koo koo for coconut oil!

Every time I go to the grocery store, I see coconut oil. It seems to be everywhere in some form in every aisle. I like coconut, and although I know nothing about coconut oil, I was interested. The marketing gimmicks seemed to get the best of me. I broke down and purchased some coconut oil without even knowing how I was going to use it. It’s been setting on my counter for a few weeks now, and I decided it was time to research how to use this new fad food.

After much reading and research on many different sites, I copied and pasted (and came up with a few of my own) ways that I can use coconut oil in the kitchen and elsewhere.

  • Two tablespoons per day taken orally are proven to rev up metabolism.
  • Replace vegetable oil with coconut oil when baking - it's a different taste, but it's not bad. The sweetness adds to a cookie recipe, brownie recipe, etc., and it's healthy.
  • Add a tablespoon of coconut oil into morning smoothies. It's a great compliment to 1st Step Pro Wellness vanilla whey protein powder.
  • One teaspoon taken in the afternoon can provide a burst of energy instead of drinking a caffeinated energy drink.
  • Use coconut oil when shaving - this will provide a moisturizer at the same time.
  • Replace butter, cooking spray, vegetable oil, etc. with coconut oil.
  • Coconut oil is safe to use on a baby, and is helpful in treating diaper rash.
  • Coconut oil also helps fade age spots. Rub on hands or other areas affected by age spots.
  • Coconut oil will help relieve the burn of a sunburn after too much sun.
  • It also works as a suntan lotion by keeping skin moisturized during a day at the beach.
  • And my personal favorite, which I have tested and found to be true. . .coconut oil helps clear eczema spots on the skin. I've tried all kinds of expensive creams to treat my eczema and nothing has worked as well as good ol' coconut oil.

I hope this information helps you and that you are able to try some of the suggested uses for coconut oil. This oil is inexpensive and can be found at the grocery store.

 

 

 

Make sure your meals are "colorful"

Go for color when choosing fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and vegetables offer many refreshing and tasty choices. They are also a smart pick because they are low in calories and high in vitamins, mineral, and fiber.

Colorful fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants which may help prevent some diseases. These antioxidant compounds have been shown in studies to help reduce both the effects of bad cholesterol and the risk of cancer. 

To help protect against illness, choose a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables - the more colorful, the better.

Red = cranberries. Fresh or dried, cranberries are a good source of vitamin C and fiber.  Raspberries and strawberries. They are high in vitamin C.


Orange = sweet potatoes, pumpkin and carrots. They contain vitamin A, which helps the skin block infection-causing germs. 


Yellow = corn and green spinach. They boast carotenoids, which are being studied for potential heart-protecting benefits. 

Purple = grape juice. It’s loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants.

In addition to choosing an array of beautifully colored fruit and vegetables to help keep you healthy, be sure to supplement your diet with 1st Step Pro Wellness liquid vitamins.

Foods That Strangely Resemble The Body Parts They’re Good For

I can't take credit for writing this, but I do think it is worth sharing. I have seen this before and was delighted when I came across it again today. Enjoy.

There’s no question that maintaining a nutritious diet can help keep your body healthy. But when it comes to which foods can specifically benefit which body parts, science remains surprisingly sketchy. But nature gives us a big clue as to what foods help what part of our body!

Here are 10 foods that mirror the body parts they provide nutrients for—for example, brain-boosting walnuts actually look like a brain. Coincidence? Maybe. Though these healthy foods are beneficial to the whole body, the list below is a fun reminder of what to eat to target specific areas. Remember, most of these foods are more beneficial when eaten raw.

