You Are What You Think

Have you ever noticed that when you think you can do something you usually can?  For instance, if you feel confident you have the skills to succeed in a math class, you will. If, on the other hand, you start with a premonition of failure, you become your own worst enemy by letting the negative thoughts sabotage your efforts. Your brain is hardwired to think in a certain way, and the resulting mindset can have a big effect on the way you live your life. Thankfully there are ways to retrain your brain.

When you notice negative feelings clouding your thought process, stop yourself and refocus. Concentrate on thoughts that make you happy.  You are the master of your brain; don’t let it take you down a dark and unproductive path. Even if depression runs in your family, you have the capability of setting up neuronal roadblocks which can alter negative habits. And while you may not be able to erase a genetic disposition towards depression, you can greatly reduce its impact and re-occurrence.

Three Ways to Think Yourself Happy:

  • Count your blessings – Start an optimist’s journal and write down the good things that happen to you each day.
  • Practice envisioning positive outcomes to the challenges in your life – tell yourself good stories with happy endings.
  • Positive self talk –Pay attention to your inner dialogue. Take care to say positive uplifting things and treat yourself kindly.

It’s a scientific fact that optimists are more productive, have better social relationships, have statistically better health and lead longer lives. Your brain affects your mental attitude and this in turn affects your entire life. You are what you think, learn to think positive.


Changing the Memory of Your DNA

Did you know that your seemingly irrational fears and phobias may actually be inherited from your ancestors?  Let’s say you’ve always been afraid of water. One day, while doing your family history, you discover that a grandparent nearly drowned at sea, and his or her closely-related family members at the time developed an intense water phobia.  This resulting deep seated fear may have been passed down to you through inherited DNA.  Thanks to recent research, we now know that’s possible.

One experiment conducted on mice, showed that the animals passed on the aversion to a certain smell. These mice were given electric shocks at the same time they were exposed to the odor of cherry blossoms.  When their offspring, who had no previous experience with this odor, were exposed to it, they showed a pronounced thorough irrational fear.

According to Dr Brian Dias, from the department of psychiatry at Emory University, this study proves that genetics are highly relevant to phobias, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorders.  Our memories are stored as a frequency in our cells, so it is not only our learned responses that cause us to act in certain ways, but our cellular memory as well.

So how do we go about changing negative cellular memories?  Many scientists believe that making positive changes in our lives can turn off, or short circuit negative cell responses.  By creating new and positive neural pathways we can overcome some troublesome traits. Thus by adopting beneficial practices such a meditation, visualization and brain training it is possible to turn your brain to more productive thoughts, and change negative DNA memories.



Essential Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are nutrients that our bodies require to grow and develop.  Vitamins are organic substances made by plants and animals, and each vitamin has an important role to play in our health.

Tales of early sailing excursions often contained reports of sailors and pirates succumbing to a mysterious illness called scurvy.  The victims would develop suppurating sores, and their teeth began to fall out.  After many years it was discovered that the disease resulted from a lack of vitamin C.  The early ships had no refrigeration systems, which made it impossible to keep fresh fruit and vegetables for any length of time.  This problem had a limiting effect on long-distance marine travel. Thankfully for sailors (and the rest of the world!) refrigeration has become commonplace.

Another important vitamin is D, which helps the body absorb calcium for strong bones and teeth.  We can get this vitamin from food sources, but another good supplier is the sun. Low vitamin D has become more of a problem in the recent years, as people are now careful to wear sunscreen when out of doors.  This is of course good for the skin as it protects it from the sun’s harmful UV rays, but the unfortunate side effect, is that we cut out a god source of this important vitamin as well. Good food sources for D are salmon, cod liver oil and enriched milk.

Other important vitamins are Vitamin A, B6, B12, E, and K.  We can acquire most of these vitamins by eating nutritious food and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Without question, the best place to get vitamins and minerals is natural sources.

If you find you are low on a certain vitamin, you can consume more of the food which contains it, or take a daily vitamin supplement such as the high quality supplements from Nature’s Sunshine or any other high quality supplement supply organization. Supplements are a great way to get the essential vitamins that you need in your diet. Here is a complete list of all of the essential vitamins and minerals you need daily:


I hope that you found this information helpful!


We Are What We Eat

Our bodies are like finely tuned engines – give them right type of fuel and they will run more efficiently. The wrong fuel can have the opposite effect and can even cause them to break down entirely. So what is the right type of fuel for your complex machine?

In these days of health consciousness most people know about good nutrition. Scientists have identified the best foods – leafy greens, super foods like blueberries and broccoli, fish, lean meats and barring allergies – whole grains.

Now, while our bodies operate best on these types of fuels, our taste buds often crave something entirely different. We sometimes favor foods high in carbohydrates and refined sugar, i.e fudge brownies, or salty high fat treats like potato chips. As a result, when something upsetting or stressful occurs we tend to reach for a donut, rather than a carrot stick. So how can we change this tendency? It’s easier than you’d think.

