A Health, Fitness and Weight Loss Blog

6 Simple Lifestyle Changes to Improve Your Health

Aug 23, 2014
cut girl sitting looking at an apple as a healthy snackMaking some relatively, simple changes in your life could lead to it being a longer and healthier one. Staying in shape both physically and emotionally can help keep health troubles, ranging from the common cold to heart disease, at bay. You do not have to completely uproot your life to make these changes. Working on doing the following things on a regular basis will help them become a normal part of your routine.

Be Grateful

It is common to focus on the negative things that happen to you on a daily basis, but this kind of thinking can take a toll on your physical and emotional well-being. Instead of dwelling on things that went wrong throughout your day, practice thinking of what you’re grateful for. Think about or write down five things you’re thankful for when you wake up in the morning and again before you go to bed. You can also do this in the middle of the day, especially when you’re having a rough time. Gratitude and positive thinking have been associated with improved health.


Keep Healthy Snacks Around

If you don’t like the thought of having to wash and cut up fruits and cook vegetables in order to add them to your diet, keep it simple. Buy fruits and vegetables that are easy to eat, such as grapes, apple slices, baby carrots and broccoli florets. Keep these snacks on hand, whether you’re at home or at work, so you won’t be tempted to reach for something unhealthy instead, such as most vending machine snacks or cookies.

Do Short Workouts

When you’re working on getting in shape, the thought of doing long workouts can seem daunting. This can end up discouraging you from working out on a regular basis. Rather than planning lengthy workout sessions, just do a few shorter ones throughout the day. Some ideas for these include 10 minutes of stretching, 15 minutes of walking or 15 minutes of . As you get more used to exercising regularly, you can start making each workout longer and more challenging, if you want.

Start With Small Changes


Don’t try to make big changes at once. Start with breaking bad habits a little at a time. For example, replace soda with water a couple times a week, then start doing it more often once you’re comfortable with this change. Take a short walk a few nights a week instead of sitting down to watch TV, and then make this a more regular change. Starting small can help you ease into healthier lifestyle changes.

Pamper Yourself

Taking care of yourself goes beyond eating well and exercising. Doing nice things for yourself can boost your self-esteem and improve your emotional health. Treat yourself to a spa visit or work on correcting something about yourself that you’re not happy with, like getting rid of stretch marks. Pampering yourself can help reduce stress and make it easier for you to stay positive.

Surround Yourself With Support

Adopting healthy changes can become an easier task when you have a good support system. Let a trusted family member or friend in on your plans, and have them ask you about your progress every week. That will keep you accountable for making sure you’re working toward your goals. You’ll also have motivational support if you start dragging your feet about making those healthy changes.

The author Sandy Getzky is an associate editor at ProveMyMeds, a public health and education startup focused on producing helpful resources concerning the treatment of common ailments.



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Healthy Benefits of Raw Food Diet

Aug 20, 2014

English: vegetables including tomatoes green beans cauliflower and more

What is a raw food diet?


You have probably heard about the Raw Food Diet. There are a lot of different variations on the Raw Food Diet depending upon the person advocating it.

The basic and common feature of most raw food diets is that they all advocate eating food in their natural state – that is, uncooked, unprocessed, organic and unexposed to herbicides and pesticides.







What does a raw food diet include?




  • All raw food diets include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Some include unprocessed nuts and uncooked grains.
  • Some raw food diets are a variation on veganism which shuns all animal-based food.
  • Other raw food diets include eggs, milk, cheese and raw fish (sushi and sashimi).
  • Then there is just the simple action of eating lots of raw fruits and vegetables to retain all their nutrients.



Reasons to Fill Your Diet with Raw Food


Weight Loss


The main purpose of most people who shift to a raw food diet is for weight loss. It is true – eating raw food will facilitate weight loss because eating raw food will mean that you won’t consume as much fat and calories as with a regular diet.

Disease Prevention


 Another main purpose of most people who convert to a raw food diet is to lifestyle diseases. Lifestyle diseases include hypertension, coronary artery disease and diabetes. These lifestyle diseases are often caused by eating food that is too high on fat, sugar and cholesterol.

Chemical Free Eating

Some who go on a raw food diet do so because they want to avoid the accumulation of harmful chemicals in their bodies from food that is exposed to pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and hormones.