  • A sliced Carrot looks like the human eye. According to science, eating carrots greatly enhances blood flow to the eyes. Carrot gets their orange color from a plant chemical called beta-carotene, which reduces the risk of developing cataracts. The chemical also protects against macular degeneration an age-related sight problem that affects one in four individuals over the age of 65. If one tries to pop a pill of beta-carotene it doesn’t have the same effect, says scientists at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, USA.
  • A Tomato has four chambers and is red in color, so also the heart is red and has four chambers. Research has confirmed that tomatoes are loaded with lycopine and it is indeed pure heart and blood food.
  • Grapes resembles the alveoli of the lungs. The lungs are made of branches of ever-smaller airways that finish up with tiny branches of tissue called alveoli. These structures allow oxygen to pass from the lungs to the blood stream. A diet high in fresh grapes has shown to reduce the risk of lung cancer and emphysema. Grape seeds also contain a chemical called proanthocyanidin, which is thought to reduce the severity of asthma triggered by allergy. One reason that premature babies struggle to survive is that, these alveoli do not begin to form until 23 to 24 week of pregnancy.
  • A Walnut looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebellums. Even the wrinkles or folds on the nut are similar to those of the neo-cortex. Scientists claim that walnuts help in developing over three dozen neuron-transmitters within the brain enhancing the signaling and encouraging new messaging link between the brain cells. Walnuts help warding off dementia. They also extract and break down the protein based plaques associated with Alzheimer’s diseases, according to a study by Dr. James Joseph of Tuft University in Boston.
  • Kidney Beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function and are shaped exactly like the human kidneys (hence their name). Kidney beans provide a variety of minerals and vitamins, and so are generally beneficial for your health. If your kidneys are healthy, kidney beans can -- when consumed as part of a balanced diet -- contribute to your kidney health. If your kidneys are diseased, you might need to moderate your intake of kidney beans.
  • Celery, Rhubarb, Bok-choy and more look just like bones structure. These foods specifically target bone strength. Bones are made up of 23% sodium and these foods have sodium in them. If you don’t have enough sodium in your diet the body pulls it from the bones, making them weak. These foods replenish the skeletal needs of the body.
  • Avocados and Pears are good for the health and functioning of the womb and cervix of the female and look just like these organs. Modern research shows that when a woman eats one avocado a week, it balances the birth hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight and can even prevent cervical cancer. It even takes exactly nine months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit, just like a human baby! There are said to be over 14,000 photolytic chemical constituents of nutrition in each one of these foods.
  • Figs are full of seeds and hang in twos when they grow. Studies have shown that Figs increase the mobility of male sperm and increase the sperm count as well as overcoming male sterility.
  • Sweet Potatoes resemble the pancreas and can actually balance the glycemic index of diabetics. The oblong sweet potato bears a strong resemblance to the pancreas, and also promotes healthy function in the organ. "Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, which is a potent antioxidant that protects all tissues of the body, including the pancreas, from damage associated with cancer or aging," says Somer.
  • Olives assist the health and function of the ovaries. An Italian study found that women whose diets included a lot of olive oil had a 30% lower risk of ovarian cancer. The reasons are unclear, but the healthy fats in the oil may help suppress genes predisposed to causing cancer.
  • Grapefruits, Oranges, and other citrus fruits look just like the mammary glands of the female and actually assist the health of the breasts and the movement of lymph in and out of the breasts. The similarity between round citrus fruits––like lemons and grapefruit––and breasts may be more than coincidental. "Grapefruit contains substances called limonoids, which have been shown to inhibit the development of cancer in lab animals and in human breast cells," says Dr. Moulavi.
  • Eating a Banana will cheer you up and put a smile on your face. This popular fruit contains a protein called tryptophan, when digested it gets converted into a neurotransmitter called serotonin, which is a mood regulating chemical in the brain. Banana can be termed as an antidepressant drug, since it adjusts the level of serotonin production in the brain.
  • Onions look like the body's cells. Research shows onions clear waste materials from all of the body cells. They even produce tears which wash the epithelial layers of the eyes. 
  • Ginger looks like the stomach and it also aids in digestion. Indians and Chinese have been using it for over 5000 years to calm stomach and cure nausea, and motion sickness. It also slows down the growth rate of bowel tumors.
  • A Mushrooms when sliced in half resembles the shape of the human ear. Mushrooms improve hearing abilities, since they contain Vitamin D, which is healthy for bones, especially the 3 tiny bones in the ear that transmit sound to the brain.
  • And finally, Broccoli – the close-up of tiny green tips on a broccoli head looks like 100 of cancer cells. A team of researchers at US National Cancer Institute found a weekly serving of broccoli was enough to reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 45%.

Wait, I Can't Eat That. . .What? - Adventures in Digestive Diseases

ulcerative colitits.jpg

When I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, an autoimmune digestive disease, I thought my healthy life was over. The doctors and nutritionists warned me of the dangers of eating raw vegetables, especially salad (Wait, what?) because of the pain and damage they could cause. I was placed on a low-fiber, low-residue diet and given an extremely short list of foods I could eat, which included mashed potatoes and ice cream but no raw veggies or fruits, no whole grains, and nothing crunchy. 

I pretty much lived on plain baked potatoes (no skin) and hummus for the next four months, but as I went into remission, I began to slowly add healthy foods back into my diet. Now, I eat a pretty balanced diet, but I know there are many people with food intolerances and allergies as well as other issues, such as IBS, Crohn's, and Colitis, who have no idea what to eat. 

When I talk to individuals with digestive problems, the first question they ask is, "How do you get enough to eat?" Getting enough calories can be difficult when planning meals around food restrictions, so I try to make sure I eat a few calorie-dense foods at every meal - usually in the form of avocados or rice. A tablespoon of olive or coconut oil for sautéing veggies is also a great way to add some healthy fats (and a few more calories) to a meal. 

If those options aren't appealing, the best thing I have found for adding more healthy calories to my day is a giant smoothie with protein, fruit, and greens. I buy frozen fruit and almond milk at the store and blend them with a couple of cups of spinach and a scoop of 1st Step French Vanilla Whey Protein. My nutritionist has told me to be careful with dairy, but 1st Step's protein powders are extremely gentle on my digestive system. 

