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5 Simple Reasons You Should be Taking PROBIOTICS DailyThroughout our digestive tract, or “gut”, we have both “bad” and “good” bacteria. Poor diet choices, stress, not drinking enough water, parasites, yeast overgrowth, disease, age, and other environmental or internal stressors, cause a lack in the good bacteria in the gut.  We need a good, balanced, healthy gut terrain environment abundant in these “good” bacteria, we call probiotics.
I want to break down in very simple terms how essential healthy gut flora is to optimum health and body function.
Eating yogurt each day does NOT supply near enough probiotic support, and it is my opinion that the adverse effect of sugars in most yogurt, outweigh the benefit of the probiotics they contain. Greek yogurt may supply more high quality protein with each serving, but the sugar effect in the body is still there, and a serving (or 2) of yogurt daily simply isn’t sufficient supplementation.
I recommend a comprehensive probiotic formula including more that 5 billion colony forming units (c.f.u.) per capsule, from a safe/pure/additive-free source, taken at bedtime for optimum absorption through the night when our gut is at its resting/healing state. Some clients need a higher dose depending on their condition.
“Why should I be on probiotics or how do I know if I really need them?” you ask? I recommend probiotics to everyone, even and especially pregnant or nursing mothers for many reasons including:
1. Digestive Health.  Probiotics are essential in replenishing good bacteria that is killed off when we take any dose of antibiotics, which gladly destroy the infectious/bad bacteria, but kill the good ones too. Antibiotic use can create diarrhea and probiotics prove to help that unwanted symptom. Even outside of antibiotic use, probiotics provide a cleaner, healthier, more balanced gut environment, promoting regular more productive bowel movements, less gas/bloating, better nutrient absorption, and digestion of food.
2. Women’s Health. Healthy pH balance of the GI tract actually affects the amount of yeast in the body, which can have negative effects on the bladder and female reproductive system. Regular and therapeutic doses of probiotic combat vaginal yeast infections. Probiotics may also have a special role in maternal health, as pregnant women are particularly susceptible to vaginal infections. And bacterial vaginosis has been indicated as a contributing factor to pre-term labor, making probiotics a potential boon for fetal health.
3. Allergies/Skin Issues. Studies show a lower instance in infant and childhood eczema when the mother was taking regular probiotics during pregnancy. Because probiotics support the immune system, pH balance of the GI tract, and help to control yeast overgrowth, they also help keep seasonal allergies at bay, and can promote healthier skin, with less acne and dermatitis outbreaks.
4. Immune Support. Did you know close to 80% of your immune system is contained in the GI tract? With that in mind, giving your gut terrain the healthiest most balanced environment with copious amounts of probiotics/good flora, you increase lymphocyte activity, ward off infections, virus, yeast and parasites– boom– a stronger immune system!  Because the majority of your body’s ability to fight allergies, colds, viruses, bacteria, even cancer (your immune system) is in the digestive tract, what we eat, drink, ingest, along with how we can assimilate what we ingest is essential to our body’s immunity and health.
5. Weight Maintenance. In 2006, Stanford University researchers found that obese people had different gut bacteria than normal-weighted people — a first indication that gut flora plays a role in overall weight. Some preliminary research shows that probiotics can help obese people who have received weight loss surgery to maintain weight loss. And in a study of post-partum women who were trying to lose abdomnial fat, the addition of lactobacillusand bifidobacterium capsules helped reduce waist circumference.  (source: Dr. Shekhar K. Challa). Again, if we are assimilating nutrients better, we are able to maintain healthier blood sugar levels, eliminate toxins and waste–thereby maintaining our waistlines!
"Wanna Meet for Coffee?"Coffee. It’s warm, it’s comforting, it’s a social event, it’s a multi-billion dollar industry. For many, it’s as necessary as air, water and shelter–maybe more! Here’s my take on coffee, how much is too much, and is it really bad for our health? There are many theories, so I’ve posted some facts on caffeine below, and have a list of my tips for you too.
Caffeine, known in medical circles as trimethylxanthine, is an alkaloid that also works as a psychoactive drug and a stimulant of the central nervous system. Caffeine is found naturally in a variety of plants. Caffeine can also be created synthetically. The word caffeine is derived from the German word kaffee and the French word café, which both translate to coffee. When taken, caffeine is absorbed within 45 minutes and its effects wear off after three hours.

