Is It Possible to Stay Healthy Over the Holidays?

Is It Possible to Stay Healthy Over the Holidays?Fat, sugar, and salt dominate many holiday recipes. This can make it seem tough to stay healthy or keep weight off over the holiday season. After all, who would dare change grandma’s famous stuffing? The answer is, you would!

It’s certainly possible to make healthy substitutions, even in classic holiday recipes. Try these holiday recipe hacks to make absolutely delicious (and much more healthy!) holiday meals:

Substitutions are allowed

There are many meals where you can use some sleight of hand and no one will know the difference. Here are several ways you can add nutrition to food and strip out unnecessary health hazards, without sacrificing taste:

Fat: Your baked goods have a lot of fat in the form of butter or shortening binding things together. Instead of using only fatty substances as binders, try healthy foods like unsweetened applesauce or mashed banana. If you’re a dedicated cook, you can also take inspiration from the classic cowboy cake recipe and boil raisins down into a sticky mass and use that as part of your binder. Just remember that fruit adds more than binding ability, it adds moisture to a recipe. So, experiment before you serve your guests.

Sugar: Many healthy options beat out white sugar every time. These include raw honey, dates, stevia, coconut sugar, maple syrup, blackstrap molasses, and brown rice syrup.

Another option that is particularly applicable over the holidays is to go a little heavier on the spices and lighter on the sugar. Some extra vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice mixed with a half tablespoon of molasses and only half of the sugar required by the recipe can still make a delicious pie filling. Just add about 1/4th extra spice and see how everything tastes!

Wheat: Many people say that stuffing or the dinner rolls are their favorite part of a Thanksgiving meal. Fortunately, there are many, many options when it comes to flour. You aren’t stuck with wheat. Here are several flours you can try this holiday season: almond, amaranth, barley, bean (mix with sorghum flour to counteract any bitter flavor), rice, buckwheat, chestnut, chia seed, coconut, cornmeal, hemp, lupin, Montina, oat, quinoa, and spelt. Some of the above-listed flours have the added benefit of being gluten free!

Salt: While you probably shouldn’t replace the amount of salt required in a baked recipe, you can usually cut the salt required by many meals by half. And, here’s a trick: add citrus in place of salt. This can make your taste buds think they are enjoying salt when they aren’t.

Rein in the excess

Food surrounds us during the holiday season. Here are a three tips to help you rein in the excess while you are eating or cooking:

  1.  Use smaller plates. Whether you are hosting a party with little treats or a full-fledged dinner, smaller plates will help your friends and family eat smaller portion sizes while still feeling as if they are eating their usual holiday feast.
  1. Pair down the toppings. Instead of smothering foods in toppings like cheese or whipped cream, serve just a dollop. Your guest will get to enjoy the delicious food without just tasting a topping.
  1. Cut thin slices. Pre-cutting thin, even slices of pie or turkey can help keep portions reasonable without anyone feeling as if they are being short changed in the food department.

It can be such a fun challenge to add nutrition to traditionally sugary or unhealthy recipes! Be sure to share your favorite healthy recipes with us on our Facebook page this holiday season – and let us know if you come up with an additional way to add nutrition to a holiday classic.

References:

https://www.craftybaking.com/learn/ingredients/flour-and-grains/non-wheat

The Holidays are Coming! And It’s Time to Destress

The Holidays are Coming! And It’s Time to DestressThe holiday season can be a stressful time for many of us. It’s possible that you have many obligations, you may have to “get along with” people you’d rather not talk to, or you might be hosting family or friends in your home. This can all skyrocket your stress level – but it doesn’t have to.

Sugar and Stress

One of the many contributors to rising stress levels in our nation this holiday season is the sheer volume of sugar that so many of us eat during this time of year. Your blood sugar level can be an enormous cause of stress.

When your glucose levels are stably in a healthy range, you can function at your best. However, when blood sugar levels spike or get too low, your body becomes stressed out and begins making a hormone called cortisol. This is the same hormone your adrenal glands produce when you’re in a frightening or upsetting situation.

There are many ways that you can spike your blood sugar levels. The most obvious methods of increasing blood sugar this season is erratic eating patterns and eating way too much sugar.

So, here are a few dos and don’ts that can help you keep your blood sugar level stay stable this holiday season:

Do: Eat in moderation.

Don’t: Just eat dessert.

Do: Eat a healthy breakfast every morning.

Don’t: Skip a meal because you are waiting for your giant meal in the evening (even on Thanksgiving!)

Do: Keep up your exercise schedule.

Don’t: Drink coffee or alcohol all day long.

Do: Monitor your energy levels.

Don’t: Throw caution to the wind and eat or drink anything you want.

With these simple tips, you can keep your blood sugar level on an even keel this holiday season.

