Thursday, July 23, 2015

Gut Health is Essential to Thyroid Health


I received the following products in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed are 100 percent my own. This post contains affiliate links. 


Click to enlarge
I have hypothyroidism. When you don’t receive the proper treatment for this illness, you’ll experience a myriad of symptoms, including weight gain, constipation and fatigue. After having this disease for over 15 years, I recently learned that my doctor’s approach to treating my thyroid was not correct. He treated me with synthetic T4 (thyroxine), but he never noticed that I didn’t convert the T4 to T3 (triiodothyronine) properly. I thought that feeling crappy was going to be a lifelong “normal” for me. 

Now that I’m learning more about how my thyroid can function better, I’ve learned how other factors affect it, such as iron levels, adrenal function, magnesium, vitamin D, zinc and selenium. I also saw how my diet did not promote good thyroid function, as eating a lot of carbs are a big no-no for me. Carbs increase inflammation, which increase cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. So, when you have your diet and gut in-check, you help your thyroid. 



Hypothyroidism and Probiotics

Healthy bacterium in your stomach helps your body convert T4 into T3 sulfate (T3S) and triidothyroacetic acid (T3AC). T3S and T3AC use intestinal sulfatase to convert into T3. According to Chris Kresser, healthy gut bacteria are responsible for creating intestinal sulfatase. 

Poor gut health and lipopolysaccharides (bad intestinal bacteria) increases inflammation and cortisol levels, which reduce active T3 levels.  

To help your gut improve, Dr. Axe recommends eating foods rich in probiotics, such as fermented vegetables, kefir and kombucha. I find that I need more probiotics than these foods offer, so I take probiotic supplements, like Probiotic 12 + from LES Labs. This supplement contains prebiotics and 10 billion probiotic colony-forming units (CFUs) in each capsule. I take two or three per day and have had good results. Dr. Axe recommends taking up to 50 billion CFUs per day. 

To further support my digestion, I have 1 to 2 teaspoons of spirulina every morning. Spirulina is a type of dark turquoise algae that’s considered a superfood, as 8 grams of it have the nutritional properties of five servings of fruits and vegetables. Spirulina is also a good source of iodine, according to Dr. Mercola.  I hate how spirulina smells and tastes, so I mix it in a low-carb smoothie.

Essential Oils for Hypothyroidism

I never thought about using essential oils for hypothyroidism. Dr. Axe recommends putting two drops of frankincense oil on the roof of your mouth twice a day. He also says to rub three drops of frankincense oil mixed with five drops of lemongrass oil and five drops of clove oil on your thyroid daily. 

I have Radha Frankincense Essential Oil by Radha Beauty. It tastes horrible, so I have some tea nearby when placing two drops in my mouth. I think it’s better, however, to just rub it over your thyroid. The oil from Radha has a nice warm orange and woodsy smell, is pure and therapeutic-grade. It comes in a nice dark blue bottle and a dropper. 

Please keep in mind that I am not a medical professional, and am sharing my own personal experiences. Talk to your doctor about any of your thyroid and digestive concerns.  

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If you have hypothyroidism, what gut-healthy tips do you have?

   

I received the products mentioned in exchange for an unbiased review. This post contains affiliate links, meaning that I receive a small commission if you click on a product link and make a purchase through Amazon.com.

Monday, July 20, 2015

How to Wear a Fascinator

I received the following products in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed are 100 percent my own. This post contains affiliate links.


Kate Middleton
Image: Wikipedia

Thanks to royal stylists, Kate Middleton flaunts perfectly fitting fascinators. Fascinators and hatinators (small hats) are great accessories because they allow you to style your hair simply and still look well put together. They attract me because most hats don’t look good on me, and they good with different hair lengths. One of the most important things to consider when wearing a fascinator or hatinator is its type and its placement on your head.

How to Wear a Fascinator

Small Fascinators


  • If a fascinator does not have a veil, place it on the right side of your head.
  • If the fascinator has a clip, but no veil, pull your hair up into a ponytail or updo. Place the small fascinator toward the back of your head. You can also put it toward the front of your head, on the right side.
how to wear a fascinator
Image: Wikipedia

Medium-Sized Fascinators


  • Leave your hair down or do a half-updo and place the fascinator just below the crown of your head.
  • If the veil covers a larger portion of your head, wear it tilted slightly forward on the right side of your head. Make sure the bottom edge doesn’t fall on or below your eyebrow. Keep in mind that there are always exceptions to these rules.

Veiled Fascinators


  • In my opinion, all veiled fascinators look good with updos. Those with smaller veils also look good with half-updos.
  • When a fascinator has a longer veil, the bottom of the veil should fall just below the eye. 

 

Fascinator Tips


  • The fascinator you wear should be proportional to your height, size, head and hairstyle.
  • Play with a fascinator and try different hairstyles before the day of an event.
  • When in doubt, go for the simpler fascinator. (No one really benefits from three-foot feathers on your head.)
  • Keep your fascinator in good shape by keeping it in a hat box.


fascinator

I recently received the Valdler Net and Veil Fascinator. The fascinator looks cute and uses a set of clips to stay on your head. I think that it’s a good size for most people. The only gripe that I have against it is that I still have not been able to wear it. 

