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5 Things You Should Know About Detox Teas

So-called “detox” teas have been popular for years, primarily among people who frequent health-food stores, or consult with alternative practitioners. These days, though, they’ve become big business, and a handful of celebrities are touting their weight-loss benefits on social media. In a way, detox teas have become the liquid version of waist trainers—the before and after results are often dramatic, and their celeb backing generates buzz, but you may be wondering: Do they really work, and are they safe? Before you plunk down your hard-earned money and start sipping, here are five things you should know.

You still have to diet and exercise for them to work

One detox tea brand, recently Instagrammed by Amber Rose, advises per their website that for “best results,” the tea should be consumed along with plenty of water, healthy, balanced meals, and three to five workouts a week. Another, which has been Instagrammed by several celebs, including Kourtney Kardashian, Christina Milian, and Hilary Duff, states online that the tea “…is recommended to be taken in conjunction with a healthy energy-controlled diet and regular exercise” and the website offers an accompanying meal plan for sale. Personally, I’d love to see a study comparing outcomes generated by a detox tea compared to a placebo, with both groups following the exact same eating plan, but I haven’t found any. That makes it difficult to know whether the weight-loss results people are getting from these teas are actually due to drinking them, or simply the result of  a cleaned-up diet and consistent workout routine, which we already know can lead to weight loss. In any case, simply sipping detox tea while continuing to skip the gym and order takeout is unlikely to help you shrink your shape.

You might lose water weight, not actual fat

Detox teas that combine caffeine with diuretics can trigger the loss of water weight. Just two cups of water weighs one pound on a scale, so shedding fluid can make you look and feel lighter—even if you haven’t lost an ounce of body fat. Detox teas can also trigger a laxative effect, which causes your body to eliminate waste from your GI tract, another result that can make your stomach flatter, and allow you to feel lighter, even if your lean-to-fat ratio remains exactly the same. If this quick-fix effect gives you the confidence boost and motivation you need to start eating healthier and working out—the real keys to getting healthy and lean—terrific (assuming the teas are even safe to drink—see below). Just remember: If you go back to your former less-than-stellar eating or exercise habits, or stop drinking the tea, you can gain the weight right back just as quick as you dropped it.

Some detox tea ingredients can have unwanted side effects

In addition to actual tea, detox concoctions typically include additional herbs, which may be designed to curb appetite, rev metabolism, or boost weight loss in other ways. One example is senna, a plant with a natural laxative effect. According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, the potential side effects of senna use may include abdominal pain and discomfort, cramps, bloating, gas, nausea, and diarrhea; excessive use can lead to potassium depletion and other electrolyte abnormalities, which can trigger muscle spasms and an abnormal heart rhythm. Another popular ingredient in weight loss teas is guarana, a plant that’s often added to energy drinks. Its side effects are commonly related to its caffeine content, which may include nervousness, restlessness, stomach irritation, nausea, vomiting, headache, anxiety, agitation, ringing in the ears, and fast heart and breathing rates. Bottom line: Do your homework about exactly what’s in a product before you put it in your body. Even “all-natural” substances can have potential side effects, especially if they’re overused, combined with other supplements or medications that result in negative interactions, or if taken by those with pre-existing medical conditions. RELATED: 10 Fast Weight Loss Tips (We Tried Them!)

They may interfere with sleep

Most detox teas contain caffeine, probably because this stimulant may suppress appetite, trigger your digestive system to let go of waste, and help you shed water weight. A caffeine-induced energy boost may also lead to working out a little longer or harder than usual. However, too much caffeine can also be risky (see above) and interfere with getting enough sleep—and catching too few zzzs may ultimately undo the tea’s weight-loss effects. In fact, too little shuteye has been shown to trigger excessive eating and weight gain and even slow metabolism, which can make it easier to gain weight even if you don’t eat extra calories. A good rule of thumb, regardless of where your caffeine is coming from, is to nix it at least six hours before bed. And if you’re trying to shed pounds, commit to making adequate sleep a top priority.

The research on detox teas is scant

While there are some published studies on various ingredients often found in detox teas, I haven’t seen any research on the teas themselves, particularly in the precise formulas they’re prescribed (that research isn’t required for the teas to be sold, by the way). That means that using detox teas leaves unanswered questions about if and how they work, how they should be used, how much may be too much, and possibly who shouldn’t use them. If you’re unsure, or are planning to start drinking them, talk to your doctor, nutritionist, or health care provider. Just be sure he or she doesn’t have a vested interest in the sale of the product you’re considering: If they happen to be selling or endorsing it, seek a second opinion.

 

Source: http://news.health.com/2015/06/15/5-things-you-should-know-about-detox-teas/

heartratemonitortraining

Best heart rate monitors and HRM watches

Want to get fit, fast and strong? Just listen to your heart

Strapping on a good heart rate monitor is an easy way to supercharge your training. It not only makes your stats more accurate, but it also enables you to start heart rate training in specific zones, which can make your regime more efficient.

