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Benefits of Water Part 2

In my last post, I wrote about the benefits of drinking water. Now, let’s talk about the way we get the water we drink. Water consumption is critical, but sometimes the vessels we use can negatively impact our health – especially if we are already sick or prone to certain illnesses.

Water straight from the tap can be so contaminated. It’s full of chemicals that we don’t even think of and sometimes the pipes or water systems are toxic, too.

Think about it: People who take medications for anything from a headache to cancer, when they go to the restroom, urinate a portion of those drugs out. And, where does it go? To our water supply. Factories, make various products using water, and then where does that unused dirty water go? To our water supply. Farming and gardening chemicals, like weed killers, soak into the ground or either run off when it rains into our water supply. These are just a few ways that our water gets contaminated. Then we put this water into plastic bottles and the contamination continues.

Even though plastic water bottles are a quick grab-and-go item, they’re problematic because they add toxins on top of the chemicals that are already in your water. PBA -(Bisphenol A) is found in many water bottles, baby bottles, plastic containers you put in your microwave, plastic bags etc. When heated or left sitting for a long period of time, especially in the radiating sun, harmful chemicals get into the contents. Also, a lot of bottled water is just tap water that has been filtered another time. 

So, how do we get healthy drinking water? First, get a good water purification system. There are different levels to this. My dream is to one day own a total house water purification system because water soaks into your body when you bathe, too

There are plenty of water purification systems on the market. Some of the best cost a bit more, but not as much as a whole house unit. Below is a partial comparison chart of some of the top rated water filter pitchers:

As you can see, all water filters are not equal. Many of the popular brands are not even listed. If you click on the link above, then you can get an in-depth review.

Fascinating, right? I’m a true believer in doing the most to achieve healthier water intake. But, a total house water purification system is not in my budget right now. So, I am addressing the water I use for cooking and drinking by filtering it manually.

The brand I currently use is the Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher. This filter was one of the top rated for getting out the most contaminants without taking out the necessary minerals that your body needs. Yes, it did cost a bit more than the average water pitchers you can purchase at the big box stores but there are discounts available. I posted a big one back on Black Friday. But there are plenty of coupons you can use to get a discount. Like I said, it’s a start and I’m really loving it – especially because they have additional incentives if you subscribe for their automatic filter renew. All you have to do is select how many months you want to go before you receive a new filter.

Let’s talk containers. Now you’ve got a good filtered water, what do you put it in? Well, a lot of companies are making PBA-free plastic water bottles now, which do help with those concerns. However, there still may be some issues about additional chemicals leaching from the plastics.

Another option is glass. Glass containers and bottles are probably one of the safest vessels for storing and drinking water. They are reusable You don’t have to worry about chemicals leaching into your water and they can easily be recycled. However, there is the breakage problem. A lot of companies are wrapping their bottles in silicone to help with this problem. 

A third option is stainless steel. These are reusable and you won’t have to worry about the PBA and other chemicals from plastic bottles. Plus, they are durable. You’d have a hard time trying to break one of these bottles. However, there are some concerns over some metals still being leached into the water.

So, now what? Because drinking water is essential to our overall health but chemicals in water can be detrimental to it, there are affordable ways to help alleviate this problem including… 

-Buying a good water filtering system for your home

-Purchasing water filters for the sink and filtering water pitchers

-Selecting a sustainable drinking vessel for on the go, like one made of glass or metal

Drink up!

Thanks for stopping by! be sure to look out for part 2 of this blog and  follow my journey on IG: @teatimewithmemaw!

Benefits of Water Part 1

Don’t fall for the thirst trap. Water is the most important thing that you’ll put in your body. Health is key to cellular and heart health, waste management, mental sharpness and pretty much every function in your body. 

If you exercise, then you lose water and need to drink more than the recommended half your body weight in ounces. Otherwise, this loss can lead to fatigue and really hinders you both physically and mentally.

Not only is drinking the proper amount important, but where your water is sourced and the container you use to drink it is, too. Spring water and alkaline water are better than water simply labeled as “purified.” Glass bottles are better because it yield colder and better tasting water, and the bottles are better for the environment because they can be used over and over again. 

So let’s dive into this infinite topic. There’s a lot to cover so this will be a two part blog.

