Healthy Living

Important Information About Essential Oils

Essential oils are basically highly concentrated oils which are usually extracted from roots, leaves, flowers, and other plant parts which are grown in farms like the Lavender Farms started by D. Gary Young of Young Living Essential Oils. Usually extracted through the process of steam distillation (which involves the application of steam until all the oil vaporizes), essential oils usually possess the characteristic smell of the plant from which they are extracted. Although the term “essential oils” is quite common, very few people can tell more about these concentrated oils in terms of how they work, their uses, benefits, and side effects. If you are among them, here is a piece that will leave you knowledgeable about essential oils.

How Are Essential Oils Said To Work?

For many centuries, essential oils have been used in ancient medicine and their use has currently been embraced in the modern-day medical arena. The main reason why these oils never lose their value is because of the diversity they possess in terms of usage. In aromatherapy, for instance, when molecules of any essential oil are absorbed through the skin or inhaled, they are said to affect metabolism, brain chemicals, hormones, and influence the nervous system and brain areas. Besides, essential oils are mostly used to boost mood, ease stress, get a good night’s sleep, and even repel unwanted insects.

How Are Essential Oils Used?

Inhalation: One of the most common ways through which people use essential oils is through inhalation. Since most of these oils are usually highly concentrated, it is always advisable that you do not inhale them directly from a bottle. To release any oil into the air you breathe, a device like a diffuser could be used. Some other inhalation methods include the popular steam inhalation or applying a few drops of the oil to a handkerchief, tissue or cotton ball and placing it near your face.

Topical Use: In addition to being highly concentrated, essential oils are also too potent for anyone to use them full-strength on their skin. In most cases, these oils should be diluted in a carrier oil (like avocado, almond, and apricot kernel oil) before they can be applied to the skin during spot treatment, an aromatherapy massage, a bath, or a spa treatment. Essential oils could also be found in candles, shampoo, lotion, soap, and bath salts.

Commonly Used Essential Oils

While there are hundreds of essential oils available, here are some of the most commonly used essential oils.

Eucalyptus: This oil is a common ingredient in steam inhalations to cure colds and clear throat congestion in the chest.

Clary sage: This oil could aid in relieving hot flashes as well as promote sleep.

Lavender: This essential oil is mostly used for relaxation and improving sleep.

Peppermint: This oil is used for headaches among other types of pain.

Rose: The oil’s soothing scent has been found to ease stress as well as menstrual cramps.

Tea tree: The tea tree essential oil is mostly used as a spot treatment for acne as well as treating fungal skin infections.

Rosemary: This oil has a stimulating scent which boosts focus and attention.

Is There Such A Thing As A Healthy Condiment?

Is there anything worse than bland, tasteless food? Being served the same food over and over can, unquestionably, be dull and boring, but food that has little to no taste, to begin with, is infinitely worse. If our food isn’t going to taste good and be something we anticipate with pleasure, we may as well adopt some futuristic writer’s view of a world where food comes out of a computerized system that reduces all of our nutritional requirements into a pill. (more…)

Can Pizza Be Healthy for You?

Pizza is the perfect food if it’s from New York City! Not only is pizza delicious, it may well be the most versatile food on the planet. It can be the main course for any meal, and, if you think listing it as a breakfast choice is pushing it, then you have never lived in a college dorm or woke up thinking about the leftover pizza from the previous night. It can definitely be served for breakfast, hot or cold. Pizza never gets boring. It comes with such a variety of crusts, sauces and toppings that you could have pizza every meal of the day for weeks and never repeat the same one. If that isn’t enough to vote it the most perfect food, if you make the right choices, a slice of pizza can contain all of the food groups recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy.   (more…)

Activated Charcoal: Detox Tool or Fitness Fraud?

It seems as though every fitness media outlet has latched onto the newest trend: activated charcoal. The black powder is said to have medicinal purposes as a powerful detoxification agent, and is treated in a way that is safe for human consumption. Before being a fitness fad, it was commonly used in emergency rooms to treat mild poisonings. Basically, activated charcoal is supposed to flush out all toxins and chemicals from your body, giving you a clean slate to begin a healthier lifestyle.

