Immune Boosters!

Itapple autumn is becoming that time of year again!  I love the fall, with it’s beautiful colors, fuzzy sweaters, and hot cocoa.  I do not however love the sickness!  It is not fun at all!  But I wanted to help you out with some immune boosting foods to add to your meal routines.  This way you can enjoy eating as well as feeling healthy and strong!

ENJOY!

Yogurt– great probiotic to clean out your gut!  Health starts in your gut, so take care of it!

Oats– Full of Beta-glucan, a type of fiber that aids in healing and preventing sickness

Garlic– Seriously my favorite!  I love to load my meals with garlic. It contains allicin, which fights infection. Great for your heart too!

Shellfish– Helps your white blood cells produce specific proteins that help clear out viruses.

Chicken Soup–  Yes, there is a reason you want it when you are sick! While the chicken is cooking it releases an amino acid that blocks the migration of inflammatory white cells.  Plus the sodium helps control mucus.  Double win!  Add some garlic onion and you’ve got a powerhouse of healing food!

Sweet Potatoes– Helps your skin which is your first line of defense against viruses and bacteria.  Take care of your front-line!

Mushrooms– considered a super food and it increases the production and activity of your white blood cells.  Which means they will fight harder for you!

Onions– Breaks up mucus in your head and chest.  They can also increase circulation to get your blood flowing better.  They are said to absorb toxins, so some put slices on their feet or by their bed when they are sick.  I’ve never tried it, but there are those who swear by it!

Ginger– This amazing root can soothe your sore throat, encourages coughing to get rid of mucus, and can reduce a fever.

In addition to all these foods, consider trying some good quality essential oils.  There are some amazing ones out there, and I have had some great experiences using them on my sick kids and myself. They can prevent sickness or help you recover a lot quicker. Contact me if you need more information or are curious about essential oils.

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Foods That Fight Inflammation

Over the years, since childhood, I have struggled with inflammation.  Pain kept me from participating in a lot of activities.  It also caused me to feel unfocused, tired, and just plain miserable.  I never slept well, and never had the motivation I needed.  With all my failures or lack of motivation I would blame pain.  But did I ever do anything about it?  Not until just recently.  I started to change my lifestyle.  It wasn’t easy either!  It is very difficult to make new healthy habits.  But I eventually began to mold my life to where I wanted it.   I eat better, I exercise regularly, and I try to have more optimism in my life.  So what do you think happened?  My pain started to dissipate.  Why?

First off we can ask, What is inflammation?

Inflammation in your body occurs when your immune system is fighting off something foreign.  unfortunately inflammation can persist even when there are no foreign invaders in our bodies!  Chronic inflammation can subject us to many major diseases such as depression, arthritis, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.  So what do we need to do?  Run to the pharmacy and down those medications? Make excuses and live a less active life?  No.  We need to look at our diet.

Let’s start off with what foods cause inflammation.  If we really want to help our pain, we really need to cut out any culprits.

INFLAMMATORY CULPRITS

  • Breads and Pastas –  the refined ones such as white breads and pastas.
  • Red Meat
  • Processed Meats
  • Fried Foods
  • Sugar! Especially sugar sweetened beverages
  • Margarine, shortening, and Lard

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Notice that these foods are ones known to be typically bad for our health.  If we try to adapt a clean eating lifestyle, our inflammation should drastically decrease.  You will also lose weight which fights inflammation.  I am living proof of that.  Not only will our inflammation decrease, but you will feel more alert, happy, and motivated!

If inflammation is linked to depression, then to better our mood and life we need to focus on that.  We need to dig deep to underlying problems.  Because, in my opinion, being happy and optimistic are the most important traits to get through any trial.  So, lets look at what foods we should be consuming.