Dealing with Common Holiday Stressors

Unfortunately, the holiday season can cause stress in more ways than one. So, just avoiding sugar and keeping up your regular schedule may not cut it this year. Typical holiday stressors like the anxiety you may feel in large crowds, worry that you will gain weight, and dealing with difficult relatives may make this holiday season feel less than jolly. That’s why we are providing five additional tips for dealing with common holiday stressors:

  1. Keep taking your Vitamin D.

Remember, the days are getting shorter, and you are getting less and less sunlight. That means you’re losing out on stress-busting Vitamin D! So, make sure you take Vitamin D throughout the fall and winter

  1. Don’t overcommit yourself.

Your time and energy are precious commodities. Budget them out accordingly. If you don’t want to go to a holiday get-together, don’t commit to going. If your youngster wants to see Peacock Lane, Zoo Lights, and go see Santa, start early and don’t promise to hit all of the sights.

This also means that you need to take out some “me” time this holiday season. Give yourself permission to relax in the tub, bike through your favorite park, or just to hang out in front of a crackling fire. The holidays are about giving – which means you are allowed to give to yourself.

  1. Plan ahead.

Mark your holiday get-togethers and activities on your calendar now and then block out days or even weeks where you are not allowed to schedule any other holiday appointments. Get your shopping done as early as possible. You can even make menus for any holiday meals you are hosting and shop for nonperishable ingredients now to get a jump on the season.

  1. Be as accepting as possible.

Because this is an election year, there will likely be political talk at some family gatherings – and it’s possible that not every one of your family members will agree with your ideas. Or it could be that you have family who simply rubs you the wrong way. Try to be open to other’s notions during your holiday festivities.

  1. Take advantage of our stress relief services.

Here at Change for the Health of It, we are offering an effective stress relief procedure called BioScan SRT. This system utilizes acupuncture, biofeedback, homeopathy, and laser light technology to help identify and balance your body’s response to specific stressors. Just click here or give us a call to set up your appointment.

We hope these tips will help you avoid holiday stress this season. If you are concerned about chronic stress, need help managing your weight, or are just hoping for some stress relief, contact us. We are here to help you Change for the Health of It!

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3946447/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3751798/

How to Wean Yourself Off of Sugar

How to Wean Yourself Off of SugarEating sugar can cause addiction. Scientific studies have proven that consuming sugar activates the same brain receptors as taking addictive drugs. Additionally, sugar consumption leads to craving more sugar, binging on sugary foods, and choosing foods with refined sugar content over natural sugars.

On top of all of this, it’s hard to find premade food that doesn’t have sugar added. The Food and Drug Administration has made the search for food without added sugar easier for purchasers, as they have a new labeling system which requires added sugars be listed explicitly. This new labeling should make it easier for consumers to work out what is in the food that you are eating. But even with this new information, refined and added sugar is hard to avoid.

Watch out for these sugars

When attempting to cut sugar from your diet, be on the lookout for sugar and sugar substitutes. These include:

  • Aspartame-amino sweet
  • Buttered syrup
  • Cyclamate
  • Corn syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Dulcin
  • Ethyl Maltol
  • Fructose
  • Glucose
  • Glucan
  • Kaltame
  • Mannitol
  • Mogrosides
  • Neotame
  • Phenylalanine
  • Raw Sugar
  • Saccharin
  • Sorbitol
  • Sucralose
  • Sucrose
  • Treacle

There are many more names for sugars and artificial sweeteners, so be aware of what you are eating.

Replace refined sugar with natural sugars

While you are trying to wean yourself off of sugar, you may still want to eat something sweet. There are many natural sugars to be found. Fruits like dates and bananas can add sweetness to yogurt or shakes. Maple syrup, raw honey, molasses, and agave are great alternative sweeteners for coffee, cookies, or cereal.

By replacing refined sugars and artificial sweeteners with natural sources, you can help your body get used to lower amounts of sugar and sources of sugar that are simpler to digest.

Find the real cause of your craving

Your body interprets many things as sugar craving. It’s important to know what these are, as you can then resolve the problem instead of giving in to your desire for sugar. If you crave sugar, you may actually need:

Protein

Sources of protein like lean meat, wild fish, raw nuts, black beans, hard boiled eggs and more can balance your blood sugar and reduce sugar craving. Keep high protein snacks to hand when you are combatting sugar withdrawal.

Fiber

Eating fiber can help you stay fuller longer. It can also fight symptoms of candida in your body. Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of fiber, as are veggies and some fruits. Try chia seeds, flax seeds, avocados, Asian pears, peas, figs, coconut, squash, turnips, beans, lentils and quinoa for fiber.

Water

This may sound too simple, but a little water can go a long way in fighting sugar cravings. Your body interprets dehydration in many ways, including feeling hungry or craving sugar. Sip on some herbal tea, grab a cup of pure water or infuse your water with some lemon, lime, cucumber, grapefruit, or watermelon to spice things up.

Probiotic-rich foods

Sour and probiotic-rich foods can knock out your sugar cravings. Kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and apple cider vinegar are all great additions to your diet. It’s easy to add sour foods to a salad, lean meat, or high-fiber grain. You can garnish a plate of rice or quinoa with kimchi or splash on some vinegar to give it some extra punch.

Fats are your friend

Many of us grew up thinking that fats were all bad, all the time. Recent science has found that this is not true at all. Your body burns fat for energy. When you don’t have healthy fats around to stoke a slow burn, you will crave sugar for a quick pick-me-up. By consuming healthy fats, you make your body more likely to become a fat burner instead of a sugar craver.

