Living Healthier

Hello! I'm Kerry.

I am a thirty-something mother to a two year old with a farmer for a husband. I whole heartedly believe that supplements have their place in a person's lifestyle.  The trick is, figuring out what your body needs and making sure you get the right amount.  (What works for one may not work for another.) And of course, finding a natural supplement company you can trust to supply a quality product is a must.  (I recommend Swanson Health Products.  Perhaps you've heard of it?)

Post baby, I am a certain amount of pounds overweight and I'm ready to lose it. Also, post baby, I've become much more aware of what my family is eating. I'm trying to buy organic products that aren't stripped of their nutrient goodness, but as life happens, I don't always do as well as I could. I'll try to keep you up to date with new ways to keep the whole family healthy as I continue to discover them myself.  Stay tuned!

Lose Weight by Rearranging Your Fridge

Monday, October 4, 2010 by Kerry A.
I got this great article in my inbox from iVillage and I just had to share it. The concept is simple: If you make the healthy foods easier to both see and grab, you're more likely to consume them rather than all that junk food. Here are a few of the things that I found most interesting and helpful from this article, focusing on rearranging your fridge for easy, natural weight loss help.

Top shelf:
Stock it with healthy and low-cal beverages: skim milk, almond milk, 100% fruit and veggie juices (no sugar added) and filtered water. "Opting for low-cal beverages is a simple way to shave calories out of your diet and staying hydrated helps to curb your appetite." says Larrian Gillespie, M.D., author of The Goddess Diet.

Second Shelf:
Put your fresh produce here and make it easy to grab by pre-cutting and washing.  USDA researchers say eating two to three cups of fresh produce daily is the key to shedding two pounds weekly!

Third Shelf:
Protein. Place all your hard-boiled eggs, precooked, skinless lean meats, organic raw nuts and reduced-fat dairy here. The article states that women who add two ounces of protein to every meal eat thirty-one percent fewer calories daily. (This is a new tip for weight loss help for women that I'd never heard of before.  It also reinforces what I recently read from my Jillian Michaels newsletter that said I need to add more protein to my diet for my body type to help maintain weight loss.)

Place the tempting desserts here.  This is interesting since we typically use the crisper for the fresh produce.  But it's worth a try if it stops a person from over indulging!

Stock up on flavorful condiments.  The article states tasty condiments help people feel full on 200 fewer calories daily. 

More tips
  • Use taller, thinner glasses and smaller plates.  You'll eat and drink less but feel just as satisfied.
  • Put high calorie items such as chips up high. Making them harder to get will cause you to reach for them less.
  • Playing soothing music while you eat helps you to relax, therefore eat more slowly and consume less.
Read the iVillage article here: Drop Pounds Without Dieting Just by Rearranging Your Kitchen

Why is Saffron So Expensive?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 by Kerry A.

I found a recipe that called for Saffron.  Boy was I shocked when a couple little fibers were going to cost me $15.00!  Holy Cow!  Saffron is known as the most expensive spice in the world. But why is Saffron so expensive?

Purple Crocus FlowerSafron consists of the dried stigmas of the purple crocus.  The expense comes from the extraordinary labor involved in harvesting and preparing it for storage. There are only 3 stigmas (referred to as saffron threads) per flower.  Also adding to the expense is the fact that 80,000 flowers (or one acre) are needed to obtain one pound of Saffron. About 14,000 threads equals one ounce of saffron.  Spain grows more Saffron than any other nation in the World, with India coming in second. The area of south-central Spain called La Mancha produces the world's best Saffron.

Saffron can be sold as threads, or as a ground powder.  Most culinary experts prefer the threads, as the flavor is typically stronger. Saffron enhances the flavors of many styles of cuisine. Rice and pasta dishes come alive with a pinch of Saffron. Seafood is wonderful with a Saffron-infused broth or rub some chicken with fine threads of Saffron. Remember to use sparingly, because the flavor explodes when added to dishes.Saffron on Sea Scallops

Luckily, since my original hunt for the pricey spice, Swanson has started to carry Saffron Threads and the price is much more would be expected from the Low Cost Leader for Natural Health Products (including natural organic foods and spices)!

