10 Reasons to Start Drinking Kombucha Today

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Kombucha is a fermented tea that is naturally carbonated and holds TONS of healing properties. The fizzy beverage is loaded with goodies like amino acids and probiotics (probiotics re-establish the natural ecology of your gut flora, boost immunity,  fight allergies, detoxify and rid the body of disease).

Kombucha is  the perfect beverage to aid in weight loss as it keeps your digestive system regular and boosts your metabolism.  

Kombucha does have an acquired taste which is similar to vinegar, but I find infusing it with fruit takes away the edge, and makes it quite tasty! [Click HERE to find out how to make your own kombucha] If you don’t like it on your first try don’t stop there. Give it another try, because it’s easy to get used to it if you drink it on a regular basis.

I personally LOVE the taste of kombucha and it is excellent to drink in addition with your daily probiotic supplement. I drink the stuff everyday (I like to have mine mid- afternoon for the energy boost) and here is why you might want to as well:

1. Chock full of healthy probiotics, so keeps your gut flora healthy and happy

2. Reduces inflammation

3. Detoxes the liver

4. Alkalizes the body by balancing internal pH

5. Increases metabolism

6. Improves digestion

7. Alleviates constipation

8. Boosts energy

9. High in antioxidants

10. Aids healthy cell regeneration

Hey you! Yes you! Have you tried kombucha? What is your experience with the beverage? Do you make your own or buy it from the store?

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5 Tips For Healthy Digestion While Traveling

fruitbeachWhile traveling around the world is fun, it tends to wreak havoc on the digestion system. Many people tend to go to the bathroom either too much while on vacation or too little. It’s understandable because while traveling we are introduced to new foods, and at most times are at the mercy of restaurants. Traveling also tends to break the routines we have back home that keep our engines running smoothly.

But there is hope for keeping a happy tummy and regular visits to the loo!

I’ve been in India the past few months and here are some tips that have helped me while on the road:

1. Take Probiotics

I can’t stress this enough! Bringing probiotics with you while on vacation is the most important thing you can do to stay healthy while on the road. Without these your gut doesn’t have the good bacteria that it needs to digest your food properly. It’s even more crucial while on vacation because you are constantly being exposed to new bacteria from the water and food.

If you are bringing probiotic pills, make sure to check you buy ones that do not need to be kept refrigerated. In addition to probiotic pills, I like to bring individual Green Vibrance packets with me while on the road, and I drink this every morning.

2Drink Plenty of Water

We tend to not pay enough attention to how much water we are drinking while traveling. The sightseeing and excitement of a new place tends to side track us! This is why it is even more important that you are aware of how much water you are drinking.

I always drink more than the recommended amount of water while traveling in hot climates seeing as I’m sweating so much (click HERE to calculate how much water you should be drinking daily). To keep track of this I fill up my water bottles for the day and make sure I go through them all. For example, I drink 2.5 liters a day so I fill these up, and make sure they are gone by the end of the day.

The bottom line is, not staying hydrated is a good way to get constipated, which will make you feel lethargic and uncomfortable. So keep a note on your iPhone, set an alarm reminder on your phone-do whatever you have to do make sure you are hydrating your body.

3. Eat Fermented Foods.

Fermented foods contain natural enzymes and probiotics that help the body digest its food. They also contain vitamins and minerals that help the body maintain optimal health. Examples of living foods are yogurt, curd, sauerkraut, kimchi, tofu, and kombucha.

Do your research before traveling to your destination to see what fermented foods are local to the country you will be visiting. For example, on my trip to India I found out there are many fermented staples in the Indian diet such as curd and dosas (crepe made from fermented rice and black lentils), and I was able to spot these on a menu no problem.

Incorporate at least 1-2 servings per day to your diet and you will find yourself feeling groovy.

4. Eat Your Veggies.

I know it’s not always possible to eat what you want while on vacation (I’m currently reminded of this by the lack of dark green leafy veggies in India, believe me!) but do your best.

