At Utzy we are dedicated to providing truthful, honest information that helps you to live a healthier lifestyle
Getting good sleep isn't easy.
We all have busy, hectic lives. Getting good sleep is often the last thing we think about.
As a sleep researcher with 10 years of experience, I decided to distill my top sleep tips into an informative, actionable list (which you can read below).
These tips are based off of my years of researching sleep as well as my personal experiences - if you put the following sleep tips into action, I promise that you'll see your sleep quality skyrocket!
Read on below...
You need at least seven hours of sleep to perform at your best. Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep and don't dip above or below. While quantity is important, make sure the quality of your sleep is high.
How do you get quality sleep? Go to bed before midnight. This will ensure that you maximize your non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM) cycles, which are controlled by a internal biological clock. Speaking of a biological clock….
Go to bed before midnight and wake up with the sunrise.
Waking up with the sunrise will help maximize your levels of alertness throughout the day. It's best to saturate your eyes with sunlight early in the day to maximize output of your biological clock.
Getting this morning sunlight wakes up and activates your body.
Your body's internal clocks latch on to everything in its surrounding environment. We all have routines for when we go to bed, when we shower, when we eat, etc....
A change in your schedule is biologically stressful.
Having a different schedule on the weekends compared to weekdays, known as "social jet lag", has the same effect as traveling across time zones - so try and keep a consistent sleep schedule throughout the week.
..In line with keeping a consistent sleep schedule, follow a nightly sleep routine.
Life is chaotic.
Creating a bedtime routine is a great way to settle your mind down for the night and prepare your body for sleep.
A great habit to get into is keeping a daily gratitude journal.
We included this as part of our free Sleep Kit which includes a 7-day sleep diary.
We created this sleep diary so that you can track and improve your sleep! It will also help you to create a better, more consistent evening routine.
The inner workings of the biological clock are highly sensitive to light. Just like exposing your body to light during the day wakes up your body, light at night also wakes up your body.
Turning on the light in the middle of the night is not good. It signals your system that it's time to wake up. Start dimming the lights and embrace candle light an hour before bed.
Use a sleep mask to block out light.
You should also start minimizing your electronics usage 30-60 minutes before bed. Phone and TV screens use small LED lights which work to activate your brain, which is the opposite of what you need to do before bed.
So do your best to minimize screen time before bed. Read a book instead.
This will help your body to start winding down for a full night of sleep.
This is a personal hypothesis, but one of the best ways to increase REM sleep is to lower your core body temperature.
Your body reaches the peak stages of REM sleep when your body temperature dips.
Since PJs and heavy blankets provide insulation, your core body temperature may not reach its programmed minimum, hence, you may not get the full brain rejuvenating effects of your REM sleep cycle.
So sleep with less clothing and blankets and help your body reach the deep, restorative stages of sleep.
Nutrient deficiencies impact your body' ability to sleep.
As an example, many people are deficient in magnesium. Magnesium is an essential nutrient that is involved in maintaining your nervous system.
Remember that sleep is a phenomenon of the central nervous system.
Magnesium helps your body to relax - which makes it a crucial nutrient for those that have a hard time winding down at night.
You can get more magnesium through eating a balanced diet.
You can also supplement with magnesium.
We include a beneficial dose of magnesium in our award winning natural sleep aid formulas.
You can get a free sample of our nighttime formulas when you claim one of our sleep kits. The sleep toolkit is free, just pay for shipping costs.
Caffeine is ok to consume, just do it strategically. Although you may feel as if your espresso at 3 PM has no impact past 3:30 PM, it actually does.
Caffeine takes 4-6 hours on average to metabolize in your body. This means that your brain will be feeling the effect of that espresso well into the evening, which can hinder your ability to fall asleep later at night.
So cut out the caffeine after 3pm.
The mind-body connection is an important phenomenon.
What you eat impacts your brain.
The inner workings of the gut, and what we feed our gut, is thought to give feedback to the central nervous system, which influences brain function.
If we eat poorly, our brain suffers.
If we eat healthy, our brain stays healthy.
Your brain function plays a big role in your ability to sleep at night.
So take a probiotic supplement, or eat probiotic rich foods like kimchi and kombucha to support your gut health.
In turn, this will help to improve your sleep quality.
Chasing a goal, whether it is to improve your sleep quantity or quality, can make a profound impact on your life.
We spend 1/3 of our life sleeping - it's important!
So set a goal to improve your sleep.
Use our free sleep diary to track your goal.
Our 7-day sleep diary will allow you to track your sleep and cut out any negative habits you may have picked up.
We include a free copy of our sleep diary in our sleep kit, you can get a free one here.
Dr. Allison Brager is a neuroscientist specializing in the physiology and genetics of sleep and performance. Outside of the laboratory, she is a former college athlete, Crossfit Games team athlete, and is still active in track and field.
Did you know that there are 10 times more bacteria in your gut than there are cells in your entire body!
