The Posture Problem of the 21st Century

 The Posture Problem of the 21st Century

Technology brings information right to our fingertips, at any given point in time. Trivia night is no longer fun at the local bar, as any answer can be found out in less than 2 seconds with a smart phone.

As our heads drop deep into our phones and our thumbs move quickly typing out work emails or messages to friends. texting is adding extra unnecessary stress to our bodies.

The downsides, expressed by Experience Life Magazine, are something to consider, and to be more conscious about the next time you go to text back your friend.

Excessive texting can result in pain in the outer thumb and wrist. This is called “texting thumb” and it’s from the way we hold our phone which constricts our flexor tendon.

Another hand injury that can result is carpal tunnel and tendinitis from gripping the phone with fingers, called “text claw”. The repetitive daily clenching can cause added stress and ultimate lead to injury.

If you have an aching sore neck or back, it could be to your habitual head-down posture exerting extra pressure on your spine. According to Kenneth Hansraj, an orthopedic surgeon, as we tilt our head forward, it exerts up to 60 pounds of extra pressure at a 60 degree angle. The normal human head weighs about 10-12 pounds. That’s a lot of extra weight.

The first time that I noticed pain in my hand related to texting was after I spent two months in Costa Rica, smart phone FREE. It was when I got back to the States, the texts came flowing in and my thumb got right to work. In one day my thumb was in extreme pain from constant texting. That really opened my eyes to the added stress that is put on your hand from this habit.

I’ve now turned into an avid user of voice recognition texting and have also began to raise my phone to ear level when I read any texts or emails from my phone. I don’t care if it looks silly, I’d rather save stress from my body.

A Dose of Dani

A Dose of Dani

A lot of you have been asking what I use in my daily regimen for vitamins or supplements. I don’t do a multi-vitamin because I get all the good nutrients and vitamins I need from eating nutrient-dense fruits and veggies :)

But here are some items that I like to add into my daily routine.

 Maca Powder- This nutrient dense whole food grown in the mountains of Peru is packed with vitamins, essential minerals and amino acids. Studies have identified four alkaloids in maca which are known to nourish the endocrine system. Its adaptogenic properties are commonly used to increase stamina, boost libido and combat fatigue. I like to add the maca powder to my protein shakes and green shakes.

Complete Omega- This Complete Omega offers omega-3s from fish oil, omega-6 GLA from borage oil and omega-9 oleic acids. This balanced blend promotes heart health, brain function, positive mood and offers support for healthy joints and skin. I like this brand Nordic Naturals because it is tested by a third-party certified lab for environmental toxins, including heavy metals.

Organic Acai Powder- This superfood native to South America is a complex blend of antioxidants including vitamins A and C , iron calcium and dietary fiber.   The acai berry fights inflammation and is notably rich in minerals and amino acids. This nutrient dense fruit also has omega-3 essential fatty acids which help with maintenance of mental and visual function. I like to add this in to my protein or green shakes.

Raw Probiotics-  I use the WOMEN brand that they have that is specifically designed to meet the unique needs of women, supporting vaginal health and overall digestive function. It offers 32 “original” probiotics, minerals, prebiotics as well as dairy-digesting enzymes to help break down lactose and casein.

  • It supports colon health, bowel regularity and overall digestive function
  • supports gut-related immune system function and overall immune system health.
  • supports healthy microbial balance by promoting healthy bacteria in the gut
  • Supports healthy nutrient absorption
  • Supports vaginal health and thyroid function

Super Daily D3- I have this in liquid form and this vitamin supported healthy immune system function, a healthy cardiovascular system, muscle health, calcium absorption and teeth and bone health.

What do you use for your daily health fix?

Love Your Skin

Love Your Skin

As much as I stress the importance of fueling your body with quality, whole foods, I have also been on a personal mission to apply this mentality throughout all aspects of my life.

Yes, it’s important what we put IN our body. But what about all of the products used daily that we put ON our body?

I have a daily routine of using soaps, body lotions, face makeup, shampoo and perfume. Most of these products are all chemical ridden, and unfortunately tested on animals.

Your skin is your largest organ and absorbs up to 60 percent of what you put on it.

With the average woman putting between 12-20 chemicals on her body due to beauty products, it’s worth it to me and my well-being to dig a little deeper into the ingredients in my beauty products.

