Simple carbohydrates are not-so-good for you; On the other hand, complex carbohydrates are actually pretty good for you. Here me out on this.

Simple carbohydrates consist of things like white pasta, white bread, white rice, etc. That’s technically why many people eat burgers without buns. That’s also technically why people don’t use white dough anymore to make pizza. Instead, they go without the carbohydrates or they replace the carbohydrates with something more ‘healthy.’

Complex carbohydrates do the opposite; Instead of supplying your body with unnecessary calories and weighted foods, complex carbohydrates help you rather than hurt you. They’re honestly considered to be the ‘good carbs,’ so to speak. Why is that? Health care professionals claim that these good carbs help you by making the digestion process naturally go slower. In addition, complex carbs don’t spike the blood sugar in your body nearly half as much as the simple carbs do.

Just for a forewarning to you before I rattle off the complex carbs you should have in your diet, I’m going to tell you what simple carbs are (or should I say examples of them). Simple carbs consist of things such as ice cream, juice, candy, and white bread. So, see, it’s not just white bread, white pasta, and white rice that can really knock at your health. Take these simple carbohydrates in, but take them into your body in moderation.

Now that I’ve had my little rant, I’ll get into the details you’ve been looking for this whole time: Complex Carbohydrates You Should Definitely Incorporate into Your Diet.

Let’s go!

Chickpeas

Our daily fiber intake should be approximately 30 grams. Now, if you take one cup of chickpeas and cook them up whatever way you’d like, you’ve already hit the one-third mark. Why? Well, because one cup of chickpeas contains 10 grams of fiber, that’s why. Additionally, chickpeas are loaded with calcium and phosphate, two great nutrients that promote healthy bones.

Old-Fashioned Oats

Old-fashioned oats are also known as rolled oats. And, these oats are filled with nutrients such as folate, manganese, iron, and a ton of B vitamins. Other important nutrients are found within them, too.

In addition to all of this, old-fashioned oats also lower LDL cholesterol (if you didn’t know, that’s the bad cholesterol).

Multigrain Hot Cereal

I eat oatmeal almost every day. It’s delicious. However, sometimes eating oatmeal every day can be boring. If you want to switch it up a little, transition your morning meals over to multigrain hot cereal. You can add any grain to it, such as oats, rye, millet, or triticale.

Plus, the more grains you have in your diet, the more variety of nutrients you’ll have in your body to promote a healthier lifestyle.

Sweet Potatoes

Although they may be as sweet as their name suggests, they are not bad for you. Sweet potatoes have a natural sugar within them that actually gets released into the bloodstream rather slowly. Why does the sugar get released slowly? Well, because there’s a ton of fiber in them.

In addition, sweet potatoes have a ton of vitamin C in them which helps boost immunity and a ton of beta-carotene in them which helps reduce risks of heart disease and certain cancers.

Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is low in calories and it’s super starchy. Because of this, it can easily replace heavier carbs like baked potatoes. On top of this, butternut squash also supplies the body with a great quantity of vitamin E, therefore making your skin naturally healthy.

Potatoes

One medium-sized potato has so much more potassium in it than a banana does. And even though it may not be as good for you as sweet potatoes and butternut squash is, it’s still a good carbohydrate to incorporate into your regular diet. Also, they’re typically great for people who are trying to manage their blood pressure, considering the amount of potassium that is in them.

Black Beans

Beans have a lot of protein and fiber in them. Because of this, beans can promote satiety tenfold. Specifically speaking, adding beans to each meal can make you feel fuller quicker and they can stop you from overeating at mealtimes. Surprisingly, because beans can make you feel fuller quicker, they can also make you not want to snack between meals.

Tip: The best part about black beans is that they’re extremely affordable.

Quinoa

Though quinoa is technically not a grain, it still has some awesome heart-healthy benefits just like whole grains do. And, quinoa can be incorporated into any meal. As a matter of fact, the little seeds are often put into meals such as stir-fries, salads, and whole grain bowls.

Brown Rice

White rice doesn’t have the germ, bran, and endosperm of the grain; On the other hand, brown rice does have these aspects of the grain. Because of this, brown rice has more nutrients, fiber, and protein. Some of the nutrients present in brown rice consist of selenium, iron, zinc, and a few B vitamins.

Lentils

Lentils are extremely low in fat, yet extremely high in protein. The best part about these grains is that they’re extremely cheap. Additionally, they can replace any meat in any meal at a cost and time-effective rate.

Specifically speaking, lentils contain an approximate 18 grams of protein and 16 grams of fiber in each cup. Accomplishing this, lentils get you feeling full and satisfied in as little as no time.

Green Peas

Green peas contain a slew of nutrients including fiber, folate, and vitamins A, C, and K. What’s better is that they have very minimal calories (a whopping 81 calories per serving), making them super good for your health and overall weight.

 

By Jenny Lyn

        It can be challenging to find the right diet that works for you. For some people, the average eat what you want lifestyle suits them fine while others want healthier habits to dictate their lives. The two-primary health-conscious ways of living include vegetarianism and veganism. In books, articles, and on TV vegetarianism and veganism are referenced simultaneously. But are these two ways of living dissimilar in their diet or do these lifestyles share the same effect on people just with a different outlook? Here is a breakdown of both the vegetarian and vegan lifestyle:

Vegetarian

When most people see the word vegetarian they usually interpret that a person eats mostly vegetables, however, that’s not always the case. While most vegetarians cut out meat and dairy from their diet; however, depending on how you want to implement this diet in your life there are different variations of the diet out there. For example, lacto-vegetarians ingest dairy products but not eggs while ovo-vegetarians consume eggs but not dairy products. There is also a vegetarian diet called pescatarian that refrains from eating meat or poultry but does consume fish. Although prominent foods in the vegetarian diet are likely to be fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains. But do all of these diet changes improve or reduce the quality of your overall health?

