3 Reasons To Take Vitamins

Trying to boost your health and wellness? One of the things people turn to when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet is taking a daily vitamin. Some stick with a multivitamin, whereas others choose among the plethora of individuals vitamins. Are you considering vitamins to help with your health? Here are three reasons why you should take vitamins:

Boost In Energy

If you are lacking in a particular vitamin, such as one of the B vitamins, you may find that consuming a multivitamin helps you feel better and increase your overall energy levels. Simply put, your body has to work harder and does not work as efficiently or as well as it would if you were getting everything you needed.

Increased Immunity

Your immune system works to prevent you from falling ill and helps you to recover faster if you do fall ill. Some of the key vitamins for increasing your immune system’s health include vitamins C, E, and B6. Vitamin C is the general immune system booster and is important since your body does not produce it—you must consume it. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant and helps your body fight off infection, and vitamin B6 supports biochemical reactions in your immune system.

Healthy Hair And Skin

Some research suggest certain vitamins can help hair and skin grow, repair from wounds better, et cetera. Vitamin C helps with both hair and skin, whereas others just work for one or the other, including biotin for hair and CoQ10 for skin. Healthy skin and hair is important to help boost your feelings about your appearance. Wound repair is particularly important—we are all going to get cuts and scrapes over the years, so healthy skin ensures we will heal as well as we possibly can.

3 Pitfalls Of Dieting

We all want to look and feel good in our bodies, right? This will likely apply to just about everyone, even if the focus is not on a specific weight. However, people will still be constantly looking for ways to achieve their goal of looking and feeling good. Perhaps the most popular and significant way people work towards this is through dieting. Unfortunately, however, there are some major pitfalls of dieting. Let’s review three now:

Focus On Restriction

The defining aspect of most diets is restriction: what you cannot have while on the diet. This might be specific foods or general nutrients. It’s popular to have people restrict carbohydrates, fats, salt, et cetera. That said, the focus on restriction can work against you in a couple major ways. The first is that your body need all nutrients in some quantity, which means restricting or eliminating one or more can compromise your body. It might rebel and try to overcompensate, which can actually make your metabolism slow down, or otherwise work against you and actually cause you to gain weight. As well, a significant restriction can actually increase your cravings, and if you are not careful there could be a significant backslide.

Shift Too Soon

The clock strikes midnight on January 1st and you decide today is the day you will start the diet. Or you decide you will do it in a couple days. On Monday. Tuesday perhaps. Most people decide they will make a sudden shift to dieting—but this is a significant potential pitfall. Making a sudden shift and embarking on the full scale diet puts you at risk of falling off the wagon and abandoning the diet in a dramatic ways (e.g. you restrict everything right away only to binge on something you tried to restrict.

Not Sustainable

Unfortunately, the biggest pitfall of many diets out there is the fact they are not sustainable. You cannot keep going on them in the long run, otherwise your body and your overall health will begin to suffer at a certain point. This is why it is much better to build a healthy, balanced meal plan and add in exercise to help you achieve your wellness goals.

3 Common Food Allergies

Any food can cause an allergic reaction—it all depends on the person. What might cause a reaction in a couple of people won’t in anyone else. However, there are some that seem to cause far more allergic reactions than others. Let’s review three of the most common food allergies now:

Peanuts

This is the one we hear about the most among children. Specifically, we know about it because just about every parent will have received at least one notice from the school requesting no snacks or lunches with peanuts, peanut butter, et cetera involved, as there are some at the school with a severe allergy. Even if you aren’t a parent, you likely remember not being allowed to take certain snacks or Halloween candy to school because there were peanuts or peanut products in it.

What makes a peanut allergy so dangerous is the allergens they contain cannot be destroyed through any cooking process, and even tiny amounts can cause a reaction, which can be very unfortunate for those with a severe allergy (many have died because they received medical attention too late and the reaction was so severe). A common reaction is anaphylaxis.

Shellfish

Although not common among children—simply because they are not exposed to shellfish nearly as often as adults (picky eaters), an allergy to shellfish is still among the most prevalent. This is in part because when someone experiences a reaction with one type, they are likely to experience an allergic reaction to other types. The common types of shellfish people will react to include shrimp, lobster, scallops, oysters, and crab—although just about any shellfish qualifies. Some with a severe allergy may even react to the fumes of cooking shellfish.

Dairy or Gluten

This is a little contentious because many people might think they have an allergy to dairy products or products containing gluten, but it may actually not be true. For instance, many of the people who think they might be allergic to milk and other dairy products may simply be lactose intolerant, in which case there is a pill they can take in order to digest dairy properly. Many also jump on the gluten-free bandwagon without receiving a doctor’s official diagnosis of celiac disease, which does fall under the definition of an allergy to wheat products (which contain gluten).

