If you're a full-breakfast kind of person but you just don't have time to whip up omelets, French toast, cinnamon-apple oatmeal and fresh-squeezed orange juice on weekday mornings, you'll have to settle for something simpler but still filling. So, consider whipping up a banana-orange high protein breakfast shake. It actually tastes like a cozy, slow-rising morning and, as a meal replacement, it is filled with enough protein to last you well into lunchtime. Start your morning off right with this recipe:
- 1 scoop of Naturade Total Soy All-Natural Powder in French Vanilla
- 1 whole banana, mashed
- 16 ounces of fresh-squeezed orange juice
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
Pour all of the ingredients into a hand blender and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Serve with a slice of orange. If you have some extra time and a blender handy, turn the shake into a smoothie with six to eight ice cubes. You can even blend in some oatmeal for a serving of excellent heart-healthy grains, or some spinach for a kick of iron and other antioxidants.
Humans have had pet canines for thousands of years, and there's a reason why this perennial "world's best pet" is human's best friend around the world. In fact, 47 percent of households in the U.S. own at least one dog. Everyone that has a pet dog knows that they're loyal, loving creatures that are always happy to see you when you get home. And recent research furthers the cause of having a pet dog – as it turns out, whether you're a child, adult or senior, there are some major benefits of having a pooch by your side. Aside from an abundance of love and loyalty, here are some of the reasons that dog ownership is good for your health:
- Get more exercise. As a dog-owner, you'll get a great workout every day by taking your little Fido out on his walks.
- Live longer. Research has shown that people with dogs tend to live longer than others, which is likely due to the fact that they get more exercise than others and gain the emotional benefits of having a pet.
- Stave off loneliness. Dogs as companions can help us feel less lonely. This is especially important for people who live alone, such as seniors, according to recent research. Aside from being good company, pets can also help you meet new people. Dogs serve as an easy topic of conversation: when you are out walking your dog, people are more likely to come up and talk to you, and if you go to parks you can meet other dog owners. The reduction of loneliness is a very important benefit because loneliness has been shown to decrease overall health and longevity.
- Keep your heart healthy. Though surprising, research has shown that simply petting and talking to a dog or cat can lower one's blood pressure noticeably. Petting an animal can induce relaxation and calm people, which is why dogs are often used in hospitals as therapy animals.
- Learn empathy. Having a pet dog can teach children empathy. It allows them to learn to care for something and recognize others' needs if they are involved in the feeding, brushing and other care of the animal.
If you're considering adopting a pet, make sure you will have ample time and energy to care for that animal first, but know that, aside from being loved on by a furry friend, you'll benefit in so many other ways.
Dietary fat gets a bad rap, but there are several different types and not all are bad. The key to eating healthfully is knowing which fats are good, and to eat them in moderation while avoiding the unhealthy ones. Saturated fats are unhealthy and should be minimized, while unsaturated fats are very good for the cells. Here's some more information to help you make healthy food choices and keep your cholesterol in check:
These "bad" fats raise both total blood cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein – or unhealthy cholesterol – levels. They clog up the arteries by sticking together in the bloodstream and forming plaques, which can cause heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Saturated fats stay solid at room temperature and are found in animal products like eggs, meat, dairy and seafood. Palm and palm kernel oils are two very common saturated fats used in processed foods, so if you see these on the label, avoid them.
Another type of fats, which are even more unhealthy, are trans fats. Most trans fats are artificially created by partially hydrogenating unsaturated fats. If you see the words "partially hydrogenated" on a package, avoid eating that food ingredient because it contains trans fats. These artificially produced fats can increase levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood and lower the levels of HDL, or "good" cholesterol.
In contrast, unsaturated fats are the "good" fats when, in eaten in moderation, are very important for heart and overall health. They fall into two categories: polyunsaturated fats, which are found in sunflower and fish oils and omega-3 fatty acids, and monounsaturated fats, which are found in almonds, walnuts, avocados and olive oil. Unsaturated fats can actual lower the body's levels of cholesterol and blood pressure. Unsaturated fats are easy to recognize because they are liquid at room temperature.
