All Entries For health

Making Room for Real Foods

How many times a day do you open your pantry or fridge hoping that something new, healthy and filling will appear? Does your kitchen seem messy, cluttered and full of unhealthy foods? Do you want to make over your pantry and fridge, but aren’t sure where to start? 

We are here to help! Make a pledge to rid your pantry and fridge of unhealthy items and to re-stock it with real foods using the following doable steps. 

Part with the Unhealthy Non-Perishables 

It’s easy to promise yourself that you'll eat better, but you’re setting yourself up for sabotage if you don’t physically remove the unhealthy foods from your house. Go through every single item on your kitchen shelves and get rid of or donate anything that is overly high in sugar, sodium, artificial colorings or preservatives, or with a long laundry list of ingredients that you can't pronounce. Many condiments fit this bill—consider how much you and your family enjoy them and whether or not you can find substitutions for these items. Only keep those foods that you truly think you can continue to eat in moderation. 
Posted 10/5/2015  12:00:00 AM By:   : 5 comments   13,827 views
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6 Tips to Find the Perfect Shoe Fit

Have you ever had a true Cinderella moment—when you slip into a pair of shoes and immediately say, ''YES!''? If you have, consider yourself lucky; when it comes to shoes, finding the perfect fit is not always an easy feat!
Vionic, a pioneer in developing shoes that provide natural alignment from the ground up, knows a thing or two about shoes. Their collection was developed by a team of world-class podiatrists and is designed to hug your arches and support your feet for all-day comfort. Here, they provide their six tips for making sure your shoe fits perfectly every time. 
Posted 9/9/2015  12:00:00 AM By:   : 7 comments   16,866 views
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5 Tips for Keeping Your Feet Healthy and Happy

Your feet go through a lot. Believe it or not, the majority of Americans will log almost 75,000 miles on their feet by age 50, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association. And if you exercise regularly, that number goes up even more. The experts at Vionic Shoes have come up with five quick tips for protecting your tootsies and helping you stay on your feet for many years to come.
1. Stretch your feet daily. Yes, your feet! Just like any other part of your body, the muscles in your feet greatly benefit from massage and stretching to keep the tendons, muscles and ligaments flexible and loose. Aim to massage your feet daily using either a tennis ball or foam roller, being sure to focus on the arch and any sore spots. This routine is a great place to start.

2. Be cautious of your flip flops. Summer is unofficially flip flop season, but most flip flops lack the necessary arch support to keep your feet healthy. Sports Physical Therapist and Vionic Innovation Lab expert, Brian Hoke, suggests looking for styles that have a footbed with built-in orthotic technology that mimics the natural alignment of your feet, such as the Tide II Toe Post Sandal from Vionic shoes.
Posted 8/7/2015  12:00:00 AM By:   : 15,831 views
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8 Easy Ways to Move More

Do you often find health and wellness taking a backseat to... well, almost everything else in your life? Between work, family, friends and hobbies, it can be hard to keep a date with your treadmill. But studies show that working to find just 30 minutes a day to dedicate to movement can have significant effects on your health, and you can achieve this goal simply by getting creative!
Posted 7/17/2015  12:00:00 AM By:   : 2 comments   8,564 views
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Find the Blood Glucose Meter That's Right for You

It’s a buyer’s market out there. Whatever you need – from a smart TV to walking shoes – you’ll find a sea of options. These days, even blood glucose meters have seemingly infinite variations and features.

To avoid becoming overwhelmed with all the different glucose meters out there, it might help to start with these three criteria: ease of use, required sample size and cost of the meter and test strips.

Is the Meter User-Friendly?
If you choose a meter that’s user-friendly and delivers quick, accurate results, you’re much more likely to stick to your testing schedule. Testing regularly will help you understand how your blood sugar responds to everything from your meal choices to physical activity.

Ease of use means something different for everyone, so consider everything from the size and weight of the meter to how readable the display numbers are. You might benefit from a larger meter that’s easier to hold. If you’re always on the go, a super portable meter that allows you to test discreetly might suit you better.

What Size Blood Sample Is Needed?
If you’re like most people, you’ll be interested in a meter that requires a small sample size. This is particularly important if you need to test often or have sensitive fingers. Fortunately, you’ll find that many meters use less than 1.0 microliter – or 1.0 μL – and take 10 seconds or less to display results.

The FreeStyle family of products offers several meters that require a sample size of just 0.6 microliters or less, and can display results in 5 seconds, on average or less.

How Much Do the Meter and Supplies Cost?
We all know that diabetes can be an expensive condition to manage, so out-of-pocket costs for testing supplies will probably factor into your decision. Although buying a meter may be a one-time cost, it’s really the test strips that are the recurring expense, so make sure you look closely at the total cost when selecting a meter and test strips.  

