Cooking and Baking Tips to Help You Lose Weight During the Holidays

Trying to stay fit and trim over the holidays? The baker or the chef may have nearly as much control in one’s weight gain as the person consuming the food. Several factors determine the overall healthiness of a meal – including method of preparation, ingredients, and balance.

For a mouthwatering but healthful meal, consider some of the following baking tips and cooking tips to lose weight – or at least avoid gaining weight – during the holidays.

– Use butter, salt, oil, and cheese sparingly. For seasoning, instead try fresh herbs like garlic or other spices. Use lemon juice and choose margarine over butter.

– Whole grain breads and rolls are better for you
than bleached whites, and the same goes for rice. Be adventurous and go for the wild rice – besides, it gives a meal great color!

– Avoid frying your foods if you can help it. Grilling, baking and broiling are much healthier for you. Try to avoid charring your meats too much – it really isn’t good for you if your food goes from juicy burger to hockey puck….

– Steam veggies and go easy on the butter and salt. It may take a little getting used to, but if you are feeding everyone from your mom and pop, 92-year-old grandfather to your three-year-old cousin, try to accommodate everyone with a delicious and healthy menu.

– Using powdered milk or evaporated skim milk instead of the real thing for your goodies may make all the difference. A drastic reduction in calories can only give your guests one more reason to smile.

– Substitute applesauce for the oil called for in a recipe. Try first substituting between 1/3 and 1/2 of the amount of oil required, and then alter to taste.

– Substitute cocoa powder for unsweetened chocolate, in the ratio of three tablespoons cocoa powder per one-ounce chocolate, plus one tablespoon melted shortening or cooking oil.

– Use two egg whites instead of one whole egg. The yolk is not as healthy as the whites are.

– Use an artificial sweetener in place of some or all of the sugar in a recipe. This also makes a nice treat for diabetics! Be aware that your goodies may not be as sweet as they normally are due to the sugar reduction.

– Add herbs and garlic to mashed potatoes in the place of butter.

– Do not feel obligated to include as much as the recipe suggests. If you think a full pound of chocolate chips is too much, go with your gut…or later you might be seeing it on your gut!

– Do not be afraid of products that boast “Low Fat!” or “Reduced Fat!” (cream cheese, sour cream, etc.) They may not taste the same outright, but when mixed with other ingredients, who will even notice?

Baking a healthier meal will get you on the right start to a slimmer, trimmer winter figure, but remember that it isn’t just what you eat. How you eat and how much you eat are also critical in the overall progress toward a healthier you.

With all the visiting you may be doing this holiday season, realize that you may also have to practice some discipline in your eating habits. Get on the right track and check out healthy eating tips for the holidays, too!

Exclusive Q&A with Kimberly Cole – How to Stay in Shape with Dance and Roller-Skating

Kimberly Cole Exclusive Interview with Life Love Beauty!Kimberly Cole is what many people call a well-rounded person. She’s a championship roller-skating athlete, a musician, a former MTV VJ, and absolutely gorgeous to boot. Her hit single, “Nitty Gritty”, is a catchy, contagious tune that is reminiscent of No Doubt and its front woman, Gwen Stefani. Her other jams seem to infuse pop, hip hop, and soul, often with a love story or a truly independent theme.

Have you ever considered roller skates a fashion accessory? Maybe you should… Kimberly Cole gives skates their own pizazz and sex appeal. Or maybe that’s her killer body and incredible hair. Read on – Kimberly Cole shares details about herself and her own workout tips in an exclusive Life Love Beauty interview.

Q. Life Love Beauty – So, what kind of workout do you get from roller-skating (and dancing?)? Can you tell us about some of your most intense workouts / competitions?

The lovely Kimberly Cole...A. Kimberly Cole – I get the best work out from skating and dancing.  I use every muscle in my body to perform. It takes a lot of control in my core to execute each trick.   When I would have an important competition coming up I would train almost 6 hours a day!! I loved every minute of it.

Q. Life Love Beauty – How do you stay in such great shape? How do you train, and what are your favorite training or cross training activities?

A. Kimberly Cole – I love hiking and running.  I also love taking long walks and multitasking by returning phone calls…..anything that makes me forget I am working out!!!

Q. Life Love Beauty – How about your diet… do you have to watch what you eat, or have you found a balance between nutrition and snacking and exercise?

A. Kimberly Cole – I always have to watch what I eat and try to just keep everything in moderation and balanced.  I am a snacker so I will eat 6 mini meals every day. If I have done a ton of exercise I will usually treat myself to Pink Berry with chocolate yogurt chips.

Q. Life Love Beauty – We all have guilty pleasures when it comes to food… what one item couldn’t you live without?!

A. Kimberly Cole – Hands down cold cereal!!!  I could eat it for every meal!!!

Q. Life Love Beauty – Did you play sports or participate in athletics growing up in addition to roller-skating?

A. Kimberly Cole – I was a cheerleader in high school and also ran cross country!!!

Q. Life Love Beauty – How did you get into roller-skating?

A. Kimberly Cole – My mom, who skated when she was younger, took me to take one class and I fell in love with it!!! I didn’t realize when I was little that roller-skating was such an unknown sport!!

Kimberly Cole, the Roller-skating beauty...

