Archive | June 2014

NuNaturals Review & Giveaway

Nu Naturals

Overall Rating: 

About Nu Naturals:

“Thank you for taking the time to get to know us better. We have over 24 years of experience providing nutritional supplements. NuNaturals uses only the highest quality herbs and nutrients to make our products. We belong to the National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA).

Look around our site and see what we have to offer. You’ll find full descriptions of all of our products and their respective prices. We also have links that will take you to other web sites. They have important information about nutritional products and our industry. Enjoy our site and if you have any questions or comments, please contact us. We would love to hear from you.

We take lot of pride in supporting sustainable “Green” business practices. You may have noticed many of our shipping containers utilize so called “Packing Peanuts”, however several years ago we converted to a more environmentally conscious packing material using a VEGTABLE STARCH product that completely dissolves in water.

If you are having trouble finding our products you can now order direct from us online. While our products are sold in over 9,000 stores in the United States, we realize that there is only so much shelf space available and not all our products get on the shelf. If your favorite product is not available in your stores and would like the convenience of having it there when you want it, ask your store to stock it. If this is not possible, we are here to serve you 24 hours a day!”

Powdered Stevia (Packets & Bottle Form)

About:

“White Stevia™ Extract Powder contains the flowing agent maltodextrin, a food grade carbohydrate derived from grain. Tasteless, maltodextrin is the perfect medium to use with the extract, making it easier to measure. This form is perfect for sprinkling on cereal, yogurt as well as mixing in beverages. One quarter to three quarters of a teaspoon is the recommended serving.

White Stevia Powder contains 60% more Stevia extract than most other brands on the market. The cost to get the same sweet taste of other brands can be up to 2 1/2 times more expensive compared to NuNaturals. NuNaturals White Stevia Powder will save you money.”

Liquid Stevia (Various Flavors)

About:

“NuNaturals has developed this easy to use liquid that allows the most accurate measurement of Stevia Extract. This liquid is so concentrated, that only 5-10 drops are needed.

Our Pure Liquid Clear NuStevia Extract contains 200 mg per ml and is in a base of vegetable glycerine and 20% pure grain alcohol. Clear Stevia comes in a 2 oz bottle. Great for teas and other beverages.”

Reb99 Stevia

About:

“NuStevia Reb99™ is a pure extract of the Stevia plant. 99.8% of Rebaudioside-A(Reb-A) is extracted. Reb99™ is a very high grade Stevia extract. NuStevia Reb99 has a very clean taste profile with no unpleasant aftertaste as other Reb-A extracts can have. This is a powder extract. This form is excellent for mixing up large batches of beverages or for recipes. It is our most economical form of Stevia to use.

This product is packaged in a 1 oz plastic bag. There are 810 servings. A serving size is 1/64 of a teaspoon which tastes as sweet as 1 teaspoon of sugar. 3/4 teaspoon equals 1 cups of sugar in terms of sweetness.

NuNaturals Pure NuStevia Extract contains absolutely no calories or carbohydrates. NuStevia Reb99 should have no effect on blood sugar levels for most individuals.”

Powdered Tagatose

About:

“PreSweet Tagatose is safe for diabetics because it will not raise blood sugar levels. It is also being studied for other health benefits.

One of the health benefits of PreSweet is that it is a prebiotic ingredient. Prebiotics feed probotic bacteria like acidopholis found in yogurt. Prebiotics help the good bacteria in the digestive system multiply. This improves the overall health of the digestive system and may improve the general health of the body.

PreSweet Tagatose is a naturally-occurring sweetener found in milk, fruits and vegetables. It is 92% as sweet as sugar. PreSweet is a low calorie (6 calories/serving), low GI (3 on the glycemic index), and low in carbohydrates (especially considering that many of the carbohydrates are not digested).

PreSweet is anti-hyperglycemic and great for those on weight loss programs because it will satsify your sweet tooth without adding the calories that sugar will.

Unlike sugar alcohols like Xylitol and Erythritol, PreSweet Tagatose browns like sugar. Because it brown quicker and darker than sugar, you might consider blending it with other sweeteners in cakes and cookies or reduce baking time.

While Xylitol has a unique cooling taste and Erythritol has a distinctive taste, Tagatose as a very clean, neutral taste like sugar.”