Bonus Tip: Consider Buying Your System Over the Counter
In addition to all the other options in the marketplace, there is another approach to diabetes management – buying your test strips over the counter. Now you can avoid the hassles of insurance, including paperwork, pharmacy lines and the ever-increasing cost of copays.
Until recently, it hasn’t been possible to buy meters and test strips from leading brands over the counter at accessible prices. But now, you can get the FreeStyle Precision Neo meter and test strips at your pharmacy without a prescription. This gives patients a quality alternative to using insurance and paying high copays for blood glucose test strips. You can find the FreeStyle Precision Neo meter and test strips at major retailers or drugstores in the diabetes supplies section, or you can buy them online. Prices may vary, but the MSRP for 50 test strips is $21.99.
The bottom line: You have to find what works for you! To help you come up with your ''Best for Me'' short list, be sure to tap into resources like user reviews, manufacturer comparison charts and how-to videos. Good luck finding the meter that suits your needs best. 
Posted 7/6/2015  12:00:00 AM By:   : 6,277 views
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30 Days of Happy, Healthy Pets

There's no question that owning a pet can be great for your health. Our pets melt away stress, make great workout buddies, and are constant sources of unconditional love. So, it's only fair that we return the favor and treat our four-legged companions with as much love and care as possible. Our friends at Nature’s Recipe believe that all pets deserve to live long, vibrant lives. That's why they focus on providing real, delicious pet food at a real value. We are proud to partner with Nature's Recipe to nourish the relationship between you and your pet with the Make It Real™ 30 Day Challenge. Take our month-long pledge to get happier and healthier together, with fun activities to do each day that will bring you and your furry friend closer than ever.

What can I expect from the Make It Real Challenge
  • 30 Daily "Mini Challenges"
Each day, you'll get a "mini-challenge" to complete to help you strengthen your relationship with your pet and renew your commitment to the health and happiness of your companion. Some days will include fun interactive activities with your pet, and others will have you complete a task to help you become a better, more informed pet owner.
  • 150 SparkPoints
Yep, you read that right! You can earn 5 SparkPoints for each daily challenge you complete. Just visit the challenge page and click the "Earn Your SparkPoints" button to tell us that you completed that day. It's just that easy!
  • Social Integration
We will be using the hashtag #MakeItReal on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest throughout the challenge. Ask questions. Tell stories about your pet. Tell us how the challenge is going for both of you and what you've learned. Encourage your pet-owner friends to join you! When you use the #MakeItReal hashtag, we'll be right here to support you and cheer you on! We also encourage you to use it on your own social media pages to connect with others who are completing the challenge. Be sure to follow our We Love Our Pets pinboard, too, for more tips and motivation as you go along.
  • Open to Anyone: Invite Your Friends to Join!
While members can earn SparkPoints for participating, this challenge is open to anyone! Share the challenge page with your friends by posting it on Facebook, sending an email link, and more. You do not have to be a member to participate. Anyone can sign up for daily challenge emails just by entering their email address.
Sounds great! How do I sign up?
Go to our Make It Real™ Challenge page and sign up by clicking the "Get Started" button to enter your email address. After you've signed up, you will receive one email per day for the next 30 days with a reminder to complete your daily challenge (and get your SparkPoints). Note that once you sign up, you should expect to receive your first challenge email the following day at 8 am EST.

When does it start?
RIGHT NOW. The challenge is open and ready for you to join—and you can start or join at any time. The sooner you start, the sooner you'll be on the path to a stronger bond with your furry friend!

What are you waiting for? Sign up right now to get started today—and get ready for 30 days of fun with Fido. (Be sure to follow us on FacebookPinterest and Twitter, too.) Let's do this!

Will you be participating in our 30-Day Make It Real Challenge? Let us know in the comments if you (and your pet) are up for the challenge!
Posted 6/26/2015  10:00:00 AM By:   : 12 comments   8,957 views
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3 Money-Saving Tips for People with Diabetes

Whether you’re newly diagnosed or have been managing diabetes for years, you know that out-of-pocket expenses can add up fast. The American Diabetes Association reports that, on average, people who have been diagnosed with diabetes spend more than twice as much on medical expenses than people who don’t have diabetes.Here's how to keep costs down while managing your diabetes as effectively as possible.
Posted 6/1/2015  12:00:00 AM By:   : 13,041 views
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What Do Doctors Really Eat?

Fact: Doctors love to eat. It is a truth that I learned early on in my medical training and one that has followed me through my career. To survive long shifts and a revolving door of patients, I quickly learned that a solid meal is key, but that doesn’t always mean we have time to sit down for a nice meal of quinoa and kale. For doctors, food is energy, plain and simple, and that means carbs, fats and proteins that can be procured and eaten quickly on breaks.

As the treadmill of my life as a surgeon cranked up to full speed, I adopted these poor eating habits to cope with my increasingly hectic schedule. Sporadic eating throughout the day led to overeating at dinner, and bribing nurses with glazed croissants ended with indulging in one or two sweet treats myself. I gave little thought to nutritional value or savoring the taste of what I was eating and thus, as my practice grew, so did my waistline.

Suddenly, 20 years had passed since my days as an eager intern, and my weight was up--along with my cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar. Who knew I couldn’t just tell my patients how to be healthy without following the same advice myself?

