Oct 21

How to Tell the Difference between Natural & Synthetic Supplements

I am just waking up from a great night of sound sleep and am ready to tackle my day! I have some infused herbal tea brewing, my yoga session on DVD waiting for me to press play and a ton of emails to dig into after a little meditating. But first, before I start getting into my zone, I wanted to follow up with my lovely readers about what we were talking about last week: supplements. Since is this the theme for the month, I want to make sure I provide some well-rounded information that will really benefit you all! In the last post, I mentioned that with certain supplements, it would be a tremendous help to be very mindful of what kinds you choose.  More importantly, it’s best if you know the differences between natural and synthetic supplements. Of course I would recommend sticking with all-natural supplements. However, I am going to give you a few insider clues that may help you while you’re looking for the best supplement to fit your various needs.

natural vs synthetic vitamins

Clue #1: Read Those Labels!

The first thing that will help you decipher whether your vitamins are natural or synthetic is to simply take a few minutes and read the label before you get into the checkout line. Trust me; an extra few minutes in the nutrition aisle can really save you the heartbreak of knowing your vitamins run a very high possibility of not doing you any justice whatsoever. Below is a little chart I put together so that you have a pretty good visual of what to look for in the most common kinds of vitamins that you may be consuming regularly. Looking for these keywords will definitely help you weed out the baddies. I also give you some food alternatives that contain the vitamins you are looking for, just in case you need to save some extra money.

Vitamin Natural Sources Synthetic Baddies
A Sweet Potatoes, Romaine Lettuce, Butternut Squash, Carrots, Mangos Retinol, Acetate, Palmitate
A Jackson 94
B12 Bee pollen, Seafood, Flaxseed Cyanocobalamin
C Oranges, Tomatoes, Green Peppers, Kale Ester C, Calcium ascorbate
D Shitake mushrooms, Cod Liver Oil, The Sun Calciferol
E Almonds, Swiss Chard, Safflower Oil D-alpha tocopherol (The natural source would start with DL)

Clue #2: Absorption Quality

This clue is not as easily detectable as the first but is equally essential. The nutrients in natural supplements blend almost perfectly with our body chemistry. The reason for this is because the various enzymes, antioxidants and other organic vitamin goodness have been harvested and preserved without any disruption of its structure that could otherwise rip it to shreds. Because it compliments your body in an amazing way, it is a lot easier for your body to absorb the supplement successfully due to its perfect form. In addition to this, your body doesn’t run the risk of potentially overdosing in the supplement because it knows what is needed, when, where and how for optimal absorption and increased nutrition.

On the flip side, with synthetic supplements, things get a lot more tricky and difficult. A synthetic supplement originally started out as a wholesome source of micronutrients, until it was rip to shreds, allowing all the good stuff to leak out and become wasted and depreciated. As a result, your body now has to work even harder to register what the heck this foreign version of vitamins is and attempt to make it blend with existing nutrients within the body. This is the equivalent of going to a library, picking out a catalogue card in order to locate a book, only to find out from the librarian that it’s really at another library on the other side of town! Not to mention, a lot of library stuff is done digitally now. You see what I mean? Imagine how frustrating that much be to expect that book to be in the location you are at, only to realize that you have to spend way more time tracking it down. Not cool! Another disadvantage to synthetic supplements is that the body eventually dispels of most of it with waste and other things it doesn’t need. Unfortunately, this also results in the waste of your hard-earned money. Again, not cool! So if your body is not really responding to the current supplements you have been taking for a while, then you have your answer.

Clue #3: More Label-Reading (Sorry)

To go along with the last clue above, we need to take a little trip back to looking at the bottle label one more time. One of the surefire ways to tell if your supplement is natural or synthetic is to double check the product list. Usually, natural supplements will list real food ingredients as its source. You want to look for some of the food-rich ingredients similar to the ones in the chart above. They will more than likely be in powered form, which is totally fine. However, if the bottle label says that the ingredients are the exact same thing as what it identifies on the bottle, than you may want to think twice about taking them again. Take Vitamin C for example. If you look on the back of the label and the ingredients read “Vitamin C” and nothing else, it’s time to chuck it for good (or put it back on the shelf if you are in the store).