Increasingly, companies are starting to add heart rate monitors into running watches and fitness trackers, which use optical sensors to detect the blood racing through your veins. But as we’ve recently found out, while these new optical sensors are a great way to ditch the chest strap and get beginners thinking about their heart rate, if you’re serious about accuracy, you need to stick to the chest strap for the foreseeable future.

 

The bottom line is this: if you want pinpoint accuracy, get a chest strap. If you’re just after more colour in your workout, and aren’t interested in spending your sessions at specific bpms, a wrist-based monitor will do.

Read on for our recommendations.

 

Best heart rate training chest straps

MyZone MZ-3

The MyZone MZ-3 offers a whole lot more than simple bpm (beats per minute) recordings. You get your heart going with the strap on – whether that be running, rowing, swimming, cycling or a session in the gym – and earn points based on your bpm. Rather than simply scoring highly based on a big heart rate reading, the MyZone studies your effort over time and handicaps your levels.

Like the Tickr X, the MZ-3 has storage for 16 hours of data, so you don’t always have to carry your smartphone while exercising.

$149.99, myzone.com

Wahoo Tickr X

While we’ve seen the chest strap take a back seat in recent months, making way for more tech-filled watches and fitness bands, Wahoo knows it’s not dead yet. And the Tickr X is the highest scoring heart rate monitoring device on Wareable right now with a very impressive four and a half stars out of five in our review.

The Wahoo Tickr X has internal memory that’ll store 16 hours of your heart rate data and additional motion analytics that track your cycles too. You can workout without your smartphone, and then transfer all the data back when you’re home and showered.

$99.99, wahoofitness.com | Amazon

Garmin HRM Tri

best heart rate monitor strap

A real pro tool for Triathletes, this ultra-small and light (a mere 49g) heart rate strap adds considerable bike and running smarts to some of the pool functions of the HRM Swim.

With an built-in accelerometer that’ll deliver cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time data (like Garmin’s HRM Run) while on two legs, and HR stat storage while actually underwater, this is one of the most rounded tools for the three disciplines there is out there. Garmin has also ensured there are no exposed seams and all edges are soft and rounded to prevent rubbing or any wetsuit-doffing difficulties.

$130, garmin.com | Amazon

Suunto Smart Sensor

best heart rate monitors

Suunto claims the Smart Sensor is the world’s smallest Bluetooth Smart heart rate monitor, and it’s probably right; it’s unfeasibly tiny. The size of a quarter, this little marvel has tiny studs that clip into Suunto’s colour-coded belts, as well as compatible Movesense clothing. It’ll store heart rate data underwater, but won’t send updates in real time, while on land it’ll track heart rate and calories burned.

It’s Bluetooth Smart, so it’ll pair direct with Suunto’s Movescount app on your Android or iOS phone, as well as with Ambit devices. At 40g, it’s no heavyweight, and it’s waterproof to 30m.

$79, suunto.com | Amazon

Best running watches with built-in HRM

TomTom Spark

best heart rate monitor

The TomTom Spark follows a series of well-received HR and sports trackers from TomTom, adding an integrated music player into the mix. The 3GB storage gives you more than 500 power ballads at your disposal and there’s even a super-charged ‘Running Trax’ option, a bespoke mix of dance anthems via the Ministry of Sound.

The built-in heart rate monitor means there’s no need for a traditional HR strap, and combines with GPS and activity tracking tools to make this an all-in-one fitness device par-excellence. The Spark is available now in a series of bundles including Bluetooth headphones.

$200, tomtom.com | Amazon

Garmin Forerunner 235

The 235 is the Garmin watch with its own bespoke optical HR tech built in. It features full GPS tracking tech, a water resistant build and, more importantly, the brilliantly detailed and useful Garmin Connect software. While the HR feedback from running isn’t exactly bang on the money, the data is usable for steady run sessions. What’s more, the Forerunner 235 will keep track of your resting heart rate and steps when worn all day, making it a great companion for hardcore fitness types.

Check out our full Garmin Forerunner 225 review.

$299.99, garmin.com | Amazon

Mio Alpha 2

Best heart rate monitor and HRM watches

The Mio Alpha 2 takes an EKG-accurate heart rate reading right from your wrist. Heart rate zones can be configurable, with an LED flashing light alerting you to your current zone, and it works with lots of different fitness apps. The onboard memory can hold 25 hours of workout data, with all the distance, pace, speed and calories data coming from the accelerometer.

One big caveat – the Mio does heart rate tracking well, but in our Alpha 2review we found that it isn’t enough of an all-rounder for the price.

$199.99, mioglobal.com | Amazon

Fitbit Surge

Best heart rate monitor and HRM watches

Fitbit’s Surge boasts an optical heart rate sensor and PurePulse tech that’ll automatically monitor your stats every few seconds, using the data to maximise your training and accurately track calorie burn.