 INFLAMMATORY FIGHTERSvegetables-752153_640

  • Berries
  • Nuts – such as Walnuts or Almonds
  • Fatty Fish
  • Tomatoes
  • Olive Oil
  • Dark Leafy Greens
  • Peppers
  • Ginger and turmeric
  • Garlic and Onion

Looking at this list is so much more appetizing than the first!  Fresh, Clean, and Amazing!  Why would you not want to eat these things everyday?!  Ok, I know why.  We get used to eating our fast, processed, sugar filled food.  But now is the time to change!  Check out Growing to Like your Greens, for my story on the subject.

Now stop fighting this pain, making excuses, and popping pills!  You can fight this with food, and not only fight inflammation but reap so many more benefits of a healthy diet!

For more help creating healthy habits, contact me and I will introduce you to some amazing routes you can take.

I do realize there are severe cases which may need prescription help.  By all means listen to your doctor.  But there is nothing wrong with implementing a diet that can help.

Sources:  Health.com and Harvard Health

Your Brain on Physical Fitness

I recently watched this video of a P.E. teacher who took something the kids love and worked it into his class.  My first thought was what a great way to connect with the kids and have fun! Heck, have you tried playing a dance video game?  You work up a sweat for sure!  But not everyone feels this is a good thing.  One commenter said they “…would take their child out of that school because they are there to learn, not do a stupid dance.”  Why can’t learning be fun?  Is it really important for physical fitness to be implemented in our childs day at school?  Does It take away from all the academics?

So what does exercise do to our brain?  In a study done at Harvard Medical School they found that exercise, specifically aerobic exercise, “boosts the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning.”

“The benefits of exercise come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors—chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells.”

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So with all of this, why would you ever want your child to be completely inactive during school?  This is the part of their day where they should be soaking up as much information as possible.  This does not apply to just children either.  As we get older our brain can grow weaker if we do not exercise it both mentally through reading, puzzles, etc. and physically through aerobic exercise.  As the brain grows weaker we are more subject to Dementia and Alzheimer’s.  Not only this, but so many struggle from common mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.  These things are all controllable and sometimes completely preventable with daily exercise and proper nutrition.

 Life is about healthy balance no matter what age we might be. We need to find our balance and educate our children on how to find theirs, so they may have a fighting chance for their future.  

Growing to Love Your Greens

One of the most important parts of a healthy lifestyle is eating your vegetables.  We are supposed to get four servings every single day!  As children our taste buds were stronger and more receptive than an adults.  That means those green florets of broccoli that were so bitter as a child aren’t so bitter anymore.  But after years of eating processed unhealthy foods and never going after that broccoli, your mind still doesn’t like it.  You aren’t used to it.  I have talked to many people who just don’t like the taste of vegetables, me included.  That is I used to be.  It is possible to reprogram yourself!  

How did I do it?  I actually didn’t even do it on purpose. Almost five years ago a good friend and I decided to be vegetarians for a month.  It was simply for fun and to experience that lifestyle.  So what did that consist of?  Obviously a lot of vegetables!  Honestly it was really hard at first.  I relied on other vegetarian foods like breads and pastas.  But eventually I broke into more of the vegetables.  After a couple of weeks it began to get easier.  I even started to like vegetables I hated before.  From that day on I have thoroughly enjoyed my veggies!  They have actually become a basis to each mean I plan. 

 So, am I telling you to be a vegetarian for a month?  No.. Unless you really want to experience that.  But I am ensuring you that how you feel about vegetables and other healthy foods can become positive.  You just have to stick it out and keep trying.  The more healthy foods you eat, the more your body will feel better because of the vitamins and minerals it is receiving.  When your body feels better it will associate those foods with feeling good.  It just takes consistency.  It can change! To start out you can mix your vegetables with foods you do like, for example cheese.  We obviously would love to get to a point where the cheese is not needed, and that day will come.  But for now, just throw those veggies in and make that commitment! Your body will thank you!

For some fun facts about your tastebuds check out this article!

