Why I Take Probiotics

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I take quality probiotics every day, and since I started my health has been better, I sleep better, and my digestion and elimination are much more regular. There are several quality brands of probiotic supplements on the market. Probiogen and Hyperbiotics are two of my favorites.

Why Take Probiotics?

The bacteria in our guts plays a role in most of our important body functions. We now know that the micro-organisms in our guts have a direct relationship on our digestive health, our immune systems, brain and nervous system, urinary tract health, allergies, and levels obesity. That's a lot!

Our levels of bacteria are affected by pollution, stress, poor diet, and antibiotics. Since I live in NYC, have a reasonable amount of stress, and have only recently lost over 40#, my gut flora are a concern.

Choosing a Probiotic

The most important qualities in a good probiotic are that it contains useful strains of bacteria, and that they are alive in sufficient quantity when they hit your gut. Your supplement can contain billions of bacteria, but if they are all dead or not of a useful form, the supplement is useless.

Your supplement should not require refrigeration. If the bacteria cannot survive heat, how exactly will they survive your digestive tract? You want live spores in your digestive tract. Really!

Probiogen

Probiogen is formulated by microbiologist Kiren Krishnan, who specializes in nutrition research. He chose the most needed and effective bacteria, DNA-verified the strains, and made sure they could stay alive.

probioticsThey make several formulas, including allergy, stress and mood, and weight balance. I have tried just about every formula, and my body has responded well. The herbs that support the probiotics are well chosen, and the supplements do help.

For the weight balance supplement, Krishan did his own hunger study with healthy college kids, testing their ghrelin levels after a fasted state and also after a 2000 calorie fast food breakfast.  The out-of-whack Western ghrelin response was nearly identical. But after 30 days on the probiotic strain included in the Probiogen Weight Management formula, their ghrelin levels dropped after the calorie-laden meal, as did their insulin responses.

Easy to take and no refrigeration needed. Dairy-free, soy-free, vegetarian, non-GMO.

Hyperbiotics

probioticsHyperbiotics was founded by Jamie Morea, who developed the line after she took a life-changing trip from Guatemala to Thailand and contracted Entamoeba histolytica, a rare intestinal parasite most common in developing countries.

She pulled together a team of microbiologists and started creating a probiotic supplement that works. Hyperbiotics also gives back with carbon-offset programs and the Change for Women Collective.

Again, easy to take, no refrigeration needed, and these you can buy at Target!

My Favorite Natural Skin Care

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Here you go - My favorite Natural Skin & Body Care

Yes, these are the products I actually use!

People tell me that I have great skin, and I know that a lot of that is genetics. As a teen I had very few breakouts, and in my 50s I have very few lines and wrinkles. Here are the skin care products I use every day.

1. Oil Cleanser

I use oil to cleanse my skin, and like to keep it as simple as possible. I use Simple Hydrating Cleansing Oil, which is grapeseed oil.

2. Serums

In the morning I use Source Vital Liposome Serum, which a blend of oils, and in the evening I use the moisture-boosting Vichy Mineral 89.

3. Oils

I am super-picky about the skin care oils I use, and BR Naturals out of Canada produces the cleanest oils I have used. They sent me some free products, and I love all of them! In the morning I use Black Cumin Seed Oil for its healing properties, and at night I use Papaya Seed Oil to help exfoliate and heal. I just use 3 drops.

Also, I eat a lot of unsaturated oils, and BR Naturals does a perfectly sweet and mild Avocado Oil, a mellow and nutty Sesame Oil, and a flavorless Safflower Oil. I have used the avocado oil as a dip (a little salt and pepper, Eataly bread), and have used all three in various salad dressings. The sesame oil is delicate, so works well in recipes where traditional asian sesame oil is too much.

4. Moisturizer & SPF

For day, I use Garnier's Clearly Brighter lotion with SPF, and at night I use CBD For Life Pure Face Cream.

5. Eye Cream

For eyes I need a de-puffing treatment, and the two best that I have found are Source Vital Cucumber Eye Cream and CBD for Life Eye Serum.

For body care, we use a large number of brands, including the above-mentioned BR Naturals (great soaps and lotion bars), Seaweed Bath Company (soap, body wash, and lotion), and Serenity Acres Farm (soap, body cream).

There you go!

 

I Tried Receptra Prime CBD Oil for Pain - Here's What Happened

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Receptra Prime CBD Oil Helps with Pain

In the past few years, the use of hemp products for pain and inflammation has greatly increased, due to research and anecdotal evidence showing how well it works. Legal hemp products target CBD, which is one of the many active ingredients of hemp. Unlike THC, CBD doesn't get you high, but does have positive effects on the body.

Important Things to Look For In CBD Products

There are many CBD product lines in the marketplace right now. Not all of them are great quality. When looking at CBD products for pain, Receptra Prime is one of the best.

Receptra Hemp uses only hemp flowers, no stems or seeds. They grow organically on sustainable farms in Colorado. They use a very clean ethanol extraction process, and their carrier oils are clean coconut and sunflower oils.

Review of Receptra Prime CBD Oil

I received a bottle of 750mg Receptra Prime CBD Oil, along with some topical samples. The oil is used sublingually (under the tongue) for best absorption. Each dropper contains 20mg CBD, and the suggested dose is 2-3 times per day.

First impressions - the flavor is Triple Berry, but there is no real smell other than a spicy hemp smell. When I put the oil under my tongue, there is no berry flavor at all (or any flavor, really). When I swallow it 30 seconds later, I just taste oil. I don't mind this, but if you hate oil in your mouth, this won't work for you. You may need a capsule or a different kind of tincture.

While the effects of CBD are not immediate, I did notice some interesting good effects after about a week of use. I am sleeping better, my energy is better, and I am taking less pain medication for my chronic joint and nerve pain. Plus, there have been no negative side effects. Just none!

I highly recommend trying the Receptra CBD products, especially if you have chronic pain and inflammation.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Receptra Naturals. The opinions and text are all mine.

Deozein Natural Deodorant Review and Giveaway

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Deozein Natural Deodorant Actually Works!

I don't know about you, but I like to use deodorant. Given the fact that I live in NYC, where there are many warm bodies packed into small spaces, body odor is an issue. I figure that if I hate smelling other people's funk, nobody needs to be smelling mine.

Basically, underarm odor does not come from sweat itself. It comes from bacteria, so if you can manage to stop or slow down the bacteria from growing in the first place, you will not smell. This means that the best time to put on any deodorant is right after you bathe.

Most deodorants either work by masking the body odor with perfume (Old Spice, for example), or by adding an aluminum-based antiperspirant, which closes your sweat glands. Neither of these seems ideal.

Over the past few decades, I have tried many natural deodorant products, none of which has ever worked. I tried crystals, pastes, Tom's of Maine, and others. So when the folks at Source Vital Apothecary contacted me about reviewing their Deozein Natural Deodorant product, I was hesitant.

"Why bother?," I thought. "They never work!"

Bdeozein zestut then I read some reviews, and took a look at the product page. Deozein is made from:

  • Mineral Salts – Cleansing, purifying
  • Algae extract – Remineralizing, purifying, cleansing
  • Aloe Vera extract – Soothing, calming
  • Lavandin essential oil – Soothing, light herbal scent
  • Patchouli essential oil – Soothing, calming, earthy smell
  • Sage Spanish essential oil – Deodorant
  • Tea Tree essential oil – Purifying, cleansing
  • Cajeput essential oil – Purifying, cleansing you would
  • Lemon essential oil – Cleansing, softening, deodorant
  • Pine essential oil – Purifying, cleansing

And Deozein Zest has the same basic ingredients, with a minty citrus scent (I prefer Zest).

The mineral salts and algae extract have strong antibacterial properties, as do several of the essential oils. Deozein works so well for me that now hubby, who has used Old Spice deodorant for over 50 years, has switched. I once went 3 days without a shower when I was sick, and even then I didn't stink!

At only 2 sprays needed per armpit, I have been using Deozein daily for over a month and still have more than half of a 1 oz. bottle left. How economical is that?

 

Source Vital also sells great lip balms, skin care products, and essential oils. Today's giveaway is for some of my favorites - Deozein, Deozein Zest, Cucumber Eye Cream, and Lip Balms. You may enter daily to win. Good luck!

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Healthy Snacks Roundup

Start 2017 Right with These Great-tasting Healthy Snacks

Healthy snacks are everywhere now, which is a great thing! This month I tried The new Quest Beyond Cereal Protein Bars, MetaBall Energy Snacks, and The Little Kernel Mini Popcorn. All of these are vegan, non-GMO, and gluten-free.

1. Quest Beyond Cereal Bars

quest healthy snacksLeave it to the folks at Quest Nutrition to come up with a great tasting protein bar that reminds me of my favorite cereals. They sent me a box of the Beyond Cereal Bars in Cinnamon Roll flavor, which reminded me of Cinnamon Chex - so good and packed with 12g of protein and 7g of fiber, with only 2g net carbs and 110 calories! Since then, I have purchased a box of the chocolate, which reminds me of Cocoa Krispies. I have yet to try the waffle flavor.

2. Metaball 

Metaball snacks are interesting. Instead of a bar, these come like candy, in small balls. In some sensemetaball healthy snacks this is super convenient, since you can just grab a few at a time and reseal the bag, instead of eating two bites of a bar and being stuck carrying the rest in a napkin.

