Health Archives - A Crafty Spoonful

Tips For Gut Health + a Bacon Brie and Sauerkraut Egg Cups Recipe

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This past week I hosted an event at my house sponsored by Renew Life Probiotics. We enjoyed delicious food, tried new things (kombucha!), and had a frank discussion about gut health. Yup. We went there. But one thing I learned was that I’m not alone in my gut health issues. And there are a lot of things I could be doing differently to take better care of myself. So I’m sharing a few tips for gut health along with a recipe for delicious Bacon Brie and Sauerkraut egg cups. Yum! 

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All of my life I’ve had stomach issues. And I always assumed it was related to the ulcer that first developed when I was a pre-teen. Heartburn, tummy trouble, and digestive issues were always something I dealt with. And to be honest I just assumed it was normal. Didn’t really think anything more of it. Then I got older, I read more about our body and how everything is connected, and tried to see if there was something else going on. 

Fast forward about a decade and I’ve finally figured out a solution to my issues. Probiotics

No, seriously! While I only used them previously alongside antibiotics (for both myself and the kids), I’ve now started taking probiotics daily and boy have I noticed a difference. But that’s not the only change I’ve made. Probiotic rich foods, plenty of water, and healthy changes in diet can also play a huge role in gut health and one’s comfort. Opening the conversation with my guests allowed to me to learn more about how I can be proactive and focus on self care in the new year.

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Tips For Gut Health

The “gut” is considered the core of your body’s overall health and well-being and can affect your entire body, including immunity, digestion and more. So that means paying attention to your gut health should be pretty high on your list of priorities.

Here are a few ways to do just that:

1. Start taking probiotics –

To help keep your complex digestive system thriving and restore good bacteria, Renew Life Ultimate Flora Probiotics deliver unique, potent formulas that contain tens of billions of cultures, and multiple probiotic strains to help achieve better digestive and immune health.*

2. Drink plenty of water –

Drinking enough water is so important for healthy digestion. Water helps break down the food you eat and allows waste to pass more easily through the intestines. It also helps boost nutrient absorption. Water also softens stool, which helps to prevent constipation. Yup… we’re getting real! If you aren’t a huge water drinker, you can infuse your water to make it taste delicious. 

3. Talk about your gut health –

Whether it’s with friends, your doctor, or family, don’t be shy about speaking up about your gut health. If something doesn’t feel right, you more than likely need to change things up. Nearly two in three women (64 percent) aren’t willing to talk about gut issues with their friends. And with almost three quarters of women (72 percent) experiencing a digestive/gut issue in the past 12 months with gas/bloating (53 percent) being the most reported issue, you aren’t alone.

Nearly a quarter of women (22 percent) don’t consider the status of their digestive health when they think about their overall health and wellness, but it can affect your entire body, including mood, memory, immunity, digestion and more. By being proactive and talking about your issues, as well as taking probiotics regularly and getting enough water, you can help increase immunity, lessen the negative effects of gut issues, and find relief.

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Gut-Friendly Probiotic Rich Foods

In addition to taking probiotics, you can also find them naturally in these probiotic-rich foods that are hosts to the good bacteria our guts need: 

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Sauerkraut
  • Miso Soup
  • Kimchi
  • Tempeh
  • Kombucha
  • Pickles

While some of these are easy to enjoy in our diet, others need a little… sneaking in. You can only eat so many hot dogs with sauerkraut. So finding other dishes to make with probiotic rich foods can give you more variety in your diet. 

The Renew Life blog also has some great recipes as well! We made the fresh carrot, cabbage, and apple medley juice and quick and easy whole wheat pumpkin muffin recipes for this event and they both tasted so good! 

