health benefits of spirulina

When I was 17, during my summer break between my junior and senior years of high school,  I worked at a restaurant with some interesting characters, let me tell you.

I worked with this lady; we’ll call her for anonymities sake, Cindy.  Cindy was in her early 50’s and didn’t have a single wrinkle on her face or gray hair on her head, despite her vocation, she seemed biologically unphased by life.

Now Cindy wasn’t a marathon runner or even a ‘clean eater’ — though that term wasn’t quite as relevant as is today — and she was a longtime cigarette smoker.

One day I just asked her, “Cindy, how is it that you smoke and eat fried fish and have no wrinkles, gray hairs, and look like you’re still in your thirties?”  She said, “I dunno, I guess it’s because I drink chlorella and spirulina.  Every day.”

I didn’t know what the hell she was talking about, honestly, to me, it sounded like witchcraft.  But she explained to me that she was talking about drinking blue-green algae.  As you can imagine, at age 17, I thought she was bullshitting me.  Completely.  I’d believe she ate sea scuz every day and then I’d be caught drinking pond water the next day hoping I too had found the fountain of youth.

I chalked Cindy’s admission to me up to the fact that she probably had great genes (which is important, don’t get me wrong) and not because she was drinking magic Darwinian juice cocktails.

Fast-forward to years later when I decided to study nutritional therapy, and wouldn’t you know what I started reading multiple studies on?  Spirulina.

The magic stuff first mentioned to me by my ex-co-worker, Cindy, was, in fact, one of the most super foods substances I had ever read about.

What is spirulina?

Spirulina is a blue-green algae freshwater plant.

But don’t be turned off just yet! Researchers from around the globe have been studying and measuring the benefits of regular spirulina consumption.   And spirulina has been proven to be beneficial for easing a multitude of health issues and continuing research brings light to its amazing benefits with each passing year.

Spirulina can be purchased in multiple forms and be added to everything from smoothies to baked goods, making getting your daily fix super easy!

What is in spirulina?

Though it can vary from product to product, a serving of approximately 30 grams of spirulina contains:

  • 22 essential amino acids
  • Vitamins, including B-complex, vitamin E
  • Beta-carotene
  • Manganese
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Selenium
  • Essential fatty acids

health benefits of spirulina

What health benefits does spirulina offer?

Cholesterol:  A recent study, conducted in Greece, gave a group of 52 adults with newly diagnosed dyslipidemia (high cholesterol/high triglycerides/low HDL) one gram of spirulina for three months.  Blood work taken at the beginning and end of the study and what they discovered was, participants, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol significantly decreased.  By how much?

  • Triglycerides dropped by 16.3%
  • Total cholesterol by 8.9%
  • LDL cholesterol by 10.1%
  • Total cholesterol to HDL ratio by 11.5%

Upon concluding this study, researchers discovered that spirulina supplementation could have a positive effect on lowering lipids, mainly triglycerides.

Reducing blood pressure:  One study, conducted in Mexico, evaluated a group of 16 men and 20 women — who had no diagnosed history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes — over a period of six weeks.  During the six weeks, participants were told not to modify their lifestyle or diet.  Participants were given three .5 gram tablets of spirulina every eight hours over this six week period.  What they discovered at the end of the study is spirulina does, in fact, have lipid-lowering effects particularly on low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and Triacylglycerol (adipose tissue used for energy storage) as well as positive effects on lowering overall blood pressure.  The ultimate determination being?  Spirulina could is a useful supplement for dyslipidemic and hypertensive patients.

Allergies/Chronic Sinus Issues:  Do you suffer from seasonal allergies or chronic sinus problems?  My husband and I do, and it is unbelievable when we added up the cost of purchasing Sudafed, Loratadine, and Benadryl Plus for months on end.  Not to mention, pharmaceutical solutions are not the best things to be taking long-term.  One study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in 2005 found that patients dealing with allergic rhinitis saw marked improvements in their sinus function after taking Spirulina.  The study separated patients into three groups.  The first group received a placebo, the second group received 1000 mg of spirulina, and the third group received 2000 mg of Spirulina.  Their findings?  The patients in the placebo group showed no signs of improvement.  The group given 1000 mg saw a slight improvement, while the group given the 2000 mg showed significant improvement with their allergic rhinitis symptoms.  Results were documented by measuring immune system signals in the bloodstream of the patients, including interferon and cytokines levels at the beginning and end of the study.

