3 Reasons to Drink More Water

Your body is made up of about 70% water. Sounds, crazy, but it’s true! And your body depends on all that water.

This large percentage of fluid helps to regulate the temperate of your body’s cells, organs, and tissues and maintain other bodily functions. Without it, we could not live.

In fact, even being slightly dehydrated can cause problems, like dizziness and headaches—our bodies’ own warning signs that it’s time to rehydrate!

Now here’s the million-dollar question…what does water do in our bodies that makes it so important? Keep reading to find out why it’s important to stay hydrated!

Water Helps Us Transport and Metabolize Food

Water is an essential element in transporting waste and fluids. It’s also vital to metabolizing food. Without it, the proper chemical reactions of digestion cannot occur.

And when you’re unable to digest food properly, you’ll be certain to experience abdominal discomfort and a bad tummy ache.

Not to mention, the carbohydrates and proteins that our bodies use as food are also metabolized and transported by water in the bloodstream. If we don’t have enough water in our system, we are unable to absorb the nutrients we need to stay energized and healthy.

Water Helps Removes Toxins from the Body

The body needs fluids to flush out the body’s toxins and waste products.

When hydrated, water moves through the kidneys, liver, and intestines to help cleanse and rid your body of harmful toxins.

Water also naturally suppresses the appetite, which helps the body metabolize and get rid of stored fat deposits—another form of flushing out stored-up waste.

Water Regulates Body Temperature

Water is essential for regulating the body’s cooling system.

It works by enabling the body to release heat when the temperature is higher than our body temperature. In other words, it allows us to sweat, which is our body’s most efficient way to cool itself when overheated.

Clearly, water does a lot for the body, and it’s very important. But, not everyone consumes enough water to help her body function at its best.

Personally, we think making flavored water is a great way to encourage us to drink more. So, to help you start drinking more water on a daily basis, we’re going to share a delicious flavored water recipe with you.

Check it out…

Strawberry Mint Water

Ingredients:

  • 6 – 8 sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup of mint leaves
  • 40 oz. of cold purified water
  • Ice

Directions:

#1 Slice up 6-8 strawberries.

#2 Crush 1 cup of mint leaves.

#3 Add ingredients to 40 oz. of water. If needed, add ice.

#4 Let sit for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, to let flavors meld together.

#5 Enjoy!

Recipe source: http://www.inspiredbythis.com/dwell/berry-infused-water/

What do you do to make sure you drink lots of water? Share in the comments below!

5 Self-Care Tips

 

Between working full-time jobs, taking care of our families, and juggling day-to-day activities, it’s easy to forget about self-care and put everyone and everything else before our own needs.

Think about it…

How many times have you put your own desires on the back burner in order to cater to someone else, whether it be work, your partner, or your children?

There’s nothing wrong with taking care of others.

In fact, the ability to put others before yourself is a beautiful gift that not everyone has. But serving others doesn’t mean you should stop taking care of yourself.

Self-care, especially when you are someone who puts yourself last, is an extremely important topic. That’s why, this week, we’re sharing with you easy tips to ensure you get the self-care you need so you can live a happy, healthy, and balanced life.

Keep reading to discover a few self-care tips that you can easily implement into your schedule every week.

Schedule Weekly “Me Time”

Long work days, carpooling your kids to various activities, being there for a friend who needs a shoulder to cry on, and other similar activities eat up a lot of your time. And when you have a servant’s heart, it can be really hard to say no when someone needs you.

That’s why it is so important to block time off during your week that is “me time.”

Some people need an hour every night to relax and refresh, while others need an hour every other day. It’s up to you how much time you think you’ll need.

The idea is that whatever amount of time you block off is for you and you only.

Don’t let anyone schedule plans with you during that time. Tell your partner you will be unavailable during your “you time” so he or she can help with the chores or kids or manage anything else that needs to get done.

Turn off your phone and computer so people don’t have access to you.

Use your time to relax, unwind, and enjoy the things you love to do.

Cook a Meal You Love Once a Week

For those of you that have children and/or a picky partner, cooking can often be a chore.