While everyone reacts to diet changes differently, with that said, eating a vegetarian diet has been known to enhance the quality of your health. In fact, you’re less likely to become obese if you choose to become a vegetarian. When you eat healthily, it’s not likely you’ll eat because of your emotions or binge eat which is only a few reasons why obesity is increasing in society. In addition, eating a vegetarian diet is perfect if you want to lower your blood pressure. Without dairy products, meat, and added sugars your blood will decrease in concentration and therefore, reduce the blood pressure.

In fact, eating a vegetarian diet not only helps your health but it aids your bank account too. When you buy meat from a health store or grocery store prices can get expensive over time. By eating a vegetarian diet, you’ll find that you’ll buy more fruits and vegetables, therefore, since you can buy them by the pound you can decide an amount that works for you.

Eating a vegetarian diet can be affordable if you choose wisely. For example, you can buy a vegetarian recipe book and cook all your meals from home instead of buying meals already prepared for you. By purchasing a meal in a box might sound like the more convenient choice it’s not always the healthiest. Try and remember to read labels since brands often try to trick customers by providing them with nice looking pictures. But if you stick to what you like and remember to be healthy along the way, you’ll be in for a treat.

Vegan

While some people often get the terms vegetarian and vegan confused there is one colossal difference between the two. Simply put a vegetarian does not eat meat; however, a vegan doesn’t consume, use, or buy animal products. When eating a vegan would stay away from eggs, milk, and even honey since it’s extracted from an animal. Although when shopping a vegan would stay clear of leather, fur, and wool since these items were produced from an animal.

There are various reasons why someone would adopt a vegan lifestyle; however, one of the main reasons is that by extracting these products we as humans are encouraging the cruelty of animals. The vegan lifestyle creates a way where a person doesn’t have to use the products that animals produce and instead promotes an all-natural alternative. Like the vegetarian lifestyle, the vegan diet is likely to consist of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains. But are there any benefits to this health-conscious way of living and if so any risks involved?

A common health benefit from eating a vegan lifestyle is that you’re less likely to have food allergies. Since vegans don’t eat anything produced by animals that removes the risk of exposure to allergens such as fish, shellfish, and dairy. However, there are risks with eating a vegan diet. Since the vegan lifestyle is meatless, a person will be missing key nutrients in their diet. It’s important to take B12 supplements. Also, if a doctor recommends taking iron and fiber supplements as well, then it’s essential to do so.

However, not only does a vegan lifestyle help your health it also aids your finances. If you think being a vegetarian can help you save money, then wait until you hear about the vegan lifestyle. Due to the need to not eat, use or buy animal products you’ll save a lot of money. Jackets made out of leather or fur are expensive for anyone to purchase. However, if you choose to be a vegan, you’ll no longer participate in the indulgence of society’s norms of extravagance. Therefore, you’ll be able to save money and use it where it’s needed instead of giving in to peer pressure and buying a wool blanket.

        There are many reasons why a person would want to change their diet. Whether you like vegetarian better than veganism or the other way around is your opinion. But it’s your decision that matters since it’s your life. You should choose a diet that works for you, not one that makes you feel too hungry or over full. However, it’s important to consult with a doctor before changing your diet completely. There may be health care concerns that you need to know about for the future. If you like vegetarianism or veganism there are various community shops, chat groups, and online resources where you can learn more. Have fun researching your chosen diet but remember live long and healthy!

Ten years ago, a study showed that 7.3 million Americans or nearly 3% of the population followed a vegetarian diet. About 1 million, or 0.5% of the population, followed a vegan diet. As the United States tackles its obesity problem, and as more people understand the benefits of good nutrition, these numbers are on the rise. If you’re considering a plant-based diet, look at some of the advantages and disadvantages.

What are vegetarianism and veganism?

A vegetarian is someone who does not eat meat, such as beef, lamb, poultry, or fish. A vegan is someone who does not eat animal products, which includes meat, dairy, eggs, and sometimes honey. Strict vegetarians and vegans will also use cruelty-free products or products that have not been tested on animals (i.e., soaps and makeup).

There are a few variations of this practice. Pescatarians only eat fish. Lacto-vegetarians abstain from eating meat and eggs, but they will consume dairy products. Ovo-vegetarians abstain from eating meat and dairy, but they will consume eggs.

Vegetarianism and veganism exist for several reasons. In some religions or cultures, certain animals are sacred and therefore cannot be consumed. Advocates for animal rights go vegetarian or vegan as a stand against animal cruelty. Other reasons can include dietary restrictions, allergies/sensitivities, or even weight loss.

Pros

Better for the Environment

It’s no surprise eating plant foods can benefit the environment. You will reduce your harmful impact, also known as your carbon footprint, by adopting a plant-based diet. You will also help conserve water because producing a pound of animal protein requires about 100 times more water than producing a pound of grain protein. Furthermore, by not contributing to animal agriculture, you will help save animal habitats, reduce dead zones, and help have cleaner air.

More Nutrients

Creating your diet around fruits and vegetables means an abundance of vitamins and minerals. A great nutrient found in plant foods is fiber, which will keep you full. Most Americans don’t meet the quota for sufficient vitamins and minerals, so you’ll already be at an advantage.

Plant-based diets are also full of phytochemicals, defined as compounds that help keep several of your body’s systems running smoothly. Specific examples include the isothiocyanates found in brussels sprouts that neutralize cell-damaging free radicals and the flavonoids in apples that help control inflammation.

