Maybe you got on the scale and were shocked at the number. Maybe you just noticed that your clothes are getting a little tight. Maybe you have known for a while that you have been gaining weight, but you just don’t know why.
This may seem like a crude topic, but really...have you ever wondered why your urine is that particular shade of neon yellow? Or amber? Or almost clear? Let's look closer into what causes the change of colors.
How many steps a day should you take? 10,000 steps per day is recommended by the American Heart Association and Centers for Disease Control to help keep you fit and free of disease. 10,000 steps a day is roughly 5 miles; by getting in these steps daily, not only do you lower your BMI (Body Mass Index), increase your energy levels, or lower your risk of type II diabetes and heart disease, but you also put yourself in a place to loss one pound a week.
The American Heart Association recommends 30 grams of sugar per day for women and 45 grams per day for men. The truth, unfortunately, is that the average American likely consumes close to 100 grams of sugar per day, which can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, depression, headaches, and fatigue. Below are 4 signs that you may be addicted to sugar.
All-natural remedies like Apple Cider Vinegar are the rave these days. Most people would rather try something natural than resort to a medication or drastic change in diet to look and feel better; and with so many success stories out there, why not see why everyone is talking about it?
What are digestive enzymes?
Simply put, digestive enzymes break down food into particles your body can absorb and use. They are found throughout the gastrointestinal tract and should be abundant in the stomach. There are 3 primary enzymes that break down food: protease (breaks down proteins), amylase (breaks down carbohydrates), and lipase (breaks down fats). When you are lacking in any of these, your ability to break down food into useable parts is compromised. It can also cause digestive issues.
If you suffer from digestive health issues, you’re not alone. A recent survey of 2000 Americans revealed that 72% have experienced some form of gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms a few times a month or more. These include diarrhea, gas, bloating, stomach pain and frequent bowel movements. While this study didn’t go so far as to determine the cause, many experts agree that those symptoms closely match those associated with Intestinal Permeability – also known as Leaky Gut Syndrome. Fortunately, there are natural ways to combat Leaky Gut and possibly eliminate GI distress.
If you are reading this while snowed in – congratulations! You get a day off of work! A day stuck in the house can be lots of fun and/or relaxing, but it can also wreck your diet. Here are 9 DOs to help you NOT gain weight today, and 2 DON’Ts.
Every January millions of people across the globe decide to mentally beat themselves up over things they did, said or ate the previous year. This form of ritual masochism is more commonly known as making a New Year’s Resolution. And no…just because I’m making fun of it does NOT mean that I’ve been above it all these years. I’ve done the “exercise more” resolution…the “eat less” resolution…the “lose weight” resolution. Heck, I’ve even done the “no more resolutions, resolution.” This year, though, I’m officially done. I’m taking a cue from an old friend from college and picking a single word for the year. “My” word for the year. This process is based on My One Word (http://myoneword.org/), but I went a slightly different path. I chose one on my own – from my heart. My word this year is “better.” It’s not perfect. It’s not great. It’s not even good. It’s better. I want to be a better wife…a better daughter…a better person. I want do better with my eating habits…better with getting more exercise. That feels – well – BETTER to me than a scary resolution that I’m likely to break within the first week of the year. Less guilt involved. I just want to do better this year, and that’s all any of us can really do. So instead of beating yourself up this year over how much you ate during the holidays and VOWING to eat only salads and fish, how about picking a single word to encompass what you want to accomplish this year. Believe me – WAY better than a resolution.
The holidays are an exciting and busy time of the year, but don't get so busy that you forget your furry family members. They need a little extra consideration, especially if you're planning on lots of decorations or having family and friends over for parties. These ten tips can help keep the holidays jolly for all members of your family - including those with four legs.
- Be sure to secure your Christmas tree. If your pet is allowed in the same room with the tree, be sure it won’t tip over easily if bumped by a swishing tail. If you go in for a live tree, be sure they can’t get to the water reserve. Preservatives to keep the tree alive can poison pets, plus stagnant water is a breeding ground for bacteria.
