Guest blog: Small, Budget-Friendly Changes That Can Make a Big Difference in Your Health


— by Jennifer McGregor

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Photo by Pexels

Making your health a priority doesn’t mean you have to run a marathon, eat nothing but vegetables, or make other drastic changes to your lifestyle. In fact, drastic changes — regardless of how healthy — could do the opposite. For example, think about how many times you have jumped on the bandwagon of the latest fad diet. You probably lost some weight rather quickly, but it’s unlikely the weight stayed off. That’s because those diets require you to make immediate, unsustainable changes to the way you eat. In order to make healthy habits that stick, you have to make slow, gradual changes that add into your life as opposed to adding on

Are you among the many people looking to incorporate some healthy habits into your everyday activities? It’s not as hard as you might think! Here are suggestions for small changes that can add up to a big impact — but won’t add up to costs!

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness means focusing on the present moment, instead of worrying about something in the past — that you cannot change — or fixating on the future — that you cannot predict. When you find yourself trapped in the past or the future, find a quiet spot to close your eyes and listen to your breath. When thoughts intrude on your solitude, acknowledge them, but don’t follow them. This will come in handy for those moments when you feel guilty for eating that extra cookie or frustrated when the scale isn’t falling fast enough. If you’re having trouble grasping the art of mindfulness, there are several free smartphone apps that can aid you in the process.

Smile Big 

Good oral hygiene can impact both your physical and mental health in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. Visiting the dentist twice a year for check-ups and cleanings can help prevent diseases like periodontitis and gingivitis. But good oral health also plays a part in preventing illness in other parts of your body, too, like diabetes and heart disease. And, believe it or not, mental health is linked to oral health, too! If you are confident in your smile, you will smile and laugh more often. If you’ve been avoiding the dentist or need to find a new one, look to your dental coverage for direction and couple with an online search to find a dentist in your neighborhood. What’s more, by staying on top of cleaning and checkups, you’ll prevent serious — and costly — dental problems from developing down the road. 

Get on a Mat

Yoga is one of the most beneficial ways to boost mental and physical health. You can go to a class at a studio or at the gym, but you can also practice at home, too. You don’t need fancy clothes or gear — if you can breathe then you are already practicing yoga! Start simple with a 15-minute energizing routine in the morning or deep, relaxing stretches in the evening. Try to work your way up to a full 60-minute practice. Yoga is also a great healthy bonding activity to do with your kids — naturally bendy in mind and body— at home, in a class or at the park. If you’re unsure about poses, there are a lot of quality, free instructional videos online.

Of course, the one piece of equipment you might need to get started is pretty straightforward: a yoga mat. Fortunately, you can affordable yoga mats at a number of retailers, and using promo codes and coupons at stores such as Dicks Sports Goods can help you save money.

Cut Out One Food Vice

Healthy eating should be a journey. Start small and simple — and only make one change at a time. For example, you can stop putting sugar in your coffee or eat a salad before every meal. It helps to log your current food habits before you make changes so you know what you’re dealing with. For instance, you may think you only have one or two sodas a day, but after you log your food for a week you could see that the reality — at least on some days — is very different. Cutting out soda entirely at first may be too challenging, but cutting out soda at dinner could be an effective way to ease yourself into a soda-free life — and it can also help you add a few more dollars into your household budget at the same time! If you want to take on bigger diet changes, think about talking to your doctor about your plans. Since he or she knows your biggest health concerns, you’ll get good insight that you might miss on your own.

Make “Me” Time

Self-care is another angle for improving health and reducing stress. Self-care might seem selfish for someone with a busy schedule — school, work or kids will always have to come first. But carving out 15 to 30 minutes every day for yourself can do wonders for helping you manage stress and prevent burnout. If you’re always putting your own needs on the back burner, you’ll eventually have nothing to give. Self-care doesn’t have to be a big event (though it can be and that’s okay). Wake up 10 minutes earlier and enjoy a cup of coffee in silence. Take a bubble bath with music and a book at the end of the day. Walk in the sunshine and listen to your favorite podcast during your lunch break. Prioritize things that make you happy, so you are better able to spread happiness to others. Here’s the best part: Setting aside a little time for yourself doesn’t require you to spend any money whatsoever if you don’t want to!

Healthy habits don’t have to be major changes in order to be life-changing. You want to make your effort stick so that these changes turn into habits, which simply turn into the way you live. Find joy in making healthy, budget-minded decisions by thinking about the short-term and long-term benefits, both for you and your family.


About the author:

Jennifer McGregor co-created Public Health Library to write about health and wellness topics. She is a pre-med student who aims to make it easier for people to find high-quality health info in one place.

My Transformation (Body, Weight and All)… Let Me Help You


So it has officially been a year since I gave birth to my second son.