Reduces Risks of Diseases

A specific study claimed that women over 50 who ate a mostly plant-based diet were 34% more likely to be free of chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. These women would develop these diseases 15 years later than the women who ate more meat. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower may protect against some types of cancers. Along with this same vein, foods that are high in antioxidants like blueberries and blackberries can help prevent many chronic oxidative stress diseases.

Cons

Limited Options

A majority of the American diet revolves around meat. From bacon at breakfast to steak at night, U.S. citizens eat more meat than any other country. According to the USDA, the average consumer will eat nearly 200 pounds of red meat and poultry in 2018.

Eating out may be a struggle. Restaurants are becoming health-conscious, but still, meat options rule out vegetarian options. Navigating the menu for vegans may be even harder since most vegetarian options include cheese or eggs.

Special events revolve around meals. Carnivals serve corn-dogs, chicken nuggets, and skewers, whereas the main dish during holidays is ham or turkey. It’s especially hard to keep up a no-meat diet when there’s lots of meat on the menu.

Ask your server if you the chef can prepare a special dish. Considering food allergies and other special diets, the restaurant staff will usually be accommodating. Opt for the salad bar or try to create a plate out of side-dishes, since those are usually vegetable based.

Not Always Healthy

While you may initially associate kale with vegetarians, think of all the junk food that can fit into a vegetarian diet. Pizza, ice cream, and cheese fries qualify as vegetarian. On that same note, Oreos, potato chips, and Twizzlers are all vegan.

Additionally, many vegetarian and vegan meals are centered around pasta. Start adding cheese and creamy sauce, and it’ll be hard to call healthy. Pasta is easy to disproportion as well, and it’s easy to fill the plate rather than the one cup serving.

There’s a reason these are called plant-based diets. No matter what your diet, avoid junk food, and make sure to focus on fruits and vegetables for a nutritious lifestyle. With these temptations, going vegetarian or vegan is not the magic cure for weight-loss.

Protein Issues

A common question is: how do vegetarians and vegans get their protein? If you’re going by the numbers, animal sources of protein contain more than non-animal sources. A serving of cheese offers seven to ten grams of protein, whereas a serving of broiled top sirloin boasts thirty-five grams of protein.

It’s vital to get enough protein in a vegetarian or vegan diet. Any lack of nutrient can be harmful to the body. Protein deficiency can lead to infections, muscle weakness, low blood pressure, low heart rate, and other unfavorable symptoms. You may even get a disease related to the lack of protein.

For vegetarians, eggs are an optimal source of protein and fat. Beans, nuts, and even vegetables work for both vegetarians and vegans. Don’t fall for imitation meats that may be processed, not to mention contain loads of sodium and fat.

It’s never too early or late to start a healthier lifestyle such as a vegetarian or vegan diet. See if your library or bookstore has a vegetarian or vegan cookbook full of new recipes to try. Like with any major change to your health, consult your doctor. Discuss these pros and cons to see if vegetarianism or veganism is right for you, especially if you have dietary restrictions or are on certain medication.

Mention “carbs” to people, and they’ll recoil like Dracula at a cross. This applies to both men and women who are particularly trying to lose weight. For decades, carbohydrates have been the scapegoat of nutrition. Low-carb diets have never truly left the dieting scene, always managing to withstand the test of time (even sit-down restaurants boast low-carb and gluten free options) but despite popular belief, should carbohydrates really be avoided at all costs?

Benefits of Carbohydrates

No amount of information can refute that carbohydrates will always be the body’s main source of energy. According to Choose MyPlate, the current nutrition guide published by the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, three-fourths of the plate are made up of carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, and grains). It is one of the three essential macronutrients.

Carbohydrates help fuel vital organs such as your brain, kidneys, heart, muscles and central nervous system. Other health benefits include supporting heart health, reducing the risk of cancer, improving sleep patterns, contributing to muscle mass, and improve life span, among others.

Why all the Hate?

People who are trying to lose weight have a stronger bias against carbohydrates as oppose to those who want to build muscle. The resistance to carbohydrates is most famously upheld by the Atkins diet. Developed by Dr. Robert Atkins in 1972, this diet argues a lower carbohydrate intake promotes weight loss, but doesn’t leave you hungry.

Near fifty years later, the Atkins brand is still on shelves, and some people still follow the diet to this day. This low-carb logic branches out into other diets such as Paleo, Ketogenic, and Zero-Carb, just to name a few. Although these diets have good intentions, it has led to the belief that carbohydrates should never be consumed, especially in the perpetual struggle to lose weight and get lean.

It is true that restricting carbohydrates lends itself to fat-loss, since your body cannot use glucose for energy and must rely on burning fat for energy. When your body starts doing this, you have achieved a state called ketosis. In measuring your ketones, around 1.5 – 3 mmol/L is the range for optimal ketosis, which is ideal for maximum weight loss. However, this process doesn’t happen overnight — it can take anywhere from two days to a week for your body to achieve ketosis.

You can’t fall off the bandwagon either; you have to restrict your intake to around 20-50 grams of net carbohydrates per day. To put that in perspective, one cup of cereal is around 55 grams. Plus, considering the traditional American diet, achieving ketosis takes enormous willpower. No pizza or pasta, no bun on your burger, no slice of birthday cake — sounds a bit miserable, doesn’t it?

Fortunately, there’s a better way. You can have that birthday cake and eat it too. The most nutritionally sound option is to select complex, unrefined carbohydrates.

Choosing the Right Carbohydrates

There are four subtypes of carbohydrates: simple vs complex, and refined vs unrefined. Simple carbohydrates are also called simple sugars. This relates to white table sugar, often used in bakery items. Complex carbohydrates are also called starches, such as bread, pasta, and rice. Both can be a part of a balanced diet, but when it comes to which you should consume more of, complex carbohydrates are the clear winner.

