Beyond Bulletproof: This coffee or tea is a low carb, filling snack or meal.

Beyond_bulletproof_coffee

By now, we’ve all heard about bulletproof coffee. It is also know as fat coffee, rocket fuel or buttered coffee, or even yak tea. Essentially, you add a couple tablespoons of good, cultured grass-fed butter (or other high quality oil or fat) to pump up your morning cup o’ joe. Adding processed sugar or pasteurized cream is frowned upon. People who have tried buttered coffee swear it tastes good, and gives them more energy and a better ability to focus. Dr. Oz even recommended buttered coffee for improved energy and to fight burnout. For a basic recipe click here.

Lately, I’ve been trying to drastically cut carbs, and have started drinking a few different varieties of fat coffee or yak tea in lieu of lunch. I find it really works to stave off hunger and keeps me energized for the rest of my work day. I add a scoop of Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen for protein, and a couple different kinds of healthy fat plus a good fiber source to keep me full. Adding ground chia seeds adds great fiber. Cacao powder and turmeric add nice flavors and tons of healthy antioxidants and other health benefits. Below are my favorite beyond bulletproof recipes. The basic recipe is coffee or tea, protein powder, a fiber source, and two servings of healthy fats.

Chocolate Sunbutter Fat CoffeePeanut_butter_coffee_recipe

This recipe uses collagen for the protein and sunflower seed butter, coconut milk cream, and coconut oil for the healthy fats. I really like adding unrefined, organic, virgin coconut oil because it’s loaded with medium chain triglycerides. MCT’s are used as energy rather than getting stored as fat and are important for brain health.

Ingredients
8 – 12 oz organic fair trade coffee or tea
2 Tbs unsweetened coconut milk or unpasteurized heavy cream
1 scoop Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen
2 Tbs unsweetened cacao powder
2 Tbs unsweetened sunflower butter (or nut butter of your choice)
1 Tbs organic ground chia seeds
10 drops stevia (or non-sugar sweetener of your choice)
5 ice cubes (optional for anyone who likes frozen coffee drinks)

Directions
Place coffee in a blender, then add coconut milk and nut butter. Blend on high a few seconds until well mixed. Add all other ingredients and blend on high until well mixed. Pour into a mug or glass and enjoy.

Mint Chocolate Mocha Mealmint_chocolate_butered_coffee_recipe

This recipe has a refreshing minty lift for those days you are dragging. Always add coconut milk or other cool ingredients to coffee first to cool it down a smidge before adding other ingredients. Some supplements lose nutritional benefits if heated too much.

Ingredients
8 – 12 oz organic fair trade coffee or tea
2 Tbs organic coconut milk or unpasteurized heavy cream
1 scoop Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen
2 Tbs organic fair trade cacao powder
1 Tbs Perfect Coconut Oil
1 Tbs organic ground chia seeds
10 drops stevia or unprocessed sweetener of your choice
2 – 4 drops peppermint essential oil
5 ice cubes (optional if you like frozen coffee drinks)

Directions
Add coffee and coconut milk to a blender. Combine a couple seconds. Add all other ingredients and blend on high until well combined. Pour and enjoy!

Turmeric Fat Yak Teabutter_tea_recipe

This recipe adds flavorful turmeric for a fantastic nutritional boost to your buttered beverage.

Ingredients
8 – 12 oz green tea or organic fair trade coffee
1 Tbs grass fed butter
1 Tbs Perfect Coconut Oil
1 scoop Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen
1 tsp Gaia Turmeric Boost
1 Tbs organic ground chia seeds
10 drops stevia or non-sugar sweetener of your choice

Directions
Blend green tea, butter and coconut oil for a few seconds. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until well combined. The butter in this will make it nice and frothy. Enjoy!

Beyond Bulletproof: Easy Coffee & Tea Meals or Snacks

So, to recap, to turn your buttered coffee or tea into a meal, you need to add a few ingredients to your brew.

  1. A good source of protein which helps power you through the next bunch of hours. I like Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen best because it is virtually flavorless and adds 10 grams of protein in every 11 gram scoop.
  2. Add two servings of healthy fat. My favorites are 1 Tbs Perfect Coconut Oil, 1 Tbs grass-fed butter, 2 Tbs nut or sunflower butter and 1/4 cup coconut milk or unpasteurized heavy cream.
  3. Adding a good source of whole food, fiber – not grains – helps us feel full longer and is beneficial for digestion, the heart, balancing blood sugar levels and more.

Don’t have a blender handy? Shake it up instead.

You can make many beyond bulletproof coffee recipes in a shaker, leave out nut butters, and melt the oils in your hot beverage, then shake up all the ingredients. Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen comes in handy single serve packets for easy travel to work or anywhere. Or, you can combine all but the coffee in your shaker before you go to work. Add the hot beverage and enjoy!

