Tag - natural health

Whole Foods Spotlight: Black Eyed Peas

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well” – Virginia Woolf

It is in this spirit that we present re:iimmune’s new blog series “Whole Foods Spotlight” where we will focus in on a specific whole food, its nutritional benefits and provide you with a few links to some tasty recipes that may inspire you to add more of that particular food into your diet. After all, good health begins with good nutrition! This week we focus on the protein/potassium powerhouse.  . . black eyed peas!

If you are from the southern United States, chances are you’ll have your black eyed peas on New Year’s for good luck. If you don’t know about this tradition, check out this article on americanfood.about.com . Today we want to share some of the amazing health benefits packed in this powerful little pea, which is actually a bean.

Black eyed peas are used in cuisines throughout the world. In the southern region of the United States, “Hoppin’ John” is perhaps the traditional dish folks would have on New Year’s to ensure their luck. In Portugal, black eyed peas accompany cod and potatoes. Egyptians call them “lobia” and use them in very popular rice dish cooked with garlic, onions, tomato juice and meat.  Meanwhile, in Vietnam they are used in a sweet sticky rice and coconut milk dessert called chè đậu trắng and in India they are used in many ways, including a curry made with black eyed peas and potatoes. A popular traditional street food of Brazil is called akara, which originates from Nigeria. The black eyed peas are peeled, mashed and then the paste is used to form balls which are then deep fried. They are usually served split in half and stuffed with Vatapá (a dish made of bread, shrimp, coconut milk, finely ground peanuts and palm oil mashed into a creamy paste) and a condiment called caruru which is made from okra, onion, shrimp, palm oil and peanuts or cashews. Akara is topped with diced green and red tomatoes, fried sun-dried shrimp and homemade hot sauce. There are so many delicious ways to use this simple little bean!

Not only are black eyed peas delicious, they are highly nutritious. They are packed with potassium and protein. Potassium helps to regulate blood pressure which lowers your risk of heart disease and it supports muscle and bone health too. Getting cramps in your legs or feet? Foods rich in potassium are the first things to reach for. As for protein, they are a smart alternative for those who don’t eat meat. Protein supports the health of most of the parts of your body including muscles, skin, hair and nails and it also helps your cells repair and grow while providing you with energy.  Dried black-eyed peas contain 6.7 g of protein per ½ cup and the same size serving of canned black eyed peas contain 5.7 g.  Be sure to rinse canned beans of any kind to reduce sodium and to help prevent problems with flatulence. They are a great high fiber, low calorie food to rely on if you are trying to achieve or maintain a healthy weight.

We already provided a couple of links to some seriously great black eyed pea recipes above but here are a few more very simple ways to incorporate more of this whole food into your diet. . .

Black Eyed Peas and Dill Potato Skillet

Hot Black Eyed Pea Dip

Black Eyed Pea Salad

Dealing with Dry Skin

Has the weather got you feeling itchy? Dry skin is a major problem for people throughout the cooler months and for some, all year round. Never fear, we’ve got some tips for you to help you stay smooth and soft.

Our skin is our largest organ, measuring around 20 square feet! As with all the organs in your body, the most important thing you can do for your skin is to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. re:iimmune can help in that department! Sometimes to get hydration to optimum levels your body might need a bit of assistance. The L-Glutamine and electrolyte balancing nutrients in re:iimmune can help give a boost when trying to stay well hydrated.

Speaking of water, another tip to keep in mind is avoiding super hot showers. Whereas ingesting water is excellent for your skin, frequent bathing in the colder, drier months can make dry skin worse. Keep the shower temps down and make sure to replenish the oils stripped from your skin during bathing with a good moisturizer. Check back next week for a post on how various plant oils, not lotion, might be your best bet!