2 Ways To Melt Chocolate

While you can easily make chocolate chip cookies without needing to worry about melting chocolate, this is not the case with many baking recipes. From brownies to cake to fudge, you will encounter many different recipes that require you to melt chocolate until smooth if you do any baking at all. So how can you melt chocolate and do so effectively? Let’s look into it now:

Microwave Method

First, you will have to either pour the chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl, or roughly chop up the chocolate (if you are using bars). Then, place it in the microwave and slowly heat the chocolate. Start with roughly 20 to 30 seconds of time in the microwave before pausing and stirring. You can keep going in short intervals (never more than 30 seconds) in between stirs until your chocolate is mostly melted. If there are one or two lumps, you can generally let the residual heat take care of the rest. You have to be very careful with this method, because chocolate can burn in an instant when you are microwaving it, since there is more hands off time when you cannot touch it.

Double Boiler

Perhaps the best way to effective melt chocolate for baking recipes is to create a double boiler. First, grab a tall pot and fill the bottom with a little bit of water. You also need to get a metal bowl to place in the pot, but you must match the sizes so it sits comfortably (as if you turned a lid upside down) on the pot sides rather than falling in. Also be sure to avoid having the bottom of the bowl touch the water.

Bring the water to a boil and then pout the chocolate chips or chopped chocolate into the metal bowl. Use a plastic spatula to constantly stir the chocolate until smooth.

3 Foods That Make Acne Worse

Can you make a bad situation worse? Some studies and people will claim eating certain foods can and will make your acne worse than it already is. The good news? Well, chances are you won’t cause acne because of eating the food on this list—maybe it would contribute, but more often than not there is another factor, unless you are allergic and a result of that allergy is acne.

Saturated Fat

Saturated fat is a big part of most fast food as well as fried food, and as such is the main culprit behind food-related acne breakouts. It is not really clear why this is the case, one theory indicates the saturated fat clogs your pores, but multiple studies show people who consumed more food high in saturated fat had worse acne than those who did not.

Refined Carbohydrates

Foods with a lot of refined carbohydrates—such as cookies, muffins, and other baked goods—are almost always highly processed. The refined carbohydrates also mean there is likely to be added sugar and other harmful ingredients when it comes to acne and breakouts. This type of food is often linked to spikes in blood sugar, which is supposed to be a contributor to acne breakouts.

Milk

This one is a little contentious, but generally if you do not tolerate milk well, you are probably at a higher risk for moderate to severe acne and more breakouts. In addition, some feel milk and some other dairy products will cause a spike in testosterone, the aftereffects of which can result in increased acne. The only way to  truly know if this is the case for you, however, is to experiment with your diet and cut out one thing at a time—since you could cut out milk without your acne changing, while another person could see a dramatic difference.

3 Foods That Help Acne

Can you eat your way to clear skin? Well, maybe not if you only rely on food if you are predisposed to acne breakouts, but you can certainly give your skin a lot of help by eating the right kinds of food. Do you want some examples on what you should include more of in your diet? We have the big three foods that help acne here for you:

Fruits And Vegetables

Now, the reason fruits and vegetables help clear your skin is actually two-fold. The first is because many fruits and vegetables are full of water (e.g. celery, cucumber, and watermelon), which helps keep your body hydrated. Staying hydrated is a great way to flush acne-causing toxins! The second reason is because fruits like blueberries (and some vegetables) are full of antioxidants, which also help to keep your skin clear.

Fish

Fish, particularly salmon, sardines, and tuna, are full of omega-3 fatty acids, which help your cells build and regenerate. This helps acne to disappear faster, other wounds to heal quicker, et cetera. Fish oil is also a good choose, since it reduces inflammation and thus can clear up the angry red acne some people experience. However, you should avoid fried and/or breaded fish, since this can introduce things like refined carbohydrates or oils into your skin that can actually make you acne worse. When cooking your fish, if you want the best results, we recommend either baking or steaming it. This way you avoid adding in any unhealthy ingredients that will counteract the benefits.

Cashews

Yes, eating cashews is supposed to help clear your acne. Well, anything with a high amount of zinc will do the trick—we just love cashews! Why is this the case? Zinc is said to have anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties, which both help keep your skin in the best possible shape, reducing the chances of you developing severe cases of acne.

3 Reasons To Eat Seasonally

For the most part, we have the luxury of eating whatever produce we want regardless of the season. There are only ever a couple exceptions, and even then you can generally find a way around it (e.g. fresh cranberries only seem to appear in the fall, but you can still buy the frozen variety all year). But eating seasonally, that is, planning your menu around the produce growing naturally in each season, makes a lot of sense. But why is eating seasonally such a good idea? Let’s look at the three major reasons why:

Increased Flavour

Although people have figured out how to grow fruits and vegetables regardless of the season (e.g. in a greenhouse), there is no mimicking the taste of a naturally grown piece of produce when the season is right. When you try to grow a fruit or vegetable outside its native season (e.g. raspberries in the fall), you have to manufacture the normal environment. However, even a manufactured environment cannot do everything the same as the natural one, which is why there is a distinct difference in quality of taste when you consume things out of season.

Increased Availability

When a particular fruit or vegetable is in season, you tend to have much more of them available, which is why you will find a plethora of raspberries and similar in the warmer months, and more pumpkin in the colder months. Since there is increased availability, you can buy more of it and do not really need to worry about the grocery store running out of what you need.

