I have a pretty Crunchy Life. There are degrees of crunchy and holistic, and my latest forays into the Crunchy world involve the supplement side of Young Living Essential Oils.I've been using Essential Oils for about 3 years now, and have stayed away from the supplements because I just don't. do. vitamins. But in 2014, the Crunchy Skeptic (AKA: my husband), was training for his first full marathon - the Air Force Marathon. Now, as you've seen with other posts done by me, I am not the runner of our trio. I leave all that to Slick and Spinster Beth, but the Crunchy Skeptic is on board with it. He needed something that wasn't chock full of all of the chemicals to train for the long endurance runs that a marathon requires. He tried several energy drinks on the market and found they all either tasted awful, were full of sugar and additives, or just didn't work for his needs. So he asked me to see if there was something that Young Living might have to help. Enter NingXia Red and NingXia Nitro.
I started doing some research - first I listened to the company's presentation on it, but I don't want to just be a Young Living Schill, hawking their party line and wares - I want to know that what we're using is the real deal, otherwise, what's the point? So here's what I found…
First, the company line is that studies show that 4 oz. a day provides optimal benefits when drinking NingXia Red as a daily supplement. Two ounces is more like a "maintenance" level. The back of the bottle says that one serving is 2 oz a day. I talked to others to get "public opinion" on how much they use and the amounts ranged from 1 oz a day (for folks just getting started, trying it out, or considering cost) to a whole bottle a day (for some people working on some big health issues.) Hmmm… Not so helpful for how much should we try using.
I discovered early on that just letting The Husband have the bottle didn't work. He liked it so much and found it so helpful he was downing a bottle every two days. That is okay on the short end, but not good for our pocket book! So he had to start trading it off with some organic "nectar" type drinks. Not great, but healthy at least.
But what is NingXia Red, how does it affect the body, and how might it help with running a marathon (Crunchy Skeptic's results will be at the end of this, I promise!)
I mentioned it's a supplement, and that it's a fruity drink - but so are the many Cranberry-blends and concentrate drinks out there. What makes this one different? (Or as my brother said, "I can just make my own juice drink. Why would I pay for this one?")
There are a few things that separate NingXia Red from other juice blends and supplement drinks on the market. I'll talk about those as I go along.
The main part of the drink is not water, it is a puree called the Goji-, or wolf-, berry. Water is actually not listed at all until I get to the part that says "other ingredients". There is no apple juice in NingXia Red. This fact alone really sets Red apart because most of your store-shelf blends are primarily apple or pear juice.
The oldest recorded mention of the wolfberry is in a 2000-year-old book on Chinese herbs and medicines that splits 365 herbs into three grades. The wolfberry is one of the 120 herbs listed in the top grade. In these writings, uses for the leaves, seeds, flowers and root bark were also recorded. Major health benefits include its ability to nourish the liver and kidneys, and improve eye function. Modern-day Chinese doctors and consumers consider the wolfberry as particularly helpful for age-related conditions, especially with regard to eyesight. Over the last 30 years, numerous studies have been conducted in China researching the wolfberry's health benefits.
The bulk of NingXia Red is wolfberry puree, meaning all parts of the berry are included in the blend: the pulp, seeds, and skin. (This puree forms a sediment that settles to the bottom of the bottle, so you'll want to shake it up before drinking to get the full benefit.) This puree means that you're still getting some of the fiber from the fruit. One of the problems with "drinking your fruits and vegetables" is that the fiber of the food is often filtered out in the process.
By volume, NingXia wolfberry makes up more than 50% of the total NingXia Red blend. A concentrate is created when the water is removed from the expressed juice. By order of volume weight, the wolfberry is first in the mix, then blueberries, then pomegranate. NingXia Red is the only supplement drink on the market that has essential oils in the blend
NingXia Red is the only supplement juice on the market to include *any* essential oils! The addition on powerful citrus oils boosts the D-Limonene content of NingXia Red, thereby increasing its ability to fight free radicals in the body and help the body better manage oxygen flow throughout!
