Be Pro-Active

In this age of antibacterial soaps, lotions, sprays, gels, and for all I know, mouthwashes, it’s easy to lose sight of this simple fact: Bacteria are not the enemy. In fact, we are bacteria, more than anything else! Numbers vary per person, but bacteria and other microbes in our body outnumber our own cells by about 10:1. While we’re working hard to kill the nasty ones that can spread disease, we might be doing more harm than good in the long run.

Just like any compelling story, there’s more than just a good guy and bad guy at play in the human microbiome. Slick marketing likes to lump all bacteria into those two categories, dumbing down the concept to make a quick buck, but there’s much more nuance within this world of single cell microorganisms. Existing everywhere on earth, different strains work in concert to make the most potent cocktail of beneficial probiotics.

That’s why I take probiotic supplements religiously, no matter how much yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut I eat. To make sure I get the full gamut of diverse probiotic species, my go-to booster is Kyo-Dophilus Pro+ Synbiotic. These unassuming, shelf-stable tablets boast beneficial bacteria counts that you can count on.

Kyo-Dophilus Pro+ Synbiotic are berry-flavored, chewable tablets that come in convenient, single-serving packets for easy daily dosage. Each tablet contains powerful prebiotics and nine probiotic strains, working together in harmony to boost everything from immunity to digestion, and far beyond. Non-GMO and free of soy, gluten, dairy, and artificial colors and flavors, this is the probiotic for everyone, despite the inherent intricacies of each person’s highly individual microbiome.

Though I’ve been taking various probiotic supplements for as long as I could open the medicine cabinet unsupervised, they haven’t all worked the same way, to say the least. Generally, your body needs 30 – 60 days to feel the full impact of regular probiotic use, but I knew right away when this one was working. Let’s just say it’s a genuine relief to merely experience basic regularity, and leave it at that.

While the price point is a bit higher than my usual go-to, this is a case where you do get what you pay for. The added prebiotics are essentially fiber that provides food for the probiotics to eat, powering their important work. You’re guaranteed 20 billion CFU (colony forming units) ready to spring into action, packed into every dose. As a believer in being proactive with my health, it’s a smart investment to make.

This post was made possible as a collaboration with Moms Meet and Wakunaga of America. My opinions can not be bought and all content is original. This page may contain affiliate links; thank you for supporting my blog!

Supplements Get Personal

Isn’t it time that nutritional recommendations got personal? Wellness is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but should give you the same comfort as your favorite pair of stretchy sweatpants when tailored properly. Vegans especially need to be cautious of common dietary shortfalls, such as Vitamin B-12 and Omega-3, while steering clear of fishy sources or bovine gelatin capsules. Unless you’re a doctor, it’s pretty overwhelming to navigate the sea of supplements alone.

Meet Persona Nutrition, your new ally and advocate. They don’t just bundle together a bunch of popular pills and send you on your way. Recommendations are made based on an in-depth assessment of your existing conditions, lifestyle choices, concerns, current prescriptions, and health goals. Beyond the science-based, doctor-approved algorithms, a genuine human touch is what sets this service apart from the rest. Private consultations with qualified dietitians are there to answer questions, provide support, or help adjust your program as needed. Health is a moving target, so whenever your circumstances change, Persona has the agility to adapt to your needs.

I’ve been through the ringer trying to piece together a patchwork of appropriate supplements over the years. Customer reviews on massive online shopping websites can only go so far, though, which leads to a whole lot of trial and error. It’s taken the better part of two decades to find some suitable regime, and even then, I don’t have complete confidence that I’ve gotten it exactly right. After a month using Persona, I discovered that the answer is obvious: You really can feel the difference.

Truth be told, I didn’t want it to be quite so effective. It’s definitely more expensive than my previous regime, but this is a case where you do get what you pay for. Beyond the actual supplements, you get the backing of a full support team when you need it. I had questions right away about the sleep pack, since I had been taking a mega-dose of melatonin for years, and was concerned about transitioning down to 3mg. There’s a nutritionist waiting to talk to you for just such an occasion. No wait, no bad hold music, and no more confusion.

My friendly consultant gave me the rundown of what to expect and outlined a long term plan that would eventually wean me off of melatonin altogether. Having used it as a crutch for so long, it seemed impossible… Until I went to bed that night. Despite cutting my typical load by 1/4, I was out like a light.

It’s not magic; it’s science. Supplements designed to work with your unique body chemistry via customized vitamin packs delivered to your door every 28 days. No guesswork, no bottles, no refills, and absolutely no stress. Start the new year strong and finally take control of your health. Try Persona Nutrition now and get 30% off for 2 months. Rest assured that you’re in good hands here, because peace of mind is an important part of wellness, too.

This review was made possible as a collaboration with Moms Meet and Persona Nutrition. My opinions can not be bought and all content is original. This page may contain affiliate links; thank you for supporting my blog!

Fealing Better

It’s barely an exaggeration to say that the whole world has gone CBD crazy. The range of infused products is staggering, from shampoo to cough drops, cookie dough to sparkling water. I can personally vouch for the benefits of this natural nootropic. Sometimes the stresses of daily life can become overwhelming, and while it would be nice to run away on a yoga retreat to de-stress, having a little tincture of hemp oil on standby has been a real lifesaver for a quick fix.