Q. Life Love Beauty – What do you like best about skating?

A. Kimberly Cole – I love the fact that it mixes athleticism with artistry.  And now as a recording artist and dancer, I love the fact that it makes me unique.

Kimberly Cole, athlete and musicianQ. Life Love Beauty – Can you tell us about some of the skating stunts you do?

A. Kimberly Cole – I love incorporating hip hop and lyrical dance styles on skates, but I would have to say doing pairs tricks and being thrown around in the air is the most fun!

Q. Life Love Beauty – Do you ever have one of those days where you just don’t feel like working out? What do you do when your motivation starts to sink?

A. Kimberly Cole – When I have those days I will turn some music on and dance in my room!  It’s fun and still burns calories.

Q. Life Love Beauty – What kind of workout would roller-skating (minus the cool stunts!) give an average person? Did you ever experience this kind of recreational skating?

A. Kimberly Cole – I love skating down Venice Beach.  Just cruising’ along still gives a great total body workout.

Q. Life Love Beauty – Just out of curiosity, do you ever rollerblade or go ice-skating?

A. Kimberly Cole – I do rollerblade outside sometimes and have a blast doing that as well.  I was in a stunt show a couple of years ago and had to learn how to drop in on ramps on my inlines.

About the Expert:
Kimberly Cole is an athlete and musician who uniquely blends music and dance with roller-skating. Her main Web site is www.myspace.com/kimberlycolemusic and her music is available on iTunes.

Healthier Eating Habits for Any Time of Year

Getting in shape is something we can do all year long. Whether you’re dreaming of the beach and new swimwear or thinking of those cold winter nights snuggled up by the fire, having a fit and trim body can become a reality if you commit yourself to it. Pair healthy eating habits with ample cardiovascular exercise and you’ll be well on your way to a fitter figure.

Toning various body parts and dropping a few pounds at any given time is a common goal for many people. Practicing the right eating habits with regular exercise can truly impact your weight as well as your overall body image. There’s no time like the present to develop healthier eating habits, so let’s get started.

When it comes to shaping up and slimming down, several factors impact a person’s body and general healthiness. Different diets and eating routines work for different people. The following “dos” should put a positive spin on helping those who wish to revamp their eating habits in the hopes of transforming their bodies for the better.

DO eat well-balanced meals throughout the day, kick starting your metabolism with breakfast as often as possible.

DO eat several helpings of salad, fruits and vegetables throughout the day. Recommended amount is five servings of fruit and vegetables each day.

DO drink lots of water. Strive for at least eight glasses a day, but drink as much as you are able. Your body will eventually crave the water, which often makes you less hungry for snacks throughout the day while also flushing toxins from your body.

DO avoid eating simply because you are bored. Popping candy, cookies and other sweets into your mouth merely to pass the time is not conducive to modifying and maintaining a healthy body image.

DO sit down; enjoy your food and CHEW! Avoid scarfing down your lunch in the car as you drive. Rushing meals and trying to get too many other things done while eating may prevent the food from digesting properly. Take the time to enjoy a leisurely meal without constantly trying to do something else.

DO reduce your intake of sugars and fats if you find yourself eating junk food all day.

DO avoid grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Almost inevitably, those shopping with hunger pangs pushing them along may be apt to throw a few more goodies in the cart than if shopping after a meal.

DO eat when you are hungry. Try to substitute healthier snacks, like vegetable sticks, for salty or sweet snacks like chips and cookies.

DO eat foods that are high in fiber. This will help to keep the snacking urges from breaking through as often.

DO be realistic about your body image goals. Do not expect overnight results. Work to achieve your goals but do treat yourself every once in a while!

DO stop eating when you are full. Many people try to force themselves to clean their plates completely in order to be “polite” or to “get their money’s worth”.

DO exercise at least twice a week, whether by jogging, walking or doing a cardio workout. Combining healthier eating habits with cardiovascular exercise is a surefire way to lead a healthier life.

To improve your body image and the way you feel about yourself, monitor your snacking and do your best to follow a disciplined eating routine. Eat balanced meals, exercise and maintain a positive outlook and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier body, mind and soul.

October and Beyond Shopping – Purchases of These Products Include a Donation to Breast Cancer Research and Support Groups

October is widely recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Countless businesses do their part to help a good cause, and many individuals do the same. Auxier Gas has a pink delivery truck for Breast Cancer Awareness.While Breast Cancer Awareness Month takes place in the month of October, there are many things we can do to support Breast Cancer research and prevention all throughout the year. Check out this guide to do your part and contribute to the Breast Cancer prevention, research, and Awareness.

More companies than we can count are making their own contributions to the fight for a cure for Breast Cancer. From stand-alone local businesses to national corporations and everything in between, everyone wants to be a part of this great cause. As an example, Auxier Gas recently debuted its famous pink delivery truck to deliver propane to its customers in 11 counties in Southern Ohio and Northern Kentucky. The truck’s plan is to “drive early detection of breast cancer and awareness among current customers and the community at large”. When 2008 comes to a close, a portion of all the propane sales delivered by the pink truck will be donated to the American Breast Cancer Foundation. Auxier Gas also has its own Think Pink Grillers, a philanthropic barbeque team that will attend community events to raise money for the same charity throughout the fall.

