Healthy Oceans Healthy Us

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June 8 is World Oceans Day. The special day draws our awareness to the health of our oceans around the world.

As I read articles I realized how crucial the connection is between our health and the oceans’ health. Healthy oceans, healthy us. Unhealthy oceans, unhealthy us.

While my posts on Journey With Healthy Me typically focus on health and wellness for humankind, I felt compelled to share a different kind of post tonight.

Our futures and the future of our planet depend on the health of our oceans. And how are Earth’s oceans faring? They are in trouble.

Healthy Oceans Healthy Us title meme

The Heart and Lungs of the Planet

No matter where you live, you are connected to the oceans. Even land locked midwesterners, like me, are intricately linked to the seas.

The oceans of Earth are the heart and lungs of the planet. They produce over half of the world’s oxygen and absorb 50 times more carbon dioxide than the atmosphere. Covering 70% of the earth’s surface, oceans transport heat from the equator to the poles, regulating climate and weather patterns.

Oceans are also important in the transportation and trade industry, and in providing jobs, food and ingredients used in medicines.

Plus there are health benefits associated with being near the sea. Swimming in the ocean improves blood circulation, helps with joint pain, improves muscular strength and promotes longevity. The salty seawater contains minerals that help moisturize and heal the skin.

Beyond the physical benefits, being near the ocean lowers stress and anxiety, reduces heart and respiration rates and eases depression.

Healthy Oceans Healthy Us Mediterranean Sea
Healthy Oceans Healthy Us – Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Italy.

Threats to the Oceans

Human activities are threatening the health of the oceans, which in turn threatens our own wellbeing.

More than 80% of marine pollution comes from land based activities. From coral bleaching to a rise in sea level, the whole marine ecosystem is rapidly changing.

Threats to the oceans include:

  • global warming
  • pesticides and agricultural products that end up in coastal waters, depleting oxygen and killing marine life and plants
  • sewage and runoff from factories and industrial plants
  • oil spills
  • overfishing which is depleting fish and sea life
  • pollution
  • plastics that end up in the oceans, disrupting the eco-system and killing marine life
  • invasive species of algae that thrive in waters that have warmed up, disrupting the ecological balance
Beach Pollution
Healthy Oceans Healthy Us – beach pollution

Healing Our Oceans

Remember the four Rs of taking care of the planet and the oceans…Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Refuse.

Here are things we can all do to ensure healthy oceans, healthy us.

Reduce Energy Consumption

By reducing energy use we reduce the effects of climate change on the oceans. Leave the car at home as often as possible. Walk or ride a bike when you can. Switch to LED lightbulbs at home. Take the stairs. Turn off lights when leaving the room. Also turn off appliances, computers and other electrical devices when not in use. Raise the thermostat in summer and lower it in winter. Support clean alternative energy solutions.

Plant a garden or shop farmer’s markets and co-ops. Buy organic produce when possible. Eat a plant based diet.

Make Sustainable Seafood Choices

Fish populations are rapidly depleting due to demand, loss of habitat and unsustainable fishing practices. When dining out or shopping for seafood, reduce the demand on overexploited species by choosing seafood that is sustainable.

Better yet, stop eating seafood.

Eliminate Plastic Products

Plastics that end up in the ocean cause habitat destruction and entangle and kill tens of thousands of marine animals every year.

Help by eliminating plastic water bottles. Carry a reusable metal water container instead. Store leftover food in reusable glass containers. Carry your own cloth shopping bags to stores. And recycle or reuse if you do purchase items in plastic cartons.

Avoid single use plastics such as straws, plasticware, cups, bags and bottles.

Plastic water bottles
Healthy Oceans Healthy Us – stop using plastics

Don’t Purchase Items that Harm Marine Life

Educating ourselves about the products we buy helps protect marine life. Certain products, such as some sunscreens, damage coral reefs and marine populations.

Never flush kitty litter which contains pathogens harmful to marine animals. Don’t purchase coral jewelry, tortoiseshell hair accessories (made from hawksbill turtles) and shark products. Squalene, often found in cosmetics, is derived from sharks.

Create Change Through Choices

Support organizations working to protect oceans and marine life. Volunteer to clean a beach. Sign petitions to promote ocean-friendly legislation and sustainable ocean policies.

Patronize restaurants and grocery stores that offer only sustainable seafood. Do ocean presentations at schools and organizations. And support ocean artists and film makers by watching their documentaries. A couple of good documentaries to watch: Seaspiracy and My Octopus Teacher, both on Netflix.

Purchase products that reduce the impact on the earth and the oceans.

Refuse straws at restaurants. Carry metal straws if you must drink with a straw.

Don’t Attend Dolphin and Marine Life Shows

Many people are becoming increasingly concerned about the practice of keeping marine animals in captivity. Marine animals are ecologically connected to the ocean environment. They do not thrive in confinement. Say no to dolphin and large marine life shows.

Healthy Oceans Healthy Us dolphin
Healthy Oceans Healthy Us – dolphins belong in the sea

Healthy Oceans Healthy Us

I noticed a shift in my awareness, when I began a plant based lifestyle.

First I focused on my own body and my own health. As my health and wellbeing improved I became appreciative of the wonders of the human body and how a healthy body responds.

Then my attention focused outward, on the health and wellbeing of others. This blog is a result of that shift. I want other people to experience their optimal health as well and live a full, vibrant life.

And finally, my awareness expanded to encompass the earth and the health and wellbeing of the planet and all life. I’m mindful of the impact I have on the earth and all its inhabitants. My desire is to take care of myself, help others take care of themselves and for all of us, together, to take care of our home, Planet Earth.

We must pay attention to what’s happening with the world’s oceans. To thrive here in health, our oceans must thrive too.

For World Oceans Day…and every day…we can do our part to ensure a future for the oceans and for ourselves. Won’t you join me?

Appreciating the Mediterranean Sea
Appreciating the Mediterranean Sea.

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Summer Health Tips

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Is it just me…or is this year flying by? By the end of this month, half of the year will be gone. June also brings the beginning of summer with all its delights, wonders and adventures.

For the best season, full of beauty, experiences and fun, check out these summer health tips.

Summer Health Tips title meme

Summer Health Tips

Many people claim summer as their favorite season. School is out. Vacations and road trips get under way. Long warm days make lakes and swimming pools inviting. And adventures of all kinds beckon.

It’s the perfect season for family gatherings, cook outs and celebrations. And there is something so magical about summer evenings. Fireflies, shooting stars, cozy fires crackling in fire pits all contribute to the wonder.

Keep yourself and family members healthy, to make this most of the season, with these simple tips.

Stay Hydrated

The number one challenge with summer is staying hydrated. Most people simply do not drink enough water, causing chronic dehydration. During the warmer months, we are at greater risk of dehydration due to working and playing outdoors and excessive sweating.

The following signs of dehydration are symptoms that indicate the body is not receiving enough water and/or is already chronically dehydrated.

Signs of Dehydration

  • constipation
  • dark urine
  • headaches
  • lightheadedness and dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • muscle cramps
  • rapid heartbeat
  • extreme thirst
  • less frequent urination
  • no tears
  • unsatisfied hunger
  • fatigue
  • low blood pressure
  • skin disorders
  • brain fog
  • irritability
  • kidney stones

There is varying information about how much water we need. However, a good guide is 72 ounces for adult women and 104 ounces for adult men. This is a general guideline. Exercising, working outdoors or warm temperatures may up the requirement for liquids.

To stay hydrated during the summer months, try these tips

  • carry water at all times, in a metal or glass container, and refill throughout the day
  • drink at least one glass of water with every meal
  • increase water amount when exercising or outdoors in hot weather
  • juice fruits and veggies
  • start the day with a lemon or lime water, followed by a glass of freshly prepared celery juice for amazing health benefits (Want to know even more about this miraculous drink? Visit www.celeryjuice.com and pick up Anthony’s book about celery juice HERE.)
  • include two or more cups of herbal teas during the day
  • keep a pitcher of infused water in the fridge, adding herbs, veggies or fruit for flavor
  • eat your water, with high water content foods such as watermelon, berries, pineapple, cucumbers and tomatoes.

