Celebrating National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

A Q&A with Reliv Distributor and Fit3 Champions Challenge Finalist Richard Brandl

By Director of Product Development and Fit3 Trainer Tina Van Horn

In 1983, the President’s Council on Fitness designated May as National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. This was done in an effort to promote healthy lifestyles among all Americans and improve our quality of life. The hashtag “#MoveInMay” has been trending, and it’s my hope that people will remember to keep fitness a priority all of the other months of the year as well.

Fitness as a Lifestyle

For some of us, our fitness journey was launched through participation in youth sports. Others turn to fitness later in life for the health benefits, as well as the social connections. Regardless of age or whether you are fueled by competition or more intrinsic incentives, physical activity is a celebration of what our bodies can do.

Meet Richard

Richard Brandl, a self-proclaimed “jock” was a recent runner- up in the men’s division of the Q1 2020 Reliv Champions Challenge. He has been on a journey of physical fitness for more than 40 years. Now at age 60, Richard has no intention of slowing down. A former competitive body builder, Richard is currently training for obstacle course runs and uses Reliv nutrition to give him a competitive edge over his children and the younger competition.

Richard joined the Reliv Champions Challenge to jump start his training for the 2020 race season. He achieved his personal challenge goal to reduce his body fat percentage while maintain lean muscle. He was anticipating breaking some personal records in the upcoming season before his training was derailed by quarantine restrictions.

Modifying the Program

Even though his race plans are currently on hold and he has had to modify his strength training program, Richard is lifting and running and training with the equipment he has at home. Admittedly, he is still driven to be better than the other aging jocks and there is still a smidge of vanity behind his motivation. Ultimately though, he is determined to stay healthy and avoid the chronic health conditions that are in his family’s health history.

Motivation for Decades

Having seen Richard’s pictures from his prime body-building days, I was curious (and maybe a little envious) about how his fitness journey has evolved over the last 40 years and what really keeps pushing him to maintain physical fitness so I threw a few questions his way. His responses certainly resonated with my inner athlete, while validating the principles that the Fit3 program is build upon.

Tina: Fitness has been a part of your life for a very long time. Tell us a little bit about your history and what your fitness routine looks like today?

Richard: I started weightlifting in 1979, and got into bodybuilding in 1980, while I was assigned to my first duty station in the Army. I generally worked out for every day for about two hours, depending on the specific day and routine. I was always trying to progress weight and trained primarily for muscle mass, so cardio was minimal. I was really strict with my diet all of the time to maintain a body fat percentage below 8%. I participated in bodybuilding competitions from 1982 through 1986, but maintained this routine throughout the 80s.

Today my workouts last a maximum of 45 minutes, unless I am specifically training for a rucking event. I focus on circuit type training with minimal rest to be efficient with time. I definitely use more moderate weights and I stay with basic lifts that are multi joint and functional most of the time. Of course, I still like to maintain as much muscle as I can but realize that I’m not 26 anymore. I’m not lifting super heavy weights anymore because that might do more harm than good at my age. For cardio I use high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to get me ready for the obstacle course events

Tina: What are your motivations to keep moving and stay active? How are your motivations different today than 10, 20 or 30 years ago?

Richard: We all have certain level of vanity and I’m no exception. I like to look the part of a fitness professional. I also use the obstacle course runs as a motivator to be more structured and consistent with workouts. I am also motivated to stay healthy and to avoid serious illness. And I still have that competitive fire to be better than the other aging jocks.

Tina: What do you do when you don’t feel motivated?

Richard: When my motivation is low I know that I probably need to take a break from lifting, without feeling guilty. Sometimes I will substitute walks or biking for an active rest or really shorten workouts just to stay in the habit. If all else fails, I try something new, like the Reliv Champions Challenge. I see myself as an ongoing experiment to maintain as much muscle as I can. It’s a game that I play with myself when I have been slacking off.

Tina: Do you every take time off from exercise? How did you get started again?

Richard: Yes, I do take time off. After 40 years, I do experience burnout and to be honest it gets boring. When that happens, I join a class just to do something different and see what the trends are.

To get motivated I look in the mirror and do a “pec check” and decide I look puny and decide to get back to it; vanity again. I start slow, maybe a week of circuits and some cardio to get ready to increase intensity. I also have to get the mind ready as well. I’m also motivated by like class reunions, wedding things that I want to look good for. It’s a mental thing I have about that.

Tina: Tell us a little about your Reliv health story:  How did you find Reliv, what have been your results with the products?

Richard: I found Reliv about 7 years ago when I heard about it on a radio ad. I had always used supplements and I was curious as to the results I would get compared to the past. I have certainly seen improvements with sustained energysleep, muscle recovery and management of joint discomfort. As I get older and with my profession as a physical therapy assistant, I definitely put more emphasis on joint health and workout recovery.

