We are officially underway in the New Year and I’m sure we are all struggling to keep those New Year’s Resolutions. Every January we all make commitments to do better, to be better. Whether that is exercising, drinking less, working harder, making ‘you time,’ or just eating cleaner. Whatever it is, we all have to work for it.
So if there were something out there that made it easier and was a safe, natural, and healthy alternative, wouldn’t we take it? We already have so much on our plates with day-to-day life, balancing work, a personal life, and possibly kids or a family? It’s hard enough finding time to eat every day, much less maintain a healthy diet and find time to go to the gym. We can’t all be Wonder Woman, but we can try. Lucky for us we have essential oils.
Essential oils are a highly concentrated extract taken from various parts of plants such as the roots, leaves, and petals. Essential oils have been used for centuries to relieve both mental and physical ailments. Essential oils are primarily multi-purpose and can be fluid in the results they deliver to each user’s needs. There are, however, a few essential oils that assist with weight loss.
We all know that there is no easy or magic way to lose weight, but essential oils can affect your mood, promoting emotional and physical health promoting an environment of motivation and invigoration.
Keep in mind, these are for smelling, not eating. Essential oils not specifically marked for consumption can make you very ill.
Grapefruit oil contains a compound called nootkatone, which boosts metabolism and helps burn fat. In addition, its sweet citrus scent is rejuvenating and invigorating to provide motivation and helps you to get moving!
Cinnamon oil is great if you’ve got a sweet tooth. It assists in controlling your insulin and blood sugar levels, which can help stem those sugar cravings. It has also been suggested to stifle hunger when taken regularly, making it easier for you to maintain that diet.
Ginger oil has a plethora of benefits including aiding and balancing digestive health. It contains a compound called gingerol that helps to soothe inflammation in the intestines and aids in the absorption of vitamins and minerals. Ginger oil can also help curb sugar cravings and is a healthy alternative to sweet treats.
Bergamot oil is a great scent to boost your mood and increase your energy levels and motivation when you’re feeling down. Keeping a happy mind will also prevent stress and emotional eating.
Peppermint oil, aside from relieving headaches and aiding with clarity and focus, can quell appetite and prevent overeating as well as stave off indigestion and bloating.
Lemon oil has an abundance of uses around the house such as cleaning and energizing, as well as fortifying your immune system. Lemon can help burn body fat (hence its presence in many juice cleanse recipes) as well as increase norepinephrine levels in your brain. This invigorating scent is energizing and downright motivating.
While none of these oils can cause you to lose weight, they can create a very conducive environment, both mentally and physically, for your body to lose weight and maintain that healthy attitude that may start to fade as we get further into the New Year.
Nothing can replace diet and exercise, but essential oils are a natural and healthy way with nearly no side effects to aid in weight loss and keep you feeling energized, positive, and motivated about maintaining your new lifestyle.
Important: Never use peppermint oil undiluted. Do not use it when you have gastric reflux or active stomach ulcers, are pregnant or nursing, or on medication. Do not use it with children under 8 years, and not directly under the nose of your child or baby. Use only very small amounts, this is highly potent stuff.
When I started using essential oils (EO) about four years ago, I was skeptical about how well they worked. Sure, I heard people raving about them but it’s just an oil, right?
Oh, how wrong I was.
When I Fell in Love with Peppermint Oil
There are two incidents that stick out in my mind which caused me to change my thinking about EOs. The first was using a peppermint bug repellent blend that actually worked and the second was one of my many cooking incidents.
Confession - I am a train wreck in the kitchen. The food generally comes out okay but it’s not uncommon for me to drop, splash, or somehow maim myself in the process. Therefore, it was no surprise when I burnt myself taking a quiche out of the oven one evening.
My Minty Hero
I immediately ran cold water on it but the stinging persisted. I asked a friend about which essential oil works well on burns and her response was peppermint which was one of the oils she had given me to try. Two drops and two minutes later the pain was gone and I was sold.
So What is Peppermint?
Due to its versatility, peppermint is one of the most popular and commonly used essential oils.
The peppermint plant is a hybrid species of spearmint and watermint (aka Mentha Aquatica). Its high menthol and menthone content is responsible for most of its therapeutic effects. The earliest known use of mentha was approximately 1,000 BC and it has even been found in several Egyptian pyramids.
There are over 300 scientific studies referring to peppermint essential oil benefits and over 2,000 studies on the benefits and uses of menthol. One drop of oil is so concentrated it is the equivalent of drinking 28 cups of peppermint tea.
Dr. Axe goes into a bit more detail in this great video, watch:
Peppermint Oil Benefits and Uses - YouTube
Some of the Most Common Uses for Peppermint Essential Oil
As mentioned above, peppermint EO is famous for its versatility. It can be sniffed or diffused, applied topically, or taken internally (if you are using an EO approved for internal use). These are my fav ways to take full advantage of peppermint oil benefits:
Inhaled (sniffed or diffused) peppermint can help lessen symptoms associated with:
Sinus & breathing problems (including colds, cough, sinusitis, asthma, allergies and bronchitis). You can take a look at this menthol chest rub I use on my kids whenever they get congested.
Lack of focus or drowsiness
The benefits of using peppermint EO internally include reduced symptoms associated with stomach upset and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
When taking internally, mix 1-2 drops of peppermint in an 8 oz glass of water. Remember, a little goes a long way!
The benefits of using peppermint EO topically include reduced symptoms associated with:
Muscle and joint pain This recipe for pain cream has done wonders to reduce my husband’s rheumatoid arthritis joint discomfort.
Headache discomfort Apply two drops of peppermint EO and two drops of lavender EO to the temple and back of the neck for pain relief.
Itching from rash, bug bites, eczema, or psoriasis* Dilute 1-2 drop diluted in 2 Tbsp of a carrier oil like coconut oil or almond oil and apply up to the affected area up to 3 times a day
Increased body temperature Apply two to three drops of peppermint essential oil on the forehead and temples, back of the neck, back, and/or bottoms of feet where the oil will absorb quickly to bring the body temperature down.
Mild acne Use as a cooling peppermint toner along with apple cider vinegar to balance skin pH and lessen bacteria on the skin surface.
Sunburn Dilute 1-2 drop diluted in 2 Tbsp of a carrier oil like coconut oil or almond oil and apply up to the affected area up to 3 times a day.
