About Me

My name is Leslie Ellis and I have worked in the supplement industry for over five years.  I am also a wife and mother of two wonderful kids and I'm very passionate about the supplement industry and alternative methods to keeping me and my family healthy.  Living in the beautiful Northwest gives me the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors year-round, hiking, biking, skiing, camping and walking.  I am writing this blog to help all people live a healthier, happier, more active life.  Enjoy!
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5 Steps for Bone Health - Steps 4 & 5

Step 4 - Talk to Your Doctor

Step 5 - Have a Bone Density Test


In conclusion of the 5 step series for stronger bones, the final two steps are also a very important part of overall bone health. 


Step 4  Talk to Your Healthcare Professional  

Don’t wait until you think you are “old enough”.  No age is too young to find out if you are at risk.  It’s very important that you start discussing how to prevent osteoporosis at an early age, especially if you are at a higher risk.  There are several factors that increase the likelihood of developing osteoporosis and broken bones.  Read through these and give yourself a strike for each one that pertains to you.


  • Female – Strike one for me
  • Small and thin – not so much, I guess this is one time I’m glad I’m not!
  • Certain ethnicity such as Caucasian or Asian, although Hispanics and African Americans are also at risk – Strike two
  • Family history of osteoporosis or broken bones – Strike three for me, my grandmother has severe osteoporosis
  • Poor diet with low calcium and vitamin D intake and excessive intake of protein, sodium and caffeine – Strike four – I’m lactose intolerant so I do not eat dairy, plus I live in the Northwest where we get sun 2 months a year and I love caffeine!
  • Lack of exercise or activity – this one I do pretty well on with walking, hiking, gardening at least once a day
  • Certain medications such as steroids, some anticonvulsants and others – thankfully, I do not take any medications
  • Certain diseases and conditions such as anorexia nervosa, asthma and others – thankfully, no for me
  • Not taking any calcium or Vitamin D supplements – I try to remember everyday!

I have four strikes against me – how many do you have?  All it takes is one.  Even if you don’t have any, it’s still important to talk with your doctor and make to take a high quality liquid calcium supplement with Vitamin D each day.  A liquid is much easier to swallow and more absorbable.  This will help ensure you are at least getting what you need each day to help prevent osteoporosis and protect your bone and joint health.


Step 5 – Get a Bone Density Test

That brings us to the final Step 5, if appropriate, get a bone density test to determine how healthy your bones actually are.  A bone density test can identify if you have osteoporosis and determine your risk for fractures and monitor your response to an osteoporosis treatment.  The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) has more info.  When you get the results of your bone density test, you and your doctor can determine what treatment steps are right for you and what do the numbers mean.  Make sure to discuss all your options thoroughly.


Make an appointment today and find out if your bones are healthy.  Also, make sure to follow each of the 5 steps to ensure healthy bones now and in the future.  I know I am going to try very hard to follow all 5 steps.  Please join me!





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Healthy Lifestyle for Healthy Bones

5 Steps for Bone Health – 3rd in Series

Step 3 – Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle


Previously I wrote about the 5 steps for bone health:  Step 1 - Eat Right and Step 2 - Exercise.  That brings me to Step 3 – Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle.  Of course, eating right and exercise are very important part of this, but what further steps should be taken for stronger bones?


  • Stop smoking – smoking is just as bad for your bones as it is for the rest of your body.  Women who smoke have lower estrogen levels compared to nonsmokers and often go through menopause earlier, putting you at higher risk for osteoporosis.  Visit this stop smoking blog for some great  tips and support.
  • Limit alcohol consumption – excessive alcohol intake of more than 2-3 drinks per day is damaging to your bones, even in younger women.  Heavy drinkers are also more prone to bone loss and fractures, both because of poor nutrition and an increased risk of falling.
  • Stay away from soda pop – soda contains phosphoric acid.  When too much phosphorous is in the blood stream, calcium is leached from the bones.
  • Maintain a healthy weight – a very low body weight can put you at  higher risk for osteoporosis. 
  • Take a Calcium with Vitamin D supplement daily – look for a high quality liquid calcium supplement containing 1000 mg of calcium and 400 IU of Vitamin D. 

Why not start today?  Taking the right steps today will lead to stronger bones in the future.