Find the veggies on the menu and order them. Visit the local market and buy your own if you have to. The more veggies you eat, the more fiber you are adding to your body.

However, if you are leaning more on the constipated side, take it easy on the raw veggies, and opt for lightly cooked ones.

5. Stick to the closest version of the foods you eat at home.

Try to stick to the closest version of what works for you while home. I know this isn’t always easy, but be creative. If your stomach is giving you trouble don’t feel like you have to get all Travel Channel and try every exotic food that is offered to you.

Protect yourself and stick to the foods that you know work for you. There is no shame in being a picky eater while traveling if it’s for the sake of your health!

Photo from Pixabay

Bonus Tips:

-Try to find an accommodation with a kitchen so you can make some of your own meals.

– Take Magnesium Citrate to avoid constipation (it also helps you sleep better).

– Don’t overeat even if all the new food is tempting.

– Do your best to eat meals at the same time everyday.

– Keep the body moving and incorporate at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.

– Drink warm water with lemon or lime, depending on what is available. Do this first thing in the morning for a dose of enzymes to kick-start your digestive system in the right direction. Lemon water also gives you tons of Vitamin C for the day which will keep your immune system strong.

Happy Travelin’!

xx

Health Coach Jenna

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3 Tips to Write Kick-Ass New Year’s Intentions

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Happy New Year Ladies and Gents! Have you set your intentions yet?

Setting intentions helps you manifest the changes you want to see in your life. I am a BIG fan of setting intentions and goals for myself. I find this helps keep me motivated and delivers huge results, as our thoughts turn into actions and our actions into reality.

Thoughts are POWERFUL things, folks!

Did you know that the Universe wants to see us get what we want?! Hell yes, it does! But the Universe can’t give you what you want if you don’t know what it is that you want in the first place.So project your intentions loud and clear for the cosmos to hear by writing your intentions today!

How to Write Your Very Own Kick- Ass New Year’s Intentions: 

1. Make positive statements, not negative.  

Instead of saying “I will NOT stress out so much” try reforming this into a POSITIVE statement such as “I will take life one breath at a time, and will remain calm through all the events this year brings.”

Start off the New Year on the right note by focusing on your new healthy habits this year, not on past habits that are old news and don’t serve you.

2. Be as specific as possible.

If your New Year’s intention is to lose weight, don’t just write “ I will lose weight this year”.

Rather, ask yourself “How much weight will I lose? How will I lose weight?” leaving the final product looking more like “I will lose ten pounds by cutting my sugar intake in half, working out at least four times a week, and drinking more water”.

Remember that the universe will give you what you want, but it is your responsibility to first inform it of what it is exactly that you do want!

 3. Include how achieving these intentions will make you feel.

After writing your intention, try writing a sentence that describes how you will feel once  you have achieved it. For example, if your intention is to save enough money to pay off your student loans, then add a sentence saying “Once I have paid off my  loans I will feel as light as a feather, and my mind will be at ease knowing I am free from this huge debt that has been dragging me down!” Start to feel it NOW and it will come.

Now that you have some kick- ass intentions, write them down and keep them in a safe place so you can refer back to them during the year.

I wish you a prosperous New Year filled with light, love, and happiness!

Love,

Jenna

What are your New Year’s Intentions this year? Do you have any tips for writing intentions that work well for you? A penny for your thoughts!

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5 Steps to Help You Ditch Your Antidepressants

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Today, one in 10 Americans takes an antidepressant, and I am happy to say that I am no longer one of them.

I started taking prescription drugs at the age of 10 when my doctors diagnosed me with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). By the time I reached 18, I had been on 15 different antidepressants. At this point, I finally had had enough of feeling dull and lifeless, and decided to quit. What I realize today is that I never had ADHD or depression, but rather a gluten sensitivity, and a diet lacking in healthy fats, beneficial bacteria, vitamins, and nutrients to support optimum brain function.

Thankfully, through the power of yoga, and a healthy diet, I have been off of the meds for 10 years now, and have never felt better.

