Archive for the 'Healthy Living' Category
Dr. Amy Myers, Founder and Medical Director of Austin UltraHealth, gives us nine tips for a healthier holiday season! Enjoy.
1. Avoid gluten.
- You can use arrowroot scratch or sweet rice flour to thicken your gravy instead of wheat flour. You can also make your own gluten-free stuffing or dinner rolls with almond meal or coconut flour.
2. Ditch the dairy.
- Use full-fat coconut milk instead of cow’s milk for your cream gravies or green bean casserole. You can also baste your turkey in coconut oil instead of butter.
3. Avoid alcohol.
- Ditch the wine and beers. Filtered Aquasana water with a splash of lime juice makes for a perfect holiday drink without the pain of a hangover.
4. Support local farmers.
- Plan ahead this holiday season and purchase your produce and meat from local farmer’s markets to practice farm-to-table habits and sustain local businesses.
5. Make your own holiday party classics.
- If you’re hosting parties this year, consider making your own gluten-free and dairy-free treats, like gluten-free cookies or offer an array of exotic nuts and dried fruits.
6. Share your eating habits with friends.
- If you aren’t hosting the party, then prepare a dish or two that you know will be safe for you to eat. This is a great opportunity to share your health journey with your friends!
7. Eat with purpose.
- Don’t eat yourself into a coma this year! Arrive to holiday parties with a plan. Eat your veggies first, then meat, then starches, and finally if you have room, a bit of dessert.
8. Go Green.
- If you’re roasting a turkey, save the bones and make your own turkey broth. If you have leftover vegetable pieces to discard, save them for a vegetable broth instead. You can freeze your broth and use it as a base for future soups.
- Focus your attention on relationships and connections with loved ones rather than food.
For more tips on functional medicine, visit http://www.dramymyers.com.
If you notice that you are going through three liters of water at work alone, you may think that you are drinking too much water, but you are nowhere near a level that is dangerous to your health. It’s great that you are drinking a generous amount of water throughout the work day. Staying hydrated at work is one of the best things you can do for your health.
There is no recommended daily allowance (RDA) for water, but there is an adequate intake level (AI). For example, the AI for women is approximately 2.2 liters, which is more than the eight 8-ounce glasses that many health experts recommend. Whether you decide to drink the 2.2 liters or eight glasses, you will be making an excellent decision regarding your health.
The amount of water you need to drink every day is very individualized due to how much physical activity you do on a daily basis, or how hot it is where you live, but there are five easy tips to follow in order to make sure you’re getting the right amount of water for you.
1. Avoid being thirsty!
You feel thirsty for a reason. It’s your body’s way of telling you that you need more water to function properly and avoid being dehydrated. Don’t ignore it. Research from as early as the 1960’s tells us that people underestimate the amount of fluid they need to re-hydrate, so it’s always safe to drink a little more than you think you need.
2. Don’t drink it all at once!
The old trick that says if you drink a glass of water before you eat so you get full faster… doesn’t work. You should also not drink so much water that you feel full. That much water at once is overkill, and the full feeling is telling you so. If you drink too much water in a short period of time, that’s when water toxicity occurs. Spreading out your water over the course of the day is the only good way to keep yourself constantly hydrated.
3. Aim to wake up feeling hydrated!
Waking up thirsty is a good sign that you aren’t getting enough water during the day, and that you should consume more fluids. Also, pay attention when you step on the scale in the morning. Your weight can fluctuate due to the fact that you aren’t getting enough fluids during the day.
4. Bottle your own!
You are much more likely to drink water if you carry it with you. If you don’t have to go to the vending machine to buy a bottle or wait to get one on your lunch break, you’re more likely to keep yourself hydrated. Also, if you want to avoid all of the waste that comes with drinking bottled water, grab your own reusable bottle and fill it at home.
5. Filter it!
What is one of the best ways to get yourself to drink enough water? Make sure to drink water that is refreshing and tastes good. Installing a drinking water filter in your home is a great way to make sure your water is healthy and delicious! Aquasana drinking water systems are a great way to take out more than 60 contaminants and leave in the good stuff such as magnesium and calcium. Find them at aquasana.com.
Juicing is a health choice that has become increasingly popular over the last few years. It is a great option for those interested in heading towards an energetic life and truly optimal health. Almost every health specialist recommends getting a minimum of 6-8 servings of vegetables per day, and honestly, that is hard to reach. So what can you do to ensure that you are taking in as many vegetables as you should? Juice!
