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During Cold and Flu season, it may be tempting to use harsh chemicals to clean your house.
You know, the ones that promise to kill 99.99 percent of germs, but should only be used while wearing a haz-mat suit in a well-ventilated area.
You may find yourself wondering, is it possible to actually sanitize with natural products?
Yes, it is!
There are some really great, non-toxic cleaning products available that don’t contain dangerous chemicals but will still you give you the same level of cleaning power.
We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites, as well a few options you can make yourself!
Check them out below!
Mrs. Meyers combines garden inspired scents, essential oils, and plant-derived cleaning ingredients to clean kitchen messes and all over the house. Great on all non-porous surfaces such as finished wood and tile floors, countertops, walls, porcelain, bathroom fixtures, sealed natural and synthetic stone, and more!
Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes are a convenient solution to cleaning! With their patented disinfecting technology based on Thyme Oil, these wipes will kill household germs such as: Influenza A virus, H1N1, Rhinovirus type 37, Methicilin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella enterica, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
This patented disinfectant formula may smell like heaven, but it cleans like heck, and kills most household germs (specifically: influenza A, staphylococcus aureus, salmonella enterica and E. coli).
Made specially for the bathroom, this spray is optimized to target soap scum and hard water stains. Despite the tough guy routine, it’s gentle on hard non-porous surfaces.
Biokleen Free and Clear Laundry Detergent is a fragrance free formula that’s gentle on senses and skin without sacrificing cleaning power. Plant-based surfactants and extracts of grapefruit seed (has no scent) clean tough stains and odors. Rinses clean and leaves no harsh fumes or residues on fabrics.
For stubborn stains, you can try their Bac-Out Stain Remover as well.
Our personal devices are covered in germs and bacteria, especially our smartphones.
Give all of your tech a good cleaning with Spruce & Co screen cleaning wipes. They are free of harsh chemicals like alcohol and ammonia. Plus, they work for glasses too!
3% hydrogen peroxide is a fantastic disinfectant because it kills bacteria, mold, and fungus! Hydrogen peroxide is water, but with an extra oxygen molecule.
Most of us have a bottle under our sinks for cleaning small scrapes and cuts, but it disinfects surfaces too!
Many people attach a spray cap to a bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide and just spritz and wipe. It will bleach fabrics and some surfaces so make sure you test in a small area first!
For a simple DIY cleaner, you can mix 1 cup of ordinary distilled white vinegar and 1 cup of water to clean most surfaces in your home. Spray it on and scrub.
Do not use on natural stone or wood, as the acid in vinegar may damage these surfaces.
You can also add a cup of distilled white vinegar to a load of laundry to work as a deodorizer for sour towels or gym clothes.
To use as a fabric softener, just add half a cup of distilled white vinegar to your washer’s final rinse cycle!
Steam cleaners use high heat to kill bacteria in a simple, effective way. You do not need a cleaning solution as steam cleaners use only water heated to a very high temperature.
This is an effective method for sanitizing, but it is not really effective for removing dirt or debris.
Try using steam cleaners as a final once-over for especially germy spots.
Please remember that, although these products are natural and non-toxic, all cleaning products should be kept away from children and pets.
You should also always be wary of mixing cleaning products. For instance, mixing vinegar and hydrogen peroxide can result in a toxic gas called paracetic acid.
Use one product at a time and don’t combine them.
Certain spots in our homes can be hotspots for germs and bacteria, especially in winter, so make sure you are regularly disinfecting them.
If you are recovering from a cold or flu, make sure to give them a good scrubbing!
Don’t be afraid to crack open a window and let some sunlight and fresh air in.
Spots you should sanitize include:
As you can see, there are a lot of great options available to help you make your home safe and sanitary.
Non-toxic, natural cleaning products can be just as effective as killing germs and bacteria, without the dangers of harsh chemical cleaners.
PS. Let us know if we missed your favorite product!
As the leaves change and the nights grow chillier, are you dreading the colds you will have to fight off this year?
While you are busy with the hustle and bustle of autumn, your immune system is hard at work, defending you from attacks on a variety of fronts that are trying to keep you down.
Avoid these 5 common immune system wreckers and get back to focusing on all things fall.
Getting enough micronutrients in your diet is a necessary step for optimal immune system function.
Take vitamin C for example.
One in three people are not getting enough of it.
When you lack adequate vitamin C, immune system byproducts can damage tissues in your body. This damage can increase your risk of developing future health problems.
Think of these immune system byproducts as little fires that vitamin C is able to put out before they start to cause damage. Therefore, getting enough vitamin C helps your immune system function without harming you in the process.
Another example? Vitamin D.
Though difficult to find in food and challenging to get year-round from sunlight, vitamin D helps your immune system function in tip-top shape and may protect you from developing certain autoimmune conditions.
