Category Archives: Fixes

Fixes are the products, services or holistic therapies that the wellness junkie enjoyed, but at this time, wouldn’t incorporate them into her daily or weekly wellness routines. It was a positive experience – but more of a “once in a while” treat.

Natural Remedies for the Flu

Happy New Year!  Yes, I know it’s January 14th but I’ve been down and out with this flu since December 31st so I’m still in the New Year frame of mind.  Not sure about you, but up until this recent bout with the flu, I wasn’t always fighting my symptoms au naturel.  I’d try the over-the-counter options that would just make me feel drugged up but not better.  This year, I went to my trusted naturopath and learned all kinds of new things to share with you on natural remedies for the flu.   Before you reach for those OTC drugs, try these:

Bio-Vegetarian Immune System Supplement:   This supplement worked great.  It has high doses of Vitamin A and Vitamin C, along with B vitamins and herbs to help you naturally fight the flu and boost your immune system.  You’ll want to consult your doctor first and if you’re pregnant, you can’t take this supplement.

Cold Sock Therapy:  I know.  It’s counter-intuitive.  Who, in their right mind, would put on cold, wet socks when they’re sick?  But it totally works.  This, singlehandedly brought down my fever, relieved congestion and afforded me the best nights of sleep during my bout with the flu. AMAZING.  Here’s a link that tells you how to do cold sock therapy.

Hot Water, Lemon & Honey:  Rather than suck on sugary cough drops, this caffeine-free tea really helped.  If you’re feeling nauseous, add an inch of fresh ginger root to the mix.  If you’re wanting more of an immunity boost, add a 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric which is a natural anti-inflammatory. Bring water to a slow boil.  Add juice from 1/2 lemon and a teaspoon of raw honey.

Elderberry Extract: This is definitely the best tasting flu remedy I’ve tried.  Elderberry extract works to fight the flu virus and reduce the severity of your symptoms.  You can find Elderberry Extract at most health stores or healthy grocery stores.  Here’s our review of Elderberry Extract.

Avoid sugar at ALL COSTS:  I will say that this is my weakness, but when you’re sick, you have no appetite anyway.  Sugar deflates and weakens your immune system.  Avoiding or severely limiting your sugar intake will help you get better faster and can help strengthen your immunity to avoid getting this awful bug in the first place.

Heavy Metal Chelation Therapy – My wellness junkie adventure

I’ve come to believe that you can only be a consistent wellness junkie if you have unlimited time and money OR if you have a condition or issue that you’re wanting to fix.  Mine, of course, is the latter.

My Brief Backstory:

While I’ve been on a healthy eating/exercising/living path for over twelve years, I’ve continued to experience varying levels of fatigue, headaches, depression, unexplained infertility, and the latest: (diagnosed 2011) hypothyroidism.  Let me be clear — I function, I live a full life, I walk the dog, I run, I teach yoga…but these things are my things and over time the fatigue, depression and hypothyroidism have seemed to linger in my life.

It’s been a long road. I’m very grateful that my road is not as bad as some. It’s not cancer or some other awful thing.  I get that.  However, it is my road and feels really long to me.  Maybe someday I’ll post about each and every wellness alternative treatment that I’ve tried for several of the conditions listed above…but that’s not today.  Today, I’m on Day 3 of Oral Chelation Therapy and my energy reservoir is fairly shallow.  I’m staying on topic today.

