Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Petro Chemicals - Our Food is Not Safe Either!

The burning question on my mind at this moment, "Were the scrambled eggs my son had in middle school yesterday cracked from whole eggs, or made from a processed powder colored with yellow food dye?" In a perfect world the eggs came from a farm in which chickens roam about to feed off the land, and lay eggs to be collected. I would be shocked, and thrilled beyond belief if that were the case.

I can only hope that the eggs came from the cartons at the stores...not real fresh, probably laid by chickens fed hormones through their processed feed, but at least the hot lunch providers made attempts at providing a wholesome food. My son, however, overheard workers in the kitchen laughing about the source of the eggs, aka powder mixed with water. I hope he heard wrong, but can the lunch program afford dozens upon dozens of real eggs to feed our kids? Ha, with budget cuts I can only assume shortcuts will have to taken with our hot lunch program as well. Last week I learned something new, that blew my socks off!
For a year now I have been well aware of the chemicals in our skin care, essentially petroleum derivitives seeping excess estrogen into our bodies everytime we apply the lotions, oils,  and creams to our skin. Lip gloss, lipstick, eye shadows... so yes, I know about petro chemicals in skin care and how excess estrogen can manifest itself into cancer. We took care of that, and switched to Swiss-formulated products in which use of such ingredients is banned.

I also became aware of growth hormones, which is estrogen, used to make our livestock grow faster, get to market and turn a profit. Feed with hormones is fed to more than beef, even chickens are unnaturally spurred towards getting full size for market. What do we do? We watch labels for hormone-free, BGH-free, etc. on our meats, eggs, dairy products.

Mostly because I wanted to lose weight, as a family we bought less and less processed foods and switch to whole foods...which really don't take any longer to prepare, although we do shop more often for freshness. I thought we were doing pretty good, until....

Friends of ours have a son with behavioral issues. That boy has no idea of the sacrifices his parents are making to learn more, take a natural approach, and avoid the drugs the doctors are pushing. They drive hours to a specialist, and subscribed to the "Feingold Newsletter" - a publication focused on the Feingold diet, which is a natural approach, avoiding chemicals, food colorings, dyes, etc. Last week my friend commented in bible study that they learned the food colorings and preservatives found in so many foods are derivitives of petroleum!! I was astounded. I knew processed foods contain MSG and chemicals to make us crave more food and make us fat, but I was not aware they were petro based, aka estrogen.

To say it plainly...too much estrogen in the body causes cancer.

Not only are our grocery stores laden with chemicals that tweak the brain and cause misbehaviors, but we could be contributing greatly to our cancer risk simply by consuming these products! Let me say, I am not afraid of dying. I look forward to the day I am reunited with my heavenly Father, but I have also seen what cancer does to families. I am making every effort not to put my family through it, and as a parent I never ever want to sit by my child's hospital bed while he/she gets chemo. (Not that we would take that approach either as I firmly believe the cure lies with natural approaches.)

Our family needs to have a serious discussion about food.  I have no extra time in my life to take on the school hot lunch program regarding chemcals in the foods being served. Realistically, the school lunch program cannot afford to shop at Willy Street Co-Op (although I do believe the store, which offers organic and locally grown foods is working with the school to incorporate more locally harvested foods into the lunch program). I do feel, as parents, we need to consider the return to cold lunches, even if it means getting a cute lunch box that our daughter picks out. I know she would eat PBJs (whole grain bread and organic peanut butter) every day and would not mind. Processed lunch meats are out...indeed, we will need to put on our thinking caps to come up with creative lunches. I bet I can find a blog on that subject!

All I know is that eggs made from yellow powder are not an acceptable food source. If you work for the school lunch program and know for certain that this is not the source, comment and leave me peace of mind. None the less...I am finding food colors, "natural flavorings" (petroleum is natural don't forget!), etc. in many products in our cupboards, that I thought I had already looked over pretty well. It is in the taco seasoning mixes, and even a seasoning I like from a home show based company - which is a shame as I liked it in my salad dressing. I have been invited to a Wild Tree party, but a friend said the taco seasoning and some others they bought were not good and they can't eat them. So hey - tell me what brands of seasonings you have found that are dye and chemical free and taste good too! We have been making meals from whole foods for some time now, but I do rely on my spice cupboard to make food exciting. I would love to read your tips!

To your health!
Rita S.

