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A Light Vegetarian Pizza That’ll Satisfy Carnivores as Well

Pizza is a staple in most households and is a hit with kids with whom mealtimes are always a fight. Just switching up the toppings from the traditional tomatoes and mozzarella can create a brand new dish for supper and along with a fresh salad it makes a delicious and nutritious meal. It also tastes lovely when at room temperature, which makes it a good choice for a picnic meal as well.

 

Ingredients

Makes one thin-crust 12” pizza or fits a medium-sized roasting tin

For the pizza dough

  • 2 cups whole meal flour (plain flour can be used as well)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 sachet active dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the caramelised onions

  • 3 large brown onions, sliced finely
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon chilli flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the pesto

  • 2 cups fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup almonds
  • ½ cup Grana Padano
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. First prepare the dough. Put the dry ingredients in a food processor. Switch it on and add the oil and water until it combines and forms a ball. Remove and knead on a floured surface until smooth. Coat with olive oil and leave in a warm area to rise for about an hour.
  2. Heat some olive oil in a wide frying pan. Put in the chilli flakes and fry until fragrant. Add the onions and salt and cook until softened (but not caramelised yet). Now add the water and turn up the heat a bit. Stir at regular intervals until the water has evaporated and the onions are a rich brown.
  3. While the onions are cooking make the pesto. Combine all ingredients in a blender and whiz until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. If you prefer more garlic or a stronger cheese flavour add more of the required ingredient accordingly.
  4. Heat your pizza oven. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to fit a greased 12” pizza pan or a medium-sized roasting tin. Spread the pesto over the pizza base and top with the caramelised onions.
  5. Drop the oven’s heat before you put the pizza in. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the base is crisp and cooked through. Slice and serve immediately.

Variations

  • Grate some extra Grana Padano or top with fresh mozzarella slices before baking.
  • For a non-vegetarian twist shred some roasted chicken or anchovies over the caramelised onions.
  • When removed from the oven, garnish generously with fresh rocket or baby spinach leaves before serving.
  • If you want to check more vegetarian pizza recipes, click here and enjoy.

How to Get a Better Night’s Sleep

How to get a better night's sleepCan’t Sleep? Help and Treatment for Insomnia

Not being able to sleep can be frustrating. Laying awake, watching the minutes tick by on the clock is more than annoying; if it happens a lot, lack of sleep can be dangerous to your health. A good night’s rest is important for physical and emotional well-being. And studies show that good sleep is associated with anti-aging as well.

Insomnia has been linked to depression, diabetes, sleep apnea, asthma, heart problems, reflux, restless leg syndrome, chronic fatigue and even obesity, just to name a few.

So how do you know if it’s true insomnia or something else? Besides the obvious lack of time actually spent sleeping, there are several things to consider:

Signs you might not be getting enough good quality sleep:

  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble staying alert during tedious or monotonous activities

How much sleep do we need?

Most adults require an average of seven to nine hours of sleep a night. According to the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine, most people tend to sleep more lightly and for shorter amounts of time as they get older.

The idea that older people require less sleep is controversial. A newer trend in thinking is that we need the same amount of sleep at any age. Still, about half of most people over 65 have frequent sleeping problems. This could be a normal part of aging, or could be from medical problems that are common as we age or from other things, such as medications.

help for sleep problemsHelp for Sleep Problems

Sometimes adjusting a few simple things can improve sleep:

  • Stay active-maintain regular activity and moderate exercise
  • Try to go to bed at the same time every night, even weekends
  • Spend some time outdoors during daylight hours each day
  • Avoid caffeine for at least 3 hours before bedtime, even longer if possible
  • Replace a worn mattress
  • Keep your bedroom cool, quiet and tranquil
  • Avoid alcohol. While it may make you sleepy, alcohol can cause you to wake earlier and sleep less
  • Avoid nicotine
  • Take a warm bath or shower before bed to help with relaxation
  • Eat a light snack of carbohydrates and protein an hour before bed

Medication

Over-the-counter sleep aids usually contain antihistamine (such as diphenhydramine) and help with occasional problems, but they may cause drowsiness or dry mouth the next day.