MedicineNet.com reports that an eight ounce cup of coffee contains anywhere from 95 to 135 milligrams of caffeine. A cup of plain brew coffee possesses 135 milligrams of caffeine and a cup of instant coffee has 95 milligrams of caffeine. Even decaffeinated coffee contains caffeine. A cup of plain decaf coffee holds five milligrams of caffeine. A one-ounce espresso has 30 to 50 milligrams of caffeine.

A daily intake of 130 to 300 milligrams of caffeine is considered low to moderate, according to Medicine.Net.com. Anything more than 600 milligrams of caffeine per day is considered excessive. The average person consumes 280 milligrams of caffeine daily.

Based on the information I’ve provided above, here is my professional (and personal) opinion of coffee consumption, broken down in bullet points that I hope may clear some caffeine/coffee confusion:
1. Coffee and any caffeinated beverage is dehydrating to the colon, to your body cells, to the skin, and organs.  You really should make WATER your first beverage of the day, before having your cup of joe, and you should compensate with 2 glasses of water for every cup of coffee you drink.
2. I am less concerned with the amount of caffeine in your coffee, as I am with the choice of sweetener and/or creamer you put IN your coffee. Most non-dairy flavored creamers are chemically-laden, artificially-sweetened substances, that do not provide any nutrition but rather add toxicity. (Come on, a “Cinnabon” or “Thin Mint” flavored creamer???? Is that necessary?)  Adding a packet (or two) of “blue”, “pink”, or “yellow” sweetener, also negates nutrition by adding artificial/chemicals to the body.  If you’re starting your first few hours of your day with 2-3 cups of coffee PLUS 2-8 tbs of the above mentioned products, you are starting your day off on the wrong track, leading to possible side effects and continued carb cravings.  I prefer almond or coconut-based milk/creamers (even the flavored ones), or organic half-n-half with natural sugar-in-the-raw, stevia, or agave if you must have your coffee sweet and creamy. Read the labels and consider what you’re really putting in your body.
3. Coffee is acidic-forming in the body. We thrive in a slightly alkaline state, so if you’re consuming more than two cups of regular brew or decaf or espresso a day, I believe that acidity (more so than the caffeine) is detrimental to normal body function and pH balance of the digestive tract and bloodstream.
4. Some of us are more sensitive to caffeine, and some of us are dependent on it. My advice is, enjoy one cup in the morning, black, or with healthy cream/sugar options (mentioned above), sip it slowly, enjoying its richness and warmth. Drink it only after you’ve hydrated with water, and ideally eat something with healthy protein within a half-hour of drinking it so your body can assimilate the coffee more gently. If you desire an additional cup as a mid-morning or afternoon pick-me-up, consider what I drink–instant OrganoGold coffee, infused with ganoderma extract which has a lower but natural caffeine content, is alkalizing (vs. acidic) to the body, and promotes many health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and blood sugar-balancing properties. It also has a calming effect.  You know you’re dependent/addicted to coffee if you quit drinking it altogether for 24-48 hours and present with headache. That indicates dependency.
5. As with anything, drink coffee in moderation, hydrate, and check your daily symptoms: jitters? irrational irritability? temperature change? dry mouth? heartburn? racing pulse? can’t sleep at night? All of those things indicate a good chance you’re drinking too much coffee, or you may be ultra-sensitive to caffeine.
There’s much I could add to this story regarding the “super-size” coffee drinks that I consider indulgent desserts (i.e., frappucinos, mochas, etc.), but I’ll save that for the next blog. A little caffeine in a cute coffee mug each morning shouldn’t hurt anyone–it’s quite the enjoyable ritual. Just be smart about what you’re adding to it, how much water you’re drinking around it, and stop after two cups. In the meantime, call me for some “coffee talk”. 🙂
Healthy vs. Unhealthy Water EnhancersAs humans, we are about 60% water. Water breaks down food, provides natural energy to our cells, aids in weight loss and maintenance, stimulates digestive enzymes, hydrates tissues and organs, helps the body rid toxins, and is absolutely necessary for health and survival (among countless other benefits).
As a Certified Nutrition Therapist, one of the main things I notice is the majority of my clients are very dehydrated before they work with me, and one of the chief complaints I hear in my practice (namely by the dehydrated folks) is “I don’t drink enough water because I don’t like the taste of water. What can I add to my water to make it taste good?”
My number one preference is to simply add 100% lemon juice or fresh lemon or lime to water. It’s easy, tasty, and the lemon pushes the liver and naturally aids in detoxification. However, there are many options now on the beverage shelves of water “enhancers”. Crystal Light seems to be the first of its kind, and now has quite the competition with Mio, and other enhancers. As far as store-bought flavored (and colorful) water enhancers, I implore you–stay away. The ingredients in most of the water enhancers out there include artificial sweeteners (namely aspartame and sucralose–Splenda), or sugar, artificial food colorings, propylene glycol, among other preservatives and chemicals. Although these ingredients in small amounts are “safe” for human consumption according to the FDA, I see clients suffering from stomach and digestive disorders, headaches, allergies, and other side effects linked to these artificial ingredients.
Here are a handful of ideas to make your pure water a little more “fun” and tasty, hopefully enticing you to drink more, without ingesting unnecessary and unhealthy ingredients:
In a pitcher stored in a cool place or refrigerated, or in a single-serving glass with or without ice:
1. Blackberry and Mint Cooler
* Grow or buy fresh mint in the herb section of the grocery store: use for garnish in salads or in this instance, add as many mint leaves as desired to water, along with 1/4 – 1 cup of fresh or frozen blackberries.
2. Cucumber Spa Water
* One of my favorite “spa” treats pre-and post-treatment is cucumber water. Very simple to prepare: simply have sliced cucumbers on hand and store in baggies. Add as many sliced cucumbers to water as desired. Super refreshing and clean. Use any extra cukes as puffy eye relief (placing cold cuke slices over shut eyelids for 10-20 minutes), or as a healthy yummy snack dipped in hummus or guacamole, or tossed with tomatoes and basil in a salad.
3. Mock Mojito
* A festive way to “cocktail” without the alcohol, and with hydrating health benefits:  “muddle” fresh mint in the bottom of a glass, add water, ice, sliced cucumbers, and fresh lime juice/limes. Shake and sip– delish!
4. Tropical Paradise
* For a sweeter “punch”, add frozen or fresh chunks (try to avoid canned) pineapple to water, along with any citrus fruit on hand: orange, clementine, or grapefruit. Sweet and tart!
5. Better with Berries
* Perhaps the easiest water enhancer is to simply keep frozen or fresh berries on hand– raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, etc. and add to water in any combination. You can even fill ice cube trays with a berry or two in each square, pouring water over, then making the ice. Once frozen, simply pop out your “berry cubes” and add to water.