As another example of a local business doing its part, Pilates People Physical Therapy and Fitness in San Diego, CA (www.pilates-people.com) initiated a program known as “Pilates for PINK,” which is raising money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation through sales of tank tops, toe sox, and selected Pilates for PINK classes, as well as a raffle for a cure where the winner receives a deluxe package of services valued at $290.

“One of the most rewarding gifts you can give is to make a financial contribution to a good cause, and this has become easier and quicker as organizations facilitate online donations,” said Heather Cabot, Yahoo! Web Life Editor.  “Because we are making financial contributions to such personal causes, we want to ensure that our money benefits the right organization and is kept out of the pockets of scammers.”

On that note, those looking to make donations may want to check out Charity Navigator, the country’s largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities, “not all of the nation’s largest Breast Cancer charities are operating efficiently.” Charity Navigator rated more than 20 breast cancer organizations that collectively raise more than $1 billion per year in contributions to fight Breast Cancer. Interestingly, Charity Navigator’s research points out that a number of the organizations do not manage expenses or deliver aid as efficiently as they could.

Charity Navigator’s list of charities with accompanying financial data and ratings is available online for free at www.charitynavigator.org/breastcancer.

“During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, consumers are overwhelmed with opportunities to purchase products that support breast cancer charities,” says Sandra Miniutti, Vice President of Marketing for Charity Navigator. “But if you really want your consumer purchases to make a philanthropic impact, then you need to do your homework and not simply buy the item because it is emblazoned with a pink ribbon. If you can’t discern exactly how much of your purchase will end up in the charity’s coffers, and if you’re not willing to make a direct contribution to the affiliated charity, then don’t buy the product. Instead write a check to a well-run breast cancer charity.”

Of course, if you do want to buy Breast Cancer Awareness gear and apparel, you can check the charity out on Charity Navigator. To follow are a number of exciting “pink ribbon” items that contribute to Breast Cancer research and prevention when purchased during the month of October, or in some cases, at any time. Check out our categories of items and products that donate toward Breast Cancer Awareness, research, and prevention:

From clothing to accessories and more, you can make a difference while changing up your wardrobe or your current look. Check out clothing for yourself, your kids, and other loved ones, and don’t forget the neat accessories listed here. Your purchase makes a difference in the effort these companies are making to contribute toward various Breast Cancer organizations.

Keep Reading for Great Opportunities to Donate and Help…


Best Tips for Harvesting from Your Vegetable Garden

Watching a garden grow to the point of producing fruits, vegetables, flowers, or foliage can be immensely rewarding. Whether you start your garden from seeds, seedlings, or full-sized plants, the joy you feel at the onset of the blossoms and blooms or delicious produce is unmatched by many other outdoor hobbies.

To take full advantage of your gardening efforts, be sure to water your plants as often as needed, taking special care not to overwater them. Also, feel free to fertilize plants according to the packaging on the MiracleGro container or that of your preferred fertilizer product. Take the time to weed your gardens as needed, and apply plant-friendly pesticides if you find the bugs are out of control. If you take good care of your garden, your garden will take good care of you when it comes time to deliver the fruits of your efforts.

Growing is fun! (Photo courtesy of morgueFile.com.)

When your vegetable plants have matured and produced their first yield, you’ll surely be proud of your tremendous accomplishment. You’ll also notice your grocery bill should go down a bit, if you tend to purchase a fair amount of fresh produce regularly. To help you get the most out of your vegetable garden and its harvest, follow these easy tips!

“Harvest often,” says Roses for Dummies author Lance Walheim. “Letting crops get over mature will reduce future yields.

Harvest often for the best crop yield. (Photo courtesy of morgueFile.com.)“If you don’t pick cucumbers, beans, peppers, squash, and others on a regular basis, the plant puts it energy into making those fruit bigger and bigger (and inedible) at the expense of setting more fruit that can be eaten. So if you don’t pick regularly, the plant stops producing. It’s better to pick and throw it away than to leave it on the plant.”

Gardening is great for goodwill and sharing. You can offer excess vegetables to your neighbors, friends, family, and coworkers rather than letting the veggies spoil or grow too large on the vine.

Another good reason to harvest frequently is to give yourself an edge against the wild creatures that also like to pilfer your produce. Rabbits and deer are notorious for helping themselves to many things in just about any garden, and to gardeners, this can be especially frustrating. If you visit your garden daily or every other day, chances are that you can beat these critters to the punch and get most of your veggies before they end up half-chewed up or completely gone.

If you plan to pick a fair quantity of smaller vegetables such as peas, green beans, or small to medium sized tomatoes or potatoes, you may wish to bring a colander with you. The colander comes in especially handy when you end up cooking your fresh-picked veggies on the same day as harvesting them.

Work hard for your garden and your garden will work hard for you. (Photo courtesy of morgueFile.)If you don’t get quite enough veggies in one picking for dinner, don’t worry. You can always save them for a few days until your garden produces enough for a meal. Most fresh-picked or store-bought fresh vegetables can last for anywhere between two days and two weeks in the crisper of your refrigerator. Some vegetables may benefit from bags or containers. Also, a good rule of thumb is to wait to wash your fresh produce until right before you want to cook or eat it.

