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Archive for December, 2011

Winter Breakfast Ideas

December 28, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: About the Family, Children, Healthy Living No Comments →

People on the run often choose a cold breakfast or no breakfast at all because it’s the quickest. In the colder months, however, a cold breakfast simply won’t do. Why not try one or more of these nourishing winter breafast ideas  to help you prepare for your day.

Winter breafast idea #1 – A big bowl of hearty oatmeal is a great choice for a cold winter morning. Oatmeal doesn’t have to take a long time to prepare. Get it started before you get dressed and it should be ready to eat when you’re done. Soak dried fruit such as raisins, cherries or cranberries before stirring them into the bowl to add depth of flavor. Cinnamon or nutmeg would also be good as additions.

Winter breafast idea #2 - Whole wheat bread is better for you than bread made with refined flour. Use whole wheat bread to make French toast or whole wheat flour to make pancakes. Instead of syrup to top your French toast or pancakes, warm up apple sauce and spread it over them.

Winter breafast idea #3 – Barley is a grain often used in vegetable soup but it can also be used to make a warm, nourishing breakfast. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil and then add 3/4 cup pearl barley and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Turn the heat down and cover, allowing the barley to cook for 45 minutes. While the barley is cooking, mix together 1/4 cup honey and 1 cup chopped walnuts. Spread the walnut onto a baking sheet and bake them in an oven set at 350F for 10 minutes. When the barley is cooked, add 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup currants. Spoon the walnuts over four bowls of cooked barley.

Winter breafast idea #4 – You can’t find a heartier breakfast than an omelet when it has beans, seeds or nuts added to it. Sauté some onions, then add some precooked black beans and chopped almonds. Beat enough eggs for the number of omelets you’re making and pour that into the onion and bean mixture. Sprinkle fresh herbs and cheese over the top and allow it to finish cooking.

Winter breafast idea #5 – Don’t be afraid to try foods that aren’t traditionally thought of as breakfast foods. A thick, warm rice pudding with fruit can be just the thing you need to fill you up and keep you toasty on the inside. You can also use leftover rice from the night before to make rice with cinnamon and raisins. Heat up the rice in a saucepan and add enough milk to moisten it. Add cinnamon, nutmeg and raisins. Cook this over low heat until its warm and then enjoy it.

Winter breafast idea #6 – Prepare hot chocolate, tea or coffee to finish off your nourishing winter warming breakfast. If you start your winter days with hot food, you’ll provide your body with much needed warmth and give you energy you need for your day.

Using one or many of the great winter breakfast ideas above will be a great way to warm up your mornings and get you off to a great day.

Foods For Better Complexion

December 26, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Healthy Living No Comments →

Every woman wants to be considered to be beautiful.  And since so much of this perception is based on their outward appearance, having a clear skin is a priority. While you could spend money on chemical peels, plastic surgery or various skincare products, there are some some key foods for better complexion that you can eat.  You can literally begin eating your way to a better complexion as a way to improve your skin.

It is amazing that diet can play such an important part in not only your physical health but also in how you look. If you have a tendency to eat the typical Standard American Diet (SAD) full of processed foods, too many sweets and too many fats, it will show up in the way your complexion looks. Changing your diet to include fresh and raw foods with specific vitamins and minerals can greatly improve the condition of your skin.

Here are some foods for better complexion that you can eat that are nutrient-dense:

* Red and purple fruits and vegetables contain anthocyanins which are important antioxidants. They are found in fruits such as cherries, blueberries and blood oranges. You can also find them in red cabbage. Anthocyanins are necessary to maintain healthy blood flow to the skin and protect it against ultraviolet (UV) damage.

* Whole grain foods help balance insulin and blood sugar. These foods include whole wheat and brown rice and are important because clinical studies have indicated too much sugar in your system can increase acne. Having excess sugar in your system can also cause collagen not to form properly. Why is collagen important? It works along with keratin to increase the skin’s strength, flexibility and resilience which means it keeps your skin youthful and healthy.

* Tomatoes are another foods for better complexion that you’ll want to add to your diet. Eating them fresh is best because there are more nutrients, but you can get some benefit eating them cooked. The nutrient that’s important in tomatoes is lycopene. This is another antioxidant and having enough of this in your system will help reduce the hormones which lead to acne. They have also been found to lead to smoother skin in some studies.

