Unboxing StressKiller

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When you hear the word “stress” you probably aren’t thinking about the possible long-term effects it can have on your body and mind. However, symptoms of stress can pose a serious threat to both your physical and mental health. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.”

So what gets you stressed? Anything from work pressure to strains at home over time can result in the tell-tale signs of stress. What are these symptoms? Let’s break this down!

Physical Symptoms of Stress:

  1. Headache
  2. Muscle tension or pain
  3. Chest pain
  4. Fatigue
  5. Change in sex drive
  6. Stomach upset
  7. Sleep problems

Not only are these symptoms of stress, but they are quite common, even at low levels of stress!

Symptoms of Stress on Your Mood:

  1. Anxiety
  2. Restlessness
  3. Lack of motivation or focus
  4. Feeling overwhelmed
  5. Irritability or anger
  6. Sadness or depression

Here’s where things can get a little hairy. All of these symptoms can result in illnesses like depression, and can also trigger physical symptoms like weight gain, weight loss, sleep deprivation and more.

Now that we know the negative effects of stress on the body and mind, how do we combat it? Believe it or not, the solution to most cases of stress are really rather simple! Just adjusting your lifestyle activities can be a huge help in reducing and keeping stress levels low. One of our favorite ways to reduce stress is through physical activity! Whether it’s taking a run after work, going on a bike ride or playing tennis, staying active produces endorphins in the brain.

These endorphins act as your body’s natural pain killer! The more active you are, the more “pain killer” you have in your brain, which is a great way to combat and relieve stress. A second way to reduce stress is through relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga and breathing exercises. Calming your mind and regaining focus through these techniques are a great and fun way to reduce strain from daily stressors.

We also found a great way you can win the battle against stress on a daily basis! Stress Killer drink powder is a delicious way to lower stress levels and prevent stress in the long term. This all-natural mix is made of L-Theanine, L-Tyrosine, Vitamin B-12, B-6, Folate, Magnesium and Vitamin C. All of these components serve to counteract stress symptoms like fatigue, depression, psychological stress and works to keep cortisol (a stress hormone) levels low. These are just a few areas where Stress Killer will keep you feeling your best both physically and mentally! 

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If you are like us and get worn down by daily stressors, we recommend you give Stress Killer drink powder a try! View StressKiller’s full line of powder drink mixes here.

 

Have you tried Stress Killer? Tell us what you think!

 

 

Unboxing RxQ Antioxidant Complex

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Oxidative stress is something you probably don’t think about on a daily basis. Actually, oxidative stress is kind of a big deal! Preserving and boosting long-term health is just as important to us as it is in the short term. If you’re anything like us, read on to see the benefits RxQ Antioxidant Complex and what it can do about oxidative stress!

To start off, here’s some vocab that we should get out of the way.

What are Free Radicals?

Free Radicals is an oxygen-containing molecule that has one or more unpaired electrons, making it highly reactive with other molecules.

In English, they’re rogue electrons that have the potential to destabilize cells after stealing electrons from lipid or protein cells.

What are Antioxidants?

Antioxidants are molecules present in cells that prevent free radical reactions which could cause serious damage to your body’s cells by donating an electron to the free radicals without becoming destabilized themselves. 

Now that we have that settled, how you interact with the environment has real-life effects on your body, and not all of these are positive. According to the experts at RxQ Antioxidant Complex, the pollution you encounter in your environment can create oxidative stress overloads that can chip away at your health prematurely. What, you ask, are “oxidative stressors”? Oxidative stress happens when free radicals that damage cells are so numerous that your body can no longer fight them off. Building up natural antioxidants in your body can help to fight these stressors. When we think of the effects on our bodies from our environment, we know of the effects on our bodies externally. UV rays, for example, are a widely known cause of skin cancer and premature wrinkling and aging of the skin. However, environmental pollution plays a huge role in the aging process. Pollutants damage cells and DNA and are a leading cause of cell damage and premature aging.

