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Healthy hearts are what we all need. There are ways to take some steps toward the prevention of heart issues. Once a year, be sure you get a checkup from a physician that will do bloodwork and a full physical. Then watch the numbers and tips that will help.

Lifestyle

  • Use a heart-healthy diet. Check the blog Healthy Heart Foods for some insight.
  • Exercise 30min a day at least five times a week.
  • Know your family history.
  • Do not use tobacco products.
  • Manage your stress by using a form of reflection or meditation for 10-15min each day.
Numbers You Should Know

Blood Pressure
Have a goal of Less than 120/80mmHg

Body Mass Index BMI
Have a BMI with a goal of 18.5-24.9 percentage of body fat.

Other Numbers
  • Have your Blood sugar/glucose tested?
  • Get a readout on your Cholesterol and Triglycerides

Your physician will help you with this and it will be helpful to track your heart health yearly to prevent and detect any issues.

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A whole lot of people are saying that they want to eat less sugar. More than half of Americans have said this. Do you think they did?

Saying you want to eat less sugar is easier than following through and doing it. Your body and your brain are wired to want it. Did we grow up having it, so why not continue? What’s the big deal?

Research from the American Heart Association found that more often than not, we consume double the recommended amount.  Women should have no more than 100 calories of sugar and men not more than 150 calories.

Wait what ladies? Yes, it is more like 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men. Fair?

Where’s the Sugar
  • 5 Oreos are 23 grams of Sugar
  • Chobani Blueberry Fruit on the Bottom Yogurt is 15 grams of Sugar
  • Mountain Dew (20 oz) is 19.25 tsp of Sugar
  • Gatorade (20 oz) is 8.5 tsp of Sugar
  • One can of Coke is 42 grams of Sugar
  • White Wonder Bread (2 slices) is 3 grams of Sugar

Some examples – You have to look. You have to check it.

This or That?

Compare these pairs and make your choices.

  • 1 Tbsp ketchup 3g vs. 1 Tbsp of yellow mustard 0g
  • 1 cup tomato soup 8g vs. 1 cup chicken noodle 0g
  • One-piece BBQ chicken 5 g vs. one-piece Buffalo chicken 0g

What other swaps can you make? Start looking at what you have in front of you. What changes can you make? Look at your salad dressing and your coffee choices when you get them. Be very aware of your breakfast choices.

Sugar is very sneaky during the early parts of the day. Don’t worry as much about natural sugar especially from fruit. Those have benefits that outweigh the amount of sugar.

Look at your labels!

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We all have to shop for groceries. Are you the kind of person that goes daily, or do you attempt to go once each week?

Trips to the grocery store are almost as crucial as trips to work. We all need to eat. Some people have stress when they try and go in without a plan. Creating a routine is a good step. Following a few helpful hints can make your shopping easier on you.

  • A Plan – There is nothing more stressful than going into an activity without a strategy. Not knowing what you are looking for can cause you to purchase extra items that are not on your nutrition plan and forget things that are. Having a specific plan each time you get to the store will allow you to maximize your trip and get you in and out efficiently and effectively. Just as we plan out our work, try planning out each trip to the store so that nothing goes without attention. This also helps you save money by not buying what you already have too.
  • A Budget – Going into your grocery trip with a set budget will help you avoid bad purchases and stretching your costs. Overspending your money is a stressful thing, so set a limit that you feel comfortable with and find the food on your nutritional plan at the best prices. You can also incorporate setting your budget into prepping and planning your meals for the family. This works hand in hand and can take some stress off your mind and pocketbook.

  • Reusable Grocery Bags – This is not just a new trendy accessory for your grocery shopping needs, a reusable bag is a great way to make shopping easier. By bringing your bag to the grocery, you can help give yourself some shopping limits. Setting a boundary of only buying what you can fit in your bags can make sure you do not purchase items that you do not need. There are some forms of reusable bags that can also assist in keeping frozen items cold and hot things hot. This also helps the environment by not using plastic bags.
  • Note Pad – Many of us have the habit of bringing a grocery list into the store. Instead, try bringing a blank sheet of paper to take notes on while shopping. There are many valuable things to keep track of when shopping such as: when to buy particular products, when certain items may go on sale and the price of what you need compared to other stores. You can also mark things that they are out of so that you know you need that still. You can use real paper and pen, or there are a lot of apps on your smartphone that allows you to keep notes.

  • Time – Time is the one thing you do not get back and not having enough of it during the day can be another stressor. Use time management skills during your trip is a great practice and even starts before pulling into the parking lot. If you rush into the grocery store, you are more likely to buy the first thing close to what you are looking for rather than being smart with your purchases. You are also more likely to forget some needed items. This causes those repeat trips and added stress on you. Be aware and prepared with your trip around the store as well. Try not to bounce from aisle to aisle and waste valuable time. Know the layout of your store.

