Thursday, December 31, 2015

Simple Ways to Keep Healthy New Year's Resolutions

The new year is quickly approaching and this is the time many people start thinking about making their New Year's resolutions. In fact one out of three of all Americans make a New Year's resolution to improve themselves and many of those include health goals. But according to a study done in 2002, only about 46% of them stick to those resolutions within 6 months and even just a week after making them only 75% are still on task to meet their goals. Even if you are in that group that hasn't been able to see your health goals through to the end, it doesn't mean you are destined to fail and shouldn't make a New Year's resolution this year. Instead make a resolution to change the way you approach your New Year's resolution with some of the following tips.

Popular New Year's Resolutions
Slimming Down – Losing weight is probably one of the most made New Year's resolutions and is definitely a good one since being overweight can lead to a multitude of chronic diseases such as heart disease, increased LDL cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, respiratory problems, and some types of cancer. The key to weight loss health goals is to concentrate on making goals that change how and what you eat instead of going on a crash diet or starving yourself for a period of time. Making small changes to your eating habits and developing an exercise routine will help you be more successful at achieving your goal.

Reducing Stress – If you are under constant stress you are at risk for weight gain, heart disease, poor sleep, poor immune system function, inflammation, gastrointestinal problems, fatigue, and depression. According to Beth Israel Medical Center, in New York City integrative medicine specialist, Roberta Lee, MD, working too many hours, not enough time spent with family and friends, not getting enough sleep or exercise, and unhealthy eating are some of the ways we increase our stress levels. This is a complex goal, so don't try to completely change your entire stress level overnight. Instead pick a New Year's resolution that concentrates on eliminating one thing from your life at a time that causes you stress.

Stop Smoking – This is one of the health goals that can really help you get healthy, but one of the hardest. Many people who have been able to stop smoking will tell you that it took many times of trying before they were able to kick the habit. The key is to not give up just because you have tried and were not successful. There are a multitude of ways to help people stop smoking so keep going until you find one that works for you. Whether it be hypnosis, patches, behavior modification techniques, quitting cold turkey, joining a support group or any of the other support programs that exist, don't quit on quitting. The next thing you try just might be the way that will work for you.

Limit Alcohol – If you fall into the category of alcoholism, then this is definitely a great New Year's resolution and just like for stopping smoking is not an easy one. This is another of the health goals that you just have to keep on trying different methods until you find what works for you. If you are not alcoholic, but are a heavy drinker, then you still may make a resolution to cut back on your alcohol intake. A little wine has been shown to actually have some health benefits from the antioxidant resveratrol that it contains, but drinking in excess can damage your brain's neurotransmitters and cause loss of memory, depression, or in some cases seizures. Weight gain from drinking a lot of alcohol is also a concern as well as damage to your liver, increased risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.

Increase Z's – Not getting adequate amounts of good quality sleep can affect your mood and cognitive functioning, but it also can increase your risk for being overweight, type 2 diabetes, heart disease or attack, high blood pressure, and stroke. If you have trouble staying asleep or going to sleep, set making changes to your sleeping environment or your bedtime routine as a goal. If you just aren't making time in your busy schedule to get enough sleep then concentrate your goal on that area.

Keeping Your New Year's Resolution
These are just some of the more popular health goals that people use for New Year's resolutions, but certainly not a complete list. Your resolution can be anything that you can think of that will improve your life. Whatever you resolve this year, resolve to be successful with your health goals and just because you haven't been successful in the past, don't give up on your goals. Instead make some changes in the way you set your health goals so that you will be successful. First of all take some time to really think about what you want to achieve and set a goal that is realistic for you. Many people get carried away in the excitement of beginning a new year and set too many goals, goals that are too complicated, or that are unrealistic for them. That only leads to failure. Think about how to word your goal and keep it simple. Make it something that you believe you can actually do fairly easily. That may mean breaking your main goal up into several smaller goals. There are no rules. You get to make them up as you go. So there's nothing that says you can't do your health goals in small steps one at a time. For example, if your New Year's resolution is to lose weight, decide one eating habit that you can change and start there. It may be that you stop drinking a soda in the afternoon or that after lunch each day you go for a walk or that you only eat a half slice of cake for dessert. Start with what you can be successful at and go from there. Setting a goal that is too big or unrealistic will get you nowhere because once you find yourself not meeting the goal, you are more likely to give up completely.

How Is Your Goal Measuring Up?
Another tip for succeeding in meeting your New Year's resolution is to make a goal that has some type of measurement of success and then reward that success. In the example of weight loss, work into the goal a realistic number of pounds you will lose, an unhealthy food that you are working towards with small steps to eliminate from your diet, or a healthy food that you are striving towards adding to your diet a certain number of times a week. As you have success at each small step along the way towards your goal, reward yourself for the success. Of course, make the reward something that doesn't go against your goal. You don't want to reward yourself with a huge piece of chocolate cake if you are trying to lose weight. Instead give yourself a spa day or buy a special outfit in the new size you are striving to attain. Seeing that outfit in your closet just might help add to your motivation too.

Keep It Real
Once you have broken your goal down into small steps that will increase your likelihood of success, made sure it is a realistic goal for you to achieve, set a measurement to gauge your success by, and have a reward to keep up your motivation level; write down your goal on paper. This step takes your goal out of just being "something in your head" to being something real that you can see and touch on the paper. You might want to post the written version of your goal in several places as a reminder to stick with it. You can also increase your success level by keeping track of your progress in a journal. Write down each small step you are taking, a plan for accomplishing each step, and the reward you give yourself. Writing down details of what you did throughout the day can also help you find trouble spots that are working against success.

This may sound like a lot of extra work, but if you are really serious about your New Year's resolution, then finding a way to keep the excitement level about it going and making it a priority in your life will help you succeed. If you find yourself getting discouraged and getting off track with your health goals or not having time to devote to doing all these steps, stop and look for one thing that you can immediately do to work towards your goal. For example, say you are at work, feeling stressed and tempted to reach for a candy bar. Instead have a healthy snack such as these delicious bars with bluegreen algae, sprouted grains, greens, and almonds ready to substitute. Or decide to do some running in place to get your blood pumping and energy levels up. Just making the decision to do something right then in the moment to contribute to your goal instead of choosing something detrimental to your goal can help you get back on a success track. For many of your health goals, giving your body the extra nutrition it needs while you are making your changes will help you avoid unhealthy food choices that can lead to food cravings, stress, and unhealthy lifestyles choices in dealing with stress. This is when whole food supplements like this program of algae based supplements may be helpful. It will give your body a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, and phytonutrients from a blend of marine and freshwater algae, tonic mushrooms, and sprouted grasses and grains, some of the most nourishing foods on the planet; combined with probiotics and digestive enzymes. A body that is getting the nutrition it needs and the digestive support to get the most nutrition possible from the foods you eat will perform better and help you be in a better position to accomplish your health goals.

I hope you have a prosperous and healthy new year and that you can find some ideas here to help you achieve your health goals and be successful at your New Year's resolution this year. Just remember to keep at it, keep it simple, and go for it!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The X Factor: Filling in the Missing Nutrients in Your Diet

Did you know that most Americans have an X Factor in their diets? That missing X Factor comes from eating a diet that is lacking in certain necessary nutrients. This makes sense for those eating the SAD, Standard American Diet, that is full of processed foods with refined sugars, flours and fats. But even if we think we are eating healthy, according to Katherine Tucker, RD, PhD at Northeastern University in Boston, our bodies don't absorb nutrients as well as we age. Tara Gidus, RD, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association adds that many of us pay so much attention to what we shouldn't eat that we know is not healthy for us that we miss putting attention on what we should eat to get all the micronutrients we need. As nutrition experts such as Alan Gaby, MD, and others put it, we live in a society that is rich in calories and heavy on macronutrients such as protein, fat, and carbs that cause weight gain, but lacking in vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. This type of eating results in an overweight, malnourished population with health conditions ranging from migraines, anxiety and fatigue to more serious conditions like heart disease. Being aware of the nutrients that may be missing from your diet is the first step to filling in the X Factor and eating a completely nutritious and healthy diet. Here are the basic nutrients that experts agree are the most likely to be missing from our diets and why they are critical.

