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Balance your Gut, Change your Life! BIOHM Probiotics Review

If you’re new here, Hi. Also, let me start by saying that I am not a licensed medical practitioner. My thoughts and information shared are always based off of either personal experience, the research that I do, and/or scholarly readings.

Okay, now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about all things GUT!

So your intestinal tract (gut) is made up of a community of microorganisms, both good and bad. They are a natural part of the ecosystem known as the human microbiome. Ideally, the residents of the microbiome keep each other in check, and in return, the gut is “in balance.”

However, a gut that is imbalanced can not only lead to digestive issues, but also spark chronic health ailments, and other woes. This balance can easily be disturbed by a variety of factors, most in which we encounter on a daily basis. This includes things like poor diet, high stress, lack of sleep, alcohol, pesticides and environmental pollutants, over the counter medicines, and the list just goes on and on.  Also worth noting: individuals who eat mostly processed foods have a varied gut composition compared to those who eat mostly whole foods including fresh fruits and vegetables.

Furthermore, it’s been found that genetic makeup and our time in-utero can also have an impact on gut health. However, though we inherit the main essential building-blocks (that is DNA) from our parents, the complete story of our microbiome is even more complicated and influenced.

From birth (and some studies even show before birth!), gut microbes are responsible for essential duties related to digestion, nutrient metabolism, developing then activating the immune system, as well as the production of neurotransmitters impacting behavior and cognitive functions. To further the story, let me share these published findings…

Gut microorganisms serve as a barrier against pathogenic organisms. Second, they play an important role in: digestion and metabolism of colostrum, breast milk, formula, and weaning foods in infants, and a wide variety of food in adults; the breakdown of toxins and drugs; vitamin synthesis; and ion absorption. Trophic functions include the growth and differentiation of the epithelial cells lining the intestine, and the maintenance of the immune system including tolerance to food antigens (Guarner & Malagelada, 2003). With complete colonization of the gut, which occurs within approximately three years of life (Koenig et al., 2011; Weng & Walker, 2013), immune homeostasis is achieved.

So up until about three years old, the human body’s immune system is not fully developed due partly to the microorganisms in the gut not being completely colonized until that age. Thereon after, everything that we are surrounded by, consuming, being exposed to – takes control over directing those microorganisms and the body’s level of gut balance correlating to (also) the strength of the immune system. (balanced gut = overall wellness)

*NOTE: for a phemonimal book about the brain-gut link – click here

I’m sure that you now may be thinking, okay so what can we do to improve our current situation (whatever that may be). Well, like I said, I cannot give you medical advice, but what I can offer is my experience thus far from my own journey in seeking a balanced, healthy gut. It’s been tough as it’s been long; and with an endless amount of research, scholarly papers, and differing claims out there in regards to products and probiotic supplements, I once thought that I’d never find *the right one* for my body.

I was in a trial-and-error stage of searching for the right probiotics for quite some time. I purchased many myself, as well as have been gifted various brands too. But sadly, after years, I still was never fully confident in recommending or completely sharing any of those tried with my readers (& I’ve been asked many times for my recommendation).

But with a perhaps change in luck within the past couple of months, combined with continued perseverance, I NOW HAVE PROBIOTICS THAT I AM CONFIDENT IN AND THAT HAVE BEEN NOTHING BUT A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE WITH! It makes me beyond joyful to finally be able to offer this review too, now that I can feel fully confident in doing so.

So let’s get on with it shall we?!

BIOHM HEALTH REVIEW/

Mahmoud Ghannoum, Ph.D., an NIH-funded researcher since 1993, and gut expert. He is  the leading fungal scientist in the world, with 400+ scientific papers on his research and has been cited over 1,800 times. Ghannoum is the same scientist who named the “microbiome” – and yes, HE is ALSO the one who founded this company (BIOHM) that I am sharing with you!!! Impressive, huh? Well that’s just the beginning…now let’s talk about the products:

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Your gut contains both bacteria and fungi. However, ordinary probiotics only address bacteria, ignoring fungi’s role in digestive balance. By combining good bacteria + good fungi + digestive enzymes, BIOHM helps maintain the balance of bacteria AND fungi in your gut, all while breaking down digestive plaque.

What is Digestive Plaque?

DID YOU KNOW/ Just like plaque building up on your teeth, plaque can also build up in your gut! It’s called digestive plaque. And within this plaque hides bad bacteria and fungi, making it difficult for ordinary probiotics to reach, control, or eradicate them.  This makes maintaining general digestive balance a difficult feat to overcome.

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Okay, but wait just a second. Before I go any further in to the probiotic ability to balance the gut, let me just share a quick list of ADDITIONAL BENEFITS that such quality and effective probiotics can offer. I won’t go in too much detail below, but I can offer links to more books that discuss these other areas and also prepare to publish additional gut-related posts incorporating the other benefits, in the near future for you guys!

