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New Year – Even Better Me… Do You Have Your Resolutions Ready?

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A brand-new decade, an even better me?  New Years is usually a time for reflection and optimism for the next year, or even for the next decade – it’s going to be better this time around! Are you someone who takes the opportunity of this proverbial “blank slate” to set one, two, ten… resolutions?  According to Statista, the most common resolution for 2019 was to diet or to eat healthier – not too surprising, right?! A close second place resolution was to exercise more. These were tied for first in 2018 with saving money.  The focus for a healthier year remains on people’s minds. So why does the same thing happen year after year?  January hits and gym are packed!  The diet industry is advertising at a fever pitch.  You see more green juice, detox teas and celebrity-endorsed cleanses.  And what about the exercise equipment/device/gadget that you just MUST buy – immediately?!  By March all of this had dissipated, as well as your motivation.  What gives? Three words for you: unrealistic goal setting.

Let's Get S.M.A.R.T.

When surveyed at the end of 2018, only 4% of individuals said they kept all their resolutions. The other 96% of us can attribute our failed achievement to not having a S.M.A.R.T. goal from the beginning of the year. A S.M.A.R.T. goal is holistic and can “see into your future” to hedge for life challenges and obstacles. For example: “After 4 weeks from today, I want to weigh 6 pounds lighter”. Let’s break down this resolution using the acronym S.M.A.R.T.:

  • Specific: Both 4 weeks and 6 pounds are exact.
  • Measurable: The weight on day one compared to the last day is objective.
  • Attainable: It is recommended to lose between 1-2 pounds a week for sustained loss.
  • Relevant: Starting to lose weight will help me achieve my final health goal
  • Time-bound: Four weeks is a set deadline that can be marked on the calendar.

Micro-Changes

Rome wasn’t built in a day.  And whatever you are working on probably didn’t start yesterday – likely it is something you have been working on/dealing with for quite some time.  Setting small, realistic goals a few weeks at a time will set you up for long-lasting change, just like taking a major project one step at a time. Once you have finalized your S.M.A.R.T. goal it’s time to prepare for the inevitable fall off the horse. This could come in the form of eating a diet of strictly donuts and champagne for a week or skipping your workouts for another week. Do NOT beat yourself up over this, we all go through loss of motivation!  And those donuts probably tasted really good.  Let it go, it is in the past and you are living in the present.  Get right back to your goal and focus on micro-changes. Whether it is going for a 10-minute walk during lunch, or simply always eating 1 green vegetable at dinner, or adding 3 extra glasses of water per day – start super small and slowly build back up.  The faster you get back to what you are working on, the better you will feel, and easier it will be to stay on track.

Who’s Got Your Back?

Asking for support is an underestimated resource.  Our support system can help to motivate us and asking for help also builds stronger relationships. Having nights when you cook healthful meals with your family or friends or recruiting a gym buddy can greatly improve your chances of sticking to a goal. Accountability to someone else can change your mindset from wanting to do something to needing to do something. Tracking your development on social media can be a way to find support in others, even if they are not local and visualize progress along the way. In the case of the S.M.A.R.T. goal mentioned before, taking pictures each week could eventually be compiled into a year’s worth of change!

Live in the Now

What better time to change than now?  Because the truth is, all we have is right now. Motivation comes in waves; change can start in a moment. This means, we can make our resolutions, our S.M.A.R.T. goals, any day.  Change takes work but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Just think, you can be a part of the 4% who follow through on making a lifelong change. 

In the words of Confucius, “the man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.''

Let us know what your S.M.A.R.T. goal is in the comments below.  And for more health and wellness tips follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Blog

Intermittent Fasting- The Power to Help Prevent Cancer?

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We all know someone who has experienced hearing the words, “You have cancer.” According to the CDC, for every 100,000 people, there are 436 new cancer cases and 156 died due to cancer. It is the second leading cause of death in the US. One of every four deaths in the US is due to cancer. What is one of the potential solutions to this growing disease? Let’s discuss – Intermittent Fasting.

