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Fitness

4 Apps To Encourage and Grow Your Faith

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4 Apps To Encourage and Grow Your Faith

Wellness is plural- mind+body+spirit. We are what we eat (absorb), drink, think. Faith and spirituality are an integral part of my life. (Note: spirituality is not the same religious.) Believing in something greater than yourself is what enables us to get through the difficult times in our life. It makes life have a purpose. Meaning. The first 5 minutes of our day set the tone for the next 900 minutes of our day! Instead of cursing at your alarm, checking email, cruising social media, start your day with meditation! Here are 4 apps that I start my day with and reflect back to during the day.

Strong faith. Strong body. Live well in mind+body+spirit!

Echo app
Echo app

1.) Echo. This is a great app for tracking prayer requests. I love looking back at prayer requests and seeing how they were answered!

PAYG app
PAYG app

2.) PAYG. This is another great app to start your day with!  Music, scripture, reflection, help set you up for positive day ahead. Get it here.

Bible app
Bible app

3.) Bible. YouVersion has made it possible to have the Bible available in your hand, pocket! Every translation, devotionals, social and friend community, verse of the day, this is a great app to download. 

DVO app
DVO app

4.) DVO. This is probably one of my favorite apps. It's not only beautiful, but inspirational and makes me think. The beautiful images can be saved to your camera roll and shared or used as screen savers. Get it here

Cover photo credit: ActiveSteve

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How To Manage The Holidays (Without Losing Your Mind)

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How To Manage The Holidays (Without Losing Your Mind)

Today we released our 2014 Holiday Wellness Guide. Be sure to get your copy of this beautiful guide. It's packed full of practical and helpful insights (plus a fair trade gift guide, recipes, workouts, how not to get sick) to help you get through the holidays. Get yours here.  ----

Once a month I get the honor of co-hosting Everyday Health #HealthTalk on Twitter. Today I talked about how to have a healthy holiday. Here's the recap for your benefit!

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  1. One of the keys to having a healthy holiday is to make your health a priority. Eat real food, drink filtered H2O, move body!
  2. You don't have to let parties and dinners derail your health. Every choice we make adds up. Make wise ones. :)
  3. Instead of trying to force yourself to stay on your "diet" rephrase that to eating real food. Bring your food to party!
  4. Be the healthy example at holiday parties and family gatherings. Setting the positive example is empowering!
  5. Keep blood sugars balanced! Always have a healthy fat, healthy carb, healthy protein when eating to do so.
  6. If you are making dishes, read the ingredients before cooking/baking. Use real (organic) food ingredients to cook with!
  7. Shift the focus from unhealthy food to making organic real food meals/dishes and spending time with those you care about.
  8. No box mixes, cans, plastic packages, okay?! Use organic sprouted grain bread to make stuffing. Buy organic fresh green beans.
  9. FYI: the whole moderation thing is a myth as it always refers to toxic food-like products. Eat real organic food & find freedom!
  10. Make daily, physical activity a natural part of your life! When it's as natural as breathing, you won't even think about it!
  11. You don't need a fancy gym to be active. Walking is free! And 3 at-home workouts here.
  12. Don't put so much pressure on yourself to "do it all"! Less is more. Stress happens when things are out of order, control.
  13. Tip 2: don't cram so much into one day. Give yourself enough time to do one thing well. Do you really, really have to_____?
  14. Breathing really helps when feeling overwhelmed. Stuck in traffic? Focus on your breath. Running late? Focus on your breath.
  15. Incorporating an vinyasa yoga practice into your life is also very beneficial. Get upside down to gain a new perspective.
  16. The first 5min of your day set the tone for the rest of it. Mediate, pray, journal, breathe. Set positive intentions/actions!
  17. Try kombucha! It's a probiotic drink that has all the health benefits but none of the impacts of alcoholic drinks!
  18. Happiness doesn't come from a drink, remember. Ask yourself why you **have** to drink. There are way better options for you!
  19. Here's something you can try: non-GMO Mocktails.
  20. There's a reason why we do what we do. But often we are disconnected from the why. Spend time figuring out the why.
  21. Organic herbal tea is also a fantastic choice! Boil water in a tea kettle...get back to the basics. :)
  22. Organic cold-pressed juices are also wonderful! Have a juicing party. :)
  23. Holidays can bring up a lot of memories, some good, some painful. Find healthy ways to cope and manage them.
  24. You have control what goes in your mouth. When at a party be in charge of your health, your body, your legacy!
  25. Organic healthy fats keep you full: avocado, ghee, coconut, nuts, seeds, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts. Eat daily.
  26. Don't go into a party starving! This will only sabotage your goals, life, wellness. Keep food with you (nuts, seeds, veggies, clean meat if you eat it) with you. Always be prepared. 
  27. If you need help managing the holidays in healthy ways, I'm here to help you live well in mind+body+spirit! 

