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How to Make Resolutions That Will Stick In 2018

How to Make Resolutions That Will Stick In 2018 0

The majority of us like to make resolutions every new year, but if you’re like me and most of us, you want to be in better shape, begin healthy eating, and start exercising. Maybe your goals are to lose weight, save more money, be happy, and advance your career? Sadly, only 8% of people are successful in sticking to their resolutions.¹ If you want to be in this top crop of people, use these techniques to make resolutions that stick.

8 Reasons Why You Should Adopt Meal Planning in 2018

8 Reasons Why You Should Adopt Meal Planning in 2018 0

Having a plan makes it easy to follow through with your commitment to healthy living, because it removes the need to make a decision, and indecisiveness derails your progress by a huge percentage. Here are 8 reasons why you should plan your meals in advance.

9 Science-Backed Ways to Reduce Stress During the Holidays 0

Science-Backed Ways to Reduce Stress During the HolidaysIn theory, the holidays are all about relaxing and finally spending some quality time with the people we love. After all, 'tis the season to be jolly. But, between the long gift shopping lists and the back-to-back visits, we often struggle to make ends meet and end up feeling more stressed than we were, to begin with.
However, nothing should ruin an opportunity to eat, drink and have fun with friends and family, especially around the most magical time of the year. That's why we've rounded up the nine most efficient (may we add, science-approved) ways to reduce stress during the holidays.
1. Take Deep Breaths
Are the holiday party duties weighing you down? Then, take a moment to breathe! According to research(1), taking deep breaths lowers cortisol levels in your body, reducing stress and anxiety along the way. Not only that but breathing slowly(2) can also decrease your blood pressure and help you get rid of holiday stress sooner than later.
2. Switch to Tea
Sipping on spiked hot chocolate or wine is part of the holiday fun, no doubt. But, a little too much of the thing can actually do more harm than good. In fact, rather than “calming your nerves,” excessive drinking can significantly lower the brain's resistance to stress(3).
An easy way to avoid this is to switch to tea. Black tea(4), in particular, is reported to reduce post-task stress, while contributing to stress recovery. That means that there's finally an accessible, healthy way to relax after a stressful holiday shopping spree or a last-minute cooking craze.
3. Listen to Seasonal Tunes
Stressing over the holiday menu? Then, turn up the music and let the ideas flow. Experts(5) claim that listening to relaxing music slows down your heart rate and reduces blood pressure and anxiety. That occurs because music triggers various anxiolytic mechanisms(6) in the body, which are usually suppressed in the presence of stressors. So, now you have another reason to crowd your house with those cheery holiday tunes.
4. Light Those Scented Christmas Candles
Even though they're often ignored, certain scents,(7) such as lavender, can work wonders on stress. From sparking pleasant childhood memories to evoking certain emotions, these scents trigger parts of the nervous system which are related to calmness and relaxation. So, next time you're feeling overwhelmed with your holiday to-do list, light a couple of scented candles and let the soothing scents take it from there.
5. Get Moving
OK sure, working out is a surefire way to sculpt a wow-worthy physique. But, it turns out that there's so much more to exercise(8) than we thought. Taking a walk or pounding the pavement for a quick jogging sesh can also help you cope with all the holiday stress. That occurs because physical activity boosts norepinephrine(9) levels, an organic chemical that regulates the brain's response to stress(10). So, it's high time you sweat your way to stress-free holidays.
6. Get A Good Night's Sleep
While nothing says Christmas quite like a festive, late-night party, it may not be the best way to reduce your holiday stress. According to research(11), people who don't get enough sleep tend to be more stressed than those who do. That happens because the brain repairs itself as you sleep. As a result, you interfere with certain parts of the brain and increase stress. Quick power naps(12) are also a great way to tackle holiday stress, since they lower cortisol levels and eliminate stress.
7. Skip That Second Cup of Coffee
It's no secret that coffee (caffeine, in particular) can enhance mood and alertness, but only when consumed in moderation. That said: a daily cup of Joe can help you go the extra mile if you struggle to take care of everything just in time for the holidays. However, if you're already experiencing some sort of uneasiness, you should not go overboard with this brain juice. One cup is enough. Otherwise, uneasiness may turn into severe anxiety or stress.
With that in mind, experts(13) recommend you consume no more than 400mg of caffeine a day, which is the equivalent of a Venti-sized cup of coffee. So, make sure you stick to the recommended dosage to avoid aggravating any pre-existing stress symptoms.
8. DIY Gifts For Your Loved Ones
Based on one recent study(14), engaging in crafts is one of the most efficient ways to reduce stress fuss-free. Not only that, but spending money(15) on your loved ones can boost your happiness, further decreasing your holiday stress. So, rather than letting anxiety take over, why not use it to create thoughtful, personalized gifts for your friends and family? Science says you can!
9. Kiss Stress Away
Your bae is going to love this one. Scientists(16) suggest that kissing can help you ease stress during the holidays. According to the report, locking lips with your significant other triggers the release of several chemicals, such as oxytocin. In their turn, these substances inhibit the activity of stress-causing hormones, including cortisol.
Final Thoughts
When holiday-induced stress knocks on your door, take a minute to think about the bigger picture. Christmas is not about catching up with time but spending time with your loved ones. So, instead of fixating on getting things done, turn your attention to what really matters and embrace the season's festive spirit with these nine easy tricks. They take seconds to apply, but can help you create happy, long-lasting memories.
Mother Earth Products
 
