Thursday, January 29, 2015

Have Beautiful Skin Naturally at Any Age

No matter what age you are there are a variety of problems that can affect your skin. From teenagers dealing with acne to seniors dealing with age spots and wrinkles, our skin can demand our attention. Besides the impact skin problems have on our looks, it is also part of the immune system that we need to keep healthy. There are skin problems that are just irritants and short lived, but skin problems can sometimes be warnings to us as they can be symptoms of certain health conditions. First let's look at some of the problems your skin faces and then explore some ways to deal with them naturally.

Skin Problems
Rashes can occur on the skin for a variety of reasons from allergic reactions to coming into contact with certain plants. Many of these types of conditions may cause some irritation and look bad, but are not serious. Other times rashes, inflamed skin, spots, cysts or a change in skin texture or color can be a more serious chronic condition or symptoms of something more serious like psoriasis, eczema, rosacea or skin cancer. If in doubt, it is always a good idea to check out skin conditions with your healthcare provider.

Acne is another skin condition that affects many. You may think of acne as being a condition teens deal with, but actually it can be a problem at any age. Acne occurs when blackheads are formed from dead skin cells and oils clogging pores which then become infected and turn to pimples. According to Julie Gabriel, a holistic nutritionist, author of The Green Beauty Guide, many medicines used for acne can actually worsen the condition by irritating the skin and drawing free radicals to the area which damage skin cells and cause inflammation.

As we age, there are even more noticeable changes to our skin. In the aging process estrogen levels are lowered and the body makes less collagen. These can cause skin to wrinkle, become thinner, and lose its elasticity. Changes in hormones and a slowing down of the activity of oil glands as we pass through menopause can also cause skin to become dry, sag and wrinkle.

Stress: Enemy of Your Skin
You know stress can have negative effects on your overall health, but do you realize how stress specifically affects skin? When under stress, your body releases chemicals, cortisol, and hormones that cause more sensitivity and reactivity in your skin, can affect the healing ability and cause your glands to produce more oil. Stress can make conditions such as acne, psoriasis, eczema, and rosacea worse and cause skin to break out in a rash, hives or blisters. A study at the University of Oslo reported that mental distress and stress can cause acne and other skin conditions to become more severe. Not only does stress actually cause physical changes in the body that can lead to skin problems, we also tend to neglect daily skincare when stressed and eat foods that are not healthy for skin. 

Naturally Care For Your Skin From the Outside
We are constantly producing new skin cells to replace the ones that die off. As new skin cells are formed at the lowest skin level, they push their way up to the surface and most of the dead skin cells fall off. Exfoliating the skin gets rid of the dead skin found on the surface which help keep skin pores clear keeping away blackheads and other small bumps on your face and letting the new radiant skin shine through. When exfoliating be gentle. There are natural substances that make good exfoliates such as clays, lemon juice or papaya that has enzymes that exfoliate naturally. Julie Gabriel also advises herbal steam baths with a clay mask afterwards to help keep pores clean. Dry skin should only need exfoliating once a week whereas oily skin may need it more.

Keeping our skin clean is another important part of skincare on the outside. Your cleanser should be a gentle one and different ones work better for different skin types. In general, if you have dry skin you'll want to use a cleanser that is creamy and if you have oily skin, a foamy, oil-free cleanser is better. Also be sure not to use hot water when cleansing as it can destroy the natural moisture in your skin. It is also better to pat the skin to dry it instead of rubbing it. In the aging process your skin naturally gets drier. Dry skin can benefit from moisturizing to naturally protect it. I like using this antioxidant lotion fortified with high-performance levels of WGP beta glucan, wild bluegreen algae, and aloe vera, as well as vitamins A, C, and E and other key ingredients that nourish your skin while leaving it soft without an oily feel. It is particularly effective for dry, damaged, or more mature skin and is full of food-grade nutrients and antioxidants your skin craves and that help protect against the effects of free radicals.
Sunscreen is another important component in caring for your skin. Over time exposure to sun brings on wrinkles, age spots and can even lead to skin cancer. No matter how much sun exposure you have already had it's never too late to start using sunscreen to protect your skin. Make sure you use a sunscreen with a SPF of a minimum of 30 and that protects against UVA and UVB light. Sunscreen isn't just for sunny days or when you are outside either. Sunlight can still affect you even on a cloudy day or when coming in through windows.

