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Take Time for You with the OMG I Can Meditate App

Disclosure ~ This is a sponsored post for www.omgmeditate.com and BlogMeetsBrand.
All opinions expressed are 100% that of Living Smart Girl. #meditation
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High school gym wasn’t my favorite class, but it gave me a break from the books. I was especially happy on the days we did what I know now is called progressive muscle relaxation. I didn’t know what it was called then, I was super happy for the time to relax though. We’d all pile into the wrestling room, pick out a spot on the soft mat, and stretch out. The gym teacher would hit the lights and turn on a recording. I don’t remember if it was a man or woman’s voice but they would guide us on how to relax first starting with our toes – tightening them, holding, then releasing and working our way through various body parts. It was incredibly relaxing and I looked forward to it. I’ve done some meditation as part of yoga since then, but never jumped head on into meditating partly because I didn’t think I could actually quiet this busy brain of mine and mostly because I just didn’t know how… until along came the OMG I Can Meditate app.

 

I was hesitant at first because when I say my mind is busy, I mean it. I’m physically always on the go and my brain is busier than that. I’m just a thinker. I think of to-do lists, recipes, blog post ideas, work, family, the past, the future. And when my brain doesn’t have anything specific to think of, it starts sorting through random thoughts like “why is a nose called a nose”? I’ve just always had a busy mind and meditation is meant to calm the busyness and focus on self reflection. There are a lot of benefits to meditation though including reducing stress, decreasing depression symptoms, and enhancing the quality of sleep among others. The OMG I Can Meditate app is meant to teach you how to meditate, but offers many features for seasoned meditators as well.

 

After downloading the meditation app – currently available on iOS – I briefly and easily set up an account and I was on my way. I was worried that I’d find the speaker’s voice annoying. It’s hard to relax if you do, but after choosing to start with the OMG Daily Meditations, I found Lynne Goldberg’s – the app’s personal meditation coach – voice gentle and soothing, but firm on instruction. The daily meditation program starts with the 7 Day Challenge where Lynne introduces herself and the program. She makes a point to remind people that they don’t need special skills to meditate but it does take practice. I was then able to choose how long I could devote to the first session, either 12, 14, or 16 minutes. You can do this with each daily meditation. I like that, some days I might have more or less time to devote to me. There are a full twelve weeks of the daily meditation program each with a different theme such as Are you Where your Body is, Meeting of the Mind, and Taming of the Mind. I haven’t made it through the entire course, but I can tell that it is definitely fantastic in exploring the various aspects of meditation. I particularly liked the reminders to bring myself back into the moment as my mind would tend to start being busy again and the reminders helped me focus on what I was doing. It’s great for mindfulness as well.

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Aside from the daily meditations, the OMG I Can Meditate app has so much more. There are missions such as taking a learning how to take a conscious breath with the goal to “take you out of thinking and into the present moment”. When you’re truly focusing on your breathing, it’s hard to think on anything else. This is powerful! When you master the mission you’re on, new missions are made available. The OMG I Can Meditate app includes specialty meditations such as relationship and family, health and wellness, stress and anxiety, life situations and more. There’s even a kids section in age brackets 6-9, 10-13, and 14-17 for those that want to learn how to meditate. The app also includes meditations to be first thing in the morning to start your day off with focus and intention or those that calm you down at night. I love that it offers a self-practice section where you can meditate on your own either to silence, music, or nature sounds. I’ve always found nature sounds to be incredibly relaxing and I can use the skills I’ve learned with the guided meditation to practice on my own. When I meditate I envision being in my most favorite places, like a warm beach near the ocean.

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The OMG I Can Meditate app can be downloaded on iOS, there is a free version that allows you to explore the program with limited content and a premium version which includes the full program. The upgrade is priced at $12.99 monthly with an auto-renew feature or customers can choose to pay annually at $7.50 per month or $5.00 per month if you pay for two years. I would recommend giving the OMG I Can Meditate app for anybody needing some “me” time or those wanting to learn to meditate. It’s also great for those that know how to meditate, but need some structure or reminders to take personal time.

 

Do you meditate?  If so, how, when and where?

How would you like to win a FREE 3 Months of the new OMG. I Can Meditate Premium membership?  This is a $45 value ;)

How to enter ~  Leave a comment telling me if you meditate.