 

Cover photo credit: Heather Cowper

 

 

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9 Ways To Be A Better Runner

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9 Ways To Be A Better Runner

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What runner doesn't want to be a better runner? They seek personal records, long for faster recovery time but at the same time, fear injuries. No runner wants to be sidelined! So how do you stay a happy runner? By taking great care of your body! Here are 9 ways to be a better runner. (Not a runner? They still apply to you too!)

1) Eat real food. The number one mistake I see runners making time and time again is not eating real food. Sadly the common thought is “I ran x miles so I can eat whatever”. This couldn’t be further from the truth! If you are a runner that means it’s imperative to eat even more nutrient-dense foods and to put down the processed food-like products. The SAD (Standard American Diet) is sad for a reason. And many runners think they can “run off” what they eat. However this is simply not true. Toxic ingredients harm your health regardless if you are a runner or not. You don’t want to be a fake runner so why eat fake “food”? Coloring dyes (Blue 1, Blue 3, Red 40, Yellow 5, etc), BHT, man-made trans fats (fast “food” is a great example of this), refined white sugars and flours, artificial sugars (Sucralose/Splenda, Aspartame) are all ingredients that cause many health problems  Want to be a better runner? The number one thing you can do to be a better runner is to eat real, organic, whole, non-GMO foods.  And this should go without saying but drinking sodas and running is a recipe for disaster. Soft drinks create weak bones. As a runner you want strong bones. So if you need one more reason to ditch the soda, here you go! Running is just one part of wellness and a healthy life. Don’t neglect the other parts! No more Big Macs, okay? :)

A sample list of real foods (all organic of course):

  • Hemp seeds and powder
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Bok choy
  • Avocado
  • Chia seeds
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Cacao nibs
  • Kale
  • Swiss chard
  • Carrots
  • Red onions
  • Sprouts
  • Legumes
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Coconut oil
  • Oranges
  • Bananas
  • Spirulina
  • Quinoa
  • Butternut squash
  • Red kuri squash
  • Brown rice

2) Drink real electrolytes. Electrolytes and running go hand in hand. But it’s super important to get these electrolytes from real food sources instead of Gatorade/Powerade, etc. Powerade still contains Brominated Vegetable Oil. Electrolytes don’t come from a plastic bottle. Not only is plastic a toxin but the ingredients in sports drinks are as well. Food dyes are made from petroleum and coal tar and cause a variety of health diseases (like tumors, cancer). So where will you get your electrolytes? From real food. By following the above advice (eat real food) you will get all the electrolytes you need. You can also make your own electrolytes drink as in this graphic. I’m an ultrarunner and I run super long distances on real food and real electrolytes. It does work :) If you want to see what Gatorade does to your insides, watch this. It's not pretty or healthy!

