Currently more than ¾ of Americans are overweight and more than 1/3 are obese. These numbers are increasing each year. The average middle age weight gain is 22 lbs. Obviously these numbers prove that losing weight is no easy feat.
What’s alarming is that carrying around extra belly fat is linked to just about every disease including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, liver and gallbladder disease, sleep and breathing problems, osteoarthritis, low self-esteem, all types of cancers and even death.
What is even more scary, is that studies have found that being 20 lbs overweight more than doubles your risk for heart disease and triples your risk for developing cancer.
Below are the most overlooked weight loss strategies that if address could help you lose 10, 20, 30 or even 100 lbs to reclaim their body and health.
1# NOT MANAGING STRESS
You can be eating all the right food and exercising consistently, but if you’re not managing your stress well, your waistline will be greatly affected. Stress is an inescapable part of the human condition, and we all experience stress on different levels and in different ways.
Stress not only causes weight gain, by keeping us up at night but can lower our immune systems making us susceptible to getting sick.
What happens when we feel stress is our bodies ‘fight-or-flight’ (sympathetic nervous system) is activated, reacting to a stressful or perceived stressful event. Notice how I said “perceived stressful event,” because nothing even has to happen for us to activate the stress response. Worrying is a perfect example of this type of stress.
Our bodies produces larger quantities of the chemicals cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline, which trigger a series of physical events from higher heart rate, heightened muscle preparedness, sweating, and alertness; all of which help us protect ourselves in a dangerous or challenging situation.
We don’t want to be walking around in a state of this type of stress on a consistent daily basis, because when you are stressed, your body produces cortisol which increases appetite. Cortisol also stimulates the growth and the manufacturing of new abdominal fat cells.
This increase in fat storage increases belly fat. Belly fat is the unhealthiest fat on the body. When cortisol levels are high, serotonin levels are lowered. Serotonin is an important brain neurotransmitter that promotes a ‘feel good’ feeling. Low serotonin causes carbohydrate cravings and depression.
When we feel stressed, many non-essential body functions are also affected and slowed down, such as our digestive and immune systems. This is another reason chronic unmanaged mental/emotional stress causes weight gain, illness and disease.
When we are stressed, the following physical responses happen:
*Stress hormone cortisol released (leading to belly fat)
*Our digestive system slows down
*Immune system goes down
*We do not sleep
The effects of stress on the mind include feelings of anxiety, depression, forgetfulness, mental fog, irritability, restlessness, sadness, fatigue, burnout, and anger.
Which can cause…
1. Eating too much or too little
2. Food cravings
3. Drug and alcohol abuse
4. Relationship problems
5. Rash, poor decisions
Don’t let stress sabotage your weight loss success. Learn to powerfully deal with it using one or all of these proven effective stress busting techniques:
1. Meditation- Studies show that having a daily practice greatly reduces chronic uncomplimentary stress by normalizing blood pressure, reducing tension and perception of stress, helping cope with pain and loss, improving the immune system and greatly increasing concentration and mental focus.
2. Breathe Exercises- These can be as simple as taking ten deep breaths in and out through your nose and can help your body to slow down and greatly reduce stress.
3. Being in Nature- A recent study done in Japan showed that even looking at a picture of nature can greatly reduce chronic stress. Simply placing pictures of beautiful nature scenes at your desk or in your home is a great strategy but even better is getting outside as much as possible to a park, beach, lake or mountain area to decompress.
4. Physical Exercise– Science has now proven that exercise can help you become more resilient to stress. A recent research study conducted by Princeton University has found evidence that exercise actually reorganizes the brain to be more resilient to stress. They also found that physical activity reorganizes the brain so that it’s response to stress is reduced and anxiety is less likely to interfere with normal brain function (Princeton 1). This new evidence has provided yet another great reason to incorporate exercise into your daily lifestyle. Not only does exercise induce an immediate reduction in stress levels, it is now proven to help recondition our brains to respond better to stressful situations in everyday life and reduce anxiety.
#2 NOT GETTING QUALITY SLEEP
Many people struggle with not being able to fall asleep. In fact, prescriptions for sleeping pills topped 56 million in 2008-up 54 percent from 2004- with over $5 billion in sales in 2010. Not getting optimal sleep can throw off your hormones leaving you feeling hungry, cranky and tired throughout the day.
The main hormones involved are:
Ghrelin, produced in the gastrointestinal tract and stimulates appetite.
Leptin, produced in fat cells and sends a signal to the brain when you are full.
Cortisol, most commonly known as a stress hormone and also regulates appetite.
Insulin, produced in the pancreas and regulates blood sugar.
Growth Hormone, regulates the body’s proportions of fat and muscle during adulthood.
The quality of sleep and the right amount of deep sleep is just as important as the quantity of sleep.When you don’t get adequate sleep, leptin levels decrease; therefore, you don’t feel as satisfied after you eat. Also, a lack of sleep causes ghrelin levels to rise, which means your appetite is stimulated, so you want to eat more. The combination of these two hormones causes overeating because you feel hungry even if you are full.
