Archive Monthly Archives: July 2018

How Water Supports a Healthy Digestive System

Water is critical to healthy digestion.

Among its many functions in the body, water is critical to healthy digestion and supports the process from start to finish.

If you’re like many people, healthy digestion might be more top of mind than it used to be. Part of this renewed interest in digestive health may have to do with an abundance of emerging science on the importance of maintaining a healthy “gut microbiome” – the collection of bacteria that inhabits the digestive tract and which affects the health of many systems in the body.

And so, to keep your digestive system healthy and happy, you may be aware of the importance of taking in probiotics (the ‘good’ bacteria) as well as prebiotics (such as certain forms of fiber that serve as “food” for the probiotics) and adequate fiber, which helps move waste through your system and promotes regularity.

But there’s something much more simple and basic to keeping your digestive system running smoothly: water. Water is involved in literally every step of the digestive process, which is just another reason why staying adequately hydrated is so critically important to your health.

How Water Supports Healthy Digestion

Starting at the very beginning of the digestive process, water is a major component of your saliva. Saliva serves several functions: it helps to moisten your food, which makes it easier to chew and swallow, and it is also a vehicle for enzymes that begin the process of chemically breaking down the fats and carbohydrates as you chew.

As the food passes into your stomach, watery gastric juices are released. These juices also contain enzymes, which begin to break the proteins and carbohydrates in the foods that you eat into smaller parts, preparing them for their trip to the small intestine, where much of the digestion of your food takes place. (And, by the way, there’s no truth to the myth that drinking water with meals will dilute the digestive juices so much that they can’t do their job. Adequate fluid with meals helps promote the process.) Water is also needed to produce the mucus that coats the inside of your stomach, which protects it from the highly acidic digestive juices.

As the food moves through the small intestine, there’s a lot of digestive activity that is facilitated by water. More watery secretions are shot into the small intestine from the intestinal lining itself as well as from the pancreas and liver. Enzymes work to speed up chemical processes and help prepare for the absorption of the end products of digestion: amino acids from proteins, fatty acids from fats and individual sugar molecules from the carbohydrates that you eat. Most nutrient absorption takes place here in the small bowel, and then digested nutrients pass to the watery environment of your bloodstream.

As the digestive process continues in the large bowel, water is critically important, too. The soluble fibers that you eat (from foods like oats, beans and barley) dissolve in water, allowing them to swell and add bulk. And the insoluble fiber that you eat (from foods like whole grains and most vegetables) tends to trap and attract water rather than absorb it, which helps promote regular bowel movements. The lower bowel is also where your body takes up most of the minerals that you eat, and the watery environment there facilitates their absorption.

There’s no question that healthy digestion relies on adequate fiber (and probiotics are a good idea, too). Exercise is also important – when you move your skeletal muscles during exercise, you’re stimulating the smooth muscles of your digestive tract at the same time, which helps promote regularity. But don’t forget the simplest and most basic thing of all – make sure to take in plenty of fluids every day to keep your system running smoothly.

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Aerial Yoga, Trapeze and More ‘Weird’ Ways to Work Out

Find activities that will keep you coming back for more.

If you’re like many people, the idea of “getting fit” is right up there with winning the lottery – seemingly unattainable. You’ve thought about it, and maybe you even purchased an obligatory gym membership as part of your New Year’s resolution to get moving and incorporate exercise into your daily routine.

But now – four months later – you’re bored and lost that motivation.

Well, there’s no better time than now to get excited about fitness again. Regular physical activity is good for everyone’s health – and people of all ages and body types can be physically active. Try these more unusual activities for a fitness recharge designed to keep you coming back for more. Note: It’s always a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider first to make sure you’re cleared for takeoff.

And there are many reasons to feel great about yourself after any type of exercise. You’re helping control your weight, reducing risk of heart disease, managing blood sugar levels, minding your mental health, and strengthening bones and muscles.

