What’s in Your Winter Bug-Battle-Bag?



Like the opening scene of a zombie outbreak movie, it all starts when the dude standing next to you sneezes…

One thought floods your mind: Oh %$@%, whatever he’s got, I’m gonna get!  Then you wonder if its a cold, the flu, or some crazy, slimy, mutated space virus.  You hold your breath for the next 30 minutes, but it’s already too late, ’cause you’re certain that one of his little germs jumped the gap and landed in your eye.  And it’s multiplying fast, this lone bug–weak, you’re already feeling weak and peaked! But then you take a mental step back and realize that maybe you’re overreacting and there’s no need to enter full panic-mode.  You go about your day, and you enjoy your evening, but when you wake up, when you roll out of bed the next morning, you start the new day…with a sneeze…

The story doesn’t have to end this way.  There are some natural, everyday things you can do to strengthen your immunity and avoid catching the snot-strings of misery of those around you.  Want to learn more?  

Before I  share the top items that I’ve found useful in reducing the strength and shortening the duration of a seasonal illness, remember, I’m not a doctor.  I share what works for me, so that by chance this information might be helpful* to you.  But as with anything, please do your research and speak with your healthcare provider before trying any of the below.  

Also, so as not to disrupt the flow of this post, at the end, I’ll provide a link to a page containing the products I mention.

Now, let’s talk about what in my “Bug Battle Bag”…

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Mask not included!

Pre-Battle Plan

My pre-battle plan is simple: remain self-aware.  I find that if I react to the cold or even flu at the very earliest signs, I’m much more likely to prevent the worst of it from occurring.  Not only that, there have been many instances when I was able to fight it off in a matter of hours, instead of days.

What do I mean by “self-aware”?  I mean I listen to my body and feel what I feel:

  • Is that itchy, hairy-patch feeling in my throat from thirst, or dry air, or something else?
  • If my energy has dropped, why?
  • I notice my heart rate; if my resting rate is higher than normal, I know something is up.  
  • Does my nose smell different?  Yes, as weird as it sounds, at the start of a cold, even before most other symptoms pop up, the inside of my nose takes on a distinct aroma.
  • Has my emotional capacity diminished?  Or, in other words, am I crabbier than usual for no apparent reason?

If I notice two or more of these early symptoms, I sound the red alert and break out the big guns.

The “Big Guns”

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At the first signs of the enemy, I reach into my bug battle bag and go right for the big guns.  Below are my most powerful nutritional interventions.  Each of these natural items provide some level of antiviral or antibiotic support as well as a boost to the immune system*.

Oregano Oil:  Oregano oils is a potent antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial agent.  I start with a couple drops under my tongue, and increase per suggested dosage.  

Colostrum:  This is actually part of my daily supplement routine.  I wrote about the fantastic benefits of colostrum in a previous post, so check it out for a more detailed look at this superfood: Colostrum

Echinacea:  I have taken echinacea as a capsule supplement but prefer it in tea or lozenge form.

Elderberry:  There are many great options for taking this powerful, immune-boosting herb.  I’ve yet to try the syrup, but have had good results with the tea and throat lozenges.  

Alkaline Water:  This one is quite controversial, but it seems to work for me.  Because overuse could negatively affect stomach acid production, I only drink alkaline water for the few days it take to fight off the cold.  Even then, I am careful not to drink it around meal time.  A better solution for increasing one’s alkalinity can be found in the simple lemon.  Though acidic when taken in, lemon juice (preferably fresh-squeezed from half an organic lemon) actually alkalizes the body when processed by the digestive system.

Daily Armor

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You are probably familiar with the following conventional, everyday armor, so I’ll keep it brief. While the best way to get these vitamins and minerals is through a proper diet, sometimes a supplemental boost is needed*.

Ionic Magnesium:  While magnesium may not directly aid in the battle against winter bugs, it is very important and necessary for good health.  In short, magnesium plays a part in hundreds of biological processes, and unfortunately, most of suffer some level of deficiency.  

Liposomal Vitamin C:  You’ve probably known about the importance of vitamin C since elementary school.  You already know it helps fight colds, acts an antioxidant and is vital for general health.  But you many not know that this form of vitamin C is gentle on the gut and has been shown to be much more absorbable and bio-available than the standard, non-liposomal forms.  

Vitamin D:  Without a doubt, over the past 10 years, you’ve heard a lot about the importance of vitamin D as related to immunity and overall health.  Be sure to choose a non-GMO supplement containing D3 (cholecalciferol).

