3 Health Benefits of Dairy Free Foods

This month marks 2 years since my family and I made the choice to live a vegan lifestyle. What started as 3 week experiment has grown into a lifelong choice. My family and I have particularly enjoyed the health benefits of our dairy free food choices.

There are numerous reasons to live a dairy free lifestyle but to fully appreciate the benefits you need to live them for yourself. 

3 health benefits of dairy free foods. Learn how to improve your health by making one simple change in your diet. AlexisMathews.com

10 Health Benefits of Dairy Free Foods

Healthy Digestion

Lactose intolerance causes digestive problems in millions of people. These issues include stomach pain, stomach cramps, flatulence, bowel issues and nausea.  It has been estimated that 70% of the world’s population has some degree of lactose intolerance. After weaning, babies no longer need the ability to digest milk so we gradually lose lactase, the enzyme needed to breakdown and digest lactose. The lactose in dairy products can also trigger irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and chronic constipation.

Stronger Bones

Yes, believe it or not there is a large body of evidence that shows you develop stronger bones when living a dairy free lifestyle. According to a landmark Harvard study* of approximately 78,000 female nurses, “…women consuming greater amounts of calcium from dairy foods had significantly increased risks of hip fractures, while no increase in fracture risk was observed for the same levels of calcium from nondairy sources.” Other studies have shown that populations with the highest dairy consumption also have the highest incidence of osteoporosis.

Clearer Skin

The exact cause isn’t known but it could be linked to the inflammation that dairy causes in the human body. However, for those that struggle with acne most realize a drastic improvement in their skin after removing dairy products from their diet. The hormones found in dairy products may also be a cause of human acne. Even though the exact correlation isn’t clear, dermatologists are recommending living a dairy free lifestyle to keep skin clear and healthy.

Dairy Free, Now What?

So now you are heavily considering removing dairy products from your diet but what about yogurt, ice cream treats, and coffee creamer? Fortunately, there are a whole host of amazing dairy free products on the market for you to enjoy. 

One that our family enjoys is So Delicious, which offers everything from dairy free cultured yogurt, sweet ice cream treats, and beverages like milk and coffee creamer.

PP So Delicious

HMLM Affiliate Disclosure

My children all love the dairy free cultured yogurt and I love that it contains probiotics which promote a healthy gut and digestion. So Delicious is also our go-to for special birthday treats and other special occasions. Their ice cream bars are amazing!

This week So Delicious has a special offer in ValPak for $1 off one 16oz. or larger So Delicious dairy free creamer. So go grab the ValPak from this week’s mail and find that coupon. Head on down to your local grocer and enjoy a dairy free coffee creamer this week with your morning cup of coffee.

If you did not receive a ValPak in your mail this week or live outside of the distribution area for the So Delicious coupon, you are in luck! Download and print this coupon!

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“This post is sponsored by Savings.com.”

*12-year Harvard study of 77,761 female nurses, as published in the American Journal of Public Health (1997, volume 87)

Every Mom is a SuperMom

Have you ever told a close friend that they were a “SuperMom”?

You likely felt like they had it all together while you were falling apart inside. You felt scattered, frustrated, overwhelmed and ready to throw you your arms while the woman next to you seemed to be successfully juggling more than you.

We are all supermoms. God made you the perfect mom for your family. AlexisMathews.com

 

I’ve been there. Done that. 

And God lead me to the following which I’m honored to be guest posting on the 2:1 conference blog.

Read why you are a SuperMom, in fact everyone is a SuperMom here.

7 Ways To Exercise For Free

It’s time to get fit, and these ways to exercise for free will help anyone make it possible. 

Just because your budget doesn’t allow for a fancy gym membership doesn’t mean you can’t exercise regularly and make an impact on your health. 

Friends, there are some great ways you can easily get in exercise, improve your health, build strength and drop a few pounds for no out of pocket cost. 

You can no longer let your budget hold you back in being healthy. Here are 7 Ways To Exercise For Free.

7 Ways To Exercise For Free

Go for a walk or run.  It is the classic exercise that almost everyone can do, and is typically absolutely free.  While you may want to invest in good walking shoes, some quality winter weather gear and maybe a safety reflector for walking in darker hours – it is a free and easy method of getting exercise.  Walk around your neighborhood, in the local mall, around a high school track or football field or even in laps inside your own home.  

