Sunday, December 30, 2012

Grocery Shopping for a Healthy Lifestyle

Today was shopping day to prepare for the January 2 start of the ARBONNE HEALTHY LIVING 30 DAY CHALLENGE.  My friend Stacy and I went together, starting at Costco and getting a few more items at Copps in Middleton, where they have a great selection of organic product, bulk nuts, and some items best purchased in smaller quantities.  Now, I will say - if you shop with a friend and split the bulk sized food purchases at Costco - you can save a ton on your grocery bill.
I am often told, "I can't afford to shop organic", which I completely understand. If one is wanting to make a serious lifestyle change - start small and work your way to making smarter choices. Purchasing non-organic vegetables is a whole lot better than buying a box of Cream of Wheat...if you get my drift.  Make COLORFUL foods a minimum of 50% of your diet, and by diet - I am not referring to a temporary choice of foods chosen for short term weight loss, but a long term lifestyle of food choice.
Eating HEALTHY is about making exchanges.  Processed foods cost A LOT of money - don't kid yourself. As I recall, a family sized bag of Ruffles potato chips cost $5.99.  What kind of dense nutrition comes from a bag of chips? Be honest.  NONE. Sorry, you can't get away with calling potato chips a vegetable. I won't even go into all the ingredients that make chips a none pro-active health choice. As a comparison, for $4.29 you can get a bag of about 36+ mini bell peppers (red, orange, yellow). Consider that bell peppers are "a good source of vitamin C, thiamine, vitamin B6, beta  carotene, and folic acid.  Bell  peppers also contain a large  amount of phytochemicals that  have exceptional antioxidant activity." To learn more about the benefits of bell peppers and other foods, check out
For the 30 Day challenge, those participating in the "ALL IN" level are cutting out GLUTEN/WHEAT, DAIRY, SOY, SUGAR, ALCOHOL, VINEGAR (unless Bragg's Organic Apple Cider Vinegar containing "the mother"), CAFFEINE (coffee/soda/tea).  Gluten-free products are becoming easier to find, in large part due to many people developing gluten intolerance and/or Celiac's disease later in life - which often comes from a lifetime of gluten build-up in the gut. The majority of the population have no idea that their aches, pains, and symptoms chalked up to "getting old" are 100% diet related.  Which is why so many of us, including my husband and I, are eating clean for 30 days to learn and be tuned in to our bodies and how they feel without such foods.
So what can we eat when all of that "stuff" is removed from one's diet, you may ask? Plenty - as you can see - we certainly don't starve! It is simply about exchanging a habit of buying foods that don't serve you to those that do.  At one of the Arbonne detox classes a quote I love is "food is either fuel for your body or toxic for your body". If you are new to the challenge perhaps you should put that quote on your refrigerator so when you are tempted you are reminded that you are either going to choose a low octane fuel that makes "your engine" sluggish, or you are going to choose a high octane, clean fuel that is going to make you perform at and feel your best. Aches and pains are NOT a part of growing old, but are a part of poor nutrition choices.  
Let me share some GOOD and not so good choices on my shopping receipt today. First, the not so good. To help illustrate - I circled in RED foods that are not a part of the 30 Day clean eating program, but they are foods that our children eat. On the list that include gluten are the biscotti, 8 grain whole grain bread, and possibly the Aussie Bites. Aussie Bites are great little snacks made from whole grains such as oats, rolled oats, dried fruits, flax seed and such. Our 10 yr. old is nuts about Aussie Bites. They are not labeled as gluten-free and I suspect that comes from the whole grain and rolled oats. Also, you may notice a few "toxic" foods - a bottle of German Riesling for New Year's Eve - alcohol is a triple strike in that it is not only alcohol, but it's high in sugar and something else that is not allowed in the clean eating program.  I also succumbed to the taste testing of Smoked Gouda Cheese today at Costco - which is THE cheese of choice for special occasions, and I figured we could ring in the new year with a bit of dairy before we go bovine by-product free.
