Kristen Pardue

June GIVEAWAY Winners

24 Jun
by Kristen, posted in Giveaways   |  No Comments

 

 

I am excited to announce June’s lucky Giveaway winners! 

If you see your name below, message me your address & I’ll mail your oil to you this week. Stay tuned for our next giveaway ;)  

 

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Grass-Fed Beef on Sale at Whole Foods

01 Sep
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  3 Comments

Whole Foods will have their grass-fed beef on sale tomorrow, September 2, 2011 for $4.99 per pound.  This is a good price for grass-fed beef, so make sure you don’t miss out on this deal!  Cows were meant to eat grass, not corn.  Unfortunately, most beef in the U.S. are fed corn.  Corn allows cows to get fatter faster and be ready for slaughter sooner. But there are downsides, including the fact that cows have trouble digesting corn and must be fed antibiotics to prevent them from becoming ill. What’s more, beef from corn-fed cows tends to have more fat.  Grass-fed beef also contains three to five times more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fatty acid that has many health benefits. The milk from grass-fed cows is also higher in many nutrients, including CLA, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fats.

Have fun grilling and enjoy your Labor Day weekend!

Naturally Yours,
xoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN

How Safe Are Your Cleaning Products?

04 Aug
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments

Guest post by Amiee Conner:

During the past several hundred years, human activity has significantly altered our global environment, and the negative effects of this are becoming alarmingly clear. No longer can we ignore the warning signs from nature. This trend can be changed if we all work together and take honest responsibility for our planet. It is a fact; household pollutants have a profound impact on us and our environment. Research and information on the health effects of chemicals has not kept pace with their development and use. Did you know that in the last 50 years more than 80,000 new chemicals have been produced and introduced into the environment? Most of the chemicals that people are exposed to everyday have never been assessed for their impact on human health. Chemicals found in the average home are linked to many serious diseases such as allergies, birth defects, cancer, and psychological abnormalities. Many today believe that the extensive use of chemicals indoors contributes to “modern” diseases such as asthma and allergies. Did you also know that most personal care products contain toxins that have been linked to cancer and are known to cause damage to your reproductive system, brain and other organs? Unfortunately, Herbal Essences, Pantene ProV, Secret and Crest are on that list.

The Norwex corporate vision for our products reaches far beyond the limited horizon of just making a profit; we are striving for a better quality of life for present and future generations.  Our deep central theme is reverence for the value and beauty of all life on a healthy planet. Our cleaning system saves time and effort. In today’s busy world, it has been proven that the Norwex cleaning line cuts the time spent cleaning your home by 75% or more. Norwex customers also save money by reducing the use of chemicals and cleaning supplies needed by up to 90%. Did you know that the average household spends $450 – $600 a year on these items?  Plus, you don’t breathe, touch or ingest harmful chemicals. Dirt and dust are removed instead of being spread around. You have a cleaner indoor climate, which reduces allergies. Why Norwex microfiber? Norwex microfiber is a blend of polyester and polyamide. This fiber is 1/100th the size of a strand of human hair. When this high-quality microfiber is combined with the right knitting process, it creates an extremely effective cleaning material. This material can hold up to seven times its weight in matter. Unlike many other types of cloth that smear dirt across the surface you are trying to clean, microfiber cloths remove dirt, germs, bacteria and debris from the surface. Norwex has also developed a unique technology that combines an antibacterial silver-based agent with our microfiber. The antibacterial agent is actually embedded inside the tiny microfiber and inactivates the bacteria that it picks up in its fibers. The antibacterial agent within the microfiber demonstrates its effectiveness against strains of pathogenic bacteria, yeast and viruses, such as:  E.Coli, klebsiella pneumoniae, proteus vulgaris, salmonella typhi, staphylococcus aureus, streptococcus faecalis, streptococcus pyogenes, candida albicans, MRSA, SARS coronavirus. Norwex backs its commitment to quality with a 100% satisfaction guarantee and an exceptional warranty of 2 years or 500 washings.

Finally, I chose to start using and selling Norwex after my twins, Caden and Chloe, were born. I would always be overwhelmed at the smells coming from my household cleaners and started wondering what effect they had on not only me and my husband, but my infant twins as well. After getting introduced to the brand, I fell in love with the products! They are so easy to use and really do make cleaning my house a lot easier and more time efficient, which is important when you have two little ones on the go. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. You can also “LIKE” my page Amiee Conner Independent Norwex Consultant on Facebook. Mention you saw my blog on Naturally Free RD and I’ll give you 10% off your first order. Isn’t your health and family worth it?

