With Memorial Day weekend just around the corner and summer almost officially here, that means more time outdoors in the sun. No matter your pleasure of choice, a little beach rest and relaxation, hiking in the mountains or enjoying an open water swim, it is important to protect you and your family from the dangerous effects of sun exposure.
Though, do you know that not all sunscreens are created equal?
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) analyzed 1,700 sun protection productions in the United States and found that 80% of the products reviewed this year contained harmful ingredients or contained inadequate protection against the unsafe ultraviolet radiation. Some of these toxic chemicals, such as oxybenzone, which is a hormone disruptor, or retinyl palmitate, which is a form of vitamin A linked to skin damage.
Check out EWG’s Sunscreen Guide 2015 to make sure you have the right protection for you and your family during your outdoor activities.
Within the EWG’s Sunscreen Guide, here are a few other features listed in the report:
- Best Beach and Sport Sunscreens
- Best moisturizers with SPF
- Hall of Shame
- Reading the Report
- What’s Wrong With High SPF?
- Eight Little-Known Facts About Sunscreens
- The Problem With Vitamin A
Remember, the health of your skin is not just protected by what you apply to the skin from the outside. As I have mentioned in more detail in this previous blog post, the skin, being the largest organ of your body, is greatly impacted by the health of your gastrointestinal tract. Consuming Aloe Vera Juice is just one of the many foods that not only improves digestion but also gives your skin the glow and protection it deserves from the inside out.
To a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend to you and your loved ones!
Digestive Health Smoothie
4 raw Brazil nuts
1 whole cucumber
1 large celery stalk
small handful of spinach or mixed greens
1/2 cup aloe vera juice
1 heaping tablespoon ground flax seeds
1 cup frozen blueberries
15-20 drops vanilla stevia or raw honey (or to taste)
2.5 cups water (you can add more or less depending upon your thickness desire)
1 teaspoon maca (optional)
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger (optional)
Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!
PS - Wanting new recipe ideas? Follow me on Pinterest for some yummy and creative ideas.
Do you experience or know anyone who experiences any of the following symptoms?
- Gas and bloating
- Allergies and/or sensitivities to certain foods or smells
- Eczema, canker sores or acne
- Migraine headaches
- Abdominal pain
- Brain fog, anxiety and depression
Did you know that the above symptoms all have the same root cause in common?
Nagging and often irritating manifestations, from your brain function to your skin to respiratory system to your belly, all stem from the same place.
Any guesses to where the root cause is located? Knowing me, you might know where this root cause is…
Yep, it’s in your gut!
First let’s remember that your body is a complex and amazing one. It is an interwoven and unique system that is constantly interacting. Organs are not independent from one another, but rather work in unison together.
At first, I can understand how it might be odd to think of your respiratory challenge, or most other health conditions, as stemming from the health of your primary digestion and absorption organ; the small intestine. But when really diving into the chemical reactions that are going on inside your body, things start to become clearer. These health challenges are warning signs that the body is sending you, informing you that something has gone wrong.
By getting to the actual cause of the manifestation, we can improve the health issue instead of masking over the signs and symptoms. You have a greater chance of being successful with your health challenges when identifying, addressing and understanding the knowledge of the root cause(s).
Let’s say you are experiencing a health challenge. You might go to the doctor to try and improve the situation. Often more times than not, the health challenge isn’t improved, instead the symptoms are dealt with. Those symptoms listed are often covered up, like a band-aid. Yes, your symptoms might disappear, which is great! But whatever is causing your symptoms to appear in the first place is not rectified. This is like putting a band-aid over a gaping wound.
Instead, we need to give our bodies what they need to function properly and improve our organ or organs that are working insufficiently. Poor gut health limits the organs, and whole body for that matter, from being able to function properly.
So, how can health challenges be impacted due to your gut?
Let’s start by discussing the gastrointestinal (GI) membrane…
The GI mucosal membrane surface is the largest interface between our internal body and the external world. It covers more than 400 square meters, that’s over 200-fold greater than the surface of your skin.
Over an individual’s lifetime, a person consumes over 25 tons of food, which gives the body nutrients through the processes of digestion and absorption. The GI tract is not only responsible for digestion and nutrient absorption, but is an essential protective layer from external pathogens.
When you consume food, it goes into your mouth, down the esophagus and to the stomach. From here the gallbladder and pancreas produce enzymes that are secreted into the gut and aid in further digestion. The quality of the enzymes produced by those organs is dependent on the health of your small intestine. These enzymes are then pumped into the gates of the small intestine.
