Beauty And The Bugs

My grandmother always used to tell me “real beauty radiates from within.” At the time, I filed this advice away in my mental archives and rolled my eyes. “What does an 80-year old woman know about modern beauty,” I thought to myself, along with “what does that even mean?” We’ve all heard some variation of the saying, but it turns out it may be true in a very literal sense and not just a matriarchal proverb.

Natural health and beauty author, Kat James, has shared an intriguing surprise ingredient for creating lasting radiant beauty: probiotic supplementskat james

It turns out that probiotics- the helpful bacteria that naturally live in the digestive tract- not only help us properly digest our food, but can also affect major natural beauty issues. From weight management to skin clarity, friendly bacteria are responsible for keeping us feeling and looking healthy.

“I learned the hard way that outer beauty suffers as inner ecology deteriorates,” said James. “Even as a professional New York makeup artist with a bag full of beauty tricks, there was no more hiding my own ravaged skin, spirit, and health, or my expanding waistline.” She explained that when probiotic balance (or inner ecology) is harmed, it affects the whole body. The digestive system may not absorb nutrients efficiently, which leaves the rest of the body nutritionally starved, even if an individual is eating well. This can lead to excessive cravings, increased appetite, and weight gain.

Because probiotics also help the body detoxify itself, poor probiotic balance can even result in dermal blemishes, rashes, and breakouts. Over time, compromised inner ecology can cause or aggravate issues that leave you feeling less than beautiful: fatigue, mood swings, and bloating. Poor energy and fatigue often show on the face, especially in under-eye area.

James was struggling with all the signs of reduced probiotic population. Her energy level and health at an all-time low, she realized something had to change. She began a quest to discover where her balance had been thrown. Researching nutrition and natural approaches to beauty enhancement, she learned about studies that have looked at the lesser-known effects of probiotics. “We’re only beginning to discover all the clinically verifiable benefits of probiotics,” she said. “If you’ve taken antibiotics or birth control, or spent a good part of your life as a sugar addict like I did, your probiotics are likely depleted.”

Motivated and ready to change, James developed her own personal dietary program focusing specifically on beauty-enhancing nutrients. “I included probiotics to help me absorb nutrients. It literally transformed me beyond recognition, first restoring digestion and then clearing my skin and renewing my relationship with food,” James said. “I have permanently dropped ten dress sizes!”

While James’ experience is quite dramatic, it is common for people to see some beauty-enhancing ‘side benefits’ when taking a probiotic supplement. “Probiotics are responsible for helping us digest food properly. So, it’s a domino effect after that. To feel and look your best, all of your body’s cells need to receive adequate nutrition from your food. Without that nourishment, you’ll see external consequences. “If probiotic imbalance is at the core of someone’s overeating or the root cause of their skin irritations, they could see incredible improvement after a few months of taking a high-quality probiotic product and eating well.”

There are a few serious considerations to keep in mind when shopping for a probiotic supplement. “I would never compromise by taking freeze-dried brands that might not be viable,” said James. “I prefer Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics ®. It contains the strongest strains of living friendly bacteria along with prebiotics, which are specific nutrients that nourish probiotics.”

Having a diverse list of probiotic strains in the supplement may be more important than having billions of one kind. “This is definitely a case where quality is more important than quantity,” says Barrows. “In fact, products advertising billions of a certain bacteria strain can actually overwhelm the body and trigger an immune response. The body might think the sudden onslaught is a threat.” A high-quality product will contain multiple strains along with prebiotic nutrition.

Apparently, the Dr. Ohhira’s product that James prefers is part of a larger product line which includes topical beauty products. Scientists have discovered that probiotics also do your body good when applied to the surface of the skin. Applied through a moisturizer or cleansing bar, probiotics can help nourish and moisturize skin without any need for harsh chemicals or irritants. That’s another refreshing alternative for anyone with very sensitive or breakout-prone skin!

Whether looking for healthy approaches to weight management and metabolism or hoping to improve dermal health, probiotics may be an overlooked but vital key to any beauty transformation program. “Feeling better and looking better, you begin to radiate a whole new energy,” said James. “Beauty really does start on the inside, at a gut level!” Finally, we have proof that Beauty is more than skin-deep!

 

It Takes Guts®… to be beautiful!!

