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10
OCT

5 Best Mindful Activities When Meditation Isn’t Cutting It

Filed Under: Exercise and Fitness,Mental Wellbeing,Mindfulness at 12:27 pm | By: Guest Blogger
Mid adult woman riding bike

Article Written by Jessica Thiefels

“Mindfulness” is a buzzword we can’t seem to ignore any longer because it’s more than just a passing trend. In fact, this concept is rooted in ancient Eastern customs and culture and, when practiced regularly, can have a wide variety of holistic benefits that strengthen the mind, body and spirit.

Greater Good Magazine defines this term as “moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and the surrounding environment.” This mental exercise grounds us in the present, enables us to observe our inner selves without judgment, and keeps our focus off the “white noise” of this distracted, hyper-frenetic world.

I know what you’re thinking: “But I can’t just sit still for 20 minutes; I’ve tried meditation, I just can’t do it.” The good news is you don’t have to sit still to reap the benefits of mindfulness. If you want to experience more balance and peace in your own life, these sports are ideal for practicing mindfulness and getting a workout at the same time.

Cycling

Cycling engages the mind-body connection in several capacities, from the physical act of steering and pedaling to the mental drill of pushing through challenges, finding your pace and anticipating the route ahead.

“Every aspect of cycling can become a meditation,” suggests Nick Moore, author of Mindful Thoughts for Cyclists. He explains that preparing for a ride “has its own rituals that switch us unconsciously from civilian to cyclist—a mental shift of gears in which we transition from one energy state to another, from the potential to the kinetic.” And after, “giving the bike a rub-down, re-lube and once-over is a chance to decompress and gather our thoughts.”

Take your cycling outside for even greater mental health benefits. If you can only cycle in a gym or your home, stay in tune with your body and your breathing to maintain mindfulness.

Tennis

The elements of competition and self-awareness that are prevalent in tennis work to keep your attention engaged in the action and energy of the court rather than your mind. According to a discipline known as Mindfulness-Based Tennis Psychology, this practice “enhances overall performance by increasing an athlete’s ability to function ‘in the zone,’ by sharpening concentration” to hone both “accuracy and precision.”

The Huffington Post also reports that tennis champion Novak Djokovic uses mindfulness in this tennis to release self-doubt, anger and worry, a skill he deems “just as important as physical training.”

You can play tennis alone against a wall, or with a partner; in either case, you may not have to try very hard to maintain mindfulness in this game. The game will keep you naturally focused on breath and movement.

Running

Running has a way of giving you clarity and focus as you move to the rhythm of your footfalls and feel the deepness of your breath. That may be why 22 percent of runners said they started running as a natural form of stress-relief, according to a 2017 runners poll by Fit2Run.

This type of movement leaves room for “reflection and exploration,” suggests Runner’s World, making it the perfect way to practice active mindfulness. Tune into the repetitive motion that engages both the upper- and lower-body and listen to your feet as they strike the ground. Take note of how that feels, as your foot flows from heel to toe and back into the air again.

Archery

This less popular sport is rooted in the “kyudo” tradition of samurai warriors and has been described as a “moving meditation” to synchronize and bring about a sense of equilibrium to a person’s inner world. “Kyudo [which means ‘way of the bow’] is infused with philosophical influences…making it a ritualistic practice,” explains Archery360.

This unique form of archery eliminates all outside diversions to “symbolize leaving your worries at the door.” Instead, you enter the practice range, uninhibited from stressors with a clarity of “pure heart and mind.” The precision needed to align your stance, engage your isometric muscles, then fixate on the target is both an intuitive and immersive experience.

To enjoy this active meditation, look for a local archery school or class, which you may be able to find at a local college or recreation center.

Weightlifting

The breathing sequence of “inhale, exhale, lift, hold, pause and repeat” is a powerful way to activate active meditation during your workout. Tuning into yourself in the weight room, finding stillness in the sound of barbells making contact with a metal rack or the feel of your biceps protruding under a heavy mass, boosts strength, both mental and physical.

Ayurveda expert Larissa Carlson suggests that by noticing the “sensation of muscles contracting and releasing, the roughness of your skin against the weight or the sweat trickling down your back,” it’s possible to achieve a posture she calls “meditation in motion.”

Start Moving Mindfully

Find time for these activities in your regular fitness routine—but don’t expect mindfulness to come naturally. Tune into your breath, make note of how your muscles are feeling, and connect breath with movement as much as possible. Soon, this mindful active state will come naturally, and you’ll leave very workout feeling that familiar post-yoga bliss that comes with focusing on breath and our bodies.

Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than ten years and is currently a full-time writer, ACE Certified Personal Trainer and NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition specialist. She’s also the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Honest Body Fitness, an online health magazine for women who are fed up with being told how to look and how to get there, yet still don’t feel like enough. She’s written for Shape, Reader’s Digest, AARP, Snap Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness and more. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for health articles, workouts tips and more.



7
OCT

Low-sugar Vegan Salted Caramel Brownies

Filed Under: Recipes at 4:40 pm | By: Madeline Reiss
Sea Salt Caramel Brownies

Want to indulge in chocolatey goodness without the guilt? These vegan, salted caramel brownies are rich, fudgy, perfectly sweet, low-sugar and require less than 10 ingredients in total. Great for parties or packing in your lunch for a mid-day treat!

Ingredients

1½ cups tahini
2 tbsp ground flax + 6 tbsp water (for flax eggs)
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup applesauce
1 tbsp vanilla
½ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ cup dark chocolate chips
½ cup walnuts
½ – ¾ cup vegan salted caramel (recipe makes ~ 1 cup)

For the Caramel Sauce

¼ cup lite coconut milk
⅓ cup maple syrup
½ – ¾ cup tahini
½ tsp molasses, more or less to taste/preference
¼ tsp sea salt, more or less to taste

Instructions

For Caramel Sauce

  1. Add coconut milk, maple syrup and ½ cup tahini to a small saucepan and warm over medium heat, whisking occasionally until well incorporated, about 3 minutes
  2. At this point the caramel sauce will still be fairly liquid and milky. If you’re okay with this texture, you can proceed. If not, whisk in up to ¼ cup more tahini until desired consistency is reached
  3. Taste and adjust sweetener as necessary then stir in molasses until well combined
  4. Remove from heat, stir in salt and vanilla extract if using and adjust salt to taste
  5. Pour into a mason jar and allow to cool to room temperature before covering and storing in the fridge

For Brownies

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease a 9×9 brownie pan or line with parchment paper and set aside
  2. Combine ground flax and water in a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and set aside for 5 minutes until an egg-like gel forms.
  3. Add the tahini, maple syrup, applesauce and vanilla and whisk until well combined
  4. Add the cocoa powder, baking soda, chocolate chips, walnuts and/or other mixins of choice and fold in with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula
  5. Transfer batter to prepared brownie pan and top with extra nuts or chocolate chips if desired
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the brownie comes out clean
  7. While the brownies are baking, prep the caramel sauce if you haven’t already done so and allow to cool slightly
  8. Remove the brownies from the oven and pour the slightly cooled caramel sauce onto the still hot brownies, making sure to spread the caramel evenly with a spatula. Alternatively, you can allow the brownies to cool slightly before slicing then drizzle with caramel sauce
  9. Sprinkle with sea salt, if desired and place the pan on a wire rack on the counter or in the fridge (to speed things up)
  10. Allow cooling completely before slicing and serving

Recipe Source: Exsloth.com



5
OCT

7 Protein Sources for a Plant-Based Diet

Filed Under: Health Foods,Superfoods,Supplements at 10:00 am | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor
Starting a plant-based diet? Get ready for the inevitable question: where are you going to get your protein? Don’t worry. With so many great sources available, it shouldn’t be a problem to find a few foods that can fit into your new diet. Let’s look at 7 protein sources for a plant-based diet.

1. Spirulina

This algae superfood is incredibly rich in protein and is a perfect ingredient for smoothies. With 40 grams of protein per serving, spirulina also contains the highest amount of glutamine found in a plant food.

2. Chia Seeds

No longer a strange superfood, chia seeds have become a stable of health food. Rich in protein and an excellent source of soluble fiber, you can sprinkle chia seeds on oatmeal, cereals, porridges or make a delicious chia seed pudding with almond milk.

3. Black Beans

An awesome source of protein, black beans contain 15 grams per serving and can be easily added to your diet. Used in salads and veggie burritos, black beans also contain lysine and leucine, two amino acids rarely found in plant-based foods.

4. Pumpkin Seeds

Perfect for baking, pumpkin seeds are also a great source of protein as a single cup contains up to 12 grams. Considered a complete protein, these seeds are also high in healthy fats and minerals such as zinc and magnesium.

5. Lentils

Lentils are a great source of protein as well as fiber and carbohydrates. With 20 grams of protein per cup, lentils contain a ton of amino acids and can be easily added to your diet in salads, tacos, or mixed with rice or quinoa for a delicious meal.

6. Hemp Seeds

Hemp Seeds have 9 grams of protein per serving as well as healthy omega-3 fatty acids. A complete amino acid, hemp seeds have a deliciously sweet and nutty flavor that can be added to increase protein content to many recipes of smoothies, baked goods and desserts.

