How to Correct Your Posture (Standing)

Has anyone told you, “You need to stand up straight!” or how about “You need to work on your posture.”

OK, so where do you start?  When I started to “work on my posture” I didn’t know how to stand anymore.  Where do I put my shoulder, my head, is my back straight? 

Your posture is important because when you have a head forward posture or rounded shoulders it can lead to
1. Neck and shoulder pain
2. Mid back pain
3. Headaches from tight neck muscles

Here are some quick tips to help you to get back to good, healthy posture!

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Join the community of people who are taking steps to be Active, Pain Free and Healthy!
This is a Private Facebook group hosted by Brian and Christina.
Each week we focus on a different health concern such as the Rotator Cuff or Plantar Fasciitis.  You’ll learn basic and advanced foam rolling techniques for that muscle group.  The goal is to increase range of motion to reduce the chance of injury or support the work you are already doing with your PT, Fitness Trainer or Chiropractor.   We’ll also share other self care techniques to support that muscle group such a lymph drainage, essential oils and stretching.  Join here!  https://www.facebook.com/groups/YourHealthyStepsCommunity/

Reduce Fine Lines and Wrinkles while Lifting the face.

A few months ago I looked at myself in the mirror and was horrified to see all these wrinkles that popped up on my face… when did that happen?

Since that morning I’ve been looking for non-invasive, natural methods that I could use to reduce these lines on my face that are trying to make me look older than I feel!  The Jade Roller is one of the tools that has made a huge difference in a short period of time.

When I was introduced to the Jade Roller, I was intrigued because it relates to 2 things that I’m passionate about; Lymph Drainage and Essential Oils.  I purchased one right away and did some research on how to use it.  I combined what learned with what I already know about the Lymph System and put together this method that I show you in the video. 

This is why I love the Jade Roller.

1. Helps your skin absorb your skin care product.
2. You are essentially giving your face a Lymph Drainage Session every time you use it, which increases circulation and makes your skin glow and look fresh.
3. Reduces fine lines and lifts the skin – all naturally!

In the video above, I show you how to use the Jade Roller to do all these things! 

Purchase your Jade Roller!

I recently spent some time teaching about essential oils at withSimplicity.  It is the owner who introduced me to the Jade Roller.  This is a fantastic on-line and “real” store in Virginia for natural make-up and beauty supplies (all hand made!).  If you are looking to purchase a Jade Roller, this is a great small business to support!  Get your Jade Roller Here!

You mentioned Dry Brushing?

Yes, I mentioned that dry brushing is a complementary self care routine.  It also is a simple tool that is easy to use daily and has wonderful health and beauty results! 
Dry brushing:

  • Supports lymph movement
  • Sports the immune system
  • Reduces the appearance of cellulite
  • Removes dead skin cells and makes your skin baby soft
  • Tightens skin
  • Supports detoxification through lymph movement

    Learn How to Dry Brush Here!

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Help for swollen hands and fingers.

Do you often end the day with swollen fingers?  If you have not had any lymph nodes removed or damage, the culprit could be your muscles.  I’ll share what you could do to help reduce that swelling.

 

 

This video is not intended to treat, diagnose or prescribe, it is for educational purposes only!

I have been practicing Manual Lymph Drainage for the past 10 years.  I’d like to share one of the reasons some of our clients experience swelling in their hands and fingers and how they have been helped.

Lymph vessels are a collection of tubes that carry the lymph throughout the body.  The lymph carries the “garbage” your cells don’t need anymore.

On the top of the arms, the lymph flows up and over the shoulder to the collar bone, toward the clavicular notch.

The lymph vessels on the bottom of the arm travels to the nodes in the underarm, then towards the clavicular notch.

What I have found, for people that do not have a reason why their fingers should be swelling is that there is a blockage somewhere in their arm or upper chest.

Very often that blockage is caused by tight muscles, restricting the flow of the lymph drainage.

One of the first thing to consider is the tightness of the deltoids, traps, pecs or scalene muscles. If any of those are very tight and tender, they could possibly be restricting the flow of the lymph, causing your fingers to swell.