The fascinator came in a zippered bag, which misshaped the netting. Luckily, the feathers weren’t broken. I’ve had the accessory for about a month and still have not been able to work out the kinks. It doesn’t look poufy like it does in the picture. I’m excited to wear it, though.  





I received the products mentioned in exchange for an unbiased review. This post contains affiliate links, meaning that I receive a small commission if you click on a product link and make a purchase through Amazon.com. (pm40ea1761f24e6f9ace3ef78d0d5e9ea4)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Natural Remedies for Muscle and Joint Pain


I received the following products in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed are 100 percent my own. This post contains affiliate links.


Massages always help (Image: Marcin Bober)
When people complain to me about muscle and joint pain, they’re preaching to the choir. Because of my hyper-flexibility, I’ve had problems with both since I was in high school. Since painkillers aren’t always the answer to such ailments, I try to look for natural ways to stay pain-free.


If you have persistent pain or problems with your joints or muscles, talk to your doctor. I am not a medical professional; the following tips are only suggestions.


Natural Pain Relief for Muscles and Joints

  • Move: When I know that the pain I’m experiencing is arthritic in nature, it helps to move the stiff joints using gentle exercises and stretches. At first, it may not feel good to move, but your joints will loosen. (If the pain is the result of an injury, follow your doctor’s instructions regarding moving and bearing weight.)
  • Take a salty bath: Epsom salts naturally contain magnesium, which helps relieve pain and inflammation, according to Dr. Axe. Fill a tub with warm water and ½ to 2 cups of Epsom salt. Soak for at least 15 minutes. Magnesium supplements may also be beneficial for pain relief.
  • Essential oils: Peppermint and eucalyptus oils have analgesic, or pain-relieving, properties. They also produce a nice cooling effect on “hot” joints. Mix 5 to 10 drops of eucalyptus oil with 5 to 10 drops of peppermint oil with 2 tablespoons of a carrier oil (e.g., olive oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil). Store the mixture in a dark glass bottle.
  • Hot pad: When joints or muscles feel stiff, use a heating pad for 15 to 20 minutes to loosen them up. This is particularly helpful before receiving a massage. If you don’t have a heating pad, fill a clean sock with dry rice, beans or flax seeds. Sew or wrap a length of twine around the top of the sock to close the open end. Place the sock in the microwave for 15 seconds. Test its temperature and repeat until it’s warm enough. Alternatively, place it in the freezer for several hours to make a cold pack.
  • Medicated lotions: Vita Sciences has a line of creams that deliver supplements and pain relief. I recently tried its Nervex Pain Treatment and Joint RightCream
    • Nervex contains vitamins B12 and E, arnica, capsaicin and other natural ingredients to provide relieve for neuropathy, arthritis, muscle spasms, back pain and other related ailments. The cream is odorless and delivers a nice amount of heat to the area that you apply it. The heat never feels too hot or as if it’s burning your skin. I used it on my back and was happy with the results. I also tried it on my broken foot, but didn’t feel anything because of the idiopathic neuropathy that I have. 
    • Joint Right is good for sore joints and muscles. It has capsaicin, ParActin, aloe, vitamins E and B5, chamomile and menthol. At first, the cream makes your skin feel nice and cool. You later feel the capsaicin at work as the cream warms your skin. I recommend that you wear disposable gloves while applying the creams. No amount of hand washing seemed to get the capsaicin off, which I learned the hard way when I put my hand on my face.
  • Hydrotherapy: Hydrotherapy is basically using water to relax muscles, promote circulation and so on. IPShowers.com recently sent me its Aqua Dance Fixed Mount 5-Function Showerhead, which you can purchase at Target. This shower head has two functions on it that I really like. One is a mist that turns my shower into a mock steam bath. (I have never experienced this type of shower setting.) This setting is nice for loosening up your joints. The second is a strong jet spray that is good for targeting different areas with water, like your back or shoulders. I use the jet on my broken foot to promote circulation.
What do you use for your aches and pains?




I received the products mentioned in exchange for an unbiased review. This post contains affiliate links, meaning that I receive a small commission if you click on a product link and make a purchase through Amazon.com. (pm08678ae679dc79795862b29f7935f034)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Home Gadgets to Increase Your Productivity


I received the following products in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed are 100 percent my own. This post contains affiliate links.



I’m a gadget geek and am always looking for items that affordably help make housekeeping tasks and my life faster or simpler. Here are some of the latest items that I’ve discovered:

Fitness Gadgets


  • Yoga socks: I hate getting my feet dirty and regular socks slip on my carpet when I do gentle workouts, like yoga and pilates. Halo Yoga Socks contain organic cotton and have a grippy material on the soles, like socks at hospitals. They’re kind of like a fingerless glove version of toe socks in that they separate your toes (it feels good). I’ve worn my pair of yoga socks several times and think they feel comfortable. They’re not good for wearing with shoes, however, because they make my feet feel too hot.