Juicing helps you absorb more of the nutrients from vegetables. Many people have impaired digestive systems due to the fact that they have not made optimal food choices over the years. This limits your body’s ability to take in all the necessary nutrients from vegetables. What juicing does is break down the vegetables for you in order for you to receive the majority of the nutrients rather than having them pass right through you.
With juicing, you are able to consume more vegetables in an efficient manner. Most find reaching the 6-8 servings of vegetables recommended every day difficult, but with juicing, this can be accomplished with a few glasses of vegetable juice. It also allows you to add a wider variety of vegetables to your diet!
Here are some tips on adding juicing to your diet:
-Remember that a glass of vegetable juice is not a complete meal. Unless you are going through a detox or a fast, use juicing as an addition to your meal, or as a snack between meals.
-Start by juicing vegetables that you enjoy eating already. Then add other vegetables and start experimenting with new flavors as you go. You should like the taste of your juice!
-Use pesticide-free vegetables! It is always a good choice to choose organic veggies, but some are better than others. Celery, spinach, kale, cucumbers, lettuce, and carrots are a few of the best options.
-If you want your juice to taste delicious without adding too much sugar try adding lemons/limes, ginger, coconut, or cranberries!
-Clean your juicer immediately after you juice! It can be done easily with something as simple as a toothbrush, and it will keep your juicer from growing mold!
-Drink your juice right away or store it very carefully! Make sure your stored juice is in an airtight container with a minimum amount of air so as the juice doesn’t oxidize.
If you want an excellent way to store your juice, Aquasana’s glass bottles are a great airtight solution, can be found on our website, and are already popular with many juicers!
Enjoy a new healthy lifestyle with juicing!
The reason we get that tired feeling in the mid to late afternoon at work is mostly due to the fact that your body is dehydrating. By staying hydrated throughout the morning and afternoon, you will be more awake and focused. Try drinking 96 ounces of water a day, with half of that before 2pm.
Water is the second most important nutrient to the body next to oxygen, which shouldn’t be surprising due to the fact that 70% of our bodies are made up of water. Still, most people aren’t getting the 10-12 glasses of water per day that is recommended by health experts. As a result, an estimated 75% of North Americans suffer from chronic dehydration.
Not sure how to tell if you’re dehydrated? Well, if you are thirsty, it means your cells are already dehydrated. A dry mouth is the last outward sign of dehydration. Thirst does not develop until body fluids are depleted well below levels required for optimal functioning.
Effects of Mild Dehydration:
- Decreased coordination
- Dry skin
- Decreased urine output
- Dry mucous membranes in the mouth and nose
- Blood pressure changes and impairment of judgment
Unintentional Chronic Dehydration (UCD):
- Back pain
- High blood pressure
- Many degenerative health problems
When thirsty, most feel that it’s okay to just grab a sports drink or coffee. It’s not! These kinds of beverages themselves can cause dehydration due to the high content of caffeine and sugar. Coffee, juice, and milk all require water to be digested properly, and caffeine causes one to urinate more often, which are all counter-productive to proper hydration. All in all, there is nothing that can replace water when it comes to providing what the body needs to function properly.
When traveling, our chances of dehydrating are even greater. Although as exciting as it is, traveling is one of the most taxing activities on our bodies due to the stress from altitude, tension, jet lag, and swollen muscles and joints and dehydration. Factors like temperature, sweating, altitude, and exercise can significantly increase the amount of water we lose each day, so it is especially important to hydrate before, during, and after travel.
Clean, filtered water is the best choice for healthy hydration. Aquasana drinking water filters remove the contaminants from tap water and leave the healthy minerals in the water for optimum hydration. So, whether you’re traveling around town or across the country, make hydration a priority. Take your own water bottle with you or a collapsible refillable if traveling so you always have water on hand.
Summer can be tough on hair. The elements we expose our hair to in the summer can cause it to become dry, brittle, damaged, and overall, unhealthy. Here are a few tips to help prevent hair damage and keep our hair looking healthy and beautiful all summer long!