In blue on my receipt are non-food items, to help you differentiate. Bulk paper goods cost a bit up front, and make my grocery bill look deceptively large. All said and done - my healthy living grocery spree cost under $125 and this will feed our family of four for 1-2 weeks, plus three of us will enjoy an Arbonne protein shake once a day as a meal replacement.
First timers to my Costco grocery cart today is a gluten free quinoa based pasta! I do plan to contact the manufacturer as it does contain corn flour, and I am concerned that it might be GMO grown corn. To the right you can see a meal (or two) I plan to make - gluten free pasta with mushroom and chicken marinara sauce - which I will post when I create in the kitchen.  
I was THRILLED that Costco listened to my, and many others I am sure, suggestion to carry organic coconut oil in the store. I was SO EXCITED when this appeared right before Christmas. I "sold" a couple of containers to others today who asked me what to do with it. (That could be another post in of itself.) And bricks of SEAWEED! Yep, you heard right. Stacy and I saw that and wondered what in the world.... Dehydrated and salted with sea salt. The box shows that you can add it as garnish to soup and a few other things, but we tracked down some folks who had it in their cart and asked.  (We met up by the coconut oil.)  When I asked how it tasted this couple apparently loves to snack on the seaweed as one would chips - and it is very similar to the kale chips one can make at home pretty easily with olive oil and sea salt. I know that seaweed has many nutritional benefits, so into my cart it went. I will let you know what I think! Come on over for New Year's Eve for games. German Riesling and seaweed chips! We know how to live it up in our household! (LOL)
Staples in my clean eating shopping cart include organic quinoa pasta $6.69, Crunchmaster gluten-free crackers (safflower oil is my only concern with this product as it is probably a hydrogenated omega 6 oil) $7.49,  vinegar free marinara sauce $8.24 (less 2.25 coupon for a 2 pk), black beans $5.59 (8 cans), organic agave nectar $9/99/2, gluten-free and hormone-free chicken tenderloins 18.96/6 pkgs, AmyLu brand gluten free chicken sausages $13.99/3 pks of 6, and a variety from the produce section. Today I found pre-cooked grilled chicken strips under the Kirkland brand, offered by Foster Farms.  Foster Farms used to offer a large bag of pre-cooked chicken in the freezer section and I was crushed when the item was discontinued. I could not beat the convenience of grabbing a little pre-cooked chicken for my daily spinach salad. I am happy to report I found it in a two-pack for $9.99, which is super convenient for those of you who live alone.
The large tub of organic mixed baby greens will last my family about one week. This is something we need to purchase weekly for $4.49 a container.  I plan to eat a salad for lunch each day with a homemade dressing. We had quite a bit of produce already at home and I held off on buying too much more as our frig is not that empty. 
After Costco Stacy and I went over to Copp's for a few limes, green onions and smaller amounts of produce for the Cowboy Caviar I plan to make for New Year's Eve. I also needed some turnips for a ginger-glazed turnip recipe I found, which I will be sure to share as well.  You can see the mushrooms in the photo above - baby portabellas.  Stacy and I split a container of these from her grocery bill as mushrooms have a short shelf life. It is best to store them in a container that allows air movement and do not rinse or wash before storing. In addition to the marinara sauce I am looking forward to making my superb dairy free Mushroom Bisque that I made last year, and it truly rivaled anything I have ever enjoyed before. For the gentleman I met at Copps, should you visit my blog here is a link to my Mushroom Soup recipe. Enjoy!

