How to Determine if a Supplement is Right for You

A doctor consults with a patient to determine is a supplement is right.

According to a Harris poll, 86 percent of Americans take vitamins or supplements. From our experience, most do so with little concern. They read somewhere that a certain supplement cures all sorts of health conditions, so they rush out to buy it. Then they start popping pills in hopes for the best outcome. The fact is, supplements have risks, along with rewards. Another little-known fact is that the government doesn’t regulate the supplement industry. Unlike the pharmaceutical industry, there is no standard testing, trials, and labeling requirements for supplements. So before you reach for the supplement bottle, read this article. You will learn how to determine if a supplement is right for you.

The Wild West

The FDA doesn’t have the authority to review dietary supplement products for safety and effectiveness. Manufacturers bear the responsibility for their own products. That means they can market them without any government oversight. Keep in mind the manufacturers are in business to make a profit. While many manufacturers are highly ethical and trustworthy, some may not report dangers associated with their products. Therefore, it’s up to you to do your own product research before starting any supplement regimen. 

The first thing to do is to consult with your doctor. Your doctor can confirm supplements you are considering won’t interact negatively with any prescribed medications. After that, it’s time to start your research.

The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Adverse Event Reporting (CAERS) is a reporting agency that documents cases when using the products resulted in bad outcomes. Additionally, it reports complaints filed by consumers and health care practitioners. This database is submitted to the FDA for dietary supplements, foods, and cosmetics, and is where consumers can report possible harm caused by a supplement. This database is completely voluntary. Therefore, complaints registered here could be the tip of the iceberg.

Three Things to Consider

Two young women talking while sharing coffee.

When researching supplements, two questions should be front and center.  First off, do they work? Check with the National Institute of Health Institute of Health for the dietary supplement fact sheet. Look for case studies of people who use the supplement. Talk to friends for anecdotal evidence. And of course, consult with reputable health care professionals. After you have thoroughly investigated the effectiveness of the supplement, you are ready to decide if it’s right for you. If you decide to try it, give it about a month to see results.  Keep a written log of how you feel during that month and review it to spot trends in your health and wellness. Supplements, like prescription medications, can affect individuals differently, so it’s important to determine if it’s working for you. If it isn’t, stop taking it.    

Another question to ask should be, is it safe? Just because something is labeled “natural” doesn’t mean it’s safe. Many prescription and illegal drugs are developed from plants, which are natural, so safety should be a concern. Your doctor keeps your health records and knows if any underlying health problems exist. So, we recommend keeping your doctor up to date while using any supplement.

Additionally, third-party testing is important. Third-party lab testing provides unbiased reports on effectiveness and safety, so be sure to look for them. Independent testing is important for all supplements, especially CBD. Reputable manufacturers provide complete transparency and often publish these results on their website. These considerations will ensure you determine if a supplement is right for you.

Purity Matters

A single drop of water falls into a pool to symbolize purity.  This is one of the ways how to determine if a supplement is right for you.

What’s in this product? That is another question to ask. Make sure your supplements are as pure as possible, without added fillers, colors, and contaminants. Not all supplements have all the ingredients they claim to have. They may contain ingredients not listed on the label, and these ingredients can be unsafe. Specific, individual vitamins, like C or D, usually have only one effective ingredient. But herbal or botanical supplements often contain a blend of active ingredients not fully disclosed on labels. The independent group USP, or US Pharmacopeia, is a non-profit organization that sets the most widely accepted standards for purity. NSF International is another non-profit organization that sets similar standards. It’s also important to obtain your vitamins and supplements from a trusted source and look for third-party testing.

Supplements can be an effective and safe way to treat health conditions, but use them only if you have to. As discussed in my last blog, Healthy Food Can Be The Best Medicine, nothing beats the nutrient power of a healthy diet. Do not use supplements as a substitute for good nutrition. Turn to them after you’ve made changes to your diet and still suffer from a health condition, and always with the advice and consent of your health care practitioner. Finding the right supplements can be a challenge, but if you use the tools provided above, you can determine if a supplement is right for you. For more information on supplements and the six keys to optimal health, visit our website. There you can learn about our full line of CBD products and start a live chat with us. Our mission is to help you feel great and live your best life, naturally.

Healthy Food Can Be the Best Medicine

Fruits and vegetables in a heart-shaped bowl wrapped by a stethascope.  Symbols of how healthy food can be the best medicine.

Many people suffer from infections, feel tired, and experience conditions related to skin, hair, and nails. Sometimes these conditions need to be treated with prescription medications. But sometimes they are a sign of a vitamin deficiency and can be treated by adding specific foods to a person’s diet. Healthy food can be the best medicine. Food is effective, affordable, and readily available. Best of all it doesn’t have harmful side effects associated with some prescription medications. 

This article is part of a series focusing on diet and supplementation. In part one, we discussed the right food proportions, the ideal dinner plate, and portion size. Today, in part two, we will give examples of how foods can treat common health conditions. Plus, we scratch the surface of supplements and explore the benefits and risks that come along with them.  

Vitamin and Nutrient Deficiency

If your diet does not supply a sufficient quantity of vitamins or nutrients, a deficiency will develop. You can develop a deficiency for any individual vitamin or nutrient. According to Healthline, among the most common deficiencies are iron, calcium, iodine, and vitamins D, B12, and A. Deficiencies can result in a wide range of conditions. If left untreated, they can cause serious medical conditions. It’s easy to test for vitamin deficiencies. Blood tests can determine the level of vitamins and nutrients found in your body. So if you suspect you may have a deficiency, contact your doctor to schedule a test soon.

