7 Quick and Easy Ketogenic Snack Ideas

Ketogenic diets are great at keeping you satiated. You almost don’t ever need snacks. When you first get started on the ketogenic diet, snacks can help you to adjust. Friends and family may still be snackers and still want something to munch on when they visit.

Keep these ketogenic snack ideas in mind when you go to parties. You may feel like you can’t eat anything, but if they have some of these ketogenic snacks on hand, you can indulge! These ketogenic snack ideas are great for serving as appetizers too!

Ketogenic Snack Ideas

  • Pork rinds– For those with salty and crunchy cravings, pork rinds provide you with a savory crunch without the carbohydrates. Pork rinds can be used in place of chips and dipped in guacamole or ranch dressing.
  • Macadamia Nuts – Macadamia nuts are not filled with inflammatory omega 6 fats. They have high amounts of monounsaturated fat and minimal omega-6s.
  • Boiled eggs- Boiled eggs are a simple and easy way to get some protein in. These ketogenic snack ideas are easy to make and can be used in a number of different ways like deviled eggs and egg salad.
  • Pepperoni slices – Pepperoni slices are a very convenient and keto-friendly snack. Pork rinds can be packed up and taken on road trips or to sporting events. Look for pepperoni without added dextrose, maltodextrin and unhealthy preservatives.
  • High-fat cheese – Hard cheeses can serve as a great high-fat snack on the ketogenic diet. They pack well with meat and nuts. String cheese, cheddar cheese cubes, and slices of Colby jack cheese are easy and convenient for keto snacking.
  • Cherry Tomatoes – Summertime means eating fresh veggies. My garden is full of cherry tomatoes, which can be a great snack. They do have some carbohydrates, so make sure you don’t overeat them!
  • Pickles – Satisfy your salty and sour cravings with pickles! These ketogenic snack ideas are low-calorie and can provide you with the minerals you need.

Remember, the goal isn’t to make snacks an integral part of your life. The goal should be to eat full ketogenic meals. These ketogenic snack ideas are there for you during times when you haven’t eaten enough or when a normal meal won’t happen for example when you are traveling or at a party.

How to Avoid the Covid-19 Virus

First and foremost, let me put it out there… I am not a doctor. But if I was, you may not want to take my advice. Doctors don’t study virology. They study medicine. They write prescriptions for medicine. Sometimes, medicine can harm you. So, it may be a good thing that I’m not a doctor. I don’t have a bias towards harmful drugs which provide temporary relief.

This is going to be advice on simply staying healthy and avoiding getting sick. I don’t think there is any possible way to avoid exposure to the virus at this point. But I do believe that you can avoid the awful symptoms if you are exposed to it.

Let me explain.

Boost Your Immune System

From my limited knowledge of the immune system, if it is healthy, you will fight off viruses and bacterial infections like a pro. If your immune system is compromised, you will come down with every flu and cough that is going around.

Boosting the immune system’s health will help you to avoid getting the covid-19 virus symptoms. It may also decrease the intensity of any symptoms that you feel.

It is unlikely that you’ll be able to avoid the virus altogether. But consider who is telling you to avoid the virus. Politicians. And do you really trust them? Yes, they have their advisers who are well-paid by the pharmaceutical companies who create the vaccines.

If your immune system doesn’t work, it won’t matter how great the vaccine they create is going to be. Your immune system needs to be functioning properly to create antibodies. Otherwise, the vaccine is going to cause more harm than good.

So, we should all be ensuring that our immune system functions. To do that, eliminate the processed foods in your diet. Forget about eating any sugar. That depletes your immune response by 50%.

Eliminate Toxins

One of the things that stresses out the immune system’s response is an overload of toxins. This can be anything from the chemicals in your cleaning products to the pesticides on your foods.

Throw out cleaning products that are not organic. Buy a spray bottle and fill it with a solution of apple cider vinegar and water to clean windows. Dilute some bleach and use it to sanitize surfaces in the bathroom. Look for products that are organic and only have a few ingredients to clean your home.

