Category Archives: Diet


Influential Women in Fitness and Health

In light of Women’s History Month being the month of March, I thought it would be appropriate to honor some very influential women who have made a historical impact on women’s lives today. So often women are easily overlooked for their accomplishments that have positively shifted our old ways of life. It is only right to reflect on some of the women who have made other women’s lives better in fitness and in health.

Elizabeth Blackwell

  • 1st woman to receive an M.D. degree from an American Medical School, Geneva Medical College
  • In 1849, founded New York Infirmary where women can gain physician experience
  • Today, women make up over 30 percent of physicians in the United States

Clara Barton

  • Risked her life by bringing supplies to Civil War soldiers
  • Founded the American Red Cross in 1881 that, today, provides disaster and international relief, organizes blood donations, supports military families, gives health and safety training, and provides development programs

Margaret Abbott

  • One of the 22 women who competed in the 1900 Paris Olympic games and was the 1st American woman to win an Olympic event
  • In the 1996 Atlanta Olympic games, she was the feature athlete of the 1900 Olympic games
  • As of the 2016 Rio Olympic games, 45 percent of competitors were women (the most yet)

Jean Nidetch

  • In 1963, she and some friends founded Weight Watchers after she struggled with weight loss for years and finally lost 70 lbs.
  • Weight Watchers focuses on science and has helped millions of men and women lose weight and live healthier lives

Nancy Brinker

  • Founded Susan B. Komen for the Cure in 1982 which provides research, education and health services
  • Survived breast cancer and publicly speaks about the illness and research
  • Received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Obama in 2009

Oprah Winfrey

  • Not only North America’s 1st black multi-billionaire, but has also been ranked one of the most influential women in the world
  • Empowers women who struggle with weight gain and loss and now has a food brand, “O, That’s Good”, that gives a healthy spin on comfort food

Gabrielle Bernstein

  • Self-help guru named the “next-generation thought leader” from Oprah
  • Known for her meditations, lectures and bestselling books that focus on self-love, forgiveness and spirituality
  • Has spoken at places like Google and The Chopra Center helping women live happier, fulfilling lives

Kris Carr

  • Wellness activist who chose to live healthier and enjoy life more when informed of her rare and incurable cancer
  • Influenced thousands by speaking on health, happiness, love and spirituality
  • Has a Crazy Sexy brand, books and videos about looking and feeling better, weight loss, stress reduction and nourishing your spirits

Venus and Serena Williams

  • Venus Williams is a 7-time Grand Slam title winner in tennis along with many more awards
  • Serena Williams is a 23-time Grand Slam title winner in tennis along with even more awards than Venus
  • Both sisters were ranked Women’s Tennis Association at the No. 1 position in singles and doubles, received four gold medals at the Summer Olympic games, and now have an American documentary about their lives and careers as professional tennis players

Michelle Obama

  • Planted a vegetable garden at the White House in 2009 to help change the way children think about food and nutrition
  • This led into the Let’s Move! initiative in 2010 that focuses on childhood obesity and kids’ pursuing their dreams
  • Let’s Move! brings healthier foods into schools, motivates kids to be more physically active and allows families to have access to healthy, affordable food

These are but a few women who have made a huge change in our world. As women, we must strive to uplift, empower and inspire one another in any and everything that we do. Something as simple as a smile or compliment goes a long way, not only for women but for men and children as well! So continue to spread love and joy, health and happiness throughout the world and impact it in such a pivotal way that it changes history!


Could your Dog be a Vegan?

Why Your Dog May Be Eating Plants………

Does your dog like to nibble on your plants? Is this behavior frequent or does it occasionally occur? Some plants may be harmful for dogs to ingest but there are also plants that are very beneficial to dogs as well.

   Sometimes the food or medication that we give our pets may not be the best thing for them. Because our dogs are of different breeds and are various ages, they all have a myriad of needs that some plants can aid in. In Callianne Bachman’s article entitled “7 Beneficial Herbs to Grow For Your Dog”, she lists seven different plants that are healthful to a dog’s well-being. These beneficial plants include chamomile, parsley, sage, dandelion, rosemary, echinacea, and fennel. These are all herbs we are already somewhat familiar with.

   As many of us know, chamomile has soothing properties that can aid in your puppies teething process when made into a tea. It can also ease anxiety which can improve sleep as well as assist in better digestion. Parsley, much like sage, can also help with digestion when added to our dog’s food by settling their stomachs and balancing their pH levels.

   I’m sure many of you have seen our dogs chewing on the dandelion plant. You can rest easy that these plants are helping your dog’s health instead of harming your curious canine. Like parsley, dandelioncontains potassium which aids the function of the kidneys. If your dog has kidney issues, dandelionscan also act as a diuretic to increase the production of liquid wastes.

   Rosemary, which many of us use in our cooking, can act as an anti-fungal, antiseptic and antibacterial, and is also great for their skin. Since this plant doesn’t last long indoors, having some rosemary on your patio or in your yard is best for the plant to flourish.

   Many of us are also familiar with echinacea and fennel as well. Echinacea can be used to boost your dog’s immune system, decrease inflammation, and can even fight infections from snakebites. Lastly, fennel seeds can improve digestion as well as rid your dog of intestinal parasites. With that being said, you want to make sure that you are monitoring the plants that your dog ingests because they can still consume very harmful plants too.