Come back daily and tell me if you gave yourself time to meditate that day.

Tweet this and leave me a comment with the tweet url.

Ends ~ March 31st, at Midnight.  I will pick 10 winners.
Please leave your email address on your comments so I can email you the activation code for your 3 Month Premium membership.

 

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Smooth Legs thanks to Gillette Venus Swirl

Disclosure ~ This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/Gillette Venus.
#NewVenusSwirl, @GilletteVenus, @Walmart, @SheSpeaksUp.

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Alright ladies ~  how many of you pretty much give up shaving in the winter?   Show of hands…  ME!!    I do for 2 reasons..   1. nobody sees my legs in the winter except me and my hubby and 2. shaving is a pain.    I am always getting nicks and dealing with crappy razors and the fact my bathroom is very ill lit and my shower is small, and basically.. I just don’t give myself enough time when I shower to shave all I need to shave.

I have owned many hair removal products and yet, haven’t found the “perfect” one.  But, this new Gillette Venus Swirl razor might be a girls new best friend.  See, girls legs have curves.  They are not straight, they have knees, ankles, bumps and grooves here and there.   At least mine do.   Gillette Venus Swirl is a fun new razor that helps me get a great shave because it moves with the flow of my legs (and other area’s) when I am shaving.  The Gillette Venus Swirl is the first and only razor with a flexiball and advanced blade technology to contour over curves to help get what other razors miss.  And let me tell you, it seriously does!!   It is a flawless shave with flawless skin to match.

Here are some great product notes ~

  • The new proprietary FlexiBall™ technology offers a totally unique movement like no other male or female razor on the market. Venus Swirl™ is the first and only razor with the FlexiBall™, moving in multiple directions to navigate all of the tricky areas of a woman’s body. It helps to shave those hard-to-reach places and capture hairs that other razors might miss.
  • Pesky knee and ankle hairs and other tricky areas are no match for Venus Swirl’s new Microfine Comb and five Contour™ Blades. Combined with FlexiBall™ movement, Venus Swirl™ moves like no other razor for flawless skin.
  • Venus Swirl™ is the first Venus razor to feature Gillette’s most advanced blade technology, with five Contour™ blades that cut hair at lower cutting force and have thinner, finer edges — the thinnest in Gillette’s history. The Contour™ blades individually adjust to a woman’s every curve and contour.
  • A water activated MoistureGlide™ Serum surrounds the blades for incredible glide.
  • The beautiful new violet-hued translucent handle combines a swirled pattern and ergonomic gripping design for outstanding control and easy handling for optimal maneuverability over those tricky areas.
  • For a more enriching experience, try Venus™ with a touch of Olay® VioletSwirl™ shave gel with 5x more moisturizers*.
  • Gillette’s best razor and shave gel lineup.

You can find the whole line at your local Walmart.   So, while it might still be winter and cold in most parts of the US, don’t let your legs get so furry to the point of needing a weed wacker to remove the hair.    Check out the new Gillette Venus Swirl and Olay Violet Swirl Shave Gel.  Together they will have your legs looking and feeling amazing!

Wanna win a $20 Walmart Gift Card so you can buy yourself the Gillette Venus Swirl and Olay Violet Swirl Shave Gel?   Leave me a comment telling me your worst shaving nightmare.  Winner will be chosen March 30th.   Open to US only.   Please leave your email with your comment so I can contact you if you win.

Tweet for an extra entry.  Once you tweet, come back and leave a 2nd comment with your url to the tweet.

Happy Spring :)

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Tis the Season for Allergies so #PassThePuffs

Disclosure ~ I participated in the Pass The Puffs blog program as a member of One2One Network.
I received compensation but all opinions are my own.

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Do you ever feel like you shouldn’t leave your house in the winter because every where you go people are sick and spreading germs?  That is how I feel.  I would love to lock myself inside all winter!   But, I live in the here and now so don’t lock myself inside as I like to enjoy life.   With that, means I generally get a cold or two over the winter.  And, just when I think cold and flu season is past me, I am smacked in the face with allergies!  Darn, can a girl catch a break?

