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Friday, February 10, 2017

The Great Debate - To Coffee or Not to Coffee

Is Coffee Healthy? That is the question of the day lately in my circle of friends. I wrote an article Is Your Coffee Healthy a few years ago, but I thought it was time to approach this topic again, because I feel like coffee drinking is the American thing to do these days, and I wonder how this is affecting all of us.

Personally, I am not a coffee drinker. I would rather feel tired if my body is tired, so I can give my body what it really needs - more TLC and rest. BUT - I just got back from another trip to Costa Rica several weeks ago, and I had a wonderful time staying on an organic coffee plantation. I took the entire tour of the plantation, learned a ton of great info about coffee, and had an eye-opening coffee tasting experience.

I must be converted to a coffee drinker now, right? Actually no. I mean, I won't turn down an amazing cup of joe, but my husband, on the other hand, has now taken his coffee drinking to another level. He immediately bought a french press, hand coffee bean grinder, and the best organic whole beans to drink every day. It's pretty awesome to research your food and drink to this level, so I am proud of him for not settling for mediocre coffee after we learned and tasted the best of the best.

Back to the questions at hand. My super-smart researcher friend Katie Mulinix had a great answer and much insight to share on this topic, and I'm thankful she allowed me to share it with all of you.

Is Coffee good for us?

Short answer:  Quality coffee brewed well is generally an okay thing to enjoy. It depends on how much you NEED coffee, as well as the state of certain aspects of your health. If you NEED coffee, your health is less than optimal. The easier it is for you to drop coffee, the better your health is. Also, it can be too hard on the body if you have certain health issues.

Long answer:  The NEED for coffee likely stems from a circadian rhythm issue and a lack of melatonin recycling that slows your electron chain transport--which drives your mitochondria's ability to produce energy to fuel your day--and coffee is the crutch many use to fix that issue....it doesn't fix the cellular level melatonin issue, but is a crutch to overcome that. If it's one off day, this is easily recovered from. But daily NEED means you should address those issues, because downstream repercussions are also potentially looming (like hormone issues, as melatonin signaling is an aspect of sulfating cholesterol to make Vitamin D and the more common hormones like progesterone). Coffee NEED is an indicator of brewing other issues, not the cause of them, except in the case of adrenal issues or potentially in high blood pressure. [Steps to reduce one's NEED for coffee--besides reducing your intake--aren't hard but take diligence, assuming you don't have bigger issues like adrenal fatigue or high blood pressure...though those steps also help those issues too...if anyone is interested, let me know, I am not going to go on about that here, now.]

If you don't have high blood pressure or adrenal fatigue, generally speaking it's fine to have a cup. But coffee has the ability to turn into a crutch, whether it's coffee itself or life changes (like not minding your circadian rhythm) that drive the need for a crutch.

As for the coffee itself, it has a lot of nice health benefits....but it can be hard on the body too. Even seemingly healthier coffees like bulletproof can cause issues.... bulletproof coffee can cause glucose to rise in those prone to issues (also depends on the ingredients used and their affect on one's body) and upregulate other pathways in the body  that aren't beneficial; if you add cream and sugar, those need to be quality too (no need to put extra chemicals or inflammation-promoting conventional dairy into your coffee).

The hardest part about coffee is the way it can be both a WANT and a NEED but the want feeds the need until the need for the crutch grows and grows and then you have downstream implications. It can be good for you, until it's not. And then it can be tough to extract yourself from needing it AND you have bigger issues to deal with, issues that often can drive you to wanting more coffee.

However, stressing too much about anything can have worse affects on the body, so there is that aspect, too. Making an educated decision is almost always a great thing, but just keep listening to your body and paying attention to the feedback it gives you let's you know if it's a good thing or not. Stressing about whether or not it's a good decision adds cloudiness to everything you are trying to figure out. 


Katie's personal experience:
I used to drink shots and shots of espresso in massive flavored/sweetened lattes. No surprise, my health was tanking and I had adrenal fatigue, among a laundry list of other issues. I don't think coffee was the key driver (though the loads of milk and sugar were contributing factors, among many other things like endless hours at a stressful job and brewing health issues), as my other issues were major, but in retrospect it was a huge indicator of my tanking health.

I have taken major breaks from coffee for various reasons over the past few years, to heal adrenal fatigue and to do the intro to AIP [the Autoimmune Protocol], which was a key piece in turning off my immune system overdrive that was attacking my thyroid and I have healed a lot of my Hashimoto's hypothyroidism as a result....to be clear, it wasn't just giving up coffee that did this, but was part of a broader plan. 

