Posts tagged healthy

Ultimate Guide to Staying Healthy in the Colder Months by Herbal Papaya

Ultimate Guide to Staying Healthy in the Colder Months by Herbal Papaya

http://www.herbalpapaya.com

The colder months provide us with a certain nostalgia, of changing foliage and winter wonderland memories. Don’t let this cold season be tainted with feeling less than your best.

As the weather gets colder and more friends start getting the flu, it’s time to take a step back and look into what we should be doing for our own health this holiday season.

You may hear time and time again that your body is a temple and you should treat it as such, but have you taken the time to think about what that means for your busy lifestyle?

The following tips for staying healthy in the colder months may come as obvious to you, but really think about if you do in fact focus on these parts of your health every week. Sometimes we need a simple reminder in the form of a blog post to get us back on track and thinking about putting our health first.

You’ll notice that this guide to staying healthy is not just about nutrition, although that’s a big part of it. Health begins with a balance of wellness in both the mind and body.

If you’re eating nutritious food but constantly stressed about little things at work, you will not reach your full healthy potential. Likewise, if you’re starting to exercise everyday but never getting enough sleep at night, you probably won’t feel at all energized or happy the next day.

Read through this list, take it in, and start to realize how interconnected every aspect of our mind and body are in terms of health. Try to hit each one of these goals for a month straight and see if you notice a difference in how you feel. It may seem like a lot of different aspects to focus on right now, but once you get into the habit, you will thank yourself later.

Hydration is Key

Hydration, hydration, hydration…hydration. The fact is, it’s hard for the average person to stay properly hydrated throughout the day, to reach that impossible 8 glasses of water.

The best advice I can give you is it’s all about making it a habit. When you wake up, have a glass of water with your morning coffee. Before you go to bed at night, drink a glass of water. Instead of reaching for that coke at lunchtime, you guessed it, reach for water instead.

Some people have a hard time enjoying the taste (or lack thereof) of water. If you’re one of those, opt for sparkling flavored water or hot tea.

Goal: Stay conscious of how much water your getting a day, and always try to one up yourself until you reach your personal goal of water intake.

Focus on a Nutritious Diet

The winter can be the hardest time to have a nutritious diet, there are so many indulgences around this time of the year it’s very easy to slip into bad habits.

Instead of the the warm comfort foods or canned overly-salted soups that are taunting you, try making your own soups and stews from home with fresh winter vegetables that have a high amount of vitamins and nutrients. Sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, and beetroot are all great winter vegetables to try in a soup.

It’s great if your diet also includes plenty of legumes, wholegrains, nuts and seeds, and uses a lot of herbs and spices to round it out.

Try to eliminate sugar as much as possible – I realize this is easier said than done with the giant more chocolate popping up in the grocery store these days.

Goal: Try to go a whole month with little to no sugar in your diet (before Christmas!) and make 2 new homemade soups with delicious winter vegetables.

Exercise Regularly

There’s no doubt about it, it’s hard to exercise regularly as it starts getting colder outside. Your body’s natural response is to curl up under mountains of blankets and watch Netflix marathons while sipping hot cocoa.

I get it, I really do, but you have to start thinking about your body too! If it’s more attractive, think of moving your exercise indoors where it’s warmer. At the gym, or at home with weights, or a yoga mat and your ability to do jumping jacks. Whatever will keep you moving, do that.

If you’re more of the runner type or still want to spend time moving around outdoors, make sure to spend extra time warming up your joints inside to avoid any unnecessary strains or discomforts.

Goal: Exercise 3x a week for 1-2 hours at a time. If you’re feeling adventurous, try out a few different types of exercise – both indoors and outdoors – to see what motivates you the most.

Reduce Stress

Stress takes everything happy out of your life and puts it into a pinhole perspective of negativity. And ironic enough, the most stressful time of the year is usually around the holidays.

A small amount of stress can be good and keep you motivated to do what you need to get done. For the most part; however, stress is a very, very bad thing to give into.

Some of us lead much more stressful lives than others, usually depending on our socioeconomic status or our careers. Regardless of your amount of stress in life, there are always ways to at least try to reduce it or combat it completely. A lot of those de-stressing tactics use the idea of mindfulness.

Taking a step back to survey your life and the root of your stress, can be incredibly successful in making you realize either how unimportant that stressful item is in the scheme of things, or how unhelpful stress is in working through the issue.

Goal: Take up a mindfulness hobby this month – whether that be yoga, meditation, or singing away your blues in the shower. Whatever works for your personality and gets you out of your stress bubble.

Get Enough Sleep

This is such an important tip to follow in life, and one that’s hard to adhere to sometimes in our busy lives. Sleep allows your body to recover and renew.

Similar to an iPhone that’s low on battery charge and stressing you out with the chance it could shutdown on you, your body can get overwhelmed mentally and physically a lot quicker with a lack of sleep.

Everybody is different in the amount of sleep you need, and it also depends on how active you are on a day-to-day basis. In general, it’s best to set aside 7-9 hours of sleep a night for your body to rest and feel good the next day.

