Is Your Multivitamin Giving You Cancer? I'll Show You How to Check.

Your multivitamin could be giving you cancer. No joke. I’m serious as cancer.

What part of your multivitamin is the culprit?

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The seemingly innocent vitamin A precursor, beta-carotene, can act as a carcinogen.

Does your multivitamin contain beta-carotene? You’ll have to look on the label for yourself, but my guess is it does. Many mainstream multivitamins utilize beta-carotene for some or ALL of their vitamin A. You may be shocked to learn some of the largest multivitamin companies use beta-carotene.


Why Beta-Carotene Is a Problem

Depending on your personal history, beta-carotene supplementation is associated with several different types of cancers.

If you are a smoker, beta-carotene supplementation at doses greater than 20 mg a day convincingly increases the risk of lung cancer. This is independent from the increased lung cancer risk attributed to smoking itself.

If you don’t smoke, you still may not be safe. If you have been exposed to asbestos, your risk of lung cancer increases convincingly, too. And it’s likely you have been exposed to asbestos.

The tricky thing with asbestos exposure is you may have NO idea if you’ve been exposed. According to The Mesothelioma Center, most everyone in their lifetime has been exposed to asbestos. The most common exposures are due to home or commercial renovation or remodeling and sandblasting. Asbestos exposure is more common than you think. Even though I am extra cautious, I was exposed to asbestos from neighbors doing unauthorized construction and leaving asbestos venting in an open dumpster.

Lung cancer isn’t the only risk. Beta-carotene supplementation in doses greater than 20 mg a day probably increases the risk of stomach cancer in smokers and those exposed to asbestos.

Where does this information come from? Multiple scientific studies reviewed in this article.

How to Check Your Multivitamin

Do you want to check your multivitamin right now? I don’t mind … I’ll still be here when you get back. Look for “beta-carotene” or check the list for vitamin A and see what the source is.

If the source is beta-carotene, you need to do some calculating. Multivitamin labels may list the beta-carotene in micrograms (mcg), milligrams (mg), or even as international units (IU) of vitamin A.

I’ll make this easy for you.

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If your multivitamin lists beta-carotene in milligrams, just make sure your total daily milligrams are less than 20 a day. Keep in mind if you use multiple supplements, more than just your multivitamin may contain beta-carotene.

If your multivitamin lists beta-carotene in micrograms, you need to do a little math. Divide the number of micrograms by 1000 to get the number of milligrams. For example, if your multivitamin contains 3000 micrograms of beta-carotene, divide 3000 by 1000. 3000 divided by 1000 is 3. Therefore, your multivitamin contains 3 milligrams of  beta-carotene. So long as your total daily exposure is less 20 milligrams, you should be okay. Remember, if you use multiple supplements, more than just your multivitamin may contain beta-carotene.

If your multivitamin lists beta-carotene in international until (IU) of vitamin A, the calculation gets trickier. You need to convert IU’s to milligrams. You do this by multiplying the number of IU’s by 0.0006. This will give you the number of milligrams of beta-carotene, which you want to be below 20 from all sources. Again, keep in mind if you use multiple supplements, more than just your multivitamin may contain beta-carotene.

Which Multivitamin Should You Take?

That’s a great question.

You may NOT even need a multivitamin. But if you do want to take one (because you’re pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or exclude entire food groups, for example), there are things you can do to pick the best and safest option.

Check out my Multivitamin Buying Guide and My Favorite Multivitamins.

Spread the Word

Do you have a friend or family member that uses a multivitamin or other supplements? You probably do.

Please, please, please send them this post so they can make sure they’re not inadvertently increasing their risk of cancer.

Or share this post on Facebook, Instagram, or other social media. Because many cases of cancer can be prevented and we need to get the word out.

In health and happiness,
Skye

How to Get Cancer - Part I

We all know someone who has cancer. And maybe even someone that has died from cancer.

If it seems like cancer is everywhere that’s because it is. Roughly 15 million new cancer cases are diagnosed worldwide each year.

