Sunday, 2 September 2007

All about eco-beauty

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Eco-friendly products are all the rage these days, and cosmetics are no exception. Eco-beauty products are organic items that can make you feel like a million bucks without harming the environment or exposing your skin to toxins. Many companies have come out with eco-friendly lines that are good for your body and sometimes even come in environmentally friendly packaging, as this article from Glee Magazine points out. While most of the lines are new, some have been around for a while -- The Body Shop, for example, has always shown a commitment to bettering the earth.

Myself, I love the Origins line of skin care. What about you?

3 healthier cookie recipes

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I don't know what it is that makes some people crave one kind of food and others another but it seems like the most common craving culprits are anything salty or anything sweet. I know lots of people who will ruin their diet for potato chip, popcorn and cheezies, while I've always had to battle my love for all things sugary including the two main groups -- foods with frosting and foods with chocolate.

Cookies are one of the hardest sweet treats for me to avoid so I've been searching out some healthier recipes and found a site with an entire page dedicated to healthy cookies recipes. The three that I'm looking forward to trying are the Sugarless Heart Cookies, which look good for anyone on a low-sugar diet, the Low Fat Peanut Butter Cookies because they sound tasty with the added benefit of protein and, perhaps the most delicious-looking find, the recipe for Low Fat Triple Chocolate Cake Bars.

Have you got a sweet tooth but are on a diet? Have you got any low-fat, low-calorie or sugar-free recipes to share?

Does your partner try to control you?

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Meeting someone who you really feel that you connect with can be pretty powerful. Love ,or even just like, for a partner can be such a strong emotion that sometimes we may not realize when a relationship gradually turns from postive to negative.

When you first meet someone and they seem to be fantastic, it is hard to admit it later on if they become scary or controlling, because you always think back to those first great days and say to yourself "well, it wasn't always like this, maybe he/she is just having a rough time right now. I'm sure that eventually things will return to how they were when we first started dating." Unfortunately, that's not usually the case.

Codependent relationships are never healthy, can ruin your self esteem and will often leave you feeling sad, hurt, fearful and wishing that your life will change for the better. If you're worried that you're in a relationship with a controlling partner, take a look at this piece for signs that signal an unhealthy codependent relationship, and if necessary seek help from friends, family, your personal physcian or another person you trust. Above all ,don't let memories of how things were cloud your judgement of how things are.

The Daily Turn On! Imagine the life of your dreams

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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 ... Before you can live the life of your dreams, you first must be able to imagine it. Imagination is the key that unlocks the magical door to your dream world. Interestingly, imagination is not an innate tool, but rather a skill that must be developed and massaged like any other muscle in the body.

So, the first step in creating the life of your dreams is to determine how well your imagination works. Follow this exercise to give your imagination a workout:

1. Grab a pen and paper and write down the number one thing you currently do not have in your life that you would like to have. Is it a porsche? A husband? A million dollars? A fulfilling career? A child? Self-love? A hot body?

2. Once you determine what your dream-thing is, draw a picture of it on your piece of paper. If you can't draw a picture of IT, draw a symbol that represents IT to you. For example, if you want a partner or spouse, maybe a big, red heart would represent that relationship.

3. Once you have your image, close your eyes and embrace the darkness and void. When you are very comfortable with the void you are experiencing, allow your mind to conjure that picture or image that is on the card in your hand. Can you see it? If so, continuing inhaling and exhaling holding only that image in your mind. Do not think about how you will work out the details of achieving this dream. Do not think about the obstacles that are preventing this dream. Think only of this item and allow yourself to fully experience how you would feel if this were in your life right now. If you cannot "see" it, move on to step four.

4. So, maybe you have decided your imagination needs to workout a bit before it is going to work for you. That is okay. We can all develop our imagination. Like any skill, some of us have to work harder than others. Spend more time focusing on your image. What would/does it smell like? Taste like? Sound like? Allow yourself to spend time with your thoughts. Think about all the sensorial aspects associated with your image. Is the texture soft to the touch or firm? Warm or cold? Is the sounds soothing or loud? The more information you provide your brain about this image the more neurons will begin firing in your brain to generate a mental imagine in your imagination.