Read my full article about foods that help hydrate HERE.

Eat Lightly

During the summer, enjoy the bounty that gardens produce. Visit a farmer’s market if you don’t grow your own veggies and begin your grocery shopping in the fresh fruits and veggies section.

This is the time for simple, easily prepped meals that include raw or lightly cooked veggies and lots of fresh fruit.

Include berries, melons, tomatoes, peppers, okra, fresh herbs, squash and green beans. Try new to you vegetables or fruits too, to broaden your tastes.

Check out this recent POST for eight mouth watering salads that are definitely full of the goodness of summer.

Summer Health Tips hydration
Summer health tips – eat hydrating foods such as watermelon

Get Outdoors During Morning and Evening

Playing, working or exercising outdoors during the summer? Get outside in the mornings or evenings, when temperatures are lower and the sun is less intense.

If you must be out during the afternoon, seek out the shade as much as possible. And remember to carry water with you!

Protect Your Skin and Eyes

No matter what time of day you are outdoors, protect your skin and eyes.

Use at least a SPF 15 or higher sunscreen, applying 30 minutes before going out. Reapply after swimming or excessive sweating. Check out my blogging friend’s post, for the best vegan sunscreens!

Wear a wide brimmed hat to protect the face and sunglasses to shield eyes.

Summer Health Tips hiking
Summer health tips – enjoy the outdoors in the mornings and evenings.

Don’t Get Bugged

I have to admit that what I dislike about summer are pesky insects. As soon as the sun starts to set, mosquitos swarm around me in the garden. And veer off the path while hiking and I’m likely to encounter ticks or worse, chiggers.

Is this true for you?

Avoid insect repellents laden with harsh chemicals. Try using a natural repellent containing lemon or eucalyptus. I’ve had good luck with this DIY Mosquito Repellent. And also with soaking a cotton ball in Witch Hazel and rubbing it over exposed skin.

Around the yard, make sure water doesn’t collect in containers after a rain. That becomes a breeding ground for mosquitos. Keep the grass cut and garden or lawn debris cleared away.

After a hike or walk, check yourself and family members for ticks. Spray shoes, socks and ends of jeans or pants to help prevent chiggers from crawling up legs. Take a shower as soon as you return home and toss clothes…socks and underwear included…in the wash.

Plan an Active Vacation

While on vacation, plan activities such as hiking, walking, swimming, kayaking or canoeing. If you are doing a staycation at home, include gardening, lawncare, evening walks or outside games such as volleyball or badminton.

When visiting cities, explore on foot or via bicycling. Walking tours are a great way to get to know a city. I love walking around a new town, watching people and stopping in interesting shops.

Summer Health Tips kayak
Summer health tips – plan fun activities during vacation, such as kayaking.

Drink Responsibly

Excessive drinking is never good. Combine it with summertime and the results can be disastrous. Alcohol intensifies dehydration. Additionally, too much alcohol impairs judgment, coordination and balance, which can lead to accidents and injuries.

And did you know that 70% of adult and adolescent drownings involve alcohol?

Drink responsibly. Don’t operate a vehicle, including ATV, boats and motorcycles, while drinking. And stay out of the water!

Learn How to Swim

And speaking of playing in the water, make sure family members, especially children, know how to swim.

Many cities offer swimming lessons at community pools or local YMCAs. Swimming pools, lakes and even the ocean are enticing to children and adults. Make sure everyone knows how to swim and is familiar with basic water safety if your vacation includes water activities. It’s good for at least one adult to know CPR as well.

A drowning can happen in as little as two inches of water. Never, ever leave children unattended near water, even the bathtub.

On boats, make sure everyone wears a properly fitting life vest.

Summer Health Tips river fun
Summer health tips – practice water safety and teach children how to swim.

Fire Safety

Whether toasting marshmallows over a campfire, sitting around a fire pit or celebrating 4th of July with fireworks, practice fire safety.

When around a campfire or fire pit, always have water on hand to prevent fire from escaping its boundaries. Never leave a fire unattended. And properly extinguish the fire before leaving the area.

On camping trips carry a first aid kit that includes bandages and ointments in case of a minor burn.

Don’t allow children to handle fireworks without close supervision. Hundreds of people end up in the emergency room around the 4th of July, with injuries related to fireworks. Keep a bucket of water nearby and toss spent fireworks in, to make sure they are fully extinguished. Sparklers can reach a temperature of 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. Drop them into the bucket too. Stepping on a burned out sparkler on the ground can cause injury. And never try to relight a firework that didn’t completely ignite. Toss it.

Wear Lightweight Clothing

And finally, during the summer months, wear lightweight, light colored, loose fitting clothing. Those garments keep you cooler by helping sweat to evaporate more quickly.

I LOVE the clothes from Toad&Co. They are perfect for summer. And not only do  they offer stylish clothes, Toad&Co is a sustainable, eco-friendly company. I feel good wearing their clothes, and good about their garments.

Summer Health Tips lightweight clothes
Summer health tips – wear loose fitting, lightweight clothes, such as these from Toad&Co

Have a Healthy Summer

Do you love summertime?

As you enjoy the season, may you do so in optimal health and wellness! And may your adventures be many and your joys as abundant as the summer flowers that stretch toward the sun.

Summer Health Tips fire pit

Summer Finds from Amazon:

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

Prevent Skin Cancer

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May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month.

By raising awareness and sharing facts about the dangers associated with ultraviolet radiation exposure from the sun, the Skin Cancer Foundation hopes to save lives.

Fortunately, when caught early, skin cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer. With knowledge and awareness, we can prevent it.

Check out these skin cancer facts and ways to prevent the disease.

Prevent Skin Cancer title meme

Skin Cancer Facts

Skin cancer is the most common cancer, in the US and the world. Here’s what you need to know.

  • 1 in 5 Americans develop skin cancer by age 70
  • over age 50, more men than women develop melanoma
  • in the US, 9,500+ people receive a skin cancer diagnosis every day
  • 2+ people die of skin cancer every hour
  • 5 or more sunburns during a lifetime doubles the risk for melanoma
  • just 1 blistering sunburn during childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s chances of developing skin cancer later in life
  • early detection of skin cancer results in a 99% survival rate of 5 or more years
  • there are more skin cancer diagnoses yearly than all other cancers combined
  • ultraviolet radiation (UV) is a proven carcinogen and the leading cause of skin cancer
  • UV tanning devices reclassified to Class II moderate to high risk for skin cancer, in 2014
  • indoor tanning devices can emit 10 to 15 times more UV radiation than the sun at peak intensity
  • the more one uses indoor tanning devices, the higher the risk for skin cancer
  • overexposure to the sun causes 90% of skin aging
  • using a SPF 15+ sunscreen results in 24% less skin damage
Prevent Skin Cancer 1 in 5
Prevent skin cancer – 1 in 5 develop skin cancer by age 70

Skin Cancer Prevention

The good news is, skin cancer is preventable. It’s important to know that the sun reaches you even when you think you are avoiding it. UV radiation penetrates cloud cover and glass and bounces off of sand, snow and water. Additionally, sun damage accumulates over the years from simple daily activities such as walking outside, riding in the car, collecting the mail and playing outdoors with the kids.

Practice these tips to protect yourself.

  • seek shade between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm when sun is most intense. Note: during the morning or evening hours, 10 minutes of sunlight is good for our health.
  • don’t get sunburned
  • never use tanning devices such as tanning beds
  • cover skin with loose fitting clothes, a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses
  • use a broad spectrum UVA/UVB SPF 15+ sunscreen daily
  • for extended outdoor activities, use a water resistant SPF 30+ sunscreen
  • apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen over the entire body 30 minutes before going outdoors. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating.
  • keep newborn babies out of the sun. Apply sunscreen to babies six months old and older
  • examine skin from head to toe, including the scalp and hairline, once a month
  • see something new, unusual or changing on your skin? Get checked immediately.
Prevent Skin Cancer water
Prevent skin cancer – reapply sunscreen after swimming

Foods That Help Prevent Skin Cancer

There’s growing evidence that highly nutritious foods can help prevent skin cancer. It’s simple, really. Eat as healthily as you can, including foods that are rich in antioxidants.

