Tag Archives: healthy lifestyle

Avoid These Barriers To Healthy Living

Woman running

Does anyone out there really believe that supermodels eat fast food burgers? Although we are probably living in one of the most health-conscious time periods to date, we are still receiving mixed messages about what it means to be healthy. While it might be tempting to believe that the typical beer drinker has bright eyes and glowing skin, or that ice cream is a common nightly indulgence for the physically fit, quite often these examples would be more aptly place in the “too good to be true” files.

False advertising can encourage bad habits, and bad habits can become barriers to healthy living. If you are struggling to live healthily, here are some tips for avoiding some of the most common barriers.

Take Stock
One of the first steps to healthy living is to assess your current state of health. Make an appointment with the doctor and dentist to gauge your health. Have your BMI checked and make sure your waistline is not putting your health at risk.

Think about your physical activity. The CDC recommends at least two and a half hours of aerobic activity and two sessions of muscle-strengthening exercises per week. How do you stack up?

Consider your social network and keep an eating journal. “The idea, says Kathianne Sellers Williams, MEd, RD, LD, and nutritionist, “is to write it down without judgment. You can’t change what you’re not aware of.”

Eating healthy

Eating Healthy
Healthy eating requires the ability to take power over what you eat. The key, according to Williams, is saying, “I choose,” rather than, “I should.” So it’s, “I choose to eat more fruits and vegetables,” instead of, “I should be eating more fruits and vegetables.” Williams says. “it shows that you’re in control and making the right choice.

Another thing Williams recommends: leave guilt out of the equation. The doctor points out, “Usually, whenever someone feels guilty about something, it feeds right back to the behavior that they’re trying to get rid of. So if someone is an emotional eater and they say, ‘I know I shouldn’t be doing this,’ it implies more guilt and judgment on themselves; they feel worse, and they end up eating more.

Exercise More
Pick something you like to do. if you’re dreading cardio in the gym, go for a hike or take a dance class. Set weekly goals for physical activities and keep track of how much you do. Williams says, “Make the first goal so easy that you say, ‘I know I can do that.’ She recommends weekly checkpoints because they give more flexibility. If you miss one day, you can redeem yourself on the next. Williams often encourages you to reward yourself after being good all week with a visual reminder that you can look at often to celebrate your accomplishments.

Sleep better

Sleep Better
Common barriers to a good night’s sleep are computers and TVs before bedtime. Not only does the light from electronic devices trick your body into thinking its time to be up and about, computer activity and t.v viewing can be very stimulating, and not conducive to a peaceful rest.

Heavy exercise close to bedtime is another contributor to poor-quality sleep. Sleep medicine specialist Lisa Shives, MD says vigorous activity can heat the core temperature of the body and make sleep difficult. As a guideline, she says, “If you’re working up a sweat, you’re working too hard before bed.”

Improve Relationships
Although diet and exercise are big contributors for healthy living, social connections also play a major role. C. Nathan De Wall. assistant professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky suggests looking for a person like you. “What really is important in terms of promoting relationship webbing is that you share a similar level of comfort in getting close to people. Feel people out in terms of, ‘Does this person seem like me in terms of wanting to be close to other people?”

DeWall also emphasizes the importance of having in-person relationships in these days of virtual online connections. He does not discourage social media relationships, but advises, “I think long term, having all your relationships online or virtual would probably be something that wouldn’t be as beneficial as having a mix.

Woman meditating

Cut Down on Stress
Stress is another big barrier to healthy living. Positive coping skills, like yoga and visualization can be very helpful in keeping stress levels to a minimum. Williams recommends handling stressful situations by burning off anger through exercise or allowing anger to dissipate in a quiet place.

Have you broken through barriers that were keeping you from living a healthy life? Tell us all about how you did it! We love to hear good stories!

Kale

10 Ways To Include Kale and Swiss Chard In Your Diet

You may be wondering why, if veggies like Swiss chard and kale have been around forever, why haven’t you heard much about them until recently? Well, the sad truth is that there was a time in history when these greens were considered the “ugly ducklings” of the vegetable family. While their better tasting relatives, like spinach and broccoli, were enjoying the limelight, kale and chard were consigned to a lesser position, largely ignored, until one day, their superfood powers were revealed.

