Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented beverage made from black tea and either sugar, honey or fruit, which has beneficial probiotic and antibiotic qualities. Once the solution is mixed, it is then fermented by a combination of bacteria and yeast better known as SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). There are numerous positive effects on the body, which are discussed here.

GUT HEALTH:

Kombucha is loaded with good bacteria (known as probiotics), as well as enzymes and yeast which assist in breaking down foods for enhanced absorption and digestion. Since the mixture is doing some of the work in digestion, your gut is better able to do its job without being overloaded. Kombucha also restores a healthy pH balance in the gut, and its consumption is highly recommended for individuals dealing with irritable bowel syndrome, Candida overgrowth, and many other digestive disorders.

The fermentation process involved in the production of kombucha also produces butyric acid, which has strong antimicrobial and anti-cancer features, protects the gut against yeast overgrowth, and destroys parasites which might be lurking in your gastrointestinal tract.

ALL THAT GOOD STUFF:

The fermentation process involved in making kombucha produces by-products such as acetic acid, which inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria, thus conferring a protective effect upon the body against infection. Kombucha also contains naturally occurring glucosamine, so chugging this fermented beverage can also aid in joint function and health. It is also chock-full of vitamin C and vitamin B, and truly helps to cleanse the liver and rid the body of free radicals.

I remember a roommate from 2008 who had begun drinking raw kombucha regularly, and he insisted that it was the most fantastic new health beverage. What I hadn’t realized then was that kombucha has actually been around for over 2,000 years, originating in China, then spreading to countries such as Korea, Japan, Russia, and India.

My roommate kept insisting that I try kombucha, even when I told him that the slimy sludge floating in the bottles made me want to gag. I finally did try a sip of kombucha in 2009, and found that I didn’t like the incredibly tart, vinegary flavor at all.

Despite my first unfavorable experience kombucha, I decided to try some of the newer brands, like Health-Ade, Synergy and Revive, last year. It turns out that kombucha has come a long way, with better flavor, and the SCOBY colonies are somehow less disgusting than what I remember from years ago. The fruitier versions are fizzy, refreshing, and quite tasty. Because of its acidity, kombucha should not be consumed in excess. My recommendation is to drink 4 ounces per day to obtain the probiotic benefits of this strange and popular beverage.

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It’s Really All Just Stuff

I love beautiful things like nice watches, nice cars, luxurious bed linens, designer clothing, museum grade wall art, diamonds, etc. But I also struggle with the strong belief that it’s all just STUFF, and that monetary value can plummet to nothing as a result of natural disaster, fire, theft or loss. For this reason, I tend to shy away from purchasing anything that is nice enough to spark up anxiety over how I would feel if something happened to that item. In addition, I lack the financial resources to make big ticket purchases anyway.

After seeing the news coverage on the devastation which Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma wrought over parts of our country, I thought even harder about personal belongings and how everything can be destroyed so quickly. My heart goes out to every single resident in Houston, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina who has been affected by Mother Nature’s fury. Natural disasters become equalizers, pitching people from all socioeconomic strata into the same situation, homeless, without power, and in some cases, without a means to make a living.

When the La Tuna Wildfire hit the Tujunga/Sunland/Burbank area on September 1st, I was definitely concerned for my safety. The fire burned over 2,000 acres that first day, then by September 3rd, had destroyed over 7,000 acres and reached the community in which I live. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep very much that weekend and was ready to pack some essentials (food, water, clothing for a couple of days) and my cats and evacuate if the fires encroached on structures. That fire certainly put things into perspective for me, and I found myself thinking about what is truly important to me.

I am always grateful for having a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in at night, food and water, plumbing, electricity, and transportation. We can’t take these things for granted.

How To Keep Cool At Night

The one part about summer which I never miss is the endless string of hot nights which keep me tossing and turning. In an effort to keep the ambient temperature as comfortable as possible while I slumber, I have tried many different methods to cool down, and some still do the trick quite nicely. Thankfully, the mercury should start dropping soon, and the blazing hot nights will abate.

Here’s what has worked nicely for me in my quest for a cool sleeping environment:

1. Central A/C is always set for a certain temperature. We have it set at 77 degrees because at 78 degrees or higher, the entire household (there are four of us) bakes like incubating baby chicks.

2. The ceiling fan in my bedroom is always on. There’s nothing I can do about the fan placement, and often lament the fact that the fan is positioned over the foot of my bed instead of over my head, but the bedroom is huge. If I owned the place I live in, I would install three ceiling fans in line so that I could stay cool in bed, sitting in front of the television, or sitting at my desk on the other side of the room.

3. I have two sleek tabletop fans on my nightstands which are wonderful on hot nights. They have a slim profile, and are relatively quiet.

4. I always use 100% Egyptian cotton sheets, which have more of a tendency to stay cool than sheets which are a lower thread count or made of synthetic materials.

