Archive for the ‘A Healthy You’ Category



By Cliff McConville

The difference between organic, pasture-raised beef, dairy, pork, chicken, and eggs compared to food from animals raised in conventional Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) is so great that you’re really talking about completely different products.

When you eat products from CAFO-raised animals, you’re also consuming small amounts of antibiotics and other drugs in each bite. Organic, grass-fed standards, on the other hand, do not permit the use of antibiotics. With antibiotic-resistant disease being a major public health hazard, buying organic meats, dairy, and eggs is an important consideration in more ways than one.


Regularly consuming small doses of antibiotics is a surefire way to destroy your gut health, which in turn will have a detrimental effect on your overall health and immune function. Not only does it make you more susceptible to chronic disease, it also increases your exposure to antibiotic-resistant infections.


Organic grass-fed beef and other meats also tend to be leaner, and have higher levels of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. They also have a healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats. Contrary to their crowded, confined, stressed-out factory farmed counterparts, organically-raised cattle, hogs, and chickens roam free on open pasture, which makes a tremendous difference when it comes to their health and well-being.


Organic farms, which tend to be far smaller in scale, also tend to provide far more sanitary conditions overall, since the animals are not kept in overcrowded buildings and manure-filled feedlots day in and day out. As a result, the animals are far less likely to harbor dangerous pathogens, which could contaminate the meat.

Unless labeled as grass-fed or pasture-raised, virtually all the meat you buy in the grocery store is CAFO raised, and tests have revealed that nearly half of the meat sold in US stores is contaminated with pathogenic bacteria, antibiotic-resistant strains. Grass-fed beef is not associated with this high frequency of contamination, and their living conditions have everything to do with this improved safety.


Eggs are another animal product where free-range pasturing makes all the difference in the world, both in terms of creating superior nutrition and reducing the contamination risk. As with other livestock, the salmonella risk associated with raw eggs is primarily heightened when the hens are raised in unsanitary CAFO conditions. In small organic farms where the chickens are raised in clean, spacious coops, have access to sunlight, and forage for their natural food, salmonella contamination is a very rare occurrence.


Cliff McConville is the operator of All Grass Farms, a 150-acre “pasture farm” located on IL Route 31 south of Algonquin in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.  The farm produces 100% Grass Fed Beef, Pastured Berkshire Pork, Free Range Broiler Chickens, Eggs, and Turkeys, as well as organic vegetables.  The farm store is open daily from 10 AM – 6 PM, or visit the farm website at .



Great Foods for Healthy Skin

Great Foods for Healthy Skin


As it turns out, a healthy diet has even more benefits than we may have considered, including those affecting the appearance and quality of the skin.   Our skin needs care from the inside and from the outside, and selecting foods that contribute to healthy glowing skin involves learning about super foods and those high in antioxidants.  Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals.  These substances may prevent or delay the cell damage leading to a number of diseases, including cancer.  Antioxidants appear in many fruits and vegetables and other foods listed below.


Most health experts will agree that it is optimal to obtain nutrition mainly from food however, the following factors may indicate smart use of supplements:


  • The foods we purchase may vary in terms of nutrient levels
  • Extended periods of stress can deplete the body’s reserves
  • Certain medical conditions may benefit from targeted supplements


Super Foods High in Antioxidants 


Blue, Red, Purple Grapes


Dark Green Vegetables


Green Tea


Red Berries

Sweet Potato/Orange Vegetables

Whole Grains


High Impact Foods for Enhancing Skin Health



Carotenoids include: Beta-carotene (β-carotene) and A-carotene (α-Carotene), lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene. Along with active vitamin A, carotenoids help prevent premature skin damage and skin cancer. Diets high in carotenoids are beneficial for preventing UV light damage, which can lead to melanoma, aged-looking skin, wrinkles, drying, scaling and thickening of the skin.  Great choices for foods high in carotenoids include:

  • Acorn Squash
  • Butternut Squash
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon



Selenium is an essential mineral found in small amounts in the body. It works as an antioxidant, especially when combined with vitamin E. Antioxidants like selenium help fight the damaging particles in the body known as free radicals. Foods containing selenium include:

