Guest Post: Kindred Spirits

Maya Rodgers is the proud owner of Mindy, the charismatic 13-year-old yellow lab featured above, who’s just as energetic and puppy-ish as when she first joined the family. During the day, Maya works as a pest control consultant for Terminix, in the evenings, she tries to keep her family out of trouble, and in her limited free time, she blogs at www.petsandpests.com.

There are many of us whose family consists of more than just humans. Whether we’re cat enthusiasts or dog lovers, our four-legged family members drive us crazy and love us unconditionally. Sure, they might drag in the occasional bout of fleas, but they really give us so much more. I’ve lived with both cats and dogs, and I’m thinking about adopting another Fido into our family, so I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the benefits of our furry friends. After all, they’ve taught me a lot about life!

  • Wake Up in the Morning: As puppies, dogs require a lot of attention and patience, just like human babies require of their parents. No matter the time of
    Mindy, the 13-year-old bff of Maya enjoying the water.

    Mindy, the 13-year-old bff of Maya enjoying the water.

    day, a puppy parent has to be prepared to hurry their dog outside to go to the bathroom. But as they age, dogs calm down and learn to stick to a schedule – just like we do. That being said, no matter how old they are, a morning trip outside is a must. Though I’m not a natural morning person, my first dog taught me a lot about how useful, productive, and beautiful the mornings can be. Plus, he brought me discipline – ensuring I got up and took care of him whether it was a weekday, weekend, or holiday.

  • Know What’s Important: It’s easy to get bogged down in the little things. Like the red light we’re caught at when we’re late for work. Or how many dishes are in the sink. Or how our children are being preposterously stubborn, again. But when my dog looks at me and lets out a little whine, reminding me it’s time for her evening walk in the park nearby, it’s a required break from whatever I’m working on. (Yes, she has trained me well.) In the park, we can go on a mini-hike, romp with some other dogs, and meet many dog-friendly human pals. Our walks always remind me to take a deep breath of air and relax and not get worked up by whatever comes my way. After all, if the light’s red, there’s nothing to do but wait it out.
  • Set a Strong Example:  Dogs are pack-driven, social animals that demand guidance and respect. Their loyalty is the direct result of a strong and ever-present pet-parent who projects, as Cesar Millan says, “Calm, assertive energy”. My dogs have taught me how to set an example as a leader, not only for them, but also for my children, and even in the workplace. A dog will do almost anything for its person, and being able to inspire some of that confidence and loyalty at home and at work has been very important for me.
  • A Little Love Goes a Long Way: The bond between a person and their dog is very, very strong. Although not (in my experience) quite as strong as the familial ties, there’s something indescribably wonderful about coming home after a long day of work, or chauffeuring the kids, and having my dog pad up to me, furiously wagging her tail and smiling, asking for a few pets. I reach out, rubbing my fingers through her fur, scratching the back of her neck as she presses against my hand.

There is little that is more gratifying than knowing that you can always count on your dog. Their love seems endless, and my dogs have taught me so much about living life and being myself. If you’re living life with a furry comrade, I hope you give them a little extra love after reading this, and if you don’t have a special fuzzy someone but are thinking about adopting, go check out your local pet rescue – at least in my experience, they’ve got lots of kittens and puppies (along with their older, calmer counterparts) who are just waiting for you to bring them home.

Guest Post: Healthy Recipes for People Who Don’t Eat Healthy

Leon Harris is a contributing writer for Diet Direct. Harris lives in Southern California, and enjoys eating healthy and exercising with his two Golden Retrievers.

There’s a trick to eating healthy, in case you didn’t know, but it can’t be a once-in-a-while activity. I’m not talking about these fads that make you cut entire food groups out of your diet; I’m talking about a balanced diet that provides your body with all the nutrients you need, helps you to make smarter choices that are still satisfying, provides you with the proper portion size for your body and doesn’t make you feel guilty about having some extras here and there. In short, I’m talking about a healthy diet for life.

The trick to eating healthy isn’t religious adherence to a wildly restrictive diet, although some people certainly try to pull it off, and even succeed for several years at a time. You just don’t need to go to these extremes. What you should do is learn all you can about creating a diet that provides you with what you need, sans all the extras that permeate modern eating, such as an over-abundance of sugar, fat, sodium, and preservatives, just for example. And it all starts with finding a few go-to recipes that you can stick with and build off of, learning to love healthy eating along the way. Here are some ideas to get you going.