7. Quinoa

A gluten-free grain, quinoa is also a great source of protein with around 15 grams per cup of cooked quinoa. Considered a starchy protein, quinoa also contains carbohydrates and fiber and is widely used in hot or cold cereals, salads, or in meals instead of rice.



4
OCT

Gluten-Free Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Filed Under: Recipes at 3:33 pm | By: Madeline Reiss
Warm Apple Cider Donuts Ready to Eat

Apple cider donuts are truly a mark of the season! This recipe is a gluten-free adaptation of the traditional donuts typically enjoyed after a day of pumpkin picking. These donuts pair perfectly with a mug of hot cider or coffee or topped with ice cream for dessert.

Ingredients

2 cups of unfiltered apple cider
½ cup of coconut sugar
¼ cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
½ cup buttermilk, shaken
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1¾ cups all-purpose gluten-free flour blend
¼ cup almond flour
½ teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your flour blend contains it)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves

For the topping:

¼ cup melted butter
½ cup sugar & 1 teaspoon cinnamon, whisked together in a bowl

Instructions

  1. Heat the cider in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer until the cider has reduced to ½ cup. Set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a 2 mini-donut pans (or 2 regular doughnut pan) with gluten-free cooking spray. (Tip: if you need to bake the donuts in more than one batch, make sure to re-spray the pan with gluten-free cooking spray)
  3. Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and reduced cider until combined. Add the flour blend, almond flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and cloves and beat until smooth.
  4. Pour the mixture into a large zip-top bag and snip about ½ inch off one corner. Carefully pipe mixture into your prepared donut pan, filling each well about ½ full. Do NOT overfill the donut wells or your donuts will come out looking more like leprechaun hats.
  5. Bake the donuts until they spring back when gently touched, about 8 minutes for the minis, 10 minutes for the larger ones.
  6. Dip or brush the donuts with the melted butter just as soon as they are cool enough to handle and gently toss with the cinnamon/sugar mixture.
  7. Serve immediately!

Recipe source here.



25
SEP

3 Frighteningly Delicious Halloween Party Snacks

Filed Under: Recipes at 11:24 am | By: Madeline Reiss
 

Throwing a Halloween party, or just looking for snacks that are as adorable as they are spooky? These three treat recipes are delicious and (mostly) healthy…because we all want to indulge a little on holidays!

Banana Ghosts & Tangerine Pumpkins

Healthy Halloween treats, banana ghosts and orange pumpkins, on a plate with holiday decor

Ingredients

  • Tangerines, peeled
  • Celery, cut into small sticks
  • Bananas, peeled and cut in half
  • Mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Stick celery into tops of tangerines.
  2. Stick a chocolate chip eyes & nose into bananas.
  3. Now wasn’t that easy!

Recipe: Flo & Grace

 

Monster Apples

Spooky halloween edible apple monsters healthy natural dessert. Horror party decoration delicious snack. Homemade cute cyclop mouth with teeth and peanut butter on dark vintage wooden table background.

Ingredients

  • 2 green apples, each quartered
  • almond butter (or nut butter of choice)
  • 32 sunflower seeds
  • 2-3 strawberries, sliced
  • 1-2 googly eyes (marshmallows) per apple quarter
  • Chocolate sauce for the googly-eye pupils

Instructions

  1. Cut the middle out of each quarter of the apple in order to create a mouth. Don’t worry about it being perfect, as you are filling this gap with almond butter anyway so if you cut too deep, you can always cover it up and you won’t even be able to notice.
  2. Coat the inside of the gap where you just cut with a filling of almond or hazelnut butter.
  3. Place sunflower seeds on the top of where the “mouth” is to resemble the teeth.
  4. Place 1 sliced strawberry inside the mouth to resemble the tongue.
  5. “Glue” each eye above the mouth, using a dab of almond butter to make it stick in place.
    Serve your monsters and enjoy!

Recipe Source: Parenting Chaos

 

Candy Corn Fruit Cocktail

Colorful Candy Corn for Halloween on a Background

Ingredients

  • pineapple, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • oranges, cut into bite-sized chunks ( or I used small Cuties)
  • whipped cream
  • candy corn

Instructions

  • In a clear glass, layer pineapple, then oranges and top with whipped cream and a couple pieces of candy corn. Serve right away or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe: Family Fresh Meals 



25
SEP

5-Minute Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal

Filed Under: Recipes at 10:23 am | By: Madeline Reiss
Bowl of oatmeal porridge with banana and caramel sauce on rustic table, hot and healthy breakfast every day, diet food

Now there really is no excuse to skip breakfast! These nutritious oats are extremely easy to make, use what you probably already have in your kitchen and are ready to eat in 5 minutes. If bananas aren’t your thing, quick oats are great with any fruit, but we think the classic peanut butter and banana duo is too delicious to resist.

