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Working with over 70 clients since I opened my business two years ago have taught me many lessons. Based on those and my client's successes I want to share 5 most important tips you need to consider if you want to lose fat in a healthy way, and to be able to keep it off. 

You need to be in calorie deficit...but not too large

The single most important factor for weight loss, for otherwise healthy individuals, is to be in the calorie deficit, i.e. eat less than you move. This deficit can be achieved many different ways but it's really important that it's not too large, so no more than about 200-300 calories a day. If the changes are too drastic, and the deficit too large, you will lose weight very quickly, but there is a high likelihood for the yo-yo effect. Additionally rapid weight loss is extremely stressful for the body putting your health at risk by suppressing the immune system and de-regulating hormones. 

You need to be patient.....and realistic about your expectations

I know that when you start a fat loss journey you are all excited and ready to make changes, but many people expect dramatic results right away... What I mean by that is they expect to lose weight overnight and if they don't, they get very disappointed and give up. This is by far the worse thing that can happen. We seem to not notice the weight gain that most likely have happened over the course of multiple months, if not, years, yet we expect to lose it all in a couple of weeks. An average fat loss rate that is easy to keep off is about 1-2 lb a week. Any faster than that and you are most likely losing lean mass as well (and you never want to lose lean mass!). So be patient and realistic about the timeline of your weight loss journey. 

You need to embrace vegetables....and protein 

For the veggie haters out there (including my dear husband) - it is so crucial for your health and well-being to get your vitamins and minerals from whole foods. Vegetables and fruits have enormous amounts of nutrition, not to mention fiber which helps you feel fuller and have better bowel movements (and regular bowel movements mean easier weight loss).

Consuming protein increases your metabolic rate by 30% so once you increase your protein intake you actually start burning more calories than if you were to consume the same amount of carbs and/or fats. This initial increase in intake is often times how you get your initial weight loss started without even cutting calories.

For highly active individuals (exercising about 5 hrs a week) I would recommend as much as 0.8-1g of protein for each lb of body weight. 

Don't underestimate the value of hydration... and sleep

Water intake and proper sleep are very much under valued and sadly so. Many times I've tracked weight gain/loss based on sleep habits and travels patterns of my clients. If you missed my article on things you can do to improve your sleep tonight, you can read it HERE

I've also seen times where just by simply increasing water intake my clients were able to lose the first 1-2 lbs, just like that. Additionally, we often eat more because we think we are hungry, while in reality we just need to drink more water. 

Be smart about cutting foods/drinks  & adding exercise 

Lastly, be careful what foods you are cutting out and how much exercise you are adding in. Let's say you decide you want to cut out all the wine for a month. If you've been drinking 2 or more glasses a night, it's likely that you are going to lose a few pounds. But what do you think it's going to happen once you start drinking again? You're likely to put it right back.

Same with exercise. Let's say you just added 4 hours a week to your regular exercise routine to get into tip top shape. After a couple of months you reach your goals, and decide to dial back from 4 to 2 hours a week. Beside getting less exercise now, you are probably adding some foods you cut back on. Result? Weight gain. 

Obviously there are many more factors at play but I hope you do get the point. 

If you need help getting started and figure out where you can start creating deficits without sacrificing quality of your life and your sanity, let me know.

I would love to help you. You can reach me HERE. 

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We want to help connect members within the community, so we will be publishing Member Spotlights on a regular basis.  Today, we would like you to meet Monika Nowak, Nutrition Coach, Personal Trainer, and Owner of Power Nutrition, LLC.  Monika is a regular contributor to the HU Community.

HU:  What inspires you?

Answer: Nature - growing my own garden was a life-changing experience. Plants are so amazing in how they grow and develop. Also People who overcome extreme adversity and became successful. 

HU:  What is your biggest achievement to date (personal or professional)?

Answer: Opening my own nutrition coaching business. 

HU:  What does a typical day look like for you?

Answer:  6-7 am - breakfast, meditation, getting ready for work 

7 am-12noon - seeing nutrition clients (in my office) and/or personal training clients (at the gym I also work at); if I have time between clients I will put in a workout

12 - 2 pm - lunch at home, playing with my dog, catching up with my family on Skype

2 - 5pm - client calls, writing articles, reading, gardening (in the summer)

6 pm - making dinner 

9-10pm - sleep 

HU:  What is your favorite current project and why?

Answer: Running heathy eating challenges on my private Facebook group. I love to see different members of my group challenge themselves and share their experiences. There are always a few nutritional breakthroughs and great observations and I’m thrilled to be able to witness them. 

HU:  If you could switch jobs with someone, who would it be and why?

Answer: I’m pretty happy right now but maybe the only one would be to be a shark or orca research scientist. 

HU:  What are your biggest professional challenges?

Answer: Being able to reach a wider audience. Help kids eat healthier and teach parents how to feed their kids in a nutritionally sound way. 

HU:  What’s the most rewarding aspect about your career?

Answer: Helping people reach their health and wellness goals, overcoming eating disorders and finding more happiness and gratitude in daily aspects of life. 

HU:  What is your motto or personal mantra?

Answer: You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence is therefore not an act, but a habit. 

HU:  How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?

Answer: I don’t take late night or early morning (6am) sessions anymore. I travel as much as I can to get a break, unwind and relax. I spend as much time outside as I can. I eat well and go to bed early. 

HU:  What is the greatest obstacle you have overcome? 

Answer: Living away from my family and friends in Poland. 

HU:  What do you hope to share with the HU community?

Answer: My knowledge and experience, and passion for helping people get healthier and live fuller lives. 

HU:  What do you hope to learn/gain from the HU community?

Answer: Establishing relationships with like-minded individuals. Sharing knowledge, experience and learning from one another. 

HU: What’s the book you are currently reading? 

Answer: Better Brain by dr. David Perlmutter 

Learn more about Monika here.

#MemberSpotlight

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I'm hoping that 2018 will be the year I finally kick my caffeine habit once and for all. In the process of cutting back, I've realized two things: My morning coffee had become my time to take a moment for myself, and I have yet to discover a decaf substitute as satisfying as a rich cup of joe. It's taken some trial and error playing around with the herbs and plants I love so much, but four weeks ago, I finally found a beverage that works for me and satisfies both my spiritual need for daily ritual and my physical desire for something delicious. Here is my new morning go-to, and a few other energizing herbal concoctions that might work better for your tastes.

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Getting rid of stress becomes a whole lot easier once you know what to do and what not to do. There are specific areas of your life that you can tap into to make a positive change and get rid of stress for good.

Everything from the food you eat, to the grudges you keep, can relay into anxiety and stress. Your self-esteem and perception of the world around you play a significant role in this as well.

Beyond using the fidget spinner, here are five ways you can de-stress your life today!

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Successful people keep notes. They write down their ideas, so they don’t forget them. They don’t act on every idea but on occasion, they go back through their notes and see what inspires them. A new project can be born from an idea they had years ago.