Suddenly, they became all the rage. No one could consume these darlings quickly or often enough, and more and more new and innovative ways were found to incorporate them into meals and snacks. If you are among those who are see in kale and Swiss chard in a new light, here are ten ways you can give these veggies their proper due.

Veggie Soups
Healthy comfort food? Why not? Chop or puree some kale and Swiss chard into your next soup recipe.

kale chips

Kale Chips
Just remove the stem and center ribs and tear leaves into chip size pieces. Toss them with a little olive oil and sprinkle with herbs, salt or cumin. Bake at 300 until crisp.

Smoothies
Smoothies and green protein juices can be great sources for packing in nutrients. Add one or two handfuls of kale, Swiss chard, or spinach to your morning or afternoon concoction. However, you may want to keep in mind that juices do not provide the same fiber benefits as eating greens and drinking smoothies do, as juices tend to have high sugar content due to other added vegetables.

Green Veggies With Eggs
Not to be confused with green eggs and ham, green veggies can make a great addition to an egg scramble or frittata.

Green powder

Green Powders
Green powders contain a large variety of concentrated green veggies, and usually include plant algae like chlorella and spirulina. Look for organic green powders at health food stores and make sure to take into account what type of sweetener and how much sugar the powder contains. Try to keep sugar levels under five grams per serving.

Baked Goods
Fool your family, fool yourself. Puree some Swiss chard or kale into your muffins or brownies. According to Heather Bauer, RD, CDN, “You won’t even feel like you’re eating vegetables.”

Pasta
Cheryl Forbero, RD suggests foregoing the basil or pesto on your pasta for some heartier greens. You can even work them into your lasagna or pesto recipe, says Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD.

kale pizza

Pizza
Kale pizza anyone? Why not? After you finish heaping on the mozzarella, how about heaping on the greens? Drizzle with oil and vinegar and mangia!

Beans
Add texture and color to your bean dish with a few cups of chopped Swiss chard or kale. Just add it along with the garlic, onions and seasoning.

Stir-Fry
If your sautéing some beef, chicken or tofu, stir in some carrot, red pepper and Swiss chard stems. Then, remove from heat and stir in the leaves for a healthy and delicious stir fry.

How are you adding kale and Swiss chard to your diet? Let us know how your keeping healthy!

Food sources

As the Temps Rise, So Does Your Need for Vitamin D

Poor Vitamin D! It was a perfectly respectable vitamin until the Urban Dictionary perverted it into a sexual euphemism. Now one can barely mention the vitamin without the occasional titter from those familiar with what it means to “put the D in someone.” In fact, even Marks and Spencer has come under fire for their claims of “Putting the D In Bread,” sparking a social media frenzy by those who can’t keep their minds out of the proverbial gutter.

The more mature among us will know vitamin D as a valuable nutrient for managing calcium in the blood, and assisting with intercellular communication. You may also know that this vitamin is primarily derived from the sun. However, if the sun is not an option, due to inclement weather, or simply lack of exposure, there are some foods that may be more consistent options.

Tuna Fish
Canned tuna is probably the cheapest and most accessible source of seafood, and a 3 oz. contains 236 IU of vitamin D: more than half the daily requirement. Sandwich or salad, tuna’s got the D.

Eggnog

Eggnog
There is no wrong time for eggnog. One glass contains 25% of the RDA of vitamin D, thanks to its large egg content. However, you may want to keep the consumption down to a minimum to avoid a sugar overload.

Fortified Dairy
Although most dairy does not contain significant amounts of vitamin D, the federal government began to fortify milk in the 1930’s due to a widespread deficiency in the nutrient. A single cup of fortified milk will get you 34% of the recommended daily value, while a 6-ounce container of fortified yogurt will give you one fifth of the RDA.

Mackerel
If you’re looking to pick up some Vitamin D, mackerel is quite the catch. Not only does one four ounce portion contain an entire day’s worth of vitamin-D requirement, it also has lower levels of mercury and is at less of a risk of overfishing than other fish with a similar nutritional profile. Mackerel is also rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and protein. Catch it if you can!

Portobello mushroom

Portobello Mushrooms
Portobello mushroom crops are exposed to additional lighting that boosts the amount of vitamin D by a whopping 3,000 percent. The increase of vitamin D intake due to lighting has also been shown to be a cost-effective way of lowering depression.

