If someone told you that you could work your entire body efficiently and effectively, and that it would actually be fun, you’d jump at the chance, right? Well, all you need is a kettlebell—the free weight alternative that’s made of cast iron and looks sort of like a cylindrical purse (or, some say, a cannonball) with a handle.
What makes the kettlebell such a great workout partner is that the moves it’s used for combine strength training and cardio. Plus, you’re so busy focusing on not dropping the bell that time flies by. The result? Maximum results with a minimum time commitment.
If you’re concerned about throwing out your back, or accidentally hurling the bell through your living room window, fear not. “Wearing training gloves or rubbing hands with chalk before you begin can help you keep a firm grip on the kettlebell until you feel more confident,” suggests Terri Arends, group fitness instructor at the Aaron Family JCC of Dallas, who has two kettlebell certifications.
The five-move kettlebell workout that Arends generated below can be done at the gym or at home—in less than 30 minutes. So clear some space, grab a bell, and start swinging.
Kettlebell Reps and Sets
Kettlebells come in various sizes and weights. The weight you use and number of reps you perform of each move depends on your goal. Are you looking to amp up your cardio? Use a lighter bell (9-12 pounds) and do three sets of 10-20 reps. If you’re hoping to build muscle mass, go a little heavier (15+ pounds) and do three sets of 6-10 reps.
Move 1: Kettlebell Deadlift
Body parts worked: Back, hamstrings, glutes, shoulders
Stand with feet hip-width (8-12 inches) apart. With arms straight, grip kettlebell handle with both hands so that it hangs between your legs. Hinge at the hips, tilting your torso forward and keeping your back straight as you lower the kettlebell toward the floor. Hold for a count of three. Press your feet into the floor and return to starting position, keeping back straight.
Tip: Only go as deep as your hips will allow. When your hips move back, keep your spine neutral to avoid back strain. (No rounding or hyper-extending your back!)
Move 2: Kettlebell Squat
Body parts worked: Quads, glutes, hamstrings
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Place both hands on kettlebell handle and hold at chest height, elbows bent. Lower body as far as you can by driving hips back and transferring weight to heels. Return to start position.
Tip: Be sure to brace your abs and keep your chest lifted throughout the move to avoid putting undue pressure on your lower back.
Move 3: Single-Hand Kettlebell Squat
Body parts worked: Hips, glutes, hamstrings, core
Hold kettlebell by handle with right arm. Bend elbow, resting the bell in the nook of your upper arm and shoulder on same side. Extend left hand to act as a counterbalance. Drive hips back, transferring weight to heels, simultaneously bending knees into squat position. Return to start position and repeat on left side.
Tip: Make a fist with the extended hand and squeeze hard to elicit more tension in the body.
Move 4: Single-Hand Kettlebell Row
Body parts worked: Back, rhomboids, rear deltoids, triceps, trapezius, core
With kettlebell handle in right hand, lunge forward with left foot, keeping body in a long, forward-leaning angle. Prop left elbow on left thigh for support, and drive right elbow back, keeping it close to body and pointing it toward ceiling. Lower the weight. Repeat on opposite side.
Tip: Keep body as still as possible and isolate the arm movement for maximum results.
Move 5: Kettlebell Swing
Body parts worked: Glutes, hamstrings, lats, abs
Standing with feet hip-width apart and gripping kettlebell handle with both hands, hike the bell back between legs, knees bent. Drive feet into ground while using the momentum of your hip thrust to bring bell in front of you. Raise bell to eye level. Let the bell hang there for a count of three. Hinge hips back and repeat.
Tip: Control the descent of the kettlebell by keeping your abs engaged. As the bell lowers, move immediately and fluidly into the next rep.
For anyone who has suffered a panic attack, you know that while the episode may only last a few moments, it can feel like an eternity.
No matter what triggered you, whether it was bumping into an ex at a party or feeling overwhelmed in a crowd at a concert, the overwhelming feeling of shortness of breath, the tightness in your chest and the overall sense of doom can be terrifying.
“A panic attack is the stress response going into overdrive due to a perceived threat, and that can take all kinds of forms,” explains psychotherapist and meditation instructor Ralph De La Rosa.
Once you know what your triggers are and can sense a panic attack coming on, there are steps you can take to stop one in its tracks. Symptoms of a panic attack may also include hallucinations, claustrophobia and a sense of surreality.
By catching a panic attack in its early phase, De La Rosa says, “we have the agency to impact our emotional state.”
“The first order of business is awareness,” he says. By acknowledging what (or who) has the potential to set off a panic attack, you can work from there to derail it.