Zinc:  This often overlooked mineral can boost immunity.  There are many forms of zinc to consider, but one of the best absorbed is zinc picolinate.  

Probiotics:  Whether it’s by consuming probiotic-rich foods like sauerkraut, kefir, or kombucha, or by taking a daily probiotic supplement, be sure to get enough of the good bugs in your diet.  Studies have shown that the majority of our immune system is in our gut, so not only will our gut benefit from a healthy biome, but our whole self will too.

Monolaurin: Used in many everyday products and foods, monolaurin is derived from coconut fatty acid and has been known to boost the immune system and stop and treat bacterial, fungal, or viral infections.

Berberine:  Balancing the gut biome by hindering or destroying harmful bacteria while sparing helpful bacteria is among the many benefits of berberine. 

Other Useful Tactics 

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Common sense tactics that you already know, yes, but these too should be components of your bug battle bag:

  • Wash hands often
  • Keep skin from cracking by using healthier alternative lotions free of parabens, phthalates, etc.
  • Keep nasal passages moist.  Consider purchasing a humidifier.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially nose, mouth, and eyes.
  • As discussed in a previous post, eat nutrient-dense foods, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, and find positive ways to manage your stress.
  • Reduce sugar intake.
  • Keep working out but be do not over do it.  Consider creating awinter training moderegime.
  • Reduce overall excessive body tension.  This too requires a good level of self-awareness as well as breath control.  I’ll provide more information on why and how soon.
  • Consider adding oil pulling and earthing to your daily routine.  Check out my previous posts on both of these interesting and helpful subjects: Oil Pulling, Earthing

Additional Suggestions

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Start building your bug battle-bag by researching and purchasing the listed items (see link below).  It might be a good idea to get enough for both home and the office, if possible.  Next, write out your battle plan.  Your plan should be pretty simple, maybe a few lines written on a 3″x5″ card, listing the steps you will take to stay healthy and to restore health when fighting a bug.  Or you can go all-out and post diagrams, charts, information sheets, etc on your refrigerator, or bathroom or bedroom wall, or on your computer desktop.  However you do it, make a plan now and then follow it as closely as possible if / when you notice that first sneeze.  

Once you have your plan in place, keep in mind that you will have to try it and tweak it, try it tweak it, until you find what works best for you; even then, it may not work 100% of the time.  Think of this as an ongoing experiment that promises to yield very valuable results, so stick with it if at first you don’t succeed.


As promised, here’s a link to a page containing the items mentioned above: Winter Bug Battle-Bag. You can also find more immune boosters here: Immune Support.

Wishing you the good, better, and absolutely best of what’s possible!

Eric



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Energize Your Morning with These Routines, Part 3/3: 5TR

 


This blog contains affiliate links.  For information, see full disclosure here.


What does your morning workout entail?  Ever thought of adding a simple routine that has the potential of building inner and outer strength, flexibility, and suppleness?  What if such a routine also strengthened the mind and helped you manage your stress?  Would you try it?  
In this series, I’m going to share three fairly simple yet very effective routines that I benefit from and use several days a week.  You may have heard of them, but if not, take a look, give them a try, and maybe you’ll find a new way to energize the start of your day!

Energizing Routine 3: Five Tibetan Rites

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The Five Tibetan Rites (5TR) are a series of yoga-like exercises that, like Yi Jin Jing (YJJ) and Zhan Zhuang (ZZ), can revitalize and energize both mind and body.  In fact, 5TR is sometimes referred to as a “fountain of youth” that among other things can improve eyesight and turn gray hair dark again. While that sounds great, we all know to take such statements with a grain of salt.  Still, it sounds very intriguing, so let’s take a look.

Fountain of Youth?

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Yeah, these dudes are 79 years old!

The Five Tibetan Rites consists of five exercises that are performed in order, twenty-one times each. After each set, a brief recovery pose or posture is held for few moments before continuing on with the next exercise.  If you workout on a consistent basis, at first glance the whole “twenty-one times each” won’t seem like a big deal, but it is; the challenge is real.  It is recommended that when one begins training the 5TR, one starts out slowly, say, at seven each, or less if needed, and then work up to the full twenty-one. Learning the correct form, breath coordination, and muscle usage, etc. are vital.

