Already Faltering with Your New Years Resolutions?

I’ve heard of so many people that made these really intense New Years resolutions related to health, fitness, weightless goals, etc. which I give kudos for, and I think is awesome, however some of you all have set yourselves up for failure. Now, I am never someone who will tell you not to shoot for the stars, however, I am a realist, and I want people to make attainable goals, so that you set yourself up for success. Success and feeling positive about a change, is the key to it sticking, so set some goals you can keep up in the dawn of this New Year.

New Year SkyOverzealous weight loss goals?

It’s super easy to put in your head that you can lose 3, 4, 5 lbs a week so you can hit that magic number by the time you take your winter holiday in someplace tropical and warm and you get to wear your bathing suit. The reality is that with working out, and eating a healthier diet to cut down your caloric intake to a safe and healthy level (for most women the lowest you should go is around 1500 calories per day), you should be losing around 1 lb a week for sustainable weight loss. Plus, anyone who has read my blog before knows that I am not a huge fan of people having set weight goals; I truly believe that you should set your goals based on your clothes, and shoot for looking fly in those skinny jeans, as opposed to staring at a number on a scale, which is bound to disappoint some days due to normal weight fluctuations. So don’t get bummed because of a number, feel good because you look awesome in your clothes, and they slip on just a little bit easier now!

Hardcore Workout Regimens:

Making mental commitments to working to 7 days a week, or jumping in with 4am workouts every day when you normally work out at in the evening….or not at all, can also backfire!  Although, this one can go either way; some people feel a total addiction to working out and love that endorphin rush and make a complete life change, which is great, but others can get totally overwhelmed, not get that endorphin rush, and completely give up on their goals or feel like a failure if they can’t hit that mark every day.  So set your goals based on what you actually can add into your life based on your current life schedule with work and life commitments: if you can only get to the gym 5 days a week, or you go some mornings and some afternoons, it should be considered a win! And you do need to be careful about jumping in too fast and over-training, you put yourself at risk for injury, so listen to your body!

Cleanses and other Radical Diet Changes:

People hear about “nutrition” or weight loss fads all the time and decide they are going to do it, because some random celebrity lost 10, 20, 30+ pounds adding/deleting something form their diet.  I know that you all know this is the truth: fad diets don’t work! If you want to change something about your diet to be healthier or lose weight, it needs to be a lifestyle change that you are actually able to commit to and stick with, otherwise it is completely pointless. Do you really want to cut out all sugar from your life? Or do you really want to be vegan? Do you know the implications and you can commit to that? Well then, as long as it’s been well thought out, and what you want to do, I stand behind you and will cheer you on, but don’t make changes because of some silly trend you read about.

The best New Years Resolutions for health and weight loss are those that you can actually attain, and that you feel positive about. Set goals that will make you feel good, and keep you motivated all year long, so next year you can make another goal that will lead you into an even healthier lifestyle! Lifestyle changes take time to get used to, as you are changing learned behaviors and patterns; allow yourself a few mess ups, but get right back at it, and keep positive! Plus, it helps if you have a friend or loved one that supports you and is actually making the changes with you! Plus, there is no rule that you can’t alter a resolution for which you may have set the bar too high…you will meet your goals, just stay positive and set yourself up for success: It’s a New Year, so be a New YOU too!

Yours in Good Health

B

 

Go Nuts Today…and Every Other Day Too!

For ages the adage has always been “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” but a couple of recent studies from Harvard may make us all rethink that saying! Of course, if you have a nut allergy, you can disregard all of this information…because eats nuts will certainly send you right TO the doctor and ostensibly shorten your life span altogether!

How can Nuts Improve your Overall Health?

The studies showed that nut eaters (and for these studies peanuts were considered nuts, even though they are actually legumes, and part of the bean family) who had at least a serving of nuts every day, were much less likely to die of cancer (in general), respiratory disease, and cardiac (heart) disease. And they found that over the 30+ years that the studies were being done, daily nut eaters had a 20% reduced risk of dying than those who did not eat nuts every day. This data came from, as stated earlier, an over 30 year research study assessing the nutritional and health status of over 120,000 Nurses and Physicians starting in 1980. A different study found that eating nuts actually helps to decrease the amount of Low Density Lipoproteins (LDLs) which are also known as the “bad” cholesterol, along with lowering your blood pressure and your blood pressure in response to stressful situations. Eating nuts actually helps to protect your heart by decreasing the circulating bad cholesterol, and decreasing your inflammatory response, which can cause plaques to build up and lead to heart attacks or long-term cardiac disease.