1. Trapeze: Actress and singer Zendaya did it in the film “The Greatest Showman.” You may not fly through the air with the greatest of ease, at least not the first time, but if reaching new heights appeals to your adventurous side, take on the trapeze. No, don’t try this in your backyard, but search for a well-established trapeze school near you.
A trapeze workout can build your upper body strength and test your flexibility and coordination. Plus, your mood and self-esteem will get a bountiful boost when you conquer that initial “I can’t” and overcome your hesitation. Now you’re ready for more.

2. Aerial yoga: As long as we’re above ground, we had to mention this exercise because it’s so different. Circus hammocks pull you up and away to hang out as you work on yoga body positions and alignment. And no, you don’t start at 10 feet high; maybe just a few inches.
In 2016, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) completed a small study on aerial yoga that found it offered benefits akin to those you get from low- to moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. After a six-week program, participants experienced improvements in body weight, body-fat percentage and blood pressure.
3.Trampoline: Indoor trampoline facilities are popping up across America, and some gyms and boutique fitness studios offer small, individual trampoline classes for all ages. These low-impact workouts strengthen derrieres, hamstrings and abs. Plus you get a strong dose of balance training with every jump.

4. Dancing: A 2016 study in the Journal of Sport and Health Science concluded that an hour of cardio dancing could burn at least 400+ calories – and people had fun! Dancing also helps overall coordination and is great for general toning.

5. Aqua cycling: There’s not an aqua cycling studio in every city, but if you’re visiting a major one such as Los Angeles or New York – or if you have your own pool – consider aqua cycling or hydrospinning on a special bike. Fans swear by its super-low impact, since the human body consists of 60 percent water, and your lower body and core are “surrounded” by it. It’s a full-body calorie burner, up to 800 per hour, as the water actually supports your joints. You’ll also be using muscle groups that might not get used as much in a regular spin class.

Now the word “exercise” sounds better, right? Enjoy!

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Ready For Summer? Protecting Your Skin, Body and Hair Only Takes Minutes!

Staying hydrated is key for healthy-looking skin.

Summers are often the time for jogging around the park, basking in the seaside sunshine or participating on weekend 5K runs. All these activities are invigorating and fun, but they can affect your skin’s health, hydration levels and hair.

 Here are three quick tips to make sure you are protected throughout the summer while still enjoying the sun and showing off your hard-earned labor!

 Put on sunscreen 30 minutes before you head outdoors

 Most of the damage we see on our skin comes from the sun. Protecting your skin from UVA/UVB damage is easy to do if you apply sunscreen before heading outdoors. There are so many fantastic options in the marketplace that can suit your preference and needs, like sprays, lotion and sticks. The most important thing is to look for broad-spectrum coverage. This means that you will get protection from UVA (ultraviolet rays that you can’t always feel or see) and UVB rays (ultra-burning rays that you can feel right away). Using a broad-spectrum sunscreen (with SPF value of 15 or higher) 30 minutes before you go outside allows the sunscreen to have enough time to provide the maximum benefit to your skin and prevent skin disorders, including cancer.

The secret to making your skin look great is hydration

Staying hydrated during the summer is key to making sure your skin looks plump and healthy. The average person needs about eight to 12 cups of water per day, which is about two to three liters. Every human needs water, whether it comes in the form of a fruit or a glass of juice. To make sure you do not become dehydrated throughout your summer activities, make sure to fill up your water bottle before leaving the house. Your body has a mechanism which prompts thirst, so your body knows when to get you to drink more. However, if you are lounging or dozing off on the beach, walking for hours, sightseeing or participating in an activity, you may forget to listen to your body’s alarm system for thirst, which can lead to dehydration. If you have bottled water with you at all times, it will be easier to remember. And here is an additional motivator, the only difference between a raisin and a grape is the hydration it offers, so eat up.

