If you love fruits and veggies like we do, you’re going to really love these tips from our friends at Shari’s Berries! Have you ever wrestled a watermelon to get perfect triangles or stained your fingers while peeling an orange? It seems like the best fruits are always the toughest to crack. What if there is an easier way to enjoy your favorite produce? If you are ready to try something new, check out these fruit and veggie-cutting hacks from Shari’s Berries. These tips and tricks will help you cut your favorite fruits and veggies with ease. Whether you love…

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Dr. Jason Fung is stopping by the blog today to share a bit about using adaptogens for stress. Enjoy, everybody—and be sure to share any questions you have on the comment board. 

“Adaptogens.” Something about the word is reminiscent of Transformers—you know, those robots that look like a normal automobile or airplane—and then turn into something so much more powerful.

In truth, adaptogens aren’t that different from Transformers. They look like normal herbs, roots, and mushrooms. You’ll perhaps even recognize some of the adaptogens discussed in this article and will have eaten them before.

But adaptogens aren’t just normal plants and mushrooms. Research tells us that adaptogens can transform us into people who are less affected by stress.(1)

And, in the modern world, being less stressed certainly sounds like a superpower, right?

So, let’s take a research-based look at how adaptogens work and which ones you might try. We’ll focus in particular on the best adaptogens for stress reduction.

How It Works: Taking Adaptogens for Stress Reduction

It could be that you’re physically stressed from exercise, worn out from fighting off an illness, or emotionally stressed by a work-life balance issue. In any of these situations, adaptogens can help reduce cortisol levels, balance your hormones, and leave you feeling calmer.

In short, adaptogens help with stress reduction because they increase your tolerance for stress.

The reason adaptogens can assist with a broad range of stressors has to do with the mechanism by which they reduce stress. Rather than going to the specific site of our stress—an injured body part or rush hour traffic (wouldn’t that be nice?)—they go to work on our hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands. These are the parts of our anatomy that signal and respond to stress.

As a result of this interaction, our “fight or flight” response is less likely to be triggered by every little thing that is happening in our day. And our overall cortisol levels are less likely to skyrocket in response to modern-day stresses that don’t actually deserve a physical response (back to that rush hour traffic).

Conversely, chronically high stress levels—and chronically high cortisol—can lead to adrenal fatigue, digestive issues, and even premature aging. So, the fact that adaptogens can reduce stress is important on a physical level, not just an emotional one. Reducing stress can keep us younger and healthier.

5 Adaptogens That Will Help You with Stress Reduction

So, how do you go about incorporating adaptogens into your diet or supplement regimen? It’s actually pretty easy, and you will recognize some of the names of the adaptogens below. While all adaptogens will reduce your body’s stress response, they each have their own special qualities and methods for attacking stress.

Let’s discuss five adaptogens that you can easily get ahold of and why they might be a great addition to your daily health routine.

1. Chaga Mushroom

Chaga comes first in this list because of its broad spectrum of benefits. Chaga has been used for hundreds of years in a variety of Eastern European countries and may even have been used as far back as Roman times.

It is extremely high in antioxidants and is therefore known for its anti-aging properties. These same antioxidants may be behind chaga’s traditional use as a cancer treatment, as well.(2)

But chaga’s ability to boost the immune system (3) also means it has the benefit of stress reduction. How many of us have experienced the two-fronted attack of stress and illness? Don’t you always come down with the flu or a cold at the worst possible time? A 2011 study demonstrated that mice treated with chaga had an increased ability to fend off viruses and bacteria.(4)

2. Ginseng

This knobby looking root is one of the adaptogens you’re more likely to already be familiar with. Ginseng has trended in and out of fashion in the Western world, but in Traditional Chinese Medicine it has long been a powerful tool for reducing stress, anxiety, and mental fatigue.

There are many recent studies available that demonstrate ginseng’s status as one of the powerful adaptogens for stress reduction. Here are just a few:

  • A 2003 study on rats found ginseng to be an effective strategy against chronic stress.(5)
  • A 2010 study on a group of thirty human volunteers showed ginseng improved calmness.(6)
  • A 2013 meta-analysis of both human and animal studies found ginseng to be an effective “actoprotector,” which means it can increase mental and physical performance. The meta-analysis authors suggested ginseng deserved further research regarding its ability to influence mental work capacity.(7)

Note: because ginseng can also be a natural energy-booster, it can be an effective way to kick a caffeine habit and switch to something more beneficial.

3. Reishi Mushroom

Reishi mushrooms have been used therapeutically for over two thousand years because of the multitude of benefits this mushroom imparts.