To your health,
Rita S.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Eat! Don't Starve Yourself to Weight Loss

Vegetables2013 is not that far off and I know many are already contemplating their new year's resolutions.  I am forming a team for a 30 Day Healthy Living Challenge and a number of people are already "IN". I am excited for them, and for myself. The last time I did the challenge, with my husband, we both lost 16 lbs. in 30 days.  The best thing about that for me is that I had already lost 62 lbs. - so it was not simply a shedding of water weight!
My hope here is to start blogging a bit more regularly to coach those on my team, and others, taking up the AB 30 Day Healthy Living Challenge.  I plan to offer some tidbits of information, recipes, and things that have worked for me.  I have been where many of you may currently find yourself. I was 100 lbs. overweight, but I made up my mind that I would not continue on my unhealthy journey less I put our kids through the burden of providing nursing home care for me - which can put many families in financial straits. I see that often in my day job.
For those that have been following my blog, you already know that my journey to health shed 85 lbs off - my journey started fall of 2010 and I have maintained since April 2011.  However, I could stand to lose another 15 and go down one more size - that is my goal with the 30 Day Challenge and I plan to kick it up a notch this time around by incorporating a probiotic/prebiotic into my vegan and alkaline based protein shake each morning.  See yesterday's post for more on that, but I read that healthy gut flora is critical for successful weight loss.
Oh - and I will probably kick it up by doing some sort of exercise.  Yes... you heard right. My friends know I don't like to sweat. Reason is...if I were to work out in the eve I would have to actually refrain from going out and meeting people afterwards.  I am up too late to work out in the morning. I think an earlier bed time will be  part of my challenge to fit in exercise.
Planning ahead is key to any successful weight loss journey. Think about get a craving, or your stomach gives the hungry symbol...or maybe your are simply bored and want to eat ...your kitchen will either be your friend or foe.
If you are planning to gain more energy or lose weight in the new year, which is not that far off - start assessing your kitchen food  sources NOW.  What's in the pantry - processed foods with additives? Did you know that many additives, such as the myriad of glutamates, artificial sweeteners and such - actually trigger your brain to crave more food?  Diet soda is actually formulated to make you hungry. The  more hungry you are, the more you eat. The more you eat, the more weight you gain. The more weight you gain, presumably all the more diet soda you will buy!!  Contrary to what you think... food manufacturers are not all about YOU, they are all about their bottom line.
I love the insight from one of my holistic sources:
"A healthy diet does not mean a starvation diet. Hunger is a natural signal from your body telling you to eat. Don’t ignore it, eat when you are hungry. However, the key is to differentiate hunger from “habit eating” and to be selective about the foods, and quantity, you choose. Eating regular, nutritious meals that leave you full and satisfied will help you stick to your plan and reach your weight loss goals. Skipping meals will slow down your metabolism and cause you to overcompensate with a larger meal later on. When it’s time for a snack, avoid processed foods. Raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, are filling and nutritious. Permanent weight loss happens when you have a healthy eating plan and stay in control of what you put in your mouth."
 The 30 Day Healthy Living Challenge is all about EATING food. Meals every 4-6 hours so that you do not feel compelled to snack, because you are not hungry. Having the right foods on hand is crucial to avoid temptation. We will not be counting calories, but we will be focusing on a greater ratio of alkaline based foods.  My team is growing but there is still time for you to join in if you desire to live more healthily in 2013!

To your health, 
Rita S

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Probiotics Important for Weight Loss

What if we could lose weight simply by taking the right probiotics?  In the August 2012 issue of the Blaylock Wellness Report reveals how the wrong gut bacteria contributes to obesity, especially visceral fat around the middle, which is the most dangerous type of fat to have. For readers of Purely Living, you are now familiar with Dr. Russell Blaylock, a neurosurgeon who left his practice to study nutrition to learn why he was seeing a significant increase of children with cancer in his practice, brain tumors in particular.
Blaylock's August report has recently been backed up by a Chinese study affirming Blaylock's findings. In short, certain types of bad gut bacteria trigger fat.  People who consume diets high in fat and carbs should be particularly concerned.  Such bacteria leave the colon and enter into the bloodstream, where the bacteria deposits into the fat cells, especially inside the abdomen, and triggers a state of inflammation. When this happens it contributes to metabolism abnormalties. Insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, both derived from metabolism abnormalties, are significant players in gross obesity.
Eating Greek-style yogurt does contain good gut bacteria, but for two reasons that I can think of, it is not the best answer to the situation.  First, a serving of yogurt a day cannot provide the amount of probiotics necessary to turn your gut health around. It is important to supplement in addition to.  Secondly, and perhaps most important in my opinion, is that yogurt, being a dairy product - is in itself an inflammatory food. (Oh, and I should not forget to mention that it is also acidic based - but as we are discussing weight loss today, and not cancer prevention. I won't go into it, but for me personally, that is important as well.) Many are led to falsely believe that eating Greek-style yogurt will resolve all their good vs. bad gut flora issues. Marketing is a powerful thing.
Once good gut bacteria is established, drinking green and white tea also helps keep the good bacteria in your gut healthy. In addition, Blaylock writes that drinking green tea can aid in weight loss.
Blaylock states it is very important to avoid high fat diets, Omega 6, in particular, as well as MSG and other glutamates.Other food products, such as the flavonoids curcumin and quercetin, also protect good bacteria. 

