3 Essentials For Looking Like a Pro While On-The-Go

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I discovered toner for the first time back in January. For a girl who sweats a little here and there (or a lot) and usually does some type of movement everyday this toner is the bomb. Herbivore Rose Hibiscus toner is organic, plant based and free of fillers and preservatives. In the winter it helps add a little moisture back into the skin while reducing inflammation and redness. 
PLUS Herbivore is a local Seattle company and can now be found in all Sephora stores nation wide! Check em out! 

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Bumble and bumble salt spray is amazing! I don't wash my hair daily and I have naturally oily hair which can make for a very, very sad hair do. Salt spray helps give my hair texture and volume throughout the day and after day two of wearing (along with some dry shampoo) it just gets better. 

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I live on a boat so there are many reasons why I don't want to take a shower every day. If I had to wash my hair every night that'd be an ordeal. I've tried many dry shampoos over the last couple years and in general it's been a game changer for me. This is definitely a middle of the road dry shampoo. $8.99 at Walgreens to be exact and it's good stuff. If you're like me and not wanting to spend $30 on a bottle of dry shampoo smaller than this because you'll go through it so quickly then give this product a try. Bonus: smells like a warm, sunny Hawaii beach with palm trees blowing in the wind! 

Eat & Celebrate Well This Holiday Season

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Thanksgiving and Christmas season bring the years greatest temptations to abandon or procrastinate on our healthy eating convictions. I can't help but think of Louis CK's standup on eating habits. He said "the meal isn't over when I'm full, it's over when I feel like crap." Ah Louis CK, he's so honest. I think we all know the feeling but can agree that overeating never actually feels good afterwards. 

Here are 5 tips to help you celebrate and eat well this holiday season:

1.) Focus on what you can eat versus what you can't
When we create that mental checklist of all the things we can't eat it's really easy to get discouraged. Wholesome, nutritious food is a gift from God. He wants us to have a healthy relationship with food. Focus on eating foods that you know leave you feeling nourished and satisfied. 

2.) Have realistic expectations
Study after study shows that simple, sustainable changes end up being the most productive. Don't overcomplicate things. It's easy to get overwhelmed and give up completely. Make one small change at a time and add other adjustments once you've maintained the first modification. 

3.) Commit to a strategy now
I will say with great confidence that it is easier to avoid holiday weight gain altogether than to try and lose pounds after the fact. Whether you want to lose weight, maintain muscle mass, get stronger or fend off a cold, flu or any other sickness make a plan and begin implementing it now, before temptation arrives. 

4.) Eat Clean
Real food is a big topic these days and for good reason.

Avoid:

  • Processed and packaged foods (boxed stuffing, cereal, chips)
  • Refined starches (white bread, white pasta, white rice)
  • Added sugar (sadly most packaged foods have added sugar)

Eat:

  •  Whole fruits and vegetables 
  • Good quality meats, eggs and dairy

    5.) Navigate your sweet tooth
    Sugar is addicting. Indulging in sweets around the holidays is widely accepted, practiced and maybe even encouraged in some homes. I'll admit that indulging a little and then stopping is hard to do especially with so many sweet (pun intended) options to pick from. My recommendation would be to consider avoiding sweets altogether and loading up on all the other nutritious foods instead but of course if you must have something sweet enjoy a carefully chosen dessert. 

    The holidays are a joy-filled and a God-given occasion to feast and celebrate. So go ahead and celebrate but without compromising your health.   

We Believe That When A Person Aligns Their Behaviors With Their Deeper Values True Lasting Change Occurs

OUR BELIEFS

A healthy mind and body are essential to living a full and purposeful life. Wellness By Little provides qualified knowledge, personalized fitness plans, and engaging training experiences that will motivate you to stay on top of your health so you don't ever lose it. There are 7 principles that guide our method for developing fitness and nutrition plans specifically for your needs. You can read about them and our beliefs in this article.

OUR APPROACH

Intentional Listening. Your health needs are unique. Whether you're recovering from injury, trying to lose weight, or planning for a triathlon, we take the time to hear your needs, ask qualifying questions, and build a comprehensive understanding of your story.

Customized Planning. We are certified and educated in numerous fitness and nutritional methods that will be catered to develop a unique plan to achieve your specific health goals, ensuring that it is timely and attainable so that you're being set up for success.

Thoughtful Implementation.  This is the part where we take action and do the hard work. Your custom plan will be consistent, thorough, and focused. Every session starts on time and in an environment where you feel safe and comfortable. We work alongside you to demonstrate techniques, ensure excellent form, and challenge you to push to your full potential.  