Supplement technology is so much more advanced today than it was 30 years ago. We have a new understanding of nutrition through the lens of epigenetics. Health issues run in my family and I know that optimal nutrition will benefit me in many ways. I’m committed to doing everything I can to stay healthy and keep my body in top shape.

Tina: What prompted you to join the Fit3 Challenge and what kind of results did you experience?

Richard: Initially my goal was to use the 90-day challenge to jump start my training in January as preparation for obstacle course training in the spring. The first event was supposed be in June, but has been canceled because of the pandemic. I also wanted to see how much body fat I could reduce while maintaining my weight and muscle mass. I also wanted to increase the weight I was lifting without causing joint discomfort. Really, I just to see what I could do at 60 years old.

Throughout the challenge, I lost about 1.8% body fat and my weight was stable. I was lifting heavier weights, too, before the pandemic restrictions took effect. I am happy to report my shoulder and knee discomfort was all but eliminated. I never say eliminated because I just don’t think it’s possible with as much activity I do and my age.

Tina: What advice would you give to someone afraid to take that first step on their fitness journey?

Richard: I suggest finding a trustworthy and practical coach to get you started and keep you accountable. Master the fundamentals that match your goals and commitment level. Ignore all the latest trends that promise rapid results. Instead think long term overall lifestyle habits. Keep it simple and be sensible!

If you are intimidated by a long laundry list of do’s and don’ts, just work on a couple of easier ones. Give yourself a chance to experience success and build your confidence. We live once and I encourage people to enjoy those parties but maintain a level of composure and to be ready to “work” it off. You’ve got to enjoy life and find a balance that works for you.

 

Fitness Inspiration for Family Wellness Month 

10-Minute Activities for Staying Fit Together

By Director of Product Development and Fit3 Trainer Tina Van Horn

If it hasn’t popped up on your calendar, let me be the first to wish you a Happy Family Wellness Month! May is the official month for celebrating family wellness, but as a mom and the gate-keeper of my family’s health, it’s another one of those tabs that is open in my brain EVERY DAY, not just one month out of the year. 

Balancing Act of Family Health

There is a continuous balancing act to make sure that everyone’s physical needs are met and that their bodies are healthy, without losing sight of their social, emotional, and spiritual health! Sheesh! No wonder parents are tired! Meeting all those needs is genuinely overwhelming some days.

Spending Time Together

Family wellness is so much more than putting nutritious meals on the table and setting limits on screen time. It is also about family habits, lifestyles, and relationships! Our hectic lifestyles don’t exactly foster family wellness and certainly interfere with quality family time, which has been shown to improve behavior and academic performance, build self-esteem, encourage communication skills, and reinforce healthy habits. Seems pretty obvious how important family time is, but several recent studies have suggested that the average American family spends only about 30-40 minutes each day truly engaged with each other. When I really think about it, that statistic is probably very representative of our family. 

Making Good Health a Family Value

If you are anything like me, you might be feeling a bit of “mom guilt” and anxiety when you think about all of the things we should be doing as a family. Honestly, my head is spinning a little bit just trying to figure out how to start. Just like any other lifestyle change, the trick is to start slow. If you were starting a new fitness routine, I would suggest starting with 10 minutes, so why not apply that same strategy to family wellness? 

I’m pretty sure we can all carve out an extra 10 minutes of family time each day to build connections, but if your kids aren’t into just sitting around for 10 minutes of conversation, here are a few activities that will get everybody involved:

  • Plan and prepare simple meals or snacks together – scrambled eggs, grilled cheese, PB&J 
  • Look through family photo albums together or watch family videos
  • Volunteer or do a service project together – walk dogs at the animal shelter, help a neighbor with yardwork
  • Test a new Reliv shake recipe together or make up your own – it’s ok to add a few chocolate chips or some sprinkles!
  • Plant and grow something together – flowers, vegetables, herbs
  • Make up “conversation cards” with fun, open-ended questions that everybody can answer – e.g.,  if you were an animal, what would you be and why? If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  • Move together – walk, jump rope, play tag, hide and seek, dance, or play follow-the-leader
  • Plan a scavenger hunt or play “I spy” around your home or neighborhood
  • Read an article together, taking turns reading out loud and then discuss 
  • Play a board game or active video game
  • Build a house of cards or line up dominoes
  • Work on a jigsaw puzzle together while taking turns picking the music you listen to
  • Send out birthday cards or write letters to family members

The possibilities for finding fun and creative ways to spend time together are endless. In addition to making memories that will last a lifetime, you’re also showing your love for your family. Another way you can show your family you love them is to make sure they’re getting the best of nutrition and immune support with Reliv core nutrition! Whether you’re blending up a shake for your kids, or staying hydrated while playing outdoors, feeding your family with optimal nutrition is a great way to say, “I love you!” 

Immunity and Wellness: Q & A with Dr. Alfredo Galvez

With the world focusing more than ever on wellness, many are wondering what we can do to support our immune systems and overall health. Director of Product Development Tina Van Horn recently spoke with Dr. Alfredo Galvez, Reliv’s Chief Scientific Officer and the discoverer of the lunasin peptide, to learn more about the science of immunity, what role nutrition plays and what you can do to take charge of your health. 