NutsNuts are High in Fat and Fat is Bad?

The studies actually found that people who tend to eat more nuts, had lower incidences of gaining weight during the study periods, because nuts are a perfect blend of protein and fiber which helps to delay absorption and makes you feel full longer. So, as long as you stick to a serving of nuts a day, and try to stick to the unsalted version, you shouldn’t see any weight gain, and the health benefits are astounding! The studies found that all nuts are beneficial, so no nut is considered better than another. So feel good about adding nuts to salads, eating them plain as a snack, putting nut butter on an English muffin/bagel for breakfast (ditch the cream cheese or butter), and try making nut crusted proteins (i.e. chicken or fish) as your main dish for dinner to super protein boost your meals!

Yours in Good Health

B

Snow Storm Safety!

For all those, like me, who are affected by snowstorm storms during the winter, and possibly confined to their homes because of it, I just wanted to drop a reminder a few ways to keep yourself safe:

1. Make sure to get food and some water before the storm hits!  Whatever food you can eat, and plan on possibly losing power, so you may have to eat PB&Js for a couple of days, or canned goods, just make sure that you have enough food to eat and fresh water to drink.  You don’t want to have to go out during the storm (plus, stores won’t be open!)

2. Snow falling can be gorgeous, and you may want to go out for a walk in it, but please do not stray too far out heavy snowfall alone; with poor visibility, it is easy to get lost especially in poor lighting (dusk and nighttime.)

3. The same goes for your animals, off leash, they can easily get lost with poor visibility and poor lighting. If you have small creatures, like mine, they can fall below the snow line, so keeping them on leash ensures their safety. It can also be harder for you to hear them with snowfall and plows around, so you may not be able to visualize them OR hear them. snowpups

4. When shoveling, take breaks: the exercise when shoveling is a lot more exertion than people think, and it is easy to strain muscles and/or exert yourself to the point of heart attack (we see a lot of cardiac arrests during snow storm shoveling).  So please take breaks, and ask for help, or if you have a plow, do a favor for someone who might not be able to shovel themselves out. If you have the means, maybe call a company to help plow you out in heavy snow.

5. Be careful with snow blowers: they can get clogged up, sometimes requiring you to pull out rocks, branches, etc. but make sure that the motor is off and the blade has stopped spinning. There are always some pretty nasty snowblower accidents that come into the Emergency Department every snowstorm! Even though it isn’t as exerting as shoveling, take breaks! Being exhausted and operating any sort of motorized equipment is as unsafe as being under the influence of alcohol, so please be safe and take breaks as you can.

6. If you have chronic medical conditions, or are unwell, have a plan to get to medical assistance if necessary. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) will be up and running, but they need to be safe getting to you, so times may be slightly delayed, and it is something to keep in mind.  If you have someone driving you to the hospital, give yourself ample time and drive slowly and safely to get there. For example, if you are pregnant and due to give birth during a predicted snowstorm: have a plan in place!

7. Please be mindful of driving bans, it’s for your own safety! if you HAVE to drive, for emergency purposes (and no that doesn’t mean you forgot extra wine) be careful and take your time.  Make sure that you have a cell phone, or a way to contact EMS or roadside assistance if you need to, but please use good common sense, you do not want to be one of the statistics.

8. Use common sense, it seems fun to go out and do crazy things in the snow, but temperatures are cold, visibility is low, snow drifts are higher than expected, and transportation can be really difficult. So, if you have to get your crazies out, bring a cell phone and a friend, and let people know what you are up to/when you are going. Especially if you have been drinking to pass the time (remember to eat and to hydrate well!)

9. General winter warning: Don’t go skating on ponds unless it is posted that it is safe to do so. Many times ponds/lakes appear more frozen than they are!

10. To stay healthy? Remember you don’t need a gym to get exercise when you get stir crazy, you can always rock out with some yoga, jumping jacks, burpees, squats, etc. there’s way to keep moving even when confined to your home.

Otherwise, enjoy the snow, have fun, and hopefully you will be able to escape your homes safely soon enough!  Remember: Helping someone out is a good feeling, so if you are fit and have the means (a plow/snow blower/shovel), help someone who might be completely snowed in and unable to get themselves out. Pay it forward and keep it safe!

