Our Cup of Tea; Summertime Edition

Our Cup of Tea is Annmarie Skin Care’s monthly series featuring the team members’ favorite things! From recipes to workouts to nights on the town, we’ll share the things we love with you. You’ll get to know our team a little better and who knows, you might just find a new favorite thing.

How excited are you for the summer sun? Even though we live in California, where the sun shines year round, we’re acutely aware of the longer days and hotter afternoons. It’s a beautiful time of year where the flowers are fully open and the days feel like they go on forever.

This month we wanted to share our favorite summer traditions with you. Maybe you do the same thing, or maybe you’ll love one of these ideas from our team.

Gwen

Every summer growing up, my family went camping in either Big Sur or Death Valley for at least a week at a time. My favorite memories have taken place during these trips. Because of this, I make it a point to go camping at least once every summer. There’s nothing like waking up with the sun in a tent and spending the day swimming in the nearest body of water.

Abby

My favorite summertime tradition is going to the Yuba River near Nevada City—it’s most beautiful river in California! Oh and let’s not forget Burning Man, eight years running 😉

Leah

Going to Point Reyes/Dillon Beach is one of my favorite summer traditions. It has something for everyone, seaside charm, great local food, beaches, hikes, and a spa featuring cedar baths nearby!

Aubrey

I’m from Michigan so it’s cold for most of the year, which means I have to capitalize on the summer sunshine. Since childhood my favorite summertime activity is laying in the grass all day on a blanket reading. I even had a favorite blanket to lay on, it had Disney’s Lion King characters on it.

Jasmine

My parents have had a houseboat for most of my life, so my summers have been taken up by hanging out with friends in our bathing suits all day, wakeboarding, tubing, and listening to Bob Marley. It is still the thing I look forward to most about the summer coming!

Chandra

My favorite summertime activity is driving out to a trail that is also near a body of water. I like to catch a hike before the sun gets blazing hot and once it reaches pretty high heat, I like to take a nice dip in the ocean or river and then soak up the rays until the water on my skin and bathing suit dries up 🙂

Lauryn

My summer tradition my whole life has been visiting my grandfather’s house in Las Vegas, Nevada. My whole family goes and we just veg out at the pool, cook, read, laugh, drink and head to the strip for a nice dinner. Its one of my favorite times of year. My grandfather unexpectedly passed away last year and I had a baby, so now our trips out there to see his wife and feel his presence will be a whole new experience. I can’t wait to get my 5 month old son in his pool ❤

Do you have a favorite summertime tradition? Let us know in the comments below!

The following post Our Cup of Tea; Summertime Edition was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

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How a Paleo Diet Might be the Answer to Your Mood Swings

Guest Post by PaleoHacks

We don’t typically associate diet with our mood, but what we eat has a huge impact on our mental well-being.

While ups and downs are associated with major life upheavals (pregnancy, changing jobs, moving, etc.), beyond that, mood swings should not be considered normal. Even “that time of the month” doesn’t have to be racked with a sudden drop in energy. PMS symptoms, while commonly associated with normal menstrual cycles, are not actually common in all menstruating women. Prominent PMS symptoms tend to appear more in women with conditions or imbalances that are responsible for the aggravating symptoms.

As someone who has struggled with postpartum depression and major depressive disorder at different times in my life, I want to clarify that conditions like those, as well as bipolar disorder, are serious and should always be addressed with the help of a qualified professional.

While mood swings are not as serious as diagnosable disorders, they can feel life-altering in their own right. It’s important to remember that mood swings are not an inevitable part of life, we just have to consider what is at their root cause.

What Could Be Going On

To say it briefly: a major part of our nervous system resides in our gut, and mood swings occur when our gut balance is compromised. Emotional and mental stability and wellness is intimately connected with the brain-gut connection. The brain regulates the nervous system, but we have an entire “gut brain,” or the enteric nervous system, that has a massive sway over how the brain and nervous system functions as a whole. This translates to an active role in how our moods wax and wane.

While other factors can certainly impact mood (e.g., blood sugar balance, hormone conditions like thyroid disease, medication side effects, or sleep deprivation), gut health can also be associated with any or all of these.

