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Detox diets are all the craze. They are widely used as a way to flush out toxins and shed some unwanted pounds.

Detox cleanses/diets often eliminate solid foods and replace them with drinks like water with lemon, maple syrup and cayenne pepper; green tea; or freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices. Cleanses can last from a day to a month. You can also buy certain detox cleanses and mixes to drink.

But the question that always comes first- is this a healthy way to lose weight?

It seems like any diet has it’s pros and cons, and detox diets are no different.

PROS


There can be benefits of detox diets. As long as you are doing it with the proper approach.

The main pro is obviously that you are removing toxins and built up junk in your body– which can help you lose weight and give your body a ‘clean slate’ so to speak.

It can also help you identify if you have any food sensitivities by eliminating certain foods for several days, then gradually reintroducing potential trigger foods.

If you are doing a juice cleanse or raw food cleanse- you can benefit from the increase in vitamins or minerals which is especially beneficial for those that find it hard to get enough fruit and veggies.

It is also easier to commit to as it is not a long term diet plan. Most nutrition experts advise that a slow and steady approach to weight loss and healthy eating is best. While short term-detox diets may not provide sustainable results- it can help some people get on track to better nutrition.

You CAN lose weight. If you stay committed to the diet and do it properly- there is a good chance you will shed a few unwanted pounds! 

CONS

Detox diets tend to be very low in calorie intake which can affect the way our bodies function. Calories are like fuel for our bodies- so very little of them can leave you with little energy for the day-and may also disrupt your metabolic rate and blood glucose levels.

These diets are also often low protein which isn’t serious on a short term level but if you already have a protein deficiency- it can be very hard on your body.

You maaaay need to stay close to a bathroom. Detox diets are meant to essentially flush things out of you- almost quite literally. Which can disrupt your day if you are doing it while working etc. Not only that- but it can come with some cramping and bloating as well.

If you have a health condition it may not be the best idea for you.  Such as diabetes, as some of the detox diets may include a higher carbohydrate intake than you may be used to- which can cause issues.

Short term. Since it is a short term diet- it will not help you to continue to lose weight UNLESS you change your overall habits. It can help with some pounds-but you still have to do some leg work after. Eating well and exercising.

So there are pros and cons to consider before deciding if a detox diet is best for you.

If you do decide to start a detox diet- there are some foods that are known to be natural detoxifiers for the body.

Such as:

  • Apples
  • Beets
  • Avocados
  • Flaxseeds
  • Cabbage
  • Cranberries
  • Blueberries 
  • Celery


Or- if you are looking for beverages that may be helpful for a detox:

  • Water and Lemon Water
  • Lime Juice
  • Green Tea
  • Orange Juice
  • Beet Juice
  • Fruit Smoothies

Weigh the options and see what is best suited for you and your lifestyle!


Resources:

https://www.ecowatch.com/15-best-foods-for-detoxing-your-body-1882157131.html

https://www.webmd.com/diet/a-z/detox-diets#:~:text=Not%20only%20are%20detox%20diets,they%20may%20be%20quite%20dangerous.

https://www.verywellfit.com/pros-and-cons-of-the-detox-diet-3973821

Take a hike- we say it to tell people to go away- but taking a hike is actually a GREAT IDEA!

Why?

Because it means walking!

Walking, most of us do it every day. We walk around the house, we walk to and from work, we walk our dog, we walk to get fresh air- the list is endless on reasons we may walk.

And little do we know- we are giving our body benefits while we walk! Seems like just a regular everyday thing we do- but it actually HELPS us with each step we take!

It’s an underrated form of exercise that we do each day.

In fact- just a 30 minute brisk walk can burn up to 200 calories!

Burning calories isn’t all walking can do for you.

There is so much more!

Here are 5 other ways walking can help your body:

1. Strengthen Your Muscles
You can feel it when you walk, how your legs are working and the faster you walk- the more they work. Walking tones your leg and abdominal muscles – and even arm muscles if you pump them as you walk (you see this a lot in speed walking). If you walk uphill or use a treadmill with a slant upward slant- this can build more strength in your legs as well.  Go for a hike up a local mountain, there will so much to explore while also giving your legs a tremendous workout!