Monday, March 28, 2011

It's All About Who You Are Being

Be. Do. Have. Who you are being leads to the things you do, and what you eventually have… You have to change your way of being in order to make permanent changes in any area of your life.” - Dr. Jamie Fettig from the book The Creator’s Manual for Your Body.
Our bodies are quite the miraculous works! Only a divine Creator could conjure up a complete system that heals itself…in a perfect world. But we do not live in a perfect world, far from it. Yes, we can blame Adam and Eve, but perhaps in this modern day we need to also blame progress, convenience, and the desire to be some place else five minutes ago.
I guess you could call it progress when it was discovered that monosodium glutamate was discovered in Japanese POW rations in WWII, which made their rations much better tasting than that of our own GIs. A message was quickly sent off to some government organization that made sure all food manufacturers were informed they could sell more food if they added MSG to make it taste better, and they did. MSG has been making us unhealthy, and is linked to the huge increase in the number of ADD and ADHD diagnosis ever since. Studies show that MSG additives make one have a preference for high-carb foods. No wonder obesity is at an all time high - I would love to see Michelle Obama "take up arms" to ban MSG as it would do more good than getting kids off the couch.
Our diet foods, labeled “low fat” and “healthy” have chemicals in them to make you crave more food. How can you lose weight if your brain is being triggered to eat? Oh yes my friends, those of you eating processed yogurt touted by a certain actress in commercials, or a much loved Y brand, may have you fooled into thinking you are eating healthy. Even granola and "health food" bars, and energy drinks, are laden with high fructose corn syrup.
Perhaps worst of all is ESTROGEN. I have blogged about this before and encourage you to check out the “hormone” tag in the topic cloud at right. I became aware of estrogen added to our foods as growth hormones, and xenoestrogens being added to our bodies through lotions, body oils, facial creams (in the forms of mineral oil, petrolatum and other petroleum based additives), and more, exactly one year ago today. I began researching the word xenoestrogen, reading books and articles. Not only did I learn that estrogen (both bio-identical and xeno) in excess causes 80% of all breast cancers, but I also learned that estrogen STORES FAT! To top it off, I just learned last week that food dyes found in many, many grocery products are petroleum based. What are we? Humans or car?!
Wow! The more I learn the more peace I find in changes I have made. The skin care products with petroleum based additives were thrown out a year ago. We began grocery shopping around the OUTSIDE of the grocery store vs. center aisles, and reduced the number of products entering our home that come in boxes, cans and cartons of one type or another. I began using Prolief bio-identical progesterone (which is the happy hormone that BURNS fat cells) cream to help bring my body back into balance. In a nutshell, I changed my way of being in order to make a permanent change in my life.
Now I can breathe easy, even when I bend over to tie my shoes. My knees don’t ache. People ask, “do you have lots more energy”, and I have to say that I have always been a high energy person. As long as there are tasks to be done I just keep on ticking. But I will also say that it is a different type of energy – it is a HAPPY ENERGY!! I have never felt so good in my entire life. It is different from my mid-20s when I worked out six days a week. I did that because I had to to get into and stay in shape.
I eat a hormonally balanced diet, and as my husband and I budget we are surprised to see how much less we spend when processed foods are not purchased, and we make meals "from scratch", which does not mean difficult and fancy. When I can I walk, and will bike as the weather warms – because I LOVE to do those activities. I take supplements because I cannot consume the 5000 calories a day that would be necessary for me to get all my vitamins and minerals…unless I want to push 300 on the scale again, and I am not going there EVER again!
I knew I had to BEcome healthy if I wanted to be around for my family, without being a burden, years from now.
I had to DO whatever it took to get there, and quite honestly, once I made up my mind it was not that hard. I only had to vision where my life would end up if I did NOT make a change.
Now I HAVE health and feel more blessed than I ever have in my entire life. I am blessed to have discovered Arbonne and thank my friend Brenda for introducing me not only to the opportunity, but to the great products that helped change my life.
Be. Do. Have. I know you can do it. God made a body designed to be a magnificent creation as long as we fuel it with the foods He intended for us, and not the foods the food industry would like us to consume. Learn to read labels. Be. Do. Have.

To your health!
Rita S.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Probiotics Can Reverse GI Issues

Recently I searched for information on Irritable Bowel Syndrome for a friend, in my archive of Dr. Russel Blaylock health newsletters. I have read up on digestion quite a bit for another close friend who may have GERD, but in searching for IBS I learned even more, and feel sharing the information may benefit others.
Per Blaylock: "Good bacteria protects lining of intestine to metabolize numberous chemicals going through the colon. A lack of good bacteria is a major cause of gastrointestinal disease, such as Crohn's, ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrom."
Blaylock lists Lactobacillus (Digestion Plus has 150 billion CFU/g) and Bifidobacterium (D+ has 50 billion) probiotics that have turned IBS around for patients. AB Digestion + includes prebiotics in addition to the robust probiotics. This is what allows the good bacteria to make it into the colon/intestine and survive the tranport through stomach acid - many OTC probiotics never make it to the intended destination as the prebiotics are not present to help probiotics remain alive.

Typically live probiotics should be refrigerated and have a short shelf life. Probiotic cultures in yogurt, for example, have to be consumed within a few weeks/months of being processed. Digestion + probiotics go through a specialized stabilization process that renders them dormant and increases resistance to temperature variations. Once the products are ingested they are activated and begin to colonize in the intestines.  Resistence to temperature and the fact that they are a more robust strain make Digestion + probiotics a most excellent option. The little pouches it is packaged in makes it very convenient - I keep a box at work and add one to my protein shake many mornings.
For my friend I learned that IBS can lead to more serious things down the line, per Blaylock, so it would be good to resolve the issue. If you have ever had antibiotics to take care of something in the past, it might be the culprit for IBS as anti-biotics kill off good bacteria.
Other tips from Blaylock in living with Crohn's Disease, IBS, etc. are to:
AVOID MSG, soy products, and carrageenan as they are powerful stimulants for the bowel muscle, inflate inflammation and cause colon spasms.

Also, AVOID ibuprofen, aspirin and acetamenophen as much as possible.

Ibuprofen and aspirin can produce tiny microscopic holes in your intestinal lining - causing leaky gut syndrome in which tiny food particles escape into the bloodstream. Acetamenophen harms the liver and has actually poisoned it (when taken according to directions), and has been cause for a number of liver transplants annually.
Probiotics are more and more making headline news today. Finding OTC probiotics is easy, finding them offered with prebiotics is likely more difficult. I take mine first thing in the morning and it really helps my stomach stay at its best all day.