Naturally Care For Your Skin From the Inside
What you put on the inside of your body is just as important as what you put on the outside of your body when it comes to keeping your skin healthy. Fruits and vegetables with antioxidants are great for fighting off free radical damage and repairing damaged cells. If you don't get enough antioxidants in your diet, this antioxidant filled stem cell support supplement can help. Adult stem cells occurring naturally in your body maintain and renew body tissue. The older we get, the less of these stem cells we produce. Nourishing them and providing antioxidants can help protect your existing stem cells from damage of free radicals. Adding soy to your diet can help plump up skin that is lacking in collagen as it has lots of isoflavones. Eating foods rich in essential fatty acids helps skin stay elastic rather than sagging. Omega-3 and Omega-6 are the most important essential fatty acids for our skin. Dehydration is another of the major causes of aging skin. If you want healthy skin, drink plenty of water.

You can have more beautiful and healthy skin naturally no matter what your age. Remember to feed your skin inside and out with the nutrition it needs to be healthy and develop a good skincare regimen to follow consistently. That will get you on your way to healthier, younger looking skin.

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.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Want to Fight Fat? Try These Natural Solutions to Boost Metabolism

Looking for ideas on how to lose belly fat or just lose weight in general? You know burning off more calories than you take in is necessary to lose weight, but it often seems like that only gets you so far. You know what I mean. You start dropping some weight and then you just reach a place where you just don't seem to lose any more no matter what you do. This is when it can be helpful to boost metabolism and eat some specific fat burning foods. When you boost metabolism you are increasing the calories your body uses up per day. Around 60% to 70% of the calories you consume go towards just providing the energy your body needs to function. This amount is called your RMR or resting metabolic rate. The higher your particular RMR is, the more calories you can consume without weight gain because your body is using that food and turning it into energy. You may think that if you are overweight you just have a slow metabolism, but according to Pamela Peeke, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland and author of Fight Fat After Forty, this isn't the case. She points out that the more weight you have the harder your body must work. Your metabolism does slow down the older you get though. Miriam Nelson, Ph.D., Director of the Physical Center for Activity and Nutrition reports that the RMR slows 25-30% for people between 40 and 80 years of age.

Natural Solutions to Boost Metabolism
Protein and Muscle Building
A metabolism that is off balance can use a boost to help in burning off extra calories. Building muscle is one way to boost metabolism. Muscle uses more energy and burns more calories than fat. The more muscle you have the harder your body works to burn calories. Adding more lean protein foods to your diet and cutting back on carbs will help you in building muscle. Beans and eggs are both good protein sources that are low calorie, low fat and the fat they do have are healthy ones like omega-3 fatty acids that your body needs. Foods high in protein often take more time to eat as they require more chewing which means you are likely to eat less. This extra chewing also can burn off some extra calories. Digestion of proteins also burns up more calories than digesting carbs and fats.

Fat Burning Foods
You can't stay away from fat altogether as your body needs certain amounts of healthy fats for heart and brain health. According to Dr. Jonny Bowden foods like eggs and avocados that have natural healthy fats can help retrain the metabolism to burn fat rather than store it and use it as energy. Other food sources reported to be fat burning foods and boost metabolism include those with caffeine, antioxidants, catechins and capsaicin. A shot of caffeine from black tea or coffee can actually help you burn off an extra 80 to 128 calories daily and every little bit counts right? Green tea has catechins which is an antioxidant that can increase RMR as much as 4%. Capsaicin is what makes peppers hot and studies show eating hot peppers can help you burn off an extra 100 calories per day.

Digestive Support
Another way to boost metabolism is by taking a digestive enzyme supplement with meals and in between meals. Enzymes literally metabolize food, fat and toxins in the body. Increasing the number of enzymes in the body can increase the metabolizing capability. Enzymes also help your body get the most nutrition it can from the foods you eat. Probiotics such as acidophilus and bifidus help your body process and digest the foods you eat and move them through the digestive system.

