Obesity in Women, Diabetes and Children with Autism

by Institute for Vibrant Living

It is clear that obesity and diabetes are undesirable for good health, but studies now link obesity and autism, particularly obese women with diabetes. If you have not found the impetus to lose weight before, what better reason to address your health and weight issues than when you are planning to start a family?

Research shows a link between diabetes and autism


What is Autism?

The exact cause of Autism Spectrum Disorder is unknown, but studies show that there may be a genetic predisposition, environmental or other factors that increase the likelihood of children developing the symptoms of this complex condition. Symptoms of autism include inappropriate social interaction, repetitive behavior and slow speech development and poor non-verbal communication.

Association between Diabetes and Autism

A recent study published by the journal Pediatrics showed that obese women with diabetes who became pregnant were at four times the risk of giving birth to a child with autism than normal-weight women who did not have diabetes. Obese mothers who developed gestational diabetes during their pregnancy were also found to be at higher risk of having a child with Autism Specific Disorder, suggesting that the risk for autism begins in the uterus.

The study looked at the data collected from 2,734 mothers who gave birth between 1998 and 2014. The data included the pre-pregnancy weight of the mothers and whether there was any evidence of diabetes before or during the pregnancy. From the selected participants, over 100 children were later diagnosed with Autism Specific Disorder.

The findings clearly showed that obese mothers with diabetes were four times more likely to give birth to an autistic child than other mothers. The study also showed an association between obesity and autism and diabetes and autism, according to Xiaobin Wang, the leader of the study at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Related:  Carbohydrate Digestion Strongly Linked to Obesity


Obesity and Autism

Other studies have found that mothers with diabetes, hypertension and or diabetes are more likely than healthy women to have children with Autism Specific Disorders or developmental delays

More information about the environmental causes of autism can be found on the CHARGE website (Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment) which provides information and evaluation assessments for children with autism. The CHARGE study, led by UC Davis epidemiologist Paula Krakowiak, studied 1,004 Californian children aged under 5, of which 517 had Autism Spectrum Disorder, 172 had development issues and 315 showed normal development.

The study found that obese mothers were 1.67 times more likely to have a child with autism and twice as likely to have a child with slow development. Mothers with diabetes were 2.33 times more likely to produce a child with developmental issues, suggesting a significant association between diabetes and autism or slower development.

If you are planning to start a family, the first step should be to establish a healthy diet and normal weight to minimize the risk of your child developing this disorder.




Is Fluoride Dangerous?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Fluoride dangers have been overlooked or ignored for too long, but scientific studies are now raising concerns about the safety, wisdom and need for water fluoridation today.

Be aware of fluoride dangers


You will probably be surprised to learn that:

  • Water fluoridation does not have FDA approval
  • No one knows how much fluoride is “too much” 
  • Fluoride is considered an unapproved drug by the FDA

These facts are not just vague rumors; they are quoted by many medical authorities and research scientists who are concerned about the dangers of fluoride.

Most of the research into fluoride was done over 50 years ago, at a time when even tobacco smoking was considered safe.  At this time, dentists were led to believe that fluoride had to be ingested to provide effective protection against dental cavities. This has now been renounced by the Centers for Disease Control, which states that fluoride is most effective when applied as a coating to the outside of the teeth.

Related:  Your Home Health Checklist

Although 97% of European countries no longer participate in the fluoridation of the drinking water supply, the U.S. continues this archaic practice, ignoring the studies published by JDB Featherstone in the Journal of the American Dental Association that warn of potential fluoride dangers.

These health dangers include:

Brain damage

Animal studies found that fluoride may damage the brain causing dementia-like symptoms, according to the National Research Council (NRC). Human studies also found evidence of lower IQ levels in children with nutritional deficiencies who drank fluoridated water.

Bone Health

Fluoride dangers may also extend to bones, according to the NRC, as fluoride appears to increase the risk of fracture in weakened bones.

Bone Cancer and Fluoridation

Studies led by a team of Harvard scientists found a correlation between osteosarcoma (a form of bone cancer) and fluoride in males under the age of 20. The connection has been admitted as biologically plausible by the National Toxicology Program, yet still nothing has been done to halt fluoridation.

Thyroid Problems

The NRC believes that fluoride dangers include it being an endocrine disruptor, reducing the function of the thyroid on those with low iodine levels. Even at the low daily doses (0.01-0.03 mg/kg) provided through drinking fluoridated water, weight gain, depression and poor mental acuity may be experienced if the thyroid function is impaired.

Kidney Disease and Fluoridation

Sufferers of kidney disease are more susceptible to the dangers of fluoridation as they are unable to excrete excess fluoride, causing renal osteodystrophy.

Until the FDA takes decisive action against the dangers of fluoridation, which was grandfathered in before the FDA required stringent drug testing, it is advisable to avoid toothpaste and mouthwashes that increase fluoride dangers and opt for a topical fluoride treatment to protect your teeth from cavities and decay.



Facial Care Tips: Dos and Don’ts for Naturally Beautiful Skin

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Your skin reflects your lifestyle and health so natural beauty tips for face care are important. Too much sun, too little water, too much alcohol and too little sleep all take their toll on your skin.  However, plying your pores with more chemicals and oily lotions can simply make the problem worse. Here are our top beauty tips for face care naturally.

Top beauty tips for face care include using edible products


Cleanse and Exfoliate

If you wear makeup, always cleanse your face at night. It allows your pores to breathe and prevents clogged pores from turning into blackheads or zits. You don’t need expensive cleansers and tonics; just pour a drop of olive oil onto a cotton pad and gently massage into the skin to loosen and remove makeup, dirt and pollution.