The same principle can be used as a tool to help you develop your intuition and achieve more spiritual awareness.

Whether you are consciously aware of it or not we are all connected to a higher source of wisdom. Taking a moment to write down what you receive in a flash of insight can help you on your journey of consciousness and spiritual growth.

I am often asked how I developed my intuition. My answer? I did it through journaling. The simple act of writing out my thoughts and feelings helped me to tease out what was wisdom and what was just my ego. When I saw it written down on paper it didn’t take long to see what a huge difference there was between the two.

I also learned how my expectations could hamper receiving intuitive insights. For example, if I asked a question while in meditation and didn’t receive an answer right away my immediate response would be to feel discouraged and frustrated.  Yet, my day would be filled with interesting encounters. I would hear a song on the radio and a line from the song would answer the question. Or I would see a picture that made a deep emotional impression. The answer would come to me from a word or phrase picked up in a conversation. Or a book on a shelf picked up at random that would fall open at a passage that told me what I needed to know. Taking notes showed me that I was always getting the answer I had been looking for I just needed to be more open to how I was receiving the answers.

Life isn’t always what we expect but we can always expect an answer. Taking note may help you to see that more clearly and become more adept at understanding and learning from your intuition. The universe works in mysterious ways. We need to be more open to the mystery and take note.

Atherton Drenth is a clairvoyant, medical intuitive and the author of Intuitive Dance. Building, Protecting & Clearing Your Energy, (Llewellyn Worldwide) and Following Body Wisdom. Atherton also appears in the documentary, Voyage to Betterment as one of 12 experts along with other internationally renowned physicians, researchers, and pioneers in the fields of consciousness research and spirituality.
www.athertondrenth.com

www.paradigmcentre.com

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“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” – Gretchen Rubin

Are you craving a little more stability and ease in your life? I know I’m always looking for ways to make my days run more smoothly, and I’ve found that sticking to a daily routine has created space for this in my life.

Routines can create consistency in our schedules, help with time management, and encourage us to build healthy habits in our lives. On the other hand, our routines can hinder us if we’re not being intentional or purposeful with them.

In this post, I’m sharing a step-by-step plan to help you map out an ideal daily routine that encourages you to be intentional with your time.

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Video Contest Example

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The Easy Way to Master Mindfulness

Today, more than ever, we need all the quick and easy techniques we can to help tame stress and support us to deal with an ever-changing and challenging world.

Mindfulness-based practices have been a great support for many people in rediscovering calm and releasing the turmoil of a crazy, busy world. Now a fresh take on an old technique for bringing consciousness into harmony is taking mindfulness a few steps further. While mindfulness helps us live in the present, sophrology does both this and helps us to find peace and draw positives from our past; as well as prepare for the future. Sophrology is very good for people who find it difficult to meditate. It offers many strategies to keep the mind still and present as we tune into our inner resources to address particular life or health issues.

This method of mind-body awareness for relaxation, improved performance, and anxiety reduction, combines Western relaxation techniques with a variety of practices borrowed from Eastern philosophies, such as yoga and Zen meditation. Sophrology has been popular in Europe for decades and is now gaining traction in the UK and the US.

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Many of you already know what NOT to do in order to get better sleep. Avoid alcohol, sugar and have a caffeine curfew, between others. If you missed my article on ways to improve your sleep click here.

But what are the things we can add instead of subtract when it comes to improving our sleep? 

Check out the list below. 

Eat this to sleep better tonight 

Selenium

Selenium is critical for good sleep, immune system and thyroid function. Best sources are Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, beef, oysters, chicken and cremini mushrooms. 

Vitamin C

People with low vitamin C levels tend to have more sleep issues. Excellent sources are everyday foods like bell peppers, green leafy vegetables, berries, kiwi fruit, citrus fruits, papaya. 

Tryptophan

Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin production. Serotonin can affect anything from mood, social behavior, memory, sleep, sexual desire, appetite and digestion. Tryptophan is found in turkey, chicken, eggs, sweet potatoes, chia seeds, hemp seeds, bananas, pumpkin seeds, almonds, yogurt and leafy greens. 

Potassium

Bananas are a good sources of potassium but there are far better choices such as leafy greens, potatoes, broccoli, cremini mushrooms, avocados, squashes, sweet potatoes, beans, salmon, watermelon. 

Calcium

Studies show that disturbances in REM sleep were linked to a calcium deficiency. Great sauces of bioavailable calcium are kale, collard greens, mustard greens, sardines, sea veggies and sesame seeds. 

Vitamin D

According to clinical journals, there is a strong correlation between vitamin D deficiency and daytime sleepiness. Best way to get your D up is through sun exposure (15-20 minutes a day) but salmon, swordfish, mackerel, shiitake mushrooms and oysters are good sources as well. If you have been diagnosed with a deficiency and need to use a supplement, here's the one I use. 

Omega-3s

Studies show that omega-3s help you get deeper, more restful sleep. Some of the best sources of omega-3s are fatty fish (salmon, sardines, halibut), chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds and walnuts. If you are currently taking liquid or pill form fish oil, please note that they are very heat sensitive so keep them refrigerated as soon as you open them. 

Melatonin

Everybody knows how crucial hormone melatonin is for sleep. Some foods have small amounts of melatonin in them, while others have been food to help raise your body's production of melatonin. Tart cherries are far and away the food source with the highest amount of melatonin, but tiny amounts can also be found in walnuts, ginger root and asparagus. Foods that have been found to naturally boost your body's melatonin levels are pineapples, tomatoes, bananas and oranges. 

Vitamin B6

This vitamin helps your body modulate stress response and relax your nervous system. Best sources are bananas, yogurt (sugar free and organic), cashews, peanut butter, almonds, avocados, fish, tomatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes, sea veggies and eggs. 


Probiotics and probiotics 

Fermented foods have been known for centuries and lately all the research is pointing to the connection between gut health and disease development so it's safe to say that we could all benefit from adding more probiotic rich foods to our diet. Buy or try to make your own sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, kombucha, miso or yogurt/kefir. One thing to remember with pickled vegetables though is they have to be raw & unpasteurized for you to get the benefits of them so look for that on the label. 

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At 8:26AM EST, the January 31 full moon is special for three reasons: it’s the third in a series of supermoons, when the moon is closer to Earth in its orbit and about 14 percent brighter than usual. It’s also the second full moon of the month, making it a “blue moon” AND, this "super blue moon" will pass through the Earth’s shadow and generate a total lunar eclipse—and take on a reddish hue; an effect known as a “blood moon.” The last rare convergence of all three of these lunar events happened 150 years ago, in 1866.