Naturally Yours,
Amiee Conner
Independent Norwex Consultant

Are your cosmetics full of chemicals too? Check out these posts:
How Your Cosmetics Could Be Damaging Your Health (Part 1)
How Your Cosmetics Could Be Damaging Your Health (Part 2)

How Your Cosmetics Could Be Damaging Your Health (Part 1)

11 Jul
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  2 Comments

The Story of Cosmetics examines the pervasive use of toxic chemicals in our everyday personal care products, from lipstick to baby shampoo.  This 7 minute film reveals the implications for consumer and worker health and the environment, and outlines ways we can move the industry away from hazardous chemicals and towards safer alternatives.

I consider myself a health advocate, and since we can’t always count on the FDA, I’m here to do my own research to share with you.  About a year and a half ago, I started looking at what I was putting on my body in a whole new light.  Of course I knew that what I put in my body was important, but I had no idea that what I put on my body was even more important.  Your skin is your largest organ and is highly permeable.  What you put on your body does end up in your blood stream, and will therefore be distributed throughout your body.  I love the saying, “don’t put anything on your body that you wouldn’t eat if you had to…”  Dr Mercola, explains it best:

“Putting chemicals on your skin or scalp may actually be worse than eating them. When you eat something, the enzymes in your saliva and stomach help to break it down and flush it out of your body. However, when you put these chemicals on your skin, they are absorbed straight into your bloodstream without filtering of any kind, going directly to your delicate organs.  Once these chemicals find their way into your body, they tend to accumulate over time because you typically lack the necessary enzymes to break them down. When you add up daily exposure over the course of a lifetime, this adds up to an untold amount of chemical exposures.”

While there is a long list of dangerous toxins that appear in personal care products, here are some of the most dangerous ones that you want to avoid:

  • Parabens: Found in deodorants, moisturizers & shampoos. Parabens mimic the action of the female hormone estrogen, which can drive the growth of human breast tumors.
  • Phthalates: Found in, among other things, toys, food packaging, hoses, raincoats, shower curtains, vinyl flooring, wall coverings, lubricants, adhesives, detergents, nail polish, hair spray and shampoo.  Phthalates have been linked to birth defects in the reproductive system of boys and lower sperm-motility in adult men, among other problems.
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate: Found in nearly all shampoos, scalp treatments, hair color and bleaching agents, toothpastes, body washes and cleansers, make-up foundations, liquid hand soaps, laundry detergents and bath oils/bath salts. SLS is carcinogenic.
  • Mineral Oil, Paraffin, and Petroleum: They coat your skin like plastic, clogging pores and creating a build-up of toxins. They also slow cellular development, which can cause you to show earlier signs of aging, and are a suspected cause of cancer and disruption to hormonal activity.
  • Artificial Fragrances: The use of fragrances is unregulated, and there’s no need for manufacturers to specify what type of fragrance they’re using. It could be in the form of harmful cheap synthetic chemicals (which is the rule rather than the exception these days), and all they’re required to do is put “fragrance” on the bottle as an ingredient.  Artificial fragrances can cause asthma and trigger asthma attacks.
  • Toluene: Made from petroleum or coal tar, and found in most synthetic fragrances. Chronic exposure linked to anemia, lowered blood cell count, liver or kidney damage, and may affect a developing fetus.
  • Methylisothiazolinone (MIT): A chemical used in shampoo to prevent bacteria from developing, which may have detrimental effects on your nervous system.

While I completely understand that this can be rather overwhelming if you look at all your products and they contain almost all of these ingredients.  If you need to, take baby steps to cut back/avoid these toxic ingredients.  When you buy new products, make sure you get ones without these ingredients.  Come back tomorrow for tips on how to choose safer products and how to make your own.

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN, CLC

Source:
Environmental Working Group
Mercola.com

 

 

Nutrient Packed Smoothie Recipe

14 Jun
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  1 Comments

When I make a smoothie, I don’t worry about whether I have all the right ingredients or not.  I just use what I have on hand and try to throw in extra nutrients when possible.  My breakfast smoothie today consisted of:

I didn’t write amounts of each ingredient because I don’t measure everything. I just throw however much of each ingredient that I want to put in, taste it, and if it needs something else, I’ll add it in.  For example, this morning when I tasted it (before banana), the texture wasn’t thick enough for me, so I added half a banana and more blueberries to the smoothie.  Make your smoothie to your likeness.  Enjoy!