Usually when hubby and I travel I go in and out with my allergies.  Depending on what state, what time of year, what hotel, etc., you will find me with itchy watery eyes, sniffling, sneezing, and all the fun symptoms that come with those darn allergies.   I don’t know how I never had them when I was little, and the older I get the worse they get.  But, regardless of the why or how, at least I don’t look a mess when my eyes start watering or my nose starts running.   I grab my Puffs Facial Tissue and know that my skin won’t pay a high price and be chapped or dry due to the constant wiping of eyes or nose.

When hubby and I traveled to Florida in December it never dawned on me that in the middle of winter my allergies would surface. Well I was so wrong!   Not only on our trip to Florida did I suffer with allergies, but on the way home. I was fine when we were there.   All I can figure is there is stuff in different states that my body just isn’t fond of!  LOL!   I was so glad to have my Puffs Facial Tissue on hand for our whole trip.  Not only did I use it to keep my makeup from running down my face as my eyes watered with every state we drove thru, but also used it for my runny nose, to cover my mouth when I was coughing, and even shared it with my hubby when he too got a runny nose.

Puffs wants you to know that Puffs tissues is on a mission.  Yup… they want to help people look and feel their best during the cold and flu season. Puffs has just the right amount of softness to sooth that irritation caused by the sniffles, coughing and sneezing.  You can now tackle all your face has to face.

Puffs tissues is on a mission to help people look and feel their best this cold and flu season with just the right amount of softness to sooth irritation caused by sniffles, coughing and sneezing – helping them tackle tall that their face has to face.   Since winter is always hard on our face, Puffs has Puffs Plus Lotion which contains a touch of Shea Butter, Aloe and Vitamin E to provide comfort for the worst cold and flu symptoms life throws your way.  And, they are the only national brand that is dermatologist tested to be gentle on skin. So, put your best face forward no matter the weather or the season.  Puffs Plus Lotion is Puff’s most soothing tissue with Air-fluffed™ pillows for more cushiony thickness – why face winter any other way?  Check out Puffs on Facebook.

Norwex March Specials

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Have you wondered about Norwex?   Well wonder no more!!   If you have not looked at our products, or tried our products you are missing out.  Eliminate all the toxins in your home by using our cloths and water.  Yes, just a cloth and water.   No harsh cleaning products needed to get the job done, and done way better.   I absolutely love my kitchen cloth for all my kitchen cleaning needs.   My bathroom has never been so clean, and all done with no harsh chemicals.   And, my body.. soft, smooth and irritant free thanks to throwing out all the harsh body washes/soaps I was used to using.  Just my body cloth and water.   And shaving is so much easier.  I use my body cloth, and then I shave.  No soap, or shaving cream.. just the razor on my skin.   Save your skin, and save on razors.

I would love to talk to you about Norwex if you have questions.     Check out my site, join my newsletter list, or comment here with your questions.

And… MARCH is join free month.  You can join as a Norwex consultant for FREE ($10 shipping), get a kit and get started on your Fresh Start program to earn tons of goodies FREE.

 

Join Me and Drop Your Pants for #Underwareness with Depend

Disclosure ~  Thank you to Depend for sponsoring today’s post about the #dropyourpants for #underwareness movement.
All opinions are 100% that of mine.
#underwareness #dropyourpants #sp

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Sing with me ~  Gotta Go, Gotta Go, Gotta Go Right Now.. OH OH… I just went a little!!!    Ok, that last part is not supposed to be part of the song, but for many, like me, it just happens to be.   Ever since I have been little, like 4 or 5 years old, my bladder has hated me.  I have been to doctors, been on med, changed my liquid intake allotment, done exercises to strengthen muscles, etc.  Nothing, and I mean NOTHING helps when you have a weak bladder.   For me, I was diagnosed with over active bladder, but with that I also experience bladder leakage.   Attractive huh?  NOT!!   While there are many things a person can deal with that are far more embarrassing, this ranks pretty high.   I am thrilled to join the Drop your pants for underwareness movement to let everyone know that, you are not alone if you experience bladder leakage.  I know that many times I have felt so alone.   Especially when I am out with friends and I have to keep running to the bathroom, or worry about what activities we might be doing and if I am going to have an accident doing them.   My husband and I lead a fairly active life, and are on the go a lot, and so for me I am always worried about things and just over obsessed sometimes to where I don’t enjoy things like I would like too.