Recently I completed a challenged heavy metals urine test and discovered that I have really high levels of lead and mercury in my system.  Both of these metals can cause much havoc in the body, including many of my chronic conditions listed above.  No, I didn’t play in the paint yard as a child and I didn’t live on tuna sandwiches. Not even a silver filling in my mouth. Nonetheless, this is my situation.  I’ve chosen to do Oral Chelation Therapy (DMSA) to remove these toxins from my body. I understand the risks with this and any other treatment and feel this is the right choice for me.  I am blessed to be working with a Naturapathic MD who’s provided an entire protocol of information and supplements to support me.  For more on my story

Enough about me.  I’m planning to continue posting about chelation therapy throughout my treatment cycle.  This will be at least a 5 month process for me…but I promise I’ll digress and write about fun wellness junkie pleasures from time to time like Brazilian Buttlift or Total Gym or Green Smoothies…

Mostly, I’d love to shorten your road.  If you’re out there feeling these symptoms and you haven’t thought about heavy metals testing, maybe this will nudge you to at least ask the question or do some research.

Symptoms of Lead Poisoning:

  • Abdominal pain, Anemia, Anorexia, Anxiety, Bone pain
  • Confusion, Constipation, Diminished Motor Reaction Time
  • Dizziness, Fatique, Headaches, Hypertension, Inability to Concentrate
  • Indigestion, Irritability, Loss of Appetite, Memory Loss, Miscarriage, Muscle Pain, Tremors, Vomiting and Weakness.

Diseases linked to lead poisoning include: dementia, brain cancer, high blood pressure, kidney failure, cardiovascular disease, liver impairment, heart attack, stroke and birth defects.

Symptoms of Mercury Poisoning:

  • Impairment of peripheral vision
  • Disturbances in sensations (pins and needles feelings, numbness)
  • Lack of coordination of movement
  • Muscle weakness
  • Skin rashes
  • Mood Swings
  • Memory Loss
  • Mental Disturbance

Anyone out there who has a chelation story?  I would love to hear it and I’m sure others would too!

 

 

WEN Fig Cleansing Conditioner

Every once in a while, I’ll succumb to an infomercial. It doesn’t happen too often but it does happen. A few weeks ago, I was noticing that my hair is not acclimating to this intense, dry heat. And, what do you know, there’s Chaz Dean and Alyssa Milano on TV, telling me all about the wonders of Wen. After a bit more research on amazon and polling my facebook friends, I decided to give it a shot.

Wen is a different kind of shampoo that doesn’t strip your hair of its natural oils. It doesn’t lather up like many shampoos do — it doesn’t contain the harsh detergents that create that suds-y feel. I opted to purchase my first bottle on Amazon instead of the $29.95 30-day supply on the Wen website. Now that I know it’s a hit, I’m planning to go back to the Wen site for the package deal.

Here’s what I found:

  • I bought the Fig Cleansing Conditioner as it said right in the product details that it didn’t have sodium laurel sulfates and detergents – the others didn’t say that – so I went with the safe bet.
  • The directions say to use a ton of pumps on your hair.  Being more frugal, I found that 4-5 pumps was sufficient (I have jawline length, thick hair) and then 1 pump for the leave-in conditioner.
  • Overall, I really liked it!  I will say that my hair looked more shiny and held my waves and curls much better after one wash.
  • For me, it didn’t bode well for the “shower at night, style in the morning” routine.  But when I washed and styled right away, it really looked great.
  • At times, it felt a little greasy…not sure if that’s operator error or what…but because most of the time it has been looking and feeling great, I’m willing to work on the right number of pumps and time left in my hair to get a great look.

Pilates Reformer Circuit Class

I’m writing this as my body is still faintly whimpering with soreness from my wellness junkie adventure yesterday – a pilates reformer circuit class at Pilates Reformed, Inc. in Overland Park.

I had tried some Pilates mat classes before and couldn’t resist the Mari Windsor Pilates infomercials in the late 90s (I think they’re in a drawer somewhere)… but I have never tried a reformer class where you use the machines.  As a yoga teacher, my initial frustration with Pilates related to the breathing… it’s very different than yoga breathing – opposite, actually… so that just took some getting used to.  This circuit class was the Groupon special – some work on the machines but with different stations of exercises for an all-body workout.

