Play hard & Stay healthy

shutterstock_290576897 it takes guts family at play

Today’s lifestyle keeps the entire family active from youngsters to their hard-working parents. A strong immune system helps us fight off seasonal illness and maintain healthy energy levels. Like your mother’s advice, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” the best way to deal with the common cold is to avoid it entirely!

It is not just germs that cause kids and grown-ups to get sick. A big factor is the strength of their immune response that, believe it or not, starts in the digestive tract where over 70-80 percent of immune system cells reside. Probiotics, the beneficial bacteria that live in the gut, help support the function of these crucial immune cells.

An important aspect of health is how successfully your immune system recognizes and destroys bad bacteria and other pathogens. According to Ross Pelton, pharmacist, author and holistic health expert, one study indicated that people who ingested probiotics for three weeks were shown to have immune cells that were twice as effective as those who did not.

The friendly bacteria help support the function of immune system cells by, among other things, crowding out unfriendly guests like bad bacteria. Probiotics also enhance digestion, which means the body better absorbs all the nutrients it needs from food and supplements. That alone equips the body to stay healthy and more efficiently fight off any bad bugs that come along.

“Unfortunately, due to overuse of antibiotics, stress, and other modern environmental and dietary issues, most people of all ages have a compromised probiotic population,” Dr. Fred Pescatore, author of the best seller Feed Your Kids Well, said. To maintain good health, the ratio of good to bad bacteria needs to stay at 85 to 15. This ratio is almost impossible to maintain without supplementing with a high-quality probiotic. Dr. Pescatore encourages his patients to look for a supplement that encapsulates both the probiotic and its nutritious culture medium.

“A probiotic alone will not necessarily be successful. The friendly bacteria need what is called prebiotic support,” explained Dr. Pescatore who noted that a certain Japanese probiotic, available in the U.S. as Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics®, fits the bill. The probiotic formula is encapsulated with its culture medium. The culture medium provides nutritious vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, and pH-balancing organic acids and postbiotics. “This prebiotic support ensures that the probiotics take root and thrive in the digestive tract,” said Dr. Pescatore.

With both prebiotic, probiotic and postbiotic supplementation in place, the body’s immune system can see some real benefit, which translates into fewer sick days. That’s great news for the whole family.

When relying on probiotics to help support immune response, it is vital to pick the right supplement. There are products that claim to contain “billions and billions” of bacteria. That’s not always a good thing though. Providing too much of a single bacteria strain can actually trigger an immune response; the body treats the supplemented bacteria as a threat. Consumers should also look out for probiotic products that may have undergone manufacturing processes or shipping conditions that render them useless. Avoid some of these pitfalls by finding a brand that has had studies conducted on its own finished product.

Yes, it’s not just germs that make people sick. Poor digestive tract balance can lead to a compromised immune response, making the body especially vulnerable to daily germ exposure. A high-quality probiotic supplement can be a big step toward sound health for the whole family throughout the year.

As healthy micro-ecology is restored, digestion improves and all the body’s organs and cells are able to receive nutrition more efficiently. That can have an incredible effect on whole health and energy helping the entire family to manage a demanding lifestyle.

It Takes Guts… to play hard!

 

Treat or Trick?

The day that kids and dentists everywhere have been waiting for has finally come… Happy Halloween! Regardless of whether or not you have a sweet tooth, the conspicuous presence of candy in every store and on doorsteps can be quite tempting. In a country where we are bombarded with sugary sweets year-round, what’s one day a year of excess… right? My philosophy on Halloween candy is to not settle for low-quality candy, but to indulge in a few treats that allow you to make every calorie count. Notice I said this is my HALLOWEEN candy philosophy….I don’t recommend eating sugary goodies everyday of the year.

You can avoid wasted calories and preservatives this Halloween by trying some of the following:

  • Dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate; aim for greater than 60% cocoa
  • Home-made cookies and sweets
  • Treats made with real fruits; for example- strawberries dipped in dark chocolate
  • If you need some good old fashioned candy, go for the fun-size packs instead of the full size candy bars; you will consume about 30-50% fewer calories
  • Candy with nuts or dried fruit, like chocolate covered almonds

If you’re feeling really crafty, try one of my favorite candy recipes: Home-made Reeses

16 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter
2 tbsp butter, softened
1.75 oz confectioner’s sugar (1/4 cup+2 tbsp), sifted

Melt half the chocolate either in a double boiler (the safer method) or in the microwave (the more dangerous, but easier/lazier method).