I have returned to the gym as soon as my six week postpartum was cleared. Yet, due to personal procrastination and the use of breastfeeding as alibi, I did not couple my workouts with good nutrition. I was a vacuum cleaner bound to have a spotless surrounding and a full belly 🙂

As soon as the end of 2015 came close I took it upon myself to set a healthy eating goal for 2016 and stick to it.

In the meantime life also presented me with an online free coach who added me to a group of women on Facebook who cheer each other on and keep themselves and each other accountable through their journey of weight loss and clean eating.

January 1, 2016 arrived and so I woke up in the morning determined to make my first day of the year a success. I juiced one lemon and had it with warm water.

I continued with my usual workout routine at the gym but this time I coupled it with the 21 day fix eating plan. This meant I ate 5 meals a day, using the containers provided to help me with portion control.

I also removed all diary from my diet as it always upsets me. I added Shakeology smoothies that were oh so delicious… I used to have a daily chocolate shakeology smoothie with half a frozen banana and a tablespoon of peanut butter and lots of ice and water… It was divine … It was the greatest part of my day and was so delicious and filling… I was full ALLL day long. I had so much energy.

Then something happened…

12695028_528203447359265_3430771436899252623_oMy scale started to register fewer pounds. I started to feel lighter. My clothes fit better. Could it be?

Could it be that what people used to say was true… :”Abs are made in the kitchen…” “You need to eat clean and couple your workouts with healthy eating or else you will never see results…”

Now I am a month and a half in my new clean lifestyle. I do not feel deprived. I do have my cheat meals here and there. I always start my day with warm lemon water. I still see the pounds melting. I am already down 13 pounds (6kg).

I am so convinced with the BeachBody programs that I signed up as a coach. I get to help others now. I get to help people cheer each other into getting to their goal… and also make money…

We all know the formula to loosing weight but we never get to do it because we need incentives. We need accountability. We need support. Here I am to support you in your journey to a better you.

Who wants to join?

Please contact me …. Let me help you … Let us do this 🙂

Learn more about the challenges: http://beachbodycoach.com/RASHANK

Facebook: Healthy Living N Loving 

Rasha Nasser Khalil

Guest Blog: Craving Nutrition: Eating for Change During Pregnancy


I have been contacted by a sweet lady from Healthline. Healthline is a very informative and user friendly website where you can learn more about medical information and trusted health advice. Here is a very informative and fun article to read written by Leslie Vandever related to the topic of Pregnancy, specifically Cravinggssss 🙂 Enjoy


Craving Nutrition: Eating for Change During Pregnancy

By Leslie Vandever

If you’re pregnant and crave certain foods—the famous pickles and ice cream, for instance, or salty corn chips dipped in cottage cheese, or frequent chocolate fixes, or even tasty helpings of steak fat—don’t feel alone. Food cravings during pregnancy are well-known and go with that rapidly rounding belly like cookies go with milk.

Scientists can’t tell us why, exactly. But at least some cravings may originate in the body’s need for specific nutrients. Pica—a craving to eat things that aren’t food, like clay, or coal—seems to come from a need for more iron in the diet. Women who crave ice cream or cottage cheese may just need more calcium. Chocolate is high in magnesium, so a woman whose body is lacking enough of that mineral may make a beeline for the candy machine. Or maybe her blood sugar level is low, so sweets sound good to her.

Or maybe she just loves chocolate.

Because a pregnant woman’s hormone levels fluctuate hugely, there may be an emotional side to cravings, as well. That urgent need for peaches and corn flakes may really be a subconscious need for emotional support, like a warm hug or a listening, empathetic ear.

The thing to remember is that there’s nothing wrong with craving specific foods during pregnancy. It’s an entirely normal phenomenon. Cravings have been noted—and commented upon with everything from humor to earnest seriousness—for hundreds of years. They occur in all cultures all over the world (though the foods that are the subjects of the cravings may differ).

The best way to deal with cravings is to eat a healthy, balanced, varied, and nutritious diet. By paying close attention to what and how you eat, you’ll be able to supply your body with everything it needs to keep both you and your growing infant healthy and strong. You may not have cravings as often.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, “Pregnancy is the one time in your life when your eating habits directly affect another person.”

By eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, cereals, and pastas, low-fat dairy foods, beans, nuts, and legumes, and lean proteins like chicken and, in limited quantities, fish, you’ll give your new baby her best possible start in life. At the same time, you’ll be healthier than ever, gaining only as much weight as necessary.

Your body goes through ginormous change during pregnancy. You gain weight so your body can nurture and grow your baby; your breasts swell and fill with life-giving milk; your uterus stretches to accommodate an infant that will, by the time she’s born, weigh between six and 10 pounds (on average). Your blood volume will also have increased by as much as 60 percent.

