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Get An Understanding of Gluten




What is Gluten?

These days everyone is going gluten-free, but what really is gluten and why is everyone trying to avoid it in their daily diet?

Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, rye, and barley. Another place it is commonly found is in pre-packaged foods as an additive to give flavor, as well as a thickener. You would be very surprised to learn what foods actually contain gluten. Some of the items are hot dogs, blue cheese, puddings and salad dressings.

No matter where you turn these days, it is common to hear about is who is going on a gluten-free diet. In Hollywood alone, there are many including Gwyneth Paltrow, Zooey Deschanel and even the famous weatherman from NBC Today Show, Al Roker, which all are gluten-free. Celebrity talk show host, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, wrote the book The G-Free Diet, where she shares her personal story about battling with the celiac disease. So, is it a fad diet? That’s what you might think after reading a number of comments on the articles about going gluten-free. Most people do not understand what it is or how it is affecting about 18 million Americans who suffer from gluten intolerance. That is at least six times more than those suffering from the true celiac disease.

To totally understand what going “G-free” means, first let’s answer the question: “what is gluten?” It is a protein that is found in wheat, rye, and barley grains. Because of its physical properties, it is commonly found in pre-packaged foods as an additive to give flavor and thicken dough. You would be very surprised to discover what foods contain gluten.

Oats, which are commonly misconceived as being full of gluten, are not. Oats can become “contaminated” from processing on the same machinery that gluten-rich grains are. There are certain brands that are conscious of processing gluten-free grains, and those grains containing gluten are packaged separately and labeled accordingly. Those diagnosed with celiac disease are encouraged to research food companies and their processing techniques to avoid trace amounts of gluten in their oats.

There is a major difference between true celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Celiac disease is an inability to absorb the gluten protein and may be the result of having an intolerance that was undiagnosed. Being gluten intolerant is considered an autoimmune disease that comes from inflammation of all organ systems within the body. If one does not avoid gluten in foods when intolerant, damage can occur in the small intestine and will ultimately decrease nutrient absorption into the body among other possible health issues.

In some cases, intolerance or celiac disease has been overlooked or misdiagnosed due to the fact that symptoms can vary from person to person. Some of the common symptoms of gluten intolerance are:

  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Abdominal pain and bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Unexplained iron-deficiency Anemia
  • Depression or Anxiety
  • Acne
  • Itchy skin rash known as Dermatitis Herpetiformis

According to The New England Journal of Medicine, some of the diseases that could be caused by eating gluten and ignoring symptoms are:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Autism- there has been a possible link to gluten.
  • Migraines- there has been a possible link to gluten.
  • Irritable Bowel Disease
  • Thyroid conditions
  • Multiple Sclerosis

All the research demonstrates that celiac disease and gluten intolerance are not just a fad diet. Some may turn to a gluten-free diet for weight loss, which may or may not be successful. If there is suspected intolerance, turning to a gluten-free diet may increase one’s energy and gastrointestinal comfort as a result.

Read article on Healthy Gut Guide


Understanding IBS: How to Make IBS Better Without the Use of Prescription Drugs



Do you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome or know of some who does?

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, there are an estimated 12 percent of American adults suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome–commonly known as IBS.

Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is a chronic disorder that affects the large intestine. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is not a serious disease. However, it does dramatically affect an individual’s daily life.

The symptoms range from abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, cramping, and some even experience regular diarrhea. Most doctors are suggesting this a psychometric disease (meaning it is all in the patient’s head), while other doctors are recommending  their IBS patients to take Metamucil or prescribe anti-spasm drugs, and even antidepressants. They simply do not look deep enough to see if there could be another cause for these troubling health issues.

There is emerging research showing that there are underlining causes that are not allowing the digestion system to work correctly. So by taking the time to work on those issues, it could restore and align the body to heal patients Irritable Bowel Syndrome without prescription drugs.

Here are some of the complementary approaches that have shown to be effective in relieving in some cases, while healing in others suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Probiotics: In a paper by the American College of Gastroenterology, probiotics were shown to improve symptoms individuals were experiencing from IBS. However, keep in mind that because each person is a bio-individual, they will each receive different results from taking probiotics.