Smoked Whitefish
Kosher deli connoisseurs will know this fish as a great accompaniment to bagels, but they may not know that half a cup of this brunch staple contains enough vitamin D to get you through your day, It is also naturally low in calories and fat, and rich in vitamin D, protein, and B vitamins.

Soy Milk
You may be drinking soy milk to address issues of lactose intolerance, but if its fortified, you are also getting a daily dose of D. Most brands contain about one-quarter of the daily requirement.

Orange juice

Fortified Orange Juice
You may know orange juice to be a valuable source of vitamin C, but with fortification it can also be a significant source of vitamin D, with one cup exceeding a quarter of the daily recommended intake.

How are you getting your D? Let us know! We love to hear it, especially the dirty stuff!

Add Cabbage Juice To Your Healthy Drink List

Some may say that the popularity of home juicers and food processors have brought out a bit of the mad scientist in us. Increasingly, the question seems to be not what you can put into these new contraptions, but what you can’t. Indeed, something in these new kitchen innovations have awakened our inner eighth grader, leaving very little off limits. Among the more eyebrow-raising to meet their fates in the juicer: cereal grasses, cucumbers, celery, potatoes and now, a new addition to the list; cabbage.

Cabbage

Cabbages
Why cabbages, you might ask? They don’t seem to be too high on anyone’s favorite food list, and even smell a little funny, but it turns out, cabbages can do the body a surprising amount of good.

Cabbage is low in saturated fats and cholesterol and is also rich in vitamins such as B6, C, K, and folate. It also has a high fiber content and contains protein, calcium, phosphorous, and omega -6 fatty acids. However, it is not the nutritional content of cabbage that makes it so impressive, rather it is the health benefits.

Health Benefits of Cabbage

Fights Cancer
Cabbage juice contains isocyanate, known for its ability to prevent great, stomach, prostate, lung and colon cancer. It also contains sulforaphane, which blocks carcinogens. For these reasons, it is often prescribed to patients recovering from cancer.

Controls Ulcers
In addition to having cancer-fighting properties, cabbage juice is also effective in controlling peptic ulcers. The juice of the cruciferous veggie contains glutamine, which is a type of amino acid associated with the promotion of cellular growth it the stomach, and may aid in helping peptic ulcers to repair itself.

Cabbage juice

Weight Control
Because cabbage juice is beneficial to the digestive system, it is known to aid in weight loss, converting sugar and carbs into energy, rather than fat.

Heart Disease
Cabbage contains omega -6 fatty acids. Although once believed to block arteries, the American Heart Association has now found Omega-6s to be heart healthy and recommends that individuals get 5-10% go their daily calorie intake from these fatty acids.

Fights Anemia
Anemia is characterized by a decrease in red blood cells in the bloodstream, resulting in feelings of fatigue and exhaustion. The folic acid in cabbage juice has been shown to help generate new red blood cells vital to anemia sufferers. Cabbage is also rich in Vitamin C, which assists in the body’s absorption of iron.

Skin Care
Cabbages are rich in phytochemicals, like alpha and beta-carotene and contain the retinol equivalent of vitamin A. The antioxidant properties in these nutrients cam destroy free radicals that damage skin cells and age skin and are probably a better source of skincare than many products available on the market today.

Let us know if you’ve tried cabbage juice? What do you think? Is it the next must have smoothie ingredient?

What’s Great About the Kitavan Diet

Let’s take a moment to travel to a timeless, magical place; a place where the water is crystal clear and telecommunication is non-existent. A remote idyllic tropical island, of coral reefs, of Skull Caves, Orchid Gardens, and smiling faces. Welcome to Kitava Island, off the coast of Papua, New Guinea in the Pacific Ocean. While many find the quaintness of the island its most charming attraction, others may argue that Kitava is way ahead of its time. You see, Kitava, New Guinea may not be a leader in technology, but they do have something far superior and way ahead of the times as compared to most other places in the world. It has the Kitavan Diet.

Kitavan diet

Kitavan Diet
Perhaps the most noticeable thing about the Kitavans is what they don’t have; there is practically no diabetes, acne, cardiovascular disease, dementia, or blood pressure difficulty. What they do have, however, is an abundance of food. But, despite this abundance, they do not suffer from obesity, and they all have low diastolic blood pressure.