Boosts weight loss:  A study conducted at the University of Medical Sciences in Poland used a double-blind study on a group of 40 patients with hypertension but no evidence of another cardiovascular disease.  Patients split into two groups; one group received 2.0 grams of Hawaiian spirulina, while the second group was given a placebo to take over the course of three months.  Their BMI, systolic and diastolic blood pressure and stiffness index (SI) were measured before and after the study concluded.  Their findings?  After three months, the group that received spirulina showed reductions in BMI, overall weight, systolic blood pressure, and stiffness index vs. the placebo group whose tested parameters showed no changes.

Spirulina is a super food.  I add it to my breakfast smoothie each morning and add it to anything from pasta sauce to baked goods.  The brand I like to use is Naturya Organic Spirulina Powder — it’s affordable, organic, and ticks all of the boxes for my husband and me to consume.  My husband has a gluten intolerance issue, so I always have to check every label so carefully.  Here are the nutrition and ingredient facts for this product, but there are many other great brands to choose from on the market.  Just be sure to buy spirulina that is free from contamination.

health benefits of spirulina

Source: www.hollandandbarret.com

What is contamination free spirulina?

Spirulina comes from the ocean, therefore depending on how it is processed by the manufacturer, it could potentially contain harmful substances which could lead to unnecessary health issues.  There is not much data out there concerning spirulina use for pregnant and breastfeeding women and children.

Alway check with your health care provider before taking this or any supplement to be on the safe side!

Have you added spirulina to your daily diet yet?

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Two Free HIIT Workouts I Use with My Clients

Hey, guys!

I probably seem like a distant memory at this stage with this blog.  I hope you are all well and as cliche, as it sounds, I cannot believe that it is nearly April!

I am still working on things and pursuing other projects both personally and professionally.  I have a new coaching site and blog that you can check out and follow on Instagram.  It’s still early days, but it’s one of a couple of projects I am putting time and energy into behind the scenes.

I just spent nearly two weeks sick as a dog with the flu/cold/bronchitis/stomach trauma.  Good times! :/

Every single time I get sick like that, I am reminded how much it depresses me when I can’t exercise and have little energy.

Being forced to rest and take time out always makes me ponder how I used to be so unhappy before I made taking care of my health a top priority.

With the seasons changing and better weather on the way, people are looking for new workouts.  Or emailing me because for people I know I am the “on-call/go-to” when it comes to looking for a place to start feeling better.

I thought I would share two free HIIT workouts I use with my clients.

I am a big fan of getting in 3-4 HIIT  workouts per week for whatever your fitness and health goals may be.  One of the great things about HIIT is that it is scaleable.

What is an all out effort for you, might not be for the person next to you, but you get out of your workouts what you put into them, and these two workouts give you an opportunity to challenge yourself, have fun, and add some variety to your usual workout schedule?

They also require little to no equipment and space, so if you’ve got 30 minutes, you’re ready to go!

I hope everyone is doing well and keeping their spirits high in these transitional and challenging times in the world.

Believe it or not, despite the negativity out there, the past few months have reminded me that we are all responsible for our hustle and that our voices and actions can make a difference.

Be well and let me know if you try these out (or PIN them for later!).

Two Free HIIT Workouts I Use with My Clients

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If you like this workout you should check out my workout programs curated by me through Booya Fitness!  

How is spring going for you so far?

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how to fight your inner conflicts

In every facet of our lives, we must be in touch with what motivates us.  Without knowing our motivations, we cannot get to the very core of what makes us who we are.

Why is this important?

It’s important because it’s what’s  within us that is our true  self.  Everything else is a result of our  mental conditioning.

We become our thoughts.  And, when our thoughts are not positive or self-fulfilling, they create this alternative self that we believe ourselves to be in place of the person we truly are deep down at our very core.