Acupuncture: A clinical trial was conducted back in 2009, which consisted of 230 individuals suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The trial revealed that those who received acupuncture showed improvements in their symptoms over those who received no acupuncture.

Yoga: The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) conducted a small study back in 2014 with young adults ranging from 18 to 26 years of age. These individuals took part in a series of yoga classes and reported beginning to feel less pain, nausea, and constipation. After two months, there was a follow-up appointment with the young adults and it was concluded that they were still experiencing fewer symptoms of IBS due to the regular practice of yoga.

Even though the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) has also done some trials on mindfulness meditation training, reflexology and relaxation training, the pieces of evidence are limited. There is also evidence that shows a whole foods diet without gluten could assist in experiencing fewer symptoms in some cases while others have found healing from IBS.

There is still a great deal we need to learn about Irritable Bowel Syndrome to assist those suffering from it. If you are one of those who suffer from IBS, staying informed and making small changes to your daily life could be the answer to your healing.

Read on Healthy Gut Guide 


Good Bacteria, Bad Bacteria, and Probiotics. What’s It All About?




What is a Probiotic? What will they do for my health?

Probiotics is a Greek word that means promoting life. They are considered live microorganisms and when taken correctly will provide health benefits. Most of the microorganisms are live bacteria, and when people hear the word bacteria their first thought is that it is bad bacteria.  But that is not the case. In fact, to maintain optimal health, our bodies need a balance between good and bad bacteria within our digestive tract. Every one of us has more than 1,000 different types of bacteria roaming around in our digestive tracts waiting to break down the food we eat every day.

Are you experiencing any of the following health issues or symptoms?

•    Diarrhea

•    chronic fatigue syndrome

•    Muscle pain

•    Gluten Intolerance

•    Leaky gut

•    Irritable bowel syndrome

•    Crohn’s disease

•    Frequent indigestion

•    Eczema

•    Atopic dermatitis

•    Weight gain

•    Acne

Research shows that there are about 170 diseases that can be helped or treated by introducing probiotics into your system.

There are foods that naturally contain probiotics to assist in healing your health issues, however, for most people that is not enough or they choose not to include them in their diet. For others, it is just easier to take a probiotic supplement, which is shown to give great results.  Each of these foods should also be unpasteurized to receive the full probiotic richness they offer. When the pasteurizing process occurs, it destroys the natural probiotics in the food and will not give health benefits.

Here are a few to help you understand probiotics.

•    Sauerkraut

•    Plain unflavored and unsweetened yogurt

•    Miso

•    Tempeh (fermented soy)

•    Pickles

•    Kombucha Tea

•    Fermented Vegetables (cabbage, eggplant, onions, cucumbers, squash, carrots, and turnips)

When it comes to the probiotic supplements, there are other questions like, how many billions of microorganisms should each capsule contain? Is it better to purchase the refrigerated brands better?

According to research, each capsule should contain at least 20 to 30 billion live microorganisms to offer beneficial properties to the body. With sophisticated technology these days most companies feel their probiotics do not need to be refrigerated, however if that makes you feel more comfortable feel free to do so. Many experts will say that no one single probiotic supplement will work for everyone and every health issue.  So, if one brand is not helping your health issues be open to trying another one.

You can stay on top of new research as it becomes available as well as asking questions at your local natural food market such as Whole Foods. This will assist you in choosing the right probiotic for your specific health concerns, which will give you optimal health.

Read article on Healthy Gut Guide


One of the Great Superfoods: Chia Seeds

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Do you remember the Chia Pets of the 70’s? Well, who knew they were healthy seeds that we should be eating and not planting in the terracotta animal figures to look at in the windowsill. Chia seeds are listed as a superfood and promote overall health.

What is a superfood? Superfood is a marketing term that means the food is a nutrient powerhouse. They are packed with large amounts of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. These foods have shown to lower the risk of chronic disease as well.

Chia seeds come from a flowering plant that is part of the mint family. They come from Mexico and Guatemala. In fact, the Aztec warriors ate Chia Seeds to increase their stamina and endurance.

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6 Quick Healthy Breakfasts for On The Go

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It’s very apparent that we are all on the run these days, and most of us forget to have breakfast while we’re on the go. But eating just a little something will aid in kick starting your metabolism for the day. By simply planning ahead a little bit your mornings can run more smoothly, which is especially important as you are trying to get you and your family out the door.