Oat Fiber

About:

“NuGrain™ Oat Fiber is naturally produced from food-grade oat hulls through a proprietary process. This is a chemical-free process, turning organic hulls into various organic fibers. Oat fiber has many uses in baked goods, adding to smoothies, porridge, and other recipes where you want to boost the fiber content of the foods your eat.

Substitute 3 tablespoons NuGrains™ Oat Fiber for every 8 servings per recipe. For example if recipe yields 24 cookies and serving size is 3 cookies, then substitute 3 tablespoons for flour in your recipe.”

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My Thoughts:

I was initially impressed at the wide range of products that Nu Naturals provides. I am a fan of using stevia as a sweetener, versus always using sugar, honey or agave. It’s essentially a zero calorie sweetener that is naturally derived from the stevia plant, so it’s great to use in moderation if you are looking to stay fit & lean. As with any other food, you can overdo stevia. I don’t recommend using this all day, every day. Balance is key.

Nu Naturals products are Non-GMO, but they are not certified organic. However, I’ve been filled in on the story behind this:

“We absolutely use no pesticides or any chemicals & test our products to be assured of this. We just do not go to the huge expense of organic certification.”

I find this to be the case for some brands. Gaining an organic certification is very drawn own, expensive process. Thus, many companies do not see this certification as something they wish to attain.

I have enjoyed have stevia in various forms and flavors to use in my daily treats & drinks. My favorite ways to use these Nu Naturals products have been:

-Adding the liquid peppermint stevia to peppermint leaf tea.

-Adding the powdered stevia to baked goods (organic & gluten free muffins, cakes, cookies, etc.)

-Experimenting with using tagatose in baked goods.

-Adding the liquid vanilla stevia to my vanilla protein shakes.

-Making an “oat fiber cleanse” drink with the oat fiber. I simply add a tablespoon of the oat fiber to a large glass of water. It helps me get a good dose of fiber and also helps curb my appetite.

Nu Naturals products are an above average route to go to when looking for healthy sweeteners and baking aids. I would stand behind this brand more firmly if I knew that they used organic practices in growing their stevia, oats, etc.

Nu Naturals would like FOUR of you to try some of these products as well! To enter, simply comment below and fill me in on what sweeteners you typically reach for and why.

Here are the products you will win (along with one bonus product!):

NuStevia 50 Packets Top Angle NuStevia Cocoa Syrup NuStevia NoCarbs Spice Jar w Cap Vanilla Stevia Alcohol Free 2 oz  Liquid

Also, you can receive DISCOUNTS on all orders placed on their website :  www.nunaturals.com. When you get to our checkout page, enter the DISCOUNT CODE ;  BLG1214  and you will receive - 15% DISCOUNT on their ENTIRE ORDER. This discount remains EFFECTIVE UNTIL  DECEMBER 31, 2020. Online ordering customers may also receive FREE SHIPPING to the CONTINENTAL U.S. on all orders exceeding $35.00 after discounts.

Head on over to Nu Natural’s Facebook page a “like” them to show your support and get their posts on your news feed.

This giveaway will conclude on Wednesday, July 2nd, on which I will notify the winners via e-mail. Thanks for participating!

Hapari Swimwear Review

Hapari Swimwear

Overall Rating: images

About Hapari:

“Distinctive and beautiful, Hapari swimwear is designed to enhance a woman’s natural beauty – no matter her shape. At Hapari, we believe that every woman should look and feel great while having fun in the sun! And that is why our swimwear is created from the finest fabrics and with body-shaping features to help you feel comfortable and confident.

Our Swimwear Secrets

Not all of us have the time to maintain a perfect figure, which is why we create swimwear to enhance the curves you love and downplay those you don’t. Nearly all of our bikinis, tankinis and one-piece suits are made with secret pockets sewn into the breast area that can be fitted with our Illusions™ silicone enhancements to supplement your curves. Our S.O.S.™ line of tankini tops feature the same gorgeous prints as our other suits, but are built with an underwire directly into the suit to give you added support where you need it most. When it comes to swimwear, so many women have trouble with their midsection. Hapari’s exclusive Tummy Tuk™ bottoms provide extra coverage and support for your waistline. And our selection of swimskirts, swimshorts, wraps and cover-ups provide additional coverage and protection from the sun. In addition, most tops in our line of tankini swimwear can be worn in three ways: halter-top, criss-cross back, or tank style. You have the option to choose which works best for you. You can also match any of our tankini or bikini tops with any of our bottoms, which means that you can design a one-of-a-kind swimsuit that fits your needs. And all our stunning swimwear is made to move. They look great and stay comfortably in place no matter what your activity.