The newer prescription medications for insomnia are less likely to be addictive and can help with short or long term sleep problems. There are several options and they work differently.

chamomile tea to lessen sleep problemsNatural Remedies

Complementary practitioners such as Dr. Ray Sahelian, M.D. have a personal preference for natural sleep aids. Some alternative remedies include:

  • Melatonin
  • 5-htp
  • Chamomile Tea
  • Lavender (oil or aromatherapy)
  • Kava Kava
  • Theanine
  • Valerian
  • Calcium, Magnesium, and B Vitamins are linked to relaxation
  • Massage, acupuncture, hypnosis, cognitive behavior therapy, relaxation techniques, light therapy or yoga may improve sleep problems

consult doctor about sleep problemsGet to the root of the problem

Understanding what is causing sleep issues is key to solving the problem. Over-the-counter remedies can help with short term sleep trouble, but if the problem continues, it’s a good idea to seek help. The best treatments are based on accurate diagnosis.

Your doctor may send you to a sleep clinic or a doctor that specializes in other types of medicine. Chronic insomnia can be treated by different medical specialties. Some physicians are certified by the American Board of Sleep Medicine, which means they have mastered specific clinical skills in the practice of sleep medicine.

If your sleep problems last more than a month, talk with your doctor about treatment options to find out which one is right for you. A restful, rejuvenating sleep is one of the most important aspects to good health.

Some Foods Which Can Lower Your Cholesterol

Heart-healthy food

Following is a list of foods that can lower your cholesterol naturally.

Berries. Several berries like cranberries and strawberries are very rich in antioxidants which help in reducing the heart disease.

Apples. A recent research in Netherlands has amply shown that presence of phytochemicals in apples have good potential to reduce the risk of stroke or heart disease to 50 %. Eating two apples or 14 ounces of apple juice each day is beneficial.

Beans/ Legumes. The presence of protein, fiber and many other essential compounds in lentils, legumes and beans can help in reducing the cholesterol, improvement of blood-vessel function and any blood clotting. They are also a rich source of folate which helps in keeping the homocysteine levels (responsible for heart disease) in control. Just one serving of legumes/ dried beans each day can help in reducing cholesterol by about 15 %.

Onions. Eating half raw onion each day can raise the good cholesterol (HDL) by about 30 %.

Groundnuts. Groundnuts are rich in vitamin E (a powerful antioxidant) which significantly reduces any risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Groundnuts also have high amounts of bioflavonoid resveratrol which improves the flow of blood flow to brain by about 20 %, thus reducing any risk of brain stroke. Similarly, by including groundnuts in your diet, you can reduce the cholesterol by about 15 %.

Foods That Can Lower Your Cholesterol

Green Vegetables. Many green and leafy vegetables like fenugreek, broccoli and spinach have large amount of magnesium, antioxidants, calcium and iron which protects the heart from high LDL cholesterol.

Oats. Oats contain large amounts of beta-glucans ( a soluble fiber). Consuming about a cup of well cooked oatmeal each day can decrease the LDL cholesterol levels.

Walnuts. Walnuts contain good amounts of omega 3 fatty acids which help in reducing bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and helps in preventing the formation of blood clots. Consumption of walnuts can reduce your cholesterol levels by 14 % and LDL cholesterol levels by about 17 %.

Olive oil. Among all the cooking oils, olive oil has large amounts (about 70 %) of monounsaturated fats and antioxidants which assist in lowering the LDL cholesterol levels without causing any change in the HDL cholesterol levels.

Pistachios. Eating about 66 grams of pistachios (in-shell), can greatly reduce the LDL cholesterol by about 8 % and the triglycerides by about 12 % as per the study conducted by Archive of Internal Medicine in May 2010.

green tea

Herbs. Serpertine, terminalia arjuna, sida cordifolia, green tea and digitalis pupurea are heart friendly herbs and can be easily taken in the form of tea.