Finally, if you are interested in collecting seeds from your garden for next year’s harvest, you may have to do a small amount of research, depending on the type of vegetables you’ve been growing. Collecting seeds from your vegetable garden should be a fairly easy process once you learn what steps you need to take.

“It’s different for each vegetable,” Walheim says. “Lettuce needs to be allowed to bolt (go to seed), which means you can’t eat it. Tomatoes have to be deseeded and the seeds dried and properly stored.”

Lance Walheim is the author of Roses for Dummies and Vegetable Gardening (Gardening and Landscaping), both of which are available at Amazon.com.

What to Expect After Laparoscopy and Cyst Removal

Surgical procedures are never fun. For most people, they are downright unnerving. Even relatively noninvasive procedures and “routine outpatient surgeries,” like laparoscopies, laparoscopic cyst removal and so forth, still warrant cause for concern. Any surgery is a big deal! (Photo courtesy of Jane M. Sawyer.)

Time and time again, of all the people I know, I am the first person to run to the Internet to try and self-diagnose or to anticipate how I will feel during and after a procedure. I know I am not alone in that respect. So, I wanted to share my experience in the hopes that it might alleviate some worry or shed some light on laparoscopy and laparoscopic cyst removal. Through this article, I wanted to share some observations and experiences from my recent surgical procedure – laparoscopy to remove a benign cyst from one of my ovaries.

Completely out of character for me, I didn’t even read up on what laparoscopy was or how they do it. I relied on my doctor’s two-minute debriefing and the accounts of a few of my coworkers and family members who had also endured the same procedure. It astonished me to learn that removal of an ovarian cyst via laparoscopy is not at all uncommon. In fact, as I told more people about my upcoming laparoscopic procedure, it seemed each person’s mother, cousin, friend, or coworker also had the same surgery. I was not alone!

Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that involves making tiny incisions in the abdomen. The surgery employs a lighted instrument (laparoscope) as a camera so the doctor can perform the procedure with clear visibility into the abdominal region. My procedure involved three incisions. The first one was inside my bellybutton (the most painful!), one on my left lower abdomen, and one in the pelvis area, just below my bikini line.

As the typically super busy person that I am, I found it easy to avoid and ignore the upcoming surgical procedure for a month and a half leading up to the big day. I stayed off of the WebMD and Mayo Clinic Web sites. I also completely blocked the surgery from my mind until the weekend preceding it. Even then, I really didn’t give the laparoscopy or the cyst removal much thought.

What to Expect on the Morning of the Laparoscopic Cyst Removal

Ask your doctor any questions you may have! (Photo courtesy of Carlos Paes.)When July 15 finally arrived, my stomach was tied in knots. My husband took me to the hospital and my mom and sister met us there. First, I met with a nurse for some preliminary stuff like testing blood pressure and going over a pre-surgery questionnaire.

Somewhat amusingly (in retrospect), I went into my surgical day with the intentions of enjoying a nice celebratory lunch once the pesky ovarian cyst had been whisked out of my body. I imagined French fries and a turkey club, hold the mayo, tomatoes, and lettuce. At first, I had the impression that my laparoscopic cyst removal surgery and recovery were going to be a breeze based on what I heard from the majority of the people who’d had laparoscopy or those who knew someone who had. I was not prepared for what I was about to hear, or what happened to me later that night.

Following some discussion with the nurse, the anesthesiologist visited me to go over some details. He reminded me of a character from one of the medical shows I like to watch so much. He casually informed me of various side effects of the anesthesia that would most likely impact the way I felt after the laparoscopy… nausea, pain, extreme pain in my shoulder from GAS THEY WOULD USE TO INFLATE MY BELLY!!! It now seemed that lunch might not be such a definite part of my day. In fact, I started to get really nervous at this point. Of course, the anesthesiologist assured me that I would already be sleeping for any of the scary parts of the procedure.

Laparoscopy Timing

A quick word on surgery times and scheduling…. Be prepared – there may be a bit of waiting around and sitting in a hospital gown with your butt cheeks flapping in the wind as you await your turn on the morning of your procedure. For me, the worst part besides being scared in general involved the fact that I could not eat or drink anything at all after midnight. I normally guzzle water like it’s going out of style every day, starting around 9 in the morning, if not earlier. It was tough to be allowed only a small sip of water here or there – I think a total of three sips from midnight to my surgery, which didn’t begin until around 11 a.m.

My hubby and mom and sister got to take turns sitting with me until my doctor came by to make sure I was ready. The nurse carted me over to a room where I met another nurse and then received an IV to relax me before they took me into the operating room where I would have the cyst removed from my left ovary. The IV did make me sleepy, and I barely remember anything between getting stuck in the arm and then talking a little bit to the anesthesia guys. The last thing I remember is just a blip – I saw these two big blue, bright lights above me and out I went.

Waking Up from Anesthesia After the Laparoscopy

Oh – did I forget to mention that they put a tube down your throat while they work and as you sleep? Yeah, well luckily they remove it before you wake up, but I did have quite the scratchy throat as I came to. Luckily the nurses have a heavy supply of ice chips and Styrofoam cups with little plastic spoons to help ease the raw throat.