For skywatchers on the East Coast in the U.S., this "Super Blue Blood Moon" will enter the Earth’s shadow around 5:51AM EST, and will begin to turn red by 6:48AM for a brief spectacle before setting about a half-hour later. For those out West in California and Canada, lucky you, as you will have the best views of the blood moon eclipse at its fullest capacity, similar to the Great American Solar Eclipse six months ago.

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Millions of Americans exercise their bodies every day to reach various goals, from weight loss, muscle gain, performance to anything in between.

But how many people actively engage in brain training? Apparently not enough. 

Cognitive decline is on the raise, with soaring rates of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases. 

My family has been affected by Alzheimer's so I have a personal interest in the latest research and developments in prevention and treatments of ND.  

Today, I wanted to discuss activities anybody can incorporate in their life in order to prevent or at least slow down the degeneration and/or death of the brain cells. 

How to train your brain and stimulate new cell growth? 

LEARN NEW THINGS 

One of the best things you can do for your brain (at any age) is to learn new things or do things in a new, creative ways that are challenging physically and mentally. 

Whether it's through acquiring new information, physical skills, hobbies, languages, any new activity that challenges your brain will allow you to form brand new brain cells and connections. And this can happen at any age! So no matter what your age, it's not too late to grow some new neurons. 

READ 

Reading stimulates activity in parts of the brain responsible for abstract thinking. 

MEDITATE 

Meditation has been shows to increase activity of the prefrontal cortex responsible for rational thinking and decision making. 

EXERCISE

By exercising your body you literally exercise your brain. Exercising helps with memory, concentration and leads to growth of new neurons. 

EAT BETTER 

Diet plays a crucial part in brain health. Brain burns through a shocking 20% of your daily food intake.

Some of the best foods for the brain are: 

Fruits & veggies including avocados, blueberries, celery, broccoli, beets, green leafy vegetables, rosemary. 

Fatty fish (omega-3 rich) such as salmon and sardines.

Healthy fats: egg yolk, coconut oil, EVOO, walnuts. 

Bone Broth 

Turmeric 

Dark Chocolate (70% or more) 

Some neuron-stimulating exercise ideas: 

- serve dinner/eat/write/play tennis with your non-dominant hand

- learn how to juggle

- learn how to play a new instrument

- enroll in a painting or sculpting class 

- memorize a poem (even better in another language)

- open doors with different, than your usual, hand

- touch your left eye with your right hand, while simultaneously touching your right knee with your left hand, then switch (try to do it 10 times as fast as possible) 

- ask abstract questions then try to come up with the most creative answers

(this is a great exercise to do with your kids)

- practice memorizing, reconstructing from memory, solve puzzles, crosswords

- play brain stimulating games

Hope you like this article. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me here

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Starting a healthy lifestyle can be difficult because it needs dedication and hard work. And change won’t happen overnight. When you commit to having a healthier lifestyle than what you have now, it’s going to be a significant change for you that takes a lot of work. But it’ll be all worth it.

Falling back to your old routine is easy. This is especially true if you drastically change your lifestyle. That’s why health experts do not recommend extreme changes because they do not provide long-term success.

The reason for this is that we only have very limited willpower. Hence, to improve your lifestyle, make sure to focus on small but doable habits. These are healthy behaviors that you can do without having to think about them.

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Winter brings cold and flu season, and we’re all doing everything we can to stay healthy and keep the sniffles as far away as possible.

Our bodies have incredible natural defenses against harmful germs that may lead to colds, but there are also things we can do to help it out. You can take supplements, but you can also use foods to boost immune system function! And we all know that whole foods are always superior to supplements.

The good thing is, you don’t need a lot of special concoctions to keep your family healthy. In fact, you probably already incorporate many of these 10 foods to boost immune system in your diet.

Once you know the power of the food you eat, it’s easy to harness and use those foods to boost immune system function to help yourself and your family stay healthy during cold season, and year round.

Foods to Boost Immune System

This list of 10 foods to boost immune system function will help you stay on the up-and-up during cold and flu season. If they’re not already in your pantry, all 10 are easy to find at your local farm market or grocery store.

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Your mind will always believe everything you tell it. Feed it #faith. Feed it #truth. Feed it with #love ❤️

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Aha!...I've achieved mindful mastery.  Ha!...yeah, right.  I am a lifelong learner in this regard. I can only reach for progress each day.  This morning,  I listened to a little infomercial by "Inner Engineering" about humans facing challenges and blaming their misery on their job, their spouse, their car, etc  It went on to share a story about how people can contort themselves into myriad positions, figuratively speaking, within.  If only each Being can simply align with Joy, they were stating. He described offering to host retreat space for people who wanted spiritual help, and offering to feed them nourishing foods if only they could let themselves align with joy.  Simple, right?!?  It got my attention, because I continue to learn that people do not experience this feeling on a consistent basis. 

To go within and be accountable for one's own mental equilibrium and emotional health is indeed a step towards mastery in my opinion. It is the pan in which to put the loaf batter. (baking metaphor because I love creating comfort foods!)  When our mind is set on "present", "breath" and "who I am" modes, the direct result is peace, in my experience!  From this place, one can more easily find the 'joy' setting.

I cannot fathom how my mind used to be on the spin cycle (now it's laundry) so often in past years. Don't get me wrong, it can still go there and then I step back and allow my churning thoughts to drift down to the ground like the leaf from a tree.  When I do this, I stand again in my power as a spiritual being while at the same time, staying humble, as I recognize that there is a power greater than I...the one who made the tree:)  AND I will align much better to that Power when my mind is calm. (or on gratitude).

   I had an epiphany this week about it being that mastering my mind contributes significantly to developing emotional intelligence.  As I understand it, my emotions arise from what my mind is thinking.  I therefore can regulate the dial of my emotions somewhat...emphasis on the word 'somewhat', as I am an Empath!  It is quite challenging for an Empath to detach from others energies and emotional waves yet not impossible.  Practise makes progress!  I am at a point where I shall work on mastering my thinking each and every day, so that I may not only regulate my emoting, yet will assist with my spiritual expansion.  The latter is my main purpose here in earth school, I believe.   

by Raine Eller

January 18, 2018

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Glimpses of The Divine in Gaia

Breathtaking in my humble opinion!

Photography by Raine

 

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A motto of the New Age crowd, the word "chakra" actually has ancient roots. First written about in Vedas, a B.C.-era Indian text, chakra is Sanskrit for "wheel," a hint to their reputation for keeping things running smoothly.

There are seven chakras that run down the body's midline from the base of the spine to the tippy top of the head. As energy moves through us, these chakras are thought to act as gatekeepers for their respective areas. When these ingrained traffic lights, so to speak, are running smoothly, our energy and vitality can flow freely to where it is most needed. When a chakra is blocked, though, energy can get stuck and manifests as discomfort.

For instance, if the solar plexus chakra, thought to control the stomach, is blocked, you might experience indigestion. If the throat chakra is closed, maybe you have a cough that just won't go away.

