Woman adding icing to homemade cupcakes

Vitafiber Is The Latest Health Craze

So much for not eating anything you can’t pronounce. Vitafiber is the newest producer of a nondigestible, sugar-free, gut friendly fiber/ solution for those with a sweet tooth who can’t stomach the gluten or the sugar. While we have been exposed to power bars and candy bars which seem to fall short of the real thing in taste, and are reputedly not even much better for us, the real question here may not be how vital fiber stacks up, but rather, can you say isomaltooligosaccharide? More mercifully known as IMO, this short chain carbohydrate is the secret weapon behind via fiber, and may be the answer to healthy baked goods. Let’s take a closer look at the latest craze in health foods.

What is Vitafiber?
Vitafiber IMO is a low-calorie natural sweetener which provides probiotics ( the good bacteria) and non-GMO dietary fiber for better digestive health. It has all sweetness of sugar, is minimally processed. and is so versatile, it can meet almost all of your baking and cooking needs. Dietary too, Virafibert is free of dairy, gluten, sugar, allergens, preservatives, artificial colors and flavors and also meets vegan, halal, and kosher food standards. It is available in syrup and powder forms, making a great bulking agent for your baking creations.

As an addition to your food, you’ll find that Vitafiber has no bitter aftertaste and the 98% fiber content makes it great for keeping full, baking with a nice crispy outer texture and inner gooeyness. Plus, it saves time and money, acting as a sweetener and a binder without the addition of sugar, flour, starch and preservatives and great for your vegan, pale, and diabetic friends.

Vitafiber Recipes

Hemp Seed Microwave Cake
Ingredients (4 servings)

1/4 cup hemp seeds
2 eggs
1/4 cup Vitafiber powder
2 tbsp arrowroot powder
1tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

Blend all ingredients using a hand blender, cook in the microwave for three minutes.
134 cal., 7 g fat, 6.7 g protein, 0 g sugar, 14.8 g carbs, 9.4 g fiber

Simple Mini Cakes (4 cakes)
I egg
2 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 cup Vitafiber powder
2 tbsp pea protein
1 tsp baking powder

Bake in cake or muffin pan for 20 minutes at 200-220 degrees. Flip over, cakes should maintain their shape and come out in one piece.
62 cal., 1.6 g fat, 5.5 g protein, 0.8 g sugar, 10.8 g carbs, 9.3 g fiber

Yogurt Flans (4 servings)
1/2 cup yogurt
1 egg
1 tbsp melted ghee (optional for buttery taste- warning: this tbsp is 112 cal, 13 g fat)
1/4 cup vanilla extract
1/3 cup Vitafiber powder
Put these in individual cups add water, turn over, removing from cups, the mixture should maintain its flat shape. Drizzle with water, bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
92 cal, 12.5 g fat, 2.7 g protein, 1.2 g sugar,2.7 g carbs, 5.2 g fiber

Have you tried Vitafiber? What do you think? Got any good recipes for us? Let us know!

Senior woman smiling at her caregiver

A Generous Heart May Help You Live Longer

Usually, when it is said of someone that he or she has a good heart, it means that someone is generous, or caring. That they take time out to do unto others. However, in more literal terms, a good heart is associated with good cardiovascular health. Having a good heart means quite simply that your heart is in good condition. But, could they be one and the same? New studies show that volunteering, besides being mentally beneficial, can also have a positive impact on physical health. Need evidence? Here are what some experts are saying about how having a good heart can lead to having a good heart.

Mental and Physical Benefits
Anyone who has ever volunteered knows how mentally and emotionally rewarding it can be. Not only do volunteers feel as if they have made a positive change, studies show that donating time can lead to a feeling of greater social connectedness, and less depression and loneliness. However, new evidence reveals that people who volunteer may also be gifted with long lifespans and low blood pressure readings.

A study from Carnegie Mellon University, published in this month’s edition of Psychology and Aging, shows that those who give time to others may have better health than those who do not. Findings revealed that adults over 40 who volunteered regularly were at a lower risk for high blood pressure than those who did not volunteer. High blood pressure is an accurate health indicator because it is linked to stroke, heart disease, and premature death.