All of those different microbes in your gut influence your overall health. In fact, your gut is so important that scientists often call it the “second brain” as it is involved in many different functions in your body (source).
Needless to say, gut health is important.
So how can you help to naturally improve your gut health? Check out our list below and learn 5 ways that you can help to improve your gut health.
Below are 5 lifestyle tips you can put into practice to increase your overall gut health.
We all know that we need to eat more fiber, but do you know why? Fiber is the most important sources of energy for the probiotics present in your colon. The fermentation of carbs and fiber in your digestive system helps to lower the pH of your gut, which helps to limit the production of bad bacteria. So start getting more fiber!
Some of the best fiber rich foods include:
•Fruits (such as raspberries, bananas, and oranges)
•Vegetables (peas, brussel sprouts, and broccoli)
•Grains (brown rice, oats)
•You can also use a daily fiber supplement, our Fiber Food is a daily drink mix made up of organic fruits and vegetables. One scoop provides over ⅓ of your daily fiber requirement. You can learn more about it here.
Fermented foods are naturally rich in probiotics. Adding more fermented foods into your diet will naturally help to improve your gut health.
Below is a list of some of the most probiotic-rich fermented foods available. You should be able to find these foods at your local grocery store.
•Kombucha (you can read our article on the best kombucha brands)
Getting 7-9 hours of sleep at night is one of the best investments you can make in your health. Prioritize your sleep. Make sure you get enough sleep at night so that you wake up refreshed.
If you have trouble sleeping, we have a few resources you can use, including our new Sleep Diary PDF. You can use this free print-at-home tool to track your sleep at night. It will help you to notice patterns and habits in your life that may be interfering with your sleep.
You can download it here - once you get it you can simply print it at home. We recommend that you fill it out each morning, it takes just a few minutes.
As we discussed earlier, the brain and gut are highly interconnected. In fact, the gut is often called our “second brain”. If you’re stressed out, you’ll start to see this negatively impact your digestion.
It sounds cliche, but do your best to reduce your stress load. One of the best ways to do this is by maintaining a gratitude journal. The process is simple, every day simply write down a list of 5 things that you are grateful for.
This is a great daily habit to practice around the dinner table at night. It gets you thinking about the positive things from the day (versus focusing on the negative).
Studies show that food eaten away from home tends to contain LESS fiber and MORE calories (source). That combination is bad news for your health.
It is recommended that you do your best to prepare your own food - I highly recommend learning how to do meal prep ahead of time, especially if you have a busy schedule. This allows you to have ready-made, nutritious meals while you are on the go.
In addition to cooking your own food, I’d like to make a note that eating meals at home with family is valuable. It allows you to spend distraction free time with the people you love. After all, living in community with others is one of the best things you can do for your health!
Thanks for reading our top 5 ways to improve gut health. Add some of these tips into your daily routine and start feeling healthier!
Going to regular gym can be difficult.
You have to work out with sweaty crowds of people you don’t know while listening to loud, annoying pop music - not to mention the judgemental stares.
That, plus having to drive to the gym and fit it into your schedule.
Having your own home gym space is so freeing. You can workout however you like - whenever you want!
Of course, it’s not always easy to find the space for a home gym, and equipment can be expensive, but it’s hard to beat having your own gym setup!
Below are some tips for how to build your home gym.
First off, you need to designate a space as “your gym”, make it a place that motivates you. Personalize your home gym space the way it would benefit you the most — setting up speakers, posters, painting the wall, good lighting, mirrors — whatever it may be to keep the energy alive.
Your home gym space should be a place where the outside-world’s drama won’t barge in and bother you. Look for room in your garage, a basement, anywhere with a closed door and enough room to move around.
Your gym should be clear of clutter and distractions so that you can focus on your workouts.
Many of us have compiled a variety of useless exercise equipment over the years (Perfect Pushups® anyone?) that takes up precious space in our houses.
Instead of gimmicky exercise tools, invest in training equipment that will last.
Keep in mind good exercise equipment doesn’t mean that it’s expensive.
One of the reasons many people want a home gym, besides evading the sweaty traffic at the YMCA, is to save money. There’s no reason to spend top dollar on some commercial gym-standard weight machine that is only good for showing off to your friends.
Leave the machines at the public gym.
Free-weight workouts allow for a variety of different workouts that machines can’t always offer. Plus, they’re easier to stow away.
With so many different types and kinds of exercise equipment out there, it gets confusing on what you should get.
I prefer to keep it simple - start with the basics and add to your gym as you go along.
There are 3 basic pieces of equipment that you’ll need
•barbell (plus weights)
With these 3 basic pieces of equipment you have everything you need to get in shape. Here is a link to a basic 6 week home gym workout plan.
You can find this equipment available at your local sporting goods store or through an online supplier like FringeSport. If your budget is limited, I’d suggest looking for your gear on websites like Craigslist (or Facebook Marketplace) - if you do some searching you can often find a great deal on used gear.