For healthy summer hair, keep it hydrated and covered

What I love about big hats and caps is that they provide sufficient shade not only for your face, but the entire scalp as well without covering up the gorgeous body you have worked so hard to show off this summer. Wearing a hat that covers the entire scalp will help reduce the UV radiation that is persistently blasting your hair and drying it out. These strong UV rays, combined with heat and dryness can damage the hair follicles and dry out the scalp. Providing moisture to your scalp with oils or balms can make a difference in the way your hair looks and feels. Also, wetting your hair a little and adding conditioner before putting on your hat may keep your hair moist and hydrated. Here is another suggestion to keep in mind, avoid constant flat ironing, curling and brushing, as all of these procedures can damage hair follicles and make your hair look frizzy and dull. Keep in mind that for healthy summer hair, you should cover up your head for protection, keep your scalp hydrated and nourished, and avoid trauma to hair follicles.

During the summer the days are longer, and they seem to bring more opportunity for adventure and fun, so make sure to protect your skin, body and hair before going outdoors. With these easy, simple tips in your back pocket, there is no beach, park or 5K you can’t conquer!

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It’s National Picnic Month! Have fun and stay protected with these 3 simple tips!

Don’t forget to protect your eyes, skin and scalp.

When the weather gets warmer, the outdoors seems to beckon all those bold friends and families to join the fun in the sun. Local parks and beaches no longer have gray skies, and picnics are the perfect way to celebrate them.

National Picnic Month is an excellent excuse to get out and enjoy the outdoors and warm weather. When packing your picnic basket with yummy treats like fruits and veggies, don’t forget to also pack some protection for your eyes, skin and scalp.

 Stay protected and don’t miss out on the fun:
  • Get proper protection for your eyes – Don’t forget your shades before heading out to the picnic. Not only is it a good fashion statement, but you will also delay wrinkles around your eye area. Those show up quicker when you spend too much unprotected time in the sun. You will also be protecting your eyes from ultraviolet light. The sun emits UV radiation that you can’t see or feel and can damage your eyes. Also, make sure that when you buy your sunglasses, they block 100% of both UVA and UVB rays, as this will provide the protection your eyes need when outdoors.
  • Protect your skin – Basking in the sun is one of the most enjoyable aspects of having a picnic, and the last thing you want is to end up with nasty sunburn at the end of the day. The good thing is that those are easy to prevent with the proper sunscreen protection. Protect your skin by using broad-spectrum sunscreens with SPF value of 15 or higher. Apply 30 minutes before you go outside. This allows the sunscreen to have enough time to provide the maximum benefit to your skin. For added protection, you can also choose light athletic clothing with UVA/UVB protection built in. The lightweight material absorbs sweat and will allow your skin to breathe while you enjoy the outdoors.
  • Keep your head covered – Picnics are the perfect excuse to wear a cute hat or cap. They also provide great shade not only for your face but your scalp as well. Wearing a cap that covers the whole scalp will help diminish UV radiation that can affect your hair and scalp. Leaving your scalp unprotected can damage your hair follicles and dry out your hair. Also, don’t be afraid to wet your hair a little and add some hair balm or conditioner before putting on your hat. It will keep your hair soft and your scalp hydrated.

National Picnic Month is a fantastic way to celebrate the summer. With technology all around us, it is nice to have an excuse to go out and celebrate warm months.  It’s a great opportunity to get outside and enjoy nature at its best. So prepare your picnic basket, add all your goodies, and don’t forget to protect your eyes, skin and scalp.

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Four Tips for Eating Mindfully

Be mindful of how much you eat.

Mindless eating can lead to overeating and digestive woes. But when you eat mindfully, you tend to slow down and eat less – just enough so that you’re comfortable, not stuffed.

Even if you’ve never heard the term “mindless eating”, chances are good that you’ve experienced it. Can’t remember what you ate for dinner because you were so focused on the television show you were watching? That’s mindless eating. Ever finish an entire bucket of popcorn at the movies and ask yourself, “did I really eat all that?” That’s mindless eating, too.

What Happens When You Eat Mindlessly?

Mindless eating is what happens when you eat – and overeat – without really thinking about it. When you eat mindlessly, you don’t ask yourself if you’re truly hungry, or question whether your portion is too large, or if the food even tastes good to you. You just eat it. And that’s because you’re not paying attention to your body’s internal signals – like the ones that tell you that you’re hungry, or when you’re comfortably full. Instead, you’re responding other cues push you to eat and overeat. Maybe you’re stressed or anxious or bored, or you eat something that’s offered to you – even though you’re not hungry at all.

