alternative medicine · essential oils · food · health · Herbs · modern life · organic · supplements

Natural Products that Help You Manage Stress and Boost Weight Loss

Recently I got some samples in the #NewHopeBloggerbox that included all kinds of foods, drink mixes, and supplements, and I noticed that quite a few things were helpful in keeping appetites at bay and improving satiety, as well as managing stress. Normally weight loss is not something I write about because it is such a complex and personal journey, but for those looking for just some natural ways that might help push those numbers to a more favorable weight for you, meaning your optimal weight, not anyone else’s idea of an optimal weight, then you might enjoy trying some of these products.

This one from Spice Pharm is delicious:280F9A5A-A3EE-4CF2-9387-2AEACC88EBEE[1]The Turmeric Chai Elixir has coconut in it so that when you add the hot water to the powder, that’s all you need to do. No milk required. It already has all the creaminess right there in it, plus adapotgenic herbs too, and it tastes incredible. The weight-loss part comes from using this drink in-between meals to increase your feelings of satiety (and it really does, without many calories either) or using it as a dessert. The chocolate one was best for the dessert style option but the chai elixir is so darn tasty that it suits that sweet tooth craving too. Adaptogens in general help support optimal weight by being over-all balancing to all body systems. Herbs act to balance, because when our bodies are out of balance then they are not optimal~ not in performance, not in detoxing, not in craving control, and not in energy levels nor stress levels nor sleep abilities. Adaptogens are the class of herbs that target all of that, and more.

Speaking of detox:

WP_20170901_12_23_22_Pro_(2)[1]This is a detoxifying drink for between meals that can also curb cravings, increase circulation and energy, and also make your body more alkaline. We really can’t get too many greens in our body, and Kyo-Green’s powder mix focused on energy is a great afternoon pick-me-up. Add to water the juice of half a lemon, 1/2 t. or less of cayenne powder, and 1 – 2 t. of the greens, and mix it all up. I use a big water bottle so I can continue to shake it up while I drink it since settling occurs. Of course you can also use these greens in just water, juice, or a smoothie.

Another way to get extra greens into your body which not only have so many nutrients and antioxidants, but also act to make your body more alkaline, is to add Kale to your smoothies, juice, or just plain water.  WP_20170905_07_54_37_Pro_(2)[1]I usually add fresh kale to my morning protein smoothie, but this vegetable powder from The Synergy Company is an excellent alternative when I am out of the fresh stuff or it just isn’t in season. The taste in one heaping teaspoon is just as potent as a couple of handful of leaves so it’s obviously very concentrated and packed with all the good stuff.

Another way to manage overzealous appetites is to manage stress and anxiety. It’s no secret that people often eat to soothe themselves instead of eating when truly hungry, plus there is a link between the stress hormone cortisol and holding on to extra weight. If your anxiety is causing you issues, there is help:

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There are actually quite a few herbal tinctures and supplements to help with anxiety, but this one from Herb Pharm is unique for its use of lavender essential oil which you really taste when you drop it into your mouth. If you are used to taking tinctures that taste like roots, bark, and alcohol, you are in for a surprise with this anxiety remedy, which also boasts great calming herbs like passionflower, kava and others, without being too calming. Sometimes herbal anxiety remedies can actually make me tired, but this one does the anti-anxiety work without the yawns.

Of course when it is bedtime and we actually do want those yawns to kick in is often exactly when stress and anxiety like to wake us right back up. Some natural alternatives out there help you fall asleep, but if you have a problem staying asleep all night, then Tranquil Sleep by Natural Factors is for you:

CFD9E622-39EE-4335-810A-F604CD97FFF2[1]This has a combination of ingredients to help you fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up refreshed which is far different than unnatural sleeping pills which often leave people feeling groggy. No one wants waking up to be any harder than it has to be! Sleeping well is so essential to our health and well-being that taking good care of it is just as important as the healthy choices we make in our awake hours.