For the 2013 Healthy Living Challenge I will be doing a few things differently this time around. 
First, I will be consuming a packet of Digestion Plus probiotics/prebiotics EVERY DAY in my vegan, alkaline based pea/brown rice/cranberry protein shake as I start out my morning.
Secondly, I will have a cup of Arbonne decaffenated detox tea each evening. This will help curb my desire to snack after 7 p.m., AND provide benefits that aid in weight loss.  Previously I have followed the 30 day Feeling Fit program, but did not incorporate these products daily.  I look forward to seeing the results I will experience in the 30 days and compare them to my 16 lb. weight loss in February of 2012.
As you consider your grocery list for healthy weight loss in 2013 - I encourage you to consider adding these products to your regimen for optimal results.

To your health,
Rita S.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

One Week to 30 Day Healthy Living Challenge

We are one week away from starting our 30 Days to Healthy Living Challenge. So far team TnT is 10 members strong.  More may be joining us - you are most welcome no matter where you live.  You are welcome to invite friends to join you, and the rest of us, in your journey to Healthier living.

TnT stands for TRANSFORMATION not TEMPTATION.  If you are participating in the challenge I would surmise that you desire transformation of some type- whether it be weight loss, increased energy, less joint pain - transformation is desired.  "Not Temptation" signifies the importance of resisting temptation during the 30 days  as many of us with have withdrawal symptoms from sugars, simple carbs, caffeine, and snacking after 7 pm.

NOW is the time to consume allergenic foods excluded from the program - either eat them, give them away, or have a New Year's Eve party so guests can consume. The  most difficult food to give up, from what I hear over and over, is CHEESE.  Yes, we are from Wisconsin and this is tough - but important. Remember, we cannot be tempted to eat that which is not in our presence.

NOW is the time to start putting your grocery list together comprised of very very few processed foods (exception of canned beans, tomatoes, gluten free crackers, gluten free, GMO FREE corn tortillas for guac dipping, and such).

NOW is the time to order any Arbonne Essentials products you plan to utilize.  In order for products to be in hand by Jan. 2 your orders would need to be placed by tomorrow, Dec. 27.  Most of you, if not all of you, are all "equipped for success" in this regard. The fewer products you have the more will power that may be required of you - depending upon your current eating habits. For example, those already drinking lots of water can continue to do so whereas those who drink diet sodas, and/or coffees, will benefit from the Fizz Sticks to replace the craving fro coffee/soda sourced caffeine.

Learn to read labels - I will be sending out an article soon to my team members that I had written last January for the community group I led and taught for making healthier food shopping choices. I am sure if you dig in my archives you will find a couple of posts on label reading. 

If you are ALL IN the challenge here are the foods you want to eliminate Jan. 2 through 31:
1. wheat/gluten (if using organic rolled oats be sure it is gluten free)
2. dairy/casein/whey
3. yeast
4. sugar
5. artificial sweeteners
6. alcohol
7. Vinegar (EXCEPT for Bragg's organic apple cider vinegar)
8. Caffeine (coffee and soda are out!)
9. Soy products, including soy cause (tamari may be used in stead of soy sauce as it is MSG and gluten free)

I plan to go into the whys and what fors of these foods in further detail, although my blog archives likely have them covered already.

Someone asked me about vinegar today and why it is off limits - basically it has to do with the fermentation process that takes place in the gut as a result, growth of yeast, etc.  Note that an exception is made for Bragg's Apple Cider organic vinegar...  This means the homemade raspberry vinagrette I made on the 22nd is OK during the program!

The Thursday evening, December 27 call in number to listen to the Kick off presentation live at 6:30 pm  is 712-451-6000 and enter in access code 709364 followed by the # sign to listen live to the presentation. Being there in person is best as you can sample various food recipes put together for us.  If you cannot do either please contact me for a dial in number that you can listen to as time allows.

To your health in 2013,
Rita S.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Morn GF/Dairy Free Breakfast