Mindless eating often leads you to take in a lot more calories than you should – and you may eat much too quickly, too. You may not chew your food thoroughly, which means you’re probably swallowing a lot of air while you’re gulping it down. And, during an episode of rapid-fire overeating, you may not immediately realize how full you are. That’s because it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to let your brain know that you’re full – and by that time you’ve already overdone it. So it’s no wonder that discomfort – in the form of indigestion or bloating – can set in.

So what would happen if you turned “mindless eating” around, and practiced more “mindful eating” instead?

What is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating is just what it sounds like. When you eat mindfully, you try to become more aware of your internal signals of hunger and fullness – which means really listening to your body. You become more in touch with the eating experience – which means you’re likely to enjoy it more while eating less.

Mindful eating means slowing yourself down and taking the time to appreciate how the food looks on the plate, how it smells, and how it tastes. If you’re with others, you take pleasure in their company – and if you’re eating alone, you take pleasure in being able to focus on your meal and enjoy it without distraction. The other benefit? By slowing down, you’ll learn to be satisfied with appropriate portions – which will help curb the tendency to overeat – and your digestive system won’t be overburdened. Not only will this help keep your calories in check, but it gives your system time to properly digest your meal, too.

How to Eat More Mindfully

  • Be mindful of why you eat. One of the first steps in eating mindfully is to become more aware of what triggers you to eat in the first place. Are you hungry? Tired? Anxious? Bored? While you’re noting that, also, rate how hungry you are on a scale of 1 to 5 – where 1 means “not hungry at all” and 5 means “I’m starving”. After a week or so, examine your patterns. If you often eat because you’re stressed – even though your hunger level is a “1” – you’ll want to find alternatives to eating to relieve your stress – like taking a walk, or calling a friend, or maybe practicing some deep breathing.
  • Be mindful of how much you eat. While you’re making note of why you eat, also make a note of how full you are after you’ve finished. Practicing portion control helps you to learn how much food it takes to satisfy your hunger – which might be a lot less than the amount you want to eat. Since we tend to eat whatever amount we’re served, start by serving yourself smaller portions than you usually do. And, learn to stop eating when you’re comfortably full – even if it means leaving some food on your plate.
  • Be mindful of how quickly you eat. Mindless eaters tend to eat quickly, so also make note of how long it takes you to eat a meal. If it takes you less than 10 minutes, make an effort to stretch it out to 20 minutes. Try putting your utensils down between bites, and practice chewing and swallowing each bite of food before loading up your fork with another bite.
  • Be mindful of how you eat. Are you eating on the go, or at your desk while you work, or while you’re watching television? If you are, it’s unlikely that you’re paying much attention to your meal, and more likely that you’re just gobbling it down. Instead, try to be mindful of how you eat, and take the time to sit down and enjoy your food. Put down a placemat, turn on some music, maybe even dim the lights. Relax and take your time – your digestive system will thank you.

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How to Work the Right Muscles to Get Toned Abs

Strengthen your core muscles.

If you want six-pack abs, you need to know how to work all of the muscles that make up your core. There are five major muscles that you need to work to get a flat tummy and strong midsection.

Your core is made up of much more than your six-pack muscles. All humans are born with six-pack abs, but for the majority of people they ’re hidden behind a layer of abdominal fat. Working your core muscles with specific exercises will help make them bigger and more defined.

In order to get six-pack abs, I suggest doing a comprehensive exercise routine that effectively burns fat, strengthens your muscle and works the core. I like to say that ‘six-packs are made in the kitchen,’ because good nutrition is essential if you want to display these muscles or any other muscles in your body.

Below are some exercises to work each of the muscles that make up your core complex, as part of your well-balanced fitness routine.


Crunches are a simple, yet effective exercise that will activate the abdominals, the most external of the core muscles. These are the famous six-pack muscles.