Can intermittent fasting be a new way to help prevent this disease? Most of us already know that a balanced and healthy lifestyle is the first step to help prevent cancer.  Activities include frequent exercise, nutritious food choices, keeping a healthy weight, alcohol in moderation and avoiding tobacco. New research suggests that what has been a religious practice, and a very restrictive dieting program, can potentially help prevent and treat this deadly disease.

Continuous research is being done supporting the role of fasting on cancer treatment and prevention. Calorie restriction is able to reduce and delay cancer incidence, and inhibits tumor progression and metastasis. Fasting can kill cancer cells, boost the immune system, and improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

What is Fasting?

It is voluntarily going without food  for varying lengths of time. Specifically, intermittent fasting is a complete avoidance of calorie intake for 16-18 hours daily or alternating a fasting day with a normal energy intake day. The theory is that it will slow your metabolism.

Pro's of Intermittent Fasting

Con's of Intermittent Fasting

  • Weight loss
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Improves biometric markers
  • Can aid in the growth of new nerve cells
  • Slow aging
  • High dropout rate
  • Overeating typically occurs following fasting days
  • Expensive meal plans
  • Limited research to support
  • Promotes a restrictive mentality

Intermittent Fasting... and Cancer?

Improves Insulin Sensitivity

Fasting means not eating for lengths of time, right? When there is more food available in the body, the cells become less sensitive to insulin. So, you are probably thinking “what does that mean?” Insulin resistance means that cells do not respond to insulin signals, leading to more glucose in the blood and a higher fat storage. When our body is fasting, it tries to conserve as much energy as possible so the cells become more sensitive to insulin, can remove glucose from blood and there is less fat stored. Simple answer: when there is more sensitivity to insulin, cancer cells have a harder time developing or growing.

Reverses Effects of Chronic Conditions

Certain conditions like obesity and type 2 diabetes have been identified as risk factors for cancer. When affected by these conditions, the risk for multiple times of cancers is higher, and there is a lower chance of survival. Fasting has been proven to increase weight loss. This reduces obesity rates and diabetes which can reduce the risk of developing cancer.

Can Improve Quality of Life During Chemotherapy

Fasting improves people’s responses to chemotherapy because it promotes cellular regeneration; protects blood against harmful effects of chemotherapy; reduces side effects from chemotherapy. Patients who were fasting during chemotherapy also reported higher energy levels and a higher tolerance.

What Should You Eat?

Focus on nutrient density by selecting wholesome foods that provide you energy, nutrients and fill your belly. Mix up your veggie choices to get a variety of vitamins and minerals. Let’s not forget about the importance of protein! Foods with protein will keep you full, which is important for the days where you are fasting. Pay close attention to low calorie foods that create high volume- on both your plate and in your belly!

More Information

Do you want more information on this type of diet or an example of what a fasting meal plan looks like? We provide counseling and you may qualify for free sessions.  Email B.Komplete at admin@bkomplete.com for more information and to see if you quality for our free in-network counseling. 

Resources:

  1. I Tried Intermittent Fasting. Here’s What Happened
  2. Fasting- What You Should Know
  3. What To Eat On An Intermittent Fasting Diet
  4. Intermittent Fasting
  5. Eating Hints: Before, During, and After Cancer Treatment

Researched and written by Alexa Clark, Dietetic Intern

Blog

How to Live like a Wellness Professional

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Living a healthy lifestyle can be difficult for all of us – even wellness professionals. When you choose to take the steps to overcome barriers, you’ll be surprised to find out how rewarding living healthfully can be. Today we will be introducing you to just a few of the health and wellness professionals on the B.Komplete team and giving you some insight to what they have found to be most successful in overcoming their personal barriers to living a healthy lifestyle.

