Thursday, 16 August 2007

The simplest water bottle holder

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Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best ones, although I'm not sure about this one. Pretty much everybody these days needs to drink more water, and this is one way you could encourage yourself to do that: hook the water right on your belt. This bottle holder would probably be great for anybody who does a lot of walking and moving around during the day (think college kids, and adults who don't use an office or have a desk at their job), and of course it could work great for walking or jogging also, and even for travel and vacations. Except one concern: even while walking won't it bounce and bang around and get annoying?

Via Book of Joe

Do it yourself: Jam

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One of my favorite treats is bread and jam. Toast and jam works too, and both are especially good with a tablespoon of the tasty, homemade raspberry variety. When I was little, I used to love visiting the family farm and spending an afternoon picking berries (although admittedly, a lot of those berries didn't make it into the pail, but rather ended up heading straight into my mouth after being plucked from among its leafy green surroundings), knowing that my grandmother would turn it into one of my favorite sweet treats.

I never sat in on a jam-making session though, so have never had the chance to make it on my own and wouldn't even know where to start. But recently I came across this post at DIY Life by Heather Craven that gives details on how to make your own jam! She mentions that it's great to use fruit out of your own garden, but if you don't have that particular luxury it's the perfect time of year to find all sorts of appropriate fruits at a local farmer's market. Next time all you fellow jam-fans out there have some time on your hands, you'll know what to do.

Wine allergies do exist

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It's sounds odd that something as docile (heh) as wine could cause allergic reactions, but with win being made from grapes, and grapes being grown in the wild (in most cases), there's several variables that could be the culprit of that allergic reaction.

How about the chemicals left behind by insects that hang out and talk politics on those grapes? Joking aside, washing grapes is always good before eating to wash away any residue on the grape's skin. But, in wine, you can't really do that.

So, unless you're into making your own wine, and you have a funny feeling(or severe reaction) from drinking wine, you may want to investigate further to ensure those nasty insects are not the cause. Things like wasps, ants and bees could all be your enemy during snifter time.

Fitsugar giveaway: Heart rate monitor

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Here's some super news: One of my favourite fitness blogs, Fitsugar, is giving away Polar Heart Rate Monitors to some lucky readers. If you have some sort of fitness routine, a heart rate monitor is a great addition. Even if you don't have a fitness routine, you should and maybe free stuff will motivate you to get to the gym. Heart rate montiors can keep track of your heart rate and they amount of calories you've burned, which is I think you'll agree is an awesome addition to your fitness gear.

So go enter! Um, wait. Scratch that. Please don't enter so my chances of winning are improved.

Daily Fit Tip: Lose weight with the BodyBugg

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The BodyBugg by Apex Fitness is an amazing tool which will legitimately help you manage your weight. This mini computer which is worn around the upper arm, measures exactly how many calories one burns throughout the day . Combined with a personalized program which allows you to chronicle your caloric intake, the BodyBugg offers proof of exactly what you've accomplished each day.

The program sets personalized caloric intake and burn rates each day, specifically for the goals you'd like to accomplish. Just putting the BodyBugg on motivates me to move more and sit less. If I come home at night and see that I haven't achieved my goal.....I go for a walk. If I come home and find that I've superseded my goals, maybe I'll allow myself a treat. Either's nice to know for sure what I've accomplished. It keeps me honest, and the other folks I know who use the BodyBugg have had much success with it too.

The BodyBugg is lightweight, attractive, and extremely comfortable. I actually forget I'm wearing it. Slim enough to fit under any shirt without looking strange, this Bugg is worth a try. Set goals, receive definitive data regarding your efforts and make changes where necessary. Cool tool.

Continue reading Daily Fit Tip: Lose weight with the BodyBugg

There aren't as many potential blood donors out there as we think

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It used to be thought that nearly everyone of a certain age would be eligible to donate blood. Now, a new study shows that the percentage of eligible blood donors is lower than previously thought because certain risk factors hadn't been taken into consideration. Now it's estimated that only about 37% of adults are eligible to donate blood -- less than half of the population. And of that 37% I imagine there are few who actually donate.

For this reason, I think it's more important than ever to donate blood if you're eligible. You can save many lives at only a slight inconvenience to yourself.

