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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Think You Know About Nutrition? Think Again!

Go to any website with health-related content and one of the first things you’ll see is generic, recycled tips for healthy eating, losing weight and feeling better. Apparently we all feel bad these days and frankly there’s a good reason why: Achieving optimal health can’t be done by following just a few tips or tricks. Nutrition can be super confusing, and that is why I am excited to share some great truths about real food from Shane Griffin.

Shane Griffin, a Certified Nutritional Practitioner and the CEO of Whole Life Balance, an international nutritional consulting firm, began to notice that everyone coming to him for advice had the same issue: They’ve been following someone’s ideas to get healthy, but they simply still don’t feel their best.

By learning about Shane’s 9 Core Food Concepts, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep, almost anyone can achieve their optimal state of health:

9 Core Food Concepts to Achieve Optimal Health

1.       Keep your diet pure and natural: Your body’s vitality is at its highest in a pure and natural state. By consuming highly processed, GMO-heavy and impure foods, you create a buildup of toxins in your body that can alter your mood, digestion, energy levels and sleep patterns. Eating pure and natural foods eliminates much of this toxin intake, keeping you healthier and happier for longer periods of time.

2.       Eat proportionally: The food pyramid was right about one thing, you need different food groups in correct proportions to create a balanced diet – and a balanced diet is the key to reaching optimal health. To reach this state, consume six vegetables, two fruits, one protein and one starch daily. Remember to alternate these items and add as many colorful foods as possible!

3.       Maintain correct alkaline/acid balances: Many people are unaware that our bodies have an ideal pH balance, which is 6.0 to 7.5. Too much of one or the other can create an internal environment conducive to disease, create a buildup of waste, and leave your body in a weakened state or worse.

4.       Keep a constant variety in your diet: If you eat carrots every day, eventually your body will not develop a natural “tolerance” to them and won’t process the nutrients optimally anymore. Variety is essential because it keeps your digestive tract functioning at peak levels and allows for maximum nutrient absorption.  So when you eat those six vegetables per day, keep alternating them weekly for the best effects.

5.       Consume Raw Foods: Raw diets tend to frighten folks, but in reality, 60% of your daily food intake should be raw, uncooked items. You already consume many raw fruits and vegetables without thinking of them in those terms, so go into it with that mentality. When you cook foods, the heat actually reduces the nutrient value and you lose out on some the nutritional benefits of eating healthy. Obviously, you don’t want to eat chicken raw, but this plan is easy to accomplish with many of your vegetables and even some fish.

6.       Use food as a natural cure: By eating a variable diet in the correct proportions, your body has an amazing ability to heal itself. Food “treatment” can be highly effective for relieving headaches, promoting healing post-surgery, or even reducing flare ups with chronic diseases such as Chon’s. This can reduce your reliance on over the counter medications like Tylenol, which can be very hard on your liver. For example, Vitamin C is one of the best naturally occurring reparative substances in the world.

7.       Always consume in moderation: Never consume one or more foods to excess. This goes back to the law of variety, and eating too much of one thing can lead to bodily damage over time. For example, kale is extremely healthy. But if you have kale with every meal, you  are at risk for thyroid disease, you can end up with an underactive thyroid or even a goiter, as Kale contains Goitrogens – a natural thyroid medication.

8.       Address deficiencies: If your diet is imbalanced, you can end up deficient in vital nutrients. Almost every disease starts with a deficiency of some sort. Supplementing with natural vitamins and minerals is a fantastic way to “right the ship” and correct the chemical imbalances in your body, but it must be done carefully as everyone’s biochemistry is starkly unique.   

9.       Learn the principles of food combining: It may be surprising to some that certain foods just digest well together. Some react perfectly and others fight each other in the digestive tract. For example, meat and potatoes – an American diet staple – is a terrible combination. When combined, this heavy protein and polysaccharide become difficult to break down into the proper size and the nutritious center of the cells just ends up passing through the digestive tract, rather than being absorbed into the bloodstream. By learning which foods go best together, you’ll ensure your body is absorbing as many nutrients as possible.

