Monthly Archives: May 2019

But That’s My Go to Snack

We have all heard the saying “Too much of a good thing isn’t good for you”. Well there is some truth to this cliché. We eat certain foods that we like on a consistent basis and wonder why they all of a sudden make us feel bad. This may be because your body has developed a food intolerance or food sensitivity to these particular foods.

A food intolerance is developed when your body is unable to properly digest those foods. Many of us mistaken food intolerances for food allergies, but they are not the same. Symptoms of an allergic reaction to food are more severe than symptoms of food sensitivity, trigger the immune system, can cause swelling of the body, and could even become fatal. According to a Medical News Today article written by Christian Nordqvist, common symptoms of food intolerance are bloating, migraines, headaches, cough, runny nose, stomach ache, irritable bowel, hives, or simply feeling under the weather. These symptoms aren’t as bad as those of a food allergy but they can be very uncomfortable and can inconvenience your day to day activities.

Nordqvist (2017) also mentioned some common food intolerances to foods like “lactose, wheat, gluten, caffeine, histamine (present in mushrooms, pickles, and cured food), additives such as artificial sweeteners, coloring, or other flavorings”. Food intolerances can be caused by the absence of an enzyme, which is needed for proper digestion; chemical causes like amines in some cheeses, or caffeine in coffee and tea; food poisoning toxins like aflatoxins in undercooked beans; occurrence of histamine like in fish that has not been properly stored, or from salicylates which come from salicylic acid that is present in most plant-sourced foods like tomato sauce, berries, and citrus fruits which have high levels of salicylates (Nordqvist, 2017).

My youngest nephew used to eat a lot of dairy when he was younger and now has a food intolerance to anything with dairy. Now, he does not eat dairy at all but will occasionally have soy milk or soy cheese instead. As for me, I have noticed that my body will react to certain beans, yogurt and some smoothies, so I try to be attentive to how my body reacts to these foods if I decide to eat them, and I try my best to limit my intake of those foods.

Fortunately, there is a way to fix your food intolerance issue! First, be sure to get your Food Intolerance test done through 5Strands Affordable Testing [insert link here]. This test is non-invasive and only requires a few strands of your hair in order to create personalized results for you. Once you get your results, you are then able to see which foods you are intolerant to and should begin eliminating one or two of those foods for a few weeks to see how your body reacts. Then you can progress to the rest of the foods from your results. After a few weeks, your body will build up a tolerance level and you can choose to eat some of those foods again. Be sure to monitor what you’re eating and the amount of those foods you are eating if you decide to begin eating those foods again. Also, try to incorporate a more balanced diet instead of consistently consuming the same foods. Meal prepping is a great way to help you have a variety of foods and meals throughout the week, and it limits unhealthy snacking. Your body is your temple so make sure you are giving it the proper food and fuel it deserves!

References

Nordqvist, C. (2017, December 20). Food Intolerance: Causes, types, symptoms, and diagnosis.

Retrieved March 19, 2019, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263965.php

Shilton, A. (2017, November 10). Why Eating the Same Thing Every Day Does Not Cause Food

Allergies. Retrieved March 19, 2019, from https://www.bornfitness.com/food-allergies/

Dear Stress, Let’s Break Up

With work, school, family, friends and life-changing events occurring, experiencing stress is inevitable. It seems like as soon as we find a morsel of peace, something else comes up and, at times, multiple issues arise simultaneously. Many of us are used to the cacophony of our crazy lives but many of us do not know how to cope with the constant stressors. The key is not to run away from the issues life affords us but to embrace them and learn how to manage the stress we go through. Fortunately, there are a myriad of techniques you can incorporate in your daily routine that will allow you to cope with these stressors.