Find micronutrients in brightly colored fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and dairy.
If you feel your diet is lacking, round it out with a hiqh quality supplement.
Fast food, while cheap and convenient, can alter the healthy balance of beneficial bugs in your gut. Over time, this imbalance weakens your immune system’s ability to protect you from certain chronic conditions.
In addition to helping you digest your food, your gastrointestinal tract acts like a fence. When it works the way it should, germs you are exposed to in food and drink can't enter your bloodstream.
The added sugars and refined carbohydrates in fast food may overfeed the bad bugs in your gut and starve the good ones.
This condition, called dysbiosis, weakens your gut's ability to keep certain proteins and bugs from passing into your bloodstream.
Leaky gut syndrome is the condition that develops when proteins and microbes breach the gut barrier. This scenario has been linked to autoimmune conditions and allergies.
To help keep your gut healthy, eat plenty of prebiotics, the food the good bugs love.
Find prebiotics in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and supplements.
Being active for the recommended 150 minutes per week may get you through this year's cold season, more or less unscathed.
While no one can say for certain why exercise may help the immune system, there is some promising research.
Make physical activity you enjoy a priority and reap additional benefits like dealing with stress and sleeping better, moves that also help your immune system.
Stress is a necessary part of the human experience. And in short-lived and specific instances, it may help boost memory and cognitive function. Think about how stress motivated you to nail that last job interview or presentation.
Years of chronic stress can suppress your immune system and increase your risk of developing infections or even overactive immune responses to triggers in your environment.
Keep stress in check with healthy coping strategies like physical activity, maintaining positive relationships, and getting enough sleep.
A lack of sleep, aside from making you sluggish and tired, might also be weakening your immune system.
Inadequate sleep leads to changes in immunity that can make you more susceptible to falling ill.
In one interesting study, healthy adults recorded how long they slept each night for two weeks. At the same time, researches exposed the adults to the common cold virus and monitored the rates at which they got sick.
Those who got fewer than 7 hours of sleep were almost 3x more likely to develop a cold than those getting at least 8 hours of sleep.
As you can see, when it comes to staying healthy this cold and flu season, sleep matters.
While it is possible to stay healthy during the winter months, you may find that you are sabotaging your own immune system.
It is important that we care for our bodies through all aspects of health. Not just through diet and exercise, but emotional health as well.
You may need to take a look at your life and identify unhealthy habits and behaviors that are affecting your health for the worse.
In recent years Elderberry has become one of the most popular herbal products around.
And for good reason, it has many benefits for your body.
While you may know Elderberry for its immune supporting properties, you may be surprised to see the wide variety of benefits that is has.
We’ll go over the benefits below, but first, let’s look at a brief history of the plant…
Elderberry, also known as Sambucus nigra, has been historically used both as a medicine and as a food source. The word 'Elder' comes from the Anglo-Saxon word aeld, which means “fire”. This is thought to be due to the fact that the hollow stems of the young branches were used for blowing on fires (as a sort of early bellows system) (1).
It was primarily used throughout the United Kingdom, in fact, the main variety of Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is the European variety. This is the type that is most often used in supplements and food products.
In the US, there is a similar tree/berry, it’s known as Sambucus canadensis. It appears to have the same health benefits and is often used interchangeably with Sambucus nigra.
The Elder tree was looked at as “the medicine chest of the country people” (1). Every part of the tree was used; from the roots, to the stems, to the flowers… and of course, the berries.
Below we’ll dig into 4 major benefits of Elderberry.
The first thing most people think about when they think of Elderberry is its immune supporting properties. And that’s correct!
This was backed by a double-blind, placebo controlled study conducted in 2011.
(Double-blind placebo controlled studies are the gold standard as far as studies go).
The researchers found that of airline passengers that got sick while traveling overseas on a flight, the individuals that took Elderberry before and after the trip had a significant reduction in cold duration (2).
This was the perfect test since airline travel is one of the most stressful events for your immune system.
The reason for these immune supporting benefits appears to be the anthocyanin content in Elderberry, we’ll talk more about that in the next point.
Elderberries are chock full of beneficial antioxidants.
In particular, Elderberries contain high amounts of anthocyanins.
Anthocyanins are a special category of natural plant chemicals known as flavonoids. Anthocyanins are found in the skin of the elderberry, they actually help to give the berries their dark purple/blue colors.
Scientific research is still being conducted on anthocyanins, but it appears that they have a widespread positive effect on the body.
One hypothesis is that they support the immune system by boosting the production of cytokines.
As a reminder, cytokines are cellular messengers employed by your immune system, they help your body’s cells to talk back and forth with each other. This signaling is especially important when your immune system is facing an attack (3).
Elderberry appears to also have antibacterial properties.
In 2011 a study was conducted to test whether or not Elderberry would have an impact on bacterial cultures.