Goal: For the next month, never dip below 7 hours of sleep. Download an app such as SleepCycle onto your phone, which records your sleep patterns and gives you insight on how your sleep could be better depending on your lifestyle.

Wash Your Hands

You may think this as a way too obvious recommendation, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into a public bathroom stall, heard the stall door open next to me and footsteps echoing out the door without a squeeze of soap or a hint of water spilled from the faucet.

That my friends, is what I call gross. And more importantly, unsanitary. So many germs are spread from not washing our hands before cooking, after taking out the trash, and yes, even after using the bathroom.

Take that extra minute to let the tap warm up and use hot soapy water to wash your hands properly.

Goal: This should be a life goal – always wash you hands after using the bathroom. That goes for you too, guys!

Boost Immunity

Although a nutritious diet is one of the most important gifts you can give to your body, sometimes you need an extra little kick in immunity as well. We’ve talked a lot on this blog about how you can boost immunity and why it’s important to do so.

Immunity makes your body strong to fight against those viruses and seasonal attacks that can be so nasty once they get inside your body.

However, there are a variety of ways you can go about boosting your immunity depending on your preference. Echinacea, garlic, vitamin C, and zinc are also great for supporting a healthy immune system, whether you decide to take supplements or find them in fresh foods.

It could also be the time to start thinking about getting that flu shot if you haven’t already yet.

Goal: Focus on boosting your immunity once a day through herbal tea, food that contains one of the immune boosting elements above, or through a daily supplement.

Stay in Contact With Loved Ones

Don’t you always feel a rush of contentment or happiness after a long catch-up on the phone with a friend/mom/dad/you name it that you really love?

How about when you get a surprise postcard in the mail from your daughter who’s living across the country right now? How about just making a house call to your grandma who lives down the street?

Again, with busier and busier lives in the modern age, we sometimes push these interactions to the side and justify it by saying we’ll see them at the holiday.

Not only is life short and we’ll never truly know how much time we have with our loved ones, but these interaction provide you with a type of social proof and acceptance that makes you feel part of a community. This is very important to our mental wellbeing as humans.

In other words, these connections make you feel loved and respected, they tend to make you have a positive outlook on life, and thus provide you with a healthy mindset. Plus, it never hurts to make other around you feel nice and fuzzy inside.

Goal: Send a few handmade notes in the mail this month to people you respect and love, just to say hi and let them know you’re thinking of them.

Surround Yourself with Natural Light

Did you know that on average about 4 to 6 percent of people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD? Up to 10 to 20 percent of people can have a mild version of it, and SAD is also four times more common in women than it is in men.

There are a few ways to combat this type of seasonal depression, but one of the best ways is through light therapy. You can do this by purchasing a light box and/or surrounding yourself in places that provide a lot of natural lighting.

I’m attracted to places with a lot of natural light because I know it makes me feel happy, whether that be in a new cafe or the apartment that I choose to lease. I’m not the minority in thinking this way either, natural light has proven to be effective it making people feel content, happy, productive, and even inspired creatively.

Unfortunately, with the colder months and the lessening sunshine, natural light isn’t always possible or easily accessible. When this happens, try out a light box and see if it makes a difference in your overall wellbeing this winter.

Goal: Find a new cafe to go to in the morning that has great natural light, and notice if it makes you feel overall more happy when you start your day there.

– – – – – – – –

As I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, our happiness and wellbeing our interlinked by a multitude of aspects in life pertaining to our health. I hope you’ll try out a few of these tips and notice a difference this holiday season in your energy levels and health.

As Andy Williams once said, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year”. Don’t let poor health spoil a time meant for appreciating your family, friends, and the little things in life that make us happy.

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What is The World’s Healthiest/Ideal Diet? by Frederic Patenaude

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What is The World’s Healthiest/Ideal Diet? by Frederic Patenaude

When I say “ideal,” I’m only going to talk about health.

I’m not going to consider how difficult this diet may be to follow, or how practical it may be. I’m not going to talk about the disadvantages of following a diet when it comes to social outings, the availability of foods where you live, or even taste.

Of course, not taking everything into account is an important part of the equation.

Our lives are about more than just food. Our lives are also about our social interactions, our stress levels, our level of happiness, and so on.

It makes sense to ask what the healthiest diet in the world is, and then come to our own conclusions about applying said diet.

What compromises are we willing to make, and what are the consequences of those compromises?
So, this is not an easy question to answer.
What is ideal? We want to know what diet will lead to the greatest level of health with the fewest chances of developing any disease, resulting in sustained energy, longevity and other positive outcomes.

In exposing this ideal diet, I’m not going to give you all of my reasonings because that would take up too much space. I have already written lots of other articles and there is plenty of documentation on this. Many people will disagree with my conclusions, but that leaves space for future debates.

What’s Included

The ideal diet is composed of the following categories of food as its basis:

Raw Fruits: Raw fruits are a great source of energy. They are low in toxins. They’re pretty much the ideal source of carbohydrates. Although some people speak out against fruit because of its sugar content, ultimately all carbohydrates are turned into simple sugars for energy production in the body. Fruit is simply a more sustainable, nourishing source of energy. It contains many, not just one, types of sugar combined with many different types of fiber, both soluble and insoluble (which means that the sugars in the fruit are absorbed at a slow rate). That’s why fruit is quite low on the glycemic index compared to other foods.Fruit is nourishing. Therefore, eating too much fruit can indeed make you fat because your body will burn the calories from fruit before burning anything else (including body fat). The same could be said of other forms of carbohydrates. As for dietary fat, it is stored directly as fat in the body. Eating more calories from any source can lead to excess weight, but if you prefer whole fruits instead of other calorie sources, it will be easy to maintain your weight, because fruit is relatively low in caloric density.

Fruit is particularly healthy because of its antioxidants and because it is alkaline-forming. “Alkaline-forming” means that the minerals left over from digestion are primarily alkaline, like calcium, and they’re not acid-forming in the body. Most foods that are commonly consumed tend to be slightly or very acid-forming, but fruits and vegetables are an exception.

Green Leafy Vegetables: I put green leafy vegetables in a different category because they’ve got quite a different profile than other vegetables (especially starchy vegetables like potatoes and carrots). Green vegetables are a great source of so many vitamins and minerals, including calcium, and they prevent disease in general. They’re filling, nourishing, and very important to include in our diets.

Non-Starchy Vegetables: Low-sugar vegetables include things like zucchinis, cucumbers, tomatoes (yes, I know those are fruit but we will include them in this category for clarity’s sake), summer squash and other juicy or water-rich vegetables. Those vegetables are full of minor minerals and vitamins, and are also very alkaline-forming.

Starchy Vegetables: I rate starchy vegetables higher than grains or beans because they’re alkaline-forming. They’re also much easier to digest than grains and beans. As a source of energy, they’re absolutely outstanding. Some examples: white potatoes and sweet potatoes. Contrary to popular belief, those foods do not promote weight gain. It would be extremely difficult to eat too many white potatoes if one is not adding other calorie-rich condiments. (Of course, consuming more calories than you burn of anything can lead to weight gain).

Beans: They must be cooked, so therefore they’re slightly less ideal than the previously mentioned, mostly raw foods. Beans are very low on the glycemic index. They’re extremely rich in nutrients and an ideal source of protein and energy. All long-lived cultures in the world consume beans!

Nuts and Seeds: Because of their fat content, nuts and seeds were not the very first items on this list. However, they’re excellent for health as long as they’re limited to small quantities. All studies show that nuts and seeds are excellent for cardiovascular health and weight control, but they must be limited. I also include in this category avocado and other plant-based whole fats, like oils.

Whole Grains: I do include whole grains in the list of ideal foods because of their convenience. Ideally speaking, the best carbohydrate sources are fruits, starchy vegetables and beans. However, grains complete the list, even though they’re slightly acid-forming. Grains do not promote weight gain as long as they’re consumed according to your energy needs, but they can, when consumed in excess, contribute to weight gain because it is easy to consume a lot of refined grains, like white rice.Ideally, avoid refined grains. Like the carbohydrates in fruit, they’re burned off first as energy before any other sources, including your own body fat. That’s why eating more calories than you need from all carbohydrate sources can lead to weight gain or slow down your weight loss. That also goes for any other foods. Most cultures in the world eat some types of grains and all the studies show that whole grains are extremely healthy. However, their nutritional profile is not as ideal as the one of starchy vegetables and fruit.

Foods Not Included

I’m talking about strictly an ideal diet here. An ideal diet is a diet where we place no consideration on pleasure or social aspects, simply what is healthiest. Therefore, yes, my list of non-ideal foods will be pretty extensive, but we’ll talk about how to make sense of it all after.

Animal Foods: In my opinion, animal foods are not part of the ideal diet. I just don’t buy the arguments of those who criticize the vegetarian or vegan diet. The vegans who run into health problems usually make the same mistakes: eating refined foods, eating too much fat, not eating a whole-food diet, not supplementing with B12, not getting enough calories. Consuming something like 5% of total calories from animal foods will probably not lead to health problems. This percentage is much higher in Western countries.

Salt: Salt isn’t part of an ideal diet. The arguments for salt are not that compelling, when you consider that so many cultures in the world have lived very well without it (with blood pressures that leave Western doctors to gasp in astonishment and disbelief). When you include plenty of green vegetables in your diet and all of the foods that I’ve mention previously, you will get at least 300-600mg of sodium a day, occurring naturally. This could be the ideal level for human beings. It will take time to adapt, but it pays off in lower blood pressure and improved health overall.

Refined foods: The ideal diet is simple: it doesn’t include any refined oils. Oils have been extracted and are pure fat without any of the fiber and associated nutrients in the whole foods they come from. The ideal diet also doesn’t contain strong condiments like hot peppers that can disturb digestion.

Caffeine: The world functioned long before coffee was invented, as caffeine is not an essential nutrient. It’s a stimulant that ultimately robs you of energy.