All of this sounds good, but how effective is activated charcoal at removing these so-called “stored toxins”? According to Livestrong, there is no evidence to show that the human body has stores toxins to begin with, or that charcoal can somehow extract them from your body. If you’re trying to use activated charcoal to lose weight, regular consumption of charcoal can lead to more damage than good. Similar to other detox diets out there, the charcoal detox requires participation in fasting for a few days. The weight you may lose during this time is due more to the calorie restrictions during the fasting phase than to the charcoal consumed.

Moreover, the regular consumption of activated charcoal can lead to constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, and in some severe cases, bowel obstruction. With consistent and repeated doses, complications such as abscesses and charcoal deposits can develop in the abdominal wall. Dr. Kamal Patel, a medical professional in Tampa, Florida, has been doing extensive research on the affects of activated charcoal on the body. For those taking daily prescription medications, the interactions between charcoal and the medications could render the medication ineffective. This is particularly dangerous if the medications taken ensure proper bodily function or livelihood.

One of the most popular promotions of activated charcoal, besides consuming it for detox, is using it for teeth whitening. Instructions for it’s use for teeth whitening is to wet your toothbrush, dip it into loose activated charcoal powder, begin brushing it on your teeth, leave it on your teeth for three minutes, then rinse. It’s recommended to use activated charcoal to whiten teeth around two to three times a week in order to begin seeing results.  Activated charcoal is also said to be a cure for bad breath.

Unfortunately, dental professionals are wary on recommending activated charcoal for teeth whitening. They recommend only using it around once every other week, if at all. They also warn that since it is such an abrasive powder, it can wear down the enamel on the teeth, causing bigger dental problems down the road. Enamel is the protective layer on your teeth that help prevent cavities or rot, and once it’s gone, it’s very hard to restore. This is certainly a bigger problem than having yellow teeth.

So the next time you’re looking for a healthy way to detox, we recommend sticking to fruits, vegetables, and a large glass of water!

Fun Fitness Classes in NYC to Help With Your New Year’s Resolution

Now that the second week of January is coming to a close, how are your new year’s resolutions coming along? Less than stellar? Well, you’re not alone. Statistics show that only 8 percent of people actually keep their new year’s resolutions. If you’re one of the millions of Americans that pledged to lose weight in 2018, week three typically tends to see a steep drop in motivation. If you’re in the New York City area, however, there are a lot of creative, unique, and fun fitness class options to help keep you motivated!


Learn Japanese & Korean Sword Fighting – Sword Class NYC  

Was your other resolution for 2018 to learn more about other cultures? Kill two birds with one stone and sign up for a Beginner Iaido – Siljun Dobup class. During these 55 minute classes, you’ll learn techniques and forms for using traditional Japanese & Korean swords as well as proper cutting directions. Certainly more interesting than feeling like a hamster on a treadmill.


Learn To Juggle (Or Get Better) – Juggle Fit NYC

Has learning to juggle always been a secret desire of yours? Or maybe a hidden talent? Juggle Fit NYC combines the technical skill, balance, and concentration involved in juggling with the activeness of an upper body workout. An hour of juggling can burn around 280 calories, the same as walking, and combining the two could make for a fun and entertaining workout!


AG6 – Asphalt Green

Located inside the Asphalt Green fitness center in the Upper East Side, AG6 is a workout that combines total body, high-intensity, circuit based training with interactive technology for a workout like no other. Basically, the system will give you visual cues in the form of lights to guide you through your workout; so it’s basically like an Avatar-inspired bootcamp. It’s a pretty intense and legitimate workout, burning around 1,000 calories in 45 min.


Bollywood-Inspired Interval Dancing – BollyX

With numerous locations held throughout the five boros, BollyX is Bollywood’s answer to Zumba; an intense, interval workout to your favorite Bollywood songs. Bollywood is known for its catchy, rhythmic music that typically features a series of dance numbers, perfect to get your body moving and shaking. It’s designed as a complete body workout, so be prepared to sweat while toning and slimming down.


