Probiotics, the supplement I recommend most often.

Probiotics, are they right for you? What is a probiotic? I will do my best to answer those questions and more in this post.

First, is a probiotic right for you. I’m not a physician, nor do I play one in real life 🙂 so when in doubt, always consult your physician.

I believe that there are very few people that wouldn’t benefit from more healthy gut bacteria. Read what Harvard Medical School has to say about probiotics. This just scratches the surface.

This leads to the second question. What is a probiotic? Probiotics are healthy living microorganisms that can aid in keeping the unhealthy microorganisms at bay. Consider them your gut soldiers. Their mission, destroy the bad guys and help repopulate your digestive system with the good guys.

If you have ever been on an antibiotic, you may remember your doctor suggesting you take a probiotic or simply eat lots of yogurt. He/she knows that the antibiotic will destroy the healthy bacteria in your gut which can lead to some unwanted side effects.

By far, the one supplement I would never be without is a good quality probiotic. The answer is simple, the immune system starts in the gut and I want to give mine a boost with some good bacteria.

If you want to read the technical jargon about how your digestive system effects your immune health you can get more information here. The long and short of it is that what you put in your body in large part, determines your health.

Most of us grew up hearing, “You are what you eat.” Today we know that is more true than ever. I know for myself, this saying holds true…”Eat like crap, feel like crap.”

There are some wonderful food sources for probiotics if you aren’t inclined to take a supplement or are simply confused by which one to buy.

What do I use? I won’t do brand promotion because I don’t want anyone to think I’ve been paid to say what I’m saying on here. I will tell you, I use a shelf stable probiotic created for women. If you really want to know the specifics, email me.

Eating fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, or even fermented vegetables is another great way to get your probiotics.

Eating a nutritionally dense diet will help you to feel great and increase your resistance to illness. If you enjoy food, as most of us do, why not use it to up your game!!

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The Power of Your Habits!

We all have habits we wish we could change. The first step to changing a habit is to acknowledge that you are stuck in a repeat pattern.

habits, good vs. bad

Habits aren’t necessarily good or bad. There are however, habits that don’t serve you or those around you and those are the ones you want to replace.

It takes time to develop a habit. It will take time to replace it with a new one. You don’t simply stop doing something, you replace it with a new behavior. It isn’t a measure of willpower. This is why resolutions don’t work.

Picture this, December 31, you tell yourself, “this year I will eat less sugar.” The thought that you have been eating a sugar rich diet for most of your life never crosses your mind. You’re intention is good.

There is no magic in “December 31.” Now that you set the intention to eat less sugar, all you can think about is eating sugar. Try this, for the next 5 minutes you can think of anything but a white elephant. 🙂 You can’t stop picturing that white elephant. It is the same with your habits.

You need to create a new sequence of events that, as a side effect, brings you what you want.

The best place to start is to go from mindlessly doing what you do to doing things mindfully.

Start by looking back at your day and writing down each time you found yourself doing whatever it is you are trying to change. What were you feeling? What is the sequence of events happening at that time? Can you uncover the causes of what you are doing?

You need to see where you can begin to make changes before you can create a plan to do the work to build something new. Find ways to disrupt the environment that make your old habit nearly impossible to exist.

Here is a simple example: If you are trying to reduce your consumption of sugary snacks, you can start this change in the grocery store. On your next trip to the store, replace those snacks with fruits. You can start with one at a time if this seems overwhelming.

Changing habits may not be pleasant. You may question why you are doing this. In those moments you need to think back on why you started on this journey. Do you want to go back to where you were?

Engaging with other, like-minded people is extremely helpful. You need a support system. Family, friends, coworkers, may or may not be a good support system. How do you know if someone is a good fit for helping you achieve your goals?

It is easy, will they be brutally honest when you need it? Will they hug you when you need it? Will they consistently push you to better yourself?

Are you looking for someone with the expertise to push you, cheer you on, and be honest with you and the ability to know what you need and when? Schedule your complimentary initial consultation today.

 

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Gratitude-Pay it forward contest!

Gratitude is the open door to abundance! I start each day with an exercise in gratitude. Wellness isn’t just about nourishment for the physical body, we need to nourish the spiritual, mental and emotional bodies as well. What are you grateful for today?

I’ve been sewing off and on since I was a teenager. I was in my early 20’s when I first saw a Baby Lock machine and I was hooked. They were way out of my budget and I believed that owning one would only ever be a dream. I would dream and then let it go, always grateful for what I did have.

Last year I took a step up the sewing machine ladder and bought a Singer Stylist with all the bells and whistles. It was more than I ever had in a machine. Gratitude is a constant in my life and I was happy.

Fast forward a year, I started a project sewing special pillowcases for cancer patients, inspired by the work I do at Unlimited Smileage. The dream resurfaced as I sat and stitched.

I decided I would go look at them again. This time the universe had other plans for my dream. I was lead to a shop that is locally owned and wanted to see me with the machine of my dreams. Long story short, my new Baby Lock is now sitting on my sewing table ready to start the Pillowcase Challenge. My goal is to see how many pillowcases I can stitch in the month of March, all of which will be donated to charity.

Paying it forward!

In keeping with the gratitude theme, I’m giving away my Singer Stylist to IMG_4404one lucky winner. This machine with all the added accessories is valued at over $500. I want to see someone using it in love and service to their family, friends, and community.