Then there is the choice between refined and unrefined carbohydrates. Refined grain products have been processed to remove key nutrients and fiber, so choose unrefined first. The fiber in unrefined carbohydrates will keep you full, such as a bowl oatmeal in the morning. Stick with brown over white, such as brown rice as opposed white rice. And like Oprah, you can have bread too, just choose ones made with whole meal and whole-grain flour, just look at the fiber content on the nutrition labels to make the best decision.

Fruits and vegetables are the most nutritional source of carbohydrates. Even though fruit contains sugar, it also contains vitamins and minerals that are essential for your body. For instance, bananas get flack because of their high carbohydrate content, but they are a good source of potassium, an electrolyte that’s essential to the healthy functioning of your body.

Sweet potatoes are one of my personal favorite sources of carbohydrates. They contain vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, copper, just to name a few. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower (the only exception to the brown over white rule), are beneficial due to their high fiber content. Add protein and healthy fat and you have yourself a healthy meal.

What about Gluten?

Gluten is defined as the protein found in wheat, rye, and barley and acts as the glue that holds food together. Often people confused gluten as a synonym for carbohydrates, but any carbohydrate-containing foods will contain gluten if the flour comes from wheat, rye or barley. Some gluten-free foods can still have carbohydrates, but it comes from grains and beans that are naturally free of gluten.

A person with Celiac disease cannot consume gluten because it will damage the small intestine. One in one-hundred people worldwide have this disease. At the moment, the only treatment for Celiac disease a strict gluten-free diet.

However, there is no real evidence that a gluten-free diet promotes weight loss or muscle gain. It’s simply a fad. Gluten-free products are mostly made for people with Celiac or another sensitivity, and should not be advertised otherwise. Unless you have Celiac disease or a sensitivity to gluten, there is no need to go gluten-free.

The Final Verdict

Whatever your nutritional goals are, don’t be so quick to slam the door on carbohydrates. A load of pasta isn’t good for any nutritionally sound diet, but selecting whole grain pasta or even choosing pasta made from lentils or beans works. It’s all about choices and moderation — if you’re craving a piece of sugary candy, have it once, just not every day.

Sure, limiting carbs doesn’t hurt if you want to drop a few pounds, but not only is there no reason to cut them out completely, but it’s near impossible. Repeat after me: Carbs are friends and food.

When it comes to spanking, I’m sure you’ve done your fair share of it with one woman or another. I mean, even if you haven’t, you must’ve at least tried it once or twice. Either way, whether you’ve tried it or not, let this scene play out in your head:

You’re in the middle of having face down ass up sex, when you have this sudden urge to spank her rear end hard. Now, the two of you haven’t talked about this prior to today, but you figure it’ll be fine, so you go for it. Hell, you’re in the moment and so is she, maybe she won’t mind. However, once you spank that booty, your girl automatically feels uncomfortable, pulls you out of her, and walks away towards the bathroom mirror to check out the print you left on her. She comes back into the bedroom and explains that that’s not what she wants during sex, and that it’s unacceptable to not talk to her about things such as this before acting on them.

Now, what did you do wrong in this situation? You didn’t communicate with her before going full-force into spanking territory. This is a huge no-no for some girls and a huge yes-yes for others. In order to know what kind of girl you’re dealing with, you should always talk about the matter before taking matters into your own hands.

While some women think it’s extremely painful and disrespectful, others feel as if it’s sexy and a huge turn on; Some take it to the point of where it is a fetish for them. In fact, it’s one of the most popular fetish’s out there today. I’d like to advise you, though, that a woman probably will not let you spank her unless she 100% trusts you, so I wouldn’t bring the topic up if you guys just started dating.

Anyways, I’m going to give you a few steps to follow before you start spanking your partner (or before they start spanking you). Let’s make this experience as safe and sensual as possible.

Always talk about it beforehand.

As I’ve stated above, spanking usually just happens in the moment and out of the blue. However, I would highly advise to not do this, and instead to talk about it before you think you’ll do it. In addition to talking to your partner about it, you might want to come to some sort of solution regarding the matter. This could range from not doing it at all to doing it all the time, and even to negotiating certain times where it’s acceptable.

The key here is to just be respectful of one another by always talking it through.

Your partner may not be into this kind of kinky stuff, so make sure you’re okay with that.

Spanking may be something you like and may be something your partner does not like. Sometimes, it can even trigger your partner in such negative ways, that they won’t feel comfortable having sex with you for quite some time. You don’t want this to happen. Especially if your partner has experienced some abuse in the past or even if your partner associates danger and violence with spanking.

So, try to be okay with the answer your partner spits back at you; Don’t become hostile if they aren’t willing to abide by your spanking desires. Allow your significant other to think through their thoughts and come back to you with their decision. And once the decision is made, understand and accept it.

Don’t bring the topic up as if it were a demand; Bring it up as if it’s a casual topic the two of you can talk about.

Okay, before you think it, I’ll say it: Spanking is not an easy topic to bring up. I know, I get it, believe me. However, there are ways to bring the topic up without either of you feeling uncomfortable. For example, try to bring it up when the two of you are being sexy towards one another or when you’re in a sexual setting, such as a romantic night out or a make-out session on the couch. And, say something along the lines of, “I can’t stop fantasizing about running my hands all over your body. I’d even like to give you a little smack on the butt if you’d like me to.” Get creative with it!

Put everything out on the table, including your expectations. And make them clear.

While you’re talking about the possibility of incorporating spanking into your sex life with your partner, you should also probably make your expectations clear. For example, what one person may see as a small love tap, another person may see as painful and unbearable. Be sure to know what your partner is comfortable with and be sure to tell your partner what you’re comfortable with.

If you’re having difficulties determining what’s too hard or too soft, use the point scale system. For example, slap a little on the softer side and ask your partner to rate the spank. If they say to go up or go down, change your spanking accordingly.

Always start slow and don’t overdo it.

Once you’ve both agreed on how hard or how soft to spank, it’s easy to start spanking during sex. Even though this may be true, you should still start off slow with your partner, especially if they’ve never done this before. My suggestion would be to spank the booty, and then slowly rub or caress it. You can also rub or caress the inner thighs to make your partner feel more comfortable and turned on.

Tip? If you’ve agreed to spank hard, save those for when you or your partner (whoever’s getting the spank) is about to orgasm. When you’re reaching the brink of orgasm, you’re pain threshold is higher, so this will work in your favor.

Lastly, throw some sex toys in the mix.

Pick and choose these according to your preference. With sex toys and spanking, you’ll be on your way to an entirely new sex life in no time (if you and your partner agree to it).

 

By Jenny Lyn

Everyone in the fitness community knows that a protein shake is most valuable before and after a workout as well as in hours of the day. Most people drink a protein shake before or after a workout in order to receive the key nutrients the body needs to help recover from an intense or strenuous exercise. While some people drink a protein shake first thing in the morning, others drink them during the day to help them obtain nutrients that their body may be lacking. A well-needed protein shake will boost their nutrient levels and increase muscle. But if a protein shake doesn’t taste good, then most likely people will not use this nifty tool of recovery. Here are ten ways to make a protein shake taste delicious:

  1. Add Fruit  

While adding fruit may seem like an obvious suggestion there are so many fruits that are waiting to be used. Fresh fruits like raspberries, bananas, peaches, strawberries, and cherries can be put into a blender and mixed until blended. Adding fruit will add flavor to any shake and therefore depending on the types of fruits used will allow the smooth texture of a protein shake to go down more easily.

  1. You Can Add Additional Water

One problem you can be having with the taste of your protein shake is that it may be too overpowering in flavor. Just water it down a bit, while this technique requires you to weaken the solution, it also means that you have to drink more in order to receive the benefits. If you’re one of those people that only drink’s the recommended amount, then this tip isn’t for you to try.

  1. Add Milk

Adding milk has its advantages and its drawbacks depending on what you like. If you like drinking a milkshake, then you should definitely add milk to your next protein shake. With the addition of some milk, a protein shake will become velvety and creamy. The milk will also add protein to the shake. The drawback? If you don’t like milkshakes, don’t add milk.

  1. Turn It into a Smoothie

If you’re having a bland day why not perk up that boring protein shake and do something different. Throw your shake into a blender along with some ice, fruit of any kind, and hit power. The fruit and the ice will hide the taste of the protein shake, and you will never want to go back to a boring shake again.

  1. Add Yogurt

Adding yogurt may seem like a stretch, but the yogurt will add a certain something to a protein shake. It will give the shake some richness where your previous protein shakes may have lacked it. Any yogurt can be used from regular to Greek. However, adding yogurt to a protein shake will make the shake thick and therefore may be harder to drink depending on the yogurt used.

  1. Add Chocolate Powder

While this tip adds no additional health benefits, it sure does taste good. Adding chocolate powder will add sweetening to a shake and therefore make it simple to drink. Most people won’t admit it since chocolate and fitness hardly go together in the same sentence, but chocolate can be used to mask the ugly taste of protein shakes. Everyone likes chocolate, right? So why not have a taste of it here and there in the best way possible?

  1. Make Your Own Protein Shakes

This tip is so much fun. You can be creative, wild, and spontaneous if you want! All is needed is to buy some of the protein powder at a local grocery store or health store and mix it with milk, juice or fruit of any kind. The endless choices allow you to pick exactly what you want and ensure that you are not settling for an average protein shake.

  1. Switch Brands

Switching brands is important every once in a while in order to make sure you’re receiving the best product available. However, if you’re unhappy with a product then switching brands is recommended. Try an alternative flavor as well as a brand. The new flavor in addition to the brand will allow you to notice if better results are distinguishable.  So try something new here and there you never know what you’ll find out you like.

  1. Make It Look More Attractive

While it’s known that human beings see with their eyes to determine attractiveness, tastiness, and even texture. It’s good to make an unpleasing shake turn into an attractive delight. This will ensure that you will feel good about drinking the shake and finish it. Some ideas include putting a strawberry on the rim of the glass, having a fun straw or cup, make drinking the shake a relaxing time. These ideas will ease the pain of drinking something unpleasant and therefore make the shake tasty.

  1. Go to a Protein Store

While this option can get rather expensive, your tastes buds will love you for it. Stores that manage and serve customers only looking for protein related products will make a tasty shake; however, the downside to this rather delicious option is not just the cost, but it’s not so convenient nature. If you’re the type of person that works out at home then goes looking for a protein shake this options will leave you jumping in the car. While it’s not the most favorable, a store that sells everything for protein needs is valuable in the world of fitness. In fact, some of the store’s employees would gladly give you advice on how is the best way to make a protein shake.

Protein shakes are meant to be enjoyed not suffered through. Be creative, think outside the box either when creating or asking for a shake to be made. There are many possibilities in the world of what a protein shake could be. Now it’s time for you to find out what you want a protein shake to be.

Almost everyone wants to be able to show off their strong abs, but building a six pack is not necessarily going to be easy. It requires hard work, discipline, and motivation. Additionally, there are so many different opinions out there about the types of exercises that you need to do in order to sculpt yourself a perfect set of abs, so it can be extremely difficult to figure out which type of workout can work best for you. However, there is science behind the exercises that actually work and there are general guidelines that should apply to any successful ab workout.