UV exposure generates unstable free radicals that create inflammation in the body. Those free radicals also damage cells and the skin’s DNA. DNA damage causes changes genetically, resulting in mutations that lead to skin cancer.

Antioxidants fight free radicals, preventing inflammation and cell damage. While supplements are helpful when nutrient rich foods aren’t available, for the best protection against free radicals, eat your nutrition.

Include the following antioxidant nutrients:

Beta Carotene

This nutrient, found in orange fruits and veggies, converts to vitamin A in the body. Not only does beta carotene help prevent skin cancer, it boosts the immune system too.

  • carrots
  • squash
  • sweet potatoes
  • cantaloupe
  • apricots
  • mangoes

Lycopene

This is the red pigment found in certain foods. Studies discovered that people eating foods rich in lycopene experienced 40% less sunburns. It also lowers the risks of other cancers besides skin cancer.

  • tomatoes, including tomato products such as tomato paste or sauce
  • red, orange and yellow peppers
  • watermelon
  • guava
  • papaya
  • apricots
  • pink grapefruit
  • Cara Cara oranges and blood oranges

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3s inhibit a chemical called COX-2 that causes skin cancers to grow. They also reduce inflammation.

  • chia seeds
  • Brussels sprouts
  • algal oil – derived from algae
  • hemp seeds
  • walnuts
  • flaxseed

Polyphenols

Drinking green tea helps prevent skin cancer due to its powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties. Polyphenols in green tea repair DNA in sun exposed skin, reducing cell damage.

Selenium

This nutrient lowers the risk of all types of cancers and decreases cancer deaths.

  • Brazil nuts
  • cashews
  • brown rice
  • lentils and legumes
  • grains
  • spinach

Vitamin C

This vitamin helps calm inflammation and contains properties that make it toxic to cancer cells.

  • citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, oranges
  • berries such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries
  • leafy greens
  • broccoli
  • green peppers

Vitamin E

A proven antioxidant, vitamin E helps to prevent damage from free radicals, absorbs energy from UV light and contains potent anti-inflammatory properties. It also improves the skin’s ability to act as a protective barrier.

  • almonds and other nuts
  • sunflower seeds and other seeds
  • spinach

Zinc

Zinc keeps the immune system healthy to effectively fight cancer. It also activates antioxidants in the body and increases the level of proteins involved in DNA repair.

  • legumes
  • hummus
  • chickpeas
  • lentils
  • black beans
Prevent Skin Cancer carrots
Prevent skin cancer – eat highly nutritious foods

Protect Your Skin This Summer

As summer approaches, inviting you to play and explore more outdoors, protect your skin with these simple tips. And stay aware of changes or any unusual spots on the skin.

Don’t become one of the 5 million cases of skin cancer diagnosed this year. Take care of your body and unite against this disease. Together we can save lives!

For more information, visit the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Prevent Skin Cancer sunglasses

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

Eight Fresh Salads

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May is not only National Salsa Month, it’s also National Salad Month.

As one who embraces a plant based lifestyle, salads are an important mainstay of my diet. However, get the idea of boring salads, with limp iceberg lettuce and tasteless store bought tomatoes, out of your mind. My diet is most definitely NOT boring. And my salads aren’t either!

Check out this round up of eight fresh salads and make one…or all of them…in celebration of this versatile and healthy dish. Simply click the title of each salad below, to go to the recipe.

Eight Fresh Salads title meme

Chopped Veggie Salad

For a highly nutritious salad that works as a stand alone meal or a side dish, you can’t go wrong with a big bowl of chopped veggie salad. Light on greens, this salad includes a wide assortment of chopped veggies from zucchini to chickpeas to red onions. In fact, I use whatever vegetables I have on hand, and top the whole thing with diced avocado.

This mix of veggies is so good…and good for me…that I frequently crave a chopped veggie salad. Top with a sugar free dressing or make your own salad dressing.

Eight Fresh Salads chopped veggies
Eight fresh salads – chopped veggie salad

Lentil, Pomegranate, Kamut Grain Spiced Sumac Salad

From my blogging friend Megan, and her blog Basil and Bay, comes this wonderfully filling salad. Megan combines an ancient grain, called kamut, with lentils, red onion, almonds, pomegranate seeds, dried fruit and pumpkin seeds. This delightful salad combines crunchy, chewy, sweet, and salty ingredients for the perfect balance of flavor.

I can’t wait to try this salad! It looks amazing. Visit Megan’s blog to see all that she offers.

Eight Fresh Salads lentil pomegranate
Eight fresh salads – lentil, pomegranate, kamut grain. Photo from Basil and Bay website.

Radish Cucumber Dill Salad

This simple salad says “summer time” to me. It’s a great way to use garden fresh produce. And any salad with dill in it is a favorite of mine! I grow dill in my garden and love snipping sprigs to include in salads and homemade salad dressings.

This salad is versatile as well. Combine tomatoes, cucumbers and dill. Or add thinly sliced red onion.

Eight Fresh Salads radish cucumber
Eight fresh salads – radish cucumber dill

Orange, Avocado and Green Olives

Although it sounds like an unlikely combination, this salad is delicious and one of my favorite lunches. It combines the flavors of sweet, citrusy Cara Cara oranges, creamy sliced avocado and pungent green olives. I typically add a navel orange to the mix as well, even though I am a Cara Cara orange fiend! Add a sprinkle of chopped cilantro for extra flavor.

Eight Fresh Salads orange avocado
Eight fresh salads – orange, avocado and green olives

Arugula, Potato and Asparagus Salad

From author and teacher Anthony William comes this wonderful salad full of healing foods. It combines asparagus, brussels sprouts, and potatoes with fresh leafy greens, herbs, onion, and a simple dressing. The result is a highly nutritious and delicious meal. Click title link to find the recipe. Or purchase Anthony’s recently updated and revised book Medical Medium, now full of healing recipes.

Eight Fresh Salads arugula potato
Eight fresh salad recipes – arugula, potato, asparagus salad. Photo from Medical Medium website

Vegan Waldorf Salad

One of my favorite salads as a child, I love the combination of juicy red grapes, crisp apples and crunchy celery and walnuts. What about the mayo though? I was a happy lady when I discovered vegan mayonnaise. Waldorf salad is back in my life!

This light salad makes a great lunch or side dish. Look for the vegan mayo in health conscious grocery stores.

Eight Fresh Salads vegan waldorf
Eight Fresh Salads – vegan waldorf salad

Persian Shirazi Salad

From my blogging friend Maya comes this quick and easy salad full of simple, wholesome ingredients, dressed with olive oil and lime. Maya shares that the salad, named for the city in southwestern Iran, is found on almost on every Iranian table at practically every meal.

I can see why! This salad combines cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, green bell peppers and herbs for a flavorful dish that serves as a main meal or a side dish. Check out the recipe and Maya’s blog, Stirring My Spicy Soul, for more salad recipes and other delicious dishes.

And use a high quality extra virgin olive oil for your salad, such as Nina’s Olivar Almeria Gold. I can highly recommend it. I just ordered another bottle.

Eight Fresh Salads persian
Eight fresh salads – Persian Shirazi Salad. Photo from Stirring My Spicy Soul website

Potato and Herb Salad

This summer favorite gets a healthy twist! I love potato salad. This version, from Anthony William, uses fresh herbs such as chives, parsley and dill. It is full of flavor without using sugar, dairy products or eggs.

Try it at your next family gathering. Or eat the whole salad yourself!

Eight Fresh Salads herbed potato salad
Eight fresh salads – herbed potato salad

Which Salad Will You Make?

