Apple Nachos

Autumn is upon us and it’s my FAVOURITE time of the year.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE apple picking with my family.
I was browsing the internet to find some delicious snack recipes for my clients, and I found this one that I thought maybe you all would enjoy.

It’s a healthy spin on Nachos.  It’s perfect as well if you’re following a Paleo lifestyle.
Check it out below!
I’m definitely going to try it out.  I found this on the Paleo Grubs website.

nachos

Ingredients

• Apples
• Fresh lemon juice
• Almond butter
• Chocolate chips
• Unsweetened shredded coconut
• Sliced almonds

Instructions

1. Slice apples and toss with the lemon juice in a large bowl
2. Arrange the apples in a plate and drizzle with almond butter. You can use a pastry/piping bag or a ziploc bag to drizzle the almond butter.
3. Sprinkle with shredded coconut, chocolate chips and sliced almonds

Enjoy!! I know I will!

Danielle

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10 Foods that aid in Weight Loss

Cucumbers
Although cucumbers offer only modest nutritional benefits (a bit of vitamin C, A, and some fibre), this vegetable goes a long way in bulking up a salad, and it easily makes you feel full by ingesting little calories. Cucumbers are also great for if you have a craving for a crunchy snack.  Just slice them up with the skin on instead of reaching for those chips!

Grapefruit
Grapefruit is a delicious and nutritious snack, breakfast side or salad topping. But researchers have also discovered that eating a grapefruit daily can help you lose weight.

Lentils
Lentils are packed with fibre, folate and magnesium AND they are fat free.  They can be a great part to your healthy eating routine.  You can prepare them many ways and feel satisfied minus all the calories and saturated fat that comes with eating meat.

Oats
Oats and oatmeal are high in fibre, which helps you feel full – and satisfied – longer. Plus consumption of whole grains has been shown to aid in weight loss. For the best benefits, fill up on oatmeal for breakfast – try steel-cut oats if you’ve got the time, or instant oatmeal if you prefer to eat at work (just try to pick the sugar-free kinds and add your own sweeteners).

Foods with shells
If you LOVE to snack on salty foods, foods with their natural shells on can help you slow down and savour what you’re eating while curbing the craving. For instance, unsalted pistachio nuts, walnuts in the shell, peanuts, and edamame in the pod can help you curb your cravings for saltier, unhealthier junk food. Plus, you’re not as likely to overeat if you have to work for your reward.

Apples
Apples can help you satisfy sugar cravings for less calories. Whether eaten fresh as a mid-afternoon snack in the office or baked for dessert, these nutritional powerhouses will help fill you up and keep you slim.  Try slicing up your apple and sprinkling cinnamon on top – it’s delicious!  Seriously, now I’m here at work craving it.

Eggs
What can I say about eggs?  They are very nutritious and they only have – on average – 70ish calories, 6-7grams of protein and they contain almost every single essential vitamin you need in a day.  They are affordable and part of a healthy weight loss plan.  I recommend boiling up eggs so you have hard-boiled eggs ready to go for a snack or as post workout fuel.

Almonds
All nuts are healthy and loaded with good fats and other nutrients, but almonds are the one to go for when you’re trying to lose weight. They’re lower in calories and the protein and fat content will help keep cravings at ease.

Dark chocolate
Ok, hold on…. now when I see that chocolate is healthy for me I get excited.  But, then I remember… DARK CHOCOLATE. LOL.  Now, they are not low in calories OR low in fat.. however, dark chocolate still has to major things going for it. First, believe it or not – it’s very hard to eat large quantities of real, high-quality dark chocolate as compared to its milky sibling….mmmmmmm milk chocolate; and second, it’s very high in health-promoting antioxidants. It’s no diet food, but eating a few small squares to fight off a craving of a potentially much larger scarfing of, say, a piece of chocolate cake with icing, is well worth the modest calorie intake.

Vegetable soups
One of the biggest trends in weight loss research is the concept of calorie density – the idea is that your body pays more attention to the amount of space your food takes up in your stomach than it does to the amount of calories you’re consuming. So by eating lots of foods with a low calorie density, you’ll be satisfying your hunger for less. Vegetable soups (and we’re not talking cream of broccoli) are one great option – serve them as a starter or a light meal and just watch how quickly you feel full.  However WATCH YOUR SODIUM INTAKE.  If you’re going to eat soups – drink PLENTY of lemon water.. from REAL lemons.. not the concentrated lemon juice you find in the fancy lemon containers.