You should exfoliate your skin once a week to remove the dead skin cells that accumulate. Mix powdered walnut with yogurt and apply to the face in gentle circular motions. The paste will loosen and lift layers of dead skin and the antioxidants will help promote a glowing complexion that feels smooth and soft.

Related:  Royal Jelly for Skin: Your Skin's Best Friend


Watch What You Eat

You are what you eat when it comes to skincare, so healthy food means a healthier complexion. One of the best beauty tips for face care is eating fresh green vegetables rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Salmon oil supplements are excellent for moisturizing the skin from the inside out. Things to avoid are sugary and fatty foods, salt and spicy foods.

Sun Protection Always!

Even on dull days the sun’s harmful UV rays are evident, so you should always wear a moisturizer with sunscreen to avoid wrinkles, age spots and skin cancer. Choose a quality product that is labelled “noncomedogenic” so that it does not block pores and cause acne. Don’t forget the chemical-free alternatives to sunscreen:  a wide-brimmed hat, long sleeved shirts, an umbrella—or sunbrella, and an all-natural moisturizer.

Hydrate Naturally

Your skin quickly shows if you are dehydrated, so drink plenty of water throughout the day. Hydrate your skin with a spritz of rose water to maintain pH balance and reduce puffy eyes in the morning.  Drink a shot or two a day of organic aloe vera juice to help hydrate your skin from the inside out.

Beauty Sleep is the Best

At the end of the day, you can’t beat a restful night’s sleep, one of nature’s basic beauty tips for face care. Pale, tired skin, dark circles and baggy eyes never look attractive so ensure that you wind down each evening with a calming routine that will ensure eight hours’ undisturbed sleep every night.

By following these top beauty tips for face, eyes and skin you really can look as healthy and energetic as you feel!




Eating More Fruits and Vegetables is Linked to Emotional Wellbeing

by Institute for Vibrant Living

It appears that if you want to feel calm, happy and healthy tomorrow, you should be eating more fruits and vegetables today, according to a new study. Many researchers have suspected that our diet has a strong influence on our health, both physically and mentally, but this is the clearest evidence that emotional wellbeing is also linked to a healthy diet.

Boost your emotional health by eating more fruits and vegetables

Study Links Emotional Wellbeing with a Healthy Diet:

Psychology researchers Tamlin Conner and Bonnie White from the University of Otago, New Zealand investigated the relationship between what we eat and how it affects our emotional wellbeing.   They recruited 281 young adults who suffered from eating disorders and asked them to keep a detailed food diary for the period of the study. The study participants recorded what they ate each day, specifically focusing on servings of fruit, vegetables and unhealthy snacks such as cookies, potato chips and cakes. They also recorded how they felt each day, using nine specific positive or negative adjectives to standardize their responses.

The results showed a clear relationship between what the participants ate and how they felt emotionally. In particular, the participants felt calmer and happier after eating more fruits and vegetables and they had more energy. The relationship between diet and emotional wellbeing was so close that the study could accurately predict how people would feel the following day, based on what they had eaten the previous day. A higher intake of healthy fruit and vegetables led to a positive mood, but this did not relate to other food groups.

Related:  Excess Weight Linked to Brain Changes in Memory, Emotions and Appetite

A larger study of almost 14,000 people aged 16 and older was assessed by researchers at the University of Warwick and the results were published in the British Medical Journal Open. This study also found that eating more fruits and vegetables was closely associated with higher scores on mental wellbeing assessments. In fact, the top 33% of those participants who had high mental and emotional wellbeing ate five or more servings of fruit and vegetables every day. This compared to 28% of those who had low mental wellbeing and ate just one or two servings.

The findings emphasize the fact that eating more fruit and vegetables is essential for both mental and physical wellbeing in people of all ages. Why not give your mental health a boost by committing to eating at least five servings of fruit and vegetables every single day and see how good you feel?  Keep a food diary to help you track your progress.



Nine Ways to Promote Brain Health and Avoid Brain Cancer

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Many cancers including brain cancer and brain tumors are preventable, according to Thomas A. Sellars, Associate Director at Tampa’s Moffitt Cancer Center. He states that 70% of known cancer causes can be avoided simply by giving up smoking, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet. If you’re concerned about brain cancer prevention, here are nine ways to help reduce brain tumor risk factors.

Keep your brain fit and healthy with these tips for brain cancer prevention


1.  Avoid environmental agents

Chemicals and environmental agents such as vinyl chloride are known risk factors for brain tumors, according to the American Cancer Association. Avoid storing and heating food in plastics and cling film which may release DEHA, a cancer-causing chemical, according to Cancer Research UK. Glass and ceramics are safer food storage options.

2.  Limit X-rays

Radiation exposure to the head is a leading cause of cancer in children, so limit those dental x-rays whenever possible. Radiation treatment for other cancers can also cause brain tumors, so all-round cancer prevention is essential.

3.  Boost antioxidants

Fruit and green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach are all high in vitamins and antioxidants. These counter harmful free radicals that are known to cause changes in cell structure. A healthy diet high in fruit and veggies has been associated with a lower risk of certain cancers and may help prevent brain tumors.

Related:  Effects of Overeating on Brain Health

4.  Annual health checks

Annual checkups allow doctors to spot abnormalities at the earliest stage - an important tool for lowering brain tumor risk factors.

5.  Reduce alcohol intake

Although excessive alcohol is not directly related to brain cancer, it can cause liver disease which can spread to the brain.

