Water, Water, Everywhere!

Yes, I know it’s been a while. Too long. I’m sorry about that. I’ve neglected my blog and should pay for it, but alas, I can only get mad at myself. The best way to fix it is to just write! Stop delaying and just do it. Anyway, that’s my pep talk of the day. For now, I want to talk about something that I “prescribe” to my clients the day I meet them.

Drinking warm water with lemon, first thing in the morning.

Something so simple, natural, and holistic will become something that will change your life. I promise.

I can see you shaking your head in disbelief through the computer screen. But, I came prepared. I knew there would be doubters, so let me give you five reasons why adding warm water with lemon to your morning routine will help you look and feel better, instantly.

  1. I find that the warm water and lemon “gets things moving” in the morning, and science backs me up there! Lemon contains pectin fiber, super beneficial for colon health and also a known antibacterial agent (think of all those ‘lemon’ scented cleaning products.)

    When Life Gives You Lemons, You'll Be Happier!
    When Life Gives You Lemons…
  2. Beat the common cold this winter! Lemon also helps balanced your body’s pH by creating an alkalizing effect in the body. A balanced pH in your body will help you fight infections by keeping your body alkalized instead of acidic, which is a breeding ground for anaerobic pathogens. When you have high levels of hydrogen, that bad bacteria stays inactive. Lemon is also an excellent source of Vitamin C which protects the body against immune system deficiencies.
  3. Lemon helps strengthen the liver, providing energy to its enzymes, helping them dilute. Toxins are flushed out and it encourages your body to produce bile, which aids in digestion.
  4. Say goodbye to aches and pains! By drinking warm water and lemon in the morning, pain and inflammation in the joints and knees will be reduced because of the diminishing amount of uric acid. When you have a build up of uric acid in your body, it deposits like broken crystals throughout your joints. But, when your cells and joints are lubricated, you’ll feel better!
  5. And say hello to gorgeous skin! We all know that drinking enough water throughout the day will help your skin stay supple and soft, however, did you know that it will also help reduce wrinkles and acne?

So there you go, five reasons for you to boil some water first thing in the morning, add a squeeze of lemon, drink, and then go on with your day. It’s best to spend a few extra dollars, if you can, on organic lemons if you’re planning on putting the lemon into your drink. Or just squeeze the lemon and toss the rind in the garbage if you’re buying conventional.

Also, always be sure to brush your teeth after you drink your lemon water since lemon can ruin the enamel of your teeth (which is why you’re diluting it in water!)

And once you drink your warm lemon water in the morning, be sure to keep drinking water throughout the day. Remember that when you are thirsty, your body is already dehydrated!

Until next time, ‘Bee Well,’

Melissa

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Winter Health: Staying Happy and Healthy with Vitamin D

Winter has shown very little signs of relenting in the Northeast. In Philadelphia alone, a 130-year-old record was shattered when, for the first time in history, the city had four different 6+-inch snowfalls in one season. However, it’s the bitter cold that has driven many of us into hibernation and some of us into having the winter blues.

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We’re All Sick of Hibernating

This winter we’ve experienced below freezing temperatures for days at a time, high wind gusts, and overcast days. As a New Jersey resident, I expect snow and cold, however, when it comes on without any 40-50 degree breaks, it can be extremely depressing. Well, since we’re, yet again, in a bitter cold blast as the reporters like to say, I wanted to share my favorite “Winter Pick Me Upper” that will leave you feeling a little brighter. After all, spring is just around the corner!

Vitamin D – The Winter Blues Cure?

One of the best supplements to add to your routine, especially in the winter, is vitamin D. Our body needs the sun to produce vitamin D, however depending on where you live, the recommended levels can be almost impossible to achieve with the winter sun. The hormone is made in the skin after being exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet light. Even in the summer, when the sun is out the longest and at its peak, many people still don’t get enough vitamin D because many sunscreens block the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Don’t get me wrong, wearing sunscreen is an absolute must in the sun, however going out during off peak hours for just 30 minutes (morning or evening) without sunscreen can help you rev up your vitamin D levels.

Staying Happy and Healthy for Spring's Arrival
Staying Happy and Healthy for Spring’s Arrival

So I’ve told you how difficult it is to get the recommended levels of vitamin D in your system, but why would you care and what does this have to do with staying happy in the winter? Well, I’m happy you asked! vitamin D has been shown to increase brain health and emotional well-being. According to Dr. Weil, “Receptors for vitamin D occur throughout the brain, and it appears to play an important role in the development and function of that organ, including the activity of neurotransmitters that affect mood.” Not surprisingly, low levels of vitamin D are related to seasonal affective disorder.

Not only can vitamin D elevate your mood, but it can also help you combat the flu and the common cold. Countless studies have continued to find the extraordinary benefits that vitamin D provides. One study found that vitamin D tempers the damaging inflammatory response of some white blood cells, while it also boosts immune cells’ production of microbe-fighting proteins.