Halloween is upon us, and that means candy galore. But if you're health-conscious and have a major sweet tooth, you can feel conflicted about the ingredients on the back of the candy bar – if you can't pronounce it, can it really be safe to eat? But why not treat yourself to some homemade candy? Since you make it, you'll know exactly what goes in it! Try these sumptuous homemade vegan candy bars for a healthier treat:
Vegan chocolate, almond and coconut candy bars
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons maple or agave syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 pinch salt
- 20 – 24 roasted, unsalted almonds
- 6 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate
Put all ingredients, except for almonds and chocolate, into an s-blade food processor until they stick together. Shape the filling into 10 to 12 rectangles, place them on wax paper-lined baking pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate, whisking in a bit of sea salt if you'd like. Then, press two almonds into each bar before dipping it into the chocolate. Refrigerate the bars for 20 more minutes, and then dip them again, giving them a double-coating of chocolate. Refrigerate one last time for 20 to 30 minutes and serve!
The questions arise occasionally: How much running is too much? Is running actually bad for your health? Is it stressful on the heart? The questions aren't being asked by serious couch potatoes as an excuse to stay off their feet, but by health scientists, medical experts and long-distance runners who want to make sure they're making the right choices for their bodies.
Among the most curious are the increasing number of health- and fitness-minded individuals and groups attempting to return to our ancestors' roots. These people advocate a lifestyle based on how our hunter-and-gatherer ancestors supposedly lived thousands of years ago: Eating things like grass-fed meats, fish, nuts, seeds and fresh vegetables and fruits, which is the basis of the Paleo or "caveman" diet. In attempting to discern how our early relatives might have lived, people have turned their attention to distance-running and asked the question: Is it really natural? The reasoning is that our ancestors would have had no reason to run long distances – rather, they would need to run in short, intense sprints for the purpose of hunting.
So, is running actually bad for your health? That depends on who you ask. Most people agree that running reasonable distances is excellent exercise provided your body is well-fed and you're in good shape. But what about the endurance runners who seem to take it over the top? After all, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults get 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day – a far cry from the 10 miles a day that some people run. But getting exercise is very important – it reduces your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, Alzheimer's, obesity, heart disease and dementia, among other things.
However, according to Dr. James O'Keefe, the director of Preventative Cardiology at Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, we must impose healthy limits on our exercise:
"Your body is designed to deal with oxidative stress that comes from exercise for the first hour," O'Keefe said. "But prolonged intense exercise causes excessive oxidative stress, which basically burns through the antioxidants in your system and predisposes you to problems."
Thus, the best answer is to consult with your doctor to determine what amount of running is right for you. If you have knee or back problems, consider trying other high-intensity exercises like swimming or skating, which are easier on the joints.
Kids' lives these days seem almost more busy and scheduled than ours are or ever were. Whether you're chasing a toddler around the living room, playing t-ball with your preschooler or chauffeuring your pre-teens to after-school soccer practice, your life probably couldn't get much busier. Here are some exercises to boost your energy, get you ready for the day and help you keep up with the kids:
Kids are flexible little humans, so if you're going to play backyard soccer or tag with them, you need to keep up. Start your morning off right with these energizing stretches:
- Cat-Cow yoga pose: Lay a mat down on the floor and get on your hands and knees, with your knees in line with your hips and your hands aligned with your shoulders. As you inhale, lift your tailbone and head and push your stomach toward the floor. Exhale and drop your head, tuck your tailbone and arch your back toward the ceiling. Do 10 reps for a good back stretch, and remember to breathe deeply.
- Hamstring stretch: If you often have tight hamstrings, give them a nice stretch so you're ready to rock for the day. Lay on your back with your legs straight and your lower back and hips pressed into the mat. Then, lift your leg with your knee bent and hold it parallel to the floor. Stretch your leg straight up, keeping your hands behind your knee to make sure your leg is now perfectly perpendicular to the floor. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds before switching to the other leg. Do three repetitions.
- Neck and shoulder stretch: Sit on the floor with your back straight and your legs crossed. Keep your shoulders straight and tilt your left ear toward your left shoulder, feeling a pull. Hold for 20 seconds before doing the right side. Then, roll your shoulders back and forward to loosen up tight muscles.