2. Can Improve Heart Health
Walking feeds your heart! Exercise for your heart is just as important as walking for weight. Walking can ward off heart issues while bringing up the heart rate, lowering blood pressure and in turn strengthening the heart. It has been shown that women who walk 30 minutes a day can reduce their risk of stroke by 20%, and by 40%.

3.  Can Improve Circulation
Walking is said to ward off heart issues, bring up the heart rate, lower blood pressure and strengthens the heart.  Post-menopausal women who walk just one to two miles a day can lower their blood pressure by nearly 11 points in 24 weeks. According to the researches at the Harvard School of Public Health- women who walk 30 minutes a day can reduce their risk of stroke by 20%, and by 40% when they step up the pace.

4. Improves Your Mood
Have you ever gone for a walk to ‘clear your head’? Many of us have. And it works. It is actually working to improve your mood. Walking releases natural pain killing endorphins to the body – one of the emotional benefits of exercise. It can also help us socialize. There are clubs for individuals seeking someone to walk with, a friend or just a small neighborhood group that walks together, Socializing can also boost our mood and it keeps us from feeling isolated.

5.  Supports Better Sleep
It’s no secret exercise can help us sleep. Studies found that women, ages 50 to 75, who took one-hour morning walks, were more likely to have better sleep than women who didn’t walk. Plus, exercise tends to wear us out. It can drain us and leave us feeling the need to rest. Exercise can help exert more energy- requiring us to rest more which can help us have a better night’s rest.

You may think walking is boring- but it doesn’t have to. You can play music while you walk, walk with a friend and chat about life, walk your dog and enjoy the scenery or walk with your kids to get them out and about to enjoy the day!

The sky’s the limit with walking. There is so much to see in the world, take a stroll around your neighborhood- you may discover things you didn’t know were there. A hidden natural trail, or a beautiful sunset view down the end of the road!

So- get out there and walk! Take the stairs instead of an elevator, walk to work walk to the coffee shop- walk walk walk!


Resources:

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/walking-for-good-health

https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-walking#burn-calories

Ahh chocolate. People all over the world LOVE chocolate. So if you are one of those people-you may feel even better about eating it once you know more!

Did you know that historians have estimated that chocolate has been around for approximately 2,000 years- possibly even longer? 

People have long been enjoying this sweet treat for YEARS!

And one question that has remained- is it actually good for us?

While we know that too much of it can cause weight gain and a high calorie intake- it comes with a surprising amount of good qualities as well- of course when eaten in moderation.

The main benefit of chocolate is for your HEART!

But not just ANY chocolate.

Most of the benefits of chocolate lies within DARK chocolate as opposed to milk or white chocolate. But hey- we will take it if it means we can eat chocolate and feel good about it!

To have health benefits- dark chocolate must contain 50% cocoa or higher. Ideally 70-80%.

Cocoa is rich in plant chemicals called flavanols that may help to protect the heart- as they have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and free-radical scavenging properties.

Dark chocolate contains up to 2-3 times more flavanol-rich cocoa solids than milk chocolate.

The amount of cocoa solids in dark chocolate is important because it can be a key indicator of the amount of dietary flavonoids found in the chocolate.

Flavanols have been shown to support the production of nitric oxide in the endothelium- which is the inner cell lining of the blood vessel, that helps to relax the blood vessels and improve blood flow. Flavanols in chocolate are also said to help increase insulin sensitivity – which can help manage blood sugar.

In fact- some studies show that indulging in dark chocolate on a regular basis could actually help promote overall heart health. One study even showed that people who ate dark chocolate more than five times a week reduced their risk of heart issues by 57%.

Now, dark chocolate isn’t just said to be beneficial for our heart-but for our skin too!

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health shows that dark chocolate contains vitamins and minerals such as copper, iron, and manganese- which can be beneficial to your skin as well. For example, manganese helps to support the production of collagen- which is a protein that helps keep our skin looking healthy and youthful. While other minerals like calcium, help to repair and renew skin. We know that calcium is great for our bones but according to the American Academy of Dermatology, our bodies can shed up to 40,000 skin cells each day so calcium is great for renewing those cells as well!

