Spring Clean Your Diet

Now that the long, cold, endless winter is over it’s time to give up those comfort foods and trade them in for a spring cleaning of your diet!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The good news is it is possible to rid your body of harmful toxins that you may have indulged in during the winter months, just by eating better and right this spring. These foods will help hydrate, refresh and detoxify your way into a healthier season and give you the energy you need to gear up for summer, too!

  • Berry green smoothie – Get started with a healthy smoothie blending together a cup of greens like spinach, kale and celery with a handful of fresh berries.  The greens contain chlorophyll that eliminates toxins that can contribute to liver damage and other illnesses.  The berries are packed with antioxidants and enzymes that fight free-radical damage, plus their sweetness combat the bitterness in the greens.
  • Curry powder – Popular in Indian foods,curry gets its yellow color from a compound called curcumin.  According to holistic medicine, curcumin is used to help aid with liver issues and digestive disorders.  And because curry powder is also an anti-inflammatory it also contributes to the production of glutathione, a liver-protecting antioxidant.  You can add curry powder as an accent to almost any food including eggs, chicken, and vegetables.
  • Cabbage – Made up of nearly 92 percent water, cabbage is a natural diuretic that will help your body get rid of excess fluids. It is also jam packed with glucosinolates, organic compounds that contain nitrogen and sulfur, that help to flush out unwanted toxins in the body.  Cabbage also is loaded with many essential vitamins like C, K, E and A, plus minerals, dietary fiber and folic acid.
  • Water – Always start your day with a big glass of water and stay hydrated all day long by carrying around with you a reusable water bottle.  Drinking water before a meal can help curb hunger and overeating, and you should definitely drink plenty of water before, during and after any workout.  The Mayo Clinic suggests shooting for at least 9 glasses of water each day to help flush out any toxins in your liver and kidneys.

Ways to Naturally Heal Sunburn

Now that spring is in full bloom and summer is just around the corner, it’s time again to be out enjoying the sun’s rays.  And while those rays can be quite enjoyable, they can also wreak havoc on your skin and cause a pretty nasty sunburn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t let your sunburn turn into days of pain.  Instead try some of those natural ways to fight the pain of sunburn:

  • Use vitamin E.  While there are plenty of sunburn remedies that you can buy over-the-counter, just look in your cabinet for any lotion that contains vitamin E and aloe vera.  The vitamin E and aloe vera add nutrients back into the skin that the UV rays have left unbalanced.  The aloe vera also gives the cooling effect that is much needed for that sunburn.
  • Check the kitchen cupboard and the refrigerator.  Items like vinegar, mustard, yogurt, tomatoes and avocados all contain extra vitamin E and will help to relieve the burn just as any cream or lotion would.
  • Try Lavender Essential Oil.  When used in conjunction with aloe vera, the oil helps to promote new skin growth and heals first degree burns.
  • Opt for green tea.  Green tea is perfect for reducing the swelling of the skin associated with sunburns, as well as taking out the sting of the burn.  To make the green tea compress, bring a pot of tea to boil then pour it over 1 teaspoon of loose green tea.  Cover and let it sit for 5 minutes and then mix with an equal amount of cold water.  Once the mixture is cooled, soak a clean cloth in it and put it on the sunburned skin for five to ten minutes.  This can be applied several times a day.
  • Cool down.  Take a cool bath with 1 cup of black tea and 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to the bath water.  The black tea helps to reduce the swelling and the apple cider vinegar helps to soothe the pain.

Whatever natural method you decide to go with to treat your next sunburn, be sure to treat the burn right away.  Prolonging the treatment of the burn will only prolong the agony of the pain, so take care of your burn on day one.

Osteoporosis Warning Signs

Osteoporosis is one of the most common ailments of adults over the age of 50.

And it is definitely a problem that people do not want to live with.  Weak bones lead to fractures and many other scary problems that could leave you disabled.

Before turning into full-blown osteoporosis, osteopenia – the process of thinning bones – precedes the ailment.  There are some warning signs to look for to determine if your bones are in fact thinning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some warning signs for osteoporosis:

  • Warning Sign #1 – You’ve had more than one fracture in the past two years or a fracture that seemed pretty severe considering the circumstances.
  • Warning Sign #2 – You are naturally a small or thin person.
  • Warning Sign #3 – You have an autoimmune condition that causes you to take prednisone or another corticosteroid.
  • Warning Sign #4 – You are a smoker and have been throughout your adult life.
  • Warning Sign #5 – You drink more than two alcoholic beverages a day.
  • Warning Sign #6 – You do not drink milk or you have a lactose intolerance that prevents you from drinking milk.
  • Warning Sign #7 – You have an eating disorder.
  • Warning Sign #8 – You are an Asian or Caucasian female over the age of 50.
  • Warning Sign #9 – You have a family member who had osteoporosis before the age of 50 or before menopause.