Sleep loss may interfere with the body’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates which leads to high levels of blood sugar. A rise in blood sugar promotes the overproduction of insulin. This also can lead to the storage of body fat and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance occurs in diabetes.
Articles published in The Journal of the American Medical Association and The Lancet suggest that sleep loss may increase hunger and negatively affect the body’s metabolism, which may make it more difficult to maintain or lose weight.
When you don’t get optimal sleep your body becomes out of sync with its natural sleep-wake cycles or circadian rhythms, which leads to disturbances in hormone regulation.
Abnormal circadian rhythms have been associated with weight gain, obesity, diabetes, depression and many other diseases because of these disturbances.
The most common reasons most people have trouble sleeping is because of stress, consuming too much caffeine, drinking alcohol or not having an ideal sleep environment. Usually it’s a combination of a few of these factors.
If you’re drinking excessive amounts of coffee and having a few drinks in the evening, cutting back on both of these practices is a good place to start.
#3 SALAD SABOTAGE
First congrats on choosing to eat a salad. The #1 missing food in the American diet today is greens. But when it comes to a salad, you must be a savvy salad connoisseur to make sure that your salad isn’t packing on as many calories as the bacon cheeseburger you just chose it over.
The challenge with salad is to not load it up too much with toppings and heavy dressing, while not making it so skimpy that it will leave you with lingering hunger. You want to feel full, satisfied and energized after eating a salad, not like you want to eat your hand.
The salad sabotage doesn’t happen in the leafy greens or the raw vegetables that are added.
The sabotage occurs in two specific areas:
1. Using too much or the wrong kinds of dressing
Beware! Most commercial dressings are loaded with oil, fat and sugar. It’s super important to read the labels of the salad dressings you buy and when you’re ordering a salad at a restaurant, ask for a lite dressing on the side so you can decide how much goes in. The best way is to just make you’re own salad dressing.
Note: One tablespoon of oil is about 120 calories. One tablespoon of dressing doesn’t go that far on a big salad.
2. Be mindful to not over do it with toppings
Adding toppings to a salad not only adds variety but it adds bulk to the salad, helping to leave you feeling satisfied. This is good. But the trick is to add toppings in layers and to be mindful which ones are more calorically dense–contain more calories and not to over do it on these toppings.
The main topping to watch out for is cheese, which is both high in calories and fat. Nuts are also high in calories and fat, but contain much healthier fats than cheese. Nuts are both healthy and filling so using just a small handful will help fill you up and stay full.
Stick to topping your salads with mostly vegetables and 1-2 servings of a lean protein such as beans, eggs, organic animal protein, tofu, nuts and seeds.
I hope these 3 weight loss strategies help you to naturally lose weight to experience how good your body is designed to feel. True healthy weight loss addresses the lifestyle factors that get out of balance and lead to overeating in the first place. Food can never fill what’s missing in your life.
True sustainable weight loss happens when you’re aligned with yourself, when you’re happy and fulfilled.
Are all addictions bad? The term addiction is usually used when someone is addicted to a harmful substance but an addiction can either be a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble) or be an unusually great interest in something. If we’re using the definition as “an unusually great interest in something” then an addiction could be actually be good thing.
So according to this definition not all addictions are bad…there can exist positive addictions. William Glasser, M.D., is a world-renowned psychiatrist actually wrote an entire book about it titled, “Positive Addiction”. He defines a positive addiction as a repetitive activity that you do non-self-critically that has a beneficial effect on your mind and/or body.
But unfortunately, most addictions today are not positive and we often don’t even realize we’re addicted to something, that’s negatively affecting the well-being of our minds and bodies.
Let’s dive right into the 5 Biggest Lifestyle Addictions Sabotaging Your Health (and how to beat them)
1. Sugar addiction by way of processed food
The scary reality is that according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture survey, Americans consume about 64 pounds of sugar per person per year and some studies suggested even much high amount… up to 150 lbs. per person per year.
This is because about 70% of the food we’re eating today, consists of processed artificial food; food that comes in a bag, box, can and is loaded with unnatural ingredients such as preservatives and artifical flavorings.
Sugar is found in desserts, snacks, fruit juices, fruits, prepared foods and beverages. Now you may be reading this and thinking “nah not me, I’m healthy I shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joes”, but even healthier grocery stores chains carry a lot of processed foods.
For example those “healthy” protein bars you’ve been eating may not be any better for your health then a candy bar (ok slight exaggeration but some really aren’t). If you find you have cravings for a certain snack, chances are they have got you hooked. They are the big business good manufactures who deisgn addiction into foods.
The big take away here is to start reading the labels of everything you buy, yes even food that looks “healthy”.
I know you probably already know you may be addicted to this one, but did you know that 54% of Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee every day according to Harvard News. That’s a lot of coffee no wonder there is a Starbucks on every corner of every major city in the US.
Honestly, 1 cup of coffee a day isn’t that bad, it’s usually what you’re adding into your coffee that’s killing you and adding to your coffee addiction– Sugar and antibiotic and growth hormone creamer… yikes!