I have settled into a place where I have a coconut milk latte sweetened with maple syrup 3-6 times a week. And it's a small, personal size French press that yields 6-8 oz of coffee, not 12 oz, per cup.
I found that, personally, I missed the ritual and comfort of a cup of something warm (or cold in summer!), but tea has never cut it for me in the same way. I also need the fat from the coconut milk and the fullness in my belly for better functioning. I rarely ever NEED coffee at this point but it's a really nice to have. I NEED the fat and the belly fullness, but those stem from those health issues I hinted at. I am definitely at the WANT stage and sometimes after a tough night, the NEED stage, but that's a short lived thing now that I have dialed in my health, and that's an indication of my greatly improved health, and a solid place to be in regards to coffee.  

So - friends - those are our two cents. Take them or leave them. The bottom line is listen to your body and make educated decisions. :-)
Your thoughts?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Mixing It Up in the Kitchen in 2017

I don't know if it is just me or what, but I like to mix things up. I like variety in my life. I can't eat my eggs the same way every day. I can't do the same workout every day. I love trying new things.

If you feel the same, you are going to love these ideas on how to mix it up (in a healthy way) in your kitchen.

The beginning of a new year is a great time to take inventory of your kitchen. Do you have dressings that expired 3 years ago? Yes, it is time to toss them. Kimchi that you've had stuffed in the back of your refrigerator since who knows when? Frozen veggies that have a layer of frost around them that is more than the actual veggies inside? (those may or may not be examples from my own home) 😼You get the idea. Toss them.

Now that you have space in your cupboards, freezer and fridge, try out some new goodies.

For those of you who don't live in Alaska and can get fresh Alaskan fish whenever you'd like, there is
Wild Planet. I love Wild Planet. It is safe to say we eat some kind of Wild Planet in our house every single day. Whether it is skinless and boneless sardines, wild mackerel fillets or Alaskan salmon, we love their fish.

Yes, we eat fish out of a can, which I normally don't recommend. But Wild Planet has NO BPA in their cans, which is one of the main reasons we choose them. They are also super picky about what is inside the cans, which is the other reason we choose them. And now they just added organic roasted chicken breast, which is so easy to add to veggies and have a quick meal! All of these products are sustainably-sourced and contain zero added preservatives. The Organic Roasted Chicken Breast, for example, contains only two ingredients: chicken and sea salt. A great source of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, and Omega-3s, you've got to try them out soon.

Now we don't eat many grains in our family. We love our popcorn on Sunday nights as a family, but we eat mostly Paleo. However, sometimes we like to mix it up with breakfast. We always and only choose sprouted grains, and I love how easy Ezekiel 4:9 Food for Life makes finding sprouted grain products. I used to only think they had bread, but no! I was just recently introduced to their Sprouted Grain Flax English Muffins and Sprouted Grain Waffles.

These are some tasty sprouted grains! They have the perfect crunch, do not fall apart as you spread them with Kerrygold or ghee, and they are full of their own flavor. I kid you not, my kids didn't even ask for syrup. Oh, and make sure you try out their Cinnamon Raisin bread. Delish!

Now for the sweets. I don't often eat ice cream. But my hubby - that's another story. I mean, we live in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, and he still wants ice cream all winter long. Weird, but true. So I try to turn his head towards Halo Top Creamery, because they are a more natural, better-for-you ice cream that still comes in mouth-watering varieties like Red Velvet, Oatmeal Cookie, Cookies & Cream, Peanut Butter Cup, and more. Believe it or not, these only have between 240 and 360 calories per PINT! I like that they are Non-GMO and made with zero artificial preservatives. They're also low in sugar and high in both protein and fiber. Win-win.
Change it up in your kitchen. Throw gross stale food away. Try something new. And fuel your body with the best. 


Big thanks for the products I was sent to review. No other compensation was given.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Essential Oils and FREE Diffuser Necklace for Christmas

If you're like me, you definitely don't have your Christmas shopping done, you are desperately trying to get any discount, coupon and offer out there, but you also don't ever compromise on quality when it comes to health and wellness.

It's with you in mind that I am offering this gift when you grab your Young Living starter kit of awesomeness and give yourself and your family a gift you will NEVER regret.