Do you have any great beyond bulletproof Coffee suggestions? Let us know your favorites!

 

Top 5 Reasons to Choose Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil

Rosita_Extra_Virgin_Cod_Liver_Oil

What is Cod Liver Oil?

Cod Liver Oil is a popular dietary supplement whose touted benefits are supported by centuries of documented clinical research. It is historically remembered as the vitamin D source used to prevent rickets in children, attaining popularity for both medical research and general consumption in the early 1900s due to the esteemed works of Dr. Weston A. Price.

What does Cod Liver Oil Do?

Cod Liver Oil is an excellent source of vitamins A and D, nutrients that are difficult to get in sufficient amounts through modern diets. It also provides heart healthy Omega 3 fatty acids with a good-sized portion of the daily recommended allowance of EPA/DHA. Multiple research studies have shown that this combination of vitamins from a 100% natural source, such as cod liver oil, has a significantly positive effect on overall health and wellness. What’s more is its potential to both prevent and treat a large variety of illnesses and diseases.

Who can benefit from using Cod Liver Oil?

Everyone! Cod Liver Oil is routinely recommend by all kinds of doctors and specialists as a daily nutritional supplement for its preventative and restorative health benefits. Its high Vitamin D level is essential for strong teeth and bones. Vitamin D also plays a role in nervous system and brain development, helping to prevent learning disorders in children. It is widely recognized as an immune-boosting antioxidant. Vitamin A promotes growth, vision, the immune system and reproduction. The Omega 3s, EPA and DHA, are also vital to brain function, the nervous system, cell membranes and much more. Raw cod liver oil contains numerous other nutrients as well, all working together to benefit people of all ages. Many people and doctors have praised cod liver oil for helping with the following:

  • Joint Pain
  • Heart Disease
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Arthritis
  • Mood Disorders
  • Autoimmune Disease
  • Tooth Decay
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Hormonal Acne
  • Eye Issues

Which Cod Liver Oil do we think is the best?

So now that you have a little history of what cod liver oil is and why it’s good for you, which cod liver oil should you choose? We love Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil for the following reasons.rosita_cod_liver_oil

Top 5 Reasons to Choose Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil

1) Time Tested Process

As many as 1300 years ago, the Scandinavian Vikings relied on fresh cod liver oil to get them through the cold, dark winter months. The oil was cherished for its strength and healing powers. Cod liver oil was used to ease sore muscles and joints, alleviate rheumatism, and cure illnesses such as gout and rickets. Later, cod liver oil became common for fighting the effects of malnutrition. Today, cod liver oil is a staple of the Paleo diet, the Weston A. Price diet and other healing, whole food diets.

Rosita uses an all-natural, secret method passed down by the Ancient Norse people to extract the oil from the cod livers. It starts with artisan fishers in Norway who use sustainable methods, line catching the fish and carefully harvesting them on their small, open boats. The time-tested process is heat free and uses no freezing, chemicals, solvents, bleaching, or decomposition. The process is done under low light conditions free of oxygen. The final cod liver oil retains all the vitamins, fatty acids, antioxidants and other nutrients that give high-quality cod liver oil its numerous benefits.

2) Comes From Fish Caught in Super Clean Water

Rosita fishers catch cod in the crisp, clean arctic waters around Norway. A cleaner living environment makes for less toxic fish and, therefore, less chance for toxicity in the final cod liver oil.

3) Raw Cod Liver Oil is More Nutritious

Most of the Cod Liver Oil supplements manufactured for the market today are molecularly distilled. This is a chemical process involving high heat which basically denatures a high percentage of nutrient value of the cod liver oil. It is the most cost-effective and fastest way to process cod livers, therefore many companies switched to this process, but at the cost of the nutrient value of the finished product. The ancient process noted above leaves Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil raw, thereby it retains ALL the healthy, beneficial nutrients.

4) No Synthetics Ever Added!

Cod Liver Oil manufacturers realized that their money-saving process was effecting the nutrient value of their fish oil. To combat the reduction in potency and replace the vitamins and heat-sensitive Omega 3 fatty acids, these inferior oils are refortified with synthetic versions of certain nutrients. Rosita only adds minimal amounts of natural antioxidants to slow the oxidation process and keep it fresh once the bottle is opened. The only ingredients are raw, wild-caught cod liver oil, and tiny amounts of rosemary and natural vitamin E oil.

5) Top Cod Liver Oil Brand Recommended by both Chris Kresser and the Weston A. Price Foundation

Rosita is Paleo health guru Chris Kresser’s number one pick for cod liver oil. The Weston A. Price Foundation also recommends Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil as a top high-vitamin cod liver oil supplement.

Now, two convenient forms to take it!

Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil now comes in either the traditional liquid oil form or new softgels. The new Rosita softgels are the same great Rosita Cod Liver Oil, but encased in 100% fish gelatin capsules.

 

 

Avoid Feeling Low When Stress is High

 

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By Ali Wetherbee

The holidays can be fun and magical and ever-so-memorable — but this busy time of year can also really stress your mind and body. From holiday shopping to fighting traffic, from being cooped up indoors with germs to being cooped up with the in-laws, there are countless hits to our time, our finances, our health, our peace and sanity. We don’t eat as well and don’t have time to exercise. All of this leaves us especially vulnerable to all those colds and flus going around. So before you wind up in bed with a box of tissues and a hot water bottle, try these ideas. 

In Your Medicine Cabinet:

Instead of toxic, chemical-laden medicines, stock your medicine cabinet with organic vitamins and herbs and homeopathic formulas. Take these daily, but especially when you are under unusual stress or already sick.

Start with Vitamin Ccaties_real_vitamin_c_supplements

Whole Food Vitamin C belongs in every family’s medicine cabinet. Take it daily to keep your immune system functioning optimally, and begin taking it more frequently or in higher doses as soon as you feel something coming on. Vitamin C, when taken daily, can shorten the duration of the common cold. Taking one or two extra doses daily when symptoms first appear can thwart a cold before it really gets started! It also prevents and reverses free radical damage caused by oxidative stress, UV rays, and environmental toxins. Vitamin C is necessary for serotonin production, so this is a must-have for anyone suffering from depression or seasonal affective disorder.

Try:

Adapt Better to Stress

Take adaptogens during intense periods of stress. Adaptogenic herbs help you adapt to physical and mental stress and keep the body in balance. They may be particularly useful if you are experiencing anxiety, fatigue, or depression as a result of stress or tension. Stress increases cortisol levels, which may lead to chronic inflammatory conditions, weight gain, fatigue, thyroid problems, hormonal imbalances, and illness. Adaptogens such as rhodiola and cordyceps lower high cortisol levels, minimizing the harmful effects of stress on the body.

Try:

Get a Good Night’s Rest

Stress can disrupt your sleep/wake cycles, making it hard to fall asleep and sleep through the night. This leaves you even more prone to feeling stressed, and you wind up stuck in a vicious cycle. These all-natural formulas can ensure you get an adequate amount of sleep, whether you are up late wrapping gifts or at your company Christmas party past bedtime. Healthy sleep is critical to a healthy immune system, and those who get poor-quality or insufficient sleep are more likely to succumb to colds, flu, and viruses.

Try:

Support Your Immune System

Take an immune support formula to keep your immune system in tip top shape. These are an excellent way to boost your body’s resistance to illness during this stressful time of year. Inadequate sleep, poor diet, stress, lack of exercise, increased exposure to germs, aging, and chronic health conditions can all leave you much more susceptible to illness, but these supplements strengthen the immune system, naturally.

Try:

Treat Your Cold Naturally

If illness hits despite your best efforts, you will be glad to have a medicine cabinet stocked with healing herbs, vitamins, and supplements! Keep these items on hand for when you start to feel stuffy or achy. Calm Balm is an all-natural alternative to petroleum-based chest rubs, and is great for colds, aches, and pains. Manuka Honey Nuggets help soothe sore throats with organic antibacterial ingredients.

Try:

‘Tis the Season to Stay Healthy!

Keeping healthy and fighting stress is not just a physical process. Every choice we make and each action we take can leave us more stressed or more relaxed, sicker or healthier. Try these tips to stay on track toward a healthier holiday season:

Learn to Say No

You do not need to attend every party or gathering you are invited to! Pick your favorites and skip the rest. The same goes for gift swaps among friends or at the office. Feel free to opt out of those that bring you more stress than pleasure.

Designate one day a week as a “day off” and avoid errands, shopping, planning, ordering, and organizing for the entire day. Instead, read a book, watch a movie, go for a walk, or do something else relaxing. If an entire day seems unrealistic, aim for at least one stress-free evening a week. 

Focus on the Important Things in Life

Spend time with your family. Your kids or grandkids won’t remember every present under the tree or how perfectly the gifts were wrapped, but they will remember the days spent baking cookies, playing games, building snowmen, and cuddling by the fire. Take time out each day to do something that builds memories.

Be grateful. At the end of the day, instead of thinking about all the things you didn’t get done, spend some time thinking about all the things you are thankful for. Keep a Gratitude Jar with scraps of paper for family members to write down each happy moment or blessing, and read through the papers every night at dinner. Bake cookies for someone who has helped you out sometime this year. Bring gifts or food to those who are less fortunate.

naturally_healthy_holidayGet Plenty of Fresh Air and Exercise

Go for a jog before work or take an evening walk with the family to see neighborhood light displays. Enjoy winter sports such as sledding, skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating. Build a snow fort with the kids or have an impromptu dance party. It’s fine to do your workout indoors if the cold is too harsh for you, but also bundle up in a blanket and sit on your front stoop for a few minutes with a hot cup of tea and breathe in the fresh air.

