

The only real disadvantage of using garlic oil is that your child will smell a bit like Italian food. But if that’s your worst problem, then you can just make spaghetti for dinner.

12/02/09
Amy
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(Healthy Living) Sugar and the Immune System


sugarIt is a fairly well known fact that sugar weakens the immune system. But did you know that it most strongly weakens your immune system for the first 4-5 hours after eating it?

Sugar is a fun treat in life and I personally cannot imagine life without a little bit of sugary goodness. However, especially during the cold and flu season, be choosy about when you consume sugar. Times when you are around a lot of people or exposed to more germs are some of the worst times to drink a soda or munch on candy. Instead, select a non-sugary drink on the airplane and encourage your kids to have more of their treats at home instead of at school.

Being mindful of your sugar consumption is a significant factor in your health; not just the amount, but also the timing.

11/13/09
Amy
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(Deep Cleaning) Steering Wheel


steeringwheelWhen we try to avoid being exposed to too many germs, we often think about places like shopping carts, ATM machines, gas pumps, and public restroom doors. But if you have touched any combination of those places, your car’s steering wheel is probably just as bad.

Take a minute and give your steering wheel a good wipe down.

10/26/09
Amy

(Healthy Living) Vitamin D


With all the talk about the flu this winter season, many of us are on a quest for natural ways to boost our immune systems. If you are like me, classic Echinacea and good ol’ Vitamin C are among the first ideas that come to mind.

This year, though, I have made a new discovery: Vitamin D3. Many people have dubbed it the “new Vitamin C” in light of its high level of impact on the immune system.

Vitamin D3 is most naturally absorbed into our bodies via sunlight. A simple 20 minutes in the summer sun with legs and arms exposed, and no sunscreen applied, can feed your body up to 10,000IUs of Vitamin D3. (Note: the darker the skin tone, the longer you need in the sun to absorb a comparable amount.) With beautiful warm weather and time at the poolside in the summer, we are much more likely to meet our body’s requirements for this essential vitamin. Yet when we bundle up and stay indoors during the winter, a deficiency is much more likely to develop or worsen. This could be a contributing factor to the increased level of sickness during winter months.

Past recommendations put a daily Vitamin D3 supplements at the level of 400-1000IUs/day (some doctors still recommend this). However, more recently, research is starting to show that an adult body needs at least 3,000-4,000IUs/day to simply maintain a moderate level of Vitamin D, and many researchers are saying that you really need up to 5,000IU/day. Even the AAP now recommends that pregnant women take an additional 5,000IUs/day in addition to their prenatal vitamin to prevent possible permanent injury to the baby’s immune system due to Vitamin D deficiency. This recommendation is in light of research that has been pointing to the idea that Vitamin D also helps to prevent the development of autoimmune diseases.

Children can also benefit from a Vitamin D3 supplement, particularly during winter months. They are available in both drops and gummy form. A standard rule of thumb for children is approximately 1,000IUs/day per 25lbs. But please note that I am not a certified nutritionist or a doctor, so you should to do your own research on the topic to decide for yourself what the best dosage is for your individual family members. Although it is relatively rare, it is possible to take too much Vitamin D3.

Foods such as fish, milk, and eggs also contain Vitamin D3 that can be absorbed by the body.

So as you research ways to fortify your immune system this winter, consider Vitamin D3. It is one of the more natural and cost-effective ways to build your body’s defenses. Remember, your body is created to fight sickness. The best thing you can do is equip your body to accomplish what it was created to do.

10/02/09
Amy

(Healthy Living) Furniture Polish Recipe


img_5251 Set chemicals aside and try this effective, cheap, and super easy-to-make homemade furniture polish!

Furniture Polish Recipe

1/2 c olive oil

1/4 c. lemon juice

Mix lemon juice and olive oil in a small spray bottle. Shake well before applying to furniture. To use, spray a small amount onto a soft cloth and apply to furniture. Use the opposite side of the cloth to rub the surface dry.

09/15/09
Amy

(Healthy Living) Aluminum Free Baking Powder


img_3944 When I think of baking powder, I think of yummy home-baked goods. Pancakes, muffins, waffles, coffee cakes…the list goes on!

Many of the common brands of baking powder are single-acting and contain aluminum. In recent years, there has been a lot of research examining whether or not aluminum contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer, and other diseases. Research is still not conclusive, but there are points of concern that are being examined such as elevated levels of aluminum found in the brain cells of many Alzheimer patients.

In our day-to-day life, our bodies are frequently in contact with products that contain aluminum. Deodorants, toothpastes, shaving creams and other bath and body products, water, and baking powder are a few examples. The baking powder, though, is an easy place to begin reducing the aluminum put into your body. It is a simple and cheap change to make. An added benefit is that when the aluminum is removed from baking powder, so is the bitter and metallic taste that baking powder is often known for.  So not only will your baked goods be healthier for you, but they will also taste better!

*Baking Tip – Look for “Double-Acting” baking powder to give your baked goods an added boost of fluffiness. Double-acting simply means that the leavening properties of the baking powder are released twice: when it comes in contact with liquids and then again with heat. This is especially important in gluten-free baking.

09/01/09
Amy
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(Healthy Living) Half Portions


Food is wonderful and eating is fun by design. Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 says, “I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil – this is the gift of God.” So whatever diet or health kick you are on, make sure that you still allow yourself to enjoy eating.

Sometimes we know that we need to make health adjustments in our life, though, and it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. Whether it is through grease engorgement or a carrots and cauliflower diet, you don’t want food to become a curse in your life. Sometimes we simply need a reset button. Try this.

Whatever it is that you are eating, begin with a half portion. Half of the piece of chicken, half the pasta, half the hamburger, half the cereal, or half the dessert. That doesn’t mean you have to end there, it just means to start there. This has multiple advantages.

1. Having less food on your plate causes you to eat slower. This gives your body to determine whether or not it really is still hungry.

2. You are more likely to savor what you are eating.

3. It causes you to pause and evaluate before getting a second helping.

4. It gives you an opportunity to reevaluate how much food you need to become full. It is a reset button, if you will.

This strategy just helps you to be more intentional about what you eat while simultaneously reteaching you to listen to your body.

*Tip: When you are eating out, request a to-go box at the beginning of the meal. Transfer half of your meal into the box before you begin to eat. This removes the temptation to stuff yourself on restaurant’s over-sized portions, while also giving you a lunch for the next day!