Yours in Good Health

B

Why Baking from “Scratch” is Key this Holiday Season

I know that it seems like our weekends are filled with holiday parties with friends, family, or at work.  On top of that there is shopping to do, possible holiday travel to plan, and the list goes on and on.  But, inevitably, there will be some cooking or baking that you need to do either as a guest or a host, and I know with limited time it seems like purchasing pre-made or ready to be made (i.e. pre-made mixes) are the winners choice, but are they really?

Just some food for thought (pun totally intended):

Let’s use a box of yellow cake mix as an example, if you were to purchase a $3.45 box of cake mix (that makes one serving and you still need to purchase eggs and oil to make the cake mix into a cake) you get ingredients of: wheat starch, salt, dextrose, Polyglycerols Esters of Fatty Acids, partially hydrogenated soybean oils, maltodextrin, cellulose, artificial flavors, xanthan gum…..and the list goes on.

Standard cake mix

Standard cake mix

If we were to purchase our own flour ($2.46), baking powder ($1.89), and sugar ($2.35) our dry goods would cost a total of:  $6.70.  The ingredients you get for flour: enriched unbleached flour, baking soda: sodium bicarbonate and corn starch, sugar: pure sugar cane.

The winner for price?  It seems worth it to buy everything separately….a little more up front, but you can make more cakes (or whatever you choose to do with those extra dry goods). If we used all our dry product, we have at least 4 cakes worth of dry goods, so its about $1.68/cake. But the real winning point for me? The ingredients! When you bake at home, you know what you are putting into your cake, it may not be the fluffiest or most delicious cake anyone has ever had (on the other hand, it totally might be!) but you know that you made it yourself, which people tend to really appreciate, and you know that the ingredients you used were clean and with as few fillers as possible.

cake from scratch

cake from scratch- all organic!

The winner for time?  Per the directions on a yellow cake mix box, it will take 3 minutes of prep time and 28 minutes (approx) of baking time. For a classic yellow cake from scratch, it will take you 15 minutes of prep time and 25 minutes to bake. It’s basically a wash!

Think about it: we all are trying to be healthier, economically savvy, and all in the limited amount of time we have to spare, so why not make something from scratch that you can feel good about eating yourself, feeding your children, and others because you know what went into it. Plus, it takes no more time than baking from a box. I will tell you, I would rather feast on an ugly looking cake made with clean products rather than one filled with preservatives and other man-made things ANY day!

Yours in Good Health

B

December Exercise Challenge: Beat the Holiday Weight Gain!

This exercise challenge was created to beat the holiday bulge, strengthen your core muscles, keep working and improving leg strength, and increase upper body strength.  It is a mixture of exercises that will help us ladies feel good and look good! And every time you want to swear at me for making you do a push up, think about the fact that you are tightening your pecs and helping to keep your upper body nice and toned and perky!!  Join me, get mad at me, and show me up by getting fit and healthy and preventing the holiday weight gain!!

The main exercises we will focus on are:

Squats: Strengthen your lower body and core muscles such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, calf muscles, gluteals, lower abs, and lower back muscles. To perform a squat appropriately, you want to squat straight down (feet hips width apart) as if you are about to sit in a chair (think butt out) as far down as you can go keeping your balance and posture, then stand back up straight.

Planks: Strengthen your upper, middle, and lower core such as the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, oblique muscles, pectoralis, serratus, and the quadriceps muscles. You can perform a plank from your knees OR resting on your elbows with your forearms resting on the ground (modified) OR from a high plank position with your hands shoulder width apart, straight body, and on the balls of your feet. Hold steady keeping your back straight and butt in!Plank view 1

Push-Ups: Strengthen and tone abdominals, pectoralis, triceps, and bicep muscles. You can perform a push up from your knees (modified) or from a high plank position (hands shoulder width apart, straight body, and on the balls of your feet), with a straight body, in a controlled motion, lower your body to 6” off the ground, and push back to the top position.

Top (starting and ending) Position

Top (starting and ending) Position

 

 

Bottom Position

Bottom Position

Reverse Crunches: strengthen and tone the lower abs, hamstrings, and quadriceps. Perform laying flat on the ground (with hands under your lower back from comfort, if necessary), pull your knees into your abdomen, then push out to straight legs with pointed toes 6” off the ground, and pull them back in.