Because it is possible that volunteers may also take part in other health conscious activities, such as exercise and healthy eating, it is not possible to prove that volunteering was the sole reason for the lower blood pressure readings, but the results do seem to point in that direction.

woman working at animal shelter

How It Works
If you are wondering how exactly volunteering contributes to better health and longer life, Rodlescia Sneed, lead author of the Carnegie Mellon study, may have some insight on the phenomena. One explanation may be the increased physical activity volunteering can provide for those who are not otherwise very active. Another may be stress reduction. According to Sneed, “Many people find volunteer work to be helpful with respect to stress reduction, and we know that stress is very strongly linked with health outcomes.”

If you are thinking of volunteering, and want to know how to get the maximum benefits from your do-gooding, Carnegie Mellon is on top of it. According to the study, it takes 200 hours of volunteering annually to reap the rewards of low blood pressure, although other studies have found as little as 100 hours will do the trick. As for types of volunteering, that remains unknown. However, Sneed speculates that it is the more mentally stimulating activities, like reading and tutoring, that lead to sharper thinking and memory skills, whereas “activities that promote physical activity would be helpful with respect to cardiovascular health, but no studies have really explored this.”

In conclusion, one thing does seem clear; the best results of volunteering come when it is done for the right reasons. A 2012 study published in the Health Psychology journal found that those who benefitted most from volunteer work were those whose intentions were altruistic. In other words, it has to come from the heart if the rewards are going to end up there.

Do you do volunteer work? How do you find it affects you? Let us know what you’re doing for others and what you think it might be doing for you!

Woman in pain and clutching her tummy area

Beware Vibrio Vulnificus

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water….it’s not. If you still haven’t gotten over the movie “Jaws,” don’t. There’s another predator lurking in our waters, but it you probably won’t see or hear this one coming. Vibrio Vulnicus is a natural bacterium that lives in warm saltwater that can infect humans through skin wounds or consumption of undercooked shellfish, and while it’s not likely to be the subject of the next summer blockbuster, there are a few facts about it’s you may want to be apprised of it. Here are some reasons you should beware vibrio vulnificus.

It’s Not “Flesh Eating”
If you have heard about vibrio vulificus before, you may have heard it described as a “flesh-eating bacteria.” Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your thirst for drama, it’s not. The “flesh-eating” associations come from the possibility of the development of necrotizing fasciitis, which is a condition in which the bacteria destroy the tissue and skin covering the muscle. However, it is not a medical term and does not fit the definition of flesh eating, which is occasionally used to describe other forms of bacteria that cause necrotizing fasciitis.

Symptoms
The human-infecting bacteria, transmitted through skin wounds or undercooked shellfish consumption is known to cause vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea in those with healthy immune systems, however, those who are immunocompromised may run a far greater risk. Patients with weak immune systems may develop potentially fatal bloodstream infections including sepsis, skin lesions, fever, and chills. Exposure to bacteria through open wounds can lead to redness, swelling, and pain near the wounds. Symptoms will typically begin to show one to three days after exposure.

woman throwing up

Statistics
The occurrence of Vibrio vulnificus is relatively rare, although health experts say many incidences tend to go unreported. Most recent data from the CDC reports more than 900 cases between 1998 and 2006 in the Gulf Coast area, including Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida.

Risk
Individuals who consume a lot of raw shellfish are at the highest risk of gastrointestinal problems caused by Vibrio vulnificus. The more serious and life-threatening bloodstream infections are likely to target those with compromised immune systems or chronic diseases such as HIV. However, most people who acquire infections will recover without any long-term effects, unless the infection contaminates the bloodstream. In such cases, there is a potential for skin ulcerations, gangrenes, and decomposition of bodily tissue, which may require amputation or skin grafting.

Prevention
The best way to prevent a Vibrio vulnificus infection is by avoiding uncooked shellfish and swimming at the beach with an open sore or cut. Doctors typically treat the infections with common antibiotics.