Foods rich in antioxidants also help increase metabolism. Fruits and vegetables are a great source of antioxidants and low in calorie so you can fill up on them without weight gain. Research has shown that these types of foods can keep fat cells from getting larger. If you don't get as many fruits and vegetables on your plate as you should, you can fill this gap by taking an antioxidant supplement that also has the nutritional power of AFA bluegreen algae.

Eating Tips for How to Lose Belly Fat
Slow down when eating. Eating slower gives you more time to enjoy your meal, but it also gives your brain time to register the fact that your stomach is actually full. Once you are full, stop eating. So many of us were raised on the concept of having to clean our plates, that we keep eating past the point of fullness until we are stuffed. That is especially true when eating out. Restaurants are notorious for dishing out large portions. At home try using a smaller plate and put less on it if you feel you have to clean your plate and when eating out, get a doggie bag before you start your meal and put half away to take home before you start instead of waiting until the end of the meal and just saving what is left.

Chris Powell from Dr. Oz's team of experts advises eating small meals every few hours to boost metabolism. Each meal should have a small amount of protein, a carb or healthy fat and then all the vegetables you want. This works to boost metabolism because it engages your digestive system each time you eat and digestion raises the metabolic rate. He also suggests eating good complex carbohydrates like whole grains, beans and root veggies to keep your thyroid working well since the thyroid controls the rate you burn calories.

You can't beat exercise and healthy eating to stay healthy and keep your weight under control. When you need a little extra help to get those extra pounds off though, try out some of these ways to boost metabolism and make it easier to get to the weight you need to be for good health.

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.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Want to Build Muscle? Hope is Not a Strategy. Try This Instead

Muscle tends to burn calories even when just resting, so when you build muscle, you give a boost to any weight loss plan you are on. The good news is that there are lots of strategies for losing weight and building muscle, so you have a good chance of finding one that works for you. The bad news is that you can't just wish yourself into better shape or hope that you'll fit into those tight jeans without involving that four letter word, "work". Or in this case exercise, ie. workout. Since the last thing most of us need though is more work or one more thing to add to our schedules, let's look at some ways to take the "work" out of "workout".

Take the Work out of Workout
You can take the edge off of the "work" by using simple strategies to make your workouts more rewarding and productive. For example, if you begin with stretches to flex those muscles and remember to hold those stretches for 20 to 30 seconds before more strenuous exercising, your body will be better prepared to get the most out of a workout. Music is a great strategy for taking "work" out of workouts. Listening to music during your workout can help keep you motivated, focused and make your workout more fun. Doing bursts of higher intensity exercise alternated with slower exercising is another calorie busting tip. Two minutes of high intensity followed by two minutes of cool-down exercise to burn more calories and build more muscle. Another way to make sure you get all your exercise in without stopping your day to do a workout is to count all the movement you do during the day. Walking is a prime example. Look for ways to add to your walking every day. That may mean walking to lunch instead of driving, walking your children to school, walking upstairs instead of taking the elevator or if you're really stuck inside, just walk in place at your desk or walk around your office. Look for other exercises you can work into your day. Maybe do leg lifts while folding laundry, ride your bike to the park nearby instead of driving, go dancing instead of going to the movies, or do lunges while watching TV. If you're not used to exercise, take it slow in the beginning and work your way up. Also be sure to check with your healthcare provider to see if there are any exercises that are not safe for you.

Nutritional Strategies to Build Muscle
Changing your eating habits can be one of the most important strategies to build muscle and burn fat. A body must have protein to build muscle and you burn more calories by digesting protein than other foods like carbs. A tasty whey smoothie  is one way to get some extra protein into your diet. Greek yogurt makes a great between meal snack and has double the protein of regular yogurt. Eggs have 7 grams of protein and only 75 calories making them a great breakfast choice to start your day off with a protein boost. Other food sources high in protein that are low calorie include tabouli, beans, skim milk, and fish which is also high in omega-3 fatty acids. AFA bluegreen algae is also high in omega-3 fatty acids as well as being a protein source which can help with muscle building. You can also get nutritional support from this enzyme/algae supplement that supports overworked tissues and is great for those with an active lifestyle. To give you more flexibility in your exercise regimen, get a boost from this joint support supplement.