Breathing Exercises for Anxiety
Once you feel the onslaught of distressing thoughts and emotions, it’s time to practice your breath work, De La Rosa explains. “The simplest breath work is big, deep belly breaths in which you inhale low beneath the belly, to the navel, and slowly exhale through the mouth.”
Mindfulness breathing can also be an incredibly helpful tool for those who suffer from panic attacks. This form of breathing entails “little by little, letting go of all effort with the breath and elongating the space between breaths,” De La Rosa explains.
In fact, the spaces between the breaths become more important than the actual breaths, De La Rosas says. “Let the exhale go out with no pushing…the belly relaxes and goes out and softens. Let the inhale tell you when it wants to come, the next exhale will happen naturally, and it shepherds the inhale and exhale.”
This type of breathing, he says, “slows the heart rate, regulates the nervous system and halts anxious thoughts. “
Reframing Your Thoughts
But breathing isn’t the only aspect of stopping panic attack: there’s also your perception of the moment itself. “How you talk to yourself and frame or perceive the situation is huge,” De La Rosa says. “We can re-frame a situation however we want.”
In the case of a panic attack, De La Rosa suggests using it as a moment of growth and learning. When you feel a panic attack beginning, frame it as an opportunity to practice how you use your skills in combating your disorder. “Re-frame the cognition around the attack from stressful, irritating and fearful to one of interest, curiosity and meaning,” he says.
When you find meaning or purpose in something like a panic attack, you take away its power over you.
Getting Through a Panic Attack
But let’s say even with this knowledge, a panic attack still gets the better of you? Well, remember, that’s OK, and you can work through that episode by allowing it to happen and by being kind to yourself in the process.
“When we fight our negative emotions, especially something like a panic attack, it can add a second layer of stress,” De La Rosa says. “Relate to the emotion, hold the emotion and look at it with some level of empathy, gentleness and kindness. The emotions pass along much quicker when we add that ingredient to the mix.”
Even though you shouldn’t try to avoid a panic attack while it’s occurring, you can excuse yourself to the restroom to regain your composure and have some privacy, De La Rosa recommends.
Most importantly, whether you’re working toward stopping a panic attack before it starts or you’re enduring one, De La Rosa says the key is to “look at the panic and feel compassion for yourself and your situation.”
If you’re looking to pre-treat stains, soften clothes or banish odors from dirty clothes but want to avoid harsh chemicals, then vinegar may be your new best friend.
Using Vinegar for Laundry
Vinegar serves as an alternative to harsh laundry chemicals like bleach. But why? White vinegar is comprised of about 5 percent acetic acid and 95 percent water. “The acid in vinegar is too mild to harm fabrics, but strong enough to dissolve the alkalis in soaps and detergents,” according to the Vinegar Institute. (Yep, it’s a real nonprofit serving the vinegar industry!)
While you can use other vinegars like apple cider, distilled white vinegar is an inexpensive and effective choice. You can pick up a large jug for around $2 at most grocery stores and use it to brighten, soften and de-stink load after load of laundry.
Vinegar can be used in lieu of bleach, stain treatments and fabric softener; you’ll still want to use laundry soap in your machine. So, let’s look at some specific ways to try vinegar in your laundry room.
You can incorporate white vinegar into your regular laundry routine. “Clothes will rinse better if 1 cup of white distilled vinegar is added to the last rinse water,” the Vinegar Institute recommends.
Another option, if your machine has an automatic dispenser for soap, softener or bleach, is to simply add the vinegar to the dispenser. That way, it will automatically dispense at the right time.
As an added bonus, vinegar is a natural disinfectant that is effective against certain types of bacteria (1). Commercially available white vinegar that contains 5 percent acetic acid kills about 80 percent of germs, studies show (2).
If you find yourself constantly reaching for the stain remover, consider making your own DIY natural spot treatment. Simply mix equal parts vinegar and water, and add a few drops of an essential oil like lavender if desired. Keep on hand to pre-treat any stains.
For large stains, you may want to soak your clothing in about 2 ounces of white vinegar and enough water to cover the stain (3). Leave overnight. Wash with eco-friendly laundry soap.
For stubborn stains like sweat and coffee, you can add a bit of salt to your vinegar soak. Coarse salt is ideal but table salt works just as well. Gently blot the stain. Allow to dry in the sun, and then wash as usual.
Vinegar can even be used to remove rust stains from delicate fabrics like vintage lace (4). Soak the lace in cold water, rinsing several times. Next, gently hand-wash the lace with a wool detergent. Then, tackle rust spots using a mixture of white vinegar and hot water.
As with any cleansing agent, if you’re unsure about using vinegar on certain fabrics, test a drop on a tiny, inconspicuous spot first.