  • Reflective ankle bands: I like to walk in the neighborhood in the evening. I also like to be safe and seen by drivers, so I’m thankful for BlazeBands Reflective Ankle Bands. The set of two bands are elastic, bright neon yellow and have a reflective silver strip in the middle. Since you secure them with Velcro, you can wear the bands on your ankles, wrists, arms, around a dog leash and more. I’m going to use these on Independence Day because my family and I are going to set off fireworks on a rural road. The bands will keep drivers aware of our presence.  

Organization Gadgets


  • New thin hangers: My closet was a mess and full of miss-matching “fat hangers.” I started using slim hangers with black flock on them last year, but they’re kind of spendy at the store. When BriaUSA gave me the chance to review its hangers, I was super excited. I received: 

The velvet hangers are really cute and the flock doesn’t rub off onto your clothes. They are also budget-friendly at $11.98 for a set of ten at the time of publication. The cascade hangers are a bit more at $14.95 for a set of ten, but they come with a hook that allows you to hang a lightweight garment, which is perfect for preparing your wardrobe in advance and saving space in your closet. All of the hangers have a grippy no-slip texture, so my clothes never fall onto the floor.
  • Metal Clip Hooks: I use hooks and clips all over my home, especially in the bathroom and kitchen. Pro Chef Kitchen Tools sent me a set of 10 Portable Travel Laundry Hooks that have a hook at one end. The clips are a lot bigger than I expected. The clip is 3 inches long and the hook has a 1-inch diameter. The clips seem durable and I have a bunch of ideas about how I want to use them, like to hang:
    • Lightweight pans in the kitchen
    • Aprons to free up drawer space
    • Boots in my closet
    • Hand towels in the bathroom and kitchen
    • Guest towels in the bathroom
    • Line-dry clothing
    • Garden tools and grilling accessories in my backyard
    • Lightweight hanging planters
    • A CPAP tube in your room or while traveling
    • Scarves
    • Belts

Task Gadgets

  • Multi-purpose LED flashlight: I use flashlights when looking in the dark recesses of my cupboards and closet. I also use them if I get the mail at night. It’s hard to look for stuff and hold a flashlight at the same time. The Aennon Ultra-Bright LED Work Light Flashlight solves this problem. It comes with a hook, magnetic mount and a stand. You can pivot the light while it’s in the stand so it’s at the angle you need. The main flashlight has a COB LED light with 150 lumens. You also get 30-lumen flashlight with five LEDs at the top of the torch.


  • Dog tags: Give your pup a cute tag from Doggie iD. The tag looks like a little driver’s license and comes complete with your dog’s picture, name, address and your phone number. The tag is simple to design online and I received it in less than 10 business days. I’m really happy with the final product.





  • Earplugs: I work from home. The neighborhood kids like to scream and play outside my window as I work. To help me concentrate, I’d listen to music, which was distracting, but better than kids screaming. I now have Mighty Plugs Ear Plugs. The plugs are made of beeswax, cotton and lanolin, giving them a putty-like feel. I like that a local company makes them using natural ingredients. After you soften the putty, the plugs are simple to mold into your ear. The earplugs are great for sound blocking. I’m not sure that I’d use them in bed, however, because the plugs might get full of lint.  

Kitchen Gadgets

  • Manual coffee grinder: I have a regular electric coffee grinder at home, but sometimes I want to grind spices. The Brillante Manual Coffee Grinder is a great solution. You open the top of the metal canister, attack the crank and grind. The thickness of the coffee, spices or herbs that you grind depends on the direction that you turn the crank. The canister on the bottom catches everything you grind.




  • Vegetable steamer: This is how I steamed vegetables in the past—I filled a pot with a bit of water, threw in some vegetables and put a lid on top. I would also fill a pot with water, place a metal colander on top and try to put a lid on the vegetables to trap the steam. Both methods were inefficient. I now have the SunsellaVegetable Steamer. This stainless steel steamer fits in my saucepots and my large stockpot. I now only fill pots with a bit of water, place the steamer inside, throw in the veggies, place the lid and let them cook. So far, I’ve successfully cooked broccoli and artichokes. My husband even left the steamer in the pot overnight and it didn’t rust.


 
  • Oven gloves: Kitchen towels never offer enough protection when I take things out of the oven. I really like the protection that silicone gloves provide, but they're not very flexible. The solution came with the Inspired Basics Nomex Heat Resistant Oven Gloves by Heat Blockers Pro. The gloves protect your hands and are a lot more flexible. I find that these gloves are particularly helpful for grilling with short cooking utensils, as well as carrying a hot slow cooker. I have to admit, I'm impressed.

Garden Gadgets

  • Spray bottle: I have a bunch of orchids in my home that require watering and misting throughout the summer. The Hosezzle Garden Spray Bottle is the perfect solution. It holds 1.5 liters of water and has an adjustable nozzle. I like to use the “spray in fog” setting to mist my plants. The pump is simple to use and the trigger feels comfortable. The only thing I wish the sprayer had is a pressure-release valve so I wouldn’t have to twist off the top to release the pressure.

 

Cleaning Gadgets




 I received the products mentioned in exchange for an unbiased review. This post contains affiliate links, meaning that I receive a small commission if you click on a product link and make a purchase through Amazon.com.