There are lots of ways to build weight loss and muscle building strategies into your day and to take the work out of a workout. A few tips to get the most from your exercise time and a few nutritional tips and you are on your way to losing those pounds.

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, January 13, 2015

Need Motivation? Try DRIVE to Help you Thrive!

Many of us have set our New Year's resolutions by now and maybe even started working on them, but motivation is needed to keep up the good work. That's true anytime we set goals. Once we decide what we want and how to accomplish it, we're excited and take off running. Problem is that often we don't see results as quickly as we want, negative self-talk takes over to convince us we can't really do it and our lack of motivation to keep going just washes that goal away. So how do we stay motivated and find the drive that will help us thrive?

Give Yourself a Break
For most of us, we're much harder on ourselves and hold ourselves to higher expectations than others do or than we do for others. Learning to embrace a more positive attitude towards ourselves and give ourselves the same "break" we would someone else can go a long way towards keeping us motivated to reach our goals. One study done on athletes with one group talking positive to themselves while embarking on learning something new reported that the group with the positive thinking was able to accomplish goals of learning a new skill better than those that didn't use positive thinking. According to Sofia Rydin-Gray, PhD, director of health psychology at Duke Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, NC, having a system to track the work you've done towards your goal will give you the positive feedback to keep going. That way if you make a slip, you don't just concentrate on that one mistake or back-slide and give up. Start noticing the types of words you say to yourself and make the effort to talk to yourself with more positive language. Think about what you would say to someone else in the same situation and start applying that to yourself as well. For example, making an error in subtraction in your bank book just means you made a mistake, not that you are Stupid, Stupid, Stupid! If you are trying to lose weight and find yourself one afternoon eating a candy bar, that doesn't mean you've blown it totally, can't stick to a healthy eating plan and just need to quit. It just means you gave yourself a treat one afternoon, or that you let your stress get the better of you and need to find a different way of stress management or something along that line. Sofia Rydin-Gray also stresses that breaking your goal down into the behaviors you need to do to accomplish it and tracking each of those behaviors can be more rewarding and motivating than just tracking the one final goal. For example, if trying to lose weight, keep track of how much you exercise, how many times you eat an apple instead of a candy bar, how many times you get up from your desk at work and walk around, etc. With this system, even if you back slide in one area, you have lots of other success documented to keep your motivation thriving.

Turn Your Negatives Into Positives
It's much easier to say we're going to stop saying negative things to ourselves than actually doing it. After all we've done it for so long it's natural. It can be done however as pointed out by the use of cognitive behavioral therapy. This type of therapy stresses that to change how you feel about yourself, you have to change how you think and develop these as new patterns to replace the old. Bruce Hubbard, PhD, a clinical psychologist in New York and director of the Cognitive Health Group, stresses that identifying and replacing the harsh judgments we give ourselves has to become an automatic process. Motivation increases by changing how you think about yourself as you become more accepting of transgressions. Instead of seeing these transgressions as failure, you are more likely to be able to discard them, see them for what they truly are, and possibly even be able to laugh them off. In cognitive behavioral therapy, the process is to observe and identify what you are thinking about yourself or what negative statements you make to or about yourself. Then pick the statement around any given issue that has the most emotional charge on it for you. Using that statement find evidence that supports it and that is non-supportive of it and finally pick a new statement to replace it.

