Health and Beauty en-US 10 Surprising, Non-Physical Benefits of Exercise <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-surprising-non-physical-benefits-of-exercise" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="young man gym workout" title="young man gym workout" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sad fact: Research suggests that about half of <a href="">people who begin a regular exercise</a> program will throw in the (sweaty gym) towel within six months. Maybe the weight didn't come off, or the six-pack never appeared. For all the time and energy and delayed-onset muscle soreness that exercise entails, some days it just doesn't seem worth the effort. (See also: <a href="">7 Simple Ways to Get Motivated for Your Workout</a>)</p> <p>But you might be surprised to learn that the benefits of working up a sweat go far beyond your bicep strength or belly fat. Here are 10 surprising non-physical benefits of exercise that are just as important as a number on the scale.</p> <h2>1. Better Cognitive Function</h2> <p>Smaller butt, bigger&hellip; brain? It looks that way. In fact, exercise's benefits to the brain are well documented. Various studies have shown that cardiovascular exercise can help create new brain cells and improve overall brain performance by <a href="">boosting the level of a brain protein</a> that is believed to contribute to decision-making and learning. How's that for a reason to rock those spandex (smarty) pants more often?</p> <h2>2. Better Mood</h2> <p>There are <a href="">nearly 50 antidepressant drugs</a> on the market today, but one of the most powerful antidepressants doesn't even require a prescription: exercise.</p> <p>In 2000, researchers at Duke University <a href="">compared the antidepressant effects of aerobic exercise to a popular antidepressant</a>. What they found is that the group who exercised for about 40 minutes for three to five days per week experienced the greatest antidepressant effect. By increasing blood flow to the brain and releasing endorphins and serotonin, the body's natural antidepressants, exercise can influence brain chemistry in a positive way. If the thought of hitting the gym sometimes make you miserable, don't be fooled into skipping out; research says you'll come out happier than when you went in.</p> <h2>3. Better Sleep</h2> <p>I've never been a great sleeper, but on the days when I manage to get in a good, long run, I can collapse into bed and sleep like a log not long after dinner, spandex pants and all. Most studies link regular exercise to better sleep, even for those who suffer from serious insomnia. There's only one catch: <a href="">It takes a while to work</a>. Research shows that insomniacs who add exercise to their routines fall asleep faster, sleep longer, and report higher quality sleep than those who are less active, but the <a href=";_type=blogs&amp;_r=0">effects don't appear for several weeks</a>. If you're working out and sleeping poorly, keep it up. Better sleep is on the way.</p> <h2>4. Better Sex</h2> <p>Research suggests that exercise <a href="">makes sex better</a>. By improving blood flow &mdash; to everything &mdash; sex can have a positive effect on sexual response and even <a href="">prevent erectile dysfunction</a>. Exercise also boosts endorphins and improves body image, helping put people in the mood. Experts also say that sex is a pretty decent form of exercise. You literally can't lose here, people; train for each by doing the other.</p> <h2>5. More Confidence</h2> <p>We often assume that exercise will make us feel better about ourselves because it'll make us look fitter, stronger, and healthier. But that's only partly true. In fact, <a href="">exercise has been shown to improve self confidence no matter what you see in the mirror</a>. According to research, the act of simply getting out and doing a body good will make you feel better about yourself, no matter how long or hard you push yourself &mdash; and no matter how much muscle tone you do or do not develop as a result.</p> <h2>6. More Creativity</h2> <p>We don't often think of artists as hard-body types, but many creative folk &mdash; <a href="">particularly writers</a> &mdash; are known to be avid and regular exercisers because they're in on a little secret: Inspiration is often found in motion. The philosopher and author Henry Thoreau claimed his thoughts began to flow &quot;the moment my legs began to move.&quot; Got writer's block? Working out a creative problem? <a href="">Exercise is likely to help boost your creative thinking</a>. Your next great idea may only be a few steps down the road.</p> <h2>7. Better Control of Addiction</h2> <p>Having trouble quitting smoking? Or maybe you drink a bit more than you'd like, or even suffer from more serious addiction problems. Exercise can help with that. Addiction is based on the release of dopamine &mdash; a feel-good hormone &mdash; in the brain. This is what people become addicted to, therefore becoming addicted to whatever produces it, whether cigarettes or drugs or even sex. Fortunately, exercise produces dopamine too, making it a healthy alternative to more damaging addictions &mdash; and maybe even <a href="">making bad habits easier to kick</a>.</p> <h2>8. More Energy</h2> <p>It seems a bit counterintuitive, but expending more energy through exercise can help boost <a href="">energy levels</a>, even for those suffering from severe fatigue. But don't overdo it; if you're really worn out, <a href="">a shorter, lower intensity bout of exercise</a> has been shown to have the most positive effect.</p> <h2>9. Fewer Wrinkles</h2> <p>Maybe the fabled fountain of youth isn't a fountain at all. In fact, research suggests that it's probably a swimming pool &mdash; for swimming laps. No matter your age, exercise will improve your strength, endurance, posture, metabolism, and overall health. Those things can all help you look and feel younger. But the effects of working up a sweat are far more powerful than that; a recent study found that <a href="">exercise can actually reverse the skin's aging process</a>. If you're buying fancy wrinkle creams, consider diverting the money to a gym membership instead.</p> <h2>10. Better Memory</h2> <p>Remember how I said that exercise can improve cognitive function? If you don't, you might need more exercise, which <a href="">has been found to have a powerful impact on memory</a>, particularly as we age. Regular exercise actually boosts the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for verbal memory and learning.<a href=""> It may even help prevent dementia</a>. Now, if you can just remember where you put your running shoes&hellip;</p> <p>People exercise for so many reasons, but exercise is such a physical pursuit that it's easy to forget that not all its benefits are entirely physical. As it turns out, exercise is good not just for you body, but for, well, just about everything else. Okay, maybe not everything, but its <a href="">stress-relieving properties</a> are well-documented, so at least it'll help take the edge off whatever else life throws your way.</p> <p><em>What does a good hard workout do for you?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Surprising, Non-Physical Benefits of Exercise" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Tara Struyk</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty Personal Development benefits of exercise exercise health benefits workouts Wed, 29 Oct 2014 13:00:06 +0000 Tara Struyk 1245698 at 10 Simple Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-simple-ways-to-lower-your-cholesterol" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="couple jogging" title="couple jogging" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So, your doctor warned you that you need to get your bad cholesterol (LDL and triglyceride) levels down, your good cholesterol (HDL) level up, and you don't know where to start? (See also: <a href="">13 Natural and Easy Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar</a>)</p> <p>Here are 10 easy things you can do to start lowering your overall cholesterol today.</p> <h2>1. Exercise</h2> <p>Okay, so this is the least fun &mdash; we might as well get it out of the way early. <a href=""> Aerobic exercise</a> like running, swimming, or cycling (or fast walking; let's be realistic) have been shown to lower triglyceride levels while increasing the good cholesterol (HDL). Remember to start slow and set realistic exercise goals, and of course, talk to your doctor first before embarking in any exercise regimen.</p> <h2>2. Fish Oil Supplements</h2> <p>Well, it might not be the most pleasant pill, but <a href="">fish oil can lower triglyceride levels</a> by as much as 30%. You'll have to take quite a bit, though (between 2-4 grams per day). If you enjoy eating fish and want to get as much fish oil as you can (without too much mercury), aim for mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, and salmon.</p> <h2>3. Psyllium Fiber</h2> <p>Psyllium husk fiber is a really easy way to flush <a href="">nasty cholesterol</a> out of your system. You can get psyllium in fiber drinks like Metamucil, or buy the husks and add them to other foods. Just be careful not to overdo it. Fiber can whisk a <em>lot</em> of things out of your system pretty quickly, if you catch my drift.</p> <h2>4. Plant Sterols and Stanols</h2> <p><a href="">Plant sterols and stanols</a> are added to many popular foods these days, like margarine, orange juice, and yogurt, and can lower bad cholesterol by a modest amount. You can also buy them in supplement form, although stanols and sterols may not be utilized as easily by the body in supplement form as they are when they occur naturally in food. Foods like&hellip;</p> <h2>5. Fibrous Veggies</h2> <p>If you're not quite ready to take the Metamucil plunge, you can always start slow by <a href="">adding fibrous fruits and vegetables to your diet</a>. Oranges, apples, greens, beans, okra, and eggplant are good, fiber-rich foods that can be easily incorporated into most diets.</p> <h2>6. Hard Nuts</h2> <p><a href="">Walnuts, almonds, pecans, and pistachios</a> have been shown to lower bad cholesterol. Steer clear of macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, and cashews, though &mdash; they have a bad net effect on cholesterol.</p> <h2>7. Green Tea</h2> <p>Is there anything that green tea can't do? We already know that green tea can lower blood sugar, but <a href="">green tea also lowers total cholesterol</a> (while increasing the good kind of cholesterol, HDLs).</p> <h2>8. Red, Red Wine</h2> <p><a href="">Moderate consumption of red wine</a> (stick with cabs and pinots, pass on the merlot) can help lower bad cholesterol, boost good cholesterol, and prevent dangerous blood clots. However, the benefits of drinking red wine should not compel people who do not already consume wine to begin doing so. To get the most bang for your buck, stick to a single 4 ounce serving per day (men can consume up to two 4 ounce servings per day).</p> <h2>9. Avoid Transfats</h2> <p>Transfats have been a bit of a public villain for a while now, and it's partly because they have been proven time and time again to have a <a href="">bad effect on cholesterol</a>. So stay away from them, okay?</p> <h2>10. Quit Smoking</h2> <p>Did you know that your HDL (&quot;good&quot;) cholesterol levels increase as soon as <a href="">you stop smoking</a>? Hey, I didn't say it was going to be easy, but it will be really, really good for you.</p> <p><em>How many of these bad cholesterol lowering practices do you follow?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Simple Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Andrea Karim</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty cholesterol diet fitness Health heart health Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Andrea Karim 1237802 at 8 Meatless Complete Proteins That Will Help You Lose Weight <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-meatless-complete-proteins-that-will-help-you-lose-weight" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="soybeans" title="soybeans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you see the word &quot;meat,&quot;what's the first thing that comes to your mind? If you're like many people, you'll probably answer with the word &quot;protein.&quot;</p> <p>You may already know that the protein in meat is &quot;<a href="">complete</a>,&quot; meaning that it contains all nine of the essential amino acids in adequate proportions necessary for our dietary needs.</p> <p>But did you know that there are other, meatless foods that contain complete protein as well? And that in addition, did you know that these might even help you lose weight? (See also: <a href="">35 Slow Cooker Recipes for Busy Vegetarians</a>)</p> <p>Although meat has protein, it also tends to have zero fiber and lots of fat. For example, even <a href="">90 percent lean ground beef</a> has 10 grams of fat per 100 gram serving. And one <a href="">pork chop</a> has 4 grams of fat.</p> <p>These eight meatless complete proteins, conversely, are generally low fat and high fiber. So what are you waiting for? Check them out &mdash; along with some recommended starter recipes below &mdash; and start eating complete, meat-free, protein.</p> <h2>1. Chia Seeds</h2> <p>Native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala, and known for their use in the popular Chia Pets back in the 1980's, <a href="">chia seeds</a> pack 11 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein into just one ounce. Chia seeds have an Amino Acid Score of 115 (an Amino Acid Score of 100 or higher indicates a complete protein). And they make a mean <a href="">chia pudding</a>.</p> <h2>2. Soybeans</h2> <p>You've seen <a href="">soybeans</a> processed into tofu and soymilk, soybeans pack 10 grams of fiber and 29 grams of protein into a single cup. They also have an Amino Acid Score of 118, all of which you can drink with some beautiful homemade <a href="">soymilk</a>.</p> <h2>3. Quinoa</h2> <p><a href="">Quinoa</a> (pronounced <em>keen-wah</em>) originated in the Andean region of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Colombia, and is without a doubt &quot;the grain of the moment.&quot; One cup has 5 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein, and while very versatile, this <a href="">citrus black bean quinoa salad</a> is a great place to start.</p> <h2>4. Amaranth</h2> <p>Once a staple food of the Aztecs, <a href="">amaranth</a> has an Amino Acid Score of 108, and makes a hearty <a href="">amaranth breakfast cereal</a>.</p> <h2>5. Spinach</h2> <p>Ten grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber was enough for Popeye, so what about you? And if you think <a href="">spinach</a> is all about salads, you clearly need to try this <a href="">simple green smoothie</a>.</p> <h2>6. Black-Eyed Peas</h2> <p><a href="">Black-eyed peas</a> are named for the black spots which looks like black eyes. They are traditionally eaten in the South, and on New Year's Day to bring good luck. One cup has 11 grams of fiber, and 13 grams of protein, and all of that goodness goes into these <a href="">sloppy black-eyed peas</a>.</p> <h2>7. Split Peas</h2> <p>Originally round when harvested, <a href="">split peas</a> are mechanically separated after they've been dried to encourage faster cooking. One cup has a whopping 16 grams of fiber, and 16 grams of protein, so demon-possessed girls aren't the only ones who should be enjoying <a href="">split pea soup</a>.</p> <h2>8. Cauliflower</h2> <p>And finally: <a href="">cauliflower</a> comes from the same species of vegetables that includes broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, and kale. Although most commonly known for its white color, cauliflower also comes in orange and purple varieties, and just one small head has 7 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein. Try some <a href="">Roasted Cauliflower Steak</a> and see how they stack up to those lesser, <em>actual</em> steaks.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite non-animal protein source? Please share a bite in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="8 Meatless Complete Proteins That Will Help You Lose Weight" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Darren Wu</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty complete protein meat protein vegan vegetarian veggie protein Fri, 17 Oct 2014 13:00:03 +0000 Darren Wu 1236727 at 20 Fun Ways to Use Pumpkin <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-fun-ways-to-use-pumpkin" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="family cooking pumpkin" title="family cooking pumpkin" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While we may be sad to say goodbye to summer, the appearance of pumpkins cheers us up. They are a reminder of upcoming holidays &mdash; Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Spices frequently used with pumpkin trigger our olfactory senses, which give us excitement and happy memories. It is no wonder that sales of the 2012 pumpkin crop were a staggering $148.9 million dollars! (See also: <a href="">Gadzukes! 10 Ways to Use Up Your Zucchini Bounty</a>)</p> <p>Wouldn't the Pilgrims be flabbergasted at all the uses we have found for pumpkins? It's not enough that we eat them. We also decorate them, use them for beauty products, and beverages. Why do we love them so much? Versatility, for one. You can do lot of things with a pumpkin.</p> <p>So this year, get creative and go beyond pumpkin pie with these 20 fun ways to use pumpkins.</p> <h2>1. Thai Curry</h2> <p>Repeat after me: <a href="">Red Thai Chicken and Pumpkin Curry</a>. Yes, it is spicy, so have a glass of Thai iced tea ready. (You can reduce the amount of red curry paste, of course.) To me, this is one of the ultimate comfort foods. I also add carrot to mine and, serve on jasmine rice.</p> <h2>2. Pumpkin Spice Latte, Anyone?</h2> <p>These are super popular right now! Naturally, someone has uncovered the secret so you can make them DIY: pumpkin syrup. Why not save some money and make your own? Here's <a href="">how!</a></p> <h2>3. Pumpkin French Fries</h2> <p>Yes, french fry addicts, there is a healthier alternative. Try pumpkin <a href="">french fries</a>! I liked the ones with the spicy mix that included curry powder, and I did turn up my oven to 400 for the last ten minutes, to get them crispier. They make a fun hors d'oeuvre, too, with a yogurt dipping sauce.</p> <h2>4. Pumpkin Smoothies</h2> <p>This <a href="">pumpkin smoothie</a> is not only good for you, but also vegan and incredibly filling. I guess I should not have been surprised, since it contains pumpkin, bananas, and Greek yogurt.</p> <h2>5. Pumpkin, the Beauty Aid</h2> <p>I had heard of avocado, oatmeal, egg, honey&hellip; but <a href="">pumpkin facial masks</a> were a new one, on me. Various recipes claim that the fruit enzymes, plus alpha hydroxy acids, vitamin A, and vitamin C, will soften and smooth the skin. I am certain that as soon as I cover my face in pumpkin, the doorbell will ring.</p> <h2>6. Pass Me a Cold One</h2> <p>A cold pumpkin beer, that is. I think these or a love 'em or hate 'em thing. If you are a homebrewer and want to give them a try, you can buy a <a href="">pumpkin ale home-brewing kit</a>.</p> <h2>7. Chili</h2> <p>This <a href="">pumpkin chili</a> is one of my favorite comfort foods. It has the wonderful, mellow earthiness of pumpkin and the zestiness of peppers and spices. I like it with black-bean tortilla chips and lots of sour cream. It makes quite a bit, so it's a nice one to share, and even better the second day, reheated.</p> <h2>8. Squeaky Clean</h2> <p>Are you a soap-maker? I have yet to try soap-making as a DIY but when I do, this <a href="">pumpkin soap</a> is on the list. This would make a great gift!</p> <h2>9. Pumpkin Decor</h2> <p>It is too humid where I live for carved pumpkins to last for more than a day, so people tend to <a href="!2">decorate them</a>, instead. Check out the pumpkin covered in thumbtacks, which is really beautiful, as well as the hilarious &quot;Liberace pumpkin.&quot;</p> <h2>10. Pumpkin Candles</h2> <p>Both easy and fun, I am going to line the porch with these <a href="">pumpkin candles</a> this year, for a spooky effect.</p> <h2>11. Pumpkin Butter</h2> <p>My girlfriend just sent me a jar of this and I could just eat it with a spoon, although it's wonderful on toast, pancakes, and waffles. Now I just have to make my own! Here is a popular <a href="">pumpkin butter</a> recipe.</p> <h2>12. Fancy Pumpkin Croquettes</h2> <p>Just kidding, but use of the French word &quot;croquette&quot; certainly dresses up smashed chickpeas and pumpkin. Seriously, though, these are habit-forming and delicious. This is a vegan <a href="">recipe for chickpea and pumpkin croquettes</a>, but I used real cheese. If you make them really small, they make great appetizers, too.</p> <h2>13. Pamper Your Feet With Pumpkin</h2> <p>Not just for feet (but I think it is particularly nice for 'em) is this <a href="">Pumpkin Body Scrub</a>. Make a batch soon for a wonderful Thanksgiving hostess gift!</p> <h2>14. Potluck Pumpkin Pie Squares</h2> <p>These <a href="">pumpkin pecan pie squares</a> are a hit at potlucks. They also go together very quickly and make a nice size for sharing (they go in a 9 x 13 pan).</p> <h2>15. Don't Forget the Seeds!</h2> <p>After carving the pumpkin, <a href="">save the delicious seeds</a>. I love the spicy ones. The seeds are also extremely <a href="">nutritious</a>.</p> <h2>16. Risotto</h2> <p>Risotto is another dish I consider to be &quot;comfort food&quot; &mdash; warm, creamy, and full of flavor. Combining cumin and cardamom wouldn't have occurred to me, but the combination works with the <a href="">pumpkin</a> in this recipe.</p> <h2>17. Pumpkin Cookies</h2> <p>I love that these <a href="">pumpkin cookies</a> are delicious, but have more nutritional value than a traditional chocolate-chip cookie due to the addition of oatmeal and pumpkin. If it were just me, I would also add some raisins, but many people are raisin-phobic.</p> <h2>18. Hearty Pumpkin Stew</h2> <p>This <a href="">African Pumpkin Stew</a> is so healthy, not to mention hearty. I really like it with the beet greens, which are a little sweeter, but chard or spinach are easier to find. Talk about a healthful stew &mdash; it is resplendent with pumpkin, greens, coconut milk, and served with couscous. Non-vegetarians can add cooked pork or chicken.</p> <h2>19. Lighter Pumpkin Soup</h2> <p>Lighter, but still very satisfying, is this <a href="">pumpkin soup.</a> Instead of cream, it gets its thickness from skim milk, potatoes, and corn.</p> <h2>20. You, the Pumpkin</h2> <p>I finally relinquished it (it was looking pretty sad) but, as an adult, I wore my pumpkin costume four years running. It was a good one. Pumpkins always get a lot of laughs. There is still time to <a href="">make your own pumpkin costume</a>! I got more fabric and made mine longer, and wore it with black tights. Just think: Your entire family could be a pumpkin patch. Get sewing.</p> <p><em>There you have it &mdash; 20 fun ways to use pumpkin. Readers, any fun stuff to share?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="20 Fun Ways to Use Pumpkin" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Marla Walters</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Health and Beauty fall pumpkin pumpkin recipes Tue, 14 Oct 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Marla Walters 1233262 at 12 Easy Ways to Sneak More Nutrition Into Your Food <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-easy-ways-to-sneak-more-nutrition-into-your-food" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="honey muffins" title="honey muffins" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Getting the best nutrition possible is a no-brainer, but eating nutrient-dense food on a regular basis can be harder than it sounds. Even if you are eating the right foods, you can often still add an extra boost to snacks and meals. (See also: <a href="">Multivitamins Aren't as Good for You as You Think: Eat These Real Foods Instead</a>)</p> <p>Read on for tips on hiding extra nutrients in the foods you already love without changing the reasons you love them.</p> <h2>1. Flax</h2> <p>Flax seed packs a surprising nutritional punch. It's loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, and studies suggest it can positively affect your cholesterol levels. Flax is not easily digestible in whole seed form, so be sure to buy it ground or, even better, grind it yourself with a coffee grinder before using. The oil in flax can go rancid, so store it in the refrigerator.</p> <p>Adding a tablespoon or two to baked goods like muffins and pancakes won't noticeably affect the taste or the texture. It's perfect mixed into homemade granola or simply stirred into oatmeal. If you're into cooking vegan, you can also use flax as an egg replacer. Just swap an egg for some ground flax and water and boom! You have a <a href="">healthy egg replacer</a>.</p> <h2>2. White Whole Wheat Flour</h2> <p>We all know we're supposed to eat whole wheat, but sometimes the homemade version doesn't please picky eaters. In comes <em>white</em> whole wheat flour. A lighter and milder tasting flour with all of the benefits of whole wheat, it more seamlessly swaps for all-purpose flour in <a href="">your favorite recipes</a>. Some ideas include pancakes, breads, pizza dough, muffins, and cookies. If you're really put off by the taste of whole wheat, try substituting for half of the flour called for in the recipe.</p> <h2>3. Leafy Greens</h2> <p>Leafy greens are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, so why aren't we eating them all of the time? If you're tired of salad, sneaking them into different dishes makes getting your dose of greens easy. Add chopped greens to soups like chili and all broth-based soups when they are almost done cooking. Add thawed and chopped frozen spinach to <a href="">meatballs</a> and meatloaf. Include a handful of kale or spinach in your smoothie, and other than changing the drink's color, you won't even notice it.</p> <h2>4. Chia Seeds</h2> <p>Many vegans and vegetarians have discovered the magic of chia seeds, and you should too! The tiny seeds offer high-quality protein and much-sought-after omega-3 fatty acids. They are tiny in size, have a mild taste, and are an easy addition to smoothies and baked goods. They also <a href="">magically create pudding</a> when combined with milk or nondairy milk.</p> <h2>5. Yogurt</h2> <p>There's a good chance you're already eating yogurt. It's a great source of calcium and probiotics &mdash; and everyone knows it. But did you know that you can incorporate yogurt into your cooking, and in the process replace excess fats? <a href="">Yogurt is great for baking</a>, as it adds a nice flavor and moistness to recipes. You can even use it in place of buttermilk: just use a mixture of &frac12; yogurt and &frac12; milk. Plain Greek yogurt can be used in place of sour cream for items like tzatziki-style sauces, which makes a great replacement for ranch dressing. And don't forget to add some to your smoothies. Just beware of flavored and sweetened yogurts, as they tend to be full of sugar.</p> <h2>6. Carrots and Zucchini</h2> <p>Moms across America have been hiding carrots and zucchini in kid's meals for years. That's because once cooked and blended, they add fiber and vitamins without greatly affecting taste. For adults, it's just a good way of adding a serving of vegetables to that spaghetti you were craving. Add these veggies to sauces, casseroles, and <a href="">shred them raw into baked goods</a>.</p> <h2>7. Tofu</h2> <p>Tofu offers protein, calcium, and vitamins without the unhealthy fats of meat. Not everyone loves eating a big piece of steamed tofu, but you can still incorporate this healthful item into your diet. Add crumbled, firm tofu to burgers, meatballs, and other recipes using ground meat to lessen the guilt. Silken tofu blends seamlessly into smoothies and can be transformed into desserts like pudding and <a href="">cheesecake</a>.</p> <h2>8. Raw Honey</h2> <p>Honey has long been seen as a natural alternative to refined sugar, but switching to raw honey is even better for you. Raw honey has not been processed like most mainstream honey, and as a result contains more vitamins and minerals. If you're going to sweeten up that coffee or tea, you might as well get a little dose of vitamins, too. Honey can be used in place of sugar in many baking recipes, as long as <a href="">you keep a few things in mind</a>.</p> <h2>9. Whole Wheat Pasta</h2> <p>If you're going to eat a bowl of pasta, at least make it whole wheat. Recent studies suggest that <a href="">refined carbohydrates can cause more weight gain than dietary fat</a>, so making the switch to whole wheat can make a real difference in your diet. The explosion of whole wheat pasta onto market shelves in the past few years means more options and better texture and taste. It's now easy to swap the more fiber-rich whole wheat pasta in all your favorite dishes without anyone being the wiser.</p> <h2>10. Olive Oil</h2> <p>Olive oil may seem obvious, but many people are still cooking with the healthy oil in a very limited way. Instead of using olive oil just for sauteing, use it whenever a recipe calls for oil (unless you are frying or cooking at high heat). You can use olive oil in all dressings and sauces, and, as long as the recipe doesn't call for more than half a cup, when baking in place of vegetable oil. If your cake recipe calls for a large dose of oil, replace a portion of the oil so the olive oil doesn't overwhelm the flavor.</p> <h2>11. Broccoli and Cauliflower</h2> <p>Cruciferous vegetables contain vitamins, fiber, and disease-fighting phytochemicals. Too bad everyone isn't in love with the &quot;little trees&quot; broccoli and cauliflower. Luckily, you can utilize these vegetables in interesting ways to add a boost to your favorite dishes.</p> <p><a href="">Steamed broccoli makes a delicious pesto</a>,and is a great addition to <a href="">potato soup</a>.</p> <p>Cauliflower is <a href="">especially versatile</a> and can substitute for rice, pizza crust, and is undetectable when added to mashed potatoes.</p> <h2>12. Avocado</h2> <p>Avocado is a versatile fruit full of heart-healthy fat. Even if you are not an avocado fanatic, you can incorporate it into your diet in surprising ways, often replacing unhealthy saturated fat. <a href="">Avocados make surprisingly good smoothies</a> that often taste more like milkshakes. You can <a href="">incorporate avocado into your baking</a> and decrease the fat by up to 40%. Incorporating avocado into your diet can also be as easy as using mashed, smooth avocado in place of mayo on sandwiches.</p> <p><em>How do you like to add nutrients to your favorite dishes? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="12 Easy Ways to Sneak More Nutrition Into Your Food" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Laurel Randolph</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty diet healthy food nutrients nutrition vegetables Fri, 10 Oct 2014 15:00:07 +0000 Laurel Randolph 1229406 at 7 Habits That Are Quietly Making You Fat (and Have Nothing to Do With Eating) <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-habits-that-are-quietly-making-you-fat-and-have-nothing-to-do-with-eating" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="tired businesswoman" title="tired businesswoman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Can't figure out why you're packing on the pounds lately? It may not be related to food at all. In fact, some of your habits may be contributing to the spike on the scale. (See also: <a href="">7 Killer Ways to Actually Lose Weight</a>)</p> <p>Find out if you're guilty of these seven habits that are quietly making you fat, and then take steps to correct them.</p> <h2>1. Sitting at Your Desk</h2> <p>It's no secret that a sedentary lifestyle &mdash; also known as the &quot;Sitting Disease&quot; &mdash; can lead to a whole host of problems (the least of which is a few extra pounds, by the way), but those problems are amplified if you're sitting around just as much at work as you are at home.</p> <p>WebMD reports that &quot;long periods of physical inactivity raise your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity.&quot; There are <a href="">small gradual changes you can make</a>, however, that will get you up and moving again. For starters, get up from your desk and walk around, stretch, or move for a period of at least five minutes. Need motivation? Instead of sending an email to Bill in accounting, take a stroll to his office to speak to him in person. (See also: <a href="">6 Simple Ways to Get More Exercise Without Working Out</a>)</p> <h2>2. Not Getting a Good Night's Sleep</h2> <p>There's plenty of science that points to<a href=""> a correlation between sleep deprivation and weight gain</a> &mdash; there are hormones and other factors involved &mdash; but we don't have to get complicated to understand that not getting enough shut-eye is hurting your waistline. The bottom line is that sleep deprivation is a vicious cycle that is facilitated by and also results in poor eating habits (like too many cups of coffee or a sugar boost to get you through the day) that lead to feelings of sluggishness that make you want to skip the gym which increases the likelihood that you'll continue to eat poorly once you get home&hellip; and so on. Of course, when it's time to go to bed, you're too wound up to sleep &mdash; and so the cycle continues.</p> <p>Work on developing <a href="">better sleep habits</a>, and it'll be that much easier to develop better diet and exercise habits.</p> <h2>3. Poor Posture, Even If It's an Illusion</h2> <p>You're not actually gaining weight if you have poor posture &mdash; you could be healthy and active and fit &mdash; but if you're a sloucher, you're making those couple extra pounds look like <em>several</em> extra pounds. To combat this problem and ultimately look slimmer, be conscious of how you're sitting and standing so you can <a href="">work on your posture</a>.</p> <h2>4. Riding Instead of Walking (or Climbing)</h2> <p>Do you always take the escalator when there's a staircase right beside it? Do you ride the elevator up one or two floors when you could walk? Are you hopping cabs to go a few blocks?</p> <p>If these scenarios sound like you, you're missing out on crucial exercise opportunities that may seem small individually but will add up over time and potentially result in weight loss. If you want to lose more weight, you need to get moving more often. Plus, if you do it throughout the day with small steps at a time, you won't have to beat yourself up at the gym &mdash; which also can lead to discouragement and eventually avoidance of exercise altogether.</p> <h2>5. Taking Certain Kinds of Medication</h2> <p>Some of the medications you're taking may be contributing to your weight gain, so it's important to discuss this with your doctor if you've noticed a change. Ideally, these side effects should be discussed in advance of the prescription so you're informed, but if you've been on a particular medication for a while that you think is the culprit, schedule an appointment to get the situation under control.</p> <h2>6. Changing Into Sweats/Pajamas as Soon as You Get Home</h2> <p>We're all guilty of this from time to time &mdash; and it's not completely terrible if it's every once in a while &mdash; but if this is a regular habit of yours, you need to nip it in the bud right now.</p> <p>This is more a psychological issue than anything else, because when you change into your pajamas as soon as you get home, you automatically enter a mindset that you're not doing anything for the rest of the day or night. This leads to hours on the couch, binge watching television, and probably stuffing your face with junk food out of pure boredom. To curb this habit, add more hobbies and activities to your life that'll keep you busy and moving. Don't cop out with the ol' &quot;I don't have time&quot; routine either; if you've got time to stare at the tube for multiple hours on end, you've got time to do something more productive. It's just a matter of your willingness. (See also: <a href="">25 Fun, Frugal Things to Do Tonight Besides Watch TV</a>)</p> <h2>7. Putting Off Exercise</h2> <p>And finally, the top habit that is quietly making you fat &mdash; in my opinion anyway.</p> <p>It's very easy to find a million other lazy things to do than get your butt up and burning calories. Trust me, I was a victim of that mentality for a long time. I understand how hard it is to get out of that rut. Nonetheless, it's important for you to help yourself get healthy. Nobody else can do it for you, and you owe it to yourself anyway. Instead of brushing off the opportunity to get active next time &mdash; even if it's just for a few minutes &mdash; take advantage of it. I promise that afterward your body and your mind will feel better, and hopefully it will be the beginning of a more positive, healthier you.</p> <p><em>Do you have other habits to offer that are quietly making us fat? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Habits That Are Quietly Making You Fat (and Have Nothing to Do With Eating)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Health and Beauty Personal Development diet exercise fitness weight gain weight loss Thu, 09 Oct 2014 15:00:03 +0000 Mikey Rox 1229271 at People Who Love Their Bodies Never Do These 17 Things — Do You? <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/people-who-love-their-bodies-never-do-these-17-things-do-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="happy businessman" title="happy businessman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you love your body? Do you want to?</p> <p>When you love your body, you'll treat it in certain ways. You will lavish love on it, revel in it, and enjoy all of the things it allows you to do.</p> <p>This means that you also will not do certain things to it. You won't act unkindly, or disrespectfully, or in ways that will harm your body in the long run. (See also: <a href="">This is What It Really Costs to Get Sick</a>)</p> <p>Not sure what this looks like in real life? Here are some behaviors that people who love their bodies never engage in.</p> <h2>1. Sleep Too Much</h2> <p>Surprise, surprise. Sleeping too much has <a href="">some of the same bad side effects</a> as sleeping too little, including a propensity towards obesity and diabetes. So, sleep seven to nine hours each night and you're good.</p> <h2>2. Stress Out All the Time</h2> <p>It's normal to be stressed every once in a while. Even high stress can be okay, as long as your levels go back down after a while. But continued high stress means you're in &quot;fight or flight&quot; mode all the time, which can cause heart problems, depression, and even PTSD.</p> <h2>3. Stay Inside All Day</h2> <p>You need vitamin D to help keep up your energy and avoid depression. The best way to get this is <a href="">via sunlight</a>, which you can only do by spending at least a few minutes outside. Don't get a sunburn! Instead, expose your skin for about half the time it would take you to start turning pink.</p> <h2>4. Train Too Hard</h2> <p>When you want to change your body, it's easy to exercise hard, for a long time. Too much exercise, though, leaves you <a href="">more likely to get sick</a>. Since illness often undermines exercise plans, train at moderate levels so you can sustain your health and improve your performance.</p> <h2>5. Stop Laughing</h2> <p>Laughing can help reduce your stress, improve your memory, and help your mind perform better. It also helps you regain perspective, even in difficult situations. So do what you need to do to laugh: Talk to a funny friend, listen to a child's joke, or watch someone funny on TV.</p> <h2>6. Binge Drink</h2> <p>Drinking a lot of alcohol over a short period of time is <a href="">never good for you</a>, and when you do it often, you can get everything from mouth cancer to heart arrhythmias. If you regularly have more than four drinks (for a woman) or five (for a man), change your habits to care for your body.</p> <h2>7. Forget to Apply Sunscreen</h2> <p>This one is almost a no brainer, if you don't want skin cancer. Still, we avoid it because it's a pain to put on and it's greasy and gross. But it's worth it!</p> <h2>8. Smoke. At All. Ever. Even Socially.</h2> <p>Any smoking, <a href="">even the occasional social cigarette</a>, raises your risks of cancer and lung or heart disease. Very few occasional or social smokers stay that way, since nicotine is highly addictive. So just stay away.</p> <h2>9. Skip Stretching</h2> <p>While we're on the topic of exercise, don't forego stretching. Some studies show that <a href="">forgetting to stretch can make you more prone to injury</a>, which hurts your body both now and for the long term. It also reduces your flexibility, which you want to <a href="">maintain as you get older</a>.</p> <h2>10. Have Unprotected Sex</h2> <p>This is a huge risk factor for health problems down the road. Protect yourself, so you can avoid STDs, including AIDS, as well as unwanted pregnancy. Respect your own body and that of your partner, and <a href="">use a condom</a>.</p> <h2>11. Ignore Illness</h2> <p>If you have a medical condition, <a href="">take care of yourself</a>. Even if it means changing your lifestyle, making the effort could mean the difference between good health and poor. Finding out that you have a chronic condition can feel overwhelming, hopeless, and defeating. Take a deep breath, work with your doctor, and find people who will support you as you figure out how to care for yourself.</p> <h2>12. Feel Down About Your Body</h2> <p>When your body isn't looking or acting the way you want it to, it's easy to insult yourself or think poorly about how you look and who you are. Instead, <a href="">work to accept yourself as you are</a>, even if you know changes could be made to improve your health.</p> <h2>13. Avoid the Doctor</h2> <p>Yearly check ups are a pain, but they help you <a href="">stay on top of your health</a>. They also give you a chance to ask those annoying little questions, which can mean the difference between good and poor health. If you don't have a doctor, ask your friends who they see or see who your health insurance company recommends.</p> <h2>14. Live On Junk Food</h2> <p>We all eat a brownie now and then, but eating junk food regularly leads to <a href="">all sorts of problems</a>. If you struggle with this, begin finding satisfying substitutes for your favorite foods. For instance, you might eat kale chips instead of potato chips (don't knock 'em 'til you've tried 'em!).</p> <h2>15. Dine Out Every Night</h2> <p>After a long day, no one wants to cook, especially if it's hot in your home. But people who prepare their own food are more likely to avoid <a href="">medical problems</a>. If that doesn't convince you, cooking at home is cheaper and better for the environment than dining out.</p> <h2>16. Stop Eating</h2> <p>It can be easy to want to stop eating entirely, especially when you're frustrated with your weight or under a lot of stress. You will be <a href="">healthier and happier</a>, though, if you choose a diet plan that allows you plenty of calories and helps make sure you feel full.</p> <h2>17. Spend All Day Sitting</h2> <p>When you stay sitting for hours and hours, it <a href="">hurts your body in all sorts of ways</a>. You lower your ability to take up glucose, raise your triglycerides and bad (LDL) cholesterol, and raise your risk of dying from heart disease and certain types of cancer. Instead, take breaks and get moving.</p> <p><em>Have you stopped doing something that's helped you love your body more? What would it be like for you to implement these ideas?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="People Who Love Their Bodies Never Do These 17 Things — Do You?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Health and Beauty bad health fitness Health healthy living self care Fri, 26 Sep 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1221084 at 10 Serious Health Benefits of Laughter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-serious-health-benefits-of-laughter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="couple laughing" title="couple laughing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>They say that laughter is the best medicine. While it certainly isn't going to cure any major ailments, laughter can, in fact, improve your chances of keeping them at bay and alleviate them quicker if you've fallen ill. (See also: <a href="">25 Healthy Changes You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <p>Laughing at that? Then read on as health experts weigh in on the benefits of laughter, some of which may surprise you.</p> <h2>1. Reduces Stress</h2> <p>When you're overwhelmed by stress, find a reason to get your chuckle on, says <a href=""> certified holistic health coach</a> Francesca Alfano. &quot;Your body responds positively to a good laugh both emotionally and physically,&quot; she says. &quot;Laughing activates your stress response by reducing the level of stress hormones such as cortisol, leaving you with a good relaxed feeling. It also can stimulate a physical release by aiding in muscle relaxation. I recommend my clients go out and watch a funny movie, go to a comedy show, or simple ways to find humor in everyday life [when they're stressed].&quot;</p> <h2>2. Burns Calories</h2> <p>According to Canada's Best Health magazine, &quot;<a href="">laughing for 10 to minutes raises energy expenditure</a>, increases heart rate and can burn up to 40 calories.&quot; Just don't mistake this benefit as a way to combat those large fries with a shake. Dr. Maciej Buchowski, a professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University, warns that you shouldn't consider humor's affect on your ability to burn calories a weight-loss method. &quot;People can't eat at McDonald's and then expect to laugh their lunch away,&quot; he tells Best Health.</p> <h2>3. Helps Us Breathe Better</h2> <p>Did you know that there's such a thing as laughter yoga? It's totally legit, and there are awesome benefits to it, the best of which is helping to keep the lungs healthy. <a href="">According to the American School of Laughter Yoga</a> (yep, that's a thing, too), &quot;Hearty extended laughter helps to provide longer exhalation, thus ridding the lungs of residual air, which is then replaced by fresh air containing a higher level of oxygen. The secret to breathing deeper is to exhale more fully. Laughter empties your lungs of more air than it takes in resulting in a cleansing effect. This is especially helpful for people who are suffering from respiratory ailments, such as asthma.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Lowers Defenses</h2> <p>Got your guard up? If it's affecting your outlook on life, start laughing more. <a href="">Licensed marriage and family therapist Lisa Bahar</a> says, &quot;Laughter, when genuine, is a form of joy and creates happy feelings within the system and body. Laughter serves your mental health by enhancing more positive outlooks on life and in turn creates better coping mechanisms overall due to the defenses being lowered.&quot; She provides a caveat, however, of which we should be conscious and careful: &quot;Laughter can also be a mask for feelings; that is the cautionary.