Wednesday, November 26, 2014

15 Minute Workout - to do Anywhere!

This is a full body workout that can be done anywhere, using no equipment. It’s also very efficient—it’s highly effective in burning calories, increasing your metabolism, and building strength and endurance.
And, of course, don’t forget to blast your favorite festive playlist!
squat-Jason-Tran-15-minute-workoutThe workout
Perform each of the five exercises for as many reps as possible in one minute. Repeat the set three times.
1. Squats
Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, push your hips back as you bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the ground and stand back up.
mountain-climber-Jason-Tran-15-minute-workout2. Mountain Climbers
Start in a push-up position with your shoulders lined up directly over your wrists. Keep your elbows locked and your body in a straight line (make sure you don’t put your booty in the air), while you lift your foot off the floor and drive your knee into your chest. Repeat quickly with the opposite leg.
plank-jacks-Jason-Tran-15-minute-workout3. Plank Jacks
Keep your shoulders lined up directly over your elbows in a forearm plank. Make sure your abs are tight and your pelvis is steady while you jump your feet apart and back together like a jumping jack. (Feel free to use a yoga mat under your forearms.)
lateral-lunges-2-Jason-Tran-15-minute-workout4. Lateral Lunges
Start by standing straight up. Push your hips back and step out to one side, while lowering your hips and bending your other knee. As you descend, reach your arms out in front of your chest as you drive through the heel of the planted foot. When your bent leg reaches a 90-degree angle, and your stretched leg is fully extended, stand back up to start and do the same on the other side. Repeat like crazy.burpee-jason-tran-15-minute-workout-25. Burpees
Drop to a squat position with your hands on the ground, jump your feet back to a plank position, lower your chest to the ground (top left), quickly jump your feet back to a squat position (bottom left), then jump straight up as high as possible (right).
~Thanks to Jason Tran

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Want to Fight Fat? Try Vinegar

Apples and Cinnamon Delicious combo
Apples and Cinnamon Delicious combo
There always seems to be new food that claims to be the next breakthrough to help one lose weight, trim down and become healthier. Over the last several years we have seen many foods shine through like quinoa, kale and grapefruit. Most recently we have seen more information about vinegar. Not surprisingly this is not a new food, it has been around for centuries. Vinegar has a multitude of uses and benefits as well as great potential for healing and weight management as well.

Vinegar is well known for its disinfecting properties. Your mother or grandmother probably has used this before. If you want to mop your floors, clean your counters or bathrooms, vinegar is a great product. It is safe for the environment and you can even use it in the kitchen or bathroom to help eliminate odors. Just place a small amount in a bowl and leave on the counter. We not only disinfect our house, but also disinfect our bodies.

Today so many more people are fighting with their weight and looking for answers to help them in this battle that they are desperate to try anything. Fortunately, vinegar can help one win this war. It is easy to find, and very inexpensive. The key is to purchase a good, quality apple cider vinegar. It is important to know that cheaper is not always better. Just like any other oil, the better the quality, the better the product. You get what you pay for so be sure to buy a good, quality product. One should always use unfiltered vinegar, made from naturally fermented organic apples. This way it retains all the important qualities one needs. This will ensure that you are obtaining all the important nutrients and benefits it has to offer.

When you think about it, apples are a good source of pectin, and when you include pectin in your diet you will feel fuller and thus keep you satisfied. Drinking apple cider vinegar before meals may help with weight loss. Apple cider vinegar contains the same amount of pectin as apples and can help suppress your appetite in a similar way.

There is science behind why the apple cider vinegar may enhance weight loss more effectively than eating a raw apple. The acids help to digest protein as well as being building blocks for some of our hormones, including the growth hormone. It has been shown how this hormone is of benefit to break down fat in the cells. By increasing the presence of acid in our stomach before eating a meal will ensure the chance for complete digestion and increase the availability for hormone synthesis.

Growth hormones keep the body's metabolism working even while we are at rest - this is one reason why drinking the apple cider vinegar before a meal or with the evening meal works so well together.

Apple cider vinegar reduces the amount of time fats stay in the digestive tract by stimulating digestion. Ideally this allows your body to have time to remove key nutrients from your food. This helps the body process nutrients better and can help you from getting diarrhea and absorbing too much fat back into the body.

Another benefit of apple cider vinegar is it can improve the way the body uses iron. Think of it like starting a fire how it heats up and burns. Iron is key in carrying oxygen to the cells and holding it there. The apple cider vinegar helps to release the iron in the food you eat and make it more readily available for the body to use. Oxygen is critical for burning energy in the body. Thus helping you be more of a fat burning machine.