Leaky gut is a condition where the small intestinal junctions, which serve as gateways between the intestinal tract and the bloodstream, become weakened in response to food allergies, toxins, or other foreign particles. Basically, it can happen to anyone of any age, and it’s extremely common, particularly in those who have chronic or autoimmune conditions—although leaky gut itself can be a factor that leads to the development of these conditions, too. When these intestinal gateways are loose, undigested food and other particles can enter the bloodstream and spark inflammatory responses, autoimmune problems, and a general disruption to homeostasis.

SIBO, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, is another form of gut disruption in the small intestine where the “good” bacteria that belong in the large intestine and colon actually proliferate in the small intestine, resulting in gut symptoms like diarrhea, nutrient malabsorption, and painful bloating.

It’s entirely possible to have SIBO and leaky gut. Both conditions are associated with brain disorders like anxiety, depression, and even sleep disorders. They primarily mess with the nervous system by impacting how vital nutrients are absorbed, especially B vitamins, which have a calming and balancing effect on the brain, energy levels, and mood. B vitamins are water soluble, meaning that they need regular replacement since they aren’t stored within the body in fat tissue. When B vitamins, especially B6, B12, and folate, become regular deficiencies, people may experience increased irritability, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, and other disruptive symptoms that can lead to feelings of depression, sadness, anger, and frustration. Sometimes this can lead to an incorrect diagnosis where medication is prescribed, and symptoms are further masked.

In order to address mood disorders from the root, the gut needs to be brought back to a homeostatic balance.

Bringing Balance to Your Gut

A gut-friendly diet is first and foremost anti-inflammatory. Nothing disrupts homeostasis more than inflammation, and our first line of defense should be to reverse the process with antioxidants and other nutrients that get to work repairing the damage done by this fiery interference. While inflammation itself is meant to be a protective measure, when it occurs in response to autoimmunity or chronic stress, it ceases to be protective and begins to cause a destructive friction within the body that leads to further breakdown.

A Paleo diet is one of the best protocols for gut health, but just because something is Paleo doesn’t mean it’s mood balancing. A Paleo diet for mood and mental health will focus specifically on four things:

Omega-3. One of the traps that Paleo eaters can fall into is relying too heavily on nuts, which are higher in omega-6 fatty acids and lower omega-3’s. Wild-caught seafood is, of course, one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Low intake of omega-3 has been implicated in mood disorders before. While it’s important to eat wild caught seafood regularly, it’s even more important to keep fatty acid profiles balanced between omega-6 and omega-3. So ideally, the ratios would be balanced evenly, instead of the default that tends to have omega-6’s consumed anywhere from 12 to 17 times more than omega-3’s. Foods rich in omega-3 include salmon, flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, oysters, mackerel, and leafy greens like spinach.

Bone Broth. Well-reputed for its gut healing properties due to the presence of collagen, glutamine, and glycine—nutrients that help to repair the tissues of the digestive tract and therefore increase nutrient absorption—bone broth is a Paleo superfood. But certain people with histamine intolerance or SIBO may have a hard time getting this oily beverage down. Alternatives include plain dehydrated bone broth, making your own low-histamine bone broth (no garlic, onions, or spices), or a pure collagen supplement.

Leafy Greens. Some green vegetables can be problematic for SIBO, like cabbage, broccoli, and brussel sprouts. Spinach, chard, romaine, beet greens, watercress, and kale are all especially rich in B vitamins as well as antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C, and tend to be recommended for SIBO. The fiber found in leafy greens can also aid in elimination of toxins. Toxic buildup anywhere in the body, but especially in the gut, will have a direct impact on the nervous system. It could quite literally be said that toxic build-up in the gut has a major role in toxic thinking in the brain.

Eggs. Rich in folate and other B vitamins, eggs are a balanced source of protein, fat, and other essential nutrients. While some may have an intolerance, a majority of people can tolerate eggs, especially when they’re sourced from truly free range hens. Eggs also contain omega-3 fatty acids, and are a great source of selenium, which is a mood-boosting nutrient that helps to bring stability to the brain. Selenium deficiencies are associated with anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders, and diets that are highly processed can easily be selenium deficient.

