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.

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

Most Popular Posts of 2014

 

Health Matters. Life Matters. Popular Posts of 2014. AlexisMathews.com

A new year has begun and with it comes a time for reflection and re-evaluation. As I mentioned previously, my word for this year is Faith. I have faith that there will be personal and professional growth in my life this year. A big part of that professional growth involves you. You have helped make this past year an amazing first year for Health Matters. Life Matters.

Because of your support the following 10 blog posts stood out among the rest as my most popular posts in 2014. This reflection gives me great insight into what you need from me in the coming year. It is my goal to provide more content related to the topics you clearly enjoy. Thank you for your support and encouragement over the past year, I truly appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.

 
Cure pink eye naturally with this essential oils recipe. www.alexismathews.com

1. Cure Pink Eye with Essential Oils

Weight Weight Loss Doesn't Start with Exercise. AlexisMathews.comLoss Doesn't Start with Exercise

2. Weight Loss Doesn’t Start with Exercise

Vegan & Gluten Free kid friendly snack ideas for park or beach. AlexisMathews.com

3. Vegan and Gluten Free Snack Ideas for Kids at Park or Beach

11 ways to remove sugar from your diet. Go sugar free! Includes a 21-day sugar free challenge. It is a lifestyle not a diet. Health Matters. Life Matters. AlexisMathews.com

4. 11 Ways to Easily Remove Processed Sugars From Your Diet

Wheat free journey towards a healthier lifestyle. Clear skin, body free of pain, weight loss all from going gluten free.

5. My Experiment with a Drastic Change in Diet

31 Days of Healthy Living Tips. AlexisMathews.com

6. 31 Days of Healthy Living Tips

16 Best Ways to Utilize Nutritional yeast. #8 just might surprise you! www.alexismathews.com

7. 16 Best Ways to Utilize Nutritional Yeast

Raw, vegan, gluten free colorful quinoa salad. AlexisMathews.com

8. Colorful Raw Quinoa Salad

How I cured my mood swings naturally. Alexismathews.com

9. How I Cured My Mood Swings Naturally

3 vegan cheese alternatives. AlexisMathews.com

10. Vegan Cheese Alternatives

2015 Word of the Year: Faith

For 2015, my one word is FAITH. Find out how this one little word will improve my health, family, and personal struggles. AlexisMathews.com

 In a few short months, Health Matters. Life Matters. will celebrate it’s one year anniversary. I started this blog as a story of my family’s personal journey living a vegan and gluten free lifestyle. Over the past 8 months this blog along with the Facebook page has grown into a source of encouragement and education for those seeking to live a healthier plant based life. During this short time I’ve met, talked online, and counseled countless people, just like you and I who are tired of feeling tired. Personally it has been so encouraging to watch a few of these individuals make the changes needed to start living a healthier life free of disease and fatigue.

As I look forward to this year there are goals and aspirations that I have for my little piece of the blogosphere. Accomplishments I’d like to make professionally and personally to better not only this website but also my personal health journey.

When I look ahead to what I want and hope for in 2015 one word sticks out. It is a simple word with so much meaning and implication.

My word for this year is FAITH.

This one simple word will hopefully (and prayerfully) carry over into every aspect of my life this year.

I will need faith to:

  • parent my 7 children
  • finalize an adoption
  • grow my marriage
  • expand my blog and virtual assisting business
  • step outside of my professional comfort zone
  • nurture friendships
  • handle and heal personal struggles
  • grow our homeschool
  • bravely embrace my teenager and his first year of high school at home
  • and lastly, to grow in my relationship with God.

Obviously, this list is not in order of importance. These are simply areas of my life in which I will cling to the word faith and all that this little 5 letter word defines and embraces.

Will you join me in my journey of faith this year? It is my prayer that I continue to encourage and educate each and everyone of you this year to live the healthiest life possible. It is time to step outside of our lifestyle comfort zone and wrap our arms (and minds) around living a clean plant based lifestyle free of GMOs, pesticides, and preservatives. 

Clean Eating Leads to Clean Bill of Health: One Mom’s Story

One Mom's personal story how clean eating made her children healthier including no cavities, reduced ADD and ADHD symptoms, and reduced GMOs in their lifestyle.

It all started with my youngest getting a cavity. I brushed his teeth every day and even flossed for him. It was a nightly ritual that I made sure all three of my children did before going to bed. Leo loved his apple juice, too. I knew it was full of sugar, so I would add ¾ water to ¼ juice. His cavity got so bad we had to silver cap it. Boom. Bad Mommy. I failed my kid. In fact, I failed them all, since every one of them had a new cavity (or two) each annual check-up. What was going on?!?

My middle-child is a very gifted, scholastically advanced, imaginative boy. He is constantly drawing, making monsters out of Play-Doh, or making some Lego space ship to save the galaxy. As brilliant as he is, he wasn’t doing very well in school. How could such a smart boy be struggling, you ask? He couldn’t sit still in class. His teachers year after year would tell me how very smart he is, but just couldn’t follow the rules, keep his hands to himself, and not make disruptive sounds. I spoke to a friend of mine whose son had shown similar behaviors, and she told me that when she changed his diet, his attention span improved, as well as his ability to sit still. I figured, why not try it? 

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Wheat Belly: My Experiment With a Drastic Change in Diet

Wheat free journey towards a healthier lifestyle. Clear skin, body free of pain, weight loss all from going gluten free.

In recent years, as I have aged, I have experienced some weight-gain as well as odd skin, joint, and intestinal issues, and I had heard that gluten sensitivities were sometimes the cause. I was fed up with my painful knees, fatigue, skin rashes, upset stomach, and other various unexplained ailments. So I finally decided to get serious about finding out if a gluten/wheat sensitivity might be true for me. I have several friends who are gluten free, both online and in real life, so I was already somewhat familiar with what the term means. However, just in case you aren’t sure, let me define it for you in my own terms.

Gluten free means eating a diet where gluten is not present. 

Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. There are those in the population who have a true allergic response to gluten, those who have Celiac’s Disease. Others, through the process of elimination and experimentation usually, discover that they have a sensitivity, which will present itself in different ways depending on the person. Read this list of common gluten intolerance symptoms to help you to understand how this condition could present itself in yourself or others around you. And this article published by the Mayo Clinic offers a great list of do’s and don’t for those who are trying to avoid gluten.

I determined that I would remove all gluten from my diet in order to find out if it has been the cause of several ‘symptoms’ from which I have suffered since I was a teen, and others in more recent years. Here are just a few of the problems I had been dealing with:

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