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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

First, let me apologize for disappearing for so long. Anyone following my blog knows that the past three years have been hell since losing Mom. Let me tell you, it got worse – much worse – before it got better. But THAT story will be for another blog. (It’s a very important one.) I am happy to report that I can FINALLY say with some confidence that I am better. I will never be the same, of course, but I am as close as I will be able to get. And that’s a positive thing!

I’ve decided to share one of my ‘adapted’ recipes. Not to get too personal here, but we all like to be as clean as we can be leaving the bathroom. There are many different kinds of wipes that you can buy; some are flushable, some are not.

wipes

There are also many blogs about whether the flushable ones are really a good idea or not. You can read a couple here: Is It Ok to Flush Those Wet Wipes? and Why Flushable Wipes Aren’t Really Flushable. As always, if you’re interested in learning more, do a quick search on Google.

Anyway, when I found this recipe for homemade baby wipes HERE, I was excited to try them, however, I didn’t particularly like the paper towel bit. Instead of being able to flush them, they’d have to go in the garbage, and that didn’t appeal to me, either. As I was looking through my bathroom cabinets, I saw that I had little spray bottles, and then I got an idea.

Why not make the liquid part and store in the spray bottle so I could just spray on some toilet paper when necessary? I liked that idea much better. And after I tried it, I loved it. I’ve been using this for years. This mix also has way less chemicals then store bought ones, and that’s ALWAYS a plus!

baby-wipes-1

Recipe – Makes three 1 oz size spray bottles

3 Tb aloe vera

2 Tb witch hazel

3 tp castille soap

2 caps Vitamin E

2 tp oil (almond oil, coconut oil, etc)

Few drops of essential oils (try to use ‘gentler’ ones like lavender, tea tree, chamomile and orange)

Water

Measure out ingredients and mix everything in a bowl.

baby wipes 2.jpg

Once you stir, it will all mix together and turn a bit cloudy. Using a small funnel, pour into the spray bottles evenly. (You will not have enough to fill them.)

baby-wipes-3

Fill the rest of the bottles with water and shake to mix. And that’s it. Keep one on each bathroom counter! (Ladies, this is also a great refresher/cleanser for that time of the month, as well! More money saved and less chemicals on your body than using the commercial wipes out there.)

baby-wipes-4

 

 

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What? You’re not familiar with kefir? Well read on then! Giselle from Your Kefir Source agreed to do this guest post to introduce us to it and give us some suggestions on how to eat it. (Check out her site – there is a lot of helpful information there!)

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Kefir is a live bacteria culture that’s normally used to create a fermented dairy beverage. The grains are normally harvested from goat, sheep, or cow’s milk. Aside from a combination of lactic acid, lipids, sugars, and protein, kefir grains are also rich in cultured bacteria and yeasts. It’s widely known that kefir is a significant source of friendly bacteria that aids the digestive system in its processes. The origins of kefir can be traced to the Eastern European Caucasus Mountains, where the name means “good feeling”.

Kefir has a naturally sweet and slightly sour taste, and it has a consistency similar to yogurt. The refreshing taste makes it easier for people to include kefir in their diets, and you can enjoy it in more ways than one.

kefir grains

You can start with a cooling kefir milk drink. There are a lot of people who say that kefir is best consumed as a beverage in a tall glass with some ice. Since it already has some sweetness, there’s really no need to add any sugar.

You can try blending the kefir milk or water with some fruits and turn it into a healthy smoothie pick-me-up, as well. For kefir milk shakes, add a scoop of your favorite ice cream and some ice before blending. Top this off with some whipped cream. Kefir can also be used instead of milk when making homemade ice cream. Not only will it be tastier, but it will be much healthier, too. Try it with natural vanilla, too—you’ll go nuts! For a lighter dessert, you can even make some kefir popsicles using ice trays and toothpicks.