Do you donate blood?

Why are we getting shorter?

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Take a walk through my great aunt's 17th-century home in England and you'll find substantial proof that people were much shorter 33 years ago. The American population has been getting steadily taller over the years ... until now. Americans are getting shorter on average every year. And it's not happening in Europe or other countries in the world -- it's just here.

What's the reason? Well, just as proper nutrition is the reason why we've been getting taller, our nutrition, or lack thereof, is to blame for the shrinking phenomenon as well. So even though we're smart enough to make huge strides in our health by improving our nutrition over time, we're stupid enough to disregard those nutritional advances in favour of junk food that in ultimately killing us. It's amazing, really. In a way, we're actually going backwards on the evolutionary scale, don't you think?

(via Diet Blog)

Protein is key for building muscles in the elderly

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High protein foods can be converted into muscle in elderly adults too, a study shows, proving that those protein shakes won't just benefit the young folks at the gym. Therefore, as adults age and begin to lose important muscle mass, a diet high in lean proteins will be beneficial, as well as some gentle exercises. But currently, it's estimated that 27% of older adults aren't getting adequate amounts of protein in their diet.

On an interesting note, this study was partially funded by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, but I'm recommending that seniors get their protein from lean sources like fish, chicken breasts, lean turkey, nuts and low-fat dairy.

Daily Fit Tip: Love yourself

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Loving yourself is so important. Self-esteem is at the root of every experience in your life, and if you lack confidence in yourself, you'll have a hard time achieving your goals and dreams, whatever they may be. So today, take a few moments to work on yours, whether you're dieting or not. Today's guest blogger at Back in the Skinny Jeans recommends a few things, including making a list of 10 things you love about yourself. Here's mine:
  • I love my ankles
  • I love my (mostly) straight teeth (thanks to the orthodontist)
  • I love my tattoos
  • I love the freckles on my arm that form an 'M'
  • I love the birthmark on my thigh because it's one thing on my body that has remained constant since I was a child
  • I love the way I talk with my hands; Until a friend pointed it out recently, I didn't even notice that I have the exact same gestures as my father
  • I love my two-toned eyes
  • I love my small lips, because they're a sign of my heritage
  • I love my inner strength
  • I love my resilience; the way I don't let things get me down for long.
What do you love about yourself?

Life Fit Chat with Laura Lewis: Change your mind, change your matter

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Life Fit Chat with That's Fit Life Fit Expert Laura Lewis brings conversation provoking tidbits to your table, served up with a touch of spice! Byte-sized information that pack some punch, brought to you every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday!

Did you know ... Roughly 30 percent of people who are given a placebo to help cure a negative health condition will totally recover, despite the predicted outcome of research scientists. The only determining factor that makes these people different from their non-placebo responding friends is their attitude, outlook on life and determination. In other words, they changed their mind. (52 Ways to a Healthy You Brown Books Publishing Group,

Though the idea of improving your health by changing your mind may sound like a fantasy, experiments have found that a small amount of training spread over the period of a year can be amazingly effective. Dr. Grossarth-Maticek randomly divided 1,200 people into two equally divided groups, both of whom had scored poorly on a life outlook survey.

The first group were given a self-help brochure and six, one-hour training sessions over the period of one year while the other group received no information or training. When the health status of the two groups was checked over thirteen years later, 409 of the people in the first group of 600 were still alive versus 97 of the equal-sized control group!

If you think it is too late to change, think again. The average age of the people in the experiment was 58.

Change your mind, change your matter ... Mind your thoughts as they truly manifest into the matter of your reality.

Can you think of a time when your attitude affected your physical health? What about the people you spend time with? Do their attitudes bring you down or lift you up?

Action Tips
  • Start each day with an "I AM" statement ... I AM vibrantly health. I AM happy, wise and blessed. I AM filled with abundant joy!
  • Redirect your thoughts when they turn negative. Develop your own mantra to assist you. Keep it positive not negative. For example, I AM in a state of continuous gratitude, versus, I will not be ungrateful.
  • Surround yourself by supporters not naysayers.
Let us know how you do!
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The Daily Turn On! We are what we hear

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Life is too short not to be fully "tuned in." The Daily Turn On! is designed to wake up your senses, all six of them: smell, taste, touch, hearing, sight and intuition! Everyday The Daily Turn On! with That's Fit Life Fit expert Laura Lewis will awaken your mind, your body and your life!