How to do it: Lie face up on the floor with your knees up and bent. Begin the crunch movement by contracting your abs to curl your shoulders towards the pelvis. Clasp your hands behind your neck or crossed over your chest. Injury can be caused by pushing against your head or neck with your hands, so be careful to use your abs and not your head to lift your shoulders off the floor. Hold for a second then return to starting position.

How many: 15-20 perfect form crunches, 3-5 sets.

Bicycle Ab Crunch

The muscles at the side of your waist are called the internal and external obliques. These muscles are important for stability, especially for movements that involve lateral (sideways) movements.

To activate these muscles, you’ll need to perform exercises that involve side bending or twisting. The bicycle ab crunch is my favorite exercise for working the obliques.

How to do it: Lie on your back on the floor. Stretch your legs out straight and place your hands behind your head. Raise your legs one at a time so that your thighs are perpendicular to the ground and your calves are parallel to the ground. Keep your feet together. Contract your abdominal muscles and touch your right elbow to your left knee. At the same time, straighten your right leg out in front, keeping it several inches off of the floor. Then switch, bending your right leg and straightening your left, like pedaling a bicycle. Use your abdominal muscles to crunch your body forward so that your elbow can reach your knee.

Note: Do not pull on your neck. It’s OK if you can’t quite reach your elbow to you knee.

How many: 30 seconds of bicycle crunches, 3-5 times.

Side Plank

The deep stabilizing muscle that connects the upper and lower body is called the quadratus lumborum. It’s an important muscle for stabilizing the hips and the spine, and it also plays a role with the diaphragm for deep breathing.

This muscle is worked with side bending or twisting movements. My favorite exercise to strengthen this muscle is the side plank.

How to do it: Lie on the floor on your side. Place your hand on the floor under you and straighten your arm, raising the top half of your body off the ground. Raise your other arm straight up, or let it rest on your side. Keep your legs straight, letting the lower half of your body rest on your underside leg.

How many: Try to hold this position for 45-60 seconds, and then repeat on the other side.

Leg Raise

The hip flexor muscle, called the psoas major, is used for all activities that involve moving your legs. My favorite exercise for working this muscle is the lying down leg raise.

How to do it: Lie on your back on a mat. Place your hands under your butt to stabilize your pelvis. Without letting your lower back lift, pull your knees toward your chest, then straighten your legs back to the starting position. To increase the resistance, try the exercise with straight legs. To increase the difficulty, do leg raises on an incline bench.

How many: Start out doing 10 raises, 3 sets. If your back starts to lift, stop, because you’ll be engaging the incorrect muscles.

The Vacuum

What I call the flat tummy muscle, the transverse abdominal, is a deep core muscle that’s responsible for stabilizing your spine and pelvis, especially for lifting movements. The best exercise is so easy you can do it anywhere—it’s called the vacuum.

How to do it: You can do this exercise while sitting up or lying down. It can be done in bed, at the office, or while driving your car. All you have to do is suck your belly in as far as you can and hold. Make sure you’re pulling your abs in as if they’re meeting your back.

How many: Hold your tummy for 10 to 15 seconds then release. Try to continue breathing and don’t hold your breath.

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How to Avoid Vacation Weight Gain

When flights are delayed, take a walk.

Traveling can disrupt your usual diet and exercise routine, but there are ways you can enjoy your vacation without gaining weight.

When you’re planning a vacation, you probably start by figuring out your destination, how you’re going to get there, where you’re going to stay, and what you’ll want to do once you get there. If you’re like many of my clients, there may be something else you might plan for when you travel—gaining weight. However, I’m going to tell you how you can take a vacation and avoid weight gain.

Many people tell me that they just can’t stay on their diets while they’re on vacation. Admittedly, it’s a challenge. But when people plan to gain weight when they’re traveling, it sounds to me as if they don’t even want to try to stay on track. Vacations can turn your structured world upside down, which is one of the reasons we enjoy taking them. But just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean you have to bring back excess baggage around your waist, hips and thighs.