Often people who spend a lot of time on a computer, phone or have poor posture find that these muscles are very tight!

To help reduce the muscle tightness, consider working with someone who has training in NeuroMuscular massage.  I’m not talking about  relaxation massage here!  But specific massage and stretching of these muscles could help relax those muscles and allow the lymph to flow again.

Try Moving That Lymph Yourself with a Simple Self Care Technique.

Hook your fingers over collar bone or clavicle. Pull your skin down center, towards the clavicular notch.  Repeat around 10X.

The trick is to not let go of your skin, you need to pull it!

If you have long fingernails, then cross your hands and put the palms on the skin just above your collar bones and pull parallel to the clavicles towards the notch.

If you are dealing with some congestion in your ears of sinuses you may feel “tugging” in them.

The Next Area to Work On

You will do the same “skin pulling” with the palms of your hand to the inside elbows.  You are pulling the skin up towards your underarm.

Then, follow with working the clavicles again.

If you have any questions, feel free to post them below.  If you tried this and it gave you some relief, I’d love to know!

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The Bulletproof Diet, by Dave Asprey: Review

I’ve been hearing about “butter coffee” for a while now.  It never sounded like a good recipe idea to me.

I figured drinking that much butter would make my stomach hurt. I just didn’t get it.

I really can’t give a good reason why I added this book to my Amazon shopping cart one day. It was not the book I was looking for.  Call it “destiny or fate”, but that is how it ended up in my hands with me reading it at lunch.


This book is Dave’s story of how he changed from being an overweight, foggy-brained, stressed out guy who was eating unhealthy foods to a fit, clear headed, focused guy by “hacking” how his body reacts to different foods. This book is about the outcome of his years researching, testing and experimenting. He was the main guinea pig in all this experiments. It is through his research on his body, he developed this diet

In reading his book I can see that he is a very intelligent guy.  I can tell that when he grabs a hold of an idea he explores it fully until he is satisfied with the results. He shares in his book about the tons of tests he had done on his body, he even tested his bowel movements as part of his research. He sleeps with 2 sleep tracking devices and can tell you how long he slept on average for the past 456 days to the minute! He is extremely detailed in his research and reporting, (you might even use the term obsessive). My guess is that his wife is a saint to put up with all his tests!


As I was reading this book, the sentence that stood out to me and made me grab my highlighter was “If we are not eating good fats we are starving our brains”.

Just one of the many things I learned from reading this book is that fats build brain cells. The human brain is nearly 60 percent fat. It is Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) that build the brain, and these can not be manufactured by the body. They must be part of our food source. So that is where the “butter coffee” or the “Bulletproof Coffee” comes in.

I tried that Bullet Proof Coffee, and you know what? I loved it, and so does Brian! We both feel a difference drinking that coffee. We have clear thinking, focused mind and I’m not hungry for lunch at least 6 or more hours after breakfast.

To top if off, the Bullet Proof Coffee recipe tastes fantastic! It is like a cappuccino from your local coffee shop and it doesn’t make my tummy hurt at all with all that butter.  Yup, I will be spending the extra money to buy grass fed organic butter from now on for my Bullet Proof Coffee in the morning.


There are quite a few other “hacks” in this book.

Other chapters discuss and then give detailed recommendations for salt intake, better sleep, probiotics, weight loss, supplements, toxins in foods, good, better and best veggies to eat and how to cook them. 



Honestly we have not tried ALL the recommendations in the Bullet Proof Diet yet, but the ones we have tried – we have felt an immediate difference in our focus, energy and how our body feels. We certainly will be adding more Bullet Proof hacks to our day bit by bit.

 

My Rating for this — is a 5/5.

  • I appreciate all the education I gained about how food and my body work together.
  • 
The Hacks that are recommended (and we have tried) have had an immediate positive affect.
  • It is well written and a comfortable read. I don’t feel like he is talking down to me or talking over my head. I enjoyed reading it.
  • It is a great resource that I’ll be using often. This is one book that will not collect a lot of dust on my self.

