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!

Mother and child visiting doctor for medical consultation

Follow These Doctor Recommended Contact Rules

Human warmth. Is it over rated? Have you ever found yourself criticized for being “cold?’ Maybe you didn’t always hold hands with your boyfriend, didn’t like to share food, weren’t much of a hugger. Maybe you were just misread.

Although contact is often signed of human warmth, it is also one of the easiest ways to spread germs. So maybe your best friend doesn’t really have issues with affection, maybe she’s just being smart. Here is some doctor recommend rules for avoiding germs (and contact.)

What are Germs?
Germs are those little microscopic organisms that live all around us, most of which are not harmful, but some of which can cause infectious disease. Even though we have vaccines and medicines to cure these diseases, some of the germs seemed to have outsmarted the medical community. When this happens, we often have to take things into our own hands. That means avoiding these germs before they can get to us.

Germs’ favorite hangouts include dirt, countertops, water, our skin, and our intestines. Some can survive on their own, and others like to take up residence inside people or animals. The thing about germs is, when they find a good place, they generally stay a while.

How Germs Spread?
Getting a disease involves contact with a germ. From there, it gets into your body and does its thing. Even though our bodies are good at fighting infections, sometimes the germ fights harder. Here are some ways you may get exposed.

  • Touch 
    Some germs live in mucus, stool, and pus. That means that drops released when people cough sneeze or talk can carry germs. If you touch a contaminated object or surface and then touch an opening in the body, germs can transfer.
  • Eating and Drinking 
    Germs are often found in untreated water and food. Unwashed vegetables and fruits uncooked foods can all carry disease-causing germs.
  • Breathing 
    Although it is not suggested you stop doing this, germs can spread in the air. Coughing, sneezing, and talking can all release germs, which can cause illness when exhaled.
  • Animal Bites
    Animals can also spread infectious disease. Bites from animals, pets, and even insects can cause illness, even if the animal does not appear sick.

sick woman
Diseases can also be spread during pregnancy, from mother to child, by sharing needles, through sexual contact or through blood transfusion.

Healthy Habits

  • Food Safety. Wash utensils, hands and surfaces when preparing food. Wash all fruits and vegetables. Keep and cook foods at proper temperatures and keep perishable foods refrigerated.
  • Wash Hands.
  • Clean Commonly Used Surface Areas.Although soap and water are usually enough to kill germs on hands, bathrooms and kitchens should be disinfected regularly. Other household areas should be disinfected if someone in the household is ill.
  • Sneeze and Cough into your Sleeve.
  •  Don’t Share Personal Things. Sharing personal items that can’t be disinfected is always a bad idea. Toothbrushes, towels, razors should never be shared. Needles should be used once and discarded immediately after.
  •  Get Vaccinated. Vaccines should be gotten regularly in childhood. Some are also recommended for adults, and in special situations like travel and pregnancy.
  •  Avoid Touching Animals. You and your pets should avoid contact with wild animals which may cause germs. Consult a doctor if you are bitten, and make sure all pet vaccinations are updated.
  •  Stay home when sick.

What are you doing to avoid contact? Are fist pumps and handshakes soon to be a thing of the past? Let us know what you think!

Healthy, happy women.

Healthy pH For Your Body Part

“Hey, did I catch you off balance?”  “Were you balancing your books?” “Trying to get your life in balance?” Our government runs on a system of checks and balances and a balance of power. We need to balance work and life, good and bad, reward and punishment.  Our universe depends on balance, the positioning of planets and the forces of motion all depend on balance.  Our bodies depend on balance. If balance weren’t such big deal, why are we all doing yoga?

 In order to maintain equilibrium in our bodies, It is no surprise that balance is also important. Our bodies need to have a  healthy pH balance, that is the alkalinity in our body must be in balance with the acidity in our bodies.

Before we continue it should be noted that the kind of balance we talk about when we talk  about our bodies is not the kind of balance which requires an equal amount on each side, it is the balance of correct proportion.  Just as a beautiful face is not always perfectly symmetrical, a healthy body is not either.  The optimal pH balance for our bodies is a little bit on the alkaline side, with a  pH of 7.4 on a scale ranging from 1-14 and it is suggested that we eat a diet which puts the emphasis on alkaline foods as opposed to acidic food. But  it is not the acid content of the food that makes the difference, it is the way our different body parts respond to the acid.

Blood
When we talk about maintaining a 7.4 pH balance in our body, we really do not need to worry about our blood.  Our lungs and kidneys take care of keeping that number constant.  Rather, it is the body parts whose pH balance is less stable that  we need to worry about.

Cells
The pH levels of our cells tend to vary more than our blood and we need to make sure they stay slightly alkaline, so we need to watch our diet to make sure that they function at their best.  Alkaline diets provide magnesium, which is needed by our enzyme systems and preserve muscle mass while aging.

Urine
 The pH level of our urine is also worrisome,as it tends to vary as well.  To keep it stable, we need to avoid animal protein, grains, soda, beer, and sodium, which are hard for our kidneys to break down.  It is important that we get potassium and minerals from fruit to neutralize the acid.

Stomach
The stomach needs to remain slightly acidic in order to break down food.When you eat, your stomach releases  acid causing your stomach pH to drop to as low as 1 or 2. After the meal is digested, buffers in your stomach, such as mucous and bicarbonate, work to neutralize the acid, bringing your tummy back to a resting rate of 4-5. When levels of acid in our stomach are high, (which happens when we eat protein, especially red meat) our system seeks out alkaline nourishment in our digestive tract.  If it cannot find it, it will draw minerals from our bones. (This is an example of what happens when our bodies are not in balance.) It is why it is so important to eat a diet heavy in nutrients like calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium to make sure our system can find them when it needs to

Skin
The skin needs to be slightly acidic to support the acid mantle.  This is the skin’s barrier It blocks out germs, pollution, and toxins.  When skin is too alkaline, it becomes dry and inflamed. It may stop fighting off enzymes that destroy collagen and cause wrinkles.  The ideal pH level for the skin is 5.5. If it is higher, it signals damage to the acid mantle which exposes your skin to bacteria and UV rays and may be a sign of excessive use of exfoliants and peeling products

If the pH of the skin is lower than 5.5, that probably nears you are overusing products designed to make skin less greasy.  If this is you, pay attention to scrubbing  and hydrating often.

Woman getting a spa treatment

Lifestyle Habits for a Healthy Body

A healthy body is the result of a healthy lifestyle and intentional actions.The decision to work towards a healthy body can be a little bit overwhelming because it may feel like you have to overhaul every aspect of your life. When adopting new lifestyle habits, it’s best to start slow and to add new habits gradually. The following five lifestyle habits are among the most important when it comes to getting, and maintaining, a healthy body.

Woman having a salad

Eat Well
Increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, reduce the amount of sodium you eat and eliminate refined or processed ingredients as much as possible for a healthy body. Doctors and health experts suggest adopting a “meatless Monday” mentality and prepare at least one entirely meatless meal every week. Your diet should include plenty of dark leafy greens, complex carbohydrates like brown rice or whole grains and healthy fats like avocados or olive oil.

Woman exercising

Physical Activity
Getting your body moving is so important to achieving a healthy body, both mentally and physically. If you’re a busy individual (and who isn’t?), you might stress about when you can find time to get to the gym or how you can fit 45 minutes of exercise into your nightly routine, but physical activity does not have to be an all or nothing thing. Making small changes to the way you live your daily life can result in some serious health benefits. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine showed that taking short walks after eating a hearty meal reduced the amount of fat and triglycerides more effectively than long exercise sessions. Taking the stairs, taking stretching breaks every hour and parking your car further away are ways you can increase your physical activity without needing tons of time.

Woman reading labels

Read Labels
One habit that super healthy people always practice is to read the labels of everything they purchase. You might already read the ingredients list on the foods you buy, but what about the dish soap you use or your favorite shampoo? In order to treat your body well, you have to offer it the healthiest and most beneficial ingredients, which means that you need to be fully informed of what you’re putting into and onto your body. Always read labels on any product that goes in your body or on your body and avoid things like sulfates and parabens.

Woman meditating

Reduce Stress
With the busy lives most of us live, it’s no wonder that high stress levels are rampant. Unfortunately, stress has more serious effects on your body than simply making you a bit cranky or grumpy. The American Psychological Association states that stress has negative effects on your respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, reproductive and nervous systems. Stress is commonly associated with tension-type headaches or migraines, it increases your risk of long-term heart disease and a higher risk of developing diabetes. Luckily, you can help to reverse these negative effects: “Relaxation techniques have been shown to effectively reduce muscle tension, decrease the incidence of certain stress-related disorders, such as headache, and increase a sense of well-being,” according to the American Psychological Association. Practice breathing exercises or meditation to help get your stress under control.

Woman washing hands

Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands is one of the most important things you can do to keep your body free from illnesses and infections. For the most effective clean, wet your hands with warm or cold water, then apply soap. Work soap into a lather for at least 20 seconds, making sure to clean the fronts and backs of your hands, in between your fingers and under your fingernails. Rinse your hands with warm or cold water and pat dry with a towel.

Achieving a healthy body is absolutely in your reach if you practice lifestyle habits that focus on all areas of your health. In addition to the above, drink plenty of water and make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Lifestyle habits for a healthier body improve both your physical and mental health, and lead to a happier life overall.