Mild burns Apply 1-2 drops to the affected area.
Hair loss (can slow down or stop hair loss) Check out this homemade shampoo that uses peppermint essential oil.
Peppermint is also a great natural bug repellent when used topically or it can be sprayed around the home to deter bugs. And make sure to check out EveryHomeRemedy's own uses for peppermint oil as an eco-friendly, pet and children safe mice repellent.
*When using any new product, test on a small patch of skin first.
Have you ever used peppermint oil? If so, comment below with how you have used it. Here are some more great ways to use it:
Deja Cronley is a Registered Nurse turned Blogger. She fell in love with natural living four years ago and has dedicated herself to educating others about organics. She loves Crossfit, the beach, and playing with her kids. Read more about cleaner, natural living at DejaVuOrganics.com.
My kids are picky eaters. I have no idea how this happened, as I did everything according "to the books": Rapley, monkey platters, involving them in harvesting, shopping and cooking. But they still turn up their nose for most veggies, and anything that looks too fancy.
Aside from accepting how they eat, and focusing on the healthy things they DO like, I use lotsa sneaky veggie hiding recipes. One of their favorites at the moment is pumpkin pancakes. It is a super easy way to combine a bit of sweetness with a super healthy vegetable: pumpkin. (Or is pumpkin one of those that is actually fruit? Comment below if you know!)
These pumpkin pancakes are deliciously spicy and are an ideal way to get some extra vegetables in. I serve them with some organic raw honey and chopped pecans.
1 cup of pumpkin
1 cup of spelt flour
1 cup of plantbased milk (for instance oat milk or rice milk)
1 tbsp of cinnamon
a pinch of salt
Peel the pumpkin and cut into small cubes
Fry the pumpkin for 15 minutes until soft
Mix the egg, flour, cinnamon, salt and milk into a smooth batter
add the pumpkin and puree with a blender until smooth
Heat some coconut oil into a frying pan and cook about 5-6 small pancakes
Serve with butter, pecans, maple syrup, honey or sour cream
The only thing to remember when drinking coffee is to not overdo it. Don’t have more than a cup before a workout – if you drink more than that you could spike your cortisol levels, which could lead to binge eating and weight gain.
Lots of people are surprised when they find out that fiber has been found to help people lose weight.
However, when you discover the mechanism behind it – it’s not surprising at all!
Better Digestion, Less Cravings
Fiber helps your body properly digest the food that you eat – meaning that you get the full nutritional benefit of what you’re eating and you don’t have as many hunger cravings afterwards.
Feel fuller longer
Second, fiber doesn’t break down in your stomach – which means it keeps you feeling fuller for longer, leading to less calories consumed and more pounds lost.
There was a study done earlier this year that found that subjects who took fiber supplements had their Body Mass Index decrease compared to subjects who ate their normal diet. They also experienced less cravings for unhealthy, processed foods like white bread.
To up the fiber content of your diet, remember to eat foods like beans, cruciferous vegetables, and whole grains. That will get your digestion moving along smoothly and help you lose weight naturally, just by improving your diet.
There’s more and more evidence behind small behavioral tweaks that can have a huge effect on your health and on your weight loss goals.
There have been numerous studies about keeping track of what foods you eat and how much you eat throughout the day, and the effect that has on your total calories eaten.
Measuring is knowing, and knowledge is power
Subjects who kept track of their calories eaten were consistently shocked that they were eating at least 200 calories more than they expected, each and every day.
Add that up, and you get consistent weight gain – even if you’re trying to lose weight in other ways.
Try tracking the foods you eat each day. It takes a little bit of effort at the beginning, but it can pay off huge when you realize the small tweaks you can make to accelerate you towards your weight loss goals.
Be aware of the values you hold dear when it comes to food. If you have a gut feeling that counting calories will make you less mindful about eating, or will result in a negative relation with your food, don't start counting.
Also, if you have a history of eating disorders, or the tendency to become very obsessed or competitive in other area's in your life, calorie tracking might not be the healthiest option for you.
4. High Intensity Interval Training Is Proven To Be Effective
If you’re like a lot of people, you don’t particularly love the time that gets spent in the gym – you just want to accomplish your goals as fast as possible.
That’s where High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, comes in.
HIIT is a workout strategy that has been proven to be the most effective at burning the most calories and helping you hit your weight loss goals as fast as possible.
It’s been shown that HIIT helps to get rid of visceral fat (the fat that sits around your organs in your midsection) more than 20% more effectively than normal aerobic exercise, and in less time!
This is a home run for a weight loss technique that’s based on real scientific evidence – so if you’re serious about getting more done in less time, look up HIIT and make your workouts much more effective.
Here's a great full HIIT workout for fatloss, no more excuses, you got this:
HIIT Workout for Fat Loss - FitnessBlender.com's At Home HIIT Workout Program for Weight Loss - YouTube
5. Chew More Slowly And Naturally Cut Weight
This is another very simple tweak that you can apply to your lifestyle to naturally shed weight without even having to go to the gym.
Are you eating too fast?
It’s very easy to fall into a habit of eating too quickly – especially when you’re someone who really enjoys food. Great tasting food is easy to eat fast, which means that you’re not giving your body enough time to catch up on how much you’re actually eating and could be unconsciously overeating.
Studies have found that those who eat quickly without thinking consistently overeat, and underestimate the number of calories they’re consuming at each meal.
However, there’s good news. Those same studies researched the effect of chewing slowly and eating at a slower pace, and found encouraging results.
Why are you supposed to eat slow?
When you chew more slowly, it increases the production of hormones in your body that signal to your brain that you’re full – and that you should stop eating.
So when you consume more slowly, you give your body time to adjust, and naturally feel fuller after eating less. That means that you naturally consume less calories each day, and it becomes easier and easier to lose weight and look your best.
Kid's Activity Tracker Buying Guide: What To Look For?
Fitness trackers have become the most popular wearables over the past years. There are a wide variety of models available with various features designed to help you reach your specific health and wellness related goals. If you have considered buying a fitness tracker for your kids, you may have found yourself overwhelmed at the wide array of options available.
The following information has been gathered to help you narrow your search and find the right activities tracker for your child's specific needs.
Why Get a Fitness Tracker?