Now that I’ve laid out the list of ideal foods and non-ideal foods, ultimately we have to decide what we want to do with it. I personally have the hardest time giving up salt and caffeine — and haven’t been able to do it completely yet. I’m willing to accept that I may never be able to give up those substances completely.

The same goes for making any other type of compromise.

We have to enjoy our diets, but also be aware of the health detriments and benefits. An ideal diet does not necessarily need any juices or smoothies or any blended foods, but those can improve assimilation in individuals that have difficulty digesting raw fruits and vegetables.

Finally, how raw should be the ideal diet? My answer nowadays is pretty simple. The ideal diet is as raw as possible, providing that it easily meets your energy needs.

Ultimately, in health results, there’s not that much difference between a raw food diet and a cooked food diet as long as you stick with the list of ideal foods. The raw food diet has the added benefit of ease of digestion and of being very low in caloric density, which makes it extremely easy compared with other diets to maintain weight.

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Free Genetic Testing – Valued at approx. $500 through UC San Diego Golomb Research Group

Free Genetic Testing – Valued at approx. $500 through UC San Diego Golomb Research Group

This testing is to see how your detoxification genes work in relation to oxidative stress protection. The research group needs volunteers who are both healthy and clinical – meaning they have sensitivities to EMF’s (Electro-Magnetic Fields) and can have severe physical reactions to them.

This study is in the pilot stage and hope to expand with more funding, to a broader demographic, including other countries and ethnicities. At the moment they are concentrating on White/Caucasians, (as that is the need for having a homogenous group results) living in the USA. The age range to qualify is: Males 21 – 74 and Females 33 – 76. There is a limited number of participants necessary for this early phase of the study, so call as soon as possible. If they have reached their quota, you can ask to be notified when the study will be needing additional volunteers.

If you are interested in finding out more about this study and to see if you qualify, please contact Andrea Almaguer by email: aalmaguer@ucsd.edu or phone: 858-558-4950 ext. 207.

All the questionnaires to ascertain whether you qualify will be emailed to you and the test kit will be mailed to your home. You will also receive the results via email once the testing is complete.

This is a great and rare opportunity to have this genetic testing done for free!
Please let others know as well.

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Raw Food Fanaticism – by Frederic Patenaude

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Raw Food Fanaticism – by Frederic Patenaude

I started experimenting with my diet back in 1996, and ever since I’ve been searching for the healthiest, yet most practical way to eat and live.

I first went on a very strict (and confused!) natural hygiene diet. From there I began making my way into raw foods and experimenting with various types of raw food diets.

After that I experimented with cooked foods again, then back to raw foods, and have since been fine-tuning my diet to find the ideal.

There was a time when I wouldn’t have touched a piece of bread with a 10-foot pole, but was perfectly fine with gorging myself with fancy raw recipes and avocados, just to make sure that I wouldn’t awaken my “cooked food cells” and stayed raw.

There was a time when I did everything in my power to eat the freshest, best organic raw foods there was, yet was not feeling the vitality or mental clarity I had before I was even a vegetarian.

There was a time when I binged on all sorts of cooked foods I had sworn never to eat again, out of the frustration that the raw diet was not working for me, and the shame I had for not having succeeded.

I now look back at these difficult days and realize that all of this turmoil was unnecessary. I worked things out using the empirical approach — that is to try everything out in order to come to my own conclusions. This is a time-wasting technique, but it did allow me to truly learn these things for myself.

In that process, I learned that:

The means is not the end. Being a raw-foodist for example, is not the point. We shouldn’t focus on that.

We have to keep in mind what we’re doing this for. In that search for the perfect diet, we’re doing this to be healthy and enjoy life more — not to achieve an “ideal.”
Willpower is not enough to maintain, we need knowledge too. You can have the willpower to climb 10,000 stairs, but why waste so much energy when there’s a lift that will take you to the top in no time? Using the lift is like utilizing proper knowledge.

My Introduction to Rawdom

In 1996, I was 20 years old and quite easily impressed by what appeared to be logical or scientific information.

The piece of advice that I came across when I first heard of the concept of raw eating seemed logical, but proved to be quite misleading to others and myself. It went something like this:

“Eating raw foods is the most natural way to eat. All that you have to do is follow your instincts and eat as much as you want, as long as you are eating fresh raw fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds.”

Impressed by the simplicity of this system-less-system, I embarked on a journey that led me through deep nutritional imbalances.

But first, the advice worked. I packed my fridge with fruits and vegetables and was eating all day long. I didn’t know about recipes or durian. I ate lots of food and went through a quite intense period of detoxification.

I went through it and was feeling mostly good, even though I was still struggling with cravings. My will was as strong as could be and I was ready to be a raw-foodist for life and change the world along the way.

The next part of my journey took me to California, where I discovered raw food recipes, an exciting world where all my repressed cravings could express themselves again.

Pizza, chocolate cake, and pasta were back on the menu again. All raw of course.

I was eating lots of fat, lots of raw food recipes, and lots of fruit, and I was just not feeling right.

More Misleading Advice

Two new pieces of raw food lore would prove to be fatal for me. The first was, “Anything raw is better than anything cooked” and the second, “it’s probably detoxification.”