References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20617660
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16765850
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3797525/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17013636
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11796077
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3734071/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19571632
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8226467
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3131098/
  11. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/why
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18077777
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4668773/
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21448117
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18356530
  16. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/29187964/ns/health-behavior/t/mwah-kissing-eases-stress-study-finds/#.WiBlQ0pl_IU

How To Prepare For Traveling For The Holidays 0

How To Prepare For Traveling For The HolidaysThis season is a perfect opportunity to spend time with your family. It's also a wonderful opportunity to teach your children selflessness by sharing family dinners and giving gifts. You can also utilize this time to reflect on the good memories of the year and plan for the new year. Are you considering traveling over the holidays, but are stuck on what to do? Where do you start from?
Planning a trip can be daunting. It is easy to get overwhelmed with the process, especially if this is your first trip. You need to plan well, so that you don’t arrive at your destination and realize that you forgot something important. Here is a guide on how to make your planning less overwhelming.
Select your destination
Where do you want to go? Knowing where you want to go is the first critical task. A definite goal makes it easier to plan and commit to it.1 Don’t select a destination without proper research. Check out the security and weather conditions first to avoid disappointments and adverse outcomes.2 Also, keep in mind how long you will to be away to determine the total cost of the trip.
Set up a budget
Now that you’ve decided where you want to go and for how many days, nail down to how much money you need for the entire trip. Research the cost of air ticket, accommodation, and trips at the destination. This will help to estimate the total amount you need for the trip.1 Check for travel deals at travel agencies. You may get better deals that come in a package that will save you some dollars.3 Ensure that you have a limit of what you’re willing to spend on the holidays, so that you don’t have to repay debts in January because you strained your budget.1
Prepare your traveling documents
Depending on your destination, you may need a visa. Apply for a visa early enough to avoid any delays.2 It can take about 6 weeks to get a passport. If you already have one, check to see if it’s valid. Your passport needs to be valid at least 6 months after your return date.3 Check the expiration date before you travel, because it can be a lengthy process to get it renewed. Also, get travel insurance to cover you for the trip. In case anything happens, you’ll be sure that the insurance will cover the expenses.3
Yes, you may be healthy at the moment and think that you don’t need travel insurance, but you just never know what may happen. Life is uncertain, plus the insurance is not only for medical protection.4 It also covers when your flight is canceled, if your camera breaks, or if something gets stolen, or if a family member dies and you have to go back home.
Book your flight and accommodation
Planning will ensure that you know the exact dates that you will be at your destination. Book your flight and accommodation in advance to get to get the best packages and airfares. Select early morning flights or late in the day flights because they are less likely to have delays.3
Before you book, check if you can get cheaper deals.1 Use Google flights to find the cheapest flights and compare the desired travel dates.4 Also, some travel agencies offer packages for flight and accommodation. Be on the lookout and shop around booking sites to get as many options as possible before settling on one.3
Book accommodation for the days you’ll be spending at the destination. If you’re staying for a few days, you can book a room for the entire trip. If you’re going to stay there long term, then just book for a few days. Consider taking package deals, which at peak seasons tend to be competitive.2
Take the necessary immunization
Check if you need to take any vaccinations before you travel, depending on your destination.1
Prepare a traveling checklist
