Category Archives: health

Health Fads vs. Health Facts

Every day, the Internet provides some new trend or article about how to be a healthier you. Take a shot of this vinegar or eat this “superfood” eighteen times a day. A recent American Heart Association report, however, debunked the unsupported theory that coconut oil is a health conscience food choice. So, how do we know which health tips are legit? Here are a few recommendations on how to see through the fake (health) news:

1.       Check the Source

Always be sure to check the source of whatever article you’re reading. If the information is coming from a registered dietitian or a doctor, it’s more likely to be valid than if the article is just a columnist with no background in health.

2.       Recognize the Dietary Restrictions

Any diet that’s telling you to completely cut out any one part of your diet—sugars, carbs, etc.—is a no-go. Depriving our bodies of any one food group will ultimately lead to a binge. You’re better off eating smaller portions of well-rounded meals to keep you full, healthy and content. 

3.       Be Wary of the “Quick Fix”

If any product or diet promises “immediate results” or a quick cure, it’s probably not going to work. The only way to achieve your health goals is to eat a well-rounded, balanced diet and pair that with daily activity. It’s a process of transformation, but it’s a lifestyle development that will pay off in the long run. 

Regardless of the validity behind any new health craze, you should always consult with your doctor before making any significant dietary change. For more information, check out the FDA’s rundown of how to spot health fraud. And feel free to leave a comment in the section below to let me know about any of the fads you’ve tried — what worked, what didn’t, and what to be on the lookout for!

Healthy, Yummy, Summertime Foods

With summer (somehow) already in full swing, this time of year is not only a peak for high temperatures, but also the height of the season for some of the most delicious foods! Known as the season of fresh fruits and vegetables, summer does not disappoint in its offerings of delicious, healthy snacks. In addition to being delicious, many of the foods in summer’s bounty are high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – plus, many naturally help you stay hydrated!

Some of my favorite healthy summer foods include:

1.      Berries — strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries (you get the picture)

2.      Avocado

3.      Watermelon

4.      Tomatoes

5.      Cucumber

6.      Zucchini

Click here for a full list of foods in season this summer.

The best way to find the freshest food near you is to head to your closest farmers’ market. There, you can often talk with the people who grow the foods you’re eating and get the inside scoop on what’s best when. An added bonus is buying this farm-fresh food also supports the local economy. Talk about a win-win!

How to Keep Pets Feeling Fresh

The first “official” day of summer might not be here yet, but most of us are already feeling the heat. With weather this nice, it’s impossible to stay inside. But before you pack up to take on the great outdoors with a furry friend, check out these tips on how to keep your pet happy and safe this summer season.

  1. Don’t leave your pet in an unattended vehicle.
    This is a biggie. Cars retain more heat than an open area, even in the shade. No matter if you roll down your windows, it’s easy for dogs to overheat and become dehydrated quickly. If this hasn’t already hit it home, some states have laws in place making it illegal to leave animals in a confined vehicle.
  2. Keep your pet hydrated.
    Just like you and me, pets get thirsty. In fact, they get dehydrated even quicker because they don’t have the pores to sweat, so they can’t control their body temperature. Make sure to always have fresh, clean water on hand for your pet whether you’re out taking a walk or just playing in the yard.
  3. Be smart about your outdoor time.
    To avoid dehydration, it’s best to limit when and how much you do when it’s hot outside. Opt to be outside with your pet early in the morning or in the evening so your pet still gets the exercise he needs with a smaller risk of overheating. If you can’t avoid the hottest times of the day, at least do your best to avoid hot surfaces like asphalt that could overheat your pup’s paws.

The best way to keep your pet safe is to just be aware. Don’t let the heat spoil your summer; follow these simple tips to keep your pet healthy, happy and hydrated!

How to Avoid Bug Bites

Summer time is almost here, and that means lots of time outside. Whether you are going on a camping or hiking trip, or just planting a garden in your backyard, protection against bug bites can prevent you from irritated and itchy spots on your skin.

Bug spray, such as Repel Lemon Eucalyptus or Sawyer Picaridin (safe for children), should be applied before any outdoor activity to prevent bites.

Wearing long sleeves and pants can help prevent bites. Avoid wearing bright colors that attract bugs. Don’t wear sandals.

Don’t wear perfume or scented hair or body products.

Stay away from still-standing water and remove bodies of water around your home to prevent mosquitoes laying eggs.

Use screens on open doors and windows. Use air conditioning during hot, summer days.

Taking these steps will help you spend lots of time outside this summer without pesky bugs attacking you!

Let’s Talk About Moving

Moving. I don’t mean the “get off the couch and exercise kind.” I’m talking about gathering your belongings and relocating to another house or apartment. It’s May, which means you may even have kids of a certain age who will likely be moving to or from a dorm or apartment.

Here are some tips to keep the transition stay as simple as possible.

Invest in plastic bins: Especially if you are going to be moving every year or so due to an expiring lease, these are life savers! You can fit a lot in them, you don’t have to buy new cardboard boxes every year, they are easier to carry and they are unlikely to bust open on your way to the car.

Clean AFTER you’re finished: When you move, you notice a lot of dirt you probably didn’t know was there before. It is tempting to get out the vacuum immediately to handle it right away. But keep in mind that you will likely have to clean at the end of your move regardless since you will be constantly moving furniture and tracking dirt in.