Psyllium husk. Consumption of 5 to 14 gms of psyllium husk in our daily diet( low in cholesterol and saturated fats) can help in reducing the LDL cholesterol levels to a great extent.

Content Marketing 101

Create and Distribute Content to Market Online Business

Content marketing is the practice of using packaged information to establish business expertise, create awareness, educate consumers and drive sales.

The term applies in print advertising, though content marketing has become easier and less expensive through email, online marketing, and social networking websites.

For example, real estate companies have sent out newsletters to prospective homebuyers for decades. Now they have a wider reach and can send monthly newsletters by email at a fraction of the cost. These newsletters must contain current, engaging articles to keep homebuyers reading. They must also have a call to action if the real estate agent hopes to earn the reader’s business.

Online Marketing Program vs Traditional Marketing

In the past, content marketing was a limited method of advertising. Print ads increase in cost with the amount of text or graphics, so packing an ad full of information can be prohibitively expensive. Printing and mailing directly to the reader added extra costs, as well. What e-commerce has done is made it easier than ever for online businesses to connect with current and prospective customers without having a huge marketing budget.

Information packaging can look at a number of different ways for online distribution. An online marketer’s greatest hope is that their message will become viral, meaning readers will pass it around and recommend it to others, greatly increasing its traffic and conversions through PPC ads.

Content used in an online marketing program comes in many different forms, but each piece has three things in common:

  • It provides useful information
  • It contains a marketing message
  • It is search engine optimized and accessible to the company’s target market

Creating Killer Marketing Content

There are several ways to create content. The goal is to build a reputation as the company to turn to; as the top e-commerce solution for the consumer’s needs. It is important to engage the consumer without overwhelming them with too much information.

Be creative! Content marketing products come in a variety of formats:

  • blog articles
  • free e-books or reports
  • mp3 recordings or transcripts of teleconferences
  • newsletters
  • webinars and podcasts
  • white papers
  • YouTube videos

The best information and marketing message is lost in a poorly produced product. Written documents must be free of errors, properly formatted and distributed in a format accessible to all readers, such as PDF. Ensure that audio/video products are clear and free of background noise. The top e-commerce provider in any given industry needs to radiate professionalism in every communication and piece of marketing material.

Creating products for content marketing isn’t every company’s strong suit. Save time by outsourcing these projects to a marketing agency skilled in providing reliable blog writing services. When contracting out product needs to online professionals, review samples, ask for references and use escrow to ensure a successful outcome.

Each content marketing product should link back to the advertising company’s website or email. Use a logo to help build your brand with each new product.

Marketing Products Online

Depending on the type of product, a number of strategies can be used individually or together to increase exposure. Email marketing requires the ongoing generation and distribution of content, as readers come to expect and rely on receiving the message at a certain date or time. Creating content for article banks or YouTube is more flexible, as the company can submit articles or videos at their leisure. Update blogs regularly to keep readers’ interest.

Simply getting the content online is not enough, though. Linking to the content through social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn allows the content to become viral as users are more likely to forward the information to others.

Keeping Content Marketing Material Fresh


To reduce the burden of constantly generating new content, try repackaging information in ways accessible to different audiences. For example, transcribe a teleconference, convert it to an e-book, then break it down into several articles or blog entries.

Providing a steady stream of useful information helps top e-commerce companies retain customers, build a professional reputation, showcase leadership, and attract new clients.

Contact Lens and Sunglasses Advice & Tips

Sunglasses and Contact lenses – Frequently Asked Questions

1. Protection 

Sun protection for your eyes is incredibly important, especially during our severe African Summers. We should be taking as much care to protect our eyes against the sun as we do our skin. Most sun damage to our eyes occur early in life – late teens to early thirties, but the effects can surface years or even decades later and be devastating to ocular health and vision. Pterygia, which is a non-cancerous wedge-shaped tissue growth that expands from the conjunctiva (the thin membrane which covers the white of the eye) onto the cornea (the clear central part of the eye) often occurring in both eyes (usually on the nasal side); are strongly associated with exposure to UV and are common among people who spend a lot of time outdoors, without the correct eye protection. Wearing sunglasses or moisturizing contact lenses at affordable prices can really protect your eyes from the damaging UV rays.