Clean Your Washing Machine
Front-load washers in particular can develop a musty odor over time. You have two vinegar-fix options here: Add two cups of vinegar and run a full hot-water cycle to de-gunk your washer. Or, simply add ¼ cup distilled white vinegar to every load for gunk prevention–and reap the benefits of softer, brighter laundry at the same time.
Ready to swap harsh chemicals for vinegar? One final word of caution: Be sure to read the user’s manual for your washing machine to make sure you’re following the manufacturer’s instructions for running your loads.
Need a minimal, quick, out-the-door makeup look? I’ve got just the routine for you.
All of these products are either from a cruelty-free makeup brand or 100 percent vegan. This routine is really simple and easy to do and will have you looking great in no time. I love doing a routine like this for work or weekend errands to get that “no-makeup makeup look.” Let’s dive in!
Step 1: Primer
I always start any makeup look by priming my face. For this look, we’re using Emani Perfect 10 Primer Serum. This 100 percent vegan, cruelty-free primer will prepare your skin for makeup, absorb excess oils in your T-zone, and help minimize pores, all while moisturizing your face!
I love this primer because it creates a great base for makeup and helps it last all day. Like, I’m talking I fell asleep with my makeup on and it hadn’t moved when I woke up the next morning! (I also do NOT recommend doing this! Whoops.) To apply, massage one to two pumps on your face with your hands.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret here about these sponges: wet them! It makes for the easiest application ever, because it helps spread the product evenly on your face, quickly. It also absorbs a smaller amount of product, which is great for your wallet!
You can also apply a bit of concealer between your eyebrows, on your chin and on the bridge of your nose to brighten up your face a bit.
Step 3: Blush
After that, you’re going to apply some Zao makeup blush. This blush is wonderful! I love that you are very in control with it, meaning it’s very buildable. You can go really subtle for work or build it up for a night out.
Every cosmetology book under the sun will tell you to smile to find the “apple of your cheeks,” and this is where you apply blush. Not me! I like to start there and drag my Zao blush brush up and back for a more natural, diffused look. Brush in circular motions also so you don’t get a line of color across your cheek.
Step 4: Mascara
Next, go in with some mascara to give your eyes a more “woken up, alert” look. theBalm’s Mad Lash is a great cruelty-free mascara (and look how cute the packaging is!).
The curved wand will give your lashes volume and the mascara won’t flake all over your face or give you those ugly marks around the eyes. Wiggle the applicator back and forth on your lashes to help separate and lengthen them.
Step 5: Lip Gloss
To finish off this look, let’s apply a lip gloss. Zao beige lipgloss is light and shiny and can go with any look.
This gloss is great because it’s not sticky or tacky like most lip gloss products, making it really comfortable on the lips. Another reason I love it is, it can be paired overtop of a lipstick to give a shiny, wet, glossy look to any lipstick color.
That completes our minimalist makeup routine. I hope you found it helpful and stress-free! I’m slowly trying to incorporate more natural and chemical-free products into my makeup bag, so leave me your recommendations below!
Anyone who is 100 percent done with the cold grip of winter will be happy to know that summer is just around the corner. Whether you are looking forward to longer days, afternoons spent unwinding on a sandy shore, or a chance to go on vacation with the people you love, summer has a way of infusing life with a bit of joy and excitement. Unfortunately, it also brings about some serious health concerns, such as skin cancer.
Statistics about skin cancer have not changed much in recent years (1). According to one estimate, more than 5.4 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are treated in more than 3.3. million people in the United States each year (2).
While finding the appropriate sunscreen should be at the top of your priority list, there are a few other ways to boost your skin’s natural sun protection. Eating specific foods, for example, can be a simple and effective way to increase your skin’s defenses.
Citrus fruits are packed with an assortment of vitamins and nutrients your body can benefit from. You might already know that fruits in this category contain ample amounts of vitamin C, but you might not be aware that citrus also generally contains potassium, vitamin E, copper, vitamin B6 and more.
By giving your body a nice dose of citrus each day, experts say you are significantly less likely to experience sunburn. Since these irritations to the skin increase your risk of skin cancer, citrus can be another line of defense for your body.
One study found that participants who consumed more citrus and citrus peel were far less likely to develop cancerous cells in their bodies (3). Though eating more citrus is not a cure by any means, it’s a preventative step that can help provide an extra layer of sun protection.
Tomatoes are a fruit closely associated with summer. Whether you grow them in your garden, buy them from a farmer’s market or order them online, you most likely incorporate tomatoes into many of your meals during the warmer months. A tomato is not only good for a salad. In fact, a number of studies suggest eating tomatoes regularly might help to significantly reduce the odds of developing certain types of cancer.
The science behind this study is quite interesting. Tomatoes, like almost all red fruits, are said to contain high levels of the carotene known as lycopene (4). Consuming tomatoes and other fruits rich with lycopene on a daily basis might actually help cut your skin cancer risk in half.