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups almond milk (or any milk substitute)
1 cup quick oats
1 large ripe banana, mashed
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 to 3 teaspoons honey, optional
Sliced bananas and chopped peanuts for serving

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, bring milk to a boil, watching carefully so that it doesn’t boil over.
  2. Stir in oats, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from heat and cover for a few minutes.
  4. Stir in mashed banana, peanut butter, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Stir in honey, to taste, if desired. Top with sliced bananas, chopped peanuts, and additional cinnamon before serving.

Recipe source: fivehearthome.com



23
SEP

How to Brew Your Own Kombucha

Filed Under: Ask The ND,Detoxification and Cleansing,General Wellness & Wellbeing,Recipes at 9:12 am | By: Dr. Jeremy Wolf, ND & Lead Wellness Advisor
Homemade Fermented Raw Kombucha Tea Ready to Drink

You’ve seen Kombucha lining health store aisles, maybe mispronounced it a few times and probably tried it at least once…but what exactly is it and why is it so popular? Kombucha (Kom-booch-uh) is a fermented tea that originated in Northeast China around 220 B.C. and was revered for its health-boosting and gut-healing properties. It’s made by mixing black tea (or green tea) and sugar, then fermenting the blend into a fizzy, probiotic-packed wellness drink. Fermentation, by definition, is the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts or other microorganisms.

For Kombucha, fermentation happens through “SCOBY”—an acronym for a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. The SCOBY is part of the brewing process and a new layer of SCOBY will grow on the surface of the original used to begin the brew. For your first batch, you need to purchase a SCOBY from a reputable source. Once added to the tea-sugar blend, SCOBY breaks down most of the sugar in the mixture. The batch is left to ferment for 1-2 weeks and is then transferred to bottles where it sits for another 1-2 weeks to encourage carbonation. During bottling, different flavors are infused to create a refreshing, bubbly, health beverage. Kombucha is popular because it combines the health benefits of tea with those of probiotics and healthy bacteria!

Health Benefits of Kombucha

  1. Packed with antioxidants, enzymes and organic acids such as acetic, caprylic and more
  2. Contains B-Vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, B5, B12
  3. May reduce heart disease risk
  4. Improves digestion and supports a healthy gut
  5. Promotes detoxification
  6. May have immune system boosting & antiviral properties
  7. Antioxidants in Kombucha may help protect the liver

 

Recipe For Brewing Kombucha

 

Ingredients:
*This recipe makes 1 gallon

  • Active SCOBY
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 96 oz. of water
  • 6 bags (12 g) black or green tea
  • Pot, mason jars, 1 gallon glass fermentation vessel/jar, wooden spoons, mesh tea ball (if using loose leaf tea)
  • Thermometer strips
  • pH test strips
  • Organic cotton cloth cover
  • Rubber bands
  • Herbs, spices, fruits or flavoring of your choice (optional)

Brewing Instructions

  1. Clean all surfaces, utensils, pots, jars & hands with soap & water—leaving no residue behind. Always use glass vessels and wooden or plastic utensils.
  2. Bring ¼ gallon of filtered water to a boil.
  3. While the water is heating, prepare your tea. If you are using loose leaf tea you will need a mesh tea ball. The tea for this step should be simple & unflavored. Earl Grey and other flavored teas are not recommended.
  4. Once the water has reached a boil, steep six tea bags (12 grams) of black or green tea in hot water for 20 minutes, mixing frequently. Make sure to do this step in a pot that can withstand high temperatures.
  5. Remove the tea bags and stir 1 cup of sugar into the pot. Mix this for a couple of minutes to help the sugar dissolve.
  6. Pour your mixture into your 1 gallon, glass fermentation jar.
  7. Fill the jar with 8 cups of cold, filtered water.
  8. Use your thermometer to ensure the temperature reads between 68-84 degrees F before adding your SCOBY or Kombucha culture.
  9. Once the temperature is right, add your culture to the mixture.
  10. Cover your fermentation jar with an organic cotton cover and seal it with a rubber band.
  11. Place your mixture in a warm place out of direct sunlight & with plenty of airflow (not in a closed cupboard). The best temperature for this process is between 72 and 80 degrees F. Make sure to check the temperature gauge frequently & adjust locations as needed.
  12. After a couple of days you will begin to notice a cream-colored layer growing on top of your brew. This is your new culture! Your batch should be ready in about 9-14 days depending on the temperature, water quality & your taste preference. Cool temperatures slow fermentation while warm temperatures speed it up. The typical fermentation period is about 7-10 days.
  13. If your batch is too sweet, put the cloth back on and let it brew a few more days. If it is too tart you can sweeten during the bottling process.
  14. After you have made your Kombucha, it’s time to bottle it!