Fruits and vegetables grown in commercial farms are usually treated with pesticides and herbicides to keep insects from feasting on the fruits and vegetables.

Livestock, pork and chicken grown commercially are treated with hormones and antibiotics to prevent disease and ensure optimal growth. Seedless fruit are sprayed with hormones as well.

Anti-Aging and Increasing Immunity


Still some people who opt for a raw food diet emphasize a healthy lifestyle that will keep them looking young.

They believe that fresh, unprocessed fruits, vegetables and grains boost the immune system which keeps infectious diseases at bay and it improves the body’s circulation and systemic functioning which gives them clear skin and radiant hair.


Is It Easy To Maintain A Diet Of Raw Food?


As with all diets, you must consult your doctor to see if you may shift to a raw food diet. And if you do shift to a raw food diet, perhaps it is best to do it gradually.

Start with juicing an assortment of fruits and vegetables to replace colas and desserts. Replace your regular cooked meals gradually with a wide assortment of salads and grains and nuts.

The most difficult thing about going on a raw food diet is sourcing raw, unprocessed and chemical-free food. 

 
If you like going out to eat, you will find it difficult to find restaurants that serve only raw food.

The next difficult thing is in preparing the food—it is time consuming. It is easy enough to simply peel a banana or eat an apple for a snack but if you have to subsist on fruits and veggies, you will have to carry fresh fruits and vegetables with you throughout the day.

Another problem most people encounter with the raw food diet is that food grown organically is more expensive.

Also there is a real danger of malnutrition as there are nutrients and minerals which you cannot get from uncooked fruits, vegetables and whole grains. You will have to take a vitamin or food supplement for this.

You will have to eat fruits and vegetables that are unfamiliar to you. The texture of uncooked food may be difficult to get used to at first.

For those who advocate eating raw fish, eggs, milk and milk products, you might need to conquer your gag reflex first. There is also a real danger of food poisoning from food that is unpasteurized such as milk and milk products, so one needs to take care, though these days it is not as problematic since the there are many quality controls in place.

Final Thoughts


Moving to a raw food diet requires a lifestyle change as well as a change in frame of mind. It will not work for everyone and some people can follow a raw food diet but not exactingly. Ask your physician first.

There are so many benefits to eating raw food and one thing to keep in mind is that it need not be exclusive of other food, you can simply add more fresh, and raw fruits and vegetables to your diet on a daily basis and cut out processed foods. That alone is a huge step to improving your health, preventing disease and curtailing the effects of aging.


Take care and be well.

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Top five Skin Problems Distressing Seniors

Aug 14, 2014
Wise Old Eyes by Peter Griffin As you age, your skin will go through significant changes. Various skin problems that seniors face are a result of exposure to the sun over a lifespan. Deprived of appropriate defense from the sun, skin problems are to be expected.

Even with protection from sun exposure, the aging progression produces deviations in your skin. Even people who have the most youthful skin will still find a few problems that can be exasperating during the aging process.


woman wrinkled face The most common problem and one of the most obvious is wrinkles. Wrinkles are areas were the skin has lost elasticity and creases where it folds. The most common places to see wrinkles are around the forehead, eyes, mouth and neck area due to facial expressions.

Gravity also takes its toll on skin that has lost its elasticity. As gravity naturally pulls skin in a downward direction, the ability to bounce back into shape is lost. There are many products designed to help prevent and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and some that can help reverse them.

Another common problem that inclines to plague seniors is bruising readily. While you age, the skin on your body actually gets thinner. You also lose some of the fat layer that cushions and protects your skin. That makes it much easier to get a bruise when you bump into something.

In addition, many seniors take blood thinners, which also increases the chances of bruising. If you are experiencing excessive bruising, it may point to a serious health problem and you should see a healthcare provider.

Dry skin can also be an annoyance to bother you as you age. Another natural result of aging and exposure to the sun. As you get older, you do not have as many oil glands to help keep your skin soft and assist in hydration.

Consequently, you may find that you are applying lotion much more often.


age-spots-lipofuscion-pigment-back-of-hand Age spots can be another aggravation, as you get older. These spots are not usually dangerous, but they make your skin look older. You will be more likely to have these in areas where your skin has a lot of sun exposure. There are several remedies to help whiten age spots.