Keep in mind, the equipment you get for your gym is dependent on the style of training that you prefer. If you are more into yoga, or biking, or TRX; then by all means invest in that type of equipment.
If you live in a place where the weather gets too extreme to go outside for cardio, an indoor cardio machine is necessary. There are a ton of specialized brands that come in the form of a rower, an elliptical, a stationary bike, a treadmill, and more. When it comes to which one is the best, that entirely depends on the person.
Many people like cardio machines that are “zero impact”, meaning you don’t strike the ground (like when you run). A good example of a zero impact machine is an elliptical.
According to the New York Times, running burns more calories than biking, but biking is easier on the muscles and knees long term. Getting a stationary bike might be a good first option, mainly because they’re less bulky and easier to move around than a treadmill.
It may be necessary to try out a few different types of machines to decide what you like best.
When building your home gym, the best thing to remember is to keep it simple. A home gym shouldn’t be looked at as some interior decorating project to post on Pinterest. It’s a place to do work.
It’s a place to sweat and to smell bad — where you can discreetly improve your physical form free from public judgement and can later shower in the privacy of your own bathroom.
January 01, 2018 | 0 comments
We are all so caught up in multiple activities that waking up in the morning is a daily pain. We drag our feet through the day, enervated even at the start of it, and deadbeat at its end.
But does your day have to be so gloomy? Not if you start your day with these 8 simple stretching exercises that hardly takes 10 minutes of your time. The muscle tensions created during sleep will melt away, and you’ll metamorphose into a new person, ready to take on anything.
But first, set a goal to help you focus. Settle on a ‘fit and healthy you’ goal to stay motivated. Next, eat well and healthy. Rely on good quality supplements like HGH energizer supplement for better endurance.
Below are the 8 stretching exercises that will make you feel like a new person. Do them with 3 repetitions each, allowing for 30-60 second rest between each exercise.
Stretching enhances flexibility of muscles, especially around the joints. By stretching, you overcome stiffness, increase your body’s stability and strength, and reduce tissue damage. It also improves blood circulation and you are energized and renewed. Start your day with these 8 simple stretching exercises, coupled with a sensible balanced diet and/or dietary energizer supplement and you’ll stay a new, supple and energetic person throughout the day.
Multi-vitamins are a controversial topic. People either love them or hate them. Is there science behind them, or are they just another supplement scam?
This article will go in-depth on the pros and cons of taking multi-vitamins and whether or not you should consider taking one.
The 20th century discovery of vitamins was a major scientific achievement in our understanding of health and disease. The idea that special nutrients found in food were necessary for everyday health was a ground-breaking discovery at the time.
Vitamins were officially given a name by Polish scientist Casimir Funk, who initially called them a “vitamine”. This clever name was a composition of two words: “vita” which means life, and “amine” which was taken from the word thiamine (also known as Vitamin B1), which was one of the first vitamins that Funk isolated.
If you think about it, our knowledge of vitamins goes back only a hundred years. They could still be classified as a new discovery for humanity!
While vitamins are still a fairly new discovery, much research has been done on them in the last 100 years. Scientists have discovered how many vitamins there are, how much each person should take each day, and how to detect deficiencies.
The idea behind taking a multi-vitamin is very straightforward. You take a daily supplement and it will fill in all of your nutrient gaps.
For instance, during the winter, there tends to be less sunlight and, unless you live someplace tropical, the weather is colder. This makes it difficult to get out in the sun and receive valuable Vitamin D. This can lead to deficiencies, which can compromise your immune system along with a host of other problems.
Taking a daily multi-vitamin allows you to get Vitamin D, even if you don’t have access to sunshine. So in a way, it fills in your gaps. It protects you from deficiencies and shortages.
It works in the same way for other nutrients as well. For instance, you may be one of the majority of people that doesn't eat the recommended 5-13 fruits and vegetables per day. Failing to eat enough greens can lead to low amounts of important nutrients, such as Vitamins C and K.
Taking a daily multi-vitamin can help to ensure that you get these needed nutrients.
Scientific research is supportive of taking multi-vitamin and mineral supplements. There are many benefits for taking a multi-vitamin (source)! We’ll go over the benefits of taking a daily vitamin mineral supplement below.
We have talked about some of the benefits of multis already, but we’ll go further into that in this section.
Multi-vitamin benefits include:
•Insurance against nutrient deficiencies
•Supports cognitive function
•Helps to support positive mood
Taking a multi-nutrient provides many different benefits. The main benefit is that taking a multi protects against dietary deficiencies. While you may strive to eat a healthy, varied diet, the odds that you get EXACTLY the right amount of each macro and micronutrient each day are slim. Taking a daily multi-vitamin/mineral will help to fill in those nutrient gaps.