Distribute the melted chocolate into the 12 muffin tins only barely filling the bottom of each cup. If the chocolate does not lie flat, drop the pan repeatedly on the counter, and it will flatten and smooth itself out. Place the pan in the freezer for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, whip the peanut butter, butter, and confectioner’s sugar together with a hand mixer until mixed and light. Taste it and make sure the sweetness is to your liking. Place small tablespoons of peanut butter into each cup, then drop the pan repeatedly on the counter again, so the peanut butter layer is flattened out. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Melt the last 1/2lb of chocolate, and portion small spoonfuls of chocolate into the cups, one cup at a time, immediately dropping the pan repeatedly on the counter to flatten each cup. In my experience of making these, the chill from the peanut butter will harden up that top layer of chocolate very quickly, so you must flatten out the tops immediately after you pour the chocolate into each cup. Place the peanut butter cups in the freezer for 15 minutes to set the top layer of chocolate.

You can either refrigerate them for a peanut butter cup with more bite, or leave them at room temperature for a softer, creamier bite. Just peel the wrapper off, and enjoy!

My last piece of advice is to avoid consuming candy or sweets that contain any of the following:shutterstock_114242275

  • Partially hydrogenated oils/ trans-fats
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Artificial colors
  • Ingredients such as TBHQ and DATEM (preservatives)

And always remember to brush your teeth after eating sweets of any and all kinds!

Take Your Diet From S.A.D. To Glad!

Is your diet S.A.D.?

If you are a typical American and consume high levels of over-processed simple carbohydrates and refined sugars, then your diet is sad in more ways than one. The Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) is lacking in essential nutrients and therefore is the largest cause of obesity and death. Unfortunately, so many people fall victim to this way of eating for a reason- its usually cheap and convenient. They don’t call it “fast” food or a “value” mean for nothing! However, taking the easy route in the present is likely to lead to painful, expensive diet related chronic diseases in the not so distant future.

Do yourself a big favor and take your diet from S.A.D. to glad by eating whole, real, non-processed foods. Foods like fruits, veggies, and grains contain high levels of antioxidants and other nutrients, making every calorie worth something useful to your body. I am going to talk about 5 nutrients to add to your diet that will make your body happy and healthy!

1. Potassium is a nutrient that your body literally can’t live without. It keeps your heart beating and is linked to lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Increased consumption of Potassium can shutterstock_208930381also decrease your risk of diabetes and heart disease. The recommended daily intake of Potassium is 4700 mg in order to keep your nervous system and muscles functioning properly. Not consuming enough of this nutrient can lead to muscle cramps, constipation, and fatigue. Here are some helpful ideas on how to reach your recommended daily dose:

-One small baked potato with skin = 738 mg

-1 medium banana = 422 mg

-1 cup cooked spinach = 740 mg

-1/2 cup cooked beats = 259 mg

 

2. Calcium helps maintain healthy bones, assists in nerve transmission, and helps our blood clot. While Calcium is the most abundant nutrient in our body, our body doesn’t naturally produce it (meaning we need to get all that we need from our food and supplements.) shutterstock_208382878Not getting at least 1000 mg/day can lead to osteoporosis and bone fractures. Try these snacks for reaching your daily calcium goal:

-1 cup collard greens = 357 mg

-1/4 cup diced Swiss cheese = 261 mg

-1 cup nonfat milk = 293 mg

 

3. Iron is an essential protein building block that is involved in everything from carrying oxygen through the body to building muscles. Women are more likely to suffer from a deficiency, which can cause fatigue, memory loss, muscle loss, and difficulties regulating body temperature. shutterstock_208672210The daily recommended intake of 18 mg for women and 8 mg for men can be a problem for vegans and vegetarians, since meat is higher in protein content. However, meat is not the only way to meet your daily Iron needs.

