Category Archives: Natural Health and Fitness
I have been taking spirulina supplements for the past 3 weeks or so and I can really feel the benefit. It generally takes a few weeks for your body to pick up on the benefits of supplements but I am sure I felt a difference within a week of taking these and my body asks for them when I don’t take them.
Not to fret though because they are super healthy.
What is it?
Spirulina is a blue-green algae.
It contains all of the amino acids* and therefore is considered a very good source of protein. Not very many foods contain all of the amino acids!
Spirulina also has a lot of chlorophyll in it…and you know how I feel about chlorophyll.
(*When protein is digested in the body amino acids are the components left over that are used in your body. There are many amino acids, some your body can make, some your body needs from food sources, and they all play an ESSENTIAL role in your health, all focusing on one specific component.)
What are the benefits?
Some people who take spirulina say they feel an increase in energy. Personally, what I love about it is its ability to curve sugar cravings.
Try this, next time you have a sugar craving, go eat some protein. Usually, this will cancel out the sugar craving. When I was a vegetarian, I was constantly wanting bread and sugar…for eight years!!! I spoke with a holistic nutritionist and she suggested I start eating meat and taking spirulina to curve the cravings. With the extra protein, I am no longer even close to craving that stuff the way I did before!
Spirulina also contains a plethera of vitamins and minerals and GLA oil (gamma-linolenic acid found in fish oils or flax seed oils…a.k.a. SUPER healthy!).
So the amino acids and chlorophyll plus vitamins, minerals and the GLA there is no wonder why people feel an increase in energy (and that clean kind of energy, not the foggy-head kind you get from coffee).
Chlorophyll is very alkalizing and cleansing. Maintaining a slightly alkaline body at all times is essential in disease prevention. With all the acid forming foods we eat daily (meats, breads, dairy) our bodies are more susceptible to illness. P.s. All fruits and veggies (including citrus fruits) break down into alkalines in the blood stream, so eat up! For more on chlorophyll, visit this post here.
There are also claims that the algae stimulates the nervous system allowing us to feel more “up”.
For these reasons and more, I love spirulina!
Essential Ingredients: Things I have on hand to cook healthier…I replace milk with almond milk, sugar with agave nectar, salt with Himalayan salt, flour with rice flour (which is directly substitutable in most recipes), and cooking oil with coconut oil.
When healthy oils are heated they become rancid and create free radicals when they are consumed, healthy and able to reach towering temperature, coconut oil is the best solution. PLUS, it has antibacterial and antifungal properties and is metabolized immediately and used as fast energy rather than stored in your body. It’s considered a superfood and some natural health experts recommend 3 tablespoons of coconut oil a day (see here)!!
Why not use regular salt? Himalayan salt is literally pennies as the local bulk food store and it’s packed full of minerals. Table salt has almost no minerals and is sometimes fluoridated. I am a huge believer in salting food as I cook but I want to healthiest option of salt!
Natural Skin CareHave you heard of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps? They truly are magic. They are an all in one soap made from completely natural ingredients. When you look at the ingredient list on the back, you will recognize everything! This company is amazing too and there is actually a documentary coming out about them because they really have taken on the mission of bettering the world “one soap at a time” as they say. These soaps can be used or body wash, shampoo, dog shampoo, laundry, and household messes! Wait a second…they can even be used for toothpaste and a lot of campers use it as toothpaste as camp park rules are usually “go natural or go home”. Check them out, buy HUGE bottles of the stuff and use it for everything, is my advice!
After sun or shaving when my skin is particularly dry I use this dry oil on my skin to moisturize. I found it in a neat little shop in the South of France and I fell in love with it because the brand name is the name of my boyfriend. It’s a misxture of olive oil, primrose oil and essential oils and again, completely organic and natural.
For conditioner, I found a conditioner bar and I love it! I rub it through my head after I rinse the shampoo and I can brush my (curly, tangly) hair easily after a shower. All natural ingredients and it lasts longer than the bottled conditioner, plus I save throwing away a plastic bottle!
For underarm deodorant I use a product I decided to experiment with called Dr. Mist. I spray it under each arm pit once and I don’t smell all day but bonus I still sweat so I’m not clogging the sensitive area of my body where lymphnodes are. Lymphatic fluid needs to flow, don’t let it flow with those chemicals in drug-store brands. This brand has only 4 ingredients: water, sodium chloride, magnesium and calcium. I wrote an article about deodorants before so check that out too!
