Tag Archives: Healthy Lifestyle

Give These Summer Skincare Tips A Try

The day of reckoning has come. The days are getting longer and the shorts are getting shorter. It’s time to unveil all those parts of the body that you’ve been referring to as the “nether regions” this past winter, and that means your skin has to be up to the task. How are you going to get your pasty legs “Daisy Duke” ready in time to hit the beach? No problem! Just dust off that razor, toss out the old sunscreen, and get ready to glow crazy.

Exfoliate
Your body is a skin cell shedding machine. You need to get rid of all those dead cells before they end up collecting on your skin, making it look dull and dry. Lotions is not enough. You need to grab a good body scrub and high tail it to the shower, now! Rub the exfoliator over your body in circular movements and rinse. Do this 2-3 times a week to keep skin soft and smooth.

Shave the Right Way
If you haven’t been exactly diligent about your shaving practices last winter, its time to pay the piper. Find a good razor that won’t cause razor burn and invest in a good women’s shaving lotion with moisturizers. If you find yourself without lotion, hair conditioners will do in a pinch.

Use A Summer Scented Lotion
You don’t want to just look like summer, you want to smell like it too. Get the full effect with a light fast absorbing summery gel or spray. Coconut and mango scents absolutely bespeak of summer. Make sure to apply right after drying off from the shower to seal in moisture.

Give These Summer Skincare Tips A Try

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Safe Summer Glow
It may seem hard to believe that less than 40 years ago, people spent their summers basking in the sun hoping to catch some color. Nowadays, we have to seek our glow from containers. Sunless tanners are a great option for giving your skin a glow this summer. You can also alternate your usual facial moisturizer with a tinted one to build gradual color, giving the effect of an effortlessly maintained tan all summer long.

Feet
Time to switch out those winter boots for your slinky sandals? An at home pedicure may be on the agenda. Use a foot scrub and file to scrub off dry, dead skin a few times a week. Products with ADA acids will add some exfoliating action to your pedi, making your feet sandal ready.

Nail Polish
While you’re working on those feet, you may want to polish those toenails. You can go for something bolder on the toes than the fingernails, and its bound to stay on for a lot longer because we don’t clean our houses with our feet. Just apply a base coat, two coats of color, and a clear top coat for protection. Go barefoot for a few hours to let polish set.

New Sunscreen
The importance of a good sunscreen cannot be overstated in the summer months. Using last year’s unused sunscreen is not going to cut it. Be safe and buy a new bottle and use it. You should apply a shot glass sized amount of sunscreen to your body and a full teaspoon for just the face and neck area. Reapply every 1 to 2 hours. Be sure to look for something with broad spectrum protection and an SPF of at least 30.

How are you getting your glow on this summer? Let us know your favorite summer glow to-s.

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Nutrients That You Should Get From Food

Healthy food

Nobody does it quite like Mother Nature, and Mother Nature does not make pills. Although no one can deny the vast contributions of science, try as man may, he has yet to manufacture a product, or pill, capable of healing and promoting growth in the same way Mother Nature can. That is why when it comes to seeking nutrition, there are some things science just can’t give us; and supplements don’t grow on trees. Here are some of the nutrients you should be getting directly from food sources.

Vitamin C
Citrus fruits are the best source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps your body absorb iron. One large orange contains 97.9 mg of the powerful stuff. That exceeds the recommended 90 mg a day for adult males and 75 for adult females. Other high C options include kiwi, tomatoes, and green and red pepper.

Kale

Calcium
Although not the most obvious source, Kale is a great way to get calcium to support nerve function and muscle movement. One serving of the leafy green contains 150 mg of calcium, which is a little over 10% of the recommended daily allowance. But rest assured, you can still get a good amount of calcium from dairy products, such as yogurt.

B Vitamins
Vitamin B 12 is one form of vitamin B usually taken in supplement form. It is important for the formation of red blood cells and neurological function. Eggs are a good source, and, while some shun them for their high levels of cholesterol, nutritional experts concur that this need not be the case. You can get 0.6 micrograms of B12 (about 10% of the RDA) from one large hard-boiled egg, and 3 oz of trout or salmon will just about do you for the daily intake.

B6, crucial for brain development and metabolism during pregnancy can be gotten for tuna, chickpeas, and nuts.

Vitamin A
We need vitamin A to maintain good vision and immune system function. It also plays a part in reproduction and supports the lungs, heart, and kidney.

Sweet potato

Sweet potatoes are particularly high in Vitamin A concentration. Just one baked sweet potato with the skin on has a whopping 28,058 IU of vitamin A per serving. That’s 561% of the recommended value. The National Institute of Health reports that 28-37% of the population take vitamin A supplements.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant contain in the body which helps the immune system fight off virus and bacteria. Almonds, hazelnuts, and peanuts are all rich in vitamin A, with one ounce of dry roasted almonds containing 34% of the daily recommended value.