Do you love all these fresh salads? I got hungry, just typing up this post. One of these salads is on the menu for lunch tomorrow!

I hope you’ve seen that salads do not have to be boring. They are one of the most versatile and easily prepared dishes. And the recipes are forgiving. Add ingredients or take some away and discover just how fun it is to come up with your own amazing salad recipes.

Which of these eight fresh salads will you make?

Eight Fresh Salads ultimate salad

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Ease Arthritis Pain

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May is National Arthritis Awareness Month. Its purpose is to bring attention to a condition that affects 350 million people worldwide and 50 million people in the US including 350,000 children.

Arthritis is also the primary cause of disability in the US, costing $156 billion annually in medical costs and lost wages.

In this post, find out what arthritis is and how to ease arthritis pain, naturally.

Ease Arthritis Pain title meme

What is Arthritis?

There are three types of arthritis, which is an inflammatory disease.

  • Osteoarthritis – the most common form of arthritis, it occurs when cartilage at the end of a bone wears down, exposing bone nerve fibers
  • Rheumatoid arthritis – an autoimmune disorder characterized by inflammation and pain in the joints. Over time the inflammation breaks down joint tissue, causing permanent damage.
  • Psoriatic arthritis – occurs in conjunction with psoriasis, causing pain and swelling in the joint along with the tendons and ligaments attached to bones.

Arthritis isn’t just a disorder for older adults. Juvenile arthritis affects children as young as one. And two thirds of all people with arthritis are under the age of 65. However, with advanced age comes a higher risk for developing arthritis. Half of all adults over the age of 65 experience pain and swelling in their joints.

There are many medications that doctors prescribe for arthritis inflammation and pain. And I’m not advising that you stop medication. These tips that ease arthritis pain…and also help with inflammation…are natural remedies to try along with your current treatments. You might even find that you can reduce medications or eliminate them entirely, under a physician’s care, of course.

Ease Arthritis Pain knees
Ease arthritis pain – my knees

Ease Arthritis Pain

I’ve dealt with my share of arthritis pain. A serious car accident in 1995, at age 38, twisted my neck vertebrae and lower spine, damaged my sternum and ribs and set off an inflammatory…and viral…response in my body that affected those injured areas and my legs for more than 20 years.

The following tips eased my pain by reducing inflammation and swelling in joints, tendons and ligaments. Plus I’ve added a few tips that I’ve come across since my healing.

Eat Foods that Fight Inflammation

Right at the top of the tips list, is this most crucial suggestion: eat more fresh fruits and veggies. After the accident, I suffered pain for 20+ years and saw countless doctors and specialists, trying all kinds of treatments without success. Not once did anyone suggest that I try changing my diet. Anthony William, aka the Medical Medium, quite literally saved my life and ended my suffering. How? By suggesting a plant based lifestyle, via his social media posts and books.

For a complete list of inflammation fighting foods, and more about how my inflammation hid an underlying cause for my pain, click HERE.

On the short list of inflammation fighting foods, include more berries, cherries, watermelon, celery, onions, leafy greens, garlic, herbs, cloves and olive oil.

Avoid GMO corn, wheat, rye, eggs, beef, coffee and milk, as these foods can create more inflammation in the body.

Ease Arthritis Pain - olive oil
Ease arthritis pain – olive oil. Try this wonderful, high quality olive oil. Check out my post about it, Nina’s Olivar Almeria Gold Olive Oil.

Wash Dishes by Hand

This tip may surprise you! However, washing dishes by hand eases stiff, painful finger joints by immersing them in hot water. Plus the motions of washing and gripping each plate or cup exercises the hands and fingers which helps with joint pain.

Manage Weight

Carrying excess weight puts stress on joints, especially the hips, knees and feet. Losing extra weight improves mobility, reduces pain and prevents damage to joints. Eating more fruits and veggies not only fights inflammation, it helps to shed extra pounds too.

Drink Herbal Teas

An easy way to include inflammation and pain easing herbs in the diet is through herbal teas.

The three best to ease arthritis pain include:

  • ginger tea – mimics NSAIDs which relieve arthritis discomfort by curbing pain causing chemicals that are part of the body’s inflammatory response. Simmer slices of fresh ginger for 15 minutes in two cups of boiling water or purchase ginger tea bags.
  • lavender tea – eases pain and soothes the body by helping it to relax. Plus inhaling lavender’s scent while you drink the tea eases pain further. Steep two teaspoons of dried lavender in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Or purchase lavender tea bags.
  • chamomile tea – this soothing tea helps ease arthritis pain in two ways. Drink a cup of hot chamomile tea to relax tense muscles, tendons and ligaments. And make a chamomile poultice. Brew four chamomile tea bags in a cup of hot water. Steep for 20 minutes. Remove tea bags. Soak a clean cloth in the tea, wring out and apply to achy joints.

I just received this amazing loose leaf lavender and chamomile tea that’s the perfect combo for easing arthritis pain! Watch for a future blog post featuring this delicious tea. You can order now, however, through this LINK.

Ease Arthritis Pain lavender chamomile tea
A perfect tea combo for arthritis pain – lavender and chamomile

Aromatherapy

Certain scents can alter the perception of pain. Lavender, mentioned above, reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which helps lessen pain.

Other helpful pain reducing scents include marjoram, rosemary and peppermint.

Inhale crushed fresh herbs or use essential oils in a diffuser.

Make Your Own Heat Pad

Fill a clean cotton sock with uncooked rice and seal with string or sew it closed. Microwave on high for 2 – 3 minutes. Cool slightly then place on sore, achy joints. This DIY heat pad will stay warm for about 30 minutes. Add dried lavender, marjoram, rosemary or peppermint to the rice, for a warm pad with the extra benefits of aromatherapy!

Hot/Cold Therapy

Fill a container with ice water and a second container with hot water, as hot as you can tolerate without burning skin.

Begin with immersing achy fingers or hands into the ice water for one minute then switch to the hot water for 30 seconds. Keep alternating between the cold and hot water, for 15 minutes. Finish with the ice water.

For larger joints such as knees or the back, use bags of frozen vegetables and the DIY heat pad above. Alternate between the frozen veggies for one minutes then the heat pad for 30 seconds, for 15 minutes.

Supplements that Ease Arthritis Pain

Take these supplements daily, to fight inflammation and ease pain:

  • ginger
  • turmeric
  • boswellia
  • bromelain
  • vitamin C
  • stinging nettle
  • vitamin D or 10 minutes of sunshine a day
  • vitamin E
  • cat’s claw

I personally take eight of those supplements and I can tell a difference when I miss taking them. I recently started taking a supplement called Comfort Guard that reduces pain and inflammation with a combo of turmeric, ginger and boswellia.

Click on photo for more info or to order. This supplement is so helpful!

Massage

Massage can help manage joint pain and relieve inflammation. Seek out an experienced massage therapist who knows a variety of modalities for easing pain, stiffness and joint swelling and tenderness. And an experienced energy worker helps tremendously as well.

Meditation

Relaxation practices such as meditation, tai chi and yoga helps lower arthritis pain by lowering stress. And reducing stress also lowers inflammation.

Tai chi and yoga combine meditation with relaxation, breathing and movement, making them ideal for pain relief.

Incrediwear

Incrediwear products increase blood flow to reduce inflammation and swelling. They also relieve pain and accelerate recovery. Rather than using compression, Incrediwear products incorporate semiconductor elements within the fabric that release negative ions when stimulated by body heat.

Those negative ions activate cellular vibrations that speed up blood flow. The increased circulation brings more oxygen and nutrients to the target area, which supports the body’s natural healing process.

The company sells sleeves and braces, socks and apparel. Incrediwear products are especially helpful when an arthritic knee, ankle or foot gets injured, setting off an inflammatory response. I own two of the sleeves, one for each knee!

Low Impact Exercise

Contrary to what one might think, exercise is helpful for easing arthritis pain, in several ways.