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer and makes up 75% of all cases Finally, a more serious skin problem that is common in seniors is skin cancer. This is also a direct result of sun exposure over your lifetime. Most skin cancer is a result of exposure that happened many years before.

Some skin cancers are benign and just need removal before they become a problem. However, some lesions can become a malignant and a serious life-threatening condition. It is important that you have your skin examined at least once a year to prevent serious problems.


Take care and be well.

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Grow Your Own Health Solutions

Aug 11, 2014

Aloe Vera by Anna LangovaMany years ago, it used to be that the majority of people relied on natural remedies then modern medicine took over. There is no doubt that modern medicine has done much good. However, it is not without its disadvantages. At times people end up overmedicated for health issues that have simple and effective treatments at home. A great way to treat some of common health problems that affect people is through the natural use of plants.

These plants do not give you the same dangerous side effects that many of the medications prescribed today will cause. In addition, it is easier and a lot more cost effective to turn to nature when you need healing.

Many different plants that you can grow can treat your ailments naturally. Some have topical applications and others brewed into teas. You should make sure that you understand how much of a plant you should use, because just as if medicines you get at the drugstore, there are dosing guidelines you need to follow when using plants to treat ailments. As well as, beware of allergic reactions and interactions with medications so always check with your doctor before self-treatment.




Headaches

A good natural treatment for headaches is the bark of a willow tree. Cultivate a willow tree using a cutting from a mature tree. One of the reasons that this is effective is because it contains salicin, which is comparable to what you will find contained in aspirin. It is also a good treatment for anything that causes you to feel pain since it works as an aspirin does.

One drawback is that people who experience a reaction to aspirin could also potentially have a reaction to willow bark. Not be used by nursing mothers or given to ill children due to the potential same side effects that aspirin causes.

Lavender is a flowering plant that looks beautiful in a garden. However, it is also a natural treatment for headaches - even if those headaches are migraines. The oil from the plant gives relief from the pain. Application directly to the skin or inhaled by boiling the plant and inhaling the oils as they release. Lavender is safe to use on the skin without having to dilute it.


Another plant that you can grow to treat headaches is peppermint. This plant makes a poultice by crushing the leaves and applying the mixture to the area of the body where you feel the pain. The oils are absorbed through the skin.

If you have ever had to deal with cluster headaches, you know how bad these can be to deal with. These headaches, which show up and then come back repeatedly over the course of several weeks, can be difficult to treat with modern medicine because as soon as you stop the treatment, you can end up with rebound headaches.

One of the best natural remedies that you can plant indoors or outdoors to help with these types of headaches is cayenne pepper. This plant contains capsaicin, which to relieve pain applied directly to the skin. However, you should be extremely careful to keep any of the plant from touching your face. If the plant contacts your eyes, it can cause unpleasant burning.

A side effect of this plant when applied topically is a burning sensation that does go away after a few minutes. If you are prone to skin allergies, this may not be the right remedy for you to use. Thyme, when made into a tea can relieve the pain associated with headaches. Bay leaves are helpful in treating headaches as well.



Insomnia



Doctors recommend that you get between six to eight hours of sleep every night. This is what is best for your body. When you have insomnia, it can really take a toll on your personal and professional life. In addition, prolonged bouts of insomnia can cause your health to suffer. It can lead to sleep deprivation behavior, which can be dangerous.

Fortunately, there are plants that can treat this ailment. Many of these plants have a sedative quality to them, which helps relax your mind and body. As a result, you end up with a good night’s sleep.

One of these helpful plants is the lemon balm plant. If you look closely at the leaves, you will see how they resemble the leaves if the mint plant. This is because lemon balm is in the same family of plants as the mint. Also used as a tea.


One flowering plant, labeled as a weed is evening primrose - also commonly called primrose, is effective in treating insomnia. The flowers of the plant are colorful and quite beautiful. It is best to grow this kind of plant with outdoor gardening rather than indoor gardening because it thrives outdoors.