Did you know ... The music we listen to affects our physiological well being, our emotions and mood states, as well as our performance. While writing the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson would intermittently play his violin for inspiration. Albert Einstein played the violin and is said to have attributed his exceptional intelligence to his early musical education.

Music impacts us both positively and negatively. It can increase our state of happiness and sadness, stress or relaxation, anxiety and depression, and just about every other state of emotional and spiritual being. It could be said that we are what we listen to.

Try it out ... Experiment with various types of music: classical, classic rock, country, hip-hop, etc., and observe the impact the music has on you.

Let us know the results ... What music soothed you? What made you happy? Sad? Anxious or angry?

Awaken your sense of sound and change your emotional reality.

Turn On your senses ... Live a fit live!
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FitBeauty: Tips you need to know from those in the know

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We all have our talents, don't we? Some of us have perfected the art of looking fresh and flirty after only a few hours of sleep, others of us can pack a gym bag complete with out-to-dinner-date outfit in minutes flat. Some of us (I'm not naming names) have fooled many people who've kindly commented on her great skin with her near-magical blemish concealing abilities. Some of you are whizzes at recreating celeb hairstyles, painting on the ubiquitous smoky eye or finding ways to show off your killer biceps in every outfit you own.

While I hope you go on and on with your bad selves, I also hope you will take some pointers from some of the best blogging beauties in the biz. Here are six pointers timed just right as we straddle two seasons, jet off on last-minute trips, prep for Labor Day parties and stretch out the dog days:

  • Holding on to your perfect sunless tan - As summer slips into fall, you can still keep that gorgeous faux glow. Andy from Cents of Style (love her!) says that the key to creating the perfect blotch-free sunless tan is using Vaseline on all the spots that don't naturally get sun. Simply dab a little Vaseline on elbows, feet and ankles, which she says will prevent the sunless tanner from being absorbed in those areas. Andy advises you use Vaseline because it prevents dark patches at "our bend-y points" and works much better than lotion. Merci, Andy!

  • Showing off your beautiful body on the beach (from mid-shin on down) - File this under "Oh hell naw." I'm not judging, I'm just saying that it is really feel connected to your temple when you're swathed in a head-to-toe swimsuit. Obviously, this is not a tip as much as it is a reminder that we look pretty smokin' in those one-pieces and skirted tankinis after all.

  • Picking out clothes that fit you not clothes you have to wiggle into - The Fashionable Housewife offers up tips on choosing clothes for your own body type (as opposed to trying to make a teeny tiny denim skirt from Forever 21 fit your womanly curves or relying on droopy jeans to make your slim-hipped self look curvy). Just click on the link for your body type and you'll find a handy list of must-haves from swimsuits to skirts (a-ha! those crucial investment pieces strike again!) that you can even print and stick in your wallet for your next shopping trip.

  • Packing cute and comfy clothes to take on the road - Susan's fashion and shopping posts over at BlogHer are always right on. And I've seen this mama up close and trust me, you want to trust her advice on what to wear. Here she gives some great tips on packing for a trip and how to look put together when you're living out of a suitcase for a few days. To this, I'd add yoga or dance pants for lounging over room service, to throw on over your swimsuit on the way to the pool and to wear to the (gulp...just do it!) fitness room for a quick walk on the treadmill before hitting the continental breakfast buffet.

  • Getting your beauty sleep for reals - Darlings, we all know that summer colds, poolside parties and all those foolishly fabulous things you do to eek out the last bits of summer can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule. And somewhere in our brains beyond our wild and uninhibited impulses, we know that sleep is key for feeling and looking wonderful long-term. Here's a recipe for some wind-down tea to finally get the sleep you need. It's from one of my favorite new websites, GreenIsSexy (how could you not love it up with a name like that?!).

HEY! One last thing: Are you a FitBeauty? Are you an active woman, a curvy chica, a mama on a mission to get back to your sexy self? FItBeauty will be featuring real women who embody (or are on their way to) healthy, lovely living. Let us know if you or a woman you know is a FitBeauty by commenting on this post or sending us your info by clicking Contact Us (to the right, please put FitBeauty in the subject line). We can't wait to meet you!