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Back from Vacation

I just returned from a week long vacation to Helena, Montana.  My family and I journeyed there with our camper to a beautiful lake - Canyon Ferry Lake.  I had never been there before and what a beautiful place!  Nestled in the mountains, it spans for many miles with spectacular scenery.  I got to play on my new kayak quite a bit which was very enjoyable.  I managed not to dump myself in the water, even with all the huge boat wakes coming at me.  It's a great way to get away for some relaxing time on the water.

While on vacation it's not always easy to "stay healthy".  Eating lots of chips and smores and other junk food does not constitute a healthy diet.  Also, it can be hard to remember to take nutritional supplements.  That's ok.  If you take a week's "vacation" from your supplements, don't worry!   As long as you start again immediately after returning, you should have no ill effects from taking a break.

If you are taking a supplement such as glucosamine and chondroitin, you may notice a difference such as more painful joints, stiffness in the knees, etc.  So this may be one supplement to continue taking while on vacation. 

So I'm trying to get back to my healthy ways after vacation, eating better and taking my supplements.  What do you do while on vacation?  Do you take your supplements with you?  Tell me your vacation story!

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Tips for Managing Arthritis in the Summer

Happy Summer to everyone!  I sure hope your weather is better than ours here in the Pacific Northwest.  So far, it has been mostly cold and rainy and we are even getting snow in the mountains.  It doesn't feel like summer.  But at least we are not getting the floods like in the midwest.  My heart goes out to those who have lost their homes, businesses, and farms.   

Summer is time for vacations and going outdoors; however, if you suffer from arthritis, it's not always easy.  Here are a few tips for managing arthritis in the summer.

1.  Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.  Take a bottle of water wherever you go.  This may help prevent fatigue, dizziness and reduce pain.

2.  If you are taking a long car trip, stop often to rest and stretch.  Take a short walk if you have time.

3.  Hiking is very enjoyable, but be sure to choose trails that are not too steep or have a lot of difficult obstacles.  Use a walking stick for support.

4.  When gardening, use an old wagon to carry tools and heavy bags of mulch or potting soil.  Use a gardening chair to sit on instead of kneeling.

5.  Swimming is an excellent exercise for people with arthritis.  Take caution when getting in and out of the pool.

6.  Don't forget to take your liquid glucosamine and chondroitin supplement  every day!  


Have a great, safe and active summer.  I'm going to try out my new kayak as much as I can, even if I have to use it in the rain!

Do you have any great tips for living with arthritis in the summer? 

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Exercise for Healthy Bones

5 Steps for Bone Health – 2nd in Series

Step 2 – Exercise


According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation regular exercise is an important way to maintain bone health. 


Last week I wrote a post on the first step for bone health – Eating Right.  Step two in this five-part series concerns exercise.  Just like muscles, bone strength and density increases with exercise.  Healthier bones protect against bone fractures and osteoporosis. 


If you have osteoporosis, a successful exercise regimen starts with safe and enjoyable activities that suit your degree of bone loss and overall health.  Check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.  Remember, there is no one program that works for everyone.  I find that mixing it up keeps me going better than doing the same thing all the time.  I like to walk during the week at lunch and then go for a longer hike on the weekends.  It also depends on the time of year and the weather.


Make sure your routine includes a combination of weight-bearing, resistance and flexibility exercises.   


Weight-bearing Exercises

Any exercises where your legs and feet support your weight qualify as weight-bearing.  These exercises work directly on the bones in your legs, hips and lower spine to slow mineral loss.  If you have osteoporosis, you should avoid high-impact activities such as running, jumping, or jogging.


Sample exercises include: 

  • Walking
  • Dancing
  • Gardening
  • Hiking
  • Low-impact aerobics 

Resistance Exercises

Any activity that uses muscular strength to improve muscle mass, strengthen bones and reduce mineral loss is considered resistance exercise or strength training.  Compression fractures resulting from osteoporosis often lead to a stooped posture and increase pressure along your spine, resulting in even more compression fractures. Exercises that gently stretch your upper back, improve your posture and focus on strengthening the muscles between your shoulder blades can all help to reduce harmful stress on your bones and maintain bone density.