Art is a Registered Dietitian and  Life Coach on the B.Komplete Team.  Art has a unique background in social work that allows him to make long lasting relationships with those he counsels. While he loves what he does, his favorite job is being a father to his two daughters. He is motivated to maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to live up to his own expectations of being able to run around and keep up with his 4-year old now and as she grows up.  While his life can be very busy and health has to be a conscious decision, he finds easy ways to make it fit.  He finds ways to intertwine nutrition with family time at dinner with house favorites like taco night. Art’s family’s taco night incorporates healthier ingredients like lean ground turkey, an abundance of vegetables and low-fat cheese to make them more nutritious without missing out on flavor.

 He loves to educate his family through cooking and allows himself to indulge as long as he is mindful; whether it be with a piece of chocolate for dessert or a glass of wine at dinner. He takes the time to enjoy these small treats when he craves them, so that he doesn’t feel the need to overdo it later. Art is constantly tapping into his internal motivators and challenging himself to strive for better, not perfect. When he can fit in a workout, he gives it his all to make the most of his time. He goes to the grocery store when he knows it will be less busy to save time. He drinks flavored seltzer water because plain water isn’t so exciting to him. Art uses his family as his “why” and plans to grow older without aches and pains as a result of his conscious healthy lifestyle. Art wants you to ask yourself: What is your internal motivator?

Johari is an exercise professional on the B.Komplete Team.  Johari has an extensive background in dance. It was when she became injured that her doctor told her it was time to move her career in a new direction. Johari became a wellness professional when she became a personal trainer. While she still loves incorporating dance into her exercise regimen, she also enjoys weight training and is interested in learning more about parkour and powerlifting. For her, health has been a major priority in helping her to cope with and overcome substance abuse. She sees a Registered Dietitian to learn about what foods to incorporate into her lifestyle to make her feel like her best self. Never losing her love of dance, Johari has incorporated her own unique routines into her kitchen to make preparing food more satisfying.

You can try her specialty smoothie recipes yourself. She puts on her Prince T-shirt and “blueberry beret” to prepare one of her favorite smoothies consisting of blueberries, almond milk, chia seeds and banana. An alternative favorite is her “Moonwalker” special made with banana, unsweetened low-fat yogurt, pineapple, mango, and honey. While cooking is not her favorite hobby, Johari has found ways to make it a priority in her life as her health and nutrition regimen contributes to recovery and an unhealthy lifestyle makes relapse more possible. She has found her journey as a wellness professional to be both healing and rewarding through counseling other women struggling with recovery from substance abuse. Along with meditation, prayer and artwork, listening to others through counseling has been incredibly effective for stress management. If she could give one piece of advice toward maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it would be to “become your own hero.” Don’t be afraid to seek advice and utilize a health professional if you could use some guidance. Talk to people who have worked with different populations and use their expertise to your advantage.

Liz is a Registered Dietitian on the B.Komplete team and as a wellness professional, she loves leading by example and seeing other people take what she teaches them and make it work for their lifestyle. One of the techniques she has found most beneficial to alleviate stress has been making it a point to do a 10-minute meditation of complete silence when she wakes up every morning. This allows her to start with a clean slate before starting her day which is typically followed by a sweat session at the gym. As a former fitness instructor, Liz often switches up her routine between cardio, strength training and circuit training to keep her muscles working hard and boost her metabolism. Meditation and exercise are two things that are non-negotiable in the start to her day and scheduling them to be a priority allows her to stay consistent.

Meal preparation not for you? Liz takes an interesting approach to planning her meals. She starts by picking 2 to 3 breakfasts, lunches and dinners for the week. Next, she makes a grocery list of all the ingredients she will need. As a fan of fresh-cooked food, Liz doesn’t make it a point to pick which meals she’ll eat when ahead of time or cook them all on one day. She picks which meal she makes based on what she’s feeling, makes double, and sets it aside. This way, she could have that meal again for lunch or dinner the next day or 2-3 days from then if desired. Extra veggies? No problem. Pre-cut or roasted vegetables are great to keep in the fridge for incorporating into future meals or snacks. Liz makes health a priority in her lifestyle because she never wants her body to be what slows her down. Living healthfully allows her to not feel so guilty about her favorite guilty pleasures, ice cream and chocolate. If she could give one piece of advice as a step toward living a healthier lifestyle, it would be make your life decisions based on the person that you want to be in the future, and enjoy each moment now.

