War on Average

encouraging each other not to be satisfied with mediocre


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Change Your Health and Change Your Life: Janeen’s Story

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Health is more than health. When I share that, I share many stories. I share Amber & Lenna-Grace’s story, but I also often share Janeen & Dan’s story. I have the privilege here to document their story for you. Janeen and Dan didn’t just lose weight—they got their health back and in the process gave their daughter and son a whole new health as well.

Here is a short video to introduce you the Dan and Janeen.

 

Recently, I sat on my back porch with Janeen and she shared her story with me:

Our healthy journey started when my husband, Dan, came home from healthy visit and it was anything but healthy (this was almost three years ago). He was close to diabetes, high blood pressure and they wanted to put him on all these medications. But the doctor gave him three months to lose weight before he started the medications.

His dad has his first heart attack at 51 and then he had five more and lived unhealthy and unhappy. Dan was 43 at this point. I didn’t want him to have that story.

My friend, Pam, had been calling me, interested in my health. I said, “It’s time to call her.” I met her for coffee, we sat and talked. I signed up with the Shaklee180. In the first month, I lost 17 lbs and Dan lost a ton of weight too.

1044659_10200726385540335_24547869_nSix months after we started our Shaklee, we were at a Black Crows concert and Dan fainted because his blood pressure was so low! Six months earlier they had wanted to put him on medication for high blood pressure.

Dan and I continued our healthy journey of losing weight, eating healthy and enjoying our new lifestyle.

To date I (Janeen) have lost 70 lbs and Dan has also lost 70 lbs. He is now off all medications. His numbers are perfect. His diabetic numbers are all normal.

He is off his sleep apena machine. That has been great for our marriage. I couldn’t sleep with the snoring and the machine. He sounded like he was choking. I forgot about that!

 

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It is a great feeling to feel GOOD and to feel more attractive to my husband. We both feel more confident.

But we as women are our own worst critics, so my health and feeling more secure has made me a better wife too. But I know that his weight loss has given him more confidence in himself and I sure think he’s sexier!

When you are healthy you feel more confident and secure in all areas. When you are insecure you are never good at anything.

I was afraid to walk into a place and maybe someone would make a comment and I would be ready to respond with a joke. When you are worrying about yourself, you can’t be as good of a mom. It is liberating to feel this way! I know this health change has made me a better mom.

11209357_10205382947071463_4816147408517183531_nI have so much more energy with my kids, I could run around with them all day. I couldn’t do that before. We have done three 5ks together as a family.

Then my daughter, Payton, at age 11, saw the success that Dan and I were having, and wanted to try it too. She lost 30 lbs, slower, in about eight months with a shake a day and a boost in the morning and a healthy lunch.

She had great success with the program. Her swimming improved and she was able to preform better as an athlete, which is what she wanted. She made it to regionals for the first time in six years with swimming.

In that first month I started the Shaklee 180 program, I also shared with friends and clients and ended up finding 17 other people who wanted to go through the same transformation and it turned into a successful business! I have been on all-expenses paid trips to California, Nashville and even Paris because I shared my own story!

 

12178260_10156150943535263_1901743968_n (1)Then I thought what else does Shaklee have? We had just been so focused on the 180 program that we had not looked at much else. But then I was just so into feeling good I had to see what else was out there!

 

We all decided to try the Vitalizer. After we were on the Vitalizer, I noticed how much better my son Chase was doing. He has ADHD and Autism. He also has a learning disability.

Before Shaklee, he stuttered, he was nervous. He’s a non-reader. He is in sixth grade and was reading at second grade level. He didn’t have a lot of energy. He was a couch potato. Very introverted. He didn’t have any friendships. Literally none.

Life at school—he couldn’t concentrate, he was teased, he wasn’t assertive. The teachers used to call us all the time—he wasn’t concentrating, couldn’t pack his bag, couldn’t listen. Simple tasks that every kid does, seemed like Chase had a struggle with.

We had made huge changes in our whole family’s diet. We had gradually removed all dyes (and you’d be surprised what all has dye in it). Removed almost all processed food. We used to go through seven 12-packs of pop in a week and now we have none. We have also removed a lot of dairy.

Chase was a carb freak, so we have significantly reduced his carbs, especially wheat.

