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8 Natural Headache Remedies

Headaches…argh! From minor to debilitating, headaches are a pain – literally. As part of our journey to reduce and eliminate chemicals and toxins, we try to avoid many over the counter and prescription medications when possible. It’s not easy considering how quick we are as a culture to throw medication at a problem, even when unnecessary. In fact, as research shows, some medications actually cause the very issue they are supposed to be resolving, leading to this never-ending cycle and dependency on said medication. I personally fell-victim to this process with PPIs, before I discovered a more natural way of living and treating my body. Another example of this unfortunately is NSAIDs, or Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. According to these findings, NSAIDs not only damage the gut lining and create inflammation, but they also induce gluten sensitivity (eye opening information for those questioning the sudden rise in gluten sensitivities!). So while there are certainly times when medications may be necessary, I have made it a priority for my family to live as medication-free as possible. And I – like many of you – have found that most common health issues can be resolved through natural measures. That said, do your own research and decide what’s right for you and your family! In this post I’m sharing some information related to headaches and some natural remedies that work for me and my family.

Types of Headaches

There are numerous types of headaches that millions of people suffer from. The most common types of headaches are:

  • Sinus Headaches. Usually accompanied by other sinus symptoms such as runny nose, fever, pressure.
  • Tension Headaches. The most common type, these headaches are also known as “stress-headaches”, often occur daily, and are typically mild to moderate.
  • Migraines. These may last a few hours or even a few days, once or twice a month. Usually accompanied by other symptoms such as sensitivity to light, nausea or vomiting, and upset stomach or belly pain.
  • Cluster Headaches. These are severe, with shooting pain behind the eyes, that may occur several times over a couple of weeks or so. They usually go away for a period of time and then may return later.

8 Natural Headache Remedies

There are many possible causes of headaches, including stress, environmental toxins, dehydration, food allergies and sensitivities, leaky gut, eye strain, and vitamin and mineral imbalances. If you are someone who suffers from any of the above types of headaches, read through these 8 natural headache remedies before you reach for that bottle of aspirin:

  1. Hydrate. So simple, right? I can’t tell you the number of clients that have seen us complaining of headaches and as soon as we get them drinking more water the headaches vanish! How much water are you consuming daily? Try working up to half your body weight and notice the difference.
  2. Reduce Stress. Duh, right? Do things to reduce stress. No, don’t quit your job. But do try yoga, brief meditations, exercise, and deep breaths.
  3. Move and Stretch. Exercising and doing yoga are excellent ways of relieving tension and stress, and thus reducing head pain and the chance of headaches occurring. A regular fitness and yoga routine can be the best preventative medicine, for this and for numerous other things.
  4. Eat Real Foods. We have drilled this into you, I know, but food really is medicine.
  5. Sleep. Lack of good quality sleep can wreak havoc on a body, inside and out, so it’s no wonder that it’s often a culprit of head pain. Make sure you’re getting 7-9 hours of good quality sleep each night. Read this post to learn more about sleep and how to get enough!
  6. Peppermint Essential Oil. Backed by research, not to mention anecdotal support, peppermint essential oil is my go-to for headache relief. I run a little on my temples and immediately feel relief.
  7. Detox Baths. Detox baths rid your body of toxins, help prevent getting sick, and can prevent headaches. In addition, as they help relieve stress, they can be a good remedy for headaches too. Learn more about detox baths and how to take one here.
  8. Increase Magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is rampant among Americans, and is often the cause of headaches and even migraines. Learn more about magnesium deficiency and what to do about it here.

For more information on how to relieve or prevent headaches and other health issues, contact us for a free online or in-studio consult!

 

12 Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Add to Your Life

Inflammation is a topic that hits close to home for me. Having been exposed to mold in my home for 4 years, my body suffers from systemic inflammation, which has caused everything from significant and unexplained weight gain to rotating bouts of tendonitis to chronic fatigue and joint pain. Inflammation in the body is not always a bad thing, and can just be a function of the body doing its job to ward off illness. However, if the immune system goes into overdrive, an autoimmune disorder and serious inflammation can result. Some examples of this are fibromyalgia and even asthma.

As with most illness and disease, inflammation can be relieved and even reversed through diet. Many foods that we consume in our typical diet can promote and even cause inflammation and disease. When looking at reducing inflammation then, it’s no wonder that many good practitioners first look to diet. When working with clients, diet is an integral part of helping to not only optimize health, but also to help resolve many health issues and concerns, including inflammation. We look at moving clients toward a whole foods diet, full of healthy and organic fruits, veggies, fats, and of course meats. Antioxidants and essential fatty acids are components that are important to incorporate when working to reduce inflammation.