Your Fork to the Rescue

If you test positive for a mild to moderate vitamin deficiency, the first treatment can be to change your diet. It’s as simple as adding a few extra items to your grocery list. After that, you have to eat them regularly. Here are some common issues and vitamin deficiencies that may be to blame. We also provide suggestions on foods that may help.

A stalk of broccoli pieced by the tines of a fork, islolated on a white background.
  1. Brittle hair and nails. This could be caused by taking prescription antibiotics and could indicate a biotin deficiency. Foods rich in biotin include egg yolks, fish, meat, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, and broccoli.
  2. Pale Skin, Jaundice, Sensations of Pins and Needles. These conditions could be a Vitamin B12 deficiency. Consume meats, fish, poultry, eggs to treat ad B12 to your diet.  Additionally, look for foods fortified with B12, such as some varieties of bread and plant-based milk can help.
  3. Bleeding Gums. You might be brushing your teeth too hard, or you might be suffering from a Vitamin C deficiency.  Find foods that contain Vitamin C in the produce department of your local supermarket.  So grab a basket and fill it up with broccoli, brussels sprouts, red peppers, spinach, leafy greens, and tomatoes.
  4. Red or White Bumps on the Skin. This condition is also known as keratosis pilaris. It is an indication of low levels of both vitamins A and C. Treat it by eating more dairy, eggs, fish, dark leafy green veggies, and yellow-orange colored fruits and vegetables. 
  5. Restless Leg Syndrome. RLS is a sign of iron deficiency. Iron-rich foods include meat, poultry, fish, legumes, dark leafy greens, nuts, and seeds.
  6. Infections, Fatigue, Back and Bone pain. These issues could indicate a Vitamin D deficiency.  Vitamin D keeps your immune system strong and is found in some types of fish, white mushrooms, whole milk, swiss cheese, and eggs.

Grocery Store Guide

As you can see, many nutritional deficiencies can be combated by eating some of the same variety of foods. One thing in common is that they can all be found in the healthy sections of the grocery store.  These sections include dairy, meat, and especially produce.

You will find them along the perimeter of the store. That’s because they are perishable and require refrigeration. The items found on the aisles in the center of the store are often processed to keep the shelf-stable for long periods. Processing often strips vitamins and nutrients from foods, leaving them with little or no nutritional value.

When Food is Not Enough

Supplements tumbling out a jar,

Sometimes, treating vitamin and nutrient deficiencies with food is not effective. For instance, strict vegans and people taking certain prescription drugs cannot absorb some vitamins, like B12, from their diet. An over-the-counter supplement may be another option to help with these nutritional deficiencies. Before starting a supplementation regimen, it’s important that you talk to your doctor about it to make sure it doesn’t interfere with any current treatment protocols.

A Common Misconception

Vitamins and supplements are usually a safe way to improve health and wellness.  Some people think taking vitamins and supplements can make them healthier and certainly can’t hurt them. That’s not exactly true. The fact is, under certain conditions, taking vitamins and supplements, if improperly dosed, appear to be harmful, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Healthy food can be the best medicine if you know which foods treat which conditions. When the right foods don’t work, supplements, if taken properly, might be the right treatment. In part three of this series, we will explore the risks and rewards of taking vitamin supplements and provide dosing guidelines to make sure you are taking them properly. Until then, visit the Naturally. . . You website for more information on eating a healthy diet and the five other keys to optimal health. There you can find recommended reading materials and links to buy them. You can also start a live chat to discuss this or any other health-related question.  I look forward to chatting with you soon!  

Your Path to Feeling Great Starts Here

A table filled with healthy foods and portions.  The Path to Healthy Eating Starts Here.

Many Americans eat an unhealthy diet, which can lead to all sorts of nutritional deficiencies and medical conditions.  Developing good eating habits is the first step to a healthy lifestyle and feeling good. In this multi-part series, we will discuss eating a healthy diet, tips for weight control, the perils of vitamin deficiency, and supplementation. The dinner table is where we begin and your path to feeling great starts here.

The Ideal Dinner Plate

Naturally…You believes in a macronutrient-dense diet with a balance of healthy carbs, proteins, and fats. Our dinner plates, when filled with food, should contain 40 percent vegetables, 30% lean protein, 15% starches, and 15% fat. The typical American dinner plate contains more protein and starches, so adjust your plate composition to follow these guidelines when possible.

Portion Control

Controlling portion size is important if you want to maintain a healthy weight level. There are several factors that influence the amount of food consumed at a meal, including plate size. Believe it or not, the size of a plate or bowl, as well as the size of the utensil used, has a big impact on how much will be eaten. Large plates can make food appear smaller, often leading to overeating. In a study cited by Healthline, people using a large bowl ate 77% more pasta than those using a medium-sized bowl. Using smaller plates helps keep portions smaller and prevents overeating.

A man lifting a fork full of spaghetti toward his mouth.
Use smaller plates, serve smaller portions and eat slowly to control the amount of food you eat.

Another factor is the amount of food served. People eat more food when larger portions are served. When you are eating at home, serve smaller portions, trying to follow the plate composition guidelines above. Do not serve yourself more food until your entire plate is clean. Then wait 10 minutes.  If you are still hungry, serve yourself half of the size of the original portions. 