Other Benefits/

  • Less Stomach Bloating.
  • Clearer Skin.
  • Decreased Brain Fog.
  • Decreased Food Sensitivities.
  • Prevent/Treat Diarrhea.
  • Prevent yeast infections and overgrowth issues stemming from antibiotic use.
  • Better absorption of vitamins and minerals which leads to other great benefits like overall well-being, but also brain health and protection of the brain from ailments such as dementia/Alzheimers, etc.
  • Improve the mucosal immune system, which can decrease inflammation, which in return can also alleviate pain-related issues that inflammation can cause, like arthritis.
  • Because serotonin is made in the gut, if your gut is not functioning properly, then chances are your serotonin-production is also affected. This can lead to low serotonin which is a cause for things like depression and mood disorders. THEREFORE, probiotics have the ability to also fight against mental health ailments as well!
  • Bad bacteria thrives on sugar, and in return the body is tricked in to craving sugar. Therefore, balanced bacteria = balanced cravings, and less ailments related to high sugar intake.
  • Improved metabolism/weight control because the good bacteria is able to convert/create an ideal amount of short-chain fatty acids, which are responsible for burning fat.
  • + more.

Alright, now that I feel like I got that off my shoulders, let’s get back to the products that I am LOVING! I have many BIOHM products, but for the sake of this post not becoming the length of a short novel, I am going to share my two absolute favorites at the moment, and in the future I will publish a follow-up review and further awesome products.

PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENT/

One capsule per day, with or without food. I prefer to take it with food especially when first starting a new probiotic, as it lessens any side affects that can occur while your body becomes acquainted with the good bacteria, good fungi, and enzymes. However, I have to let you know that with other brands, no matter if I would take them with food or not, I could NEVER get passed being nauseous or feeling sick from them. So these BIOHM HEALTH probiotics have been THE ONLY to surpass this feat with me – hooray!!

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Additional perks of these probiotics are that they do not contain synthetic fillers, and are allergen-free too. Here is the real homerun though… no refrigeration is required and still, the probiotics MAINTAIN THE ABILITY TO SURVIVE STOMACH ACID and do the essential job of addressing total gut balance! WOO-HOO!!!

COLON CLEANSER/

Okay, my honest experience with the colon cleanser: the very first time that I took one of these capsules, was at nighttime. My husband had taken one too and lets just say that we were up past 1 a.m. binge-watching a Netflix series. Alright, you may think that’s totally normal, but hey – we are parents with two young kids, so there is really no staying up that late unless you want to be literal zombie parents the next day! HA! So, what I’m saying is, we didn’t realize that a component of the colon cleanser is licorice root. Licorice root (containing glycyrrhetinic acid) blocks the body’s breakdown of cortisol (this IS a good thing, because it can enable a restoration of normal levels of the hormone for those who need it).

However, its not uncommon for many people to have the highest levels of cortisol at nighttime. So, taking a supplement with something like licorice root, that blocks the breakdown of cortisol, can in return leave you feeling more “energetic”. This CAN be beneficial, but just not right before you need to go to sleep – lol. This can affect the ability to fall asleep, or create that feeling of a “second wind” in the evening.

PLUS! I am someone who deals with adrenal fatigue (common in those who have autoimmune conditions), and my personal diagnostic tests have shown that I still struggle with high levels of cortisol in my body at most times unfortunately. THEREFORE,  I strongly suggest that this COLON CLEANSER be taken with breakfast and/or lunch, but not in the evening.

Okay, now let’s move on to discuss other utilizations of this product…

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SO, first of all, it is a proprietary formula that combines a digestive herbal blend and probiotics. It’s meant to be utilized as a “7-Day Cleanse” and one package comes with 14 capsules (2 pills/day). Therefore, it’s not something that you would take everyday.

*there’s actually dangers in taking a cleanser everyday, because of “laxative dependence” which can permanently damage your digestive tract and make you dependent on laxatives for bowel movements

However, if you are someone who is dealing with bloating that maybe other remedies are not treating properly, or if you have consumed an unhealthy diet for a long period of time and need an aid in flushing out all of the garbage/toxins/digestive waste rotting in your gut – then this product may be a great tool for you! I don’t use primarily digestive cleansing supplements all too often, but this is by far the most efficient that I have tried, and also offered no negative side effects! (just don’t take before bed like I said, lol)

I would describe the experience like cleansing your insides with a digestive tract vacuum cleaner! :O

Oh, also like the probiotic supplement, the colon cleanser does not need to be refrigerated, has no artificial ingredients or sweeteners, and is allergen-free too!