Discover Your Own Beauty
As you practice identifying your negative thoughts and working through changing them to more positive thoughts, you'll start discovering your own beauty. No one is perfect and we all have our own unique quirks, looks, and imperfections. But many people, especially women have such a self-loathing especially when it comes to body image that it's hard to look past and find the beauty. It's also hard to change to a positive thinking model if you are ultra-critical of your looks. Even worse, us older women often pass this type of thinking on to the younger females we have an impact on. This is a vicious cycle that is perpetuated by the media and that we need to break. You've heard the saying "fake it til you make it". Amy Bloom, author of Where the God of Love Hangs Out, advises that may have to be the first step for many in breaking this negative pattern. No matter how much you dislike your body or how many flaws you can find with it, start acting like you like your body. Catch yourself when you begin to criticize your own body or someone else's body and change what you say and think. Look for attributes instead that you truly admire and start emphasizing those traits. Since so much of our negative language revolves around our body image, that is one area to clear up on our way to adopting a positive attitude that will keep us motivated.

Nutrition to Help Kick You Into Drive
You know if you feel good and look your best you will have more energy and be more motivated. So paying attention to what you eat is an essential part of moving towards positive thinking and keeping your motivation going. If you are trying to lose weight as a resolution, eating a healthy diet is a good start, but there are other tips that can help. Dieting is often frustrating and a set up for failure, and therefore does not help with positive thinking and drive. Most times when we are on a diet, that consumes our thoughts, and we feel deprived. Adopting a healthy eating plan and making some changes in your eating habits can help keep your drive up and support weight loss so make that a goal instead of saying you are going on a diet. One eating habit change that can be helpful is instead of eating 3 regular larger meals a day, you may be better served by eating several smaller healthy snacks or meals throughout the day. Leatherhead Food Research in the UK has nutrition researchers that report findings of eating almonds for a snack as holding off hunger between meals. Almonds are a good source of healthy fat, magnesium which has a soothing influence on mood, tryptophan that helps in producing serotonin, and zinc. A Purdue University study also found that chewing the almonds as much as 40 times will add to their ability to hold off hunger. Fruit or raw veggies low in calories are another good snack to eat between meals to keep hunger pains away without adding unwanted calories. Along with eating healthy, burn off calories with exercise. Exercise also builds muscle which boosts metabolism, lowers stress hormones and boosts endorphins in your brain to help keep your mood up. One Danish study reported men doing a 30 minute workout everyday actually lost more weight than those that worked out for an hour. Reasoning was that those doing more exercise built up a bigger appetite and ended up eating more. This study indicates that often less is more as is also true with calorie intake.

Paying attention to your gut health and making sure you are digesting all your food properly can also help not only with weight loss, but with motivation in general. Having a healthy digestion system that is working properly will insure that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs for energy from the foods you eat. A study in Genome Biology's July 25, 2014 issue talks about how changes in diet can affect the balance of the types of bacteria in the digestive system. So when making big changes in your eating, supplementing with probiotics may be helpful.

Whole Food Supplements
When your nutrition falls short, motivation and focus towards your resolutions are hard to maintain. This is where whole food supplements can be helpful. Here are four supplements all with the super nutritional power of AFA bluegreen algae that can help supply nutrition to fill in the gaps needed to boost physical energy.

This supplement was created with those with active lifestyles in mind. It has a combination of wheatgrass juice, cordyceps mushrooms, bee pollen, turmeric, noni, and green tea; as well as bluegreen algae.

This antioxidant/algae supplement has 100mg of ubiquinol, the active and bioavailable form of Coenzyme Q10 along with a blend of organic flaxseed oil, olive biophenols (Hidrox®), organic reishi and oyster mushrooms, and AFA bluegreen algae to support your body on a cellular level.

This enzyme/algae supplement combines the plant-based proteolytic enzymes bromelain, papain, protease, lipase, and serratiopeptidase, as well as AFA bluegreen algae that also helps support active lifestyles. These type of enzymes have been found to support the body in fighting off inflammation, fight off stress, and nourish cells.

To maintain an active lifestyle requires healthy, flexible, and strong joints and supporting cartilage. This joint support supplement combines vegetable-based glucosamine, chondroitin, UC-II® undenatured collagen and AFA bluegreen algae to aid in the support of joint and cartilage health to help your body keep up with all you do and keep you moving forward.

I hope your new year is off to a good start and that this is the year you leave your negative thoughts behind and let your positive thinking direct you to be motivated towards accomplishing your resolutions and goals. It requires a little work and lifestyle changes to get there, but will be so worth the effort.