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Probiotics 101

  • A proper functioning gut, containing a delicate balance of both good and bad bacteria, helps with digestive and immune health.
    There are more than 100 trillion bacteria of many diverse strains inside your digestive tract which need to be balanced in order to keep your body healthy.
  • 70% of the immune system is located in the intestinal tract, therefore, maintaining gut health is a key part of maintaining your overall health.
    Signs that your gut is in need of replenishment and balance can include occasional bloating, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, headaches, and weight gain among others.
  • Experts agree that taking a probiotic supplement like Renew Life Ultimate Flora Probiotic is a good way to help support balance in the digestive tract and replenish the good bacteria found in a naturally diverse and healthy gut. It is reported that a person typically feels a difference after taking a probiotic supplement for 7-14 days.

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Bacon Brie and Sauerkraut Egg Cups

A variation of this recipe

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cubes frozen sauteed glazed onions (or 1/2 an onion, diced)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 6 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sauerkraut
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 container 16oz cottage cheese
  • 1 8oz package of shredded cheddar
  • salt and pepper
  • 2oz brie cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add oil to large skillet and heat on medium high on the stove. Once hot, add onions to pan and saute 2-3 minutes. Then add spinach and cook until slightly wilted. Toss in bacon and sauerkraut and set aside to cool. 

While spinach/bacon/onion mixture is cooling down, add eggs, milk, cottage cheese, and shredded cheddar to a bowl and mix together. Add salt and pepper to taste (about 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper). Drop pieces of brie cheese into the mixture and fold in. Then add spinach/bacon/onion mixture to eggs and combine. 

Line 2 muffin tins with baking cups or spray well with cooking spray if not using baking cups. Using a large cookie scoop, scoop mixture into the muffin tin wells filling about 2/3-3/4ths of the way up. 

Baket at 375 for 30-35 minutes or until top is starting to turn golden brown. Let cool 2-5 minutes and serve. 

Makes approximately 24 but could get more if you scoop less into each cup. 

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What are your favorite gut-friendly foods? 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

**This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Renew Life Probiotics from November 9-11, 2016 among 1,127 U.S. women ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Katie Young at Katie@pdcpr.net.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Renew Life Probiotics.

Tips On Making Healthy Living A Priority For Moms

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of American Heart Association. All opinions are 100% mine.

Tips On Making Healthy Living A Priority For Moms

Like most moms, my number one priority is my children. Our day to day lives, as well as the decision we make for our future, revolve around them. So when it comes to our health, I also want to make sure I remember to not only take care of the kids but myself as well. By making a few changes to our daily routine I’ve been able to focus on my health without drastically changing how I’m living or taking too much time on one thing. Because we all know if it takes too much time, it isn’t going to happen.

We want to experience more of life’s precious moments. But to do that, we must be healthy in heart and mind. As the American Heart Association reminds us, the heart is where life’s moments are felt most, and the mind is where we relive them again and again. Making healthy living a priority for moms is easy when you have the right tools! By making these changes we can impact better heart and brain health. You have the power to affect real change!

Tips On Making Healthy Living A Priority For Moms - go on adventures

Tips On Making Healthy Living A Priority For Moms

Make Simple Changes 

Healthy living doesn’t mean changing your whole way of living. It means changing a few small things to make a big impact. Here are a few changes you can implement in your daily lives that have big impacts:

  1. Eat more fruits and veggies – Consider joining a CSA or a food delivery program that delivers fresh produce right to your door! We love Farm Fresh to You’s veggie/fruit deliveries.
  2. Eat less sodium – Read labels and see where sodium is hiding. Then reduce the amount you’re eating!
  3. Drink less sugary sweetened beverages – Do you drink soda? Cut down your consumption or switch it for flavored water!
  4. Increase your physical activity – just add a 30-minute walk in a day! Then increase from there.
  5. Check and control blood pressure – regular check ups with your doctor are important for overall health.