MY AFFILIATION:

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Because of my all-positive results with BIOHM HEALTH, I applied to be an affiliate member of their team, and so… you are looking at (well not physically, but figuratively) the newest BIOHM HEALTH AFFILIATE!!! This means that I feel so confident in my experience and these products, that I am basically a spokesperson with the ability to offer you guys a unique discount code! :) This also means that I will be afforded the ability to access more tools which can further my knowledge in regards to all things digestive health, and in return – share with you!

USE CODE “ALOHA” FOR 15% OFF ALL BIOHM PRODUCTS!

And to be transparent with you, yes, I make a small commission off of sales, but that just correlates to me being able to continue to share (and share even more in the future) experiences, products, and information like this article provided, with you all!! So thank you for reading, and thank you for your continued support – always!

 

As promised, here are links to a few of my favorite books that go in to further correlations of gut health and overall wellness:

GAPS DIET/SYNDROME

PLANT PARADOX

DIET EVOLUTION

 

Cheers to The Pursuit of Happy, Balanced Guts!

 

x. Heather

OTHER REFERENCES:

BIOHM Health Gut Guide
The Infant Microbiome: Implications for Infant Health and 
Neuro-cognitive Development.
Irene Yang, PhD, RN, Postdoctoral Fellow, Elizabeth J. Corwin, PhD, 
RN, FAAN, Associate Dean and Professor, Patricia A. Brennan, PhD, 
Professor, Sheila Jordan, RN, MPH, Graduate Student, Jordan R. Murphy, BS, Nursing Student, and Anne Dunlop, MD, MPH, Associate Professor

 

 

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How to Get Your Kids to Eat Green Beans – RECIPE!

Consistency and persistence can work in your favor within the journey of getting your kids to eat vegetables… but I’m here to spill my beans as to what the secret is to getting them to specifically eat AND like green beans.

It’s simple – FLAVOR. But my recipe is also fast and easy! This method has been tried and proven again and again by my own kids; Niko specifically can eat an entire serving on his own when prepared like this recipe directs. Oh, and for those picky adults, you should give this a try too!

I’ve included photos and instructions for using both fresh/raw green beans as well as the more convenient option – canned green beans.

Ingredients/

  • canned green beans or fresh green beans
  • salad dressing (preferably “Italian-style” or something oil-based with a robust flavor.)

Yup, that’s it. :)

Okay this may not be scientific literature in regards to children’s eating habits, but hey – this little trick works for our family, so might as well share and who knows, maybe it’ll prove successful for you too!

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Directions/

  1. If you are cooking raw/fresh long green beans, then rinse and trim them first. If you’re like me most of the time, just use a can-opener and pop that Costco green bean top and drain all the water out without losing any of your beans!
  2. Then toss the beans in to a pot with about a 1/2 cup of your kid’s favorite salad dressing (usually something with lots of flavor, like oil-based Italian-style dressings do the trick!)  *linked down below will be my favorite clean salad dressings
  3. Turn the stovetop to medium heat until you start to see/hear the dressing sizzle, then lower the heat down to halfway between low and medium heat.
  4. For canned green beans, allow to simmer for about 6-7 minutes then remove from heat. If using fresh green beans, simmer until tender (usually about 10 minutes).
  5. Allow to cool, then serve and let the kids go to town! ;)

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*Oh! Sometimes I will also add a little bit of Italian-blend seasoning (like oregano/basil/parsley) or a pinch of garlic salt –if the salad dressing that I have on hand is not as bold of a flavor. I’m telling you – flavor is the key! :D

FAVORITE SALAD DRESSINGS:

Tessamae Lemon + Garlic

Primal Kitchen Dressings

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x. Heather

 

PRINTABLE (right click to download):

balancedlifealoha.com

 

 

 

Neutral-toned Bags for Spring 2018!

There’s no hiding the fact that I am a bag lady.  Also, neutral tones are my jam, in pretty much all aspects of life and style (usually) – because it just instills relaxation and peace within me. Don’t get me wrong though, I love an edgy and wild color-party of an artistic print too on occasion, but I wanted to share some neutral bags here that have been catching my eye this spring season….

Okay, a few of them I own and have had for some time, but hey, that’s the good thing about neutrals – they’re appropriate for all seasons and occasions if you ask me! ;)

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Happy Shopping!

x. Heather

 

 

My Mental Health Pledge

Is there a single human being on this planet that has never dealt with a hardship?! Personal turmoil? Hard days, difficult decisions, emotional hurt?

I’m pretty confident that no one reading this will say “yes, that’s me! My life has been 100% happy, positive and completely stress-free at all times!”

& THAT. IS WHY, THE STIGMA THAT SURROUNDS MENTAL HEALTH AND MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES, makes absolutely no. sense. AT ALL.