* Green tea has many healthful benefits. One of them is that it can lower the production of the hormone DHT which causes acne.

* Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish is believed to reduce the chemicals which produce sebum or oily skin and it is one of the top foods for better complexion.

* Vitamin C-rich fruits such as lemon and kiwi – both higher in vitamin C than oranges – are believed to help reduce wrinkles. These fruits also help detoxify the system which can lead to a clearer complexion.

* Water may not seem like it’s important to healthy skin but it is. In fact, if you’re not staying hydrated your skin can look dull and listless.

If you’re hoping to improve your skin, try eating your way to a better complexion. A high-fiber diet is important for adults with acne. You’ll also want to include lean meat, whole grains, seafood and fish.   Try any or all of theses foods for better complexion.  All of these can help improve acne. You may also notice an improvement in your complexion if you avoid high-sugar foods and beverages.

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7 Fun Cardio Exercises for Kids

December 15, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Healthy Living No Comments →

With all the T.V. shows, computer programs, and video games available now, it’s hard to get kids up and moving anymore. That’s one big reason why childhood obesity is becoming more and more prevalent. Getting your child in shape doesn’t have to be a fight; you just have to find activities they enjoy that are good for them as well. Here are some great workouts that will entertain your kids at the same time.

Below are some fun cardio exercises for kids:

Tennis. If your child isn’t into traditional team sport, then tennis is a great alternative. It gives a great cardio workout while also working various muscle groups and improving hand-eye and overall coordination. Plus, even though your child isn’t necessarily working on a team, tennis is a great way to meet and socialize with other kids.

Hacky sack. This is a simple cheap way to get your kids up and moving. It also teaches coordination, balance, and helps your kids socialize and work together in a group to accomplish something. Plus, unlike most group sports, there are no teams so children are trying to beat their old records instead of trying to win.

Dance. Sure, you can enroll your child in dance classes, or you could just turn on the radio a couple times a week and make up silly dances to go along with the songs. This not only encourages movement, balance, and coordination, it also work out kid’s brains by getting them to be imaginative.

Video games. These have gotten a bad rap in the past few years, physical video games have come a long way since the original Nintendo. Now there are tons of products available that get your child to stand up and move. One popular game series is Dance Dance Revolution. There are also games on the new Nintendo Wii system that encourage physical movement. These are a fun entertaining way for your kids to get a workout while they play video games. And trust me; these are just as addictive as other video games.

Soccer. There’s a reason there are so many soccer mom’s around; because these moms know that soccer is a great way for children to get their heart rate up, improve their footwork skills, learn teamwork, and have fun at the same time. Plus, if you’re worried about the problem of intense competition, there are many areas with leagues that don’t keep score. This has been and still is a great way for your kids to stay in shape.

Swimming. Doing laps is a great way to get an aerobic workout without causing a lot of wear and tear on your child’s growing bones and joints. It’s fantastic and increasing endurance and stamina. Plus, a pool is a great place for them to hang out, play, and meet new kids in the neighborhood during the summer.

Jumping rope. This is a great workout whether it’s done the traditional way, or the newer more faced paced version. This can help your child meet new people, and some areas even have it as a competitive sport.

So why not include some of these fun cardio exercises for kids into your home? You could even get a workout yourself by joining them or just helping them practice regularly.

Winter Outdoor Fitness Activities

December 12, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: About the Family, Healthy Living No Comments →

Does your family have the winter blues? Get them moving with some fun outdoor activities! Here are some ideas for you to try:

Outside Workout

Gather the entire family and go outdoors for a family workout. Mom or Dad can lead the group in a fun outdoor exercise routine. Or better yet play a game of tag football.

Jogging/Power Walk

If you’re tired of being stuck inside, get outdoors for a good jogging or power walking session. Jog around the block or walk a mile or two. You can add light hand weights to work your arms while you’re walking.

Ice Skating

Ice skating is a fun form of winter exercise. When lakes are frozen, ice skaters come out of hiding and get out on the ice for lots of fun. Most kids really enjoy ice skating too.