Nourish Your Soul

Engage in soul-friendly practices. While you’re sitting at a red light or stuck in traffic, take some deep breaths and relax your shoulders. When someone cuts you in line at the store or pushes you aside to grab the very last can of cranberry sauce, take some time to think loving, forgiving thoughts about this rude person. Be present and live in the moment instead of spending the entire holiday season tallying your mental lists. Practice yoga, mindfulness, or meditation. All of these things will reduce your stress load and leave you stronger, healthier, and happier.

Six Supplements to Fight the Flu

flu_fighting_supplements

Two weeks ago we posted a blog about all the potential risks associated with getting an annual flu vaccine. This week we’ll give advice on what you can do to boost your immune system and help avoid flus and colds. Remember, we are not suggesting you go buy everything listed below to start taking it all every day. But, by adding a few to your daily diet, you may find the combination that works for you to prevent or drastically shorten duration of illness.

Don’t Encourage Illness

You’re probably thinking “Well, duh!”. But, there are many things we all do in a day that encourage illness. Eating foods that have been grown in toxins, dealing with stress, and not getting enough sleep are just a few. All of this adds up, so the less we do in a day, the better it is for our bodies. So we need to do the opposite – encourage wellness. Focus on doing the things that make and keep us well and do more of those. A healthy diet, preferably organic, and regular exercise are excellent ways to encourage wellness. The following supplements also encourage wellness in our bodies, in many ways. But, for the purposes of this blog, we’ll focus on their immune boosting and virus busting properties.

Real Vitamin C

caties_real_vitamin_c_supplementsI know, this one is a no-brainer. Everyone knows Vitamin C helps boost your immune system because it is loaded with antioxidants. But, did you know our bodies don’t produce it? So it has to be eaten every day in proper quantities to be effective against fighting flus and colds. Check out this post from September for lots of great information on Vitamin C. A whole food vitamin C supplement is a great way to make sure you and your family are getting all the vitamin C necessary to fight colds and flus. We have two great whole food Vitamin C powdered supplements from real food. They are Catie’s Whole Plant Food Vitamin C Plus and Ramiel Nagel’s Organic High Vitamin C Powder from acerola cherries.

Acai

acai_whole_food_weight_loss

Many people have heard of acai for weight loss, but did you know it is loaded with antioxidants? It has twice the antioxidant power of wild blueberries and 10 times that of red grapes! And it has 10 to 30 times more anthocyanins than red wine! Anthocyanins are the pigments in red, blue and purple foods and have mega antioxidant properties. Back in 2009, Dr. Oz talked about acai on Oprah and it became an overnight sensation. He recommended taking it daily because it is a concentrated protein source and for it’s high ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) value. The higher the ORAC value, the better at immune boosting. We recommend Perfect Acai in capsules or powder form because it is organically grown, fairly traded & there are never any fillers or flow agents.

Colloidal Silver

Sovereign_SilverBelieve it or not, silver is a necessary element in our bodies. It has been used medicinally for over 2000 years because of its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. In the 1970’s, Dr. Robert O. Becker, MD, conducted research at Syracuse Medical University on electrically generated silver ions. He discovered that people with the lowest amounts of silver in their bodies were prone to frequent and severe colds, flus and infections, while the people with the highest amounts of silver in their bodies were the least prone to colds, flus and infections. What’s more, their illnesses were less severe and for a shorter duration. Colloidal silver can be taken daily to help boost the immune system and increase the amount of silver in our bodies, but taking too much can be harmful. We recommend Sovereign Silver Bioactive Silver Hydrosol because it never contains stabilizers, salts, compounds, proteins, or other questionable ingredients. There are only 2 ingredients, 99.999% pure silver and pharmaceutical-grade purified water.

Probiotics

Prescript_Assist_probioticsIt may seem kinda crazy, but so much of our health is tied to our guts. Did you know eighty percent of our immune system is located in the digestive tract? That information alone helps us see why probiotics could be very effective at helping to avoid cold and flu viruses. There was a study done on three to five year old children that was very convincing. The children took probiotics twice a day for six months. The probiotic users had fewer fevers, less coughing, fewer runny noses, and, amazingly, 64 – 83%  less antibiotic use. There are a variety of probiotics in our store, but my favorite is Prescript-Assist. It is a multi-strain soil-based probiotic. If you are looking for a more traditional probiotic, try Just Thrive Probiotic & Antibiotic blend or Mercola Complete Probiotics.