Well, there are many detailed chemical processes that facilitate what is put into circulation by the small intestine. When functioning properly, the small intestine is your main gatekeeper. It determines what will and what will not travel into the circulatory system. Therefore, it’s the health of the small intestine that allows the gatekeepers to do their job.
And if your small intestine is being compromised, you are too. You could be absorbing the many not so good “foods,” or as prolific journalist and professor Michael Pollan likes to put it “food like substances,” (such as toxins) into your body. With poor nutritional intake and absorption, the cells of the small intestine are not able to support healthy regeneration, profoundly affecting the integrity of the small intestinal barrier. The gates are compromised, thus causing symptoms to arise in numerous possible ways.
Some factors associated with poor small intestine health:
- Nutrient insufficiencies
- Excessive stress
- Gastrointestinal infections
- Food allergies
- Excessive simple sugar consumption
- Poorly digested foods
- Food additives
- Over-the-counter drugs like NSAIDs
- Foreign microbes
- Whole food exposure before the age of 4 months
Therefore, it is key to have proper GI barrier function within the small intestine so certain poorly digested nutrients and other factors do not enter where they are not supposed to be. If they enter, they cause havoc on the body causing symptoms to arise, which can also disrupt your mental and hormonal health.
Even if you don’t experience any symptoms linked to your digestive system, one of the root causes of all manifestations is usually the health of your gut. This needs to be in good restoration.
But don’t worry, if your small intestine is out of whack, there’s hope. It can be restored!
Remember, a healthy small intestine is your gatekeeper for peak health.
In our nutrition sessions we get to the root causes, giving you the tools to heal your gut and improve your signs and symptoms.
PS - Wanting new recipe ideas? Follow me on Pinterest for some yummy and creative ideas.
We all have heard how we need fiber in our diet, that is a given. But one question I get asked a lot is, “What foods can I eat that will give me an adequate amount of daily fiber?”
First, let’s go back to the basics...
Dietary fiber is basically the undigested carbohydrates that are in a large variety of plant carbohydrates. With a high fiber diet we can help lower our cholesterol, control blood sugar and prevent constipation. In a nutshell, eating more fiber allows us to have a healthy colon and regular bowel movements.
How much fiber should you be consuming?
The Institute of Medicine’s minimum recommended fiber intake is about 30 grams per day. However, did you know that most Americans consume about 15 grams of fiber per day, yikes! Yep, that’s half the recommended minimum requirement.
Where are some areas that I can get fiber naturally?
Good sources of fiber include beans, vegetables, whole grains and fruits. There are two different types of fiber that we need to consume: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is found in foods such as beans, peas, oat bran, fruits and vegetables. Insoluble fiber is in whole grains, wheat bran, fruit skins and peels, nuts, seeds, vegetables and beans.
We know that not all foods are created equal. Certain foods allow us to more easily reach this, for some, “hefty” fiber goal. But truly, the goal is not as hard to achieve as one might think.
For those who lack fiber greatly, a few words of caution is to start adding fiber in slowly over a 2 to 3 week timeframe. This will help your gastrointestinal (GI) tract better adapt to the added bulk without excess gas and bloating. In addition, to help with digestion, properly staying hydrated throughout the day with about half your body weight in ounces in water, is a good rule of thumb to abide by.
So, what would a typical day look like that is fiber rich?
Below is an example of one of my client’s intake of breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner. With this one-day food journal, keep in mind, that as individuals we all don’t need to be consuming the same foods. We each have different genetic make-up, stresses, toxins and lifestyle choices that have an impact on our body’s ability to break down food. Listening to your body for possible signs and symptoms (S&S) it might be giving you is important. Some of these S&S could be bloating, excess gas or borborygmi (rumbling in the GI tract), to name a few. By listening it allows us to piece together “what’s going on in there,” thus improving your health.
It’s not only the type of foods you are eating that is important, but also what your body is able to do with the food and nutrients you eat.
Here is an example of a one-day food journal from a client of mine.
Breakfast: Smoothie ~ 15 g of fiber
Lunch: Salad ~ 15 g of fiber
Snack: Garlic hummus w/ dipped broccoli & side of almonds ~ 9 g of fiber
Dinner: Salmon, sweet potato, and quinoa ~ 8 g of fiber
Total fiber for the day ~ 47 grams
This one-day food journal is from a wife and a mother of three who is also working full-time. She easily attained the Institute of Medicine’s minimum daily fiber requirement, and you can too. It's totally doable!
