Best Supplements of 2019

When I first started learning about supplements, I felt so lost! I didn’t even know where to begin. I started with protein bars from Popeye’s Supplements, and as fate would have it, I ended up working at that exact store for over 4 years.

Now obviously in that time, I was bound to learn a lot. That environment, paired with my passion for health and Certification in Holistic Nutrition, has lead me to make very informed choices when it comes to supplements.

I’ve tried a lot of different products, in and out of the workplace. Popeye’s Supplements is focused more so towards sport supplements, but I often did branch out to try the more holistic products from the local health food store.

I should also mention: this isn’t the first time I’ve shared my favourite supplement. But it’s been a few years, and my regimen has definitely changed. It’s practically been perfected. I’m serious you guys – I’ve got this down PAT.

In realizing that, I thought to myself: it’s time. In this post, I’m sharing my current, can’t-live-without supplements for 2019. I will be sharing the brands that I prefer as well. However, this post is not sponsored, nor am I being compensated for sharing any of these products with you. This is an honest list of supplements that I’m using right now!

IMG_1920

Dehyglicerrized Licorice

I started using dehyglicerrized licorice when I developed an ulcer last year. Wow, did this ever help! Licorice is really useful for helping to settle your stomach. This isn’t a supplement that I keep it around for every day use, but I use it as-needed, like when my stomach is upset or I’m feeling some reflux. If you have a sensitive stomach like me, I highly recommend it. Do note that some people are extra sensitive to licorice, and can only tolerate it in very small amounts! If you’re trying it for the first time, try a half tablet. I’ve shared this with family and friends because it works so well, especially in place of conventional stomach acid inhibitors (think those brightly colored chewables that are over-the-counter), which can be damaging to the digestive tract when used long-term.

The brand I use: Natural Factors

blackseedoil

Black Seed Oil

Black Seed Oil has been featured on the blog before, because I really wanted to share it with you guys. There has been a lot of buzz around this oil lately – mainly it’s immune boosting properties. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. If you can get past the herbaly-flavour (I actually like it!) then it’s great to include as an overall health support. My favourite way to consume Black Seed Oil is mixed in decaf green tea with a bit of honey, for extra immune support.

The brand I use: Enerex

ashwagandha

Ashwaghandha

Ashwagandha is a long-standing favourite, and I use it specifically for my anxiety. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, so it helps to regulate cortisol, thus balancing mood. I love it as a natural support to help promote a more stable mood. Bonus: it’s also an anti-inflammatory, so it can help reduce inflammation in the body overall. Since inflammation is another factor that seems to trigger my anxiety, this is a win-win! It can be bought in raw, powdered, or capsule form. I love getting the powder and mixing it into an elixir or a smoothie.

The brand I use: Organic Traditions

maca

Maca

Maca is another adaptogen in my arsenal, and thus like the ashwagandha it does help with anxiety as well. There are also studies that have shown that maca helps with endurance and energy production. While I take other adaptogens to help balance mood with a focus on relaxation, I actually take maca with a focus on energy. Because maca can be stimulating, I tend to use it in the morning or early afternoon. Maca can be purchased in capsules or powder, but I buy it in powder form to mix into elixirs or smoothie. I love the honeycomb flavour, so I will also include it in my homemade chocolate as well.

The brand I use: Vega

IMG_1926

Liquid B-Complex

I don’t know what took me so long, but I’m finally using a good quality liquid B-complex. Guys, if you’re not using this yet, get on it! B-vitamins are important for metabolism and energy production at the cellular level. B-vitamins help digest carbohydrates. There’s so much that these vitamins do – there is a reason why they are absolutely essential to human function.

So many of us are depleted of b-vitamins and don’t even know it. This is because over time, our soil has become depleted of these necessary nutrients. Supplementing is always a good idea – as you can’t overdo it – your body will excrete any unused b-vitamins through the urine. You don’t have to take the liquid form, but I prefer it as I’m not a fan of capsules. Also buy b-vitamins as a complex as opposed to single form, as they do compete for absorption.