Other benefits of taking a daily multi-nutrient is that it will help to support a more positive mood. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial done in 2015, researchers showed that taking a daily multi-vitamin and mineral supplement may have beneficial effects on mood. This is due to elevated B-vitamins levels and lowered homocysteine levels (source).
Another benefit of taking in micronutrients (through a multi-vitamin) is that it will help to improve brain function. A double blind, placebo controlled study in 2016 showed that taking in micronutrients (including both vitamins and minerals) helps to improve your cognitive abilities (source).
All of that being said, taking a multi-nutrient is important for your health. It ensures that you get the right amounts of vital nutrients each and every day.
Are there downsides to taking a multi? Yes and no. The downsides are due to poor quality, ineffective multi-vitamin formulas. There are no downsides for taking a high quality, daily multi-nutrient formula.
The downsides of multi-vitamins include:
•Effectiveness of formula
•Overdosage of nutrients
We’ll dig into each of these factors below.
One of the major concerns with multis is that you may end up overdosing on vitamins or minerals. This can be especially dangerous when it comes to fat soluble vitamins such as Vitamins A, E, D, and K.
You can end up with too much of a good thing.
Look for multi-vitamin products that contain scientifically formulated products. While this might seem like a no-brainer, many products available for sale are formulated to hit a specific price point, not for effectiveness. So make sure to choose a premium grade multi supplement such as our Essentially-U formula.
Price is a big factor with taking a multi. Buying a quality supplement is expensive, there is no way around that. Quality will always come with a price.
One of the ways to overcome this is to consider looking at the cost of your daily supplement as an investment in your self. Break it down into a cost per capsule. Doing this will show you the relatively cheap cost, especially when compared to other items that you pay for on a regular basis.
For instance, our Essentially-U supplement costs $59.99 for a full month’s supply. This is expensive. But when you look at it as a $2 a day investment in your health, it puts it all into perspective.
Many multi-vitamins are ineffective. There are a multitude of reasons for this, but they all point back to the same thing, ingredient quality. Manufactures use the cheapest quality ingredients they can find so that they can offer enticingly low prices.
Many people will go with a cheaper pricing option to save a buck. While this is understandable, you have to realize that with supplements, the old adage still rings true:
You get what you pay for.
Buy the cheapest product available and you are going to be disappointed. We’ll talk more below on how to spot an ineffective supplement, and what a quality multi looks like.
So what should you look for in a multivitamin? Read the next section below.
When buying a multi, there are a few things to be on the lookout for. Not all multi-vitamins are created equal. Additionally, not all multis are formulated the same way. Some are targeted for specific age brackets, while others focus on boosting a few specific ingredients.
First off, you want to buy a “multi-nutrient”, not a multivitamin. A multi-nutrient will include needed vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other micronutrients. You want full spectrum coverage, not a simple vitamin formula.
Below are some things you’ll want to look for on the label:
•Look for USP-grade vitamins on the label. This means that the vitamins are pharmaceutical grade, the highest grade available.
•Buy supplements that have “chelated” minerals. Chelated minerals have increased absorption and are easily utilized by your body. You can read our in-depth articles on chelated minerals here. Our Essentially-U product is made with premium Albion®’s TRAACS®, the gold standard for chelated minerals in the world.
•Look for plant-based nutrition. Our Essentially-U includes ingredients such as apple, cranberry, turmeric, and even ginger! All of these ingredients help to increase absorption, and are easily digested by your body.
•Make sure your product has zeaxanthin and lutein. These two ingredients are crucial for eye health. While these two ingredients are highly beneficial, many supplement companies refuse to put them in their formulas due to their cost.
You’ll want to avoid cheap, one-a-day multi-vitamin formulas. These products are nearly worthless when it comes to adding to your health. They include the cheapest forms of vitamins in minuscule amounts.
Don’t fall for the one-a-day scam. Buy multivitamins that are going to be effective for you.
Also, stay away from fully plant-based vitamin formulas. While the idea behind these products are great, the problem is that they are woefully under-dosed. When you synthesize vitamins from natural plant sources, you end up with small amounts. This leads to under-dosed formulas.
Our Essentially-U product is our foundational formula. It is made with THE best natural ingredients. No corners were cut when creating this formula.
But it’s not for everybody.
Quality comes with a cost. Natural ingredients are expensive. And because of that, Essentially-U isn’t for every person.
It’s for the people who place a premium on their daily nutrition. Those who prize their health. If you are one of the few who want the best multi-vitamin, check out Essentially-U.
December 07, 2017 | 0 comments
There’s a lot of study and talk these days about the potential mental health drawbacks of social media. Silly social media trends are also a favorite talking point of folks who bemoan the millennial generation — like the guy who told millennials they could afford houses if only they would just stop eating avocado toast.
Now hold on a minute. Don’t mess with the avocados! Just like everything else, social media can be a force for ill or good depending on the amount and the context of its use. The popularity of avocados is just one example of ways that social media can promote healthy choices.