Breathe: Take things one thing at a time and start early. Moving can be stressful. Relax, manage your tasks and enjoy the process as much as possible: one room at a time.

Is Organic Really Better?

With the increasing options at the grocery store, how do you know what to buy to get the best nutritional value for your money? A number of studies have been done on the nutritional value of organic food vs. inorganic food, so let’s break down the basics.

  • One study found a significantly higher level of antioxidants in organic foods than in conventionally grown foods. Nutrients and antioxidants are two different things and affect the body differently. However, based on their findings, these researchers declared organic food to be a more nutritious option.
  • Researchers also found higher levels of pesticides on conventionally grown foods, which they said made them more unsafe.
  • None of the studies have detected levels of pesticides or chemicals that approach anything near what would be classified as an unsafe level.
  • There is no known difference between organic and conventionally grown food with respect to nutrient content.
  • The most recent study found that organic crops are lower in protein.

As you can tell, opinions and research findings vary greatly, making it hard to feel confident in one decision on this subject. When it comes to eating healthy, ultimately the answer is to eat a balance of foods that are nutrient-rich and processed as little as possible.

Ways to Boost Creativity

Feeling tired of doing the same thing every single day? Stuck in a creativity drought? Here are a few scientifically proven ways to boost your creative juices and get out of your rut:

  1. Exercise before work.
  2. Mix up your routine.
  3. Travel abroad.
  4. Go see a movie.
  5. Take a walk outside.
  6. Paint a picture.
  7. Start an idea notebook.
  8. Listen to classical music.
  9. Do something that scares you.
  10. Stop watching TV.

Letting yourself try new things without fear of failure, mixing things up and getting out of your routine will help you become more creative. The key is that no idea or thought is out of the question. Creativity makes room for unexpected ideas and thoughts. Let go of the thought that you are not creative, because everyone has creative potential – it’s just a matter of tapping into it!

Spring Break Skin Safety

We are getting into the early weeks in March, which can only mean one thing: Spring Break. Or, for those of us who work, a great excuse to use some of that PTO. And what better way to spend that time than somewhere warm and sunny? I’ve covered the importance of getting enough sunlight and Vitamin D, but you also don’t want too much of a good thing. Here are some tips to keep you and your skin healthy under the hot sun on your vacation:

Wear sunscreen. This is probably overused advice, but for good reason. Wearing sunscreen not only keeps you from getting painful burns, but it can also protect you from skin cancer. Using a sunblock with SPF 30 or higher may not help you tan as quickly, but you’ll thank yourself later.

Drink lots of water. When you’re having fun at the beach, it’s easy to forget about proper hydration. But under the hot sun, it is even more important to get your daily dose of H2O. This will keep you healthy and will also help to keep your skin from getting too dry. Try eating fruits such as watermelon as well for extra hydration.

Wear a hat. Make sure you keep your face protected! A pink and peeling face won’t be flattering when you return back to work. Wearing a hat can help keep that sensitive skin protected. Besides, keeping your skin healthy also helps fight signs of aging, which is something I think we can all get behind.

Importance of Sunshine

Winter blues are a real thing. They’re not, however, always something that a little dose of Vitamin D and sunshine can’t cure. Making sure you get enough sunshine in the winter is important to living a healthy life.

Sunlight is a natural, major source of Vitamin D. Getting outside in the sun is the best way to boost your mood and receive many health benefits. This vitamin aids in calcium metabolism, fighting depression, sleeping better, and keeping your bones and eyes healthy.  Vitamin D also helps in reducing colds and flu by boosting immune support.

During the cold, winter months we spend most of our time inside and we miss out on the benefits of natural light. It is important to spend as much time as you can in the sun to keep your Vitamin D levels up.

You can also receive Vitamin D in the winter by eating foods such as salmon, eggs, cereal, red meat, or taking a supplement.

So if you’re feeling a little blue, it may be time to catch some rays.

Combating the Sedentary Work Week

We’ve all heard the excuses for a sedentary work week: There’s no time. We don’t have enough energy. Or, maybe more honestly, we simply don’t want to exercise. But studies have proven exercise is important to keeping us both happy and healthy. Here are some tips for those with desk jobs on how to get more exercise during the day.

Walk, walk, walk: If you are busy at your desk all day, it can be hard to remember to get up and move around. But taking a quick stroll around the office every hour or so can fight a sedentary work lifestyle. Walk to lunch, visit your colleagues instead of buzzing their phones, and take the stairs. It may not seem like it, but these small acts can really makes a difference.

Wake up early: It can be more difficult to convince yourself to go to the gym after a long day of work. We are tired and ready to take it easy. If you are one of those people, maybe try waking up a little earlier. Go to the gym, get a short workout in at the house or go for a walk around the neighborhood. Even though you are waking up earlier, the extra activity should improve energy levels.

Utilize weekends: On the weekends, most of us have a little more free time. Try to incorporate a little more activity on your days off! Visit the gym, go for a hike or toss a ball in the park with a friend or your kids. Working in that extra physical activity won’t feel as much like a chore when you don’t have a million other things on your to do list.