In China, reishi mushrooms are considered to symbolize “success, well-being, divine power, and longevity.” (8) On a more practical level, reishi mushrooms are a good source of all nine essential amino acids. (9) This means reishi can assist with muscle growth and recovery, hormonal balance, antibody production, and more—all things that can help us recover from stress and fight it off to begin with.

Reishi has also proven effective in fighting fatigue from various sources. A 2005 study conducted on neurasthenia sufferers—a condition that results in chronic fatigue, irritability, headaches, and more—found consuming reishi resulted in a significant improvement in their symptoms. (10) Another human study found reishi reduced fatigue and improved quality of life in breast cancer patients. (11)

4. Rhodiola Rosea

The adaptogens in rhodiola come from the roots of the plant. Rhodiola is good both for regulating mood and improving cognitive function.

A 2008 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine demonstrated that participants experienced a significant improvement in their generalized anxiety disorder. (12) And a 2009 study from the Journal of Ethnopharmacology (conducted in a laboratory and using neither humans nor animals) showed that rhodiola roots possessed “potent anti-depressant activity” due to its ability as an MAO inhibitor. (13)

For the most effectiveness, take rhodiola first thing in the morning before you eat.

5. Ashwagandha

While this root has long been prescribed in India for a wide range of issues—everything from inflammation to insomnia—modern science does indeed back up ashwagandha’s claims to positively impact our stress level.

According to a study published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, study participants’ serum cortisol levels were “substantially reduced.” (14) In this study, participants took 300 mg of high-concentration full-spectrum ashwagandha extract twice a day for sixty days.

Conclusion

As you can see from the diversity of the research, adaptogens are not a simple substance—but their benefits are simple to understand. By improving our immune system, reducing our cortisol, boosting our brain function, and reducing our anxiety, these seemingly “normal” herbs, roots, and mushrooms can drastically reduce our everyday stress levels.

An easy (and delicious) way to give adaptogens a try in your life is with Pique’s TCM Elixirs:

The Chaga Energy Elixir is a perfect way to begin your day. Blended with N.American ginseng and burdock root, it boosts brain function and energy—and is a great alternative to caffeine. (Or you can add it to your coffee or tea, if you’d like!)

The Reishi Calm Elixir is a great way to complete your day. Drinking it in the evenings can help you wind down from work while it also supports your immune system, combats stress, and regulates your mood.

No matter which adaptogens for stress reduction you decide to try, get ready to feel less anxious and more balanced. Both science and traditional medicines tell us this is true. It’s amazing how many benefits such a simple substance can bring to our lives.

Thanks again to Dr. Jason Fung for his post today. Questions about adaptogens for stress management? Share them below. Have a great week, everybody.

References:

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3991026/

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17980585?dopt=Abstract

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15970296?dopt=Abstract

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21820502

5. https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jphs/93/4/93_4_458/_article

6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20737519

7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3659633/

8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92757/

9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1057970/

10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15857210

11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22203880

12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18307390

13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19168123/

14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3573577/

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Reminder! We’ve partnered up with the good peeps at PaleoHacks to bring you recipes (like this immunity-boosting soup), workouts (like this leg day at home one), tips, and more! PaleoHacks is a top source for amazing Paleo recipes, fitness tips, and wellness advice to help you live life to the fullest. Read on for some inspiring fitness ideas — and stay tuned for more healthy content from them in the coming weeks.  Exercising by yourself can be great! You get to do it on your own time, and you can do it at your own pace. But, let’s be honest, working…

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We had the opportunity to talk to Dr. Bradley Nelson for the podcast months ago, and — I’ll own up to it — I TOTALLY geeked out. (Listen to the episode here.) His work in understanding how trapped emotions can actually be stored in the body and impact your health and happiness blew my mind when I first learned about it. And using his techniques to find them and release them? Well, it definitely changed my life. Dr. Nelson just released a revised and expanded edition of his bestselling book, The Emotion Code: How to Release Your Trapped Emotions for…

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Emotional eating is always a hot topic. While we’ve written a lot about it and believe that it’s often tied more (or at least in part) to this cycle, there’s no doubt that food is surrounded by feelings — negative ones, positive ones, and everything in between. For feel-good ways to improve your relationship with food by putting self-care and unconditional self-love first, we’ve got this post from Kristin Jones. A certified personal trainer, Inferno Hot Pilates and barre instructor, you can learn more about Kristin and what she does here. 3 Self-Care Practices That Can Help With Emotional Eating,…