Examples of resistance or strength training include:

  • Free weights
  • Weight machines
  • Resistance bands
  • Water exercises (water acts as the resistance) 

Flexibility Exercises

Stretching is always very important as part of an overall fitness program.  It’s important for joint and bone health by reducing pain and stiffness, and supports good posture.  It is best to do stretching once your muscles are warmed up to prevent injury, at the end of your workout for example.  Always stretch slowly and gently, without bouncing.  I find I need to stretch my back about every 10 minutes or so when I am walking or hiking and then at the end.  I can usually walk longer this way and feels great.   


Make Exercise Your New Healthy Habit

Choose the activities that you find most enjoyable.  This way you are more likely to stick with it.  Set a goal.  When you achieve your goal, reward yourself!  I like to use a massage at the spa as a reward – it’s a great motivator!


What are your favorite activities?  What do you do to stay motivated? 


Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program, especially if you already have osteoporosis, as you may be at risk for fractures. Your doctor can help you determine the best exercise program suited for you.

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Good Nutrition Builds Healthy Bones

5 Steps for Bone Health – 1st in Series

Step 1 - Eat Right


An estimated 10 million Americans (80% of them women) have osteoporosis and 34 million more are at increased risk due to low bone density.  The good news is that by making lifestyle changes now, you can help protect your bones for life.  My grandmother has suffered from osteoporosis for years.  She is now permanently stooped over and has to walk with the aid of a walker.  It breaks my heart to see her like that and I want to do all I can to prevent that from happening to me.  I want to be able to enjoy retirement and the grandkids later on! 


Remember, it’s never too late to start, even if you already have osteoporosis.    According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation there are five easy steps for bone health you can take now to ensure a stronger, healthier body later on. This post is the first in a series of five posts about these steps:


  1. Eat right
  2. Exercise
  3. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
  4. Talk to your healthcare professional
  5. When appropriate have a bone density test 

Step 1 Eat Right – Good Nutrition Builds Healthy Bones

Eating a healthy diet of foods rich in calcium and other vitamins and minerals is very important for overall health and wellness and particularly in bone health for women.  Vitamin D is especially critical because it helps your body absorb the calcium it needs. 


Calcium-rich foods:

  • Milk, yogurt, cheese
  • Broccoli
  • Soybeans
  • Turnips
  • Dark green, leafy vegetables such as kale or collards 

Try some of these great calcium-rich recipes.


Vitamin D foods:

  • Fortified foods such as milk and cereal
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Tuna 

Sunlight is the best source of Vitamin D but it’s not easy to get enough, especially if you live in a northern region or where pollution is high.  This blog post on yahoo health talks more about this topic.   


To ensure adequate amounts of calcium and Vitamin D, it’s important to take daily calcium supplements.  Our liquid calcium with 1,000 mg of calcium and 400 IU of Vitamin D is an easy way to get what you need every day.  It tastes great and its easier to swallow than large pills.  So don’t wait – start taking a good nutritional supplement now to ensure strong bones for the future.


Next week Step 2 – Exercise for Strong, Healthy Bones!

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Liquid Supplements - What is the Best Way to Take Them?

During a recent research study with consumers who previously took glucosamine tablets, the response to the taste was overwhelmingly positive.  One person said, “What a nice, berry flavor!” They were actually surprised by how good the liquid glucosamine tasted.  Plus, liquids are much easier to swallow than pills and they are fast absorbing.  You only need to take two tablespoons per day!


These are some frequently asked questions from our recent research and survey:


“Should I take it straight or can I mix it with anything?”

Yes and Yes – Because you only have to take one ounce or two tablespoons per day, it’s easy to take it alone.  However, you can mix it with something to dilute the taste.  Mixing it with any kind of juice or just plain water works very well and does not affect the potency or efficacy of the supplement in any way. 


We recently conducted our own taste test by mixing our glucosamine supplement in different kinds of juices – orange, apple, cranberry, and grape.  Most people thought it tasted great in both the apple and cranberry.  It’s really a matter of preference for each individual’s taste.


Another great idea is to add it to your favorite smoothie recipe – yum!  Mixing it in hot beverages is not recommended as the heat may affect the ingredients and the taste.


“Can I mix more than one liquid supplement together?”

Yes!  If you are taking more than one at a time – liquid glucosamine and liquid calcium – mixing them together is perfectly fine.  Again, you can add both to a smoothie or juice for a better taste.  Mixing them will not affect the efficacy.


“When should I take it and is it ok to split the dosage?”

As with all supplements, try to take your liquid supplements at the same time everyday, either in the morning or evening.  More than anything, this increases your likelihood of remembering to take them each day. 