Oblique Crunches: Strengthen and tone the external oblique abdominal muscles. Perform with your legs at a 45 degree angle raised 6” off the floor and your upper torso also 6-8” off the floor, either with a medicine ball or pretending to hold one, twist to the left with your upper torso and keep your legs in the same position, then go back to center and repeat on the right side. Each side is considered one “crunch”.

Straight Crunches: Strengthen and tone your core abdominal muscles. Perform with your hands interlaced behind your head, not pulling on your head or neck, and with your knees bent and back flat on the floor, pull up using our core abdominal muscles to a 45 degree angle and release, in a controlled fashion.

The Challenge (should you choose to accept it): 

Day 1:  50 Squats & 2 minute Plank

Day 2:  75 Squats & 3 minute Plank

Day 3:  85 Squats & 25 Push-ups

Day 4:  100 Squats & 40 Push-ups

Day 5:  50 Push-ups & 3 minute Plank

Day 6:  4 minute Plank & 100 Squats

Day 7:  Rest Day

Day 8:  5 minute plank

Day 9:  40 Reverse Crunches & 110 Squats

Day 10: 50 Reverse Crunches & 6 minute Plank

Day 11: 60 Reverse Crunches & 50 Push Ups

Day 12: 50 Oblique Crunches & 50 Reverse Crunches

Day 13:  7 minute Plank

Day 14: Rest Day

Day 15: 50 Push Ups & 80 Oblique Crunches

Day 16: 120 Squats & 8 minute Plank

Day 17: 140 Squats & 60 Oblique Crunches & 60 Reverse Crunches

Day 18: 100 Straight Crunches

Day 19: 60 Push Ups & 60 Straight Crunches & 60 Oblique Crunches

Day 20: 8 minute Plank

Day 21: Rest Day

Day 22: 100 Reverse Crunches & 75 Push Ups

Day 23: 160 Squats & 120 Straight Crunches

Day 24: 170 Squats & 80 Oblique Crunches & 80 Reverse Crunches

Day 25: 80 Push Ups & 140 Straight Crunches

Day 26: 200 Squats & 100 Oblique Crunches & 100 Reverse Crunches

Day 27: 9 minute Plank

Day 28: Rest Day

Day 29: 90 Push Ups & 150 Crunches

Day 30: 100 Push Ups & 230 Squats

Day 31: 10 minute Plank

And as always, if you have any medical problems, please speak to your HCP before starting the challenge, and you can always modify the exercises to prevent any injury!

Yours in Good Health

B

 

The Flu Shot Can Decrease Heart Attack Risk?

I’ve given you all reasons why you should get your flu shot this year (every year, really), but there are some other reasons you should think about getting the flu shot. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) released a study recently that found people who got the flu shot decreased their risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or sudden cardiac death by almost 1/3rd!

flu_vaccineHow does this happen?

When you get the flu, the body has a huge immune response which causes swelling and inflammation generally throughout the body, which is why you feel body aches, soreness, have headaches, etc. On a vascular level, this inflammation can cause any plaques that may have formed from a build up of fats or other irritants, to become looser unstable, and they can then get into the blood supply, travel, and cause a stroke or heart attack. Also, because you may have lung involvement, it is can be more difficult to breathe, and your oxygen stores might be a little lower than normal, which can put added stress on your heart, which can cause heart failure. By preventing the immune response from the flu, by getting the flu shot, you will be putting your body under less stress and reduce your risk. There was a study of 6,700 people, in which about a third of them had some form of heart disease, and they found that of those people who got the flu vaccination, there was a 36% lower risk of having a cardiac event the following year AND if people had recently had a heart attack or stroke, their rates of having another event were found to be reduced even further.

Bottom Line: 

Any opportunity to reduce your risk of an immune response and major inflammation, will cause less stress to your heart and your vasculature, and decrease your risk of stroke and heart attack. Obviously getting a flu shot will not completely prevent your risk, but I think anything that will help to reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack is worthwhile. The study should be reproduced and be larger to prove its validity, but I truly encourage anyone with heart disease, post heart attack, or stroke to get the flu shot.  And, if you are worried or concerned, speak to your Healthcare Practitioner (HCP) about your risks!