Tips to Control Weight Gain While Traveling

No matter where you go or how you get there, it really helps if you’re well prepared. Aim to stick to your usual routines as much as you can.

Pack Some Healthy Food Options
  • If you’re traveling by car, skip the road food and pack healthy meals and snacks instead. Don’t leave the house until you’ve eaten. If you’re in a rush, take a protein shake with you so you’ll be less tempted to pick up fast food on the way.
  • Easy-to-pack foods, such as protein bars, fruit, nuts or soy nuts, string cheese and individual packs of baby carrots, are good snacks no matter your method of travel. They’re great for road trips or flights.
  • Finding healthy items at the airport is a challenge. Fruit, yogurt, salads or sandwiches can be found, but packing your own food will save you calories and cash.
Stay Active During Downtime
  • When flights are delayed, use the time to walk around in the terminal, rather than letting the restaurants and watering holes beckon. At some large airports, you can easily log a mile or more by walking back and forth along the concourses.
  • Watch out for liquid calories. Staying hydrated, especially when flying, is important. It’s recommended that you drink a cup of fluid for every hour you’re in the air. But if you’re chugging sodas or cocktails, you’ll rack up a bundle of calories. Stick to water, iced tea or lightly sweetened sports beverages instead.
Watch Out for the Hotel Food Calorie Trap
  • If a stop at a hotel figures into your plans, you’ll likely be suffering from a dangerous combination of fatigue coupled with tempting foods from the happy hour buffets or room service. Travel is tiring but rather than using food as a pick-me-up, take a walk or hit the hotel gym after you get settled.
  • Many hotel rooms have refrigerators. Pick up some fresh fruits, cut vegetables or yogurt for snacks. And don’t forget some milk or soy milk so you can whip up a protein shake in your room.
  • Ask hotel staff about healthy dining options in the area where you’re likely to find the foods you generally eat.
  • Watch your calories at hotels that offer complimentary breakfast. It’s tempting to overeat when you’re not paying for food items. Most free breakfasts load you up with starchy bagels, cereal and waffles. It’s easy for you to eat more than you should, especially when you’re not paying for it. Instead, be on the lookout for fresh fruit and maybe some protein in the form of hard-boiled eggs or yogurt.

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Fitness and Traveling – Six Tips to Stay on Track

Remember to pack your workout clothes.

Travel or sudden changes in your schedule can wreak havoc on your weight management and fitness plan. If you travel frequently and have trouble maintaining your fitness level on the go, here’s how you can stay fit while you’re away from home.

Airport food, unexpected travel delays and lost luggage are enough to make even the most disciplined health guru reach for a sugary treat. If you’re a frequent business traveler, or if you plan on seasonal traveling with your family, there are certain things you need to commit to in order to stay fit while traveling. For starters, you must understand what your body needs so you can stay balanced and be at your best—especially when you’re away from home.

Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “It takes a long time to create healthy habits, but one bad day can throw off your rhythm for weeks.” I think this saying is quite accurate. So, in that light, here are my top tips to help you reinforce your fitness plan and stay balanced when traveling.

6 Tips to Stay Fit When You Travel

Pack early to squeeze in a workout

Don’t wait until the day of, or even the day before, you travel to pack your bag. Pack a few days in advance so you can save the day before you leave to squeeze in a workout. I find packing the most stressful part of business travel, so getting this out of the way a few days in advance means that I’m a little more relaxed on travel day.

Plan your week and adjust your workout routine so that your travel day becomes your scheduled rest day from exercise.

Get organized to avoid airport stress

Stress is one of the main culprits that lead to poor eating and fitness disruption. My advice is to get organized to limit your stress. You know that getting through security at the airport is a stressful process, so ensure that all of your liquids are the right size and within easy reach. Keep your travel bag organized, and pack a few healthy snacks so that you aren’t tempted by all of the junk food available at airport terminals.