Use free videos online for workout tips.  If you already have a streaming program like Amazon Prime, Hulu or Netflix you may be able to find workout videos free to use in your home.  If not, never hesitate to check places like Youtube or Vimeo for classes or videos that have been shared.  

Use household items as weights.  If you can’t afford to buy a few hand weights, you can exercise for free using things like canned goods, milk jugs filled with water or dry beans, and even use things like lifting bags of flour or sugar to incorporate more strength training into your routine. 

Walk instead of drive to local stores and businesses.  Depending on what part of the city or country you live in, you may be able to easily walk to the grocery store, school with your kids or even to work.  Leave your car at home and walk or bicycle as often as you can. 

Swim at your community pool, lake or beach.  While not everyone has access to a community pool, some do.  If you have a community pool or you live close to a lake or the ocean you can easily get some free and fun exercise by swimming.  Playing in the water with your kids is a great way to exercise, but taking laps on a regular basis can build up strength in your arms, legs, back and even abdomen. 

Play sports.  Whether you simply shoot hoops in the driveway with your kids or join a local softball league playing sports or playing with your kids on a regular basis is a great form of exercise.  It can easily be done as a family at home for free, or in a local group for a small fee if you can afford the investment. 

Go for bike rides or hikes.  Not everyone likes being outside, but if you do then take advantage by going for a bike ride or a hike with your family on a regular basis.  Both of these fun outdoor activities are free, easy to accomplish and easy to adapt to your individual physical needs.  

If you are determined to get fit this year but don’t have the budget for a regular gym membership then this list of ways to exercise for free is the perfect place to start.  Work with what you are physically and financially able to do.  The important thing is to simply get moving to improve your health.

What is your favorite way to exercise for free?

New Year’s Resolutions To Improve Your Health

This year you can focus on some great New Year’s resolutions to improve your health that are easy to include in your daily life.  From minor changes to your routine to major improvements that come easily with time, these resolutions can revamp your health in great ways this year. 

New Years resolutions to improve your health and no they don't involve dieting or crazy amounts of exercise. Set realistic health and fitness goals this year.

New Year’s Resolutions To Improve Your Health

Eliminate soft drinks and sugary beverages.  Not only does sugar turn to fat causing weight gain, it can create blood sugar issues, sugar highs and crashes as well as additional cravings.  Eliminating soft drinks will get rid of the added sugar and calories along with tons of chemicals and dyes that are unhealthy.  If you are drinking diet soft drinks, the sugar substitutes in them are even harsher on your system.  Remove the sugar drinks from your diet as part of your New Year’s resolutions and include more water and fruit sweetened beverages like teas.   

Get enough sleep at night. Skipping sleep is one of the worst things you can do for your health.  Not only does your body struggle to fight off infection when it isn’t well rested, it can cause weight gain and increased risk for a disease.  Your body needs sleep not just to focus better during waking hours, but to digest food properly, burn calories and heal itself from within.  The average adult needs 7-10 hours of sleep per night.  Make sure you are regularly getting enough sleep as one of your healthy New Year’s resolutions this year. 

Eliminate processed foods from your diet.  Processed foods come in the form of not just cakes, cookies and chips, but also the meal kits, and processed canned soups we often eat.  Focus on making more food from scratch using organic and non-GMO products when available.  Try to include more grass-fed, antibiotic-free and free-range meats in your diet as well to keep your focus on fewer chemicals and more nutrient dense foods your body needs for fuel. 

Increase your current exercise level.  Even if you have chronic pain, injuries or restrictions, there are always small ways to increase your current exercise level.  Check with your physician prior to a new exercise regimen for safety, but focus on adding in things on a gradual basis so as to not overwhelm yourself.  Go for a walk.  Get up and move around your house.  Do a few leg lifts or crunches each day.  Even little additions of movement in your life can make a big difference in overall health. 

Get rid of negative people in your life.  Just as much as your physical health may need improvement, your emotional and mental health is vital.  Negativity, abuse and frustration from other people often bring down your own state of mind.  Make a list of people who automatically come to mind when you think of the negative people in your life.  Choose to keep those in your life who you feel are valuable and perhaps just struggling at the moment, and eliminate any others that are not a vital part of your life.  Get rid of the negativity from people around you and see your emotional well-being improve.  This may simply mean blocking their social media statuses and keeping them at a distance, or it could mean removing them completely from your life. 

