Author: <span class="vcard">Rebecca Cafiero</span>

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6 Teas to Drink for Seriously Radiant Skin

This article brought to you by Well + Good!

Tea is anything but a one-trick pony—it can be comforting when you’re sick, relaxing when you need to sleep, or energizing if you’re not a coffee drinker. Another bonus? Many varieties can also help you get a glowing complexion.

“Tea is a superstar in the natural skin-care world,” says Theresa Krier, founder of Big T NYC, a brand that makes curated and bespoke teas and tisanes. “It’s packed with a host of vitamins, amino acids, and catechins that work holistically to slow aging, stimulate collagen production, reduce body fat, and maintain healthy skin cells. Tea also combats dehydration, a major culprit of dull skin.”

Tea is also inherently rich in antioxidants. “It has EGCG, which is a type of antioxidant that is really well-known for boosting metabolism, but also is great for fighting free radicals that cause skin damage and premature aging,” says Krier.

Think of it as a super easy (and delish) way to drink your skin-loving nutrients while getting a hydration boost. “We like to think of it as water plus,” says Krier. “It’s just as good as drinking a cup of water in terms of hydration, but you’re getting the added benefit of all sorts of antioxidants and the great flavors that come along with it.”

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rooibos tea for better skin
Graphic: Katherine Sokolova

For anti-aging: rooibos

Move over, retinol—rooibos is actually a major player in anti-aging. “Its high levels of antioxidants, zinc, and alpha-hydroxy acids give it the ability to prevent and reverse fat loss under the skin,” says Krier, which she notes was just confirmed in a new study. The antioxidant arsenal includes nothofagin, aspalathin, and superoxide dismutase, which are all enzymes that provide an effective protection against harmful free radicals (AKA culprits in complexion woes).

“Rooibos tea’s also rich in zinc, which can help correct hormonal imbalances that trigger acne,” says Krier. That’s major.

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Graphic: Katherine Sokolova

For rejuvenation: white tea

White tea is essentially the most pure of all teas. “In general, white tea is considered more rare than other teas because you’re taking the youngest leaves off of the plant,” says Krier. “Because of this purity, it contains the highest level of antioxidants of all teas.”

It also has strong skin rejuvenating powers. “White tea can help to slow the skin-aging process and prevent collagen and elastin breakdown,” she adds.

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Graphic: Katherine Sokolova

For reducing inflammation: green tea

Though green tea is from the same plant as white, it has nuanced differences that affect your glow in other ways. “Green tea reduces inflammation, maintains healthy skin cells, and can help internally protect against sun damage caused by UV radiation,” says Krier. That’s because of its high presence of ECGC, a super-potent antioxidant that is known to reactivate dying skin cells, she adds.

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spearmint tea for better skin
Graphic: Katherine Sokolova

For hormonal acne: spearmint

If you tend to get hormonal acne, reach for the minty tea. “Spearmint has an anti-androgenic effect that can help improve hormonal imbalances and prevent the production of excess sebum on the skin,” says Krier. “It also contains both phenolic acids and flavonoids, two forms of antioxidants that help prevent oxidative damage.” In other words, it protects your skin from free radicals (which lead to acne).

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chamomile tea for better skin
Graphic: Katherine Sokolova

For stress relief: chamomile

When you think of chamomile tea, you probably think of warming up to a mug right before sleep. “That’s because chamomile has antispasmodic, anxiolytic, antibacterial, and anti-mutagenic effects,” says Krier. “The active ingredients include anti-inflammatory flavonoids and coumarin, which help prevent and reduce inflammatory acne lesions.” And it’s a stress-reliever (thanks to its anxiolytic and antioxidant effects), which aids with stress acne. “Chamomile is ideal for inducing feelings of calm and rest, which are critical for allowing the skin to naturally heal,” says Krier.

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hibiscus tea for better skin
Graphic: Katherine Sokolova

For a natural glow: hibiscus

The beautiful red floral tea is rich in vitamins, which can aid in achieving that sought-after glow. “Hibiscus is very high in vitamin C, and is a good source of vitamins A, B1, B2, zinc, and iron,” says Krier. “And it has natural alpha hydroxy acids and omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails.” Tea time, anyone?

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5 Things You Should Never Do After A Workout

This article brought to you by Well + Good!

Showing up for that spin class and pushing yourself through tough intervals is the most important aspect of your fitness regimen—but what you do after you sweat can have a major impact on how your body responds to the work you put in.

“From the foods we eat to the amount of rest we get, the decisions we make post-workout all impact the way our body recovers, repairs, and even grows,” says Julius Jamison, a top trainer at New York Health and Racquet Club. Which is why it makes sense to avoid these five big mistakes active people (AKA probably you) make all of the time.