Travel essentials to stay rested and ready

Arriving at your destination feeling relaxed is important if you want to get your workout routine up and running right away. Some travel essentials you should remember to pack are earplugs, eye mask, flight socks to help with blood circulation in your legs, a neck pillow and a warm sweater. These items may weigh you down a little, but trust me, traveling with some of your own comforts can provide pleasant relief from listening to loud conversations or not being able to rest because the light’s in your eyes. Not to mention that exercising will be the last thing on your mind if your neck is stiff when you land.

Set yourself up for success

Always remember to pack your workout clothes and shoes so you can stay fit while you’re away. Sounds simple, but this is something that people often forget while traveling. In fact, you can keep a spare set of workout clothes in your carry-on bag. You never know when surprises like someone spilling a drink on you might occur. Workout clothes are lightweight and practical. Just think that if your checked bag goes missing, you won’t have an excuse for missing a workout.

Nutrition on the go

Hydration is the most important thing to remember when you travel. Dehydration can affect your skin, your energy level, and it can lead to headaches and negatively impact your digestive system. The great news is that you can easily get water on the plane. If you have your own personal container, it will serve as a good reminder to keep sipping.

Good food while traveling is harder to come by. Given the risk of travel delays, you could ruin your healthy eating plan if you’re not prepared. Pack nutrient-rich snacks in your bag, such as nuts or protein bars, to help keep you full and away from unhealthy choices. With time changes, you’ll want to keep your body fueled throughout the day to avoid binging at meal times due to excessive hunger.

Create an in-room workout

Fitting in some exercise during your trip may help you to sleep better and be more mentally alert in your activities. If going to the gym is not possible, simply commit to a quick 20-minute routine in your room at morning and a 10-minute stretch at night. If you make regular exercise a necessary part of your travel schedule, you’ll have a better chance of staying on track with your health and fitness goals.

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Your In-Flight Guide to Skincare When Traveling

Make water your in-flight beverage of choice.

Air travel can take a toll on your skin. With these tips, you can arrive at your final destination with a fabulous and refreshed complexion.

Have you ever boarded an airplane looking fabulous and landed looking like you’ve aged 10 years? Well, you’re not alone. Airplane cabins have extremely low humidity, which can cause your skin to become dehydrated quickly. The re-circulated dry air in the cabin is on a search for moisture, and that search usually ends with your skin being sucked dry. Not only will dry skin become drier, but oily skin can become even oilier. Seems crazy, but it’s true. When skin loses its water, it tends to produce more oil to compensate for the loss. So, what can you do to look after your skin? Read on to learn my few simple skincare tips for air travel.

Protect Your Complexion at 30,000 Feet

B.Y.O.B.B. – Bring Your Own Beauty Bag

First, get a thorough understanding of what you can and cannot bring with you on your flight. There’s nothing more inconvenient than having the flight plan of your favorite skincare products redirected to the trash bin.

Pack a small, clear zip-lock bag with all of your travel essentials, including a hydrating cleanser, moisturizer, lip balm, hand sanitizer and hand cream. The maximum size, based on FTA guidelines, is 3.4 ounces (100ml) per product. It’s important to have your favorite products on hand to apply throughout the flight. So, remember to plan ahead.

Time to strip down

Ladies, do I dare say it? To help your skin, you need to avoid wearing makeup while in an airplane. If you absolutely cannot go barefaced, you’ll need to make some compromises. Make sure to avoid any foundation or powders, as they definitely contribute to the drying of the skin. But I see no harm in a bit of mascara and a swipe of lip-gloss. Before I board a flight with a full face on, I always give my skin a quick cleansing in the powder room with a moisturizing cleanser or makeup removing wipes. It’s the best thing you can do for your skin, especially on long flights.

Apply, apply and reapply

Make sure to have your moisturizer conveniently on hand throughout the flight. This means your products must stay with you and never make it into the overhead bin. The longer the flight, the more frequently you should moisturize. Your skin will thank you.

Don’t forget sunscreen

Seems crazy that we would need to be concerned about the sun’s rays while sitting in an airplane, but think about it: when flying, we’re closer to the sun and in thinner atmosphere. Unfortunately, the windows on planes aren’t capable of filtering out the damaging UV rays. So, wear your moisturizer with SPF, shut the shade and choose an aisle seat over a window seat if you can.