In the study, a concentration of Elderberry juice was placed into a dish of different types of bacteria.
After allowing the Elderberry extract to work, the researchers went back and tested the bacteria, they found that the Elderberry extract had helped to stop the growth and spread of the bacteria (4).
This shows that Elderberry may be effective as an antimicrobial.
A 2010 report showed that polyphenol rich plants (such as Elderberries) may help to protect against UV radiation.
The study found that polyphenol rich plants with yellow, red or purple pigments can absorb UV radiation. Specifically, they were shown to absorb “UVB radiation”, a mid-range form of UV radiation that’s responsible for the majority of UV-related skin damage (5).
One note, this research was conducted on topically-applied polyphenols. This means that you’d have to absorb the polyphenols through your skin, such as in a lotion or moisturizer.
This may not be ideal with Elderberry since it has a deep purple staining effect.
It hasn’t yet been verified that you can get the same UV protective benefits by taking an Elderberry supplement (in a capsule or syrup form). However, this could lead to interesting research in the future.
Elderberry is a fantastic natural plant with a variety of different health benefits.
Whether it’s elderberry syrups, capsules, or gummies; there are a variety of ways to add this beneficial herb into your routine.
One caution, make sure if you do take an Elderberry product, to make sure that it doesn’t contain a large amount of sugar. The sugar content can work to suppress your immune system.
Make sure to pay special attention to the labels of syrups and gummies, those are the main ones to watch out for.
Encapsulated supplements with Elderberry will be free of additive sugars, so they may be a better option.
At Utzy Naturals, we have our U-Mune formula. It’s a natural immune support formula made with Elderberry and Echinacea (along with other beneficial herbs).
If you’re looking to support your immune health this winter, be sure to get a bottle of U-Mune.
We whole-heartedly recommend taking it, especially during the winter months. It’s immune supporting benefits and rich anthocyanin content makes it a must have.
(1). Elder. (n.d.). Retrieved October 22, 2019, from https://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/e/elder-04.html.
(2) Tiralongo, E., Wee, S., & Lea, R. (2016). Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Nutrients, 8(4), 182. doi: 10.3390/nu8040182
(3) Khoo, H. E., Azlan, A., Tang, S. T., & Lim, S. M. (2017). Anthocyanidins and anthocyanins: colored pigments as food, pharmaceutical ingredients, and the potential health benefits. Food & Nutrition Research, 61(1), 1361779. doi: 10.1080/16546628.2017.1361779
(4) Krawitz, C., Mraheil, M. A., Stein, M., Imirzalioglu, C., Domann, E., Pleschka, S., & Hain, T. (2011). Inhibitory activity of a standardized elderberry liquid extract against clinically-relevant human respiratory bacterial pathogens and influenza A and B viruses. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 11(1). doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-11-16
(5) Nichols, J. A., & Katiyar, S. K. (2009). Skin photoprotection by natural polyphenols: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and DNA repair mechanisms. Archives of Dermatological Research, 302(2), 71–83. doi: 10.1007/s00403-009-1001-3
“Let thy food be thy medicine”. In this oft-quoted message from the great philosopher Hippocrates lie some true pearls of wisdom.
What you eat has the power to influence your health, for better or for worse.
Help your immune system keep you healthy by eating more of these 9 foods on a regular basis.
You can also add a natural supplement to your diet such as Utzy Naturals’ U-Mune to help boost your immune system along with eating the following foods.
Vitamin C also helps your body synthesize collagen, important for firm and healthy skin. This is necessary because your skin serves as a physical barrier against injury and infection.
The most common foods in this category include oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits.
While vitamin C gets a lot of attention, citrus fruits also contain numerous polyphenols that have the ability to reduce inflammation.
In addition, citrus fruits are a rich source of soluble fiber, which can help with constipation, making your gut, and you, healthier.
Only recently have these powerful roots been studied to understand exactly why they may be so beneficial for the immune system.
Ginger and turmeric contain numerous bioactive compounds that help stimulate your immune system, as well as acting as antioxidants.
Ginger also has some antimicrobial functions.
There are plenty of ways to enjoy these super roots. Boil the fresh roots to make tea, juice them, blend them in a smoothie, or used the powdered versions in cooking.
These tiny nutritional powerhouses are brimming with vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.
Phytochemicals give bright fruits their color and also give you important immune-boosting health benefits.
For example, grapes can increase levels of important immune cells in the blood.
Blueberries can improve the health of the colon by reducing levels of inflammation.
For best results, eat berries regularly.
The hallmark of the Mediterranean diet, this powerful oil helps enhance your body’s immune system along with other health benefits.
Olive oil contains vitamin E, a necessary nutrient for adequate function of certain immune cells.
