Gut Health Beyond Food—3 Organic and Ethically Sourced Online Stores

Fun fact for the kids: William the Conqueror died September 9, 1087. A few weeks earlier during the Battle of Mantes, William, quite possibly already suffering from an impacted colon, was hurled against the pommel of his saddle, badly rupturing his internal organs. His condition worsened and he died of infection. Attempts to stuff his severely bloated corpse into a stone sarcophagus proved a fool’s errand as his putrefied intestines exploded, releasing a vile smell that sent vomiting mourners rushing for an exit… So yes, kids, you are going to sit right there at that table until you finish your kale.

Kale is totally good for your gut, there’s no denying that. But eating nutrient dense foods is only part of the gut health equation. In order to fully benefit from our efforts toward healthy lifestyles, we have to make sure that our environment isn’t putting the gut barrier under undue stress. The gut barrier (made up of the intestinal wall and gut microbes) is your body’s natural defense against toxins. The idea is simple: strengthen your gut barrier and hopefully you won’t go out like William the Conqueror.

Problem is, so many everyday products can throw off the balance of microbes in our digestive system, compromising our nutrient absorption, our immune system, and our overall wellness. Some of the culprits may surprise you. Commonly used antibacterial household cleansers, personal hygiene products, pet supplies, and even birth control pills and antacids, impact our environment causing a depletion of the good bacteria in our guts necessary for proper digestion and nutrient absorption. The good news is that you can protect yourself by swapping out everyday items with items from these gut-friendly, green living online stores.

The Ultimate Green Store

Natural, organic, recycled, eco-friendly goods- products that are made with your health and the health of our planet in mind. At the Ultimate Green Store you will find a wide range of high quality products in categories such as clothing, bedding, home goods, personal care, and even yoga mats.

Organic Surge

All those toxic ingredients in skin care products can punch you in the gut too. If you’ve already started your green skin care journey with all the DIY beauty recipes I share, you might want to add Organic Surge into the rotation. I’m really crushing on this line of skin care products I got as a gift. Truth: I’m using this more than any of my homemade products!

Our Green House

Let’s not forget how our fur babies for all their cuteness can introduce some yucky stuff into our lives. This store offers a curated collection of ethically sourced and natural products from fair trade artisans. You can find pet supplies, candles, and a pretty awesome line of household cleaning products.

My 6 Favorite Wellness YouTube Vloggers

Sometimes you haven’t gotten enough sleep. Sometimes you wake up totally unwilling to get out of bed. Sometimes you’re just not regular. Sometimes your appetite is out of whack. Sometimes you can’t concentrate. Sometimes you just need a little extra motivation. And sometimes you’re single on Valentine’s Day… again. Whatever the reason for your anxiety or stress, it’s real and it’s palpable. YouTube is such an amazing resource to help you get your groove back. Here are six of my all time favorite wellness vloggers on YouTube! Check them out and don’t forget to hit subscribe!

Sweet Potato Soul

Totally informative videos give you insight into what actually makes up a healthy vegan diet. We’re talking real food here, not mock meat and vegan Pringles (yeah. those exist).

Adriene Mishler

Adriene brings us fun yoga routines that focus more on self awareness and intention than contortion. Beginners will really appreciate her style of instruction.

Mama Tanya’s Kitchen

I absolutely love Mama Tanya! Her cooking show is hilarious and super fun. She’s sooooo New York and her recipes are healthy and nutritious. Just keep in mind that she’s not strictly vegetarian.

Madeleine Shaw

This channel has everything! Meditation, yoga, meal planning, beauty DIYs, plus her accent is super cute.

Holistic Habits

Sarah might seem a little out there, but her positive energy is so infectious you’ll just love her.

Naptural85

This is THE channel to subscribe to for homemade hair products. Step by step tutorials that will have your hair shiny and healthy without all of the harsh chemicals.

Wellness Rituals: 6 Must Have Palo Santo Items

When life hands you lemons, sometimes you really just want to squeeze them into other people’s eyes. But when life hands you Palo Santo, somehow everything just seems alright. I’ve been crushing on this scent for awhile now since I first got a whiff while browsing at Le Labo. Once you smell Palo Santo, you immediately notice that every calm and peaceful place in the city is crushing on this scent too. Palo Santo, or holy wood, has been used for centuries for everything from energy cleansing to respiratory ailments. The smoke is much lighter than sage and the wood itself is so fragrant that you don’t even have to burn it to reap the wellness benefits. Obviously, I just had to bring it home and I was stoked to see that there are so many products available that harness the power of this aromatic wood. Here are 6 must have Palo Santo items for you to bring home!

Morphologically Aromatherapy Roll-Ons

Clean beauty has never smelled this good. While you’re swapping out all of the toxic ingredients in your beauty routine, don’t forget to get your hands on your new favorite perfume. While you’re at it, shop the entire range of home goods from Morphologically’s Holy Wood Collection.

Anthropologie Palo Santo Incense Bundle

Each eco-friendly incense stick is harvested from naturally fallen branches from Ecuadorian Palo Santo trees!

Le Labo Fragrances Palo Santo 14

These calming candles will really set a purifying mood in your home. They’ve been the perfect addition to my ginger detox bath.

Monk Oil Palo Santo Skin Potion

Slather on this calming and  grounding skin potion that’s a unique blend of Palo Santo and Vetiver eseential oils. Oh and did I mention that each bottle contains a Smoky Quartz crystal? Hello, celestial healing!

