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Stress Relief

Preparing for Holiday Stress and Weight Gain

Southern FallIt’s that time of year again.  Fall means that the Holiday season is not far off.  And that means Stress and Weight Gain are lurking, waiting to pounce again this year.  Stress can elevate your body’s levels of cortisol, and continuously high levels have been linked to long-term health impacts.

Well this year can be different!  You have the power to nip all the stress and weight gain possibilities in the bud, way before they poke their ugly heads into your days.  How can this be so, you ask?  Taking steps now, before the start of the craziness will make all the difference when the time comes.  Small steps over time make big differences.

Start by making lists of presents to purchase.  Be realistic in how much to spend, don’t go over your budget.  Stress from large credit card bills is no fun in the new year.  Find ways to give your time, your presence rather than presents.  Much more fulfilling and easier on the budget.  And usually a lot of fun as well.

Decide which parties and family events you can attend and so NO to the rest.  Keep the list small and doable so you can actually enjoy your time togetheChristmasr.  Running, tired, stressed and irritated do not make for fun party guests.  NO is a wonderful word to use when your schedule is booked to the max!  USE IT!  Say NO! and then breathe deeply.  The world will continue to spin even if you don’t make it to all the events of the season.  You will, however, appreciate and savor the ones you do attend.

Keep the decorating to minimum this year.  Pick a few favorites and display them.  Add holiday music, a selection of your favorites to set the mood each day.  Put lights on timers so you are not running around turning on trees, window displays, outside lights.  Keep it Simple!  Personally, I like replacing the throws, pillows and area rugs with holiday themed items along with those battery operated candles that flicker like real candles.  High impact visually, low impact physically.

Keeping stress lower makes for less stress eating and less weight gain.  Preparing ahead of time for attending a party will help with 15-412_180MealInfographicthe mindless snacking that can occur at parties.  I eat one of my Shaklee 180 Meal-in-a-Bars or Snack Bars before each party to help with the empty calorie munching that I am prone to indulge.  Keeping my protein intake high, as well as the full feeling I get with the fiber in the bars and shakes,  lets me enjoy a dessert item or two without guilt.  Holidays mean treats to me, so keeping those treats at a manageable limit is desirable.  And I have found that I truly enjoy the treat if it is carefully chosen, savored and admired, rather than stuffed in my mouth out of hunger!

When all else fails, and the stress level begins to rise, reach for Shaklee Stress Relief Complex!    Stress Relief Complex contains a blend of clinically tested ingredients and has been designed to support a calm, more relaxed state without causing drowsiness.  Stress can elevate your body’s levels of cortisol, and continuously high levels have been linked to long-term health impacts. Stress Relief Complex was designed to help support your body’s response to stress.

b22030Also, drinking lots of pure, filtered water, Green Matcha Energizing Tea along with Pomegranate Energizing Tea keep me hydrated and energized each day no matter the schedule.  And make certain you get plenty of exercise and sleep this holiday season!  Be good to yourself, Elise.

Sabotage

Sabotage.  One of my favorite movies from Alfred Hitchcock in the 1930’s.  But Sabotage is not something I want to do to my self.  Yet, many do just that.  How you might ask?

Sabotage is “the act of destroying or damaging something deliberately so that it does not work correctly” according to Merriam-Webster dictionary.   It is sometimes thought of as a sneaky attack by an enemy, but often Sabotage is closer to home.  Closer than you might expect, just look in the mirror!

IMG_2624 webYou know what I am talking about.  You know that weight loss plan you decided on back at the end of last year, or was it the exercise plan you were “committed” to at the first of the year.  Remember?  You had plans, you had a goal, you had dreams….. once upon a new year.  But somewhere along the way, the Sabotage started and your plans were derailed.

What happened to derail such commitment?  What kind of Sabotage did you encounter?  Was it from your friends and family?  Did they invite you to dinner and offer your fattening favorites?  Did you feel you had to eat more than you had planned out of guilt?  They had cooked your favorites after all!Cake & Berries 3 4 x 3  72

Or was it boredom on your part?  Did you Sabotage yourself by mindlessly eating a bag of potato chips while watching some mindless TV program?  Did you see your favorite goodie at the grocery store and could not resit bring it home, telling yourself all along that you could control the portions each day?  Was that you?  Did you then proceed to eat the whole thing?  Then felt guilty about that?