Taurine - Today's "Focus" Ingredient

Taurine. It is found in my fizzy tabs. What in the world is that?!
When I googled Taurine, and ingredient in Fizz tabs, I had no idea what this ingredient was, other than it helps one focus and give clarity to mind. Interestingly enough, I found many links citing taurine as a benefit for this or that. Some of the lists leads read:
From the Mayo Clinic site: Taurine is an amino acid. Some research suggests that taurine may improve athletic performance. states: Taurine is a substance that supports cardiovascular health. It is an additive in dog and cat food.
A January 2011 post at writes this about taurine: Taurine is an amino sulfonic acid that is found in high levels in the skeletal and heart muscles of humans, as well as in white blood cells, and the central nervous system. It is also found in some plants, such as seaweed, fungi and bacteria. Taurine is a main ingredient in bile and aids in the digestion of fats and the absorption of vitamins that are fat soluble. It is a necessary acid that our body produces naturally. While we know for sure that taurine aids in the breakdown of fats and absorption of vitamins, there are many other claims that have been made concerning its usefulness in the human body. In infants and some animals, specifically cats, taurine is a requirement for eye health and development. Premature infants who cannot naturally produce taurine must have formula with taurine added to ensure proper development. Taurine has many known benefits, although some have not been definitively proven. It may reduce high blood pressure in adults and is being tested as a potential treatment for bipolar depression. Studies on mice have shown that taking taurine supplements while on a high fat diet kept them from gaining weight. In other studies, diabetic rats saw improvement in losing weight, and lower blood sugar levels.
Taurine is possibly best known as a health supplement, and is used in a variety of products. Bodybuilders take supplements of taurine coupled with creatine which may help in reducing muscle fatigue and soreness. Energy drinks, which are becoming hugely popular, especially among the teen and young adult set, often list taurine as one of its main supplemental ingredients.
University of London researchers claim that taurine may counteract the effects of heavy drinking on the liver because it prevents fat from building up in the organ. Although this is not the intended or most responsible use of taurine, news of this have led many to believe that drinking an energy drink with high levels of taurine may be the perfect “morning after” treatment after a night of heavy drinking.

A site called BodyBuildingForYou has a very interesting article on taurine, but the site does not allow me to cut and paste. It is an interesting read, however, so check it out.  Per the article, studies of taurine may have benefits to cardiovascular health by reducing the tendency for blood platelets to stick together, forming blood clots, which can lead to heart attack or stroke. Cystic fibrosis is also discussed in the article with perhaps beneficial ties from consuming taurine.
One of my favorite neurosurgeons, Dr.Russel Blaylock himself, mentions taurine in a number of his newsletters. Here are some excerpts:
Dec.-Jan 2005 issue: While heredity plays a vital role in our ability to detoxify, it is now known that the most important factor is nutrition. Many flavonoids found in fruits and vegetables greatly enhance our detoxification ability. These include curcumin (from the spice turmeric), quercetin, hesperidin and luteolin. In addition, special plant substances, such as indole-3 carbinol (broccoli), glutathione and taurine stimulate detoxification.Regarding heart health in his October 2004 issue Blaylock writes: Taurine has been known for a long time to reduce atherosclerosis. More recent studies indicate that it does so by reducing total cholesterol, reducing LDL-cholesterol entry into the walls of blood vessels and reducing lipid peroxidation (the oxidation of fats in the walls of blood vessels). In addition, taurine prevents thrombosis, the blood clots that actually cause heart attacks and strokes. No adverse effects have been seen in taking taurine. It also has been shown to protect the brain.
In the November 2005 issue of the Blaylock health report, he writes this concerning the liver: several powerful nutrients have been shown to help protect liver cells from damage inflicted by toxins and toxic medications. Grapefruit, quercetin and curcumin all reduce the toxicity of acetaminophen as well as a number of other toxins. N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) and methionine are also both effective in treating acetaminophen poisoning. Dramatic improvements in patients with viral hepatitis have been seen when alpha-lipoic acid, silymarin (milk-thistle extract), NAC and selenium were used. Taurine, indole-3 carbinol, the carotenoids, acetyl-L carnitine and natural forms of vitamin E are also powerful nutrients that can help protect the liver.
Taurine. Who knew that one word, unbeknownst to me several months ago, could have so much written about it. Supplements and their ingredients… it’s a bevy of knowledge just waiting to be consumed.

To your health!
Rita S.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Caffeine In Our Drugs, or Go Natural?

Today I learned that many of our prescription drugs contain caffeine, such as Ritalin and Foculan, to help the mind focus. It is even more interesting to consider that guarana, found in fizzy tabs, is a slow release caffeine that I had blogged about a short while ago. I know that a fizzy tab drink definitely helps me out come mid-afternoon, after a late night blogging, such as this one.
One mom, Dr. Molly Geil (psychologist), found that along with Omega-3s, the combination of B vitamins and caffeine in Fizz Tab drinks help her son, diagnosed with ADD, to focus. Molly also feels that Daily Essentials offer supplements that benefit every family member.
Diet is always a key factor in any illness. In fact, The Metabolic Typing Diet, a book I started reading today, greatly suggests that just about every ailment (which is NOT including broken bones, etc.) begins on the inside with nutrients and how your body metabolizes food. Regarding behavioral issues such as ADHD and ADD, Dr. Russell Blaylock cited in a recent newsletter that ALL processed foods should be eliminated from the diet. Many contain MSG which is a known "excitotoxin". Sugars, soy, soda, perhaps even gluten - every body reacts differently to these common food allergens and should be eliminated, and subsequently watch for behavioral changes as a food substance is added back in.
I had already learned that Fizzy tabs containe taurine for mental clarity and focus. I had not ever really heard of taurine before recently, and found there is a lot out there in cyberspace about it. That post will be coming up tomorrow so stay tuned!

