Epsom Salt/Magnesium #bebetter52

IMG_1034.jpg

Do you have trouble with sleeping, stress, or high blood pressure? This week's Be Better Challenge could help you with all three and more!

This week's Be Better Challenge is to incorporate magnesium into your life. You can take an epsom salt bath, use magnesium oil, take a supplement, or eat foods rich in magnesium.

Magnesium helps to calm nerves, prevent migraines, avoid osteoporosis, relieve muscle aches and spasms, aid digestion by relieving constipation, improve mood, alleviate PMS, increase energy, and also to treat insomnia. Stress, caffeine, alcohol, and sugar deplete magnesium which means many of us might have a magnesium deficiency and not even know it.

Luckily, there are many ways to incorporate magnesium into your life this week. Adding 2-3 cups of epsom salt to a warm bath and soaking for around 20 minutes is an easy way to complete this week's challenge. If you're feeling under the weather, a detox bath might be helpful with 2 cups of epsom salt and 1 cup of baking soda in a warm bath. If you're struggling with restless legs or not sleeping well, a topical magnesium oil or lotion might be a good option for you. You can make these yourself by dissolving 1/2 cup of epsom salt into 3/4 cup hot water. Magnesium oil can be added to a thick lotion and used on your feet and calves before bed. There are also magnesium oils and lotions on the market you can purchase. (Be careful not to get the oil on cuts or freshly shaved legs as it might sting a little.)

Another way to complete this week's challenge is to eat foods that are rich in magnesium. Banana, squash, broccoli, spinach, dark chocolate, kale, pineapple, strawberries, figs, red meat, corn, potatoes, nuts, yogurt or kefir, and seeds are all options rich in magnesium. Pumpkin seeds are an especially good source of magnesium, so keep the seeds when you cook a pumpkin for your Thanksgiving pumpkin pie! Post a picture of your completed challenge on Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #bebetterchallenge to earn more toward charity.

 

 

Gratitude Tree #bebetter52

IMG_0904.PNG

November, the season of Thanksgiving, gives us a special chance to focus on gratitude, thankfulness, and appreciation for life. We are often encouraged at this time to think about people, memories, situations and circumstances for which we are thankful and to share them with friends and family. This week's #bebetter52 challenge  gives you the opportunity to display your gratitude by making a gratitude tree.

A gratitude tree could be a construction paper tree taped to your window, some sticks in a vase with leaves tied on with ribbon, or it could be a tree you print out and stick on your fridge. You can either write down what you're thankful for all at once, or you can fill in a leaf each day with something new for which you're grateful.  If you want to involve your family, ask your kids to draw pictures of what they're thankful for while you reflect with your family on gratitude and it's importance.

Some benefits to expressing gratitude are feeling happier and more optimistic, feeling less materialistic, and reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol. It lowers the risk of major depression and improves self-esteem as well. If you find yourself in a rut and can't think of much to be grateful about, below are some prompts for your gratitude tree. Remember, the more you add to your gratitude tree, the more you will find to be grateful for!

  1. What tradition are you grateful for?

  2. What talent or skill do you have that you're grateful for?

  3. What book are you grateful for?

  4. What struggle are you grateful for?

  5. What friend or family member are you grateful for?

Rita Schiano, resilience strategist and life coach, said that talking about our problems is one of our greatest addictions. Break the habit, by talking about your joys. Post a picture of your gratitude tree with the hashtag #bebetter52 and earn more money toward charity!

Examples of gratitude trees:

Cauliflower #bebetter52

IMG_0807.PNG

When is the last time you had cauliflower? If I told you one serving contains 77% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C, would it make you want to buy some cauliflower to help strengthen your immune system for this year's cold and flu season?

With this week's Be Better Challenge, you can reap the benefits of vitamin C and more by eating cauliflower this week.

Along with vitamins C, B, and K, cauliflower has beta-carotene and is high in omega-3 fatty acids. For pregnancy, It aids in proper fetal development because it has folate, detoxifies the body by activating enzymes in the liver, and also fights inflammation because it is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Cauliflower has been shown to help balance hormones by reducing unhealthy levels of estrogen, and it also has great digestive benefits. It's a great source of fiber and helps to reduce constipation while also having compounds to help beneficial gut bacteria growth. Studies reveal the compounds in cauliflower assist in reducing risks of cancer, and the potassium in cauliflower helps to maintain the electrolyte balance in the body.