Here are 6 ideas for quick and healthy breakfasts that are easy to grab and go in the morning.

  • Overnight Oats- This is the ultimate on the go breakfast. Before going to bed combine ½ cup of milk (whatever kind you prefer), 1/3 cup of oatmeal, ½ of a mashed banana, ¼ cup of chopped nuts (whatever kind you prefer) with a little cinnamon. Just make sure to place all the ingredients in a jar or a Pyrex glass container so that it will be ready to be warmed up in the microwave. In the morning, simply place the jar in the microwave right before you leave the house or save it and heat it up at work.
  • Greek Yogurt Parfaits- The night before take a small jar or Pyrex glass container and layer in some Greek yogurt. On top of this layer, put your favorite fruit and then another layer of yogurt. Then add in the raw nuts of your choice or a combination of raw nuts. Refrigerate and grab this delicious parfait on the way out your door. Just don’t forget a spoon!
  • Apple Slices topped with natural Peanut Butter- If you cut apples into round pieces they can be put together like a sandwich after the apple has been cored. If you prefer natural Almond or Cashew Butter that works well in between the apples. Just put the butter on your apples and add raw nuts or raisins between the apple slices if you’d like for a tasty breakfast.
  • Breakfast Cookies- Usually cookies are not a good breakfast, but if the cookies are made with vitamins, why not? These types of cookies are filled with oatmeal, raisins, and nuts, which makes them a healthy choice for breakfast. Most of the recipes are gluten-free and can be found online, so pick one that your family will like.
  • Breakfast Wraps- The floured tortilla shells for breakfast wraps are filled with an egg done your favorite way. However, keep in mind that scrambled eggs seem to work very well and then you can add celery pieces or chopped red peppers with a small amount of cheese of your choice. Right before rolling it into the whole-wheat tortilla shell top it off with salsa. You can vary it each day to keep it interesting.
  • Quick & Easy Granola- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine ¾ cup of raw organic pumpkin seeds, 1 1/2 cups rough-cut oatmeal, ¼ cup Chia seeds, ½ cup dried cherries, ½ cup of raw silvered almonds, and ½ cup of shredded unsweetened coconut. In another smaller bowl, mix together 3 Tbsp. Natural peanut butter, ½ Tsp. Sea salt, ½ cup of grade B maple syrup and ½ tsp. Pure vanilla extract. Pour liquid over all the dry nuts and blend well. Put mixture onto a parchment lined pan or cookie sheet. Bake for 40 minutes. Cool and put into containers for a grab and go.
  • Muffins- The variety of muffins recipes online are many. Be adventurous and try different kinds to not only keep it interesting for you, but also your family.

Even though it is better for all of us to sit down and eat our breakfast together, this is not always possible. When families do not have time to eat together because of their busy schedules, these are great go to healthy breakfasts for you to make and enjoy.


6 Wardrobe Essentials Every Woman Needs

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How often do you look into your closet and think to yourself, “I have thought nothing to wear,” even though your closet is overflowing with clothes? You are not alone; in fact, this is more common than you may think.

However, what if you already have these key garments in your wardrobe? Pieces of clothing like this will never let you down, and they always are available to help you create a winning outfit. Do not worry, you can still look trendy and up to date with the current styles. This also means that through the seasons you can still include your favorite colors and styles as well. Combine the basics with favorite trendy and colorful clothing and you can create stunning ensembles that you’ll love.

Speaking of the basics, here are some key essentials you need in your wardrobe. These basics will help you look and feel fabulous every day.

1. Black Classic Pumps – These pumps should be close-toed and simple with a heel of about 2 to 2 ½ inches. If the cost is a factor black pumps should be your first purchase, followed by a navy. From there invest in the fun trendy colors.

2. Simple Styled Black or Navy Cardigan– Keeping the color a solid black or navy will make it more versatile. Consider investing in a natural fiber for longer wear and easier care.

3. Black or Navy Suit – This suit should include a tailored trouser, blazer, and a skirt. Again, it is a great idea to invest a little extra money so that you’ll have a suit made with a natural fiber. This will provide you with longer wear, not to mention natural fibers are great for all seasons too. Make sure it fits your figure, and if it does not, do not hesitate to have it altered because you are worth it.