Devoted Coaching. During our sessions together we'll be discussing underlying motivators, methods for accountability, and working through any barriers that may be hindering progress. We want to foster a relationship built on trust, where we can go beyond the exercise and develop lifelong healthy habits together. 

Engaged Community. Your achievements are our joy! We want to celebrate your successes, as we take this journey together. While your coaching is a personal one-on-one relationship, we've developed a community that is excited to hear your story and wants to encourage one another to stay active and motivated. 

Bouncing Back From Your Winter Season: 5 Ways To Get Active This Spring

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Article written by Paige Johnson with Learnfit.org

The winter season can often be difficult on us - both emotionally and physically. Some individuals face seasonal depression. Others harbor intense anxiety associated with being trapped inside. Even if we don’t suffer from a mental disorder, we spend less time exercising and more time eating to maintain our core body temperature. Sometimes, we go overboard, promising ourselves that we’ll get better when the weather improves. Unless you live in a consistently warm state like Arizona or Florida, you likely experience some of these symptoms. Kick away the winter blues by trying these five enjoyable ways to get active this spring.

 1.     Walk, Jog, or Bike
It’s easy to overlook how enjoyable walking, jogging, or biking can be. Try pairing these simple cardio exercises with fun activities. For example, you can jog or run while playing laser tag. You can walk to your local library or a downtown attraction. You can bike just about anywhere - if you live in a town with sidewalks. Mix these functions into your daily life. Instead of getting into your car, think about other (more traditional) methods of transportation that can keep you active. Not sure whether you should walk or bike? Livestrong recently published an interesting article on the subject.

 2.     Develop Weekly Habits
Whether you join a sports team, engage in a weekly game of softball or flag football, or meet your friends for a scavenger hunt, develop regular habits with friends and family members that will get you moving. You can learn about the benefits of team sports through Let’s Play.
Rather than staying at home and watching movies throughout the spring season, get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Water balloon fights, picnics, and afternoons spent at the beach are great ways to stay healthy and motivated without even trying. After all, exercise is more fun when you don’t realize you’re doing it.

3.     Eat a Balanced Diet
While being active is important (and even vital) to maintaining healthy habits during the spring season, it’s also essential to eat a balanced diet. You should be eating fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, in addition to avoiding greasy fast food or pizza. These items are acceptable as a treat, but you should focus your energy on making healthy food in the comfort of your own home. One healthy choice each day can go a long way. Figure out what you should be eating through Choose My Plate - a website that offers unique ideas based on your individual needs.

 4.     Make Plans With Friends
Get active by making plans with your friends and family. Exercising is far less frustrating when we share it - masking it behind fun activities with the people we love. It can be as simple as a nightly walk or as complex as a baseball league. Whatever you decide to do, build your healthy spring habits with the individuals who support you.

5.     Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
Exercising and making healthy eating decisions can be difficult when you haven’t been raised in a household that prioritizes health. There can, and will, be moments when you are forced to step outside your comfort zone. It might start by trying a new food each week. You might find yourself playing sports, when you never thought of yourself as athletic before. The Huffington Post recently offered six reasons to take risks and leave your comfort zone. Break down barriers. You’ll be happy you did.

Start an upward slope this spring by trying these five methods of getting active. The harder you work, the better your results will be.

Stewarding Your Body Well Throughout Busy Seasons

"Do you not know your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Tis' the season for holiday parties, celebrations, feasting and enjoying lots of delicious (let's be real, adult) beverages... Christmas is such a rich, joyful and celebrated time of year but I also know the flip side of so much celebrating can lead to feeling crappy, gaining weight and feeling like you're running on E. 

The truth is, we can say no to our desires and feelings and emotions in the moment and we can say yes to something greater. True courage, freedom and bravery are found in saying yes to something greater than ourselves and our momentary, fleeting desires and feelings. I've messed this up plenty but the moments where I did have discipline around food and fitness (or anything in life, really) have lent itself to greater joy and satisfaction spiritually and emotionally than taking the easy or convenient route. There are examples of this kind of discipline written all throughout the Bible. God didn't "feel" like watching his only Son be crucified on the cross, but he did and Jesus certainly didn't "feel" like going to the cross, but he did for us. 

God gives us a spirit of power and of self control. My hope for myself and people reading is that this holiday season would be a time where we choose to tend to our temples by honoring our bodies so that we may be led closer to God, to people and to our purpose. It might be hard but I bet it'd be 100% worth it ❤️

Confidence.