Which fat do we recommend most here at Change for the Health of It? Coconut and coconut oil are our favorites. Coconut oil provides healthy fats for you to burn. It’s also an excellent cooking oil. You can find more information on this healthy oil here.

Do you need help weaning yourself off of sugar? We are here for you! Attend our October 13th Class at 7 PM: Sugar Blues. You will learn more about how to get off of sugar and back to health. We look forward to seeing you there!

 

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2235907/

http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm385663.htm#images

http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/10/22/coconut-oil-and-saturated-fats-can-make-you-healthy.aspx

Diet or Exercise? Solutions for Weight Loss

Diet or Exercise? Solutions for Weight LossThe holidays are almost here. With this new season often comes weight gain that never goes away. Multiple studies have found that every year, around the holidays, Americans gain 1 lb that we never lose. This is bad news for anyone attempting to get fit and healthy.

However, you can overcome this issue. The holiday season from November through December is a high-risk period for anyone trying to lose weight. But “high risk” does not mean you have to give up and give in to temptation. Instead, the holidays are the perfect time to refine your weight-loss strategy and become vigilant about your diet.

What is the Most Effective Weight Loss Strategy?

Traditionally, both diet and exercise have played an active role in weight loss. However, studies have shown that diet counts more toward shedding pounds than exercise.

Many people have taken this information to mean they don’t need to exercise at all. Nothing is further from the truth. While you certainly may not need to exercise to lose weight, if your goal is to be healthy and look great, exercise is a vital part of your overall plan.

However, cutting calories is the most rapid method of losing weight. Here at Change for the Health of It, we concentrate on helping those on our weight loss program cut calories and drop pounds. Part of the calorie reduction process can mean people have little energy and feel “hangry” throughout the day. We utilize a proprietary formula for preventing this phenomenon.

One of the many elements in our proprietary formula is consumption of vitamin B12. This vitamin has many health benefits, from supporting metabolic processes to increasing energy. Utilizing this and other vitamins, minerals, and herbs can help you maintain your energy as you diet, allowing you to exercise as well.

Five Effective Dieting Tips for the Holidays

The holidays are a tough time to stick to a healthy diet. There is sugar everywhere, tons of food as well as food-based holidays. Here are five tips for sticking to your diet, even though the holidays are coming:

  1. Maintain your food diary. Food diaries are a great dieting tool. They help you keep track of what you’ve been eating and contribute to keeping you honest. If you have a particularly bad day on your diet, your food diary can help you understand what made it so rough. This information helps you and your health coach evaluate how to stop you from becoming tempted to break your diet in the future.
  1. Stay accountable. People hire health coaches for two reasons. First, coaches help people use effective dieting practices and stay healthy during a diet that they have not previously utilized. Second, a coach keeps you accountable for your dieting actions. It’s easy to slip up when there’s no one to report to, but when there is someone that you must inform about your slip up, more thought goes into what you are eating.
  1. Do not binge. Thanksgiving, holiday parties and other holiday meals all encourage binging. There is just so much food available and so many courses. Instead of eating everything on the table, pick a small portion of each item that you want to munch on – leaving room for a little dessert.
  1. Keep up your diet and exercise routine. Too many people starve themselves all day so that they can justify the sheer volume they eat at night. Do not fall into this trap.
  1. Bring some healthy food to the table. Healthy food is delicious too and deserves its spot at the holiday table. Instead of green bean casserole, how about just making baked or boiled green beans tossed with a bit of olive or coconut oil? Instead of apple pie, make baked apples with cinnamon and a little brown sugar. Instead of regular ice cream, make homemade frozen yogurt or coconut milk ice cream. Who knows, shaking things up at the holiday table may come as a relief to all of your holiday guests.

If you would like more information on weight loss, be sure to attend our “Why Can’t I Lose Weight” class at Oregon City’s Curves. It’s on September 20th. Or, just give us a call and find out how we can help! We have an effective weight loss program which has helped many professionals – even physicians. Find out more right here.

 

References:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/22/the-skinny-on-holiday-weight-gain/

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/01/dieting-vs-exercise-for-weight-loss/?_r=1

http://www.drweil.com/vitamins-supplements-herbs/vitamins/vitamin-b12-vitamin-facts/

School Lunch

How to Keep Your Child Healthy This School Year

School LunchSchool has started for many Portland students – and will soon begin for children in Oregon City, Gresham, Milwaukie and surrounding areas. The new school year brings the food challenge all busy moms and dads face: keeping one’s child healthy at school.

Not only are children usually exposed to potential allergens and germs at school, they are also more likely to eat poorly. They may trade other kids for candy, eat out of school vending machines, or have a particularly unhealthy school lunch that day. Even with all of these factors, there is hope for parents. This article will give you information on how to help your child enjoy healthy meals both at school and at home.

Sweet, Salty, Creamy & Crunchy

Certain food combinations trigger the desire eat in the brain. The fast food industry hits these desires on the head. For example, food with a crunchy outer shell and a creamy middle can excite brain receptors, making it feel as if you are eating something novel and delicious. Additionally, sweet and salty foods activate the salivary glands, which “makes your mouth water”.

