Tag Archives: Healthy Living

Living A Junk Food-Free Life

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You walk into a movie theater. There it is, in shining lights, bright as day, the concession stand. The lure of the brightly popping corn, the larger than life boxes of Milk Duds, the smell of hot buttery kernels, the super-sized fountain drinks. You walk past. Halfway through the movie, you find yourself unable to concentrate; the smell, the sounds of happily munching neighbors reaching into the giant buckets for another buttery handful. You burst out of the theater, money in hand, “Give me the extra large.” You demand. If this is you, you may be having a hard time kicking junk food. After all, it’s so convenient, so cheap, so addictive, so delicious, so childlike, so seductive, so fattening. You need help. Here are some tips for living a junk free life.

Kicking Junk Food
We all know it’s hard to kick junk food. It’s set up that way. Junk food is big business and manufacturers are prepared to take full advantage. Manufacturers aim for the “bliss point’ in the product. This may think of as sort of a junk food orgasm, with the later experiencing the height of pleasure, the ultimate balance between the sweet, the salty, and the fatty. At this point, your brain reacts in a similar way to the way it would with cocaine addiction. This is the point at which temptation becomes hardest to resist, but there are ways:

Plan Ahead
A good way of handling cravings is to make sure you always have a healthy alternative prepared. This will reduce what researchers refer to as your “food cue activity”, or the time in which you are most susceptible to the influence of food advertisements, smells, and conversations pertaining to food. Aim to plan your weekly meals at the beginning of your work week. Go grocery shopping, stocking up on easy to prepare foods, like brown rice, beans, roasted and stir-fried vegetables, and cold salads. Store them in containers or foil to make them easy to grab before work in the morning. Fruit also travels well and can be an easy afternoon snack option.

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Shop Around
….and by this, we mean around the edge of the store. The dairy, fish, produce, heart healthy and meat sections are typically located on the perimeter of a grocery store, while processed foods are kept in the aisle. By purchasing from these sections, you will begin to get used to eating whole grains, proteins, fruit, and vegetables, gradually weaning yourself off junk foods.

Healthy Fats
Not all fat makes you fat. Your body needs a little fat, as long as its heart healthy. While you should avoid the trans fats and saturated fats lurking in pro chart -healthy fats, like the kinds found in nuts and avocados will reduce cravings and help you to feel full.

Change Your Thinking
Ah, the power of negative thinking! A 2013 study demonstrated that when participants were trained to look at junk food in a negative way, their desire for it decreased. Junk food junkies were asked to view the objects of their cravings as if they: We’re already full; Just saw someone sneeze on the item Could save the food for later; We’re told that the food would have a negative impact on them (weight gain, stomachache)

Eat the Rainbow
Try bringing some new foods in your diet to keep it interesting. Eating diverse foods across the color spectrum keep you from boredom and reverting back to junk food. Plus, eating the rainbow can improve health and prevent disease. Try some purple grapes, red beets, orange mangoes, green spinach, and blueberries for some healthy psychedelia.

Let us know how your battle with junk food is going. What are your best tips for resisting the “bliss point?”

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The Healthiest Summer Foods

So you’ve made it past winter. Past the comfort foods, the mac and cheese, the long cold nights on the couch the endless turkey leftovers, the pumpkin spice lattes, the pumpkin spice potato chips, the pumpkin spice nut muffins and the pumpkin flavored ice cream, and now it’s summer. Time to turn over a new leaf, and hopefully one with a vegetable attached. Summer is time to get healthy, and that means eating healthy. Here are some great healthy summer foods to set you off on the path to health.

woman eating watermelon

Watermelon
It wouldn’t be summer without the taste of watermelon, and the added perks: the fruit can also help keep your memory sharp, your body cool, and your mood balanced. The great thing about watermelon is that it’s 92 percent water, which not only keeps your body hydrated but can also help to keep your weight down. Research shows that the water in the melon keeps you full without adding calories. Another watermelon plus: the lycopene will protect your skin from the sun.

Corn on the cob

Corn
Ah, sweet corn, a must for your summer barbecue, and get this, it actually may be nature’s sunglasses. The antioxidants in corn, lutein and zezxanthin form a macular pigment that actually helps to filter out the sun’s more damaging rays while helping to lower the risk of age related macular degeneration.

woman drinking iced coffee

Iced Coffee
What better way to start your summer morning than with an ice cold glass of coffee? Better yet, in doing so, you may be reducing your risk of skin cancer. According to a study of more than 9,300 women published in European Journal of Cancer Prevention, those who drank a daily cup of caffeinated coffee lowered their risk of non-melanoma cancer development by about 10%, and the more they drank, the lower the risk.

