Catch Up on Calcium

Nurturing Your Health

Most of us know that calcium is good for our bones, and it’s especially important for women in helping to prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures later in life. Calcium is also very important to keep our teeth strong. If you don’t want to look like Farmer Fred in your seventies, then make sure you read this entire post! However, you’re probably aware that most women do not get enough calcium in their diet nor enough Vitamin D to help absorb the little calcium they have. I’ve struggled with getting enough calcium into my diet for a while, but I finally feel like I’ve got it under control, so I’ll share a few quick tips with you.

If you’re like me, then you hate swallowing those big “horse pills,” as I call them, that almost all vitamin supplements come in. You’re trying to do the right thing by jamming these rocks down your throat, but the inability to actually consume the supplements keeps you from getting the nutrients you need. I think the vitamin manufacturers finally heard my inner ranting because now everywhere you turn there are gummy vitamins for adults! No longer relegated to the “Flintstone kids” age set, adults who are tired of almost choking to death on massive pills can now safely consume their vitamins. I’ve tried a few different kinds of calcium gummy bites, and so far, my favorite is the Caltrate Gummy Bites. They deliver about 50% of your daily calcium value, and Caltrate Gummy Bites also deliver the critical Vitamin D3 needed for calcium absorption. You can find these delicious fruit flavored vitamins at Target for about $10. However, if you click on the link, Caltrate is currently offering a $1 off coupon for the Calcium Gummy Bites.

Now, you’ve probably seen the commercials on TV for Silk, soy milk, but have you ever actually tried it? If you haven’t, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, because it’s delicious! My mom started on soy milk long before I gave it a second look, and I’ll admit, it did take me a while until I found the exact brand that I liked. I’m now hooked on Harris Teeter Naturals Organic Soy Milk, “original” flavor. Even my husband loves it! It’s great with cereal or just plain for a refreshing drink. The best thing about soy milk is that it has 50% more calcium than regular dairy milk! 50%! Now that’s a big number. What an easy way to get half of your daily calcium.

To take it one step further, I suggest you try Stonyfield’s organic O’Soy yogurt. Soy yogurt does taste a little different from your regular Yoplait yogurt (which, if you’ve never read the label, contains aspartame, the ingredient we all know causes cancer!). However, after you’ve adjusted to the slightly different taste, you’ll enjoy the same smooth, creamy texture and yummy fruit flavors you’re used to. The O’Soy yogurt provides 25 to 35% of your daily calcium value and also 20% of your daily Vitamin D3. Finally, soy milk and soy yogurt are better for your overall health because dairy cows are sadly pumped with hormones (and also subject to cruel treatment, which I’ll discuss in a later article), which means your dairy milk may not be safe to drink. That’s why I stick with non-dairy, organic soy milk and yogurt to keep my body healthy and my bones strong.

Women’s bodies absorb less calcium after their late twenties, so don’t think you can put it off. The more you do today, no matter what age you are, the better off you will be. It’s never too late to catch up on your calcium!

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Get energized for exercise

Nurturing Your Health

Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 DVD


It’s now June, and a lot of those New Year’s resolutions, like join a gym and start an exercise plan, may be falling by the wayside. I understand. It’s hard to stick to a workout program for a lot of reasons – gym memberships are expensive, our schedules are already full, and it’s not always convenient.

I’ve been in the same boat. For a long time, I did no exercise at all and figured my youth would get me by. However, after about 3 years of not exercising, my body started to feel weak and tired. I didn’t feel good, so I finally decided to start exercising. However, I knew I did not want to spend $50 per month on a gym membership. I love taking group exercise classes, but I found a way I can replicate this experience at home for a one time cost of about $12. How? Through workout videos!

You don’t need a $2,000 Bowflex machine, a rack full of weights, or even a gym membership to get in shape. I use two sets of dumbbells (5 and 10 pounds) and my own body. By using just the space in front of my TV in my living room, I have gone from huffing and puffing my way through a kickboxing workout to feeling like it’s one of my easy routines now.

Some people have told me they can’t work out at home because they’re not motivated there, and they’ll find something else to do. However, I have a little trick that I hope will help you. When you get home, DO NOT SIT DOWN. Do not check your email, do not sit on the couch and watch a rerun of Friends, do not pass go. Instead, immediately go upstairs, change into your workout clothes, get your glass of water, and put in the workout DVD. Follow the instructor on the DVD and 30 minutes later you’ll be done with your workout.

I think this works for a couple reasons – (1) you don’t let yourself get distracted and (2) you get it out of the way early in the night while you still have energy.