Bottling & “Second Fermentation”

  1. Remove the SCOBY & place into a glass or porcelain container. Pour some of the Kombucha liquid on top, enough to cover your SCOBY. This will be the starter liquid for your next batch and keeps the SCOBY fresh.
  2. Add your brew to a 32 oz. glass bottle with a tight-fitting lid. Your brew may contain brown blobs, strands, or debris after removing the SCOBY & that it is perfectly fine! It’s just parts leftover from the mother SCOBY. If you don’t like the blobs, you can use a strainer if when pouring your Kombucha into the bottle.
  3. It’s best to leave an inch or less of air at the top of the bottle. This should allow for the appropriate amount of carbonation.
  4. You can use crushed leaves of fresh herbs, ground or whole spices, fruit purees, veggie juices & host of other options to flavor your brew. Add the individual flavors directly into your Kombucha bottle and cap. If your lid is metal, be sure to place plastic wrap in between the lid & your Kombucha.
  5. If you are looking for a carbonated beverage, let the sealed bottle continue to ferment at room temperature for 3-7 days. Then put the mixture into the fridge & enjoy. If you don’t like fizzy drinks or carbonation, you can just put the flavored bottle straight into the fridge after bottling. You can strain out the fruits, herbs etc. after if preferred.

Some Cautions…

  • Always use caution when brewing your own Kombucha & be careful about fermenting it too long.
  • Never touch the Kombucha or SCOBY with metal as it may kill it.
  • Look out for mold! Brown, clear and cream are acceptable colors for your SCOBY. Black, green, blue or white, fuzzy mold & dark, round spots should never be present. If you see any of those make sure to throw the culture and brew away.
  • If you ever have any reserves about your Kombucha, reach out to someone for help. You should also check the pH of your Kombucha using test strips to make sure it’s between 2.5-3.5—the ideal range for Kombucha.

Other Tips

  • If you are brewing for the first time & nervous about making your own Kombucha, there are an assortment of kits you can purchase which provide you with everything you need to brew your own. They also come with easy-to-follow instructions that make the process very enjoyable!
  • It’s recommended to start with a little Kombucha a day & gradually work your way up to drinking more. Stick with about 8 oz. per day or less, especially in the beginning.
  • If you are pregnant, breast feeding or have underlying health conditions, make sure to check with your health care provider before trying Kombucha.
  • Kombucha is brewed using black tea and sugar which, when fermented, turns into alcohol in very small amounts. However, only about 1% of Kombucha is believed to be alcohol.



19
SEP

6 Resistance Band Workouts You Can Do Anywhere

Filed Under: Exercise and Fitness,Men's Health,Women's Health at 5:00 pm | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor
Athlete training with a resistance band

If you want to get in shape but can’t afford a gym membership or kettlebells and dumbbells, we have great news for you. Resistance bands are the way to go! Affordable, space-efficient, highly portable and even more effective than a set of dumbbells, these bands are known to improve strength and balance by working in a full range of motion, targeting muscles that you may miss with weights. So, let’s look at 6 resistance band workouts you can do anywhere.

1. Band Pull Apart

This exercise targets chest, triceps, and upper back. Simply stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and head facing forward. Hold a resistance band in front of you with your arms extended straight out. Leave a little bit of band left at the ends and pull the band apart by bringing your shoulder blades together so that the band touches your chest. Slowly return to the starting position by bringing your arms back down in front you at eye level. Repeat slowly and under control, up to 10 reps.

2. Lunge with Biceps Curl

Place the center of the band under the instep of your left foot and position your right foot about two feet behind you. With an underhand grip on the band’s handles, perform a biceps curl while bending your knees to lower into a lunge position, repeating up to 20 times, then switch legs.

3. Donkey Kicks

A great exercise for legs. Get down on all fours holding the ends of the band with your hands and loop it around your foot. Kick your leg straight back while raising your foot slightly towards the ceiling against the resistance of the band. Hold for a couple of seconds at the top and slowly lower to starting position. Repeat as many times as you can and up to 15 reps per leg.

4. Squat with Overhead Press

Stand in the middle of the band with feet parallel and shoulder-width apart. Hold handles at shoulder height, with palms facing away from you and elbows bent. Squat deeply while pressing your arms directly over your head. Keep your weight on your heels and resist the band as you return to standing position. Repeat about 10-15 times.

5. Glute Bridge

An easy and effective exercise. Tie a band around your legs right above your knees. Lie on your back with your feet on the floor, bending your knees to 90 degrees. Rise up with your hips until your shoulders, hips and knees align, contracting your glutes through the entire movement.