You may find yourself making mac-n-cheese 3 nights a week because your children won’t eat anything else. Or maybe you refrain from making your favorite vegetarian dish because your significant other doesn’t enjoy veggies.

It’s ok to compromise and make meals that will make everyone happy…but what about you?

Every once in a while, you deserve to indulge in your favorite foods, too. That’s why, once a week, you should treat yourself to cooking your favorite meal.

If your kids or spouse doesn’t enjoy what you make one night a week, there’s always bread and peanut butter in the pantry.

If you don’t want to search for a good recipe, check out some of our favorites:

Quick and Easy Soup Recipes

Quick and Healthy Meal Recipes 

Simple Charleston-Area Recipes 

Visit a Spa

Everyone deserves to be pampered once in a while—even you!

If you are able, a trip to the spa to get your nails done or get a massage is a great way to relax and take care of yourself. Let someone take care of you for a change!

If you know a handful of other women that need some self-care, get a group of girlfriends together and make it a fun outing.

If you’re in the Charleston, South Carolina area, we recommend these local spas.

Get Some Exercise

Part of self-care is ensuring your body is healthy and happy. This means partaking in some form of exercise every week to keep your mind clear and your body strong.

This doesn’t mean spending hours breaking your back at the gym. That’s no fun. We encourage you to pick activities you love, like yoga, walking, Zumba, etc.

There are many forms of exercise, like hiking or dance classes, that you can do in groups. Make your self-care exercise time more fun by inviting your friends to join these types of activities with you if you enjoy having company.

Just Be

At times, life can be hard, stressful, and challenging. For that reason, sometimes the best form of self-care is to simply sit quietly and just be.

This can be accomplished in many ways.

Some people prefer meditation, a time where they can sit in peace, reflect, and free their mind. Others enjoy things like taking a hot bath with calming music in the background, or sitting in nature and admiring the views for a while.

The idea is to lose yourself in the stillness and calmness of the moment so you can free your mind, relax, and enjoy yourself.

The laundry, business reports, and doctors’ appointments will all still be there when you’re done relaxing, so take some time and just be.

 What do you do regularly for self-care? Let us know in the comments below!

How to Make Exercising More Fun

 

Exercise is good for our heart, muscles, and lungs, and helps us release stress and extra energy that builds up inside ourselves.

It’s something that, no matter how old or young we are, we all need to do in order to keep our bodies strong and stay healthy.

Unfortunately, many people avoid exercise because they feel incapable of it, or are intimidated by it. Part of the problem is that many people believe you need to spend hours at a gym lifting heavy weights or running miles on a treadmill to get a good workout.

This is simply not true.

Any time you are up and moving, you are getting exercise. That means you can turn daily activities into exercise and, most importantly, have fun while you’re doing it!

Keep reading to discover a few ways you can have fun while exercising—without the expensive gym membership or insane workout plans!

Dance

Dancing is a wonderful form of exercise, and it’s a total body workout.

When you dance, you get a solid cardio workout, strengthen your muscles, and improve your flexibility. The best part is that it only takes about a half hour of dancing to your favorite tunes to provide you with your daily dose of exercise.

If you want a more structured form of dance exercise, we recommend taking a class, like salsa dancing or Zumba. You can find these classes available at local community centers, dance studios, or gyms.

Play Outside with Your Kids

The next time your children, grandchildren, or nieces or nephews ask you to play outside, unleash your inner child and go for it!

Playing a game of tag, hopscotch, or jump rope is a fun way to get fresh air while moving your body. You’ll have so much fun, you’ll forget you’re even exercising.

It’s important for both kids and adults to get out and move, so try scheduling a half hour of outdoor play every day.

Join a Club Sport

If you love watching football, basketball, baseball, or any other sport on the big screen, we know you will enjoy getting off the couch and playing your favorite sport.

It doesn’t matter if you your were colleges all-star player, or if you have two left feet. Anyone can participate and have a good time when she participates in club sports.

Rally a bunch of your friends or family members together, join a team, and get a workout on the field together.