- Don't skip your healthy routine. Just because it's the holidays, that doesn't give you an excuse to skip out on your health routine - or your pets'. One of the best stress relievers for either of you is to just get out and go for a walk. (Plus, you get a chance to walk off that extra holiday cookie.) Even though things may be crazy at home, be sure to give them the exercise they need. Not only will they be more calm, they'll rest better at night.
- Avoid tinsel. If you have furry friends, it’s best to forgo the tinsel on the tree for a couple of reasons. First, that shimmering glow attracts your pets’ attention – as does the movement. They might want to investigate further and tip over the tree harming themselves or causing damage. Also, though it may look harmless, it can twist and bunch in their intestines if eaten.
- No mistletoe, holly or poinsettias. All of these plants – though festive – can harm your pet. Poinsettias can cause severe stomach upset, while mistletoe and holly can be deadly.
- Don’t leave lit candles unattended. There are two sets of dangers with this. One, if the candle is low enough a furry tail could accidentally swipe too close to the flame. For another the scent, the flickering light and the warmth all attract your furbaby’s attention. If candles are up, out of harm’s way and not left unattended you can avoid dangerous accidents.
- Keep table scraps and “people treats” out of reach. There are several dangerous foods lurking around your holiday table that can be harmful and even deadly to your four-legged family members. These include turkey skin, bones, chocolate, raisins, grapes, onions, garlic, sugar free baked goods (especially those with xylitol), currants, alcohol, macadamia nuts and coffee. Keep these foods out of reach and warn guests not to feed them anything but pet treats.
- Give them a safe place away from festivities. This isn’t just for pets that are easily excited. Older pets can get anxious with too much activity going on – especially young children if they aren’t used to them. Give your pets a safe, secure area away from the party to rest and/or hide.
- Keep medications and supplements out of reach. You know that your medications should be kept out of reach of children and pets, but don't forget about vitamins and supplements, as well. For example, many of us reach for appetite suppressants this time of year and tend to leave them on the counter as a reminder. This isn't a great idea with curious pets around. Store them up and out of the way until needed.
- Keep electrical cords out of reach. If you have a young pet who still likes to chew, be sure to keep all electrical cords well out of reach.
- Don’t hang pet stockings up too early. If you like to give your pet a treat and/or toy in his stocking each year, be sure to wait to fill it until the last minute. They could cause damage or injure themselves climbing up to see what’s inside. If you’ve used the same pet stocking in years past, you’ll want to avoid hanging it up early even if it’s empty. The smell of treats can linger, and your furbaby might try climbing to check it out.
Everyone is always looking for that quick fix to drop 5 or 10 pounds overnight. Let’s just say patience doesn’t come easy, and so many try the latest crash diet in hopes of speeding up the weight loss process. Unfortunately, most of those plans are neither safe nor effective. For healthy, lasting weight loss you’ll want to stick with the tried and true methods. In a pinch, however, you can LOOK thinner with these easy tips.
- Don’t eat bread, pasta, and dairy for 24 hours. They are not only filling, but eating just a serving or two can cause belly bloat.
- Take a candida yeast ridding supplement. Excess yeast is a common cause of belly bloat so taking a supplement like Candida Complex will help your body eliminate the overgrowth and bloat.
- Stand up straight and roll your shoulders back. Bad posture can make you look bigger than you really are.
- Take a B-6 supplement. It is a natural diuretic that also helps your body metabolize food and convert it to energy.
- Avoid sugar free gum. Chewing gum causes you to swallow air and artificial sweeteners can make you retain water causing bloat.
- Drink lots of water. It sounds counterproductive, but your body will not hold onto water when it has plenty of it, and it also helps to keep your digestive system flowing smoothly.
- Get a spray tan. You can even ask them to add some extra to the outside of arms and legs to create a more narrow look.
Your last checkup went great, but your doctor said she's a little concerned about your blood sugar levels. You're not ready for medicine, but she wants you to try to get it under control before it becomes a problem – what do you do? Luckily, there are a few easy, natural steps to get your levels back to normal and help keep them there.
Without a doubt, we love our pets. It's estimated that Americans will spend over $60 billion dollars on our furry friends this year; that's an average of about $500 per family. The great news is that it's money well spent; besides being our best friends, pets are a great boost to our overall health. Here are 10 ways our pets help us every day.
