May 19, 2015

Health Fads - I Tried 'Em

Since becoming a blogger, and actively reading other people's blogs, I've learned and been exposed to a multitude of ideas.  Some have been great, some not worth thinking about, and some have even been game changers.

In addition to picking up new ideas and principles, I've jumped on board a bunch of health fads, the most recent being my exploration of essential oils.  After a bit of consideration, I realized this may be the most blogworthy thing I've ever done, and so I present to you:

Health Fads I Tried & How it Turned Out


Lemon Water

Nadine sold me pretty hard on this with her post, The Benefits of Lemon Water, and I thought, "Why not?"  It's easy enough.  So for about a month, I bought a bag of lemons every week, and squeezed a lemon into my water every day.

The Experience

The taste is a bit potent when you drink that much lemon juice all at once (for my weight, it was a whole lemon, but for a thinner person, it'd just be one half).  After a while, I got used to it, but I never liked how the taste lingered in my water bottle, and made water refills taste odd for the rest of the day.  For the most part, I didn't notice any increase in energy or anything like that, but there was one run that went particularly well.  It was a longer run, and about every mile I'd take a sip of my lemon water, and it really felt like I'd get an extra burst of something with each sip (instead of the water belly that is the usual result).  And it was awesome and exciting, but then I never had a repeat of that experience, so I guess it's a bit inconclusive.  The only other thing worth mentioning is that, maybe because of the impact on my taste buds, I felt like I craved sweets a bit less after drinking it.

Have I Continued?

I stopped for a while.  The extra $5 a week seemed like an unnecessary expense for something that didn't keep anyone fed.  But, I started again, primarily because I'm struggling with my sugar addiction (term used only half jokingly) and I need any edge I can get!  And also because having lemons on hand is convenient for cooking or DIY hygiene/cleaning products.

Probiotics

They're supposed to be good for digestive health, and I suppose, if I'm being honest, a small part of me was hoping they'd improve my metabolism.  There's nothing to support that, so I don't know why I was expecting it.

The Experience

When you read more about probiotics, you find that they're best for people who have digestive issues, and so I really didn't experience anything.  I've been really regular ever since I started incorporating vegetables into every meal, and I have Greek yogurt in my smoothies every morning, so I'm already exposed to a fair amount of healthy bacteria.  At one point, I decided to up it to 2 pills a day (the maximum recommended amount) and while I did notice a change, it wasn't necessarily a pleasant one.  (Oh, the bloating and gassiness.  Mistakes were made!)

Have I Continued?

I'll probably finish out the bottle that I purchased (just one a day though), but I don't think I'll buy more.  My diet is pretty well rounded at this point, and I don't think this is a supplement that does much for me.  I would, however, recommend you give this a try if you have digestive issues (especially diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome), which is what this Harvard Health Publication recommends it for.  And if you're looking for a probiotic supplement, this article at the Daily Burn gives pretty good guidelines on what makes a probiotic effective (number of organisms, strains, viable until end of shelf life, etc).

Oil Pulling

I discovered this by accident when I was trying to research essential oils.  The idea behind this is that if you swish with oil instead of mouthwash (or in addition to), the oil will draw out harmful toxins in your body.  I never really bought into that, but that articles I read about it (here's a great one from Authority Nutrition) said that even if the toxin thing doesn't work, coconut oil is an antimicrobial, so it will help to reduce mouth bacteria, and most articles I read mentioned having whiter teeth after giving it a try.

The Experience

While you can use other types of oil, most of the articles I read recommended coconut oil, and it's pretty multipurpose, so I used that.  It's a solid with a really low melting point, so it becomes liquid almost immediately after starting to swish.  I'd read a few posts that described being nauseated or gagging because of all the liquid that accumulates in your mouth, but I had no issues with that, and the fact that it was oil vs any other mouthwash really didn't bother me.  I only swished for a longer length of time (20 minutes-ish) a couple times, because it's just not practical.  20 minutes is supposed to do the toxin thing, while a couple minutes is plenty for just dental hygiene.  Again, people have reported headaches or "detox" reactions, but I noticed none of that, just that my mouth was tired after 20 minutes of swishing.

Have I Continued?

Yes.  Not for any sort of detox, but because I was tired of my mouthwash turning my tongue blue, and I like the idea of a natural alternative to mouthwash.  I do still occasionally use an alcohol based mouthwash, or a fluoride rinse, but mostly I just swish with coconut oil before brushing my teeth in the morning.  I haven't noticed the whitening effect everyone was so excited about (which is disappointing), but it's still worth it to me.  NOTE: spit into the toilet or trash.  Every article I read warned about the oil clogging your sink.