A little dollop of plain kefir can make soups refreshing but hearty. Try adding it to borscht or tomato cream soup. And don’t stop there: why don’t you spread some thick kefir onto toasted bread while you’re at it? It’s actually a good substitute for cream cheese.

three-cups-of-kefir-grains

When it comes to the bread, if you make your own loaves at home, kefir can also be used in the baking process. Reduce the amount of water and eggs that you use in a recipe and add kefir for a loaf that’s more flavorful and moist. It works great with sourdough.

Some recommend kefir pancakes, too. This is a great way to enjoy kefir during the most important meal of the day. Kefir scones are worth trying, as well. The best part is that these are quite easy to make!

Kefir can also be eaten just like yogurt. It can be consumed plain or with some chopped fruits and nuts. Add granola for an even yummier snack. You can use kefir in veggie dips, too, as it’s a great item to bring on picnics. For those who are a bit more adventurous, give kefir kraut a go during the next family barbecue. Add kefir to some cabbage and caraway seeds, and that’s it!

kefir

There are definitely at least a dozen ways to enjoy a healthy food like kefir—and probably even more waiting to be discovered. Try out your own kefir experiments, and add the best ones to the list!

 

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In our fast-paced, technology-driven, always on the go world, most of the time it’s hard to stay healthy. There’s work, there’s kids, there’s pets, there’s husbands and wives, there’s outside family members, there’s bills, there’s grocery shopping, there’s arguments, there’s drama, there’s attitudes – let’s face it…life is HARD on a good day. I think our ancestors would be very overwhelmed at the pace at which we live. It takes tremendous effort to slow down and enjoy every day as it comes. Most of them fly by in a blur like those white line dividers on the road.

So what do we do? Janet Miller has provided a guest post with ten tips to help us refocus and re-energize ourselves. Do they sound simple? Yes, but don’t let that deceive you. These ‘simple’ tips will have a tremendous impact in your life if you apply them completely and truly put forth the effort to make healthy changes. You’re worth it, and your family is worth it!

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The kind of lifestyle we are living now tends to cause us to be unhealthy, moody and irritable. Want to live a healthier life? Here are 10 tips from my experience as a work-at-home mom of four:

1.    Exercise. People seem to only view exercise as a way of being physically fit. But exercise gives you more than that. People who exercise regularly are happier, smarter and more productive. Exercise releases hormones that make you more active in dealing with your every day life without getting stressed out. Physical activities such as barefoot running and yoga give your mind the mental break that it needs.

2.    Eat healthy food. This is such a cliché, but it always works. Aside from exercising regularly, you need to integrate it with a balanced meal. As early as possible, you need to stay away from or minimize the intake of unhealthy food. Good thing, there are now almost unlimited choices of healthy food you could enjoy.

10 tips photo food

3.    Drink water. Many people are aware of the importance of drinking plenty of water but unconsciously forget or dismiss. Water cleanses your body from toxins and unhealthy elements that could make you sick. Make drinking water a habit.

4.    Visit your doctor. Ditch that thought that doctors are only called when you are sick. Remember that prevention is better than cure, and it is always a good practice to have annual check-ups. There are cases when you do not feel sick, and you seem healthy, but deep down your body is working in an unnatural and abnormal way. It does not hurt to have yourself checked over even if you feel fine.

5.    Get enough sleep. Do not be too hard on yourself by staying up late to work or party. It is best if you know how to balance your social life and your body’s needs. People who are deprived of sleep are less productive, careless and inefficient when it comes to their work. They cannot think quickly and clearly because their brain and body are too exhausted. Sleep quality is also important – buying an air purifier to improve the air quality of your sleeping environment will do wonders.

10 tips photo sleep

6.    Change your lifestyle. You are well aware of how a stressful lifestyle could affect the way you view life and deal with it. If you are so burdened with your work, and you are unhappy with it every single day, maybe it is high time to rethink your career path. If alcohol and cigarettes are your constant companions, it is time to call for outside reinforcements to help you deal with these problems. Stress is a silent killer because it slowly drains your happiness and zest for life.

