A Little Zest…

Health, Wellness and a Zest for Life

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A Wand, a Carotid Artery and a Thankful Heart

The title above really does say it all. We all likely have known someone who has suffered a stroke. Much like one of our California earthquakes, strokes are sudden, scary and can be absolutely devastating. But how does a wand, in particular an ultrasound wand, have to do with a carotid artery, let alone a stroke?  Let me share an incredible story of how it personally affected me and in a dramatic way. Recently, Zest for Life produced a health and wellness fair for employees of a local company in which we had health screenings of varying kinds, including a carotid artery screening. At first, the employees were puzzled by the screening, watching the doctor applying the gel to the ultrasound wand then moving it up and down along the neck. Once people saw how easy the procedure was, they began lining up, one of which was my father who was there to photograph the event . It was going to be a quick ultrasound like the previous employees who sat down but this time, something was different. The doctor had a concerned look on his face as he explained to my father he needed to schedule an appointment right away with his primary care doctor due to what appeared to be a significant blockage in his carotid artery. Unfortunately like most men, my father acknowledged the findings but picked up his camera and went about shooting some more photos. I encouraged my father to get in and see his doctor and kept at him in the following days but that appointment never came. A few weeks passed and I got the phone call no daughter wants to ever receive – my father was in the hospital and they believed he may have had a mini stroke. He was sent home the next day and a few days later, he received a call that he had 95% blockage of his carotid artery!  95%! That is not good! He was immediately scheduled for surgery. So now here I was, in a hospital waiting room, praying and counting the minutes for my father to come out of surgery and thinking back to the carotid artery screening, thinking about how such a simple screening can go a long way into eliminating this very situation that I and the rest of my family found ourselves in. My father recovered quickly and we all talked about how prior to this incident, he had been feeling tired, had less energy and was just not himself, but he had no health issues. He was “healthy!” He figured it was just his ripe “old” age of 68! What? 68 is NOT old! There’s no question that his “symptoms” were caused by the blockage. I’m so thankful to God for the carotid artery screening and hope more people get educated on the importance of simple health screenings. In this case, just sitting down and allowing a little wand to run along your neck for the few minutes it takes to potentially save your life.    

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Smile for a Healthier YOU!


Did you know? 

1. Smiling Makes Us Attractive

We are drawn to people who smile. There is an attraction factor. We want to know a smiling person and figure out what is so good. Frowns, scowls and grimaces all push people away — but a smile draws them in. 

2. Smiling Changes Our Mood

Next time you are feeling down, try putting on a smile. There’s a good chance you mood will change for the better. Smiling can trick the body into helping you change your mood.

3. Smiling Is Contagious

When someone is smiling they lighten up the room, change the moods of others, and make things happier. A smiling person brings happiness with them. Smile lots and you will draw people to you.

4. Smiling Relieves Stress

Stress can really show up in our faces. Smiling helps to prevent us from looking tired, worn down, and overwhelmed. When you are stressed, take time to put on a smile. The stress should be reduced and you’ll be better able to take action.

5. Smiling Boosts Your Immune System

Smiling helps the immune system to work better. When you smile, immune function improves possibly because you are more relaxed. Prevent the flu and colds by smiling.

6. Smiling Lowers Your Blood Pressure

When you smile, there is a measurable reduction in your blood pressure. Give it a try if you have a blood pressure monitor at home. Sit for a few minutes, take a reading. Then smile for a minute and take another reading while still smiling. Do you notice a difference?

7. Smiling Releases Endorphins, Natural Pain Killers and Serotonin

Studies have shown that smiling releases endorphins, natural pain killers, and serotonin. Together these three make us feel good. Smiling is a natural drug.

8. Smiling Lifts the Face and Makes You Look Younger

The muscles we use to smile lift the face, making a person appear younger. Don’t go for a face lift, just try smiling your way through the day — you’ll look younger and feel better.

9. Smiling Makes You Seem Successful

Smiling people appear more confident, are more likely to be promoted, and more likely to be approached. Put on a smile at meetings and appointments and people will react to you differently.

10. Smiling Helps You Stay Positive

Try this test: Smile. Now try to think of something negative without losing the smile. It’s hard. When we smile our body is sending the rest of us a message that “Life is Good!” Stay away from depression, stress and worry by smiling.

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Protecting yourself will protect your environment.  Influenza (aka the Flu) costs businesses approximately $10.4 billion in direct costs for hospitalizations and outpatient visits for adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, with education and proper planning, you can beat the virus and in turn, protect your environment!


According to Kaiser Permanente, Hand-washing is a simple and effective way to help prevent diseases, such as colds, flu, and food poisoning. Kaiser and the CDC also recommends Getting Vaccinated!  Visit your Primary Care Doctor and find out when your Medical Provider is going to have the flu vaccine available. Some providers have the vaccination as early as September.  

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Keep Calm and Drink Detox Water!

The Fit Girl Talk

Have you thought about doing a detox/cleanse recently but don’t want to commit to a strict diet? Then you should definitely try these different detox water recipes. Remember, add minimum of 30 min of exercise daily, plus follow a clean diet (that means no cheat day, no processed foods, no fried food….include lots of fruits and veggies, nuts, healthy carbs, and lean protein).

  • Adding cucumber to your water will help prevent water retention, plus cucumber helps reduce bloating and it taste awesome!
  • Lemon provides a cleansing effect (I think we all know about this one), and helps clear your digestive system. It’s more effective if you drink it first thing in the morning.
  • Oranges help stimulate your immune system and reduce cholesterol levels…so load up!
  • Mint (and my favorite one) helps the body digest more easily and helps reduce stomach cramps (yes ladies, it does work).
  • Watermelon helps flushing out…

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And so it all began…

With an interest in fitness, nutrition, health insurance benefits and a passion for party planning, it seemed ideal to start a Corporate Health and Wellness Event Production Company.  Needing to be a step above the competition, the owner, Christa Luther, obtained her State of California Life and Health Insurance License.  This licensing provides Zest for Life with the tools needed to better understand benefits, open enrollments and relate to its clients, both Human Resources and Insurance Brokers.  We speak the benefits language! 

Zest for Life provides organizations with the opportunity to increase employee retention, decrease stress, improve employee morale, increase the overall health of their population and in turn, reduce healthcare costs.  Producing informative and educational health and wellness events, to include but not limited to, bio-metric health screenings, insurance carriers, medical groups, hospitals, fitness, nutrition, chiropractic, massage, acupuncture and more. Employees are sure to gain a Zest for Life! 

Zest for Life has grown solely through satisfied clients and continues to be the preferred choice. 

Cheers to a Healthy Day!