14 Natural Remedies For Joint Pain

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Joint pain can leave you stopped in your tracks. It seems that it is becoming more and more common, especially amongst adults. Typical intermittent aches and pains can plague all of us, but when joint pain begins to become chronic, it can feel like it is becoming a way of life. And, simultaneously taking away from the ease of your life. 

Joint pain is most often felt in areas such as knees, hips, low back, shoulders, ankles, and wrists. Inflammation is the main culprit but the root cause could come from overuse, injury, muscle strain, muscle weakness, autoimmune disease, and general systemic inflammation. Anti-inflammatory medications can help to ease the discomfort in the short term, but rarely addresses the root cause of that inflammation. Not to mention, in some cases, these medications can make you feel great in the short-term but actually worsen the root cause. 

There are many options to naturally decrease joint pain. If the joint pain onset is related to a deeper foundational root cause (i.e., weakened gut health, leaky gut, systemic stress, etc), then implementing some of these natural remedies could greatly decrease your joint pain and also heal your body on a deeper level. You don’t need to do all of these tips, but picking the ones that seem to work for you could greatly decrease your pain and discomfort (and bring more ease back into your life!). 

  1. Drink plenty of water (and stay hydrated). This tip is one of the most important and most foundational, yet one that gets overlooked all the time. Water lubricates and cushions the joints. Make sure that you are drinking half of your bodyweight (in lbs) in ounces of water daily, more if you consume dehydrating beverages (i.e., coffee, teas, and juices) and/or sweating often.
  2. Remove gluten, dairy, and sugar from your diet. Your body becomes more inflamed the more you eat foods that can increase inflammation. These are the main foods that cause inflammation and body flare ups. This includes not only joint pain, but also acne, rashes, and other inflammatory-related symptoms.
  3. Eat the right kind of fats. Fats are essential for overall body and hormone functioning, but the right kinds of fats are important. Remove inflammatory Omega-6 fats, such as vegetable oil, canola oil, and other seed oils. Add in more Omega-3 fats and monounsaturated fats, such as wild-caught salmon and extra virgin olive oil. These are excellent for managing and decreasing inflammation. If you don’t do fatty fish, you could try consuming a fish oil supplement to help get these healthy benefits. 
  4. Get plenty of sun (with skin exposure) or take a Vitamin D/K2 supplement. Vitamin D is important for supporting healthy bones. It helps with calcium absorption and those with low levels of vitamin D are linked with higher levels of osteoarthritis. 
  5. Consume plenty of high-quality animal protein. Your body needs the full set of amino acids to keep your bones strong, support muscle recovery, and decrease inflammation/joint pain. Animal protein will give you the complete range of amino acids, B-vitamins, choline, magnesium, and iron that you need to support healthy tissue. The key word, however, is high- quality — grass-fed beef, pasteurize- raised poultry and eggs, and wild game such as venison. The muscle meat is not the only part that is nutritious for your joints…
  6. Consume a form of collagen. Along with the animal protein, consuming forms of collagen are super helpful in calming joint pain. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the your body and it helps to build joints and keep connective tissue strong. Consuming collagen, gelatin, or bone broth are ways of getting in natural glucosamine, which have been shown helpful in reducing joint pain. 
  7. Use high doses of curcumin. Turmeric has become popular specifically because of it’s active ingredient curcumin. It has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
  8. Up your magnesium intake. Most people are deficient in magnesium, even if they are eating a nutrient-dense diet. Low levels of magnesium can cause muscle aches, joint pain, leg spasms, weakened bones, and unhealthy nerve function. If you are low in magnesium or suspect that you are, try taking a high-quality magnesium supplement. 
  9. Get active. Regular exercise is critical for healthy muscle and joint function. It helps to strengthen the muscles and joints and decrease your potential for injury. Exercise is also important for balancing hormones such as human growth hormone, cortisol, and other hormones that play a role in appetite and aging. Make sure that you lift heavy weights (appropriate for your body) and stretch regularly to loosen the pressure placed on your joints. 
  10. Eliminate nightshades foods. Nightshades include foods like peppers, potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, goji berries, paprika, and ashwagandha. These foods can play a role in joint pain and muscle aches — inflammation — possibly due to the alkaloid content, or toxic compounds, that those plants can give off as a self-defense. 
  11. Try a glucosamine/chondroitin/MSM supplement. This combination has been shown to be helpful in nourishing the joints for some people. It can support the health of the cartilage. There are some people who notice worsening effects, so if you try it and your symptoms get worse or you don’t notice anything, stop taking it. 
  12. Try a high-quality CBD or hemp oil daily. CBD and hemp oil have very powerful anti-inflammatory effects and can be the “thing” that helps lessen the effect of chronic pain and inflammation. Make sure that when choosing one of these oils, that you find a company that is high-quality, tested for metals or toxins, and is sustainably resourced. 
  13. Use essential oils. Lavender, Frankincense, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, and Rosemary are just a few of the essential oils that have been linked to decreasing joint pain. Dilute 1-2 drops in a carrier oil (coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil, etc) and rub over the affected area to help decrease pain and discomfort. 
  14. Try the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol), if you are still have joint pain. If you are still having problems after doing the foundational steps, you may need to take a deeper dive. Eliminating foods such as coffee, eggs, grains, and nuts can help to calm your body’s inflammation and chronic pain. Doing this for a few months has given some people great relief and has helped them to discover exactly what foods are triggering their joint pain. 