The brand I use: Natural Wellbeing

 

I’m so happy that I finally had the time to share this list with you guys! If supplementing isn’t something you often do, I highly recommend it. Even with a good diet, a little supplementation can go a long way.

I would love to hear if you are using any of these supplements yet, and what you think of them. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. Until next time!

 

 

What is Turkey Tail Mushroom?

If you’d seen Turkey Tail Mushroom before, you would likely remember it – it looks exactly as it sounds: like the feathers of a turkey tail.

But actually, Turkey Tail mushroom is a fungus that has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries. Also known as Coriolus versicolor, which means “cloud mushroom”. It is actually quite common, and grows worldwide on dead logs in wooded areas.

Mushrooms have gained a lot of attention recently for their vast health benefits, and Turkey Tail Mushroom is one of them. Are you wondering if Turkey Tail Mushroom is worth supplementing? Keep reading to find out what recent studies have shown regarding the healthy and helpful attributes of this fungus.

turkeytailmushroom_immune

Benefits of Turkey Tail Mushroom

1. Immune Boosting

Turkey Tail is most well-known for it’s immune boosting power. This mushroom has a modulating effect on the immune system, and can help support it when compromised – for example, when you are fighting off a cold or flu. In the case of illness, this mushroom is often made into a tea to help stave off the sickness and fight the symptoms naturally.

2. Help with Treatment of Cancer

Clinical studies of gastric cancer treatment show that administration of Turkey Tail Mushroom during chemotherapy supports survival rates significantly. Another study of participants who were administered Turkey Tail Mushroom while receiving chemotherapy for Lung Cancer showed the same thing – higher survival rates. Turkey Tail Mushroom may be especially complimentary for cancer treatment during chemotherapy because it supports immunity, whereas chemotherapy suppresses it.

3 – Reduce Stress

Turkey Tail Mushroom is classified as an adaptogen. Adaptogens help to regulate your body’s cortisol response, and may work to reduce cortisol if it is too high. Thus, it can help you “adapt” better in times of stress – whether the stress is physical or mental.

4 – Aid Digestion

Turkey Tail Mushroom contains something called protein-bound β-glucan (PBG) , which one study investigated as an anti-obesity component. That’s because PBG increases the abundance of a healthy bacteria called Akkermansia muciniphila, which in turn supports the gut microbiome. This aids digestion and may reduce intestinal inflammation. It has been implied that this connection is what could lead to weight loss as a result.

turkeytailmushroomtea

How to take Turkey Tail Mushroom

Turkey Tail Mushroom can be used dried to make a tea, or powdered to make an elixir. Mushroom hot cacao mixes are increasing in popularity, and can be found in many health food stores.

You can also find Turkey Tail Mushroom in capsule form. As it is also grown worldwide, if you live close to a forested area – you might very well find it in your own back yard.

 

Although suitable for use in the case of illness or cancer, it can also be used for general health purposes, or for prevention. If you’re looking for something that supports immunity and also provides some other great health benefits too, Turkey Tail’s got it.

 

References
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6044372/
https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/hp/mushrooms-pdq
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/31030754/?i=2&from=Turkey%20Tail%20Mushroom%20OR%20Coriolus%20versicolor
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/30667154/?i=5&from=Turkey%20Tail%20Mushroom%20OR%20Coriolus%20versicolor

What is Black Seed Oil?

Black seed oil: health craze or legitimate health food? I had never heard of it before until I came across a woman sampling it at my local health food store. She assured me that Black Seed Oil is the latest and greatest superfood. Of course, she might have been a little biased. But since then, I’ve seen it popping up everywhere.

I decided to try and it find out for myself. I’m combining my personal experience with some serious scientific data to tell you a little about Black Seed Oil.

Where does Black Seed Oil come from?

Black seed oil comes from black caraway seeds. These seeds also go by other names like black cumin, black onion seeds, fennel flower, and kalonji. They come from a small plant called Nigela sativa. They have been used in some cultures as a natural remedy for thousands of years.

What are the Benefits of Black Seed Oil?

One 2013 study shows promise regarding Black Seed Oil and liver health. Supplementing with Black Seed Oil was shown to be liver protective. It reduced liver damage as a result of disease complications in rats. At this time, no studies have been done on supplementation in humans and liver health.