Tina: What are the effects of nutrition on immunity and what role does epigenetics play in the immune function?  

Dr. Galvez: Fortunately our bodies are very smart and have evolved over time to fight against infections through our innate and adaptive immunity. But, we also know there are specific foods and nutrients that have co-evolved with the human body to support a more efficient immune response to environmental threats like viruses. When you combine this knowledge with our current understanding of epigenetics, we can have an even greater impact on wellness as a whole, but the immune system is of particular interest in the field of nutritional epigenetics.

The role of epigenetics is the key science that has been proven to be one of the underlying causes of not only infections and inflammation, but also chronic disease formation. That is the reason why we need to have nutrients available for our bodies to use.

Research in the last decade has revealed the expression of genes associated with immunity response to epigenetic influences. A study that caught my attention ten to twelve years ago, from Purdue and Indiana Universities, demonstrated the ability of lunasin to turn on the genes associated with the immune response, both for innate immunity, our first line of defense against infection, as well as adaptive immunity, which is the ability for the body to produce antibodies that prevent future infections. This is important research in light of novel viruses and infections. Epigenetics provides new research opportunities to find and develop more effective treatments and vaccines, which is important to me from a research perspective. But, there is also a practical application for individuals because with the right nutrients, we can strengthen our immune systems to counter pathogens AND to respond efficiently when vaccines are introduced by teaching our bodies to produce antibodies that can attack novel viruses.

Tina: With the growing body of research surrounding epigenetics and lunasin, in particular, we have gained a solid understanding of the cellular health benefits of lunasin for our long-term health, but it is interesting to hear you talk about how lunasin benefits our short-term immunity in fighting off those viruses and pathogens that are environmentally attacking us in addition to the long-term health benefits. What about other dietary ingredients and nutrients? Do we need them along with lunasin to support immunity?

Dr. Galvez: Scientific evidence supports that metabolism and nutrient absorption are unique to each individual, so it is very important to have a combination of multiple nutrients at optimal levels to support all of our physiological processes, especially metabolism which is directly linked to immunity.

When I started working with Dr. Carl Hastings on adding lunasin to the core nutrition, one of the main objectives was to improve metabolic health. In fact, we did some experiments on the combination of lunasin and Reliv Now® with Soy. The results showed an improvement in metabolic biomarkers and risk factors associated with a number of health conditions. We understand now, more clearly than ever before, how metabolic health directly affects the immune system. So the nutritional composition of the core nutrition (macronutrients and micronutrients) in combination with lunasin, optimizes genetic expression for good health today and improves our long-term health.

Tina: You already stated that what makes Reliv products so unique is that we don’t focus on single ingredients for a specific health benefit. Yet so many people when we talk about immunity they instantly think of taking mega doses of vitamin C or zinc.  But those mega doses are not nearly as effective as putting these ingredients together in synergistic formulas. How can we combat that misunderstanding?

Dr. Galvez: The body of research on nutrition and epigenetics is expanding exponentially. At Reliv, we are not only looking at lunasin, but also we are also looking at lunasin in combination with the other ingredients we have in core nutrition and even some of the targeted solutions like FibRestore®, CardioSentials® and GlucAffect®. These formulas contain ingredients also known to have an effect on the epigenome. As I see now with so much new research on bioactive agents and dietary nutrients, we are gaining a greater understanding of how the nutrients work together metabolically not only to support physiological functions, but also epigenetically to have a real impact on health. For example, when dietary fibers are digested in the gut, chemicals are released that send signals to the epigenome.

I am hopeful that the next generation of scientists, researchers, and medical professionals will expand on what we know so far and apply this understanding to develop nutritional solutions that can have a real impact on many of the chronic health conditions that are so prevalent today. So many of our current therapies only treat the symptoms, but with epigenetics, we can more effectively target the underlying causes of these conditions. I believe the best way we can find effective treatments is to understand the epigenome and the effect of natural bioactive agents working together to turn off the bad genes that promote disease and turn on the genes that support wellness. 

There are many things that still need to be understood. There is also a learning curve for the medical establishment and consumers as far as epigenetics is concerned. With the foundational work that I have done on nutritional epigenetics, along with other researchers in the space, we are certainly moving in that direction. I anticipate that as the trend continues for patients and consumers to be more proactive with their health, the demand for effective nutritional solutions will keep driving researchers to find effective solutions.

Tina: You have a very unique perspective as a researcher on the current situation. What are some of the challenges that researches are facing that are inhibiting their efforts to finding effective therapies or developing a vaccine for COVID-19?

Dr. Galvez: That is a very good question. Actually, that was a question posed to me when I was taking my Ph.D. oral examination because it was during the height of the HIV infection. Like HIV, this new coronavirus is an RNA virus and it is more difficult to find a cure or even a vaccine because RNA viruses only have a single strand of genetic material (versus DNA viruses which have two strands). This means that it can mutate more easily than other types of viruses. In fact, that is one of the reasons why we have to reduce the infection rates, so we can reduce the chance of mutations.