- Happiness. Anyone who's ever owned a dog can tell you, they're absolutely thrilled when you walk through the door. It doesn't matter if it's been 8 hours or 8 minutes, they practically wiggle themselves off their feet wagging their tails so hard. That kind of love makes us happy...it makes us smile...which is always good for you mentally and physically. The physical effects from that love include lowered cortisol and raised seratonin levels.
- Lowered Blood Pressure. As odd as it may sound, the simple act of petting your furbaby can result in a drop in blood pressure. Researchers have found that the effects aren't just temporary; pet ownership has longer lasting effects on your cardiovascular health.
- Healthy Heart. Studies have shown that dog and cat owners have a lower risk of dying from cardiac disease – including heart failure - than non-pet owners.
- Friend Magnets. It's almost impossible for a dog lover to pass up the opportunity to speak with someone walking a dog. They're just furry little magnets for conversation, and make it much easier to meet new people.
- Mental Health Boost. Many organizations now recognize the benefits of service animals for more than just physical disabilities. Therapists have been known to actually prescribe a pet as a way of dealing with depression, and some retirement and nursing facilities have pet visitation days for their patients. Some organizations specifically deal with military veterans. Paws and Stripes, for example, is a non-profit organization providing service dogs for wounded military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
- Exercise. Most dog owners will tell you that it's almost impossible not to get at least a little exercise every day. Just two 15-minute walks a day will get in your recommended 30 minutes of exercise without even trying hard.
- Fewer Allergies & Better Immune System. If your little one is begging for a pet, it may not be a bad idea to give in. Children raised on farms or in homes with a cat or dog, have higher level of certain immune system chemicals. That makes them less likely to get sick as children or as adults. Researchers have also found that they're also less likely to develop allergy problems.
- Children With Autism. New research finds autistic children who have a pet at home have much more advanced social skills and are more assertive and communicative than autistic children who do not have an animal companion.
- Assistance for the Disabled. The role of service dogs has greatly expanded in recent years beyond only guide dogs for the blind. There are now trained seizure dogs who can either lie down on the patient to prevent injury or are trained to fetch help for children sometimes before the seizure even starts. There are also dogs trained to sense cardiac issues and low blood sugar as well as those who turn on lights, open doors and pick up small items from the floor.
- Chronic Pain. Petting your four-legged family member also helps release endorphins, which can be powerful pain relievers. Caring for your pet also helps distract you from chronic pain.
The sun is out and it’s a beautiful day. Ditch the gym, the treadmill, or the elliptical! Instead burn calories with fun outdoor activities. With bathing suit season inching closer and closer, now is the time to enjoy the changing seasons and get your body toned. Many common outdoor activities can help you to burn calories.
Remember, the rule of thumb for weight loss is reducing 3,500 calories equals a loss of one pound. Therefore, if you can burn 500 calories a day while maintaining your normal diet, you can loose one pound a week. Here are a few outdoor activities that can help you on your way. Calorie counts are based on a 150-pound woman.
Planting seeds, shrubs, and trees to freshen your gardens and get your yards looking great burns 300 calories in one hour of work.
Frisbee is a great outdoor activity that is fun and gets your heart rate up. A causal game of Frisbee with the kids or neighbors while you barbeque burns 200 calories in one hour of play.
Weeding the gardens you have planted also helps with your weight loss goals. One hour of pulling weeds totals 300 calories burned.
Biking is a fun and relaxing way to get out and exercise. One hour of riding a bike burns a little more than 400 calories.
Golf is not for the faint of heart, but those of us who love the peaceful yet challenging sport can burn 400 calories in one hour on the course.
Hiking around a beautiful lake or up a mountain to take in the sights is another great outdoor activity. Hiking for one hour burns 370 calories.
Canoeing is a spring and summer favorite for outdoor enthusiasts. Rowing your boat for one hour can burn up to 850 calories.
Tennis is great for getting fit in the warm months of the year. Grab a friend and hit the courts for one hour; you’ll burn nearly 300 calories in just thirty minutes.
Most all of us are ready to get out and soak up the warm sun. Enjoy some of these calorie-burning activities, while you reap all the benefits of exercise and get your daily dose of Vitamin D.
