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Daily Archives: December 24, 2016

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50+ Lunch Recipes That Help With Weight Loss (and Are Under 500 Calories!)

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You’re trying to lose weight, so you pack a salad for lunch. But by 2 p.m., you’re famished! In order for a lunch to be filling and help you lose weight, experts say to eat between 20 and 30 grams of protein and at least eight grams of fiber. These under-500-calorie lunches are perfect!

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The 1 Change I Made to Cure 10 Years of Feeling Bloated

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Entering college was supposed to be all bliss and excitement, but I had such terrible digestive issues, I wouldn’t dare stray far from my dorm bathroom. It was so embarrassing, feeling so bloated and being so gassy, the only person I could confide in was, of course, my mother. In her thick Long Island, NY, accent she said, “Aww, yaw just nervous. You’ll feel bettah soon.”

But months later, nothing had changed. I felt happier at college than I’d ever felt in my entire life and I was far from nervous. I still felt like sh*t, though. As a vegetarian who lived on cheese, I was lactose intolerant in a major way, so giving up dairy helped. I even gave up gluten but pretty much felt the same — tired and bloated. Every time I ate, I had digestive pains. Plus, I thought being a gluten-free vegetarian would help me drop my college weight gain, but I was actually gaining more weight.

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Why? Gluten-free baked goods, breads, pastas, and vegan ice cream and cookies were part of my daily diet, so no wonder the scale numbers were going up. And even after giving up gluten for 10 years, my stomach was still a bloated mess. It wasn’t until I ditched the processed junk and started eating more salads, roasted veggies, soups, beans, whole grains, and fruits that I noticed the enormous difference I had been hoping for. I felt energized and lighter, and, most importantly, I had no more belly bloat. I mean NONE. I even started introducing a little gluten back into my diet and still felt amazing.

The cure? Fiber. I wasn’t eating close to enough on my junk-food gluten-free, vegetarian diet. I started focusing on getting at least 25 to 30 grams a day, which worked out to at least eight grams at each meal and three to four grams for each of my two snacks. To ensure I get my fill, I add ground flaxseed and berries to my smoothies and baked goods, chia seeds to my overnight oats, use avocado when I make pesto pasta, and add beans, quinoa, and sunflower seeds to my salads.

I was not only free from the chains of feeling bloated, but eating more fiber filled me up and I wasn’t nearly as hungry as I had been, which helped me eat fewer daily calories, and in, turn lose weight. Talk about a major win-win, people!

American diets tend to focus on getting more protein and eating fewer carbs, so if you find that you’re feeling bloated, gassy, and you can’t remember the last time you pooped, check your fiber intake! As a general rule of thumb, make sure to get fiber every time you eat, whether it’s through veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds, or whole grains. If you need some meal and snack inspiration, check out these recipes:

High-Fiber Breakfast Ideas
Fiber-Filled Smoothies
Top 10 High-Fiber Foods
High-Fiber Snacks
High-Fiber Fruits

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13 Things You Need to Know About the Zika Virus

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By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

What is Zika?

Zika is a virus first discovered in 1947 and named after the Zika forest in Uganda. The first human cases of Zika were detected in 1952, but until last year there had been only isolated outbreaks occurring mainly in tropical locales.

How is it transmitted?

Zika is spread primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected by drinking the blood of a person infected with Zika, and then spread the disease to other people.

A man infected with Zika can transmit the virus through sexual intercourse. Also, people can be infected if they are given a blood transfusion tainted with Zika.

Who faces the greatest health risk from Zika?

Four out of five people infected with Zika do not develop any symptoms. Those who do most often suffer from mild symptoms that include fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes.

The true risk of Zika is to a developing fetus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed that Zika can cause terrible birth defects if a pregnant woman is infected with the virus.

What kind of birth defects does Zika cause?

Microcephaly is the most common birth defect caused by Zika, and it involves abnormally small development of the head and brain. Zika also causes other brain-related birth defects, and can result in miscarriage, according to the CDC.

What are the chances Zika exposure during pregnancy will cause microcephaly?

Not every fetus exposed to Zika develops a birth defect. Women infected with Zika have given birth to apparently healthy babies, although health experts can’t guarantee that these babies won’t develop problems later in life. No one knows what the odds are that a birth defect will occur. This is one of the CDC’s ongoing areas of research.

What can a woman who’s pregnant or trying to get pregnant do to protect herself?

Women of child-bearing age who live in an active Zika region should protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, using mosquito repellent when outside, and staying indoors as much as possible.