**Click here for easy access to recommended supplements above.

Joint pain and body inflammation does not need to stop you from enjoy all that life has to offer. There are plenty of natural approaches you can try to help give you relief. Not only will these help to give you relief, but they also help to support the body as a whole!

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7 Tips To Decrease Sugar Cravings

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Food cravings can mean the death of many of your nutrition goals. Even the most dedicated can find themselves slipping and giving into the gnarling voice of their cravings.

Sugar and salt seem to be the most craved, with sugar in particular, being so addictive that willpower and intellect alone have little to do with pushing it away. You can only willpower your way through a sugar craving so many times until you eventually give in and throw all caution to the wind.

There are many reasons of why sugar can feel like it has a stranglehold on you — stress, nutrient deficiencies, imbalanced blood sugar, food memories, poor relationship with food, not enough sleep, and not being mindful of what you are eating. This is only naming a few of the reasons.

There is a belly-mind connection and it is much stronger than your willpower in the long run. 

And because of this belly-mind connection, it is super important to address a layer of reasons of why you may be struggling with your cravings. Some of those layers may feel very challenging to move through, while other may feel a bit easier and more direct. 

When starting a successful habit change, you want to focus on those low hanging fruit layers — those easy to grasp and where you can see quick results. Not only does it help to get the ball rolling, but it is also super motivating to see quick results.

Changing your relationship with food and the memories associated with your cravings can prove to be a little bit more challenging and typically demand deeper mental and emotional work. You can start here, but it might be easier to make some simple nutritional changes. This will help to decrease the physical and nutritional issues that may not be associated directly with your relationship with food.

Here are 7 easy tips that can begin to ward off cravings and balance your blood sugar:

  1. Drink more water. Let’s start with a simple one. The more dehydrated you are, the more difficult it is for the body to metabolize glycogen (stored glucose) for energy, so our bodies crave sugar to provide us with a quick source of energy when we actually just need to drink a little more water. 
  2. Add in cinnamon. This spice helps your body control the amount of sugar in your blood, evening out the highs and lows that lead to cravings. One study found those who took 3g of cinnamon a day maintained lower blood sugar levels after a glucose-tolerance test than those who did not take the cinnamon. And, your sugar cravings can drop immediately after consuming something with cinnamon!
  3. Eat your bitter foods. Research has found that consuming bitter foods shuts down the receptors in your brain that drive you to desire and consume more sugar. Bitter foods and plants can help slow the absorption of sugar and regulate blood sugar levels. You can eat foods such as dandelion, citrus peel, artichoke leaf, licorice root, and even burdock root. Or, you can make it super simple and use a tincture of bitters either before or after your meals (this helps with digestion too!). My favorite bitter tincture is by Urban Moonshine.
  4. Try spinach extract. Spinach extract, also known as Appethyl, is actually a weight loss supplement. It contains thylakoids, which consist mostly of proteins, antioxidants, and chlorophyll. Spinach extract has been shown to delay fat absorption (but not total inhibit it) and increase the activity of the hormones that reduce appetite and hunger. 
  5. Say no to the small bites. Feel a craving coming on? Don’t eat the small bites here and the small bites there. Those first few bites are inevitably the most tasty and your brain is going to be triggered by indulging in just a few bites. Not to mention, this creates a mindset of deprivation and can actually make you crave harder and jeopardize your relationship with food.
  6. Avoid getting too hungry. Make sure to eat regularly and not allow yourself to get too hungry. Fasting is all the rage and everyone seems to be either doing it or wondering if they should do it. Fasting can be super beneficial to help with cleaning out damaged cells, in order to regenerate newer, healthier cells (autophagy) but when you fast for too long, it can create a great imbalance in your blood sugar, causing hunger and cravings. If you are choosing to fast regularly, keep your time frames on the shorter side, aiming between 12-16 hours. If you are a woman, keep those time frames in the 12-14 hour range. 
  7. Make it hard to get. This is technically a behavior change, but it falls right in line with nutritional behavior changes. One of the first line of defenses when making a habit change is to make what you want hard to get. That could be by placing it out of sight and out of mind, placing it in the highest cupboard of the kitchen (needing a step stool every time you want to get it), or even not buying it at all and only being able to get it by going to the grocery store. When you create a challenge or obstacle and it is not so easy, this delays the food to mouth time AND it also gives you more time to think about the choice that you are making. Sometimes simply creating space and time can be enough to allow you to decide that the craving is just not worth it!