Magnesium
Consider trading your magnesium supplements for a handful of cashews. These nuts are rich in the nutrient which is important for maintaining nerve function and healthy blood sugar and blood pressure levels.

Cashews

One ounce of the cashews will provide you with a tasty way to get 74 mg of magnesium, 19% go the recommended daily amount.

Iron
Iron is a very popular supplement, especially for women who are at risk for not having enough. Men 19-50 should aim to get 8mg of iron each day, while women of the same age should get 18mg. You can get 3 mg of iron, around 17% of the daily recommended value in half a cup of drained, boiled spinach.

Vitamin D
Although most of our vitamin D needs to come from sun exposure, it is available in fatty fish like salmon and tuna. In fact, you can get 112% of the recommended daily amount from just three ounces of salmon, deliciously.

What about you? What supplements are you trading for foods? Let us know!

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What You Can Do About High Blood Pressure

Woman monitoring her own blood pressure

You go for a routine check up. The diagnosis: High blood pressure, a.k.a. The Silent Killer. It is asymptomatic. It sneaks up on a third of Americans without them even knowing it. High blood pressure does not make your head ache, it does not make you bleed, it does not make you break out in a rash, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there and it certainly doesn’t mean it’s not deadly. It works against your heart and arteries and can cause kidney disease, blindness, brain hemorrhage, and, eventually death. Of the 29% of Americans with high blood pressure, only 54% have it under control. However, if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you can keep yourself in that percentage. Here are some tips on doing just that.

Lose weight
Blood pressure can increase with weight, and, if you suffer from sleep apnea, as a result of excess weight, your blood pressure can increase even more. Losing just 10 lbs is enough to bring about a significant reduction in blood pressure.

While you are slimming down, you may want to pay special attention to your waistline. Men with a waist measurement greater than 40″ are at risk for high blood pressure, as are women with waist measurements exceeding 35 inches.

Exercise
If you have high blood pressure, you can reduce your blood pressure by 4-9 mm of mercury by performing at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days. But, it’s important to keep it up. A lapse in consistency can cause blood pressure to go back up.

Woman jogging

The Dash Diet
The Dash diet, also known as the Dietary Approaches to stop Hypertension is the suggested diet for lowering hypertension. It consists of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and is low in cholesterol and saturated fat and high in potassium.

Limit Alcohol Intake
Although small amounts of alcohol can lower your blood pressure, too much alcohol can reverse the effects. Women and men over 65 should not drink more than one drink a day, while men under 65 should not exceed two drinks. Twelve ounces of beer, five ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor constitute one drink.

Reduce Sodium
Although a reduction in sodium can reduce blood pressure in all people, the amount of recommended intake varies. Sodium should generally be limited to less than 2,300 mg per day; however, an intake of 1,500mg a day is more appropriate for higher-risk groups, including African Americans, people 51 or older, and anyone diagnosed with diabetes, hypertension, and chronic kidney disease.

Man cutting cigarettes in half

Quit Smoking
Each cigarette increases blood pressure for several minutes after you smoke it. Quit smoking to reduce blood pressure and increase life expectancy.

Monitor Blood Pressure and See Your Doctor Often
It is important to keep track of blood pressure levels and home monitoring can help you make sure that your lifestyle changes are effective and alert you to complications. Monitors are widely available and do not require a prescription.

See your doctor every six to twelve months to keep your blood pressure under control.

Do you have high blood pressure? How do you keep it under control? Let us know! Your advice could make a difference!

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Tasty Low Calorie Snacks

If you are a consumer, you may have noticed the recent popularity of prepackaged 100 calorie snacks. They seem like a great idea. One hundred is a perfectly rounded decimal number, and seems relatively inconsequential when compared with the recommended 2000 calorie per day recommended allowance. At that rate, we an eat them every day an still have room for another 1,900 calories! And, on top of that, the snack companies have already done the hard work for us. There’s no measuring required, and no uncertainty about serving size. Plus, the individual packaging helps curb the temptation to eat more than one serving. Genius!

So what’s wrong with this? Well, a few things. Firstly, you’re paying for that individual packaging and really not getting that much food. After all, 100 calories is one hundred calories. Secondly, a good deal of what’s on offer is highly processed and not really that filling. But don’t worry, the party’s not over! Here are a few more satisfying and healthier one hundred calorie options that you may not have considered.

Baked Potato
Microwaves have revolutionized the preparation of the baked potato. For a quick snack, pierce the spud with a fork and nuke on high for five minutes. Eat plain for the full hundred calories or top half with 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt and one tablespoon of salsa and save the other half for later.

