Water

There are plenty of blog posts and healthcare research advising you all on the benefits of drinking water, here are some:

However, I am going to share my journey toward drinking more water and what I have experienced from doing so.

I did not always drink as much water as I do now (I drink about a gallon of water a day). I grew up in a household that spent way too much money on soda. I remember feeling immense joy when I would drink a Coke® cola, grape or orange soda. There were many days of my childhood where I would drink milk and soda only. It seemed like almost every family was doing this. With the exception of my best friend’s family. They had a spring water dispenser in their kitchen and enjoyed soda maybe once per day.

With the influence of family friends and carrying water bottles becoming popular, I had stopped drinking soda regularly by my first year of college. I would have some every once and a while, but only because Coke® provided a grant to my school so it was handed out for free at many events. In graduate school, I was maybe having soda once a year at Thanksgiving when family just handed it to me. As of now I can not remember the last time I had a soda. I really do not enjoy heavily carbonated beverages anymore.

I got into drinking more water mostly for the sake of saving money. I realized I rather spend my money on solid food that sustained me and just fill up my water bottle at the drinking fountain. Once I considered the cost, it really did not seem worth it to buy juices, soda, etc.. Dairy and soy Milk at least provides protein and fat, and can be used in cooking. Sweet beverages feel pointless to me now.

The big changes I noticed between my adolescence where I drank a lot of sugary beverages and now drinking mostly water are:

  • Dental cavity production has greatly decreased. I have only need filling replacements for the most part.
  • I am a healthy weight.
  • I do not feel bloated and gassy all the time.
  • My energy is higher than it was in my childhood!
  • I know the difference between dehydration and hunger. I also can feel when I have not had enough water because it affects my cognition and digestion.
  • I urinate a lot more. Not necessarily more frequent, but a lot in one go.

Overall, it has greatly improved my health and recommend people to drink more water all the time! Are you trying to drink more water? Or do you have any must read articles or blog posts on the benefits of drinking water? How have you made the switch to drinking more water than other beverages? Share in the comments below!

 

 

Advertisements

Natural Product Review – Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant

I wanted to start doing occasional review posts on the natural products I have been trying to move on to recently. So here is the first in this series. Currently, I am using Schmidt’s Naturals Deodorant Signature Jar in Lavender & Sage. I have been using it since July 2016 and use it everyday I am home, since I do not like to travel with glass because it adds additional weight and I worry about it breaking. I originally heard about this product from a YouTuber, Lauren Toyota from Hot for Food.

Let me back track a bit to tell you about the skin under my arms. I took about 2 weeks off from all deodorant/antiperspirant before switching to natural deodorant in July and learned a lot about how I sweat and smell. In general, I am not a heavy sweater unless it is above 90° outside or I am doing a high intensity workout. My underarms most of the time feel dry and itchy, but somehow develop the typical body odor. In my daily routine, I start off with applying deep moisturizer to my underarms and then apply deodorant about an hour later.

Now, how Schmidt’s Naturals Deodorant works is it uses baking soda (or magnesium in the Sensitive Skin Formula) to neutralize odor and they say, “our formula contains natural plant powders to absorb wetness, so even though Schmidt’s doesn’t prevent you from sweating, it will still help keep you dry!” I see arrowroot powder in the ingredients listed, is great at absorbing liquid, which is why it can be used as a replacement from corn starch in cooking. Let us dive into my pros and cons regarding this product:

Pros:

  • It works! I do not notice ANY body odor from my underarms. Also, I sweat minimally in high temperatures or during intense exercise.
  • Amazing scent! I also loved the other scents. I plan to get the Bergamot and Lime next.
  • Only need to apply once per day. It works all day without need of reapplying the product.
  • Applies easily. Since I purchased the pot, I just use my finger to pull up a pea size amount, rub between my fingers and apply gently to my underarms. Then I wipe my fingers clean on a towel.
  • Free of the toxins you find in the top commercial antiperspirants. “Free of aluminum, propylene glycol, parabens & phthalates.”
  • Does not stain my clothing. The commercial brands would always leave oil stains in the pits of my shirts and sweaters, which only makes it appear as if you are sweaty. If Schmidt’s gets on my clothes I can not tell and the oily pit stains are finally gone from my clothing.
  • Lasts a long time, I have been using this pot for almost 6 months and slightly over half still remains. I do travel a fair amount and use a different deodorant during those times, but would say that only adds up to about a months worth of time from the 6 month period.
  • Made in the USA. Portland, OR to be exact. Happy to invest my money into a local to USA product!
  • Vegan. No animals were harmed in the making of these products.
  • Comes in both stick and pot/jar form. I find I use a more appropriate amount of product with the jar, but I know most folks just prefer to convince of the stick.
  • Recycling Club promotion. If you are into the jars, you can take part in their recycling club which allows you to exchange 5 empty jars for a free Schmidt’s product. They even pay for the shipping! So it is truly free.