Yours in Good Health

B

Make Sure You are Safe to Drive Home!

The holiday season is upon us, and that means office parties, parties with friends and family, and the opportunity to overindulge and possibly drive. If you live in a large city, it’s not really an issue, you can always leave your car for a few extra hours and catch a cab home, or public transportation (depending on the time). But if you live in the Suburbs or somewhere where the options of getting home are minimal, other than driving or staying over, many people overestimate their ability to drive, and they head on home. That isn’t very safe or smart, but for there is a smarter choice: Personalized Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) testers, also known as Breathalyzers.

I know it seems a little odd, but I recently started thinking about an acquaintance that was court ordered to have a breathalyzer attached to her ignition, so that she can’t start her car without being below the legal limit for driving. Since we have such a huge issue in the United States with drinking and driving, why isn’t that standard on all cars? If you don’t normally drink too much, it’s not an issue, and if you do, it prevents you from a possible arrest (or hurting yourself or others).

What are the options for personal Breathalyzers/BAC tests?

– If you aren’t ready to drop cash and carry around an actual breathalyzer, and if you have a smartphone, you can download an app called “DrinkTracker” which you can create profiles for up to three people (height, weight, gender, etc) that takes into account their bodies and how they might actually metabolize alcohol, you can document how many drinks you have, and at what time, and it estimates your BAC. It’s not 100% accurate, but its a pretty good trick to use on the sly, so you can figure out how many drinks you have, and how you feel….while still being under the legal limit. You can set the BAC that you want  to get to, and it gives you a timer to length of time to get to that level (in other words, when to stop drinking and when you should be able to drive home!) There are quite a few other features, to help you call a cab, and the risks of alcohol ingestion…all for only $1.99.

-If you have an iPhone, iPad, or an iPod there is also a BACtrack BT-M5 Breathalyzer Smartphone Alcohol Tester.  It is a mini Breathalyzer tester that comes with 3 mouthpieces that are reusable, and it connects via bluetooth to your iPhone (or other iProduct) to give you an accurate BAC reading. It also graphs your alcohol intake throughout the night, and estimates when you will be back to below the legal limit. Most importantly, it tells you how the BAC that you currently have effects your body (vision, motor skills, coordination, etc.) so not only might your BAC be above the legal limit, but also shows you why you shouldn’t drive. It’s small enough to be kept in a clutch or a pocket…and it keeps you safe, but it does cost around $149.99.Bactrack_btm5_img3Bactrack_btm5_img4

You can also purchase a real life breathalyzer that law enforcement would use, and have that hooked up to your car, or just carry it around when you go out, for roughly the same price as the BACtrack with smartphone compatibility. I have no interest or backing by either one of these products, I just really happen to think this is a good idea, and it gives people one more reason to think about an alternative to driving themselves when they will be drinking, and it lets you know when you’ve had too much.  It’s a great way to double check yourself, and enter into a safe holiday season!

Yours in Good Health

B

November Exercise Challenge: Beat the Holiday Bulge!

As always, please check with your healthcare provider if you have any specific healthcare needs, and to make sure that you can partake in this challenge. You can always feel free to add or omit weights based upon your personal fitness levels.  And before and after pictures are always a plus so we can see how much we’ve all improved our form!

Since I haven’t posted an exercise challenge in a couple of months, and we have been left to our own devices, I’m going to start it slow, and use some exercises we have done in the past, change-up a few, and then add some new stuff in! Get excited, and get ready to kick up your exercise and get ahead to prevent that dreaded holiday bulge!  This month we will be working on our core abs, hips, and legs, to keep strong and feeling good heading into the holiday season.

Kick lunges work your quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteals, and calves. From and standing position, legs hip width apart, start by lunging backwards with your left leg until your right thigh is parallel with the ground, then rise up and kick your left leg out in front of you (hip height), return to the standing position, then repeat on the other leg.kick lunge

Side leg lifts  work your abductor, AKA hip, muscles (can be made more challenging with a resistance band or ankle weights).  Lay on your side with the leg you are laying on bent at a 45-degree angle, with your upper arm on the ground, bend your elbow and rest your head in your hand.  Keep your top leg straight, and lift it directly up to hip height, then slowly bring it back down to the resting position, switch sides. side leg lift