Great tips, right? Would you add anything to this list? If so, what? Thanks for sharing!

Monday, July 28, 2014

#Sponsored - Learn From Moms Around the World

I participated in a Blog Blast on behalf of Mom Central for Urbini. I received information from Urbini to facilitate my post as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Being pregnant with my fourth baby right now, I am just as excited as I was with my first. I have been reading up on my baby and pregnancy all. the. time. One thing I have learned over the years is that we can learn a lot from other moms. I love that the Mom Voy√°ge website, created by Urbini, is unique in sharing information from mom bloggers from all around the world - France, Britain, Holland, Japan, and more! It is so interesting to hear from their perspectives on topics like baby names, cravings, maternity leave and so much more. 

Mom Voyage

To find out more about these interesting topics, check out their social media:

Urbini Facebook Page
Urbini Twitter Page
Urbini on Instagram 
Urbini on Pinterest

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Almond Power Snacks Recipe

Cara received product to review. No other compensation was given. All opinions expressed are 100% her own.

I just love a good no-bake snack recipe. I mean, come on, don't we all? I am already thinking ahead to school starting next month, and I think these snacks would also make a fabulous addition to a healthy lunch. I know my son will love them!

Filled with energy, fiber and protein, Almond Moringa Power snacks require little prep time and are a super nutritious way to snack!

These snacks' signature ingredient, ORGANIC INDIA's Moringa Leaf Powder, is a vegan, gluten-free and organic formula packed with 46 antioxidants, 36 anti-inflammatory compounds, seven times the vitamin C in an orange and four times the vitamin B12 in one steak serving. Wow, right?

You really can't go wrong with these power snacks, and I hope you enjoy them!

Almond Moringa Power Snacks

What you will need:

1 tbsp Organic India Moringa Powder
16 dates, pitted
1/2 cup of coconut oil
2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 cup of cacao nibs
1 cup of raw almonds
1/2 cup chia seeds

-Combine ingredients in Blender or Food Processor until smooth
-Shape mixture into bite-sized pieces
-Place on plate and refrigerate until the pieces harden

So simple and easy!

You can watch a short video about how to make these healthy treats below:

If you are looking for other ways to incorporate the power of Moringa in your diet, Organic India also offers a unique product - Tulsi Moringa Tea. It is a powerful blend of 3 different Tulsi herbs, lemongrass and India's superfood moringa. This USDA certified organic tea and Non-GMO Project verified tea is a caffeine free blend with more vitamin A than carrots, more potassium than bananas, more calcium and protein than milk, more fiber than oats and more iron than spinach—all in one cup of tea! Now, that is a power drink!

Enjoy the snacks and have fun getting your Moringa on!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Best 3 Tips to Keeping Teeth Healthy

 This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Proper dental hygiene is important. Besides cavities and gingivitis, poor dental hygiene can result in more serious problems. Since infections can happen below the gum-line and enter the bloodstream, any infection in the mouth can end up in the rest of the body. The condition of teeth and the gums signify whether something is wrong in the body. It’s essential to a person’s health, their breath and their self-image to keep their mouth clean. 

Here are three awesome tips for keeping teeth healthy:

1. It was once advised to brush after each meal—three times a day. However, since some food and drink can be acidic and teeth enamel can be weak, it is now being recommended that people wait 30 minutes to brush their teeth after ingesting food and drink in order to avoid enamel loss. Swishing water around the mouth to dislodge food is effective until teeth can be brushed. Also, chewing gum and increasing the amount of water that can be drunk helps to reduce potential cavities. 