First, let’s look at just what water does for the body… 

  1. Your body is made up of about 60% to 70% water (some say more). So when you drink water it helps your body function better: Blood flow, digestion, circulation, body temperature, joint comfort, and more is all impacted by water intake. Joint pain management was a huge benefit for me.Did you know water actually helps keep your cartilage hydrated and reduces joint pain? Think about like this: You have two pieces of paper. One is saturated with water and the other isn’t. The dry piece of paper is very brittle and easily ripped but the soaked paper is more agile. The body is the same way.
  2. H20 also does wonders for brain functioning. When you don’t drink enough water, your mood can be affected as well as the ability to concentrate. Also, headaches, memory loss and more can become more frequent when dehydrated. The brain is 75% water and even mild dehydration can be detrimental. 
  3. Drinking water can also help keep your kidneys healthy. The more you drink, the more toxins are flushed out of your body. 
  4. Water also helps your blood flow easier. Your blood is about 85% water. Drinking water helps your blood carry nutrients to your body.
  5. Another incredible benefit is skin health and the reduction of the appearance of wrinkles. Keeping hydrated helps skin glow from within and slows down the wrinkling process.
  6. Water can even help with weight loss. Drinking water before you eat can help you to feel full and helps with metabolizing your food.

Now these are just a few of the benefits. So how much water do we really need to drink everyday?

Well, I grew up thinking that I needed eight 8 oz. glasses of water every day. But I was wrong.

The amount of water you need is dependent on body weight, frequency and intensity of physical activity (or how much you are sweating) and the weather (hot weather is more dehydrating).

It’s a popular opinion that we should drink half my body weight in ounces to achieve maximum hydration. Now, in my mind, that looks like me living in the bathroom all day. Not doable. But I have learned that after a while your body adjusts and the bathroom breaks become less frequent.

The truth be told, there are so many different viewpoints on this subject that it’s hard to decide what’s right for you or know the truth. Seriously, though, most of us are not getting the proper hydration. So increasing water intake is probably going to benefit you regardless if it’s the eight, 8 oz. glasses or half your body weight.

The benefits of drinking water far outweigh the effects of being dehydrated. So we all should make sure we work on this area of our health.

Thanks for stopping by! be sure to look out for part 2 of this blog and  follow my journey on IG: @teatimewithmemaw!

My Lupus Journey & Foods that Support Auto Immune Function

So last year I was re-diagnosed with a condition called lupus, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). The first time was 39 years ago when I was 21. I went to give blood, they took my blood pressure and said “I think you should call your doctor.” When I went to the doctor, I was sent to the hospital and stayed for the next month because my blood pressure, 220/170. The thing was, that I didn’t have a clue or symptom that my pressure was beyond high – it was astronomical.

After spending a month in the hospital and taking every test in the book I was told that I had lupus and sent to an urologist who I saw once a month for well over a year. Well, this must’ve been a mild case because I never went on medications. After a while, I just stopped going (never do this). Eventually, when I got pregnant the doctors asked about my medical history. I told them I had been diagnosed with lupus to which they said, “You don’t have lupus.” So I kept living life as usual.

Recently, I went to a rheumatologist suggested by a church member to see if he could give me an alternative to surgery for my knees. After running test, he told me that I had lupus, and this could be a cause for the joint pain I was experiencing. To my dismay he put me on medicine, Plaquenil. It’s for mild cases of lupus.

So here I am, believing in the body’s ability to heal itself, taking medicine. I immediately started researching. I came across the AIP Diet, Auto Immune Protocol.

Looking at this diet upfront, I was like “WHAT???” All the foods I love taken away. Tomatoes, white potatoes, peppers, and eggplant, nightshades, my number one foods. In addition to these foods, all grains, gluten, legumes, sugars, certain spices, dairy, and eggs and nuts (even my chia and flax seeds). Now in my mind I thought “okay, what’s left?” Granted, all these foods encourage inflammation in the body and promote a leaky gut, which is a big part of the immune system breakdown. Trying heal my body naturally, after months and months of procrastination and trying other things, I decided to give this diet a try.

I realized that, for the most part, eliminating these foods is not a permanent thing. After about 30 to 90 days, when you’re feeling better, these foods are re-introduced one at a time to determine what foods cause any flares or ill-effects on the body. That way, you know what foods your body is extra sensitive to. Those are the foods you might not want to eat or eat rarely. But you can see, this is not a quickie process and will take some time.

I’m only on week three. Actually, it’s not as bad as I expected. My biggest problem is the coffee. Yikes.

Man, I went back to work a month ago (I’m a school counselor, former teacher) and that boost of energy from caffeine really picks me up. But, if I seriously want to help my body, then I need to be faithful to the plan. I will keep your posted on my results. So follow me to see what happens next.

For more information about lupus and the AIP Diet, click the links below.

https://autoimmunewellness.com/

https://www.everydayhealth.com/lupus/eating-right-with-lupus.aspx

https://www.lupus.org/resources/what-is-lupus

https://www.healthywomen.org/comment/61607

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to follow my journey on IG: @teatimewithmemaw!

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3 Ways to Get ORGANIC Produce at a Value

So you want to eat organic and think it’s a little expensive? I did too. Even shopping for myself alone, without adding my kids, my bill was getting pretty high.
I just don’t get it. There’s no added chemicals, the food isn’t modified and we’re paying more. How weird is that?
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The goal is always healthier choices without the heftier prices, right? Well, I achieved this and I wanted to share how I’m able too eat organic at a low cost. 