I always recommend getting started with the premium starter kit for $160 because it is the best deal and comes with 11 bottles of oil and a diffuser. The diffuser retails at almost $100 - so it's a fabulous deal! BONUS - this month, you also get the Christmas Spirit blend for FREE with the kit!
https://www.youngliving.com/vo/#/signup/start?site=US&sponsorid=3399973&enrollerid=3399973

Not a day has gone by since I got my kit years ago that I haven't been over-the-moon thankful for my oils. Just a few of my favorites from the kit:
  • Thieves - we use Thieves daily for boosting our immune system and I love that I can use it topically OR in my diffuser. The diffuser is really helpful to have because I can fight airborne germies that way too! Love it! 
  • Lavender - we use Lavender for calming, supporting skin, in our owie roller, and in our Sweet Dreams bedtime spray - it's my most reached for oil! 
  • Peppermint -  we love this one for when your head starts pounding, your tummy starts feeling funky, and as a great energy boost in the diffuser. 
I use my oils from the starter kit each and every day, and you can see more in this graphic from my December newsletter below.
https://www.youngliving.com/vo/#/signup/start?site=US&sponsorid=3399973&enrollerid=3399973
When you buy your kit before December 31st, I will also send you a diffuser necklace for you to enjoy with your oils.



Whether you are brand new to oils or have been learning little bits at a time, I am here to help you learn (because you know I can't turn the teacher-in-me off) and walk with you on your journey toward health and wellness. Here we go!

 You can order here
Hurry - my offer ends Dec. 31st!

Check out these other posts to get more ideas on how you will be using your oils:


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Top 10 Reasons to Use Cloth Diapers

As a cloth diapering momma for the last 8 years, I have had to endure a lot of stinky dirty diapers. I have needed some great reasons to stick with it at times, and that is what I am sharing with you today.

Here are my top 10 reasons to use cloth diapers:

1. There are tons of super fun stylish and reusable cloth diapers. For instance, this cute spotted giraffe print diaper was used through both of our girls and we loved taking pictures of them with it on, because it was so cute! They don't make cloth diapers today like they used to many years ago. Now, they are easy to use and come in a hundred super cute prints.
2. Conventional disposables can contain traces of Dioxin, a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer linked chemicals! Yikes!! It is banned in most countries, but sadly not in the US.
3. Conventional disposables can contain Trubutyl-tin(TBT) a toxic pollutant known to cause hormonal problems in humans and animals.
4. Chemicals and fragrances in some disposables can cause asthma. 
5. Disposable diapers use 2 times as much water to manufacture as cloth. 
 
6. Cloth diapers will save you loads of money! If I had any extra time, I would figure out how much we have saved over the 8+ years.
7. Disposables use 20 times more raw materials than cloth. 
8. Disposables generate 60 times more waste than cloth.
9. Disposables are the 3rd largest single consumer item in landfills. Oh my!!
10. No one knows how long it takes for a disposable diaper to decompose, but it is estimated to be about 250-500 years.

Let those numbers since in for a second. If that doesn't convince you to just even try out cloth diapers, check out even more great diaper facts.

For those of you saying, "I could never clean cloth diapers day after day, check out how I keep my cloth diapers clean. I also love to use my essential oils to help keep them smelling fresh and clean in a natural, safe way. Some of my favorite oils for cloth diapers are purification, lemon, and lavender.

While you do have to take a little more time to care for cloth diapers, I strongly feel the benefits outweigh the negatives, and I definitely don't regret using them with all my children.  What are your thoughts? Are you for or against cloth diaper use? I love to hear your opinions and thoughts.

This post is a partnership with Nakturnal. All words and opinions are my own, and I hope you find them helpful.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Amazon Prime Photos' new features - Win a $500 gift card

Is it just me or do you take gorgeous pictures of special moments and then can't remember where they are when you want to print or share them with family and friends?

No worries! Technology always comes through. Now Amazon has launched an all-new Prime Photos experience with Family Vault. Now, Prime members can share their benefit of unlimited photo storage with up to five family members or friends at no additional cost. Prime Photos is free for Prime members and makes it easy for family members to safely store and share all their favorite photos.
Additional new features include: Image Search, People view and Places view. And Prime members can now order photo prints, cards, photo books, and calendars directly from their Prime Photos account. Download the new Prime Photos app here: www.tinyurl.com/PrimePhotos



I love that you can now order photo prints, cards, photo books, and calendars directly from your Prime Photos account, and it is available on computers, iOS and Android phones, and tablets. How easy is that? Free up space on your phone and try it out.


