Natural Ways to Boost Your Immunity

and Dodge the Cold & Flu Season

Besides the flu, colds make their rounds during the colder months when these microorganisms flourish, so it’s up to you to be vigilant and protect yourself. Thankfully, there are natural ways you can help boost your immunity and lessen your chances of getting sick this winter.

How many times during the winter months do you usually get sick? Let me know in the comments below, and let me know any natural tricks you use to combat illnesses.

Here are a few of my favorite ways

Use probiotic power
With all we now know about the gut biome, eating foods with probiotics is the best way to help keep your immunity strong. Kombucha, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut are just a few probiotic foods to help you out. Make sure you’re always eating plenty of fiber too to help that gut bacteria thrive. If you’d prefer a probiotic supplement instead, there are loads of wonderful ones to choose from to make sure you’re getting your daily probiotic needs.

Eat right
Unfortunately, this time of year is also when all those holiday goodies are lurking about. Balance it out by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidant-rich foods are immune boosters that will keep your system fighting all season long. Another warming winter food that will make your soups healthier is bone broth which you can sneak into your
family’s diet without them ever knowing.

Think zinc
The more vitamins you have in your foods this season, particularly vitamin C, the more immunity you’ll have. However, zinc is often forgotten for the powerhouse that it is. Zinc can help stop a cold’s cells from replicating and is a powerful tool to have in your wellness arsenal this season and beyond. You can eat more zinc in spinach, nuts, beans, and pumpkin seeds. There are also zinc supplements you can take daily, or when you’re feeling a cold coming on.

Balance activity and sleep
When the germs are swirling around, be sure you’re getting enough exercise as well as getting enough sleep. Compromising on either one can jeopardize your immunity. With the days shorter and quite frigid, getting in bed earlier isn’t a hard thing to do!

Sanitize with lavender oil
Soap and warm water are always best for cleaning your hands, but when you’re nowhere near a sink, try lavender oil. It smells great, keeps away germs naturally, and keeps your hands soft and supple even in the frigid winter weather.

Keep it clean
We know hands should be clean and kept from our eyes, nose, and mouth, but don’t forget about those things you use every day that can be contaminated with ease. Your phone, keyboard, desk, and door handles are prime examples. Want one that isn’t full of chemicals? Add purified water and distilled vinegar to a spray bottle in equal parts, and then add a few drops of tea tree oil. Spray
away!

There are too many fun events you won’t want to miss over these winter months, and there’s no time to spend being sick in bed. Use these natural immunity boosters to live life to the fullest during cold and flu season!

How to Have a More Active Thanksgiving With Your Family

Thanksgiving is a busy time for social gatherings and big meals around the table with friends and family. This typically means the holiday revolves around (delicious!) food and not much activity.

There are some fun ways to make your Thanksgiving a little more active, and here are a few favorite family-friendly activities that will keep you all off the sofa.

1. Get your game on
Thanksgiving television is a big thing for families, congregating around the TV to watch the football game or the Thanksgiving Day Parade. If you must watch that big game on TV, get a game going of your own in the yard first. Gather the family and shoot some hoops, toss the football, or throw the frisbee. Anything you choose will be fun and get the blood pumping – so it’s a win-win!

2. Take part in a turkey trot
Take a look on your community page for your city, and you’re bound to see a turkey trot. These are free running and walking events held during the Thanksgiving weekend. Gather the whole family for a day full of active fun. If you live in a more remote setting, you can host your own turkey trot. Why not involve your neighbors and your community by organizing one yourself?

3. Family walk time
Before dessert gets served, get everyone up to go for a walk. A lot of people put up Christmas lights during Thanksgiving weekend, and as the sun goes down, you might just be in for a beautiful treat as you walk around with your family. You could also have everyone find their favorite colorful, fallen leaf to take home and make a craft with. Let that be your new tradition. Then head back and enjoy your slice of pie!

4. Shop it off
Let’s not forget about Thanksgiving’s most popular activity, Black Friday. You  don’t even need to exercise your credit card but all that walking around is good for the family. Try parking farther away to get more walking in and just enjoy the sights and sounds. It’s about spending time together actively, and Black Friday makes for a fun way to do it while getting that holiday shopping done.

Once you get back from any of these activities, you’ll feel great about your active day with loved ones. What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving traditions?