Upgrade your coffee addiction by weening off the white stuff. If you like your coffee sweet try swapping refined sugar for a more natural sugar such as coconut palm nectar, then eventually weaning off all sweeteners together.
3. Checking your phone for social media, texts and email
Hooked on Facebook or Instagram? Can’t stop checking your phone for the incoming onslaught of texts and emails? We’ll you’re not alone. According to Time Magazine, American’s check their phone 8 billion times per day that’s an average of about 46 times every single day.
Phone addiction is real…next time you’re in public just take a look around you’ll likely notice 8 out of every 10 people are glued to their phones whether it be sitting at a red light in traffic, standing in line at the mall or even while working out in the gym.
Social media addiction is bad…real bad. How do you know if you addicted? Well how many times a day do you check your social media per day? Is your phone glued to your hand?
It’s sad but being addicted to social media has created a lot of disconnection between people and “real life” relationships.Next time you’re out to eat look around the restaurant, it’s not uncommon to see two people sitting across from each other glued to their phones instead of sharing each other’s company.
To beat this addiction I recommend turning your phone off or putting it on silent at a certain hour in the evening. Also not bringing it to the table when eating especially when with friends. Try scheduling times to check my social media throughout the week and sticking to your schedule. Turn off push notifications for social media to not be tempted.
It’s important to understand that the goal of each social site is user engagement (aka time you spend and interact on their platform) so they can sell and serve you more and more ads leading to more and more money for them. Simply put they want you on their platform as long as possible!
Don’t let them have your most precious asset…your time. Don’t get me wrong social media can be pretty awesome especially if you’re a small business owner or run an online business and can be used to do many amazing things like connecting with friends.
The key to not becoming a phone and social media addict is… to use social media and not let it use you!
The average American watches about 5 hours of T.V per day. Studies have found that watching T.V, puts us into a mild state of depression. Do you binge on Netflix T.V shows? Today it’s very easy to get sucked into an awesome T.V show and end up neglecting an important project, healthy habit like exercising, cooking or even an important relationship.
Most commonly people watch T.V after work or right before bed which can disturb sleep cycles because of the exposure to blue light. I think it’s safe to say that the average American is addicted to watching T.V.To find out if you’re addicted to the boobtube start by tracking how many hours you spend watching the it this week. Could you be using this time for something more productive and healthy?
I got to admit, I’m a bit of a chocoholic. It all started when my girlfriend began bringing home chocolate around “that time of the month”. Slowly but surely eating a piece here and there I soon found myself craving chocolate all the time.
Are you a chocoholic? The Mayans and Aztecs viewed chocolate as a sacred food and for good reason. Chocolate has many health promoting effects and can also be addicting because it contains both sugar and fat. Not all chocolate contains high amounts of sugar and fat but generally most chocolate does.
Some chocolate is better than others and by “better” I mean healthier. Eating high quality chocolate containing at least 70% cacao or higher is much better than eating milk chocolate loaded with sugar. Nonetheless chocolate is still high in fat and contains sugar so it’s best to limit your intake to a few pieces of high quality chocolate a day at most.
As with any addiction the key is really finding balance…which can be hard but nevertheless is possible. The first step in overcoming an addiction is always developing a keen awareness that you have an addiction. It’s essential to be self-aware of the forces that compel us to act. There are many simple strategies that work to bring these lifestyle addictions back into balance depending on the type and severity of the lifestyle addiction.
We all live unique lifestyles so some may work better than others depending on the person but again the first step is always simply realizing you’re addicted. The next step is either getting support via a therapist, health or life coach, or counselor or creating some boundaries and strategies to develop a plan to find more balance with whatever it may be sugar, your phone, caffeine, watching too much T.V or eating too much chocolate.
In the end, what we’re all really looking for through these addictions is more happiness and peace in in our lives. Choose your addictions wisely and notice when they are out of balance.
This weeks healthy in 21st century challenge is to evaluate which of the addictions you may have and try out one or all of my recommended tips to find your balance.
Wishing you freedom,
Like this? Please share!
Thanks for your support and sharing the gift of health with others 🙂
Each year thousands of new diet books are published, new weight loss pills, powders and medications created all in an attempt to fulfill the growing weight loss demand.
Worldwide obesity (abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health) has more than doubled since 1980.
According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, nearly one-third of the world’s population is now obese or overweight and nearly two thirds of Americans are overweight, and one third obese.
The world is experiencing an epidemic.
But what most people don’t realize is that there is a difference between weight loss and healthy weight loss.
We have been duped to believe that weight loss and healthy weight loss are one and the same. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Weight loss is simply the act losing weight by any means possible. This can be accomplished from not eating, taking synthetic appetite suppressants, chemical weight lose pills and injections, liposuction and manipulation of one’s caloric intake temporary such as going on a liquid diet.
Yes, these weight loss solutions do work and some of them work fairly well, but they work at the expense of your health and vitality and are temporary solutions.
These quick weight loss solutions address being overweight as a “symptom” but never address it at its root causes.