Which of these will you try first when you go shopping?

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Do you ever do something for yourself? Self-care is most likely the thing you are neglecting. Many people forget to do this. You are not alone. If you are not taking care of yourself, then it is hard for you to be able to take care of everyone else in your life.

Self-care is any kind of activity that you do deliberately to take the time to take care of yourself. It benefits your mental, emotional, and physical health. Honestly, it is a very simple concept in theory, but it is one thing that is often overlooked.

Find a way to do something for yourself a least once a month. Good self-care is vital to improve health, happiness, your mood, and it aids in reducing anxiety. It works to give you a way to refresh yourself and help you look and feel great.

Some Self-care Examples

  • Get a Massage
  • Go to the Chiropractor
  • Sleep in
  • Take a long walk
  • Watch a new movie
  • Weekend Retreat
  • Relax in the sun and experience lakes, river, or a local beach
  • Organize your area to reduce stress
  • Try a new healthy recipe
  • Experience unconditional love of a pet
  • Talk out your day with a therapist
  • Enjoy a Spa day
  • Schedule a sauna

There are so many more things you can do. Do something for you. It will help you gain the strength to be able to take on all the things you do.

Grab a friend, your kid, or your spouse, and include them. This will help you and them while also benefiting your relationships.  Make this a monthly date with yourself!

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Have you ever chugged a bottle of ice-cold water, gulped a Slurpee or Icee, had a popsicle real fast, or quickly ate a bowl of ice cream and BAM you have a brain freeze? The scientific term is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia. More like a big Ouch and 911 for you!

Why does Brain Freeze Happen?

When you consume a cold treat, you shock your palate when the coldness hits the roof of your mouth and the back of your throat. The response your body has is to constrict blood vessels, which limits your blood supply, and then it does a fast reverse. All this sends a warning sign to your brain. That is why your body reacts with a distress reaction with pain in your head to get you to stop. It lasts either a few seconds or even a few minutes.

The fast relief is drinking warm water, or you can press your tongue to the roof of your mouth. This process brings your mouth to an average temperature.

Brain freeze is a warning to your body to slow down. Eating or drinking cold foods by gulping or devouring quickly, especially in the hotter seasons, increases the chance that you will experience this phenomenon. Many people that are more susceptible to migraines seem to have this happen more often.

Take your time when eating and drinking. Enjoy what you have. That will help you and your family avoid the brain freeze response by your body. Or chug and you know what to expect!

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Warmer weather means short sleeves, tank tops, and cute dresses that show arms and shoulders. How would you like to have summer ready arms that can last through the year?

Here are three great moves to help you work for flab-free arms! Grab your dumbbells. You can use a pair of 2-lbs to 8-lbs. Determine which works best for you.

3 Great Exercises

1. Triceps Work
Hold your weights in the plank position. Pull your right hand with the dumbbell to your chest with your elbow pointing to the ceiling. Next, straighten your right arm back and hold that for 3 seconds. Then bend your elbow and lower your arm.

Repeat on the left side. Do eight reps. This works your arms, chest, back, and abs.
If planking is difficult, you can do these arm movements on all fours.
If you want to intensify this, you can do eight reps before switching to the opposite side.

2. Shoulder Work
Standing straight up, with your weights in your hands in front of thighs, and your feet hip-width apart. Raise your right arm out to the side and your left arm forward. Keep the weights at shoulder height. Lower and reverse on the other side.

Repeat on both sides six times each. This will work abs and shoulders. You can use lighter weights if necessary. You can also intensify this by doing lifts while balancing on one leg to engage your core.

3. Chest and Back Work
Kneel on your right knee with your left foot forward and your left knee bent at 90 degrees behind you. Position the weights near your calves with your palms inward. Lower your chest toward your thigh. Spread your arms up and out resembling a T.

Return back to the start and fan open on the opposite side. Do reps of six. This works your back, shoulders, and core. You can do this without weights if needed. You can intensify by straightening your leg back into a deep lunge.

Your three moves are waiting for you. Summer arms are on the way!

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Migraines are painful, and not what anyone wants to have to happen. Some of them last a few hours while others last for days. The pounding of the head is no favorite, but there may be a way to reduce the frequency and severity of this head pain with eating. Believe it or not, superfoods rich in omega-3 fatty acids have been known to help.

What Foods to Eat
  • Seeds
    Hemp seeds and chia seeds aid in reducing blood vessel damage, and this helps protect you against stroke and also heart disease. You can add them to oatmeal, yogurt, or smoothies. Some people sprinkle chia on top of salads.
  • Salmon
    Salmon has the highest amount of omega-3s and is full of vitamin D also. This acts to help reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. You can cook salmon on a stovetop, in an oven, or on a grill. You can also eat salmon raw. It is a high protein source!
  • Walnuts
    Walnuts are a great treat. This nut is a good source of protein, fiber, and omega-3s. They can be eaten raw or toasted. This wonder food is linked to reducing heart attack risk. Walnuts are also on the mind diet.  Benefits of eating them include boosting memory and cognitive functions. What is your favorite way to eat them?