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN, CLC

Everyone Needs A Vacation

07 Jun
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments

Last week, my husband and I went to Hilton Head Island, SC with my family.  I must say, this vacation came at the PERFECT time.  About two weeks before the trip, my joints decided to have a flare up (pain and inflammation).  I hadn’t had this problem at all since I went gluten free and completely changed the way I viewed food. (Read my story here.)  I could not understand what was causing this flare up (neither could my doctor).  I knew that I had to do something, because I hated the pain, and I’m the type of person who has to know answers to everything (like what could be causing this). I know, I know, sometimes there are no answers. But I still dig for them.

So what did I do? I juiced more, I practiced hot yoga, I ate healthier (more than I already do), and I prayed.  The day we left for the beach was my worst day yet.  To make a long story short, after being at the beach a few days, my pain was so much better.  Some days, I didn’t feel pain at all.  You know what that means?  I’m definitely supposed to move to the beach. :) j/k  It means that I need to slow down more; take time for myself.  We could all use a beach vacation, right?  If you can’t go on vacation and relax, then find something that you can do for yourself: get a massage, read a book at a coffee shop (to get away from your to-do list at home), go to the pool, or anything that makes you calm and relaxed.

All that being said, we all need to listen to our body more.  If we are in pain, than our body is trying to tell us something.  If you’re exhausted and tired, it’s okay to skip a workout and rest.  Rest is good for us.  (I’m speaking to myself as well)

Now onto more exciting things.  I wish I would have taken pictures of the delicious food we had on vacation, but I was too busy enjoying it.  I’ll try to remember for next time.  Since I won’t be telling you about all the amazing fresh seafood we devoured, I’ll end this post with pictures from our beach vacation with my mom, dad, brother and his wife, and my twin niece and nephew.  We had an amazing time!  I am so thankful for that time we had together.

Eric & I: Dinner at Skull Creek Boathouse

My niece, Chloe, & I Before Dinner at The Black Marlin

Caden & Chloe on Memorial Day: It's Hard to Sit Still When You're 15 Months

Date Night @ Skull Creek Boathouse w/ My Brother & Amiee

My Mom & Dad w/ Their Grandbabies

My Sister-in-Law & I with the Twins

I hope you have a fun & relaxing summer!

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN, CLC

Babies With Benefits

06 Jun
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments

 

Photo Source: NewParent.com

This blog post by: Erin Moore, IBCLC (Certified Lactation Consultant), RLC, Doula
Twitter: @theIBCLC
Website: Mother Nature Birth & Lactation

It seems these days that we are inundated with news articles and medical studies that expose the benefits of breastfeeding your baby. It seems that everyone is trying to be so careful in their language and the way that they put this information across to the public.

If we are to say that breastfeeding is good for babies’ health, then what do we call the alternative?

If I can tell you with no argument all of the health benefits of breastfeeding, but what if I tell you that there are health risks to NOT breastfeeding your baby?

According to the U.S. Government, the health risks of not breastfeeding your baby include not providing your baby with disease-fighting antibodies that protect them against illnesses including diarrhea, ear infections and pneumonia, not providing “joyful bonding” with your baby, increasing your baby’s risk of developing asthma and allergies, increasing your child’s risk of developing obesity, increasing your baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome to name just a few.  Lower IQ is another risk of not breastfeeding your baby.

As a mother, if you do not breastfeed your baby, you are increasing your own risk of breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. With growing concern among mothers and healthcare providers about postpartum depression, it’s also important to point out a 2009 study by Dennis & McQueen citing decreased breastfeeding duration as a likely contributor to postpartum depression.

It seems that when you put it that way, NOT breastfeeding sounds awfully dangerous from a physical and mental health standpoint, doesn’t it?

One of my favorite resources on really just putting this out there and being up front about the risks of not breastfeeding is the Normal Fed website by Diane Wiessinger, MS, IBCLC called “Breast or Bottle?” The article goes into great detail about the benefits of breastfeeding while presenting facts about bottle feeding and artificial baby milk.

I do understand why it’s almost taboo in our society to denigrate artificial baby milk when we, as mothers, seem to crave validation and reassurance that we are doing the best we can by our children. The rub is that you cannot be doing the best thing and not doing the best thing at the same time. Does it mean that you are a bad mother if you choose for whatever reason not to do the best thing for your child? Not at all.

Because of the lack of breastfeeding support in every healthcare situation and in every community, because of the aggressive and unethical marketing strategies of the companies who manufacture artificial baby milk and accessories, because of the obsession with growth charts and our desire to know exactly “how much” food our babies are getting in a feeding down to the milliliter; because of those things and more, mothers are often passively choosing not to give their baby the nutrition that their baby needs out of fear and worry and not getting the support needed to give their babies what they need.