Apparently, upon first waking up I asked the nurse about replacing my navel ring. I guess I was so worried about it closing up that it was the first thing on my mind when I started coming out of the anesthesia. I honestly don’t even remember asking her about it. Truthfully, when I realized the swelling and pain in my belly and especially bellybutton area, I realized that I would not be replacing my bellybutton ring anytime soon. In fact, I don’t think I’m going to replace it at all because I’m quite sure, at more than a week later the piercing hole is more than likely sealed shut. This piercing is the only one I have, other than earrings, so this is the only thing I had to remove besides all my jewelry.

One thing that amused me in particular upon waking up from the anesthesia – if you don’t take enough deep breaths, a machine hooked up to you starts to beep so that a nurse comes over. It took me a few times before I asked her what it meant, and then I made it a point to breathe better. I wanted to get out of the recovery room and go see my honey and my mom and sis! Soon after I learned the trick to earlier release, I found myself on the way back to the original room where I first started out that morning.

What to Expect in the Hospital after the Laparoscopy…


How to Get Brighter, Whiter Teeth and a Fresh, Clean Mouth

There’s really no wrong time for a fresh, clean mouth, and right now is a great time to get on track to whiter, brighter teeth and healthy gums. When soft drinks run aplenty and junk food spans as far as the eye can see, keeping our mouths and teeth fresh and clean can become a bit challenging. Lots of people have an on-the-go mentality, grabbing coffee at every turn, which – along with smoking – can ultimately be the demise of bright, sparkling white teeth.

Whitening your teeth doesn’t necessarily have to involve a cosmetic dentist and an expensive and nerve-wracking dental procedure. You can opt for professional teeth whitening, or you can try some products on your own and follow these tips to brighter and whiter teeth.

TEETH WHITENING TIPS TO TRY

• Go easy on the coffee, soda, and tea. These beverages can stain or generally wreak havoc on your pearly whites.

• Quit smoking! If you smoke, you are doing more damage to your teeth than you may know. Tobacco is a top stain creator on teeth.

• Brush and floss regularly, and brush or rinse after every meal.

• Use a teeth whitening toothpaste or a toothpaste with baking soda to prevent further yellowing or staining of teeth.

• Visit your dentist for professional teeth cleanings at least once every six months.

• Speak with your dentist about any concerns you may have on the coloring of your teeth.

TEETH WHITENING PRODUCTS TO TRY

Colgate Total Advanced Whitening

You’ve got to brush your teeth anyway, so why not use something that tastes delightfully minty and deep cleans your teeth at the same time? Colgate Total Advanced Whitening delivers 12-hour germ-fighting protection to your mouth, which means your mouth feels fresher and cleaner longer.

This toothpaste uses an advanced silica system (similar to what dentists use to polish your teeth) to bring added whitening to your teeth. It features a patented anti-bacterial formula that is gentle, yet designed to protect the mouth tissues and the gaps and surfaces of teeth, even during eating and drinking.

In using the toothpaste, I found it pleasant to the senses and gentle enough for everyday use, as often as needed. The toothpaste tastes great and while I can’t say for sure from my own experience if it leaves noticeable whitening results, Colgate did run various tests to determine the product’s effectiveness. According to these studies, the tests involved real people and found a 30% higher efficacy for whitening teeth than the competition.

For more information on Colgate Total Advanced Whitening, visit Colgate online at www.colgate.com.

The Natural Dentist Whitening plus Peppermint Twist Toothpaste and Oral Rinse

For feel good, guilt-free whitening power, try products from The Natural Dentist. The Natural Dentist delivers Whitening plus Peppermint Twist toothpaste along with a variety of daily mouth rinses that soothe rather than sting. These oral rinse products contain no alcohol, dyes, or harsh chemicals and they are a nice follow-up to the whitening toothpastes.

Although I sometimes have a hard time getting the slightly thick toothpaste out of the tube, the Peppermint Twist toothpaste leaves me with a pleasant minty taste that is worth every bit of effort. Using both the toothpaste and the oral rinse together leaves my mouth feeling super clean and exceptionally refreshed. It’s tough to say if there’s been a notable whitening effect on my teeth in this small trial period, but one thing is for sure – I do feel better about my smile!

The Natural Dentist also offers whitening toothpaste and oral rinse in Orange Zest flavor, as well as a children’s version of toothpaste and mouth rinse. For more information about how to get a natural, healthier, and whiter smile, visit The Natural Dentist online at http://thenaturaldentist.com.

Orbit White Gum

Chewing sugar-free gum can be a good thing to keep your teeth healthy, but it can also help to ease stress and help curb your appetite and your desire to smoke (if you’re trying to quit).

You can make an effort to brighten your smile with Orbit White gum. Created by Wrigley, Orbit White comes in a variety of tasty flavors like Peppermint, Spearmint, Bubblemint, Melon Breeze, and Fruit Sorbet. Gum packs are available in foil packs with cardboard sleeves or in larger canisters containing many pieces.

The Bubblemint flavor is truly delicious and reminiscent of BubbleYum, without as much chewy-blowy bubble. In my humble opinion, sugar-free whitening gum makes a great alternative when you can’t always brush your teeth between meals. It’s also a lovely breath freshener, so you can keep a healthy and clean, fresh mouth! For more information about Orbit White, visit online.

“A confident, white smile is the perfect complement to any wedding dress and doesn’t have to cost a fortune,” says Dr. Debra Glassman, a New York City cosmetic dentist with a long list of celebrity clients (like Jessica Simpson and Halle Berry!).