We are all human beings with a complex body, soul, and spirit connection.  We are made up of physical material, the body, of which can be seen and touched. We are also made up of immaterial and intangible aspects, things like our spirit, mind, intellect, will, feelings, emotions, conscience, subconscious. All of these things are basically what makes up our individual “personality”.

However, those are a lot of working parts, wouldn’t you agree? I ask, how do they all remain balanced and in-sync with one another? Honestly, sometimes when I sit down and try to understand, I think to myself – “wow, just being a human can be so challenging.”

So, it is our body that we function with. Within, we are comprised of cells, and organs like the heart. Then there is the nervous system which includes the brain. Through our body we connect with the physical world via senses like sight, scent, and touch.

But what about our thoughts? Our minds and emotions – how does all that ‘work’?

Well, our soul is what shapes our personality. The conscious mind being a part of that, which is where our reasoning and thoughts stem from. As for deep beliefs, opinions, and attitudes, well those lie in the subconscious part of the mind. Also residing there are feelings, emotions, and our memories too.

Now choices. Our will is what allows us to make choices.

But, wait. Don’t all of these things correlate to one another?!  Yup. You guessed it. Through a very systematically COMPLEX way, our mind and our will connect with our body via channels such as the endocrine system (think: hormones), the nervous system (think: actions/movements), and the immune system: (think: body protection).

Our daily thoughts (remember: conscious mind) have a large impact/influence on our emotions and feelings (remember: subconscious mind), and then, in return, our emotions and feelings majorly impact/influence our behaviors (remember: will).  So, in totality, thought patterns really do play a significant, if not THE MOST SIGNIFICANT role in our overall health (emotional and physical).

BUT! How many people take the time to understand all of this and its’ importance? I mean, it’s taken me many hours to write this article and that’s because understanding and articulating such complexities takes time. My hopes are that the above breakdown/explanation can spark personal grace within anyone reading this who may have a veiled understanding of mental health and overall wellness. Because the harsh reality is that most people today live extremely busy lives with little to no time to spare for what’s sadly deemed “not essential” (like balancing your body-soul-spirit connection to pursue or achieve overall wellness).

Now those facts, combined with the very real and alive MENTAL HEALTH STIGMA, makes for a VERY troubling society. With the truth being that:

  • Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. (43.8 million, or 18.5%)—experiences mental illness in a given year.

  • Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18, 21.4% experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%.

  • 6.9% of adults in the U.S.—(16 million)—had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.

  • Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. (18.1%) experienced an anxiety disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, etc.

  • Among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5%—(10.2 million adults)—had a co-occurring mental illness.

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Regardless of the staggering statistics, there is a belief that people with mental health issues are “untreatable”, or that people with mental disorders are difficult, not intelligent, or incapable of making proper decisions. This stigma can also be called (what it really is): DISCRIMINATION. Because according to reality/the above factual statistics, there is a HUGE POPULATION of people who deal with mental health issues.

Those of which majority are taught or conditioned to feel shame, to believe that they have a lacking piece of character, and that mental hardship is just simply disgraceful – something that they should just “get over”.

This all leads to the scary social statistics of today. Those facts being that the mentally ill are more likely to encounter law enforcement than medical intervention during a psychological crisis. As well as the mentally ill having the highest rate of homelessness, and that there are currently more mentally ill people in jails and prisons than in hospitals.

The stigma can lead to abuse, rejection and isolation, as well as exclusion from health care or just simply support. Furthermore, it can manifest in to self-stigma, which is when a person with mental illness turns against themselves!

MY STORY/

I personally have dealt with anxiety for my entire life. I won’t get too far in to the details here, because I am working on a post that will share the full story. But simply put, I have memories from childhood – of anxiety. It’s at most times, never been easy to deal with.

It’s been a treacherous journey, but there’s no way that I could continue to progress, grow, or even just show-up to my responsibilities, if it wasn’t for TALKING ABOUT IT! Sharing my struggles, receiving help when needed — whether it be encouragement from friends, love/support from family, or even professional guidance.  The most freeing fact that I’ve gained from it all has been, that I am not meant to be perfect. However, I fully understand that I am very fortunate to have always been blessed with the help/support that I have needed, and it deeply saddens me to know that this is not the case for so many – so many that have even more debilitating mental ailments compared to me! :(

Regardless, it’s still not an easy feat for me with anxiety that can sometimes be a rollercoaster. It can have no effect on me for periods of time, but then in other instances/seasons, make life way more difficult than need be. The most recent difficulty being not too long ago while my husband was sent out of the country for work. I remember that wrapped around my thoughts and emotions was an ugly and tattered ribbon of SHAME. I felt shame for not being the “perfect” military wife. You know, the one who is also the star of her children’s PTA, head honcho of the military wives “Family Readiness Group” (I’m not even a part of that group!); the same “perfect” wife who also without-a-grimace dutifully waves her active duty husband off at the airport or military airfield and doesn’t resist to zero or sparse communication from wherever they’re going to this time. I felt shame for simply just not feeling okay emotionally or for not “being” “stronger”.