Calcium - Calcium not only builds strong bones, but is necessary for heart rhythm and muscle functioning. If you don't get enough calcium through diet, according to Kathleen Zelman, RD, WebMD's director of nutrition, the body will take it out of our bones leaving them more brittle. You can get the calcium you need from 3 servings of dairy a day as milk sugar helps in its absorption and dairy products have protein which is also needed for strong bones. But if you have trouble digesting milk products or have milk allergies, there are other foods that can help you get the calcium you need like salmon, kale, broccoli, spinach, and foods fortified with calcium such as cereals and juices.

Vitamin D - Vitamin D helps your body to absorb the calcium it needs as well as keeping your bone density levels good. More recently experts are finding vitamin D may help you from getting certain chronic diseases like type 1 diabetes, cancers, heart disease, depression, chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. According to The National Academy of Sciences most people need between 400 and 600 IU of vitamin D daily. The most common way we produce vitamin D is from exposure to sunlight, but there are also some foods that have vitamin D like salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and eggs. There are also foods that are fortified with vitamin D that can help add to your intake, but according to Julie L. Starkel, MS, MBA, RDN these mostly have vitamin D2 which must have sunlight exposure in order to be activated.

Potassium - Potassium is needed to keep blood pressure levels stable, contribute to strong bones, cell functioning, prevent kidney stones, maintain the balance of fluid and for nerves and muscles to function properly. Adults need 4700 mg a day and according to nutrition expert Lucia L. Kaiser, PhD from the University of California, Davis, this is most deficient in people whose diets are lacking in fruits and vegetables. Good food sources for potassium include bananas, sweet potatoes, tomato paste, yogurt, prunes, plums, potatoes, and tuna.

Fiber - Fiber helps keep your digestive system running well and helps to protect you from heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancers. It also helps you feel full without a lot of calories so it helps keep your weight down. The optimal amount of fiber to include in your diet varies by sex and age spanning 21 grams daily for women older than 50 to 25 grams for younger women and 30 grams daily for men over 50 to 38 grams for younger men. Good foods for fiber include bran cereal, black beans, sweet potatoes, pears, nuts, and most other fruits and vegetables.

Magnesium - Magnesium is needed for bone strength, immune system support, heart, muscle, and nerve functioning, and to reduce inflammation in the body, and for cellular energy. Our bodies lose magnesium when under chronic stress and from taking some types of medications. Women can get the 310 to 320 mg. of magnesium they need daily and men the 400 to 420 mg. they need from many vegetables especially leafy green ones, Brazil nuts, almonds, bran cereal, whole grains, beans, seeds, and halibut.

Vitamin A - Vitamin A is necessary to support healthy vision, immune system support and for growing tissues. Vitamin A comes in two types, retinol and carotenoids and many American diets are especially deficient in the carotenoids. That means eating sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, winter squash and foods such as cereals that are fortified with Vitamin A.

Vitamin C - Vitamin C helps keep your immune system strong, protects cells from damage, aids in producing collagen, and helps build strong bones and cartilage. Good food sources for this important antioxidant include red peppers, oranges, strawberries, cantaloupe, and broccoli.

Vitamin E - Vitamin E helps protect against cellular damage, supports red blood cells in taking oxygen throughout the body, supports immune system health, and fight off cancers, bacteria and viruses. Many people don't get the Vitamin E they need because many of the foods that contain this vital vitamin are also high in fat calories. While many are high in fats, they are the healthy fats that our bodies need. The trick is not to avoid these foods, but to eat them in moderation. AT or alpha-tocopherol vitamin E is the form that most adults need around 15 mg. daily and can be found in seeds such as sunflower and flax, oils like olive oil and flax oil, peanut butter, almonds, tomato sauce, avocados, whole grains, and leafy green veggies.

Iron - Iron is necessary for red blood cells to take oxygen from the lungs to all the body's cells, to maintain energy, and prevent anemia. A deficiency can also affect mental abilities such as memory, attention and being able to learn new things. Women optimally need 18 mg. daily of iron and men need 8 mg. daily. Good foods for iron include beef, poultry, spinach, kidney beans, and lentils. Julie L. Starkel, MS, MBA, RDN advises that if you get your iron from plant sources, you can absorb it better by also eating them with vitamin C foods. 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids - Omega-3 fatty acids are an unsaturated fat needed for brain health, heart health and vision health and can help reduce risks of rheumatoid arthritis, macular degeneration, Alzheimer's, depression, and inflammation. One study done at Harvard in 2013 reported that high levels of EPA and DHA omega-3 increased life longevity by 27% and reduced the risk of death from heart failure by 35%. One of the reasons for a deficiency in omega-3 is that most Americans eat too many foods high in omega-6 fatty acids found in abundance in processed foods with unhealthy fats and those keep the omega-3's from being effective. Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel are some of the best sources for omega-3 and experts advise eating fish two to three times weekly. You can also find omega-3 in grass-fed meat, chia seeds, hemp seeds, eggs, walnuts, flaxseed, canola oil, soybeans, and olive oil. Another great alternative is to get omega-3 the way fish do, from algae. Even better get a combination of wholefood supplements in convenient packets with two forms of AFA bluegreen algae, probiotics and digestive enzymes to help you squeeze all the nutrients you can out of the food you eat.

Wholefoods are definitely the best way to get the nutrition you need for a healthy body, but when you can't get all the nutrients you need from foods, you can get help from wholefood supplements. Algae based supplements are a good choice for a wide range of nutrition including the micronutrients so often missing from our diets. In addition, this stem cell support algae supplement gives you the antioxidant protection so important for fighting off free radical damage that attacks body cells and this immune support algae supplement that combines microalgae with a variety of mushrooms shown to boost immunity can help you fill in some gaps. Supplements certainly don't take the place of eating a well-balanced diet, but with all the challenges we have between busy schedules and nutrient deficient food sources, this type of wholefood supplements can help you erase the X Factor from your meals.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.


Thursday, December 24, 2015

SAD During Holidays? Give Yourself a Boost!

Are you SAD during this holiday season? If you are, you may be surprised to discover that you are not alone. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, Seasonal Affective Disorder, or feeling "down", usually during the late fall, winter, and early spring, happens in response to the decreased amount of sunlight. There is also a less common form of SAD that occurs in the summer. Dr. Weil notes that a significant number of people are affected by SAD: " Between four percent and six percent of people in the United States are believed to suffer from SAD. Another 10 percent to 20 percent experiences a milder form of winter-onset SAD."

Symptoms of SAD
If you suffer from SAD, especially during the shorter winter days, then you are likely to feel slow, lethargic, depressed, perhaps gain weight, and generally feel blue. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA): "A drop in levels of serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood, may play a role; reduced sunlight can cause serotonin levels to fall." Dr. Weil notes that lack of vitamin D is also crucial.

Natural Solutions for SAD Symptoms
There are numerous natural solutions to SAD symptoms recommended by doctors and researchers, including Dr. Weil. These include:

  • Light Therapy: Since the body is responding to decreased amounts of light each day, one solution is to sit in front of a special full spectrum light source for half an hour per day. This is reportedly useful for up to 80% of patients with SAD symptoms.
  • Vitamin D: Dr. Weil notes that 70% of the U.S. population is low on vitamin D, the vitamin that comes most commonly from exposure to sunlight. Many physicians recommend a daily minimum dosage of 2000 IU of vitamin D per day to combat symptoms, but note that higher doses may be necessary.
  • Sunlight in a Capsule: Many nutritional counselors have long suggested that people suffering from SAD take various forms of microalgae, especially AFA blue-green algae, because these microalgae literally capture sunlight through the process of photosynthesis. When humans ingest this form of microalgae, it is like taking a capsule of pure sunlight, with all the accompanying benefits. The core of AFA blue-green algae has also been linked to increased serotonin levels in the brain.
  • B-vitamins: B6 and mutli-B vitamins can help boost mood during the darker days that can cause SAD symptoms.
  • Fish Oil, Seaweed, and Microalgae: All of these are sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are important to emotional balance and brain function.
  • Move Closer to the Equator: Although this might not be feasible, it is suggested if possible since the light from the sun is up to 13 times stronger than light from light boxes.

There are also a variety of healthy foods from which you can get enough vitamin D. The key message is that your body needs vitamin D to maintain a healthy physical, mental, and emotional balance. So if you feel SAD during the holiday season, check your vitamin D levels. If you really want to get detailed, get your doctor to prescribe a blood test, which is the only true way to gauge your levels of this crucial vitamin. Best of all, when you do get balanced levels of vitamin D and perhaps change a few lifestyle and eating habits, you will feel much jollier this holiday season!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.