It is believed that by performing 5TR on a regular basis per the prescribed method, the spin of one’s internal energy centers are strengthened and realigned thereby energizing the body and the mind in amazing ways. Some of the positive effects of this realignment are said to include anti-aging, improved coordination, increased strength and flexibility, and mental and emotional grounding, clarity and enhanced calm.

My Experiences

I found the 5TR several years ago when I was searching for a simple yet engaging and healthful exercise routine to begin the day.  The benefits sounded great, even with that big grain of salt, so after researching the Rites, I gave it a try.  The newness made the routine fun but it did take several sessions to memorize the (somewhat simple) movements and coordinate the movements with the breath.  I started slowly, maybe doing just 5 or 7 reps for a week or two before adding more.  I don’t remember if I did the Rites every day, but I do recall the resulting increased endurance and strength, and greater muscle tone.

After that initial experiment, I shifted to using the 5TR on a semi-consistent basis, mainly as a quick way to build strength and endurance apart from my regular routines.  I’ll practice it for several weeks prior to a karate seminar or when it is time to exit winter training mode but other than that, it hasn’t been part of my everyday, year-round training.  Oh, and I have to admit that during all that time, I never actually hit the magical number 21; that didn’t happen until quite recently.  

So what happened at 21?  No, I wasn’t able to shed my glasses, and my bio-chronological clock didn’t tick backwards, but I did feel a noticeable increase in physical energy and mental clarity and focus.  At 21, there was an almost addictive (in a good way) sense, most likely due to endorphins, and I could hardly wait to perform the Rites again the next morning.  While this extra energy may all be in my head, a placebo effect of sorts, I’m okay with that because what starts in the mind can and often does show up in the body.  

At the time of this entry, it’s been several weeks since I last performed the 5TR.  When I start up again, either in a few weeks or at the end of winter training mode, my goal is to work my way back to 21 reps for each exercise, and do it on a consistent basis.  I want to see how long the benefits I encountered last, how far they go, and if any other benefits are unlocked.

The Next Step

If you’re curious about the 5TR, just click the link above, or if you’re fortunate to find a good teacher near you, contact them and give it a go.  Whether you purchase a book or DVD and try it on your own, or with an instructor’s supervision, following the prescribed training plan is the only way to reap the full benefits; there are no shortcuts.  

Finally, as with Yi Jin Jing and Zhan Zhuang, I’m confident if you make the 5TR a part of your morning routine, you will be glad you did!

Click over to our Five Tibetan Rites page for more resources.  


Wishing you the good, better, and absolutely best of what’s possible!

Eric



Be sure to subscribe below.

Energize Your Morning with These Routines, Part 2: ZZ

 


This blog contains affiliate links.  For information, see full disclosure here.


What does your morning workout entail?  Ever thought of adding a simple routine that has the potential of building inner and outer strength, flexibility, and suppleness?  What if such a routine also strengthened the mind and helped you manage your stress?  Would you try it?  
In this series, I’m going to share three fairly simple yet very effective routines that I benefit from and use several days a week.  You may have heard of them, but if not, take a look, give them a try, and maybe you’ll find a new way to energize the start of your day!

Energizing Routine 2: Zhan Zhuang

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Like Yi Jin Jing (YJJ), Zhan Zhuang (ZZ) is a Chinese qigong exercise that is usually translated to mean standing post, or stand like tree. Qigong, very simply defined, is a series of Chinese physical movement exercises that emphasize  breath control, vital energy, movement, and improved health*. But, unlike YJJ, in ZZ there is very little, or ideally, no external movement at all–you just stand still.

Having read that previous sentence, you might be thinking, “Well…that’s pretty easy, I do that every day…”  No, not like this you don’t.

Just…Stand?

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Yes, stand still.  Don’t move.  Don’t fidget.  Don’t squirm.  Don’t…move.  That’s it, but there is much more to it.  When you follow the method, you’ll begin to learn to relax your muscles on a deeper level and rely on proper structure and not tension to hold you up. At the same time, as you begin to connect with and manage the subtle energy inside, believe it or not, if you stick with it, new strength will emerge.  

But don’t under estimate the seemingly simple exercise. You will sweat, you will tremble, you will ache, and you will get a good workout.  With diligent effort, one might experience increased strength, greater awareness of self, and improved grounding, and calming centeredness.  Along with this, various internal organs and systems may also be strengthened. These benefits are not instant, to be sure, but are cultivated slowly through correct and consistent practice and patience.