You can set a target heart rate zone, ensuring you’re pushing yourself enough but not overtraining, and then beam all the data back to the fantastic companion apps. These apps have a nifty trick up their sleeve too – the ability to plot all of your heart rate readings on a graph and review all the data from many weeks in one go. In our Fitbit Surge review, though, what we didn’t like was the price, the uninspiring design and display and the very basic smartphone notifications.

$249, fitbit.com | Amazon

Best fitness trackers with HRM

Garmin Vivosmart HR

With HR on the wrist, the Garmin Vivosmart HR is a little less intrusive that wearing one of the companies GPS watches all day long – and with top 24/7 HR monitoring, all day wear is advised. However, there are some problems. There’s no GPS built in, which makes it far less appealing to runners, accuracy dwindles at high intensity and excessive wrist flex during weight sessions.

Take a look out our full Garmin Vivosmart HR review.

$149.99, garmin.com | Amazon

Fitbit Blaze

Like any wrist-based HR monitor, the Blaze suffers big problems at high intensity where it succumbs to a fairly hefty lag time and motion noise. However, it’s still good enough to colour workouts in the gym and on the road if you’re not too worried about pinpoint accuracy? On the plus side, the resting heart rate tracking is up there with the best, and if you’re put off by the technical graphs of its competitors, Fitbit’s app is one of the most accessible ways to track your workouts.

$249.99, fitbit.com | Amazon

Jawbone UP3 and UP4

The UP3 and UP4 are almost identical apart from the NFC payment feature available on the UP4. Advance bioimpedance sensors on both bands automatically keep an eye on your resting heart rate, using the data to let you know how to take better care of yourself. A new update adds passive heart rate monitoring too.

The band can determine what activity you’re doing and automatically adjust, while the Smart Coach is like a personal trainer on your wrist, giving you encouragement when you need it most. Take a look at our Jawbone UP3 review.

$179.99, jawbone.com | Amazon

Headphones with heart rate monitoring

Jabra Sport Pulse

Best heart rate monitor and HRM watches

The Pulse takes a rather unique approach, taking your heart rate from your ears instead. These wireless in-ear headphones banish the need for chest straps or watches, taking the reading from your lug holes and sending that data to your smartphone via Bluetooth, with spoken feedback as you go.

Another high scorer in its Wareable review, we gave the Sport Pulse four starsfor its features, comfortable fit and neat audio options. That said, some heart rate readings were dubious and again, it is an expensive wearable.

$199.99, jabra.com | Amazon

 

Source: http://www.wareable.com/fitness-trackers/best-heart-rate-monitor-and-watches

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4 Reasons to Try Underwater Spinning

If you thought spinning was trendy, get ready for the next big thing: underwater spinning. It’s just what it sounds like, which means it involves even more water than most sweat-drenched spin classes. Yes, you heard that right: you can now cycle in the pool, combining the low-impact nature of swimming with the hardcore exercise of a spinning class.

If you love spinning but feel like you’ve mastered the traditional version, then it might be time for you to give this new trend a try.

The concept of underwater spinning is really simple: it’s a static bike class, with the exception that the bikes are located in a swimming pool. Your legs and hips are submerged in the water throughout the class, while your head and shoulders are kept safely above water level. Underwater spinning classes might be popping up at a studio near you soon, so here are four reasons why you might want to give this new trend a try.

Burn Hundreds of Calories Every Hour

If you thought spinning was good for keeping off the pounds, then get ready to take it to a whole new level. The resistance of the water means that you have to work even harder to keep the pedals turning. Underwater spinning studios claim that it is possible to burn up to 800 calories an hour in one of these classes. If that claim is true, then this is one form of exercise that could really make excess weight melt away when combined with a healthy diet.

Protect Your Joints

Exercises that are done in water have much less impact on the joints than exercising on land does. The water supports the weight of your body, protecting your joints from harm while you work out. If you have problems with joint pain, are recovering from an injury, or are overweight or pregnant, then this low-impact form of exercise could help you to burn calories while minimizing the risk of hurting yourself.

Get a Massage 

As you cycle, the water moves over your legs and glutes, effectively massaging the muscles and other tissues. Aqua Studio, which offers aqua cycling classes in NYC, claims that this water massage can reduce cellulite and improve skin tone.

Work Your Core

When cycling in water, the amount of weight pressing into the pedals, handlebars, and seat is reduced. Rather than putting pressure on your legs, underwater spinning focuses more on working your core. Want to get killer abs? This could be a good place to start.

Have you tried an underwater spinning class? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!

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9 Foods That Boost Metabolism Naturally

Foods that boost metabolism

Your metabolism is partly ruled by genetics, but you can rev it up naturally by eating right. Fill up on the following nine foods to increase your body’s fat-burning power.

 

Egg whites

Egg-Whites

Egg whites are rich in branched-chain amino acids, which keep your metabolism stoked, says Chicago nutritionist David Grotto, RDN. Eggs are also loaded with protein and vitamin D.

 

Lean meat

lean meat

Lean meat is full of iron; deficiencies in the mineral can slow metabolism. Eat three to four daily servings of iron-rich foods, such as chicken or fortified cereal.

 

Water

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If you’re even mildly dehydrated, your metabolism may slow down, says Scott Isaacs, MD, clinical instructor of medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine. Tip: Drink water cold, which forces your body to use more calories to warm it up.

 

Chili peppers

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Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical compound that can kick metabolism into higher gear, Dr. Isaacs says. He suggests adding a tablespoon of chopped chili peppers to a meal once a day. Chili peppers are also an unexpected source of vitamin C.

 

Coffee

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A study published in Physiology & Behavior found that the average metabolic rate of people who drank caffeinated coffee was 16 percent higher than that of those who drank decaf.

 

Green Tea

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The brew contains a plant compound called EGCG, which promotes fat-burning, research suggests.

 

Milk

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Studies conducted by Michael Zemel, PhD, former director of The Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee, suggest that consuming calcium may help your body metabolize fat more efficiently.

 

Whole grains

Whole-Grains

Whole grains help your body burn more fat because they take extra effort to break down than processed grains, like white bread and pasta. Whole foods that are rich in fiber, like brown rice and oatmeal, are your best bets.

 

Lentils

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About 20 percent of women are iron deficient, which is bad news for your waistline—your body can’t work as efficiently to burn calories when it’s missing what it needs to work properly. One cup of lentils provides 35 percent of your daily iron needs.

 

Source: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20746339_10,00.html

crossfit

Crossfit: What is it and how does it work?

How It Works

If you’re up for a very tough workout that takes everything you’ve got, this high-intensity program may be right for you.

Started by a former gymnast and gymnastics coach, CrossFit lets you pick from different “workouts of the day,” or WOD. You might run, row, or climb ropes and do lunges, squats, and other moves.

These workouts push you to the max, so you’ll burn a lot of calories.

You’ll do a different workout each day, and do each exercise as many times as you can in a certain amount of time.

Intensity Level: Very High

Expect to be pushed to your limits. This is one tough workout, even if you’re in great shape.

Areas It Targets

Core: Yes. You’ll do moves that work your core, like squats, dead lifts, pushups, and pull-ups.

Arms: Yes. Plan on doing pushups and pull-ups, which are great for your arms.

Legs: Yes. Lots of exercises work your legs, like squats and running.

Glutes: Yes. You’ll do different types of glute-firing squats, like air squats, back squats, and front squats.

Back: Yes. You’ll do back extensions or similar exercises that are good for your lower back.

Type

Flexibility: Yes. This workout will improve your flexibility.

Aerobic: Yes. You’ll work hard during workouts. Your heart will get a great workout, and your endurance and stamina will go up.

Strength: Yes. You’ll use a lot of weights and your own body weight during these workouts. Expect to get stronger.

Sport: No.

Low-Impact: No.

What Else You Should Know

Cost: Membership costs vary between gyms. $200 per month is typical. Or you can pay a drop-in rate of about $25 per class. If you prepay for a year, you may get a lower rate. Or, you could do the Workout of the Day, posted online, for free.

Good for Beginners: No. It’s easy to get hurt if you don’t know the right form for each exercise. You may also end up quitting because it’s so tough.

Outdoors: Yes. You can do CrossFit outside, and they have outdoor workouts specifically for this. You’d either do this on your own or join a group that does outdoor CrossFit.

At Home: Yes, but it can be tricky if you’re new to it. If you do it at home, you’ll need an equipped gym.

Equipment Required: Yes. You can use the equipment at any of the company’s 7,000 licensed CrossFit gyms, which they call “boxes.” If you plan to do it somewhere else, whether it’s at home or at another gym, you’ll need a weight set and a place to do pull-ups and dips, at least.

What Dr. Michael Smith Says:

If you’re looking for a challenging workout to take your fitness and body to the next level, CrossFit will do just that. It’s a very well-rounded program, providing vigorous aerobic exercise along with muscle strengthening and even flexibility. But it’s also very intense, so it’s not for everyone.

If you’re a beginner, you’ll want to start with something else to get your body used to exercise before taking on CrossFit. The intensity makes it better suited to people who are used to regular activity. Even then, take it slow and pace yourself. This workout will kick your butt even if you’re in great shape.

Given the intensity, one of the main disadvantages to CrossFit is the risk of injury. It’s easy to push yourself beyond your body’s abilities, so be extra careful.

Because it’s so intense, CrossFit isn’t something you want to do every day. But it’s an excellent way to mix up your workouts to help prevent exercise boredom.

Is It Good for Me if I Have a Health Condition?

Getting fit is a vital step to successfully treating diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. CrossFit can certainly help you do that and lose any extra weight, too.

But it’s intense. Get your doctor’s OK. If you’re not already active, do other exercise programs first to get your body used to moving. When you’re ready, give CrossFit a try.