Change doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s hard to just throw away your whole collection of lotions and perfumes you have collected and spent money on over the years, but I have made a conscious decision to buy beauty products that are chemical free and NOT tested on animals.

The best thing we can do as consumers is read ingredient lists carefully in order to avoid chemicals that are known to be harmful, even though they continue to be widely used.

There is an app I found called The Think Dirty App, that helps consumers identify potentially toxic chemicals in your favorite beauty products, all by the scan of a barcode, and suggesting similar products that are cleaner.

This can help with making more conscious decisions of what we put on our bodies AND down the drains.

Over the past 3 months I have cleaned out my lotion and makeup drawer and have incorporated new products into my routine.

Kirkland’s Organic Coconut Oil– I buy this in bulk at Costco and it’s organic! Kirkland signature organic Coconut Oil is cold pressed and never chemically treated during production. Beside cooking with it as an olive oil and butter substitute, I use it as body lotion and makeup remover. It is easily absorbed into the skin and has a sweet coconut aroma. I couldn’t believe the first time I used it as makeup remover to take off my mascara, and how well it works.

Taspen’s Organics-  I have three products that I have been using from this family-owned business based out of Colorado. What I love about this company is they are passionate about safe, chemical free, organic products. Each of their products is made with high quality certified organic herbs, oils and pure essential oils. They do not contain GMO’s, gluten, parabens, petroleum, chemicals, preservatives, fragrances, synthetic or artificial ingredients and are not tested on animals.

  1.  Facial Moisturizing Cream- I use this product daily, both in the morning and night. I love that it contains high antioxidant and natural SPF containing oils.  I have the citrus scent, which is really refreshing and soothing. I am really in love with the way this makes my skin feel so hydrated.
  2. Water Resistant Sun Cream- I am a sunscreen junkie, as I’m scared to death of wrinkles. However, with the amount of sunscreen that I use, i know that I needed to find another alternative because sunscreen is FILLED with harmful chemicals. This sun cream has an equivalent to SPF 30 and needs to be reapplied every two hours.
  3. Restore and Revive Remedy Stick-  This is is my go to for scrapes, burns, cuts, dry/irritated skin and even works on my psoriasis. Basically an all natural neosporin!

Taspen’s Web site offers other products such as a facial toner, eye cream, body wash, insect repellant, diaper rash salve and baby powder among many other products.

Support local! Support organic! Support your body!

I’ve Been Prescribed The Ocean

I’ve Been Prescribed The Ocean

I wake up and am immediately drawn to the ocean. I cross the railroad tracks, hike up the hill and stand against the railing that overlooks Beacons Beach in Encinitas, California.

I walk down to the ocean, find a big rock to sit on and stare dreamily out into the water watching the sunrise surfers hang ten.

I sit in a trance listening to the swooshing sound of the waves break against the shore, up onto the rocks and get pulled out again. I hear the seagulls in the distance, and I can pick up on the sound of a pelican swooping into the water for his breakfast.

The waves have me in a meditative state, and energy fills me to my core. I can’t help but smile, and not think of anything else but the present moment. I feel completely full, and the thoughts of everything else wash away. Meditating never seemed easier!

There’s something about being by the water that just makes me happier, and I’m a pretty darn happy person even away from it.

A popular belief is that salty air, which is filled with negatively charged ions, can help decrease blood pressure and elevate mood. Ocean visits were once a prescribed “cure all” for most illnesses in the 18th and 19th centuries.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the ocean has healing properties. The way I feel around water is unlike anything else. But how silly would it be if we went to the doctor in the 21st century and were prescribed a walk on the beach, a swim in the ocean or to sit underneath a waterfall?

I’d take that prescription over our “pill nation” agenda any day.

What are negative ions?

An ion is an atom or molecule that has either gained or lost an electron. They are created in nature as air molecules break apart due to sunlight, radiation, moving air and water. Nature provides both negative and positive ions, and it’s the negative ions that give us that feel good energy.

Negative ions are known to enhance mood, stimulate senses, provide relief from allergies and migranes, help promote alpha brain waves, help absorb oxygen into blood cells and balance serotonin.

The best generator for negative ions is lightening, ocean waves and waterfalls. They are also abundant in mountains and forests. (I knew I was meant to live in the Tropics…)

All of these areas have a higher concentration of negative ions than positive. The normal ion count in fresh country air is 2,000 to 4,000 negative ions per cubic centimeter. At a large waterfall there is over 100,000. On the other hand, in a polluted city you will see levels below 100 per cubic centimeter.