 

You might want to get this book if you:

  • Want to loose weight in a healthy manner
  • Simply want to eat more healthy
  • Like adding to your health knowledge.
  • Are open to going against the norm and do crazy things like drinking lots of butter and eat lots of healthy salt.
  • Are looking for natural ways to increase focus and attention.
  • Want a good reason to eat a lot of bacon!

 

I hope this review was helpful for you!


Comment below if reading this review has affect your decision to buy this book or not.

Let us know too if you have read this book and what your thoughts and experiences are.

 

To get more HealthySteps tips, register below!

If you are concerned, frustrated and worried about what your picky eater is or is not eating, then this is the group for you!



We are a group of Moms and Dads who feel that the more involved your kiddo is in the process of planning or creating a meal, the higher the chances are that they will eat actually it!  Not only do we share how to get your Picky Eater involved in creating meals, but we also have some health tips and info!  Each week we’ll have a food or ingredient to focus on along with a kid friend recipe.  We’ll show you how to get your kiddo involved in making that recipe!   Join the conversation here!  Moms and Dads of Picky Eaters FB Group

Get your Picky Eater involved in Meal Prep right away!   Learn how to teach your kiddo to slice and get a FREE cookbook!

3 Things to Look for When Buying Yogurt to Make Sure it is Healthy for You!

When you are looking for yogurt, do you know what to look for to make sure you are buying something that really supports your health?  

There are so many yogurt choices in the grocery store now, isn’t there! It can get quite overwhelming when all you want to do is grab a yogurt for lunch or breakfast.

And yogurt is great right, even the commercials on TV and magazines are now shouting about the gut benefits you’ll receive when eating their yogurt.

Here are 3 things to check to make sure you are getting good yogurt!

1. It has got to say in the ingredients that there are LIVE ACTIVE CULTURES. That is the whole beneficial part to yogurt is the little live bacteria in there that will make your tummy more happy. It is this bacteria or culture, that ferments or changes the milk into yogurt.

If you can believe it, after the milk has turned to yogurt, some companies actually kill these guys off so their product can stay on the shelf longer!  So that is why you must confirm that there are live guys in that yogurt, and you simply do that by looking at the ingredients. 

2. We are eating yogurt to keep our gut healthy, right. So one ingredient that does no good to our tummies is sugar. It is the sugar that feeds the yeast – the little guys who don’t belong in your gut and create havoc on your body. Eating yogurt with lots of sugar is simply counter productive!!  

To reduce sugar, only get plain or if you just have to, vanilla flavored yogurt. Ditch all the strawberry, lemon, Oreo cookie additions that are contained on the bottom of the cup or that you sprinkle on top. All that is is added sugar, and with many of the yogurt choices aimed at kids, being simply unhealthy! 

In a minute, I will give you pointers on how to spruce up your plain yogurt into a tasty mix that you and your picky eater kids will love!!

3. Skip the low fat, no fat yogurt and go for the FULL FAT!  Good fat is good for you, and fat from milk is GOOD! It will make you feel fuller for longer and gives you good fats. If you are getting low fat or no fat, then that is going to be some very runny yogurt. It is the fat in the milk that gives yogurt that creamy texture. If you are getting the low or no fat yogurt you know there needs to be something added to give it that texture you enjoy. So go crazy and get the full fat or even cream on top yogurt!! It will be sweeter too, so you’ll need less sweetener!!

Someone asked me if Greek Yogurt was better. It has more protein simply because it is more ‘concentrated” than regular yogurt. In making Greek yogurt, all the extra water is removed so it will be more thick. So either one is good – just keep to points 1-3 and you’ll be good!

4. is Extra Credit!!  If you can spring for organic or organic grass fed milk – do it!! Grass fed milk has more omegas than corn fed cow milk. And… unless it is organic, you know that those cows were fed GMO corn that was sprayed with roundup. So, this is one product that I am ok with spending extra $$ on for good quality.

Now the big question of how to make a serving of plain yogurt exciting to you and your picky eater!!

Add good stuff to it that YOU like and is not loaded with preservatives, colors and corn syrup.

We love to add honey or maple syrup for our sweet if it is plain yogurt and add some yummies.