2. It’s just as important to get between the gums—if not more important than brushing teeth. It’s important to floss the teeth a few times per day. While many people learned to move floss back and forth between teeth, the proper way to floss is to move floss in an up and down motion to scrape off plaque. Waterpiks are highly useful in dislodging food from in between the teeth and getting beneath the gum-line. This can help to prevent deep dental cleanings down the road. 

3. Mouthwashes are a good way to cut down on the amount of bacteria that is in the mouth. Bacteria is the cause of dental problems. Even swishing the mouth with warm water and salt can help to kill bacteria. Oil pulling is attested by many to be effective at pulling out toxins from the mouth and helping to kill bacteria. Oil pulling is said to reduce allergies and provide fresher breath. I personally think that oil pulling is one of the best ways to keep your mouth healthy.

Visiting a Virginia Beach dentist is also important. Dentists are equipped with tools to discover potential problems in the mouth. If a dentist is not regularly seen, a problem can go undetected until it’s too late.

Keep those smiles beautiful with these easy tips!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Top 5 Healthy, Gluten-Free Summer Recipes

As much as I love Summer, sometimes it is hard to find recipes you actually want to cook during the crazy Summertime heat. Being pregnant right now and the food aversions I still have is making it that much more tricky, so I have brought together my top five favorite recipes that will keep you cool, refresh you, and keep you and your family healthy and happy this summer!

1. Five Easy Paleo/Gluten Free Lunch Ideas: I am starting my list out by giving you five different options for lunches. Sometimes lunch can become so redundant. We get in a pattern of salmon every day or salads every day, and it is hard to get out of it. Refresh your palate with one of these five lunch options! You'll also find that these work awesome for the school year, which will be here before you know it!
2.  Zucchini "Bread"sticks: I don't know about you, but I usually have oodles of zucchini from my garden. They are full of vitamins and nutrients, and my hands-down favorite recipe for them are my Zucchini "Bread"sticks, were don't have any bread in them. They are gluten-free, Paleo, and delicious!! Oh, and I did I mention they only have 3 ingredients and 3 steps? Perfect for the lazy days of summer!
3. Cucumber Boats: These are another favorite of ours for several reasons. First off, they are unbelievably easy. Second of all, we have loads of fresh cucumbers all summer from our garden. Third, you can vary the recipe so easily to make it fit your mood or whatever ingredients you have on hand. Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

4. Chicken Avocado Salad: Here's another 3 ingredient (plus spices) crowd pleaser that is so delicious you won't believe that it is still super healthy, Paleo, and gluten free! Serve it with lettuce wraps, carrot sticks, cucumber slices, zucchini slices...the choices are endless and so delicious!
5. One Ingredient "Ice Cream": Let's end this round up of yummy recipes with a sweet, but still healthy, treat! Since I try to stay away from dairy, this is the perfect way to get a cool, summer treat that tastes just like ice cream. My kids also love it! Have a few bananas getting nice and ripe on your cupboard? Throw them in your freezer and you are on your way to a sweet treat! 
 Feel like you're in the dog days of summer with your cooking? Try one or all of these recipes, and you will remember that cooking can be easy, healthy, and delicious! What are your favorite Summer recipes?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Kit's Organic Fruit and Seed Snack Bars Review and Giveaway

Cara was provided product to review. No other compensation was given. All opinions expressed are 100% her own.

While I rarely recommend a snack bar, mostly because of the preservatives, high sugar, or other icky ingredients, I have found a new one today that I am really excited to add to my snacking choices and recommend to all of you!

Made by Clif Bar, the new Kit's Organic Fruit and Seed bars are not only delicious, but they pass all my high standards for a real, nutritious snack bar!

Kit’s Organic Fruit + Seed, is a new, healthy snack bar made with 100 percent organic fruit and seeds.
They are USDA-certified organic, low glycemic, gluten free, dairy free and soy free. I love that they are made with only 4-5 whole food ingredients each! Now that is a really nutritious snack.

