Water – Just Drink More

Benefits_of_WaterWhen someone asks what they can do to change their diet or start living a healthier lifestyle my first response is to DRINK MORE WATER!  This is by far the easiest change you can make that will have both immediate and long lasting effects.  I cannot express enough how important water is to your body.  Here are just some of the improvements you will see when you start increasing your water intake:

1 –  Assists with weight loss – Water is a natural appetite suppressant.  Drinking water will give you that “full” feeling and help eliminate the desire to snack.

2 – Eliminates toxins – Drinking water helps clean your system and flush toxins from your body by boosting kidney and liver functions which remove the waste products in your blood and fluids.

3 – Helps to prevent headaches – Often times headaches are caused by dehydration.  There’s a simple fix for that!

4 – Reduces the risk of heart attacks and stroke – Water helps make your blood less thick and more fluid in turn helping to maintain a healthy blood pressure.

5 – Saves money – With restaurants charging 2-3 buck per pop in most places just think about how much money (If you go out to lunch or dinner just 5 times a week that’s more than $1,500 a year!!)

6 – Helps Digestion – Water helps to break down the foods you eat.  In addition it helps keep your intestinal track functioning more efficiently and effectively when it’s well hydrated and not dried up and contracted.

7 – Improves skin quality – Water is better for your skin than any beauty product out there!  Increase your water intake and in a few weeks your skin will have better tone, more elasticity,  and be less dry and flaky

If you find the whole idea of drinking more water a daunting take here are 6 easy ways to start increasing your water intake:

1 – Instead of ordering a tea or soft drink with your meal, stick with water.  Or, if you MUST order that drink, before you get a refill drink a glass of water.

2 – Use a water tracking app to remind you to drink.

3 – Leave a water jug at your desk or carry a water bottle with you.

4 – If you find water to be bland, flavor it with lemon or other fruits.

5 – Make it a habit to drink a glass of water after every bathroom break.

6 – Drink a glass of water when you first wake up in the morning before you do anything else.

As with all changes, making small incremental changes are much more effective and easier to sustain than making a ton of drastic changes all at once.  It took a while, but these days I pretty much exclusively drink water in my day to day routine.  I will typically drink a cup of unsweetened green tea during the day at my desk, a 1/2 glass of red wine in the evening and the rest of my fluid intake is the water that I have near me at my desk or on the kitchen counter.

There are the occasions where I sweat more than usual because my workouts are extra challenging or I spend a while outside at the track.  These occasions I turn to my Rehydrate from Advocare.  In this hot Houston heat and humidity it’s wayyyyy too easy to get dehydrated.

Don’t Poke the Bear…or Me

ghost-156969_640As far as dreams go, last night’s was pretty tame compared to my usual nightmares.  It was pretty weird actually.  There was this tall and dark intruder who wheeled a suitcase around and was in the apartment I lived in at 14 when we first moved to Texas while waiting for our house to be built.  But he didn’t hold a gun or a knife to me.  HE FREAKING POKED MY UPPER SIDE/REAR RIB CAGE.  And it shook me awake because I HATE being tickled.  Apparently I hate it so bad that I have nightmares about it.  Enough to wake me up more than once throughout the night feeling as if someone had poked the backside of my rib cage to tickle me.  Totally bizarre.  People who do that to me in real life tend to get the knee-jerk reaction of a back hand to wherever my fist lands.  I guess being ticklish is something I never outgrew.  Maybe because I didn’t have cruel older brothers that pinned me town and tickled me until I was immune to it.  For that I’m thankful. But, for today I’ll just spend the rest of the day looking over my shoulder to make sure nobody is going to come up behind me and poke me.

My 5 Favorite Natural Food Sources of Omega-3

wp-image--299764600I mentioned in a previous post the top ways to reduce cholesterol naturally.  One of those ways was to consume a fish oil supplement containing Omega-3 oils.  I personally take Advocare’s OmegaPlex, which you can order here.  Life Extensions also makes a good supplement that contains a good balance of EPA and DHA.  A majority of omega-3 sources are fish based and many of the best forms are in supplements because the oils can be extracted and taken in a concentrated form.  I suggest doing some research on the ALA/EPA/DHA quantities though since all omega-3 supplements are not created equal.

However since I always prefer and believe it’s best to get what I need straight from the source, the following are great FOOD sources of omega-3 oils:

  • Mackerel
  • Salmon
  • Chia Seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Tuna

In addition to regulating cholesterol, omega-3 has been linked to improvements in the following conditions:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • ADHD
  • Cancer
  • Skin health
  • Diabetes
  • Inflammation
  • Arthritis
  • Infertility
  • Alzheimer’s disease

I Don’t Even Know

Clearly this must be the work of some evil genius. Or maybe someone trying to put some sort of curse on me?  I found this when I was leaving to take the dog for a walk last night.  W….T….F is going on near my front porch?  Is that an egg?  Half of some kind of rabbit/squirrel?  And where is the other half?  Why is it so cleanly severed with no blood or guts hanging out? Where did the egg come from and why is it not hard or broken?  Is it a duck egg? It’s pretty large in comparison to the bottom half of that animal.  Did a snake throw up half its meal for the week in my yard?  So many questions I don’t even know.  The only thing I DO know is that it’s covered in a TON of ants and the egg doesn’t seem to interest them.