While many foods with these four factors are unhealthy, there are healthy options:

1. Add a spray of citrus where you would usually lay on the salt. Citrus fruits like lemon or lime activate the salivary glands much like salt would, making a dish taste seasoned with salty goodness when it’s really rather healthy. Foods you can activate with citrus include:

  • Salad and salad dressings
  • Stir fry
  • Soups, stews, and chowder
  • Chip dips, salsa, and guacamole
  • Homemade baked chips
  • Potato, tuna, or egg salad

2. Pickle veggies. It’s incredibly simple to pickle different vegetables in your refrigerator. You can pickle anything. Delicious and crunchy options include radishes, red onion, cucumber, carrots, and cauliflower. Here’s how to do it:

  • Cut all veggies into thin strips
  • Make a brine of 1 cup of rice vinegar, 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar and 1 tsp of salt.
  • Toss everything together.
  • Leave in the fridge in a sealed container. The pickled veggies will be ready to eat in 30 minutes and can be kept in the refrigerator for about a week.

As a quick note, this is also a great way to get rid of leftover raw veggies.

3. Add some crunch to your creaminess. This is something you, your child, and food industries have been doing for years. However, if you’re drawing a blank on how to make something both creamy and crunchy, here are some ideas:

  • Add granola or nuts to yogurt or cottage cheese.
  • Make chia seed pudding (you can find a great recipe here).
  • Put a nut butter on rice cakes or celery.
  • Sprinkle a pureed soup with seeds. One yummy suggestion is sprinkling roasted pumpkin seeds or pepitas over a pumpkin or squash soup.
  • Send your child to school with a homemade jar of “instant cup of noodles.” There’s a great recipe for this here.

4. Go all natural. Many foods are naturally crunchy and sweet, creamy and sweet or crunchy and salty. Pack foods like apples, carrots, edamame, olives, avocado (which you can preserve naturally by coating in citrus juice), watermelon, pepper slices, broccoli, cauliflower, nuts, and more.

5. Make sure to pack food your child likes. The last thing you want to do is spend time creating fun and healthy meals that your youngster doesn’t eat. While it’s a good idea to expose your child to new foods, don’t do it in a packed lunch setting. Instead, expand his or her culinary horizons at home, where you can see the reaction to your newest creation.

Transporting all of this healthy food

Once you have healthy snacks and lunches ready for your child, it’s time to transport everything. This may seem challenging, but it can be made very simple.

First, it’s important to have the right tools. This article provides excellent information on what you need to pack and preserve a healthy lunch. You can read the article in full, but here is a quick rundown of what you will need:

  • Thermal bag
  • Ice packs (or frozen water bottle)
  • Containers with dividers, mini containers
  • Thermos to hold hot or cold food
  • Snack size Ziplock bags
  • Silicon cupcake holders
  • Smoothie pop molds
  • Cloth napkins/reusable plastic ware
  • Paper for notes

Next, include your child in buying, preparing and packing his or her meals. You will see what he or she prefers to eat simply by asking them to add a snack or two – or giving them the option to pick out which premade lunch they would like to bring with them. It may be disappointing to find out they never pack carrots, or they dislike cashews, but it’s important for you to know what your child will actually end up eating.

Finally, get your youngster to help you during cleanup. Usually cleanup occurs at the end of the day when you and your child have more time to chat about the day. Not only will you be able to connect with your youngster and get him or her to take responsibility for any messes they have made – you will be able to discuss why particular foods are and are not delicious. You may find out that your sweet tooth isn’t shared by your child. Or it could come up that they trade their olives to another kid for a fruit candy. This is valuable information that you can use later to guide your child in healthier eating habits.

Do you want to learn more about helping your child eat healthily? Attend our September 15th Class: Healthy Dinners for a Busy Mom and School Lunch Ideas. Just RSVP here.

Your “Gut Feeling” is Right

Your “Gut Feeling” is RightHave you ever had a feeling that something within your body just isn’t working the way it should? Perhaps you are now sensitive to certain foods that previously didn’t bother you. Maybe you keep gaining weight, even though you have been dieting and exercising. Well, it could be that your gut is the problem.

Leaky gut syndrome (also called increased intestinal permeability) is a condition that a growing number of people around America are struggling with every day. This condition can explain symptoms like bloating, digestive problems, fatigue, food sensitivity, headache, joint pain, metabolic syndrome, skin problems, thyroid issues, and weight gain. Here’s what happens when a person has leaky gut syndrome:

Food enters your stomach, beginning the digestion process. Normally, this food will go through your digestive tract and, in the end, nutrition is extracted while toxins are excreted. However, if you have leaky gut, this process is interrupted because the lining of your digestive tract has become porous.

Think of your digestive tract’s lining like a net with tiny holes in it that only allow specific things to pass through. This lining keeps larger particles inside the tract because they can harm the rest of your system. But, when you have leaky gut, this “net” is damaged. Larger holes develop and harmful particles that normally would be kept inside your digestive tract can pass into your system. Some of the things that can move through your damaged digestive tract lining into the rest of your body include gluten, bad bacteria, and undigested food particles. Other toxins can also leak through and get into your bloodstream.