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Photo: Stocksy/Kayla Snell

1. Forgetting to hydrate

You generally don’t have time to get enough water when you’re busy lifting and lunging, so it’s essential you drink more water than normal right after to re-hydrate says Rebecca Kennedy, a master trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp and the creator of A.C.C.E.S.S. She also recommends reaching for a recovery drink after a particularly sweaty workout (her favorite is WellWell). “You’re going to need to replenish your glycogen levels and replace electrolytes, both of which assist recovery,” she says.

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Photo: Pexels/Markus Spiske

2. Eating fatty foods

“Fats slow down the digestive process, so you never want to consume too much after your workout,” Jamison explains. “You want to eat ‘fast-acting’ nutrients that are able to enter the bloodstream and get to the cells quickly.” That means refueling quickly, as in 20 to 30 minutes after you work out, with quality protein and carbs to feed your muscles.

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Photo: Tim Gibson for Well+Good

3. Skipping the stretch

Sure, sometimes you have to run out to get to that meeting, but after your muscles have been contracting for an hour, getting in a few good stretches for at least 10 seconds at a time is crucial. “Failing to stretch post-workout could cause limitations in your range of motion, which could make you more susceptible to injuries,” Jamison says.

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Photo: Stocksy/Lumina

4. Sitting still for the entire rest of the day

“You definitely want to start moving at some point or your body’s going to tighten up,” Kennedy says. Of course, you can’t escape your desk job entirely, but she stressed the need for “active recovery” in addition to stretching (especially if you’re doing intense workouts like a HIIT bootcamp). That means spending some time at 50 percent of your max heart rate (so medium effort) doing things like dynamic stretching, foam rolling, and functional body-weight and core work.

If you can’t do it during the day after a morning workout, dedicate a few minutes in the evening or the following day. “There are all different kinds of benefits—like stimulating blood flow, relieving soreness, reinforcing good posture, and more.”

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Photo: Stocksy/Simone Becchetti

5. Skimping on sleep

The day you PR during your CrossFit WOD is not the day to cheat your body of the rest it needs to repair and recharge. “Our bodies recover and rebuild the most when we’re sleeping, so proper rest is key,” Jamison says. Overall, “what you do after your workout is not going to make or break it, but it will enhance it and make it worth doing,” Kennedy says. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

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How to Unplug During the Holidays

The holidays are already upon us. As we tie up loose ends at work and ready to bid adieu to our desks, the kickoff to winter break and kicking our feet up comes ever closer. But while we imagine that we’ll be hanging out fireside in Fair Isle sweaters, the reality that awaits us is usually less R&R and more run by work. While the week or two ahead of us is meant to be time spent with family and loved ones—taking a break from our busy lives to gather and share the holiday spirit—it’s too often consumed by demands and pressures that don’t let up just because you’re out of the office.

To avoid having your holiday break besieged by the compulsion to check your work email and worry about the projects looming over your head, there are a few simple rules to keep in mind to better your break. Just in time for your time off, Inc. rounded up a list of steps to follow to successfully unplug over the holidays. Study up on our favorites and commit to them before you kick back for break, to ensure your time off is spent healthily relaxing and recharging for the New Year.

Lay sound ground rules. It’s important to set clear—and realistic—expectations for yourself before heading into the break. Consider how often you should be checking in on work emails, if at all, and commit to that allotted time, being sure never to exceed it. This will remove the pressure of incessant checking, and as long as you communicate with your co-workers, you’ll find your brief check-ins are enough to tackle anything important that might come up.

Refrain from setting work-related goals. As the time for making resolutions approaches, it can be easy to slip back into work mode. Make a rule to refrain from work while you’re on break and focus your time off on the family and friends in your company. Even outlining career-related goals for the New Year will get your mind back into office mode, and you’ll find yourself more stressed or back on email.

Abandon electronics. One of the most important ways you can force yourself into a work detox over the break is by limiting your time with electronics. Putting away your laptop and reserving your phone for organizing plans with family and friends will greatly reduce your thoughts about work and the inevitable stress and pressure that come with them. Truly unplugging over your days off will give you the mental space and clarity to focus on what matters most, recharging you for the work ahead once we’re into the New Year and you do have to head back to the office.

 

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Energy Low? These 5 Bad Habits Are Making You Tired

This article brought to you by MyDomaine!

Have you asked yourself this question today? Yeah, we did too, and so have millions of other Americans. In fact, a survey found a whopping 76% of workers feel tired most days of the week, and another 15 % even fall asleep at least once a week during the day—no wonder swapping a night out for nesting at home is the latest wellness trend. So how do you fight the fatigue without reaching for another cup of coffee or sugar-infused snack? We all know how the saccharine treat isn’t all that sweet for our health.