4. Tailored Fitting Jeans – Since companies are now leaning towards having a few casual dress days a year, having a tailored pair of jean can be the key to still looking professional and pulled together on those days. These jeans will help you look fantastic when you’re at your kids soccer game, family picnic or just running to the mall.

5. Tailored Fitting Chinos – These fitted trousers are another go-to garment for those casual dress days or to just go out to dinner during the weekend. Having a nice tailored pair of pants in your wardrobe will help you feel great and confident about yourself every time you put them on.

6. Trench Coat – A classic trench coat that comes in a length that goes to your knees is irreplaceable. Buying one in either black, navy or camel will keep it timeless. When purchasing a trench coat consider finding one with a removable lining since this allow you to keep it for many years.

Remember that once you have the basics you can throw in a splash of color with a blouse or knit top, for example. You can jazz up your silhouette further with a great pair of shoes and a scarf, along with having a stylish bag on your arm to pull the look together. Never underestimate how versatile each of these accessories and items of clothing can be for building wardrobe essentials.

By taking a little time and making sure, you have wardrobe essentials you will be ready for any event that comes your way. These beautiful basics can take you from the office to a happy hour, or even to a networking get together. In addition, you can head out to a nice dinner with your loved ones or friends any day of the week in wardrobe basics. So, before you purchase another garment, consider investing in the wardrobe essentials that you need. Then you can have fun combining clothing essentials with other stylish pieces and accessories for a winning wardrobe.

Written for Ladies Life Blog.


Thanksgiving is a Time For Stress-Free Gratitude

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Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful and grateful, but it can be a stressful time as well. Getting as much as possible planned and set ahead of time will make Thanksgiving far less stressful. When inviting people over for Thanksgiving share that the day is going to be about feeling blessed and sharing time together around a wonderful colorful table of food.

Planning out the menu will help to minimize the last-minute runs to the store. Before shopping, take each recipe and make a list of all ingredients needed for the menu. This will limit the stress while others are running around the store. A few days before Thanksgiving, make a cooking schedule. This will help to make sure every item on the menu is cooked on time without rushing and ease the stress of other food not getting done.

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The Great Health Benefits of Cedarwood Essential Oil










Cedarwood essential oil has a woody, balsamic, soft, yet sweet aroma. This essential oil is a deep amber color and is distilled from the wood and sawdust. Cedarwood essential oil comes from a strong scented evergreen tree that grows to about 50 to 100 feet tall and can have a lifespan of more than a thousand years. Most of the essential oil produced today comes from Morocco.

The scientific name for Cedarwood is Cedrus Atlantica. When you see both the common and scientific name on the bottle label, it is telling you that the essential oil is pure.

Cedarwood has a long history of being used for incense and in perfumery. The Greeks and Romans burned the wood to give the air a pleasant fragrance. The ancient Egyptians used this essential oil often for cosmetics and in Tibet it was used in traditional medicine.

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Health Benefits of Acupuncture





More Americans are realizing that to be healthy you cannot just pop pills. So, they are checking into alternative medicine to find healing.

It is estimated that 14 million Americans have used acupuncture; this is according to statistics from the National Health Interview Survey. With this growth with acupuncture, more insurance companies are covering complementary care.

Acupuncture began in China over thousands of years ago. Acupuncture is not just randomly placing tiny needles into your skin. In fact, it is a complete medical science focused on correcting the imbalance flow of energy throughout your body. It has been used to prevent illnesses, diagnose, and treat diseases, along with improving overall health. Acupuncture is all about restoring and maintaining health through pressure points on the body, where these tiny needles will release energy for healing.

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Let’s Get Running: Treadmill vs. Road


There is a big divide amongst most runners about running inside on a treadmill, versus getting outside on the pavement. We all remember the commercial that Nike ran ‘Just Do It.’

It doesn’t matter if you run inside on a treadmill or if you choose to get outside on the road. The truly important step is lacing up your running shoes and starting running. There are many subtle differences between the two types of running, but both will give a good cardiovascular workout to your body. Most runners use a combination of treadmill and road running, for a variety of reasons. Here are a few things to keep in mind either style you choose.

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