Honey #bebetter52

Did you know honey is one of the oldest sweeteners on Earth? Not only is it yummy, adding a burst of flavor to pretty much anything, but honey is a power-food with benefits galore. Honey is a simple sugar that contains antioxidants, catalase, ascorbic acid, flavonoids and alkaloids.  These helpful free-radical fighters have been scientifically proven to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

But, not all honey is created equal.  

This week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to buy raw local honey and incorporate it into your life.   Believe it or not the artificial honey market is growing, due to the rapidly declining bee population and the high cost of honey. Manufacturers dilute this delicious substance with various forms of artificial sweeteners.  But eating raw and local honey preserves micronutrients and enzymes that assures many positive health side-effects.

So what can we do to help?  Olivia Box, beekeeper and honey bee researcher suggests, "The absolute best thing you can do is buy local honey. Whether it is from your farmer’s market or a friend, supporting local beekeepers is key to making sure we can push artificial honey off the market.  Be sure to check your labels for where it is from and what is in the honey."  Buying from local farmers also helps the local economy!

The FDA recently drafted guidelines that state, “Only manufacturers that do not add sugar, corn syrup or other sweeteners should label their products as “pure honey.”  It is also important that we as consumers read labels and know exactly what we’re buying.  Don’t have access to the label?  Rub the honey between your fingers.  If it’s sticky, it’s probably fake.  

Benefits of Honey

- Honey is a natural source of carbohydrates, which provides our bodies with instant energy and strength. When it comes to athletic performance, honey improves endurance and plays a key role in preventing fatigue during exercise. So before your next workout, grab a spoonful of honey for that extra push. Or if you’re feeling lethargic in the morning, try putting honey on toast or replacing the sugar in your drink with some honey for a quick energy boost.

- Honey also has antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Honey helps make your digestive system run smoothly and keep you healthy and disease-free.

- The antibacterial qualities are especially helpful for moisturizing and nourishing the skin. Check out this beauty treatment recipe for a carrot face mask which contains honey.

- Locally grown, raw honey contains immune-stimulating properties that help our bodies adapt to our environment. This means honey can boost your immune system.

- Although honey contains simple sugars, ironically, it also helps regulate blood sugar. Honey’s combination of fructose and glucose aids the body in regulating blood-sugar levels.

How can you use honey?

Use honey in the foods you eat. Spread it on a bagel or muffin.

Pour some in your coffee or tea.

Even consume a teaspoonful for a sweet treat after dinner.

You can also use honey on scrapes and scratches or minor skin ulcers. Dab a little on your bandage and cover your injury.

And next time you feel a cold coming on, grab a local bottle of honey, and you’ll experience the benefits!

Other fun facts about honey:

·       Honey is a natural cure in first-aid treatments of cuts and burns.

·       Honey can help combat hangovers.

·       Honey can soothe a sore throat and kill the bacteria that causes the infection.

·       Honey can even help sleeplessness. Just take a glass of hot milk and mix with a teaspoon of honey to induce sleep.

So grab a jar of the sweet stuff (preferably raw, organic, fair trade) and have at it!  Also by posting a picture of how you used honey this week, #bebetter52 will donate extra money to Every Mother Counts. Let’s all Be Better this week.

(Warning: The Mayo Clinic does not recommend giving honey to babies under the age of one due to their immature digestive system.)

Be Kind #bebetter52

We see so much negativity in the world we often forget that the simplest kind gestures can make the biggest impacts. Kindness can be one of the most meaningful ways to spread good. Simply put, it makes others happy.

This week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to gift strangers or those you love with random acts of kindness. They can be simple, such as holding a door or letting someone go ahead of you in line at the grocery store.  This challenge is meant to help you notice that the opportunity to serve others with kindness is all around you. Start believing in your ability as an individual to make a positive and profound difference in the world.

“Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.” - Og Mandino

It is exciting to think – regardless of where you live, what you do, or whom you know – you are constantly surrounded by opportunities to be kind.

This week, you might choose to:

·         Say hello and smile at a stranger

·       If you spill creamer or sugar on the counter at Starbucks, wipe it up.

·       Relay an overheard compliment.

·       Stop to talk to a homeless person

·       Bake cookies to drop off at your local firehouse or police station

·       Put money in a parking meter about to expire

The options are endless. For more ideas, check out 101 Random Acts of Kindness, or come up with your own alternatives. Do whatever feels right to you!

With each act of kindness you complete, you’re helping to create a more compassionate society.

Be Better by paying it forward and viewing each new day as an opportunity to brighten someone’s day.

Turmeric #bebetter52

A bright yellow root that fights depression, lowers the risk of cancer and relieves pain naturally exists.  After talking to a handful of our friends, we realized not many people are aware of the amazing Southern Indian root, Turmeric! This week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to try and incorporate this amazing spice into your daily routine whether it be in tea, latte, or a savory dish with this new spice added. You can find the root at certaingrocery stores.