To your health,
Rita S.

Quality Multi-Vitamins - Are You Worth It?

A client commented today about Daily Essentials women's vitamins: "For me, I’ve always wondered why I had digestive issues, since I eat a lot of fruits and veggies, and drink water throughout the day… but this has absolutely changed since starting the vitamins, within a week… I’m not sure what it is, but has to be it.  I have done nothing else to my diet or routine.  Honestly, I feel better, too, but that seems to make sense.  Everything’s connected, somehow, in our bodies.  I am a believer in these vitamins.  They may be pricey, but I have seen very real results, and very quickly."
Indeed, results are a powerful testimony. My husband and I both began using Arbonne's Daily Essentials Power Packs in February.  I was eager to see if my husband noticed a difference, in particular, with prostrate health as I have already heard a number of testimonies shared by men in regards to improved plumbing.
However, apparently my hubby's plumbing is fine - what he HAS noticed are changes I had not really expected.
The first thing he commented on was improved breathing. He no longer has difficulty breathing, and guess what the results of that are? LESS SNORING!!!  He is sleeping better because I am no longer tapping him multiple times a night and asking him to turn onto his side. Praise the Lord for this result - totally unexpected, but oh what a blessing!
Another comment he made was that his typing speed has improved greatly. He feels he has more clarity of mind, his brain is functioning better. Well, that is pretty cool, too!
Jesse and I both recently finished the "Jumpstart - 28 Days to Healthy Living" program, which is not so much a diet as it is a lifestyle change. For those 28 days we eliminated dairy, gluten, soy, caffeine and wheat products. He began the vitamins about the same time. At the end of the 28 days he had his blood drawn for a cholesterol check, and praise be to God - the "bad cholesterol" levels dropped in half and he is off statin drugs! This was at the top of my 2011 goals - to help coach my husband into getting off those drugs which can cause Alzheimer's later in life, amongst other bad side effects. When we are empty nesters I want him to know who I am! I am absolutely thrilled at this result, as is he.
Now that "28 days" is over - I think he has added back in just about every allergen food we cut from our diet - within a few days. So much for the recommended one by one reintroduction to see if he has any adverse effects. Oh well...he does intend to maintain his new lower cholesterol levels and has no intention of returning to his former meal routine. He will still have an Essentials protein shake a couple of mornings a week and salads for lunch a couple of times as well.
As a family I can attest to a built up immunity for all.  Our 8 yr old daughter took ill with the dreaded influenza last week - the high fever/cough one that has been going around. It has taken some people down for 2-4 weeks - it's a nasty virus!!  I guess we need to count our blessings that our daughter was down with the fever for only 2.5 days, and the cough lingered for about five total. She is not one to eat her daily "kids'chew" vitamin without cajoling - but I believe she may now be convinced at how beneficial they are.
Our son, on the other hand, who is a teenager, sets his chew out every evening when he gets things ready for his breakfast in the morning. He is a creature of good habits. When my daughter became sick I instructed everyone in the house to take a 3 oz shot of the Anti-Oxidant and Immunity Booster, which we all did for 3 days. (Ok, I know I did as did our son...not sure what my hubby did - he is a grown man afterall and can do what he wants...)  Suffice it to say - no one else in the house became sick.
I am surrounded by sick people lately. When I volunteered at school recently I had kids coughing right into my face (hmmm, ever heard of covering your mouth?), my boss gets sick a lot (that's what he gets for drinking Red Bulls and eating poorly)...but, PTL, I have not gotten sick.
Our family has made a lifestyle change in the direction of eating better. The only one who really does not is our picky 8 yr. old who despises broccoli and spinach, barley (seriously, there is no taste to barley so I don't get that), etc.  We are taking our multi-vitamins, and I feel we are all healthier than we have been in years.
I am reading from a new book called "The Metabolic Typing Diet". I have not gotten too far into it yet, but for anyone with an auto-immune diesease - I can already recommend this title. The quote is from page 57 and reads, "True good health is not a condition that is merely free of adverse symptoms. It's a state of dynamic well-being, one that is reminiscent of childhood exhuberance and joy. When your body is functioning the way it is desired to function, you should be experiencing boundless energy at all times, a keen awareness of your surroundings, a very strong and positive emotional state, and a natural love and zest for life."
When I read that I realized, "hey, that's me!!"  In a few days I will be 48 years old. I used to look ahead to a birthday with unpleasant thoughts - aka "another year older another 10 or 20 lbs." But not anymore!!  I am embracing my age because I truly feel 20 years younger. You can turn back time when it comes to aging. I never thought I would be that person, but I am living proof.
When people say, "quality multi-vitamins are so expensive!", I admit, they are! They cost much more than the cheap "natural" vitamins we were getting from Shopko or Walgreens. We have no six figure income. My family rarely goes to the theatre for a movie, we do not have exorbitant cell phone costs, Kindle this, i-phone that...  We have cut back on eating out, because frankly - we have no control over ingredients when we eat out. We no longer buy processed foods - and you may be surprised how quickly those convenience foods add up! Our budget is focused towards healthy living - fresh produce, quality, lean meats, bulk organic grains...and vitamins with an ORAC value of 8000. What this means for us is our bodies are actually absorbing that which we spend our money on, versus flushing it away as wasted dollars.
We feel great, and there is nothing I want more for my family than for all of us to feel and be healthy. Gadgets cost money. Entertainment costs money. So do quality supplements...but the result of the latter is not a fleeting couple of hours of enjoyment, but a body that functions as it is designed to, and we have zest for life. Now that, my friends, is priceless!

