A study on belly fat confirms that visceral fat – the type that gathers around your internal organs – is far more dangerous than having a total BMI in the obese range. There are different ways of calculating your ideal body size. One way is by measuring the circumference of your hips at the widest part, across your buttocks. Then measure your waist just above your belly button. Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement to get your ratio.

NORMAL:   .85 or less in women and .90 or less in men

id-100442672You can also just measure your waist. Your waist size is a good indication of the amount of fat you are carrying in the stomach area.

  • For men, between 37 and 40 inches is overweight and more than 40 inches is obese
  • For women, between 31.5 and 34.6 inches is overweight, and more than 34.6 inches is obese.

Does reducing the amount of sugar in the diet help with losing weight and belly fat?

Of greater concern is not weight, but the effects of fructose on body composition, fatty liver, and insulin resistance. Fructose can rapidly induce metabolic syndrome and fatty liver that is not observed in animals fed the same number of calories as glucose or starch.

Reducing the amount of sugar in the diet does help, but you need alternatives so that you don’t feel deprived. Also, finding out which foods are best for your body and those which may be causing silent inflammation that can lead to disease will help you to be on a proactive road to great health and a wonderful quality of life as you age!

id-10045264If you are having problems with your thyroid, you may want to check into your adrenals—the battery pack of your body! These little glands are on top of your kidneys and play a huge part in your health & well being.

They are responsible for your Energy, Hormone Balance, Immune Health & Blood Sugar Balance. That’s a lot! We always remember to recharge our batteries for our cell phone, camera, etc., but what about us? We are too busy burning ourselves out!

Our adrenal glands produce Estrogen, Progesterone, Cortisol, Adrenaline, Dopamine and other hormones. We need to support the adrenals to help heal the thyroid and have it working properly.

Here are some symptoms of adrenal fatigue & thyroid issues:

  • Exhaustion
  • Brain Fog
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Hair Loss
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Decreased Sex Drive

When your thyroid is low, your adrenals are probably too! The body is conserving energy naturally.

So what can throw the adrenals and thyroid out of balance?

  1. Chronic Infections
  2. Food Sensitivities
  3. Sleep Deprivation
  4. Over-Exercising
  5. Too Many Stimulants
  6. High Sugar Intake
  7. High Stress
  8. Nutritional Deficiencies

When you don’t get the nutrition you need, the body naturally slows down. You can be deficient in Vitamin D3, B12, and other nutrients.

If you have hidden food sensitivities, you may not be absorbing your nutrients well and then can have issues. Taking thyroid medication doesn’t always work when you don’t find the root cause!

Saliva Testing can find hidden issues like infections (H.Pylori, Yeast, Parasites, etc.), Foods that cause Inflammation, Digestion, Cortisol Levels, Hormones and more. This can get you on the right track for getting balanced and having more Energy, Weight Balance, Disease Prevention, too!

 Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

stevia-leaves-sept-22-2016-blogSince Stevia is from a plant, you would think it can only be good for you, right? Let’s take a look at this sweetener.

It turns out that most of it isn’t natural. What? Yes, it’s true. We eat so much sugar that trying to find a replacement can be mind boggling, to say the least!

Stevia was banned in the U.S. in the 1990s. Then it was okay to sell as a supplement. Then, in the early 2000s, some big companies pressured the FDA to let them use it as a sweetener.

The word “natural” is unregulated. Arsenic is natural! So what happened is that the approval for Stevia wasn’t for the whole plant, only for the active ingredient (Reb A). While Stevia has been used for centuries, Reb A has not!!

Its long term effect on us in unknown. How safe is it? Nobody knows. Stevia goes through heavy processing. Chemicals are used, such as acetone, methanol, etc. Doesn’t sound like food, does it? This is what happens with Truvia. Two more chemicals are added to that, to make matters worse. The first is erythritol which is naturally occurring in fresh fruit, but they are not using this kind. They process it from GMO corn which is fermented to make pure erythritol and then they add natural flavors to cover the taste.

What about Stevia in the Raw? Look at the first ingredient on the label: it’s dextrose! It’s also in PureVia.

Is it possible to find a true Stevia? Look for “whole leaf stevia” on the label or grow your own and use it! You really have to be an investigator anymore if you want to put healthier ingredients into your body. All sweeteners aren’t great for you, so be aware of using in moderation.

