Probiotics with Purpose
This post was created in partnership with MegaFood®. As always, all opinions and text are my own.
You guys know - I love high-quality probiotics! As someone with all kinds of food allergies and intolerances, taking high quality probiotics along with dietary supplements crafted with nutrients and whole food ingredients is a great way for me to make sure I’m getting all of the vitamins and minerals I need in my diet. That said, there are too many companies touting their products as ‘the best’ or ‘most effective’ that it can be really tough to figure out what’s worth your money and your time. I’m a big fan of MegaFood® products – not only are their supplements made with whole foods from trusted farm partners, they are also committed to supporting organic and regenerative agriculture. Even more, their products are tested free from the most common allergens: gluten, dairy, and soy. But there is a lot to choose from!
So how do you figure it out? Well, my friends, transparency is key. Most companies are quiet about where or how they source their supplement ingredients. Often they buy from farms that use glyphosate, the number one herbicide in the US - labeled by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer as “probably carcinogenic in humans”.1 NOT COOL. More on glyphosate below. Luckily for us, MegaFood is committed to quality, safety and purity above all. They are a brand you can really trust! And I love them for that. They’ve just released a new line of probiotics I’m head over heels for - their Shelf-Stable Probiotics are uniquely curated with probiotic strains formulated to support benefits like Mood*, Energy*, Digestive Health*, Immune Defense* and Women’s Health*! The capsules are acid-resistant to help protect the probiotics strains from our stomach acids while digesting, all in support of optimal gut health.*
Glyphosate is - terrifyingly - the number one herbicide used in the United States. It’s on ALL KINDS of things, including just about anything that isn’t grown organically. It’s sprayed heavily on GMO and conventionally-grown crops at harvest and frequently used in home gardens, public parks and schools. Its use has skyrocketed over the last two decades - nearly 15 fold! In fact, glyphosate is the number one herbicide used in the world, even with that scary warning from the World Health Organization (WHO) about it being “probably carcinogenic to humans” that we mentioned earlier. Ick - no thank you!
Organic farming bans the use of glyphosate and other fertilizers, antibiotics, and growth hormones, which is why certified organic ingredients are so important and is why MegaFood partners with trusted farmers who share their commitment to organic and regenerative agriculture. MegaFood is the first supplement brand to have its ENTIRE LINE certified Glyphosate Residue Free by The Detox Project, an independent research and certification organization dedicated to bringing awareness to the public by testing consumer goods and food products for toxic chemicals. Because they are so passionate about delivering the best products on the market, MegaFood is working to ban the use of glyphosate as a desiccant, or drying agent, before harvest. Using glyphosate as a desiccant allows food to be harvested quickly but in turn, increases the likelihood that consumers will be directly exposed to the pesticide through the foods they eat, even after processing. They’ve teamed up with the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and other powerhouse brands like Ben & Jerry’s and Stonyfield to help make this happen!
So how can YOU help? Well, you can start by committing to using products labeled Glyphosate Residue Free by The Detox Project (like ALL MegaFood products!) and then you can support this call to the EPA by signing this public petition aimed at joining and educating consumers. It’s that easy, friends! Ready to get started on your own healthy, whole food supplement journey? Head to MegaFood.com to get started and find the right products for you!
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
1 International Agency for Research on Cancer: IARC Monographs Volume 112: evaluation of five organophosphate insecticides and herbicides
MY HELIX FOOD SENSITIVITY+ TEST RESULTS
I've had a TON of interest and questions about my Food Sensitivity+ testing since I posted about receiving my kit from Helix. If you’d like to read more about my experience using the kit to test my saliva + blood for my body's response to 96 foods, you can head here. Otherwise, I’ll catch you up. Basically, a company called Helix sent me their DNA kit to collect and sequence my DNA so that their partner EverlyWell could analyze my DNA for a genetic predisposition to different food sensitivities. Helix uses Exome+ sequencing which reads every letter of all 22,000 protein-coding genes and produces 100 times more data than most consumer genetics companies. Then, once you've taken and sent back your DNA sample, they'll store and protect your genetic data so you can access and share just the relevant portion with any Helix partner of your choosing (such as EverlyWell) without ever having to provide another DNA sample. And if you're interested in finding out more about your DNA, Helix offers other tests to help you dive further into that information too. They offer cool tests for ancestry, family planning, hereditary cancer screening - all kinds of different things if you're interested in exploring further.