To find out, we tapped Stephanie Middleberg, MS, RD, CDN, founder of Middleberg Nutrition, and author of The Big Book of Organic Baby Food, to discover the foods that give you energy, the coffee alternatives that boost our vitality naturally (without the adrenal crash), and the bad habits we need to give up to be healthy. It’s time to wake up and smell the caffeine substitutes.

Hydrate

Seeing as 60% of the adult human body is water, it’s important we replenish it—constantly. Middleberg says water is also essential for keeping our energy levels up. “Most of us tend to reach for that cup of coffee as an upper when we should really be reaching for a glass of water and food that can actually provide true energy,” she said. “Generally, we should be consuming half of our body weight in ounces of water a day.” Cheers to that.

Stabilize Your Blood Sugar

While our body craves sugary food when we’re tired, it actually makes our fatigue worse thanks to the dreaded crash afterward. Middleberg says keeping your blood sugar stable throughout the day is essential in maintaining consistent energy and stabilizing your mood. To ensure both of these are kept on an even keel, Middleberg suggests the following:

1. “Have a breakfast rich in what I call the two P’s— protein and produce—in the morning. This is when our blood sugar is the lowest, and if you break your fast with sugar, it can increase your hunger hormone ghrelin. This leads to increased hunger and blood sugar issues during the day. Protein will keep your appetite and energy consistent throughout the day. Examples include eggs, full-fat plain yogurt, nut butter, and smoked salmon.”

2. “Have a protein and a fat with every meal, including your afternoon snack. Think apple and almond butter, cheese and crackers, hummus and veggies, avocado and toast, smoothies, etc.”

3. “Include full-fat products. Fat fuels metabolism and helps you absorb key fat-soluble nutrients. The more nutrition your body absorbs, the better your energy will be.”

4. “Weed out processed foods and artificial sweeteners. Party season means a lot of convenience foods, so watch out for junk filled with sodium and processed ingredients that make you feel bloated and fatigued. Artificial sweeteners also wreak havoc on your body leading to digestive issues, skin issues, headaches, and a sluggish metabolism.”

Fortify Yourself

Maintaining our health during busy periods can be challenging; no matter how much we try to make it work, sometimes the clock works against us. But Middleberg urges us all to resist the temptation and instead reach for nutrient-dense foods. To make sure your health stays on track, she suggests we take three key supplements.

Probiotics: “We need good bacteria for a healthy digestive system, which is the key to regulating our immune system, mood, and overall health,” she said. “The stomach contains the majority of our serotonin, so it is literally our second brain.” Middleberg says you can also reach for foods that naturally contain probiotics such as fermented veggies, miso, kombucha, or kefir and yogurt.

Vitamin D: With shorter days and less time outside, many people (especially those in the northeast) tend to be low in vitamin D. If you feel there could be a deficiency, then Middleberg says to talk to your MD and have your levels tested.

Vitamin B12: This is an essential energy vitamin. “It helps to produce serotonin and promote positive moods and energy,” said Middleberg. “Best sources are through seafood, meat, and eggs. If you are low in this vitamin, consider supplementing.”

Boost Your Energy Naturally

While supplements are a great (and sometimes vital) addition to our diet, they should only ever complement the foods we eat. While a healthy, balanced diet is the best remedy overall, Middleberg outlined a few key ingredients and handy snack alternatives that will deliver an energy boost in times of fatigue.

Kiwi: “This is a great source of vitamin C, fiber, and minerals potassium and magnesium. Kiwis provide quick energy through their natural sugars and their high fiber concentration, which helps to prevent dips in energy.”

Brazil nuts: “This magic nut contains selenium, which has been shown to decrease levels of anxiety, depression, and fatigue.”

Sesame seeds: “Rich in magnesium, calcium, and protein, sesame seeds (or tahini) is an excellent food to include in your day. I recommend adding to toast, smoothies, and combining with dates for a rich and satisfying snack. I also love sprinkling sesame seeds on sliced cucumbers with rice wine vinegar, sea salt, and olive oil.”

Blue potatoes: “Blue potatoes are rich in the powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins, which have been shown to reduce mood killing inflammation. These potatoes skins are also filled with iodine that helps regulate the thyroid, which is key to boosting your energy and mood.”

Green leafy vegetables: “These greens are rich in folate, which helps aid the production of dopamine, (the feel-good brain chemical that helps keep you calm). These veggies are also loaded with phytonutrients, antioxidants, and digestive enzymes that help the body absorb nutrients efficiently.”

