This post and giveaway sponsored by Hamilton Beach. However, all opinions, ideas, recipes and enthusiasm remain my own.
So, it was National Drink Fresh Squeezed Juice Day yesterday and I missed it. But, really ANY day is a great day to add a small glass or shooter of fresh fruit or veggie juice to your diet. Especially this time of year, flu and cold season, when the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in certain juices, alone or in drink recipes, can help boost your immunity and overall well-being. And, oh YAY, I have a juicer giveaway for you.
Let me get right to the root (errr, rhizome) of the matter -you need to be juicing ginger. Just a small amount of ginger can create a big flavor and nutrient boost in any food or drink recipe and it also can be used as a natural “medicine” to help optimize wellness. It’s said to clear sinuses, improves digestion, quells nausea is a natural analgesic is ant-bacterial and anti-inflammatory.
I’ve written about the benefits of ginger in the past and shared ginger recipes using it in ground, dried “spice” form and also minced or grated. But juicing ginger is my favorite way to use this pungent little powerhouse. Read on to learn about ginger juicing, why you should drink ginger juice and suggestions on how to use it. Continue reading →
Thank you Florastor® Daily Probiotics for sponsoring this post. Visit your local retailer to pick up your bottle of Florastor®Daily Probiotics to complement your active lifestyle
!Have you ever become all-out sick, or at a minimum felt like crap on a crumby cracker, a few days after finishing a physically or mentally intense event like a marathon or Ironman, huge work deadline or even hosting a mother-in-law (not mine, of course)? Falling under the weather after the black cloud of stress has lifted isn’t a coincidence; it’s an all-to-real occurrence that is referred to as the “Let Down Effect.”
Various studies have correlated the dissipation or “let down” of real or perceived stress with an increase in common colds, illnesses, flare-ups of chronic conditions like asthma, migraines, tummy trouble and other medical ailments. By now, you’ve heard that chronic stress can make you sick and eventually even kill you, but many are surprised to learn that getting sick after a high-stress event (and while perhaps feeling quite relaxed about life) is all too common. This “Let Down Effect’ happens, in simple terms, due to the weakened state our bodies are left in left in after “things get better” – we use a lot of energy and resources to function in high alert mode without a break
When stressed, physically or mentally, increased levels of cortisol, adrenaline and other hormones put your body in fight-or-flight mode and mask the perception of pain. We are cleverly designed like this to safely and quickly extract ourselves during the threat of danger, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, the immune system can be compromised, especially after prolonged periods of stress, and latent or chronic conditions can flare up.
In addition to these tolls of physical stress, the let down from emotional stress can cause many of the same problems. For example, dopamine (the pleasure and reward hormone) levels can drop, initiating possibly addictive behaviors like over eating, drinking and substance abuse as a person tries to subconsciously find relief.
So, how do you prevent or at least lessen your chances of falling victim to the “Let Down Effect”?
Sleep Well: Sleep deprivation compromises the immune system, so don’t pull all-nighters thinking you’ll come out ahead. Instead, do the best you can to get 7 to 8 hours a night by staying away from large late evening meals (including alcohol and caffeine), avoiding the blue light emitted from screens several hours before bed, taking a warm bath and using a diffuser to mist essential oils like lavender and chamomile.
Exercise Regularly: Moderate-intensity exercise done on a regular basis can keep your body from downshifting too quickly after a high stress event. If you don’t have time for an official jog or workout, try to include at least some extra walking or other movements in your day.
Decompress Frequently: If life is throwing too much your way, schedule non-negotiable “breaks” to relax whether it’s a 10 minute morning meditation, an entire hour devoted to yoga or even just 1 of minute of positive visualization every couple hours.
Nourish Your Immune System: Try vitamin C rich foods like oranges and grapefruit, vitamin E rich foods like sunflower seeds or spinach, zinc rich foods like beef and egg yolks. Probiotics can also help strengthen your digestive balance and support a healthy immune system.
So, speaking of nourishing the body to help allay stress and prevent illness, I’m sharing a couple things I’ve been doing lately to stay as well as I can. You may have read my post last month about a Sleep and Stress test I took recently – it revealed that my cortisol and cortisone levels are highly elevated throughout the entire day without ever falling to normal as they should. This is likely a result of everyday work/family stress magnified by my running and obstacle course training, and chronic lack of sleep — I’m working hard to resolve it.
So, one of the things I started doing was taking Florastor® Daily Probiotics in the morning and evening with my meals – it’s the best-selling probiotic worldwide and backed by 60 years of use and research. So far, I’ve been really happy with how this easy-to-take capsule is bringing my digestion into balance and helping me better maintain my immune function. Florastor® is the only probiotic brand with Saccharomyces boulardii lyo CNCM I-745 which helps restore your natural flora. Florastor® helps my body break down carbs and fiber and naturally absorb water and nutrients from the foods I eat, these are good things for me as I fluctuate from being bloated to dehydrate when under stress. I also appreciate that this product is vegetarian, gluten-free, contains non-GMO ingredients and can be stored at room temperature. While, thankfully, I rarely have taken antibiotics, Florastor® Daily Probiotics can help those that need to be on this medication maintain a healthy flora balance.
I also wanted to share this quick and easy breakfast recipe that is high in zinc – 60 Second 2-Egg & Beef Omelet. Yay, beef and whole eggs are both great sources of zinc, an essential mineral that keeps the immune system strong, helps heal wounds, and supports normal growth. My recipe is also high in protein, and you know I’m a stickler for getting approximately 25g of protein at breakfast – the eggs and beef are very satisfying for only 220 calories and keep me from tanking mid-morning. Plus, this microwave mug recipe takes less than 1 minute to prepare and around 60 seconds to cook, so there’s absolutely no stress in making breakfast on even the most frantic mornings!