Our Beginning

Hapari has come a long way since 2005 when we were founded by moms who took issue with traditional swimsuits. They thought women shouldn’t have to choose between the perfect style and the perfect fit. They decided to create a line of swimwear for real women that was fashionable as well as flattering. Though a lot has changed at Hapari since then, our commitment to providing stylish swimwear for all kinds of women hasn’t.”

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My Thoughts:

What a fun group of pieces to try out! My favorite item of them is definitely the high rise bottoms. I have always had an interest in some semi-high waisted bikini bottoms to wear when I’m with my family at the beach. I also love wearing the traditional string bikini bottoms-however, sometimes they don’t stay put. These high rise bottoms stay in place, cover the honey and lower stomach well and are very flattering (I think). They are a great pair to have in your bikini rotation for those family swimming outings where you spend a lot of your time chasing the kids. Besides that, they are also just a nice change of pace from low rise bottoms.

I love to mismatch my bikinis-I rarely have a cohesive swim look going on. As you can see in the above photo, I paired the high waisted black bottoms with a multicolored triangle top. This top is fantastic. What makes it different from every other triangle bikini top is that the triangles provide a good amount of coverage and they stay in place (so you don’t feel like your chest is going to pop out-eeek!) I paired the red/orange top with the green bottoms. The bottoms are a vibrant green color which is fun to match with various tops. They are low rise, yet your backside does feel adequately covered in these.

The red/orange top fit a little bit differently than expected. There isn’t as much support as I would like. I don’t like for there to be any “movement” on my top half-and this top is just a bit too loose for my liking. I think it’s meant to be a more relaxed fit (perhaps) but I prefer the multi-colored top in regards to the support it offers. As a whole, Hapari offers some fantastic pieces that truly suit many body types and sizes. I see these suits being fun and flattering for moms who want to be adequately covered but still looking good.

home_homeSummerSavingsSaleEventSliderNODATE

 

Organic Gardening Tips from My Experience Thus Far

My husband and I have done a major overhaul on much of our landscaping space around our house-on part of which we have created an organic garden. We grow three different kale varieties, spinach, strawberries, wheatgrass, tomatoes, cubanello peppers, green peppers, jalapeño peppers and corn. I wanted to compile a brief post highlighting the key things that I have learned thus far in starting our first garden:

1. Weeds are relentless.

-When you make the choice not to use chemical pesticides or fertilizers, you will welcome weeds and unwanted growing guests. Weed picking is merely a daily routine in our garden. Make no mistake, that chore is well worth creating the chemical-free zone for our plants!

2. Make a habit of picking weeds right after it rains.

-You will make it 100 times easier on yourself if you wait until the ground is adequately soaked before you go on a weed-pulling mission. This way, the whole plant will come up (roots and all) and you aren’t just wasting your time picking off the leaves of the weeds.

3. Weeds are not just a vanity problem.

-Besides being an eyesore, weeds suck nutrients out of the soil they grow in. This hinders the growing ability of your fruits and veggies that you really want to be growing. It takes a lot of nutrients, water and energy for these plants to go from a seed to a plant that produces leaves and fruit. Thus, they need all the nutrients you can provide them-& eliminating weeds is one way to help.

4. Some plants will stall out.

-Our spinach plants began to grow thinner, more flimsy leaves (my husband read that could happen-& that it’s a sign the plant is done producing on a large scale). Also, our strawberries were initially producing a fair amount of strawberries but have stopped. We are currently experimenting with adding organic fertilizers to the soil in hopes that these plants will get the nutrients they need to thrive and start cranking out more berries.

5. Soil quality is everything!

-The plants you grow are 100% dependent on what is in the soil around them. This soil needs to be nutrient rich, otherwise they will not reach their potential as plants. We have enriched all of our soil with compost and organic topsoil.

6. You will likely need to add organic fertilizer at some point to get sustained production of fruit/veggies.

-Like I mentioned with our strawberries, we had quite a bit of production at first but they have stalled out. Our kale has been cranking away and producing plenty to pick-but a healthy dose of nutrients will still help your plants, even if they appear to be healthy. If nothing else, it will help them thrive and produce even more and produce more readily. We are using a water-soluble mixture that is derived from kelp & soy, made by a brand called Jobe’s Organics.