Yes, it is fine to split the dosage.  You could take one tablespoon in the morning and one in the evening.  This will not diminish the effectiveness of the product.


I hope that answers some of your questions!  If you have any others, please send me your comment and I will try to answer them in the next blog post.


Health Tip of the Week – Keep your supplements by the sink or coffee maker so you see them every morning and remember to take them.  They work best if you take them every day!


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How to stay in motion when you have joint pain

Strengthening Excercises – 2nd in series 

In my last post, I talked about stretching to help ease joint pain.  Once you’ve done stretching for a few weeks, consider adding strength training to your daily routine.  Strength training is not only good for the joints; it is also helps prevent osteoporosis.

“By strengthening the muscles around the affected joints,” says Marie Spano, RD, “you will make the joints more stable which will in turn, make everyday activities both easier and less stressful to your joints.  A physical therapist may suggest a variety of exercises that you can do at home using your own body weight as resistance or using exercise bands.  Even if you’ve never participated in strength training before, it is never too late to start and achieve the benefits associated with increasing muscular strength and endurance.”

Don’t forget to stretch before you begin any strengthening exercises.  Try to do these exercises at the same time every day so they become a part of your routine.  Alternate the kind of exercises you do for variety.   Also, make sure you check with your doctor as there may be certain exercises you should not do. 

Strengthening Exercises for Arthritis
To start a weight-lifting program use weights that you can lift 12 to 15 times without fatigue. Make sure you feel comfortable using the weights.  If you don’t have hand weights use a 1 liter bottle of water or something similar.  Resistance bands also work well.  WebMD  has some great suggestions for various exercises:

Bicep curls: Start with elbows bent at the sides. Keeping your upper arm at your side, bring one dumbbell up to your shoulder. Lower to original position and repeat with opposite arm. Continue to alternate between sides. 

Tricep extensions: Use both hands to hold weight overhead. Keeping your elbows pointed upward, lower the weight behind your head. (Make sure you don't hit the back of your neck.) Raise weight overhead again. Return and repeat. 

Side lateral raises: With arms down at your sides, raise arms (slightly bent) to shoulder height. Lower and repeat. 

Wall push-up: This exercise is great for people who are not able to do a regular push up. Stand with feet about 12 inches from a wall. Place hands a little wider than shoulders. Lower your chest to the wall, then push back to the starting position. 

Leg Lifts:  For knees it’s important to strengthen your upper legs.  You can do this while sitting in a chair and repeatedly tightening your leg while lifting your foot off the floor and holding for as long as you can - repeat.  Or put a weight on your ankle and slowly lift and straighten your leg, then slowly lower back to the floor.  It that is too difficult, try it without a weight at first.  

Other Exercise Resources:

  • Revolution Health website has great exercises for arthritis 
  • Exercise videos for arthritis
  • Aquatic center.  Look for a class sanctioned by the Arthritis Foundation, which has developed a program taught in many locations.  Aquatic exercise will allow you to workout without putting too much pressure or strain on your joints.
  • You Local fitness club may have classes for arthritis issues or they can tailor a program specific for your needs

Health Tip of the Week:  Stick with it!  Change is hard so repetition and routine are key to making it a permanent part of your life.  It will get easier the longer you do it!

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How to stay in motion when you have joint pain

Stretching – First in Series


This topic is in response to a frequently asked question, “How do you stay in motion when you have joint pain and swelling?  When you suffer from arthritis in your joints, it can be very difficult to “keep your body in motion”.  However, it is so important and can make a huge difference in how you feel each day.  Plus, the more you move the better you will feel and it will get easier as you keep going.  Find a friend to exercise with you and it’s even better.  You are more likely to go when a friend is counting on you and it’s more enjoyable, even if it’s just a short walk around the block.


Stretching for Joints

According to the Arthritis Foundation website, stretching will keep your body limber and improve flexibility. Gentle stretching exercises should be done every day and are the most important of all your exercises. Flexibility exercises can help you protect your joints by reducing the risk of joint injury, help you warm-up for more strenuous exercise by getting your body moving, and help you relax and release tension. These can be done on land or in water such as a pool, hot tub or warm bath. These exercises can be particularly useful for easing those stiff joints in the morning. Good range-of-motion exercises include tai chi and yoga. Work up to 15 minutes of flexibility exercises a day. Once you can do 15 continuous minutes, you should be able to add strengthening and aerobic exercises to your routine.