12 Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Add to Your Life

As I talked about in my earlier post about forming positive relationships with food, when transitioning to a food and lifestyle change I think its important to find foods that you do like that also are healing foods for your body. Try to avoid focusing on the foods that need to be eliminated from your diet, and try to focus more on the healthy and delicious foods that you are adding to your diet. Here are 12 Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Add to Your Life:

 

  1. Leafy Greens. By now you should be eating lots of leafy greens daily anyway (and if you still need convincing read my post here), but if you still haven’t jumped on this health-wagon, nows a good time to start. Leafy greens contains numerous vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants needed to help fight disease and inflammation, and they are simply a game-changer.
  2. Beets. Another food rich in antioxidants, beets are also anti-inflammatory. And as a bonus, they contain high amounts of magnesium as well (see my post here on the importance of magnesium in your diet).
  3. Turmeric. Curcumin is highly regarded as an anti-inflammatory food, and has proven to even be more potent than aspirin. We use turmeric in tea, golden milk, and in various dishes when we can.
  4. Ginger. Ah, this is my favorite. A cousin of turmeric, ginger is a powerful root that also helps to fight inflammation. We use ginger daily in our lemon-ginger tea, and I add it into smoothies, soups and other dishes every chance I get!
  5. Garlic. Garlic is anti-fungal, anti-viral, and full of antioxidants. Among other medicinal benefits is garlic’s ability to help relieve inflammation.
  6. Blueberries. High in anti-oxidants, blueberries can also help fight inflammation.
  7. Wild-Caught Salmon. Wild-caught salmon contains essential fatty acids and omega-3s, which are potent inflammation-fighters. Fish oil and fermented cod liver oil are excellent supplements to take, especially when eating fish on a daily basis is not practical.
  8. Bone Broth. Bone broth, especially homemade bone broth, can help reduce inflammation and heal leaky gut (also a result of inflammation).
  9. Coconut Oil. Coconut oil has endless health benefits, so it’s no surprise that anti-inflammatory properties are on it’s list of ways it helps your body.
  10. Chia Seeds. Chia seeds can help reverse inflammation due to their anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  11. Spices. Spices such as cloves, cinnamon, oregano, sage, and thyme are extremely anti-inflammatory.
  12. Dark Chocolate. Last, but not least, dark chocolate. Cocoa contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Make sure you choose a chocolate that is 75% or higher, and try to avoid any additives such as cane sugar or soy. We buy our chocolate here!

If you are suffering from inflammation and other health issues related to inflammation, we encourage you to speak with a knowledgeable professional who can help guide you toward food and lifestyle changes to heal your body. Contact us for a free consult and see how we can help you feel better and eliminate unnecessary inflammation!

 

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This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.

Herb-Marinated Beef Sirloin (paleo, gluten-free)

Spring is fully underway here in Philadelphia, with lots of rainy days, lots of warm sunny days, and lots of weird in-between days when you have no idea what to wear. I love springtime, with the gorgeous flowers and trees in bloom, the birds happily singing their busy tunes, and children filling up the playgrounds again. Winter is drab around here, and by the time those temperatures begin to rise again, we are more than eager to get out and enjoy every moment! One of my favorite hallmarks of spring has come to be planting flowers with my kids, and of course preparing our little garden in our backyard. I like to let the kids pick some things that they want to plant, and have them help me with each step. They love getting their hands dirty, searching for worms, planting the plants, and munching on the herbs as we set them in the soil. It’s a beautiful thing to plant and grow your own food – even if it’s just a little – and to have your children be a part of the process, and appreciation.

Health Benefits of Fresh Herbs

Sun gold tomatoes are a staple for us each year, but this year we’re branching out a little and adding cucumbers and strawberries to the mix! Our herbs remain the star of the show though, with varieties of basil, mint, parsley, cilantro, chives and rosemary making an appearance year after year. And since we grow our own herbs, it’s given me an excuse to use them in our food more, and to play with new ways of incorporating them into our diets as much as possible. I love using them in cooking; they add so much flavor and really help any dish come alive. Herbs are packed with health benefits too! Here are some common culinary garden herbs and their health benefits:

  • Sage: antioxidants, improves memory, prevents disease
  • Mint: antimicrobial, anti-viral, antioxidants, aids and calms digestion, reduces inflammation
  • Oregano: antioxidants, antimicrobial, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, boosts immune system, prevents disease
  • Basil: antioxidants, anti-cancer properties, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, reduces blood pressure,
  • Rosemary: antioxidants, anti-microbial, relieves pain, aids digestion
  • Thyme: antioxidants, can speed recovery from illness, can treat foot and vaginal yeast, prevents disease
  • Parsley: antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, dietary fibers, balances cholesterol

With all of this in mind, I encourage you to add in more herbs to your cooking this year! Even if you’re already an herb-guru, maybe try something new, or at least a new recipe. Starting with this one. This one right here. Combining my love for steak with my love for fresh herbs, I knew I couldn’t go wrong, but I can’t even tell you how ridiculously delicious this oh-so-simple recipe is. And feel free to cook this on the grill, if you’re savvy that way. I used a skillet because I was in a bit of a time-crunch. Also, I used sirloin steak because it’s one of my favorite cuts, and one that I happen to have in the freezer, but feel free to use the marinade on different cuts, just make sure they’re grass-fed.


Herb-Marinated Beef Sirloin

Ingredients:

  • 1 16oz. beef sirloin steak (or similar)
  • Herb-marinade (see below)
  • 1-2T bacon fat or other cooking fat of choice

Marinade Ingredients:

  • 1c. olive oil
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 2-3T of each (or other herbs that you have in the garden)
    • basil
    • parsley
    • chives
    • rosemary
    • thyme
  • 2T red wine vinegar
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Chop herbs and combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl. Pour half of the marinade in a dish and add the steak, covering both sides with the marinade. Marinate for 20 minutes, and up to an hour in the fridge.

Preheat skillet over medium-high heat. Cook steaks for 6-7 minutes each side (more or less depending on how you like your steak).

Once done, remove steak and place on a cutting board or a plate to rest for 5 minutes or so.

Serve topped with remaining marinade.

 

Affiliate Notice
This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.

Illness or Injury: Why It’s Important to Keep Moving

Illness and injury can put a damper on a health and fitness routine, and can sometimes result in complete loss of motivation. Aside from not feeling well, being sick or injured can be frustrating to say the least, especially if you’re someone who works hard to reach certain goals. But illness and injury are not necessarily good excuses to miss your appointment with your trainer, your daily visit to the gym, or your home yoga practice. In fact, if you stop moving you can actually do more harm than good to your body, and as a result, your mind too.

Benefits of Exercising When Sick or Injured

There are benefits to keeping up with some form of a workout routine when suffering a minor illness or injury.

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  • Sticking to a routine. Maintaining a health routine leads to better success in reaching your goals in the long run. You will be more likely to continue your health and fitness routine once you recover, and will feel less intimidated by the thought of returning. Psychologically and physically, maintaining your routine and schedule is imperative to reaching your health and fitness goals.
  • Post-surgery, exercise can help you heal faster. Obviously this depends on the type of surgery, and workouts will need to be modified, but by keeping the body moving you are increasing your chances of a speedy and healthy recovery.
  • Help relieve pain. While joint pain and inflammatory injuries make you feel like you don’t want to move, ever, exercising can actually improve symptoms and discomfort.
  • Boosts energy. Being sick or injured can deplete your energy levels, causing you to want to remain sedentary, which then makes you more tired…it’s a vicious cycle. Movement can help boost your energy and therefore your ability to recover faster.

When Should You NOT or When Should You STOP?

Obviously if you’re severely sick or injured exercise may not be an option. Additionally, you never want to push your body to the point that your illness or injury is made worse. According to an article by Dr. Mercola, fever, widespread body aches, and vomiting are all good reasons to take it easy. However, if you have a head cold or sinus infection, feel free to keep moving. Likewise, you can speed the healing of minor injuries through movements and stretches, when done the right way. But always listen to your body. High intensity may not be the most effective or beneficial type of exercise when sick or injured, for example. Yoga or lightweight movements may be a better choice. Here are some examples of modified exercises or movements that you can do when sick or injured, being mindful of your body and what your body is going through.

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  • Lightweight or bodyweight exercises, such as thrusters, air squats, or even push-ups can help the body recover, increase energy, and keep fit even during illness and injury. Modify the amount of weight you use and the number of repetitions to avoid fatigue or pain.
  • Different kinds of movements. Using different areas of the body than the areas that are injured is one way to keep moving when injured, without re-traumatizing the body.
  • Plank or modified plank is a safe movement for many illnesses or injuries. Depending on how you’re feeling you can get creative with it, or simply hold it for increasing amounts of time.
  • Yoga. Meditation is great anytime, no matter the illness and no matter the injury. It’s a great way to stay focused, to reduce stress, and to help the body heal through a positive mind and body. Yoga poses can also be extremely beneficial, as some poses are even designed to help certain areas of the body heal from both sickness and injury. Yoga is a wonderful way to keep the body moving, to relieve pain and stress, and to maintain strength and flexibility while recovering.

