Sugar and Spice…Not as Nice

Did you know that 80 percent of all supermarket foods contain added sugar? If that grosses you out, then you definitely don’t want to think of the effects all that sugar is actually doing to your body.

The Truth isn’t Sweet 

Consuming at least 40 teaspoons of sugar each day does a lot worse to your body than just your waistline. The worst part about it is that while it seems obvious to avoid foods high in sugar such as candy, soda, and ice cream, you can still consume the same amount by consuming foods, which are perceived as “healthy”- such as low-fat yogurt, juice, and even health bars.

The Sweet Solution 

So where does the problem lie? Does the problem lie in our diets or on misleading food labels? Maybe a little bit of both. One way to avoid eating “health” foods and going up a few pants sizes is to stick to foods that really are “natural”, and do a little research before purchasing brands.

 

 

10 Natural Ways to Boost Your Energy

We’ve all been there—projects, deadlines, laundry and dishes piling up, workout a-waiting, kids needing rides and help with homework… We start out the day Superhero strong, and by noon some of us have pooped-out like weaklings.

It’s no wonder so many of us suffer from a daily energy crisis.

Instead of reaching for your fifth cup of coffee or that unnatural  “natural energy” drink, there are other ways to resolve your physical and mental effort to remain conscious—and even productive! The following 10 tips will hopefully offer you doldrum-rebound strategies. (Some may seem like common sense, but a few might just surprise you!)

  1. Slow Down on Sweets

An exceeding amount of studies have detailed the numerous negative aspects of sugar. The most obvious is that it spikes your blood sugar, and then you crash. This is horrible for mood swings and that feeling of dreaded fatigue. Sugar is a key culprit in messing with your energy levels. Moderating intake is a positive step. Instead of reaching for a sugary snack or drink when you’re fading, perhaps instead grab some fresh fruit, veggies, or nuts. And, remember to hydrate!

  1. Sleep, Perchance Dream

It can be difficult to meet, but experts agree that the sweet spot for feeling refreshed each day is a solid 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. While it may not always be practical, aiming for this magic number can pay off. Napping is not an ideal substitute for sound sleep, but it can restore you when you are lacking. Napping = catching up on sleep.

  1. Stretch Yourself

Stretching increases circulation and boosts endorphins. It also just feels darn good. As part of your morning wake-up routine, try some simple stretches to start the day right. Do it throughout the day whenever you feel the need for a boost.

  1. Contrast your Shower

Many cold-climate dwelling people (think Nordic, Russian, etc.) have long known the benefits of alternating hot and cold temperatures on the skin. You don’t necessarily need to take a sauna and jump in an icy fjord to reap the energizing effects.  A four-to-six minute shower alternating hot and cold temperatures every minute can revitalize muscles and increase your energy.

  1. Pace your Caffeine

Too much caffeine can do as much harm to your endurance as sugar.  Don’t stop drinking your favorite pick-me-up; simply savor it. Many researchers have discovered that low doses of caffeine over a prolonged period are better than large amounts all at once. So, sip slowly to supplement your stamina.

  1. Eat Well

Eating well doesn’t mean eat a lot. Choose your food groups and portions mindfully. Besides watching your sugar, keep your refined (simple) carbs in check to keep your blood sugar steady. Make sure you eat enough protein, complex carbs, fruits, and vegetables to keep you fueled. Magnesium, Vitamin B, and iron are important elements in your energy output, so eat enough foods with those energy boosters.

  1. Listen Up!

Food feeds the body, but studies show that music can actually fuel your body.  Pop in the earbuds or crank the stereo with some upbeat, positive music. You can melodically improve your mood and energy.

  1. Check your Head

Taking a break. Meditation. Listing things that bring you joy. Watching a happy video. Taking deep breaths. Walking outdoors. Simply staring out the window and letting your mind wander. All these things can clear your mind and revitalize you.

  1. Yawn

There is a reason we yawn when we are tired, beyond gulping more oxygen.  Yawning stretches your facial muscles, increases blood flow, and literally clears out your brain by increasing fluid circulation. Just remember to cover your mouth (and try not to do it when someone is talking to you.)