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Improves Cardiovascular, Respiratory, and Skeletal Muscular Health</h2> <p>Allen Klein, author of <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0874775191&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ZKX7AQ5TJ26OAA2E">The Healing Power of Humor</a> and <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0979875587&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=RNQQ5BPRY4YL2GIP">Learning to Laugh When You Feel Like Crying</a>, tells us three ways that laughter positively affects different systems of our bodies.</p> <h3>Cardiovascular Health</h3> <p>&quot;Heart rate and blood pressure go up [when you're laughing]. When you stop laughing, they go down again. Very much like what happens when you do aerobic exercise,&quot; he says.</p> <h3>Respiratory Health</h3> <p>Klein explains, &quot;When you laugh you take in and breathe out large amounts of air. Thus your lungs get a workout and you get more oxygen in your blood, which carries oxygen to your brain helping you to think better.&quot;</p> <h3>Skeletal Muscular Health</h3> <p>&quot;We all know the expression 'fall-down laughter' &mdash; when we laugh so hard sometimes that we can hardly stand up,&quot; he says. &quot;Laughter is a great muscle relaxer. Sometime we even laugh so heartily and relax our muscles so much that we 'pee in our pants.'&quot;</p> <h2>6. Expels Aggressive Impulses</h2> <p>When you have the urge to lash out &mdash; and who doesn't from time to time? &mdash; it's best to take a step back and lift your spirits through laughter. Dr. Fran Walfish is a leading couples relationship and family psychologist and regular on-camera contributor to NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams. She says, &quot;Laughter relaxes the body and releases stress. It also is an acceptable healthy expulsion of aggressive impulses. The sound that is vocalized can be paralleled to a scream. There is a release. The trigger for laughter is often a helpful distraction to daily worries and concerns. This is an added benefit. Studies have shown that laughter reduces certain stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Positively Affects the Creative Process</h2> <p><a href="">John Morreal</a>, founder of the International Society for Humor Studies, says, &quot;Humor loosens up the mental gears. It encourages out-of-the-ordinary ways of looking at things.&quot; Dr. William Fry, professor of psychiatry at Stanford University, echoes that sentiment. &quot;Creativity and humor are identical,&quot; he says. &quot;They both involve bringing together two items which do not have an obvious connection, and creating a relationship.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Has Benefits Similar to Meditation</h2> <p>A laugh-out-loud situation is pretty much the opposite of quiet, no-interruption meditation, but it turns out that they have similar benefits for the body. Lee Berk, associate professor of pathology and human anatomy at Loma Linda University, said <a href="">in an article on that</a> &quot;joyful laughter immediately produces the same brain wave frequencies experienced by people in a true meditative state.&quot; Certified laughter wellness instructor and <a href="">laughter yoga leader Noreen Braman</a> has found this claim to be accurate. &quot;Going all the way back to Norman Cousins, (author of <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0393326845&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=INKURDRCEE4VPAKN">Anatomy of an Illness</a>), we know that laughter brings pain relief &mdash; and I am living proof of that,&quot; she says. &quot;I have had fibromyalgia for many years, and since 2010 I have been finding pain relief through laughter, especially when I am leading a group in contagious laughter exercises.&quot;</p> <h2>9. Boosts the Immune System</h2> <p>As I detailed earlier, laughter benefits specific areas of the body but it also helps boost the immune system as a whole. says, &quot;<a href="">Laughter decreases stress hormones</a> and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.&quot;</p> <h2>10. Works Out Your Abs</h2> <p>This is a benefit I can get behind if it means I can spend less time in the gym. <a href="">Laughter can help tone</a> that the dreaded midsection: &quot;When you are laughing, the muscles in your stomach expand and contract, similar to when you intentionally exercise your abs,&quot; explains writer E.C. LaMeaux. &quot;Meanwhile, the muscles you are not using to laugh are getting an opportunity to relax. Add laughter to your ab routine and make getting a toned tummy more enjoyable.&quot; Totally on it!</p> <p><em>How does laughter benefit you? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Serious Health Benefits of Laughter" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Health and Beauty easy health funny bone laugh laughter Fri, 26 Sep 2014 15:00:04 +0000 Mikey Rox 1221083 at 10 New Beauty Products You Need to Know About <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-new-beauty-products-you-need-to-know-about" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="makeup shopping" title="makeup shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>2014 is one hot year for new and innovative beauty products. But lest you hog <em>all</em> the beauty in the world, we've narrowed down the list to these top 10 beauty must-haves. (See also: <a href="">24 Places to Buy Inexpensive Natural Beauty Products</a>)</p> <h2>1. The Switch Kit by Amika</h2> <p>Finally, a good hair product that's also a space and money saver! <a href="">Amika's new Switch Kit</a> comes with a base that can be used with three different barrel sizes, so you get the look you want without having to buy another hair tool. With a digital temperature control, you can adjust the level of heat from 150&deg;F to 430&deg;F (66&deg;C to 221&deg;C).</p> <p><a href=""><img width="273" height="300" alt="" src="" /></a></p> <h2>2. Amrezy Palette by Anastasia of Beverly Hills</h2> <p>Named after one of Instagram's most reputable makeup artists, Amrezy, this palette was constructed and launched by long time beauty maven, Anastasia of Beverly Hills. The <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00LQAHU5G&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=S7ZVK7YC33NQQB7Q">eye shadow palette</a> has 10 gorgeous colors, perfect for both special occasions and everyday casual makeup.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00LQAHU5G&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=S7ZVK7YC33NQQB7Q"><img width="409" height="300" src="" alt="" /></a></p> <h2>3. The 2014 Fall/Winter Nail Collection by Gabriel Cosmetics</h2> <p>Gabriel's <a href="">newest polish collection</a> was inspired by the high fashion runway styles. It comes with six shades and three different spectrums: glossy, matte, and pearl. The best part of this line is that it is one of few companies that uses a &quot;5 free&quot; formula &mdash; meaning it is free of the harmful chemicals including formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, camphor, and phthalates.</p> <p><a href=""><img width="528" height="300" src="" alt="" /></a></p> <h2>4. Honey Dew Me Up Primer by NYX</h2> <p>Infused with light-reflective gold flecks, <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00M3GQ0EY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=WVBC3PFJB3CTZE5U">this primer</a> is made to create a radiant appearance by reducing redness and discoloration.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00M3GQ0EY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=WVBC3PFJB3CTZE5U"><img width="355" height="300" src="" alt="" /></a></p> <h2>5. Matte Lipsticks by Dose of Color</h2> <p>Punctuate your style and add a pop of awesome to any look with Dose of Colors' brand new line of <a href=";path=59">matte lipsticks</a>. Created by makeup artist and cosmetics expert, MakeupbyAnna, this genius color palette of lipsticks is a vegan product that's both cruelty and paraben free.</p> <p><a href=";path=59"><img width="388" height="300" src="" alt="" /></a></p> <h2>6. They're Real! Push-Up Liner by Benefit</h2> <p>The <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00KX7A30W&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=OP4Y5WCDLTAJX6GR">angled brush and push up</a> gel is made to tightly hug your lash line and simplify the application process. The gel formula has a matte black that stays where you put it without smudging, budging or drying out.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00KX7A30W&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=OP4Y5WCDLTAJX6GR"><img width="300" height="300" src="" alt="" /></a></p> <h2>7. Rescue Me Hair Mask by Leyla Milani Hair</h2> <p>Here's a beauty essential to have with all the wear and tear that hair goes through, from being under the sun, challenging weather conditions, and everyday products and oils. Made by the ultimate hair queen, Leyla Milani, this intense formula of argan oil and shea butter penetrates the hair cuticle from the inside out, <a href="">bringing the bounce and strength</a> back to your hair.</p> <p><a href=""><img width="385" height="300" src="" alt="" /></a></p> <h2>8. Perversion Mascara by Urban Decay</h2> <p>This <a href="">primer and mascara duo</a> can really add some punch to your lashes. The high-tech brush is made to add volume and separate each lash for a silky, long lasting finish. According to beauty expert, <a href="">Sona Gasparian</a>, the applicator's defined bristles are what makes the biggest difference by adding fullness and length to the lashes. The unique texture of the mascara's formula allows you to apply less layers for an everyday look or multiple coats for a more dramatic finish.</p> <p><a href=""><img width="450" height="300" src="" alt="" /></a></p> <h2>9. Mavens Sculpt Series by Motives</h2> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00I8MGFPQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=AXJ637JQE3RHHUTX">Mavens Sculpt Series</a> comes in two complexions: Fire for warmer skin tones and Ice for cooler skin tones. These palettes have four crème foundations best for highlighting cheekbones, covering under eye imperfections, intensifying the brow bone and creating a stunning profile and definition. Motives Cosmetics is expertly crafted in collaboration with six YouTube beauty sensations including <a href="">Teni Panosian</a>, and cosmetics gurus including, Lauren Rindinger and La La Anthony.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00I8MGFPQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=AXJ637JQE3RHHUTX"><img width="500" height="300" src="" alt="" /></a></p> <h2>10. Velvet Orchid Eau de Parfum Spray by Tom Ford</h2> <p>Last but not least, Tom Ford's captivating perfume, <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00JJHY9KC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=I7IRAFFAIBZFNAPP">Velvet Orchid</a>. Derived of oriental florals and combined with strong notes of citrus, lavish petals, rum, and honey, this scent is ultra feminine and exotic.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00JJHY9KC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=I7IRAFFAIBZFNAPP"><img width="318" height="300" src="" alt="" /></a></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 New Beauty Products You Need to Know About" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Nayri Leanna Gregor</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty accessories beauty beauty products Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:00:12 +0000 Nayri Leanna Gregor 1215969 at 7 Online Workout Videos for Free or Cheap <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-online-workout-videos-for-free-or-cheap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="man workout video" title="man workout video" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You don't need to purchase DVDs to gain a beefy collection of at-home workouts &mdash; YouTube is an excellent resource for quick exercise routines that cost nothing at all. And there are many other free and lost-cost options from which to choose. (See also: <a href="">These At-Home Exercises Will Give You a Gym-Quality Workout For Free</a>)</p> <p>So, simply turn on your computer, set it on a level surface, and get moving. If you have a streaming TV device &mdash; like a Roku or an Apple TV &mdash; even better. Let's start the sweat streaming!