To your health!
Rita S.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Vitality Is Restored

God put a word on my heart today...vitality. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over.”
Today was the last day of our Jumpstart - 28 Days to Healthy Living program. Now granted, I did not work the recommended burstacizing into my last 28 days...I worked my day job, grew my Arbonne business and worked on taxes...all pretty sedate activity. I pray that spring temperatures will bring movement into my life. Nonetheless, the toal weight lost during Jumpstart was 16 pounds. Which brings my total since September of 2010 to 78 lbs. I stopped in the post office today to mail out "Feeling Fit" sample packages, and the gal who always works the counter asked, "Something is very different about you, but I can't figure it out, what is it?" I visit the P.O. at least once a month, but it has been winter and a heavy coat covers me up, and it was only recently that I finally splurged on clothes that fit, four sizes smaller. Now that my clothes are not hanging, people are really beginning to take notice, and I admit, I love it!
People have asked, "will you keep the weight off?" My answer, "most definitely, or I will eat my words!" (LOL) This has not been a 6 month diet, but a process of making a lifestyle change. My family is converting to eat more like I want to eat. The kids no longer complain about whole grain bread, as long as we shopped and experiemented to find one they really liked. I wll not go back to pounding down the white carbs...I know what they do inside my body, and have no desire to revisit that point in my life. I have always been an extremely energetic person, so when people ask, "do you have all sorts of energy now?" My honest reply would have to be "I don't think so." However, my joints no longer ache - a.k.a. no more creaking knees! I can bend down, crawl around, and walk a hill that used to take my breath away and cause my gimpy foot to act up. Not any longer.
Do you want lose weight and restore your vitality, but you don't feel you could drink your breakfast? That is fine - all you need to do is find what works for you and your lifestyle and stick with it. I don't have time to cook eggs, etc. in the morning - and the AB Essentials shake provies my easy button, whch prevents me from stopping for a large coffee and donut on the way to work. Because my shake is soy and whey free, and offers so many benefits, it will continue to be my "breakfast of vitality". :-)
Losing weight is a choice, a choice in choosing foods. Here are my tips:
First and foremost - stop eating processed foods loaded with chemical additives, such as monsodium glutamate, that actually make us gain weight. Check out my sidebar on the right for the link that lists other names for MSG. Processed foods such as "cream of" soups, boxed dinners, salad dressings, soy sauce... the list is long!
Diet sodas have chemicals that actually make you more hungry - personally, I think the soda inudstry is a top cause for American obesity - actually, I probably read that. Do NOT drink them -find a natural substitute.
Thirdly - cut the white carbs! This includes bagels, white, and often wheat bread, muffins, donuts, pasta - I reduced simple carbs, which your body processes as table sugar, 90%. (A cinnamon roll is allowed on Sunday ONLY if I was good all week.)
Fourth - drink lots of water. Carry a water bottle at all times, and actually tip it up to your lips once in a while.
Fifth - reduce stress. Invite me to teach a class on hormone balance and what that does inside. The Creator has made us so intricately that I have really come to appreciate more and more the awesomeness of His creation...which is us.
You do not have to continue as you are if you are determined to turn things around. Regaining vitality requires mental determination...when temptations beckon picture the devil, red horns and all, trying to tempt you - Satan would love nothing more than to weaken the body, the earthly temple of the Holy Spirit. Create mental pictures and call on them. Go find a new spring outfit you would love to wear, and try it on in a size smaller than what are now wearing. Do NOT buy what fits...tell yourself you cannot get this most desired article of clothing until you lose weight and fit into the next smaller size. Clothing is a great motivator! (LOL)

Below are definitions for vitality, and as I read them it is a perfect word for this time in my life.
1. Exuberant physical strength or mental vigor: a person of great vitality. Now, physical strength is NOT my strength, but God has blessed me with an enormous amount of energy and mental vigor. For me to able to absorb and remember so much of what I have read these past 6 months from the books and doctor's newsletters, I can only credit this to divine intervention.
2. Capacity for survival or for the continuation of a meaningful or purposeful existence. Purposeful existence...this past weekend I attended a Beth Moore "Loving Well" seminar, and during thought and reflection, it is quite clear to me that my new business has come into my life so I can help others who are struggling where I have been. I am just an ordinary mom, with a pretty ordinary life - and God has given me the tools to do something extraordinary in this season of my life, to which my doctor says I have turned back the clock 20 years.
3. Power to live or grow. I love that one. I like to say I don't just DO Arbonne, I live it. I have restored hormone balance through using products without mineral oil and other xenoestrogen tagged chemicals, I incorporate a little bit of bio-identical progesterone in my routine to ensure balance, and the nutrition and fit products have restored vitality to my body. 
The origin of the word vitality is Latin  - vītālitās. Anyone besides me see the root word for vitamins in that word? I had one issue that I have noticed has taken care of itself in the past 10 days. I began the Daily Essentials Power Pack vitamins at the start of the 28 day program. In that time I had read than an iodine deficiency is a common causeo of the issue I had had, and the addition of iodine into my daily diet has probably been a contributor to dissolved symptom.
The medical dictionary describes vitality as "the capcity to live, grow or develop."
I really love this. Don't we all want to live, grow and develop each day? God does not call us to sit around and do nothing to exercise or grow our mind, or let our body go to waste. He has given us the capacity to restore vitality if it has been lost. Perhaps your eating choices are fueled by unhappiness or stress. Say hello to God, maybe it has been a while, and ask Him to come in to your life and be a part of your "temple restoration project". Nothing is impossible. Jesus died on the cross for me and I felt I owed it to Him to take care of the body in which the Spirit dwells. Now, to Jesus, he does not care what shape my body is in. He loves me no matter what - unconditionally. But we are called to be stewards of what God has given, including our bodies, and restoring "my temple" was an answer to a call for obedience.
There is only ONE of you. Do you embrace every day with vigor and excitement, or is vitality missing in your life? I encourage you to meditate on what prevents you from having vitality in your life. I am living proof that vitality can be restored. You have to come to the point where you say, "enough is enough! not another pound!" Don't make the excuses that you cannot give up your carbs, or you can't give up soda, or a myriad of other food choices that are dragging you down. If you sincerely, with all your heart, want to restore your body it is totally possible - asking God for the wisdom to make healthy choices, thanking Jesus for his sacrifice every time you sacrifice and pass by that chocolate chip cookie, and asking the Holy Spirit to be present in fighting the tempation Satan puts before you. Who knew that losing weight is not only a physical battle, but a spiritual one as well?
May your vitality be restored so that you may fulfill your holy purpose in this life.