Low impact exercises such as walking, swimming, cycling, gardening and tai chi keep joints limber and flexible, strengthen muscles around the joints, offering more support, and help manage weight.

Find an exercise that you enjoy and stick with it.

I speak to myself here. Every time I travel, especially internationally, I spend hours a day walking as I explore the region I’m in. The first few days, my knees protest mightily with aches and pains and stiffness. However, by the fourth day, my knee joints loosen up, move easily and freely, and the pain disappears.

Such beneficial results encourage me to continue walking when I return home. I don’t spend hours a day exploring back in my own city though, so eventually, the daily walks cease. I’m determined to walk more.

Increase Wellbeing by Easing Pain

I hope these tips help with your achy joints.

While a few temporarily ease discomfort, most, when practiced consistently, eliminate inflammation and pain with it.

Low impact exercise, meditation, herbal teas, managing weight, taking supplements and eating foods that fight inflammation can provide long term results. I know. I’m pain free now, except when I injure myself and set off an inflammatory response. The good news is, I know how to handle such a response and restore health.

My desire is to live my best life. To do so, I require a healthy body and high energy. Knowing how to care for my body is a key part of my overall wellness.

Which tip is most helpful for you?

Ease Arthritis Pain meditation

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Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

Six Easy Vegan Salsa Recipes

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The month of May is National Salsa Month. And today happens to be Cinco de Mayo. It’s the perfect time to celebrate with freshly made salsa.

And not just any salsa.

These six easy vegan salsa recipes come together in a few minutes, using healthy, wholesome ingredients.

At your next gathering or for a cozy family night watching Netflix, delight the taste buds with one of these delicious salsas and a bowl of chips.

For each recipe, simply click on the title link below.

Six Easy Vegan Salsa Recipes title meme

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

This is my favorite snack salsa. It makes an excellent appetizer to put out while family members or guests wait for the main meal.

This flavorful salsa comes together quickly using canned black beans and canned non GMO corn. Add the chopped veggies and the juice of two limes and let it chill for at least an hour. As the flavors blend the taste skyrockets! Serve with non GMO tortilla chips.

Six Easy Salsa Recipes black bean and corn
Six Easy Vegan Salsa Recipes – black bean and corn

Fresh Tomato Salsa

This Pico de Gallo recipe comes from Happy Kitchen.Rocks. Pico de Gallo is a salsa made from fresh diced vegetables. This yummy salsa features fresh tomatoes, cilantro or parsley, garlic, onions and diced jalapeno. Scoop it up with chips or top a Mexican inspired veggie bowl.

Six Easy Vegan Salsa Recipes pico de gallo
Six Easy Vegan Salsa Recipes – pico de gallo (photo from Canva)

Pineapple Salsa with Lime and Cilantro

This salsa with a sweet pineapple twist is the perfect accompaniment for summer cookouts. From Vegan Heaven, this salsa includes fresh pineapple and bell peppers. Serve along with grilled veggies and vegan burgers or as a light meal on its own. And for fun, serve the salsa in a pineapple bowl!

Six Easy Vegan Salsa Recipes pinapple
Six Easy Vegan Salsa Recipes – pineapple (photo from Vegan Heaven)

Homemade Restaurant Style Salsa

Love the free chips and salsa served in restaurants? Now you can make your own restaurant style salsa at home and enjoy it any time. In 10 minutes this easy recipe from Aromatic Essence is ready to eat with chips. Or use this salsa in any recipe that calls for it.

Six Easy Vegan Salsa Recipes restaurant style
Six Easy Vegan Salsa Recipes – restaurant style (photo from Aromatic Essence)

Avocado Mango Salsa

This sweet yet tangy treat from Rainbow Plant Life is another fresh salsa that pairs well with grilled veggies and vegan burgers. Or serve it up with non GMO chips for a great anytime snack. Simply chop veggies, mango and avocado and combine.

Six Easy Vegan Salsa Recipes mango and avocado
Six Easy Vegan Salsa Recipes – mango and avocado (photo from Rainbow Plant Life)

Tomatillo Avocado Salsa Verde

This verde salsa uses roasted tomatillos and avocados for a full of flavor green salsa. The recipe from Wholesome Yum provides simple step by step instructions for roasting the veggies in the oven and then blending them all for a yummy snack served with chips or as a salad or veggie bowl topping.

Six Easy Vegan Salsa Recipes tomatillo avocado verde
Six Easy Vegan Salsa Recipes – tomatillo avocado verde salsa (photo from Wholesome Yum)

Celebrate National Salsa Month

I don’t know about you, but I’m now hungry for salsa!

Celebrate National Salsa Month for the next four weeks by trying a different salsa recipe every week. With the variety offered here, you won’t get tired of salsa. Then again, does anyone ever tire of salsa??

Whether you are grilling outdoors, looking for a quick and easy appetizer, feeding your family on meatless Taco Tuesday or setting out snacks for game night, there’s something for everyone and every occasion here.

And best of all, these healthy recipes are made from fresh, wholesome ingredients. You know exactly what’s in your salsa. And although you can select your favorite brand of tortilla chips, I highly recommend non GMO chips. Look for some of my favorite brands after the post.

Which salsa recipe will you try first?

Six Easy Vegan Salsa Recipes black bean and corn
Six Easy Vegan Salsa Recipes – black bean and corn

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Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

Reduce Stress Naturally

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

April is Stress Awareness Month. The purpose is to highlight the fact that 70% of adults deal with stress on a daily basis.

Stress is inevitable for most of us. We have deadlines. We are overworked. Or occasional days go haywire, leaving us feeling anxious, pressured and maxed out. However, when we live with stress day after day, it becomes a chronic condition. The body no longer knows how to relax and let the stress go. When that happens we suffer on many levels.

Learn the signs of chronic stress and how to reduce stress naturally.

Reduce Stress Naturally title meme

Signs of Chronic Stress

Stress is a physical and mental reaction to life situations. We all encounter it. Everyday experiences in our families and workplaces can trigger stress as can more serious situations like a medical diagnosis or the loss of a loved one.

Our bodies respond to stress by releasing hormones that increase breathing and heart rates while preparing muscles to move. Commonly referred to as the “fight or flight” reflex, it’s meant to protect us when faced with danger.

However, when those hormones flood our bodies day after day, it affects our health in a variety of ways.

Symptoms of chronic stress include:

  • headaches
  • depression
  • heartburn and acid reflux
  • weakened immune system
  • high blood pressure
  • high blood sugar
  • digestive disorders
  • fertility problems
  • erectile dysfunction
  • low libido
  • increased risk of heart attack and stroke
  • insomnia
  • pounding heart
  • fatigue
  • overeating or loss of appetite
  • drug or alcohol abuse
  • social withdrawal
  • body aches and pains from tight muscles

Reduce Stress Naturally

To help the body break the pattern of chronic stress and anxiety, try these tips.

Exercise Regularly

Even short periods of consistent physical activity helps relieve stress and anxiety. Exercise reduces cortisol and adrenaline, the body’s stress hormones. At the same time, it releases endorphins, chemicals that make us feel happy and ease pain.

Activities such as walking, jogging, dancing, biking or swimming that involve repetitive large muscle movements are most helpful in combatting stress.

Eat Nutritious Foods

I mention this tip frequently, for good reason. The body uses food as fuel. And honestly, most people fuel their bodies poorly. A body lacking highly nutritious food struggles when it comes under attack for any reason. And an overwhelmed body becomes stressed on many levels.

Fruits and veggies, legumes and nuts, simple grains and herbs fuel the body beautifully, making it better able to withstand stress. Avoid sugar and high fat foods. They cause a spike in blood sugar which results in a crash later that can create more feelings of stress and anxiety.

Drink Herbal Teas

Herbal teas such as lemon balm and chamomile help ease stress and anxiety naturally. Other excellent choices include rose, lavender and passionflower.

Additionally, switching from coffee, soda and black tea to herbal teas reduces caffeine intake. High levels of caffeine increase stressful feelings.