3) Get plenty of rest. If you are burning the midnight oil at both ends it might be wise to reconsider your current lifestyle. Sleep and rest is another essential for being a better runner. Running on a tired body over time will result in physical stress which in turn will weaken immune system leaving you more susceptible to viruses. Another thing to remember is that time in bed does not equal time slept. Between falling asleep, waking up at night, falling back asleep, those precious minutes don’t count as sleep time (bad news for parents!) so tracking your sleep can be helpful to making sure you are getting the right amount of sleep for your body.

4) Active, smart recovery. If you start the day with a run or just ran a race (of any distance) sitting for the rest of the day is not smart recovery nor beneficial for your muscles. Sitting hinders blood flow to your muscles. After a race, walk around. Move! Walk the next day. Repeat. Getting the blood flow back into your muscles will speed recovery time. Run in the morning before work? That's awesome but you need to be active all day long. Get up from your desk every hour and walk around for 10 minutes. There are so many health benefits to hourly movement.

photo 2 (7)
photo 2 (7)

5) Practice yoga and strength train. Only running only works certain muscles. And that’s not being an effective (or smart) runner. All muscles need to be strong to help prevent injury and run faster. Start by incorporating yoga and strength training into your weekly fitness routine. Squats, lunges, pushups, bridges, plank are all great movements that you can do anywhere. But don’t be afraid to go to the gym and lift weights! Yoga is also great for building strength- bonus: calming the mind at the same time. 

6) Running on soft surfaces. Concrete is not an ideal running surface. The first choice should always be dirt trails and then pavement. Pavement has a little “give”  whereas concrete does not. Running on concrete will make for a very unhappy body and exasperate injuries. It’s okay to run on the neighborhood streets- just be sure to run towards traffic. Be sure to wear ID and reflective material. (Rules of the street: cycle with traffic, run against traffic.)

7) Chill out! Many runners are Type A. Myself included. While not necessarily a bad thing, this can get us into trouble. If we continue to run on stressed out adrenals (fight or flight) it will catch up with us sooner rather than later. By learning to tune into our body and knowing when to back off you can become a better runner for the long haul. Whether its taking a week or a few months off of running that time off will do your body a world of good. Use this time to point practice point number 5.

8) Keep your body healthy! Massage, acupuncture, chiropractic care, Graston/ART are all fantastic ways to keep your body strong, in alignment and most importantly, healthy. Each of these treatments has its own set of health benefits. Chiropractic care is extremely great for runners and athletes. Subluxation can cause all kinds of problems (weight gain, hormone imbalance, headaches, etc). Acupuncture is another personal favorite.

9) Use natural anti-inflammatories. If you are in chronic pain and you think it’s from running, take a deep breath. Running isn’t the cause of your pain! It’s what you are putting in your body that is. Remember point number one in this article? The SAD (Standard American Diet) promotes inflammation (from it’s acid-producing products) and inflammation breeds disease. And popping NSAIDs do not cure the problem. By healing your body from the inside out you don’t have to live in chronic pain! Personally, I train pretty intensely and one of the reasons I don’t have chronic pain and can recover so quickly is by making sure everything I put in my body is real. No toxins. The problem with NSAIDs is that with repeated use they can cause kidney failure, liver failure, ulcers. They also increase the chance for heart attacks. Instead of popping drugs use turmeric, curcumin, ginger. Even my friend Gabe (a MLB player) advocates for eating an anti-inflammatory “diet” (diet as in what you eat, not some weight loss gimmick). In fact, turmeric has been proven to be just as beneficial as NSAIDs but with no deadly side effects (Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine)!

How do you use turmeric? Simply make a raw, cold-pressed shot with it and/or sprinkle on savory dishes like eggs, legumes, brown rice, veggie stir-fry.

Key points to remember:

  • Running is not exclusive to being healthy.
  • Running is part of a healthy life. What you eat, drink, think and put on your skin is just as important as the sport of running.
  • Runners must eat nutrient-dense foods for a strong, healthy body; to reduce recovery time, to recover quicker.
  • Eat well (real food) to run well.
  • Eat an anti-inflammatory diet.
  • Get quality sleep & rest.

Happy, healthy running to you!

