You know something works when your college freshman asks if you can buy him some for his dorm room! When my son started college, we shopped for all his dorm essentials. But, he was the one that added APPLE CIDER VINEGAR to our shopping list!
He told me it definitely helps him when he starts to feel a cold and sore throat coming on. We always had our kids gargle with a couple of tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar and six ounces of warm water the instant they felt sick. It is a health remedy I learned from my Mom for getting rid of sore throats quick and it really helps!
But what I love about Apple Cider Vinegar is that it is good for so many other health issues, too. I like to drink a tablespoon with a glass of water daily as it helps with my digestion. It is very good for gall bladder health and breaking up gallstones!
One of the biggest benefits that studies show for ingesting Apple Cider Vinegar is that it helps lower blood sugar to stave off diabetes. This is a HUGE benefit as so many people struggle with pre-diabetes and diabetes these days!
The Apple Cider Vinegar that is the best one to buy is the Bragg's Organic Unfiltered "With the Mother". The "Mother" is loaded with anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties to fight infections.
Finally, I love drinking Apple Cider Vinegar because it has been shown to help with weight management and energy. If you drink a couple of teaspoons of Apple Cider Vinegar, just be sure to dilute it in a glass of water before drinking it and rinse your mouth afterwards. It is very acidic and can damage the enamel on your teeth if left on them.
If you are interested in learning more about the MANY benefits and uses of Apple Cider Vinegar, here is a wonderful article about it: Link
When my grand-baby was around 4 months old, she started eating solid foods. I knew that my daughter only wanted to feed her whole natural fruits and veggies (not processed food from baby jars). So when she stayed with us, I had to find the perfect food to feed her. That's when I fed her the AVOCADO (or the "Alligator Pear" as some refer to it).
The avocado represented the "perfect" 1st food for my grand-baby. It is a SUPER-FOOD with over 20 vitamins and minerals in each avocado. It has an abundant amount of healthy fats known as monounsaturated fats that help the developing brain (and us "old" brains, too :)
The avocado is easily digested and has a whopping 10-15 grams of fiber in each one! Because of the high fiber content, it helps stave off diabetes because it digests slowly and reduces blood sugar spikes. Additionally, because of the amount of fiber and healthy fat, avocados help you feel full longer which helps to maintain a healthy weight.
I make sure to eat at least one avocado daily because one of the most fabulous benefits about avocados is that they contain a good amount of Carotenoids which help with eye health. Maintaining healthy eyes is very important to me as I have suffered from eye problems due to some thyroid issues I have struggled with.
Another very healthy benefit of avocados is that the type of fat that they have in them helps the body absorb other nutrients that are fat soluble. For instance, adding avocado to a salad helps your body absorb more of the nutrients from the other veggies!
As for skin health and beauty, the avocado has large amounts of Antioxidants such as Vitamins A, C, and E! You can even make a nourishing face mask with an avocado to apply topically to the skin. I find that the OIL is so wonderful that I add the oil to my hair when I am shampooing for added shine.
Added to all of that, avocados fight cancer, Alzheimer's, heart disease and high blood pressure (they even have more potassium than bananas)!
My husband and I are delighted our grand-babies love the avocado and we try to feed them one every time they visit.
I wanted to expand on my last article which discussed baking with coconut flour. Coconuts deserve a whole article to be written about them because they have tremendous health and beauty benefits! They are truly a WONDER food, and I love foods that serve multiple purposes!
The most important benefit that we found when we starting eating and cooking with coconut oil was the good energy that it provides. We like to add a couple of teaspoons to our protein shakes or just cook and bake with the organic/unrefined variety. Coconuts are a form of saturated fat (Medium Chain Fatty Acids) that the body uses very efficiently. This type of fat is HEALTHY for your body, and it does NOT make you fat! It actually has been shown to help people lose weight because it speeds up the metabolism and helps to stabilize blood sugar levels.
Aside from ingesting coconut oil, I found that the oil has many beauty benefits. Coconut oil is antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral. It keeps your skin glowing when it is in your diet and can be used in many of your face and body creams or products. One of my favorite moisturizers is by Eminence Organics called "Coconut Age Corrective Moisturizer" and can be found at this link.
Another fantastic use of coconut oil is for the hair. It can be used in place of expensive hair serums or gels. It adds shine to hair and really tames and moisturizes dry fizzy hair! I have a jar of coconut oil in my bathroom closet that I rub directly on my hair after washing as I am blow drying. If you do try it on your hair, just be sure to use very little so that it doesn't leave your hair too greasy. You can always add more, if needed. Another tip is to apply a good amount to your hair for a couple of hours (with a plastic cap over your head) followed by your regular hair-washing. It really adds moisture and shine!