 

11150350_10205041666059651_1815019911466889176_nFirst we just did Vitalizer strip. Then we had a meeting with our Shaklee Nutritionist. We were so amazed with how Chase was doing that we needed to ask more questions!

He was thinking clearer. He seemed less frustrated. He seemed to be able to concentrate better. That intrigued us to try other things to see what else was possible.

So after that meeting, we added GLA and extra OmegaGuard for his brain. We also added extra B-Complex. And we gave him Gentle Sleep Complex before bed to help him calm down before bed.

Then he continued to improve. His brain definitely seemed to think clearer with the increased Omegas. It just seemed like everything kept improving.

I learned that there are 20 neurotransmitters in the gut and they communicate with your brain and when they are clogged up it’s not transmitting. So the diet changes and the probiotics made a huge difference as well.

Besides cleaning out his gut, MindWorks was the biggest transformation.

Last summer MindWorks came out. Every summer he has tutoring and every summer he has the same tutor. Nothing else had changed.

Every kid in Special Ed needs to catch up when the school year begins. But instead of catching up, this year he jumped six reading levels (which is one grade level)—he had been on MindWorks for one month.

He made the flier at school:
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IMG_6430In the beginning of school year there was a math test and he got a 31% after MindWorks for a month. Retested in December and got an 81%. His teacher wrote this note, “Have Chase tell you the big news!”

Today he came home with all A’s on his report card for the first time ever!

He is assertive now. Now he is not afraid to go engage people. His teachers say: “He has a lot of friends at school, he just doesn’t know how to take it home.” He is doing great in the classroom with the other kids. We are still fine-tuning his social skills but at least he will go up and talk to someone!

But his personality and family issues have improved too. We used to have to go to therapy as a family to help with Chase’s affection related to his autsim. He would want to give his sisters 20 hugs a day. My daughter would send him to grab her something from the basement and he would do it to get another hug. We had to work with him and teach him how to manage his affection. And now, without any more therapy, MindWorks has helped with those issues. He has begun to realize what affection is proper for him just with adding the MindWorks.

He is being more assertive and true to how he feels with his family and other people. He never would have been like that before. He has more confidence because he is reading better and fitting in.

 

IMG_8690This has changed my life as a mom in incredible ways. When a kid can sit there and do their own homework, you can spend more time on the other kids—there are three and I wasn’t able to spread myself among them. The other kids would feel like I was always with Chase because he needed to so much more help. And that’s a terrible feeling. I didn’t like giving one more attention to the other, but he needed it. I feel like now I am able to divide myself up more evenly and that feels so good.

Between all of those things, there is more peace in our home.

Even today, I got a text from a friend. She was at her wit’s end with her son being out of control and thinking he needed medication. He could not focus. So she tried MindWorks. Today she texted me “Hey that MindWorks is awesome. He forgot to take it today and that was all the proof I needed. It took him twice as long to do his homework and I had to stand next to him the whole time. It was a night and day difference.” That is a gift to her whole family.

Sometimes I wish I would have never started medication so I could see these kind of results. He just recently went off the rest of his medication!

10421642_10202873020924878_61004060619376664_nSo it’s not just my marriage or just me as a mom, I feel like my whole entire life is different.

I feel like I am a better mom because I have my health. I feel like I am a better mom because of finding health. I enjoy cooking more. I feel like I understand HOW to give my kids health too.

And honestly, there is much more to Shaklee than just great products. Those prodcuts and the edication I have received from Shaklee has been life-changing, but so has the opportunity to share that with other people. And not just cause I got to go to Paris!

 

 

11707376_10205772575091920_1241050275853214261_nMy full-time job is coloring hair and I love it. I don’t ever plan on quitting. My Shaklee business is not to replace it, it is to enhance it. Most of my business is at the salon. The rest is facebook because I am sharing these amazing results with our family’s health—because that it was is exciting in the life of my family!

I think feeling good goes with feeling healthy. I always loved making people feel pretty on the outside and now I get to help them also feel pretty on the inside by helping them with their health. This business makes me feel good because I want other people to feel the way my family feels—and help them know there are solutions out there.

We used to always feel awful. We just didn’t know we felt awful.