6. Lateral Band Wall

This exercise targets hips, glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings. Just place the band around your ankles and get into a squat position with your thighs parallel to the ground and feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart. Step out laterally to the left against the band, remaining in the squat position with your hands in front you in an athletic stance. Alternate sides and step to your right against the band. Step out five times on each side and repeat up to 10 reps.

 

 



17
SEP

The Best Essential Oil Blends for Focus & Concentration

Filed Under: Aromatherapy,Health Concerns & Ailments,Mental Wellbeing at 9:22 pm | By: Jessica Justh, Senior Editor
Woman working on computer and writing down her thoughts

Aromatherapy is so much more than cleverly named and pleasant smelling candles. When practiced correctly, and to the fullest, aromatherapy has the potential to not only enhance and elevate moods but positively alter fundamental brain functions in amazing ways.

With another summer firmly in our rearview, and with several months of colder weather and darker days ahead, now is a great time to unlock the full slate of healing and rejuvenating benefits aromatherapy can offer. Whether you work in an office or stay at home with your littles, get through these hectic times with these essential oil blends that will have you feeling laser-focused and ready to conquer the world (or just back to school season).

Memory & Concentration Blend

This blend uses rosemary essential oil which is known for boosting memory and concentration. Throw in some lemon essential oil to heighten the senses and you’ve got yourself a dynamic pairing that will keep you on point all day.

INDREDIENTS

1 tablespoon jojoba oil

3 drops rosemary essential oil

3 drops lemon essential oil

DIRECTIONS

Pour the carrier oil (jojoba) in a glass dropper bottle or a roller bottle. Then add your essential oils. With essential oils it’s important to remember that a little goes a long way. Just add a drop or two and rub on your temples.

Crunchy Concentration Blend

Calling all bohemians! Sandalwood is the star of this earthy blend that provides a sense of clarity and pairs well with the calming effect of patchouli.

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon of coconut oil melted

2 drops of sandalwood

2 drops of patchouli essential oil

2 drops of orange essential oil

DIRECTIONS

Pour the carrier oil (coconut) in a glass dropper bottle or a roller bottle. Then add your essential oils. When using, a little goes a long way. Just add a drop or two and rub on your wrists.

Fresh Focus Blend

Knock out brain fog with frankincense. Applying frankincense topically can work wonders for you mood and peppermint puts pep in your step and improves concentration.

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon of almond oil

3 drops of frankincense

3 drops peppermint essential oil

DIRECTIONS

Pour the carrier oil (almond) in a glass dropper bottle or a roller bottle. Then add your essential oils. You only need a few dabs to feel the effects. Just add a drop or two and rub on your wrists.

 



12
SEP

Are Your Fitness Supplements “Clean?” Here’s How To Tell

Filed Under: General Wellness & Wellbeing,Supplements at 3:00 pm | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor
Whey protein powder in scoop with vitamins and plastic shaker on wooden background

Finding a good supplement can be difficult. With so many different products and brands available, one might find it complicated to choose the right one. Plus, recent reports on supplements are making this task even more difficult.

According to the World Health Organization, a variety of supplements available in a number of retailers including large, national chains do not contain the ingredients listed on their labels.  In other words, some products, particularly fitness supplements, are fake and contain phony ingredients. This adulteration of herbal products is a threat to consumer safety as these supplements may be contaminated or substituted with alternative plant species and fillers that are not listed on the labels.

So, how can you tell if your fitness supplements are unhealthy? How can a regular customer check if the product they are buying contain additives, unhealthy fillers, or harmful ingredients?

Checking for verification labels should be the first thing to do. Look for the USP certification label which ensures that the product has been tested and looked at by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, which verifies that the listed ingredients do indeed exist, and that there is no contamination. Plus, a NSF label is a certification that the product is what it claims to be.

Additionally, find a brand known and certified for good practices. A lot of top-quality brands embrace DNA barcoding for authenticating herbal products through testing of raw materials used in the manufacturing of the products.

Lastly, avoid cheap, conventional brands sold at large chain stores as those seem to be the most “fishy” when it comes to providing consumers with safe, high quality herbal products.



7
SEP

3 DIY Face Masks + Clear Skin Commandments

Filed Under: Aromatherapy,Beauty,Personal Care at 9:30 am | By: Jessica Justh, Senior Editor
clearskin

If asked, “what’s your largest organ?” it’s doubtful that “skin” would be in most people’s top 10 (or even top 100) guesses – but it’s true. And what you apply TO your skin can greatly affect not only how you look, but how you feel.

Feel the glow by following our clear skin commandments…

1. Drink water

This is not only about downing eight glasses a day but starting your morning right with hot water and lemon. It helps aid digestion and is a better alternative to coffee.

2. Practice self-care

Take time for self-care. Take that yoga class you’ve been meaning to for ages. Planning time for self-care can reduce stress-inducing hormones that wreak havoc on your skin.