Source: http://www.canadianliving.com/health/nutrition/10_foods_that_will_help_you_lose_weight.php

Hope you all enjoyed this!

Please feel free to share!

~Danielle

To be, or not to be.. Gluten Free

Did you know that only about 1% of us need to be on a gluten free diet? The main reason is because of an autoimmune disorder called Celiac Disease.

Most people do not have to worry about gluten and SHOULD eat whole grains as part of a balanced diet.

Now I personally know many people will argue with me on this point and have many things to say about cutting out gluten. But I got my research about this topic from an article from Jillian Michaels. And I’m sorry, but she’s pretty much my Role Model and I look to her for advice (Not personally.. .ahahah I wish!!)

She states that in recent reports the gluten free market in North America was $4.2 billion!!! There are other reports out there that indicate that healthy people are spending their money on gluten free products that they don’t need.

I know when I go grocery shopping I see all these products everywhere I go. What’s gluten? Why do people try and stay away from it? Read below.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, and it’s a common protein source and processed food filler. In fact, you’ll find it in many foods, medications, and everyday items — not just your bread and cookies. Other foods like cereal, soy sauce, whey products, alcoholic beverages, such as beer, and even beauty products, such as lip balms, may also have gluten in them too.

There are some people — about 1 in 100 — who suffer from an autoimmune disorder called celiac disease whose small intestines cannot process gluten properly and it causes a serious response in their digestive system. Unless you have celiac disease or are allergic to gluten, going gluten-free will not give you no additional health benefits.
 
I know there are many people out there that experience bloating, cramping, headaches or some sort of other discomfort after ingesting foods that contain gluten. 

This would be a matter of having a gluten allergy or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. In this case, talk to your doctor!! This would be a case where you may want to avoid products with gluten in them!

HOWEVER, guess what? The average person will not get any additional health benefits by going Gluten Free. These products may even be less healthy unfortunately. There was a study that was done here in Canada regarding gluten free and regular grocery items. They compared 56 ordinary grocery items and gluten free products. What was the outcome? It’s crazy. The gluten free products were a whopping 242% pricier than the gluten containing versions!!

Believe it or not, gluten is NOT harmful to your health and guess what? It is not making you gain weight. I know it’s easier to think that Gluten Free products are a better alternative, but you’re wrong. (I KNOW, how dare I tell you you’re wrong..lol) Gluten is found in many whole grain foods that have a wide range of vitamins, minerals and fibre that are very important to a health diet.

People who eat 3 servings of whole grains a day are 30% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. The best way to control your body sugar levels throughout the day and to avoid diabetes, you need to have the right mix of healthy carbs!!

Whole grains are also the vehicle for many of nature’s disease fighters, like phytochemicals (Wth is that? Phytochemicals are chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants. Some are responsible for color and other organoleptic properties, such as the deep purple of blueberries and the smell of garlic.) Without these foods, we’d be prone to cancer, heart disease, and more. So when you’re cutting out gluten for no real reason, you’re losing all of the nutritional benefits found in foods with gluten.

Gluten-free foods aren’t better for your health. Don’t be fooled — gluten-free doesn’t automatically mean “low calorie” or “healthy.” In fact, gluten-free foods are not only more expensive, but full of extra calories and sugars to make up for taste and texture when alternative products are swapped. They also tend to have less fibre than their gluten-containing counterparts. Unless people are careful, a gluten-free diet can lack essential nutrients since a lot of the gluten-free products tend to be low in B vitamins, calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium. Another rule of thumb, don’t confuse “gluten free” with “low carbohydrate,” some gluten-free pastas are actually higher in carbohydrates than regular pasta.

Weight loss comes from balanced, healthy diets — gluten free or not. When you’re trying to lose weight, the key is to make conscious choices about eating whole, real foods and getting produce without pesticides, and meat without hormones and antibiotics. If you need to go gluten-free, consult your doctor or a nutritionist to determine the best eating plan for your lifestyle, but in general, select more fruits, vegetables, lean meat and more naturally gluten-free grains, like brown rice or quinoa. Also, keep in mind that some gluten-free foods can be processed in factories that also process gluten foods leading to cross contamination.