 

The Importance of Being a Conscious Consumer and Why a Healthy Dose of Skepticism and Outrage Work Wonders for Your Health: by Elique Organics Founder Elisha Reverby

As our lifestyle shifts from a place of careless mass consumption into a more thoughtful conscious consumerism, it is important to reacquaint ourselves with our values and become more considerate of the brands we are directly supporting. Where we spend our hard-earned money allows us to take back the power from big businesses that we gave up a long time ago because let’s face it, there is nothing more effective than a good old-fashioned boycott.

Because a recent poll released by ABC News found that 93 percent of Americans want the federal government to require mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods those same 93% probably want to know the companies pouring millions of dollars into fighting against GMO labeling while using their ‘organic’ brands to deceive the public. The most significant Monsanto ally also known as the most evil company in the world is the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA). They are the “vocal advocate” for over 300 conventional food, beverage and consumer brands like Kellogg’s, Kraft, Starbuck’s, Pepsi, Coke and General Mills. The GMA and their brands have plenty to lose if foods are labeled especially the right to use the word “natural” in their marketing. This one word holds so much power and taking it from them would be devastating to their profits.

 

If a company opposes GMO labeling, they support suing states like Vermont that look to enforce such labeling. They agree with bullying small farmers and bankrupting them. They support polluting our planet’s precious eco-systems, encouraging factory-farming, using massive amounts of toxic chemicals needed with GMO crops and ignoring studies exposing the severity of health risks associated with them. They do this merely because of their greed and so the sicker we get with cancer, diabetes, infertility and obesity, the richer they get.

 

It is challenging to learn a whole new way of doing things that you trusted were fine up until now but if we are fed up of our own despair then we have to step up and actively participate in action. While it may begin with you no longer frequenting Starbuck’s because of their GMA association it could lead to other positive endeavors, and this my fellow readers, is the beauty in getting out of our comfort zone because by doing so, we get to see ourselves in a whole new bright light, standing up for something we believe in and inspiring others around us to do the same.

 

KNOW YOUR BRANDS

 

Kashi and Horizon Organics are two perfect examples of why a healthy dose of skepticism when shopping for food goes a long way. Kashi’s website says all the right things: Their NON GMO Project Verified stamp of approval is comforting and words like “organic” and “progressive nutrition” along with the deliberately chosen soft yellow, green and orange colors work well to evoke feelings of trust, warmth and nature. It’s easy to see how anyone could believe that Kashi is a brand dedicated to our well-being but do we really care about their NON GMO certification when we learn that Kashi is owned by Kellogg’s, the biggest and baddest member of the Grocery Manufacturers Association with a mega budget that allowed them to spend a WHOPPING $46 million to defeat California’s Prop 37 and also donate to the GMA’s own anti-labeling efforts with profits from the Kashi brand? Consumers also sued Kashi for deceitful and false advertising in their Go Lean and TLC brands, which they claimed were “natural” and won.

 

To find Kellogg’s name on the Kashi website is nearly impossible (I am sure they wish they never sold out) and I finally found it in their ‘privacy policy’. While looking there, I came across a comment from a customer who loves their NON GMO Verified Whole Wheat Biscuits, Very Fruitful Cereal: “Kellogg’s used to have a fruit filled mini wheat many years ago and then they discontinued them and I’ve been lamenting ever since. They then brought out a frosted one not too long ago, but they’re expensive and too sweet. When I received an email from Kashi featuring this cereal, I completely geeked out because this cereal is that discontinued cereal I loved so much! Today I had the pleasure of purchasing some of it and it’s spot on. Thank you Kashi for revitalizing a favorite!” Of course the cereal is “spot on”, it is Kellogg’s NON-GMO Verified version of that cereal. Also, why was there not a response mentioning their affiliation with Kellogg’s? These are clear examples illustrating the lows a brand will go to in order to manipulate and trick their customer.

 

Kellogg’s also owns: Carr’s, Famous Amos, Morning Star Farms and Mueslix.