Before we talk moisturizing, there’s another important step in keeping your skin at it’s best. Exfoliation is key! Dead skin cells need to be dealt with and there are several ways to do this. Alpha-hydroxy acids are essentially fruit acids that help to eliminate dead skin cells. One of the best is pineapple! In Sri Lanka, women have used pineapple on their skin for centuries to smooth their skin. Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain which literally eats up dead skin cells! Other great natural exfoliants include baking soda, apple cider vinegar, rice bran and oatmeal.

As with water, the food we eat plays a huge part in the health of our organs and skin is no different! Here are a few suggestions of items to add to your diet which have great benefits to your skin’s health. . .

Walnuts – Omega-3 fatty acids increase your skin’s ability to retain moisture.

Cantaloupe – Chock full of choline, Vitamin K and E which keep skin healthy and radiant.

Watermelon – No brainer! It’s 93% water, aiding in hydration. It also contains vitamins A, B6 and C to repair and protect your skin.

Kale – Some studies have shown that the indole-3-carbonal in Kale boosts DNA repair in our cells and may help block the growth of skin cancer cells.

Other food helpers in the struggle to keep skin looking great include strawberries, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and avocados. So eat, drink your water and keep your skin merry this winter season!

#TBT – Witch Hazel – History and Benefits

Spices, herbs, tinctures and essential oils have been used for millennia to season our food, heal our bodies and boost our spirits. In our Throwback Thursday (#TBT) series, we at re:iimmune will take you back in history to learn how these gifts from Mother Nature have been used. We’ll focus on their use through the ages and beneficial purposes in regard to nutrition, natural health and household care. Today we focus on wonderful Witch Hazel!

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Indigenous to North America, hamamelis or witch hazel has been prized for thousands of years for it’s astringent, anti-inflammatory and healing benefits. Native Americans boiled the bark and leaves to create an extract that was valued for its cooling and healing properties in treating swellings and inflammations. Early New England Puritans copied the idea and it’s use in America has been widespread after Dr. Charles Hawes found that steam distillation of the plant’s twigs was more effective. “Hawes Extract” came on the market in Essex, Connecticut in 1846. The process was further refined by Thomas Newton Dickinson, Sr. who began the commercial production of the product. Dickinson’s Witch Hazel is still on the market today.

Because it’s naturally rich in tannins, which have a drying effect, witch hazel’s astringent powers have been found to be helpful in treating hemorrhoids, minor bleeding and skin irritation from insect bites and poison ivy. Some folks have also had success in using it to treat psoriasis and eczema. Because of it’s skin tightening properties, it’s also effective at slowing down and stopping bleeding from small cuts and scrapes.

Witch Hazel is also prized by “Water Diviners” who practice an ancient technique called dowsing wherein a limb or branch of a tree is used to “divine” where water is located underground. They are also a great choice for landscaping as they are hardy, low maintenance and ignored by most pests. Whether you consider them a small tree or a large shrub, they are manageably sized, topping out at 10 to 20 feet. Some varieties will spread nearly as wide, making them a great addition when wanting to cover a lot of space in the yard. Best of all is the beautiful yellow glow you’ll see in your yard when its leaves turn in early autumn. Then in late fall, its spicy smelling, spidery shaped yellow flowers appear and will remain on the branches long after the leaves have fallen.

We can enjoy witch hazel’s beauty and also incorporate it into our own beauty routine! It’s commonly used as a toner and some folks claim that it helps to reduce puffiness and dark circles under the eyes. To test it out for yourself, mix equal parts witch hazel and aloe vera gel and pat under the eyes. We’ve included links to some other Do-It-Yourself beauty products that include witch hazel below. Enjoy!

 

DIY Rosemary, Cedarwood and Witch Hazel Facial Toner

DIY Mouthwash with Witch Hazel, Peppermint and Aloe Vera Juice

Homemade Makeup Remover Wipes

#TBT – Cinnamon’s History and Benefits

Spices, herbs, tinctures and essential oils have been used for millennia to season our food, heal our bodies and boost our spirits. In our Throwback Thursday (#TBT) series, we at re:iimmune will take you back in history to learn how these gifts from Mother Nature have been used. We’ll focus on their use through the ages and beneficial purposes in regard to nutrition, natural health and household care.