The good news is, you have the power to get off them, too.

*How to ditch your antidepressants

1. Take Probiotics

Scientists are finding out that there is a major relationship between our gut health and our minds. It turns out that if our gut is depressed, so is our mind. Doctor’s prescribe serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitor medications (SSRIs) to treat symptoms of depression. But did you know that you gut is responsible for making 80-90% of the serotonin available to your body? (i) When your gut bacteria is not healthy, inflammation occurs. And this inhibits the amount of serotonin available to your brain, resulting in depression. Dr. Perlmutter notes in his book “Brain Maker”:

“As a neurologist, for example, I find it intriguing to note that today’s antidepressants purportedly work by increasing the availability of the neurotransmitter serotonin, and yet the precursor for serotonin-tryptophan-is tightly regulated by the gut bacteria. In fact-a particular bacterium, Bifidobacterium infantis, does a great job of making tryptohan available”. (i)

By taking an aggressive dose of probiotics everyday, you will see huge results. Take a high grade probiotic in the morning and in the evening. Also, eat at least 2-3 servings of fermented foods everyday.

2. Take fish oil.   

Studies have found that taking Omega -3 fatty acids raises serotonin levels,  and researchers have found that when fed to pigs, fish oil has been shown to have the same effect on the brain as Prozac. Other studies have also shown that fish oil can smooth out mood swings from bipolar disorder.

If you are already taking fish oil, give yourself a pat on the back! But if you are using it to increase your serotonin levels, then up your dose to 20 grams, and make sure to buy pills with concentrated levels of EPA and DHA.

(Niacin has also been used to naturally treat depression and anxiety. To find more about click HERE.)

3. Meditate.

Studies have shown that meditation lowers stress, and in a recent study by the University of Oregon , they found that meditating can result in brain changes that may protect against mental illness. Meditating also helps you connect with your inner voice, which after years of being silenced by prescription drugs probably has lots to say!

Meditation is a wonderful spiritual outlet, but if you’ve tried it and it’s not your thing, there are many other outlets that can serve you in the same way.

4. Eat a healthy diet, and don’t skip meals.

You’ve heard the saying over and over “a healthy body, a healthy mind”, because it is the truth! What you put into your body affects your blood sugar levels, which in turn affects your moods. So make sure you are eating a diet filled with natural, unprocessed foods, loads of greens, healthy fats, and drinking plenty of water. And please, don’t go long periods of time without eating, as this quite often brings on mood changes.

5. Exercise!

It’s simple. Exercising releases endorphins, and endorphins make you happy.

Yoga is what works for me, but maybe swimming or HIIT ( high intensity interval training) might be what works for you. Whatever your outlet, make sure you get at least 30 minutes of exercise everyday. On the days where you don’t feel like an intense workout, simply go on a 30-minute walk, or do some gentle yoga. And for extra bonus points, try to get as much exercise outdoors in the sunshine as possible.

The choices are infinite, so play around and have fun with it.

And please remember to find a naturopathic physician to guide you along the way, in addition to consulting the psychiatrist or physician who prescribed your pills. With many of these beautiful people eager to help, why do this on your own? It’s much easier with support, I promise.

Making this transition will not be easy, but it is worth it. And please don’t close yourself off and try to do this on your own, because the more friends and family you include for support, the smoother the transition. Lastly, remember that you are a righteous and radiant being, fully capable of making this journey.

*Please do not quit your pills cold turkey. It is important that you integrate your new habits into your life while slowly weaning yourself off your pills. Your health coach can help you with this transition.

Furthermore, some people might need to stay on antidepressants. Not everyone is a candidate for being pill-free. Please consult your naturopathic physician and/or health coach to find out if quitting your antidepressants is right for you.

Further recommended reading:

Brain Maker

Mind Of Your Own

Grain Brain

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Sources

Perlmutter, David, and Kristin Loberg. Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain–for Life. Print.

