What are you drinking? 5 drinks that are good for you

With all the trends of specialty waters, sodas, juices, shakes, etc it can be confusing what is actually good for you without a lot of research. My personal preference is water – for every meal, ha, ha! I’m not a fan of milk because of the texture and taste. I even eat cereal dry which I know is weird! I occasionally drink juice because I try to limit sugar and sometimes drink herbal tea (my favorite is peppermint). We’re going on a staycation to the beach later this week. We’ll only be about an hour from our house but it’ll be nice to relax! Thanks, Maurine for guest posting today!

5 healthy drinks

5 Drinks that Actually Are Good for You

By: Maurine Anderson

There seems to be a lot of misconception in the nutrition world as to which drinks are actually healthy for you. Fruit juice, for example, is commonly deemed a healthy drink option that counts towards your daily intake of fruits and vegetables, yet many health experts are quick to point out that fruit juice contains little fiber and is full of sugar. According to multiple studies, in fact, fruit juice seems to have many of the same effects on the body that soft drinks do.

So what drinks are healthy, then? Here is a look at five drinks that truly are beneficial to your health.

Water

Water, of course, tops this list. Water offers so many health benefits that it would be impossible to name them all in this post. For the skin, for example, water helps bring nutrients to skin cells, maintains skin elasticity, staves off wrinkles, and combats disorders like psoriasis and eczema. For the heart, staying hydrated helps the heart pump blood through blood vessels and reduces risk of heart attack. This article, meanwhile, points out that water also promotes stronger teeth, as it flushes sugars from the mouth, cuts down on sugary drink consumption, and may even contain fluoride if it comes from the tap. Long story short, water is vital to helping every aspect of your body function efficiently on a daily basis.

In addition to all of these health benefits, it doesn’t hurt that water is the most affordable thing you could be drinking. If you don’t like the taste of your tap water, you can always invest in a water filter pitcher or a water filter for your faucet. You might also consider installing a water softener as this article suggests, since hard minerals can alter the taste of your tap water. Try infusing your water with lemon juice or fruit for added flavor and health benefits!

Tea

Tea is another immensely healthy drink option. For starters, as this article mentions, drinking herbal tea or green tea is a great way to increase your daily water intake if you have trouble getting in 64 ounces of water each day. In addition, depending on the particular ingredients of the tea, it will offer a myriad of health benefits on top of proper hydration. Chamomile tea, for example, has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-fungal, anti-ulcer, antispasmodic, and astringent properties thanks to the dried chamomile flower it contains. Açai berry tea, meanwhile, can boost energy levels, improve mental sharpness, regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and enhance nutrient absorption. Tea, in general, has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including a stronger immune system, a healthier digestive system, lower risk of heart attack and stroke, and even reduced risk of cancer.

Note: One thing to keep in mind here is that too much caffeine can have negative effects on the body. So in this case, when it comes to caffeinated teas, you can have too much of a good thing. In addition, adding sugar to your tea will, of course, essentially negate many of the benefits you get from the tea.

Low-Fat Milk

Setting aside the fact that some people are lactose intolerant and therefore cannot digest milk properly, milk is another healthy drink option that is rich in nutrients. It is an excellent source of calcium, which is known to promote strong and healthy bones and teeth. It is also often fortified with vitamin D, which regulates calcium and phosphorus absorption and is hard to find in other foods.

Raw Coconut Water

Ever tried unsweetened and unflavored coconut water? Coconut water is rich in electrolytes, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, and potassium. Many health-focused athletes are starting to opt for coconut water to replace fluids after a run, instead of sugary and acidic sports drinks. It’s also a good source of fiber, which promotes better digestion. When selecting coconut water, just be sure that it’s raw and not pasteurized—the pasteurization process boils away many of the nutrients found naturally in coconut water.

100% Fruit or Vegetable Juice (When Enjoyed Properly)

Don’t get the impression that they cannot be part of a healthy diet. Pomegranate juice, for example, is packed with antioxidants that can prevent inflammation and reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer. Orange juice is rich in vitamin C that neutralizes free radicals and promotes cell repair. Beet juice, meanwhile, can lower blood pressure, increase stamina, and improve blood flow to the brain. Just be sure when selecting juice that there are no added sugars and that it is indeed 100 percent juice—and be sure to enjoy it along with plenty of water throughout the day. It can also be a good idea to dilute the juice that you drink with some water.

coconut water 5 healthy drinks

5 healthy drinks

 

Health Tip

health tips avoid comparing yourself to others

When most people think about health, they think about physical health – like eating well and exercising. Total health and wellness not only involves physical health but also emotional, social, spiritual and mental health. This health tip deals with emotional and social health. How people portray themselves (especially online and social media!) isn’t how they really are. Most people don’t post pictures of their messy house, when they’re having a bad day, when they haven’t showered, etc. but everyone has those moments! Comparing ourselves to someone else is never healthy or beneficial. It’s fun to catch up with people or make friends on social media but just remember that no one is perfect, despite their online or initial appearance.