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.

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

The No-Gym Weight Loss Plan

Think you have to join a gym and work in the time to get there regularly in order to lose weight? You don't! It's fine if you need the social interaction or that type of structure, but you can still lose weight just by using gravity and your body weight with simple exercise you can do at home and making the commitment to add some changes to your diet. Take a look at what some workout experts recommend for quick and easy exercise you can do at home to get fit.

Of course, you may need to check with your health care provider before starting on any exercise program to make sure it is right for you and safe for any medical conditions you may have, but if you are looking for a workout to fit into a busy schedule then the 7 minute workout ( may be for you. This program has 12 exercises each done for 30 seconds with a 10 second break in between each one. It includes exercise moves that use your body weight and that you don't need any special equipment for, such as jumping jacks, squats, running in place, push-ups, and lunges. Built into this workout are exercises that get your heart rate going and those for cooling down as well as exercises that trade off exercising opposing groups of muscles. If losing weight and wanting to get fit are priorities for you, then really who doesn't have just 7 minutes?

Exercise physiologist Pete McCall, of the American Council on Exercise advises doing quick, short bursts of these types of exercises will increase weight loss and adding in some light weights will burn up even more calories. As you increase your muscles, you lose weight since muscles use up calories even when not working. If you spend a lot of your day sitting, start making a plan to get up periodically throughout the day and move around. Walk to the break room, stretch or just walk around your work area; whatever you can do to get your body in motion.

Weight Loss Nutrition
Besides getting in some good weight loss exercise, you do have to consider what you are eating to fuel your body. You may think this means avoiding all fats, but actually there are fats that are good for you and that your body needs. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats help support brain health and fill you up so that you aren't as likely to overeat. Avocados, tofu, nuts, fatty coldwater fish, and olive oil are all good fats to have in your diet. Avoid foods with transfats and limit saturated fats however, especially if working on weight loss. Watch also how you cook foods and opt for methods like sautéing with olive oil instead of butter and grilling instead of frying. Experts also recommend drinking water before eating as a weight loss strategy. This will make you fill fuller so that you eat less at a meal. There have also been studies reporting that drinking cool water increases the metabolism which means more calories burned. Many people think when dieting that carbs are an enemy, but actually you need some carbohydrates to fuel the body. Stick with getting complex carbs though from foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables and avoid simple carbs. Complex carbs will not only keep you energized, but also help you fill fuller with less calories.

Another weight loss tip is to not skip meals. Many of us when dieting think if we eat a little more at one meal then we should skip the next one or we just get so busy that we put off eating regular meals. All this does is increase the probability of overeating later or grabbing a snack that usually isn't a healthy one and causes us to have an energy drain later in the day. Feeling less energized also makes it harder to keep to an exercise schedule and gives us an excuse to put it off. If you don't have the time to sit down to a good, healthy meal, that's OK. Plan ahead and have healthy snacks like this bar fortified with sprouted grains, greens, and bluegreen algae on hand, or some fruit or raw veggies or a cup of yogurt.

How's Your Gut Working For You?
Something else to consider when working on weight loss is your gut health. Because so much of the food we eat is lacking in digestive enzymes, we often don't fully digest all our food. That causes it to build up in the intestines and show up as fat around the waistline. Adding probiotics, such as acidophilus and bifidus to your diet as well as a digestive enzyme supplement can help your body process and digest the foods you eat, moving them through the digestive system so that they don't become stuck there. For those of you on the run a lot, these convenient packets of capsules are already pre-packaged with two types of AFA bluegreen algae to fill in any nutritional gaps in your diet, acidophilus, bifidus and a digestive enzyme. Perfect to grab a packet and take anywhere.

No matter how busy you are, if you are looking to lose weight for health reasons or just to feel better about how you look or improve your energy level, you can do it right at home. Just remember these three components: exercise, healthy eating and supporting your digestive system. No need to get to the gym or spend a lot of time, just a few minutes specialized exercise a day, eat healthy foods in moderation and get your gut working for you and you'll be on your way to losing those pounds.

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.

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