These New Year’s resolutions to improve your health are easy for anyone to manage.  Some take a bit more determination, and others may require some will power but all are great choices.  Making good New Year’s resolution choices is important when it comes time to stick with something long term.  Do things you feel you are capable of continuing, and focus on what will benefit your life the most this year. 

Benefits of Daily Lemon Water

Drinking lemon water daily, especially first thing in the morning has numerous health benefits. A warm glass of lemon water first thing in the morning aids your digestive system and makes the flushing of toxins easier for your internal organs.

Lemon water has zero calories and provides some key essential vitamins and minerals. 

 

The benefits of lemon water a numerous. Drink a glass or more daily to keep the health benefits. Health Matters. Life Matters.

Benefits of Water

At it’s core lemon water is simply water. We all know the health benefits that drinking water provides including hydration, flushing of toxins, and increased energy. If drinking plain water is not particularly palatable to you, adding some lemon might be just the trick to improve the taste so you can enjoy your water intake. Water makes up 60% of your body and is essential for the function of every organ and internal system.

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Safe and Natural Alternatives to NSAIDs

Safe and natural alternatives to anti-inflammatory OTC drugs

It has been nearly a month since I badly injured my elbow. The impact of falling on my arm was such that I was certain I had broken it. Thankfully x-rays showed that there wasn’t a break. However, I am still experiencing pain and discomfort from the bruising. After seeing an orthopedist today I was told that my bone is still badly bruised and I have an injury to the nerve that innervates the elbow joint and runs toward to hand. It will take an additional 2-3 months minimum for these injuries to heal. I was advised to take a popular NSAID twice a day until the bruising and nerve injury heals.

Before deciding to take any drug long term it is very important to consider the long term side effects. Even common over the counter drugs like NSAIDs have dangerous side effects when taken long term. According to this article, long term side effects of NSAIDs main affect the gastrointestinal tract including the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. The article also reports that more than half of all bleeding ulcers are caused by NSAIDs.

Considering the side effects of NSAIDs, I would prefer to take a natural inflammation reducer rather than risk internal injuries and long term damage.

As suggested in this article, I will be adding ginger and turmeric to my daily regiment until my elbow injury heals and my range of motion returns to normal. Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric is responsible for the herb’s anti-inflammatory properties as well as its characteristic yellow color. While ginger contains gingerols, compounds which have potent anti-inflammatory effects. According to ABC Science, ginger inhibits both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes and is less likely than NSAIDs to cause gastrointestinal irritation. 

I feel so fortunate that I can obtain organic turmeric and ginger at affordable prices while my elbow heals. My favorite place for both ginger an turmeric root powder is Thrive Market. If you have never heard of Thrive Market or haven’t read my introductory post, please do so here. Thrive Market is quickly becoming my go-to online grocery shopping store to save time and money without sacrificing integrity in my family’s healthy lifestyle. 

Thrive Market is the first socially conscious online store offering the world’s best-selling natural and organic products at wholesale prices. We carry over 2,500 of the highest quality food, supplements, home, personal care, and beauty products from over 400 of the best brands on the market, all delivered straight to your door at 25-50% off retail prices. Our mission is to make health living easy, affordable, and accessible for every American family.

I love that I can grocery shop from the convenience of my home computer, buy high quality organics products that we love, and save money all at the same time. What’s not to love about that combination?

When you join the Thrive Market community you gain access to over 2500 (and rapidly growing) organic and natural  products. Your membership also helps sponsor a membership for a low income American family so that they have access to healthy, organic, and real foods that our overly obese society so desperately needs. Not sure if you are ready to join? They have a 30 day free trial membership so you can try it out and see if it is a good fit for your family.

Navajo Nation Junk Food Tax to Combat Obesity

The Navajo nation has imposed a junk food tax to combat obesity and diabetes.

The Navajo Indian nation which occupies parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah and covers over 27,000 square miles is taking a huge step to combat obesity on the reservation. Effective April 1st all junk food including chips, soda, sports drinks, and other products with “minimal to no nutritional value” will be assessed a 2% tax.