It works for me, and I’ve been doing this now for about 5 months. My body has changed, and I have muscular arms, a flatter stomach, and a lot more endurance. Not all workout videos are made equal, though, so I’ll share the ones that I’m using that I feel give you a good overall workout.

  1. Jillian Michaels “Ripped in 30”
  • This video has 4 workouts that go from beginner to advanced. They’re only 20 minutes long, but they include a warm up and cool down, so you get a good 30 minute workout. It’s also very nice that there are 4 different routines in one DVD (not a lot of videos have this many).

2.  The Firm “Pump Jump n Jab”

  • This video has one kickboxing workout, but it’s fantastic for building muscle and cardio endurance at the same time. I do this routine once a week

3.   Jillian Michaels “Extreme Shed and Shred”

  • This video has 2 workouts – one beginner and one advanced. Both are great total body workouts.

I hope this makes exercising easier to fit into your life so you can reach your goals and stick with this lifestyle change. Good luck!

Quick and easy organic dinner

NurturIng Your Health 

It’s Sunday night, and exhausted at the end of a busy weekend, the last thing you want to do is whip up a gourmet dinner. But stuffing yourself with chemical-filled, processed Domino’s pizza makes your stomach turn. You search for healthy recipes online, but every meal calls for 20 ingredients that you don’t have in your pantry. Or they take an hour and a half to prepare, and you’re starving now! What to do?

Well, just scroll down for a quick, minimal ingredient, organic recipe, and you’ll have a healthy, budget friendly dinner in no time!

Humlicious Sweet Potato

Total prep time – 7 minutes

Number of ingredients – 3

Serve with an organic green salad. Harris Teeter sells pre-packaged, pre-washed organic lettuce from Earthbound Farm. Pick up a package of baby organic carrots, an organic cucumber, and finally, Annie’s Organic Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Now how easy was that?! I hope you enjoy this dinner, and I’ll keep posting similar recipes so you can eat well when you’re short on time.

Skincare Solutions

Nurturing Your Health

If you’re a woman then I know you’ve encountered skin problems at some point in your life. Some of us suffer from oily skin so shiny that you can see your reflection in our foreheads (gross!) while others of us suffer from acne that just won’t go away. As a teenager, I suffered from both of these issues, and I tried every product sold in Target to clear up my skin. Finally, in college, I tried some of my mother’s Retin-A-Micro cream, and the small, but multiple, bumps that covered my forehead disappeared! However, my clear skin did not come without consequences. When I washed my face, my skin was so raw from the medicine that even a splash of water stung like acid!

Fast forward to today, and at age 28, I still suffer from adult acne – or, I did. The bumps that had plagued me as a teenager reappeared a couple months ago, and so I turned to my trusty friend, Retin-A-Micro to burn them off my face! Pain be damned, I surrendered to my vanity, called my dermatologist, and begged for a prescription of Retin-A-Micro. Luckily, she obliged, and I slathered the cream over my forehead (mind you, they say only use a pea sized amount, but I wanted those bumps gone now!) The burning came as expected, but this time, the bumps didn’t disappear! In fact, they got worse!

So I took a moment and reevaluated my plan of attack. Suddenly my mother’s voice popped into my head, and I heard her saying “non-comedegenic, oil free, sensitive skin.” How simple! I realized I had been irritating my skin with the face wash, lotion, and acne potions I’d been using. My skin was so irritated by now that of course the Retin-A-Micro exacerbated my bumps.

I now knew what I needed to do. I rushed over to Target and headed straight for the natural skincare product aisle. First, I snatched up Burt’s Bees Sensitive Facial Cleanser. It checked all the boxes – hypoallergenic, fragrance free, 99% natural, and non-animal tested. Next, I scoured the shelves for a moisturizing lotion that worked with my naturally oily skin. Found it! Alba Botanica Natural Acnedote Oil Control Lotion – oil free, natural, with 2% salicylic acid. Luckily, I already had a great natural astringent at home – Aubrey Blue Green Algae toner (which I purchased at Whole Foods).

After only 3 days, my skin started to clear! Here’s what I did – I washed my face, followed with the astringent, and then applied a layer of the lotion each night. In the morning, I washed my face and followed with the lotion. I couldn’t believe it! The answer was so simple – use natural, hypoallergenic, oil and fragrance free products.

If you’re struggling with skin issues, I urge you to at least give this system a try. Buy natural, hypoallergenic products, and follow the 3 step system – face wash, toner, and lotion.

Good luck, and I hope you find skin care success!

Allow me to introduce my blog

What is this blog?