Min New York Palo Santo Wood

Because one simply can’t have just one incense bundle.

Apotheke Candle

Because one simply can’t have just one candle.

Immunity Boosting Ginger Lemon Wellness Shot

I hold my breath when someone sneezes in an elevator until I’m able to make my escape. Knee jerk reaction, but seriously dude, you couldn’t hold that in for one more floor?! I’m washing my hands like crazy, cleaning door knobs, remote controls and appliances around my house with homemade antibacterial cleaners, just so dude can sneeze on me in an enclosed space. No way. This deadly flu I keep hearing about has me taking extra precautions. First off, I’m taking the stairs to avoid Mr. Sneezy McGee. As added insurance, I’ve been choking down this ginger lemon wellness shot every morning… and I do mean choking down. There’s no sugar coating this one. It’s a whole shot glass of rough. This is not something that you drink for the taste (though admittedly I’m starting to get used to it), but the benefits to your immune system are no joke. Here’s the boring bit about the ingredients and a couple of their health benefits.

Ginger

  • anti-inflammatory
  • natural antihistamine
  • natural expectorant

Lemon

  • balances pH
  • high in Vitamin C
  • helps keep you hydrated

Cayenne Pepper

  • anti-fungal properties
  • anti-bacterial properties
  • anti-allergen

Like I said before, this wellness shot is no joke. I wouldn’t call it tasty by any means, but be honest, you’ve probably taken shots that burn just as bad on the way down, without any of the health benefits. No judgment. All I’m saying is that you can do this and your immune system will appreciate the boost!

Ginger Lemon Wellness Shot

ingredients

  1. 1 inch of ginger, peeled and juiced
  2. ½ of a fresh lemon
  3. dash of cayenne pepper***

directions

  1. peel the ginger and run it through your juicer into a glass
  2. squeeze the juice from your lemon into the glass
  3. top with a dash of cayenne pepper and stir

***You can swap out lemons for limes and cayenne pepper for turmeric. Also, if you absolutely can’t do the whole concentrated wellness shot thing, try this homemade wellness tonic, or this wellness tea.

Source: Christina Greve

Wellness: 5 Realistic Tips for a More Restful Sleep

When I first heard about Gwyneth Paltrow’s clean sleeping trend last year, I couldn’t help but scoff a little bit. I mean, seriously.  I imagine her being hermetically sealed into an anti-ageing, oxygen chamber while a fleet of Oompa Loompas work frantically to make sure that her sleep isn’t disturbed by any outside distractions. Meanwhile, in my world filled with all the Wangdoodles and Snozzwangers, and rotten, Vermicious Knids, quality sleep is often an unattainable luxury. In fairness, Paltrow’s suggestion that we should lay off of our phones and TV before bed is probably all kinds of true, but she totally loses me when she starts talking about copper pillowcases.

That being said, I know that quality sleep is extremely important when it comes to overall wellness, but I had to take a more realistic approach than giving up on electronics because, you know, Netflix doesn’t just binge watch itself at 1 am. I started by doing a complete overhaul of my bedding, with a new mattress, new pillows and, sigh, full disclosure, I even bought one of those copper pillowcases which is kind of amazing to sleep on. Well played, Gwyneth, well played. But what next? I thought for sure that I’d become one of those morning people that can just pop up out of bed all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Hardly. Though I felt way more rested than I have in years, I still felt a little groggy. Here’s what I was missing. Sleep is as vital to wellness as exercise and diet, so it should be treated as such. The careful design that goes into your workout of choice and your meal plan should also go into your unique sleep routine.

  • Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.

We’re not kids anymore, so bed time doesn’t have to be at 8pm, but establishing a consistent sleep schedule that works within your schedule and not against it, will train your body to wake and rise with ease. Circadian rhythm and other science type stuff, y’all.

  • Establish an evening bed time ritual

Truth: I love rituals. Candles, aromatherapy, meditating, herbal tea. I think I was a witch, or worse yet a hippie, in a former life. Anyway, a nice chamomile tea and a homemade sleep spray are just what the shaman ordered.

  • Snack Intelligently

I absolutely can not fall asleep on an empty stomach. I know I’m not alone. But instead of reaching for a three course meal at midnight, eat foods that actually help increase your body’s melatonin without weighing you down. Think pineapples, bananas, oranges, oats, yogurt, or trail mix.

  • Rage against your sleep tracker

Not a band name, y’all, it’s a battle cry. Because one thing’s for sure: if your sleep tracker is causing you stress, you should probably stop paying so much attention to it. We all feel this need to compile as much data as we can to fix some problem. These sleep tracker apps tell us all the details of our sleep cycle. Each disruption. Each second of sleep we missed. Fact: worrying about that data will cause anxiety that will keep you restless. It’s like looking at your throat when you’re sick. Is it really any redder than it was when you were perfectly healthy? Ignore the data for a bit and just listen to your body.

  • If all else fails…

Invest in some technology that helps you drift off to dreamland. White noise machines will help drown out all the ridiculousness, like some dude speeding down Linden Blvd. blasting trap music at 3am. Air purifiers are also a must have especially if you’re noticeably congested every morning. Try using this 2-in-1 air purifying, white noise machine available on Amazon or Wayfair.