Tips On Making Healthy Living A Priority For Moms - spend time with kids

Find a Work-Life Balance

Sometimes the stress in our lives is made when we try and do too much or take on too many tasks. Finding that work/life balance can help ease stress and reduce health problems. Here are some basic changes to make:

  1. Set office hours and stick to them! If you work outside of the home, this may be easy, but if you work from home like me, office hours are a must. This also applies to SAHMs. You can create a schedule around kids activities, focusing on the home, etc so you are using your time more efficiently.
  2. But also, schedule some family/home hours as well. Between school pick-up and bedtime are the times during the week that I focus on the kids and after 10 a.m. on the weekends is family time. I try not to work on holidays as well so I make it clear that I’m not available on those days.
  3. “Me time” is important as well. I make sure to get out once a month and focus on myself. Whether that’s mom’s night out, getting a pedicure, or getting my hair cut, even as little as one hour is enough for me to recharge. You could even consider creating a Moms group where you get together once a month at each other’s houses just to get some mom time in.

AHA

Implement Change One Step At A Time

Don’t rush into these changes all at once. While one or two changes may be ok right now, making too many changes may lead to defeat. Consider adding 1-2 new changes into your routine a week and work from there. By the time you realize it, you may have already implemented some great changes in your life and are already becoming a healthier you.

Remember, these changes are not only for you but for your whole family! Make it fun and challenge the other family members in your home to participate as well! Take a walk at night as a family to tackle increasing physical activity AND spending family time together. Or consider a screen time ban after dinner so you create family time.

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The American Heart Association (AHA) has resources for healthy living, like recipes, healthy tips and tricks for moms, and information and resources on heart and brain health. They’re working to improve the health of communities by affecting laws through advocacy initiatives. As an organization, the AHA is funding life-saving research and science advances to help people live healthier, longer lives. You can find more resources by visiting Life Is Why.

Looking for more support? The Moms Unite Facebook Group is also a great place for fellow moms to get together in an effort to encourage one another and share tips for leading a healthy life. Check out what they have on Pinterest too!

Everyone has a reason to live a healthier, longer life. What’s yours?

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5 Easy Way to Be Healthier in the New Year

5 Easy Ways to Be Healthier In The New Year

Waking up on New Year’s Day is a great feeling! It’s a new year, a blank slate, a fresh start to make changes and set goals. Setting a new goal, or resolution, for the year that’s ahead of you gives you renewed strength and purpose to conquer your dreams. Having said that, did you know only 8% of people actually stick to their goals throughout the whole year? Sometimes, you want to eat healthier but you also want to enjoy pie while out to dinner with your friends. I’m here to tell you that it’s okay! Every now and then you are allowed to enjoy some desserts.

Going into 2016 you want to start leading a healthier lifestyle! This means so much more than just eating healthy or losing weight. In order to achieve your goals to be healthy in 2016, you have to have a healthy mindset and the right setup to make it work. Below we list the easiest 5 things you can do in order to be healthier in 2016. This doesn’t necessarily mean losing weight (although it could be that) but being healthy is more than just a number on a scale. Having a healthy mental state, a good routine, and the right tools is the best way to set yourself up for better health. This may not be easy but it’s worth a shot! If you fail, pick up the pieces and try again. Even if it takes you all year to figure out how to lead a healthier lifestyle. And always remember: Everyone’s path looks different!

So here are some simple ways to improve your health and wellness in 2016

5 Easy Way to Be Healthier in the New Year

1. Routine

Start your day off right! Every morning wake up and do a simple routine. Mine usually consists of washing my face, then I drink a glass of water infused with lemon oil or a squeeze of fresh lemon for immune and digestive support. Finally, I sit with my cup of bulletproof coffee and set a positive intention for the day. For me, this means meditating in my faith and going over my daily affirmation (I share these daily on Facebook). This was super easy when I didn’t have kids but now in order to do this, I must wake up a bit before them to get enough time to start my day off right. And you know what? Some days it just doesn’t happen with kids but I try to make certain it does 80% of the time. However, if your kids are overrunning you for a week straight, give yourself some grace! Being a mom is not an easy job.

2. Cut out chemicals

Try and research affordable alternatives to cleaning and household items you use in your home. Cutting out chemicals improves your health drastically and increases your longevity. Before we started using Thieves household cleaners we used homemade cleaners with vinegar, distilled water, baking soda, and tea tree oil. It was 1/100th the cost of buying cleaners at Target. But that doesn’t mean you have to make your own cleaners or purchase from an essential oil distributor. There’s also no problem with purchasing the ready made cleaners already on store shelves.

