Nov 28, 2011

Are vitamins good or bad for you? Clearing up the myths

Happy Monday, or not, depending on your mood, ha ha.

I admit it's hard to get back into working mode...
but the good news is that Christmas 
will be here before we know it! 

In follow up to the guest health post by Heather, 
I've been thinking a lot about vitamins and 
how important it is to take care of your body in general.
I admit I've been a bit of a slacker when it comes to taking vitamins. 
But, I'm here to remind you that's important to take care of your
body because it's the only one you have. 

Did you know that you might be lacking essential vitamins such as zinc,
calcium, iron, or even supplements such as 5htp and chondroitin?

You may not think of it now if you are in your twenties like me, 
but we will age and it will be harder to 
take care of our body as we age (losing weight, etc.)
Forming good habits now will help you (and me) maintain good
habits or form habits as you age and you'll remember to exercise,
eat the right foods, and take the right vitamins.

By the way, as I sit here typing this out to you
I'm snacking on chips. Yes, I know. 
This is a bit ironic since I'm talking about health.
But...don't judge because we all need 
to make improvements.

The question that has been on my mind for quite
sometime is: are vitamins good or bad for me?
I 've heard both opinions and I never know if
I should be loading up on vitamins or relying on
my daily food intake.

So I did a little research and discovered that taking
vitamins are actually good for you, in moderation of course.
Sometimes your body is deficient in different areas, such as 
calcium. A while ago I was actually told that I was deficient in calcium 
because I'm allergic to dairy. You can get blood work done
and they can tell you what you're deficient in.
Since then I've been taking calcium supplements.

I also discovered that Utah, during the winter time,
does not give you as much Vitamin D as you should have
since it snows more and there is less light. So - I've also
been taking Vitamin D when I'm in UT and not CA.

Different vitamins provide different benefits, 
but combining a good diet rich (good foods are sooo important!)
with the right vitamins and minerals
keeps you strong, energetic, and healthy.
They are essential for the body to function properly 
and without adequate vitamins you may encounter
health problems down the road.

So why does our culture say vitamins are bad for us?
Well, some people may be taking too many vitamins
or don't know the appropriate vitamins to take.
Or, they may be relying on vitamins for all of their nutrition
instead of taking the time to eat
their fruits, veggies, protein, and more.

If you're ever in doubt consult a nutritionist or 
ask your doctor. Or...head to a vitamin shop and quiz
the people there. I've learned so much just by asking questions!

So...have you heard people say that vitamins are bad
when they are actually good for you?

Do you take vitamins? 

I hope this cleared up some of the myths for you!
Happy vitamin taking! :)

Nov 26, 2011

I dream of eating healthy and enjoying it! - guest post by Heather


Hi Ocean Dreamers - I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Since it's that time of year to eat lots of tasty food, I think this guest post by Heather is available for us to read at good time. It's been hard for me to eat healthy lately - there's chocolate and tasty holiday treats everywhere! Not to mention I'm sure most of us are stuffed from Thanksgiving food. 

But, I'm going to try harder with eating healthy and these tips are going to help me (and hopefully you!)

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If you’re wishing healthy eating were easier and more satisfying, you’re not alone. However, there are certain healthy foods that will make you feel downright fabulous. The key is to find healthful foods that appeal to your sense of indulgence and to learn how to prepare and serve healthy foods such that you feel like eating them is a privilege, not a chore.

Get Personal
The key to developing a successful healthy eating regimen is to tailor your menu to your specific taste. Perform an inventory of your favorite foods, listing everything you adore to eat (even the unhealthy stuff). From that list, come up with lists of comfort foods, daily dishes, special occasion dishes, and snacks.

Now identify what you love so much about each of these lists. Do you turn to salty, crunchy foods for snacks? Do you like bready foods when needing comforts? Do you love soups? Casseroles? Meat? Potatoes?


Get Practical
Now cross off everything on the list that is “bad for you”, and identify the foods you love that are healthy. Make sure those foods make the grocery list at least once a month. I like to use this list as my foundational list for every-week shopping. These items are my easy go-to healthy foods. They’re familiar and easy to remember to eat.

Invest in a Set of Excellent Cookbooks
To successfully switch your habits, you’re going to need some new recipes. Buy yourself several “healthy” recipe books that look tantalizing to you.

Now get out a cookbook and search for healthy alternative to the “bad” stuff on your list. You love crème brule? Search for a healthy alternative that will be sweet, creamy, and feel indulgent. Commit to trying these healthier recipes until you’ve successfully replaced most of the “bad” stuff on your list with “better” stuff.