 

Try Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics ®, Kampuku Beauty Bar ™, and Magoroku moisturizer ™

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Your Love/Hate Relationship With Chocolate

  With Valentines Day just one day away,we all have one thing on our minds…. chocolate. Well, maybe its only on the minds of us single folks who won’t be celebrating the holiday over an expensive dinner, but rather at home with a sappy movie and a large box of, you guessed it, chocolates. Like most relationships, chocolate sends us a lot of mixed messages: is it good for you, or is it not? Sometimes we love it, sometimes we vow to cut it out of our lives; it makes us feel good and it makes us feel guilty. chocolate heartWith all of these conflicts, how are we supposed to know whether or not our relationship with chocolate is worth staying in? What better way to evaluate a relationship than the tried-and-true Pro/Con List:

 

Pro: People who eat chocolate are 37% less likely to develop heart disease than those who rarely eat it, according to researchers at the University of Cambridge. Chocolate contains Arginine, which releases a substance to dilate and relax arteries.

Con: As you probably already know, chocolate has a lot of calories, which is not something you want to be collecting if you are trying to lose weight.

Pro: Dark chocolate is made from roasted cocoa kernels, which are rich in antioxidants called flavenoids. Antioxidants work to help neutralize some of the harmful chemical reactions occurring in your body due to our exposure to pollutants.

Con: Mood swings. Yes, we are still evaluating chocolate, not your girlfriend. The sugar in chocolate can cause swings in the levels of your Endorphins, which are brain chemicals that affect mood.

Pro: With ten times less the amount of caffeine than that of the average serving of coffee, soda, or tea, chocolate is a better way to decrease fatigue. In small doses, caffeine can be beneficial in improving your fat metabolism, exercise endurance, and alertness.

Con: As the saying goes, “too much of a good thing isn’t always a good thing.” Similar to the brain processes with addictive drugs, receptors eventually become desensitized to the mood-lifting effect of chocolate, causing you to need more and more of it to get the same endorphin-raising effects.

Pro: The British Medical Journal found evidence showing that eating 100g of dark chocolate per day could reduce blood pressure by enough to decrease the risk of heart attack or stroke by 21%!

Pro: After consuming chocolate, your body converts its Tryptophan to Seratonin in the brain, producing a mood-lifting effect. This is also said to lower stress levels and anxiety.

 

Lucky for us Valentines Day-chocolate-eating-single people, we came out with more pro’s on our list than cons! Its really not a question of whether chocolate is healthy or not, but a matter of selecting the right kind of chocolate and in the right amount. The best kind of chocolate you can eat is dark chocolate, since it has the highest percentage of cocoa and the least amount of added sugar. Like Chia, cocoa was first discovered by the Aztecs, who believed it to increase wisdom and boost energy levels. Modern day chocolate usually contains additives like sugar or dairy. The closer you can get to the original cocoa powder of the Aztecs, the better. A good target-level is dark chocolate with 72% or more cocoa. White chocolate, containing no cocoa powder, provides none of the health benefits discussed above. Once you go dark, you never go back.

All Valentines Day and “single people” commentary aside, dark chocolate is a guilt-free treat when consumed in moderation. Although the study done by the British Medical Journal was based on a 100g intake of dark chocolate a day, the more common recommendation is about 28g, or 1 ounce, per day. We now have 2 things to thank the Aztecs for!

 

Mad At Your Metabolism? 7 Tips For Speeding It Up

We all have that one friend that, no matter what they eat, never seems to gain a pound. You watch them taking down donuts, pizza, and burgers without a care in the world while you sheepishly pick at your salad in hopes of losing weight. You’re at the gym everyday trying to get in shape, but that friend, who hardly ever works out, still looks like they are in better shape than you. Its not fair! You have your metabolism to thank for this phenomenon. Metabolism is the process of breaking down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats to produce the energy your body requires for maintaining itself. However, comparing your metabolism to that of your “burger-eating-but-still-looks-amazing-friend” can be like comparing apples to… well, burgers. The rate of your metabolism depends on the interaction between the number of calories you consume, the number of calories you expend, and lastly, your individual genetic makeup. Ah there’s the rub! “Maybe shes born with it… maybe its her genetic metabolism.” However, no one is stuck with an irreversibly slow metabolism. Here is a list of 7 things you can do to get that metabolism working more efficiently:

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1. Get Strong– When most people think of torching calories, they think of doing only cardio-focused workouts. While cardio exercises are a great method for burning calories, building muscles is the only way to increase your metabolism permanently. Weight training can raise your metabolic rate by up to 15% and increasing muscle allows you to burn calories even after you are finished with your workout.