7.    Surround yourself with good and positive people. There are times when your group of friends could directly affect your mood and perception of your life. Stay away from people who always see the bad side of every situation. Slowly distance yourself from people who constantly complain about how unfair and bad life is. Be motivated and seek support from people who view life not as a problem but as an adventure. It helps a lot when the people that surround you give you encouragement and hope.

8.    Give yourself a break. You may have a wonderful career or personal life, but sometimes focusing on them alone could be suffocating. Learn to treat yourself after a tiring week or when you receive your paycheck. A simple massage can make a lot of difference. Travel or indulge in a hobby you wanted to try. Do not limit yourself to work and home but break free from stress by reminding yourself that the reason you live is to enjoy life. So do not waste a second of it.

10 tips photo relaxing

9.    Do a good deed. A simple thank you can brighten up anyone’s day including yours. Acknowledging your staff’s hard work does not only make you feel better, but it also brings a smile to their faces. Doing a good deed takes your stress away, and it also injects happiness throughout your day.

10.  Exercise your mind. One of the most neglected in this list of 10 tips for a healthy life is exercising the mind. It is recommended that exercise should not only be done to the body but to the mind, as well, as this lessens the possibility of having mental illness such as Alzheimer’s disease. Read a book, answer a crossword puzzle or write a poem. These simple gestures can add years to your life.

10 tips photo reading

So there we go – 10 tips for a healthy life. Do you have others you would like to share? Please feel free to comment below.

 

Janet Miller is a mom of four, health enthusiast and lover of life.
You can read more about her latest project at www.airpurifier-review.com.

 

 

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Before I even start this review, I must profusely apologize for being extremely late in posting this. The account rep that originally contacted me about trying the product was kind and quick to send me two full size jars to try – which I did – and then my life promptly fell apart with three deaths in my family (one of those being my mom, as you know) and my job loss all in less than two years.  I really hadn’t intended to wait so long to post this, but life – apparently – had other plans. Better late than never, right?

Nayonaise is a vegan sandwich spread (think mayo) made by Nasoya. It’s made with non GMO soybeans and is gluten free. Ingredients are: soymilk, expeller pressed soybean oil, vinegar, salt, dried cane syrup, natural flavors, mustard flour, xanthan gum, guar gum, sodium alginate (comes from seaweed), lemon juice concentrate, turmeric, paprika, spice, garlic powder and vitamin B12.

Being a ‘southern girl’, I’m a BIG mayo fan. Mayo can go in or on just about everything to make it better. A mayo/peanut butter/banana sandwich? Yes please! On crackers? Sure! I’ll use it in place of sour cream sometimes. French fries dipped in ketchup? Heck no – get me the mayo! I think you get the point.

large_tweak_weirdfoodcombo

And, just for the record, I was always a Miracle Whip girl.

Sadly, when I changed up my eating after finally deciding to read ingredient labels a few years ago, the mayo – Miracle Whip, Hellman’s and all the others – were out.  I’d tried some of the better alternatives at the ‘real food’ store (I don’t like the term ‘health food’ store; it’s just ‘real’ food), but I wasn’t impressed with them,  so I was left with a pretty important void to fill.

While I’m not vegan nor support a fully vegan diet (except for very rare situations), I do eat and enjoy vegan products and meals often. If you’re a mayo lover, Nayonaise is a GREAT alternative for you. To me, the taste is a combination of Miracle Whip and Hellman’s; it’s a nice blend of tart and sweet. The texture is closer to Hellman’s, and it works in all the dishes that you’d use the others for – sandwiches, potato salads, etc.

There are a couple other versions; a whipped and a light. They’re ALL good. You should be able to find most of these in your local real food store, like Whole Foods and other similar retailers. Visit the site for more information like FAQs and recipes!