Restaurant portions tend to be larger than average. Restaurant serving sizes are, on average, about 2.5 times larger than standard serving sizes.  To avoid overeating, ask for a to-go box when you place your order, then when your food arrives, put half of it into the box and close it up.  Not only will you eat a proper portion, but you will have dinner for the next day! 

Slow Down and Slim Down

Another trick to reduce the amount of food you eat is to slow down. People who eat quickly tend to eat more food because it takes 20 minutes for the signal that you are full to travel from the stomach to the brain.  A faster eater will eat more during those 20 minutes. Metabolic syndrome is a name given to five risk factors are high blood pressure, high triglycerides, or the fats found in the blood, high blood sugar, low levels of the “good” cholesterol, and a large waistline. A study cited by Medical News Daily “Eating speed was associated with obesity and future prevalence of metabolic syndrome. Eating slowly may therefore […] be a crucial lifestyle factor for preventing metabolic syndrome.”

Mindful Eating Helps You Keep Control

A woman eating a donut and drinking coffee while she is driving.

When people are distracted during a meal they tend to eat more. Distractions can include driving a car, scrolling through social media, responding to email, and watching television. Slowing down and deliberately eating a meal is mindful eating and can prevent overeating.  Here are some tips for eating mindfully, from Harvard University.

  • Set your kitchen timer to 20 minutes, and take that time to eat a normal-sized meal.
  • Try eating with your non-dominant hand; if you’re a righty, hold your fork in your left hand when lifting food to your mouth.
  • Use chopsticks if you don’t normally use them.
  • Take small bites and chew well.
  • Before opening the fridge or cabinet, take a breath and ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?” If the answer is “No”, then walk away.

Eating properly is the first step to a healthy life. This includes food choices, portion sizes, and eating mindfully. All of these things are within your control. Nutritional deficiencies can arise even in people with healthy diets.  When that happens, physical conditions can occur. Specific foods and supplements may be used to treat those conditions. Learn more about this in our next article, the second part of this series on Eating Well, Nutrition, and Supplementation. Your path to feeling great starts here, and look for our next article. Uuntil then, if you have any questions, visit our website. You can learn more about supplementation and the Six Keys to Optimal Health.  You can also start a live chat with me to discuss this or any natural health topic. Let’s chat soon!

Are Your Personal Care Products Making You Sick?

A cancer patient, lying in bed and staring out of a window.

You might be surprised by the number of chemical toxins that find their way into our bodies. Most people want to reduce that number and focus on things they put into their mouths.  They buy organic produce and natural, grass-fed meats. Unfortunately, most people do not realize how many chemical toxins absorb into the body through the skin. Hundreds of chemicals are found in hair care, skincare, and cosmetics. And many of them are not proven safe for humans It makes you wonder, “Are your personal care products are making you sick?”

According to thinkbig.com, if you use just nine personal care products a day, you could be absorbing almost 130 chemicals. Most people use nine products in their morning routine alone.  Some cause cancer, while others interfere with fertility. In this article, we will tell you the importance of clean skincare. We also provide resources for what to avoid and where to buy chemical-free products.

You’ve Probably Been Exposed

According to the Environmental Working Group, the average American woman uses 12 products per day. k And these products contain 168 unique ingredients. Some of these products are toxins. These toxins unwittingly expose millions of people to cancer-causing ingredients. We all want clean products. But 20 percent of us get exposed to seven of the top cancer-causing impurities in personal care products every day. And once those products are absorbed, it takes only 26 seconds to enter your bloodstream!

A group of personal care products that can make someone sick.

The FDA to the Rescue, probably not!

Most people are shocked to learn about all the chemicals we are exposed to. This is because we wrongly assume the US Food and Drug Administration is looking out for us.  We think they would never allow products using these ingredients on the market. That is simply not the case.  The FDA has banned only 11 chemicals from personal care products. The laws that govern the FDA have not changed since 138.  According to the FDA, “With the exception of color additives and a few prohibited ingredients, a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient. They can market the product without an approval from FDA,” The FDA actually does not regulate the skincare or cosmetic industries.  In fact, no federal agency does!

Find out Which Products are Safe

Learning about chemicals in your personal care products is the first step to preventing toxins from being absorbed into your skin. Start by reading the labels on the products you use.  Look for warnings about using these products. This is especially important if you have health conditions or are pregnant.  These are BIG RED FLAGS that tell you to stop using the product, regardless of your condition.  Check your soaps and cleansers, moisturizers and lip products, sunscreens, and nail care products.  All of these products are potential sources of toxic ingredients. To see if your products are safe, visit EWG’s Skin Deep website, an online database of over 68,000 personal care products.  

Another Resource You Can Trust

Donna Mansbart

For sound advice on natural skincare, Naturally. . . You often turns to Donna Mansbart. She is a licensed cosmetologist and esthetician who uses natural skincare products on her clients. She educates people on the importance of results-oriented, chemical-free products. If you are wondering if your personal-care products are making you sick, she can help you find out. She has been working in the beauty industry for over 25 years and has extensive experience in skincare. She offers a full line of products that are chemical-free. Plus, she can help you understand the science of skin. Contact her here.  For more insights on this issue, Donna recommends the book, Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry, by Stacy Malkan. 