Squeeze a lemon: “Try taste bud satisfiers that won’t set you back, such as spices, ginger, and lemon (the three together can make a quick, delicious tea). Lemon is famous for cleaning out the body; some theorize that it creates alkalinity in the body—a holistic way to aid digestion and release toxins.”

Drink Nutrient-Dense Beverages

We always reach for caffeine when we’re tired, but this often makes us feel even more fatigued. So what are the beverages we can reach for instead of coffee that will boost our energy in the same way? Because let’s face it—when we need a kick, we need it stat. Middleberg outlines her top three below:

Reishi tea: “Reishi have been used for centuries in Chinese medicine, and more recent science has shown they’re good for fighting inflammation, fatigue, anxiety, infections, and a host of other health issues. They’re also associated with boosting immunity and hormonal balance.”

Matcha: “Matcha has even more antioxidants and other nutrients than regular green tea. One particular antioxidant, a polyphenol called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), is a metabolism booster and cancer fighter.”

Bone broth: “Bone broth is filled with nourishing vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Glucosamine in the broth helps reduce inflammation while the amino acid glycine help to calm the body and mind.”

Eat Slow-Release Foods

If you don’t have many opportunities throughout the day to eat, Middleberg suggests slow-release foods that may not give immediate energy but maintain our levels over time.

Oatmeal: “As a soluble fiber, oatmeal protects against blood sugar spikes and crashes later in the day.”

Pasture-raised eggs: “Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, B vitamins, and iodine, eggs are one of my favorite proteins to keep you feeling full and satisfied longer.”

Avocado: “A rich source of healthy fat, fiber, B vitamins, and potassium. Healthy fats like avocado help slow the release of carbohydrates keeping you fuller longer. Always include a fat with every meal.”

Tweak Your Diet

Changing up your diet can be hard, especially when you’re busy and stressed. But rather than a complete overhaul, Middleberg suggests some simple tweaks and swaps to our existing diet to boost energy and mood. She says one of the most important things is to reduce any added sugars throughout the day. Examples of this include adding sugar to your coffee, eating fruit-flavored yogurt, snacking on high-sugar protein bars, drinking late afternoon lattes, and even taking a bite of your kid’s graham crackers. “If you can reduce your sugar intake you will significantly reduce your appetite and cravings,” she said.

Another simple change is to add more protein to your breakfast. “You are literally breaking your fast, so make it count to regulate your energy,” she urged. “I also recommend focusing on your portions. Keep complex carbohydrates to a fist (or 1 cup cooked max), then make sure half of your plate is made up of veggies and the other quarter should be protein (or about the size of a smartphone).”

After dinner, snacking should be kept to a minimum too. Finish your day with hot water and lemon, magnesium, or ginger tea and close down the kitchen,” she adds. “Lastly, up your water intake. Make it your goal to drink a glass of water as soon as you get up and have a glass before every meal.” Try making your alkaline water at home.

Give Up Bad Habits

Despite our best intentions, many attempts at boosting our personal health and wellness quickly get placed in the “too hard” basket when our calendar fills up. This is when bad habits start to creep in. The sugar comes back during times of increased stress, and the coffee intake goes up. But it’s time to give these up if we want to be healthy, because, as Middleberg says, they’re also making us tired. Here are her top four:

  1. Skipping meals, under-eating during the day, or overeating at dinner and beyond
  2. Fat phobia (it’s time to up all those good fats)
  3. Over-caffeinating
  4. Using artificial sweeteners

Change Your A.M. and P.M. Routines

If diet tweaks and supplements aren’t enough to change your ways and some of those bad habits are just too hard to kick, turn it into a routine. We all know that morning and evening routines are the secret to increased productivity and success in life and health—these self-care rituals will make you happier too. But thankfully it’s easier to pull off than you think.

“Water should be the first thing you consume in the morning to rehydrate the body and increase metabolism,” said Middleberg. “Adequate water intake can increase metabolism by 30%. If you need a cup of coffee, I suggest ordering a small and drinking it black. You can always spruce it up with a little cinnamon, cacao powder, or a splash of nut or whole milk, but avoid artificial sweeteners as they are 1000 times sweeter than real sugar and will make you reach for something sweet later in the day.”

The simple act of adding an additional protein to every meal and incorporating a healthy fat (EVOO, nuts, seeds, avocado) will also aid digestion and keep blood sugar levels even. “Try to avoid night grazing as it can disrupt sleep, causing fatigue in the morning,” she stressed. “If you need a snack, I love a cup of golden milk. It is a cup of heated nut milk with a teaspoon of turmeric and half a teaspoon of ginger. You can also add cinnamon or pepper. Turmeric is a great inflammation fighter and eases digestion. If golden milk is not for you, warm water with lemon or magnesium is a great way to help calm and warm the body.”