It is going to be very difficult to develop vaccines. There are a lot of stages of testing that must be done. It will take anywhere from a year or a year and a half. Of course, you also have to take into consideration the mutation rate of this virus. It’s a serious problem, but it’s not something that we haven’t seen before.

I think individually we can each do things to help control this, so all the suggestions that the CDC and epidemiologists have been giving us we should accept it and practice it. This is the only way we can fight against this virus. In the meantime, it becomes vitally important to do what you can personally to keep supporting your immune system with nutrition and lifestyle choices.

Tina: What are a few recommendations that you have for our readers and what are you personally doing to protect yourself and your family?

Dr. Galvez: My family is certainly taking Reliv nutrition and focusing on the basic principles of health and wellness – plenty of vegetables and fruits along with quality protein, emphasizing plant-based protein sources. We exercise at least 30 minutes each day. There are a lot of studies done on exercise and epigenetic changes. In fact, exercising can reduce the epigenetic age to optimize your epigenome and support immunity. Getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep at night can also have an effect on delaying epigenetic aging. There is not a short-term fix that is going to protect everyone. You have to be vigilant and proactive so when you get challenged by these environmental stresses and viral infections your immune system and your body is strong enough to fight it.

 

Plant-Based Protein Options to the Rescue

By Reliv Key Director Dawn Tucci

These are times of adaptation and change. Around the world, people have been faced with decisions about how we are going to navigate life, now and into the future. One of the things that we are experiencing is a shift in the availability of the items we took for granted. For the first time for many of us, it has become harder to acquire personal items that we rely on as well as the foods that we eat. Restaurants are closed, so more people are cooking at home. Because of the disruption in business, we may see a shortage of certain types of meats.

Healthier Options

We know that protein is an essential part of a healthy diet. In looking for protein alternatives we may find that we stumble upon better choices out of necessity. Meat is a good source of protein, but alternative sources like plant-based protein have been touted as a healthier solution. There is evidence that many chronic diseases can be reduced by eating a whole-food, plant-based diet. Many also report that eating plant-based protein provides more energy, improved fitness, reduced inflammation, and better weight management. Eating a plant-based diet may even help you live longer, help the environment, and support your immune system.

Apples to Apples

 First, let’s talk about how animal and plant proteins compare. When relying on plants for protein it is important to combine different plants to give your body a complete source of all the essential amino acids. Sound complicated? It’s really not.

Animal proteins provide all the essential amino acids your body needs, but individual plant products do not and must be combined. There are exceptions: soy and quinoa contain all essential amino acids. Grains and beans complement each other and together provide all these amino acids, so eating both in a day can provide you the same nutritional quality protein as if you were to eat meat. 

In 2016, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics stated, “a vegetarian or vegan diet could provide all the nutritional requirements of adults, children and those who were pregnant or breast-feeding.” The right plant-based foods are an excellent source of protein and nutrients, often with fewer calories.

 So what does your plate look like if you are not able to put meat on it and must rely on plant foods for protein? Eating a variety of these foods will give your body all the nutrients it needs to be healthy.

Fruits
Apples, grapes, berries, citrus fruits, bananas, strawberries, etc.

Vegetables
Peppers, avocados, corn, lettuce, peas, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, kale, etc.

Tubers
Root vegetables such as potatoes, parsnips, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, etc.

Whole grains
Whole grain flours, bread, and cereals, brown rice, millet, oats, barley, etc.

Legumes
Beans of any kind, lentils, tofu, tempeh

Nuts and Seeds
Quinoa, all nuts, all seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, etc.)

Other
Supplements
Plant-based milk

How much protein do you need?

There is a simple formula to help you determine how much protein you need. Divide your current weight by 2.2, multiply this by 0.8. This gives you the number of grams of protein you need to eat in one day. So a 150 lb person would need 54 grams of protein per day. Your protein needs may increase if you are very active and want to gain muscle.

How much protein do plant-based products have?

(For comparison, an ounce of meat averages about 7 grams)

Per ½ cup:

  • Chickpeas 7 gm
  • Edamame 8
  • Lentils 8
  • Tofu 10
  • Peanuts 20
  • Almonds 16
  • Quinoa 4
  • Green peas 4
  • Dry oats 6
  • Wild rice 3

Vegetables – those with the highest protein (4 to 5 grams per cooked cup) include broccoli, spinach, asparagus, artichokes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and Brussels sprouts.

Try rice and beans mixed together (7 grams per cup), a stalk of broccoli (4 grams per stalk), or a baked potato (8 grams for large).

