Do You Have a Hydration Station?

Do You Have a Hydration Station?

Do You Have a Hydration Station?

Hydrating and just drinking water are not necessarily the same thing. 

There’s an objective to all that water, bone broth, and whatever else you’re drinking–and that is to hydrate your body at the cellular level. 

Once upon a time, it used to be all about drinking enough water till your pee was clear or light yellow. Nowadays, we’re digging into the real issue of cellular dehydration and making sure your body is adequately hydrated right down to the cells so you’re functioning optimally.

Water Is An Amazing Substance

When water is in its liquid state, there are hydrogen bonds keeping the individual molecules of water close together. When it is heated up, the hydrogen bonds are broken and the water moves into the vapor state. 

So when you’re drinking water, to get the water into the cells, the hydrogen bonds have to be broken so that the molecules of water can actually enter the cells. How do you break the hydrogen bonds? You have to add energy to the system. The more energy you have to add, the harder it is to hydrate the cells. 

The worst absorbed water (and least able to hydrate the cells) is distilled water–I call it dead water and have for a long, long time. It’s only good for irons (if you’re into ironing) and whatever other appliances specifically call for distilled water. 

Maximum Absorption

The best absorption and consequent hydration for your cells is filtered water (love my Berky!), mineral waters, and electrolyte solutions like Hot Melt Mix. 

Each day, I drink a liter of Pellegrino mineral water (I buy it by the case!) and a big huge serving of Hot Melt Mix, mixed with about 24 ounces of water. I add a scoop of powdered vitamin C and that is my beverage till tea time! Sometimes I actually add Pellegrino to my Hot Melt Mix and have a very nice fizzy drink that’s delicious, full of electrolytes, plus exogenous ketones that help you stay in ketosis all on designed to hydrate the living daylights out of the lovely little cells! 

This, in addition to watching my hydration levels and keeping my Hydration Station set up (water bottles filled and ready to go in the fridge), is how I get adequately hydrated each and every day. 

How Much Do I Drink?

My formula to help you get adequately hydrated is to take your weight, divide by 2 and that number (in ounces) is how much hydration you should attain during the day. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be getting in 75 ounces of hydration each day.

And remember, it all counts–yes even your coffee and tea. The latest research has debunked the old adage of drinking a glass of water for each cup of coffee. Science proved that to be wrong! 

Proper hydration is getting enough water to maintain blood flow, normal kidney function, and adequate fluid for GI function. But what you really want to do well with the fluids that you drink is to drive that hydration into the cell and that’s dependent on the quality of the water, electrolytes, minerals, and even fiber (our FiberMender 3.0 will do the trick!). 

Chronically Dehydrated?

Most of us are walking around in a state of chronic dehydration. As a matter of fact, Zach Bush MD said that during surgery, it’s not unusual to have to give a patient 5 liters of fluid because they’re so dehydrated! 

So What Do We Do?

Here are the important steps:

  1. Remember, all liquid counts toward your hydration goals. Sure have your coffee and your tea, but go easy. Too much caffeine is hard on your body. 
  2. Each day, create a Hydration Station in your home–have your mineral water chilling in the fridge, as well as your water bottles filled with the appropriate amount of filtered water and a glass to drink it with. Set your alarms on your phone as reminders to go drink your water. I keep mine downstairs in the kitchen so it means I get in a couple of flights of stairs while I’m at it each time. 
  3. Get your electrolytes in each day, especially important if you’re exercising! Electrolytes help regulate muscle contractions and keep you hydrated. They also help balance your pH levels and control the nervous system function according to Cedars Sinai.  
  4. Speaking of electrolytes, taking an electrolyte replacement such as our Hot Melt Mix along with exogenous ketones will keep you from feeling awful when transitioning from being a sugar burner to being a fat burner. The low carb/keto flu is nothing to scoff at! 
  5. Jacqueline Wolf, MD of Harvard Medical School suggests lots of water and fiber (a blend of soluble and insoluble fibers) to keep digestion on point as well as hydration. We love our FiberMender 3.0 for that–10 grams of fiber per serving!

