Baby Steps to Greater Health



Hey y’all (this is how we southerners talk)!  It’s been a while since my last email.  This one is different in that the focus is on healthy eating habits that can help you live better and longer.  As some of you may know, I am a Certified Holistic Health Coach. And while I love making products for healthy hair and skin, I think it’s more important to get just as healthy on the inside.  So to help you begin your healthy journey, I’ll be sending out healthy eating tips on Wednesdays so be sure to visit CUSHblog or our Face Book page to stay current and win prizes from our online store.  Having said that, today, I want to talk about how to incorporate getting more veggies into your diet.


When I was younger, I never thought much about eating healthy-Primarily because I was naturally thin and never had to worry about weight.  However, after taking my first nutrition class at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I learned that eating healthy matters from the very beginning and more importantly, please don’t wait to eat healthy when you are faced with a health crisis.  An ounce of prevention REALLY is worth a pound of cure!


So if you’re like I was as a young 20 to 30 something year old with a care-free eating spirit-I encourage you to rethink your health strategy today!  At the end of the day, your 40 plus years will be here faster than you know….so eating the right foods can increase your chance of enjoying those years by continuing to do the things you love doing right now.  News Flash! There are a lot of sick, suffering people in the 40 plus range.  Think about it for a minute,  if 50 is the new 40 and 40 is the new 30-Don’t you want to be able to keep on doing you? Of course you do.  So where do you start?


You can get on the path to better health by incorporating more fruits and veggies into your diet.  There are a lot of diets out there that people continue to try; yet end up failing.  So rather than trying to change your eating habits overnight, just take baby steps.  Here are a two simple suggestions to get you started:
  1. Pick one day of the week where you commit to eating vegetarian the whole day and don’t let anything or anyone break that commitment or,
  2. Pick one meal out of the day that you’ll commit to eating vegetarian


See-That’s so simple-right?  Start there and then increase the amount of vegetable meals you eat to once or twice a month.   Before you know it, you’ll be eating this way every week and ultimately, you’ll get to the point where you have a diet that consists of eating mostly vegetables. If your goal is to be a vegetarian then BOOM-You’re there!


It can’t get anymore simple than that so why not start with your next meal!  Hey, sometimes you have to just take the plunge and go for it.  So join me…together we can reach healthy weight and health goal and start living better.


If you’re with me, circle back and let me know what you ate.   And, if you’re really about that life and actually cooked the meal yourself-then you get bragging rights. Post a picture of you with your dish and/or recipe on our Facebook page and use the hashtag #prettyinsideandoutwithcush. We’ll have a weekly drawing and give one lucky winner a reward from our online store.  Now THAT’S worth eating your veggies.


Can’t wait to see your photos!

Milk Does the Body Good! Only if it’sTruly Organic

I’m a big advocate of buying organic and/or natural products whenever possible. One of my must-haves in the organic food category is milk.  The thought of giving my family milk that comes from conventional farming (where horror stories abound) makes me sad for the cow and concerned about the quality of the milk.  Is the milk nutritional?  Is it  harmful to my family, etc…


While I won’t belabor the unspeakable suffering that conventional cows must endure to put milk on our tables, I will provide a link from the Humane Society that speaks to why we should re-think purchasing dairy sourced from these cows.  After all, cows deserve compassion too.  Right?


However, I do realize that there are people out there who don’t make their milk purchasing decisions based on the welfare of the cow. So, I say to you perhaps you’d consider changing your dairy purchasing habits based on the following: The welfare or health risks that the suffering cow’s milk might have on your family.


Of course, this  brings me back to my previous two questions:  Is the milk nutritional? Is it harmful?  I will respectively answer no and yes- and here is why:


Conventional Milk is Less Nutritional Because:


  • The cows are fed an unnatural diet of pesticide and genetically modified organism (GMO) grains and meat-including cow meat
  • The cows are sicker because they are never allowed to move and graze (I can’t image being caged in and never being able to move while something is continuously suckling me while I’m sick and in pain). Wow!
  • The cows are given Bovine Growth Hormones (BGH) and antibiotics
  • The milk from these cows can contain up to 750 million dead pus cells per liter


The Harmful Effects of Conventional Milk on Humans


  • We consume more GMOs, which are very dangerous to your health according to Dr. Oz  (warning, the video might be graphic)
  • We consume milk that contains 30 to 50 % more saturated fats because the cows do not graze on nutrient rich grass
  • We are more susceptible to antibiotic resistant diseases like MRSA
  • We greatly increase our chances of hormone related cancers in the breast and testes


Benefits of  Organically Grown Milk: Especially When the Cows are Grass-Fed


  • We are not exposed to questionable GMOs
  • We receive higher amounts of  CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which is excellent for overall health, according to Dr. Mercola
  • We recieve higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids, which greatly benefit our hearts and reduce the risk of having any kind of heart attack (including a sudden heart attack), according to a scientific study done by The American Heart Association
  • We receive higher amounts of oleic acid, which helps to reduce LDL (bad cholesterol levels)
  • We increase our overal antioxidant levels
  • We receive less saturated fat
  • We gain a stronger immune system


Now for me, these main key points make my decision for purchasing organic milk a “no brainer.” I do it in hopes that my purchasing dollar will send the message that these harmful and cruel industrial-scale factory-farming practices should end, and I do it to improve my family’s health. However, I must admit that not all organic milk is created equally.  So, if you decide that you want to start giving your family organic milk, I provided a quick guide to help you make the right choice for your family and your finances.