Other studies have also found the high levels of antioxidants in dark chocolate may protect skin from the powerful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun.

Of course- this is all with eating in moderation. You don’t want TOO much of a good thing!

But some dark chocolate here and there can go a long way for you!

So have some chocolate and do some good for your heart!



Resources:

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/dark-chocolate/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20858571/

https://www.heart.org/en/news/2019/02/12/are-there-health-benefits-from-chocolate

Whether we like it or not, for us women- menopause is an inevitable part of the aging process. And there seems to be a lot of negativity surrounding this very natural process.

Granted it does come with some unpleasant symptoms, such as:

  • Reduced Sex Drive
  • Mood Swings
  • Insomnia
  • Hot Flashes
  • Weight Gain etc.
  • Weakened Bones

You may have seen your mother, aunt or other female relative go through menopause and see how it affects them, but what we should focus on is how to embrace this beautiful and natural change our bodies go through.

First, let’s get a better understanding of what menopause is.

Menopause is caused by the change in balance of your body’s sex hormones, which occurs as you get older. It occurs when your ovaries stop producing as much oestrogen and no longer releases an egg each month.

Typically menopause occurs when your menstrual cycle ceases completely (after 12 consequential months). Most commonly, women will begin to experience menopause between ages 40-58, however there are some women who can experience it as early as their 30’s and as late as their 60’s. 

While menopause is a natural and inevitable part of life, that doesn’t mean we have to fear and dread it. EMBRACE it and learn how you will be able to help your body go through this beautiful part of life.

Since we know menopause is looming in our future no matter what we do, there is some peace of mind knowing we can at least strive to reduce symptoms we may experience during this process.

Here are some natural ways to reduce symptoms of menopause:

Maintain a healthy weight
One of the woes that can come with menopause, is weight gain- which is often unwanted. This could be from lack of sleep from menopause, the changes in your hormones, or just simply your lifestyle during menopause (you may feel more sluggish and less mobile). It’s important to maintain a healthy weight to reduce risk of health concerns down the road. A healthy weight will also help with your self esteem and confidence. We all feel better when we feel confident about ourselves. It helps boost our mood and builds up our self esteem.

This is where exercise also comes into play.
Exercise is important for all aspects of life. Exercise helps boost our mood and keep us healthy and active. It can also help reduce symptoms of menopause and make them a bit more tolerable.

Include Foods Rich in Vitamin D and Calcium into Your Diet
Hormonal changes during menopause can cause bones to weaken thus increasing the risk of bone deterioration. Calcium and vitamin D are widely known to benefit bone health, so it makes sense to ensure you are getting enough of them in your diet.

Calcium is most beneficial for strong bones.
Calcium rich foods include:

  • Dairy products like yogurt, milk and cheese
  • Green, leafy vegetables such as kale, collard greens and spinach
  • Tofu
  • Beans

It is also said that sufficient vitamin D intake in postmenopausal women is also associated with a lower risk of hip fractures due to weakened bones. Sunlight is our main source of Vitamin D, but there are other ways we can get Vitamin D. Such as supplementation and foods rich in Vitamin D

Such as:

  • Red meat
  • Oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified foods – such as some fat spreads and breakfast cereals.

Avoid Foods That May Trigger Symptoms
Some women find there are certain foods that can trigger symptoms, such as hot flashes and mood swings.

2 common culprits are caffeine and alcohol. Spicy foods can also increase these symptoms and should be consumed in moderation so as to not worsen your symptoms. 

Drink More Water
Hydration is beneficial in ALL aspects of health.

It is common for women to experience dryness during menopause. The likely cause of this is the estrogen decrease during menopause. Hot flashes and sweating can also lead to dryness and dehydration. Drinking ample water: 8-12 glasses a day will help with this. 

Stick to a Proper Diet
Along with calcium and vitamin d rich foods, it is important to keep a balanced diet and not skip out on a meal. Protein is important during menopause. When estrogen decreases during menopauses, it can decrease muscle mass and bone strength. A proper intake of protein may help prevent this loss and also assist in mood regulation and sleep.

It is also important to avoid a lot of carbs and sugar if you can, as it can cause rises and dips in blood sugar, which can make you feel more tired and irritable. 