3. Cut out processed foods

For many this is difficult to do because many foods have become more like addictions. That may seem extreme but it’s very true. You may even consider changing your lifestyle like I did to reset your system to not crave refined sugars every day. It’s a hard transition, and some even come down with what’s called keto flu, but you feel amazing after! So amazing that you never want to go back to how you ate before. Cutting out refined foods, carbs, and sugars, is very simple and the easiest way to boost your metabolism and set yourself up for a healthy life.

Try not eating foods that come in a bag, can, or box. Anything with a long list of ingredients you cannot pronounce is good to avoid. Instead of cereal for breakfast, try eggs, sausage, and some spinach. If that is too much to make on the go try some bulletproof coffee. You’d be amazed at how full you are from one cup of coffee For lunches try a nice big salad with meat and a handful of nuts or a lettuce wrapped burger! For dinner stick to protein and veggies. For the kids you can serve a healthy carb like sweet potatoes, brown rice, or quinoa. It takes a little planning but in the end it will become your way of living.

I’ve even started ordering my food from Amazon Prime Now (yay Sprouts delivery!) and have a monthly fruit and vegggie delivery through Farm Fresh to You. Thinking of signing up? Use my referral code: DANI3568. And use promo code HEALTHY for $15 off! Not only does it help me stay on budget, but we’re forced to plan and eat everything that comes to the door. This means less wasted food and less wasted money.

4. Cut out sugary beverages

Soda, juice, lattes, milk, tea, Gatorade, diet sodas you name it. We stick to coffee, water, bubble water (La Croix), and sometimes 100% juice (for the kids). You’ll be amazed at how much this improves your energy throughout the day and helps you shed pounds fast! (side note: tea bags are okay here I’m talking about teas that come in a bottle from the store that have 45 grams of sugar in them). The biggest thing to do is look at labels. See what you’re consuming and how much sugar or carbs are in the drinks you’re enjoying. That doesn’t mean giving up lattes completely. Consider subbing almond milk or heavy whipping cream instead and asking for sugar free syrups. That weekly trip to Starbucks is now a treat for me once or twice a month. And diet soda – oh so bad for you! – is slowly starting to leave my life. 

5. Get an exercise routine down

Three times a week for at least 30 minutes get your heart rate elevated! You don’t have to sweat through 6 layers of clothes like some Crossfit junkie you know but go on a walk, bike ride, or play in the backyard with your kids. I like to do a home workout with my kids present. Walking around the neighborhood to explore with them and switching out different strength training exercises is fun for us to do together. Example: We walk around the neighborhood in one direction (I let the kids choose) for 15 minutes, then return back home. Once we’re home I do 20 squats holding the baby. Or lunges over the kids. My kids personal favorite is to have the baby crawl on my back while doing push-ups. Other days, we just go on a long walk or bike ride with the dog to get out some energy and burn some calories.

The most important part here is you need to be realistic with yourself. Perhaps you start doing this 80/20. 80% of the time you stick with organic and healthy and then 20% of the time you allow yourself some freedom (in moderation). Now that doesn’t include the diet. For me, if I allow myself a “cheat” day, it’s all over and all of my hard work is undone (or it’s two weeks later and I am kicking myself for hopping off the wagon). If unhealthy food is seriously an addiction for you I would highly suggest a food cleanse to help you move past those sugar and refined carbohydrate addictions. Once you get past that initial change, it’s all downhill from there! By making these changes a way of life you’re committing to your health and wellness in the new year and beyond!

What changes have you made in your life this year?

Back to School Healthy Checklist

As we head back to school, I wanted to share this back to school healthy checklist, sponsored by Kinsa, as a way to keep everyone healthy over the first few weeks back in the classroom.