Have a checklist of what you need to do before and during the trip. Pay bills before going for the holiday and organize with a neighbor to collect your mail in case you plan on staying for a long time.2 Ensure you have copies of your travel documents in case they get lost.
Packing
Start packing three days before the trip and check off items from your luggage checklist as you add them into the suitcase.3
Flights have rules about the liquids and gels you can carry onboard, so select small containers.3 Choose a suitcase with better quality and the appropriate weight. Check its construction and the style of its wheels.2  Get good backpacks with comfortable straps that protect your laptop and are comfortable to carry in the airport.4 If you have regular medication for a preexisting condition, ensures that you carry enough and even extra, in case you lose some of them or stay for an extra couple of days.
Prepare your activities beforehand
Planning your trip will help you find out what activities you can do. and book reservations for the activities if need be. Check out how much they cost and plan how to pay for them in advance.4
Prepare for the unexpected and every eventuality
Anything can go wrong. You need to know and be aware of any challenges that could occur during your trip and prepare ways to handle them in advance.
  • To make payments oversees easy, inform your card companies that you’re traveling so that the payments that you make don't get flagged and your card gets blocked.3 Carry with you several methods of payments and have some local currency and credit and debit cards to cover any unexpected costs.4
  • Check the weather of the city or the country you’re visiting. You need to be ready for any extreme weather changes, such as unseasonably cold weather or extremely hot weather.2 Planning accordingly, and always pack an extra change of clothes.
  • You may have booked your trip early enough, and all systems were okay; however, life is dynamic and things change quickly. Stay informed and keep up with the current news of your destination to avoid any eventualities, like weather changes or political instability.2
  • Leave early enough for the airport, because of traffic jams and security checks, to counter any delays ahead.3
  • If you’re connecting within cities, book flights with some time in between to cater to any delays or weather problems.
  • Avoid picking peak travel dates, such as the Wednesday that is the eve of Thanksgiving. You can choose to travel on the holiday, since fewer people travel then, to get affordable deals.2
  • However, for Christmas and New Year, the peak dates vary depending on the days of the week they fall on. Just select dates that will not be too expensive to travel. If you’re not sure, check for packages that have flexible travel dates that have a good combination for the best deal. 3
  • Use a ride service in the airport, such as Uber, taxis, or airport shuttles. Avoid going with your car to avoid paying for parking or inconveniencing a family member to give you a ride to the airport. Uber is a fast and inexpensive option.4
  • In case you plan to drive abroad, be aware of the traffic rules before you drive.3
  • Fill in the emergency contact details on the passport so that your family members can be contacted in case of emergencies.
  • Leave the details of your flight and trip accommodations with a relative or friend so that they can contact you in case of emergency.2
Planning for a holiday is exciting, but taxing at the same time. Plan to get things done in advance to enjoy the trip and avoid disappointments.
Now that you have all in check, go ahead, and have some fun. Keep in mind the the real meaning of this holiday season, which is to spend time with family and be grateful for what the year has been
Enjoy.
Mother Earth Products
 
References

  1. https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/planning-a-trip/
  2. https://www.racq.com.au/travel/holiday-preparation/travel-checklist
  3. https://www.smartertravel.com/2017/06/19/10-tips-holiday-travel/
  4. http://thisismyhappiness.com/2016/11/21/how-to-prepare-for-holiday-travel/

7 Amazing Benefits of Having Gratitude 0

Amazing Benefits of Having GratitudeWhen was the last time you sat down and reflected on what you’re grateful for? Thanksgiving is fast approaching. It is that time of the year where people reflect on what they are thankful for. It’s good to celebrate Thanksgiving every year; however, being grateful every day of the year has tremendous benefits. You don’t need to wait for just one day to express your gratitude. It should be an ongoing practice. Cultivating the practice of gratitude every day does not cost much time or any money, yet the benefits are just out of this world. Let’s look at these benefits you can reap by being grateful every day.

