Thinking of Going Paleo? Don’t Make These Five Mistakes!

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If you’re looking to get into a healthy new routine, then the ultra-popular Paleo diet may seem like a great option! A chance to get back to basics while cutting out modern processing, additives, and other nasties that we all know are bad for us.

Based on things that our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have presumably eaten way back in the day, the Paleo diet involves adhering as closely as possible to what our diets would have looked like before the advent of farming. This diet’s packed with things that could have either been hunted or gathered including meat, fish, nuts, veggies, and some fruit. It also does away with the modern staples of grains, processed foods, sugar, and usually dairy as well.

While going Paleo can be a healthy lifestyle change for some, the truth is that the benefits will vary greatly depending upon your individual approach and how well this diet suits your body and lifestyle.

If you’re considering Paleo and wondering if you could reap the benefits of this diet then you’ll want to ensure that you’re doing it in a healthy and manageable way!

Fire up the grill! Here’s what you should know about going Paleo and five mistakes you’ll want to avoid along the way!

  1.       Not Replacing Nutrients

Perhaps the biggest controversy surrounding Paleo is the fact that it involves giving up some very prominent food groups, particularly dairy and grains. While there’s much debate about the importance of these foods in your diet what isn’t open for discussion is the necessity of the nutrients found in these groups. If you’re cutting out these food groups, make sure you replace them with others to ensure that you’ll still be getting the nutrients! A good way to get started with Paleo is by easing into it. Start by eating more veggies to maintain your fiber intake. Stock up on nutritional powerhouses like dark, leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, and look to get vitamin D from egg yolks and mushrooms.  

  1.       Failing to Plan

As with anything in life, failing to plan is, well, planning to fail! With the Paleo diet, this is certainly the case. You can’t simply eliminate grains and dairy and expect great results. In fact, many of the benefits of Paleo are due to eating more nutrient-dense foods rather than just cutting things out. Finding success with Paleo starts with careful planning. This includes making a meal plan, buying ingredients, and ensuring that you’re getting enough variety to make this diet beneficial and sustainable.

  1.       Not Being a Careful Shopper

Don’t fall for the packaged foods! Just because a box says it is “gluten free” doesn’t mean it’s Paleo-friendly. In most cases, it’s best to avoid processed foods altogether and choose whole foods like grass-fed meat, poultry, fish, and cage-free eggs. Stock up on a variety of veggies, some fresh fruits, and avocados. Look for healthy oils such as olive and coconut. Buy some nuts and purchase sweet potatoes and yams. This will give you a good variety of ingredients to work with, and lots of healthy options for making some delicious and nutritionally dense meals. Loaded omelets, chicken salads, and freshly grilled meat with a side of sweet potatoes, asparagus, and avocado are just a few amazing Paleo meal ideas.

  1.       Going All or Nothing With Food Quality

One thing that often holds people back from going Paleo is the cost. However, while it’s true that the best Paleo diet involves grass-fed beef and organic produce, you don’t have to break the bank to experience the benefits of this diet. If you can’t afford to stock your fridge with grass-fed meat, opting for grain-fed beef is still a better option than throwing in the towel and having pizza every night! Avoid processed food and instead try to focus on whole food alternatives like meat, eggs, nuts, fruits, and veggies. Try to shop at farmers markets. They’re often a lot more affordable than the store. You can experience many of the benefits of Paleo without spending a fortune.

  1.       Giving Up Portion Control

Paleo, when done correctly, will leave you feeling satisfied. Still, this doesn’t mean that you should throw portion sizes out the window! If you’re looking to lose weight with Paleo, remember that an ounce of nuts is still an ounce of nuts. It’s important to get a balance of protein, carbs, and nutrients; and to keep portion size in mind as well. Loading up on the wrong foods, neglecting veggies, and failing to get enough exercise can all lead to weight gain; even with Paleo.

Paleo-style eating offers a number of great qualities including a focus on whole foods, lean protein, veggies, and healthy fats. However, it’s not a silver bullet that’s designed to ensure health and success. Your best option may be to begin by embracing the best points of Paleo and slowly working them into your diet. See how you feel and how your body reacts. Learn what works for you. The best meal plan is one that will give you energy, strength, and health. Whether that’s Paleo or a different diet altogether is something that you’ll want to discover for yourself!

 

Thinking of going Paleo? What’s holding you back?

 

Unboxing Genial Day

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Feminine health. A slightly uncomfortable topic for some but don’t worry, we’re staying completely scientific with this one. Keeping that area healthy is very important, and pH levels play a huge role in this. How to avoid things that can throw off your pH balance down there, and how to maintain feminine health will be our focus for this post!

For starters, what is pH? Your body’s pH is the scale of acidity and alkalinity. The pH scale runs from 0-14, anything higher than 7 being of a low acidity (alkaline) and anything lower than a 7 being acidic. PH levels are present everywhere! For example, a lemon has a low pH level (or high acidity levels) while a loaf of bread has a high pH level (or low acidity levels).

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In relation to vaginal health, a healthy pH level would be between 3.8 and 7, so a more acidic state is healthiest at your body’s natural state. 

Why is this important?

Having the appropriate pH level is extremely important in relation to feminine health, as acidic levels aid the body in creating an environment for the healthy bacteria that keeps the vagina healthy and protects it from infections and diseases, as most harmful bacteria cannot survive this level of acidity. PH levels above a 4.5 can leave the vagina susceptible to yeast infections and inflammation. Yeah. Not comfy. 

Feminine Products: Help or Harm?

Although the world is filled with products created to help get and maintain feminine health, some of these products can actually throw off your body’s pH level and cause irritation. Tampons seem harmless enough, however, they are both good and potentially harmful for your body. Although Tampons absorb menstrual fluid and bacteria, this can keep your body from maintaining healthy levels of good bacteria. This then gives the bad bacteria a surface to grow on. Some health experts suggest using a menstrual cup in place of a tampon, as a cup collects menstrual fluid instead of absorbing it. However, it’s not a guarantee that you will get an infection from using tampons, so to each their own!

Another area that could alter your body’s pH levels is douching. If you don’t know what douching means, it’s a device used to clean the inside of the vagina. Some women feel the need to do this, however, this can actually be harmful. Seeing as the vagina cleans itself, cleaning it “artificially” can reduce your body’s acidity levels and leave the area susceptible to infection. Also, the fragrances and materials used in these products can irritate the skin.

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A healthy way we’ve found to maintain feminine health without reducing or altering your body’s pH levels is to use Genial Day organic feminine products and underwear! These liners, pads, and panties are all pH friendly, free of chemicals and are air-permeable. What sets Genial Day apart is their devotion to making feminine products that are good for your skin and fight harmful bacteria growth. We love these products because not only are they dermatologically tested to help maintain feminine hygiene healthy pH levels but also because they are eco-certified and environmentally friendly!

If you take your feminine hygiene as seriously as we do, we highly recommend giving these a try! Check out Genial Day’s full line of feminine products here.

Have you tried Genial Day Feminine Hygiene products? Tell us what you think!

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.