Studies also show that Black Seed Oil may help with obesity. A significant decrease on body weight has been seen when supplementing with it. Additionally, a decrease in hip and weight circumference was recorded. Black seed oil could be considered as part of a weight loss plan.

There have been a few studies that also confirm the antibacterial effect of black seed oil. Adding black seed oil as a daily part of your routine could protect against certain bacteria and help you ward off illness.

Black seed oil may also be helpful with symptoms of asthma. Participants in a study who were administered capsules containing black seed showed significant improvements on an asthma control test. This could be due to it’s anti-inflammatory properties. This could also be beneficial to use during illness for it’s support of healthy lung function.

bsoil_tea

What does Black Seed Oil Taste Like?

Black seed oil tastes herby. It’s not a particularly overwhelming taste. It is easily mixed in to beverages like coffee, tea, or a smoothie. My favourite way to take it in decaf green tea with a little bit of good quality honey.

The Takeaway

This plant has been used medicinally for many years, and for good reason: it has a ton of benefits including liver health, weight loss support, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and it can also help with asthma.

I’m going to continue using this intermittently, but especially during illness. It’s antibacterial properties, support of lung function, and help with detoxification via the liver support is especially beneficial when you’re fighting something off.

Sources:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23543440
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3691594/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11744288
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956713504000891

How I Healed My Ulcer

In the Fall of 2018, I vowed that I was going to get my healthiest EVER. It might not seem like much of a commitment for someone who already loves health and wellness. For me, it meant a lot. I was ready to pour my energy into focusing on myself.

I was about to get a rude awakening. And instead of focusing on getting my healthiest ever, I was going to be focusing on healing a stomach ulcer. Twice (we’ll get into that later).

Before I got a stomach ulcer, I thought that they were pretty uncommon. In fact, my doctor said that it is unusual for a normally healthy 29 year old with a good diet and exercise regimen to get one.

I do wonder if that’s true. Through sharing my journey I’ve connected with so many people who have or think they have an ulcer.

If that’s you then you’ve come to the right place. I’ve done the research and I’ve put in the work. I’ve figured out what did work for me. I’m going to share it with you in the hopes that I will inspire you to take charge of your health and maybe give you some good ideas on how to tackle your ulcer.

Buckle in because today we’re going to get through what a stomach ulcer is, what the symptoms are, and how I got rid of mine for good.

Please remember that I am not a medical professional and that this should be considered opinion only. I cannot guarantee that what I did will work for you. However – everything that I share here really made a difference for me!

stomachulcer

What is an Ulcer?

Ulcers are breaks in the lining of your stomach (gastric or stomach ulcer) or your intestinal lining (duodenal ulcer). Stomach ulcers are more common, and that is what I had.

It is a common belief that ulcers are caused by stress. This actually isn’t true. Stress may be a contributing factor. However more recently, scientists are studying the link between the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria and ulcers. This bacteria is present in a majority of people who have ulcers – especially chronic ones. You may want to ask your doctor to do a stool test for the H. pylori bacteria before you decide on your treatment plan.

Ulcers have also been linked to chronic use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and aspirin. Being aware of your usage of NSAIDs is also important in approaching treatment, especially since you will want to avoid them if you want to heal your ulcer.

FYI, I tested negative for the H. Pylori bacteria. I also do not normally use NSAIDs. The cause of mine? Unknown!

ulcer_symptoms

Symptoms of an Ulcer

There are quite a few symptoms you may experience when you have a stomach ulcer. In most cases, pain is felt in the stomach area. You may have that along with any of the other symptoms listed including…

  • Burning pain in the stomach
  • Bitter taste (of stomach acid) in your mouth
  • Heartburn
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling like something is “stuck” in your throat or clearing your throat a lot
  • Bloating
  • Nausea/ vomiting
  • Backpain
  • Burping

There are some more severe symptoms including

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting blood
  • Blood in stools
  • Feeling faint

If you don’t take action to treat your ulcer it could lead to internal bleeding or obstruction in your gastrointestinal tract. That being said, an ulcer does need to be taken seriously and treated as such.