While cancer treatment has improved tremendously in the last decade, still there is no absolute cure. You probably already knew that.

But did you know one third of cancer could be avoided by changing lifestyle and diet habits?

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That’s right. What I just said is cancer is preventable in many cases. Really and truly.

Because I would prefer to prevent cancer, I’ve done the research and incorporated the evidence into my life. And today I’m starting a cancer prevention series just for you. Over the next few weeks I will lay out the evidence and offer simple and sustainable ways for you to make lifestyle changes to prevent cancer.

I’m always shocked when people I work with don’t realize that some cancers can be prevented. Knowledge is power and cancer prevention is one of my passions. If you have a friend, family member, or other loved one that you want to help, please refer them here.

Each week, I will offer you one or two action-oriented methods to prevent cancer and the evidence to back it up. In return, you will use the next week to take action and make changes.

Without further adieu, let’s dive in and get started!

How to Get Cancer: Eat Ultra-Processed Food

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It should come as no surprise that processed foods are bad news. We know they are linked to obesity, increase blood pressure, and heart failure exacerbations.

Now we know consumption of processed foods increases the risk of cancer.

A little over a month ago, a study was published that assessed the association between ultra-processed food and cancer. This study include over 100,000 participants that were followed for six years. The results were startling.

A 10% increase in ultra-processed food intake was associated wth greater than 10% increase risk in overall cancer and breast cancer.

Why? First of all, processed foods are high in total fat, saturated fat, added sugar and salt. Secondly, processed foods contain contaminants that are carcinogenic (such as acrylamide and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). Third, processed foods often are packaged in materials that are carcinogenic or endocrine-disrupting (such as bisphenol A). Lastly, processed foods often contain nitrites, which are hypothesized to be carcinogens.

Which foods were considered to be ultra-processed this the study?

  • Mass produced packaged breads and buns
  • Sweet and savory packaged sweets
  • Mass produced confectionery and desserts
  • Sodas and sweetened beverages
  • Meat products with preservatives other than salt (such as meatballs, chicken nuggets, and fish sticks)
  • Instant noodles and soups
  • Frozen or shelf stable meals
  • Food products made mostly from sugar, oils, fats, and processed oils

Action of the Week: Ditch Ultra-Processed Foods. Immediately, If Not Sooner.

What does this study mean for you? It means that if you want to decrease your risk of cancer (overall and breast), you must decrease your consumption of ultra-processed foods.

So take an inventory. Do you eat any of the ultra-processed foods mentioned above? If so, say sayonara to them. Instead, replace the ultra-processed foods with organic vegetables and fruit. Drink water, sparkling water, or tea instead of sodas and sweetened beverages.

Give it a try this week! And stay tuned for more on the cancer prevention series!

In health and happiness,
Skye

 

5 Ways to Prevent a Sinus Infection

We’ve all been there. The snuffy nose that runs like a faucet. Coupled with pain and pressure in the face.

Yep. Sinus infections.

And sinus infections are RAMPANT this time of year.

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I used to get two sinus infections a year — one in the winter and one in the summer when my seasonal allergies went berserk.

But then I decided I would really figure out how to prevent them. Using evidence-based and integrative strategies. And voila! Sinus infections no more!

So how do you prevent sinus infections?

Keep reading for my top tips.

1. Avoid Breathing Dry Air

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You may be thinking, “Yeah, right. How do I do that in the winter?”

Great question because the combo of cold air and artificial heating is a recipe for dryness.

There are a few things you can do.

One is to use a humidifier, especially while you’re sleeping. These relatively inexpensive devices can be a godsend. They work by infusing the air with moisture, which makes things much more comfortable for your nasal passages and sinuses.

Another is to use saline nasal rinses. You can read more about those here.

2. Savor a Cup of Tea

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This is something I can completely get behind.

Tea, particularly of the green variety, has been shown to prevent sinus infections. It is thought the cathechins are responsible for this effect.

