Coconut Oil #bebetter52

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When many people think of coconut oil, they may only consider its beauty benefits on the skin and hair. Did you know that coconut oil helps weight loss, reduces risk for heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease, strengthens your immune system, and minimizes stress? The list of benefits for this simple, organic ingredient seems to be endless, and all it takes to access these benefits is a quick trip to the grocery store.

This week’s #bebetter52 challenge: Use Coconut Oil. Whether it be incorporated into your cosmetic routine or daily diet, coconut oil can be a solution to numerous issues many individuals face every day. Go buy a bottle or jar of coconut oil, and you’ll be surprised at just how many uses it serves!

Coconut oil contains unsaturated and saturated fats, polyphenols, numerous acids, vitamins, and minerals. These components combine together to create a healthy and tasty oil that is easy to digest and versatile to fit various roles. Most stores offer six main types of coconut oil; be sure to research which type you need for your category of usage.

Coconut oil is known around the world for its effective cosmetic benefits. To soften dry skin and prevent premature aging, buy a lotion, cream, or moisturizer that contains coconut oil as the main base. Alternatively, you can buy coconut oil at the store and make your own moisturizer at home. Coconut oil also repairs damaged hair and restores your hair’s shine due to its abundance of essential proteins. Purchase pure coconut oil and massage through your scalp to keep your hair healthier than ever. Coconut oil can even act as a tooth whitener--swish it around in your mouth to prevent plaque buildup and increase calcium levels.

Surprisingly, coconut oil has more health benefits than cosmetic benefits. A unique and tasty way to harness some of these health benefits is to include a splash of coconut oil in your coffee. Replacing milk with coconut oil can improve digestion, strengthen bones, and reduce the risk of liver and kidney disease. To boost weight loss, use coconut oil in place of other oils during any type of cooking. Coconut oil contains far fewer calories and boosts your energy and stamina for intense workouts. In addition, applying coconut oil over infected cuts and bruises can hasten the healing process due to its chemical composition, which is shown to protect damaged parts of the body. Add a bottle of coconut oil to your kitchen cabinet as a wise investment for resolving many daily and long-term problems while benefiting your health!

Non-Toxic Fragrances #bebetter52

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Our sense of smell is the one most connected to memory. Whether it’s the delicious bakery aroma as we walk around town or the fresh smell of pine trees after a rainy day, scent is a constant in our lives. Smells can be wonderful--or not so wonderful--but whatever the scent, we often experience an emotional reaction to what meets our noses. Scents hold more power than most of us realize. Have you ever caught a whiff of a certain perfume that transports you back to that springtime when you were sixteen? Or felt an overwhelming sense of relaxation when you smelled a lavender bush in bloom? That’s because scent actually has a profound effect on the way we feel. Scents can trigger moods because of associative learning (the perfume example) or through aromatherapy from the natural properties of certain plants. However, not all scents and fragrances are beneficial to the health of body and mind. The artificial fragrance industry projects to reach 92 billion dollars in 2024, but the truth is most of these fragrance chemicals are toxic and hazardous to our well being.

In fact, many studies have shown artificial scents from candles, room sprays, or even perfumes can be harmful to our health. The reality behind our stack of fall-themed candles is most likely they are not as pretty as the packaging. That’s because “about 95 percent of chemicals used in synthetic fragrances are derived from petroleum (crude oil)”(Dr Axe). This means that the chemicals found in many common household cleaning products, toiletries, or other artificially scented products have the potential to be carcinogenic by our simply breathing them in through the air. Further, many of those compounds also act as endocrine disruptors that can lead to hormone imbalance, weight gain, as well as many diseases (Dr. Axe). These harmful smells often come with the label “fragrance,” a term that traditionally carries a positive connotation. It appears your nose is not the only part of you being deceived.

Katie Wells from the Wellness Mama agrees when she states the reasons she no longer uses scented candles, “Though they seem safe, regular scented candles are a huge source of indoor air pollution and they put off chemicals that are considered just as dangerous as second-hand smoke.” She continues listing the toxins created from burning the traditional wax, the wick and artificial scents and dyes.

This week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to take a look at the artificial fragrances in your home and replace at least one of them with a non-toxic option. Traditional aromatics around your home (such as scented candles, air fresheners, and scented sprays) may be highly toxic, so let’s learn about healthier alternatives and embrace safer fragrances.

Safer Alternatives:

  1. Buy Beeswax candles since they have air purifying properties.

  2. Use essential oils: they can be placed in a diffuser, in bathwater or spray bottle mixed with water to create a wonderful fragrance. We suggest using a blue glass spray bottle when storing essential oil spray.