Or was that Sabotage from your own body?  Your own body!  Well, studies have shown that when we get hunger pangs after we have eaten a reasonable meal we are often THIRSTY!  Somehow the signals get mixed up and we end up eating a fattening snack mid-morning or mid-afternoon when we should have a nice glass of water!

Water BottlesImagine that.  We need to drink more water.  Simple, clean, filtered, pure water.  H2O.  Plain and simple.  Water.  From an article I wrote several years ago, “We need to remember that your body is about 60% water, you brain is about 75% water and your blood is about 82% water!”

The article goes on to explain:  “The main thing to remember is that we need to stay hydrated each day, even in the winter.  Turns out our body relies on water to help keep our temperature regulated.  So to stay warm in the winter, drink water.”   Seems every part of our body needs water as much as our diet and exercise program!

So stop the Sabotage and drink water daily.  I use a Get Clean Water Pitcher from Shaklee to provide good, lead-free water.  I mix in some Shaklee 180 Energizing Tea for a bit of flavor and refreshing energy boost.   Stay well!

Start 2015 with New Goals

Start 2015 with New Goals for a New Year!  Resolutions are made and quickly broken, forgotten.  Change is never something we embrace easily as humans.  But change can be healthy for us and make us have a better quality of life.  Long life is not good if the last years are spent in hospitals or nursing homes with ill health.  Besides being expensive, illness is no way to live your life.  We are made to be healthy, but we often do things that are bad for our health.

Smoking, over eating, keeping stress levels too high, not getting proper rest, not getting proper exercise, not eating good food, eating junk food, drinking too much soda and alcohol, and so much more.  We forget we are not bullet-proof!

2015-Kickoff-Social-4Let’s make 2015 the year we make changes toward better health, toward a healthier lifestyle, toward more exercise, toward happiness not stress.  Change comes slowly over the course of time.  Make a list of a few things you want to accomplish in 2015.  Maybe it is losing 10 pounds.  Maybe it is to stop smoking.  Maybe it is to take up a sport.  Make the list.

Now decide what you need to do to get to that 1st small goal.  Is it to modify your exercise, your eating habits or smoking habits?  Make small changes over the course of a few months.  These small changes will allow you to have success as you are making progress towards your larger goal.  Deciding to lose 100 pounds is a big change, but 10 pounds can happen in a few weeks or a month.  Small successes added together equal big change over time!

Visit my Shaklee site for help with weight loss, stress management, better sleep, and sports nutrition products to aid in that new sport you are excited about trying.  Get out of your rut, take charge of your present so your future can be the one you deserve!

Tips for Immune System Support

Cold and Flu Season is here again!  Keeping healthy during the Winter and early Spring makes for a happier Holiday Season and start to the New Year.  Since your immune system is complicated, there are many components to keeping healthy.

One part is Lifestyle.  If you smoke, are stressed, eat the wrong kinds of foods, drink too many Sodas,  don’t get enough sleep and so on, your immune system can be compromised.  Make a few simple changes over the course of a month or so. I know, I know, change is not fun, but then neither is the Flu!  So you decide:  Make a few changes or get sick.  The choice is yours.  I choose to be healthy!

Start with getting enough sleep.  Go to bed a bit earlier.  Turn off the TV!  In fact, don’t even have a TV in the bedroom.  Replace your pillow with one that properly supports your head and neck.  Keep the room at a comfortable temperature for sleep.  I don’t like to be too warm when I sleep, but you might like a warmer room, so adjust the temperature to your needs.  Get those 8 hours each night and your body will thank you!

Now look at your diet. Keep your weight at it’s optimum number. According to a blog post by Dr. Jamie McManus, “Supporting your immune system with great nutrition is one of the best ways to get a leg up in keeping you well.”

Dr. McManus suggests  “the first place to start is to ensure your body is getting enough protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Protein is especially important and essential for the health of the immune system. Healthy fats (EPA and DHA) are important to the immune system as well.”
Look for foods withMushrooms the nutrients your body needs to stay strong such as vitamin C, vitamin A, antioxidants, zinc and magnesium.