I have been enjoying these bars after workouts, when I know I need the energy to work with my other personal training clients. They come in four delicious flavors: Apricot Sesame Seeds, Cherry Pumpkin Seeds, Lemon Vanilla Chia Seeds, Coconut Sesame Seeds. I think my favorite is the Lemon Vanilla Chia Seeds or Apricot Sesame Seeds. 

They really make a great snack with only 200 calories or less, and a good helping of fiber and protein. Now, you can try them out for yourself! 

We are giving away a sample pack of Kit's Organic Fruit + Seed bars to (2) lucky winners!

 If you can't wait that long to try them out, make sure to visit their website to order or visit your local Whole Foods or natural foods retailer.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Fun!

Living healthy natural lives is not always the easiest thing, which is why I started my blog - to inspire and help others live their best life healthfully and naturally. Friday Fun is my way of sharing a bit of my life with you, my readers and friends, and I hope you will be willing to share your thoughts and ideas with me too.

So, here we go!

In my life this week...
A lot to be thankful for! We went in to our midwife for our second appointment at 16 weeks. Since we weren't able to hear the baby's heartbeat at 12 weeks, I was anxious to hear it this time. After several minutes of searching, my midwife caught the heartbeat for about 2 seconds. But, that sweet sound immediately brought tears to my eyes!!

Also, after asking my midwife's opinion and reading up a bunch on the topic (this article is a good one), we decided that for the first time, we are NOT going to have any kind of ultrasound with this baby. With all three of our other children, we did have an ultrasound with each, mostly because I loved knowing the gender and feeling that extra bond with my baby. But, with this baby, we decided the possible risks are not worth it to us. I guess it comes back to the saying, "When you know better, you do better."

I am inspired by...
how God can change my attitude, give me enough strength, and calm my troubled heart. It is truly amazing how when I feel so beaten down at one moment, God can pick me up and bring me back to a place of peace and hope.

My favorite thing this week was...
besides hearing my baby's heartbeat, I think it was playing at the playground with my kids. I can't get enough of the rock climbing wall. :-)

What's working/not working for me...
Working -I am loving all the fresh produce of summer! I went strawberry picking last weekend, and the smell of fresh berries is intoxicating! I am also looking forward to blueberry picking maybe next week or the week after. Plus, my garden is growing well, and I am excited to pick some peas soon.

Not working - It is one of my family goals to make sure we eat supper together as a whole family. Between my husband's crazy schedule and my working in the evening, this has not been happening as often as I'd like. I really want to work on making a better effort to eat dinner as a family most, if not all, days of the week.

Questions/thoughts I have...
I cannot wait to hold a little baby in my arms again! Even though my youngest is only 21 month old, it seems like it has been forever since I have snuggled a newborn. I can't wait!

I'm reading...
The Freedom Writers Diary (so inspirational!), God's Whisper in a Mother's Chaos by Keri Wyatt Kent, and I am still reading through one chapter of the Bible a day, starting in Matthew.

I'm cooking...
My pregnancy must-have are my Protein balls. I eat them throughout the day to help keep the nausea at bay. Besides that, I have been in love with chips and salsa. As for what I am actually cooking, well, Carrot Ginger Soup and Brown Rice, Crockpot Chicken Lettuce Wraps, and we finally figured out how to really make a stellar burger - don't handle the meat much, put a thumb print in the middle, cook in a pan, and add a little salt and a nice bit of pepper, only flip once. So yummy!

I'm grateful for...
nail cutters - I don't know how else I would keep my kids' fingers clean and their nails trimmed, sunshine, rain for my garden (still haven't had to water all summer), helpful neighbors, loving family, peppermint essential oil, clean drinking water, the way my older daughter mothers my younger one, my son's emotions after finishing Charlotte's Web, and my husband's hard work.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share... 

This quote really struck me this week, and I am constantly trying to remember it...

"Sometimes I feel guiltier for what I'm not than thankful for what I am." Lysa Terkeurst