There are some great points we could get into. There does seem to be a correlation with social media use, mentally unhealthy habits, and sedentary lifestyles. But the solutions are going to come from embracing technology constructively, not blaming it.
New technology is not inherently unhealthy, and when embraced by healthcare providers and patients, can be used to improve health. Healthcare providers are making use of mobile technology and social media to provide better service and gather more accurate information about lifestyle and its relevance to health.
There’s also an argument to be made for fitness technology actively fighting the degenerative effects of social media by embracing it and making fitness social. At least the physical effects.
There are a number of examples of this: fitness trackers that are connected with social networks, apps that encourage physical activity and sharing one’s time outside.
Despite what you’ll read from online columns, the rapid increase in obesity in North America is actually a complex web of modern day realities, all coming together to create new health problems and crises. National health issues are no new phenomenon, the type of problem just tends to shift with current circumstances.
The prevalence of office jobs and the convenience of travel and sit-down entertainment are just a few contributors to rising obesity rates, and that’s before we even get into high-fructose corn syrup and the popularity of cheap, calorie-dense fast food.
So, yes, in excess social media does contribute to an unhealthy lifestyle. But what doesn’t? Let’s stop talking the evils of popular socials, start talking dosage and transformative potential.
Avocados are stuffed full of nutrients and healthy fats. Studies have found correlations between avocado consumption and improved diet balance, and avocados are great for cholesterol health. So while some people are busy scoffing at millennials for being obsessed with avocado toast, they’re busy eating avocados and reaping the health benefits.
It would be difficult to accurately measure the true impact of a viral trend, but in this case social media is being used to disseminate information about a healthy diet, and recipes based on nutrient-rich foods.
Avocados are often paired with eggs, lean meats like chicken, and feature prominently in vegetarian and vegan meals.
The problem with social media reaction-ism is, once again, the issue of dosage. Yes, when not combined with offline interaction, social media can provide people with false senses of intimacy and community. The avocado toast thing has been interpreted as unhealthy financial decision-making. In reality, it’s a red herring that rich people are using to blame younger generations for habits that are, in fact, healthy!
To make a blanket claim that social media is bad for relationships and health demonstrates a flawed, narrow understanding of community-building.
It should also be mentioned that for many people who do suffer from legitimate mental illness, social media is actually a helpful coping mechanism that connects them to support networks, communities of other people who suffer, and allows them to express themselves.
In addition to this, the potential for community good on social media has yet to be fully explored. People often deride “slacktivism” -- the act of sharing social media posts about issues you care about -- but there is some evidence that this social sharing doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and does in fact encourage real community involvement: Health-positive, community-positive social media exists. Moving networks in positive directions is the responsibility of community members, influencers, and businesses who take part.
The avocado example is just one way that social media can be used to promote health and active lifestyles. There are other examples of social media’s power in creating a sense of community responsibility and connection, such as the community cleanup initiative mentioned in the Guardian above.
The most important, and most difficult way to create positive outcomes is to combine online engagement with offline action. When social media can be used as a source of inspiration and energy -- impetus to action, then it’s working in a healthy way for everyone involved.
Just because it’s difficult, however, doesn’t mean that it can’t or shouldn’t be done. We can leverage supposedly unhealthy habits and turn them on their heads. Avocados might be the first step!
Avery Phillips is a freelance human based out of the beautiful Treasure Valley. She loves all things in nature, especially humans. Comment down below or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or comments.
November 06, 2017 | 0 comments
Logically, it seems like MOST fiber supplements should be gluten free. After all, they’re usually made from ingredients like psyllium husk and flax seed, which are naturally gluten free.
How is it possible for the controversial wheat protein find its way in there?
Unfortunately, gluten has found a way to sneak into many of the top-selling fiber products on the market.
Is it in the one you take?
Read this guide to find out!
For people with gluten allergies or sensitivities (or people simply looking to eat more cleanly) it’s crucial to understand why and where gluten might be lurking in your fiber supplements – and more importantly, how to find the best gluten free fiber supplement.
Despite the fact that gluten has been vilified in recent years, wheat protein actually does some pretty amazing things. For instance, is is used as the “glue” to keep bread together. This is a good thing for bakers and artisan bread makers (not so great for those of us who are sensitive to gluten).
But what does a wheat protein have to do with fiber supplements?
Quite a bit, unfortunately.
Many times cheaply made supplements will use gluten-laden ingredients to aid their powders in mixing together better. Adding gluten is a quick fix for manufacturers who want to improve the texture of their fiber supplement without harming its nutritional profile (you can learn other ways that supplement companies scam you here).
In addition, Gluten is sometimes used, in the form of wheat bran, as an insoluble fiber in fiber supplements. While wheat bran has a high amount of fiber, it is obviously not a good source for those that are sensitive to gluten.