Take a daily afternoon break, like they do in many European countries, and sip on a cup of hot herbal tea. It’s one of my favorite daily traditions and a great way to destress.

Reduce Stress Naturally herbal tea
Reduce stress naturally – take an afternoon break and sip on hot herbal tea

Listen to Soothing Music

Music truly can soothe the beast that is stress. Slow paced classical, instrumental, Celtic or Native American flute music helps the body relax and allows the mind to quiet.

Or try listening to nature sounds such as a rain, ocean waves or a low key thunderstorm. I love my Echo Dot that’s connected to Amazon Music. I can listen to a wide variety of music or sounds of nature. When I’m working, writing, cleaning house or cooking, I have music playing in the background.

Journaling

Writing out feelings, frustrations and gratitudes is a wonderful way to ease stress. The act of writing in a journal moves thoughts, energetically, from the brain to paper. Otherwise, those thoughts just keep swirling around in the head, going no where. Try writing for a few minutes every morning or at night before bed, whichever feels better to you. It’s not even necessary to read what you write or edit it in any way. Write freely without stopping for several minutes and then move on.

Focusing on gratitude shifts the mind from thinking about what’s wrong to thinking about all that is right in life. Make listing five gratitudes a daily practice.

Laugh

Laughter has many health benefits.

The giggles instantly lower the body’s stress response and releases tension held in muscles. Plus it plays a significant role in decreasing anxiety due to the release of the feel good hormones, endorphins. Laughter also helps us deal with challenging circumstances such as illnesses, embarrassing situations and life struggles.

Additionally, laughter boosts the immune system and improves mood. Watch funny movies, tv shows or videos. Catch a stand up comedian’s performance at a club. Tell jokes or hang out with friends who make you laugh.

Reduce Stress Naturally laugh
Reduce stress naturally – laugh

Spend Time With Others

Speaking of hanging out with people who make you laugh, studies show that spending time with friends or family members reduces stress. It does, that is, if you have close, positive relationships with those people.

When we spend time with people we love and feel loved by, our bodies release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever. Being part of a friend network or family group provides a sense of belonging also. And physical contact with those loved ones, such as hugs, cuddles or kisses, lowers stress hormones while releasing more oxytocin.

Plus, those friends and family members provide a listening ear when you need to talk out a stressful situation. Like writing out feelings, talking them out helps move troubling thoughts out of the head.

Chew Gum

This one may come as a surprise! Studies show that people who chew gum have a greater sense of wellbeing and lower stress levels. It’s possible that chewing gum creates greater blood flow to the brain. Chewing strongly, good news for those who like to smack their gum, seems to provide the most stress relief.

Spend Time With Pets

Spending time with pets…cuddling, going for walks, caring for them…reduces stress as well. That interaction releases oxytocin, just like spending time with the people we love does.

Pets give us purpose, provide companionship and help keeps us active, all positive ways of boosting mood and lowering stress levels.

Reduce Stress Naturally pets
Reduce stress naturally – spend time with pets. My cat Rilynn, who loves to lie on my lap while I work.

Be Mindful

Mindfulness is the awareness of being in the present moment. It helps to combat negative thinking about the past or anxiety about the future.

There are several ways to practice mindfulness.

Deep breathing brings focus on just that…the breath. Plus deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which induces a relaxation response. Breathe in slowly through the nose, hold for a few seconds, then exhale slowly through the mouth.

Meditation is an extended time of focusing on the breath while allowing thoughts to pass by without getting hung up on them. Meditation relaxes the body by easing tight muscles. It can be a very effective way of releasing stress from the mind and the body.

Yoga brings the mind and body together, using breath and movement. Practicing yoga enhances mood and eases depression and anxiety. It lowers cortisol levels and heart rate, which reduces stress as well.

Eliminate What Causes Stress

This may sound too simple, yet it’s effective. Are you trying to do too much, in the time that you have? Reduce the number of items on your to-do list. Don’t overcommit. Learn to say “no” to obligations or things you really don’t want to do anyway.

Stop watching the news, reading the paper or scrolling through social media, if those activities cause you stress. Walk away from negative relationships. Disconnect from electronics frequently. Build breaks into your day.

Making positive changes to your daily life, even in small ways, reduces stress. Do the things that bring you the greatest joy or feel fun. Make time for hobbies.

Express Creativity

Finding ways to express your creativity helps to focus the brain on something pleasurable and fun, allowing it to release negative thoughts. You don’t have to paint masterpieces or write stories to express creativity.

Arrange flowers, garden, decorate a room or the whole house, sew, bake, sing or play a musical instrument. These creative activities soothe the analytical mind and relax the body.

One fun way to lower stress, that anyone can do, is coloring. Grab markers, crayons or colored pencils and a coloring book and lose yourself in laying color on paper. Coloring relaxes the mind and body in the same way that meditation does, whether you are filling in geometric shapes or completing a complex picture. Give it a try as a powerful stress buster.

Reduce Stress Naturally coloring
Reduce stress naturally – one of the pictures I colored. Coloring is one of my favorite ways to relax.

How Is Your Stress Level?

Stress Awareness Month is indeed an excellent time to pause and evaluate how you are handling stress. Do you feel stressful occasionally? Frequently? Daily?

Beyond the anxiety stress causes, the negative effects on the mind and body are far reaching. Stress is a leading cause of disease for ultimately, the chronically stressed body becomes an unhealthy body.

I know. I lived with chronic stress and anxiety for many years. It’s taken inner work, better nutrition and mindfulness practices to shift into a healthier lifestyle.

It’s worth the work.

Which of these tips that reduce stress naturally will you try?

Reduce Stress Naturally relax

 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

Spring Health Tips

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

I love the arrival of spring, after the cold, overcast days of winter. As the earth stirs and awakens, my body seems to as well. It’s a time of renewal, rebirth and growth.

And spring is the perfect time to check in, health wise, to see what the body, mind and spirit need to thrive. Each season brings its own health benefits…and challenges.

Check out Spring Health Tips for ways to boost health and benefit from all that the season offers.

Spring Health Tips title meme

Include More Fresh Veggies and Fruit

Spring is the perfect time to shift from bigger, heavier meals to lighter fare.

Visit farmers markets or the produce section of the grocery store and load up on dark, leafy greens, celery, onion, peas, bell peppers, chives, asparagus, carrots and mushrooms. These vibrant, fresh foods invigorate the body. Fresh herbs are abundant too. Add them to salads and recipes and steep them in teas. Plus spring is a wonderful time to forage for wild foods that are probably growing in your backyard.

Prepare big chopped salads and store them in the fridge. Lightly stir-fry veggies together for a delicious and healthy meal. And make use of all of the berries coming into season. Pick your own or purchase strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Add them to oatmeal and salads or eat them as a snack or dessert.

These spring foods are loaded with nutrients and antioxidants that the body needs. Fill your plate with the nutrition the season offers.

Spring Health Tips fresh veggies
Spring health tips – seasonal fruits and veggies

Get Outdoors

The abundant sunshine during the spring months invites all to venture outdoors. Fresh air and sunshine are both beneficial. We receive vitamin D from the sun and the body releases serotonin, making us feel happy. If possible, spend 10 minutes a day bathing in the sun’s rays.

When spending more time outdoors, protect the eyes with sunglasses and the skin with a broad-spectrum sunscreen or a big floppy hat that shades the face.

Nature is so restorative, especially after months of indoor activities. It stimulates all of the senses, calms the mind while improving focus and mood, and reduces inflammation in the body. Check out the surprising benefits of nature HERE.

Spring Health Tips outdoors
Spring health tips – spend time outdoors

Increase Activities

It’s easy to feel sluggish during the winter and put on a few extra pounds. Spring brings with it the opportunity to get outdoors and move the body. Just 11 minutes of exercise a day benefits health and extends life. With warmer weather, it’s easy to find activities to do.

Walk, hike, bike, skate, swim or play. Gardening offers so many health benefits, including burning up calories. Pulling weeds, planting, mowing and raking are all great ways to stay in shape and beautify your surroundings. And growing your own food provides fresh veggies for meals.