Relaxation Techniques: Drift Away from Stress

Find a peaceful place... (Photo courtesy of Romeo Koitmäe, morgueFile)

High-stress jobs, multiple roles, and endless personal obligations may leave just about anyone torn and tattered. Renew body mind and spirit with simple relaxation techniques that require only minimal time and energy investment. Take a few moments for yourself every day to refresh and renew your body and spirit. Try yoga, meditation, and massage for a complete rejuvenation of your whole self.

In addition to relieving a degree of one’s current stress load, practicing relaxation techniques on a regular basis has also been shown to promote overall healthier living, better mental condition and fewer incidences of heart attacks, strokes and repeat heart attacks.

Yoga

With strong focus on deep, rhythmic breathing, yoga has become a popular form of alternative healing. Allowing participants to clear their minds and focus on personal goals and calming energies, yoga also aids in the body’s flexibility and overall tone. Deep breaths coupled with yoga stretches and poses assist in renewal of the body, mind and soul. Even if practiced for only a few moments, yoga can positively impact a person’s outlook, guiding him or her effectively toward goals and aspirations.

As an extremely popular activity in recent times, yoga classes are offered at many colleges, health and fitness centers and gyms. For those wishing to learn yoga on their own, countless books and videos are available for that very purpose. Gathering with a group of friends may motivate a first-time yoga participant to make a regular routine of yoga, even if only for a few moments every couple of days.

Meditation

Pick your perfect time of day to meditate. (Photo courtesy of Romeo Koitmäe, morgueFile)By exercising and harnessing the power of the mind, one can truly find mental freedom and escape from stress. Meditation combines a quiet location with a comfortable position, a focus item or idea and a perfect equilibrium between awareness and relaxation. Different posture and positions may be used for those who wish to become more experienced in meditation. When practiced regularly, meditation can positively merge one’s mental, physical and emotional worlds.

Meditation practice does not have to be anything fancy or highly technical. By simply sitting in a comfortable position in a private location, one can use visualization with positive imagery. Repetition of a calming word, phrase or sound, such as “peace,” may aid in one’s ability to focus. Participants may choose whether they wish to meditate with open or closed eyes.

Massage

In addition to yoga and meditation, massage is a great release for both physical and mental tension. Whether receiving a full body massage or a simple but rejuvenating foot massage, special treatment for tense muscles goes a long way. Find a partner and swap massages so both of you can enjoy the healing effect. Instantly feel relaxed and refreshed after reaping the wonderful benefits of a massage.

Yoga, meditation and massage are all wonderful techniques to restore peace and balance within the body, mind and spirit. The power of the mind can be a truly amazing thing – allowing us to dream, believe, conquer and become those things we most desire. Practice relaxation techniques on a regular basis in order to maintain a healthy spirit and calm, tranquil mood.

20 Ways to Relieve Stress

A hot bath can do wonders for the body, mind, and spirit...

When did daily life become so hard? Between jobs or school, household chores, typical errands, raising a family, and maintaining general sanity, days are packed to the gills with more than even Wonder Woman could handle! Here are 20 tips to reduce and relieve stress in your daily life. There’s no time like the springtime to start busting your stress!

To combat all those days brimming with things to do, people to see and places to be, I’ve come up with a list of fun, relaxing and enjoyable things to defeat the stressors in your life this spring. Check them out and see if any of these stress-busters might give you the peace of mind and solace your life is missing.

1. Put on comfy clothes and snuggle up with a good book.

2. And some chocolates.

3. And a cup of tea with some cookies.

4. Take a bubble bath.

5. Give yourself a nice pedicure to pamper yourself AND get your toes in shape for sandals.

6. Determine a maximum amount of money that you are “allowed” to spend and go shopping for new shoes. And a purse. And clothes…

7. Stop and smell the roses.

 

8. Make some popcorn and watch a movie.

9. Enjoy a candlelit dinner.

10. Listen to soft, soothing music.

11. Or, if you really need to get out some frustration, listen to rock and roll or hard core music.

12. Play an instrument – especially guitar, if you know how.

13. Ask someone else to play for you if you don’t know how.

14. Take an entire night to yourself, to be completely worthless. Order take-out, walk around in your jammies and just enjoy having nothing to do.

15. Exercise! Go for a run, walk, jog, bike ride or other athletic activity. Get some friends together and play tennis or golf, have a catch or do something new and exciting in the world of sports.

16. Go on a boat ride. Canoe, sailboat, yacht, kayak – it matters not the kind of boat but that you have a nice, relaxing time on the water.

17. Take a nap or go to bed early. No lie – if you are feeling completely zonked from a tough week, your body will love you for it.

18. Make some “comfort food.” Cupcakes, cookies, cakes, pies…anything sweet and scrumptious is fair game!

19. Get together with your girlfriends and commiserate. When you all share your dilemmas and get the frustration out in the open, it’s a pretty sure thing that you’ll be feeling better in no time.

20. Go on a vacation. Whether you leave for a week or you take a five-minute mental vacation, sometimes an escape from reality is all it really takes to re-energize and rejuvenate yourself.

 

Reducing and relieving stress should be a vital part of your week. Remember to take time for yourself whenever possible. No matter what types of activities – or lack thereof – refuel you and rejuvenate you after a tough workday or workweek, remember that relaxation is only a good night’s sleep away.