Closing Thoughts

Staying adequately hydrated requires a concerted effort. The ideas and steps provided in this post should help you get what you need. My very strongest suggestion is that you set your phone up to remind yourself so your hydration happens daily. 

Being hydrated is anti-aging, helps to move toxins through your body quicker, keeps your thinking clearer, and will give you lovely skin!

A Shout Out to Sprouts!

A Shout Out to Sprouts!

A Shout-Out to Sprouts!

Is there anything more nutritionally dense than a sprout? I don’t think so…and that’s why I want you to have this primer to learn how to make them yourself at home. 

When you take seeds and soak them in water, they will start to germinate, grow a plant, and that first step in the process creates a sprout.  Sprouts consist of the seed base, a stem, and finally the beginning of a leaf structure.

Since seeds contain a lot of energy and germination-fueling food to create a new plant, they are rich in nutrients and a wonderful food source. Also, since they are germinated in water and not in soil, they can easily be eaten whole, though you still want to rinse them under running water.  When eaten raw, you can benefit from all of their vitality, including water-soluble vitamins and enzymes that may otherwise be lost if they are cooked.

Cruciferous vegetables are an amazing group of plants that include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, watercress, bok choy, radish, and wasabi, among others.  They contain phytochemicals, which produce mycotoxins to protect themselves when the plant feels it is being attacked, like when we eat them. In the case of broccoli, there is a chemical called glucoraphanin that sits in the plant, along with an enzyme called myrosinase.  

When the plant is attacked, or in our case, eaten, it combines the two and creates something called sulforaphane.  At that point, our bodies react to those toxins through an amazing process called hormesis, an immune response that releases very potent antioxidants that are naturally produced and stored in our bodies.  

Sprouts contain around 100X the glucoraphanin of mature broccoli, so with sprouts you get a lot of nutritional bang for your buck, they are easily grown, taste unique, and are a wonderful superfood. 

What are some of the benefits of sulforaphane?

  • Anti-aging
  • Anti-diabetic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-microbial
  • Anti-oxidant
  • Neuroprotective
  • Anti-cancer
    • Bladder
    • Breast
    • Colon
    • Lung
    • Prostate
    • Skin
    • Stomach

Easy Way to Sprout:

  1. Put 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons of seeds in a quart mason jar and add a few cups of water, then place in a dark space for at least 6-8 hours.  Use a large mouth jar and cap it off with a screened cap, not a sealed cover.  The seeds need air as they sprout.  If you don’t have the screened screw-on caps you can use a rubber band with cheesecloth or a piece of window screening, but Amazon has a variety of screened caps.
  2. For the next 4 days, you need to rinse the seeds at least 1-2 times a day.  Drain them completely and return to the dark, usually storing the jar tilted upside down (at a 45-degree angle) to keep any water drained.  They need to be in a humid environment, but not damp.  Shake the seeds around so they are not clumped together and have space to breathe around the jar.  Around day 2 or 3 you should see the seeds breaking open and growing small tails.  Continue with the rinse and well-drained process.
  3. On day 4 or 5 you can rinse and leave them in indirect sunlight so they can start turning from yellow to green.  You should see leaves starting to form and the sunlight will activate the chlorophyll forming process.
  4. On day 5 you can rinse again and place in a well-lit area.
  5. When you are ready to harvest, place the sprouts in a large bowl, and fill it with water, rinsing them thoroughly to separate the seed husks from the sprouts.  Some will float to be skimmed off and others will settle at the bottom, so do this rinsing process 2 or 3 times.  The sprouts can then be bagged and refrigerated for up to 5 days when they will then be losing a significant amount of their nutrients and need to be thrown away.  Otherwise, you can bag and freeze them for future use.

Another method is to use sprouting trays–this is what I use.  

They are basically circular and stackable trays with slots to drain the water while holding the seeds, a portion of them in each tray.  Water them at least twice a day for 4 days.  On day 5 you should have some pretty good growth and then rinse them out in a bowl as before to separate out the hulls.  Sprouting trays are easily found in stores or on Amazon and probably have their own directions for use.