Living a chemical-free life will make you healthier, increase your quality of life, and help you live longer.  Healthy and happy is what we all want. It’s the cornerstone of Naturally. . . You.  Visit our website, naturallyyoufl.com, to learn about the Six Keys to Optimal Health and get resources to help you along your life journey.  While you are there, check out our weight-management plans. Additionally, we offer total body detoxification programs and our superior-quality full-spectrum line of CBD products.  Use them to feel better, sleep better, and live better. . . naturally.

Five Things to Know about Sun Protection and Skin Cancer

Woman at the beach wearing a hat signifying the five things to know about sun protection and skin cancer.

By now, almost everyone who cares about good skin, fighting the effects of aging, and looking their best (like most of my readers) has been told to wear sunscreen.  The summer season is the time of year when more exposure to the sun is common.  It is especially important to understand how sunshine affects our skin, how to protect it, and avoid skin cancers, while still enjoying the great outdoors. Here are five things to know about sun protection and skin cancer.    

The Damage Caused by UV Rays

Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun damage the DNA of skin cells.  This can permanently alter the appearance of the skin’s pigmentation and cause skin irregularities, wrinkles, and sags.  According to the American Cancer Society, there are three types of UV rays, UVA, UVB, and UVC.  While UVA rays are harmful and should be avoided, UVB rays are the most harmful.  They are more energetic than UVA rays, cause more sunburns, and can directly alter the DNA of skin cells. UVB rays are thought to cause most skin cancers.  UVC rays do not penetrate into our atmosphere and are not sunlight, so they are not cause for concern at this time.

Skin Cancer and Early Warning Signs

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer each day! Skin cancer is, by far, the most common form of cancer. Melanoma accounts for only about 1% of skin cancers but causes a large majority of skin cancer deaths. Melanoma is cancer that starts in the cells that give skin color.  Therefore, it’s very important to pay attention to common moles on the skin.  If the color of the mole spreads outside the borders of the mole, that could be an early warning sign of trouble.  If you see this, make an appointment with a dermatologist immediately.  If ignored, melanoma can spread from the skin into organs of the body and cause death.  I have friends that visit their dermatologist once a year to get checked, just as a precaution.    At Naturally…You we are all about precaution, prevention, and protection! 

Different Shades of Sun Screen

Woman applying sunscreen to her arm.

The best form of prevention and protection is to stay inside and avoid the sunshine.  I once worked with a woman who rarely when out in the sun.  She has exquisite skin and a nice shade of pale, but let’s face it, most of us spend time outdoors, at least some of the time.  For people like us, there is sunscreen.  Using sunscreen slows the aging of the skin and prevents sunburn. 

But not all sunscreens are created equally.  Most fall into two categories, physical blockers, and chemical blockers.  Physical blockers are made of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These tend to be less irritating and block UV radiation across the UVA and UVB spectrum. This is knowns as the broad spectrum, and you may see those words on the product packaging. While effective, many physical sunscreens can leave your skin with a chalky white appearance.  Chemical blockers can have a narrow spectrum of UV coverage and carry a risk of contact allergy and irritation.  These blockers, however, can be formulated to blend into skin better, giving a more natural appearance to the ones wearing it.

When to use Sunscreen

Everyone should use sunscreen every day, even when it’s cloudy, you are going to be indoors all day, you plan to wear a big hat, or sit in the shade.  Everyday.  Period.

The SPF Mystery, Solved!

On every bottle or jar of sunscreen, you will see something called an SPF with a number next to it.  The SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and the number indicates the degree of protection it offers.  For example, an SPF of 15 means that it will take 15 times the UV exposure to cause a mild sunburn when compared to unprotected skin.  The higher the number, the greater the protection.  The American Academy of Dermatology recommends sunscreens that are SPF 30, broad-spectrum, and water-resistant (holds effectiveness for 40 minutes).  Apply it liberally over all exposed skin, and since sunscreens are often not waterproof, it’s a good idea to reapply it every two hours and after swimming or sweating.

Sun protection products, sunglasses and a towel on a table near a swimming pool.

The sun can damage your skin, and skin cancer affects millions of Americans each year.  These five things to know about sun protection and skin cancer give you the knowledge to stay healthy. Armed with the proper knowledge and the right sunscreen, you can enjoy your favorite outdoor activities, avoid harmful UV rays, and still look young and vibrant.  For more information on this or any health and wellness topic, visit naturallyyoufl.com.  There you can chat with me directly.  I’m always available to discuss your health concerns, so reach out on my site.  I look forward to chatting with you soon.

Five Podcasts to Help Build a Better Life

A young woman sitting at a desk, listening to a podcast on her mobile phone.

Building a better life is a goal for most people.  Fortunately, there are lots of resources to help people achieve this goal.  There are countless blogs, books, and seminars teaching people how to do just about anything.  At Naturally. . . You, we are always looking for ways to help our clients live happier, more fulfilled lives.  We find podcasts to be especially helpful.  First off, some podcasts specialize in every self-improvement topic imaginable.  Second, they vary in episode length, so you can find one that fits into your schedule.  Third, most offer actionable tips to help you overcome your challenge.  Often these podcasts have dedicated websites with free supplemental materials and resources. Additionally, they are free and accessible to everyone.  

Today we are presenting five podcasts to help you build a better life.   Each focuses on a specific topic, like happiness or meditation.  We describe the content and tell you why we like it.  Hopefully, you will like some of them too, and use them to build your better life.