Wash your hair daily with filtered water:
At the end of the day after exposing yourself to all kinds of elements, you know your skin is extremely dirty. On top of being exposed to the same elements, your hair follicles produce sebum, or oil, as your scalp perspires. Washing your hair every day is the single most effective way you make your hair and scalp healthier. The best thing you can do for your hair (and skin!) is to use filtered water. Using an Aquasana shower filter, designed to remove over 90% of the harmful chlorine in tap water, is one of the best choices when it comes to making your hair healthy and beautiful!
Treat your hair to tea:
Try an herbal tea rinse for your hair—it’s a great way to boost your hair’s natural highlights! Use lemon or chamomile for blond hair, black tea for brown or black hair, or red zinger for copper or red hair. To do it, boil a gallon of Aquasana filtered water, add four tea bags, and let them steep for three to five minutes in a large bowl. Then let the water cool to room temperature. Lean over the sink, flipping your hair over your head. Pour the tea over your hair and let it drip into the sink. Then put a shower cap over your hair and let the tea sit for 10 minutes before rinsing, shampooing, and conditioning as usual. It’s so easy to do, but gives you big results!
Heat it up:
Use the sun’s heat to your advantage! While you’re poolside or at the beach, treat your hair to a deep conditioning mask, comb your hair into a bun, and let the product go to work while you lounge. This protects hair from salt or chlorinated water and gives you extra softness and shine.
Eating a healthy diet, full of omega-3 fatty acids (found in foods such as salmon, spinach, and omega-3 rich eggs) can keep your hair strong and looking healthy and shiny. The nutrients in these foods help nourish your hair and keep it healthier for longer. Supplements such as flax seed oil can also be added to your diet to boost your intake of essential fatty acids (EFA’s).
Don’t soak up the bad stuff:
Limit the amount of saturation from pool or ocean water by brushing a few drops of natural neem hair oil through your dry locks with a boar-bristle brush, then dousing your hair with fresh water. Hair can absorb only so much liquid, so if you enter chlorinated or salt water with wet hair, you’ll prevent some of the water from penetrating if your hair is already wet. The oil acts as an additional barrier due to the fact that oil and water don’t mix.
Not too cold, not too hot:
Wash your hair with lukewarm water. Some people put ice in the water in which they wash their hair to make it cold, when in reality, the water temperature should neither be too hot nor too cold; it should be balanced. Water that is either very hot or very cold can dry out and damage hair.
Keeping your hair protected during the summer is one of the most important things you can do in order to keep your hair looking great all year long!
For those of us looking to reduce the amount of harsh chemicals we keep in our homes, finding an effective natural solution for whitening our white clothes and linens can be difficult. Concentrated chlorine bleach is toxic and can be harmful to our health; it can also destroy clothing over time. Here is an excellent way to gently and naturally whiten and brighten your white clothes without using chlorine bleach or other harsh chemicals.
What you’ll need: lemon slices, water (chemical-free, filtered water for best results) and a clothing line or spot to hang your clothes to dry in direct sunlight.
1. Start by filling a large pot with filtered water. Bring water to a boil.
2. Add lemon slices. I usually use one normal sized lemon all sliced up.
3. Turn off the heat and add your white clothes to the pot. Let soak for at least two hours.
4. After soaking, gently ring out clothes and hang out to dry in direct sunlight. Note: If you do not have a place to hang clothes in the sun, you can always use your regular dryer on a low heat setting.
Why this works:
Lemon juice has been used as a whitening agent for years. The citric acid in lemons gently and effectively fights stains and unlike chlorine bleach, is even safe to use on colors. Sunlight is also a powerful and completely natural bleaching alternative. Drying your clothes outside on a clothing line with not only brighten and refresh your clothes, but it will help cut down your energy bill and save you some money. As always, we recommend using Aquasana filtered water to clean and wash your clothes. Unlike tap water that is ridden with chemicals including high amounts of chlorine, Aquasana filtered water is virtually chlorine and chemical-free. Clothes washed in filtered water last longer and stay brighter than those washed in unfiltered, chlorinated water.
Click here to check out our home filtration solutions so you can start filtering your water.
In many communities across the country, the disposable plastic shopping bag has been banned. You don’t need to wait for a mandate to make this super simple change that goes a long way to reduce plastic waste. Gather up all those paper and re-usable bags lying around the house. Place a stash in in the trunk of your car so you can “BYOB” wherever you go, significantly reducing your contribution to plastic waste.