All of this creates inflammation throughout your body. Leaky gut shows up most commonly as multiple food sensitivities.

The Effects of Inflammation

Inflammation is your body’s response to outside and internal threats. Anything from stress, infection, disease or toxins can cause internal or external inflammation. You have seen inflammation happen when you sprain an ankle or have an infected cut. This is perfectly natural and even beneficial as a normal part of the healing process.

The problem occurs when inflammation becomes chronic. In this case, immune cells are trying (and failing) to heal something that is broken. The longer the problem exists, the more white blood cells and nutrients your body will throw at the problem. If the problem is something your body cannot heal without your help – you will have chronic inflammation.

Inflammation can cause many of the symptoms listed above for leaky gut. If these symptoms continue, the issue can become dangerous to your heart and brain health. This is because your body is constantly pulling resources to try to heal the affected area, using up your stores of nutrients and white blood cells.

Causes of Leaky Gut

Leaky gut is commonly caused by:

  • Poor diet
  • Chronic stress
  • Toxins
  • Bacterial issues called dysbiosis

The above causes are usually treated through diet, probiotics, and stress reduction techniques. One of the main dietary changes that we recommend is the removal of foods containing GMOs and gluten and replacing these foods with sprouted and fermented grains. Additionally, eating probiotic-rich foods can help heal dysbiosis, which is simply an imbalance between the beneficial and harmful bacteria that resides in your gut.

Here at Change for the Health of It, we provide a non-invasive Bio Meridian Assessment which measures your organ health and determines imbalances within the body. This test can help identify issues like leaky gut – and from there we can get you onto a healing program which addresses your health needs.

Contact us today if you are experiencing the symptoms of leaky gut. We can help!

 

References:

http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features/leaky-gut-syndrome

http://www.webmd.com/heart/metabolic-syndrome/

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20898778,00.html

https://draxe.com/4-steps-to-heal-leaky-gut-and-autoimmune-disease/

Non-Toxic Alternatives to Sunscreen

Non-Toxic Alternatives to Sunscreen

Now that summer is here, many people are using sunscreen-based creams or simply applying sunscreen to protect their skin. Sunscreen is an important protector against harmful UV rays. Unfortunately, few people actually look at what is in their sunscreen and research which ingredients are toxic.

Your skin is your largest organ – and for many of us it is one of our most treasured features. Unfortunately, it can be time consuming to read the label on every skincare product and research each ingredient. If a bottle says “Natural” or “Nontoxic”, many Americans believe the product is safe. Unfortunately, these terms mean very little when it comes to health and safety as they are not strictly regulated. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it “has not engaged in rulemaking to establish a formal definition for the term ‘natural.’” There are also no specific standards listed for the “nontoxic” label.

Chemicals to avoid when buying skincare products

Because the overall labeling of a product as “Nontoxic” or “Natural” is so inaccurate, it’s important that you read every ingredient of skincare products you plan to use. Here is a cheat sheet of ingredients to avoid in any skincare product:

  • Benzophenone and its derivatives like benzophenone-2 (BP2), dioxybenzone, oxybenzone (BP3), or sulisobenzone
  • Butylated compounds like butylated hydroxyanisole(BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
  • Cinoxate
  • Ethanolamine compounds including diethanolamine, oleamide DEA, stearamide MEA, TEA-lauryl sulfate, and triethanolamine
  • Formaldehyde or formaldehyde-releasing preservatives such as quaternium-15, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, and DMDM hydantoin
  • Fragrance
  • Heavy metals like aluminum, arsenic, lead, or mercury
  • Homosalate (also called 3,3,5-trimethyl-cyclohexyl-salicylate or HMS)
  • Menthyl anthranilate
  • Mineral Oil
  • Nitrosamines – called diethanolamine (DEA) or triethanolamine (TEA)
  • Octinoxate, also called Octyl methoxycinnamate, Octyl salicyclate, OMC, parsol, escalol, or  2-ethylhexyl p-methoxycinnamate
  • Octocrylene
  • PABA including OD-PABA, padimate O, 4-aminobenzoic acid, para-aminobenzoic acid, p-aminobenzoic acid, Et-PABA, 2-ethylhexyl ester, p-carboxyaniline
  • Parabens
  • Phenylbenzimidazole or ensulizole
  • Retinyl Palmitate
  • Vitamin A

That’s a lot of ingredients! Take a look at your skin products that include an SPF rating (and yes, that includes bottles of sunscreen). If they have any of the above ingredients in them, you may be putting dangerous chemicals on your skin.

Don’t worry, there are products that exist without these ingredients. You can also follow our directions below for a DIY sunscreen.

Ingredients in our DIY Natural Sunscreen

Before we give you a recipe for homemade all-natural sunscreen, we wanted to talk about why some of these ingredients are recommended.

  1. Cold pressed virgin olive oil

Olive oil is great all around. It tastes delicious, has wonderful moisturizing properties and has an SPF rating of 8. We recommend cold pressed virgin olive oil for use in homemade sunscreen as this is the specific type of oil that has been tested for an SPF rating.