 

Dean Foods, another GMA affiliate owns Horizon Organics and though they may be your go-to organic dairy brand in December 2013, Horizon started testing the market with their “classic” varieties of macaroni and cheese, which are not organic and contain synthetic ingredients that would never be allowed in a USDA Certified Organic product. To make matters worse, they add milk protein concentrate (MPC) “a controversial product, often imported and of dubious quality, that substitutes for fresh milk.” Family Farm Defenders has fought against importing massive quantities of MPCs from countries that don’t meet the same health and sanitary standards of U.S. dairy production. “Milk protein concentrate is the lowest grade dairy byproduct left after milk processing.” So, Horizon believes it is suitable to feed the “lowest grade of foods and by-products” to children! We don’t even buy pet food anymore that contains animal by-products but Horizon will feed them to little children.

 

For Horizon “to devalue their exclusive organic brand status, after gaining the trust of the organic consumer who believes after so many years on the market that Horizon is a brand they can trust is trickery on every level” but this was not the first time. In 2009, they introduced yogurt marketed to toddlers and though it was made with organic milk, it included non-organic pureed fruits and vegetables listed on the dirty-dozen list of produce containing the highest amount of agro-chemical residue. Horizon clearly has no consideration for our babies and so we should be just as coldly indifferent to them and choose another brand like Clover, Strauss or Organic Valley while also sharing this information with other parents who are uninformed. This type of community and “It Takes A Village” attitude are the exact values we need to reconnect with.

 

There is plenty of good news though. Just last week The Supreme Court ruled 8-0 that though Coca-Cola, another GMA affiliate, complied with FDA regulations (exactly why an FDA endorsement means very little), can be sued for false advertising of its pomegranate/blueberry juice which contains, get this,  LESS THAN 1% of each juice in the product. The rest is grape, apple and raspberry juice but these are listed nowhere on the front of the packaging and “looking at the bottle, the Supreme Court ruled, you’d get the sense that this is primarily a juice made of pomegranate and blueberry, two trendy antioxidant-heavy (and expensive) fruits.”

 

Also with more awareness being raised about the link between health and eating a quality fresh food diet, there has been an upsurge in families growing their own food and organic farming. I see so many homes on my walks with gardens loaded with zucchinis, tomatoes, strawberries, string beans, kale, lettuces, lemon and orange trees. People have chickens and bees for eggs and honey and farmer’s markets are popping up everywhere. The jig is up and this kind of mass awareness is exactly what the GMA and Monsanto fear the most. Labeling GMO foods is about our right to choose and to think that a company would fight to take away that right and instead force-feed me ingredients I do not want is completely outrageous.

 

Doubt and suspicion are not negative emotions when used to protect what is sacred to us. Apathy and careless buying of “stuff” is so 80’s does not move in the same with us as we shift into a higher consciousness and find ways to afford organic food no matter our income because we understand now the urgency to safeguard our health and the planet for future generations. For too long our careers and financial demands left us distracted and now we need clarity and action to make up for lost time.

 

TAKE NOTE:

 

  • READ Labels – Whether at a conventional market or a health food store, read the BACK of the box! Soy isolate (processed soy, the kind that is not good for you) is in chocolate, salad dressing, cereal and bread. Corn syrup is in jams, jellies and whey and milk in bread. Thought you were dairy free?
  • Shop in stores like Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Co-Ops and health food stores. There is a wider selection allowing for more healthy options and the bigger the store the better their capacity for sales. Find coupons and seek daily specials.
  • Shop at Farmer’s Markets and access the freshest and most nutrient-dense foods that are also less expensive than buying them in the supermarket (for the most part. I recently came across a post from the Union Square market in NYC and heirloom lettuce I buy at my farmer’s market for $1.50 per head was $15 per lb.! Please do not be deterred if you see this. It is not the norm.)
  • Know Your Brands. Along with Kellogg’s and Dean Foods, take a look at my list below of the biggest advocates against GMO Labeling and click on the links for a complete listing of their brands.
  • Con Agra Owns: Bertolli, Blue Bonnet, Gulden’s, Hebrew National, Jiffy Pop, Swiss Miss and Slim Jim
  • General Mills Owns: Cascadian Farms, Cheerios, Chex, Gold Medal Flour, Haagen Dazs, LaraBar, Muir Glen, Nature Valley and Yoplait
  • Pepsi Owns: Aunt Jemima, Aquafina, Frito Lay, Gatorade, Lipton, Quaker Oats, Sabra and Sun Chips
  • Nestle Owns: Carnation, Dreyer’s Ice Cream, Gerber, Lean Cuisine, Nespresso, Perrier, Poland Spring and Pellegrino
  • Coca-Cola Owns: Bacardi, Dannon, Dasani Water, Evian, Honest Tea, Odwalla, Minute Made Glaceau Vitamin Water and Smart Water and Illy.
  • Know More. We are on our computers 24/7 so let’s put that to good use and become better acquainted with organic consumer like Cornucopia, Food Democracy Now and Organic Consumers Association are key resources.
  • Organic food is more expensive but everyone can afford them if they cut corners on Non-Food Consumables. For those go to the 99 cents store.
  • Follow Your Gut – Trust yourself when you read a label. You don’t need to be a food scientist PHD Laureate Fellow to know that what you are reading is wither good for you or not. If you see endless ingredients in something that should have just a few, move on. Follow your gut and trust your inner voice because in the end, it’s the only one you will ever need.