My quest to find a good tasting protein powder

One of my top health and fitness tips is to fill up with protein after exercising. The calories your body burns during exercise need to be replenished. If you fill up with unhealthy food, your body will hold onto those calories. This is why it’s important to be careful what you put into your body. The less processed food is the best (hence the popularity of ‘whole foods’). Protein is essential to building muscle tissue and is essential for your body to function. You don’t have to be perfect with your diet, but doing small, important things like getting enough protein will definitely benefit your body and overall fitness. I have a few favorite post work out food items like protein bites, eggs, bananas, etc and also like protein powder drinks- but not all powders!

Protein Powder Basics

If you’ve ever walked into a supplement shop, you might be overwhelmed by all the choices, brands, types, etc. The protein powder I use is basic whey protein. I like that a protein powder drink has overall less calories and fat that a protein filled food meal. However, you cannot use protein powder or supplements as your sole method of caloric intake. For a large container, the price varies but is approximately $40-$50 dollars. This initially seems like a lot but I only use 2 scoops a day.

How Much Protein Should One Consume

You should aim for .36 grams per pound (of body weight). If you’re trying to bulk up, have an intense training/workout schedule, have a special diet, medical conditions, etc. this may be different for you. The amount of protein in 1 scoop of protein powder varies. Of the brands I’ve tried, they have 20-22 grams of protein.

How to Use It

You can add protein powder to things such as water, milk, oatmeal, juice, smoothies, etc. The only way I use it is with water to make a protein drink. I don’t drink milk because I don’t like the taste or smell. Many common protein powder flavors are sweet or dessert flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, peanut butter, etc. Unfortunately for me, all the dessert flavors taste gross! I’ve been on the search for flavors that have a decent taste and a powder that is easy to use in a BlenderBottle (ie it dissolves well and doesn’t clump).

So far, I’ve found 2 flavors that (to me) don’t resemble milk – strawberry and orange. I found the strawberry at GNC which has locations nationwide (or online) and the orange from BodyBuilding.com.

I add 2 scoops of protein powder to approximately 12-16 ounces of water. I add the metal whisk ball that comes with the blender bottle, close the top, shake the bottle about 30 seconds, let the foam settle, then drink. I actually really like the combination of both strawberry and orange so I’ll use one scoop of each. Lots of people like all flavors of protein powders and protein bars but it was important for me to find ones that don’t taste gross! These fruity flavors mixed with water taste like watered down juice or flavored water. There are tons of recipes for protein shake smoothies, I just always use water because it’s the fastest and easiest to make.

strawberry protein powder gnc

tire flips nike protein drink

Stop now and do this stretch!

One of the most use body parts that we often forgot to stretch is our hands and forearms! Most everyone uses their hands all day whether it’s kids playing, writing at school, typing on a computer or phone, working, cooking, cleaning, driving, etc.

This stretch below is one of my most favorite stretches that instantly relieves any tension in the wrist and forearm. It only takes a few seconds but is crucial for good wrist health and flexibility. This stretch and other simple stretches such as wrist rotations can help prevent wrist fatigue, pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome or overuse.

Extend arm with fingers towards the ground. Use the opposite hand to gently pull fingers back towards your body. (Stop if you feel any pain!)wrist forearm stretchwrist forearm stretch

Extend arm with fingers pointed towards the sky. Use opposite hand to gently pull fingers back towards your body.

wrist forearm stretch

These stretches are so great for any repetitious action especially working on a computer or phone. Even after playing the piano, cleaning, washing dishes, knitting, or driving for a long time my hands, wrists and forearms can be tight or exhausted and I find it so beneficial to stretch them.

Other awesome stretches for the hands, wrists and forearm include wrist rolls, squeezing a tennis ball or stress ball and the prayer pose stretch.

6 ways to get more from your workout

I’m excited to share some tips that can help all of us achieve our fitness and wellness goals. They are all great reminders of how to get the most out of a workout. My favorite part and something I always can improve on is making sure to fully stretch after exercising. We are members at 24 Hour Fitness and use their Kids Club as childcare while we’re there. I sometimes find myself rushed after a workout or fitness class to get back to the kids, other commitments, errands, etc. Thanks, Maurine Anderson for guest posting!

Want to get more out of your daily workout? Finding the motivation to get that daily workout in is hard enough as it is, so it’s good to know that there are a variety of techniques out there that you can use to make the most of your workouts. Here are 6 simple ways to get more out of every workout.