The Cornucopia Institute has put together the Organic Dairy Report/Ratings  that rates the quality of different organic milk  brands.  The healthiest and most nutritional milk has a 5 cow star rating (too cute!) and the least healthy/nutritional milk has a 1 or 0 cow rating.


The chart is pretty straight forward and gives you what you need to make the right decision for you and your family.  



Harvard Gazette

The Cornucopia Institute

The Humane Society

Food Matters TV

Worlds healthiest Food

Union of Concerned Scientist

Dr. Mercola


Dairy Consumption is a Trigger for Severe Allergy Symptoms

It’s springtime again and unfortunately, many allergy sufferers are beginning to feel the affect of the warm weather.  Mother Nature’s blossoming flowers, trees, and shrubs are releasing allergens such as pollen and ragweed into the air, which causes a chain reaction of  sneezing, wheezing, coughing, and nose blowing misery for 50 million people in America.   And what’s even worse, these beautiful, blossoming frenemies have catapulted allergies to the 5th spot among chronic diseases.


Now granted, this data does sound alarming, but as with all statistics, there are always variables that can skew the numbers so to speak.  So what do these numbers really mean? Ok- there are many people who really do suffer miserably with allergies, but the good news is that many of them are only slightly allergic to common allergens such as pollen and ragweed.  Furthermore, the severe symptoms that they experience are possibly caused by certain triggers such as dairy.  So, if they avoid dairy during allergy season, their allergy symptoms might be mild or even better, might just simply go away. Now that’s data that can make everyone, especially allergy sufferers, breath more easily.



Milk does the Body Good- Well not Always!


CUSH No Dairy

Research has shown that dairy can actually trigger many of the allergic symptoms that people experience during the spring. Sorry dairy lovers, but you just might have to give up dairy based milk and cookies, milk shakes, and even cheese until the allergens die down in the air. 


It turns out that many seasonal allergy sufferers just might be harboring an undiagnosed sensitivity to dairy. If the body has a sensitivity to dairy, it will be in a heightened attack mode after you have consumed it. Simultaneously, if seasonal allergens are introduced during this time, your body will overreact because it is already on high alert.


Conversely, if you don’t consume dairy during allergy season, your body will not be on high alert. Therefore, when allergens like ragweed and pollen are introduced, your body will see them as a minor problem and respond mildly to them-if it responds at all.


The Milk Experiment


When I first told my husband Joe this (he used to suffer horribly from allergies), he rolled his eyes and refused to entertain the concept of removing dairy from his diet.  After all, I had just started studying nutrition at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition so his scientific brain dismissed the message as silliness.  I’m sure he was asking himself what could  she possibly know as a new student?


So, I had to speak to him on his level and I asked him to conduct his own scientific experiment.    I told him to just try it for one week, which was huge because he loves milk and did not want to part with it.  But alas, he acquiesced and the rest is history, as they say.


Joe was totally blown away with the results.  His allergy symptoms of severe head aches (so severe he would often be bed ridden) simply went away.  And so did all of the constant nose blowing and watery eyes that annoyed the both of us to no end.


That was 6 years ago and he remains pretty much allergy free when he doesn’t consume dairy during the allergy season.  In addition (and perhaps most importantly), he trusts homeopathic medicine and often asks me for natural remedies to cure whatever ails him.  I guess you can say that this little experiment turned out to be a win-win for both of us:  The money we saved on medicine during allergy season-$100.00.  Getting my husband to embrace homeopathic remedies-now that was priceless!








How to up Your Vitamin D Levels and Reclaim Your Health

Although there have been numerous news reports covering the fact that there’s a vitamin D deficiency epidemic in America, very few people seem to be listening.  If you happen to be one of those people- I’m giving you a friendly nudge to wake you up.  This is a serious topic so I won’t beat around the bush. Here’s the deal- if you suffer from any of the illnesses listed below, you just might be deficient in vitamin D.


Musculosketal Disorders: Osteoporosis, Rickets, Aching bones, Soft Bones, Bones that fracture/break easily

Autoimmune Disorders: Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Type 1 Diabetes, Grave’s Disease, Multiple Schlerosis

Hair and Skin Disorders:  Hair Loss, Eczema, Psoriasis, Hyperpigmentation

Mental Health Disorders: Depression

Oral Health: Peridontal Disease, Dental Caries

Women’s Health:  Infertility, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Respiratory: Asthma, Pneumonia, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Cancer: All Cancers


That’s a long list of illnesses, I know. But guess what! I could have named a whole lot more, however, I think you get the  point of just how important vitamin D is. And just to clarify, vitamin D deficiency might not cause all of those diseases directly.  Medical doctors say that having one automimmune disease will more than likely lead to another autoimmune disease or another example is if you have high blood pressure, it’s highly possible that you will also develop diabetes. 


Now having said that, if you do suffer from one of the above illnesses and/or your vitamin D levels are low, don’t despair.  There are numerous ways to increase your  levels and they are pretty simply to do.


For example, you could just spend a little bit of “me” time basking in the sun because it naturally provides you with vitamin D. Or, if the idea of basking in the sun doesn’t work for you, you could always eat your way to optimum levels (but that might be a whole lot of eating), which leads me to the third option.  You could take a vitamin D supplement.  I highly recommend the first and last options-but, I’ll discuss all three.


Vitamin D Sources