supplements

Three Things I'm Loving Now (Fall 2017)

The way that we're drawn to new things as the seasons change throughout the year is always fascinating to me. Although I'm growing less fond of winter as the years go by, the change of seasons and seasonal flavors, scents, and textures is something I appreciate about living where we do. I know that by late spring I'll be yearning for the stuff of summer again, but for now? Those tomatoes that we loved in late summer--I'm tired of them. The light, airy scents of tangerine and bergamot that I was diffusing a month or so ago? Meh. The pineapple mango smoothies of summer? Not so much.

The scents and flavors that I'm loving right now as we head into fall start off with Clary Sage Essential Oil. Clary Sage is regarded as an effective essential oil for women especially, in balancing hormones and reducing anxiety. 

A 2014 study published in the Journal of Phytotherapy Research found that inhalation of clary sage oil had the ability to reduce cortisol levels by 36 percent and improved thyroid hormone levels. The study was done on 22 post-menopausal women in their 50s, some of whom were diagnosed with depression. At the end of the trial, the researchers stated that “clary sage oil had a statistically significant effect on lowering cortisol and had an anti-depressant effect improving mood.”

As the days get shorter, this herbaceous, slightly spicy oil is super-appealing to me, with something of a warming quality. I love it so much that I've been wearing it on this aromatherapy pendant. I have used Young Living essential oils exclusively for years and highly recommend them for purity and quality. 

IMG_7012.JPG

Comfort food. It means something different to everyone. For some it's mac and cheese; for others it's mashed potatoes or a grilled cheese sandwich. This dish that we love draws from middle-Eastern flavors, but it has all the makings of comfort food, in its warm, soft texture. This recipe is adapted from one that appeared in the magazine Veg News several years ago. 

Satisfying Sleek

Ingredients: 

1 cup bulgur wheat

3 cups low-salt or salt-free vegetable broth or stock

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

4 cups kale, chopped

4 teaspoons baharat spice blend (recipe follows)

2 15-oz. cans of black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

4 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

Baharat Spice Blend:**

1 Tablespoon black pepper

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground fenugreek

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

**Note: This spice blend makes enough for two batches of Sleek. You will only use half of the mixture for the recipe.

Method:

Place bulgur into a large bowl. Cover with the vegetable broth and set aside for 30 minutes.

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onions. Cook until soft. Add the spice blend and the bulgur mixture, and the black-eyed peas. Bring what liquid there is to a boil, stirring so that it doesn't stick. If the bulgur has soaked up most of the broth, add water in 1/2 cup increments. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the kale and continue simmering for another 5-10 minutes or until kale is wilted. Take off heat; stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

IMG_6348.JPG

A Fall Beverage Discovery! Apple cider in the fall will probably always be one of my favorites, but it's not something I will have every day. Something I DO have every day is my Greens Blend from Life's Abundance. In the fall, though, a big cold drink isn't too appealing, unless it's after a sweaty spin class. Well, guess what? I tried my Greens Blend hot, and I love it! I mixed a scoop of Greens Blend with 12 ounces of water in a shaker bottle, and once blended, poured it into my favorite mug. A minute and 30 seconds in the microwave, and I have a warm, delicious drink with a subtle berry flavor. I'm excited about keeping my phytonutrient game strong through the fall and winter by enjoying this as a hot beverage! 

These are three of my favorite things for Fall 2017--what are some of yours?

 

IMG_7015.JPG

 

 

 

 

What's This Supposed To Do For Me?

I had the same question when I first started taking the Probiotic from Life's Abundance, and it  comes up fairly often when anyone is trying to learn more about supplements. Truth is, you won't hear me making promises, because everyone's experience could be different. What I can tell you is my own experience and what I hear from my customers. The first difference I noticed personally was reduced sugar cravings. Desiring less sugar, I ate less sugar, and the next things I noticed were that my skin looked better and my energy level was more constant, less "crashy". One of my customers, who previously suffered with both acid reflux and irregularity, has felt that his digestive process is substantially improved. Just this week another customer told me how her sugar cravings have been reduced, after just a few days on the product. How can that be?