The flavor of the sprouts can be a bit spicy for some but have a wonderful flavor on their own for many.  Eat them fresh in salads or on sandwiches instead of lettuce, or you can also freeze them and they will retain all their nutrients if you won’t be eating them within 3-4 days.  Add them in your smoothie for a wonderful nutrient boost, but do not make your smoothie with milk!  Cow milk contains casein which binds with the sulforaphane and hinders the absorption of that vital nutrient.  

Use almond milk, coconut milk or water and enjoy!  

Looking for a way to kick up the health factor in your smoothies? Consider one of our Perfect Paleo Protein Kits.

Bergamot–The Secret Ingredient In Wise Women’s Tea

Bergamot–The Secret Ingredient In Wise Women’s Tea

So What Is Bergamot?

The bergamot orange (Citrus bergamia), is a fragrant citrus fruit the size of an orange, with a yellow or green color similar to a lime, depending on ripeness. The origin of this fruit is believed to be the result of combining lemon and bitter orange.  There are also herbs called bergamot or wild bergamot that are in the mint family.  Although they have a similar aroma they are not related to the fruit.

Originally coming from South-East Asia, bergamot fruit is now grown around the world, including countries in North and South America, Africa, and southern Europe.  Because the juice is quite tart, somewhere between a lemon and a grapefruit, it is rarely consumed as a juice and while produced as marmalade in Turkey, a particular French candy, or other miscellaneous products, it is primarily harvested for its essential oils, yielding around 3 ounces of oil from the aromatic skins of 100 bergamot oranges.  That oil has been used for years to make perfumes, cosmetics, and to flavor food, and one of the most common uses is as an ingredient in Earl Grey tea, giving it that distinctive flavor and aroma.

How Earl Grey Tea Came To Be

Like many things, there are stories around the origin of Earl Grey tea and bergamot.  One version says that a container of oranges was shipped with tea from China and absorbing the flavor was purely accidental.  Another version says that the water at Earl Grey’s property was unpleasant and a Chinese visitor created the blend to offset the bad flavor of the high mineral content of the water.  Whatever the true origin, Earl Grey tea has been around since the early 19th century and is still a classic beverage around the world.

The Health Benefits of Bergamot

Beyond its cultural significance in the British Empire, there are also a number of proven health benefits derived from bergamot:

  • Assists in Proper Digestion – Known to enhance the body’s digestive process, stimulate digestion and ease discomfort, you can take a few drops of the essential oil, mixed with another carrier oil like coconut or almond oil, and rub it into your stomach area.  An easier way to help your digestion is to simply drink a cup of our Wise Women’s Tea.
  • Aids Weight Loss and Protects Against Diabetes and Heart Disease – A study by the University of Catanzaro in Italy found that bergamot could help you lose weight, and prevent diabetes by reducing blood sugar.  Also, the UK Telegraph, Health News reported findings that drinking Wise Women’s Tea could help protect against heart disease, due to its bergamot content.
  • Improves Your Mood, Eases Stress, Anxiety, and Depression – When diffused, the essential oil has powerful mood-stabilizing effects.
  • Reduces Pain – Just as you might do for stomach pain and digestion, combine a few drops of essential oil with another carrier oil and apply to sore, achy muscles, or where you feel a tension headache.  Make sure to keep the oil away from your eyes and be aware that it will make your skin extra sensitive to direct sunlight or artificial UV light from tanning beds, like most citrus oils.
  • Natural Deodorant and Air Freshener – Add a few drops to your liquid soap, deodorant, or air freshener to remove bad odors and help stop the spread of viruses and germs.
  • Nausea and Vomiting – Bergamot oil is commonly used in aromatherapy for these and other conditions, like schizophrenia, and reducing the side effects from certain prescription drugs, but there is no scientific evidence to support those uses.

To order your own bag of Body Clutter: Wise Woman’s Tea click here!

To Tea or Not To Tea

To Tea or Not To Tea

According to legend, tea was discovered around 5,000 years ago by a Chinese emperor who was boiling water as leaves from a wild tree blew into his pot.  When he drank it he enjoyed feelings of joy and wellness and since then tea has been used not only for medicinal purposes but for everyday pleasure and enjoyment also.  (BTW, they never explained why the servants weren’t boiling the water or what he would be using it for, but hey, legends! 😀)

For centuries the Chinese empire closely protected their tea, from the cultivation of the crop to the final preparation.  Only young women who were considered for their supposed purity were to handle the tea and they were not to eat certain foods like garlic, onions, or even strong spices to prevent their fingertips from contaminating the precious crop.