Quick weight loss methods lead to an endless cycle of weight loss and weight gain. Have you jumped from diet to diet? Weight loss program to weight loss program? Searching for the next “miracle weight loss solution” that will finally “fix” you once and for all.
The truth is that treating a symptom will never heal the root cause. In order to make weight loss stick the root cause of the weight gain must first be address.
Life in the 21st century has programmed us to want everything at the snap of a finger.
So we are marketed and sold “quick” solutions; “8 minutes in the morning to the perfect body”, “quick weight loss”, “lose 20 lbs in 20 days with this miracle pill”, “1 minute to a sexy stomach” etc.
Savvy weight loss marketers and publishers prey on the pain of those looking to change the way they look and feel by creating an illusion that healthy weight loss is easy.
Healthy weight loss isn’t easy, but it can be simple, fun and rewarding.
Healthy weight loss is losing weight in a natural sustainable and permanent way and the truth is, it’s not “easy”. Although “easy” is very subjective to the individual, easy to most people means not having to do that much work to accomplish a goal or task.
Treating the root cause of being overweight or obese isn’t “easy”. It takes work, commitment and at times can be uncomfortable but it can also be empowering because healthy weight loss is more than just about losing weight…
It’s about reconnecting and creating freedom in your body, discovering your passions, reigniting your relationships, accelerating your energy, and living a fully engaged vibrant life.
Healthy weight loss addresses the lifestyle factors that get out of balance and lead to over eating, using food as pure entertainment or to try a fill what’s missing in your life. The truth is food can never fill what’s missing in your life.
Have you ever used food as a substitute for other things you want in life but were too afraid to take action on? Do you use food to manage your emotions or as a reward? Do you eat when you feel lonely, bored, anger or stressed?
If you’re overweight or obese the answers to these questions is most likely yes. The answers to these questions also hold the keys to healthy weight loss. In order to change or shift something that’s out of balance, that something must first be in your awareness to be shifted.
Often times these feelings, frustrations and patterns are subconscious or have become so routine that we lose touch with them and they become automatic.
To experience healthy weight loss or what I like to refer to it “weight freedom” you must address the root mental and emotional issues that lead to eating too much and the wrong kinds of foods. Without addressing the emotional root causes for why we do, what we do, true lasting change can never occur.
To do this type of deep inner work takes a strong desire to change, an openness, and the courage to be vulnerable. Simply put, doing the inner work, yields amazing outer results…results that are real and that last.
Steps to Weight Freedom:
- Recognizing your unresourceful pattern. What situations, people or circumstances in your life lead you to overeat? Where do you feel powerless, out of control, worthless, afraid, and uncertain? What do you consistently focus on that is outside of your control? Honestly answering these questions will bring to the surface inner conflicts that need to be shifted to healthfully lose weight.
- Powerfully dealing with these inner conflicts. A good coach or therapist can help with this process. Working through deep inner conflicts can be challenging and scary but the end result by far outweighs the work in moving through them.
- Replacing bad habits (emotional eating) with good habits (taking a walk, breathing, reading a book, finding a passion project, starting a new relationship) this step only lasts when step one and two have been taken.
Often times people try to jump right to step three and are only successful for a short period of time until they fall back into their old patterns.
My hope is that this article has connected you with a clear path to truly take the necessary action to healthily and joyfully achieve your ideal weight.
The power to reclaim your weight and health rests in your hands.
There’s no greater satisfaction than seeing, feeling, and experiencing daily incremental improvement in your health and knowing YOU were the one responsible.
Healthy weight loss is possible. Think about all you’ll gain as a result letting go of the inner conflicts that have been unnecessary weighing you down for years.
Don’t believe the weight loss hype, do the inner work, change your lifestyle and experience how good your body is designed to feel….experience weight freedom.
After studying over 100 dietary theories, and hearing the frustrations of many clients, friends and family about their frustrating experience with diets and quick weight loss programs, and after helping many women holistically lose weight and keep it off, I’ve come to realize that there isn’t a “quick-fix” to weight loss because we aren’t broken.
Savvy marketers will try and sell their magic weight loss pills, potions and diets but the true healthy weight loss is and always has been an inner game that takes dedication, commitment, time and support.
Discover the 6 “No-Diet” Secrets to Permanent Weight loss:
In the guide I share…
- The 3 biggest lifestyle mistakes dieters make and how to avoid them with ease.
- What foods burn belly fat and 18 easy to make delicious fiber rich protein dense breakfast recipes.
- How stress is affecting your weight loss success and 4 effective techniques to powerfully deal with it.
Whether we realize it or not we all have a relationship with food. For some people it’s a good relationship and for others not so much. But regardless of whether it’s good or bad relationship, eating is a really intimate experience that affects our emotions. We literally are what we eat, and our health is directly determined by our food choices. The food we chose to eat, greatly affects our emotions which in turn affects our relationships. It’s so important to consider the relationship you have with food because food affects your relationship with yourself and with others.
Are you suffering from “hangry”?