Did you know that more people with bladder leakage are in their 20’s than their 80’s. And the average age of someone with bladder leakage is only 52!  Crazy huh?  And more people with bladder leakage are 50 or younger than 60!  This shocks me, but also helps me realize that I am not alone in my struggle.   I might only be 43, but have been dealing since a very young age.   I remember many embarrassing moments thru my grade school, high school and early adult years.

It is refreshing to know that Depend provides a variety of discreet products that help people regain their freedom and get their lives back.  You can find a variety of products like Depend Real Fit for Men and Silhouette for Women briefs.   Get the look and fit like real underwear with a cloth-like fabric for a sleek, ultra smooth fit.   Depend Underwear with Fit-Flex protection features more Lycra strands for a smooth and comfortable close to the body fit.  It’s nice to know that I can be comfortable and protected and nobody will know that I have bladder leakage.

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Is it time for you to get a grip on your bladder leakage?  Get bladder leakage protection today! Claim your free samples today by visiting the Depend landing page and clicking on the “Get a Sample” button located at the top right-hand side of the screen. Then, select which sample you would like to receive and wait for them to arrive.  Then, stop worrying about your bladder leakage.

Check them out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

What’s In My Travel Case

I just love love love to travel, but I hate having to pack to travel.  I just never know how many outfits, what kind of outfits, how many shoes, do I need jackets, etc. I always tend to take way way more than I ever need or use.  Last spring when hubby and I went to Florida, I packed for 6 months, but we were only gone 3 weeks.   Yes, I admit, I am an extreme over packer!

But, my toiletries bag is never over packed.  That is one area where what I bring is what I use, daily.  I wanted to share with you my travel case from my recent trip to Florida.  Hubby and I drove and this was all I needed for on the road, and while we were there.   There is no makeup in here, just my skin care and a couple must have’s for travel.

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What’s in my travel case?   Well as you can see I sorta like my Murad products.   I have a couple face wash products ~ Time Released Acne Cleaner and Skin Smoothing Polish.  Then I have my eye care ~ Renewing Eye Cream and my Intensive Age Diffusing Serum and the Acne & Wrinkle Reducer.  My step 3 is the Age Balancing Moisturizer.   I also bring along my Acne Spot Treatment for those pesky pimples that pop up while traveling.  My face doesn’t always like the change of water or diet when on vacation so having my Murad basics helps my face not hate me.

Of course I can’t forget my fingernail polish, deodorant, my eye rev-er upper, my Melatonin and my mouth guard.   With all these that fit perfectly into my travel case, I am ready for any vacation my hubby throws my way.

I love being a Murad Ambassador and love using and sharing my love for their products.  They have such a wide range of products that can work for anyone, no matter your skin concerns.

Advanced Hair Nutition by Aviva

I know I speak for a lot of women when I say that this is the time of year when we find ourselves doing whatever we can to baby our hair and coax it into a manageable “do.” It becomes a dry, lifeless mess and unless we go bankrupt while buying the dozens of different styling products there’s little we can do to keep it looking healthy and gleaming. I know this to be absolutely true because I’m one of the women whose hair is effected by the cold weather change. I recently cut it, in fact, to help avoid the battle I knew was coming; the breakage had begun and I watched daily for the life to be zapped from my hair.  I didn’t realize how bad my hair was until I went to a new stylist… Yikes!!  My previous stylist ruined my hair.  She left the bleach in my hair in the sections I had dyed black, to long and those sections are fried.  I was wondering why it was so hard to comb my hair after I washed it… well now I know.

Luckily though there are ways to manage this kind of hair care issue and it can be done without spraying or slathering on layers of harmful chemicals that, in the long run, can do more harm than good to your beloved tresses. Recently I was able to review such a product from Aviva Hair.

At Aviva Hair they believe that healthy hair is crucial to achieve personal wellness and strive to help customers like you and I bring the life back to our hair after suffering from everyday heat, sweat, sunlight and the harsh chemicals used in dyes, shampoos, etc. Aviva uses 18 essential nutrients such as Biotin, Vitamin B5, Iron, Zinc, and more to help nourish damaged hair. Their exclusive formula is 100% drug-free, certified GMO free, fish free and gluten free. The best part is that their hand picked botanical and nutraceutical  blend of ingredients work together with their exclusive duo of Tetraplex and Pentaplex  to to restore balance to the nature hair growth cycle to provide your hair with the nutrients it needs to be beautiful and healthy again!