Another problem that comes with digestive diseases is malabsorption, which means that when we eat food, we do not absorb all the nutrients from them. This means we can suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies even if we eat a balanced, healthy diet. The way I combat this is by taking 1st Step's liquid multivitamin and liquid b-12. Liquid vitamins are easily absorbed, and 1st Step's liquid vitamins don't make me feel queasy, which is often a problem with vitamins in pill form. 

The final thing to remember is to listen to your body. Kale might be an option, but if it makes you sick, don't eat it. No health food is worth risking your digestive health! If you have trouble figuring out what you can and can't eat, definitely talk to a nutritionist or dietician, who will be able to help you make a plan. It's also a good idea to be tested for food allergies so that you know what you can't eat. And just remember: Live healthy. Look healthy. Be healthy.

 

What I have learned from being a 1st Step Pro Wellness Ambassador

I have had the great honor of spending the last year as a product ambassador for 1st Step Pro Wellness. Throughout this year I have enjoyed sharing the 1st Step product line with people and seeing the great results they achieved from using the products.

I had the privilege of introducing the Melatonin to someone who had tried everything under the sun (including prescription medication), and now thanks to 1st Step, she gets a good night’s sleep every night. I have introduced countless people to the B12 and they will not go a day without it because they actually feel the difference it makes on their energy levels. On a more personal note, I have seen my husband transition to a person who never misses his daily vitamins. 

While the products are no doubt making a huge difference in my life and the lives of others, I see my role as an ambassador for 1st Step Pro Wellness as much more than that. Through the company I have learned that being fit and healthy does not mean you look a certain way, you can run a certain speed, or even lift a certain amount of weight. Being healthy is about making good decisions and doing the things necessary to take yourself to the next level (wherever that level may be). 

As I embark upon my second year as a 1st Step Pro Wellness ambassador, I look forward to sharing the positive message and the fundamentals of the company to help people realize that a healthy lifestyle is within their reach and no matter where they are starting, they are at the perfect starting point for a healthy life. Thanks for a great first year 1st Step; I know year two is going to be even greater!

 

Small Changes Equal Big Results

So many people take their eyes off of the bigger picture when it comes to health and fitness. They are only concerned with how they look. There’s so much more to it than that. One must ask themselves, how do I feel?

Your body begins to change from the inside out as you start making healthy choices. Some people don’t know where to start or think that they are in over their head when they start a new healthy lifestyle. Below are some ways that you can start making changes:

1.) Drink more water. Some people hate plain water. Add fruit to it (it doesn’t matter if it is berries, apples, lemon, or oranges). Add a little Crystal Light to it or drink unsweetened tea. 


2.) Walk more. Park farther away from the store when you go shopping so you have farther to walk. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Try to set aside an hour a day for physical activity. It doesn’t matter if it is at a gym or at home. 


3.) Sleep more. It’s important to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. If you’re getting fewer than that, go to bed 30 minutes earlier. It might not seem like a lot but once you get used to that, go to bed 30 minutes earlier again. There you have an extra hour of sleep. If you get a day that you can spend at home, then take a nap.

 
4.) Eat better. Make better changes as you go. You don’t have to start off with steamed broccoli and plain tilapia. Start small. Remove cheese from your salads. Grill your meat instead of frying it. Choose whole grain over enriched products. Pick fresh produce over canned. 

It is my hope that these little tips will set you on a course for the best changes you can make for your health and well-being. You’ll see changes over time, but you’ll feel better much sooner!

 

Nuts to you!

Two handfuls of your favorite nuts are healthier than two handfuls of potato chips multiplied 10 times. Nuts are tasty and make great snacks and they offer more than just stomach-fillers. They actually contain nutrition to help you gain muscle. Here are five kinds of nuts that ensure bodybuilding results.

·         Almonds: Two handfuls of almonds help lower the risk of heart disease because of their manganese and Vitamin E content, which lower the risk of oxidative damage. Their high protein content ensure muscles get a steady source of amino acids.

·         Pistachios: Pistachio nuts might contain high fat and carbohydrate content, but it is undeniable that they provide a great amount of protein and fiber. Pistachios also have high Vitamin B6 amounts.

·         Walnuts: Most people regard walnuts as super foods because they contain great amounts of alpha-linolenic and linolenic acid. Omega-3 helps the heart avoid disease and allows muscles to keep more protein.

·         Cashews: Cashews might actually make you fat with its very high fat content, but eating a handful of these nuts actually gives you a high Omega-3 advantage. Cashews also contain plenty of iron, zinc and other minerals.

·         Peanuts: Consuming peanuts or eating peanut butter actually gives you high protein, dietary fiber and antioxidants for the body. By consuming peanuts, you actually gain potassium, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, niacin, and folate.

So, next time you want a crunchy, salty snack. . . don't reach for the chips, opt for the nuts instead!