You are worth it!

aloe-vera-in-spoonAloe Vera is known as a common ingredient in different natural beauty products. It has a lot of medicinal properties; therefore, it is called “plant of immortality” by ancient Egyptians. Today, aloe vera is widely and extensively used in the beauty industry. The gel extracted from the aloe vera leaves is packed with many essential minerals, nutrients, and vitamins that are great for the beauty and health. This herb is very safe, so you can use it both internally and externally.

Here are a few beauty benefits of aloe vera that you should know!

1. Moisturize the Skin

Aloe vera contains great moisturizing effects, so it is very beneficial for dry skin. The natural moisturizer helps to keep the skin hydrated and increases its elasticity. When you apply it topically, it will release essential vitamins and natural enzymes on your skin to give a deep moisturizing property and restore the pH balance. In addition, it provides oxygen to your skin, which aids in strengthening skin tissue and keeping your skin healthy.

In particular, it moisturizes your skin effectively without leaving any greasy feeling. Therefore, it is ideal for people who have oily skin. It’s also great to use on the face — especially for people who wear makeup regularly — because it cleanses and softens the skin.

  • Peel off the skin of an aloe leaf to reveal the gel.
  • Scoop out this gel and store it in a clean container.
  • Finally, gently massage this gel on your facial skin.

You can store the remaining gel in a refrigerator to lengthen its shelf life.

2. Prevent The Signs Of Premature Aging

Sagging skin, wrinkles, and fine lines appear with age; however, these aging signs can appear earlier. One of the best ways to prevent the signs of premature aging is to add aloe vera to your beauty regimen because of its high antioxidant properties.

The gel of aloe vera penetrates deep into your skin to moisturize it. As a high source of essential nutrients such as vitamins E, C, B, and A, it helps to nourish your skin well. In addition, the gel also contains polysaccharides that aid in stimulating the regeneration of new skin cells. According to a study in the Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine in 2013, fresh aloe vera gel helps to improve the viscoelasticity of the skin and contains hydrating properties, which play a crucial role in fighting premature skin aging signs. The study also highlights the anti-inflammatory, synergistic antioxidant, and ultraviolet protective effects of this plant.

To maintain youthful skin, it is important for you to exfoliate weekly. Follow the steps below to prepare an exfoliating mask:

  • Mix 1 tsp. of aloe vera gel, 1 tsp. of oatmeal, and 1/2 tsp. of olive oil well in a bowl.
  • Apply this mask to your face & neck and allow the mask to sit on for 30 minutes.
  • Next, gently scrub off this mask with your wet hands.
  • Finally, wash your face & neck using cold water.
  • Do this regime on a weekly basis.

3. Treat Acne

Aloe vera gel contains 2 hormones, Gibberellin and Auxin, which offer anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties. Thanks to these properties, it is very effective in reducing inflammation, itchiness, and blisters. Gibberellin works as a growth hormone that not only stimulates the growth of new cells, but also promotes the skin to heal fast, leaving minimal scars. Although it does not treat acne completely, it is beneficial in relieving the redness and inflammation of the skin. It may also be used to prevent the causing of acne and pimples.

You can apply the aloe vera juice or gel directly to the affected skin area to treat acne or you can make a face mask with aloe vera gel:

  • Boil some aloe vera leaves in clean water and then create a paste.
  • Next, mix the paste with several drops of raw honey and apply this mask to your face.
  • After that, allow it to stand on for 15 minutes.
  • Finally, rinse it off using clean water.

4. Cure Sunburns & Stretch Marks

As mentioned earlier, the anti-inflammatory & wound healing properties of aloe vera gel help to cure sunburns at the epithelial skin level (a layer of skin cells that cover the body). In addition, it also aids in reducing the inflammation and pain related to sunburns. It works well to replenish the natural moisture of your skin and acts as a protective layer to shield your skin from further deterioration. Plus, it also promotes fast healing of your skin thanks to its antioxidant properties and nutritional qualities. For this purpose, you just apply the gel of aloe vera to the sunburn and let it dry naturally.

Aloe vera also helps to reduce stretch marks thanks to its natural healing properties. It can be useful in restoring the skin elasticity and fix the skin damage. To treat this problem, follow these steps:

  • First, mix together equal parts of rose water and aloe vera gel.
  • Next, apply it to the stretch marks and then gently massage it in circular motions for several minutes.
  • Keep it on there for about 20 minutes.
  • Finally, wash it off using cool water.
  • Repeat this method for twice daily.