</p> <h2>1. Fitness Blender</h2> <p>You can find a wide variety of workouts on <a href="">Fitness Blender</a> for free. Each comes complete with a video and information detailing how many minutes the workout takes, the number of calories you'll burn, and the parts of the body you'll focus on &mdash; so there's no guessing. I love the creative blend of different techniques the trainers use to keep people moving, like this <a href="">Cardio Kickboxing and Yoga Workout</a>. Choose to become a member (also free) to comment on different workouts, save your favorites, and keep up with the latest releases via social media.</p> <h2>2. Blogilates</h2> <p>Cassey Ho is the personal trainer behind the popular site <a href="">Blogilates</a>. As the name implies, these workouts are focused on a mix of Pilates, cardio, and strength for the whole body. There are quick workouts less than 10 minutes in length and longer sessions that reach close to the hour mark. All are free, and Ho even offers a monthly workout calendar if you sign up for her free newsletter. (See also: <a href="">5 Apps That Pay You To Exercise</a>)</p> <h2>3. Workoutz</h2> <p>If you'd prefer your exercises to be organized by focus area, visit <a href="">Workoutz</a> for plenty of free fitness videos at your fingertips. If you get bored with the same old routine, just check out the &quot;What's New&quot; box to see the latest uploads to the site. Right now, there's heavy training rope work, sandbag lifts, and advanced plank with resistance bands. I like that kind of variety!</p> <h2>4. The Gym Box</h2> <p>If you have $10 a month to spare, check out <a href="">The Gym Box</a>, which is an awesome streaming workout service you can watch on your TV, PC, or Mac. You'll find over 2,000 guided workouts for everything from step to cycling, dance to strength training, and beyond. Most workouts don't require any special equipment. And you can try this service free for 15 days if all you need is a kick-start.</p> <h2>5. FitFusion</h2> <p>Or perhaps you'd rather try <a href="">FitFusion</a>, which is also $10 a month and offers unlimited access to over 260 branded workouts by popular trainers. You can exercise with Jillian Michaels, get a good stretch with Gaiam, or sweat it out with Billy Blanks. There are over 125 hours of workouts in all with 24 trusted trainers. If you don't like what you see, you can cancel at any time. (See also: <a href="">Healthy People Have These 10 Things In Their Homes &mdash; Do You?</a>)</p> <h2>6. Hulu Plus</h2> <p>If you're a member of <a href="">Hulu Plus</a>, you might already know about its wealth of fitness programming. If not, I'm here to enlighten you. For just $7.99 a month, you get access to some of the latest television shows as well as <a href="">ExerciseTV and DailyBurn</a> with all sorts of workouts from aerobics to yoga, dancing to pilates. I love how some of the videos are less than five minutes in length, making them perfect for in-between show calorie burning.</p> <h2>7. Gaiam TV</h2> <p>For a blend of both physical and mental wellness, look no further than <a href="">Gaiam TV</a>. The holistic approach will keep your body and mind fit and centered &mdash; all for just $9.99 per month. You'll find a blend of gentle to challenging yoga, Pilates, and other fitness routines. In addition, there are numerous videos focused on healthy eating, stress relief, spiritual growth, and all sorts of intriguing topics to expand your horizons and keep health foremost on your mind. You can also try the service free for 10 days with a trial membership.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite streaming workout video? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Online Workout Videos for Free or Cheap" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty exercise fitness free workout home workout workout video Thu, 18 Sep 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1213031 at 5 Ways to Detox for Fall Without an Expensive Juice Cleanse <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-detox-for-fall-without-an-expensive-juice-cleanse" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="woman eating salad" title="woman eating salad" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I've seen a lot of reporting around juice cleanses lately. (See also: <a href="">10 Spa Treatments You Can Do at Home</a>)</p> <p>Not only is the science behind them <a href="">tentative at best</a>, but they are down-right expensive. I wanted solutions to get me ready for fall that would keep my body and bank account healthy, so here are five alternatives that skip the juice and help us feel better inside and out.</p> <h2>1. Go Raw and Vegan</h2> <p>One of the main troubles with juice cleanses is that they strip the juice from all of the fiber contained in the fruits and vegetables. We need that fiber to keep us feeling full and to keep our digestive system humming. Go raw and vegan for seven days, and you'll feel cleansed without feeling deprived. Try this <a href="">7-day raw vegan detox plan</a>, courtesy of Gourmandelle.</p> <h2>2. Cut the Sugar</h2> <p>Because the average U.S. grocery store is dominated by packaged, processed foods, we have a lot of excess sugar (and sodium) in our diets. At high levels, refined sugar is actually <a href="">toxic to our bodies</a>. One way to feel better fast is to cut refined sugar out of our diets. <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1936608111&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=H3TSMANDZAT54RZR">The 21-Day Sugar Detox</a> offers 90, easy-to-prepare sugar-free recipes and a three-week meal planner to break our addiction to sugar while enjoying tasty, healthy food.</p> <h2>3. Drink More Water</h2> <p>Being dehydrated leads to all kinds of reactions in our bodies. We <a href="">feel hungry</a>, our <a href="">energy drops</a>, and we're likely to <a href="">suffer from more aches and pains</a>. The goal of a cleanse is to feel better; up your water intake and you'll see a short-term and long-term boost in your health.</p> <h2>4. Get Moving</h2> <p>Our bodies were made to move. As wonderful as technology is, we spend far too much time sitting still looking at a screen and <a href="">it's literally killing us</a>. Sitting too much increases our risk of chronic disease, reduces life expectancy, contributes to poor mental health, and is a leading cause of obesity. We need to get up and out into the world, literally, to feel better and live longer.</p> <h2>5. Laugh It Up</h2> <p>Rather than pledging to follow a juice cleanse, actively make it a point to laugh more. The Mayo Clinic recently found that <a href="">laughter is serious medicine</a> for what ails us. It lowers stress, stimulates internal organs, boosts immunity, relieves physical pain, and improves our mental health. What more could you ask for in a cleanse?</p> <p>A change of seasons is a great time to take stock of our health. As a nutritionist friend of mine recently said, &quot;juice cleanses are nothing more than colorful, sweetly-packaged hype.&quot; Save the money, skip the juice, and follow the five strategies above to feel your best this fall.</p> <p><em>What are you doing to shape up for fall (and beyond)? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Ways to Detox for Fall Without an Expensive Juice Cleanse" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Christa Avampato</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty cleanse detox fitness juice cleanse Fri, 12 Sep 2014 13:00:07 +0000 Christa Avampato 1209015 at 10 Easy Ways to Burn Almost 1000 Extra Calories Per Day <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-easy-ways-to-burn-almost-1000-extra-calories-per-day" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="weight training home" title="weight training home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The warm summer weather, and the attire that goes along with it, provides extra incentive to keep ourselves in tip-top shape. So now that we're rounding the corner into fall and the hearty foods that it brings, we need some strategies to keep the extra pounds from finding their way back onto our waistlines.</p> <p>To lose one pound, you need to either <a href="">burn 3500 calories or cut 3500 calories</a> from your diet. The 10-step plan below will help you eliminate 1000 calories per day without changing your schedule.</p> <h2>1. Get Your Fiber Early</h2> <p><strong>Calories Saved: 53</strong></p> <p>Although a lot of traditional breakfast foods are protein heavy (eggs, bacon, dairy), a breakfast rich in fiber is the way to go to get and keep slim. Fiber keeps us feeling full longer, so we consume fewer calories throughout the day and is an excellent way to keep our whole digestive system healthy. Replace your usual protein in the morning with a high fiber cereal such as oatmeal. One egg and a strip of bacon <a href="">contains 136 calories</a>. One-half cup of oatmeal <a href="">contains 83 calories</a>.</p> <h2>2. Skip the Bread at Lunch</h2> <p><strong>Calories Saved: 216</strong></p> <p>I have to give credit to Steve Harvey for this idea. He lost a noticeable amount of weight last year and recently explained some of the key ways he cut his calories. A sandwich is one of his favorite lunch go-to items. To slim down, he replaces the two slices of bread with romaine lettuce on either side. Two slices of whole grain bread <a href="">contain 220 calories</a>. Four lettuce leaves (two for each side of the sandwich) <a href="">contain four calories</a>.</p> <h2>3. Toss Your Salad, Literally</h2> <p><strong>Calories Saved: 43</strong></p> <p>The typical serving size for salad dressing is two tablespoons. Most of us pour the dressing on top of our dinner salad once we make it, and rarely do we toss it. I use this trick: I place one tablespoon at the bottom of the bowl and then toss my salad thoroughly so that every single item in the salad is thinly coated with salad dressing. At <a href="">43 calories per tablespoon</a>, I get all of the taste and use half the recommended serving size.</p> <h2>4. Greek, Please</h2> <p><strong>Calories Saved: 42</strong></p> <p>Yogurt is one of my favorite midday snacks. I used to go for traditional fruit yogurt that <a href="">contains 153 calories</a>. Then I discovered Greek yogurt has <a href="">90 calories</a> and is a much creamier alternative. To dress it up, I add a <a href="">quarter cup of blueberries</a> for a total of 111 calories.</p> <h2>5. Hold the Half and Half</h2> <p><strong>Calories Saved: 67</strong></p> <p>I'm a big coffee drinker though having it black is just too bitter for my taste buds. I used half and half in my morning cup of joe and that added on <a href="">39 calories</a>. Since my typical morning has two cups of coffee, I was adding 78 calories to my morning. I recently replaced my half and half with skim milk so that each splash only adds <a href="">11 calories</a> per cup of coffee for a total of 22 calories.</p> <h2>6. Rejoice in Fidgeting</h2> <p><strong>Calories Burned: 100</strong></p> <p>I have a hard time sitting still. Even when I'm home writing, I pace around the room with my notebook and pen in hand, tap my fingers and toes, and wiggle around in my chair. According to several medical studies, fidgeters are onto something big. Scientists found that <a href=";page=2">people who fidget can burn about 100 calories </a>more than people who remain sedentary for most of the day.