With just two of their softgels a day you can boost length, increase shine, build texture, reduce shedding and improve texture. Now, doesn’t that sound like just the thing we ladies have been looking for?  I know I was excited to try it.  You can see my before picture, and my after (one with pink hair).  Honestly, the product didn’t do a thing for my hair, nails or anything.  The before was just as I started the product, and the after is when I was done and just had my hair styled before I left on vacation.   I don’t know if one needs to be on it for a longer time, but I thought 60 days would do me.   Oh well…  I know it didn’t hurt me either ;)

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Connect with Aviva on Facebook|Twitter|Pinterest|Youtube|Instagram

Disclosure ~  Living Smart Girl received product to facilitate a review.  All opinions expressed are 100% that of Living Smart Girl.

Natural Treatmens for Wrinkles, Eczema, and Poriasis

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They say that the eyes are the window to the soul, but it’s your skin that really tells the world about you. Unfortunately, sometimes it tells the world things you don’t want it to know, or it outright lies. Wrinkles can tell the world your age, but they can also make you look much older than you are. Skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis often signal illness, or contagion, even though neither is true.

We talked earlier about cosmetic treatments for several popular skin conditions. Today we are going to focus on more natural interventions, which you can use alone or as a companion to the cosmetic treatments.

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Wrinkles

It’s almost impossible to go through life without developing some wrinkles. Every emotion eventually etches itself into your face, creating creases and lines that are visible signs of the life you have lived. But everyone doesn’t get wrinkles at the same rate, and there are certain factors that can determine how many wrinkles you get and when. Heredity is a big factor, but so is sun exposure, and how well you moisturize. Smoking can also contribute to wrinkles, especially around the mouth.

Natural wrinkle treatments focus hydrating and exfoliating the skin to soften the appearance of lines and creases, or on gentle stretching to smooth the appearance of wrinkles.

Hydrating and exfoliating methods include cleaning with a mild abrasive, such as a paste made of baking soda and oatmeal, or a cleanser made with walnut husks. They can also include fruit masks that contain acids to exfoliate and plant oils to hydrate your skin.

Gentle stretching methods involve the use of mechanical devices to gently stretch the skin. These can include products that stretch all of the skin on your face, or devices that focus on specific areas like Dermastrips, which focus on mouth wrinkles.

Eczema and Psoriasis

Eczema is also called dermatitis. It’s inflammation, redness, and itching often caused by an external irritant, like an allergen. If you don’t know the direct cause of your eczema, the condition can often be embarrassing and difficult to treat. Eczema can occur anywhere on your body, including your face and scalp.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition where your body makes too many skin cells at once. The new skin underneath pushes its way to the surface causing the older skin to flake off in big, scaly patches. Like psoriasis, eczema can be embarrassing and difficult to treat. Psoriasis can appear anywhere on your body, but is most common on your scalp and joints.

Natural eczema and psoriasis treatments focus on relieving the redness and itching, and reducing the amount of flaking.  Many of these treatments are lifestyle-related since both conditions are very sensitive to extremes of heat, and humidity. These treatments include, but are not limited to:

  • Applying a heavy-duty moisturizer, especially after showering or when moving from one temperature extreme to another, such as going out into the cold from your warm home;
  • Using a humidifier when heating your home, to prevent the heat from drying out the air;
  • Bathing in warm water instead of hot water, which can strip the natural oils from your skin;
  • Washing with a non-soap cleanser that contains moisturizers. Like hot water, soap can strip the natural oils from your skin;
  • Taking warm oatmeal baths to treat the itching and inflammation;
  • Using special shampoos to control the itching and flaking in your scalp; and
  • Staying well-hydrated by eating water-rich foods, and drinking plenty of fluids.

Because eczema and psoriasis are both considered medical conditions, you should also consult your physician about possible treatment options. Natural treatments can relieve your symptoms and improve the look of your skin, but you might need some prescription help to really get your condition under control.

Compression Wear Doesn’t Have to Wreck Your Fashion Plans

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One of my good friends has the worst luck when it comes to her legs. In the past two years, she has had two deep vein thromboses (DVTs or clots). DVTs are serious and if ignored or not treated properly, they can kill someone. My friend’s DVTs both occurred in her legs (where they are most common) but they can occur in any deep vein. They can happen to anybody but are especially common in people who have to stay still for very long periods of time, pregnant women (scary, right?) and people whose blood pressure is elevated (source: MayoClinic).