Since apple cider starts working at the beginning of the digestive process to get you interested in your food and get your appetite going it seems like this would be backwards of what you want to do. In reality this is a positive thing. It increases your interest in whole foods which provide you with lots of nutrients the body needs. This helps you to make better food choices. Vinegar is well known for stimulating the taste buds. You find it in certain foods like ketchup, salad dressings and many other condiments. When your taste buds are working in full force, you are able to appreciate all the wonderful, complex flavors in foods like fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. These all help your body to regulate your blood sugar and help improve your metabolism. This also helps to curb your desire for salt and fat. Thus helping you feel fuller, providing your body with the nutrition it needs to stay strong and healthy.

Consuming apple cider vinegar on a regular basis will contribute to the potassium you need to help balance the sodium in the body. Try using the apple cider vinegar on top of foods instead of using salt and see how it enhances the flavor.

There are many great benefits that come with apple cider vinegar as well as a unique flavor you can add to your meals. Try experimenting and see what your results are.

~Thanks to Katherine Bowen

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

10 Potent Foods that Kill Pain Fast

10 Potent Foods That Kill Pain Fast
Pain – the chemical signal that tells us something in our body has been damaged – is an unwelcome visitor. For those who experience pain every day due to arthritis, migraines, tendonitis, or other chronic conditions, it may be tempting to turn to chemical pain-relievers to free yourself from the ongoing discomfort. Before you do, take a look at this list of natural pain-relievers from Mother Nature’s medicine cabinet.

1. Dark Cherries

Anthocyanins – a group of bioflavonoids or plant pigments found in cherries and other dark fruits – are effective in blocking pain signals caused by inflammation.  Enjoy a serving of 20 cherries to alleviate joint aches, gastrointestinal discomfort, PMS symptoms, and other pain caused by inflammation.

2. Ginger Root

10 Potent Foods That Kill Pain FastGinger root is another aspirin-mimicking anti-inflammatory.  A daily supplement of powdered ginger has been shown to lessen aches and pains from physical exertion by suppressing the body’s production of toxic compounds known to cause inflammation and tissue damage in the joints.  A ginger paste may be similarly effective when applied topically to sore joints and muscles.
Chewing on a slice of fresh ginger root is also super effective for treating stomach pain and nausea caused by illness, as well as for preventing morning sickness during pregnancy.

3. Cold-Water Fish

There are many health benefits to gain by adding cold-water fish like herring, mackerel, tuna, salmon, and sardines to your diet.  Among them are abilities to fight chronic pain from back and neck injuries and to help heal damaged joints.  Additionally, Omega-3 fatty acids in cold-water fish improve cardiovascular function and decrease inflammation around damaged cartilage, promoting healing and overall good health.

4. Tahini

Made from ground sesame seeds, tahini is a delicious dish which delivers a high dose of magnesium, a mineral most people don’t get enough of.  Magnesium has a long list of amazing health benefits including the ability to fight muscle tension.  To treat head-aches and sore muscles, whip up a batch of raw tahini using this guide

5. Turmeric

Curcumin, a natural phenol present in turmeric root, is another natural anti-inflammatory.  Add this fragrant golden spice to your list of pain-fighting foods for a boost of flavor and beautiful color.

6. Aloe Juice

10 Potent Foods That Kill Pain FastWe all know that aloe vera gel is at the top of the list as far as treating burns.  What most people don’t know is that aloe juice is also an excellent remedy for stomach ulcers.  Caused by H. pylori bacteria, ulcers are painful lesions in the lining of the stomach which cause nausea, weakness from blood loss, and extreme pain.  Drinking aloe juice twice daily not only helps to relieve these symptoms, it has also been proven to speed the healing process of this painful condition.

7. Papaya

The enzyme papain found in the flesh of papaya fruit is another natural anti-inflammatory that works well in conjunction with bromelain (found in pineapple juice and stems.)  Papain is often used following surgery to reduce pain and swelling.  While papaya extract may be taken as a supplement, the fruit is also full of anti-oxidants and vitamins which support a multitude of bodily functions.  If you can find fresh papaya, enjoy it by itself or try adding it to a smoothie, salad or salsa.

8. Yogurt

Human intestines are home to billions of microflora which are necessary for digestive health.  When these symbiotic organisms become unbalanced (called disbiosis,) we may experience any number of health problems, many of which often seem totally unrelated to the gut (painful rashes, hair loss, hormone imbalance, etc.)  Yogurt containing live and active cultures help to repopulate and stabilize these microflora which can definitely help with problems like IBS, excessive gas, and painful bloating.