If you are new to tea, rest assured green tea tastes delicious. However, how you steep the tea is incredibly important. If you steep green tea for too long or at too high a temperature, it will taste bitter and honestly unpleasant. Be sure to follow steeping instructions to ensure your cup tastes great.

3. Stay Away from Smoke and Pollution

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Cigarette smoke is not only bad for your lungs — the smoke also irritates your nasal and sinus membranes.

When your nasal and sinus membranes are irritated, you are much more likely to get a sinus infection.

High pollution levels also have the same effect. So consider exercising indoors when the air quality is subpar or investing in an air purifier. Air purifiers are not cheap, but can make a huge difference if you live in an area with pollution.

4. Avoid Your Allergens

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When you are exposed to allergens, you often cause inflammation of the nasal and sinus membranes.

If you cannot avoid your allergens, at the very least treat your symptoms.

5. Wash Your Hands . . . Now and Often

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Wash your hands. Right now.

If you come into contact with people with colds or other infections, you increase your risk of illness.

The best way to prevent cold transmission is by hand washing. Now and often.

Keep Yourself Healthy & Happy

I’m a true believer in the old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” So if you suffer from sinus infections, try these tips to keep you (and your sinuses) healthy and happy.

xo,
Skye

How to Buy the Best Multivitamin for YOU

Okay.

Based on the number of questions I’ve received in the last two weeks, I can tell you want more guidance on multivitamins.

So in addition to my intro post on multivitamins and my list of favorite multis, I made you a special treat.

Why? Because I want to make sure you are aren’t wasting your money on a multivitamin that doesn’t work for you. Because it’s the season for giving. Because I want to help you create a life imbued with wellness.

So what’s the special treat? It’s a downloadable Multivitamin Guide that will help you pick the perfect multivitamin.

My exclusive Multivitamin Guide will:

  • Teach you multivitamin basics

  • Cover 6 things you NEED to know before buying a multivitamin

  • Give you a checklist to find a high-quality multivitamin that suits you and your individual needs

This guide is my gift to you as a way to thank you for being part of the A Better Way Wellness community.

All I ask is you share it with friends, family, colleagues, or anyone you think you benefit from the information. Because we’re all about paying it forward around here.

Ready for your gift? Click HERE or the image below to access the Multivitamin Guide for Adults.

Sending you health & happiness,
Skye

Expert Farmers Market Shoppers Always Do This (or how to win at the farmers market)

I’m a gal that loves a good Farmers Market.

Everything from the fresh produce to the friendly farmers to the seasonal offerings delights me. It’s the perfect kind of sensory overload.

Farmers Markets are incredible for many reasons . First, you get fresher produce (and fresher means more nutrients). Oftentimes, the food is grown organically. And if you do it right, you can get great deals and discounted prices.

Confession time: I used to suffer from Farmers Market Confusion.

All the produce would look amazing and I wanted to buy everything. But I never knew what to buy. What should I buy? How much do I need? Can I carry this all home?  Once I decided on my purchases, I would get home and realize I had a hodgepodge of produce that looked great, but had no idea what to do with it.
And a few weeks later, I often ended up having to waste some of my purchases.
Now I have a better plan of attack and want to share my Farmers Market Shopping Tips.


1.) Know your staples and purchase them.


For me, this means apples, snacking fruit, kale, spinach, greens, garlic, and onions. I also adore local raw honey (great for allergies) and find it is often much more affordable direct at the Farmer’s Market.

2.) Have a few recipe ideas before you go.


Having a few ideas on what you want to make can help guide your purchases.
Just be sure to leave this open to inspiration once you see the current offerings.


3.) Check out what is in season.


What’s in season will taste the best and likely have the best prices. Right now, my Farmers Markets are swimming with berries. This is the perfect time to stock up to make things immediately and to freeze.

Not sure what’s in season where you live?

I have two easy solutions for you.


The first (and most fun) is to check with the farmers. Strike up a conversation and learn from the experts.