And that, is what sparked this article. This is not only my public pledge to the mission of The Commit Campaign, (the resource-abundant photo-based movement breaking the stigma associated with mental health and mental illness), but it’s also my fight against the shame that has caused me a great deal of pain throughout life.

So, without further ado…

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MY PLEDGE/

  • I commit to ending the stigma associated with mental health, mental illness and suicide.
  • I commit to take responsibility for the words I speak and know that they have an impact on people around me.
  • I commit to stop using the phrase ‘committed suicide’ and replace it with ‘died by suicide.’
  • I commit to educating others on how to properly communicate on these topics in politically correct manners.
  • I commit to being an ally for those that live with mental illness. I commit to stand up and educate others who believe that living with a mental illness is a choice.
  • I commit to my own healing journey of balancing my body-soul-spirit connection and being open to sharing it, with the goal of helping others along the path.

WANT TO COMMIT?/

Together we can end the stigma of mental health as well as eliminate the phrase
‘committed suicide’ from society’s common conversation, replacing it with ‘died by suicide’.

WANT TO PLEDGE?/

  1. Write the word COMMIT on your hand.
  2. Post a picture of it on social media.
  3. Tag @commitcampaign and use the hashtag #CommitCampaign, along with your pledge!

If you wish to even further help to create a society where we can speak freely about mental health and suicide prevention, visit The Commit Campaign to donate or connect in additional ways.

A special thank you goes out to my college best friend, Kelsey Oney –  the brave, beautiful and inspiring badass mama, wife, and teacher behind this love-driven campaign. She is the co-founder and co-director of The Commit Campaign as well as volunteer and field advocate with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Every year since 2012, Kelsey has traveled to Washington DC to advocate for mental health and suicide prevention legislation. She has also worked with survivors of suicide loss in her home state of Arizona putting on multiple events since 2012 promoting hope and healing. She is someone very near and dear to my heart, and I am so very proud of her, this work and its’ impact.

Thank you for reading.

So Much Love to You All,

x. Heather

 

If you are in crisis please call The National Suicide Prevention
line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
or text 'HOME' to 741741 for free crisis help anywhere in the US anytime.

 

A Facial Mask Perfect for the Beach: SUMMER FRIDAYS Jet Lag Mask REVIEW

At the top of my skincare products obsession list (in the top 3) there’s the category of facial masks.

I’ve got a keen sense for those hot new beauty products, and out of what’s trending – what works and what’s really, just hype. Now if you’re (also) dialed-in to the happenings of the current beauty industry, then you’ve most likely already heard of  Summer Friday’s debut product: the Jet Lag Mask. Though just launched this March (2018), it has already been endorsed by well-known celebrities, featured in high-ranking publications and magazines, and absolutely RAVED about in the blogger and influencer community. And for good reason.

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Deemed perfect for the “jet-lagged” traveler, yet its’ wonders stretch far beyond travel help essential (psst.. it’s also perfectly sized for carry-on bags).  Personally, it has found a permanent home not only in my “favorites” drawer, but also in my beach bag!

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The 4-1-1 on this hydrating multi-tasking mask…

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  • VEGAN
  • CRUELTY-FREE
  • SULFATE-FREE
  • NO SYNTHETIC DYES/FRAGRANCES
  • NO PARABENS
  • MADE IN THE U.S.A.

^Hence, why I’ve obliged when Bella has asked if she can put some on too!

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How I LOVE to use this mask at the beach is after applying a facial sunscreen. I slather on a thin layer of the jet lag mask after my sunscreen has set in/dried. I’m not sure what inspired me to first do this, but I’ve been thanking my lucky skincare stars ever since!

Living in Hawaii (a.k.a. spending so much time at the beach), and given the nature of this lifestyle, it’s easy to have skin feeling sucked dry by the mixture of sun exposure, salt water, and sand. And I absolutely hate that tight, irritated and dry feeling after long beach days.

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BUT THAT’S IN THE PAST!

Ever since I have been applying the Jet Lag Mask at the beach, I haven’t been experiencing that afterwards dried  out feeling! I think of the application like a barrier between the salt water and my skin, as well as an enhancer to my sunscreen protection.1

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VITAMIN B3/ Effective skin-restoring ingredient that offers multiple benefits for aging including visibly improving the appearance of enlarged pores, uneven skin tone, fine lines, and dullness, while also strengthening the surface of weakened skin.

VITAMIN C/ Powerful antioxidant that brightens skin tone and behaves like a moisture-magnet, boosting the hydration barrier.

