Friday, October 27, 2023

Are Superfoods Really Super?


You've seen all those claims about certain foods being "super". It is said they provide better nutrients for your healthy diet and lifestyle.  There are cookbooks, articles, and all sorts of things making claims on these foods.  I've seen them, I've tried a few but I also took time to research the topic with recognized health cites such as Harvard medical because they are more likely to have a objective view.  Any business selling these foods is going to try to advertise them in a way to make you want to buy.

Unfortunately, at this point in time, there is no scientifically based or governmental regulated definition of superfoods. However, most foods that are advertised as such tend to offer higher levels. of certain nutrients, is said to prevent certain diseases, or is claimed to provide certain health benefits beyond the nutrients it contains.

The term itself appears to have originated in the early 20th century around the time of World War 1 as part of a food marketing campaign. It was used by the United Fruit Company to promote the bananas it imported into the United States.  They spoke about how nutritional they were, how they could be used, and so much more so people would buy it.

The term started to take off when it began appearing in medical journals as doctors began publishing their results of using bananas to treat various diseases such as celiac's disease or diabetes.  Even the American Medical Association used the term when they announced that a child who regularly ate bananas would either find relief from celiac's disease or be cured of it.  This all lead to a crazy banana diet.

In current times, with the vastness of social media and the internet, the announcement of a "superfood" spreads rapidly across the world.  Thus for people who sell the food, it can translate into multimillion dollar sales because people are willing to pay more for foods that are seen as healthier either naturally or via various claims. This is especially true of people who see food as medicine. In addition, when the food industry markets a food as a superfood, sales of that item are likely to increase so anything with superfood on the label is considered a hot product.  

There have been studies done on many of these superfoods to see how much of what nutrients they offer and their health properties but there haven't really been any studies done to see how these properties apply to a person's diet.  This is due to the fact that the laboratory conditions used to study the food are extremely difficult to apply to a person's diet. It has also been found that the benefits are often of short duration and people would have to eat frequent portions to experience the continued benefits. Finally, most studies look at the food in isolation, not in combination with other foods which is the normal way people consume these products.

Although superfoods are more national in general, the label seems to motivate sales and can cause people to ignore other foods and focus on a select few.  It is important to eat a wide variety of foods for the best nutrition, the best amount of vitamins and minerals, and is so much better for us. So rather than focusing on superfoods, look at eating a well balanced diet containing different foods.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Ways To Get More Out Of Your Walks.


Although fall is here and we are heading into winter in some parts of the country (including mine), many areas stay at nice temperatures so people can walk all year. The thing is, even if you walk inside at the mall, you can still use these tips to help you have a more effective walk and walking is considered a great form of exercise.  Walking is accessible to most people, is a low impact activity so there is less strain and stress on your joints, can help you lose weight, and improves your health. 

One of the things you can do is to walk with intention.  This means you should write down you weekly walking goals so you have a tangible plan for your walking.  I don't mean an entry like "walk for 30 minutes".  Instead write down the type of walk you are doing each day such as an interval walk, or a fun walk with a friend.  In addition, a walk should be as short as 15 minutes but it could be 45 minutes or even an hour depending on how far you want to do.

Next, think about varying your walk so that one day you are climbing hills while the next day, you are walking on the beach. You don't want to get bored following the same path every day.  When you change the grade of the walk, you are able to work other parts of the body such as the glutes and burn more calories.  If you walk on a treadmill, change the incline of the machine to replicate hills.  Try to maintain the same pace when walking on an incline to give your body a better workout.  If you walk in a mall, try going from one level to the next using stairs.

Furthermore, try to walk with a buddy because it makes it easier to stick with walking regularly.  It is much better to have someone to encourage you, have fun with, talk to so you are more likely to stick with it. When you walk with a buddy, there is also an accountability issue because you have to coordinate the walk with someone.  Remember, the walk doesn't have to be exactly at the same time everyday depending on the demands of the day.

If you can, incorporate interval training or alternating periods of harder and easier walking.  You might want to walk as fast as you can for a period of about 45 seconds and then slow down for a more leisurely walk for 30 seconds for the whole walk.  This type of walk helps increase your cardio health and endurance.

Work towards a personal best for some of your walks.  If you use a set trail on a regular basis, time how long it takes to complete the walk and then the next time you do it, try to beat that time so you increase your personal best.  You might start with beating your time by 5 seconds, then 10, then 15, etc so you have a goal of how much to beat the previous record by.  This helps you do it.