-Rita S.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Two Minerals Crucial for Blood Sugar Levels

Biotin and chromium...not very well known as far as vitamins and minerals go. But oh, so VERY important. I learned this today as I came across yet another blog called Total Health Breakthroughs. The site is jam packed with articles on weight loss, nutrition - you name it, and yes, it will be permanently added to my sidebar.
The two minerals mentioned above are actually necessary for managing blood sugar levels. More important than exercising, according to THB, ensuring that your body is not deficient of vitamins and minerals is key for weight management, however, the majority of Americans are deficient in many vitamins and minerals. This is due in large part to soda consumption, and processed foods. Neither of which are on the food chain, but contribute greatly to the epidemic of obesity. If you sincerely want to lose weight, or your health demands it for survival, cut soda and processed foods, food dyes from your diet and see the pounds come off. Cut white/simple carbs and processed sugars and watch the weight melt off! (Even without exercise!)
Back to today's minerals - biotin and chromium - both are vital for controlling blood sugar and are crucial for the diabetic. Biotin is a B complex vitamin and helps your body use insulin; chromium, on the other hand, enhances the action of insulin. Together, they are your first line of defense in keeping blood sugar levels steady. The pair regulates the metabolism of fat and carbs in the diet, making sure you use up blood glucose at the cellular level, rather than storing them as fat.
The two minerals are obviously quite important, but most of us are quite lacking. Fortunately, AB Daily Essentials supplements provides all that one needs of these two minerals in a daily power pack. I love learning and discovering more and more about the products I am blessed to offer, especially when it the information comes from a source outside the company. It simply affirms what I already know - AB Essentials are pure, safe and BENEFICIAL!
To learn more about these two minerals and additional benefits for diabetics and everyone - check out thsi article on the TBH web-site.

To your health!
Rita S.

Monday, March 7, 2011

What Vitamins to Take, and How to Take Them

I love to find endorsements for the products I love from those in the medical profession. It affirms my belief that what I have to offer as a consultant is truly beneficial. Today I was sent a link to a blog, whose link I shall add to my sidebar. The author of this blog researches various health and nutrition products available in the market and highlights those that apparently impress him. AB Essential Daily Power Packs for men and women met with his approval. He writes a very informative and compelling article about choosing multi vitamins, and emphasizes that they are not all the same.
In this article I learned about the importance of Iodine in our diets. If you do not have time to read the entire blog post, PLEASE watch the video. I learned so much - and suspect I may actually have an iodine deficiency myself concerning one of the symptoms he mentions. However, I have noted that there has been improvement in the two weeks that I have been taking Daily Essentials myself. Please check out this important post about choosing a quality multi-vitamin.
What Vitamins to Take, and How to Take Them

One thing I learned, that I want to point out, especially to my clients reading this blog, is that you should take the YELLOW tablet in your vitamin pack separately from the rest - first thing in the morning. The remaining four should be taken with lunch or dinner. I have simply been popping all of mine in during dinner time.

Since I want you to take the time to read the Energie Fitness blog, I will make this short. Do peruse the other articles this site has to offer.

Today I began researching recipes to make homemade dressings and mayo. It is our hope (my husband is on the health and fitness bandwagon and now and eager to cook and try new recipes that are good for us) to provide these recipes to you soon. Our daughter is a ranch dressing fan, and I discovered Hidden Valley - our usual brand, has, sadly - MSG in it. I began looking and it is difficult to find bottled, store-bought dressing without. Whole Foods, however, offers success when looking for MSG dressing. I plan to make homemade Ranch dressing, of which Mayonaise is part of the recipe - so first we must make mayo. I also plan to create a French dressing as one of my client's mentioned that she loves French. As long as we put chemicals such as MSG into our bodies, it will be hard to shed the pounds. Although my family are not French dressing people, it will be made and I will have my friend test it. To make French dressing what do I need to do first, but make homemade ketchup. (LOL) I have reviewed recipes, substituted healthy ingredients that I hope will work, and will let you all know how it goes.

This day marked my third Monday in doing the Jumpstart - 28 days to healthy living program. I lost 5 lbs. this past week - woo hoo! My total weight loss now adds up to 74 lbs. lost and I am not yet finished. In one more week I am going to try on that next size smaller pair of jeans, which would be the size I wore before I became pregnant with our son 13 yrs. ago. I don't expect to reach that ultimate goal until May - but we shall see how far along Jumpstart has pushed me towards that goal.