I am passionate about this business because of how it’s changed my life and the way I feel. It’s contagious! I want everyone to feel like this. I want people to know I can help them and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I want people to know that health can change your life.

 

This is what I want to leave you with:
It’s never too late to start a healthy journey.

Never say you are going on a diet, change your habits then change your health. It’s not like I’ll never eat a canoli again, but I don’t eat them like I used to!

Don’t get frustrated, baby steps lead to big steps. It’s not always a quick fix, it’s a process. If you’re not seeing the results you want, tweak something to make it the right process for you.

–Janeen Nufer

 

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Essentials for Making Your Body a Power-House of Immunity

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I get to share these absolute essentials often as a speaker on nation-wide coaching and education webinars as well as during informal settings like play dates at the park or fitness center. I have seen the impact that paying attention to these can make so I wanted to provide them in a more widely available format. Many are no-brainers, but difficult disciplines to create. Others may require a more in-depth look at what deficiencies may exist that contribute to a weakened immune system. Either way, I am glad to provide a way to launch into pursuit of better health!

To improve and/or maintain health there are four essential recommendations: For in-depth information for the first three, check out Michelle’s great post.

  1. Nutrition:
    This is KEY. Decrease sugar (which includes grains) and increase vegetables. Sugar decreases immunity and vegetables increase immunity. This seems simple but it takes effort to have a nutritious diet. However, the effort you make to pursue nutrition and prepare healthy options will replace effort you may currently be putting forth in other areas. Consider time spent at doctor’s offices, home from work or school or even funds spent to meet deductibles or pay co-pays for office visits or prescriptions. (We offer help with nutrition plans for all our Shaklee members). You may have heard “abs are made in the kitchen” and so it goes for immunity as well.Planning ahead to make the best nutrition choices as often as possible is very important. When you know you will be attending an event that will involve less than healthy options, be sure you consume protein and vegetables earlier in the day. You can also learn more about how to off-set the effects of an evening of poor nutrition or even a few alcoholic beverages with supplements. A quality, proper supplement will help your body process the occasional cheat meal or beverage and ensure you are not left deficient due to the stress that the less healthy choices may put on your body.
  1. Sleep & Stress:
    Our bodies need sleep to repair and rest. Not getting enough quality sleep leads to a weaker immune system. Never underestimate the impact stress creates on the body. Often the symptoms of stress or lack of sleep will not show up until it is too late. This is why it is so important to design a sleep schedule and stress management routine (it can be very brief, especially if your body is equipped with the appropriate raw materials to internally regulate stress.) Stress will greatly hinder your immune system. (Shaklee members can contact us to help with these areas).
  2. Habits:
    Habits are the small actions that yield potentially enormous benefits. Make the simple steps to stay healthy part of your routine: wash hands, have your children change out of their school clothes before their naps. If you want to learn even more then get educated about food sanitation and how germs can spread through food (My friend Monica has some great professional advice!)
  3. Supplements:
    Many people already feel like they have a good handle on the first three essentials, but are looking for even more ways to stay healthy. It seems to be getting more and more difficult, especially for those exposed regularly to schools, gyms and public workplaces. Because of this, I often get asked which supplements are best to boost immunity. These are just BASIC suggestions. Talk to your Shaklee consultant to determine a more customized and most cost effective plan for you. If you’re wondering why we choose Shaklee, watch this little video or ASK US! We are passionate about the Shaklee Difference!

    Start with a healthy base:
    I recommend everyone (young and old) to be on a QUALITY multivitamin with research that backs it’s effectiveness. Why supplement? Despite even the best efforts to eat organic and all natural, our food supply does not contain the vitamins and minerals it once did. Even organic produce is grown for yield and not for nutritional value This means the choice is ours whether to supplement in an educated way that eliminates deficiencies and allows our bodies to function the way God designed them.
    For seasonal immunity and those who require additional immune support:
    Optiflora probiotics: Over 70% of the immune system is in the gut. Probiotics help to maintain a healthy digestive system. Shaklee has a patented triple-encapsulated delivery system that guarantees delivery of the full dose of probiotics at the right point in the digestive system. This is especially important for those who have Candida issues, have recently been on antibiotics, steroids, or those who experience digestive issues.