The good news is that, when caught, a DVT is almost always treatable. Treatment involves specific types of medication that are used to break up the clot, filters to keep any clots that do break free from entering your lungs and the use of compression clothing–typically socks or stockings.

This is where things get tricky. Filters and medication aren’t readily visible to others (though their side effects can be). Compression socks and stockings, though, they can cause some issues. The ones issued by your doctor are almost always going to be strictly utilitarian and, sadly, kind of ugly. They are best hidden under pants and behind boots.

This is fine if you’re happiest in boots and jeans (or other pants) but not everybody likes that look. My friend, for example, prefers skirts and dresses. Thankfully, just because your doctor gives you compression wear, you are not required to limit your compression wear that is issued by medical facilities!

There are lots of really cute options for compression clothing out there now. Even better, there are designers who offer compression clothing that is built specifically for the “type” of person who will be wearing it. Athletes, for example, can buy special sweat wicking and other types of compression gear that is meant to be worn during a workout. The compression hose ruPreggers.com offers pregnant women helps with leg-based DVTs while also providing non-constrictive support for their bellies.

Really, the problem isn’t that there isn’t any cute compression wear available. The problem is finding the right compression socks, tights, whatevers for you. How do you do that? How do you narrow down your options?

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What Will You Be Doing In It?

What are you most likely to be doing while wearing your compression gear? For example, if you work in a very formal office you will want to choose wear that reflects the dress code (tights and socks in muted colors, for example). If you’re going to be working out, you’ll want something that wicks sweat and still allows your skin to breathe. Choose tights, socks, sleeves, etc that are designed for your activities.

Consider Your Existing Wardrobe

Yes, compression tights in bright green leopard print might be fun, but if they’re going to clash with everything you already own, maybe go for the leopard print in a different bright color. You don’t want to have to design a whole new wardrobe around this stuff, you want it to blend in with what you already have.

That said, sometimes getting the bright green leopard print tights just because they cheer you up and make you happy when you wear them–clashing be darned–is a good enough reason to buy one of the sillier or more fun options you find.

Will It Last?

All compression wear tends to relax over time–it’s like regular clothing that way. Compression clothing, though, is designed to resist that relaxation for a longer than regular clothing. Still, there are some manufacturers out there who like to cut corners on their fabrics and stitching. Make sure you read the reviews before you buy! The last thing you need is the expense of replacing something made cheaply!

The point is: you have options. You can be cute and fashionable even while wearing something that is supposed to be strictly utilitarian. Working them into your fall wardrobe should be really easy to do!

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5 Things You Need To Know About Green Smoothies

Green Smoothies

Hello there soon-to-be smoothie lover!

Freshly pressed and blended or bottled, smoothies are red hot. You may have seen photos of celebs spotted after their sweat sesh in the gym holding a mason jar filled with green smoothie or your co-worker downing a glass and wondering why would any one drink that—ugh, greens. The “healthy eating” craze just got crazier!

But, can you blame them? With health issues such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and other chronic conditions on the rise, it seems like people will do just about anything for their health to be in tip-top condition.

We’ve all heard it, “what you don’t know won’t hurt you”, right? Wrong! There is no perfect diet for everyone but there are a lot of wrong ones—and you’ve got to know which is which.

In the crowded sea of fad diets and healthy eating tips and tricks, green smoothies are among some of the most popular must-eat/must-drink nutritional powerhouses on the market. Some people even go an extra mile and make their own from fresh fruits and veggies. Of course, eating a variety of foods is still one of the most important factors to consider for a nutritionally-balanced diet but with the right ingredients, these blended greens can surely put up a good fight for the “healthiest of them all” title that all these healthy eating regimes seem to compete for.

Smoothies vs. Shakes

So what are smoothies, really? And how are they different from shakes? Why can’t we just call them green shakes instead of green smoothies?

A smoothie is typically made with fruit—frozen fruit, fresh fruits, fruit juice, etc. It’s not a dairy affair but more of a fruit party, actually. While shakes, on the other hand, is a dairy-based treat usually made of milk, ice cream or both. The thickness of a smoothie or a milkshake does not change the name of the drink. As long as you can suck it up with a straw, it’s either a smoothie or a shake. When you start to need a spoon, then it becomes an ice cream or a sorbet.