This is an easy addition to your routine. All you need to do is cut a tomato into slices for a snack, sprinkle on some salt and cracked pepper, and enjoy the delicious taste and the cancer-fighting properties. Don’t like tomatoes? Red cabbage, grapefruit and peppers are also excellent sources of lycopene.
Protecting your skin by eating ample fruits and veggies can be a great move to make. Of course, you might also want to add some meat into your diet. If you are a fan of fish, you’ll be happy to learn that wild salmon contains some incredibly useful nutrients when it comes to sun protection. Salmon, like most fish, are filled with omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3s found in most wild salmon are said to actively work toward preventing skin cancer.
The fatty acids of the salmon not only help to increase the skin’s natural protection against harmful UV rays. Studies have shown eating fish rich with omega-3s can also help to prevent collagen in the skin from being damaged, diminished or destroyed by prolonged exposure to the sun (5).
While you don’t need to eat salmon as regularly as tomatoes or citrus, you can benefit from including fish in your weekly meal plan. When used in conjunction with sunscreen, eating a balanced diet can help keep your skin well-protected this summer.
In our increasingly busy and stressful lives, it’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the things we don’t have, as opposed to what we do. Not getting enough likes on an Instagram post (especially when that granola breakfast you prepared looked so yummy!) or getting overlooked for a raise at work can send even the most level-headed among us into a spiral.
But, by giving yourself just a few minutes every day to meditate with a focus on contentment, you’ll not only be able to find peace within yourself, but also change how you see the world around you.
Whether you’re a newcomer to the world of meditation or it’s already part of your everyday routine, Sylvia Maldonado, founder of the meditation and wellness service Breathe Bar in Chicago, says you can start small and work your way up to what you want to achieve.
Choose the Right Meditation Style for You
Maldonado, who started her daily meditation routine at just three minutes a day, suggests that you first find what practice works best for you and your learning style.
For some, meditation apps on phones work best, while others learn from teachers in a class. “Once you have your goal and motivation and baseline, then you can have your own practice at home,” she Maldonado says.
Once you find what style of meditation suits you and your lifestyle, you should expose yourself to different kinds of meditation as well, including mantra, mindfulness, breath work, and gratitude, among others.
Create a Meditation Space
Maldonado recommends creating a designated space in your home for meditation practice that makes you feel the most relaxed. After all, meditation should be something you look forward to. Light candles or put on essential oils, if that is something that brings you serenity.
“You simply want to position yourself for success,” she says. “Your spot doesn’t have to be on a cushion on the floor, especially if you have back or knee issues.”
If you choose to meditate in a chair, for instance, Maldonado says to plant your feet on the ground, keep your palms by your side (either facing up or down), and keep your back straight.
Practice Meditation for Contentment
Depending on the time you want to set for yourself (once you get into a routine, anything from five to 15 minutes is a reasonable goal), you are now ready to achieve contentment in your everyday life.
It’s a goal that Maldonado believes is an important one to aspire to. “Contentment is a really powerful word,” she says. “Contentment is different than happiness; it’s a way of being and an attitude that radiates its own positivity.”
Oftentimes, Maldonado points out, we get stuck in the what-ifs and possible future scenarios, rather than being in the here and now. “We’re swirling with these thoughts and that can be really stressful and drain energy and headspace.”
Meditating on contentment can “liberate you from all that made-up stuff,” she says. “It’s discernment between preparing for various scenarios and letting it take over.”
Contentment meditation can be something as simple as being grateful for your morning cup of coffee or appreciating all the loved ones in your life. “There’s no judgment for what you’re grateful for in that moment or that day,” Maldonado says.
The 5-3-1 Meditation Technique
One particular exercise Maldonado likes for contentment meditation is the 5-3-1 technique, in which you meditate for five minutes, write down three things you’re grateful for, and do one good deed every day (1).
Whether you do some variation of the 5-3-1 technique or your own brand of meditation, Maldonado recommends incorporating writing exercises, as it “reinforces the practice and the result can be a lot more powerful.”
Your alarm has gone off and after a few bleary-eyed moments of coming to, you start to realize everything you have ahead of you that day. You have a big meeting at work that you have to present for, but what if the subway is delayed again and you arrive frazzled and late? Your kids have a test today and even though you helped them study all night, what if still they get a dreaded C?
Phew, OK. Deep breaths. Time to incorporate some mindfulness.
Live in the Present Moment
Rather than worry about the what-ifs of the day, allow yourself to use the first 10 minutes of your morning to live in the present moment.
