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    • Tart Cherry, The Fruit You Didn't Know You Needed

      I went "window shopping" in Natural Grocers the other day, in search of something new. Like I mentioned in a previous blog, I normally go straight to the health section and totally ignore the fact that there is an entire store available to me. I started to walk through every aisle with my husband & daughter (my older boys were in school), hoping to see something I might need that I never knew I could get. They had samples for Tart Cherry Concentrate by Stanton Orchards. The presenter asked us if we knew about the benefits of Tart Cherry, and I told her well yeah a little bit. To be honest, I was a little hesitant to try it just because of the name tart. Then she handed me a flier and boom. I was sold, and let me tell you why. What Is Tart Cherry? If you haven't heard of it before, this is actually different from a traditional juice. The most well-known type of tart cherry is the montmorency cherry—it’s the kind you get on top of your sundae or inside a cherry pie. They are a variety grown in the United States that have a slightly sour taste. Unlike sweet varieties that are typically eaten fresh, tart cherries are commonly enjoyed dried or as a concentrate. It comes in different forms such as liquid concentrate, capsules, softgels, powder, and gummies. When consumed as a juice, it is typically delivered in its pure concentrate form with no added sugar or additional additives. And yes, it is pretty tart in flavor as the name suggests, but not overly sour I'll admit. Benefits Ok so now that we know what it is, what does it do? Glad you asked! It has the richest anti-inflammatory content of any food. Full of immune boosting nutrients like vitamins A & C, quercetin, cyanidin, and anthocyanin. The most common anti-inflammatory drugs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), with its many side effects. A study in 2004, published in the journal Behavioural Brain Research , found that along with reducing inflammation, it also reduced swelling. Multiple studies show confirmation of reduced pain with continued use. It's also been found to reduce uric acid levels. High concentrations of uric acid are known to cause gout attacks, which result in intense swelling and pain. Cherry juice also reduces a biomarker of inflammation called c-reactive protein. Another amazing study in England published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that participants with early signs of hypertension (high blood pressure) saw a 7% reduction in blood pressure after drinking tart cherry concentrate when compared to drinking a fruit-flavored juice. The reduction was comparable to the level achieved by anti-hypertensive medication! Another study from 2009 and published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that regular tart cherry consumption can decrease abdominal fat, while also reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Rids body of free radicals, absorbing and deactivating oxygen radicals and detoxifying cells to help prevent cancer. Tart cherry juice is loaded with cancer-fighting chemicals, including ellagic acid, limonene, perillyl alcohol, and anthocyanins. These chemicals are particularly useful against skin, lung, liver, and breast cancers. What I've known tart cherry juice for is supporting insomnia. It's rich in melatonin (a sleep-regulating phytochemical) and has been found to improve sleep. It helps to not only sleep longer, but reduce time spent awake in the night. Results suggested that tart cherry juice has an effect similar to insomnia supplements such as valerian. With results like these, minus all the horrible side effects, it's hard to not consider giving it a try. It can be used to help prevent certain conditions, eliminate existing ones, before a workout, or after workout recovery. It's easy to use, comes in multiple forms, and can be used as often or as little as desired. Plus as a natural fruit, it's safe for kids. You know what I'm buying next!

    • Are probiotics the answer to my problems?