Olive oil can not only protect your skin from the sun, it contains antioxidants that will help skin recover from environmental damage. So, if you some suffered skin damage from the sun, from burns or just from aging, olive oil may help you recover.

  1. Coconut oil

With so many fantastic uses, it’s no wonder that coconut oil also has an SPF rating of 8. Coconut oil will not only will it protect your skin from the sun, it penetrates and moisturizes through layers of your skin. Additionally, coconut oil smells great!

  1. Zinc Oxide

This product is considered one of the safest for broad-spectrum sunscreen. Zinc is an essential mineral that we use in our body and it’s the only active sunscreen ingredient that has been approved by the FDA for infants under six months old.

We all remember zinc as a white cream or white strip that lifeguards have used to protect their noses. This highlights the one downside to utilizing zinc oxide in a homemade sunscreen – it has a tendency to clump into a white mass. That’s why we have put together this natural, DIY sunscreen. The formula used has minimal clumping – offering greater all-around effectiveness.

DIY Sunscreen Formula

1/2 cup cold pressed virgin olive oil

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup beeswax

2 tablespoons zinc oxide

1 teaspoon vitamin E

2 tablespoons shea butter

6 drops  helichrysum essential oil

6 drops of lavender essential oil

Directions:

Add everything except zinc oxide and helichrysum essential oil in a medium sized glass mixing bowl.

Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and place over medium heat. Place the glass bowl on top of the saucepan so that the saucepan is cradling the bowl.

As the ingredients start to melt, stir occasionally to mix.

Add the zinc oxide and helichrysum essential oil and mix well. This may take quite a bit of stirring.

Apply!

We have many other great DIY formulas and recommendations for natural skincare here at Change for the Health of It. If you are looking for personal health advice, be sure to contact us today.

 

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1253722/

http://www.greenerchoices.org/eco-labels/label.cfm?LabelID=131

http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm456090.htm

http://www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/chemicals-of-concern/products/sunscreens/

http://www.lovelivehealth.com/5-natural-oils-that-protect-your-skin-as-well-as-sunscreen/

Ten Summer Weight Loss Tips That Really Work

Ten Summer Weight Loss Tips That Really Work

Ten Summer Weight Loss Tips That Really WorkIt’s summer! Sleeves are shorter, shorts are regular weekend wear and we are heading to the beach or pool. This is the time of year when men and women around the U.S. want to lose weight. Whether you have a few stubborn inches that don’t seem to want to go away or you have a lot of weight to lose, we have the strategy for you.

The Most Common Weight Loss Challenges

Losing weight is often a challenging experience. Let’s face it, often we feel deprived, starving, and grumpy during a diet. If you face the following weight loss challenges, remember that you are not alone:

  • Unrealistic goals
  • Making short-term changes only
  • Bad diet/weight loss information
  • Losing focus
  • Feeling hungry
  • Temptations

These common obstacles make losing weight a frustrating experience for anyone. However, they can absolutely be conquered or even avoided. The ten weight loss tips below can help you move past these issues and reach your weight loss goals.

Ten Weight Loss Tips

Alright, you have seen the obstacles to your weight loss. How can you overcome them? Find out here:

1. Dedicate yourself to making a permanent change.

A “diet” is a transient thing that begins and ends after a specific weight goal is reached. Often, when we are done dieting, we go right back to our old bad habits that made us gain weight in the first place.

Instead of deciding to diet for thirty days and deprive yourself of every pleasure in life to try and look great in a bathing suit, change your perspective. Do you want to become more healthy? Would you like to stay at a specific weight all-year-round? Discover the goal that would help you stop dieting and change your lifestyle for good.

2. Keep a food journal

A food journal is more than just writing down what you ate. It’s a discovery of your eating habits and how they made you feel. Instead of just listing the foods you are eating every day, record this:

  • Everything you’ve been eating and drinking, along with the time of day.
  • What you were doing while eating? Were you on the go, at a social function, eating at your desk?
  • How did you feel while you ate? Were you happy, sad, bored, starving, or anxious?
  • How did the food you ate make you feel? Were you stuffed, exhausted, energized?
  • At the end of the day, take a look at how your emotions affected your eating and consider how you felt after you ate.

A food journal is a great way for you to spot eating habits you should break (eating in the car or grabbing fast food on-the-go) and it can also show you how specific foods make you feel. Maybe that burger and fries filled you up, but if it made you feel exhausted and low-energy after you ate it, you will have additional incentive to change your choice in food.

3. Get someone to help you

Changing your lifestyle in a beneficial way, whether you are dieting or exercising – or both – can be difficult. Ask a friend or hire a health coach to keep you on track. If you ask a friend to be your diet buddy, be sure to set up “check in” times when you call or text each other. Also, see if you both can go to the same exercise class or head out for a hike on weekends to compare notes.

4. Set up health milestones

As you head toward your weight loss goal, be sure to establish specific milestones. These don’t always have to be weight related. Instead, try setting up health related milestones. For example, you may want to shoot for feeling energized all day long. Another milestone could be that you exercised each morning, or that you drank eight 8oz glasses of water in one day. No matter what your weight goal is, these health milestones can help you stay encouraged and enjoy the changes you are making to your body.