Eat a pre-workout snack.

Even if you like to work out first thing in the morning, your body is going to need some fuel first before hitting it hard. Enter: the pre-workout snack. The ideal pre-workout snack contains simple carbohydrates, which are absorbed quickly and offer quick energy, along with complex carbohydrates, which will sustain you throughout the duration of your workout. (Many say that a good pre-workout snack also includes protein, and while some protein helps, protein is ultimately much more important as part of your post-workout meal.) You should plan on eating your pre-workout snack 30 minutes to an hour before working out, as this article states. Some ideas for pre-workout snacks:

  • Whole wheat toast topped with fruit
  • Oatmeal topped with dried fruit
  • Greek yogurt topped with fruit
  • Fruit smoothie that includes oats
  • Cold brown rice topped with fruit
  • Banana slices and peanut butter

Warm up first.

Many people confuse warming up with stretching. Warming up involves doing a lighter version of the exercise you are about to engage in, at the beginning of your workout. If you’re about to go on a run, for example, warming up should involve fast walking or slow jogging to get your heart rate up. If you’re about to engage in a synergistic workout, jumping jacks make for a great warm up. You should warm up for about 5 to 10 minutes at the beginning of your workout, gradually increasing intensity throughout the course of the warm up. Doing so will increase blood flow, loosen the joints, and prepare the muscles for high intensity work.

Cool down and stretch afterward.

Cooling down and stretching are essential for preventing injury and aiding in muscle recovery. They can also help improve flexibility and range of motion. A good cool down is a lot like a warm up, only it involves gradually decreasing intensity and incorporating some stretching. Start your cool down by gradually decreasing the intensity of the exercise you are engaging in, and finish by stretching the muscles you worked. A cool down should be about 5 to 10 minutes long.

Don’t forget your recovery meal.

If you work out regularly, your post-workout recovery meal is perhaps the most important meal of the day. Your recovery meal should be rich in both protein and carbohydrates, and you should plan to eat it within two hours after a workout. (It’s also best to consume some carbs within 15 minutes after your workout to replenish your muscle glycogen supply.) Your recovery meal may also include some fat and fiber as well, as you’ll have more time after you work out to digest those things. Aim for a recovery meal that’s between 200 and 400 calories. Here are some examples:

  • Grilled chicken and mixed vegetables
  • Whole wheat toast and a vegetable omelette
  • Chocolate milk and some raw almonds
  • Whey or soy protein shake
  • Energy bar and fresh fruit

Get a massage.

Here’s a tip that you won’t need me to tell you twice. Getting a quick massage after a particularly strenuous workout can actually improve and speed up your post-workout recovery. Studies have shown that getting a post-workout massage reduces muscle inflammation and increases the number of mitochondria in muscle cells (which generate the energy your muscles need for recovery).

Go for a soak.

Here’s another tip you’ll like hearing—soaking in a warm bath or hot tub after your workout can also help you get the most out of your workout. The heat of the water helps increase your circulation and relax your muscles. The key with this, however, is to time it right. It’s best to wait for your heart rate to go back down before immersing yourself in hot water. You can read more tips on incorporating hydrotherapy into your workout regimen here.

Maurine Anderson originally hails from Washington, DC, but is now enjoying life out west in Salt Lake City. She is a professional writer and blogger who in her free time loves to create new cake recipes, travel, and practice her hand at photography. She tends to geek out over linguistics, cats, and all things Scandinavia. Check out more of her writing at MaurineDashney.com and find her on Instagram @maurinedashney.

More motivation and fitness tips from guest bloggers here

Favorite family activity: flashlight walks

One of our favorite things to do as a family is nightly walks. It’s great exercise and we’ve found a way that makes it enjoyable for the kids too.  When we first got married we would go on an evening walk usually on Sundays since it’s a more relaxing day and a nice way to start the week, talk and enjoy nature. When we lived in Virginia and I was pregnant with Brent we walked a ton since it was supposed to help induce healthy labor. Plus we also had Bruce and it was good exercise for him, and us. When Tessa was a newborn we continued to do our daily walks even though it was winter in Utah. It was fun to bundle up and get out of the house (we would push Tessa in her stroller that had a zipped winter cover).