  3. In your kitchen add favorite herbs and spices to a boiling pot of water and let it simmer to your heart’s content. Some suggestions include allspice, cinnamon, cloves, eucalyptus, lavender, citrus fruit, mint leaves, and nutmeg.

  4. Create potpourri by drying items such as flowers, wood chips and spices, and then place them in bowls around your home.

In the My Be Better Box:

Blue glass is the ideal container to store essential oils (a great alternative to toxic scents) because it offers UV protection for sensitive oils to stay fresh and balanced. These bottles are great for DIY scented sprays to bring into your home as an alternative to toxic store-bought scents.



Fresh Flowers #bebetter52

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Do you remember the last time you did something special just for yourself? You deserve to treat yourself with love. So this week, no more waiting on a man to buy you flowers or feeling like you aren’t worth it. We’re bringing fresh flowers home as an act of self care.

This week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to bring the splendor of summer into your home by adding fresh flowers. You don’t need to wait for someone to buy you a bouquet or for some fancy occasion. Fresh flowers liven up any room and add beauty to your home. Head outside and pick an arrangement of wildflowers or stop by the local flower store and spend a few extra dollars on yourself!

Fresh flowers act as a powerful mood booster and can increase creativity and energy. This pretty accent in your home will not only liven up your decor, but can also liven up your life. Bringing this bit of nature inside has been proven to reduce stress levels. Flowers are a go to gift for a reason. They have the unique ability to spread positivity, whether given to others or bought for yourself. 

Flowers are more than just beneficial for your mood at home; they’re good for your workspace, too! Studies have shown that surrounding ourselves with nature as we work boosts productivity. Simply having plants nearby can increase creative ideas by 15% in the workplace. As an added bonus, flowers and plants both help to clean the air in your space and make your work environment even better. 

Pro Tip: Bringing fresh lavender into your bedroom (and sniffing it before bed) will help you sleep better!



Acts of Service #bebetter52

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The simple act of holding a door open for a stranger can set in motion a chain reaction that can improve the lives of others. Even small efforts have the potential to make big differences in people’s attitudes and feelings of self-esteem. You have the possibility to make our world a better place.

This week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to practice at least three acts of service, no matter how small. You may choose to help someone with their bags at the grocery store, cook a meal for a friend, or even volunteer at a local charity. No matter what you do, embrace the mindset of service and enjoy the perspective it gives you. 

Serving others can benefit you as well! Taking time to think about someone else often reduces the stress and anxiety we feel when we become too caught up in our own lives. Service is about spreading positivity through our actions. Simply being conscious of how we can be of help to others can make a world of difference in our moods. Service brings joy and changes the way we view the world. 

This challenge is a great one to get the kiddos involved. Kids will notice the good example you are setting through even the smallest deeds. Encourage your kids to practice their own acts of service, such as cleaning up after their sibling, clearing the table after dinner, helping you make cookies for the new neighbor. This is a perfect time to show your kids the ways they can affect others positively. 

Acts of Service to try:

  • Pick up trash on a walk

  • Give a stranger a compliment

  • Buy the coffee of the person behind you

  • Donate old clothes and toys

  • Walk a neighbor’s dog

  • Bake someone cookies

  • Offer to take a family’s photo 

  • Volunteer for a non-profit

  • Mow your neighbor’s lawn

  • Give someone else your seat on the bus or train

  • Add change to a parking meter

  • GET CREATIVE! All acts of service--no matter how small--spread kindness and positivity, so do as much as you can in any way you can!

Eat Fermented Foods #bebetter52

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This week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to eat fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, or kombucha, just to name a few. These fermented foods are rich in probiotics, which are beneficial for your gut health and microbiome.

Gut health is currently a hot health topic. Research shows that a healthy gut contributes to a healthy immune system, a sharper brain, better sleep and digestion, and a more positive mood.  Did you know that the gut contains the vast majority of the serotonin in our body? It’s true.

Fermentation is the process of converting carbohydrates to organic acids using yeasts or bacteria under anaerobic conditions, and the result of this process is food rich in probiotics. These probiotic foods boost your gut health, thereby positively impacting your mood, sleep, digestion, etc.

Luckily, fermented foods can be delicious. If you’re in the mood for something salty, try making a sauerkraut salad. Gather your favorite greens and veggies and top them with some olive oil, vinegar, sea salt, black pepper, and sauerkraut. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, pick up some kombucha, a beverage produced by fermenting sweet tea with a culture of yeast and bacteria. Kombucha is refreshing, especially on a hot summer’s day!