Eat These Foods to Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation may be the “hot” topic in medicine, but no one’s really talking about how to keep it in check using what Mother Nature gave us. There’s plenty of information on OTC (a.k.a.—over the counter) and prescription anti-inflammatory creams and pills, but not a whole lot of talk on healthier options like food or lifestyle habits.

Since we have to eat anyway, wouldn’t food be the logical place to start? Especially since there seems to be so many side effects associated with suppressive therapies.

If you like food—and who doesn’t?—read on. There are some high powered, plant-based foods that can help you reduce inflammation naturally and as an added bonus, they taste good too!

The Ways to Jumpstart Your Metabolism Naturally

If you continually diet, you are putting your body in a quasi famine situation.
It slows your metabolism down and breaks the thermostat.
Diets don’t work.
They don’t help you understand why you’re eating more
than your body wanted in the first place.
~ Susie Orbach

metabolism

A question I’m often asked is, “Do “calories” really count?”

I want to say yes, but it’s not that simple. Calories aren’t the only thing that matter when it comes to how much you weigh and the amount of energy you have. It’s all about your metabolism. Which is a bit more complicated than calories in and calories burned.

Metabolism is the process of taking in oxygen and food and using them for energy, heat, and storage. But what’s more important is how fast your metabolism works, which is often referred to as your “metabolic rate.” And you may have heard of RMR and TDEE, which are ways to measure your metabolic rate.

What you really want to know is what affects your metabolic rate, and how can you use that to your advantage. It’s not just about how much you eat. It’s about your hormones, body composition, and of course, what you eat.

Click here to read the full post about metabolism, what affects your metabolic rate and try my new recipe for a lean (metabolism-boosting) protein!

Have a great week and be sure to get outside for a walk or a run. Both boost your metabolism!

Repel Mosquitos Naturally

 

TerraShield

There’s nothing worse than watching the sun go down on a lovely day and then being attacked by mosquitos. In the Northeast, we live for summer. And spending as much time out in nature is probably what the founding fathers referred to as the “pursuit of happiness.”

The pesticides industry claims that DEET is relatively harmless, however it’s been shown to be extremely powerful and toxic. The nervous system is particularly at risk and DEET has been known to cause seizures as well as other health related concerns. Children are particularly susceptible.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to choose between toxic commercial bug sprays and the diseases carried by mosquitos.

Essential oils may be the answer to this dilemma. They’re safe, natural and effective. They’re also economical. A bottle of essential oil will last much longer than a bottle of bug spray and most oils have multiple uses.

Quality is important to me. I don’t want to replace one chemical with another, so we use TerraShield by doTERRA. It’s a perfect blend of mosquito repellent. It has 15 different oils including lemon, eucalyptus, citronella and lemon grass. And every oil that doTERRA sells goes through extensive third party testing for purity. They are the only company with the designation Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils.

The best way to apply is to add 15-30 drops of TerraShield to four ounces of water and 4 ounces of either witch hazel or alcohol (unflavored vodka works best). Put in a spray bottle and apply liberally. Glass or metal bottles seem to work best because citrus oils can be corrosive to plastic. Having said that, I’ve used plastic in a pinch.

For more information on healthy living using essential oils, click healthy living.

What’s your outdoor tip for warding off mosquitos? Share it here!

Medicine Cabinet Makeover

peppermint IHW

Integrative medicine is really gaining momentum and for good reason. It works. With any luck at all, pill popping will become a last resort rather than first line therapy for what ails us.

In our house we do not have antacids, ibuprofen, or antibacterial anything. We’ve been able to find natural replacements for all those things that not only work better, they’re considerably cheaper.

For us, our first line therapy is therapeutic grade essential oils. They’ve been around for thousands of years, and what I like best about them (besides the fact that they smell good) is they work quickly. Which is perfect for the instant gratification mentality that we’ve all become so used to.

Essential oils can be applied topically either neat (straight out of the bottle) or diluted in a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil, coconut oil, or olive oil. It can also be misted into the air using a diffuser or taken internally (note: not all oils can be ingested). I like to add a few drops of lemon, wild orange or lime to my water throughout the day. And we have diffusers going in the office, living room and bedroom throughout the day.