  • Brazil Nuts (2-3 per day will fulfill this requirement)
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Garlic
  • Pork
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Wheat Germ



Alpha Linolenic Acid

Alpha linolenic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid that must be obtained from the diet or supplementation.  Omega-3s have been shown to reinforce the skin by protecting it from dryness and reducing skin sensitivity. Other benefits may include protection from autoimmune skin disorders like psoriasis or inflammatory conditions like acne and eczema.  Great sources of alpha linolenic acid include:

  • Chia Seeds
  • Flax Seeds
  • Hemp Seeds/hemp oil
  • Walnuts



Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant powerhouse with multiple benefits. For the skin, Vitamin C fights free radicals and protects from sun damage, contributes to collagen production, better wound healing, prevents skin discoloration and improves skin texture. The overall health benefits of Vitamin C intake are considerable, and many dermatologists and aestheticians also recommend topical application of Vitamin C which is present in a wide variety of products from lotions to serums.  Great dietary sources of Vitamin C include:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Kale
  • Kiwi
  • Bell Peppers
  • Grapefruit
  • Papaya
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries





Long Chain Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids have powerful anti-inflammatory effects and, in general, increasing intake will improve skin moisture and appearance and may improve eczema. Even psoriasis may benefit from increased omega-3 intake. While cold water fish has always been high in omega-3, grass-fed beef has a higher level of omega-3 fatty acids and is generally leaner in total fat. Good sources of these omega-3s include:

  • Grass-Fed Beef
  • Herring
  • Mackeral
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Sablefish
  • Trout



Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin necessary for the breakdown of fatty acids. Often referred to as the beauty vitamin with benefits for hair, skin and nails, it is easy to obtain the recommended amount in the diet.  Including regular consumption of these foods with high nutritional value that ensure adequate intake of this vitamin:

  • Avocado
  • Eggs


Water, Water and More Water

Food choices can have wonderful skin benefits along with a recommendation we just can’t hear enough: maximize water intake, and minimize alcohol.  Alcohol dehydrates the skin, and those who overindulge may see it on their faces the next day. Chronic overuse negatively affects skin tone, dryness and reflects an aged appearance. Re-think those couple glasses of wine or cocktails you may be having each day…Water is your skin’s best friend, and the formula for staying hydrated is the amount of water it takes to consistently produce urine that is colorless.


What NOT to Eat for Beautiful Skin

Nutritionists and aestheticians recommend avoiding foods that cause inflammation especially for those who may be suffering with skin disorders.  Inflammatory foods include sugars, refined starches, vegetable oils, dairy products, wheat, processed corn, and many food additives.  Foods with a high glycemic index that produce a quick rise in blood sugar are not recommended for several reasons including the negative effects on your skin.


Following these nutrition and diet recommendations will result in multiple benefits, including better health and higher energy as well as keeping your skin feeling and looking its best.



* This information is not intended to substitute for the advice or direction normally provided by a licensed medical professional. See your physician or a registered dietician for optimal dietary recommendations that are consistent with your comprehensive wellness plan, treatment you may be currently receiving, and to avoid interactions with prescription or over the counter medications you may be currently taking.

bii Natural Salon: Buy 3 Haircuts, Get 1 Free

bii ownersAs eco-conscious, expert hair artists with ingredient sensitivities, James and Adam recognized the majority of local and national salons carry products that contain harmful ingredients to us and the Earth. “We wanted to change the salon industry for the better,” says James. Their dream of opening a salon that would keep both us and the planet beautiful came true in 2011 when they opened Bii Natural Salon. “We feel a sense of pride knowing our salon makes every effort to keep our environment pristine and our clients and staff safe from harmful ingredients,” says Adam. By providing personalized, chemical-free salon services, you can achieve beautiful, healthy hair in its natural state. Some of the many benefits include:

  • optimal condition
  • high moisture content
  • stronger texture
  • density and fullness
  • in-tact protein bonds
  • fullness and body
  • endless hair color possibilities
  • the ability to wear straight or curly hair
  • and more!

bii salon

Top 12 Green Gifts for Kids

Parents who want to celebrate the holidays with gift ideas that are great for their children and the world will find a wide range of alternatives at, a new resource offered by the nonprofit Green America. All of the highlighted toys avoid toxic materials and are made from recycled, organic, and Fair Trade materials. Holiday gift items featured on include the following:

* Tree Owl Shadowbox, Baby Eco-Trends, Miami, FL.  A whimsical decoration for a child’s bedroom, this wall hanging, made by painting layers of sustainably harvested wood, colorful felt, nontoxic veneer, and recycled book pages, results in a bright, three-dimensional rendering of an owl that can be personalized with a child’s name.  In addition to the wall art, Baby Eco-Trends specializes in handmade heirloom-quality children’s furniture and toys made by Amish woodworkers in the Midwest.