New Mexico flakes out on marijuana production

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New Mexico's state department said this week that it will not grow medical marijuana for seriously ill patients. Although that state makes it legal for pot to be used for medical purposes, it probably does not want to expose itself to federal lawsuits for growing or providing the leafy hallucinogenic.

So, I guess the state will not comply not comply with a the recent legislation there that requests it grow and distribute marijuana for eligible patients, although it will certify patients to ensure not everyone can just walk in a clinic and walk out with some pot.

I'm always curious -- do you support or are you against medical marijuana use? The answers I get to that question have sparked some fierce debates in my circle, so how about yours?

Weight loss according to Courtney Love

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Before there was Britney, Nicole and Lindsay, there was Courtney Love, Hollywood's original train wreck. In the past little while, she's gone from happily plump to heroin thin. In fact, if you believe the photo in this article, she's looking thinner now than she did when she was actually on heroin. Now that's scary.

Courtney has opened up about how she went from 182 to 139 in the past few months. Discipline is the key, she claims, and she says, "Some people think it's about weight loss, but it's about detoxing." She does colonics and fasts often, and as for meals, she relies on 2 meal replacement shakes a day and a macrobiotic diet. Furthermore, she criticizes other stars who claim to eat only fish and broccoli as "bulimic liars."

I don't really know what to say beyond .... Yikes! She may be disciplined but I don't exactly think she is the poster child for healthy weight loss. Do you?

Cinnamon, the new anti-viral medicine

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cinnamonWe already know that cinnamon can have a positive effect on your blood sugar levels. Now, research is showing that cinnamon is also an amazing anti-viral agent.

Studies claim anti-viral benefits for this special cinnamon extract against Avian Flu H9, the Sendai virus, HIV and Herpes Simplex 1, Newcastle disease (in chickens) and the flu.

Not only will this extract fight the viruses, but it will also immunize against them.

The researcher, Professor Michael Ovadia, even suggests using his discovery to sanitize the air at airports and in hospitals.

Personally, I think this is very exiting for those of us who try to use natural remedies whenever possible. Not only will it give us another weapon in our arsenal to fight the big bad bugs, but hopefully its value will be noticed by others who may not have previously chosen a natural remedy. I love that Zicam, SinuCleanse and Hyland's Teething Tablets are all natural remedies that can be found in drug stores throughout the nation now.

Will cinnamon extract follow their lead?

'Healthy' fast food is bad for your heart too

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Do you think that buy having a salad at McDonald's that you're doing something good for your heart? Think again. A study shows that whether you order a healthy meal of a veggie burger, orange juice and a side salad, or whether you go all out on a regular burger, soda and fries, your body's markers for cardiovascular disease are adversely affected. These findings surprised the researchers who discovered them, as they had originally set out to prove that heart-healthy fast food meals were available.

The moral of the story isn't that you might as well eat what you want because everything is bad for you anyway; rather, stay away from fast food joints all together if you can. I do and it's not that difficult but it takes a bit of planning. What do you think?

Get your kids to help save the planet

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There are loads of people out there who do not believe in Global Warming. Or, to be more specific, there are plenty of people out there who do not believe that human beings and all of our nasty, wasteful habits are the cause of the accelerated warming trend that is currently occurring on the planet (after all Earth has heated up and cooled down throughout its existence). Plenty of folks also don't think that this warming will cause the sort of catastrophic events illustrated in Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth".

Whether or not you're a believer, it's a fact that our global home is a fragile place that exists in a delicate balance, and we need to take better care of it. When I say "we" I mean everybody, including kids. As Tanya Ryno at DIY Life mentions, Gore has made his handbook on the subject kid-friendly, offering tips on how your children can help look after the planet. Remember that educated, Earth-conscious kids will become educated, Earth-conscious adults, so now is as good a time as any to help teach your kids healthy, planet-friendly habits.

Try these 25 new power foods

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smoothieWe know the best power foods are whole foods, like fruits and vegetables jam-packed with nutrition and legumes full of protein and fiber. But it is not always easy to eat whole foods all of the time. Sometimes we crave more convenience, even though the processed foods are usually not as good for us.