If you are fortunate enough to have a well-trained, knowledgeable personal trainer or yoga instructor, you are in good hands! Continue your regular routine with them, and they will be able to modify your sessions around the needs of your body. We often encourage clients to come in, even if just for a meditation practice, in order to keep their routine, their motivation, and to uplift their mood during illness or injury. When clients are unable to come in we offer virtual sessions via Skype.

Interested in a free consult to learn about our personal training or private yoga sessions? Contact us to try our online private training or health transformation consulting services, or if local to Philadelphia, a class or private session!

Affiliate Notice
This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.

2-Ingredient Maple-Chocolate Candy (Paleo, Refined Sugar-free)

Have you ever been to a sugarhouse in Vermont? If not, you should go. Why? Because first of all Vermont is beautiful. Peaceful, serene, unplugged. Everyone should spend at least a weekend in Vermont. Seriously. Maybe we’ll add that as part of our health and wellness plan for our clients. As soon as you enter the state you immediately feel your breaths become deeper, your shoulders relax back down to where they’re meant to be, your mood lightens. It’s the perfect place to de-stress, to enjoy nature, and

Maple sugar house between trees with fall foliage at the countryside at Reading, Vermont, USA

to just be. Second, sugarhouses are usually set in some beautiful majestic setting (it is Vermont afterall), often down a windy, hilly path surrounding by mountains, trees, and gorgeous clean air. Third, this is where the most delicious, pure, straight from the trees maple syrup is made. And if you’ve never tried Vermont’s maple syrup, well…you should. It’s the perfect blend of sweet and intense flavor, and you can almost taste the cool air and pure nature that only Vermont can produce.

Okay, okay, maple syrup is delicious. But it’s sugar, right? Actually, maple syrup is an unrefined natural sugar, and like honey it contains higher levels of antioxidants and beneficial nutrients than white table sugar or high fructose corn syrup. It’s a wonderful alternative to refined and processed sugars, which are linked to numerous health problems. In fact, here are some benefits of maple syrup, in case you’re on the fence (I suggest getting down from the fence and going to Vermont, but hey that’s just me):

5 Benefits of Maple Syrup:

  1. Contains nutrients: zinc, potassium, manganese, magnesium, iron and calcium.
  2. Contains antioxidants
  3. Lower glycemic index than refined sugars
  4. Good for the skin: can lower inflammation and dryness
  5. Healthier alternative to artificial sweeteners and refined sugars, thus helping to prevent health problems that these cause
  • Even with these health benefits, maple syrup, just like any sugar, should be consumed in moderation.

In our house, maple syrup and raw honey are the sweeteners of choice when we need to satisfy a sweet tooth. This Easter I decided to think outside the box a little, and instead of more chocolate candies, I decided to make a maple candy. It turned out delicious, and just like the candy we tried in Vermont! It’s pretty easy to make, but make sure you follow the directions as accurately as possible. We no longer use chocolate chips because even the dark chips often contain soy and/or sugar, which we try to avoid. Instead we use our eating evolved chocolate bars and chop them up into chip-sized pieces! Also, you can choose to omit the chocolate chips and you’ll still have a delicious maple candy that can be spooned into candy molds for a cute presentation!

2-Ingredient Maple-Chocolate Candy

  1. In large saucepan, boil maple syrup over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Use candy thermometer and continue boiling until it reaches 235 degrees F.
  2. Remove saucepan fro heat and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes, or 175 degrees F.
  3. Once cooled, whisk rapidly until lighter in color, thick and creamy. Quickly stir in chocolate pieces (it’s okay if the chocolate is a little melty; you want to add the chocolate once it’s smooth and somewhat cool, but if you wait too long the mixture will be too hard!)
  4. Pour into candy molds or into an 8X8 pan (or something similar). Cool in refrigerator for a few minutes. Can be stored in airtight container in fridge for up to 3-4 weeks (but I promise it won’t last that long!)

I hope you enjoy this Maple-Chocolate Candy as much as we do, and at some point get to experience Vermont too! What are you’re favorite uses for maple syrup?

Affiliate Notice
This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.