* Hooded bamboo bath towel, Andrews, SC. The fabric for Bamboosa’s baby products comes from 100-percent organically certified bamboo fiber, or is blended with organic cotton, Lycra, or recycled polyester.  For the infants on your shopping list, consider Bamboosa’s hooded bamboo bath towel, which is generously sized and can still be used in the toddler years.

* “Made By Me” kits, Maple Landmark Woodcraft, Middlebury, VT.  The Maple Landmark Woodcraft fashions the scraps of a local furniture maker into toys, while it sustainably sources other woods, like maple and pine, from within Vermont. Co-owner Barb Rainville recommends the company’s “Made By Me” kits that allow kids age three and older to assemble and decorate their own wooden toys, like tractors, tugboats, and trucks.

* Board games, Naturally Playful, Aloha, OR. In addition to classic products like recycled cardboard puzzles and organic stuffed animals, Naturally Playful makes available cooperative board games made by a family company in Canada. These games teach kids about cooperation, while also educating about topics like loss of animal habitat (“Then There Were None”), world geography (“Explorers”), and grammar (“Star Words”).  Apart from its own products, the company endorses the all-organic bubble bath from the “Clean Kids Naturally” line made by Gabriel Cosmetics, which also includes soap, shampoo, and de-tangler. and

* Cotton kids’ T-shirts, Dhana EcoKids, Mill Valley, CA.  One popular item is Dhana’s 100-percent organic cotton kids’ T-shirts in the “Earth Day Winter White Tree” design, featuring a tree formed from the intertwining words rethink, revive, recycle, renew, regenerate, remember, respect, reuse, restore, and recover.  Company owner Shamini Dhana also suggests a product outside of her company’s standard manufactured line.  She’s partnering with the cooperative Panchachuli Women Weavers to sell a limited number of fairly traded, hand-spun, and nontoxic “Hope” scarves for girls, handcrafted by Himalayan women who lost their homes in the devastating floods that swept through India’s Kedarnath Valley in 2013.

* YOXO Dragonfly Construction Kit,  Peapods Natural Toys and Baby Care, St. Paul, MN.  The folks at Peapods are very excited about the work of YOXO, a local toymaker in St. Paul, MN, makes construction toys out of compressed recycled paper. Not only are YOXO toys fun to play with, but they also encourage kids to reuse other household items like paper towel tubes or cereal boxes. The dragonfly construction kit creates a three-foot-long model. and

* Chewing gum, Glee Gum, Providence Rhode Island.  If you need stocking stuffers, Glee Gum offers six flavors of chewing gum certified by Fairtrade International. The company also provides kits for kids to make their own chewing gum, chocolate, and gummies. For more stocking stuffers, consider chocolate from fellow Fair Trade business Equal Exchange. and

* Home-made gifts.  For green gift-giving around the holidays, one popular approach is a “do-it-yourself gardening kit” consisting of: three to five clay pots, water-based paints to decorate the pots, a small bag of potting soil, vegetable or flower seeds, a small shovel, and a child’s set of gardening gloves.

Are 10-Minute Workouts Worth your Time?

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by Jamie Philippi

No one can deny the days of spending hours exercising are long gone. We simply don’t have the time and have come to realize these long sessions don’t give us the best return on our time investment. But how much of this desire for short, efficient workouts stems from shortened attention spans or just plain laziness. Is there true science behind the claims that 10-minute workouts deliver results? In fact, a slew of new research points to the true benefits of short, intense bursts of exercise. Here are the top three reasons 10-minute workouts are worth your time:

It Burns Fat
Multiple studies have proven the effectiveness of both Tabata and HIIT exercise sessions. These techniques take short bursts of activity and create a heart-pounding workout in 10 minutes or less. The key to making these workouts as effective as possible is to crank up your intensity to the max.