Lie on your back on the sofa, and slowly bring one knee up to your chest, pulling it in with your arms as far as feels comfortable. Hold for 10 seconds, then slowly release. Repeat with the other leg, alternating two times. Next, stand up, hold arms out to the sides and slowly move them in big circles. Repeat eight times; then reverse the direction of the circles. 


Exercise Works!

Marie Spano, RD, says “though joint pain may make you cringe at the thought of exercising, exercise can actually help relieve pain, ensure that you maintain a good range of motion, make the joint more stable, help you lose or maintain your weight and keep your spirits up.” 


Which type of exercise should you choose?  That depends on what joints are involved, whether you’ve had surgery on any of your joints and your current range of motion.  The National Institutes of Health handout on Osteoarthritis states that a combination of strength training, aerobic exercise and proper stretching should be done for the most benefits for the body.  And, a physical therapist can prescribe a program tailored to meet your needs and goals.  The APTA, American Physical Therapy Association, can help you find a physical therapist in your area.


Check with you doctor before starting any exercise or diet program.


Boomerang Effect - Are your joints taking a beating from exercise?


See How Easily You Can Do These Tips for Joint Pain


Exercise Routines Good for Joint Pain and Arthritis



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Improve Bone Health with Liquid Calcium Supplements

I think every woman knows they should make sure they have enough calcium every day.  But if you are like me, knowing and doing are two different things.  Especially when it comes to swallowing those huge calcium supplement pills.  Yikes!  There is nothing more painful than getting one of those large pills stuck in your throat. 

It is important to make sure you get enough calcium each and every day to help prevent osteoporosis.  Calcium is essential to maintaining total body health. Your body needs it every day not just to keep your bones and teeth strong over your lifetime, but to ensure proper functioning of muscles and nerves.  It can help you sleep better and prevent leg cramps.

It can be difficult to make sure you get the right amount of calcium you need each day.  If you are lactose intolerant, like I am, it can be even harder.  I try to drink and eat foods that are fortified with calcium, but I’m not always sure exactly how much calcium I am getting. If an individual's diet is low in calcium, there may not be sufficient amounts of calcium available in the blood to be returned to the bones to maintain strong bones and total body health and that can eventually result in osteoporosis.


A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that fewer than 25 percent of adult Americans are meeting their current calcium recommendations. It is estimated that over $12 million could be saved every year in osteoporosis-related health costs for every additional 1% of the population that begins taking a calcium supplement.


It’s also important to get enough Vitamin D every day.  It plays a crucial role in bone health by helping your body absorb calcium.  Without enough Vitamin D, your body will actually lose bone and will be more likely to break bones when you are older.  Vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol supports bone health the best so look for a supplement containing this form of Vitamin D.


Have you ever thought about taking a liquid calcium supplement for bone health and managing osteoporosis?  Taking a liquid calcium with at least 1000 mg of calcium per day and 400 IU of Vitamin D is great way to ensure you the right amount of calcium you need for optimal bone health.  Don’t wait any longer – start taking a calcium supplement today for healthier bones tomorrow!

Health Tip of the Week - Do some type of strength training at least twice a week with weights.  This will help keep your bones strong!

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Welcome to the Vital to Health and Wellness Blog

The purpose of this blog is to talk about topics and news related to health and wellness for living a healthier and happier life.  The Vital to Health and Wellness blog will feature many different subjects such as managing arthritis and osteoporosis, nutritional supplements, exercise and nutrition.

There is so much information available on the internet today about health.  How do you even begin to sort through it all?  You can practically diagnose yourself before you go to the doctor!  We will try to discuss here, all in one location, up-to-date and relevant health information especially related to joint pain and arthritis, bone health and osteoporosis, having more energy and children's health.

We will also have experts contributing to our blog from time to time such as a certified nutritionist and a registered dietitian to give us even more great information and tips on how to live a healthier lifestyle!  Stay tuned!

Please feel free to send me your comments or questions anytime.  I am very excited about reaching out to everyone and providing great information as well as learning from you!

Happy Blogging!

Health Tip of the Week:  Start Walking!  Now that's spring - get outside and walk and enjoy the flowers.  It may be hard at first, but it will get easier.

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