In another week my husband and I will be joining MANY others in the Arbonne 30 Day Healthy Living Challenge, which begins January 2 and ends on the 31st.  The winners of this challenge will be measured by inches - and there are prizes to be had. However, I am confident in stating that everyone who participates will be a winner as they experience more energy, manage the holiday damage, and kick off a new year feeling great!
Because our household will be eating CLEAN soon, I chose this most holy of mornings to experiment in the kitchen with our traditional Christmas morning Christmas crepes breakfast.  I decided on Christmas eve that I wanted to make gluten free crepes. I googled recipes and came up with one that was both gluten, dairy and sugar free.  Problem is, I did not just simply have all the ingredients on hand. Oh sure, I THOUGHT I had tapioca flour...but could not find any. I also thought I had Teff flour, but could not find that either - and recipes were calling for such.
I found a web site that provided some tips for gluten free cooking.  One tip was to mix different GF flours proportionately, as in 2/3 heavy flour to 1/3 light flour.  I had never considered the weight of the flours before.  Some helpful links for you:
Because I could not find listed ingredients in my cupboards, I decided I would make my own crepe batter using almond flour, and brown rice flour as my base.
I think it would have been fine, but I decided last minute to add some of Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Baking mix  - just 2 tablespoons, but it was enough to add that "bean" flavor to the end product - the crepes.  I also found that in my recipe the batter was "too wet" and it would not set up well enough to allow me to flip a crepe in the pan - and basically - it just STUCK. I am not sure as to whether the culprit is my apparent need for new non stick, or the recipe itself.
I finished making crepes with the first small batch of batter, and had googled, meanwhile, a recipe for crepes made with almond flour. I found one and it worked well, even though I was nervous about the number of eggs. I altered it a bit adding in some almond milk as the recipe called for NO milk or liquid beyond the eggs, which was unheard of in any crepe recipe I had ever used.
By the time I was done in the kitchen we had Christmas morning breakfast at 10:30.  It's a good thing our children are older and patient for gift opening! My picture focuses more on the beauty of dark chocolate almond milk being served in a wine glass for a special treat, but you can catch a glimpse of a crepe as well, covered with pureed strawberries. Here is the recipe I used with a little alteration of the original:

Gluten & Dairy Free Christmas Crepes
5 eggs, organic and from cage free chickens
1/2 cup almond flour
2 T. honey or agave nectar
2 T. almond milk
1/2 t. pure vanilla extract
Pinch of Celtic Sea Salt
1 tsp. coconut oil

Beat eggs in large bowl. Add in and stir remaining ingredients. Melt coconut oil on hot surface of cooking pan. Pour in 1/4 cup of batter, depending on the pan you are using, and desired size of crepes.

The key, I found, was to allow the crepes to cook thoroughly, and be fairly brown on the first side down to help stabilize  the crepe for flipping.

Ironically, the Test Kitchen show on Create is cooking crepes as I type this. Not gluten free, of course, but their tips are:
1. Heat pan properly  - DO not use vegetable oil as they say, EVOO or coconut oil is preferred
2. Test skillet to ensure it has reached proper temperature (leave on medium for a minute)
3. Right amount of batter - use 1/4 cup to a 12" skillet
4. Know when to flip - when you see a little browning around edge of crepe it is time to flip it.

The beauty of crepes is that so little flour is used that it doesn't really matter what kind - per the Test Kitchen. Using almond flour  is a sweet delight for fruit topped, breakfast crepes. However, use brown rice or quinoa flour and you will have a homemade wrap perfect for wrap-style sandwiches, beans and greens, or whatever you might wish for a gluten free meal.  Crepes can be made ahead of time and refrigerated, separating with wax paper in between each crepe. I encourage you to think outside the box when it comes to adding foods to the inside of your crepes.

As Christmas day draws to a close, I grazed t0o much on unhealthy choices this day and I look forward to returning to my fairly clean eating lifestyle tomorrow. And I am also looking forward to eating clean for 30 days come January. Stay tuned for recipe ideas, why we cut out 7 most allergenic foods (including dairy, gluten and soy), and more to allow our bodies to re-energize, re-vitalize and shed some inches as we start the new year.

Merry Christmas to all!
Rita S.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Gift of Nutrition for Children in Kenya

I love making pretty packages. Since we don't exchange gifts much anymore, it allows us to give generously. Yesterday I learned about an organization feeding hungry children in Kenya with AB protein shakes and children's vitamin chews. The clinics are reporting a notable reduction in the number of sick children since the program was implemented. Complete nutrition has the power to heal!
I am excited about the work that Garments of Praise is doing and am making this a part of our Advent Conspiracy donation this year. If you want to join me, please contact me. $40 will provide 30 meals, and $17 provides 30 day supply of vitamins to one child. Your donation is tax deductible and I will take care of getting the donation receipt for you. It's a great end of year write off!  Look at these smiles! It is right and good to see the hand of God working in the hearts of so many that are a part of my organization.