5. Give yourself rewards

As you reach a health milestone, be sure to reward yourself. Don’t use food or “cheat days” as a reward, however. Instead, treat yourself to a mani-pedi, get a sitter and head to karaoke with friends, give yourself the guilt-free time to sit in the park and finally finish your book, or have fun vegging on the couch watching your favorite show. Just be sure that the reward is something that makes you happy!

6. Remove all unhealthy food from your house

In my experience, when there is food that is bad for you in the house, it will get eaten – most likely by you. Instead of constantly having to resist a temptation, remove any unhealthy food from your home and replace it with food that is good for you. There are delicious, vegan ice creams you can make with coconut oil, frozen bananas, unsweetened cocoa powder or strawberries, a drop of vanilla extract, and some maple syrup for taste. These types of simple snacks can help you end your cravings and start enjoying your new lifestyle.

7. Start exercising

Diet and exercise are always the two largest parts of any weight loss program. If you are working hard to lose inches, it’s important to begin an exercise routine.

While ideally you would be exercising every day for a half an hour or more, I know that life can get in the way. Instead of setting unrealistic expectations, try a gradual approach to exercise. Sign up for one or two group classes a week. Dedicate time every couple of days for a swim or a hike. Take the dog on a jog or play with your kids at the park. Exercise doesn’t have to be something formal like Pilates, yoga or spin class. You can get out and live life while still exercising.

8. Beat low energy moments by taking vitamins

Here at Change for the Health of It, we provide a proprietary blend that helps beat stress, anxiety and lower energy while our clients are dieting. While I can’t give you the formula for our blend, the vitamins below can help you keep your energy up and your mind focused:

  • All of the B vitamins, including B12
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E

9. Eat at normal meal times

It’s often tempting to simply skip meals to encourage weight loss. This generally leaves one starving and ready to eat anything. Instead, eat at your normal meal times and focus on enjoying the food that you eat. By changing your focus from worrying about your food and your weight to eating a healthy meal and enjoying it, you are more likely to be aware of your food and stop eating when you are full.

10. Don’t beat yourself up

If you slip up in your diet or you miss a day you had dedicated to exercise, don’t beat yourself up about it. So many people stop eating healthily or end their exercise programs because they missed a day or messed up one time. It’s okay to have days when you aren’t perfect. We are all human. So, don’t throw all of your great work and effort to the wind because of one mistake. Instead, remind yourself of your health goal and work toward your health milestones.

Changing your lifestyle is a big step, but it’s a worthwhile one. Here at Change for the Health of It, we help people just like you lose weight successfully throughout the year. Click here to get more information on our effective weight loss program.

Is There a Perfect Food?

Is There a Perfect Food?

Is There a Perfect Food?While there is probably no absolutely perfect food that fills every nutritional need, coconut oil is one of the healthiest foods you can put into your body. Coconut oil is an oil that has been extracted from the meat of a coconut or from coconut milk.

This oil has many health benefits, but it’s important to understand what it does, which products are most effective, and how to use it.

The Benefits of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil contains three unique fatty acids: lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid. These are called medium chain fatty acids (MCFA’s). MCFA’s have many health benefits. They are easy to digest, they go directly to your liver – where they are immediately converted into energy – and they stimulate your body’s metabolism. These are the types of fats your body needs.

The three fatty acids contained in coconut oil have their own tremendous health benefits. These include:

  • Antiviral and antimicrobial properties
  • Fights antibiotic resistance
  • A healthy energy source
  • Assist weight loss
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • Linked to lower heart disease risk

As you can see, the fatty acids contained in coconut oil are incredibly healthful.

Coconut oil itself has fantastic health benefits. However, coconut oils produced in different ways and at specific quality levels will be able to impart these health benefits more effectively than other oils. That brings us the our next section.

How to Find the Most Effective Coconut Oil

There are two main ways coconut oil is extracted and processed. One is most commonly called “refined” or RBD (refined, bleached, deodorized.) The other is called “virgin” coconut oil.

Refined coconut oil comes from dried coconut that has been further processed through a variety of heat-related methods. When a package says that your coconut oil has been expeller pressed, hydrogenated, or is “liquid coconut oil,” that is a refined oil. Additionally, if no description is given and it simply says “coconut oil,” it’s very likely that oil has been refined.

Refined coconut oil have had some of the nutrients stripped away from them. That’s why it’s a better bet to get virgin oil. However, there is no industry standard that defines “virgin coconut oil” so you will have research your oil beyond just assuming that the label will tell you which oil has all of the vital nutrients you want to consume.

All virgin coconut oil comes from fresh coconut – not dried coconut. When you are researching the perfect coconut oil for your needs, look for oil that has been “pressed” or “wet-milled.” Both of these processes extract the oil without damaging its nutritional content.

How to Use Coconut Oil to Improve Your Health

Now that you know which coconut oils are the best for your health, I’m sure you’d like some ideas for using coconut oil. Here are several great ways you can consume coconut oil and reap all of the great health benefits it has to offer:

1. Cook with coconut oil

Coconut has a high smoking point, which makes it a great oil to cook with. Refined coconut oil has a smoke point of 400 degrees Fahrenheit, while unrefined oil has the smoke point of 350 degrees.