There are many books, videos and articles you can read that will give you tips on ways to relieve stress. One particular article I admire is entitled “Stress Relievers: 17 Ways to Reduce Stress” by Elizabeth Scott. In this article, she wrote about both short-term and long-term strategies you can use to help relieve stress. The short-term strategies are things that you can do that are free, take little practice to do, and can provide immediate relief. Here are some of those techniques:

  1. Meditate and breathe. When you are feeling overwhelmed and your nerves are getting the best of you, simple close your eyes, slow down your breath and count down from 10 or 20. If you have more time, you can continue to slow your breath, listen to your heartbeat, take in the thoughts you are thinking, acknowledge them, then release them. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, hold it for one second once your belly fills with air, then slowly release the air through your nose. Repeat as needed. Doing these things multiple times will provide some stress relief.
  2. Relax your muscles and stretch. When you are stressed, your body can be very tensed, so learning to relax your muscles helps you relieve body tension. Take in deep breaths and section off muscles in your body as your tighten and relax your muscles, starting from your head down to your toes. Also, stretching your muscles everyday helps relieve tight muscles and relaxes your body.
  3. Take a walk or spend some time outdoors. When you get fresh air and sunlight by spending some time outdoors, it will help you relax and unwind from the hectic day. Taking a walk out in nature like at a park helps calm your mind and release some stress. Spending at least 20 minutes a day outside, not only relieves stress, but also improves your focus and vision, builds your immune system, and increases your longevity.
  4. Aromatherapy (candles, diffusers, body products, etc). If you are feeling overwhelmed at home, then take the time to use some aromatherapy. Scott wrote that “Emerging research suggests certain scents can alter brain wave activity and decrease stress hormones in the body”. It may help to darken the room you will be relaxing in or to light candles or a diffuser while you’re taking a hot bubble bath. Also, utilize calming scents like lavender, chamomile or vanilla.
  5. Pick up a hobby. When you are home, you can relieve stress by taking up a hobby like art or gardening. It can help you go back to feeling like a carefree kid when you color. That is why adult coloring books are an arising trend to help relieve stress. Focusing your thoughts on a task instead of the number of other things floating in your mind aids in calming your mind.

Once you have made these short-term strategies a habit, you will then be easily able to incorporate some long-term strategies into your daily routine. The long-term techniques will allow you to become more resilient to life’s stressors and will provide an overall happier you and healthier well-being. Here are some long-term strategies:

  1. Have a balanced diet. When you have a healthy, balanced diet, you are likely to feel happier and more energized. When you consume high fat and high sugar foods, it slows the mind and body down which makes you less likely to manage your stress. Consume more fruits and veggies as well as healthy fats like avocados and nuts.
  2. Incorporate leisure activities. Some work and some play keeps the doc away! Be sure you make time every week to do something that you love to do like playing games, solving puzzles, or spending time with friends. Any leisure activities that you can do will help you relieve stress, so be sure to make time for them multiple times a week.
  3. Take up yoga. Yoga may not be for everyone but even a beginners class or video can aid in reliving stress and anxiety because it helps you be present, calms your mind and spirit and allows you to acknowledge and release your thoughts.
  4. Exercise. We all know we should exercise at least 3 times a week. It is good to keep your body moving, even if it’s just a stroll around your neighborhood. It allows you to get sunlight and fresh air as well as release any mental or physical tension in the body, depending on the form of exercise.
  5. Rid your life of unnecessary things. We work and have families and friends so there can be a build up of unnecessary information and activities that are overloading our bodies and minds. Try to rid your mind of excess information because it is not needed for a healthy mind. Any unnecessary activities should also be ceased like excess shopping, spending hours on social media or watching tv. Rid your mind and body of these things to help you relieve stress.
  6. Surround yourself with positivity. One of the most important things you can do to aid in relieving stress is to surround yourself with positive people and positive vibes. Welcoming good vibes assists in a more relaxed mind, body and soul. If you must, keep your circle of friends small because the weight of other people’s problems can cause an excess amount of stress on you, even if it’s unconscious.

Managing your stress is very important to your overall well-being. A healthy and stress-free mind and body not only benefits you but also those around you. You should start off with the short-term strategies and get yourself accustomed to making those a habit, then you can move on to the long-term techniques. Learn not to run from the stress but embrace the challenges life brings and learn to properly manage them. Enjoy your life, don’t stress about it!