</p> <h2>7. Take Your Meetings on the Road</h2> <p><strong>Calories Burned: 200</strong></p> <p>At a corporate job, I spent a lot of time sitting in meetings. Over time, I found that I would have stomach aches and headaches at the end of the day. I wouldn't have these symptoms on weekends or when I worked at home. I soon deduced that sitting so much in my corporate office was the cause of those pains. To combat that, I took my one-on-one meetings outside. The pains disappeared and so did some excess calories. My regular walking pace is about 15 minutes per mile, so in a 30-minute meeting, I would get in a two-mile walk. We <a href="">burn about 100 calories per mile walked</a>, so each 30-minute walking meeting burned 200 calories total without taking any more time than my typical seated meeting.</p> <h2>8. Grab Those Weights</h2> <p><strong>Calories Burned: 100</strong></p> <p>Every day I get in a bit of weight training. I have simple free weights at home, and I use them when I'm watching TV or talking on speaker phone. While cardio burns more calories during a workout than weight training, weight training has the added benefit of <a href="">helping you burn calories throughout the day</a> long after the workout is over. The heavier the weight, the better.</p> <h2>9. Get Some Shut-Eye</h2> <p><strong>Calories Burned: 100</strong></p> <p>Skimping on sleep has a number of effects on our health, but one that's often overlooked is weight-gain. A recent study showed that people who regularly got nine hours of sleep at night and then were reduced to five hours per night, <a href=";mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C%7B%221%22%3A%22RI%3A7%22%7D">gained an average of two pounds</a> at the end of that first week. Another study found that women who were sleep deprived <a href="">gained an average of 11 pounds over a year</a> versus women who regularly slept seven to nine hours. It appears this arises because sleep deprived people eat more and feel more sluggish during their waking hours, so they also burn fewer calories. On a daily basis, sleeping well helps us to keep about 100 calories at bay.</p> <h2>10. Turn Down the Thermostat</h2> <p><strong>Calories Burned: 33</strong></p> <p>If only you could <a href="">burn <em>more</em> calories while sleeping</a>! A recent study shows that may be the case. People who slept in a 66-degree room burned 33 more calories during eight hours of sleep than people who slept in a 75-degree room. Over the course of a year, that adds up to almost 3.5 pounds of weight loss!</p> <p>By implementing these 10 strategies in a day, you burn or cut almost 1000 calories per day, and they don't add any extra time to your to-do list! That amounts to as much as two pounds of weight loss per week!</p> <p><em>Have you had success with small lifestyle changes that helped you lose weight and keep it off? Please share them in the comments section below.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Easy Ways to Burn Almost 1000 Extra Calories Per Day" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Christa Avampato</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty diets fitness Health weight loss Tue, 09 Sep 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Christa Avampato 1207002 at Thinking of Going on a Diet? Here's How to Figure Out Which One Is Right for You <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/thinking-of-going-on-a-diet-heres-how-to-figure-out-which-one-is-right-for-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="woman eating salad" title="woman eating salad" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most Americans at one point or another have attempted to go on a diet. Whether it be to detox the system, or to lose a few pounds, there are a plethora of diets out there, so the question always becomes: Which to choose? (See also: <a href="">If You're Eating These 6 Things, Your &quot;Diet&quot; Is Doing Nothing</a>)</p> <p>While we each have our favorites and may have strong opinions about others, here is my list of the most popular diets, and what they can (and cannot!) do for you.</p> <h2>Low Carb/Atkins/South Beach</h2> <p><strong>Best for: Quick fixers, Diabetics.</strong></p> <p>Probably one of the best known and most controversial diets, <a href="">Atkins</a> is based on the idea of a severely limited carbohydrate diet. The diet has three phases with varying levels of restrictions. For some, the results are impressive at the beginning, due to the strict diet restrictions, but dieters may find that the weight bounces back once more carbs are introduced back into the diet. <a href="">South Beach Diet</a> is a similar program, with more emphasis on watching saturated fats and allowing starchy vegetables. Low carbohydrate lifestyles are also ideal for diabetics, as the lifestyle often requires a drastic sugar reduction, as well.</p> <h2>Master Cleanse/Detoxes</h2> <p><strong>Best for: Those who want a reset.</strong></p> <p>Severe detox diets like the Master Cleanse often require a near-complete removal of solid foods from a diet for a period of time. The theory behind these cleanses is that you will be able to &quot;reset&quot; your body and remove built up toxins from the system. These are meant to be a temporary solution, because they are so drastic, and not a lifestyle, so if you decide to do a cleanse, make sure you have a plan for <em>after </em>the cleanse.</p> <h2>Low Calorie</h2> <p><strong>Best for: Those with good self-discipline, those in it for the long haul.</strong></p> <p>Arguably the best known way to lose weight, cutting calories can be very effective. Popular diets like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers have similar tenets, with points being used instead of straight calories, although their outcomes are essentially the same. Now that there are numerous apps, like <a href="">SparkPeople</a>, <a href="">MyFitnessPal</a>, <a href="">My Plate</a>, and countless others, cutting calories has never been easier.</p> <p>Living a low-calorie lifestyle can also help you learn about food consumption and nutrients, as you begin to read more labels and account for what you're putting into your body. Keep in mind that low-calorie may not be a fast way to lose weight, and you should never go below a healthy caloric level for your body. Try using calculators like &quot;<a href="">If it fits your macros</a>&quot; and<a href=""> TDEE</a> to find the best range for your body and lifestyle.</p> <h2>Vegetarian/Vegan</h2> <p><strong>Best for: Those with open-minded families.</strong></p> <p>If you're interested in trying a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle for health or moral reasons, consider the rest of your family before making the leap. While incorporating more vegetables and legumes is a great addition to any diet, restricting meat consumption can throw a kink into family dinners. If you've got a supportive family, though, a vegetarian lifestyle is a great choice for adding more essential nutrients and vitamins. But if the thought of giving up protein scares you, keep in mind that there are varying levels of vegetarianism (including those who consume eggs and fish), and many legumes contain sufficient levels of protein, too.</p> <h2>Gluten Free</h2> <p><strong>Best for: Those with Celiac Disease.</strong></p> <p>Gluten-free has become a popular diet in the last few years. The gluten-free lifestyle involves removal of most-to-all gluten in your life. However, if you choose this diet for weight loss instead of for health-reasons, keep in mind that &quot;gluten-free&quot; options are not always the healthiest choice available, either. Gluten-free breads and foods will contain additional additives and ingredients to produce the same results that gluten would, so binging on gluten-free cupcakes won't help you lose weight any easier.</p> <h2>Nutrisystem/Subscription Meal Services</h2> <p><strong>Best for: Those who can't cook well or want everything taken care of.</strong></p> <p>I first learned of Nutrisystem in college, when a roommate decided that it would be easier for her to begin a Nutrisystem diet than to budget time for meal preparation. (Coincidentally, she is now a clean living and diet guru.) The theory behind subscription meal services is that everything is taken care of for you, meal-wise. You pay for a certain number of meals, which are pre-packaged and delivered to your door. These meals are carefully calculated to offer a decent amount of daily needs, while still maintaining enough of a caloric deficit to induce weight loss. My roommate would complain of boredom when it came to the meals, however, and she did have some sodium level spikes due to the preservatives, so make sure the subscription service has enough options for your lifestyle. If you prefer something a little less constricting, services like <a href="">Blue Apron</a> that deliver unprepared meals and recipes that are great to use as a sporadic meal here and there, rather than an entire diet.</p> <h2>Paleo</h2> <p><strong>Best for: Clean lifestyle enthusiasts.</strong></p> <p>The theory behind Paleo diets are fairly simple: If our ancestors didn't eat it, you don't need to, either. Paleo has some low carb/Atkins tenets, but it's much more restrictive on the additives you can and cannot have (things like Splenda or any other unnatural additive are not allowed on Paleo, while they are allowed on Atkins). You may also notice fans of Crossfit are also Paleo-enthusiasts, as they both promote clean living.</p> <p><em>What diet has been successful (or unsuccessful) for you? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Thinking of Going on a Diet? Here&#039;s How to Figure Out Which One Is Right for You" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Megan Brame</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty atkins diet fitness Health paleo weight loss Tue, 09 Sep 2014 09:00:05 +0000 Megan Brame 1207022 at 10 Easy Ways to Work Stretching Into Your Daily Routine <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-easy-ways-to-work-stretching-into-your-daily-routine" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="office stretching" title="office stretching" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm a certified, registered yoga teacher at the 500-hour level, and I've been teaching yoga and meditation for 10 years. Take it from me: Flexibility is <a href="">an important aspect of everyone's health</a>.</p> <p>In fact, most of my students find me because they have low levels of flexibility that are causing them pain. Muscles that are flexible help to reduce pain in the body, particularly back pain, and they support us in the movement of everyday life.</p> <p>But building and maintaining flexibility takes continuous effort over a long period of time. If we try to build flexibility too quickly, we're very likely to get an injury. I use the plastic wrap analogy with my students to explain this concept. Stretch a piece of plastic wrap between your hands. If you stretch it quickly, the plastic wrap breaks. If you stretch it very slowly, it lengthens. Our muscles have a similar quality. They must be stretched little by little over a long period of time in order to lengthen. (See also: <a href="">10 Exercises You Can Do at Work That Won't Make You Look Silly</a>)</p> <p>All of that means stretching ought to be done in small increments each day. Here are 10 ways I work on my flexibility daily without changing my normal routine.</p> <h2>1. Good Morning</h2> <p>Before I even get out of bed, I spend a minute or two stretching. You can do this lying down or sitting up. I turn my neck from side to side, stretch my arms out and up over my head, and then pull my knees into my chest to take my legs to each side. It gives me a way to know what areas of my body need a bit of extra attention for the day.</p> <h2>2. Before and After Exercise</h2> <p>I've seen a number of different opinions on whether it's more beneficial to <a href=";_type=blogs&amp;_r=0">stretch before</a> or <a href="">after exercise</a>. I spend a few minutes doing both because that's what feels best to me. Stretching before I exercise let's me know which parts of my body feel stiff. Those are areas where I need to pay the most attention and care when I work out. I stretch after as well because I'm warmed up and am able to feel the full flexibility benefits of the workout. Again, that's another opportunity for me to check in to see if the areas that felt stiff prior to working out still feel that way. If they do, then I know it's something I may be need to get checked to see if there's any kind of injury.