Have you had a run-in with V.Vulnificus? How did you handle it? Let us know what keeps you in or out of the water in the summer.

Couple doing walking lunges

Exercises That Help Shape Your Body

Some people look great exercising. Their limbs seem to relax into certain positions, their faces full of fierce determination, their bodies long and lithe. For others, however, the struggle is a little more evident. Graceful angles seem unattainable, body parts jiggle, eyes cross, mouths gasp, hip width and sweat drips. If you find yourself in the latter category, exercising publicly may not be on the agenda. However, if you are one of the blessed, for whom physical exercise comes effortlessly, you can exercise just about anywhere. Here are some exercises for those without issues.

Walking Lunges
If you don’t mind people wondering why you’re taking such emphasized steps, walking lunges are a great way to get some outside exercise in. Start off standing with you hip-width apart. Take a giant step forward and bend your knees until your rear knee almost reaches the ground. You will know if you are doing them correctly if your shoulder, hip, and knee form a straight line. Be sure to keep your shoulders back and continue, alternating legs.

Body Weight of Air Squats
The squat is another great way of toning the legs and butt. Begin with the feet about a shoulder width apart, turning toes out slightly. Hold your chest up and shoulders back as you bend your knees and begin to sit back onto your heels. Lower yourself to an angle of approximately 90 degrees, or a little less, and then use your muscles to power your body back up with a little more speed, without overextending your knee. Do three to five sets of 20-30 repetitions.

woman doing mountain climbers

Mountain Climber
This is a great exercise which targets the whole body and is great for alternating between lunges and air squats. Start in a plank position with lips lined up directly under your shoulder with your stomach muscles tight. Alternate lifting feet up toward your hands in a running motion. Do three to five sets of 30- 40 reps of this, making sure to keep your tummy tight while trying to keep hips from sagging.

Push Ups
Because women often lack the upper body strength for pushups, stabilizing the upper body may be a helpful strategy in execution. Begin with hands just beyond your shoulders and stomach, keeping your glutes tight. Lower yourself, leading with the chest and then push yourself away whatever you are leaning on. Allow your chest to stretch and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you lower yourself. Use your legs, abs, and chest to pull yourself back up. Try to get in three to five sets of 10 to 15 pushup repetitions.

woman doing step-ups outdoors

Step Ups
Another great booty shaper, step ups are done by first finding something stable to step your foot on. Keep all your weight on the heel of the raised foot, and step up. Try to prevent going forward as you go up, keeping your upper body in a straight line. Use your butt, keeping your weight centered on your heel. You can add a little more core resistance by starting with the foot on the ground slightly bent. Aim for three to five sets of 15 to 20 repetitions, alternating legs.

If you give any of these a try, let us know how they go. And let us know what other exercises we can do without a gym membership.

Potential Causes Of Aging

Remember the Sure Antiperspirant commercials: ” Confident, dry, and secure, raise your hand if you’re sure.” It seems the antiperspirant campaigns of old were aimed at promoting deodorants as something we could depend upon; our best friends in a potentially sticky situation. Oh, antiperspirant, how thou dost betray us! Now it seems we can’t turn on the computer without seeing or hearing a piece of news containing information about the unhealthful effects of our deodorizing friend. Antiperspirant has been linked with everything from causing cancer to Alzheimer’s Disease to kidney failure. But how much of this is true? Let’s take a look at how much of this antiperspirant scare is “fake news.”

The Heart of The Fear
At the heart of the antiperspirant, fears lie aluminum. The active ingredient in antiperspirant is an aluminum-based compound that plugs sweat ducts and prevents perspiration.This, coupled with deodorant, which, as the name suggests, prevents unpleasant odor, along with a few inactive ingredients constitute your typical antiperspirant.

Antiperspirants and Cancer
Links between antiperspirants and breast cancer are built on a theory that because antiperspirants are applied to the armpit, adjacent to the area at which most breast cancers develop, the chemicals, namely aluminum, can be absorbed into the skin, especially if there is an open cut from shaving. The theory suggests that the chemicals will interact with DNA or interfere with estrogen activity, influencing the growth of breast cancer cells.