Zeaxanthin has antioxidant and blue light-aborsing properties, is found in many fruits and veggies at low levels, and wolfberry is the best-known natural source. Orange peppers have the highest amounts of Zeaxanthin; hot chili peppers have the highest source of lutein – Wolfberry has both in high quantities!
Most of us do not eat nearly enough hot chili peppers or bell peppers on a daily basis to pack the punch that we can get in 1 oz. Of NingXia Red. Ingestion of lutein and zeaxanthin are crucial for good eye health. Lutein is also helpful for inflammation.
Many of us have heard that a good, balanced diet should include the colors of the rainbow. Look at how many individual pieces of fruit and vegetables you would need to eat to get the same punch provided by ONE OUNCE of NingXia Red! This awesome drink gives 4 times the amount of beta-Cryptoxanthin than the #2 source - hot chili peppers, 3 times the vitamin C of oranges, and 5 times the potassium kick as bananas.
What benefits might drinking NR every day provide? NingXia Red gives the body a massive infusion of necessary nutrients needed by the body every time you drink it! Here are just a few of the body's systems that you may well see improvements with over time as you take your daily "shot". You can look for a healthier liver, eye protection (the Wolfberry has 11 times the level of zeaxanthin than raw egg yolks), healthier muscles (23% more protein than raw eggs - and so much more appealing than the stuff Rocky drank in the movie!), and a stronger circulatory system (Wolfberries pack in 91% more fiber than raw oats, and 10 times the magnesium of strawberries!)
When I started looking into this, and saw others posting proof that their eyes had benefitted from drinking NR daily, I decided to do an experiment. I had my own eye exam last October and got a new prescription - the first I've had in about 4 years or so. I rarely wear my glasses anyway, preferring to squint through my days when the need arises. Maybe the wrinkles will eventually look like laugh lines? Anyway… So I wanted to see if my eyes would be affected and began to drink 4 oz a day every day - 2 in the morning, and 2 in the afternoon.
Similar to the wolfberry, blueberries and pomegranates have been used as part of a daily, healthy diet for thousands of years. The pomegranate has a unique biochemical composition that is rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, making it ideal for supporting cardiac and vascular health. Recent research has even shown that pomegranate extract inhibited the growth of lung, skin, colon and prostate tumors.
Blueberries are high in vitamin K, manganese and vitamin C, among other nutrients, making them ideal for supporting a higher metabolism, good bone health, healthier brain function, cardiovascular function, stabilizing blood sugar and more! The list is long, head to this link to see for yourself!
Most of us use blueberries as a side dish or a garnish, or at the least a seasonal treat. This means we are not eating nearly enough to get the full benefit provided by this gem of a fruit. Blueberries have one of the highest known antioxidant counts – ingesting blueberry and pomegranate juice concentrates as part of your daily NingXia Red shot ensures that you're getting the biggest bang for your buck!
There are many other studies of this sort listed on the pubmed site – be sure to take a look!
NingXia Red includes measurable amounts of a number of essential oils, including orange, lemon, yuzu (another citrus fruit covered in the first NingXia Red class), and Tangerine. These citrus oils are high in D-Limonene and flavonoids. D-Limonene is one of the most common terpenes in nature, and one of the things in citrus fruits that helps with digestive support, heartburn, and more.
Many flavonoids are shown to have antioxidative activity, to bind free-radicals, help support healthy heart functions, and support an overall healthy immune system.
One of the more "science-y" parts of studying foods and nutrition and how it helps our bodies is how that food stacks up on the ORAC scale. ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. This is a way to measure the ability of a food or substance to bind free-radicals and help oxygenate the blood. Because spices are denser, they measure higher on the scale, so it is helpful to know that we are comparing like substances in this chart.
Thinking back to your chemistry days (for me, long, long ago), free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Once formed these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction, like dominoes.
I noticed while drinking my four ounces a day that my energy definitely improved, and even more so when I added a drop of Orange and a drop of Nutmeg to my glass.
I am not a fan of nutmeg flavor - I even leave it out of my pumpkin pie! But I had read about Nutmeg's ability to boost energy, so I thought I'd give it a go. Orange is good for boosting the mood (With six kids in the house all day, ask me how I know!) and so I added it not only to boost my mood, but to cover the nutmeg flavor.
|I have a lot to choose from, but they are definitely not|
all tasty when mixed with Red! Nor are they all great
to ingest willy-nilly.