Natalie is a Registered Dietitian in the B.Komplete community who has a very busy lifestyle, holding multiple jobs in various settings in the field. On top of that, Natalie is currently being a superwoman through maintaining her work load and living healthfully all with a baby on the way! She finds the most beneficial way for her to make health a priority is through scheduling it on her calendar. She schedules time every night to set up her morning coffee and make her lunch and snacks for the following day. This allows her to run out the door quickly in the morning and avoid less healthy options that she may grab out or in a cafeteria had she not planned ahead

Being pregnant, Natalie isn’t able to work out with the same intensity as she previously has, but this doesn’t stop her from finding the time to exercise. She tries her best to incorporate walking into her workday wherever possible whether it be getting up to walk to the bathroom, refilling her water bottle or saying hello to a coworker. She finds walking on her treadmill at home once a day to not only give her an opportunity to move, but time to decompress from her workday or call her friends and family. Taking the time to talk to your loved ones and catch up can be a great way to boost your mood and relieve stress at the same time. Natalie has found living healthfully to be most rewarding in allowing her body to carry her through a healthy pregnancy. Living a healthy lifestyle is one controllable factor in her life that she loves to take advantage of because it leaves her feeling great, positive and more friendly. When your health falls behind, your life falls behind. Prioritizing your health can allow you to prioritize what matters most to you. Natalie’s biggest piece of advice is to pick one or two areas in your life that you want to focus on whether it be an activity or a relationship and schedule them! Scheduling is the key to success.

So next time you’re thinking about making a change toward a healthy lifestyle, think less about how it will impact you now and more about how it can impact you in the future. Over time, these small changes can amount into a large one and you won’t be able to realize a time when these habits weren’t a part of your life. Living healthfully can have a positive impact on your body, mind and overall wellbeing. It can help to prevent and reduce your risk for chronic diseases later and help you to feel better in the now. To learn more about our B.Komplete team and how we can help you to crush your goals, reach out to us at info@bkomplete.com

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

Nutrition and Food

Your Go-To Guide to Essential Oils

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Essential oils were used in folk medicine throughout history, dating back to use by ancient civilizations BCE. Oils  have recently been gaining popularity as a natural, safe and cost-effective therapy. The use of essential oils can be another wellness technique to add to your lifestyle.  

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils (EOs) are not FDA approved. Unlike drugs, they are not intended to cure, diagnose, prevent, or treat diseases. However, they can be great when used in a complementary manner, as long as you are mindful of any drug interactions.  When in doubt, speak with your Primary Care Physician.

Essential oils (EOs) are concentrated and are marketed to have ‘powerful health benefits.’ They contain various chemical components, in which, are absorbed by the body. Additionally, they can be absorbed by four routes via olfaction, through the skin (both externally and internally), and by ingestion. They can be used aromatically, topically, and internally.  There is a whole study that focuses how EOs are absorbed, called pharmacokinetics.

Aromatic

Inhaling EOs is the fastest method of getting EOs into your body. Components can travel to your lungs, brain, or both. Inhalation can be direct (only to you) or indirect (to a room of people).

Direct Inhalation without steam

  • Aroma sticks– add 15-20 drops EO onto the wick, place wick inside inhaler
  • Aroma patches– apply patches to skin, preferably on collar bone
  • Aroma packets– open packet to breath in contents
  • Aroma ribbons– can be attached to anything, such as pillows for a comfort aroma
  • Cotton balls– add 1-5 drops of EO to a cotton ball and inhale for 5-10 minutes

Direct Inhalation with steam

  • Steam water– add 1-5 drops of EO to a bowl containing steaming water. Place head over bowl and place towel over your head, inhale for 10 minutes

Indirect Inhalation

  • Room fresheners– add 1-5 drops of EO to a bowl containing hot water and place in a safe place
  • Burners– fill container suspended above with water and add 1-5 drops of EO 
  • Fans– add 1-5 drops of EO to a pad, place inside the fan
  • Humidifiers– fill container with water, place EOs on a tissue in the direct pathway of the exiting steam
  • Diffusers– add 1-8 drops of EO; they deliver micron-sized essential oil droplets in the air 
  • Nebulizers – drops of undiluted essential oils are placed inside glass attachment, most do not use heat 
  • Spritzer Sprays– add essential oils in water inside a spritzer spray bottle, important to shake bottle for even distribution
  • Aroma stones– they gently warm essential oils

Topical

The amount that is absorbed through your skin depends on skin permeability as well as concentration of EO used. For example, EOs that are diluted in a carrier oil (used for dilution and application) are absorbed slower than undiluted EOs. EOs are absorbed faster when the skin becomes thinner and or damaged by systemic disease, dermatological problems, injury, and dehydration. Avoid applying EOs to damaged skin, as it is absorbed more readily and can have adverse effects. Moreover, less is absorbed during periods of stress because stress results in vascular shut-down. Whereas, dilated blood vessels caused by friction from stroking or massaging, can increase EO absorption, except when the body is trying to lose heat.  Always use caution if you select to apply an EO topically; some may need to be diluted, some should not be applied to certain areas, some EO’s may make your skin more sensitive, and some could even cause an adverse reaction.

What Does the Research Say?

EOs are used to treat or relieve stress, pain, dental issues, infection and/or inflammation (ex. sore throat, vaginal and urinary infections, gastrointestinal issues (ex. IBS, nausea and vomiting), insomnia, anxiety, and promote well-being. However, according to research, there is a lack of studies to support EO effectiveness. Most studies had a small sample size, which may not be reliable. There is a need for more well‐designed, large‐scale randomized controlled trials, before conclusions can be drawn and recommendations can be made for clinical use. Regardless of the insufficient amount of data regarding their effectiveness, EOs continue to be used for the healing properties all around the world.

Tips on How to Use EO's

Blending EOs is an art, as it requires training and experimentation. Typically, oils from the same botanical family blend well. The order in which the oils are blended is key to maintain desired therapeutic and chemical properties and fragrance. Your oil blend should be stored in dark-colored glass bottles. If you are not familiar with mixing, it is encouraged to layer the individual oils, by applying one at a time, rubbing it in, and then applying another oil a few seconds after.

If dilution is necessary, a carrier oil may be needed. Carrier oils are naturally derived from plant sources. They have a neutral smell and do not evaporate like essential oils, making them an great medium for dilution and application purposes. The purpose of carrier oils is to reduce the concentration and absorption rate of the EO, at the same time not changing any therapeutic properties. Dilution is especially important for infants and children.

Some examples of carrier oils include: V-6 mixing oil, grapeseed oil, almond oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, coconut oil, argan oil, arnica oil, rosehip oil, broccoli seed oil, flaxseed oil, magnesium oil, evening primrose oil, cocoa butter and shea butter.

Lastly, not all essential oils are created equal. In fact, most of them are of poor quality and are often synthetic. When you are ready to purchase essential oils make sure they are certified USDA organic, 100% pure, therapeutic grade and indigenous sourced.

Here are some brands that you could try:

There are many other different brands.  Some are more expensive, and some are subscription based.  Select the option that best works for your budget and lifestyle.  

In conclusion, we enjoy using Essential Oils for stress management and mental clarity.  Please understand the research on EO is highly limited, and EO should not be considered a medical treatment.  Speak with your health-care provider for any individual questions.

If you are more interested in EO’s and would like a live event held at your company, we have the solution!  B.Komplete offers Wellness Awareness Stations on Essential Oil and Stress Management, and we also have a Seminar to discuss Alternative Medicine.  Contact us at info@bkomplete.com to book our inspiring services for your company.