Tag Archive | digestion

Ever thought about brushing your skin?!?

So, we brush our hair and teeth every day (at least, I hope you do!), and we know that this keeps our hair shiny and healthy and our teeth free of tartar, plaque, and cavity-causing bacteria. But did you know there are many benefits of the ancient art of Skin Brushing??

If you’ve never heard of this before, you’re probably looking at the screen wondering if I made a typo or if I’m drinking and writing…haha…But let me fill you in on this very cool, very beneficial, and very inexpensive technique!

What exactly IS skin brushing?

Dry brushing is simply brushing your skin (entire body except your face) in a specific motion to support skin renewal, stimulate the lymphatic system (which in turn helps the immune, nervous and digestive systems), aids in the removal of toxins, exfoliates and gives you a sense of well-being. Dry brushing should be practiced each day, typically in the morning (before you shower.) source

So, Why should you brush your skin? 

Your skin is your largest organ, and it is an organ of elimination as well as barrier to the environment. It is estimated that one-third of daily impurities in your body are excreted through the skin. As we age, our bodies become less effective in shedding outer layers of dead skin cells. And toxins in the air and our environment also prey on our skin (wrinkles = bad).

•Because your body health and functioning depends in part on your skin, dry brushing will help clear away dead cells and toxins on the surface to help you absorb oxygen and nutrients, and encourage cell renewal.

•You are clearing excesses that are clogging things up in your skin and elimination system when you Skin Brush! If dead cells and toxins build up, your skin loses its ability to get rid of toxins and it then it places stress on other organs.

•Dry brushing helps skin look and feel better as the build-up is removed. The skin will start to glow after regular use.

•Dry brushing stimulates your glands, providing more moisture for the skin to help it look and fresher more vibrant.

•Skin brushing works from the outside in as well. Importantly, it increases and supports blood circulation. This alone is important, but better circulation also contributes to healthier muscle tone and better distribution of fat deposits.

•Skin body brushing stimulates the lymphatic system by aiding the flow of fluids in your body. Our lymphatic systems don’t have a “circulation pump” like the heart with blood flow – the lymphatic system actually relies on movements of our muscles to work. Our lymphatic system is very important in elimination as it moves toxins out, supporting the immune systems by producing white blood cells and generating antibodies.

•Many say that while we have lymph nodes throughout our body, the most important areas with the most nodes are under the arms (armpits) and inner thighs – so giving attention to these areas while brushing is a good practice.

•Dry brushing aids in better digestion.

•Body brushing works to support cleansing of the whole system, inside and out. Accumulated waster products in the body can contribute to illness or premature aging. source

I was just gifted my very own body brush yesterday so that I could try this myself, and I must say, after just one time of doing it, I notice a difference.  But, I can’t give away all the details in one post right? Gotta leave you with a little cliffhanger 😉

Stay tuned for my next post on my update after one week of dry body brushing, along with some “how to” instructions!

Ciao for now!

-E

Hot, Or Not?

Alright! Well, time to update you guys on my progress now that I’m on day 10 of my coconut oil experiment…If you read my last post, you’ll remember that I mentioned suspecting that I have a sluggish metabolism/under-active thyroid, and that I’ve noticde my body temperature is consistently a bit low (no higher than 97.1).

So, for the past week and a half, I’ve added 1-2 tablespoons of organic, virgin coconut oil to my diet. Specifically, I’ve been using Trader Joe’s brand:

Now, let me start by telling you, as a reformed restrictive dieter, I never imagined I’d be downing tablespoons of high-fat, high calorie OIL. But, as I touched upon in last week’s post, all oils are not created equal, and organic, unrefined coconut oil is supposed to have many, many benefits. That being said, I’ve been eating this stuff every which way for the past 10 days: stirred into my coffee, for cooking, spread onto fruit, and even straight up on a spoon (don’t knock it ’til you try it…it’s actually really yummy!).  As a side note, I didn’t eat the coconut oil at any specific times, just whenever I could incorporate it into my day.

