Trick-or-Treating Tips

Halloween is coming up this week, and we all want to make sure that we are prepared for the adorable trick-or-treaters. Of course, no two children are the same, but you want to make sure that the candy that you are giving them is suitable for most, if not all, children. With that being said, you have to take food allergies into consideration and know what to look for when a child has an allergic reaction to something they’ve eaten. It is good to know what kinds of candies are more versatile or both tasty and allergy-free. There are also two movements that take place this holiday that help ensure an enjoyable Halloween for all parents and trick-or-treaters.

Some of the most common foods that children are allergic to are peanuts and other nuts, gluten, certain fruits like citrus fruits, soy, eggs and dairy. When a child has an allergic reaction to a food that they have eaten, a number of things could occur. They could experience anaphylactic shock, tingling or itching of the mouth, body and/or face swelling, hives, itching or eczema, wheezing or trouble breathing, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2017). Some parents keep an epinephrine auto injector, or EpiPen, with them at all times in case of a serious allergic reaction, but you also want to see a doctor or allergist if there is a chance that your child has had an allergic reaction. 

In order to avoid a child experiencing any of these dreadful allergy symptoms, it’s best to purchase treats that are allergy-free or having some non-food trinkets that some of the trick-or-treaters can have instead. To help better prepare you, here’s a list of a few non-allergy candies that are also quite tasty (Jackson, 2019):

  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Swedish Fish
  • Skittles
  • Jelly Belly beans
  • Peeps Marshmallow Ghosts
  • Mike and Ike
  • Lifesavers
  • Starburst, and
  • Fruit flavored lollipops or suckers that do not contain corn syrup

Another way to prepare for this holiday is to be aware of two projects that take place during Halloween. During Halloween, the Teal Pumpkin Project and the children with a blue bucket may be seen. “The Teal Pumpkin Project is a campaign initiated by the non-profit organization Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE)” (O’Kane, 2019). A home will have the teal, or aqua hue painted pumpkin on their porch with an informative sign on a treat bucket letting parents and trick-or-treaters know that there are non-food treats and trinkets in that bucket. So parents, feels free to take a non-food treat for your little one. If you see someone with a blue bucket, they are trick-or-treaters that have autism. These blue buckets help raise awareness for children with autism as well as lets the homeowners know that the child may be nonverbal, but they should still treat them just the same as other children. These two movements give both parents and trick-or-treaters a little peace of mind and avoids any potential added stress that could occur (O’Kane, 2019).

I think that Halloween is a holiday that many parents and children look forward to! So you want to ensure that it is as enjoyable as possible by making sure that you are prepared as you can be. So be sure that you are stocked with allergy-free treats or non-food items, and be mindful of any blue buckets or teal pumpkins this holiday. Have a fun and Happy Halloween!

 

References

Jackson, K. (2019, October 1). 7 allergen-free candies to keep on hand for Halloween. Retrieved 

October 23, 2019, from https://www.today.com/shop/best-allergy-free-candy-halloween-

t162776.

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2017, May 2). Food allergy. Retrieved October 23, 2019, from 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/food-allergy/symptoms-causes/syc-20355095.

O’Kane, C. (2019, October 16). Mom urges use of blue Halloween buckets to raise autism 

awareness. Retrieved October 23, 2019, from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/mom-urges-blue-halloween-buckets-to-raise-autism-awareness/.

Did you hear about the guy who threw a bottle of omega-3s at his wife? Her injuries were only super fish oil.

When it comes to healthy lifestyles, we have numerous options for what that means to the individual. I’d like to believe that I lead a healthy life, and I am very careful about what foods I consume. It’s important to know the sources and quality of our foods. With that said, this transition into fall season has been a rough time period for my allergies. In the last month or so, I’ve been sneezing a lot and finding myself feel a bit winded at random moments. I just thought my body is still adjusting to Georgia’s pollen and environment. As a child I had terrible seasonal allergies with allergy-induced asthma. I recently bought local honey, hoping that will help build up my immunity, but I wanted to know what else I could do to support my body. It turns out, omega-3 fatty acids could be the answer!

I tend to rotate my supplements, depending on the time of year and what my body needs at the time. Even if I stick with the same supplement, I order a different brand to keep the strains diverse. The most consistent supplement I’ve taken over the years is algae, which I have not taken in a couple of months. In fact, I hardly ever get sick and I haven’t had a cold or the flu in years (I’ve never had a flu shot) and I always credited it to the algae supplements! I keep telling myself that once I finish my Vitamin E, I’ll order more Chlorella or Spirulina. Now, I realize I should order it sooner than later. I’d love to share my findings about omega-3s that led me to this conclusion.

 

What are omega-3 fatty acids?

We hear a lot about foods being rich in omegas, but what exactly does that mean? There are three fatty acids that fall under the category of omega-3s. To simplify this explanation, those three fatty acids are ALA, DHA, and EPA. You may have heard of one or all. I know I’ve seen these specifically important for brain development in children, or cereals being fortified with them. 