I’ve tried many different brands over the years, so when I had the opportunity to try Feals, I was excited. What immediately stood out to me about Feals is their personalized approach. They have a testing flight for $20, which contains 3 samples of different strengths. This is perfect for the CBD newbie, as you can try all 3 (600MG, 1200MG, and 2400MG) before committing to a full sized bottle. Most people don’t know where to start when it comes to hemp-derived products, be it how much to take or when to take it. If you’re uncertain about how hemp might affect you, this trial flight is an easy introduction. Experience firsthand what a lesser or greater dosage feels like, without any risk, to figure out what works best for your unique brain chemistry.

My favorite thing about hemp is that it doesn’t cause a drastic, sudden change in mood. It’s much more subtle, slowly soothing and calming over the span of about 45 minutes. For those times when you’re stuck in a rut, in a sad downward spiral, it can be just the little push to get you out and get on with the day.

Improved mental health is the primary reason why I turn to Feals, but it can have many other beneficial uses, too. Products containing hemp oil have been shown to also help alleviate chronic headaches, muscle pain, inflammation, and other physical ailments.

Scientifically speaking, THC, the oil that is extracted from the hemp plant, is the ingredient that makes you feel calmer. The highest amount of THC you’ll find in any hemp product is under 0.3%. The trace amounts will not leave you feeling out of it, but just generally more at ease. I’m able to take a couple of drops during the day and still be fully functional, not the least bit groggy.

The great thing about hemp oil is that the effects are cumulative the more you take it. The only downside is the taste, which is every bit as appealing as cannabis smells. You can always mix a few drops into your morning coffee or smoothie to mask the intense grassy flavor.

Reaping the full rewards of hemp oil is all about finding the dosage that works for you. Feals is ideal for just that reason. When you find your optimal strength, their full sized tinctures last a long time because they’re so concentrated that you only need a couple of drops at once. Feals is a convenient, affordable way to start trying CBD without making blind leap of faith; the results will speak for themselves.

The folks at FEALS are extending a special offer to BitterSweet readers! Sign up for a membership and get 30% off your order, every time!

Gut Instincts

Bacteria, yeast, and fungus, oh my! The human microbiome can seem like a scary place under a microscope, and indeed, the results can be quite horrifying when thrown out of balance. Bloating, discomfort, and irregularity are just the beginning for those so unlucky to experience it themselves. Probiotics are essential for restoring internal (and especially intestinal) peace, found naturally in fermented foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, and kimchi, and more fortified processed foods than ever. Less fanfare is given to prebiotics, supplements that actually rebuild those good bacteria existing in your system, supporting your unique flora and fauna already hard at work.

There’s no one size fits all solution to wellness, which is why the current state of the probiotic craze makes little sense. Some strains may work well for some people, not at all for others, and yet there’s scant information on how to best utilize the wealth of choices now at our disposal. Country Life’s Gut Connection offers a targeted approach to address specific concerns, all stemming from a microbiome at odds.

Given the opportunity to use myself as a test subject for this innovative approach to holistic health, I was intrigued, if a bit skeptical as I broke the seal on a new bottle of Digestive Balance. I already take daily probiotic supplements, so I thought I was already doing reasonable due diligence on the issue. Prone to overindulgence at times and with a voracious appetite for all things new, particularly unusual, I’m no stranger to varying degrees of distress after a night on the town. Just one week in, I felt a real difference not just in physical symptoms, but overall well-being. If not for carefully logging my results to stay accountable, I would have doubted the impact, too. 

“Balance” is a moving target and a difficult concept to define, but in this regard, can be distilled to four primary components:

  1. Clear signals between gut and brain.
  2. Gut microbiota helps maintain immune system.
  3. Healthy gut lining.
  4. Happy digestive track.

Simple, right? If you have the right tools at your disposal, it really is! Everyone should be so fortunate to achieve that sort of internal harmony, so I’m pleased to share a FREE full bottle of Energy Balance with one lucky reader! Enter your details in the form below, and tell me in the comment section: Do you take pre- or probiotics? Have you struggled with poor digestion, and do you think it may be linked to frequent fatigue or general lethargy?

Gut Connection by Country Life Giveaway

Go with your gut. Though poor digestion may not be the first culprit to investigate when it comes to poor sleep, stress, or immunity, the results go to show that everything truly is connected.

This review was made possible as a collaboration with Moms Meet and Country Life. My opinions can not be bought and all content is original. This page may contain affiliate links; thank you for supporting my blog!

 

 

 

When Health Care is Self-Care

Staring straight ahead with unfocused eyes, an expression of abject terror plastered across my face, the urge to escape grew stronger with every passing minute. A dozen other deliberate prisoners shared my plight, but none seemed nearly as disturbed by the situation. Hands shaky, shallow breaths failed to fill lungs, while a vague buzzing began to resound within my head. For a general well visit, I did not feel very well at all.