      New year, new me? Maybe. I would love to be a whole new version of myself, but I understand that realistically it takes time. I am progressively making steps toward being everything I want to be, but they're small steps and... I'm ok with that. Like I mentioned before, I signed up and paid for my yoga class already (YAY!). Then to be progressive, I paid ahead for another week (woohoo). But the class hasn't started yet. So naturally I did some Amazon shopping and bought a yoga mat (I'm really invested!) But I also started looking into some other means of being "healthier". As much as I would love to be healthy, I feel like it's hard with kids. They want to eat macaroni and chicken nuggets and ice cream, etc... while I want sandwiches, salads, and smoothies with that green stuff they don't want to try. While searching for ways to incorporate healthier options in our families' lives, I discovered Cultures for Health. It's basically an all in one DIY base for all things cultured and fermented. Cultures, or probiotics, are live microorganisms (bacteria) that can be consumed through fermented foods or supplements. Many studies show that the balance (or imbalance) of bacteria in your digestive system is linked to overall health and disease. Probiotics have been linked to a wide range of health benefits. (Skim through the section below if you're not interested in all the science-y things it can do for your health and just read in bold for highlights.) 1. Decrease the severity and frequency of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. 2. Regulate the intestinal process to decrease diarrhea, by replenishing the "good bacteria". 3. Balance enzyme activity and speed up the process of digestion and excretion, soothing the uncomfortable affects of constipation. 4. Probiotics contain bacteria effective in lowering total and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Probiotic bacteria absorb fiber from the intestines and as a result, they generate propionic acid. This particular acid has the ability to reduce the production of cholesterol in the liver. 5. Improved mood with its strong connection between the gut and the brain. People who were suffering from certain mental health conditions, like sadness, were given probiotics and they showed signs of improvement and a reduction in negative thoughts. 6. Strengthen immune system. Can also regulate the number of antibodies present in the intestines. With autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, and ulcerative colitis, it can help regulate intestinal homeostasis, and even save your life. 7. Help produce weight loss and tackle belly fat. 8. Prevent and treat yeast infections, urinary tract infections and bacterial vaginosis, as well as the more common yeast vaginitis. 9. When the gut flora is in balance, the body is able to absorb nutrients and eliminate toxins. This helps prevent chronic inflammation, which causes acne and other skin problems. 10. Increase nutrient intake by encouraging the extraction of beneficial nutrients from the food we eat so none of it goes to waste. Higher levels of these nutrients can positively affect the body in many ways, including increased bone health and blood oxygenation, and improved memory. 11. Recent studies have shown a link between intestinal bacteria imbalance, the immune system, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). 12. Less painful affects from lactose intolerance due to a strain of probiotics, which produce similar effects as lactase, and are able to break down and promote the digestion of lactose. Using probiotics does not eliminate the condition of lactose intolerance in individuals, but it can alleviate irritating and uncomfortable symptoms. What caught my attention about Cultures for Health is that they offer several starter kits to make your own versions of healthy and fresh fermented things like cheese, yogurt and kombucha. There were even VEGAN kits! It sounded kind of intimidating, but the more I browsed their website, the more confident I became. The starter kits give you every tool you need to start your fermentation journey. For example, in the Vegan Yogurt Starter Kit (this is the one I will be buying), comes with 1 thermometer, 1 cotton milk bag, 1 box of pectin, and 1 box of vegan yogurt starter culture for only $25.99. The only thing you need to supply is the pot & milk. And you can easily re-order what you need individually. Sounds hard, but it's really not! When you have a family like me, we avoid anything complicated, but trust me. I just watched the how-to video and almost laughed at how easy it was to make this. And once you have the kit, it'll be incredibly more affordable than buying the products you used to in the store. Not only that, but in my experience, there are very few selections for vegan yogurt. Now I'll be able to customize it with whatever flavor or type of sweetener I like (or none at all). It'll be a better, palatable, and more enjoyable taste for everyone (even little ones). And if you need more help, there's a large selection of articles in their "Getting Started" under "Learn More" area, and FAQ section. If you're still stuck, you can always call customer service. I believe in transparency and while this blog is not sponsored by Cultures for Health, I do earn a very small commission for any link clicks throughout this website that may result in purchases (please use my referral link if you do decide to buy). However, I would never partner with any company I don't 100% believe in, and here's why they earned my trust. It was created by parents who wanted to introduce the idea of eating REAL FOOD while working on sustainable living. With all the overly processed food in today's market, I completely relate. They are passionate about what they do, they believe in their products, and they care about you (not just your money). Not only is it easy, affordable, healthy and fresh, but you'll truly enjoy making your own creations. The best part, you're in control of everything!