A good place to start is by modifying the unhealthy recipes you already love. Pizza, for example, can provide you with tons of options for more nutritious fare. You might want to start by making your own at home, where you can control the portion size and all of the ingredients. There are tons of easy dough recipes to be found online, including options for lower-calorie thin crust. From there you can create personal pizzas to limit the amount you eat. Then it’s just a matter of adding fresh, healthy ingredients in moderation, including sauce, cheese, meats, veggies, and even fruit. Obviously the healthiest options include low-fat cheese (in small doses) and a variety of vegetables, but so long as you’re paying attention to what you add and how much and you control the portion size, you can turn this perennial calorie-fest into a healthy meal.

Of course, you should also be willing to try new things. For example, many people who love milkshakes can easily switch to healthier fare like smoothies. And from there it’s simple enough to start working in your daily dose of roughage via a green monster recipe. You’ll start with your liquid, be it water, milk, juice (preferably natural, as in no sugar added), soy milk, or coconut water, just to name a few. Then you’ll throw in your favorite fruits (bananas, oranges, berries, etc.). From there you simply add 1-2 handfuls of spinach, kale, or other leafy greens and blend thoroughly to eradicate chunks. And you can rival the best protein bar by adding protein powder or Greek yogurt, just for example.

It’s not easy to make the switch to healthier eating habits, especially if your traditional diet consists of fast food and prepackaged items. But if you want to lose weight, lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, stave off conditions like diabetes and heart disease, or simply look and feel better, you might be looking for easy ways to incorporate healthier dietary options. And there are plenty of ways to modify the recipes you already love or substitute healthy but still satisfying foods for the high-calorie consumables that currently fill your fridge, so long as you’re willing to do a little research.

Thanks so much for the submission, Leon. It really is important to find things that aren’t just healthy, but that taste yummy too!

My Healthy Tip of the Day: Don’t be afraid to load your boring salad up with lots of healthy treats, such as walnuts, feta cheese, dried cranberries and other good-for-you treats. My favorite combination is a spinach salad with feta, strawberries, almonds and a light vinaigrette dressing.

 

Back on Track

Whew, it feels good to be back in the blogosphere. The last few months have been a blur of weddings, bridal showers, work events and a 5K to boot! Sure I had fun at each, but I’m so glad to have some much needed down time for the next few months. Too bad my psychotic cat Grace refuses to let me get caught up on sleep.

Grace Soon

Grace Soon 3

Grace Soon 5

Moving on to the newest excitement in life: my Round Right Farm CSA membership! Back in the fall, I signed up with Round Right Farm’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), but got put on a waiting list. Sometime in February, I received notification that a spot had opened up. I quickly sent in my deposit and patiently waited until my first arrival last week.

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In this batch, I received one bundle of radishes, asparagus, swiss chard, one head of lettuce and a bagged salad mix. I had never tried swiss chard before, but after I sauteed it with some onion and added quinoa, I was sold! I roasted the asparagus and stuffed myself silly.

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Fast forward to tonight’s pickup…

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Look how beautiful this swiss chard is! Anyway, this batch contained one bunch of swiss chard, radishes, green onion, two heads of lettuce and a bag of spinach. I pretty much had a repeat of the quinoa dish, but this time I sauteed the spinach and added shaved Parmesan. Yum yum.

Before I sign off, let me talk a little bit about CSAs. I had never heard of this sort of program until one of my coworkers started bringing in tons of fresh vegetables for lunch. I had inquired about where he purchased the bulk of his produce and learned that he was part of this Round Right Farm CSA program. The concept sounded really cool to me. Who doesn’t love to support local farmers by eating tons of fresh veggies? Anyway, if you want to find a similar program in your area, check out Local Harvest. It will tell  you everything you need to know about joining a CSA program.

Ok, I’m off to the gym. Have a great evening!

My Healthy Tip of the Day: Step out of your comfort zone and try a new vegetable or fruit. You might be surprised what new recipes you can whip up!

Guest Post: Six Skincare Tips for Girls Before Going to Bed

Today’s guest post was written by AJ. AJ specializes with skin care products and runs her own small salon. She loves to advise people with beauty and health care tips via her articles.