To your health,
Rita S.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fish -It's What's For Dinner

It's the beginning of Lent for may mainstream churches, and what does that mean? Fish and seafood sales!!
I went to the local grocery and picked up several fish specials, including wild caught haddock, cod, and I considered the salmon until I saw it in person. It did not look very pink, and I was not sure how it was raised. Much Atlantic salmon are raised in cages submerged into the ocean, where they are often pumped with anti-biotics and fed pellets (aka processed food).
When purchasing cod I noted two different brands available. One included an ingredient of poly....something or other, where as brand two from China, listed only frozen cod. I chose the product without the mysterious ingredient.

To make preparing dinner after work more efficient I cooked the basamati brown rice in the microwave prior to work, in my rick cooker. With a busy evening schedule for our family, it helps to take any shortcuts possible. Fish itself, takes very little time to cook.

Lemon Baked Haddock
Haddock filets, thawed
1-2 lemons at room temperature
Seasonings to taste

Place fish in baking dish brushed with olive oil, or use a wire grid grill basket - brushed with oil. Invert the basket onto bar pan or cookie sheet. Roll lemon to loosen juices and cut in half. Squeeze juice from 1/2 lemon into small prep bowl and stir in 1-2 T. extra virgin olive oil, depending on amount of fish. Brush on to fish and set filets on pan. If you prefer fish more crisp use the baking dish with basket. Sprinkle with seasonings as preferred. Since my family has different tastes, I sprinkled dill weed on one filet, lemon pepper on others, and sun dried tomato seasoning (sold by Pampered Chef) on another. Slice lemon and place slices on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until fish flakes.

Basamati with Carmelized Onions
1 c. basamati rice
2 cups water
1/2 c. organic chicken broth/stock
1 medium onion, chopped
Cook basamati rice per package directions. On stovetop, carmelize chopped onion in extra virgin olive oil. Stir into rice.

To round out this healthy meal serve with steamed green beans, lightly drizzled with EVOO and seasoned with black pepper, and fresh strawberries (washed well) as dessert.

Take advantage of the Lenten season and stock up on heart healthy fish for dinner. Be aware of sources - remain cautious of farm raised unless organic, Pacific salmon tends to be a safer bet than Atlantic, per ultra marathon-runner Ken Karnazes. Try to incorporate fish into your diet as often as possible. It is so easy to make and tastes delicious.

To your heatlh!
Rita S.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Gut Bacteria the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Each of us have 50,000 miles of bacteria inside our bodies. It’s been estimated that if you lined these bacteria up, they would stretch twice around the equator.  Where does this bacteria live? Inside our gut.
Prescription drugs, dietary toxins, pollution and unhealthy eating habits “kill off” the GOOD bacteria your colon needs for healthy, trouble-free digestion.

Let me interject that today's post is not written by myself, but by one of the doctor's who send me a newsmax blast. I find the information very interesting, and it is timely in that a new Digestion Plus supplement was just released. I have friends suffering from GI tract issues - it is my hope they can be helped wtih this new product.
The BAD bacteria multiply like wildfire and your digestion slows to a crawl.
Undigested food just sits there and triggers constipation, gas, bloating, and other digestive problems. Yuck!
If you could look inside yourself, you’d see bacteria “buzzing” around on the walls of your intestine. It would be like viewing the stands of a World Series game where every seat was full.
Now you might believe that all “bacteria” are bad. After all, that’s why we have antibiotics, right? Well...not exactly. Yes, there are many dangerous, and even deadly types of bacteria. But there’s another kind of bacteria...the friendly kind.
If you don’t have enough “good” bacteria in your intestine, your food is devoured by “bad” gas-producing bacteria. These bad guys are notorious for giving off carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and the ever-so-smelly methane gas. When the gas gets trapped, you get that full, bloated feeling you wish would go away. Even worse, the gas can build up until you feel as if you’re being stabbed.
The good bacteria are classified as probiotic, which are absolutely essential for your health and survival. These remarkable probiotic, longevity boosters were first discovered in 1907 by a Russian scientist studying an isolated group of mountain peasants who regularly lived over a hundred years. Even more remarkable, these centenarians lived astoundingly active lives and were almost disease-free until the day they died. And it turned out that their daily diet was simply overflowing with these friendly bacteria.
Probiotics help digest the food you eat. They help break down dairy products for easier digestion. They help prevent constipation. They help fight viruses and keep you vibrantly healthy.
They help your body absorb more of the nutrients you eat. They may help you stay healthy—even if everyone around you is sick. Did you know that 70% of your immune system resides in your digestive system? It’s true. And now we know that those friendly bacteria or “good guys,” play an absolutely indispensable role in supporting your immune system. Research has shown that the bacteria lining your intestine actually help form a barrier that helps stop dangerous intruders from passing through the walls of your intestine and entering your body.
A wise doctor once said that “Great health begins in the colon,” and he sure was right...if you have enough of those “good guys!” Sounds simple enough, right?
Most people don’t have nearly enough of the good guys in your body. How did this happen? There are a dozen reasons, but here are the main culprits: Poor diet. Stress. Hidden toxins in your food and water. And especially the overuse of antibiotics which kill “friendly” bacteria, too.
All of these factors “kill off” your good guys by the billions and they absolutely must be replaced. Your body does not manufacture these friendly bacteria, they have to come from outside.  That is why millions of Americans take probiotics.