1. Get rid of temptation – If it isn’t in your pantry you’ll find something else to eat.

2. Substitute – It may sound crazy but if you’re craving a milkshake, it’s just the sugar you want. Distract your taste buds with a piece of hard candy or gum, even brushing your teeth can do the trick.

3. Make it Easy -Have healthy foods available and easy. Cut up veggies and have ranch dip available. If it’s quick and accessible you’re more likely to choose it.

4. Better recipes – Log onto one of the many wellness websites, where you’ll find a plethora of new recipes, as well as healthy remakes of old ones.

In summary, what it boils down to is deciding to live well and make conscious choices to change our eating habits. Remember, you are what you eat!




Harmony of the Body, Mind, and Spirit

Body, mind, and spirit, these are the essential elements of human beings. Intrinsically connected, if one of these puzzle pieces is out of sorts, the other two are affected. For instance, if the body becomes diseased or injured, this affects the mind by causing pain and worry, which in turn afflicts the spirit with fear and distraction. This vicious circle can turn in upon itself in a downward spiral, until all peace and harmony is lost.

Conversely, when body mind and spirit are working together in harmony, you achieve the opposite effect. By making a concerted effort, and living mindfully, you can raise yourself to this higher plane. Here’s how:

    1. Body –You only have one body, don’t take your health for granted. To the best of your ability, exercise, eat well, and get enough sleep.
    2. Mind – Reduce stress – avoid situations and people that cause your blood pressure to rise. If that’s not possible, adopt practices to offset the effects of stress – Yoga, physical exercise, an inspiration book, listen to calming music, or take up an enjoyable or soothing hobby such as gardening or taking care of plants.
    3. Spirit or Soul – Fill your life with uplifting and positive experiences. Do things that make you happy, share, serve others, and go to church, pray or meditate. Finally, smile and learn to count your blessings.

When all of the essential elements – the mind, body and spirit – are working together in harmony you can achieve a state of peace and well being which enhances your life and allow you to make the most of your days.


The Use of Essential Oils

Essential oils are derived from natural plant sources which contain concentrated aromas. These compounds carry a distinctive scent, which many believe to be beneficial to mind, body and spirit.

While not officially recommended for medical or pharmacological use, essential oils are widely employed and are especially popular with advocates of aroma therapy. Aroma therapy is a branch of alternative medicine which endorses aromatic compounds for their therapeutic effects. In such cases, essential oils are steamed, diffused into the air with a nebulizer, or heated over a candle flame.

Many believe the oils can promote positive moods and improve skin tone. They are found in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps, food and drink flavorings and in skin applications for massage therapy. Aroma compounds are also added to incense and household cleaning products.

Essential oils are obtained by distilling the aroma compounds from plants with a steam process. Other methods are expression, in which the oils are pressed out of the plant, and a chemical process called solvent extraction.

Some of the most commonly used essential oils are:

Eucalyptus – expectorant, decongestant, beneficial for flu/cold season, clearing to the mind, energizing, bronchitis

Lavender – calming, reduces anxiety, wound healing, burns, cell regenerative, insect bites, reduces itchiness, general skin care, great for children, antispasmodic

Peppermint – relieves nausea, analgesic for muscular aches and pains, relieves/reduces migraines, energizing, antispasmodic

Chamomile – antispasmodic, menstrual cramps, sedative, relieves anxiety/stress, insomnia, comforting, soothing, anti-inflammatory

Patchouli – antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, soothes the nervous system

Lemongrass – cleansing, antiviral, insect repellant, use for cleaning, antimicrobial

These are just a few of the popular essential oils. To learn more or to order just go to Nature’s Sunshine and search “essential oils” in the search box in the upper right hand corner.


Benefits of Drinking Water

Americans love their water.  In fact water has recently become the most popular drink in the US, but most people do not get the recommended daily amount. Now while the merits of drinking large amounts of water (some recommend 8 glasses a day) have been debated over the years, it’s a proven fact that remaining adequately hydrated is beneficial to physical health.

Here are six reasons why you should drink water and other fluids every day.

1. Your Body Needs Water – The human body is composed of 60% water, and needs to maintain a high volume of fluids to function properly. These fluids are utilized in digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature.

2. Drinking Water Can Help You Lose Weight – For years, dieters have been drinking water to help with weight loss, and while water doesn’t have a magical effect it does satisfy thirst, and reduce the desire for other higher calorie beverages.

Eating foods with high water content is beneficial as well. Water-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, oatmeal, and beans.

3. Water Helps Energize Muscles. A lack of fluids and electrolytes in body cells can cause them to shrivel. This results in muscle fatigue.  When cells are under-hydrated, physical performance can suffer.  During exercise, you should drink plenty of water to replace fluids lost by sweating.

4. Water Gives Skin a Healthy Glow – While drinking water cannot erase furrows or fine lines, dehydration makes your skin look dry and wrinkled. Drinking plenty of water helps plump up skin and give it a dewy appearance.

5. Water Helps Your Kidneys – When you’re getting enough fluids, urine flows freely, is light in color and free of odor. When you’re lacking in fluids kidneys have to work harder to gather be able to function well. Drinking too little also puts you at a risk for kidney stones.