  1. Value Chain Grocers 

I turned to an affordable grocer that I’ve always looked to for saving some coins: Aldi (Aldi South). This market has been really working hard to add more organic products to their offering and have banned quite a few pesticides. Another option is Aldi’s sister store, Trader Joe’s (Aldi North). This market prides itself with its large organic selections. These two are money savers.

 

Quick Tip:

I thought I was out of the toxic-produce woods with all the organic options available at these spots until I heard about the dirty dozen list.

What are the dirty dozen? These are foods that probably be better for you if you buy them organic. These foods usually have then skins or mainly leaves that tend to absorb the chemicals easier when they are sprayed. The list includes; strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, and potatoes. This list is helpful because if I only buy these foods organic, that really helps with the grocery bill.

The rest of my produce is typically non-organic. I just have to remember to especially wash those non-organic veggies. The pesticides and chemicals used on them are way more highly toxic to your body.

2. Farmers Markets

Another option for finding organic produce at a value includes farmer’s markets. Shopping local is so important for each regional economy and helps ensure freshness. Plus, these markets usually have a wide variety of foods to select from.

For those of you who still eat meat, some even have meat products from grass-feed animals who weren’t subjected to cruelty.

In St. Louis, Missouri, there are several that make buying organic groceries feel so effortless and affordable. Also, a lot of farmer’s markets have live music and other vendors selling their wares, making the experience so much fun!

3. Growing at Home

Something I decided to do was grow my own. I’ve been growing whatever is in season for some years now.

I don’t grow everything but some of those dirty dozen foods are not that hard to grow. Zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, spinach, lettuce, kale, Swiss chard, collard greens…

You name it! (JK)

Just look at that Zucchini in the picture, only compost was used to fertilize THAT. And seriously, you can grow all year long with the right set up. I know, It’s not for everyone but, it helps me keep my costs down.

I even grow indoors using a hydroponic gardening system. But we’ll get to that some other time. 

Truly, organic is the way to go! The body doesn’t need all those extra toxins to deal with on top of air pollution and God knows what else. I hope these three options (value chain grocers, farmer’s markets and home growing) help you stay healthy and keep some money in your pocket.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to follow my journey on IG: @teatimewithmemaw!

What If You Found the Perfect Diet in 2019?

What if?

A question that I’ve asked many times. My “what ifs” usually go something like: “What if I could eat anything I wanted and not gain weight?” What if I could just wake up one day and have a six pack or perfectly sculpted arms” ” What if I could just blink my eyes and not have to go through this hard time?” But you have to be willing to be disciplined and put in the work.

In the Bible, Ecclesiastes 3:1 states, To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: Sometimes we just have to go through the pain, disappointment, situations etc.

But as we go through we need to be asking, “What lesson am I supposed to learn in all this?” “God What do you want me to do?” Sometimes God tells us what to do, and we ignore it. He puts us in situations and we walk away. It seems too hard. We want the “Magic Genie in a bottle” type scenario to deliver us instant gratification.

When I lost 70 pounds, it wasn’t overnight. It’s actually been 2 years since my top weight. I still have over 100 pounds to go to be considered at a weight that’s not obese.

I know this because when I was 100 pounds lighter, that’s what my doctor called me, OBESE! A lot of people don’t even realize I’ve lost as much as I have because it has been so slow. As I lose this time, I want it to be lasting, I want to re-frame my relationship with food, exercise and relieving stress. More than just losing the weight, I want to be healthy. That’s my motivation. Health! The added benefit is weight loss.

I guess we all want recognition, too, but real love and happiness comes from within and from listening to God.

I guess my “What If?” is: What if I would listen to God when He speaks and stop making excuses? It would save me a whole lot of time and trouble. Usually, when I talk to people about making changes to achieve a healthier lifestyle and they began giving me “But I…”

But I don’t have time.

But I don’t like to get up early.

But I am to busy to prep and have to grab stuff on the run.

But I, But I, But I

Over the last year, I’ve had a cousin, suffer a major stroke, a cousin and a friend die of cancer, another cousin has been sent home from the hospital to die because a major artery is so blocked that doctors claim there nothing that can be done. I, along with friends have been diagnosed with autoimmune diseases.

This is a crisis. It will take you out if you aren’t careful with your health. Many are suffering with arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease and more. Yet, the excuses continue. It’s time to step up and be accountable for our health because this world needs you but it will go on without you. Who’s going to be there doing that work, or living your life when you’re dead and gone or too sick to do it?