You are now armed with the most exclusive and highest top security clearance insider supplements information! Ok, maybe not top clearance, but having knowledge about this really does put you at a great advantage compared to most. Feel free to share this information with all your friends and family who may be interested! To avoid having to filter through all of those many brands of supplements, I suggest checking out Blackmores for some quality products. Wow, you really lucked up on some bonuses this week!

Oct 21

Strengthening Your Immune System with Natural Health Supplements

What a beautiful afternoon it is so far! You would be doing yourself a disservice to not be enjoying the sun and breezy weather right now. The seasons are changing and it feels quite divine! Because of my sunny inspiration, I decided to switch it up a bit today and go for a nice brisk walk. I really just wanted to take in every sound and visual around me without zooming past the moments. While walking, I got to thinking about some things in regards to the seasons. When it is time for them to change, we see nature act accordingly with the trees either changing or returning back to their gloriously vibrant selves or even when the geese fly south. We even see the insects adjusting and adapting according to their nature! There’s a certain harmony about all of this. All of the living creatures seem to flow and align themselves with the seasons and more than likely eat foods that compliment them for optimal digestion and absorption.

Now… what is wrong with this picture? Ah yes. Human beings still have a little learning to do in this area! If you notice, most people get sick around the times that the seasons are changing. This is an indication of an imbalance that may have been brewing before the seasons changed that wasn’t strong enough to handle what the body would need once the change was upon us. In other words, we aren’t aligning our bodies with nature! There are certain foods that should be eaten around certain times. Making sure that you get in tune with this will help your body function at an all-time high. You will find that your body will naturally start craving the foods that are usually harvested for certain seasons. For example, when I started aligning myself, I discovered that I had this huge craving for pears around the start of fall. I didn’t understand it then, but as I researched and read more on this concept, I realized that pears were one of the fruits for fall! How amazing is that?

What does this have to do with your immune system? Everything! Your immune system is your army of hardcore warriors. They are always at the gates of all your organs (and skin layers) waiting to protect and defend your honor! Strengthening your immune system before the seasons change not only helps to protect you against nasty germs and other unpleasant amoebas, but they also allow your body to calmly transition into the seasons without any distractions. This week, I am going to give you some pointers on the best natural health supplements that will keep your immune system in tip-top condition.

Z is for Zinc!

Zinc is yet another mineral already present in our bodies that we don’t get enough of. It is found in almost every little tissue in your body and also helps new cells develop properly. It is one of the best natural antioxidants that you can consistently feed your body, which is why you should make it your very best friend from here on out. As we all know, antioxidants help to control free radicals from running amuck in our bodies. Zinc is also responsible for the regulation of white and red blood cells, which means that they are crucial for a great boost in your immune system. Taking about 8 to 11 milligrams of Zinc per day will really help to strengthen your blood cell army. I remember a time where I felt a cold coming on and I immediately started taking some Zinc and Echinacea. That impending disaster didn’t know what hit it! This brings me to my next supplement tip.

Plant Lovin’: Echinacea

Echinacea was considered the top cold and flu medicine by Native Americans for many years. This herb originated from United States’ Midwest and southeast regions and is quite the superstar there! Echinacea helps to strengthen the immune system by stimulating your white blood cells, which helps them grow larger and stronger in number in order to fight infections in your upper respiratory system, urinary tract, and of course the common cold. However, there is a very vital fact that you must know about this wonderful herb. Echinacea is a supplement that is only to be taken around the first symptoms you start to experience and it is advised to stop taking it about two days after the symptoms disappear. Prolonged use of Echinacea can cause your immune system to overload and actually revert to being weaker. Yes, it is that strong!

Oregano Oil… Not Your Typical Spice

Before you make a mad dash for your spice rack, I want to let you know that there many different types of oregano. The oregano that we are talking about here is one of many varieties and is more of the wild variety (Oreganum Vulgare). It gives Echinacea a run for its money by being one of the more effective and potent immunity boosting herbs. Oregano oil is available in pill form or oil form. I would like to give your fair warning, though. When using the oil form, be sure to only apply a few drops to the juice or tea of your choice. A little goes a very long way!
There you have it, folks. You have been given yet another tool in your arsenal to help improve your health. So far you have some good resources for natural sleep supplements, how to spot the right ones, and the reasons why natural supplements are really important to your health. I don’t know about you, but if I was getting all of these insiders, I would be jumping for joy! Hmm, I think I may go for another nice walk soon. See you later!