We already do things every day to maintain our health, even if the results are for prevention of future health problems. Brushing our teeth, flossing, even bathing are all things we do that help promote long-term health. RxQ Antioxidant Complex plays a similar role in that as your body is constantly facing a “dirty” environment, the powerful elements in RxQ Antioxidant Complex help to maintain cell function even as the body is being challenged with oxidative stressors. Just like brushing your teeth prevents future bone diseases and decay, RxQ Antioxidant Complex helps to prevent from future disability and loss of cell function!

Our bodies are constantly fighting against the environments we are exposed to. This sounds pretty intimidating, but RxQ Antioxidant Complex is a successful and natural way we can strengthen our bodies over time to protect itself against the effects of the environment on our bodies both physically and internally! Check out the full line of RxQ’s Antioxidant Complex here.

 

Have you tried RxQ Antioxidant Complex? Tell us what you think!

Unboxing Quality of Life Lipoquel

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Burning fat can be tricky at times especially if, like us, from time to time you enjoy delicious fatty foods like french fries and hamburgers. If you’re having trouble keeping the weight off and are needing an all-natural solution, you need to hear how Quality of Life’s Lipoquel™ is changing how we think of weight management supplements!

Although your body needs a little bit of natural fat to function properly, the unnecessary fats from the unhealthy foods we love are stored in the body as excess fat. Consuming excess calories means that you are eating more calories than your body can burn off in one day. Those extra calories are stored in the body’s fat stores called glycogen stores. The more excess calories that you consume, the more your body’s fat stores expand, and this leads to weight gain. Everyone has heard the spiel about regular diet and exercise in order to combat this excessive storage of fat, but that’s easier said than done. If you’re anything like us, you don’t want to give up the fast food you have once every week. The key to maintaining balance is, wait for it, moderation. Combined with diet and exercise, you want to be able to enjoy the occasional “unhealthy” treat. You may be one of these people who feel like they exercise relatively frequently and maintain a healthy diet for the most part. However, you still aren’t seeing the results you want to see.

Quality of Life’s Lipoquel could be the game changer! But how does it work? A well-researched proprietary mushroom extract called “Chitoglucan®” is the key ingredient in this all-natural weight management supplement and its all-natural ingredients provide a harmless aid in your path to a healthy weight. Lipoquel works by burning the fat you already have, which has been stored in the glycogen stores contained in your liver, muscles, and fat cells. Removing the excess fat already being stored in your glycogen stores allows you to get your body back to “square one” of body fat content, and leaves only the fat you need in your system.

Lipoquel takes it even one step further in that it helps to block dietary fat absorption. Lipoquel contains a bioactive form of a fat-blocking vegetable called Chitosan. This means that not only do these veggie capsules help burn existing excess fat in your body, but they help block future absorption of these unnecessary fats. Quality of Life’s Lipoquel formula sets itself apart because they, “take only clinically researched ingredients for specific health conditions and formulate them into products consistent with suggested amounts.” Of course, these supplements perform best when combined with a healthy diet and exercise. However, you can have that occasional bowl of ice cream, or scarf down that donut every once in a while without giving up all of the progress you made in the gym! View Quality of Life’s full line of Lipoquel products here.

 

Have you tried Lipoquel? Tell us what you think!

7 Delicious Ways to Get Protein Without the Meat!

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Chefs and experts everywhere are all coming to the same conclusion: plants are the future of protein. Proteins from peas and hemp are becoming more and more popular, from snacks and chips to specialty restaurants around the world. More than just for vegetarians, the future looks to plant-based meats as an alternative to meat that is both good for themselves and is mindful of animal welfare. Continue reading

Unboxing Vital 4U Fiber Drinks

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Supporting your digestive health has never been easier! Vital 4U Fiber is a vegetarian, gluten-free fiber drink and is the epitome of convenience when it comes to getting the fiber you need. If this sounds as good to you as it does to us, then keep reading to see why Vital 4U is the perfect fiber source for an on-the-go lifestyle!