Frozen grapes

Frozen Grapes
Grapes are great frozen or fresh, but the frozen kind do tend to last a bit longer. One cup, or about 28 of these babies, will equal about one hundred calories and are also a great source of antioxidants.

Protein Shake
To make your own, less processed version, add a scoop of vanilla whey protein to a cup of unsweetened almond milk. It makes a delicious post -workout snack that will help muscles recover after exercise.

Dark Chocolate
Three squares of dark chocolate or five chocolate kisses will provide 100 calories of stress-free, endorphin-raising bliss.

Dark chocolate

Healthy Ice Cream Bars
Not only a low-calorie way to nosh, enlightened ice cream bars actually contain five grams of fiber, eight grams of protein, and no artificial sweeteners!

English Muffin with Fruit butter
Go for a whole wheat muffin, as a more nutritious alternative to white. Also, choosing apple or pumpkin butter over jams will save you around 20 calories per serving.

Coconut and Kiwi
Hear this, orange and grapefruit, there’s a new player in town! One large kiwi has all the vitamin C you need to meet the daily recommended allowance. Top with one tablespoon coconut for a refreshing tropical sensation.

Baked apple

Baked Apples
If you want to satisfy a sweet tooth, core a medium sized apple dusted with cinnamon and bake it at 350 for 20 minutes. Leave off the oats and nuts to keep it at the 100-calorie mark.

Kettle Corn
Make a healthy version of this snack by topping 2 cups of freshly popped popcorn with a teaspoon each of stevia and cinnamon. Or, swap the Stevia for one teaspoon of honey mixed with one teaspoon of water. Thin out in a microwave for 20 seconds for best results.

22 Pistachios
Higher in protein and lower in saturated fats than most other nuts, 22 pistachios are a filling and flavorful hundred calorie option. Go for the in – the – shell type, if possible. The extra work will save you 41% of the calories as compared to the unshelled. Well worth the effort.

If you still prefer your pre-packaged options, let us know! Or if you’ve decided to try a few of our suggestions, or have any of your own, we want to hear about your experience!

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You Need A Hobby

Are you spending an inordinate amount of time online looking up your ex-boyfriends’ Facebook Pages? Have you been watching the first three seasons of Game of Thrones consecutively since Christmas Eve? Maybe you have spent the last few days perfecting your “Candy Crush” strategies or following “Pokemon Go.” If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions it may be a sign that you need a hobby. Even if you are not artistically inclined, having a hobby is not necessarily a means to an end, but rather an end in and of itself. There are a lot of benefits to be had by just developing a hobby, and here are just a few.

Woman knitting

Clear Your Thoughts
Betsan Corkhill, knitting therapist has found that the rhythmic motion of knitting can induce a meditative state. “If you chose a difficult product,” she says, “you’re concentrating so deeply that your mind doesn’t have time to think of anything else. That gives the mind a break. If you knit a very easy project, you can go into a state where your mind is free to roam.” Women’s health and success coach, Jennifer Racioppi explains that hobbies “help us enter flow states.” Flow states are states of mind which merge awareness and action and help you to focus on what you are doing. If you have ever found time has passed quickly without you being aware of it, you are familiar with flow state.

Increase Creativity
Intrinsical motivation is the scientific term for the time when the mind is concentrating on something it likes. Such thinking has been linked to creative thinking. Says Racioppi, “If I’m working on a problem, I’m highly creative when I’m in flow. It’s in the process of not thinking about it when I get solutions.”

Woman in bowling club

Social Opportunities
Social opportunities that arise form hobbies can cause less anxiety. If you’re in a club, you can chose to participate or disengage. Corkhill says, “You’re in complete control of the situation and of how much you participate. So that makes it much easier for some people to attend a social group.”

Stress Relief
Hobbies give the mind something positive to focus on when life is stressful. Because the brain has a limited capacity, loading it with pleasurable activities leaves no room for stress. “The more capacity you’re using up being totally absorbed in a task, the less capacity there is left to focus any attention on problems, ” Corkhill explains, “Distraction is one of the most powerful analgesics we know of.”

Unitasking
In these days of technology overload. we need to give it a break by focusing on one task. Racioppi says, ” We want to use the brain in a way that is generative. When you do so, you create and strengthen neural pathways. That has a ton of health benefits in the long term.”

So what’s your hobby? How do you get in touch with your inner creativity. Let us know. It might inspire someone else.

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What Happens When You Go Gluten-Free

Woman eating a healthy salad

Going gluten-free.  Some need to do it, some prefer to do it, and some swear that they wouldn’t do it if gluten disappeared from every food product on this earth.  Late Night comedian Jimmy Fallon quipped, “It’s been discovered that 10% of the population is allergic to gluten and 90% of the population is sick of hearing about it.” Whatever your take on gluten, there is little doubt that its certainly controversial.  So let’s clear some of the dust out about the g-word.

