National Wellness Month

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August is National Wellness Month. Founded last year, its purpose is to foster community, connection and commerce in the wellness industry. All during August, National Wellness Month focuses on self-care, managing stress and promoting healthy routines that become healthy lifestyles.

Whether challenging ourselves to try a new yoga pose or making small daily changes, we can positively impact our health in lasting ways.

National Wellness Month Title Meme

The Definition of Wellness

Curious, I looked up wellness, even though I use the word frequently in connection with my health.

“Wellness: the state of being in good health, especially as an actively sought goal.”

I really like that definition. Wellness doesn’t just happen. It is created, intentionally, with awareness and actions that lead to a goal.

In honor of National Wellness Month I considered what health related goals to pursue during August. I’ve adopted a plant based lifestyle and I’ve made many changes in my health and wellbeing as a result of daily choices. However, there is always room for improvement.

Following are my actively sought health goals for National Wellness Month.

National Wellness Month Walk

Walk More

This challenge comes at a good time. I just returned from a trip to Scotland and while in Edinburgh and the Borders, I walked daily. The best way to explore a city or a village is to walk the charming streets. I love the way my body responds when I walk more. The muscles in my legs may protest at first, however the increased activity eventually loosens tight muscles and strengthens my legs and back.

While I hold good intentions of continuing the daily walks when I return home from trips, I’ve yet to continue the practice for long. Goal number one for August….walk more. I may not get in 10,000 steps a day, which roughly equals five miles. However, I can focus on walking more.

National Wellness Month Water

Drink 64 Ounces of Water

Another practice I want to continue is drinking an adequate amount of water. Since replacing plastic one-use bottles with a metal water bottle, I’ve discovered that I naturally drink more water.

Goal number two for National Wellness Month is to track my water intake better, making sure I’m getting at least 64 ounces of water a day. My metal water bottle holds 20 ounces and my large mason jar, in which I create herb, veggie and fruit infused water, holds 32 ounces. I can easily keep track of how much water I’m drinking with a slight increase in awareness.

National Wellness Month Yoga

Practice Yoga/Meditation/Stretching Daily

Before my international trip, I was doing well with this daily practice. Each morning I engaged in a short yoga routine, stretches and meditation. Each evening, before bed, I did the yoga and stretches again. I experienced increased flexibility in my legs and back.

I ran through the stretches and yoga poses a couple of times, while in Edinburgh. Even though I hoped to stretch and do yoga daily while on my trip, it just didn’t happen, due to eagerness to get out and explore.

Now that I’m home, it’s time to get back into a daily routine. Goal number three is to develop this important habit again.

National Wellness Month Sleep
My cat Shy Boy can give me some tips about sleeping well!

Get at Least Seven Hours of Sleep at Night

I’ve never been great at sleeping at night. I’m a night owl, since babyhood. In the past months I’ve fallen into the very unhealthy habit of working on blogs and writing and social media until the wee hours of the morning. I often crawl into bed about 3:00 am or even later. And yet I’m up a few hours later, to begin another day.

Recovering from my travels, after my return home, I’ve retired for the night by midnight most nights and a few evenings, I clicked out the light and sank into my bed while it was still light outside. Going to bed early those nights, I appreciated the health benefits of getting a good long sleep.

I want more nights like those.

Goal number four, for National Wellness Month, is to get to bed by midnight or earlier, every night. Chronic sleep deprivation can seriously undermine health. I don’t need to sabotage mine by cheating myself on sleep.

National Wellness Month Outdoors

Get Outdoors at Least 30 Minutes a Day

I wanted a fun wellness goal for this month. As I considered possibilities, I recalled that each day as I walk out to my car, I longingly eye the Red Bud Tree in the front yard. This year the brave little tree produced a gorgeous full canopy, for the first time since the 2011 tornado damaged it. I see those limbs, heavy with heart-shaped leaves, trailing down to the soft green grass….and I yearn to sit on a quilt there beneath the tree.

Goal number five for August is to give in to that desire and get outside every day for at least 30 minutes. I know. August can be very warm and humid in Missouri. However, it’s cool there in the shade of the Red Bud Tree. I can carry out a book or my laptop or a journal. Or I can simply enjoy sitting there on a quilt under the fluttering leaves and daydream for thirty minutes. There are other outdoor spaces that I can enjoy but the tree is my primary destination.

National Wellness Month Challenge

Those are my wellness challenge goals for August. By my actions, I am proclaiming “I choose wellness”.