What comes first to your mind when you hear the word vegetable? You probably pictured a green vegetable—a broccoli, maybe?

Even though there are other vegetables that are not green in color you probably thought of a green veggie. It may be because the color green somehow signifies good health. See that health bar when you play a video game? It’s green when your character is still “healthy” or alive. You get the point.

Now that makes sense! Since smoothies are typically made using fruits, green smoothies are “green” smoothies because they are mostly made of veggies—the green ones, usually.

But, why not call them veggie smoothies instead?

Sure, you can call it veggie smoothie or vegetable smoothie or whatever floats your boat (really), but for some reason “green smoothie” fits right. Its simplicity is quite catchy, don’t you think?

Health Benefits

A lot of people are going on a green smoothie rampage in hopes of keeping the doctor away and the stubborn weight gain at bay—two things that are almost impossible not to happen in a typical sugar- and salt-laden diet that most people have.

But why smoothies? Why not eat real vegetables?

Eating fresh vegetables instead of blended ones sounds ideal. But in this fast-paced life filled with deadlines and demands, convenience is everything. Not everyone has the time to eat home-cooked meals, let alone sit down and eat 3 servings of vegetables every day. And when you’re trying to be a “responsible” adult—taking care of your health by avoiding fast foods and opting for healthy food choices, you try (force yourself) to do the right thing: you eat vegetables.

World Health Organization (WHO)/ Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recommends a minimum of 400 grams of fruit and vegetables per day to prevent several micronutrient deficiencies and chronic diseases.

400 grams, wow!

If you’re not really a veggie fan then that may sound a lot. How do you include them in your diet—without choking? Enter green smoothies. A smoothie is probably the ultimate convenience food. You don’t even have to chew it. Still not convinced green smoothies are worth a try? Here are some more reasons why you should be on your way to buying a blender right now:

  1. You can up your fruit and vegetable consumption

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 16 million (1.0%) disability adjusted life years or DALYS (measure of the potential life lost due to premature mortality and the years of productive life lost due to disability) and 1.7 million (2.8%) of deaths worldwide are attributed to low fruit and vegetable intake.  It is also accounted for around 14% of gastrointestinal cancer deaths, 11% of ischemic heart disease deaths, and about 9% of deaths due to stroke globally.

When it comes to numbers (and not just numbers, I mean numbers pertaining to diseases and even deaths—yikes!) from a reputable source it’s really convincing to do what you’ve got to do in order not to, you know, contribute to these numbers. Green smoothies promise weight loss and loads of nutrients all in a single, gulpable serving. Drinking them makes it easier to get more fruits and vegetable into your diet, or that of your family.

  1. Green smoothie makes a good post-workout meal

Blending breaks down the hard-to-digest plant cell walls and improves their digestibility, allowing your body to absorb the nutrients in your smoothie more easily. This is one of the reasons why a smoothie makes a perfect post-workout meal.

Your body uses stored energy in your muscles to power through your workout. It’s very important that you replenish the nutrients lost during your sweat sesh to maximize its health benefits. It is recommended to get a combination of carbohydrates and protein immediately into your body as this gives your muscles the ability to replenish glycogen (the stored energy you used) and allows them to rebuild and repair as they recover.

Smoothies are rehydrating and loaded with nutrients that can be easily absorbed by your body. Not to mention, they are refreshing, too!

  1. You get more fiber

Dietary fiber, also known as roughage, includes all parts of plant foods that your body can’t digest or absorb.

It is food mainly in fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains and is probably best known for its ability to prevent or relieve constipation. But foods containing fiber can provide other health benefits such as reducing your risk of diabetes and heart disease and lowering your cholesterol and sugar levels. It also aids in weight loss. Eating fiber-rich foods can make a meal feel larger so you stay “feeling full” for a longer period of time.

  1. No need to add the big “C” in your already complicated life

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, accounting for 8.2 million deaths in 2012. Annual cancer cases are expected to rise from 14 million in 2012 to 22 million within the next two decades.

How not to add to these numbers?

Antioxidants!

Antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells against cancer-causing free radicals. In general, fruits and vegetables are chock-full of nutrients and antioxidants that are essential for optimum health, but not all foods are created equal. Some fruits and vegetables stand out in terms of antioxidant concentration as well as antioxidant capacity per serving size more than others. Among other fruits, cranberries, blueberries, and blackberries ranked highest while beans, artichokes, and Russet potatoes top other vegetables.