 

This is a lifestyle to be approached with enthusiasm and a positive energy so you can really bring all that you have to offer to your efforts. Fear, worry, doubt, confusion… They don’t belong in this process because there are enough resources out there for any of us to eliminate each and every one of those feelings. Remember, we may not have a choice about governments going to war or societal and financial pressures imposed on us but we do have a choice everyday how to spend our money. Like Al Gore said, it’s an inconvenient truth but what’s a little inconvenience? Surely we can handle that.

Author Bio:

Elisha Reverby is founder of Elique Organics, a beauty and lifestyle brand dedicated to simply luxurious skin care collections while demystifying organic and making the lifestyle accessible and affordable for all. Elisha’s customers rely on her straight to the point advice and endless resources for living the lifestyle of their dreams.

Elisha has been featured on CNN, ABC News, The Huffington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Jewish Woman Magazine, No More Dirty Looks, Vogue, WWD, Allure and Lucky Magazine and maintains a cutting-edge blog and social media presence dedicated to beauty and wellness.

Elisha is a farmer’s market groupie, honeybee champion, philanthropist and advocate for food transparency and other environmental causes. She can be reached at ereverby@eliqueorganics.com.

How to Optimize Time Spent Running as featured on HealthAmbition.com

As runners, we are a stubborn bunch. We like to run the way we want, when we want and where we want. We often are not open to changing our habits because running is one of the few things in our life that is entirely under our control and power. Since we are so stubborn, we as runners can especially benefit by acquiring a more open mind about how we can optimize our time spent running. Breaking down this wall of resistance to change will allow us to become more efficient, leaner, more fit runners.

All of us run for slightly different reasons but I believe that most of us can agree that we are interested inbecoming leaner and improving our shape. Though we wish that fitness could be accomplished solely through running, we need to realize that optimizing your running alone will not help us accomplish this goal.

However, the good news is that all you need to do to make a big difference in your results is add strength moves into your run.

Runners are less injury prone, quicker, more fluid and efficient when their whole body has a certain strength about it: an ability to withstand and endure. Running is not the only thing that helps us build up our strength and aerobic capacity.

A new approach to running?

running to the sunset

Next time you’re out for a run, try a variation of this approach for a sure shot way to make your heart rate sky rocket (and adapt your plan based on your running route and surroundings):

Integrate a 10 rep set of one of these moves after every 1 mile of running: lunges, squats, tricep dips, push ups.

  • Do a different move at the end of each mile to work your enter body equally.
  • It helps to have a park bench handy for modified push ups. (i.e. gripping your hands on the top of the backrest and pushing your chest up from there).
  • Keep in mind, runners tend to have weaker arms and need to start light and work up to tougher moves.
  • Squats and lunges can be made harder by transforming them into a squat jump or lunge jump move.
  • Tricep dips are best done using the seat of the park bench.

End your run strong and be at an all out sprint when you finish.

  • This will rev up your heart rate and keep it up longer than finishing your run at a sluggish pace, thus, you’ll burn more calories during and after you finish your workout.
  • Letting your legs extend to full stride as you run will act as a stretch for your tight muscles, lessening the need for static stetching after you complete your run.

Optimizing the time you spend outdoors running requires you to be in a motivated state, so turn on the music!

  • Make a playlist with upbeat music that makes your blood pump and gets you moving.
  • It’s helpful to construct your playlist with both moderate and high intensity music to coincide with your running strategy.

As your legs and lungs tire, do not sacrifice form for speed.