Call it classic white coat syndrome or iatrophobia because the symptoms are impossible to deny. I am absolutely terrified of doctors, to the point that merely dialing the phone to arrange an appointment is liable to send me into a full-blown panic attack. No matter how sick I may feel, no matter how dire physical evidence, there is always a good reason why it doesn’t warrant professional medical attention. Unless I was actively dying, it would not be a reasonable option to seek further intervention, and even then I might give it a 50/50 chance.

As you can imagine, many years tend to pass between checkups. Rarely afflicted by anything more serious than a head cold once a year, if that, there’s been no reason to reconsider this routine anyhow. I can’t say that the lack of objective evidence of overall well-being hasn’t bothered me, though. How accurate is my own self-assessment? How do I know that I’m taking the right supplements, at the right dosage, from prime sources? There’s no nutrient you can’t get from a vegan lifestyle, but conflicting nutritional advice makes it an onerous task to plot out a healthy diet on any level.

That’s why, despite my intense anxiety, I was quite excited to find the Vegan Nutritional Maintenance Panel offered by Health Labs. An independent service that needs no primary care physician nor medical insurance, available at over 4,500 labs nationwide, the range of potential tests is staggering, covering more wellness concerns than I thought could be addressed without more invasive measures.

Stunningly, the worst part of the whole experience was just waiting to be seen at my local clinic, which was one of three I could walk to from my home. After presenting a photo ID, I had my blood drawn in under 5 minutes, no pain, no bruising, no problems. It seemed implausibly easy, in sharp contrast to the mountains of paperwork required for even a vehicle’s emissions testing. Still eager to make a quick getaway, I made a break for the door, nonetheless dubious of the whole process.

Two small miracles resulted almost immediately, the first of which being that it was actually immediate. After submitting my blood samples on a Friday, I got back the results on Monday morning. Given the snail’s pace at which such highly regulated exams typically proceed, how is that even possible? Then, to my immense relief and mild surprise, after so much worry, my vitamin levels for the 11 most common deficiencies in a vegan diet were all within optimal range. Every. Last. One.

Having that peace of mind is priceless, and to anyone else even moderately curious about their own nutritional intake for any reason, I can’t recommend this service highly enough. Whether you add supplements or get all of your vitamins directly from food, it’s incredibly challenging to strike the proper balance. There’s no need to go it alone or feel like you’re hunting for answers in the dark; after getting your results, you can even get a personal consultation to help make sense of the numbers.

In the quest for personal health, just knowing your baseline is half the battle. After all, you can only improve upon something if you’re aware of it in the first place.

Many thanks to Health Labs for making this post possible.

The ABC’s of CBD

Is it a true panacea, or modern day snake oil? CBD has been touted as alleviating an incredible spectrum of ills, including pain relief, treatment for depression and anxiety, reduced inflammation, and prevention of seizures, just for starters. As curiosity surrounding all forms of cannabis reaches fever pitch nationwide, amidst legalization for both medical and recreational use in a growing number of states, it’s easy to see why the field is exploding with new options everyday. With far-reaching benefits that sound appealing to pretty much anyone interested in improving their mental or physical health, I’ve been keeping a close eye on the topic, too. What is it, really, and how does it work?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is the non-psychoactive chemical extracted from leaves and flowers of cannabis plant. There’s no THC, so it doesn’t make you “high” or hallucinate. It can be blended into a plethora of other products, from sublingual oils to gummy bears and even topical lotions or balms. Believe it or not, amidst rigorous testing, NO negative side effects have been discovered yet, and there have been no recorded instances of overdose. Doesn’t that sound too good to be true? I thought so, but I simply had to try it for myself.

I started using PlusCBD Oil Capsules as a daily supplement with a strong dose of skepticism. The results were not ground-shaking nor miraculous, but I can’t deny feeling a subtle difference. Facing down an over-crowded bus at the height of rush hour didn’t seem nearly as daunting, and working under hard deadlines didn’t stress me out the way it normally would. The frequent fear of running late for anything, and everything, subsided to a more reasonable level of cautious planning. I could soon take a step back from strenuous situations to observe them from a more objective plane before addressing them pragmatically. This small shift is quite notable, coming from someone altogether too high-strung on a regular basis.

There’s a lot to be said for the pure PlusCBD Oil Drops, too. This format made it easy to blend into smoothies or oatmeal, and be able to share with Luka during travel. Though he had never flown before and hated his carrier with a ferocious passion, he sat serenely in my lap for the entire 6-hour fight. Was it the CBD oil, or just good behavior? It’s hard to say, but I have to think that the drops helped to some degree.

As the PlusCBD Oil range sold by CV Sciences is classified as a “health supplement,” it is legal for sale in all 50 states. This isn’t true of all brands, and quality can vary widely, so always be vigilant and do your research before selecting a supplement. I’m particularly fond of PlusCBD because all of the capsules are vegan (cellulose based) and is independently verified by 3rd party laboratories. If you’d like to give it a try for yourself (or your pets!), use the promo code momsmeet17 to receive 15% off online orders.

What do you think about the CBD craze? Have you tried it, or do you plan to soon? This is still a fledgling field so I want to hear all about your experiences!

This conversation was inspired by PlusCBD Oil and made possible by Moms Meet.