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Karlie Kloss Swears by This Healthy Nighttime Habit

This article brought to you by MyDomaine!

A quick glance at Karlie Kloss’s Instagram feed reveals the top model is the picture of health. When she’s not posing as the face of Swarovski or attending classes at New York University, the former Victoria’s Secret Angel is busy in the gym, alternating between boxing classes, Soul Cycle, and Pilates. But in a recent interview with The Cut, Kloss’s trainer reveals her secret to good health isn’t solely because of her workout routine.

Anna Kaiser is the founder of AKT fitness center in New York City and regularly trains Kloss, along with other A-list celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker and Shakira. While she is best known for her hybrid workouts which include yoga, dance, plyometrics, and strength training, Kaiser reveals that the secret to good health is honing your nightly routine, which should include seven to eight hours of sleep.

“Working out harder or better or eating less isn’t the answer. It’s about getting enough sleep,” she says. “If you have a choice where you’ve only been sleeping five or six hours and can sleep an extra hour or work out, sleep an extra hour.”

Kaiser explains that healthy sleep habits do more than help her clients start the day feeling well-rested. “Five to six hours for a week really prohibits your cognitive and hormones functions,” she says. Any less and “you’re running your body down, which will affect your energy and hold onto excess water and weight. It will make you hungrier.”

 

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Swap Your 5 Biggest Cravings with Healthier Alternatives

This article is brought to you by the Thistle blog!

We have all been there when it comes to cravings. Sitting at home watching TV or feeling the general wave of boredom setting in, we find ourselves trotting over to the cupboard to give our brain a boost. Unfortunately, we tend to reach for the sugary or chocolaty treat. This may offer temporary satisfaction, but to our dismay, these guilty pleasures start add up, clinging to our  hips, thighs and mid section. A food craving can be referred to as ‘selective hunger’ because your intense desire to consume a specific food isn’t necessarily real hunger at all. A craving can actually be a shout out from your body to consume particular nutrients, which you may be missing.

Cut your guilt by the gram and keep the cookies and cakes for cheat day by adopting these healthier approaches.

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Image Credit: @_kiajimmy

Crave chocolate the right way

Your body is likely craving carbon, phosphorus and sulphur

When you crave chocolate, know that there is always a healthier option. The right type of chocolate can be beneficial to your body and help cut cravings. Instead of a sugar-laden candy bar, opt for a small bar of the purest dark (70-85% cocoa), organic chocolate you can find. Treat yourself to a square each time you have a craving. Since dark chocolate is so potent, it will satisfy your cravings fast. Dark chocolate contains potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium along with an excellent fatty acid profile.

Substitute in a protein-rich alternative for that creamy milkshake

Your body is likely craving a pleasure fix

If you love dairy nothing quite hits the spot like a thick, sweet, super indulgent milkshake does it? The good news is that this calorie concoction can be substituted with something much healthier and lower-calorie! Instead of going for the creamy strawberry shake, make your own from home that packs a powerful health punch in the form of a strawberry protein shake. Use a strawberry plant-based protein powder and mix it with coconut or almond milk and serve up. This way you can treat your body to a healthy dose of protein and fat, while giving in to your flavor cravings.

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Image Credit: @alesha_macarosha

Say no to that sugary can of soda

Your body is likely craving glucose & hydration

When cravings have you in their tight grip, it’s hard to resist the temptation of a mouth watering soda or energy drink. Available in every flavor imaginable, sugary drinks can contain as much as 50 grams in one serving! A super healthy and tasty alternative to the typical can of soda is fruit-infused water you can make yourself at home. Virtually calorie free, select your favorite fruits and leave them in your water for a few hours to infuse. After a few hours have gone by, enjoy your tasty drink! Refreshing and delicious, this fruity favorite will also give you a vitamin boost. If you aren’t thirsty, a fresh piece of fruit will also give you the glucose fix your body craves.

Carboholic?

Your body is really craving amino acids & glucose

Do you love binging on bread or pasta? If this sounds like you, your body is probably craving amino acids. Nix the bread, and consume amino acids by snacking on nuts and eggs. Or better yet, why not try a serving of quinoa, which contains a complete set of all of the essential amino acids, as well as a full serving of fiber, and an assortment of vitamins and minerals. You can also try snacking on low glucose index carbohydrates such as a warm bowl of oats or some basmati rice. These grains will answer your brain’s glucose demands, while proving your body and brain with a tapered release of energy throughout the day.