5. Remove Makeup

Store-bought makeup removal products may contain many harmful chemicals that damage your skin, so using aloe vera gel as a great natural makeup removal is a beauty benefit you should not skip. The naturally slippery feature of this gel can easily remove the residue of makeup and leave you with clean skin. It even gives the skin a radiant glow.

  • First, put pure aloe vera gel on a clean cotton ball.
  • Then swipe this cotton ball all around the face to eliminate your makeup residue.
  • Finally, wash your face using clean water, pat it dry, and then apply a mild moisturizer.

6. Promote Hair Growth

Another beauty benefit of aloe vera gel is to promote hair growth. It also eliminates the dead cells from the scalp that may clog the hair follicles and lead to dandruff. Moreover, aloe vera gel can aid in maintaining the pH balance of the scalp, which is essential for a healthy hair.

According to a study in the Journal of Chemical & Pharmaceutical Research in 2010, the enzyme content of this plant can prevent hair loss by protecting the scalp from various diseases.

  • First, mix aloe vera gel with castor oil at the ratio of 2:1.
  • Then, gently massage this mixture into your scalp and leave it on overnight.
  • In the early morning, rinse your hair using a mild shampoo.
  • Follow this method twice a week.

7. Treat Cracked Feet

You may feel embarrassed by your cracked feet. To get rid of this problem, you can rely on aloe vera gel’s antibacterial and moisturizing properties, which make it a great treatment for cracked heels. It also aids in getting rid of dead skin cells and regenerating the skin cells.

  • First, mix 4 tablespoons of this gel and 1/2 cup each of gram flour and oatmeal.
  • Next, rub the mixture on your cracked feet and gently massage them.
  • Allow it to stand for 10 minutes.
  • Finally, rinse it off using warm water.
  • Follow this mask regime 1 or 2 times per week to prevent and cure cracked feet quickly.

Guest Post by Hang Pham, a blogger with over 10 years of experience in searching the best solutions for problems related to beauty and health well being.

How many times has this happened to you?

You are stressed out and you eat something sweet or salty to feel better. You feel better temporarily, but then feel bad you ate something that caused you to gain weight or feel bad. We all have our “comfort foods!” They are usually starchy and sugary.

There is a biological reason for these cravings:ID-100157943

  • Sugar increases serotonin in the brain
  • Serotonin makes us feel good

The issue is that sugar increases inflammation in our body and can feed pathogenic microorganisms in the gut.

When we are stressed, chemicals are released. These are the same chemicals that would be released if a wild animal were chasing us! This response has helped us to survive. If you were being chased by a tiger, would you munch on a cookie? I don’t think so!

We don’t really need to eat when we are in this state. Our bodies aren’t very good at digesting when we are in this state. During a stress response, saliva decreases and large food particles are more likely to ferment in the gut. Inflammation will increase, cortisol increases, and immune function diminishes.

If you want to digest your food better and engage the parasympathetic nervous system for optimal digestion, you want to eat mindfully. Pay attention to how the food tastes and feels in the mouth and enjoy the memories associated with the food. Eat delicious and nourishing foods. Enjoy and appreciate each meal.

You can eat comfort foods… but there are ways to tweak some of the ingredients to make them less harmful and still taste delicious!

Image courtesy of Iamnee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We are bombarded by lots of toxins in our world today, so we need to lessen the load on our bodies as much as possible in order to be healthy and well. One of the things we can look at is what we put on our skin, as we ID-100115084absorb everything that we put on our skin. A study done by the National Center for Biotechnology Information demonstrated that moisturizers containing certain toxic chemicals can significantly increase the risk of developing skin cancer. Some of the offending products were:

  • Eucerin
  • Dermabase
  • Vanicream
  • Dermovan

I’ve had some clients who aren’t on any hormones go through my saliva testing and come out with very high hormones like estrogen & progesterone from using moisturizers or creams like Eucerin! Alarming!

Here are some of the usual ingredients to avoid:

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is one of the worst
  • Parabens
  • Isopropyl palmitate
  • Propylene Glycol
  • BHT… & more!