Turmeric has a special chemical compound called curcuminoids that are one of the most potent natural pain relievers out there and one of nature's most powerful antioxidants. When combined with black pepper, the pepper can actually increase the bioavailability of curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, by nearly 2,000%.

Here is a list of the proven health benefits of Turmeric:

1.     Increases The Antioxidant Capacity of The Body

2.     Boosts Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, Linked to Improved Brain Function and a Lower Risk of Brain Diseases

3.     Lowers Your Risk of Heart Disease

4.     Can Help Prevent (And Perhaps Even Treat) Cancer

5.     May be Useful in Preventing and Treating Alzheimer’s Disease

6.     Helps Reduce Arthritis Pain, Inflammation and Stiffness with Curcumin Supplementation

7.     Has Incredible Benefits Against Depression

8.     Helps Delay Aging and Fights Age-Related Chronic Disease

If you are feeling adventurous and want to try a Turmeric Latte, here is a black pepper turmeric latte recipe to open up a new world of health benefits!

Ingredients:

●     1 teaspoon Ground Turmeric Root

●     1/4 teaspoon Ground Ceylon Cinnamon

●     1/8 teaspoon Ground Ginger Root

●     1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper

●     1/8 teaspoon Ground Cayenne Chili Pepper

●     1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

●     1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

●     1 tablespoon honey

Directions:

1. Heat milk in microwave for 2 to 3 minutes on high or on stovetop until it reaches a boil.

2. Pour heated milk into a blender and add honey, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, cayenne and vanilla extract. Blend on high for 10 seconds, then on low for 5 seconds.

3. Pour into a mug and garnish with 1 star anise and a sprinkle of black pepper. Enjoy immediately.

If you prefer tea over lattes, many brands sell turmeric blends, including my personal favorite brand, NUMI! Trader Joe’s also has a nice herbal tea with ginger and turmeric I drink every night before bed. Head over to your closest Trader Joe’s and pick up one! If you would rather make your own tea, here are a few steps to do so!

Directions:

1.     Bring four cups of water to a boil.

2.     Add one teaspoon of ground turmeric and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.

3.     Strain the tea through a fine sieve into a cup; add honey and/or lemon to taste.

4.     Add a pinch of black pepper to increase absorption.

Lastly, if you prefer to gain all the nutritious benefits from turmeric through meals, here is a link to delicious recipes all containing turmeric!

 

Read Something Not Digital #bebetter52

A Return to the Good Old Days

Hopefully, we have all experienced the magical transporting power of a good book. You become lost in the pages, carried away into another world. The next question is, when is the last time you slowed down enough to read a printed book?

When every kind of information can be flashed across our smartphones or tablets, the art of reading from a non-digital platform might seem lost. Reading a book, complete with tangible cover and pages, may seem “old-school” to you. This week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to take time to unwind with a good printed book, ideally before bed to help prepare for a good night’s sleep.

The benefits of reading have been taught to us since we were kindergarteners. Reading exercises our brains, increases our vocabulary, improves our concentration and develops our imagination.

Additionally, reading is fun, fascinating, and free.

The less obvious part of this week’s #bebetter52 challenge is the answer to why we are encouraging you to read something non-digital versus digital. Neuroscientists have discovered humans use a different part of their brain when reading from paper versus a screen. An article from PRI titled, “Your paper brain and your Kindle brain aren’t the same thing,” states, “The more you read on screens, the more your mind shifts toward “non-linear” reading-- a practice that involves things like skimming a screen or having your eyes dart around a web page.” This article suggests we may have adapted to reading online a little too well. Non-linear reading is different than the “deep reading” you are able to do on non-digital platforms. Deep reading is dense text we want or need to understand such as when we “immerse ourselves in a novel or read a mortgage document.”

Our recommendation is to read non-digital books. The brightness from a “light-emitting device” before bedtime has been proven scientifically to “make it more difficult to fall asleep, feel sleepier in the morning and have less REM sleep.” The most interesting part of this study is that “light suppresses melatonin, which is a sleep-promoting hormone, by more than 50 percent.”

We love the list of top 10 reasons to drop that kindle by Huffingtonpost.com

1.     Print books have pages that are nice and soft to touch.

2.     Print books are better at conveying information.

3.     Print books are yours for life.

4.     Print books are physical reminders of your intellectual journeys.

5.     Print books are great to share.

6.     You can write in the margins of a print book.

7.     Print books have jackets, so people know what other people are reading, making reading a community-building act.

8.     Print books are fairer to writers.

9.     Print books are better for your health.

10.  Print books are theft-resistant.