My experience:

My friend Sue went with me to the class.  We’ve dabbled in some yoga classes at her gym and I thought this would be a good change of pace for both of us.  Just to set the scene – yesterday was in the upper 90s in Kansas City and very humid…sweltering is the word that comes to mind…

So our instructor walks us through 13 different stations where we’ll do two different exercises each lasting 1 minute long.  Piece of cake, right?  One minute is really a long time for jumping, holding Dolphin Plank, lifting weights, jumping rope and running around the building outside (in the sweltering heat).  As we moved to each station, I must say that the ones on the Reformer machines were very nice – and almost felt like a little break from the more intense stations of weight training and cardio.  I loved the variety of the exercises and even though that minute felt long,  I knew I could endure ANYTHING for a minute! Keep in mind that my natural tendency is to gravitate toward yoga, pilates, walks with the dog – more gentle workouts…but my mind, body, heart all need more cardio (which is why I’m here in this class in the first place).

So after our 50 minutes of intensity…my arms are shaky  (and I thought I was in better shape than this!) but I feel great!  After a debrief over cold drinks, my friend and I are seriously considering purchasing a small introductory package because we feel great…and certainly it might get easier after a few times?

Sometimes we all just need a little kick in the behind to pick up the pace and up the intensity of our workouts.  Our bodies adapt to our usual workouts and then we don’t get as much out of them.   For me, I’m a thinker/analyzer type.  And while that can be good sometimes, it’s amazing and very necessary for me to get out of my head.  Afterwards, I felt great and had tons of energy for my afternoon.  I will say today…my body is SORE but in that good sore (you worked hard, take today off) kind of way.

Check out Pilates Reformer Circuit Classes in your area…take a friend and be sure and sip on some water, pacing yourself throughout the class.

If you’re in the Kansas City area, here are the details for Pilates Reformed:

7254 West 151st St.
Overland Park, KS 66223

P: 913.814.0099
E: info@pilatesreformed.com

Boot Camp Fitness

My husband and I spent the weekend in a quaint town in Louisiana for his work.  We had a very enjoyable weekend seeing the sights, doing a little shopping and yummy dinners out.  His boss very graciously invited us to do a boot camp workout with him and others one morning.  So… boot camp…I had visions of the Biggest Loser shows with a drill sergeant avec whistle yelling at me to do more, run faster, go-go-go, etc… hardly my usual “listen to your body, don’t push it” yoga self. But, I was game… it was going to be about 45 minutes and I’m thinking I can survive anything for 45 minutes. And, I figured great blog material for wellness junkie.

My experience:

If you are thinking about a boot camp workout, don’t go it alone – sign up with a friend.  During our workout breaks, I chatted with several of the participants and they really had great camaraderie in the group.  You will need this because push-up ladders and running up and down the levee (we were right by a river) are not exactly always pleasant — But, it was a great workout.  For us midwest folks, we also had the tropical humidity to contend with which added a challenge. Having a buddy or friend with you is a great motivator.  If you are going solo, no worries — after several of these workouts, you’ll bond with the people around you – new friends: a bonus!

Scott Caldwell of Max Results Fitness, did a really good job of giving options – so for us newbies we got a lighter workout (shew!).  If you have a minute, check out Scott’s very inspiring story on his website listed above.  Scott times everyone’s workout so that you can compare today’s time to what you did previously.  And the workout changes often. So if you get bored on the treadmill or in a fitness class, this may be a good program to try.  We happened to join the group on the “push-up, running” day…but to get a good feel for boot camp, you should sign up at least for a couple of weeks or a month to see how you feel – taking advantage of the various workouts.

For me personally, I would have liked deeper, more thorough stretches at the end…but that’s the yoga girl in me talking…

One thing is for sure: after our sweaty, humid workout (and after a much needed shower), I felt great and had more energy throughout my day…

Overall, I enjoyed boot camp and I think I’ll be back…

Roller Derby Workout with the Heart Attacks

One of my yoga clients and friends told me about this workout…and of course I couldn’t resist.  After P90x, bootcamps and jillian michael’s DVDs, how hard could it be?  I will note that I did the workout sans rollerskates.