The second is to use the free Sustainable Table website. Just enter your state and the month, hit go, and you have a comprehensive list of seasonal produce.

4.) Chat with the Farmers.


They know what produce of theirs is best right now. Plus, they can give you preparation ideas and background on how the plants were grown. I find most farmers are delighted to talk about their food – it's what they are passionate about.


5.) Try one new produce item each week.


Use the variety of offerings to your advantage.


Never cooked kohlrabi? Give it a go! Are collard greens new to your kitchen? Buy and try them!

Get creative and have fun. You and your family may be delightfully surprised!

 

Happy marketing,
Skye McKennon, PharmD, BCPS, GEI

 

HOW TO BE HAPPIER AT WORK

If you are reading this, you probably have a job. If not, you wouldn’t be learning how to be happier at work.

Maybe you love your job. Maybe you despise it. Or perhaps you are somewhere between those two extremes. Or somedays you love it and others you despise it.

However it is you feel about your job, did you know having a job makes you happier than someone that is unemployed?

It’s the truth.

Wellbeing is higher in those with jobs compared to those who are unemployed.

Pretty cool, right?

But how do you become happier at work?

I’m going to tell you.

And so you know, this information comes from the 2017 World Happiness Report.

Select the Right Type of Work for You

What you do for work matters.

Some jobs are associated with higher levels of happiness and satisfaction.

Those with the highest reported levels of happiness were managers or executives. This is closely followed by professional workers, clerical or office workers, and service workers.

Those with the lowest levels of happiness? Farming, fishing, and forestry workers. Construction workers and miners closely followed.

So if you are dissatisfied by your work, consider this information before choosing a new direction.

Be Actively Engaged

According to the 2017 World Happiness Report, active engagement is extremely important to job satisfaction.

The more engaged you are in your job, the happier and more satisfied you are with it.

What does it mean to be actively engaged in your work?

Actively engaged workers are passionate about what they do and feel committed to their job or employers.

Disengaged workers are are “checked out” and put in time without much energy or passion.

According to a Gallup poll, only 30% of Americans are actively engaged in their work.

How do you get actively engaged? Change your mindset or change your responsibilities/job.


Negotiate for a Raise


Higher wages are predictive of greater wellbeing.

This goes counter to advice or graduation speeches you’ve heard.

But the facts are those in well-paying jobs tend to feel happier and more satisfied with their lives compared to those in lower income brackets.

This isn’t a purely linear relationship, though. The lower you are on the income spectrum, the more a raise will contribute to your wellness.

Likewise, the HIGHER you are on the income spectrum, the less a raise will contribute to your happiness.

This is a tricky subject, because you have to consider work-life satisfaction. A higher paying job that substantially increases your commute time or causes you to worry at home will leave you LESS happy. Read the next tip for more details.

Leave Work at Work

This is a fascinating one.

Even though you may be enticed with the idea of job-flexibility or work you can do from home, this may detract from your happiness.

If your job interferes with your ability to spend time with loved ones, your happiness level goes down.

If your job causes you to worry about work matters when you are off the clock, your happiness level goes down.

If your job leaves you too tired to enjoy non-work factions of life, your happiness decreases.

Volunteer for Variety & Learn Something New

Variety is more than the spice of life — it is a key to job satisfaction and happiness.

Those with jobs that entail variety and the need to learn new skills are generally more satisfied with their work AND their lives.

So volunteer to learn something new or take on a new project — your happiness may increase!

Take Control Over Your Day

Having control - or autonomy - over your work is a significant contributor to happiness.

If possible, exert control over your workday and your pace of work. Workers that do this have higher wellbeing outcomes.

Find Your Work Tribe

Keeping your nose to the grindstone and staying to yourself at work may result in less happiness.

The level of social support you receive at work is strongly predictive of wellbeing.

Finding social support, and even being a member of a union, can increase your happiness at work.