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Reminder: We’ve partnered up with the good peeps at PaleoHacks to bring you some new recipes (like this immunity-boosting soup), workouts (like this leg-day-at-home one), tips, and more! PaleoHacks is a top source for amazing Paleo recipes, fitness tips, and wellness advice to help you live life to the fullest. Read on for a core-strengthening workout that you can do with just exercise bands (we dig these) — and stay tuned for more healthy content from them in the coming weeks. News flash: Your core is made up of way more muscles than just your abs. While many view the core as…

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Ever said to a friend: “I want to work out, but I just can’t seem to find the time?” You’re not alone. Lack of time is probably the most common reason people name when it comes to struggling to get their fitness in. But! It can be done. And we have just the challenge for you in order to make regular workouts a habit. Straight from the self-help book Get Your Life Together(ish), author Julia Dellitt lays out not one, but three different challenges you can take in order to find time (and make the time) to work out. Each…

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Wish you had better posture? It may just be a stretch (or four!) away. Learn how to improve your posture from Sukie Baxter, a posture and movement specialist and the author of Perfect Posture for Life. Sukie helps people change their lives by changing the way they move. Download her free guide to easing aches and pains here. Up to 80 percent of people will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to make sure you’re not among them. And, fixing your posture is at the top of the…

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We’ve partnered up with the good peeps at PaleoHacks to bring you some new recipes, workouts, tips, and more! PaleoHacks is a top source for amazing Paleo recipes, fitness tips, and wellness advice to help you live life to the fullest. Read on for a tasty chicken and sweet potato recipe — and stay tuned for more healthy content from them in the coming weeks. (You can see PaleoHacks’ past guest posts for us here.) If you’re looking for a healthy, nutritious, and filling meal, look no further than these taco-inspired stuffed sweet potatoes! This Paleo-friendly, dairy-free recipe doesn’t have…

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Thanks to Courtney Hamilton at Paleohacks.com for today’s recipe.

Have food ready and on the table in under half an hour with these keto-friendly weekday meals!

One of the hardest parts about sticking to any diet is the amount of time you have to dedicate to preparing food. Gone are the days when you could run through the drive-thru on a particularly crazy day—at least, not without ketosis-wrecking consequences.

The next time you’re in a pinch, forget the fast food and check out this list. If you have a well-stocked pantry, you’re guaranteed to be able to make many of these 30-minute, keto-friendly meals at any given time. In other words, you can feed yourself in the amount of time it would take to run through the drive-thru.

You’ve got options for every meal of the day. Whip up delicious keto breakfasts like bacon and avocado burritos or stick-to-your-ribs keto “oatmeal” first thing in the morning, assemble a satiating Tex-Mex salad or three-ingredient salmon zucchini pasta for lunch, make a Korean beef bowl after work and indulge in a creamy bacon and shrimp skillet for a post-workout dinner.

Whatever time of day, there’s a keto meal on here for you.

Psst: If you’re looking for low-carb munchies in between meals, look no further than these 23 keto snack ideas!

#1 PaleoHacks | Easy Low Carb Keto “Noatmeal”

Start your morning off right with a warm bowl of oatmeal without all the carbs. This version simmers cauliflower rice in coconut milk with hemp seeds and chia seeds for a cozy breakfast.

#2 The Nourished Caveman | Keto Creamy Shrimp and Bacon Skillet

Few things are more succulent than the combination of shrimp, bacon, and coconut cream. Bonus: This meal comes together in minutes.

#3 PaleoHacks | Keto Breakfast Burrito with Bacon and Avocado

This ketosis-fueling burrito is technically made for breakfast, but we’d scarf this down any time of day.

#4 Healthful Pursuit | 5-Minute Cream of Tomato Soup

If you only have five minutes to spare, look no further. This creamy soup gets its richness from a surprise ingredient: macadamia nuts.

#5 PaleoHacks | Keto Breakfast Burger with Avocado Buns

Looking for a way to jazz up your keto breakfasts? Make “buns” out of avocado! Yes, this is a fork and knife burger.

#6 I Heart Umami | Paleo Filipino Skirt Steak with Cauliflower Rice

If you’re craving Filipino comfort food, give this low-carb version of steak and rice a try.

#7 PaleoHacks | Easy Buffalo Chicken Salad

This creamy, bright and spicy buffalo chicken salad is wrapped in crunchy lettuce cups for a healthy lunch your coworkers will surely envy.