Vitamin E also helps prevent inappropriate immune system responses that can occur when fatty acids in the blood become peroxidized, a reaction blocked by vitamin E.
High-quality olive oil is also rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients that provide other important health benefits.
According to award-winning author and chef Samin Nosrat, high-quality olive oil is usually made from 100% California or Italian olives and has a production date on the label.
Olive oil is good for about 12-14 months from that date.
Complex carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes, whole grains, beans and other and legumes, are good for your immune system because they help keep your gut healthy.
Your gastrointestinal (GI) tract is one of the most important parts of your immune system. It acts as a physical barrier to prevent pathogens from entering your bloodstream.
In order for your GI tract to do its job well, it requires an appropriately balanced microbiome.
To help keep those microbes in balance, it’s important to selectively feed the good ones.
Complex carbohydrates are an excellent source of prebiotics, specific types of fiber that the good bacteria in your gut enjoy.
Sources of prebiotics include oats, barley, bananas, onion, garlic, chickpeas, leeks, and lentils.
Read more about your gut microbiome in our other article, 5 Ways To Support Your Gut.
This amazing green is packed with immune-boosting vitamin A and is rich in the fiber important for a balanced gut microbiome.
Vitamin A is key for maintaining the integrity of the cell membranes that keep out pathogens. These membranes are found in your eyes, skin and respiratory, GI, and genitourinary tracts.
Vitamin A also plays a role in the development and function of important immune cells.
Enjoy kale steamed, stir-fried, in smoothies, or raw in salads.
Fermented foods have been consumed in nearly every culture around the world for thousands of years.
These foods are cultured with beneficial microbes, such as lactic acid bacteria that help preserve the food while improving the health of the humans that eat it.
Regular intake of foods fermented with lactic acid bacteria, like yogurt, can lead to improved gut microbiome balance, reduced risk of infection, and even improved tolerance of lactose.
Fatty fish are an important source of omega 3 fatty acids (omega 3's), an essential fat lacking in the diet of many. If you follow a typical Western diet, you may be getting too many omega 6 fatty acids (omega 6's) and not enough omega 3's.
Increasing these healthy omega 3's and lowering omega 6's can help you stay healthy.
Dislike salmon? Other good choices include sardines, trout, tuna, oysters, and shrimp. Look for sustainably sourced and wild-caught fish, as these will have the best omega 3 profile. You can also take a high-quality omega 3 supplement.
These are only a few of the many foods that can have an incredible impact on our lives!
So the next time there is a cold going around, give your immune system a chance to fight back with a careful diet.
Do you notice you get sick more often during times when your sleep is suffering?
That’s because how well we sleep and and how much sleep we get can impact the immune system.
This article will talk about how sleep can specifically impact immunity, the importance of getting a good night’s sleep, and ways to improve your sleep habits.
Cytokines are proteins in our body that target inflammation and fights infection.
While we’re sleeping, our bodies make and release cytokines to protect us.
Therefore, when we don’t get adequate sleep at night, we make fewer cytokines. This may impact how well our body can fight off an illness.
Additionally, research has found a lack of sleep at night or disturbances in sleep are strongly linked to acute and chronic inflammation.
Numerous studies with healthy participants subjected to sleep restriction or sleep deprivation demonstrated changes in cytokines.
When we have more inflammation in the body, our immune system can be impacted in a negative way (1).
Lastly, a small study found looking at the impact of a lack of sleep, found that disturbances in sleep causes the same reaction in the body as shown when exposed to stress.
Ultimately, numerous studies have found an association between sleep and the immune system.
To support our immunity, it’s important to focus on getting adequate sleep each night.
We spend about one-third of our day sleeping; and for good reason. Along with supporting the immune system, sleep impacts our health in several other ways. Those include (7):
So not only is sleep important for supporting our immune system, but it’s also important for other areas of our health as well.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of Americans don’t get the recommended 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night (8).
For some people, it’s a busy schedule or stress that gets in the way of a good night’s sleep.
Other reasons could be caffeine intake or working out in the late afternoon, the room environment not being dark or the right temperature, or children waking up at night.
Whatever the reason may be, if you’re struggling with getting enough sleep at night it’s important to address the cause of the problem and find potential ways to resolve it.
Sleep is a critical part of our health. It’s important to make it a priority not only to support the immune system, but also to support your focus and concentration, moods, and heart health.
If you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep, consider incorporating some of the suggestions above.
The better we sleep, the healthier we will be.
What’s one way you can improve your sleep habits?
When it comes to heart health, most people associate it with having a healthy diet, exercising, limiting alcohol, and reducing stress.
But what if I told you that there’s a way to improve your heart health that goes beyond all of that?
Having a community of people that you can associate yourself with, trust, and seek support from is a huge piece of the puzzle when it comes to heart health. Unfortunately, it is also something that is often neglected.