Did you learn anything new about bacteria in your gut from the above article? From another doctor's email this week I learned that in order for probiotics to do their work they need to get through the stomach acid first. Not just any strain can do this - it must be a robust strain of probiotic. Also, few probiotic supplements also include prebiotics. Why does this matter? It matters because prebiotics are non-digestible foods that make their way through our digestive system and help good bacteria grow and flourish. Prebiotics keep beneficial bacteria healthy. Without prebiotics the probiotics would not be able to do their job. Keep this in mind when choosing probiotic supplements for your nutrition program.

To your heatlh!
Rita S.

Hormone Balance Is Key to Successful Weight Loss

Most babies enter into this world in a perfect state of balance and harmony within. How God has created the human body and all its intracacies is beyond amazing - every mitochondria, DNA, chromosome - all working together to provide optimum bodily function. However, once we are born our bodies are exposed to an imperfect world. One of great consumerism and one in which new parents are saturated with a plethora of products in which to slather onto their babies skin. We are encouraged to use Johnson's baby oil and Vaseline petroleum jelly - both highly concentrated in petroleum based chemicals, aka Mineral Oil...and thus the body starts to absorb xenoestrogens and hormone imbalance begins.
Some babies do not even make it out of the womb in balance, depending upon what their mothers ate, breathed and applied to their skin. Progesterone is a vital hormone in the development of a baby. Consider that a woman in her prime produces 20-40 mg. of progesterone a day, but during pregnancy her body increases hormone production to 3000 a day!!! Progesterone is what helps the baby's brain to develop, keeps the baby intact in the womb and prevents miscarriages, just to name a few reasons why it is so important to have hormone balance during pregnancy.
Today the average age of menses in a young girl is 10.5 yrs. old.  Sixty years ago it was age 14 - before the age of introducing mineral oil as a cheap filler into American cosmetics and hygiene products, in the 1950s. Before they even become teenagers young girls are using lip gloss, eye shadows and lotions laden with artificial fragrances, which are again - xeno estrogens. A recap, or perhaps new for new blog readers - a xenoestrogen is a faux estrogen inside your body. Our bodies contain bio-idential hormones, that which are natural to our bodily make-up - including estrogen (3 types), progesterone, testoserone, and cortisol to name a few. Chemicals we breathe (paint, salon fumes), lotions and fragrances we apply to skin, and foods we consume grown with hormones - all contribute to a foreign hormone in our body, coined as "xenoestrogen" by Dr. John Lee. Per Dr. Lee, in the United States 95% of all women are estrogen dominant and low on progesterone - due primarily to the environment in which we live. As consumers we are barraged with ads on beauty and youth, and sometimes we believe if a product has a foreign name and costs a lot it is safe. But this is not always the case. Recently I checked out a French brand used by a friend, and since it costs more than the Swiss-formulated brand that I use she figured it was free of mineral oil. I assumed it would have been as well, but did some checking and found out it was not.  So what does this have to do with weight loss?
Basically, it is this. Very simply stated - estrogen retains fat cells and progesterone helps burn them. A women who is hormonally balanced is going to have a much easier time losing weight than one who is not. I have to attribute my success in losing over 72 lbs. without exercise in large part to diet changes, but also to the fact that my estrogen and progesterone levels are pretty much in balance. I had my levels tested last fall and found I was only slightly low in progesterone. Knowing that my body is no longer ovulating monthly (and thereby not producing progesterone) - I wanted to ensure my body remain as close to core balance as possible, and began supplementing with AB Prolief bio-identical progesterone cream.
A quote from the Women to Women web-site reads:
"Core Balance is an ideal state that occurs when your biochemistry and metabolism are functioning well, and your core physiology and emotional health are balanced. Your body easily maintains a natural, optimal weight and you feel energized, clear, and fit. Life is good, you look great, and you’re on top of the world.”
If you are having trouble losing weight - assess your hormone balance, or rather, imbalances. Symptoms of hormone imbalance include PMS, night sweats, migraines, asthma, fibromyalgia, weight gain around the middle, sleeplessness, irritability, fibroids and cysts, depression...just to name a few. Contact me if you would like a more complete list, or would like to learn more.
Many women exercise five days a week and still have trouble losing weight. As long as the hormones are heavily tipped in favor of estrogen the challenge is going to be uphill all the way. Start looking at the ingredients listed on your products - many have chemicals that mask themselves as estrogen inside our bodies. As you become a wise consumer and begin to buy products that are safe, pure and beneficial - your body will take note. Supplementation with a bio-identical hormone cream will most likely be warranted to help regain balance within.
To regain one's health we need to do more than watch what we eat, we also need to watch what our "skin wears" and strive for hormonal balance. Stress is a factor that cannot be overlooked. Stress "eats up" our progesterone as it is converted into "stressor hormones". We all have stress in our lives, but how you handle it is key to healthy function.
Years ago I was in a work situation that was stressful. My work revolved around deadlines, not that anyone who had to provide me the information for such deadlines seemed to care. One day I just decided that I was not going to deal with it any longer. No, I did not quit my job, but I made a decision to "LET GO AND LET GOD". A dear elderly friend of mine quoted this to me time and time again and it finally sunk in. We cannot control what happens in our lives, but we can let it go and let God handle it. Since that day I feel my body began a small journey towards regaining hormone balance. Once I learned to retrain my eating habits, it all just seemed to fall into place. It is amazing how one's bodily temple can be restored when  you allow the power of the Spirit that dwells within to take control. Who is in charge of your daily life? God created us in perfect balance and harmony and it is His desire that we live as such, because it is only in doing so that we can fully serve Him.