Research finds that the good health in Kitava is due to the local foods. Fresh fruit, tubers, coconut, and fish make up a good percentage of the Kitavan diet, with an extremely low consumption of Western food. The diet is also virtually absent of dairy products, coffee, tea, and alcohol, and contains very little margarine, oils, sugars, grain, and cereals. The most commonly eaten tubers are yam, sweet potato, cassava and taro, while banana, papaya, guava, pineapple, watermelon, and mango top the list of fruits. The fat intake is low, and most of the fat that is consumed is saturated fat or omega-3 fat from seafood.

Foods with Low GI
Another thing common to the foods found in the Kitavan diet is their low rating on the glycemic index, a measure of the ability of food with carbohydrates to raise glucose, or blood sugar, levels. A diet rich in high GI foods can tax the body, leading to excess body weight, heart disease, increase of diabetic symptoms, high cholesterol levels, and lack of energy. Tubers, which play a large part in the Kitavan diet, are among the islander’s primary source of carbohydrates and have a relatively low GI rating.

Sweet potato

Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin C and beta carotene, both known to be powerful antioxidants which protect against aging and cancer. They are also known to increase levels of adiponectin, a protein hormone which offers health benefits to diabetics and pre -diabetics and may also protect against atherogenesis, the abnormal formation of fat deposits within the arteries; this would explain the low incidence of heart disease and diabetes on the island.

Coconuts
Besides having anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, the triglycerides in coconut may promote weight loss. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity and Metabolic disorders found that coconuts increased calorie burn and decreased storage of fat in overweight men. Another study found that the fat consumed in coconut oil could increase the metabolism of fat and calorie expenditure in women.

Coconut

The Kitavan Diet and Acne
In 1990, Swedish general practitioner, Steffan Lindeberg, performed health examinations on more than a thousand Kitavans, age 10 years and older, with 25% of the subjects age 15 to 25 and found not a single case of acne. This is likely attributable to lifestyle and diet, rather than genetic factors, since Pacific Islanders with similar ethnic backgrounds living in more westernized societies were found to have a higher prevalence of acne.

What do you think about the Kitavan diet? Have we got something here? Weigh in with your opinions. We value them highly.

Staying Active Defends Against Aging

Vine vera Staying Active Defends Against Aging

Mick Jagger became a father again at the age of 70. While some spend their golden years in recliners in front of the TV, Jagger prances across stages and impregnates women half his age. If that isn’t proof positive that staying active keeps you young, I don’t know what is. Of course, while touring the world is not on the agenda for most of us who qualify for the senior discount at Souplantation, there are certain steps we can take to make sure we don’t resign ourselves to a fate of stagnation and inactivity. Here’s the low down of how staying active can defend against aging.

Benefits of Aerobic Exercise

Less Grumpiness
We have all heard the stereotypes about grumpy older people, and we certainly wouldn’t want to turn into one. A study in the Cognition and Emotion journal found that, when exposed to negative emotional stimuli, active people bounced back far more easily than sedentary ones. So stay active and stay positive!

Less Brain Fog
A study published in the journal PLOS One concluded aerobic activity can improve mental clarity, as well as mood. According to the study, it is not the amount of intensity or activity that makes the brain sharper, but the fitness of the lungs and heart. So you don’t have to commit yourself to a rigorous workout, just focus on keeping those organs pumping! Studies show that just you can cut risks of mental confusion in half by simply gardening or dancing.

Doctors have also found that aerobic exercise can improve the “executive function” of the brain, which is the cognitive ability controlling flexibility, attention, and working memory to help you focus and get through your day.

Woman stretching

Benefits of Resistance Training

Stronger Bones
Weak and brittle bones are one of the most common problems associated with aging. Studies show that just six months of resistance training can lead to significant increase in bone density, while one year can lead to even greater benefits. Researchers found increased levels of osteocalcin, a bone-building protein, in subjects who participated in resistance training for one year.

Liver Health
Your liver is detox central for your body. It sorts out toxins, cholesterol, and more. When fat builds up in the liver, it becomes less effective and toxins begin to attack other organs.

Israeli researchers found that resistance training 3 days a week can lower levels of fat and cholesterol in the liver of subjects. This means lower risk of disease and better overall bodily function.