Oct 15

An amazing trip!

Hello!  Sorry for the long delay in posting.  I have been very lucky and was away on an incredible three month trip through Europe.   We had such a brilliant time!

Naturally I took all my supplements with me in a great big bag.  I got a few quizzical looks from customs officials at various airports but I had made sure I had done my homework before I travelled and I had all the correct paperwork.  I guess they have to be careful what people carry around at airports.

Going through airports has become a lot easier than I remember from my last trip.  My travel wallet probably helped in this regard.  It just helps keep all your necessary travel documents, flight tickets and other necessities close by.  My sister told me to try one out, and I don’t think I will ever travel without one again; they really are a travel accessory you should consider.  It helps not having to scratch around in bag looking for specific documents.

Italy – what an amazing country

So back to my trip!  We spent a fair amount of time in France and Italy.  They both are so beautiful, with so much to see, impossible to accomplish in one trip.  I have to say that I liked Italy the most.  There are so many things to see and do including all the regular tourist attractions you find all throughout the country.   I loved Rome; you can just feel the history of the city. I made a couple of wishes at the Trevi fountain.   The Vatican tour was also well worth it; the Sistine chapel is so beautiful.  We spent a week in Venice as well, although I wish it was longer.  I really could live there, it is such a unique city.  I loved travelling up and down the canals in the gondolas.

The food in Italy is incredible!  The best thing about it is that everything is prepared from scratch; nothing is processed in any form which of course is great for a person’s health and right up my alley!

Before we left, I looked into the benefits of travel on your health.  There are a number of studies backing this up.  In fact, travel is known to increase learning, reduce stress, build relationships and reduce depression, almost as good as supplements!

A relaxing picnic

Probably my favourite memory from the trip was a little sunset picnic we had in Tuscany.   I organised some picnic rugs from our hotel and we went to the local park and picnicked near the fountain.  The sun setting, children playing and of course great food and a glass of wine… it was very relaxing!

It’s amazing how fast time goes when you are travelling; the three months just flew by.   We also spent some time in Spain, the UK and Ireland.  Our next trip will be to South America, although that will only be in a couple of years’ time.

Sep 24

Why Do We Need Supplements?

Good morning, everyone! Feeling super balanced, calm, and energized after the yoga session I just completed. One of my favorite things about yoga is the breathing component. There is so much power in breathing! It’s so easy for us to forget how precious and important each breath is. We tend to take it for granted until it’s threatened or harmed in some way. Deep breathing that is in sync with yoga poses really helps to align your body and clear your energy centers, which are also known as the chakra system. The other benefits of deep breathing include the release of toxins, reduced pain, a strengthened nervous system and a nice little internal massage for the organs. I could go on and on about the awesome benefits of yoga and breathing, but I must stay focused on our theme for the month, which is our lovely supplements!

Last week, we talked about how to tell the difference between natural and synthetic supplements, as well as the top five natural supplements the week before last. This week, I want to touch on a much simpler supplement topic that a lot of you have probably wanted to ask for some time now: “Why in the heck do we need supplements in the first place?” I’m glad that you’ve had this question bubbling in your brain. Let’s get to it!

Fertile Ground?

As we all know, farming and cropping practices of today’s standard aren’t the same as they were a couple of decades ago. The population has grown tremendously, along with booming industrial and technological advances as well, which results in a higher demand for more food and other resources. To keep up with the demand, conventional farmers will reuse the soil for their crops.

Over time, the foods that are grown lose their natural mineral abundance due to the mineral content in the soil being worn-out. So there is a pretty good chance that your body isn’t fully benefiting from all the robust nutrients that the minerals would originally provide. Nowadays, there is no real way to promise that foods are one-hundred percent pure and retain all of their benefits. However, there is hope. Making the effort to eat as organic as possible, as well as consuming natural and whole supplements, will have you ahead of the game in many ways! Kind of makes you wish that you could time warp back to the days of our ancestors when there wasn’t so much to worry about but dinosaurs, right?