What is the secret to a healthy diet? This is one of the most common questions people ask. The truth is,
the answer to this question is very simple. You just have to adhere to some basic guidelines.
In this article, we’ll give you a few guidelines that you should consider. Read on and learn to incorporate
them into your eating habits.
Half of each meal should be composed of fruits and vegetables
Experts recommend consuming 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. At breakfast, you
are free to enjoy your favorite cereal, but it would be best to top it off with sliced bananas or berries. At
lunch, eat half of your sandwich and pair it with 2 pieces of fruits. At dinner, make sure that half of your
plate is composed of vegetables. Better yet, eat salad at dinner; provided that you won’t go crazy over
salad dressings and toppings.

Use smaller plates
If you are trying to lose weight, then this is for you. One of the best ways of trimming down your
waistline is by downsizing your dishware. Studies revealed that switching from a 12-inch to a 10-inch
plate may result to a reduction of calories by at least 22%. By doing this, you’ll be able to eliminate
about 5,000 calories a month from your diet. It’s that simple.

Don’t eat on the run
Fast food is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you’re in a hurry. The problem with eating
on the go is that most people consider their food as a snack; regardless of the amount of calories they
consume. Mind you, even a small fast food lunch is composed of around 800 calories, which is way more
than the recommended calorie content for a single meal.

The lesser the ingredients, the better
The healthiest foods are usually comprised of only 1 ingredient – banana, blueberries, spinach, and
broccoli. Having a longer list of ingredients, this means that your meal has more salt, more sugar and
more artificial flavors.

A lot of people believe that living up to 100 years is nearly impossible. However, with the advancements
in medicine, reaching your 100th birthday may not be as impossible as we once thought.

In order to make sure that your journey to 100 is something that you can enjoy, we have put together a
few healthy habits that you can add to your daily routine. Read on and continue your path to a healthier
life.

Add red foods to your plate
This will not only make your plate aesthetically pleasing, it will also keep you healthy. Red foods like
beet juice contains nitrates that can relax the blood vessels; while cruciferous vegetables like red
cabbage will protect you against cancer.