Breaking Emotional Walls

emotional walls  Growing up I went through different stages of confidence.  There were hard years and good years.  I spent most of my youth trying to find who I was and what I wanted to do.  We all have times in our life like this.  They can be daunting and confusing.

But being young was still a ton of fun!

At the time, I never believed it and always complained about wanting to grow up.  But do you ever think back now and remind yourself of all the fun you had? I sure do!  So why don’t we have fun like that anymore?  Is it because you are too old for all of that?  Does life really have to be that serious?  The answer is a big fat no!

Meeting new people and trying to feel comfortable sometimes feels so tough and discouraging.  Anxiety kicks in and we worry about what we are going to say or how we look.  Yes, as a teen I still worried about those things.  But now as an adult it feels a little different than it used to.  What is different?  Something is missing now that wasn’t there before.

Each negative experience we face can do something to hide who we are.  Those experiences create giant heavy bricks that build and build until who we are isn’t there anymore.  We hide behind a wall.  Instead of fun and letting loose, we are scared and anxious.  These walls we are building slowly bury the real us under the weight of the world.  We turn to comforts like sugar, food, addictions, and sometimes literally hiding from the world.  Don’t you miss being able to see yourself in the mirror and knowing it’s the real you looking back?  Or maybe you started building those walls young and never got to know the real you.

Don’t you think it’s about time to let yourself be free?

Believe it or not, this is completely possible!  There may be walls inside you but that does not mean you are gone for good.  Gaining success and happiness in life will become so much easier once those walls come down, so let’s look at some ways to accomplish this.

1.  Make a list of things you enjoy

Nothing shows the real you than your passions.  Think about things you love about your life, experiences you cherish, and your talents.  We all have them!  Write them down! Even write down things that you haven’t done that you would love to try.  These are physical traits about the real you.  It’s a map to who is hiding deep in your brain.   It is your portrait in words.

2.  Creating your own happiness

Ok, so I have to be honest about this one.  It is a common saying that I have always shook my head at.  “Create my own happiness?  Easier said than done my friend.”  But the brain is a powerful tool.  We can learn to be optimistic and look at each day with gratitude and enjoyment.  Remembering things you are grateful for and trying to find the good in things will give you a better perspective.  It is possible but only if your tool is sharpened, which leads to my next point.

3.  Clean and repair your mind

There are many parts to this.  There is the physical aspect which includes diet, exercise, and learning.  The brain is a muscle and needs to be worked and nourished.  How can you pull down walls inside your mind if you, the contractor, are always on your lunch break?  Ok, kind of cheesy but it’s true!  We cannot be lazy and expect to feel happy and free.  Laziness is in reality a cage preventing you from progressing.  Everything you do affects your brain.  Every piece of food you eat, people you surround yourself with, and everything you say and do will affect your brain.  You are building you in there.  So make it a healthy you that is willing to break down those walls.

4. Remember you are unique

There are so many of us in the world, and not one of us perfectly alike.  So why try to be like someone else?  The real you is the ONLY YOU.  It is such an amazing thing!  Embrace it!  Stop trying to copy others or follow someone elses path.  What makes someone else feel confident and happy will not necessarily make you happy.  Stick to your own passions and interests.  What you are good at will compliment others and others will compliment yours.  We work together as a giant team!  Don’t try to change your part, because what you do is beautiful!  There will be people with similar interests that you can enjoy things with, but remember that you are different in other ways.  So just stick to being you and you can work in harmony with everyone around you.

5.  Follow your ambitions

It wasn’t until I overcame fear and began to pursue my passions that my walls started coming down.  For so long I was shut off from people and never wanted to try anything new.  I hid and felt miserable.  Friends I made never really stuck because I would push them away.  But something changed in me.  I took the first step towards my future and with my list in hand I found out what my passions were and attacked them!  I made goals I could reach that gave me a step in the right direction.  I conquered myself, and brick by brick my walls have started to come down.  When I was younger I just loved making people laugh, and for years that had gone away.   I was so serious because life had pushed me down. But just yesterday I caught myself making a joke!  It was a breakthrough and I made someone bust up laughing.  Boy have I missed that sound!