Apple Cider Vinegar

This one may not be so widely known, but drinking a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar daily can greatly reduce your chances of getting any flu or colds. This is because it changes the pH in our bodies to alkaline, which creates a hostile environment for viruses and infections. Essentially, they can’t grow well in an alkaline environment and it even helps to kill the bacteria and infection. It is important to use a raw variety with the mothers. I get mine here. Daily, I try to drink a concoction with 2 Tb apple cider vinegar, 1 Tb raw honey (I use medicinal Manuka Honey if I’m feeling stressed or feel like I’m coming down with something) and 100% organic pomegranate or cranberry juice. I can still taste the vinegar a little, but it doesn’t bother me so much. When I actually do end up with sniffles and sneezing because of sickness, I drink 2 – 3 glasses a day. I drink them slowly, so that there is a somewhat constant infusion of alkaline fluids entering my system. Recently my sister asked if lemon will do the same thing. And yes, lemons are also acidic but I haven’t found the correct amount to fend off my own colds. Apple cider vinegar works well for me.

Elderberry Syrup

Feel the effects of elderberry & honey home remedies.Many people report great success preventing and fighting colds and flus by taking a daily dose of elderberry syrup. The use of elderberry as an herbal medicinal goes way back. Folklore around the elder tree pre-dates christianity. More recently, research done at Hadassah-Hebrew University in Israel shows how elderberry helps. They found viruses use specific enzymes to penetrate healthy cells in the nose and throat. Elderberry helps to block these enzymes, thus thwarting the infection before it starts. If it is taken after an infection is already present, it helps prevent the spread of the infection through the respiratory tract. There are many pre-made elderberry syrup supplements out there, but it is actually very easy to make and store at home for a fraction of the cost. Check out this blog we did last year for a recipe for homemade elderberry syrup and elderberry gummies. The recommended amount for prevention of flu is 1/2 to 1 tsp daily for children and adults during cold and flu season. Up this to at least 3 times a day if you already have an infection or feel one coming on.

Other Preventatives

I’m sure there are many other natural preventatives out there and welcome input from our readers. If you have a preventative that works for you, please share it with us so we can share it with the world.

 

With Side Effects Like Seizures, Paralysis, and Death, Are Flu Shots Really Safe?

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It’s considered one of the top things you can do to protect your health this winter: get your flu shot. But is the flu shot safe? What are the potential side effects? The flu vaccine wasn’t even used in humans until the early 1940s and has only been in widespread use for part of that time — hardly enough time to know the long-term effects of the flu shot or the cumulative effects over a lifetime. Plenty of adverse reactions in the short term have already been identified:

  • injection site reactions
  • muscle aches and pains
  • severe shoulder pain and paralysis
  • low platelet count and abnormal bleeding
  • inflammation of the spinal cord, optic nerve, or blood vessels
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome (a deadly rash)
  • Bell’s palsy (palsy of the face)
  • numbness and tingling
  • itching
  • lymph node enlargement
  • chest pain
  • dizziness and fainting

…and other adverse effects to the flu vaccine. Believe it or not, some serious and even deadly flu shot side effects have been identified.

Scary Flu Shot Side Effects: Seizures

Febrile seizures are a known side effect of the flu shot. This risk is highest in babies and young children, and increases when multiple vaccines (such as MMR, pneumococcus, and DTaP) are administered at the same time as the flu shot. Febrile seizures are seizures related to a fever, and they usually occur within 24 hours of receiving the flu shot. Symptoms include anything from small twitches or jerks, to whole-body spasms and loss of consciousness. While the CDC puts the rate of febrile seizures after a flu shot at 1 in 2000 vaccinated children, in 2010, Australia suspended the use of the flu vaccine because so many children had seizures within 12 hours of receiving the flu vaccine. In fact, more Australian children ended up in the hospital because of flu vaccine side effects than were hospitalized for influenza itself!

Allergic Reaction to the Flu Vaccine

It is also possible to have an allergic reaction to the flu shot. Those who have known allergies to eggs, gelatin, latex, or antibiotics are more likely to suffer an allergic reaction to the flu vaccine, but anyone can develop such a reaction. Other flu shot ingredients such as mercury, MSG, and formaldehyde can trigger both mild and severe allergic reactions. Severe anaphylactic allergic reactions are often life-threatening, and include symptoms such as difficulty breathing, rapid heart rate, hives, dizziness, and loss of consciousness. These reactions can occur minutes to hours after receiving the vaccination. Milder allergic reactions, while not immediately life-threatening, can leave you feeling ill for weeks, months, or even years.

The Flu Shot Can Paralyze or Kill You

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a debilitating side effect of the flu shot. Though considered rare, GBS has been the top vaccine injury receiving compensation by the vaccine court for several years. This disorder causes nerve damage, muscle weakness, and paralysis. Your body begins to quite literally attack itself. While these symptoms often subside after a few weeks, in other cases GBS can cause permanent damage, disability, and even death. Those over age 50 are at the highest risk of contracting Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Can the Flu Vaccine Give You the Flu?

