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Monthly Archives: June 2016

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Healthy carrot cake recipe

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Try this delicious carrot cake recipe from SHA Wellness Clinic for a treat.

 

What you’ll need:

1 cup wholewheat pastry flour 
1 cup chestnut flour 
1 tbsp baking powder 
1 tsp baking soda 
2 tsp cinnamon 
1/2 tsp nutmeg 
1/2 tsp all-spice
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil 
2/3 cup maple syrup 
2/3 cup soy milk 
2 tsp vanilla extract 
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
2 cups grated carrot 
1/2 cup pineapple, crushed 

Method: 

Preheat the oven to 180° C.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt into a bowl.

Mix oil, maple syrup, soy milk, and vanilla extract in a bowl with a whisk.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients to form a batter.

Add the walnuts, carrots and pineapple and mix gently.

Pour the batter into 2 oiled cake tins and bake for 25–30 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Garnish with grated carrot.

Feeding for something chocolatey? Try thise chocolate cloud cake today.

 

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Avocado & Shrimp Chopped Salad

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Avocado & Shrimp Chopped Salad Recipe
Avocado & Shrimp Chopped Salad
The smoky flavors of grilled shrimp and corn in this healthy chopped salad recipe are a tasty match for the creamy cilantro dressing.

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Sesame Chicken Cucumber Noodle Salad

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Sesame Chicken Cucumber Noodle Salad Recipe
Sesame Chicken Cucumber Noodle Salad
This sesame chicken and noodle salad couldn’t be simpler to make. It’s a refreshing dish to serve on a hot summer’s night or bring it to your warm-weather potluck: just toss the salad with the dressing when you’re ready to serve. Recipe adapted from Simply Ming One-Pot Meals by Ming Tsai and Arthur Boehm (Kyle Books, 2010).

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How This App Helped Me Finally Stop Procrastinating

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I’ve always been a procrastinator. Studying for high school history exams, calling the dreaded cable company, scrubbing my bathroom—you name it, I’ve said, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” So when I heard about a popular task-manager app called 30/30 (iOS), I had to try it out. 

What it does

The app lets you schedule your to-do list in timed intervals. The simple concept: You work on a task for 30 minutes; the app alerts you when your time is up, and you get a 30-minute break (hence the name 30/30).  

RELATED: 12 Ways to Improve Your Concentration at Work

The pros

The interface is so bright and pleasing to the eye, it’s hard not to feel motivated when you open it. I had fun color coding and labeling my tasks with mini icons (say, silverware for the week's meal prep, a piggy bank for managing my budget). You can also choose how you want to be alerted—with a ring, a vibration, or a visual notification. (I found the ring worked best, so I didn't, you know, procrastinate by checking my phone.) If you finish a task early, you touch the check mark, which brings you to the next item on your to-do list. Or, if the timer goes off and you are in the zone, you can hit '+5m' to give yourself an extra five minutes. 

Knowing that I was being timed really motivated me to get stuff done. And knowing that I only had to work in 30-minute bursts helped me get through the really daunting chores (like my taxes). I'd find myself thinking, You probably only have 20 minutes left on the clock, so get as much done as you can and then you can watch an episode of Friends!

I have an unhealthy habit of scrolling through Instagram and obsessively clicking through Snapchat stories to avoid whatever it is I don't want to do. But with this app, I felt like I was always on a mission to beat the clock.

​RELATED: A Standing Desk Won't Help You Slim Down—​But Doing This Will

The cons

One of the app's downsides is that it’s confusing at first. It took me a little while to figure out how to set my tasks and change my settings. But once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty self-explanatory. My other complaint is that there are a lot of interactive options for managing your to-dos. On each task, you can 2-finger tap, 3-finger tap, touch and hold, shake the phone, spread your fingers apart vertically, and more. Each kind of tap and swipe does something different, and there are so many options, it's a little overwhelming.

Who should try it

If you have a serious problem focusing, 30/30 might be yet another source of distraction. But for people like me who need a little extra motivation to get things done, the ticking clock may be just the amount of pressure you need. 

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Summer Vegetable Pasta with Crispy Goat Cheese Medallions

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Summer Vegetable Pasta with Crispy Goat Cheese Medallions Recipe
Summer Vegetable Pasta with Crispy Goat Cheese Medallions
This vegetarian pasta recipe is loaded with fresh vegetables—sweet spring onions, tangy cherry tomatoes and plenty of baby spinach. Goat cheese medallions are coated with panko and lightly crisped under the broiler, making this a restaurant-worthy yet super-simple and impressive weeknight dinner.

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Jessica Sepel's top tips for nourishment

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We got the inside scoop on how clinical nutritionist and author, Jessica Sepel balances food and wellness. Here she shares her three tips for nourishment.

 

 

Count macros, not calories: our bodies and metabolism are regulated by so many things other than calories, so how you burn a meal will depend on your hormones, stress levels, fitness and environment. Instead, ensure you have protein, good fat, carbohydrate and greens at every meal. Nutrients are what make you feel satisfied so you don’t over-eat.

Tune in to your body: portion control does have its place, so be present and mindful when you’re eating. I want to teach people to reconnect to their appetite – we are so busy reading different health advice that we have stopped listening to our own bodies. 

Keep it simple: as soon as I see a recipe with more than five ingredients, I can’t even look at it. Simplify health and make it a less daunting experience. Some of the best meals of mine are created using very few ingredients.

Discover more fat loss tips from celebrity trainer Alexa Towersey.

 

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Stuck on a Problem? Let Your Mind Wander, Researchers Say

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There’s a reason some people say they get their best ideas when they're running. A new study from researchers at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, and published in the journal Psychological Science, suggests that a clear mind—free of too much chatter—is a more creative one. 