If you want to lose weight, you shouldn’t cut out an entire nutrient in your diet, such as gluten. Save money and focus on creating a calorie deficit while eating a variety of organic, nutritious foods and exercising regularly in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Hope this helped you if you have been back and forth whether or not to go gluten free!
Have a wonderful Monday!

-Danielle

Whole Eggs – Good or Bad?

Jillian Michaels released an article about if you should or shouldn’t eat whole eggs – check it out below 🙂 ENJOY!!


The Truth: Not only are eggs a fantastic source of lean protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, but they contain some pretty important nutrients.

One large egg has roughly 186 milligrams of cholesterol — all of which is found in the egg’s yolk. Since dietary cholesterol was once thought to be the major cause of unhealthy blood cholesterol, egg yolks have been demonized and health nuts stick to eating strictly egg whites. Now, don’t get me wrong — egg whites are a great, healthy source of protein, but there is definitely room for WHOLE eggs in a healthy diet. As long as you haven’t been advised otherwise by your doctor, you can enjoy the many nutritional benefits of a whole egg. So, yes, you can have an egg and eat the yolk too! Here are a few reasons why.

The real threat to high cholesterol is saturated and trans fats, not dietary cholesterol. Years ago, when scientists learned that high blood cholesterol was associated with heart disease, foods high in cholesterol were thought to be the leading cause of unhealthy blood cholesterol. Now, 25 years later, scientists have come to the conclusion that cholesterol in food is not the true villain — saturated and trans fats have a much greater effect on blood cholesterol. Your body actually needs the cholesterol in meat and eggs to make testosterone, which helps to increase energy and helps to build more calorie-building muscle. In fact, one study at the University of Connecticut found that the fat in egg yolks actually helps to reduce LDL (“bad” cholesterol). So banish the old notion that an egg, specifically the yolk, is hazardous to your health. According to the American Heart Association, the recommended limit of dietary cholesterol is 300 milligrams for people with normal LDL (bad) cholesterol levels — and one egg contains 185 milligrams of dietary cholesterol. (If you have a history of high cholesterol or heart disease in your family, though, you may want to consult your doctor about how to limit your cholesterol intake.)

Whole eggs are full of beneficial vitamins and minerals. Whole eggs are a nearly perfect food, with almost every essential vitamin and mineral our bodies need to function. It is one of the few natural food sources of vitamin D and contains 7 grams of high-quality protein. Whole eggs are also full of omega-3 fatty acids and deliver many of the B vitamins and nutrients — B6, B12, riboflavin, folate, and choline — that, in fact, are believed to help prevent heart disease. L-arginine, an amino acid found in eggs, are critical to the body’s production of protein and the release of growth hormones. Another amino acid found in eggs, leucine, also helps the body produce growth hormones as well as regulate blood sugar levels. The yolk itself contains most of these vitamins and minerals, plus half of its protein. When you eat only the egg whites, you’re missing out on all of these nutritional benefits and are getting only 3.5 grams, or half, of the protein.

It’s all in the preparation. If you’re frying your eggs in saturated-fat-laden butter and serving them with saturated-fat-laden bacon — they will have a negative impact on your cholesterol levels. Instead, heat olive oil on low heat in a cast-iron skillet to cook your egg the healthiest way. When cooking omelets, frittatas, or any other dish that involves a larger quantity of eggs, I like to use a mix of whole eggs with egg whites. The reason is that whole eggs do have a decent amount of fat. So, if you’re cooking something with more than two eggs, I recommend subbing in egg whites for some of the whole eggs.

JILLIAN’S TIP OF THE DAY

The Bottom Line

Whole eggs are a power food packed with essential vitamins and minerals our bodies need — a majority of these vitamins and minerals are found in the egg yolk. Eating whole eggs in moderation is not bad for your health, but when making dishes with a large quantity of eggs, try to balance the count of whole eggs and egg whites.