Other sources:

  • Reliv Now with Soy contains 7 grams of heart-healthy, plant-based protein per serving
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds 2 gm
  • 1 oz nut butter 7 gm
  • Nutritional yeast – a deactivated strain of yeast that has a cheesy flavor. It can be sprinkled on mashed potatoes, pasta and provides 14 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber per ounce. Fortified nutritional yeast can also supply Vitamin B12.

Supplemental Solution

When you consume a plant-based diet, there are additional nutrients besides protein that you will need to consume. Nutrients of concern when avoiding animal products are calcium, iron, and Vitamin B12. Some foods are fortified with these nutrients and can also be obtained by using a daily supplement like Reliv Now with Soy. In addition to providing 7 grams of plant-based protein, Reliv Now with Soy tastes great and has higher levels of essential vitamins and minerals for greater health benefits. It also includes LunaRich to support your immune system and promote healthy cholesterol levels and inflammatory response. 

The silver lining in this meat crisis may lead to an improvement in our health. Eating more plant-based proteins means that you will get more nutrition and fiber in your diet often with fewer calories. If you’re not willing to avoid meat entirely, you can still benefit from increasing your intake of plant-based foods. An additional benefit to supplementing with Reliv products is that they are shelf-stable. You can blend Reliv products with fruits and vegetables to create a smoothie, but they can also be made simply by mixing them with water or juice. Best of all, Reliv products can be delivered right to your door! 

 

 

 

 

Wellness and Working Remotely: Why You’re Positioned for Success Right Now

We’re in the wellness industry (something everyone is talking about right now) and our products are here to support your overall wellness during this season and every day. In recent days, the world has turned its attention to wellness and immune support, and Reliv has been at the forefront of those efforts for decades.

Across the United States and world, people are adapting the way they live and work. You’ve likely heard terms like “social distancing,” but take a moment to consider how as a Reliv Distributor, you have all the tools you need to connect with your customers!

The online communication tools at your disposal (Zoom, Facebook and Instagram) are the perfect way to keep your business churning and burning at a time when people are having to change their way of life. Most of them are free and can be used right from your phone! Did you know you can have up to 100 people on a Zoom video conference? That sounds like a great way to host an opportunity presentation!

Technology tools have given us the ability to develop relationships and introduce new people to Reliv from the comfort and safety of home. We can give people world-class customer service that they won’t find anywhere else. Reliv Distributors and customers are perfectly positioned to provide what people are searching for, and it’s easier than ever to present and share your business online.

The opportunity to help others get healthier and live happier is more urgent and important now than ever before. We all have a social responsibility to help our loved ones and communities and there isn’t a better way than through Reliv’s science-based products and flexible, home-based business opportunity. So if you’re with us – thank you! If you’re thinking about joining us, we’re thrilled to have your support as we make our world a healthier place.

Epigenetics: All in the Family

By Director of Product Development & Fit3 Trainer Tina Van Horn

Nature and Nurture

Everyone has genetic predispositions, those things that “run in the family.” For many, this is a list of conditions such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. Sound familiar? Epigenetics brings a positive perspective to the fear and uncertainty that comes from checking all those boxes on a health history form. We now know that healthy lifestyle choices have the power to influence and even override our faulty genetic codes.

Families pass on both DNA and lifestyle habits that serve as epigenetic signals to that DNA. Nutritional choices, exercise, stress management and environmental exposures all influence whether genes get turned on or remain silent. While epigenetic marks are reversible (e.g. activated genes can be deactivated), healthy habits that start early in life can prevent negative genes from ever being activated in the first place.

The Earlier, the Better

Child development experts and medical professionals agree that healthy lifestyle habits are learned behaviors most strongly influenced by the family. Researchers also concur that nutritional habits established in infancy and childhood set the stage for a lifetime of dietary patterns.

A recent CDC report, for example, highlights the importance of eating practices in the first year of life. When children drink sugar-sweetened beverages during the first 12 months, this doubles the odds they will drink those beverages at age six. And limited fruit and vegetable consumption in the first year leads to limited fruits and vegetables at age six.

Nature and Nurture

Dietary preferences aren’t the only behaviors from home that carry over into adulthood with lingering epigenetic effects. Stress management, sleep patterns, and exercise are all influenced by family culture.

Work, social activities, media, and electronics compete for time that could be spent planning and preparing meals, engaging in physical activity or getting sufficient rest. Parents today work an average of three hours more per week than they did in the 1960s. That can mean the difference between home-cooked meals and visits to the drive-thru.

The American Academy of Pediatrics report, titled “Children, Adolescents, Obesity and the Media,” states: “American society couldn’t do a worse job at the moment of keeping children fit and healthy — too much TV, too many food ads, not enough exercise and not enough sleep.”

Top 10 Family Health Tips

Raising healthy kids today can feel like climbing Mt. Everest. But it can be done! It all starts when you embrace health as a family.

1) Be a good role model. You don’t have to be perfect, but if kids see you trying to eat right and exercise, they will take notice.

2) Get the family moving together. Take walks, ride bikes, go swimming, garden or just play hide-and-seek outside. Everyone will benefit from the exercise and time together.