If you have heart disease, CrossFit will likely be too much for your heart. Less intense workouts will probably be a better fit; and always check with your doctor before jumping into any new exercise.

CrossFit isn’t for you if you’re dealing with a knee or back injury. Recover first. Then get your body back in shape. After that point, you can give CrossFit a try.

Remember, exercise shouldn’t hurt. If you feel pain, the workout may be too much for your body. You can get in excellent shape with other exercise routines that don’t tax your body so much.

If you have a physical limitation, CrossFit may be possible depending on your challenge. For instance, you could work with a trainer to create a CrossFit routine that’s purely upper body if needed.

Don’t push it. If the workout just doesn’t seem to fit your need, do something else. There are plenty of other options that can get you fit and may be better suited to your body.

Are you pregnant? It’s not the time to start CrossFit. If you did it before getting pregnant, ask your doctor if you can keep doing it. Of course, as you progress along in your pregnancy, you’ll need to make some changes. Don’t do anything that may put you off balance. And don’t do anything that’s too intense or that dehydrates you.

Source: http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/a-z/crossfit-workout

juice-cleanse-green

Long Life Elixir Green Juice

1/2 green apple

2 stalks celery

1/2 cucumber

1/2 head of romaine lettuce

handful of cilantro (substitute parsley or mint)

  1. Process everything through your juicer (I use an Omega).
  2. If using this juice as part of the 3 DAY SUMMER CLEANSE, strain this juice and dilute with equal parts filtered water.
  3. If not juice fasting, you can consume this juice unstrained.
  4. Makes one diluted 16-ounce glass.

 

 

Source: http://healthyblenderrecipes.com/recipes/long_life_elixir_alkaline_evening_cleansing_juice

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5 Healthy Habits That Fight the Signs of Aging

How to Maintain a Youthful Appearance

 

Eat Right: Healthy Skin Starts with Healthy Eating
You really are what you eat. Every cell in your body is made from the foods you eat, so why not feed your body high-quality, nutritious foods for best results? After all, your diet has a major impact on the overall health of your body, inside and out. If you need motivation to eat more fruits and vegetables, caring about your appearance may just be the push you need to fill your plate with more plant foods.

Nutrients such as beta carotene, vitamin C, selenium and zinc are abundant in fresh produce, while vitamin E is found in healthy nuts and seeds. These antioxidants help increase cellular regeneration and the production of elastin and collagen, keeping your skin firm and wrinkle-free. Essential fatty acids, such as those found in flaxseed and fatty fish, help your skin function properly and aid in tissue repair. Bottom line: If it’s a whole food, it’s good for both your body and your skin.

Wear Sunscreen: The Perfect Anti-Aging Cream
Too much sun exposure can damage your skin, causing wrinkles, sun spots, uneven tone, and dryness—not exactly the picture of youth. If you’re sensitive to the sun or spend more than 10-15 minutes outside most days (the amount recommended you spend outside without sunscreen for vitamin D synthesis), then sunscreen is a must.

Dermatologists recommend applying SPF 15 (or greater) sunscreen every day, even in the winter. For maximum anti-aging benefits, make sure to apply sunscreen to your ears, neck, décolletage and hands, too. If looking younger is important to you, then add sunscreen to your beauty regimen. As a bonus, it also moisturizes your skin!

Stay Hydrated: Water is the Fountain of Youth
Drinking lots of water is one of the easiest ways to look (and feel) your best. Water is needed for almost every body process, including perspiration and the removal of waste products. Water also keeps the skin moist, plump and supple. Fine lines and wrinkles appear more pronounced when you are dehydrated, so make sure you meet your daily quota—that’s about eight cups a day (or equivalent).

Drink Less: Alcohol Ages You
Alcohol may have some health benefits according to recent research, but it could be detrimental to your appearance. Drinking alcohol causes dehydration and depletes your body of valuable vitamins and minerals. When you drink alcohol,  your liver has to work extra hard to eliminate the toxins from your body, but when you cut down or eliminate alcohol, your body can flush out impurities more efficiently—resulting in clearer skin and a rosier complexion.

Don’t Smoke: Tobacco Tarnishes Your Skin
Ever heard of smoker’s face? This term, added to the medical dictionary in 1985, describes the telltale characteristics that make smokers look older than they really are: grey skin, gauntness, and wrinkles around the mouth and eyes, and deep lines in the cheeks. If all the other health problems related to smoking haven’t made you quit yet, maybe vanity will.

Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 toxins, many of which are absorbed directly into the skin. Smoking causes the blood vessels in the top layers of the skin to constrict, reducing the amount of oxygen in the blood and causing a sickly pallor. Smoking causes the skin to thin due to poor circulation, making lines and wrinkles more noticeable. Smoking also reduces the production of collagen, which is needed to keep the skin plump and firm. One study of 25 sets of identical twins (one a lifelong smoker, the other a non-smoker) by British researchers at St. Thomas’s Hospital found that the skin of the smoker was 25 percent thinner than the non-smoker’s. In a few cases the skin was up to 40 percent thinner. Your appearance is just one of the many reasons why you shouldn’t smoke, so take steps to quit today.