I did a kit called Food Sensitivity+, made by Helix's partner EverlyWell, that tests elevated levels of immune antibodies in my blood, plus, it measures my genetic predisposition to metabolize and absorb foods and vitamins. Food Sensitivity+ needs just a few drops of blood (plus some saliva for the DNA part of the test) and it can test for genetic predisposition to reactivity to 96 foods (like gluten, wheat and dairy) as well as genetic influences on lactose intolerance, caffeine, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and magnesium. That’s AMAZING! And way more info than I get from my doctor in a single visit, too.
And guess what?! I just got my results back! I’m so excited to share them with you guys, and frankly was just so excited to have some insight on why I am having these constant tummy troubles. I knew there had to be something contributing to some aches and pains, but I couldn’t pinpoint what. You guys are not going to believe what came back in my results! Some serious surprises and things I was eating literally EVERY DAY. This test is a quick (results came back within about two weeks), safe, and effective way to figure out what your food sensitivities are.
So what were my biggest sensitivities? Soy and most types of dairy came up as highest reacting; no surprise there! I already do my best to avoid them because of how badly I do react, so this just reinforces for me that I should be reducing my intake of them. The real exciting (and disappointing) part comes next; I had sensitivity to the following foods, in order of reactivity: sweet potato, cashew, clam, crab, green beans, pineapple, sesame, wheat, chia seed, malt, sunflower, kelp + gluten. Yeah, I’m just going to let the take a moment to sink in. I had to. That is a LOT of foods that I very regularly eat showing up on my sensitivity test. Ugh.
For me, that means a lot of foods that I was eating nearly every day - cashews, gluten, pineapple and chia seeds, specifically - may be causing a reaction. And it made a lot of sense! For someone who eats a pretty healthy, balanced, nearly sugar-free, plant-based diet - I shouldn’t be having so many issues. Or so I thought! But compound that same diet with a host of inflammatory foods and you’ve got a recipe for an upset stomach + a bunch of skin issues - which is exactly where I’m at.
Along with food sensitivity testing, the DNA portion of the test also tested for genetic variants for things like B6 + B12 levels, lactose intolerance, magnesium levels and caffeine metabolism. Everything there came up normal for me except my genetic predisposition for low B12 levels. Even though the test doesn't tell me that I currently have low B12 (I'd have to confirm with a doctor), I'm definitely going to try to have more foods with B12 in my diet. I might consider grabbing a niacin-free B12 supplement too.
Just knowing what my body reacts to is going to help me so much. I can alter my diet to reflect the removal of said foods, and can be on high alert when I am having a stomach ache or reactive effect for what I may have ingested that affected me. I have started trying to reduce my intake of the other foods that I’m most sensitive to, but I still find that wheat, gluten, and chia seeds slip in here and there.
I am hoping to start the New Year by trying to reduce my intake of some of the foods I have highest sensitivity to, to see how my body reacts. Since finding out which foods most affect me I’ve been trying to cut back a bit on them, and have already started to see small improvements in my eczema and acne. Score!
I look forward to using the Helix DNA collection towards one of their awesome biomarker tests, too - because once they have it on file, they keep it on file. And they have so many great accompaniment kits I’d love to try! You can get 30% OFF any purchase on any Helix product with code: HelixJPfO. But HURRY - only the first 25 unique users get the discount!
This post is sponsored, which is a tool we use to keep the content on this site fresh and relevant. While I was paid for this post, all thoughts and opinions expressed are true and from my own experience.
NOT ALL VITAMINS ARE THE SAME - HERE’S WHY!