    • Healthy Shopping on a Budget

      So I've always been a fan of these "natural" health stores like Natural Grocers, Sprouts Farmers Market & sometimes Whole Foods Market. I am obsessed with their health aisles filled with vitamins & supplements. Until recently, I've always gone straight to the health section, or checked out some essential oils, then made my way out. I knew that stores like this have many other options, I just always chose to stick to what I'm used to (which is usually Walmart or the commissary), because I naturally assumed that prices there would be cheaper. Then the other day I went walking into a Sprouts in search of some herbs. Well because I had never been to this Sprouts, I was lost and ended up walking through the entire store! I was carrying my daughter over my shoulder since she had fallen asleep (and didn't want to wake her by putting her in the shopping cart), and here I am scrambling through the store. All these bins of "bulk essentials" caught my attention. [You can read more about bulk here & here]. While I've noticed them before, I never cared to think about it. What made me stop and look a little longer was when I noticed how low the price was listed on some items I know I normally pay more for. I later went on their website and even found out they do weekly deals just like traditional grocery store chains and have a whole section on how to save money! So I decided to do some research: At Sprouts, Steel cut oats, Rolled Oats & Quick Oats were all listed at $0.99/lb. 1 lb converts to 16 oz, and when calculated, the unit price is $0.062 per ounce. At Walmart, Quaker Oats Old Fashioned Oatmeal & Quick 1 - Minute Oatmeal were both listed at $2.36 for 18 oz. When calculated, the unit price is $0.131 per ounce. And their 42 oz sizes were listed at $3.98, making their unit price approximately $0.095 per ounce. While the store brand, Great Value Old Fashioned Oats and Quick Oats are both listed at $1.76 for 18 oz. When calculated, the unit price is $0.09777 per ounce. And the 42 oz sizes were listed at $2.46, making their unit price $0.585 per ounce. It's easy to do it too. Grab a bag (or bring your own you eco friendly pro), and tag it. Fill it with your favorite items with as much or little as you need. Write the code and voila! [Methods might slightly differ by store.] To be clear, this is only an example of prices at my local stores on this particular product at this particular time. Not everything from a Sprouts or other health foods store is going to beat a standard grocery chains prices. For example: At Sprouts, white long grain rice is listed at $1.29/lb. 1lb converts to 16 oz, and when calculated, the unit price is $0.08. At Walmart, Mahatma Long Grain Rice 1lb (16oz) is listed at $1.00.The unit price was $0.0625. Mahatma Long Grain Rice 5lbs (80 oz), was listed for $4.22. The unit price is close to $0.053. And the store brand, Great Value Long Grain Rice 1lb (16 oz) was only $0.64, making the unit price $0.04. The Great Value Long Grain Rice 5lbs (80 oz) was $2.24, making the unit price $0.028. So basically, not all health food stores are expensive. In fact, they can sometimes be cheaper than our usual store choice. This isn't just limited to their bulk selections. I've found that when you shop at the right time, you can get healthy produce and other selections for a competitive price! Whole Foods even has discounts for Amazon prime members that can be delivered straight to your door. And if you shopping online is your thing, you can filter by dietary preference. And because they hold high quality standards for EVERYTHING that comes into their store, you can feel good about what you're buying. So next time you're tempted to stick to the regular way of shopping, step out of your comfort zone & see for yourself! You never know what you might find. This post is in NO WAY sponsored by any affiliate or program. These findings are all on my own, and are simply shared by own research and love of health!

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    • FOR HOME | Wolf Eminence

      Home Care Pure & natural Home Solutions Filter by Collection All Essential Oils Price $20.39 $55.92 Sort by New! Quick View Pine (Pinus sylvestris) Price $20.39 Quick View Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) Price $55.92 Quick View Peppermint (Mentha piperita) Price $28.95 Quick View Thieves® Price $45.72 Quick View Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Price $31.91

    • Exfoliate | Wolf Eminence

      Exfoliate Sort by Quick View Brown Sugar Scrub Price $5.75 Quick View Pink Himalayan Salt Scrub Price $5.75 Quick View Coffee Scrub Price $5.75 Quick View Sugar Scrub Price $5.75

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