Before we get into that, some of you are probably wondering, why fiber is so important? Fiber plays a vital role in moving stool through your digestive tract (gross, we know) and it keeps your colon healthy. Actually, fiber helps to prevent colon cancer, as it keeps the colon clean. According to the Mayo Clinic, soluble fiber dissolves in water and creates a gel-like substance. This substance helps to lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels! Unlike other nutrients, fiber is not absorbed or digested. The fact that it passes through the digestive system without being broken down is actually a good thing. According to Dr. Oz, this causes the fiber to act as bulk agents that help the body to pass food. A deficiency or lack in fiber would result in constipation and sluggishness. Fiber can reduce the incidence of heart disease and even aid in weight loss. Foods like beans, artichokes, and broccoli have naturally high levels of fiber. However, unless you carry around bags of these power foods, eating the right amount of these foods to meet your daily quota of fiber can be hard especially if, like us, you are constantly on the go.

How, you ask, can you get the fiber you need without the hassle of mixing a powder or carrying fiber-rich foods around with you? At only 18mL per serving, Vital 4U Fiber drinks give you 20% of your daily intake of fiber in one convenient pack! This gluten-free fiber drink contains 5 grams of soluble prebiotic fiber and has a delicious sweet citrus berry flavor that does not need to be mixed with water. Perfect for a fast-paced lifestyle, Vital 4U Fiber drinks contain only natural flavors and color and can be taken anywhere in their convenient foil packs. These drinks are only 28 calories per serving and contain just 4 grams of sugar, so you get the delicious flavor of berry without sacrificing the calories or getting doused in sugar!

Vital 4U Fiber drinks combine all the key ingredients needed for healthy digestion into one simple drink. Drop one into your purse, gym bag, or briefcase every day and see the results of great digestive health! Check out Vital 4U Fiber’s full line of drinks here.

 

Have you tried Vital 4U Fiber drinks? Tell us what you think!

 

Tea vs. Coffee: 6 Insane Facts to Fuel the Caffeine Debate

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Dogs or cats? Sweet or Salty? Slytherin or Gryffindor? These questions fuel endless debates with both sides unrelentingly stubborn in their opinion. If you’re anything like me, you have facts and dates and a whole plethora of information to back up your theories for why which one is better. However, one such debate reigns supreme: which is healthier, tea or coffee? I’ve decided to do a “pros versus cons” list to fuel this caffeine-driven butting of heads and I promise to try and be as objective as possible. 

Tea

Pros: 

  1. Tea (n): To lower the risk of
    • Studies show that older tea drinkers have a reduced risk of age-related memory loss, heart disease, and stroke.
  2. You basically live forever
    • No, you don’t. However, studies show that people who drink regularly have been shown to have cells that are BIOLOGICALLY YOUNGER than non-drinkers. 
  3. Thick Bones: I mean, why not?
    • Science has revealed that regular tea drinkers have a higher bone density as well as a reduced rate of bone loss. This is not a bad thing.

Cons:

Say goodbye to your iron! 

Studies show that compared to a 35% reduction from coffee, tea causes a 62% reduction. 

Coffee

Pros:

  1. Coffee is High in Antioxidants
    • Self-explanatory and also an excuse I use to drink red wine at noon.
  2. Congratulations! You’re Going to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse
    • A recent Harvard study showed that people who drink 3-5 cups of coffee a day are less likely to die prematurely from diseases.
  3. Fights Against Cancer, Type 2 Diabetes and Parkinson’s
    • …DRINK UP 

Cons:

Bump, Set, SPIKE

Those with high blood pressure should be careful when drinking coffee, as the caffeine content causes a short, but dramatic spike in blood pressure

Like I said, the coffee vs. tea debate is one that will remain unresolved, as both beverages have elements of good and evil. If you want to live forever, drink tea. If you want to drink something that actually tastes good, you’ll drink coffee. I promised I’d stay impartial but it couldn’t be helped. Whichever you choose to partake in is at your own discretion, but feel free to add any of this information to your arsenal for the next “friendly” discussion about coffee vs. tea.   