This post was brought to you by New Balance and #FreshFoam. Check out this cool, interactive map to see where runners are taking their new running shoes for a spin!

Cover photo credit: Southern Foodways Alliance  

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Cheeseburgers and The Church (part three)

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Cheeseburgers and The Church (part three)

Cheeseburgers and The Church

We're in a series right now called Cheeseburgers and The Church: the health message. If you missed part one and part two be sure to read them and find out why this series is being written!

Today Kristina writes on stewardship and how it impacts the faith community and how we eat.

Stewardship. It's the one word that resonates with me when I think about the challenges our world is facing with natural resources (food, land, water). Failing to be good stewards to the Earth has created astronomical repercussions that are not necessarily visible to the human eye on a day-to-day basis. The lack of stewardship to our Earth and it’s resources are destroying not just our vital ecosystems, but also the dignity and wellbeing of human beings.

First, let's cover the basics. What is stewardship? The Oxford University Press 2013 Dictionary says this: Steward: (verb) to manage or look after (another's property).

As a steward, we take ACTIONto look after someone or something; to attend to its’ needs, to care for it, and to respect it as if it were the property of an honorary guest.

For Christians, the idea of stewardship is presented in the first chapter of the Bible, Genesis. God created the Earth and all of the creatures that inhabit the Earth...and as the story goes, they were all good. God appointed the man and the woman to have dominion over the Earth and all of the creatures that were created; in other words, God gave the man and the woman the responsibility to care for creation.

This idea of stewardship extends beyond just Christian theology. It presents itself in other religions, as well, through the use of nature and humans (see Pyari 2011).  We see stewardship even extend beyond religion and into cultural practices in the way that groups of people socialize and communicate. The golden rule: “treat others the way you would want to be treated” is one of the actions of stewardship in the context of relationships.

The idea of stewardship is present in doctrines of world religions, and it is inscribed in many cultural rituals and social interactions (see Pyari 2011).

Ultimately....

"Whatever we do to the earth, we do to ourselves."

- Chief Seattle

So  just how does this idea of stewardship fit within the context of food-systems, nutrition, and humans? Simple.

The food-system greatly impacts the many different ecosystems that inhabit the earth. The way in which we choose to use the soil and the land, as well as the way we raise animals impacts the health of all the creatures that are apart of this global ecosystem.

Look all over the internet, we are continually seeing news about factory farming and its destruction to the environment, its cruel treatment to animals, and its encouragement of monocrop systems and GMO. There are articles flooding the internet and research about over-fishing, loss of native species, and the rapid rise of global warming.... and its impact on human and non-human life.

We are destroying the planet with our food choices. We are failing to practice stewardship to the animals, the soil, to human and non-human existence. We are taking resources from the Earth faster than we are returning them and protecting them. As we continue to industrialize, we loose touch with the natural world. We disconnect with the environment and instead "buy-in" to consumerism... marketing, social-status, idols. It's about money and business, not about stewardship. We are taught to consume, not to protect.

The land and food environment has become a "Carsinogenic" stew, as Derrick Jensen describes in his book "Endgame." We are filling the Earth with chemicals, we are exploiting our bodies by filling them with chemicals.... and our bodies and the environment are responding in repulsive ways. We have failed to be good stewards.

We must acknowledge the environment when we consider our food choices-- something that is not apparent to us when we make purchases at the grocery store. "Natural" doesn't always mean "good for the Earth."... "humanly raised" does not mean "good for the animals".... these are labels, "green-washing", marketing claims to increase consumerism, to increase the profit of the rich, but not necessarily the profit of our global ecosystem. Participating in these systems (knowingly or unknowingly) is not being a good steward to the Earth, as well as to human and non-human life.

The 14th premises Jensen makes in "Endgame" is this:

"From birth on—and probably from conception, but I’m not sure how I’d make the case—we are individually and collectively enculturated to hate life, hate the natural world, hate the wild, hate wild animals, hate women, hate children, hate our bodies, hate and fear our emotions, hate ourselves. If we did not hate the world, we could not allow it to be destroyed before our eyes. If we did not hate ourselves, we could not allow our homes—and our bodies—to be poisoned."