Experts say the claims have little or no support. According to Ted S. Gansler, MD, and director of medical content for the American Cancer Society, “There is no convincing evidence that antiperspirant or deodorant use increases cancer risk.” He suggests the studies were flawed, and though a few found that chemicals from antiperspirant may have been detected in breast tissue, there was no proof that these had any bearing on cancer risk. In fact, a trusted survey comparing breast cancer survivors with healthy women found no association between antiperspirants and risk of cancer.

Antiperspirants and Alzheimer’s
When a study done in the 1960’s found that people with Alzheimer’s Disease had high levels of aluminum in their brains, the health risk of many houses hold items, antiperspirant included were called into question. However, because these results could not be replicated in later studies, experts have ruled out a relationship between aluminum and Alzheimers. Heather M. Snyder, Ph.D., senior associate director of medical and scientific relations for the Alzheimer’s Association says, “There was a lot of research that looked at the link between Alzheimer’s and aluminum, and there hasn’t been any definitive evidence to suggest there is a link.”

Antiperspirants and Kidney Failure
The concerns about the effect of antiperspirants on the kidneys began when dialysis patients were prescribed aluminum hydroxide to control phosphorous level in their blood. Because of poor kidney function, their bodies were unable to remove the aluminum quickly enough and it began to accumulate. Scientist found that the patients with the high aluminum levels were more likely to develop dementia.
These finding resulted in an FDA requirement for antiperspirant levels to carry a warning against the use of antiperspirants by those who have kidney diseases. However, these warnings are directed at people with kidney function of 30% or less. Says nephrologist and spokesperson for the National Kidney Foundation, it’s almost impossible for the skin to absorb enough aluminum to harm the body, “unless you eat your stick or spray it in your mouth.”

Bottom Line
It seems that most professionals agree that, while we would like to find an easy explanation for diseases like breast cancer and Alzheimer’s, antiperspirants are not the solution. Snyder adds, “Part of the reason that the discussion about aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease continues to be a topic is Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease, and people want to know why their relative has this disease, and they want an easy answer.” Maybe antiperspirants are still our friends.

What do you think? Antiperspirant, friend or foe? Let us know your comments and thoughts!

Woman refusing cupcakes

Living A Sugar-Free Lifestyle

If you’re planning to give up sugar, the first thing you need to realize is, it’s going to be tough. You may have seen articles about how you can, “Give up Sugar In Ten Easy Steps.” Well, you can omit the easy part. These articles will probably tell you that if you realized how much sugar was in your favorite candy bar, you wouldn’t eat it. The truth is, once you realize what the sugarless version of the candy bar tastes like, you’ll be running back to the original. The second thing you need to realize about giving up sugar is, it may be worth it. Here are some of the facts on living a sugar-free lifestyle.

Why Is Sugar Bad?

Worsens Cholesterol
Scientists have found a definite link between sugar and high levels of blood fats. Studies show that eating sugar can more than triple the odds of having low HDL cholesterol levels, which are strongly associated with heart disease.

Sugar and Diabetes
Although eating sugar does not cause diabetes, higher sugar intakes have been linked to the disease. According to Rachel K. Johnson, RD, it may be that the sugar contributes to obesity, which, in turn, raises the risk for diabetes. She says, “It may be because the sugar-sweetened beverages are associated with higher BMIs or associated with overweight and obesity, which we know is a risk factor for diabetes.”

woman eating salad

Living Sugar-Free
It has been said that withdrawing from sugar may cause the same neurological symptoms as quitting morphine, nicotine, cocaine, and alcohol. If you think you’re up to the challenge, here are a few pieces of advice.

Don’t Use Artificial Sugar Substitutes
Most scientists agree that replacing sugar with artificial substitutes is just trading one bad habit for the other. By still fulfilling your craving for sweetness, you are leaving yourself open to sugar temptations. The real trick is to trade the sweet stuff for the savory, or as Kristine Kirkpatrick MD recommends, trading “licorice for salmon.”