Another plant known to aid in helping to treat insomnia is woodruff. This plant has small white flowers and is a perennial. It has a sweet scent and grows best in shade rather than direct sunlight.
Passionflower is another plant that you can grow that treats of insomnia. The plant has medicinal properties that produce calmness and a state of relaxation, which helps you get some sleep.

There are some plants that you can grow that work toward helping you to get a good night’s sleep. You can use these plants during your waking hours that will not induce sleepiness so you will still be able to go about your day.

What one of these plants does is it relieves stress and tension, which are the leading causes of insomnia other than reasons related to diseases. This plant is rosemary and it grows indoor or outside but it can grow to some substantial height. Therefore, what you might want to do if you are into indoor gardening is to start the plant inside and then transfer it outside once it gains height.


Fevers, Colds and Coughs



There can be many different reasons for your body to develop a fever. The same stands true for a cough. Unless a doctor finds that, the fever has a direct cause, the only thing you can really do for it is to treat the symptom, which is the fever itself.

For the common cold, there is no cure. All you can do when you catch a cold is to try your best alleviate the symptoms. Many of the over the counter remedies offered can sometimes make you feel worse because they make you feel fuzzyheaded or they will make you feel dizzy.

Instead of reaching for the mass-produced medication, you can grow what you need to treat a fever, a cough or the common cold. Moreover, because this is a natural method, you will not have any of those annoying side effects that come with taking medication. To treat a fever, the bark of the willow tree is good for this. Just as if it treats headaches, it can also reduce your fever.

Again, the reason for this is that the bark of the tree is like aspirin with the properties it contains. However, another natural remedy you can use that you can grow yourself is sunflowers. These plants make a great addition to a garden because of their beauty and multi-purpose usefulness.

Sunflower seeds contain helpful features like some of the B vitamins, folate and zinc. Moreover, they fight against cancer cells. They are hardy and easy to grow. It is the leaves of the plant that can be use to make a tea that lowers fevers.

Besides treating the fever, the sunflower is also helpful for reducing ailments such as a cough and a cold. Therefore, if you have a fever that has associated with a cold, then you are getting two-fold relief with one plant.

Chamomile is another plant that you can grow that is helpful in reducing fevers. These flowering plants look like daisies but they are not exactly the same. They are very hardy and easy to grow. They can be grown indoors but also flourish outside. The plant can be taken in a tea form and is good for not only reducing fever but in the treatment of a cold as well.

When you have a cold, even though it is not a serious ailment, it can make you feel miserable. Sunflowers treat this and so can ginseng. This plant is associated with Chinese medicine and has a long history of helping to treat ailments.
What this plant does when used is it triggers the immune system to battle the ailment. Because of the power of this plant, the people who use it end up not being down with a cold or cough for the same length of time as someone who did not use ginseng.

One of the annoying symptoms that always seems to come along with getting a cold is all that congestion that just makes you feel miserable. You do not have to put up with that if you grow your own medicinal plants. Peppermint is a decongestant that contains menthol, which is the ingredient you will see in many of the over the counter medications that are used to treat cold symptoms.

A surprising plant that is effective with a cold is parsley. This plant helps to minimize the symptoms and it stimulates your immune system at the same time. While these plants grow outdoors, they are attractive to outdoor animals like rabbits so you will want to protect against that. Besides treatment for colds, this plant is great for relieving the symptoms associated with UTIs.

There is nothing as annoying as a cough with a cold. Because what happens is often long after the cold is gone, the cough will stubbornly remain in place. That is because your upper respiratory system has been irritated. Fennel is a plant that belongs with the celery family and is effective for treating coughs. This plant needs a lot of sunlight. It can be grown indoors but is better suited for outside gardening. Not only will you find this plant useful for treating coughs, but it can be a tasty addition to meals as well.

Anise is a small growing plant that is perfect for growing indoors. To use this plant to treat a cough, you would use the seeds. After mashing the seeds, you would let them steep as if you were making a tea. Drinking the liquid calms a cough.

Thyme also successfully treats coughing. This sturdy plant grows easily. It is a perennial plant and to makes a tea that helps to get rid of your cough. The reason that this plant works well is that it calms muscle spasms. The thyme relaxes throat muscles so you do not feel like you have to cough.


