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A-Z HEALTH

“For the love of”-GARLIC!

Garlic. It’s a staple in cooking world-wide. It’s one of the most common, easily accessible, delicious, nutritious and potent herbs on earth.

Garlic is capable of many things. As an immune boosting herb, it has the ability to affect our organs involved in immunity in such a way, that our bodies can produce more immune boosting cells, increase the activity level of existing cells, or both. Hence, why our elders would say “eat more garlic” when we suffer with cold/flu symptoms.

Not only will immune boosting garlic reduce cold/flu symptoms and potentially help us avoid them in the first place, but garlic can help rid our bodies of parasites, lower blood pressure, and aid in reducing risk of cardiovascular type dis-ease. The list goes on…purifying the blood, detoxifying through lymph and the rest of the body, lower the blood clotting factor.

Let’s talk antioxidants. What do they do? Combat free radicals, that’s what. Why is that awesome? Because a free radical is an unstable molecule that can cause irritation and breakdown of our tissues unless they are neutralized by antioxidants in the body. Garlic is just one of those antioxidants.

Garlic gives us anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties. It’s been used as a supplemental herb for more than boosting immunity. There’s more garlic has been used for; anti-ageing, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, circulatory aid, energy boosting, immune support, and on a spiritual level, century old tales tell us that, in theory, garlic keeps away evil spirits (or any spirits for that matter). Hollywood has certainly brought these stories to life!

So eat your garlic! Cook with it, use it raw, source organic, local, good quality stuff. Keep some on hand to ward away those spirits, and most importantly, live long and strong!

5 Reasons to Drink Warm Lemon Water

When it comes to healthy habits, its all about ease, simplicity and consistency.  For me, that means that my healthy routines are all about what can most easily be incorporated and what will do the most for my body (i.e. smallest amount of effort for the biggest reward). If I don't feel and/or see a positive shift, I won't keep doing it (I don't have time for that and I doubt that you do either). With that being said, warm lemon water is my tried and true health habit that I commit to EVERY morning. It's one healthy habit that I recommend to everyone! Warm lemon water is easy to incorporate and has SO many health benefits. Below are five reasons to start drinking warm lemon water:

  • One:  Whole body detoxification. Drinking warm lemon water effectively detoxifies the liver and the liver is the bodies primary organ for detoxification. When the liver is functioning optimally, the body is able to purge excess toxins and reduce inflammation. Also, drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning wakes up your digestive fire to prime your body to optimal digestion all day long.
  • Two: Boosts your immune system. Lemons are high in Vitamin C, a key vitamin needed for immunity.
  • Three: Balances your pH levels. Lemons are an alkaline food. Yes, on their own, lemons are highly acidic but in our bodies, lemons have an alkaline effect. Alkaline diets are great at reducing inflammation in the body.
  • Four: Helps with weight loss. When the body is out of balance, it becomes increasingly more difficult to lose weight. Lemons help to restore balance in the body - by regulating the pH levels and detoxifying any excess toxins.
  • Five: Clears skin. As mentioned above, lemons are high in vitamin C which helps to reduce and prevent wrinkles and blemishes. Plus, lemons help to detoxify the blood which also has a positive effect on your skin (less toxins inside the body = less breakouts).

Instead of having a cup of coffee as soon as you get out of bed, make yourself a glass of warm lemon water (...you can have your coffee after). In addition to the benefits listed above, enjoying warm lemon water in the morning is very hydrating (and we need that after a good nights sleep). Lemon water is simple to make but in order to maximize the nutritional benefits of lemon, don't use boiling water! If the water is boiling (or even just too hot) you will actually destroy some of the nutritional properties of the lemon and as a result, reduce the health benefit in your body. So here's exactly what you need to do:

  1. Bring 2/3 cup water to a boil.
  2. In a mug combine 2/3 cup boiling water and 1/3 cup room temperature water (filtered is best, if possible).
  3. Add lemon slices or juice of 1/2 lemon.
  4. Enjoy on an empty stomach and feel great!