-10 clams = 2.62 mg

-1/2 cup edamame = 2.25 mg

-1 cup lentils = 3.3 mg

-4 oz beef sirloin steak = 2.4 mg

-1 cup cooked broccoli = 1.5 mg

 

4. Vitamin D is the only vitamin that we can both consume and make ourselves. Our bodies create Vitamin D in the form of a hormone when our bodies are exposed to sunlight. This nutrient is especially important to athletes because it can reduce inflammation/pain, risk of fractures, and increase muscle protein. shutterstock_208969237Even if you’re not an athlete, your body needs and uses Vitamin D to protect your bones, regulate cell growth, decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, and help maintain correct levels of calcium. In order to get your daily recommended dose of 18 mcg, try:

-3 oz light canned tuna in water = 3.8 mcg

-1 cup fortified orange juice = 3.4 mcg

-1 cup fortified milk = 2.9 mcg

CHIA OMEGA + D3 supplement

 

5. Fiber is a non-digestible carbohydrate that moves throughout our bodies and helps to promote digestion, prevent constipation, and reduce cholesterol levels. Both soluble fiber and insoluble fiber are important for our health. While insoluble fiber helps move food through the digestive system properly, soluble fiber can help lower glucose and cholesterol levels in the blood. Dietary fiber is not found in processes grains like white flour, so an estimated 60% of Americans with S.A.D. diets typically are starving for fiber. shutterstock_209106397It is recommended that women consumer 25 g of fiber per day and that men consume 38 g. Make your sad diet glad:

-1/2 cup black beans = 6.1 g

-1 medium pear = 5.5 g

-1/2 cup fresh raspberries = 4 g

-1 medium baked sweet potato with skin = 3.8 g

How to Avoid Holiday Traffic… In Your Gut

With all of the traveling, eating, drinking, and celebrating that comes with the summer holidays, chances are you’re going to get stuck in more than one kind of traffic jam this weekend. While I can’t offer you any tips about how to stay out of traffic on the highway, I can give you some advice on how to avoid jam-ups in your digestive system. 3flg010USASo, if you prefer to experience fireworks and explosions from afar, not inside your belly, try the following tips for a happy and healthy Fourth of July:

  • Drink lots of water: It is easy to get dehydrated in the summer heat without even realizing it, and dehydration is one of the leading causes of constipation. Your goal should be to drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink at least 80 ounces of water per day.

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  •   Keep your body moving: Exercise stimulates the natural contraction of intestinal muscles, thus aiding in elimination and detoxification. Try going for a 10 minute walk immediately after finishing a meal to assist the natural flow of digestion.

 

 

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  • Invest in a high-quality probiotic: Look for a non-freeze-dried probiotic that is dairy, gluten, soy, and egg free. shutterstock_193048010

 

 

 

  • Chew your food thoroughly: Rather than swallowing your Fourth of July hot dog or burger whole, take the time to completely chew your food. This will make for an easier digestion process and allow you to enjoy your food in the meantime.

 

 

  • Take a Epson salt bath: After wrapping up the day’s activities, give your body a chance to relax. A warm bath will relax your body (watch out for sunburns!) and the Epson salt will aid in a gentle detoxification. Soak for about 20 minutes.shutterstock_121099396

Happy Fourth of July… To Your Belly!

Freedom. Fireworks. Red, white, and blue. Hot dogs.

These are the first things that come to my mind when  I think about the Fourth of July. While the first three are all good fun, hot dogs can put a damper on your holiday without you even realizing it. In fact, some health experts claim that regularly eating hot dogs can be as harmful to your health as smoking cigarettes! Susan Levin, a nutrition education director, says that “Processed meats like hot dogs can increase your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and various types of cancer. Like cigarettes, hot dogs should come with a warning label that helps consumers understand the health risk.”hotdogespn

During the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, Americans will eat over 150 million hot dogs, which is enough to stretch from Washington D.C. to California over five times. ESPN will be hosting their annual hot dog eating contest, to see who can stuff the largest amount of hot dogs into their mouths within a certain amount of time. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never understood why a hot dog eating contest is featured on a sports channel, the same channel that features the most in shape athletes in the world. But its the Fourth of July, and this is America after all, so I guess ESPN is free to show us people cramming their mouths full of saturated fat, sodium, and preservatives.

Lets look at the ingredients lists of the 4 most popular brands of hot dogs:

1. Oscar Mayer Wieners: Mechanically Separated Turkey, Pork, Mechanically Separated Chicken, Water, Contains less than 2% of Salt, Flavor, Sodium Lactate, Corn Syrup, Dextrose, Sodium Phosphates, Sodium Diacetate, Sodium Ascorbate, Sodium Nitrite

mechanically-separated-chicken-400x400The very first ingredient of “Mechanically Separated” should raise a red flag. In the process of mechanically separating meat, machines scrape the bones 100% clean of meat by passing leftover bones from the initial cutting through a high pressure sieve. This paste goes on to become the main ingredient in the majority of hot dogs.