So I kept eating and eating and kept saying to myself: “well, it’s raw.” I kept feeling bad and kept saying to myself: “it’s probably detoxification.”

The Raw-Food Movement

Since then, the raw-food movement has been changing the way that it’s presented and many of the ideologies behind it.

Yet many raw food books are still filled with made-up facts, bogus science, anecdotal evidence that just isn’t relevant to everybody.

One person says that eating fruit will make you sick; the other one says that you should only eat fruit.

One says that eating oil is bad for you; the other one recommends that you should eat lots of oil.

Here are a few false statement made by raw-foodists I’d like to clear the air on once and for all.

“Cooked food is toxic.”

Statements like this are what tend to give the raw food movement a bad name.
Cooking food doesn’t immediately turn it into something toxic. If this were as true as some people say, no one would be alive!

It is true that certain methods of cooking, such as frying and barbecuing, create many carcinogenic substances in the process.

But claiming that all cooked food is toxic is just silly.

“Anything raw is better than anything cooked.”

Reality check: Many raw food meals prepared at most raw restaurants do not fall in the category of “healthy food.” Many of them contain unnecessarily high amounts of salt, oils, and spices.

The fact that a food is raw doesn’t make it necessarily healthy. There is more to a healthy diet plan than just eating raw, just as there is more to health than just eating.

“Fruit is bad for you.”

Most raw-foodists are living on such a high-fat diet (often more than 60-70% fat) that they can no longer handle fruit anymore. It has been proven that high-fat diets decrease insulin sensitivity (the effectiveness of insulin in carrying sugar to the cells), and thus raise blood sugar levels.

So those living on high fat a diet, that is most raw-foodists, will inevitably experience more blood sugar swings when they eat fruit.

Thus, the myth has spread now that fruit is not very healthy and that we should all aim at eliminating or reducing the quantity of fruit in our diet.
Fruit is definitely one of the healthiest (and most palatable!) raw foods you can eat.

So whenever you hear a bold statement that is the contrary of all common sense, such as “fruit is not a healthy food” — don’t take it for cash. Study the facts first and decide for yourself.

Raw Food Hype

The raw food diet has become more and more popular over the years. Celebrities are now jumping on board; raw food restaurants are popping up in most major cities, the media is talking about it, and articles have been published in many magazines and newspapers.

Raw-foodists usually rejoice when they see another article in the mainstream about the raw food diet, yet many of the time the message being conveyed to the masses really isn’t the healthiest one.

Many of these articles start by quoting raw-foodists (mostly out of the context) expressing statements such as “cooked food is poison” or “cooking kills your food,” then they go on to talk about all the movie and pop music stars who are supposedly into it, they mention raw gourmet cuisine and raw-restaurants, and then conclude the article with a few nutritionist bashing and scoffing at the whole theory.

There is more validity and merit to the raw food diet than just a passing phase for the media to take advantage of or for celebrities to temporarily hop on board with!

“Raw Food” Means Really Raw

Raw foods are fruits and vegetables in their natural state, not dehydrated for hours and turned into crackers, raw cookies, and cakes.

Prepared raw foods can still have a place in a healthy diet, but it really isn’t what the whole prospect of eating raw foods is really about.

A plate of steamed broccoli is closer to being a natural food than a raw cheeseburger or raw cake sold at a raw restaurant somewhere.

Eating raw is about filling our bodies with an abundance of natural vitamins, minerals, organic water, fiber, and all the nutrients needed to meet our needs, both for energy and maintenance. Time and time again, these needs are met the best with foods that are in their freshest, most natural form.

Beyond Fanaticism

If you are 100% raw and feel wonderful and someone comes along to tell you that what you are doing is killing you, I recommend you don’t waste any time discussing it. Just go along with your life and let them think what they will.

If you are eating 50% raw and feel great and some annoying raw-foodist comes along and just, “can’t believe that you don’t eat 100% raw” — just forget them too. You are here to eat and do what makes you feel your best, not rise to the expectations of others around you.

What are you doing this for anyway? Because you want to call yourself a raw-foodist or a vegan? Hopefully not!

Hopefully, you are eating and living the way you do because it’s what feels right to you and allows you to look and feel your very best.

Eating raw is not the end-all, it’s simply a means to get you where you want to go.

Products on Sale:

The deals from my friend, Frederic Patenaude, for his health products are still available, so check them out before the discounts are removed – which could be at any time, without notice!
Remember to use the coupon code for those products where indicated to get the discounts.

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Top 10 Ingredients You Should Avoid Putting on Your Skin at All Costs – by Annemarie Gianni

Important information I wanted to share with you.

Top 10 Ingredients You Should Avoid Putting on Your Skin at All Costs – by Annemarie Gianni

You’ve probably heard about all the hidden chemicals and health risks surrounding so many of the beauty and skin care products on the market, but what exactly are they and will you ever be able to put on your lotion or eye cream again in peace — without wondering if you’re poisoning your body?

The answer is yes!