  1. You can lose weight

How do you distinguish a fad diet from a diet that really works? Well, a lot of fad diets and weight loss programs promise rapid weight loss—which can be great, only if they don’t leave you starving and depressed. Weight loss is a journey. You didn’t pack on those extra pounds overnight so don’t expect that you’ll shed them off quickly.

Permanent weight loss can be dragging but what makes it worth the wait is the fact that it is permanent.  Fad diets claim that they know a “shortcut” to weight loss. The truth is: there are no shortcuts. The shortcut they will share with you often leads to starvation. Yes, you will lose weight and yes, it will be fast, but pretty soon the weight you lost will catch up and you will find yourself back to square one. You don’t want that. No one wants that.

Green smoothies are mostly made of vegetables. And we all know that vegetables are one of your weight loss BFFs. With the right combination of ingredients, green smoothies may be the key to having the hot bod you’ve always wanted.

DIY Green Smoothies

Are you ready to make your way to rich green smoothie goodness?

What blender to use

What you’ll need is a blender and a little amount of patience. If you’re a grab-and-go type of eater—oftentimes falling into takeaway traps and wants to take baby steps towards healthy eating, making smoothies is a good start.  It should take about 5 minutes to prepare. So try to sit back and relax while you let your blender do the job.

If you’re always on the run but doesn’t want to buy bottled smoothies, you may want to buy a blender that blends fast so you won’t feel as if making smoothies robs you off of your precious time. But this kind of blender is a bit pricey. In making smoothies, it doesn’t really matter what kind of blender you use as long as it serves its purpose. A blender that effectively blends your green smoothie ingredients is a good blender.

Ingredients

The ingredients that you will use in making your own smoothies are pretty obvious. Fruits and vegetables are must-haves in your smoothie business. Some of the green smoothie essentials that you need are kale, spinach, romaine, collards, non-fat milk, coconut milk, coconut water, almond milk, banana, mango, berries, apple, grapes, and avocado.

You can add other fruits and vegetables, too! No doubt they are chock-full of nutrients so don’t be scared. Experiment all you want! The smoothie that you make is only as effective as the ingredients you use. Substitution is the key. Do not be afraid to try new things.

Yes, it can taste terrible. But, hey at least you can learn something from it. After all, a mistake is only a mistake if you don’t learn anything from it. Most of the oh-so-good smoothie recipes you see on the Internet stem from brave attempts of making different fruit and vegetable combinations work. You bet most of them taste beyond terrible, but a little tweak on the ingredients can make a big difference.

Start blending!

You may think that making a smoothie is as simple as putting all the ingredients in your blender. You’re right! It’s as simple as that! But if you want to get the best out of your nutrient-packed smoothies (of course you do!), you may want to consider doing them the proper way.

Start by blending 2 cups of leafy greens and 2 cups of liquid base together. If you’re trying to lose weight, you may want to use non-fat milk as your liquid base instead of coconut milk. Or better yet, use water. But the good thing about using milk is that it adds to the creaminess of your smoothie, making slurping a little bit more fun. It can also hide the distinct “green taste” of veggies. It really works wonders!

Next, add 3 cups of ripe fruit and blend again until the texture of your smoothie is well, smooth. And voila! Enjoy your smoothie!

Life is about making choices—choices that make you happy. Making smoothies is pretty much the same. In the end, what will be most effective is a diet you enjoy!

Resources:

World Health Organization (WHO)

Promoting fruit and vegetable consumption around the world

http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/fruit/en/

Cancer

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs297/en/

American Heart Association (AHA)

Fiber

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Whole-Grains-and-Fiber_UCM_303249_Article.jsp

Tell me more about your experiences with smoothies in the comments section below!

Author Bio :

Leanne Thompson is an author and a blogger who has contributed to some of the most well-known Health, Fitness and Nutrition blogs. She has struggled with her weight in her teenage years, which has driven her to undertake a Bachelors of Nutrition degree in the renowned Iowa State University, mostly to study the needs of a human body and how to make the most out of her life. She has made it her life goal to spread awareness about the importance of healthy weight loss and the well-being of people she has contact with. Visit her nutrition & health blog to find out more information!