Take a Hike

If you dislike running on a treadmill, but want to improve your endurance, build strength, and get a good cardio work out ,take a hike!

When you hit the trails, you get the same amount of exercise as you would on a treadmill, but you get to enjoy the beautiful outdoors and work out at a more comfortable pace. Most people get so wrapped up in the beauty of nature that they forget they are even working out!

Pick a cool day, invite a friend, be sure to bring plenty of water, and plan an exciting day on the trails.

What’s your favorite fun exercise routine? Share in the comments below!

3 Healthy Snacks to Bring to a Super Bowl Party

The 2017 Super Bowl is right around the corner, and football lovers all over the country are gearing up for the big game.

Between coordinating game day screening locations, rounding up your friends and family, and making sure your team jersey is washed and ready, you’ve got a lot to think about.

That’s why we thought you might like a few ideas on healthy snacks to bring to your Super Bowl party.

After all, aside from watching the game go down and all the commercials, food is the most important part of the event, right?

We think so!

Regardless of whether you love watching the game, or are just going to the party to enjoy the socialization and atmosphere, we know these snack recipes won’t disappoint.

Give them a try…

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Hot, salty, delicious French fries are a staple game day food for many people. Keep the game day tradition going strong with this heathier version of baked sweet potato fries.

Packed with Vitamins C and A and plenty of dietary fiber, this is a snack that is sure to please.

Ingredients:

  • Sweet potatoes (approximately 1 per guest)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

#1 Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

#2 Cut four sweet potatoes into 1-inch-wide wedges, place flesh-side down on a roasting pan, then brush with a mixture olive oil, chili powder, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.

#3 Cook, turning once, for 20-25 minutes.

#4 Remove pan from oven and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon kosher salt.

Tip: Make the switch from savory to sweet by cutting out the chili powder and salt, and sprinkling your fries with cinnamon and sugar.

Recipe Source: http://www.rd.com/health/healthy-eating/healthy-snacks-for-adults/

Chocolate-Covered Fruit

There’s no better way to cheer your favorite team on to a sweet victory than by eating a sweet snack during the game.

Fruit is a great snack choice to bring to a party because it’s sweet, refreshing, and contains lots of vitamins that are good for the body. The best part—because it’s so healthy, you can score a touchdown with your party guests by covering it in decadent chocolate.

Ingredients:

  • Fruit of your choice (we recommend a variety of strawberries, pineapples, and berries)
  • Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or white chocolate (or all 3!)

Directions:

#1 Skewer fruit on wooden skewers (or your implement of choice).

#2 Melt your desired chocolate in microwave or over the stove.

#3 Dip fruit in chocolate.

#4 Set in fridge to chill.

#5 Serve when chocolate coating is hard.

Tip: Not everyone likes chocolate-covered fruit. To combat this problem, skewer your fruit and then serve your chocolate sauce as a fondue so people can coat their fruit in chocolate as they desire.

Turkey Snack Wraps

This year, skip the fast food hot wings and serve delicious, flavor-filled snack sandwiches at your party.

These wraps, filled with fresh turkey and veggies, are the perfect Super Bowl finger food. And because they are fresh and healthy, your party guests will be able to indulge in other party treats without any guilt. [Link to ]

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen (thawed)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh tomato
  • ¼ cup chopped soft sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 8 thin slices low-sodium deli turkey
  • 4 8-inch whole-wheat tortillas
  • 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce

Directions:

#1 Combine corn, tomato, sun-dried tomatoes, oil and vinegar in a medium bowl.

#2 Divide turkey among tortillas.

#3 Top with equal portions of the corn salad and lettuce.

#4 Roll up.

#5 Serve the wraps cut in half, if desired.

Tip: To remove corn kernels from the cob, stand an ear of corn on one end and slice the kernels off with a sharp knife. One ear will yield about ½ cup kernels.

Recipe Source: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/250292/turkey-corn-sun-dried-tomato-wraps/

Do you have a favorite healthy snack recipe? Share it below!