The key to healthy beauty care is to understand what’s really underneath the lid. While that may seem like a lot of work, you just have to know what to keep your eyes open for. And once you know what to look for, you can add yourself among the rapidly growing group of empowered consumers who are asking questions and being justifiably snobby about their product choices.

To help you in this mission to makeover your personal stock of cosmetics, we’ve put together a list of 10 ingredients you should avoid in anything you buy. By steering clear of these nasties, you can rest assured that whatever you’re putting on your skin isn’t harming it.

1. Parabens

Parabens are unquestionably the most commonly used preservatives in the cosmetics industry. They’re in just about any cream you might use, as they prevent mold, fungus and parasites from sprouting and growing in your products. The problem is that they can be absorbed through the skin, and have often been found in breast cancer tumors! All signs point to skin care products being the cause.

Because of this, there is a growing concern that excessive use of parabens may give rise to breast cancer in women and testicular cancer in men. Although there haven’t been any conclusive studies proving this, it should be enough to make you concerned. In fact, it’s why there are so many “paraben-free” items popping up in the supermarket and pharmacies around the country.

Parabens can appear in different forms, so here’s what you want to look out for:

benzylparaben
butyiparaben
propylparaben
methylparaben
ethylparaben
isobutylparaben

2. Phthalates

This hard to pronounce class of substances is found in just about everything, even you. A study done by the US Centers for Disease Control found a trace of it in every single person they analyzed. This is problematic because phthalates – which are used in cosmetics and also in many plastic objects – have been found to act as a hormone disruptor linked to reproductive defects, insulin resistance and developmental problems in children.

Here’s the tricky part: phthalates usually aren’t listed on the label of your favored products, so you have to do a bit of sleuthing to determine their presence. Want a hint? They’re often found in anything that misleadingly lists “fragrance” as an ingredient. Stick to products that are scented with essential oils instead.

3. Benzoyl Peroxide

Over the last decade, the popularity of pimple-zapping products has skyrocketed. benzoyl peroxide is responsible for this, but you should be wary about using it. That’s because it’s been linked with the promotion of tumor growth. Horrifying, don’t you think?

Beyond that, it produces toxic effects in the body simply through inhalation, and is a known skin, eye and respiratory irritant. As if that isn’t bad enough, it’s extremely toxic if you swallow it. Awful!

4. Triclosan

Technically a pesticide – at least according to the Environmental Protection Agency – triclosan is a popular ingredient in just about any product claiming antibacterial properties. It works very well at killing bacteria, and that’s actually the problem: not all bacteria are bad for you, and furthermore, some experts speculate widespread of this chemical could give rise to “superbugs” – harmful bacteria resistant to antibiotics.

That’s not all; triclosan has been shown to work as both a hormone and thyroid disruptor. On top of that, it’s terrible for the environment. So put your inner germaphobe at ease and know that water and natural hand soap will more than handle your daily hand-washing needs.

5. Resorcinol

Why is it that resorcinol – a popular ingredient in bleaches – is restricted in federal government buildings, but is used freely in so many hair color products? That probably doesn’t sound right to you, and that’s because it isn’t. Not at all!
Resorcinol is a known skin irritant that has been shown in studies to disrupt healthy thyroid function in animals. It’s also a common cause of dye allergy that so many women find themselves bothered by. You don’t want this in your hair, or anywhere for that matter!

6. Hydroquinone

As a skin lightener that reduces dark blemishes caused by everything from medical reactions to bruising, hydroquinone sounds too good to be true. You guessed it… that’s because it is.

Hydroquinone reduces the melanin in your skin to get rid of those unsightly marks, but in doing so, it hurts your skin in many ways. First of all, it’s permanently altering your pigment while also weakening the elastin and collagen in your problem area – the very things that are key to keeping your skin firm and youthful! Some people get unsightly blotches after using hydroquinone, and far more get contact dermatitis or have allergic reactions after regular use. Considering how easily it irritates your skin, it’s a wonder that it’s used at all. Finally, like so many ingredients on this list, there is some suspicion that it’s a carcinogen. The results aren’t worth the harm it causes.

7. Petroleum

Here’s a sneaky one. Petroleum pops up in so many cosmetics products, it’s ridiculous. And in case you’re wondering, yes, it’s the very same substance from which your motor oil is made.

It hides behind many names that you should familiarize yourself with. They are:

Petrolatum
Xylene
Toluene
Mineral oil
Liquid paraffin

As an industry standard, there’s a lot of information out there touting the safety of petroleum by-products, so you might be wondering why you should avoid it. It’s because it contains 1,4-Dioxane, which has been listed by the World Health Organization and the Environmental Protection Agency as a probable carcinogen. Cancer from your moisturizer? No thank you.

8. Methylisothiazolinone

Just the name alone is intimidating. Thankfully known as MIT for short, methylisothiazolinone is an increasingly common antibacterial preservative in everything from baby shampoo to moisturizer. Unfortunately, studies have shown that it contains neurotoxic properties that should be of great concern to all consumers.