#8 Wholesome Yum | Crispy Pan-Fried Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Balsamic Vinegar

How do you pack a ton of flavor into Brussels sprouts? You pan-fry them with crunchy bacon and top with tangy balsamic vinegar.

#9 PaleoHacks | Keto Turkey and Egg Breakfast Skillet

Ground turkey and eggs make for a quick and delicious breakfast any morning, but this recipe works for any time of day, too.

# 10 Wholesome Yum | Italian Marinated Artichoke Salad

This artichoke salad is super close to antipasto—go ahead and add some meat if your macros can take it!

#11 PaleoHacks | 15-Minute Pesto Shrimp Pasta with Zucchini Noodles

Put a spin on pasta night with these zucchini noodles, slathered in Paleo pesto and topped with succulent shrimp.

#12 Nom Nom Paleo | Paleo Sausage Egg McMuffin

Craving fast food? Opt for this ketosis-fueling version, which builds a “McMuffin” out of fried egg patties and nixes the cheese for creamy avocado.

#13 Keto Summit | 3-Ingredient Keto Salmon Pasta

Filled with satiating fats, this three-ingredient “pasta” requires only zucchini noodles, cooked salmon, and your favorite mayo. Top with your favorite seasonings, and dig in!

#14 Wholesome Yum | Keto Coconut Curry Chicken

Before you head out to an Indian restaurant to gorge on rice and naan, reconsider: Can you make a low-carb version at home? This recipe proves you can.

#15 PaleoHacks | Kale and Mushroom Sausage Patties

These savory sausage patties are so versatile—use them to make a sandwich with this keto bread, serve them alongside eggs, or dip in your favorite keto sauce.

#16 Wholesome Yum | Oven Roasted Mushrooms with Balsamic, Garlic and Herbs

You can serve this hearty side alongside a thick steak, but these mushrooms are meaty enough to work as a main dish all by themselves.

#17 The Nourished Caveman | Kale and Eggs Benedict

Skip the English muffin and top hearty kale and fatty eggs with a creamy, keto-friendly hollandaise sauce. Perfect for brunch!

#18 Wholesome Yum | Broccoli Cauliflower Salad with Bacon and Mayo

All you need is 10 minutes to whip up this hearty cruciferous salad with creamy mayo and salty bacon, and you’ll be fueled for hours.

#19 Diethood | Steak Fajita Roll-Ups

Here’s a fun way to serve up your steak and veggies: make steak wraps out of them!

#20 Bulletproof Blog | Low Carb Beef Stir-fry

This Asian-inspired beef stir-fry with zucchini noodles boasts tons of flavor with very few carbs.

#21 Little Spice Jar | Garlic Butter Baked Salmon in Foil

This easy-peasy, low-mess dinner cooks up quick and produces the most flavorful salmon, ever. Be sure to opt for grass-fed butter.

#22 Bulletproof Blog | Poached Cod in Tomato Broth

Looking to switch up your seafood intake? Try poached cod in a vibrant, fragrant tomato broth. The whole meal comes together in just 20 minutes!

#23 Eat Well 101 | 15-Minute Cowboy Butter Chicken with Zucchini Noodles

Grass-fed butter elevates the humble butter chicken in this 15-minute recipe.

#24 That’s Low Carb?! | Bok Choy Chicken Stir-Fry

It’s hard to beat a quick-cooking stir-fry, thanks to its ability to pack in tons of flavor in just a few minutes.

#25 Life Made Sweeter | Tex-Mex Chicken Salad

Packed with fajita chicken and veggies, this hearty and filling salad is always a safe bet!

#26 Primavera Kitchen | Shrimp Avocado Cucumber Salad

This colorful salad is just what you need on a warm day.

#27 A Sweet Life | Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Grab a sheet pan for a super quick meal with easy cleanup. Then, grab some lettuce leaves and instead of tortillas and dig in!

#28 Happy Body Formula | Low Carb Korean Beef Bowl

Ginger, garlic, chili, fish sauce—while quick, nothing about this meal is boring.

#29 All Day I Dream About Food | Lemongrass Chicken with Cilantro Cauliflower Rice

Fragrant lemongrass gives this 30-minute keto meal a distinctive Asian flair. Use whichever keto/Paleo sweetener you’d prefer here.

#30 Physical Kitchness | Easy Paleo Greek Chicken Skillet

If you’re a fan of Mediterranean food, you’ll love this chicken skillet with Greek seasonings, lemon, olives, and artichoke hearts.

Thanks again to Courtney Hamilton from Paleohacks.com. Interested in seeing a certain recipe or roundup of a certain category—Primal or Primal-keto? Let us know below!

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