Simple ways to protect yourself are to stay away from products with long lists of ingredients and use plant-based products. My moisturizer of choice is Coconut Oil. It works great and there are no chemicals.

Stay informed to protect your health!

Do you feel stiff when you get up from sitting?

Are any of your joints sore when you fully move them?

Do your hands feel stiff?

Do any of your joints feel swollen?

Do you have unexplained nasal congestion?

ID-100184380If you answered yes to any of these questions, you have inflammation, and maybe pain going on in your body right now. What most people and doctors don’t realize is that it comes from the food you eat every day!

Foods that can cause inflammation in your body are:

  • SUGAR!
  • DAIRY!

You need to find out what’s causing the pain & inflammation in your body and calm it down to help decrease the pain and prevent disease in the long run. It can be figured out and it’s worth it at ANY age!

There are many causes of food allergies and intolerances, but here is a list of the most common culprits:

Food Allergy signInfancy Food Exposure: Exposure to foods other than breast milk during the first few months of life can contribute to food allergies. Your digestive tract was designed to be able to allow larger molecules through during early life so that your mom could nurse you, pass on the protective antibodies from her immune system, and protect you. Unfortunately, what also passes through her milk are her food antibodies too.

In addition, if you are fed anything other than breast milk in those early months, those openings in your digestive tract work against you and allow proteins from cow’s milk or soy, the most common foods in infant formula, to pass into your blood stream and create an immune reaction.

Immunizations: If you were immunized, the goal was to create a protective immune response to the injected substances. Unfortunately, carrier substances injected with the immunizations include things like egg albumin, which can cause you to become allergic to eggs.

Antibiotics: Within the first year of life, intake of antibiotics has been associated with increased risk of food allergy.

Antacids: The use of antacids impair stomach acid production and leads to the poor digestion of proteins. These undigested proteins irritate the delicate lining of your intestine, eventually eroding it enough so that the larger molecules enter your blood stream and mount an immune system attack.

Gluten: Gluten-containing foods inflame and damage your intestinal mucous membrane and result in Leaky Gut Syndrome. As a result large, undigested protein molecules enter your blood stream and your immune system attacks them.

Stress: Eating when stressed causes increased cortisol production, which shuts down your digestion and can lead to Leaky Gut Syndrome.

Sugar: Eating sugar disrupts normal intestinal flora and disrupts digestion.

How to Tell if You Have a Potential Food Allergies or Intolerance

How do you know if food allergies may be contributing to your health concerns? Take this short self-assessment quiz and find out for yourself:

1. Do you feel tired after eating?
2. Do you frequently clear your throat after meals?
3. Do you feel like you need looser pants at the end of the day?
4. Do you crave certain foods (like bread, cheese, and other snack foods) and feel the urge to eat more even if you feel full?
5. Do you feel like your pulse and heart beat become rapid after eating certain foods?
6. Do you have inflammation and pain for which you haven’t found a cause?
7. Have you been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease?
8. Do you experience belching, bloating, gas, or pain after eating?
9. Do you have persistent extra weight in spite of a low calorie diet and exercise?
10. Do you have asthma?
11. Do you have difficulty focusing that comes and goes?
12. Have you lost your motivation for things you used to enjoy?
13. Do you need to urinate frequently?
14. Do you have an irritable bowel?
15. Do you have unexplained bouts of depression, anxiety, or irritability?
16. Do you have frequent skin rashes, eczema, or psoriasis?

If you answered yes even to ONE of these, you might have an undiagnosed food allergy. If you answered yes to 3 or more, you most certainly do.

I can help! Email me at info@recipe4wellness.com or give me a call at (928) 282-1918, and let’s get started on a healthier & happier you!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One of the most important things you can do to get in control of your health is to stop eating the foods that are causing inflammation in your body! Most of us eat too much, so it’s usually not because of a lack of nutrition, although it could be.

We’re all different. What’s good for you may not be good for me. Basically, it’s all about finding out what’s good for your body and what can decrease the chronic inflammation in your body. Inflammation leads to disease. If you figure it out, the rewards are enormous! You’ll feel younger, be mentally sharper, and you won’t age as fast. Your skin can even look better, and your overall mood will improve.

Digital illustration of human bodySince our goal is to keep inflammation to a minimum, we need to avoid the foods that do this to us. Some diseases related to chronic inflammation are cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and more. Inflammation can be caused by food sensitivities, parasites, or infections. Toxins also can lead to inflammation.

