Wellness Tuesday Tips

Wellness Tuesday Tips: Natural Ways To Boost Endorphins

By Cathy Smith

Natural Ways To a Happier Brain

Who doesn’t want that? My partner and I just returned from a lovely vacation in the Grand Tetons and the South Fork of the Snake River. I bathed my brain and body in a blissful blast of endorphins with a combination of nature, higher elevation, long hikes, delicious food, bouts of laughter, and making new friends.

What are endorphins? How do they work and can we get more daily? Brain science is fascinating! By no means will I attempt to explain the complexities of the billions of neural pathways. Endorphins are “feel good” chemicals produced by the pituitary gland and nervous system. They attach to the brain's opiate receptors, thus increasing pleasure and reducing pain. Ever heard a story of someone breaking a bone and not feeling the pain until hours later? That is our mighty gray matter coming to the rescue! 

Have you experienced the euphoria of a “runner's high”? Or the chilled out buzz of a glass of wine and a belly laugh with a friend? I feel incredible after a heart-pumping hour at the gym or after playing a game of Frisbee in the park. Maybe for you, it’s the sense of community while bonding with a cycling group or a monthly book club. The positive energy created releases these feel-good chemicals that keep us wanting more. Might be one reason we hear that pint of ice cream calling us from the freezer for one more bite ...hmmm?

Here are a few endorphin “triggers” that came up again and again in my research.  Give ‘em a go and see how you feel!

  • Regular exercise 

  • Laughing ~ Social bonding

  • Music

  • Nature and sunshine

  • Beet root powder or capsules

  • Omega 3 fish and flax oils

  • Probiotics 

  • Ginkgo Biloba

  • Turmeric 

  • Lavender and Vanilla essential oils

  • Physical intimacy

  • Meditation and conscious deep breathing

  • Dance

  • Volunteering 

  • Body massage

A customer last week shared how at age 55 she had begun to a kid again! I’m with her.

Cheers!!

Wellness Tuesday Tips: Gratitude for Food

By Cathy Smith

Take advantage of summer's abundance! We have an amazing amount of delicious produce coming in, representing the abundance of summer. A few of my current favorites are fresh figs, peaches, blueberries, arugula, beets, carrots, and cucumbers. Working at the Boise Co-op for the past 23 years allows me access to the best organic food, quality skincare, and supplements. I am truly grateful I get the privilege to eat fresh and clean every day (not counting the nacho cheese sauce I recently consumed at an outdoor concert). Unfortunately, not everyone has such ready access to quality food.

Good digestion is important. Without it, we may not be getting all the nutritional benefits of the food we consume. Not to mention the discomfort of food moving slowly through our intestines. When dinner just sits around in our gut, it can cause indigestion, keeping you awake at night. Have you tossed and turned in bed, gotten out of bed to drink some water or taken an enzyme tablet, or stumble to the loo late at night before trying to get back to sleep? Sound familiar? Let’s check out a few solutions that can help!

It's very important to chew, chew, chew. Allow the food to macerate in your mouth until a soft paste. Or, simply chew your food 20 times before letting it go down the hatch. Chewing your food properly will activate the enzymes cellulase and amylase in the saliva. This will start the process of breaking down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. It will also signal the stomach, pancreas, and intestines to release protease, lipase, and lactase. They work to break down food which allows vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to be absorbed into the bloodstream.

Protease: breaks down protein into amino acids

Amylase/Cellulase: break down carbs into simple sugars

Lipase: breaks down fats into three fatty acid compounds

Lactase: breaks down lactose found in dairy

Many of us are lacking in these enzymes. The good news is they are available in supplements. Try taking a full-spectrum enzyme blend at the beginning of each meal to ease bloating, gas and cramps. Peppermint capsules will help to soothe and calm your tummy better than Tums.

If eating is your jam, add the following foods that rate high in natural enzymes.

  • Pineapple

  • Papaya

  • Sauerkraut

  • Avocado

  • Mango

  • Kimchi

  • Kefir

  • Kiwi

  • Ginger

  • Raw honey

  • Shiitake, Reishi, Maitake mushrooms.
    Note: always cook mushrooms to release the beneficial compounds or take them in capsule form.


Beet the Heat Wrap

Ingredients

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  • 12 oz Co-op beet hummus

  • 4-6 Savor Tooth paleo pumpkin seed wraps

  • 4 oz lemon goat cheese

  • 1 local cucumber

  • 2 cups fresh greens ~ romaine, spinach, kale or arugula

  • 1/4 cup cilantro

  • Karam’s garlic sauce ( you’ll want to use this on everything!)

Directions

  1. Top the wrap with a dollop of goat cheese and warm in the oven on 350 degrees until soft and toasted.

  2. Add 2 Tablespoons of beet hummus per wrap.

  3. Throw in a handful of your favorite greens.

  4. Layer on a few thinly sliced cucumbers.

  5. Garnish with cilantro.

  6. Top everything off with a drizzle of Karam’s garlic sauce.

  7. Serve with sliced lemons and pumpkin seeds.

Enjoy the lush season of fresh produce from The Co-op, the Farmers Market, or handpicked from your garden!

Wellness Tuesday Tips: Summer makeup...light and dewy

By Cathy Smith

Summer makeup...light and dewy

Are you habitually late, constantly rushing out the door, always feeling overwhelmed, and frequently stressed because you spend way too much time getting ready in the morning? Do you want to find a quick and easy way to feel pretty and look put-together? With no time to fuss around in the morning, I’d rather spend any opportunity I can get wandering through my garden and sipping my cup of Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee. So how to make it look effortless?

Let us go on a journey for radiant skin! This morning routine takes less than 10 minutes and will last you throughout the entire day.

Your skin is the largest organ in your body. To look great and feel great, we need to take great care of our skin. We all have different skin needs, what is your skin trying to tell you? It is important to protect the base before you explore cosmetics:

  1. Post-shower I smooth on a layer of aloe vera gel, (Badger products are my go-to) all over my face, neck, and chest. The cooling and calming sensation will reduce redness and irritation. Your skin will drink it up!

  2. Followed this with a Hyaluronic Acid Serum. This is great if you have a combination skin type because it will lock in moisture without feeling greasy. Hyaluronic Acid Serum absorbs quickly. Your skin will get the hydration it needs while at the same time filling in those fine lines. 

  3. If you have oily skin, choose a lightweight moisturizer such as Dr. Hauschka Quince Day Cream, Kettle Care Balancing Lavender Facial Cream. If you have dry skin, choose an  Argan oil to keep your skin from looking rough and flaky.

  4. Now for the icing on the cake. Top everything off with a zinc-based SPF; look for a BB cream that contains SPF 30. BB creams with SPF will provide coverage and sun protection. The dual action of a tinted SPF will cut the time and cost. 

Remember, when you're feeling put together, you won't worry about the daily nuances. You'll be able to focus on your everyday tasks. Here is my no-fuss makeup regimen for that dewy sun-kissed-skin:

Mascara - Separate and define those lashes with Dr. Hauschka or Mineral Fusion

Eye shadow - Experiment with a shimmery bronze, tan, or silver for some nice highlights.

Blush - Add some depth to your cheeks with Gabriel cream in Dalia or Peony, also works great on your lips 

Lip – For a natural youthful look, pick a natural nude or pink, or a mix of both and choose a shade of coral.

Wellness Tuesday Tips: Sunscreen

By Cathy Smith

Hey everybody, its sunscreen season!

All year we wait for summer to arrive, counting the days. Sun on the skin, it wakes up the playful kid in me. Jumping into pools, floating rivers, the smell of sunscreen and dirt mixed together is total happiness. Growing up, I used baby oil and iodine to get a deep tan, not understanding how damaging it was to my skin. Now a serious sunscreen advocate, I use the white stuff. You know, zinc oxide? It’s the one you want, dermatologists would agree!

The safest and most effective sunscreen is the physical barrier kind found in products with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Minerals sit on the skin surface causing UVA/UVB rays to bounce off, as opposed to chemical SPF that absorb the sun’s aging and burning rays. Minerals do not enter the bloodstream, giving a sleeve of protection you can count on. Ingredients such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, homosalate, and octinoxate circulate through the blood. Not so good.

Now, which one do you choose? Ask a helpful staff member and they will light the path for you to healthier sun-exposed skin. The Boise Co-op offers a wide selection of high-quality SPF for daily, facial and sports, including 40-minute and 80-minute water resistant formulas.There are even a few tinted sunscreens available, excellent for evening out skin tones. Nice! Aloe gels with soothing and highly anti-inflammatory properties, great for sunburns, and bug resistant sprays can also be found in the same area.

Check out our photo guide and follow useful links to learn more about protecting your skin.

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EWG’s Guide to Sunscreens

Badger Healthy Body Care Sunscreen Safety in The News

Have a deliciously fun time playing in the warm sunshine. Relax in the shade.

“Ô, Sunlight! The most precious gold to be found on Earth.”

― Roman Payne

Wellness Tuesday Tips: Sinus Relief

Feeling stuffy in the head? That’s no fun.

I have a quick and simple solution. Let’s explore peppermint and douglas fir essential oils to get you breathing freely and deeply once again. It’s my go-to blend for shrinking sinus tissue and relieving headaches by getting mucus flowing. It will give you an energy boost, too!

First up is my good friend douglas fir. It is the hefty breather of the forest- a favorite conifer for pumping out oxygen. It is a cooling decongestant, purifying with its antimicrobial activity, and is also stimulating to the immune system.

Next, we have peppermint essential oil- tried and true as a remedy for headaches and its beneficial respiratory effects. Expansive and uplifting, it clears the mind and relieves minor pain. Peppermint is an important oil for any first aid kit; I don’t travel without it.

For sinus congestion, apply 2 drops of douglas fir and 2 drops of peppermint oil to the palm of a clean hand and cup your hands around the nose and mouth to make a seal. Take a deep breath in through the nose and a long breath out the mouth, doing this as many times as is comfortable for you. Massage the remaining oil into the back of your neck. Avoid the delicate eye area with this mix as it can be irritating, causing the eyes to water.

Wellness Tuesday Tips: Keto

Ratio of food intake to get into and maintain ketosis is 70-80% fat, 10-15% protein, 5-10% carbs

Ratio of food intake to get into and maintain ketosis is 70-80% fat, 10-15% protein, 5-10% carbs

In lieu of making a New Year’s resolution, I decided to choose an intention for 2019. It just feels better, cultivating what I wish to manifest in my life, rather than imposing restrictions. Who needs more of those? Create is my word to explore, tend and grow, with a sense of wonder. 

“Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.”

-Ruth Reichl

Curious about the Ketogenic lifestyle, yet resistant to conforming to a particular protocol, it was set on the back burner. After connecting with someone who simplified the science behind Keto, I dove in. It’s incredibly helpful to have a guide along the way.

What you are asking your body to do is burn fat as fuel instead of glucose, providing a stable source of energy. Our brains are made of fat, as well as the myelin sheath that is a fatty insulating layer protecting our nerves. I’ve already noticed improved sleep, weight loss, increased mental focus and zero sugar crashes. That is after getting through the Keto flu.

  • Include healthy fats, coconut oil, avocado, nuts and seeds

  • Limit carb consumption bread, pasta, crackers, and beans, fruit

  • Get regular exercise

  • Utilize electrolytes ~ pink salt

  • Stay hydrated

In March I will be hosting a keto book club at Uncorked, your personal  guide along the keto trek. Demystifying the hype, sharing the science and navigating the pitfalls. Together we will explore all the ways to make it simple, satisfying and yes, fun.