It makes sense to me why I feel more alert, stable and energized when I’m surfing, climbing waterfalls and swimming in the ocean.

How does the ocean make you feel?

Letting Excuses Rule

Letting Excuses Rule

“I work too much.”

“I’m exhausted.”

“I swear…I have no time.”

People have really mastered the art of making excuses for themselves. It’s more common than you think to trick your mind and body into premeditated defeat by letting excuses rule over your mind.

Maybe it’s the comfort of being in a routine (or lack thereof ) or the fear of change.
There can be excuses of all sorts, and when your excuses set the pace and take control of your life, you are setting yourself up to fail.

You alone have the power to decide and create what you want out of life. You make time for what you prioritize and make excuses for what you don’t.

Find your motivation
What is important to you? Why are you pursuing a healthier lifestyle? Considering you are reading this blog post, health and fitness is a part of your life, or you have goals to work toward a healthier version of YOU. Everyone has their reasons of what motivates them. It could be to manage stress, to get toned or to feel better all around. Either way, you need to focus on what motivates you and make this a priority. Light the fire, and don’t let your excuses blow it out!

Pencil In Your Priorities
Would you ever think about just not showing up to a meeting at work? You are expected to be there and have made it a priority. When you change your thinking to make health just as important as a work meeting, you will find the time to fit it into your life. Make a commitment and make sure you have it penciled in. By taking a look at what you have planned for the week, both for work and your personal life, you can make sure you don’t skip a beat. Stay proactive. If you know you will be in meetings late followed by a work dinner, make sure you get your workout in before you head into work for the day.

Little Lifestyle Changes Go a Long Way
If you are finding yourself rambling excuses all the time, maybe its time to reflect on your daily habits in order for YOU to begin to rule over your excuses, instead of the other way around. I hear this one all the time: “I worked all day and came home and was too exhausted to workout.” Well, it sounds like you need to make a lifestyle change. It really is THAT simple. Making small lifestyle changes can end up having a large impact on your life. Maybe it’s waking up one hour earlier in order to fit in a morning workout or turning off all electronics by 8:30 so you can start to unwind and try to be in bed earlier. Maybe instead of hitting the snooze button ten times you can get up on the first alarm. Don’t let your work, daily activites or exhaustion get in the way of a good workout. Look at the reasons of why you are failing now, and tweak your habits to make sure you set yourself up for success!

Just DO It!
Don’t think about it— just do it! Make it a goal to work on these small changes for 21 days straight. Get up on that first snooze alarm. Wake up an hour earlier. Reflect on your daily habits and what you can do in order to see the changes and results you want. Commit to 21 days and see how it makes you feel, both physically and emotionally.

Tips:
1. Write down your motivation for a healthier lifestyle
2. Set goal(s) for yourself
3. Look at your week ahead for any roadblocks
4. Write down your workouts and pencil them in like you would a business meeting. Set yourself up with a visual schedule
5. Take a look at your lifestyle habits and make little tweaks to your daily routines in order to break bad habits or create good ones
6. Stay consistent. It’s easy to fall off the bandwagon but even harder to get back on. Don’t miss more than two workout days in a row
7. Commit for 21 days with your “No Excuses” plan

Magnesium Deficiency and Epsom Salt Baths

Magnesium Deficiency and Epsom Salt Baths

Magnesium is the second most abundant element in human cells and the fourth most important positively charged ion in the body.

Magnesium plays a critical role in over 300 enzymes, reduces inflammation, improves blood flow, regulates temperature, detoxes the liver and helps to improve muscle and nerve function.

Unfortunately, many people are magnesium deficient without even knowing, and the American lifestyle lends itself to magnesium depletion so rapidly that magnesium therapy should be an ongoing process for many of us.

Some symptoms of magnesium deficiency are high blood pressure, anxiety, fatigue, sleep disturbances, insomnia, muscle cramps, irregular heartbeat, back pain, headaches, migraines, depression and hypertension.

Why are we deficient?

Due to diet, agricultural practices and stress, our magnesium levels have dropped by half in the last century.

Industrial farming has depleted magnesium from our soil with the use of pesticides that are sprayed on produce that we eat daily, and the American diet of refined and processed foods are stripped of their vitamin, mineral and fiber content. For consumers who love their sugar intake, think about this for a second. For every single molecule of sugar you consume, 50 times the amount of magnesium is depleted from your body.