    Vitamin C: Shaklee makes a chewable Vitamin C for children (better than Flinstone’s in every way, including that it is all natural and has no toxic fillers or ingredients like most over the counter kid’s vitamins have). Shaklee also has a sustained release Vitamin C supplement for adults. Ask me why sustained release is key for certain supplements. There are good reasons, but from a cost stand-point it ensures your body is getting it’s money’s worth of the supplement you ingest.

    Vitamin D: Bioavailability matters and ensuring that the Vitamin D you are taking is absorbed into your body is key. Vitamin D is chocked full of benefits for year round health and immunity, but especially important during the colder, cloudier winter days as well as if you work indoors most of the day.

    That extra boost:
    These supplements are great for when you feel like you or someone in your family is coming down with something or even once you are undoubtedly sick. Either way, taken regularly, they will help you avoid getting sick or at the very least assist your recovery and cut the time significantly that it takes you to get back to feeling human again. In our family we have avoided sickness countless times in the last several years simply by keeping these on hand and using them at the right time. Not only do we rarely get sick now, even with very young children, we have more time in our lives because of the down-time and effort being sick requires.

    Vitalized Immunity: Is a tasty (alka-seltzer-like) orange flavored tab that dissolves in water and boosts your immune system with a variety of vitamins. Has the equivalent of sixteen orange’s worth of vitamin C in addition to other immune boosting ingredients. (For kids under ten I usually give ½ of a tab.)

    NutriFeron: Scientists and medical communities have identified interferon as being crucial to healthy immune function. NutriFeron is an exclusive, patented formula, which provides a proprietary blend of four plant extracts designed to naturally increase levels of interferon in the body and provide immune support at the cellular level. When symptoms of sickness begin to become evident this is what our family begins to supplement with immediately and are close to a perfect record of fighting off the sickness before it takes hold.

    Defend & Resist: Defend & Resist Complex strengthens your body to respond to environmental challenges by giving your immune system what it needs to stay strong. Key ingredients in Defend & Resist have been shown in laboratory studies to help to stimulate the body’s natural resistance with Echinacea purpurea, help to maintain a healthy immune response with black elderberry and enhances immune support with larch tree. Who knew such little-known natural sources could be part of supporting your body, which was designed to be strong, to fight off sickness and germs?!

    The first two of these were staples in our home daily leading up to Christmas when everyone we talked to seemed to be sick and when nutrition and sleep were at a low. We managed to stay completely healthy despite regular contact with sick family and friends over the holidays. Yes!!

 

These are simple guidelines to begin a roadmap to a stronger immune system. Your Shaklee consultant will be able to help you customize a plan to your specific needs and even taking budget into consideration.

 


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Labor & Delivery: Shaklee Mom Recommendations

So you’re going to have a baby? Me too.
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Photo credit: Robb Davidson Photography

If you’ve been taking care of your body and your baby with the great prenatal supplements from Shaklee and now you’re getting ready to have your baby. What do you need for labor, delivery and those first few weeks after birth.

Aside from the “Labor Line” which is really the sports nutrition line, there are a lot of great Shaklee products that can help in the labor and recovery process. As I am packing my own bag for the hospital this week, I packed what I had used from past labors and got some great recommendations (all listed here) from other Shaklee moms!

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Pre-labor:
If you have not already been on a probiotic, you will want to consider adding one as you prepare for labor. I also recommend being on a prebiotic for the weeks ahead of labor and the weeks after. We pass along our gut flora to our babies which effects their skin, their immunity and their digestion. Probiotics have been proven to relieve the issues considered colic. To prepare their guts ahead of time and then provide the probiotic and prebiotic through breast milk will help with digestive issues like colic, will provide immune help, and will also help prevent mastitis. (These two products are particularly important if you will be on an antibiotic during labor due to GBS). Shaklee offers the most bio-available probiotic option on the market with their triple-encapsulated patented delivery system.

If you have not already been taking a DHA supplement, consider adding OmegaGuard to help prevent postpartum depression. Taking the Optiflora as well as additional Vitamin D can also help with this.

Shea Butter is a great product for your stretching skin—both healing and soothing.

Joint and Muscle Cream is a great help for sciatic pain.

Performance is a great and very healthy hydration drink that will help with early contractions that are due to dehydration.