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Today, cinnamon is a well known and beloved spice that is widely available and used frequently. In ancient Egypt, it was a rarity and considered so valuable that it was regarded as a gift for kings. It was also utilized in the embalming of mummies! Cinnamon was used throughout the ancient world. Arab traders brought it to Europe but the difficulty of traveling across the region turned the spice into something of a status symbol. According to history.com,

To maintain their monopoly on the cinnamon trade and justify its exorbitant price, Arab traders wove colorful tales for their buyers about where and how they obtained the luxury spice. One such story, related by the 5th-century B.C. Greek historian Herodotus, said that enormous birds carried the cinnamon sticks to their nests perched high atop mountains that were insurmountable by any human. According to the story, people would leave large pieces of ox meat below these nests for the birds to collect. When the birds brought the meat into the nest, its weight would cause the nests to fall to the ground, allowing the cinnamon sticks stored within to be collected.

Cinnamon is actually the inner bark of trees called Cinnamomum. When it dries it curls up into quills and then is either cut into sticks or ground into a powder. It’s amazing smell is due to the oil in the bark which has high concentrations of Cinnamaldehyde. Although there are hundreds of varieties of this spice in the world, today we are best acquainted with the Ceylon and Cassia varieties.

So other than it’s amazing taste and smell, what is this spice good for? Well as sweet smelling as it is, it may help with regulating blood sugar. However studies are inconclusive so don’t get too excited about this wonder spice as an aid for diabetes just yet. That said, there are plenty of other reasons to sprinkle a little cinnamon into your diet. It’s a powerhouse of an antioxidant, even nudging out garlic and oregano for the number two spot in its potency, just behind mint. It’s also a natural and powerful anti-microbial. It’s traditionally been used in helping to preserve meat and it can be used to make a delicious smelling countertop spray to help keep germs at bay. In addition, cinnamon oil is useful in tooth and gum care and as a natural insect repellant.

Looking for some easy ways to get more cinnamon into your diet? We’ve pulled together a few links to great recipes to try. Enjoy!

Pan Fried Cinnamon Bananas

Savory Coconut Rice with Cinnamon

Maple Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas

Top Three Benefits of Spending Time in Nature

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The heat of summer is fading, soon the air will be crisper and the flaming colors of fall are on their way. All great reasons to spend as much time in nature as possible! There are a myriad of reasons why getting out of the house and spending time outdoors are beneficial to your physical and mental health but we’ve chosen our top three to inspire you to open that door and step outside.

 

Sweet Sunshine

We know, we know. . . you just spent all summer lathering yourself up with SPF to protect yourself from the damaging rays of the sun and we applaud you for that healthy choice. That said, there are benefits to soaking up some of those rays. What usually comes to mind is the absorption of Vitamin D, which is actually a hormone created in the body via sunlight and it is essential for a healthy immune system. It’s linked to protection against osteoporosis, autoimmune disorders and heart disease and getting it naturally is far superior to Vitamin D supplements.

Something else to think about? While it’s true that most of the time we should be wearing UV protective sunglasses outdoors, some sunlight is essential for optimum eye health. Just a bit of time in natural light, will help to alleviate the effects of our modern habits of spending too much time in front of screens which can cause serious eye strain. Also, new research indicates that too much time in artificial light can bring on myopia, also known as nearsightedness.

 

Fresh Air

Where would we be without oxygen? Just one mature tree can produce 260 pounds of oxygen a year, which is enough to support the needs of two people. So while you’re hanging out in nature, hug a tree and thank it for helping your white blood cells work optimally at killing and fighting germs and bacteria. Nature’s fresh air assists your lungs to dilate more fully and improves their ability at cleansing the body of airborne toxins, including the slew of indoor pollutants we are exposed to, and aids in digestion and relieving stress. So take those deep cleansing breaths in the great outdoors!