I know this because I thought I wasn’t good enough for anything or anyone.  I walked around the world not believing in myself and giving others permission not to believe in me either.  It was a hopeless cycle because when others didn’t believe in me, it confirmed my belief that I wasn’t good enough.

Are you dizzy yet?  You probably are, because living like this is like being on an emotional Tilt-A-Whirl.

However, there is a stop button, and you have control over it.  In fact, not only can you stop this dizzying ride but you can get off of it and leave it behind for good.

3 Actions To Fight Your Inner Conflicts

I know it seems pretty simplistic to say that just three steps which can improve your life, but it’s the power of these measures that make them so profound.

Start small with these steps, and you will be on your way to living a less dramatic and more productive, meaningful existence.

Are you ready for them?

Action 1:  Stop

That’s it. Just stop.

For instance, when I started my wellness journey after the death of my father, I was doing these three steps without even realizing it.

I stopped eating poorly.  I started exercising and paying attention to what I was eating.  I let myself be proactive about my health and happiness.  When something isn’t working for you, the very first thing you need to do is figure out what you can take control of and stop.

You must do something to interrupt the addictive emotional patterns.

So, in my case, I was tired of feeling empty and insignificant.  I was sick of using food and alcohol to numb myself while I continued to wonder why nothing in my life was going right.

I was tired of feeling like I had no control over anything; including myself.

I had programmed myself to believe that being a shell of a person was enough for me and that it was all that I deserved.  All the while, inside of me, was that confident, active, and intelligent person hidden under years of conditioning myself to feel otherwise.

I was sick of using food and alcohol to numb myself while I continued to wonder why nothing in my life was going right.

The person I was meant to be was hidden away under all of that self-destructive behavior and unhappiness. The first step I had to take to get back to my real self, was to interrupt the emotional pattern that was limiting me.  By discontinuing the negative behaviors, I did have control over (food choices, overeating, and inactivity).

Action 2:  Start

The beginning of a journey of self-rediscovery and leading a more passionate life is to stop focusing on what you think you can’t do.  If you feel like it’s a hopeless situation, these two steps will help you a) getting out of your comfort zone and b)raising your standards.

It may seem like an impossible task, but even a baby step outside of your comfort zone is an accomplishment, and a will start allowing newer and healthier habits to take hold.  When I decided to eat healthier and exercise five days a week, it was far from comfortable.  I wanted to quit at first, but I just kept reminding myself that if I didn’t make this commitment to myself, I wouldn’t be able to commit to anything else either.  I raised my standards for myself, and it leads to many additional positive changes and opportunities.

Action 3:  Become

Once the negative cycle has stopped and you have started to do things that break you out of your comfort zone, you will see yourself emerge and become the person you have always been meant to be.

The third step is when you come into your “ideal self.”  The self who has been inside of you all of your life. The one who can finally stand up to all of your negative self-talk and claims of incapability

When you finally decide you’ve got to make a change if you stop with the negative and start with the positive your true self will have no choice but to become evident to you and the world around you.

The inner conflict that I felt for so many years was due to the battle that my head waged against my heart.  I finally decided I had to stop letting it continue.  I finally decided I had to start changing my ways.  I finally became who I was always meant to be, and beautiful and positive things began to come into my life.

There are still cloudy days, and there are still struggles, but I know that the Erin I am today can weather all storms.

3 Actions To Fight Inner Conflicts

Are you struggling with inner conflict?  If you are, you’re not alone, and it is clear that the solutions to what you feel conflicted about most are already within you.

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Everybody loves to hear this, right?  One change that could help you conquer your weight loss struggle, once and for all?  The one small change that I did that helped me lose weight, and it didn’t require me to cut out any major food group OR do a single extra burpee.

Here it is.  It’s not award winning psychology, but it works.  One small change for lasting weight loss.

I know, I know.  You hear this/read this ALL the time, huh?  Stop obsessing about the number on the scale.  You know why you keep being revisited by this mantra?  You keep being haunted by this because you NEED TO FORGET THE SCALE AND MOVE ON.  Period.  I’m not going to tell you anything you don’t already know somewhere inside of you.