5. I have a cooling mattress pad on my mattress. The brand I have, PureCare Frio 11 Inch Cooling Mattress Protector, is acceptable but not great.

Frio Cooling Mattress Pad

Several other bloggers have recommended the Slumber Cloud Nacreous Mattress Pad which is available at slumbercloud.com, and I have a sneaking suspicion that it does a better job of cooling than the Frio.

6. When I was dealing with the worst of my perimenopausal nights sweats, I would place an ice cold gel pack between my shoulder blades and sleep on my back so that I could maximize the surface area which came into contact with the pack. After two summers of using gel packs on a nightly basis, I am thrilled that I haven’t had to resort to such craziness this summer.

7. On the hottest summer nights, I will take a tepid shower before retiring. The shower ritual cools core body temperature and primes the body for more restful sleep.

8. I will often kick a foot or an entire leg out from under the covers to cool down. This has been scientifically proven to decrease core body temperature. Some researchers even recommend that people sleep with their feet completely unencumbered by socks or bedding.

What did NOT work for me was a bed fan. I had seen the BedJet Climate Comfort Cooling Fan and was intrigued by it, but the steep price ($300 and up) caused me to lose interest quickly. When I learned that there was a Brookstone version of the bed fan, and that it was $99, I quickly purchased it, only to be so disappointed by the performance that I returned it. Even with the lightweight sheets I have on the bed and a simple coverlet (no blanket, no heavy comforter), and with the fan cranked up to the maximum setting, the device spewed out just enough air power to keep the toes of one foot cool.

I am intrigued by the Breezy Buddy fan-cooled pillow and wish I had known about this product when I was in the throes of hormonal night sweats. However, I no longer need such a device.

If you are looking for ways to cool down your bedroom, you might want to try a few of the suggestions I have discussed here. Here’s to a restful and cool night’s sleep!

The Amazon Genie

Shopping isn’t what it used to be, thank goodness. As one who cannot stand the arduous process of shopping in brick and mortar stores, I am so thankful for the advent of online shopping. Within a few minutes, you can now purchase just about anything under the sun via your computer or phone, saving you the hassle of driving somewhere, battling crowds, and dealing with the frustration of traipsing from store to store in search of the item you desire.

I know there are people out there who get some sort of enjoyment out of visiting stores and browsing through merchandise, but for the rest of us, online shopping is truly a godsend. Online stores have also grown into megastores, with arguably the largest one being Amazon.

Amazon is like a magic genie which can grant just about any wish to a shopper. Did you say you want a gold glitter lamp? Ta-da! Your wish is granted: https://www.amazon.com/14-5-Inch-Rainbow-Glitter-Clear-Liquid/dp/B015EEPKJW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1505102175&sr=8-1&keywords=gold+glitter+lamp

Gold Gliiter Lamp

Or maybe you have your heart set on a pair of orange running shoes…here you go:
https://www.amazon.com/ASICS-Gel-Kayano-Running-Orange-Safety/dp/B017SAAB0I/ref=sr_1_17?ie=UTF8&qid=1505102905&sr=8-17&keywords=mens+orange+athletic+shoes

Orange Athletic Shoes

If you aren’t happy with the selections or the prices you see on Amazon, you can hop onto eBay, or do a Google search which will yield numerous options for you to select from. On the plus side, you can’t beat the convenience which comes with online shopping. On the minus side, a whole generation of people who expect instant gratification has sprouted up. The demand for more esoteric and bizarre items has increased as a result of the plethora of merchandise which is available out there. It’s a whole new age.

No Olympia For Me This Year

Fun times from Olympia 2011 with Anca and Farinaz

For the past seven years, I have attended Olympia every year and have always enjoyed the whole experience. This year, however, I will not be attending since the main sports supplement company I work with, SWAT Fuel, will not have a presence there this time around. What is strange for me is that I am not bothered by the fact that I won’t be rubbing elbows with the fitness and bodybuilding icons I have come to know over the years. In some sense I am actually relieved that I will get a break this year, since I have been traveling more this year and could use a staycation.

For those of you who are wondering what event I will be at next, please come by and say hi at the Ferrigno Legacy on November 18th and 19th. I will be at the Flexpo, handing out samples of SWAT Fuel’s 9mm+P, which is a combination preworkout/endurance/thermogenic formula unlike anything else on the market!

For more information and tickets to the Ferrigno Legacy, please visit: https://www.ferrignolegacy.com/

YouTube Review Of Spry Sugarfree Gum

Many people who know me well know that I won’t touch any products which contain aspartame, and I am also not a huge fan of sucralose. It is such a relief to know that great natural products like Spry Sugarfree Gum are available to consumers. Spry is sweetened with xylitol and is all natural, plus the flavors are very tasty and long-lasting. You can watch my unbiased review of Spry Gum here: