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Stress Less About Dessert

While many people try their best to be healthy, they can really end up stressing themselves out when it comes to deciding whether or not to eat a slice of cake after dinner. Even if you have been on a strict diet, here are a just a few reasons as to why you should stress less about dessert.

Dark Chocolate is Good for You
Chocolate is often a key part of many desserts, and if the one you have your eye on is made from dark chocolate, then this is perfect, as dark chocolate actually has a number of different health benefits. From being packed with antioxidants to having the ability to prevent a stroke, to being able to regulate blood pressure, dark chocolate is one of those ingredients that could actually benefit you if you were to have some every day.

Woman with pink shades eating ice cream

Save Yourself From Wanting It Even More
Once you have placed restrictions on certain foods, such as desserts, this will only leave you wanting it so much more. Eventually, you may end up binge eating, which is so bad for your health for several reasons. Rather than restricting yourself from eating desserts completely, try exercising portion control instead. Once you have taken your portion, put the rest of the dessert away, so that you do not end up tempting yourself to over-eat.

Desserts Can Be Healthy
While a healthy dessert may not initially sound as though it will satisfy your sweet tooth, desserts can definitely be decadent and delicious while also being healthy. A yoghurt pound cake makes use of Greek yoghurt and olive oil, rather than butter, while a fruity sorbet will contain all of the benefits of fruit, with none of the downsides of ice cream. A pumpkin cake is also a great option, especially since pumpkin itself is known for being quite the aphrodisiac, while avocado brownies swap out the butter for avocados, but are just as creamy. Baked fruit is another way to go, and can be topped with a variety of delicious sauces, such as baked pears with salted caramel, or baked apples stuffed with pecan, and served up alongside a coconut milk ice cream.

Smiling woman enjoying dark chocolate bar

Having Dessert for Breakfast Can Help You to Lose Weight
While this may seem absurd, a study carried out by the Wolfsori Medical Center at Tel Aviv University found that eating desserts for breakfast could potentially help non-diabetic overweight people to lose weight. This has been the only credible study done on the topic so far, but its results are still impressive, discovering that, in a period of four months, those who ate a large, high-calorie breakfast, including a slice of cake or some cookies, were able to lose around 30 pounds. While the reason for this is not conclusive, researchers believe that it has something to do with cutting back on cravings for sweet treats throughout the day, preventing snacking and keeping the subjects feeling fuller for longer.

No matter how much you are trying to control your diet, stressing about dessert is never a good idea. Instead, by practicing portion control and sticking to desserts that are as healthy as possible, you will be able to satisfy your cravings without having to feel too guilty.

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Living With Low Level Depression

Depression is a persistent condition that often remains in our lives after the first experience with it. The condition isn’t simply being sad like the common representation often has people thinking. Depression is a mental illness where it is hard to hang on to hope, feel motivation at all, or see any potential way for things to improve even if there are logical steps you can take to make things better. It is an insidious condition that can sneak into our lives without warning and become a guiding force before we know it. Getting our lives back under control after this can be difficult thanks to its persistence. Lifestyle changes can go a long way towards helping manage chronic depression whether it is major depression or comparatively mild. The changes can help keep low-level depression easily managed and kept from overly affecting you life alongside proper treatment. We’ve got a quick look at some of the universally good options so you can find things to help yourself if you’re struggling.

Shine A Little Light
Strangely enough, sunlight and light in general can be incredibly helpful when it comes to managing depression. Most experts believe this is connected to the positive effects of Vitamin D. Your body actually begins to create the vitamin on exposure to sunlight. Many of us are skin conscious though and the idea of sunning to improve our mood can make us all a bit wary. The good news is you can get this effect even while wearing sunscreen. You also don’t need to sun to get the effect either. Taking a ten to fifteen minute walk in the sun when you feel your mood drifting lower can be all you need to recover from a downtrend. Keeping lights on and windows open helps a lot in this case too. Just seeing the light appears to help. This makes it a useful tactic to remember to open the shades in your home if you’re prone to depression. You’ll likely never notice it, but that light will quietly support your mental health goals without you needing to put in a huge effort.

woman walking in the park

Care For Your Body
The mind and body are intertwined even though we frequently treat them as two separate entities. Mental health issues can and will feed back into your physical health while the reverse is true as well. That makes taking care of yourself a key way to manage lower levels of depression. It can give you the boost of energy and mood you need to get through each day. Looking after your health with depression is more or less the same as it is without it. You need to make sure that you’re getting an adequately varied diet that gets you all the nutrients you need. This will help keep up your energy and ensure your depression isn’t being magnified by any nutritional deficiencies. Additionally, you’ll want to look into regular low-level exercise. Something as simple as briskly walking for half an hour to an hour three to four times a week can be incredibly good for helping maintain a neutral to positive mood. Additionally, you can be getting that sun at the same time to help compound the help it will give you.

Sleep On Schedule
Managing your sleep schedule is crucial when dealing with any level of depression. Disturbed sleep is a classic sign of the condition for a reason. Insomnia tends to be fairly common and the lack of rest causes your physical and mental health to both suffer. This feeds back into maintaining the depression. Most experts recommend taking a two-fold approach to making sure you get enough sleep when dealing with depression. Good sleep hygiene is the first part. This means making sure you avoid doing things that make it more difficult for you to sleep. Turn down the lights some at night, turn off alarms, avoid caffeine, and overall make sure you’re doing something relaxing as your bedtime approaches. This will put your body in a state receptive to sleep. The second part is setting and keeping a time when you go to bed without fail. Establishing a pattern along with good sleep hygiene will help counteract the insomnia to a degree and hopefully ensure you get enough sleep.

The media has, sadly, given the impression that depression is something to be conquered. They don’t treat it as a fact and something that demands changes to one’s life to manage. More often than not, depression is a fact that changes our lives. We can do many things to help manage it though and prevent it from being a governing aspect of our lives. In time, those of us dealing with depression grow into an understanding that it does not make us lesser, but instead is simply another health consideration for us. These tricks and others can turn what seems like a bleak turn in our lives into an opportunity for positive change and a path out of the encroaching darkness and back to our lives.

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Add These Books to your Road Trip Plan

Whether you are heading off on a road trip sometime soon, or have one scheduled for later in the year, books are something that you must definitely pack. From Jack Kerouac to Cheryl Strayed, these are some books that guarantee to make your trip even more meaningful.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac
If you frequently travel and enjoy reading, then it is likely that you are already well aware of On the Road, as this is a quintessential travel book that never fails to inspire. This modern classic documents the adventures and obstacles faced by narrator Sal Paradise and his companion as they travel across America in the years after the Second World War. This very book has single-handedly inspired countless adventures, and it is absolutely perfect for reading while you are on the road yourself.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Since Wild was recently turned into a major motion picture, it has gained in popularity, but the movie does not at all compare to the inspirational qualities that the book provides. An emotional memoir about a woman who hikes the entire length of the Pacific Coast Trail, this book perfectly portrays the transformations that take place when one sets out to rediscover themselves.

Blue Highways: A Journey into America by William Least Heat Moon
At the age of 38, William Least Heat Moon found himself divorced and unemployed, giving him the motivation he needed to hit the road and see where it took him. Moon chose to travel mostly on non-interstate highways, resulting in an incredible 13,000 mile journey through rural America that you will not be able to put down. To top it all off, if you happen to be travelling through Missouri on your road trip, you can even stop off at the Museum of Anthropology and check out Moon’s van, which he fondly named “Ghost Dancing”.

Cross Country by Robert Sullivan
Robert Sullivan is a man who cannot get enough of the classic American road trip, and has crossed the country by car over 30 times now. His book, Cross Country, will entertain anyone who has traveled by car through America, as it is filled with fun snippets of information that Sullivan has picked up along the way. From learning about how motels started out to reading some humorous tips for back seat drivers, this book is one that is easy and fun to read.

The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America by Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson is both loved and hated by many, but there is no denying the magic that is contained in The Lost Continent. Bryson grew up in the USA but spent many years in England. Once he returned, he decided to rediscover his youth by travelling through America’s back roads. His journey of almost 14,000 miles covered so many icons of the country, from the Rocky Mountains to Mark Twain’s homes to the Amish to college towns.

A road trip is a great opportunity to catch up on some reading, and these books will all inspire you even more to make the most of your travels. From the hitch-hiking adventures of Jack Kerouac to the observant wit of Bill Bryson, these books are a must-read for anyone who enjoys travelling.

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Treating Foot and Ankle Pain

Foot and ankle pain can have a number of different causes, and while this can sometimes require medical treatment, it is often possible to treat the pain yourself. From massages to supportive footwear, these are some ideas that you can try if you have been experiencing pain in your feet or your ankles.

Foot Massage
A foot massage can really help to alleviate any pain, and is something that you can easily do yourself, even if you only have a few minutes to spare. Begin by massaging the pressure points on the sole of your foot, applying a level of pressure that feels comfortable to you. Rub the arch of your foot all the way from your heel to the ball of your foot, before bending your toes back and forth to their full range of motion. Then, pay your toes some special attention, massaging each of them, as well as between them, before moving on to the top of your foot, slowing massaging towards your ankle and back again.

Foot Strengthening Exercises
Foot strengthening exercises are fantastic for relieving pain in the ankles and heels, and work by stretching out tight calf muscles. Simply stand one foot away from a wall, placing your palms against the wall at chest level, before stepping back with one foot, keeping the leg straight and both feet on the floor. Bend your other leg at the knee, pressing into the wall until you feel your back leg stretching. Hold this for a count of ten, before switching legs and repeating. This exercise can be done between three and six times a day, with the counts that you hold the stretch for increasing as you grow more accustomed to the exercise.

Supportive Footwear
Ill-fitting, poor-quality footwear is often the culprit of foot and ankle pain, which is why it is always worth investing in a couple of supportive shoes. Since one foot is often larger than the other, make sure that you have both of your feet measured in order to work out your exact size. However, it is still important to pick a pair based on the way that they feel, rather than the size printed on them, as different brands have different sizing methods. Your shoes should be roomy enough for you to be able to wiggle your toes within them, but your heel should fit comfortably enough inside of them to ensure that they will not slip. Shoes made from materials that stretch, and do not have any seams, will be the most comfortable, while high-top laced shoes will provide your ankles with some extra support. Do not forget that your feet swell during the day, so try to purchase footwear only at the end of the day, as this is when your feet will be at their most swollen, and can be up to half a size larger than they were in the morning.

Foot and ankle pain is never fun to deal with, but these tips should help to give you some relief. However, if your pain is not improving, then it is time to pay a visit to your doctor, as there may be a more serious issue at play.

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Tips For Using Plants To Freshen Up Indoor Spaces

A little greenery goes a long way towards spicing up any environment. Plants have a way of simply making a space feel more soothing overall. It doesn’t hurt that there are plenty of aesthetically appealing ways to arrange them as well. It all depends on personal taste and what kind of plants you happen to enjoy. There are certain considerations that you’re going to need to make if you’re thinking of using plants to freshen up an interior. Appropriate care is important to keep them alive and healthy and as necessary as finding an aesthetically appealing way to position them. Not all of us have had a lot of time to figure out all of these out. Sometimes getting some houseplants is nothing more than a whim. It is a good whim, but a helping hand when it comes to knowledge on how to handle them is certainly helpful. That’s why we’ve put together a quick set of tips on how best to use plants to freshen up the indoors.

The Light Of The Room
Placement is going to be important for your plants in more ways than one. Before putting any in a room you need to consider the light levels in the room. All plants are going to need varying levels of light. Most of them are going to need that light to be natural sunlight. That makes it imperative to figure out where you can tastefully and properly put your plants. If you don’t have much natural light in a room, you may want to ask a nursery about any plants they may have that are capable of surviving off non-specialized electric lighting. The amount of light a plant requires also varies. Shade loving plants won’t do well if you stick them in a window where the sun hits them all day long just like plants that need full sun aren’t going to do well with a trickle of light from a high window in a bathroom. Carefully consider the needs of the plants before you place them as sickly plants are far less appealing to the eye.

Dining room with plants

Playing With Art
Innovative ways to provide accents to a room can end up catching the most eyes. Consider some of the things that you’ve noticed in the past. It isn’t necessarily the jar on a bookshelf that catches the eye, but a climbing vine going up a trellis by a bookshelf tends to invite comment. Similarly, a dangling vine can provide a nice aesthetic in the right location. A thick enough dangling vine can even act as a simple “divider” for a small bit of space by cutting off line of sight from a particular chair or space to provide a sense of privacy. Think about things in those terms. Carved pots, specialized statues, and other forms of artistic decoration exist that are meant to have plants grown in them. These provide a twofold effect in helping to invite commentary as well as display your choice in plant more prominently. Consider looking at options in specialty stores and seeing if anything speakers to you.

The Smallest of Gardens
A tasteful way to display a variety of plants is to consider creating an indoor fairy garden for a room. These are collections of plants all grown in a single pot in an aesthetically pleasing arrangement. Many fairy gardens include small scale decorations that reflect the name of this particular kind of arrangement. The goal is to create a lush, miniature garden that is beautiful to look at and provides a smile when viewed. Fairy gardens vary in complexity ranging from very simple arrangements to multi-tiered options utilizing vertical as well as horizontal space to create a truly stunning environment. Some people who create them actually cultivate bonsai within the same pot to create a true “miniature garden” look by having a true tree in it as well. We strongly recommend making fairy gardens out of native plants to ensure they can survive where you live, but you have a bit of flexibility when it comes to growing them indoors thanks to climate control.

Indoor plants are a good way to add a bit of color and soul to any room. The kinds of plants you keep and how you display them are another way for you to convey your personality to any guest. So make the effort to care for them properly and figure out your favorite plants to grow. Don’t forget to water them and give them a little extra fertilizer now and again to keep them healthy either. All that effort will result in beautiful additions to any indoor space.

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Understanding Eating Disorders in Mature Women

There are always particularly uncomfortable discussion topics that need more attention. We go out of our way to avoid them a lot of the time. Life, we decide, needs to be a little bit better and not have this bit of unpleasantness we’d rather not address or deal with at this time. This is a mistake most of the time as such things need to be confronted or they start to gain power. Mental illness is a good example of this. Western culture often have this broad obsession with the idea of being happy. It means that, if we’re not happy, something must be wrong. There isn’t room for any other human experience. That leads to higher rates of depression, anxiety, and similar issues because people aren’t allowed to simply be people and process what troubles them. A similar issue comes up when we look at eating disorders. The image doesn’t really call to mind mature women trying to manage their lives and yet there are plenty of women who are doing just that. We’re going to take a closer look at this often neglected topic so that we can all walk away better informed.

Breaking Down Stereotypes
There’s a very clear picture at the heart of everyone’s minds if you start to tell them that you have an eating disorder. People tend to picture younger women in the prime of their lives that have gotten overwhelmed by becoming too dedicated to an “ideal” body. The end results are never pretty and the devastating results are plain to see when news reports come on of young women whose lives have been permanently marked or ended by one of these disorders. There are also the positive stories of people beating the disorders. What people never show are the young men and others who suffer from such disorders as well. Stress, pressure to look a particular way, and other conditions can happen to anyone and pretending it only affects one segment of a population demeans them and isolates anyone else struggling with an eating disorder. This is particularly sad given some people only temporarily get away from their disorder and have to deal with it again later. So before we go any farther, let’s make an effort to remember eating disorders are a problem that anyone can experience.

Woman upset

Cause and Effect
Plenty of things can end up causing eating disorders in mature women. There is some overlap, as we highlighted before, in mature women experiencing an eating disorder and ones who dealt with on earlier in life. A relapse is always possible and as a result making good habits to keep one’s less beneficial habits under control is a good policy. Some women struggle with eating disorders their entire lives. They end up alternating between having healthy habits and falling back into eating disorders intermittently instead of it being a single notable relapse. However, plenty of women simply develop it in latter life for some of the same reasons that it can happen earlier in their lives: stress, social or personal upheaval, and even illness. The end result is the same though: an eating disorder that needs to be addressed. Taking the first steps to dealing with a disorder can be difficult as we never like to recognize we’re harming ourselves, but it can be important. There are plenty of valid treatment options for mature women to help get away from an eating disorder.

Getting Help
Oftentimes, part of what traps us in the cycles required for an eating disorder is a loss of perspective. We fall out of sync with the ability to actually see where our habits our leading us. Talk therapy can actually be surprisingly used for mature women as a result. Using techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy, a therapist can help us to modify our habits and break out of the cycles that end up causing any eating disorder. This isn’t always the only step that one should take though. Sometimes the disorder can be somewhat resistant and consulting your doctor for a meal or nutritional plan can help as well. You can find a way to balance between the fixation contributing to the eating disorder and avoiding triggering it. The root issue can also sometimes be worked against with a little medication to help calm things like the anxiety that can lead to an eating disorder as well. Ultimately, you should be talking to your doctor and your therapist to help you figure out the treatment plan that works best for you.

Any kind of mental illness isn’t something that anyone should have to face alone. This gets particularly true as we mature and can end up feeling more isolated. Social interconnections, perspective, and a positive sense of self are all necessary to help counter such illness whether it is depression or an eating disorder. Don’t get trapped in believing that an eating disorder isn’t possible past a certain age. There is no shame in looking for help. Remember that you are not and have never been the only one.

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The Relationship Between Mental Health and Your Skin

Taking good care of your skin involves constantly balancing between product choices and good habits. There’s no denying this can end up a little stressful. After all, that one product that you need to help your skin might run out at the wrong moment. Others times you might run into the problem of needing to sort out exactly what product you need to be using to counter a particularly resistant skin condition. None of this ends up being particularly helpful to our moods. That’s an important point to note too. Your mood can actually have a profound affect on your skin’s health. Mental health is, in many ways, a too often forgotten component of skincare. It doesn’t necessarily seem to make sense on the surface, but all it takes is looking a little closer to see how this works. That’s why we’ve got a quick look into this rather important relationship.

The Complexity of Skin Health
Your skin is a surprisingly complex organ. Most of us don’t really notice it unless something is going wrong. Countless little things need to be right for it to remain health. We’re mostly familiar with the idea that we need to be eating right and exercising. This ensures an adequate supply of nutrition and a healthy blood flow that in turn help assure our skin’s overall health. What many of us pay less attention to is the affects that our hormones have on our skin as well. The varying levels of testosterone and estrogen in people are what cause the most pronounced differences in skin between most men and woman. Anything that begins to play with hormone levels necessarily begins to affect the skin as well. There are a lot of conditions that can affect our hormones, yes, but one of the most common ways to start negatively impacting it is to have poor stress management habits or accidentally managing not to notice the lasting impact of depression on your life.

Woman stressed

Stressing The Point
One of the ways we’re most prone to wrecking our body is unaddressed stress. There’s no getting away from the fact that modern life is frequently stressful and tends to demand more of us than we’d like. We can’t change the collective direction of a society by being annoyed at it though. That takes a sustained effort. What we can change is how we handle things on a personal level. Letting stress build up is one way of handling it that tends to wear the body out fast. Stress hormones, in many ways, end up contributing to the fact that stress keeps you body in something similar to “fight or flight” mode fairly constantly. You’re always in a state of being psychologically threatened while stressed. This leads things to begin to wear down faster. Your body lacks the energy for repairs at the same time that it is more prone to damaging itself. In your skin, this tends to look like a loss of healthy tone, increased oil production, and in general other signs of overall ill health in the skin. Stress management is absolutely necessary for great skin.

Managing What Matters
Knowing that your mental health is directly tied to your skin’s health isn’t as much help as we’d all like to pretend. You need something to work off of to get anywhere. Stress management techniques can help a lot for most of us, but things can be much harder for people with depression. We’d like to emphasize that depression is not a temporary case of sadness or a short bout of being dissatisfied. It is a chronic, dangerous illness that removes enjoyment from life. That can make seeking any help difficult. Consequently, one of the best stress management and mental health tips we can suggest is to make time for the people you care about and who care about you. Humans are social creatures and we need one another to be happy. Interacting with our loved ones tends to help our mental health in a number of ways as well as giving us an immediate mood lifter. We also recommend engaging in a hobby your find enjoyable. Try to learn a new skill. The key to good management of things is keeping your mind alert, active, and pleasantly engaged with the world.