There are more than 1,00 types of Chinese tea, but 2 basic teas that are most commonly known and commercially produced today are green tea and black tea.

Originally, and for many centuries, all tea was green tea.  However, by the mid-17th century, the Chinese trade routes were well established with India and Europe, and the resulting demand and long distances were problematic for the delicate green tea leaves.  Chinese growers then discovered a special fermentation process that allowed them to preserve the tea leaves while keeping its flavor and aroma longer.  The resulting black tea became the staple product for export.

In today’s global market, the time and distance in trading commodities are not a problem and with the expansion of countries that grow tea there is no longer a problem transporting green tea, so it is as common and black tea.

From a health perspective, there are numerous benefits of drinking tea.  As a basic beverage, it helps you stay hydrated and to keep up with the amount of water a human body requires daily.  With a high level of antioxidants, tea is also heart-healthy, and some studies have shown that drinking tea is also good for your teeth and possibly even helping to prevent cancer.

The type of tea you drink will make a difference.  The Camellia sinensis plant (or tea plant) is the source of almost all caffeinated teas, including green, white, black, and oolong teas.  Since all these types of tea come from the same plant one might think the health benefits are the same, but apparently not.

Green and white tea are often regarded as the healthiest because they are less processed and have the highest levels of polyphenols, which are micronutrients that can improve or treat digestive issues, weight management challenges, cardiovascular (heart) diseases, diabetes, and even neurodegenerative disease.

Anna Ardine is the clinical nutrition manager at Magee-Women’s Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and has explained that there is a lot of information regarding the health benefits of tea.  In one study that used results from numerous reports, people who drank 1-3 cups of tea/day showed a nearly 20% reduction in the risk of heart attack and a 35% reduced risk of stroke.  Those who drank 4 or more cups of tea a day showed a 32% lower risk of a heart attack and lower levels of LDL cholesterol.

For the benefits of heavy tea consumption without having to drink 4+ cups of tea, matcha tea is a good option to consider.  Matcha is made from ground tea leaves and is supposed to have the nutritional equivalence of 10 cups of regular green tea.

Being a good source of antioxidants, tea helps to keep us young and protect us from the harmful effects of pollution.  It is somewhat like preventing rust on your car.  Traditional tea is also lower in caffeine, with approximately half the levels of coffee and herbal teas are caffeine-free.

Recent animal studies also suggest that green tea may help to prevent bone loss.  Moringa tea comes from a plant that is native to South Asia and has more calcium than milk.  It also has high levels of vitamins A and K as well as iron.

Since tea changes the pH in your mouth, it may also help in preventing cavities and decrease tooth loss since it does not appear to erode tooth enamel like many other common beverages, according to Japanese researchers.

Ayurvedic practitioners have used holy basil or tulsi tea for centuries to keep the immune system strong after illnesses or injuries because of its anti-fungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.

There are also herbal teas like chamomile that are antispasmodic, so they are good for people with Irritable bowel syndrome, and with added ginger, it can also calm nausea.

In addition to all the benefits and potential benefits of tea, one of the most obvious is that it is a no-calorie alternative to water.  It comes in a variety of flavors and you can always create your own, whether hot or cold.

Our own Wise Women’s Tea is a blend of green and black teas (organic of course!) and a touch of bergamot for a fine citrusy flavor, much like Earl Grey.

Fiber – Digestive Draino

Fiber – Digestive Draino

The TV ads say that we need more fiber.  Doctors tell you that you need more fiber.  Product packaging promotes having more fiber than the other guys.  So what exactly is fiber and why should we care?

Dietary fiber is a plant-based nutrient that passes through your digestive system relatively intact; it’s not digested into sugars like most carbohydrates.  It is sometimes referred to as bulk or roughage and since it is not digested or otherwise broken down like most foods we consume, so what goes in your body essentially exits in the same form.  Although it might not contribute much in the way of nutrients, what fiber does in the process of moving through your system is where the benefits come in.