Back to School Healthy Checklist
I feel as if sickness has been coming through a revolving door this summer. We all get better and then WHAM! something else hits. From colds, to ear aches, and runny noses, our family has been hit with it all. And now that I’m sending the kids back to school next week, I need to make sure I’m doing everything I can to stop the cycle in this house.

We’ve been working on trying to keep our home sickness free and I’ve come up with a checklist for the kids so that they’re reminded of what to do to stay relatively healthy. Since the first weeks of school mean exposure to a whole new lot of kids, an a whir of germs, we want to be in tip top shape when we return. And that doesn’t just mean staving off illness, it also means doing routine check ups that may help prevent illness.

Back to School Healthy Checklist - what to do

Back to School Healthy Checklist

  • Wash, wash, wash your hands! Keep reminding your kids to wash their hands frequently throughout the day. I have my kids hum happy birthday two times when they’re washing (similar to how they brush their teeth) so that they wash long enough. Make sure your child’s immunizations are up-to-date. I’ve found that a lot of classrooms have hand sanitizer that they use but since my daughter has eczema, hand sanitizer burns her. 
  • Medications and Allergies need to be mentioned to your child’s school. If medications are needed during the day, make sure the school has what they need (with prescription/note from doctor if needed) and that they know of any allergies or conditions that your child may have. We had to make sure my son’s inhaler was ready to go for the new year! You might also want to mention any allergies to the room mom, if you have one, just in case.
  • Keep emergency contacts up to date! Make sure that the school has the correct emergency contact information for your child. A contact may have moved or changed phone numbers over the summer.
  • The most important meal of the day! Plan to give your child a delicous and healthy breakfast before leaving in the morning, such as oatmeal (made in a rice cooker!), smoothies, yogurt with fruit or scrambled eggs.  This will provide much-needed energy for the day. A great make-ahead option for busy mornings are these delicious egg cups!
  • Buy your child a comfortable, ergonomic backpack with thick straps. You don’t want the stress of a large load of books to hurt their shoulders or back. 
  • Make sure that your child’s shoes fit properly so that they get the support and comfort they need for all-day wear. With kids growing so quickly, make sure your child knows that they should speak up if their shoes are getting tight or their feet are hurting. My son grew 1.5 shoe sizes over the summer! Talk about a growth spurt. 
  • Has your child had a vision screening? This will ensure that he/she can see the board in class and will help with writing and reading.
  • Schedule a dental checkup to ensure that your child’s teeth are in good condition to start the new school year.
  • Concerns about hearing or speech? In the first few weeks of school you can bring your concerns to the teacher to see if they observe anything in the classroom. Or have your child’s doctor observe and make recommendations. 

And the #1 way to keep everyone healthy: Keep your child home when they’re sick! Let them rest and recover so that they feel 100% and the illness doesn’t spread. A sick kid won’t be as alert and ready to learn. They’ll be much more comfortable resting at home.

Kinsa Thermometer

But sometimes illness is inevitable. And having the right tools in the medicine cabinet is important. And Kinsa has those tools.  Kinsa has built something truly revolutionary for parents – the first smartphone-enabled thermometer designed for your peace of mind. Kinsa automatically remembers fever, symptoms, medications and notes for each child or family member, and helps you take action when fever and symptoms are cause for concern. Users can also join groups for their child’s school to see the “health weather” of the school and know what symptoms and illnesses are circulating.

And even better? They’re giving back to the community in a huge way. With their new FLUency program, Kinsa is choosing 100 deserving schools this fall and providing all families in each school with free Kinsa stick thermometers ($30 value). To nominate your school email fluency@kinsahealth.com. You can learn more by watching this video here.

 How do you keep the kids healthy during the school year?

DIY Baymax Upcycled Sock Rice Pack

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DIY Baymax Upcycled Sock Rice Pack

Our family has a slight obsession right now. With Baymax. Do you know Baymax?

Have you seen Big Hero 6 yet? Since seeing it on the big screen when it first came out my kids have been asking when it would arrive on BluRay every week or so. And the time has finally come! Big Hero 6 is now on store shelves and available for purchase. As soon as we received our review copy in the mail the kids had it in the BluRay player and haven’t stopped watching it since!