10 Questions You’ve Always Had about Water

You’ve heard it over and over; water is key to a variety of health benefits, including beautiful skin, proper muscle and joint function, and improved mood.  How many of the statements you’ve heard are actually true though? Here are 10 common questions surrounding water, and whether they’re popular answers are fact or fiction. See how many you thought you knew!

1- Does everyone need 8 cups of water a day?

Drinking 8 glasses a day is not a rule set in stone. The truth is that fluid needs vary from person to person. Factors like weight, exercise levels, climate, and the quantity of water-rich foods you eat (usually food provides about 20% of your hydration needs) all play a role. Divide your body weight in pounds by two for a general estimate of the amount of ounces you should drink per day. For cups, divide that number by 8. 

2- Is plain water the perfect source of hydration?

While plain water is a smart choice for hydration, it is not the only option you have. Most fluids like flavoured water, tea, green tea, coffee, fruit and vegetable juices, sports drinks and hydrating foods like cucumbers and melons count too! Note that not all fluids hydrate. Alcohol, for example, dehydrates you (dehydration is one of the symptoms of a hangover) and is calorie-dense and usually nutrient-empty, as are most pops and sugary beverages.

While water is calorie-free and and has no additives, depending on your needs the other options provide benefits as well. Sports drinks, for example, are helpful to athletes exercising for prolonged periods of time. Tea and coffee may provide the caffeine jolt you need to curb a headache. Flavoured water is a simple way to add antioxidants from fruit to otherwise plain water. Choose the best option for you.

3- Will drinking water help me lose weight?

This statement is true, but probably not for the reasons you think. Water itself does not cause weight loss, but replacing calorie-rich fluids like pop and juices with water decreases calorie intake, which does cause weight loss. Sipping on water instead of snacking helps save calories as well.

4- Should I drink before or after a meal?

As a child, I was constantly told not to drink with my meals because then I wouldn’t be hungry. Some also believe that water dissolves the stomach’s digestive juices, resulting in poorly digested food. In reality, water actually aids in digestion, and while it is true that it fills you up, this is beneficial for those of us trying to eat less. Moderation is key, of course. Instead of guzzling down glass after glass throughout a meal, take small sips to slow down your eating pace, help avoid overeating, break down food, and aid in digestion. Water consumption is particularly important when consuming a fiber-rich meal too, as it will help avoid constipation!

5- Will water make me gain weight?

On the opposite side of the spectrum, most of us experience weight gain with increased water intake. Luckily, weight fluctuations due to water (and food!) are natural and the water weight (not fat!) gained will eventually be lost. Water also reduces bloating, which can reflect a drop on the scale too.  Avoid scale induced frustration by weighing yourself on the same scale at the same time each week.

6- Does lemon water help burn more calories?

Speeding up your metabolism is one way to burn more calories, but a glass of water with squeezed lemon won’t do the trick. While the vitamin C content may benefit your immune system, your metabolism won’t be directly affected as it is by thermogenic foods. Enjoy lemon water as a flavorful alternative to plain water, but don’t count on it  as a primary way to shed pounds!

7- Can I drink too much water?

Believe it or not, you can, although this occurrence is very rare. It is known as water intoxication and characterized by excess fluid in the body’s cells. The excess causes sodium to be diluted and your homeostatic concentration gradient to be thrown off. The average person should not worry about water intoxication as long as they don’t consume large volumes all at once. At risk are infants who drink too much for their kidneys to process, athletes who drink too much water after sweating out electrolytes, and people with health conditions like high blood pressure, edema, and kidney problems.

8- Is bottled water the safest to drink

A bottled water craze has taken storm in developing and first-world countries alike due to concern for contaminants. The concern is justified when you’re using the water for everything from washing your hands to cooking a meal. The safety of tap water does depend on where you live though. Canadian drinking water is among the safest in the world, and any contaminants (like lead) are quickly detected through close monitoring of supplies. If you’re still concerned, a simple water filter may help (and save you money!).

9- Will I know when I’m dehydrated?

Yes. Thirst is an early sign of possible dehydration, but it does not mean that you are already dehydrated. You feel thirst (and can sometimes mistake it for hunger) when your water balance is anywhere from 1 to 5 percent off homeostasis levels. Consciously sipping on fluids throughout the day should be enough to avoid this and other progressive signs of dehydration like feeling cranky, tired, or having a headache. This is especially important for older adults, as their sense of thirst may be dulled.