If you ask any spiritual clientele, they'll tell you that the chakras are a testament to the mind-body connection and the physical manifestation of unseen energy. Even if chakras are a bit too woo-woo for you, it's easy to see the merit of tuning in to the different areas of the body to best give them what they need.

There are many ways to harness the power of breathwork, visualizations, and meditation to bring each of the body's energy centers back into balance. Here are a few that spiritual sages swear by:

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The easiest way to build healthy habits? Start first thing in the morning. Whether you’re a morning person or not, having a good breakfast can help make your day better by fueling you up for success. The key to using breakfast to your advantage is by preparing meals with intentional ingredients, made with whole foods, free from excessive sugar and overly processed elements.

Let’s face it—none of us has a ton of time to cook. By relying on ready-made bases with simple, easy-to-pronounce ingredients, you can quickly, easily prep a healthy breakfast. Having the base handled also makes it that much easier to customize the resulting breakfast to your own needs, whether it’s adding adaptogenic superfoods to keep you energized or quell inflammation, or sneaking in a ton of vegetables to have a salad’s worth of healthy food before lunch. Simple Mills' baking mixes are one of our favorite shortcuts for making your breakfast favorites with real foods—like almond and coconut flours—and without artificial flavors or fillers, which means you’re getting all of the good stuff and none of the bad.

Below are five breakfast recipes that are all about giving you more at breakfast—whether it’s more adaptogenic superfoods, extra protein, or just a little more ease in your day.

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Benefits Of Red Wine Vinegar

Lowers High Blood Pressure
Helps Manage Cholesterol Levels
Boosts Satiety
Offers A Range Of Minerals
Works As A Skin Toner

Red wine vinegar is rich in antioxidant anthocyanin compounds. It can help lower blood pressure, manage cholesterol levels, improve the absorption of calcium, and boost your weight management plans. Taken with meals, it can reduce the post-meal spike in blood sugar. You can also mix it with witch hazel and rose water to make an astringent skin toner.

A healthy slosh of red wine vinegar can jazz up any salad. But this diluted acetic acid solution made by naturally fermenting wine has many other cards up its sleeves. Use a good quality vinegar and you get a range of health benefits with that tangy flavor! Here’s what you need to know about the goodness of this crimson “sour wine.”

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I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.” ― Jim Carrey

Challenges in career, responsibilities at home, and the quest to grow more makes us anxious and stressful. The sad part is that even after achieving a particular goal we aren’t able to get absolute happiness. Fulfillment of one desire leads to another and to another and so on. Moreover, for fulfilling all those dreams, life takes us through twists and turns ruining our peace completely.

The amazing part is that only a clear and peaceful mind can conquer every battle in the world. For instance, someone who is impatient and anxious all the time will have a hard time losing weight. That’s why being peaceful is not just important for enjoying life but for achieving the BIG dreams.
In this article, you will read about simple yet powerful tips which will help you to remain peaceful and contented in life.

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Although sleep isn't sexy and needs a new PR campaign, it forms a necessary part of life and it's lack can tremendously affect your health and wellbeing. 

Research shows that sleep affects nearly every function of our body - from skin health, emotional regeneration, immune strength and inflammation (lower risk of disease and cancer), improved cognitive function (lower risk of Alzheimer's), to hormonal balance (which will impact the ability to lose weight). It also influences performance, recovery, bone strength and your ability to operate a vehicle. 

If you think that Ambien will solve your sleeping problems, research shows that taking even as little as one pill 20 times per year has shows to be associated with increased mortality. Additionally prescription sleepers don't necessarily add quality sleep to your schedule. They make you unconscious which is not the same as sleep. 

So what can you do to naturally improve your sleep and your health? Read below. 

8 easy things you can do today to get better sleep

1. Get more sunlight

Your sleep cycle, or circadian timing system is heavily impacted by the amount of sunlight you receive during the day. The body clock is most responsive to sunlight between 6 and 8.30 am. Getting direct sunlight outdoors for at least half an hour has been shown to produce the most benefit.  

2. Avoid screens before bedtime 

Avoid blue light (all screens) at least 2 hours before bedtime in order to allow melatonin and cortisol levels to normalize. Use this time to read a book, talk to your loved ones, journal, stretch, knit or you know what. 

3. Create an optimal temperature

Studies have found that the optimal room temperature hovers around 60 to 68 F. If you still have problems falling asleep, try taking a warm bath or a shower 1.5 - 2hrs before hitting the sack. 

4. Make it dark

Having any type of light source can disrupt your sleep pattern. Not only your eyes have receptors that can pick up light - your skin too. Light pollution (any artificial light) has a huge impact on melatonin - studies show that exposure to room light during usual hours of sleep surpasses melatonin levels by more than 50 percent. Get blackout curtains and cover any sources of light in your room (including alarm clocks).  

5. Get the electronics out of the bedroom 

Our appliances and electronic devices emit not only radiation but also electric and magnetic fields know as EMFs. EMFs have been found to cause disruption in the communication among the cells inner bodies. The World Health Organization has now classified cell phone radiation as a group 2B carcinogen. Moreover, EMFs from common electronic friends have been linked to leukemia, brain tumors, and breast cancer. 

So instead of using your phone as an alarm clock, get a cheap non-ticking alarm clock like this one and get your phone (tablet, desktop, etc) out of your bedroom (at least 6 feet away). 

6. Master the nap 

Try to avoid napping during the day but if you are super tired make sure you are napping no longer than 20 minutes, and keep it as far away from the actual bedtime as possible. 

7. Create a sleep sanctuary 

Keep your sleeping quarters to sleeping (and sex) only. Keep office work out of the bedroom and get a houseplant to improve the air quality in your home. English ivy and perennial snake plant are great air-filtering houseplants. 

8. Have a caffeine & alcohol curfew 

Caffeine and alcohol are powerful nervous system stimulants.

Additionally, caffeine affects your endocrine system and provokes your adrenal glands to produce two anti sleep hormones: adrenaline and cortisol. 

In order to sleep better, set a caffeine curfew that's generally around 2 pm (even earlier if you are sensitive). 

When it comes to alcohol, although it may make you fall asleep faster, studies show that alcohol significantly disrupts REM sleep during which short-term memories and experiences get converted into long-term memories. So wrap up the drinks at least 3 hours before bed, work on minimizing the amount of alcohol you drink (optimally 1 (or less) alcoholic drink per day) and increase water intake (for every alcoholic drink you have, your body can eliminate up to four times as much liquid). 

9. Go to bed at the right time 

Time between the hours of 10 pm and 2 am is considered money time.This is where humans get the most beneficial hormonal secretions and recovery. 

If you want to learn even more about sleep, check out this great book "Sleep Smarter - 21 essential strategies to sleep your way to a better body, better health, and bigger success" by Shawn Stevenson. You can buy it HERE on Amazon. 