Stop Smoking: Make It More Than a New Year’s Resolution

breaking a cigaretteUnfortunately, we can’t live in our parent’s blissful ignorance anymore. And it’s  not news that smoking is bad for your health.

If you are a smoker, quitting isn’t as easy as cutting out sugar or making a commitment to walk three times a week.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of realistic ways to stop smoking. We aren’t talking quitting as a New Year’s resolution. We mean making an actual lifestyle change. So if you wake up on February 2and decide that is the day to quit, don’t let the fact that the New Year has passed stop you from making this change in your life.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Quitting smoking can be overwhelming because nicotine is incredibly addictive. Being able to wean yourself off nicotine, without the harmful effects from carcinogens, can help raise your chances of not giving up on day one. Using patches or gum helps you fight cravings by getting a measured amount of nicotine. Both nicotine replacements have different dosages, so you can slowly cut back the amount of nicotine intake.

Prescription Drugs

There are many prescription drugs that can help you quit smoking. Some of the prescriptions are used along with nicotine replacement therapy, while others you need to start taking before “Quit Day.” These drugs help counteract certain chemicals in the brain to help ease cravings. As with all prescription medications, make sure you consult your doctor and are aware of any potential side effects.

Write It Down

Write down all of the reasons you want to quit smoking on notecards or on your phone. Is it for your children or to stop having to hide your habit? Anytime you’re feeling particularly weak, bring that list out. Remind yourself there is a good reason why you’re doing this, and that in time it will get easier.

Acupuncture

You may know that acupuncture is often used to relieve medical ailments, but did you know it also might help you kick the habit? Treatments focus on jitters, cravings, irritability, and restlessness—all symptoms that commonly plague people who are trying to cease smoking.

Make a Plan

Do you know when you’re most likely to smoke? Make a plan to do something else during the times you would usually light up. Is it after dinner? Try making a hot cup of green tea instead. Is it after work? Go for a walk. Is it with a cup of coffee? Take a cup of coffee with you on a walk. Other methods that may help are to keep your mouth busy: chew gum, snack on sunflower seeds, always have a drink like flavored water or tea.

Read more about how smoking may increase breast cancer risk.

 

Small Things Add Up: How to Stick to Your Diet

Image Taken From: www.womensonlinemagazine.com

Weight gain is often the cumulative effect of a series of small decisions: do you take the stairs or the elevator? Do you walk to the corner store, or drive? Sit in front of the TV, or walk the dog? Fortunately for those who want to stick to a diet, the small decisions we make every day can help us to reach our goals without feeling as though our lives have been dominated by the desire to lose weight. Here are some ways you can focus on the small things that have a huge effect on the success of your diet:

Mentally prepare yourself every day: When you wake up in the morning, consciously think about your diet. Before you even enter the kitchen, remember your goals, and mindfully select food that will fuel your body for the day. Whole grains and fruits are the perfect way to get your metabolism going without spiking your blood sugar levels.

  • Enjoy every bite: Take time during your meals to fully chew and savor every bite. Even if you are only eating your dish because you know it’s good for you, remember it’s healthy for a reason—those vitamins and minerals help your body perform the functions that sustain your very life! Rejoice in your body’s incredible machinery, and give it the fuel it deserves.
  • Stay accountable: Even if it pains you, step on the scale every day. It keeps you honest, and reminds you that the decisions you make throughout the day are leading you to your goal. You can even keep a food diary to chart your progress and keep track of the foods you eat throughout the day.
  • Regularize your eating: Eat at the same time every day, and plan meals that are both nutritious and help you feel sated. When your body gets in the habit of an eating schedule, you reduce hunger and the midday temptation to snack too much.
  • Exercise with a friend: Accountability can be the deciding factor in whether or not a diet succeeds. Plus, exercise is much more enjoyable when in good company.
  • Take the stairs: Remember, everything matters, and small adjustments make a world of difference when it comes to losing weight. Every opportunity you see to burn more calories or eat healthier, take them.  Get acquainted with the stairs, and be sure to break up the hours at the desk with a stroll to the water fountain, or just stand up for a few minutes. Really, anything burns more calories than sitting.