Stop using non-stick cookware. The chemicals that make it non-stick often start to come off within a few months of use. The ‘poly- and perfluoroalkyl’ substances used in cookware are linked to thyroid disease, infertility and organ damage. Instead, opt for cooking with a cast-iron skillet.

“Eat Clean”

I’m sure you’ve heard this advice before. Eat clean. But what does that even mean? Many people go vegan. There are hundreds of diets out there promoting good health.

I will tell you what it means to me. It means eating foods that are unprocessed and unpackaged. I focus on buying pasture raised beef and eggs when I have the money. During the summer months, I grow a garden and will eat some of the vegetables out of there.

Avoid packaged and processed foods. Cereals, breads, and pastas. Packaged foods tend to have preservatives in them. Do you really want your organs preserved or well-functioning?

Buteyko Breathing

I learned the Buteyko Breathing technique years ago. It is a method of correct, diaphragmatic breathing through your nose. Apparently when you breathe through your mouth, you don’t tend to get enough oxygen for your body to function properly.

Buteyko noticed a correlation between disease and the rate of breaths per minute. As people became sicker, they often increase the number of breaths they took per minute. He taught people to slow down their breathing and breathe through their nose. Patients started to eliminate their health conditions as they did this.

As a substitute teacher, I was able to observe many students in a variety of classes. I noticed that the students in honors classes often breathed through their nose with their diaphragm. In non-verbal autism classrooms, the students were often mouth breathers who rarely relied on nasal breathing.

Get Fresh Air

We are being told to stay indoors, but the indoors has many environmental toxins. There is off-gassing from carpets, chemicals that we use to clean, and some places even have mold. The more you connect with nature, the better you will feel.

Sunshine provides you with vitamin D, which is an essential hormone for many bodily functions. Vitamin D has been shown to fight off respiratory infections that are similar to the Coronavirus. While sunshine is the best way to get your vitamin D, you can also supplement with it.

Scientists also believe that breathing in the airborne chemicals produced by plants known as phytoncides increases our levels of white blood cells. This in turn helps us to fight off diseases and infections.

While none of these recommendations will help you completely avoid covid-19, each of them may better equip you to handle the virus when you do come in contact with it. As you incorporate these into your life, you may discover that your health and overall happiness improves!

ButcherBox Review – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

ButcherBox Review

Name: ButcherBox Meat Delivery Service

Website: Butcherbox.com

Price: $129

Overall Rank: 75 out of 100

Butcherbox, Product Overview

Butcherbox is a meat delivery system for those of us who don’t live particularly close to farms, but want meat from sustainably raised, grassfed, healthy animals.

The service will deliver a box of 8-11 pounds of meat per month to your doorstep. The meat is frozen and delivered with dry ice to ensure that is stays frozen until you get home and put it in your freezer.

The Good & the Bad

The Good:

Pro #1: The meat was very flavorful. It didn’t taste gamey like some grassfed meat does.

Pro #2: There were a variety of cuts included. While I received four pounds of ground beef and only two steaks, I also got a roast and some sirloin tips. It was kind of fun to have someone else select my meat cuts for me. It challenged me to look up some new recipes.

Pro #3: It is super convenient to have things delivered to your house.

The Bad:

Con #1: I received an email asking me to evaluate the meat before I received it. This freaked me out a bit that someone stole the meat from my front porch. (They didn’t. It came 10 hours later…) 

Con #2:
The price is just okay. The local farmers market has some grassfed meat that is comparable. You can also choose cheaper cuts and pick ones that have more marbling when you are at the farmers market.

Con #3: Not all the cuts will be processed to your liking. For example, the “free bacon” that I received as a promo was thick cut bacon. It was so thick that it never crisped up when cooked. I prefer thinner bacon that crisps on the edges.

Who is ButcherBox For?