These come in four flavors - apple pie, mixed berry, chocolate brownie, and chocolate cherry. Each bag gives you 10g protein, 2g fiber, with higher carbs (they use tapioca syrup to sweeten) and 220 calories. They sent me one bag of each.

Flavor-wise, these are just OK. They are a bit bland, and the texture is somewhat mealy. Not horrible, but not the best.

3. The Little Kernel

The Little Kernel is a new brand of mini popcorn that is popped in olive oil, which gives it a rich, yummy flavor. I tried the Truffle Sea Salt, Pink Himalayan Salt, and Sweet and Salty Kettle flavors.

I liked them all, as did hubby. The salty flavors were not too salty, and the kettle corn had a great balance of flavors (I love the sweet and salty combination).

 

Swiss Villa - The Best Cheese & Butter!

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Swiss Villa Has the Best Cheeses & Butter!

I get tons of review requests every week from food suppliers. Seriously. And most of them I ignore. Really, how many protein bars, protein shakes, green juices, chips, and similar products can a person ingest? I am so glad I didn't ignore the email from Philip Lehman of Swiss Villa, LLC, makers of organic raw cheeses, butter, honey, and other yummy foods in PA's Amish country.

Just before Hanukkah, a refrigerated box arrived at my house. It was a big box of cheese and butter. Seriously, they sent me one of just about every cheese they make. Goat, cow, and sheep. Cave aged and regular. I received everything from a funky cave-aged smoked blue to a mellow, mild gouda and havarti. As you can see in the photo above, I had an entire shelf of my refrigerator full of raw milk cheese.

A Moment of Unfounded Intimidation

I have to admit to a moment of intimidation. I have an iffy relationship with raw milk cheeses, as they can often be too salty, too funky, or too tangy. So I started with cheeses that I usually love.

The first two caved aged cheesethat I tried were that cave-aged clothbound cheddar you see in front, and the plain blue just behind it. Both were so good, we couldn't wait to try more! My intimidation was completely unfounded.

Here is a good close up of that aged cheddar. Not too salty, a little dry but still creamy, and slightly sharp and funky.

The blue is equally yummy. Once again, not too salty, but creamy and funky in a way that I decided to pair with some good steak!

Suddenly, we were excited. Mac and cheese, grilled cheese, charcuterie with cheese, and omelets with cheese all beckoned.

swiss villa grilled cheeseBest Grilled Cheese

We started with homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.

This is two flavors -

Baby swiss with herbed jack, and havarti with sharp goat cheddar, both on rye bread from Zabar's on the Upper West side. We added mayo and sliced sweet tomatoes.

And finally, we grilled them in the fresh butter. Yum!

Macaroni and Cheese

Then we went for macaroni and cheese.

For this first one, we used a blend of smoked and sharp goat and cow cheddars. Once again, so great! Here is the finished product, with breadcrumbs.

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So far, we have sampled at least 12 cheeses, including feta, havarti, herbed jack, blue, various cheddars, and gouda. Every single one has been delicious. Every. Single. One.

So go to Swiss Villa, and get yourself some fabulous cheeses! And while you are there, scope out the honey, maple syrup, eggs, meats, and do not forget the butter!

 

Win the Full Salonpas Pain Relief Product Suite

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Salonpas Pain Relief Products Are My Go To!

I can remember my parents using BenGay for pain relief. That smell of the menthol and camphor was so strong!

A Less Messy and Smelly Alternative

As I grew up, I looked for products that smelled a bit better, but since everything uses the same base of camphor and menthol, I either avoided topical pain relief or just sucked it up with the smell. I tried IcyHot, Biofreeze, and even the Thermacare-style hot and cold packs.

Meanwhile, my Japanese friends were using Salonpas, which combines the camphor and menthol with an actual anti-inflammatory (methyl salicylate), and doesn't smell as intense. They would bring me boxes when they went home to visit.

And because the products are Jet-sprays, gels, and patches of varying sizes, they are much less messy than the old ointments and creams.

FDA Approved for Pain Relief

But now, I can buy Salonpas here in the US! And in addition to the regular patches, sprays, and gels, they have a hot patch and a lidocaine patch - all of which are FDA approved for pain relief and are viable alternatives to increasingly expensive prescription patches.

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What Do I Use Salonpas For?

The toe I crushed in 2013 still vexes me, especially in damp cold. I wrap my toe in the small Salonpas patch and it really helps!

I have chronic nerve pain from shingles, and I use the large Lidocaine patch when that gets bad, as well as the heated large patch.

Hubby has chronic back pain, and a shot of the spray helps him feel better for 6-8 hours at a time.

Plus, if I am extra sore from working out or an old injury flares up, Salonpas really rescues me!

Recently, the Salonpas folks sent me the entire product line. And now, they would like to give this same set to you!

And we have a winner! Congratulations to Carol Reid. You should already have an email from me.

 

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