These are just two of the many ways vitamin D supports your body and immune system.

Adding Vitamin D to Your Diet

TWL-01224-1Now the next question becomes, since it’s almost impossible to get naturally, how do you achieve the proper levels of vitamin D in your diet? And there’s only one answer – supplements. Now, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to get your daily dose by eating foods rich in vitamin D. Some great options are adding fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel, fortified milk or juice, egg yolks, liver, and my favorite, cod liver oil to your daily diet. However, the best way to make sure you’re getting your vitamin D levels is by adding a supplement to your diet. I take about 2,000 IU per day (from a combination of my multivitamin, vitamin D, and cod liver oil).

Farm Fresh Eggs
Farm Fresh Eggs

Always be sure to check with your doctor before adding a supplement to your diet, an excessive intake of vitamin D (what excessive actually defines is different according to many doctors some put it at 4,000 IU while others are well above 10,000 IU) can cause problems such as kidney damage. You can also contact me for more information and guidance.

If you’re feeling blue this winter, try adding some vitamin D to your diet. It will leave you feeling happier and healthier, just in time for spring’s arrival!

‘Bee’ Well,

Melissa
info@MBeeWell.com

‘Souper Soup’ to Fight Off That Chill

Luckily for me, I just returned from an amazing vacation skiing in British Columbia. Unfortunately for me, I caught something and am feeling a little under the weather. Not exactly what you need when you have to “get back in the swing of things.”

garlicThis year, despite the freezing temperatures and countless cold and flu warnings, I’ve been able to stay healthy all season, giving major credit to my kick ass immune system that I built up over the past few years, especially with Vitamin D supplements (more on that in another post). So how can I bump up my immune system? By making a nutrient packed ‘souper soup!’

My nutrient packed ‘souper soup’ is full of cold fighters and immune boosters including garlic, tumeric, cayenne, ginger and sweet potatoes. Here’s some tidbits about what these perceivably small ingredients do for your body in a big way!

Power Packed Ingredients

Garlic – A well-known antioxidant that also has antimicrobial, antiviral and antibiotic properties, garlic has been used as a decongestant and expectorant for decades. It packs a punch with Vitamin C, enzymes, and minerals, all which help you fight that cold. The best way to get all these effects is eating fresh raw garlic – yes, I know. For beginners, crush a clove and leave it for 15 minutes, then smear on a piece of toast with a bit of honey or olive oil to decrease the intense flavor and be sure to eat it with whomever you’re with that night otherwise you’ll be very lonely!

Turmeric-Root-and-Powder-1024x666Tumeric – This little root helps the immune system fight off bacteria and viruses, also providing sources of manganese and potassium (two immunity supporters).

Cayenne – Even if you’re not into a lot of spice, be sure to add a pinch of cayenne. Capsaicin, the active ingredient in cayenne, thins mucus in your nasal passages allowing you to breathe freely without the vapor rub! If you’re brave, try out a “flu shot” made with cayenne, lemon, ginger, and hot water. Don’t let your lips touch the cayenne – I warned you!

Ginger – Used by Chinese herbalists for centuries, ginger is an antihistamine and decongestant. It’s warming effect on the body also helps with chills.

Sweet Potatoes – They don’t just taste amazing, they’re loaded with beta-carotene which helps your body create white blood cells that help you fight off infections.

Ready to fight off that bug you’ve been combatting? Here’s an easy recipe for my ‘souper soup!’

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‘Souper Cold Fighting Soup’

Serves 4

4 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled, scrubbed, and chopped into bite size pieces
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, scrubbed, and chopped
1 cup cooked black beans
1/2 cup frozen kale (or 1 1/2 cups of fresh kale)
3 chicken breasts (poached then use a fork to pull apart)
2 cloves garlic, chopped and minced
1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and chopped or grated (use a microplane)
1 tablespoon tumeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne (or more if you like it hot!)
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil (you can substitute with olive oil)

Heat a dutch oven and add the coconut oil or olive oil. Toss in the onions until translucent (5 minutes), then add the garlic. When the garlic is fragrant add the ginger, tumeric, cumin, and cayenne. This allows them to “blossom” as the chefs say. Then add your sweet potatoes and carrots. Stir to combine and after a few minutes, add enough water (or broth) to cover the top of the potatoes. Once the pot has come to a boil, decrease the heat to simmer and put the top on. (If you’re using fresh kale, add that now in batches).

Once the potatoes are fork tender, add the beans, pulled chicken, and kale. Let sit for 10 – 15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Do you have a ‘go to’ cold fighting remedy that doesn’t involve over the counter medication? Let me know below!

Until next time, stay healthy and as always ‘bee well,’

Melissa