Tip: Once you finish your warm lemon water, rinse your mouth with filtered water to ensure the acidity of the lemon doesn't damage the enamel on your teeth.

[AUTHOR: BECCA CORNWALL]

Beauty from Within

You've likely heard the saying before, you are what you eat. Well...that's not entirely true, you are what you digest and absorb. When we nourish our bodies with healthy, whole foods (and are able to absorb that nutritional goodness), our tummies, skin, hair/nails, energy, etc. all reap the benefits.

For example, do you want glowing skin? Well...that healthy glow you are longing for actually starts in the gut. Our external appearance is (often) a reflection of what we've got going on inside. It's not always an easy fix because no two bodies are the same, so what works for one may not work for another. However, here are a couple of things that we can all do to optimize our digestion and absorption:

  • One: Where possible, eat local. If you are eating local, your food is often more fresh with fewer (or no) preservatives. Not sure what's in season? Check out your local farmers market and browse the local produce stands.
  • Two: Eat whole foods that are as close to nature as possible. As a general rule, on packaged foods, limit the ingredient list to less than 5 ingredients and make sure you are able to pronounce each ingredient. If you can't pronounce it, you probably shouldn't be eating it.
  • Three: Eat probiotic rich foods or take a high quality probiotic supplement.  A healthy gut biome is key to all areas of your health - physical and emotional. Probiotics help to repopulate and rebalance the healthy bacteria in our gut.
  • Four: Add greens to every meal. Dark leafy greens are filled with antioxidant and detoxification priorities. Green smoothies and green juices offer an easy on the go option to get your greens in!
  • Five: Drink more water. Water is so important to overall health. When the body is properly hydrated our detoxification systems function optimally, nutrients are more easily absorbed and overall health is improved.
  • Six: Stress less. Stress hinders our bodies ability to digest because when we are stressed, we are in our sympathetic nervous system (i.e. fight or flight). When we are in this state, our bodies are not using energy to digest (because historically we experienced this stressed state when we were in a dangerous situation, i.e. being chased by a bear). Optimal digestion occurs when we are in a relaxed state (parasympathetic nervous system, rest and digest). So...for optimal absorption and nourishment, we CANNOT be so stressed. So breathe deep.
  • Seven: Get more sleep. Aim for 7-8 hours every night (I know, this seems impossible for some). Sleep is important for your body to rest, repair and regenerate. Plus, a lack of sleep leads to an increase in the production of the hormone, ghrelin. Elevated levels of this hormone negatively impact our ability to recognize when we are no longer hungry (and therefore we tend to overeat). Overeating negatively impacts digestion and causes inflammation in the body.
  • Eight: Drink your food - sounds weird, right? Digestion begins in your mouth, so remember to chew your food, until its a 'liquid' consistency.

Integrate all (or at least some) of these suggestions and observe change in how you feel and how you look. Slow down and allow your body to nourish, absorb and digest. Sometimes its easier said than done, but your body will thank you.

[AUTHOR: BECCA CORNWALL]

 

A-Z HEALTH

D IS FOR SUNSHINE

Vitamin D. Are you getting enough? It's something that most people are deficient in. It is the vitamin that requires such a great deal of whole-body participation for it to be converted into what's known as vitamin D3, the most active form and best utilized by the body. The skin, bloodstream , liver, and kidneys all contribute to the transformation of the fully active form, D3.

It all starts with our skin, and the sun. Vitamin D is actually manufactured in our skin when it comes into contact with the u.v. light in the sun's rays. Hence, the name "sunshine vitamin" (in case you've not heard the reference before). From the skin, it's then sent to the liver for conversion, and then furthermore, to the kidneys. So, really, vitamin D is more like a hormone than a vitamin. This is because it's produced by one part of the body (skin) and released into the blood to affect other tissues (the bones).

Wintertime, dark skies, smog and darkly pigmented skin can reduce our bodies production of this vitamin.

