4 Simple Health Hacks

We are busy and most of us don’t have the time to dial up our health another notch. Here are four simple ways to help you on the journey to feeling your best without a huge time or resource commitment.

 

Bedroom
  1. Go to bed 30 minutes earlier. Sleep may be the most important thing in our health arsenal. It plays a vital role in our physical and mental well-being. Getting an extra 30 minutes of sleep gives your body more time to heal, repair, and detoxify from the day and can revitalize your brain, allowing your brain to form new pathways and perform better the following day. Ongoing sleep deficiency has been linked to increased risk of heart and kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and obesity. To help you get to sleep earlier, try cutting your screen time short and unwind with light stretching, meditation, or a good book.
  2. Drink more water. I know you hear this message a lot, but are you really drinking enough water given your activity level and lifestyle? The general rule of thumb for daily water consumption is to drink half of your body weight in ounces plus an additional eight to 12 ounces for each diuretic beverage you consume. Diuretics include juices, coffee (even decaffeinated), most teas including some herbal teas (i.e., peppermint), and alcoholic beverages. One way I’ve found to easily get in all that I need is by drinking at least 12 ounces of water right before bed, another 12 or so upon waking, and then splitting up the rest throughout the day, especially between meals. Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go and track how many times you refill it. Spruce up plain water with lemon (which is especially great served warm in the morning for better digestion), sliced cucumber, mint, or berries. 
  3. Chew your food longer. This one isn’t entirely obvious but is so important. Chewing your food well not only ensures that the entire digestive process gets kicked off but also allows you to absorb more nutrients from your food. It makes digestion easier and reduces digestive issues like gas and bloating. Chewing slowly will also lead you to eat slower, providing your brain with the time it needs to register that you are starting to feel full. This simple act may keep you from overeating and help you to maintain your weight. As an added benefit, eating slower may actually allow you to enjoy your food and taste it better. 
  4. Incorporate more fermented foods into your diet. Many cultures around the world have been eating fermented foods for generations – think sauerkraut in Germany and kimchi in Korea. Studies have shown a strong link between probiotic-rich foods and overall health. Sadly, with advances in technology and food preparation, these traditional foods are not as prevalent in today’s society. Not only are fermented foods rich in immune and gut-boosting probiotics, but they also contain beneficial digestive enzymes and a wide range of vitamins and minerals making them quite nutrient dense. Sauerkraut, for example, is rich in iron, vitamin C, vitamin A, and the lesser known vitamin K, which is essential for bone health. Aim to eat or drink something fermented 2–3 times per day as a condiment. Try my easy sauerkraut recipe to get started.

Sources:

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/why

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_K

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/07/31/chewing-foods.aspx

Why I Choose Safer Beauty

When I first learned about the state of the beauty and personal care products industry while reading No More Dirty Looks in 2010, it was eye-opening. I had spent the previous five years of my life trying to eliminate toxins in my environment by eating an organic, real food diet and switching to "natural" cleaning products in my home only to realize that I was still damaging my body via the products I put on it every day. When I researched the ingredients of the products I used through the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database, I was appalled at their poor ratings and the number of harmful ingredients they contained that could be causing serious damage, especially given that 60% of what we put onto our skin is absorbed into our bodies.

I realized that I wasn't doing enough to limit my toxic chemical exposure on a daily basis. I learned that due to green washing products labeled "natural" or "organic" are not automatically safe because of the lack of regulation around these products. Any company can claim that its products are natural or organic even when the ingredients are far from it. Many personal care products today contain toxic chemicals that can cause reproductive harm, endocrine disruption, hormone disruption, learning disabilities, and even cancer. I also learned that our own government isn't doing us any favors with regard to the safety of our personal care products. I realized that if I wanted to see change, I would have to advocate for it.

I began to meticulously research ingredients in every personal care product I purchased, but I still wasn't happy with many of the products I found. Some were considered to be fairly safe, but they often performed poorly and were not worth the cost. Others that performed well still had relatively high scores in the Skin Deep database (meaning they had safety issues). In 2013, I found Beautycounter, an American skincare and cosmetics brand, and I decided right away that I wanted to join the company’s movement and share my passion for safe and effective beauty products with others. Beautycounter has raised the personal care products bar by lobbying Washington for better safety standards, developing the strictest safety standards in the industry (they have a never list of over 1,500 ingredients that will never be used in their products), and creating a consultant-focused direct selling model to educate people about safety in personal care products. The company has accomplished all of this while creating beautiful, safe, and effective products that produce results. I couldn't ask for a better company to work for.

For more in-depth information, I encourage you to read No More Dirty Looks or Not Just a Pretty Face, check out the Beautycounter website, and visit the Skin Deep database to analyze the products you are using every day. I share my own favorites (Beautycounter and beyond) on my website and my Facebook group. I am also happy to meet with you 1-to-1 to look at your current personal care regime and recommend healthier, high-performing alternatives for you and your family within your budget.