How many of us want to be a more confident person? I'll be honest and say that l've spent a lot of energy in my life trying to figure out how to be more confident. I was searching for an unwavering, unshakable confidence that no matter the turbulence life brought I had everything together (or at least looked like I did). It was exhausting. Since becoming a Christian and hanging out in Christian communities one thing I've noticed and admired is this sense of settledness - not to be confused with apathy - they have in their identities regardless of the circumstances. 
The key to being a more confident person is not by becoming more confident in our abilities but becoming more confident in our identities in Jesus Christ. Because at that point when we are completely settled in Him, our abilities don't seem to matter. Sometimes we're going to crush it and sometimes we're going to mess up badly but if you have a relationship with God you will always be a valued, adored and cherished son or daughter of the King! 
Rest in Him. He made you uniquely and wonderfully in His image. You don't have to try to be anything. The most beautiful thing you could be is you ❤ 

Balancing Physical & Spiritual Health

God cares about our physical health but he cares for our souls a million times more. Keeping these things in balance means we understand that God is more concerned with the condition of our hearts than the way we look on the outside. This truth is something I need to come back to often and find rest in knowing my soul is of highest importance to God. 📷: @beckahueth

Navigating Beauty

I've worked in the fitness industry for over 10 years now and been thinking on how we as women are faced with a lot of pressure around physical beauty. The fashion, ideal body shape, diets and workouts have all changed and I can't really think of a time when women did not define themselves by some ideal of physical beauty. Though the definition of beauty changes over time one thing remains constant - it is always a definition of beauty that is just beyond our reach. We want what we cannot have. If curvy is hard, we want curvy. If thin is hard, we want to be thin and this expectation of physical perfection hits us early on in life and often. 

I was reminded as I sat in a Hawaiian church last Sunday that God loves us exactly where we are. For real! He Does! Not the skinnier version. Not the stronger version. We are image bearers of God. He made us just the way we are, in His image and likeness. This truth is so much more powerful, hopeful and encouraging than any worldly, societal pressure making me think some definition of physical perfection will bring ultimate happiness. That's a lie. Beauty is fleeting and our health will not last forever.

In this as in all things, there is hope and good news for the believer: one day we will enter Heaven and be free from our self-loathings and live in harmony with our physical looks. In the meantime we should absolutely steward the gifts of our physical bodies but for the sake of health and wellness not beauty. 

Give the Gift of Health This Holiday Season

Looking for a meaningful gift idea for someone this holiday season? Wellness By Little is offering personal training single session and package deals for new clients. We offer private and group training sessions for people of all ages and exercise backgrounds. In addition to personal training we also offer health coaching. Give the gift of health this season. Contact info@wellnessbylittle.com for pricing info.

May you have a joy-filled, healthy and meaningful holiday season! 

- Wellness By Little

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction Leads to the Intimacy & Deep Joy we Crave

 

Well folks, it's going to get real here for a minute. There's no food pictures, recipes or exercise routines in this post. It's a little different from the usual WBL posts but absolutely still health and wellness related - enjoy!  

My husband and I just got married in June (whoo hoo!) and this past wedding season thousands of couples have also said their "I do's" and started this life long journey with their partner. Leading up to my wedding day I've learned how totally sacred, sweet and beautiful marriage is. It is two people CHOOSING each other for the rest of their lives. It's heartbreaking that our culture views marriage as easily disposable and that divorce is not only acceptable but a likely reality for many couples. The day I said  "I do" I freely chose to commit to Nathan (AKA The Baron of Ballard - he requested that I say that...) through any circumstance.

In our life together we will experience the deepest joy, intimacy, and love possible and we will also experience hurt, sadness, loneliness, misunderstanding, anger, frustration and emptiness in our marriage at times. I think and am learning, reading and discovering after previous relationships that marriage calls us to suffer well. We are not supposed to crumble in adversity despite the world telling us adversity and unhappiness means our marriages are failing. We are broken humans living in an imperfect world and in desperate need of salvation outside of ourselves. My heart and all of our hearts are prone to wander. As New York columnist David Brooks points out in his book The Road to Character, "people tend to shoot for happiness but feel the most formed through suffering." I can relate. 

The good news is that marriage is not supposed to make us happy - so I can let go of that expectation! I realize that of course happiness is a byproduct of marrying someone you love but marriage is supposed to make us holy. Marriage sharpens us. Brings oneness. The purpose of marriage is not to experience the "happily ever after" - regardless of what we see on social media, on TV and in movies. Every couple has a side that's not shown publicly and comparison will truly rob us of joy in our marriages. 