You may decide to get a tracker for a wide variety of reasons. If your kid is a budding athlete, you may find it beneficial to be able to log details about their trainings so you can track their progress from week to week.
If you are simply trying to get your kids to be more active in their day to day life, an activity tracker can help to motivate them to get moving more often. This will increase their physical fitness and decrease their daily exposure to screens to a more healthy amount.
Common Features and Benefits of Fitness Trackers
Some of the most common features and how these features can benefit anyone are detailed below. After that, we will go into the specific aspects you should be looking for when getting one for your child.
Tracking and Logging Fitness Performance
If you're in the market for a fitness tracker, you may enjoy the prospect of being able to log details about each workout that you or your child performs. However, various trackers will have different degrees of accuracy in tracking these details.
Additionally, some types of aerobic workouts like swimming will be harder to track accurately. Aerobic activities such as walking and running are much easier to track accurately and the details provided can be linked to a variety of fitness apps so that all of the statistics are kept in one central location.
Fitness performance details that can be monitored by your fitness tracker can include the distance you travel, the time it takes you to travel that distance, the pace that you keep throughout your workout, and the average heart rate you maintain. This information can then be compared to future workouts so that you can accurately assess your improvements as you become more fit.
You will likely find this to be a big motivator in the task of reaching for your long-term fitness related goals, as it allows you to see your true progress in real time.
Heart Rate Tracking
Maintaining an appropriate heart rate during aerobic activity is vital in accomplishing health and fitness related goals. If you are not working hard enough, you will not continue to show progress over the coming weeks and months. However, if you are working too hard, you can cause unnecessary damage and stress to your body.
Years ago, tracking your heart rate accurately required expensive and more complicated equipment that was usually only provided by membership-based gyms or other fitness facilities. However, using a heart rate monitor now is as easy as strapping your fitness tracker to your wrist and pushing a simple button.
That said, it is important to read the reviews of various models of fitness trackers. Different models will have varying degrees of accuracy when it comes to tracking your heart rate as you exercise. Overall, they all do a fairly good job of providing basic heart rate information that can help guide you toward having more productive workout sessions.
Tracking Calories Burned
If you are interested in losing weight, the option to be able to track the calories you burn during each workout may be an important feature for you to look for in a fitness tracker. Many fitness trackers also come with software or access to apps that allow you to enter detailed food logs each day. By logging your calories in and calories out on a daily basis, you can accurately gauge your weight loss goals and make revisions where needed to keep you on track.
Steps and Distance Traveled
If you have been previously inactive, you may start your new fitness regime with a simple goal to reach a certain number of steps per day. Nearly all fitness trackers automatically assess how many steps you take on a daily basis, and you can set specific goals to reach to keep yourself challenged as well. Many fitness trackers also feature apps that allow you to engage in friendly challenges with family or colleagues, keeping you all motivated to be as active as you possibly can.
Tracking Rest and Sleep
Maintaining adequate rest and sleep is absolutely vital for reaching your health and wellness goals.
Without the appropriate amount of sleep, your workouts will be much less effective and you will likely find yourself struggling to improve. Your body will repair the stress that your muscles undergo during workouts while you are sleeping, so this time is crucial for your continued progress.
Thankfully, many popular fitness trackers allow you to accurately monitor your sleep cycles. By simply wearing your device as you sleep at night, you will wake up to a detailed chart of the time you spent asleep and the overall quality of the sleep that you got.
Monitoring Your Hydration
Hydration is also a key part of health, yet you may find it difficult to drink as much water as you should. Maintaining appropriate hydration levels will help your body to perform better during workouts and will protect your immune system as you push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
Tracking your water consumption in your fitness tracking device will make it easier to keep up with how much water you have consumed and how much more is needed by the end of the day.
What Else to Consider When Buying a Fitness Tracker for Children?
Swimming? Make sure you get waterproof activity trackers
Now that you know a bit more about the features of fitness trackers in general - which additional features are important for kids activity trackers? Here are some questions to answer before you choose one:
1. What are their goals (and your goals for them)?
The first step in choosing the right fitness tracker for your kid's specific needs is to fully assess your (hopefully) mutual goals.
If they simple need to become a little more active by reaching a minimum number of steps each day, a more basic fitness tracker would be just fine. If they're striving to become athletes, you may need a few extra bells and whistles for detailed analysis.
2. What are the specific activities to be tracked?
Next, it is important to consider what types of aerobic activities your kid will likely be engaging in. As previously stated, certain types of exercises such as swimming may not be accurately recorded by all devices. If they engage in watersports, you will want to look for a waterproof or water-resistant fitness tracker.
3. How tough does the tracker need to be?
Knowing kids, you really want something that can stand any weather condition, falling, and anything else that would wear and tear the device to pieces. The wristband needs to be very durable, and easy to adjust, put on and take off. Replaceable ones are also great in terms of longer use and change in personal style preferences.
4. What are the game elements?
Trackers for adults often offer a game element with rewards, which can work great for motivation. Kids fitness trackers usually take this "gamifying" to the next level. With cute graphics, animated pets and mini-games you won't need to nag them into exercising. Even further than that, some trackers include family challenges and chores you can set up, for which the child is rewarded once they finish. So if you think your child would love combining games and exercising - make sure the tracker is filled with fun extra's.
5. Does it look cool/cute?
Kids want to look at something that they like. The more they love how the tracker looks, the more often and longer they will use it. Luckily, there are some great kid-friendly designs available, as well as many customisation options. So choose the tracker with your kids personal taste in mind!
The Best Kids Fitness Trackers Reviewed
Now that you have an idea which aspects of an activity tracker are most important for your kids, here is our list of the latest, most popular and top rated kids activity tracker designs on the market today.
They are in no particular order, because each tracker has a different appeal in terms of age, type of activity and design focus.
This is the most popular tracker, which is no surprise, seeing all its features and awesome looking design. It's also a bit more pricier, but in my opinion worth the investment, as your kid will actually use it.
Long lasting and highly adjustable
The Vivo tracker is very durable, waterproof and the (replaceable) battery lasts for a year. It is highly adjustable as it comes in many colors and designs. The Garmin Vivo Fit is suitable for kids between 4-9 years. It tracks your child’s activities, as well as their steps and sleep pattern. It also tells the time and date in a sunlight-readable display, and has an alarm function.