For Meditation

The Daily Meditation Podcast.  This is a daily guided meditation helping you to be happier, more at peace, and sleep better.  Hosted by Mary Meckley, a certified meditation teacher, the Daily Meditation Podcast focuses on weekly themes based on a single emotion and provides daily meditation techniques to manage stress triggers. 

What we like about this—Staying focused through a meditation practice can be difficult. It’s easy to get distracted by the events of daily life.  Mary’s calming voice guides you through a meditation and keeps you on track.  These meditations are short, usually less than 10 minutes, so they are easy to fit into morning or evening routines. 

For Happiness

The Happiness Lab.  This is a weekly podcast hosted by Dr. Laurie Santos, a professor at Yale University.  Many people think more money, a better job, or exotic vacations will make them happier.  That’s simply not true, according to research.  Each week The Happiness Lab takes you through the latest scientific research and shares some surprising and inspiring stories that will change the way you think about happiness. 

What we like about this—This podcast focuses on the science behind happiness and skips the mindless platitudes.  Between the research described, interviews with authors, and actual stories, listeners realize that happiness is in their control.  It results from the choices they make every day, and listeners get tools that empower them to make better choices.  These podcasts usually run 30-60 minutes, the perfect size for a typical commute to the office.

For Confidence

A man on a city street looks confidently upward.  He just finished listening to one of the five podcasts to help build a better life.

The You Turn Podcast.  Many people are frustrated with the course of their lives.  But most are scared to make a change.  That’s where Ashley Stahl’s You Turn Podcast comes in, covering a wide range of topics, including personal relationships, career choices, and self-improvement.  Wisdom gained here can build the confidence needed to make a needed U-Turn on the road to happiness and fulfillment.

What we like about this—The diversity of topics means everyone can learn and grow from listening to this podcast.  Each episode lasts about an hour, which is enough time for an in-depth exploration of the topic.  In addition, it also gives enough time for questions and answers with the guests and tips on how to overcome obstacles. 

For Motivation

Optimal Daily Living. This aggregates the best personal development blogs on the internet.  Each day, Optimal Daily Living host Justin Malik reads an excerpt from a published blog on self-improvement.

What we like about this—Thousands of blogs publish every day, and finding and reading them all is impossible. This podcast does all that for you and then delivers a short snippet from that blog.  These are short podcasts, usually less than 10 minutes long, so they can be squeezed into busy schedules.  Plus, they offer food-for-thought on the subjects of motivation, success, and daily habits that can help you build the life you want.

For Sleep

A woman sleeping in a bed, surrounded by white clouds.

Sleepy.  Each week, host Otis Grey reads classic stories in a low, rhythmic tone to lull you to sleep.  Since the stories are classic, like Pinocchio and The Prince and the Pauper, you already know them and know how they end.  That means you can drift off anytime because you already know the ending. Plus, the familiarity of the story can be comforting, especially if you are stressed out and need to get to sleep.

What we like about thisSleepy is everything most people need to fall asleep.  It combines a comforting story, told in a soothing voice and a slow pace.  Each episode lasts around an hour, so there is plenty of time to drift off before it ends.  If you still have trouble sleeping, we suggest taking a CBD gummy ring just before you start the episode.  The Sleepy podcast and CBD are the stuff dreams are made of.

Help Along the Way

Everyone faces challenges in their lives, and most people need a little help to overcome them in healthy ways.  From specific challenges like trouble sleeping, to more general concerns like, “how can be happier,” these podcasts can be effective tools to help build a better life. Along with this blog, podcasts are a great way to feel less isolated by your obstacles, stories by others who have overcome similar challenges can inspire you, and you can learn tips to use on your journey to a better life. Helping you on your journey is what Naturally. . . You is all about.  These five podcasts will help you build a better life, but more importantly, a better life defined by you. 

For more podcast suggestions or help with finding the right CBD product for you, contact us at sharon@naturallyyoufl.com.  I’ll be happy to send a list of podcast options that can help you overcome your current challenge.         

Now is the Time to Indulge in Spring Vegetables

Spring fruits and vegetables including rainbow radishes nestled in a wicker basket.

Springtime is the season of renewal. The weather starts warming up and the flowers are blooming. Perhaps best of all is the abundance of fresh vegetables available.  Vegetables provide a wealth of nutrients that critically important to a healthy diet, one of the Six Keys to Optimal Health. Nutrition research shows that eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits reduces the risk of many chronic diseases. They are normally fat-free, cholesterol-free and a great source of fiber, so now is the time to indulge in spring vegetables.

Why Eating in Season Matters

It’s true, you can often find fresh produce that is out of season. For instance, blueberries grow during summer months, but you can find them in stores all year long. That means they have either been stored for a long time or have been shipped in from a region of the world. Often that region is at the opposite end of the earth. Here is why both situations are not ideal.

  1. Vitamins and nutrients diminish over time, so the longer produce is stored, the less nutritious they are. According to the New York Times, “that many fruits and vegetables experience rapid losses in their nutritional value when stored for more than a few days.
  2. Preserving produce for a long time often requires chemicals to inhibit sprouting and a wax coating to seal in moisture.    
  3. Shipping creates pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, harming the environment.    

The best thing you can do to take advantage of seasonal vegetables is to buy from a local farmer’s market.  Not only will the produce taste better, but you will be consuming it at the peak of its freshness and nutritional value. Plus, you will be supporting local farmers and building better communities. 