Work for Someone You Respect and Feel is Competent

Your boss has a big impact on your job happiness (some of you may be thinking “duh” on this one).

When you work for someone you respect and feel is competent, your work wellbeing increases. Bosses and supervisors make a HUGE impact on satisfaction.

Data aside, I can personally attest to the importance of this one. I’ve been lucky to have mostly wonderful bosses. And in those circumstances, my team and I were happy and thrived. I can think of one situation where this was not the case — where I did not feel confidence on my boss. Instead of my team thriving, we were unhappy, stressed out, and overall lacking in wellbeing.

Turn Information Into Action

Information is only so helpful — it is action that will transform your life.

So take inventory of your job and life. What changes can you initiate to make you happier at work?

Write one or two down and commit to incorporating them into your life.

The Happiness Series

Do you want to be happier?

If so, read parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 of the happiness series!

Sending you health and happiness,
Skye

Three Natural (& PROVEN) Ways to Prevent a Cold

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Even though it’s February, cold and flu season is still rampant. And where I live it seems like everyone is coming down with a cold (and a few with flu).

Because I love you and care about your wellness, I want to make sure you have all the information on preventing colds.

Because an ounce of prevention is worth of pound of cure.

So I’m highlighting three natural (and evidence-based) things you can do to help prevent catching a cold.

Disclaimer: This is for informational purposes only. This is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure disease. The information in this post is not a substitute for medical advice or care.

1. SALINE SPRAYS AND IRRIGATION

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The Prevention

Saline is a fancy name for salt water.

In the winter, exposure to cold air and artificial heating can leave your nasal passages and sinuses dry. Why is this a problem?

When your nasal passages and sinuses are dry, bacteria, viruses, and irritants are not removed as efficiently.

Saline rinses and sprays cleanse and moisturize the nasal passages.

The Evidence

A study in 2004 showed that use of a daily nasal saline spray resulted in significantly fewer colds and upper respiratory tract infections.

How to Use

Saline irrigation can be done using a neti pot, battery powered irrigator, or saline spray. Each device has special instructions for use.

Saline irrigation products should be used by one person and one person only. Word to the wise: if you use a neti pot or irrigator, make sure to keep it clean. A contaminated pot or irrigator can lead to problems.


2. ECHINACEA

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The Prevention

Echinacea is an oldie, but goodie in the cold world. There is some evidence to support echinacea remedies colds. But there is also research to show echinacea can PREVENT colds.

The Evidence

A meta-analysis of 14 trails found echinacea significantly decreased the odds of developing a cold by 58%.

How to Use

To prevent colds, echinacea is ingested orally. Doses range from 1,000 mg to 2,400 mg of echinacea daily. Capsules and liquid formulations are both available.

Common side effects of echinacea include stomach upset and rash.

3. WASH YOUR HANDS

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The Prevention

I know, I know. This sounds like a total no-brainer.

Except many people do not wash their hands regularly.

And hand washing is easy, cheap, and extremely effective.

The primary way colds spread is when someone who is sick coughs or sneezes. Droplets with germs land on places you touch (doorknobs, telephones, keyboards, money). Or the sick person coughs or sneezes into their hands and then proceeds to touch something and infect it. Then you (happy and healthy) touch the infected item and subsequently rub your nose or touch your mouth. Next thing you know, you have a raging cold!

The Evidence

Does hand washing really work?

YES!

A study conducted with the Navy showed hand washing 5 times a day reduced the incidence of upper respiratory infection by 45%.

How to Do It

Wash often for 20 seconds or more using hot water and soap.

When is it most important to wash?
  1. ALWAYS wash your hands before eating.
  2. ALWAYS wash your hands after using the bathroom.
  3. Wash your hands after you sneeze or cough.
  4. Wash your hands after touching animals.
What do you do if you’re not near a sink?

Don’t worry! You can use hand sanitizer in a pinch. Just make sure the sanitizer is 60% rubbing alcohol or more.