Gut bacteria, when balanced, can help or hinder weight control. When they're in a state of balance, they can truly reduce or eliminate cravings and improve your metabolism. An unhealthy diet, where your gut bacteria is out of balance, leads to insulin resistance. If your cells are insensitive to insulin and can't take in fuel in the form of blood sugar, your pancreas produces excess insulin. That excess insulin can lead to inflammation, fat storage, and weight gain; and it can also put you at risk for diabetes, heart disease and other disorders. 

For a healthy gut, first and foremost is eating as much of a whole-food (as opposed to processed) diet as possible. To that, consider adding Life's Abundance Probiotic. During the month of August, when you purchase the Probiotic, I'll give you two sample sized products of Life's Abundance nutrition products of your choosing! Try chocolate or vanilla protein powder, the Greens Blend, or either flavor of Minerals & Antioxidants drink mix as a thank you from me. And let your belly thank you for the Probiotic. The link is: bit.ly/saynotobloat.

Is Fish Oil a Waste of your Money?

The short answer is, it could be…if you just don't know, or you're not careful about what you’re buying. It’s widely recommended by doctors and nutritionists, and that alone is reason enough for some companies to prey on unsuspecting consumers who will buy on price without ever considering the potency, source, or purity of the product. Here’s the skivvy, and besides reading this, the other thing you should always, always do is read the label of whatever you are buying.

First, what is fish oil? It is a rich source of the two essential omega-3 fatty acids known as EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). (Please don’t ask me to say those; even spellcheck is confused.) Fish oil comes from the fatty tissues of cold water, oily fish, like salmon.

Both omega-3 and omega-6 are essential fatty acids, which means your body can’t make them, they have to come from your diet. The typical American diet today provides an overabundance of omega-6 fatty acids, mostly from refined vegetable oils that are used in fried food as well as many processed foods, snacks, cookies and crackers. Omega-3s, on the other hand, are now relatively rare in American diets. The result is an imbalance of these essential fatty acids. That imbalance has been shown to promote inflammation and shows links to diseases commonly plaguing Americans, including heart conditions, several forms of cancer, autoimmune diseases, and Alzheimer’s disease. A deficiency in omega-3s can also show itself in symptoms like excessive thirst, frequent urination, dry hair and dry skin.

By regularly consuming fatty fish and/or fish oil as a dietary supplement and reducing intake of omega-6 fatty acids, we may help protect our mental and physical health. EPA supports heart health and DHA is thought to play an important role in normal brain development and function.

Any independent expert will tell you that when you are choosing a supplement, look for one derived from molecularly distilled fish oils – these are naturally high in both EPA and DHA and low in contaminants. Also choose a supplement brand that has been independently tested and guaranteed to be free of heavy metals such as mercury and lead, and other environmental toxins including PCBs.

If you currently take a fish oil supplement, try this to test its potency. Put the oil or the pills in the freezer. They should not freeze solid. If they do, you should be looking for another brand. And check those labels! See my notes in the photo caption below.

Top: Life's Abundance Fish Oil Capsules. Middle: A brand sold by Sam's Club. Bottom: I don't remember where I saw this one, but let's call it "don't bother".

Top: Life's Abundance Fish Oil Capsules. Middle: A brand sold by Sam's Club. Bottom: I don't remember where I saw this one, but let's call it "don't bother".

Life’s Abundance fish oil supplements are ultra pure, ultra refined, ultra concentrated, and the purity of every batch is third party certified. Taken in capsule form (4 per day) or concentrated liquid (1 teaspoon per day), there is no fishy aftertaste. My personal experience with this product is that it has eliminated my dependence on anti-inflammatory products like ibuprofen, and has improved the condition of my hair, skin and nails.