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Image Credit: @lifewjess

Salt, salt and more salt

Your body is likely craving chloride

When craving a salty snack, we tend to turn to vices like potato chips that are not only high in salt but also contain large amounts of saturated fat. If your body is craving chloride, choose a more natural source of salt such as pink himalayan sea salt and sprinkle it over your meals. Pink himalayan salt is unrefined, meaning it contains more minerals than processed salts. Spices are also a great alternative for salt. They create additional flavor, while adding no additional calories. Plus, many spices have anti-inflammatory benefits.

Drink water.

Another point to consider with any sporadic hunger and regular cravings is dehydration. When we are dehydrated, we can often mistake this for hunger as our stomachs can growl in the same way. Make sure you are drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day and you will probably find that staying hydrated properly also curbs your cravings.


Ensure you eat a balanced, healthy diet and enjoy your recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables every single day. If you listen to your body more closely, you will be able  to give it exactly what it needs.

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4 Eating Habits Ruining Your Workday

This article brought to you by MyDomaine!

Is productivity something you struggle with day to day? Are mornings a challenge to get in the groove, and do you hit a wall around 4 p.m.? It turns out that your performance at the office may have less to do with how you can power through interruptions and avoid internet black holes and more about how you’ve planned your lunch hour. You could be negatively impacting your workday with the eating choices you’re making.

In addition to skipping breakfast or lunch (both obvious no-nos), there’s a long list of habits you need to break if you want to achieve your peak productivity at the office. Inc. notes that only about 20% of employees take a meal break away from their desks, so it’s clear that how we eat during the workday isn’t a priority. It’s time to rethink how you refuel for work, so keep reading to see the eating habits you need to ditch in order to increase your productivity.

Not planning out your lunch hour: You may feel like not putting too much energy into what you’re going to do for lunch will benefit your productivity, but in fact, the opposite is true. Planning out your lunch actually brings psychological benefits and can serve as a productivity boost when you’d otherwise be due for an afternoon slump. Your lunch break will help motivate you to power through your morning, and once you’ve conquered the first half of the day, breaking away from the office will be a well-deserved reward that doubles as both a refresh and reset before you return to take on the second half.

Loading up on carbs at lunch: When your schedule is jam-packed with meetings and deadlines, it can be difficult to actually break away for a full lunch hour. Pressed for time, you could be more prone to load up on carbs when you do get a chance to eat. While it’s a quick fix for a hungry stomach, carbo-loading has a way of negatively affecting your productivity—inducing sleepiness and leaving you with a foggy brain. To avoid a crash in energy, Business Insider recommends opting for low-glycemic carbohydrates like whole grains, vegetables, and yogurt, which provide sustained energy to get you through the end of the workday.

Drinking too much coffee: This mistake is all too common. When your workload seems to overtake the number of hours available in the day, it can be tempting to throw back coffee after coffee to power through. Business Insider notes that a study published in the journal of Neuropsychopharmacology suggests that consuming excessive amounts of caffeine can actually make you slack off. If you’re drinking more than four cups a day, the negative effects of coffee end up outweighing their advantages. Your nervous system will become overstimulated, and your motor activity to not perform as well.

Giving into afternoon cravings: Especially if you skip lunch or put it off until well after your body needs it, afternoon cravings for a sugary quick fix can overcome you. While a sweet snack could provide you with an instant boost to your energy and mood, the benefits will be short-lived. Give in to your sweet cravings and you can expect your blood sugar to crash and bid farewell to any afternoon productivity.

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What Does Overeating Do To Your Body?

This article brought to you by Thistle!

Of course, the most obvious sign of overeating is gaining weight. With excess calorie intake, comes excess weight gain. But overeating can also cause an array of symptoms such as excessive sweating, aching joints, mood swings, amongst many health disorders. While overeating might appear to only affect physical health, it can cause high emotional distres.

With this is mind, do we really understand what happens internally as a result of overeating? Overeating can cause various levels of damage to all different parts of the body.

Starting from your mouth, let’s break down how overeating affects your organs.

Step 1: In goes the food…

Eating too much causes a malfunctioning stomach 

After you have swallowed your food, your stomach is where the effects of overeating begin.  Regular overeating can cause your stomach to send mixed signals to your brain about when it is full. The neurological tissue at the top of the stomach, which signals to your brain that the stomach is in fact full, begins to malfunction. The danger here lies in the fact that you might not even realize you are full, causing you to unknowingly keep eating.

Step 2: A malfunctioning stomach can cause your pancreas to go into overdrive 

If you are one to overeat on a regular basis, unfortunately, this can dramatically affect the way your pancreas works. Consuming excess food triggers your pancreas to go into overdrive and produce extra insulin to process the larger sugar load and remove it from your bloodstream. Your pancreas wont stop producing insulin until your brain senses that blood sugar levels are safe again. The catch here is that by the time the brain stops the production of insulin, too much sugar has been removed from your blood stream. Having low blood sugar as a result of overeating can make you feel an array of inhibiting effects such as tiredness, dizziness, nausea and even depression.

