Friday, December 30, 2011

Kick-start 2012 with these 5 simple tips

Each year, millions upon millions of us swear that this is going to be the year we achieve our weight loss goals only to give up in frustration a few weeks in.  By applying these five simple steps, it truly is possible to change the way you look and feel about yourself.

1)  Get out of those sweats!  Get dressed for the day even if you aren't planning on going anywhere. Put your face on!  It doesn't have to be a lot, a swipe of mascara or a freshly shaved face for a man is just enough to start your day feeling confident and in the mind frame to make good decisions all day long. 

2)  Eat breakfast within the first hour of waking up to kick-start your metabolism; but despite what everyone says about making it the biggest meal of the day, don't.  Don't waste calories in the AM. Save those calories for nighttime when you are more likely to find yourself with cravings. Instead, make it nutrient rich meal with as few calories as you can without depriving you of essential nutrients. I try to keep my morning breakfast between two and three hundred calories.  The following are a few of my favorite morning staples.

a) Half a whole-wheat English muffin with a smidgen of peanut butter, banana slices if I have any, and honey (I love my honey). 

b) One or Two eggs fried with olive or coconut oil sprinkled lightly with salt, pepper and onion powder until cooked but yoke is still runny. Place eggs on top a slice of extra toasted whole wheat bread and just before eating prick yokes so it soaks into the bread.

c) Fry an egg and if desired, an additional egg white on olive or coconut oil. Once yoke sets, pierce yoke with a fork and continue cooking until yoke is solid. As egg cooks, heat a slice of Canadian bacon in egg pan until ham is nicely brown on both sides. Place ham and egg on a slice of English muffin and top it with the other.  I often eat mine open face to save a few calories and if I have spinach and bell peppers, I add those too!

d) Half a cup of Greek yogurt (I like Fage 2%) topped with honey and fruit of choice. 

3)  Pay attention to fiber and drink LOTS of fluids.  Fiber makes you feel full.  Plus, foods high in fiber are typically healthier options and have the added benefit of fewer calories.  Translation, eat more with less guilt!  

4)  Don't deprive yourself!!!  You can still have that cookie, cupcake or whatever makes life worth living for you.  The key is moderation. Tell yourself you can have that cookie in x amount of hours or after a walk so long as you set some sort of delayed stipulation for the treat.  You may find once the stipulation is reached, you don't actually desire it anymore and will decide to save it for another day.

5)  When cravings take over, distract yourself!  Call a friend, go on Facebook or Twitter, take a walk or just go to bed.  Personally, I've learned I'm more likely to mindless eat when I'm tired or just plain bored.  

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Tea Tree Oil—A Natural Acne Remedy with Clinical Results

by: Jacqueline Fuller

The use of tea tree oil for medicinal purposes dates back centuries. Eastern Australia aboriginals discovered the oil from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia plant could treat a wide variety of ailments including skin cuts, burns, infections, and sore throats. This powerful traditional medicine even holds up to modern science. Tea tree oil contains organic chemicals called terpenoids which have antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, and antimicrobial qualities. Many claim topical application can cure almost anything from athlete’s foot to yeast infections to head lice. However, the recent buzz surrounding tea tree oil is about its ability to treat acne.

With its antibacterial and immunostimulant properties, tea tree oil boosts the body’s natural defenses while fighting pathogens. This makes tea tree oil especially useful in treating bacterial infections of the sebaceous glands, otherwise known as acne. The first clinical study of tea tree oil’s treatment of acne was conducted in 1990 by the Department of Dermatology at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in New South Wales. Researchers compared the effectiveness of 5% tea tree oil and 5% benzoyl peroxide (the most common agent in acne treatment) in 124 people. Over three months, they found both treatments “had a significant effect in ameliorating the patients’ acne by reducing the number of inflamed and noninflamed lesions.” While the tea tree oil had a slower onset of action, it was found to have far fewer negative side effects than benzoyl peroxide. Seventy-nine percent of patients who used benzoyl peroxide experienced itching, stinging, burning, or dryness. Other than a few mild allergic reactions, patients’ negative reactions to tea tree oil were negligible.

A 2007 study conducted by the Department of Dermatology in Iran had similar findings. One group received 5% tea tree oil while the other group was given a placebo. After 45 days, researchers determined the tea tree oil significantly reduced the number and severity of acne lesions. A smaller scale study in 2002 by the British Journal of Dermatology also concluded tea tree oil works as an anti-inflammatory agent against acne.

Like all acne treatments, tea tree oil will not work for everyone. Use of all essential oils including tea tree oil is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. People with eczema or sensitive skin should be cautious when using tea tree oil. The risk of developing an allergic dermatitis from tea tree oil is rare; however, discontinue tea tree oil use if prolonged negative side effects occur. Most importantly, tea tree oil is toxic when swallowed and should be kept safely away from children and pets.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Does housework really constitute a workout?

by:  Tara Fuller 

Everyone knows housework is work, but is it also a workout?  It certainly can be.  The following are common household chores based on calories burnt over 30 minutes of continuous activity.
           Cooking:   85-100                                      Raking Leaves:  146-225
           Unloading Groceries: 190                            Scrubbing Floors:  100-200
           Dusting:  50-85                                           Scrubbing Tubs:  150-200
           Dish Washing by Hand:  160                       Sweeping:  112-125
           Ironing:  69                                                 Vacuuming:  90-119
           Loading Dishwasher:  105                           Washing Windows:  102-125
           Making Beds:  130                                      Washing Car:  143
           Mowing Lawn:  187                                    Weeding:  115
           Painting:  90-160
Any vigorous activity that raises your heart rate for 20 minutes and longer strengthens cardiovascular health in addition to burning off unwanted fat; but many of these activities are also good for your muscles too. Ironing for instance helps to tone and strengthen the upper body, especially those pesky underarms that seem to have a mind of their own.  And who doesn't want a firmer backside?  Weeding is fantastic for toning thighs and butts.  The key to turning those everyday chores into an efficient workout is to keep focused on your goals and stay moving.                           

Friday, December 16, 2011

Get rid of those yellow armpit and ring around the collar stains for good!

by:  Tara Fuller

Photo Credit:
Who hasn't had a shirt they've tossed out because of those pesky yellow perspiration armpit and ring-around the collar stains?  I know I certainly have, and  it's annoying!  A couple months back, my favorite white t-shirt was in motion to the garbage can when I spotted a bottle of Tilex Mildew Remover and thought, what the hay, what do I have to lose?  So I dowsed the armpits, threw it in the washer and washed it on the hottest cycle I could.  What do you know, it came out clean and white all over.  I can't describe my elation!  Originally, I posted my happy revelation on my personal Facebook wall and several of my friends gave it a try with fantastic results. 
I had forgotten about this trick until this morning when I walked in my daughter's room and saw she was going to throw away a white skirt she obviously let dry next to something dark and probably black. I sprayed that skirt with Tilex Mildew Remover as well as a white t-shirt I remembered seeing in her closet that was in desperate need of armpit revival.  I put both in the washer and what do you know...PERFECTION.