My Experiences

I’d heard of “standing post” training a from a fellow martial artist, a former instructor, and through various online articles on martial arts, but I didn’t really give it much thought.  It wasn’t until I entered winter training mode a few years ago that I, quite by accident, began exploring ZZ.  That year, one of my winter training goals was to learn more about internal energy methods, so in mid December I ordered this book,  The Way of Energy (see below), not realizing fully what it was about. I’m pretty sure I read the description and reviews, but when the book arrived, I was more than a little surprised that it was a deeper exploration of something I’d only heard about in passing.   

As I flipped through and scanned the what, how, and why of ZZ, I became intrigued and excited to give it a try.  The author does a great job explaining the finer details and emphasizes the need to take your time and not rush development.  Some may find the need to practice certain exercises for several months if not a full year before moving to the next level off-putting or unnecessary.  And, of course they’d be wrong.  Following the prescribed training plan is the only way to reap the benefits; there are no shortcuts.  

Almost immediately upon experiencing my first time “standing like a tree”, I was hooked. I recognized something simple yet powerful in this exercise.  As I continued to train, I hit the milestones the author described and eventually began to notice positive changes. One of the most important for me personally is greater sense of muscle control, as in which are being used and how efficiently are they being used for the tasks at hand.  Along with that, I feel stronger internal body connection and energetic flow. And, standing in an unnecessarily long line at the grocery store, or airport is now much less of an annoyance and more of an opportunity to train! 

While the author recommends practicing outside under a tree, one can practice indoors and still make great progress.  The few times I have stood like a tree while standing by a tree have been amazing.  Whether indoors or out, this is a vital part of my morning routine.

The Next Step

You don’t have to be martial arts to practice ZZ.  If you’re curious, just click the link above, take a look at the book, or if you’re fortunate to find a good teacher, contact them and give it a go.  If you stay with it, you will be glad you did!

You can also find other ZZ books and resources on our Zhan Zhuang page.  


Wishing you the good, better, best of what’s possible!

Eric



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Is Your Deo Doing More Harm Than Your BO?

 


Let’s face it, we humans can raise a stink, especially during summer.  One doesn’t have to be super-active to sweat, and that sweat feeds and fuels the bacterial hoards that cause body odor (BO).  That’s just how it is, and while it’s natural and normal, it can be…unpleasant.

While the store shelves are overflowing with hundreds of options when it comes to products designed for keeping the BO at a minimum, we need to be on the look out for potentially dangerous chemicals that could do us more harm than good.  As you’ll recall from science class, our skin absorbs to some degree or another almost everything that comes in contact with it.  That means both the good and the bad chemicals can and do pass through your skin, even when this protective barrier is sound.  Unfortunately, some of the chemicals in deodorants may be linked to cancer and other diseases, could be neurotoxic, and may be hormone and endocrine disruptors so, in general, minimize use of, or stay away from products containing any of the following.

Top Chemicals to Avoid

  • Aluminum (or sodium bicarbonate that isn’t explicitly aluminum-free)
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Synthetic Fragrance
  • Parabens (Ex: methylparaben, sodium butylparaben, etc)
  • Petrochemicals (Ex: paraffin wax, benzene, PEG, mineral oil, petrolatum, etc)
  • Phthalates (Ex: di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), etc)
  • Sulfates (Ex: sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, etc)

Healthier Alternatives 

After reading that list you’re probably thinking, “Come on, dude, I get it, I’m with you, it’s all bad, but what in the #@%* am I supposed to use then?” 

Thankfully, there are many healthier alternatives formulated with natural ingredients that do not contain these harsh chemicals, and some of the best can be found on our Deodorant page, so click over and take a look.  

Sure some of these healthier choices may be a little more expensive than the standard, probably tainted, $1.99 roll on, but then again, your health is worth a few extra bucks, isn’t it?  

Yes it is, and more.


 


Wishing you the good, better, best of what’s possible!

Eric



Be sure to subscribe below.

7 Hot Essentials for a not so Cruel Summer


Yes, summer is finally, officially, here!  But, no matter how long or hot it actually may be, summer never, never, ever seems to last long enough.  Since that’s always the case, let’s do all we can to enjoy to the full this season of sun and fun.  In order to do that, in order to help make this your best and healthiest* summer yet, be sure to have these seven essentials on hand:

1. Sunscreen

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These days, everyone knows that if you are going to spend any appreciable amount of time in the sun, you need to wear sunscreen.  And, everyone knows not all sunscreens are created equal.  Not only does the Sun Protection Factor, or SPF, matter, but what’s in the sunscreen may matter just as much, if not more.  You’ll want to choose a sunscreen made of natural ingredients and free of suspect chemicals such as parabens and phthalates, and nano-particles.  Such harsh chemicals may cause or contribute to long-term health issues*, so please avoid them.