Butcherbox is great for someone who is insanely busy, but interested in eating healthier. It is great for people who already use a grocery delivery service. Butcherbox is ideal for people who have more money than time. They will enjoy the convenience of receiving their high quality meat in a box every month.

It is NOT for people who want to bargain shop and get the lowest price. It is NOT for people following the GAPS diet or the PKD diet and want the unusual cuts of meat like organs and offal.

ButcherBox Support

The support offered with the product is great. I emailed them regarding my order and the weird email I received prior to getting my box. They assured me the box was on the way through a chat. I didn’t have to wait hours for them to respond.

When I sent them an email, they were responsive as well, they responded within 24 hours.

ButcherBox Price

The price of meat ordered from Butcherbox comes to about $10-$12 per pound. This is a bit pricey for grassfed ground beef, but a good deal for NY strip steak.

To compare, the local grocery store sells grassfed ground beef for about $6 per pound. The local farmer’s market sells ground beef for $7 per pound. It is important to keep in mind that grassfed beef will always be more expensive than conventionally raised meat. The quality and omega 3 to omega 6 ration will be better because the animals are raised on a natural diet.

My Final Opinion of Butcherbox

My opinion of Butcherbox is rather neutral. While the quality and convenience were good, I didn’t love using the service. Sadly, I am not going to recommend the product or continue to use it on a regular basis. I wanted to love it and recommend it. I really did!

The prices at the farmers market and grocery store are often much better than Butcherbox. For me, the grocery store is only a mile away, so it isn’t very inconvenient to go to the grocery store. The same is true with our farmer’s market. 

If you truly don’t have the time to swing by a farmer’s market or stop by the grocery store and money isn’t a factor, Butcherbox is a great option. You get popular cuts of grassfed beef and it is conveniently delivered to your door. 

Butcherbox at a Glance…

Website: Butcherbox.com

Price: $129-$169/month

Rank: 75 out of 100

VERDICT: LEGIT! They delivered meat. It did taste good. My family enjoyed eating the meat. However, I just like picking out my meat and talking to local farmers more than stressing out about whether or not someone stole my order from my front porch!

The Best Way to Take CBD: The Experts Weigh In



Unless you have successfully managed to avoid all forms of human interaction over the past couple of years, it is likely that you will have heard all about the amazing benefits of CBD. Not only is it thought to successfully treat serious disorders like anxiety and epilepsy, but a small regular CBD dosage also works to strengthen and repair your immune system, help with chronic pain, Alzheimer’s disease, Crohn’s disease and has potent anti-inflammatory properties. And although medical marijuana, cannabis, THC, Hemp, and CBD all come from the same plant, cannabis sativa, they all have completely different qualities.


If you are curious to start your own journey with CBD, then you are likely feeling a little overwhelmed right now. With new brands and products popping up on a seemingly daily basis, it is still completely baffling that there is relatively little information regarding how much you should take each day or, more importantly, how you should take it to experience the effects in a timely manner.


In a bid to help you navigate the green rush successfully, we have consulted some expert opinions on the most effective way to take CBD so you can start experiencing the positive benefits as quickly as possible. Should you take it as CBD gummies, pure CBD in small doses through a tincture, as capsules, through vape oil, a few drops on your breakfast or another way?



How to Take CBD for Rapid Relief

If you are looking for fast relief from painful physical or emotional symptoms, then you need to ensure that you remove all the hurdles that will make it harder for CBD to penetrate your bloodstream. Taking a few drops of CBD oil under your tongue is one of the fastest ways to feel a positive effect, as the tissue in your mouth and tongue will deliver it to its final destination quickly, where it can start to work its magic. As soon as the CBD tincture has reached the brain and starts triggering the necessary receptors in your central nervous system, you can expect to feel an effect in as little as 30 minutes (although everyone responds differently.)


Top Tip: Once you have taken a tincture sublingually, try to hold it under your tongue for as long as possible before swallowing. Saliva can quickly dilute even the highest quality CBD oils, meaning that the effect you experience will not be as potent.