2. Add coconut oil into foods

Coconut oil has a great texture and a mild flavor, so it goes with many food. You can add a spoonful of oil to your coffee or a smoothie for a smooth texture and hint of coconut flavor. It goes extremely well with most chocolate-related recipes. There are also many, many recipes which you can swap out other fats like butter or other oils with coconut oil.

3. Use coconut oil on your skin and hair

Coconut oil is a fantastic moisturizer and can be used as a body lotion, lip balm, and shampoo. If used as a shampoo, simply use apple cider vinegar to rinse. Additionally, coconut oil can be used a a mild sunscreen (it is naturally SPF 4) and as a sunburn remedy.

4. Take advantage of coconut oil’s anti-fungal powers

Topical fungal infections like athlete’s foot can be treated with coconut oil.

5. Use coconut oil as medicine

Because coconut oil has so many health benefits, it can be utilized as a medicine. You can use it to kill yeast infections and candida, it can be used to heal and sooth eczema and psoriasis and it can help lower cortisol and regulate hormones.

Coconut oil is a fantastic food that provides many natural, healthy benefits. If you would like to find out how we can help you using coconut oil and many other simple, effective tools to improve your health, contact us today.

 

References:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/475060-benefits-of-capric-acid/ http://healthimpactnews.com/2014/what-type-of-coconut-oil-is-best-how-to-choose-a-coconut-oil/ http://draxe.com/lauric-acid/

Symptoms of stress

Can You Avoid These Five Symptoms of Stress?

Symptoms of stressModern life is filled with stresses. The three most common sources of stress are family pressures, work, and finances.

Unfortunately, studies have shown over and over again that stress can cause health problems. This is because, when you are experiencing stress, your nervous system activates your fight or flight response, releasing adrenaline and cortisol into your bloodstream. These hormones make your heart beat faster, raise your blood pressure, change your digestive process and increase glucose levels in your bloodstream.

This response is actually beneficial in a situation of unexpected stress, like during an attack or when a child is in danger. It can cause a reaction without conscious thought, allowing you to escape your attacker or rescue the child.

However, in a situation which causes persistent stress, this physical response is eventually exhausting both physically and mentally. Extended periods of stress can cause high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, diabetes and even drug or alcohol abuse.

There are many, many reasons a person can consistently get stressed out. Perhaps bad traffic has increased on your way to work, making transportation stressful. Maybe you are working long hours and not getting enough sleep. It’s important to discover your, personal sources of stress.

How Can I Avoid Stress Affecting My Health?

The best way to avoid the health problems caused by stress is to avoid stress altogether. However, this is usually not a feasible option. You may have a rewarding, high-stress job that, at the end of the day, you really enjoy. Your children may be going through the terrible twos – or the hormonal teens – and you will always be there for them. So, instead of avoiding stressful situations, you need to change how you handle stress.

Here are five things you can do to modify your response to stress:

1. Examine your reactions. Take a moment out of your next stressful situation and examine how you react. Do you tense up, clench your fists, your heart racing and your breathing quickening? Do you manage this reaction with things like breathing exercises or asking for help – or do stressful moments extend on and on – continuing past the one stressful moment?

2. Modify your life to change how you deal with stress. There are many changes you can make to take control of stress. For example, you can take one of my classes and learn deep breathing techniques to help you mitigate stress. You can take out some “me” time every day to ponder on what makes you grateful. You can take a walk in one of Oregon’s many parks and simply enjoy nature.

By changing your response to the “fight or flight” response, you are modifying your reaction to stress.

3. Include more healthy meals in your diet. Eating comfort food is a common response to stress. However, this only adds to the strain you are putting on your body. Instead of giving into that craving for comfort food, keep healthy snacks like carrot sticks, raw nuts and fruit around to help you stay energized during stressful situations.

4. Exercise. A great way to de-stress is exercise. However, when you are stressed out, you may feel exhausted and not up for a good workout. Keep yourself motivated by scheduling a weekly class, adding a motivational quote to your morning alarm or getting a workout buddy. You will be amazed at how exercising consistently makes your body more ready to deal with stress.

5. Update your sleep habits. Too many of us stimulate our minds and our brains with technology by watching TV, scrolling through our phones or working on the laptop before going to bed or while in bed. A great way to de-stress and help you sleep more deeply is to make your bedroom a haven for sleep by:

  • Keeping your bedroom dark when you’re ready for sleep.
  • Taking all of your technology out of the bedroom (including digital clocks).
  • Setting your thermostat 5-10 degrees lower than your average daytime temperature.
  • Keeping things quiet with a noise machine or earplugs.

We all have stressful situations that come up in life. The trick is recognizing these moments when they occur and modifying how we deal with such situations. If you need help handling stress in your life (and don’t we all?) be sure to come to my class on June 14th at Curves in Oregon City from 2PM-3PM. Just give my office a call to let me know you’ll be joining in!

 

References:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987

http://www.stress.org/stress-effects/

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20306887,00.html