Our Favorite Spring Vegetables:

Asparagus

Asparagus has potent diuretic properties which helps to regulate glandular disorders and kidney function. It is high in potassium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K, which helps to prevent blood clotting. It’s typically green in color, but it can also be found in white. White asparagus hasn’t been exposed to sunlight.

Fresh artichokes on a white washed board.

Artichokes  

Like asparagus, artichokes also have diuretic properties and can be useful in treating water retention. Artichokes help to stabilize metabolism and lower both blood cholesterol and sugar. They contain as much as 10 grams of fiber each and since fiber helps you feel full, they can aid in weight control. Choose artichokes that feel firm and heavy, with bright green and sturdy leaves.

Arugula

This peppery lettuce tastes milder in the spring when the leaves are a lighter shade green.  Darker leaves indicate the arugula is older and stronger in taste.  Packed with Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Calcium, Manganese, and Folate, arugula normalizes body acids and treats acidosis.

Broccoli

One serving of broccoli exceeds the recommended daily allowance of Vitamins C and E. Vitamin C is especially important because it protects the body from damaging free radicals. Additionally, it’s high in fiber, which can lower cholesterol and promote a healthy digestive tract. Potassium found in broccoli supports the nervous system.

Carrots

This is one of the best dietary sources of beta carotene, which boosts the immune system and reduces the risk of many cancers. The abundance of vitamin A in carrots helps to improve your vision and improve skin tone. Plus, the lycopene in carrots is also good for your heart.

Be careful when buying baby carrots, if the label says “baby-cut” carrots, they are not really baby carrots. Baby-cut carrots are regular carrots, machine-cut to a small size, peeled, and polished.

Rainbow carrots bundled together and isolated on a white background. They are highly nutritious and one reason why now is the time to indulge in spring fruits and vegetables.
Carrots come in a variety of colors including yellow, white, and purple. But the most popular color is orange.

Mustard Greens

Mustard greens have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.  A typical serving delivers 500% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin K, 175% of your Vitamin A, and 60% of your Vitamin C. Mustard greens strengthen the immune system, help with anemia, and build strong bones and teeth.

Radishes

Radishes have Vitamin C and are known to control damage to our red blood cells.  They also increase oxygen supply to the blood and cleanse the stomach, gallbladder, and liver. If that wasn’t enough, radishes contain RsAPF2, which is good for treating candida and can ease cold and flu symptoms.

Peas

Peas have a storehouse of vitamins and nutrients, including vitamins A, C, K, B6, Magnesium, and iron. Peas contain an abundant amount of fiber, which has been shown to help the growth of good bacteria in the intestine and provide many benefits for digestive health.

The nutritional value is just one of the reasons why now is the time to indulge in spring vegetables.  For most of us, the main reason is taste.  Many are delicate in texture, nuanced in flavor, and can be prepared in so many ways.  It takes little culinary skill to make them the star of the dinner table. A simple salad with a light vinaigrette can provide the base for grilled seafood. Steamed spring vegetables dressed in butter or olive oil and sesame seeds can steal the show.  And a bowl of nothing but fresh peas and rice is comfort food at its finest.  For more information on diet, the other five keys to optimal health, and the most effective CBD products available, visit our website, naturallyyoufl.  There you can start a chat or find great resources to help guide your journey in health and wellness. 

The High Price of Your Smartphone Addiction

A smartphone laying on a table with the charging cord wrapped around a man's wrists.  Symbolic of the high price of your smartphone addiction.

I can almost feel your anxiety rise as you read this.  A smartphone sabbatical?  Is that even possible?  Most people tether to their smartphones 24/7.  Americans check their phones over 50 times a day, and many feel anxiety when it’s out of reach, even for just a few minutes.  Many people have become dependent on it for everything.  And that dependency comes with a high price tag.  It can cause physical and mental health problems, so taking a break from your smartphone is a good idea. Continue reading to learn the high price of your smartphone addiction.

It’s Probably Filthy

Your smartphone screen is ten times dirtier than a toilet seat, according to Time Magazine.  The article cites studies that found serious pathogens on cell phones, including Streptococcus, MRSA, and even E. coli.  Many people never disinfect their phones.  Think about all the places you take your phone, place it on a table or counter, then pick them up again.  Each time they can collect germs that transfer to your body.  When you talk into your phone, these germs get close to your mouth and nose.  That, combined with touching your face, increases the risk of everything from colds and flu to strep throat and conjunctivitis.   

Lowers Attention Span, Zaps Mental Strength

People pay a high price for smartphone dependency. One problem is that smartphones are very good at distraction.  This distraction results in a lower attention span.  Notifications from incoming messages, breaking news, and social media apps fight for your attention.  Every time your phone pings, it disrupts your thoughts, focus, and efficiency.  Notifications take you off your game.  They provoke inefficient performance, and the quality of your work suffers.  This happens in the office and at home.

Having it Close By is Enough to Reduce Performance

Even more disturbing, a study reported in Science Daily suggests the brain drain goes beyond smartphone notifications.  This study compared the results of two groups of people taking the same test.  One group left their smartphones in another room.  The other group kept their devices close by.  Some were turned on while others where switched off.  Some phones were hidden, others were in partial view, and others were in full view.  Results show having the device close to you, whether it’s turned on or off, hidden or in view, is all it takes to lower cognitive functionality.  When your smartphone is close by, thoughts about it are triggered, even when performing tasks not related to your smartphone.  “It’s not that participants were distracted because they were getting notifications on their phones,” cited the study, “The mere presence of a smartphone was enough to reduce cognitive capacity.” 