Vaping CBD Oil

Vaping CBD oil also provides a fast channel for CBD to take effect in your body as it is rapidly absorbed into your body via the tissue in the lungs. Not only will you not have to put up with a sometimes rather disgusting flavor, but you can also easily microdose throughout the day, just as you would vape your usual liquid. Many companies recognize the demand for delicious CBD e-liquids and you will easily be able to find premium CBD vape oil online, regardless of where you are located.


Which Method Lasts the Longest?

Many experts will agree that ingesting CBD oil so that it has to pass through your digestive system is one of the best ways to experiencing lasting effects. This makes perfect sense when you consider the fact that hash brownies or other marijuana edibles can leave you feeling euphoric for hours on end, rather than for just a couple of hours after smoking a joint. Dropping CBD oils into a cup of coffee or another beverage is the perfect way to ensure that the effects will be longer lasting, but bear in mind you will be waiting for a bit longer for the CBD to actually kick in and take effect, as your digestive system slows it down.


CBD gummies are a tasty way of being able to enjoy long-lasting effects and they also make it far more convenient to consume CBD on the go. After all, no one wants to be stuck on the subway with their mouth wide open trying to successfully put drops under their tongue while simultaneously clinging onto a railing to avoid falling over during a busy commute!



Final Thoughts

As a consensus, those in the know will all agree that taking a sublingual tincture is the best way to experience relief efficiently, but if you are an existing vaper then don’t forget that this is also an exceptionally fast way of topping up your CBD dose when the effects wear off. If you are taking CBD oils for relief from anxiety or migraines, then it is important to know that you can quickly top up your dose without having to wait ages for the next hit to kick in. If you aren’t that concerned about experiencing dramatic relief immediately and you plan on using CBD for long-term health benefits, then consider purchasing premium CBD-infused edibles or adding a few drops of CBD oil to your favorite food or drink.

Guest post by Kim Torres




What to Do When the Ketogenic Diet Fails

It can be very frustrating to see so many people having wonderful results from the ketogenic diet. People are losing weight with it and others are preventing seizures. So, why doesn’t it seem to be working for you?

You may have followed the correct macronutrient intake. Ensured that you were eating 75% fat and 20% protein and only 5% carbs. But you still ended up having a seizure. Or you haven’t lost a pound after six weeks on the diet.

There are a few things that can sidetrack your results. These are often overlooked and not emphasized by the major dieting books and ketogenic gurus.

Common Ketogenic Diet Fails

  • Your macronutrients are off. This is a common mistake that people make on the ketogenic diet that can throw off your results. It could be that you are calculating your macronutrients with net carbohydrates instead of total carbohydrates. However, not everyone can tolerate the additional fiber if their gut microbiome is disturbed. This could be the reason that you aren’t seeing results.
  • You are eating too many fruits and vegetables. Most people assume that fruits and veggies are good for you. However, for people who have autoimmune conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, fruits and veggies can irritate the gut lining. Fruits and vegetables can have more carbohydrates than you think. The carbohydrates in fruits and vegetables add up quickly. Serving sizes of fruits are smaller than you think. This can slow down your weight loss.
  • The transition phase depleted your minerals. When you adapt to the ketogenic diet, often your body will go through a transition period where you may feel worse. Your body holds on to the fat until it needs to release it. When your body uses up the fat for energy and lets go of the water weight, it can leave you depleted of the necessary minerals. This is why so many people in ketogenic diet groups talk about making sure that they are drinking enough electrolytes. When the body releases excess water, often the minerals get flushed out as well.
  • Magnesium deficiency. The root cause of your seizures or excess weight may be due to a magnesium deficiency. Our soils have become very depleted in magnesium. However, magnesium is an essential mineral that is necessary for many body processes. Magnesium deficiency can cause problems such as cramps and seizures. A magnesium deficiency can also be the cause of insulin resistance, which can lead to weight gain.