What Is Burdock Root? Will It Help My Oily Skin?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 by Kerry A.
SW531 Swanson Premium Burdock RootI had never heard of burdock root until I discovered this super awesome matifying lotion at a beauty store years ago.  Thanks to my dad's side of the family, I have oily skin.  Basically, around the noon hour, I would apply some of the matifying lotion and poof! just like magic, my oily forehead and nose would go back to being inconspicuously matte.  Unfortunately, the product was discontinued and ever since I've been hunting for a comparable product.

Since I've been unsuccessful with finding a lotion that works as well as the aforementioned, I decided to try Swanson Premium Burdock Root and report out my findings at a later date.  They say that a person needs to try all natural health products for at least 30 days before they can really truly see any results from it. Even products designed for good skin health typically won't produce immediate results.  So I will report back 30 days from today what I think. It looks like I'll be the first person to write a review based this herbal health supplement's potential skincare benefits!

More on Burdock Root and what makes it healthy
Burdock Root ImageBurdock root has been used by traditional Chinese, Indian and Japanese healers. It has often been used to purify the blood. Herbalists often recommend it for liver and kidney purification and nourishment.

The seeds of the plant also contain beneficial fatty acids. The oil from the seeds can be used to support natural cleansing and detoxification. According to traditional healers, burdock root may also support healthy gastrointestinal and elimination functions.

Burdock root also has Para-Amino Benzoic Acid (PABA), which is uncommon to find in a food source. This type of PABA is great for maintaining and reviving hair color and firmness of skin, producing folic acid, and aids in the metabolism of blood and protein formation.

Is Your Sunscreen Healthy? Mine Wasn't

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 by Kerry A.

My previous post about FDA regulations on sunscreen had me wondering, how do I know if the sunscreen I'm using for my family is good enough? Of course, I have my trusted brands, but how do I really know they are living up to the promise that is stated on the bottle?

Luckily, there are groups out there dedicated to researching this very topic.  The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has recently published their fourth annual Sunscreen Guide, and in it they recommend only 39 of the 500 sunscreens studied. EWG uses two primary red (negative) flags.  

One is the inclusion of a form of Vitamin A called retinyl palmitate.  Currently, the FDA is investigating whether this compound may accelerate skin damage and elevate skin cancer risks. Forty-one percent of sunscreens tested had retinyl palmitate in them.

The second red flag is the inclusion of oxybenzone, which is a chemical that can be absorbed through the skin, enter the blood stream and remain for an unknown amount of time. Currently, there are no studies showing a direct relationship between oxybenzone in sunscreen and negative skin health consequences. However,  It is certainly a scary thought that this chemical is being absorbed into our systems and causing unknown effects.

Of the 39 sunscreens earning the “green” rating, all of them contain the minerals zinc or titanium. Zinc is known to help with cellular functions, immune system and other things, and titanium is known to help stabilize the body's flow of energy. 

So, how did my three sunscreens score on the scales? Sadly, none of them were in the choice group of 39.

  Neutrogena Ultra Sheer One Touch Sunscreen Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Neutrogena Waterguard Kids Sunscreen
  Neutrogena, Ultra Sheer Dry Touch SPF 30 Coppertone, Water Babies SPF 50 Neutrogena, Water Kids SPF 70+
Overall  Score 7 3 7
UVB Protection Good Excellent Excellent
UVA Protection Moderate Good Moderate
UVB/UVA Balance Good Good Moderate
Sunscreen Stability High Moderate Excellent
Other Concerns Contains oxybenzone and vitamin A   contains oxybenzone, misleading SPF

I will be throwing out two of my 3 choices, which surprises me, since Neutrogena has made a pretty good name for themselves as being skin friendly. I will definitely be tossing out the Neutrogena kids product. Any harmful chemical I can shield my daughter's body from is a worth the effort. It doesn't take a genius or a list of professional skin health tips to figure that one out.

So what did make the EWG’s "green" list?  Brands such as All Terrain, Badger, Beyond Coastal, California Baby, Desert Essence, Jason Natural Cosmetics and more.  It's nice to see a few natural health options in the group, and even happier that Swanson carries several of them. Jason Natural Cosmetics (scored the coveted green badge), while Alba Botanica, Desert Essence and Kiss My Face also scored well.