How many times have you heard someone sniffle, “I think I have the flu! And I just got my flu shot!” Unfortunately, flu-like symptoms are one of the most frequent side effects of the flu shot. You got the flu shot to avoid exactly this: congestion, headache, fever, nausea, aches and pains… yet here you are, suffering exactly those symptoms. The doctor told you the influenza virus was inactivated (dead), so why did it make you sick? What’s going on?

The answer is simple. When you inject anything foreign into your bloodstream, there is a chance that your body will react. Flu shots contain toxic chemicals such as:

  • formaldehyde
  • MSG
  • ethylenes
  • Triton X-100
  • thimerosal (mercury)
  • polysorbate
  • phosphates and sulfates

Your body knows these chemicals don’t belong; it attacks them and tries to rid you of them, leaving you tired, achy, and downright miserable. Consider the fact that you will need to repeat the flu shot every single year. Over a lifetime, all these toxins accumulate in your system and may lead to health problems down the road.

There are several other reasons you may contract the flu after receiving a flu shot. While the flu shot contains only the dead viruses, the nasal spray flu vaccine actually contains live, weakened influenza viruses. While the CDC claims that no one can contract the flu from these weakened viruses, many disagree and believe this can lead to the flu or flu-like symptoms. The CDC does admit that the live virus flu vaccine can shed, transmitting the virus to others. They even recommend that those who are immunosuppressed avoid contact with recently vaccinated individuals for this reason!

What’s more, the flu vaccine only protects against certain viral strains of influenza — those that are most anticipated to be in circulation over the winter. Plus, your body needs a couple of weeks to build up immunity from the flu shot. So if you still come down with the flu, it may be that you were exposed too soon after vaccination, or you were exposed to a strain of flu virus that wasn’t covered by your vaccination. Some people, especially those who are in poor health, cannot build up enough antibodies to acquire immunity to the flu, and in these people the vaccination will be ineffective.

Is There Anything Natural That Can Prevent the Flu?

Yes! Whether or not you choose to get a flu shot — and you always have a choice — there are plenty of natural ways to cut your risk of getting the flu. Reduce your exposure by avoiding those who are sick, washing your hands frequently, and refraining from touching your face. Boost your immune system with all natural supplements so that your body will have the nutrients and compounds it needs to fight invading germs. Exercise, get enough sleep, don’t smoke, and eat your fruits and veggies. Make sure to drink enough water and cut back on alcohol, which suppresses the immune system. Sugar and grains can drag down the immune system too, so reduce or avoid these altogether.

Check back next week for detailed information on what you can do to avoid the flu.

By Ali Wetherbee

Power Couple – The Importance of Taking Vitamin C and Collagen Together

real_vitaminc__collagen

Until recently, collagen was not commonly discussed in the context of mainstream nutritional terms. Perhaps some had heard of it in the context of skin health, but little else. The popularity of the paleo diet has made the importance of collagen in terms of health and wellness come more into center stage. Yet even as people begin to better understand the importance of collagen, a critical component of collagen synthesis remains under recognized. In order to properly synthesize collagen, the body must have vitamin C. Let’s take a closer look at vitamin C and collagen

What Is Vitamin C?

Though most people could quickly list vitamin C if they were asked to name a list of key vitamins, it can be harder for people to name all that this vital vitamin is and does. Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient that our bodies cannot produce on their own. It is this inability to produce vitamin C innately that led researchers such as Linus Pauling to advise that all people take vitamin C supplements on a daily basis (1).

Roles and Benefits of Vitamin C:

Vitamin C plays numerous key roles in the body. This antioxidant is known for the benefit of strengthening the immune system, but this crucial vitamin’s jobs extend far beyond its role with the immune system.

  • iron absorption
  • protects vitamins A and E from the harsh effects of oxidation
  • offers protection against heart disease
  • aids in proper blood flow
  • prevents and cures scurvy
  • plays a critical role in collagen synthesis (2)

Optimal Sources of Vitamin C:

Vitamin C can be obtained through dietary sources or high quality supplements. Top food sources for vitamin C include citrus fruits, berries, broccoli, bell peppers, and more (6). It should be noted that due to vitamin C’s delicate nature, it can be easily destroyed by things such as cooking. For this reason it can be challenging to get enough vitamin C each and every day. A high quality, real food supplement can be one of the best ways to assure that the body has enough vitamin C to aid in the production of collagen as well as its other jobs.  We suggest Catie’s Whole Food Vitamin C Plus or Ramiel Nagel’s Organic High Vitamin C Powder. Choosing a real whole food supplement gives the body the full benefits of all factors of vitamin C, rather than one isolated element as is found in synthetic ascorbic acid vitamin C supplements (7). For more information on why real vitamin C is better, read our last blog post.