We no longer have a healthy relationship with our food. We give thanks for the flesh and the plants that we eat, assuming that the blessings will provide us with good health and nourishment, but we do not act. Stewardship is a verb. It is an action. We have been called, as people of faith, to take action to protect these resources, to protect both human and non-human life, and to protect the bodies we have been given.

I am calling on faith communities, no matter your religious beliefs, to respond to our environmental crisis. To take action towards being and preaching the word of STEWARDSHIP. To live out stewardship in everyday life.

Things to consider:

- It's estimated that 64% of fisheries have been "overexploited", especially in communities where many poor people rely on the fish for their own nourishment.

- 70% of the Amazon has been destroyed for factory farming and animal feed

- In Comfortably Unaware, Dr. Oppenlander references an FAO report that states 30% of all landmass is used for livestock production and 33% of agricultural land is used for GMO crops for animal feed. Additionally, we are raising more food for animals (for human consumption) than we are for humans.... and we are producing animals for human consumption at rates that are higher than considered natural. How is this healthy for our bodies and our planet? How is this stewardship?

- Deforestation for industry (monocrops, factory farms, textiles) depletes the soil of vital nutrients, impacts the quality of our air, destroys the ecosystem of the creatures that rely on the trees for survival.

- Processing foods requires energy, increases pollution (e.g. byproduct wastes like the acid whey from Greek Yogurt), and stimulate material wastes (e.g. packaging).

-CO2 and methane production from livestock is increasing climate change

-Climate change increases the core temperature of the Earth, which impacts weather systems (e.g. dramatic fluctuations of droughts and floods) that in-turn impacts the global food supply.... which will further impact the livelihood of human and non-human existence.

-Climate change is expected, and already is, impacting the lives of the world's most vulnerable people. Where resources are already scarce and poverty AND malnutrition are prevalent, climate change has its' greatest impacts. In addition to increasing vulnerability to food security, bacterial related diseases will continue to rise... further increasing the rise of malnutrition and (preventable) deaths.

-"Americans die each month from toxins and other workplace hazards,and more Americans die each week from preventable cancers that are for the most part direct results of the activities of large corporations, and certainly the results of the industrial economy." - Jensen

- How are we protecting non-human life when we place animals in cages and exploit them for human consumption? How is this system by any means natural? In Christianity, humans are called to have "dominion" (meaning control or governance) over non-human life but how is our "governance" lacking "stewardship" and responsibility, compassion, and care?

In good health,

Kristina

kAD
kAD
 

Find me on Twitter: @kristinademuth_RD  or Facebook: Moxie Musing.

Learn more about my work in Haiti at For I was Hungry

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The 6 P's of Health and Wellness

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The 6 P's of Health and Wellness

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I lie awake at night because our nations health is serious trouble. My fellow citizens are getting diagnosed with diseases at an alarming rate. People thinking they are doomed to living with chronic illness when they don’t have to be! My heart is heavy everytime I see people living in pain. This is not OK with me and my goal (job) is to help people live well. To empower you to be educated with what you put in and on your body. You literally hold the keys to health and wellness or disease! Lastly I’d love to always encourage you. I realize that getting better might feel like a daunting task, but let me encourage you - it is SO VERY WORTH IT! Also, be sure to visit Udi's Gluten Free for more gluten free living inspiration and connect with the gluten free community.

1) Prevention. The cure is already found: it’s prevention. This means getting back to the basics and following the points in the rest of this article. Eating foods that are as close to the source (soil, earth) as possible. You’ll often hear me use the term “real food.” What does this mean?

Nothing:

- Processed

- Man-made

- Lab-made

- You wouldn’t cook or bake with

- Factory

- Can, wrapper, plastic container, frozen

Real food is whole, organic foods in their natural state. Rice cakes might be “natural” but they are still a processed product. Brown rice is a whole food, white rice is not a whole food.