“A lot of people are in a heightened state of anxiety first thing in the morning,” says Keeley Teemsma-English, a Brooklyn-based therapist and licensed clinical social worker. “You wake up and all the stress of work, life, relationships, etc., can hit you all at once.”
This is where mindfulness can come in to save the day, so to speak.
“Mindfulness is about being in the moment,” Teemsma-English says. “You’re not worrying about the future, you’re not worrying about things that have already happened, you’re in that moment in time and you’re aware of what’s going on around you.”
By being aware of not only how you feel emotionally and physically in that place in time, you also get a stronger sense of what’s going on around you and focusing on that.
Five Senses Mindfulness Exercise
For your mindfulness morning exercises, Teemsma-English suggests incorporating all five of your senses. For instance, listen for sounds (the singing of a bird outside your window), look for sights (the way the morning sun hits your window), smell scents (the brewing of your morning coffee), experience tastes (enjoy the various texture and yumminess of your peanut butter and banana on toast), and reach out and touch something (give your dog her morning pet).
You can do this five times for each sense, she says, focusing solely on them as part of your mindfulness practice.
She says that a lot of her patients enjoy using their meditation apps first thing in the morning, as the guided exercises are usually short and sweet (roughly three minutes) and it can re-wire you to open those instead, rather than a stress-inducing email or social media check-in.
Another possible mindfulness step to take in the morning, she says, is to quite literally take some steps. Before you start your morning routine or head out the door for food, take a 10-minute mindfulness walk to clear your head, all while incorporating your five senses.
But even if you aren’t someone who gets stressed out first thing in the morning, Teemsma-English says incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine “starts you off on the right foot.” “You proactively de-stress and you don’t worry yourself about things that are on your plate for that day,” she says. Instead, “you learn to assign importance to the things that really matter. You learn not to add value to the things that don’t deserve our time or energy.”
Filed Under: Recipes at 1:42 pm | By: Madeline Reiss
Get all the crispy deliciousness of sweet potato fries without the deep frier! This recipe will get you thick, lightly crisped, oven-baked sweet potato wedges that make the perfect snack or side dish.
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled (or unpeeled, if you like skin) and cut into wedges
2 1/2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees (F). Line a large baking sheet with tinfoil (shiny side up); place baking rack onto a prepared baking sheet and set aside.
Peel the sweet potatoes (if preferred) and cut off the pointy ends. Slice the sweet potatoes in half (lengthwise), then cut each piece into wedges.
Place the sweet potato wedges in a large bowl, then add the avocado oil, salt, sugar, seasoning, and black pepper. Mix well, making sure each wedge is coated with oil and spices.
Arrange the sweet potato wedges in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, then turn on the broiler and bake for another 3-5 minutes, or until they’re well browned and crispy. Keep an eye here – it’s easy to burn when the broiler is on!
Cool wedges on a pan for 5 minutes, then serve at once!
Peanut butter sometimes gets a bad rap from consumers who think it will pack on fat and calories. But the truth is that natural peanut butter—made without hydrogenated oils and added sugars—is a beneficial addition to any diet.
What to Look for in Peanut Butter
“Keep in mind that not all peanut butter products are created equal, so make sure to look for natural peanut butter that is lower in sodium and sugar than its traditional counterpart,” recommends Jeremy Wolf, a naturopathic doctor and lead health advisor at LuckyVitamin. Most natural brands will have 1-2 grams of sugar and anywhere from 40-65 milligrams of sodium.
Let’s look at a few reasons why you should add more peanut butter to your diet.
It’s Super Nutritious
First things first, peanut butter really does pack a punch when it comes to beneficial vitamins and nutrients. “It’s high in magnesium, which builds bone density; potassium, which amps up muscle mass; and vitamin B6, which boosts immune health,” Dr. Wolf says. “And everyone knows that peanut butter is a great source of protein, averaging about 8 grams per serving.”
While you might think the recommended serving size for peanut butter—2 tablespoons—is relatively small, don’t be fooled. “The combination of fiber and the previously mentioned protein helps you feel full longer,” Dr. Wolf says. “So if you’re feeling hungry, eating a spoonful of peanut butter might actually keep you satisfied until your next mealtime.”
It Fights Off Disease
Although peanut butter is high in fat and calorie content, research shows that the popular spread can actually help prevent heart disease and diabetes. “This is because peanut butter is full of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats—also known as good fats,” Dr. Wolf says. “Like olive oil, eating peanut butter in moderation may actually lead to a healthier lifestyle.”
How to Add More Peanut Butter to Your Diet
If you’re looking to add more peanut butter to your diet, here are a few tips:
Spread it on fruit and vegetables. There are tons of fruits and vegetables that go great with a spoonful of peanut butter, so try adding a bit to apple slices, your daily banana, or some celery sticks.