Fun and educational
To encourage your kids to keep fit, the tracker has fun and educational adventure trails which they get to use when they meet their activity goals. Through such, they not only learn facts about animals but also get to be more active while having fun.
Something for the whole family
Parents can also modify and set the adventure trails and rewards through the app. Such include movie nights, pocket money and many others. By doing so you get an opportunity to engage with and teach your children the value of hard work and dedication. This is such a valuable lesson that will help them in achieving their goals later in life.
Guardians and parents are also not forgotten as they are rewarded with some goodies, and can setup chores in the tracker for kids to complete. The kids earn digital coins for chores, which they can use for rewards you defined.
You can even set up family challenges with the Vivo Fit and reach your goals together. Here you can see the tracker in action:
vívofit jr.: The Activity Tracker Just for Kids - YouTube
Very durable and comfortable
No need for charging, battery life is one year and replaceable
Great looking design, lots of choices
Can set up chores for kids, family challenges & adventures
Free parent app & bluetooth
High-resolution, sunlight-readable display
Tells time and date
Regular size fits wrists up to 145 mm; X-large fits wrists 146-170 mm. Larger than that is not available yet.
Second on our list is a chunky but full of superb features tracker. It exceeds the ordinary fitness tracking by being one that children can play with and comes in green, blue and pink colors.
It works well with kids between four to seven years and has an easy-to-use design. The fitness tracker has inbuilt sensors which track the steps taken and buttons which assist them to listen to the audio instructions.
Virtual Pet, Lots of Activities and Games
It has a wide array of activities such as cardiovascular and muscle strengthening ones. To encourage children to be more active in using it, Leapfrog has rewards which they can use to nurse their virtual pet.
It also offers up to 50 games and more pets which wearers can unlock as they progress with its use.
If your child loves games that involve playing with cute animal characters, this is a device that will stimulate them to play actively endlessly. There are so many minigames and challenges to play - this won't grow old fast.
One thing I should share about this one: Though the LeapBand is developed for kids 4-7 years old, my 7 year old son said it was "for babies", and he actually loved the more stylish Garmin VivoFit Jr. So keep the preferences of your child in mind, before you choose!
These little ones are having a blast, watch:
LeapBand: Fit Band for Kids - Active Play & Healthy Habits for Children | LeapFrog - YouTube
Has plenty of fun games & rewards to motivate moving
Cute and colorful graphics
The virtual pet gives it extra personality
You can charge it with an USB to your laptop, charge lasts for 3 days
Has a quiet time mode without noise or animation
Quite clunky design - big device
Does not have an interactive touch screen
Activities and games might be too "young" for some 7 year olds
The Fitbit Zip is very popular. It's mostly targeted at adults, but more and more parents buy them for their kids as well. In this way, the whole family is using the same gadget which gives a nice "we're doing this together" feel to it.
The FitBit is a very basic gadget, without a lot of bells and whistles. But as they have been the leading brand for so long, they do what they're supposed to do very very well. The Fitbit fitness tracker can:
Count your child's steps
Count calories burned (this is usually not necessary with children except if they are obese or with some forms of chronical illnesses)
Measure distance traveled: You can see on a daily and weekly basis how much distance has been covered.
Clock function: the fitbit zip can double function as a wrist watch (you need to order a fitbit wrist band with it)
Unlike the other activity trackers, the Zip is a clip-on which you can easily attach to your kid's clothes, and even wear it under a shirt. For some kids though, this might mean they lose it in the first five minutes they wear it, so you might want to order the separate FitBit wrist band.
Nice shape and compact design
Connects via bluetooth with phone or laptop
Enough memory capacity to log for a week
The most affordable tracker for great value
No wrist band included, has to be bought seperately
This is a bit of a wildcard because it technically is a smart watch, and not just a fitness tracker. It offers so many digital activities and functions, you might be worried about actually increasing their screen time instead of decreasing it.
That said, if you think your kids would become bored easily with other trackers, this is a great compromise between either sitting on the tablet for too long and having no screen at all.
Here are some of the features this smart watch for kids offers (and that's not all of them!):
Fun and educational teaching how to tell time
Can take photo's and record video's, and add photo filters
Has a voice recorder with 5 voice effects
Includes various arcade, educational and motion games, and you can download more from the LearningLodge site
Has a calendar feature for learning the days and months of the year
Includes a calculator for learning simple math
Games you can play with the touch screen
A motion sensor for action challenges
Has a pedometer
So the Vtech watch can go either way: it can keep your kid motivated to use it, while increasing their active time. But it can also become a distraction from physical activities, because they prefer playing the games on it that do not involve any movement. The end result depends on your kid's behavior and how you will set restrictions on using certain functions of the watch.
See the Vtech Smart Watch in action here:
VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX: 2016 TV Commercial :15 - YouTube
Multi-purpose toy that you will get of use out of
Can save up to 800 photo's and 6 one minute video's
Durable, splash and sweatproof
Lots of features so kids won't get bored
Can add more educational games through LearningLodge site
Is it the blue sky? The friend that is sitting across from you? Your lunch?
You’re looking at a screen, filled with pixels and beaming blue light. Having constant access to knowledge, entertainment and friends-who-are-not-here is wonderful. But having too much screen time has a price.
This constant urge to respond to digital signals has disadvantages for your mental and physical health. A regular digital detox however will give you clear focus and positive energy on the things you find important in life. To reach those goals you never thought possible. To simply feel better.
If you want to learn about the how and why of a digital detox, read on. However, for the more visually geared, watch this awesome speech by tech junkie Tanya Mulry for TEDx:
Need a Digital Detox? | Tania Mulry | TEDxLaSierraUniversity - YouTube
Disadvantages of always being connected
These are some of the downsides of being ‘on’ all the time, recognize some? Time to switch off!
Lack of attention
Due to the continuous diversion of multiple digital media, there is a risk that you approach everything with a shallow, fleeting concentration. Your mind is divided through multi-tasking and no subject, task or person gets the attention that is needed.
Less appreciation for reality
You are less present in the moment (mindful) which makes you experience things less intensely. In addition, there is often a tendency to share special moments on social media.
What do I mean by this? Devaluation of reality works like this:
On the one hand, you transform your direct experience into that of an indirect cinematographer or a photographer: a distant spectator. Instead of going through the experience, you're observing it.
On the other hand, you value special moments only after you have shared them. How often do you or does someone else ask, after or while something is happening: did you share it on Facebook? For example, if your kid does something kick ass, your first thought might be a negative one because you do not have your phone to shoot and post it. You won't allow yourself to simply enjoy the moment as it happens.
Nicholas Carr, author of "The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains" describes the effects of constantly shifting our brain from one medium to another. This unrestricted behavior he associates with superficial thinking, weak concentration, reduced creativity and increased stress levels.
If you'd like to know more about how the Internet is affecting your brain, grab your copy here (Amazon bookstore).
The more we are behind screens, the less we move. Not just less exercising, but also sitting motionless in the same position is very unhealthy. We go to the toilet late, drink less water, breathe superficially and do not blink with our eyes. Various factors that adversely affect our health, and further remove us from being aware of our body.
Although there is no conclusive evidence, there are indications that excessive exposure to radiation from WiFi and mobile phones may be carcinogenic. The studies on this are still ongoing and the long-term effects still need to be shown, but you can imagine being close to digital devices can not be healthy.
Why a digital detox?
Fortunately, all devices have an off button. It can be very healthy to minimize all digital stimulation and distraction for a week. Not only because it promotes your physical and mental health, but also because it is good to take a break and think about your life.
By following a digital detox cure, you detoxify from reacting to all the digital signals that lead to a fragmented mind. To what extent your life after digital detoxification is still being dictated by your phone, laptop or tablet, lies with you.
Before you begin your detox:
Take control, set your intention
Take a minute of silence before working on your computer or using your phone. Look at your face in the mirror of the screen, and become aware of how you will use this technology today. This is a different starting point than when you immediately turn on your computer and let it lead you.
Talk about your digital detox
Share your detox plans with your family, friends and work. Ask what impact digital media has on their lives, and how they experience your behavior. Ask if someone wants to join you for extra motivation. You will soon notice how difficult it is to ditch your phone when your loved ones are constantly busy with their own smartphones.
Set goals for things you've always wanted to do, but never got to. Through a digital detox you will be surprised at how much time you have left and what you can achieve in that time. For example, think of sports, reading, music and art or visiting someone who you have neglected for too long. You can also look beyond your own interests: Help your children with a project, do a chore for your partner or do volunteering.
Your digital detox plan
Basically, a digital detox can be hard to do, but it’s very simple: disconnect all digital media for seven days. No mobile phone, no internet, no social media, no text, no TV and no WiFi. You decide if you want to close off everything, or only partially. Below are some tips to make it easier.
Data OFF, Life ON
Take care to avoid all digital media during your detox. There is a danger that you will be tempted by a tweet, or something you want to look up. Before you know, you'll be back online again in full force. Some people don’t even read newspapers or watch television anymore during a digital detoxification period.
So turn off all digital devices, unplug your modem and let a friend change your passwords. There are also apps that temporarily block your access to internet or social networks. How far you want to go with your digital detox is your own choice. A great way to start is to create tech-free area’s in your home.
If you want to keep in touch with your family, do not check a work related email. Turn off your business phone and turn off all calendar notifications. Turn off all notifications of business apps on your phone and tablet.
If you do need to keep working, do not log in to social networks or your personal email . Turn off your private phone, and let family call a landline when needed. Remove all social apps from your phone and tablet.
Take a holiday
If possible, plan your digital detox during a vacation period. An American Express survey, however, found that 83 percent of vacationers expect to be connected digitally during the vacation, and 64 percent expect to check their work email daily.
If you allow your free time to be infiltrated by work and social media, you dramatically limit your chance to really relax. Therefore, take advantage of your free time for a complete stop on all online activities. You will notice that your vacation is much more intense without the interruptions and pressures of email, social media and text messaging.
You get to feel free from your normal daily life, your holiday seems longer, you focus on yourself and your loved ones, and you will return refreshed and ready to tackle life. There are many holiday providers who have digital detox packages. They often combine an offline stay with yoga, meditation and fasting.
Find quiet places
Several places of silence have been created by different companies and organizations where you can escape digital influences. For example, London Selfridge Warehouse has opened a felt-covered "Silence Room", where you can retreat from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street without shoes and phone.
In Amsterdam, candy manufacturer Kit Kat offers zones to block WiFi signals within a 5-meter radius. "Have a break, have no WiFi" is the message Kit Kat gives the visitors.
In some catering establishments, laptops are off limits. At the Eva restaurant in Los Angeles, customers receive a 5 percent discount when they leave their phone with the receptionist.
Get in touch with yourself
Keep a diary and describe what you feel during your digital detox. Also try to describe how you want your life to look after this cure. In this way, you are super present in this period and engage in dialogue with yourself. It can be scary to not lose yourself in distractions and to expose potential pain in your life. There is the possibility that you are looking for this distraction to disregard something. But the result is a reborn feeling and new energy for the next phase of your life.
Get in touch with the important people in your life
As mentioned before, it can be helpful to do this detox with friends and family. Not just for motivation and accountability purposes. You actually get to talk. You get to do others things together. Some issues might come up, and you work through it. Some wonderful surprises might happen.
It’s worth a try
After the first withdrawal symptoms during digital detoxification, you will discover how rich your life can be without the pressure to respond continuously to all digital commands of your gadgets. You'll find your focus back to achieve goals effectively and restore quality in your personal direct contact.
After your detox, you are more aware of your time and attention, and you can better determine which things are worth your energy. And boy, are there some wonderful things to go for in life!
Why is organic makeup better for the environment? Read on
Nowadays, organic beauty products are all the rage and (almost) everyone is hopping on board. Why?
At least that one’s easy to answer – over the past few years, we seem to have gained a consciousness alerting us to love ourselves more, care for ourselves more and do all in our power to keep our health on point.
Minding the type of beauty products we use has long evolved past the brands and is now more focused on the labels. More and more people are sensibly reading the ingredients of the beauty products they are using, deciding to go with the healthiest option possible no matter the cost.
Natural cosmetics are all about bringing health and beauty together through all-natural ingredients. The companies behind these products use organic components in order to be more environmentally responsible, to help you stay healthy and to bring you good quality.
Things are no longer about the packaging the products come in (although we don’t mind the new kind, either); what’s important is the way they are made.
First of all, you need to understand what going organic implies. Namely, turning to organic products means you will be doing your environment a great favor because all your makeup ingredients will come from eco-friendly sources.
But, that’s not all.
Thanks to the Fairtrade system, everyone involved in the production and consumption benefits from having a safer and healthier alternative to modern cosmetics.
Then again, perhaps the most important aspect of organic products is that you’re doing your share in reducing the use of GMO, pesticides, and herbicides.
In addition, by using less harmful substances, you’re also automatically lowering the risks of developing any kind of skin-related illnesses. In the end, though, you will be feeding your skin all the essential nutrients that will keep it nurtured and beautiful.
Although conventional cosmetics will somewhat help your skin, in the long run - they will do you more harm than good. One of the greatest reasons to switch to organic beauty brands is that they will help you reduce the effects of aging. Who doesn’t want to look younger in the era of “young is the new black”?
The best organic beauty brands
INIKA stands out as one of the leading beauty brands that focuses on using 100% natural ingredients and bringing you the best of everything. The brand offers certified organic and mineral makeup collections with a brilliant line of eco friendly products.
Bite Beauty is a brand meant for makeup lovers, i.e. all the girlies who have a problem keeping their lipstick on. Good news, not only are these lipsticks made from organic ingredients, but they contain food-grade ingredients that will make your lipstick look good and taste even better.
Immunocologie’s skin care program focuses on moisturizing, rejuvenating, and tightening your skin. The secret lies in the fact that the company uses clay as its main ingredient, which is, by the way, an excellent cleanser and exfoliator. Be sure to try both the night and day protection creams.
Being suggestive of its name, The Rahua by Amazon Beauty is dedicated to bringing you the best of what rainforests can offer when it comes to healthy and organic cosmetics. One of the brand’s goals is to emphasize the preservation of rainforests in order for our planet to be safe. Their hair care products are made with utmost care and specific rituals in order to keep the indigenous traditions a part of the process too.
Vapour Beauty is a brand that truly sets the bar high, not only because it offers a great selection of makeup, but also because it uses passive eco-friendly energy sources to power up everything. Every part of the brand’s products is packaged by using recyclable materials that are, at this point, widely available. With such care in mind, it’s really hard not to give them a chance and try out their all-natural makeup.
After I wrote my article on the King of Antioxidants: Astaxanthin, I got several emails from readers asking me which specific astaxanthin supplements were a good choice. To save us all some time, I decided to simply list the top rated and most popular ones in a new post. Here we go!
A quick reminder: What is Astaxanthin?
If you have not read my previous article: Astaxanthin (pronounced: asta-zan-thin) is a powerful antioxidant that is found in marine life. It is a fat-soluble red keto-carotenoid that exists in certain microalgae, plants, and bacteria. Its natural beta-carotene causes the pinkish color in fish and seafood such as salmon and shrimp.
Tip: if you like to check all product details, click on a supplement name or image, or the "learn more" button to view all information in the relevant amazon store
Natural astaxanthins help improve our immune system, protect our cells from damage, and help to fight free radicals in our bodies. Astaxanthin has been proven to be nearly 600-8000 times more potent than other antioxidants including Vitamins C or E.
When taken in supplements, it can help all functions of the human body, and has been used to treat high cholesterol, and diseases such as macular degeneration. It can also:
Boost your energy
Improve your eyesight
Stimulate healthy joints
Reduce wrinkles or acne
Improve brain function and help prevent Alzheimers
Work as a natural sunscreen from within
Reduce symptoms of ADHD
Reduce muscle soreness and enhance exercise recovery
If you want to dive a bit deeper into how Astaxanthin works, check out my article on all the benefits and functions (link above). And if you prefer watching, here's a great explanation video:
Importance and Benefits of Astaxanthin - YouTube
Precautions for taking Astaxanthin
There are very few side effects that have been reported after taking astaxanthin, even at high dosages. However, always consult your physician before taking a supplement. If you start experiencing any problems, stop immediately and contact your doctor. Here are a few things to consider as well:
Don't take astaxanthin if you are allergic to astaxanthin or other related carotenoids such as canthaxanthin or to Haematococcus pluvialis
Be careful if you have a bleeding disorder because this supplement might influence that
It is possible that taking this supplement lowers your blood sugar. Be alert if you suffer from diabetes, hypoglycaemia or take drugs or other supplements that affect your blood sugar level.
Astaxanthin could stimulate lower blood pressure.
If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, or are taking medication, ask your physician about supplementing.
Use cautiously if you already take other beta-carotene supplements as astaxanthin may influence their effect.
Which Astaxanthin Product Is Best?
To answer that question, we need to look at which aspects make an astaxanthin supplement the most effective (and safe):
Natural, not synthetic (highly-processed petrochemicals)
Derived from haematococcus pluvialis micro algae (the most stable form)
The right quantity per serving (between 4 and 8 mg)
Natural organic oil or fatty acid added for optimal absorption
Free from harmful preservatives, chemical solvents and other additives
If applicable for you: gluten-free, vegetarian and/or vegan
Trusted brands, and easily traceable where and how they manufacture their supplements
Naturally sourced & far more effective than traditional carotenoids
Dr. Mercola's brand of natural astaxanthine, which is free from chemicals, is meticulously formulated to give you the full effect of this antioxidant.
It's great for athletes or even just general exercise. It helps improve endurance, strength and stamina. It also helps you gain a faster recovery from your exercise routine, and helps reduce muscle and joint soreness after your workout.
It also helps your brain and eye function and protects your nervous system from free radicals. If you are suffering from osteoporosis or joint pain, this will help improve your joint and skeletal system health.
High Quality Astaxanthin, toxin-free
This formula contains four milligrams of astaxanthine extracted from Haematococcus pluvialis (a natural microalgae) per serving.
It also contains three hundred milligrams of Alpha-Linolenic acid (ALA) from perilla seed oil, which provides lipids to help with high cholesterol, and aids in the absorbtion of astaxanthin. It is also an additional source of antioxidants to boost your immune system.
A capsule consists of only five calories and .5 grams of fat per serving. The recommended dose is one capsule (there are 30 or 90 containers) that you should take with every meal.