Great Ways to Exercise through Swimming

With the warm weather comes the opening up of public pools and home pools and people break out the bathing suit for another season of swimming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For many people, swimming is a good way to wind down after a long day.  But others are using swimming as another means of exercise and they are finding that exercise in the spring and summertime can be fun! Swimming is an excellent way to lose weight and strength train all the while enjoying the beautiful outdoors.

Exercise experts recommend swimming as a form of exercise because of the great cardiovascular workout you get from swimming.  It is considered a great aerobic exercise because by definition it is an action that maintains an elevated heartbeat for a minimum of 20 minutes.

You can simply add swimming to your pre-existing aerobic workout to help switch things up and keep your workouts fresh.  Alternate days that you decide to use swimming as your cardio for that day, so you don’t get bored with any one workout.

Instead of staying indoors and using the treadmill or elliptical for a day, get outdoors and swim laps in the pool for the cardio portion of your workout and you will find that exercising comes much easier when you aren’t sticking to the same routine day in and day out.

Like any exercise, you should also start any swimming workout routine by stretching first. You may not realize the affect swimming has on your entire body until it is too late, so be sure to stretch appropriately before you begin.

Then start off slow by swimming strides and gradually increasing your speed in the pool.  This will help to elevate your heart rate at a safe pace and help you to last longer during your workout. Swimming, and using swimming as your key workout, is more about endurance than quickness.

Spotlight on: Plums

  • Plums, and their dried version known as prunes, are very high in phytonutrients, which function as an antioxidant and provide much benefit to the body.
  • Eating plums helps in the production and absorption of iron in the body, thereby leading to better blood circulation leading further to the growth of healthy tissues.
  • Because plums contain blood cleansing agents that help keep the blood pure, plums can help you reduce the risk of contracting heart disease.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Chicken Breasts with Plum Salsa and Basmati Rice

  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • 1 cup uncooked basmati rice, rinsed and drained
  • ¾ pound plums, pitted and chopped
  • ½ medium red onion, minced
  • 3 habanero peppers, seeded and minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh minced cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¾ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Place water in medium saucepan and stir in rice. Bring to boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, cool and fluff with fork.  In a bowl, mix the plums, peppers, onions, cilantro and sugar. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Season chicken with rosemary, salt and pepper.  Heat vegetable oil in skillet over medium-heat. Place chicken in oil and brown 1 minute per side.  Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 additional minutes per side.  Serve over rice with plum salsa.

Recipe: Fresh Summer Fruit Salad 

  • ½ cup water
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 cups thinly sliced rhubarb
  • 15 seedless grapes, halved
  • ½ orange, sectioned
  • 10 fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1 apple, cored and diced
  • 1 peach, sliced
  • 1 plum, pitted and sliced
  • 15 pitted Bing cherries
  • ¼ cup fresh blueberries

Bring water and sugar to boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the rhubarb, turn heat to low, cover and simmer until rhubarb is soft, 10 to 15 minutes.  Mash and chill in the refrigerator about one hour.   To serve, mix the grapes, orange, strawberries, apple, peach, plum, cherries, and blueberries with 2/3 cup of the rhubarb sauce.  Stir gently, but thoroughly to coat.  Refrigerate for at least two hours for all of the flavors to blend well.

Childhood Obesity 101: Monitoring Your Child’s Diet

Childhood obesity is constantly on the rise, so as parents we need to be sure that we are always monitoring our children’s fat intake.  In order to help your child maintain a healthy lifestyle, be sure to establish good eating habits like the following:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Children with a family history of cholesterol and heart disease should drink 2 percent milk.
  • After their 2nd birthday, all kids should drink 1 percent milk.
  • Serve your child lean meats and fish.
  • Limit your child’s cheese intake.
  • Limit fruit juice intake to 4 to 6 ounces per day.
  • Offer low-fat snacks like yogurt, pretzels or fresh fruit.
  • Prepare foods using low-fat methods like broiling, steaming or roasting.

Choosing the Right Spring Foods

Spring is here again and it’s time to take advantage of all of those great springtime fruits and vegetables. Here’s how to choose the best ones:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Apricots – slightly soft, not bruised
  • Artichoke – compact head, bright green color
  • Asparagus – closed and compact tips, bright green stalks
  • Avocado – should be a little “give” when squeezed
  • Carrots – crisp, healthy tops
  • Collard Greens – dark green, vibrant color
  • Mango – more orange/red than green
  • New Potatoes – last only a few days
  • Pineapple – sniff the bottom for sweet aroma, check for firmness
  • Rhubarb – check for bright, crisp stalks
  • Spinach – avoid dried out or yellow stems
  • Strawberries – pick fragrant, slightly soft ones
  • Sugar Snap/Snow Peas – bright green, should feel like they have a snap (not limp)

And while you are grabbing those great spring fruits and vegetables, it’s also time to get rid of some of those bad foods, too!

While they may be quick and easy, oftentimes processed foods are causing you more harm than good.  If you are looking to get healthy and lose some weight in the process then you must get rid of these processed foods.