2. Fit Foods– Certain foods have been shown to speed up metabolic rates. Some of them include: grapefruit, green tea, almonds, coffee, turkey, apples, spinach, jalapenos, oatmeal, and cinnamon.

3. Hydrate– In order for your metabolism to keep burning, your body needs to be hydrated. Drinking water speeds up digestion and burns calories. For an added benefit, try drinking ice cold and your body will burn a calorie for every degree that it heats it up.

Image4. Omega-3’s– Omega-3’s balance blood sugar and can reduce inflammation, thus assisting in metabolic regulation. Resistance to the hormone leptin, which researchers have linked to how fast fat is burned, can also  be reduced by Omega-3’s. Obesity Research produced a study showing that rats who ingested large doses of Omega-3’s while exercising lost weight. Time to start taking an Omega-3 supplement!

5. Catch some Zzz’s– Researchers have found that people who don’t get enough sleep typically have a slower metabolism. It is important to let your body, including your metabolism, rest and recharge.

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6. Go Organic– According to Dr. Mark Hyman, non-organic produce interferes with your thyroid, which determines your bodies temperature and how fast it runs, therefore blocking your metabolism. However, fruits, vegetables, and grains grown without pesticides keep your fat-burning system running full-time, since your thyroid isn’t exposed to toxins.

7. Probiotics– A study published in the journal Molecular Systems Biology found that probiotics have a tangible effect on your metabolism. This research looks at how probiotics change the biochemistry of gut microbes, which live in the gut, and play an important role in a person’s metabolic makeup. Friendly bacteria may help reduce the amount of fat your body absorbs and therefore help out your metabolism.

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CHIA: Beyond The Furry Pet

Chia pets… a parent’s perfect answer for a kid who keeps asking for a pet. They don’t have to go to the vet or be exercised. They only require water every few weeks. And best of all, they are good for your health!

OK, while the potted Chia Pets themselves won’t improve your health, the seeds, responsible for growing the famous Chia Pet “Afros”, have been used for centuries as a part of healthy diets. Essential Formulas loves Chia, so today we are going to scratch the surface and talk about the history of these power-packed seeds.

Formally known as Salvia hispancia, the Chia plant is categorized under the mint family and produces white or purple flowers that contribute to a high self-pollination rate. The plant is prominently grown for its seeds and their oil, since the seeds/oil contain 60% ALA Omega-3, an essential fatty acid required by the human body for good health. While Chia is rich in Omega-3, the other nutrients in the seeds contribute to boosting your general health as well. Chia seed oil is composed of 15-25% protein, 26-41% carbohydrates, 18-30% high dietary fiber, 90-93% vitamins and minerals, and a high amount of antioxidants. Adding to their popularity, Chia seeds are vegan and gluten free!

Now that we have told you about some of Chia seed oil’s overall health benefits, lets get down to its “roots.” For centuries, Chia seeds formed a part of the Aztecs of Mexico and the Indians of Southwest America’s staple diet.

At one time, the seeds were so highly valued that they were used as currency in these cultures! When going on a conquest, the Aztec warriors were said to eat Chia seeds because of their high energy supplementation. In fact, they would eat as little as a teaspoon to sustain them when going on a full 24-hour march. Talk about a little bit going a long way! Not only was Chia a main component of the Aztecs’ diet, but also of the Pre-Columbian Mayans. Interestingly, 500 years later, modern science has concluded that the Aztecs’ and Pre-Colombians’ diets were superior to present day diets. Although Chia seeds were an obscure ingredient for several centuries, they are now making their way into modern diets, offering a new opportunity to improve human nutrition by providing a natural source of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and dietary fiber.