It doesn't contain any soy, gluten or other preservatives. However, it does contain fish so take care that you don't have an allergy.
I prefer Mercola's astaxanthin, because it not just focuses on getting the best quality ingredients, but also on the best way to get it IN to your system. The alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) Perilla Seed oil added for this also has it's own health boosting qualities, such as:
It's own antioxidants
Excellent source of fatty acids and healthy lipids
4 mg Astaxanthin per serving
Also contains Alpha-Linolenic (ALA) from Perilla Seed oil
Maximum absorption formula
No soy, non- GMO, no gluten or preservatives
Has not been chemically processed
Trusted brand worldwide
No fishy taste or burps, because of the rosemary leaf extract (neutralizes)
Contains fish, so avoid if you have a fish allergy
Price is quite high, compared to other brands
Not suitable for vegans or vegetarians - the capsule is made from Tilapia Fish Gelatin
The algae where astaxanthin is sourced from, are very sensitive to the environment and is easily contaminated by air-borne pollutants and bacteria.
Iceland forms the perfect location for cultivating these algae, with its clean air and pristine glacial waters. This supplement is naturally cultivated from haematoccoccus pluvalis without unwanted fillers and synthetics. It has been clinically studied for safety for decades, and produced using renewable, geothermal energy.
One serving contains a high content of astaxanthin, so you're all set with one capsule a day, which comes in easy blister packs. If you slowly build up your dosage, try a lower concentrated product first.
12 mg Astaxanthin per serving
Handy on-the-go blister packs
From the purest regions of Iceland, closed cultivation
Free of pollutants, contaminants, herbicides and pesticides common in traditional cultivation methods.
Bioastin by Nutrex has been the most popular astaxanthin product for a while now, due to the great quality combined with a great price.
Nutrex has been growing 100% pure astaxanthin naturally for over 30 years, on the Kona Coast in Hawaii. The quality comes from the abundance of natural sunlight, clean deep ocean water and 100% fresh water drawn from the Hawaiian aquifers.
4 mg Astaxanthin per serving
Certified Kosher and Vegan
non-GMO, no gluten or preservatives
No Magnesium Stearate, Silica, or Titanium Dioxide.
Free of herbicides, pesticides, toxins, and heavy metals
no oil added to increase the absorption by your body
This product has a lot of pluses. It is free of allergens, and the capsule is suitable for vegetarians and vegans. It does not contain any fillers, binders, preservatives or artificial ingredients.
It is the most studied brand and has been verified by independent third parties in the USA to meet one hundred and forty markers to verify its identity, purity and potency.
Astaxanthin Gold has been manufactured in a GMP (good manufacturing practices facility). It is also certified as being Kosher. As one of the top ranked astaxanthin supplements, it has been harvested in an eco-friendly environment, which is important to keep it free from pesticides and free from contamination.
It aids in immune, skin and eye health. It's suggested usage is to take one capsule one to three times daily with a meal or how you are directed by a healthcare professional.
4 mg Astaxanthin per serving
Certified Kosher and Vegan
non-GMO, no gluten or preservatives
No Magnesium Stearate, Silica, or Titanium Dioxide.
Free of herbicides, pesticides, toxins, and heavy metals
no oil added to increase the absorption by your body
This supplement by Sport's Research contains a high dosage of 12 mg astaxanthin in one softgel. So if you would like to start slowly or are not sure this would be suitable for you, try a product with a lower concentration.
Its 100% natural astaxanthin is sourced from Haematococcus pluvialis microalgae, non-GMO, without fillers, synthetic Ingredients, gluten or animal by-product. It is registered with the Vegan Society as vegan-friendly.
As astaxanthin is lipid-soluble, they blended it with cold-pressed organic virgin coconut oil to aid with absorption.
There are a lot of fruits and vegetables out there that can offer you a whole selection of options when it comes to getting your health under control.
That's great and all, but how do you know which ones are truly the best for you? There's so much pressure to have the right combination of healthy foods and that it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Allow me to introduce you to the simplistic but important health benefits of carrot juice. It is often seen as such a common veggie, but it deserves an entire article of its own to prove its power and position as deserving on the list.
Here's all you should know to unleash some amazing Carrot Power!
Firstly, there is are a lot of things to love about carrots even without getting into the specific benefits related to your health. They are rich with all kinds of nutrients, they are easy to grow as a root vegetable, they are easy to juice, and they tend to have a long shelf life when stored properly. This makes them a great additive to your dieting plan. You'll often see carrots as being integral to just about any and every diet routine out there because they do so much for your body, and they taste great in many different forms.
Benefits of Juicing Carrots
Specifically speaking, carrot juice is a powerful option for your healthy living style that you are trying to get going in the right way. The best carrot juice benefits will come from making sure that you use this powerful vitamin-filled juice option in the right dosages and during the right times of the day to make the most use out of them. Here are some of the many benefits to show you just what we're talking about:
Great for the immune system: Carrots are full of Vitamin A and K as well as manganese and potassium, amongst other vitamins and minerals. These will help you give a little more support and love for your immune system, which will allow you to be less susceptible to illnesses and infections. This is especially great for those that are otherwise compromised.
Cleanses the liver: While this should not be used as a detox juice on its own if you are a heavy drinker, the liver can really benefit from carrot juice in the correct amounts each day, or several times a week. It helps get rid of a lot of the toxins so that you can have a great overall liver health and give your body a boost with the general detoxifying benefits.
Good for your overall oral health: Little known, carrots are great for keeping your mouth happy, both in terms of your enamel and gums, but also in flushing out bacteria that can build up from daily activities and exposure to all sorts of nasty germs.
Helps zip up your metabolism: If you want to lose weight, your metabolism can get a little zip of energy from regular addition of carrot juice to your diet. This makes it a powerful additive to your life for those who want to diet the “right” and healthy way.
Great for skin and nails: Carrots have lots of great benefits for your skin's natural glow and health. It'll take away dry skin and help give you longer nails and thicker hair, which most of us can't enjoy otherwise.
Side Effects of Juicing with Carrots
As with all good things, there are some important carrot juice side effects to be aware of that are going to need to be seriously taken into consideration when looking at adding this into your life. The biggest side effect is that it can lead to potentially serious allergic reactions to some people. When enjoyed too frequently or too young in life (such as infants), it can cause a mild to serious allergy, which can cause all sorts of repercussions.