With the closest grocery store more than 20 miles away the Navajo Nation is considered a food desert. The long distance to any reasonable source of fresh and healthy food means that the 200,000 residents of the indian reservation rely on gas stations or general stores for their food supply. Unfortunately, junk food is by far cheaper than fresh fruit at these local stores. Nearly half of the residents over the age of 25 live below the poverty level and 42% on the reservation are unemployed. Poverty and unemployment require that the residents do everything they can to stretch their food budget including government food subsidies. 

Junk food is more readily available than fresh produce. Even if fresh fruits and vegetables were available and affordable many of the residents do not have adequate means to store fresh food including no electricity. We all know that if you can’t adequately store fresh food there is certainly no reason to purchase the fruits and vegetables that your body needs to thrive.

Is a junk food tax that answer to the nation’s obesity and diabetes problem?

According to the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, which supports a national sugar-sweetened Beverage (SSB) Tax, studies show a decrease in consumption with an imposed tax . In order for this tax to truly be effective though there must be education about healthier eating choices and increase the availability to fresh fruit and vegetables as well as minimally processed foods.

Taxing an impoverished population while limiting their access to unprocessed foods will not be successful. Additional steps must be taken to educate and evaluate the access that residents have to fresh and minimally processed foods. Food choices alone will not turn around a nation riddled with obesity and diabetes. Hopefully, there are also plan in place to teach the Navajo people about exercise and healthy drink choices. 

Only time will tell if this tax, which is set to expire in 2020 will have a positive effect on the overall health and well being of the Navajo people.

What are your thoughts on a junk food tax? Come join the Health Matters. Life Matters community on Facebook to continue this discussion.

Mountain Rose Herbs April Specials

 Essential oils, herbs, teas, and much more all on sale this month at Mountain Rose Herbs. My favorite place to but organic oils, herbs, teas, and body care items. Healthy living option from Health Matters. Life Matters. AlexisMathews.com

HMLM Affiliate Disclosure

Each month Mountain Rose Herbs deeply discounts select items from its inventory including oils, teas, herbs, and many other items. The following is just a small sample of things included in their specials this month.

 

Galbanum Essential Oil properties include analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, balsamic, carminative, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, hypotensive, restorative, tonic. This oil blends well with benzoin, fir, geranium, ginger, lavender, oakmoss, opopanax, pine. 1/2oz is only $15.38, a 25% discount

Turmeric Essential Oil properties include analgesic, antiarthritic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antioxidant, cholagogue, digestive, diuretic, insecticidal, stimulant. This oil blends well with cistus, clary sage, ginger, ylang ylang. 1oz is only $4.80 this month, a 20% discount

Kukui Nut Oil has long been used by Hawaiian natives for its soothing properties and utilized to help sooth chapped and sunburnt skin. It is a fabulous ingredient in cosmetics, or utilized as a stand-alone application. Kukui nut oil contains high levels of the essential fatty acids linoleic and alpha-linolenic. This oil is readily absorbed into the skin, providing tissues the essential elements that it needs. Kukui nut oil is an excellent oil to add to your body care products, especially your creams, lotions, and massage oils. Kukui nut oil should not be exposed to high temperatures. You can also use it for an oil treatment on dry hair and scalp, or add a few drops to your bath water for a luxurious treat. 16oz is on sale for $10.40, 20% discount

Arrowroot Powder is a common non-GMO substitute for cornstarch. Arrowroot powder may be used as a thickening and stabilizing agent in food preparations, as a base for some of your body care formulations, and it is the main foundation for most body powders. 1lb is only $8.50 this month!

Bee Pollen When bees collect nectar for honey, they coat their legs with pollen. The pollen is collected when they pass through a screen while returning to the hive. The screen gently scrapes the pollen off their legs where it drops into a tray for collection. Bee pollen is purported for its healing and energy giving properties. Bee pollen is an excellent source of nutrition. Bee pollen is richer in protein than any flesh-based food. Gram for gram, bee pollen supplements contain more amino acids than fish, beef, or eggs. If you intend to store bee pollen for more than a few weeks after purchase, refrigeration is recommended. 1lb is only $26.35 this month, a 15% discount

 Medical Disclaimer

3 Reasons to Use Mountain Rose Herbs

3 Reasons Why I Use Mountain Rose Herbs. Purveyors of organic essential oils, herbs, teas, and body care products.  AlexisMathews.com

When I first began my journey of learning about essential oils I was overwhelmed with the number of oil companies and which was the best for my family’s health. In the beginning I tried one of the large multi-level-marketing companies. If you’ve done any research into oils surely you know which company I am referring to. The company’s ethics, business practices, and claim that oils should be regularly taken internally were all huge red flags for me and I sought out a new company that produced high quality oils as well as upstanding business practices.