Let’s support each other through the first few challenging weeks of breastfeeding a newborn.  If you can make it past the first weeks of your baby’s life, then breastfeeding only gets easier.  When challenges hit, call your lactation consultant at the hospital you delivered.  Or call your local La Leche League where you can connect with other parents and have an instant support group.

Allergy Season-Tips for Relief

26 Apr
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  9 Comments


Are you one of millions of Americans who are struggling through allergy season?  You just want to enjoy being outside without all the sneezing, itching, and congestion.  Ragweed, which is the largest culprit in seasonal allergies, grows faster as carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere, according to the National Wildlife Federation and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.  That being said, there is also much evidence showing that the pollen count is rising in parts of the U.S., as well as allergenic trees such as oaks and hickories.

Allergies cause an inflammatory response in the body.  For example, when pollen enters your nasal passages and lands on your mucous membranes, histamines are released.  These histamines set off a host of reactions to get rid of the intruder, such as sneezing, itching, watery eyes, etc.  Another reaction for some people is swelling in the bronchial tubes, which makes it difficult to breathe.

Personally, I have struggled with seasonal allergies for as long as I can remember.  I also suffered from chronic sinus infections, which would lead to secondary bacterial infections and a round of antibiotics.  I hated the feeling of constantly feeling sick and not being able to breathe.  Every night during allergy season, I would have to put eucalyptus oil under my nose to clear my sinuses.  I grew up sticking my head over a pot of an herb solution that my mom made up for me so I could find relief.  In college, I was so desperate for a quick fix that I popped Claritin or Zyrtec on a regular basis and still never got complete relief.  Today, I’m happy to say that I’m symptom free.  No more sinus infections or seasonal allergy issues, and I feel great!  The main solution was in my diet: I took away inflammatory foods.

TIPS TO BEAT ALLERGIES NATURALLY:
The goal is to build up the immune system by avoiding inflammatory foods and enjoying anti-inflammatory foods.

1. During allergy season, avoid sugary products and grains, especially wheat as these foods worsen your allergies.

2. Avoid or limit pasteurized dairy products. Some people may need to be completely casein free (the protein found in milk).

3. Eat more raw fruits & vegetables, which will improve your immune system. Raw foods contain more enzymes, which are essential for the digestive system to work.  Heating foods to a high temperature kills the enzymes, and a lack of digestive enzymes can be a factor in food allergies.  For many people, the underlying cause of seasonal allergies are food sensitivities and food allergies.  Your body (nasal passages, sinuses, etc) may already be inflamed and the seasonal pollen and other triggers only worsen this inflammation.  A food allergy blood test, which can test over 350 potential allergens, may be beneficial for you.  You may not have any food allergies or sensitivities, but most people find that if they at least eliminate wheat and dairy, they see remarkable differences in their symptoms.  Mine completely disappeared when I eliminated these 2 common allergenic foods.  Try it for a few weeks, and let me know how you feel.

4. Eat raw, local honey daily.  The reason why local is so important is that the bees in your area are traveling from flower to flower, collecting nectar from the same plants that are causing your allergy problems.  By eating raw honey from the bees in your area, you are building your body’s immune response to these plants.

5. Of course it’s best to eat foods high in these nutrients, but if that’s hard for you, then take these supplements:

  • Quercetin: Natural plant-derived bioflavonoid that helps to prevent mast cells from releasing histamine.  Foods high in this compound are: citrus fruits, apples, onions, broccoli, and parsley. However, allergy sufferers usually need supplemental form. Start taking supplement before allergy season for better protection.  (500-1,000 mg per day)
  • Vitamin C:  Powerful antioxidant that boosts the immune system
  • Vitamin D: Most people’s levels are low.  Get your levels checked & aim for a goal of 65.
  • Bromelain: Found in pineapple. It’s a proteolytic enzyme that reduces inflammation.
  • Probiotic:  Puts good bacteria in your gut

So if you’re miserable during allergy season, there is hope for you.  You can overcome these allergies, naturally.  Happy Spring!

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN

 

Hot Yoga-Is it Really That Great?

18 Apr
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  4 Comments

Many of you know that I do hot yoga as a form of exercise.  A lot of you ask me, “What is hot yoga and is it really that good for you?”  Let me start off by saying that I have experienced the benefits of hot yoga, and I’m hooked!  My entire life, I’ve been a huge cardio junkie and never cared for yoga because it was too slow and I never felt like I was getting a good work out.  I didn’t give yoga enough of a chance, and my perceptions were definitely wrong.