Floss everyday
You may not know it, but this is the simplest way of keeping your arteries healthy. Recent study revealed
that daily flossing can significantly reduce the amount of disease-causing bacteria in our mouth. These
bacteria may eventually enter the bloodstream and result to inflammation of the arteries.
In order to get the biggest life expectancy benefits, you should floss twice a day.

Eat fiber-rich foods for breakfast
Eating whole grains in the morning is especially beneficial for older folks as this would help them
maintain a stable blood sugar level throughout the day. By sticking to this habit, you are less likely to
develop diabetes.

Drink a cup of black tea everyday  This common British practice may actually help you reach the age of 100. This may have helped Queen
Elizabeth to stay healthy despite her age. Recent study showed that drinking a cup of black tea everyday can boost a person’s survival rate after a
heart attack by 28%. So, take a break and drink up.

Always use the first stall
When on a public restroom, do you usually skip the first stall and go for the ones which are farthest from the entrance? You are not alone. Recent studies showed that most people tend to use the stalls further back to have more privacy. And since the first stall is rarely used, it contains the lowest bacteria level. Do yourself a favor and use this information to your advantage. Use the first stall in order to prevent possible infections.

A Discussion on Increasing Energy and Brain Power

Stress Management Through Nutrition

Presented By Living Well
Megan Magee, DTR and Amy Richardson CNT
and In Conjunction With the Westminster Chamber of Commerce

 

In this 1-hour seminar, participants will learn:

* Self evaluation of your body’s functionality—
are you out of balance?
* In this fast paced world, we are all in demand of
energy and brain power. Learn the “right” ways
to rev up your body and mind, increase
productivity, and thrive in your day.
* Poor eating habits actually increase stress on 
the body, and therefore decrease productivity 
and natural energy. 
* The “Priority Foods” which fuel the body and 
brain and help you to cope with stress 
* Tips for SUCCESS!

WHEN: Thursday, March 13, 2014 11:30AM—Check in and networking 12:00PM-1:00PM—Presentation Stress Management Through Nutrition
It’s a Brown Bag! Make sure to bring your lunch.
WHERE: Front Range Library Conference Room 3705 W 112th Ave. Westminster, CO 80031
RSVP is required and space is limited.
Please register at
www.westminsterchamber.biz or call (720) 891-9435 .

Experts believe that the key to a healthy diet is taking in a wide variety of foods but
taking into account the number of calories per serving.
Listed below are a few helpful tips that would help you maintain a healthy diet by
adhering to this principle while allowing you to enjoy your favorite foods.

Eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains

Healthy Eating Tips

Survey reveals that most Americans don’t get to eat as much of these foods. If you
are taking in 6-11 servings of pasta, cereal, rice and bread group, then at least 3
servings of which should be whole grains.
Also, you should eat at least 2-4 servings of fruits and vegetables. If you don’t like
them that much, give them another chance. Try to browse through the internet for
simple yet healthy recipes.
Eat a variety of nutritious foods
In order to maintain good health, our bodies need at least 40 different nutrients.
And you can’t get all those nutrients in a single food group. Your food selection
should include meat, fruits and vegetables, whole grain products and dairy
products. Also, a person’s food intake depends on his caloric needs.

Maintain a healthy weight
A person’s ideal weight depends on a number of factors including age, height and
sex. Excess fat could increase your chances of developing diabetes, stroke, heart
disease, high blood pressure and some forms of cancer.
Being too thin, on the other hand, could increase your risk of menstrual
irregularities, osteoporosis and other diseases. Adhering to an exercise program can
also help you maintain a healthy weight.

Reduce food intake

food-sandwich
If your favorite food is high in fat, salt or sugar, then eliminating it from your diet is
not the solution. Rather, you have to control how much you take in and how often
you eat these foods.
If fried chicken is one of your favorites, you are still free to enjoy it. You just have to
eat it less often. Make gradual changes

You are not expected to magically change your eating habits overnight. People who
try to change their diet significantly are less likely to succeed. Most of the time,
these people would go back to their old eating habits within a few weeks.