Last but not least, an aloe plant! I also buy the bottles aloe gel but a plant is the best option. I just cut off a bit of a leaf and squeeze the gel on to my skin to moisturize, or I put it on eczema, bruises, cuts, cold sores, etc. It works!
My SupplementsI take supplements everyday unless I forget which doesn’t happen very often because I’ve been supplementing for years! Number one rule when buying supplements are buy food source supplements, not synthetic supplements that you buy at the pharmacy that are made with chemicals. Those kind cause more harm then good. The best place to buy them or to get advice on good brands is at your local health food store.
The supplements I cannot live without are my essential fatty acids (fish oils) and my vitamin D. I feel noticeably better when I take these on a regular basis and they are two of the most important supplements a person can take. Of course talk to your doctor before you supplement. It’s free in Ontario to get a vitamin D blood test done and you would be surprised at how deficient you actually may be. I know people who need to be on 6000iu a day!! Some doctors put cancer patients on over 15000iu a day.(See here)
Some other favorites are spirulina which is an algae that is packed with all of the amino acids and is a wonderful source of protein because of that. My sugar cravings are nearly non-existent since I started using spirulina. I’ll write a whole article about spirulina next week.
Phosphotidylserine is a phosophlipid that has been proven to enhance brain function and memory. I am testing it out for fun and because I am practicing focusing on one thing at a time which has always been hard for me. I’ve used this in the past too and do like it. Again, I’ll write a whole article on this so you can see how it works!
Chlorophyll makes me feel amazing! I have been drinking it for years in my water and wrote an article about it here.
Tea tree oil is a disinfecting oil. I would only recommend using it on your skin if you mix it with other oils. It can be used for dandruff in your shampoo or for pimples mixed with another oil. I like to have it around and add it to water. That way, I have a disenfecting spray which can be used on my yoga mat, in my shoes, or to freshen up the bed sheets in the morning. (See here)
Lavender oil is my relaxing oil and I always put it in my baths.
LaundrySoap nuts are a miracle product. They are inexpensive and one bag lasts a couple of years. They are little nuts that you can boil in some water to make laundry detergent. I add some essential oil to the detergent for a nice smell. You can even add the nuts to a little canvas sack and put them directly in your washing machine. THEY DO WORK! I swear that they get out the dirt just as well as that chemical stuff which I suspect is the cause of my latest burst of hives on my hand. When I make the liquid, I put it i a bottle and refrigerate it.
You can also use these for all purpose cleaning, from anything like hand soap to mirrors! Then, when used, they are completely compostable.
And there you have it! These are products that I love using and generally buy over and over again! What holistic products have you tried and loved?
It’s really a benefit in the summer to be able to soak up the sun. But are you taking care of your skin properly? This post will probably not contain the same knowledge that you’ve read in other places because when it comes to sun caring for my skin, I like to be as completely natural as possible.
There is quite a controversial debate out there in the world between the relationship between sunscreen and our health and skin cancer. Do the chemicals in the sunscreen really protect us or do they just perpetuate the problem by causing inflammation and adding tons and tons of carcinogenic ingredients to a very absorbent organ, our skin?
I won’t answer this question here but there is a lot of useful scientific research conducted about this topic that I suggest you read into. These articles are published in renowned medical journals and some are available on the internet through some hard searching. How I like to research is go on to the Wikipedia page and then scroll down to the bibliography. There should be some pretty decent links in that bibliography and most of the links direct you to trusted sources to get the full picture.
Soaking Up Those Rays
I love soaking up sun because it is simply the best source of vitamin D for our bodies. Our body absorbs the vitamin better than an oral supplement and vitamin D leads only to great things. Vitamin D can seriously prevent flus and colds, which is why so many people get them in the winter. It can also clear up skin problems, like eczema…you can ask Max on this one!
The general rule of thumb is that when your sun turns the lightest shade of pink, it has absorbed all of the vitamin D it can in that moment. It’s best to cover up after that.
If you want to continue baking in the sun, it’s not a problem but you will need to treat your skin afterwards and if possible, find an organic tanning solution. I’ll go into this in a second.
How To Protect
The absolute best way to protect your skin from the sun is to cover up! That means wear a sun hat, a long sleeve white and breezy top and even a flowy maxi skirt if need be.
