Reading Labels - Ingredients to Avoid

Reading food labels is a great way to fully understand what ingredients or preservatives you are putting in your body. Some of these products should be a red flag to let you know the potential risks of certain foods. There are ingredients that food manufacturers are allowed to add in products, but could cause negative effects to your body. Being aware of these ingredients can help you determine which foods to avoid.

Hydrogenated- This is your “key” word for knowing if your product truly has trans fats in the food. Manufacturers are allowed to put minor levels of trans fats in foods without documenting on the nutrition facts panel. Therefore, if you truly want to know if there are any traces of trans fats this is the word you should look for in the ingredients list.

·         Labels are allowed to claim zero grams of trans fat if they have fewer than 0.49 grams, according to the FDA. To avoid even trace amounts of these harmful fats, don't eat foods with partially hydrogenated oils.



Word ending in “-ose”- If you see an ingredient in the list that ends in “-ose” this is an indicator of added sugar in your food product. Remember that 4-5 grams of sugar equals one teaspoon and can add up quickly. Examples would be: Sucrose, Galactose

·         Can you find the hidden sugar?



 Monosodium glutamate- This is the official name for what is commonly known as MSG. In the ingredients list the full name will be spelled out as monosodium glutamate. MSG is a salt like preservative and an article from the Mayo clinic states: “Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer commonly added to Chinese food, canned vegetables, soups and processed meats. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified MSG as a food ingredient that's "generally recognized as safe," but its use remains controversial. For this reason, when MSG is added to food, the FDA requires that it be listed on the label. MSG has been used as a food additive for decades. Over the years, the FDA has received many anecdotal reports of adverse reactions to foods containing MSG.”







Stretching - Beneficial for All Ages


Static stretching seems like the “easy” part of exercise. You just lay in the floor or sit in a chair and move your muscles until they feel slight tension and then hold. Health benefits can be found by stretching a muscle for just 20 seconds every day. These benefits include increased flexibility, increased blood flow to muscles, and can prevent certain injuries. However, most of us don’t stretch on a daily basis. Why?


We all hear how we need cardio in our workout to strengthen our heart and weight training exercises to build muscle. But we forget about an important, and sometimes simple, aspect of exercise. Stretching can help improve your daily life by making your body feel more relaxed and your mind less stressed.  A study at the University of Illinois found that when elderly people followed a stretching program they experienced a boost in their self-esteem. “Stretching releases dopamine which helps you feel happier and more positive about the world,” says Dr. Simon Floreani, chiropractor and Ambassador for Allied Health and Prevention.


Stretching as often as possible will provide the most health benefits. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that at least 3 times a week of stretching will correlate to improved range of motion. Stretching is most effective in gaining increases in range of motion after a regular workout when your muscles are “warm” and have been used. This can also be an important exercise after sitting for long periods at an office, for the elderly population, and even children. An individual’s activities will correlate which area of the body needs the most stretching. Keeping simple stretches in mind can help you stay in optimal health and overall wellness. Here are some basic stretches you can perform in less than 5 minutes.

5 Stretches that will take you less than 5 minutes


1. Arms Above Your Head- Stretch your arms up over your head and clasp hands. Hold for 20 seconds while breathing deeply.


2. Side Bend- While sitting in a chair stretch your arms up over your head and bend to the side, holding the stretch for 20 seconds on each side.


3. Seated Twist- While sitting in a chair with both feet flat on the ground rotate your body to one side while holding the back of the chair. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds on each side.


4. Chest Stretch- While sitting in a chair with both feet flat on the ground reach back and hold the sides of the chair while pushing your chest forward. Hold for 20 seconds while breathing deeply.


5. Lower Body Stretch- While sitting in a chair extend one leg out and bend forward stretching your hands straight out in front of you. Hold for 20 seconds on each leg.                                                                   


Tunwattanapong, P., Kongkasuwan, R., & Kuptniratsaikul, V. (2016). The effectiveness of a neck and shoulder stretching exercise program among office workers with neck pain: a randomized controlled trial. Clinical Rehabilitation, 30(1), 64-72. doi:10.1177/0269215515575747


Exercise and Pregnancy 

“You need to be physically active during pregnancy. It has terrific benefits that are associated with a better pregnancy outcome and even shorter labors. It’s a win-win for baby and for mom,” says high-risk pregnancy expert Laura Riley, MD, spokeswoman for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and author of Pregnancy: You and Your Baby.