 

During Labor:
Hydration: Performance was created for optimal hydration for a endurance man-powered flight. If anyone needs endurance it’s a woman in labor.

Energy: Energy chews are an easy way to have vitamins and a little caffeine to keep you going during those very long and difficult labors.

Snack bars are a great option to have when you are able to eat.

Stress Relief Complex or Gentle Sleep Complex to relax .

Post Labor: Recovery
Physique was created and normally used for recovery from weight-lifting, distance runs or rides, etc. This recovery drink was recommended for me to take after labor. Now, I would never go to the hospital without it. I consumed about a half or more of the canister within the first two days of each of my daughters births and I believe it was what made it so easy for me to move around and get active quickly. Since then, I have heard that some doctors even recommend it after hip and knee surgeries, etc., for better recovery.

Herb-Lax is a great and much healthier alternative to the stool softeners you are given at the hospital.

Post Labor: Nursing
Along with the Optiflora products mentioned above, adding Vitamin D3 will help provide the Vitamin D needed for your baby. Often doctors tell you that you need to add Vitamin D drops to a nursing baby and often add iron. But if the nursing mother is not deficient in these items, the nursing baby will not be either. Babies whose mothers have been taking Vita Lea and Vitamin D3 do not show these deficiencies.

Nursing mothers need to have enough protein and nutrients to provide enough for both them and their baby—yet it is difficult to get all of that in a healthy way. Shaklee180 smoothies not only provide the protein but also fiber and other nutrients, help prevent unhealthy cravings, boost muscle for recovery and metabolism boosting, AND a lactation consultant told my friend that they increase milk supply!

If there is a milk supply issues, Alfalfa is a natural way to stimulate milk production (along with all its other great benefits).

This note from a customer was also very informative for nursing issues: “I had to consult a lactation specialist for feeding issues with my daughter a couple months ago. Among her paperwork I discovered that for nursing Mom’s it is helpful to take Lecithin or have some on hand. If there is a plugged duct–which is a common occurrence for some – her data recommended taking two lecithin three times a day until the plug dissolves. Lecithin, being a natural emulsifier, works with breast milk too and is totally safe/healthy for babies via breast milk.”
Lecithin is a natural compound that helps your body’s ability to absorb and make use of fat-soluble nutrients, which are critical to a wide range of body functions. The natural soy lecithin in each capsule contains linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that our bodies cannot make; choline, a neurotransmitter component; and inositol, which plays a role in metabolic regulation.

Post Labor: Baby Blues
OmegaGuard and B Complex, as well as VitaD3 can help give your body what they need to prevent and recover from baby blues.

 

This is a very brief overview of some helpful products for the expectant mom. Contact your Shaklee distributor for additional details and to put together a plan for your healthy labor! These are all tried and true recommendations from Shaklee Moms all over the country. Best to you in the birth of your baby!


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America’s Heart Disease Burden

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February is Heart Health Month and there is a lot to know about Heart Health!

Did you know?
About 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. More than half of the deaths due to heart disease in 2009 were in men.

Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing more than 385,000 people annually.

For many the first sign of heart disease is sudden death.

Every year about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, 525,000 are a first heart attack and 190,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack.

Coronary heart disease alone costs the United States$108.9 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.

What else?
High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. About half of Americans (49%) have at least one of these three risk factors.

What can we do?
Work on lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol. If you are on medications, follow the instructions from your physician for sure. Eat a healthy diet that is low in salt, total fat and cholesterol. Enjoy the richness of fresh fruits and veggies throughout your day. Exercise. Even if it’s just a brisk walk for 10 minutes a couple times a day, 5 days a week—that is important.

And of course if you smoke, stop. Extra B-Complex can really help with cravings and energy during that quitting time. I can also provide other testimonies of supplements that have aided in quitting smoking.