Rock Out While Jump Roping – Punk Rope NYC

Jump rope was easily the best part of recess. This new cardio workout is sure to get your heart pumping by combining two exciting factors: jump rope and punk rock. Designed for groups and individuals, the workout is a fun and intense workout aiming for good vibes and sweat. The class is held at the Greenpoint YMCA every wednesday from 7:30 – 8:30.  

Your Nutrition And Maintaining A Healthy Weight

A healthy weight is important to your complete well-being. People that suffer from being obese or overweight are at a higher risk for different health issues, including heart disease and diabetes. It doesn’t take much to bring your risk back down if you start eating better and working out.

While the proper weight for any given person can depend on their sex, their body type, and even their height, your waist circumference needs to be a certain size as well. This is mainly guided by your height. You should also be aware of your BMI (body mass index).

So, how do you work toward a healthier weight and a healthier body? Well, what you are putting into your body can make a huge difference. So can the physical activity you are getting on a daily basis (including walking the dog and playing with the kids).

Follow Portions And Calorie Counts

When it comes to counting calories you may hear all sorts of advice. Some people say that calories don’t matter as long as you are eating a healthy diet in general. Some live by counting calories. It is a fact that calories determine weight loss and that 3500 calories are equal to one pound, so that should be clue one that calorie counting is important if you want to be healthy and fit. That means you want to know how many calories you’re taking in and how many you’re burning with physical activity (it helps to keep a fitness and nutrition log of some sort).

Eat Fresher

If you want the calories you do eat to count for more then you can pick fresher foods to eat, like raw fruits and vegetables. Shop the outer areas of the grocery store for your healthier options. The stuff in bags and boxes, the overly processed foods, are usually stuffed full of sodium and at a loss for much of its original nutrients.

Make Your Own Meals

There are likely times when eating out is your only option, like when you’re on the road for a work trip or vacation. However, when you aren’t forced to eat out you really should make your own food at home. You can make something healthier and be more aware of all of the ingredients that are in your food. This is good for everyone, not just people with food allergies and intolerances.

Work In Workouts

Last, but not least, if you want to maintain or get to a healthy weight you need to fit in fitness to each and every day. Nutrition and fitness work together to make your body and your mind healthy. Doing one without the other is going to leave you missing something, like a healthy diet can help with weight loss but not working out means no muscle tone.

Life Tips After Binging on Holiday Foods

The holidays come and the holidays go.  But all those extra sweets and yummy treats definitely stay.  Particularly around the tummy and butt area.  After indulging for nearly 2 full months it is common to feel like your pants are fitting just a little bit tighter.

Whether you were binging on sweets, you’re more of a fan of savory indulgences, or maybe you just love it all. The result is the same.

Feeling a little out of sorts with your body and like you may not be bikini ready just yet.

Here are some of the best tips for managing your life after indulging on food during the holidays.

Wear Loose Clothing

First and foremost the plan of action is to hide any undesirable chub or flub.  The best way to do this is to wear loose clothing.  For women, it may be maxi dresses or wearing loose hooded sweatshirts with leggings.

For men, a sensible and flattering choice would be loose jeans and baggy t-shirts.  Preferably without tucking in your shirt as this can draw attention to the belly!

Whatever you do, don’t despair if you look like a tent! This is only a temporary fix.

Join a Gym

The only way that you are going to get rid of all that food you put into your body is to start burning it off.  This means hitting the gym and doing some good old-fashioned strength training and cardio.

By signing up for a gym membership you are making a financial commitment to pay monthly to go to the facility.  Therefore it is a little extra added bonus pressure which should give you some inspiration not to put off going.

The nice thing about gyms is that you can either work out on your own or take part in one of their group classes.  Most gyms usually offer everything from dance cardio, to yoga, to spinning.  Try a variety of classes and see which one works the best for you!

Start a Diet

Studies show that weight loss is 80% diet.  Therefore if you’re going to do anything for yourself, consider making it minimally diet.

There are lots of diets out there. Consider trying one that comes to you highly recommended by a friend or family member.

Instead of doing something that appears to be a “crash diet” and promises quick results, opt for something that is healthful and promises slow and consistent results in a reasonable amount of time.  Usually, the longer it takes to burn something off, the longer it will take to bring it back on.