Mix it into a marinade. Although it might not seem like an obvious choice, a peanut-butter-heavy marinade can be the perfect complement to meats such as chicken or steak. This will lock that nutty flavor into more savory dishes and bump up the PB intake.
Make it a breakfast addition. Who says peanut butter is only for PB&J sandwiches at lunchtime? You can jumpstart your day by adding a bit of peanut butter to your oatmeal or your morning smoothie for a nutrient boost.
Homes are run out of the kitchen. Unfortunately, because they’re high-use, high-traffic zones, kitchens accumulate clutter fast. A messy kitchen sucks the fun out of cooking and makes entertaining guests stressful.
“Kitchen clutter can be broken down into two broad categories: countertop clutter and cabinet (or hidden) clutter,” explains Brianna Berner, a professional organizer and productivity coach at SpikedParenting.
But where to start? Here are seven things to get rid of now to make a big impact on your kitchen organization. Trust us: Once your kitchen cabinets are decluttered and you can find the tools you need, you’ll be more motivated to cook that healthy dinner you planned!
Food Storage Containers
“You don’t need an entire shelf full of Tupperware,” Berner says. “You just need enough to get you through the week.” Recycle the rest.
Duplicate Kitchen Tools
Tally up your pizza cutters, garlic presses, lemon juicers, paring knives and all the other little gadgets that stuff your drawers and cabinets. Eliminate duplicates to free up a ton of space and make an awesome donation to your local thrift store charity.
Extra Place Settings
Unless you frequently entertain large parties, it’s likely you have more place settings and more cutlery than your family can conceivably use. Keep a full set to serve your family, plus a few extra for when you do have friends over. Get rid of the rest.
All those utensil packets and tiny condiments? It’s time for them to go! Bonus: This is a quick win, taking only a few minutes to recycle old menus and toss the soy and ketchup packets.
Piles of Mail
Or, really, anything that doesn’t belong in the kitchen. “For the dump zones, first figure out what the clutter is and then find a solution,” Berner says. “If it’s a bunch of junk mail, try to unsubscribe from what you can. If it’s loose change, put a canister there to catch it all. If it’s a bunch of receipts, redirect it to your shredder. Then, take a look at what’s typically being left out on the counter and why. Is it difficult to put this stuff away because your cabinets are a mess? Or is your family just being lazy?”
Expired Foods and Spices
Dig all the way to the back of your cabinets and get rid of anything expired. This includes spices and condiments lining your fridge door, too.
Fancy Kitchen Gadgets
Sure, you were going to spiralize all your veggies in that giant electric spiralizer, serve fresh waffles hot off the iron every weekend and whip up homemade quesadillas on that press, but… have you? Wishful purchases, especially large, single-use items, take up a ton of cabinet space. “And you don’t need every single gadget that you see advertised,” Berner says. “But I get it, there’s a lot of really fun stuff out there. So if you do find yourself wanting to get something that you really don’t need, then make yourself get rid of something else first to make room for it!”
Don’t feel guilty getting rid of any of these items! Instead, focus on how much space this exercise will open up for more family time and easier meals. To get your crew on board, get them involved! “If your family isn’t pitching in to help out, try to make it as easy as possible for them. Make it known where things go,” Berner says. “Create zones inside your kitchen for different activities. And make it clear that you expect them to put things away when they’re done. When all else fails, I’m not above a little bribery. Chocolate usually does the trick.”
Simply put, essential oils are extracts from plants. They can come from the plants’ petals, stems, barks, seeds, trunks and roots. They contain specific chemical components that work together to create therapeutic benefits.
You’re probably most familiar with using essential oils for aromatherapy purposes—spa treatments, relaxing massages, helping to clear your congestion when you have a cold—but they have many other uses you probably never even thought of. Not only are essential oils anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic, they also have antibacterial, antifungal and sedative properties.
“I know people that now find they don’t mind washing the dishes and doing some household cleaning because the oils they’re using not only smell delicious, but also have mood-boosting properties,” says Jessica Klingbaum, certified aromatherapy specialist.
Here are six surprising essential oil uses at home.
Use essential oils from orange, lemon or grapefruit for cleaning everything from glass to counters in your home. Mix with distilled water and/or vinegar to make an all-purpose cleaning spray.
“I love that it’ll leave the kitchen smelling great and there’s nothing toxic in what I’m using,” says Klingbaum, founder of BeHipandHealthy.com. Essential oils can also fight germs and help keep our immune systems strong.
You can make your home smell nice with essential oils—that’s a given. But did you know you can use it to specifically deodorize the inside of your stale-smelling refrigerator, your stinky trash bins, the bathroom, and even the inside of your shoes?
“Instead of getting some kind of plug-in air freshener for the bathroom, try putting a drop or two of lemon essential oil on the inside of the cardboard roll of toilet paper,” Klingbaum suggests.
Use essential oils derived from cinnamon, cardamom and clove for the kitchen, and jasmine, sandalwood and rose for bathrooms.
Geranium, basil and lavender oil work best to deodorize smelly shoes and shoe closets.
Over time, your floors can start to smell stale. Freshen up your carpet or rug with essential oils made from mandarin or lemon. You can add two drops onto a cotton ball and put it right into your vacuum cleaner bag or put a couple drops on a small piece of newspaper and vacuum it up. Breathe a sigh of relief as your vacuum releases a fresh scent into the air while you clean.
You can also mix 10 drops of an essential oil into 200 grams of baking soda. Store it in an airtight container for a couple of days. When ready, sprinkle it directly onto your carpet before vacuuming.
Essential oils can also be your solution for sticker residue or even stubborn price tags on household items that you want to remove. Just a drop or two of lemon essential oil on the sticky spot you’re cleaning up will do the trick, says Klingbaum.
Bugs like mosquitoes, ants and beetles are not fans of peppermint, lavender, citronella, lemongrass and rosemary. Use three to four drops per cotton ball and leave them near or around windows and doors to keep little critters at bay.
You can also create a spray using 10 drops of the same essential oils diluted in 8 ounces of water or rubbing alcohol. Shake and use on your skin or clothes to repel insects.
Dust Mite Remedy
Just add a few drops of eucalyptus oil into the water while washing your bedding to rid sheets and pillowcases of mites. You can also mix the essential oil with water in a spray bottle to use on upholstered furniture for the same purpose.
When you’re looking for a bit of refreshment on a hot day, you might not immediately think about tossing back a cup of vinegar. Yeah, it sounds a bit weird at first. Still, drinking vinegars seem to be the newest obsession among people who want to revitalize their bodies.
While drinking this pungent liquid is not an appealing prospect to many, the people behind the brands of drinking vinegars currently lining the shelves have taken some great considerations to make the beverage more palatable.
If you still find yourself shaking your head, you are not alone. Many publications have been discussing how odd this beverage trend seems at first glance and pointing out that many celebrities are getting into the fad (1). Though drinking the tangy beverage might seem unusual, people also turned their noses up at kombucha when it first hit the market. Nowadays, kombucha is a very popular fermented drink for health enthusiasts (2), and it seems like drinking vinegars might be following the same path.
If you want to determine whether drinking vinegar should be a part of your daily routine, here’s everything you need to know.
We know vinegar is mainly comprised of acetic acid and water, but what else is inside the bottle? Vinegar also contains chemicals called polyphenols. These chemical compounds are naturally found in plants and help them to fight off predators, enhance pigmentation, and strengthens flora against potential infections (3). Beyond these functions, polyphenols have also been shown to be incredibly resistant to rot, whether found in a natural form or within a processed item like vinegar.
Research on polyphenols over the years has revealed some impressive benefits. While there are a number of different types of polyphenols found in the various plants of the world, the types found in vinegar are excellent when it comes to protecting and preserving the functions of the gut. Specifically, drinking vinegars help to strengthen the gut microbiota found along the lining of your stomach and intestinal tract. By using vinegar to keep this bacteria present and active, you are likely to experience improved digestive functions (4).
Gut microbiota aside, you might be wondering why people are drinking vinegar when there are so many other sources of this chemical chain readily available in nature. Polyphenols are just one of several antioxidizing components of vinegar. That’s right, vinegar is packed with antioxidants (5). While you’ve been hunting down blueberries and acai extract, there has been a great antioxidant source right in your pantry!
Now, to clarify, you probably should not just grab any bottle of clear vinegar from your kitchen, toss in a straw, and see what happens. In fact, you have to go for the right kinds of vinegar to see the benefits. Of the household varieties of vinegar out there, apple cider vinegar is your best choice. You probably have heard that gargling with apple cider vinegar is good for your throat and the same is true of drinking a small amount and feeling a difference in your gut.
If you want to test out the drinking vinegar craze, you’re not limited to sipping on the same apple cider vinegar you use to cook with. There are a variety of exciting brands currently on the market made with fruits, herbs and spices. Instead of plugging your nose and hoping for the best, you can explore a wide range of flavors and ingredients, including honey, ginger, turmeric, pineapple and pomegranate.
Whether you jump on the bandwagon or not, there is a lot of science behind the act of drinking vinegar for health. Look more into polyphenols and see what foods and beverages you can find these chemical chains in. If vinegar isn’t for you, then there’s bound to be another option to provide your body with some helpful antioxidants.