Learn  more about the Essential Formula’s Chia supplements here  chia-products_BN_2013

Staying Healthy During Extreme Climate Changes

Here in Texas we say, “if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes… it’ll change.” What a reality that phrase has been this week! From sunny and 70 degrees last weekend, to snow and 18 degrees yesterday, the extreme change in weather has caused my immune system to take a hit! You know the feeling of a cold coming on… runny  nose, sore throat, fatigue, aches and pains. Luckily, I have found a few preventative remedies to ward off that pesky “pre-cold,” which leads me to something else we say here in Texas… “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”

  1. Get Some Sleep! Lack of sleep makes your body extremely vulnerable to illness, especially during the winter. Try going to bed an hour earlier than usual and give your body a chance to recharge.
  2. Can the Coffee. I know, it sounds impossible to wake up on a chilly morning and not immediately divulge in a Starbucks Dark Roast.  However, caffeine stresses your adrenal glands, which affects your body’s immune system and energy-level. Try replacing your morning coffee with an herbal tea, which will boost your antioxidants as well as your immune system. If you’re like me and can’t ditch the coffee completely, cut back on your intake and swap out that 2nd cup for a healthier option.
  3. Stay Active! Lets be honest, the thought of waking up early when its dark and cold outside (and if we’re following the rules, sans coffee) sounds more difficult than we can imagine. But, studies have shown that maintaining a moderate level of exercise has a long-term effect on your immune system. My favorite workout to do when its too cold to be outside is some yoga, in the warmth of my own house.
  4. De-stress, not Distress. Studies have shown that you have a higher risk of catching the flu or a cold when you are stressed. Take some time during your day to relax your mind by meditating, praying, or simply closing your eyes for a few minutes. You can even multitask and de-stress while you’re doing yoga and getting your exercise in.
  5. Goop up. The cold weather has a tendency to dry out our skin, leaving it red, flaky, and often scary looking. Make sure you are moisturizing heavily and consistently. Before bed, I lather my skin in Dr. Ohhira’s Magoroku Skin Lotion™ for lasting moisture effects.
  6. Be Happy! Don’t catch the winter blues, get exposure to some natural light for at least 30 minutes a day for your daily dose of Vitamin D. If its too cold to be outside for 30 minutes, consider investing in a natural light box and a good Vitamin D supplement.
  7. Guard Your Immune System. Last, but certainly not least, it is very important to keep your immune system boosted and strong during extreme weather changes (and all the time for that matter.) Your body needs antioxidants to fight off the free radicals that attack your body. Try Dr. Ohhira’s Propolis Plus ® to keep your immune system at its peak. I take 3 a day and a few extra if I’m really feeling poorly.

Well, its been more than 5 minutes and the weather here still hasn’t changed. Looks like Phil the Groundhog was right, 6 more weeks of cold weather!

All About EFI

 

 

Since 2000, Essential Formulas has vowed to provide the highest quality natural supplements on the market accompanied with superior customer care. Essential Formulas holds its products to a strict criteria of proven benefits backed by solid research. The company was originally established as the sole distributor of Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics® in North America and has recently expanded its product line to include CHIA OMEGA®, intended to enhance the consumer’s heart/brain and self-care strategy.

In 1997, Michael Schoor, the current CEO of Essential Formulas, found himself in a digestive “jam” while visiting Malaysia. After suffering from serious digestive discomfort, Michael consulted a local doctor who recommended a specific probiotic product. Little did he know at the time that this recommendation would not only change his tummy troubles, but his life! The probiotic recommended to him was Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics, a formula which combines ancient fermentation skills and modern science to change the GI environment to allow it to benefit all healthful strains of bacteria and discourage the “bad bugs.”

What truly separates this product from the hundreds of others on the market is that the capsules contain LIVE probiotics along with prebiotics and organic acids to promote a healthy digestive tract. This formula is supported by 25 years of University-based scientific research done by Dr. Iichiroh Ohhira, a renowned microbiologist, and distinguished scientists at Okayama University. In addition to Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics, Essential Formulas provides the immune-supporting Propolis PLUS, Essential Living Oils, and probiotic skin care products.

Most recently, Essential Formulas has become the sole world-wide distributor of a line of vegetarian Omega-3 products known as CHIA OMEGA®. Derived from high-protein Chia seeds, these essential fatty acid dietary supplements offer a higher percentage of ALA Omega-3 than fish or flax seed oil. Essential Formulas believes in only adding products to its distribution that possess the same high quality level that Dr. Ohhira’s formulations posses.