It Makes You Happy
We all know exercise releases endorphins, which make us feel oh-so-good in the aftermath of a great workout. But don’t fret if you only have 10 minutes to exercise. Studies show an intense, 10-minute burst of exercise is enough to get those feel-good juices flowing.

It Protects Your Heart
According to researchers in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, people who get just seven minutes of intense exercise each day are 45 percent less likely to die from heart disease. It’s also worth noting that people who maintained their exercise routine for six years or longer saw the greatest benefit.

Call or email today to get started on a fat loss program that will make your fat loss dreams come true in the New Year!  224-678-9060

Soaring in the Wake of Trauma

by Dr. Michelle Kukla, Licensed Clinical Psychologist/Certified Traumatic Stress Consultant

healthy living michelleAngie (name changed) a 32 year-old female sat slumped on the couch.  Tears streaming down her face as she started sharing one of her darkest moments in her life.  While this was not easy, weeks of hard work led up to this moment.  Angie had spent years running from this, afraid to speak it out loud, for this would make it real.  As much as she tried burying what happened to her, the weight of carrying this was finally catching up.

Cloaked in sadness and years of destructive relationships, things were starting to change.  There had been too many years of avoiding romantic relationships and difficulty trusting new people in her life.  Countless hours over the past 14 years spent thinking if she had just made a different decision that night, her life would probably look different today. Then there were the guilt feelings choking her at times, and the alcohol to help numb the pain.  The worries about closing her eyes at night and hoping the nightmares wouldn’t visit her again.

However, today is different.  This time, the tears that stream down Angie’s face are tears of freedom, as the veil of sadness, fear, worry and guilt begin to crack as the journey towards healing continues. See, today is the day Angie is finding her voice and taking her life back. Today, enveloped by the security and safety of her surroundings, along with the assuring presence of her therapist as her witness, Angie bravely discharges the words, “I was raped.”  These three words that have haunted her for so many years finally rolled off of her tongue and for the first time she realized that she was stronger than those words. “I was raped.”  This was only the beginning of Angie’s story in her recovery process.  There is more to her story of transformation….

Unfortunately, one out of three women worldwide will be a victim of sexual assault.  Consequently, there are too many women with a similar story to Angie’s.  A significant portion of women are assaulted in their young adult years with the college years being an especially vulnerable time.  Many survivors of sexual violence delay seeking treatment for years and often suffer from depression, anxiety and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

If you found Angie’s pain, sadness, anxiety and history of nightmares resonated with you because of your own traumatic experience; know, that you are not alone!  You are a survivor, and there are evidenced-based treatments that trauma therapists use to help foster recovery following sexual violence, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive processing therapy, somatic experiencing, rapid resolution therapy and acupressure.

For further details on how these therapies may help you begin healing in the wake of sexual trauma, please call 847-701-4452 or visit our Trauma Recovery Clinic page on our website:  Don’t wait any longer to get help!  Our team of trauma experts are ready to promote healing!

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Holiday-Proof Fat Loss Tips

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Don’t Deprive
Skipping meals in order to make up for holiday indulgences will only cause you to make more regrettable decisions. Follow up a day of indulgence with small, sensible meals centered around protein and fiber.

Exercise Time
Don’t skip your workouts during busy holiday weeks. You’ll benefit more than ever from the stress relief and metabolism boost that a good workout delivers.

Share Healthyapple
Bring a healthy dish to your next holiday party, and be sure to fill your plate with it. This is a great way to make sure you’ll have a healthy option, and you’ll also share good health with your friends and family.

Drink Low-Calorie
High-calorie drinks are everywhere during the holidays, and these beverages are the easiest way to pack on the pounds. Be extra cautious with your drink order, stick with low-calorie options, and always drink a glass of water in between each alcoholic drink.

Jamie Philippi of Premier Fitness Solutions is ready to help you get out of the bucket and create a customized fitness plan dedicated to your needs. For more information, email or visit their website

Do you have Fitness Crabs?