Personally, when I need to cover up, I just put my towel over my shoulders and a hat on my head…or I slip on a sun dress and throw a light scarf over my shoulders. This doesn’t make me hot at all. The fabrics I choose for the sun are very light.
Being me, I cannot advocate for the use of store bought sunscreens, nor sunscreens that are even approved by health care professionals. I am completely against the stuff. I want to protect my skin and why only protect it from the sun and then load it with chemicals every day? This seems hypocritical. I protect it from all things harmful. I am much more careful with my skin care products than even my food!
If you need to put something on, the worst of the best is to go to your natural health food store and purchase a sunscreen there.
Better options are sold only by specialty boutiques or on the internet. When I was in Hawaii, the healing retreat centre I stayed at sold some uber organic stuff with almost nothing in it except the magic of keeping the suns rays away. I should have picked some up there. You can also email around to holistic nutritionists to see what they like.
I currently don’t use anything for in-sun protection but if I were to point you in a direction my first direction would be Living Libations. I absolutely trust their products. Naomi really knows the science behind natural skin care products and their reviews are phenomenal. The downside of their products is that they are extremely pricey but when I can afford it, this is the first thing on my wish list!
I will also point you in the direction of the Dr. Mercola product. I love the ingredients he has in his sun screen and he really advocates for the benefits that the sun can bring to your health, so I pretty much trust him on this product. He also has a tanning cream for when you want to get golden but don’t want to absorb the harmful rays.
For protection from the sun, really do your research. Again, I will never advocate for the use of commercial sun screens!
After Sun Healing
Drink tons of water! Your skin’s moisture has just been sucked out and it needs to get back in there! Drinking water is the fastest and most efficient way to hydrate your skin.
Aloe vera is my go to skin product not only for the sun! I use it for my eczema, my cold sores, any bruises or cuts on my body. I use it every morning and night on my face. I use it after I shave. And for the sun? It’s incredibly healing.
If you want to know the science behind Aloe you can watch this video here. Aloe has always been used for healing purposes since ancient times. It’s inside gel has a component that boosts your immune system. The outside rind is no good so throw it away.
I would try not to get a large amount of sun two days in a row. I know that if you are on a beach vacation this is all you will want to do. But can’t you go on a tour on that second day? Or maybe hit the beach in the morning and evening and keep the afternoon for some spa time or something equally as relaxing. Or hit the beach but with a long sleeve top or those products I mentioned above.
I generally will get hit with sun one day and continue to go out in the sun everyday but try to get zero exposure for a week after.
The UVB causes wrinkles and the UVA cancer ( only in large amounts), neither of them are good so it’s important to draw the line and pay attention to benefiting from the sun, and being harmed by the sun. Like I mentioned earlier, when your skin is the lightest shade of pink, you’ve absorbed all the vitamin D. Even if you go out every day to absorb the vitamin D, it’s fine. The point is don’t overdo it…unless you want wrinkles.
If I run every day or every second day, this is a great amount of sun exposure to my body and I feel the benefits of the sun. I also develop a subtle glow on my skin. This is no longer than an hour outside in the pure sun and it’s really sufficient. For the rest of the day I am a little more careful.
Anyways, you get the point. Heal you skin before re-exposing it!
For more information, go back through the post and click on all of those scattered links. They all lead to a pot of gold!
Thanks for reading!
(Read disclaimer here)
p.s. I guest posted over at Uncommonplace a couple of days ago. Click here to check it out!
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago how I stopped eating any form of sugar including simple carbs. Well, after a week, this didn’t go over so well.
I stopped seeing the value of this challenge in my own life. Although I wanted to help a friend by writing this article, it came in the way of myself. And not in a selfish way at all because sometimes putting yourself first can be the least selfish thing you can do. I had to choose between this article or my lifestyle and I chose my lifestyle.
Where was the pleasure in my life when sugar was gone? I couldn’t picnic over a baguette with Max. Our grocery store trips became a battle and my recipe ideas suffered. I can’t afford to buy the supplements that would have helped me along the challenge greatly and frankly, I wanted to sit and eat dessert after dinner. A feeling of guilt came over me when I accidently bough vanilla yogurt rather than plain yogurt and after that day I realized that this challenge was adding absolutely no value. And if the point of the challenge was to add value and it was doing to opposite, then Houston, we have a problem. Wisdom stepped in and told me to start eating pleasurably again. After all, I’m in France and this is what I came for (besides love).
The value that beginning to eat sugar brought me is great though. Now I realize how hard this is and how difficult it must be for that friend. I must admit, I am very quick to judge, especially in situations where nutrition is concerned. I have a tough love attitude of, “If you need to change your diet, do it and do it well.” Well…it might not be so easy for everyone, and that includes me. So the value added would be the addition of compassion towards people in these situations because goodness does it ever suck to stop eating sugar.
More value earned as well…I am more keen on experimenting with natural sugar options. While I am currently keen on honey, stevia, maple syrup and coconut sugar (that’s quite a lot actually) I may want to try a few others and also start baking with them!
Thanks for reading!
Do you know what day it is today? It’s the last day of my 30 day strength challenge!
This was the first time in my life where I have buckled down and focused on stengthening my muscles and I am, of course, glad I did it. I feel great.
My arms are massive! This is a relative term but I was flexing them in front of the mirror yesterday (because I do that now) and I was thinking, “Wow, my arms are almost double in size.” Which is an incredible thing because I had disgustingly scrawny arms 30 days ago. My abs and lower body are a lot tighter. I can run a lot further and faster and I can do a half of a pull up on a bar. Just one. And only half of one. But still.
Oh and this is not the end people. I LOVE working out! This is something I am going to continue for sure.
I really recommend all of you at least test this out for 30 days!
Last week I sent out a little request to some of the people in my life asking them what they want me to write about. I wanted to know what it is that they would stop to read and what it is that they could read that could help them.
I have a list of very interesting topics that I’ll be posting about over the next few weeks (and then hopefully that list renews)!
One of my friends has to stop eating sugar for health reasons right now. She knows I am a natural health freak and therefore asked me to write an article au sujet de resisting sugar.
Because I am beginning to see the larger purpose of this blog and because I love helping people and because I love to experiment in positive ways with my life, I have decided to take it upon myself to learn how to resist sugar for the next 30 days by not eating any and seeing what comes of it (this includes white bread and other simple carbohydrates people…GASP!)
And I love sugar.
I’m on day three and I have had a headache since I began. Sugar is really like a drug and without it my body is punishing me. I just keep telling myself, “Do it for the world Laura!”
This will be the last time you hear of this until I actually write the article when I’m done the challenge.
Happy Thursday everyone!
P.s. Has anyone done this before? Any tips?
This is my second last Monday that I’ll be writing about this challenge because next Monday is day 30!
I am so happy to have been sticking with this challenge. The last time I wrote I talked about how I was having a hard time with the work-outs but I am happy to report to you that that phase has passed (for now).
I am now running as well. For the first time in my life I ran a solid 45 minutes without stopping even for one second. For the last 5 minutes of that run, I increased my speed like crazy, I would say almost double. I felt amazing the whole time and like I said, I have never been able to do this before. I am sure that with my strength training, running has become easier on my back, my legs, and my core is stronger…you get the picture.
My arms are noticeably larger which I love but there is no physical difference on the rest of my body. I just feel good knowing that I can do the exercises all the way though and feel pretty good afterwards. I have been challenging myself this week by making my girl push-up a little harder by lowering my hips a lot more. I have also incorporated the pilates bycicle move into my ab routine when the video shows the woman doing flutter kicks (still impossible for me) instead of just sitting them out.
As promised, I said I would share with you my supplements of choice.
The only supplements I have chosen to take during this process are a multi-vitamin and a ginseng-royal jelly syrup.
Ginseng is known for how great it is on energy but what you should be more fascinated with is royal jelly.
I experimented with taking straight royal jelly a few months ago and when I took it I literally felt my body zing. There are centenarians who swear by the fact that royal jelly is the cause of their long lives. Mainly I just feel a lot more at ease. It’s like my steady low-level anxiety is replaced with high-energy excitement for a few hours. And yes, this is a super food I am talking about, not an illegal drug.
If you want to read more about Royal Jelly, check out these links here:
Also…here are a few reasons as to why I choose to do 30 days goals:
For my previous posts on this challenge, including the work-out videos I use and my routine, check out these links:
- Day 2-Including videos for upper-body work-outs and lower-body workouts
- Day 9-Including videos for lower body work-outs and abs as well as my routine
- Day 16-an update on my progress
Thanks for reading! Has anyone started their 30 day strength challenge yet?