Not only can you steam and roast cauliflower, but you can also use it as a base for hummus, mashed as a substitute for mashed potatoes, or you can use it as a crust for pizza or breadsticks. Cauliflower rice is a popular option as well as a filler in meatloaf or soups or in place of your normal rice or quinoa. If you don't have a food processor to make your own, stores like Costco and Trader Joe's have bags of cauliflower rice in their produce sections.  

Try this recipe from crunchycreamysweet.com for roasted garlic cauliflower alfredo sauce this week and reap the benefits of cauliflower!

Ingredients

1 medium cauliflower head, or 4 cups of cauliflower florets

7 cloves roasted garlic. (See my tutorial link in notes.)

1/2 cup broth or water reserved from cooking the cauliflower

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, optional but recommended

dash of salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Cut cauliflower into florets. Place in a large pot and fill with water or broth or an equal mix of both. Cook the cauliflower until tender.

Remove from water and place on a large baking sheet. Let cool slightly before blending.

Place cauliflower, roasted garlic cloves, half of a cup of the cooking water or broth and cheese in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add more liquid if your sauce is too thick for your liking.

Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to taste.

Use the sauce right away or pour into a jar. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Try some other Cauliflower dishes

Cauliflower mash

Cauliflower pizza crust

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

 

 






 

Teal Pumpkin Project #bebetter52

IMG_0636.jpg

Halloween! For some it's a time for pumpkins, dressing up, and trick-or-treating. For others it's a time of vigilance for food allergens and disappointment at needing to give up most of their candy. You can help kids with food allergies have more options when trick-or-treating this year by participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project for this week's Be Better Challenge.

This week's #bebetter52 challenge is to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project this Halloween. All you have to do is provide non-food treats for trick-or-treaters that have food allergies or intolerances, celiac disease, Eosinophilic Esophagitis, Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome, feeding tubes, or other special diets.

Place a teal pumpkin in front of your home to indicate you have non-food items available, and/or display a sign saying you have non-food items (Free download sign here). You can also add your house to the Teal Pumpkin Project Participation Map which will show trick-or-treaters with food allergies or those on a special diet where they can go to receive a treat they can fully enjoy because it doesn't have a potentially life-threatening allergen.

Options for non-food items are endless! Glow sticks, mini bubbles, erasers, pencils, and plastic teeth are all great alternatives to candy. Stores like Target and Party City have "goody bag" toys which would be a great start. It doesn't have to be much, but when most candies have nuts, milk, egg, soy, or wheat, this option will be a way to make an impact on those with food allergies who would otherwise need to give away their candy at the end of the night. When trick-or-treaters come, you can either ask if they have a food allergy and offer a non-food item or offer the usual candy.

Learn more about the Teal Pumpkin Project

FAQs | Food Allergy Research & Education

www.foodallergy.org

If you or someone you love is new to food allergies, start with the basics of understanding the condition, as well as how to prevent and treat reactions.

Cayenne Pepper #bebetter52

IMG_0490.PNG

As we're going into cold and flu season, would it be helpful to have a homemade cough remedy on hand? Is planning your Halloween costume giving you a migraine? Would you try anything to  improve your allergies? This week's Be Better Challenge could help with all of these!

This week's Be Better Challenge is to use cayenne pepper. This spicy pepper can be put in cookies, in detoxifying drinks, baked on chicken, or even applied to your hair.

Since cayenne pepper is an anti-inflammatory agent, it can help to prevent allergies and allergy symptoms. It helps to prevent blood clots and stimulates the circulatory system by opening capillaries. As a source of vitamin A, it is said to relieve migraine pain and help to remedy cold and flu symptoms.

If you love spicy foods, you can make your own hot sauce or try fettuccine with chicken roasted in red pepper sauce. If you aren't a fan of spicy foods, you can still complete this Be Better challenge! Mix olive or coconut oil with cayenne pepper for a hair mask said to promote hair growth, or make the homemade cough remedy below.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (preferably Bragg's, if available)

2 tablespoons honey (locally produced raw honey is best, if available)

2 tablespoons water

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Instructions

Place all the ingredients in a small jar and shake to combine. Leave at room temperature for a few days or place in the refrigerator for longer storage. Shake well each time before using. Please note:  the spices will not dissolve into the liquid, it will not be a thick syrup, and it should remain watery.

Recipes:

Spicy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Homemade Cayenne Pepper Sauce

Cayenne Rubbed Chicken with Avocado