10- Does water cleanse and hydrate my body from the inside?

Vibrant skin and inner cleansing are two perceived benefits surrounding water intake that are not completely unfounded. Sufficient water does aid the kidneys in their function of cleansing toxins and expelling them through urine. The more often you drink, the more often toxins will be expelled. This cleansing effect may also contribute to youthful skin, but outside factors like climate, quantity of oil glands, and moisturizing play a bigger role.

 

What’s preventing you from losing the weight?

Lack of Exercise

I can’t tell you how many people just let exercise slide as they get older — then turn around and blame their lagging metabolism on their hormones. Yes, as we age, our hormones naturally shift in ways that encourage weight gain. But it’s just too easy to blame your protruding belly on your advancing years. The truth is, you probably haven’t been taking care of yourself! The more you eat clean, live clean, and work out, the better your hormone balance will be, and the healthier your metabolism will remain.

The first thing you should do is step on the treadmill. Exercise reduces weight-gain hormones like cortisol by releasing endorphins to combat stress, and it increases fat-burning hormones like testosterone, DHEA and growth hormone.  Not to mention, every pound of muscle burns three times more calories than every pound of fat does. You need exercise. Period.

Yo-yo Dieting

Some people go to crazy extremes to lose weight. They may cut out entire macronutrients, like carbs or fats. This type of dieting directly disrupts your hormone balance, sending survival messages to your body to store fat and slow your metabolism in case the state of famine persists.

Most “weight cyclers” — also known as yo-yo dieters — have been on diets all their lives. This up-and-down pattern makes each weight-loss attempt more frustrating than the one before — especially if you lost weight by starving your body. Starvation diets prompt your body to cannibalize your muscles for fuel. Without that muscle, your metabolism is slowed further, and your powerful metabolic thyroid hormones are lowered.

If you’re desperate to lose weight, you may figure that there’s no harm in consuming a measly 800 calories a day for a couple of weeks. But then what happens? After you return to what would be considered normal eating — roughly 1,600 to 2,000 calories a day — you’re toast! Your sensitivity to leptin (which plays a key role in regulating energy intake and expenditure, including appetite and hunger, metabolism, and behaviour) and your insulin has taken a hit. Your gherlin (a hormone produced mainly by P/D1 cells lining the fungus of the human stomach and epsilon cells of the pancreas that stimulates hunger. Ghrelin levels increase before meals and decrease after meals.) shot through the roof. And you wonder why the weight returns…

Processed Foods

Our 21st-century diet is composed primarily of corn, soy, and wheat — whether or not we ever recognize them on our plates. Just pick up a typical packaged food and check the ingredients list — you’re likely to find refined wheat flour, hydrolyzed soy protein, partially hydrogenated corn oil, and/or high-fructose corn syrup.

Food manufacturers add a whole shit load of chemicals to these incredibly cheap, incredibly bland ingredients to make them taste good. Some evidence even suggests that the food-science industry is tinkering around with your neurochemistry by throwing in addictive junk that makes you want to eat more — and more and more. Until the government decides to step in and keep the food industry from stocking the shelves with toxic processed foods, it’s up to you to protect yourself

Too Much Stress, Not Enough Sleep

Stress is like kryptonite for your hormones — just a bit can throw them entirely out of whack. Among other things, stress may lead to:

  • Leptin resistance
  • Insulin resistance
  • Lower estrogen in women
  • Lower testosterone in men
  • Lower levels of growth hormone
  • Higher cholesterol levels
  • Impaired thyroid hormone

Any one of these changes could slow your metabolism and cause you to gain weight. Add them together, and throw in all the behavioral responses that accompany stress — mindless snacking, not exercising, consuming too much caffeine or alcohol — and you can see that stress is a majorendocrine disruptor.

One of the biggest causes, as well as a symptom, of stress-induced hormonal upheaval occurs when people cut their hours of quality sleep. Studies have shown that when sleep is restricted for even a couple of nights in a row, your body’s levels of the satiety hormone leptin drop, and levels of the hunger hormone gherkin shoot up, along with your appetite for sweets, breads and pastas, and salty foods.