Prefer a shopping bag that reflects your personal style? Just follow the easy instructions below for making your own re-usable shopping bags or lunch bags.
How to Make a Reusable Shopping Bag
Materials you will need:
• 2/3 yard of fabric
• Sewing Machine
• 40” of nylon strapping for handles
Cut out the following 5 pieces:
2 pieces: 12 inches by 15 inches (front and back)
2 pieces: 6 inches by 15 inches (sides)
1 piece: 6 inches by 12 inches (bottom)
If you want to make a bag of different size, adjust the measurements above accordingly.
Step 1: Place the front and bottom pieces together, right sides facing in and sew together
Step 2: Take the back piece and place it together with the other side of the bottom piece, right sides facing in, and sew together. You should now have a long rectangle of fabric: front-bottom-back.
Step 3: Place a side piece against the front of the bag, right sides facing in, and sew together.
Step 4: Bring the back piece to the open side of the side piece, right sides facing in, and sew together
Step 5: Sew the bottom of the bag to the bottom of the side piece.
Step 6: Repeat steps 3-5 to attach the other side to the bag.
Step 7: Fold a section of the top of the bag in towards the inside of the bag. About ½ inch. Pin fabric and sew around the top.
Step 8: Cut the 40 inch strip of nylon material in half. Attach one end of the strap to the front of the bag and the opposite end to the back of the bag. Make sure strap is secured in the same location on each side of the bag. Attach the other strap in same manner, leaving at least 6-8” between the straps.
We all have items we have stored away in the shed, garage or simply discarded in the yard somewhere. Now that Spring is upon us, now is the perfect time to find a new use for these items. Do some Spring cleaning and set aside items that can be used for planting instead of being hauled off to the landfill.
The following items make fabulous new homes for plants and flowers and can add an element of interest to your yard or front entry:
1. Plumbing fixtures
Sinks and bathtubs make great planters. Drainage is already accommodated for and the addition of some gravel in the bottom of the piece is all that is required to prepare the fixture for planting.
Old chairs, benches, vanities and dressers can be transformed to interesting yard art. Cut holes in the tops of chairs or vanities to hold recycled plastic pots. Make sure there is drainage beneath the planters. Coating the exposed surface with an eco-friendly sealant is recommended.
3. Plastic containers
Even though many plastic containers are recyclable, it can be fun to find new uses for things instead of just discarding them. Any plastic container including milk jugs, water bottles and storage containers can be used for plants and seed-starting. Clean the plastic container with soap and water and add drainage holes. The rest is up to your imagination. Try starting some seeds. It’s a super cost effective way to start herbs and veggies all year long.
4. Old dishes
Be it a favorite dish that has broken or a super interesting find at a flea market. Old dishes make beautiful containers for flowers and herbs. If drainage holes are not possible, line the bottom of the dish with gravel for drainage.
According to the EPA, more than 290 million scrap tires are generated each year. Fortunately, used tires make long-lasting, inexpensive raised beds.
Imagine all the garden design possibilities by using recycled and re-discovered items in your own home and yard. Enjoy!
There’s a threat in the water, and it appears only as a single word on your water bill: chloramines. It’s the combination of ammonia and chlorine that’s added to the water to disinfect it before use. However, when added together, ammonia and chlorine create toxic, cancer-causing disinfection byproducts.
For many years, chlorine has been the primary chemical used to eradicate the risks of waterborne diseases. In the last few years many municipal water treatment plants have switched to chloramines due to their ability to disinfect water for longer periods of time. When these disinfectants interact with the organic materials in water, disinfection byproducts are created. Many of these byproducts are thought to cause gastric or liver cancer, or pose other health risks such as increased asthma symptoms, danger to mucous membranes, digestive problems and skin irritation. Kidney dialysis patients cannot use water that contains chloramines in their dialysis machines because it will cause hemolytic anemia.
While chloramine poses a risk to everyone, there is an increased risk to populations with weakened immune systems, including children younger than 6 months, the elderly, those on or who have had chemotherapy, people with HIV or AIDS and organ transplant patients.
The use of chloramines is growing. The EPA estimates more than 20 percent—or 1 in 5—of Americans use water treated with chloramines. More states are adding chloramine to water supplies because it is a more stable and longer-lasting alternative to free chlorine. Free chlorine is chlorine before it combines with other chemicals, but it can evaporate quickly, while the stability of chloramine means it lasts longer in the water supply and the harmful byproducts reach the consumer in higher levels.