For some reason I was breezing through the first week like I was wonder woman only to find that this past week has been quite torturous,
which I will blame on terrible pms, but I did it anyways!
I am using the videos from Fitness Blender (their YouTube page here) which are amazing. They have a ton of options for leg thighs, your butt and abs. I’ve been sticking to the 20 minute arm workout that I posted here. For glutes and thighs, I really recommend the 5x5x5 workout which I posted here. It’s really hard and I scream through the whole thing but it feels amazing afterwards.
This past week I was thinking about the reason that I am doing this 30 day challenge. If I am going to stop working out after the 30 days then what was the point of even starting. If I am working out to build strength, then the habit and the foundation that I would have built would disappear in a matter of a couple of weeks if I don’t continue. So I will continue this after the 30 days as the larger goal is to live a life full of strength, mental and physical. This challenge is simply the necessary push I need to develop the habit (they say habits take 21 days to form).
Another thing that has been coming up this past week is my wonder about other forms of fitness. In addition to this strength building I cannot wait to get back into jogging, maybe try out some swimming, start doing yoga regularly again (France, please get Hot Yoga studios…it’s truly amazing!) and maybe try out some unique forms of fitness. But let’s not get ahead of myself
Next Monday I will tell you about how I am supplementing during this challenge.
Have a happy Monday everyone!
This is day 9 of my strength challenge and I feel STRONG!! Not kidding.
If you check out the videos from this post here was my schedule from the week:
- Sunday-the 20 minute arms with the Pilates legs
- Monday-the 20 minute arms with the 20 minute butt and thighs
- Wednesday-the 20 minute arms with the 20 minute butt and thighs
- Thursday-the 20 minute arms with the 20 minute butt and thighs
- Saturday-the 20 minute arms with the 5x5x5 leg and butt workout (see video below)
- Sunday-the 20 minute arms with the abdominal exercises (see video below)
I love the arm workout but I could see myself wanting a new workout come soon…I am using 2 pound weights in either hand and tried to increase it to 5 pound weights but that didn’t go over so well. I also did my first 2 real push-ups ever (from the toes) in my entire life! The last time I attempted one was on the September 11th when I fell on my chin, needed to get stitches, went home and saw the twin towers falling. So naturally, I never tried again!
As for the legs…I needed to switch them up so I added an amazing 5x5x5 workout in which you should try! It’s challenging but such a great workout.
I can easily work-out my arms two days in a row but by the end of the week my legs could only handle one day on and one day off…but that doesn’t mean I have to start working out…therefore, I added abdominal exercises in. I will switch between the abs and legs but keep the arms consistent because that’s where I am truly motivated to strengthen.
And that’s about it…
Except! No one has joined me in this challenge yet…and come on! We could all use a little more strength! You have time and now you have motivation (me!). Please join me in this challenge. I will link to your blog posts about the experience and you can grab a button to add to those blog posts…it is worth it! (the button stuff is at the bottom of this post).
Here are those other videos:
Yesterday I began a new 30 days challenge! I actually started last week but only completed doing the challenge for 1 day. so I didn’t count that as the start of the challenge. And so I begin again.
What is this 30 day challenge?
Source (edited with words by moi)
And by strength I mean a physical strength, as in muscle building.
I am weak and I always have been weak. I especially dislike coming home after watching youngsters to find that my back aches from picking them up. If I had more strength, I am sure I wouldn’t strain my back. I also noticed my lack of strength when skiing. I could only make two turns at a time before my legs burned beyond reason and I had to rest.
You see, I need some more strength.
Max’s maman began to show me some arm exercises I could do when we were in The Alps and I was inspired.
Now, I’ve turned this into a 30 day challenge with once a week updates for you lovelies.
Here are the videos I am currently using for the workout and I am going to them (the arm one and one of the leg ones) once a day. It equals around a 40 minute workout. I do realize that I may need to take a day off here or there to prevent injury if I’m straining a little too hard.
So, without further ado, here are the videos:
This was going to be a no sugar and strength building challenge but come on, me…no sugar? Ya right!
Join in on this challenge! Just grab a button below and let me know in the comments that you will be participating. Every Monday for the next 30 days I’ll update you and link to the participants blogs so everyone can see how you are doing to!