The Sodium Nitrite listed on the ingredients list is a preservative used to expel bacteria from meat that can cause botulism. However, this chemical can have a carcinogenic side effect and cause cancer in young children and pregnant women. This is also why your hot dog has a pink/red color. Without it, the hot dog would be grey. Much less appetizing if you ask me!

Link for Link: 1 frank has 110 calories, 15% of the daily maximum saturated fat, and 340 mg of sodium (before condiments!)

 

2. Oscar Mayer Selects Angus Hot Dogsshutterstock_179227559Angus Beef, Water, Cultured Corn Sugar, Contains less than 2% of Dextrose, Salt, Cultured Celery Juice, Vinegar, Sodium Phosphates, Cherry Powder, Lemon Juice Solids, Flavor, Extracts of Paprika

While these ingredients appear better, and are for the most part, the “cultured corn sugar” and “celery juice” stand out. Cultured corn syrup is really just another name for high fructose corn syrup, which we know to be an ingredient that is best avoided. The celery juice is included to replace the nitrites, which is a better alternative yet not ideal.

Link for Link: 1 frank has 170 calories and 6 grams of saturated fat ( twice as much as the first option)

 

3. Applegate Natural Uncured Beef & Pork Hot Dogs:Beef, Pork, Water, Contains less than 2% of the following: Sea Salt, Paprika, Spices, Garlic, Onion, Celery Powder. Gluten & Casein free. “Beef & pork never administered antibiotics or animal by-products. Beef never administered added growth hormones. Vegetarian grain fed.”

This list of ingredients is much easier to understand. However, the word “Natural” in the name should be read with discretion. The USDA sets an unclear definition for “natural” only limiting it to being “minimally processed.” So far, this is the better quality hot dog out of the bunch.

Link for Link: 1 frank has 70 calories and only 2.5 grams of saturated fat

 

4. Yves Veggie DogsWater, Isolated Soy Protein, Vital Wheat Gluten, Natural Flavors, Salt, Wheat Starch, Evaporated Cane Juice Powder, Spices, Carrageenan, Vitamins & Minerals, Beet Powder, Paprika

Link for Link: 1 frank has 50 calories, barely any fat, but a high sodium count of 400 mg

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Hot Tips for Hot Dogs:

  • Make hot dogs an every now and then food and not a staple in your home
  • Choose based on the quality of meat
  • Look out for the presence of preservatives such as nitrites
  • Pay attention to the sodium count

 

If these facts encouraged you to try an alternative tasty treat this Fourth of July, check out these ideas:

1. Chicken Dogs: Marinate chicken tenders in light Italian dressing for 2 hours or overnight. Grill them until done and serve on whole wheat buns topped with honey mustard. Each one has less than 1/4 of the fat content of hot dogs, none of the saturated fat, and less than half the sodium!

2. Meatless Dogs: Go meatless! Top a hot dog bun with 1/4 cup of coleslaw and 1/2 cup baked beans for a sweet and savory combination that actually provides more protein than a traditional dog, as well as fiber!

3. Chicken or Turkey Sausage: More protein and meat than a traditional hot dog (3 ounces vs 1.5 ounces) and the fat content is lower too! Top it with grilled fruit for a zingy taste (try grilled pineapple salsa).

4. Seafood Dog: Make a shrimp roll instead! Peel and devein shrimp and toss into a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Grill until done and let it cool. Remove tails and mix with some nonfat plain Greek yogurt (about 1/4 cup of yogurt per 2 pounds of shrimp), a splash of lemon juice, chopped celery, and chopped chives. Serve with crisp lettuce on a hot dog bun. Fat content is well under half that of a traditional hot dog!

 

Don’t Leave Home Without ‘Em!

You’ve planned, you’ve packed, and you’ve paid. Now it’s time for your much anticipated vacation. But don’t forget that trying new foods, being in new places at off-schedule times, and bouncing around in planes, trains, and automobiles can cause havoc in your stomach and lead to digestive distress.

Dr. Natalie Engelbart, medical doctor of Alternative Health Solutions, says that, “Around 10 million people a year experience digestive distress while on vacation that can include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, bloating and fever. According to the CDC, digestive distress is the most common illness travelers suffer from, and it can ruin a well-earned vacation!”