Before this program began these children were eating cooked flour in dirty water! My heart aches for impoverished children that do not have the benefit of nutrition. Please join me and my family in helping these kids - shoot me an email or give me a call and I will add your name and contact information, have the donations sent to the organization based in Arizona, and make sure you receive your tax receipt. I will pay for shipping and tax.

The woman in Arbonne behind this blessing is Cecelia Stoll. I will have the pleasure of flying to Texas in February to meet and spend a weekend with Cecelia. She is making this world a better place and one day I hope to do the same with a foundation for "want-to-be" adoptive parents. You can learn more about Cecelia and this orphanage on this YouTube video.

From the topic of those in need to those of us with less need.... we love to give gifts. It blesses our heart, and although receiving gifts is not what the season is all about - GIVING is.  God gave us His only begotten Son, and we remember the greatest gift of Jesus with giving of ourselves.

It has been a blizzard filled day here in Wisconsin, and I managed to wrap some more gifts today for the businessmen in town who took me up on my 50% off deal and free gift wrapping. What rather tickled me with this promo is the men not only bought their wives gifts, but several also treated themselves to the new Midnight Sky men's fragrance and Essentials nutrition products. For the month of December I have committed to donating my proceeds in products sales towards the Advent Conspiracy project. So while the men who give the gift of Arbonne will be "way out of the dog house" if they were in one, with these pretty packages, the less fortunate will benefit as well.

Check out the transformation of this pretty box of Dazzler perfume - silver wrap and a couple of different sparkling ribbons and this man is sure to get a few kisses when his wife opens her gift!

If you would like to learn more about the efforts to feed the children of Kenya please let me know.  Together we can make a difference in the world, bringing the gospel to children along with food to fill their bellies. This is why I am a part of Arbonne...a most generous company and a most generous group of people.

Merry Christmas!
Rita S.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

'Tis the Season for Higher Cholesterol and Type 2 Diabetes

Happy holidays! The season is in full gear all around me.  My company hosted an open house this week and of course we offered the usual fare of Christmas cookies, cheese and crackers. Some of the crackers were mutli-grain, but contained refined processed flours none the less.
We had one client who is diabetic and watches what he eats - he couldn't have anything we offered. I made some gluten-free, vegan homemade protein bars this weekend (check my recipes for "Vanilla Nutrageous Protein Bars") and I may just offer a few for him to try. As a no bake recipe, these are super easy to whip up and keep on hand in the freezer or refrigerator.
All the many treats we are drawn to are doing the same thing in each of us as we enjoy them - SPIKING our INSULIN production.  Contrary to what you may have been taught - it is not necessarily the fats you eat (such as bacon, steak, butter, etc) that cause high cholesterol.  The true culprit, of both Type II Diabetes and high cholesterol is SIMPLE CARBS.  The products made with refined processed flours, processed oatmeals (that little label stating it "lowers cholesterol" is in fact, a fallacy), create an overproduction of insulin in our body.  Other SPIKING ingredients high fructose corn syrup, and all the "ose" ingredients - commonly found in your low-fat yogurts. Have you actually read the label of Yoplait low-fat yogurt? It will not help you lose and maintain weight loss, or be beneficial to your body on a cellular level.
There are a couple of things you can do during this time of year to help keep your insulin in check.
First - limit yourself. Plain and simple - and perhaps hard to do.  A great, delicious substitute I have found is SILK brand Dark Chocolate Almond Milk - I pour a little over ice in a juice glass and it is more delicious than ice cream!
PROGESTERONE - a natural hormone balancing cream readily available, helps to counter insulin hormone, as well as keep your estrogen levels in check.  It has anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory properties - on a day when I know I am going to a holiday party - I will use three pumps a day of my Prolief versus the usual two. (Note: the FDA has not endorsed the results of bio-identical progesterone cream - but I can tell you people around the world are having life changing benefits!)
Another AB product I use is the Metabolism Boost - which specifically controls your metabolism. From my research on the individual ingredients (found in an earlier post) it controls insulin production and has an added benefit for those with high blood pressure.
Of course exercise is going to naturally boost your metabolism so if you can find time to put a little sweat equity in to your health - you will feel better throughout the holiday season. I would caution you not to over do it and decrease your immunity at a time when the flu bug seems to already be rampant around this part of the country. By the way - I don't believe in the flu vaccine, and the bug going around here that promotes symptoms of bronchitis and laryngitis would not have been "covered" in the vaccine anyhow. They are reporting it to be a new strain.

To your health this holiday season!
Rita S.