Investing in your partner by having the courage to confess your heart felt struggles (that one has taken me a few relationships and lots of practice to learn), asking for forgiveness, choosing to forgive, seeing the best in your partner (rather than assuming the worst), sacrificing yourself and your needs for your partner, being kind and lovingly pursuing their heart will point them to truth and ultimately result in an intimacy that will strengthen your bond and grow you deeper into relationship with God and one another. I learned later on in my 20's that my partner will never, ever fulfill me... The most unloving thing I could do is walk into my marriage with Nathan and put that expectation on him. When I've changed something in myself I've seen my relationship start to change. 

One of the best pieces of marriage advice I got from a couple was about sin in marriage. When your partner wrongs you look past the hurt it caused YOU and pursue their heart. What led them to this place? How can I point them back to truth? My prayer for married couples is that God would give us the strength, maturity and love towards our spouses to earnestly walk alongside them by bringing light to a potentially dark situation - even when it's the hardest thing to do. 

One thing that's been really fruitful in our marriage is Sunday night weekly recaps where we have a series of questions we ask about each others past week. We've adapted this from #beating50percent: 

1.) what's something that brought you joy this week? 
2.) what's something that was hard? 
3.) how can I be praying for you this upcoming week?
4.) what's one specific thing I can do for you this week? 
5.) is there anything that's gone unsaid, convictions, confessions or unresolved hurt that we need to address? 
6.) what's a dream, thought or vision that's been on the forefront of your mind this week? 

No Time to Prepare a Lunch? Where I Enjoy Eating Out in Seattle When I'm on the Go!

Although I'm fully satisfied when I bring a lunch with me to work or can stop by home for a lunch break it's not always possible especially when the day is busy with back to back appointments. The fantastic news is that we live in a wonderful city filled with healthy, nutritious and fresh foods right at our fingertips. I wanted to share a few of my favorite pit stops while on the road!

1.) Evolution Fresh (shown above)
I recommend their All greens scramble with eggs, broccoli, kale, lemon tahini and add the avocado and Siracha for an extra kick.
2.) Seattle Salads (www.seattlesalads.com)
You really can't go wrong with any Salad from here. My personal favorite is a shaker salad with quinoa, kale, spinach, gorgonzola, red cabbage, red onion, bacon bits and strawberry mint dressing. 
3.) Whole Foods
They have a fully loaded salad bar, indian style foods, a variety of delicious soups, sushi, taco bowls, freshly made noodle bowls - they have it all! 
4.) Marination Station (Alki, Capitol Hill & SLU locations) 
I love their fish or spicy pork tacos and at $2.75 per taco you can't go wrong. Two tacos and you'll be satisfied. Every taco comes with fresh cabbage slaw and corn tortillas. 

Thinking About Hiring a Health Coach? Here are 4 Things You'll Want to Know.

One of the newest professions in the healthcare market is health and nutrition coaches. The increase in demand for health coaches comes as no surprise with the rise of preventable diseases in America and the gap between patient and doctor communication. Health coaches help bridge the gap by offering more in-depth support where other health care professionals fall short. Health coaches are making an incredible impact on the well being of individuals in our local and global communities. On a large scale, clients receive one-on-one support to help reduce, manage and/or prevent chronic illnesses at a much lower cost than with physicians or nurses. Coaches are an integral piece to transforming America from a disease management system into a real healthcare system. 

Wellness By Little believes that a health coaches primary role is to:

  • Help people align their behaviors with their deeper values.
  • Facilitate behavior change by esteeming people through empathetic listening. 
  • Create actionable strategies for achieving specific goals around ones health. 

Here are 4 things you should know about Wellness By Little health coaching:

1.) The client is the expert. We do not tell our clients what to do or how to do it. The client discovers a vision that aligns with their own values and the coaches role is to empower and support clients in their behavior change journey.

2.) How do we actually integrate change? Most people seek the help of a health coach when they feel burnt out or stuck. They've tried to make changes but have found barriers, resistance and challenges. When clients feel this way it's often because they haven't explored the mental, emotional or spiritual factors that affect their health. When we dig a little deeper to the heart or root cause of something it's often here where resistance can emerge... because exploring these areas can be intimidating and scary. A coach should be able to sit in this space with you and feel comfortable with the uncomfortable stuff that comes up. We utilize several behavior change models such as the Transtheoretical Stages
of Change, the International Coaching Federation (ICF) Core Competencies & The 10 Tenets of Whole Health to best serve our clients.

3.) Time Commitment. We have 6 and 12 week programs. Clients meet weekly either in-person or over the phone and sessions range from a half hour to an hour.

 4.) Referrals. It's important to note that the scope of our practice is limited. We are not medically trained or licensed to diagnose or treat illnesses. At any point during the coaching contract, the coach can refer client to the appropriate licensed or medical professional. 