Alternative high fiber ingredients that are gluten free should be used instead, such as Psyllium Husk Powder, Flaxseed Flour, and Apple Fiber. These GF ingredients are found in our Fiber Food daily fiber product (save 50% off your first bottle here).
Lastly, if a manufacturer isn’t thorough with how they create their products, cross contamination can occur. Wheat protein can leach into products that it was never intended to be in. This happens when machines aren’t cleaned thoroughly between batches.
This is why it is important for a company to not only formulate products to be free of gluten, but to also test for gluten after each batch is created. This ensures complete safety.
We do thorough testing on our Fiber Food product to ensure that it is free of gluten and other potentially harmful ingredients.
Never trust a supplement as being safe unless it has been tested and shown to be free of gluten.
There are many different ingredients that are used to create fiber supplements. Some of them are completely safe, some are borderline safe, and others are completely fine. Below is a list detailing whether coming fiber ingredients are safe or not.
If you deal with gluten sensitivity, then you need to be careful. Gluten is hiding everywhere!
So how can you find the best gluten free fiber supplement?
First, select a fiber source that is naturally free of gluten and any other ingredients you may have sensitivities towards. Thankfully, there are many common fiber supplement ingredients – from Psyllium to Flax – that are naturally gluten free. Still, you’ll have to consider if you have any other food restrictions and allergies that limit your options.
You’ll also want to be sure that your fiber source is certified Organic. This will limit the amount of other potential irritants and nutritional troublemakers that are in your fiber supplement.
Organic products are higher quality products. This is true for meat and produce as well as supplements.
Finally, check the label to be sure that no gluten has been added to your supplement. This can be tricky since most fiber supplements available have incredibly long lists of ingredients and sometimes even use code names for gluten, like “wheat protein”.
This might take some extra research, and in some cases, even require a call to the company.
If you are extremely sensitive, you will also want to avoid powders that are processed in facilities that handle gluten-containing products. Either that or make sure that the company that created the product tested for wheat in the final product.
Of course, many of the above steps can be avoided if you select a fiber supplement that is Organic and made from only fruits, vegetables, and plants!
Our fiber supplement is Vegan certified and is naturally gluten free. Additionally, we test each batch of Fiber Food to ensure that there is no trace of gluten.
Use this link to save 50% off your first bottle - take advantage and save!
We do this so that you can supplement with confidence!
When you think of the word “supplement”, what’s the first word that comes to mind?
Hopefully not! At Utzy we are advocates for clean, natural products produced with transparency. That being said, reading a supplement label can be overwhelming!
Where do you start? How can you see through a supplement scam?
Below are 5 things to be wary of when it comes to supplements.
The number one sign of a supplement scam is if the product ingredient list contains a “proprietary blend”. Many companies hide behind proprietary blends because they don’t want to list ev erything in their “secret” formulas.
Major red flag!
The idea of putting something you are unsure of in your body is downright scary. An honest, trustworthy brand will include the ingredients and amounts of everything on their product label. If you see the words “proprietary blend”, run!
Below is an image of what a “Proprietary Blend” looks like. While the types of ingredients are listed, this label obscures the amount of each ingredient.
This is usually done to hide the fact that the “blend” contains primarily cheaper ingredients (and microscopic amounts of the more expensive ingredients listed).
One major tell for supplement quality is whether the company that sells the product makes the product. When a company self-manufactures, it means that they are invested in the production and quality of the product they sell.
Sadly, the majority of supplement companies use 3rd party manufacturers. This means that the brand selling the product has little to no say in how the actual product was made.
At Utzy we manufacture our own products. We have intimate knowledge of the ingredients and manufacturing processes that each product goes through. We do this to ensure the quality and effectiveness of each product.
Did you know supplement ingredients can have “brand names”? Yes they can! Most supplement companies use cheap, generic ingredients (usually sourced from China and India).
If your supplement label has Trademarked or Reserved names and icons, it usually means that the ingredients in the product have been tested and have been shown to be effective. Some ingredients may even be clinically studied, which is the gold standard for efficacy.
At Utzy we use ingredients like Albion’s chelated minerals, USP-grade vitamins, and sleep ingredients with clinical trials (see Suntheanine and PharmaGABA).
These ingredients have gone through scientific study to show their effectiveness. The manufacturers of these ingredients have also been around for decades and have shown themselves to be trustworthy.
A quality brand should have some sort of 3rd party testing to verify their product. Third party testing keeps everyone honest and helps to give you, the consumer, peace of mind.
There are quite a testing organization out there, but the big ones to look for are:
•NSF and NSF Certified for Sport
•Non-GMO Project Verified
•GOED (for Fish Oil, shows sustainability)
We use NSF to test and verify our product and facility. We also use 3rd party auditors to come into our manufacturing facility throughout the year to ensure that we are up to par with all of the latest regulations.