 

Tell Us What Side You’re On! Coffee or Tea?

 

 

How to Create the Perfect Zen Area for Your Morning Routine

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I’ve never been one of those people who jumps out of bed in the morning eager to start the day. In fact, no matter how much sleep I’ve gotten the night before, I’ve always been a snooze button addict, which means constantly rushing, missing breakfast and showing up late to work meetings or brunch dates with friends.

Because I’m constantly striving for self-improvement, I decided I needed to change this bad habit once and for all. Contrary to the popular belief that it takes 21 days to form a habit, studies show that it takes 66 days to form a habit—which was pretty daunting for me. I decided to make my morning routine as streamlined and stress-free as possible; that way I’d be setting myself up to for success, and just maybe I could become a morning person. Here’s how I did it.

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First, I started meditating—but probably not in the way you’d expect.

For me, the problem (and the bonus) of meditation is that it relaxes me to the point of sleepiness, which is why I don’t normally attempt it in the morning. A personal trainer friend of mine told me how she likes to “meditate in motion,” which is a type of meditation that runners enjoy, too. Meditation requires intense focus to clear your mind, and exercise is a great time to work on it.

I started getting up an hour earlier than usual to hit up local parks and trails with my pups. I ditched my usual headphones so that I could enjoy the peaceful sounds of nature, like the birds chirping and water running along creeks. Not only did this experience happily wear my dogs out, but I found myself starting my day with a big smile on my face and a strong sense of gratitude. 

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Second, I made breakfast—and all my meals—a priority.

I hate spending money (and calories) on quick-fix hunger solutions from a vending machine that add nothing in the way of fiber, protein or vitamins. That’s why I took the huge step of meal-prepping breakfast and lunch meals for the week on Sundays. It took a lot of work, scouring food blogs for recipes that weren’t too complicated for my novice cooking skills and that I’d actually want to eat for a week in a row. Having the appropriate containers was also something I hadn’t thought about, and I will admit that in that first week, my meal presentation was much more “creative use of tin-foil” than Martha Stewart!

None of the meals I prepared—from egg muffins loaded with veggies to warm quinoa with berries and just a little bit of maple syrup for breakfast—were very complicated, but they were delicious and healthy. It was the same for my lunchtime turkey taco bowls and Greek chicken with veggies. With a large workload and heavy deadlines at work, moving deadlines, it was a relief to not only have a plan for this area of my life but to know I was also taking care of myself health-wise and financially.

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Third, I ditched my morning news shows.

I like to be informed about current events, and my job requires me to be able to carry on conversations with people from all walks of life, so I had always started my day flipping between morning news shows. That can be really depressing though—I found that the excess of bad news left me feeling very unmotivated.

If you are a TV news junkie like I was, try switching to a print or digital subscription of an outlet you enjoy, and limit yourself to reading it only on your lunch break. Without the scrolling banner of tragedy, menacing music and “breaking news” graphics you may be able to achieve a little bit more balance—seeing the good in the world, the things we can celebrate, and the areas where we need to improve. For a more positive morning routine, I switched to listening to my favorite music (I dare you to listen to Van Morrison’s “Sweet Thing” and still have the morning grumpies).  Use that newfound free time to call a loved one or write a letter- pen and paper, old school style- to a friend. Whatever you decide, just think about starting your day in a way that reminds you of what makes you happy. 

Lastly, before bed each night, I minimized clutter and any other potential distractions.

I used to be easily side-tracked in the morning. Dishes in the sink? “Sure, I can spare 10 minutes to load the dishwasher.” Dusty bookshelf? “Might as well do it now,” I’d say.

I always underestimated how long these tasks and decisions would take me, and so they contributed to me running late and starting my day very flustered. Now, before I go to bed, I do a quick sweep of my apartment, folding up blankets on the couch, wiping off kitchen counters and even making sure there is a bag in the trash can. I also pick out my outfit for the next day—and, not to brag, but sometimes I do it for the whole week! This has saved so much time and even provided me with a confidence boost about my appearance when I head to work. After this Zen experiment, I may still not be a morning person, but I enjoy my de-stressed mornings more than ever. 

How do you create your perfect zen in the morning?

Danielle Hegedus is an Atlanta-based writer. She is a regular contributor to Modernize, as well as a variety of lifestyle and home design websites. Danielle recently finished her first cookbook, in collaboration with Chef, Kamal Grant for Atlanta’s beloved, Sublime Doughnuts.

Unboxing SimpleMD Mediterranean Protein Bars

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Red wine and delicious olive oil are 2 key ingredients to this Mediterranean diet-friendly snack bar. If that sounds as amazing to you as it does to us, then you need to hear about SimpleMD’s protein bars that were inspired and created by a leading cardiologist.

First, we should probably get into a little about what the Mediterranean diet actually is – unfortunately, it’s not all red wine and delicious carbonaras. According to the Mayo Clinic the Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy eating plan that is based on the typical foods and recipes of Mediterranean-style cooking. This includes olive oil, fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains and of course, tasty red wine in moderation. While this sounds like common sense dieting, it’s actually in the portioning of these types of foods that makes the difference in the Mediterranean Diet. By replacing butter with healthier fats like olive oil, and swapping red meat for more fish, you increase your intake of Omega-3 and healthy fatty acids. Combining these swaps with primarily plant-based foods can actually help reduce the risk of heart disease and help lower LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol!

Eating well is hard. Especially if you’re like us and live a lifestyle that involves work, family, friends and finding time for yourself. This fast-paced lifestyle often leads to unhealthy snacking which unravels all the hard work we’ve put in with our healthier meal choices. SimpleMD Original Mediterranean Bars has been our secret snack, helping to keep us on track; and they seriously taste like a dessert. What’s great about these protein bars and separates them from the rest is that each bar is only 130 – 140 calories and contains both extra virgin olive oil and red wine! So you get the antioxidant and flavanol benefits in a delicious snack.

SimpleMD combines these classic Mediterranean diet ingredients with chocolate, almonds, coffee, or dates to make this a guilt-free treat so you don’t ever have to sacrifice taste for nutrition. Check out SimpleMD’s full line of Original Mediterranean Protein Bars here.

Have you tried the Mediterranean Diet and lifestyle?

Recipe: Healthy Breakfasts

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via The Creative Bite

1.Protein Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 1 large, ripe banana 
  • ⅛ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs

Directions:

  • In two clean bowls, separate the eggs carefully so none of the yolks gets into the egg whites. Beat the egg whites on high for 2 minutes until they form soft peaks. 
  • Add the rest of the ingredients to the egg yolks and beat until smooth. Gently fold ⅓ of the egg white mixture into the banana mixture until roughly combined. Fold half of the remaining eggs whites into the mixture and finally the last portion until everything is well combined.
  • Scoop ¼ c. of the mixture onto the skillet and cook for 60-90 seconds on each side.
  • Serve!
  • OPTIONAL: Top with fresh fruit, plain non-fat Greek yogurt or honey.

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via Fueling a Fit Fam

2. Homemade breakfast bars

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups old-fashioned oats
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¾ cup mashed ripe banana (2 ripe)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish. 
  • Stir the oats, whole wheat flour, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl.
  • Whisk in the honey, mashed banana, oil and vanilla. Whisk in the egg.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry and stir until well combined. Stir in the mini chocolate chips or blueberries. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Lay a piece of parchment on top (to prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands) and firmly press the mixture down into the pan; remove and discard the piece of parchment.
  • Bake in the oven for 32-35 minutes, until set and lightly golden. Let cool completely and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting into bars.
  • Store granola bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

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via Dessert Now Dinner Later

3. Green Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup soy or almond milk
  • 1/4 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 generous handful of spinach (about 1 cup, packed)
  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1 frozen banana

Directions:

  • Put all ingredients into blender 
  • Blend until smooth
  • Enjoy!