A New Approach to Fitness: Aligning Behavior Change Around Fitness to Your Personal Values

Have you ever set a New Years resolution to get in shape or trained for an event like a triathlon or wedding? Did you succeed in accomplishing your goals because you devised a plan and maintained a routine schedule?

In the world of fitness, there is more information at our fingertips then ever. There are fitness experts, Instagram Fitness Guru’s, ample Crossfit gyms, yoga studios and a variety of classes taught at athletic clubs. While all of this seems to make exercising incredibly convenient for us, we still have difficulty reaching and maintaining our goals.

Rather than sharing a list of exercises you should do to get in shape or posting a photo of some abs you someday hope to have, we believe that when you align your behaviors with your deeper values, true lasting change can occur. This requires a more personal, introspective approach to your health:

1.) List out 3 goals you’re currently working on in order of importance (These can be any health goals. For example: smoking cessation, lose 15lbs, gain 15lbs muscle mass, prepping meals, etc). After each goal, reflect on what has worked in the past and what made it harder to achieve that goal.

2.) Visioning. If you could create a vision statement centered around the ideal person you’d like to be someday, what would it be? Vision statements are intended to be long term being statements that start with “I am.” When you’re done writing your vision give yourself a % of completion for today’s date. 0%= not this person at all 100%= I am this person
Sample Vision Statement: I am a person who stewards my body well by eating in moderation and exercising regularly45% completion on 07/30/15

3.) In the next 7 days what are 3 baby steps you can take to work towards your vision/goals? These goals need to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-oriented (or SMART). If I were to take the vision statement from above, a few goals might be:
- I will do in-home strength training workouts on M/W/S for 60 minutes with my trainer.
- On Sunday afternoon I will look at 4 recipes that I can make for dinner M-Th this upcoming week. 
- I will go grocery shopping on Sunday evening for M-Th dinners.  

4.) Lastly, rate your goals on % confidence and % of importance. 
- I will do in home strength training workouts on M/W/S for 60 minutes with my trainer.
            85% confidence / 100% importance 

- On Sunday afternoon I will look at 4 recipes that I can make for dinner M-Th this upcoming week. 
           90% confidence / 80% importance 
- I will go grocery shopping on Sunday evening for M-Th dinners. 
          95% confidence / 100% importance  


If you’re below a 70% confidence, how might you alter that goal to raise your confidence? These goals are designed to be SMART so that you experience small weekly successes that empower you to move closer towards your vision.

Our professional recommendation is to track your progress for 6 weeks. Every week, reflect on your previous weeks goals and reset new weekly goals. At the end of week 6, rate your overall % of completion towards your vision statement. Have you made progress? If so, how does that feel? If not, what were the barriers to change?

Creating your own pathway to success has proven to work for many of our clients. It’s often easier to look at a magazine or the internet and hear how someone else was successful but we are not all the same people, with the same circumstances, with the same goals. Embrace your uniqueness by doing what you know will lead you to personal success when you dig a little deeper!  

The Importance of Switching Up Your Workout Routine

Tired of doing the same boring workout at the gym?

Switching up your workout and doing as many different types of activities is an effective way to increase overall fitness. Let’s take a look at a generic workout for example using the elliptical for 30 minutes 3 times a week. This routine is better than certainly none and if you are elderly, have joint pain or an injury/disease disabling you from higher intensity exercise, sustaining a low impact activity such as the elliptical is the right choice. Otherwise after about a month the body recognizes this routine as a baseline and the heart is not being challenged through interval training.
A healthy heart rate (HR) is anywhere between 60-80bpm at rest. During exercise the HR needs to increase and decrease multiple times. First off, ask yourself am I pushing myself hard enough (most likely you’ll know the answer to this question) and secondly are you bringing your HR up and then back down continuously through the workout?

Practical Application

Here’s an easy calculation to figure out if you’re pushing yourself enough and reaching a HR that will give you the best results for your time spent exercising. To find an approximate estimate of your maximum HR take 220 minus your age. For example: 220- 40 years old= 180bpm. That number is an average of the maximum number of times your heart can beat per minute.

From here we can look at the different levels of intensity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that a moderate level intensity ranges from 50-70% of max HR whereas 70-85% is considered high intensity. Let’s try a calculation for moderate level intensity at 65% of max HR. To work at 65% of your maximum capacity take your max HR and times it by .65%. Ex: 180bpm X .65%= 117bpm. Now lets do the same but at 85% intensity. 180bpm X .85%= 127.5bpm. To be working at 65%-85% of you max HR, a person of 40 years must keep the HR in between 117-127.5bpm. Maintaining a moderate to high intensity pace regardless of what type of exercise will give you the best results and now you know why! Next time you’re at the gym take note of your HR whether it be manually using your carotid/radial artery (count for 15 seconds, times by 4 to give you your beats per minute) or with a HR monitor. Workout smart so you don’t waste precious time at the gym!
 