Aging is inevitable, but looking older doesn’t have to be. While a certain amount of how your skin ages is due to genetic factors beyond your control, just knowing I can help keep Father Time at bay with a healthy lifestyle makes me feel better about the future. Bring on the 40s—I’m ready to put my best face forward! Are you?

spa

10 Ways to Create a Spa Experience at Home

Face it: We aren’t superhuman and we all need a breather sometimes! But between work, the gym and life commitments, it can be difficult to find the time (and cash)for a relaxing day at the spa. However, it’s important to take time for yourself in order to live a healthy, balanced life. So, relax. You don’t need to give up an entire day or rack up that credit card bill to pamper yourself. Creating your own spa experience can be easy using things you may already have on hand at home. Try these 10 ideas to relax more and stress less.

 

Seek Comfort in Candles

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Scented wellness candles are used in spas during massages and other body treatments to help relax the mind and body. The good news is that even if you’re in a rush to get to the office or an evening event, simply lining your vanity with some scented candles will help quiet your mind and rejuvenate your spirit. Look for candles that contain essential oils. When lit, this type of candle releases a continuous yet faint scent into the air as it burns. If you’re looking to relax, opt for the scent of lavender. Or, reach for a candle with invigorating eucalyptus for a quick burst of energy.

 

Mellow Out with Music

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When you walk into a spa, you typically hear soft, tranquil music playing faintly in the background, and there’s good reason for that! Music is known for its ability to slow down the mind and relax the body, decreasing your heart rate as you listen. Relaxing sounds also help increase serotonin production, which helps to reduce blood pressure, increases happy thoughts and can even treat anxiety symptoms. Slower-tempo melodies and repetitive notes are usually a good bet if you want to relax, but what relaxes one person might actually cause another to gain more energy! Try this test to see which type of music relaxes you best: While listening to music, check your pulse. If it it quickens during certain beats, then the music might be more energizing than not. If your pulse slows down, then you’ve found the perfect fit.

 

Escape with Essential Oils

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Essential oils can be found in practically any spa and are used in everything from relaxing massage oils, to body scrubs and moisturizers. Extracted from fragrant plants and flowers, essential oils come in a slew of pleasant scents and varieties that offer amazing benefits to your skin and body, such as restoring skin vitality and generating new, healthy cells. Whatever oils you choose, try to invest in natural essential oils and not the synthetic varieties, which usually don’t have the same effects as their natural counterparts. To get the benefits of essential oils at home, fill a bowl with warm water, add a few drops of your favorite oil, then soak a washcloth in the water. Use the washcloth as a compress on your face and neck for just five minutes. Repeat as necessary, then use a towel to dry your skin. You’ll be absolutely glowing after just one application. Pro tip: Never apply essential oils directly to your skin. Less is best, especially if your skin is sensitive.

 

Ease Stress with a Scalp Massage

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We all know that weekly trips to a massage therapist would be great to release unwanted tension and stress from our achy, tired muscles–but we don’t all have the time or money for that. Thankfully you can get similar relaxation benefits at home with a quick and simple scalp massage. Just one scalp massage can provide deep relaxation, relieve pain in your head and neck and help ease eye strain from all that computer screen-staring. When done on an ongoing basis, scalp massages can even relieve you from chronic headaches and migraines. Don’t have a friend or spouse available to give you a scalp massage? No worries. You can find do-it-yourself scalp massagers at your favorite online retailer or health and wellness store.

Moisturize with Oatmeal

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The next time you go for your morning bowl of oatmeal, you may want to think about slathering those oats on your face. No joke! Oats actually offer amazing skin benefits due to their amino acid content, and can moisturize even the driest skin, naturally and quickly. Some skin care products found in spas contain oats for just this purpose. But, instead of shelling out the cash, try using what you have in your kitchen pantry to save money and time. To make an easy oatmeal face mask, all you need to do is combine 2 tablespoons of plain oats with plain yogurt or water. Mix these ingredients to your desired consistency then apply to your face. Let the mixture soak into your skin for just five minutes. Rinse, and reap the healthy skin rewards!

 

Scrub Away Unhealthy Skin

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Many spas offer invigorating sugar and salt scrubs for healthy skin exfoliation purposes. And because skin is the body’s largest organ, taking care of it is very important. Our skin absorbs unhealthy toxins every day in all environments, and takes a beating when it comes to too much sun exposure. Plus, clogged pores from sweating during daily workouts can hold unwanted toxins which result in unsightly blemishes. So, the next time you’re in the shower, skip the bar of soap. Instead, reach for a salt or sugar scrub, add a small amount to your sponge or washcloth and gently slough away old, dead skin cells to reveal soft, glowing, healthy skin. If you have extremely dry elbows or knees, simply cut an orange in half and rub the fruit’s flesh on dry areas to reveal smoother, healthier skin. Plus, the smell of citrus will give you a boost of energy!