Feel the burn
Some of the best exercises to keep up with the kids are squats. Here are two excellent variations:
- Split Squat: This gets your hips and thigh muscles ready for a long day. With feet shoulder-width apart and hands at your sides, take a step backward and drop into a lunge, moving slowly into it until your front knee is at a 90-degree angle. Hold it for a few seconds, then push yourself back up with your knees slightly bent. Do 20 reps on one side before switching to the next leg.
- Squat thrusts: These are good for your chest, triceps, hamstrings and quads. With your feet hip-width apart, squat and put your hands on the floor in front of your feet. Jump backward so you're in a pushup position, don one pushup and then jump back toward your hands and stand again. Do 10 reps on each side and this will surely get you ready for the day!
Proline-Rich Polypeptides are a mouthful to say, but if you don't know what they are, you probably should – especially with cold and flu season upon us. PRPs come from colostrum, the first milk of newly nursing cows, and PRPs are the component largely responsible for providing a quick dose of immunity to new calves.
PRPs are actually found in all other mammals' colostrum, and humans can benefit from bovine colostrum too. One good source of PRPs is Naturade's Proline-Rich Polypeptides with Colostrum Plus supplement, which is safe and effective for people of all ages. It's used to help balance the immune system and to provide a boost when you feel challenged or stressed. Naturade's PRP enriched colostrum product is antibiotic-, hormone- rBST- and pesticide-free. It comes as a powder that you mix into your morning or post-workout smoothie – 1/3 a scoop, twice per day. You can triple this amount if you're experiencing a time of increased stress.
Consider PRPs and colostrum to give your immune system a kick in the pants before winter rushes in!
It's good practice to consume protein within an hour of working out to help your muscles repair themselves, especially after lifting heavy weights. But during flu season, it's also important to give yourself an immunity boost. While moderate exercise is typically very good for the immune system, going to a gym is not – think of all the germs just floating around on the machines and free weights! And it's nearly impossible to avoid touching your mouth, face or eyes while working out, so you could potentially transfer these germs into your system. Thus, add a boost of immune-supporting colostrum to your post-workout protein shake with this great recipe:
Immune-boosting post-workout recovery shake
- 1/2 cup non-fat milk
- 1 cup Greek yogurt, plain
- 1 banana, sliced
- 1 teaspoon Symbiotics Colostrum Plus Powder
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
- 1 teaspoon honey
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add a scoop of Naturade Pea Protein if you want an extra kick of protein in your shake, and use other ingredients like berries, which are packed with powerful antioxidants to complement the colostrum. Flax seed is great because it has omega-3s and protein, but you can also try chia seeds.
It's that time of year again, when the leaves change to vibrant hues and the air turns crisp. It's also time to pick your perfect pumpkin for carving, painting, baking or whatever else you can think of. So head to a local pumpkin patch to find your perfect pumpkin and get a little exercise in the process!
Choose what ever type of pumpkin you like for carving! Some people want one with an even color and a perfectly round shape, while others prefer something with an interesting shape and some bumps and other things that give character. When on the hunt for your perfect pumpkin, just make sure to choose one with a flat bottom – though most of them are bred that way these days – to ensure it doesn't tip over!
Carving pumpkins have been bred to be very large. Thus, their flesh isn't always the best for eating as it's typically a bit watery and bland. For baking, choose a small pumpkin that is specifically called a "baking pumpkin," such as the sugar pie variety. You can make pumpkin pie or roast it for use in pasta with these small, dense baking pumpkins. They're good for your health – provided you don't pair them with too much sugar! You can also roast the seeds of carving or baking pumpkins for a healthy snack or addition to your trail mix.
Football is a very American sport. In fact, in other parts of the world, it's called "American football" to distinguish it from the football played with the feet – also known as soccer. The celebration of a truly American sport brings up other ideas of other things developed or well-appreciated by folk in the good ol' U-S-of-A, like apple pie, John Deere, Route 66 and Jazz music. Since none of these are really good for tailgating, let's go with potato salad. Every good American party needs a tasty potato salad, and this one happens to be both vegan and delicious:
Vegan potato salad
Ingredients (for 10 to 12 servings)
- 12 medium potatoes
- 1 cup eggless mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup yellow mustard
- 3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup celery, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
Cut the potatoes in cubes before boiling them – the smaller the cubes, the quicker they will be done. Drain them and let them cool before mixing them with all of the other ingredients in a bowl. Season with paprika, salt and pepper, and refrigerate until tailgating time!