 

5 Things You Can Do Now To Repair Your Brain

Did you know that Alzheimer’s starts 30 years before any symptoms appear, and that it affects 50% of people over 85? Or that depression is one of the greatest killers of our time?

Our brain is sometimes overlooked because we can’t see it, unlike our skin, hair, and body size, but it is vital to enjoying a healthy life. Our brains are involved in everything that we do: thinking, feeling, interacting, intelligence, character, planning, and decisions.

The bottom line is, when our brain works right, we work right, so it’s crucial that we take care of it to the best of our ability.

Here are 5 things you can do that will start repairing your brain right away:

1. Take probiotics

Scientists are finding out that there is a major relationship between our gut health and our minds. It turns out that if our gut is in a depressed, so is our mind. Doctor’s prescribe serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitor medications (SSRIs) to treat symptoms of depression and memory loss. But did you know that you gut is responsible for making 80-90% of the serotonin available to your body? (i) When your gut bacteria is not healthy, inflammation occurs. And this inhibits the amount of serotonin available to your brain, resulting in depression. Dr. Perlmutter notes in his book “Brain Maker”:

“As a neurologist, for example, I find it intriguing to note that today’s antidepressants purportedly work by increasing the availability of the neurotransmitter serotonin, and yet the precursor for serotonin-tryptophan-is tightly regulated by the gut bacteria. In fact-a particular bacterium, Bifidobacterium infantis, does a great job of making tryptohan available”. (i)

By taking a dose of probiotics everyday, you will see huge results. Take a high grade probiotic in the morning and in the evening. Also, eat at least 2-3 servings of fermented foods everyday.

2. Exercise  

Exercise will not only release serotonin and make you happier, but it will also help maintain your weight. There have been 24 recent studies proving that as weight goes up, the size and function of your brain goes down, and cognitive scores have also been shown to improve with weight loss.

3Get 8 hours of sleep

It’s crucial you get enough sleep, as this is when the brain repairs itself. If you deprive yourself of sleep, your brain will degenerate quickly.

 4. New Learning

Your muscles aren’t the only things that need a workout! If you don’t use your brain you will lose it. New types of learning can include reading books, taking an online course, doing crossword puzzles – get creative!

5. Drink Green Tea

Green tea is amazing for a plethora of reasons, one being that it helps the brain function. Green tea has caffeine and the amino acid L-theanine, which when paired together help the brain work. L-theanine also has anti-anxiety effects and increases dopamine.

And don’t forget to practice gratitude!

Write five things you are grateful for everyday and you will see an increase in happiness, which will have an overall positive effect on the health of your brain.

For further reading about keeping your brain healthy, I recommend Dr. Daniel Amen’s book “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life”.

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Sources

Perlmutter, David, and Kristin Loberg. Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain–for Life. Print.

 

5 Tips On How To Stay Healthy During Long Flights

While traveling is fun, flying on an airplane for long hours takes a major toll on the body. I used to have issues with constipation, bloating and fatigue for days after a long flight. After years of trial and error, I have discovered some excellent ways to stay healthy while traveling.

1. Hydrate

It might seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people in general walk around dehydrated. Take into account the low humidity of the cabin air while traveling, and you are on the fast track to dehydration. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated, so it’s best to keep on drinking water throughout your journey.

I never rely on the puny little cups the stewards hand out. Instead, I bring a water bottle on the plane, and ask the steward to fill it up. Many airlines have a filtered water tap by the kitchen and will even let you fill it up yourself – much easier than having to bug the stewards every hour for a new cup of water.

Another way to avoid becoming dehydrated is by taking it easy on the caffeine and alcohol. I know many airlines offer free coffee, tea, and booze, but just because it is free, doesn’t mean it is good for you!

2. Bring Your Own Food

This one is so crucial. Airline food is loaded with sodium as it is an easy and cheap way to add flavor to otherwise bland mass-produced food. The recommended intake of sodium for the average human is 1500mg per day, and I’d bet that most airline meals exceed this amount. Excess salt can make you swell and bloat.