 

Treat Your Feet

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Contrary to popular belief, pedicures aren’t just for keeping feet looking pretty! Our feet typically endure a lot of stress every day simply from walking. And when you engage in exercise, running or other strenuous activities, your feet can take a beating. Pedicures can be a great way to keep your feet not only looking and feeling good, but healthy too. However, just like many spa treatments, a pedicure can cost a pretty penny. Instead of breaking the bank, try an at-home foot soak. Simply add warm water to to a large bowl, plus 2 to 4 tablespoons of sea salt and your favorite essential oil (both peppermint and rosemary work great as deodorizers). Let your feet soak in the warm bath as long as you’d like. Soaking will relax the muscles in your feet and soften your skin. When finished and dry, pick your favorite nail polish and give your toes a pop of color!

Steam Things Up

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Steaming isn’t just a healthy way to cook your favorite veggies! This cooking technique is great for achieving healthy skin, too. Steaming helps retain nutrients in your skin much like it does in your food. So, the next time you look in the mirror and see clogged pores or a dull complexion, steam things up to reveal brighter, healthier skin. Simply soak two small towels in hot water, drape each on either side of your face and hold for just five minutes. Pat your face dry with a clean towel and then proceed with your regular skin cleansing regimen. You’ll see results after just one steam.

 

Soak Away Stress

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So many of us shy away from a hot bath and opt for a quick shower instead. But one of the most relaxing things we can do for our bodies is to take some time to soak away the stress and tension in our tired muscles–and all you need is a regular, old bathtub for that! So, the next time you have a little bit of extra time to pamper yourself, light some candles, turn on your favorite tunes, run a hot bath, lay back, shut your eyes and soak your cares, aches and pains away. You can improve this stress-relieving activity by adding aromatic bath salts, essential oils or even bubbles to your bath water. Your mind and body will be much more relaxed when you step out of the bath as opposed to your usual shower.

 

Sing in the Shower

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If you don’t have time for a hot, relaxing bath, go ahead and take that shower– ut be prepared to sing while you wash up! You don’t have to be classically trained or even have the best voice to reap the relaxation and stress-relieving benefits of singing. Singing is pleasurable, reduces stress and can even give your abs a little bit of a workout! Singing a tune can also improve circulation and release feel-good chemicals in the brain. So, the next time you’re stressed and about to snap, instead of blowing up at your coworkers, spouse or the kids, try singing out the stress. You’ll step out of the shower feeling good–and it won’t cost you a single cent.

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One Pan Lemon Garlic Chicken Potato Bake

A very fast prep, super tasty midweek meal that’s worthy of a dinner party! The sauce is the hero of this. Yummy Mediterranean flavours. All made in ONE PAN. PS Marinating is optional!

One Pan Lemon Garlic Chicken Potato Bake - 10 minutes prep for this one pan dinner with yummy Mediterranean flavours!

Don’t you love recipes with barely any chopping? This is one of those. And you end up with a spectacular dish that’s worthy of a dinner party. At least, in my books it is. Because….this sauce. The sauce! It’s so good! It would make a posh restaurant proud.

And the beauty of this? No fancy ingredients, no expensive wine or stock, just a handful of everyday ingredients – lemon juice, garlic, oregano and paprika – no whisking, no emulsifying, no straining – just chuck it all in a pan and you end up with this.

WITH an incredible sauce.  Score! Home run!

One Pan Lemon Garlic Chicken Potato Bake - 10 minutes prep for this one pan dinner with yummy Mediterranean flavours!

So – I must confess. Ordinarily I have more red onion in this. I feel that it adds an extra something-something to the sauce because caramelised onions are just divine. They magically convert from eye-waveringly acidic to sweet with a depth of flavour you can’t buy in any jar.

When I was at the grocery store, I was sure I had plenty in stock. But I should have known better. Because when I walked out of my house to go to the store, I had a bag of garbage in one hand and my phone and keys in the other. Opened the bin and threw my KEYS and iPHONE in the bin instead of my garbage.

GAHHH!!! Have you ever done that???? This happened to me on a Sunday, 2 days before garbage collection day which meant my bin was piled high with most of my weeks’ worth of rubbish!

Let me remind you – it is currently SUMMER in Sydney, Australia. My bin stinks. Fetching my keys and iPhone out of the bin was NOT a pleasant task!

So I was a little frazzled when I got to the supermarket. Still doing a little icky-dance from having to rummage through my bin to get my keys.

Hence why I forgot the red onions. :-) Took a while to explain that!

The photo below shows one piece from the dismal half red onion I had remaining in my fridge. STILL delicious, it didn’t affect the flavour much but I really do make this with onion – usually. When I remember to buy them -Nagi x

One Pan Lemon Garlic Chicken Potato Bake - 10 minutes prep for this one pan dinner with yummy Mediterranean flavours!