Don’t Go Fat-Free
Fat-free doesn’t mean sugar fee. In fact, many fat-free products have higher sugar levels to compensate for the lack of fat. Fat-free angel cake has 20 more grams of sugar per slice than the sugary version. A better solution is to keep monosaturated fat-containing products, like salad dressing and peanut butter to the full-fat variety and avoid saturated fats, found typically in cookies, cakes, and muffins.

woman drinking milk

Exercise and Drink Milk
One thing that makes sugar hard to kick is the feel good factor. Sugar has been shown to stimulate reward mechanisms within the brain. One study shows that consuming whey protein ( a major component of milk) has a similar effect. Milk increases serotonin levels in the brain known to cause mood elevation and therefore may make a good replacement for the “sugar high.” Exercise has been proven to have similar effects.

Keep Healthy Snacks On Hand
Keeping healthy, sugar-free food options close by are a good way of avoiding the temptation to grab the occasional ice cream or candy from the vending machine. Nuts, raisins, fruit, and cheese are all options for replacing sugar loaded snacks. Try to keep them within reach, glove compartments, purses, and desk drawers are all handy places for a healthy stash.

If you’re quitting, or have quit sugar, let us know how you’re handling the challenge. Let us know what you’re doing to keep sugar free.

Young woman drinking orange juice

Try Vitamins To Stave Off Surgery

Plastic surgery. It seems more and more as if “Wow, how does she/he do it?” has given way to, “Where do you get your work done? However, even with the most unlikely suspects are taking the,” If you can’t beat ’em join ’em” attitude to going under the knife,” there are still a few downsides to plastic surgery: the expense, the permanent looks of surprise, the difficulty emoting, the batches- it seems safe to say there may still be a few reasons to hesitate. However, fortunately, there are some less drastic alternatives. If you’re one of the few determined to keep it real, here are some vitamins that may help you stave off aging naturally.

Vitamin C
That morning glass of OJ may be doing more than helping your immune system. Vitamin C is also great for collagen production and protection against sun damage. You can find it primarily in bell peppers, strawberries, guava, broccoli and citrus fruits. Try to get 100mgs of vitamin C daily, and if you’re looking for the fastest way to do that, Bell peppers are your best bets. The veggies contain 280 mg of the stuff, while oranges only contain 90.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E is well known for its skin friendliness. A faithful guardian of the skin’s barrier, vitamin E protects the cell membrane, keeping harmful elements out while preventing helpful ones from leaving. It also works well with vitamin C. The two together make an excellent team for preventing UV damage. Vitamin E can be found in oatmeal, wheatgerm, nuts, seeds, and avocado.

woman with healthy food in the kitchen

Omega -3
Omega -3 is the vitamin that redefined the word “fat” This healthy fat keeps the skin hydrated and helps strengthen the cell membrane, keeping toxins out and protecting against sun damage. Omega-3 can be found in ground flax seeds, fatty fish, and walnuts. The best way to get your Omega -3 is by eating 3 to 5 ounces of fish 3 to 5 times weekly, or if fish isn’t your thing, you can get it in a fish oil supplement, but check with your doctor first, as these supplements have been known to cause the blood to thin.

Selenium
Selenium is a vitamin that maintains skin’s integrity and elasticity while protecting it from the sun. You can get selenium is seafood, wheat germ, and eggs. While you don’t really need a set amount each day, it’s a good idea to try and get some of this food into your diet.

Polyphenols
Drink a cup of green tea a day to get your polyphenols in. They have anti-aging benefits and have been shown in studies to exhibit properties which reduce the risk of sun-related cancers.

Beta Carotene
You might know beta carotene as that stuff that makes fruit orange. It does, and it’s also found in a lot of dark green produce. Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A, which is crucial for cell repair and growth. In case you’re colorblind, or otherwise incapable of recognizing orange and green fruits and veggies, here are a few for you; carrots, cantaloupe, swiss chard, pumpkins, kale, and spinach are all teeming with beta carotene. Try and get two servings a day of one of these.