Get a Weight Loss App

One of the best things about this modern era is that technology now makes it easier than ever to do things that were once complicated and time-consuming.

Weight loss is no exception.  There are now apps which monitor our exercise and daily calorie burn without us having to do anything.

Calorie counting sites have become increasingly popular with a database of nearly every food that you can think of.  Rather than having to add up the calories written in nutritional facts portion, you can simply type in the food you consumed and add it to your daily journal.  This is an extremely useful way to stay within your daily limit and make sure that you aren’t overdoing it.

3 Way Cooking Relieves Stress

Cooking doesn’t have to be a task that is dreaded every night.  In fact, cooking is seen by many people as one of the most cathartic activities that you can do.  It’s all about how you go about it.

Obviously, if you don’t know what you’re doing and have to cook a 5-course meal for 15 people in a limited amount of time, it’s not going to be a very soothing experience.  

Cooking should be a gradual learning process which is enjoyed and done with intent and joy.  Your food will taste as good as the energy you put into it!

Here are some reasons why cooking can be so good for your state of mind and encourages stress relief.

It Actives The Same Part of The Brain as Meditation

When you meditate the brain goes into a very specific and unique state of consciousness. Many people report feelings of an expanded awareness, and inner peace.  

Several studies have been done over the years which have looked into the actual science behind meditation and what exactly occurs by conducting MRI scans.  The results showed that test subjects who meditated more had greater amounts of dense gray matter in their scans in the areas of the brain which are associated with emotion.

When people are focused on a task such as cooking, their awareness is centered on a single task at hand rather than in a flurry of taking in all of the information around them of the modern world.  

By cooking, you can not only achieve the task of creating a delicious meal to nourish your body, but you can also achieve a peaceful state of being by bridging the mind and body.

It Nourishes Your Body Better Than Processed or Fast Food

Eating a diet of whole foods which are prepared with intention and fresh ingredients is much more nourishing for the human body that artificially produced unnatural foods.  

Studies show that people with higher levels of sugar and certain chemicals found in processed foods have higher levels of stress, and obesity-related diseases.  

Cooking your food instead of buying it pre-packaged can have a considerably positive impact on your life.

It Brings People Together

In many cultures cooking and serving a meal to a family is the ultimate ceremonial tradition.  Eating as a group creates a sense of belonging and community.  Humans who have community are proven to be much happier people.

Conversation and a sense of belonging in a person reduces depression and isolation.  Families which eat together every night report 50% less conflict and have stronger relationships among them.

The French find eating meals with their families so important that many of them come home from work or school during their lunch breaks just to be able to eat together.

5 Things Women Working in Agriculture Want You to Know About Farm Life

Are you a capable woman who wants to try her hand at farm life? Do you picture yourself watching the sun rise over fields of golden wheat, a cup of coffee in your hand and a smile of contentment on your face? Or maybe you think of gathering organic vegetables to toss together a salad for your lunches and dinners? 

With an increased interest in getting back to the land, young people, and many women, are showing a renewed interest in farming. The last few years have shown a steady rise in public interest in organic farm products, as well as sustainable living. But before you begin to spin castles in the air of what your new life will be like, read on for 5 aspects of farm life that women working on farms want you to know: 

  1. A farmer’s day starts first and ends last. 

Farmers start the day early. Sometimes to beat the heat and take care of planting and pruning before the day turns into a bake-fest. Other times, it is just a matter of feeding livestock and getting through all the chores that need to be done in a single day. Your evenings will be spent catching up on all non-farm related things you need to do, like caring for your family, or your house, etc., a site for women working in agriculture, offers the following advice: “When juggling a farm, a relationship and a family, don’t strive for perfection. Prioritize what is most important.”

  1. The dirt never comes out from under your fingernails.

Get really comfortable with a shade of brown underneath your fingernails. And the look of a gentle grass stain on the palms of your hands. In fact, if you are particularly attached to any piece of clothing, do not wear it out of your house. You would be safer framing and immortalizing that favorite shirt, because once you leave the house with it on, its days are numbered. Expect to find yourself wearing clothes that you won’t mind throwing away. Also, you will become an expert at juggling loads of laundry during your lunch break. 