Exercise eases pain, improves arthritis, keeps joints flexible and protects against osteoporosis. Additionally, it improves mood and provides an overall sense of wellbeing.

Spring Health Tips exercise
Spring health tips – increase activities

Boost the Immune System

Spring not only brings sunshine and showers, it brings seasonal allergies, colds and viruses.

When the body comes under attack, from bacteria, viruses or allergens, the immune system launches a counter attack. Its job is to defend the body against disease causing micro-organisms.

A healthy body supports a healthy immune system, making it more difficult for illnesses to gain a foothold. A body battling disorders already or one suffering from dehydration, chronic sleep deprivation or fueled by a poor diet can’t adequately handle an invasion.

Eating nutritionally dense foods boosts the immune system. Vitamin D from sunshine or supplements supports the immune system as well. Additionally, staying hydrated, improving gut health, getting enough sleep and managing stress keeps the immune system healthy and strong.

Read more about boosting the immune system HERE. And if spring allergies bring you low, check out ways to combat them naturally through this LINK.

Spring Health Tips boost immune system
Spring health tips – boost immune system

Hydrate

Up to 75% of adults experience chronic dehydration. There are many symptoms of dehydration, including headaches, muscle cramps, low blood pressure and brain fog. Dehydration actual shrinks brain tissue and impairs concentration and cognitive function.

With spring activities, warmer temps and outdoor fun, staying hydrated is crucial.

Keep a water bottle with you at all times. Refill it throughout the day. Eat more fruits and veggies, as they contribute to hydration as well. Drink herbal teas. They provide crucial liquids and nutrients that the body needs.

Cut back on salty and processed foods, limit alcohol…which dehydrates the body…and eliminate soda, which creates thirst, rather than quenching it.

Spring Health Tips hydrate
Spring health tips – hydrate. This is Cleavers Infused Water.

Clear Away the Clutter

The increase in energy that arrives with spring naturally creates the urge to clean. Now is the time to clear away the clutter, in our spaces and in our lives.

Check medications, packaged foods and spices. Toss any that are past expiration dates. Throw away old makeup, cleansers and toiletries. Clean out that junk drawer, rearrange a room, remove clothes from the closet that you haven’t worn in a year. Give away, throw away or donate items you no longer want.

Clearing away clutter opens up energy flow and creates space for new things to arrive.

Spring is an excellent time to evaluate life also and to let go of anything that no longer serves you. Forgive others and self, release the past, eliminate anything that carries negative memories or energy for you, and literally and figuratively make a clean sweep of your house and your life. Your mood will lighten as a result.

Spring Health Tips clear away the clutter
Spring health tips – clear away the clutter

Adjust Sleep Schedule

Daylight Savings Time arrives with spring, creating longer days of sunlight…and often messing with our natural sleep patterns.

Even though I’m not a morning person, I naturally wake up earlier during spring and summer. If this is true for you as well, go with that. Get up. Create a morning routine that serves you. Mine includes making the bed, opening the blinds, brushing my teeth and doing my morning skin routine and creating a healthy breakfast.

And create a nighttime routine as well. Disconnect from electronics an hour before bed. Listen to soothing music. Write down gratitudes. Practice meditation. Sleep in a dark, cool room.

It’s important to get at least seven hours of sleep a night, with eight to nine optimal. A tired, sleep deprived body can’t function well. And sleep deprivation contributes to a stressed immune system.

Spring Health Tips sleep
Spring health tips – adjust sleep schedule

Try New Things

Spring is a time of renewal and rebirth. The season presents a powerful opportunity for renewal in our lives by trying new things.

Experiencing new things increases creativity, boosts a sense of adventure and creates new pathways in the brain. Those fresh experiences push us out of our comfort zones and help us face fears. (This is the heart of my other blog, Cindy Goes Beyond.)

What do you want to try, see, experience…that you’ve never tried, seen or experienced before? Spring invites you to go for it. I encourage you to go for it too!

Spring Health Tips try new things
Spring health tips – try new things, like creating vignettes

Which Spring Health Tips Will You Try?

I’m a gardener. My backyard garden serves as my gym, my sanctuary, my happy place. Spring’s season of renewal is visually represented in my garden as flowers and herbs push up through the soil and stretch toward the sun. I love being outside, tending this sacred space. It does my body, mind and spirit good.

Which spring health tips call to you? What ones will most benefit your health and wellbeing?

May this season bring you joy and an increase in energy, vitality and health.

Spring Health Tips renewal
My backyard paradise

Amazon finds:

 


Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

Quinoa Health Benefits and Recipes

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Have you heard of quinoa? This superfood is one of the world’s most popular health foods.

First, let’s get the name right, for this seed that’s often referred to as a grain.

Quinoa is pronounced “KEEN-wah”. And there are many excellent reasons to include quinoa in your diet.

Need encouragement? Check out these quinoa health benefits and recipes.

Quinoa Health Benefits and Recipes title meme

Quinoa Nutritional Facts

Quinoa is grown as a grain crop although technically, it’s a seed. The Inca considered quinoa an important crop, calling it the “mother of all grains”. In South America, quinoa has been eaten for thousands of years. Only recently has the superfood become a trend in the US.

Quinoa comes in three varieties: red, white and black.  It is gluten free, high in protein and one of the few plant based foods that provides all nine essential amino acids that the body needs.

Additionally, quinoa is high in fiber, magnesium, vitamins B and E, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, copper, zinc and antioxidants.

Quinoa’s antioxidants help calm inflammation throughout the body and provide anti-cancer, anti-viral and anti-depressant properties.

NASA considers quinoa a suitable crop to grow in space, due to its high nutritional content, ease of growing and its simple preparation methods.

Quinoa Health Benefits and Recipes uncooked
Quinoa health benefits and recipes – uncooked quinoa

Health Benefits of Quinoa

These important health benefits help give quinoa its superfood status:

  • gluten free means quinoa won’t cause symptoms that those with gluten sensitivities experience such as rashes and digestive disorders
  • provides all nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own
  • excellent source of protein, especially beneficial for those on a plant based diet One cup of cooked quinoa provides 8.14 grams of protein.
  • low glycemic index, meaning it does not quickly raise blood sugar levels
  • improves metabolic health by reducing insulin and triglyceride levels
  • high fiber content reduces the risks for constipation, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diverticulosis
  • promotes a healthy weight. High fiber foods help people feel full longer
  • vitamin E content helps reduce the risk for heart disease, eye disorders and certain types of cancer
  • high iron content supports blood health, energy and cell function, connective tissue health and muscle metabolism
  • B vitamin folate promotes healthy pregnancies and reduces the risks of certain cancers and depression
Quinoa Health Benefits and Recipes cooked
Quinoa Health Benefits and Recipes – cooked quinoa

Adding Quinoa to the Diet

Quinoa is easy to prepare and simple to add to meals.

Prepare quinoa by combining two cups of water with one cup of uncooked quinoa in a sauce pan. Always use a 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and leave quinoa covered for five more minutes. Remove cover and fluff quinoa with a fork.

Or prepare quinoa in recipes.

Check out what I made this week, all from one box of dried quinoa.

Quinoa and Black Bean Tacos

This simple to prepare recipe yielded yummy, meatless tacos. While the quinoa and black bean filling simmered, I chopped toppings for the tacos: tomatoes, mixed greens, red, yellow and orange peppers and avocado.

I’m on my second package of gluten free tortillas…and still have leftover quinoa and black bean filling in the fridge. The perfectly seasoned filling reminds me of meat, texture and flavor wise, and they are perfect for Taco Tuesday.