4.8 from 11 reviews
One Pan Lemon Garlic Chicken Potato Bake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Infused with classic Mediterranean flavours of garlic, lemon, oregano and paprika, this dinner is fast to prepare. The sauce is the star of this and marinating is optional! I made this with drumsticks but you can make this with bone-in chicken thigh fillets too. For cooking directions with other chicken cuts, refer to the notes.
Author: Nagi | RecipeTin Eats
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Western, Mediterranean
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Marinade / Sauce
  • 8 chicken drumsticks (Note 1)
  • ½ cup lemon juice, preferably fresh
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard (Optional – Note 2)
  • 2 tbsp honey or 1 tbsp sugar (Note 3)
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Pepper
Bake
  • 1 cup chicken broth/stock
  • 4 potatoes, quartered
  • 2 red onions, quartered
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes (250g/8oz)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Oil spray (optional)
  • Fresh oregano, for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. If time permits, combine the chicken and marinade ingredients in a ziplock bag and set aside for 20 minutes or up to 24 hours. (Note 4)
  2. Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
  3. Pour the chicken and marinade into a baking dish, then add the chicken stock, potatoes and onion.
  4. Cover with a lid or foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove cover, turn chicken (Note 5). Add cherry tomatoes, sprinkle with paprika and salt and pepper. Turn oven up to 200C/390F and bake for a further 25 minutes.
  6. Optional: For extra golden chicken and potatoes, spray with oil then broil for a few minutes. I do this.
  7. Remove from oven and rest for 5 minutes before serving, garnished with fresh oregano leaves.
Notes
1. To make this with other cuts of chicken:
– Bone in skin on thigh fillets: Add 5 to 10 minutes baking time and place chicken skin side DOWN to bake covered, then when you remove the cover, turn the chicken so it is skin side UP.
– Boneless skinless thigh fillets: Add the chicken into the pan 20 minutes into the baking time. If you leave it in for the whole time per the recipe, they will overcook.
– Chicken breast: not recommended, because there is a high risk of being dry and the cook time is very variable. However, it can be done – just add the chicken 10 to 15 minutes into the baking time to ensure it is not overcooked.

2. The Dijon mustard adds another slight layer of flavour into the sauce and also thickens it. But the dish can be made without it.

3. The honey balances out the sourness of the lemon. You can use maple syrup, palm sugar or anything else that is sweet.

4. This recipe benefits from marinating but it is not critical. The sauce has so much flavour it compensates for no marinating.

5. This technique of cooking the chicken covered for the first part of baking infuses the chicken flesh with more of the sauce flavour, which is why marinating is not critical. The chicken is turned to allow the other side of the chicken to cook in the tasty sauce.

6. Please make sure you don’t use a ginormous pan for this. The ingredients should fit snugly. If they are too spaced out, too much of the liquid will evaporate while baking and you won’t end up with much sauce.

7. For disclosure purposes, I halved a couple of lemons and panfried them with a little oil to make them lovely and golden. For decorative purposes only! 🙂

Nutrition per serving, assuming 4 servings (2 drumsticks per person).

One Pan Lemon Garlic Chicken Potato Bake Nutrition

 

 

Source: http://www.recipetineats.com/one-pan-lemon-garlic-chicken-potato-bake/

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Double Chocolate Banana Waffles

The smell of waffles reminds me of the diner I frequented as a kid. The fresh smell of the batter, the first bite with a drip of maple syrup… I think of childhood and weekend breakfasts, hands down! Freeze for an on-the-go morning, or treat yourself to a great weekend brunch; these waffles are perfect. Plus, chocolate waffles would make a great Valentine’s Day breakfast for your sweetie! They feel indulgent but are light and healthy. I topped mine with pure maple syrup and they were requested again and again.

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Double Chocolate Banana Waffles

Serves 2
Ingredients
  1. 2 ripe bananas
  2. 2 organic eggs
  3. 3 tbsp almond flour
  4. 1/4 tsp baking powder
  5. 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  6. 1 tbsp good quality cocoa powder or cacao powder
  7. 1/4 cup Enjoy Life’s Chocolate Chips or dark chocolate chips of choice
Instructions
  1. 1. In a mixing bowl , combine ingredients
  2. 2. Grease Waffle Maker with grass-fed butter or coconut oil (or spray of choice), and pour batter in
  3. 3. Once done, transfer gently to serving plates
  4. 4. Garnish with desired toppings (fresh fruit, grass-fed butter, or maple syrup), and serve
Notes
  1. To store/freeze for on-the-go mornings, place waffles in tupperware, and store in fridge or freezer
Nutritional Information
  1. Servings: 8
  2. Amount per serving: 1 waffle triangle
  3. Calories: 100
  4. Fat: 3.6g
  5. Carbs: 14.9
  6. Protein: 4.4