For instance, that regular scales only dictate a single mass reading and don’t include the parts of you which are fat, muscle, or water.  OR that your weight can fluctuate due to the simplest of things like stress, illness, or hormonal changes or that most scales aren’t entirely accurate.  OR maybe, just like the scale can’t measure your muscle mass, adipose, and water precisely– it also can’t measure your worth as a human being.  

Do you want to know the real secret to measuring weight loss?  Believe that you are losing the weight.

I’m serious.

Just that shift in your thinking will make things happen.  It has been proven time and time again.

As a coach who works with people on weight loss and fitness journeys, I ask them to take their lives seven days at a time and “believe they are thinner or stronger.”

And just like you’re probably saying to your computer or phone screen right now, “bitch, please” — just hear me out.

This practice has worked for people — I have seen it happen with my eyes.  This personal cognitive approach to their body image not only made them happier but also improved their ongoing weight loss results.

We create our reality.  Our minds are VERY powerful, and just a simple misfire upstairs can make you see the world around you differently.  I won’t get all quantum theory on you right now, but I will say this, you are absolutely 100% a slave and victim to your thoughts.  If your thoughts are defeatist and stagnant, then guess what? Your reality will be too!

Reflections of your thoughts are stronger than what’s there.

I know this sounds too good to be true that all you need to do is believe yourself to be thinner.  It probably sounds easier said than done.  Well, it is easier said than done, but, then again, it isn’t.  To “believe you are thinner” you need to have a few things working in your favor.  Making the decision to change your thoughts toward any goal requires a solid framework to keep you in check.  Here’s a guideline to help keep you motivated and progressive during your weight loss journey!

Have realistic expectations.  Losing weight is super frustrating, but what can make the process so much more painful is how we visualize it and expect it to be.  If you have a habit of being a black and white thinker (like I’ve been MOST of my life) you want those results right away.  You must keep your eyes on the realistic prize.  It has taken me literal years to come to grips with the fact that my body just isn’t going to look the way I want it thought it “should look” no matter what I do.  I am what I am, and knowing what the best version of me is has helped me make peace with it.  Thinking forward, please be real with yourself.

Set small goals for yourself.  You may lose a significant amount of weight the first week or two of your program, but alas, this is not the norm.  Have you ever heard the saying that “if you set smaller goals, you will accomplish more”?  Well, it’s true.  Again, this ties in with having realistic expectations.

By setting smaller goals, you will be able to tackle a larger goal in smaller-to-swallow bits, and I can’t tell you how much better this is on your mental attitude towards weight loss.

Reward yourself every single day.  Most of the time, people say to you to reward yourself only when you’ve reached a goal.  I think that taking control of your health and wanting to feel better about yourself deserves daily recognition.  I’m not suggesting you celebrate every evening with a margarita or buy yourself a new pair of shoes each day, but you can be kind to yourself and recognize your strengths and beauty each and every day.  Take a little more time on your walk home or getting ready in the morning for work.  Simple things that you may have failed to allow yourself in the past.

sorry. had to.

Which brings me to my last point

Address yourself today.  One of the things that keep people from reaching their weight loss goals (and most definitely in keeping their weight off) is the lack of addressing your issues in the here and now.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, losing weight isn’t a magic solution.  You will still be you mentally and emotionally, just less of you physically.  

Let’s face it, losing weight is a journey that requires so much more than increased cardio and balanced nutrition.  So please, please, PLEASE start to address the feelings, issues, and relationship you have with yourself right now while you’re losing the weight.  It’s one of the most surefire ways to keeping the weight off and staying healthy for life.  

Most of life feels like mind games, and, well, it pretty much is.  There are plenty of times where giving up seems like the only sure thing out there, but you can get the results you want if you keep an active mind, a compassionate heart, and a determined body.

Remember, the only person standing in your way — ever — is you.

When it comes to weight loss or fitness goals, do you believe that your thoughts dictate your progress?  Have you ever been a “slave or victim” to your thoughts?

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