Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Homemade Exfoliating Body Scrub

This is by far my favorite body scrub and the best part is that it is completely home made! I used this scrub several times a week when I shower to exfoliate my whole body, leaving it feeling soft, moisturized, and providing an overall more toned appearance. It's made up of 3 simple ingredients: Coconut oil, brown sugar, and ground coffee. Each ingredient provides its own secret super power that , when combined, works wonders!

First, Coconut oil is amazing. For hair, eyes, body, and even cooking! Buy this frequently and always have it on hand. Fun Fact: Coconut oil is one of the only unsaturated fats (good fat) that is solid as room temperature, but as soon as it comes in contact with body temperature, turns liquid. There is an endless list of things Coconut oil can be used but in this case I will introduce you to two of my favorites. I like to include it in my body scrub because it cleanses and moisturizes my body at the same time. Oil traps moisture, allowing the skin to stay hydrated and also provides my body with a natural glow. As an added bonus, I don't even need to apply lotion afterwards, and it doesn't make my skin feel oily or greasy after drying off.

One of my other favorite uses is massaging an ample amount of coconut oil into my hair while I shower. This nutritious bath makes my hair feel really soft the next few days. I like to do this at night and let my hair air dry. I'd recommend doing this on nights when you don't have anything special planned the next day because it does make you're hair appear really greasy. But do note that after a good shampoo and conditioner session, your hair should be free of all the coconut oil (and greasiness), while still retaining its softness and shine. I like to do this at least once a week.

Secondly, brown sugar. I include brown sugar in this mix primarily for it's "scrubbing" purposes. This is the main component that will exfoliate and soften your skin. By altering the amount of brown sugar you add into the mix, you can choose how rough you want the mixture to be.

Lastly, ground coffee. This may sound a little weird and it definitely makes the scrub look a little less appetizing, but this ingredient is key! The caffeine in coffee has a tightening affect on the cells in your body, allowing your body to appear more toned, reducing the appearance of cellulite. I like to use this scrub on my legs for this exact reason. Please keep in mind though, it will not get rid of cellulite, that can only be done through exercise and healthy eating habits.

So here's how to make it:

Find a decent sized jar or container.
(1) Fill half of container with coconut oil
(2) 1/4 brown sugar
(3) 1/4 ground coffee

As you can see, very simple and easy to replenish. It's practically free if you already have the ingredients! And of course, you're welcome to change the amount of each ingredient to find a mix that works for you. Hope you like it!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Daily Supplements

Here is a list of supplements and products I use daily in efforts to establish a heathy routine.

 This is a multivitamin that I have heard numerous good things about. It has just about any vitamin and mineral you could need along with food extracts that provide antioxidants, enzymes, amino acids and herbs so you're never left missing a beat. I have been taking it regularly for s few months now and I can confidently say that I would recommend this Vitamin to anyone else. The only issue is that it gives me extreme nausea when I take this on an empty stomach, so be sure to eat a good breakfast before you take this multivitamin.

Evening Primrose Oil has always been a go to for women for centuries. It contains Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), an Omega 6 fatty acid obtained from vegetable oils, which aids in reducing inflammation and possibly reducing the risk of cancer. It is also popular with women because of its anti-aging properties, reduces PMS symptoms, and promotes healthier hair, skin, and nails.
 Omega 3 fatty acids boost memory, fights inflammation, lower triglycerides (this is your bad cholesterol), regulate insulin response, combat depression, ADHD, and Alzheimer's. These oils are good fats that the body needs to perform at its optimal level. Think of it as grease on a bike. These fatty acids ensure the heart stays clean of LDH (bad cholesterol) and also makes our cells' walls more flexible. You can get Omega 3's by eating fish, especially Salmon, walnuts, sardines, mustard seeds, and flax seeds.
In an effort to clean out my body every night before I go to bed, I've been resorting to Traditional Medicinals' Organic EveryDay Detox. It is vital that you drink plenty of water daily to clean your body and flush out all the toxins. By using burdock root, stinging nettle, cleavers, and dandelion root, this herbal tea focuses on promoting healthy liver function by flushing out your system. You can buy these at Publix. They have a variety of herbal teas to chose from which will cater to any need you wish to address. Here is their website: http://www.traditionalmedicinals.com

The Immune System Recovery Plan by Susan Blum, M.D., M.P.H.

