There is nothing more frustrating than busting your butt to lose weight and feeling like nothing is happening! You stand in front of the mirror and wonder, “when is all of this hard work going to pay off?” I personally believe that digestion is the foundation of health and one of the keys to healthy weight loss. If our digestive system is compromised, we suffer from vitamin and mineral imbalances, bowel problems, parasites, and even weight gain. We feel tired, cranky, constipated, fatigued, and sometimes ravenously hungry! These symptoms make weight-loss very difficult. Some good foods for digestion include yams, artichokes, avocados, and carrots. Licorice and peppermint tea is also great for pampering your tummy. Also be sure you are chewing your food a great deal before swallowing as this will help aid in the digestion process. If you take natural supplements, ask your local health practitioner about what type of digestive enzyme would be best for you.
If you are like me, you love to snack on different types of nuts during the day. The next time you head to the store to stock up on these crunchy treats, be sure to buy some cashews. Did you know that cashews are an excellent source of monosaturated fats and have been shows to promote healthy bones, strong immunity, and increased energy levels? They are also a good source of B vitamins which help boost brain power. Cashews are rich in iron and zinc, which can help us fight off illness. Be sure to purchase organic and raw cashews if they are available in your area. Go nuts!
We all have a lot going on in our lives. Between working, raising kids, running errands, and paying the bills, things can get down-right stressful! There are many healthy ways to deal with stress, but sometimes all you really want to do is relax with a nice cup of tea. Did you know that certain types of tea are able to help stomp out stress? Chamomile, valerian, lemon balm, kava, passionflower, and licorice are perfect teas for helping you unwind and relax. I personally drink Holy Basil tea when I need to relax…it works every time! These teas are loaded with nutrients that help nourish our central nervous system and glandular system. Many health food stores (and regular grocery stores) carry these teas. Stock up on your favorite so when things get hectic, you’ll be prepared!
Any heart-healthy diet should include fish, which contains omega-3 fatty acids that may lower your risk for heart disease. Healthy fish include salmon, tuna, and mackerel. If you don’t eat meat, you can also get omega-3s from walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds. It’s also important to eat a wide variety of colorful (and organic) fruits and vegetables. My favorites include blueberries, broccoli, red bell peppers, oranges, sweet potatoes, and asparagus. Avoid foods that are high in sugar. These foods can elevate insulin levels and cause an increase in cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure.
Protein is powerful! Our body needs it in order to grow and heal properly. All of our nerves, organs, and tissues are composed of protein and are dependent on it to help build and repair their structures. Enzymes in our body are also made of protein and are responsible for generating all body processes. Need to pack more protein in your diet? Do you like nuts and seeds? Try eating more almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and Brazil nuts. Fish, beans, quinoa, and organic eggs are other great sources of protein. Dairy products such as milk and cheese are sources of protein, but many people can’t handle milk products due to allergies or digestive difficulties. It may be wiser to select protein from a different source or you could try goats milk, which is easier to digest.
Yawn! Feeling tired? Can’t get out of bed in the morning? Most of us need seven to nine hours of good-quality sleep every night. The problem is that many of us just can’t fall asleep! We either lay in bed awake for hours or we get up multiple times during the night. Try eating a light meal at night without any caffeinated beverages to accompany it. Avoid eating dinner right before your bedtime and try to stay awake at least two hours after your meal before hitting the sack. If you can’t make it without a night snack, munch on a banana, celery, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, brown rice, or turkey. If you are a tea drinker like me, sip a cup of chamomile tea 20 minutes before your bedtime. If you like the scent of lavender, you can use this scent to help you relax and fall asleep. There are many different kinds of lavender stuffed pillows, neck wraps, candles, lotions, and room sprays available (just don’t fall asleep with the candle lit). Sleep tight!
I’ve heard statistics that claim over 95 percent of Americans experience some type of digestive disorder. It could be bloating, gas, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, and many more of these types of frustrating symptoms. Did you know that some cooking spices have been shown to help improve digestion? These spices include coriander, rosemary, dill, basil, ginger, fennel, anise, and cardamom. Try spicing up your next meal to improve your digestion! -Margaux
Fats have a bad rap! The fear of fat has led to our stores being stocked with products that are fat-free or low in fat. Many of us avoid fat like the plague and completely remove it from our diets. After all, we don’t want to get fat, right? All fats are not created equally. In reality, our bodies need good fat in order to help us think and function properly. Good fats give us the long-lasting energy needed to make it through our day and help us absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K to boost our immune system. It also keeps our hair, skin, and nails healthy, strong, and beautiful! Some of my favorite foods rich in good fats include avocados, sunflower seeds, wild salmon, and pumpkin seeds. I also love to get my fat from delicious oils including coconut oil, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, and almond oil. So, stop hating fat as it is no longer the “f” word! Consider it your friend that will help you look and feel fabulous.
Have you looked down at your hands and wondered what the heck was going on with your nails? Sometimes they get so brittle and fragile that you feel like wearing gloves all day long! Brittle hands and nails can be caused by dehydration but too much moisture can weaken them as well. It’s important to keep your hands moisturized but don’t overdo it. Include foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals in your daily diet. Try steaming leafy greens such as spinach, beet greens, kale, and chard. Biotin is one nutrient that has been shown to promote healthy nails. You can get biotin from cauliflower, peanuts, and lentils. If your nails are seriously damaged, you might want to think about supplementing with biotin rather than just getting it from food. Finally, calcium is important for nail health and can be obtained from spinach, broccoli, yogurt, chia seeds, and almonds.
There is nothing worse that trying to fall asleep at night when you can’t stop moving your legs! Did you know that RLS (Restless Legs Syndrome) may be the result of not having enough iron in your diet? Try eating lentils, spinach, pumpkin seeds, and white beans. You can also eat shiitake mushrooms, kale, green beans, and broccoli. There are also some great supplements on the market that are rich in good-quality iron. Some studies have shown that cutting out caffeine can help with RLS. Switch to a white tea with lemon instead of a big mug of coffee! Green tea is also a good alertnative because it has a small amount of caffeine but it won’t give you the jitters.