PPI

To Medicate or Not to Medicate?

It is your choice whether or not to take prescription medication to heal your ulcer. When I initially got my ulcer, I was determined to heal it naturally. It was a very difficult and uncomfortable process because I was in a lot of pain, especially between meals.

However a few weeks in, and just when things started looking up for me, I got the flu and my ulcer burst. It was a NIGHTMARE. I had to start the process all over again. I decided to take PPIs (proton pump inhibitors). This reduced the amount of stomach acid I produced and helped me feel more comfortable between meals.

What PPIs do is essentially inhibit the amount of stomach acid produced. This is helpful because stomach acid can irritate a gastric ulcer.

I don’t give credit to the PPIs for healing my stomach. It can reduce the symptoms, but only a diet and lifestyle change can really do the healing part.

If you get tested for the H.Pylori bacteria and you test positive, your doctor may want to prescribe you antibiotics. Again I believe this is a personal choice. Just as with the PPIs I think a diet and lifestyle change is paramount if you really want to see lasting results.

healanulcer

How I Healed My Ulcer

When I realized I had an ulcer, I jumped down the rabbit hole trying to figure out how to approach my treatment. I scoured every corner of the internet. I wanted to heal my ulcer naturally.

As we know, I did use some medication (PPIs) to help me along the way. That’s my journey. It didn’t even take all the pain I was in away, but it helped just enough to get me to keep going. It helped with the symptoms, but I still had to put in the WORK to heal my ulcer.

Whether your ulcer-healing journey looks a little different from mine or not, I hope these tips help you. In large part it is trial and error figuring out what works the best.

Don’t even get me started on willpower. Following all of these rules felt quite restrictive. It’s not fun – but it is worth it. Your health is always worth it!

Here’s what I did to heal my Ulcer:

Give up Refined Foods – Refined foods are harder for your stomach to break down, period. Eating when you have an ulcer can be difficult enough, but sticking to a whole-foods diet really helps. Fresh fruit, steamed vegetables, baked and barely seasoned fish and plain baked potatoes were all staples for me. A squeeze of lemon over my food helped to give it some flavour without relying on prepared sauces (or the processed vegan butter I use on some of my food). When it comes to food, keep it simple.

Saying No to Red Meat – Red meat takes a lot of time and effort for your stomach to digest. If you’re looking for animal protein, stick to fish or chicken in small amounts. I didn’t find this change difficult as I rarely eat red meat as it is. Don’t be tempted by that steak – you will regret it when you’re stomach struggles to get it down.

Say “See Ya Later” to Coffee – This was by far the hardest change I made to heal my stomach ulcer. I love coffee. Unfortunately in the beginning stages of my ulcer, I would still drink it. I enjoyed it while I had it, but it would leave my stomach burning for the rest of the day. This is because coffee actually increases stomach acid production, which irritates the ulcer. I swapped out my coffee in the morning for decaf green tea and it really made a difference.

Eating Smaller Meals – The last thing you want to do when you have a stomach ulcer is overload your digestive system and make your stomach work harder. Eating smaller meals means you won’t be asking too much of your stomach while it works on healing. When you do eat, make sure to also chew your food thoroughly so that your stomach has to do less work in breaking it down.

Reducing Dietary Fats – Fats can be harder to digest when you have a stomach ulcer. Instead of baking your food in oil, try steaming it. Or you can just bake it without oil. Use fresh herbs like dill and basil for flavour. Squeeze a little bit of lemon or lime on your meals. And avoid avocado – just for now…

Adding Turmeric Ginger Tea – Having some turmeric ginger tea is comforting, but it’s use goes beyond that. Turmeric has natural anti-inflammatory properties, which is helpful when healing an ulcer. The ginger is also soothing on the stomach and helps with nausea. This was an afternoon staple for me when healing my ulcer.

Taking it Easy – Stress doesn’t cause ulcers, but it can contribute to them. Combating stress while you heal your ulcer is an important part of the process. Lower your expectations for yourself and understand that you are going through a lot. Dig deep and ask yourself: has anything been bothering you? Getting to the bottom of those issues will reduce stress and help you get your digestion back on track.

