Springtime Health Hacks! --- Guest Post by Brittany Carlson April 26 2017

Join us for our very first Women in Wellness Night!   Network with other women interested in health, wellness, fitness, nutrition and allied fields.  We'll mix and mingle from 6:30pm-7pm, then enjoy an interactive panel of nutrition experts. Special thanks to our partner SkinSpirit, who will gift the first 20 registrants with a complimentary B12 shot - sweet!

Glowing skin?  Radiant health?  Resilient immune system?  Vibrant energy? All of these things and more begin with your liver and digestive health. Explore the importance of detoxification with an amazing panel of three local nutrition experts. 

Brittany Carlson of Wellbeing with Brittany will present How to Improve Digestion and Repair Your Gut.  Digestive discomfort can ruin your entire day. It can be embarrassing, uncomfortable, and exhausting. Brittany will share her top recommendations for improving your digestive health and creating a healthy gut so you can live your life to it's fullest.

Below, Brittany shares some of her favorite Health Hacks --- join us Thursday April 27th to learn more!

Cold Showers to Improve Digestion
Over the past 6 months, I have been ending my hot showers with 1 minute of cold water. Why would I put myself through this? My goal is to tone my vagus nerve, a nerve with many branches running from the brainstem at the back of your head to the base of your neck. The vagus nerve is the main highway in the nervous system, connecting the brain and gut. A healthy vagus nerve is essential for digestion. It stimulates enzyme secretion, increases the flow of bile to break down fat, and triggers peristalsis, which supports the movement of food through your intestines. The vagus nerve is also associated with insulin secretion and a well functioning immune system.

As someone who runs cold, I was hesitant to do this at first since I wanted to be warm getting out of the shower. I quickly realized that I was actually warmer stepping out of a cold shower versus a hot shower as cold water increases blood circulation. The last minute of my shower, I let the cold water hit the back of my neck and then rinse my whole body. It is truly invigorating! I built my way up from 10 seconds to 1 minute over time. I recommend giving yourself at least 10 days of ending on cold water before you give up— it quickly becomes a habit and is now something I don’t go without!

Collagen for Gut Support
Every day, I add 2 teaspoons of collagen to my morning smoothie. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and is found in your skin, nails, digestive tract, muscles and bones. In terms of gut support and repair, it is essential. Collagen helps to repair the gut wall, strengthening the cells lining your intestines so you don’t absorb foods that are not completely broken down. It also promotes bile and enzyme secretion to aid in the digestion of fats. In fact, some of my most sensitive IBS clients unable to tolerate digestive enzymes and/or probiotic supplements start with collagen. It is a gentle way to assist your body in digestion, supporting the body’s overall foundation.

Check out my daily smoothie below— while it's basic, it keeps me fueled for several hours and is low glycemic to keep my blood sugar balanced. If you want a thicker smoothie, try adding avocado or banana.
1/2 cup blueberries
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 teaspoons collagen
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Green Tea for Improved Blood Sugar Balance
I gave up my daily morning cup of coffee this year and substituted it with matcha green tea, ground Japanese green tea leaves. I didn’t want to give up caffeine completely but I wanted to reduce my intake. To compare the two, coffee has 100mg of caffeine per cup while matcha has about 25-30mg of caffeine per cup— which for me, is still enough to get me going. I’m not against coffee for everyone but since I gave it up, I experience a more consistent energy throughout the day and no longer have an afternoon slump. Since my lull is gone, so is my daily dose of dark chocolate and overall cravings for sugar. A 2006 Annals of Internal Medicine study found that there is an inverse relationship between diabetes and green tea consumption; people that consume green tea are less likely to develop type II diabetes. In this particular study, green tea reduced fasting glucose levels and A1c markers. 

My morning matcha drink recipe is below, incase you want to give it a try! 

2 teaspoons of matcha (I use Two Hills Organic Matcha)
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1/2 cup of coconut milk (I use Native Forest Simple Coconut Milk)
1 cup of water 
Whisk ingredients together and enjoy! If you like your matcha extra hot, put ingredients into a saucepan to heat.

For more health tips and recipes, visit my website.