  • Sacrificing your upright running posture and running stride opens the door for injuries.
  • Training your muscles while maintaining a strong, proper posture also helps maximize performance.
  • Keeping up your form when you get tired makes it more challenging, thus, it is a better workout if you can keep it up.

On days when you forego the strength training and just choose to run, add in some stretches of running where you increase your speed enough to really challenge yourself for 30-50 second intervals.

  • Running with intermittent bursts of speed will exponentially amplify the calories you burn and make your workout much for effective. The days of long, slow runs should come to an end if you want to become your leanest and fittest. Read more about the benefits of sprinting here.
  • Incorporating strength moves and speed into your runs does more than just enhance your caloric expenditure, as this type of training also helps increase the lean mass on your body. This is significant because lean mass burns more fuel than fat mass, thus transforming your body into a calorie burning machine.
  • Even when you are resting, your metabolism will increase as a result of these bodily changes.

For another way to maximize the allotted time you have to exercise, consider HIIT Training.

Too Much Fruit Slows Weight Loss as featured on HealthAmbition.com

In having the goal of losing weight, most would agree that incorporating a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables is a great focus to have. In theory, this is indeed true and helpful. Organically grown plants are foods that are rife with nutrients and often serve as a quick, healthy snack.

The problem lies in the fact that a lot of us are much quicker to reach for an orange, banana or a peach before we reach for carrots, celery, or broccoli–understandably so. Fruit is sweeter, it’s tastier, it’s more satisfying to our palates. But with that sweetness comes sugar.

Sweet, sweet fruits

sweet papaya

Though many of us are in denial about it, fruit does contain sugar, and too much of that sugar will bring your weight loss efforts to a stand still.

Here’s why:

  • High sugar (fruit) intake causes insulin levels to rise, in turn causing our bodies to initiate fat formation. Having out-of-whack insulin levels is something you want to avoid when trying to become leaner because it triggers our body to hold onto and form more fat, versus getting rid of it.
  • When insulin levels skyrocket, the possibilities arise for conditions like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. This effects women’s hormones and can prohibit women from being able to shed unwanted pesky pounds.

In knowing these things, we shouldn’t be scared to eat another piece of fruit with the fear that it will effect our waistline. Simply becoming more aware of what we reach for as a snack will help us evaluate how much fruit & sugar we are actually consuming. For instance, if we are too much fruit in a day’s time (with few veggies, protein, or fat sources) then it’s time to consider swapping that fruit for foods that help meet our body’s demands.

Fruits are not enough

Our bodies need more than just sugar; making fat and protein sources like seeds, nuts and beans a great alternative to fruit.

Making that simple swap can solve your sugar problems for two reasons:

  • Vegetables are just as nutritionally dense as fruits are.
  • The sugar contained in fruit far outweighs the sugar found in vegetables.
  • Seeds & nuts provide crucial omega fatty acids that actually help facilitate hormones and fat loss.

Because of this, us weight-conscious individuals will get closer to our goals if we simply swap the sugar and avoid eating too much fruit. Making sure that our diet isn’t “sugar heavy” is a big step in optimizing our health & fitness; in turn helping us lose weight.

After all, being at a healthy weight is just a reflection of our inner health.

swap too much fruit to vegetables

Vegetables and more vegetables?

The ideal of eating whole veggies might be off putting to many, as eating veggies is just not as appealing as munching down on fruit. Here are a few options for those that are struggling to stomach the veggies:

  • Invest in a whole-food complexed meal replacement. There are a few great organic brands that have created supplements comprised of various nutrients found in fruits and vegetables, without all of the sugar. There is also an ample serving size of plant based protein in these powders, making them a more well rounded meal. Products like this can be found in the supplement isle at a natural foods store. A great one to start with is Garden of Life’s Raw Meal.
  • Think protein when snacking, not sugar. One can accomplish this by finding an organic powder or bar that is high in protein and low in sugar. Doing this will give you the satiability from the protein without causing your insulin levels to rise. When eaten in small amounts and in moderation, foods like chia seeds or almonds are also a great source of protein and good fats.
  • Juice your veggies to make them more palatable. Juicing some of your favorite veggies can be a quick way to ingest a load of nutrients at once. Using carrots, tomatoes, celery, and some greens can make for a surprisingly delicious veggie treat. It’s refreshing and also acts as an energy boost.

So fruits are bad?