Here are a few of my go-to essential oils for everyday maladies:

  • Peppermint – Great for sore muscles, stomach upset, headaches (like all oils, keep away from eyes), stiff shoulders, improves mental alertness, freshens breath and opens up sinuses and airways.
  • Lavender – Helpful for bruises, minor cuts and burns; its soothing aroma also has a calming affect and can help alleviate stress and tension.
  • Frankincense – Also known as liquid gold, it’s one of my favorites. This oil has anti-depressant properties, soothing for skin irritations, acne, wrinkles, cuts and has been known to reduce scarring.
  • Lemon – Has powerful antiseptic properties, improves circulation, antibacterial, useful for respiratory infections and inflammation, and like most of the citrus oils it improves and lifts the mood.

It’s important to note that not all essential oils are created equal. Unless it carries the label certified therapeutic, there’s a chance the oil may contain synthetic ingredients, contaminants or fillers. Our family uses doTERRA because they have gone the extra step and have all their oils third party tested for purity.

If you’d like to learn more about this inexpensive wellness solution, please feel free to contact me.

Be well,

Kathleen

Natural Ways To Prevent The Flu

wash hands

It’s that time of year again.  Dare I say it?  Winter is coming!  And with it, the dreaded cold and flu season.  Isn’t it crazy that something as annoying as a cold or the flu gets its own season?  Being bedridden with either is not something I want to contemplate.  So at this time of year, I run through my list of tried and true natural options for prevention.

But before I get to that, I wanted to mention my thoughts as a holistic practitioner on the flu shot.  There are lots of studies available that will tell you the strains contained in the current year’s flu shot are from previous years’ viruses.  What that means is it’s probably ineffectual against fighting off what’s coming this year.  The flu virus mutates rather quickly so it’s hard for manufacturers to keep abreast of it.

The good news is, Mother Nature has us covered.  Here are some simple tips and home remedies that will keep you healthy and get you back on track.

  • One of the easiest ways to stay healthy is to wash your hands.  I read somewhere  that our hands touch our face over 100 times a day.  So you can see how easily germs are transferred. When washing your hands, due your due diligence.  Use lots of hot soapy water and be sure to wash long enough to wash away the germs.  How long?  Try washing to the tune of happy birthday.
  • Get eight or more hours of sleep each night.  Seems simple, but has amazing benefits.  Our bodies heal while we sleep, so getting enough rest is key to keeping illness at bay.
  • Try a homeopathic approach.  The remedy Arsenicum Album taken once a month will ward off colds and flu.  It can be taken in either dry dose (3 dry dissolved under the tongue) or in water (dissolve in water and take 1 teaspoon) once a month from October through April.  Oscillococcinum is another staple we keep in our house.  It relieves flu symptoms and shortens the duration of the illness.
  • Take a daily dose of Vitamin C throughout the season.  Five hundred milligrams a day if you’re feeling healthy or increase to 1000 milligrams if you start to feel a cold coming on.

If you’d like to learn more about how to stay  healthy naturally, please visit our website.  Be well.

Is Stress Hijacking Your Life?

StressLet’s face it, stress is an everyday part of life.  Most of it, when taken in small doses, is quite manageable.  It becomes a problem when these small stressors start to multiply.

The car breaks down, the kids are sick and you have to scramble for a sitter or take the day off, there’s talk of layoffs at work, you have more bills than budget, you spend more time with your smart phone than your family, crisis management at the office is the new normal, you work with or for a difficult person, your garden is full of weeds …

It’s a pretty long list and it keeps getting longer.  This low-level  hum has a physiological consequence because your body interprets these minor nuisances as threats.  After a prolonged amount of time, you start to feel like you’re constantly under attack.

Part of the problem is cortisol levels stay elevated.  That means your body is prepped for “fight or flight” but no action is being taken.  Over time, the stress begins to take it’s toll and a variety of symptoms start to surface.