Do you have the secret to a successful diet? Feel free to share in the comments section below!

Omega-3s: 5 Ways to Load Up on These Healthy Fats

omega3Many people hear the word “fat” and immediately think it should not be a part of their diet. But what you might not know is that some fats are actually good for you!

Omega-3 fatty acids are in the “healthy fat” group, and your body actually needs them to function normally. Not only are they great for your brain, but they also have been shown to reduce inflammation, boost heart health, lower triglycerides, relieve rheumatoid arthritis, and even aid in the treatment of depression. As an added bonus, Omega-3s are an antiager!

These miracle fats are vital to your overall health and longevity. Your body can’t produce these healthy fats on their own, so you need to make sure you’re getting a daily dose through your diet.

Chances are you’re already eating foods that contain Omega-3s without even knowing it. Below are five wonderful sources of Omega-3 fatty acids and how to include them in your diet. Happy eating!

1. Fish

Salmon and tuna are two of the best natural sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. These are a wonderful dinner option, served with wild rice or on top of a salad. Don’t shy away from the white part of the fish when it’s cooked – that’s where the highest concentration of Omega-3s is!

2. Avocados

Cut up an avocado and toss it into your salad – it’s a great way to get those healthy fats with fewer calories! Plus, they add variety to your traditional salad.

3. Walnuts

Keep a handful of these at your desk to ward off afternoon hunger and keep your mind alert.

4. Olive Oil

Heart-healthy olive oil is full of Omega-3 fatty acids, and is also great for your skin and waistline! Try substituting it for butter when cooking your morning omelet.

5. Flax Seeds

Flax seeds have one of the highest concentrations of Omega-3 fatty acids found in nature. A three-tablespoon serving of flax seeds has the same amount of Omega-3s as a pound of fish, making this a great option for a girl on the go. Add them to your cereal, or serve with yogurt and fruit for a nutritious meal that will keep you going all day!

There are also many Omega-3 supplements available at your local health food store, if you feel that you’re not getting enough of these foods. Just make sure that you’re taking 500 mg of fish oil, or Omega-3s, per day.

Visit our Facebook page and share your healthy eating tips!

 

Healthier Ways to Make Your Favorite Winter Comfort Foods

comfort foodsAh, winter comfort foods—is anything better than curling up in a blanket and eating your favorite?

However, many comfort foods, such as macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, and creamy stews and soups, are full of fat and calories we don’t need. Following are a few tips to reduce the fat and calories without sacrificing the taste and comfort you want.

Cut down the butter.

If a recipe calls for three tablespoons of butter, try using only two tablespoons (or less). Chances are you won’t notice a difference in taste. Using margarine presents its own problems, as most of them have hydrogenated oil you need to completely stay away from.

Try using lower-fat dairy products.

Instead of heavy cream, try using half-and-half, or use 2% milk instead of full-fat milk. Sour cream and cottage cheese come in low-fat varieties. You can find lower-fat cheeses, or use a smaller amount of high-quality cheese.

For some recipes, a lower-fat substitution might not work, but it’s certainly worth a try.

Reduce sugar by half.

While sugar doesn’t have that many calories, reducing it is always a good idea when trying to eat healthier. If you don’t like the taste with less sugar, try adding a little bit of honey.

Add more lean protein, fruit, and vegetables.

If you’re making a chicken potpie, use the leanest cuts of the chicken and add more vegetables. Try some broccoli, cauliflower, and beans.

Try pan-frying instead of deep-frying.

You’ll use less oil and have fewer calories. Try frying in olive oil or coconut oil for a change of taste. Taking the skin off will reduce fat, as will baking or oven-frying.

If all else fails, simply eat smaller portions, or make adjustments elsewhere in your diet.

If you can’t stand the way your mac ‘n cheese tastes with lower-fat substitutions, by all means, cook it the right way—just eat from a smaller bowl or plate. If you don’t want to do that, then plan your mac feast and eat less during the other meals of the day.

What do you do to reduce the fat and calories in your comfort foods?