April 2016

Pet Food Super Powers

Super girl and dog

Believe it or not, it wasn’t until nearly the 20th Century that pet food was something distinct from scraps derived from human diets. However, only in the past four decades has the emphasis on health-promotion entered the mix. Some of our readers will no doubt recall the “Gravy Train” commercials of the 70’s. Pet food certainly has changed dramatically since those days! More...

A Probing Look at Probiotics

Girl doing yoga

After years of hearing about the benefits of probiotics, you probably think you know everything you need to. Chances are they were your friend to help you through the winter ambush of colds. To most minds, there’s probably no mystery left.

Given the nature of the good news plus more good news, you’re either in favor of probiotics or you’re like me, a totally pro-probiotic fanatic.

But regular doses of probiotics? Hmmmm. 

Even in the media, probiotics are discussed generically, rather than mentioning the individual helpful strains of friendly bacteria. Such overgeneralizations leave us unsure if you should be taking them, which ones to take, how often to take them, and (when you just get down to it) what exactly is it that probiotics do?

Well, I’m gonna break it all down for you, demonstrating, once and for always, just how awesome probiotics can be.

First, let’s see what “the authorities” say. Probiotics are defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “live microorganisms, which, when consumed in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” Probiotics are often referred to as “good” or “friendly” bacteria, and YOU are the host the WHO is referring to in this instance.

But what exactly are probiotics, you ask? Well, stay with me here.

A complex ecosystem of bacteria, known as the “intestinal microbiota,” develops after birth, taking up residence in the intestinal tract. Yep, we have a whole ecosystem of bacteria shacking up in our gut. The intestinal microbiota contains both “good” and “bad” bacteria. When the “bad” starts to outweigh the “good,” which can be due to lack of sleep, excess stress, or a bunch of other causes, it may affect your digestive system and your overall well-being.

To level off any imbalances, taking a probiotic supplement can help this whole gut situation. Maintaining a consistent level of “good” bacteria in your intestinal tract may actually improve how well it functions. Take that, “bad” bacteria!

Having adequate “good” bacteria has been shown to help support a healthy digestive system, a healthy immune system and help maintain oral health.

But all probiotics are NOT created equally. This is where it gets tricky.

There are many strains of cultures that have probiotic potential. But, each strain does different things, and each has its own little suitcase of benefits. We figure all this out in controlled studies, and we also figure out if you need a little bit or loads of a certain strain to reap its benefits.

You may have seen something on a food label (think yogurt or sauerkraut) about live and active cultures. Live cultures are microbes used to ferment foods, but not all live and active cultures are probiotics (meaning they don’t all have studies supporting specific benefits.) The “Live Active Cultures” seal was established by the National Yogurt Association to help consumers distinguish between yogurts that contain a minimum level of live and active cultures versus those that don’t.

So, bottom line, should you take a probiotic supplement?

I recommend that most people include a serving of fermented food each day (for example, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut) and take a premium probiotic supplement as insurance for good gut health and overall wellness. When you do this and your best to adhere to a healthy lifestyle, including managing stress and getting the proper amount of Zzz’s, you may just become a pro-probiotic fanatic, too!

Keri Keri Glassman MS.RD.CDN

Let Go of Limiting Beliefs

Meditating

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

- Frank Outlaw, Founder of Bi-Lo

Everyday you’re faced with choices and challenges, and how you choose to respond to them will shape and mold your life. If you’re by nature a positive person who always sees the glass as half-full then rock on! But if you tend to look for the negative in new situations or other people, then read on and set yourself free! Limiting beliefs could be holding you back from living your best life.

Change the Way You See the World

Most unhappiness comes from the repetition of old stories we play out in our heads: “I’m the unathletic one, the chubby one, the dumb one or the one who can’t speak in front of the class.” Happiness involves letting go of that baggage and moving forward with a new story. Explore where your ideas came from and ask yourself if they’re really true. Just because your fifth grade gym teacher told you that you weren’t athletic doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow your dream of training for a marathon or trying a spin class- or even play backyard football with your kids.

If you continually think negative thoughts because of your ingrained beliefs, your mind will see them as the truth. Whether these thoughts are about your appearance, your intelligence or your athletic abilities, you’ve got to leave them in the past in order to thrive in the present and reach your goals in the future.

Most often, our sense of present inadequacy comes from these false beliefs created in the past; so later on in life, when we go to answer the question of, “Who am I?" we answer from this place of not being good enough. Here’s the thing: you have the control to change your situation, and when you realize that one bad experience from your past doesn’t have to be the frame of reference for your future, a whole new world will open up.

Try This …

Write down your top five goals for the next five years. They could be anything from getting that promotion you’ve been dreaming of or losing those last 10 pounds to reach your ideal weight. Make two columns next to your goals and in the first write down the limiting belief you have about why you think you’ll never reach them; in the next column write down the strengths and skills you know you have that will help you succeed. Instead of focusing on the negatives, focus on all the reasons you can and will succeed; and then find a productivity tool, like Goals on Track, to track and celebrate each little milestone success.

When you learn to let go of your past and live in the present, there is no goal you can’t reach, problem you can’t solve or race you can’t win; so decide to go for it and believe you can do it!

Danielle  Danielle Diamond, Field Rep Contributor