Step 3: Too many calories can cause a fatty liver

Overeating overworks your liver, causing it to store excess fat. How is this so? Your liver’s job is to stop your blood sugar from getting too low. The pancreas’s job is to stop it from getting too high. So both the liver and the pancreas are involved in keeping your blood sugars stable. When you consume more food than you are capable of burning, then any excess calories are stored in your liver. When fat is stored within liver cells, the liver becomes inflamed and possibly, insulin-resistant. As the levels of insulin and blood sugar increase within the cells, this can result in the onset of diabetes.

Step 4: Your heart becomes affected

Overeating on a recurrent basis can of course, lead to obesity. The bigger you are, the harder your heart has to work to supply your whole body with oxygen. Another by product of having excess fat is that it accumulates inside your arteries, which in turn makes those arteries harder. Thicker artery walls don’t give your blood much space to flow through, so to maintain the same pressure your heart must work harder and faster. Atherosclerosis, the hardening of the artery walls, is 10 times more common in obese people than in healthy people.

Is it time to clean up your act and your eating? As well as the obvious visual effects overeating can cause such as bloating and obesity, overeating can have a detrimental effect on your internal organs as well.

2

Why You Need to Stop Skipping Your Lunch Break

This article brought to you by The Everygirl!

Unless your office strictly enforces lunch breaks, you might have fallen into the unfortunate habit of skipping your lunch break in order to squeeze in a little extra work. Or maybe you quickly scarf down a yogurt in the dimly lit break room to save time. And you aren’t alone! Only one in five office workers reports taking a lunch break. But taking time to step away from your desk to eat and recharge is hugely important for your productivity.

EMPLOYEES WHO TAKE BREAKS THROUGHOUT THE WORKDAY HAVE MORE ENERGY, MORE MOTIVATION TO RETURN TO WORK, ARE ABLE TO CONCENTRATE, AND MANAGE THEIR STRESS LEVELS BETTER.

Employees who take a break during the workday have more energy, more motivation to return to work, are better able to concentrate.

Psychologists have found that people actually work best in 90 minute spurts with a break in between, so taking a substantial break halfway through the day can do you a lot of good. Studies show that this break helps you to re-group, prioritize, and manage your stress levels better.

In fact, a lunch break will help you accomplish more than if you work through lunch and skip a meal in favor of a quick granola bar. The longer you are at work, the more important it becomes to step away from your desk because creativity is stifled if you don’t change environments. Creativity and innovation are fueled by a change in environment, especially if you head outside. Which means both you and your company will benefit from you taking a lunch break.

Employees who take breaks throughout the workday have more energy, more motivation to return to work, and are better able to concentrate. Workers who take breaks also have fewer symptoms of common workplace maladies such as headaches, eyestrain, and lower back pain when they return from a break. 

Sometimes a lunch break can feel like an extra hour of work just tacked onto your day simply because you are not at home. But by looking at your lunch break as personal time (which it is!) and not professional time you might start to really enjoy that hour!

Here are a few tips on how to use your lunch break to your benefit.

Stretch your legs.

If the idea of spending a whole hour eating lunch sounds like a waste of time, eat quickly then get moving! Physical activity can improve concentration, sharpen memory, quicken learning, prolong mental stamina, enhance creativity, and reduce stress.

Full hour: Working out may seem impossible on your lunch break but if your office has a gym or if there is one nearby, it is doable. You can squeeze in a high intensity thirty-minute workout and still have time to freshen up.

30 minutes: No time to make it to the gym? Or is the desire to sweat too much? Skip the gym and take a brisk walk outside. On top of the exercise, a little vitamin D will boost your mood and do you a world of good, as will the fresh air.

Quick 15: If you are on a real time crunch, do a few quick stretches and feel the tightness in your back and neck melt away.

Step away from the screen.

While you may be tempted to scroll through social media on your phone, try to break away from the screens at lunch. Too much time spent staring at a screen can leave your eyes feeling dry, irritated, tired, and out of focus. You may also suffer from head, neck, and back pain. These symptoms are a result of “digital eye strain,” which nearly 95% of Americans are at risk for and more than 60% experience.

Full hour: Escape into a fantasy world or get caught up in a non-fiction book on your lunch break. How many times have you said you wish you had more time to read? Your lunch break is the perfect time to retreat with a page turner.

30 minutes: Not enough time to get invested in a book? Flip through your favorite magazine or newspaper. If you frequently complain about the demise of print, this is your chance to put your money where your mouth is!