Back Kicks (or Donkey Kicks) work your core abdominal muscles and your gluteals (can be made more challenging by adding a resistance band or ankle weights). Rest on your hands and knees, slowly kick one leg back until it is straight back until it is hip height, then slowly bring your knee into your chest, then down to resting position, switch sides. Donkey kick

Day 1: Kick Lunges (KL) 10 on each leg and Side Leg Lifts (SLL) 15 on each leg

Day 2: KL 15 on each leg and SLL 20 on each leg

Day 3: KL 20 on each leg and SLL 25 on each leg

Day 4: KL 25 on each leg and SLL 30 on each leg

Day 5: KL 30 on each leg and SLL 40 on each leg

Day 6: KL 35 on each leg and SLL 45 on each leg

Day 7: REST Day!!

Day 8: KL 40 on each leg and SLL 50 on each leg

Day 9: KL 50 on each leg and SLL 60 on each leg

Day 10: KL 60 on each leg and SLL 70 on each leg

Day 11: KL 70 on each leg and SLL 80 on each leg

Day 12: KL 80 on each leg and SLL 90 on each leg

Day 13: KL 90 on each leg and SLL 100 on each leg

Day 14: REST Day!!

Day 15: KL 100 on each leg and Back Kicks (BK) 20 on each leg

Day 16: KL 110 on each leg and BK 20 on each leg

Day 17: KL 120 on each leg and BK 40 on each leg

Day 18: KL 130 on each leg and BK 60 on each leg

Day 19: KL 140 on each leg and BK 80 on each leg

Day 20: KL 150 on each leg and BK 100 on each leg

Day 21: REST Day

Day 22: KL 100 on each leg, BK 20 on each leg, and SLL 50

Day 23: KL 110 on each leg, BK 20 on each leg, and SLL 50

Day 24: KL 120 on each leg, BK 20 on each leg, and SLL 50

Day 25: KL 130 on each leg, BK 20 on each leg, and SLL 50

Day 26: KL 140 on each leg, BK 20 on each leg, and SLL 50

Day 27: KL 150 on each leg, BK 20 on each leg, and SLL 50

Finished! You are looking better, feeling better, have a stronger core and leg muscles, and are ready to continue to dodge that holiday bulge throughout December! Strong core, gluteal, and leg muscles help to stabilize us and make us actually feel stronger.  Keep up the good work!  And join our Facebook Fitness Challenge page to get added tips, ask questions, and cheer each other on!

Yours in Good Health

B

Eat Pure, Feel Pure: Purely Elizabeth

I’ve had a rough week, and when I have a rough week, I tend to look at myself and my life, do my best to fix the source of the problem, or remove it from my life altogether.  I tend to do my best thinking when I am running, hiking, or walking the dogs, times when I can be alone with my thoughts and in nature without anything else to enter my brain. And while some people eat “comfort” foods, go shopping, do something crazy with their appearance,  once I get out of my brain, I re-focus on being healthy.  So, I go to my favorite health food store, stock up on organic foods, and try a new product to introduce into my life. This recent bout of stress brought a new product and a new company into my life that I wanted to share with you all: Purely Elizabeth.

What is Purely Elizabeth?

It is a company that was started by a holistic nutrition counselor, who has always been a healthy eater, but wanted to learn how to make the same baked good that she enjoyed as a child made out of pure, organic, and nutritional ingredients. The products are filled with alternative grains and super foods, and they are free of dairy, sugar, wheat, and gluten, plus they are minimally processed.

I picked up the Pumpkin Fig granola, which is made with organic quinoa (added protein), amaranth (high in b vitamins and amino acids), chia seeds (omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and antioxidants), and coconut oil (with medium chain fatty acids for fast energy along with antiviral and antimicrobial properties). The oats used are organic, the granola and all of the products are processed the least amount possible, and it is delicious!

Purely Elizabeth is Purely delicious and nutritious!

Purely Elizabeth is Purely delicious and nutritious!

The company bases all products off of the premise that there is a direct connection between what you eat and how you feel. Your body responds positively to the healthy food you put in it to fuel it, which is totally true. You feel better when you eat healthier, drink plenty of fresh water, and exercise.  For one, I’m pretty excited that my recent reinvigoration and refocus on my stress-free life and health has brought me to Purely Elizabeth! Plus, I loved the Pumpkin Fig so much I have picked up some of the other granola flavors (Blueberry Hemp, which I can’t wait to try) and I have also ordered some of their oatmeal flavors!