THE NEXT TIME YOU FEEL A COLD COMING ON

So the next time you feel a cold coming on, you have three proven, effective, and natural weapons in your arsenal.

Do you have an amazing cold prevention hack I didn’t mention? I’d love to hear all about it!

Wishing you wellness,

Skye
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The Truth About Chocolate (& the Best Way to Eat It)

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, chocolate is on my mind.

In fact, Valentine’s Day sparks memories of my childhood days. Cheesy (but adorable) cards, Conversation Hearts (with Call Me and Love You printed in red ink), and Russell Stover’s and Whitman chocolate boxes.

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Back then I actually thought I didn’t like chocolate. I was suspicious of the oddly flavored, pseudo-fruit fillings. And unconvinced by the dodgy caramel and nut fillings. I just thought I wasn’t a “chocolate” person.

Then I visited Switzerland (the land of chocolate) and was given carte blanche in a high quality chocolate shop. And I finally understood the obsession with chocolate!

I’ve also done the research — on the real benefits of chocolate and how to get the most out of it.
 
So if you plan to indulge yourself (or someone else) for Valentine’s Day with chocolate, please continue reading. Because I’m sharing the evidence-based benefits of chocolate, how to make sure you get the most from your chocolate, and my favorite chocolate brand.

THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF CHOCOLATE

You’ve probably seen headlines and news snippets touting the health benefits of chocolate. Think it sounds too good to be true? Think again!

Studies show that chocolate consumption is linked to:
    •     Lower blood pressure
    •     Improved insulin response
    •     Improved mood

Plus, it tastes delicious!


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN PICKING CHOCOLATE

Not all chocolate is the same. A high quality dark chocolate is going to do much more for you than a high-fructose corn syrup sweetened fudge topping. To make sure you're picking the best options, I’ve put together a mini chocolate education for you.

1.) Cocoa is NOT Cacao.

You may see these words on chocolate products and think they are the same.

But they aren’t.

Cacao fruit trees (also known as Theobroma Cacao) produce cacao pods. Cacao pods contain cacao beans. Cacao beans can be processed different ways.

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Cacao beans.

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Cacao beans can be chopped into small pieces and are called cacao nibs. They can be heated and made into a paste (then often made into cacao bars). Most often, the beans are lightly heated until the cacao butter separates from the beans. Once the butter is removed, the beans are milled into a fine powder.

Cocoa is the product of processed cacao; usually cacao is processed at extremely high heat to make cocoa. What does this do? It improves the taste by decreasing bitterness. On the flip side, the high heat processing can decrease the potency of beneficial enzymes and antioxidants.

2.) Dark chocolate is best.

There are actually federal definitions for chocolate. Let’s review some common definitions to make sure we're on the same page.

  • Dark chocolate: a chocolate product that is at least 50 percent cacao.
  • Milk chocolate: a chocolate product that is at least 30 percent cacao. Milk chocolate usually contains sugar and vanilla. It may also contain dairy (see #3 below).
  • White chocolate: a product made from cocoa butter and sugar.

The health benefits of chocolate are attributed to the cacao. Therefore the higher the percentage of cacao, the better off you are. That means the darker the chocolate (and the higher the percentage), the better off you are.

3.) Dairy in milk chocolate makes it harder for you to get the health benefits of chocolate.

Nearly all the research that shows health benefits with cacao and cocoa are completed using powder with NO dairy added.

The reason? When milk solids are mixed with cacao, many of cacao’s beneficial nutrients are not absorbed by the body.

So if you rationalize chocolate consumption by waxing about the health benefits, make sure you choose dairy-free options.

4.) Many chocolate products contain unnecessary (and often unhealthy) additives.

Most chocolate products sold contain unnecessary additives. These additives usually make chocolate worse for you.

Think of dairy and milk solids already discussed. They decrease the health benefits of chocolate. Other additives that can be found in chocolate include clay, soy lecithin, and chemical emulsifiers.