Food can especially affect our intimate relationships. I know from personal experience… “We” my girlfriend and I, discovered this phenomenon on a extended Euro backpacking trip a few years ago. I’m a very positive upbeat person, but I began to experience what I later learned was “hanger” as known as angry as a result of being hungry. The “hanger” would usually strike while taking long train rides between countries. My “hanger” would eventually result in a snarky comment which then would lead to an unwarranted silly argument. Now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure she was also suffering from “hanger” as well.
What is “hanger”?
“Hanger” is actually a result of a drop in blood sugar leading to an physiological state change leading then a emotional state change. On a physiological level “hanger” is a drop in blood sugar also called hypoglycemia which can happen from not eating enough or not eating on a regular schedule aka going long periods of time without eating.
Signs and Symptoms of Hypoglycemia (happen quickly) can lead to…
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Sweating,chills and clamminess
- Irritability or impatience
- Rapid/fast heartbeat
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Hunger and nausea
- Blurred/impaired vision
- Tingling or numbness in the lips or tongue
- Weakness or fatigue
- Anger, stubbornness, or sadness
- Lack of coordination
As you can see from the list above hypoglycemia can manifest in many different physical and emotional ways. 
How to stop hanger in it’s tracks
The first step to overcoming “hanger” is to eat on a consistent schedule. A lot of people struggle with eating on a schedule but our body’s calibrate to our routines. A perfect example of this is your sleep/wake schedule.
Ever notice after several weeks of waking up at the same time with an alarm clock, that your body’s inner alarm starts waking you up at about the same time even when you’d like to still be asleep? Or maybe you poop at about the same time everyday? These are just two simple examples of how our bodies adapt to our routines and schedules.
To beat hanger eat three meals consisting of a lean protein such as wild-caught fish, bison, organic chicken or turkey, a green vegetable (any green vegetable will do) and healthy fat like an avocado. Eating 3 well balanced meals on a consistent time schedule will help balance the blood sugar rollercoaster which leads to being “hangry”. Try to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner around the same time each day if when possible. This process becomes a much easier when you plan your meals out before your week begins. Click here for a video on meal planning.
It’s also a good idea to keep a healthy snack around such as an apple, banana, almond butter or a health bar like a GoMarco bar for eating emergencies and for times that life simply gets in the way of your eating schedule. Overslept and no time for breakfast? Keep some healthy snacks ready to go and accessible for moments of chaotic haste.
Eat meals that are high in fiber and good fats. Foods that are high in fiber are sprouted grains, green leafy veggies, fruit, beans and seeds. Foods that are high in “good fats” include flax, hemp and chia seeds, nuts, avocados, and coconut.
So next time you’re feeling a bit irritable or angry for no reason, take note of when the last time you ate was… did you eat a healthy meal full of fiber, nutrients and good fat? Or was it a meal full of sugar and void of nutrients? Don’t be a victim of “hanger”.
Eat well, eat on a schedule and be happy 🙂
This week’s healthy in the 21st century challenge is to begin to eat on a consistent schedule by planning your meals out. Until next week live passionately on purpose.
Like this? Please share! Thanks for your support and sharing the gift of health with others 🙂
Recently kombucha has taken the 21st century health world by storm. Kombucha breweries are popping up left and right and you’re beginning to find more and more companies producing the fermented health beverage. Today you can walk into just about any larger grocery store and you’re likely to find kombucha in the cool beverage section. A bottle of kombucha costs around $3–$5 , but you can make kombucha yourself at home. A magical, cure-all, panacea… not so much. But nonetheless there are many health benefits to drinking kombucha.
The top 5 benefits of drinking Kombucha:
1. Kombucha has cleansing and detoxification properties
Kombucha contains glucaric acid, an organic acid that has been studied and shown to help prevent cancer, increase energy, and promote detoxification and cleansing within the body.
2. Kombucha is beneficial for the body’s pH balance and overall joint health
Kombucha contains glucosamines and hyaluronic acid, which benefit joint health.
3. Kombucha is very beneficial for digestive health
Kombucha full of enzymes and probiotics, which help naturally promote digestion.
4. Kombucha is a great source of antioxidants
Kombucha is made with black tea, which is high in flavonoids, to promote antioxidant protection, immune support, and fat loss.
5. Kombucha is great for promoting energy
Kombucha contains varying amounts of caffeine depending on the type of tea you use to brew it, and b vitamins to help support energy levels.
How is Kombucha made?
Kombucha is made from combining a bacterial culture called a scoby aka “the mother” with tea and sugar. Scoby stands for a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. It’s the scoby that creates the healthy probiotics and enzymes and also ferments the tea making it effervesce. Making it from scratch can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks depending on the size of your scoby. Click here to watch a video about how to make kombucha.
What does Kombucha Taste Like?
Unflavored kombucha tastes similar to an effervescence sweet but tart, vinegary, champagne. But many kombucha brewers are creating unique favors profiles by mixing in fruit juices and herbs which can make the kombucha tastes comparable to a soda (only a much, much healthier version).
