Free Health Goodies!

For today only – if you purchase  Sally Shield’s new book “Is She Naturally Thin, or Disciplined? Insider Secrets of the Sexy and Slim!” on www.amazon.com, you are eligible for a bunch of free health-related stuff.

It’s only for today, so check it out quickly!

Buy through this link to be eligible for free stuff:  http://www.sallyshields.com/thinbooklaunch/

To your health,

Kimberly

New Cigarette Labels in the US!

I had heard this was coming, but I finally saw the new cigarette labels online today.

Check them out here:  http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/06/21/137316580/be-warned-fda-unveils-graphic-cigarette-labels?ps=sh_sthdl

Pretty graphic, huh?!?!  I like them!  They are debuting in 2012.

To your health,

Kimberly

Win tickets to the Real Food Festival in London

Hi everyone,

I’m on the email list for the Vitality Show that happens in London every year, therefore I get great offers like the one I’m sharing with you today.  If I were still in the UK, I would try for the tickets!!

Here is the link for the competition – Good Luck!

http://www.vitalitylive.co.uk/competitions/competition/win_one_of_three_pairs_of_vip_tickets_to_the_real_food_festival_worth_100

It includes 2 tickets to the show, access to the VIP tent, which includes a free cocktail for each guest, and more!!  The prize is worth £100, so get moving.  The Festival is May 5-8 at Earl’s Court in London.

Enjoy!

To your health,

Kimberly

The Blue Zones – #2

If you didn’t see my first post about this topic, here is a tiny bit of background:

A book called The Blue Zones was written by Dan Buettner.  He visited four places that had a high percentage of centenarians and the book outlines some of the reasons for this higher than average longevity.

Here is a synopsis of location #2 – Okinawa, Japan:

Reasons for the long lives of Okinawans, as written in “The Blue Zones”:

1. Have a “Reason to get up” in the morning.  In Japanese, the word for this is ikigai.  The Okinawans seem to have a strong sense of purpose, responsibility, and feel they are needed, no matter what age they are.

2. Eat a primarily plant-based diet.  The centenarians in Okinawa have eaten plant-based food for most of their lives.  This consists of lots of stir-fried vegetables, sweet potatoes, tofu, and a type of melon called Goya.  Pork is eaten occasionally but only for ceremonial reasons and always in small portions.  (This sounds like Sardinia, yes?)

3. Tend your Garden. Most of the Okinawans either still gardened in their 90′s and 100′s or at least had a garden for a long time in their younger years.  This is a superb way to get daily exercise and get fresh food to cook!

4. Eat Soy.  There is a lot of tofu and miso soup in the Okinawan diet.  Tofu has flavonoids, which are great for the body.  Miso, which is fermented soy, helps keep the intestines healthy and has essential enzymes.  It’s important not to boil miso though, when using it in recipes.  This kills the enzymes.  With soy, it’s also important to have the most pure sources of it that you can.  Various soy products are added to lots of foods these days, but it’s not the same as having, say, tofu, and can actually be dangerous.

5. Maintain a Moai. This word infers a kind of social group.  It’s something common in Okinawa and essentially a group of people decide informally to form a moai.  These people then can count on each other in times of stress, sadness, emotional difficulties, or even during financial hardship.

6. Enjoy the Sunshine. When the body is exposed to sunlight on a regular basis, the body produces Vitamin D, which is an essential vitamin and one that is harder to get strictly through diet.  This promotes stronger bones and generally healthier bodies.  This is not giving you free reign to sun bathe all hours of the day, by the way, but a little bit of sunshine each day does a great thing for your body!

7. Stay active. Okinawans walk a lot, garden, and actually have very little furniture in the house.  They often sit on mats on the floor to eat or read.  This keeps lower body strength good (getting up and down off the floor) and maintains good balance.  Many elderly people end up being incapacitated by falls, so both strength and balance are important to practice each and every day.

8. Plant a Medicinal Garden.  Okinawans consume a few things on a daily basis that are known for their medicinal qualities.  These are ginger, turmeric, and mugwort.

9. Have the right Attitude. Many of the people Dan Buettner spoke to in Okinawa had significant hardships while growing up and even into their middle aged years.  The great thing is that they seem to leave the feelings about these hardships in the past (but not forget them) and enjoy the great pleasures life has to offer them now. They have personalities that make people want to be around them and they make sure to keep younger people around them, no matter how old they get.

There is one other thing I took from reading the book that wasn’t listed as one of the main factors for longevity – it is a phrase that goes like this “Hara Hachi Bu”. This is something said before each meal and it means “Eat until you are 80% full.”  That is probably something we could all do.

The third blue zone is Loma Linda, California.  I’ll post about this soon.