Work All of Your Muscles

In order to build muscles in your abdomen, you will first need to get rid of the fat there. To burn fat, you need to contract as many muscles as possible because contracting your muscles takes a lot of energy, which will help you burn fat. Additionally, resistance training can cause damage to parts of your muscles and it takes even more energy to repair this damage. A single strength training session can give your metabolism a boost that lasts for over a day. You should also remember to exercise your lower body in order to burn up more fat.

It may seem unnecessary to do lower body workouts for your abs since your abs are in your upper body, but the whole idea is to burn as much fat as possible so that your abs look more pronounced. By focusing on the lower half of your body, you can actually burn up more calories than you would when working out your upper body because you have more muscles around your legs and the more muscles you contract, the more energy to burn. Once you notice that your fat around your abdomen is starting to go away, you can start to focus on strengthening your core. Until then, exercise every single muscle in your body.

Fix Up Your Diet

You may think that simply exercising in the gym will magically produce a six pack, but you need to work hard in the kitchen as well. Any relatively healthy diet will probably do the trick as long as you are disciplined about following it. You will need smaller meals in order to make sure that you are burning more calories than you consume. You also need to avoid processed ingredients and added sugars, which will just lead to weight gain. You will definitely want to focus on finding a couple of good sources of protein because you need protein in order to build up your muscles.

Remember that protein does not just come from animal products. While certain types of meat will definitely provide you with many of the necessary nutrients for strengthening your abs and enhancing your metabolism, you also need to get your daily dose of fruits and vegetables. If you can, you should choose plants that also have protein including spinach, broccoli, and beans. Plants with fibers and antioxidants are also helpful because they can also boost your metabolism and make your workouts less painful. When you are eating animal products, try to stick to fish and chicken, which tend to be less fatty and healthier than beef, pork, and dairy.

Do Crunches

Crunches and sit-ups are obviously important if you want to get strong abs, but too many men seem to think that they are the key to a six pack when they actually just allow you to flex your lower spine. The truth is that they will not necessary strengthen your core. In fact, they will do very little for you if you do not do any other type of core strengthening exercises. True core strengthening exercises will focus on the same muscles that crunches do, but they will also strengthen the muscles in your waist, hips, and lower back. These exercises will help you stabilize your spine and they include mountain climbers, rollouts, hollow body holds, and other exercises that allow you transfer energy from your lower body to your upper body.

Even pushups can help to strengthen your core a little bit. However, planks are probably going to be your most important workout. You will find that these exercises will provide you a strong core that helps with exercises that might seem somewhat unrelated to your core. For example, men with a strong core find that they have an easier time lifting heavier weights and doing squats. Therefore, if a six pack is not your end goal, abs should still be part of the picture for any sort of strength training that you are engaging in.

Work Groups of Muscles with One Exercise

It can be hard to bring your abs out. However, you still want fast results and you do not want to give up just because you had to spend more time than you were willing to at the gym. Therefore, you should consider workout strategies that can save you some time and still get you good results. You should do exercises that work groups of muscles at once and, while those muscles are recovering, try working a completely different set of muscles in order to eliminate your rest time. One study suggests that these strategies make your workouts almost 50% shorter, but they still help you achieve the same gains. You should obviously focus on your core, but other muscles are also important for when you want to burn up energy in order to get rid of your belly fat.

You can always talk to a professional about finding ways to sculpt yourself a perfect set of abs, but as long as you follow the general guidelines for ab workouts, you can probably even do it yourself. Exercise apps and videos can show you exactly what you need to do. If you want more help, then you can even try to find a personal trainer to motivate you and to help you come up with a good achievable goal. Eventually, you should start to see your abs becoming more and more pronounced.

nervous guy biting his nails

Other than nail biting being a nasty habit (according to your mom) you can’t kick, there are actually some negative health effects that come from biting your nails. Nail biting also comes from an emotional imbalance. It is a super common form of dealing with stress or panic. Also, chewing pencils, pens, or anything else, is the same form of this stress release that many of us do. Many anxious nail biters do not even realize that this is what they are doing to relieve the stress in their lives. Biting your nails is a good indicator of stress, so you will be able to access stress triggers in your life, but biting your nails can also cause some gross issues. Here are a few reasons why you should stop biting your nails.

Infections

When you bite your nails too short, you can open up delicate skin and risk infection. There is a lot of different bacteria in your mouth, and by having your fingers, and this exposed skin, in your mouth you risk infection. The most common form of infection that you can get from biting your nails is called paronychia. This can cause swelling, pain, redness, and pus filled lumps. This can last for weeks and is hard to get rid of. Generally, this infection happens in your cuticles, so if that is where you bite, make sure to stop before you get this infection.

Inflammation

man biting his thumb nail just heard about ProgentraYour saliva is for breaking down your food molecules so that your stomach has an easier time digesting. Although this good for your gut health, it is not good for your skin. Your saliva can break down your skin and cause damage and inflammation. Most of this inflammation and damage happens on the fingertips, since they are always in your mouth. Just like how your lips get chapped from your saliva, your fingertips essentially get chapped too causing inflammation.

Illness

Putting your fingers in your mouth is never a great idea, even when you were little. There are so many random things that we touch throughout the day, that you never really know what could be on there. From the subway to your office, there are millions of germs just waiting to get in your body and make you sick. Chewing your nails gives these germs and other organisms a straight pathway into your body. So yes, chewing your nails is bad, but think about the access that you are giving to things that are even worse every time you put your fingers in your mouth.