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GREEN TEA/ Soothes frazzled complexions with its skin-toning powers, reducing puffiness and inflammation while protecting cells from free radicals.

CHESTNUT EXTRACT/ Activates the natural exfoliation process, polishing away dullness so skin looks radiant, healthy and well-rested.

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Though I’ve shared my favorite and unique application of this product, its’ uses span far and wide. Have you tried it out yet? I would love to hear some of your favorite tricks with this mask!

 

Talk Soon,

x. Heather

 

 

*affiliate links.

 

 

 

Caramel-Chocolate Chunk-Sea Salt Gluten-Free Tahini Cookies RECIPE

Have you ever found an unopened jar of ‘something’ that got lost in the maze that is the kitchen pantry, and then further realized that its’ expiration date was soon approaching? No? Okay, well it does happen. That’s actually the story behind how these TAHINI, yes, TA-HINI (ground sesame seed paste/sauce if you will) cookies were born!

Hey, don’t knock it ’til you try it! ;) Though, if you’re a gluten-lover/cookie-snob/baked treats guru — then alright, maybe these aren’t for you. But we surely devoured them.

So I’ve never really been a baker. BUT, these are absolutely sensational and actually taste better in the following days after storing them in the fridge! I feel like a superstar when I have one as a nightly treat, because they’re just as good as the $5-a-piece gluten-free treats that you can find at the health food store!

Okay, so let’s get on with it:

Ingredients/

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Directions/

  1. Preheat your oven to 385 degrees.
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients except for chocolate chunks, and flaxseed, also only use 1/2 the salt amount at this time for the dry mix.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the flaxseed, almond milk, and ghee oil. Mix until there are no chunks, then add the remaining wet ingredients except for the caramel sauce and mix again until no chunks.
  5. Combine wet and dry mixes and stir until cohesive.
  6. Use a spoon to grab small amounts of dough and then use the heat from your palms to hand roll in to balls. Place on already-lined baking/cookie sheet.
  7. Press with thumb or back of spoon in to the center of each ball to create a center to then fill with caramel sauce and chocolate chunks.
  8. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.
  9. Place in pre-heated oven and bake for about 10 minutes.
  10. Enjoy warm or store in fridge for an even better taste when cold!

balancedlifealoha.comI love topping them with my favorite COCONUT CULT yogurt. :P

x. Heather

 

PRINTABLE (right click to download):

balancedlifealoha.com

 

Products/

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*some affiliate links.

 

 

 

BEET JUICE BENEFITS + Current Favorite: Pressed Juice on O’ahu

 

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They’re insanely detoxifying, being a high-antioxidant vegetable packed with nutrients shown to be overall cleansing for the body.

But even more specifically, for the liver.

Many overlook just how important liver health really is, but the reality is that it correlates with our blood, digestive, heart, and adrenal health. Sooo, perhaps it’s something we all should take a look at.

The liver is responsible for ridding our body of toxic waste, as it filters what it doesn’t need before it releases blood back in to the bloodstream. Now with beets, they have the ability to stimulate lymphatic flow, improve enzymatic activity, and overall aid the liver’s functionality.

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  • betaine
  • betalains
  • betanin
  • betacyanin
  • fiber
  • folate
  • iron
  • +more…

Betaine is a substance that can encourage liver cells to rid toxins. Additionally, it can act as a defender for the liver/bile ducts (which is important for proper liver function). This substance is also said (by medical studies) to decrease the risk of coronary and cerebral artery diseases – because of the ability to lower systematic inflammation.

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However, to be honest – I CAN’T STAND the taste of beets. To me, it’s like tasting dirt. I’m not adversed to many foods or flavors, but this is just something I’ve never been able to stomach (unless it’s pickled and then the fermentation masks the real beet taste – but even then, I still have to force myself ).

Needless to say, I’ve been on the hunt for a long time for dishes and/or pressed juices containing beetroot, but that my tastebuds didn’t reject. A few found in the past have been subpar, but nothing compared to what I discovered at NALU Health Bar & Cafe.

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This juice and food shop (with two locations on the island of O’ahu – Hawaii) offers fresh-pressed juices, smoothies, acai bowls, wraps, salads, sandwiches, and coffees/teas.

The reason I am featuring them, is the menu item named as the:balancedlifealoha.comI had no issues whatsoever downing (AND LIKING!) this 16 oz. sweet with a tiny bit of sour, fresh juice. And I’m super grateful to have found a *delicious* concoction containing the liver-detoxing powerhouse that is BEETS!

 

Cheers to Healthy Livers,

x. Heather

 

 

*not sponsored.

 

 

“Cheezy” Roasted String Beans Recipe (Dairy-free)

Legumes? Green Beans? Snap Peas? String Beans? …I’m just going to go with the name that comes on the package that I buy from the store, and thats – STRING BEANS.