So, whether good or bad, WebMD has put together a list of 25 relatively new natural, yet packaged, products that could be good for us to have in our pantries.

The list is broken into categories, which I have listed, along with a couple of products that really caught my eye.

  • High-Fiber Bread, Pasta & Cereal
    • Kashi Vive Probiotic Digestive Wellness Cereal -- Full of fiber, ginger and beneficial bacteria, it sounds promising. But I checked out the ingredients and it doesn't pass my test. Wheat is the first ingredient, there is too much sugar and it contains soy protein. Oh well. Next . . .
  • Fat Fighting Snacks
  • New Calcium Boosters
  • Fruits and Veggies Made Easy
  • Healthy Dinners in Minutes
  • Good for You Beverages
If you are time-crunched and can't eat a whole food, or if you are looking for a convenience food to fit your healthy lifestyle, this list is a good place to start.

Which country has the most couch potatoes?

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Here's an interesting post from our friends over at Gadling: Which country has the most couch potatoes? So which country do you think scored the highest? I think it comes as no surprise that it's the good old US of A. What's shocking is just how much they beat the rest of the countries by -- They almost doubled every other country.

On average, Americans watch eight hours and 11 minutes of TV a day. How is that even possible? Doesn't anyone work in America? The only thing I spend 8 hours a day on is my job or sleeping. The country that took second place was Turkey, with an average of five hours a day. My country, Canada, came in at just over three hours of TV a day. Even that seems high -- I certainly don't watch three hours of TV a day. Do you?

Abortion pills don't bring any risks, says study

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To those women concerned about the possible health risks that an come along with taking certain medications designed for abortions, a breath of relief is at hand.

According to a new study released this week, women who take abortion pills instead of visiting the doctor for a physical procedure have no further risk of miscarriages or other problems in future pregnancies.

Although the study was performed by looking at over 12,000 women in Denmark, the results seem universal to any population to me. I'm not sure how many women opt for drug-based abortions over clinic-based procedures, but that option is now available in the privacy of the home without adverse affects.

Do you know probiotics?

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When we get sick, many of us go to the doctor to retrieve a prescription for "Antibiotics." Sounds weird, right? The term "anti" means against, and an antibiotic would seem to suggest "against life" or something. Well, at least against bacterial life, that is.

But how about the "probiotic?" This, again, sounds weird, since most probiotics are bacteria that you willfully swallow into your system. The difference is that these are "helpful" bacteria used in digestion and other bodily processed.

In fact, I've used probiotics before to easily and successfully fend of bacterial infections (instead of antibiotics) and take them on a regular basis (when I'm not sick) just to give my system some help. Want to read more? I highly suggest it -- and just a click will get you there.

Reality check: More celebrity airbrushing

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mirrorThere's been several notable scandals in magazine airbrushing lately (arms that get bigger or smaller, pounds that melt away while boobs swell to a new cup size) but so far it hasn't dampened much of the industry enthusiasm for showing celebrities in that bizarre fake light with flawless, plastic skin and crazy unrealistic bods. Aside from the completely whackadoo body image stuff it promotes, I actually think lots of the photos look creepy. I'm hoping this shiny rubber people thing is replaced by a grittier, more natural aesthetic. Well, you can see for yourself what some famous people look like if you check out the iWANEX portfolio. They are a professional photo retouching company and they rework folks like Cameron Diaz and Cate Blanchett into smooth, strange weirdness.

It's kinda fun to toggle back and forth and see famous people shrink and grow right before your eyes. No need for us to feel so bad about our own eye wrinkles and flyaway hair. And I think the celebs look best pre-retouch too. Via Strollerderby.

Encouraging healthy habits in others

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I saw a great post on Fitsugar today about encouraging healthy habits in others. It's a topics that interests me because I'm always trying to inspire healthy living in my friends and family now that I know how great it feels to live healthfully. Jon might be a lost cause but I'm working on my friends

Here are some ways I (and you) can encourage healthy habits in friends:
  • Instead of heading to a restaurant, where you'll be tempted to order something unhealthy, have a potluck at your house and make something healthy. But if you must go to a restaurant, make it a healthy one ... like a sushi place.

Continue reading Encouraging healthy habits in others