Monthly Archives: January 2017

Ashwagandha: Nature’s Stress Reliever

Last week, we discussed adaptogens and how they help your body respond to stress. We got a lot of questions about ashwagandha, a specific type of adaptogen that’s been getting a lot of press recently; so we wanted to dive in a little deeper and give you more information about this important herb.

ashwagandha

What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is a traditional herb that has been used in Ayurvedic, Indian, and African medicine for centuries. In Sanskrit, the name ashwagandha translates to “the smell of a horse”. Many do say that the herb smells “horse-like”, but don’t let that scare you away. Some refer to Ashwagandha as Indian ginseng, but it doesn’t really belong to the ginseng family; it’s part of the tomato family. The herb is native to Africa, India, and the Middle East, but farmers now also grow it in United States.

Benefits of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha’s major claim to fame is its ability to help the body cope with stress, but the benefits reach much further than that. Ashwagandha may also:

  • Boost the immune system*
  • Improve learning and memory*
  • Reduce anxiety and depression*
  • Stabilize blood sugar*
  • Lower cholesterol*
  • Improve energy and decrease fatigue*
  • Improve concentration*
  • Decrease pain, swelling, and inflammation*
How to Include Ashwagandha in Your Diet

The most common way to consume ashwagandha is in capsule form, but it’s also often available as part of multi-vitamin nutritional supplements or protein powders or as a tea. Typically, the recommended dose is 600 to 1,000 milligrams twice per day. The adaptogenic herb is readily available at most health food and supplement stores.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to prevent, cure, treat, or diagnose any medical condition.

Adaptogens: Your Secret Weapon Against Stress

What if we told you that 75 to 90 percent of all doctor’s visits are due to stress-related illnesses? Even worse, what if we told you that stress is a factor in five out of the six leading causes of death?

In recent years, stress has developed into a $1 trillion health epidemic. That’s more expensive than the cost of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined. So what can you do? How can you manage stress in an era that seems to glorify the concept of “busy”?

While it’s true that you can’t get rid of stress completely (some stress is actually good), there are many things that you can do to manage it. You probably already know about the big guys — meditation, yoga, and deep breathing, for example — but there’s another player in the game that frequently falls off the radar, and that’s adaptogens.

intramax

What are Adaptogens?

The term adaptogens was first coined by a Russian pharmacologist named Lazarev in 1947. He defined an adaptogen as any agent that helps an organism counteract any physical, chemical, or biological stressor by generating a nonspecific resistance. In simpler terms, an adaptogen is a substance that helps reduce stress levels by acting on the body as a whole.

In addition to helping reduce stress, adaptogens also:

  • increase energy and stamina
  • improve strength and mental focus
  • boost the immune system
  • balance mood
  • support a healthy weight
True Adaptogens

Many herbs are credited with being adaptogens: but in order to be considered a real adaptogen, a substance must meet three criteria:

  1. It must be non-toxic to the person taking it.
  2. It must act on many organs and body systems (rather than just one) and allow the person taking it to better adapt to biological, chemical, and physical stressors.
  3. It must help the body maintain homeostasis (or normal functioning).

Examples of true adaptogens include:

  • American Ginseng root
  • Ashwagandha root
  • Asian Ginseng root
  • Cordyceps
  • Dang Shen root
  • Eleuthero root
  • Holy Basil herb
  • Jiaogulan herb
  • Licorice rhizome
  • Reishi fungus
  • Rhaponticum root
  • Rhodiola root
  • Wu Wei Zi Berries/Seeds
  • Maca Root
  • Astragalus
How to Take Adaptogens

Luckily, many of these adatogens are easily accessible. Some of them are available as teas, while others are added to protein powders or liquid multi-vitamin products. Intramax, which is dubbed the “crown jewel of multi-vitamins” contains a stress management matrix that offers Ashwagandha, licorice, astragalus, and ginseng all in one place.

The best stress management program combines several methods of stress relief and management, but adaptogens should definitely be a part of that puzzle.