How Much Exercise Should You Get?
Healthy adults should aim to get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week. You can do it in exercise classes, but brisk walks can be just as effective. Include movements that work your major muscle groups twice a week and do a range of motion exercises 2 to 3 days per week to improve flexibility.

If 150 minutes sounds a bit overwhelming, do it in small chunks. A ten-minute walk or even cleaning the house for ten minutes can make a dent. The simple goal is to try and include a half hour of moderate exercise on most days.

Remember, we can’t all be “Stones,” but that doesn’t mean we can’t get “rolling.” Tell us what you do to stay active and stave off aging!

Plan Your Own Personal Wellness Day

Woman in nature

Here’s the scenario. You wake up in the morning, you’re coughing, your nose is running and you feel like you’ve been hit in the head with a hammer. You know you’re not going to perform your job well and you’re liable to cause a health risk to your fellow employees. Here’s another scenario. You wake up in the morning, you’re tired, your stressed, you’re resentful. You’re not going to perform your job well and you may be liable to cause bodily harm or injury to your fellow employees and quite possibly your family. What do you do? You take a wellness day.

Let’s face it. We all suffer stress and anxiety and sometimes the only cure is to take a day off to decompress. Here are some ideas about taking your own personal wellness day.

Why We All Need Wellness Days
As it becomes more widely acceptable to admit to struggling with depression and stress, the more justifiable taking a wellness day has become. Kathy Caprino, woman’s career coach says, “I believe that part of the widespread malaise of corporate America is that so many people feel and believe they don’t have any control over their lives and time, and they’re exhausted to the point of non-functioning.”

She believes that control is the key to ending this epidemic and recommends managing “your time in and out of work in an empowered way.” Ciprino cautions against ignoring the symptoms of stress and anxiety as potentially leading to mental and physical breakdown.

How Do I Know I Need a Day Off?
If you’re almost killing the woman at Sephora because they didn’t restock your lipstick color, you may think this is a signal that you need to take a day off. Not so, says Caprino.

“Feelings of extreme apathy -like you just don’t care- or extreme anxiety about nothing in particular are cues that could indicate you would be better off taking a day to reset.”

Women doing yoga

Planning Your Day

Gather Materials
Look around your house for things you might want to turn your house into your own private sanctuary. Have candles, oils, music, healthy foods, and whatever else you may need on hand in advance.

Plan the Day
Decide what your day will look like. What activities will be included? What will you eat? Will you meditate? Exercise? Read?

Incorporate Nature
Consider including a walk in the park, or some gardening time.

Zone Out
Turn off cells phone, radios, and computers.

Of course, your wellness day should be tailored to suit your likes and dislikes, but here is a suggested formula that may inspire you.

Start the day with some light weightlifting and yoga.

Give yourself a facial with a high-quality cleanser.

Bask in a long shower or bath with a salt scrub or essential oils using a loofah to exfoliate.

Eat light meals, like fruit and juices. Indulge in a salad with a large variety of vegetables, cranberries, nuts and cottage cheese with a light dressing.

Relax to music, burn incense or use fresh flowers and candles to add to the atmosphere.

Try meditating, reading, or journaling.

How did your wellness day look? Did it work? Can your co-workers feel safe to go to work tomorrow? Let us know!

Bread and pasta

Change Up Your Diet By Avoiding Bread, Pasta, and Chocolate

For many of us, the idea of avoiding bread, pasta, and chocolate is akin to depriving ourselves of air, food, and water. In fact, if most of us were told that were suddenly required to eliminate these three things from our diets, a good percentage of us would probably find our meals shrunk to half the size, leaving a large chunk of the population both clueless and dinner less. And that definitely puts the kibosh on the chocolate spaghetti you were thinking of making for dessert tonight.

Carbohydrates are a vital part of a nutrient-rich diet. They’re naturally occurring sugars that supply our bodies with energy and help with glucose production. However, when it comes to carbohydrates, as with everything else, its all about making the right choices.