When we lived in Texas, we still wanted to do our walk and since it was so hot, we usually wouldn’t go until the sun went down and we had the kids bring their mini flashlights which they absolutely love! It makes it fun for them especially if we’re going for a long walk and they’re in the stroller. We’ve still been doing our favorite family activity with the flashlights and it’s still great to stretch your legs at the end of the day, relax, breathe fresh air and talk together. If you’re looking for a way to walk more, get more exercise and feel refreshed, adopt our evening walk tradition! 🙂

favorite family activity evening flashlight walks

favorite family activity evening flashlight walks

[mini flashlights from the dollar store, we love our BOB Sport Utility Duallie double jogging Stroller from my parents and I always wear my nerdy runner’s vest similar to this one with a blinking bike light in the safety vest pocket]

Health tip (2)

This next installment of monthly health tips seems small and simple but can have great benefits: go to bed 10-15 minutes earlier. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get between 7-9 hours of sleep and a few polls have shown that about 1/3 of American adults sleep less than the recommended amount. A good way to start getting more sleep is to start with an increment of 10-15 minutes of additional sleep. If you try and go to bed 2 hours earlier than you’re accustomed to, your body will probably not be tired enough to fall (and stay) asleep. gradually you can increase the number of hours you sleep every night.

health tip sleep more

A lack of sleep can have many negative effects for example, fatigue, lack of concentration, lack of motivation, decreased immunity, irritability and premature aging.

My Fitbit (Alta) has a sleep tracking system and I’ve found it really interesting to see my sleep patterns. Since having kids, I really enjoy routine for myself and the kids. I probably sleep more than the average adult as I (obviously!) enjoy sleeping ha, ha! One thing I’ve found is that it’s hard to ‘make up’ sleep. For example, if you are sleep deprived during the week, sleeping in extra on the weekend doesn’t necessarily have the same benefits as regular, consistent sleep. I’ve heard there are lots of good phone apps (like Sleep Cycle) that track sleep and help you find the best time for you to fall asleep and when your best wake up time is.

Here’s to feel more well rested and energized every morning!

Bruce’s Best Pet Products (corgi edition)

Bruce has been part of out family now for 6 years! I still remember picking him up as a 6 week old puppy down on the farm in Virginia where his breeder lived. He was small enough to fit in a messenger bag. Dave grew up with a little dog and I always wanted one so Dave got Bruce as my birthday surprise!  I feel that owning a puppy and going through all the steps to train it is great preparation for becoming parents.  You learn to work together with your partner, house training, crate training, how to deal with different pet personalities, differences in ‘parenting’ styles, how to take care of an animal, scheduling (feeding, walking, etc) and the versatility you need as a parent when issues arrive with your pet like illness, chewing, social issues, etc. You go through a lot of trial and error with training pets, much of what happens when you are parents. Over the last six years, we’ve discovered some awesome dog products that are pretty essential to keeping the house clean and blatantly obvious that we have a dog.

bruces-best-pet-products welsh corgi

 

  1. FURminator – far and away my top pet item! This brush is designed to comb both the over and under coat of a dog. It’s pricier than regular brushes but 100 times more effective! Corgis shed quite a bit, especially during seasonal changes like winter to summer, and the furminator has been invaluable in reducing the amount of hairs that get shed in the house. It’s easy to use and doesn’t hurt the pet or cut the hairs. The metal brush pulls the hairs from both coats. We furminate Bruce maybe once a month depending on the season but corgis have so much fur, I feel like he could be furminated everyday sometimes! These brushes are sold for dogs and cats and different brushes depending on the size of your pet.
  2. Nature’s Miracle Stain & Odor Remover Spray – when house training a pet you’ll have accidents. This spray is great for eliminating odors and stains from carpet. We’ve found it to be very effective and have never had any stains on our carpets. It’s easy to use as well. After an accident (urine), soak up with a paper towel as much as you can, spray the Nature’s Miracle into the carpet and let it absorb. The carpet should be wet. Let the spray sit and absorb for approximately 20 minutes the blot it with a paper towel. The carpet won’t be completely dry and you can just let it air dry (no need for fans, etc).
  3. Lint Rollers in bulk (Scotch-Brite) – Lint rollers are pretty essential if you have a dog or cat breed that sheds. In addition to furminating Bruce and general cleaning the house, these lint rollers are great for couches, clothes, cars, blankets, etc. We like this brand because it does a good job  picking up stray hairs, is sold in bulk packages and the sheets are easy to tear.
  4. Harness Leash – for years we had a retractable leash because it was easy to use, hold and what we were used to since Bruce has a lot of energy when we go on walks. Our friend in Salt Lake, also a corgi owner, who used to dog sit Bruce suggested we get a harness leash so he doesn’t pull as much. Our current leash obviously isn’t as long as a retractable leash but he doesn’t pull at all when we leave the house to go on a walk.
  5. Food storage container – dog food can be pretty stinky and we love this container that we have to store his food. It has a lid that locks so prevent spilling if it ever tips and looks nice. The one we have isn’t specifically made for dog food (it’s basically a trash can with a locking lid).

corgi