Those who need to avoid gluten
Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye and barley. Celiac is an intestinal disease that can be triggered by eating gluten. Wheat allergy is a negative immune reaction to  wheat proteins that can also be triggered by eating gluten. It affects the skin, respiratory or gastrointestinal tract.  Sufferers of celiac and wheat allergy are diagnosed as gluten sensitive along with anyone who may experience distress when eating gluten.  People with gluten sensitivity need to avoid gluten.

Those who prefer to avoid gluten
You may have heard of the gluten-free diet being tossed around.  Many of the followers are people who have self diagnosed a digestive problem as gluten sensitivity while others claim that cutting gluten out of their diet has made them feel less bloated and depressed and has even helped them lose weight.

What’s wrong with the gluten-free diet?
It seems that studies find that gluten-free diets can be very low in fiber, folate, thiamine, riboflavin, zinc, phosphorous and vitamin B12.  This is because unenriched starches and grains are used in “gluten-free'” products and tend to have lots of calories, but not many vitamins.  The result is that gluten-free diets can actually lead to weight gain.  Experts find that in the case many of those who report weight loss as a result of going gluten-free, the shedding of pounds is due more to cutting out excess calories found in flour based food. Registered dietitian Cynthia Sass says ditching carbs, like pasta and bagels, “automatically cuts excess carbs… ups fiber and nutrients and results in soaring energy.”  On the other hand, if you replace products with gluten in them with gluten-free versions, you will probably get more fat and sugar.

How to check if you need to go gluten-free?

  • Have your family physician perform a checkup.
  • Consult an allergist if you have a wheat allergy and a gastroenterologist for celiac and other gastrointestinal disease.
  • If you are not diagnosed with celiac disease or a wheat allergy, see a dietician to determine whether or not you are getting a balanced diet with nutrients, foods rich in fiber and are staying physically active.

If you need to go gluten-free
If you are diagnosed with gluten sensitivity, you are best advised to see a dietitian.  Sheila Crowe, of Celiac Disease’s Medical Advisory Board says, “The average doctor a) does not have the time and b) the knowledge to counsel them (the gluten sensitive) on the nutrients they’ll need, the addition of fiber and, what grains are naturally gluten-free.”  Make sure that you have substitutions for anything vital that may be lacking from your diet as a result of giving up gluten.

Feel free to let us know if you’ve gone the gluten-free route out of necessity or otherwise and what your take on it is.

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Why Eating At Home Is A Healthier Option

Young women cooking at home.

You go to your favorite vegetarian restaurant, Veggies R Us. You like this place. The food is delicious and its really healthy. The restaurant advertises itself as offering clean, meatless, protein sources. They shun saturated animal fats, cholesterol and trans fats in favor of monosaturated fats like rice bran oil, canola, and seeds oil. You feel comfortable at this restaurant and have the impression that you really can do no wrong here. Anything you choose from the menu will be a healthy and relatively low calorie. You decide to order the Crispy Veggies for starters. How bad can veggies be? Would it shock you to learn that those veggies have 22 grams of fat and 4 grams of saturated fat, not to mention 84 grams of carbs and 880 milligrams of sodium.

It seems that as we look for healthier and healthier food choices the foxier these restaurants and food sellers become. They make the claims that lure a health conscious clientele and cleverly omit some of the less appealing facts. Face it, the only way you know what goes in your food is to make it yourself. Here are some other reasons why eating at home is becoming more and more popular.

Know Your Food
When you cook your own food, you get to know which foods are high and low in minerals, vitamins, and nutrients. You get to know which foods work best for your body and provide your body with the particular nutrients you may be lacking or just want to get more of. It will also allow you to experiments with healthy recipe combinations.

Portion Control
Although many high-end restaurants are known for their small portions, many chain restaurants offer quite the opposite. Face it, Americans like to get more for their money and food is no exception. When you make food at home, you can be the judge of the serving size and avoid overeating.

Food Safety
According to the CDC, food poisoning affects 1 in 6 Americans every year. Although some tainted foods may come from the grocer’s, at least you know your food is fresh and stored and cooked at the correct temperature.

Cleanliness
Really, who knows what goes on behind the scenes at some restaurants. It doesn’t bear thinking about. When you cook at home, you know exactly what’s going on in the kitchen and how clean your silver wear and dishes are.

Allergies
Cooking your own foods lets you avoid intake of food allergens which may harm you or your family members. Restaurant prepared food may include nuts, gluten or shellfish which are known to commonly irritate sensitive eaters.

Save Money
Cooking your own food is not only healthier for you it’s healthier for your wallet. So eat at home and watch your bank account grow while your waistline shrinks.

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