How much should you drink?
I absolutely love kombucha…so much that I actually keep a keg of it on tap in my home. But kombucha should be drank in moderation no more than 1 cup per day. It does contain some sugar and depending on the way it’s brewed that amount can greatly vary so it’s always best to read the label.
Kombucha is an excellent replacement for soda, fruit juice, and even beer. Although it can be brewed with an alcohol content close to beer, it generally only contains a small amount of alcohol due to the fermentation process (usually around .5%).
The bottom line
Kombucha is a delicious healthy alternative to soda and sugary fruit juices. It contains probiotics (good bacteria), beneficial enzymes and b vitamins. But it’s best to enjoy in moderation.
This Month’s Healthy in the 21st century challenge is to try kombucha if you’re new to it or if you’re a long time kombucha try making it yourself. Let me know how it goes in the comments below.
Axe, Josh. “5 health benefits of kombucha.” draxe.com. Web 10 June 2016. Web <http://draxe.com/5-health-benefits-of-kombucha/>
“Kombucha”. Web 7/7/16. Web <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kombucha>
Over the past several years the organic food market has exploded, but is buying organic really worth the extra price?
First it’s important to understand what the term organic actually means. Organic as defined by the USDA stands for Food grown or raised without the use of additives, coloring, synthetic chemicals (e.g., fertilizers, pesticides,hormones), radiation, or genetic manipulation and meets the criteria of the U.S.D.A. Standard National Organic Program.
So simply put organic foods are not processed using irradiation, sprayed with dangerous pesticides, injected with hormones and antibiotics, grown in chemical fertilizers, genetically modified or contain chemical food additives. Confused? I was too…
Irradiation is a questionable method used in the preservation of today’s conventional foods. Essentially this process involves shooting X-rays or high energy electron beams from machines to increase a foods shelf life. This does kill some harmful bacteria, however, when food is irradiated, many nutrients are such as vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants are also destroyed. Irradiation also created untested compounds, referred to as unique radiolytic products or URPs. Scientists have not studied the long-term effects of these new compounds in our diet.
Pesticides are poisons designed to kill living organisms and are harmful to humans. Many pesticides that are still being used today were approved long before research linked these chemicals to diseases such as cancer. Today, there are hundreds of pesticides approved for use in the United States that present different health risks. A scary reality is that every year more than two billion pounds of pesticides are added to our food supply. That’s about 10 pounds per person per year! This is a major reason to do a detox at least once or twice per year. If you’re not eating organic food at the very least make sure you really wash your produce with a veggie wash.
Consuming farmed animals injected with hormones and antibiotics exposes our bodies to those same hormones and antibiotics because we actually eat, what we eat, eats too. Scientists now have clearly shown that these hormones can increase the risk of disrupted development and cancer in humans. Also the use of antibiotics in our farming practices has encouraged the evolution of new strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in our food supply. This is not only detrimental to our health but also to the health of the environment.
A genetically modified organism or GMO is a plant or animal that has been genetically altered by scientists to express different characteristic traits. There is a growing body of evidence that now connects GMOs with health problems and environmental damage. Not to mention, GMOs have only been in our diet since the mid 90’s and long term studies haven’t been done on their impact to the human body. Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe. In fact, in more than 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan and all 28 countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions and bans on the production and sale of GMOs. This is because GMOs are not only harmful to eat they also pollute our air, water and soil.
Here are the Top 10 reasons to buy and eat organic foods:
1. Keep chemicals off your plate. Pesticides are poisons designed to kill living organisms and thus are harmful to humans. Many approved pesticides were registered long before extensive research linked these chemicals to cancer and other diseases. Organic agriculture is a way to prevent any more of these chemicals from getting into the air, water and food supply.
2. Protect future generations. Children are four times more sensitive to exposure to cancer-causing pesticides in foods than adults. This is because they are smaller and therefore the dose is much stronger.
3. Protect water quality. Pesticides pollute the public’s primary source of drinking water for more than half the country’s population.
4. Organic farmers work in harmony with nature. Three billion tons of topsoil erodes from croplands in the U.S. each year, and much of it is due to conventional farming practices, which often ignore the health of the soil. Organic agriculture respects the balance necessary for a healthy ecosystem. Wildlife is encouraged by including forage crops in rotation and by retaining fencerows, wetlands and other natural areas.
5. Save energy. More energy is now used to produce synthetic fertilizers than to till, cultivate and harvest all the crops in the U.S.
6. Help small farmers. Although more and more large-scale farms are making the conversion to organic practices, most organic farms are small, independently owned and operated family farms. USDA reported that in 1997, half of U.S. farm production came from only 2% of farms. Organic agriculture can be a lifeline for small farms because it offers an alternative market where sellers can demand fair prices for crops. 5
7.Support a true economy. Organic foods might seem expensive at first. However, your tax dollars pay for hazardous waste clean-up and environmental damage caused by conventional farming. 6
8. Promote biodiversity. Planting large plots of land with the same crop year after year tripled farm production between 1950 and 1970, but the lack of natural diversity of plant life has negatively affected soil quality. 7
9. Nourishment. Organic farming starts with the nourishment of the soil, in turn producing nourishing plants. Well-maintained soil produces strong, healthy plants that have more nutrients than conventionally grown produce. 5
10. Flavor. Last but not definitely not least, organic food contains more nutrients than conventional food and simply taste better than conventional food.