Before I tell you about changes I’ve noticed, I’ll also mention that since starting my coconut oil study, I’ve also been very strict with staying gluten-free. I know I have a sensitivity to gluten, but I’ve been kind of lax in sticking to a gluten-free diet. I just wanted to mention this, as I’m sure it contributed to some of the positive changes you’re about to read…

Okay, enough with the teasers…I know you’re probably anxious to read some results!

Here goes:

  • Less food cravings overall, especially sweets and between-meal snacks
  • Improved digestion (less bloating/flatter stomach, and much more…regular)
  • Noticeably clearer skin (I was getting breakouts on my upper back and chest that virtually disappeared)
  • AND I took my temperature this morning, and it was 97.9 (still not 98.6, but up significantly from 97.1)

All in all, I must say, I feel pretty great!  And definitely great enough to continue with the coconut oil and sticking to a gluten-free diet. I’m curious about what another week will do for the body temperature, so I’m going to go ahead and monitor results for another update next week. Stay tuned!

Ciao for now,

-E

Time to Heat Things Up!

So I’ve noticed for a while now that I’m consistently not reaching a high enough body temperature (I’m usually at about 97.1), and noticing symptoms like cold hands and feet, sluggishness, and joint aches. The low body temp especially surprises me because I eat plenty of protein and have gained a fair amount of muscle mass over the past few months, but still, that body temp won’t budge. Though I’ve been tested in the past and been told I’m within normal limits, I’m quite certain that an under-active thyroid is the culprit.

coconut oil weight loss metabolismSource

I have heard a lot of buzz about eating Coconut Oil to help boost metabolism and body temperature and came across some information by Ray Peat, a biologist specializing in metabolic function and repairing hypothyroidism. In addition to some other suggestions, Peat recommends eating coconut oil (at least a tablespoon a day) to help boost overall metabolism.

This makes sense because, as referenced in an article on Natural News:coconut_spr03_310

  • Coconut oil slows down the digestion of food, which helps you feel fuller after a meal. Many people notice that after adding coconut oil to their diet, they are less prone to snacking.
  • Because it slows digestion, coconut oil also helps prevent blood sugar fluctuations after a meal by slowing the rate carbohydrates are broken down into blood glucose.
  • The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil destroy candida, a condition of yeast overgrowth in the body which triggers symptoms of weight gain, carbohydrate cravings, fatigue and many others. Eliminating candida is an important part of achieving permanent weight loss.
  • Coconut oil is excellent for detoxification. It cleanses the body of many infirmities, balances the digestive tract and nourishes all cells in the body. These benefits restore your health and pave the way for natural weight loss.

The article goes on to mention that:

One study examined the effect of medium-chain fatty acids on metabolism. Participants’ metabolism was evaluated before and after a meal rich in these fats. On average, metabolism increased by 48 percent. In obese individuals, the increase was as high as an astounding 65 percent. Studies have shown this thermogenic effect can last for 24 hours.

And a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that medium-chain fatty acids were three times more effective at raising the metabolism than long-chain fatty acids. Researchers concluded that replacing long-chain fatty acids with medium-chain fatty acids was an effective method for weight loss. Another study from the same journal showed that eating medium-chain fatty acids increases metabolism and also helps burn off stored fat.

And today, stumbled on a little gem by Miss Butter Believer who shared that was able to raise her body temperature by a full degree in less than a week by adding coconut oil to her daily diet!
With all of this information, I’m willing to give this a try to see what happens. Starting today, I will consume 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil per day and see what happens. I love a good self-experiment!!
Check back for an update in next week’s post!
Ciao for now,
-E

The Skinny on Artificial Sweeteners

It started out as an innocent way to save some calories…I put Equal or Splenda in my coffee and tea, used sugar-free creamers, sugar-free syrup on my pancakes, and dumped sugar-free flavored packets into my water (I’m cringing now thinking back on it). Even after I started really focusing on my health mid-way through 2006, I’m a little embarrassed to stay that I continued to use artificial sweeteners…partly because my body had become addicted, partly out of sheer habit, and partly because I was afraid that I’d blow up like a blimp if I started using real sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc.