There are things you can do to fortify your health and keep stress at a manageable level:

  • Limit coffee or caffeinated beverages.  If you do use caffein, try green tea and take advantage of the health promoting benefits like antioxidants and regulation of glucose levels.  If you’re a coffee lover, eat something or drink water with lemon before having your coffee to help create a more friendly environment in your stomach. 
  • Set an alarm for half an hour before the busiest part of your day and take five minutes to breathe deeply.  Breathe in to the count of one and out to the count of two.  If possible, close your eyes.  Try this for 21 days so it becomes part of your daily routine.  Studies have shown the three deep breaths can lower stress levels.
  • Get a good night’s sleep.  Shut down computers, television and smart phones at least 30 minutes before bed.  The light emitted from these devices mimics natural light which can overstimulate and encourage the body to stay awake.
  • Exercising 30 to 60 minutes a day lowers cortisol.  If you don’t have a lot of time, try the new Focus T25 offered by Beachbody.  It offers both low and high impact options in a 25 minute program five days a week.
  • Try taking a supplement like Bach Rescue Remedy or Cortisol Calm by Pure Encapsulations to help reduce stress naturally.

Stress is a natural part of life.  But it doesn’t have to run your life.  If you’d like to learn more about stress reduction, please visit our website.  Be well.

Another product that is popular for stress and anxiety is Seredyn ®
The beauty of Seredyn ® is that you can take it when you need it. Of course some individuals benefit from taking this product on a daily basis. For more information or to purchase visit: http://www.imsnaturally.com/index.php?cPath=26

Seredyn

 Seredyn ® is recommended by IMS Supplements, Inc.

Do You Need A Health Coach?

If you haven’t heard the term “health coach” yet, it’s just a matter of time before you do.  You might be thinking, “what in the world is a health coach, and why would I need one?”

I’m glad you asked.  When’s the last time you made a goal for your health and stuck with it?   Chances are you’re like millions of other people who have good intentions but can’t quite seem to commit.  You’re busy with other more pressing things like an overloaded work schedule, managing a household, taking care of your kids – bringing them here, there and everywhere – and if there’s any time left over you might kick back and watch a little television to help you unwind before bed.  Then you get up the next day and do it all over again.  Sound familiar?

Our lives have been reduced to a state of constant crisis management, and it’s wreaking havoc on our health. Little nagging aches and pains, if left unattended, can and will turn into chronic, long-term problems.  Stress has a way of eroding the foundation of our health like an ocean battering the coastline – you can’t really see it, but you know it’s happening.  It’s insidious, residing at a low level hum that seems innocuous but in reality is a tsunami in the making.

How can a health coach help stop a perfect storm from brewing?  By guiding and supporting you to make better choices.  It’s a holistic approach to wellness that looks at all the different areas that make up your life: relationships, finances, career, education, food, physical activity, spirituality and home environment to name a few.  Sounds like a tall order, but it’s not.

When you hire a health coach, you’re investing in yourself.  What you’ll get is:

  • More energy that’s not artificially infused
  • dietary plan that fits your lifestyle
  • Sustainable weight loss
  • Control over cravings
  • More time for yourself
  • Peace of mind
  • A good night’s sleep

Most health coaches offer 3, 6, 9 or 12 month programs specifically tailored for you and your life.    This isn’t some flash in the pan diet.  It’s lifestyle management.  The cost, while not overly expensive, is out of pocket.  But it will be well worth it when you compare it to the new initiatives being implemented under Obamacare where poor health will not be rewarded.  And the good news is, it’s meant to last so you won’t be going back to the well over and over again like you do with a monthly prescription drug order.

What would you be willing to give up to have a life that felt manageable rather than out of control:  Your daily latte, lottery tickets, spending money on take out or afternoon trips to the vending machine?

And let’s take it step further.  What happens if you don’t hire a health coach?  Like everything else in this world, you’re going to wear out and eventually break down.  It’s going to cost you a lot more than money to fix your problem if you let it get that far.  You’ll be spending way too much time at the doctors  who will refer you to a variety of specialists where you’ll also spend a lot of time.  Information about your condition(s) will be confusing and often conflicting from one specialist to another.  Mentally and physically you’ll be exhausted.  And if that’s not enough, eventually pain and possibly suffering will become the norm.

