probiotics

10 Ways to Love Yourself this February

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follow your dreams Because Valentines Day falls right in the middle of February, love is a big theme of the month. As I mentioned a few days ago, it’s important to remember other kinds of love besides romantic love. This post is all about self-love. It’s not even just about dating yourself—though that’s a good one too. I mean in the most basic sense. I always like to go back to the fact that on airplanes, you’re instructed to put on your own oxygen mask before helping those around you. In a culture that puts a lot of emphasis on workaholism a strong work ethic and selflessness, it can be hard to remember that we really do need to help ourselves before we can help others.

1.) Cook yourself something nice. It could be something simple as a fancier-than normal breakfast instead of cold cereal or a beautiful fresh piece of fish at dinner. What would you make for company but not think to fuss over for yourself? Give yourself permission to tune out distractions like the computer, chop the hell out of some veggies, and enjoy. Wine (or mimosa, if it’s brunch) totally optional.

2.) Prioritize sleep. No apologizing, no excuses. You deserve a good night’s rest. If you have a hard time settling down, write your thoughts in a journal or make a to-do list for the next day to clear your head before it hits the pillow.

3.) Be physically active. Whether you hit the gym, the slopes, or simply walk around your neighborhood, enjoy the endorphin boost and the just-flew-in-from-somewhere-awesome glow.

4.) Treat yourself to a massage, manicure, or some other pampering that makes you feel relaxed. 

5.) Buy yourself flowers. Even the $2.99 arrangements from the grocery store count.

6.) Write yourself a thank-you note for all the good work. If you have to, pretend you’re writing to your best friend or a beloved family member. Set it aside to open at a later date when you’re in need of some encouragement.

7.) Give yourself permission to let something go.  Be it a toxic friend or lover, an old idea that doesn’t serve you well anymore, or even a to-do list item that really doesn’t need to be done—say goodbye and don’t look back.

8.) Hydrate! It’s easy to forget to drink enough water when it’s freezing cold out, your body needs enough H2O to do its job. Bring your own bottle and keep it by your desk or somewhere else you’ll see it throughout the say as a reminder to drink up.

9.) Try a probiotic. Invite the good bacteria to the party to help ward off illness and GI upset. You can also make a conscious effort to consume more yogurt, kimchee or try kombucha, a fermented tea drink. My favorite flavor is ginger.

10.) Choose your own adventure. Whatever it is you’re thinking of, go do it!

How do you show yourself love? 

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Let the good bacteria boogie

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So apparently I’ve crossed that line into making stupid puns about nutrition. Or more like bending obscure music references to suit my needs. To give you a hint, this Saturday has turned into a one-person “all David Bowie all the time” party.

After a week in a bionutrition lab with no heat, I’m laying low, doing whatever my immune system tells me to do. This entails, among other things, giving into an expensive kombucha craving. IMG_1135

While I don’t really have conclusive evidence that upping my probiotic will really keep anything at bay, I tend to err on the side of “if it feels good, do it.” In this case, I feel like I feel better when I call in an army of good bacteria to help fight the good fight. Placebo effect or not, it’s one of my go-to’s. I also think of it like how people used to have lots of children because they needed farmhands rather than out of a need to satisfy some biological urge or adhere to a societal norm.

Anyway. Probiotics. David Bowie. Let the good bacteria boogie.

Do you take probiotics? 

Party On

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This time two weeks ago, I was gearing up for a night of BYOB karaoke. Tonight, however, I am gearing up for a night of early sleep in preparation for a last-minute schedule change that has me working Saturday. Lately, my hours have been 8-whenever…

The current state of things.
The current state of things.

6 9-plus hour days in a row isn’t exactly a recipe for awesomeness, especially when there’s a final exam looming Monday, but it’s certainly been an interesting week. Intense, yes, but with plenty of positive energy and nice little coincidences in the mix. That said, if this week were a bowl of, like, Chex mix (of the sweet, salty, with-a-kick variety), I would recommend pairing it with a strong drink. Or a big-ass glass of wine. Not that there wasn’t wine…If you’ve been with me a while, then you probably already know my “healthy, balanced diet” always has room for wine.

Tonight, though, I’m trading ginger kombucha for the Beaujolais/Pinot Noir/Sangiovese.

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I got home tonight craving ginger like it’s my other, unpaid job. It’s probably because I feel like my immune system could use a helping hand. Instead of reheating soup for dinner, I actually baked some tofu that I marinated in a garlicky red miso paste, roasted some broccoli, and improvised a brown basmati rice dish with shredded carrots, raisins, ground flax, turmeric, gram masala, and lots of ginger. IMG_1129

So yeah. I always forget how much I like “real” dinner.  And now I have leftovers for tomorrow. And then I have 2 days off to look forward to! It’s gonna be a party in the RD office—and by party, I mean, a two-person clinical nutrition extravaganza. Good times. Thank god for caffeine.

What are you up to this weekend? 

Probiotics—Too much of a good thing?

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As of late, I find myself hooked on ginger kombucha. If you haven’t tried it, you really should. It’s delicious. A raw, probiotic beverage, it is thought to support (according to the label):

Digestion
Metabolism
Immune System
Appetite Control
Weight Control
Liver Function
Body Alkalinity
Anti-Aging
Cell Integrity
Healthy Skin & Hair

The main attraction to me is that it tastes really good. Oh my goodness, it’s addictive. It also doesn’t suck that it’s packed with B-vitamins (hard to get if you don’t eat meat) as well as folic acid. It also contains organic acids and antioxidants along with 1 billion Lactobacillus Bacterium and another 1 billion S. Boulardii. That’s per serving, which means that each 16-ounce bottle houses 4 billion bacterium.

These little organisms are a few types of the “good” bacteria that we need in our system, and among the casualties that result from antibiotic use.

I have a friend who swears that kombucha is her hangover cure, and I can see why. B-vitamins aid in the carbohydrate metabolizing process and dilates blood vessels. A lot of people find they restore energy and stamina, as increased blood flow allows the energy to flow through the body.

Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, this kombucha stuff is expensive! It’s easy to spend three to four bucks on a 16-ounce bottle, though Chris brought one home for me last night when he went to Whole Foods, where they were on sale for $2.50.

Anyway, I just have to wonder if you can get too many probiotic bacteria from food. Supplements are a different story—I think when you’re taking supplements, it easier to take too much. However, to be on the safe side, I try not to drink kombucha on a day when I drink kefir (a probiotic fermented milk drink) or eat a lot of yogurt. I’ve read that it’s very hard to overdo it because we need billions of these bacteria, but I’m a classic hypochondriac.

Green Smoothie=Success!

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So I finally gave in to my green smoothie craving today and made one! OMG this thing is good: frozen banana + 1/4 chopped apple + a little chopped pear + a big handful of spinach + 1/3 c kefir + 1/3 scoop vanilla protein powder = awesome!

The Fine Print on Priobiotics

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When it comes to promoting good health and protecting against illness, many people turn to probiotics.
Probiotics are microorganisms that work by restoring the balance of intestinal bacteria and raising resistance to harmful germs. Many food companies often slap a “Contains Probiotics” label on their product without really explaining which strains are present and what said strains supposedly do.
In the Science section of today’s Times, Tara Parker Pope delves into the murkiness behind probiotic health claims on food labels.
“When the label tells you the food you are buying ‘contains probiotics,'” she says, “are you getting health benefits or just marketing hype? Perhaps a bit of both.”
Read more here.