Too many are willing to settle for a roller coaster of mood swings and instability when in many cases, it’s because they don’t know there’s something proactive that can be done about it. Eating for your health takes on a whole new meaning when you realize that it goes beyond weight and energy, but can literally impact how you think, feel, and even respond to life.

Have you tried a paleo diet for your mood? Tell us about it in the comments!

References:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC51848/pdf/pnas01062-0185.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2886850/

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248423.php

http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/ajp.2006.163.6.969

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3358810/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4259177/

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(00)02490-9/abstract

The following post How a Paleo Diet Might be the Answer to Your Mood Swings was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Don’t Click Unless You’re Ready to Find Your Favorite Summertime Sweet Treat

We’re at it again, wondering about what your favorite things are. Last month we sent an email asking about your favorite smoothie and we got a really great recipe to share with our whole community. This month we’re jazzed about the summertime, so we asked our whole email list to share their favorite summertime recipe.

We got hundreds of amazing responses but this one was our favorite. It’s healthy, simple, and delicious—plus it’s a dessert, which you know we totally dig.

This recipe comes all the from Shawn, who lives in the blazing hot Louisiana, so you know it’s a great summertime dish.

Magic Shell

This is my favorite summer recipe. Whether we make banana pops, chocolate covered strawberries on a stick, over homemade ice cream, yum.

Ingredients

1/4 c. Coconut Oil
1/4 c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1T. Raw Local Honey
Dash Vanilla Extract
You can add dried fruit, nuts, cocoa nibs, and seeds to make chocolate bark.

Directions

Mix, well. May need to warm very slightly. Dip or smear on fruit or pour over homemade ice cream. This does have to remain in fridge till eaten. (I use organic ingredients, raw, and unrefined when possible.)

Do you have a favorite summertime recipe? Tell us in the comments below!

The following post Don’t Click Unless You’re Ready to Find Your Favorite Summertime Sweet Treat was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

A 21-Day Recharge to Help You Turn Back the Clock (and a Recipe)

Guest post By Soraida Alma with Wellness by Soraida

A couple of years ago I was at a crossroads. I wanted to lose weight and drop the other struggles I had. I suffered with hormonal imbalance, weight gain, joint pain, and low energy. (I’m sure many of you can relate.)

It was disappointing to alter my lifestyle only to see no results. It was awful and I still had to deal with my existing ailments. Then I found a solution: a mostly raw food, plant-based diet.

Why Raw?

By consuming your food raw or uncooked you obtain the maximum amount of nutrients. Cooking food destroys a great deal of the natural enzymes in your food that are needed to break down your food. Eating raw eliminates this problem, gives you an amazing boost in energy and eliminates those mid-day crashes.

Also, the mental clarity and focus that you have is unbelievable!

In the 1930’s Paul Kouchakoff, M.D. discovered that if your diet consisted of MORE than 51% cooked food, your body would attack the food as if a foreign organism was invading it. He went on to show that if 51% of your meals were raw, you would not have a white blood cell reaction, so your immune system would not be activated with a false alarm.

Your immune system is already overburdened with all the toxins in our environment, so by eating at least 51% of your food raw, you will help to reduce the chronic stress + boost your immunity.

Generally, eating your food in its most natural state is going to be the most beneficial to your mind, body and soul. That’s why I created the 21-Day Raw Food Recharge.

The Results

By going raw and plant-based, not only did I lose the weight I wanted, but I freed myself from all the ailments I had before, slept like a baby, cleared my skin, balanced my hormones and took years off my appearance. At 53 years old, you would never know I ever had any problems or guess my true age!

What About You?

If I got these amazing results, think of what you can do in just 21 days eating a mostly raw food, plant-based diet. At the very least, you’ll come away feeling cleansed and refreshed because you know your body will be in its optimum state. And it’s a delicious diet to follow so there won’t be any boring, tasteless meals. As a bonus to you, I want you to try out one of my favorite recipes from the plan.

Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients

1 avocado
5 dates (soaked 10 minutes & pitted)
1/4 cup of honey
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/4 water (add more if needed for desired consistency)

Directions

Put it all in your blender until creamy. Top with coconut flakes or almond slivers and fresh berries. Stick in the freezer for an hour or until cold and it’s perfect! Enjoy!!

Your amazing self is waiting for you. Do the 21-day recharge and be blown away by what your body can do when it’s fed the right foods. Get the 21-Day Raw Food Recharge for a limited time for only $37 and you will also get the 60 Easy Recipes Program for free!
Health & Happiness,

Soraida Alma
http://www.wellnessbysoraida.com

See you inside the challenge! Let us know how you like it in the comments below!

The following post A 21-Day Recharge to Help You Turn Back the Clock (and a Recipe) was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

9 Ways to Naturally Improve Your Immune System (Plus a Free Workshop)

Original post from NaturalHealth365

The lymphatic system is responsible for neutralizing toxins and purifying the body, all while transporting a precious cargo of infection-fighting cells. It is an integral part of the immune system yet, this life-sustaining group of nodes, glands and organs, is often overlooked or taken for granted.

The truth is: a variety of factors—including poor diet, exposure to toxins, food allergies and sedentary lifestyle—can create an excess of waste and debris in the lymph, or lymphatic system fluid. The result is a sluggish or congested lymphatic system, which can set the stage for respiratory infections, ear and sinus infections, edema and swollen glands—which can affect the overall health of your immune system.

Improve Your Lymphatic System – Naturally

Fortunately, the holistic techniques – which will be highlighted in this article – can help you unclog, stimulate and purify your lymph system naturally.

Rebounding

Unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic system lacks a propulsive center, or pump. Instead, lymph is moved via the relaxation and contraction of muscles and joints. You can stimulate circulation and help propel lymph throughout the body by jumping on a trampoline for 10 to 30 minutes.

If you don’t have access to a trampoline, never fear: using a jump rope or doing jumping jacks is also effective. You’ll notice that the jumping up and down (in a relaxed fashion) will really energize your entire body. (that’s the benefit of moving your lymph.)

Eat Raw, Organic Foods

You can help clear a congested lymphatic system by raising your consumption of raw foods—particularly fruits and vegetables, which have naturally-occurring enzymes that help clear toxins and promote their exit from the body.

Fruits and vegetables also raise the water level in the body and help to hydrate it, while their healthy amounts of fiber promote intestinal function, making it easier for intestinal fluids to migrate to lymph nodes. Also, raw foods tend to be alkaline, helping to neutralize pathogens and relieve the burden on the lymph. (of course, try to remember to chew well)

In addition, at the same time, try to reduce consumption of lymph-clogging dairy, sugar, gluten and processed foods. You’ll probably notice a nice surge in your energy level.

Stay Hydrated

As the lymphatic system is 95 percent water, it is important to avoid becoming dehydrated. Experts advise drinking half your weight in ounces of water a day. Remember, not all water is created equal—so (if possible) drink pure spring water or purified water to reduce your toxic burden.

For added health benefits, use fresh (organic) lemon juice to flavor the water, and take advantage of this citrus fruit’s amazing benefits, along with its vitamin C content.

Turn Things Upside Down

Use an inversion table, which allows you to be suspended upside down while strapped in by the feet.

Being in this unusual position can help promote free-flowing lymph. Use a quality inversion table with a safety strap to control the angle of inversion and safety locks to hold it in place.

Herbal Assistance

Herbs can enhance the lymphatic system by improving lymphatic flow and drainage and facilitating removal of toxins. Galium aparine—also known as cleavers—is a safe and time-honored lymphatic tonic, valued for removing and draining trapped bacteria from lymph glands when taking internally. Talk to a holistic practitioner about the right herbal lymphatic for your body.

Dry Brushing

Using a brush with coarse bristles, gently brush the skin in the direction of the heart. Although you may feel silly doing this, experts say it stimulates circulation and encourages the movement of lymph.

By the way, dry brushing can be particularly helpful in breaking down deposits of cellulite caused by a sluggish lymphatic system.