In a study of healthy people who were deprived for three days of the ability to reach deep sleep — the period in which most of the body’s growth hormone is released — the subjects’ ability to process sugar dropped by about 20 percent. In other words, they became insulin resistant in only 72 hours. The point is, you need your rest!

Pharmaceutical Overload

Drug companies have become very creative about selling people on new “lifestyle” diseases. Whether you’re sad, anxious, angry, or hyper — or have any other human feeling — they have a drug to “medicate” it away. In addition to the obvious hormone jostling caused by birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy, disruptions are produced by chemicals contained in many other pharmaceuticals. For example, a common class of antidepressants — selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) — has been linked to higher rates of metabolic syndrome. And weight gain can be caused by diabetes medications, antihistamines, mood stabilizers, and steroid hormones. All these pharmaceuticals can seriously affect your hormonal health. Of course, some people are taking their medications for very good reasons, and sometimes the benefits outweigh the risks. Never stop taking the medicines you’ve been prescribed without first talking the matter over with your doctor — suddenly stopping some medications, such as steroids, is actually very dangerous. Your doctor can help you decide what’s truly necessary for you to take.

This is something I’ve been thinking of lately.  I have been thinking of talking to my doctor to wean myself off my antidepressants.  I feel that it’s not helping really.  Plus, since Ive changed medications… my appetite has been out of control.  And I know I’ve gained weight.  So who knows what’s going on with my body.

Certain herbs, vitamins, and other supplements can also have very powerful hormonal effects — especially when combined with any meds prescribed by your doctor. So if you don’t tell your doctor you’re taking them, you risk doing some real damage to your endocrine system.

Cigarettes

Okay, here’s a no-brainer: Smoking is bad for you. But you probably never suspected some of the ways in which it’s bad. This destructive little habit affects a slew of endocrine glands — pituitary, thyroid, adrenals, testicles, and ovaries — in addition to the lungs, heart, brain, and, oh yeah, every other cell in your body.

To give you a breakdown of the metabolic risks, smoking helps cause insulin resistance and drives up your cortisol levels. It can make you infertile and throw your body into menopause years before your time. Smoking is also a huge risk factor for problems with your thyroid.

Think quitting will make you fat? I have news for you: Smoking fills your body with a number of pollutants that not only won’t help you lose weight but will make you fat. Seriously, people, just don’t do it.

A Super-sized Culture

The final factor on our list of hormone disruptors, and a reason that’s often cited for our society’s excess pounds, is the idea that more is good and bigger is better when it comes to food.

There’s no denying that we’re struggling with an environment that conspires to make and keep us fat. Restaurant portion sizes have increased 500 percent since the 1970s. On average, the typical American eats about 23 pounds of candy and drinks 35 gallons of regular pop a year. Add to these statistics remote controls, a few million TV channels, Internet addictions, longer commutes, extended workweeks, no sidewalks, drive-throughs, supersizing… and you can see why we’re a nation filled with overweight children and adults.

And this epidemic of “too much” isn’t just a harmless symptom of our supposedly greedy appetites. I want you to see this caloric excess as a highly profitable, corporately sanctioned endocrine disruptor every bit as disturbing as the pesticides and pharmaceuticals you’re putting into your body.

Look at overblown fast foods and huge portions as poisonous in and of themselves, and realize that by cutting back, you’re not depriving yourself — you’re sidestepping an enormous black hole of toxins in our environment. Toss the pop, keep reading about nutrition, and follow a diet that gets you to a place where your metabolism and hormones start working for you.

Come on guys! We can do this!  Let’s make 2014 the healthiest year yet!

Tips to Survive the Cold & Flu Season

Yesterday unfortunately, I spent the majority of my day in bed.  I must have come down with something because I had the sweats and the chills.  I was vomiting and had horrible stomach pains and an absolute horrible migraine.  It was not fun at all.

I knew something was going on Friday because I barely ate – and I love food,  Says a previous fat girl. LOL.
Man oh man.  No, I have never gotten a flu shot and never had the flu.  That was the closest to the flu I’ve gotten in years.  But man did I feel horrible.

So I feel this is the perfect time to talk about different ways you can help prevent colds and flu in our transition from Fall to Wintertime.