Quinoa and Black Bean Tacos

Quinoa and Black Bean Tacos

Try this meatless taco that's full of flavor
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8 Servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika may use regular paprika
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 14 oz can black beans
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pkg gluten free taco sized tortillas may use regular taco sized tortillas
  • assorted toppings such as diced tomatoes, shredded greens, salsa and chopped avocado for tacos

Instructions
 

  • Saute onions and garlic in skillet with olive oil 3 - 4 minutes until soft and translucent
  • Add spices, tomato paste, quinoa and vegetable broth. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Add black beans. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes
  • Remove pan from heat and leave covered for 5 minutes
  • Remove cover, add lime juice and fluff mixture with a spoon or fork

Assemble Tacos

  • Heat tortillas in a lightly greased skillet or griddle, one at a time, until they puff and brown slightly. Move to plates and fold in two.
  • Spoon quinoa and black bean mixture into tortillas. Top with diced tomatoes, shredded greens, avocado and salsa. Makes at least 8 tacos.
Keyword black bean, meatless, quinoa, taco

 

Quinoa and Black Bean Tacos
Quinoa Health Benefits and Recipes – Quinoa and Black Bean Tacos

Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Using the quinoa in place of oatmeal, this morning I prepared a tasty breakfast treat. Plus I made enough quinoa to use for dinner tonight.

For a hearty quinoa breakfast bowl, with leftovers, combine one cup uncooked quinoa with two cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes, remove from heat and leave the cover on for another five minutes. Use plant based milk, if desired, in place of water.

I combined a healthy portion of cooked quinoa with a cup of fresh blueberries, sliced banana and a tablespoon of chia seeds plus a splash of unsweetened almond milk. If desired, sweeten the breakfast quinoa with a spoonful of pure maple syrup. I left mine unsweetened and it was perfect for me.

A quinoa breakfast bowl is a great change up from oatmeal and packed with nutrients. Try different combos such as raisins and cinnamon, strawberries and bananas, chopped dates and walnuts, bananas and nut butter. The possibilities are endless.

Quinoa Health Benefits and Recipes breakfast
Quinoa Health Benefits and Recipes – breakfast bowl

Quinoa and Chickpea Bowl

With my leftover quinoa from this morning, I created a simple, delicious dinner bowl tonight.

I call these bowls my “clean out the fridge” meals. They are a wonderful way to use up leftover veggies and cooked quinoa or brown rice.

In a skillet, melt two tablespoons plant based butter or use olive oil. Add one chopped yellow onion, 3 garlic cloves, minced, and any other veggies you want. I added diced red, yellow and orange peppers and sliced mushrooms. Stir fry veggies until barely tender.

Add cooked quinoa and combine well. I added a generous sprinkle of sea salt and garlic powder. Reduce heat to simmer and cover, allowing quinoa to heat through.

While quinoa mixture simmered, I warmed up organic chickpeas from a can and sliced an avocado.

My assembled bowl contained the quinoa/stir fry mixture, chickpeas, sliced avocado and a mixed green salad with slivers of carrots and red cabbage. It was the perfect evening meal, ready in about 15 minutes.

Quinoa Health Benefits and Recipes bowl
Quinoa Health Benefits and Recipes – quinoa and chickpea bowl

I’m Sold on Quinoa

I love this superfood! And I’m looking forward to creating more meals with quinoa and discovering new recipes…or creating my own.

Do you love quinoa too? What’s your favorite way to enjoy this highly nutritious food?


 

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Negativity’s Impact on Health

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Negativity. We are all familiar with it as a lower energy feeling. The simple definition of negativity is the expression of criticism or pessimism. However, that definition doesn’t go deep enough.

Negativity is a tendency to feel downcast, disagreeable and cynical. It’s a pessimistic attitude that expects the worst in life.

Anyone can experience a negative feeling or a low vibe day. Temporary negativity is often the result of an illness or accident, unexpected life circumstances or personal difficulties. However, when most thoughts about the world, life, others and the self tend toward the bleak, negativity can become habitual.

Like positive thoughts, negative thoughts create neural pathways. The more negative thoughts and experiences we have, the more entrenched those pathways become. We actually condition ourselves to think negatively and find the bad in life.

We can shrug and say, “I’m just a negative person.” However, that negativity comes with a price. Check out negativity’s impact on health and learn how to shift.

Negativity's Impact on Health title meme

Signs of Negativity

Not sure if negativity is becoming habitual in your life? It can show up in these ways:

Cynicism – a distrust of people and their motives

Hostility – unfriendliness or opposition towards people, often accompanied by anger

Unreasonable anger – an intense emotional state involving strong, non-cooperative responses to perceived hurts, provocations or threats.

Skewed perceptions – only seeing the bad in situations or people

Assumptions – assuming bad things will happen

Blaming – assigning responsibility for wrongs or faults to others or believing you are a victim of life circumstances

Feeling of doom – expecting terrible, destructive fates to happen

Paranoia – thinking everyone…or life…is out to get you

Negativity's Impact on Health
Negativity’s Impact on Health – skewed perceptions

Negativity’s Impact on Health

Negative situations, relationships and thoughts create stress. The body responds by releasing the hormone cortisol, also known as the “fight or flight” hormone.

This hormone is valuable when we are faced with actual danger. However, when the body stays in fight or flight mode, for extended periods of time, it has a detrimental effect on the body and on health.

Common effects of negativity on the body include:

Brain disorders – degenerative brain diseases, dementia, stroke, depletion of brain chemicals required for happiness

Heart disease – chest pain, heart attacks, high blood pressure

Digestive issues – slowed digestion, hardening of organs in digestive system, upset stomach, type 2 diabetes, irritable bowels, overeating, loss of appetite

Immune system – increased infections, inability to fight off inflammation which leads to many types of diseases

Fatigue – sleep disorders, tiredness, irritability, muscle tension and pain

Headaches – tension, jaw clenching, migraines, eye strain

Mental health – anxiety, fear, depression, social withdrawal, unhappiness

Negativity's Impact on Health stomachache
Negativity’s Impact on Health – digestive disorders

Changing Negativity to Positivity

Have you experienced any of the signs of negativity? Once we become aware of negativity’s impact on our bodies, we can shift it.

Here are ways to overcome negativity, lessening its impact on health and creating positive pathways in the brain:

Limit – turn off the news, stop reading negative posts on social media, unfriend or block or snooze negative people to clean up your feed, carefully choose who you hang out with, set boundaries with negative family members, remove yourself from negative situations, people and conversations

Live in the moment – release the past, forgive others and yourself, don’t worry about the future, focus on tasks at hand, speak positive affirmations

Practice gratitude – every day, express thanks for all the good things in your life

Engage in activities you love – do what brings you joy, laugh, play, explore new hobbies, spend time with people who encourage you, create, offer to others

Meditate – learn to still the mind, let go of negative thoughts, focus on breathing

Take action – if a negative situation or thought arises, take positive actions. For example, if a driver cuts you off in traffic, starting a negative train of thought, slow down, take deep breaths, and allow another car room to change lanes in front of you.

Negativity's Impact on Health online
Negativity’s Impact on Health – limit negativity online

Making Positive Choices

When signs of negativity show up in your body, affecting health, make choices.

When I’m in a negative situation or around negative people, my body responds in specific ways.

My jaw and hands clench, the muscles in my face, neck and scalp tighten and I get a headache. I notice my breaths are rapid and shallow. If I don’t remove myself quickly enough from the situation, my body goes into shut down mode. I can’t see or hear well and my throat narrows, limiting my ability to speak. For me, it feels like negative energy overwhelms me, overpowers me. It’s not a feeling I like.

The best choices I can make are to get out of the situation, leave the conversation or walk away from the person. As my body calms from fight or flight mode, I practice deep breathing, express gratitude, go for a walk outdoors or spend a few minutes in meditation to restore my positivity.

How does it feel, when you encounter negativity? What choices can you make, to shift back into positivity?

Remaining healthy at every age includes removing the habit of negativity from your life. It’s not just an attitude adjustment or a glass half full mentality…although those are important. Shift the negativity for a healthier you and a longer, happier life.

Negativity's Impact on Health laugh
Lessen negativity’s impact on health for a longer, happier life.

 

Amazon finds to boost positivity:

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.