Image courtesy of  stockimages  /


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Getting Great Sleep During the Holidays

So many fun things to do around the holidays that sometimes getting enough sleep is a problem. And on top of that the holidays do bring on extra stress. Missing sleep and being stressed both can not only leave you grumpy and not so fun to be around, but can also add to weight gain. With all the extra eating at the holidays, who needs even more weight gain? Not me! You can get the sleep you need and control your stress with natural solutions so that you can enjoy all the holiday fun and those around you will be able to enjoy being around you.

Interacting and having fun with others is actually one way of dealing with stress. Less stress means easier to fall asleep at night. What better time to be able to engage with others than at the holidays. Women in particular, according to Shelly Taylor, PhD, a UCLA researcher, with good relationships with friends and their children tend to sleep better. Social engagements during the holidays can actually increase oxytocin levels that block stress chemicals.

Move It
Associate professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Dr. Kalyanakrishnan Ramakrishnan, reports that exercise is as beneficial to sleep as drugs taken for insomnia. University of Arizona studies corroborate this, reporting women walking even just 6 blocks a day had better sleep. This is due to exercise lowering the levels of stress hormones your body produces. Just by adding in physical movement to your day you can get to sleep quicker and increase your amount of sleep by as much as 42 minutes. Be sure to stop exercise within about 3 hours of going to bed though so your body has time to wind down and relax. Even if your holiday activities keep you from your normal exercise routine, find substitutions that you can do. Get friends and family to go for a walk with you, have a snowball fight, walk around a mall looking at decorations if the weather is bad; anything that gets your body moving will count.

Bedtime Snack
If you are already doing a lot of eating around the holidays you may not be hungry before bed, but just having a glass of milk with the amino acid tryptophan can help you get to sleep faster. Nancy Foldvary-Schaefer, DO, MS, Director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Cleveland Clinic, recommends something light before bed if you are hungry like fruit or granola with your glass of milk. Cheese and crackers make another good bedtime snack. There are other foods that are definitely not conducive to sleep that you should avoid like those with lots of sugar, processed carbohydrates, or with caffeine. You'll also find it easier to get to sleep and that you will have better sleep by stopping all eating about 2 hours before bedtime. If you eat a lot just before bed, your body is putting a lot of energy into digestion and not getting the down time it needs to rejuvenate. Be sure to go easy on the alcohol too at your celebrations. Alcohol may make you go to sleep faster but it interferes with your REM sleep so you don't get as good a quality of sleep.

Control Your Schedule and Domain
It's tempting to want to stay up late during the holidays attending parties or just visiting with family you maybe don't see very often, but keeping as close to possible to your regular bedtime will help you get the rest you need to keep up with all the holiday fun. Make your bedroom your domain that no one else (of course with the exception of your significant other) is allowed into. Take control of your schedule and your domain by making sure both help you get the sleep your body needs to refresh itself. When you start feeling tired, don't push yourself to stay up just because everyone else is. Instead excuse yourself and go to bed. There's always more time to visit tomorrow. If you feel there is a special event you don't want to miss that will keep you up late, then plan for it with a nap earlier in the afternoon. In addition to controlling your schedule to make sure you have enough sleep time, take control of your bedroom environment making it conducive to better sleep. For example, before going to bed for the night, start dimming the lights as this will help your body produce melatonin which is the hormone responsible for regulating your circadian rhythm that is responsible for the cycle of sleeping and waking the body goes through. Making the room as dark as possible, using low watt light bulbs, avoiding the TV or computer which give off light much like daylight, turning off outside Christmas lights, and any other light sources right before bed can help you get better sleep.

Supplement Your Sleep
Taking one or two capsules of AFA bluegreen algae, especially the form with the cell wall removed, can support relaxation in the brain and allow you to get a peaceful night's rest. Adding some probiotics to this such as two to four capsules of bifidus can help with digestive symptoms that may interfere with sleep and lead to more restful sleep as this type of bacteria aid in producing the calming and soothing B-vitamins that can help you relax and wind down at night. Taking digestive enzymes throughout the day, at meals and in between, can help your body digest all the extra foods you may indulge in at the holidays. This extra digestive support leaves your body free to take a break when it's time to sleep instead of having to keep going and expending energy on digestion. And if you are traveling or just attending a lot of holiday events away from home, you'll find these packets of AFA, probiotics, and enzymes are easy to slip in your purse or wallet to take with you.

You can still have fun at the holidays without wearing yourself to a frazzle. Make sure you take time to enjoy your holidays, but take good care of yourself too by making sure you get good quality sleep. Lower stress and better sleep sounds like a great holiday gift to give yourself.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.

Image courtesy of  imagerymajestic /



Thursday, December 17, 2015

Make Your Own First Aid Kit

As you are traveling for the holidays, vacation, business or any reason you have to be away from home it is always a good idea to make your own first aid kit to take with you if you subscribe to the natural remedy philosophies of treating what ails you. When you are traveling it is not always easy to find your favorite natural remedy and if you already aren't feeling your best then you certainly don't want to be running all over a strange town looking for ingredients or herbal remedies. If you don't have your own favorite natural remedies for common ailments, then perhaps you'll find some here to start using at home and on the road. When using oils, be sure you do get essential oils and not just fragrance oils for the most effectiveness.

Immune System Support
Before hitting the road it is always a good idea to make sure your own natural immune system is in really good shape and performing at its best. This will give you the most protection from germs you encounter traveling in airports, bus stations, restaurants, public restrooms, and all the other strange environments you encounter. If you are traveling to other countries or places with different altitudes, water, or sanitation than you are used to, your immune system may have to work overtime so you'll want it to be in tip top shape. Echinacea is one of the herbs that has been found to help boost the immune system or that can be helpful to fight off some types of illness if you use it as soon as you begin feeling symptoms. Echinacea has antibacterial and antibiotic properties and can be found as a tincture or as a tea. It works particularly well in conjunction with Vitamin C which is also good for an immune system boost and can be found as tablets or powders. WGP beta-glucan, a special ingredient found in baker's yeast that has been shown to have a number of immune-boosting properties, and a variety of mushrooms that have antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties are some other ingredients to stock up on to boost your immune system. An easy way to get not only the beta-glucan, but also reishi, cordyceps, maitake, shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Agaricus blazei mushrooms, with astragalus and nutritional AFA bluegreen algae is with this immune support supplement.

Cuts, Scrapes, and Infections
Goldenseal powder or All-Heal creams or ointments can be used on cuts to avoid infection and help in healing as they have antibacterial and antibiotic properties. If your cut is bleeding quite a bit, cayenne powder has been used to stop bleeding. If you have a scrape or scratch, tea tree oil is a good natural astringent to clean it up and can be useful to use on fungal conditions like athlete's foot. Atomidine is a special form of iodine that will disinfect any injury and take the pain and sting out of most injuries. Another natural remedy for open cuts or scrapes is to mix spring water with acidophilus and powdered blue-green algae to make a paste. Then apply it to the cut or scrape and either use a bandage or leave uncovered to dry in the open air to support the body's natural healing processes. You can also dilute this paste more and use it for sunburn or skin irritations such as poison ivy. 

Stomach and Digestive Problems
If you find yourself with an upset stomach or feeling nauseous, there are a variety of herbal remedies that can be helpful. Among these are ginger, peppermint, and baking soda. These can help with motion sickness from traveling in a car or by water too and help relieve gas or bloating. If you suspect your upset is of the parasitic variety from unclean water or food, goldenseal can help clear the parasites from your digestive tract. If you have contracted food poisoning then activated charcoal may be a better alternative. This can be used when symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea and if you suspect poisoning then definitely call the poison control center for advice and/or seek out emergency medical care. After treatment for food poisoning, ginger can help to soothe the stomach. Apple cider vinegar works well for several types of digestion problems including indigestion as well as gives a boost to your immune system. Indigestion or heartburn can be helped by drinking baking soda mixed in water. Probiotic supplements can be used during and after an illness to replace gut bacteria that are a necessary part of the immune system functioning. One of the conditions we all dread when traveling is diarrhea. Goldenseal in capsule or powder form can help kill off microorganisms causing diarrhea, but should not be taken if you are pregnant. My favorite natural remedy for diarrhea however is Ume Plum balls or tar which are made from the umeboshi plum. This substance is so concentrated that it appears purplish black and is extremely alkaline. Ume plum tar is great for preventing jet lag and immediately soothing any sort of digestive upset including getting diarrhea under control quickly. If you have the opposite digestive problem and find yourself constipated, magnesium tablets, capsules, or powder can help you out as can taking an extra bifidus probiotic supplement.