So what can we do about this? Reduce the inflammatory load on your body. We need to find out what is going on in our bodies and decrease the inflammation so our bodies can function better and we can feel great too! Eating the wrong foods can cause damage, which can age us faster as well.

The bonus is that when you find out which foods are right for you, you’ll also lose weight easier. It gives you slow and steady weight loss by eating differently, rather than starving yourself. Food cravings and addictions also go away.

If you suffer with migraines, hives, IBS, depression and/or brain fog (among numerous other issues), it could be caused by inflammation from foods you are eating.

Here are some symptoms that may indicate your food is causing your problems:

  • Persistent fatigue not helped by rest
  • Over- or under-weight or a history of fluctuating weight
  • Occasional swellings of the face, hands, abdomen or ankles
  • Palpitations, particularly just after eating
  • Excessive sweating
  • Red or itchy eyes
  • Bronchitis
  • Asthma
  • Itching
  • Eczema
  • Blotches on the skin
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Dyspepsia, abdominal distress, flatulence
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Stomach pain
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Variable bowel function
  • Unusually slow or rapid heartbeat
  • Pain in the chest
  • High blood pressure
  • Cramps in limbs
  • Chilblains
  • Feeling faint
  • Feeling unwell all over
  • Stiffness in throat or tongue
  • Water retention
  • Terrible thoughts on waking
  • Shaking in the morning
  • Slow getting started in the morning
  • Insomnia
  • Crabby on waking
  • Abrupt changes from well to unwell
  • Rash that isn’t eczema
  • Aching muscles
  • Swollen painful joints
  • Headache (including migraine)
  • Convulsions or fits
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Giddiness
  • Nausea
  • Frequent urination
  • “Dopey” feeling (brain fog)
  • Inability to think clearly (“woolly brain”)
  • Irritability
  • Panic attacks
  • Feeling unreal, depersonalized
  • Lack of confidence
  • Mood swings
  • Sudden sneezing
  • High mood (undue elation)
  • Low mood
  • Mood swings
  • Menstrual difficulties
  • General slowing down
  • General speeding up
  • Tingling all over
  • Vomiting without nausea
  • Sudden tiredness after eating
  • Sudden chills after eating
  • Feeling totally drained and exhausted
  • Eating binges
  • “Flu-like state” that isn’t really flu

If you have 5 or more of these things going on, you probably suffer from hidden food sensitivities or infections.

The good news: You can make some changes and see dramatic results!

Graphic courtesy of HealthPositiveInfo.com

Millions of people suffer from indigestion or acid reflux, and the first thing they may do is take an antacid for relief. However, long-term use of antacids can actually cause additional problems.

Stomach on fireHere are three reasons why this may not be a good thing:

  • Proteins aren’t broken down well and certain minerals aren’t being absorbed because you need stomach acid to do this. This can cause a serious gas problem.
  • The above may then cause a protein deficiency. Your body may rob protein from joint surfaces and this may lead to arthritis.
  • Lack of stomach acid impairs the digestion & absorption of calcium which can lead to osteoporosis and muscle cramps.

To make sure your health doesn’t suffer, eat the protein foods at the beginning of your meal. If you begin with a salad, you waste your stomach acid on the salad. Therefore, by the time you eat your protein, you may run out of acid to digest it and that’s when you need it most! Eat the vegetable or salad with your protein or afterwards.

If you need more help, consider taking HCL or hydrochloric acid with your meals to help you digest your protein. Take one or two tablets after you eat. Let your stomach do its best while eating, and then you can assist it by taking these when done eating.

Once your system is re-acidified, you may need further assistance to break down other foods you eat and be able to absorb the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy and strong. Look for pepsin and betaine hydrochloride on the label.

Image courtesy of samarttiw at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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More Energy, Lost 22lbs, Improved Digestion

I have had some great results following Karen’s Program! I have more energy, lost 22lbs., my hair is no longer falling out, my cough has diminished, digestion improved, no more bloating, no more 3pm crash & I feel healthy! Karen is organized and gives step by step instructions that are easy to follow. Each time

Sherry Bell Arizona June 1, 2015


Karen Russell

Certified Health Counselor

140 Schuerman Drive

Sedona, AZ 86336

(by appointment only)





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