If it is vanilla yogurt then we’ll skip the addition of sweet and just go for yummies.

Here are some yummy ideas that are easy to have on hand:
Any frozen berry. Blue berries are perfect size. You might want to chop up strawberries or Cherries to bite size pieces.
Bananas
Granola
Uncooked oatmeal
Chia seeds (we call them bugs!)
Hemp seeds
Chocolate or Vanilla protein powder
Cinnamon

 


 

To Non-Gluten or Gluten

A friend and I were talking Health Related Stuff – the topic of Non-gluten foods came up. I have some pretty strong feelings on the topic, I’ll share them here with you 🙂

It is easy to jump on the non-gluten band wagon because you feel like you are doing something healthy and good for your family, right! I bought my hubby a gluten free baking cook book for Christmas a few years ago and he delved right in!

What we noticed was what he was making tasted good, but we were hungry very quickly after eating it.

It left me wondering if this was really a good idea. Now, no one in my family has celiac disease, so do we really need to go non-gluten?? It is supposed to be healthier – but is it??

I went online and went shopping at Walmart and compared some boxed goods that were gluten and then their gluten free counterpart. This is what I found…

Prices were MUCH higher for non-gluten
There was less in a box for non-gluten
Sugars were not way higher (that surprised me, I was expecting high sugar in gluten free)
Ingredients in non-gluten had high processed wheat substitutes.
Xanthan gum is from Corn Sugar = GMO corn!

After doing some more research I decided to skip the gluten free and instead there are 3 things I do when it comes to grains and wheat. I’m going to share 2 today.

Instead of spending extra money on non-gluten products I’ll spend my money on organic wheat or other organic grains. Here is why….

I don’t think it is the gluten we are having trouble with!

Wheat and grains have been around for a long time and they have offered us, the human race, much nutrition and fiber. Just look back in history and you’ll find tons of references to bread!

The bread of life…. Give us this day our daily bread…

Ancient Egyptians had barley and emmer wheat which was made into bread, cake and beer.

Colonial times for breakfast they had bread, milk, and left over meat and veggies from dinner.

Grains and breads have been a staple for humans for a long time.

What has changed?? Gluten intolerance is on the rise. I found a stat in a celiac post (https://glutenintoleranceschool.com/gluten-intolerance-statistics/) that 3 million people in the US suffer from celiac disease, which is approximately 1 in 133 people. However, more recent numbers suggest the number may be closer to 1 in 100.

Just personally I can’t believe how many people have reported that they gave up gluten and they “feel so much better!”. 

Can wheat be that bad after being “the bread of life” for thousand of years?? What has changed?

I feel it is the commercial wheat that has changed – not us!

Plants change with time because it is a natural thing that mother nature does. You may have two types of tomatoes, but one pollinates the other and that tomato seed that is produced can be a mix of the two. Kinda like your kid… right a mix between two parents.

People have been using this hybridization tool for a long time to foster the aspects of the plant that they like the best.

What we are doing now with wheat is changing the DNA – it is called GMO. Genetically modified Organism. 

There are many alarming things to GMOs, but there are 2 things that may be affecting how we are able to digest this wheat.

The book “Ancient Einkorn” explains that during gene splicing, they are adding genes together – not just taking out parts and replacing genes. So you end up with a wheat that has more chromosomes than what it originally did. 

The wheat that is generally used for bread is called tritium aestivum and it has 42 chromosomes. Wheat used for pasta and low rising bread, tritium turgid as 28 chromosomes. Now compare that to the ancient einkorn wheat, Triticum monococcum that has 14 chromosomes!

The additional chromosomes create new proteins that we had not digested before. This is totally new to our bodies. Boom, essentially overnight we are asking our bodies to digest food that has been modified by adding chromosomes – something, that if it was going to happen naturally would certainly take hundreds, even thousands of years!!

That is why I have decided to skip the “non-gluten” health craze and instead get grains that are non GMO and organic.

Einkorn, Kamut and Spelt are our favorite.

Now I know there are quite a few ancient non GMO grains that have not been “messed with” by us humans. If you have one you like – please let me know!!