Bruises, Swelling, or Soreness
For bruises, swelling or muscle soreness, Arnica is a homeopathic remedy that can be taken as pellets or that you can find in a cream or gel form. This isn't for use on open cuts, but more for those bumps and bruises that leave you feeling sore or for a sprain or strain connected with soft tissue injuries. Magnesium can be found in tablet, capsule or powder form and is useful as a muscle relaxer as well as being soothing to your mood. Anytime you have chronic pain or pain from injury and strains, this stem cell support supplement is a good addition. Having healthy, well-nourished stem cells allows them to help the body repair itself as stem cells can travel to any area in the body and become any other type of cell needed to repair damaged cells.

Anxiety and Stress
Traveling and holiday traveling in particular often brings on anxiety and stress. Rescue Remedy is a Bach flower essence remedy you can find easily in most health food type stores and works wonders on helping relieve anxiety and stress whether it is mental, emotional, or physical. Chamomile is another natural remedy that works well when you need to calm down. It can be found in tincture form or as a tea and not only can help you relax, but also has antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties so it can also help with indigestion and soothe irritated skin. Taking extra probiotics of acidophilus and bifidus also helps reduce stress as your own natural friendly bacteria in your gut aid in the production of B vitamins that help you stay calm in times of stress.

Mouth Pain
For pains of the teeth, gums and mouth, clove oil can help numb the pain until you are able to seek dental help. It also has antibacterial properties so can help keep infections in the mouth from spreading. The oil should be diluted in water and even though you can use it in your mouth, it shouldn't be swallowed.

For headaches, essential oils of lavender or peppermint work great. You can use lavender oil for aromatherapy and inhale the scent, rub on pressure points inside your wrists and under your nose, or rub it on your temples. It also has the added benefits of anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties and is great for cleaning dirty surfaces that might have germs. You can also get lavender tea to help in relaxing. Peppermint oil can be applied on the temple, behind ears, or on feet to help with headache pain.

Aloe vera is good for relieving the pain of sunburn, other types of burns or scalding, and blisters. You can break off a spine from the plant and squeeze the juice out of it or for traveling find an aloe vera gel.

Cold or Flu Symptoms
Herbal remedies for cold and flu type symptoms seem to work best when you start them as soon as you feel the first symptoms coming on. Goldenseal, echinacea, elderberry, slippery elm, and zinc can be found in lozenge form, tablets, or tinctures and are good for sore throats as well as other cold and flu type symptoms. Eucalyptus oil can be used with steam for inhaling to help with sinus infections as well as cold and flu symptoms. We talked earlier about how probiotics help with digestion and can help boost your immune system, but they can also work like a natural antibiotic. When you feel cold or flu symptoms coming on, take 6 to 8 acidophilus with a glass of spring water and take 2 more every 2 hours until symptoms are alleviated.

Bug Bites
The best way to take care of insect bites is to not get them in the first place. This is when using citronella can be useful. You'll find this ingredient in many herbal type insect repellants. Just remember to use the herbal varieties more often, about every 2 hours, and use more of it than the chemical varieties. If you do get bit, witch hazel extract, baking soda with water paste, or diluted peppermint oil can all help provide relief.

There are many natural remedies that work to relieve ailments if you are looking for alternatives to typical medicines with chemical bases. The ones mentioned here can get you started with some basics to try. Then explore the internet and books for natural remedy treatments and you'll find many, many more to help keep you and your family healthy naturally. Of course there will always be circumstances in which you need to seek emergency medical care or consult with your healthcare provider so none of these remedies is intended to replace competent medical care. But for some small acute conditions, natural is a great way to go.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.

Image courtesy of  Mister GC /


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Healthy Happy Digestion During the Holidays

Holiday time is great isn't it? With all the colorful decorations, extra time off work, gift giving, family and friends around, and of course all the great food. But holiday time can also mean a lot of extra work and stress preparing for them, traveling in stressful weather conditions, and that great food isn't always in the healthy food category which can mean digestion problems like gas, bloating, diarrhea, heartburn and constipation. Between the types of food we indulge in and the amount of overeating we do, our digestive systems can't always keep up. As you are getting ready for your holiday fun, add taking probiotics and digestive enzymes to your list to help you get extra digestive support.

Digestive Enzymes
Digestive enzymes work in your digestive system in conjunction with hydrochloric acid and bile salts to break down the foods you eat in order for the body to use the nutrients from them. Without enzymes doing the job of breaking foods down, the food would sit in the digestive tract which would negatively affect the immune system, create toxicity in the body, and cause digestion issues. There are particular enzymes that work to break down fats, proteins, sugar, starch, and other carbohydrates. Raw foods contain their own digestive enzymes, but these enzymes are destroyed by cooking foods at over 108 degrees. Your pancreas produces many of the enzymes the digestive system uses to break down foods, but we often overtax this organ and don't give it the nourishment it needs to keep up. When we eat a lot more than usual and especially eating foods that are cooked or that are not particularly healthy, we can give our digestive system some help by taking digestive enzyme supplements.

When selecting a digestive enzyme supplement you want to make sure it is plant based and will work under a variety of pH levels since the acidity and alkalinity differs so radically between the stomach and intestines. The primary enzymes to look for on the label when choosing a supplement include:

Amylase – used to break down starch and carbohydrates for energy and to relieve mental fatigue.

Protease – used to break down proteins into amino acid peptides needed for healthy cells, muscle tissue, skin, hair and energy.

Lipase – used to break down fat in the small intestine to retrieve vitamins from foods, support cellular structure, and for healthy skin and hair. A shortage of lipase can compromise the circulation and contribute to high blood pressure and high cholesterol and degrade the immune system.

Lactase – used to break down lactose and milk sugars to get nutrients from dairy for energy.

Glucoamylase – a different type of amylase that works on breaking down starches and carbohydrates.

Cellulase – used to break down the indigestible fiber, cellulose, in fruits and vegetables.

Taking enzyme supplements can help remove toxins, increase energy, aid in weight loss, decrease the possibility of allergy reactions, and help your body extract the nutrients it can use from foods. When you know you are going to be eating rich holiday foods, taking a high quality enzyme supplement just before meals and in between meals can help you avoid digestive discomforts and is a much better alternative than using antacids. Antacids neutralize stomach acid which the digestive system needs to break down food. Taking enzyme supplements in between meals gives you the added bonus of letting any not needed for digestion directly to help clean up any undigested food in your gut and to enter the bloodstream to clean up residual food particles that might be identified as foreign invaders by the immune system.

Having a good supply of healthy probiotics, the friendly bacteria that live in your intestines, in your system is another way to get the most out of the food you eat, keep your digestive system in good working order, and help out with the extra eating during holiday meals. They also help produce the B vitamins that we use up in times of extra stress and we know the holidays are full of that. Lactobacillus probiotics also help in the body's production of digestive enzymes. There has additionally been research indicating that probiotics can lower the risk of coronary disease by absorbing cholesterol. They also help combat those unfriendly bacteria that can make us sick including those that act on the nitrates found in some of our food sources converting them to nitroso-compounds that can lead to cancers. Overeating, especially of meat, together with too many bad bacteria in the intestines can produce an excess in ammonia gas that stresses the liver. Using a bifidobacteria supplement can help take some of that stress off. There are fermented foods that can help you build up your supply of probiotics, but high quality probiotic supplements can insure that you are getting the strains of bacteria you need without the extra calories or extra eating in the holidays. Acidophilus and bifidus are the most common probiotics to make sure you are adding to your system, but a full spectrum probiotic may also be needed especially if you have ongoing digestive problems.

Don't let your holidays be ruined by digestive problems. Go ahead and enjoy some of your favorite holiday foods, in moderation of course. Just take along your enzyme and probiotic supplements to give your digestive system a holiday too by not letting it get overworked.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.

