Tag Archives: vitamins

Tips For Boosting Your Metabolism

What exactly does “metabolism” mean? We hear it talked about enough, but do we really know what it is or what it needs to stay vibrant and healthy? I’d venture to guess that most of us have no clue. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place! 🙂

Metabolism: the chemical processes by which a plant or an animal uses food, water, etc., to grow, heal and make energy. Hmmmm… sounds important. A properly functioning metabolism ultimately means the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy body. How can we get our metabolism to function optimally? Implementing the following tips into your daily diet would be a great start!

Metabolism Boosting Tips:

  • Eat whole foods and lots of veggies- the more you’re able to eat unprocessed foods that come from the earth and animals, not labs and factories, the more your metabolism will like you.
  • Eat and drink the right foods-
    • Broccoli
    • Asparagus
    • Lemon and lemon water
    • Celery
    • Apple cider vinegar
    • Green tea
    • Garlic
    • Berries
    • Grapefruit
    • Apples
  • Exercise to get your metabolism up and running (literally!)
  • Plan ahead- Try to stick to a somewhat set eating schedule. This will allow your body to be more aware of when it’s actually hungry. It also helps maintain hormonal balance. This is essential for weight loss, as an imbalance in certain hormones, such as leptin and ghrelin, will cause “false hunger”.
  • Aim for 3 small meals and at least 1-2 small snacks throughout the day. When we go too long without eating, our metabolism slows down in an attempt to conserve resources aka FAT. Our body doesn’t want to give it up easily, unfortunately. From an evolutionary perspective, this was advantageous because sometimes we would have to go long periods of time between meals. When you’re hunting and gathering, obtaining food on a consistent basis isn’t exactly a sure bet. So, the metabolism slows, as does weight loss. FEED your metabolism, don’t starve it! In small quantities throughout the day, of course.
  • Don’t cut calories to under 1200 per day. As I just stated, we need to eat in order for our metabolism to function. If you’re consistently feeding yourself too little, you’re actually doing yourself a disservice. And you’re hungry, which probably pisses you off. Learn to listen to your body and it will tell you what it needs and in what quantity. As a result of all the crap we eat on a daily basis- with all the additives, fake ingredients, and inflammatory oils, many of us are highly imbalanced hormonally and don’t get the signal to stop eating. Luckily, with time and effort, this can be fixed!
  • Incorporate heat-generating spices into your daily meals. Cayenne, ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon are all excellent choices.
  • Drink your water! You’re probably not drinking as much as you think. Measure out your water each morning for a week to determine exactly how much you should be consuming. You should be drinking roughly 60-70 oz./day. I recommend filling up a water bottle with measurements for ease. After awhile, it will become second nature to drink that amount.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast. I know, I know. You’ve heard this one a million times, but it really is true! It doesn’t have to be a huge meal, and in fact shouldn’t be, but simply something to get your metabolism running for the day. Also, what we eat first in the day sets the stage for the rest of the day. So don’t go for the donuts at work; that cup of yogurt with berries would be a much better bet.
  • Get adequate sleep. Another one you’ve probably heard a million times and scoffed at, but again, it really is true! Some people say they can live off, and even thrive, on less than 6 hours/night. This is what I say to that: you’re either lying or you’re kidding yourself. Study after study has shown that quality sleep positively affects our hormonal signaling, leading to less feelings of false hunger. If you have chronic sleeping problems, it would greatly behoove you to figure out why.
  • While I strongly believe in starting with diet when engaging in self-improvement measures, targeted supplements can be a helpful metabolism-boosting tool for some people. Here are some great examples:
    • Vitamin B6- helps with water retention, reduces sugar cravings, and helps supply fuel to cells, which then burn calories more efficiently.
    • Chromium- stabilizes blood sugar and reduces carbohydrate cravings.
    • CoQ10- generates cellular energy and increases body’s ability to transform food into energy.
    • Turmeric- excites the production of bile juice which breaks down fatty foods.
    • Vitamin D- studies have shown a strong correlation between obesity and low vitamin D levels.
  • If you’ve tried all of the above for more than a few months and your weight is hanging tough and you feel sluggish as ever, then you should consider getting your thyroid checked.

The sum total of your efforts will certainly be rewarded. However, like most things in life, it’s not going to happen overnight. Way too many people expect to feel magically healthier, more energized, and automatically slimmer simply from eating a salad. Once. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, or reality, but it simply doesn’t work like that. You have to make your health a top priority, be consistent in your behaviors, and put in the effort! It will pay off though, of that I’m certain. 🙂

Natural Common Cold Remedies

Since I’ve noticed a significant increase in my tissue usage over the past couple days, I thought this would be a perfect time for a blog on natural cold and flu remedies!

While allopathic medications, such as NyQuil and Robitussin, can effectively mask the symptoms of a cold, they really aren’t helpful at eliminating the root cause of the discomfort. In addition, there are numerous side effects associated with cold and flu medicine consumption, such as drowsiness, nausea, and blurred vision.  Some extreme side effects include severe allergic reactions, hallucinations, seizures, and irregular heart beat.  These side effects can be even more problematic for small children.  While there are still contraindications with some herbs and other natural remedies, they are not as pervasive or debilitating. However, the downfall of all of these methods is that none of them are completely effective.  They are all just essentially putting a band-aid on the problem, but not fixing it.  There is no real “cure” for the common cold, except not catching it!

Here’s a little secret: keep the body happy and healthy by feeding it nourishing food and you’ll have less need for both allopathic and alternative sources of cold and flu remedies.