Another reason why my family still consume grains is because I think we need some gluten.

A study in Spain tested 30 people and replaced their diet with non-gluten foods. What they found was that this change reduced healthy bacteria (bifidocbacterium, B. Long and Lactobacillus) while the unhealthy bacteria increased.

Lactobacillus is an important probiotic, I want to increase it in my belly, not reduce it. People take Lactobacillus for IBS, inflammation of colon, constipation, prevent common cold and flu, yeast infections, ear infections, UTI.

So this lead the scientists who did the study and me to the conclusion that the “composition of the gut microbes is susceptible to the influence of the diet, and especially to the quality and quantity of ingested carbohydrates.”

What I understand is our bodies NEED some gluten to have a healthy gut. Gluten is a pre-biotic – it just has to be the original gluten not modified by man. (A prebiotic is food for our probiotics. Give our good bacteria the right foods for them to grow on and they flourish!)

The other reason I feel we are having issues with our commercial grains is because of the amount of chemicals the wheat is exposed to when growing.

Even the EPA says that “laboratory studies show that pesticides can cause health problems, such as birth defects, nerve damage, cancer and other effects that might occur over a long period of time.”

Each year more than 2 billion pounds of pesticides are applied to our food supply. That is about 10 pounds per person. How scary is that???

The most commonly used pesticide that is used on wheat fields is Round-Up or glycophosate. The GMO wheat is even “round up ready”, which means that it is created to be resistant to Round-Up. It can be sprayed and sprayed and sprayed and not be affected!

And that is just what happens. The wheat fields are sprayed to control weeds and they are even sprayed before harvesting because it makes it easier to harvest, it helps dry them out!

Lab tests have linked Round-Up to cancer, reduced production of hormones, miscarriages, and genetic mutations. Sure… the argument is that we get such a small amount in our foods, but what about the cumulative effects!

Hmmm, no thanks!. I don’t want any Round-Up in my belly!

Other studies are connecting Round-Up to poor gut health because the Round-up is killing off our good microbes in our tummies. Poor gut health has been linked to hundreds of autoimmune diseases, autism and ADHD, and more!!

So, YES my family eats gluten but I make sure when we purchase a wheat product it is organic. So that means NO Round-Up or pesticides.

And I go out of my way to find grains that are not typical and not hybridized or GMO yet so we can have grain that has not been changed or affected by man! (Goodness, why must we go and mess up a good thing??)

In another FB live I’ll share the 3rd thing we look for and do at home to our grain to make it easier for us to digest and get all the nutrients from the grain!

I have found that when shopping for healthy grains like this, don’t go to Amazon. The price is SO much higher! You can buy bulk grains at https://www.bobsredmill.com/shop.html. I’m in love with the spelt from https://onedegreeorganics.com/. You can’t purchase from their website, but you can locate a store near you that sells their products.

Thanks so much! I would love to hear your thoughts and comments. Let me know if this gave you something to think about when you are in the kitchen or supermarket!!


 

Solutions for Winter Dry Skin

A question from one of our clients was what lotion should she use for her dry skin during the winter.

I have an simple idea that has helped me a lot, but it wasn’t my idea – I got it from my friend who has the most beautiful skin.

This is the story. I was at a gathering and I asked my friend who has such soft, clear skin what kind of lotion she uses. I knew she made a lot of her own lotions and beauty creams, and I wanted her recipes.

She took me aside, and seemed a little embarrassed and said quietly, “Christina,I don’t use soap anymore.”
“What do you mean?” I replied a bit puzzled.
“I don’t use soap in the shower anymore.”
“Ok, that is great…. All I want to know what kind of lotion you use to keep your skin moisturized. Mine gets dry in the winter – what is your lotion recipe, I know you have a good one.”
“I don’t use lotion – I don’t need lotion – because I don’t use soap in the shower anymore.”
“What?” Now I was really confused. “What do you mean?”

So she explain to me the secrets of fat, which I’ll share with you!

Every cell in our body has a membrane that is made of special fat cells. These fat cells are very important in lots of ways.