No, not really, but it is pertinent that we realize that “too much fruit” exists. With the efforts we make an individuals to lose weight and be healthy, we shouldn’t ignore that we could be taking steps backwards by inadvertently ingesting too much fruit and sugar.

Simply making small changes like eating veggies, implementing protein powders, eating more seeds & nuts and starting a juicing routine can help us solve the problem and accelerate the rate at which we slim down. To read more about the effects of a diet rich with fruit and it’s recpurcussions, refer to this article.

What are the health benefits of selenium? as featured on HealthAmbition.com

First of all, you might be asking what on earth is this thing and what are the health benefits of selenium.

Well, selenium is a naturally occurring trace element that is used all throughout the body, concentrated in areas like the liver, thyroid, kidneys and muscles. Your body only needs small, daily amounts of be satisfied, so there is no need to load up on this supplement. Just make you don’t neglect consuming this vital element.

How to know if you have a selenium deficiency?

Figuring out if you have a selenium deficiency is not always easy. Symptoms such as physical and mental fatigue, hypothyroidism and reproductive disorders can be indicative of insufficient selenium. Looking out for these warning signs will help you to prevent more problems.

However, if you experience these symptoms, do not immediately assume that you are selenium deficient, as they can suggest other nutrient deficiencies as well. Taking a look at your diet will help you to determine if you are getting sufficient selenium. Eating plenty of plants and selenium rich-foods needs to be a crucial aspect of your dietary intake.

Eat these to get enough selenium

To make sure that your diet is plentiful with selenium sources that help you get all the health benefits of selenium, reach for foods like fish, seeds and beef. The king of all selenium sources is commonly reported to be brazil nuts, as one ounce (28g) of brazil nuts contains approximately 767% of the recommended daily dose. One ounce is 6-8 nuts depending on the size, so if you eat 3 you’ll definitely get enough.

You can also find 131% of the recommended daily dose per three ounces (100g) in fish, 32% of the recommended daily dose in one ounce of seeds and 54% of the recommended daily dose in three ounces of steak. Lower amounts of selenium (17% of the recommended daily dose) can be found in plant foods like spinach and asparagus.

grilled salmon gives you selenium

Selenium should not be neglected

Let’s be honest here, a lot of people haven’t really even heard about selenium. But that doesn’t mean we can ignore it.

The health benefits of selenium are numerous and impact your overall well-being as selenium:

  • Acts as a an anti-inflammatory (many diseases are results of inflammation in the body)
  • Boosts your immune system by increasing the effectiveness of white blood cells, which are responsible for warding off infection and viruses
  • Helps alleviate dandruff problems
  • Regulates the thyroid by enabling the less active form of thyroid hormone to be converted into the active form that is used by your body
  • Aids in sperm motility, thus enhancing male fertility
  • Protects your heart by decreasing the risk of blood clotting, reducing your bad cholesterol levels and increasing your good cholesterol level
  • Fights against free radical damage and cancer, as studies have shown that the amount of deaths due to cancer are less in those that have adequate levels of selenium.

If you believe you could be selenium deficient, it’s important not to ignore it. Untreated selenium deficiency can result in diseases like Keshan’s disease (a cardiomyopathy) and male infertility. With long term deficiency, you make yourself more prone to developing Hashimoto’s disease, a condition in which your body’s own immune system attacks the thyroid.

Conclusion and action steps

To prevent problems caused by lack of selenium, simply supplement your diet by

  • Taking a multivitamin that is complete with selenium
  • Drink plenty of water, as it contains small amounts of selenium
  • Eat enough of the aforementioned selenium-rich foods

You don’t need to do all of the above, just pick one or two and make sure you get enough of it. Once you’ll get enough of it, you’ll probably feel the health benefits of selenium in few weeks yourself. That is of course assuming that your daily dose is not high enough. The signs you might have selenium deficiency are:

  • Muscle weakness and fatigue
  • Pain in the joints
  • Unhealthy Hair
  • White spots on fingernails

It’s important to keep in mind that we have different needs. Some need more selenium than others. Those most at risk for having a selenium deficiency are people undergoing kidney dialysis, people living with HIV, people with gastrointestinal disorders, as this can mean mal-absorbtion of selenium as well as patients on total parenteral nutrition (TPN) as their only source of food.

Get a blood test with you doctor if unsure about your current selenium levels. If the test results show that your selenium levels are low, make the changes recommended by your doctor and up the intake of the above mentioned foods.