One thing to keep in mind is that there is no such thing as a “GMP Certified” supplement. All supplement manufacturers are under what are called GMP’s (Good Manufacturing Practices). The FDA controls this process. While the FDA will audit and check in on manufacturers periodically, they offer no such thing as a “GMP Certification”. So if you see a supplement brand with a ”GMP Certified” icon, run! No governing body offers this type of certification.
Lastly, be on the lookout for a lengthy list of “Other Ingredients” on your supplement's label (below the Supplement Facts Box). This is where sketchy brands will hide all of their dirty secrets. Below is an example:
In particular, artificial colors and flavors are two items to be on the lookout for. Also, check carefully for
•Rice Flour (filler, to make the capsule look full)
•Gelatin (cheaper, animal sourced capsules)
•Carmel color (use for color)
Interested in high quality, trusted supplements? Look no further than Utzy Naturals. We offer a complete line of trustworthy products, manufactured with integrity. With Utzy you can supplement with confidence!
Some people swear by an early morning jog, while others love to hit up a workout after a long day at work, so who is right?
Is there a specific time that is better for exercising?
New research shows that there is a best time of the day to exercise.
As you go throughout your day, your body’s internal energy system changes and adapts to its environment.
This interactive system changes throughout the day, it's called your circadian rhythm. Included in this daily cycle is your body’s internal temperature, which fluctuates throughout the day.
Research shows that the best time of the day to workout is when the body’s temperature is at its peak. For most, this is during the mid-afternoon, between 2:00 and 4:00 pm.
When your body is at peak body temperature, it moves better. Joints are better warmed up, muscles are easier to stretch, and your body is ready to expend energy.
During this time of the day you have your best capacity to move and do dynamic exercise (this would include Crossfit workouts, olympic lifting, etc...).
Additionally, your nervous system and hormone production reach their peak at this time of the day. Essentially, your system is primed and ready to go.
All of these factors make mid-afternoon the best time of the day to train.
While the afternoon might be the best time to train, is it the best time for you?
If you are like most people and have a hectic, busy schedule, working out in the middle of the afternoon is not feasible. Hitting that 2-4pm time window can be downright impossible.
So what are your alternatives, is an early morning run or a late night weight-lifting session still beneficial?
Despite the research, the best time to workout is when you have time!
The best kind of workout is the one that you actually do. Don’t worry so much about the time of day, simply focus on putting the work in.
Setting up a consistent workout routine is the best thing you can do when it comes to maintaining your health.
If you can’t fit in that mid-afternoon workout, below are some pro’s and cons on morning and evening workouts and how you can incorporate them into your schedule.
For morning workouts, one of the key things is to make sure that you are fully warmed up before you start.
In the mornings, your body’s temperature is at it’s lowest, which means your joints, tendons, and muscles will all need a little extra warming up. A good way to do this is by creating a morning routine.
To protect against injury, make sure to spend a little extra time warming up the areas of your body that you plan to work.
For example, if you plan on going on an early morning run, a solid warmup would include stretching your ankles, calves, and hips. You might also add in a few minutes of dynamic running drills (such as butt-kicks, high knees, and light sprints) before you hit the pavement.
Doing little warmups like this are key to improving the quality of your workout and reducing your potential for injury.
Besides the extra precaution for warming up, morning workouts are a great option for those trying to get on a regular exercise routine. Getting your fitness on early in your day gives you energy for the rest of your day.
Morning workouts are also a great option for those that struggle with sticking with a consistent exercise routine, since your motivation tends to be highest in the morning after a good night’s sleep.
If you are new to exercising, check out this article with helpful workout tips.
Working out later in the afternoon or at night can be a great option for those that have a busy schedule.
Energy and motivation tends to lessen the further you get into your day, so working out later on can be a bit tricker to get into.
While a night time gym routine can be be difficult to get started, a benefit of working out after work is that it allows you to destress and blow off steam from your work day..
Another benefit of night time exercising is that most people tend to have more free time later in the day, so you won’t feel like you have to rush through your workout so that you can get to the office on time.
Night time workouts can also be beneficial in aiding you in falling asleep, since it tires out your body (just don’t workout within two hours of your planned bedtime!).
For those working out at night, taking Magnesium is a good idea. It has been shown to be beneficial for post-workout recovery.
It can also help ease cramps and relax your body, you can check out a great magnesium supplement here.
So what’s stopping you? Get started on your fitness routine!
Remember that the only bad workout is a missed workout.
Whether in the morning, afternoon, or at night, every workout you get in is beneficial to your body and goes a long way towards helping you achieve your goals of health and wellness.
Daniel Powers is a health and fitness enthusiast. He has a degree is business and has allowed his passion for entrepreneurship flow into researching health topics. Outside of work, Daniel enjoys Crossfit, reading large books, and drinking coffee.
August 31, 2017 | 1 comment
-Written by Dr. Allison Brager
How often have you heard the phrase “you are what you eat”? Likely to the extent that you just roll your eyes when you hear it. But emerging discoveries on our gut microbiome are showing direct links between what we eat and how we behave, this is called the gut-brain connection.