Check out the website to see what local stores sell their products, and learn more about this amazing company that gives back to the community to teach about nutrition and healthy lifestyles, and supports non-profits that support the education of nutrition! So by purchasing Purely Elizabeth, you’re doing something good for your body AND for society.

Yours in Good Health

B

The Ultimate Intruder: Head Lice

Head lice invade over one million scalps per year, most of which tend to be kindergarten and early school age children, and quickly invade the rest of the family! There are many myths out there, like a lice infestation means you are unhygienic, but that actually isn’t true.  The wingless, tiny parasites that live on your scalp and the blood source to your scalp, actually prefer a cleaner home, and is spread by close contact and sharing clothes (hats) and other personal items (towels, brushes, etc.) The official name is pediculosis capitis, and there are some ways to prevent your little ones from bringing home this infection, and what to do when they do bring it home!

The Symptoms of Lice:

Usually an intensely itchy scalp is the first sign of lice, but you also might notice red itchy bumps on your head and neck. When the lice bite into your scalp to get the blood to feed off of, it can cause a small allergic reaction, which leads to the bumps and itchiness.  Also, when the lice lay eggs, people notice a increase in “dandruff” which is usually little yellow lice eggs that line the hair shafts. Adult lice tend to cause more itching around the back of the ears and neckline. And although you might see the eggs on the hair shafts,  that is not enough to truly diagnose the infection, but if you do have a lice infection, the way to truly diagnose is to visualize lice moving on the scalp.

What are some Treatments?

If you notice any of these symptoms, you should try an Over-the-Counter (OTC) treatment shampoo, to try and kill off the parasites early. The OTC shampoos either have pyrethrin (like Rid) or permethrin (like Nix). If that does not work, you can call your Healthcare Practitioner (HCP) to prescribe a stronger treatment.

Malathion (Ovide) is a medication that should only be used on people older than 6 years old, rubbed into the hair and scalp, but it is highly flammable! Benzyl alcohol lotion, is also applied the same way as the malathion, and is a newer treatment that cannot be used on those less than 6 months old, and even in adults, the FDA does warn of risk of seizures and other pretty serious side effects. As with any treatment, make sure that your HCP is aware if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, as some of the drugs are absorbed into the skin and can be excreted in breast milk.

If you are worried about absorbing the chemicals, you can also just wet your hair, and comb it, using a fine tooth comb, every 3 days for 3 to four weeks, which allows you to remove the lice and eggs, and this is the best method with really young children. It obviously takes longer to get rid of the infestation, but it does so without chemicals, and could be an option for those wary of chemical use. As lice can live for up to around two days without a food source, and nits (the eggs) need to live at scalp temperature, combing the bugs and lice out can help to stop the parasites from further breeding.

Also, this won’t work for girls, but young boys, you can cut their hair short (as long as they aren’t opposed) to help remove the lice and nits!  One of my good friends (who happens to also be an RN) JUST had this lovely experience, and was nice enough to send along the pics of their experience:

with hair.....

with hair…..

 

without hair...and getting the combing treatment!

without hair…and getting the combing treatment!

How do I prevent the spread in my home?

Heat and lack of food sources help to end the infestation in your home: 

-Wash all clothes, sheets, towels, etc in hot water (at least 130F/54.4C) and dry on high for a minimum of 20 minutes.

-Brushes, combs, hair care products should be soaked in very hot water for at least 10 minutes (make sure to use insulated gloves to protect yourself from burns!)

-All comforters, pillows, bedding, and other items that are tough to wash, should be placed in air tight bags for 3-4 days to cut off air supply to the parasites and kill them and the nits.

-Vacuum all rugs and couches to remove any possible lice or nits

Also, remind your children not to share hats or scarves, helmets (if playing sports), or any brushes or other hair care products. This can’t always be avoided, and kids will be kids, but it is a good reminder to help and prevent an infection. And remember to tell them, if they do get lice, that it doesn’t mean they are unclean or dirty, but it is something that happens to many people, and with some quick treatments, a lot of laundry, and some parental strife, all will be back to normal soon!  Plus, tell your child’s school nurse, coaches, etc to make sure that the infection isn’t spread and other parents know to look for symptoms.

Yours in Good Health

B