Supplement with Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL) – This was the most helpful strategy I used in healing my ulcer. Licorice has long been used in treating stomach issues. I read it could be used as a natural remedy, and honestly I had nothing to lose by trying it. Chewing a tab of DGL helped soothe my stomach almost immediately. I took them as directed on the bottle and it gave me so much relief, plus it is cost effective. It was worth buying and I highly recommend trying it if you have an ulcer.

 

I put all of these strategies into place for about 5 weeks. It was difficult to keep all this up, but it was worth it. I have had no symptoms come back – not even an inkling. I’m healed up and I’m back to living my life regularly.

Before I tried healing my ulcer, I was worried I would have to give up coffee forever. That I wouldn’t be able to eat my favourite foods again. That I might never fully heal and always be in pain. But that’s not the case. If you are willing to put the work in, you can heal your ulcer for good too. It’s totally worth it.

I know how hopeless it can feel when your health goes sideways, so I hope you found these tips helpful. If you have any questions for me, feel free to leave them below.

Stay Healthy Babes!

outro

 

Sources:
http://ddc.musc.edu/public/symptoms/ulcers.html
https://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/2009-11/deglycyrrhizinated-licorice-gastrointestinal-ulcers
https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/163/11/1025/168416

What’s the Difference Between Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes?

It makes me so excited to see people getting interested in gut health. Why? Because the health of your gut is linked to the health of all your other body systems – including your nervous system. And let’s face it: with all the refined convenience foods we’ve gotten used to eating, our digestive systems have become a bit out of whack. Now it’s time to get them back on track!

Aside from making diet changes, supplementation is one of the best ways to improve your gut health. But with all the information out there different supplements it’s easy to get confused. In this article we are going to break down the two main gut-helping supplements: probiotics and digestive enzymes. When it comes down to it, they are really different, but don’t worry, we’ll help you figure out which one is right for you.

probiotics

Probiotics

Probiotics are essentially “good” bacteria. And if right now you’re thinking “ew, why would I want to eat bacteria????”, let me explain. Your gut is home to hundreds of different kinds of bacteria. Many of these play a very important role in digestion, supporting the immune system, and even synthesizing certain vitamins.

However, there are also some not-so-good ones. Overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut can lead to digestive issues like bloating, constipation, gas, and acid reflux. Some people also experience fatigue. Researchers now also believe that an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut can affects your mood, via the gut-brain axis.

It is really important in your gut microbiome that the good bacteria outweigh the bad. You can increase the amount of good bacteria by drinking and eating more fermented foods, but of course supplementation is always an option too.

How do you know if you need probiotics? 

If you have digestive issues after you eat, and it seems to not matter what you eat, probiotics might help. However, a diet change is also really important when it comes to helping your gut. You should be eating lots of fiber, drinking tons of water, and also cutting down on refined foods and foods high in processed sugar. The bad bacteria in your gut feed off of these kinds of food, so cutting those foods out while adding in good bacteria to crowd them out is a smart strategy.

probiotics (1)

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes are just that – enzymes. When you eat different macronutrients (carbs, fats, proteins), your pancreas releases different enzymes to help with digestion. In fact, it has different enzymes for each macronutrient. For example, amylase helps digest carbohydrates.

How do you know if you need digestive enzymes?

A poor diet, or a diet with a lot of a caffeine and alcohol, can decrease the amount of enzymes made by your pancreas over time. Digestive enzyme production can also simply decrease with age. You shouldn’t feel like there is a “rock in your stomach” after you eat! If your stomach feels heavy and uncomfortable after a meal, digestive enzymes are worth trying.

Most enzymes on the market will come with enzymes to digest all 3 macronutrients. You can buy enzymes that will work for just one type. For instance, if you know that fat is what you struggle to digest you can find digestive lipase on it’s own. However most people by a complex that has enzymes for carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

vitamins

Make sure to buy quality products when you are looking at supplements. Yes, they typically cost more – but they are also worth the money. With generic brands, you might as well throw it away.