So is organic food worth the extra price? The answer is absolutely. Now I know it may not be realistic to always eat all organic, all the time. But by trying to eat as much organic food as you can you’re not only insuring your health but the health of the planet. The truth is it’s the small things you do and don’t do that effect how you look and feel now and in the future.
Have you’ve been overindulging? Feeling tired and sluggish? Experiencing digestive discomfort such as constipation or bloating? Having trouble losing weight or experiencing skins issues such as acne? Chances are it’s time to detox.
What is Detoxing?
Simply put detoxing is removing impurities also called toxins from your body. Removing and cleaning out toxins will help your body fight disease and can reset your body systems creating an optimum internal health environment. It’s also a great way to jump into a healthier lifestyle and lose unwanted pounds fast.
There are many different ways to detox. But the common goal of most detox’s is to remove toxic buildup from body organs and fatty tissue as well as restore the digestive, lymphatic, circulatory and endocrine body systems. Often detoxing specifically helps cleanse the blood, liver, kidneys, intestines, lymph, and skin. Detoxing also called detoxification has been practiced in every culture around the world for centuries.
Detoxing is necessary especially in the 21st century because we live in such a toxic world. Sadly the need to detox our bodies has never been more important because of the toxic build up from the food we consume, water we drink and air we breathe has never been greater. Over the days, weeks, months and years toxins lodge and accumulate in our body tissues especially in the liver and fatty tissue which can cause weight gain, low energy, poor digestion and even an increase in the risk of developing diseases such as cancer.
Detoxing can greatly reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in our bodies which is at the root of all disease, as well as assists in fighting free radicals or cancer causing cells. It can also jump start our digestive system, increase energy, boost the immune system, help with weight loss, and create vibrant glowing skin.
3 Main Steps to Detoxing:
1. Toxins must be mobilized from their storage site inside fat cells
2. Transformed into compounds that our bodies can excrete
3. Eliminated from the body via elimination pathways (through the bowel, urine, and sweating)
A detox program can help the body in the following ways:
Give the liver, kidneys and digestive tract and other body organs a much needed break
Provide cells with nutrients to function properly and more efficiently
Promote the elimination of toxic impurities lodge in our body systems
Experts agree that detoxing at least once a year is a good idea. But depending on the type of detox, your current health, lifestyle, geographic location and unique biochemistry and health history detoxing a few times a year may be greatly beneficial and necessary to experiencing health.
How do you know if you need to detox?
These are all common signs it’s time to detox…
Easily feeling fatigued, tired and sluggish
Experiencing digestive discomfort such as constipation, bloating, or gas
Having trouble losing weight
Experiencing skins issues such as acne
Puffy baggy eyes
Irritability and mood swings
Should you Detox?
If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms or you eat a lot of takeout packaged processed foods, use commercial personal care products, have never done a detox, or find your becoming hypersensitive to eating certain foods, then a detox program will greatly benefit your health. Detoxing does for your body what changing the oil does for you car. Detoxing is kind of like hitting a reset or reboot button for you body.
Types of detoxes:
There are many different types and ways of detoxifying the body. The most common way is through a detox diet which usually includes drinking detox drinks such as fruit and vegetable juices and detox smoothies, taking detoxifying cleansing herbal supplements, fasting, and following specific detox recipes and protocols. These detox diets usually last any where from 3 to 30 days in length and usually involve a combination of a specific way of eating combined with herbal supplements. Many popular detoxes also recommend dry brushing, light exercise, drinking lots of purified water, stress management, good sleep, epsom salt baths, colon hydrotherapy, massage and sauna therapy in addition to following a detox diet plan protocol.
When choosing a detox it’s important to do your homework. Over the past several years cleanses and detoxing have become quite popular. Especially as celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Demi Moore and Beyoncé all tout their benefits. But many of the detox’s out there expensive, time consuming and involve days of running back and forth to the bathroom which just isn’t realistic for our busy 21st century lives.
Also after completing a detox it’s essential to learn how to eat after the detox. It doesn’t make much sense to cleanse your body, then return to toxic lifestyle habits after the fact. If you’re interested in detoxing your body naturally to restore energy, drop belly bloat and reset your body, I created an awesome FREE 1-Day Green Smoothie Detox Plan for you. Click here to get it now.
This is a great starter detox that will help your body naturally reset it’s self.
You can have the perfect diet and exercise program but if you’re not managing your stress well… you’re in big trouble. But by the end of this article you’re going to have some super effective and simple tools to find peace and smash your stress to pieces…for good.
So what is stress?
Stress is an inescapable part of the human condition, and we all experience stress on different levels and in different ways.
What we call “stress” is simply our body’s way of responding to a demand, perceived demand, challenge or a threat.