Seeing as I prefer not to arrive at my destination looking and feeling like a Goodwill blimp, I always bring my own meals. This week I will be flying to France, and I have 19 hours of travel ahead of me, so I am packing my dinner and breakfast. For snacks, I always bring raw almonds and walnuts to munch on, or RX Bars, as they keep my blood sugar stable throughout the journey. And for my sweet tooth, a few squares of organic dark chocolate.

If packing your food is out of the question, I read that some airlines offer low- sodium meals as a special meal option: United, Delta, Lufthansa, Emirates, Thai, Japan, Alitalia, Turkish, Swiss, and Iberia all have histories of providing low-sodium meals, but be sure to check with the airline directly. And as always, try your best to find the healthiest options during layovers, as your body will be able to defend itself from the jetlag better with good fuel instead of junk food.

3. Avoid Germs

In addition to dehydration, low humidity also increases the risk of catching a cold. When the air is too dry, the mucous in your airway can’t do its job, and bacteria and viruses can enter easily.

To best protect myself I always bring my own blanket (I bring a light weight sarong) and pillow on the plane, as the ones the airlines use are not washed with every use (gross!). I also wipe down my tray with anti-bacterial wipes (who knows the last time it was wiped down?) because I’ve seen babies get their diapers changed on them many times.

One last thing I do to protect myself from getting sick is to bring a bottle of orange oil to breathe in occasionally during the flight, as it is anti-viral. Doterra also makes an antiviral, antibacterial, anti-infectious blend called OnGuard, which is a blend of clove, cinnamon, wild orange, rosemary and eucalyptus essential oils.

4. Sleep

Stick to your sleep cycle and try to get some shuteye. I know sleeping on a plane is far from ideal, but I find that applying lavender oil to my temples and to a sleep mask always helps me sleep a little better, as the lavender is calming, and the sleep mask prevents my neighbors’ movie screen or book light from shining in my eyes. I also make sure to wear my blue blocker glasses on the plane to avoid overexposure of blue light from the screens around me; this hack will help you sleep better and prevent jet lag.

5. Stretch

Keeping circulation going on a flight is crucial, so when you are not sleeping try to get up at least every hour to stretch. This will get your blood circulating and prevent cramps and blood clots. I’m a fan of walking to the back bathroom with lots of space, and I feel no shame for doing a few toe touches or side stretches. Here is a list of good yoga stretches you can do in your seat. 

As a final tip, if you tend to get constipated when flying I recommend taking magnesium citrate before you go to sleep. Without a proper movement your body will not be able to flush out all the toxins accumulated from your long flight, so it’s crucial. I always bring my Magnesium Citrate with me while traveling and it has been a life saver.

What are your favorite ways to keep healthy during travel? I would love to hear about them in the comments section below!

Happy Travels!

Health Coach Jenna

6 Steps to Get Rid of Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is your body’s way of telling you that something is off with the way you are eating. Our body speaks to us in sensations, so it is extremely important to listen to them. If you are experiencing acid reflux, then your body is trying to communicate that you need to add more alkaline foods to your diet.

All foods are alkaline or acidic. Here is a chart to refer to in order to distinguish where they fall on the pH Spectrum. I recommend you print this out and place on your fridge for an easy reference.

Photo originally published on MindBodyGreen
Photo originally published on MindBodyGreen

You will notice that coffee, alcohol, meats, and breads are on the acidic spectrum, and that water-filled, fiber-laden foods like fruits and veggies are on the alkaline spectrum.

6 Steps to Get Rid of Acid Reflux:

1. Start every morning off with a cup of WARM water and half a lemon. I know you might be cringing right now as you read this, but if you don’t wish to take acid reflux medication, this is crucial. Lemons balance your PH immediately, so ingesting this first thing in the morning is imperative. It also flushes your body of toxins, and helps move the bowels.

2. Take digestive enzyme capsules before each meal.

3. Add as many green leafy veggies to your diet as possible as they are alkalizing. Try to get a serving at every meal.

4. Cut one cup of coffee out a day (or completely if you really want to show acid reflux who is boss), and replace with a cup of green tea. Bonus points if you add lemon!