To make sure you get the most bang for your chocolate buck, pick chocolate without unnecessary additives.

5.) White chocolate is not actually chocolate.

Recall from the definitions above that white chocolate is a product made from cocoa butter and sugar. It does not contain cocoa. Therefore, it really isn’t chocolate.

While it may be tasty, white chocolate does not contain the health benefits of cocoa.

MY FAVORITE CHOCOLATE BRANDS

Note: I do NOT have any financial relationships with the companies I recommend below. This is entirely based on my personal opinion and experience.

As you can see, not all chocolate is created equally.

Expensive and well known chocolate brands are often not the best.

In my mind, the best chocolate is:
    •    Dark (65% or higher content)
    •    Contains three ingredients or less
    •    Is free of unnecessary additives (like milk solids, clay, and soy lecithin)

While my list of requirements is small, it can be tricky to find a product that fits the bill.

Theo Chocolate

My favorite go-to is Theo chocolate (remember, I mentioned back here around the holidays). Theo is an organic chocolate roaster and maker located in Seattle, Washington. Their products are high quality, free of unnecessary additives, and reasonably priced.

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If you live in Seattle, you can even visit the Theo chocolate factory where they give daily tours. If not, you can find Theo chocolate at a variety of retailers across the United States. Whole Foods (in store), REI (in store), Amazon (online), and Thrive Market (online) all stock Theo chocolate.

Enjoy Life

If you are looking for chocolate chips or chunks for baking, Enjoy Life makes some great options. The mini chips only include 3 ingredients are free of milk solids and common allergens (such as gluten, peanuts, soy, and eggs).

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I’ve been known to dip a spoonful of almond butter into the Enjoy Life mini chips for a quick and sweet treat.

Natural grocers and Whole Foods usually stock Enjoy Life chocolate chips. I usually buy mine online from Vitacost at a significant discount.

NEXT STEPS

Consider yourself chocolate educated! So next time you reach for a chocolate treat (or buy one for someone you love), remember my tips so you can enjoy the health and taste benefits.

xoxo,

Skye

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5 Scientifically Proven Ways to Make Resolutions that WORK & LAST

Guess how many New Year’s resolutions fail by January 15th?

92 percent! That means almost ALL goals fail within 15 days. Those aren’t the kind of odds I want.

Instead of being discouraged by my statistic, I want you to be encouraged by proven ways to improve resolution achievement.

And I am giving you 5 scientifically proven ways to create resolutions that WORK and LAST.

1. Write your resolutions down.

The mere act of writing a goal down increases your probability of achievement by 50%. Pretty cool that something so simple can work, huh? So sharpen your pencils or fire up your computer and get writing!

A study conducted at Dominican University of California focused on factors that contribute to goal achievement. I've summarized the results in the chart below.

Percentage of Goal Achievement Based on Different Factors

This study showed that writing your goals down increases achievement by 50%.

2.    Set specific resolutions.

Two common resolutions this time of year are exercise more and eat better. But what exactly does that mean? While well intentioned, those goals are vague and difficult to gauge success.

Instead, make your resolutions as SPECIFIC as possible. I’ve provided examples on specific goals in the chart below.


3. Include dates in your goals.

Dates are important KEYS to goal setting.

You need to plan exactly when you will start your goal and any achievement deadlines.

For example, let’s say you want to lose weight. First of all, I would tell you that goal is good, but you need to be more specific. How much weight do you plan to lose? When do you plan to start? When do you need to lose the weight by to consider your goal attained?

A better goal would be: My overall goal is to lose 15 pounds by May 1. To achieve this goal, starting January 1 I will eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day and have no more than 1 dessert each week. I will also complete 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and 30 minutes of resistance training on Tuesdays and Thursdays.


4. Share your resolutions with supportive people.

Studies show that sharing your goals with a confidant is proven to increase your chances of achievement.

Don't just take my word for it. I've summarized study results proving this below.