Strengthens your relationships


Gratitude has a direct impact on how you socialize with others.1 You tend to be empathetic and are in a position to help others out or give them emotional support.1 A grateful person is kind to others, less likely to be aggressive even when given negative feedback, and rarely have the desire to seek revenge.3  Furthermore, looking at the positive side of others and appreciating the little things they do can make your relationships stronger. Even journaling about your significant other will bring positive outcomes. Showing appreciation helps you to attract new friends. When you express gratitude to a new friend, they are more likely to seek an ongoing relationship.2

Improves your physical health


Grateful people encounter fewer aches and pains and tend to be healthier than other people.3  They are more likely to be conscious of their health and well being. They exercise, eat healthy, and go for regular checkups with their doctors.3

Improves your mental health


Grateful people who have a positive outlook on life tend to be happy.2 Gratitude reduces the release of toxic emotions such as envy, frustration, and resentment; therefore, gratitude increases happiness and reduces depression.3 According to research, teenagers who were positive were better behaved in school and more hopeful about life.2 Grateful schoolgoers also had better performance in school than their unappreciative counterparts. This is because they were less depressed and more satisfied with life.2

Good for your heart


Gratitude boosts your well being and has a direct impact on your heart health.1 Being appreciative triggers the release of positive emotions that improve the heart rate.2 Having a positive outlook on life lowers your blood pressure.1 Therefore, gratitude can be beneficial to the treatment of hypertension.3 It can also reduce the likelihood of sudden deaths of patients with congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease. According to a study, grateful people had better heart health, owing to reduced inflammation and healthy heart rhythms.3

Better immune system


Being grateful improves your immune function. There is less inflammation and fatigue, which is aggravated by high stress levels and pessimism.2 Research shows that stress hormones, such as cortisol, are 23% lower in people who express gratitude. Being grateful levers positive emotions that have direct benefits to the immune system.1 A study revealed that optimistic law students, from the University of Utah, had more immune-boosting blood cells than those who were pessimistic.2

Boosts your mood


Being grateful has a lot to do with the way you perceive and interpret life, especially if you’re rarely in a depressed mood.1 According to research, when you think about what you are grateful for, it triggers the calming part of the nervous system. In return, it releases feel good hormones, such as serotonin and oxytocin, and reduces stress hormones, such as cortisol.1  The feel good hormones improve your mood and help you bond with others. Gratitude helps boost the feeling of belonging and decreases stress levels.2

Make you sleep better


Losing sleep and you don’t know why? Check out your gratitude levels, because gratitude facilitates a good night’s sleep.1  Writing down what you’re grateful for before you drift off to sleep, can help fall asleep faster and sleep longer.2 Spend 15 minutes each day to write a few grateful sentiments before going to bed.3
Now that you know the benefits, what’s next?
The majority of us may need to learn to express gratitude; so, don’t beat yourself up if you have been grumpy, always complaining, and looking at the unfavorable side of things. The habit of gratitude can be learned.1 Here’s how to go about it.

Stop comparing yourself to others


Comparing what you do or who you are with other people is a recipe for unhappiness. Let’s face it, there will always be someone who is better than you or more advantaged than you.1 All you need to do is to count your blessings. It could have been worse. Be thankful for what you have, and build up slowly to what you what to become.