Cherries

Tart Cherries
It’s cherry eating season and if you’re looking to slim down, you may want to do a whole lot of it this summer. Scientists at the University of Michigan Health System found that rats who supplemented a high-fat diet with tart cherry powder gained less weight and body fat than those who got the same amount of calories from carbohydrates. Apparently, the anthocyanins in tart cherries activate a molecule that boosts fat burning in the body and decreases fat storage. Another tart cherry bonus: drinking tart cherry juice can help you sleep better and relieve pain after a taxing workout.

woman harvesting tomatoes

Tomatoes
Not only do tomatoes make a lovely addition to a summer salad or sandwich, they can also help to keep you from sunburn. Apparently, the lycopene, which is the carotenoid responsible for giving tomatoes their red color, can also protect skin from sunburn. In fact, according to one study, participants exposed to UV light had almost 50% less reddening after eating 2 1/2 tablespoons of tomato paste for 10 to 12 weeks.

What are you eating this summer? Let us know how you’re staying full and healthy this season. We want to know!

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Travel Outfits For New Moms

You love everything about being a new mom, but you have to admit, since the baby arrived, it’s given a new meaning to the word luggage. In fact, you’re pretty sure that your diaper bag alone would probably qualify as “over-sized” by most airline standards, and that’s the one without the built-in changing station. And now you have to travel. Your relatives are dying to meet your newest addition and your dying show off your latest accomplishment. But the last thing you want is more to pack, and comfort is a top priority. Here are some simple travel outfits to keep things easy and fashionable.

Post Pregnancy Clothes
You don’t want to spend a ton of money on clothing you won’t wear for very long, but you need comfy and cute items to accommodate your figure and make nursing easy.

Leggings
Two of the best outfits for new moms are leggings with a loose, long top, and elastic waist jeans with a peplum shirt. Since your main concern right now is probably your middle, look for a top that will cover the hips with a thin fabric to avoid adding bulk. Horizontal stripes will add width, and should be avoided, while a belted shirt will keep large breasts from looking bigger.

Travel Outfits For New Moms

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Flared Jeans
Flared jeans can help to balance out hips and make them look less noticeable. Your tops can be a little shorter than the ones you would pair with leggings, but you will still want to find ones that cover the hips a bit without totally eliminating your waistline. Flared jeans with a flowing shirt can make you look bigger in general. Add a belt to cinch the waist. Elastic belts tend to provide the most comfort.

Maxi and Midi Dresses
Maxi and midi dresses are really on trend right now and a great easy option for the new Mommy. They’re easy to adjust and you don’t have to worry about length issues when you’re reaching up or bending over.

Button-Down Shirts
A button down shirt tied around the waist is a blessing in disguise for new moms. It helps camouflage problem areas, while doubling as an accessory. It can also make for a quick cover up when you’re feeling shy, or when the air conditioning is a little high.

Kimono
If you’re traveling in the heat, you may feel a bit exposed in loose shorts and a tank top. Kimonos or drapey vests are fashionable ways of getting some extra coverage on those scorching hot days.

Travel Outfits For New Moms

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Sundress
A sundress is a light to pack and easy to throw on. Bring that kimono along for some extra style and a last-minute cover-up. Look for interesting details and eye-catching colors to make the focal points of more revealing clothing.

Accessories
If you’re trying to keep your packing list low, it may be necessary to include a few accessories to keep your pieces looking fresh A watch is a functional accessory that will spare you the trouble of digging through your purse for a cell phone while dealing with your other accessory.

Cross body bags are smart alternatives to handheld purses, and will leave your hands free to tend to the little ones. Their style will also prevent you from setting them down unconsciously and forgetting to pick them up.

Stud earrings can add flash without becoming a plaything for small hands and hats are always great for blocking the sun and covering frizzy locks.

If you’re a new mom with plans to travel, great excitement is in store. Make sure to keep comfy and prepared. Let us know how you gear up for travel.

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Lifestyle May Be Your Skin Care Savior

Your skin will not lie. You can say you never ate that sugary food, didn’t go out in the sun without sunscreen, didn’t skimp on sleep; the list goes on, but your skin will give you away every time. You can lie all you want, but that blemish, sunburn, or wrinkle will be there to testify against you.

Face it, there’s only one way to prevent your skin from revealing your sins, and that is to stop sinning. It’s time to accept the fact that the only way to keep your skin quiet is by keeping it healthy. Here are some lifestyle changes to help you choose the right path to healthy skin.

Woman in nature

Protect Your Skin From the Sun
One sure way to prevent skin from premature aging is to protect it from the sun. There is no surer way to prevent age spots and wrinkles or to lower the risk of skin cancer. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 and apply generously, repeating every two hours, or more, if you’ve been swimming or perspiring.

Try to avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when its rays are strongest and do your best to stay in the shade.

Wear protective clothing. Tightly woven long-sleeved shirts and pants, and wide-brimmed hats provide the best protection from the sun. There are also laundry additives on the market which give clothes an extra layer of UV protection for a number of washings, as well as sun protective clothing with built-in protection from ultraviolet rays.