What actively pursued goals will you set, for National Wellness Month? Join me in being intentional in creating wellness in all aspects of our lives. Join me in saying, “I choose wellness” and share your goals with me. Post photos on social media that show you taking those action steps. Include the hashtags #wellfie and #wellnessmonth.

Let’s be healthy, and embody wellness, at every age.

National Wellness Month Cindy

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Do You Have an MSG Sensitivity?

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Do you have an MSG sensitivity?

Monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG, is a food additive used in thousands of restaurants and food products. Its purpose is to boost the flavor of processed, canned and frozen foods.

MSG is derived from glutamic acid, a type of protein found in many foods, including fruits and vegetables. It is produced through a fermentation process that was first discovered in 1866. By 1909 a Japanese food company began commercially producing monosodium glutamate.

The use of MSG in foods and products is controversial, due to a wide range of symptoms that some people experience shortly after consuming the additive.

Since cleaning up my diet, I’ve noticed that I do have physical reactions to MSG. Perhaps you do too.

Do you have an MSG sensitivity title meme

What’s the Controversy with MSG?

Glutamate acid is an amino acid found in many foods. However, monosodium glutamate is the sodium salt derived from glutamic acid.

Natural glutamate is broken down naturally in the body. It is regulated so that excessive amounts are eliminated from the body to prevent toxicity. However MSG is isolated, and not attached to other amino acids. That means it is broken down quickly, rapidly raising levels of glutamate in the blood. Those excess levels of glutamate cause symptoms in people with an MSG sensitivity.

Anthony William, author of Medical Medium, states:

“MSG typically builds up in the brain, going deep into brain tissue. It can then cause inflammation and swelling, kill thousands of brain cells, disrupt electrical impulses, weaken neurotransmitters, burn out neurons, make you feel confused and anxious and even lead to mirco-strokes. It also weakens and injures the central nervous system.”

He goes on to say that MSG is especially harmful when dealing with an illness affecting the brain or central nervous system. Regardless, it is an additive to avoid.

Symptoms of an MSG Sensitivity

Here are common symptoms, experienced by those with a sensitivity to MSG:

  • muscle tightness
  • numbness and tingling
  • headaches including migraines
  • pain in the back of the neck
  • flushing
  • weight gain
  • nausea and vomiting
  • trembling and weakness
  • free radical formation and oxidation
  • heart palpitations
  • increased blood pressure
  • worsening of asthma symptoms
  • higher risk of metabolic syndrome, which is linked to heart disease, diabetes and stroke
  • dry mouth and excessive thirst
  • confusion and anxiety

MSG Sensitivity Fast Food

Where is MSG Found?

Although MSG is most often associated with meals in Chinese restaurants, it’s found in thousands of foods and even personal care products such as toothpaste.

MSG can lurk in:

  • canned soups and broths
  • fast food such as burgers and fried chicken
  • potato chips and seasoned tortilla chips
  • seasonings
  • convenience meals
  • cold cuts
  • processed meats and foods
  • instant noodles
  • ice tea mixes
  • salty snacks
  • sports drinks
  • soy sauce
  • salad dressings
  • crackers
  • bouillon
  • personal care products

How to Avoid MSG

The best way to avoid this additive, and MSG sensitivity, is to limit or entirely eliminate foods from the list above. Focus on more fresh fruits and veggies. And prepare meals at home as much as possible. When you prep and cook your own meals, you know exactly what’s in them.

Read food labels. Look for MSG or monosodium glutamate listed on the label.

Additionally, MSG goes by a variety of other names, making it more difficult to spot the additive on food labels. If you see these words …

  • autolyzed yeast
  • hydrolyzed protein
  • hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • sodium caseinate
  • yeast nutrient or yeast extract
  • Torulo yeast
  • natural flavoring
  • glutamic acid

…it’s very likely that the product contains MSG.

MSG Sensitivity Doritos

Dealing With MSG Sensitivity

I can now tell, within a few hours, if I’ve eaten something that contains MSG. My mouth becomes very dry and I experience excessive thirst. I may also notice pain in my stomach and a headache.

When I ate a nutrient poor, albeit typical, American diet, MSG stayed in my system. No wonder I experienced daily headaches, constant dry mouth, heart palpitations and frequent stomachaches.

Cleaning up my diet has detoxified my body. I am very aware now if I eat something that is harmful to me. I’m grateful for the built-in sensors and indicators in my body that help me identify and avoid foods that are not the best for me!

I prepare most of my meals at home. And I read those food labels!

I’ll be sharing recipes in upcoming posts, such as DIY seasoning salt, that are MSG free alternatives.

Do you have an MSG sensitivity?