Women should use condoms or refrain from sex with a male partner if they are living in an active Zika area. They also should follow these precautions for at least 8 weeks if the man has traveled to an active Zika area, or for at least 6 months if the man has been diagnosed with Zika.

What can be done if a pregnant woman is infected with Zika?

There is no cure or vaccine for Zika. Pregnant women infected with Zika will be monitored by doctors, who will closely track fetal development.

Will a Zika infection threaten all future pregnancies?

The CDC has said there’s no evidence that a past Zika virus infection will endanger future pregnancies. It appears that once the virus has been cleared from a person’s bloodstream, it poses no risk to any subsequent pregnancies.

What other illnesses can Zika cause?

Zika has been associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), a rare disease of the nervous system in which a person’s immune system attacks nerve cells. The disease causes muscle weakness and, less frequently, paralysis. Most people recover fully, but some have permanent damage and about one in 20 die.

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden has said it is very likely that Zika causes GBS, given that the syndrome also is triggered by a number of different bacterial or viral infections. However, the link has not been confirmed. The CDC is investigating.

Where in the U.S. is Zika likely to become active?

Zika already is active in the territory of Puerto Rico, where one death has been reported, as well as American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Public health officials expect Zika to strike first in the continental United States in Florida, Louisiana or Texas, once the mosquito season gets underway. The A. aegypti mosquito can range as far north as San Francisco, Kansas City and New York City, although health officials have said infections that far north are unlikely.

What can I do to reduce the risk of Zika becoming active in my neighborhood?

People can help reduce their area’s risk by eliminating mosquito habitats from their property. Get rid of any source of standing water, such as buckets, plastic covers, toys or old tires. Empty and change the water in bird baths, fountains, wading pools and potted plants once a week. Drain or fill with dirt any temporary pools of water, and keep swimming pool water treated and circulating, according to the CDC.

Report any mosquito activity in your neighborhood to your local mosquito control program.

What should I do if I think I’ve been exposed to Zika?

The CDC recommends that people contact their health care provider if they are suffering from Zika-like symptoms, particularly if they are pregnant. Tests are available that can confirm Zika infection.

Is there a vaccine for Zika?

No, but the CDC is working with pharmaceutical companies to ramp up research into a vaccine for the virus.


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The Flat Iron That's Meant to Be Stored in Your Freezer

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First, there was the age-old tactic of rinsing your hair with cold water after cleansing to lock in moisture and boost shine. Then came the “cool shot,” a function on your blow dryer that blasts cold air through the nozzle to hold your style of choice in place. Today, a hairstylist from New Zealand takes the concept of cold conditioning to a new level with an innovative tool that uses sub-zero temperatures to seal the hair cuticle, delivering hydration and a glossy finish.

RELATED: This Genius Hair Tool Creates a Perfect Blowout in 20 Minutes Flat

As effective as traditional methods of cold conditioning are, each has its downside. No one enjoys the feeling of freezing water trickling down their back in the shower, and the last thing you want is to blow a hairstyle that’s taken hours to perfect out of place with a wave of cold air from the cool shot.

Instead, the Inverse Hair Conditioning System is more precise. Modeled after a small, cordless flat iron, the tool clamps sections of your hair between two frozen plates to infuse your strands with moisture. “During scientific investigations, it was observed that subzero temperatures lock in moisture, which is the basis of healthy, more manageable hair,” says David Roe, founder of Inverse. “Inverse helps balance the effects of external elements and locks in moisture to keep it strong and healthy. It will also make the hair less susceptible to damage and breakage.”

RELATED: The Hottest Spring Nail Colors Right Now

Here’s how it works. Store the Conditioning System or just the Ice Cores (the system’s plates), in the freezer for at least two hours before using it. Unlike a general flat iron, Roe recommends using the Conditioning System on wet hair. For best results, towel-dry hair after cleansing, and spritz it with Inverse Ice Mist, a leave-in conditioner that preps hair for the treatment. “Now, we can’t give away all our secrets!” said Roe when asked to divulge the key ingredients in the Ice Mist. “Essentially, it’s a special formulation that has specific pH levels that will help close the cuticles of your hair, resulting in a softer, smoother finish.” Next, pass your hair through the system’s Ice Cores in sections from roots to tips. (The plates will stay cold for about 30 minutes.) Finish by styling as usual, but if possible, resist the urge to reach for your blow-dryer. “Try to stay away from heat,” says Roe. “It causes the most damage.”

RELATED: Hyaluronic, Glycolic, Salicylic: Which Acid Is Right for Your Skin Type?