How important is it to you to improve your health, reduce stress, increase your happiness, and take better care of yourself and your family?  Only you can answer that.  Think of hiring a health coach the same way you would purchase insurance for your car or your home.  Only it’s a lot more enjoyable.  Life is a long time.  Make the most of it.

If you’d like to learn more, contact us.  We’ve worked with hundreds of people just like you over the phone and face to face.  Our goal is to make your goals a reality rather than something that might have been.  Be well : )

Five Tips To Cleanse Your Life

It’s that time of year again where everywhere you look there’s a new cleanse or detox tempting you to clean up and clear out your system.  With so much conflicting information available, it’s difficult to decide which plan is right for you. 

The first thing to do is try something that resonates with you.  If you see something that gives you a tight feeling in your stomach or makes you a bit queasy, don’t do it.  No matter how good the latest guru says it is.  Tune in to your internal wisdom.  The term “gut feeling” isn’t just a cute saying.  Our guts provide validation for things that will and will not work for us.  And that applies to everything – not just food.

Now that you know you have an ally in the form of an internal GPS system, how do you go about choosing a detox?  Well for one thing, food isn’t the only option when it comes to cleaning up our bodies.  Good health starts when there’s balance in all the major areas of your life – nutrition, relationships, environment, finances and career. 

Here are 5 different types of detoxes to noodle over.  Pick one and try it.  If it works – great.  If not, try something else.

Wake-Up Drink. Drinking 1 to 2 cups of hot filtered or spring water with the juice of half a lemon upon rising is an ancient Ayurvedic practice.  You can also add two pinches of cayenne pepper if you like. The lemon stimulates your digestion and prepares your stomach for food.  Cayenne is known to enhance circulation and blood flow.  Both are known for detoxifying the liver.

Contrast Shower. Try your own at-home version of an old naturopathic hydrotherapy practice. When you take a hot shower, follow it by rinsing with cold water (60 seconds). The “contrast” stimulates circulation, your immune system and your ability to detox via your skin which is considered the biggest organ of your body in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The blast of cold water will tighten your pores, and you’ll feel invigorated and ready to start your day.  This method really wakes you up on a cold winter morning!  Try it for a week or two.

Fever Baths. Add one cup of Epsom salts to your evening bath to soothe, relax, and detoxify your body. Increase the benefits of the bath by drinking 2 to 3 cups of hot tea while soaking to work up a sweat. Try this recipe: Simmer fresh ginger slices in water, and add in one tablespoon of dried yarrow flowers (used as a powerful healing herb to treat inflammation). Steep for 15 minutes, strain, and drink. Yarrow and ginger have been shown to stimulate sweating, which helps the body release toxins.

Spend Time in Nature. Take a break from your routine of being inside your home, office, or car, and venture out to your favorite place in nature or a new place you have always wanted to go. Bring a journal with you and start listening to your body. Record what it’s telling you or write down all the things that come into your head that have been bothering you.  When you return home, tear the pages into tiny shreds and recycle.  You’ll feel instantly uplifted.  Surrounding yourself with nature and all its negative ions (which act positively on your mood) will help you de-stress and tap into  the inherent wisdom of your body.

Detox Your Surroundings. De-cluttering and organizing your environment can help clear up stagnant energy and free you physically and emotionally. Let go of the mounds of paper, clothes, shoes and household items that you no longer use. This creates space and helps welcome in new energy.  Try cleaning up one room at a time to keep from getting overwhelmed.  You’ll love how it feels to walk into a space that’s physically and energetically cleared of clutter.

Cleansing your body and your environment is not only good for your health, it’s good for your soul.  You’ll have peace of mind, sleep more soundly, be more productive and your mood will improve.  And more importantly, as each of us becomes an example of good health and healthy habits, we can inspire others to make healthy choices to improve their lives.  Be well. 

Kathleen Ogar, CHC, Dipl. ABT, C.Hom. 

For more information visit: http://www.infinitehealthwellness.com/