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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

How to Improve Your Mood With Scents

By On 8:12 AM

An odor is the perception of an odorant (or chemical). This perceived odor is either pleasant or unpleasant to us.  Most times, an odor is given a bad name and only used when something is unpleasant. The affect that odors can have on your mood and mental health can make or break your day.

Pleasant odors can:
·         Boost your mood
·         Make is easier to learn/work
·         Make it easier to sleep
·         Give you a higher pain resistance
·         Decrease the occurrence of headaches and stomachaches.

Unpleasant odors can cause:
·         Nausea
·         Headaches
·         Depression
·         Increased anxiety
·         Elevated blood pressure
·         Decrease in physical energy
·         Compromised immune system
·         Asthma attacks in asthma sufferers
·         Physical discomfort (aches & pains)
·         Increase in anger and stress levels
·         Muscular control problems, fatigue (tiredness), confusion

What can you do to make your environment smell more pleasant?
·         Open windows and let in fresh air ( if you’re not near a highway or other pollutant source))
·         Air purifiers (ensure they are properly sized for the area you put them. One small purifier will not do much to improve the air in a decent sized room)
·         Flowers and other odiferous plants
·         Lightly scented candles and incense
·         Change you’re A/C filter more frequently


Why don’t I recommend Air fresheners and plug ins?
Air fresheners and plug ins are great when you want to cover something up. But that’s all your doing. Sweeping it under the rug and throwing a blanket over it. You’re not getting rid of the unpleasant odor, your only making it.

Think about it this way. You’ve got a glass of water and you add food dye to it. Have you really changed the water, or  just made it look different? It’s now just blue water. Unpleasant odors are just temporarily strong pleasant scents.

Too much scent, whether perfume, air freshener, deodorant or flowers can have negative impacts on your respiratory health. It can cause allergies and asthma attacks if the person is sensitive to that. It can also increase the frequency of headaches and make you feel quite crappy.

Finding the right amount of scent for YOU that you enjoy and is not detrimental to you is imperative.



References

“Health Effects of Odors.” Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Public Health Chemical Hazards Program July, 2004.

“Odors and Your Health.” Ohio Department of Health, Division of Environmental Health and Radiation Division July 2015.




Thursday, February 2, 2017

Yoga Essentials

By On 9:16 AM


My Favorite Yoga Accessories Everyone has their favorites that they just can’t live without.. for everything. Your favorite shirt, shoes, spatula, spot on the couch, you name it you most likely have a preference. When it comes to yoga, I may be just starting out, but I have found some of my own preferences in yoga mats, yoga blocks and yoga straps.
Manduka Pro yoga mat

This mat is durable and works well to support me while I do most of my yoga on a carpeted floor. When I initially bought this mat I had hard ceramic tile under me and wanted something well padded and this definitely fit the bill. I have not seen much wear in this mat and only notice scuff marks from me dragging my feet. When I no longer scuff the mat I will know I have improved.

I previously had the thickest mat I could find from Walmart, but that just wasn’t cutting it. I was sliding everywhere and had to double the mat over on itself sometimes to get enough padding while on a hard surface. The Manduka was definitely worth the money to me.
manduka Yoga blocks
 Blocks.. need I say much more.. They help me with my stretching or to help modify a pose that I can’t quite hold.. yet. I’m getting there.. but there is always room for improvement. These blocks have helped me a ton and are able to hold my weight without denting or loosing their shape. Definitely a good investment.
Manduka Yoga Straps
I have found multiple uses for this yoga straps. They help me with poses where I cannot touch my hands or my feet together (like full bow pose) or they can be worn to assist with you posture. Here is the instructions for setting up the strap for posture improvement. These straps are tough enough to handle what you throw at them and they’ve got enough grip that you not slipping and readjusting throughout the pose. You can just focus on your form.


This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a commission to help keep the blog running.



Friday, January 27, 2017

How I cut my food Bill and waistline

By On 12:05 PM
Just about everyone has a New Year’s Resolution to get in shape or lose weight. This year, my husband and I decided to lose about 15 pounds each, together. This is a long standing goal of mine that I have just never really gotten around to.. 



We also decided that we would begin being frugal to pay off some debt and save up to move closer to my day job. One thing that we saw would be easy to cut down on was our food bill. 

Now it a small dog, a cat and the two of us. Therefore, I started talking to my friend about couponing. To me, couponing is confusing and my biggest problem was that we never eat a lot of the food that goes on sale, or has coupons. However, I trudged on and learned more and after a few weeks, our grocery bill has been cut down by 1/3. 

I also had to figure out where to buy a newspaper. When that failed I realized that the papers are being delivered to my driveway might have what I wanted.. And viola! No need for subscriptions to newspapers or feeling silly cause I can’t figure out where to buy one. 

 I have begun shopping bogos for the majority of my foods. In addition, we make our meals around what’s on sale, not what we want and then hope it’s on sale. We have also begun paying attention to our calories and our portion sizes. Reducing our calories and keeping with portion sizes has helped us weigh less food and use less in general, because we are eating less. 

Our grocery bill ranges from $50-$70 a week, depending on if we purchase a gas card for a $10 savings. It was previously hovering around $120 every single week. Moreover, we were throwing away so much food at the end of the week or month because it expired and had never been used, or used much. 

 Being on a budget has also increased the creativity with our meals. My husband definitely gets all the credit for this.. He surprised me the other night by saying we were having chicken for dinner. I assumed chicken, vegetable and potato or rice.. Nope, we had pulled chicken sandwiches because we had some left over hamburger buns. 

 What are you doing this year to reduce costs and meet your New Year’s goals?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Why I practice Yoga in Jeans

By On 4:10 PM

Practicing yoga is a release. A release of stress, of tension, of time, of self. Finding yourself takes time. Time alone with yourself and your thoughts.

But sometimes you need a quick fix. Picture this.. In the middle of the day, you take a break and do 5 or 10 minutes of yoga. Mostly stretching to release the tension and stress you're holding onto. But are you going to spend 5 or 10 minutes changing in and out of your work clothes to do a few minutes of yoga? What happens if you stretch more later?

My job allows me to have a few breaks a day and quiet office to do a quick yoga release in. I usually wear jeans and a t-shirt or a polo, so changing would only make a calming situation more stressful. So I don't change. I practice yoga in jeans.

What Practicing Yoga in jeans has taught me


You don't have to go so deep to feel the release


Everyone is always trying to 'be more flexible'. Always in a race to be like someone else. Wearing jeans has taught me that I don't have to go as deep to feel the same release in tighter than usual muscles. Sometimes they even help hold me at a certain point of release.

You don't have to be like everyone else


Yoga is over sensationalized these days. it's the new thing. But everyone is chasing dreams to be like that girl on the beach doing yoga all day. What they don't see is how hard she must work to be able to do yoga on the beach all day.

It's about the journey not the pose


yes, yoga is full of poses. poses for this and poses for that. But the pose is an expression of what's inside. A way for the energy to move through you and release. To heal. Touching my forehead to my knee is forward bend is not as important when my goal is to reduce stress. Yes, the deeper stretch is nice, but I can save that for when I have more time.


Meditation doesn't have to be sitting


yoga is moving meditation. Meditation can come in many different forms and walking meditation is very common. 5 minutes of yoga for me is my meditation. I can do this as much as I need throughout the day and reap the benefits of both.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

5 reasons to Wake up and Do Yoga

By On 12:59 PM

Beginning the morning with some yoga and meditation is the best way to start the  day in the right mode. It doesn't matter what side of the bed you woke up on, morning yoga has the power to change your entire outlook.

Benefits of Morning Yoga

1. Stretches out your muscles and get them primed for the day
2. Replace the need for a cup of joe. Sun salutations and backbends are energizing for the body.
3. Super charge the immune and lymph system by getting your blood flowing.
5. Increase mental clarity and decreases stress. It also improves your ability to negate stress for the rest of the day.

Below is Sun Salutation A and B which are great for the morning because they make you focus on your breath and not the list of things to do.






January Foods And Workouts

By On 7:46 AM


As of January 1, 2017, my husband and I decided to lose 15 pounds together.  These are goals that we have had and decided to accomplish together.



Since I stopped lifting weights, I have maintained the same weight, but lost a lot of muscle. I have come up with a plan and wanted to share with you what I am doing. Please keep in mind that I am short, only 5 foot tall, so my calories can go lower than most.