Image courtesy of artur84 /

Abrams, Karl J., Algae to the Rescue!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Natural Solutions for Weight Control During the Holidays

One of the many things we look forward to at the holidays is all the great holiday foods, but for the most part these traditional food treats don't fall into the healthy eating category. Between family dinners, holiday parties, community potlucks and grabbing fast food while traveling, there is lots of extra food around. Besides most of these holiday treats containing lots of sugar, fats and simple carbs, we also tend to overeat at holiday time. It's no wonder many of us enter the new year a few pounds heavier. And overeating can leave us miserable at the time too with heartburn, stomach cramping, diarrhea or constipation, and feeling heavy and bloated. Overeating puts pressure on the esophageal sphincter which is the muscle that is supposed to keep your food in the digestive areas, but when stuffed, food and acid are able to come back up resulting in heartburn or reflux. Just eating too much also puts added stress on the whole digestive system slowing it down causing constipation or stomach pain. Then of course there are all the added calories that if not burned off lead to weight gain which in itself can lead to digestive problems and pains. According to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign professor of nutrition and gastrointestinal physiology, Kelly A. Tappenden, PhD, RD, some foods in particular such as chocolate, coffee, alcohol, mints, and acidic foods are likely to cause acid reflux. Do any of these sound like holiday favorites that you overindulge in? I can think of a great many holiday treats containing these types of foods and with staying up late with family and late night travel, I know coffee is on my list of overindulgences at holiday time.

Part of the problem with holiday eating is that many of the foods are processed, canned and thoroughly cooked which means they don't have any enzymes working for you. These types of foods can lead to weight gain more readily than healthy foods and raw foods. Tufts University School of Medicine reported research findings that overweight people show a deficiency in the enzyme that digests fat, lipase. It's not only the foods themselves and how they are prepared that contribute to the weight gain we experience, but the stress of the holidays can also lead to overeating. When we are stressed, our bodies release cortisol which increases appetite and can lead to cravings for these less than healthy foods that are around in abundance at the holidays.

Natural Solutions to Holiday Overeating
Kelly A. Tappenden, PhD, RD, Russell Cohen, MD, and other experts advise planning ahead for the holidays and consciously planning to monitor the eating you do. You don't have to completely deprive yourself of holiday treats, but you also don't have to eat everything in sight. Just be aware of how much you indulge and be choosy about what and how much you will eat. Know in advance which parties or dinners you will be attending or what meals you will be eating out while traveling. For traveling it works well to pack some healthy snacks for the road or shop at an organic grocery type store to pick up pre-made meals instead of always eating out at restaurants. For parties and dinners, decide ahead of time how many treats you will allow yourself and stick to that plan. If you are really looking forward to your mom's homemade pie, then maybe you will skip on the mashed potatoes. Also look for veggies and healthier foods being served amongst all the holiday treats and opt for those when you can. Just exercising some moderation with smaller servings or a bite of several things rather than large scoops of each can help you from putting on too much excess weight and not leave you feeling miserable with digestive complaints after the meal. Some other tips to consider for holiday eating include:

Slow It Down – According to John Clarke, MD, a gastroenterologist and assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, eating slowly can help you avoid the discomforts to your digestive system and it can help keep you from overeating. Your system works better when not stuffed, so spreading out what enters the stomach at one time keeps your digestive system working better and acts as an appetite suppressant. Slow your meal down by taking your time in choosing what dishes you will indulge in, taking the time to chew and savor the taste, and spend some time visiting with others in between bites.

Go Easy on the Alcohol – What you drink during the holidays can be as important as what you eat, so consider it in your planning. Alcohol, soda, and coffee can all cause digestive problems, irritate the stomach and lead to heartburn. Drinking too much alcohol can also affect you mentally and lead you to make poorer choices in selecting foods to eat. Limit your alcohol consumption and be sure to drink plenty of water during the holidays as water will help keep your intestines moving well. If you do end up splurging too much and find yourself with diarrhea, then water is especially important to be drinking to rehydrate yourself.

Avoid Being a Couch Potato – The holidays are typically a time that we not only get off our normal exercise routines, but then we overeat and stretch out on the couch, sit in front of the TV, or go take a nap. If you can't keep up your regular exercise, then look for ways to get extra movement in. Walk in place while standing in line, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or just do a few jumping jacks when you get up in the morning. And get moving especially after eating a big meal. Get the family to go for a walk with you, walk around the house or neighborhood looking at decorations, or just take the family dog out walking. The main thing is to get your body moving to avoid stomach pain and heartburn from taking over.

Deal with Stress – That walk around the block can also help you deal with the extra stress the holidays tend to bring on and that can cause us to overeat. Stress also can contribute to digestive problems as cited in a study in 2010 that reported stress to be a factor in gastrointestinal disorder symptoms being worse. Russell Cohen, MD, professor of medicine at the Pritzker School of Medicine, advises knowing what conditions tend to stress you out and avoiding them. For example, if crowds are a stressor for you, then avoid going shopping on Black Friday or Christmas Eve, opting for online sales or Cyber Monday shopping instead. Make sure you plan time to get enough sleep too as lack of sleep can contribute to stress. Working in short periods of meditation or silent sitting and deep breathing can also help you in dealing with stress.

Eat Your Algae – Don't forget if you are traveling to pack your algae and digestive enzymes and eat them during the holidays. AFA bluegreen algae has amino acids that activate enzymes as well as minerals, vitamins and lots of great nutrition to offset the holiday foods you will be indulging in. The cholorophyll it contains helps nourish cells and support intestinal functions which means digestive support and reduced food cravings, the extra fiber it contains helps with toxic waste elimination and helps keep fat from being absorbed, a variety of branched-chain amino acids including leucine help metabolize fat, and the amino acids phenylalanine, arginine, and tyrosine help control appetite and reduce food cravings. Instead of having to carry around several bottles of algae, probiotics and enzymes when traveling, go for these convenient daily packets that will make it easy to get all this nutritional and digestive support without the hassle.

Doing some pre-planning for your holidays can help you have a more stress-free and enjoyable time. So take some time to not only plan out what you need to do to get ready for the holidays, but to make a plan for your holiday eating. Take control of your holiday eating by deciding in advance how much and what type of indulging you are comfortable with and that won't leave you regretting it later. Holidays should be something to look forward to; not dread thinking about weight gain. Just remember some of these holiday eating tips and commit to following the ones that are a fit for you.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.

Abrams, Karl J., Algae to the Rescue!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Graceful Aging: Say Goodbye to Aches and Pains

Oh those aches and pains that come with aging can sure get us down. We all have pain from time to time that keeps us from performing our best. But when you have to deal with chronic pain, you may be dealing with more than just the pain itself.

Pain and Inflammation
There are 116 million adults in the U.S. that experience chronic pain. Inflammation occurs as a response from the immune system to some type of infection or injury to tissue. More specifically, the body releases proteins and protective chemicals to protect cells and tissues that are under stress, increases blood flow to the injured area, and sends white blood cells and other protective cells to defend against bacteria and viruses. This causes symptoms of redness, swelling, heat, and pain, but once the foreign invader has been fought off these symptoms of inflammation subside and the immune system has done its job. When the body is under chronic stress however, it may start identifying foreign invaders where none actually exist causing the body to attack itself in a sense. This type of chronic inflammation has been found to lead to increased risk of depression, heart disease, autoimmune disease, and infectious disease. It can often lead to conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, digestive problems and skin problems. Many people experiencing the pain from chronic inflammation turn to medications to help them control the pain. According to James A. Duke, PhD, botanist and author of The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods there are many plant based foods that can work just as well as those medications to fight inflammation, work on the condition causing the pain, block pain signals, and that are safer to use.