What if you’ve got curly hair? Roe proclaims that the tool was conceived with curly hair in mind. “My wife experimented with an ice rinse after being told that cold water was beneficial to hair. After one rinse, she experienced reduced frizz and increased shine. Her curls held together and clumped in a way I’d never noticed before. The result was stunning and prompted further investigation. It wasn’t until we began developing the product that we found that all textures and lengths benefit from Inverse conditioning.” Roe says Inverse will not disrupt the hair’s curl pattern or hamper volume, and shares that his users find that their curls have better definition, bounce, and less frizz.

Inverse products can only be purchased in New Zealand and Australia at the moment, so here’s hoping that they land Stateside, stat.

This article originally appeared on InStyle. For more stories like this, visit InStyle.com.

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Strong Abs Start With This 7-Minute Workout

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Get the printable version of this seven-minute HIIT workout here!

When it comes to high-intensity interval training (HIIT), the pros definitely outweigh the cons. While it may feel unpleasant to push your body to go faster and harder for that short time period, the rewards are worth it: HIIT helps you blast more belly fat, save time, and burn way more calories (even after your workout is long over) than a lower-intensity workout alone. A study published in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health and Fitness Journal found that a few minutes of training at almost your max can accomplish all of this in way less time than a traditional workout. How much less? Try just seven minutes total.

The ACSM’s interval workout consists of 12 exercises, which should be done at an intensity of eight on a scale of 10; each exercise lasts 30 seconds, with a 10-second rest in between. Repeat the circuit if you’d like a longer workout. Keeping the intensity up — and the rest periods short — is key, so keep reading to learn the moves and then get going! You’ll need a mat and a chair or bench.

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Most Americans Think Burgers Are Healthy

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A new survey reveals that 82% of Americans who eat hamburgers think that the sandwich is a good source of nutrients.

Researchers with the market research group Mintel polled 1,767 Americans who had ordered a burger from a restaurant in the last three months. 62% of the people said they love burgers—and the numbers were strong even among Millennials, the generation most likely to say that menu healthiness is important to them when they choose a restaurant. Americans’ obsession with burgers isn’t surprising, but the sandwich’s perceived healthiness is, given the fact that the World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced that processed meat is a carcinogen and red meat likely causes cancer.

While burgers are good sources of protein, iron and vitamin B12, they come with a lot of problems, according to nutrition experts—particularly the fatty meat, sugary ketchup and refined grain buns.

The new survey did find that even burger lovers know they could choose a healthier sandwich. People want more chicken and turkey burgers, the survey found, which are considered healthier options.

This article originally appeared on Time.com.

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Lizzie Velasquez, Once Called the ‘World’s Ugliest Woman,’ Responds to Cruel Body Shaming Meme

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Before you share a meme, remember that there’s an actual person in that photo.

That’s the message motivational speaker Lizzie Velasquez shared on Instagram after discovering that she unwillingly became the face of a body shaming meme.

“I’ve seen a ton of memes like this all over @facebook recently. I’m writing this post not as someone who is a victim but as someone who is using their voice,” Velasquez, 27, writes. “Yes, it’s very late at night as I type this but I do so as a reminder that the innocent people that are being put in these memes are probably up just as late scrolling through Facebook and feeling something that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.”

Velasquez has neonatal progeroid syndrome, a rare disease that affects her eyes, heart and bones and prevents her from adding weight to her 63-lb. frame. At just 17 years old, she found herself the subject of a cruel YouTube video that called her the “ugliest woman in the world,” and used that experience to become a YouTube star and motivational speaker.

She’s spreading a message of body positivity again in her response.

“No matter what we look like or what size we are, at the end of the day we are all human,” Velasquez continues. “I ask that you keep that in mind the next time you see a viral meme of a random stranger. At the time you might find it hilarious but the human in the photo is probably feeling the exact opposite. Spread love not hurtful words via a screen.”

Velasquez, who was the focus of the 2015 documentary A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story, says her life goal is to spread kindness.

“I knew this is my purpose, this is what I’m meant to do for the rest of my life, because I like to think that I’m not only telling my story—I’m telling everyone’s story,” she said in the film.

 

This article originally appeared on People.com.

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How I Stopped Obsessing About Being Skinny

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I’ve always been passionate about being active, but I’d be lying if I told you that passion wasn’t once attached to the passion to be skinny. Skinny is a word I cringe at now, but for most of my life, skinny was everything.

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Part familial and part societal pressure, I grew up truly believing that being thin was synonymous with being beautiful. I’ve been on a diet for most of my life, not because I was overweight, but because the idea of being overweight was always a lingering worry, taunting me in the background. Although I was active, healthy, and toned, I never felt skinny enough, and it haunted me. I truly believed if I was skinny I would be happy and feel more confident.