  • Flavored yogurt
  • Fat free potato chips
  • Diet soda
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Packaged egg whites
  • Bottled barbeque sauces
  • Bottled salad dressings
  • Sugar free candy bars
  • Multi-grain tortilla chips

Your Skin Cancer Risk

Here are some surprising clues that could mean that you are more apt to being diagnosed with skin cancer than others…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clue #1:  You wear flip-flops often.  If you wear flip-flops most of the spring and summer, your feet are prone to more sun exposure and sun damage than those who wear socks and shoes.

Clue #2:  You wear baseball hats.  While baseball hats protect your head from sun damage, your ears are constantly exposed and are often overlooked when your skin is checked for signs of skin cancer.

Clue #3:  You are a male.  Whether it’s habits, hormones or genes, or even a combination of these three, men have three times as many squamous cancer cells and twice as many basal cancer cells as women.  Also, white men over the age of 50 have the highest incidence of melanoma.

Clue #4:  You have dark skin.  While skin with more pigment has a natural shield against UV rays, many African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian Indians get a false sense of security and

typically do not pay much attention to protecting their skin from these harmful rays.  Skin cancer is also detected much later in dark skinned people, therefore making it harder to treat.

Clue #5:  You live in the South or in the Mountains.  Rates of skin cancer are obviously higher in places that receive more sunlight, like in the South or in the Mountains.  Altitude is also a factor as UV radiation increases about 4 to 5 percent for every 1,000 feet above sea level.

Clue #6: You are a runner, cyclist or swimmer.  The more miles men and women run the greater their chance of acquiring skin cancer.  The same goes for swimmers and cyclists who spend countless hours out in the climate.

Clue #7:  You have a lot of moles.  The average Caucasian has 30 moles – relatively round spots that are brown, red or pink.  But the moles that are asymmetrical, with raggedy borders, discoloration or changing size, are the ones that are more likely to develop into melanoma.  People over the age of 20 with more than 100 moles or people under the age of 20 with more than 50 moles are also at risk.

Benefits of Massage Therapy

For more than 120 years, experts have been researching the benefits of massage therapy, and besides the obvious stress-free feeling that people have following a massage, there are plenty of other benefits to this ancient healing procedure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One major benefit of massage therapy that researchers have found is that people who get massages on a regular basis have noticed a decrease in their blood pressure.

Massages also help to alleviate the pain of those who suffer from migraine headaches.

Massage can also: reduce your heart rate, increase blood circulation and lymph flow, relax your muscles, improve your range of motion, and increase endorphins.

Research has also shown that while massage therapy does not increase your muscle strength, it can stimulate your weak and inactive muscles and can thereby aid muscles that you may not have worked out in quite some time.

Massage therapy can also speed up your recovery process if you do have an injury.

Some other physical benefits of massage therapy include: relieving muscle tension and stiffness, alleviating discomfort during pregnancy, reducing

muscle spasms, promoting deeper and easier breathing, enhancing the health and nourishment of your skin, and improving your posture.

Massage therapy, while a physical act, is not all about physical benefits.  There are plenty of mental benefits that having a massage can give you.

Some of these mental benefits include: promoting mental alertness, relieving mental stress, reducing levels of anxiety, improving motor skills, creating   body awareness, and fostering a feeling of well being.

New Treadmill Workouts

Looking for some new treadmill workouts to keep your routine fresh and easy?  Here are some popular ones…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warm Up and Cool Down- Prior to and following any treadmill workout you should always include a warm up and a cool down session.

A typical warm up session should last for about 5 minutes.  Walk slowly (1.5 to 2 mph) for one minute, increase your incline to stretch out your legs for one minute, then reduce to your speed to 1.8 for two minutes and wrap up your warm up by speeding up to 3 mph for one minute.

At the end of your walk as a cool down session, you should reduce your walk speed to 2.5 or 3.5 and walk for three minutes.  Then slow your speed down to1.5 or 2.5 mph and walk for two more minutes.

Speed Pyramid- Following your warm up session, walk for 30 seconds at 3.5 mph; increase to 4.5 mph for 30 seconds. Walk for 45 seconds at 3.5 mph; increase to 4.5 mph for 45 seconds.  Walk for one minute at 3.5 mph; increase to 4.5 mph and walk for one minute.  Continue in this fashion adding 15 seconds to each circuit until you reach 5 minutes walking at both 3.5 and 4.5 mph.  Then perform your cool down session.

Incline Pyramid- Following your warm up session, start at an incline of 4 and walk for one minute.  Elevate to 5 and walk for another minute.  Continue to increase the incline every minute up to an incline of 8, and then decrease the incline every minute, back down to 4.  Try to maintain a speed of 3 or 4 mph throughout the workout.  Finish up with your cool down session.

Easy 30-Minute- Following your warm up session, run at what you would consider your normal pace for 10 minutes.  Then walk for a minute to catch your breath. Increase the original running speed by 0.2 and run for another 10 minutes.  Walk for two minutes to catch your breath.  Crank it up by another 0.2 and run for five minutes.  Slow it down and walk for two minutes.  Finish strong with a good cool down session.