 

What is your blood telling you?

The Truth About Blood Pressure, Heart Rate, Cholesterol and Glucose. 

1. Blood pressure
RANGE: A healthy blood pressure is 120/80. 
INFORMATION: Blood pressure measures the force of blood against the arterial walls. When the heart beats faster or harder than normal and there is an increase in blood volume (mostly due to a diet high in sodium), the force of blood increases therefore raising the blood pressure. Anything above 120/80 can be related with a diet high in sodium (salt). Processed and packaged foods and fast food restaurants offer foods with a high sodium content typically because the food is designed to have a long shelf life so they preserve it with sodium. 
PREVENTION: To decrease blood pressure stay away from fast food restaurants, packaged and processed foods.

2. Heart Rate
RANGES: A healthy heart is 60-80bpm although below 60 is even better if you are a healthy individual. For example, Lance Armstrong’s heart beats 34bpm at rest. 
INFORMATION: If your heart rate is above 80bpm, it means that at rest your heart is working incredibly hard to pump blood to required areas. The long term affects of a heart chronically hard at work can be detrimental. During exercise the heart rate will increase naturally but at rest, the heart shouldn’t have to work hard to do its job of distributing blood.
PREVENTION: Drinking plenty of water can help heart rate stay in the healthy range as well as exercising. 

3. Cholesterol 
RANGES: Total cholesterol in the healthy range is less than 200. HDL healthy range is 60 or greater and LDL 100-129 is considered healthy. Triglycerides should be under 150. INFORMATION: Now most likely you’ve heard about good and bad cholesterol but what’s what and how does cholesterol have an affect on the body? Cholesterol is actually a necessity for multiple functions in the body but excessive amounts of cholesterol have been linked to cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and the risk of stroke. LDL is the bad cholesterol while HDL is the good cholesterol. These two types of cholesterol work synergistically. If HDL is high that will help lower LDL and here’s how. In layman’s terms, HDL is essentially acting a garbage truck, going around and picking up all the excess LDL or plaque within arteries. The more garbage trucks (HDL) your bloodstream carries, the less plaque buildup you will have. 
PREVENTION: The #1 way to increase your HDL count is to exercise. Cholesterol is found in animal derived foods such as meats and dairy. Trying to stay away from dairy and sticking to lean meats such as chicken or turkey will reduce your chances of having high cholesterol. 

4. Glucose
RANGES: A healthy glucose level is 70-100mg/dl in the fasting state. 70-125mg/dl if non-fasting.
WHAT: Glucose levels above 100mg/dl (fasting) means that either there’s too much sugar in the diet or your body can’t efficiently process it, which then causes blood glucose levels to rise. The result of the body not processing blood glucose properly is type II diabetes. 
PREVENTION: By consuming whole grains instead of white or enriched grain/pasta/cereals and by increasing physical activity glucose levels can become more stable.

4 Ways to Improve Your Morning Routine

Starting the Day in a Healthy Way
By Ellyn Erving

If you are thinking about making some healthy enhancements to your life, starting small can be a great way to find and maintain motivation.  Here are four healthy habits to incorporate into your morning routine. You can pick one that resonates with you and ignore the rest, or you can add all into your morning starting tomorrow.

1.     Drinking 16oz of Water

Drinking water right when you wake up has multiple health benefits such as kick-starting your metabolism, waking up your gut for smooth bowel movements, and helping your body to flush out toxins.  Hydrating in the morning will help your skin to glow and encourage your body and brain to wake up for a productive day.

2.     60 Seconds of Morning Stretches

Ever notice how your body just wants to be stretched right after waking up? Try reaching your arms up overhead and bending forward into a hamstring stretch. Doing some light stretching in the morning helps to wake your body up and provides an energizing feeling.

3.     Set the Alarm 5 Minutes Earlier

Although it might feel amazing at the time, hitting the snooze button and getting those extra 5 minutes of sleep is not worth the rush it creates when you realize how little time you have to get ready for the day.  Try setting an intention to wake up 5 minutes earlier than normal so you can go through your morning routine at a leisurely pace to reduce morning stress.