What Is Collagen?

Collagen is one of 14 proteins the human body contains. It is so abundant that it is found in the body in greater quantities than all the other proteins combined. As a significant component of connective tissue, collagen is found throughout the body. It is in bones, teeth, skin, hair, eyes, and other organs (1). Though the body can create collagen, consuming collagen helps the body to have more of this important substance. The body first takes in collagen through dietary sources, then breaks it down to rebuild it in order to use it in the body. This continual process requires both the intake of collagen as well as vitamin C (4).

Roles and Benefits of Collagen:

Not only is collagen abundant, it is also a critical protein. Collagen serves to strengthen the walls of blood vessels, keep organs in their appropriate places, and more. Like glue binds objects together, collagen acts as a sort of binding agent within the body (3). When the body lacks sufficient collagen, muscle tissue and bone density will begin to decline. Additionally, blood vessels are weakened, increasing the risk for heart disease (5).

Collagen is also acclaimed for its ability to heal the gut. When the gut becomes inflamed, it is difficult to impossible for nutrients to be fully absorbed. Nutritional deficiencies can then develop. This inflammation can also lead to what is known as Leaky Gut Syndrome, an autoimmune problem where tiny particles of food can escape from the gut and be treated as invaders by the immune system. Collagen can serve to heal the gut, reducing inflammation and healing the tiny holes that allow Leaky Gut Syndrome to develop (8).

Optimal Sources of Collagen:

Dietary sources of collagen come from animal bones and connective tissue. Oftentimes people will use animal bones to make broths and stocks in order to get the collagen from the bones. Because it can be difficult to get enough dietary collagen through these sources, it is wise to consider taking a collagen supplement. Various collagen supplements are available, but it is important to look for a hydrolyzed collagen powder, the most easily absorbed and utilized by the body (5). Supplements such as Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen have already been broken down into the smaller peptides that the body can readily absorb and use. We recommend Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen because it comes from grass-fed, pasture raised cattle living happily in Brazil. Adding a whole foods vitamin C supplement along with the hydrolyzed collagen supplement assures that not only is the body getting the collagen it needs, but that it will be able to properly use it.

The Crucial Relationship

It is easy to see that both vitamin C and collagen are necessary for a healthy life, but what is often not talked about as frequently is the fact that vitamin C and collagen actually work very closely together, forming an interdependent relationship. Without vitamin C, collagen production is disrupted and cannot be completed. Vitamin C is used to add hydrogen and oxygen to the amino acids to create a substance called procollagen, a necessary substance to the creation of collagen (3). When collagen production is disrupted, people suffer significant negative consequences. For this reason, it is prudent to take a real food vitamin C supplement like Catie’s Whole Food Vitamin C or Traditional Foods Market’s Organic High Vitamin C Powder along with a high quality, grass-fed collagen supplement like Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen.

The Best Protein Shake

This is one of my favorite recipes for a quick breakfast or snack. I love the Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen – my nails have never looked better! I mix it with Catie’s Whole Food Vitamin C Plus and Catie’s Organic Greens or Catie’s Gluten Free Organic Greens. This combination is my meal replacement combo. I almost always have coconut milk on hand, so that is my normal base, then I add 100% organic juice, whatever is in the house, and YUM!

I make my own prepared coconut milk from canned coconut milk because I don’t like all the additives in milk alternative coconut milk. Just put one can of organic coconut milk, not light, in a blender with one can of water and one tsp powdered natural calcium supplement, like Traditional Foods Market Whole Bone Calcium. You can also add 1 tsp vanilla extract, but I usually omit it.

Ingredients:
6 oz prepared organic coconut milk
6 0z 100% organic juice of choice
1 scoop Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen
1 tsp Catie’s Whole Food Vitamin C Plus
1 tsp Catie’s Organic Greens or Catie’s Gluten Free Organic Greens

Directions:
Put all ingredients in a BPA free shaker bottle, leaving the collagen for last. Put in the agitator (good shakers will have one), and shake, shake, shake. Enjoy!

Works Cited:

  1. http://www.vitamincfoundation.org/collagen.html
  2. http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/food-nutrition/vitamin-supplements/vitamin-c1.htm
  3. http://indianapublicmedia.org/amomentofscience/vitamin-c-and-collagen/
  4. http://nutritionreview.org/2013/04/collagen-connection/
  5. http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/problems/treating/naturally-boost-collagen1.htm
  6. http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/foods-high-in-vitamin-c/
  7. http://www.vitamins-nutrition.org/vitamins/natural-vitamins-synthetic.html
  8. http://guthealthproject.com/the-powerful-supplement-you-need-to-heal-a-leaky-gut/

Improve Your Energy in One Protein- Packed Bite!

raw_proetin_energy_balls_recipe

by Kerrie Bross

So the kids are back in school now and probably feeling a little run down. Boost their energy with snacks that are high in protein and loaded with antioxidants to support the immune system during stressful times, like back-to-school.