9. Hot Peppers

Capsaicin, the chemical that makes hot peppers hot is a common ingredient in many topical pain relievers.  Capsaicin overloads nerves, draining them of substance-P – the chemical messenger that carries pain signals to the brain.  While only offering temporary relief, hot pepper extract is a fast and effective pain remedy.  Buy capsaicin cream at any drug store, or make your own.

10. Peppermint

The menthol in peppermint is great for preventing muscle spasms.  For sore hands and feet, apply peppermint oil to wrists and ankles.  To ease a bad headache, rub crushed peppermint leaves on your temples or brew some peppermint tea for a muscle-relaxing treat.
~Thanks to Natural Living Ideas

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Reason Wheat is Toxic (not gluten or hybridization)

toxic wheat
The stories became far too frequent to ignore.
Emails from folks with allergic or digestive issues to wheat in the United States experienced no symptoms whatsoever when they tried eating pasta on vacation in Italy.
Confused parents wondering why wheat consumption sometimes triggered autoimmune reactions in their children but not at other times.
In my own home, I’ve long pondered why my husband can eat the wheat I prepare at home, but he experiences negative digestive effects eating even a single roll in a restaurant.
There is clearly something going on with wheat that is not well known by the general public. It goes far and beyond organic versus nonorganic, gluten or hybridization because even conventional wheat triggers no symptoms for some who eat wheat in other parts of the world.
What indeed is going on with wheat?
For quite some time, I secretly harbored the notion that wheat in the United States must, in fact, be genetically modified.  GMO wheat secretly invading the North American food supply seemed the only thing that made sense and could account for the varied experiences I was hearing about.
I reasoned that it couldn’t be the gluten or wheat hybridization. Gluten and wheat hybrids have been consumed for thousands of years. It just didn’t make sense that this could be the reason for so many people suddenly having problems with wheat and gluten in general in the past 5-10 years.
Finally, the answer came over dinner a couple of months ago with a friend who was well versed in the wheat production process. I started researching the issue for myself, and was, quite frankly, horrified at what I discovered.
The good news is that the reason wheat has become so toxic in the United States is not because it is secretly GMO as I had feared (thank goodness!).
The bad news is that the problem lies with the manner in which wheat is harvested by conventional wheat farmers.
You’re going to want to sit down for this one.  I’ve had some folks burst into tears in horror when I passed along this information before.

Standard wheat harvest protocol in the United States is to drench the wheat fields with Roundup several days before the combine harvesters work through the fields as withered, dead wheat plants are less taxing on the farm equipment and allows for an earlier, easier and bigger harvest 

Pre-harvest application of the herbicide Roundup and other herbicides containing the deadly active ingredient glyphosate to wheat and barley as a desiccant was suggested as early as 1980.  It has since become routine over the past 15 years and is used as a drying agent 7-10 days before harvest within the conventional farming community.
According to Dr. Stephanie Seneff of MIT who has studied the issue in depth and who I recently saw present on the subject at a nutritional Conference in Indianapolis, desiccating non-organic wheat crops with glyphosate just before harvest came into vogue late in the 1990′s with the result that most of the non-organic wheat in the United States is now contaminated with it.  Seneff explains that when you expose wheat to a toxic chemical like glyphosate, it actually releases more seeds resulting in a slightly greater yield:   “It ‘goes to seed’ as it dies. At its last gasp, it releases the seed.”
According to the US Department of Agriculture, as of 2012, 99% of durum wheat, 97% of spring wheat, and 61% of winter wheat has been doused with Roundup as part of the harvesting process. This is an increase from 88% for durum wheat, 91% for spring wheat and 47% for winter wheat since 1998.
Here’s what wheat farmer Keith Lewis has to say about the practice:
I have been a wheat farmer for 50 yrs and one wheat production practice that is very common is applying the herbicide Roundup (glyposate) just prior to harvest. Roundup is licensed for preharvest weed control. Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup claims that application to plants at over 30% kernel moisture result in roundup uptake by the plant into the kernels. Farmers like this practice because Roundup kills the wheat plant allowing an earlier harvest.
A wheat field often ripens unevenly, thus applying Roundup preharvest evens up the greener parts of the field with the more mature. The result is on the less mature areas Roundup is translocated into the kernels and eventually harvested as such.
This practice is not licensed. Farmers mistakenly call it “dessication.” Consumers eating products made from wheat flour are undoubtedly consuming minute amounts of Roundup. An interesting aside, malt barley which is made into beer is not acceptable in the marketplace if it has been sprayed with preharvest Roundup. Lentils and peas are not accepted in the market place if it was sprayed with preharvest roundup….. but wheat is ok.. This farming practice greatly concerns me and it should further concern consumers of wheat products.
This practice is not just widespread in the United States either.  The Food Standards Agency in the United Kingdom reports that use of Roundup as a wheat desiccant results in glyphosate residues regularly showing up in bread samples. Other European countries are waking up to to the danger, however. In the Netherlands, use of Roundup is completely banned with France likely soon to follow.
Using Roundup as a dessicant on the wheat fields prior to harvest may save the farmer money and increase profits, but it is devastating to the health of the consumer who ultimately consumes those ground up wheat kernels which have absorbed a significant amount of Roundup!
While the herbicide industry maintains that glyphosate is minimally toxic to humans, research published in the Journal Entropy strongly argues otherwise by shedding light on exactly how glyphosate disrupts mammalian physiology.
Authored by Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff of MIT, the paper investigates glyphosate’s inhibition of cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes, an overlooked component of lethal toxicity to mammals.
The currently accepted view is that ghyphosate is not harmful to humans or any mammals.  This flawed view is so pervasive in the conventional farming community that Roundup salesmen have been known to foolishly drink it during presentations!
However, just because Roundup doesn’t kill you immediately doesn’t make it nontoxic.  In fact, the active ingredient in Roundup lethally disrupts the all important shikimate pathway found in beneficial gut microbes which is responsible for synthesis of critical amino acids.
Friendly gut bacteria, also called probiotics, play a critical role in human health. Gut bacteria aid digestion, prevent permeability of the gastointestinal tract (which discourages the development of autoimmune disease), synthesize vitamins and provide the foundation for robust immunity.  In essence:

Roundup significantly disrupts the functioning of beneficial bacteria in the gut and contributes to permeability of the intestinal wall and consequent expression of autoimmune disease symptoms

In synergy with disruption of the biosynthesis of important amino acids via the shikimate pathway, glyphosate inhibits the cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes produced by the gut microbiome.  CYP enzymes are critical to human biology because they detoxify the multitude of foreign chemical compounds, xenobiotics, that we are exposed to in our modern environment today.
As a result, humans exposed to glyphosate through use of Roundup in their community or through ingestion of its residues on industrialized food products become even more vulnerable to the damaging effects of other chemicals and environmental toxins they encounter!
What’s worse is that the negative impact of glyphosate exposure is slow and insidious over months and years as inflammation gradually gains a foothold in the cellular systems of the body.
The consequences of this systemic inflammation are most of the diseases and conditions associated with the Western lifestyle:
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Depression
  • Autism
  • Infertility
  • Cancer
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • And the list goes on and on and on …

In a nutshell, Dr. Seneff’s study of Roundup’s ghastly glyphosate which the wheat crop in the United States is doused with just days before harvest uncovers the manner in which this lethal toxin harms the human body by decimating beneficial gut microbes with the tragic end result of disease, degeneration, and widespread suffering

Got the picture yet?
Even if you think you have no trouble digesting wheat, it is still very wise to avoid conventional wheat as much as possible in your diet!

You Must Avoid Toxic Wheat No Matter What

The bottom line is that avoidance of conventional wheat in the United States is absolutely imperative even if you don’t currently have a gluten allergy or wheat sensitivity. The increase in the amount of glyphosate applied to wheat closely correlates with the rise of celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Dr. Seneff points out that the increases in these diseases are not just genetic in nature, but also have an environmental cause as not all patient symptoms are alleviated by eliminating gluten from the diet.
The effects of deadly glyphosate on your biology are so insidious that lack of symptoms today means literally nothing.
If you don’t have problems with wheat now, you will in the future if you keep eating conventionally produced, toxic wheat!

How to Eat Wheat Safely

Obviously, if you’ve already developed a sensitivity or allergy to wheat, you must avoid it.  Period.
But, if you aren’t celiac or gluten sensitive and would like to consume this ancestral food safely, you can do what we do in our home. We only source organic, preferably low gluten, unhybridized Einkorn wheat for breadmaking, pancakes, cookies etc.  But, when we eat out or are purchasing food from the store, conventional wheat products are rejected without exception.  This despite the fact that we have no gluten allergies whatsoever in our home – yet.
I am firmly convinced that if we did nothing, our entire family at some point would develop sensitivity to wheat or autoimmune disease in some form due to the toxic manner in which it is processed and the glyphosate residues that are contained in conventional wheat products.