Stay hydrated and drink…

And I don’t mean alcohol! It’s easy to fend off the fear of turbulence with a glass of wine or two, but drinking water will keep your body hydrated while flying. Avoid further dehydration by skipping the alcohol and drink lots of water. Nutrition expert Susan Bowerman suggests that you should drink a glass of water for each hour you’re in the air.

Join the mile high skincare club

When you reach your final destination, be sure to give your skin a good cleansing with a gentle facial cleanser or scrub. This will help remove the dry skin cells and excess oils that may have appeared during the flight. To really get your skin back in tip-top shape, moisturize from head to toe when you get to your hotel room or home.

Be sure to follow these easy skincare tips while traveling. Your skin will look hydrated and refreshed, and no one will ever know by looking at you that you have been on a very long journey.

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How to Make Better-For-You Meals on the Grill

Make healthy meals on the grill.

Grilling food outdoors is one of the great pleasures of summer. Here are some tips for making healthy meals on the grill.

Cooking over an open flame is such a relaxing way to prepare foods – everything looks, tastes and smells great, and cleanup is usually a breeze. And, generally speaking, grilling is a pretty healthy way to prepare meat, fish and poultry. Grilling also seems to bring people together – ever notice how everyone seems to gather around the barbecue when foods are cooking?

For all it has going for it, though, there are a few downsides to typical barbecue-type meals that you may want to consider. First, many people choose fattier cuts of meat for grilling, but those can add significantly more calories, fat and saturated fat to your meal than leaner cuts. And many of the traditional side dishes that are often served at a barbecue – like potato salad, coleslaw and baked beans – can drive up the calorie count of the meal, too.

The last thing to consider is that cooking meat, fish or poultry over extremely high heat increases your exposure to certain chemical compounds that may be damaging to your health. Compounds called HCAs are formed when meat, fish or poultry is exposed to high heat cooking. Other compounds (known as PAHs) form when fat and juices from meat fall into the open flame, creating smoke. The smoke rises, brings the PAHs with it, and clings to the meat’s surface.

The good news is that you can make meals healthier by starting with the right cuts of meat and paying a bit more attention to preparation. You can also make some healthy swaps for traditional side dishes, and even dessert. Here are some tips for healthier meals from the grill:

  • Choose lean cuts of meat. Leaner cuts are healthier in general and will release fewer drippings onto the coals, which will reduce your exposure to PAHs.
  • Use a flavorful marinade. Marinades that include acid (such as vinegar, citrus or yogurt) help tenderize lean cuts of meat. Oil in your marinade helps form a bit of a protective barrier against HCA formation, and herbs (particularly rosemary, basil, thyme, sage and oregano) help to partially block the formation of both HCAs and PAHs.
  • Cook meats low and slow. Many people overload their grills with fuel, making them extremely hot. When meat is tossed onto a very hot grill, it tends to get charred on the outside (again, something you want to avoid), while the inside remains undercooked.
  • Partially precook and flip often. You can partially precook your meats for a few minutes in the microwave before transferring them to the grill. This will reduce the amount of time the meat is exposed to high temperatures, and it helps keep flavorful juices in, rather than dripping onto the hot coals. Once on the grill, flip your food frequently using tongs or a spatula to reduce charring.
  • Make healthier side dishes and dessert. Instead of the traditional baked beans that are often loaded with sugar – and, sometimes, fatty bacon – heat plain canned beans with salsa for a spicy side dish. Rather than mayonnaise-heavy potato salad and coleslaw, toss your usual mixture with a vinaigrette salad dressing instead. And put the grill to use for your side dishes, too – veggies like eggplant, peppers, corn and zucchini are delicious grilled. For a special, healthy dessert, try grilling slices of firm fruits like pineapple, peach halves or mango. Grilling caramelizes their natural sugars and adds a depth of flavor. Another plus: HCAs and PAHs don’t form on grilled fruits and vegetables.

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