Quick 15: If you don’t have enough time to read, at the very least, eat lunch away from your screens and give your eyes a much-needed break. And if you know you will be tempted to look at your phone during lunch, leave it at your desk and high tail it to the break room.

Call a friend.

As much as you love your coworkers, sometimes you need a little break from them and on a particularly hard day you might feel like you really need your best friend. On those days, see if your pal is available for a lunch date.

Full hour: Treat yourself to lunch at your favorite restaurant with a friend and it will be the highlight of your workweek, we promise.

30 minutes: No time to escape the office? Call a friend, your mom, or your partner for some catch-up time. With everyone’s busy schedules, it might be best to plan a call in advance, which means you will have something to look forward to all day! Bonus if you do it while walking the block.

Quick 15: Send a few texts to your nearest and dearest saying you are thinking of them and want to see them soon. And actually say when. See if anyone is available for after-work drinks or a weekend hike—just the act of planning something fun will brighten your mood.

Don’t worry about work.

While sometimes you need a good venting session with co-workers, try to avoid talking about work too much on your lunch break. You need to escape your workplace worries during lunch and by talking about work you may end up even more stressed about office drama or a looming deadline.

Full hour: Stop in the cute boutique you drive by every day and have always wanted to check out, treat yourself to a latte, or find a peaceful park to sit in and enjoy nature.

30 minutes: If you can’t leave the office, spend your lunch break getting to know your co-workers on a more personal level. You’ll end up having more interesting things to talk about than how no one ever cleans the break room microwave.

Quick 15: Between all of the phone calls, water cooler chatter, and emails sometimes you just need a few minutes of quiet where no one is asking you for anything. Sneak out to your car for a few minutes of solitude if you can’t find a quiet spot to retreat to.

Run errands.

We know what you are thinking: Running errands sounds like work, not a break! But hear us out—you will have to do these errands after work when you are tired or on the weekend when you would rather be doing something fun anyways. By doing them on your lunch break, your free time will become a lot more free.

Full hour: You’d be surprised what kind of tasks you can accomplish on an hour-long lunch break. Need to wax a more discreet area like your underarms? It will only take fifteen minutes! Pack and ship that present to your grandma, drop off your new jeans at the tailor, or take your car to the car wash.

30 minutes: Stop by the pharmacy or dry cleaner so you can head straight home after work without stopping. As a bonus, you will avoid waiting in long lines with the after work crowd.

Quick 15: Make any phone calls you have been putting off (such as making doctors appointments or those dreaded calls to your cable company).

Do something totally mindless.

If your mind is on constant overdrive during the workday, try and shut off after you finish your lunch. Do something fun that requires little thought, but will keep you distracted from the work waiting for you after lunch.

Full hour: Tackle a project like knitting a scarf, sketching, or anything that will get your creative juices flowing. You will have to focus, but just enough to stop you from thinking about work.

30 minutes: If you had thirty minutes to kill at home you could find something fun to do, so why not at work? It can be time for a quick crossword puzzle, to practice a foreign language with an app, or to listen to a podcast.

Quick 15: Lean back and close your eyes or try meditating for a few minutes. Checking out during your lunch break will help you feel rested and ready to tackle the rest of your day.

 

3

Happiness May Be The Key To Better Brain Function

This article brought to you by Well + Good!

Have you ever noticed that when you’re in a good mood, not only are you completing your tasks more effectively, but it’s easier to let minor annoyances—like someone else booking your preferred bike in spin class—just slide?

That sparkly rainbow filter you’re seeing the world through isn’t just your imagination. New research shows that happiness is more than just an emotion—it actually affects how you process information, your ability to focus, and your overall perceptions, according to a post in Psychology Today written by Susan Krauss Whitbourne, PhD.

Happiness affects how you process information, your ability to focus, and your overall perceptions.

New research looked at findings from over 1,000 studies on mood and attention, and found that happiness causes you to take in a broader array of stimuli, and could lead you to be more imaginative and less analytical. It also tends to give you the mental flexibility of looking outward and inward for inspo, depending on the issue you’re facing. Notice how when you’re not so happy, you tend to close off from the world and just think bad thoughts?

Whitbourne explains that, according to neuroscience research, being in a positive mindset allows your brain to choose which parts of the cortex (the site of higher-order cognition) to use when facing a dilemma. Some parts are focused on internal thoughts and other parts are focused on external stimuli—and a positive mood allows your brain to pick the parts of the cortex that are most up to the challenge of solving the problem.

In a negative mindset, though, your brain often will bypass external stimuli altogether and go straight to internal problem-solving, which leads to stewing, rumination, and basically staying in your own head without noticing the world around you—and the help it might provide.

Behold the power of happiness—even if you’re facing tough times, try to focus on the positive. It’ll help you tap into your innate ability to kick ass.