In today’s world everyone is on the run for studies, new jobs, shopping, marketing and various other kinds of work. This does not exclude girls. At the end of the day when you return home, your skin can be bashed and battered with pollution, ultra violet rays of the sun and dust. The skin pores can get clogged and this is the initiation of pimples and skin allergies. Thus, it is very important for a girl to treat her skin before going to bed every night. The everyday routine before going to bed includes, brushing your teeth, flossing, and brushing your hair. However this is not enough. To get good glowing skin, one has to follow few skin care tips to look good. One can also use non surgical facelift for improving the texture of the skin

Sleep is the best time to give your skin he adequate rest that it requires. Thus it is very necessary to get a good night’s sleep before anything else. Along with that let us see the other ways in which one can take care of the skin.

Cleansing

It is very important to clean your skin before going to bed. For that you can just use some cold ice water along with some gentle soap free face wash. This helps the clogged skin pores to open up and also helps the skin to breathe properly.

Purifying 

Purification of skin is very important. If you are a lover of makeup, and you wear it every day, do not forget to remove it before going to sleep. Make up blocks the skin pores, making breathing of the skin impossible. This gives rise to skin break outs and rashes. There are a number of cleansing and purifying gels available in the market. However the best way is the natural way out. Dab clean cotton with some cold water and rub it all over your face after cleaning the face.

For better results you can sue an alcohol free skin tone. The makeup under the eye should be removed slowly as the skin is very gentle beneath the eye. A good way to get rid of dark circles and puffy eyes is using either tea water, cold water of products like tomato and curd.

Moisturizing

Girls should use a nice night cream before going to bed. Night cream helps the skin to become moisturized and also protects the epidermal layer of the skin from  damage. It helps the skin retain its elasticity.

Toning

Toning of the skin is also very important because it helps the skin to remain firm and fresh and pure. Toning can be done with the help of either a good alcohol free toner or rose water made at home. The best facial packs that can be used at home are honey, tomatoes, papayas and curd. They protect your skin and also remove the dark patches formed all through the day.

Relaxing

Relaxing is the best thing that one can do in order to give the skin rest. Close your eyes and listen to some soothing music with a cold napkin over your face. You will feel the difference. You can also use aroma therapy like sandalwood, geranium plant, rose and Jasmine in napkins for a better effect.

Slumber

The best way to give your skin complete rest is by a good nights sleep.

Protect your skin from the pollution, dust and ultraviolet rays by these six skin care tips and see yourself glowing every day!Natural treatment is the best treatment other than non-surgical face lifts.

Thanks so much, AJ!

Guest Post: Exercising After Breast Surgery

Brenda Panin is a blogger and a full time mom of two beautiful girls. She enjoys healthy life, exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family. In her free time she loves to read about plastic surgery.

No matter what type of breast surgery you have, it can make it difficult for you to do normal every day things, such as being able to take a deep breath or to move your arm or your shoulder normally. This can make activities such as taking a bath/shower or getting dressed difficult. It is important to do exercises after breast surgery to limit the difficulties you could have.

As with any surgery, there are typically restrictions that you are placed on for a period of time. This is to ensure that your body has time to begin healing and that you will not cause yourself any injury. Because of this, it is important to ensure that you have your doctor’s permission before beginning any exercises. Some of the exercises can be done just a few days after the surgery and others should wait a few weeks, but your doctor will be able to give you directions on this.

One type of exercise that can be done is rolling your shoulders. You will start by bringing your shoulders up, backwards, down, and forward. You should repeat this ten times and then reverse the motion in the opposite direction for another ten repetitions. This particular exercise is a great one to start with. It helps to stretch out the muscles in your shoulder and chest.

Another great exercise that helps to stretch your muscles begins by sitting and clasping your hands together on your lap. Keep your head straight and looking forward. Keeping your hands clasped together and your elbows level with each other, you will then begin to raise your hands up in front of you. You should continue to slowly raise them up and over your head to the back of your neck. You will then want to slowly spread your elbows out away from your body while keeping your hands on the back of your neck. Once you have your elbows spread out to your sides, you will want to hold this position for about one minute. You will then slowly reverse the movement, bringing your elbows back in and slowly moving your clasped hands back over your head and down until they rest in your lap.

This exercise could pull and put some strain on the place of your incision. If it does, you should pause in the position you are in and take some breaths in through your nose and let them out slowly through your mouth. Because of the strain and discomfort, you may not make it all the way through this exercise the first few times, but as you continue to do this exercise, your muscles will stretch and the strain on your incision will ease.

This next exercise will help you regain the strength and ability to reach behind your back, which is quite important for things such as hooking your bra. You will put both your hands behind your back and hold the hand on the side of the surgery with your other hand. You will then want to slowly move both of your hands up your back as far as you can. If you begin to feel pain or strain, you should pause and breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. If the pain and strain passes, you should again try and move upward. Once you have gotten to the furthest point you can reach, you should hold the position for one minute. Then slowly move your hands back down your back.

Exercising after breast surgery is important in getting the mobility back in your arm and shoulder that you had prior to the surgery. Following these exercises can help get the normal functionality back in your arm.

Thanks for this great article, Brenda! This is a subject I’m sure a lot of women have many questions about.

Guest Post: How to Stay Healthy on Vacation

Author, traveler and die-hard foodie Cole Millen has recently been looking into how it is increasingly difficult to maintain a nutritious diet when indulging in cuisines across the world from my travels. “As more folks like myself begin trending towards a healthier travel experience, I think it would be great for your readers to learn some tips and tricks of the trade that I have learned in my own experiences of traveling and staying healthy.”

Taking a vacation is a wonderful way to reduce stress and improve productivity at work and at home. Taking yourself out of the normal routine can be exhilarating, but many vacationers end up packing on those extra pounds they worked so hard to get off before their retreat. In order to stay healthy and fit while on your getaway, there are a few simple steps you can follow to retain that pre-vacation body.

Depending on how long you are in transit, one way you can maintain a healthy diet is to avoid indulging in that greasy airport food. Not only is this food expensive, but it’s also designed for speed and convenience. While this is great for travelers in a rush, it’s not good for your diet. One way you can eliminate these unnecessary calories is to eat before you fly. If you have a long day of traveling ahead of you, try and pack healthy snacks such as fruit, nuts, and crackers in your carry-on luggage. This can be a great replacement that will curb your appetite. You should also avoid picking soda for your in-flight drink. Stick to juice or water––this will be better for you in the long run.

Since hotels are a staple for any vacationer, this can also end up being a destructive inzfluence on your diet. When choosing a hotel, make sure you research the quality of the pool and workout facilities, since these features will help you stay slim during your stay. If you prefer not to be stuck in the gym, there are usually activities such as volleyball going on at the pool area that can serve as a good alternative. Although the primary goal on a vacation is to relax and socialize, you can always look for group fitness classes that fit your style. Some hotels have complimentary sessions or appointments with personal trainers. Make sure to look into all your options beforehand so you can plan ahead. I recently took a trip to Sin City and found a great site that listed reviews for Las Vegas hotels. The reviews not only gave me insight into which hotels were perfect regarding amenities and offerings, but it also had reviews regarding the restaurants in the surrounding area. This allowed me to plan out how to remain healthy while in and out of the hotel!

One of the keys to having a successful vacation is to strike a nice balance. While you want to indulge, you can do so in moderation. Avoid temptation where you can. Refuse (or hide) the key to the minibar, which will help you stay trim and also avoid making a dent in your wallet. If your hotel has a continental breakfast, skip the pancakes and bacon. Especially if it is early in the day, stick to healthier options such as oatmeal, fruit, and whole grain toast. When eating out, be aware that most restaurants serve food that contains higher calorie content than the healthier food you cook at home. I suggest you research the restaurants near your hotel and check the menu offering in advance. Try and avoid chain restaurants and make sure to stay away from any meals that have stuffed, loaded, smothered, battered, creamy, bottomless, or fried in the description. Choose steamed vegetables as a side and if you have the option, pick salad over soup.

Since most vacations are more than just hotel living and restaurant food, you can use your exploring to your advantage. When out on day trips, try and walk as much as possible. Walking is the fastest and easiest way to burn calories while still enjoying your vacation. Also, eat when you’re hungry. It’s easy for busy travelers to forget to eat, but maintaining a regular meal schedule is especially important on vacation. Regular meals will help you cut down on snacking and keep your body in better shape as you sightsee. Drinking water is also very important. If you want to keep your energy up, staying hydrated is the easiest way to keep your body going.

It’s important to unwind while you’re on vacation, but remember to relax your body and mind without relaxing your diet. Stay disciplined, and you’ll come home to an even healthier you!

Thanks for the useful information, Cole!

Guest Post: The Best Foods for Your Skin

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer in the Los Angeles area. She has written on everything from marketing, real estate, technology, and manufacturing, as well as a variety of health & wellness topics. She currently writes for the health & beauty blog at Skintrium.

You’ve heard the term “you are what you eat” before, just like you know that the foods you put into your body on a daily basis play a major role in how healthy or unhealthy you are. However, if you’re like most people, you may not realize that certain foods can play a dramatic role in the way your skin looks and feels.

Eating right for healthy skin isn’t that difficult. In fact, the best way to eat right for your skin health is to follow the same diet most doctors recommend: a balanced diet rich in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and protein sources that are lean and low fat.

But studies have shown that particular foods that fall within these categories can have a direct impact on your skin, and researchers have managed to pinpoint the best foods to include in your diet for the best skin.

Carrots

The beta-carotene in carrots is good for your eyesight, but the vitamin A in carrots is actually what’s beneficial for your skin. The high vitamin A content in carrots may be able to help you clear up or prevent breakouts and pimples by regulating your skin’s production of skin cells, reducing the likelihood of dead ones clogging your pores. Vitamin A may also be able to reduce the risk of skin cancer by blocking the development of cancer-causing cells.

Raw carrots are your best bet for vitamin A, but if you don’t like snacking on baby carrots, cooked carrots can still be beneficial.

Safflower Oil

Safflower oil is sometimes recommended to people with dry skin conditions like eczema as a topical moisturizer because of its moisturizing properties. However, you don’t have to slather your skin with safflower oil to enjoy its skin benefits.

Safflower oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids which help to keep the skin supple. You can use it as a moisturizer if you want, but it also works well for things like salad dressing or light stir-fry’s or sautéed vegetables.

(Hint: if you’re going to cook those carrots, try lightly sautéing them in safflower oil!)

Almonds

Loaded with vitamin E, almonds are one of the best foods you can eat for optimal skin health. The vitamin E in almonds helps to protect your skin against dangerous UVA and UVB rays from the sun, and believe it or not, eating almonds can actually keep you from getting as sunburned when you spend time outside. Still, that doesn’t mean you should leave the sunscreen at home and pack a bag of almonds instead.

Along with protecting your skin from the sun, the vitamin E content in almonds can help prevent free radicals that can cause wrinkles and fine lines from damaging your skin.

Sweet Potatoes

The vitamin C in sweet potatoes may slow down wrinkles.

Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin C, which can help boost the amount of collage your body produces. More collagen production equals fewer wrinkles and fine lines. The best part is that even a small amount of sweet potato is beneficial for your skin, so you don’t have to feel bad the next time you sneak a few sweet potato fries. Of course, you’re better off baking that sweet potato since you’ll get more vitamins and nutrients out of it that way.

(Hint: sprinkle your sweet potato with cinnamon, a healthy spice, for a delicious and nutritious combination!)

Foods to Avoid

People used to think that certain foods were bad for their skin – mostly unhealthy foods like potato chips, French fries and refined chocolate. While we’ve found out that some of those foods may not be great for your waistline but not so hard on your skin, there are still some foods you should avoid, especially if you have problem skin.

People that suffer from conditions like eczema should avoid eggs, milk, peanuts, soy and products that contain refined sugar, as these may make the condition worse.

Acne, proving stubborn to treat as ever, isn’t caused by fried foods, though some people notice a reduction in severity when they stop eating them. There is some evidence that foods high in carbohydrates, particularly refined carbohydrates like pasta and white bread, may cause acne. More research needs to be done here, but people with acne should consider avoiding them and noting any changes in their skin.

Guest Post: Looking Beyond the Well-known Nutrients to Protect Our Hearts

This guest post is by Jennifer Morris. She has worked as a writer for a number of health care businesses for over three years, and is well versed in health, nutrition and fitness writing. Her work includes the promotion of a healthy lifestyle mixing diet, exercise and improved knowledge of the body. This also involves the promotion of fitness regimes and natural dietary alternatives ahead of early adoption of drug treatment programs which is an important message for all ethical healthcare businesses to embrace.

Ask anyone what steps you can take with your diet to reduce your risk of heart disease and you can guess what their reply will be – reduce your intake of foods high in saturated fat and salt, whilst eating more fruit, vegetables and oily fish for antioxidant vitamins and omega-3. While these will certainly help you on the way to achieving a healthy heart and circulation, it’s important to keep in mind that a healthy diet as a whole will provide the greatest benefit. Over recent years new research has indicated that more nutrients are important for heart health than was appreciated a number of decades ago. Here we take a look at five such vitamins and minerals and which foods are the richest sources.

Potassium

This mineral has a number of roles in the body, but in relation to the heart is important in two ways. Firstly, it helps to maintain the electrical activity of the heart so that it beats as it should; you might be unaware of this unless tested, but a deficiency or excess of potassium can lead to problems with this and result in a heart attack. Then its other function is to help to regulate blood pressure; while sodium pushes up blood pressure, potassium helps to bring it down. As high blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, this is welcome. Fruit and vegetables – in particular fruit juice, dried fruit, bananas, potatoes and tomatoes –nuts and milk are amongst the richest sources of potassium. While most of us can eat these freely, as the excess is expelled by our kidneys, anyone with kidney disease needs to proceed more cautiously; check with your doctor if you think that applies to yourself.

Magnesium

As with potassium, magnesium is thought to help lower blood pressure. Indeed the large scale DASH found that those who consumed a diet rich in magnesium had a significantly lower blood pressure than those who didn’t.  Magnesium also plays a role in promoting a normal heart rhythm. The foods that provide most magnesium in the diet tend to be those derived from plants, which we should be aiming to base our diet on anyway. Green leafy vegetables, nuts, pulses, dried fruit and wholegrains all make a good contribution to our magnesium intake. We can include more pulses by using them to substitute meat in a range of dishes, while nuts and dried fruit can be added to our morning cereal and used in baking. Vegetables such as cabbage and kale might not be the most popular, but they work well in stir fries, side dishes and salads where they aren’t overcooked, as it is this that usually makes them off-putting.

Selenium

This mineral forms part of the enzymes that work as antioxidants; these mop up the free radicals that are generated in the body, which would otherwise cause damage to the cells of the blood vessels and make them more likely to narrow, reducing blood flow to the heart. While our soils used to be rich in selenium and as a consequence anything that grew in them was too, thanks to intensive farming this is no longer the case; cereals and animals that graze on them will still provide some selenium, but nowhere near as much as they used to. However, the good news is that there are still some foods that are a good bet for selenium. Seafood and Brazil nuts are the richest sources; interestingly just one Brazil nut will provide you with the recommended daily intake of selenium, so are a very easy way to ensure you obtain enough.

Folate

Everyone associates this B vitamin with pregnancy and while that’s very true, we all need to ensure we consume sufficient folate to keep our hearts in good shape. There is mounting evidence that a diet rich in foods containing folate can help to lower levels of a chemical known as homocysteine – produced during normal processes within the body – which if elevated increases the risk of heart disease. The best foods for folate are breakfast cereals that have been fortified with the vitamin, pulses, green vegetables, citrus fruits and berries. Be aware that heat reduces their content of folate, particularly if cooked in water, so don’t overcook peas, beans, lentils or your greens.

Vitamin D

The sunshine vitamin is well-known for its protective role in bone health, but making sure we all receive enough will also benefit our heart. Research published last year showed that people with a lower vitamin D level in their body had a considerably higher risk of developing heart disease. This is of particular relevance, as vitamin D deficiency is now much more common; possibly because we spend less time outdoors and are more cautious when we do expose our skin to the sun by applying sunscreen, which means we produce less of the vitamin. While there aren’t many foods that provide vitamin D in the diet – oily fish and egg yolks are the main natural sources – breakfast cereals, milk and margarine are commonly fortified, so opt for these when you can. You may still struggle to meet your needs for the vitamin and if you are worried about deficiency – signs can be vague but include tiredness and general aches and pains – speak with your doctor, as they can arrange a blood test and a supplement if needed.

From this you can see that a range of nutrients can provide protection against heart disease and that many of them come from plant-based foods. Our best bet is to include foods from all the groups in the diet and continue to emphasize our intake of fruits, vegetables, pulses and whole grains, which should ideally comprise around two-thirds of what we eat.