Inflammation and Diet
The first step in using diet to control chronic inflammation and pain is to eliminate certain foods that are prevalent in many Americans diets. This includes foods that are processed, full of refined carbohydrates and sugars, artificial sweeteners and hydrogenated fats. Co-author of The Art of Body Maintenance: The Winners Guide to Pain Relief, Hal Blatman, MD, has found research indicates that a diet consisting of fatty fish and fish oil to provide omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, fruits, vegetables and other whole foods is the optimal diet for fighting chronic inflammation. Along with chronic inflammation, the body comes under oxidative stress and is subject to a lot of damage from free radicals. Making sure your diet includes lots of foods with antioxidant protection can help not only fight off this damage, but also aid in repairing damaged cells. The pigments found in microalgae have been found to have powerful antioxidant capabilities that can protect cells from damage from heat, infection, heavy metals, and toxins. Microalgae was one of the Earth's first antioxidants and the wide spectrum of pigments it contains provides more protection for cells from oxidative stress than single antioxidants alone. In addition, there are certain foods that contain compounds and phytochemicals that can help with various aches and pains.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
According to Neal D. Barnard, MD, author of Foods That Fight Pain, the blood vessels by the disks of the spine carry nutrients and oxygen to the disks keeping them healthy. If there is a decrease in the blood flow it can result in the disks degenerating which can cause back pain. Omega-3 fatty acids help keep a healthy blood flow and reduce inflammation in these blood vessels and nerves. Adding fatty coldwater fish like salmon, sardines, trout, and mackerel to the diet can help in getting omega-3 fatty acids. Many experts agree though that supplementation may also be needed as cited by a study in Surgical Neurology that reported a reduction in back and neck pain from taking 1200 mg. a day of a supplement of EPA and DHA omega-3's. Fish get their omega-3's from eating algae and so can you. AFA bluegreen algae is not only a rich source of EPA and DHA, but also ALA, none of which our bodies can make on their own. Studies have found that adding omega-3 fatty acids to your diet can help with joint pain and swelling from arthritis, add lubrication to stiff joints, reduce headache pain and can be as effective on pain as NSAIDs. Fish also gives you a good lean protein source and antioxidant protection. Other food sources for omega-3s include chia and flax seeds, dark-green leafy vegetables, nuts, and flax and olive oil. Olive oil in particular has been reported to lower the risk of stroke and act as an anti-inflammatory.

Anthocyanins are the antioxidants that give tart cherries, berries and grapes their color. Michigan State University's College of Agricultural and Natural Resources chemist, Muraleedharan Nair, PhD, credits this phytonutrient with being able to block inflammation and work like NSAIDs in inhibiting pain enzymes. A study in the Journal of Nutrition reported a 25% reduction in inflammation by eating a bowl of cherries for breakfast and another study reported runners drinking twelve ounces of tart cherry juice two times a day for a week had less muscle pain. Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland also found drinking tart cherry juice two times a day for 3 weeks to reduce the joint pain from osteoarthritis and according to the Agriculture Department 45 Bing cherries eaten daily for almost a month can significantly reduce inflammation. Experts also find some results in pain reduction from eating blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, grapes, blueberries, cranberries, pomegranates, and acai. And of course all these give you the antioxidant benefits of fighting off free radical damage.

Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple that some studies have shown can reduce swelling in osteoarthritis with its anti-inflammatory properties. Besides eating pineapple, you can get bromelain and other plant based enzymes papain, protease, lipase, and serratiopeptidase and the nutrition from AFA bluegreen algae in this algae enzyme supplement designed to help provide cellular nutrition for the body to be able to recover more quickly from the stress of exercise. In supporting healthy joints this glucosamine algae supplement gives you vegetable-based glucosamine, chondroitin, UC-II® undenatured collagen and AFA bluegreen algae since healthy joints naturally have glucosamine and chondroitin in the cartilage. You can get all this supplementation and more with the ease and convenience of daily packets of capsules in this algae program.

Curcumin is found in turmeric which is a spice used in curry and that Ayurvedic medicine has long used for pain relief with its anti-inflammatory properties. According to Peter Abaci, MD, medical director of the Bay Area Pain and Wellness Center in Los Gatos, CA, turmeric has been found to improve the function of nerve cells and protect against joint inflammation and break down. James N. Dillard, MD, author of The Chronic Pain Solution, adds that when using turmeric in cooking to pair it with black pepper as the piperine in it helps release the curcumin from the turmeric. A study at Baylor University reports turmeric has been found to help with the pain of arthritis, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel disease. Other studies have found it able to reduce inflammation that can lead to tumors. If you just aren't a fan of the taste of turmeric, you can still get this relief in supplementation form. This algae turmeric supplement also gives you the antioxidants from wheatgrass juice, noni, and green tea, the immune boosting power of cordyceps mushrooms and the high amino acid content of bee pollen.

This flavonoid gives support in fighting free radicals and has been found effective in pain relief and inflammation. Onions, garlic, and shallots are the best food sources and according to Cornell University, shallots, and yellow and red onions have more of this pain fighting agent than white onions or sweet onions. Studies with garlic have found it to be very similar to ibuprofen in interfering with inflammatory pathways and onions and garlic both have shown the ability to reduce pain and inflammation in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and outbreaks of psoriasis.

Other Herbs and Spices
Ginger not only can help a nauseous stomach and help with intestinal problems, but has also been found to be an effective anti-inflammatory for relief from aching muscles, migraines, pain of arthritis, and fighting off oxidative stress with its gingerols and shogaols. The University of Miami reported a reduction in chronic knee pain for those taking ginger extract. Capsaicin found in hot peppers has been found to stimulate nerve endings and reduce a chemical that sends pain signals. You can get capsaicin by eating hot peppers, using cayenne for seasoning, or from applying them topically with creams that contain capsaicin. Menthol found in the herb peppermint has been found helpful with headaches and muscle spasms. You can use the oil from the herb, use it to make tea, or use as aromatherapy by breathing in the scent. Wintergreen is another mint that has been found effective with inflammation and pain as it contains methyl salicylate that blocks pain causing enzymes. Other useful herbs and spices include sage which has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties that can decrease swelling, cinnamon with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, and cloves that contain eugenol giving it anti-inflammatory abilities and antioxidant properties.

No one likes to deal with pain and pain medications often have side effects that we don't want. If you are dealing with chronic pain, try adding some of these natural solutions through dietary changes and see how they affect your pain. Of course, if you are on medications, make sure to consult your healthcare provider as some foods don't mix safely with certain medications. There have been many reportings of those able to get off of pain meds or at least reduce the amount of pain meds they have to take just with an anti-inflammatory diet to help control their aches and pains. Check it out and see if this is a solution for you.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.

Bruno, PhD, Jeffrey, Eat Light and Feel Bright

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

"When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude."
– G.K. Chesterton

This quote by G.K. Chesterton is so appropriate as we celebrate Thanksgiving and think of all we have to be thankful for and show gratitude for. In fact, being thankful, showing gratitude and facing life with a positive attitude creates more of the same in our lives. Whether you call it Law of Attraction, the level of your being attracts the level of your life, what goes around comes around, you reap what you sow, or like attracts like it all boils down to the thoughts, emotions, actions, and energies that you put out affect what you bring to or create in your life. If you are surrounded by negative people, negative circumstances, and just plain negativity in general, maybe it's time to check your positivity barometer. What types of thoughts are you thinking, what are your predominant emotions, what messages do you say or think about yourself, and how do you treat others? If you are creating negative energy in your life, this is the perfect time to start turning all that around. Get yourself a gratitude list started and find things you can add to it daily. In case you're having a hard time beginning, take a look at some of the ways we found from various sources that you could start using to get you in the positive space for giving thanks and to create more positive things to be thankful for in your own life. These lists are just to get your creative juices flowing with some examples, then you can add to these lists or create your own.

Giving Thanks: Small Wonders to Be Thankful For
1. Cuddly warm socks or your favorite old shirt to kick around the house in.

2. The unconditional love or adoration of a pet.

3. Modern appliances that make our lives easier.

4. A beautiful sunset.

5. The smell of baking cookies or bread.

6. Freshly washed sheets on the bed.

7. Being able to make a gratitude list and having the freedom to put anything you want on it.

8. Taking a walk, breathing in fresh air and the fact that you can do both these.

9. Your favorite book, music or TV show on a rainy day.

10. Getting a letter or card in the mail from a friend.

Giving Thanks: Expressing Gratitude
1. Pay special attention to the food you are eating at a meal and use all your senses to enjoy it and be thankful for it.

2. For every text you get today on your phone send out a silent blessing of gratitude that you have this technology that allows you to stay connected to others you care about so easily.

3. Show your gratitude for the beauty you find in nature by creating a table centerpiece or some artwork using items you find outside – pebbles, flower buds, leaves, twigs, etc...

4. Send a card to a service worker to thank them for the job they do. Could be your local firefighters, police, sanitation worker, or military personnel.

