Stress Over the Holidays: How to Cope

Stress and depression can ruin your holidays and hurt your health. Being realistic, planning ahead and seeking support can help ward off stress and depression. The holiday season often brings unwelcome guests — stress and depression. And it's no wonder. When stress is at its peak, it's hard to stop and regroup. Try to prevent stress and depression in the first place, especially if the holidays have taken an emotional toll on you in the past. Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can't be with loved ones, realize that it's normal to feel sadness and grief. You can't force yourself to be happy just because it's the holiday season. Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship Be realistic. The holidays don't have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones

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Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?

Unfortunately, living in Iowa, we are not in the “sunshine state”. We live in the Midwest, and because of this, research has already told us that we tend to be deficient in vitamin D over the winter months.

Our main source of vitamin D comes from the sun, and it is absorbed through the skin. There are several wonderful benefits to vitamin D, including: enhancing immunity, helps eye problems, may help treat psoriasis, necessary for growth, necessary for thyroid function and normal blood clotting, required for the absorption and utilization of calcium and phosphorus by the intestinal tract, and prevention and treatment of osteoporosis and hypercalcemia.

So, how do you know if you are deficient?

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Simple Diet and Fitness Tips for the Holidays

We’re starting to get ready for the holidays – filled with so many delicious desserts and family favorites. It’s also a time when we tend to over-indulge and put on a few pounds.

We wanted to look at 5 easy ways to fight off the extra weight this season.

  1. Say hello to H2O. So many of us do not get adequate water in winter – mainly because we tend to look at hot beverages instead. Remember, we need half of our body weight in ounces per day. This will also help with digesting those extra snacks, so drink up!

  2. Find your best fitness friend. A workout buddy is very helpful with keeping you on track with your workouts. Make sure you find someone with similar exercise interests, goals and abilities, so that you get the most out of it! When you hold each other accountable, you can accomplish so much more.

  3. Police your portions. When filling your plate, start by adding vegetables to half of it. Then add your protein, and finally finish with your heavier caloric dishes. This will ensure that you don’t overdo it with calories and that you get your veggies in. So many of us do not eat the recommended vegetable and fruit servings per day, which makes such a huge difference in sleep, energy levels, and digestion.

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What to Look for in a Pillow

We commonly get asked about what can be done to get a better nights sleep. It’s usually a question about mattresses, positioning or pillows. Today, I will cover positioning and pillows, because how you sleep can determine what type of pillow will work best.

Ideally, when sleeping, your body should maintain a neutral spine. You can do this by sleeping on your back with support under your neck, or on your side with a supportive pillow that will allow you to keep the proper position (see picture to the left). If you have low back and sleep on your back, you can place a pillow under your knees to take the pressure off of your lumbar spine. If you sleep on your side, you can place a pillow in between your knees so that your hips are in a better supported state.

You will notice that I did not mention sleeping on your stomach.

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9 Everyday Superfoods

We love that “superfoods” are multi-taskers—foods brimming with various disease-fighting nutrients, usually without providing too many calories, and delivered in a delicious form. What we dislike about some foods deemed “super” is that they are exotic or something—like, say, sardines—that you’d only have once in a while. Healthy? Yes. Would you eat them every day? Probably not. So, here are 9 easy-to-eat, easy-to-find, everyday “super” foods to keep eating healthy simple. 1. Berries. All berries are great sources of fiber—a nutrient that most Americans don’t get enough of and one that is important for a healthy digestive system. 2. Eggs. A source of high-quality protein, eggs might give your meal more staying power too. Egg yolks contain lutein and zeaxanthin—two antioxidants that help keep eyes healthy 3. Beans. Beans are a good plant-based source of iron (up to 13 mg per 3/4 cup), a mineral that transports oxygen from your lungs to the cells in your body.

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