Getting rid of cravings can be super complex and has many layers attached to it. Often, you have to dig and uncover those layers to get to the root cause of what is causing your cravings in the first place. This is where a coach and support system can help guide you on your journey. Are you ready to finally uncover your layers? Click here to learn more about my signature “Break Your Plateau” health coaching program!

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Real Nutrition Tips For Real Results

“What’s wrong with pal? Why is everybody so down on pal?”

I love the tv comedy show Seinfeld and I find myself randomly quoting lines that make me laugh. The antics of the show are intoxicating for the comedic soul and a welcoming laugh during more serious times.

Sometimes, they create a wormhole of deeper thoughts that, I am sure, were never intended by the writers of the show.

As I stood in the shower and repeated the line — “What’s wrong with pal? Why is everybody so down on pal?” — I smiled and started to think about how this relates to many areas of life that people tend to shy away from.

“Pal” can be translated into basically anything. Substitute exercise or meditation or apples. Substitute taking time for yourself or giving yourself positive self-talk or eating avocados.

“What’s wrong with eating avocados? Why is everybody so down on avocados?”

It works!

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Or, we could look at “PAL” as learning new ways of living.

Plan. Act. Learn.

So many times when we try to make changes, we quickly dismiss healthy solid behaviors because results either don’t happen quick enough or they are not what we expected. Or, they are just not right for our bodies!

It is easy to make plans and then act on them. It is easy to say “I am going to eat a diet that supports me nutritionally and will help me lose weight”, plan out your meals, and then act out your plan for a few weeks.

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But, what inevitably happens?

Most people lose sight of their plan and fall into the old mindset that it is too hard or just not possible because they are not seeing the results they expect coming from their efforts.

Maybe what they are trying is old beliefs and research. Maybe what they are trying is not conducive to achieving their goals or right for their bodies.

And then they think they have failed.

It is the learning phase of PAL that most people never venture into.

When something is not creating the results you want, then you have to return to the original plan and try something different if you want to succeed. Real results happen by learning what works for you!

Not what works for Molly or Laura.

Real results happen by trying new approaches to old models and honing in on your own personal plan.

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Nutrition is a perfect example and it is easy to learn not to speak, hear, or see exactly what we need.

Let’s face it— nutrition can be so confusing. With Google right at your fingertips, it can be daunting to rummage through all information that is out there. Because it is so confusing, I have seen over and over people get stuck in old habits and beliefs and research — such as “eat a low fat diet to lose weight.”

This drives me completely batty!

I mean, nutrition is at least 80% of your results.

Most of us know that we should eat more fresh vegetables and fruits. But, what else should we do?

Since my heart beats faster for whole person health and helping others to heal from the inside out, I am here to share with you 5 of my favorite foundation, real nutrition tips to help you hone in on the learning part of the PAL equation to give you real results.

  1. Avoid eating a heavy meal too late at night. A heavy meal interferes with your body’s normal sleeping patterns, decreasing a quality night’s sleep and increasing the likeliness that your “fuel” will be stored at fat. The body uses your sleeping time as a means to fast and cleanse the body.
  2. Try to limit indulgence meals to 1-2 times per week. Take that meal and have whatever you want. Love and savor every bite without guilt. Deprivation is just setting yourself up for failure in the long run.
  3. Stress often makes us eat more of the bad stuff. Watch your stress levels and keep them under control. High stress levels increase cortisol in the body. Cortisol stores glucose as fat which becomes deposited throughout the body. It also increases your appetite and your cravings for high sugar and fatty foods, those known to create a comforting effect on the body.
  4. Aim for 8- 8oz glasses or more of water per day. Water is essential to flush the body.  To properly flush the body of toxins, it is said to drink half your body weight in ounces of water.
  5. Select quality protein choices. Choose a variety of vegetarian protein such as beans, hemp, flax, quinoa, and protein bars/ shakes made of plant-based proteins. Even though meat is harder for the body to digest, it can be beneficial as well.  If you choose to make meat a part of your diet,  select organic, free-range, grass-fed beef, eggs, and poultry.  Try to keep them lean cuts and avoid deli meats at all costs.  They are processed, filled with nitrates, and loaded with sodium.

Creating a plan and acting on it is only part of a healthy lifestyle equation. Learning to sift through and find solid nutritional advice, learning what works for you and what doesn’t, and then readjusting your plan is how you begin to see results. The key is allowing yourself to have patience and explore — and being your own best PAL!