If you have been struggling to get results with the ketogenic diet, re-examine your macronutrient levels. You may also want to evaluate the amount of vegetables and fruits that you are consuming. Ensure that you are taking in enough minerals and start taking a magnesium supplement. These steps can help to improve your results on the ketogenic diet.

The ketogenic diet can be a wonderful diet for releasing weight and controlling seizures. The ketogenic diet also helps to decrease inflammation in the body. However, if you don’t have enough minerals or magnesium, you definitely won’t see the results you want.

    Chicken and More Chicken, Oh My!

    This week as I was deciding what I would eat prior to going to the grocery store, I had a few things in mind. I had decided that I wanted to try a pumpkin soup recipe that was similar to butternut squash soup, but used canned pumpkin puree, so I could avoid the mess. Well, that led me to deciding to make a soup so I could use the stock in the pumpkin soup. I decided to buy a whole chicken and debone it myself today! That is quite the task! I could have simply eaten the chicken sliced, but I decided to stretch my meat purchase as far as I could. I will be able to use this chicken in four different recipes this week! 

    Chicken Soup!

    Chicken soup was going to be a no-brainer. I was boiling up the chicken in my pressure cooker and would have plenty of broth. After cooking the chicken, I took it out to debone it. I divided up the chicken into three portions. For the chicken soup, I used a ton of ketogenic veggies – frozen green beans, cabbage, 2 carrots (not keto, I know, but I only used two and the portion of carrot in each soup bowl would only be one or two slices), an onion, celery, mushrooms, sea salt, pepper, an organic boullion cube, and parsley. 


    I reserved about 2 cups of chicken stock for my pumpkin soup that I will be making tomorrow.

    Chicken Broccoli Casserole

    I have already posted my recipe for a chicken broccoli casserole. This time, I didn’t have fresh broccoli that I wanted to use for it. I was thinking about using the fresh broccoli for a stir fry or steamed as a side dish later in the week, so I whipped out some frozen broccoli, layered the chicken over it and then spread a layer of cream of mushroom soup and a layer of mayonaise, chopped up some mushrooms and onions and put them on top of that and topped it off with shredded cheddar cheese. So excited to see how the frozen broccoli works when I eat it for dinner tonight! 

    Chicken Salad

    Chicken salad is a dish that I haven’t made in awhile. I took the third portion of the chicken and chopped it up. I added a spoonful of relish and two tablespoons of mayonnaise. I chopped up two celery stalks and mixed it up. I loved it! It is similar to tuna salad, but it has a milder flavor than tuna fish. I loved the relish in it too. It will make a fun lunch meal for tomorrow. But because I was stretching this chicken, it didn’t make a ton of salad. I’m glad that I tried it. I may try out canned chicken for chicken salad next.

    Pumpkin Soup

    This soup is being made with the chicken stock. I’m super excited to test this out tomorrow an may update the blog afterwards.

    Weekly Prep Saves Time

    This week’s food prep is going to save me time during the week as now I have at least half of my meals made. I will be consuming a lot of chicken and veggies this week! It actually only took me about an hour and a half to prepare the chicken casserole and the chicken soup. The main time waster was the deboning of the whole chicken. I could have cut that out by using some frozen chicken breasts or chicken thighs with fewer bones. In the future, I may want to add some more chicken to the batch that I am cooking so that I can have more chicken salad or sliced chicken for eating.





    Jumping back into fitness

    It has been awhile since I updated my blog! Life got really busy and after the injury, and I slacked off quite a lot on my fitness journey. Summer vacations and new jobs took their toll on my time and attention.  But, it is time to refocus my energy. I’m getting back on track not only with the exercising, but also with healthy eating. I’m going ketogenic again. While I don’t notice that I feel much better or worse on or off a diet, there is a lot of research supporting the ketogenic diet’s ability to improve brain function and reduce inflammation. These are two key things that I would like to do in my fitness.  