Follow Nayonaise on Twitter @Nasoya or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Nasoya or on Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/nasoya/ to keep up on the latest! And they have other products besides the mayo – check out their tofu!

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I’d like to thank Jennifer Smith for this great guest article on cycling. It’s something that most of us can do, and even if you don’t get a chance to visit the beautiful places that she mentions, you can still reap the health benefits from finding other beautiful places near you to ride. It’s an inexpensive way to get in shape!


Top Areas in the World for Cycling

Cycling is a sport which is accessible by anyone. It is incredibly easy to hop on a bike and begin to explore your local region. Not only will you be able to reach places you just couldn’t by foot or in the car, but you will be doing your health a world of good whilst you’re at it. To ride a bike, you need next to no ability – well, unless you want to ride the Tour de France, but you get the picture – and it’s an incredibly easy way to keep fit and enhance your overall well-being at the same time.

Some of the best cycling routes in the world pass through some of the most breathtaking and beautiful scenery, and whether you are looking to put in lots of miles and work up a good sweat or simply wanting to take the family out for a quick spin, we have put together the greatest places in the world for cycling.

Regular cycling helps you lose weight, reduces stress and can improve your overall fitness. It is the most popular recreational activity in the United Kingdom, and it is estimated that 3.1 million people ride a bike every month. It’s also very easy to fit into your daily routine and is an excellent way to achieve a bit of escapism. This low impact exercise can help you see loads of places around the world. We have put together a list of the top areas in the world for cycling, and we’ve mixed it up a little, as well. We’ve included some real challenges which even the professional peloton struggles with,  some areas which have a rich history of cycling culture as well as some routes which the kids won’t moan about if you decide that that will be your activity for the day.

 

Majorca

majorca

 

Majorca is an island which is mainly thought of as a place for package ‘holidayers’ to go and sit by the pool, whilst it is in some respect, there is much more to explore, and it is known as a cycling paradise. Majorca has the perfect ingredients for every type of cyclist: it has well maintained roads, fully signposted cycle routes and great weather all year round – not only this, it’s very cheap to travel over there via all the major airlines.

The island is such a great destination for cycling that almost all of the professional cycling teams travel there, including Sky Procycling, BMC and Cannondale. Their riders can be spotted on the island during December, January and February. If you’re looking to climb some steep gradients or just freewheel by the side of the beach, either way, you’ll find something for you.

 

Northern Europe

northern europe

The Netherlands is one of the most cycling friendly cities in the world. There is a wide selection of cycle lanes which interlink all major (and minor) towns and cities. Other northern countries like Belgium and France are a cyclist’s paradise, and if you’re into professional cycling, you can challenge yourself on the parcours of the classic races such as Paris Roubaix, The Tour of Flanders, and Gent-Wevelgem. Failing that, take it easy, hire a ride and check out a few coffee shops in Amsterdam, navigating the canals and unique districts of the city.

 

French Alps

french alps

The French Alps offer some of the most challenging yet beautiful roads and mountain passes in the world. There are numerous guided rides which take in legendary routes like the Alp D’huez, Col du Galibier, Col de Madeline and the infamously barron Mount Ventoux. Not for the faint hearted, these routes have been stalwarts in Le Tour for nearly a century – so a high level of fitness is needed in order to be able to pedal yourself up, over and down again.

 

The Great Ocean Road

great ocean road

Australia’s Great Ocean Road winds its way along the southeastern coast of the country and passes through rural farmland, rugged cliff tops and the wetlands of Lake Connewarre. You could challenge yourself and try the 243 kilometer journey which will take you all the way along. Alternatively, if you only have a day, try the 60-kilometer route between Bells Beach and Torquay.

To get there, you need to travel from Melbourne to Geelong before taking a bus to Torquay – it is well worth it as it is a truly spectacular route to ride!