Snow Shoeing

If you’re tired of jogging and walking, trade your sneakers for snow shoes. Snowshoeing works your leg muscles even more because you have to really lift your legs to be able to walk around.

Hiking

Many people associate hiking only with the summer months. However, winter hiking is a totally exhilarating fitness activity. Don’t forget to bring along your digital camera so you can take pictures of the beautiful winter scenery as you explore!

Time Saving Tips for Busy Moms

December 08, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Organization No Comments →

It is no surprise that moms feel overwhelmed when they try to fit everything into their busy days. After all, few single people can manage to juggle work, home life, and fun successfully. On top of these responsibilities, moms add car pool duty, cupcake emergencies, and last minute science projects to their to do lists. So, how do moms manage to fit all of those tasks into their lives and still keep their sanity without resorting to cloning?

First, you may want to consider making a list of tasks that need to be completed. Then, take a hard look at that list for anything that could be simplified or eliminated. For example, do your children really need home baked cupcakes for the school party? The bakery up the street will be happy to box up 24 cupcakes and have them ready for you to pick up the next morning, saving you at least a half hour.

Next, look for tasks that really take a lot of your time, but could be done by someone else. If your children are too young to help walk the dog, you may want to consider hiring a dog walker to give your pooch his daily exercise. Errand services are also a great time saver. You can have your errand service shop for back to school supplies, pick up groceries, or get the dry cleaning. A maid service can come in once a week to do some heavy duty cleaning.

Another task that takes a lot of time is cooking. However, you can stop cooking a meal from scratch every evening and still feed your family without hitting speed dial for your favorite pizza with bulk cooking. Pick a weekend and cook enough food for an entire month of meals. Freeze the food in dinner size portions and simply reheat a dinner each evening.

Of course moms who work from home have a flexibility that other moms don’t have. If you become overwhelmed with all that you have to do, give yourself permission to take some time off to catch up. If you simply can’t take time off, you may want to find a mother’s helper to watch the children and do some basic household chores while you work.

Finally, if it seems you are always spending your evenings helping your children complete big assignments that are due the next day, give each of your children a homework notebook. If they neglect to write assignments down, ask their teachers to initial the assignment book, so you will know that all assignments are listed. This will eliminate all of those last minute posters, science fair projects, and reports that moms seem to end up helping with until midnight the night before they are due.

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Tips for Staying Fit During The Holidays

December 05, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Healthy Living No Comments →

The last think you want this holiay season is to feel unhealthy.  Here are some great tips for staying fit during the holiays. 

(ARA) – The holiday season is a time for fun, family, and – let’s not forget – food. Between work functions, family get-togethers and endless holiday soirees, the sheer amount of cheesy appetizers, buttery entrees and sugar-laden desserts can be overwhelming – especially when you’re trying to maintain or lose weight.Don’t let the holidays weigh you down; here are a few tips for how to stay fit and energized throughout the harried holiday season.

Smart snacking – The first rule to staying fit throughout the holidays is never arrive at a party hungry. With the abundance of tempting, fattening treats available, choosing an appetizer or dessert that fills you up and not out, can be a challenge. Satisfy your hunger beforehand with a protein-rich snack, like Jack Link’s Teriyaki Beef or Jack Link’s Cholula Hot Sauce Beef Jerky, to help you curb your desire for calorie-filled treats at the party. Made with premium cuts of beef, pork, turkey or chicken, these snacks are naturally high in protein and low in fat, calories and carbs, making it a smarter snacking choice. And because jerky requires no refrigeration, you can easily toss a bag in your purse or gym bag for on-the-go noshing or a pre- or post-workout snack.

Jack Link’s Jerky is available in grocery stores, mass retailers, convenience and drug stores nationwide or at Jacklinks.com. (Suggested retail price per 3.25-ounce bag: $5.99.)