Once you are able to hold your image of your dream-thing in your mind, keep it there. Post your card somewhere that will catch your attention repeatedly such as the bathroom mirror, your computer monitor or even on the steering wheel of your car.

Just as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Once you make a decision, the Universe will conspire to make it happen." But it all starts in your imagination!

Turn on your mind ... live a fit life!
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8 great reasons to eat locally (and a great read as well)

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I've just finished reading Barbara Kingsolver's latest book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. If you've every wondered why what we eat has such a huge impact on environmental issues, then I recommend you run (or walk or bike) to your nearest library and pick up a copy. It's a beautifully written book, but its value lies in the unbelievable amount of great information packed into its pages.

Why eat local? Here are eight reasons to get you started:

1. Taste: Food that's picked when it's ripe -- and that doesn't have to travel -- just tastes better.
2. Community mindedness: Your dollar goes directly to the farmer who grew your dinner.
3. Safety: No imports, potentially fewer pesticides, and fresh products.
4. Savings: Last week, I bought four red peppers for $1 at my farmer's market. At the store, they were $3.99 a pound. Enough said?
5. Ecology: Closer to home means fewer food miles and less burning of fossil fuels.
6. Social: Get reconnected with your food and your community.
7. Reclaim the past: Heirloom plants and animals are a rarity in supermarkets, but small farmers may raise several varieties each season.
8. Your health: Visiting a farmer's market weekly or joining a CSA means that your kitchen will always be filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, which makes it easy to get your daily intake.

Check out Local Harvest to find local sources for produce and livestock near you.

Extra virgin coconut oil

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Reader Fash sent us a question asking to know more about something she's heard a lot of lately: Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. I'll admit I haven't heard anything on this particular product before, beyond having heard that regular coconut oil was bad news because it was often hydrogenated, which means it's a source of trans fats. But looking into it, I found the EVCO is different from refined coconut oils, and actually retains a bit of the coconut essence to it. Some believe it to be the healthiest fat out there, promoting weight loss and thyroid function, but here's another point of view:

Virgin Coconut oil contains saturated fat. The saturated fat in coconut oil is no less harmful for your cardiovascular health than other saturated fats -- a fact that has been re-enforced by the American Heart Association, FDA and WHO numerous times. That's not to say that virgin coconut oil is bad for you -- the message here is that like other healthy fats, you need to practice moderation when it comes to coconut oil. Moreover, don't believe people who claim to be selling extra virgin coconut oil -- there's no such thing. Unrefined coconut oil is merely virgin coconut oil.

So what do you think about EVCO? Another form of snake oil or the world's miracle fat?

How food-savvy are you?

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Think you always know what the best choice is when you're eating out? Why not put that to the test? This Men's Health Quiz called Eat This, Not That has some pretty tough choices. Here's what you do: you're given two choices between two food options and you have to pick which is the healthiest, and I guarantee, some of the answers will surprise you. You do this for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and drinks.

I consider myself to be fairly up my food news but I only got 4/11 on one of the sections. What about you?

Dessert calorie shockers

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We all know that desserts are bad for us. They're made almost entirely of sugar and fat, and they hold very little nutritional value, if any at all. And yet we can't seem to resist them. Well, this article might make you think twice. It's a bit shocking how many desserts out there pack more of a calorie punch than the meal itself. For example, one slice of Dulce de Leche Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory has 1,010 calories, 74g fat, 76g sugar, 83g carbs. Oh my!

Next time you just must have dessert, wait until you get home, where you can actually keep track of what you're putting into your mouth. Great ideas for dessert include fat-free pudding, frozen yogurt, fresh fruit with a big of fat-free cool whip or even a few pieces of chocolate. But you might know an even better healthy dessert recipe -- if so, please share!

Is the mold in your home making you depressed?

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It's though that there are a number of causes that can lead to depression, and here's another one: Studies are showing that there is a very strong link between depression and damp, moldy homes. Researchers from Brown University had initially set out to prove the opposite -- that depression is a result of other factors -- but they were forced to concede that the home plays a big role. Mold can be responsible for a number of physical ailments as well, and it's thought that this plays a role in depression -- if people feel chronically ill, they will be depressed about their health.