So I am a huge dork. For those of you who may not know me, I enjoy reading about nerdy stuff like our bodies and the atomic bomb. For those of you who do know me- you understand. This book is my latest greatest find! After spending a few hours up at the local library trying to work on a paper, I managed to browse through a few isles and stumbled upon this book. It caught my attention, not just because the Immune System is one of my favorite body systems, but ever since I've been a child I've experienced a fair share of allergic reactions. When a foreign object enters into our bodies, our immune system protects us by attacking this foreign object. It does this by causing inflammation, which results in an allergic reaction. An allergic reaction simply means that your immune system is fighting off a foreign invader. I often joke that I was the lucky child that received all the family problems since I've probably dealt with any type of allergic reaction you can think of including swelling of my eyes and lips, hives, and eczema. Fortunately, many of these conditions don't last more than a few days, but they always seem to come back at some point.

This books outlines a 4 step program that can be used to treat Autoimmune Diseases. Autoimmune Disease is an umbrella term for any condition in which the immune system, instead of attacking foreign invaders, attacks your own tissue. This can occur anywhere in the body, and as you can assume, causes a great deal of damage to body tissue. Autoimmune diseases cover a wide range of conditions, including celiac disease (an allergy to gluten), Grave's disease (hyperthyroidism), Hashimoto's disease (hypothyroidism), lupus (attacks DNA), multiple sclerosis (attacks the nerves in the brain and spinal cord), rheumatoid arthritis (attacks joints and tissue), and Sjorgen's syndrome (which causes excessive dryness because mucus-secreting glands are damaged). All of these conditions are characterized by different symptoms, yet they all stem from the same problem- a misbehaving immune system. This program uses four steps to clean out the body and restore balance back to a chaotic immune system. These steps involve
  1. Using Food as Medicine
  2. Understanding the Stress Connection
  3. Healing your Gut
  4. Supporting your Liver
It wasn't until I started reading this book that I discovered that my earlier diagnosis of hyperthyroidism, also known as Grave's Disease, is also considered an autoimmune disease. It is characterized by the stimulation of the thyroid gland by antibodies, which cause it to release excessive amounts of the thyroxine hormone (T4) into the bloodstream. Some of the classic symptoms include weight loss, rapid pulse, heart palpitations, restlessness, intolerable to warmth, protruding eyes, insomnia, diarrhea, and irritability. My body had shed 20 pounds in 2 weeks because of my increased metabolism (trust me, not a healthy way to lose weight), my heart rate had peaked around 106 beats per minute (bpm) and was producing a murmur, it was impossible for me to sit still, and I would get hives all over my body when I wore clothes that were too warm or tight. The doctor told me to quit playing soccer for a year to avoid any heart complications and gave me some medications to take. Eventually my hyperthyroidism subsided (no more fast metabolism) and I could return to soccer. This happened back in high school and luckily I haven't had any issues since. The thing is, all these flare ups indicate that there is something terribly wrong with my immune system, not because of how I was born or my genetic makeup, but mostly because of what I was eating. Even though my hyperthyroidism is hereditary (my mother has hypothyroidism), I realized that by watching what I eat, eliminating certain foods, and incorporating more beneficial food items and supplements, my over-reactive autoimmune response could be controlled without the need for any medications!

All this background is to inform you why this book is so significant to me, and why I believe it might change your life as well, even if you don't suffer from any Autoimmune disorders. I have started reading this book only recently and I've already learned so much about our bodies and how it communicates with food on a molecular level. I know all this sounds really dorky, but this stuff is really important and can mean the difference between simply living until you get sick, or thriving at your body's best. If you suffer from any of those diseases or are simply just interested in establishing healthier eating habits, join me as I journey through this book and challenge myself to live for the better. :)

- Linda

Here it the website for the program: http://www.immuneprogram.com/the-immune-system-recovery-plan/about-the-book.html