Tasty ways to use coconut oil:
*Fry eggs in coconut oil using 1-2 Tbs @ medium high heat
*Add 1 Tbs raw coconut oil in protein shake
*Add 1 Tbs raw coconut oil to warm baked sweet potato and it will melt like butter!
Coconut Chicken Curry

Procedure:

In a frying pan sauté garlic, onion, ginger, with coconut oil. Add the cut-up chicken, slightly brown the chicken. Add chicken stock, simmer for 15 minutes. Add salt, black pepper and curry powder. Cover the pan. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Dissolve coconut flour in 1/4 cup of water. Stir it into the pan. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Serve over brown rice and with a salad

 

Winter Squash Soup

Servings: 4
Preparation Time: 30 minutes

  • 1 lb butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup red lentils soaked and drained
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1/4 cup diced red pepper
  • 4 cups water, add more if needed
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup minced cilantro

In a large soup pot, combine the squash, lentils, tomato, coconut, curry, cumin, onion, red pepper and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and reduce to low and simmer for 20 min. covered. Remove the cover and simmer another 10 min.

To temper:

In a small skillet, warm the coconut oil until hot. Add the mustard, red pepper flakes, garlic and salt. Stir the and cook for 10 seconds. Then put a ladle full of soup into the skillet. It will sizzle. Stir and add the contents of the skillet to the soup and stir. Finish with the honey, lemon juice and cilantro. Stir and serve.

It may be freezing outside but this doesn’t mean that you have to stay indoors all winter. There are a lot of ways to stay active during the winter. Plus, you can have fun and stay in shape at the same time.

Here are a few tips to stay active and keep the body you love during the winter season.

Get familiar with the mall

No. We’re not asking you to go on a shopping spree. Instead, go out and take a walk inside the mall. This provides a safe and climate controlled environment where you can walk around for a few hours. Also, feel free to go window shopping while doing so. Just be sure to wear a nice pair of walking shoes.

Buddy up

Exercising outside with a bunch of friends during the winter season does not only provide motivation, it is also a safety feature. So, get in touch with your friends and use this season to hangout and stay active together.

Also, be sure to bring your cell phone with you and place it in a waterproof pouch.

Try a winter sport

The winter weather offers a wide variety of activities that you can enjoy with the entire family. Sledding, snowboarding, skiing and ice skating are just some of the activities that you can engage in during this season.

Take a skating or ski lesson with a few friends or spend an entire afternoon sledding with your family. These activities do not only help you stay active, it also allows you to spend quality time with your loved ones.

Switch up your routine

If you love exercising outdoors, you can use the change of weather as a reason to try something new. There are thousands of ways to stay in shape. So, try to change up your workout routine before the start of each season.

Invest in fitness DVDs

This allows you to exercise at home anytime. You can go online and determine the type of exercise you’d like to do at home. If you live in an apartment, Pilates or Yoga would be perfect since it involves a lot of mat work. If you have a bigger space, Zumba may also be a great option.

Indulging on classic dishes like pumpkin pie, hot chocolate, mashed potato and prime ribs is a part of the holiday fun. However, taking in too much of these could make you feel heavy and bloated. Luckily, there are a few healthy tweaks that you could do in order to help lighten up your favorite holiday treats without sacrificing the taste and your figure as well.

Cheese tray

When serving cheese, try to incorporate reduced-fat cheeses to your usual cheese selection. This way, health-conscious individuals shall have better options. Also, don’t forget to round up your cheese tray with whole grain crackers and fresh fruits like pears, apples, figs and grapes.

Mashed potato makeover

Though potatoes by themselves offer a long list of nutrients like Vitamin C and potassium, you’ll be sacrificing its nutritional integrity by adding in loads of fattening ingredients like heavy cream, butter and whole milk.

To lighten up this tasty treat, use low fat buttermilk instead of full-fat dairy. Plus, ramp up the flavor by adding in spices and fresh herbs like roasted garlic or chipotle pepper.

Slim with skim

During the Christmas season, it’s fine to indulge on peppermint lattes and hot chocolate. However, considering the amount of food you’ll be taking in, it is best to trim down on the calories where you can. So, instead of whole milk, request for skimmed milk. By doing so, you could save up to 100 calories per 16 ounce serving.

Cut the crust

If you’re the type of person who eats pumpkin pie just for the filling, you might want to skip on the crust completely. By doing so, you could shave off at least 100 calories per slice.

Stick to your usual filling recipe and pour it into individual ramekins. Then, bake it until it sets. Top it off with whipped cream and you’ll get a delicious pumpkin custard with a cute presentation to match.

Rethink your roast

For meat lovers, a holiday celebration would never be complete without a perfectly cooked slab of prime rib. However, at 720 calories per 6 ounce slice, the stats alone could make your heart skip a beat.

For an equally tasty meal without all the damage, you might want to consider lean beef tenderloin since it has about half of the calories. If this does not work you, you could also try other lean holiday entrees like pork tenderloin or roast turkey.