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Every cell in the body requires the energy provided from this nutrient, CoQ10. New Triple Strength CoQHeart® with Q-Trol™ delivers a powerful 100 mg of CoQ10 plus resveratrol in a bioavailable softgel. CoQ10 is vital for energy production in the heart and promotes and protects healthy arteries, while resveratrol helps relax blood vessels to promote healthy blood flow. For those on cholesterol lower medications, it is imperative to take CoQ 10 and those meds do impede the product of CoQ 10 in the body.CoQ Heart is improved in that it now contains 3X more coQ10 and Resveratrol than before. If you put it on an Autoship order, you will receive an additional 10% discount each time you order.

omega 90Omega Guard: Healthy Omega 3 Fish Oil. Omega Guard™ delivers a full spectrum of ultra-pure, pharmaceutical-grade omega-3 fatty acids to support healthy heart, joint and brain function. It is made with a proprietary multistep molecular distillation process for the utmost purity and potency of omega-3s fatty acids, including EPA and DHA. Shaklee Omega Guard is triple distilled to guarantee purity and potency.

 

 

crcCholesterol Reduction Complex: Naturally lower your cholesterol. This product contains a powerful blend of plant sterols and stanols that along with a healthy diet and exercise have been clinically proven to cholesterol. Ask you doctor ask them. They know about the sterol and stanols. All good, all natural and no harmful side effects. This delivers 2000mg of sterols and stanol, 100% of the National Institutes for Health recommendations. It is Gluten free as well as Star K Kosher certified.
All three supplements are also offered in our Heart Health Package.

I hope this information is helpful in your journey to a healthier heart! Please contact me for additional information or a personal consultation.

Thank you to Moyra Gorski for compiling this information and allowing us to post it here! 


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Response to the “news” on vitamins

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In case you don’t follow me on facebook, but you do follow the news, I wanted to make sure that you saw these three items. A recent report came out that claimed that all multi-vitamins were a waste of money.  These three items will help you get a better perspective of the research that lead to that claim:

Prominent Doctor Exposes NBCs Hatchet Job on Vitamin Supplements

Understanding the Latest Media Attention of Multivitamins

And click here to look at the LandMark Study—an independent study done by the University of California Berkeley that studied people who had been taking Shaklee vitamins for over 20 years compared to those taking another multivitamin and those taking nothing.

Some multivitamins may be causing you to throw away your money—so make sure you are working with a company that has integrity, that does third party clinical studies, and stands behind statements like “always safe” and “always works.” I stand with Shaklee. (Click here to see why).


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Five Ways to Remember to Take Your Vitamins

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I have a handful of customers who understand WHY you should supplement and see the Shaklee Difference, but they just cannot seem to get into the routine of taking their vitamins. Good habits can be the hardest to maintain so here are some simple steps to try to help you!

  1. Put your vitamins where you can see them, near something you know you won’t forget—maybe your contact lenses, the coffee maker, or your car keys. Use the other things that you do to create healthy habits to improve your health!
  2. Give your children vitamins too! Children have way less to remember in the morning and they feel special taking vitamins like mom and dad. I know that my daughter often reminds me that we do vitamins before I start making breakfast because it is important to her. So not only will you be improving your health but your child’s as well.
  3. Set a reminder. I remember my grandpa used t o do this to remember to take his vitamins. It was on his watch because we didn’t have smartphones back then. I use reminders on my phone (or your watch) to remember to do a variety of things—taking care of our health is worth the reminder.
  4. Bring your vitamins to the office—I’ve had quite a few customers who take their vitamins to work (especially Vitalizer) to the office because they remembered it more easily there.
  5. Remember why you are taking them—watch the two videos above again and remember why you are taking the vitamins—are you hoping to prevent serious health concerns? Are you trying to staying energized for your kids? Are you wanting to protect your health for the sake of your grandkids? Are you giving your body nutrients in hopes of getting pregnant? These are all great reasons that should motivate us to make taking our supplements a priority!

I hope these ideas have been helpful! What do you do to remember to take your vitamins?

And check out this amazing post on the Vitalizer Challenge!

Photo credits Maggie Fortson Photography


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A response to the New Report on Omegas

If you read about health in the news, you probably have read the reports of a study which concluded that taking Omega-3 fish oil supplements increases risk of prostate cancer. Before you walk away from all the amazing health benefits of an Omega-3 supplement, please read what Dr. Stephen Chaney has to say about the findings.

Dr. Stephen Chaney has a BS in Chemistry from Duke University and a PhD in Biochemistry from UCLA. He has been Professor of Biochemistry & Medical Biophysics & Nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Medical School for more than 30 years and has won several awards for teaching excellence. Dr. Stephen Chaney has published over 100 scientific articles and reviews in peer-reviewed scientific journals. He has also written two chapters on nutrition for a popular medical biochemistry textbook. Dr. Chaney also runs Chaney Lab at UNC a top Cancer research lab.