In celebration of our little obsession I made some upcycled sock rice packs to look like Baymax. Now my kids have their own personal healthcare companions to soothe them when they bump their heads or scrape their knees and need a cold pack. Added bonus? I had everything on hand to make this craft at home in 10 minutes!

Want to make your own DIY Baymax Upcycled Sock Rice Pack? Here’s how!  [Read more…]

What Fitbit Should I Get? {Fitbit Buying Guide}

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Fitbit Buying Guide

Over the past two years of being a Fitbit Ambassador one of the first questions someone asks me is what is the difference between the devices? Now I’m more than happy to sit down with someone and chat about the devices. I ask them what they’re looking for in the device and try and figure out what product would best suit them. No… I’m not paid to do this!

So I figured I’d put it all down in writing for others to see. And I was able to get some of my Fitbit loving friends to let me know why they love the device they own. Some of these friends purchased their Fitbit after chatting with me (and doing their own research) so I’m always excited to hear how much they love them.

I’ll give a brief description of each device below and include a link to my review as well as a link taking you to Amazon to purchase them. The Amazon link is an affiliate code. If you don’t want to use it, feel free to bypass it and search Amazon in a separate window. I don’t mind either way. Then at the very end of this post I’ve created a comparison chart for a quick glance at the differences between each device. [Read more…]

Keep Moving in Style with the New Fitbit Flex

fitbit flex

It’s no surprise that over the past few months I’ve kicked up the motivation and have started moving more regularly. Since first being introduced to Fitbit and receiving my Ultra I’ve increased the steps I take daily from an average of 5,000 to 10,000.

As a Fitbit ambassador I’ve enjoyed testing out and reviewing the products Fitbit continually creates and I love how much better each product gets!

Since first receiving my Ultra I’ve had the chance to try out the Fitbit Zip and Fitbit Aria scale. And now my Fitbit family includes the new Fitbit Flex. As soon as I saw that my Flex arrived for review I started jumping for joy and quickly figured out how to charge and use it ASAP.

Oh my wow! I am in LOVE with the Fitbit Flex. Not only do I consider it a fashionable accessory, I love how it keeps me on track and determined to constantly push myself through the day.

[Read more…]

5 Free Apps for Weight Loss Motivation

5 Free Apps for Weight Loss Motivation

With the craziness that is my life I rely on technology to get me through the day. Whether that’s scheduling doctors appointments, keeping in contact with my friends and family, or staying motivated to lose weight. In order to continue leading a healthy lifestyle I’ve relied heavily on a few great apps to get me through the day and stay on track with my weight loss plan.

These 5 apps are not only easy to access if you have a smartphone, they’re also free! And you might have already downloaded them to your smartphone and didn’t even know it. So head over to your app store and check these out if you’re looking for great motivation to get in shape and stay healthy.

[Read more…]

Counting One Step At A Time with FitBit Zip

Fitbit Zip Gift of Health

 Sometimes we all need a little help attaining our goals. And technology can be a very good thing when it’s used just right. One tool I’ve been using daily for the past few weeks is my new little friend – the FitBit Zip.

Now I know I’ve mentioned FitBit before when I reviewed the Ultra but this little buddy is just as awesome at tracking steps, stairs, and calories burned all with a smile on it’s face!

[Read more…]

Staying Organized In The Kitchen: Meal Planning

Meal Planning Kitchen Organization

One of my biggest resolutions this year is to get organized. I plan to organize the house, my work schedule, and, of course, my road to a healthier life.

In order to save time and money as well as stay on plan with my healthy eating, I like to meal plan once a week. This helps me gauge how many calories I’ll need left over in the evening and helps the husband know what we’re having for dinner every night.

And because I’m already going through the trouble of writing out a meal plan, I also write out a grocery list and print the recipes I’m going to use in advance so that I can cut coupons and grocery shop right after I’m done.

My system is simple but very efficient and I’d love to share it!

[Read more…]



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