If you need healthier alternatives, your Martial – Fitness Minimart is here to help!  Visit our new Sunscreen page for organic, paraben-free, nano-particle-free, better for the environment options.  Get what you need, so you can enjoy your time in the sun!

2. Swimsuits

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If you’re still wearing that old suit from last summer or the summer before, it’s time to upgrade.  Check out our Women’s Swimwear page for a wide assortment of hot bikinis and sweet swimsuits.  Be sure to take advantage of Rosewe’s crazy-generous discounts too!

3. Super-Hydration

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It goes without saying, but I’m gonna say it anyway: drink lots of water.  Whether you’re working or playing in the summer heat, or working out or playing in a cushy club’s A/C, drink good quality water.  Then drink some more.  Our bodies are mostly water, so even a “touch” of dehydration can negatively affect your mental focus, emotional capacity, and physical performance.  

When you’re sweating, you’re also leaking precious minerals that you’ll need to replace.   Consider adding Hydration and Mineral Support aids to your water.  I’ve compiled several great options for you that are free of dangerous and unnecessary additives.

If water is just not your thing and you prefer something with a little taste, throw in natural / non-GMO / organic fruit or vegetable slices for a hint of flavor:

  • Berries
  • Citrus fruits (orange, lemons, limes, etc)
  • Peach or plum slices
  • Melons (water, honeydew, etc)
  • Cucumbers
  • Mint leaves
  • Ginger slices
  • Garlic and black pepper (not really, just checking to see if you’re paying attention)

We’ve also got you covered if you need a handy, BPA-free, or stainless steel Water Bottle.

4. Smelly-Pit Eliminators

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Let’s faces it, we humans can raise a stink, especially during summer.  One doesn’t have to be super-active to sweat, and that sweat feeds and fuels the bacterial hoards that cause body odor.  That’s just how it is, and while it’s natural and normal, it can be unpleasant.

The market is overflowing with body wash and deodorants that can help, but most of them contain potentially dangerous chemicals like sulfates, parabens, silicone, artificial fragrances, and petroleum products.  Thankfully, there are many healthier alternatives with natural ingredients that do not contain these chemicals, and some of the best are found on our Deodorant page.

5. Soap

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Why is soap an essential for summer?  If you have kids, work with kids, or ever was a kid, you know why.   While some dirt won’t hurt and is actually good for you, you’re gonna wanna wash your hands at least a few times this summer.  Wash up after a day in the garden, or working on the lawn mower.  Lather up after fishing, or playing with said kids.  Clean up after enjoying an evening cookout on the deck with friends.

Like the previous essential item, you’ll want to watch out for the nasty chemicals that could compromise your health*.  Fortunately, as with the previous item, our page, Bar and Liquid Soap, has the healthier options you’ll appreciate.

6. Snacks

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Good healthy snacks make for a good day.  A good day makes for a good week, and a string of good weeks makes for a fantastic summer.  See, your summer hinges on your choice of snacks!  Good thing we’ve got a whole bunch of good, organic, non-GMO snacks to choose from here:

7. Savory Grillin’ Meats

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If you’re going to grill, go all the way.  If you’re going to grill, grill grass-fed beef, pasture-raised poultry, or wild-caught seafood.  Sure, hotdogs are cheap and easy, but why waste time, energy, and money on cheap and easy pseudo-food filled with artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives?

No, go all-in and enjoy the natural full flavor, and the nutrients, of High-Quality Beef, Poultry, and Seafood, and steak!

8. Bonus Essential: Songs of Summers Past

Summertime  by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince

Cruel Summer  by Bananarama

Summer Breeze by Seals & Croft

Summer Breeze (Tsuper Tsunami remix)

Summer Law #1701-E: one must listen to or view a minimum of one of the above songs / videos at least twice per summer, or else.


There you go.  Be sure to visit each page, browse the aisles, and grab your summer essentials.

 

Please share, share, share, the Martial – Fitness Minimart, and like, like, like its pages and posts.  Oh, and find us on Facebook too.

Now go and make it a great summer!

Eric