But then I realized something great: It was not too late to make a change. I could save my patients and myself at the same time. Yes, there is a donut shop on the first floor of the hospital, but I don’t have to frequent it.  While there are bays of elevators taking me up to the 8th floor to see patients, I don't have to use them. In the end, it is about finding the right balance. The secret to healthy living is not a fad diet or some short term sacrifices; It is about making good choices, most of the time.  I am not perfect, but my weight is down, my blood sugar levels are normal and my cholesterol is under control. I don’t count calories, but I do exercise five days a week, alternating cardio and weight training.
Posted 3/5/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 6 comments   23,170 views
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The Truth about the Paleo Diet

If you've been in touch with diet trends over the past few years, chances are that you've heard of the Paleo diet. When you Google the word "Paleo" or "Paleo diet," you'll find thousands of blogs, recipes, articles and best-selling nutrition books. But what exactly is Paleo—and is its popularity warranted? Is it all hype and marketing, or is this truly the best diet to adopt for optimal human health? Let's take a look at what the evidence says. 
Posted 8/4/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 52 comments   136,045 views
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The Hidden Exercise Risk No One Talks About

I thought I knew a thing or two about diet and exercise. For example, I knew how to do a squat, and that avoiding carbs altogether wasn’t necessarily a wise thing to do.

Then I enrolled in personal training school and realized just how much I didn’t know.
To be perfectly honest, I had never really given any thought to the subject of exercise safety – and it took getting a formal education to bring it to my awareness.

When you want to lose weight and get in shape, you focus on the important things: what foods to eat, which fitness program to follow and how to balance your calories in vs. calories out. Of course these factors are normal and helpful, but when it comes to exercise—an activity designed to bring you optimal health and well-being—there are hidden dangers lurking beneath the surface if you aren't paying attention.
Posted 5/14/2014  5:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 90 comments   132,706 views
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3 Symptoms Your Husband Shouldn't Ignore

Your husband says he has a nagging pain below his ribs, chest tightness that won’t quit or has simply been feeling sluggish lately, but doesn’t feel like calling his doctor (or doesn’t have one). Here are three symptoms he (and you) should take seriously.
Posted 4/16/2014  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 12 comments   111,895 views
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2 Easy Tips for a Great Workout Every Time

Whether you're a casual exerciser or an elite athlete, we've all been through workouts when our minds begin to interfere, preventing us from achieving our daily goals. In fact, research has proven that it's usually the mind—not the body—that fatigues first and stops us from reaching our full physical potential.  
Even top Olympic athletes deal with mental distraction and fatigue during their training sessions. It is in these moments that they must learn how to effectively master their minds in order to sustain motivation, confidence, intensity, focus, and emotional control so that they can follow through on their pre-planned workouts and prepare for competition. 
Posted 4/14/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 3 comments   22,637 views
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How Fasting Affects Your Health

Many religions recommend fasting for both spiritual and/or health benefits. All religious fasts are different: Some restrict certain foods, while others only restrict the times of day in which one can eat. Few religious fasts involve a long-term or complete abstinence from food, but no matter what the nature of the fast is, you may wonder just how it really impacts your health.
Three religious fasts have been studied the most:
  • Islamic Ramadan: During the holy month of Ramadan, which varies according to the lunar calendar, Muslims abstain from eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset.
  • The 3 annual fasting periods for Greek Orthodox Christians:  The Nativity Fast (40 days prior to Christmas), Lent (48 days prior to Easter), and The Assumption (15 days in August).
  • Biblical-Based Daniel Fast:  This fast typically incorporates a 21-day fasting period.
Read on to find out how these fasts impact your health and weight-loss efforts.
Posted 3/27/2014  5:00:00 AM By: Becky Hand : 10 comments   30,401 views
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You Asked: Can You Really Eat Too Much Protein?

For a healthy adult, eating more protein than your recommended daily range once a week or so won't have any major impact on your long-term health or weight loss (assuming you still eat approximately the same amount of calories for the day). Based on your food selections for that day, if you consume a larger-than-normal amount of protein you may notice:
  • A change in bowel habits in the next 24-48 hours (due to a lower fiber intake)
  • A sluggish or light-headed feeling (if you also ate very few carbs)
  • Some abdominal discomfort if your fat intake sky-rocketed
  • No noticeable changes at all
However, you may be wondering how a long-term high-protein diet affects your health in the long run...
Posted 3/21/2014  5:00:00 AM By: Becky Hand : 30 comments   118,832 views
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8 Signs Your Cardio Workouts Are Doing More Harm Than Good

Aerobic exercise (think running, biking, and jumping rope) is good for your health, helps with weight loss and generally makes you feel good.  But believe it or not, you can have too much of a good thing—even exercise.  It's important to find the balance between challenging yourself, making exercise a regular part of your daily routine, and doing more harm than good. But where exactly is the line where a healthy amount becomes too much?
Posted 3/19/2014  5:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 11 comments   179,167 views
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