Have a gratitude journal


Journaling is a great way to learn gratitude. It may be difficult at first, but it will be worthwhile.4 You may feel that you have nothing to be grateful for. Just find one little thing every day that you appreciate and focus on just that. Pen it down and forget all the bad.
Writing down positive events every night before you sleep lowers your stress levels and gives you a sense of calmness. Do this every night until it becomes a habit.4 On the days that you feel depressed, go back to read your journal and you’ll feel better. Continue with this every day, and you’ll be surprised how gratitude can transform your life.1

Have a gratitude ritual


At the end of each day, reflect on what you’re grateful for. Set aside 15 minutes every day for this. Note down 5-10 things that you’re grateful for in your gratitude journal. At the end of every end week, go through what you have noted throughout the week. You can go to a quiet place for this. Repeat this every month to create a gratitude ritual. By the time Thanksgiving comes, the culture of thanksgiving will be deeply embedded in you.
There many benefits of making gratitude a daily practice: from improving your overall well being, to improving your immune system, to enhancing your relationships. It is an overlooked tool that can enhance the quality of your life. This Thanksgiving take a few minutes to focus on what you have, and stop complaining about what you don’t have. You’ll see an improvement in your satisfaction with life. If you need just one reason for gratitude, take this and run with it; gratitude makes you sleep better and longer.
What are you grateful for this year? Express it in the comment section below.
Mother Earth Products
 
References

  1. https://www.today.com/health/be-thankful-science-says-gratitude-good-your-health-t58256
  2. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/21/gratitude-healthy-benefits_n_2147182.html
  3. https://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2014/11/23/7-scientifically-proven-benefits-of-gratitude-that-will-motivate-you-to-give-thanks-year-round/#46a755a8183c
  4. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/lauren-jessen/gratitude-journal_b_7745854.html

Importance of Eating Well for Workout Recovery 0

Importance of Eating Well for Workout Recovery
Eating a healthy and balanced diet is required everyday, despite your activity level. However, eating healthy foods has a greater impact than working out for maintaining or losing weight.1
Did you know that the foods you eat after hitting the gym are the most important foods you will ever eat? So before you think of rewarding yourself for working hard at the gym with fries and burger, think again.

Importance of food for workout


Carbohydrates


You need carbohydrates to give your body energy. The more you work out, the more carbs you need because the stored energy will be depleted.1 Eating less energy-giving foods will deny you adequate energy during exercise and can delay recovery. Foods such as pasta, whole grain bread, potatoes, brown rice, and fruits are perfect sources of carbohydrates.2

Protein


Also referred to as body builders, protein is essential for muscle growth and recovery.2 Your body readily uses protein for muscle building immediately after workout. Eating protein within 2 hours post workout helps your body to build lean muscle.3
Get protein both from plant and animal sources to increase your intake. Some protein sources include legumes, dairy/ alternative dairy products, eggs, beef, fish, nuts, and poultry. Choose lean meats and low-fat dairy/ non-dairy products. Add a protein in your meals before and after a workout to aid with muscle repair.
A combination of strength exercises to build muscle with a diet rich in protein and energy from carbs and fat helps to keep the body fit and strong.

The post workout window


The first 45 minutes after finishing your workout is called the recovery period, which is a window of opportunity to help the body in muscle repair and growth.1 3 It is a critical period for muscle tissue recovery and repair, for the body to replace lost fluids, and for the body to recover from the stress of the workout.
Let's dig in deeper into some gym science. Your body breaks down food to get energy. It stores the excess energy in the form of glycogen and protein for future use. During your workout, the body breaks down the food you ate before the workout to provide energy. It also breaks down the stored glycogen. After your workout, your muscles break down the available protein to rebuild its cells.1 But most importantly, during the first 45 minutes post-workout, the body absorbs carbs and proteins for recovery. That is the workout window for recovery. For proper recovery and replenishment for your muscles, your goal should be to eat 30g of protein and 30 to 35g of carbs within 15 minutes post workout.1
For cardio exercises, ensure to replenish the energy stores within 30 minutes, while for strength training the window of opportunity extends up to 2 hours.3

Foods for post workout recovery


What you eat and drink after your workout can make or break your recovery process. You need to boost your carbs and protein to help you recover faster. Also, rehydrate with water to replace the water lost during the workout. Proteins and carbs are required to replenish glycogen stores in the body, repair muscles, and prevent muscle soreness.3
Therefore, it is important to choose healthy food options after your workout. Whole foods are ideal, because they offer complete nutrition, and they are rich in micronutrients, fiber, and high quality protein: (non-farmed) fish, chicken, eggs, milk/ alternative milks, and yogurt.3
Wondering what to eat to promote muscle growth and for post-workout recovery? The following foods are ideal.