To your health,

Kimberly

 

A Story to Make you Smile

I just came across this truly heart warming story, so wanted to share it with you.  If you’re not a huge animal lover, you may not think it’s as cool as I do, but have a look anyway.  It’s about Cassie (the kitten) and Moses (the crow) and how they met each other.

No, this isn’t a traditional “health” post, but I think anything that makes you smile or feel good inside is good for your whole being.  Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fAGzY9rnaA&feature=youtu.be

To your health,

Kimberly

The Keys to Living Longer

I am currently reading a fascinating book, “The Blue Zones” by Dan Buettner.  The book is about 4 specific places in the world where there is a higher concentration of centenarians (people who live to at least 100) than in other places.  The author travelled to these places to interview some of the locals who were in their 90′s and 100′s, most of whom were still self-sufficient.

The four places travelled to were (1) Sardinia, Italy, (2) Okinawa, Japan, (3) Loma Linda, California, and (4) Costa Rica.

I’d like to highlight what the author’s perception is about why each of these places supports a longer than average, healthy life.  Today, I’ll give you the Sardinian lifestyle summary:

From “The Blue Zones“, by Dan Buettner:

  • Eat a lean, plant-based diet accented with meat.  The main staples of the Sardinian diet are whole-grain bread, beans, garden vegetables, and fruits.   Also traditional is pecorino cheese made from grass-fed sheep.  This cheese is high in omega-3 fatty acids.  Meat is a Sunday/holiday treat only.
  • Put family first.  Sardinia has strong family values.  This helps with lower rates of depression, suicide, and stress.
  • Drink Goat’s milk.  Goat’s milk may protect against inflammatory diseases such as heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
  • Celebrate elders.  Grandparents play a huge role in the lives of their grandchildren.  This may mean kids grow up to be healthier and better adjusted.
  • Take a walk.  Sardinian men traditionally are shepherds.  In order to carry out their work, they walk at least 5 miles a day.  This is great cardiovascular activity and keeps bones, joints, and muscles working, but it isn’t really strenuous.
  • Drink a glass or two of red wine daily.  All of the centenarians Dan Buettner spoke to in Sardinia drank red wine moderately.  Cannonau wine, which is traditional in Sardinia has 2-3 times the level of flavonoids as other wines.  This part of their lifestyle may also help with stress.
  • Laugh with friends.  The men in Sardinia would often end their work day by gathering with other men and laughing at and with each other.   This can be great for stress and just for general well-being.

Based on the above, it shouldn’t be that hard to take up some of these practices.  There is nothing written above that is very complicated, expensive, or hard to achieve no matter what climate you live in.  In fact, some of them are simply social practices!

I’ll give you the tips from the other three places over the coming weeks.   Stay tuned!

To your health,

Kimberly

 

Sickness is not an Accident

The title of this post was something I read in my macrobiotics course, as written by Michio Kushi, one of the most well-known people in modern day macrobiotics.

The sentence, ‘Sickness is not an accident’, really struck me.  Why?

Well, I think because after reading the explanation around this statement, it made so much sense!

The material that I was reading, by Kushi, was explaining the theory around Ki (or Qi or Chi), the meridians of the body, and how it is all related and connected.  (By the way, this is all kind of new to me and I’m pretty much an analytical thinker, not a spiritualist by nature, so if you’re like me, don’t run away yet!)

Anyway, Kushi went on to discuss how the opposing forces in the world (Earth’s force, being the force coming from within earth out towards infinity (yin), and Heaven’s force, being the force coming from infinity into the center of the earth (yang)) help form all of our organs and determine how the body is supposed to operate.  When we overload our bodies with the wrong kinds of food, drinks, stimulants, medicine, and even external influences, the body gets out of balance.  This is when illnesses start to inhabit our bodies.  It may just be some tiredness, or a little cold, but even those things are signs that something is off in your body.

I’m sure I’m not explaining this as succinctly as Kushi did, but this just made so much sense to me.  Sickness is not an accident.  Western medicine can lead us to believe that sickness is ‘random’ or ‘unpreventable’ but Eastern medicine definitely doesn’t support that.

Learning about this is actually really comforting.  It makes me feel confident that my health, my longevity, my future is something that I have control over.  Now, I know s**t happens, as they say – accidents happen and genes do play a part in the constitution of each of us.  But, by understanding what strengths and weaknesses we were born with, and understanding how we can support our bodies in the best way possible, we are all capable of achieving health.  I love that!

To your health,

Kimberly

Nina Bagnall – Women’s Health

I have become friends with a fellow health blogger, Nina Bagnall, of http://www.ninabagnallsthoughts.com.  She has a site specific to Women’s Health.  There is some great information on there relating to all sorts of topics: general health, menopause, vegetarianism, home remedies, super-foods, etc.