The Benefits and Basics of Pilates

Pilates - exercise for body, mind, and spirit

Concentration, control, flexibility, alertness, shape, alignment, strength…. These wonderful characteristics unite in an effort to give you the body you’ve always wanted, merely using your strong mind and your determination. Pilates is a fun and exciting way to get your body to be in great shape and to improve your flexibility. The unification of mind, body and spirit in a coordinated effort will produce the results that you seek as you weave Pilates into your life.

Pilates, founded by Joseph Pilates, offer a focus on the strength of one’s “powerhouse,” which includes abdominal muscles, lower back, buttocks and inner thighs. Designed to follow a natural flow from one position and exercise to the next, Pilates typically features a low number of repetitions in a controlled setting.

By working with low reps and many diverse positions and exercises, those who practice Pilates are often able to improve their body shape without becoming overly exhausted or losing interest. Pilates has also been designed for those who lead busy lifestyles. Without missing a beat during the daily grind, professionals can practice Pilates in 20 minutes or less from the comfort of home.

One of the keys to a successful Pilates program is directing your focus to the appropriate element, essentially your “powerhouse.” By allowing your mind and body to work together, you ultimately introduce visualization into your workout. Try picturing yourself as the object or perfectly in the desired position, and you will improve your posture and enhance your physical strength, not to mention your figure!

Some of the great benefits of Pilates include:
• Body alignment
• Body shape
• Flexibility
• Mental alertness
• Muscle tone
• Posture
• Renewed energy
• Slimming effects
• Stress relief and management

By learning Pilates, you will discover many things about yourself that may have been hidden behind a busy lifestyle. To achieve the most success with your Pilates workouts, you must focus on your “center,” or “powerhouse.”

Concentrate on your breathing, deep breaths in and out, keeping rhythm and clearing your mind. You will also need to focus on the desired positions and movements, striving for precision even if your body cries out in slight discomfort. Maintain control and highly focused concentration. Let each exercise and position flow into the next.

Work your powerhouse. Find your center!Lastly, imagine your body is a rectangle from your shoulders to your hips. With this rectangle serving as your “frame,” be conscious of your frame throughout the workout and try to stay within your frame for best results.

For Pilates to have an effective impact on your body, you must commit to a regular schedule of workouts. You will probably need to workout at least once or twice a week for several weeks before you notice any changes in your body. For best results, consider adding a cardio workout a few times throughout the week.

To get started in Pilates, you first need to make a commitment to yourself. You can read and learn from books, but unless you put what you learn into practice, it isn’t going to do you any good. You can rent, buy or borrow workout tapes and DVDs, but you’ve got to follow a regular routine in order to achieve the benefits of Pilates. Finally, you can join a class that meets weekly or attend a gym where you can drop into classes as you please.

Just remember that the results you achieve are largely tied to the commitment and persistence that you put forth. Your dedication is the key that will take you to the next level!

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Peanut Allergies – One Ounce of Prevention is Worth Ten Tons of Cure

PeanutfreeIn recent years, the presence of life-threatening peanut allergies has increased by leaps and bounds. “Peanut-free Classroom” and “Peanut-free Lunchroom” are becoming household phrases as extra precautions are taken to ensure the safety and well being of all students. Something as small as a fleck of peanut dust or a piece of food cooked in peanut oil can send individuals with peanut allergies into a full-fledged array of symptoms, ranging from itching and hives to all-out anaphylactic shock.

Peanut allergies arouse more symptoms than most other food allergies, often beginning with a tingling sensation that creeps into the mouth and the lips, sometimes followed by facial swelling and wheezing. Itching, hives and a feeling of warmth are also common indicators of a reaction. Other typical allergy symptoms such as cough, itchy throat, nasal symptoms, colicky pain, abdominal pain and nausea also occur within minutes of contact or ingestion. Another common symptom is Erythema, or reddening of the skin.

Of highest concern, anaphylactic shock occurs in serious cases of peanut allergies, causing difficulty breathing, asthma, swollen throat, and/or a drop in blood pressure. Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening reaction to sometimes even the smallest traces of an allergen, causing excessive swelling to the throat and obstructed breathing, which necessitates immediate medical attention. If not treated, collapse and unconsciousness have also happened as a response to the peanut allergy aggravation.

For those with peanut allergies, consuming peanut products or foods cooked with peanut products is comparable to ingesting toxins. In these individuals’ bodies, an enzyme does not exist to properly break down and digest the proteins contained in peanuts. This causes the body to react as if the peanuts were poison.

 

Suspicions exist as to whether consumption of peanuts and peanut products by pregnant mothers increases a child’s chances of being born with a peanut allergy. No substantial evidence can advise on this issue, but it is suggested that those at-risk (i.e.-those with an immediate family member who is allergic) refrain from peanuts and peanut products while pregnant and if breast-feeding. Also, it is important to avoid exposing an at-risk child to peanuts and products made from peanuts until at least three years of age.