MSG Sensitivity Salts

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6 Simple Ways to Improve Health

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Starting a new health practice can feel overwhelming. And the vast amount of information available confounds the best intentions.

I made a radical shift due to declining health and wellbeing. However, I understand that most people are not losing the ability to walk or living in chronic pain. Those conditions highly motivated me to discover a way to heal.

For those interested in taking smaller albeit intentional steps toward wellness and vitality, these six simple way to improve health offer easily implemented actions with big results.

6 Simple Ways to Improve Health

Eat More Fruits & Veggies

One of the greatest positive impacts on health is including more fresh fruits and veggies in the diet and eating less animal products. Meat, and dairy products such as cheese, are high in fats and unwanted additives which contribute to inflammation and a host of ailments in the body. Eggs feed viruses such as strep and Epstein Barr.

If it feels difficult to give up animal products entirely, focus on having meatless meals a couple of times a week. Or try having only fruits before noon. A fruit smoothie for breakfast is perfect. Or perhaps commit to veggie bowls for lunch three days a week. Start where you are…and select two or three ways to include more whole plant based foods on a weekly basis.

Another tip is to plan meals around vegetables instead of considering them a side dish. As fresh produce becomes plentiful and cheap this summer, plan lunches and dinners around nature’s bounty. A plate heaped with freshly steamed veggies or hummus and raw veggies makes a great meatless meal.

6 Simple Ways to Improve HealthAloo Matar with peas, potatoes and tomatoes in a curry sauce makes a filling meatless meal.

Try Veggie Noodles Instead of Pasta

Spiralizing vegetables such as cucumbers, zucchini, squash, sweet potatoes and carrots is another great way to include more veggies in meals. The spiralizer quickly transforms vegetables into mounds of fresh noodles that replace traditional wheat pastas.

No need to cook the veggie noodles. They are tender and subtly flavored. Top with homemade marinara sauce, basil pesto, sliced cherry tomatoes or a spicy curry sauce.

These fresh and tasty meals are my favorite way to use vegetables right out of the garden. Pick up a spiralizer here.

6 Simple Ways to Improve Health

Drink Water & Unsweetened Herbal Tea Instead of Sugary Drinks

Instead of reaching for a soda or a sweet tea, grab a water or herbal tea. Those sugar laden drinks add calories…more than you realize…and dehydrate the body at the same time.

Break the habit. Sugary drinks are addictive. Sugar is addictive. That’s why we crave it.

Flavor water with fruits, cucumbers or herbs and increase the health benefits. And herbal teas can be enjoyed hot or cold. I love this hibiscus lemonade during the summer! Bonus tip: grow your own herbs in containers or in the garden.

Hydrate First Thing in the Morning

Connected to ditching the soda and sweet tea is the practice of hydrating first thing each morning. Drinking 16 ounces of lemon or lime water after awakening helps to flush toxins from the body, improves digestion and aids the liver.

I find it easiest to keep a prepared pitcher of lemon/lime water in the fridge.

For an amazing health boost, drink 16 ounces of freshly prepared celery juice about 20 to 30 minutes after the lemon or lime water. Celery juice is truly a miracle elixir, healing people around the world. Anthony William has a new book releasing, featuring celery juice. You can pre- order it HERE.

I use a centrifugal juicer like this one.

6 Simple Ways to Improve Health

Keep Junk Food Out of the House

Having cookies, ice cream, donuts, chips and other high calorie, low nutritional value foods in the house greatly increases the likelihood of eating them. It also increases the likelihood of weight gain and the disorders that come with eating too much sugar and too many processed foods.

Instead, stock up on fresh fruits, nuts, avocadoes, hummus, veggies and nut butters that are sugar free.

There are many recipes available for healthy snacks, to consume as occasional treats. Try vegan oatmeal cookies or wild blueberry banana bread, made with gluten free flour.

6 Simple Ways to Improve HealthLemon balm tea and wild blueberry banana bread.

Walk in Nature

Walking is one of the best, and easiest, activities to improve health, tone the body and maintain weight. Get outdoors to help the body destress and to benefit from fresh air and a mood boost.

Instead of walking on a treadmill daily or doing loops around a gym, head to a park, a wooded trail or simply stroll through your neighborhood.

Walking in nature is a meditative experience that grounds and centers the body and allows the mind to quiet.

Improve Health

These simple ways to improve health bring their own rewards.

Try one or two actions daily or create your own unique plan for implementing all of them.

And perhaps the sense of euphoric joy and wellbeing that comes from improved health will guide you toward the next step in creating a healthy lifestyle that supports and nourishes you.

6 Simple Ways to Improve Health

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