For an extra boost, remember foods have medicinal properties!  So include these often in your diet and enjoy the goodness of taste and immune system support.  Here is Dr. McManus’ list of medicinal foods:

1.  Mushrooms (shiitake, matsutake, and others) have a long history of helping support the immune system, especially the reishi mushroom in traditional Chinese medicine. Modern science has shown that mushrooms contain substances (such as beta-glucans and others) that can enhance immune system function.
2.  Garlic and onions not only taste great but research suggests they have the ability to modulate immune function.
3.  Herbs such as turmeric, ginger, and others have long been used as spices and to preserve foods; these herbs also have benefits for our immune system.Vitalized_Immunity

Of course I use several products from Shaklee that target the immune system components.  I take Shaklee’s Vitalizer each day which is filled with antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin A and so much more.  In addition, I add NutriFeron each day and Vitalized Immunity.  I keep the good fats high such as EPA and DHA found in the OmegaGuard and Vitalizer.   Visit my Shaklee site for more immune system products.

Staying healthy year round is possible when you make smart choices for your good health!  Don’t wait till you start feeling bad, start now and enjoy a healthy Holiday Season and New Year!

Astaxanthin — A Powerful Anti-Oxidant

Recently a friend asked me if I knew anything about Astaxanthin. I thought for a moment since it sounded familiar, but nothing really came to mind. So I told my friend I would do some research. I enjoy researching natural nutrients, I went to my sources and began reading. This is one anti-oxidant you will want to start taking!  WOW.

What is Astaxanthin?
Commonly found in algae and phytoplankton, astaxanthin is an important carotenoid with superior antioxidant properties. Independent scientific studies have proven that astaxanthin exhibits strong free radical-scavenging activity and protects against oxidative damage of LDL-cholesterol.* And its unique properties are continuing to draw the interest of the science and medical communities. Astaxanthin contains numerous antioxidant benefits, including protection against the oxidative damage of LDL cholesterol. It has also been associated with additional health benefits related to immune function and cardiovascular health. 

Astaxanthin improves skin elasticity, smoothness and more.  It has also been linked to eye health and cell health!  Best of all it helps reduce pain and inflammation as well as helping with fatigue.  Good for your overall health and well being.

Most interesting for me was the discovery was that I was taking Astaxanthin already and did not know it! Turns out that since 2004, Astaxanthin has been one of the natural ingredients in Shaklee’s CarotoMax®.

CarotoMax® is a rare blend of alpha-carotene, astaxanthin, beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, and zeaxanthin delivering of a broad spectrum of carotenoids. These are fat-soluble carotenoids that helps maintain overall wellness and long-term health of the eyes, heart, skin, lungs, prostate, and cervix while supporting a strong immune system.*

Although Astaxanthin is commonly derived from salmon, Shaklee harvests the carotenoid astaxanthin from marine microalgae, the purest and most potent source. Shaklee harvests from Hawaii this important carotonoid. The pigment in algae and phytoplankton that gives salmon its pink color. Since most of us don’t eat salmon on a daily basis, Shaklee’s CarotoMax® is a good source of Astaxanthin!

Paired with Shaklee’s FlavoMax™ gives you a powerful anti-oxidant duo. FlavoMax™ is a comprehensive, high-powered antioxidant supplement* that guarantees delivery of six key classes of flavonoids: proanthocyanidins, anthocyanidins, flavan-3-ols, flavones, flavonols, and flavanones. Shaklee uses standardized extracts of each of these flavonoids to ensure potency and quality. Flavonoids are potent, water-soluble antioxidants that have been linked to healthy blood circulation, strong capillaries, and veins. Flavonoids also deliver antioxidant protection to blood and blood-rich tissues, such as the liver and the intestines.

So when you are thinking about trying Astaxanthin, take a look at Shaklee’s CarotoMax! Stay Well!

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
is Astaxanthin contains numerous
antioxidant benefits, including
protection against the oxidative
damage of LDL cholesterol. It has
also been associated with additional
health benefits related to immune
function and cardiovascular health.