Smartphones Disrupt Your Sleep

A man checks his smartphone in bed in the middle of the night.

We have written a lot of articles about the importance of quality sleep.  Nothing disrupts more sleep than a smartphone in the bedroom.  Smartphones emit harmful blue light.  According to Active Health, blue light has a profound impact on your sleep simply because it directly affects your body’s production of the sleep hormone melatonin.  Blue light suppresses its production.  That results in less sleep and fewer sleep cycles.  This situation causes all sorts of problems.  People who consistently get less than 6 hours of sleep a night have a greater risk of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.  Additionally, prolonged exposure to blue light over time can cause cell damage in our retina and make us more susceptible to macular degeneration, a problem that may lead to a permanent loss of vision.

Your Memory is Fading

The reduced ability to focus and disrupted sleep cycles have a dramatic impact on memory.  Memories are processed and stored in the final stage of sleep, the REM stage.  The REM stage of sleep is short in the first sleep cycle but gets longer with each sleep cycle.  So, the longer you sleep, the better the memory you will have.  According to the National Institutes of Health, smartphone use has a significant negative impact on the working memory performance of humans. And you don’t need excessive exposure to see the effect.  The impact is apparent with as little as five minutes of smartphone use. 

We are not suggesting anyone discontinue using their smartphones.  Smartphones and the apps they power are helpful tools in daily life.  However, it’s important to understand the risks associated with them to protect your health and wellness.  Addiction to anything is harmful, and there is a high price for your smartphone addiction.  In the next article, we will give you tips and tools to help you reduce your dependence on your smartphone and take a smartphone sabbatical.  If you’d like to discuss this or any other health and wellness topic, visit our website.  There you can chat with me live and check out my full line of CBD products.  I look forward to chatting with you soon!

Fitness Trends for 2020 Mix Fun with Results!

A group of young women practicing yoga together.

The fitness industry is in a constant state of change.  Americans don’t stick to most fitness routines because they become just that, routines. Many people who resolve to workout get bored, lose motivation and quit. For 2020, the trends in fitness and exercise aim to change that.  They include innovative equipment that delivers results, variety, a competitive angle, and workouts that simulate daily activity.  Exercise is one of the Six Keys to Optimal Health, and Naturally…You is excited about what’s new in the industry.  So keep reading to learn how fitness trends for 2020 mix fun with results.     

Pilates Megaformer Workout 

A woman working out on Pilates Megaformer equipment as an example of Fitness Trends in 2020 that mix fun with results.

Pilates fans know about the carriage-like equipment known as a reformer.  It is built with movable platforms, springs, and pulleys.  This year’s trend in Pilates is called a megaformer. And it takes this workout to a whole new level.  Done mostly in Pilates studios, megaformer is a boutique fitness class.  This makes it ideal for people who want a serious workout but don’t like large classes found in big-box gyms.  It focuses on core strength and stability and activates slow-twitch muscles for full-body engagement.  This workout will make you sweat, shake, burn fat, and build muscle with lots of abdominal engagement.  The result is a low-impact workout that strengthens muscles, improves balance and flexibility. Best of all, it challenges your core in a way that a lot of other workouts don’t. 

Virtual Reality Workouts Change the Game

Playing virtual realty tennis means you don’t need a tennis court, or even a human opponent!

The worlds of fitness and technology come together to create simulated workout experiences.  This is taking off in 2020 and will expand in scope and popularity. All you need is a virtual reality headset and some games or apps. These are convenient because they can be done practically anywhere. Plus they eliminate the boredom that typically creeps into gym-based workouts. 

VR workouts can change as often as you’d like.  Try boxing one day, tennis the next, and practice yoga another day.  In one game, Hot Squat, players do as many squats as they can by ducking to navigate a series of virtual tunnels. It combines strength and endurance conditioning while you play to score points.  While some may seem more like a game than a workout, don’t be fooled! VR workouts can be very effective.  Throughout this year and into the future, the development of VR workout opportunities will produce more targeted, effective and fun ways to get fit.

The Mini-Trampoline Bounces Back

That’s right, a favorite in the 1980s, the mini-trampoline, is back. Like virtual reality workouts, this is an activity you want to do versus an obligation like a gym routine you have to do.  Jumping on a mini-trampoline is fun and gives you an effective workout. Mini trampoline classes combine:

  • Cardio
  • Simple choreography
  • Toning
  • Stretching 

The benefits include:

  • Improved cardio function
  • Kicks the lymphatic system into high gear
  • Aids in weight loss
  • Improves balance
  • Builds bone mass

Best of all, it’s fun!  John Porcari, professor of exercise and sport science at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse, was quoted in Time Magazine saying “When you’re following along to a video or doing something fun, the enjoyment factor overrides the fact that you’re working hard.  You just focus on having fun.”

Exercise Imitates Life through Functional Workouts

Functional workout classes simulate common movements that you may do at home. You are essentially doing real-life activities in real-life exercise positions, using multiple muscles in the upper and lower body at the same time. The muscles are working together rather than isolating them to work independently. That way, they help control and balance body weight. Classes typically include the use of fitness balls, kettlebells, and weights.  Additionally, they include movements that include several body parts at once, like elbows, shoulders, knees, hips, and the spine. The result is muscle memory that reduces the risk of injury.  This is critically important, especially as a person gets older. Injuries can result in the loss of ability to do simple things and a lower quality of life.  Functional workouts are designed to help people stay as agile and independent for as long as possible. 