3) Limit TV, video games and computer time. These habits encourage a sedentary lifestyle and contribute to excessive snacking.

4) Encourage physical activities that they enjoy. Let your child experience different activities. Be creative and incorporate exercise into everyday situations.

5) Pick truly rewarding rewards. Resist the urge to reward kids with TV, video games, candy or snacks.

6) Make dinnertime a family time. Get your kids involved in cooking and planning meals. No TV or portable media devices during dinner (that includes YOUR phone).

7) Make a game of reading food labels. The whole family will become more conscious of what they eat — a habit that can change behavior for a lifetime.

8) Make healthy food choices easy. Save countertops, front-of-fridge and lower shelves for fruits, vegetables, and healthy snacks. Provide a variety of choices. You might be surprised at what they like!

9) Limit sugary beverages. Beware of sugar-laden drinks marketed as juice beverages. Check the ingredient labels and serving sizes.

10) Stay involved. Be an advocate for healthier children. Insist on good food choices at school and other social settings.

Healthy families don’t happen overnight, so set realistic goals when adopting new behaviors. Pick one strategy and allow time for kids to adjust. Small steps and gradual changes can make a big difference in your health over time and in the health of your kids over their lifetime!

Give Your Kids a Healthy Head Start

Optimal nutrition promotes healthy growth, cognitive development and strong immunity during childhood — and reduces the risk of health problems later in life. Reliv Now® for Kids is specially formulated to provide the vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients growing bodies need to thrive, plus advanced ingredients for added benefits:

LunaRich®: Reliv’s exclusive epigenetic superfood proven to support innate immunity and overall cellular health.

DHA: omega-3 fatty acid critical for development and function of the brain, eyes and central nervous system.

PS and PC: (phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylcholine) natural compounds that support healthy cellular development, mental clarity, memory, learning, and cognitive function.

Grape Seed Extract: a powerful antioxidant that protects against cell-destroying free radicals.

10 Healthy Hacks for the Holiday Season

By Director of Product Development & Fit3 Trainer Tina Van Horn

Let’s face it, the next few weeks will be filled with some beautiful moments and memories, but they can definitely derail your fitness goals.  Staying healthy during the holiday doesn’t have to be all work and no play, though.

Here are a few of my favorite holiday hacks to make the season a little merrier:

Do This: Go on a walking tour to see the holiday lights.
Not That: Load up in the car and drive around to see the lights while munching on cookies and sipping cocoa.

I love the holiday lights and the best way to really see them is on foot! Slow down and soak up the glow while you get in a few more steps.

Do This: Use a smaller plate at holiday gatherings.
Not That: Pile up a big ol’ platter because your eyes are bigger than your stomach.

This is a great way to trick your brain into thinking that you are eating more than you actually are!  And remember when you fill your plate to start with the veggies and protein. That will leave less room for over-doing the starchy carbs. Also, remember that you don’t have to clean your plate! You might have to remind grandma that you are an adult and you CAN have dessert, even if you didn’t eat everything on your plate. 

Do This: Unplug and get outside to play.
Not That: Sit on the couch all day watching football and eating leftovers.

Play something!  Have fun! Move around and get the kids involved. Shoot some hoops, build a snow fort, go on a winter scavenger hunt, go sledding or even golfing. . .  If the weather is a little frightful, head to the bowling alley or roller rink for some old-fashioned fun.

Do This: Volunteer Service
Not That: Binge-watch holiday movies

Chances are you have watched those movies so many times you have them memorized. Why not make new memories by volunteering at the animal shelter or helping an elderly neighbor put up their Christmas decorations.  You could also check with your local senior center or assisted living facilities about playing bingo with the residents.

Do This:  Plan gatherings around activities
Not That:  Focus entirely on the food

Of course, food is a big part of every gathering this time of year, but why not plan an activity while you are planning the menu? When the meal is over, keep your hands busy with a craft project or break out the board games. 

Do This:  Get up 30 minutes earlier for a quick morning workout
Not That:  Skip your evening workout because you are busy or tired from the holiday bustle.

You are busy!  Your workouts will take a backseat to EVERYTHING else. Pick two days each week and start the day with a quick sweat session to make sure you get in a few workouts.

Do This:  Experiment with healthier holiday recipes
Not That:  Dump tons of sugar and fat into your favorite holiday traditions.

Grandma’s recipe may be a family tradition, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try a few healthier swaps to make it a little less naughty. Try cutting back on the sugar and using some applesauce in baked goods. Consider using plain Greek yogurt in place of sour cream in your favorite dips and sauces. You might even replace some of the shortening/butter with avocado. Just be sure to test the recipe ahead of time.

Do This: Choose special homemade treats.
Not That: Indulge in store-bought goodies.

With so many amazing treats, this is not the time of year for packaged snacks like chips, cookies, and pastries. They probably aren’t worth it any other time of year either, but definitely not worth it throughout the holidays!