Since music is considered a great motivator, especially when it comes to exercising, think about listening to music as you walk.  Take time to plan your play list because you want music with a steady beat that will help you walk at a steady pace for endurance walks but you might want something with a faster beat if you are trying to make a new personal best.  Choose music you like and have a good time.  

If the weather is nice enough, try walking on trails so that you are walking on uneven trails, or even on dirt roads because it requires that you pay more attention to your surroundings, improves spacial awareness, and works on balance.  In addition, the uneven terrain helps you burn more calories, while strengthening the smaller stabilizing muscles.

Follow these seven suggestions to help you improve the efficacy of your walking workout.  Have fun and enjoy yourself.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Skin Care Products - Do They Expire?


First off, I would like to apologize to everyone.  The local internet went down due to winds and finally is up and working again.  One of the last times it went down was after some eagles built a nest on it.  Living in the rural part of Alaska has its challenges.  Hopefully, I'm back to normal.  After looking at makeup and its expiration, I wondered about skin care products.  I am the first to admit that I stockpile my facial products because I like to buy them when they are on sale and because my mail service isn't always the best.

In addition, most of us don't even think about skin care products expiring as it's not a normal topic.  Since products do expire, it is important to know how long they can be used and when to dispose of them.  One of the obvious reasons for having expiration dates on them, is based on the ingredients.

So the first reason for keeping an eye on how long you've had the product is that they won't be as effective. Another less obvious reason is that once preservatives start diminishing, is that the product is no longer protected against bacterial growth. If your product gets infected by bacterial growth, problems could range from rashes or breakouts to skin infections or skin damage.

One ingredient often found in skin care products that has a short shelf live is Vitamin C.  Vitamin C is extremely unstable and soon begins to oxidized.  Unfortunately, when a product becomes oxidized it is considered pro-oxidized and in this form it can break down compounds of the skin causing damage.  For instance, it can damage the collegian or elastin in the skin which can lead to more wrinkles and other issues. 

If you aren't sure about expiration dates for your products, begin by looking for the "period after opening" or PAO date.  Simply look for numbers followed by an M in a open jar symbol to tell you when to consider throwing the product out.  This is based on how long the ingredients, preservatives, and packaging systems work together before starting to break down. You might also mark down on a calendar the date you opened it so you have a more specific date.  It is also important to monitor it for a change in scent, begins to separate, changes color, or changes constancy to know when to dispose of the product.

In general, serums, moisturizers, and eye creams are good for 6 months to a year following opening.  Unfortunately, many of these products contain water which is a good bacteria growing medium, or they contain vitamin C or retinol, both of which has a shorter shelf life.  Look to see if the product darkens, or its smell changes.  Vitamin C when off often smells like a fake tan.

Cleansers, masks, and exfoliants also last 6 months to a year. Although the expiration dates vary, products in a pump dispenser tend to last longer than those found in a jar. If your product comes in a jar, use a new spatula every time because you tend to add bacteria when you dip your fingers into your product.  

As mentioned in the last paragraph, dipping your fingers into the product can add bacteria but there are other things to keep in mind that shorten the products usable shelf life.  For instance, if you store the product at the wrong temperature, its quality can decline quicker. If you use a brush or applicator of some sort, clean it regularly because that is another way to introduce bacteria into the product.  Finally, do not store the skin care products in direct sunlight, otherwise they can decline in efficacy much faster.

So know you know more about skin care products and when they expire.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, October 16, 2023

Does Makeup Expire?


The question asking if make up expires is a very important one because so many of us buy make-up and don't always use it.  Sometimes we don't use it because it turns out to be the wrong color, not quite right, or we have so many choices and it goes to the back of the bathroom.

I hate throwing out makeup if I haven't gotten around to using it but most makeup has an expiration date and after that point?  There could be so many issues that come up.  The makeup we use on our faces can have a major impact on the health of our skin.

As a rule of thumb, any makeup that is in powdered form such as powder tends to last the longest while any in liquid form such as eyeliner tend to have the shortest shelf life but makeup is not required to have an expiration date printed on the container. On the other hand, there is a manufacturing date printed somewhere on the product but this doesn't always help consumers decide when to dispose of the makeup. 

As a general rule, most unopened makeup lasts between one to three years when stored in a cool, dry place. Once makeup is open, it's good for between a few months and a couple of years depending on the product. It is well known that any preservatives in the makeup break down over time and often begin breaking down before the product is opened.

Let's look at individual types of makeup so you know how long you can use it safely. Let's begin with foundation. Foundation is only good for one to two years after opening depending on the formula of it.  In general, foundations that are liquid are only good for about a year whereas powdered foundations are usually good for about two years.  One way to tell the foundation is no longer good is when the smell of liquid foundations changes or becomes unusual. For dry foundations, the powder becomes dryer or begins to separate, it is best to toss it. In addition, if your foundation begins to separate, it won't apply correctly and won't look right so get rid of it.

Mascara is only good for three months once its opened. The biggest problem with opened mascara is the possibility of bacterial contamination which means bacterial will begin to grow.  If you use mascara past the three month mark, the chances of ending up with bacterial growth increases the possibility of an eye infection.  When it gets older, mascara also tends to dry out, change texture, or clump.

As for eye liner, it depends.  If the eye liner is liquid, it is good for three months while a pencil liner is usually good for up to 2 years. The reason liquid liner has such a short use by date, is that every time you open the product, you expose the product to air so it dries and even expose it to bacteria.  In addition, there is no way to clean the liquid liner container.  Pencil liner on the other hand, can be sharpened or refreshed so it lasts much longer.  One can also sanitize it with a bit of alcohol so it stays cleaner.

Let's look at eye shadow.  Powdered eye shadow is good for up to two years once its open but a cream shadow only lasts up to one year.  Unfortunately, cream shadow tends to exhibit a change in texture.  Powdered eye shadow tends to look good for a while but it is best to throw it out after two years.  Since this goes on your eyes, it is best to air on the side of safety and avoid any chance of an eye infection.

Lipstick is usually good for about one to two years while lip gloss is only good for one year.  Once it is no longer good, the smell will change, and the texture will change.  On the other hand, gloss tends to become thicker and stickier as it ages.  To help keep the lipstick in better shape, spray it with alcohol to kill any germs that land on the lipstick. 

Finally, blush is good for one to two years.  Cream blush is good for about one year while powdered blush lasts about two years. Again, when the items are getting old, you might notice a change in odor, color, or separates.  Don't use it get rid of it.

It pays to note when you buy each piece of makeup and when it reaches the general rule of use, throw it out.  It is not worth trying to eek a bit more use out of any product.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Friday, October 13, 2023

Types Of Facial Toners


I use a toner on my face every morning because I found one I like. When I was growing up, I used a toner filled with alcohol because that is what you used if you had an oily face but since then I've learned there are so many different types of toners.  It is important to select the one that is best for your both your purpose and your skin. 

I use a hydrating toner because it is designed to add moisture to my skin.  I work in a place with heating and air conditioning, both of which pull moisture from your skin.  Then outside is not much better, especially in the winter with the cold, blowing, wind.  Hydrating toner often contains glycerin, hyaluronic acid, or ceramides which are all great for plumping your skin. A similar type of toner is a misting toner which can be sprayed on to refresh the skin throughout the day and can be applied over makeup.

On the other hand, you might need an astringent toner designed to remove excess oil from the skin while tightening the pores.  The modern astringent toner has witch hazel and is labeled as good for oily skin.  Try to avoid any containing alcohol as the alcohol can over dry your skin.

Another toner is a balancing toner designed to restore a face's natural pH balance.  This type of toner is quite gentle and good for any type of skin.  There are also exfoliating toners which rely on chemicals to exfoliate the skin. This type of toner contains alpha hydroxy acids or beta hydroxy acids.  Both of these ingredients help unclog pores, remove dead skin cells, and improve skin texture.  The exfoliating toner is recommended for people suffering from acne. There are also pore refining toners that are designed to reduce the size of large pores.  This toner contains salicylic acid or niacinamide.

If you suffer from sensitive or irritated skin, you might want to look at a calming toner. This toner might have chamomile, aloe vera, or green tea.  These ingredients tend to reduce redness and inflammation.  On the other hand, if you are getting a bit older, you want to look at an anti-aging toner containing anti-oxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, or peptides.  Anti-aging toners help reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

So if you use a toner, decide what you need it for and select one that meets your needs.  You might need a couple of different toners such as an astringent and a pore reducing toner that you alternate.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Why Have A Morning Routine?

 Personally, I like morning routines but I have friends whose morning routine means they pop out of bed, inhale food, throw on clothing, and rush out the door in just 10 minutes because they want to spend as much time in bed.  Usually, I get up about an hour and a half before I head off because I enjoy my time just relaxing before I have to face the stress of the day.  

According to research, having a well structured morning routine can provide benefits ranging from starting the day with energy while being able to focus, to having a positive mindset. 