</p> <h2>3. Shower Time</h2> <p>After exercise, I start my day with a warm shower. This is another excellent time to stretch a bit because the warmth from the water helps soothe achy muscles. I take my torso from side to side and focus on my neck, shoulders, and low back.</p> <h2>4. Desk Time</h2> <p>I love my work as a writer, so I'm prone to sit at my desk and move very little throughout the day if left to my own devices. To combat this, I have a timer set for every hour. When that timer goes off, I get up from my chair, take a spin around my home office, and do some stretches for my whole body, paying special attention to my neck, shoulders, back, and hips because those are the areas that get most stiff when I sit for long periods of time.</p> <p>Even while I'm sitting, I squeeze in some seated stretches. I twist from side to side to relieve my back and do a gentle forward fold while seated, letting my torso rest on my thighs. I find they're especially helpful when I'm searching for the right words to string together. Try some of these <a href="">seated stretches</a> from the Mayo Clinic that can easily be done in the office.</p> <h2>5. During Phone Conversations</h2> <p>I always stretch when I'm on the phone. Depending upon how my body feels, I sometimes do those stretches standing up or sitting down. I use that time to catch up with friends, family, or colleagues while working on my flexibility.</p> <h2>6. In the Kitchen</h2> <p>Because I work from home, I prepare most of my own meals in my kitchen. The time I spend standing at my kitchen counter preparing food is another great time to get in a bit of stretching. While at my counters, I use a wide-legged stance that provides a great stretch for my thighs and hips. These muscles get especially tight because I sit for most of my day. I use good posture when bending down to get items from my cabinets below the counter. I also try to use the step stool only when I really need it, stretching for items on shelves that are a bit out of my reach.</p> <h2>7. Social Stretch</h2> <p>In New York City, where I live, socializing often involves heading to a restaurant, cafe, or local bar to catch up with friends. Lately I've been trying to to have more active friend time. I live close to two large parks, so I suggest a walk together, or if I know a friend of mine is into specific kinds of exercise, I suggest going to a class together at the gym. This way I get in my social, exercise, and flexibility training all in one shot.</p> <h2>8. Television Watching</h2> <p>I love television. For many people, TV time is down time. It's also a fantastic opportunity to stretch and work on your flexibility. Stretching is passive and doesn't require our full attention so we can watch the news or our favorite shows while doing both seated and standing stretches.</p> <h2>9. Podcast and Audiobook Listening</h2> <p>I'm a big fan of podcasts and audiobooks. I load them up on one of my mobile devices and hit the streets for a walk or play them while I stretch out in my living room. There's an added benefit of doing exercise while listening: I actually retain the information more efficiently than if I'm sitting on the subway or bus listening to the content, so stretching while listening boosts my brain as it improves my flexibility. A recent study at the University of British Columbia showed that <a href="">exercise improves memory and thinking</a>.</p> <h2>10. Good Night</h2> <p>I use stretching to bookend my days. Just as I spend a minute to two in bed stretching after I wake up, I also spend another minute or two before I go to sleep. I have one last opportunity for the day to see if any parts of my body feel stiff and that stretching helps me to get comfortable for a good night's sleep.</p> <p>Add up all of these bits of stretching and I get in <em>at least</em> 15 minutes of time to improve my flexibility every day. A great deal of it is acquired while I multitask because stretching is an activity that doesn't require my undivided attention. Consciously work stretching in bit by bit throughout your day as part of your normal routine and you'll see your flexibility grow at just the right pace without adding another item to your to-do list.</p> <p><em>How do you get your stretching in every day?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Easy Ways to Work Stretching Into Your Daily Routine" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Christa Avampato</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty flexibility stretching yoga Mon, 08 Sep 2014 11:00:05 +0000 Christa Avampato 1205247 at 10 Easy Back Exercises That Will Help Eliminate Pain <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-easy-back-exercises-that-will-help-eliminate-pain" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="yoga position" title="yoga position" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Stronger muscles won't guarantee you'll be impervious to pain. But particularly around your spine, increased strength can reduce the risk of injury and improve posture, thus reducing pain and the chance of newly occurring injuries. While <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="">stretching for posture</a> is important, strength training for your back and spinal cord is just as crucial. (See also: <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="">20 Great Body Weight Exercises</a>)</p> <p>When looking to strengthen back muscles, you've got to be certain that your form is good and that you're doing the movements right. Some good practices to follow include:</p> <ul> <li>Using manageable amounts of weight (you usually don't need much);</li> <li>Working on posture before you perform a weighted movement;</li> <li>Focusing on keeping your back straight and stop reps when you begin to lose form.</li> </ul> <p>Your first priority is to avoid injury and issues that will incur more back pain. Go through <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="">these stretches</a> first, then try these exercises to build up strength in your back muscles and around your spinal column.</p> <h2>1. Wall Sits</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//"></iframe></p> <p>Although <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="">wall sits look simple</a>, there's a lot of form involved that you have to think about. Make sure that your back is flat against the wall, with your feet on the floor and your knees bent forming a right angle between your upper leg and your spine. Hold your arms out for balance and keep the position for 30 seconds.</p> <h2>2. Seated Cable or Band Rows</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//"></iframe></p> <p>A modest amount of weight is fine if you're just starting out with <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="">seated cable or band rows</a>. Sit in front of the pulley system and use both hands to pull the cable towards the center of your chest. Make sure that you release the weight back to the original position slowly, keep your shoulders square and without bending your back forward. Also avoid moving your body backward to try and pull the weight. If you need to do that, use less weight.</p> <h2>3. Kettlebell Swings</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//"></iframe></p> <p>There are a variety of different <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="">kettlebell swings</a> you can do but the video explains some of the basic movements and gives you the proper form to follow. Once again the primary concern with form is that you keep your back straight and bend at the hips if you need to.</p> <h2>4. Overhead Band Press</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//"></iframe></p> <p>Step on one side of the band with your right foot, then grab the other end with your right hand and push it straight up. Make sure your arm, back and leg are all forming a straight line from the floor to the ceiling. Hold that position, then repeat the exercise on your left side.</p> <h2>5. Lateral Medicine Ball Throws (Against Wall)</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//"></iframe></p> <p>To perform a lateral medicine ball throw, grab a medicine ball and stand with your left side facing a wall. Hold the ball with both hands and throw it against the wall so that it bounces back to you. Catch the ball and pivot at your hips if necessary. Switch sides after 10 reps.</p> <h2>6. Long Bar Row</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//"></iframe></p> <p>Before you start a <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="">long bar row</a>, make sure you position the long bar in a corner where it can't move on you. Then use one hand to hold the bar on one side and pull it up, bending at your elbow. You'll want to bend your knees slightly while maintaining a straight spine. Try the movement with just the bar before adding weight.</p> <h2>7. Suspended Row</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//"></iframe></p> <p>The <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="">suspended row</a> requires something sturdy to hold onto that sits above you and will support your upper body. The example given uses two suspended rings, but a bar will work as well. Simply pull your body upwards in a controlled movement while resting your feet on the ground. Keep your core tight and your spine straight throughout.</p> <h2>8. Reverse Crunches</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//"></iframe></p> <p>This simple core exercise strengthens your lower abdominal muscles in the front and on your sides (obliques), which can help reduce back pain and improve posture. Strengthening areas that support your back, like your core are just as important as the back muscles themselves.</p> <h2>9. Cable Arm Pressout</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//"></iframe></p> <p>This movement works your chest, shoulders and back with a low impact movement. The cable machine is ideal since you have more control over the weight you use. Start with a manageable weight and concentrate on getting your form right. Once again it's crucial that you keep your back straight and avoid bending forward or backward.</p> <h2>10. Hindu Pushup</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//"></iframe></p> <p>The form of the <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="">Hindu pushup</a> is a bit tricky so be sure review the video before you attempt the movement. Your chest, back, arm and shoulder muscles will all be engaged. In this particular exercise, there will be a slight curve to your spine as the movement subtly resembles an <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="">upward dog yoga position</a>.</p> <h2>Strength as a Pain Preventative</h2> <p>Strength training is more effective as a pain preventative than a pain treatment. Particularly when it comes to back pain, the issue can often be injury related, which means strength training isn't going to be the best immediate solution.</p> <p>However, resistance workouts that build muscle should be utilized as tools to prevent injury and decrease the chances of experiencing pain in the future.</p> <p>When done with proper form and technique, it can be one of your best preventative pain treatments.</p> <p><em>What exercises or stretches do you do to alleviate back pain?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Easy Back Exercises That Will Help Eliminate Pain" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty back exercises back pain fitness Health strength training workouts Fri, 05 Sep 2014 13:00:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1203901 at