Hit the gym - As any personal trainer or nutritionist would tell you, the key to seeing results with any diet is exercise. But, you don’t have to be a heavyweight champion or triathlete to stay fit. Fitness centers across the U.S. make fitness affordable and accessible to people of all abilities and fitness levels. Hit the treadmill for a long walk or run; strengthen your muscles through weight training; find your “zen” during yoga; or improve your cardio through conditioning while cycling. Whether you’re looking to tone up or slim down this holiday season, there is sure to be a fitness center near you that will meet all your exercise needs. Many fitness centers are open 24 hours a day, so you can slip in your 30-minute workout when it’s convenient for you. As always, check with your physician before starting a new exercise regimen.

Visit a fitness center near you for more information on how to become a member.

Drink up – Most holiday get-togethers offer a variety of beverages to satisfy every guest, such as wine, spirits, eggnog, soda or coffee. In moderation, these beverages can be a festive treat; however, they can also leave you dehydrated and consuming more calories than you intended. This year, pair your beverage of choice with a healthy glass of water. Recent research shows, drinking two 8-ounce glasses of water before breakfast, lunch, and dinner, while also cutting back on portions, can help you meet your weight loss goals. While each person’s hydration needs are different, the Institute of Medicine advises that men and women try to consume about 3.7 and 2.7 liters of water a day, including water that can be found in food and other beverages, such as fruit, vegetables or even coffee.

Tally it up – Wearing a heart rate monitor, fitness watch or pedometer is a great way to track your progress before, during and after your daily workout. In preparation for the holidays, choose a tool that allows you to track calories consumed and calories burned all day long. Personal calorie management devices are available at a variety of price points and offer a wide array of capabilities. For example, through the use of an armband and a compatible smartphone, many calorie management devices will allow you to log calories consumed, track calories counts and even track how many steps you take all day long. Tools like this are essential in maintaining your weight loss goals all the way through to the new year and beyond.  Visit a local or online sporting goods retailer for more information.

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Tips for keeping your home healthy

December 01, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Healthy Living No Comments →

Here are some great tips to help to keep your home healthy! 

(ARA) – Maintaining a healthy home is critical for your family’s welfare – especially now as the weather cools and you begin to spend more time indoors. Applying a few simple solutions now will ensure your indoor living environment is safe and healthy for seasons to come.

Reduce toxins

Less desirable weather may make fall and winter seem like an ideal time to tackle your indoor painting projects. However, you need to be mindful of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in many interior paints and finishes. VOCs are one of the biggest threats to indoor air quality; they include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have both short- and long-term health effects. For indoor jobs, select paint with low or no VOCs to keep your air fresher. Additionally, some houseplants such as ivy and gerbera daisies can help to naturally remove VOCs from your indoor air.

Clean your indoor air

Ragweed and pollen will trigger allergy symptoms for millions of people this fall; however, the worst allergy triggers are often found inside the home. Installing a whole-home air filtration system can help to remove indoor allergens including dust, mildew, pet dander and pollen from the air you breathe. For example, the AccuClean (TM) System by American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning removes up to 99.98 percent of the allergens from your filtered air, so even if it’s allergy season outdoors, your indoor air is crisp and clean.

Prevent mold

During the cooler fall and winter months, people tend to seal up their homes and spend more time inside, which traps moisture and humidity – both significant contributors to indoor mold growth. Maintain healthy indoor humidity levels by venting bathrooms and clothes dryers and using an exhaust fan while cooking. Install an air humidifier to provide year-round control of your indoor moisture level, and keep your home at 50 percent humidity or lower to reduce the chance for mold growth.

Watch out for CO

Protect your indoor living environment from carbon monoxide or CO by installing CO detectors or alarms throughout your home. This fall, make sure your home’s heating system, including items such as a furnace or heat pump, vents and chimney, are inspected and serviced by a professional contractor. And, if there is a fireplace in your home, open the damper before lighting a fire to help prevent the buildup of potentially poisonous gases inside of your home.

Keep a seasonal routine

Most homeowners already know it’s important to test their smoke alarms on a monthly basis, but how often do you change the alarm’s batteries? One way to keep track of alarm maintenance is to make battery changing a seasonal activity. For example, beginning this fall, replace the batteries in your smoke alarms (and CO detectors), every time you reset your clocks.By taking these simple steps now, you’ll create a safer and healthier home, allowing your family to relax and enjoy all the delights the fall season has to offer – both outdoors and indoors.