The real me is starting to come back.  You can and will do this too!  You are worth it!  Just be strong, courageous, and stop hiding.  Start caring about you and make that first step to get the ball rolling.  For an idea on how to start your journey check out my previous blog, Physical Goal Setting to Build Confidence. One of my biggest beliefs is that physical action is one of the greatest steps we need to take in any part of our life for success.

For health, fitness, and special events to help you find the better you, follow me on Facebook.  My mission and passion is to help everyone I can heal themselves and build a brighter future not hidden behind walls.

never to old to be young

Physical Goal Setting to Build Confidence

Goal setting can be empowering and discouraging all at the same time.   It’s takes a lot of mental power to raise yourself up when you fail.  Time and time again we set new years resolutions that may never be reached or make a pact with ourselves to overcome an addiction that we refuse to give up.  Sometimes we have great ideas for our future but never have enough strength to follow it through to the end.  Giving up is easy, settling is easy,  but it also is painful and discouraging.

So how do we condition ourselves to be stronger and more motivated in reaching our goals?

Throughout the years I have wondered time and time again how I can get myself fired up about reaching goals I have set.  My motivation levels were at an all time low and life decided to throw obstacles and excuses left and right pushing me further and further away from what I wanted to accomplish.  What did it come down to?  Fear.  That four letter word that just buries us and builds walls inside us.  So how do we overcome fear?

One day I decided I had had enough and made my own solution.  I set a goal that had nothing to do with my previous goals, but everything to do with fear.  I picked something easily reached in a timely manner and something that had a distinct finish line.  For me that was running a race.  It had a distinct day, a distinct mission, and it was something I have always been completely afraid of.  I didn’t pick the hardest run either.  I picked a fun run, because you might as well enjoy every second of it.  That’s the whole point right?

color run

As I wrote in my previous post, crossing that finish line gave me the confidence I needed to move on to harder goals.  Now that I conquered one of my fears I am able to move onto the next without the fear of failure.  Because I now know that I can accomplish things I never thought possible.  And I know that even if I fall I will have the strength to try again.

But there was more to this decision than just any easily obtainable goal.  It was a physical goal.  It was something outside of just my mind.  I physically had to move my body across that finish line.  When we are physically moving and exercising our bodies, we are creating endorphins.  We are associating finishing goals with the pleasure part of our brain.  The adrenaline and endorphins make us want to do it again.  So pick something physical to achieve.  Climb a mountain, run a race, go river rafting, go sky diving, or take a fitness class.  Just make sure it is something physical, and make it something new.   Make your goal something you would never have imagined doing, something you fear.  Physical Goals

Are you going to feel anxious and scared?  Yes!  And that is okay.  Feeling fear just means conquering it will be even more exciting.  Accomplishing physical obtainable goals will not only open a gateway to more accomplishments, but will give you more in your life to enjoy.  From each new experience can bloom a new passion or give you clarity in other aspects of your life.

The next biggest and most important step to take with goal setting is to not do it alone.  We are made to work together.  It should be our mission to support each other and to grow together.  When you have others beside you, you are more likely to follow through with your goal, and you will also enjoy it a lot more.  So find someone to go with you.  Make sure you keep each other strong in accomplishing your goal.  And most of all have a blast doing it!

together

Accomplishing goals can be exciting, empowering, and enjoyable if you make sure you are doing them right.  This is only a beginning to opening up those walls of fear you have put up inside you.  These blockades that are keeping you from progressing can come down and will.  But the only way this can be possible is if you take action.  So reach outside your comfort zone and have an adventure!  Goals are an amazing tool in life and should bring with them accomplishment and confidence.  After finishing your physical goal and conquering a fear, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish in your life.  You just have to take that first step.

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