I .  n Hannah Gilman’s article, “The 11 Most Poisonous Plants for Dogs”, she lists 11 harmful plants that your dog should steer clear of, two of which are aloe vera and ivy. Of course we try to stay away from ivy ourselves because it can cause us to break out in rashes but it can also cause your dog to have breathing difficulties, or worse, lead to paralysis or a coma, depending on the dog and the amount that was consumed. However, we use aloe vera in many of our skincare products. This is fine to use on your dogs as a topical gel, but they should avoid ingesting the plant because it could disturb their digestive system.

In order to create a safe environment for our fur babies, here are five steps to take to get started:

  1. Observe your dog’s behavior. Are they eating certain plants or all plants? Is this behavior often or occasional? Is your dog showing other abnormal behaviors?
  2. Talk to your vet. Every dog is different and each pup requires certain needs, so ask your doctor if it’s ok for Rocky to eat these plants.
  3. Get your dog tested. Affordable Pet Testing is non-invasive and only requires 10-15 strands of your dog’s hair. They test for over 100 environmental items and the results are emailed no later than 7 business days!
  4. Do your research and examine your household and yard plants. Rid your house or keep your dog out of reach of harmful plants like aloe vera.
  5. Incorporate beneficial plants. Once again, talk to your vet and make sure that these plants are especially safe for YOUR pet. Also, monitor how their bodies react to the plants.

Follow these 5 easy steps and watch your dog’s overall health flourish! Your pet will thank you!


You Don’t Need Beads to Enjoy Mardi Gras

This past Halloween, 2018, was the first time I had the chance to visit New Orleans! We were there to celebrate my best friend’s birthday, so Halloween in such a festive town was an added bonus. Hopefully next time I visit it will be for Mardi Gras. Unfortunately, that will not be this year. Maybe next time around I will be there instead of just writing about it. I will keep you all posted on that.   Besides entertaining my curiosity about what Mardi Gras beads are made from, I also wanted to know where that tradition originated. It seems like at most parades or festivals all over the world, goodies like candy and trinkets are thrown into crowds. So, how did “Mardi Gras beads” become such a distinct novelty? Mardi Gras celebrations began around the 1830’s, typically taking place during Carnival season (January-March). Then in the 1870’s, sugar coated almonds became a popular treat for parade goers. They were thrown to those celebrating Mardi Gras. Bead necklaces were first noted at Mardi Gras following the trend of sweet almonds. These necklaces were first seen in the late 1800’s and were made of glass. These glass necklaces must have been a hit, because following into the 1900’s, other souvenirs like decorative plastic cups, frisbees, figurines, and toys became popular to give out and throw into the crowds during celebration. It’s a bit unclear at what point the bead necklaces were no longer made from glass and replaced with bright, colorful, plastic beads. Around the 1970’s the new trend was to throw coconuts out to Mardi Gras participants. However, there was a clear safety issue with throwing them. Because of this, in 1988, a bill was signed by government officials allowing coconuts to be handed out with the plastic necklaces. The trail of necklaces can be found along the parade route and the days following the celebrations.

   Back in the 1970’s, Dr. Howard Mielke, an environmental scientist from Tulane University, played a role in eliminating lead from gasoline and now he also studies the impact of lead absorption in the human body and in the environment. He has documented and mapped the concentrations of lead in the New Orleans’ soil, and discovered the highest levels are found along the Mardi Gras parade route. The amount of beads left over from the parade every Carnival season equates to four thousand pounds of lead hitting the street. Think about the repercussions of all the beads left behind. It’s one thing to consider the exposure that everyone who handled and wore those beads had before and during the parade, but Dr. Mielke is concerned with the beads left behind. The potential exposure to heavy metals found in Mardi Gras beads could affect wildlife, domestic animals, and children who may pick them up or even eat them. In my research, I’ve found that there are at least six heavy metals found in these bead necklaces. Those metals include lead, mercury, bromine, arsenic, cadmium, and chromium. Not only can these be dangerous if ingested or absorbed into the skin, but should also cause concern for the environment, as these heavy metals can (and do) soak into the ground.

When I first met 5Strands Affordable Testing, I thought this technology was really fascinating (and I still think it is!). I was so intrigued to learn about my results from the Adult Deluxe test. The Deluxe test not only tests for food and environmental factors, but also indicates nutritional deficiencies, and minerals and heavy metals in the body. My test results showed that I had quite a few metals in my body! I was so alarmed, because I couldn’t imagine how that happened. My nutritional deficiency list was very short, and I have become very active in my health in the last few years. Anyone that knows me, knows that I am a nut about avoiding plastics and heavy metals. I have seen all of the documentaries about the risk of using metals and plastics in “normal,” everyday products (thank you, Netflix). It turns out, I had recently sorted and rolled my multiple coin jars. In fact, over three hundred dollars worth of coins. That could do it! Since then, I’ve detoxed my body of metals through plenty of activated charcoal, and cilantro in my drinking water and food.

In Mardi Gras beads specifically, I have found they contain quite a few metals. Although they are made of plastic (which I could do a whole other post about the plastic itself), we cannot forget about the paint and glazing that goes onto the beads. There is a company called Zombeads that recognizes this issue and makes beads using organic and biodegradable ingredients. The more people become aware of products we don’t necessarily think about as being dangerous to our health, the more we can make progress to help others and the environment. If you believe you may have a heavy metal issue or toxicity, we test for all of the metals I have found to be used in making Mardi Gras beads.

Enjoy Mardi Gras celebrations safely!