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The Drain Game: Are You Playing And Don’t Even Know It?

We all are highly participating players at one time or another in our lives. You may be playing right now.

I know I get sucked into them every so often and, when it becomes apparent that I have, I am usually left feeling unmotivated, uninspired, exhausted, and like I have been hit by a truck.

The energy drain is real and it can seem like every day is a game of “will I” or “won’t I” be exhausted by the end of the day. There are obvious energy drains like eating unhealthy foods, finding your stress unmanageable, not getting enough sleep, and not exercising enough. But, there are many drains that you don’t even realize exist — and, that you are participating freely in!

What are some of the silent drainers that can hit any of us if we are not paying attention to them?

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Stumble #1: Nature blindness

Solution: Engage your senses

Maybe you do get outdoors, but if you have a cellphone attached to your ear or you’re using it to track your mileage, you may need to reconsider how you engage in engaging your senses. New research shows measurable physical benefits from fully engaging your senses in the great outdoors: Forest dirt microbes are linked to healthy immune systems, inhaled cypress tree compounds reduce stress hormones and blood pressure and birdsong supports brain neuron health.

To really achieve full wellness, get your hands and feet dirty — play in the dirt or dig in a garden. Go for a hike and listen to the birds. Get out onto a lake and kayak through the calming waters. Breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the sunshine.

Feeling the sunshine against my skin, smelling the fresh breezes, and running my hands over grass or leaves or flowers brings a sense of peace and vitality. It’s an instant mood booster!

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Stumble #2: Exercise overload

Solution: Listen to your body

Too much exercise can actually be too much of a good thing. It can drain your energy and create an imbalance in your hormones.

When we push ourselves too hard and increase our cortisol levels, that creates a state of inner stress. If that inner stress is coupled with other forms of stress that infiltrate our daily lives, then that extra stress from too much exercise can place a deplete on other hormones — causing weight gain, fatigue, and other health issues.

Excessive stress can also fatigue your adrenal glands, setting you up for some chronic fatigue issues.

Listen to your body. If your body is feeling overly fatigued, then take a yoga class, participate in some deep stretching, or even take a rest day. Your body knows what it needs.

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Stumble #3: Negative friends and family

Solution: Seek what restores you

Who you surround yourself really does make a difference to your energy levels.

A 2014 study published in the journal Neurology links high levels of negativity to an increased risk of dementia. So, the people you spend time with at home, at work and in social circles contribute to your emotional and physical health.

It is so easy to get pulled into negativity. It may feel satisfying to a certain respect because it creates a sense of community or like you are building friendships. And we all do it from time to time. But over time, it can lead to patterns of negative thinking and negative mindset. Negative mindsets create a feeling of drain and dissatisfaction — and, it can increase the inflammation in the body, zapping your energy quicker than you realize.

One of the best ways to know if you are stuck in a negative cycle is to go on vacation and see the difference in your body and attitude. Are you suddenly getting good sleep? Do you feel less tension in your body? If so, it’s important to find ways to relax and replenish positive energy!

Because you cannot pick your family, balance a negative day with something positive by listening to your favorite music, going for a walk, engaging in your favorite hobby, or chasing your cat around your house!

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Stumble #4: Water shortage

Solution: Choose high-water-weight foods

It’s a well-known mantra: Drink eight glasses of water every day to stay healthy and hydrated. But who really hits that goal?

When you feel thirsty, that is a sign that you are dehydrated. Catching it ahead of time can be a critical step for managing your energy levels. Since the human body is composed of about 60-65% water, we need to stay hydrated so that all our organs function properly and our body runs like a smooth machine.

Because when it starts to wear down and get overworked, that can steal more energy from our reserves, create an imbalance in our hormones, and make us feel sluggish and fatigued.

Drinking water is a great choice for hydration, but you can also get water from juice, fruits and vegetables.

You can determine whether you need to adjust fluid intake by how you feel, where and how you live and other concrete health indicators. For instance, if you are tired or constipated, drink more fluids or eat foods high in water content, such as watermelon, spinach, tomatoes and broth. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, as well as athletes and people living in warmer climates and at high altitudes, all need to consume more fluids than the general population.

You can tell you aren’t getting enough water if your urine appears dark, you feel dizzy or lightheaded or you aren’t thinking clearly. When you feel hungry, drink a glass of water first because you may just be thirsty. Keep a refillable water bottle with you all day. And of course, drink before and after a workout.

The things you do every day to manage your energy levels matter on a greater scale — they matter to your body, mind, emotions and even longevity. These common stumbles that drag you into the drain game offer no health benefit or worse: negative health consequences. If one or more is part of your daily life, try the above solutions to get you on your way of clearing your path to wellness!

With permission, this article contains some content from Delicious Living.


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