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What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are bacteria – don’t freak out! They are GOOD bacteria! These little guys sit in your intestine, and benefit your health.  For the most part, Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and bifidobacteria are the probiotics that you hear about in ads and articles, though certain others in the yeast and bacilli family are also popular in probiotic products. These probiotics stimulate other microbes, and keep your intestinal balance at an optimum level.

Why Do I Want Them Inside Me?

1876778_s-300x249Balance is a good thing! You don’t want to be unbalanced in anything, especially when it comes to your body. Your gut is an important part of your body, whether you notice it or not. When you have a good amount of intestinal microbes, you are less likely to get sick and more likely to feel better all around.

Some studies show that probiotics aid in healthy stool production, reduce lactose intolerance, improve your immune system and can even fight colon cancer!

How Do I Get Them?

There are a ton of foods on the market that advertise probiotic benefit, mainly yogurts and kefir, but also fermented foods such as sauerkraut (See my post on fermented foods here). These foods deliver the bacteria to your gut after going through your stomach. You can also get probiotics in supplement form.

A particularly interesting way to get probiotics – and I use interesting because I don’t know which word to use! – is through a fecal transplant. You heard me right. A healthy stool sample, one with a high population of good bacteria, is transplanted into an unhealthy digestive track, one with less good bacteria.

Fast Tract Gluten Free Probiotic Liquid

If you don’t want to increase your daily ration of sauerkraut, or go through the ‘interesting’ process of a fecal transplant, you can easily get probiotics with a superfood product such as this Fast-Tract Gluten Free Probiotic Liquid. No yogurt, no sauerkraut, just an easy to consume liquid that helps build your good bacteria quickly!

 

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Eating healthy, exercising, and drinking plenty of water are accepted methods of ensuring good health, but there is one more that often gets left out of the equation.

I’m talking about sleep, of course!

We all know what it feels like to go through the day after pulling an all nighter. Whether you were having the time of your life or tossing and turning in bed, those hours of lost sleep have a way of catching up with us before long.  The most obvious result of losing sleep is a lack of energy, feelings of grogginess, or irritability.  In turn, these feelings often prompt cravings for unhealthy sources of energy like caffeinated drinks and sugary snacks.  These pick-me-ups might get you through the workday, but when used daily they serve only to mask the problem and create a vicious cycle that wreaks havoc on the body.

Getting a good night’s sleep doesn’t just keep us from feeling tired and grouchy all day.  Plenty of sleep is essential in helping the body repair itself, making its effects much more far reaching than we might realize.

cant sleep

Have trouble falling asleep?

This is a common problem for many people.  For some, it is an occasional irritation brought on by stress or excitement.  For others, falling asleep is a nightly battle.  Creating a nightly routine that helps the body wind down and prepare for sleep can be very helpful.  Even if you don’t have trouble sleeping, these habits can help to ensure you get the most out of your night:

Eat a well balanced meal around four hours before bed.  Trying to fall asleep hungry is no good, but spikes in blood sugar from eating too close to bedtime can give your mind and body too much energy, causing you to toss and turn.  Spend a few nights trying to find the perfect evening meal time.

Dim the lights a couple of hours before you plan to go to sleep.  If your lights don’t have dimmers, you can try candles, accent lights, or turning the light on in another room with the door cracked.  By dimming the lights you are sending a signal to your brain that it is time to relax and prepare for sleep.

Try thinking of your bedroom as a sleep sanctuary.  It is a place for sleeping, relaxing, and meditating, not watching television, reading magazines, or doing aerobics.  In fact, try to limit the amount of time you spend in your bedroom outside of the time you spend in bed sleeping.  Your mind will start to associate your bedroom with sleep, and hopefully behave accordingly.

For some of us there will always be nights when it is difficult to fall asleep.  For these nights, some extra pampering is in order.

Treat yourself to a soothing bath with your favorite soaps and bath salts to help de-stress your mind while easing muscle tension.

Just one warm mug of chamomile tea will help to put your mind at ease so that you can drift off to sleep.

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Improve Your Digestive Health With Fermented Foods!

May 22, 2013

You probably already know that the human body is teeming with bacteria.  From the surface of our skin to our intestines, we share our bodies with a multitude of microorganisms.  In the digestive tract live especially important bacteria.  The main benefit they offer is digestive support, but new research has shown that certain strains of [...]

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DIY: Natural Cleaning

May 17, 2013

Are you hiding a dirty secret under your sink?  No, I’m not talking about mildew or dust bunnies, but your cleaning products!  Conventional cleaners are hazardous to your health as well as your wallet.  For a fraction of the cost it is possible to make all-natural cleaners that will leave your home sparkling clean, and [...]

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Top Offenders: Chemicals to avoid

May 15, 2013

How many products do use on your body everyday?  Chances are, you start your day with a refreshing shower, using products like soaps, body washes, shampoos, conditioners, and special facial cleansers.  Next you might apply lotion or moisturizer to your face and body, deodorants or antiperspirants and maybe even makeup.  If you go all-out, you [...]

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Superfoods: Garlic

May 8, 2013

Most people love garlic for the flavorful kick it adds to all kinds of savory dishes.  Little do they know, garlic is also a powerhouse of health-enhancing nutrients!  This superfood is antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and anti inflammatory.  From battling the common cold to improving cardiovascular health and digestion, garlic is an amazing ally in the [...]

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Try It Yourself! Homemade Sugar Scrub

May 7, 2013

It feels so good to be pampered with fancy bath products.  Unfortunately, many of the products on the market are loaded with synthetic chemicals and perfumes. Yuck!  On the other end of the spectrum are lovely natural, organic products, but the cost for those can add up really fast.  Luckily, there is one bath product [...]

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4 Ways To Relax With Organics and Self-Love

April 30, 2013

Spring has sprung! And that means one thing: Spring Cleaning! Yep, this is the time where we rush around like there’s no tomorrow doing house work, cleaning out storage spaces, organizing our offices. It seems like there’s no time to just kick back and relax as we try to get a good handle on the [...]

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Organic DIY: Make Your Own Tinctures

April 24, 2013

For centuries, tinctures have been used as home remedies for a huge array of aches and pains as well as for stress relief and energy maintenance. Just a few drops of a tincture onto the tongue or into a glass of water, and you’re well on your way to feeling better. Best of all, most [...]

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Create a healthy home for a healthy family

July 30, 2012

When I first discovered Building Biology I had no idea what it was or what it was trying to teach me.  It spoke about pollutants and indoor air quality, electromagnetic fields, ingredients of concern, high frequency radio waves, water quality and much, much more.  All of which was very academic for me at the time. [...]

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