Before we get into the details of how community can be healthy for your heart, let’s first talk about why having a healthy heart is important in the first place.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both women and men. In fact, one in four deaths are related to heart disease.
High blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease, and 47% of Americans have at least one of these risk factors (1).
Improving eating habits, increasing physical activity, quitting smoking, and reducing alcohol intake are all pieces of the puzzle that may help improve heart health.
Studies have also found that having a sense of community is part of that as well.
A study published in the Journal of American Medical Association examined Italian immigrants in a small town called Roseto, Pennsylvania (2).
The study was developed because the town doctor was surprised how few heart disease problems he saw in community members of the town.
The researchers compared health statistics of the people in Roseto to other local towns for seven years, and what they discovered was shocking.
These surprising results made the researchers dig deeper into what the Roseto community was doing to have such positive results, and they called it “The Roseto Effect” (3).
Since diet is a major contributor for a healthy heart, the researchers examined the diet of the Roseto community and found that their diet wasn’t great. In fact, they were eating a lot of fried foods.
They also examined their lifestyle and discovered that many individuals worked in quarries or mines, leading them to be exposed to many toxins. They then would spend their leisure time enjoying cigars and wine.
The researchers then looked further and noticed a very close-knit social community among family and friends. In particular, elders were nurtured by the community instead of neglected.
The researchers concluded that a sense of community among individuals living in Roseto was the main contributor to the lack of heart problems in the town.
In other words, having a community can help support a healthy and happy heart (4).
Although the Roseto Effect study was done in the 1960’s, the benefits of community still hold true.
Unfortunately, social commitments and ties are often neglected and thought of as just another thing to add to our “to-do” list.
- A decreased risk for depression or anxiety
- An increased sense of purpose and connection
- Improved self-confidence and self-worth
- Better coping mechanisms and support during stressful times
Even though being part of a community takes some work, there are many benefits that it can provide.
So how can you build a community in your own life?
Below are some ways:
In addition, attracting a community can sometimes mean getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things.
It’s also important to ditch any judgement you may have and focus on building connection that goes beyond a person’s skin color, gender, or age.
Diet and lifestyle can have a large impact on heart health, but don’t forget a sense of community as well.
The more you surround yourself with people that can support, inspire, and connect with you, the healthier your heart will be.
If you want to change your health for the better, there is one simple habit you should add to your morning routine.
Start your day by drinking 1-2 glasses of water as soon as you wake up.
This may seem obvious but the reason why may surprise you!
Curious? Read on...
So why do we need to drink water in the morning?
The research shows that our brains clear out toxins while we sleep.
While we are fast asleep, our brains are hard at work getting rid of toxins and other waste products (source).
This happens through our glymphatic system.
The glymphatic system works by cleaning out the toxins and waste products that accumulate in our brain throughout the day.
When we sleep, our brain removes these toxins and sends them to our kidneys, where the toxins are processed and removed through urination.
A key note is that we need water to actually move these toxins out of our body, especially at the beginning of our day.
Without this process, which only happens during our sleep, our brains cannot function normally. This is just one of the reasons that getting a good night’s sleep is so important!
To read more on getting a good night’s sleep, check out our article, How To Sleep Better In 2019.
Drinking a glass (or two!) of water upon waking allows you to flush out these toxins from your body and begin your day with a clear mind.
Hydration has been a popular topic recently and most of us acknowledge the fact that we need to drink more water.
So how much water is needed?
In the morning, start off with 1-2 large glasses of water.
You may have heard that you should drink 64 ounces, or 8, eight ounce glasses of water a day.
But a better method is to drink half of your body weight in ounces each day. So if you weigh 160 lbs, you would drink about 80 ounces of water!
The amount of water needed may increase for those living in dry, hot areas, or for those who have exceptionally active lives.
Just make sure you’re keeping your electrolytes balanced, to find out how, check out our article, How To Replenish Electrolytes Levels.
For most of us, when we wake up, the first thing we do is reach for the coffee, tea, or juice.
We really shouldn’t.
Drinking coffee or tea early in the morning can interfere with your cortisol levels (source) and build up your caffeine tolerance, making caffeine less effective for you.
This results in you needing more coffee to get that caffeine rush. Drink your coffee or tea 3 - 4 hours after you wake up.
Fruit juices are loaded with sugar and can cause blood sugar spikes, as well as resulting in poor dental health.
Also, ingesting coffee and fruit juices before eating breakfast can cause an upset stomach because both are highly acidic.
If you rely on caffeine to wake you up, don’t worry! Drinking water can help you wake up, as can stretching, taking a walk, or getting some sunlight.
These are easy steps to add to your morning routine that can really improve your day.
Our bodies are 60% water. We humans can only survive 3 days without it. Water is literally the most important thing we put in our bodies and most of us do not drink enough of it.