5. I love what my friend whose son died at age 12 does every year to express gratitude for the time she had him in her life. Every year on his birthday and Christmas she goes to the toy store, picks out what she would have bought for him and sticks the amount of cash it costs under the box. In her mind she can just see some other little boy or girl wanting that toy that maybe mom or dad can't afford and finding the money right there to pay for it and make that small dream come true for them.

6. Take a few minutes each day this week to just sit in silence and reflect on the people and circumstances in your life that you have to be thankful for. Send this energy out to the Universe.

7. Take the time to write a note to an employer about an employee at a restaurant or store who was especially attentive or helpful to you.

8. As you are walking around a store, the mall, or park or wherever you walk, really look at the people you pass, smile at them, and think of one nice thing you notice about them. You don't have to say it out loud, just think it in your head. Nice hair, love your shoes, what a graceful way of walking she has, how natural that guy is with his child, etc...

9. Write up a gratitude list with all you have to be thankful for – big and small. You might even pass it around the table at Thanksgiving dinner and let your loved ones add their own gratitudes to it.

10. Here's a harder one. Write a thank you note to someone who has caused you frustration or even anger. Look for the lesson behind why this person entered your life and what there could be to learn from the situation. You don't actually have to send the letter if that makes you uncomfortable. The point is to find the good in difficult situations and the lessons adversity can bring us.

Giving Thanks: Spreading Positivity
1. Silently bless a stranger as you walk by them. You might also do a Pay It Forward action for them. It could be something as simple as opening a door for them, holding the elevator, or putting some coins in a parking meter that has just expired.

2. Help undernourished children, adults and animals around the world by donating this 30 pack of nutrient packed, easy to prepare cereal or healthy snack bars.

3. Invite someone that you think might be alone at Thanksgiving to share your Thanksgiving meal. Think about if an elderly neighbor has lost a spouse and has grown children that live far away, or a co-worker who doesn't have family near.

4. Do some volunteer work in something that interests you or that you are grateful for. If you love reading, volunteer at the library, if you are thankful for the doctors and nurses that took care of you or a loved one volunteer at the hospital. If you just don't have time for regular volunteer work, volunteer for single events like a pet adoption day, a soup kitchen, or a kid's event. If you don't even have time for that, make some Christmas toy bags or toiletry bags to give to charity or just pluck a card off one of your local Toy Drive trees and fulfill a child's Christmas dreams.

5. Write your own prayer or blessing of thanks to share at dinner on Thanksgiving. You can get really creative and do it in verse or rhyme or have a chorus that everyone can join in on like a chant.

6. Make decorations to brighten up your home for whatever you celebrate – Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, the Fall season, Winter Solstice, ... Be creative and place your intention on positive thoughts and the joy you experience making and displaying your creations.

7. Visit a nursing home to share a special talent you have with the elders. If you are musical play and sing for them, if not, offer to lead some games or storytelling. Check with the recreation director and discuss what talents you have to offer to brighten an elder's day.

8. Make a goal of complimenting 5 people today. It could be people you know or might be strangers you encounter. Just pick 5 people throughout the day to say something nice about them to them.

9. Burn a copy of a song to a cd that you find great pleasure in or that moves you and send it to a friend.

10. Do a small act of kindness for a neighbor. For example, my mother walks her dog up and down her street each morning. She picks up each neighbor's newspaper off the sidewalk and places it on their porch. She has done this every day for years and many people probably think the paper is put there by the delivery person, but I know the truth and it makes my mom feel good to do this small act and makes her feel she is doing something nice to show appreciation for her neighborhood and her neighbors.

I hope you have a peaceful and blessed Thanksgiving Day. I hope that no matter what your life circumstances are, you find many things to be thankful for, find ways to express them and put that positive energy out into the world. Remember the more positive you put out the more positive that will return to you.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Simple Steps for Healthy Vision

Think of all we do and enjoy in the world through our eyes when we have healthy vision. If you started losing your sight how much would you be missing or how much would your lifestyle change? I know it definitely frustrates me to have to find my reading glasses to read food labels or recipes that I used to have no problems reading. This is definitely something to consider as we age since our eyes undergo changes that affect our vision as we get older. Even if you are not at risk genetically for certain eye diseases, your vision doesn't always stay as sharp once you hit middle age.

Eye Conditions
The older we get the less flexible the eye lens is and that makes it harder for the eyes to focus. This is a condition called presbyopia that commonly starts around middle age and is the reason we have to hold print at arm's length sometimes to read it. Glasses or even just reading glasses may help when you start noticing this happen. Another condition that often comes with aging is dry eyes since as we age our eyes don't produce tears as easily as they once did. Left untreated, this condition can harm your vision because our eyes need the moisture to remain healthy. Artificial tear type eye drops may help, but if the condition continues you may need to seek help from an eye care professional. Floaters are another common condition that can occur as we age. This happens when eye fluid starts breaking down as we get older and we see specks floating around. This is usually not a condition to worry about unless the floaters start increasing and may also have light flashes with them. Floaters can sometimes be an indication of a tear in the retina which an eye exam could determine. More serious eye conditions include cataracts resulting from a buildup of protein on the inside of the eye's lens and cause vision to be cloudy, AMD (age-related macular degeneration), and glaucoma from optic nerve damage. If you have diabetes that is not under control, you can have additional eye problems as a result since the blood vessels in the eyes can become damaged by high blood sugar.

Nutrition for Healthy Eyes
Many of the conditions mentioned above come with aging and since we can't stop getting older we have to look for other solutions to help keep our vision healthy. There are many foods that have been found to support vision health. If you are looking for ways to naturally keep your eyes working the best you can, be sure to get regular eye checkups and try adding some of the following foods and nutrients into your diet.

Omega-3 Foods
If you have dry eyes, or suspect cataracts or macular degeneration are affecting your vision, then adding in foods with omega-3 fatty acids can help. They are also good for keeping your retinas healthy. These types of foods would include fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, halibut, and mackerel, fish oil supplements, nuts like walnuts, almonds and pistachios, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, black currant seed oil and AFA bluegreen algae.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin
These two carotenoids naturally occur in the retina area of the eye and absorb UV light and blue light that can negatively affect the macular part of the eye. Eating foods that contain lutein and zeaxanthin can help cut down on free radical damage in the eyes, and lower the risk of macular degeneration, and cataracts. You'll find them in foods like eggs, leafy green vegetables like spinach, Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, collard greens, and turnip greens, avocados, peas, and yellow and orange vegetables and fruits like papaya and squash. When you can't work all the veggies you need for antioxidant protection, this program of wholefood supplements can help you get not only lutein and zeaxanthin and other antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, enzymes, fiber and proteins, but also the omega-3 fatty acids that support eye health.

Whole Grains
Whole grains help lower your glycemic index which lowers your risk of age-related macular degeneration. They also have the vitamin E, zinc and niacin that help support healthy eyes. Quinoa, brown rice, whole oats, and whole wheat breads, cereals and pastas are some of the foods to include in your diet to get more whole grains.

Antioxidant Vitamins
Vitamin C foods can help lower your risk of getting cataracts and macular degeneration and can be found in foods such as kiwi, oranges, grapefruit, berries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and Bell Peppers. Vitamin A is another important vitamin for eye health and can be found in carrots, pumpkin, apricots, mangos, sweet potatoes, red peppers, and cantaloupe, as is vitamin E found in almonds, peanut butter, broccoli, spinach, wheat germ, and sunflower seeds. Just one of the great things these antioxidant vitamins do for the body is to provide protection from the damage to cells by free radicals and to repair damage already done. They also help nourish your natural adult stem cells which have the unique ability to become other types of cells and go to where there are damaged cells to replace them. This is such a vital reason to make sure your diet includes lots of fruits and veggies, but if you just can't work them all in then this antioxidant algae wholefood supplement may be your answer. Since parts of the eye are particularly susceptible to free radical damage, getting antioxidant protection and nourishing your stem cells to replace damaged eye cells is all part of eating for good eye health.

Zinc Foods
Zinc is an important mineral for maintaining good eye health as it can reduce the risk of macular degeneration, night blindness, and cataracts, and support the health of the retina. Good food sources for zinc include sunflower seeds (which also are good for vitamin E), oysters, turkey, beef, pork, shellfish, eggs, peanuts, sesame seeds, yogurt, miso, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, lentils, chickpeas, and whole grains.