You can even shave with it or find a body cream that is made with coconuts for after shaving. I use it to remove my eye makeup and that saves money!!! We also put a couple of tablespoons in our daily green drinks for fantastic energy!
One of the biggest challenges we found with the Paleo Diet when we first started doing it was that we no longer would be eating the usual breads. After a short time we got used to it, and we started feeling much better staying away from the grains!
However, we every so often get a craving for some baked goods, so we had to find the recipes for baking some breads and muffins that were Paleo.
The flours that are mostly used for the Paleo Lifestyle are ALMOND Flour and COCONUT Flour! Here is one of our favorite recipes that my husband loves making. These muffins are good for breakfast with a nice Egg Omelet with veggies and some bacon (All Paleo)!
PALEO BANANA NUT MUFFINS:
4 Ripe/Soft Bananas, mashed with a fork
1/2 Cup Almond Butter
2 TBSP Coconut Oil, Melted
1 TSP Vanilla
1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
2 TSP Cinnamon
1/2 TSP Nutmeg
1 TSP Baking Powder
1 TSP Baking Soda
1/4 TSP Salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with cups. In a large bowl, mix using a hand blender the bananas, eggs, almond butter, coconut oil and vanilla.
2. Add the coconut flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Blend until it is a wet mixture.
3. Scrape sides of bowl with spatula and pour batter evenly into muffin tins, filling each about 2/3 full.
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes (check with toothpick until clean). Serve warm or store in refrigerator. Makes 12 muffins.
Other variations include adding blueberries or small apple pieces.
These muffins are really yummy, and the only sugar in the muffins comes from the fruit. My Grand-babies LOVE them, and we do too! :)
Recently, when my husband and I were coming home from running errands, we noticed a new nursing/Alzheimer's care facility being built nearby. I commented to my husband that this was the fourth one I had seen in recent months being built within five miles of us.
My husband and I realized that the reason so many of these facilities are being built is due to the fact that they are expecting HUGE numbers of people in America to need this type of assistance in the future. Aside from the staggering cost of these homes is the staggering statistic that more than 13.8 million Americans will be affected by Alzheimer's Disease by 2050 according to the Alzheimer's Organization. That is nearly TRIPLE the patients that have the disease right now in 2015!
If you are like us, the thought of living our later years in a nursing home or worse, contracting Alzheimer's disease, scares us thoroughly! That is why we find doing all of the things that the experts suggest to prevent the disease is so important. Among some of the tips are the following:
1. Eat a healthy diet filled with antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits, like the Paleo Diet!
2. Keep your blood sugar at a healthy level, preventing diabetes.
3. Exercise regularly.
4. Keep your mind active.
5. Enjoy an active social life.
Along with these items, I was really excited to learn about a recent study of an antioxidant supplement that my husband and I take daily. It is called RESVERATROL, and it is found in foods such as red grapes, red wine, cocoa in dark chocolate, and blueberries.
Here is what the CNN article said about the study on Resveratrol supplementation on Alzheimer's patients:
"The study is encouraging enough that we should certainly go ahead and do a [larger] clinical trial because we showed that it is safe and does have significant effects on Alzheimer's biomarkers," said Dr. R. Scott Turner, professor of neurology at Georgetown University Medical Center and lead investigator of the study..."
Aside from the promising studies on Alzheimer's Disease, Resveratrol has been shown to help cardiovascular health, cancer prevention, lower inflammation and it is often referred to as the "fountain of youth" (we all can appreciate that)!
My father has been taking a Resveratrol supplement for many years and is still leading an active life of acting and travel. My mother loves red wine and is also still leading an active life of exercise and travel! All of these reasons are good enough for my husband and I to love taking this wonderful supplement and eating foods rich in Resveratrol.
The one that we have been taking is found can be found here.
Finally, please note that it is important to take a Resveratrol Supplement that is made from Muscadine grape skins and seeds, as they carry a high amount of Resveratrol.
Hi blog-friends! My name is Sydney, and I am blessed to be the daughter of Glam-ma Misa! In fact, it's my precocious three year old that gave my mom that name. My little girls look up to their Misa so much; with so many females in my little family, we have a lot to learn from her beauty tricks!
So, I'll leave the skin-care and beauty treatments to her (she's definitely the expert)....today I want to discuss something equally as daunting to many people: fitness!