Green Tea

Every article I read about green tea is practically singing its praises.  I'll admit, again I was hoping for some sort of metabolism boost or weight loss effect.  But the practical side of my brain figured, if nothing else, swapping coffee for green tea would lower my caffeine intake, which is good for the following reasons: 1) My blood pressure was crawling upwards and high blood pressure runs in our family 2) I'd started actively craving and becoming reliant on coffee and with my addictive personality that is a bad sign 3) I get jittery pretty easily - 1 cup of coffee = happy, 2 cups = the shakes!

The Experience

No magic here either.  No noticeable impact on health or energy.  BUT, my blood pressure is better than it is when I drink coffee every day, green tea never makes me jittery, and I don't have caffeine "cravings" anymore.  I've also noticed less staining on my teeth than when I was drinking coffee, but that could also be from the oil pulling.

Have I Continued?

Heck, yeah!  I know I hope for each new fad to be a magical source of energy, health, and high metabolism, but the practical side of my brain knows that's ridiculous.  So I'm perfectly happy with green tea being nothing but a substitute for coffee.  Plus, one of the freebies from a coffee/tea festival that we went to a few weeks back (random, yes) was a super awesome "Jasmine Green Tea."  It smells amazing and tastes way better than the matcha stuff my work gets from Costco.

Chia Seeds

I bought these both because they were an ingredient in that smoothie recipe from The Daily Tay, and chia seeds were heavily endorsed by the author of Born to Run, which I found incredibly inspiring.

The Experience

Chia seeds are weird!  At first it was almost like magic, putting them in liquid and then seeing how they puff up.  And the texture!  Bizarre.  But they're a welcome enough addition to my smoothie.  And 1 tsp a day lasts a long time!

Have I Continued

I haven't made it through my first bag, yet, but I think I'll continue to use them for smoothies, and maybe as a way to make other food items more filling.  I definitely want to try some of the chia seed pudding recipes I've seen and if I can trick my body into craving that instead of a candy bar, that would be fantastic!

What's next?

I think I've tried most of the things I can put in my body (except flaxseed; I need to buy some flaxseed), and I've been wanting to experiment with DIY hygiene products, cleaning products, and pretty much anything that lets me use my new essential oils kit.  Oh, and I'm intrigued by this no shampoo thing!

What fads have you tried?  More importantly, what have you liked and kept doing?!


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9 comments:

  1. Hmm. interesting! I've tried a lot of these, but like you-I'm not sure I actually FEEL the benefits. I still put chia seeds in my smoothies because i like the texture, I take probiotics out of habit, I drink lemon water because it's tasty, and I take a shot of apple cider vinegar every morning because I hate myself.
    I don't know that any of them actually make me feel better, though I haven't had a yeast infection since I started the probiotics.

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    1. Lol! I don't know if you'll come back to this post to see the response, but if you do, I would love to hear the rationale behind the apple cider vinegar.

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  2. I love lemon water. I don't think it does anything, but I love the taste of lemons so I keep drinking it.
    I stopped probiotics. I didn't notice a difference.
    I still like green tea. Dandelion tea will give you the weight loss effects (there's actually a warning on the box to only have it for 2 weeks, then break) but green tea tastes better. I do both.

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  3. I hate lemons so regardless of the benefits, i will never drink lemon water. vomit. i also don't like green tea. there are a lot of things that say they are awesome and great for you, but if i don't like it, i can't force myself.
    i don't like chia seeds in my smoothies, they're weird lol. i make 'chia pudding' i guess. i don't know, i throw them in with oats, blueberries and milk. not sure you can call it pudding but whatever. i like that better than in a smoothie!

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  4. I really wish I liked green tea! It has so many benefits, but I can't get past the flavor. I've never really tried any particular diet or fad; I try and stick with eating well rounded 'real' food, meaning lots of fresh stuff, with few processed things. I feel like lately, I've fallen off the wagon a bit, so I'm definitely looking forward to the gardening season starting, and farmer's markets too!

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    1. I've never really shopped at the Farmer's Market, but I'm starting to think I should! Produce is so expensive and it's all too easy to buy something that isn't as fresh as you think it is and then it goes bad almost immediately.

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  5. I still drink my lemon water in the mornings. For me, it really does help with the sweet cravings and keeps me from grabbing a second cup of coffee. I drink one cup of green tea every weekday at work about an hour before lunch to hold off the hunger for a bit in order to better break up my day. I cant get myself to do the oil pulling. I am a texture person and I just cant. I have shared my love of flaxseed with you already :)

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  6. I just bought a bottle of b12 because it said it helps with metabolism. I don't know if it works yet, because I just started. But I'll let you know.

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  7. I drank a lot of lemon water over the winter and I LOVED it, but it made my teeth sensitive after a while! I stopped and went back to normal water but I add lemon now and then for a treat!

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