Simple and Complex Carbs
Our bodies need carbohydrates to keep healthy there are two types. Complex carbs take our bodies a reasonable amount of time to digest, and, as a result, glucose is released at a reasonable rate. Simple carbohydrates release the sugar at a much higher rate, causing sugar levels to spike and, bring on hunger, increasing food cravings, and

Bread
Bread, namely white bread, is the most commonly consumed carbohydrate, and, fortunately, it is also the one easiest to remove. Here are a few replacement ideas.

Lettuce Wraps
If you’re new to the lettuce wrap, romaine is the best flatbread replacement while radicchio and butter lettuce are excellent alternatives to sandwich bread. Just fold the lettuce around your favorite filling or use two pieces, one on top, one under.

Whole Grains
If you can’t envision life without bread, go for the whole grains, enriched with germ intact, if possible.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms
A veg with some substance, portobello mushrooms can be a great and delicious substitute for a sandwich bun, and are also a great source of vitamin D.

Pasta
Like bread, pasta is a processed grain and is best when consumed in a whole grain variety. If you’re thinking of kicking pasta off the shopping list, here are some backup ideas.

Veggies
Zucchini sliced into long ribbons can serve as a substitute for fettuccine noodles and lasagna, and broccoli slaw and spaghetti squash can replace spaghetti noodles when blanched lightly.

Quinoa
You may not be sure of how to pronounce it, but quinoa (“keen-waa”) is a low carb, high protein grain that can be a great pasta replacement in salads and soups.

Shirataki Noodles
These carb-less, low-calorie Japanese noodles owe their consistency to yam starch. That said, you may find a difference in texture from your typical wheat noodles, but shirataki noodles are a healthy pasta alternative.

Shirataki Noodles

Chocolate
Although you may have heard of dark chocolate as an antioxidant superfood, chocolate in large quantities is not a recommended source of nutrition. It provides only simple carbohydrates and is bad for teeth and digestion. For an alternative source of sweetness try:

Fruit
Try keeping a Tupperware container full of fruit for when the sweet cravings hit.

Cocoa powder
Try making chocolate pudding with cocoa powder, skim milk and a sugar substitute.

Get the good stuff
If you must eat chocolate, go for quality over quantity. Chocolate with high cacao content and low sugar contain a high antioxidant level and is good for you in small quantities. Try to avoid “candy chocolate” that is more likely to contain artificial flavoring and colorings.

Let us know how you manage to survive without pasta, bread, and chocolate. What are your favorite go-to substitutes?

Steps For Smoking Cessation

We’ve come a long way, baby, from “You’ve Come Along Way, Baby.” The Virginia Slims ad, introduced in 1968, advertised the cigarette for women as a sign of the times, featuring liberated models in designer fashions happily dragging on their “own” cigarettes. Women were not the only ones who were targeted. The Marlboro Man was the essence of virility and masculinity, the modern day cowboy, blue- jeaned and mustachioed braving the western frontier, armed with a horse and omnipresent cigarette. Nowadays, we are more likely to see cigarettes ads of a much less glamorous variety.

For quite some time, it has been no secret that cigarettes are harmful to your health, and for the most part, lawmakers and health advocates have done a pretty good job in making that known. According to data released by the CDC, the number of adult smokers in in the US has fallen to the lowest rate in years. However, if you’re among the number that is still struggling, here are some tips that may be helpful.

Woman quitting smoking

Get a Reason to Quit
You already know its bad for you, you need to find a personal motivation for quitting. Maybe its to protect your family from second- hand smoke or to model a good example for your children. Maybe you want to stay healthy or look better. Whatever the reason, make it matter.

Don’t Think You Can Go Cold Turkey
Nicotine is an addiction and, if you give it up, you need to be prepared for withdrawal. if you are serious, ask your doctor about support methods. There are apps, medications, and counseling all designed for those trying to quit the cigarette habit.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Withdrawal is usually not fun and can sap your energy and cause irritability. Nicotine replacement, like gum, patches, and lozenges can help ease you through hard times without taking that dreaded puff.

Prescription Pills
When you are trying to quit smoking, there is a plethora of medications designed to aid you. Some can curb carvings, making smoking less appealing, while others can help lessen symptoms of withdrawal.

Avoid Alcohol
Drinking and smoking often of hand and hand, so try to cut down on alcohol when you first try to quit. Also, recognize and avoid other triggers. If you accompany your nightly cup of coffee with a cigarette, try switching to tea for a while. If you smoke after meals, try texting a friend instead.