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Working with over 70 clients since I opened my business two years ago have taught me many lessons. Based on those and my client's successes I want to share 5 most important tips you need to consider if you want to lose fat in a healthy way, and to be able to keep it off. 

You need to be in calorie deficit...but not too large

The single most important factor for weight loss, for otherwise healthy individuals, is to be in the calorie deficit, i.e. eat less than you move. This deficit can be achieved many different ways but it's really important that it's not too large, so no more than about 200-300 calories a day. If the changes are too drastic, and the deficit too large, you will lose weight very quickly, but there is a high likelihood for the yo-yo effect. Additionally rapid weight loss is extremely stressful for the body putting your health at risk by suppressing the immune system and de-regulating hormones. 

You need to be patient.....and realistic about your expectations

I know that when you start a fat loss journey you are all excited and ready to make changes, but many people expect dramatic results right away... What I mean by that is they expect to lose weight overnight and if they don't, they get very disappointed and give up. This is by far the worse thing that can happen. We seem to not notice the weight gain that most likely have happened over the course of multiple months, if not, years, yet we expect to lose it all in a couple of weeks. An average fat loss rate that is easy to keep off is about 1-2 lb a week. Any faster than that and you are most likely losing lean mass as well (and you never want to lose lean mass!). So be patient and realistic about the timeline of your weight loss journey. 

You need to embrace vegetables....and protein 

For the veggie haters out there (including my dear husband) - it is so crucial for your health and well-being to get your vitamins and minerals from whole foods. Vegetables and fruits have enormous amounts of nutrition, not to mention fiber which helps you feel fuller and have better bowel movements (and regular bowel movements mean easier weight loss).

Consuming protein increases your metabolic rate by 30% so once you increase your protein intake you actually start burning more calories than if you were to consume the same amount of carbs and/or fats. This initial increase in intake is often times how you get your initial weight loss started without even cutting calories.

For highly active individuals (exercising about 5 hrs a week) I would recommend as much as 0.8-1g of protein for each lb of body weight. 

Don't underestimate the value of hydration... and sleep

Water intake and proper sleep are very much under valued and sadly so. Many times I've tracked weight gain/loss based on sleep habits and travels patterns of my clients. If you missed my article on things you can do to improve your sleep tonight, you can read it HERE

I've also seen times where just by simply increasing water intake my clients were able to lose the first 1-2 lbs, just like that. Additionally, we often eat more because we think we are hungry, while in reality we just need to drink more water. 

Be smart about cutting foods/drinks  & adding exercise 

Lastly, be careful what foods you are cutting out and how much exercise you are adding in. Let's say you decide you want to cut out all the wine for a month. If you've been drinking 2 or more glasses a night, it's likely that you are going to lose a few pounds. But what do you think it's going to happen once you start drinking again? You're likely to put it right back.

Same with exercise. Let's say you just added 4 hours a week to your regular exercise routine to get into tip top shape. After a couple of months you reach your goals, and decide to dial back from 4 to 2 hours a week. Beside getting less exercise now, you are probably adding some foods you cut back on. Result? Weight gain. 

Obviously there are many more factors at play but I hope you do get the point. 

If you need help getting started and figure out where you can start creating deficits without sacrificing quality of your life and your sanity, let me know.

I would love to help you. You can reach me HERE. 

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We want to help connect members within the community, so we will be publishing Member Spotlights on a regular basis.  Today, we would like you to meet Monika Nowak, Nutrition Coach, Personal Trainer, and Owner of Power Nutrition, LLC.  Monika is a regular contributor to the HU Community.

HU:  What inspires you?

Answer: Nature - growing my own garden was a life-changing experience. Plants are so amazing in how they grow and develop. Also People who overcome extreme adversity and became successful. 

HU:  What is your biggest achievement to date (personal or professional)?

Answer: Opening my own nutrition coaching business. 

HU:  What does a typical day look like for you?

Answer:  6-7 am - breakfast, meditation, getting ready for work 

7 am-12noon - seeing nutrition clients (in my office) and/or personal training clients (at the gym I also work at); if I have time between clients I will put in a workout

12 - 2 pm - lunch at home, playing with my dog, catching up with my family on Skype

2 - 5pm - client calls, writing articles, reading, gardening (in the summer)

6 pm - making dinner 

9-10pm - sleep 

HU:  What is your favorite current project and why?

Answer: Running heathy eating challenges on my private Facebook group. I love to see different members of my group challenge themselves and share their experiences. There are always a few nutritional breakthroughs and great observations and I’m thrilled to be able to witness them. 

HU:  If you could switch jobs with someone, who would it be and why?

Answer: I’m pretty happy right now but maybe the only one would be to be a shark or orca research scientist. 

HU:  What are your biggest professional challenges?

Answer: Being able to reach a wider audience. Help kids eat healthier and teach parents how to feed their kids in a nutritionally sound way. 

HU:  What’s the most rewarding aspect about your career?

Answer: Helping people reach their health and wellness goals, overcoming eating disorders and finding more happiness and gratitude in daily aspects of life. 

HU:  What is your motto or personal mantra?

Answer: You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence is therefore not an act, but a habit. 

HU:  How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?

Answer: I don’t take late night or early morning (6am) sessions anymore. I travel as much as I can to get a break, unwind and relax. I spend as much time outside as I can. I eat well and go to bed early. 

HU:  What is the greatest obstacle you have overcome? 

Answer: Living away from my family and friends in Poland. 

HU:  What do you hope to share with the HU community?

Answer: My knowledge and experience, and passion for helping people get healthier and live fuller lives. 

HU:  What do you hope to learn/gain from the HU community?

Answer: Establishing relationships with like-minded individuals. Sharing knowledge, experience and learning from one another. 

HU: What’s the book you are currently reading? 

Answer: Better Brain by dr. David Perlmutter 

Learn more about Monika here.

#MemberSpotlight

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I'm hoping that 2018 will be the year I finally kick my caffeine habit once and for all. In the process of cutting back, I've realized two things: My morning coffee had become my time to take a moment for myself, and I have yet to discover a decaf substitute as satisfying as a rich cup of joe. It's taken some trial and error playing around with the herbs and plants I love so much, but four weeks ago, I finally found a beverage that works for me and satisfies both my spiritual need for daily ritual and my physical desire for something delicious. Here is my new morning go-to, and a few other energizing herbal concoctions that might work better for your tastes.

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Getting rid of stress becomes a whole lot easier once you know what to do and what not to do. There are specific areas of your life that you can tap into to make a positive change and get rid of stress for good.

Everything from the food you eat, to the grudges you keep, can relay into anxiety and stress. Your self-esteem and perception of the world around you play a significant role in this as well.

Beyond using the fidget spinner, here are five ways you can de-stress your life today!

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Successful people keep notes. They write down their ideas, so they don’t forget them. They don’t act on every idea but on occasion, they go back through their notes and see what inspires them. A new project can be born from an idea they had years ago.