The Heart Attacks play roller derby in Los Angeles and are sharing their fitness secrets with the rest of us. The workout’s 50 minutes long.

My experience:

Wow! I just finished this workout and it’s good! yes, there are a few things to note…the derby girls are a bit scantily clad so if that offends you, this might not be for you. As with many DVDs, once you get the hang of it, you don’t watch it…

Also, I wouldn’t do the warm-up sequence…they include really deep hip stretches and may put some strain on the knees that could really hurt if your body’s not warm.  But, with that said, I really enjoyed (as much as you can enjoy) the core section.  The legs and butt sections were challenging as well.

This would be a DVD that I wouldn’t use everyday — but I would pick and choose the core, legs and butt sections after I was already warm from yoga or a brisk walk.

The music’s upbeat and energetic and the filming is professional.  The first sequence, the warm-up has lots of close-up shots that I didn’t particularly need to see…but as I already mentioned I’m skipping the warmup in the future…(definitely do your own warm-up if you’re skipping this one…)

definitely worth finding at your library or local used DVD store…and you don’t even need skates.

Crystal Light Pure Fitness

As a yoga teacher, occasionally I get the opportunity to distribute samples of products to my clients.  Sometimes I receive what I would call “pseudo healthy” samples that I don’t pass along to my clients – those 100 calorie cookies and things full of fake sugar and sodium.

Having never really been a Crystal Light fan, I was skeptical when the box of Crystal Light’s PureFitness samples arrived, but I gave them a try and distributed them for two weeks in all my classes.  PureFitness packs are small one serving powder packets that you’d add to a glass of water or water bottle…ideally after a workout.  They come in Lemon Lime, Grape and Strawberry Kiwi.  The new product is naturally sweetened with evaporated cane juice and has no artificial flavors/sweeteners or preservatives.  It has electrolytes and only 15 calories per serving. So there’s the sales pitch.

The verdict: I actually was surprised that I liked these.  My favorite flavors are Lemon Lime and Strawberry Kiwi.  And they all taste the best after a cardio workout…(it’s like drinking Gatorade when you need it, vs. just because it’s there).  I guess it’s the electrolytes but it really hits the spot after our P90x workouts…especially Plyometrics!

So…if you don’t like the taste of water and have a hard time drinking enough water, these might be a low calorie, more naturally sweetened way to change that.  If you like and drink plenty of water, I’d save these for replenishment and recharge after a strenuous workout…that’s what I’m planning to do… enjoy!

The Miracle Ball Method

One of my yoga clients who is also a massage therapist gave me a set of Elaine Petrone’s Miracle Balls & instruction book (thanks, Liz!).  As any wellness junkie, I was very excited to try something new that might benefit my back and that I could share with all of you.  I started reading through the instruction book so that I wouldn’t place the balls in a funny spot and end up at the chiropractor’s office.  However, I found the book to be difficult to follow…what I used to say when editing work in my former corporate life: “too much text, it needs more bullets”.  So, I was discouraged to move forward.

Fast forward a few months later, my right shoulder and upper back really ached. After consulting with my client who gave me the balls, I placed one of the balls right under the spot and laid on the floor. After a few minutes the muscles really started to relax and the whole area felt better.  Now that I was seeing some results, I went back to the book and tried several more exercises which felt great.  This may especially be helpful for folks with low back pain and sciatica…and would be good to use in conjunction with yoga or another gentle exercise.

When I looked on Elaine Petrone’s website, it looks like she has many other products and instructional materials that may offer more assistance in getting started.  I’d suggest also ordering a ball pump if you don’t already have one…

For those in the Kansas City area, if you’d like to purchase the Miracle Ball Set directly, email massage therapist Liz Christensen (trapsoftware@hotmail.com) for more info.