2. Performance

Professor J.T Ferreira – a forerunner in the field of Sports Vision in South Africa and the founder of the Sports Vision Academy at UJ – is a vehement advocate for the use of protective eyewear in professional and recreational sports. He explains that excessive glare causes visual fatigue that inevitably impacts concentration and performance. The same goes for driving. Driving exerts an enormous amount of strain on the visual system, thus reducing the amount of glare on the road will enhance concentration and reduce fatigue.

So, even if you’re not interested in taking a few shots off your handicap – you’d still benefit from a proper set of sunglasses for your trip to the coast this festive season.

3. Polarized Sunglasses or Not?

Flat road surfaces or calm water are reflecting light that is traveling generally in a direction that is oriented horizontally. This process can create an experience of an extensive intensity of light, that can be annoying and at some times dangerous, or commonly known as glare.  Sunglasses that are polarized are containing a particular filter that is reducing the glare and is blocking the intense reflecting light.

4. Why bother with Prescription?

If you have a prescription and you try to wear non-scripted sunglasses, you will probably feel that they impair your vision, no matter how good they are. This is due to the fact that the pupil dilates behind the lens, causing a decrease in the depth of focus. It is therefore definitely advisable for you to have prescription sunglasses if you generally wear glasses.

5. Are contact lenses better to use than prescription glasses?

This is usually up to personal preference. It may also depend on environmental factors. For example, a chef called Sarah prefers to wear contact lenses while she works because her glasses often ‘steam up’ when working in the restaurant’s kitchen environment. However, Sarah prefers to wear her glasses before she goes to bed, as she does not want to fall asleep with her contact lenses in.

6. Why are my eyes always red when I wear my contacts?

Eye redness can be due to many factors including but not limited to dry eyes, allergy to either lens material or solution, lens over-wear, and infection. In order to find out which of these problems you may be experiencing, ask yourself the following questions:

  • When do my eyes turn red – immediately upon lens-insertion or only later on in the day?
  • If your eyes turn red immediately, you may be sensitive to the lens material or solution that you are using. Make sure to give us a call so we can advise on alternatives. Always make sure that you insert your lenses after cleaning your hands with antibacterial soap and water and preferably before applying any other grooming products – moisturizer/aftershave/make-up as these products tend to be absorbed by the skin on your fingertips and may contain substances that cause stinging when it comes into contact with your eyes. If your eyes only turn red later on in the day, it may be that your lenses are drying out towards the end of the day or that you are wearing them for longer than the recommended wearing time per day. If this is the case, give us a call to chat about possible solutions to this problem. PLEASE do not buy off-the-shelf eye drops that claim to whiten eyes or use your contact lens solution as eyedrops! There are specific products available to address the issue. Using the wrong product may, in fact, make the problem worse in the long run!
  • How old are my current lenses – towards the end of their lifespan or brand new?
  • If your contact lenses only start to irritate you towards the end of their lifespan, make sure that you adhere to the replacement schedule. DO NOT use monthly disposables for more than one calendar month! Most contact lenses are made from a silicone-hydrogel material in order for them to transfer oxygen through the lens to the eye surface. Normal blinking deposits lipids and proteins from the tear layer into the matrix of the lens, which impairs its oxygen permeability. These deposits are not removed by soaking the lenses overnight and is the reason for the stipulated lifespan of each lens. It is also advisable to have at least one full day (24hrs) of no contact lens wear. This gives your corneal surface time to fully regenerate and reduces the risk of infection as it restores the normal pH balance of the eye surface.
  • Do I sleep with my lenses?
  • There are only one or two lens options that have FDA approval for extended wear – in other words, daily colored lenses wearable up to 2 weeks. But still, you have to take care of your eyes by removing, cleaning and storing your contact lenses at night. If you are not wearing one of these lenses, chances are you’re doing damage! The available oxygen to the eye in normal open-eye conditions is about 20% (atmospheric oxygen). In the closed-eye conditions such as sleeping – the available oxygen levels drop to about 5%. Introducing a contact lens to either condition reduces the available oxygen by about 5% (as no lens can transfer all the oxygen that passes through it). So, sleeping with your lenses basically depletes the entire available oxygen supply to the eye, which causes dehydration of the cornea, swelling, and redness and increases the chances of infections and ulcers. In my opinion, it’s definitely not worth the risk!

  • How old is the solution I’m using?
  • You should be replacing your solution daily. When putting your lenses in, throw out the old solution and leave your case to air dry. In the evening, put your lenses into the container and pour the new solution over the lens. Make sure the lenses are covered and not protruding over the edge before closing. Keep your lenses separate – right and left and don’t swap them as your prescription is more than likely different for each eye. This also reduces the risk of spreading infection from one eye to the other. Contact lens solution disinfects and cleans the lenses and it needs to be in contact with the lens for at least 6 hours to be effective. There are also special protein and lipid cleaners that can be used once or twice a month to ensure comfortable usage for the full lifespan of your lens. Once your solution has been opened – make sure to finish it within 90 days of opening. We recommend buying smaller containers and replace more frequently.
  • Have I been in contact with any known / new allergens – new solution/face wash/moisturizer/ make-up?
  • Sometimes a silly thing like changing your solution/facewash/moisturizer/make-up might have an adverse reaction. Even your laundry detergent or fabric softener might have an effect. There are special medications for eye allergies, should the problem persist, so don’t hesitate to contact us should you experience this problem.
  •  Are both eyes equally red or is one eye more inflamed than the other?
  • Infections usually affect one eye first and then spread to the other. If only one eye is affected, make sure to find out if you need an antibiotic drop to clear the infection. It is wise to discontinue contact lens wear for the duration of treatment unless the contact lens is being used as a “bandage” and discarded after treatment is completed.

Eat Against Depression with Foods That Fight the Blues

Incorporating the following meats, fish, grains, and herbs into one’s diet can not only promote mental well-being but support the healing of one’s mind.

Anyone who has experienced depression or that of a loved one knows the search for any and all possible avenues of healing, including various medications, psychiatric care, and even exercise regimes. Yet because modern food processing has altered traditional nutrients, depression is increasingly linked to food allergies and the lack of certain fats and minerals in one’s diet. Consequently, carefully choosing of what goes into the body has never been more crucial when it comes to reclaiming a healthy, happy life after depression.

Fatty Acids Fight Depression

Because two-thirds of the brain is made of fats, fatty acids are a necessary part of the human diet. Two, in particular, omega-3s and omega-6s, are absolutely vital. Sources of omega-6s happen to be abundant in modern diets, but omega-3s must be added more intentionally. Vegetarian sources of omega-3s include green leafy vegetables, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and sea vegetables like algae. Not surprisingly, the best animal source is fish. In her book Rebuild from Depression, Amanda Rose recommends salmon (the “wilder” the better), sardines, anchovies, herring, oysters, clams, and fish oil as excellent sources of omega-3s. Rose’s blog is a wealth of information and even free family recipes for cooking delicious mood-lifting meals.

Complete Proteins: Amino Acids

Amino acids are the components that make proteins. The human body creates many of its own amino acids, except for nine amino acids that must be obtained through the diet. Depression can be linked to deficiencies in these nine. Foods which contain all nine amino acids are the solution, and these are called “complete proteins.” Among the richest complete proteins are animal products like beef, poultry, fish, dairy and grains like soy, oats, amaranth, and quinoa.

Vitamins B and D

Vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid or B9 support the nervous system and deficiencies in these areas can lead to depression. Dr Andrew Weil profiles these important vitamins on his site, which offers a free vitamin advisor. B6 is prevalent in food, including spinach, carrots, bananas, cereals, beans, dairy products, and potatoes. Weil warns not that recommend maximums are 100mg a day, as too much B6 can be dangerous. However, there is no danger when it comes to B12, which is found only in animal products, including dairy, meat, fish, and shellfish. B9 is found in spinach, green vegetables, beans, asparagus, melon, beans, lemons, yeast, and mushrooms.

Vitamin D is absorbed from sunlight exposure, so winter can pose the threat of deficiency. Besides fortified milk and breakfast cereals, herring, oysters, steelhead trout, salmon, fish oil and soy products are rich in D and can be supplemented when sunlight is at a minimum.

Minerals

Minerals vital to the healthy functioning of the nervous system include magnesium, zinc, and iron for postpartum women. Magnesium is available in whole grains, leafy green vegetables, nuts, beans, avocados, soybeans, and halibut. Foods highest in iron include beef, chicken, and pork liver, as well as mussels and oysters. Zinc is found in beef, lamb and veal, eggs, cooked oysters, legumes (beans and peas), pumpkin seeds, whole grains, and nuts. Foods highest in iron include beef, chicken, and pork liver and shellfish such as oysters, mussels, and clams.

Dark Chocolate and Mood

The chemical compounds in dark chocolate (as opposed to milk chocolate), can promote positive mood by raising serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that comes from the amino acid tryptophan, and involved in sleep, memory, and mood regulation. Endorphins are compounds of amino acids that act like opiates in the body, calming and lifting the mood.

Herbs That Help Happiness

According to Jack Challem’s book The Food-Mood Solution, certain herbs are beneficial in battling depression, stress, anxiety, and premenstrual syndrome. These include Ginkgo, Ginseng, Spanish Sage, Rhodiola, and St. John’s Wort and can often be found in bottled supplements.

To enhance mood, support healthy brain function, and keep depression at bay, select foods that contain the fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals cited. Many foods contain more than one; lamb, for example, is a good source of both B12 and zinc. Research is made easy at Nutritiondata, which provides nutrition facts with an analysis for every food imaginable. The fact is “you are what you eat” is true at even the biochemical level. And this, in the end, is good news.

 

The Health Benefits of Walking for Exercise

 
Find tips for easy to do fitness walking, health advantages of walking, and ideal walking gear for every walker whether beginner or advanced.

Walking, an activity that nearly everyone does every day is the number one activity everywhere in the world. Walking holds claim to the number one participation sport the world over. The major reason for this top spot is the ease with which it is done. Walking does not require any special skill, equipment, or clothing.

Health Benefits of Walking

Walking is, most likely, the safest exercise one can do. There is no prior training required nor does it require an overt amount of physical exertion. In spite of that, walking can be just as effective in assisting with weight loss. Other health benefits of walking include:

  • an easing of back pain
  • lowering blood pressure
  • reducing levels of bad cholesterol
  • reducing the risk of heart disease
  • enhancing stamina and energy
  • lessening anxiety and tension
  • improving muscle tone
  • slowing down of bone loss due to osteoporosis

The Best Walking Equipment

There is a wide array of walking equipment available from gear for people on a budget to those for whom money is no object. While one can, there is no need to spend a lot of money on walking equipment. There are a few necessities when it comes to successful walking along with a few items that are simply beneficial.

The most integral piece of walking equipment is shoes. Walking shoes can be the difference between having fun while exercising and being in pain. It is extremely important to acquire a good pair of walking shoes with the following characteristics:

  • support and comfort for all parts of the foot
  • enough room so that the toes can wiggle
  • firm support for the heel
  • a flexible cushioned sole to aid walking gait and absorb shock
  • made of breathable material to allow perspiration to dissipate
  • lightweight

Other beneficial, but not essential, walking gear includes pedometers and reflective lights. Pedometers are an ideal way to enhance walking. It is fun to know how many steps and/or how many miles or kilometres one has walked. A pedometer is a great way to keep track of progress towards goals. Most pedometers also calculate calories burned. If one decides to walk in the early morning or late evening, reflective vests and/or bands are essential for safety. Small blinking lights or flashlights will also work for this purpose.

Walk 10,000 Steps a Day

Health experts recommend approximately 30 minutes of exercise three times a week. The 10K-A-DAY program exceeds this recommendation. This is where a pedometer is most beneficial as it will tabulate steps taken during each day. It is suggested that one keep a walking journal or calendar to log daily steps and keep track of progress. If a weight loss goal is involved, 12,000 steps may be a more significant goal to work towards.

Prior to any walk, it is always a good idea to do a warm-up and stretch. A moderately paced, five-minute walk followed by calf, Achilles, hamstring, and quadricep stretches are suggested. This warm-up period will help loosen muscles and lessen the chance of injury. At the end of any walk, a cool down period is beneficial. Another five minutes should be spent slowing one’s heart rate, rather than stopping abruptly. Stretching once again is also a good idea.

Do’s and Dont’s of Fitness Walking

There are a few things to remember before beginning a walking program, including the following:

  • Do see a doctor before beginning any exercise program. He or she will be able to assist in the development of an appropriate routine.
  • Do drink water before, during, and after a walk.
  • Do eat well, avoiding foods high in fat and cholesterol.
  • Don’t continue walking if chest pains, dizziness, pain, or severe shortness of breath occur.
  • Don’t walk right after or before meals. Wait two hours after a meal to walk and 20 minutes prior to eating after a walk.
  • Don’t walk outdoors in extreme weather conditions. Find a walking track indoors as an alternative.

Enjoy walking as part of a regular daily routine. The health benefits are endless and the activity is simple and inexpensive to begin and maintain. Make walking a family affair and/or invite friends along as well. Walking can make a significantly positive difference in the life of people of all ages.

Stress and Yoga

Stress, anxiety, anger and frustration have terrible consequences on physical and mental health. Yoga helps neutralize these harsh effects on health.

When life gets chaotic and stressful, it is all too easy to feel overpowered and crushed by the various events happening around. Uncertainty, indecision, and dissatisfaction surface, and the mind seem to be exploding. Tension, worry, anxiety, apprehension, fear and emotional upheavals, all take a very heavy toll on the health. Stress causes a host of psychological and physical disorders. Recurrent headaches, muscle pains, backache, insomnia, elevated blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, cardiac disorders, hair loss, mood swings, rage, and depression are just a few of the dreadful consequences of stress.

What can be Done About Stress?

Primarily, one needs to take action before a ‘burn out’. Determine the cause of stress and work towards alleviating it. Practice healthy living. Follow a healthy and habitual regimen. Eat right, sleep well, follow a hobby, and most essentially be grateful of the body and treasure it.

Yoga is a powerful discipline that helps lessen the impact of stress successfully.

Counter-acting Stress through Yoga

Yoga is a very ancient science that helps one attain ‘communion with God’. Drawn from the Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’, it unites the individual soul or the ‘Jivatma’ with the universal soul or the ‘Paramatma‘.

The regular and sustained practice of Yoga offers significant long-term benefits. It works powerfully at the physical, mental, and spiritual levels. It provides an immediate ‘feel good’ and buoyant effect. Yoga boosts energy levels and suffuses one with a sense of well being and peace. It keeps a whole range of lifestyle and metabolic disorders at bay. Yoga eradicates unnecessary mental clutter and pessimism and infuses serenity.

The Benefits of Yoga Practice

Chiefly, Yoga operates on the subtle energies in the body. The graceful and free flowing movements of the Yoga Asanas, maintain a good flow of the Prana or the vital force, in the body. Yoga balances the flow of the vital energy and checks an excess or a shortage of the Prana.

Most people have sedentary, desk-bound jobs, with virtually no activity. Yoga guarantees a supple and agile body. It enhances the supply of oxygen to all the cells in the body, betters the mobility of joints, tones up the gastric organs, and improves balance.