The same principle can be used as a tool to help you develop your intuition and achieve more spiritual awareness.

Whether you are consciously aware of it or not we are all connected to a higher source of wisdom. Taking a moment to write down what you receive in a flash of insight can help you on your journey of consciousness and spiritual growth.

I am often asked how I developed my intuition. My answer? I did it through journaling. The simple act of writing out my thoughts and feelings helped me to tease out what was wisdom and what was just my ego. When I saw it written down on paper it didn’t take long to see what a huge difference there was between the two.

I also learned how my expectations could hamper receiving intuitive insights. For example, if I asked a question while in meditation and didn’t receive an answer right away my immediate response would be to feel discouraged and frustrated.  Yet, my day would be filled with interesting encounters. I would hear a song on the radio and a line from the song would answer the question. Or I would see a picture that made a deep emotional impression. The answer would come to me from a word or phrase picked up in a conversation. Or a book on a shelf picked up at random that would fall open at a passage that told me what I needed to know. Taking notes showed me that I was always getting the answer I had been looking for I just needed to be more open to how I was receiving the answers.

Life isn’t always what we expect but we can always expect an answer. Taking note may help you to see that more clearly and become more adept at understanding and learning from your intuition. The universe works in mysterious ways. We need to be more open to the mystery and take note.

Atherton Drenth is a clairvoyant, medical intuitive and the author of Intuitive Dance. Building, Protecting & Clearing Your Energy, (Llewellyn Worldwide) and Following Body Wisdom. Atherton also appears in the documentary, Voyage to Betterment as one of 12 experts along with other internationally renowned physicians, researchers, and pioneers in the fields of consciousness research and spirituality.
www.athertondrenth.com

www.paradigmcentre.com

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“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” – Gretchen Rubin

Are you craving a little more stability and ease in your life? I know I’m always looking for ways to make my days run more smoothly, and I’ve found that sticking to a daily routine has created space for this in my life.

Routines can create consistency in our schedules, help with time management, and encourage us to build healthy habits in our lives. On the other hand, our routines can hinder us if we’re not being intentional or purposeful with them.

In this post, I’m sharing a step-by-step plan to help you map out an ideal daily routine that encourages you to be intentional with your time.

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Video Contest Example

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The Easy Way to Master Mindfulness

Today, more than ever, we need all the quick and easy techniques we can to help tame stress and support us to deal with an ever-changing and challenging world.

Mindfulness-based practices have been a great support for many people in rediscovering calm and releasing the turmoil of a crazy, busy world. Now a fresh take on an old technique for bringing consciousness into harmony is taking mindfulness a few steps further. While mindfulness helps us live in the present, sophrology does both this and helps us to find peace and draw positives from our past; as well as prepare for the future. Sophrology is very good for people who find it difficult to meditate. It offers many strategies to keep the mind still and present as we tune into our inner resources to address particular life or health issues.

This method of mind-body awareness for relaxation, improved performance, and anxiety reduction, combines Western relaxation techniques with a variety of practices borrowed from Eastern philosophies, such as yoga and Zen meditation. Sophrology has been popular in Europe for decades and is now gaining traction in the UK and the US.

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Many of you already know what NOT to do in order to get better sleep. Avoid alcohol, sugar and have a caffeine curfew, between others. If you missed my article on ways to improve your sleep click here.

But what are the things we can add instead of subtract when it comes to improving our sleep? 

Check out the list below. 

Eat this to sleep better tonight 

Selenium

Selenium is critical for good sleep, immune system and thyroid function. Best sources are Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, beef, oysters, chicken and cremini mushrooms. 

Vitamin C

People with low vitamin C levels tend to have more sleep issues. Excellent sources are everyday foods like bell peppers, green leafy vegetables, berries, kiwi fruit, citrus fruits, papaya. 

Tryptophan

Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin production. Serotonin can affect anything from mood, social behavior, memory, sleep, sexual desire, appetite and digestion. Tryptophan is found in turkey, chicken, eggs, sweet potatoes, chia seeds, hemp seeds, bananas, pumpkin seeds, almonds, yogurt and leafy greens. 

Potassium

Bananas are a good sources of potassium but there are far better choices such as leafy greens, potatoes, broccoli, cremini mushrooms, avocados, squashes, sweet potatoes, beans, salmon, watermelon. 

Calcium

Studies show that disturbances in REM sleep were linked to a calcium deficiency. Great sauces of bioavailable calcium are kale, collard greens, mustard greens, sardines, sea veggies and sesame seeds. 

Vitamin D

According to clinical journals, there is a strong correlation between vitamin D deficiency and daytime sleepiness. Best way to get your D up is through sun exposure (15-20 minutes a day) but salmon, swordfish, mackerel, shiitake mushrooms and oysters are good sources as well. If you have been diagnosed with a deficiency and need to use a supplement, here's the one I use. 

Omega-3s

Studies show that omega-3s help you get deeper, more restful sleep. Some of the best sources of omega-3s are fatty fish (salmon, sardines, halibut), chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds and walnuts. If you are currently taking liquid or pill form fish oil, please note that they are very heat sensitive so keep them refrigerated as soon as you open them. 

Melatonin

Everybody knows how crucial hormone melatonin is for sleep. Some foods have small amounts of melatonin in them, while others have been food to help raise your body's production of melatonin. Tart cherries are far and away the food source with the highest amount of melatonin, but tiny amounts can also be found in walnuts, ginger root and asparagus. Foods that have been found to naturally boost your body's melatonin levels are pineapples, tomatoes, bananas and oranges. 

Vitamin B6

This vitamin helps your body modulate stress response and relax your nervous system. Best sources are bananas, yogurt (sugar free and organic), cashews, peanut butter, almonds, avocados, fish, tomatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes, sea veggies and eggs. 


Probiotics and probiotics 

Fermented foods have been known for centuries and lately all the research is pointing to the connection between gut health and disease development so it's safe to say that we could all benefit from adding more probiotic rich foods to our diet. Buy or try to make your own sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, kombucha, miso or yogurt/kefir. One thing to remember with pickled vegetables though is they have to be raw & unpasteurized for you to get the benefits of them so look for that on the label. 

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At 8:26AM EST, the January 31 full moon is special for three reasons: it’s the third in a series of supermoons, when the moon is closer to Earth in its orbit and about 14 percent brighter than usual. It’s also the second full moon of the month, making it a “blue moon” AND, this "super blue moon" will pass through the Earth’s shadow and generate a total lunar eclipse—and take on a reddish hue; an effect known as a “blood moon.” The last rare convergence of all three of these lunar events happened 150 years ago, in 1866.