Healthier Sports Drinks: Recharge & Coconut Water

I grew up on Gatorade.  I will admit that I often sipped the glass intended to refresh my dad while he mowed our lawn.  Strangely, I liked the taste, even when I wasn’t exercising rigorously.  And that’s when there were only GREEN and ORANGE flavors…no fancy stuff.  But as we moved toward healthier, more natural foods, Gatorade now tastes super sweet and doesn’t make the natural foods cut in our house.  I’ve been researching more healthier sports drinks and have a couple to share with you.

Information from the company websites:

Recharge®, made with R.W. Knudsen Family® brand fruit juice,   replenishes the fluids and electrolytes your body needs after working out without adding sugar or unnatural flavors and colors. Each 8 oz. serving of the R.W. Knudsen Family® brand’s Recharge® provides pure, filtered water to keep you hydrated, flavorful fruit juice to encourage gulping, and sea salt to replace the crucial electrolytes lost during exercise.

ZICO Natural Coconut Water has more potassium than a banana, four other naturally occurring electrolytes, only 60 calories, and no fat or added sugar. It is low in acidity and high in potent antioxidants.  ZICO Natural is 100% pure water from young coconuts. We hand-harvest our coconuts when the water inside reaches a peak level of potassium and the perfect balance of electrolytes.

My experiences:

Recharge: My husband and I are now buying Recharge by the case at Whole Foods.  (you save 10% at WF when you purchase items by the case)  Recharge comes in several different flavors – we prefer the Tropical and Grape.  We sip Recharge during and after our P90x workouts.  It’s low in calories and sugar and is very refreshing. Along with juice, it contains sea salt and herbal tea.  For more info go to this website: R.W. Knudsen Family

ZICO Coconut Water: While in San Diego a few weeks ago, I watched a very active-looking woman (looked like she just finished a run) purchase a fresh coconut, put a straw in it and start drinking.  Hmm…I thought. I’m not much of a coconut fan, but I’ve been reading more and more about coconut water, coconut oil, coconut milk, etc.  So, when we got home I went exploring and found ZICO Coconut Water. This stuff is amazing and it tastes great!  It’s low in calories and sugar and has 670mg of Potassium – wow! I tried the Mango flavor and it was very tasty…it even replaced my coffee fix this morning (not sure if that will be a long term thing – but this morning, it worked!)  I’m heading back to the store to try the plain flavor as well (maybe pick up a case).  To learn more, go to their website: ZICO



Reflexology

My husband surprised me with a warm weekend getaway to San Diego over New Year’s weekend.  It was great – especially since we left frigid single digit temperatures in the midwest.  We got a great deal at the Estancia Hotel & Spa in La Jolla. 

As a wellness junkie, you can imagine my delight as we checked in to see a holiday spa package – 4 treatments for $150…what a deal! Here’s my take on my very first reflexology session:

Reflexology is an alternative medicine method involving the practice of massaging or applying pressure to parts of the feet with the goal of encouraging a beneficial effect on other parts of the body, or to improve general health.

My experience:

This was my last service in my spa afternoon….so, I’ve already had my scalp massaged, eyes treated for wrinkles and body scrubbed with ginger/citrus goodness.  It was a perfect end to my day.  Having tripped and fallen over my dog about a month ago, I was still nursing a sore ankle.  Sherri at Estancia was able to really massage and work through the stiffness and scarring from my fall.  I asked whether she saw a lot of folks wanting relief from certain conditions or just general wellness. At the resort, she worked mostly on the general wellness side, but commented that our feet are the roadmaps to our bodies.  She was also very helpful in giving me things that I could do at home to massage and work through the tension in and around my ankle.

While this was very enjoyable, I don’t know that I would seek out a reflexology session by itself vs. having it included in a package.  It did make me want to research the various points in my feet and try some at-home reflexology…it certainly can’t hurt.