Another thing that we should think about when drinking any kind of juice drink is how much sugar is in the drink. This applies in a big way for people who need to manage how their bodies react to sugar in their foods. I don't want my energy boost to come from this because of a sugar high though. Then I'll have that inevitable crash later on - also not good for the Skeptic to crash mid-marathon!
To this end, I listened to a talk posted at Shannon Hudson's website, Marc Schreuder described a test done by Young Living to determine how NingXia Red affects blood sugar stability. It is worth listening to the audio (entitled The Science of NingXia Red) to get all the details, but the bottom line is that NR only raises the blood glycemic level to 12 – a level similar to pinto beans!
Now for those of us who do not monitor our blood sugar levels, here is what that means: almost every food has the ability to affect our blood sugar levels in some way. In normally-functioning people, our bodies produce insulin to take care of keeping things stable when we indulge too much in things like sweets, sugars, or high-carb foods, all of which the body converts to sugar. In a person who has to track their blood sugar levels, the body either does not make insulin at all, or no longer regulates things the way it should. As a result, it is important that those people know what foods will do to their bodies with regard to their glucose (sugar) levels. Those who need – or just want – to know, can rest assured that NingXia Red can help with keeping things balanced and stable in this area.
I also discovered that gojiberries can be an excellent part of an overall health-improvement program, as well as something like the Slique program, because of its propensity to boost immunity, boost energy and stamina, and to help balance out the body when you've had too much of the "Standard American Diet" (AKA: SAD)
Though the study quoted here was paid for by a company that sells a different goji-berry type drink, the facts remain the same (especially when the wolfberry PULP is used and not just the juice!)
But what about the Marathon training? Well, we discovered a few things in this journey. First, my husband is not fond of it unless it is cold; others like to keep a pouch in their go-bag or purse to drink when afternoon energy is flagging or stress has them overwhelmed. Even once opened, this fantastic drink does not require refrigeration, just be kind and keep it out of extreme heats.
There are other ways to get gojiberries in as well - dried wolfberries are excellent in a salad, granola, yogurt or breakfast cereal; NingXia Nitro is a fantastic complement to NingXia Red. This became important during the marathon itself because the Skeptic could not carry bags and bags of Red and Nitro (another gojiberry-based drink that gives an every stronger energy kick), while running for so long, and I certainly couldn't jog ahead and meet him at every water station!
So he packed some NingXia Nitro tubes to carry, and next time will take the dried berries to munch on while running. He discovered that the key is to munch, slurp and micro-snack his way through each mile to keep energy levels high. Our 12-year old did his first 10K at the same time, and so I gave him a packet of Red afterwards as well. Their times were the Crunchy Skeptic running in at 5:28 (not bad at all for a first!), and the boy coming in on the 10K at about 1:07. Neither looked like they were going to die on their feet, and both walked it off pretty quickly!
Since my "marathons" are more of the on-my-feet-all-day-chasing-kids variety, I'll try my NingXia Red in smoothies, home made sorbets or ice creams, Italian sodas or other yummy recipes!
With such a big family, and so many wanting a glass of NingXia Red, cost is certainly a factor. I had to hide the packets I bought for the Crunchy Skeptic to run with because the first time I got them, the kids climbed to the top of the kitchen cabinets to get them down and sneak them. I was finding empties all over the house for weeks!!
So what is the best deal? First: make sure you're getting your NR at *wholesale* costs by starting a wholesale membership (if you haven't already). Next, join Essential Rewards so you're earning points back for your purchase each month and getting free stuff besides. Finally, take a look at the cost-per-ounce chart here to see which works best for you to order and satisfy your needs. My family loves NR so much I have to get an 8-pack (If I strictly measure it out, it *might* last me two weeks!!)
If you don't already have a wholesale membership, but would like to get this awesome drink, you can talk to your Young Living friend about getting some, or go here to get an wholesale account of your own, or here to message me and ask questions about what else I've found.