The Never Ending Flu Season

I’m sure everyone is sick (no pun intended) of hearing about yet another strain of the flu being passed around, but I promise you that you’ll be more upset if you ignore the precautions and end up feeling the effects of it yourself.

I was recently contacted by someone about sharing a very informative graphic about the dangers of the flu. What you’ll see below are some very sobering statistics that even reminded me that I’m not immune. Anyway, I dare you to read this graphic and not go running to the doctor to get your flu shot.

Flu Infographic

Just think about it!

My Healthy Tip of the Day: Wash your hands!!

Guest Post: “5 Cool Tips for Living Healthy”

Happy Thursday! It’s been a hectic two weeks, but I promise I won’t bore you with the details. The upside? I did start running again. I started on Tuesday with interval training and plan to do the same routine again today after work. I’ll keep you posted.

Now on to the guest post. Blogger Zara from Manchester recently contact me about writing a guest post for Cat Hair, which I happily accepted. Here are Zara’s 5 tips for living a healthy lifestyle.

A healthy lifestyle is important for everyone, which helps in leading a happy life. Taking care of your physical health will enhances your fitness levels and boosts your strength. It also can reduce your risk for mental illness. Most people think living healthy is all about diet and exercises, but healthy living is really about:

  • Shifting to a healthy lifestyle which includes healthy habits.
  • It’s all about being active and enjoying your life without any stress.
  • It’s about identifying the health risks and working on those areas.
  • It’s about taking care of overall health.
  • It’s about enhancing your fitness levels, mental health and emotions.

Five tips for healthy living
Diet: Diet plays an important role in everyone’s life. Eat healthy foods which help in building a healthy body. Avoid junk food. Eliminate soft drinks which contain high sugar levels.

  • Remember to eat three meals per day. Don’t skip your breakfast. Never eat heavy meals at night.
  • Your food should contain fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains and milk products with low-fat.
  • Select healthy foods like lean meat, beans, poultry, fish, nuts and eggs which are nutrient rich foods.
  • Select the foods that have low fats, sodium, cholesterol and sugar.
  • Control your food portions. Respond to your body signals. Don’t overeat. Never force yourself to eat when you are not hungry.

Exercises: In order to live healthy, practice physical activities and exercises. This boosts your energy levels and helps in maintaining a proper body shape.

  • Regular exercises can prevent aging. It may enhance your balance, flexibility and endurance.
  • It decreases the rate of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. It may even prevent osteoporosis.
  • Regular workouts can relieve chronic pain and boost your energy levels to do daily activities.
  • It may increase your self confidence and self-esteem.
  • It helps in controlling your body weight.

Eliminate stress: Stress is a major issue faced in today’s society. Due to the increased work pressure and busy life, people are facing mental illness.

  • Practice yoga and meditation which are stress busters.
  • Spare a few minutes of your time to enjoy nature.
  • Plan for a vacation which may relieve stress.
  • Practice your favourite activity. For instance, listen to your favourite music, practice swimming etc.

Avoid tobacco and alcohol: Tobacco and alcohol can ruin one’s health and may even result in death. Eliminate these two risk factors from your life.

  • Tobacco is the major contributor for oral and lung cancers.
  • Quitting smoking is a very difficult task, as it contains an addictive substance called nicotine. Make your efforts, which may give positive results. For instance, you can choose nicotine chewing gums, nicotine skin patches and medicines like bupropion.
  • Alcohol can result in liver cancer, kidney failures and many other health issues.
  • Change your mind-set. There are different treatments for alcoholism.
  • Proper medication helps in preventing tobacco and alcohol.

Be mindful: Change your mind-set. Research says that your happiness depends on your thoughts.

  • Develop positive thinking which brings a great change in your living habits.
  • Train your brain. Expect positive outcomes, which give peace of mind.
  • Identify the benefits of positive thinking.
  • Focus on green living.
  • If you think positively you can find solutions to your problems.

About the Author:
This guest post is contributed by Zara,financial guest blogger.

This guest post is contributed by Zara,financial guest blogger. At present she is focusing on ppi claims . Catch her @financeport.

Thanks again for the submission, Zara. These tips are great for helping someone get on the right track or maintaining their current lifestyle.