Better Price

Did you know when you decide what you are going to eat based on what products are in season, you can get a better price? This goes hand in hand with the increased availability—since there is so much, the grocery stores can afford to lower the prices (or even have to move more product).

3 Tips For Keeping Your Food And Fitness New Years Resolutions

Some of the most popular New Years Resolutions are linked in one way or another to food or fitness. Perhaps the most common is “to lose weight.” Other common resolutions are “join a gym,” “eat healthier,” and “stop snacking.” In addition to the vast number of people making these resolutions, studies have shown these are, by far, the ones that fall to the wayside as the year progresses. There is a reason many say regular gym goers should avoid going in January because it will be super crowded, but by February things will have normally calmed down.

Thus, we have gathered three key tips to help you keep your food and fitness New Years Resolutions the next time you make them. Here they are now:

Make A Realistic Plan

First things first, you need to make your resolution realistic. This can mean a number of different things for certain people and the resolution they are trying to make. In most cases, however, this means making the resolution measurable and attainable. For instance, saying you want to “lose weight” or “go to the gym” does not help you very much. However, saying you want to “lose 100 pounds” or “go to the gym every day for 2 hours” won’t help you either, since those are extreme and likely not attainable for most people. Instead, consider what a realistic goal might be, like losing 20 pounds during the year, or just going three times a week for an hour. Making realistic plans like this will put the potential of you keeping your food and fitness New Years Resolutions well within reach.

Consider Creating Rewards

Sometimes the key to keeping your resolutions, no matter what they are, is in what you are going to get out of it. In certain instances, the motivation of what your body will look like after the weight loss or the benefits of going to the gym will be enough, but this is actually very rare, especially at the beginning of a new resolve. You will likely need some other assistance. We highly recommend avoiding food rewards for your food and fitness New Years Resolutions. Instead, look at other things you enjoy, like reading books, painting, watching Netflix, et cetera. Figure out a system like you can watch a couple episode of your favourite show on Netflix if you go to the gym three times this week. Whatever works for you!

Give Yourself A Break

Even with your best efforts and intentions, it is still possible you won’t be perfect at your food and fitness New Years Resolutions immediately. Maybe one week you miss a day at the gym and only go twice instead of three times. Maybe you overindulge one night on food. In both cases, it is not the end of the world. There is no reason for you to give up on your resolutions completely!

3 Tips To Eat Healthier

Do you want to eat healthier, but really aren’t sure where to begin? Don’t want to go on a special diet? We have the best three tips here for you, designed specifically to help anyone and everyone to eat healthier with little effort:

Never Skip Breakfast

Start your day off right ever single day by never skipping breakfast. There are countless reports that indicate if you skip breakfast you are far more likely to not only overeat later in the day, but also reach for unhealthy food options. Thus, the first building block of your day should be a healthy, balanced breakfast.  Throw out those sugary cereals and reach for things like fresh fruit and whole wheat toast. Your body will thank you, and your future elf will too later on in the day.

Change Habits When Eating Out

Eating out isn’t always a bad thing, but it can be very difficult to eat healthy when you are grabbing a quick dinner. This is why we recommend shifting your habits. First, you should avoid the places offering fast food (e.g. where they have a drive thru or a mall food court). They have next to no healthy options! Choosing where you eat out is the first step to a healthy eating experience. Of course, the best thing is to reduce how often you eat out and make the majority of your meals at home.

Don’t Buy It

You are far more likely to give into temptation if you buy unhealthy food. Once it is in your home, your resolve drops dramatically. This is why one of the cardinal rules for eating healthier is to avoid buying the junk in the first place. Or, at least, far less often than you normally would, since the occasional indulgence is perfectly fine (and healthy if you want to avoid binges).

 

3 Tips For Starting Clean Eating

Are you thinking about overhauling your diet and engaging in clean eating? Before you dive straight into this, you should think about your execution plan so you don’t find yourself backtracking soon after you begin. Ready? Here are three essential tips when starting clean eating:

Go Meal By Meal

Don’t go all in right away—this is a recipe for reverting quite quickly. Instead, start with one meal every so often where you adhere to the clean eating rules and slowly increase this over time. It might take you even up to a year to have every meal adhere to the clean eating rules, but it will be worth it. Besides, you will be far less likely to backtrack when you take things slower.

Read All Labels

When you are grocery shopping during the transition phase, and even after you are always eating clean meals, you should get used to reading every label. Familiarizing yourself with the ingredients you are allowed to eat (and the ones you can’t) is key to an effective clean eating diet. You can consult other information regarding clean eating to understand some of the ingredients you will need to watch out for, of course, but you will only truly be able to catch everything if you always read the labels of things before you buy them. Being familiar with the labels also helps when you need to clean out your pantry.

Embrace Leftovers

Cooking meals all the time can be exhausting. This is even more so the case when you only eat clean, since you no longer have the option of eating things like frozen pizza, frozen burritos, et cetera. The convenience meals, for the most part, do not exist anymore.  This is why we recommend you simply cook a little more for dinner, so you can consumer leftovers for your lunch! When it gets down to it, you will be cooking less.