Even when presence of a fatal peanut allergy is not 100% certain, it is important to be vigilant about checking certain foods for peanut ingredients before eating or serving to those with allergies. Items such as pastries and baked goods like cakes and cookies are especially prone to containing nuts. It is better to check into the contents prior to taking even the smallest bite. Cereals, crackers, ice creams, candy, health bars and granola bars also pose the possibility of containing nuts, and Oriental dishes often contain nuts or cook in peanut oils. When dining in a restaurant, it is perfectly acceptable to make your peanut allergy known to your server in order to ensure the most cautious care.

Problems also arise when companies produce food products on the same machines or in the same work area. If a company produces candy with nuts and without nuts, there is always the dangerous possibility that a crumb or a tiny bit of the nut could find its way into the packaging of another product. Furthermore, those with peanut allergies may also face problems when someone in the same room has consumed peanut products. Even just opening a jar of peanut butter or a can of peanuts may be enough to agitate the symptoms of someone who is highly allergic.

Another concern comes into play if you are dating someone with a peanut allergy or if your child is allergic. When you share meals or prepare baked goodies, avoidance of peanut products is critical. Holidays bring pounds and pounds of sweets and treats that could be brimming with hidden bits of peanuts in the crust, in the filling and in the toppings. By the way, there IS a wrong way to eat a Reese’s… if someone you love is allergic to peanuts! The bottom line: be careful if anyone you know has a peanut allergy.

 

So once you or someone you know have been diagnosed with a peanut allergy, what is there to do? Sometimes encounters occur without any notice or warning, and immediate actions must be taken to alleviate the problem. A device known as the Epipen provides the body with a life-saving injection of adrenaline to combat the toxins of the ingested peanuts (or other allergens). Emergency medical attention is often required for severe allergic reactions. If you know you will be around someone with a peanut allergy, simply take the extra time to safeguard him or her from any risky encounters. Avoidance of peanuts and peanut products altogether is the best precaution you can take, and vigilance in this matter is invaluable.

Tips for living with a peanut allergy:

– Always check ingredient lists before consuming foods / serving foods to those with allergies.

– If you have young children with peanut allergies, it is best to keep the products out of the house or locked up to prevent accidental ingestion.

– When ordering in a restaurant, ask to find out if the ingredients include peanuts or peanut oil, peanut flour, or other peanut products.

– Keep an Epipen and emergency contact numbers close at hand, and be sure you have quick access to a phone in case of an emergency.

– Be cautious at all times. The extra minute or two you spend to avoid taking chances could be all it takes to save a live!

Holiday Beauty Tips to Pamper Your Soul

With the crazed hustle and bustle of the holiday season, many little things may get pushed aside. Taking some special time and solace for ourselves is often the last thing on our minds, and our favorite TV shows and moments of relaxation often fall to the wayside. Even if only for half an hour, be sure to plan a special treat for yourself. Do something for YOU at least once a week, to save your sanity if nothing else!

1. Take a hot bubble bath, heavy on the suds. You’ve been on your feet all day long – from holiday shopping to cooking dinner for the family, to wrapping and hiding presents and the never-ending cleaning list of laundry, dishes and more. Needless to say, you need a break in a big way.

Grab your favorite book, a glass of ice water, cup of tea or a soft drink and transform your everyday bathroom into your own personal spa and secluded haven. Turn on some soft music if you wish and don’t forget to light a few scented candles. Relax for as long as you like, letting the sudsy bathwater wash your cares away.

2. Treat your feet to a perfect pedicure! Make an appointment at your favorite salon or purchase some supplies and do it yourself. Select a pretty color of nail polish and give your feet the delightful makeover they deserve! If you opt for the latter, be sure to have a soft fluffy towel and a nice pair of comfy slippers set aside for your beautiful feet!

3. Relax as you enjoy a facial. Here you also have the choice of an at-home facial or a professional salon treatment. Should you choose to do your own facial, don’t forget some relaxing music, cucumber slices for your eyes and a soft towel to dry off your face. Follow the normal routine of cleansing, exfoliating, toning and moisturizing. After you exfoliate, you can choose between an astringent, toner or a facial mud masque. For your at home facial, the mud masque can be especially soothing and beneficial for zapping excess oil, blackheads and other impurities. Once done, your face will feel soft and silky smooth.

4. Get your nails done, or do them yourself. Sometimes something as basic as painting your nails or having them professionally done can be a real pick-me-up. Around the holidays, we get so bogged down with things to do like mailing Christmas cards, making cookies, buying, wrapping and hiding presents, cleaning the house, cooking family meals and more – that we rarely get to do nice things for ourselves. Set aside a little bit of time for yourself and paint your nails or schedule a manicure. You will feel great every time you look at them for the rest of the holiday season!

5. Try out a new haircut or hairstyle! Be bold, be daring or be creative. Get a new hairstyle to give you a boost when you need it most. Getting wrapped up in the holiday hustle is something that happens to most of us. Knowing when to step back and do something to break up the monotony is important, especially if we begin to tire of our daily routines.

Sometimes dressing up, fixing our hair and applying makeup require more time, thought and energy than we are willing to expend. When you start to feel as if you are at the point of not caring, consider getting a new hair-do or experimenting with hair accessories and new styles. It might be just the pick-me-up you need to revitalize your energy and your attitude!

You can do many things to reduce your stress levels, relax and replenish your energy. Instead of hiding in your bedroom with a bottle of wine and box of chocolates, do something that treats your body as well as it treats your soul!