Stress is a large cause of our levels dropping as well. Stress hormone production requires high levels of magnesium and stressful experiences lead to depletion of magnesium stores.

For those with a daily workout routine, you sweat out important nutrients during exercise. This is why sports drinks market themselves as an “electrolyte drink” containing magnesium, potassium and sodium. Many athletes suffer from muscle cramping, which is from losing these great nutrients during a workout. And guess what? Magnesium isn’t just a mineral, it’s an electrolyte. So you can get back your nutrients after a hard workout with a good bath soak.

Epsom Salt Baths

Epsom salt is a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. By using Epsom salt baths you can detox your body and experience amazing health benefits.

Our skin is a highly porous membrane and readily absorbs both magnesium and sulfate through the skin into the body’s blood stream. By using Epsom salts in your bathwater, it creates a process called reverse osmosis that pulls salt and harmful toxins out of your body, allowing the magnesium and sulfates to enter.

According to the Epsom Salt Industry Council, researchers list health benefits from sufficient magnesium and sulfate levels.

  • Improved heart and circulatory health, reducing irregular heartbeats, preventing hardening of the arteries, reducing blood clots and lowering blood pressure.
  • Improved ability for the body to use insulin, reducing the incidence or severity of diabetes.
  • Flushed toxins and heavy metals from the cells, easing muscle pain and helping the body to eliminate harmful substances.
  • Improved nerve function by electrolyte regulation. Also, calcium is the main conductor for electrical current in the body, and magnesium is necessary to maintain proper calcium levels in the blood.
  • Relieved stress. Excess adrenaline and stress are believed to drain magnesium, a natural stress reliever, from the body. Magnesium is necessary for the body to bind adequate amounts of serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of well being and relaxation.
  • Reduced inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps.
  • Improved oxygen use.
  • Improved absorption of nutrients.
  • Improved formation of joint proteins, brain tissue and mucin proteins.
  • Prevention or easing of migraine headaches.

Ready for a bath already?

I know what I’m doing this weekend! Spring is a time for detox and cleaning out, so start with your own internal system. Your body will thank you!

Add two cups of Epsom Salt and soak for 20 minutes, up to 2-3 times a week. Epsom salts are inexpensive and can be purchased at Wal Mart, Lowes and Home Depot among many places. Also, try to add magnesium rich foods into your diet such as roasted pumpkin seeds, spinach, almonds, brown rice and sunflower seeds.

Reading Labels: Rethinking Your Meat

Reading Labels: Rethinking Your Meat

What’s the deal with all these different labels anyway and do you really understand what are buying? From packaging depicting “all natural,” “grass fed” or “organic,” the labels can be misleading and confusing.

With concerns on animal welfare, pesticides , hormones and antibiotics, you SHOULD be reading the labels, educating yourself, and thinking twice about what type of fish, poultry or meat you buy.

Flashback a year ago and my trip to the supermarket would be to head straight to the meat aisle and pick out the nicest looking and cheapest piece of meat, for no rhyme or reason. I grew up eating “normal” (what I thought was normal) conventional, cheap meat and just didn’t question it. I was never educated, or even thought to look into the quality of meat that is provided in our supermarkets.

Hold up… You mean to tell me that hormones and steroids are pumped into the foods we eat?

The average person eats between 150-200 pounds of meat each year, and added hormones and antibiotics have the ability to weaken the human body as well as kill it through unnatural cell growth. The age-old saying “We are what we eat holds true.” If we are consuming protein sources with added hormones and antibiotics, these are now in OUR bodies. Here are a couple of great articles from the USA Today and Pomegrante Market  that are worth checking regarding added growth hormones to protein sources.

We as consumers should be aware of what exactly is going into our bodies and how it affects us and be READING the labels of what we buy.

Let’s take a look at some common meat label titles and look into them a little bit.

100% Organic- The National Organic Program of the United State Department of Agriculture has standards that focus on four main areas: housing, feed, health management, and processing/packing. These animals must have access to the outdoors, must be fed organic feed, cannot be treated with antibiotics and must be processed in a certified organic processor.

Organic- Foods containing 95% organic ingredients.

Made with Organic Ingredients- Foods containing less that 70% organic ingredients and will not display the USDA seal.

Grass Fed- There are three leading “grass-fed” labels, certified by the Food Alliance, the American Grassfed Association or the USDA, requiring that animals eat a diet exclusively of grass/forage. The standards apply to ruminant animals only- beef, bison, goat, lamb and sheep.

