Favorites From Natural Products Expo West

This past weekend, Essential Formulas traveled to Anaheim to participate in the Natural Products Expo West trade-show. I have never seen so many natural products fanatics in one place… over 100,000 to be specific.  While it was impossible to try and visit every booth, I made the rounds a few times and picked up some exceptional products that I will continue to use beyond the weekend at the expo.

It never fails… I get sick at every single trade-show. This time was no different. The first day we arrived I started to get a sore throat and feel my lymph nodes expanding. However, I decided to fight it with everything I had and I told my body “NO!” you will not get sick this time! I honestly don’t believe I would have gotten out of bed much less enjoyed the expo without the following products.

ipad 31114 123I don’t think it was a coincidence that our booth was located right in front of Emergen-C and right beside North American Herb & Spice. Combined with Dr. Ohhira’s  Propolis product, these products allowed me to not just skate through the expo wanting to collapse afterwards, but to actually feel healthy and well! Emergen-C is a powder  packed with vitamin C, D, B, and many other healthy supplements that you mix with water. I honestly felt better after every bottle I drank. Just one packet gives you 1000mg of Vitamin C and Zinc as well as 1000 IU of Vitamin D. And besides its benefits for your immune system, it tastes good! The next product did not taste so good… but it worked like a miracle. North American Herb & Spice’s Oil of Oregano absolutely rocked my world. After using it just one time, I could start to feel my lymph nodes draining. I tried to take it straight the first couple of times, but I just couldn’t handle the after-taste. However, mixing a dropper full in with a glass of orange juice or a bottle of Naked juice solved the taste issue. I literally felt better after every time I drank it. By the end of the weekend, I no longer had a sore throat or swollen lymph nodes, and I primarily attribute that to this “miracle elixir.” My final health savior was Dr. Ohhira’s Propolis Plus, a supplement including probiotics and packed with antioxidants.. While the former 2 products kicked in for immediate relief, this product promoted my long-term health and wellness. I am no longer taking the other 2 products, but I continue to take this product daily and know that I would relapse without it.

If you have been reading my blog consistently, you know about my beloved French Bulldog puppy, Nellie.nellie's As I was walking the halls at the expo, I spotted a booth called “Nellie’s” so of course I had to check it out. Their logo was a blonde girl holding a French Bulldog named “Nugget” (one of Nellie’s nicknames), so I bought some of their natural home cleaning products to try out. I used the laundry nuggets when I got home to do several loads of laundry and they all came out smelling fresh and clean. I will definitely continue to use their laundry products, and not just because of the name of the brand. ipad 31114 122Speaking of Nellie, I also picked up some all-natural carpet cleaning products, since she tends to have about 2000 accidents a day. This product called Bac-Out is by Biokleen, and contains live enzyme cultures to eliminate pet stains and odors. Don’t use anything without enzymes to try and clean up pet messes. Bac-Out smells clean, but not like perfume, and doesn’t just mask the                                                                   smell, but actually gets it out. This product will from now on be a staple at my crazy-pet                                                                         household.

 

 

ipad 31114 132 Luckily for me, I got to walk around with beauty-guru Kelly Charles, who directed me to the best of the best in the beauty and body care departments. In high school, I endured a lot of ridicule for smelling like a “gordita.” AKA I stank! I literally tried everything, even prescription strength deodorant, but nothing could get rid of the “gordita” smell. I think I have finally waved goodbye (without sweat marks) to my stinky past and moved onto smelling like a fresh woman. For the first time, I tried Crystal Essence Mineral Deodorant Towelettes in combination with Dr. Ohhira’s Kampuku Beauty Bar soap, and I can unashamedly lift my arms without causing everyone around me to pass out. I use the Beauty Bar in the shower and the towelettes when I get out, and I stay smelling clean even after workouts. Not only do these products help me physically, but they put to rest my “gordita” high school reputation (I can’t believe I’m confessing this online!). My other favorite booth in the personal care department was Hyalogic. ipad 31114 128These products have completely changed my skincare regimen within just a few days. Although I obsess over skincare, I often get lazy and neglect taking care of my face. I also am notorious of switching products and never truly sticking to a regimen. I am so happy to finally have my skin care process down, and the answer I found was Hyaluronic Acid, a substance found naturally in the body. Lately, there has been a lot of buzz about Hyaluronic Acid being used in anti-aging products, and it has even been promoted by some as “the fountain of youth.” My Hyalogic skincare process goes like this: Facial Scrub in the shower, Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum after washing my face, Facial Mist throughout the day to moisturize and stay fresh, Lip Balm every time I remember it, and Cellulite Cream before bed. Most exfoliates should only be used 2-3 times a week, but this Facial Scrub is gentle enough to be used daily, which I love.

I am going to save my favorite natural foods from Expo West for another post, but I can assure you there are lots of new, natural, organic food products on the market that you will love. In the meantime, do yourself a favor and check out these great products.

Wanted: Germs

 

The word “germ” brings to my mind a mental image of the bacteria/slugs on the toenail fungus commercials. Toe fungusYou know the one where they lift up the yellow, crackling toenail, jump inside, and join their other slimy friends for a germ party. Gross! The words germs, bacteria, and bugs have become synonymous with “yucky”, however, not all bugs deserve this bad rap! In fact, going on a germ-killing mission, using products that claim to eliminate “99.9% of germs” may disable your immune system from reaching its full potential.

Today’s fast-paced lifestyle keeps the entire family active, from 3 year-old kids who already know how to operate iPads, to hard-working adults. A strong immune system is absolutely necessary in order to fight off seasonal illnesses and maintain healthy energy levels. Typically, when you start to feel “run-down,” that is your immune system trying to tell you to take it easy. A major factor in the strength of your immune response starts in the digestive tract, where about 80% of the body’s immune cells reside. I always thought my immune system was in my lymph nodes since that is usually where I fell the first signs of getting sick. But, long before your immune system triggers a response in the lymph nodes, it is either being built up or destroyed in your gut. You support your crucial immune cells in the digestive system by consuming…bacteria! Not the toenail fungus, germy bacteria, but Probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria.

According to  pharmacist, author, and holistic health expert  Ross Pelton, a 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 (call forth the slimy,green, toenail-bug mental picture) that come along.

“Due to overuse of antibiotics, stress, and other modern environmental and dietary issues, most people of all ages have a compromised probiotic population,” according to Dr. Fred Pescatore, author of the best seller Feed Your Kids Well. To maintain ideal health, the ratio of good to bad bacteria needs to stay at 85 to 15. However, 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, or its food, called the prebiotic. In other words, the good bugs need bugs!

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

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, but, contrary to what many people believe, this is not necessarily a good thing. Providing too much of a single bacteria strain, can actually trigger an immune response that causes the body to treat 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.

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 their demanding lifestyles.

 

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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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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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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.