After considerable research I discovered Mountain Rose Herbs. I have been purchasing from MRH for nearly 2 years now and I have never been disappointed with any of their products or customer service. 

These are the top 3 reasons why I love to purchase from Mountain Rose Herbs and will continue to support their business.

1. Organic teas, herbs, essential oils, and body care products.

Buying organic is very important in every aspect of my family’s life. So when I was considering essential oils, herbs, and body care products I knew I wanted a reliable organic source that I could trust. Mountain Rose Herbs was the only high quality essential oil company that I could find that sourced their oils in native soils, was certified organic, and had amazing customer service (which I will talk about below).

The efficacy of their oils is second to none. I have not found an oil that I have been disappointed with nor doubted whether it was effective in treating the condition I was trying to heal.

2. Amazing customer service

I absolutely love companies that realize the impact and importance of amazing customer service. Solving any issue that I have with a product, shipping, etc in a professional and accommodating manner goes a very long way in making me a lifetime customer. 

MRH has always shipped my orders on time, completely, and the fragile bottles have always arrived safe and packed very well.

On the few occasions I have had to contact their customer service department, both through email and phone, I have had the pleasure of “talking” to very sweet and knowledge staff members. Emails have always had links directly to a product I was inquiring about to make it easier for me to find what I was looking for. Phone conversations have been met with a sweet, helpful, and more than accommodating customer service reps to help solve my problem. There are some companies I dread dealing with, Mountain Rose Herbs is definitely not one of those companies. I know my issue will be met with pleasantries and a quick resolution to my problem.

3. Business practice transparency.

Often times when you are purchasing from a company you never truly know where your money is going once you hand it over to the business. Obviously your purchase helps support the company and their employees but every company has non-profits they support for tax and community resource purposes. 

Mountain Rose Herbs clearly discloses on their website which companies they support as well as links to the companies so that you can research the background of those businesses. When you purchase from MRH you know where your money is going and which organizations it is supporting.

So fresh that smiles are guaranteed

3 BIG Reasons to Avoid Casein

3 BIG Reasons to Avoid Casein. Health Matters. Life Matters. AlexisMathews.com

Casein is a protein found in cow’s milk and all dairy products made from cow’s milk. Casein is the primary protein found in milk and dairy products. Research shows that there can be serious health concerns from consuming milk and subsequently casein from bovine sources. As with any change in your diet, please consult with your doctor or naturopath for definitive advice.

The 3 BIG reasons to avoid casein 

Cancer

I first learned about the link between cancer and casein when I read The China Study by T Colin. Campbell. In his book, Campbell explains that through his research he proved that casein promotes every stage of cancer. Furthermore, the rate of cancer growth could be controlled directly by the amount of casein given to lab animals. Campbell’s extensive research indicates that cancer can be avoided by removing dairy from our diets. Fortunately, plant based protein is free of casein and therefore does not contribute to our risk of developing cancer.

Respiratory Issues

Casein is a strong mucous forming substance. It is also used to form a very strong glue. These two properties together create the perfect storm for respiratory issues including asthma and other upper respiratory conditions. 

One the rare accidental instances when I’ve consumed something made with cow’s milk I can immediately notice a difference in my body’s mucous levels. The back of my throat feels congested and my body feels sluggish from the effects on my respiratory system.

Allergies

Allergies can go hand in hand with respiratory issues when the culprit is casein. If the respiratory system is not functioning at it’s best your body will be more susceptible to respiratory allergic reactions including hay fever, asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, colds, runny noses, and ear infections.

If you suffer from any other these allergic reactions it might be worth your time and health to eliminate dairy from your diet to test if this decreases your suffering.

On a side note, some research shows that dairy and subsequently casein leads to ADHD. I’d like to encourage you to do your own research on this connection if you are struggling help a family member with ADD Or ADHD. Personally, I’ve seen a huge improvement with my own children and my husband in their attention spans after eliminating dairy and other animal protein sources. 

 This post linked up at Wellness Wednesday