Sleeping well greatly contributes to our attitude, performance, and contentment throughout the day. However, in our busy lives, there are many factors than can interfere with proper sleep. Finances, relationships, family commitments, work responsibilities, and many other things can put a strain on our ability to lie down and fall asleep peacefully.
The National Sleep Foundation tells us that having good “sleep hygiene” can make a big difference in our quality of life. In other words, we need to develop healthy sleep habits and stick to them consistently to improve and maintain our quality of sleep. Listed below are some of those habits that when done on a regular basis can lead to much better sleep.
1. Develop a sleep schedule. Figure out what time you naturally feel tired and go to bed at that time every single night. Get up in the morning at the same time every single morning. If you feel tired during the day, take a short nap in the early afternoon, no more than thirty minutes long.
2. Exercise daily. Regular physical exercise can help you fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper sleep. Any time of day is fine, but avoid exercise right before bed, and never exercise at the expense of sleep.
3. Limit what you consume just before bed. Avoid cigarettes, alcohol, or heavy meals. Caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes disrupt sleep. Heavy meals, especially those containing spicy foods, can cause discomfort with digestion, making it hard to sleep. Try to finish eating and drinking 2-3 hours before you lie down to give yourself plenty of time for digestion and to limit bathroom trips when you are trying to sleep.
4. Establish a bedtime routine. Read a book, take a warm bath, do some light stretches, or work at your favorite hobby. Avoid television or technology just before bed; items such as phones and tablets can actually be stimulating making it much harder to fall asleep.
5. Get comfortable. Make sure your mattress and pillow meet your expectations for what feels good. A good quality mattress typically last 10 years. Invest in a new one if you need it. Keep your room cool and dark. Sleep in clothing that meets your own personal needs for comfort and temperature control. Use a fan, sound machine, or earplugs if necessary to create an environment free from noisy disruptions.
Use these tips to develop effective sleep hygiene and reap the benefits of a good night’s sleep.
Is it possible to cheat on your diet and still see healthy results? Not only is it possible, but some experts think it’s necessary. If you’re on a severely restrictive diet, all you tend to think about is food – whatever your favorite food is. You may dream of ice cream, swoon over pizza or crave a burger; and if you let your desires get out of hand you might find yourself binging on everything in sight. Take care of the issue before you give up on your healthy eating completely.
Some people even think it’s best to satisfy that craving with a similar food. So if you’re craving ice cream, you have a bowl of frozen yogurt – even though you don’t particularly like frozen yogurt. That means it’s okay while you’re eating it…it’s cold…kind of creamy…it’s okay, but it’s just not ice cream. That means when you finish – you guessed it - you still want ice cream. Your best bet is to just eat a small portion of really good, high quality ice cream once in a while. Notice I didn’t say every day…once in a while. And, be sure to watch your caloric intake a few days before and after. (One splurge at a time, please.) The key is to satisfy the craving…the actual craving…then move on. You weren’t craving yogurt; you were craving ice cream.
One other thing to remember is to watch your portion sizes – always. Whether you’re eating a salad or a brownie, portion size matters. Permission to splurge on occasion doesn’t give you permission to eat an entire large, delivery pizza by yourself or a gallon of ice cream, for that matter. One scoop of ice cream or 2 pieces of pizza or a small order of fries…that’s a splurge. Enjoy it…savor it…then get back to normal, healthy eating. Your body will thank you for it.
Some weight loss myths persist even though they've been proven wrong time and time again. We've included seven that you can stop worrying about.
- Lose belly fat by doing sit ups. Wrong. Exercise strengthens muscles and is good for you, but trying to “spot reduce” belly fat with sit ups just doesn't work. To get rid of belly fat you need to engage in cardiovascular or aerobic exercise. You’re going to have to burn calories throughout your body to reduce your midsection through exercise.
- Avoid all fat. Wrong. Yes, animal fat and other saturated fats have been linked to health issues like heart disease, however let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Monounsaturated fats like olive oil, canola oil, avocados and nuts have been shown to help lower bad cholesterol levels and more.