Cons:

  • Does not help with my dry skin. I still need to apply lotion before my deodorant to prevent itchiness from extremely dry skin. However, I am curious to see if their new sensitive skin formula may help with this.
  • It costs more than the conventional brands. However, I have found that it lasts longer than commercial brands, so this is not entirely a con since I get more uses for my money.

imag7514

Overall, I believe it should be obvious that I love the product and the company. I had been constantly disappointed in the conventional brands and been looking to switch to natural products for better wellness. I am glad I listened to Lauren Toyota and picked this as one of the first natural products I tried! #FeelingLucky

I will continue to review natural products about once a month during 2017. Please let me know if you have any questions for me about this product or any product I review in the future. I will be slowly switching my products over to natural versions as I use up my current supply and sure to only review things after at least 3 months of use so they are well tested by myself.

Sugar: My Addiction Part 2

As we enter this new year I feel withdrawal from the sugar exposure I allowed myself too often over the holidays. I ate more than I planned and am reminded of what it does to me; fatigue, cravings for sweets I do not even care for, lack of satisfaction from my meals, lack of interest in my daily life and serious constipation.

I truly believe I have an addiction to sugar. Only a couple of years ago, I could not go a full day without something sweet. It had to be a baked good or very sweet hot chocolate. However, my tastes have changed. I find myself feeling quite unsatisfied when I eat something that is just sweet. I crave flavor when consuming any thing sweet. Sugar cookies are the worst invention to my tongue.

What did me in over the holidays was that I felt like I could not stop until I found the intense flavor I was truly looking for. I know why too. Stress. Between all the travel in a short period of time, busy schedule to keep up with, little to no me time, endless holiday food buffets, judging comments, and family problems that can arise; I find the holidays to be a time of high anxiety.

When I am filled with anxiety I undergo a combination of two things: loss of appetite or binge eating sweets. Stress is the reason I do not keep sweets around my home all the time. I developed this habit in undergrad. I would bake when I was stressed and depressed, then binge on the sweets I prepared until it was completely devoured and repeat the cycle. In late 2014, I became conscious of what I was doing.

For the week before Thanksgiving 2014, I stopped consuming anything with added sugar until Thanksgiving day. I really thought I could never make it through that week or be able to pick it back up again after treating myself during the holiday weekend. I did it, but not without experiencing withdrawal symptoms for 7-10 days. I went back and forth between binge eating and not feeling hungry at all (i.e. stressed out), lacked interest in daily life, became easily agitated, was very restless (though working out helped with this a lot), endless nightmares each night, various parts of my face were twitching, etc..

After about 2 weeks without any added sugar in early December 2014, I felt great! Better than I ever had, actually. My bowel movements became regular. My energy was up. I felt calm too. I found what I needed, or more what I did not need (Sugar). Also, fruit was more satiating than it had ever been before in my life. I only ate a piece once per day. I still enjoyed a cupcake, but I stopped thinking about them everyday. I felt cured in a way.

Though I know I have an emotional issue with sweets, I have felt a mental and physical impact. Now when I eat any amount of sweets, I feel an intense sugar high. Not to mention, many baked goods these days are LOADED with sugar (40+ grams in one serving). This has changed my routine big time. I use to think to end my day with something sweet. Within the past few years, I mainly end my day with dinner and nothing else. I find that I sleep so well and feel energized in the morning.

This may not be the solution for everyone, but our society consumes far too much sugar. Sugar has been found to negatively effect your heart and cause weight gain. These two impacts alone lead to many other health issues. Reducing your sugar intake and being more conscious of how much sugar you are consuming can improve your life. Sugar is EVERYWHERE, but does it really need to be added to everything?

Defining Wellness

Recently, I participated in a survey regarding how I define wellness. Without being fully conscious about it, this is something that changes for me all the time. I learn things every day that transform my understanding of what it means to be well. I also see how my wellness is not just about me, but the wellness of my family and community.

How we communicate, move around and shop in our neighborhood influences our community. If we are loving toward our neighbors, active to feel great and buying local, good quality products that creates a positive impact on those we interact with. If we buy local that supports our neighbors and what we buy influences what products are available to the community. If we request certain products at the grocery store, it is not just provided for us, but for our entire community!

With this in mind, I feel even more empowered to be healthier this year and to be a benefitial member of my community. In 2017, I will work on purchasing more natural household and hygiene products. I already use some natural household products since the use of the conventional stuff made me sick to my stomach or develop rashes.

