Archive for March, 2018

Food for Thought: Stop the Snacking

Having a hard time dieting and resisting the urge to “snack” on everything you see? Most people struggle with this aspect of dieting the most, because in every social situation there seems to be food – in excess- and it’s usually unhealthy.

So if you are looking for a way to stop the snacking, perhaps you just need to do something to keep your mind off the fact that you are hungry. 

Here are some tried and true suggestions of things that you can do to avoid eating between meals or ways to avoid grazing throughout the day.

When you get the urge to “snack” try these ideas instead…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Clean out the junk drawer.
  • Paint your nails.
  • Play a game on your phone.
  • Pin 10 things on Pinterest… or more!
  • Doodle.
  • Do one thing on your “To Do” list.
  • Work on a craft project.
  • Read a book or a magazine.
  • Do one of your Pinterest pins.
  • Write in a journal or on a blog.
  • Color in a coloring book.
  • Write a “To Do” List.
  • Catch up on emails.
  • Watch a movie.
  • Do a puzzle.
  • Do 50 jumping jacks.
  • Drink a full glass of water.
  • Brush your teeth.
  • Take a nap.
  • Organize/edit photos.
  • Clean out your closet.
  • Walk to the park.
  • Suck on a peppermint candy.
  • Read a food journal.
  • Do 25 crunches.
  • Create a mood diary.
  • Learn 10 Yoga moves.
  • Pin a new workout routine.
  • Work on a menu plan.
  • Chew some gum.
  • Drink a cup of tea.
  • Walk around the block.
  • Clean the toilets.
  • Write out 50 blessings.

Healthy Living: Clean Your Allergens Away

Spring is here and it’s time to break out the mop, dust off the duster, get out the cleaners and get your spring cleaning underway.  Spring also brings with it a whole new host of allergens that cause sneezing, wheezing, coughing and other seasonal symptoms.  To kill two birds with one stone, here are some ways to tackle those allergen hot spots in your home while getting a jump start on your spring cleaning at the same time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Avoid “bringing the outdoors inside.” If you know that you are allergic to pollen, then you will want to avoid keeping your windows open on a high pollen day.  If you spent a good deal of time outdoors, be sure to launder your clothes right away and shower and wash your hair to avoid spreading those allergens throughout your house onto your furniture and bedding.  Allergens tracked indoors can be potent enough for symptoms to last a few days
  • Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.  HEPA or high-efficiency particulate air filters trap allergens better than normal vacuums.  You should use a vacuum with a HEPA filter at least once a week to remove allergens, if not more often.
  • Wash your bedding once a week.  Dust mites are the most common allergen that cause indoor allergy and asthma symptoms, and these mites thrive on soft surfaces.  Your mattress is your greatest exposure to these harmful allergens.  To decrease your exposure to dust mites, wash your bedding weekly in hot water (approximately 130 degrees Fahrenheit) and dry them on a hot dryer cycle.  It’s also good to encase your mattress, box springs and pillows in allergen-proof covers.
  • Clean your upholstery and drapes.  Again, because allergens cling to soft surfaces, your upholstery and drapes are also susceptible to seasonal allergens. Wash or dry clean your drapes when possible and vacuum sofas and chairs to remove any dust mites from your furniture.  You should also wash or dry clean any throw rugs you have lying around.  Whenever possible, you should use roller shades or vertical blinds as they accumulate less dust mites than drapes and other window coverings.  If you are renovating in the future, you should also avoid wall-to-wall carpeting and shoot for hardwood or tile floors instead, which are easier to clean and do not harbor allergens.

Boosting Your Child’s Brain Power

Every parent wants to believe that their child is a genius or has the genius potential.  While intelligence clearly has a genetic component, there are some things you can do to boost learning and intelligence in your child.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Play brain games – Games like chess, cryptograms, riddles, and crosswords all train the brain to perform harder than other games.  These games promote strategic thinking, problem-solving, and complex decision making.  If you keep these games on hand and challenge your children with them you will help boost their intelligence… in a fun way.

Encourage them to play an instrument – While the early days of your child learning an instrument may not be the most pleasing to the ears, by encouraging your child to take up playing an instrument they learn to utilize their right brain more than others who do not play an instrument. Organized music lessons also benefit children’s IQ and academic performance – plus the more years they take lessons, the greater the effect.