Handling Holiday Stress

Handling Holiday Stress is a full time job for some of us!  It seems to build more each year, starting earlier and staying around longer.  Stress is not healthy for anyone, so reducing stress is a must during the Holidays.  Now don’t think that you have to give up everything and take a vacation during the month of December to avoid all that stress.  No, but you do have to re-think the things you say “Yes”to as well as the amount of cooking, decorating and shopping you are doing. Our goal is to enjoy the holidays, not endure them!

Saying “No” can be a good thing!  It is hard to say “No” at times, especially when you like to please people and you are good at the task you are asked to fulfill.  But often we take on additional tasks that others can do as well or even better, leaving us with less stress and more time to really enjoy the event.  So look carefully at your schedule and don’t be afraid to say “No” to some of those many requests for help you get each year.

Delegate!  Alright, you don’t want to say “No” to some things, but you don’t really have the time to fully accomplish that task either without going sleepless for several night.  Rather than show up sleep-deprived, delegate the task to another member of your family or your office staff.  Look around and see who has been waiting in the wings to learn a new skill and show what they are made of!  You will be pleasantly surprised at the talent that is around you waiting to grow and learn new skills.  From your spouse to your children to your mother-in-law, there are many hands available to help if you will only ask.  Teaching someone else is fun, rewarding and less stressful than always doing it yourself.

Watch your spending!  Again, saying “no” to a present is often hard.  Reality is cold and not always filled with boxes of presents for everyone in your life.  Avoid buying gifts because you feel obligated.  Have a frank discussion with friends and close family about gift giving to limit the amount spent or even eliminate gift giving all together.  Some larger family/friend groups often draw names so they are buying for only one in a large extended family/friend group.  Others do a “Dirty Santa” gift swap where each person purchases one gift of a certain dollar amount, not gender specific, for a gift swap game. It is a fun time, with lots of stealing of gifts as the game progresses, with everyone having fun and getting a nice gift.

Gifts that Keep on Giving!  Most of us have more “stuff” than we need or want.  Why not purchase gifts for the little ones, something small and fun, while making donations to your favorite charity in the names of those on your gift giving list.  Supporting the local Women’s Shelter, Orphanage, Children’s Hospital or a Scholarship fund for a deserving graduating High School Senior are just some of the many options.  Writing a personal note of Thanksgiving for someone in your life and letting them know about the donation you made in their honor is a special way to give gifts that keep on giving.

Keep focused on the reason for the season.  Don’t get so caught up in the must-dos and ought-to-dos that you loose sight of the reason you are getting together with family and friends.  Enjoy the time with them and forget the fact that the Christmas tree is not totally full of decorations or that the ham was cooked by the local deli and not you! 

Over the years, the memories created during these celebrations are more valuable than any store bought gift.  Time is a gift you can give everyone on your list if you plan well and forget the “shoulds and oughts” of life.  Enjoy where you are and who you are with at each event, remain in the present and forget about presents!  And if you need a little help winding down after the parties, take a Shaklee Stress Relief Complex like I do and you will release the stress naturally without negative side effects.  Have a Happy & Healthy Holiday Season!

Hurricane Season, Again!

Hurricane season is here! And a Hurricane is heading towards the US as I write. Hurricane Isaac is expected to make its way into the Gulf of Mexico and send rain, winds and high surf up the West Coast of Florida, the Florida pan-handle and the Alabama coast. Depending on how long the storm is over the warm Gulf waters, the storm could increase in intensity before landfall. So now is the time to get ready!

And are you prepared? Just what does “prepared” mean when we talk about hurricanes and other severe weather during the summer and early fall? Can we truly prepare for a disaster? Well, yes we can and it is that preparation that often makes a difference in how we survive the storm and then cope the following days.

Severe storms come in different forms all over the world. From Hurricanes to Tornadoes to Severe Thunder Storms to Ice Storms and Blizzards, severe weather affects everyone at some time in the year. And let us not forget wild fires and forest fires along with earthquakes. All of these are catalysts for changes in our behavior and lifestyle for a few days to months. How well you are prepared for these changes ahead of time affects how well you manage after the event.

Every Severe Weather Event is different.Having been through 4 Hurricanes in a row, each 3 weeks apart, in 2004, I can tell you from experience that each storm was very different.Starting with Charley, who banged on my home with 100+ MPH winds for over 30 minutes and dumped more rain than I can imagine in the two days of him being around the state. Each storm hit from a different direction, bring winds at different speeds and angles, hitting the house. Rain came in at unusual places, like down drainpipes and air vents.

I was not as prepared as I should have been, but I had the basics down even then:

My vehicle was fueled and ready to roll should I have to evacuate. Back into your garage so exiting will be easier should you need to leave.

I had cat carriers ready for the trip along with cat food, litter and their Vet papers.

My important papers were together in a water proof box in my safe place (interior powder room on the ground floor).

Food and water were ready as were clothing should we need to move quickly.  Protein Shakes, snack bars, peanut butter, crackers, apples, bananas and utensils were packed. I also had cleaning supplies in small quantities.

I even had plastic buckets for putting the furniture up high off the floor should flooding become an issue. Soft goods were moved to the top floor in plastic Space Bags when possible.

Doors and windows were covered as much as I could by myself, and the garage door was secured and braced.

I had a portable battery operated TV (now useless since the Digital Revolution has taken over, so much for progress!) along with flash lights and extra batteries. Now I even have a wind-up radio with weather band and AM/FM channels.

Cell phones were charged since you can text if voice is down.  Have a car charger too, just in case the power is off for more than a few days.  Solar charges are great to have, more expensive, but very useful in an emergency.

NOAA radios are a must. You need to know the changes in the path of the storm, since they do wobble around, not on a straight path.

Have tarps, plastic sheeting, ropes, duck tape, hammer and nails, ladder and anything else that might help you secure your home after the storm has passed. Be Careful.

So my main message is to be prepared for those coming storms whether they are cold weather or hot weather storms, fires or earthquakes. It takes a few hours each year to update your food and water supply, refresh your clothing, add paperwork as necessary and refresh your plan!

Be Smart: Get ready and be safe. You can survive if you think and act ahead of the storm.

Fueling Options for Sports Events

Before, during and after events, be sure to hydrate with cool liquids in small amounts,early and often.  According to Les Wong, Shaklee’s VP of Health Sciences, Shaklee Corporation, Shaklee has been working with Elite Athletes for over 30 years.  Shaklee Powered Athletes have won over 100 medals in the Winter and Summer Olympic games along with many other elite athletic competitions.  Sports drinks like Shaklee Performance can be especially helpful but should first be tested in training before use in competition.
Pre-Event:  Nutritious foods including sandwiches, salads, fruits, and Shaklee Cinch Meal Bars or Snack Bars are best consumed 2 – 4 Hours before exercise.  More rapidly absorbed Nutritional Shakes including Cinch Shakes or Meal Shakes may be consumed as little as 1 Hour before a event depending on an individual’s digestive comfort.  Continue hydration right up to the start of training or competition  (Energy Chews may be considered an energy boost 15-30 minutes prior to competition.)

During:  Continue hydration every 15 – 30 minutes, depending on conditions. For events lasting more than an hour, nutrition bars, gels and rapidly digested carbohydrate rich foods, including fruits like bananas, apples and bagels, may be consumed in addition to fluids.

Post Event:  Protein, carbohydrate, and fluids should be consumed immediately after exercise to maximize muscle energy refueling, muscle repair and ,muscle rebuilding.  Physique is proven to trigger the body’s anabolic state and enhance the body’s recovery process in response to exercise.  Continue to hydrate post-exercise and consume additional Physique (or other foods) an hour or two after exercise, especially if you have daily or multiple workout sessions.

Sleeping Pills and Death

So you need a little more sleep, your Doctor prescribes a sleeping pill and you are a happy camper with that little pill. You ignore the groggy mornings and the fuzziness. Can you ignore the increased potential of Death?  In a recently published study from the British Medical Journal the BMJ Open Journal, evidence has been found to link the use of sleeping pills to increased death rate amoung the users.