In three different experiments, about 20 people completed the same free association task. (They had to quickly name the first thing that popped into their head after they heard a series of target words.) But in each experiment, the researchers manipulated the "cognitive load" of the participants with various additional tasks. For example, some people were asked to remember a string of two digits (a low cognitive load), while others had to alphabetize the first three letters of each target word (a high cognitive load). 

RELATED: 12 Reasons to Stop Multitasking Now!

What the researchers found was that the participants with lower cognitive loads gave more creative responses. “When you reduce mental [stress], people have a greater tendency to avoid the ‘obvious solution’ and instead access unique thoughts in their mind,” study co-author and PhD student Shira Baror explained in an email to Health. In other words, when your brain is quieter, it can afford to "put aside its stored, immediate, well-earned associations and take a more interesting path of more original associations." 

The study's findings are in line with prior research, says Jonathan Schooler, PhD, a professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In 2012 he led a study that showed the benefits of letting your mind slow down and wander: His team's work suggested that when you're trying to solve a problem, you may get the best creative boost from engaging in a non-demanding task. Think taking a shower, doing light chores—or you know, going for a good sweaty run.

RELATED: How Exercise Makes You More Creative

In fact, that's exactly what Baror suggests when you're stuck in a rut. "Ruminating on the same problem, especially when you're under stress or tension, will not yield creative solutions." Instead, she says, literally walk away, and give your mind the chance to make those seemingly random, unexpected turns that lead to breakthroughs.

 

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Forgiving Other People Is Good for Your Health

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Being forgiving to yourself and others can protect against stress and the toll it takes on mental health, according to a new study in the Journal of Health Psychology.

Researchers looked at the effects of lifetime stress on a person’s mental health, and how more forgiving people fared compared to people who weren’t so forgiving. To do this, they asked 148 young adults to fill out questionnaires that assessed their levels of lifetime stress, their tendency to forgive and their mental and physical health.

No surprise, people with greater exposure to stress over their lifetimes had worse mental and physical health. But the researchers also discovered that if people were highly forgiving of both themselves and others, that characteristic alone virtually eliminated the connection between stress and mental illness.

“It’s almost entirely erased—it’s statistically zero,” says study author Loren Toussaint, an associate professor of psychology at Luther College in Iowa. “If you don’t have forgiving tendencies, you feel the raw effects of stress in an unmitigated way. You don’t have a buffer against that stress.”

How a forgiving personality protects a person from the ills of severe stress is hard to determine. The researchers speculate that people who are more forgiving may adopt better coping skills to deal with stress, or their reaction to major stressors may be dulled.

The sample of people in the study is small, and more research is needed to fully understand the benefits of being more forgiving. But Toussaint says he believes “100%” that forgiveness can be learned. Many therapists work to cultivate forgiveness in sessions, he says, and his own prior research has shown that saying a short prayer or a brief meditation on forgiveness can help people take the edge off.

“Forgiveness takes that bad connection between stress and mental illness and makes it zero,” he says. “I think most people want to feel good and it offers you the opportunity to do that.”

This article originally appeared on Time.com.

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Bell Pepper & Beef Curry

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Bell Pepper & Beef Curry Recipe
Bell Pepper & Beef Curry
A combination of green beans, red bell peppers and sweet mango makes this beef curry recipe colorful. The heat and salt level can vary widely in red curry paste depending on the brand—taste as you go. Serve with noodles and a basil-and-jícama salad.

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Why the Summer Solstice May Be the Happiest Day of the Year

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The summer solstice is June 20, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. But do the extra hours of sunshine make you happier?

In general, people are more cheerful in the summertime, according to Philip Gehrman, associate director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the University of Pennsylvania. Light serves as the strongest cue to regulate circadian rhythms, which include the sleep cycle, hormonal fluctuations and body temperature and follow a roughly 24-hour pattern.

“People tend to feel better in summer months,” Gehrman said. “There’s a slight elevation in our mood. More positive emotions are reported.”

But the effect isn’t uniform—circadian rhythms vary from person to person, so the amount and timing of sunlight means different things to different people, said Dr. Irina V. Zhdanova, a neuroscience professor at Boston University. For example, morning sunlight can irritate people who wake up late. On the other hand, for people who rise early, morning sunlight can have a positive effect, but sunlight may irritate them in the evening.

It’s similar to meal habits, Zhdanova said.

“Some like three meals a day, others like 10 small meals a day,” Zhdanova said. “Sometimes sunlight is good and uplifting during a certain time of the day, while for others, it’s neither uplifting or positive and can induce mild irritation.”

The extra sunlight also entrains the circadian rhythm, a process in which the internal biological clock aligns itself to external cues, like the light-dark cycle. Now that the days are longer, in general, the circadian rhythm is entrained much better, Zhdanova said. In other words, the circadian rhythm is better aligned with natural sunlight and darkness, which can affect people’s sleep and moods.

However, Gehrman said, it is unclear whether elevated moods come from more entrained circadian rhythms and better sleep, or if the happiness boost is directly attributable to the sunlight.

On the flip side, experiencing less sunlight in the winter can pose a challenge, said Frank Scheer, director of the Medical Chronobiology Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

“The lengthening or shortening of the light period during the day does have a clear effect,” Scheer said. “In wintertime, when the days are shorter, we are more likely to wake up when it’s still dark outside and before the circadian system stimulates wakefulness and improved mood.”

So, enjoy the longest day of the year while it lasts—the days will start getting shorter again from here.

This article originally appeared on Time.com.

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