[HEALTH & WELLNESS] Is it time for a GUT check?

IMG_5436Is your gut in balance? As we continue to research about the skin and proper skin care, we came across the term “leaky gut syndrome”. We found significant correlations between gut health and various skin and overall health conditions.

What is leaky gut syndrome? It’s when the lining of the intestinal walls are damaged, allowing undigested food and toxins to seep into the bloodstream, and the body begins to attack the foreign entities that invade it. Symptoms of this condition could include inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Celiac disease, food allergies, ulcers, Thyroid conditions, eczema, and other health and skin-related issues. This condition can be brought on by poor diet, medications, stress, and genetic predisposition.

Eating a balanced and healthy diet of mostly colorful fruits and vegetables, drinking sufficient amounts of water to flush toxins from our bodies, and making sure the flora (the microbiome – the community of microorganisms) in our gut is in balance are crucial. Proper gut health is critical in allowing our bodies to digest and absorb the nutrients and minerals necessary to maintain a healthy body and could alleviate some of the ailments that affect it.

So, how can we balance our gut microbiota? Including more probiotic foods into our diet such as miso, apple cider vinegar, fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, Kombucha, and yogurt can help. Reducing and limiting the intake of alcohol, processed foods and sugars are also critical. If your immune system is compromised, it’s best to choose organic produce to limit exposure to harmful chemicals and pesticides.

Repairing the gut can take some time depending on how damaged it may be. Yet, healing and rebalancing the gut is important so that our bodies can remain healthy. Perhaps it’s time for a gut check with your medical practitioner. Your body will thank you for it.

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OH SUGAR! [HEALTH & WELLNESS]

Immunity-Boosters Plate PhotoSugar. The sweetness that many palates crave is touted differently by others of late. During the last year, in our quest to maintain better health and wellness, we took a closer look at the foods that we were consuming. The foods that we were relying on to maintain our health. And, we noticed an ingredient that we didn’t expect to find in many of the foods. We noticed it over and over again. What was it? It was sugar. Sugar in it’s various forms…cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, glucose, maple syrup, and agave. And, it was everywhere! From pasta sauces, to breads, to juices, to cereals.

Based on our research, we found that excessive consumption and buildup of sugar in our bodies could play a major role in various health-related issues including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammation, arthritis, thyroid conditions, dementia, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer. So, in our quest to ensure that we maintained our health, managed our sugar consumption, and consumption of inflammatory foods, we decided to significantly reduce all processed foods and foods that had added sugars from our diet. This included some pastas, pasta sauces, potato chips, granola bars, bagels, bottled juices, breads, and cereal. But there was more. It was more than the sugars that were listed on ingredient labels. We factored in natural and “hidden” sugars that were in whole and dried fruits, and carbohydrate-rich foods that our bodies convert into sugar such as corn, potatoes, peas, carrots, and others.

We decided to do this for 12 months, with the intention of reintroducing certain foods back into our diet afterwards. You may wonder as many did…”What did we eat?” In addition to increasing our intake of immunity-boosting foods like lemon, ginger and garlic, below are some of the foods on our “Eat More of” list.

1) Low-sugar, non-starchy foods:

    • Arugula root
    • Cabbage
    • Cilantro
    • Romaine lettuce
    • Mushrooms
    • Spinach
    • Cauliflower
    • Cucumber
    • Asparagus
    • Celery
    • Baby carrots
    • Artichokes
    • Broccoli
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Cucumber
    • Garlic (raw)
    • Kale
    • Onions
    • Tomatoes
    • Zucchini

2) Fruits that were lower in sugar:

    • Avocado
    • Lemon
    • Lime
    • Olives

3) Unsweetened beverages:

    • Water
    • Coconut water
    • Almond milk
    • Coconut milk

4) Snacks:

    • Almonds
    • Cashews
    • Sesame seeds
    • Pumpkin seeds
    • Veggie chips

Because we were opting for more fresh foods, this meant cooking more often which meant grocery shopping more often. Sometimes the most frustrating and time-consuming part of this process was having to deal with long grocery store check-out lines, but we remained determined. When pursuing this, we realized that this also meant a lifestyle change. This changed our daily routine especially when we had work events. Gone were the days when we timed our mornings so that we could squeeze every second of morning snooze with just enough time to shower, dress, and go (fellow sleep-lovers…you know how difficult this is!).