The first time I ever gained real weight was my freshman year in college. I was ordering in, eating out, and drinking nearly every night. Immediately, I started up with two-a-day cardio sessions, barely ate a bite all day, then binged on a huge late dinner. At the time, I felt like I was being “good” and taking control of my body. I dropped weight so quickly, but it was at the price of my mental clarity, energy, and happiness. It was an unsustainable solution, and I put back on the weight just as quickly as I had taken it off — I knew I had to go about things in a different way. I cleaned up my act, cut out processed foods, and starting doing yoga every day, but I am embarrassed to admit that yoga wasn’t my primary form of exercise just because of all the healthy benefits it brought to my life — I saw it as a way to get skinny. A month into committing to a regular yoga practice, I began to acknowledge that my physical fitness was much more than a number on the scale or a body type I idealized. The stronger I felt in my yoga practice, the better I felt in the rest of my life. I stopped being as concerned about the skinny and started wanting more of that strong stuff.

This desire to be strong helped me realize the myth that lifting weights would bulk me up and make me feel unfeminine was just that — a myth. As soon as I unveiled the truth behind the myth, I started lifting and moving through bodyweight moves at home, and I began to see and feel a huge difference in my shape. I stopped stressing into fitting into a certain body type, because I was attaining something stronger, better, and more beautiful than I had anticipated. I was no longer about the number on the scale or the size of my jeans, and I found so much relief in giving up the numbers. Instead of obsessing over a tiny drop on the scale, I started reveling in the new definition I saw in my deltoids. Instead of trying to squeeze into my too-tight college pants, I realized that my backside had a little lift and was filling out my current jeans beautifully.

Once I realized I didn’t need to be thin in order to feel whole or content, I felt like I had been handed the keys to the kingdom. I am both thrilled and relieved that what was once referred to as a trend is starting to have some serious staying power. There is so much power in strength, and even more when there’s strength in numbers — I’m so ready for even more women to live by this truth! If you can relate to the anxiety I grew up with or you simply feel like the standard of skinny is unattainable (or, honestly, doesn’t sound like that much fun), stop being intimidated by the weight room, and try a workout program that supports your strength. If you’re anything like me, it will transform your life.

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I Did CrossFit 5 Days a Week For 1 Month and This Is What Happened

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I don’t really want to share half-naked selfies of myself with the world, but I feel compelled to. Because after years and years of working out four to six days a week, running and training for half-marathons, sweating it out in yoga classes, and eating healthy, I have finally caught a glimpse of the kind of transformation I have been wanting ever since I can remember. And it’s only been one month.

Before

This might sound like a PSA, but so what? I really do owe it all to CrossFit. I had been wanting to try it for years but through two pregnancies, working, and taking care of my two young kiddos, I just felt like I couldn’t carve out the time. It was kind of a lame excuse, actually, and I realized it was high time to make the time and do something for me. So on Mother’s Day 2016, I bought myself a $250 On-Ramp course for CrossFit. No it’s not culty, yes the workouts are frickin’ hard, and yes, the community support really is amazing and was the key to my success.

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After completing that course, I decided to go all in and committed to going for one month, five days a week. Here’s what happened.

Weight down: I have been the same weight for years, trying to lose those last pesky pounds that hide my muscles and make me look softer than I’d like. I was amazed when I stepped on the scale and realized I was at the weight that I lied about on my driver’s license. Down five pounds! I mean, that’s huge when you don’t have a ton of weight to lose. CrossFit smacked my weight-loss plateau in the face!
Less to pinch: OK, so the scale isn’t everything. I also lost at least one inch around my waist. It’s not an enormous change, but I can totally tell in the photos because it’s the first area of my body my eyes move to whenever I look in the mirror. I have had a belly my entire life it seems, and I can finally see it slimming down and that little muffin top diminishing. I even noticed a little definition in my obliques!
Arm definition: While brushing my teeth a couple weeks in, I happily noticed my biceps bulging but didn’t think anything of it until the month was up and people commented on my arms. “What have you been doing?” they asked. Someone else said when they hugged me, my arms felt stronger. Even the Comcast guy who came to fix my cable commented on my “guns.” I also noticed more definition in my upper back.

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After

Toned thighs: I’ve always had lean legs, thanks to running and inherited genes from my mom, but they look even more toned and defined. I slipped on a pair of leggings and loved that I could seen my quad muscles popping out a little. Thank you lunges and deadlifts!
Perkier butt: I also inherited a flat butt from my mom, but a month full of squats, wall balls, and kettlebell swings have turned my flat rear into a more shapely, rounder, lifted bum. My husband has noticed, too. Bonus!