 

Yorkshire Dales

yorkshire dales

It would be rude to ignore our very own green grass (and superb routes) that we have here in Britain. The dramatic landscape of the Yorkshire Dales has been chosen as part of stage one of this year’s Tour de France and for good reason – you will find varied scenery, quiet yet challenging roads and lots of routes that will suit everyone, even the little ones.

The Dales are home to some of the finest vistas and landscapes in the country; there are many nice little villages and towns to stop in along the way – why not stop for a coffee and cake (a cyclist’s staple) or sample some of the beers from the local breweries?

Get involved yourself

If you’re interested in finding out more about cycling for fun, getting to work or for something more serious, take a look at the British Cycling website. Nothing really beats a bike ride – all you need is a fully functioning bike and a route that you want to travel. We’re not all as fit as say, Bradley Wiggins or Chris Froome, and we don’t all look good in lycra, but that shouldn’t put you off. Incorporating cycling into a holiday can ensure you get to see more of the location whilst, let’s be honest, its much more fun than walking!

Did you like this blog? If so, feel free to share it on social media so others can take a look at the fantastic cycling opportunities that there are around the world!

Written by Jennifer Smith on behalf of The Light, a premier entertainment facility in Leeds.

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Ok…this is SO good, I just can’t even stand it! Are you a choco-holic? If so, you will LOVE this. Be warned – it won’t last long!

In a bowl (preferably glass), mix 1 can of organic coconut milk (try not to include the watery part at the bottom), 1/4 heaping cup of organic cacao powder (dark if you can find it), 1 Tbsp of organic maple syrup, 1 tsp of organic vanilla extract and organic stevia to taste. Get out your mixer and blend until it’s creamy. You will be rewarded with a delicious, light treat that is also healthy for you. No guilt here!

Want to play with the flavors? Add some organic peppermint extract or some  organic almond extract! (The peppermint is my favorite. I’m a peppermint junkie!)

So exactly how is this sinfully scrumptious dessert HEALTHY? You’ve got saturated fat & vitamins in the coconut oil. You’ve got antioxidant flavanoids, sulfur and magnesium in the raw cacao. You’ve got minerals & antioxidants in the maple syrup. This treat is packed with goodness any way you look at it.

I like to look at it while it’s on my spoon. But that’s just me.

Try it. Let me know what you think. If you can tear yourself away from the bowl, that is.

vegan chocolate mousse

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Unless you’ve done quite a bit of researching, it’s often difficult to know what you’re supposed to eat and when for optimal effectiveness when working out. I know I’ve wondered many times and attempted to figure it all out more than once (and, I will admit, did not).  This article by Mark Taylor will provide you with some great suggestions to help you get all you can out of your workouts.

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What To Eat Before, During & After Exercise

Whether you’re a “weekend warrior” trying to stay fit or an athlete training for a marathon, what you eat can affect how you perform. Eating right can give you the edge to help energize your workout. But which foods are best for fitness workout, and which should you avoid? With so many sports drinks, bars, powders, and supplements to choose from, how do you know which are best? Or can you skip the expensive supplements and get everything you need from a well-planned diet?

If you don’t have a nutrition plan for your fitness training routine, you’re doing yourself a pretty big disservice when it comes to getting the results that you desire. If you workout while you’re starved, you simply won’t have the energy for your body to gain maximum fitness. If you exercise for a long time without eating, you’ll limit your ability to burn calories and maintain intensity. And if you don’t feed your muscles and replenish your energy stores after exercise, you won’t have the necessary building blocks for recovery.

eating-healthy

  • WHAT SHOULD YOU EAT BEFORE EXERCISING?

Fueling exercise requires quality carbohydrates, lean protein, heart-healthy fats, and fluids. Your muscles rely on carbohydrate foods like breads, cereals, pasta, rice, fruits, and vegetables for a quick energy source. Protein is needed to build and maintain muscles and for healthy blood cells. Blood cells deliver nutrients and oxygen to working muscles. The ideal pre-workout meal is consumed about two hours before exercise, contains about 300-500 calories, and is composed primarily of healthy carbohydrates. If you don’t have time to eat two hours before, a quick 50-100 calorie snack 5-10 minutes prior to exercise will also be effective.