Stress is the root cause of the top three killers in the United States and can be linked to almost every disease. It has been called the #1 killer; linked to heart disease, cancer, strokes, and obesity. Stress keeps us up at night, lowers our immune systems (making us susceptible to getting sick) and causes weight gain. But not all stress is bad. Acute stress also called complementary stress is necessary for survival and can even enhance our problem solving abilities and athletic performance. It also helps us make decisions and respond quickly in life threatening situations.
The kind of stress that kills …is chronic stress, this is the kind that doesn’t go away and is extremely corrosive to our health. It seems this kind of stress is a part of our culture and, strangely, people are actually praised for having higher tolerances to chronic stress.
Specially what happens when we feel stress is our bodies fight-or-flight (sympathetic nervous system) is activated reacting to a stressful or perceived stressful event. Notice how I said perceived stressful event.. Because nothing even has to happen for us to activate the stress response… worrying is a perfect example of this type of stress.
So what happens is our bodies produces larger quantities of the chemicals cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline, which trigger a series of physical events from higher heart rate, heightened muscle preparedness, sweating, and alertness – all these factors help us protect ourselves in a dangerous or challenging situation. But we don’t want to be walking around in a state of this type of stress on a consistent daily basis . When we feel stressed many non-essential body functions are also affected and slowed down, such as our digestive and immune systems . This is another reason chronic unmanaged mental/emotional stress causes illness and disease.
When we are stressed the following physical responses happens
- Blood pressure rises
- Breathing becomes more shallow and rapid
- Our digestive system slows down
- Heart rate (pulse) rises
- Immune system goes down
- Muscles become tense
- We do not sleep
The effects of Stress on the mind include feelings of anxiety, depression, forgetfulness, mental fog, irritability, restlessness, sadness, fatigue, burnout, and anger. Which can cause…
- Eating too much or too little
- Food cravings
- Sudden angry outbursts
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Social withdrawal
- Frequent crying
- Relationship problems
- Rash poor decisions
We also tend to store Stress in our Bodies Especially in 3 areas
1.Upper back and neck- which leads to neck and headaches
2.Lower back- which leads to lower back pain and stiffness
3.Stomach- which leads to IBS, indigestion, gas, bloating and other stomach issues
We all store stress in our bodies, many people just haven’t connected with where they “store it”. So where do you store stress?
As I mentioned not all stress is harmful.
Complementary stress is the kind of stress that can have positive outcomes, examples of complemenary stress are exercising or studying for a test. From undergoing this type of stress one acquires greater strength and endurance from the exercise, and increased knowledge from the studying, so there are some benefits in sacrificing short-term discomfort for long-term gain.
Uncomplimentary Stress on the other hand makes up about 60% of our stress, and has very little benefit making it predominantly detrimental. Excess unmanaged uncomplimentary stress can lead to long-term health challenges, which is exactly why stress management is such an important aspect of wellness.
Top Stress Management Techniques
1. Meditation- studies show that having a daily practice greatly reduces chronic uncomplimentary stress by normalizing blood pressure, reducing tension and perception of stress, helping cope with pain and loss, improving the immune system and greatly increasing concentration and mental focus.
2. Breathe Exercises- Which can be as simple as taking ten deep breaths in and out through your nose, can help your body to slow down and greatly reduces stress.
3. Being in Nature- A recent study done in Japan showed that even looking at a picture of nature can greatly reduce chronic stress. Simply placing pictures of beautiful nature scenes at your desk or in your home is a great strategy but even better is getting outside as much as possible to a park, beach, lake or mountain area to decompress.
4. Physical Exercise– Science has now proven that exercise can help you become more resilient to stress. A recent research study conducted by Princeton University has found evidence that exercise actually reorganizes the brain to be more resilient to stress. This study, published May 1 in the Journal of Neuroscience, concluded that when mice were allowed to exercise regularly and were then exposed to a stressor (in this case, exposure to cold water) their brains exhibited a spike in the activity of neurons that shut off excitement in a brain region shown to regulate anxiety. They also found that physical activity reorganizes the brain so that its response to stress is reduced and anxiety is less likely to interfere with normal brain function (Princeton 1). This new evidence has provided yet another great reason to incorporate exercise into your daily lifestyle. Not only does exercise induce an immediate reduction in stress levels, it is now proven to help recondition our brains to respond better to stressful situations in everyday life and reduce anxiety.
I found that after just 20 minutes into exercise, a positive change takes place in my energy levels and mood. My energy is increased and my spirits are lifted.
“There is no stress in life, only a stressful response. How we respond to stress determines its effects upon us.”
This week’s healthy in 21 challenge is to lower your tolerance to chronic stress by starting an exercise program or trying one of the other stress busting techniques I spoke about in this episode. Don’t let another day, week or month go by without reaping the benefits of a reorganized brain to be more resilient to stress. You either can make excuses or make it happen!
Peace be with you and until next week live passionately on purpose
Like this? Please share!
Thanks for your support and sharing the gift of health with others 🙂