                                                                                    ~Thank you, 
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Friday, November 14, 2014

10 Who-Knew Uses for Aluminum Foil

You already know that aluminum foil is a kitchen must-have, but its pliable, metallic structure makes it super-useful all over the house. Here's why you should stock up: 
1. Line cabinets and drawers.
Not only is the foil easy to clean with a damp sponge, but it will help reflect light in a cabinet's dark corners.  
2. Polish silverware.
With this nifty trick, a chemical reaction causes tarnish to transfer from your silver flatware to the aluminum foil. Line a plastic bin with the foil (shiny side up), and place the silver pieces inside. Pour in a 1/4 cup washing soda, and a gallon of boiling water. Stir and let soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Get more details about this method here.  
3. Clean the grill.
ball of foil makes quick work of de-gunking a grill of any burnt-on barbecue leftovers.
4. Protect pie crust.
Worried about burning your famous apple pie? Cover the edges with a ring cut out of aluminum foil to keep the crust from getting too brown.
5. Conceal a credit card.
If you have a "swipeless" credit card with an RFID chip (not a traditional card with a magnetic strip), it's possible that con artists can scan it and collect certain account information through your wallet. The risk is very minimal  these scans won't give thieves enough information to make a fraudulent purchase in your name. But if the thought still makes you uneasy, wrap your card in a piece of aluminum foil to deflect the scanner.
6. Scrub dishes.
Like steel wool, a ball of aluminum foil can help clean cookware you can give a good scrub, like glass casserole dishes or cast-iron skillets.
7. Scare away birds.
Chances are you love seeing brightly colored feathered friends around your garden, but if you have a fruit tree, you might not want birds feasting on your bounty. Like the reflective tape sold at garden stores, strips of aluminum foil hung in your tree can help keep them away.
8. Move heavy furniture.
Wrap the feet of your couch in a few layers of heavy duty foil to help scoot it across carpeting (but avoid using this trick on delicate surfaces or furniture that the foil could scratch).
9. Iron clothes faster.
Aluminum foil reflects heat, so try placing a sheet under your ironing boards cover, to smooth wrinkles a bit quicker. 
10. Make a funnel.
In a pinch, create a makeshift funnel (which you can even bend to fit in tight spaces) out of a piece of foil fashioned into a cone.
~Thanks to Lauren Piro

Work Out in Wool this Winter: Why & Wear

MerinoWoolActivewearOkay, it sounds bizarre, but wool does not need to live solely in your cozy sweater drawer this season. You can actually work out in it—at least the merino variety—and it may even outperform the Lycra you're used to.

Merino wool keeps you cool while you work out because it transports the moisture from your body away from the skin. And get this: after you cool down (or if it's a particularly freezing day for a run), it will also keep you warm, by absorbing moisture from the environment and locking it in tiny air pockets that trap body heat.

It's kind of like you're wearing a body temperature regulation system, with one more bonus feature: merino wool is naturally anti-microbial, which means the bacteria that causes odor isn't going to bind to the fiber, so you won't smell. And guess what? It also doesn't itch, which surprised me on a sweaty test-run, and it felt super breathable compared to synthetics.

Because of all of this, lots of fitness apparel brands are now tapping the fabric. The coolest pieces in the category bring you these four active ways to wear merino—none of which include scarves, hats, gloves, or cardigans. 

You'll be surprised by how quickly these tanks dry after spin class, which is ideal for preventing skin irritation and for jetting to an appointment after a fitness class that doesn't come with a shower.
From left: $80, Icebreaker Sublime Tank | $89, Vie Active Maya Scoop Tank | $95, Vielet Tara Merino Bra Tank Top 

MerinoWoolLongSleeveLong Sleeve Shirts 
Layering with long-sleeve merino wool shirts on cold-weather runs will keep you warm as you warm up and cool as you cool down.
From left: $135, Vielet Anastasia Merino Long Sleeve Tee | $90, Ibex Woolies Zip T-Neck Stripe Base Layer Top

Sports bras and underwear are usually the sweatiest article of clothing after a workout. These merino wool intimates let your most sensitive areas breathe.
From left: $90, Mover Stretch Jersey Mesh Sports Bra | $25, Minus33 Merino Wool ] Zealand Lightweight Hipster

Combat the wind-chill in leggings that won't leave you overheated once you're inside sweating through intervals.
From left: $90, Icebreaker Oasis Leggings | $125, Smartwool NTS Micro 150 Bottom | $125, Ibex Energy Free Tights

—Thanks to Jamie McKillop

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