Simply put, what we eat affects how we react and adapt to stress, as well as how much and how well we sleep (you can read a list of sleep tips here). So let's talk about the gut-brain connection and how it impacts our health.
Looking to sleep better? Get our Free Sleep Diary!
First off, let's define the word "Microbiome". The word 'microbiome' is intimidating. This four-syllable word is cleverly used to describe the trillions (yes, trillions) of microbes - bacteria, viruses, fungi - currently occupying your gut.
While this may sound kind of scary, the majority of these microbes are not bad. In fact, most of the microbes that occupy your gut contribute to your general health and well-being.
Since gut heath is so impactful on overall health, it is important to try and increase ‘good bugs’ and to decrease ‘bad bugs’. You can do this by focusing on getting good nutrition, reducing your stress levels, and by making quality sleep a priority.
Having a healthy gut leads to good health across the board. Below are some of the benefits of maintaining a healthy microbiome.
Did you know that 90% of the body's serotonin supply is stored in the gut? Serotonin is one of a few 'happy, feel good' chemicals produced by the body. This is why the gut is often called out body's "second brain".
Serotonin also is the largest driver of how awake we feel throughout the day and how easily we fall asleep and stay asleep at night. Serotonin is typically described as a chemical 'stimulant' but often interacts with a chemical 'depressant' - GABA - to control and fine-tune our levels of happiness as well as our depth of sleep.
These highways of serotonin and GABA line the gut and in turn, influence our behavior not only during our awake hours, but also while we sleep.
One can't argue that a quality day is a day free of stress, right? A good night's sleep often leads to a good day once you awake.
The gut-to-brain connection and sleep-to-gut connection can also protect against bad days. Because Serotonin is a 'happy, feel good' chemical and GABA helps to fine-tune the level of happiness and overall energy.
A gut full of good bacteria can help ensure that the highways of Serotonin and GABA that line the gut are primed for happiness and goodness throughout the day.
Below are top tips on how to increase the health of your gut.
Probiotics promote the production of good gut bacteria. Prebiotics are the fuel source for probiotics. Hence, prebiotics are the catalyst for a healthy microbiome and as a recent study in mice has found, prebiotics promote healthy, quality sleep (Source).
Sleep optimizes body repair and rejuvenation and the gut is no exception to repair and rejuvenation by sleep. Fermented foods are a natural source of prebiotics and probiotics. The process of fermentation favors the production of healthy bacteria. Eat some kimchi (or even sauerkraut!).
Better yet, grab a bottle of blue-green algae kombucha for a double bang for your buck! You can read out list of the best kombucha brands here
Antibiotics destroy healthy gut bacteria. I need not mention a well-known side effect of taking an antibiotic. In fact, in the act of spending those extra painful minutes in the 'toilet reading room,' your body's healthy gut bacteria is literally being flushed from your system.
Instead, recent studies suggest banking on prebiotics and probiotics to help protect against unforeseen illness.
In the sleep field, we have seen antibiotics disrupt and destroy the gut, while simultaneously destroying circadian rhythms of sleep and behavior in mammals. Antibiotics can set the 'body clocks' on a whacky, shift-work like schedule, leading to disrupted sleep and unusual activity patterns (including over-eating!).
Exercise is stressful on the body and our physiology. But much like how gut microbes are mostly good, exercise-induced stress is also (really) good. Exercise-induced stress actively re-wires the body, physiology, and our gut to help protect us from harmful stress or to help us adapt and recover quicker from stress.
The gut is no exception to exercise-induced adaptation. Exercise favors the production and sustainment of good over bad bacteria.
Exercise can be as simple as taking a long walk every day. However, keep in mind, that with exercise, you get out what you put in. So push the intensity (while keeping it safe) and start reaping the benefits of exercise!
As we have discussed in several posts, sleep is restoration for your body (you can read our recent article on non-REM sleep here). Sleep helps to keep our 'body clocks' on schedule. Sleep helps to repair and rejuvenate the body so we can be our best day after day. The process of repair and rejuvenation via sleep is widespread, and the gut is no exception.
If you are looking for a high quality sleep aid supplement, check out our line of natural sleep aids!
Nourish your gut-brain connection, sustain your sleep-gut connection, and thrive on a fit and happy microbiome!
Dr. Allison Brager is a neuroscientist specializing in the physiology and genetics of sleep and performance. She is author of Meathead: Unraveling the Athletic Brain, which debunks the myth of the "dumb jock" and serves as a manual for optimizing athletic performance through neuroscience. Outside of the laboratory, she is a former college athlete, Crossfit Games team athlete, and is still active in track and field: pole vault and hurdles.
Other Resources for Optimizing Sleep:
1. My book, “Meathead: Unraveling the Athletic Brain” describes several "neurohackers" for bettering athletic performance through science.
2. Podcast on How to 10x Your Sleep.