Once you have downloaded the app, enter this awesome giveaway. You can win the 1st prize of a $500 Amazon gift card, or one of five $100 Amazon gift card 2nd prize! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
Thanks to Amazon for sponsoring this post and providing prizes for the giveaway!
Amazon, Fire and the Amazon Fire TV logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Healthy, Natural Stocking Stuffers

At our home, we have a stocking for each of our kids, and the night before Christmas, everyone gets to open their stocking and get a few small treats. The kids really look forward to this, and honestly, so do I. 

I like to gift them a dark chocolate almond bar (can you tell they don't eat sweets often), activity books, stickers, and now this year, I am gifting my daughters with some Piggy Paint

What is Piggy Paint? It's about the safest nail polish possible. Their non-toxic, water-based formula is virtually odorless, cruelty-free, vegan, and safe for pregnancy. It is free of formaldehyde, toluene, phthalates, biphenyl A, ethyl acetate and acetone… and made in the USA!

As you may know, most nail polishes are extremely unsafe, especially for little ones. Do you want to wear something on your finger nails that can eat a hole through styrofoam? Not me! In fact, I haven't worn nail polish since I was pregnant with my first child. 

But, now there are safe nail polishes for you and your children. If you want the adult version of Piggy Paint, make sure to try their SOPHI brand.


My girls and I are going to have fun doing our nails safely so that our piggies look gorgeous for church on Christmas morning.

If you want to join us, check out this promo code: PP122016 for 15% off at piggypaint.com or sophinailpolish.com. This code expires December 19th, 2016.

More FUN! We are giving away (1) Piggy Paint POP of Pixie Gift Set ($22.50 value) to (1) very lucky winner!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to Piggy Paint and SOPHI for sending products to review. No other compensation was given.  

Monday, November 21, 2016

What is REALLY in Your Thanksgiving Turkey?

Have you ever taken a closer look at your Thanksgiving turkey? What is really in that giant bird?
  • Do you know where it is grown? 
  • Is it allowed to live as a turkey should live - humanely, raised to it's naturally intended weight?
  • Is it given antibiotics, growth stimulants or hormones? (hint, hint - why do you think your turkey is so gigantic?)
  • What is it fed?
  • Is it pumped full of artificial ingredients, preservatives, MSG or other additives?
When looking at conventional turkeys grown and sold as cheaply as possible, you will find some scary stuff. For example, Butterball LLC, which sells about 12 million whole turkeys for Thanksgiving, injects its frozen whole turkeys with a solution to "keep the turkey moist and help prevent it from drying out during cooking, and for flavor," according to the company. Additives include salt, natural flavors, modified food starch and sodium phosphates. Food Babe also has a great article about the dangers lurking in the average turkey.

Ummmm...no thanks.

I prefer to eat an old-fashioned turkey. And yes, you can still find them.

Check out one of the last small, family-owned turkey grower-processors in the United States,  the Diestel Family Turkey Ranch. Their ranching style, family-farming secrets, and strict sustainable standards consistently produce a better, tender and juicier turkey with real, old-fashioned flavor. Sustainably raising turkeys for four generations, all of  Diestel’s birds are:
  • Slow grown; raised almost 2x as long and given 3x as much space as conventional birds 
  • Raised to their naturally intended weight giving the turkeys exceptional taste and texture
  • No gluten, casein, carrageenan, phosphates, MSG, artificial ingredients or preservatives 
  • No antibiotics, growth stimulants, or hormones
  • 100% vegetarian diet, enhanced with vitamins and minerals, milled and mixed daily on the ranch
  • GAP rated; Diestel’s pasture raised birds received GAP’s highest 5+ rating 
Diestel generously sent me one of their organic turkeys, and I am beyond thrilled to serve it to my family. They shipped it to my front door, and it was such a convenient and easy process. You can also find them at Whole Foods and right on the Diestel online store.

Yes, organic, sustainably raised turkeys are more expensive. But I expect that to be the case. The great thing is - Thanksgiving is a special occasion. I am happy to splurge a bit once a year on a quality, healthy turkey that is going to nourish my family.

What do you think? Have you thought twice about what is really in your Thanksgiving turkey?

Thanks to Diestel for providing a turkey for me to try out with my family. No other compensation was given, and this is all my opinion.