3. Supplement

Help cover any nutrient gaps with supplements. A daily multivitamin with nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc, selenium and chromium all play an essential role in reducing excess sebum, helps build collagen and repairs skin cells.

4. Eat a balanced diet

A well-balanced diet high in antioxidants and omegas will do your skin (and your health) a world of good. Start stocking up on blueberries, oranges, strawberries and sweet potatoes – all great sources of the types of antioxidants that help fight acne and result in radiant skin . Acne has another enemy in the form of Omega-3s. Consuming salmon, nutsand olive oil help reduce inflammation, a root cause of those pesky blemishes.

5. Sleep!

Get plenty of “beauty sleep.” Less sleep lowers circulation, which could leave you looking pale and washed out. Your body’s cellular renewal occurs at night, so the night time really is the right time to apply as many nutrients and hydrating ingredients as it needs.

3 DIY Masks For Better Skin

1. Pore-fect Honey Mask

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons of honey

1 tablespoon of baking soda

1-2 drops of tea tree essential oil

DIRECTIONS

Combine together all the ingredients in a bowl and massage onto face. Leave on for 15 minutes and rinse with warm water.

 

2. Calming Crunchy Acne Mask

INGREDIENTS

½ tsp turmeric

1 tablespoon yogurt

1 tablespoon oatmeal

1-2 drops lavender essential oil

DIRECTIONS

Carefully mix together all the ingredients (turmeric can stain!). Gently massage onto face and leave on for 20 minutes before rinsing.

 

3. Ultimate Acne Mask

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon our fave facial clay – your face will pulse!

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 drop lavender essential oil

1 teaspoon aloe vera gel

2 drops vitamin e oil

DIRECTIONS

Mix together everything except the aloe and vitamin E oil until a paste forms. Apply to skin and leave on for 10 minutes or until dry. Remove using a warm cloth. Follow up by applying the aloe vera and vitamin e oil to prevent overdrying.

 



6
SEP

5 Signs You Should Start Taking a Multivitamin

Filed Under: General Wellness & Wellbeing,Vitamins and Minerals at 4:00 pm | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor
bottle pouring pills on a male's hand

A multivitamin is one of the best supplements anyone can take on a regular basis. These products contain all the essential vitamins plus important minerals to maintain good health. Plus, some multis add a few extra ingredients such as omegas and herbs that can maximize results, offering an even more complete product. If you are still unsure, let’s talk about 5 signs you should start taking a multivitamin.

1. Deficiency Symptoms

If you take a blood test and the results show that you are deficient in a certain nutrient, a multivitamin is the best way to restore optimal levels. Some vitamins and minerals are extremely important for good health. For example, vitamin D and vitamin B deficiency can significantly affect your body as well as the lack of some minerals such as iron and calcium.

2. Feeling Tired

If you are always feeling tired or have had a lot of stress for a long time, a multivitamin can help you tremendously. Multivitamins contain every B vitamin which can promote a boost in energy levels as well as a decrease in anxiety and stress, which burns these nutrients quickly.

3. Often Sick

If you are often sick, seem to catch a cold every single month, or spend most of the winter battling the flu and cold, an uptake in vitamins should help you. Multivitamins help boost immunity as they contain vitamin C, a strong antioxidant known to enhance the immune system, as well as vitamin E, which can help reduce allergy symptoms.

4. Poor Diet

If you are unable to eat a healthy and well-balanced diet, a multivitamin can minimize the damage. Of course eating a good diet is ideal but for those who don’t eat many fruits and vegetables, these supplements can at least provide the minimum required amount of vitamins and minerals to cover off nutrients you are not getting from food and keep you in better shape.

5. Chronic Illness

If you have been diagnosed with an illness of any kind, a multivitamin will likely to be recommended by your health caretaker. Inadequate levels of some vitamins can lead to chronic illness and when you are battling disease, your body needs the most nutrients possible to get you back to full health.



31
AUG

About The Brand: Sinclair Institute

Filed Under: Sexual Health at 3:09 pm | By: Madeline Reiss
No matter who you are, good sexual health pays off in a big way, and Sinclair’s business is empowering their customers to discover life-changing intimacy and pleasure. So much more than product and price, Sinclair Institute is the world’s trusted destination for amazing products, reliable information & tips, and service & satisfaction that no one else can deliver.

Subscribe to LuckyVitamin’s YouTube Channel!

 



31
AUG

3 Reasons To Switch To Himalayan Salt

Filed Under: Green Living,Health Foods,Nutrition at 2:57 pm | By: Jessica Justh, Senior Editor
salt

Everyone knows the health risks of regular table salt. For decades, the medical profession has urged us to limit our intake of the flavorful additive. But what you may not know is that all salt is not created equal.