Encourage physical fitness – Studies show a strong relationship between physical fitness and mental intelligence in school-aged children.  By participating in organized sports, children learn confidence, teamwork, and leadership.  So instead of letting your child head to their video game system or cell phone after dinner encourage them to grab a ball and head outdoors for some physical activity.

Avoid junk food – Cut out (or significantly reduce) the amount of sugar, trans fats and other junk food in your child’s diet and replace them with high-nutrient alternatives for early childhood mental and motor development.  Pay attention to what your child is eating, and good grades will come in time!

Encourage curiosity – Allow children to explore new ideas and become interested in different hobbies and interests to foster intelligence.  Ask your child about their interests and allow them to try a number of different hobbies and activities throughout the course of their childhood.

Fitness for All: Switch up Your Workout!

If you are getting tired of the same old gym workout day after day, then luckily there are plenty of other options out there to shake things up a little bit.  Here are some fun and interesting ways to add a little something different to your daily gym routine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mixed martial arts training and conditioning – If you have even seen a mixed martial artist then you know that they are in top physical shape.  Not only are they lean, but are also very strong.  Some gyms offer MMA circuit training, but if they don’t you can perform all of your exercises in one big superset, rest and then repeat.

Resistance training – Many gyms now offer plenty of different options when it comes to resistance training and you can spot chains and bands virtually anywhere in most gyms.  You can begin using these bands and chains by putting them on the ends of barbells and dumbbells.  As you lift, the weight will get heavier.  While this is an often-overlooked technique, it is an excellent way to increase strength and size quickly.

Non-traditional implements – Not all gyms will have tractor tires, sleds and sledgehammers lying around, but if they do, then you should be using them!  Implementing these non-traditional items into your workout is a great way to increase strength, improve conditioning and increase power.

Train unilaterally – By training unilaterally, or one side at a time, you can quickly point out weak spots while eliminating the need to do other parts of your workout that you used to do to make up for these weak spots.

Rest actively – If you find that you are spending lots of time at the gym and not seeing results, you may be spending too much time resting. If you rest for two minutes in between sets, either shorten that to one minute or do another quick exercise, such as jumping rope, during one of those two minutes.

Spotlight on: Carrots

  • The beta-carotene in carrots is an antioxidant combating the free radicals that contribute to conditions like cancer, heart disease, and a few other conditions.
  • Cooking carrots actually raises the nutritional benefits of this great vegetable. By cooking them you free the beta-carotene from the fiber, thereby allowing your body to better absorb the beta-carotene.
  • If you eat just a half cup of carrots each day you will get more than the recommended dosage of beta-carotene in your diet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Creamy Carrot with Curry Soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ pounds peeled carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 large garlic cloves, thickly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups half-and-half (or whole milk)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Garnish: Chopped pistachios

Heat oil in sauté pan until shimmering.  Add carrots, then onion, sauté until golden brown (about 7 minutes).  Reduce heat and add butter, sugar, and garlic; continue cooking about 10 minutes longer. Add curry and sauté a minute longer. Add broth and simmer.  Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are soft, about 10 minutes.  Using a blender, puree in a blender for about a minute.  Return to pot and add enough half and half so the mixture is soup-like, yet thick enough to float the pistachio garnish.  Add salt and pepper as needed.

Recipe: Banana Zucchini Carrot Bread

  •  2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 medium bananas
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • ½ cup grated carrots
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 dash salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter and pour into large bowl.  Add bananas and mash.  Add grated zucchini and shredded carrots.  Mix well. Add sugar, vanilla and beaten egg.  Sprinkle in baking soda and salt, and mix.  Add flour and mix well.  Pour in 4×8 loaf pan to two large muffin pans.  (Yields one loaf or 12 large muffins.) Bake loaf for 60 to 75 minutes.  Bake muffins for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool and serve.

Spring Cleaning 101: Burn Calories While You Clean

With spring comes the ever popular, “Spring Cleaning.” While everyone loves to have a clean house, it’s also good to know that you can burn some decent amounts of calories (thereby losing some weight) while you are doing your Spring Cleaning this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some calorie breakdowns:

  • Window washing – 226 calories
  • Scrubbing floors – 291 calories
  • Dusting – 97 calories
  • Scrubbing toilets and tub – 246 calories
  • Vacuuming – 317 calories
  • Cleaning gutters – 258 calories
  • Sweeping – 194 calories
  • Mopping – 153 calories
  • Washing dishes – 77 calories 

Editor’s Note: The calories burned estimates listed here are based on one hour of cleaning for a 155- pound woman.