You’ll see the tagline reads “nurturing your health, feeding your soul, and simplifying your life.” Basically, I want to share the journey I’ve been on the past couple of years and help bring your life into harmony. I’ll share thoughts and tips on how to keep your body healthy from the inside out, spiritual lessons that have resonated with me and ways to engage with those around you on a deeper level, and ideas on how to keep your life simple. With a healthy body, peaceful soul, and organized life, I hope you’ll find harmony too.

I may post on one, two, or all three topics each day, depending on what moves me. No matter which topic I post on, it will always be relevant and applicable to your life. I want to make this a place where you can come each day and find a tip or idea that will make your life easier and more enjoyable. Sit down and read while drinking your morning coffee or stop by after work and unwind. Thank you for reading!

My journey

Because my blog covers three topics in harmony – health, spirituality, and organization – I’ll tell you about my journey in each field.

Health

First, I haven’t always eaten healthy. I used to eat McDonald’s double cheeseburgers and cheap, processed food. However, I have always loved animals, and one day, it clicked for me that a cow had to die a brutal death in order for me to eat a hamburger. Why this didn’t click with me until my early 20’s, I don’t know. But it finally did, so I became vegetarian (well, my definition of vegetarian which means I still eat seafood). My first step in eating healthy was to cut out all meat – pork, beef, turkey, and chicken.

Even though I’d cut out meat, I was still eating cheap, processed food. My mom had switched to almost all organic food by this time, but I kind of ignored it until one day when I decided to read the nutrition label on one of my packaged foods. Once I read it, I realized that I was putting chemicals, pesticides, and things I couldn’t even pronounce into my body every day. No wonder people get cancer! We’re eating chemicals! Again, I’ll admit I was a slow learner on this front too, but I finally switched to organic food.

Today, I buy almost everything organic. I’ve found that both Target and Harris Teeter are great sources of organic food, and most organic food is not that much more than the non-organic kind. I also embrace a humane diet and eat only vegetables, fruit, and seafood. Here’s a fun fact – I read that a vegetarian diet saves 100 animals’ lives a year. What a difference we can make if we cut out meat! You’ll also find that doctors today are recommending more and more that people cut down on their meat consumption to reduce the risk of heart disease, cholesterol, etc. So even though it may be hard to go cold turkey (pardon the pun), at least consider incorporating more plant-based meals into your diet.

I’ll share great organic recipes and other ideas on how to keep your body healthy inside and out.

Spirituality

I grew up in the Episcopalian church, but stopped attending when I was 12 years old. I always believed in God and Jesus, even when I was young and didn’t really know the stories of the Bible. I have always felt God’s presence in my life, and I knew I didn’t need Sunday School to prove this to me. As I got older, I started paying attention to the religious journey my father was on. He also rejected the “traditional” Christianity found in church and started seeking the truth on his own. He wanted to know the real truth, no matter if it was comfortable or not, so he read authors from all ends of the spectrum – from John Spong (a bishop who questions the church’s fundamental interpretation of the Bible) to Edgar Cayce (a psychic who discovered reincarnation and past lives through readings proven to be 99% accurate and documented at the A.R.E center in VA Beach) to Bart Ehrman (a UNC-Chapel Hill professor who lost his faith in God when he couldn’t answer the question of why suffering exists).

I started reading these authors too and found that a common truth and big picture was developing for me. I saw the same themes occur in different places with different people and these truths resonated with me. I wanted to apply these truths to my life because I have always felt a pressure to make sure I’m spending my time on Earth wisely. (I remember when I got one of my elementary school report cards back that my teacher had written “always uses her time wisely” in the comments, and this is very true). I try to use my time wisely by volunteering, spending time with family, and trying to grow spiritually. I want to share what I’ve learned with you so that you can benefit from all the reading and research I’ve done. I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I hope I can help you on your journey to living your life with spiritual intention and developing a closer relationship with God.

Simplification/Organization

Finally, I have always been a straight-A student and bookworm. However, I didn’t really become type-A until I started working at my first job after college. My job requires extreme attention to detail and superb organization skills, and kind of by accident, I found that I am, in fact, very skilled at organization and simplification. So skilled, in fact, that my bosses have taken note of how our practice has blossomed with the changes I’ve made, and, as a result, they’ve incorporated me as a partner into the business. I’ll share my tips and tricks with you on how to keep your life simple and organized, from showing you where to shop to organizing your finances. My goal is to save you time and money, so you can focus on the important things in life.

Thank you for reading about my journey, and I hope you’ll come back to read my next post!