4.     Invest in Breakfast

You have heard it before, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but sometimes despite your best efforts this meal just doesn’t fit into your morning.  One solution is to cook when you do have time and have a breakfast ready to go.  Try cooking a veggie frittata in a cupcake tray so you can grab one serving for your morning commute.  You can also purchase healthy breakfast bars at PCC, Whole Foods, or your local health food store.  Be sure to check the sugar content and make sure it is below 10g per serving to avoid a mid-morning energy crash.

Is Your Sunscreen Doing More Harm Than Good?

With summer here, it's time to think about how we treat the outside of our bodies, not just the inside. Skin is the largest organ in the body and will absorb whatever we put on it.  We've been told over and over that pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones and antibiotics are all toxic to the body and the mainstream sunscreens we all grew up using are loaded with chemicals.

Sunscreen is supposed to protect us from harmful UV radiation from the sun, but as more people use sunscreen, skin cancer incidences continue to increase. This fact alone has to make you wonder if sunscreen really provides skin cancer protection or if the chemicals in them are  actually contributing to causing skin cancer? Some studies have shown that sunscreens do in fact protect us from some types of skin cancers but other studies show that sunscreens have actually contributed to the risk of some of the worst forms of skin cancer. Despite the evidence going back and fourth about sunscreen, for me personally, I wouldn't eat toxic chemicals so why would I allow them on my skin? 

With all the hundreds of sunscreen products available today it can be confusing to know what to look for.

Below is a list of safe sunscreens

  • Badger  http://www.badgerbalm.com/c-24-natural-sunscreen.aspx
  • Seventh Generation http://www.seventhgeneration.com/search/node/sunscreen
  • Think Sport http://thinkbabybottles.3dcartstores.com/Safe-Sunscreen_c_22.html
  • John Masters http://site.johnmasters.com/sun.htm
  • Aubrey http://www.aubrey-organics.com/Category/40_1/SPF.aspx
  • Raw Elements http://www.rawelementsusa.com/
  • Sunology http://www.sunology.com/

How to pick a safe sunscreen

  • Look for titanium dioxide and zinc oxide based mineral sunscreens, which do not penetrate the skin and provide UVA protection against the sun’s most damaging rays.
  • Choose non-nano products that do not have small particles that can absorb into skin.
  • Choose sunscreens that are unscented or use essential oils as fragrance.
  • Pick lotion based sunscreens with water resistance vs spray or aerosol.
  • Pick broad spectrum sunscreens that protect against UVA and UVB rays.
  • Choose sunscreen products that are rated 0-2 in the Environmental Working Group’s Sunscreen Guide

What to watch out for with unsafe sunscreens

Oxybenzone - this is a hormone disrupting chemical which penetrates the skin and enters the bloodstream. It is the most popular ingredient in chemical based sunscreens and only blocks UVB ray (sun’s good rays that provide vitamin D production), not UVA which are the most free radical damaging rays.  Avoid any sunscreen that has this chemical at all costs, especially for children.
Vitamin A (Retinyl Palmitate) – A 2009 study by U.S. government scientists released by the National Toxicology Program found when this is applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight, it may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions.

Fragrance

Sure it may make the product smell nice, but this is a petroleum based product that is linked to organ toxicity and allergies.

High SPF

The FDA does not regulate SPF higher than 50 and there’s no scientific proof they work better than lower SPF. Many of the higher SPFs do not provide any additional protection and studies have suggested that users are exposed to as many or more ultraviolet rays as those who use lower-SPF products.

Sprays or Powders

Generally speaking, sprays and powders have additional chemicals added to them for performance purposes. These additional chemicals are usually not something you want to be spraying on your body and can be toxic to the lungs. Besides, remember sunscreen is formulated for your skin, not your lungs. Many of the side effects of sprays and powders on the lungs are not tested before being approved.

Popular Conventional Brands

Aveeno, Banana Boat, Coppertone Sport, Coppertone, Bull Frog, Neutragena, Storebrands (CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens), Hawaiian Tropic and many other popular brands are rated the worst in terms of safety in the Environmental Working Group’s Sunscreen Guide.

5 Best Day Hikes with Kids

Franklin Falls  Round Trip - 2.0 miles Elevation Gain – 400 ft Difficulty- very easy Directions: From Seattle, head east on I-90 to exit 47 Denny Creek/Tinkham Road. At the top of the exit ramp turn left and cross over the freeway. Go .2 miles and turn right at the stop sign onto Forest Road 58. The road crosses under the freeway and after .2 miles turn left. Continue ahead for 2.4 miles and take a left just after Denny Creek Campground and arrive at the Franklin Falls trailhead.

