Healthy 4th of July Desserts!

While we’re all about living a healthy lifestyle here at Live Well Travel Smarter, we also support rewarding yourself for all that healthy work 🙂 But instead of inhaling an entire cake by yourself, here are some healthier alternatives that still taste fantastic.

We’re not world-class chefs ourselves, so here are 20+ healthy dessert recipes from Delish. Find the one that sounds best to you, give it a try, and share it with your friends!

The one we’ll be trying is the Peanut Butter-Banana V’ice Cream 👌

The Case for Cage-Free Eggs

WHAT’S CAGE-FREE?

“Cage-free eggs are exactly what they sound like: they’re eggs that come from hens that are not kept in small wire cages and allowed to spread their wings, perch, and nest – just as hens were meant to do. These hens are given a bit more freedom than caged hens, who are often confined to restricted areas the size of an iPad their entire lives, without the ability to use their wings, stretch, or flutter around. As a result, they get bruised, lose feathers, have no true exercise, and become, well, extremely stressed out. (Kind of like when you’re stuck in a tiny office all day…but worse.) These living conditions don’t just impact the happiness and health of the hens, they can affect the eggs that the hens produce and, as a result, your health, too.”

CAGE-FREE, HEALTHIER, AND HAPPY. 

“Studies show that caged hens are more susceptible to injury and disease, likely because they are so stressed. According to research from the European Food Safety Authority, farms that keep hens in battery cages produced eggs with about 25 times more the odds of Salmonella infection compared to farms that didn’t use cages. That research was based on about 5000 egg farms in 20 different countries. And salmonella is one of the most common causes of food-related sickness, hospitalizations, and illnesses in humans in North America, according to the CDC. So while cage-free eggs might cost a few cents more, they do make a difference. Of course, it’s difficult to say that all cage-free hens live perfect lives. Some argue that hens should be given even more freedom on farms (including a lot more time spent outside), and we don’t disagree. But choosing to become more aware of how life in a battery cage can impact a chicken’s welfare – and choosing to go cage-free – is at least one step up to ensuring the hens do live a more humane existence.”

Above article written and published by Freshly. The original article can be found here.

The Importance of Eating Breakfast

“A good, hearty breakfast sets the mood for your day and contributes to long-term health and wellbeing.

Consider this: The gap between dinner and breakfast is typically the longest your body goes without food. By morning, not only are you craving a yummy frittata, your body is already yearning for the essential macro and micronutrients it needs to function properly. So making the right breakfast choices – like choosing foods rich in nutrients and proteins – can jumpstart your day, keep hunger at bay, and contribute to the lifelong habits that keep us healthy and fit.

WHAT HAPPENS AT BREAKFAST DOESN’T STAY AT BREAKFAST

After a healthy breakfast, you aren’t the only one who gets to work. So does your body. It responds by increasing blood sugar to absorb what you’ve eaten. Your pancreas produces insulin to circulate glucose into cells that make energy. And breakfast keeps this process stable, helping your body manage the right balance of glucose to keep your metabolism on track all day.

Skipping breakfast, however, leads to erratic dips and spikes in glucose, which boost unwanted hunger pangs that signal you to overeat. Over time, fluctuating levels can translate into unhealthy consequences.

Here are a few more reasons why eating breakfast gives our health a boost:

It’s heart smart. Eating breakfast enforces healthy habits and decreases the risk of heart disease stemming from obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Eggs in particular, are loaded with heart-healthy nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids.

It keeps you physical. Breakfast eaters have more energy and motivation to workout and stay active.

It keeps your brain on track.  Your breakfast helps your attention span, concentration, memory, and ability to process and stay focused on tasks.

Every Freshly breakfast is packed with the healthy fats and protein your body needs to start the day right and keep you moving all day long. In the two minutes it’s taken you to read this, maybe a delicious breakfast is even awaiting you in your microwave right now! Yum.”

If you haven’t yet tried Freshly, they deliver chef-prepared meals right to your doorstep. No cooking, no cleanup, no hassle. Just good, wholesome food that you can feel good about eating.

Above article written and published by Freshly. The original article can be found here. // Image also by Freshly, featuring the Denver Omelette.

How long should you sit each day? Health experts have an answer.

Author: Brigid Schulte
Date: 02 June 2015
Source: The Washington Post

You may want to stand up while you read this — and a lot of other stuff.

Experts now say you should start standing up at work for at least two hours a day — and work your way toward four.

That’s a long-awaited answer for a growing number of workers who may have heard of the terrible health effects of prolonged sitting and been wondering whether they should buy standing desks or treadmill desks.

Today, the average office worker sits for about 10 hours, first all those hours in front of the computer, plowing through e-mails, making calls or writing proposals — and eating lunch. And then all those hours of sitting in front of the TV or surfing the Web at home.

Medical researchers have long warned that prolonged sitting is dangerous, associated with a significantly higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and depression, as well as muscle and joint problems. Some have gone on to say that the office chair is worse for your health than smoking and kills more people than HIV. Even working out vigorously before or after work may not compensate for extending sitting.