Apple Cider Vinegar: 2017’s Hottest New Superfood?

Okay, so maybe it’s not exactly a “superfood”, but the year just started and there’s already been a lot of talk about apple cider vinegar, or ACV, as the regulars are calling it. For years, celebrities like Megan Fox and Miranda Kerr have sworn by ACV as a weight loss aid. Both beauties claim that drinking the vinegar daily is at least in part responsible for their svelte figures. That all sounds promising – and easy enough – but could it be too good to be true? To find out, we did some research on what the experts had to say.

apple cider vinegar

Can Apple Cider Vinegar Help you Lose Weight?

The research on whether apple cider vinegar can actually contribute to weight loss is lacking; but one study out of Japan in 2009 found that drinking two tablespoons of diluted apple cider vinegar twice a day with meals helped participants lose four pounds in a period of 12 weeks. Researchers think that this benefit could be attributed to acetic acid, one of the main components in apple cider vinegar. Acetic acid can help speed up metabolism, contributing to weight loss. Another study found that drinking apple cider vinegar may help reduce appetite; however, researchers speculated this may be due to the fact that some participants felt nauseated after taking it. Although the research is promising, it would take more studies to really make a claim about whether apple cider vinegar can help with weight loss.

Other Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

While it may not be a magic potion for weight loss, apple cider vinegar does have plenty of health benefits, so it’s worth including in your daily diet. It’s rich in beta-carotene, calcium, and potassium, as well as probiotics, and enzymes, which contribute to a healthy gut and digestive system. Apple Cider Vinegar is also rich in antioxidants, which help fight off the substances (called free radicals) that contribute to cancer.

Choosing an Apple Cider Vinegar

As with most foods, the apple cider vinegar available for purchase differs. Some is highly processed, which leaves it lacking in the nutrition department. When choosing an apple cider vinegar, it’s best to choose a raw version that has the “mother” intact. The “mother” is a cloudy substance that consists of cellulose and acetic acid. It’s the mother that contains most of the vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and enzymes of the vinegar. You’ll be able to spot it right away because the ACV will look cloudy and a bit murky. This is a good thing!

How to Drink It

When drinking apple cider vinegar, it’s best to dilute it in 8 to 10 ounces of water. This makes it easier on the stomach and your tooth enamel, which can respond negatively to the acidity of the vinegar. After drinking the diluted apple cider vinegar, swish warm water in your mouth; and then wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth.

Healthy Recipe: Mocha Chia Seed Pudding

We’re probably not alone here when we say that if there’s one thing we’re not willing to completely give up, it’s chocolate. While chocolate does have some health benefits, in most cases, it’s paired with too much refined sugar to make it worth it. We’ve always said that losing weight shouldn’t mean that you have to give up everything you love — and chocolate is no exception.

With this mocha chia seed pudding, you’ll not only get your chocolate fix, but you’ll have the added benefit of healthy fats from the coconut milk and protein and fiber from the chia seeds. You can eat it for breakfast, save it for dessert, or enjoy it as a midday snack.

chia seed pudding

What You Need:
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 5 Medjool dates (pitted)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
What to Do:
  1. Add all ingredients except dates to a mixing bowl and stir until fully combined. Pour mixture into a blender with dates and blend until smooth. Transfer mixture to glass jars with a cover (mason jars work well).
  2. Let rest covered in the fridge overnight or at least 3-5 hours (or until it’s achieved a pudding-like consistency).
  3. Serve chilled with optional toppings, such as fresh fruit or coconut whipped cream. Leftovers last in the fridge 2 to 3 days, but this chia pudding is best served within a day or two.

Emotions and Weight Loss: How Meditation Can Help You Shed Pounds

When it comes to weight loss, diet and exercise get most of the credit. However, according to research, the key player in the game is actually psychological well-being. When you embark on a weight loss journey, learning to manage emotions and develop a healthy relationship with food isn’t always at the forefront, but maybe it should be. Now, we know what you’re thinking: well, all of that is great, but how do I achieve this psychological well-being? How do I stay present in the moment so that I can enjoy my food and listen to my body’s internal cues? The answer is actually quite simple: meditation.