What vitamins are you taking to keep your skin healthy the natural way? Let us know!

Couple lifting weights in the gym

Exercisers Have More Youthful Brains

If Amanda spends 20 minutes on the stationary bike, jogs half a mile, and does 10 minutes of yoga poses, how long will it take her to burn 60 percent of the cheesecake she ate last night? Don’t know? Maybe if you started exercising, you would! According to studies, people who exercise not only have larger muscles in their arms and legs, they have them in their heads, too. Healthy body, healthy mind? Read on to find out.

Studies show that people who exercise have larger brain volume and a greater amount of intact white matter ( the filler that conducts nerve impulses and interconnects the brain) than those who don’t. In a study published in the journal PLoS ONE, scientist looked at brain activity measuring brain activity at rest and changes in blood oxygen levels with MRIs and evaluated white matter fibers.

White Matter
According to the study, exercise stimulates the brain, and that stimulation can cause people to perform better on cognitive tasks. According to Agnieszka Burzynska, the University of Illinois postdoctoral researcher who led the study, “We found that spontaneous brain activity showed more moment to moment fluctuations in the more active adults.” She adds, “In a previous study, we showed that in some of the same regions of the brain, those people who have a higher brain variability also performed better on complex cognitive tasks, especially intelligence tasks and memory.” The study also found that the white matter in more active people had a more youthful structure.

Burzynska expresses hopefulness in the usefulness and application of such studies in the future. “We want to know how the brain relates to the body, and how physical health influences mental and brain health in aging. Here, instead of a structural measure, we are taking a functional measure of brain health. And we are finding that tracking changes in blood oxygenation levels over time is useful for predicting cognitive functioning and physical health in aging.”

Best Exercises for Brain Health
Yet another study, published in the Journal of Physiology, aimed to find out which exercises increased brain volume most effectively. Researchers in Finland gathered a group of rats injected with a substance to mark the growth of new brain cells and set them on a variety of workouts. After seven weeks, the results came in.

senior couple jogging

Jogging
Rats who’d jogged on wheels showed the largest improvement in neurogenesis. Their brain tissue was full of new neurons, and the greater the distance the runner jogged, the greater the number of cells produced.

HIIT
For the rats perfuming high-intensity interval training, the results were less promising. Although they showed higher amounts of new neurons than sedentary animals, the results were far less impressive than those of the runners.

Weight Training
Although weight training rats were physically stronger at the end of the experiment, their brains showed no such improvement. Their brain tissue was identical to the animals that had not exercised at all.

Of course, animals are not humans, and weight training and HIIT may lead to changes elsewhere in the brain, implications of these studies may carry some weight. Miriam Nokia, a research fellow who led the study speculates that “sustained aerobic activity might be most beneficial for brain health also in humans.”

What do you think? Is aerobics the key to a fitter and smarter population? Let us know how you weigh in on the findings.

Woman refusing offer of cigarettes

Kick Butts This Summer

If you’re still smoking, you must be a pretty tough cookie. Let’s face it, those anti-smoking ads can be pretty discouraging if you don’t want to shake the habit. In fact, if you’re still smoking, that means you’ve toughed it out through media scare tactics, dirty looks, bad seating, no seating, fines, and price hikes- OUCH! But there is one thing that’s going to break you- smoking itself. You may have pretty thick skin when it comes to popular opinion, but lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke can be a lot harder to take in stride. If you are looking to quit this summer, here are a few tips that might be worth checking out.

Find A Reason
If you’re going to do something, you need a reason to do it, and giving up smoking is no exception. Why is it you want to quit? Is it to feel better, look better, lessen your risk of disease, or just to protect loved ones from second-hand smoke? Remember, the first step is motivation.