Listen to Your Gut!

Let’s face it. We aren’t as in tune with our guts as we should be, both literally and figuratively. Because of the high demand of food and other resources over the past few decades, there has been a massive increase in the production of processed foods. What an ugly truth! These processed foods have the very real possibility of completely damaging your digestive system due to the indigestible things that it contains. Does that scare you? Well, it should! The body has a hard time recognizing and digesting the things that processed food contains and this makes it extremely hard on the body to properly function the way it should. It would make sense that this would happen because there is a good amount of common ingredients contained in processed foods that shouldn’t even be approved for human consumption! As a result of the constant intake of processed foods in today’s culture, the digestive system is not as powerful as it once was in many people.

Another factor that affects the digestive system is age. As a person gets older the body yields fewer enzymes than it once did which also slows down the process. These two big whammies put together really do not help the situation, so it is best to get into the practice of taking natural supplements that will prevent any serious digestive problems and diseases. For an idea on where to find great supplements for your gut, check out BioCeuticals. Remember, your digestive system functions as a second brain! It is important to keep it running in great condition.

Night Owls and Worrywarts and Hormonal Upheaval, Oh My!

Remember when we mentioned insomnia last week? It comes back to rear its head as one of the main reasons that we should take supplements. Because of all the technological advances, people are starting to stay up later and later in fear of missing something. Studies show that the lack of sleep can greatly affect your immune system, cause weight gain, bring on depression, and ultimately increase the mortality rate. Yikes! Likewise, stress can also do a number on your body as well. The dangerous thing about stress is that sometimes it goes undetected until you are experiencing random aches and pains all over. Thanks to processed and genetically modified foods, stress and insomnia combined, imbalances in hormones can also really throw things off. It is important to get the extra help your body needs with natural supplements that will counteract these things.

Congratulations! The greatest mystery that you were dying to find out has now been solved and revealed. Now that you have found out why you need supplements, you are better able to take charge of your health the way you always wanted to. You are creating a great example for your family to live and be inspired by. Give yourself a pat on the back. You deserve it!

Sep 04

The Top 5 Natural Sleep Supplements

I’m just getting in from a five mile run and I feel fabulous! Getting a chance to get away from technology for a little while and just soak in all the great nature around me as I strengthen my cardiovascular system and tone my muscles is beyond invigorating. To me, another benefit of running is the chance to see people interacting with their families, animals, or even doing yoga in the park. It’s something so authentic about observing people in their natural elements. Yes, even when I’m whizzing past them! You’d be amazed at all that your brain can take in while you are in constant motion. Ok, enough about my running adventures, let’s get back to the original reason I felt inspired to write this blog post for you guys. I know it’s in the middle of the day right now, but to be honest, I am really looking forward to a good night’s rest.

Aside from running, I really cherish getting all of my sleep in. As a society, we tend to take advantage of all the wonderful benefits of getting quality rest on a regular basis. As children, we are told to go to sleep a lot earlier than adults, but are always the first ones up at the crack of dawn with lots of energy, ready to start the day with super anticipation. As teenagers, we couldn’t stand to go to sleep earlier due to the fear of not being able to talk to our friends about the latest teen gossip, or not being able to talk to our crush all night long. As adults, we can become so wired that by the time we get home from working a full day and coming home to tend to kids, we find ourselves still on autopilot, which leads to watching our favorite late-night shows with a snack while drifting off to sleep. This only results waking up and feeling groggy, as if we never slept. Sound familiar? I’m pretty amped up to tell you all about some natural sleep supplements that are available to you. They have probably been right under your nose the whole time! Keep reading for some great information on natural ways to wind down at night.

Melatonin, anyone?