Reward Yourself
One undisputed benefit of giving up cigarettes is the amount of money you will save. Take advantage of it by spending it on something for yourself.

Woman eating veggies

Eat Fruits and Veggies
Dieting while giving up cigarettes may be hard to handle. Try to eat vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins that are good for you. You can focus on cutting calories after you cut out cigarettes.

Lean on Friends
Make sure that you tell everyone close to you that you are trying to quit. Friends and loved ones can supply encouragement and support. You may also want to seek “behavioral therapy” to help you find and stick to strategies to help you quit.

Get Rid of Reminders
When you’re finished with smoking, it is a good idea to get rid of the paraphernalia that accompanies it. Toss out lighters and ashtrays and wash clothes, draperies, and carpets that smell like smoke.

Don’t Give Up
If at first you don’t succeed… A lot of the time quitting takes more than one try. If you relapse, think about what brought it on. Were there emotions that were hard to deal with? Use your failure as an opportunity to do better next time. Set a new quit date within the month and try and stick to it.

If you’re dealing with quitting, or have dealt with it, tell us your strategy. We want to know your secrets. They may help someone else!

Your E-Cig May Be Toxic

Cigarettes. The essence of glamor and rebellion in the 50’s and 60’s , the symbol of rock and roll decadence: the eternal presence of a Marlboro burning dangerously low in the fingers and lips of the young and beautiful. Fast forward half a century or so and it sometimes seems that we have achieved the impossible. We eat better, look better, and know better. However, no matter how many advances have been made, there has yet to be a product or device that will allow us to smoke cigarettes without damaging our health, although that doesn’t seem to stop manufacturers from trying to make one. The e-cigarette is the latest to claim to offer the enjoyment and glamor of the cigarette without the health consequences. But, beware, your e-cig may be toxic.

Woman smoking E- Cigarettes
How Do E- Cigarettes Work?
Electronic cigarettes are known as ENDS ( electronic nicotine delivery systems) and include e-pipes, e-pens, e-hookahs and e-cigars. The FDA defines e-cigarettes as devices that let users inhale aerosol which contains nicotine and other substances. They usually run on batteries and release a chemical filled aerosol when the e-liquid is heated.

What Do E-cigarettes Contain?
The e-liquid in the e-cigarette cartridges is the main ingredient in e-cigarettes. E-liquid is made by extracting tobacco from nicotine and mixing it with a base, most commonly propylene glycol. it may also contain coloring, flavorings, and other chemicals.

Although the FDA is still evaluating all of the chemicals in e-cigarettes, the US Surgeon General has concluded that they are most likely to contain carbonyl compounds, nicotine, and volatile organic compounds.

Nicotine
According to the US Surgeon General, exposure to nicotine can harm a developing fetus and result in decreased lung and brain function in newborns. Use of nicotine during pregnancy can lead to preterm delivery, stillbirth, low birth weight, and is known to cause sudden infant death syndrome. Nicotine use during adolescence has been associated with behavioral and cognitive impairments, especially concerning memory and attention span.

FDA tests conducted in 2009 found that even e-cigarette cartridges labeled “nicotine-free” had some level of nicotine. In the same vein, a 2014 study found the amount of nicotine reported on e-liquid refill packages was often substantially different from the amount in the product.

Woman with E- Cigarettes
E-cigarette Poisoning
Information released by the CDC shows that exposure to poisoning from e-cigarettes is increasing. While, according to one study, most calls to poison center involving such poisoning reported accidental ingestion of an e-cigarette or its liquid, one sixth of them were related to people inhaling those items. Skin and eye exposure were also reported. Symptoms of nicotine poisoning most often begin with vomiting and nausea and escalate to respiratory depression and seizures. According to the US Surgeon General, acute toxicity and possible death are particularly true for children.

Can e-cigarettes Help you Quit Smoking?
The FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and research says, “No.” It is more likely that, instead of quitting, e-cigarette users are only adding them to their use of conventional cigarettes. A survey conducted in 2015 showed hat 58.8 of e-cigarette users were still smoking traditional cigarettes. The American Lung Association does not condone the use of e-cigarettes as an effective method for helping smokers quit.

Do you have experience with e- cigarettes? What do you think? Is it worth the risk? Let us know!