Don’t Try To Go Cold Turkey
One of the biggest mistakes people, when they attempt to quit smoke, is by trying to do it “cold turkey.” Nicotine withdrawal needs to be done in small doses to avoid unpleasant symptoms.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy
If nicotine cravings prove too overwhelming, replacement treatments including nicotine gum, lozenges, and patches are available, just don’t smoke while you’re using them.

Prescription Pills
Talk about nicotine replacement with a doctor. Medical professionals may be able to refer you to prescription medications that can help to reduce cravings and reduce symptoms of withdrawal.

Get Support
You’re never too tough to ask for help. If you don’t like the idea of asking for assistance from the same people who kept bugging you to quit, consider going to a counselor. Behavioral therapy has been used to varying degrees of success and can increase the odds of quitting in certain people.

Manage Stress
If you look to cigarettes for stress relief, you may want to consider other options. Yoga, massage, Tai Chai, and exercise are all good ways of relaxing butt free.

Avoid Alcohol
Smoking and drinking often go together, as do coffee and cigarettes, and it can be very tempting to smoke after meals. Try to find replacements for cigarette triggering activities and chew gum or brush your teeth after a meal.

Clean Your House
So, you’re probably thinking you’d rather smoke than clean your house any day, but that’s not quite what this advice is getting at. Ashtrays, lighters, and smells can all trigger the desire to smoke. Empty your house of those reminders and try using some air fresheners to rid your home of the smell.

If At First, You Don’t Succeed….
Remember, relapses happen. If you find yourself returning to the nasty habit, just ask yourself what got you smoking again and try to avoid it next time.

Exercise
Movement and exercise can be a good way of curbing your nicotine cravings, and it also keeps your weight down. Next time you find yourself getting the urge to light up, light out!

Are you trying to kick butts this summer? Let us know your best advice! And good luck, we know you can do it!

Do You Know Why You Get Goosebumps?

Why do you get goosebumps? Easy. You’re boyfriend kisses you on the neck and you get tiny bumps on your skin, right? Well, partially. Goosebumps happen when you’re cold or excited or frightened. So, yeah, you’re boyfriend might be giving you goosebumps, but it’s not a very scientific answer, satisfactory though it may be to some. However, for the rest of us, there is a slightly more evolutionary based cause.

What Are Goosebumps?
Goosebumps are a leftover trait from our animal ancestors, like our tailbones, and also, like our tailbones, goosebumps were a lot more useful to our predecessors than they are to us. As you probably know, goosebumps are those tiny raised portions of the skin that look like plucked chicken flesh. However, you may not know why they happen. Goosebumps are caused by miniature muscle contractions attached to the hair which causes a little depression on the surface of the skin, making the surrounding area appear to stick out. This same contraction makes our hair stand up when we get chilled. If we had a thick coat of fur, like our animal friends, this would help us retain heat, but, since we don’t, the reaction is useless, but that doesn’t stop it from happening.

Emotions and Goosebumps
You may also notice that hair on many animals stands up when they are provoked, or feel threatened by another animal. This is a natural defense which, in combination with the back arch and sideways position that accompanies it, usually causes the offender to back off. Similarly, people get goosebumps in emotional situations, such as watching horror movies, listening to the national anthem or some such equally moving experience.

goosebumps on the legs

Heat and Goosebumps
Because goosebumps are usually a response to extreme cold, it may seem odd that some people get goosebumps in the heat. This is because sweat can also induce goosebumps. As perspiration evaporates fro the skin, it cools down. The dramatic temperature change causes the goosebump response to kick in as a result.

Why Do We Get Goosebumps?
At the root of all goosebumps is a hormone called adrenaline. Adrenaline is produced in two bean-shaped glands which sit on top of the kidneys, not only causing the contraction of skin muscles but many other bodily reactions as well. Animals release the hormone when they are cold or under stress in preparation for “flight or fight.” Humans tend to produce the hormone in the face of strong emotions like anger or excitement. Adrenaline release is also characterized by trembling hands, increased blood pressure, and “butterflies” in the stomach.

Got goosebumps? Let us know your goose bump stories and clean and dirty! We love to know!