I've certainly had a love-hate relationship with the gym, working out, and most of all accepting and LOVING my body. Let's be honest: how many women out there have trouble accepting our body? Most of us, I'd say. In my case, by the time I was 22 I had two little girls under the age of 3. I was tired. I was in the middle of a rocky divorce. My relationships with many of my friends and family were strained. I self-medicated through eating and for over 2 years I could barely stand looking in the mirror. I had gone from being a high school girl who worked out every day and weighed 135 pounds to a mom that barely had energy to make it through the day...much less the energy to get to the gym.
After my split with my husband, something occurred to me. I had spent so many years not loving myself. I was not happy. About a year ago, I started going to the YMCA. At first, I would just do a couple miles on the elliptical and then duck out before anyone noticed me. I was so embarrassed. But I kept at it, and every day I became a little more confident and comfortable. Soon enough, it became an every day part of my life. It became a way for my girls to interact with other kids at the daycare and a way for me to have some much needed "me-time". Amazingly, I was becoming myself again! I never thought I would be one of those women who could run on a treadmill...but now I'm running for an hour every other day! I was always intimidated by the free weights and the women who could workout with the guys, but I realized I wasn't there to care what anyone else thought! I was there for me, and me only.
Fitness is about more than looking a certain way. Do I still have stretch marks? Yes. Do I still have cellulite? Absolutely. Do I love my body? You bet I do! I workout 6 days a week and I fuel my body with nutritious foods. This body carried two beautiful humans and this body gets stronger every day. At the end of the day, it's not about that reflection in the mirror. It's about energy, mood, and confidence. I've learned to love my body because my body is STRONG, my body is healthy, and my body is a work in progress. I hope that I can teach my two little girls that they are strong and that they learn from my example how important fitness is for your whole life. And to any ladies reading this that are struggling with depression or body dysmorphia, know that you are NOT alone and it can and will get better! I had to learn to love myself before I could commit to a full-time fitness routine, and I'm so happy I was able to. I know you can too!
Until next time, ladies! Be strong and be happy!
P.S. one of the biggest things that has helped me is a pre-workout supplement. I know it's not for everyone, but when you're a mom of 2, student, and a waitress...sometimes you need a little boost in the mornings! I am going to link a couple of my favorite pre-workouts below.
TIP #20: My New Favorite Little Animal
Have you ever wondered what many beautiful Korean and Asian women do to have such beautiful skin? Well, one of our little garden friends is to thank for one of their beauty tricks! The Snail is my new best friend and might just be yours too! The beauty part is actually the Snail Mucin/Extract (known as Snail Filtrate). The Snail Filtrate is purified and packed with beauty nutrients, such as Hyaluronic Acid and Peptides. The Snail extract can really help with collagen formation to reduce wrinkles and firm the skin! I found a wonderful product while I was vacationing in Florida, and it has really helped with my fine lines from the Florida sun. I just LOVE it!!!
The product that I use is called Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence. I use this Facial Serum morning and night under my sunscreen during the day or my emu oil at night. The best part is that the ingredients are mostly organic and safe to use!
The snails are so popular in Asian countries that women even go to Snail Spas where live snails crawl on their faces! I think I will just stick with my serum, thank you :)
Fifteen years ago something very scary was happening to me. Every three to four months I would develop a 104 degree fever and be diagnosed with a severe case of Strep Throat. My body would be in complete pain and my throat was on fire! For at least five years I had this happen to me over 15 times!
Each time it happened, the only thing I could do was head to an emergency clinic for antibiotics (each time they had to put me on stronger antibiotics just to get the fever down). The last time it happened in 2002, I asked the doctor if there was anything that I could do to prevent this from happening so often. He looked at my chart and said "No, not really. You will just have to get antibiotics each time it reoccurs. There is nothing we can do."
I left the doctor that day with my prescription, burning up with fever, and I decided to fight back. I drove straight to a health food store where my youngest sister worked and asked her if she knew of anything I could take to boost my immunity. (Keep in mind, at this time I did not take any supplements and knew nothing about all-natural holistic ideas.) She told me she would recommend me starting with something very simple and basic. She sold me daily packets of Emergenc-C, which contains 1000mg of vitamin C.
AMAZINGLY, after I started taking the vitamin C that day, I NEVER developed Strep Throat again! It has been over fifteen years since the last bout. Additionally, I rarely develop colds. If I do catch one, it is very short-lived and mild. When I realized how wonderful Vitamin C was for my immunity, I immediately started my whole family on daily doses. My kids rarely contracted any colds or viruses from that point on.