You will also want to ensure you stick to a proper meal plan. Irregular eating can cause menopause symptoms to worsen. Having a proper eating schedule will help decrease your symptoms. 

So there you have it. Some easy and natural ways to help you during this milestone of your life. Remember, aging is a beautiful and natural part of life, no matter what can come with it. So embrace your menopause and take control of your symptoms. 



Resources:

https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/menopause-resource-center/best-exercises/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12540414/

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/737143_2#:~:text=Due%20to%20a%20decrease%20in,and%20prevent%20and%20treat%20osteoporosis.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21702289/

https://www.henryford.com/blog/2019/03/what-to-eat-or-not-during-menopause

These are uncertain and unprecedented times. Not as many gyms are open, some are at full capacity, or you may just want to stay home as much as you can. Whatever the reason may be-doesn’t mean you have to put a damper in your workout routine.

Even without any equipment, and even if you only have a small space, there are ample at-home workouts and exercises you can do to keep up with your fitness routine and stay active, while of course being in the comfort of your own home!

Take a look around the room you’re currently in. What items do you see?
Many of the items around you can be used to work out and exercise!

No weights to lift? No problem. Find something around 2-5 lbs depending on your comfort level.

Have a bag of potatoes lying around? Boom- there is your weight lifting!

Before lifting anything, make sure you have a proper stance and bend with your knees. You can rotate 10-15 reps between each arm. OR use both arms at once, lifting it like a sack for 20-30 reps (whatever you may feel comfortable with)

Ok so now you have a bag of potatoes for weight lifting, what’s next?

Here are some other At Home Workouts for you to try:

Squats (or Assisted Squats)
This can be done without any equipment, or if needed, you may use something to help keep you upright (something sturdy to hold on to)

Bending down while keeping your back upright, arms out in front of you, down and up.
25 reps.

Bicycles
Use a yoga mat or soft surface below you: Lie on your back feet in the air and your knees bent. Make the motion of riding a bicycle. 
10 reps.

Push-ups.
Again you will want a mat or soft surface. This workout can even help strengthen your lower back. 10 reps. 

Walking lunges.
Ensure you have ample space around you to lunge. Do 10 for each leg. 

Jumping Jacks
These are simple enough, most of us have done jumping jacks in our childhood- plus they can be fun when you have the right music pumping!
30 reps.

Crunches or Sit Ups.
These are great for your stomach. Just 30 reps a day will work to help strengthen your upper body core. 

Walk.
This will allow you to get some fresh air while getting exercise. Walk your dog or just go solo with some nice music pumping into your ears. Walking 30 minutes a day is great for your overall health.

You can also follow a work out video from youtube or other media platforms.

Have a baby or toddler? Think of ways to incorporate taking care of them into your fitness routine. There is even a thing called Mommy Yoga!

Try this technique below:

  • Sit down on your mat facing your seated baby, supporting them by holding their hands (or wrapping your hands around the upper body  working on sitting up).
  • Bend your knees and bring your heels together as close to your pelvis as you can, opening your knees out to the sides. Position your baby’s heels together- mirroring your position
  • Continue to hold on to your baby as you shift your upper body from left to right and back and forward, moving together.
  • You can hold this pose as long as you’d like, but for your baby 5 of your inhales/exhales should be a good count, which of course you may need to adjust depending on how well your baby takes to it!

Now, all that being said, there are always some things to keep in mind when working out, home or at the gym. Especially if you are new to a fitness regime. 

  • Start slowly and build up gradually. Make sure you give yourself plenty of warm up time with some stretching. 
  • Break things up if you have to-don’t overdo yourself all at once. Split up the workouts throughout the day or into sections if needed.
  • Stay hydrated. It is crucial to keep hydrated when working out, the more you sweat- the more you will need to hydrate. 
  • Listen to your body- if a certain workout or exercise is causing pain or discomfort, move on. Try something else or take a break. 

Staying home doesn’t mean you have to give up on your goals- these workouts from home will keep you on track- all from the comfort of your living room!

And always remember to stay hydrated and only do what you can. You may want to push yourself but if your body is telling you no, then slow down and take a rest- there is always tomorrow 🙂



Resources:

https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/mommy-and-me-yoga