Ingrown Nails

The more often you bite your nails, the more likely you are to get ingrown nails. Your finger nail bed is the prime place that your nail cells grow, and by chewing on them, you break these down. This makes it more likely for your nails to become deformed and create ingrown nails. Also, the infections that you can get from biting your nails can contribute to ingrown nails. This is when you ingrown nails have are pussy, inflamed, and more painful than normal. Ingrown nails are an avoidable problem.

Facial Warts

Warts can be contagious, especially if you pick at them. This can get the bacteria under your nails which will translate to your face, lips, neck, and mouth. Since warts are fairly contagious, it is not surprising that once the bacteria gets under your nails it can translate to other areas of your body. To make sure that you do not get facial warts, it is best to leave any existing ones that you have alone or get them removed.

Hand Herpes

man with deformed nails due to bitingThis is not exactly herpes, but it is the best way to explain the condition. If you have herpes, you can infect your fingers. Especially when you are biting them down so that the soft skin is exposed. This can give you fevers, but it usually starts out with a painful burning and tingling. This feeling is located, generally, in your fingertips, not your whole hand. After a short amount of time, you can also get pus filled sores. The pus filled sores, and the pain, usually last about two weeks.

Teeth Problems

Your gums, and your tooth sockets, can be destroyed by nail biting. This can make your teeth crooked and/or painful. Nail biting can also fracture your teeth. This is caused by the constant biting of your nails. Nail biting can also trigger gingivitis. By having all that bacteria entering your mouth, and most likely sitting in your gum, you can develop gum disease.

Stress

One of the main triggers of nail biting is stress. Stress is pretty bad for your health, although we all have to deal with it in some way or another. Your stress levels are probably fairly high if you are a chronic nail biter. Other than having the other negative health effects, stress is probably one of the worst. The only good thing about knowing that nail biting is stressed related is that you will have an easier time understanding your triggers. By realizing when you bite your nails the most, you will be able to avoid these situations, or at least recognize that you are in a stressful situation.

Nail biting is only one of the many bad habits that many people have. You can look to the internet to find ways to help yourself from stopping your nail biting habit, or at least limit it. One of your best bets is talking to a healthcare professional about it. They will have some of the best, and most foolproof, ways to stop your nail biting habit. Even if you have never experienced any of these illnesses, you should still try to stop your habit before something does happen. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms that are mentioned above, make sure to make an appointment with your doctor to talk about it. You may find out that you are experiencing one or more of these problems that come with nail biting.

jellyfishes in the water

I don’t know about you, but I think getting stung by a jellyfish is probably one of the worst things that can happen to us humans. And, what’s the worst part about it? Getting stung by one is a lot more common than you’d think it is, for sure.

It’s okay, there is some good news regarding the matter: Jellyfish stings are very easy to treat, and they are hardly ever life-threatening, phew! As a matter of fact, most jellyfish stings have you experiencing the most pain within the first five minutes. After that, the pain tends to subside minute by minute. And, the pain should never last more than 24 hours.

So, if you do get stung by a jellyfish this summer, I want you to be prepared and to know what to do, and what not to do, in the situation. Here we go!

Man, get out the water!

Yes, I meant to say it like that; It just sounds funnier than saying, “Get out of the water.”

Anyways, you should really get out of the water. You want to do everything in your power to get on land and avoid another jellyfish sting from happening.

However, DO NOT rinse off the sting area with drinking water.

Bad, bad idea. Doing this can actually increase your pain, believe it or not.

When you get stung by a jellyfish, nematocysts begin to roam the cells in your body where the sting took place. Rinsing the sting area off with drinking water actually allows the nematocysts to release even more venom into your cells, therefore increasing the pain.

Instead, rinse the area with salt water. Do yourself a favor; Don’t touch the area with your bare hands. Please.

Rumor has it: Pee on the sting. Actually, don’t pee on the sting.

This does absolutely nothing. It’s just a rumor. I swear. The worst part is, we don’t know who started the myth. Unfortunately, those of you out there that are lovers of the show Friends may think otherwise, considering Chandler pees on Monica in an episode and it happens to kind of heal the area.

Believe me when I say, it IS a myth. Even medical professionals claim it is.

vinegar first aid for jellyfish sting on the beachInstead of urine, use vinegar.

You may or may not have heard this one before, but use vinegar. Many doctors today recommend using vinegar, or even acetic acid, to reduce the pain and swelling. The pain should go away almost instantly.

If you have shaving cream, you might want to try putting it on the area.

This may sound like a crazy myth, but it’s not.

When vinegar isn’t handy, allow shaving cream to come to the rescue.

Shaving cream actually makes the nematocysts stay together, therefore not allowing them to rupture in your cells (this is how they cause so much pain). Then, once the pain subsides, just wipe the shaving cream off and you should be A-OK.

Applying heat will get the job done right.

If there are any remaining tentacles, medical professionals have suggested removing them with a sort of “blunt object.” After this is done, they say to continue rinsing the area with salt water, not drinking water. Finally, it is recommended to put something hot on the spot where the sting initiated. For example, a heat pack or an exceptionally grand amount of hot water should be applied to the surface. Be sure to make it as hot as the person can tolerate. Do this for around 20 minutes, or for as long as it takes for the pain to go away.

If symptoms get worse…

Most of the time, if you use the tactics listed above, you should feel relief from pain sooner rather than later.

However, if the symptoms do get worse, go seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Most jellyfish stings produce symptoms of mild to moderate pain, irritation, uneasy sensations, and burning feelings. If the jellyfish sting produces symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, trouble walking, headaches, or seizures, seek medical attention at your nearest hospital.