6.  Use hands-free cell phones

Although to date there is no proven relationship between cell phone use and brain cancer, it is better to be safe than sorry. Using a hands-free system distances the radio waves from your head and may possibly prevent brain tumors.

7.  Filter your water

A study by the Environmental Working Group showed that filtered mains water is far safer and purer than bottled water. By drinking filtered water from the faucet you avoid BPA contaminants from plastic bottles. Filtering water reduces your exposure to suspected carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals. It a sensible means of brain cancer prevention.

8.  More caffeine

Although caffeine is frequently slated as being unhealthy, studies show that those who drink five or more cups of coffee a day have a 40% lower risk of brain cancer than those who drink less coffee.  However, if caffeine prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep, it may be more logical to avoid caffeine.  Also many women avoid caffeine due to a tendency toward fibro-cysts in the breast.  Use your best judgment when it comes to caffeine intake. 

9.  Increase selenium

Selenium is a powerful antioxidant found in Brazil nuts.  Studies at Dartmouth Medical School show that selenium protects cells from free radical damage and suppresses the formation of blood vessels that feed tumors, including brain tumors.

You have nothing to lose by adopting these simple practices which can considerably lower brain tumor risk factors and hopefully prevent brain cancer.



Three Deliciously Awesome Crock Pot Dinner Recipes

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Busy working parents no longer need to feel guilty about not having time to cook a family dinner every night. These crock pot dinner recipes are designed to allow you to add fresh vegetables to a tin of tomatoes, stock and minced beef or chicken (or protein substitute) and leave to cook to tenderness. You’ll arrive home to a hot and healthy meal that is packed with goodness. Here are three of the best crock pot dinner recipes to get you started.

Crock pot dinner recipes are a healthy and economical way to cook.


Lumberjack Soup (meatless)

Add chopped rutabaga, chopped carrots, celery, chickpeas and mushrooms to 9 cups of water. Flavor with 2 teaspoons garlic powder, ½ cup Dijon mustard, ½ tablespoon olive oil, one low-sodium bouillon cube, salt and pepper to taste. Cook for at least six hours until rutabaga is soft. Stir in 3 cups of fresh chopped spinach and allow wilting before serving the soup. Makes 10 delicious cups!

Pot Roast Crock Pot Dinner Recipe

Packed with 28 grams of protein, this pot roast recipe has an interesting twist with potassium from coconut milk and digestive enzymes from pineapple.

Season 2 pounds cubed beef chuck roast with powdered garlic, cumin, salt and pepper; brown in a pan with heated canola oil. Place in slow cooker with 2 chopped carrots, 2 chopped jalapenos, 2 chopped peppers, one diced onion, 1-2 sweet potatoes in chunks, 1 can pineapple chunks (drained), 1 can tomatoes, 2 cans corn and one can coconut milk. Stir and cook on low for 8 hours. Delicious!

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Moroccan Stew

This deliciously different crock pot dinner recipe includes healthy ingredients such as chickpeas (high in protein and fiber), tomatoes (lycopene), onion (flavonoids), kale (fiber and antioxidant flavonoids), carrots (beta-carotene) and garlic (selenium).

Add 8 browned chicken thighs to the slow cooker along with one tablespoon olive oil, one onion, 4 sliced carrots, one diced red pepper, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons each of cumin and coriander, one cup dried chickpeas, 1x28 ounce can chopped tomatoes, 2 cinnamon sticks and 2½ cups chicken broth. Cook for 6 hours on warm setting; then add one bunch chopped kale, chopped parsley, salt and pepper and cook for 20 minutes more. Remove cinnamon sticks and serve stew over cooked rice.

For a vegetarian option, omit the chicken and use vegetable stock.

You’ll find plenty more crock pot dinner recipes on the Internet, so there’s no excuse for not serving up a nourishing, low-fat, healthy meal even on the busiest days of the week. Why not make double quantities and freeze an extra dinner for another day?  Add a small green salad, some fresh bread for dipping, and sit back and enjoy!



Why Are You Addicted to Sugar?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

If you feel as though you are addicted to sugar, you are definitely not alone. In recent years, the idea that sugar may be addictive has been gaining attention. Numerous scientific studies have pointed to the fact that sugar is extremely detrimental to human health and may, in fact, be addictive. Let’s take a closer look at why sugar can be addictive and what you can do to combat this addiction.

Diseases caused by poor diet can be prevented by limiting consumption of unhealthy fats, sodium, and in especially sugar.

Your brain needs glucose in order for you to stay alert and function properly; that is where sugar addiction comes into play. Glucose is brain fuel. From birth, the human brain loves and craves sweet tasting food options. Infants, for example, will gravitate towards sweeter food offerings, which underscore the difficulty of kicking a sugar addiction. Humans are literally wired to crave sugar. Unfortunately, this is only part one of the bad news.

Sugar is Constantly Hiding from You

The second part of the bad news where sugar addiction is concerned is that sugar is now literally hiding almost everywhere. Fast food and processed food is packed with sugar. Even foods that most people would never suspect have sugar, such as bread or salsa, for example, can be packed with added sugar. Food manufacturers understand very well the human brain’s desire for sugar and lots of it. They respond accordingly with their products.

Related:  Foods That Lower Blood Sugar:  Peanut Butter

Sugar’s Secret Names

Adding to the complexity of trying to avoid sugar is the fact that sugar is often labeled as many different ingredients. Sugar now goes by many different names ranging from high-fructose corn syrup to corn solids and more. Once the public became aware that high-fructose corn syrup was very unhealthy, the food industry simply changed the name to corn solids.