Now until recently, when I’d heard negative things about artificial sweeteners, I pretty much swept the information under the rug. And honestly, so many people I knew used them too, so it wasn’t like I stood out like the yellow packet-toting renegade that I was…

sweeteners in coffee
Source

But as 2012 was coming to a close and it was time for resolutions, I started thinking about this dirty little habit I’d held onto and decided to be honest about how this crap was affecting me. I’ll start with some personal observations:

  • The more artificial sweeteners I used, the more I needed to use…what started out as 1 Splenda in a mug of coffee had turned into 3, and virtually every liquid I consumed had artificial sweeteners in it.
  • I was craving sweets all the time, and when I indulged, I was never satisfied.
  • Instead of giving in to every craving, I would just drink more coffee (with Splenda of course) or diet soda, or suck on some sugar free candies…it was becoming a vicious cycle.
  • My metabolism felt sluggish, and for the amount of exercise I was doing and as clean as I was eating, I felt like I should have been in better shape.
  • Most of the people I knew who were naturally thin and seemed healthy to me used real sugar, not Splenda (or artificial sweeteners).
  • With most things in life, if it sounds too good to be true, you should probably check into it!

Now for some of the information I finally decided to listen to about these super sweet, non-caloric chemical packets of doom:

  • Studies show that artificial sweeteners stimulate high insulin levels in the blood which promote storage of body fat (especially around the mid-section). Your body is pretty smart and prepares for the arrival of food/nutrients before anything even crosses your lips. When you trick your body and give it fake food (non-nutritive or non-caloric sweeteners), it gets understandably confused. Your taste buds sense the sweet taste from artificial sweeteners, and the pancreas secretes insulin unnecessarily. Over time, your body gets used to this and basically goes on strike (i.e. insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, etc).
  • Artificial sweeteners may save you calories but there is strong evidence that they promote hunger and increase your appetite–so you many end up eating more food throughout the day. You ingest artificial/calorie-free food with the intention of reducing your calorie intake, but this does not satisfy your body’s need for nutrients and energy. So, you end up feeling ferocious about eating more and more until you satisfy that need. Think about it—we’re currently surrounded by low-calorie, “health conscious foods” and diet soft drinks that contain artificial sweeteners, yet obesity is on the rise.
  • Aside from weight gain and insulin resistance, other health issues include: headaches, gastrointestinal problems, toxicity to the liver and kidneys, and increased cancer risk.

Taking into account my own personal observations, combined with the endless information on the internet and in medical studies about why artificial sweeteners are bad, I decided to give them up in 2013. I went cold turkey.

artificial is bad
Source

Here’s what happened:

For a week or so, I went through withdrawals—headaches, stomach cramps, mood swings, etc. But rather than making me want to go back to them, this further solidified that I’d become addicted to a poisonous chemical that was likely wreaking havoc on my insides. I stuck with it. I started using a reasonable (2 tsp or so) amount of raw sugar in my morning coffee, using honey (if anything) in my tea, and drinking plain old water. After a couple weeks, I noticed that I started craving less sweets, was eating less overall without feeling deprived, and could actually taste my food better than ever. I had more energy and actually started to feel my metabolism revving again. Now, 7 months later, I can’t believe I ever even used the fake stuff. I’d never go back…

feeling great!

Source

Now I’m not suggesting that you start dumping mounds of sugar in your coffee, drowning your pancakes in syrup, and eating pastries for dinner. And if you’re diabetic, you should talk to a doctor or nutritionist about managing your glucose levels and sugar intake. What I am saying is stop confusing your body. If you are craving something sweet have a little sugar, but stay away from “fake” foods. Eating a whole-foods, balanced diet and occasionally indulging in a few real sweet treats is a better alternative than tricking your body with artificial sweeteners – which ultimately leads to a sluggish metabolism, obesity, and a host of other issues.

Do yourself a favor and put down the yellow (or blue, or pink) packets of fake chemicals that are doing damage to your precious body, and eat real food for a while. Take it from a former addict, the change is SO worth it.

Ciao for now!

-E