One of the top, most effective supplements to aid in sleep actually already resides in your body! Your pineal gland, virtually located in the middle of your brain is responsible for producing and regulating the right amount of melatonin needed. As we all know, imbalances can occur in our bodies due to stress, the wrong foods, and you guessed it, lack of sleep! Melatonin is available over-the-counter in pill form, but can be a little tricky to really know if it’s blending well with your natural melatonin. You have to be careful about what kind of supplements you get, as some contain synthetic components that may make you counterproductive in your efforts (Don’t worry; I will cover synthetic supplements in the next blog post). One of the best ways to get a melatonin boost is through food! Some of the rich sources include tomatoes, tart cherries, bananas, and even walnuts! So the next time you want to snack on a little something before going to bed, make sure it’s filled with natural melatonin.

Hop to it! Help from the Herbal World through Hops

There are so many herbs out there that can help treat and even cure almost anything! However, the most bizarre thing about this particular herb is that it’s present in beer! Now I am not here to advise you to drink beer in order get better sleep, but it would make sense that beer-drinkers tend to get really stress-free and mellow after consuming a good amount. But I want to introduce you to the very source of hops, minus the carbonated parts. Hops are available in many forms, from liquid extracts, dried extracts available in pill form, and the actual herb itself. Using dried hops as a tea infusion before going to bed is a great way to consume it, as you can add lavender, valerian and passionflower to really increase the natural potency of successfully drifting off into dreamland. Hops can be a little bitter, so it’s ok to add a small amount of raw honey. Before consumption, please be mindful if you are already on medicine or sedatives for insomnia! The benefit of hops not only encourages sleep, but also eases stress, calms the nervous system, and reduces inflammation. I think a great idea is to put some hops in mesh baggies for use in a nice bath and also to put on or under your pillow for a more direct affect.

5-HTP: Serotonin’s Launching Pad

(Warning: Tongue teaser alert!) 5-Hydroxytryptophan is yet another natural occurrence that is already found in your body. This chemical compound changes to serotonin, which is an important neurotransmitter that regulates our mood, appetite, and sleep. Taking a supplement that only contains 5-HTP is your best bet. However, it is advised to only take this for a limited time. Taking one tablet a day or 100 milligrams (if in powder form) would do the trick. 5-HTP that naturally occurs in foods include kiwis, pineapples, plantains (one of my favorites!), and even salmon. If you are able to get your hands on it, the African Griffonia bean contains the highest concentration of 5-HTP.

Minerals of Magnesium

Magnesium is one of the minerals that we as adults do not get enough of on a regular basis. This super mineral not only is essential to sleep, but also helps send calcium to the bones, aids in mental well-being and greatly helps the heart and blood vessels. Taking magnesium as a supplement requires 300-400 milligrams per day. Magnesium-rich foods include leafy greens, beans, nuts, seeds, and brown rice. I’ll also mention that dark chocolate is also a great source of magnesium as well. Who can resist dark chocolate? Just make sure it is of the organic variety!

Vitamin B… For Bond… James Bond

Last but certainly not least, another natural sleep supplement that deserves recognition is the vitamin B family. This is yet another essential nutrient series that most seem to be deficient in, especially with people who suffer from depression and insomnia. Vitamin B-6 also helps to create serotonin, while B-3 and B-12 promote deeper sleep, improved mental health and treating depression. Foods rich in vitamin B include fish, dairy, and green vegetables. If you are a practicing vegan, it is best to make sure the majority of your vitamin B is coming from vegetables, beans, grains, and actual supplement form if needed.

With these accessible sources for sleep aids, I wouldn’t be surprised if you suddenly want to rummage through all your drawers and bathroom medicine cabinets to rid yourself of conventional sleeping pills and other synthetic sleeping aids that have not worked for you thus far. I think it’s high time to give your body a chance to show what it’s truly capable of with just a little natural boost!

Aug 12

Home Health: How Your Environment Affects Your Health

Good morning, my lovely readers! I am just getting back from running some errands and doing a little shopping for new décor in a few of my rooms. Sometimes a gal just has to change it up some! I’ve noticed that when I switch up the layout of my room, along with changing the color and décor items, that it really does help to boost my mood even more! Also, when I keep my rooms clutter-free and open, it really helps me to mentally focus better and just overall rejuvenates my well-being.