Calories will be set at 1100 and I will not be paying too much attention to macronutreient breakdown. I am ok with losing a little more muscle in addition to fat.  I will, however, be aiming for some sort of protein at every meal. I find this keeps hunger at bay longer than carbs alone, or carbs and fat.
A day for me looks something like this:

Breakfast: Homemade ham, egg white, and cheese English muffin.
Lunch: Lean cuisine
Snack: snack stack of ritz, if needed.
Dinner: 300-400 calories of pasta, chicken and vegetables, or pizza.

I make my own sandwiches as I find the calories can be lower and more filling. This week I found the English muffins on sale and picked up the high fiber ones, used, 1/3 cup egg whites, 1 slice deli ham and half a slice of cheese. I don’t see much of a difference in taste, only calories and macros when I compare it to Jimmy Dean Delights.

For my workouts I will be alternating cardio on my Bowflex Max trainer and yoga. I work out in the morning and can only get in about 30 minutes before work. I also do restorative yoga and meditate nightly before bed.


I have come to love my nightly yoga and meditation and rarely go without a least 10 minutes before bed. It calms me and helps me sleep better. No tossing to find a comfortable spot because I am stretched out and not sore when I get under the covers. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Shoulder Gems Workout

By On 9:24 AM





Descriptions of workouts are below. Make sure you are using correct form and a weight that is not too heavy or too light for you. 

Dumbell Arnold Press

Front Raises


 
Lateral Raises

Shoulder Press


 Incline Dumbbell Press- If you can angle yourself correctly, you can use the edge of a table, but if not, skip this movement.

Bench Dips- use a table or a chair
Tricep Kickback - this works just as well on the side of a chair


Tricep Pushdown- If you don't have access to a gym you can hook a band on the back of a door to do this exercise.


Friday, January 13, 2017

Logic Your Way Out.. Overcoming Fears with Logic

By On 1:05 PM
We all have fears, whether they are rational or irrational. Dealing with those fears is something that everyone says we should do, but no one tells us exactly how to overcome them.  For years I have been plagued by irrational fears from too many childhood horror movies like the Puppet Master and Chuckie- laugh all you want, they still creep me out!
Anyways.. Overcoming fears sometimes means facing them and out smarting them. By that, I mean just using common sense and logic when the fear strikes. Another example of one of my childhood fears is a fear of the wind.. I absolutely hate it. For some reason it scares me, and seeing trees bent over in the wind.. terrifying.
So last night while I was just about to fall asleep, I hear something that could be a train, or a car boom box going by, but my first thought is TORNADO! So my eyes shoot open and I listen really hard.. what other signs do I hear? And while listening I realized what I was doing.. so I logically listened for certain things.. was it coming closer and getting loud? Did I hear debris flying around? People screaming? No, I heard none of that. When I realized it really was just a car blaring their music going down the next street, I was able to calm down and fall asleep.
Sometimes when fear strikes, you are not able to think rationally or logically. This is something that comes with time and practice. Also, situations can add to the stress and lack of clear thinking.  Next time your fear strikes, even if it is something small and silly like the wind, logic your way out!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Super Simple Chili Recipe

By On 1:05 PM


Winter is here for most of the country and it's the time for soups that warm you, but you want something filling and full of protein and fiber, right?  I have used some of the better options for canned food to make a healthy chili that is super simple and could even be used for a base recipe, if you were so inclined. Now that it's getting cooler, low 80's here in Florida, I really want something warming for lunch. I have been working on perfecting this recipe for a few weeks now so that I could share it with you guys.
I'm going to be honest here and let you know that this is a SUPER simple recipe as I do not enjoy cooking very much and have a tendency to burn things, but this is simple and comes out well every week.


Chili recipeSimple Chili recipe

  1. Brown the Turkey until cooked. Drain.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to pot. Boil and then simmer for a few hours.
I usually make this on a Sunday afternoon after grocery shopping and eat it for lunch throughout the week.
Feel free to add anything else you like to this chili. Examples could be veggies: onions, peppers, carrots, squash, pumpkin or anything else that you may fancy.
If you are trying to increase your fats, try adding a small amount of shredded cheese or sour cream to the top.

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