Additionally, I learned that vitamin C fights cancer, heart disease, and builds collagen for the skin. The body does NOT store vitamin C, so it must be supplemented daily. Many foods contain this vitamin, but I found that taking a supplement with at least 1000/mg a day works best in boosting my immunity.
One of my favorite antioxidants is called Astaxanthin. It provides superior skin anti-aging benefits, along with skin protection from the sun. After taking the supplement for awhile, it provides me with a natural looking tan from within. It helps keep the skin smooth, supple and wrinkle-free. My sister even noticed those benefits when she started taking it.
Astaxanthin comes from micro algae, and it is the substance that gives salmon and shrimp the pink/coral color.
It's antioxidant capability is over 500 times more potent than Vitamin E and over 6000 times more potent than Vitamin C. As you know, antioxidants are the fighters of free radical damage in the body that can cause cancer and other diseases. It also works by reducing inflammation in the body, which also fights disease.
I usually take one 10mg daily of the Nutrition Champion Astaxanthin brand that can be found at this link.
When I was a child, my sisters and I ALWAYS played outside. We would many times stay outside during the summer all day long and only come back into the house when it was turning dark. Back then, we didn't have cell phones, computers, or cable TV. Basically, we went outside to escape the boredom!
These days, kids stay inside and play on the computer or they watch TV or they play on their phones. I only go outside for any length of time when we are on vacation. I always wonder why I feel so alive and healthy when I am on vacation. It is the SUN and its ability to provide the body with Vitamin D!
I really never thought about Vitamin D (which is actually a hormone) and its effect on my health, until about 5 years ago when my doctor added the Vitamin D (25-hydroxy) test to my bloodwork panel. The results were shocking. The doctor told me I was in a severely deficient range and that I needed to supplement with Vitamin D everyday. At that point, I decided to have my husband and children tested, and they were all severely deficient, also! They needed supplementation immediately to bring their levels into a normal range, too.
We all began to supplement with 2-3 drops (4,000 to 6,000 IU) of Biotics Bio-D-Mulsion Forte. Luckily, the drops are very inexpensive and the bottles last about six months!
After about three months, we all retested and ALL of our Vitamin D levels were brought into an Optimal Range. Now, we retest with our annual bloodwork and continue to stay in range with 2-3 drops daily.
I feel grateful that my doctor discovered this deficiency in me because I learned of how important Vitamin D is to a person's health. So many people are deficient in this vital nutrient. Even if we are in the sun these days, we are wearing sunscreens, which block the Vitamin D. The consequences of low Vitamin D have been linked to numerous cancers, diabetes, alzheimers, heart disease, depression and many many autoimmune disorders!
I always urge my family and friends to get tested by their doctors and to supplement if necessary. Many of them have found out they are also deficient!
Finally, it is important to retest a few months after starting Vitamin D supplementation to find the optimal level for your body. Then, yearly thereafter!
When I was young I never thought about living to be 100. I felt like most young people do, invincible. But, now at 56, I think differently. Years seem to go by quickly. I realize that many of my loved ones are also getting much older now, too.
That is why I love the article that came across my desk today from Forrest Health. It basically lists the five main items that people can make sure to do to increase their chances of living to 100!
Fortunately, these items are within our control. We can strive to accomplish the following suggestions:
1. Don't Smoke
2. Keep a Healthy Weight
3. Avoid High Blood Pressure
4. Exercise Regularly
5. Avoid Diabetes
Luckily, regular exercise such as walking daily helps with these goals. Eating a healthy well-balanced diet also helps us meet most of these goals.
I love the beach, and I love the sun! My husband and I especially love Florida beaches. We feel fortunate to be able to travel there frequently to visit our son in college in Miami.
The sun provides natural Vitamin D which is so important to a person's health (I will discuss the importance of Vitamin D in another article later). However, too much sun really ages the skin and can even cause skin cancer if caution is not taken. I know first hand that this is true as my own father suffered from Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Fortunately, he found it in time and was able to have it removed.
As for me, all the time in the sun really started to take its toll on my skin. I now always wear a large beach hat when I am in Florida or at the Texas coast (I have beach hats in every color to match whatever I am wearing ) I wear it even if we are going to a grocery store down there, as the sun is very intense near the beach. If I am shopping here in San Antonio at an outside store or doing any gardening outside, I always wear a hat and sunglasses. It is that important to protect your skin and eyes from damage!
Because the hat can only protect so much, I also ALWAYS wear sunscreen, especially on my face, neck and chest (areas that wrinkle quickly).
A few years ago, I was researching sunscreens online and came across several references to skin absorption of creams, sunscreens and cosmetics. I read that the skin absorbs more than 60% of the chemicals that are applied to it!