For skywatchers on the East Coast in the U.S., this "Super Blue Blood Moon" will enter the Earth’s shadow around 5:51AM EST, and will begin to turn red by 6:48AM for a brief spectacle before setting about a half-hour later. For those out West in California and Canada, lucky you, as you will have the best views of the blood moon eclipse at its fullest capacity, similar to the Great American Solar Eclipse six months ago.

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Millions of Americans exercise their bodies every day to reach various goals, from weight loss, muscle gain, performance to anything in between.

But how many people actively engage in brain training? Apparently not enough. 

Cognitive decline is on the raise, with soaring rates of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases. 

My family has been affected by Alzheimer's so I have a personal interest in the latest research and developments in prevention and treatments of ND.  

Today, I wanted to discuss activities anybody can incorporate in their life in order to prevent or at least slow down the degeneration and/or death of the brain cells. 

How to train your brain and stimulate new cell growth? 

LEARN NEW THINGS 

One of the best things you can do for your brain (at any age) is to learn new things or do things in a new, creative ways that are challenging physically and mentally. 

Whether it's through acquiring new information, physical skills, hobbies, languages, any new activity that challenges your brain will allow you to form brand new brain cells and connections. And this can happen at any age! So no matter what your age, it's not too late to grow some new neurons. 

READ 

Reading stimulates activity in parts of the brain responsible for abstract thinking. 

MEDITATE 

Meditation has been shows to increase activity of the prefrontal cortex responsible for rational thinking and decision making. 

EXERCISE

By exercising your body you literally exercise your brain. Exercising helps with memory, concentration and leads to growth of new neurons. 

EAT BETTER 

Diet plays a crucial part in brain health. Brain burns through a shocking 20% of your daily food intake.

Some of the best foods for the brain are: 

Fruits & veggies including avocados, blueberries, celery, broccoli, beets, green leafy vegetables, rosemary. 

Fatty fish (omega-3 rich) such as salmon and sardines.

Healthy fats: egg yolk, coconut oil, EVOO, walnuts. 

Bone Broth 

Turmeric 

Dark Chocolate (70% or more) 

Some neuron-stimulating exercise ideas: 

- serve dinner/eat/write/play tennis with your non-dominant hand

- learn how to juggle

- learn how to play a new instrument

- enroll in a painting or sculpting class 

- memorize a poem (even better in another language)

- open doors with different, than your usual, hand

- touch your left eye with your right hand, while simultaneously touching your right knee with your left hand, then switch (try to do it 10 times as fast as possible) 

- ask abstract questions then try to come up with the most creative answers

(this is a great exercise to do with your kids)

- practice memorizing, reconstructing from memory, solve puzzles, crosswords

- play brain stimulating games

Hope you like this article. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me here

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Starting a healthy lifestyle can be difficult because it needs dedication and hard work. And change won’t happen overnight. When you commit to having a healthier lifestyle than what you have now, it’s going to be a significant change for you that takes a lot of work. But it’ll be all worth it.

Falling back to your old routine is easy. This is especially true if you drastically change your lifestyle. That’s why health experts do not recommend extreme changes because they do not provide long-term success.

The reason for this is that we only have very limited willpower. Hence, to improve your lifestyle, make sure to focus on small but doable habits. These are healthy behaviors that you can do without having to think about them.

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Winter brings cold and flu season, and we’re all doing everything we can to stay healthy and keep the sniffles as far away as possible.

Our bodies have incredible natural defenses against harmful germs that may lead to colds, but there are also things we can do to help it out. You can take supplements, but you can also use foods to boost immune system function! And we all know that whole foods are always superior to supplements.

The good thing is, you don’t need a lot of special concoctions to keep your family healthy. In fact, you probably already incorporate many of these 10 foods to boost immune system in your diet.

Once you know the power of the food you eat, it’s easy to harness and use those foods to boost immune system function to help yourself and your family stay healthy during cold season, and year round.

Foods to Boost Immune System

This list of 10 foods to boost immune system function will help you stay on the up-and-up during cold and flu season. If they’re not already in your pantry, all 10 are easy to find at your local farm market or grocery store.

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Your mind will always believe everything you tell it. Feed it #faith. Feed it #truth. Feed it with #love ❤️

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Aha!...I've achieved mindful mastery.  Ha!...yeah, right.  I am a lifelong learner in this regard. I can only reach for progress each day.  This morning,  I listened to a little infomercial by "Inner Engineering" about humans facing challenges and blaming their misery on their job, their spouse, their car, etc  It went on to share a story about how people can contort themselves into myriad positions, figuratively speaking, within.  If only each Being can simply align with Joy, they were stating. He described offering to host retreat space for people who wanted spiritual help, and offering to feed them nourishing foods if only they could let themselves align with joy.  Simple, right?!?  It got my attention, because I continue to learn that people do not experience this feeling on a consistent basis. 

To go within and be accountable for one's own mental equilibrium and emotional health is indeed a step towards mastery in my opinion. It is the pan in which to put the loaf batter. (baking metaphor because I love creating comfort foods!)  When our mind is set on "present", "breath" and "who I am" modes, the direct result is peace, in my experience!  From this place, one can more easily find the 'joy' setting.

I cannot fathom how my mind used to be on the spin cycle (now it's laundry) so often in past years. Don't get me wrong, it can still go there and then I step back and allow my churning thoughts to drift down to the ground like the leaf from a tree.  When I do this, I stand again in my power as a spiritual being while at the same time, staying humble, as I recognize that there is a power greater than I...the one who made the tree:)  AND I will align much better to that Power when my mind is calm. (or on gratitude).

   I had an epiphany this week about it being that mastering my mind contributes significantly to developing emotional intelligence.  As I understand it, my emotions arise from what my mind is thinking.  I therefore can regulate the dial of my emotions somewhat...emphasis on the word 'somewhat', as I am an Empath!  It is quite challenging for an Empath to detach from others energies and emotional waves yet not impossible.  Practise makes progress!  I am at a point where I shall work on mastering my thinking each and every day, so that I may not only regulate my emoting, yet will assist with my spiritual expansion.  The latter is my main purpose here in earth school, I believe.   

by Raine Eller

January 18, 2018

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Glimpses of The Divine in Gaia

Breathtaking in my humble opinion!

Photography by Raine

 

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A motto of the New Age crowd, the word "chakra" actually has ancient roots. First written about in Vedas, a B.C.-era Indian text, chakra is Sanskrit for "wheel," a hint to their reputation for keeping things running smoothly.

There are seven chakras that run down the body's midline from the base of the spine to the tippy top of the head. As energy moves through us, these chakras are thought to act as gatekeepers for their respective areas. When these ingrained traffic lights, so to speak, are running smoothly, our energy and vitality can flow freely to where it is most needed. When a chakra is blocked, though, energy can get stuck and manifests as discomfort.

For instance, if the solar plexus chakra, thought to control the stomach, is blocked, you might experience indigestion. If the throat chakra is closed, maybe you have a cough that just won't go away.