Constipation and Diarrhea



When you are struggling with constipation, it can make you feel miserable. It can cause bloating, stomach cramps and make you feel sluggish. What happens when you take over the counter medication to treat this ailment is the side effects can often swing you all the way to the other end of the spectrum and you end up with diarrhea.

It might surprise you to know that a very effective plant that you can grow to treat constipation is Aloe Vera. Although this plant is widely known for its topical uses, the latex of the plant is extremely effective in curing constipation. One plant considered a weed but is effective to treat constipation is the dandelion. The root of the dandelion is a natural laxative that will not give you those harsh side effects as you get with over the counter medications.

To get the benefit from this plant, you would need to boil the root and it does not take much to be effective. You only need about a teaspoon for every cup of boiling water. Be sure you strain out the root parts before you before you pour it into a cup. Mild cases are often resolved with one to two cups of the tea.

To treat diarrhea naturally, you need to make a tea from blackberry leaves. These very hardy plants can be grown indoors or out. You can also use the leaves from a raspberry plant if you prefer that to growing blackberries.


Treating Skin Ailments


You want to take care of your skin because it is what keeps germs from entering your body. There are several types of skin ailments that can be effective treated with the use of plants. If you burn yourself cooking in the kitchen or through some other task, you will want to use an Aloe Vera plant.

To treat the burn, you break one of the leaves of the plant and use the gel contained within to cover the burn. Lavender is another plant that, like aloe vera, effectively treats non-serious burns. Besides burns, other skin ailments can instigate discomfort. For example, eczema is irritating.

However, both dandelions treats this skin condition and so can peppermint. You would use the dandelion as a tea to treat eczema. Use the oil from a peppermint plant as a topical application to the affected area. The oil reduces the itching as well as the inflammation caused by the condition. The goldenrod flower also treats eczema.

Along with skin irritants like burns and eczema, you might battle fungal conditions. Chamomile, when used as a bath helps fungal conditions. Cloves are also good for treating fungal conditions.

Oregano leaves treats fungal infections especially those ones that infect the toenails or fingernails. This plant grows indoor or outdoor and doubles as a food spice.


Take care and be well.


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Eat Clean When Eating Out

Aug 10, 2014
Plate And Cutlery by Petr KratochvilWhen you decide to ‘eat clean’, you may think you will
never get to eat in a restaurant again. Actually, there is a heightened awareness from many restaurants about the wishes of their customers to eat cleaner and better-balanced meals. You should be able to find some restaurants close to you where you can enjoy a dinner out and not have to worry about keeping to your clean food diet.


After you have found a few restaurants that cater to the clean eating philosophy, you can keep a list of those places so you have some choices. If you are asked out to dinner and do not know about the menu options at the restaurant, go online to see what they offer. Many places will list ingredients and preparation methods because of those who suffer from food allergies.

Do not be afraid to ask about how they prepare their meals. For example, you do not want to eat a food cooked using vegetable oils or butters. Steamed and baked items are your best options. Avoid sugary drinks. Instead, order a glass of water with lemon. It will also save money on those empty calorie drinks.


There are varieties of restaurant types that can be good choices for clean eating when eating out. They include:

Delis – Sandwiches made with dark bread (such as pumpernickel), mustard (not mayonnaise), salads and fruit are always good choices for clean eating.

Fine Dining – You are likely to find some great clean eating choices when you have an evening out. Some restaurants have Gluten-Free menus, which feature steamed and grilled items. Salads with vinaigrette dressings and vegetarian items are also available at more upscale dining establishments.

Sushi – Not for everyone, but sushi restaurants can also offer good choices. Be sure and eat the pickled ginger if you select the raw fish. It helps with digestion. Order brown rice rather than the white, sticky type and you will be happy with your choices.

Buffets – Many choices make buffets popular, especially for family outings. Stay away from the fried foods, gravies and sugary desserts and stick to fresh fruits, grilled meats and salads.

Festivals and Amusement Parks – Those irresistible smells can be hard to pass up. If you must order those onion rings or fried guacamole, split it with a friend. You may want to take some snacks with you so you are not starving the entire time.

Most of all -- treat clean eating as if it is a joy and not a chore. Enjoy life and spend most of your time eating clean. You are likely to get a new perspective on life when you focus on clean eating and that should bring you happiness and health.


Take care and be well.

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