Vitamin D helps a number of bodily functions. It helps regulate calcium metabolism and normal calcification of the bones.  Ladies, this is especially important for us, as we get older, since the most we can do after a certain age is maintain our bone integrity.  Vitamin D helps increase the absorption of calcium from the gut, decrease excretion from the kidneys (thats right, we loose it through excretion), can stimulate re-absorption of calcium and phosphorus from bone, and support minerals in teeth. On the other hand, if D is low, blood levels of calcium and phosphorous decrease, our body will pull those minerals from the bones, creating weak, demineralized bones.  Blood calcium is very important in connection with the parathyroid glands. If you have further questions regarding this, it's best to see your holistic nutritional consultant for advise.

If you are currently taking a calcium vitamin without vitamin D3, it's probably not doing you much good unless you get a lot of sun which can also have it's cons. So what's the ideal bone support? Calcium and magnesium, which should be taken in a 2:1 ratio, with vitamin D together, is probably the best. Typically you can buy a cal/mag supplement and it will come in the right ratio. Often, it will include vitamin D, making it an easy supplement to add to your regime.

A-to-the-D. One final point. This is a topic on it's own, but you can pick up an amazing Weston. A. Price book for an in depth explanation as to why. Just to put it simply though, Vitamin D is best utilized by the body with vitamin A.  They are both fat-soluble vitamins that work synergistically together. They long for each other. Vitamin A food sources include, but are not limited to; high quality fish oils, good quality dairy products if tolerated (if not tolerated, perhaps fermented versions of dairy). Green and yellow fruit and veggies are the best sources of beta carotene (the water soluble co-factor). If your liver is healthy, it will have the ability to convert beta carotene into the active form of vitamin A (retinol).

Do the D. Get ample, safe exposure to sun, and supplement if necessary. Always consult your health practitioner before doing so. Love your liver, so that it can love you back, and have a bright, bright sunshiny day!

#ESMEINK : "Saying No & Going with the Flow" Day 17

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sayingno

THE POWER OF SAYING "NO", AND GOING WITH THE FLOW

I have learned to say no. I am getting more comfortable with setting boundaries. I'm done feeling guilty for wanting what I want in life. This is self love! It's not selfish, and it's not hurting anyone else. I try my best to take care of other peoples feelings, but not to the point that I shove mine aside. Remembering…..In order to love others, I have to love myself first.

I've considered lately, creating a sacred space. A physical one. I have begun creating a scared space in my heart, where I can go when I need peace. It's where I ground myself, and meditate. It's where I find clarity. But, amidst the craziness in my life-and by crazy I mean amazing but busy-I would love to have a sacred space in my home that is mine. Where I can light candles. Read my favourite book. Soak my feet. Do my yoga, meditate. Really, whatever I need at the time. I want to feel like I have a place that feels far from home, that's not. Growing up, my mom had her sewing room. I remember her wanting a sewing room for years before she finally had one. A space of her own. Where she could make something beautiful. For herself. For her soul. It was kind of like a sacred space, that was just for her, not for us kids. Of course, as a kid I didn't realize that having a sewing "room" meant actually having a sanctuary that was kid-free, noise-free, stress free, and a place where she probably felt at peace, balanced and centred. It was a world of her own-just for her! So, I've decided. Now that our teenagers both no longer live here, I'm going to work on turning the spare room downstairs into a room that I can use whenever I please. I'm going to decorate it, maybe even paint it-it could use a fresh coat anyways- Put up pictures that inspire me. Gather my books and trinkets, cozy blankets and essential oils, sage, and set up shop for my soul.

Wow-So here I thought I was going to write about how "saying no" is empowering, self loving and important to health. I've touched on it, but felt more inspired to go with the flow today. And now I'm pretty set on beginning a new project. See, nothing is certain. The only thing certain in life, is change. Life is beautiful! Buckle up and just enjoy the ride they say.

I'm going to created a sacred space. Dive deeper into my spirit and bring more joy into my life.

Halleluja!

And a quote…..

"I now take my power back as I choose to respect, honour and love myself." -Trudy Vesotsky

gowiththeflow

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson