Supplement + Nutrition Labels 101

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A Few Things to know about Supplement & Nutrition Labels

A few years ago I was trying to do that "weight-loss thing" which meant I tried anything I could just to shed a few pounds. This included a strategic regimen of products that were all replacing "what I was not getting in my food."

While I was reminded to eat colorful meals when I wasn’t drinking my meal-replacement shakes & teas and was encouraged to consistently work out, I was also was led to believe that these weight loss products would be the key to my success.

Naturally trusting the best in people, I assumed that what I was being told was valid and that I shouldn’t worry too much. So, I didn’t because I really just wanted to look better in my clothes. The real problem with this was that I had never actually looked into quality of these products further than what my friend was telling me. With my uneducated decision, I started using them unknowingly causing more harm to my body than good. Did they work? Heck yes they worked, and I looked good on the outside, too.

That lack of personal research & cold turkey weaning of those healthy-ish products back in 2015 led me to my 50 pound weight gain over the span of 4 months where I was left to pick up the pieces of a failed goal.

While the goal of losing weight is never a bad thing, the way in which we attempt that goal can be even more detrimental to our health than what was originally intended, especially if not fully understood. It wasn't until I was introduced to & educated on whole food nutrition that my eyes started to open up to the idea of a whole-hearted "health & wellness" lifestyle.

After some professional education on how our bodies receive & process what we feed them, I was shocked to learn that I had not been told this information that could’ve saved me from such a tremendous rebound effect I had gotten myself into with the the "health regimine" I had been reccommended & products I had been consuming.

While I'm not completely against the idea of supplements or technology that helps in achieving our health goals, I am not for under-researched, over-processed products that are going to cause harm to our bodies in the long term.

What I am for is bioavailable, whole food sources of nutrients.

SO. What's the difference between a "Supplement" & "Nutrition" label, and how can I know that it's safe to consume?

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1. Read the Label. Like, read the back of the item, not the just Advertised "value" on the front

Coming from an advertising background, I understand the psychology behind tricks companies pull when it comes to catching the consumer's attention. There's lots of nutrition-ism's out there bombarding our brains with "kinda true" information, but if you look at the label on the back, that's where the real story is told...most of the time. For instance, did you know that cereals, dressings, and even dairy products are some of the most popular places sugar & other additives like to hide? Yet, companies promote “high fiber” in order to cover the truth up, and we are quick to fall for faulty ads. "High fiber/High sugar cereal?" You're basically asking for a trip to the toilet! All in all, make sure what you’re reading on the front matches the nutrition label on the back. If it's promoting healthy food, then it needs to be simple and readable ingredients.

2. Nutrition Labels indicate FOOD

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The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) maintains a list of food ingredients that have been tested and determined to be 'Generally regarded as Safe.' If a product uses ingredients that are on that list in quantities determined to be safe by the FDA, then the product is considered a food and can be labeled with a Nutrition Facts label. However, if a product uses ingredients that are NOT regarded as safe or in the quantities have not been determined to be safe, then they are generally labeled with a Supplement Facts label. That’s scary, but that just means whole foods are the best foods.

3. What research can be found about your supplements & products showing they are bioavailable?

What do I mean by "research?" I mean, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, tested on the product itself, human clinical trials, published in peer-reviewed journals, ETHICAL research. For real. What does your supplement regimen have to back it up that it actually WORKS? And if it doesn’t have research, who’s recommending this product to you? Have you looked into it yourself? Also, what do I mean by "bioavailable?" That means, does this product get into your body at a cellular level and make change. A LOT of supplemental products are just expensive pee because often if not, the body doesn't know how to process it.

4. The power is in the plate-- not the pill.

According to WebMD (and the health professionals I've worked with/learned from), "Vitamins and other dietary supplements are not intended to be a food substitute. They cannot replace all the nutrients and benefits of whole foods." That’s because our bodies know exactly what to do with the whole food that we're eating, and not so much when it’s an extracted, highly-concentrated supplement. If your struggling in your health, my first questions would be: “What are you eating? Are you eating the FDA recommended 7-13 servings of fruits and veggies a day to offset oxidative stress? Are you drinking the water your body needs to break down the food you're eating?” So while supplements have their place, food is number one!

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Are you like me? Not feeling the healthy "lifestyle" fads that people are talking about lately? Me neither.

Want to step out of the "overfed & undernourished" lifestyle? Try getting more of the good things into your body, and over time, your body will start to change for the better!

Need something to help jumpstart you into a better lifestyle: check out the clinical research on the Juice Plus+ whole food products. Inquire about Juice Plus+ by setting up a free consult on my calendar!

 

30 Day Omega Challenge

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In 2017, the Juice Plus+ company released their Plant Based Omega Blend capsules and I decided to see what all the fuss was about. Honestly, I had never been educated enough on the importance of omega nutrients until recent because food education had always surrounded the very basics of the Food Pyramid (which is out of date, btw). However, after educating myself further on the importance of omegas, how the are important to our functioning bodies, and also getting to try some for myself, I am confident that my body has been missing out for years.

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A couple of facts about Omegas & the body:

  • Omega 3’s support conditions like Asthma, Diabetes, some cancers, high cholesterols, & even depressive disorders. They also play an important role in brain function as well as may help fight cardiovascular disease.

  • Omega 5’s, which are rare in nature (but easily found in pomegranate), are shown to effectively fight off cancer cells in prostate & pancreatic cancers. This myristic acid also acts as an anti-inflammatory and helps to promote appropriate inflammation in the body.

  • Omega 6’s combined with Omega 3’s have some great health benefits, but this is often the one we get too much of.

  • Omega 7’s help regulate fat & blood sugar metabolism, and it helps promote faster healing and tissue recovery. Sea Buckthorn is shown to improve eczema, acne, oral, ulcers, stomach ulcers, and even vaginal health.

What’s awesome is that Juice Plus+ Omega Blend has 5 different types of essential omega oils!

Let me preface this before I get into the week-by-week transformation:

Back in middle school & high school, my skin was in terrible shape. It seemed that every week I was covering up a new blemish on my face, and it wasn’t until my senior year of college that my face finally started to even out… for a little bit. I tried all the things when it comes to healthy, glowing skin, but never was able to be consistent at them, nor did I have good results when I tried them. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I really started to take control of my what I was putting inside of my body that I started to notice a change in how my skin looked and felt.

Fast forward to our move to Colorado where my skin easily became dry and rashy that I started to see the need for some major help with my money-maker. Moving from the wetlands to the dry mountain air was a big shock for my skin, as I felt that I was having to put moisterizer on my face every few hours. It was time for another shift in my skin care routine where I began making the switch to a more holistic approach when it came to my face.

While I am still new to this whole “omega-thing,” I am positive that my outsides are reflecting what I put on the inside. Here is my 30 day journey with using plant based omegas.

***Disclaimer: This post is from experience, not professionally educated expertise. I am not a trained Esthetician nor do I have all the answers when it comes to my own skincare. I would recommend this 30 day challenge as a "once in a while" thing, not something to be done all the time. Sometimes are skin needs a little extra help, especially when you move from a humid environment to a very dry environment.

BEFORE:

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Okay, got to admit… this before picture is not taken in the best lighting. It was late, I was excited, and I wanted to remain true to how long I said I would add omegas into my routine.. So here it is. You can see that my cheeks, chin, & nose have the most redness. And you can’t tell from my not-so-well-lit photo, but I was beginning to see fine lines on my forehead. This is not a self-depreciation, just an observation.

So what’s the beauty routine?

At night, I would wash my face with Coconut Oil, use the Thayer’s Witch Hazel Toner, and follow up with the Juice Plus+ Omega blend oil as a leave-on mask. In the morning I washed my face with the BeautyCounter Charcoal Bar, Thayer’s toner, & BeautyCounter Countermatch Adaptive Moisturizer.

WEEK 1:

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Wow. So the redness in my cheeks has DEFINITELY gone down. I am also noticing that my face is starting to STAY moisturized, even as the weather gets colder and the wind becomes brisker outside. This is HUGE. I have been having issues getting my face to STAY moisturized, and wow… just wow.

WEEK 2:

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At this point, I have never felt more comfortable to NOT wear makeup out. While my skin isn’t perfect by any means, and I am starting to get some of that hormonal acne, I am still able to leave the house without thinking about my face. I am also noticing that my face is starting to firm up on my forehead, and the fine lines are starting to lessen. YES!

Week 3:

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That moment when you are really bad at selfies and don’t realize your eyes are closing. Awkward. However, I am still noticing significant changes in my skin. At this point, I have MAYBE worn makeup out of the house 2 or 3 times per week, and my night time routine is really starting to pay off. The redness is almost completely gone, and even though I have a few blemishes, they aren’t as severe or painful as before. This is awesome.

WEEK 4:

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I am SO glad I took pictures for this. Not only do I have firmer, glowing skin… I can also see some changes in my nails and hair too. After getting a major haircut for the first time in a while, I am noticing how quickly my hair grows without me noticing. However, my skin is the biggest transformation I am feeling & noticing.  If you are interested in your own 30 day Omega blend challenge OR have questions about what I'm doing, please send me a quick message or schedule a free consultation.

**Since this post, I have began a new process of transitioning to green beauty, if you have any suggestions on vegan makeup fit for sensitive skin, please shoot me a private message!

5 Realistic Holistic Goals You Can Set NOW

There's that time of the year, after the holidays, which comes around and haunts every active consumer in the States... You know what I’m talking about: the Holiday Season.

By the time January rolls around, Christmas cholesterol courses through our veins, and the “Holiday Hangover” forces us to make a hard decision about ourselves. Most of you, if you're like me, maybe you've said to yourself, "In 2018 I'm going to get fit, active, etc," but then "fall off the wagon" only a few months in.

During that season, it's cold outside, all you want is carbs, and all you wanna do is nap. I get it. I'm right there with you and over the last few years I have found that REALISTIC goal setting for when it comes to health has been the most helpful in to avoiding negative food-culture fads.

What do I mean by "Realistic Health Goals?"

Let's make something very clear, I'm all about crushing a new health goal. I have insane drive where I can look at it, & smash it, but it isn’t always this easy. Growing up on a ranch, in the heart of Texas, "healthy lifestyles" were for those within a 5 mile radius of a gym. This was not something we could realistically get into. While that may sound like an excuse to most… it's a mindset that's hard to shift if all you've known is how difficult working out is.

Most of the people I talk to to ranging from young 20-somethings to grandparents have an array of things to say when I ask them about their health goals.

"I could NEVER do what you do,"

'I could NEVER give up (fill-in-the-blank),"

"I just don't have time for a lifestyle change,"

These phrases I encounter then counter with the question or few.

"What do you have to lose?"

"What are you doing to avoid the family disease that you're so anxious about acquiring?"

"What is your health worth to you?"

Now, before I jump further with some realistic goals you CAN set, think about those questions.

RealTalk: If you don't WANT to be healthier and just want to treat the symptom so that you comfortable, you should probably try & mediate on those things before you ask for help. 

All I’m saying is, If you don’t really want it for the long-haul, no health fad will ever save you: not special workout DVDs, not pink drinks, and no juice cleanse or detox program will do your body good.

So what ARE some Realistic Holistic Goals you can set this year?

1. BE realistic.

Infomercials and drive-through food places have literally/figuratively fed the "instant gratification" dragon that lives inside each and everyone one of us living in the States. There is no easy way to say this, but: change doesn't happen overnight, especially when it comes to our health. You don't heal from a stab wound overnight, don't expect to lose 50 pounds in 6 weeks either. And if you are losing 50 lbs in 6 weeks, there might be some serious repercussions to what's going on in your body. Read my experience in one of my previous blog posts.

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2. One Simple Change

"But I can't stomach even one fork-full of salad," you may say. I get it. I couldn't either unless it was slathered in ranch. But here I am today, 100% vegan, still eating ranch & lots of plants with it. If a girl like me can go from steak & potatoes to tofu scramble, anyone can. How did I do it? I started with taking my powdered produce capsules. They're basically a salad-bar in a capsule clinically researched to be as bioavailable as the food we eat. In fact findings from the last 20 years with the Children's Health Study have found the kids actually CRAVE MORE fruits and veggies when taking the Juice Plus+ powdered produce as part of a healthy lifestyle. WOW. Science RULES.

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3. Start with Walking

You don't have to do Crossfit, you don’t have to train for a marathon, you don't have to do Insanity to get physical results health results. There's no way you could have paid me to get in the gym in the beginning of this health journey. Listen to your body, give yourself a personal challenge, grab an accountability person, and be consistent.

4. Take the Stairs (It's the little things)

You don't have to circle the parking lot for an extra 10 minutes for "Princess Parking" when your lazy ass could have already been in the store in half the time just by walking.  Save some time and use some of that built up energy for some good use! The more of those little changes you'll make, the more confident you'll be to healthier decisions than before

5. Be consistent.

Haven’t I said this before? Oh, if I could go back to my younger self and remind me that things take time. We humans often forget the importance of taking consistent small steps. The more we practice, the better we get at whatever it is we’re doing. And making those small steps every day will eventually lead to something different than before. That’s because if we’re taking steps, we’re more than likely moving forward in some sort of direction. Almost 3 years later of being vegan, I can tell you that my “body didn’t change” physically until about a year and a half into it. If I had stopped before a year, who knows where I would be now!

So there you have it.

5 simple mindsets to practice in order to experience a better, healthier you. If you have questions or need accountability in making simple changes to your health routine, we're forming online community groups monthly for FREE! If this sounds like something you can do and you need some extra encouragement or extended tips, contact us at amybeth@thatveganwife.com.