Fiber is important to digestion and regularity, weight management, cholesterol maintenance, blood sugar regulation, and more. It has also been linked to longevity and decreasing the risk of cancer.

Blood sugar regulation is another benefit of a high fiber diet.  The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine published a meta-analysis of studies about the relationship between fiber and blood glucose (blood sugar) levels.  Findings show that higher fiber intake can reduce blood glucose levels during the standard fasting blood glucose test (a test of blood sugar levels after an overnight fast).  Glycated haemoglobin, which occurs when proteins in the blood mix with blood sugar, is related to increased risk of diabetes complications, and levels of that decrease with an increase in fiber, and soluble fiber is particularly helpful in that regard.

Cancer prevention is a hot topic among medical professionals and there are some differing opinions about the effectiveness of fiber in fighting cancer.  The National Cancer Institute says that fiber does not reduce the risk of cancer to a significant degree, but the British Journal of Medicine published a report based on multiple studies regarding fiber and a reduced risk of colorectal cancer.

A more recent study suggests that the effectiveness of fiber is determined by the individual’s type and amount of gut bacteria.  In the lower colon, the fiber reacts with bacteria and can sometimes ferment into a chemical called butyrate. A high fiber diet can encourage the growth of the bacteria, which may cause cancer cells to self-destruct.

Some scientists think that fiber could actually help people live longer.  One recent study suggests that cereal fiber, from foods like cereal, whole-grain bread, and pasta, is especially effective. Over a 14-year period, those who ate the most cereal fiber were 19 percent less likely to die than those who ate the least. A meta-analysis of relevant studies published in the American Journal of Epidemiology concluded, “high dietary fiber intake may reduce the risk of total mortality.”

For those who want to add more fiber to their diet, it is recommended that they start out slowly, adding around 5 grams of fiber a day for 2 weeks, according to the University of Michigan.  Boosting your fiber intake too quickly can cause cramps, bloating, or diarrhea. The recommendation also includes a balance of two non-caffeinated drinks for each one you consume. Since caffeine is a diuretic it causes a loss of fluids and can increase constipation.  Here are some recommended tips for a beneficial high fiber diet:

  • Start your day with bran cereal or oatmeal and berries
  • Add legumes or beans to your lunch salad or soup, or try a meatless burger made with beans or lentils.
  • Dinner should include more high fiber vegetables like broccoli, corn, brown rice, or whole-wheat pasta.
  • Add fruit to every meal, especially berries.
  • Take dietary supplements that are high in fiber.

Low fiber diets may be required for those with medical conditions, like those undergoing radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery, so they need to give their digestive system a rest.  They might only need such a low fiber diet for a short time while others need a longer time because of conditions like diverticulitis, Chrone’s disease, or ulcerative colitis.

For those on low fiber diets, refined grains, ripe melons, peaches, bananas, apricots, and many cooked vegetables are still OK, but they should consult with their doctor to be sure of their individual needs.  They definitely need to avoid those high fiber foods noted earlier, as well as spicy and fried foods, processed meat, caffeine, nuts, and cocoa products.

 

Two Types of Fiber

Fiber is generally categorized as either soluble or insoluble.  Good sources of soluble fiber include beans, lentils, oatmeal, peas, citrus fruits, blueberries, apples, and barley. The soluble fiber in these foods includes gum, pectin, and mucilage.  They dissolve in water and in the body they become a gel-like substance.

Good sources of insoluble fiber include foods with whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, brown rice, cauliflower, potatoes, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Some foods, like nuts and carrots, are good sources of both types of fiber.  Although whole wheat flour and wheat bran contain gluten which is an anti-nutrient, they need to be included in the list for those who can tolerate them. I don’t recommend anything with gluten in it for those with any kind of digestive issue, but more especially for folks with autoimmune issues.

Insoluble fiber like cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin mostly retains its shape while passing through the digestive system.

According to the Institute of Medicine, men under the age of 50 should consume 38 grams of fiber each day and older men 30 grams.  Women under 50 should consume 25 grams a day and over 50 years of age the recommendation is 21 grams. According to the Institute, most Americans do not consume enough fiber.

 

Benefits of Fiber

Both soluble and insoluble fibers have health benefits.  Insoluble fiber speeds up the digestive process, maintaining regularity and helping to avoid constipation.

Psyllium husk is a fiber that draws water into your intestines to help fecal bulk and soften stool, making it easier to pass. Psyllium husk is also thought to help relieve loose stool by absorbing water, making your stool more solid.

Soluble fiber helps to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood and helps to decrease blood glucose levels (blood sugar).

Heart health is improved because the digestion of fiber requires bile acids, which are partly made of cholesterol.  The liver pulls the cholesterol from the blood to create that bile acid and in doing so it reduces the levels of LDL cholesterol, the bad stuff.

Flaxseed is also a commonly used fiber to help reduce LDL cholesterol and help prevent constipation, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other medical conditions.

Glucomannan is another dietary fiber and is derived from the root of the konjac plant.  It works in the stomach and intestines by absorbing water to form a bulky fiber and may also slow the absorption of sugar and cholesterol from the gut, reducing cholesterol levels and controlling sugar levels.  It is one of my favorite fibers because of its impact on constipation, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

Acacia gum is a soluble fiber that is commonly used as a medicine taken orally for diabetes, obesity, and irritable bowel syndrome.  It is also used as a prebiotic to promote “good” bacteria in the intestine and to remove toxins from the body. As a source of dietary fiber, it also tends to make people feel full, so they might stop eating sooner than they might otherwise, which can lead to weight loss and lower cholesterol levels.

Inulin is a type of fermentable fiber that is found naturally in the roots of many foods, such as whole wheat, onions, garlic, and artichokes, and is commonly extracted from chicory root and added to foods.  Inulin is fermented by bacteria that normalize the colon and is considered a prebiotic, which may improve gastrointestinal health as well as potentially enhance calcium absorption.

Our all-new FiberMender has 10 grams of fiber and with 4 types, you’ve got Digestive Draino at your fingertips! I LOVE this stuff!

Easing into a cleaner lifestyle

Easing into a cleaner lifestyle

During the holidays, it’s perfectly fine to savor one of your favorite desserts or to have an extra glass of egg nog or two, but you shouldn’t use the whole season as an excuse to overindulge.

Tens of thousands of Americans will resolve to lose weight and to get healthier in 2020.

I have weight loss on the brain today because I’m seeing everyone’s New Year Resolutions. I thought the timing was just right to talk a little bit about how to take baby steps to ease yourself into a healthier eating regime.

You may be hesitant to adopt a healthier lifestyle for fear that you’ll have to change too much all at once, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming!

Here are five tips that you can use to help ease into a cleaner diet:

 

Cut back on take out.

By shopping for fresh ingredients and making your own meals, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor! Fast food is chock full of unhealthy fats, sodium, sugar and calories. There are also preservatives and other chemicals that our bodies could do without.

 

Learn to read labels.

Very little good comes out of boxes where food is concerned, but if you know how to read labels, you can start making better choices. If you have to spend more than a few seconds to decipher a food’s label, then your body won’t know what to do with those unpronounceable additives either! Skip anything with flavor enhancers, flavorings or fake colors.

 

Stop drinking calories.

Sugary coffee drinks, sodas, juices . . . they’re not good for us. They serve no nutritional purpose and they are nothing but empty calories. Reach for water to quench your thirst and you’ll be doing yourself a big favor.

 

Eat more vegetables.

Bulk up on veggies. Eat them with every meal and don’t be stingy. I’m not talking about iceberg lettuce, either! Reach for dark leafy greens (organic, please!) like spinach and kale. Snack on carrot sticks and broccoli. Eat a rainbow each day and you’ll be amazed with the results.

 

Stop buying crappy food.

You know which foods are not serving your health, so stop buying them. You don’t need those cookies and cakes. Those tubs of ice cream and bags of chips look good at the time, but if you bring them home, you’ll only eat them— so leave them on the store shelves!

 

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