Simply Ways To Stay On Track This Fall

Summer is behind us and Fall is officially here. We tend to have slower days this season, which is welcomed after a busy summer. More leisurely days can lead to falling off track with your healthy habits, but not if you stay mindful of the goals you’ve been working on all summer long.

Here are a few of my simple & favorite tweaks to stay on track during this slower season-

Spice up your life
A few dashes of your favorite spicy toppings can do wonders for your metabolism. Eat more hot peppers or even sprinkle red pepper flakes from your spice rack onto your foods to help boost your metabolism almost effortlessly. Add it to soups, stir-fry, pasta, or even your salad too.

Skip the diets
The best thing you can do is actually eat more of the right food. Fiber-rich fruits and veggies can be gobbled down until you feel that satisfied feeling with no guilt involved. Make smart choices when you’re eating, and you’ll be fueling your body with the right stuff and balancing a healthy metabolism.

Power up with protein
Protein powers and maintains lean muscle. You don’t need to be a meat-eater though to get all the protein you need. Plant-based proteins are an ideal solution to helping your muscles maintain and burn off fat in a healthy way.

Stand more
If you have a job that requires a lot of sitting, make sure you get up and move around at least once every hour. If possible, get a standing desk that adjusts so you can work standing up or sitting down, or a DeskCycle that you can use while you’re sitting.

Choose organic
If money is a factor in your grocery budget, you can choose organic when it comes to things like strawberries, apples, celery, peaches, spinach, other greens, and potatoes. These have the highest pesticide levels. Things you peel like bananas, avocados, or grapefruit, for example, are generally fine if they’re non-organic.

Little things like these are all healthy and smart ways to make your body work harder for you without you working harder, which is a great advantage to have in the fall! Enjoy the slower season and see how your body responds.

5 Reasons Your Weight’s Not Budging Even When You’re Trying

Even when you think you’re doing everything “right” — you could still be doing something that’s sabotaging your goals. With the slew of “diets” out there that leave us entirely confused, it can be hard to discern what the correct steps to take are to actually reach your health goals. I totally get it, it’s a difficult road to be on.

Start by taking an honest look at your habits, and digging a little deeper with these 5 reasons your scale might not be budging.

1. You’re not sleeping enough
We’ve said it before, and we’ll repeat it: you need sleep! If you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more prone to feeling hungry when you’re not and more likely to choose fattier options instead of more healthy ones when it’s time to eat. Even worse, lack of sleep affects how much cortisol your body produces which can contribute to weight fluctuations.

2. You have zero chill
Your stress level directly correlates with weight gain. Just like not getting enough sleep, it produces more cortisol which will keep the scale from going down like you’re hoping for. You’ve got to learn to manage your stress by using relaxation techniques. Try meditating or take 5 at your desk and do some simple yoga poses. Developing a good habit for handling stress will take some time to make it stick, but you’ll find once you manage stress, the scale will be tipping in your favor.

3. You’re eating more than you should
Are you portioning out your food? A substantial portion of the population overeats and an alarming number don’t even realize the portions they’re eating are considered “overeating” sized portions. What’s more, even if you’re using something healthy like olive oil, it has 120 calories per tablespoon which really adds up if you just dump it into your skillet or pour heavy onto your salad. Measure things out, and you’ll be getting just the right balance.

4. You’re not challenging your body
But I’m exercising, you might protest. Indeed, getting moving and being active is a crucial part of losing weight. However, you’ve got to challenge your body. You can’t expect to keep blasting off fat if you’re doing the same workout every single day. Switch things up, and you’ll see results. Don’t be afraid of lifting weights either. Building up your muscles helps you burn off more, even when you’re at rest!

5. You overindulge on the weekend
Be mindful of your indulgences and don’t skip your workout on the weekend either, or at the very least, plan an activity that keeps you moving. There’s no reason you can’t have a good time but balance is the best way to prevent your weekend from wrecking your weight loss.

Be honest…are you guilty of these things? It’s not too late to make a change. Work on these areas now and you’ll be in much better shape even during the hectic holidays coming up in winter!

Have you ever tried stretching before bed?   It might sound (and look) silly, but it yields the most restful night of sleep I’ve felt in a long time.  Before you hop in bed for the night, sit on your floor, or even your bed, and do a few minutes of stretching.  Slowly stretch your legs, arms, neck… and see what a difference it makes.

Do you struggle with sleep? Let me know below what you’ve tried that hasn’t worked.