Natural Cold Remedies

Ginger Tea: While ginger is well-known for its digestive benefits, it is touted as an impressive immune booster as well.  This is because of ginger’s ability to promote the production of sweat, which helps with detoxification.  Also, sweat contains a powerful germ-fighting compound that may help ward off infections. It can help with reduction of high fevers and affiliated headaches as well.  Grate an inch or two of fresh ginger and squeeze the pulp into a cup of boiling water for delicious ginger tea! Add lemon for a vitamin C boost as well.

Oil of Oregano: This potent herb has powerful antimicrobial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties, making it nature’s antibiotic! Whenever I feel like I’m coming down with a cold (like right now), I put 3-4 drops under my tongue and swallow.  I’ve been “dosing” for the last couple days and I already feel over my cold, before it even started.  It’s amazing.  In terms of its intense, oregano-y taste, I LOVE the feeling I get from taking it and, therefore, enjoy it.  For those that don’t like watery eyes and burning sensations in their mouth, put 3-6 drops in a small glass of water and gargle to heal a sore throat, or drink to stop infections.  This herb is not meant to be taken long term due to its strong antibiotic properties, which can negatively alter the gut flora balance.  Only take while you are sick.

Epsom Salt Baths: This is a super cheap and effective way to both prevent and shorten the duration of a cold or flu.  As a result of its high magnesium content, these detoxifying baths can ease muscle pain and tension associated with colds, or life in general. After 15 minutes or so in the tub, I’m so relaxed I can barely get out! Trouble sleeping? Not with these serene soaks.  Add 1 or 2 cups to bath, along with a cup of baking soda for its alkalizing and detoxifying properties, and chill out until the water is chilly.

Warm Water with Lemon and Honey: Simply sipping on warm water is, you got it, warming to the body and therefore stimulating to the immune system. Lemon water with honey can also help clear up congestion, calm a sore throat, and help re-hydrate if you’ve lost fluids.  It encourages movement of the virus from your body as well.

Vitamin C: It’s almost as if vitamin C supplementation and the common cold are synonymous with each other; they go together like sunshine and good times … or do they? According to a review of the scientific research, the findings are mixed in regards to using vitamin C for prevention and/or treatment of colds. However, some research suggests that mega doses of vitamin C at the onset of a cold or flu can prevent symptoms from occurring. Overall, its main effect is improvement in resistance to viruses. Try it out for yourself and see if it works for YOU.

Zinc Lozenges: This is another controversial cold remedy. Though its been used for decades to prevent and reduce the duration of the common cold, the scientific evidence is conflicting. Some trials showed a significant decrease in the number and duration of colds per year in individuals taking zinc lozenges and supplements, but others show no difference between zinc and control groups.  At the very least, these lozenges appear to be effective at treating symptoms, and, therefore, the discomforts that come with a cold.  This isn’t to say that zinc isn’t ridiculously important for your body’s overall health. I’m just saying it may not stop a cold in its tracks.

Vitamin B12: While supplementing with B12 hasn’t been shown to alleviate cold symptoms, being DEFICIENT in B12 could be a reason behind why you’re getting so many colds.  Do you eat lots of fish, seafood, meat, eggs, and dairy products? As long as you’re absorbing the B12 out of these foods (this can be really difficult for people with low stomach acid), then I wouldn’t worry about it. However, if you are vegetarian or vegan, you MUST take a sublingual B12 supplement, period.

Medicinal Mushrooms: Not to be confused with medical marijuana or magical mushrooms, these special shrooms contain anti-viral properties, as well as compounds called polysaccharides, that may help stimulate the immune system.  However, not all mushrooms are created equal; only certain kinds contain these immune enhancing properties. Take a combination of maitake, shiitake, reishi, cordyceps, and/or gypsy mushrooms in liquid extract form throughout cold and flu season for immune system support.

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries as a traditional home remedy for, well, just about everything, from household cleaner to wart remover. This universal panacea can also be used to relieve a sore throat and has been shown to possibly help shorten the length of a cold. Put a tablespoon of ACV in a small glass of water and drink over the course of a half hour. It is very important to make sure your ACV is RAW in order to obtain maximum benefit.  I like Bragg’s Raw, Unfiltered, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar; it comes in a large bottle and is under $5.

Vitamin D: This important “sunshine” vitamin is essential to the activation of our immune system and without sufficient intake, our immunity cells will not be able to ward off infections in the body. Unfortunately, most people are deficient in this hormone (yes, vitamin D is actually a hormone), and if you live in San Francisco like I do, then you are definitely deficient due to the lack of regular sunshine. But have no fear, there is a simple solution to this problem! Eat foods rich in vitamin D, such as eggs, fatty fish, and pastured butter, and/or take a 1/2- 1 teaspoon/day of fermented cod liver oil, which is high in bioavailable forms of vitamins A, D, and K. The only brand I recommend is Green Pastures, due to their superior processing methods.

Eleuthero: Also known as Siberian Ginseng, this adaptogenic herb has shown potential in alleviating upper respiratory infections, including colds, flu, and sinusitis. I drink this herb in tea-form regularly for general health purposes, but taking it in a standardized extract may be more effective for respiratory pain relief.

Echinacea: Despite its popularity as a cold and flu prevention aid, the scientific evidence is, in fact, mixed. While some studies report a positive effect of echinacea on the duration and severity of a cold, others show a total lack of impact. Because of these conflicting studies, its difficult to claim that echinacea has consistent, beneficial effects on cold and flu prevention. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer!

These are just a few of the many different natural remedies that can be used to help prevent and alleviate common cold symptoms. In my personal opinion and experience, these alternative remedies are both more effective and have less side effects than allopathic medications. Next time you feel a cold coming, try a couple of these antidotes and see if any of them work for YOU. Because that’s what really matters, right?

To avoid getting sick all together, try utilizing stress reduction techniques, engage in positive thinking, and eat a balanced, whole foods diet. Oh, and wash your dirty hands! It really can be that simple.