  1. You will get double-takes.

Tell anyone you are a farmer and that you work on a farm, and it is likely you will get a double-take. Do not take this personally. And don’t feel like you need to defend yourself or spend 15 minutes explaining how women can be farmers, too. You have better things to do with your time. You do work on a farm, after all. 

  1. Some years you won’t make a dime.

Do any amount of reading on a farmer’s life, and this is one that will come up time and again. Despite that fact, it’s often glossed over by newbie farmers with stars in their eyes and fantastical hopes. It’s okay to have hopes and grand visions of what you wish to accomplish. But the life of a farmer is about dealing with the unexpected. Bonus points if you can handle a bad crop with grace and good humor. Expenses on a farm run high. Farm machinery, feed, seed, livestock, and more are items that can quickly level your bank account. Have a back-up plan for the times when your farm is in the red. Your Plan B or Plan C will save your bacon. Guaranteed.

  1. Despite all that, it will feel worth it. 

Yes, it’s a hard life. You won’t make tons of money. But despite these two factors, farmers show higher job satisfaction rates than those working a desk job. It could be all that time outdoors. It could be the joy of nurturing and growing living things. Or the fact that when your body is moving, your brain is producing feel-good chemicals. Whatever the reason, it’s enough for passionate farmers to ignore the hardship in exchange for the farmers’ life they have chosen. 

Everything You Wanted to Know About Artisanal Food Subscriptions

Have you ever had a care package sent to you, filled with things only someone very close to you would know you like? That is the feeling that artisanal food subscriptions create. It’s the feeling of surprise you get when given a gift, plus a whole lot of fun. While food subscriptions began some time ago, it has taken off in a large way within the last couple of years. And it now appears to be a permanent fixture on the food horizon.

Here’s what you should know about them.

What are artisanal food subscriptions?

Gourmet food subscriptions are a way for you to get a select choice of little-known but well-made foods in a box. These kinds of subscriptions are frequently monthly, though some do offer an every-other-week shipment. You don’t get to choose what goes into the box. That is up to the taste of the subscription you have chosen. But expect to be wowed. Often, the selling point for these types of surprise boxes is that you’ll receive gourmet goods that are likely hard to source in your local area.

What type of subscription food boxes are there?

From a monthly snack box to boxes that source farm produce, just about all types of foods have been joining in on the fun. There are artisanal boxes for coffee lovers, bacon enthusiasts, Japanese food items, and so much more. There are also boxes that focus on products from a certain area, foods that are gluten-free, or intriguing foods for the vegetarian.

Why should you have a food subscription?

Are you a foodie at heart, but find it difficult to truly indulge yourself? You barely make it to the gym, let alone to your favorite food import store. Food subscriptions bring all the goodness straight to your door. And they surprise you each time. With each box being a little different, there is little chance you will get bored. There is no reason your taste buds should suffer when your work hours are exploding.

Food subscriptions are also a great way to keep healthy treats in your house. We all know what happens when people get busy. Our diet tends to turn toward the super processed junk- and fastfood options. But simply by ordering a food subscription, you can get nutritious snacks and foods delivered straight to you. With the assurance of the items being chosen with discernment and care.

It should not be surprising that food subscriptions also make for excellent birthday or holiday gifts. Sign up a loved one to receive a monthly box of their favorite thing. It will be the gift that kept on giving throughout the year. And just imagine, you could be the one to introduce them to their new favorite drink, snack, or food!

What are some good options for artisanal food subscriptions?

The options are pretty much limitless. Just think of what types of food you wish you had more of in your house, and start there. Do you want to source food that is cruelty free? Perhaps you have grown bored of the gluten-free selection at your supermarket and are looking for tastier options? Are you a Francophile and would love a box of treats from France? Maybe you are a busy mom, and you want to keep your kitchen stocked with healthy snacks? Just do a search for the type of box you are interested in subscribing to and you will find an amazing amount of options.

As with all purchases you make, you should read the customer reviews to help narrow down your choices. Not all services are equal in terms of quality and customer satisfaction, so do your research. Because subscription services rely on you being satisfied with each shipment, for the most part you can expect a quality order. And if others have been fully satisfied with their experience, chances are you will be too.