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My phone has been ringing off the hook. My email in-box is full. It seems that everyone wants to know if the headlines about omega-3 fatty acids and prostate cancer are true.

In case you have just gotten back from a vacation on some deserted island with no newspapers and no internet, let me bring you up to date. The headlines are saying things like “Fish Oils May Increase Your Risk of Prostate Cancer” and “Latest Study Links Fish Oils to Prostate Cancer”.

Once again, it seems like just when you’ve figured out which foods that are good for you, someone tells you they could actually kill you. It’s no wonder so many of you have been asking me to cut through the hype and put this latest study in perspective.

As usual, let me start with the study itself (Brasky et al., Journal of the National Cancer Institute, doi: 10.1093/jnci/djt174). On the surface, it appears to be a reasonably well designed study, and the conclusions were dramatic. They reported that subjects with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood were 43% more likely to develop prostate cancer, 44% more likely to develop low grade prostate cancer, and 71% more likely to develop high grade prostate cancer compared to those with low levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood.

Case closed you might be tempted to say. However, once you dig a little deeper, the study does have two important weaknesses.
1) It used data from another study that was designed for a totally different purpose. They went back and analyzed blood samples from a previous study that was actually designed to measure the association between vitamin E and selenium intake and prostate cancer. That’s a scientific no-no.  Let me explain why.

If they had designed a study to investigate the association between omega-3 fatty acids and prostate cancer, they probably would have selected participants with a wide range of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood at the beginning of the study. The subjects in this study actually had a very narrow range of omega-3 fatty acids in their bloodstream.

They also would probably have done a diet analysis and found out whether the subject’s omega-3 fatty acids were coming from fish or fish oil supplements. They might have even asked whether the omega-3 fatty acids were from farm-raised fish or inexpensive fish oil supplements known to be contaminated with PCBs. This study collected none of these data.

2) This is a single study, and individual studies often provide misleading results. For example, if you examine their data closely, it looks like heavy drinkers and smokers might have a decreased risk of prostate cancer. I think that’s unlikely, but weird associations like that often pop up in individual studies.

That’s why expert scientists aren’t swayed by individual studies. We prefer to look at the “big picture” that emerges when you combine the results of many studies. For example, a meta-analysis of 24 studies with 461,402 subjects (Symanski et al, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 92: 1223-1233, 2010) found no association etween fish consumption and prostate cancer risk.

Individual studies ranged from a 61% decrease in risk to a 77% increase in risk, but the overall effect was zero! Even more importantly, fish consumption decreased prostate cancer deaths by 63%.

So what is the bottom line for you?

1) Don’t panic. Don’t change what you are doing based on the latest sensational headlines. This study has been way overblown. We have come to expect sensational headlines and hype from journalists and bloggers because that’s how they get people to read what they write.

However, I find the comment from the senior author that “We’ve shown once again that use of nutritional supplements may be harmful” to be very irresponsible, especially since they have no data showing that anyone
in their study actually used fish oil supplements.

2) The authors make a big deal out of the fact that this study replicates the results they obtained in a previous study (Brasky et al, British American Journal of Epidemiology, 173: 1429-1439, 2011). However, they neglect to mention that 4 previous studies showed decreased risk, and the totality of all published studies shows no effect of fish or fish oil on prostate cancer risk (Symanski et al, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 92: 1223-1233, 2010).

3) The benefits of assuring optimal omega-3 fatty acid intake clearly overshadow the risks. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to lower triglycerides and blood pressure, reduce inflammation and depression, and may even help prevent dementia.

4) This study does raise a caution flag, but I would not recommend reducing your omega-3 fatty acid intake on the basis of these data alone – especially since most published studies show no increased risk of prostate cancer. There are much better designed studies underway that should clearly show an increase in prostate cancer risk if it is a real effect. I will monitor those studies closely and keep you abreast of any new developments.

To Your Health!
Dr. Stephen G Chaney

To read more from Dr. Chaney, see his website: www.socialmarketingconnection.com.
This article used with permission.