After the pain subsides…

Once the pain is treated, and the inflammation has gone down, go to your local drug store. Buy hydrocortisone cream or any oral antihistamine just to be safe. If there is any itching or swelling left over, these items should help speed up the healing process.

If the sting is not very bad…

jellyfish washed ashore next to man's footSometimes, the jellyfish doesn’t have the chance to fully get into you. And, even still, sometimes you get lucky, and the jellyfish sting happens to not be so bad. If that’s the case, medical professionals recommend for people to apply ice packs to the area. In addition, over-the-counter pain killers may be used, or antihistamines can be another option of relief.

If there happens to be an open sore, be sure to clean it at least three times a day. Apply antibiotic ointment if necessary, and place a bandage over the area if you’re leaving the house.

DO NOT DO THE FOLLOWING

If you have a jellyfish sting, please be sure to not do the following:

  • Scrape or claw stingers out with fingers and/or nails
  • Rinse using your own, or someone else’s urine (remember, it’s a myth!)
  • Rinse with fresh and/or drinking water, as this could increase pain
  • Apply meat tenderizer (believe it or not, some people have this idea)
  • Apply alcohol as if it’s a sterilizing agent, you do not need to sterilize the area!
  • Apply ethanol and/or ammonia, as this will really increase painful symptoms, it may promote severe reactions, too
  • Rub the area with a towel or blanket
  • Apply any sort of pressure bandage to the area

Good luck this summer!

 

By Jenny Lyn

mobile phone with linkedin app on top of laptop

LinkedIn, the social network for the career-minded. Anyone who has aspirations of landing their dream job or finding an internship has a LinkedIn profile. Currently, there are 500 million members. But, you need more than just a profile to get that job you want. You need to have a plan to maximize your presence on this vast platform of employers and employees. You must stand out. First, with your stellar profile and then with your personal brand, marketing, and networking strategy.

Your LinkedIn profile is a virtual representation of you. You must tell potential employers why you, and uniquely you, are perfect for this job, by highlighting your skills, experience, and attributes. Some people are excellent face to face and very poor when they get online. And vice-versa. These people are unable to merge the two selves into one. You do not want to be that person. Your LinkedIn profile is an electronic promise that you are giving to potential employers and you want it to show the awesome person you are in person.

Here are some ways to maximize your LinkedIn profile and your career.

After you have clarified the brand you want to present, now it’s time to build your stellar profile using these six very important aspects. By paying special attention to these facets before reaching out to people, building your groups, and posting blogs, you’ll want to ensure our profile is engaging, accurate, and current. When an employer comes to your profile and sees it isn’t updated, this shows them you aren’t serious about your career.

So, here are those six things.

HEADSHOT

Your profile picture is a great start to your online presence. While knowing your name is great, people want to know what you look like. This makes them trust you more and feel a deeper connection. Your profile picture should be taken by a professional photographer and you should face the camera, not gaze into the distance. This direct eye contact will make employers feel as if you are looking at them and you are a bold person who is confident. Types of photos that you should not add to your profile include those that are oddly cropped, selfies (even if you use a selfie stick), images that aren’t you, or low-quality images where the employer can’t tell if it’s you or your grandma/grandpa. High-quality images of at least 300 dpi are great.

HEADLINE

linkedin login screen on tabletLinkedIn gives you a whopping 120 characters to pull employers in. That’s half of what Twitter now allows, but more than enough to let people know your job title and a tidbit of interesting information to peak their interest. Use as many characters as you need, but don’t feel obligated to use all of them. You’ll want to make sure grammar, including spelling, is correct in this section because it makes you look all the more amazing. A great formula: job title + relevant job keywords + intriguing hook. This simple formula not only tells employers your current job and keywords that you’d like people to think of when they think of you but gives them an interesting hint into your personality. Employers don’t want to hire a robot, if they did, they wouldn’t be looking on LinkedIn for one. Maybe Pluggedin, but not LinkedIn.

SUMMARY

With a whopping 2,000 characters available at your disposal, the summary is where you can tell the story of you. Here you’ll want to add values, accomplishments, differentiation from others, credentials, passions, and personality. Personality, in this section, is important. For your summary, using the first person is great because it eliminates all distance between you and the potential employer. While you should add all the above items, make sure you word your summary wisely because you are in the business of maximizing your LinkedIn profile.

EXPERIENCE

To maximize this section, you’ll want to list the companies you have worked for and the benefits you have provided them. Make sure the descriptions are active and include tangible benefits that may be monetary, converting prospects to customers, or amount of phone calls handled, for example. This complements your summary section by adding specifics. It’s best to choose the company you worked for from the electronic list as this will add their logo to your profile, adding an element of professionalism and immediate recognition of your previous company. This can grab employers who may be looking through many LinkedIn profiles to find the perfect candidate.

SKILLS

man logging into linkedin website on his computerThe Endorsements section is an excellent way to quickly let employers know what you have proven you can do. Many employers will base their decision to contact you based on the skills you have been endorsed for as this gives them objective proof you can do this. You’ll want to highlight your top 10 endorsed skills and arrange them by importance. These have a large impact on those who visit your profile and take up a large portion of your LinkedIn profile.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Critical to your profile, recommendations give weight to all of your claims. When requesting these from people, consider their job title and prominence, the company they work for as this will affect your brand association, and their actual words as this can highlight the skills you want to enforce and differentiate you from other candidates.

Make sure you fill out all the sections of your LinkedIn profile to maximize your chances with employers. As you are not completely sure what they’re looking for, it can’t hurt to make sure everything is complete. Not to mention, you’ll get that coveted “All-Star” rating on LinkedIn. And, trust me, when you get that it just feels good. You are the right person for the job you want. You just need to make sure your profile shows that. With these tips, you can do that.