 

Healthy Ways to Lose Weight This Summer

The summer months are among us — when we start to break out of our hibernation and get out into the sunshine. We shed our sweaters for shorts and tank tops, swimsuits and sundresses. But if you didn’t quite reach the New Year Resolutions you set for yourself, you may be feeling a little apprehensive. Swimsuit weather can trigger self-conscious thoughts as we so easily get lost in comparison-mode.

Here are a few of the tried and true ways to get healthy this summer — no fad diets, no pills, no tricks.

1. Daily Movement
Many people seem to ignore the significant beneficial results merely walking around has. While jogging or running can be better, not everyone enjoys it as a form of exercise. That “not being able to breathe” side effect of a decent jog can make some people forgo the activity altogether. However, if you want to walk for an hour or two instead, that is an entirely acceptable alternative. It doesn’t have to be hours at the gym to be a good workout.

2. Eat Healthy
Food advice changes by the month it seems. One day coffee is good for you, and the next it’s on the do not consume list. It’s so hard to keep up with the controversial information and know what is acceptable, right?

In general, the science itself is pretty clear (and common sense in many areas) on what we should be eating to be healthy, and what we should be avoiding. Eat plenty of plant foods, ditch the junk food, and drink plenty of water. Salads may sound boring, but a delicious veggie stir-fry or a hearty white bean soup can mix it up quite a lot. Don’t overthink it, just reach for foods the Earth grows and you’ll be feeling fabulous in no time.

3. Drink Fluids
Most of us do not drink nearly enough water each day. This can cause us to eat more and feel more tired, even when in reality, all we are is a bit thirsty. Strive to drink half of your body weight in ounces each day, spreading it out throughout your day. You will no longer get hunger pangs as often and will learn over time to know the difference between hunger, and thirst.

So regardless of how much you want to lose, just doing a little bit every day works like a charm. If walking alone is not impact enough for you, then jog, run, dance, or do whatever else will get you to move and more often.

Have you ever thought of using your lunch break as your sacred time?  I’m confident you’re longing for it by the time your lunch break arrives, so use that hour out of your day as a source of rejuvenation.

Pack yourself a healthy lunch, listen to an uplifting audiobook or podcast, journal, take a walk around your office building, or call a loved one.  Use that hour a day to recharge and come back to work fresh and filled.

What do you currently do on your lunch break?

How do you feel once it’s over and you return back to work?

How many times have you thought there just aren’t enough hours in the day?  How can you possibly get all that needs done completed each day?  And then have time for exercise, downtime, social interactions, etc. — it feels like an impossibility at times.

One way to multitask is by walking and listening to audiobooks or educational podcasts at the same time.  There’s something about curling up with a good book that comforts you to the core — but there isn’t always time to do this regularly.  Try downloading audiobooks from your library (Overdrive.com) or on Audible.com, and subscribing to podcasts so you can learn about something that interests you.

Invest in some Bluetooth wireless headphones (as low as $15 on Amazon) and tuck them in your ears as you’re walking around the block, doing laundry, commuting, getting ready in the mornings, and any other time you can find tucked away in your day.

Do you find yourself having an all or nothing mindset about your health?  It’s either salad every meal, or you’re doing it “wrong” — and don’t even think about having that cupcake on your birthday.  That officially means you’ve fallen off track, and you’re down in the dumps for a few days before you can muster the courage to pull yourself back up.

I want to let you know you can feel freedom from this way of thinking.  Wellness isn’t all or nothing, and as a matter of fact, it’s a balancing act.

So how do you feel when you eat something less healthy than you think you “should” — how do you treat yourself?

 

What is your biggest goal for 2018?

Are you finally going to train for that 5k you’ve had your eye on?

Do you finally want to finish renovating your basement?

Do you hope to take a class to learn something new?

What is it?  What do you hope to achieve in 2018?

Leave a comment below and let me know.

I can’t wait to read each of your goals!

My top 3 goals for 2018 are:

  1.  Running my first marathon
  2.  Decluttering my home
  3.  Completing the Horrible Hundred bike ride

Remember, goals are inspiring and wonderful to have, but if you don’t have a plan to implement them – you may end up a statistic that sputters out by the end of January.  So not only do I want you to dream up your goals for 2018, be sure you think of ways to make these goals manageable and sustainable… so that you can achieve success and reach your goals this time around.  Best of luck!