There are many misconceptions surrounding exercise and pregnancy. It is important to talk to your doctor about your normal routine and your exercise intentions from the very beginning of your pregnancy. The simple guidelines are that if you are on an exercise program before becoming pregnant then it is recommended to stay with this healthy habit. If you have never been on an exercise routine before and want to start then it is important to start out slow and stick with simple exercises.

Why is physical activity during pregnancy good for you? 

For healthy pregnant women, exercise can:

  • Keep your heart, body and mind healthy
  • Help you feel good and find the extra energy you need
  • Help you stay fit and gain the right amount of weight during pregnancy
  • Ease some of the discomforts you might have during pregnancy, like constipation, backaches, trouble sleeping and varicose veins (swollen veins)
  • Prevent health problems like preeclampsia and gestational diabetes
  • Help your body get ready to give birth
  • Help reduce stress

Can physical activity during pregnancy hurt your baby?

With your health care provider’s OK, exercising during pregnancy is safe for you and your baby. Talk to your health care provider before you start any exercise program. Ask about what kinds of activities are safe for you to do. Physical activity is not safe for all pregnant women including certain conditions and a pregnancy with twins, triplets or more (also called multiples). Being pregnant with multiples increases your chances for having preterm labor.

After the third month of pregnancy, any exercises that make you lie flat on your back, like sit-ups is not recommended. Lying on your back can limit the flow of blood to your baby.

What types of activities are best during pregnancy? 

If your provider says it’s OK for you to exercise, pick activities you think you’ll enjoy. Some hospitals and health clubs offer aerobics and prenatal yoga classes for pregnant women. Or try things you can do with your partner or friends, like walking or dancing.

  • Swimming is a great activity for pregnant women. The water supports the weight of your growing body, and moving against it keeps your heart rate up.

What kinds of activities aren’t safe during pregnancy?

Be careful and check with your provider when choosing your activities. During pregnancy, don’t do:

  • Any activity that may hurt you or cause you to fall, like horseback riding, downhill skiing, gymnastics or bike riding
  • Any sport in which you can get hit in the belly, like ice hockey, kickboxing, soccer or basketball
  • After the third month of pregnancy, any exercises that make you lie flat on your back, like sit-ups. Lying on your back can limit the flow of blood to your baby.
  • Scuba diving. This can lead to dangerous gas bubbles in your baby’s blood vessels.
  • Exercising at high altitudes (more than 6,000 feet). This can lower the amount of oxygen that reaches your baby.
  • Activities outside on hot, humid days because your body can overheat. Also, stay out of saunas, hot tubs and steam rooms.

When you exercise, drink lots of water. Pay attention to your body and how you feel. Stop your activity and call your provider if you have any unusual symptoms.


How To: Not Kill Your Plants

Keeping a plant alive is no easy task. If you lack a green thumb {like us} we hope this guide can assist you in your indoor plant adventures. The first step to long lasting greenery is to find a potted plant or two that works with the structure of your home and lifestyle. You may have heard succulents are indestructible. This is FALSE. Lauren and I, your devoted bloggers, have successfully managed to significantly shorten the lives of this very breed. If you can relate, do not be discouraged! The following simple steps don’t require a green thumb but with a little determination, you can bring plant life to your home.
Rules of Thumb
• One of the biggest mistakes planters make is to over-love their green friends. To avoid this deadly move, choose one or two days of the week (depending on the needs of your plants) that you water. Consistency is important. If you feel the soil and it is moist, be cautious not to continue watering this plant. Dry soil = thirsty plant.
• The size of the plant and container affects the amount of water it needs. Obviously a bigger plant will need more water, and some tend to absorb water quickly so those plants might need a little extra.
• Plants living in plastic pots with holes on the bottom have more ability to drain so the roots don’t rot.
• Start out with a low budget when purchasing your first plant. Be patient, as this is a trial and error process, when discovering which plants work best for your environment. It’s important to factor in sunlight, temperature, and watering habits.
• Talk to your local nursery about the needs of your specific plant, and do your research on which plant life will most likely survive your home’s environment.