Sugar is everywhere and it has zero nutritional value. This fact is more serious than it might at first sound. When your body needs nutrition in the form of healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins and minerals, you get hungry. That means that consuming sugar can lead to overeating as your body craves the nutrition it needs.

If your diet consists of sugar-packed fast food and processed foods, then you may find yourself on a vicious cycle where you are consuming more and more sugar and more and more calories. In turn, this situation leads to obesity and all the harmful and diverse health consequences that stem from obesity.

Beating Sugar addiction

Beating sugar addiction begins with finding the sugar in your diet. Step one is to read the labels of the food in your home and the food you are considering buying. Knowing where the sugar is hiding is critical if you are going to win this battle against sugar addiction.

Step two is to find replacement foods that are either lower in sugar or have no sugar at all.  Step three is to eat more whole foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean protein choices and omega-3 rich foods.

Step four in winning the battle against sugar addiction is to say no to sugar substitutes such these substitutes may have serious side effects.  Step five is to realize that change will take time and that your efforts are an investment in your long-term health.

Sugar addiction can be beaten. If you are persistent and dedicated to making the necessary dietary changes you can win.


Top 3 Exercises for Balance Problems

by theintituteforvibrantliving admin

Regain Your Balance

Poor balance is associated with decreased physical function and an increased risk of falling. Falls are one of the most common causes of injury, loss of independence, and premature death. Approximately 30 percent of people age 65 and older fall every year. Learn the top three exercises that help you keep your balance as you age. Easy to follow guide free download link below.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Top 3 Exercised to Regain Your Balance and Confidence.

Top 3 Exercises for Balance Problems


What Should You Know About Diet and Yeast Infections

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Too much sugar in one’s diet can contribute to the development of a yeast infection. Yeast infections are the result of candida, a fungus. Usually, the growth of this fungus is naturally limited by the body’s own immune system, but under some conditions candida can grow and yeast infection can occur.

Yeast infections have been linked to a poor diet and can be prevented by limiting excessive consumption of sugar.

Yeast infection causes can be diverse. Wearing damp underwear or wet swimwear can attribute to the conditions necessary for yeast infections to take place. Other risk factors include pregnancy, elevated levels of stress, as well as the use of oral contraceptives and even antibiotics. However, there are also dietary factors that can contribute to yeast infections.

When it comes to diet and yeast infections, too much sugar in a diet can cause this unpleasant issue. In many ways, this is no great surprise, as sugar damages DNA and compromises the immune system. Sugar has no nutritional value. Yet, it is widely found in processed foods and fast food. It is possible to believe that you are limiting your sugar consumption only to have sugar sneak in through a variety of different foods.

Candida feeds on sugar and sugar comes in many different forms. For example, fruits are nutritional superstars and packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and disease fighting compounds. However, too much fruit can play a role in yeast infections. While this may seem counterintuitive, it is important to remember that when it comes to candida, too much sugar in any form can be a problem.

There are many concrete steps you can take to fight off yeast infections. The most obvious step is of course to dramatically reduce your consumption of sugar. Many people add sugar, often large amounts, to tea and coffee or consume sugar-packed soft drinks, energy drinks or sports drinks. Eliminating this sugar is one of the easiest steps you should take. Consider replacing the sugar in your diet with increased amounts of lean protein, nuts, seeds and vegetables. Beans are another good choice as they are nutrient dense and are also rich in fiber.

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Finally, consider taking probiotics to help in your fight against yeast infections. Acidophilus appears to be one of the more effective probiotics for treating yeast infections. While yogurt and kefir are also excellent sources of probiotics, they can also contain a good amount of sugar, so opt for probiotics in pill form.

By now you know that too much sugar in diet causes yeast infections, but you also now have the knowledge you need to address the situation.  Changing your diet is a big step toward getting your yeast infection under control. By reducing your sugar intake and opting for a healthier diet, you may find that you have more energy, look better and even enjoy a stronger immune system. Ultimately, your yeast infection could be a blessing in disguise if you make the right dietary adjustments.


The Word on Sugar

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Those looking to achieve optimal health will want to limit daily sugar intake to less than 5% of their total calories, announced the World Health Organization. Recent medical studies have confirmed that sugar is not a friend to the human body. In fact, medical science now knows that sugar actually damages DNA.  Artificial sweeteners are even worse, as they have been linked to many potential diseases. Sugar is empty calories, and your body needs quality calories to build and repair. This is why sugar is especially harmful for children, as it steals away precious calories needed for growth and brain development.

Guard your health and beware of excess daily sugar intake.

In short, you should avoid sugar whenever possible, but doing so is more of a challenge than it might initially seem because sugar is hidden in a wide array of food.  When consumers start carefully looking for processed sugar, they soon realize it’s been well-hidden in processed and fast foods. Luckily, food manufacturers are required to list their ingredients, so we know what foods have sugar in them and what foods do not.

If you want to keep your daily sugar intake below 5%, then you either have to largely eliminate processed foods and fast foods or become an avid reader of labels. Reading labels may be time consuming, but once you identify which foods have sugar and which foods don’t, shopping becomes much quicker.

The big “wild card” in sugar consumption comes in the form of fast food. Unfortunately, fast food ingredients are not listed for consumers to quickly and easily read. The end result is that most people who dine out are also consuming far more sodium and sugar than they realize. If you’ve decided to keep your daily sugar intake below 5%, then you’ll have to do some research on your favorite restaurants so to know what foods are low in sugar and what foods should be avoided.

Related:  What Are The Best Sugar Substitutes?

There are many ways to avoid sugar. One way is to prepare more of your own foods. In this way, you know all the foods being used and the overall sugar levels. Another way to avoid sugar, and this one will also improve your overall health, is to eat more whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are foods that you can usually trust as there is nowhere to add additional sugar, with the notable exception of nuts and seeds that have been dusted with sugar.

Reducing your sugar consumption doesn’t have to be a full time job. After you go through the process of learning which foods are loaded with sugar and which ones are not, your shopping and eating practices will become second nature. The bottom line is that the effort you put into lowering your daily sugar intake is well worth it. The empty calories of sugar lead to weight gain and diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

If you want to look great and feel great, then one of the first steps to take is to drop the sugar. Your body will thank you!


Life Hacks for Mondays: How to Get Ready Faster

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Considering the amount of time that most of us spend getting ready to go to work, school or out to have fun, it only makes sense to give some thought as to how to get ready faster. When Monday morning comes around, you probably want to stay in bed as long as possible. Let’s take a look how you can actually make that happen.

Smart ways to cut your prep time and get ready faster.

#1:  Organize Your Clothes in Advance

One of the single best hacks for getting ready quicker is to organize your clothes in advance. The time many people spend sorting through clothing, often the same clothing, over and over again is nothing short of amazing. If you want to save some serious time, then organize your clothing for the entire week in advance. Not only does this tip save you some time, but it will also decrease how often you will be late. This can do wonders to reduce your stress levels.

#2:  Use a Schedule

Knowing how to get ready faster is all about organization. That’s why it is tough to beat a good organizer. There are plenty of apps and programs on the market, and many of them even have reminders!  Of course, a good old-fashioned paper organizer can often get the job done as well, if not better than a gadget. The real trick here is to commit to writing everything down. Needless to say, organizers will also help reduce your stress levels!

Related:  Does Stress Impair Memory?

#3:  Keep a Time Journal

What better way is there to learn how to manage your time than to keep a time journal?  There are many ways you can approach keeping a time journal, but one of the best ways is to write down what you do every hour of the day for a week and then review it for potential wasted time. Once you discover time you’re not making intelligent use of, identify ways to use it more wisely.  In the end, you will have more time to use, and that equals more time to get ready.

#4:  Keep Your Bathroom Very Well Organized

So much of the typical person’s prep time revolves around the bathroom, which is why it is essential to keep your bathroom well organized. Not having to search around for toiletries or other items can save you precious time.

#5:  Stay on Top of Your Laundry

This is easier said than done; however, if you can stay on top of your laundry, you will be rewarded. Looking around for clean clothing is a major time waster. Wouldn’t you rather be out having fun? Check out this LifeHacker article for ideas how to improve your laundry process.

Learning how to get ready faster is all about being highly organized:  which is an investment in your life. One of the big reasons to find ways to get ready faster isn’t just the time that you save, but also the considerable amount of stress reduction.  And be sure to give your body a nutrition boost so that you always wake up energized and ready for Monday.


Mindfulness: The Key to Love and Relationships

by Institute for Vibrant Living

What does it take to be happy; and does mindfulness play a role? Traditional mindfulness involves paying close attention to one’s body and whatever happens at any given moment. The end goal of a mindful approach is to be aware of one’s thoughts and feelings, as well as one’s surroundings in an ongoing fashion.

The art of cultivating mindfulness, and what it can do for you.

Scientific research has concluded that mindfulness can help people reduce stress and even address a range of mental health disorders. Studies have also shown that mindfulness meditation can also change the structure of the brain causing changes in various regions including the anterior cingulate cortex.

The benefits of mindfulness and meditation are well documented. Meditation has been shown to increase overall brain function, boost the immune system and more. In particular, mindfulness and meditation has been shown to improve one’s mental health and help people achieve a more positive outlook on life. Such emotional chances can help people become more caring and more loving and, in turn, help them bring love into their own lives.

Most of us give a great deal of thought to what it takes to have a career, or get into the right school or even to finding the right mate. But what about happiness? What role does mindfulness play in finding love and building strong relationships?

Compelling Research from a 75 Year Harvard Study

Finding love is important and science is backing up this assertion. A study conducted by Harvard researchers called the Harvard Grant Study followed 268 male Harvard undergraduate men for over 75 years. This interesting study concluded that finding love really did make a difference in the lives of the men.

A key conclusion of the study was that men were only truly happy if they found love and enjoyed strong relationships. This can lead us to a very straightforward but powerful conclusion. The time you invest in becoming a calmer and more aware version of yourself is an investment in your ultimate happiness.

Related: Can Love Be The Cure For Cancer?

Improving Your Relationship with You

The bottom line is that those looking for love will first want to make sure that they love themselves. Self-loathing, self-abuse or hostility towards the world doesn’t mix well with bringing love into one’s life. Mindfulness and meditation can help you get in touch with your life and what you want, and that can help you create a personal climate that is right for love. In other words, you can’t find love if you are angry all the time, or if you simply can’t stand yourself.

Mindfulness is about being aware of the world you live in. By approaching the world in a mindful fashion, you are able to pay more attention to what is important. For those looking for love, nothing could be more significant. Most of us live very distracted lives, and that means failing to notice opportunities for love even when they could be right in front of our eyes. Being present in the moment and aware of what is happening around you is one of the best ways to discover love.

Embracing the Future

Looking to the future is important, but so is being aware of what is happening in the “here and now.” Instead of always thinking about the future, spend more time living and being in the moment. If you combine this approach with becoming a calmer and more grounded person, then your chances of finding love will soar!



How to Get Back into Your Workout Routine

by Institute for Vibrant Living

If you’ve stopped working out, don’t panic as we are going to cover what is involved in getting back into a fitness routine. Plenty of people stop working out, often for years, but do successfully get back into the swing of things. Follow these very simple four steps and you’ll be working out again in no time.

How to get back into a fitness routine.

#1:  Meet with Your Doctor

Before you take any steps to get back into a fitness routine, it’s a good idea to visit your health care practitioner.    They can evaluate your overall health and determine if there are any medical reasons why you shouldn’t work out.

#2:  Start Very Slowly

For those who haven’t worked out in a long time, it is extremely important to begin slowly, pace yourself and not try to do too much too quickly. Achieving your fitness goals isn’t a sprint, nor is it a marathon. Instead achieving a greater level of fitness is a way of life! So start slowly and your body will thank you. After all, if you are injured, you can’t work out and you are back to square one.

#3:  Protect Yourself from Injury

No matter what kind of fitness regime you embark upon, you’ll want to take steps to protect your body from injury. Protecting yourself from injury has many diverse components ranging from selecting the right shoes, choosing the right exercising; using appropriate amounts of weight to cross-training and using the correct form.

Many people find it helpful to opt for a personal trainer, but it is also important to point out that it is vital to find a good, proven and experienced personal trainer to assist you with your fitness goals. Currently, there is a tremendous difference in the quality of personal trainers, as there is no governing body; this means there can be a difference in the level of expertise between personal trainers. The time you invest in selecting a personal trainer is an investment in your health and well-being.

Related:  How to Exercise Away the Effects of Depression

#4:  Take Steps to Stay Healthy

Getting back into a fitness routine also means taking steps to address the aches and pains that come along with working out again. While your workouts shouldn’t produce agony, it is normal that you will have some aches and pains. Improving your nutrition ahead of time, eating anti-inflammatory foods and spices, such as beets and turmeric, and getting plenty of sleep all contribute to giving your body what it needs to repair.

The benefits of working out range from building stronger bones and muscles to improving mental performance, sleep and more. Scientific research has shown that working out can help reduce depression, improve mood, can help you look younger, boost immunity and maybe even help increase your overall lifespan. In other words, there is no known replacement for getting in shape! The simple fact is that the time you invest in working out is an investment in you, your health and your well-being.


Embrace Your Unique Family

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Today the definition of family and the American family has changed considerably. In short, we are witnessing family evolution before our very eyes. While families may be changing, there is no doubt that the value of marriage is still recognized by most Americans. The key difference, however, is that marriage itself has likely changed forever.

The definition of family is changing.

Changes in the Definitions of Marriage

Not only is the idea of marriage being strictly between a man and a woman being challenged, but so is the notion of what is a family. Divorce has created more complicated family structures, and this is particularly true when people have been married and divorced several times.

Another level of complexity for today’s families is that the lines between people are less entrenched than they were generations ago. Fifty years ago, interracial marriage and interracial children were fairly uncommon but today interracial marriage comprises a large percentage of all marriage. Likewise, fifty years ago marriage between people of different faiths was far less common than it is today.

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People are also living together before marriage, which would have been almost unheard of half a century ago. However, today the social stigma attached to cohabitation before marriage is largely a thing of the past, especially in many parts of the country.

When it comes to raising children, the factors of gay marriage, single parents and divorce has produced tremendous change in the landscape of marriage. Millions of children are now raised by non-biological parents or step-parents. Again, this would have been more unusual in previous decades.

The blended family is a real thing. Our notion of what is and what does not constitute a “family” is evolving, and it is no overstatement to point out that family evolution is a real thing and is happening before our very eyes.

Gay marriage, people waiting longer to get married, divorce and other factors are dramatically altering the definition of what it means to be married. That stated, the value of marriage is still fixed in the American psyche and remains a multi-billion-dollar business. People are still getting married and they are still spending a great deal of money when they do so!

In the end, the American family is alive and well, albeit quite different than in previous generations. The modern family is more inclusive, more unique and more interesting than at any time in history.


Ten Home Remedies for Tackling Periodontal Disease

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Periodontal disease is much more serious than many people suspect. Periodontal issues can be either destructive or non-destructive. When plaque forms around teeth, the end result can be inflammation of tissue. In some cases, tissue can be lost, and this weakens the supporting structure for teeth.

The end result of periodontal disease can be a loss of teeth, which, in turn, has a range of its own medical and health issues. Medical studies have conclusively shown that poor oral health can lead to not just dental issues, but also a range of health issues ranging from a weakened immune system and increase in the chances of developing diseases to heart problems.

Gum disease does not have to lead to the loss of teeth. By following these 10 tips you can keep your teeth and gums much healthier!

#1:  Co-enzyme Q10

Co-enzyme Q10 is extremely important not just for gum health but for overall health. Like other ingredients, such as baking soda, co-enzyme Q10 has made its way into toothpaste for its ability to help fight gum disease and assist in keeping periodontal disease at bay. Co-enzyme Q10 is available in toothpaste and pill forms.

#2:  Honey and Manuka Honey

Honey has amazing all-natural healing properties. One type of honey in particular, manuka honey, is particularly effective at treating wounds of all kinds including gum inflammation. Manuka honey has been well researched and is being used to treat everything from chronic wounds to burns.

Cure periodontal disease with honey and other natural remedies.

#3:  Lemons

Lemons are a power anti-inflammatory and are packed with vitamin C. Try adding lemons to your tea for a one-two punch.

#4:  Baking Soda

It is no accident that baking soda has made its way into toothpaste. Baking soda helps neutralize acid in your mouth and can also help remove stains.

#5:  Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil can be found in both toothpastes and dental floss and is very effective in killing bacteria. However, it is important to remember that tea tree oil is extremely powerful, so remember to only use a limited amount.

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#6:  Dental Probiotics

The research is mounting that probiotics are a powerful contributor to overall good health. Dental probiotics containing lactobacillus reuteri are one way to improve your oral health via probiotics. Also, consider adding a probiotic supplement to your diet.

#7:  Consume Fermented Foods

Fermented foods have been shown to improve overall health and boost oral health. Fermented foods can contain lactobacillus reuteri as well as many other immune system boosting probiotics. If you want to fight periodontal disease, then consider boosting your fermented foods. Many researchers also believe that fermented foods can help reduce the chances of developing many different types of diseases.

#8:  Xylitol

Xylitol is one of the best kept secrets in oral health care. Since it works to actually stop the growth of the very bacteria responsible for cavities, xylitol has earned a special place in dental research. Xylitol mouthwashes, toothpastes, mints and even gum are widely available. Not only does xylitol help protect teeth, but it also creates a positive environment for gums and the entire mouth.

#9:  Floss Every Day

Flossing is one of the easiest ways to protect your oral health. In fact, flossing regularly may even protect your heart!

#10:  Brush Regularly and Change Your Toothbrush Often

The foundation of protecting your teeth and gums is to brush often. Also don’t forget to change your toothbrush every three mouths to help you keep periodontal disease at bay!

Follow these ten tips and you will enjoy greater overall oral health. You don’t have to live with gum disease or let gum disease develop. These simple tips can dramatically boost your chances of keeping your gums and teeth healthy and looking great.


What is a Stroke?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

The word stroke often sends chills up the spines of many people, especially those who are getting older.  While nearly 800,000 Americans have a stroke every year, up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable.  What is a stroke exactly?  A little knowledge can dispel some of the myths associated with stroke and help reduce risks for experiencing one.

What is a stroke?  Learning more about one can help ensure prevention.

What is a stroke, and where does it occur in the body? 

A stroke occurs in the brain and is usually caused by obstructed blood flow to a specific area. When blood flow is blocked, brain cells die due to a lack of oxygen.  Some people experience total recovery from stroke, but over 65 percent of individuals who live through one end up with some form of disability.  Depending on the particular area of the brain and how much is affected, a stroke can result in minor temporary symptoms or more serious long-term disabilities like lost memory or impaired speech or muscle control.  

What are the main types of stroke?

The majority of strokes result from a blood clot that blocks a blood vessel to the brain.  These are called ischemic strokes.  A hemorrhagic stroke happens when a blood vessel bursts or becomes weakened and leaks.  This results in bleeding into brain tissue and is the deadliest form of stroke.

Are there risk factors that contribute to stroke?

Risk factors for stroke include age, race, gender, and family history.  Strokes are more common in people 65 years of age and older, but chances for experiencing a stroke double every 10 years after the age of 55.  African-Americans are at greater risk for stroke than Caucasians due to higher rates of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.  Women have greater risks for stroke than men because they live longer on average, and individuals with a family history of stroke experience increased risks.

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Are there strategies to help prevent stroke?

People can make a variety of lifestyle changes to help prevent stroke, including the following:  

  • Do not smoke; if you do, stop
  • Eat a diet high in fiber, fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fat and cholesterol
  • Limit the amount of sodium consumed to 1,500 mg per day
  • Maintain a healthy bodyweight
  • Engage in daily physical activity
  • Become conscious of feelings of anger or negativity, and make an effort to release them 
  • Try stress-relieving methods like meditation, yoga, or listening to soft music
  • Limit alcohol consumption to two daily drinks for men and one daily drink for women

The idea of a stroke can be scary, especially to aging individuals and their loved ones.  Fortunately, learning about different types of stroke, risk factors and healthy lifestyle strategies can help.  People with concerns about stroke should consult with a health care professional.


The Secret to Maintaining Your Weight: Eat More Fruits

by Institute for Vibrant Living

When people are trying to keep trim and healthy, a nutritious diet plays a key role.  One of the best secrets to successful weight loss or to maintaining an ideal body weight is to eat more whole fruits.  They make a wonderful substitution for high-calorie desserts or snacks, but when it comes to the best fruits for keeping a trim physique, a handful are on top the list. 

Purchase whole fruits and shop in the organic aisle for the healthiest products.


A Brazilian study found that eating apples before meals can help promote weight loss.  Women who ate apples or pears before meals lost 33 percent more weight than women who consumed oat bars before meals.  Apples are low in calories, at about 95 calories for one of medium size, and high in fiber.  They contain no fat or sodium, which makes them perfect for breakfast, snacks, or dessert.  In addition to helping with weight loss, apples promote heart health, reduce cancer risks, keep teeth whiter and are good for the digestive system.


Blueberries rank high on the list of fruits that encourage healthy body weight.  In addition to being high in fiber, blueberries contain polyphenols that can reduce the formation of fat cells according to research.  A study from Texas Woman's University showed that feeding mice three servings of blueberries daily could lower the development of fat cells by up to 73 percent.


Cantaloupe is low in calories and high in water content, making it a great choice for the grocery lists of people hoping to maintain body weight.  Also high in fiber, this low carb melon keeps tummies full longer, which helps prevent overeating.  Its sweet taste makes cantaloupe a great option for an after-dinner dessert or it makes a yummy breakfast stuffed with a large spoonful of cottage cheese.

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When it comes to fruit and weight loss, guava offers many benefits.  It measures low on the glycemic index making it a good choice for diabetics and it is a rich source of fiber.  High fiber foods ensure better bowl movements, which help promote healthy body weight.