She has written quite a few articles and ebooks about the different subjects, some free and some with a small cost, so check out her site and see if there is anything that peaks your interest.

http://www.ninabagnallsthoughts.com/

I really like Nina’s outlook on “Optimal Health” which is based on nutrition, exercise, and having a clear mind.

To your health,

Kimberly

40% off Susan Nichole Vegan handbags!

Susan Nichole, who makes GORGEOUS handbags has an amazing offer on right now. Not only are they pretty bags, but they are all VEGAN, which makes me love them even more.

The first time I ordered one, I was worried about the durability of it, but it has lasted very well, and I’ve had several compliments on it.   Nobody ever believes me when I say that it isn’t made of leather!  I actually have two of her bags, one of them being the Tara in Cream, and I love them both.

Susan Nichole is giving 40% off your entire order, but only until this Friday, January 14th.   If you’ve never heard of this brand, this is a great time to try it out.

To shop, go to http://susannichole.com/ and use the coupon code FORTY when you check out.

To your health,

Kimberly

Top 7 Tips for Avoiding Illness this Winter

Health magazine’s November issue listed their Top 7 Tips for avoiding getting colds or flu this season.

Here they are:

1. Get the flu shot – this is the first year that the US is recommending that everyone 6 months or older gets a flu shot.  It used to be that only those who had higher risks associated with contracting flu were encouraged to get the shot.  For me, I’m not sure about this one.  I’ve never had a flu shot and I don’t usually get anything more than a short-lived cold during winter.  I know there are evolving strands of flu each year, so this whole flu thing is getting more complicated and more serious, but I’m still not convinced.  For those who know they always get bad flu or for those who would be in bad shape if they got flu, the shot is still a good idea.

2. Eat Well – Food fuels the body.  It either strengthens your immune system and your body’s ability to function or it weakens it.  You need to be strengthening your body each and every day!  In fact, this ‘tip’ about eating well should be number 1 on any list you put together for helping your body to fight illnesses, digestive issues, fatigue, stress, etc.  You need a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, good quality proteins (fish, lean meat, beans), and omega-3 fatty acids (flaxseed, fatty fish.)

3. Exercise – Depending on where you live, winter can be a time where you just want to hibernate and do nothing physical until the sun comes out again.  This is not the right approach!  No matter how hard it is, you need to maintain a good exercise regime during the winter.  This keeps your immune cells stimulated, particularly the ones that target infections.

Health magazine mentions that a University of South Carolina study showed that “people who walked or did other moderate activity for 30 minutes most days averaged one cold per year, whereas less active individuals reported more than four colds per year”.  That is a big enough difference to get you moving, right?  And actually, walking first thing in the morning is a fantastic way to get your metabolism going AND wake yourself up.  Leave the coffee until you’re done with your morning activity and see if you still feel like you need it.  I’m sure some of you think that’s absurd, but just try it :)

4. Stay hydrated -  This means staying hydrated both inside and out.  If your nose tends to get dry, or if you know you’re going to be somewhere super dry, use a saline nasal spray to keep things moist.  The hair lining your nasal passages work better at keeping things out of your system when hydrated.  Also, humidity kills viruses, so if you live somewhere where there is little or no humidity, get a humidifier for your house.  Health magazine suggests keeping the humidity at about 50% and temperatures at 69 degrees F at a minimum.  Also, drink water!  You should be doing this all year round anyway.

5. Get good bacteria – I’m sure everyone has now heard of Probiotics.  This is what we’re talking about in terms of good bacteria.  Probiotics help ensure your digestive system has the right balance of good and bad bacteria, which is essential to giving your body it’s best chance to fight off germs.  There are natural sources of probiotics, like natural live yogurt or fermented foods like sauerkraut, but there are also lots of supplements to choose from.  You want to get something that is as natural as possible, rather than chemically produced.  If you’ve got a good health food store near you, they should have plenty to choose from.

6. Get Sleep – Anytime your body is sleep-deprived, your immune system will not be working at 100% capacity.  I can’t give you the right answer for how much sleep you should get, but you should have a good idea yourself.  Something around 7-8 hours of sleep each night is the average need.  You know when you are sleep-deprived, so try to get enough to avoid that.

7. Wash your hands – This is a fairly obvious tip, but it needs to be here.  Many people are better now about washing hands and using anti-bacterial hand sanitizers.  Beyond this, also make sure to be aware if there are lots of sneezing or coughing people near you, try to move away.  If that isn’t possible, at least try to turn away from them.  Also, try not to touch your face a lot (this is a hard one for me.)

I wish you well this winter – stay healthy and flu-free!  Most of the tips above also support natural weight loss.  So, by following them, you’ll not only be avoiding illness, but also avoiding putting on winter pounds…and actually losing them instead.

To your health,

Kimberly

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