- Snacking causes obesity. Wrong. Okay, if you’re grabbing chips and candy bars out of the office vending machine, then yes…this would be bad for you. If, however, you’re snacking smart you’re on the right path. Eating a healthy, low-calorie snack when needed can help keep you from over-indulging at mealtime. If you’re starving now, by the time you get to dinner you may be so hungry that you make poor choices or overeat. A high protein snack like low-fat cheese or nuts can also be just the energy pick-me-up you need to finish your day.
- All carbs are bad. Wrong. Don’t lump all carbohydrates into the same white bread loaf. Whole grains, brown rice, beans and veggies provide a host of nutrients and fiber, are low in calories and can help reduce the risks of some types of diseases. Plus, the body uses carbs as fuel during exercise to burn body fat. Try to avoid processed carbs, however such as those high in sugar and white flour.
- Eating (celery, lettuce, grapefruit) will burn fat. Wrong. Foods don’t burn fat. Basically, a calorie is a calorie is a calorie – sort of. (We’re not talking about “empty” calories like those in sodas or candy…those are just a waste of space.) There are just no specific foods that increase your metabolic rate.
- Going hungry is the only way to lose weight. Wrong. Crash diets just don’t work. While you may see some results, most people gain back any weight shortly thereafter. It’s just too hard to maintain that lifestyle. You’ll be tired and hungry and eventually give in to foods that are probably high in sugar and fat.
- Foods labeled “reduced fat” are always better. Wrong. Reduced fat foods don’t have to meet specific labeling criteria. While they may contain less fat that the full fat version, that doesn't necessarily make them healthy. Many are packed with extra sugar and may have unhealthy chemicals or additives to make them taste better. Plus, they may have more calories and fat than something truly healthy like a piece of fruit or cheese.
We all know drinking water is important, but just how important is it? Water makes up about 60% of our body weight, so it’s absolutely vital to maintaining good health. It regulates our blood pressure and body temperature, it keeps our ears, nose, and throat moist, and our nails, skin, and hair are dependent on water to be healthy. Without enough water, we feel tired, sluggish, and can even think we are hungry when we are really just thirsty! Every body system, organ, tissue, and cell needs water to function properly. We know we need it to feel and look our best. But, how much water do we need?
You can't open a magazine or turn on the television today without hearing something about probiotics. Well known for their beneficial use in the digestive system, recent studies are now linking probiotics with a healthier immune system and as a necessity for healthy weight management.
Every where you look there’s another great supplement to take for a specific health issue. Some for weight loss…blood pressure…better sleep…but are there supplements that EVERYONE needs to take EVERY DAY? YES – we’re glad you asked!
Probiotics - Most people don’t eat enough healthy enzymes and bacteria to help their body’s digestive system work properly. Combine that with the processed food diet that the average American eats and also the overuse of antibiotics, and you get an imbalanced digestive system that can lead to chronic disease, weight gain, and fluid retention. A probiotic can help you get back to the natural balance your body needs in order to convert vitamins and nutrients into energy and naturally fight off infection and illness.
Calcium - We all know calcium is important for your bones, but did you also know that almost every cell in our body uses it? As we get older, our bodies absorb less calcium from our food which depletes the stored calcium in our bones. Over time, this contributes to osteoporosis and osteopenia. That is why it is so important to add a calcium supplement to your everyday routine. It is also important to note that taking a calcium supplement with magnesium is even better to prevent any constipation from the calcium alone. In order for your body to fully absorb calcium and magnesium, they should be taken in a 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium. Lastly, drink some OJ or other Vitamin C rich juice to take your calcium/magnesium supplement because it helps your body to full benefit from the supplement.
Fish or Krill Oil - DHA - With all the news about mercury in the fish we eat, it is easy to pass on the fish, but our bodies still need the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil including EPA and DHA. They help to keep your cholesterol levels in a healthy ratio. Fish Oils also help support your bones and also your mood. It helps support healthy levels of serotonin which is the “feel good” hormone. That alone is a good enough reason to take a fish oil supplement. Krill Oil is another type of fish oil supplement that is smaller with no fishy aftertaste while still having all the benefits and possibly more. Also, it may help decrease inflammation in the body which in turn alleviates many pains associated with arthritis.