Click HERE to learn more about our online accountability program.

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The How and Why Behind ThatVeganWife

The long-short story of how I got here...

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I remember as a kid eating big meals with the end goal of a nap, and I remember the contrasting images that the media culture presented of women displaying their perfectly figured bodies while holding a piece of junk food. With my lack of education on the power of food coupled with frequent childhood sickness & an early-in-life diagnosis of severe Scoliosis, life had created The Perfect Storm.

Before I was educated on the relationship between what we consume & how are bodies respond, I always struggled to achieve optimum health. My spinal nerves were (and still are) out of line, my bowels were irritable all the time, acne raged on my face, and I did everything I could to mask the symptoms I dealt with too often. I never got to the root of the problem.

Classic Kool-Aid Stain Amy Beth,  Circa 1994

Classic Kool-Aid Stain Amy Beth, Circa 1994

In my late teens to early twenties...

I transitioned into adulthood attending universities where healthy food was hard to find and physical activity was hardly encouraged unless it was for school credit. With the learned mindset of, "calories-in-calories-out" paired with a terrible body image, the "Freshman Fifteen" quickly became twenty... and then thirty.

I continued to yo-yo diet into my early relationship with Brandon when I decided to try one of those "health products" we see our friends on Facebook using to lose that extra weight. Not once did I think about what ingredients were inside those products, but I didn’t care because it allowed me to lose 30 pounds before Brandon and I's wedding day. My dress couldn't have looked more flattering.

What I wish I would have known was that I had been flooding my body with toxic chemicals while enduring long periods of intense workouts 6-7 days a week. Not a good combination. I also had no idea that the mindset I had built surrounding my health, and even my body, were as unhealthy as my now-formed habits in order to make me "skinny."

The breaking point in my health happened when I realized that the back pain I had been experiencing was progressively making life worse, so I desperately sought help in the form of heavy narcotics just to function. I thought I had no other choice.

During that time, Brandon and I had just migrated to Louisiana in order for him to pursue his PhD degree, and looking back at all the stress my body was under, I don't know how I functioned. Physically, emotionally, and mentally; my body started to break down at 25 years old. Talk about a “Quarter Life Crisis.”

When I realized that I was not able to help my husband move into our new apartment back in 2015, that pain was getting worse, and consistently felt low energy, I was willing to try anything just to FEEL BETTER.

That's when a friend of mine shared with me how her family was consuming powdered produce, then led me to the published clinical research behind it. I admit that I was very VERY skeptical about ANY product at that point but I decided to give that and the Shred10 Lifestyle Program a try. At that point, it was really important to me to know exactly what I was putting into my body and fruits, vegetables, and berries made perfect sense because I was hardly eating ANY of those things! I could barely stomach a raw blueberry.

Within a few days my body started to feel GOOD for the first time. I had finally found an answer that taught me the tools I had been longed for. 

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It was even more important than ever after getting off the previous "health product" because what really happened was: I gained 50 pounds in 4 months. That's too much, too fast.

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Not long into my health journey, with a growing self-education on the power of plants, did I watch some of my very own family members experience their own health crisis' later in their lives. It was a wakeup call both Brandon and I that in order to achieve any of our dreams that we would need to learn the simple art of self-care. I'm not talking about bubble baths and face masks either. I'm talking about eating what our bodies actually need (more produce), drinking more water, getting more sleep, moving our bodies more, and self-assessing our mental health, while enjoying dessert. 

Those few years while I was trying to figure out my health were very hard, they were messy, and they have been most rewarding on the other side.

So why do I do what I do?

I guess it boils down to one thing that Maya Angelou put best,

"If you KNOW better, DO better."

Once you actually gain health, it's really hard to go back and enjoy life the same way. I do not claim to be a health expert, and there are a lot of pieces to physical health outside of nutrition, but I do have a lot of life experience with the human body.

Also: Wow. What an impact the end of our fork has on our quality of life. Not only does it impact us, it impacts the world around us.

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No longer do I see my love for food as a weakness, but a strength I’ve gained which has allowed me to get my health back.

I share my love for realistic holistic living, because it IS possible.

It's not expensive,

It's not complicated,

and the food is NOT boring.

I also love serving people where they are at. I believe in living by example. I don't think we "vegans" should be standing on the street corner banging our loud [and annoying] gongs about why you HAVE TO GO VEGAN. It is not my job to tell you to go vegan, but tell you why you should. It's also not my job to diagnose your health problems, but give you tools in which are proven to create long & lasting health improvements.

So these next few months, years, however & wherever this journey ends up taking us, I hope that you're inspired to become a more mindful individual making choices that everyone can benefit from.