But now, those researchers have come up with formal suggestions for how much time to sit and to stand that could dramatically change our work habits.

According to the expert statement released in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Americans should begin to stand, move and take breaks for at least two out of eight hours at work. Then, Americans should gradually work up to spending at least half of your eight-hour work day in what researchers call these “light-intensity activities.”

“Our whole culture invites you to take a seat. We say, ‘Are you comfortable? Please take a seat?’ So we know we have a huge job in front of us,” said Gavin Bradley, director of Active Working, an international group aimed at reducing excessive sitting that, along with Public Health England, convened the expert panel. “Our first order of business is to get people to spend two hours of their work day NOT sitting. However you do it, the point is to just get off your rear end.”

Bradley said the first level of activity is simply standing.

“I’m standing right now while I’m talking on the phone,” he said. While the group endorses the use of sit/stand desks, Bradley said there are other activities that can get people to move for two hours during the work day. “Taking your calls standing. Walking around. Pacing. Holding standing meetings. Walking meetings. Walking over to a colleague’s desk instead of sending an e-mail. Using the stairs instead of the elevator. Taking a lunch break. Simple stuff.”

Bradley himself has changed the way he works completely since taking on this challenge to get people out of their seats: He starts his day standing on a comfort mat and has his sit-stand desk programmed to tell him, through a pop up notification on his computer, to change his posture every 20 to 30 minutes.

“It’s all about mixing it up,” he said. “Metabolism slows down 90 percent after 30 minutes of sitting. The enzymes that move the bad fat from your arteries to your muscles, where it can get burned off, slow down. The muscles in your lower body are turned off. And after two hours, good cholesterol drops 20 percent. Just getting up for five minutes is going to get things going again. These things are so simple they’re almost stupid.”

Read more in the full article here.

Cover image courtesy of CNN

Stress & Anxiety: Don’t Let It Control You

The mental (and bodily) effects of stress and anxiety can be strong. Here are some tips that can help you stay in control and avoid its power to keep you down.

  1. Take a Time-Out: When the stress or anxiety levels start to rise, take a pause rather than fighting through it. Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage, or try some relaxation techniques by Mayo Clinic.
  2. Limit Alcohol and Caffeine: These two can aggravate anxiety and set off panic attacks. Opt for water instead, or something flavored if you like (but without a ton of sugar).
  3. Exercise Daily: Exercise has a tremendous therapeutic effect that can help you feel good and maintain your health. It doesn’t have to be a rigorous routine to have a positive result.
  4. Slowly Count to 10:  And breathe while you do it…inhale 1…exhale 2…inhale 3…exhale 4. Focus on your breath to take your mind off of whatever caused the initial stress.
  5. Accept That You Cannot Control Everything: Life takes many turns. Learning to celebrate a change will go a long way to help you not let that change ruin your day. But remember, you *can* control your perspective.
  6. Give Back to Your Community: It feels good and connects you with other people that could become a support network. Moreover, it will be a healthy distraction from any negativity.
  7. Talk to Someone: You’re not alone, so there’s no reason to fight your battle by yourself. Seek a professional if you need to, otherwise a family member or friend can still be a good outlet to open your mind and get an outside perspective.
  8. Get Enough Sleep: A single night of poor or minimal sleep can make you more susceptible to stress or anxiety. Get to bed earlier and be sure to ease into a relaxing evening routine (soften the lights, put your phone away, etc.)
  9. Eat Well-Balanced Meals: Food is medicine. Don’t skip any meals and keep healthful snacks nearby. Freshly is a fantastic source of healthy meals that can be delivered to your doorstep each week. Check them out to make healthy eating a lot easier.
  10. Take Deep Breaths: Take “breathing breaks” as often as you need to throughout the day. Practice to make deep, controlled breathing your new response to rising stress or anxiety levels.
  11. Do Your Best: There’s no need to strive for perfection in everything, and people don’t expect it from you either.
  12. Maintain a Positive Attitude: Whenever negative thoughts come your way, purposely shift your focus to something positive. If your inner voice says, “You’ll never get this done” … replace it with “I’m competent and know how to do this. The result is going to be great.” Learn to treat every negative moment with a positive outlook. Your mind is powerful.
  13. Learn What Triggers Your Anxiety: Keep a journal or use the Notes app on your phone to keep a list of what you were doing when you felt your stress or anxiety. Write down the time of day, where you were, what you were doing, and what you were thinking. Over time you’ll see a pattern and will be able to mentally prepare to reframe your mindset when the trigger happens.
  14. Get Help Online: There’s a lot of great material out there, including online support communities. However, be careful to not “diagnose yourself” with everything you read.

Source: Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) | Image Courtesy of  Everyday Health

Sugars: Are Some Better Than Others?

Author: Wendy Schmid | “The Food” | Furthermore / Equinox

As so-called “healthy” sweeteners flood the market, we’re left to wonder, which to choose? Is one really better than the other?