The influenza virus causes a crazy 32 million missed school days and 100 million missed days of work. Symptoms of the flu are often hard to distinguish from those of a common cold; coughing, sneezing, runny nose, fatigue, general aches, fever and stomach complaints like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are all typical of the flu. And while the flu shot and antiviral drugs may be helpful in the prevention and treatment of influenza, their abilities are limited.

Here are five different ways I have for you to survive this winter’s cold and flu season!!

1. Take Your Vitamins

Both vitamin D3 and vitamin A are powerful players against infections like viruses and bacteria. A Vitamin D3 supplement in children decreased the rate of influenza infection by 50% which is far better than the effects of vaccines or antiviral drugs. Research released in 2011 showed that vitamin A is necessary for many different immune responses to both bacteria and viruses. Vitamin A was shown to inhibit the replication of the measles virus, demonstrating its powerful anti-viral ability.

Winter is the perfect time to add more vitamin A to our diets.  You can easily add more Vitamin A to your diet by eating these foods: sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens and butternut squash. As for vitamin D3, it’s a fat soluble vitamin that can accumulate over time, so you want to be sure to have the right age appropriate dose for you.

2. Consider Supplements

Recent studies demonstrate that elderberry extract has immune-modulating and antioxidant properties that offset the activity of viruses so they can no longer enter the cell and replicate. The berries also contain vitamins A and C, and the flavonoids quercetin, anthocyanin and rutin, all of which boost immune function. Elderberry comes in a great tasting liquid syrup form.  This helps people like me who HATES taking cough syrup because of it’s nasty taste LOL.

Probiotics have also been repeatedly shown to help prevent infection and decrease the duration and severity of symptoms during the cold or flu.  I personally take probiotics each day.  Because of working in Health and Wellness, I’ve personally seen a difference in those clients who took a probiotic and those who didn’t.  I seen those clients who were taking a probiotic maintain a healthier immune system over those clients who weren’t taking a probiotic supplement.  So I truly believe that every one should insure they include Probiotics into their daily lives.

Another great product to take is a Siberian Ginseng supplement.  I personally LOVE LOVE LOVE taking this product.  This type of ginseng is also very beneficial to the circulatory system. It helps maintain healthy blood circulation, distributing oxygen and other important nutrients efficiently to the body and brain.

This herb is a powerful immune system booster. Many people who take it regularly seldom get sick. It can help the body fight off illnesses like the common cold, flu and others. Without a strong immune system, there is little chance for good health. That’s why taking Siberian Ginseng does such a great job at keeping people healthy. It would be worth taking it for this benefit alone.

Siberian Ginseng is also very popular with people suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and other forms of exhaustion. It has the ability to relieve tiredness of the mind and body. This isn’t something that happens overnight. This herb should be taken every day, as the effects will increase over time.  So go to your local drug store and pick some up!! It’s not that expensive at all!

3. Get Enough Rest

We all know.  We have all heard this before.  Ensure you get the proper amount of sleep that your body needs.  I know we’re all busy, I know we have reasons we need to stay up late at nights.  But when it boils down to it… get your REST!  Stress is a part of our every day lifestyles.  Unfortunately, excessive stress can decrease our immune function, and make it easier for us to come down with an infection.  Adults need an average of 7 to 10 hours of sleep nightly while children, depending on their age, need anywhere from 9 to 14 hours of sleep each night to rejuvenate for the next day. Not getting enough sleep lowers the body’s defenses needed for fighting infections.

4. Eat Healthy

Our bodies require many essential nutrients to function properly. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps ensure you and your little one are getting all the vitamins and minerals that are essential to a healthy immune system.

Studies have shown that eating a sugary snack or meal can depress the immune system for several hours, creating a window of time during which it is easier to get the flu. Avoiding excessive sugar can keep the immune system working at the level needed to fend off infections.

5. Wash Up!!!

Washing your hands is one of the best ways for you to limit exposure to the germs that spread colds and flu.  Frequent hand washing is recommended. Remember, antibacterial soaps are no more effective at killing germs than soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer. In fact, antibacterial soaps may contribute to the bacteria’s resistance to antimicrobial agents in the soap, making it harder to treat the germs in the future.

Here’s to a healthy, happy wintertime!
Snuggle up and be warm!