Why are these such great snacks?

Aside from being tasty balls of goodness, they are loaded with raw, dried fruits to give an energy  boost. Dates are easily digested, so the energy comes quickly, and they are loaded with gut healthy fiber. They also contain vitamins A and K, as well as B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid) and B6 (pyridoxine). Dates are good sources of some important minerals and trace minerals – potassium, iron, copper, magnesium and manganese. Oh, and lets not forget there are also antioxidants in dates.

Cranberries have long been known for their wealth of antioxidants. But, did you know they are also an excellent source of vitamins B5, C, E and K? And they have manganese and copper. Fiber and anthocyanins are other notable nutrients in cranberries.

Whenever you want an antioxidant boost, turn to Perfect Acai. These berries have the highest ORAC value (measure for antioxidant power) of all fruits and vegetables! But, that’s not all, they are also good sources of vitamin A, fiber, monounsaturated fats, iron, calcium, and anthocyanins.

perfect_collagen_protein_snack_recipeNuts, seeds and collagen give these Protein Energy Balls the protein to keep you going for the long haul, along with many other benefits. Chia seeds contain essential fatty acids and vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B3, E & D. They are an excellent source of calcium, and contain other minerals and trace minerals such as phosphorus, iron, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc and potassium. And protein.

With over 82% of the RDA in a 1/4 cup serving, sunflower seeds are a powerhouse of vitamin E! They are also great sources of vitamins B1, B3, B6 and B9 (folate). There are plenty of minerals in these babies as well. You’ll find copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese and phosphorous. And more protein.

Almonds are no slouch in the health department. They are loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, the same kind found in olive oil. They are also excellent sources of  vitamins E, B2, and B7 (biotin). The minerals present are manganese, copper, magnesium, phosphorous and molybdenum, an essential trace mineral cofactor that helps the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. And lets not forget protein.

Pumpkin seeds also pack a powerful health punch. They are a good source of vitamin E and an excellent source of zinc, and other minerals like magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, copper and iron. They are a great source of antioxidants as well. And even more protein.

The mega protein boost in these protein balls comes from the addition of Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen. Each scoop contains 10g of protein from pasture-raised, grass-fed cattle. Super healthy! Collagen is the most abundant protein found in the human body and is great for bones, joints, digestion, and many other things.

With 4 – 5g of protein in each ball and natural sugars, they are the perfect snack for after lunch when the day starts to drag and your energy starts to lag. I’ve been eating a couple for a quick and easy breakfast!

Fruit & Nut Protein Ballspaleo_protein_energy_balls_recipe

Ingredients
1 C organic pitted dates
6 Tbs organic almond butter
3 11g scoops Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen
5 3g scoops Perfect Acai Powder
1/2 C raw organic pumpkin seeds
1/4 C juice sweetened organic cranberries
1/4 C raw organic sunflower seeds
1 Tbs chia seeds

Directions
1.Combine the dates, almond butter, Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen and Perfect Acai Powder in a food processor on high until well mixed. The consistency should be a bit moist so it will form good balls that stick together. If it is dry, add more almond butter until desired consistency.
2. Add the pumpkin seeds, cranberries, sunflower seeds and chia seeds. Mix on low just long enough to combine without completely obliterating the nuts and fruit.
3. Form into balls and enjoy!

Makes about 20 depending on how you roll them. I think 2 is a good serving size. Nutritional breakdown for each ball – protein over 4g, fat about 5g, total carbohydrates about 9g with roughly 6g natural sugars and about 2g fiber.

Double Chocolate Protein Balls

Ingredients
1 C organic pitted dates
6 Tbs organic almond butter
3 11g scoops Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen
5 3g scoops Perfect Acai Powder
1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tsp real vanilla extract
2 Tbs honey
1 C raw organic slivered almonds
1/2 cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

Directions
1. Combine the dates, almond butter, Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen, Perfect Acai Powder, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and honey in a food processor on high until well mixed. The consistency should be a bit moist so it will form good balls that stick together. If it is dry, add more almond butter until desired consistency.
2. Add the almonds and chocolate chips. Mix on low just long enough to combine without completely obliterating the nuts and fruit.
3. Form into balls and enjoy!

Makes about 20 depending on how you roll them. I think 2 is a good serving size. Nutritional breakdown for each ball – total protein about 5g, fat about 7g, total carbohydrates about 13g with roughly 9g natural sugars and about 3g fiber.