A well done morning routine helps increase a person's productivity by allowing them to set aside time to complete important tasks or goals.  When you begin the day with specific purposes in mind, you are more likely to make progress and accomplish more. 

In addition, a morning routine helps everyone manage their time more effectively.  When certain times are set for certain activities, a person's time is spent on items that have a higher priority so less time is wasted on low priority or unimportant tasks.  Another important reason to have a morning routine is that it helps to reduce stress and anxiety while helping develop a calm outlook and end up more in control.  A morning routine helps a person eliminate the rush of trying to figure out what to do first.

Furthermore, a morning routine often include exercise, proper eating, and meditation.  Adding in a segment where you take care of yourself can boost both your physical and mental well being, while providing you with a better outlook and more energy.  It is well known that one must schedule time for oneself otherwise it gets forgotten and this is a perfect time for it.

When you include activities such as reading or meditation which are designed to stimulate your mind, your focus and concentration can improve all day long.  In addition, you have a little time scheduled to decide what to wear, or what to eat, you reduce the number of rushed decisions you need to make which leaves you more energy for the day.

It is easy to establish a morning routine but it takes self-discipline to stick to it. As you continue to do the morning routine, it becomes easier to strengthen your self-discipline in other areas of your life. Some people schedule time for journaling, or self reflection, both of which can help you grow as a person.  

Finally, one sleeps better when they go to bed and get up at set times. Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, October 9, 2023

What Is Better Than Body Mass Index (BMI)


According to several organizations, including one in the United Kingdom, are no longer recommending using the BMI to determine if a people is overweight.  Now they are recommending something called the Waist To Hip (WTH) because it appears that the wait to hip gives a more accurate measure of a healthy weight than the BMI.

This recommendation is made based on a specific study.  This study looked at over 380,000 adults who lived in the United Kingdom. One of the conclusions was that the waist to hip measure was better able to predict the deaths of people who died from any cause over the results of the BMI.

Of the 380,000 adults, researchers took time to look at the 25,000 people who provided health information up to their deaths.  These folks were placed into control groups with people of the same age and sex.  In addition, researchers checked to see if anyone had genes linked to obesity, their body measurements in both BMI and waist to hip measurement. 

One of the conclusions from this study is those who had a lower waist to hip ratio were less likely to die earlier than those with a higher waist to hip ratio. As the waist to hip ratio increased, the possibility of an earlier death increased. In addition, the results were more pronounced in men than in women.

The waist to hip ratio is much easier to calculate than the BMI. One simply divides the waist measurement by the hip measurement. So if your waist measures 30 inches around and your hips measures 35 inches, then divide 30 by 35 and your ratio is 0.86.   According to the World Health Organization, if the measurement is over 0.85 for women is considered high risk while anything over 0.90 for men is high risk. 

Doctors within the field of obesity are relying more and more on the waist to hip ratio to determine if a person is obese. In addition, more and more doctors are stating that the waist to hip ratio is much more accurate especially if all the fat is around the waist.  Unfortunately, when the fat is carried around the waist, a person is more likely to suffer from heart disease and diabetes 2. 

I think I'd use the waist to hip ratio since it is easier to use and appears to be more reliable.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  

Friday, October 6, 2023

How Accurate Is Body Mass Index (BMI)

 I recently came across an article that made me stop and think twice.  When I could get to the gym regularly, I'd get checked for my BMI and it tended to be on the lower end of average/ok but there was a recent article that said it wasn't as good an indicator of obesity as presumed.

Although the Center for Disease Control feels that using the BMI as an indicator of body fat in both adults and children, it does not measure fat directly.  In addition, it should only be used track weights in populations.  It should never be used as a diagnostic tool but it can be used to indicate potential issues.

If you are not sure about BMI or Body Mass Index.  The idea is that one takes a person's weight in kilograms or pounds and divides it by the square of the weight in pounds or meters.  Honestly, it is much easier to find a BMI calculator for most people.  In theory, the numbers can tell you if you are underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese.

There was a recent study that looked at how accurate a person's BMI was in terms of determining obesity. There are indications that the BMI is unable to predict a person's body fat percentage because it does not take into account the way a person's fat is distributed. In addition, it does not take into account a persons race, gender, bone density, muscle density, and so much more.

One study looked at results of BMI and determined that it only 36 percent met the BMI numbers for being obese, yet about 3 in 4 people in the study were classified as obese using a different method. So many people who receive a BMI result falling in the normal range, may indeed be obese and may not know it. Furthermore, even when BMI is calculated in a medical setting, it is not usually used to determine treatment.