Franklin Falls 
Round Trip - 2.0 miles
Elevation Gain – 400 ft
Difficulty- very easy

Directions: From Seattle, head east on I-90 to exit 47 Denny Creek/Tinkham Road. At the top of the exit ramp turn left and cross over the freeway. Go .2 miles and turn right at the stop sign onto Forest Road 58. The road crosses under the freeway and after .2 miles turn left. Continue ahead for 2.4 miles and take a left just after Denny Creek Campground and arrive at the Franklin Falls trailhead.

Twin Falls  Round Trip - 2.0 miles Elevation Gain – 500 ft Difficulty: Easy Directions: From Seattle, head east on I-90 to exit 38 West. From the exit ramp, turn right onto SE Homestead Valley Road. Cross over the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River and take the first right. At the first and second forks, bear left. The road runs out at a junction with the Iron Horse Trail, which you will hike along for about a third of a mile before it connects to the Upper Twin Falls trail.

Twin Falls 
Round Trip - 2.0 miles
Elevation Gain – 500 ft
Difficulty: Easy

Directions: From Seattle, head east on I-90 to exit 38 West. From the exit ramp, turn right onto SE Homestead Valley Road. Cross over the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River and take the first right. At the first and second forks, bear left. The road runs out at a junction with the Iron Horse Trail, which you will hike along for about a third of a mile before it connects to the Upper Twin Falls trail.

Rattlesnake Ridge Round Trip – 4.0 miles Elevation Gain – 1160 ft Difficulty – Easy to moderate depending on skill level Directions: From Seattle, drive east on I-90 to exit 32 for 436th Avenue SE. Turn right onto 436th Avenue SE, also signed as Cedar Falls Road SE. Proceed about four miles down the road to the Rattlesnake Lake parking lot on the right.

Rattlesnake Ridge
Round Trip – 4.0 miles
Elevation Gain – 1160 ft
Difficulty – Easy to moderate depending on skill level

Directions: From Seattle, drive east on I-90 to exit 32 for 436th Avenue SE. Turn right onto 436th Avenue SE, also signed as Cedar Falls Road SE. Proceed about four miles down the road to the Rattlesnake Lake parking lot on the right.

Little Si Round Trip – 4.7 miles Elevation Gain – 1,300 ft Difficulty – Easy to moderate depending on skill level Directions: Traveling on I-90 East, approaching North Bend, take exit for 436th Ave SE and turn left. Head 0.5 miles on 436 Ave SE and take a left on SE North Bend Way. Proceed 0.3 miles and turn right on SE Mount Si Road. The main parking lot for Little Si will be 0.4 miles on your left as the road straightens out after the bend (if you pass 439 Pl SE or 440 PL SE, you have driven too far).  There is an overflow parking lot west of the main lot tucked into SE Mt Si Rd and 434 Ave SE. There is a trail connecting the two. Be warned that both lots may be full on weekends. There are two toilets in the main parking just off the trailhead. Discover Pass is required.  

Little Si
Round Trip – 4.7 miles
Elevation Gain – 1,300 ft
Difficulty – Easy to moderate depending on skill level

Directions: Traveling on I-90 East, approaching North Bend, take exit for 436th Ave SE and turn left. Head 0.5 miles on 436 Ave SE and take a left on SE North Bend Way. Proceed 0.3 miles and turn right on SE Mount Si Road. The main parking lot for Little Si will be 0.4 miles on your left as the road straightens out after the bend (if you pass 439 Pl SE or 440 PL SE, you have driven too far). 
There is an overflow parking lot west of the main lot tucked into SE Mt Si Rd and 434 Ave SE. There is a trail connecting the two. Be warned that both lots may be full on weekends. There are two toilets in the main parking just off the trailhead. Discover Pass is required.

 

Talapus & Olallie Lakes Round Trip – 6.2 miles Elevation Gain – 1,220 feet Difficulty – Moderate Directions: From Seattle, head east on I-90 to exit 45. Turn left, and drive under the freeway on FR 9030. In 1 mile follow the road around to the right at a junction. Continue straight on a gravel, sometimes severely potholed road to the trailhead at the road's end. Northwest Forest Pass and Alpine Lakes Wilderness Permit required, both available at the trailhead.

Talapus & Olallie Lakes
Round Trip – 6.2 miles
Elevation Gain – 1,220 feet
Difficulty – Moderate

Directions: From Seattle, head east on I-90 to exit 45. Turn left, and drive under the freeway on FR 9030. In 1 mile follow the road around to the right at a junction. Continue straight on a gravel, sometimes severely potholed road to the trailhead at the road's end. Northwest Forest Pass and Alpine Lakes Wilderness Permit required, both available at the trailhead.