I know the picture isn’t very clear, but I was a little weirded out.  And maybe there were smudges on the lens of my camera phone.  All I know is that I wasn’t going to go back to get a clearer picture.  Sorry…Not sorry. Also, I think it’s still there this morning. wtf

Health Benefits of Turmeric

turmeric-2344157_960_720Lately, this pungent orange spice has been all the rage and touted as being some sort of super spice with a vast array of healing and medicinal properties.  As with most things I research lately, trying to lower and maintain my high cholesterol was what let me to look further into this turmeric craze and what’s making it so fashionable.

I once worked with a woman who told that as a child when she got sick with a cold or something similar, her grandmother would give them warm milk and turmeric and make them drink it.  If they were injured she would do something completely different with the spice.  Her grandmother was born and raised in India and at one point had a book of healing recipes she swore by that the village medicine man had given her.

There is such an abundance of information published on the web about this it can be absolutely overwhelming to have to sift through it all.  Here are the main points from pretty much all the sources that I’ve come across:

  • Turmeric DOES in fact contain certain compounds contain medicinal properties. The main/active ingredient being curcumin.
  • Myriads of studies of curcumin have shown it to not only have powerful anti-inflammatory effects but also to be a very strong antioxidant.
  • There is evidence in the studies that curcumin can led to changes on the molecular level as well as cross the blood-brain barrier.
  • As a result of these abilities some of the wide array of benefits that have resulted are:
    • Reduced arthritis symptoms
    • Improved cardiovascular health
      • Reduced cholesterol
      • Reduced risk or atherosclerosis
      • Inflammation reduction and cellular repair
    • Improvements in the pathological process of Alzheimer’s disease
    • Digestion improvement
    • Aids in depression

The list goes on and on about the benefits of this spice.  However, most of the studies are performed using extracts of turmeric that contain mostly curcumin itself, with dosages often exceeding 1 gram per day. It is highly unlikely that one would be able to achieve these levels just using the turmeric spice in your foods.

I have not yet purchased any turmeric supplements as of yet so I can’t give any advice as to which is my preferred brand.  And I’ve read that consuming a “pepper” supplement aids in the absorption of the herb.    So much so that one user claimed to “pop three peppercorns” with his supplement.  Although, many brands now actually include some sort of pepper or piperine extract in their formulas.

One should be aware that the presence of contaminants such as metals and arsenic in turmeric has been all over the news lately since the FDA has recalled some major brands.  Researching how to find pure forms free of contaminating agents is another daunting task in and of itself.

Since I’ve been adding a little bit (about one and a half teaspoons or so) to my smoothies I’ve noticed a reduction in the following:

  • The pain in the main joint of my big toe that I SWEAR is from arthritis
  • My acid reflux doesn’t seem to be as bad or as pervasive
  • The effects of my allergies seem to have lessened a bit

Of course, there’s really no way for me to determine whether or not these improvements were related to the turmeric specifically or the overall general lifestyle improvements since I did not start adding the turmeric in isolation of all other changes.  But, it certainly couldn’t have hurt, right?  I’m also still waiting to have my cholesterol checked again in a few months…

What Ifs

I tend to live my life by “what ifs”, I won’t deny that.  I try to be a very logical and methodical in my approach to life decisions and how to live.  If I do this…then that will happen…Most of the time it works pretty well for me.  However, sometimes I miss out on some pretty major experiences/opportunities because my “what ifs” never actually come to fruition.  And I’m not referring to my non-existent love life.

 

Speaking of non-existent love lives…I came across this song last week…I’m not one to get all caught up in love songs, but I can’t get enough of this song and Kane Brown’s sound.  In my head I was picturing more of a Trace Adkins kind of guy, but young Mr. Brown looks NOTHING like how his voice comes across.  This song is pretty catchy nonetheless, even if it is a love song.

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like…

It’s the season of savings and free goodies!  We’re no different here.

I was seeing Halloween decorations up in September. I was seeing Christmas decorations in the store in August. Which means…it’s almost time to stuff your face for 3 months straight! Before I do that I will definitely be doing another round of Advocare’s 24 day Challenge. Just to feel like I’m starting fresh and maybe help to deter me from a little bit of the bad eating that wouldn’t have said “no” to otherwise. If you have an interest in seeing what it’s all about, message me and I will absolutely get you a discount and a free gift!

24day

Austin

IMG_3749 (2)One college visit down and 500 billion more to go.  The girl likens the process to an episode of “Say Yes to the Dress”, where she believes that when she visits the college that’s a perfect match she’ll immediately know and be struck with overwhelming excitement.  Me, I’m a little more practical about it, having been through the process a time or two.  I’m there to pick the best college/university that achieves the desired outcome in the most efficient manner at the most affordable price, given that we figured out early on that she’s not athletic enough to earn a volleyball scholarship to anywhere she would want to play at.  As usual, my practicality happens to conflict with her visions in every way possible.  All that being said, we had a lovely visit to Austin and really enjoyed the campus tour.  They offer a program that will get her on the path to where she needs to end up, so it’s an option,

 

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On a different note, the “report card” my dog gets when she’s done boarding always says she has a fun time and is super sweet and loves to play with the other dogs.  This helps ease a bit of the guilt for leaving her there…but I swear it always seems like she wants to off herself every time we pick her up.  She has no personality and acts
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like it was the most exhausting thing she’sever been through.   It’s hard to capture the exact look that makes it appear that if the dog had wrists she would slit them, but here is one after she perked up a bit.  It was also a nice surprise to come back and see that my tomato plants not only survived Harvey, barely, but might actually produce a few tomatoes!