My first hot yoga class was last September (2010) at Hot Yoga Nashville, and I can’t say that the first class was amazing because it was hard getting used to working out in the heat.  Yet, the feeling I had afterwards is honestly what brought me back again and again.  The more that you go, the better it feels.  It’s hard to describe to you, so you should try to experience it for yourself.  The month of January, I did hot yoga 4-5 times a week.  That month, I felt better, my mood was lifted, my stress levels were diminished dramatically, and I had so much more energy.  After the month was over, I went to the gym to lift weights, and when I started doing lunges with dumbbells, I couldn’t believe how easy they were.  Right then, I realized just how much hot yoga had strengthened my legs.  Hot yoga is one of the ways I de-stress when life gets overwhelming.  It’s very important that you have an outlet for your stress because the toll it takes on your body can be extremely harmful.  The effects of stress are listed here.

What is Hot Yoga?
Hot yoga is a scientifically-designed series of postures that systematically stimulate the muscles, organs and glands, as well as the nervous system. As you progress through the postures, you move freshly-oxygenated blood throughout the entire body.  The studio is heated to approximately 100°-105° so that your muscles are warmed, which helps prevent injury, and it allows you to go deeper into the stretches/poses.  Sweating helps to cleanse your body from toxins through the skin.

Benefits of Hot Yoga:
Yoga builds strength and flexibility to the entire body.  “A recent study at the University of California at Davis found that 90 minutes of yoga practice four times a week over eight weeks increased muscular strength up to 31%, muscular endurance up to 57%, and flexibility up to 188% in a group of healthy college students.”  The average calorie burn is 600-800 per class.  People who practice frequently lose inches of fat, develop muscle tone, and increase strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination.  Many athletes with injuries practice hot yoga in hopes to avoid surgery by strengthening their muscles, ligaments, and tendons.  Runners love hot yoga as they are able to shave seconds and even minutes off their race time.  Hot yoga also helps to:

  • Accelerate weight loss
  • Reduce stress
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Relieve headaches
  • Increase energy
  • Promote relaxation
  • Lessen menopausal symptoms
  • Reduce arthritic pain
  • Improve coordination
  • Increase strength
  • Build stamina
  • Restore healthy immune system
  • Improve functioning of circulatory system

Hot yoga is for all fitness levels.  The classes are full of people with different levels of ability, so don’t let that scare you.  We are all beginners at some point.  I have experienced the benefits first hand, as have many others.  If you’re in a city that offers hot yoga or bikram yoga, you should definitely give it a try! Namaste!

 

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN

 

Source: Hot Yoga Nashville
Photo Credit: Cherrios & A Proper Garden

Are You Stressed?

12 Apr
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  4 Comments

Image Credit

STRESS. Seeing that word even makes me feel the effect of it, and I cringe.  Sometimes I get so angry at stress because I feel as if it is controlling me, and I don’t know how to let it go.  What makes me even more frustrated is when I don’t feel like I’m stressed, but internally I am and my body gets hit with the repercussions of it.  Do you ever feel that way? You tell yourself over and over again, “I’m not stressed.  I’m fine.  Everything is good.”  Yet, deep down, you know something is going on because you’re not sleeping well, you’re moody, or your body is holding onto that extra weight even though you’ve tried so hard to be extra healthy.

Well, I’m just going to be honest with you.  I don’t have it all together, and I’m not going to pretend like I do.  Who really does?  I’ve been extremely stressed lately.  There is a lot on my plate at the moment, and I just can’t seem to find time to get it all done.  What I’m learning is that while all the good things in our lives are wonderful, too much of anything can be bad.  You’re probably thinking, “She’s just now learning this?” :)   I feel like this is something that some of us will always battle…the challenge of simplifying our lives when the world around us tells us the complete opposite.  Even though we justify our activities/commitments because they are “good,” it’s imperative for our health and our sanity to practice the magic word, “no.”

Maybe these harmful effects of stress will motivate you to find ways to de-stress:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Weight gain
  • Acne or other dermatological issues
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • High blood pressure
  • Cancer
  • Insomnia
  • Back/neck problems
  • Heart disease
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Migraines
  • Fertility problems
  • Diabetes
  • Hair loss
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Chronic inflammation
  • And More!

How do I deal with stress?  As I said earlier, I’m slowly learning how to say, “no.”  I also spend much time in prayer and meditation.  Getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night is another goal of mine.  Finally, bikram yoga has been great in helping me de-stress.  A study performed by Boston researchers concluded that people who practice yoga 3 times a week report better mood and lower anxiety compared with people who walked the same amount of time.  Of course, ANY exercise is beneficial to help you beat stress.

What about YOU? What are some things that you can cut out so that you’ll be less stressed?  And what methods do you use to de-stress?

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN