Staying on Track

Fitbit Alta, activity trackers, wireless-enabled wearable technology devices

Image Source: Amazon.com

After going in for my annual checkup a few years ago, it only took the sudden shock of hearing how much I weighed to say “Whoaaaaaaa Nellie!” I believe that news alone made my blood pressure go up, which the nurse took afterward mind you. Now while my weight was not out of control, it was more than I have ever weighed in my life. For several years I used a pedometer to get at least 10,000 steps in a day to stay active, a little bit anyway. Last year, one of my best friends, who is an exercise buff wanted me to use the same type of activity tracker that she used so that we could be each other’s accountability partner. 

Exercising, activity trackers, wireless-enabled wearable technology devices

Image Credit: axelle b

Ahhhhh….so I lost the pedometer and started using my Fitbit Alta activity tracker. I didn’t need anything ultra sophisticated, but this Fitbit Alta helps me track so much stuff like my daily steps, the number of miles walked, calories burned, active minutes performed and how many hours I slept! Yep, you won’t believe how much vital information it provided that only got me hyped up even more.

activity trackers, wireless-enabled wearable technology devices, Fitbit Alta

Image Source: Amazon.com

Did you know that walking 10,000 steps per day can help to reduce the rate of type 2 diabetes by 50% and can reduce stroke rates by 70%? The older we get sometimes makes staying focused, active and proactive about our health and wellness a little challenging. All too often, poor eating habits, the lack of consistent exercising along with a little-added stress on top of that can affect our motivation.

Fitbit Alta, Exercising, cycling, activity trackers, wireless-enabled wearable technology devices

Image Credit: Jean Beaufort

Improve your health, energy, attitude, and productivity by walking, running, swimming, cycling, yoga, or Zumba. Don’t allow inactivity, excessive weight gain, and lifestyle traps make you sink into the evils of health related issues. Take charge and do something. Don’t just sit there and allow time to rob you of your good health and wellness.

Improve your health, energy, attitude and productivity, Fitbit Alta

Image Credit: imore.com

Fitbit is my new hassle free way of turning health and wellness into an entertaining and accountable mission. If you don’t have an activity tracker or pedometer, at least make a commitment to do some type of physical activity each day for at least for ten minutes and drink plenty of water, especially right after you get up in the morning. You can’t imagine how energized and focused you will feel, just by making a few simple changes in your life, like eating better.

Celebrating National Watermelon Month on Food Porn Friday

Watermelon recipes, National Watermelon Month, Fruit

PHOTO BY KANA OKADA – Watermelon Salad With Mint and Crispy Prosciutto

Kickin’ back and keepin’ it cool as we celebrate throughout the month of July National Watermelon Month. To commemorate the juicy deliciousness of this incredible fruit, here are a couple of cool, refreshing recipes from the kitchen of Real Simple. Try this Watermelon Salad With Mint and Crispy Prosciutto.

INGREDIENTS

4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
3 pounds watermelon (including rind)
6 radishes, quartered
4 scallions, sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint, torn
1/4 cup salted peanuts, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and pepper

Click here to get directions.

 Watermelon and Basil Iced Tea, National Watermelon Month

PHOTO BY JAMES BAIGRIE – Watermelon and Basil Iced Tea

To complement your salad, wash it down with a refreshing glass of Watermelon and Basil Iced Tea.

INGREDIENTS

8cups boiling water
8 tea bags
1/8 medium-size watermelon, cut into small triangles
1 small bunch fresh basil sprigs
sugar, to taste (if desired)

Click here to get directions on how to prepare this cool beverage. And to think watermelon could be this exotic!

The Berries Are Coming on Food Porn Friday

Berry Fruit Salad, National Berry Month, Berries, Fruit

Image Credit; Gimme Some Oven

What’s your favorite Berry (and no we aren’t talking about Chuck Berry)? July is National Berry Month and we are celebrating the colorful, edible, delicious and nutritional properties of a plethora of berries in our produce section. Whether it’s blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, huckleberries, gooseberries, lingonberries, marionberries or dewberries, get to pickin’ and start to lickin’.

Let’s face it, the summer is hot and we want to eat something that is cool to our palate, but berry-licious at the same time! Today, we are featuring this Berry Fruit Salad from the kitchen of Gimme Some Oven. This colorful salad is quick and easy to prepare, and tastes berry, berry good!

So, while most berries are in season during the summer, get creative and come up with some spectacular dishes that are healthy and delicious. Saluting the berry on #FoodPornFriday!

Reading, Relaxation and Mental Health

Reading, Sleep, Mental Health, Books

If I ever had a problem sleeping, all I had to do, aside from drinking a cup of hot tea or taking a nice warm bath was to read. Did you know that reading is a great antidote to sleeplessness and great for mental health? According to research conducted by the University of Sussex, reading can reduce stress levels by 68%. Further research went on to note that reading works faster and better to calm frazzled nerves than drinking a cup of tea, going for a walk or listening to music.

Cognitive Neuropsychologist Dr. David Lewis who conducted this test stated: “Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation.” He goes on to say, “This is more than merely a distraction but an active engaging of the imagination as the words on the printed page stimulate your creativity and cause you to enter what is essentially an altered state of consciousness.”

Wow, there you have it! Another benefit and reason to grab a book, sit down and read. It is also suggested that we read from a hardcopy book versus that of a tablet for relaxation, due to the stimulating illumination from the screen of a computer, tablet or e-reader. As we continue to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month along with Better Sleep Month, let’s take this bit of advice and do more reading, because it is indeed good for our mental health, as well as a great sleeping aid.

Now, I understand the real reason why people read in bed. They had the right idea all along!

Good Night, Sleep Tight

Sleeping, From Behind the Pen, napping

All too often, I get excited about a project I’m working on and when it’s time to call it a night, I keep going because I am on a roll. While that may not be a problem if it occurs once in a while, I find that I allow myself to indulge in stretching my awake time far too often than I should. I am an early riser, and while that is a good thing I tend to also be a late retirer. Besides my occasional fatigue, I really did not give a whole lot of credence to the health and wellness implications due to my insufficient and erratic sleep patterns. 

Somehow, many of us have come to the conclusion that in our daily 24-hour span, we must somehow be compelled to use all 24 hours with activity. Where does that leave time for sleep and relaxation? Oh, you don’t think you have the luxury for that kind of time? Well, think again. If you don’t make the time, not find the time, but intentionally carve out a portion of the time you have to rest and relax, then you may be forced to do so.

What exactly do I mean? Well, since this is Better Sleep Month, I wanted to examine my sleep habits and how my lack of rest affects every facet of my being. Our bodies aren’t robotic, and rest and sleep are part of the natural course of life. It behooves you to relax, meditate and bask in overall daily gratitude. Learn how to breathe and not just suck in breaths. If we fail to sufficiently rest our bodies, then we may suffer the consequences of a complete shutdown where you can’t move no matter how hard you try.

Medical studies show that getting a good night’s sleep is quite beneficial to better health. Research has found a link between insufficient or the lack of sleep and how these elements are connected to serious health issues such as heart disease, obesity, weight gain, extreme fatigue, outright crankiness, and diabetes. Why put others at risk for your carelessness caused by the lack of adequate rest?

Sleep is vital for memory, learning and retaining information. Sleep can also be a natural supplement to medication and increasing metabolism. You will be amazed by what a little sleep will do. So, good night, sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite! Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…Happy #BetterSleepMonth!

Fun in the Sun Awareness

Skin Cancer, Melanoma, Skin Cancer Awareness Month

The hot weather is in full swing and with that also comes great caution when we are in the great outdoors. May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. According to the office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP),

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. UV radiation can also come from tanning booths or sunlamps. The most dangerous kind of skin cancer is called melanoma.

Let’s be mindful about raising awareness regarding skin cancer and how you can take action to prevent or detect it. Skin cancer can affect anyone regardless of skin tone or ethnicity.

Although the sun can be a natural source of vitamin D it is imperative that we be Sun-Smart! For more information about the precautions you can take in the fight against skin cancer, check out these helpful tips from Healthfinder.gov (ODPHP) or the Skin Cancer Foundation.

The Spirit of D

Depression, Fear, Anxiety, Oppression, Health

Lost hope? Pick a subject. Any subject. Nowadays, you will find literally any topic, on any level laced with deadly amounts of fear, anxiety and lost hope. What has happened? Life should not be terrorized by these fatal emotions. Yet, are we allowing them to?

Recently I’ve seen growing cases of people suffering from serious bouts of depression, from every gender, ethnicity and across the board economically. What is going on? There really isn’t one single common denominator involved in cases I’ve witnessed or read about. Now mind you, as a disclaimer, I am not a healthcare professional, just an observer and participant in life. But I can truly understand how people can be stricken with severe cases of depression resulting from extreme fears, whether it’s about finances, relationships, saving the environment, losing their healthcare, the skyrocketing costs of education, protection from predators and so much more. Pick a subject, any subject.

If you remember the 1982 movie Poltergeist, it centered around a family living in their new home who were gradually terrorized by a host of evil spirits. As the terror reached climatic proportions, they finally discovered that their residential development was built on top of a cemetery. The father angrily confronted the wealthy developer and shouted, “You son of a bitch, you left the bodies and you only moved the headstones!” He grabbed his family and quickly left the premises of the horror.

Depression, Medication, PillsDeception, distractions, delusions, discouragement, and death are some of the bodies buried under the headstone of depression. How did we obtain ownership of the spirit of D? How do we get rid of it? There is no magical cure because many of these emotional and spiritual enemies grew over time. Yet, we don’t have to allow them to control our lives.

We hate to admit that we personally created some monsters of the worst kind that are instigating this spirit of depression which is disabling our way of life. Curling up in corners, not getting out of bed for weeks, not brushing your hair or teeth, looking disheveled and forlorn, or wandering around like a reclusive vagabond are symptoms of merely existing and not truly living your BEST life!

How long will we allow our lives to be stolen by the spirit of depression and controlled by the bandages of medication or addictions to controlled substances and poor choices? There are many things, death, job losses, health challenges, broken relationships, betrayal…pick a subject, any subject and therein we find disastrous storms that some people are unable to survive in the aftermath. In many cases, they’ve given up. But we cannot afford to give up. Whether we realize it or not, we have generations behind us who will inevitably go through challenges that will test the core of their being. We can’t give up, because if we do, so will they!

Like many of you, I’ve faced some challenges that tried to wipe the life out of me. People are walking or lying around like recluses and zombies. There isn’t a “one size fits all” solution but we have to cut off our spiritual energy supply to feed power into the “Spirit of D.” Some people may need to seek professional counseling to deplete the debilitating power of hopelessness. Sometimes the solution is right within our grasp, but we can be too distracted to see it. For me, when I get into a funk, I don’t stay there very long, because it catapults into a more serious condition. It may take applying a little lipstick, an outrageous nail color, sporting some stilettos or wearing a very bright-colored top to brighten my silly face and snaps me out of my sad trance.

While I don’t know what your test is that could inevitably fuel an awesome testimony, just remember whatever positive and encouraging method of escape you can use to rid yourself of the bodies under the headstone, just do it because it can turn out to be spiritual gold! Don’t allow the “Spirit of D” to become a ghost of toxicity and the grim reaper of death. It’s not about you, but it is about what this spirit can do to you if you don’t put a stop to it.