This is a sponsored post written in collaboration with a brand I really use and really love, and helps to keep the site running. Thanks for your understanding!
I love vitamins. I know - weird. But as someone with all kinds of food allergies and intolerances, taking high quality, supplements made with whole foods is a great way for me to make sure I’m getting all of the vitamins and minerals I need in my diet. That said, there are too many companies touting their products as ‘the best’ or ‘most effective’ that it can be really tough to figure out what’s worth your money and your time. I’m a big fan of MegaFood® products - the majority of their products are free from the most common allergens: wheat, corn, gluten, dairy, and soy. But there are a lot to choose from!
So how do you figure it out? Well, my friends, transparency is key. Most companies are quiet about where or how they source their supplement ingredients. Often they buy from farms that use glyphosate, the number one herbicide in the US - labeled by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “probably carcinogenic in humans”. NOT COOL. Luckily for us, MegaFood is committed to quality, safety and purity above all, and to providing their customers with the most authentic nourishment possible. They are a brand you can really trust! And I love them for that.
MegaFood is the first supplement brand to have its ENTIRE LINE certified Glyphosate Residue Free by The Detox Project, an independent research and certification organization dedicated to bringing awareness to the public by testing consumer goods and food products for toxic chemicals. This certification is just one part of MegaFood’s continued commitment toward The Big T Transparency, which is a complete operational transparency between MegaFood employees, suppliers, retailers and customers - and a challenge they’ve officially extended to other supplement brands!
Glyphosate is - terrifyingly - the number one herbicide used in the United States. It’s on ALL KINDS of things, including just about anything that isn’t grown organically. It’s sprayed heavily on GMO and conventionally-grown crops at harvest, and used frequently in home gardens, public parks and school. It’s use has skyrocketed over the last two decades - nearly 15 fold! Organic farming bans the use of glyphosate and other fertilizers, antibiotics, and growth hormones, which is why an organic certification for your supplements is so important, and is why MegaFood is committed to working with organic farms and farmers. You can even meet the farmers they work with - and see the products they grow - right on their website!
MegaFood is keeping their supplements made with whole foods number one in the game with their commitment to transparency and their constant innovation of products. As someone on a plant-based diet, I’m often low in iron and have taken their Blood Builder® tablets for years. They go down easily and never give me an upset stomach, like some iron supplements do. I’ve also been taking their Doctor-formulated Muti for Women, a vitamin specifically for the ladies that is packed with real, whole foods ingredients like brown rice, carrots, broccoli and oranges! I’ve also recently started making hot morning drinks with their nutrient booster powders and LOVING them! They make both a Daily Turmeric Nutrient Booster Powder™ and Daily Maca Plus for Women Nutrient Booster Powder™ that mix into my lattes seamlessly and add a ton of nutrition to my morning drinks. Unsweetened and packed with good-for-you, whole food, from-the-farm ingredients - they’re a win / win!
Ready to get started on your own healthy, whole food supplement journey? Head to MegaFood.com to get started and find the right products for you!
5 NATURAL REMEDIES FOR AN UPSET STOMACH
I've always had an easily upset-able stomach. It's sensitive to new foods, too much sugar or spice, dairy, soy, and sometimes wheat. And because of my history with an eating disorder, I've totally wreaked havoc on my insides. My stomach has a hard time finding it's happy place, but with the help of lots of probiotics, a good routine, and a couple other little helpers, I've mostly gotten a handle on it. That said, I still overeat sometimes or go out and splurge a little on my diet - and that can cause serious tummy troubles. Sure, you could just feel crummy and go to bed, hoping that your stomach will have dealt with the bulk of the uncomfortable trouble while you're sleeping - or you could start to try and fight back! Working on balancing your belly pH and cutting your crap intake all at the same time. I've found a few tools that have really helped me to work past the uncomfortable belly pain and get into a state of relief. These tools may not work exactly for you, but they're ve helped me HUGELY and I think you'll find some relief with at least one of the options listed. And I'm always open to suggestions! Please totally leave your suggestions in the comments below, I'd love to know how you help fight your tummy troubles. Otherwise let's dive right in. Your insides need you!