Percentage of Goal Achievement Based on Various Factors

This study showed that writing goals and sharing them with a friend can significantly increase achievement rates. Additionally, sending weekly progress reports to a friend can nearly double achivement rates.

I understand it can feel scary and vulnerable to share goals, but I encourage you to try this.

Pick someone you trust and that you feel genuinely wants the best for you. Someone that will help encourage you without judgement or scorn. Someone that will help support and love you. You won't be disappointed with the results!


5. Focus on the process.

Experts agree that what you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become in the process.

So even if you write your goals down and share them with others and you don’t quite meet them, don’t fret.

What you learned and what you did in the process makes a difference!


Now you know 5 easy and scientifically proven ways to create resolutions that really work.

Give my techniques a try and watch your goals turn into realities!

Wishing you a safe and healthy new year,
Skye
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How to Have a Guilt-Free Thanksgiving

The holiday season is upon us and in the last week, I’ve received dozens of worried queries on how to handle Thanksgiving.

I sense a lot of stress, anxiety, and anticipated guilt with the upcoming holidays.

Questions like:

What should I eat?
What should I NOT eat?
Should I eat pie?

have flooded my inbox.

And for good reason. As a society, we often associate food with shame and guilt.

And that breaks my heart. (Especially because I used to feel that way.)

Because food is a beautiful thing —it provides nourishment, pleasure, and community. It sparks conversation and discussion. Inspires creativity. Food is an integral part of our communal culture.

Somewhere many of us have gotten mixed up with food. It’s become less of a pleasure and more of an anxiety. More shameful and less pleasurable.

But starting today and with the Thanksgiving holiday, you can change your relationship with food. You can relish in the pleasures of food and ditch the guilt.

If you celebrate Thanksgiving with a large meal, like many Americans, I have some tips to help you enjoy the holiday. Without the regret, guilt, and remorse.

Because you can enjoy a meal without feeling bad. And you should!


Here are 5 ways to have a guilt-free Thanksgiving.


1. Celebrate your Thanksgiving on a single day at a single meal.

Sit, enjoy, and relish your meal. Fill your plate with foods you truly love. And savor each and every bite.

And then the next morning, get yourself back on track. And the night before Thanksgiving? Eat as you normally would — fill up on vegetables and other nutrient dense foods.

Thanksgiving doesn’t give you a week, month, or season’s long excuse to overindulge.

Enjoy the day (sans guilt) and then get back to business!

2. Fill your plate ONLY with foods you love.

If your mouth waters thinking of fluffy mashed potatoes with homemade gravy, go for it! And slowly chew and relish every single bite. Are you ambivalent toward stuffing or suspicious looking jello salad? Skip it!

Eat what you love, and pass on the rest.

3. Say no thank you to leftovers

Unless you are taking home a veggie plate, green salad, or fruit, politely decline on the leftovers. Because the next day you should be getting back on track. And let’s be honest, potatoes and stuffing never taste as good the next day. Plus you will enjoy your Thanksgiving meal MORE if you know you’re only having it once.

4. Break a sweat!

Break a sweat before the feast. Go for a run or brisk walk. Play soccer, football, or basketball with family. Sign up for an exercise class. Find something you love and commit to it. Your mind and body will thank you.

5. Take a deep breath and lose the guilt.

Gently close your eyes and take a few deeps breaths. On your inhalation, breathe in celebration. On your exhalation, breathe out any guilt or anxiety you feel.

Seriously. Give this a try.

There was a study that compared reactions to images of food between Americans and French(wo)men.  Americans were shown a picture of chocolate cake and the first word that crossed their minds was “guilt.” The French were shown the same image and the word that came to mind was “celebration.”

Thanksgiving is a time where I say we embrace our inner French. Celebrate and enjoy. Without the guilt.


If guilty and anxious thoughts are crossing your mind with Thanksgiving, please try one (or ALL) of these tips. Because food is a beautiful thing. And you deserve to enjoy.

Wishing you a wonderful (and guilt-free) Thanksgiving,
Skye

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