    The ketogenic diet is very low carbohydrate and assists many people in weight loss.  For many years, it was used to treat people with epilepsy. While it doesn’t prevent all seizures, supporting the brain function with a healthy dose of fats is a good thing.

    I also need to get back up on my treadmill and exercising again. Working out at home is not always as effective as going to a gym because there is less accountability. It is more accessible and convenient, so I’m making it a goal this week to get my exercising in for at least an hour per day.


    Proper Breathing Techniques to Address the Causes of Seizures

    One of the things that has been most beneficial in improving my health has been the Buteyko breathing method. I was seriously excited about this method and even wrote a book about how I addressed the causes of seizures naturally.

    There are studies on a variety of medical conditions that demonstrate that poor health is correlated to a reduced parasympathetic tone. People who have epilepsy appear to have lower parasympathetic tone, with a larger decrease in those who have intractable seizures rather than well-controlled epilepsy. A slower, proper breathing technique has been shown to increase parasympathetic tone in healthy individuals. Proper breathing exercises have been shown to improve many areas of health including asthma, hypertension, anxiety, and even posttraumatic stress disorder. It can be a logical assumption then that slow breathing exercises in people with epilepsy lead to an increase in parasympathetic tone and therefore a reduction in seizure intensity and frequency.

    One of the reasons that a slower breathing technique is effective at addressing the causes of seizures naturally is that the technique affects cortical activity and hence seizure threshold. Additionally, slow breathing exercises reduce anxiety, which often creates hyperventilation, a factor that is known to lower seizure threshold.

    You can click on the image to purchase my book from Amazon. Shameless self-promotion here!


    Buteyko Breathing Technique

    When I learned the Buteyko breathing technique, I discovered a way to measure my progress and determine if I was achieving optimal health that would enable me to eliminate my epilepsy. It wasn’t just a matter of mindfully breathe slower and through my nose. I could hold my breath and determine approximately how much oxygenation my body had. That correlated to how likely I would have a seizure. I could work towards having a larger control pause and therefore, better seizure control. Instead of feeling like epilepsy was controlling me, I was controlling epilepsy. It was amazing.

    I will warn you though, proper breathing technique exercises can get really boring and you need to be consistent with them to make progress. It is just like working out. They will start out as challenging, get easier, get boring. If you are anything like me, you will make some progress and then get bored with it and focus on something else. The good news is that they are simple enough that you can do them while you watch television or take a walk.

    Focus On Nasal Breathing

    First and foremost, start being mindful of how you are breathing. Shut your mouth when you aren’t talking or eating. Imagine your jaw being glued together. It is that important to breath through your nose. This will naturally eliminate congestion. It will not build up while there is constant air flow through the nasal passages. Additionally, your nasal passages will be generating nitric oxide while you are using your nose which gives you the benefit of killing off harmful bacteria.


    Slow it Down

    Second step is to slow down your breathing. The proper breathing technique is a slow, diaphragmatic breath. You can easily accomplish this with a breathing device. There are a few of them on the market. I started using the BreathSlim device to lengthen my breaths and extract as much oxygen from my breath. The BreathSlim device does require that you use your mouth, but it is not to be used for the whole day. In fact, fifteen minute sessions multiple times per day will get you in the habit of breathing slower. Unfortunately, the BreathSlim device is no longer on the market. However, the Frolov device is very similar and you can get great results from it as well.


    Exercise to Keep the Good Breathing Patterns

    The third step was the most difficult for me. It was to exercise with nasal breathing. I would start to run and get out of breath quickly. Then I would feel panic because my nasal cavity didn’t take in as much air as my mouth and I would think that I needed to open my mouth. Focus on keeping that mouth shut. Slow down the exercise to start. Take frequent breaks if you need to catch your breath while you exercise. Once you have mastered exercising and breathing through the nose, you will discover that you are sleeping better and not getting nearly as many colds as you used to get.