 

Engage Your Senses

Nature is a playground of exciting sounds, smells and other ways to engage our senses. Step outside, whether it be in the city or country, and the air is full with the songs of birds. Julian Treasure, with The Sound Agency, believes these special songs help to relax people physically but stimulate them cognitively, “People find birdsong relaxing and reassuring because over thousands of years they have learnt that when the birds sing they are safe, it’s when birds stop singing that people need to worry. Birdsong is also nature’s alarm clock, with the dawn chorus signalling the start of the day, so it stimulates us cognitively.”

When it comes to scent, it is our sense of smell that is most directly linked to areas of the brain responsible for processing emotion. This is why we link certain time periods of our lives or events with specific smells. Phytoncides are organic compounds emitted by trees and plants and inhaling them causes humans to slow down their breathing which in turn reduces anxiety. To get the benefits of phytoncides, some Japanese partake in what is called Shinrin-Yoku or “forest bathing” where quality time is spent walking through forests to promote improved mood, cognitive function, creativity and to relieve stress.

The Scoop on Zinc

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But Wait, There’s More…

Zinc isn’t normally the first thing to pop in your head when you head to the vitamin section for an immune boost, but Zinc is in fact the secret gem of supplements. If you were to ask the average person what supplement they would think of first in terms of boosting ones immune system, chances are they would answer: Vitamin C.

Vitamins are key components to boosting your immune system, but there are other highly effective, and complex supplements that deserve a little more recognition. Zinc is one of these important supplements that is technically considered an “essential trace element” and is often thought of as a “natural cold remedy”, yet, Zinc has so much more to offer your body’s health and well-being than we commonly consider and that is exactly why we specifically chose it to join the re:iimmune® formula.
According to researchers at the Department of Dermatology at the University of California,

zinc plays an essential role in numerous biochemical pathways: organ systems, including the integumentary, gastrointestinal, central nervous system, immune, skeletal, and reproductive systems… Zinc deficiency results in dysfunction of both humoral and cell-mediated immunity and increases the susceptibility to infection. (1)

undercovers

In other words; Zinc is good for your whole body! Not only does it boost your immune system, it is in fact crucially essential to your body’s immune response, hormonal function, nervous system, energy levels, and may lower your metabolism if your zinc levels drop below a healthy marker. Some symptoms that you may experience if you are in fact zinc deficient include:

  • Poor concentration or memory
  • Hormonal complications
  • Nerve dysfunction
  • Digestive issues, including diarrhea
  • A slower healing process when wounded
  • Abnormal hair loss

Zinc is more than simply a slight boost to your body’s immune function, but it is an essential nutrient that your body requires on a regular basis. When we mention zinc as a component to re:iimmune’s Hydrobiotic™ formula, we often title it simply as an extra immunity boost. In actuality it was chosen carefully for its smorgasbord of vital health components. When re:iimmune was created, the time was taken to hand pick each ingredient, analyze it’s potential to make people better, and chosen for the highest quality potential. So, the next time you’re feeling under the weather and you reach for your own glass of re:iimmune, you can feel confidence in the fact that every single piece of this recovery puzzle was put together to specifically help you get better, better™!

Natural Health Made Simple

Why Wednesday

 

I became interstacey_bruce, natural health discussionested in health at a very young age, as I watched my Dad through his battle with cancer.  He and my Mom pursued an alternative treatment in the Bahamas, and during their time with the doctors they were educated about food as medicine and overall health of our bodies as related to what we put in them. Now, this is in the 1970’s mind you! Progressive, and not a common approach for the mainstream. From that point on, I never stopped thinking about it. I learned we have more control over our health than we realize and that was fascinating to me. 