Do This:  Do something active every day, even if you only have a few minutes
Not That:  Subscribe to the all-or-nothing attitude of working out.

Even if you can’t fit in your regular workout, something is better than nothing!  Be flexible with the what, where and when. It may help to focus on “minimizing your inactivity” this time of year.  Do pushups while each batch of cookies is baking.  Hop up and get in a few squats during commercials or try a Christmas-even dance party.

Do This:  Say “No.”
Not That:  Allow stress, anxiety, and obligations to over-shadow the holiday magic.

Fit3 is about choices and so is this season.  It’s okay to say “no” when things get too hectic. Use your time and energy to do the things that bring you joy and nourish your soul.

Remember to make good choices this holiday season, and your body and spirit will thank you in the New Year! Happy holidays, everyone!

Keep Moving to Fight Memory Loss

There are many ways to help prevent cognitive decline and keep your gray matter in top shape.

Movers and Shakers

Research has shown a combination of activities and lifestyle choices may keep the brain healthy. Here are some ways to keep your mind agile and your memory resilient:

1. Participate in recreational activities like chess, book clubs and discussion groups that encourage conversation and interaction

2. Implement activities that require planning and forethought like gardening and scrapbooking

3. Challenge yourself to complete common activities in reverse order or with the opposite hand (i.e. brushing teeth, getting dressed, etc.)

4. Keep low-impact aerobic activities like dancing, cycling and swimming as part of your routine

Don’t Forget to Remember

Recent studies have shown a strong correlation between vascular health and the influence of an active lifestyle. There are also activities that have been proven to increase memory retention. Give these a try and see if you experience improved memory capacity:

1. Stay mentally active by working puzzles, learning to play a musical instrument or taking alternate routes when driving

2. Socialize regularly with loved ones and friends or by volunteering with people of various ages

3. Keep your appointments, tasks and other events organized in a single place or notebook

4. Focus on one task at a time and give it your full attention

5. Eat a healthy diet and include supplements like ReversAge® to promote youthfulness

6. Make regular checkups at your doctor a part of your routine, particularly if you are managing chronic conditions

You’re only as old as you feel, so treat your body well and remember to laugh and play. Surround yourself with young friends (especially the young at heart) and don’t be afraid to act like a kid. When you reconnect with your younger self, you’ll think and feel your best!

Enjoy a healthier, more active lifestyle with Reliv. Order now.

The Benefits of Nutrient-Dense Foods

By Reliv Key Director Dawn Tucci

Do you ever find yourself at the end of the day and nothing nutritious has passed your lips? If you’re snacking on food without much nutritional value, you’re probably still hungry. The solution? Nutrient-dense foods!

Let’s start by defining terms. What do we mean by “nutrient dense?” Nutrient-dense foods have a high nutrient content in proportion to the calories they contain. Therefore, including these foods in your diet can increase the nutrition you get per calorie. For example, foods like kale, blueberries, and quinoa offer a lot of nutrition without many calories.

The Nutritional Balance

If you only ate foods that were nutrient-dense, you’d have to say goodbye to most of your favorite snacks and “sometimes foods.” By making sure that a few bites of each meal and snack contain some of these nutrition powerhouses, you can get away with occasionally eating things that are not so healthy. When you pack your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, and legumes, you can have a treat every now and then while still staying on track.

Added Benefits

In addition to vitamins and minerals, there are other benefits to eating nutrient-dense foods. Many of these foods are also high in fiber, which is a type of complex-carbohydrate that takes your body longer to digest than foods comprised of simple sugars. This means that you will also feel fuller, longer when you eat them. Of course, if you’re looking to increase your fiber intake, Reliv’s FibRestore® is a Targeted Solution that offers 10 grams of soluble and insoluble fiber per serving. By adding FibRestore to your daily Core Nutrition shake, you can ensure that you’re getting all the benefits of fiber, including digestive health, weight loss, blood sugar control, and lower cholesterol!

Snacking for the Win

Another way to keep you feeling full is to snack between meals. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that you can eat whatever you want and expect to stay healthy. Snacks should be high in nutrition and loaded with protein. Ideally, you want a combination of lean protein and healthy fat for staying power. Aim for about 150 calories of nutrient-rich foods and your snack will be satisfying and give you the “pick me up” you are looking for!

Recipe Time

Here is a great snack from Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN:

Easy Yogurt Bowl
Add berries or a tablespoon of chia seeds to plain Greek yogurt to provide a filling combination of protein and fiber. In the fall, 1⁄2 cup of pumpkin puree and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice make great stand-ins for berries and still provide 3 grams of fiber per 1⁄2 cup. You can also add locally-produced honey to sweeten the deal!

Examples of Nutrient-Dense Foods

  • Legumes and nuts – excellent sources of lean protein
  • Quinoa and sweet potatoes – healthful alternative to and more nutritious than white bread and rice
  • Salmon – also contains Omega-3 fatty acids which are good for the body, especially the heart
  • Kale and other greens – also high in antioxidants
  • Berries – rich in anthocyanin which may have metabolic benefits
  • Others include garlic, sardines, eggs, dark chocolate, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, seeds, tomatoes, and soybeans.