There are two requirements. The first, sign up for the Begin Within Wellness newsletter. The second, comment on this blog post and tell me in 150 words or less how you would use this machine in service to others(family included) and why you feel you should win. If you prefer not to comment and would like to keep your response private, I will also accept email submissions.

It’s that easy.

  • There is no cost to enter.
  • It is open to individuals as well as not for profit agencies.
  • Deadline to enter is March 15, 2016.
  • The winner will be notified by email on or before March 30, 2016.
  • The contest is open only to those in the U.S. with the exception of Hawaii and Alaska. (I’m sorry shipping would be an issue outside of the lower 48.)
  • The winner may be required to pay a small fee to assist with shipping. If the winner is local to me, I will be happy to deliver.
  • Although I will do my best to ship safely, the machine doesn’t come with any expressed warranty. Unfortunately, I have no control over the shipping process. The machine works well and as you can see by the picture, it comes with tons of accessories.

What are you waiting for? I can’t wait to hear your stories and find a new loving home for this machine.

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Exercise your way out of an unhealthy diet?

Do you ever find yourself justifying the sugary drink or the pastry you consume by telling yourself you will just spend an extra 20 minutes on the treadmill? We have all been there.

The problem is you can’t fix the damage that occurs to your body from unhealthy foods simply by running it off or burning extra calories.

The problem goes much deeper than that. We get wrapped up in counting calories and spend little time thinking about what we are actually consuming.

Take for example, refined sugar, whether in the form of a doughnut or the soda you drink there are many effects. Studies show that too much can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and more.

The problem with sugar is that it is highly addictive, take it from someone who knows. I spent many years fighting this one before I was able to gain control of my cravings. I was what is now termed, skinny fat. On the outside, I looked like the picture of health, not an ounce of fat to be found. The inside was a different story, sugar was taking it’s toll on me and I wasn’t even aware. I’m still on the road to healing some of that damage.

Does that mean I no longer crave sweets or eat anything sugary? Absolutely not. I do however pick and choose and I never drink sodas or other sugary drinks. The way I look at it if I’m going to indulge, it is going to be something I can savor, not something I chug down.

So how do I squash the cravings? It really can be as simple as a few dietary changes. When nothing but sugar will do, I reach for a piece of fruit. Whole fruits are loaded with nutrients and natural fiber which slows down the absorption of the naturally occurring fruit sugars.

Eat plenty of fresh vegetables, small portions of whole grains, healthy fats and some form of protein with each meal. These foods will keep you full for longer and will help balance out your blood sugar levels.

Don’t be afraid to experiment to find what works for you. Only keep the foods in your house that you want to consume. That piece of cake on the kitchen counter is most certainly going to look better than a piece of fruit. If it isn’t there you most likely won’t run out to get it, you will eat what is readily available.

If you have the sugar blues, I can help guide you to healthier options. Feel free to contact me, leave a reply here, and subscribe to the newsletter to get healthy living tips sent right to your inbox.

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New Year, New You!

How many times have you started the New Year off with resolutions and within a few weeks you feel like you have failed at all or most of them? I lost count of how many times I have done this.

A few years ago, I woke up from a calm, restful, New Years Eve and realized, resolutions are a fairly safe way to set myself up for failure and feel worse about myself than I did before I made them.

It seems I’m not alone. January sees an approximate increase of 33-50% in the volume of gym memberships. However, 80% of the New Year’s resolution crowd drops off by February. Only about 18% of the gym memberships sold are ever used on a consistent basis.

I no longer make resolutions. I do set goals, however, I don’t wait for the New Year and I keep it real. I don’t set goals that are beyond my reach, I set goals that will push me out of my comfort zone and that I have to put some effort into.

Americans spend more than 100 billion dollars a year on weight loss products. That is billion, not million! We have all been there, the newest diet book, the gym membership, the latest, greatest piece of equipment or the hot new supplement. I know if I could get back the money I spent over the years, it would be a great vacation fund.

Sadly, most people don’t realize that “fad” diets almost certainly fail. You lose weight only to gain it back, sometimes more. I don’t know about you, but the thought of dragging myself off to the gym each day doesn’t excite me. My days are busy and I don’t want them any busier.

Functional fitness is a daily routine for me, along with eating healthy, meditation, and connecting with others. There is more to maintaining a healthy weight than just the food we put in our mouth. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle doesn’t need to be difficult or something you dread.

Let’s start with this example, physical activity. I am sure that most of you have functional fitness in your daily routine and aren’t even aware of it. Are you taking the stairs instead of the elevator?

Do you park the car away from the building and walk?

Are you wrestling around on the floor with your kids or grand-kids?

Are you walking the dog? Or maybe the dog is walking you 🙂 Are you getting the picture? Functional fitness can be anything that gets you moving throughout your day. You have a free “gym” membership surrounding you in your everyday world.

This is just a single example of how easy it can be to life a healthy lifestyle, one of the five essential areas of wellness.

My challenge to you in this New Year, is to stop making resolutions, start setting realistic goals throughout your year and even more importantly, look back at the previous year’s accomplisments. Ponder what you are grateful for in your life. You will start your year on a positive note and move forward from there to success.

 

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