  • USDA– USDA’s grass-fed marketing standard requires only that animals “must have continuous access to pasture during the growing season.” It does not necessarily mean that the animals spent their entire lives in pastures or on rangeland. The USDA also does not address antibiotics or hormones.
  • Food Alliance– This sustainable agriculture certification program supports “healthy and humane animal treatment with no added growth promotants or subtherapeutic antibiotics; soil and water conservation; integrated pest, disease, and weed management; pesticide risk reduction; wildlife habitat and biodiversity conservation; and safe and fair working conditions.”
  • American Grassfed Association– This grassfed certification standards are a diet fed only of grass and forage from weaning until harvest, animals are raised on pasture without confinement to feedlots and never administered hormones or antibiotics.

Natural- This is probably the most misleading label of them all. The USDA defines natural meat as being minimally processed with no added preservatives or coloring. Natural labels do not touch upon animal welfare or the diet it is fed. Animals can still be given antibiotics or growth hormones and still be labeled as “natural.”

As if it wasn’t confusing enough, it’s also good to note that grass- fed is almost always organic, but organic is not necessarily grass-fed. Organic meat means the cows were fed organic grain, which they shouldn’t be eating to begin with anyway, as corn and grain upset a cow’s stomach, creating a natural acidity in their gut. It makes the cow sick allowing parasites and disease to flourish. Antibiotics now come in to play, which is administered to the cows to keep them from getting sick.

Personally, I generally always look for grass fed, hormone free and antibiotic meat when making my purchases. Did you know Whole Foods only carries hormone and antibiotic free meats? I now make all my shopping stops there. Sure, it may be more expensive than you regular “conventional” meats, but to me, knowing what is going into my body is worth it.

Fit According to You

Fit According to You

Who do you look up to? When you look up to a role model they should be a positive, strong, motivational leader setting an example.

With social media everywhere,  sites get bombarded with pictures of “the perfect body.” Are these pages, pictures or people you are following making you feel good about yourself or just making you envious of what they have and bad about what you are currently rocking’?

What a drag to have an Instagram news feed that just leaves you thinking, “She’s so perfect, I look nothing like that,” or  “I will never be that thin,” or “I wish I had her life.”

When I use my social media, I follow people that have positive, encouraging posts that are going to inspire me to be the best version of ME I can be. They aren’t just endless selfie pictures showing off their abs and how “perfect” they are.

I want to be encouraged on a daily basis to make me feel like I can conquer the world. I don’t want to live by someone else’s standards. I want to make strides for myself!

“I’m not beautiful like you, I’m beautiful like me”

My two favorite people to follow on Instagram are Yoga Girl and Emily Skye Fit. They are transparent and genuine, showing real life—the hard times with the good. They send out a positive message about loving yourself, including your flaws.

Always remember that there is no “perfect.” Every person that walks this Earth is different, and that’s what makes being YOU so special.

My idea of what fit is could be very different than my neighbors. And that’s OK! How boring would it be if everyone walked around looking identical and doing the same things.

One time I got wrapped up in this Yoga idea about wanting to be really flexible and good at it,  because my friends were excelling at it, and it looked cool to do. It’s like this yoga craze was happening and I wanted to be a part of it.

But I realized that yoga wasn’t really what my passion was, and I was being sidetracked from what I really wanted to do, weight lifting, because of the wants and looks of other people.

“This girl is in great shape, and she does yoga… I must do yoga too,” was the trap that I fell into often. And what a wrong mentality that is. Find out what you are passionate about and go for it.

(Granted, I need yoga in my life for both the mental and physical benefits, especially with all of the weight training I do. I am working on incorporating more yoga and meditation into my weekly routine,  but I focus most of my energy on what I’m happiest doing——–>Sweating and lifting weights.)

Maybe you try yoga and yes, it is your thing. But swimming, cycling, hula hooping, weight training and pilates can be an option for you too. Follow your heart on doing what makes you feel good, not what the seemingly perfect girl in the magazine is doing. Try out different methods of exercise and learn what works for you and your body. Afterall, it is FIT ACCORDING TO YOU!

*Photo- This is a photo of my best friend Stef, who found her passion in yoga and hula hooping. She followed her heart doing what she’s passionate about, and has sculpted shoulders and a rock solid core to show for it!