Managing your own mental health is a daunting prospect for some of us. Statistics regularly show there are more of us dealing with mental illness than are willing to admit. Our mental health is as important to our appearance as it is to our quality of life though. This makes it important to take care of and address any issues openly. Live your life while making in meaningful and engaging. That should do wonders for both your mental health and your skin.

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Low Intensity Workouts and Belly Fat

Eventually we all need to do our best to make the time to exercise. Our bodies just have trouble keeping up if we don’t. Age, diet, and other factors simply mean we start putting on more and more weight without ever realizing it. Belly fat tends to be one of the more common signs of our gradual slide upwards on the scale. It is a telling sign of visceral fat and on top of that a sign that we’re going to have a lot of work cut out for us to get back to a healthy shape and weight. We typically get into this sort of situation by failing to maintain a healthy diet and regular exercise routine. That means the healthiest tactic is to start from low intensity exercises and move up from there. What we typically want out of it is something that immediately works to help minimize obvious signs such as belly fat. This isn’t always realistic though. Let’s look into what you need to know.

Defining Low Intensity Workouts
Workouts are separated by their levels of intensity or combine of intensities. Low and high intensity workouts tend to be the ones that most people talk about, but moderate intensity workouts exist as well. Intensity is determined by the overall effect it has on your body during the course of the exercise. High intensity workouts are the ones where you can do nothing beyond the exercise because you are pushing your body to keep up and maintain the exercise for as long as possible. You can’t talk or engage in much of anything outside of the exercise beyond maybe listening to music. Low intensity exercises are the exact opposite. These are the particular exercises, such as casually walking, where you are putting relatively little strain on your body. You’re able to actively engage with others while exercising without it being an undue burden. Yoga tends to fall under this description as well. The intensity of the workout generally determines how well they burn calories and overall fat.

Burning Belly Fat
Low intensity workouts on their own are seldom enough to rapidly burn through belly fat. That’s where interval-based workouts come into play. These are workouts that alternate between high and low intensity sections of exercise that help to support your overall body. They help us to strike a balance between high and low intensity that gives us the time to recover between bouts of high intensity with less taxing exercises.

Woman walking dog

A good way of talking about this sort of workout is to look at it in the context of walking and running. You can begin an interval-based workout by walking for a little while to provide you body with a low impact warm up that helps your body get used to moving without any real strain. Ideally, you then pick out a recognizable goal and push yourself to reach it. This means running or sprinting to a location you can see or for a give numbers of minutes before slowing down and returning to walking speed again. These alternating levels of activity are surprisingly good for helping to burn through belly fat without putting too much strain on the body.

Making The Most Of Low Intensity
Not all of us can perform an interval-based workout. These tend to assume we are healthy, have exercised before, and are physically capable of engaging in the two levels of activity. Not all of us are thanks to illness or age. That can make the prospect of trying to lose weight particularly frustrating as you’ll want to make the most of any given exercise. The key to finding a good low intensity workout that works to help you deal with belly fat is to find exercises that help build lean muscles in the target area. Lean muscle around the belly will help to draw the fat out so that the stored calories can be used to keep the muscle healthy. You’ll also need to perform these low intensity exercises for longer than you would an interval-based workout as your body will need more exercise to achieve similar results. Instead of a thirty or forty-five minute workout, you would need to exercise an hour to an hour and a half to get comparable results. The good news is you’ll typically be able to keep up a low intensity level of physical exercise for that long, but it does mean you’ll have to find a way to work it into your schedule.

Low intensity workouts aren’t your best option for burning through belly fat at a quick pace. The best option for that is finding a good interval-based workout that alternates between high and low intensity exercise. You can make the most of low intensity workouts by exercising for longer though. We recommend talking about your fitness goals with your doctor before engaging in any workouts if you’re new to them. Your doctor can help you find what will work for you and help you adjust your exercise routine as you become more physically fit. In the long run, you should be able to meet your fitness goals providing you’re dedicated enough.

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