This study was carried out in the US, led by Daniel Kripke from the Scripps Clinic Viterbi Family Sleep Center in La Jolla CA. It studied the population severed by the largest rural integrated healthcare system in America in Pennsylvania over a 2 1/2 year period. Researchers compared the death rates of more than 10,500 people who received sleeping pill prescriptions with those of more than 23,600 others who did not receive such sleeping medications. The groups were matched for health and other factors such as age, gender, smoking, body mass index, ethnicity, marital status, alcohol use and prior cancer.

The results found that patients prescribed any hypnotic (sleeping pill) had substantially elevated hazards of dying compared to those prescribed no hypnotics. Receiving hypnotic prescriptions was associated with greater than threefold increase hazards of death even when prescribed less than 18 pills per year. Patients taking between 18 and 132 doses or more per year had a risk of death more than 5 times those that did not take the sleeping pills.

There have been several reason put forth to explain the higher death rates, such as use of the pills hiding symptoms of disease. Sleeplessness is a sign of some diseases and is often overlooked as such. Treating the sleeplessness with sleeping pills rather than looking further into possible causes has covered up diseases that when discovered have moved to worse stages had they been discovered earlier. And there has been an association between sleeping pill use and higher cancer rates although they had not been at greater risk of cancer prior to taking the pills.

Fortunately, there are natural alternatives to sleeping pills that work.  Gentle Sleep Complex from Shaklee is a unique combination features passion flower, German chamomile, and valerian. Valerian has been used for over a thousand years because it helps maintain a calm state, promotes relaxation, and is a natural means of promoting restful sleep.

Gentle Sleep Complex:  • Used safely and tradidionally to promote restful sleep*
• Natural support for maintaining a calm state*  • Guaranteed to provide 0.8% valerenic acid per serving.  When combined with good natural nutrition, proper diet and exercise, sleep and better moods are possible.  Stay Well!

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Hidden Sugar can Derail Your Weight

You know when you eat a candy bar or a few cookies that you are eating sugar.  You plan on those calories and carbohydrates.  However, you don’t expect to find high amounts sugar in some of those “healthy” sounding beverages or in “weight loss” foods do you?  I did not think about pasta sauces having loads of sugar!

I recently read an interesting article where the author, Elaine Magee, MPH RD, explored some hidden sugar in our commonly used foods.  Foods that are often marketed as “healthy”.  Foods that are not associated with sugar in our general mindset.

Being hypoglycemic, I have to be careful of my sugar intake or I feel bad quickly and have even fainted! Not fun.  So reading Elaine’s article was eyeopening.  Here are a few things that caught my eye.  Hopefully they will point the way for you to read more labels and be aware of the possibility of hidden sugars.  Keeping weight down, keeping sugar in check for a diabetics while  feeling better is our goal each day.  Wellness is better than Disease Care!

Sugar Cubes

Sugar Cubes

Seems like sugar hides in strange places!  Did you know that Sugar is the first ingredient listed in Fiber One’s muffin mix?   A muffin’s worth of mix contains 15 grams of sugar.  Fiber One Muffin Mix,
Apple Cinnamon: 1/4 cup mix (as packaged) = 15 grams sugar, 130 calories.
Also, in Nutri-Grain Cereal Bars (all flavors): 1 bar = 12 grams sugar, 130 calories.  Now that is is shock since you think these bars are “healthy”.

Elaine found sugar in Pasta Sauces too.  Now I am not a big fan of pasta, but all my friends and family love pasta dishes and boy, do they have a surprise coming!   According to Elaine’s research for WebMD, popular pasta sauces:                                                                                               Newman’s Own Tomato & Basil: 1/2 cup = 12 grams sugar, 90 calories
Bertolli Vineyard Marinara: 1/2 cup = 12 grams sugar, 80 calories
Prego Fresh Mushroom Italian Sauce: 1/2 cup = 11 grams sugar, 90 calories
Prego 3-Cheese: 1/2 cup = 11 grams sugar, 80 calories

So learn to read labels.  Learn the different names of “sugar” such as natural sugars from fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose) as well as added sweeteners like refined sugar or high-fructose corn syrup.  Keeping a healthy weight is a challenge for many of us.  Now that you have a hint of what to look for in foods, be armed and vigilant as you shop and make choices in restaurants.  Remember that diet, exercise and wise supplementation are the keys to Wellness!  Stay well!

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