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You’re not imagining it. When you decide to better yourself, you’ll be immediately surrounded by people trying to stop you. Action, it seems, offends the inactive.

They’ll usually be subtle about it, offering you foods that work against your nutrition plan, often presented as gifts or treats; express false worry about your supplement usage, food choices and number of days you go to the gym; and find plausible reasons for you to cheat on your diet or skip a workout. They’ll encourage you to be discouraged and will even get mad at you for how your positive choices are affecting their lives. If anger doesn’t work; they’ll bribe, mock and carefully plant seeds of negativity–all because you decided to be better, to be more.

craIt’s the story of the crabs in the bucket. Put a bunch of crabs in a bucket together and some will try to crawl out and avoid becoming dinner. The rest won’t try to escape, but they’ll reach up and pull the others down.

When you set a new goal, physical or otherwise, you have unintentionally pointed out other people’s weaknesses, faults, shortcomings, inability to plan and lack of desire to express one iota of willpower. They sit around and want. You have royally ticked them off by doing.

Tick them off anyway. Offend them anyway. Crawl out of the bucket and find new friends and better relationships. Remember, action offends the inactive. And that’s their problem, not yours.

Jamie Philippi of Premier Fitness Solutions is ready to help you get out of the bucket and create a customized fitness plan dedicated to your needs. For more information, email or visit their website

Have yourself a Merry, Debt-Free Christmas

by Rachel Cruze
If you’re like me, then this is your favorite time of year. I absolutely love Christmas! One of the reasons I love the holiday season is because I’ve learned to live on a budget and completely avoid debt. That way, I don’t have to worry about the thrill of Christmas turning into a debt hangover in January.

But our culture is so used to debt. We assume that Christmas presents are just something we automatically put on the credit card. That’s nuts! The holidays are supposed to be a fun, festive time of the year with shopping, parties and gifts. But the temporary thrill of all that fun turns into a long-term headache when all the bills start rolling in.

The main reason people use debt during Christmas is simply because they don’t have a plan. They haven’t saved any money all year, and they wait until the last minute to fight the crowds at the mall. Without a plan, they end up overspending and piling on event more debt than they already had.

If you want life to be different this Christmas–less stressful and more festive–then you absolutely need to create a Christmas budget. You can check out to help you get started. All you have to do is list all of your Christmas expenses–every dollar you want to spend on each person you’re buying for. The amount you’ve budgeted for should equal your planned spending amount.
It’s called a zero-based budget, and it’s the same way I budget every month–except, this time, it’s Christmas specific. And when you’re not shopping online, use crash. The great thing about cash is when it’s gone, it’s gone.

As a woman, I know the pressure you face. You want the Christmas season to be perfect–and that means everyone gets the right gift, everyone gets invited to the party and everyone gets the right amount of food. All of that is fine… if you can truly afford it. If you’re going into debt to fund this Christmas lifestyle, then you’re only hurting yourself and your family.

I promise you, the holiday season will be much more enjoyable when you have a plan. I’ve saved thousands of dollars over the years by simply putting boundaries on my spending and making sure I know exactly how much I have to spend in the first place. Come spring, when you start planning that family vacation, you’ll be thankful you aren’t still paying off Christmas debt. So, if you want your Christmas to be truly merry, stay away from credit cards at all costs!

Rachel Cruze is a seasoned communicator and presenter, helping Americans learn the proper ways to handle money and stay out of debt. Her new book Smart Money Smart Kids, co-authored by her dad Dave Ramsey, was released April 2014 and debuted at number one of the New York Times best-sellers list. You can follow Rachel on Twitter @RachelCruze, online at or at

Diabetes and Heart Disease… Assess your Risk!

Head to the Advocate Good Shepherd Outpatient Center at 525 Congress Parkway in Crystal Lake. Receive all of the proper screenings for $10. Screenings include a finger stick blood glucose level (12-hour fast is required), an A1C Level and a cholesterol screening. Based on your results, a one-on-one consultation will be provided by a clinical health educator.

Complimentary foot screenings will also be provided by Robert Kipferl, DPM, podiatrist. To register, call (800) 3 Advocate and mention the class code 3D20 or go to and click “I need a class or support group,” then type the class word in the keyword box.

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