So, where do you stack up? When consuming whole foods only, how much fiber are you getting in daily?
I'd love to hear your thoughts and creative food ideas below.
PS - Wanting new recipe ideas? Follow me on Pinterest for some yummy and creative recipe ideas.
Sharing quality time and lots of laughter with loved ones this holiday season helps to build not only healthy relationships, but helps to improve the health of your body on a cellular level. In a nutshell, laughter helps improve the immune system, thus reducing chronic inflammation.
Some common sources of inflammation
- Diet (high omega 6:3 ratio, high sugar, high flour)
- Unfriendly gut bacteria (creating a healthy gastrointestinal microbiome is critical!)
- Antibiotic use
- Toxic metals and other toxic compounds
- Too little or too much exercise
Components commonly missing in individuals
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Adequate exercise
- Sufficient sleep and rest
- Properly coping with stress
- Laughter and a positive mental attitude
- Sunshine and Vitamin D
- Vitamins, minerals other nutrients
- Friendly gut bacteria
We are all unique. When it comes to our health, some individuals might have inflammation due to excess amounts of certain components while others might be deficient in others. The simplest method for reducing chronic inflammation is to eradicate these imbalances thus, allowing us to live our daily lives healthier and happier. If we don't have our health, what else do we have?
Wishing you and your loved ones a happy and safe holiday season!
With the skin being the largest organ in your body it needs nourishing not just from the outside, but from the inside out. Our body is so amazing in so many ways, and especially when it comes to our digestive system and our skin. A healthy digestive system enables our skin to be healthy.
Most of us are aware that putting aloe on your skin can soothe a burn (either from the sun or from cooking), cuts, bruises, acne and eczema. But aloe does not only help heal our bodies when applied topically, but when digested into our digestive system too. Topically we apply aloe vera. Though we don’t ingest aloe vera, instead we ingest aloe vera juice!
Aloe vera juice can be included into certain clients’ daily food consumption, such as in smoothies, to help address specific digestive troubles. Some of these common ailments cause heartburn, ulcers, intestinal inflammation and/or diarrhea, to name a few!
Looking at the health of your colon through the quality, quantity and consistency of your poop to determine your individual health status can tell us a lot of what is going on inside your digestive system.
By taking a peak at the porcelain bowl, you may come to terms that your digestive system could use some soothing support.
So, what type of aloe vera juice might you consider consuming?
Aloe vera juice should be consumed internally for best digestive results, such as the Lily of the Dessert brand (either the whole leaf or inner fillet), which is often organic and packaged in glass bottles at most health food stores.
Why is aloe vera juice so good for us?
Similar to how aloe vera soothes a burn on your skin, when aloe vera juice is consumed orally it soothes the lining of the intestines. It has been labeled a superfood after numerous research studies identified the 75 healing compounds including natural steroids, antibiotic agents, amino acids, minerals and enzymes. Some positive digestive benefits of aloe vera juice:
- Promotes the production of good bacteria in the gut
- Improves bowel regularity without causing diarrhea
- Helps to improve yeast in the alimentary canal
- Balances acid and alkaline levels in the stomach, which helps alleviate over-acidity, a common cause of indigestion, acid reflux, heartburn and ulcers
- Slows the transit time of certain foods to allow optimal protein digestion and nutrient absorption
- Suppressing internal systemic inflammation from specific anti-inflammatory enzymes within the aloe vera juice
How much aloe vera juice might you consume?
If you are trying it out by yourself, I would suggest starting slowly and building as necessary. One ounce of aloe vera juice mixed with water or in a smoothie can be a good starting point.
If you are working with a holistic health coach, nutritionist or integrative health practitioner, find out the right amount for you and progress from there. Finding out the right dosage for you is something we can do together through holistic health and nutrition sessions to ensure you are consuming the appropriate amount that will improve your digestion and elimination using protocols that will support your colon.
Be sure to take a glance before you flush each day, helping to heal so many aspects inside and out.
Hello, my name is Stacy Phillips, licensed Functional Nutritionist and Holistic Health, Wellness and Strength & Conditioning Coach with a MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine practicing whole-foods nutrition and physical training to individuals around the globe.
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