Stop Smoking
Smoking narrows the blood vessels in the outer layers of the skin, decreasing blood flow and depleting skin of nutrients and oxygen. The result is older looking skin and wrinkles.

Additionally, smoking is a danger to collagen and elastin production. Collagen and elastin are the fibers that maintain skin’s strength and elasticity.

Woman smoking

Also, the faces that you make from smoking? The pursing of the lips? The squinting? Also likely to cause wrinkles. How can you prevent this? Quit smoking. Ask your doctor for tips and treatment advice.

Be Gentle
Even simply daily cleansing can tax your skin. You can keep the toll to a minimum by limiting bath time. Hot water can remove oil from your skin, and the longer you spend bathing, the greater the loss of moisture. Keep bath time down and try to use warm water, rather than hot.

Swap strong soaps and detergents for mild cleansers to keep skin better hydrated.
Shave carefully, using shaving cream, gel, or lotion prior to shaving. Use a clean sharp razor and shave in the direction in which the hair grows to ensure the smoothest shave with the least skin nicks and cuts.

Pat skin dry after washing to make sure some moisture is left on the skin and follow up with an SPF containing moisturizer that is suited to your skin type.

Eat well
Never underestimate the importance of a good diet for skin health. Eat your veggies, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains. Research suggests that diets high in unhealthy fats and processed carbohydrates may age skin prematurely, while vitamin C-rich foods may promote younger-looking skin.

Woman meditating outdoors

Control Stress
Stress can increase skin sensitivity and lead to breakouts and other problems. You can manage stress by setting limits and decreasing overwhelming activity in exchange for things you enjoy, or doing low-intensity exercises like yoga and pilates.

Turn Off Your Cell Phone
According to Dr. Francesca J. Fusco, if you keep your head down often while scrolling or texting, you may begin to notice lines in your neck. She suggests hanging photos at eye level in rooms in which you text the most as an enticement to keep your head up during phone use.

Let us know how you have changed your lifestyle to improve your skin health. We want to know!

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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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Health Benefits Of Organic Clothing

Women in an organic cotten offit

“Whole Foods” on the catwalk? Could it be that the place we rely on for our healthy lunches could also be major player in the organic  fashion industry?  If you are familiar with organic clothing, perhaps your picturing a few walking hemp sacks in biodegradable shoes or an earth colored muumuu with a straw hat? But would you ever picture a knee length dove grey dress with a sculpted jacket?  Mini and maxi off the shoulder sheath dresses?

In order to cater to a demand for organically made clothing, Whole Foods sponsored a fashion show in the ballroom of the Marriott Hotel in Anaheim, featuring clothes from Maggie’s Organics, Satva and Threads for Thought. Themes ranged from Modern Femme, Street to Studio, Haute Hippie, and Global Chic. It seems that organic clothing is not just for the music festival crowd.

In fact, Jessica Chastain,  “Jane the Virgin’s” Gina Rodriguez, “American Sniper”s” Jake McDorman and “The Office’s”  Steve Carrell all wore organic clothing to the 87th annual Oscar Awards and Emma Watson and will.i.am are just two of the many celebs who have put their names behind sustainable goods.

Consumer Health
We all want the best for our little ones!  Organic cotton is exactly what the doctor ordered for that tender developing baby skin.  How could we not put our little princes and princesses in anything but the softest, most comfy fabric?

Also since organic cotton is not made with chemicals, it causes fewer allergies and reduces respiratory problems in people of all ages.

Environmental Health
Beware!  You may want to throw out your 501s after reading this.  Even though cotton crops are only grown a 3% of the land, it is responsible for nearly 25% of the insecticides and 10% of the pesticides in the world.  In fact, there is a laundry list of diseases that have plagued cotton crops over the year including anthracnose, southern blight, charcoal rot and tropical cotton rust.  In other words, you may not want this stuff in your clothes.

Cotton is also fourth on the list of most heavily fertilized crops, which is responsible for a lot of environmental pollution.  So, if a greener world is important to you, you might want to invest in some organic cotton.

Farmer’s Health
If the insecticides and pesticides are bad for the environment, just think of what they must be doing to the poor farmers who have to use them!  Poisoning due to toxic chemicals are a leading cause of death for farmers in developing countries.

Like organic foods, organic clothing costs a bit more to manufacture, and, as a result, consumer cost is affected.  But for those of you who have given up on organic clothing as a luxury item, do not fret.  Manufacturers like Basics, Alternative Apparel and Threads for Thought are just some of the companies featuring reasonably priced green duds.  We’re talking $15-50 for  tops and jumpsuits and dresses for under $100, and this stuff is CUTE.  Check it out for yourself and see if you don’t fall in love, oh, and next time you go for a tofu burger, you can pick up a top to eat it in. How’s that for one stop shopping?

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