Fresh juice recipes are delicious and may contain healthy flavoring ingredients. That’s the case of a popular veggie/fruit healthy combo: tomato carrot juice.
Tomato juice provides a ton of phytonutrients, as this “fruit” contains high amounts of beta-carotene, lycopene, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K and potassium. Known to boost the immune system, tomato juice can also help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Carrot juice is well-known as a vitamin A booster, which is essential for healthy eyes. Red-orange colored foods, such as carrots and tomatoes, contain beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A when consumed by the body. Vitamin A deficiency may result in vision loss or night blindness. Plus, carrots are a great source of antioxidants.
Additionally, tomato carrot juice can help with weight loss. When you drink a cup of this healthy juice, you enjoy a drink low in calories and low in fat, while high in vitamins and minerals. One single serving may contain up to 250 percent of daily requirements of vitamin A. Best of all, it is super easy to make.
Healthy hair can totally transform how you feel each day. When your locks look the way you want in the morning, you’ll feel more confident to face whatever challenges await. The winter tends to dry out hair follicles, making it more difficult to give your hair the style you desire. To counteract the damage the season has done, try using a homemade coconut milk shampoo! The recipe is simple and the results will leave you with hair that feels nourished and alive.
The above are the only ingredients you actually require to make the shampoo. The next ingredients are to add some extra benefits to the experience. Feel free to explore other combinations than what is listed here, as you can get quite creative and discover some lovely results. Essential oils might add an extra scent component you find appealing.
Place 1 tsp of coconut oil in a microwave-safe dish and heat for 30 seconds. If you do not have a microwave, just heat the oil over the stove for a few minutes until it liquefies. Do not let it get too hot.
While the oil is heating, add the coconut milk and castile soap to the bottle and shake it up to mix the ingredients.
Add the liquid coconut oil and vitamin E to the mixture and shake vigorously.
Shower and see the results for yourself!
For the best results, use roughly one or two tablespoons in your hair each time you wash it. Shampoo will last roughly two months before it should be replaced.
No matter how dedicated you are to your personal fitness goals, there will be times when you can’t even. Working out is an admirable goal, but you never know when the pressures and responsibilities from your daily routine might get in the way of you hitting the gym. Drumming up the motivation to engage in some intense physical activity might not be possible some days. Luckily, there are plenty of tips you can explore to trick yourself into working out, even when you absolutely cannot deal.
1. Find a Workout Buddy
Motivation is tricky. You probably have some fitness goals you are working toward at the gym. Whether you’re looking to slim down, bulk up, or get your body a bit more toned for warmer weather, it won’t always be enough to motivate you to act. Psychologically speaking, this comes down to accountability. When the only person you are letting down by skipping the gym is yourself, it is easier to feel fine with the decision. To get out of this habit, you might want to include another person in your plans.
Exercising with a friend can be useful for a number of reasons. First and foremost, you are far more likely to make it to the gym when you have another person who expects you to be there. Holding yourself to higher standards can be a difficult process, but working with a friend who has similar fitness goals can help both of you become better at commitment. Some studies suggest taking a class with a consistent group increases the odds of a person consistently going to the gym each week (1).
2. Adjust Your Attitude
Complaining is an ugly color on anyone. Sure, everyone needs to vent and let out some steam now and again. If people didn’t get frustrations out when they began to bottle up, the world would be a much more tense place to live. Of course, listening to someone complain can be a huge turnoff. Attitude is everything when it comes to your mental health (2). When you harbor resentment toward the fact that you need to hit the gym, you are going to treat the activity as a chore.
On top of this resentment, you’re more likely to complain to those around you about how much you do not want to go to the gym. This negative attitude is going to work against you, making it more likely that you’re going to skip out. People who hear you complain will most likely tell you to skip out because they’re simply tired of hearing you go on and on. Though it might be difficult, changing your attitude about going to the gym can do wonders for motivating you to actually go.
3. Reward Yourself
No matter how mature people get, at their core, they always remain children. This can work to your advantage when it comes to finding motivation to exercise. The classic system of rewarding good behavior can do wonders when it comes to tricking your mind. If you like to shop, head to your favorite store and browse for workout outfits. Pick something you absolutely love and buy it with the specific intention of going to the gym that night. You’ll most likely be so excited to put the outfit to use that you’ll actually be excited to work out.
Rewarding yourself can take many forms (3). If you aren’t the type of person who gets excited by gym clothes, then switch the reward out for something you have had your eye on. It doesn’t have to be exercise related for it to motivate you. When a splurge purchase has been in the back of your mind, it can work wonders to get you to do something you are resistant toward. As long as you find a tactic that makes sense for your personality, you will be ready to work up all the motivation you need to keep yourself fit.