For all this necessary and positive change to take place—and to keep you and the baby healthy in the process—you must get the right nutrients in the right quantities. During the second and third trimesters you need to eat an extra 300 healthy calories a day. In addition, some doctors and midwives prescribe or suggest extra vitamins and iron supplements, or recommend that you eat certain foods, like spinach, liver, and citrus fruits.

Keep your food cravings in context and under control. Feeding an occasional yen for butter brickle ice cream won’t hurt you or your baby, but eating a bowl of it every day will cause problems. If nothing else, you’ll gain more weight than you really should, which can be hard to lose after the baby is born.

And, you could try replacing that sugary, fattening ice cream with yogurt topped with fruit and granola, or something else along those lines that’s much more nutritious. Swap carrots for potato chips, or dried apricots for toaster pastries. You get the idea.

You can also curb cravings by getting plenty of sleep and exercise, and by drinking 8 measuring cups of water each day. Distract yourself with a phone conversation, a good TV show, or a good book instead of indulging the craving. Talk with your doctor. Be wise. Cravings are just that: cravings. You don’t have to satisfy them.

 

NewWren

 

Leslie Vandever is a professional journalist and freelance writer with more than 25 years of experience. She craved cottage cheese and corn chips when she was pregnant with her daughter 32 years ago, so she knows that of which she writes. Vandever lives in the foothills of Northern California.

 

 
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Guest Blog: Fighting Cancer with Better Nutrition


Guest Blogger: Jilian Mckee

I have been contacted by Jilian Mckee, an author in “The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog.” Bringing a wealth of personal and professional experience to the organization, Jillian McKee has worked as the Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance since June of 2009. Jillian spends most her time on outreach efforts and spreading information about the integration of complementary and alternative medicine when used in conjunction with traditional cancer treatment. (Read more)

Here is an article Jilian wanted to share with us here at Cognitive Dimension. Please check out her very interesting and informative blog posts (here) and share.

Fighting Cancer with Better Nutrition

After being diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer or another disease whose effects or treatment cause considerable debilitation, you may have to reconsider certain aspects of daily life including exercise or nutrition. Both exercise and nutrition remain important parts of life while undergoing treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation. For many cancer patients, exercise is something that doctors should monitor and adjust as your condition changes. Nutrition may require supervision as well, but with this, you can retain some independence while still having a significant impact on the way that you feel and recover.

How Food Can Hurt

Many of the foods that people commonly eat have been linked quite definitively to cancer risks. Anything high in saturated fats, such as meat-based dishes, desserts and processed foods, can increase cancer risks. Often, it is not the food itself, but the way in which it is prepared that causes problems. From example, most doctors would admit that sea food is generally healthy. However, when it is breaded or dipped in oil, it is now just another possible cancer risk.

If you have already been diagnosed, continuing to consume these dishes will contribute to ill health and deter the proper functioning of your body. Foods that are low in fiber or high in refined sugars are also bad for you. Low fiber makes it difficult to clear your digestive system while high sugar content can lead to diabetes. That is the sort of complication that you do not need during cancer treatment.

How Food Can Help

The right items in your diet can do more than just provide you with delicious meals during treatment. Food can have a very beneficial effect on your general health. The right meals can assist you during therapy by increasing your body’s ability to withstand the more difficult treatments and help you to rebuild tissues that were damaged by radiation or chemotherapy. Below are some of the most key nutrients.

  • Carbohydrates

These nutrients provide your body with energy. Proteins and fats are also fuel sources, but your body prefers to convert carbohydrates into energy. Sugar is a carbohydrate; however, try to incorporate a high quantity of complex carbohydrates, from wheat bread and whole grain pastas, into your diet instead. These sources of energy will break down slowly in your system and lessen the damaging effects of large amounts of sugar.

  • Proteins

Protein is critical for rebuilding tissues. Your muscles and your organs are all made from a variety of proteins. Your body can synthesize most of these proteins, but there are nine amino acids in which it can only acquire through diet. Many people assume that meat is the primary source for protein. Meat often has a high fat content and can be very unhealthy. Protein should be obtained through plants such as beans, fruits, and vegetables or from nuts.

  • Fats

Some fat in your diet is required, but much less than the average person in a developed country now eats. Keep the calories from fat in your diet beneath 15% if possible. Unsaturated fats are best, which are not closely linked to many health problems.

Fiber is not a nutrient like the others so it does not function as an energy source. However, fiber plays an important role in creating bulk while digesting. This allows your body to dispose of wastes without hurting itself. Insufficient fiber can lead to digestive issues and cause damage to your intestines. Diverticulitis, the formation and infection of pockets in your intestinal tract, is a result of a lack of fiber.

Advice from a registered dietician about your diet will prove beneficial after a diagnosis of cancer. They can help in planning meals in order to feel better while undergoing treatment. Much of the decision-making will be up to you, though, as you plan your daily menus.

Written by Guest Blogger: Jilian Mckee

Check out Jilian’s blog: http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/jillian/