So, the helpful tip that I live by when roasting these, amongst other veggies as well, is to allow your roasting pan to preheat with the oven while you prep the veggies. This allows a more even baking as well as reaching that crispy texture instead of a soggy texture.

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Ingredients/

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Directions/

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Also place your roasting pan in to the oven to warm up while you prep the string beans.
  2. Rinse and pat dry your already trimmed string beans (or if you’re like me, you can just snap the ends off as your eating them, lol).
  3. Place the beans in a large mixing bowl, pour the ghee oil (or olive/avocado oil) over them and mix to ensure that all are coated.
  4. Sprinkle the sea salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast on top and mix again until evenly coated.
  5. Remove the heated roasting pan from pre-heated oven and place the now-coated string beans on it in a single layer + even/centered line.
  6. Sprinkle the vegan parmesan cheese over the top of the lined-up string beans.
  7. Place in oven and roast for about 10-13 minutes depending on your oven and desired crispiness.
  8. Enjoy!

x. Heather

 

PRINTABLE (right click to download):

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Products/

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*Affiliate links.

 

 

27 Life Lessons Before My 27th Birthday

I left home at 17 years old, moved 4200 miles away from everyone that I knew, by myself.

Then at 19, I moved to Los Angeles for two semesters of college. That’s also where I worked the most challenging (before motherhood obviously), yet rewarding, job of my life (at a retirement home), but felt entirely alone despite living in a HUGE city.

The next year, back in Hawaii, I graduated college and simultaneously began my career as well as bought myself my first *new* car – all at the age of 20.

Later that year, I suffered an immensely difficult trauma. Though in the healing process, I then traveled around the globe as an outreach volunteer and missionary.

Now as you can tell, the plot summary of the beginning of my adult biography is quite a rollercoaster.

Amongst these (as well as others not mentioned) landmark events, up’s, down’s, and busy life doings, I also maintained a close, as well as wide, social life as well!

So by the time that I was in a serious relationship (with the right man), I didn’t even realize that I was really JUST beginning my “20’s” era.

Within a short time, I got married to that (right) man, and a few months later, year 22 had just begun. Still, I already felt like I had a generous amount of life/worldly experiences under my belt and scribbled about within my journals.  The same journals in which I replaced with each *new age* and stored away the past years of reflections and lessons.

But now, five years and two babies later, another birthday is here; and with each completed orbit around the sun, I find myself (since becoming a mother) asking this specific question,

“If I were sitting down with my kids as adults or teenagers, what would I have to share with them about *this* specific age?”

The answers are usually transcribed in those personal journals, but something compelled me to share this year’s with you…

Maybe it’s the fact that today, 7/7/2017,  is my 27th birthday?

Whatever it may be, here are 27 life lessons that I have learned through experiences thus far by age *27*:

 

1- Figure out what geographical location feels “home” to you.

It’s one of the first questions asked when you meet someone, right? Well, that’s because, it’s important! Having a sense of home allows for a more peaceful life, better sense of identity, and overall well-being.

2- Learn how to be approachable.

Being friendly, open, and warm doesn’t mean that you are weak.  It means that you are helpful, that you have a purpose other than only yourself. So be approachable: stand/sit with good posture, make eye contact, listen, smile. After all, “you get more bees with honey!”

3- Hold firm to your personal beliefs, but also be tolerant and humble towards those with differing views.

Even if you don’t agree with someone, you can still learn from an opposing viewpoint. Be level-headed, as this too, creates a more peaceful life.

4- Sometimes longtime friendships dwindle.

Not every friend is going to make it to each next chapter in your life, and that’s okay! Don’t dwell on the space that grows inside even the oldest of friendships, it means that you’ve grown! Instead, be thankful for a rich memory bank.

5- If you wish to DO GOOD, then surround yourself with only GOOD people.

This is quite simple, having positive influences makes for less time fighting things you morally don’t agree with.

6- Be observant of other people’s energy.

I am so mindful of this, that I don’t willingly put myself in situations among people with negative energy. But if I do ever find myself in such a spot, I almost always will excuse myself.  Energy is contagious, and who really wants to feel negative vibes?

7- You really CAN be whatever you want to be in life. 

And if, what you want to be, doesn’t technically “exist”, CREATE IT!

8- Your health is your most valuable asset in life.

Without it, you can’t live life to the fullest.  Take care of yourself, so you don’t have to miss out on this one chance to thrive on Earth.

9- Genuine love is a choice, not just a feeling.

If it is indeed love, then it is a commitment from all parties, to support and raise each other up.

10- Don’t take anything for granted, not even the most insipid day.

If you take a moment to think about it, life really is fleeting, so choose to be grateful (time is much sweeter this way!)