If you ask any spiritual clientele, they'll tell you that the chakras are a testament to the mind-body connection and the physical manifestation of unseen energy. Even if chakras are a bit too woo-woo for you, it's easy to see the merit of tuning in to the different areas of the body to best give them what they need.

There are many ways to harness the power of breathwork, visualizations, and meditation to bring each of the body's energy centers back into balance. Here are a few that spiritual sages swear by:

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The easiest way to build healthy habits? Start first thing in the morning. Whether you’re a morning person or not, having a good breakfast can help make your day better by fueling you up for success. The key to using breakfast to your advantage is by preparing meals with intentional ingredients, made with whole foods, free from excessive sugar and overly processed elements.

Let’s face it—none of us has a ton of time to cook. By relying on ready-made bases with simple, easy-to-pronounce ingredients, you can quickly, easily prep a healthy breakfast. Having the base handled also makes it that much easier to customize the resulting breakfast to your own needs, whether it’s adding adaptogenic superfoods to keep you energized or quell inflammation, or sneaking in a ton of vegetables to have a salad’s worth of healthy food before lunch. Simple Mills' baking mixes are one of our favorite shortcuts for making your breakfast favorites with real foods—like almond and coconut flours—and without artificial flavors or fillers, which means you’re getting all of the good stuff and none of the bad.

Below are five breakfast recipes that are all about giving you more at breakfast—whether it’s more adaptogenic superfoods, extra protein, or just a little more ease in your day.

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Benefits Of Red Wine Vinegar

Lowers High Blood Pressure
Helps Manage Cholesterol Levels
Boosts Satiety
Offers A Range Of Minerals
Works As A Skin Toner

Red wine vinegar is rich in antioxidant anthocyanin compounds. It can help lower blood pressure, manage cholesterol levels, improve the absorption of calcium, and boost your weight management plans. Taken with meals, it can reduce the post-meal spike in blood sugar. You can also mix it with witch hazel and rose water to make an astringent skin toner.

A healthy slosh of red wine vinegar can jazz up any salad. But this diluted acetic acid solution made by naturally fermenting wine has many other cards up its sleeves. Use a good quality vinegar and you get a range of health benefits with that tangy flavor! Here’s what you need to know about the goodness of this crimson “sour wine.”

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I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.” ― Jim Carrey

Challenges in career, responsibilities at home, and the quest to grow more makes us anxious and stressful. The sad part is that even after achieving a particular goal we aren’t able to get absolute happiness. Fulfillment of one desire leads to another and to another and so on. Moreover, for fulfilling all those dreams, life takes us through twists and turns ruining our peace completely.

The amazing part is that only a clear and peaceful mind can conquer every battle in the world. For instance, someone who is impatient and anxious all the time will have a hard time losing weight. That’s why being peaceful is not just important for enjoying life but for achieving the BIG dreams.
In this article, you will read about simple yet powerful tips which will help you to remain peaceful and contented in life.

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Although sleep isn't sexy and needs a new PR campaign, it forms a necessary part of life and it's lack can tremendously affect your health and wellbeing. 

Research shows that sleep affects nearly every function of our body - from skin health, emotional regeneration, immune strength and inflammation (lower risk of disease and cancer), improved cognitive function (lower risk of Alzheimer's), to hormonal balance (which will impact the ability to lose weight). It also influences performance, recovery, bone strength and your ability to operate a vehicle. 

If you think that Ambien will solve your sleeping problems, research shows that taking even as little as one pill 20 times per year has shows to be associated with increased mortality. Additionally prescription sleepers don't necessarily add quality sleep to your schedule. They make you unconscious which is not the same as sleep. 

So what can you do to naturally improve your sleep and your health? Read below. 

8 easy things you can do today to get better sleep

1. Get more sunlight

Your sleep cycle, or circadian timing system is heavily impacted by the amount of sunlight you receive during the day. The body clock is most responsive to sunlight between 6 and 8.30 am. Getting direct sunlight outdoors for at least half an hour has been shown to produce the most benefit.  

2. Avoid screens before bedtime 

Avoid blue light (all screens) at least 2 hours before bedtime in order to allow melatonin and cortisol levels to normalize. Use this time to read a book, talk to your loved ones, journal, stretch, knit or you know what. 

3. Create an optimal temperature

Studies have found that the optimal room temperature hovers around 60 to 68 F. If you still have problems falling asleep, try taking a warm bath or a shower 1.5 - 2hrs before hitting the sack. 

4. Make it dark

Having any type of light source can disrupt your sleep pattern. Not only your eyes have receptors that can pick up light - your skin too. Light pollution (any artificial light) has a huge impact on melatonin - studies show that exposure to room light during usual hours of sleep surpasses melatonin levels by more than 50 percent. Get blackout curtains and cover any sources of light in your room (including alarm clocks).  

5. Get the electronics out of the bedroom 

Our appliances and electronic devices emit not only radiation but also electric and magnetic fields know as EMFs. EMFs have been found to cause disruption in the communication among the cells inner bodies. The World Health Organization has now classified cell phone radiation as a group 2B carcinogen. Moreover, EMFs from common electronic friends have been linked to leukemia, brain tumors, and breast cancer. 

So instead of using your phone as an alarm clock, get a cheap non-ticking alarm clock like this one and get your phone (tablet, desktop, etc) out of your bedroom (at least 6 feet away). 

6. Master the nap 

Try to avoid napping during the day but if you are super tired make sure you are napping no longer than 20 minutes, and keep it as far away from the actual bedtime as possible. 

7. Create a sleep sanctuary 

Keep your sleeping quarters to sleeping (and sex) only. Keep office work out of the bedroom and get a houseplant to improve the air quality in your home. English ivy and perennial snake plant are great air-filtering houseplants. 

8. Have a caffeine & alcohol curfew 

Caffeine and alcohol are powerful nervous system stimulants.

Additionally, caffeine affects your endocrine system and provokes your adrenal glands to produce two anti sleep hormones: adrenaline and cortisol. 

In order to sleep better, set a caffeine curfew that's generally around 2 pm (even earlier if you are sensitive). 

When it comes to alcohol, although it may make you fall asleep faster, studies show that alcohol significantly disrupts REM sleep during which short-term memories and experiences get converted into long-term memories. So wrap up the drinks at least 3 hours before bed, work on minimizing the amount of alcohol you drink (optimally 1 (or less) alcoholic drink per day) and increase water intake (for every alcoholic drink you have, your body can eliminate up to four times as much liquid). 

9. Go to bed at the right time 

Time between the hours of 10 pm and 2 am is considered money time.This is where humans get the most beneficial hormonal secretions and recovery. 

If you want to learn even more about sleep, check out this great book "Sleep Smarter - 21 essential strategies to sleep your way to a better body, better health, and bigger success" by Shawn Stevenson. You can buy it HERE on Amazon. 

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