Now that you know what your vision is facing as you age, take steps now to protect it. Adding some of these foods that support eye health will help you protect your precious vision and keep your eyes healthy at whatever age you are.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Get Healthy with Baby Steps

We all have good intentions of getting more exercise and eating right, but then life happens and we find our well-meaning goals have been laid aside. Sometimes with everything else there is to do, it just isn't easy to take your health to the next level even though you know it will give you more energy to get things done and leave you feeling better. Maybe it's time to get off this merry-go-round and give yourself a break. You don't have to do it all at once. Baby steps are a way to start improving your health by picking just one or two simple things to commit to and then doing them. Pick something that will fit with your lifestyle and your schedule and you'll be more likely to succeed. Once you have these first baby steps worked into your day, then go back and pick another one or two. You can slowly build up to better overall health and healthy lifestyle habits without putting so much stress on yourself this way. Here's a few simple healthy improvements you can add to your daily routine that can help you get started making a difference in your health.

Get Some Extra Sleep
Not only do you not perform your best when you haven't had enough sleep, research also indicates that you are at increased risk of heart attack. A study out of Norway found that those waking up still tired were 27% more likely to be at risk for heart attack than those waking up rested and refreshed. They also found a 30% increased risk for people prone to waking up throughout the night and 45% increased risk for those that had trouble going to sleep in the first place. One theory experts believe explains this is the release of more cortisol associated with insomnia that can lead to high blood pressure and diabetes and thus to cardiovascular disease. We also tend to make poorer health choices when we are over tired. For example, if you are exhausted it is easy to skip exercise or opt for a take-out meal instead of cooking. If you have trouble winding down before bedtime, try starting a night routine that will signal your body that it is time for sleep. Some people find meditation helpful in clearing the mind and winding down and others find journaling a way to get out the stresses of the day and be able to relax. Whatever works for you, make a goal of getting to bed at a certain time and waking up at a certain time each day to get your body into a regular rhythm. You can also try a more relaxing way to wake up in the morning instead of being shocked awake by a noisy alarm. Leave your window blinds up so the sun can shine in on you. This will signal the brain to switch from producing melatonin to adrenaline for a slower more relaxed wake up call.

Boost Your Immune System
When we feel good, we have better days and get more done. When we are sick or feel drained the opposite is true. This is one good reason to give your immune system a boost since it is in charge of keeping sickness and germs at bay. Here's an easy tip for an immune system boost. Drink a glass of red wine as it has resveratrol and polyphenol antioxidants that can help reduce risk of chronic inflammation that can lead to heart disease and that help keep bad bacteria and viruses from taking over. You can also get resveratrol from the skin of red grapes, blueberries, and peanuts.

Get a Vitamin D Boost
Research is finding that getting adequate amounts of vitamin D is essential to health and that most of us are not getting enough. Getting enough vitamin D can decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes, make asthma symptoms better and can even help reduce the risk of getting some cancers. Vitamin D is also needed for strong bones as it helps the body absorb calcium. It has been recommended that you get between 600 and 800 IU a day of vitamin D, but newer research is suggesting we may need as much as 4000 IU daily. Some foods are fortified with vitamin D, but the most common way we get it is by exposure to sunlight. If you aren't getting outside enough, make a goal to spend some time outdoors or if that isn't possible you may need to consult your healthcare provider about supplementation.

Your entire body needs to stay hydrated to work right and drinking water throughout the day increases your metabolism which helps you burn off calories. Water is calorie free and helps you feel full to avoid snacking on unhealthy foods. Your immune system also performs better when the cells are hydrated, your skin benefits when you drink lots of water, and drinking water helps your body flush out toxins and keeps your circulation going well. If drinking plain water all day doesn't appeal to you then try adding natural sugar-free flavorings like a squeeze of lemon, orange or strawberries or even some herbs like mint.

Healthy Joints Keep You Going
If your joints and muscles are aching, you are less likely to exercise or get out and enjoy yourself. It also makes it harder to just perform basic tasks and work that you need to get done. Using a natural anti-inflammatory can help if this is an ongoing problem for you or just for those times when you physically overdo it and are paying for it the next day. Curcumin, turmeric, boswellia, and ginger have all been found as effective as some prescription medications for pain relief. You can get these as herbal remedies or from food sources. Enzymes like bromelain found in pineapple have also been found to be effective at reducing inflammation. An easy way to get not only bromelain, but also the enzymes papain, protease, lipase, and serratiopeptidase, and some wild AFA bluegreen algae for extra nutrition, is with this algae and enzyme supplement.

Make Time for a Massage
Getting a massage may sound frivolous to some, but according to research from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, you can increase white blood cells to help fight off germs with a 45 minute massage and reduce inflammation, allergy symptoms and asthma symptoms. A massage can also help you get some relaxation time and reduce stress which is detrimental to your health. So taking a little "me" time in the form of a massage is an easy health benefit boost to make.

Make a Weekly Meal Plan
If you plan out your meals for the week, you will be more likely to eat healthy and be in control of the nutrients you get. Without a plan, when life gets busy or stressful, it is too easy to order out for pizza or drive through for fast food. Include a variety of color in your meals when you are planning and go heavy on the veggies, fruits and whole grains. Add in lean protein that will also give you omega-3 fatty acids as they help with reducing inflammation, are heart healthy, and good for your brain. Think fatty fish like salmon, tuna, or mackerel or adding seeds or nuts to your meal as in walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds or hemp seeds or go for adding leafy green veggies to your meal. Also include a lunch plan that lets you take healthy foods from home instead of eating out at work. You may find chopping up lettuce and veggies ahead of time for the whole week will help you stick to this type of lunch plan. And don't forget breakfast. Your mom was right, it is the most important meal of the day. Eating a good healthy breakfast in the morning helps curb the appetite the rest of the day and starts your day out with a boost for physical and mental energy. Good breakfast foods include yogurt, fruit, whole grain cereals, eggs, and try adding seeds, nuts and lean proteins in for an extra boost.

Add Some Protein To Your Diet
Lean protein added to your meals can help you take off some unwanted weight as protein builds muscle and your body burns more calories from muscle than it does from fat. A study at the University of Sydney reported that those eating low amounts of protein showed around 2 pounds extra weight gain a month compared to those eating more protein. Protein foods also many times have zinc and B vitamins that help you fight off colds and flus and boost the immune system. If you want to start getting more protein into your diet, start thinking of foods you eat now that you could switch. For example, instead of cereal with fruit, switch to low-fat cottage cheese with fruit, or switch out your mashed potatoes for baked beans.

Add Some World's Healthiest Foods to Your Diet
Whole Foods has a list they call the World's Healthiest Foods. They base these choices on criteria such as the foods being nutrient dense (nutrients compared to calories), organic if possible, not containing synthetic, artificial or irradiated ingredients, their availability in most places and their affordability. Some of the top choices are asparagus, avocados, beets, Bell peppers, Bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and carrots in the vegetable category, apples, apricots, blueberries, cantaloupe, figs, grapefruit, grapes, and kiwi in the fruit category, nuts and seeds that include almonds, cashews, flaxseeds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and walnuts, grains that include barley, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, oats, quinoa, rye and whole wheat and the beans and legumes category that includes black beans, dried peas, garbanzo beans, kidney beans and lentils. If any of these foods are ones you've never tried or that are lacking in your diet, pick one or two new ones to try adding on a regular basis to your meals.

Supplements For Extra Nutrition
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just can't get in all the home cooked meals and lunches packed from home. This is when some wholefood supplementation can really help you out with getting the nutrients your body needs to function well with the convenience and ease of taking some supplement capsules. The easiest way I've ever found to get all the great nutrition that AFA bluegreen algae has to offer along with probiotics and digestive enzymes is with these convenient daily packets that I can grab on the go. For some extra energy I like to add in this algae ubiquinol supplement with pure ubiquinol (which is the active form of Coenzyme Q10 known to be especially good for heart health), reishi and oyster mushrooms, polyphenols from olives, and some wild AFA bluegreen algae. Then to make sure I'm getting the antioxidant protection my cells need I throw in this antioxidant algae supplement. Then I know that I have all my nutritional bases covered when life gets extra busy.

All of these suggestions are easy, affordable and can make a big difference in your health. So pick one or two and get started taking those baby steps towards improving your health and living a healthier lifestyle.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.