As I continued to research the type of sunscreen I should wear, I came across a very interesting website of a non-profit consumer advocacy group called Environmental Working Group. This group provides information to the public about many different types of products that we use daily. I immediately input some of my favorite products into their SEARCH box and found out that many of my products were quite dangerous to my health. The group rates products from 1 to 10 with number 1 being safest to use. If you click on the product, they tell you what chemicals are in it, and why they are dangerous. I found that many of the chemicals I was using are linked to cancer or endocrine disorders!
I threw out many of the cosmetics and creams that I had been using for daily skin care and replaced them with healthier alternatives. I also replaced my kids' products with healthier alternatives to keep them safe. The wonderful thing about this website is that I can easily look up a product that I want to buy and see what the risk factor is. I strive to stay 3 or below on the risk scale with the products I use, especially my sunscreens and body creams.
I encourage you to look up some of your products to see the possible impact on your health and/or your loved ones' health. Their website can be found at the following link.
One of my favorite sunscreens is Herbal Choice Mari Face and Body Lotion, SPF 30. It comes in clear or a variety of tinted formulas (which I love the "Dark Honey" to even out my skin tone). The sunscreens below are ALLl considered VERY safe with a risk factor of 1 by the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Database.
Because this topic is so incredibly important, I decided to continue with the subject before moving on to other interesting anti-aging topics. Yes, ANTI-AGING starts with regular, consistent exercise. You must find something that you can stick to daily. For some, it is hitting the gym or taking yoga classes. For me, the easiest thing to stick to is a daily walk! It's free, it's easy on your body, it clears your head, and it helps your skin to become beautiful! You can do it anywhere, even on vacation!
Let's touch on the skin part....a brisk walk circulates the blood and oxygen to your skin. This creates a rosy healthy appearance. If you are walking or exercising fast enough, you should sweat and this detoxifies your skin which leads to better looking skin immediately. Your skin is your largest organ, so it is important to practice daily detoxification!
Now, let's focus on the emotional benefits.....a brisk walk clears your head and lets you think about things more objectively. I always de-stress with my walks. I can tell because even my tight muscles are loose afterwards. If you can find a walking partner, even better. Talking while walking will make it seem like you are NOT even exercising. Time just flies by when you walk with someone.
Let's talk about how beneficial just a daily walk of thirty minutes is to your fitness goals. Did you know that 30 minutes of brisk walking burns about 150 calories? Well, that might not seem like much, BUT that is a whopping 15 POUNDS of calories lost in ONE year. Think about how quickly a year goes by (Christmas is almost here again).
Furthermore, many studies are now finding that "sitting is the new smoking" and Americans love to sit! By practicing a daily walk, it helps to decrease all that sitting time! This helps prevent many diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.
I hope you will find a walking partner or plug in some headphones of your favorite music and start this fantastic habit. You can also put those babies in the stroller if you are a new mom and get moving. The babies LOVE walks and pushing a stroller ADDS lots of extra calorie burn! I don't know of many things in life that can give you such huge returns! As my grandmother, who lived well into her 90's, used to say "Move it or lose it!".
33 years ago (when I was 23), I weighed 40 pounds more than I do today. I was in college in 1985 studying to become an Accountant, when I looked around the classroom and had a revelation. I looked at all the girls in the classroom and realized that I looked far older than most of them (like I could be one of their mothers). And the reason I looked so much older was because of all the excess weight I carried. It gave me a double-chin and a matronly look. My clothes were frumpy because nothing cute and chic fit me. It was at that moment that I decided to do something to change my life for good. I went home after class that day and made the changes. I started watching my calorie intake and researching healthy alternatives on the foods I ate. Afterwards, I put some music on and jumped around my bedroom for thirty minutes. I probably looked pretty silly doing jumping jacks and whimsical dance moves, but it got me moving and sweating.
For the next six months, I started eating healthy, nutritious foods and fit in 30 minutes of movement each day. It worked and I lost 40 pounds in those six months! I was a NEW person and looked years younger. My skin changed and my facial features became more defined. I even realized that I had a dimple in my right cheek which had been covered by fat before I lost the weight ☺️
Long story short, I continue to exercise everyday for the last 33 years. Most days it is a morning walk in my neighborhood with my husband or my sister. But, the key is to make exercise a HABIT and do it EVERYDAY (or most days), rain or shine! You don't need a fancy gym or fancy equipment. You just need some walking shoes and an umbrella for when it rains.
I found that once exercise becomes a habit, you crave it......everyday