Now, the reason why soap cleans is because it breaks down fat. Think of your dishes and how the liquid soap breaks down that fat on the plate.

When you are taking a shower and scrubbing up – you are breaking down your fat molecules on the out layer of your skin, leading to dryness.

That is the opposite of what you want, right!

What I did before I knew the Secret of Fat was to try another soap or another type of skin or hand lotion.

We are going to go about this differently! And you’ll find it works great, saves you time and money.

You’ll save time because you are not going to have to “loob up” after your shower or at bedtime and you’ll save $$ because you will not have to spend $ on different body lotions and hand lotions anymore.

We are going to do what my friend shared with me – remember she doesn’t use soap anymore! Instead of cleaning with soap – we are going to clean with fat.

I’m not suggesting we grab the fat from our hamburgers – I’m talking about using some of the basic ingredients you find in your lotions – fatty oils such as coconut or olive or grape seed oil or avocado.

You’ll be surprised how easy it is!!

  1. Get wet
  2. Oil up
  3. Rinse off
  4. Dry off
  5. Get on with your day

Your recipe will be determined by you – how oily or how much scrubby exfoliation you want and what aroma you want.

If you think I’m kinda crazy and you are not ready for this yet – try it just for your hands first. Keep this mix by the sink, and use this to wash your hands with instead of soap. See how your hands feel after a week. Then you might be open to trying it in the shower 🙂

Points to make:

  • This is great for a daily hop in the shower to get ready for the day.
  • If I’m in the garden and muddy – soap is nice. (I love black liquid soap.)
  • Use a spoon to take some of the scrub out.  That way it doesn’t get all watery.
  • Take care of your hair first! You don’t want to put your oily hands in your hair.
  • Adding a good quality Omega vitamins is also helpful in keeping your skin moisturized.
  • This is for generally dry skin. If you are dealing with more than that, remember skin health is directly related to gut health.
  • This is not meant for your face as the face has such delicate and different skin then our bodies.

Here is the basic recipe to make a small batch.

You can double and triple as needed. Also you should play and adjust to amounts to find texture that feels good for you.

2 tablespoons of fat (mix or use 1, coconut, avocado, safflower, grape seed)
1-3 tablespoons of salt (epsom, Himalayan, sea)
1-2 drops of Essential Oils
Lavender, geranium to support skin
Eucalyptus to support respiratory system
Thieves to use with hand scrub – protects and supports immune system.

I hope these Healthy Tips help you on your wellness journey too!

If you use a tip, I’d love to hear how it supported you. If you have any questions – please ask away!

Relax Tight Neck Muscles While Traveling

Welcome! I’m Brian Hagan with HealthySteps. Our vision is to provide you with the support, education, and techniques to support your steps on your unique health journey.

Lots of people are going to be hitting the road tomorrow, the start of Memorial Day Weekend!

Here are a few quick tips to help you relax those neck muscles while you are traveling.

It is always a good idea to do these stretches while at a red light or stuck in traffic 🙂

4 Tips for Summer Ready Skin

Summer is right around the corner!   We’ll be showing more of our skin than we did in the sweater weather winter months!

Here are 4 simple tips to get your skin summer ready!  Do these 4 tips for one month, and you’ll have smooth, baby soft skin ready for shorts and t-shirts!!

Links that I mentioned:

  1. The pictures of the lady who drank 3 liters of water a day for 28 day – what a transformation!!
  2. A video on how to Dry or Skin Brush and downloadable chart.

How to Make Yogurt at Home

Why would you want to make yogurt at home – you can easily pick some up at the grocery store!
I like to make it at home because it is SO easy, saves me money, reduces my family’s sugar intake and supports their gut health.  We get good fats by using grass fed milk and we eliminate stuff like stabilizers, thickeners, etc which is used to increase shelf life. 

We get to eat just pure, good for you yogurt!

So, making your own yogurt is an easy way to cook for your family and know you are giving them GOOD food to support their health.

If you want to make it sweeter, you can add honey or maple syrup and some fruit!  Oh so yummy… it only take 12 hours… 🙂

STAY IN TOUCH