Dr. Engelbart recommends packing a high-quality probiotic as a part of your vacation preparation. “We spend so much time coordinating the details of our vacations that we often overlook planning for the prevention of any illness. And you can do this by taking a high quality probiotic like Dr. Ohhira’s ® a week before you leave and continuing to take them throughout the course of your trip. Research has shown that probiotics can help boost your immunity, prevent traveler’s diarrhea caused by food-borne bacteria, and lessen the symptoms of your digestive issues.”

Travelers don’t realize that 80 percent of gastrointestinal illnesses are caused by a bacterial infection, and they can often be avoided with proper supplements. Environmental stress and traveler’s bugs can lower the number of friendly bacteria, disrupting the balance and thus causing digestive distress.

Probiotics can provide a myriad of benefits to the body while replenishing the friendly bacteria in the digestive tract. Especially important to travelers, they can enhance immune function, improve digestion, reduce instances of traveler’s diarrhea, and inhibit food poisoning. And what makes Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics ® perfect for traveling is that they are in blister packs and never need to be refrigerated so you can throw them in your suitcase or purse and go!

“I recommend taking 4-6 a day for a week before the trip, and then 2-3 a day during vacation and packing extra in your suitcase in case you do ave any stomach issues.”

Everyone can benefit from taking probiotics on a daily basis, but especially so when traveling. Still, it doesn’t mean you can eat or drink whatever you want and not get sick. Taking the usual precautions while traveling continues to be the best preventive measure.

 

It takes guts®… to enjoy your vacation!!fb

Trending: Coconut Water

 This week, I am going to be talking about the latest trends in the Natural Products and Wellness industries. Over the past year, several trends have come and gone for natural products consumers, as the experts seem to be constantly changing their minds on what is really good for you and what is a hoax. Today we look at Coconut Water, which has come to be known as “Mother Nature’s sports drink.” Because it is low in calories, high in potassium, naturally fat (and cholesterol free), and thoroughly hydrating, the rising demand for coconut water has turned it into the latest health craze. Marketers and athlete endorsers promote the product as being able to help several conditions, from hangovers, to cancer, to kidney stones.
The following article is from Fooducate, a convenient health-tracking app you can download on your mobile device.
The Truth About Coconut Water

Coconut water is the clear liquid found inside the hollow center of a young, green coconut. It is not to be confused with coconut milk or cream, a liquid puree of the coconut meat. Coconut water is extracted from coconuts when the proportion of water to meat is highest.

The drink is very popular in central and south America, the Pacific Islands, and other tropical regions. Fresh coconut water is served directly from the fruit by cracking a small hole on top for a straw.

Coconut water has caught on strongly in the US, and is viewed by many as a viable alternative to sports drinks. An 8 fluid ounce serving of coconut water has only 45 calories, mostly from 2.5 teaspoons of naturally occurring sugar. A big benefit is the high potassium content – 500mg (equivalent to the potassium in a banana). Americans are deficient in potassium intake.

Various brands of coconut water tout themselves as all-natural energy drinks. They list health benefits such as electrolyte replenishment, alkaline balance, kidney cleansing, and more. Whether all these health benefits are true or not, coconut water beats Gatorade and other sports drinks because it has less ingredients, less chemicals (colorings), and less sugar.

However, water trumps them both. Unless you are working out for more than an hour, water and and a banana will do you just as good as any coconut water drink. And for less money too.

Bottom Line
Water trumps all for hydration. If you want a somewhat exotic sweet treat, try coconut water.

Supermarket tips
When buying coconut water, choose a product that lists only coconut water as its ingredient. Avoid products with added juices or flavors as they will add more sugars and calories to your beverage.
In conclusion, when you are craving a sweet drink and water just isn’t doing the job for you, grab a coconut water instead of a sports drink or a soda. Here are 5 additional reasons from MindBodyGreen to try out the latest health trend, Coconut Water:
Coconut Water
1. It prevents dehydration.
Coconut water helps maintain the body’s fluid levels and its potassium content helps maintain water pressure within cells and blood. In developing countries where clean water is scarce, coconut water can be life-saving and save people suffering from diarrhea, dysentery, or cholera.
2. It fuels your brain and muscles.
Due to its electrolyte content, coconut water improves nervous system function and nerve transmission. It also helps prevent muscle spasms and cramps.
3. It fights aging.
Coconut water contains a compound called cytokinin, which protects cells from aging and cancer.
4. It aids digestion.
Improves digestion and metabolism through bioactive enzymes. It can also aid the absorption of food
5. It supports immune function.
Its Lauric acid content is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral. It boosts the immune system in fighting infection whilst helping to eradicate intestinal worms and candida.