Washington D.C. witnessed another side effect in 2004 when chloramines were introduced. Officials say lead contamination resulted from chloramine-related pipe corrosion. The city discovered lead levels at least 83 times higher than the accepted safe limit while performing research into premature pipe corrosion. They found that the decision to change from using chlorine to chloramine as a treatment resulted in a spike in lead levels. A report released in 2010 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the water supplied to almost 15,000 homes might still contain dangerous levels of lead despite the partial replacement of lead pipes at the homes from 2004 to 2008.
As consumers, we need to be aware of the dangers posed by these byproducts in our water. In a recent study conducted by water filtration company Aquasana, it became apparent that our country doesn’t know the risk associated with unfiltered water. More than 70 percent of respondents were unaware of the health risks connected to drinking and bathing in unfiltered tap water, and 91 percent did not know that one of the President’s Cancer Panel’s top three recommendations to reduce environmentally-based cancer is to filter tap water.
The EPA does not force any state or town to use chloramine as a disinfectant. Additionally, they recommend many alternatives to the toxic mixture, including removing organic contaminants through coagulation or sedimentation. However, the use of more and more chemicals in water treatment underscores the need to regulate what goes into our water supply in the first place. By limiting toxic materials and enforcing regulations, the need for such harsh chemical disinfectants diminishes.
Along with Washington D.C., Tennessee has completely banned chloramines from water. This is the best possible outcome for consumers, but in the meantime, filtering your water has never been more important. When shopping for water filters, make sure that the company has a National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certification to remove chloramines.
It’s that time of year again when gift giving abounds. Gift exchanges and gestures of appreciation can really start to add up when you consider purchasing gifts for party hosts and hostesses, neighbors, teachers, coaches andbabysitters. To make things a little easier we’ve come up with some super easy, gift ideas for everyone on your list using our Aquasana refillable glass water bottles. Create the perfect gift by filling our glass water bottles with thoughtful treats for a present they will enjoy this holiday season and a reusable bottle they will love year round!
Going to a few holiday parties or get-togethers this year? It’s always appropriate to take a gift for the host or hostess. Fill an Aquasana glass water bottle with one of the following for a gift that is sure to be unique and appreciated.
- Premium loose leaf tea in a relaxing or fragrant blend. Tie a tea infuser around the Aquasana lid with a festive bow and a hand-made tag that identifies the name and flavor of the tea.
- Gourmet coffee beans for the coffee-lover. Choose a tasty holiday or dessert blend, add a bow and a gift tag.
Gifts for the Teacher
It’s always nice to show your appreciation to the dedicated teachers that make an impact on our family’s lives. For a fun and festive “thanks for all you do,” fill an Aquasana glass water bottle with one of the following goodies: Jelly Bellies, home-made hot cocoa mix, red and white peppermint candies, mini individually wrapped chocolates. Add a note of appreciation and some ribbon and you’ve got a quick, thoughtful gift that will stand out amongst all the candles and coffee mugs.
Gifts for the Coach
A refillable Aquasana glass water bottle is perfect for the coach! Fill one with a healthy snack such as trail mix or almonds. Add a stopwatch or whistle with a ribbon and a note and you have a season win!
Gifts for the Babysitter
Show your appreciation for all those times they were there when you needed them. Fill an Aquasana glass water bottle with their favorite treat such as Jelly Bellies, chocolates, bubble gum or home-made goodies. Add a gift card or movie passes and you’ve got an awesome way to say “you’re the best.”
Gifts for the Neighbors
Don’t be caught empty-handed when neighbors stop by with holiday cheer and goodies. Fill some Aquasana water bottles with gourmet coffee, mini-chocolates, snack mix or peppermints. Top with a bow and a festive ornament for the best gift on the block.
Gifts for the Dog
Whether it’s your favorite canine friend or your friend fond of canines, an Aquasana glass water bottle filled with treats for Fido is sure to delight! Make your own delicious treats at home or fill with a special store-bought goodie. Add a bright colored collar around the top of the water bottle and you’ve got a guaranteed tail-wagger!
Make sure you have Aquasana refillable glass water bottles on hand this holiday season to make gift -giving a joy. It’s not too late to stock up! From now until December 24th, all of our glass bottles come with gift tags especially made for you to share with friends!