6. Water Helps with Bowel Function – Drinking lots of water keep things flowing through the gastrointestinal tract.  When you don’t get enough fluid, the colon pulls water from stools to maintain hydration, and the result is constipation.

If you’d like to increase your fluid intake, here are some simple suggestions. Have a glass of water with every meal.  Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go. Eat more fruits and vegetables. You can improve your health, your appearance and energy level by drinking more water. It’s an easy thing to do, with so many benefits.


Should I use Probiotics?

You hear a lot about probiotics these days. With so many people experiencing gastrointestinal issues, probiotics in their many forms have become a trendy yet effective phenomenon. These microorganisms are a naturally occurring presence in the human gut. Referred to as the “good bacteria” probiotics are known to prevent many unhealthy conditions, especially those which affect the digestive tract.

Probiotics can also provide multiple benefits for your immune system. They make it harder for bad bacteria to get a foothold and cause illness. Some probiotics even suppress the growth of harmful bacteria altogether.

Our digestive tract is home to over 500 bacterial species, and up to 10% of an individual’s daily energy needs can be derived from the byproducts of good bacteria – meaning the more healthy bacteria you have, the more energy you will have! It seems that everyone wants more energy as naturally as possible. This can be accomplished by eating foods which include probiotics or by taking supplements.

Yogurt is a great source of the aforementioned good bacteria. Unfortunately yogurt can be sensitive to light or changes in temperature which can easily kill the beneficial microbes. To avoid this problem, you’ll want to look for products with live or active cultures.

For non-dairy options you can find yogurts made from rice, soy and coconut milk. These can also contain added probiotics.

To promote the presence of good bacteria, I often recommend that you feed them with PREbiotics. No, this isn’t a typo – Prebiotics nourish and strengthen the good bacteria and enable them to fight off the bad. Prebiotics are found in foods such as bananas, whole grains, honey, garlic and onions. Try to get two to four servings of these prebiotic-rich foods a day.

If you’ve been experiencing poor digestive health, consider healthy food solutions, or try one of the many supplements from Natures Sunshine that are available. After a few weeks, you will probably notice a difference in both your digestive health and energy levels.


The Importance of Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral found in the body. It is naturally present in many foods, and is also available as a dietary supplement. Approximately 15 percent of the general population has a magnesium deficiency, most aren’t even aware of it.

Commonly identified as an electrolyte, magnesium is known for its role in maintaining the mineral balance in the body. Magnesium is essential in over 300 metabolic functions, and plays a vital role in energy production and metabolism. Some of the most important roles of magnesium are:

Energy Production
Magnesium is necessary to breakdown the food we eat. It also plays a key role in the production of ATP – the body’s main source of energy.

Muscles & Nerves
Magnesium is found in the bloodstream (extracellular fluid) where it helps promote muscle contractions and nerve health.

Hormone Production
Magnesium is crucial to the production of thyroid hormones, adrenaline, and insulin. When these hormones are functioning well, the result is an overall feeling of health, energy and well-being.

Dietary surveys of people in the United States consistently show that magnesium consumption is lower than it should be. The recommended daily allowance of magnesium for a healthy adult, age 31 – 50 is 420 mg for males, and 320 mg for females. People who get less may be jeopardizing their health. This problem can be prevented by taking magnesium supplements, and by eating foods naturally high in this mineral, such as:

Almonds, Spinach, Cashews, Shredded Wheat Cereal, Soy milk, Black beans, Edamame, Peanut Butter and Whole wheat bread to name a few.

Early signs of magnesium deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. As magnesium deficiency worsens, numbness, tingling, muscle contractions and cramps, can occur. Seizures, personality changes, abnormal heart rhythms, and even coronary spasms can result if a magnesium deficiency in not treated.

Quality and purity are very important when selecting a Magnesium Supplement. For high-quality Magnesium supplements head over to Nature’s Sunshine and search Magnesium in the search box on the top right of the page.



Benefits of Healthy Eating

Having the right balance of vitamins and other nutrients helps your body and mind perform at their best. It also helps you to feel your best and increases your energy. In addition it increases your tolerance to stress. And healthy food does not have to be bland! Take a look at the food on the left and some of my other recipes that I’ll share here on my blog!

Healthy eating will help prevent major health issues such as:

– Heart disease
– High blood pressure
– Type 2 diabetes
– Some forms of cancer

Eating healthy can often be a challenge in our busy lifestyles but it’s worth it in the end. Here are some tips to finding better eating habits:

  • Don’t try to change your diet all at once – pick habits you can manage to change right where you are and create a new habit
  • Set manageable goals that you can obtain. For instance, cut out soda week one and replace your lunch with a salad the next.
  • Create long-term goals that build upon your short time goals.
  • Find support from friends and family.
  • Their encouragement will help keep you accountable and supported as you change your lifestyle.
  • Keep your plan in perspective and don’t give up if you find yourself relapsing. Cut yourself some slack and pick back where you left off the following day.

I hope you found this helpful!


Read More