This has lead to groups such as the American Medical Association to recommend that medical personnel move away from using BMI to determine health and obesity and move towards other measures such as how fat is distributed around the body, waist circumference, and how much fat a person has in their diet.  This gives a better overall idea of whether a person is overweight or obese. 

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Returning To Exercise, After Being Sick.

For over a week, I had the thing that was going around the village.  I had the chills, fever, a queasy stomach and so much more.  It was just a couple days ago that I felt recovered enough to even think about exercising.  

My brain kept telling me to jump back into my routine, just like I'd been doing it fore I got sick while my mind said "No way!!!!!" So lets see what is best.  I've honestly heard people argue for both sides so we'll see what is recommended.  

First of all, it is considered relatively safe to exercise as long as all your symptoms ae above your neck such as mild sore throat or a runny nose. However, if you feel a bit less energetic  than normal, think about reducing your workouts intensity or duration. 

On the other hand, if your symptoms are below your neck such as fever, throwing up, diarrhea, or a deep cough, or achy muscles, think about backing off completely because your body is telling you that it is fighting infection.  If you try to exercise with all this happening, you can stress the system further. 

Although regular exercise has been shown to boost your immunity, there is absolutely no evidence that a good workout helps you get over being sick sooner.  In fact, the idea that one can sweat out a fever by exercising is completely untrue. The problem is that exercise can increase your heart rate and body temperature while increasing the possibility of dehydration if you are running a fever.

It is strongly recommended that one wait a few days after the fever finally breaks to resume exercising.  A person should work on staying well hydrated, eating well, and not overdoing it. So when you are ready to return to exercising, think about adjusting so you work on cardio first rather than focusing on weights.  Look at moving your muscles isometrically to get them back into shape.  Sit there and concentrate on squeezing each set for at least 30 seconds at a time.

When you get back to exercising, adhere to the 50 percent rule.  This means that if you do a 30 minute cross training routine, begin with 15 minutes or instead of using 10 pounds weights, drop down to 5 pound weights so your body can easily adjust to working out again.

Don't be afraid to ease back in so if you need to take three days between working out, do so, or instead of doing crunches every other day, you might look at doing them every three days.  You don't want to force things and end up sick again.  The final stage, is to listen to your body. If something hurts, back off, check with your doctor, and don't force yourself.

Just remember, it is ok to return to exercising but one needs to listen to your body, back off so you don't hurt yourself and you stay healthy. Slowly, work your way to the workout you used to do.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, October 2, 2023

Do You Really Need To Exercise To Lose Weight?

 I am sorry I didn't get anything done this past weekend.  I'd been sick for a full week and I spent time this weekend getting caught up on the work that I don't have time to finish during the week.  When I wasn't at wok, I was sleeping. I hope to be back to normal soon.  In the mean time, I wondered if one really needs to exercise to lose weight or are there reasons to exercise.  Today, we'll explore those reasons.

In order to lose one pound, one needs to work off 3,500 calories which can take several days of exercise.   When combined with cutting calories, one can lose weight faster. Unfortunately, one cannot compare dieting with exercising to determine which is the best method because each plays a different role in the overall topic.  So lets look into it in more detail.

First, one of the fastest ways to lose weight is to cut back on calories because this is effective about 70 percent of the time. When you consume fewer, you are more likely to lose weight but you see people recommending one should both cut calories, and exercise.  Exercise does play a part in helping to increase the number of calories your body will burn.  Furthermore, the little bit of extra weight that is lost is composed of fat rather than muscle.

One reason exercise is not considered as effective for losing weight is that it is possible to eat more calories than you work off during a session. In addition, it is harder to burn the number of calories strictly through exercise.  For instance, if you want to burn off 500 calories, you'd have to walk a couple hours every day at a speed of about 3.5 miles per hour.

In addition, exercising will help strengthen bones and muscles so you stay fitter, maintain balance, and improve your ability to do day to day activities.  Furthermore, exercising helps your body burn fat by turning into fuel so you lose fat.  As a person becomes fitter, their body burns fat more efficiently and are able to use it as a fuel source.  

So it is possible to lose weight by only cutting calories.  However, it is better to combine it with exercise so your body stays in better physical shape, increases bone density, builds muscles, and gets rid of fat.  We have our answer, not you really don't need exercise to lose weight but if you want your body to stay in better shape, then combine dieting with exercise.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.