If you are unsure about adding new supplements to your wellness routine, don’t forget to consult with your health professional first to make sure they are right for you. It is good to ensure that you won’t have any contraindications with your other medications.

That being said, both probiotics and digestive enzymes are completely safe to use. And both can help you get your gut to optimal health –  especially when used together. If gut health is your priority, give them a try.

Are you currently taking probiotics or digestive enzymes? How have they helped you? I would love to hear your feedback below! 

outro

3 Ways to Naturally Increase Dopamine

Have you ever just woken up one morning and thought:

Where did my gusto go? My get out of bed and go? Why do I feel so unmotivated?

A lack of dopamine could be the culprit!

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for pleasure, reward, and motivation. Yep, it sure makes you feel good.

And when you don’t have enough of it, lack of dopamine symptoms can range from annoying to serious including:

  • lack of motivation
  • mood issues
  • addiction issues
  • fatigue
  • depression

 

So what causes a dopamine deficiency? Drugs, including caffeine, can have a negative effect. So can alcohol, sugar, stress, and low stomach acid.

Given that many of us are over-caffeinated, totally stressed, and consuming quite a bit of sugar, it’s not hard to believe that this could be a deficiency so many of us are dealing with it.

Now for the fun part: here’s what you can do about it.

1. Supplement with l-tyrosine. Tyrosine is a precursor to the dopamine neurotransmitter. Think of it as an important building block. Supplementing with this may help your body produce more dopamine! Of course, check with your doctor first if you are on any medication.

2. Get moving! Increased exercise can also increase dopamine levels. This is because your body is smart, and wants to let you know that exercise is good. Take a walk, hit up a fitness class, or check in at the nearest gym!

3. Relax. I know this one is easier said than done, but you’re adrenal glands are responsible for making dopamine. If your adrenals are fatigued, it may get in the way of dopamine production. I suggest a bath, a good nights rest, and an adaptogenic smoothie.

Use these tips to help you boost your dopamine naturally!

 

If you love health and wellness like I do, lets connect!

Find me on Instagram 

Watch me on YouTube

IMG_7348

Are you High in Estrogen? 

The role of our hormones are way underplayed when it comes to talking about health and wellness. And they shouldn’t be! Our hormones are so powerful. We have hunger hormones, sleep hormones, and sex hormones.

The best way of thinking about hormones plainly is thinking of them as instructions that tell our body what to do – they send messages to our organs and body systems to help us function optimally.

But what happens when those instructions get messed up? 

What happens when, for whatever reason, a really important hormone gets out of whack? Well, the consequences range from slightly annoying to totally serious, especially when it comes to Estrogen.

IMG_2341

High estrogen is becoming more common in our modern society due to high levels of stress, excess weight, and the xenoestrogens produced in the environment around us.

What are xenoestrogens? Xenoestrogens are a type of xenohormone that acts like estrogen in the body. Added to the body’s natural estrogen production, high estrogen can be the result. Xenoestrogens manipulate our own estrogen levels through pesticides, plastics, personal care products, and more.

Symptoms include:

  • Decreased sex drive
  • Mood swings
  • Weight gain
  • Bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Breast swelling
  • Increased risk for breast cancer

and especially for women…

  • PMS
  • Irregular periods

 

If you suspect you might be high estrogen, it is important to consult with your MD or Naturopath. But on your own, there are things you can do to take back control of your estrogen!

Here are 3 easy tips to reduce the effect between xenoestrogens and you:

  1. Detoxify your environment. This means getting rid of personal care products high in xenoestrogens. Look for items containing benzophene, 4-MCB, an parabens. Personal care items containing xenoestrogens have been implicated in increased risk for breast cancer. You can also detoxify your environment by swapping out your old, plastic tupperware for glass or stainless steel containers. Microwaving food in plastic containers promotes the release of harmful substances that act as xenoestrogens – into your food! Gross.
  2. Invest in a water filter. Chlorine is one of the main modern xenoestrogen contributors – and it’s found in tap water in almost every industrialized country. A water filter can remove chlorine from your water and reduce the harmful effects of chlorine.
  3. Favour organic food options. I know not everyone can afford to buy everything organic, so check out the Environmental Working Group’s ‘Dirty Dozen’, listing the worst offenders in pesticides – a great guide to deciding which produce to buy organic.