Best of luck in all your health endeavors, and always check with your personal health experts when trying something new. Adap

 

Herbs

Daily Herbs

Using herbs on a daily basis to balance and support your body is the best way to get the most out of herbs. In our house and car I use essential oils all day, everyday, to improve our environment’s smell and overall feel, plus they have positive effects on our health and well being. I also take herbs in pill form, drink 3-5 herbal infusions each day, and lately have been putting blends of powdered herbs into my morning protein smoothies and I love it! You can buy your own herbs and create a blend for yourself, or you can buy powdered herbs in blends like the ones by Moon Juice. I like the Moon Juice blends because they include herbs like Astragalus, Eleuthero, Rhodiola, Reishi, and Ginseng which are all good adaptogens and adrenal supporters. Almost all of us could use adrenal support because the adrenals are what get wiped out when you are stressed, overworked, over scheduled, and/or physically pushed to your limits. Can you think of anyone who would say they are stress-free? I sure can’t. Another way I’ve been thinking about incorporating herbs into my smoothies is to make an herbal infusion and use that for the liquid base. I’ve been drinking Yogi’s Cinnamon Vanilla Healthy Skin lately and it would complement my Vega vanilla protein powder quite well. I also like Jasmine Pearl’s Yoga Blend tea which would add a little bit of a spicy taste to the smoothie. Chai would work well too and would set up my digestive system for the day’s work, though I’d have to get a caffeine free version because I don’t want to add more caffeine to my morning since I rely on coffee first thing, and I’m certainly not giving up coffee at this point!

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dairy free · food · Food allergies · food allergy blogs · food sensitivities · gluten free · health · Herbs · recipe · vegan · vegetarian

Herbs and Spices for Digestive Health

I’ve been thinking about Indian food lately…yum…but specifically how is it that a (largely) vegetarian diet could have existed so long in a culture without mass IBS issues? Not that I know about the IBS percentages in India, nor have I ever even been there, but I do think I know at least part of the puzzle~ the herbs and spices that are a part of daily life. The traditional foods are prepared with digestive help built-in~ turmeric, cumin, coriander, fennel, anise, ginger, and more all have positive digestive influences, and some also help regulate blood sugar. (Another bugger with vegetarian diets that one has to watch closely.) If you want to know specific herbs and their detailed affects, here’s a great list. Not only are the meals prepared with these herbs and spices, but in many parts of India is common to chew a spoonful of fennel seeds after each meal. This not only freshens breath but it helps digest the meal without bloating and gaseous effects. Also, many Indians drink chai multiple times a day, with digestive soothing spices such as ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves mixed with their (usually) black tea. This means they are getting good digestive support all day long~ something that I bet no one there even thinks about because it is just naturally a part of everyday life. Not only are these customs part of their food and drink regimes, the tri-herbal formula, Triphala, is largely taken by people there for decades upon decades. Triphala has many actions, but one of the most well-known traditional uses is on the digestive tract~ it regulates the intestines. People reach for this blend when constipated especially, and it has an extremely large following for just daily usage. I’ve heard and read it is the most commonly used herbal blend in the world, but I cannot say for sure if this is true and really I have a hard time believing anyone tracts things like “most popular herbal blend” but maybe… I think it’s safe to say that it’s popular anyway. For those familiar with Ayurveda, the three herbs used in Triphala are specific to the three doshas, Vata, Pitta, Kapha, and therefore balance out all three doshas in the body. If you want a very cursory introduction to Ayurvedic doshas, here’s a short bit to read. So it seems all together, Indian cuisine works because it is so fundamentally supported by the traditional herbs and spices used. Personally, I can’t incorporate all these factors into my life, but I have started having chai in the afternoons instead of coffee or plain black tea when I need a lift which is usually around 2:PM. It takes a little more effort than boiling water and grabbing a tea bag (though you can find chai in tea bags) but I must say it has been worth it. Not only is it delicious, I’ve noticed less bloating in the evenings. Hoorah! In fact, I think I’ll put some on the stove right now. Here’s my process:

I bought a chai mix in the loose tea section at our local PCC, near the bulk coffee section. If you do not have that option, there are plenty of recipes online which you can modify to your own specific tastes. Here’s one page I found with several recipes: chai.

First I fill my mug with water and then pour it into a small sauce pan, put the chai into a tea ball, and bring to a slow boil. It is actually better to do this part loosely, with no tea ball, but I find pouring it too difficult without a lip on this pan, so for now I’m sticking to the tea ball for ease of pouring. Also I end up getting two uses out of the chai in the tea ball, putting more water on to boil almost as soon as I finish the first cup.

Chai

Some water evaporates in the boiling so there is enough room to add milk to warm up at the end of the process. I use vanilla coconut milk, but use whatever you wish, or none at all!

Chai with vanilla coconut milk

Be sure to look at the ingredients of chai blends because they can have large amounts of sugar, especially the ones that are in a concentrate form. (If it’s the first or second ingredient, find another brand!) You can add honey or sugar to sweeten if you like, but if you are interested in the most healing blend for your digestive system, stay away from the sugar.

Chai while I type

Enjoy! It’s always nice when something delicious also happens to be nutritious. And who couldn’t use more spice in their life? Well, maybe quite a few people, but as for me…I’ll take it.