  1. Disconnect

As an aid to better sleep and a clear mind, remember to unplug from your screens when you can, especially an hour before your bedtime.  You’ll fall asleep faster and awaken more refreshed.

These simple steps should have your energy levels soaring to new heights in no time.  For more energizing ideas, recipes, and information, just search www.GetThrive.com.

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/women/features/10-energy-boosters#

http://www.rd.com/health/healthy-eating/natural-energy-boosters/

http://www.outofstress.com/contrast-shower-benefits/

https://parade.com/404146/mwait/15-energy-boosters-for-baby-boomers/

 

How To Beat The Bloat

Whether it’s a holiday or a fun-filled, eating-spree weekend, the after affects can be uncomfortable and undesirable. Believe it or not, bloat can actually be reduced with food—just the right kind, with dashes of certain herbs and spices.

What Have I Done?

Whether it’s mom’s glazed ham, Grandma’s frosted, sugar-sprinkled cookies, or spiked egg nog, too much can leave you feeling more than full. Overindulging in food and drink leads to that bloated feeling, which is not just gas. It’s actually an inflammatory response.

So besides just feeling gnarly for a few days, inflammation can lead to bigger problems down the road. Antacids may temporarily quell the symptoms, but to really solve the holiday bloat blues, you need to look no further than your kitchen (or local market.)

Real relief lies in a few key herbs and spices that you can easily incorporate into your diet. Best of all, by using these natural anti-inflammatory supplements regularly, you’ll likely keep all sorts of issues at bay into the New Year and beyond.

Inflammation? I Thought it Was Just the Cheesecake

Nearly every recent study on most common diseases including obesity, diabetes arthritis, and even cancer, has seemingly found one common denominator—inflammation.

Inflammation is the body’s natural healing response to irritation, injury, or infection. When you sprain a muscle, or get a blister or a cut, the swelling and redness is an inflammatory response. Not all inflammation is as easily visible. Internal inflammation can be harder to detect and more problematic, thus it often goes untreated and gets worse over time.

Beat the Bloat with a Bounty of Botanicals

We’ve all been there: passed out on the sofa, belt undone, moaning and feeling like a balloon in the Macy’s Parade because we overdid it.  Fortunately, the solution to your digestion dilemma is right there where your problems started—the kitchen.

The following herbs, spices, and seasonings all fight inflammation:

  • Turmeric

  • Ginger

  • Garlic

  • Cinnamon

  • Black Pepper

  • Cayenne Pepper

  • Clove and Allspice

  • Rosemary

  • Oregano

  • Sage

  • Thyme

  • Marjoram

Integrating Anti-Inflammatory Agents Into Your Diet

It’s as easy as apple pie to work all these powerful inflammation-fighters into your daily routine. Since there are such a delectable variety of them, your taste buds won’t be bored either.  Here are some suggestions for each meal on how you can help increase your health by decreasing inflammation:

BREAKFAST:

Coffee- add a sprinkle of cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, or even clove.

Eggs- add in some black pepper, garlic, or any of the herbs. Adding turmeric will not affect the taste or color, so it’s easy to sneak in.

Yogurt is a great canvas for cinnamon, ginger, and other spices.

Hot and cold cereals are naturals for cinnamon and allspice.

And don’t be afraid to experiment tossing in herbs and spices into your smoothies. Just a dash goes a long way.

LUNCH:

Add herbs and dash of pepper, garlic, turmeric and cayenne to tuna or egg salads.

Garlic and herb aioli, or plain mayo mixed with herbs makes a great spread.

Salad dressings are a great venue to host good herbs and spices. Also, Apple Cider Vinegar is a robust anti-inflammatory. You can use a teaspoon in any dressing.

DINNER:

Pasta and pizza sauces are ideal for incorporating lots of garlic and herbs.

Many of the herbs and spices play well with chicken, pork, and seafood.

Rice and ancient grains pair well with turmeric, garlic, and herbs.

Vegetables and meats served in a yellow curry are loaded with turmeric.

Have fun experimenting! No need to run away from food to relieve your bloat. Just add proper ingredients to fresh foods, and drink lots of water. Happy New Year! If you’re interested in other health and food tips, click here!