My passion for wellness led me to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s health coaching program. As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, it is my goal to help others learn to allow themselves to heal and escape the cycle of disease.  I can confidently recommend re:iimmune, not only because I know our health begins in our gut but also because it was created from Kerri Miller’s desire to make people better! I have watched her over the years in her passion for health – the sacrifices she has made for her profession and her servant heart for the less fortunate. re:iimmune = love, and I’m on board with that 100%!

re:iimmune is an opportunity for everyone to get in the driver’s seat of their own health in a simple, easily accessible way. By improving immunity, hydration and overall gut health we are giving our bodies a chance to do what they were designed to do in the first place – heal! It’s so much easier to get where you want to go (and a whole lot more fun!) when you feel good…that’s why I re:iimmune!

-Stacey Bruce

Integrative Nutrition Health Coach

Whether you’ve just recently taken up an interest in bettering your health, you haven’t yet developed a true curiosity for alternative or natural health practices, or you’re like our friend Stacey who has been in love with progressive healthcare her whole life, and made a career out of it- there is a spot for you in the re:iimmune® family! The beauty of re:iimmune® is that it is easy enough for anyone to use- it’s as simple mixing a powder packet into water, yet advanced enough to break through both progressive and traditional medical worlds, and loved by all. So, regardless of your occupation, level of wellness knowledge or intensity of illness, re:iimmune® can help you get better, better™!

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Tried and True Health Tips to Get Better, Better!

You may not realize it, but your body has an amazing ability to heal itself after a serious injury or illness. Although medicine has come a long way, and should not be takin for granted, it’s important to recognize and take responsibility for our part in recovery. If you are recovering from an illness, a severe injury or just trying to maintain a healthy immune system, it would be in your best interest to observe these health truths.

  • Food is Medicine: Most of us have felt that swell of pride wheneat for health, stay healthy with re:iimmune we reach around the box of donuts and grab a piece of fruit instead, but that momentary feeling of elation often fades by dinner time as we find ourselves reaching for that second helping of buttery mashed potatoes, or a heaping pile of cheesy pasta. Hungry yet? The truth is, our brains react to food with the same addictive stimulation as it would with any other drug. It doesn’t help that portions are larger than ever, and that processed, feel good treats are more accessible than they have ever been. On top of the temptation to indulge, is the confusion; with every diet fad in the book being thrown around at us from all angles. It can become overwhelming to decipher what approach to take when it comes to a healthy diet. Our mantra? Keep it simple. Say no to carb heavy, processed foods that will drain your energy and leave you feeling lethargic. Say yes to whole fruits and vegetables and lean proteins, and most importantly, enjoy the food you eat! Branch out with some new recipes that abide by these principles, but still leave your mouth watering.

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  • Sleep Offers So Much More Than Beauty: Your body can cope without food for about a month, without water for up to a week, but sleep? Your body will start shutting down after 48 hours of sleep deprivation. http://www.everydayhealth.com/conditions/what-happens-when-you-dont-sleep-days/ Sleep benefits every aspect of our health, both physically and emotionally, from your heart health, mental stability, and weight control. So go ahead, hit that snooze button one more time, skip that last episode on Netflix, and hit the sack an extra hour early- your body will thank you!

 

  • Exercise Your Way to Health: Get moving! Culturally we tend to complicate this concept, but the simple truth is this; move more. That’s it! It doesn’t take expensive gym memberships, hours of intense weight lifting, or fancy gadgets to “exercise”. Find what works best for you, your budget, and your lifestyle. For me, it’s as simple as taking my dog on a 30-minute walk, or heading to the YMCA for a group yoga class. It gets your blood flowing while simultaneously moving toxins out of your body, and pumping endorphins back through your system. Maybe you’d be more comfortable bicycling through nature, tuning into your favorite in home work out routine, or joining a kick boxing club. However you choose to make exercise your own, own it! The benefits to your health are endless.

walk to health, health tips for a healthy lifestyle, stay healthy with re:iimmune

At Make People Better, we are passionate about enabling people to take control of their own health. Every day we have opportunities to improve our health, and one step at a time we want to inspire your journey! Don’t forget, the Clinical Strength Hydration® and Intestinal Immune support found in re:iimmune® is the perfect accompaniment to your healthy lifestyle. Get better, better!