It is time to test this. Let’s eat away those migraines.

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Apricots are like a great blend of both plum and peach. You get the sweetness and the tartness with this amazing fruit that is only 17 calories.  The apricot is full of beta-carotene and fiber packs a punch of antioxidants in each bite.

Ways to Eat Apricots

Fresh – Grab and go!
Choose apricots that are both firm and plump. They are a pretty yellow/orange/red color. Allow them to ripen at room temperature, and store them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in a closed container. To hurry ripening, place them in a brown paper bag and keep it closed and away from light.

Cleaning Apricots
Rinse under running water and pat them dry.

Dried – Dried Apricots by Martha Stewart

  1. 10 to 11 apricots, pits removed, halved or quartered and 2 tablespoons sugar, or more to taste
  2. Heat oven to 225 degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment paper (or a Silpat baking mat, if you’re drying figs). Arrange fruit, cut sides up, spaced 1/2 to 1 inch apart, on the pan. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over fruit; depending on fruit’s tartness, add more sugar.
  3. Transfer pan to oven; dry until the fruit has shriveled, edges have dried, and centers are still juicy; timing will vary according to a variety of fruit, ripeness, and size, 1 1/2 to 4 hours. If juices start to run, baste with juices every hour. Transfer pan to a cooling rack; remove from pan while still warm.

Poached – Poaching Apricots

  1. Clean your apricots and cut them into halves.
  2. Remove the pits but be sure not to peel the apricots.
  3. Place the apricots into a medium saucepan and cover them with water.
  4. Poach the apricots for about 8 min. or until very tender.
  5. Remove the apricots from the poaching liquid and serve them warm.

Apricots can be used in cakes, crumbles, pancakes, donuts, glazes, and salads.

What are you going to do with your apricots?

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Many people say that yoga is not their thing. There is no way they are going to give yoga a chance. Often the same people have never even tried yoga and have no idea what they are missing out on.

What is Yoga?

If you look up Yoga in a dictionary you will find a definition similar to this: “Yoga is a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for health and relaxation.”

What are some benefits of doing a month of yoga?

  • Improve Strength
  • Increase Flexibility
  • Increase Confidence
  • Improve Posture
  • Betters Bone Health
  • Feel Happier
  • Improve Digestion
  • Drops Blood Pressure
  • Tone Muscles
  • Improve Balance
  • Reduce Stress

Yoga has also been linked to improving vitality and energy. It fosters weight reduction. The practice of yoga works as a protection from injury. And believe it or not, it is good cardio and works to benefit the circulatory system in your body.

Yoga
Yoga is for everyone. There are many kinds of yoga. It is not only the yoga of yesterday.

Isn’t it time to give yoga a try either at home or in a class? Which benefit surprises you the most?

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Is there a way to eat healthy for your heart?
There are foods that can be eaten that will help with your heart health. Many of these foods you may be eating now, but you will begin to understand why you are eating them and how they help your body and heart.

Do’s and Don’t
Eliminate trans-fats and saturated fats from your diet. Look at those labels. They will try and trick you. Trans-fat is in many processed foods like margarine, shortening, and others. Saturated fats are in full-fat dairy foods and red meats.

Include two healthy oils: poly-unsaturated fatty acids and mono-unsaturated fatty acids. Poly-unsaturated fatty acids are found in foods like oily fish and walnuts, flax seed, omega-3 fortified eggs, and small leafy greens. Mono-unsaturated fatty acids are found in olive oil and canola oil and avocados.

  • Eat fresh whole foods instead of processed foods.
  • Reduce the amount of salt you take in. Keep track of your sodium intake.
  • Get some movement in your day. Fitness is good for your heart and lungs as well as your whole body.

10 Healthy Heart Foods
You will definitely want to keep these healthy foods around.

Walnuts – Helps cholesterol, blood pressure & inflammation.
Spinach – Helps brain function & improves blood pressure.
Salmon – Omega-3 in salmon helps prevent heart disease.
Kidney Beans – High in fiber & lowers cholesterol.
Oatmeal – Lowers the rise in blood sugar after meals.
Blueberries – Antioxidants/fiber helps prevent heart disease.
Broccoli – Can help lower cholesterol & help to facilitate digestion.
Carrots – Improves vision & helps prevent heart disease.
Tuna – Aids in the prevention of irregular heart rhythms.
Flaxseed – Prevents hardening of the arteries.

The food is something you can begin to control. Your heart will benefit from your choices.

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