This doesn't bode well for people who live in damp climates -- could possibly explain why England is thought of as such a depressing, dreary place?

(Via Cranky Fitness)

Whatever happened to Jazzercise?

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During my upbringing in the 80s, I sometimes heard my mother talk of the latest fitness crazes like Aquasize and Jazzercise. Aquasize is still around in many gyms (mind included) but what ever happened to Jazzercise? Apparently, it's still around and it's making a comeback, according to Fitsugar. Watch for it at a gym near you.

Wondering what Jazzercise is? It's an aerobics class that combines jazz dance moves with cardio workouts and resistance training. It's set to the latest heart thumping tunes and it burns tons of calories. The program is based on the belief that if you enjoy your exercise, weight-loss will come naturally, and I have to say, I agree. I haven't seen one in my area yet, but I will keep my hopes up.

The best places to meet healthy singles

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Congratulations on living healthfully, Bay Area residents -- According to Fitsugar, a recent study by Match.com found that the city with the most healthy singles is San Francisco on all counts. The city was ranked the number one place to meet someone who frequents the gym, is committed to a healthy diet, is a non-smoker and follows a vegetarian lifestyle. Honorable mentions go to Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Seattle and Washington, DC. Atlanta, Philadelphia, Dallas and Chicago also made the top 10s, though they were further down the list.

So what does this say for the singles living in other areas of the country? Is it hard to find singles that aren't beer-swilling, smoking, couch potatoes? What's the singles scene like where you live?

AIDS drugs can help in the fight against cancer

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In the race to try and combat one of the most deadliest diseases on earth, AIDS, researchers may have found a way to fight another of the most widespread killers -- cancer. Researchers at the US Cancer Institute are looking into how protease inhibitors, which are usually used in the fight against HIV, stack up against some forms of cancer, including lung cancer. Such drugs slow the spread of the HIV virus, and it's thought that they might do the same for cancers.

Of the drugs, the most effective was nelfinavir, alongside other protease inhibitors, ritonavir and saquinavir.

The Daily Turn On! What your home says about you

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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 ... Your home is a reflection of you. Look around. You created that space. While it may or may not seem like it, you created your space deliberately? Why? Because our emotions drive our actions. How we feel about ourselves is directly reflected in the space in which we surround ourselves.

So, with that in mind, does your space support you by energizing you? Does your space offer you refuge from the stressors in your life? Do you feel secure and safe emotionally and physically in your space? If you cannot answer yes to all of these questions, your home is toxic. A toxic homes works against you, not for you. A toxic home will suck your energy and deplete your spirit.

As we move into the fall season, there is a tendency to spend more time indoors. The children are back in school and depending on where you live, the weather is cooling down. This is the time to clear the clutter from your home and create a space that is healthy for you and everyone else who lives in your home. Employing the assistance of a professional organizer will prove to be incredibly beneficial. A professional organizer will work with you to ascertain how you need to function in your home, how your home needs to be arranged to support you and how to maintain the changes the two of you implement in order to keep your home a healthy place for you to be.

You will be amazed by the change that takes place within you, when your home is a refuge, a source of energy and emotional security. Find a professional organizer near you at www.napo.net.

Are you partying too much?

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If you're reading this with a hangover right now, it might just mean that you went a little overboard last night. But if you find you're spending most of your Sundays, and Saturdays for that matter, popping pain killers and avoiding the harsh daylight, you might be partying too much. If you suspect you are,

Can alternative medicine save your life?

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I have respect for alternative medicine, but many people close to me have dismissed it as 'hogwash' and 'snake oil'. But a faith in alternative medicine has been known to save lives, at least according to the survivors who believe in it. Take this article, for example. It documents the lives of four women who credit alternative medicine with saving their lives. One had ovarian cancer, one needed metal rod to support her spine, one suffered from chronic pain and one kept her cystic fibrosis at bay.

What do you think about alternative medicine? Can it save your life? I think the key here is your attitude -- if you're convinced alternative medicine won't do anything for you, it won't. But faith is a powerful thing and if you believe in the path you've chosen, I think the body is capable of so-called miracles.