What if I had listened when I was first diagnosed in my 20’s and not waited until I was 60 and been through, high blood pressure, heart attack, cancer, arthritis and lupus? All of these things are reversible or risks substantially decreased with diet, regular exercise, and stress reduction. It’s been researched and proven. Yet, I’ve had my own excuses. So, now here I am, reversing years of abuse to my body and praying to God to help me (which He will if I allow Him to) move forward to a new life of health and wellness for the rest of this life He allows me to live!

Everyone’s body is different. So I really don’t subscribe to one diet and believe that health can be achieved via many routes. They key is picking something and sticking with it.

Here are some popular diets that have proven effective in fighting various ailments. Click on the links to learn more and complete 2019 in your best health yet!

Vegan Diets : No animal products, including honey, eggs, cheese, anything with animal origins.

Raw Vegan Diet: Eating fruit, vegetables seeds, nuts, and sprouted legumes but only in their raw state.

Ketogenic Diet : High fat, very low carbohydrate, moderate meat.

Paleo Diet: Eating Whole foods. and stay away from all processed foods and ingredients, including sugar, bread, certain vegetable oils, trans fats and artificial sweeteners.

Mediterranean Diet:  Eating lots of vegetables and olive oil and includes eating a medium amount of protein.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet: focuses on fruits, vegetables, lean protein, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats.

Alkaline Diet : A diet that replaces acid-forming foods with alkaline foods to help improve health.

Please be sure to let me know what lifestyle and diet changing are working for you.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to follow me on IG @teatimewithmemaw for more health and wellness inspiration and tips!

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Can the Body Heal Itself?

Many of us are dealing with some kind of illness or knows someone who is. I personally have battled with several. This lead me to a place where I searched relentlessly to determine what I can do to help my body heal itself and increase my quality of life.

My goal? Not to be be 80 and can’t walk, in pain and full of illness. I want to be vibrant, healthy and feeling good.

This led me to think about cars. Yeah, cars.

When you get a car, you get out the owners manual to see what type of oil it takes, what size the tires are and what pressure is needed for best performance. You look at how often you should get your oil changed, tune-ups, and tires rotated what type of fuel to use. This is your new baby, and you want it to last as long as it can without having to dish out money for repairs. Then I started thinking about me.

Do I care more about my car than I do myself?

No way! So I turned to the human owners’ manual, “The Bible.” Several places in the Bible talk about food. In the beginning, God put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, not the slaughterhouse of Eden.

In Daniel chapter 1, Daniel asked the king if he could have some time to have his men eat vegetables and water instead of the rich foods the kings’ men were eating and 10 days later, his men looked healthier and stronger than than those that ate the kings’ meal. Daniel was on to something.

He knew that living, electrically charged foods could help promote health and healing. Today, we call this the “plant-based diets.” Now, contrary to what people think this suggests, it doesn’t always necessarily mean plant only. There are levels to this lifestyle.

So, what does “plant-based ” mean? According to Wikipedia, “a plant-based diet is a diet consisting mostly or entirely of foods derived from plants, including vegetablesgrainsnutsseedslegumes and fruits, and with few or no animal products. “ To me, it means increasing the amount of plant-based foods in my diet eating food the way God created it. Not enhanced, improved, reformatted (GMO) by man but whole foods. Now, this typically means that a lot of it is raw. But, let me be honest, I love a hot meal. So sometimes for me this means it’s cooked. It all comes down to the type of fuel you want your body to use: pure clean fuel or watered down fuel.

Now back to that car. If you went to a gas station and they said they added water to the fuel to stretch it, would you put that in your car? What are the implications? Engine trouble.

The more food we eat in it’s natural state, the better our bodies can use it to help fuel our bodies. That’s all I’m saying.

I’m learning to increase my intake of raw, unprocessed foods. Is it hard? Hecky Yeah! Is it worth it? Definitely! Everyday is a battle.

I have to make sure I keep fresh food stocked in the fridge so that when I reach for something, I reach for the right things that fuel my body. I had to stop making excuses and buying those foods that break down my body. Plain and simple. I decided to love myself.

So can the body heal itself? Well, I have found out, that when we give it the right fuel, it definitely helps start the process.

Here are my top five favorite raw foods for healing detoxing the body:

  1. Red Tart Cherries: This helps reduce inflammation
  2. Lemon: This power food helps the body do a number of functions including aiding the immune system by cutting mucus and delivering high doses of vitamin C
  3. Watermelon: Mostly, made of water and fiber, this fruit is like a power wash for your insides and helps aid kidney function and keeps your skin clear, too
  4. Broccoli: This bad boy has multiple potent antioxidants that help support healthy cells and tissue throughout your body
  5. Berries: Keep your memory sharp, cleanse your kidneys and fight cancer cells with these juicy fiber-filled treats

What are some of your favorite whole-food treats? Let me know in the comment section below and be sure to follow me on IG to see what types of raw foods I’m grazing on these days!