Made up of 90 percent water, it's obvious where watermelon gets its name.  In addition to being low in calories, watermelon is high in arginine, an amino acid that helps burn body fat. These qualities and more make this juicy fruit a great option for weight loss and maintenance.

People hoping to maintain body weight can benefit from fresh fruits. Stock the grocery cart with products that are low in calories and high in fiber for the best results.  Whole produce offers more nutritional benefits than canned or frozen options, and shopping in the organic aisle ensures fruits and vegetables have no genetic modifications or pesticide residue. 


The Fish Oil-Weight Loss Connection

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Fish oil has been proven to benefit people in a number of ways, from preventing cardiovascular disease to easing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.  Now individuals hoping to lose a few pounds might also reap the benefits of fish oil, as results from an animal study published in Scientific Reports shows a connection between fish oil and weight loss.  It appears that fish oil may transform fat cells from white to beige or brown, which affects their ability to burn fat. 

Because fish oil changes fat cells from fat-storage cells to fat-burning cells, there is a connection between fish oil and weight loss.


Maintaining a healthy body weight depends on a healthy metabolism.  Varying colors of fat cells effect metabolism in different ways.  While white fat cells store fat, beige and brown fat cells metabolize fat in order to stabilize body temperature.  As people get older, the numbers of beige and brown fat cells decrease, which partly explains why abdominal fat is harder to lose with age.

Japanese researchers fed certain mice a fatty diet and other mice a fatty diet supplemented with fish oil.  The scientists found that the mice that consumed fish oil burned more calories, gained less weight and fat, produced lower insulin and fasting glucose levels, and showed a warmer core temperature than mice that did not receive fish oil. 

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When brown fat cells generate heat to maintain body temperature, a receptor in the body of humans and mice activates a protein called UCP1.  The researchers found high levels of this protein in the white fat of mice given fish oil, which suggests that the fish oil worked with the receptor to change white fat cells into fat-burning beige or brown fat cells. To confirm their hypothesis, researchers removed the receptor in certain mice and fed them fish oil.  Results showed no effect on body weight or body fat.

Although this study shows promising results in mice, it may be a while before scientists can replicate fish oil-weight loss benefits in humans.  Until then, people can take fish oil supplements for a variety of other health advantages.




Reasons Why Women Go Commando

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Going commando…men have been doing it for ages, and women are finally catching on.  Although the phrase "going commando" sounds like some type of military role play, it is actually a modern form of expression that means "going without underwear."  There are a number of reasons why women go commando and comfort tops the list.

why women go commando include a sense of freedom and empowerment.


There's nothing more uncomfortable than underwear that rides up or cuts into the skin.  Women who don't wear underwear can avoid this discomfort altogether.  In addition, going sans knickers helps prevent unsightly panty lines and clothing fits better. 

Some women worry whether going without underwear can affect vaginal health, but according to Dr. Gillian Dean, the Associate Medical Director of Planned Parenthood in New York City, research shows no connection between going commando and vaginal infections.  In fact, some gynecologists recommend that women concerned about vaginal infections not wear underwear at all, especially at night.  

According to a recent Brazilian study, 18 percent of women follow this advice and reap the benefits.  Going commando at night helps prevent a warm, moist environment that encourages growth of bacteria and yeast.  In addition, wearing no underwear at night can stop the development of symptoms that accompany vaginal infections like bothersome itching.

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While going commando during the day and night offers distinct benefits to women, there are certain situations where it may be detrimental.  Rigorous physical exercise usually demands some type of moisture-wicking underwear to keep parts dry and healthy.  Fortunately, many running shorts, tights, and workout pants have built-in underwear or liners, products that don't demand an extra layer of protection.  Wearing short skirts or dresses without panties can also be dangerous as private parts are exposed to germy public seating, and may not be the most couth thing to do.

Not wearing undergarments is based purely on personal reasons.  Not wearing it can offer greater comfort and promote good health in the correct circumstances.  Happily, with a little common sense, women can enjoy the health benefits and freedom that going without panties brings, and nobody has to know.



How Much Should I Exercise?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Some people believe they should spend every free minute at the gym in order to maintain a trim physique, but this may not be the case according to research.  A recent study featured in Current Biology shows that the body adapts to higher levels of exercise.  This means that more exercise does not always result in a higher calorie burn.  Learning more about the latest research and taking advantage of a few diet and exercise tips helps ensure people are getting the most bang for their buck when it comes to weight loss.

People desiring to lose weight often wonder, "How much should I exercise?"

The Research

A team of researchers from City University of New York examined daily activity levels and subsequent calories burned for more than 300 male and female subjects for one week. Results showed that sedentary subjects burned a small but measurable amount of calories from daily activity, but subjects with moderate daily activity burned about 200 calories per day more than sedentary individuals. Interestingly, subjects with higher-than-moderate activity levels showed no additional calories burned for more activity.

While the results of the study show that exercise helps burn calories, extra physical activity does not always mean better success when it comes to losing weight. The researchers concluded that the body might benefit best from a specific amount of exercise – or sweet spot – that lies somewhere in the middle of too little and too much physical activity.

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Diet and Exercise Tips

Individuals looking to lose weight should first take a look at their daily diet. Cutting out unnecessary calories and unhealthy fats and incorporating more fruits, vegetables and fiber helps ensure better weight loss success.

In an effort to lose weight, people also benefit from a few exercise tips. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least four days per week.  According to experts at Harvard University, moderate activity might include brisk walking, bike riding, mowing the lawn, or heavy cleaning. Adding regular strength training to an exercise regimen helps tone the body and increase the number of calories burned.