Proteolytic Enzymes

Utilized in the body to break down proteins and aid in digestion and metabolism, enzymes can help dissolve and clear away toxic accumulations in both the lymph and the blood, promoting lymphatic drainage and stimulating the immune system.

You can take them as a supplement or obtain them through diet by eating foods like papaya, which contains the enzyme papain, and pineapple, which contains bromelain.

Lymphatic Massage

Designed to stimulate the flow of lymph and drainage of toxins, specialized lymphatic massage uses gentle pressure and rhythmic circular motions. You can also perform a do-it-yourself version by gently massaging the lymph nodes under your jaw.

According to a 2009 review published in The Journal of Manual Manipulative Therapy, lymphatic drainage massage facilitated removal of waste products in the lymphatic system and helped to reduce edema.

Avoid Constrictive Clothing

This applies particularly to underwire bras, which can significantly interfere with lymphatic flow and drainage from lymph nodes located in the armpit and upper chest. Possible consequences of long-term use of constrictive clothing could include impairment of lymphatic function, fibrocystic breast tissue and even breast cancer. Better to be safe (and comfortable).

BONUS TIP: Yoga

Yoga is a boon to the lymphatic system, as doing headstands, handstands and shoulder stands significantly stimulate flow. If these aren’t practical for you, raising your legs and placing them to the wall are a good alternate option.

The general contraction and relaxation of muscles in yoga poses promotes beneficial flow of lymph. Yoga poses that involve rotation of the abdomen can be particularly effective, as twisting the abdomen squeezes organs and muscles and causes lymph to flow from the tissues.

Obviously, these are all just suggestions. Find what feels good to you and get started today. Your body (and mind) will thank you for it.

Immune Health Summit from Natural Health 365

If this information is interesting to you and you would like to know more, check out the Immune Defense Summit!
Beginning on July 24 2017, this 7-day, FREE online event, hosted by Jonathan Landsman will forever change the way we view disease and healthcare. The summit will feature 36 world-class experts in integrative medicine and science.

Click here to reserve your FREE spot today!

Have you signed up for the Defense Summit? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

The following post 9 Ways to Naturally Improve Your Immune System (Plus a Free Workshop) was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Joy Challenge Day 5: Laughter

Guest Post by Kaia Roman of The Joy Plan

We’re doing a 5-day #JoyChallenge this week here at Annmarie Skin Care. Each day, you’ll find a new challenge up on the blog. These practices are described in more detail in my new book The Joy Plan (coming July 11, pre-order here).

On my 30-day Joy Plan, I had to come to grips with something. I’m quite a serious person. I like to ponder and discuss deep and meaningful topics, geek out about science, learn new things, and solve problems. Those activities aren’t exactly humorous unless, of course, you have a great sense of humor. Which I actually think I have. I crack myself up all the time. But the only people that usually witnessed my comedic side were my children.

Day 5: Laughter

Laughter floods your brain and body with mood-boosting serotonin.

I was often silly with my kids, so I knew I had it in me. To laugh more, I just had to start being silly with other people too. I set a goal to make at least one person laugh every day, and so I started joking around with the teachers and other parents when I picked the kids up at school.

My husband came home from work a couple of times and asked, “Have you been drinking?” when he found me trying to juggle oranges in the kitchen or only speaking by singing—but I told him I was just trying to lighten up. My kids were also surprised to see me joking around more with other people besides them, and they loved it.

The Challenge:

Today, your challenge is simple: laugh as often as possible. Look around you for opportunities to laugh, and go out of your way to seek them out.

Watch a funny movie, steer the conversation to humorous topics with your friends, and do your best to stop taking yourself so seriously. Consider checking out “laughter yoga” videos, or silly cat videos for that matter, on YouTube. Crack a joke in conversations, and see what witty responses people come back with.

You’ll find that laughter becomes kind of a habit. It can be challenging if you’re not used to it (like me), but I bet you’ll like it.
Laughing releases endorphins, the brain’s “feel good” hormones that activate the body’s opiate receptors, reducing pain while increasing pleasure.

Endorphins are behind the light-headed, giddy feeling you can get from laughing. They reduce the body’s stress response and relax the muscles. Full belly laughs, in particular, also release oxytocin, which bathes our nervous system in a warm, fuzzy glow.

And to add to the good news, your laughter will likely spread. You know those people who always make you feel better when you’re around them? The ones with the infectious smile and bright eyes and bold laugh? It might be the person at the grocery checkout counter, or your own best friend, but I’m sure you know someone whose joy spreads to everyone they meet.

I can think of quite a few people I’ve been blessed to know like this. I always feel joyful, even after the briefest of interactions with them. Because of the mirror neurons in our brains related to imitation, joy (and every other emotion, too) is literally contagious. Go ahead, pass it on!

Tell us what made you laugh in the comments below!

Joy is a habit that can be cultivated with practice and repetition. And it’s more fun to do it with friends! I invite you to keep the #JoyChallenge going beyond these five days, and watch how your life transforms!

*This post is partially excerpted from The Joy Plan: How I Took 30 Days to Stop Worrying, Quit Complaining, and Find Ridiculous Happiness. Available everywhere books are sold July 11. Pre-order on Amazon.

The following post Joy Challenge Day 5: Laughter was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Joy Challenge Day 4: No Complaining

Guest Post by Kaia Roman of The Joy Plan

We’re doing a 5-day #JoyChallenge this week at Annmarie Skin Care. Each day, you’ll find a new challenge up on the blog. These practices are described in more detail in my new book The Joy Plan (coming July 11, pre-order here).

In my passionate quest for joy, which started as a 30 days experiment but quickly became a way of life, I needed to take a long, hard look at my negative habits. You see, I used to complain. A lot. Not necessarily because I was dissatisfied with my life. It was more like a nervous habit. I especially complained when I was speaking with someone I didn’t know well.

But then a friend told me, “Your experience of life is shaped by what you say about it.” And I could see that he was right. By complaining all the time, I was missing out on a different story I could be telling, and a different experience of life I could be living. I challenged myself to stop complaining for a week, and the challenge is still going more than two years later.

Day 4: No Complaining

Focus on solutions instead of problems and notice what a difference this subtle shift makes in your life.

Instead of bumming out about not having everything I want yet, I try to focus on how excited I am about it all being on its way. The feeling of wanting something can be harnessed like an internal engine, strongly propelling us in the direction of our desire. Likewise, instead of focusing on what I don’t like (traffic, high prices, etc.) I do my best to shift my focus to what I do like. I transfer my attention from problems to solutions.

The Challenge:

Today, challenge yourself to look for ways to say “YES” instead of “NO. Catch yourself when you feel the urge to complain and ask yourself how you can focus your attention on what you want instead of complaining about what you don’t want.

Complaining doesn’t solve problems, it blocks solutions. Every time you have the urge to complain today, do your best to remind yourself that a complaint is just one viewpoint.

Challenge yourself to take responsibility for the things you can change: your attitude and your perspective.

Focus on solutions instead of problems. Trust that everything is working out, even when you don’t understand it or see the whole picture. Practice looking for the silver lining in every situation like your life depends on it. Because ultimately, your experience of life does depend on it. While there are many things that are beyond your control, your attitude is always up to you.

When we complain, we train our brains to focus on the negative, which then predisposes us to see more negative showing up in our lives. Complaining also releases the stress hormone cortisol, which has a whole cascade of harmful effects on our health.

Whatever we do repetitively, whether it’s biting our nails or making time to exercise, becomes a habit. Thoughts and words are the same. In fact, 90% of our thoughts are repetitive, so they really become a strong habit.

Not long ago, the thoughts on a feedback loop in my mind focused on all the ways I was falling short and failing in life, and I frequently spoke those thoughts out loud as complaints. Until I switched the theme. I practiced thinking joyful thoughts long enough that those thoughts became my new habit. Although this is simple, it’s not necessarily easy. But with practice and perseverance, it does work.

Tell us how it goes in the comments below!

Joy is a habit that can be cultivated with practice and repetition. And it’s more fun to do it with friends! Check back tomorrow for Day 5 of the #JoyChallenge: Laughter.

The following post Joy Challenge Day 4: No Complaining was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.