11- Never stop seeking knowledge, never stop learning – (Teach yourself a new skill at least once a year).

Growth is not only a necessity to be successful, but also imperative for a FUN-FILLED life! “…learn as if you were to live forever.” -Gandhi

12- Stay current in world events.  

If you can’t stomach watching/reading the “news”, then at least read scientific research or something of the sorts.  Seeing growth in your external world allows for growth within yourself. Plus, the only constant in life, is change.

13- Don’t judge others because they sin differently than you do. 

Have a strong foundation in your faith, but don’t suffocate others by forcing them to follow your personal ideals. Instead, simply surround yourself with those who don’t make your personal practice a struggle.

14- Get enough sleep!

Sleep allows for your body to heal and repair, plus – what can a long, restful sleep, not heal?!

15- Don’t waste your time in relationships that are one-sided.

Whoever acts as if they don’t need you, YOU DON’T NEED IN YOUR LIFE.

16- Don’t just “respect your elders”, but respect all.

Treat others the way you wish to be treated. For real. Be courteous, polite, and kind — exercise your good character!

17- Smile at strangers.

You never know just how large of an impact that you can make on someone else’s day, OR LIFE, by offering something as simple, free, and effortless as a smile.

18- Focus on finding yourself, BEFORE focusing on finding a life partner.

In order to know what kind of person you want/need as a life partner, you HAVE to know YOURSELF FIRST!

19- Time means nothing in loyalty.

Just because you may have known someone for a great amount of time, doesn’t mean that they don’t have the capacity to do you wrong. Guard your heart (within balance of course).

20- Protect yourself legally.

ALWAYS think of the legal ramifications of the dealings that you are involved with/in. If others around you are doing something wrong – you are JUST as guilty if you don’t remove yourself and/or stop whatever is happening!

21- Know your worth.

Demand and only allow yourself to be treated the way in which you believe you deserve (with the utmost respect, duh).  ALSO, in the professional aspect, find the courage to request the pay you are worth, as well as for raises in pay when needed and/or deserved!

22- Retain history.

Not just out of respect for those who came before you and that made your daily luxuries an option, but also because it is your responsibility to the world!  “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”

23- Abuse is NEVER acceptable.

There are things that you DO NOT tolerate just because you “love” someone.  You deserve complete respect and should offer the same… anything less is never justifiable. Also, “abuse” is not only a physical trauma, but can be inflicted by words as well.

24- Realize what *unconditional* love is. 

This is something you possess for your CHILDREN. (i.e. your child throws a rock at you.. you then teach them right from wrong, but you still love them with an unconditional love. In relationships, however, there ARE conditions. If a partner throws a rock at you – probably a sign it should be over, ya?)

25- Never try to change someone that you’re in a relationship with.

Love yourself enough to choose to be with someone that NATURALLY brings out the best in you and inspires you to be an even better human being (+ vice-versa).  But never try to change someone in to a character that they are not – life is too short, and that is not love. If change is truly necessary, it should occur in time on its’ own.

26- Never apologize for what makes you unique.

There is no one else just like you. And that makes you so special. Never allow someone else’s envy or other motives to create an insecurity in your uniqueness. Be proud (but still humble) of who you are!

27- Love yourself.

Always. No matter what. Show yourself love, compassion, and room to be humanly-flawed.



As always, thanks for reading!

x. Heather

 

 

 

The Joy and Sadness of Celebrating my Last Baby’s First Birthday

This day had to eventually come.

My husband and I’s family plans did indeed detail just two children. But I have undoubtedly found that as a mother, there is something about the time where infancy is morphing in to toddlerhood – that can stir up a longing for those sweet, milky-breathed newborn snuggles.

Though we’re not quite opening that toddlerhood door yet (and bubs still does have that milky breath – lol), we ARE on the heels of some of our last “firsts” as parents.

Like celebrating our last first birthday…

and soon here also, we will witness our last first steps.

Our last baby just barreling down the childhood track, even faster than the first one did! I wish someone would have warned me that everything happens SO MUCH faster with the second baby.  Not just faster, but a hundred times more intense, too! Simply put, this past year has been a beautiful, but powerfully moving whirlwind.

Now before I come off as an overly-emotional mama bear, sitting here typing out what may seem like frustrations or “complaints”, let’s get things straight – I am BEYYYYYOOOOND thankful for these, though bittersweet, “last first moments”.  I remind myself daily, to be present, and am totally aware of just how fortunate and blessed we are to have such happy and healthy children.

But just as fast as this past year has elapsed, I know that time will never slow down… especially as a parent. So, in commemorating the magical year where I not only grew as a mommy of TWO, but also uncovered/learned/realized some of the most formidable details about myself, I am sharing this personal letter:

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