Accessorize Extravagantly
Half of what makes a gourmet meal so luxurious is the presentation and description. The chef has prepared harivot verts (green beans) and truffles (mushrooms) on a bed of risotto (rice). Get the point? If you present your meals (and snacks) on smaller plates, with pretty garnishes and delectable drizzles of sauces or toppings, you’ll appreciate your healthy food more. Invest your time in decorating your food and then take your time appreciating it as you eat it. 

C’est Magnifique!
When you do decide to indulge in a “naughty” food, think like the Europeans do. Americans are notoriously into supersizing portions, whereas Europeans indulge in small portions of rich foods, eating more slowly than we do and savoring each bite. This is why the French can eat croissants, brie, and chocolate and still be rail thin.

Invest in teensy tiny desert and serving dishes (find beautiful pieces to make this work even better) and serve beautiful (but small) servings of rich foods. Dress them up so they look gorgeous, and enjoy the entire experience. Smell your food before you taste it. Let it sit in your mouth, and chew slowly. Pause between bites, and enjoy the mingling, changing flavors. Scrape every bit from the dish (perhaps with your finger!) and fully enjoy the experience.
If you get the right attitude about food, even healthy food can be indulgent. Bon appétit!  

Bio:
Born and raised in North Carolina, Heather Green has worked as a fashion and beauty consultant as well as freelancing for various wedding, fashion, and health publications. She currently acts as the resident blogger for Online Nursing Degrees where she’s been researching online health care admin degrees as well as online medical transcription degrees.

Nov 19, 2011

Improve your loved one's style via holiday shopping - guest post by Ash

Enjoy a guest post from the lovely Ash - here are some great gift ideas for the holidays!

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With the holidays fast approaching, it is time to start thinking about shopping for family members. Most people shirk their shopping responsibility by buying lame gifts that serve no purpose, but not the fashionista! If you are someone who loves to be stylish at all costs (pun intended), then read on for ways to share your love of haute couture with those who are a fashion faux pas in the making.  


My Mom Dresses Too Frumpy!
If you're anything like me, your mom undoubtedly has a wardrobe full of mom-jeans, tacky sweatshirts, and other questionable attire. After all, these were all the rage when she bought them, and we all know that fashions recycle themselves, right? Wrong! If your mom dresses like …well … a mom, then it's high time to break her out of her fashion rut. Buy her a few timeless classics, such as a chic turtleneck dress or a snazzy pair of knee-high boots, or stuff her stocking with a jewelry item that will encourage her to upgrade her wardrobe. After all, you can't very well wear a light-up reindeer sweatshirt with a glittering bauble, can you?  

My Dad is Stuck in the Seventies!
Does your dad still wear Wrangler jeans and wide ties? Bring him into the 21st century with a few stylish items, such as a leather jacket or a trendy shirt and tie combo. If your dad has a vast collection of ugly sweaters, replace them with a smart suit that would make any dad dapper. Finally, don't forget accessories! Whether you are looking for cuff links to go with his new suit, or a snazzy pair of aviator glasses, your dad will be sure to welcome an artistic touch to his wardrobe.  

My Sister Dresses Too Young for Her Age!
So, your sister is thirty, but dresses like she's twenty. Sound familiar? If you're tired of gazing at your sibling's cleavage, or want to show her that it's possible to be sexy while still maintaining her dignity, go for a wrap dress and a pair of heels, or a pencil skirt paired with a cashmere sweater. Alternately, you can buy her a soft wool shawl that will cover her up while still making her feel feminine. It is possible to cover every inch of skin while revealing every luscious curve, so be creative and teach your sister how!  

My Man Still Dresses Like He's in College!
If your man is perfect in every way, shape and form aside from his atrocious wardrobe, help him go from college boy to debonair man with a few thoughtful purchases. Swap his hoodies and T-shirts for a sharp sweater vest and button-down. If he is violently opposed to the preppy look, go casual with skinny cords and a hooded sweater. Is he all about comfort? Invest in a new pair of Converse sneakers, which — believe it or not — can still be worn with most casual outfits. If you are feeling particularly brave, or have a bad boy on your hands, look for anything black leather (jacket, boots, even some man-friendly accessories). Show him how suave he can look, and he'll be more likely to take you out for a night on the town!  


And What About Me?
Too often, you buy, buy, buy for your loved ones, only to receive paltry gifts from them. Why take the chance? While you're shopping for others, take the time to pamper yourself with a few necessities. Splurge on a new handbag, or buy those peep-toed pumps you've had your eye on. If you're feeling super indulgent, invest in a few luxurious wardrobe additions, such as a new sweater dress or velvet slacks (perfect for holiday parties).

As you can see, it's possible to improve your loved one's style impairments while satiating your desire to shop. The key is to know your family members' wants and needs, and to buy according to their taste, but also according to what is fashionable at the time. Don't give up on them, and they'll thank you for it!

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Have a great weekend Ocean Dreamers!