2017-Dirty-Dozen

 

After reading this post, it may feel like xenoestrogens are ‘everywhere’, and although they are prevalent in today’s society, it is possible to minimize them.

Stay Healthy everyone!

IMG_7348

 

Continue reading “Are you High in Estrogen? “

#betterskin Challenge – Week 2 

You know how sometimes things get worse, before they get better? That’s me right now.

I got my period this week, and the week before I always get a nasty, hormonally driven breakout. The big blemishes that hurt – those are what I have to deal with this time of month. Ugh!

But let me speak on a positive note – I do think the changes I made last week have helped me make some progress. To recap: my plan last week was to focus on regulating cortisol (via Himalaya StressCare supplement) and to up my water intake to 8 glasses a day.

Taking the stress care has been no problem, but upping my water intake was a lot harder than I thought it would be! This has always been somewhat of a struggle for me. I love warm beverages like coffee and tea, and would naturally reach for those before a tall glass of water.

But I have noticed that my skin is much less dry – almost drastically so – than it was before. My face used to itch and flake if I didn’t put lotion or oil on right after I washed my face – and today I noticed I don’t get the same discomfort, after only one week no less!

It’s crazy to think that I would be in such a state of dehydration that my skin should suffer, but unfortunately this may have been the case.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Either way, I am ready to keep moving forward!

This week I’m implementing something with liver support in mind. Now I know what you might be thinking: Jen, what the heck does your liver have to do with your skin? Well actually, your skin and your liver are both major detox organs. So when your liver is overburdened, your skin has to take on extra work in terms of detoxification. Your liver and your skin are more closely linked than you think, and symptoms of an unhealthy liver can show up in the skin first!

That being said, the handy tool I’m adding to my toolbox this week is Traditional Medicinals Organic Dandelion Root Tea. Dandelion root tea supports the liver with detoxification, so I’m going to add one cup of this to my nightly regimen! I love having tea at night, so this should be an easy habit to implement.

IMG_0495

 

I also wanted to add something fun this week – something that felt like pampering. I don’t do much to my face outside of my routine of removing my makeup with facewash and toning afterwards. So this week, I’m adding to my regimen a really thorough face scrub twice a week.

Truthfully though, I find a lot of store bought ones to be expensive and lacking in quality. So why not make my own? I found a few different easy to make ones, but I think I’m going to try a coffee grounds, coarse sugar, and coconut oil one at home. The coffee grounds are supposed to stimulate circulation towards the surface of the skin, leaving a healthier glow. I guess we’ll see!

That’s all for this week – wish me luck friends!

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog if you’re new here – and feel free to add me on Instagram to follow along my journey!

IMG_7348

#betterskin Challenge – Week 1

You know those New Years Resolutions that you seem to make every year, yet somehow they never make it on the to-do list? Me too. Working on improving my skin has been a reoccurring goal for me – yet I’ve never attempted it with any sort of plan or focus.

But today, that’s all gonna change. Today, I’m ready.

That’s right: My skin is a dehydrated, picked over, oily/dry combo of a mess – and with all due respect to myself – I’m ready to do something about it!

In fairness to myself, my skin is not the worst it’s ever been. In my teenage days I had acne that absolutely ravaged my face. Although that has subsided, I still get blemishes and breakouts on my face, neck, and shoulders.

I get comments all the time on social media about how my skin is perfect – trust me, it’s not! Makeup, contour, and natural lighting go a long ways. But we all know it’s what’s underneath that really matters, and I’m ready for truly healthy skin. Not skin that just looks healthy. And true to my values, I will be basing this mostly on healing my skin with nutrients that work from the inside out – with a few fun exceptions.

Today begins the  #betterskin challenge, and here’s how it’s mapped out: each week I am going to introduce two new strategies to help improve my skin. I’ll tell you what they are, and later update you on how they worked. I’m going to build upon the two I start this week by adding two more next week, etc etc, until we get to the end of 4 weeks.