In studies with rats, a mere 10 minutes of exposure to MIT was enough to cause brain cell damage. Further studies concluded that low concentrations of MIT during neural development increased the risk of seizures and visual abnormalities. Furthermore, the Environmental Working Group has classified it as a skin sensitizer and irritant.

The argument often made by skin care companies is that MIT is used in very small concentrations, usually in products that are meant to be rinsed off, thus reducing your exposure to the chemical. Considering the seriousness of its side effects, it’s probably best that you limit your exposure to it completely, wouldn’t you agree?

9. Oxybenzone

Oxybenzone is an active ingredient in quite a few of the sunscreen products on the shelves of your favorite store. Unfortunately, this chemical has been linked to skin irritation and allergies, hormone disruption and low birth weights in baby girls.

What’s scary is that a study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control found that oxybenzone is present in the urine of 97% of Americans. How much of it have we been exposed to, and how is it affecting us in ways that we don’t quite understand yet? With figures like these, chances are it’s already in your system, so you want to limit your future exposure to it as much as possible.

10. Artificial Dyes and Synthetic Colors

Whether you’re donning a shocking hot pink lipstick, a classic rouge to make those cheekbones pop, or rebellious black nail polish, if your favorite cosmetics are conventional, chances are they are just as dangerous as they are fabulous.
Many of the products you have are likely made with synthetic colors that are made from coal tar. Though pretty, these harsh artificial colors have been shown in studies to be carcinogenic and are likely to cause skin sensitivity and irritation due to the heavy metals they deposit on your skin when you use them. You don’t want that, so if you have any products that were made with synthetic colors, toss them in the bin don’t buy any more! Thankfully, it’s pretty simple to determine if that color in your favorite lipstick is real or not: just check the ingredients, and if you see anything listed beginning with FD&C or D&C, you know it isn’t what you really want.

So the next time one of those perfumed lab-coats at the mall pulls you aside to offer you a sample of Company X’s new Luxuriously Lovely Lip Enhancer, tell her thanks but no thanks, and proceed either online or to your nearest organic grocery for superior alternatives. You’ll be amazed at how much is out there!

Annmarie Gianni is Co-Founder of Annmarie Gianni Skin Care — an award-winning natural skin care line.

Organic Skin Care Products | Annmarie Gianni Skin Care
http://www.annmariegianni.com

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Company Review: Foods Alive – Organic Raw Living Food Products Part 3

Foods Alive – Life Giving and Mineral-Rich Artisan Crafted Organic Raw Living Foods Part 3 In business since 2002

I am choosing to quote info from the company and their website, as they explain about the products very well and I wanted to make sure I give them credit for it. I am simply giving my reviews of the products based on tasting and using them to create delicious recipes which you can watch me make on my YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/TheRawsomeVeganGal

From Foods Alive website: http://www.foodsalive.com/?Click=827
We source the highest quality and best tasting super foods from across the globe to bring you and your family the most mineral rich and nutrient dense foods available. Super Foods are a great source of Anti-oxidants, Amino Acids (proteins), Dietary Fiber and many other hard to find essential vitamins and minerals that are necessary for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Raw Super Foods

White Mulberry

From Foods Alive website: White Mulberries are naturally sweet, chewy, multi-seeded clusters of vanilla scented goodness! White Mulberries contain the most phenols among the various species. Recent studies show that Mulberries contain polyphenols (normally found in grapes and red wine), flavonoids, anthocyanins, alkaloids, and resveratol. For more info: http://www.foodsalive.com/White-Mulberries-Organic-8-oz-p/0027.htm?Click=827

My review: These are so yummy, I could eat the whole bag at once (then I would not have any left, so I will have to exercise self-control, but I could get more, right?). What a great snack when on the go and you can also add to a trail mix or fruit salad. These is no preparation involved, just take the bag with you and have some while you are hiking, walking, etc. And don’t forget to share some with your friends and let them know where they can get a bag of healthy goodness!

Coconut Sugar Crystals

From Foods Alive website: Food’s Alive’s coconut sugar is a sustainable, healthy, low glycemic alternative to common sweeteners. It can be used as an equal replacement for other sweeteners such as agave, turbinado, evaporated cane juice or refined white sugar. It has been a long celebrated tradition in food and medicine for thousands of years, throughout Southern and Southeastern Asia.
For more info: http://www.foodsalive.com/Coconut-Sugar-Crystals-Organic-14-oz-p/0065.htm?Click=827

My review: Great alternative to use for baking, smoothies, sweet dressings, sauces, salads, etc. I use it in my Superfood Beverage that you can watch me make and taste in my latest youtube video on my channel: http://www.youtube.com/TheRawsomeVeganGal

Himalayan Pink Salt

From Foods Alive website: 100% Pure Mineral Salt from a pristine area deep in the Himalayan Mountain Range. Himalayan Pink Salt is the purest and most beneficial form of salt crystals in the world. This fine granulated crystal salt works well for salt shakers and cooking recipes. For more info: http://www.foodsalive.com/Himalayan-Pink-Salt-14-oz-p/0040.htm?Click=827

My review: It has a beautiful pink color and is a culinary delight! I use it in small amounts to add minerals to what I am preparing. It is also great to add to a foot soak or in a bath, as the body absorbs the nutrients quicker through the skin.