Still not convinced why you should make the switch? Before you get all salty, read below…

Nutrients, nutrients, nutrients

Himalayan salt is so much more than its pretty pink hue. Packed with 84 minerals and trace elements, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and iron, it’ll make the transition away from standard table salt seamless. Plus, it’s naturally occurring without chemical processing or refinement. Due to the high mineral content, you actually get less sodium per serving, too. Wins all around.

It’s a culinary thing

Gourmet cooks recommend the exquisite taste of wholesome, natural, pink Himalayan crystal salt for cooking and curing. Compared to table salt, it’s more easily metabolized by your body. Ready to elevate your grilled veggies? Trying cooking on a Himalayan salt slab. Your taste buds will thank you!

Look at the source

Currently, our oceans and waterways are polluted with toxic chemicals. So it’s safe to say that Himalayan salt is a healthy alternative compared to sea salt. About 250 million years ago, the Himalayan mountain range was covered by a primordial ocean. When the ocean floor rose, it created a salt lake that evaporated and formed the salt range across most of Asia where one of our favorite Himalayan salt brands are from. Some believe it to one of the purest forms of salt around.

Remember, everything in moderation – even Himalayan salt. Before you go dousing your food with it, remember to limit your sodium consumption to no more than 2300 mg per day, and if you suffer from high blood pressure,  keep it under 1500 mg.

 



31
AUG

7 Things You Can Do To Ease Joint Pain

Filed Under: Health Concerns & Ailments,Supplements at 12:05 pm | By: Madeline Reiss
woman runner hold her injured leg on road

We often take the ability to move about freely for granted until joint pain flares up. When your daily life is constantly interrupted by sore wrists and creaky knees, finding fast relief is a top priority. Popping a pain reliever can make the pain bearable and help you power through the day, but relying on them is not great for your health, and ultimately only masks the root problem. Luckily, there are several, drug-free options to find pain relief from irritated joints and even help determine what the root cause of your issues could be.

1. Take supplements

This seems like the obvious step, but if you haven’t tried a supplement for chronic joint pain—get on that! Glucosamine and chondroitin are incredibly popular for treating pain and swelling associated with joint pain and comes without any known risks. Omega-3 fatty acids are also helpful in preventing and easing joint pain, which is why many people take fish oil supplements regularly. If you’re vegetarian or not into the fishy aftertaste, consider alternatives like flaxseeds, chia seeds or supplements derived from algae.

2. Acupuncture

While there’s not much scientific proof that acupuncture directly improves joint pain, a 2013 review showed some evidence that this alternative treatment can alleviate pain, swelling and stiffness. Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that aims to balance the energy in the body to help address a range of disorders and encourage pain relief. It’s an excellent wellness practice that can do many things for your overall health, even if your joints are not directly improved as a result.

3. Go swimming!

Swimming uses strengthening movements and helps develop flexibility without the high-impact that can irritate and worsen joint pain. Studies show that not only does swimming prevent further damage to joints that high-impact exercises can bring, but can actually improve your joints by strengthing them without irritation.

4. Take up a Tai Chi practice

Similar to the rationale behind swimming, Tai Chi is a great way to strengthen muscles around your joints without the high-impact of other physical activities. A Tai Chi practice can actually expand your range of motion to improve flexibility in the joints and aiding pain relief.

5. Anti-inflammatory diet

Keeping a diet rich in Omega-3s and anti-inflammatory foods can be a great way to find pain relief. While this is not an immediate solution to the problem, eating an anti-inflammatory diet can help address the root cause of inflammation in the body instead of acting as a band-aid. Foods like fish, green leafy veggies, and turmeric tea are excellent staples to an anti-inflammatory diet.

6. Meditation

Finding an ability to deal with your thoughts and feelings regarding pain is a crucial step to finding relief that not many are willing to take. The idea of facing your pain can be intimidating, but making the choice to be mindful and practice acceptance can change the way we feel about it. If we can increase our pain tolerance, the more willing we might be to take additional steps towards healing. Using meditation to relax and reduce stress can have a diminishing effect on inflammation and swelling as well.

7. Get up and move throughout the day

There are more benefits to exercise than just weight loss! Regular movement helps maintain flexibility in your joints—preventing and easing joint pain. Like I mentioned earlier, try low impact exercises like swimming, or gentle practices like Tai Chi to keep your joints flexible and strong. If you work in an office and can’t jump in a pool midday, making time to get up and walk around a bit is better than sitting still!

When it comes to joint pain, over the counter pain relievers will mask the pain, but will not address or help treat the root cause. Have you tried any of these natural remedies? What are some of your go-to joint pain relief techniques?