I'm all about those probiotics. Between my daily kombuchas and kraut intake, I do my best to take in fermented foods every single day. On top of that, I take a daily refrigerated probiotic pill - the 50 billion from Ultimate Flora - to keep my tummy in check on the regular. When I do need a little extra oophm, I love the GoodBelly Probiotics Shots. They also make probiotic juices and drinks but they tend to be really sugar heavy. The plain an vanilla chamomile flavored shots are my fave and have the lowest sugar content, plus pack a serious probiotic punch - I swear you can feel it start to work as soon as you drink it! Probiotics are getting easier and easier to find, so make sure you start using them. They're great for digestion and intimate pH balance in your gut, and with all of the studies coming out tying gut health to mental health, you want to be take as good care of your gut as possible. Plus, they really will help kick the tummy troubles!
2. Coconut Charcoal
I was suggested coconut charcoal from someone before our Honeymoon trip. I always struggle with digestion when traveling, and a friend recommended I try these pills from Bulletproof if I was feeling gassy or bloated along the way. And guys - they TOTALLY saved me. I struggled a lot with bloating when we hit the ground in Europe because we basically survived on bread, and these pills became my lifesaver. That said, go easy on them. Charcoal is GREAT for removing impurities, but it can also remove all the good stuff in there, too. So if you are going to take it, be sure to take some prebiotics a bit before and probiotics a bit after to keep everything balanced. But do try it! Even after an accidental dairy slip-up it worked wonders on my grumbling tummy. Big fan!
3. Ginger Capsules
Ginger is great for helping with an upset stomach, in any form you've got it. Fresh, raw, in juice, kombucha, or powder form - it does WONDERS on the tummy! Ginger is known to aid digestion and increase saliva flow, AND it boosts nutrient absorption in the body! So really, take it everyday in some form, if you can. When you've got an especially crummy tummy these ginger pills are great because they pack 540 mg of ginger per capsule, and are easily sucked down. They work fast, and I usually feel relief within 30 minutes of taking a few of the capsules. Ginger is also a great remedy for motion sickness, and because it's totally plant-derived, you don't need to worry about 'overdoing' it. 2-3 capsules and you'll be feeling better!
4. Essential Oils
I love putting essential oils in my diffuser, but since taking yoga teacher training I've gained a much bigger appreciation for slathering them right onto my skin. I use lavender oil regularly for massage, but didn't even really think about using a scent like peppermint at first. As it turns out, Peppermint not only smells great and stimulates up your senses, but it's cooling abilities also calms the stomach and aids in digestion! I have a few essential oil roller-sticks I've picked up recently, and one of my faves has become this 'Chill' stick from Frisky Fish; it's a blend of mint and lavender oils, and I think it's the perfect combo of cooling and relaxing. Perfect for post-yoga or after a big meal. I just roll it onto my wrists, neck and temples, and occasionally rub it right onto my belly for extra oomph. I immediately feel my body relax a bit and start to calm - from the inside, out. After some researching, I learned ginger + tea tree essential oils would be great options for diffusing or applying for digestive issues, too!
5. Herbal Tea
I've been hooked on Aloha's 'Clean' Ginger Green Tea lately and love the way it makes my stomach feel. Clean, balanced, and refreshed! A green tea with added nettle, dandelion root, and ginger root, the tea promotes detoxification in the body and and purification of the digestive system. Completely organic and wrapped in biodegradable sachets, these bags of tea are great hot or poured over ice. I sometimes add a bit of raw honey to mine, but you could also add a couple of slices of fresh ginger for extra digestive care.
And that's my go -to upset stomach routine! Hopefully having these 5 Natural Remedies on hand will help you find relief the next time you have an upset stomach. I'd love to hear your recommendations and what you do to calm a troubled tummy - let me know in the comments below!