Drinking enough water is vitally important, so make sure your body is getting enough of it!
If you choose to diet, you may be disappointed.
The majority of dieters do not lose weight but instead regain and surpass their original weight within 2-5 years.
In this article, we will discuss why focusing solely on weight loss often doesn't work over the long run and 3 things you can do instead to improve your health right now.
When it comes to weight loss, your personal goals are likely at odds with the goals your body has for you.
In order to "save you" from what it thinks is starvation, your body does all it can to get you to regain weight once you lose it.
One example? It releases hormones that make you hungrier and more likely to crave all those foods you’ve been avoiding.
And due to physiological changes that are not entirely understood, significant weight loss can severely decrease your metabolic rate over time.
In other words, your body responds to your weight loss by becoming very efficient at hanging on to every calorie you eat. It also prevents you from burning as many calories during exercise as you did when you first started dieting.
Some research suggests these changes may continue for years after you diet and even may continue once you regain the weight you lost. This makes all subsequent weight loss attempts even more challenging because your body is now primed to burn fewer calories.
Thanks to these changes and others like it, your body creates the perfect storm for regaining weight after dieting, despite your best efforts.
You did not fail.
Instead, your diet failed you.
A blind focus on weight loss can be a distraction from achieving other valuable goals in your life.
The obsession can make you feel miserable, all without getting you any closer to the body of your dreams.
Have you been fighting with your body your entire life to lose weight? If so, regaining the weight can lead to feelings of failure, guilt, shame, and reduced self-esteem.
Even if you are successful at shedding a few pounds, the obsession doesn't stop there. It is a constant struggle to monitor every calorie and step to keep that number from creeping back up.
There is a better way.
Instead of focusing on numbers on a scale, honor your health by practicing good self-care. This includes treating yourself kindly, feeding yourself well, and finding realistic ways to enjoy physical activity.
When you shift your mindset to focus on ways to take care of yourself instead of losing weight, you will achieve better physical, emotional, and mental health.
What happens when you take weight loss and dieting off the table? You may be afraid that you will gain even more weight. In reality, when people take this approach, the opposite seems to happen, such as:
If a non-diet approach to health resonates with you, try to find a healthcare professional you can trust to help you on this journey.
Here are 3 steps to get started at home.
When you treat yourself with compassion you learn to trust your body to take care of you. The result? You naturally make choices that honor your desires, needs, and health.
If you practice self-compassion, you are more likely to eat nutritiously, be active, and get enough sleep. As you can imagine, all of these behaviors will improve your health.
One simple way to get started is to choose kindness. Pay attention to what your body needs instead of what you think it needs.
For example, maybe you need to hit the snooze button for 15 minutes and do some light stretching instead of hitting the gym so your body and muscles can recover.
You might need to take a break from work to walk around a bit or grab a snack instead of powering through.
Notice opportunities to treat yourself better by giving your body what it needs. The benefits will add up before you know it.
If you want an example of what intuitive eating looks like, watch a baby eat.
They approach food with gusto, enthusiasm, and pure pleasure (depending on what food it is). They eat what they want and stop when they have had enough.
Start to relearn intuitive eating by paying attention to your hunger and fullness cues.
Think of your hunger and fullness as falling on a scale of 1-10. 1 is so hungry you can’t function and 10 is Thanksgiving level stuffed.
Aim to eat before you feel ravenous (maybe between a 3-4) and to stop eating before you’re stuffed but satisfied (7-8).
Listen to your body when it tells you it’s hungry. Pay attention to which kinds of foods make you feel most satisfied and energetic. You will be well on your way toward better health by eating in this way.
Did you know that even 5-minute bouts of activity can improve your health and your mood?
Being more active does not have to mean forcing yourself to spend hours in the gym, unless you want to.
What can you do instead?
Naturally working activity into your day is easier to maintain than a workout routine. You can get in the habit of being active anywhere, anytime it suits you.
Pay attention to changes in your mood, energy level, and ease with which you are able to take the stairs or walk.
When you notice how movement makes your life better, you will enjoy being active more than ever before, and keep it up.
You may imagine weight loss as the cure to everything that ails you. And at the same time, obsessing over your weight could actually be steering you away from living a full and healthy life.
When you choose to focus on self-compassion, intuitive eating, and joyful movement, you can reap the benefits of improved health, vitality, and self-esteem, regardless of what the scale says.
When you feel the first signs of an immune system attack, what’s your first thought? If you’re like me, you probably think, “Oh no, I don’t have time for this right now!”
We live busy lives, and it can be difficult to make our health a priority.
When you take care of yourself first, you can continue to take care of your family and work on your biggest goals, without being derailed by immune challenges.
Today I’ll show you 10 ways to naturally boost your immune system.
By incorporating these simple lifestyle changes, you’ll take your health to the next level this winter.
Read on below...
Wash your hands frequently, and for at least 20 seconds each time.
Did you know a virus can spread to about 50% of surfaces in an office building (door knobs, phones, etc.) in just 4 hours (1)?
One sneeze can emit 40,000 droplets at 200mph, and those germs can live for days on steel or plastic.
The most common way germs are transferred is through your hands. Usually when you get sick, it's because you’ve touched something with cold or flu germs on it and then put your hands in your mouth.
One way to ensure you’re killing bacteria when you wash your hands is to sing the Happy Birthday song in your head (which takes about 20 seconds).
Aim to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
White blood cells are your body's main protective agents against attacks on your immune system. Sleepless nights diminish the number of white blood cells released when you are exposed to a virus (2,3).
Your body repairs itself as you sleep each night, and without adequate sleep you are more susceptible to immune system attacks.
If you’re having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, you may consider taking a sleep supplement to help your body relax into restorative sleep.
Aim to exercise for 20 minutes each day.
When you exercise, your body rids itself of toxins and germs through your sweat. You also boost your mood and your immune system as you increase blood flow in your cardiovascular system.
You’ll receive these benefits from as little as 20 minutes of exercise.
You can can run on the treadmill, walk around your neighborhood, or follow along on a YouTube video with your favorite type of exercise.
What should you do if you’re feeling like you're coming down with something?
It may be beneficial to exercise at a low-to-moderate level that makes you feel energized when you finish. The goal isn't to exhaust your body, the goal is to get your body moving and active.
If you’re really not feeling well, skip the workout and let your body recover.
At the first sign of immune compromise, take natural herbs to support your immune system.
Here at Utzy, we’ve developed U-Mune which is packed with powerful herbs to naturally support your immune system.
The three primary active ingredients in U-Mune are elderberry, echinacea, and oregano.
Getting these powerful, immune-boosting herbs in your system is as easy as taking U-Mune daily.
Even though the holidays can be a hectic time, do your best to keep your stress levels low.
Releasing cortisol is your body’s natural response to help you get through a stressful situation. While periodic, short-term stress isn’t something to be concerned about, you’ll want to make sure you’re not continually stressed.
When our bodies are chronically stressed, we produce more cortisol, which works to lower inflammation. According to Dr. Leonard Calabrese, "your body can get used to having too much cortisol in your blood... this opens the door for more inflammation" (9).
Stress also works to decrease your body’s lymphocytes — white blood cells that help fight off immune attacks..
Exercising and spending time in daily prayer can help to reduce the stress hormones released in your body. Creating and sticking to a routine can also reduce stress, especially when you schedule self-care time into your day.
The holiday season can be stressful, but if you make a point to retain your sense of calm, your body will stay healthier this season.
Go outside every day and get some sunshine on your skin, this helps to align your circadian rhythm and provides Vitamin D.
Get 30 minutes to 1 hour of sunlight daily. Going outside in the morning, in particular, will help your circadian rhythm be aligned with your body’s natural sleep cycle.
Researchers recently found that sunlight increase the movement of T cells. These T cells are associated with white blood cells and allow them to react faster, further boosting your immune system (10).
Make it a point to go outside at least once per day to maximize your sun exposure. An easy way to do this is to walk your dog in the morning or eat lunch outside in the afternoon.
If you live in a cold climate where getting daily sunlight in the winter isn't an option, you should take a Vitamin D3 supplement. Taking a daily Vitamin D supplement is an inexpensive way to support your immune system and ensure adequate Vitamin D levels.
At Utzy we offer a Vitamin D3 formula, if you live in a cold weather climate, you'll want to grab a bottle.
Eat poultry and drink bone broth weekly. There’s a good reason why your mom would serve chicken soup when you were sick as a child!
The high vitamin B-6 content in poultry forms red blood cells which fight against invading germs.
Bone broth contains gelatin and other nutrients which are beneficial to your gut lining, which is where most of our immune system is found.
The 19 different essential amino acids found in bone broth helps your body to fight against viruses and bacteria on a cellular level. The lipids released in bone marrow also help in producing white blood cells.
Put chicken or turkey on your weekly meal plan along with a broth-based soup. You can roast a chicken whole and freeze the bones. When you have enough bones, use your slow cooker or pressure cooker to make broth (here's a recipe), which you can add to soups or drink on its own.
Add 1 to 3 garlic cloves to your daily diet. Allicin is a compound found in garlic that activates white blood cells which fight some strains of the cold and flu (12).
Allicin is activated when garlic is sliced or crushed and can lose some of its disease-fighting properties when cooked. Keep this powerful ingredient preserved for longer by crushing it and leaving it alone for 10 minutes before cooking.
Add garlic to your stir fries, soups, chilis and and roasted vegetables. To receive the health benefits of allicin, consume at least one clove in each meal you prepare.
Add 2 to 3 cloves per day to your meals if you feel something coming on to reap the antimicrobial benefits of garlic.
Eat 1 to 2 servings of citrus and berries daily. These fruits are good sources of Vitamin C, which activates our white blood cells’ function in fighting infections.
Vitamin C also makes antibodies, and its antioxidants protect our bodies from the harmful compounds that our white blood cells may produce as they fight infections.
Add berries to your smoothie or oatmeal for a nutrient-packed breakfast. Add the juice of a lemon or lime to your water or tea daily, and you’ll be well on your way to meeting your daily Vitamin C requirements.
Limit refined sugar to a few times per week.
When you consume sugar, whether it’s in a healthy fruit drink or a rich pastry, your white blood cell count goes down for several hours after eating.
The more sugar you eat, the more you crave it, and some researchers suggest that sugar is more addictive than cocaine (13).
Immune challenges always happen during the holidays when sugary treats are plentiful. If you’re already not feeling well, you may want to avoid sweets entirely. Be intentional about what you put in your body and know if it’s worth the lowered immune response.
Chances are, you’d probably rather eat your mom’s pie at Thanksgiving dinner than prepackaged cake at a work party. If you want to indulge, make sure the treat will be worth it.
Choose wisely and your immune system will thank you.
So many of these strategies work together to make our bodies healthier. When you go outside for a walk first thing in the morning, your body’s circadian rhythm is reset, and you clear out toxins while you prepare your body to get adequate sleep later on at night.
When you consume foods and herbs that help support your body on a cellular level, and you keep flu germs off your hands, your body will feel better overall.
Implement these immunity boosting tips and boost your health this winter!
The habits we do every single day can have a drastic impact on our health.
Habits such as exercising daily or eating breakfast each morning can be beneficial, and others like smoking or drinking soda each day can be harmful.
Think of the habits you do each day.
Are they helping you reach your health goals, or bringing you further away?
Below are five common health habits that many people do on a daily basis, along with healthier habits to replace them with.
Many people skip meals to cut calories, but it does more harm than good.
When we skip meals it causes our blood sugar to drop leading to more sugar cravings, fatigue, and overeating later on.
As a result, this can lead to weight gain vs. weight loss.
What to do instead: Eat every 3-4 hours to keep blood sugars balanced. This includes three meals plus snacks in between as needed.
About 60% of our body is made up of water, so drinking enough water each day is essential.
Staying hydrated is important for delivering oxygen to our cells, flushing out toxins, regulating body temperature, and supporting weight loss.
What to do instead: Skip the sugary beverages such as fruit juices, energy drinks or sweetened teas and coffee beverages and aim to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. For example, an individual weighing 160 lbs should drink at least 80 ounces of water each day.
Here are some simple ways to help you drink more water:
- Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning
- Keep a water bottle with you wherever you go (opt for stainless steel or glass water bottles)
- Drink water before each meal
- Use a water apps to help you keep track of how much you’re drinking
Do you find yourself eating your meals in your car, at your desk or on the couch?
This is what I call mindless eating.
When we eat with distractions around us such as the television or computer, it's easy to eat quickly and eat too much.
That’s because it can take twenty minutes for our brains to recognize when we’re full, so when we’re distracted, it’s easy to eat quickly and more than we need to.
What to do instead: Limit distractions at your meals. This could mean eating your lunch away from your desk or turning off the television at dinner. Additionally, focus on slowing down while eating. You can do this by setting a timer for 20 minutes, or putting your utensils down between each bite.
Life can get hectic, and it’s easy to push self-care to the back burner.
Unfortunately, when we don’t take time to recharge our batteries, we often feel more stressed and tired; leading to an increased risk for chronic diseases and falling off track with our health goals.
What to do instead: Schedule at least ten minutes of self-care every single day. Whatever it may be, find something you enjoy doing and can incorporate on a daily basis.
Some ideas include:
- Stretching each morning
- Reading a book
- Doing a short workout
- Going on a walk
- Listening to a podcast
- Calling a friend
- Taking a bath
Sleep is a critical part of our health because it’s the time when our bodies are getting recharged.
Not getting enough sleep at night can impact our weight, energy levels, hormones, and moods in a negative way.
What to do instead: Opt for eight hours of solid sleep each night. Ways to help you get more sleep include setting a consistent sleep schedule and sticking to it, limiting light exposure or eating before bed, avoiding caffeine in the afternoon, and keeping the bedroom dark and on the cooler side.
Remember that habits aren’t going to change overnight. In fact, one study found that it can take over two months to form a habit (1).
That’s why I encourage you to focus on changing one habit at a time, and remember that the small changes can make a big difference in your health.
What’s one habit you want to replace? Comment below!