Try a bowl of oatmeal, whole-grain cereal, and whole-wheat toast as a pre-workout meal eaten two hours before your workout. If you have to eat directly before your workout, a small piece of fruit—like an apple or banana—will do. If you need a snack on-the-go on your way to the gym, stick with a smoothie. Not only are they time-friendly, building your own blend has a bunch of exercise benefits. For a perfect formula, use your favorite sliced fruit, a cup of Greek yogurt and some granola for a thicker consistency.

  • WHAT SHOULD YOU EAT WHILE EXERCISING?

If you plan on exercising for less than an hour, you don’t need to eat; just make sure you hydrate with small, frequent sips of water during your workout. But if you’re doing something like a long run or bike ride, or maybe a couple of back-to-back fitness classes, try to eat 50-100 calories every half hour, preferably from a quick carbohydrate source that is easy to carry, like a bag of raisins, an energy bar, energy gels, or even a sports drink. The goal is not to replace every calorie that you burn, but rather to give you just enough fuel so that you can maintain a brightly burning metabolism.

  • WHAT SHOULD YOU EAT AFTER EXERCISING?

Muscles need protein for recovery and growth, and the best time to deliver protein appears to be right after exercise. Providing high-quality protein after exercise gives your muscles the fuel and the building blocks needed for both repair and for growth.

Protein shakes and powders carry a certain allure, but your muscles don’t care if the protein comes from a hard-boiled egg, glass of chocolate milk or whey protein shake.  Whatever you choose, more isn’t better — only 10 to 20 grams of protein is needed to provide amino acids (the building blocks of protein) to muscles.

A sample post-workout meal would be: grilled chicken and mixed vegetables (Your body is in recovery mode, so you need a nutrient dense dish. The lean protein and carbohydrates in chicken will fill you up without feeling overly bloated. Add some veggies in olive oil to keep your ticker in tip-top shape.), veggie omelet with avocado (Eggs are a great source of protein and help aid in muscle recovery and growth. Switch it up from the usual scramble and make a veggie-packed omelet. Garnish with a few slices of avocado for fiber.) or salmon with sweet potatoes (Aside from the usual protein perks, salmon has bioactive peptides, small protein molecules that play a role in inflammation reduction, helping to regulate insulin levels and give you joint support. Sweet potatoes pack in those complex carbs as well as help to restore glycogen levels, which get depleted after a workout.)

Also, here are some of the worst post workout foods that you should avoid at all costs:

  • Salty snacks of all kinds (salty popcorns, pretzels, crackers, nuts and seeds)
  • Sugary products and sodas (fruit yogurts, honey roasted nuts, Nutella, peanut butter and jelly sandwich)
  • Fatty foods and snacks (French fries, potato chips, hamburger, pizza)
  • Raw vegetables
  • Milk chocolate
  • Pastries (muffins, pies, donuts, puddings, cup cakes)

The ideal time to eat after a workout is within 30 minutes to two hours, when your body is ready and waiting to top off its fuel tanks to prepare for your next workout. But if your appetite or schedule doesn’t allow you to eat a meal right after your exercise session, don’t panic. Your body can still replace your muscle fuel over the next 24 hours, as long as you’re eating enough food to support your activity level.

As a moderate exerciser, you have a lot of flexibility when it comes to timing your meals and choosing your foods. The most important thing is getting to know your body and how it responds to exercise, so that you can give it what it needs to perform at its best. Eating the right things at the right times after you work out is essential to keeping your energy up, your workout performance high, and your body in fat-burning mode.

AUTHOR BIO
This article was submitted by UMA, Melbourne based Ultimate Martial Arts & Fitness school.

For more information, please visit http://www.ultimatemartialfitness.com.au/.

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