Instead, we woke up earlier to prepare our daily meals to make sure we had as much of what we needed for the day. Oftentimes, we cooked large meal portions enough to last the full week and we reheated the meals in the mornings so that we could bring breakfast, lunch, snacks, and beverages for the day. Needless to say, our shoulders felt the burden of carrying the meals in heavy glass Tupperware. But our solutions for our heavier loads…rolling back packs and lighter stainless steel food containers! During days when we did not have events, we would often eat lunch before leaving home and then return home after meetings and/or errands for dinner.

At times it seemed impossible to stick to our new diet especially during gatherings with friends and family due to the options available. Yet, we chose wiser options and we kept to our diet as much as possible.

At the conclusion of the 12-month period, we felt the difference in natural energy levels. And, we decided to keep many of the changes that we made to our diet, incorporating more color and variety in the produce that we chose to consume to make sure we had the proper nutrients and vitamins to nourish and replenish our bodies. And, the fresher the ingredients, the better. 2017 was a year of healthier discoveries for us. And, we met many friends and colleagues on this same journey which helped us stay on track. By doing so, our journey better prepared us for a healthier 2018!

Did you have a similar journey? Let us know. We thank you for being kind to your body.

Foods to Get You in the Mood… [HEALTH & WELLNESS]

NS EggsFoods to get you in the mood…the mood to exercise that is. As warmer Spring weather arrives and we begin to enjoy more outdoor activities, we often think about eating better and getting into shape. But working out requires energy. So, what are we to do to get ourselves motivated? We can begin by incorporating certain energy-boosting foods into our diet, so we rounded up some foods that can provide the body sustained energy and enhance your mood to get you going.

Here are some delicious and great energy-boosting foods:

  • Eggs: A good source of protein and iron to produce hemoglobin that carries oxygen to the blood.
  • Kale and Leafy Greens: High in folate, a naturally-occurring B vitamin, these types of vegetables have been shown to combat depression, promote cell growth, and provide vitamins and minerals for a healthy body.
  • Ginger: Stimulates circulation, boosts the immune system, and can give your body a lift when it’s feeling low.
  • Nuts: Magnesium-rich almonds, cashews, and other nuts can offer the body sustainable energy for the day.
  • Goji Berries: These little reddish-colored berries are a superfood that can help to manage stress and boost mood and maintain energy levels.
  • Raw Cacao: A great source of iron and antioxidants for the body and has been shown to reduce stress hormones.
  • Water: By staying hydrated, this prevents the body from feeling lethargic. Drinking 40-60 ounces of water daily keeps the body well-hydrated and flushes out toxins.

Happy Spring! And, thank you for being kind to your body!

HEALTHY & BEAUTY: Prep Your Body for the Holidays

Yoga

We’re all busy. And, we seem to be getting busier every day, leaving us less time to maintain a healthy lifestyle. With the holidays fast approaching, more travel, family gatherings and social engagements often fill our already full calendars. Yet, when that happens, it’s even more important to find ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

So, how are you prepping your body for the holidays? Here are some tips that may help:

1. Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is important to maintain proper bodily functions and to flush toxins from the body. When exercising or traveling, it’s important to drink even more water to replenish our bodies since exercise and dryer environments can deplete more essential fluids.

2. Exercise. We admit that we’re not the most diligent about following a regular exercise routine, yet we’re constantly on the move when it comes to our market life. So, whether you enjoy jogging, swimming, or practicing yoga, continue exercising to keep your body active and in shape.

3. Eat right. Fill your plates with more fruits, fish and nuts. Fruits such as berries are high in antioxidant vitamins like A and C, and consuming more fish and nuts such as almonds that are rich in essential fatty acids can help reduce inflammation and keep the body healthy.

4. Get eight hours of sleep. Can we tell when we’ve gotten at least eight hours of sleep? Of course we can. We look and feel younger and more refreshed!

So, stay healthy this holiday season. We wish you a wonderful time with your family and friends!