    There are a plethora of different exercises that Buteyko teaches. These are the easiest ones to start with. As you get more accustomed to breathing through your nose, you can move on to the more advanced exercises. There are coaches that you can hire if you have a particular disease that you want help addressing.



    Epilepsy Behav. 2010 Aug;18(4):331-4. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2010.05.019. Epub 2010 Jul 13.

    Can slow breathing exercises improve seizure control in people with refractory epilepsy? A hypothesis.

    Buteyko breathing breakthrough!

    I’ve done Buteyko breathing for quite some time. I learned about it as a way to eliminate my juvenile myoclonic epilepsy seizures.  And guess what? It worked. Well, for the most part. I would start to slack off and stop measuring my control pause. My hormones would fluctuate every few months with my menstrual cycle and I would have one. However, they were so infrequent that it didn’t really seem worth my time to go back to the doctor and be put on double the therapeutic dose of Keppra to control a couple a year.

    I rededicated myself to Buteyko breathing this spring break. I read over the benefits of breathing. I read about how much exercise that I need to achieve optimal levels of health. (To be honest, I hadn’t gotten close to the control pause that I needed to achieve optimal health, which was probably why my hair never grew back and I still had occasional seizures.) I decided it was time to commit to 3-4 hours of exercise per day. Miraculously, I was able to do it! The first day, I was sore, but the second day, I wasn’t. I feel strongly that wearing the Elevation Training Mask helped oxygenate my muscles and allowed for a faster recovery. I’m actually not very sore at all! While I had used the elevation training mask in the past, I don’t think I used it for entire hours at a time before. I think doing this did the trick. I also started doing small breath holds while I exercised using the mask.

    I’m feeling so much stronger. My endurance is building. I’m hoping that all the wonderful benefits that I read so much about will manifest themselves soon!

    My training program is very simple. I start a quick jog on my treadmill desk workstation. As my legs get tired or start feeling sore, I hop off the treadmill desk to get some rebounding in and circulated the lymphatic system. I turn to youtube for a quick arm workout and then do a half hour cool down while I watch something informative or entertaining on youtube. It takes my mind off my muscles working and keeps me going for the full 2 hours in the morning. In the afternoon, I take the dog on a walk and then in the evening, I try again for another 30-60 minutes on the treadmill. I’m actually finding that I enjoy it and look forward to it instead of dreading it. Exercising at home really can energize you instead of deplete your energy.

    Do Breathing Exercises for Better Sleep!

    Some people have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. One of the best things that you can do to improve your sleep is get exercise. However, if you are simply exercising with poor breathing habits, such as breathing in and out of your mouth, you could be making your health worse instead of better. One of the main reasons for this is that the nose produces nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is essential in the regulation of sleep- wake states.  Additionally, your nose is the organ that has the ability to prepare the air you breathe properly. Mouth breathing leads to over-breathing, chronic hyperventilation, lowered carbon dioxide levels, build up of toxins, narrowing of the airways and a reduction in blood circulation.

    Nasal Breathing

    “Nasal breathing (as opposed to mouth breathing) increases circulation, blood oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, slows the breathing rate and improves overall lung volumes.” Swift, Campbell, McKown 1988 Oronasal obstruction, Lung volumes, and arterial oxygenation.

    Breathing through your nose has many benefits. Likewise, breathing through your mouth has many drawbacks. Mouth breathing and resultant over-breathing elevates your blood pressure and heart rate and worsens asthma , allergies, rhinitis, sleep apnea, and deprives your heart, brain and other organs of optimal oxygenation.

    Overbreathing and hyperventilation during exercise can lead to reduced performance, and can also cause vasoconstriction, which increases your risk for arrhythmias and heart problems, even if you have none of the usual cardiac risk factors.

    One scary fact about the nose is that it is the home to more than 50 bacterial species. Some of the species are beneficial, but most of them are not. But the good ones can kill some of the bad ones. However, if we bypass the nose for breathing, the bad ones tend to dominate. Staphylococcus Aureus infections cause disease due to direct infection or due to the production of toxins by bacteria. Aureas, one of the hospital acquired staph infections that include the blood and the heart is present in thirty percent of the population, including hospital employees.

