Health & Wellness

Wellness Trends

Have you jumped on the “adaptogen” train yet? I’ve been seeing this word a lot more these days in the health and nutrition world, along with other things such as medicinal mushrooms, collagen powder, bone broth, and ashwagandha. So many things to learn! What is all this? What are we “adapting” to? I have been really curious about all of these new to me things, but was surprised to learn that adaptogens themselves aren’t anything new. They have been a part of Eastern medicine and go back for centuries. I’m not sure what has brought them to light now, but I would say that the increasing popularity of health and wellness in general has a lot to do with it. I’m all for this.

Adaptogens are any natural substance taken that help the body “adapt” to various things, such as stressful environments in order to help keep our bodies flowing and balanced. In other words, adaptogens help us to maintain homeostasis. Adaptogens can be in the form of a spice, herb, powder, or liquid and there are many different types that I’ve heard about recently. They are usually taken mixed with something else or as an addition to a recipe/smoothie in order to get that additional health benefit. Although I don’t know too much in depth about adaptogens yet, I think if we can add something simple to our diets that may help us in some way (much like when you take your daily vitamins), it might be something worth exploring. Some adaptogens I have heard of are:

  • Medicinal mushrooms
  • Asian Ginseng
  • Ashwagandha
  • Holy Basil
  • Maca

There are many more adaptogens than this, but that is just a few of them. As for me, I decided to give medicinal mushrooms a try. Medicinal mushrooms have been known to posses many healing powers. They boost energy, calm anxiety, and enhance the immune system. A few examples of medicinal mushrooms are:

  • Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
  • Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)
  • Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)

I’m giving reishi mushroom powder a try! I have no idea what this will be like or if it will add or enhance anything in my personal health, but I’m excited to give it a go. This is the medicinal mushroom that I purchased: reishi mushroom powder

This product is described as a “Natural adaptogen to help balance mental and physical stress. Nourish your heart and soothe an overactive immune system.” With that being said, I’m going to spend a bit of time experimenting with this and seeing how I feel after two weeks or so. I’m going to write down how I’m using it each day I incorporate it into my diet, how it tastes, my thoughts, how I feel, etc. Keep an eye out for my thoughts on this medicinal mushroom powder and I can’t wait to report back! Also, Happy September 1st! The weather is perfectly fall-like here in NYC. Sunny, warm, and with just enough hint of cool breeze to make you question the short sleeve shirt you put on. Have a good Labor Day Weekend! =]

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Nutrition/Health News

Updates on nutrition facts label

There will be changes coming to the nutrition facts label on packaged food in 2018. Did you know this? Mentioned below are a few of these changes that will be taking effect soon. Maybe you pay attention to these labels every now and then, or maybe you don’t, but you should! I think in recent years, we are starting to pay more attention at what we put in our bodies. It’s worth mentioning a few of the changes being made. Here are some of them:

-Potassium and vitamin D will now be required to be on food labels, while vitamins A and C will no longer be required. Nationwide food consumption surveys show that Americans still lack in potassium and vitamin D, which is important for bone and heart health. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Americans generally do not have difficulty getting the recommended amounts of vitamins A and C.

-Added sugars will now be required to be listed underneath the total sugars, differentiating between what is naturally occurring sugar and what isn’t. I personally find this to be a very helpful change to see take effect. I think a lot of the sugar we consume on a daily basis comes more from added sugars. Sometimes we do not even realize how much extra we are consuming so I think this will be very eye opening.

-Another change to take note of  is that the “serving size” of items will change to better fit what a person typically consumes in one sitting.  For example, a beverage may change from being listed as two servings in the bottle/container to just one serving. This helps a person see the whole picture, rather than having to count how many servings he or she consumed. However, I find this to be a little tricky because one serving size may not be what is recommended, depending on what it is. I think it will definitely make it easier to understand the amount, but consumers will still need to understand their own specific needs.

So there you have it. It looks like manufacturers have until July 26th, 2018 before they are required to use the new label. Another year to go, but still very important information to learn about. I will be very interested in seeing if these new changes help me in any way when grocery shopping. For more information on this topic, visit eatright.org

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Health & Wellness

How I give myself more energy

Good morning and happy Friday! It’s been a while since I’ve been on here. I started strong here on my little blog. Of course once the holidays rolled around, life got crazier, school got to be more intense, and work was busier, so my writing took a little backseat. It’s been a long winter! Speaking of winter, as I sit here typing, it is snowing right outside my window! It’s a very slow moving morning here. Coffee by my side and thinking about the weekend ahead of me. These are the types of mornings I appreciate though. Still moments where it’s just me and myself to think about my day ahead.

Lately, I have been trying to find that balance (aren’t we all?) to get me through these busy days and figure out what works best to accomplish my goals. It’s no easy task and is constantly running through my brain! However, I try my best to keep my energy levels sustained as best as I can. These winter blues I have had lately aren’t helping, but there are a few things I do to stay positive and keep me energized:

1) Drink water first thing in the morning. Even if I feel a slight headache coming on when I wake up (it happens sometimes), drinking 8-10 ounces of water first thing in the morning instantly diminishes it. I feel like I have a lot more energy and that I’m giving my body “love” first thing when I wake up. I feel good, and I continue to drink tons of water throughout the rest of the day too. Drink a whole glass when you wake up before your morning coffee or tea and I think you will feel good too.

2) Plan some time to work out. As opposed to doing it when you have the time. I try to reverse that approach and treat it as a concrete plan. Even if I just do some workout videos at home (so many good YouTube workouts!), I like to write it in my planner so I am more likely to do it. It’s no surprise that working out will always give you more energy and after I exercise, I feel that much more motivated to tackle other things.

3) Wake up early. I love to wake up really early, make my coffee (after I’ve had water of course!), and have that time to myself to reflect on the day ahead. I have always been an early bird. It’s what I prefer and I get more accomplished when I can be up early and start my day. This has been hard on me lately because I work mostly nights. However, I plan on changing this soon, as I have realized that coming home late from work and then not being able to wake up as early as I would like has affected my energy levels the next day. Waking up early is not for everyone of course, but it’s certainly something I love to do!

4)Try to avoid electronics before bed. Key word=try! I am working on this one, but it is truly amazing to go to bed without that phone in my hand until I go to bed. When I truly follow this, my alarm is already set and I usually put something over it to cover the screen an hour before I go to sleep, and then I’ll read or write. I seriously wake up so refreshed and energized that sometimes I wonder why I don’t follow this every night. I swear it makes such a difference for me! I actually think the morning headaches I get come from me browsing social media apps on my phone before I go to sleep. Waking up this way gives me so much energy that allows me to follow all the other things on this list that much easier!

With spring approaching very soon, I am looking forward to lots of exciting changes in many different ways. I also decided to not take any summer classes, as a way of allowing myself to enjoy summer in the city and work on other things. So after my current semester, I will register for Fall 2017 and that will be that! I hope everyone is excited and energized for a great weekend. Thanks for reading!=)