ReferencesScott, E. (2019, April 12). Stress Relievers: 17 Ways to Reduce Stress. Retrieved April 16, 2019, from https://www.verywellmind.com/tips-to-reduce-stress-3145195

So Fresh, So Green

With the high supply and demand for the newest technology that is constantly consuming our lives, it causes us to spend more time inside of our homes. We now spend more hours indoors watching tv, on our computers, playing video games, or getting lost in social media on our phones. All of this technology not only distances us from our family but it also limits the amount of time we are spending outdoors getting the proper amount of sunlight and fresh air we need. When we spend time outdoors, it aids in a healthier mind, body and spirit, but those are but a few benefits.

In the article, 10 Reasons Why Being Outside is Important, science writer, Sydney Sprouse listed ten beneficial reasons why spending time outdoors is important. Spending time outdoors:

RELIEVES STRESS

Studies have shown that spending time outdoors reduces the stress hormone, cortisol. Being out in nature is free or low cost and is accessible to everyone. It gives you an opportunity to spend time with your family and friends because you can play outdoor games, go camping or just relax by the water (pool, lake, beach, etc.). Sprouse (2018) also wrote that “Nature can help create more job satisfaction. Office workers with window views are more satisfied and less stressed at work”.

STRENGTHENS IMMUNITY

Spending time outdoors increases your white blood cell count which is needed to fight diseases. According to Sprouse (2018), “They help your body battle germs by recognizing pathogens and harmful intruders with the help of antibodies”. The elevated white blood cells from time spent outside will become more efficient for weeks after your outdoor experience.

SHARPENS YOUR FOCUS

When children and adults spend time outdoors prior to doing homework, household chores, errands or other work, it will help your mind focus more on your tasks. It increases productivity and more concentration, especially when we do outdoor activities that exercise our cognitive function. Many outdoor areas do not even allow you to get great cellular reception, which helps reduce excess distraction. This is one of the reasons why many retreats are outdoors.

HELPS DEVELOP A HEALTHIER DIET

If you would like to start an outdoor hobby that has multiple benefits, try gardening! Not only does it keep you moving and allows you to get an adequate amount of sunlight and fresh air, it also gives you the opportunity to plant fresh fruits and vegetables that you would otherwise buy at the grocery store. You then know exactly what you are eating and it promotes healthier, cleaner eating, all the while saving you money!

CALMS THE MIND

Spending time outdoors allows your body and mind to recuperate from your busy and hectic life. When you breathe in the fresh air and take in the natural beauty, it helps you relieve your anxiety and appreciate all of the positive things in your life. It creates a peaceful mind and a happier you.

AIDS IN WEIGHT MANAGEMENT

When we are outdoors more, we are likely to engage in some form of physical activity whether that be taking a walk, hiking, or playing games with your family. This promotes weight management because you are keeping your body moving in a healthy, productive way instead of being a couch potato. When you engage in more physical activity, you may also motivate your children to spend time outside which will reduce obesity in your household.

IMPROVES SHORT-TERM MEMORY

By just spending 20 minutes out in nature, you can improve your short-term memory and working memory. Srudies have been done that help support this. This is due to the lack of cacophony that the city and our busy routines weigh on our minds. Having a clear, peaceful mind creates room for your short-term and working memory to work more efficiently.

IMPROVES VISION

Because you and your children are spending less time straining your eyes from looking at your electronic devices, you are improving your vision. The dim lighting indoors makes it hard for your eyes to focus but the bright natural outdoor light prevents your eyes from overworking.

INCREASES LONGEVITY

When you spend time outdoors or live near more greenery, you are not only getting a better quality of air but you may also become motivated to exercise more, which maintains a healthier heart and a healthier you.

ALLOWS YOU TO SPEND TIME WITH FAMILY/FRIENDS

Spending time outdoors makes for an opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends. Whether that be hanging by the pool, playing competitive outdoor games, or roasting marshmallows by a campfire, there are endless outdoor activities for you to choose from.

Spending time outdoors is vital to the well-being of your mind, body and spirit. We should all incorporate as much time spent outside in nature as we can. It will help us be more productive and efficient in our daily routine and work because we will feel happier and healthier from the fresh air, sunshine and natural beauty we have afforded ourselves to experience. Just 20 minutes a day could make a drastic change in your life so get outside and get moving!

References

Sprouse, S. (2018, February 26). 10 Reasons Why Being Outside is Important. Retrieved

April 16, 2019, from https://askthescientists.com/outdoors/