    Nasal Breathing Increases Energy Levels

    Nasal breathing increases our energy levels. When we breathe, we use our lungs. The lungs extract oxygen from the air we breathe on the exhale portion of the breath. Since the nostrils are smaller than the mouth, when air is exhaled through the nasal passages, it creates a sort of back pressure. This slows the air escape enabling the lungs to have more time to extract oxygen. Only when the oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange is correct will the blood maintain the proper body pH. When carbon dioxide diminishes rapidly, as it does during mouth breathing, the absorption of oxygen decreases.

    In the nasal passages there are afferent stimuli from the nerves that regulate breathing. The air that gets inhaled passes through the nasal mucosa and carries the stimuli to the reflex nerves which control the breath. Mouth breathing bypasses the nasal mucosa and makes breathing irregular. While you sleep, it predisposes one to loud snoring, irregular breathing, sleep apnea and heart conditions.


    Mouth Breathing Creates Mucus

    Mouth breathing triggers a response from the brain where it stimulates the goblet cells to produce mucous, slow the breathing and cause constriction of blood vessels. This response is eliminated when breathing through the nose because nasal breathing limits air intake and forces you to slow down your breathing. Proper nasal breathing reduces hypertension and eliminates stress in the average person.

    Nasal breathing leads to better filtration of toxins. The nose contains cilia, which trap bacteria and prevents them from entering the body. The nostrils also filter and warm up the air going to the lungs. This is a step that is not done when breathing through the mouth. The sinuses also produce nitric oxide, which is harmful to the bacteria and prevents infections.

    Nose breathing imposes approximately fifty percent more resistance to the air stream in normal individuals than does mouth breathing, resulting in ten to twenty percent more O2 uptake. (Cottle, 1972: Rohrer, 1915). There must be adequate nasal resistance to maintain adequate elasticity of the lungs. (Cottle 1980).


    Buteyko Breathing Exercises

    So, how does one achieve nasal breathing twenty four hours a day and seven days per week? One must practice breathing exercises during their awake hours in order to eliminate their irregular sleep breathing. This is a simple task that does take some time and dedication, but pays off huge health benefits in the long run.

    When you start learning Buteyko breathing exercises, the first thing that you’ll learn is how to measure your control pause. This gives you an idea of how much oxygen is in your body. The longer the control pause, the better health you will likely have.

    Below is a video demonstrating how to measure your control pause.

    I personally use the Buteyko breathing exercises. The simple Buteyko steps exercise is one that can be done while walking. You simply exhale through your nose and plug your nose. Keep your mouth closed and count how many steps you can take before you feel an air shortage. You ideally want to make it up to 80 steps. Each time you attempt this it will get easier and easier.


    Breathing Devices

    Another great tool to improve your breathing are breathing devices. As I was learning to slow my breathing down, I used the BreathSlim device. It is a simple device that is used to slow down the breathing. While it is done using your mouth to create resistance, it traps the carbon dioxide and you breath that back into your body. It is only meant to be used for about fifteen minutes at a time. Afterwards, you will notice that your breathing is slower and if you are mindful, you should be breathing through your nose. The BreathSlim device is no longer on the market, but one that is very similar is the Frolov breathing device. 

    Another great breathing device that I like to use is the Elevation Training Mask. The great thing about the elevation training mask is that it creates a resistance for your lungs and you can do the Buteyko Steps exercise while you are wearing it. The elevation training mask is the tool that I used to train myself to breathe through my nose while I exercise.  It is very effective and will improve your endurance and overall workouts. 

    As you practice Buteyko breathing exercises, you’ll discover that your sleep becomes much easier. You will discover that you wake up refreshed and ready to face the day. The exercises tend to energize you. You may not need that afternoon nap after doing a few Buteyko breathing exercises.