Ready?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

So here’s my starting point. I have blemishes, blotchy tone, and puffy eyelids. It’s hard to tell, but my skin is also extremely dry – especially this time of year and on towards winter.

Week 1 Strategies:

Drink more water. Yes, I dragged you all the way through this post to tell you I’m going to implement the most boring strategy ever. Sorry! But the importance of healthy skin and water cannot be undervalued. I’m also horrible (yes, even as a wellness professional) at staying on top of my water intake.

I downloaded an app called “Daily Water” to help me out with this. I love having a visual cue as a reminder of where I’m at for water intake, and this app also allows you to set reminders. I did cruise other apps, but some counted drinking beverages such as coffee towards your daily water intake (ummmm, I wish).  Just know that there are options, but this one is free, simple, and I’m going to use it.

Untitled design (1).png

Secondly, when it comes to skin it is really important to keep your stress levels under control. Cortisol is a powerful hormone, and it effects other hormones, and this can lead to serious breakouts. So I’ve decided to add a new supplement to my regime, which is Himalaya Stress Care. The main ingredient is ashwagandha, but there are other stress supportive ingredients in the formula as well. I’ll be taking a daily dose to help me regulate cortisol levels and keep breakouts under control.

IMG_0054

 

I’ll be updating on this series every Friday, so meet me here next Friday for the week 2 post and updates on how week 1 went!

#betterskin , here I come!

IMG_7348

Adaptogens for Anxiety

Are you stressed? What a loaded question. Who isn’t these days? Especially for those of us dealing with mental health issues – I mean, isn’t stress kind of just like, par for the course?

I have anxiety – even when I’m not stressed, I stress about not stressing.

Like many of you, I do what I can to help myself. I exercise, eat well, and do my best to get a good quality sleep each night. I practice a lot of self care and kindness towards myself. And recently, I’ve added something new to my routine: adaptogens.

What are adaptogens?

‘Adaptogen’ is a term used to describe plants that help the body adapt to stress. You may have heard of a few such as ashwaganda, holy basil, rhodiola, ginseng, and maca.

The purpose of these is not particularly to address mood, or to manipulate emotions, but rather to help the body function optimally during stress. As someone who often gets the physical response of stress (thanks anxiety!) without an environmental or emotional cause, adaptogens are quickly becoming one of my most useful tools in my mental health toolbox.

Where can you get adaptogens?

Due to their increase in popularity, adaptogens have become relatively easy to find. They can be found at health food stores, and even some bigger grocery store chains. I currently use Holy Basil, Ashwaganda, and Maca – all of which I found at my local grocer. In powder form, these can easily be added to smoothies and elixirs. Sometimes I make chocolate and add my adaptogens in.

What is unique about the different adaptogens?

Holy basil has a reputation for balancing blood sugar levels and regulating cortisol. It is typically made into a tea. I enjoy it warm, but if you’re up for an alternative check out my recipe for Holy Basil Iced Tea !

Maca has been studied extensively in relation to libido, but it is also known for it’s ability to increase energy and balance hormones – like cortisol. Maca root is easily integrated into an energy ball recipe or morning smoothie.

Ashwagandha has long been highly prized in Ayervedic medicine. It helps to balance hormones, support the adrenals, and also protects the brain. One study in particular is especially intriguing. A group of participants were given dietary counseling, a multi-vitamin, deep breathing relaxation techniques, and a daily dose of ashwagandha. Not only did the participants anxiety decrease significantly, but they also decreased more than their counterparts in the psychotherapy intervention group.

Should you try adaptogens?

I do not recommend trying to treat your mental health symptoms with adaptogens alone. Mental wellness requires a holistic approach, so I encourage you to use all the tools at your disposal. If you do decide to treat your anxiety with adaptogens, check with a medical professional so you can be sure it isn’t contraindicated with any of your medications.

I have felt an increase in energy and a more balanced disposition after adding these to my wellness routine. In my personal experience, it has been rewarding incorporating them. The next adaptogen I want to try is moringa, which enhances digestion and also promotes healthy skin.

Are you guys using adaptogens? What benefits have you noticed?

IMG_7348

Continue reading “Adaptogens for Anxiety”