Glass Drinking Straw

From Foods Alive website: This unique 8-inch glass drinking straw is environmentally friendly and incredibly elegant. When you use your glass straw, you reduce the number of plastic straws that end up in our landfills and avoid consuming the toxins that plastic straws can leach into your drinks.
For more info: http://www.foodsalive.com/Glass-Drinking-Straw-8-p/0044.htm?Click=827

My review: I love this glass straw! It is a must if you have children and they like to use a straw to drink their beverage because it is a lot more fun that way! You do not want plastic, as the chemicals leach into your food and then you are drinking that. Yuck! It is very durable, dishwasher safe, non-toxic, hypoallergenic and can be used in hot or cold beverages. Lets keep more plastic out of the landfills bcause the situation is getting beyond a HUGE problem for the environment. You can go online and find endless video on this issue. Plastics are ubiquitous and if each of us can do one thing to start, then STOP buying plastic straws. You only have to buy this ONE straw and never get another one again. So, it is also very cost effective in the long run.

Travel Case for Straight 8 inch Glass Straw

From Foods Alive website: This Glass Drinking Straw Travel Case is the perfect way to take your 8-inch Glass Straws (sold separately) on the go. With it’s secure snap-lock mechanism, you can be sure that your glass straw will be safe and sound whether you are traveling locally to meet up with a friend for lunch or packing it away in a suitcase for a vacation. NOTE: The Straight 8-inch Glass Straw (sold separately) is the ONLY straw that will fit in this great case. For more info: http://www.foodsalive.com/Glass-Drinking-Straw-Travel-Case-p/glass-straw-case.htm?Click=827

My review: You must have a case for your straw (this one is only for the 8-inch size) to keep it clean and prevent breakage. Also, if you are traveling or have a picnic, potluck and know you will be having a smoothie, juice, etc. you will want to “show off” your glass straw to others because they may not know about it. Then you can tell others why this straw is a great investment for their health and the environment. I think, it is also lovely to see the beautiful colors of your fruit or vegetable smoothie or juice passing through the glass as you drink it.

Cleaning Brush for Glass Straw

From Foods Alive website: If you use your glass straw a lot, then that means that you’ve been cleaning it a lot too. As a result, we are now offering this cleaning brush separately, for those who might need a new one. Use this glass straw cleaner, to clean out those hard to reach smoothie remains inside of your glass straw, so that you can keep reusing that glass straw of yours, and continue to help reduce waste in our landfills. For more info: http://www.foodsalive.com/Cleaning-Brush-for-Glass-Straw-p/cleaning-brush-glass-straw.htm?Click=827

My review: When you buy the straw, you get a free cleaning brush, specifically designed to clean it. Since some particulates made get stuck inside the straw from the liquid that passes through it and does not come out simply with water. If you do not have a dishwasher to do the job, this is a great tool and cleans it out very well.

Foods Alive Gear

Foods Alive Post-It
From Foods Alive website: Foods Alive’s Post-it® Note pads are made with a minimum of 30% post-consumer content to reduce environmental harm. Our white paper Post-it® Note pads give you 50 pages to jot down notes and stick in important places. For more info: http://www.foodsalive.com/Foods-Alive-Post-it-Note-Pad-p/gear-post-it.htm?Click=827

My review: We are always looking for something to write a note on and do not always have the paper or the right size to use. Foods Alive has solved the problem, as they now have post-it notes with their company info on it. You can keep them in your handbag or backpack and have it handy when you need to jot something down. Of course, it is great that they are made of post-consumer content, as an environmental benefit.

Foods Alive T-shirt

From Foods Alive website: Looking for a great T-shirt to sport? Look no further than this awesome T-shirt from Foods Alive! Makes a great gift too! For more info: http://www.foodsalive.com/Foods-Alive-T-shirt-p/gear-shirt.htm?Click=827

My review: If you are looking for a great gift to buy for yourself or others, look no further then the Foods Alive t-shirt! The shirt is also a great way to promote this company and let others know where they can buy their awesome products.

Foods Alive Mug

From Foods Alive website: The 10 oz. Foods Alive mug is perfect for any hot beverage! It has a unique curved ceramic body and a c-shaped handle for an easy comfortable grip. Makes a great gift too! For more info: http://www.foodsalive.com/Foods-Alive-Mug-p/gear-mug.htm?Click=827

My review: Another great gift is the ceramic mug. It is the perfect size for your hot or cold beverage. I used it when I made my Superfood Beverage and you can watch that on my youtube channel: TheRawsomeVeganGal

This company offers so many great raw organic super foods to nourish and help you to achieve vibrant health. If you have not tried any as yet, now you have more information to do so. You can check out their website: http://www.foodsalive.com/?Click=827 to purchase direct or find which stores carry their products.

Disclaimer: I was not sponsored to write this, but I did receive a sample of the product(s). These are strictly my opinions. I only review products that I, myself would use and purchase.

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