“Honestly, whether you’re talking about coconut sugar or honey or table sugar, these sweeteners are all sugar delivery mechanisms with minor differences,” says Brian St. Pierre, R.D. a fitness and nutrition coach with Precision Nutrition. “Some are sucrose, some are fructose, so they affect the body slightly differently.”

The basics: Sucrose is a disaccharide, whereas fructose is a category of sugar called a monosaccharide. “Sucrose gets broken down into glucose and fructose before going into the blood stream and raising your blood glucose levels. High levels of blood sugar can damage blood vessels and lead to cavities and gum disease,” says St. Pierre.

Fructose, on the other hand, doesn’t go into the bloodstream like glucose. “It has to go to the liver first to be processed into a useable form so it doesn’t raise blood glucose levels. But if you’re consuming excess calories and fructose that fructose can get converted to triglycerides, which makes it mildly worse than glucose in that regard. It is better at restoring liver glycogen, though, which is an important satiety signal for the brain,” he explains. Another plus: Fructose is less likely to cause cavities.

Still, according to St. Pierre, one type of sugar isn’t necessarily better than another. “Too much sugar in the form of sucrose, glucose, or fructose can lead to all these problems. The health impact they have on you really depends on how much you eat of any of them,” he says.

Consider keeping sugars to 5-10% of your calorie intake a day. “It all depends on your size, your goals, and your activity level. If you want to be moderately fit—say 15% body fat for a man, 23 to 25% for a woman, then you can eat a little more sugar. If you want a six-pack, you’re going to need to eat less sugar,” advises St. Pierre. Eat the sugar you enjoy in moderation—and eat it slowly and until you’re satisfied. While one type doesn’t win hands down, St. Pierre has advised on this scale so you can see how your choices stack up.

 

  • STEVIA

    Type: Natural substitute
    Pros: Sugar-free and non-caloric, made from the leaves of the stevia plant. “If you’re comparing caloric and non-caloric sweeteners, stevia comes out on top. It doesn’t raise blood sugar and it’s natural and beneficial in reasonable amounts. It’s bio-active, so it could have some anti-inflammatory compounds and can also help you cut calories,” says St. Pierre. // Cons: There’s a minor aftertaste that can take getting used to and overusing it could cause you to develop more of a taste for sweets.

  • HONEY

    Type: An even blend of fructose and glucose
    Pros: “Honey’s calling card is that it has anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties, which is why it can also be used as a cough suppressant or sore throat soother. Manuka and other high-grade honeys often contain more beneficial properties—and overall honey is more of an actual food than sugar,” says St. Pierre. // Cons: It’s high in calories and carbs.

  • COCONUT SUGAR

    Type: Mostly sucrose with some nutrients
    Pros: This one gets positive marks. It’s made from the sap of coconut trees and is less processed because the sap is extracted and then placed in heat to dry, leaving it with a more natural brownish color like raw sugar. It can also contain trace amounts of minerals like magnesium, potassium, and inulin, a prebiotic fiber. // Cons: It’s still a high-calorie sweetener and causes advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), which gradually lead to a break down in your collagen.

  • RAW CANE SUGAR

    Type: Sucrose
    Pros: Extracted from the sugarcane plant and not refined. Also called turbinado sugar, it may come in the form of cane juice, which is often used to sweeten non-dairy milks like almond, hemp, and cashew and in many healthier baking options. This raw form of sugar is somewhat less processed than table sugar. It still retains some of the molasses and moisture from the plant so technically you’re consuming less sugar and calories per serving, making it healthier, St. Pierre says. // Cons: That’s mostly irrelevant in the big picture. It’s not like you’re eating the actual plant.

  • AGAVE

    Type: More fructose than glucose (it can be up to 90% fructose)
    Pros: Fans like the syrupy flavor. It mixes well with tequila, making it a mainstay in artisanal // Cons: It’s touted as having a lower glycemic index but this can be misleading. That may be beneficial if someone has diabetes, but not so much if you don’t, warns St. Pierre.

  • BROWN SUGAR

    Type: Sucrose
    Pros: Some of the molasses leftover from the refining process is added back into the sugar after processing, which provides a darker color and a minor amount of trace nutrients. // Cons: Not enough nutrients remain to be of benefit.

  • GRANULATED WHITE SUGAR

    Type: Sucrose
    Pros: Made from either sugar cane or sugar beets, it offers the mildest flavor, melts and blends easily into beverages, warm or cold, and is ideal for baking. // Cons: Best known as table sugar and the most common, it is also the most chemically processed and refined of the bunch.

  • SWEETENERS (ASPARTAME, SPLENDA)

    Type: Artificial substitute
    Pros: Sugar-free and non-caloric // Cons: These sweeteners are chemical compounds and not real food. Splenda is sucralose (a sugar molecule mixed with chlorine molecules in a patented process). Maltodextrin, which is a corn product and can be genetically modified, is then added as a bulking agent. “Aspartame is on the EPA’s list of potential carcinogens. In animal models it’s linked to leukemia in very high doses. I’m most leery of it and will only drink a diet soda on a rare occasion and I won’t feed it to my kids,” says St. Pierre.

    Link to original article here  //  Image courtesy of WebMD

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