Have you ever become sick after a period of physical or emotional stress? What do you do to boost your immunity or bounce back from a “tough time” healthy? Please share your comments and tips below – XOXO, Jennifer
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
60-Second 2-Egg & Beef Mug Omelet
Got a minute? Then you've got a healthy, balanced breakfast packed with protein thanks to this super speedy egg recipe that cooks up in 60 seconds.
This is a bad news, good news post. Unfortunately, it’s that time of year when the sneezes, sniffles and the stuffy-head crud comes on. But the upside is that a comforting bowl full of chicken soup (your grandmother’s remedy) actually has some merit to making you feel better — plus, it tastes great too!
I whipped up a huge batch of my Best-Ever Chicken and Rice Soup when the kids came back from our recent trip to the mountains feeling under the weather. I had them licking their colds . . . and the bottom of their bowls in record time.
Dozens upon dozens of scientific studies have investigated the basis for this centuries-old remedy — from how the hot temperature unblocks stuffy airways to how the zinc found in certain ingredients might just shorten the length of a cold. Science aside, it’s pretty much agreed on that slurping up soup helps keep you hydrated, chases away chills associated with fever and reduce certain annoying symptoms of being sick. Plus, the addition of turmeric, a golden spice related to ginger, helps to provide the antioxident power you need to start feeling better.
If you’re not feeling up to par, please see a doctor to make sure it’s nothing serious. But, I’d also highly recommend a batch of my Best Ever Chicken and Rice Soup.
<——- PIN THIS
This easy soup recipe is also ideal for light dinner and lunch leftovers to keep your wellness in check every day of the year. Plan ahead and double the recipe – freeze in single serve portions for busy or sick day convenience.
I’ve used Instantly Fresh Italian Herb Blend as a recipe shortcut to lighten and brighten the broth – it’s a medley of basil, oregano, garlic, red onions, red pepper, marjoram, rosemary and sage conveniently bottled together. I love these freeze-dried Instantly Fresh Herbs by Litehouse Foods — they have a huge assortment (I also love the Mint). Find them in the produce section or herb aisle of your grocery store. Head over to my Instagram profile (@thefitfork) now through this Monday (1/4) at midnight for a flash giveaway for three free product coupons. Look for my Chicken Soup photo and follow the post instructions to enter.
Prepare rice according to package instructions. Set aside.
In large stock pot, boil chicken breasts in water for 15 to 20 minutes or until no longer pink inside and internal temperature reaches a minimum of 165 F degrees.
Remove chicken breasts from pot, but do not discard water. Skim off any residue not desired in soup. When chicken is cool enough to handle, pull apart with fingers or fork into large shreds. Add back to pot with water. Add bouillon cubes. Turn heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, add olive oil to large skilled and bring to medium high heat. Add chopped onion, bell pepper, celery, and carrots. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are softening. Add garlic and continue to cook for 1 more minute.
Add vegetables to stock pot with chicken. Return skillet to stove top. Add Instantly Fresh Herb Blend to pot with chicken and vegetables, keep simmering and stirring occasionally.
To make thickening roux, melt butter in skillet over medium heat. When butter is beginning to bubble, whisk in flour and stir constantly and quickly for several minutes, or until it has turned a light golden brown. Remove skillet from heat and allow roux to cool a bit.
Once roux is no longer hot (can be warm), scrape into stock pot and stir well to combine. Stir in prepared rice. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Continue to simmer soup for 15 more minutes, or until everything heated through.
This post is sponsored by Airborne®. I have been compensated with free product but the opinions are mine.
You may already be familiar with Airborne®, it’s the brain child of an inventive teacher who was looking for a way to support her immune system. She worked in collaboration with nutrition experts and herbalists to develop an immune system supplement that has become very popular with all types of people in all types of situations.
Well, I was super excited to find out that Airborne recently launched a new product called Airborne® Everyday Immune Support Plus Multivitamin , a new product that is designed to provide immune support 365 days a year. This Multi Vitamin gives you everything you’d expect in a quality, comprehensive multi-vitamin plus the perks of our Airborne proprietary blend of immune support. These vitamin supplements come in three forms – chewable, easy-to-swallow pills and delicious gummies. I’m a fan of the assorted fruit-flavored gummies – who doesn’t want to take a tasty gummy in the name of health?! I’m giving away three bottles of the gummy variety – just enter at the bottom of the post.
As an athlete and busy mom, I’m always looking for a way to support my immune system. A poor diet, lack of sleep, stress and even over-training are just some of the strains on your immune system. Training too little isn’t great for performance nor is training too much – I always found the latter ironic! But it’s a good reason to slow down and take care of yourself! One way I take care of myself is by taking Airborne® Everyday Immune Support Plus Multivitamins – I get all the daily vitamins I need to supplement my diet along with a little immune system support.
I also think yoga is a great way to relieve stress and thus boost immunity – many of the poses open up the heart and stimulate other organs in a way that can benefit your immune system. Here is a routine of 6 yoga poses you can do to relax and improve your immunity and overall health in the process. Now, I’m not an expert yogi by any means, just a runner and busy mom who likes to use yoga as a resource in her tool kit for healthy living – so if you see a tight-looking hamstrings or a stiff back, I’m still a work in progress! And, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact your doctor or a fitness professional before starting a new workout routine.
Half Wheel Pose – Push hips up as far as possible. Headstand –Both tripod or forearm balance works. Hold for no more than 10 breaths. Headstand Modification – Try this variation if you are still learning the headstand. Camel – Use yoga blocks if too difficult to reach hands to floor or heels. Plow – Roll back as far as possible. If toes won’t touch floor, rest them on block or chair. Child – Relax! I like to turn head to each side for several breaths.