The Research

Although there is still a lot of research to be done, a survey published by the healthcare network Orlando Health reported that successful weight loss is dependent on management of emotions and psychological well-being more than other any factors. However, 90 percent of the survey participants weren’t even aware of the importance of a positive mental state. Most gave all of the credit to diet and exercise.

Another study done by researchers at Cornell University looked at why some people seem to maintain a healthy weight all their lives, while others struggle. The study, which was published in 2016, reported that the leading three reasons were taking pleasure in food, listening to the body’s internal cues, and lack of guilt after eating. Yet another study out of the Brown University Public School of Health found people who pay more attention to the present and their current thoughts and feelings had lower levels of abdominal fat and were less likely to become obese.

How to Meditate

Although the word can be intimidating for some, meditation is simply the practice of focusing your attention on the moment. This results in more calm and clarity.  In addition to increasing psychological well-being, which can in turn lead to weight loss, meditation has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep patterns, and reduce chronic pain.

It does take practice, but the good news is that there’s no real right or wrong way to do it. If you’re new to meditation, try this:

  1. Find a quiet spot where you’ll be free from any distraction for 5 to 15 minutes.
  2. Get into a comfortable position – you can sit, stand, lie down, or even walk. It’s completely up to you.
  3. Find a point of focus. Many people choose to focus only on their breathing. Feel the breath as it comes in and then goes out. Take note of any tension in your body and relax any areas that feel tight.
  4. Be still.

You can also try guided meditations if you find it difficult to remain still or focus on your own breathing. There are many available for free on YouTube that range from 3 minutes to 3 hours.

If you’re new to meditation, the practice may seem a little silly and pointless at first, but trust us. The benefits of meditation extend to all areas of your life. If you combine meditation with the practice of mindful eating, you’ll be on your way to a slimmer waistline in no time.

Product of the Month! Skip-a-Meal Replacement Beverage

The Skip-a-Meal Replacement Beverage from Progressive Laboratories is without a doubt one of our most popular supplements. It tastes great, it works, and it’s easy to incorporate into a busy lifestyle. We know that January is the perfect time to make a fresh start, so we’re offering Skip-a-Meal as part of our January monthly special.

Monthly Special Details

With this special you receive 4 WEEKS of everything listed below for only $295 (that’s a savings of over $200)!

Physician Consult & Weekly Weigh-ins
Meal Plans
FDA Approved Medications
Meta-Blast Supplements
Crave-away Supplements
Weekly Upgraded Injection of B-12
Bi-Weekly Injection of Lipo X
Full Body Analysis on our BODYCOMP Scale

Plus, the product of the month ABSOLUTELY FREE!

skip-a-meal replacement beverage

All about Skip-a-Meal

The Skip-a-Meal Replacement Shake is a whey protein meal replacement shake that serves as a high-protein, low calorie replacement for a higher calorie meal. You can replace one meal with a shake each day, or all three meals. It’s totally up to you.

The shake contains several vitamins and minerals, so it serves as a balanced nutrition source, just like a healthy meal would. One serving of the Skip-a-Meal replacement shakes provides only 192 calories and at least 30% (in some cases, it provides 35%) of each of these vitamins and minerals: vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, vitamin D, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, vitamin B-12, biotin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, iodine, magnesium, zinc, and copper. So if you’re drinking the meal replacement three times a day, you don’t have to worry about getting the nutrients you need.

A single serving of the shake also provides 24 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber but only 2 grams of sugar and 5 grams of fat. The even better news? One tub contains 15 servings and you get it FREE when you sign up for our monthly special. Choose from vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry.

If you have any questions about Skip-a-Meal or you want to take advantage of our monthly special, contact us TODAY!

DISCLAIMER * These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.