Our bodies do not produce these omega-3s naturally, so we must turn to food and diet for sources. Foods rich in omega-3s are fish (including fish oils), walnuts, algae, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, leafy greens and soybeans. I would also like to point out that ALA is the most common omega-3 fatty acid found in the foods I just listed – primarily plant-based sources, while the other two are mostly found in fish and algae or microalgae.

I would guess I’m most likely deficient in DHA or EPA, or both. The best way to determine this would be our 5 Strands Nutritional Deficiency test. It’s been almost a year since I had myself tested for deficiencies, and I would have definitive answers by testing my hair sample. The inquisitive part of my brain really wants to test my hair for these deficiencies before and after taking this new batch of algae supplements. If I follow through with this, I will update you all. Our nutritional deficiency test checks for over one-hundred and fifteen nutrients vital for the human body, including omega-3! 

 

Is it possible to be sensitive to omega-3s?

This was one of my first questions when I began researching omega-3s. I’m sure it isn’t impossible for someone’s body to have issues with omega-3s – maybe too much for what their body needs, but I really couldn’t find much information out there about someone being intolerant or sensitive to omega-3s specifically. However, you can absolutely have an issue with a food that contains omega-3s. Fish and nuts are common foods that cause reactions ranging from full blown allergies (often life-threatening) to intolerance symptoms. 

If you find that you need to detox because of a food sensitivity related to any source of omega-3, don’t panic about falling into a nutrient deficiency. You may experience some of the symptoms associated with omega-3 deficiency, but as long as it’s a short-term period of time then you have nothing to worry about. Omega-3 deficiency may result in dry skin, dandruff, itchy eyes, fatigue, and irritability among other symptoms. While you may be uncomfortable feeling some of these things, you never want a nutrient deficiency to become a chronic issue. This is the perfect time of year to incorporate more omega-3s into your diet, with cooler and dry weather in the forecast. 

 

Usually, as soon as people find out that I do not eat meat (yes, fish included) I hear the typical questions. Where do you get your protein? Do you get enough vitamins? You don’t even eat fish? Do you miss bacon? It’s been over 12 years and I’ve never had a serious nutrient or protein health issue. It is very easy to have nutritional deficiencies as a vegetarian or vegan, because of processed foods with little nutritional value, but those who primarily eat meat and little vegetables also risk missing out on vital nutrients. 

When it comes to omega-3s, the best plant-based sources are leafy greens, algae, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and soybeans. That gives us a lot of options! I think it’s more realistic to conclude that most people are lacking some omega-3s, not just those who don’t eat fish. The reality is that fish don’t naturally produce omegas. Guess where fish get their omegas from – yep, algae! I like to skip the middle-man and go straight to the source.

Omegas help stimulate protein formation from amino acids in the body, which is important for recovery from physical activity. Outside of athletic performance, studies have found that omega-3s also help prevent many health conditions, including stroke and heart attack. They’ve also been shown to reduce blood pressure, and slow the development of plaque in the arteries. If you suffer from anxiety, depression, or attention-related issues, omega-3 may be able to help with that! Not to mention benefiting skin hydration levels and in my case, help with itchy eyes and nose, and other symptoms associated with seasonal allergies. Omega-3s are clearly great for your immune system, so I will be making sure I order mine pronto, especially during these cooler months when everyone starts to get sick. 

If you think you may be having symptoms associated with food sensitivities or nutrient deficiencies in relation to omega-3s, our hair analysis tests can help determine what may be causing such issues. Luckily, there are options for everyone to find sources of omega-3s, because we all have our own specific needs. At 5 Strands Testing, our results help sculpt your diet and lifestyle choices to your unique requirements. 

 

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-are-omega-3-fatty-acids#types

https://omegavia.com/deficiency-symptoms/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-health-benefits-of-omega-3#section5

It’s Getting Hot in Here.. ;)

When many of us think of things we can do to help our bodies be in optimal health, we think of eating healthy, exercising, staying hydrated and sanitizing our hands on a consistent basis. I’m sure many of us wouldn’t initially think of utilizing saunas to aid in our overall well-being. Well, saunas have many beneficial properties, and there are many types of saunas that are specifically constructed for many purposes that promote a healthier mind, body and spirit.

Many of us may be familiar with what a particular sauna looks like, but do we really know how beneficial they can be for us? Before I list the different kinds of saunas, here are but a few benefits from Top 11 Healthful Benefits of Sauna (n.d.) of why we should incorporate the use of saunas in our lives:

  1. FLUSHES TOXINS. We are all exposed to toxins around us-whether they be from the foods we eat or environmental elements. With that being said, we should do our best to purge our bodies from these toxins and sitting in a sauna is a great way to do that! The heat from the saunas open up our pores and activate our sweat glands that cause us to sweat a great deal. Because sweating in a sauna is a deeper kind of sweating, we are able to eliminate heavy metals in the body like copper, zinc, nickel and mercury.
  2. CAN HELP FIGHT AND PREVENT ILLNESSES. Because of the heat from the high temperatures, we are not only sweating out toxins, we are also killing harmful bacteria that is in and on our body. This is why it is important to take a cool or cold shower after leaving a sauna in order to close the pores to prevent other toxins from getting back into the body. You add eucalyptus or other essential oils to the water so when the steam forms, it helps clear symptoms of illnesses like sinus infections or congestions.
  3. CAN IMPROVE CARDIOVASCULAR PERFORMANCE. Although using saunas is very calming, it can increase your heart rate to a rate that is similar to what it would be if your engaged in aerobic exercises. With your heart rate increasing at a healthy rate, more blood is being pumped into the body. Regular use of a sauna can also aid in reducing high blood pressure because of the increased blood circulation and release of endorphins due to the calming feeling we get when in a sauna.
  4. AIDS IN PHYSICAL RECOVERY. After an intense workout, it is great to detox in a sauna afterwards. Blood circulation is increased, toxins are being eliminated from the body and we are more relaxed and calmer in a sauna-all helpful factors that aid in physical recovery. Saunas aid in relaxing the muscles and reducing soreness and inflammation, and can give us a tranquilizing feeling when we’re wrapped in its warmth. Also, growth hormone increases tremendously, which aids in reducing muscle atrophy after a strenuous workout.
  5. HELPS BURN CALORIES. Even though you are only sitting or laying down in a sauna, you still sweat quite a bit. Whenever we sweat, we are using energy, as well as accelerating our heart rate, which causes us to burn calories. Use of a sauna will not necessarily make you lose weight, but it could certainly help with shedding additional calories after a good workout.
  6. CLEANSES THE SKIN. With the increased deep sweating you get from being in a sauna, it cleanses the skin from toxins in the epidermis and allows the dead skin cells to be replaced. This creates smoother, clearer skin and can give you a natural glow because those toxins have been sweated out of the body.
  7. RELIEVES STRESS. As previously stated, being in a sauna is like being wrapped up in a warm, calming blanket. When eliminating the toxins in the body, it not only cleanses the body but also helps clear the mind. Endorphins are released and it helps restore your mind and body to its more optimal health. Adding calming essential oils, like lavender, eucalyptus or chamomile can also help reduce stress in the mind and body. 
  8. CAN AID IN A DEEPER SLEEP. Not only do saunas help reduce stress, but they also promote a deeper sleep. Since saunas increase your level of relaxation, your mind and body are put at ease. They prepare the body to wind down for the day/night which aids in a more restful, deeper sleep. Many people who used saunas on a regular basis reported having deeper, quality sleep.
  9. CAN BE USED FOR RECREATIONAL/SOCIAL PURPOSES. Going to a sauna alone is the norm at times, but it can also be a fun and relaxing social activity that you can do on with friends. It is a quiet environment that allows you to have more intimate, mindful conversations with old friends or new friends that you meet there. Since endorphins are released when you are enjoying the sauna, you are more likely to be more open to meet others and have nice, quiet conversations.
  10. CAN BE CONVENIENT. Saunas can be found at your local gyms, spas and wellness centers, and can even be built into our homes. They also have foldable, portable saunas that are relatively inexpensive, so you can take it with you when you travel for work or when you go on vacation! I know I will be getting a portable sauna in my home soon!

 

 

Once again, these are but a few benefits of why you should start using a sauna on a consistent basis. Here are a few types of saunas that were built for specific purposes from “Different Types of Saunas” (2017):

TRADITIONAL FINNISH SAUNA: This traditional sauna is lined with wooden slats 

and consists of benches, heated rocks, a bucket of water and a ladle. The humidity in the sauna is controlled by adding water to the heated rocks. 

DRY SAUNA: This type of sauna can be found in some of your local gyms. A dry sauna is similar to the Tradition Finnish Sauna because it also has heated rocks, but there’s no bucket of water or ladle present. 

STEAM BATH: This sealed sauna is built with glass, acrylic or tiles with a low temperature and 100% humidity, which makes it feel hotter inside than it really is.

INFRARED SAUNA: This sauna is very different from the other three due to the fact that there is no humidity. You are basically sealed in a heat glove which warms up your body temperature. 

So as you can see, saunas can be a very effective way to promote our optimal health and well-being. They can be found in some of our local gyms, at spas and wellness centers, and even in some of our own homes. Also, since we are detoxing and sweating whenever we sit in a sauna, it is important to properly hydrate in order to replenish the body with the water that was just lost. Hopefully we are all now more aware of the many helpful ways a sauna can aid in our health and go out to find our local sauna in order to incorporate it into our lives. 

References

“Different Types of Saunas.” (25 Sept. 2017). Retrieved October 11, 2019. 

https://www.sunplumbing.com/different-types-of-saunas/.

Finnleo. (n.d.). Top 11 Healthful Benefits of Sauna. Retrieved October 11, 2019, from 

https://www.finnleo.com/pages/health-and-wellness.