You would be surprised at how your home can greatly affect your health as well. Think about it. When your space is cluttered or furniture is not conducive to the area it is in, it can cause frustration, distraction, anxiety, and many other unpleasant emotions. Believe it or not, the rooms you most frequent in your home can not only influence your well-being in a positive or negative way, but is also a physical representation of your mental state. If you are feeling scatter-brained and unkempt, your bedroom is going to reflect that. Your home health and physical health go hand in hand! After all, your home is your haven and the place where you spend the most time.

This week’s topic is going to be a little different than the previous weeks. Even though we have been talking about natural supplements and their amazing benefits that help us to achieve optimal health, I want to switch up the gears a bit. Although I advocate natural health supplements, I also encourage total wellness all across the board. This basically means that I try to advocate different components of health that all come together to impact your health. Today, I want to emphasize how important it is to have a healthy environment to compliment a healthy lifestyle. Your environment can either make or break you, so it’s important to make sure that it is helping to reinforce your efforts in the most beneficial way. Your environment is just as important as what you put in your body, so this week I want to share about the important of your home environment on your health.

It’s Electric! (Boogie-oogie-oogie-oogie!)

Nowadays, we have tons of access to cool technology and all the gadgets it produces. Televisions are a lot more advanced now, computers are becoming smaller and more powerful, and the latest cell phones are on the verge of being able to make a full breakfast with all of the things they are capable of! What some may not realize is that all of these things produce EMF’s, short for electromagnetic fields, which can potentially disrupt the feng shui of your home if there is too much circulating around. Today more than ever, those fields are bigger and stronger with the new development of technologies on a regular basis. Ever wonder how our ancestors were able to live and thrive without them? There is a reason why nature was their preferred entertainment of choice (with the exception of the fact that they hadn’t discovered technology yet..or so we know!). Because we also have our own electromagnetic field, you want to make sure that you reduce the ones in your home so that the energetic component of your body is not consistently bombarded.

What Kind of Air Are You Breathing?

Another important factor that affects our home health is the quality of air you breathe in. There are many contaminants that can potentially affect your air in a negative way. Do you have any pets? The dander from any pets you have can greatly affect the air in your home, not to mention that it can really aggravate your allergies if you aren’t taking precautions. However, do not get me wrong, I love animals!

Another culprit is mold and its partner-in-crime, dust. Most of the time, an individual may not even be aware that mold is accumulating in their homes and wreaking havoc in their system. So they don’t even realize that it is the source of their allergy flare-ups! This is because mold usually grows in dark and moist areas, which can include your ventilation systems if they’re not being tended to appropriately. Dust may be a little more visible, but can also stifle the air in your home as well. Have you dusted lately?

Décor Upheaval!

The last important factor that I want to share with you guys about your home health is how the layout, color, and design of the rooms of your house can affect your well-being as well. There have been many studies done that suggest that the design of a room can really affect the mood and energy levels of an individual. Let’s start with colors. Colors have the power to affect your mood and overall well-being. This is because those little universal guys are clever enough to carry certain energetic notes that are unique to each of them. For example, the color orange promotes feelings of warmth, uplifts in times of despair, and sparks creativity. To fully take advantage of using this color properly, it’s best to use it as accents in décor items like cushions. For some cool ideas for cushion styles, check out these cushions. The color purple is a calming color that calms the mind, balances emotions, and helps to keep us grounded. This color is a great addition to the bedroom!

How is your furniture arranged? What kind of décor have you used to compliment it? Your furniture should be arranged in a way that encourages an open and clear feeling, but you do not necessarily have to put everything against the wall. Regardless of the kind of atmosphere you are trying to convey with your décor, you want to make sure that it is being done in a way that is balanced and beneficial to your well-being. If you want a particular room to suggest your creative and intuitive side (maybe like an art studio), its best to add more floral designs, cushions, and wood accents. If you want to convey your strength and independence, using rounded shapes with marble accents will usually do the trick. Also, including wall décor that is brassy or stone would really help to complete the atmosphere you want. For some wall décor that may suit your fancy, check out these contemporary wall clocks.

Reducing the electromagnetic fields in your house, checking your air quality, and making sure your furniture and décor compliment you mentally and emotionally are among the many ways to make sure your environment is working for you and not against you. All of this talk about colors and designs has really inspired me to venture back out and find some more ideas on how to change up my home.Until next time!