Why You Should Be Running More

Jogging for your healthRunning is one of the most basic, convenient, and primal methods to get in shape. It is something that we love to do when we are kids, but as we get older having the energy to build up speed is somewhat lacking. But to return to a healthier you, you have to move and running is one of the simplest ways to achieve this. There are many benefits of jogging besides getting to a healthy weight. By dedicating at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days out of the week, you can benefit from these major health advantages.

Reduces The Risk of Cancer

While running does not prevent cancer, it can reduce risk. In 2002, there were 170 epidemiological studies on exercise and the effects it may have on cancer. The results were positive, with cancer risk reduction ranging from 30 to as high as 70 percent. There were individual studies, however, tested on different body parts that cancer occurs. Prostate cancer had a reduction of risk from 10-30 percent. Colon cancer had a risk reduction of 40-70 percent and Breast cancer as well as Lung cancer 30-40 percent.

Helps Brain Activity

Aging is inevitable, but running and jogging can help your brain age healthily. The activity helps your brain function with sharper reactions, and increases the production of new nerve cells. As you age, the brain shrinks, but this exercise creates new blood vessels in the organ. The exercise increases the magnitude of the brain that aids memory, hearing and vision. Running also helps increase learning abilities and focus. Also, exercise can increase the amount of energy your brain can store. By starting to run early in life, these benefit’s are greater.

Strengthens Joints

Continuous activity can prolong the strength of joints and bones. By staying active, it can increase the mass of the bone. It has always been thought that running is damaging to the body, but it offers considerable health benefits. One of the best benefits of running has helped joints is in the knees. As you age, knee health can deteriorate. Running can prolong the wellness of knees and keep you active longer. Arthritis, a common disease that occurs due to the breakdown of cartilage between joints, can be less painful for runners. A study was started in 1984 and continued for years to understand the impact running had on arthritis pain. The runners were middle aged at the time and continued to run decades later. Results shown that individuals that ran had 25 percent less pain than those who did not.

Adds Years To Life

It has been proven that individuals who jog and run can add years to their life. Studies show that cancer survivors added over 5 years to their life, and people who quit smoking added over 4. Those who do not smoke added another 3 years to their life and even current smokers added more than 2. On average, runners can add 3 years to their life. Reports also show that you do not have to run longer to benefit from this discovery. Individuals can jog lightly for 15 minutes at a time. There is still research being done, but many studies have shown these results.

Increases Mood

Research shows, that jogging can improve happiness. Depression can be reduced by this exercise, and possibly be treated as well. Endocannabinoids, a hormone found in the brain that controls pain sensations and mood, are released. This hormone makes individuals feel happier. By running, you will feel healthier and enjoy activities more.

When jogging, be sure to wear the proper running shoes that fit and offer support to benefit from these positive health effects. Need some extra motivation? Check out this informative video below about why should be running.

Stephanie / April 30, 2015 / Jogging

Preparing For Laser Hair Removal

what you should know about laser hair removalPart of feeling good for a lot of people is looking good and laser hair removal is a way that a lot of people try to accomplish this. It is not just for straight women, but it is growing in popularity across the board for men and women alike. If you plan on trying this method of hair removal, there are a few things that you can do before your appointment to make things go a little bit smoother (pun intended).

Individuals undergo laser hair removal to get rid of unwanted hair from body parts such as the chest, genital area, arms, fingers, feet, neck, face, fingers and armpits among others. While mostly safe and effective, there are extra precautions that customers should look into in order to prepare the skin for treatment.

People intending to undergo laser hair removal should first get a consultation to make sure that their hair and skin color/type is ideal for the treatment. Those with dark skin, or light hair may not see positive results or may even experience some possible side effects. This is important because the process involves some risks and treatment results are not always the same for all people. However, it is worth noting that majority of the patients who have undergone laser hair removal have achieved good results and do not regret at all.

Before undergoing a laser hair removal session there a few steps that should be taken to make sure you get the most out of the process. Not only can proper laser hair removal preparation ensure that the treatment will be effective, but it can also help lower the risk for possible complications. If you have scheduled a session or are looking into doing so, it will be prudent to know some simple steps to prepare yourself before going under the light.  In most cases, the clinician or facility that you have chosen will go over some of the following when you schedule an appointment.

Two to Four Weeks Before Session

Preparations for laser hair removal normally can begin twenty to thirty days after an individual has made the decision to undergo laser hair removal. The initial steps are not mandatory, but they can be extremely beneficial to the overall success of the treatment. If these steps are chosen they should commence a month or so before the first treatment to ensure that the skin and the unwanted hair are in good condition.

During this time, it is recommended that the patient stop some of his or her routine practices such as waxing the skin, tweezing or bleaching. This ensures that the laser removal is done on the hair and skin when in a healthy state. It is also important to avoid applying tanning creams and lotions from 4 weeks before undergoing laser treatment and avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun because sunburns give poor results due to reddening of the skin. Therefore, patients should apply sunscreen if they intend to stay outdoors for an extended period of time.

The Day Before

A day before the treatment some of the preparations that should be made include shaving off all the hair from the parts to be treated and confirming your appointment with the laser hair removal specialist. All the hair should be shaved within 24 hours before undergoing the treatment. The shorter the hair the more effective the treatment will be, thus providing better results. Longer hairs can sometimes end up getting burned and this can filter down to the skin which is probably as painful as it sounds.  If you forget, don’t have time or are running late, whoever is doing the treatment will more than likely have equipment to shave the area being worked on for you. Avoid applying anything to the skin, such as moisturizer or other lotions on the day of treatment.

Post Treatment

After treatment it is also important for patients to take good care of their skin to ensure faster healing. Ice packs or cooling gels are normally provided to cool down the skin. At times the skin may look reddish after the treatment and be very sensitive to the touch. It is important to avoid direct sun rays and ensure that your skin is well hydrated. Apply post laser lotions as directed by your provider to speed up healing and reduce sensitivity and redness. This way, the skin can be back to its normal its condition usually within 2 days after treatment.

Preparing for your laser hair removal treatment can be extremely beneficial to seeing positive results. Always ask when you schedule a session what steps your particular establishment prefers their customers take before treatment begins. They all may be slightly different based on the equipment being used and their experience with patients.

Stephanie / April 26, 2015 / Health

The Link Between Sleep And Depression

Healthy sleep

Sleep problems and depression are often linked and intertwined. Some of the signs of depression can leave a person feeling moody, listless, low, easily angered, down in the dumps and overburdened. The contradiction of being tired all throughout the day, while not being able to go to sleep at night or just wanting to sleep the entire day away are often indications that something is wrong.

This is a common scenario nowadays which takes place due to depression and lack of sleep. Depression is an illness that affects at least 20 million people in the US. It is not something that you can assume to be cured on its own, or simply ignore. The cause of depression is not known, but with the help of various treatments it can help to be controlled and sleep patterns can return to a more normal routine.

Lack of sleep and depression, have a tendency to travel together. The relationship between both the conditions is complex and the presence of one of these conditions can contribute to or be the cause of the other condition. In some people, issues with sleeping appear before the onset of depression. For others, depression symptoms appear first. Let’s discuss them in detail, one by one.

How Depression Can Affect Sleep Patterns:

Depression is a health condition that affects the brain functions to a huge extent, which includes the sleep-wake cycle. If the sleep-wake cycle or the biological clock is disturbed, it can lead to irregular sleeping patterns, and that further contributes to the depression. Over a period of time, this can turn into a vicious cycle. People suffering from depression have been found to experience a common condition of not being able to fall asleep. However, the manner in which depression affects one’s sleep differs from person to person. Difficulty in falling asleep may be the major problem for most people with depression, but in some cases (10-20% of people) depression leads to excessive sleeping. Depression can affect sleep patterns in the following ways:

  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Trouble staying asleep-Sleep that never feels like “enough”
  • Lack of quality-sleep
  • Difficulty going back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night.
  • Waking up too early
  • Difficulty concentrating and irritability
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Feeling tired once awake

Depression and sleep are co-related and regardless of the type of sleep disorder, one of the long-term effects of depression is the development of sleep debt, which further creates new problems.

How Disruptive Sleep Patterns Can Affect Depression and Mood:

Sleep is the most naturally efficient way for our bodies and minds to rejuvenate. You don’t need a sleep expert to tell you that disruptive sleep patterns make you more vulnerable to worry, stress, and anxiety. When we don’t get sufficient amount of sleep, even the simple issues appear to be complicated and overwhelming. Without enough sleep, we can quickly lose our ability to concentrate and maintain perspective, which in turn gives rise to unwanted stress and decreases our ability to calm down. Evidence suggests that individuals with insomnia have a greater risk of developing depression as compared to those with no problems with sleeping. Insomnia has been found to be common among depressed patients since years, but a new research shows that it may actually trigger the mental disorder! In a study, depressed patients suffering from insomnia were seventeen times more likely to not overcome depression after a year compared to the patients who were having a good amount of sleep all year round.

Recurring insomnia can lead to severe depression, so depression and sleep are linked and the diagnosis for your problem needs to be correct. Depression and mood swings are related to disruptive sleep patterns, and disruptive sleep patterns further aggravate depression. But here’s the good news! Treating one of these conditions may have a spillover benefit for the other! The natural solution to get rid of your blues could be as simple as getting enough sleep. If you can look for ways to sleep better during the night time, it will surely help combat your depression over a period of time.

A lot of people who suffer from disruptive sleep patterns are hesitant to go for Western sleep medications as they’re concerned about the possible side effects and addiction. However, if your insomnia is at an initial stage and not too serious, there are a lot of natural remedies that can help you! Various herbs (such as kava kava, passion flower and valerian) have a calming effect on the mind and body. Yoga is yet another non-invasive and a calming way of dealing with depression and sleep disorders. Getting quality sleep is vital to both physical and mental health and problems in this area should not be ignored.

Stephanie / April 23, 2015 / Health

Ice Cream Maker Recipes For The Entire Family

Finding the right ice cream machineSo we decided to breakdown and give into buying a new ice cream maker. While it may not be the most healthy way to treat ourselves, we simply don’t care. We LOVE ice cream, so we thought “why not?”. We have had it about two weeks and so far we have made a different flavored treat with it every night. It is fantastic and we highly recommend that anyone who likes to indulge in cold, frozen, and delicious desserts to go ahead and pick one up for themselves.  And with all of the healthy ice cream recipes available you may not feel so guilty by treating yourself to something that taste so indulgent.

Which Ice Cream Machine to Buy?

It took us a while to decide on which machine to get. We kind of liked the way that some of the old fashioned barrel looking units were styled, but in the end we decided to go with a modern unit. Cuisinart, we found, makes some of the best customer reviewed ice cream makers available. They all get high marks and scores from owners, so it was just a matter of budget and capacity. In the end we purchased the Cuisinart ICE-100 because not only can it make 1 and a half quarts of ice cream, but it is also capable of producing gelato and other frozen goodies. It is expensive, but for us it has been worth it.  Cuisinart ice cream maker reviews are also some of the highest you will find online which helped make the final choice that much easier for us.  Just about all of their models are some of the top ranked ice cream machines we could find.

Ice Cream Recipes

And to celebrate our new wonder kitchen appliance we are going to share some of the recipes that we have tried in our new machine. They turned out pretty tasty and we hope others have similar results. We tried to find some that were not totally bad for you and included some fruit.

Huckleberry Homemade Cheesecake Ice Cream

When made with the season’s sweetest ingredients, this dessert captures the heart of summer. This frosty treat gets its delectably rich texture and taste from an immersion of fluffy cream cheese. Try this fruity ice cream in your ice cream maker with fresh huckleberries. If huckleberries are not available, try substituting blackberries or raspberries.

For the recipe, take 2 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature. Pour in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Add 1 cup castor sugar and continue whisking until well combined. Meanwhile, in a medium pan, whisk together 4 eggs and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place pan over medium flame and whisk mixture until fluffy. Strain into a bowl and allow it to cool. Next, whisk in 1 cup whipping cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 cups huckleberries. Blend huckleberries or blueberries or raspberries with 3/4 cup sugar. Add the berries to the prepared mixture. Whisk in cream cheese mix until well incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for approximately 4 hours until chilled. Next, pour the mixture into your ice cream maker. Follow the manufacturer;s instructions and process it accordingly. Once it is made, stir in some more berries.

This recipe is super tasty and healthy. The berries are rich in nutrients, minerals and vitamins that are indispensable for your health. Enjoy this summery treat!

Peach Cobbler Homemade Ice Cream

Turn juicy summer peaches into creamy ice cream. This fruit adds a twist to this luscious and balanced frosty recipe. Addition of basil and fresh figs make for a syrupy taste. A pinch of cinnamon, adds depth to the ice cream.

For the recipe, take a medium saucepan. Add two cups sugar and 4 eggs. Whisk them together and gradually add 1 cup whole milk and a pinch of salt. Place pan over medium heat. Whisk until mixture becomes a little thick. Lower heat and whisk mixture for approximately 10 minutes. Strain into a large bowl. Next add 2 cups peeled and pureed peaches and incorporate them well into the mixture. Add 1 cup whipping cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 cup half-and-half to the mixture. Whisk well. Cover with plastic wrap. Now refrigerate for approximately 4 hours until chilled. Pour mixture into your ice cream maker. Add 1 cup figs and some basil. Follow manufacturer’s instructions and process it accordingly.
Another nutritional and healthy recipe! Peaches provide 6 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin A. They also provide 15 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin C. Figs and basil are some of the world’s healthiest foods. They are a great source of fiber, antioxidants and nutrients. Enjoy this sweet and healthy treat!

Strawberry Delight

If you are looking for a refreshing and light way to end your meal, this is a perfect recipe. Fruity yet rich- this is a classic homemade ice cream.

For the recipe, chop 600 grams strawberries. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of castor sugar over it and leave them to impregnate with flavor. Pour 500 ml milk and 500 ml double cream into a large saucepan. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Place pan over medium heat for approximately 20 minutes. Meanwhile in a large bowl, whisk 4 eggs and 3/4 cup sugar until fluffy. Put the pan back on the heat with milk, cream, sugar and egg mixture. Stir for 10 minutes until it thickens. Puree the strawberries in a food processor. When the mixture is cool, fold in strawberry puree. Sprinkle some lemon juice. Next, add this mixture to your ice cream maker. Allow it to freeze for a couple of hours. Garnish with some strawberries and lemon zest and enjoy!

If making ice cream in your own kitchen sounds interesting then consider getting your own machine. We like to think that we bought the best ice cream maker on the market, but any of the top ice cream machines should help you and your family make some fantastic desserts together. It is also a great way to spend time with your loved ones and you can all enjoy the fruits of your labor in the end.

For anyone curious, below is a video of the exact ice cream maker that we ended up getting. If you have the budget for it, we highly recommend this model.

Stephanie / April 12, 2015 / Cooking