Only recently did I start trying to switch my makeup and hygiene items to all natural products. Lately, I am trying the Shea Moisture brand’s shampoo, conditioner and make up. So far so good, but I have to admit my commercial brand mascara is tough to beat in its volumizing and affordable price. However, my hair has not felt this great in a long while.

Also, after 6 months of using natural deodorants (Schmidt’s and Herbal Clear Sport), I find I sweat less and never feel the need to reapply during the day. With the conventional antiperspirants, I would start to smell part way through the day and had developed rashes from certain brands. I may post some reviews this year on the natural products I have been trying, please let me know in the comments below if that would be of interest to you!

girl-162474_1920

In regards to how I stay physically healthy to maintain wellness, I believe that eating to fuel your body and please the soul while moving around in the ways that you most enjoy will boosts your mood and makes you feel strong. If you feel great, you project that to others. If others see how you make yourself feel great they may recognize that as something they can do for themselves. Its not your job to preach to everyone, but to just do what feels right for you. Just know that how you feel can impact how you behave toward others.

Lastly, I like to put out into the world what I would like to get from it. I want to be better about how I connect with people every day. This includes greeting folks that I walk by (even in the unfriendly city), connecting with people who bring joy to my life and teaching myself how to improve my relationships. I have been savoring opportunities to learn more about relationships and love from The School of Life and The 5 Love Languages.

Since reading The 5 Love Languages book, I have seen my relationship with my partner improve and hope that I can use what I have learned in my other relationships as well. The School of Life has helped me understand our psychology and why myself or others may behave in certain ways. I have also been reading books on ADHD. I want be conscious of how it can impact relationships since I am very close with people who have ADHD. The best one I have read thus far would be Is It You, Me or Adult A.D.D..

For me, I see wellness as something that encompasses not only my physical and mental health, but that of those around me. Since I feel in a good place with myself, I want to begin to work on projecting wellness in my community. How do you define wellness?

Inspired by the New Year

Happy New Years! Hope you have had a marvelous holiday season with your loved ones and that your 2017 is getting off to a brilliant start. Although, I may not be one to set resolutions, however, I feel inspired at the start of each year to do things for my wellness. This keeps my spirits up after all the indulgent merriment of the holidays.

A Healthy Reset

I like to get myself back on track with my diet. I satisfied myself with more treats than usually over the last month, but now it is time to nourish my body with plenty of vegetables, protein and healthy fats. After all the heavily processed food, added sugar and excess carbs, I crave feeling my best again. This desire brought on a very strong determination that powered me through the sight of cupcakes and constant offers of sweets at work.

As I did last year, upon returning home from time with family I choose to refrain from all desserts and stick to 3 meals a day with maybe a snack in the afternoon. This is sort of Whole 30 style and really prevents me from developing a noshing habit. Noshing does not work well for me the constant digesting seems to make me feel quite lethargic. I think it is also important to get back to my typical dining routine that I know works so well for my energy levels.

Additionally, I try to eat foods to help balance out my hormones. Simple meals containing 20-30 grams of protein and vegetables containing or cooked with healthy fats. Such as cheddar broccoli scramble, pork loin with roasted brussels sprouts, vegetarian shepherds pie and homemade apple chicken sausage with roasted sweet potato wedges. I prepare everything from scratch and season the meats myself to ensure I am consuming clean, healthy food to fuel me through the processed holiday cuisine hangover.

Internal Reflection

I benefit from taking time to assess my mental health regularly and starting off the year with this practice simply feels right. I launch into this with mediating daily since it allows me to address my feelings and think through the priorities in my life. It also provides me the chance to check in with my short and long term goals to make sure I am advancing toward the existence I desire. This means searching for opportunities to gain skills and competencies in my career and give attention to concerns in my personal relationships.

Internal reflection, particularly, aids in relieving seasonal depression. Since moving to the Northern third of the continental US, I have noticed myself feel down during these short winter days. I see the sun in the morning on my way into work and that is it since my office does not have windows and sunset occurs prior to the end of the work day. This causes my vitamin D is low, inclination to be anti-social and feelings lack of interest in daily activities.

Fitness Challenge

I like to challenge myself to try a new activity, build strength or increase my weights. Last year the challenge was BBG and incorporate lifting heavy in my routine. I definitely completed BBG and only recently could say I have regular heavy weight days. A lot of learned from challenging yourself. Maybe you find a new thing you love, you build strength or you learn that something just does not bring you joy. This practice is crucial for me to keep myself stimulated by what I am doing.

In 2017, I really wish to work on being present in my activities. By this I mean I would like to focus more on how my body is moving and feeling as I am working out, running and doing yoga. I might fail a lot in the beginning, but I grow from this type of process and thrive from training myself. I will write a future post to update folks about my progress.

Do you follow New Years Resolutions? Or do you have anything special you do at the beginning of the year?