Carrot juice is also high in sugar, due to a high sugar level being in the vegetable itself. If you are looking to make sure that you keep your sugar low, this may not be the best option for every dieting plan. See more on dosage recommendations in the next section. Just like a lot of foods, carrots also come with a high withdrawal rate. If you've eaten them everyday for, say, a month, and then stop eating them abruptly, you could suffer from common withdrawal symptoms.
They are also known to interact with a variety of health conditions in those who suffer from them and regularly ingest carrot juice, so before you add this to your diet, you should speak to a medical professional to check for medication or illness interactions.
Carrots Juice Dosage Recommendations
Lastly, how much of this delicious juice should be enjoyed to make sure that all of the benefits are maximized and the side effects minimized? The easy answer is to look at it with the numbers to lead you in the right direction. There tends to be 2-3 carrots in one glass of carrot juice, and you should make sure that – unless told otherwise by a medical professional – that you have no more than one glass of this a day. This should help you make sure that you get the right kind of benefits and nutrients without overloading on the minerals and vitamins, which can cause side effects like listed above, amongst other problems.
As always, any advice from a medical professional on amounts and carrot juice dosage will serve as the guiding factor, and should always be followed as it is specific to you and your health as an individual.
Overall carrot juices and smoothies offer lots of health benefits. But you should remember that good things are good in moderation and can come with dangers when taken in the wrong amounts. Follow the recommendations of this article, and consider all of the great benefits when you are looking at making your health a priority in your life. It may often be neglected in the common articles online, but this should tell you just how powerful carrot juice really is.
Hi, thank you for reading my article about the wonderful benefits of juicing carrots! If you liked my article, and love smoothies, make sure to check out my article on smoothies on Remedy by Nature. Be well, be happy - Ravil.
If you suspect you have a low testosterone level, see a physician before you try a remedy or treatment.
Testosterone: for men only?
Did you know that a man with a strong accented jaw line usually has a high level of testosterone? It is a sign of good fertility and a healthy immune system. On the other hand, women seem to be unconsciously attracted to men with a slightly rounded face, which indicates a lower testosterone content, which is associated with a better ability of maintaining a family. But did you know testosterone levels are just as relevant for women? Time to dive a bit deeper into this interesting hormone.
What is it good for?
Testosterone is a natural hormone that is very important for men and women. It is often associated with sex because it increases the libido. Which makes sense, since for men it is produced in the testicles, and for women in the ovaries and in adrenal glands.
Women usually have lower testosterone levels than men. This is an advantage, on the one hand, because this hormone contributes to bulky muscle build-up and, on the other hand, a disadvantage, because the hormone improves fat burning, and inhibits the formation of cellulite. Testosterone also helps you to deal with stress better. It stimulates the heart function and gives you a better mood.
But how does testosterone exactly correspond to estrogen? For women it is very important that the testosterone level is in balance with the estrogen level. Fat cells contain aromatase. This substance causes testosterone to be converted into estrogen. It is a natural and positive process. But if it goes out of control because you have too many fat cells, your hormones get out of balance.
This hormone - in addition to insulin - has a lot of influence on your body shape. Men can even develop breasts because of a lack of testosterone. In order to improve the ratios in your body and increase your testosterone, you must ensure that you do not have any nutrient deficiency at all. Small defects in your diet - sugars, not enough good fats, not enough magnesium, zinc or vitamin D - can cause testosterone deficiency and increase your fat percentage.
Do I need more testosterone? Go see your doctor FIRST.
This is a hard question to answer, as the specific role of testosterone is different for every woman. If you think you might have an hormonal imbalance, always discuss this with your doctor first. Experimenting with home remedies for increasing your testosterone, or even getting hormonal therapy at a special clinic, can be counter-effective or even risky if you don’t get a proper medical diagnosis first.
What can you do to optimize your testosterone level?
1. Make sure you get enough vitamin D
In the summer this is easy, because you can just sit in the sun. Avoid the sun between 11 AM and 15 PM though, and always wear sunscreen. In the winter, you can take vitamin D3 oil.
2. Take enough zinc
Zinc is in meat, vegetables and grains. However, grains also contain phytate, which causes zinc to be absorbed badly. I recommend keeping of the grains for a bit, and use other foods as testosterone sources. But don’t do this for longer than three months. Your body will go on producing the testosterone, so after a while they offer no added value.
3. Get magnesium
Magnesium is especially good for de-stressing your nervous system and regulating your blood sugar. It also ensures that your muscles can tighten well and prevent cramps. Magnesium also helps you sleep better because it pumps your blood more smoothly through your body. That's important again for your recovery and your testosterone level. Use a magnesium supplement and do this for a period of three months. Magnesium can also be found in the following foods:
Especially in the first period of your new healthy lifestyle, it's important that you go to bed early every night. At the same time if possible. This is good for the release of growth hormone, but it also causes more testosterone release. Insufficient sleep is also associated with insulin resistance and an excessive cortisol level (stress hormone).
5. Avoid sugar and highly processed grain products, such as bread.
These foods have an overly high glycemic index. They will make your blood sugar rise very quickly. Instead, eat high-quality protein of organic meat, chicken and fish, and eat complex carbohydrates.
In vegetables and fruits (except bananas, pumpkins and the like) there are little or no complex carbohydrates, but a lot of sugars. Even in tomato and cucumber. Complex carbohydrates are in beans, grains and tubers. They have long chains of sugars; Therefore they are complex.
Also important in carbohydrates are fibers, which are in vegetables and fruit as well as in beans, whole grains and tubers. Fibers are resistant carbohydrates, that is, you hardly digest them. Gut bacteria do consume them, and therefore, resistant carbohydrates are good for your intestinal flora.
6. Finally, good fats are essential (fish, avocado, raw nuts, organic eggs).
Don’t be afraid of your cholesterol getting too high, because you need cholesterol to make testosterone and other hormones.
All in all, your body - your internal health, but also your appearance - is largely determined by your hormonal system. Insulin and testosterone play a crucial role. All the more important that you know what your diet and hormones do with your body. And if you do have a testosterone level that is too low, there are plenty of options you can explore.