When you begin to eat real, whole, organic foods from their natural source the body will begin to heal and repair itself! Isn’t this fabulous? Begin to heal your body by eating real foods that keep you well!

2.) Probiotics. Due to the toxic foods most of the country is consuming, our guts are suffering big time (no pun intended). Eighty percent of our immune system is in our gut and if you are chronically getting sick, your gut may be the problem. This goes back to key number 1, but anytime you consume processed, acid, toxic-filled products, your overall health will be harmed. And if you have Celiac, trouble with gluten, healing your gut is one of the best things you can do for your health! The best sources of probiotics are from raw, living fermented foods: raw sauerkraut (refrigerated, not shelf stable), kombucha, spirulina, chorella and blue-green algae and Bragg ACV. (See this for how to take it daily.) My favorite is GT Super Green Kombucha. Prebiotics are also needed for a healthy gut. Bananas, garlic, chicory root, dandelion greens (all in raw, organic form) are fantastic sources. Prevent chronic sickness & illness by taking care of your gut! No germy gut. :) (Note: I do not recommend dairy yogurt as a probiotic source.) Digestive enzymes and probiotic supplement may also be needed. I recommend Garden of Life and MegaFoods.

P.S. if you do take antibiotics, make sure you take probiotics as antibiotics kill the good germs too.

3.) Pure Water. This one is really simple. Drink lots of pure H2O daily. Pure water = means nothing is added to the water. It’s straight up, filtered tap water (see key number 6). No MiO, Crystal Light, Gatorade, etc liquids or powders. Because people have been drinking and consuming junk products, their taste buds have changed so when people say “I don’t like the taste of water” what they really mean is that they are used to artificial products. You will have to retrain your taste buds. Stop drinking soft drinks 100 percent right now. Begin each morning by drinking 20 oz. of pure water before you guzzle your coffee. Carry a reusable glass water bottle with you at all times during the day.

4.) Physical activity. Besides eating real, whole, organic foods I’m also an endurance athlete. This means I run and cycle long distances for hours (sometimes 24 hours straight). I love to move my body! I love to sweat! I love being fit. But in the world we live in today the majority of us go from the house to car garage to their car to the office garage to sit at a cubicle. People don’t even get to breathe fresh air! Sitting is killing us. Get up and move every hour on the hour. Purchase a pedometer and get in at least 10,000 steps every day. Have walking meetings. Start your day by breathing fresh air!

5.) Positivity. Health is holistic. Wellness is mind, body and soul. It’s what we eat, what we drink, and also what we think. If you are always thinking negative thoughts or have a negative attitude that will reflect in your health. It’s all connected together! If you are constantly thinking unhealthy thoughts, it will be hard to have peace and happiness. Just like you would detox your body, you also have to detox your mind. Fill your body with good foods and good thoughts.

6.) Plastic. This one might surprise you, but think of how much plastic is around you right now. Plastic water bottle? Plastic seal around a bottle of pills? Plastic storage containers? Plastic bags. We are surrounded by plastic! Plastic is not only a hazard for the environment and animals. In fact, 70 percent of plastic ends up in the sea, hurting precious water life. Last year, enough plastic water bottles were used to stretch around the earth 190 times! Plastics in general are not safe. Plastics can interfere with the endocrine system which is a very important part of our body! Each cell and organ is connected by endocrine system. Furthermore, it helps to regulate our mood and metabolism. While BPA might not be present in our plastic water bottles, it is still a concern in others plastics. Begin to track how much plastic you come in contact with (you’ll probably be surprised!) and make the switch to glass.

Bottom line: wellness is mind+body+spirit. Everything is connected together. And when one thing is off kilter, everything is off.

Cover photo credit: Erica

Learn more about living gluten free! Visit http://udisglutenfree.com/community

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi's Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.