5. Eat one green apple a day. Apples create an alkaline state in the stomach, neutralizing excess acids and aiding in digestion. They don’t say, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” for nothing!

6. Eat one to two fermented foods a day, as they bring the blood and vital fluids back to a correct hydrogen level of pH7.35. Fermented foods are also packed with glorious digestive enzymes that your gut needs and craves to create healthy gut flora. And no! Wine doesn’t count while experiencing acid reflux. Fermented foods can be in the form of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar sipped twice a day (2 tablespoons before lunch and before dinner), or by drinking kombucha or water kefir. Other examples of fermented foods are sauerkraut and yogurt.

*Bonus step for those Wellness Warriors : Cut out red meat from your diet, and reduce all meat consumption in general. Once the acid reflux goes away, you can gradually introduce some red meat (humanely raised, grass fed, and hormone free please!) if desired. Making sure your beef is grass fed is crucial, as cows fed on corn makes for extremely acidic meat.

If the acid reflux persists and doesn’t go away by doing this, next step is to go on a vegan diet for at least one month,incorporate high-grade probiotics daily, and to address what is most likely a case of leaky gut.

Helpful articles:

4 Easy Ways to Eat Alkaline

Alkaline-Acidic Food Chart

 

 

How to Avoid Chemicals When You Can’t Buy Organic

Photo from Pixabay

Buy organic. Don’t buy organic. Buy organic. Regardless of your decision, the bottom line is that eating fruits and veggies is better than not eating them at all.

I try to eat organic every chance I get in order to protect myself from the harmful pesticide residue. Luckily, I currently live in a country (Taiwan) where it is affordable and easy for me to purchase organic fruits and veggies. I know, however, this is not the case for everyone.

Buying 100% organic can be expensive, but just because you can’t always afford to buy organic, doesn’t mean you deserve to be doused with toxic chemicals.

That is why I’ve provided a list of the “Clean Fifteen” and the “Dirty Dozen” to help you decide when you can save money by buying conventional, and when it is crucial to spring the extra bucks on organic.

“Clean Fifteen”

Avocados
Sweet corn
Pineapple
Cabbage
Sweet peas (frozen)
Onions
Asparagus
Mangoes
Papaya
Kiwis
Eggplant
Grapefruit
Cantaloupe
Cauliflower
Sweet potatoes

“Dirty Dozen”

Apples
Strawberries
Grapes
Celery
Peaches
Spinach
Sweet bell peppers
Nectarines (imported)
Cucumbers
Cherry tomatoes
Snap peas (imported)
Potatoes

Source (TakePart)

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Raw Food Diets Dangerous for Children?

The New York Times published an article this week about the dangers of putting children on a raw food diet.

Here are some highlights:

“Many doctors are cautioning against the trend. A child’s digestive system may not be able “to pull the nutrients out of raw foods as effectively as an adult’s,” said Dr. Benjamin Kligler, a family practitioner with the Center for Health and Healing in Manhattan.

Over the last year, Dr. TJ Gold, a pediatrician in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with a strong focus on nutrition, has seen about five families who are feeding their children, including toddlers, raw diets. Some of the children were severely anemic, she said, and the parents were supplementing the diets with vitamin B12.

“If you have to supplement something for children in order to do it, is that really the right diet for them?” Dr. Gold said.”

I’m a firm believer in bio-individuality, and therefore don’t think it is necessarily the best decision to impose a special diet on children. Just because you are a vegan/vegetarian/raw foodist doesn’t mean your child has to be.

I try to eat at least 51% of my foods raw, and don’t eat meat. But when I have kids will I make my kiddos do the same? NO. I will encourage them to listen to their bodies and eat what they crave (as long as it is not refined sugar, GMO, factory farmed meat, or processed junk that is ).

Are you a parent? What is your opinion on diets and children? I would love to hear from you.