Eggs


Eggs are a perfect post-workout food. They are rich in protein required to replenish the muscles.2 Research reports that taking 10-20g of high quality protein within 2 hours after strength training is adequate for recovery and prevention of muscle loss.They can be eaten at any time of the day. You can eat them the way you love - scrambled, poached, or hard boiled. Eat them with a few slices of bread and vegetables, like onions, tomatoes, or lettuce. You can also eat them with avocado to give a healthy fat boost or lean turkey for an added boost of protein.

Protein Shake


To get a quick supply of protein, make a simple recipe of protein shake. Add fruit and a nut butter to your favorite milk to get a boost of protein. If you’re a vegetarian, you can consider adding protein powder to the drink of your choice. Chocolate milk has been found to be a great post-workout option. Ensure to choose low-fat or even a low/ no added sugar one to avoid consuming too much added sugar and excess fat.3
Chocolate protein powder made with milk/ alternative milk, and an added banana is a good option.

Whole grain cereal


Oatmeal is a perfect cereal that is rich in fiber. You can eat it alongside a high protein snack, like walnuts, almond butter, or use a protein powder. Add honey to give a boost of energy. This can be a quick snack after hitting the gym. It will help to boost blood sugar levels, especially after a high intensity cardio workout.
Choose a high protein cereal rich in fiber and low in sugar. This helps to quickly replenish the energy stores in your muscles. You can also opt to add milk or yogurt to the cereal.

Whole grain sandwich


A sandwich is an ideal meal, especially for post-workout snacking during lunch break. You can make a chicken or turkey sandwich, with a bowl of vegetable soup. The sandwich is quick to prepare, and you can carry it to the gym. You can add salads to the sandwich to give it a vegetable boost. For example: stuff spinach salad with slices of chicken breast onto your toast. You can also layer avocado, tomato, and cottage cheese onto your sandwich for a boost of energy. You can also make a sandwich with banana. Slice the banana and place on the bread spread with peanut or almond butter.

Fruits


They are a portable snack packed with healthy nutrients. They contain enzymes that help your body to break down nutrients quickly and assist in replenishing your exhausted muscles.2 Fruits, such as kiwi and oranges, contain antioxidants that protect your cells from damage. Pineapple has anti-inflammatory properties that aid your muscles recovery.3 You can combine fruits and nuts, like a sliced apple with a handful of peanuts or walnuts.

Smoothies


Although whole foods are ideal, smoothies are a quick, healthy fix when you are too tired to make a meal, or need to boost your blood sugars quickly.
You can make your favorite smoothie using our Tropical De-lite Blend - a mix of banana slices, pineapple chunks, orange segments (our newest recipe incorporates freeze dried strawberry slices), mango dices, and papaya dices.
This blend will provide calories for workout recovery and also provide fiber, antioxidants and minerals.
To prepare, rehydrate by soaking in water for a few minutes to make the texture smooth and pleasant. Add to a blender with yogurt or milk (depending on your preference), and blend until smooth. Viola! You have a power smoothie!

Water


Water is also essential post-workout to replace the fluids lost through sweat. You can take pure water or electrolyte-rich sports drinks to replenish lost electrolytes. However, some of them contain high levels of sugar and calories.3 You should opt for snacks and water instead. You can take coconut water, rich in potassium and magnesium, to restore the lost electrolytes.3
For any workout to be effective, nutrition has to be the center of it all. You need to make the right choice to replenish energy and nutrients lost during the workout.
Mother Earth Products
 

References

  1. http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/best-post-workout-foods
  2. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/Sport.aspx
  3. https://greatist.com/health/complete-guide-workout-nutrition-infographic