If you want lots of nutrients without calories, focus on foods like the ones above mixed into your diet. A more nutritious diet benefits your health, and you will also feel better and have more energy!

Reliv Champions Challenge Winners Announced – 3rd Quarter 2019

By Director of Product Development & Fit3 Trainer Tina Van Horn

Join us in congratulating the winners of the most recent Reliv Fit3 Champions Challenge! They worked hard at making positive lifestyle choices to complete all of the challenge criteria. With the support of Reliv’s optimal nutrition and the Fit3 Facebook community, each of the winners celebrated non-scale victories along with their measurable results to earn some fantastic prizes. Be sure to search #RelivChampionsChallenge to follow their journeys.

Grand Prize: $500 Cash

Mary Murray, North Carolina

“Since 2016, I have been on a weight loss and fitness journey. After my progress lagged in early 2019, I needed encouragement and accountability to achieve greater weight loss and resume exercise in earnest. With persistence and HARD work, I lost 13 lbs. in 15 weeks during this challenge.* What is so important is that I am not willing to give up!  

I don’t have a sense of dread about getting healthy because I’m DOING it! I have learned to get excited over great food choices instead of pining for unhealthy treats! The secret weapon is that Fit3 is a One-DayProgram! There is always a fresh start born every day!

I know that my nutritional foundation, Reliv products, are the best of the best! My net loss is 54 pounds, and I am not done yet! I’m a Reliv Champion because I’m committed to living well and embracing great health. 

I’ve got six grandchildren to keep up with and I want to be able to sit on the floor and play with them! That’s ultimately what motivates me. I’m a Reliv Champion because I’m committed to living well and embracing great health.  I’m not done yet, but I’m not giving up! Every day is a fresh start to learn and make better choices.”

To hear Mary’s reaction to winning the challenge and learn more about her journey, check out the latest episode of “The Reliv Podcast: Get Healthier, Live Happier.”

Once again the competition was fierce and the stories were so inspiring, we couldn’t pick just one winner, so we are doling out some additional product credits to these amazing challengers who have all followed Fit3 for years. Their persistence paid off!

Special Recognition: $250 Product Credit

April Reynolds, Utah

“A champion is someone who succeeds, who pushes past roadblocks to obtain their goal. I thought my goal was to be strong enough to do much of our landscaping myself and to have the vigor to enjoy going on mountain hikes. But I have found that those are just benchmarks along the road. The journey is what is really important and making healthy choices daily. The obstacles I have faced these past few months have caused me to push forward and be quite creative about it, but I have done it!”

Kathleen Morgan, Missouri 

“I finally lost my “freshman 15.” It’s taken about two years of working out consistently and this is the challenge where it finally came off. I worked really hard and consistently to exercise every day and eat healthier. I am a Reliv Champion because I still completed the challenge while being super busy with school and work, finding a workout schedule that fits with my life.”

Laurie Eaton, South Dakota

“What makes me a Reliv champion is staying the course, doing the exercises and staying connected to the Reliv Fit3 group that helps me stay accountable. Challenging myself and learning to have better eating habits has not been hard but fun and the rewards of watching my body transform have been amazing. I’m so excited to be able to do more and more…there was a time that my hip hurt so bad I couldn’t do much exercising. I stayed the course and I have surprised myself more and more of what I can do as I continue to strengthen my body. I feel strong and healthy at 67 and not old and hurting! Staying the course! That makes me a champion.”

The challenge criteria called for the participants to use Reliv products consistently throughout the challenge, commit to lifestyle changes promoted through the Fit3 program and complete weekly social media posts to encourage others and build a personal brand in the wellness space.  All participants who completed the above requirements AND lost 10 pounds (or experienced other measurable results) were considered for the grand prize and have been awarded a $100 Reliv product credit.

All Challenge Finishers: $100 Product Credit

  • Angela Malis
  • Angie Chinn
  • April Reynolds
  • Barry Williams
  • Brenda Guess
  • Brenda Lowder
  • Cathy Sudo
  • Chris “Christine” Ciccone
  • Dawn Tucci
  • Dodi McCune
  • Donna Markham
  • Dorothy Post
  • Esther Clegg
  • Linda Mosler
  • Louise Kohl
  • Luzia Hanna
  • Margie Stump
  • Mary Kathleen Morgan
  • Mike Greenwood
  • Naomi Lydick
  • Pam Thielen
  • Rebecca Moseley
  • Rene’ Kisrow
  • Renee Schwarck Nawaz
  • Ritchie Burns
  • Yvette Dickey

Make plans now to join the next Reliv Champions Challenge, which is set to kick off on January 1, 2020. Registration opens December 15, 2019.

*Results vary based on starting point and effort. Results achieved with Fit3 fitness program.