Yoga has a strong effect on mental health. It increases concentration, improves memory and calms the mind. Yoga encourages peace and level-headedness, by helping one tackle stressful conditions and encourages hope and living in the present moment.

A Yoga Technique that Provides Complete Peace and Calmness

Shashankasana is a wonderful Yoga posture that is easy to perform on a daily basis and instils profound peace and relaxation. One comes out of this asana feeling revived and rejuvenated.

The technique :

  • Kneel on to the yoga mat. Then, sit down with the buttocks on to the feet. Place the palms on the thighs and keep the spine erect.
  • Raise the arms, parallel to the thighs, at the level of the chest.
  • Gradually lean the body forwards, so that the chest is flattened against the thighs, and the arms are stretched straight forwards, on the floor.
  • Let the forehead touch the floor.
  • Relax into the pose. Hold the asana for about 2 to 3 minutes.

This asana lets go of all tension and stress effectively. It soothes the mind, relaxes the body and generates inner peace.

Learn to Sleep More and Better Every Night

Reduce Anxiety and Create a Schedule to Get More Sleep At Night

Most doctors agree that the average adult needs about eight hours of sleep, yet most adults are lucky to get six hours of sleep.

Between everything that needs to be done each day, tossing and turning, and daily worries, many people believe there just isn’t enough time for restful, healthy sleep. Some of the steps below can help to increase the quality and amount of sleep each night.

Go to Bed Earlier and Stick to a Schedule for a Better Night’s Sleep

Gradually increasing the time spent in bed each night will eventually lead to an increased time spent sleeping. If a person goes to bed even just 10 minutes earlier each week, they will gradually increase the amount of time they are in bed resting, and in a month, will spend at least 40 minutes more in bed each night – hopefully leading to an increase in time spent sleeping. And even if sleep does not come immediately, more time spent resting will be beneficial the next day.

Keeping a schedule is important to sleeping better, too. If a person goes to bed around the same time each night and gets up at the same time every day, the body will be conditioned to expect to be asleep between those hours. Stick to the schedule every day, even on weekends and days off, and the body will respond with a more fulfilling and restful night.

Remove Distractions from the Bedroom to Sleep Heavily

Bedrooms are for sleeping. They are not watching television, surfing the Internet, or doing laundry. A bedroom should be a safe haven, associated with restfulness and relaxation, and bringing a television or a computer into that safe haven can increase anxiety. If the body is conditioned to do little more than sleep in the bedroom, it will know exactly what to do when it comes time for sleep, and the mind will follow suit. Occupying the mind with distractions is detrimental to an easy sleeping environment.

If the body does not relax immediately and the mind runs wild, keep a journal or notebook on the nightstand. When an idea pops into the mind, write it down in the notebook and forget about it until the morning. Anxiety is the number one reason people cannot sleep at night, and if the idea is written down it can be forgotten until morning – a more appropriate time to deal with the problem – leaving more time for sleep.

Revamp the Bedroom for Better Sleep

Anxiety is the number one reason people cannot sleep at night, and the number two reason is too much light coming in through windows and doorways. Blackout window shades can be purchased to help reduce light from outside, and in addition, the shades also will help to reduce sound, as they are designed to absorb outside distractions.

Another reason why people often cannot sleep is that they need a new mattress. Many mattresses come with at least a 10-year warranty, but the average person will replace their mattress after only 7.8 years. There are many reasons for this, but chief among them are dust mites. Dust mites breed in mattresses, breaking down foam units and other components in the bed, making it feel different and uncomfortable over time. The goal is to spend one-third of the day in the mattress (eight hours) and thus one-third of the life. Therefore, a good mattress is one of the most important components for sleeping well.

Sleeping well is not a habit, but rather a lifestyle, and learning to sleep better will take time. Be patient and make a few simple changes at a time. If only one or two of these suggestions are followed, a person will find they are able to sleep better and for longer at night, hopefully increasing the overall quality of life. If all of the habits and suggestions are followed, a person will find themselves headed toward a sleeping makeover, thus changing their life.

 

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