The Key to Lasting Fitness

Man on a paddle board in the middle of a lake.
Paddle-boarding effectively combines fun with exercise.

The key to lasting fitness is finding activities that are fun for you, with hard work to burn calories, strengthen muscle and endurance. Exercise is an important piece of the health and wellness puzzle. And constantly finding new workouts will fuel your success.  Start with a variety of activities that take place both indoors and outdoors. Next, mix up group settings and solo efforts.  Finally, keep the equipment light and expenses low. That way you will stay motivated, interested and excited.  Combine that with consistency and a healthy diet and you’ll be fit for life.  Fitness trends for 2020 mix fun with results in ways that will improve your quality of life.  So start now! Find a class nearby or pick up a virtual reality headset and start moving to a whole new groove!

To discuss this or any health or wellness topic, visit naturallyyoufl.com. Just look for the live-chat box in the lower right-hand corner.  You can also check out the Six Keys to Optimal Health and my complete line of CBD products. I look forward to chatting with you soon!

Why Your Brightest Days Start with Water

A young woman stands in a kitchen and starts her day drinking a glass of water.

By the time you wake up, your body is dehydrated.  Over an eight hour stretch of slumber, you are not drinking any water.  You are, however, breathing.  The simple act of breathing expels moisture and takes in dry air.  If you drink alcohol or any diuretic before bedtime you will dehydrate even faster while you sleep.  All this dehydration affects motor and cognitive function.  If you’ve ever had a little trouble moving or your mind is in a fog when you wake up, it’s probably a result of dehydration.  The best thing you can do for your mind and body is to drink a big glass of water the moment you get up.  It’s just the thing your body needs to prepare for the day ahead.  In this article, learn how a tall glass of H-2-O will set you up for success and why your brightest days start with water.  

Fog Lifter

Drinking a glass of water in the morning will lift the fog from your brain.  This is because water stimulates the production of red blood cells and generates more oxygen in your blood.  The more oxygen in your blood, the more alert you will be. According to a study reported in Self Magazine, “Drinking H2O may have another surprising benefit, improved memory and reaction time.” On top of that, brain activity increases with the level of hydration, so you drinking water in the morning makes it easier to speak clearly and complete sentences.  This helps you start your day on the right foot and your morning smoother.

Keeping Sickness at Bay

A woman with a head cold blows her nose while used tissues litter her desk.
Drinking a glass of water in the morning can protect you from sickness spread by co-workers.

You may share your commute with others heading off to work or school.  Public transportation and carpools can be cesspools of viruses.  Once you get to work, things don’t generally get better.  We’ve all worked with people who come to work sick.  They bravely soldier through the day sneezing and coughing all over everything while insisting they are too busy to stay home.  That glass of water you drank when you got up will actually help to balance your immune system and provide it fuel needed to fight off sickness throughout the day. 

Healthy Weight Loss

Along with being more alert, a more effective communicator, and staying healthy, drinking a glass of water in the morning helps to jump-start your metabolism.  That means you will burn more calories during the rest of your day.  According to Medical News Today, it also helps to flush toxins from your body.  The combination of faster metabolism and detoxification helps to reinforce healthy weight loss.  Water helps you put your best foot forward.  It also helps to put your best face forward as well.  Drinking water in the morning hydrates the skin.  As a result, it reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  It promotes healthy skin glow and is another reason why your brightest days start with water.    

Additional Benefits 

Drinking water throughout the day provides additional benefits.  Here are just a few.

A large glass of water depicts why your brightest days start with water.
  • Regulates your body temperature.  Staying hydrated is important to maintaining body temperature.  Your body loses water through sweating during exercise and in hot environments.  As a result, you need the water to replenish the lost fluid from sweat.
  • Aids in digestion.  Drinking water before, during, and after a meal will help your body break down the food you eat more easily.  Water is the lubricant that keeps your digestion going.  Therefore, as the water moves through your stomach and intestines, digestive organs are better hydrated and able to eliminate waste.
  • Dissolves vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from your food.  This makes it possible to deliver these nutrients to the rest of your body.
  • It protects your tissues and bones.  Water keeps the cartilage around our joints hydrated, ensuring that our joints stay lubricated and cushions the joints and spinal cords.  This minimizes the discomfort caused by conditions like arthritis and makes physical activity easier and more enjoyable.  Long term dehydration can lessen the joints shock absorbing ability and result in joint pain. 
  • Improves kidney health and functionality.  Water keeps our kidneys working.  Kidneys filter out waste through urination.  Adequate water intake helps your kidneys work more efficiently and may help prevent the initial formation of kidney stones.

Your Morning Routine Gets Better

Start tomorrow with a large glass of water.  Everything you do after that will reap the benefits.  Whether it’s catching an early morning workout, checking in with social media, or getting an early start on a work project, you will be more focused and perform better.  That’s why your brightest days start with water.  To learn more about water and the other six keys to optimal health, check out our site, naturallyyoufl.com.  While there, you can chat with me live on this topic, see my full line of CBD products, and learn ways to live a natural, healthy life.  I look forward to chatting with you soon.