More energy: I used to run for an hour in the morning from 6 to 7 a.m., and by late morning/early afternoon, I felt completely drained. My body felt exhausted, my brain felt foggy, and all I wanted was a nap. I craved sugar and chocolate because I thought it’d give me a pick-me-up. Of course, that backfired with an inevitable sugar crash, plus the extra calories didn’t help me lose weight. I didn’t feel tired once during this month-long CrossFit experiment. Even after getting up at 4:50 to make my 5:45 a.m. classes, I still had more physical and mental energy.

Less hunger: Now this surprised me. I thought all that intense cardio and heavy lifting would leave me insatiably famished. But I felt way less hungry than I did after those hour-long runs. I never ate before those early a.m. classes for fear or puking, and by the time I got home, showered, and started working, I wasn’t hungry until 9 or 10. I was also inspired to eat better because I was putting in all this time and energy, and I didn’t want to undo all that by devouring half a box of Wheat Thins dipped in peanut butter.

Varicose veins diminished: I thought the bulging blue varicose vein behind my left knee was the oh-so-special badge of honor I shared with moms everywhere. But after four weeks of CrossFit, I swear, it’s hardly noticeable. The increased blood flow from all that heart-pumping cardio works magic! I feel way more confident in short shorts and skirts now.

Stronger overall: Carry three bags of groceries on each arm from the car to the house? No problem! Lifting heavier weights for just one month made me stronger and more capable of handling life’s challenges. When both kids’ heads accidentally collided when reaching for the same flower, CrossFit mommy power came to the rescue and I could bend down and lift 80 pounds worth of kid without my knees giving out with energy left to kiss both boo-boos! Running feels easier, previously difficult yoga poses like One-Legged Crow are doable, and come Winter, I’m excited to see how CrossFit-strong legs tackle the ski slopes.

Confidence: It wears on you when you spend years thinking about your weight while working hard to change your body and not seeing the results you’re after. Making a change that actually worked was life changing. I feel more confident and am just overall happier. I also realized that I like pushing myself and since CrossFit encourages you to to get stronger every day, I’m embracing this feeling of pride, and it’s inspiring me to keep pushing myself. I see now why people become hooked on WODs. It only took one month, but I’m addicted now, too. I can’t wait to see how my body changes in the months to come.

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Dr. Heimlich, Creator of Antichoking Technique, Dies at 96; Here's How to Do the Move

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You've seen choking scenes performed to dramatic effect in practically every sitcom. But the reality is no joke. According to a report by the National Safety Council, choking is the fourth most common cause of "unintentional injury death" in the United States; statistics show it killed nearly 4,900 people in 2013.

The number of deaths would be even higher, however, if it weren't for the Heimlich maneuver, the standard antichoking technique that involves sharp abdominal thrusts to force air from the lungs into the windpipe, to dislodge an obstruction.

Henry J. Heimlich, MD—the thoracic surgeon who developed this groundbreaking and life-saving procedure back in 1974— died on Saturday, a week after he suffered a heart attack. He was 96 years old. 

The New York Times reports that just eight months before his death, Dr. Heimlich used his namesake maneuver on an 87-year-old woman who began choking at his table in their senior residence in Cincinnati; the famous technique forced a piece of meat and and a little bone out of her airway so she could breathe again.

If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, do your best to stay calm, and remember these instructions from the American Red Cross. They are meant for conscious choking victims over the age of one.

RELATED: 5 Times You Really, Seriously Need to Go to the ER

If the person is coughing, encourage them to keep coughing

Coughing is a good sign—it means they can still breathe. And the act of coughing may help dislodge whatever is stuck in their throat. But if they're not making any noise and can’t breathe, ask, "Are you choking?" Assure the person you know what to do. 

Get help

Send a bystander to call 9-1-1.

Give five back blows

The Red Cross recommends this step before starting the abdominal thrusts: Have the person bend forward and hit them on the back between the shoulder blades five times with the heel of your hand. 

Do five abdominal thrusts

Make a fist with one hand and place the “thumbside” just above the person's belly button. Grab your fist with your other hand and give five quick thrusts.

Repeat the back blows and abdominal thrusts

Continue performing five back blows, followed by five abdominal thrusts, until the object comes out or the person starts to cough. If the person loses consciousness, however, lower them to the ground and begin CPR.

 

To become more familiar with the Heimlich maneuver, and brush up on CPR, it's a good idea to take a first aid course. You can look up classes in your area at RedCross.org.

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