Thursday, August 22, 2013

How to Be a Highly Productive Night Owl

Being an early riser has its benefits, but it isn’t for everyone. Some of humanity’s greatest minds (Voltaire for example) were renowned for sleeping in. Depending on personality, environment, and work schedule, being an early riser may not be practical. A few months ago I gave early rising a try. I was able to wake up 1-1.5 hours earlier, but I couldn’t adjust to the early bed time. Each night around 10:00, no matter how tired I’d felt that day, my mind became active and I was unable to shut down until after 12:00. After a few weeks, sleep deprivation set in and I went back to my normal sleep pattern
Late rising isn’t automatically beneficial. It has a negative connotation because, if poorly managed, sleeping late leads to perpetual grogginess and wasted days. Here are few strategies I’ve developed for effective late rising.P

Don’t Over SleepP

The biggest temptation with late rising is to over sleep. Too much sleep is a bad thing. Rather than feeling more rested, it makes you lethargic. Having a regular wake up time is just as important for night owls as it is for early risers. If you don’t set a schedule, you’ll have a hard time being productive.P

Don’t Sleep Too LateP

Along the same lines, I’ve found that late rising is best in moderation. Sleeping until mid-afternoon can ruin an entire day. It throws off your biological clock, leaving you mentally dull, and makes it harder to get to sleep at a reasonable hour the following night. For me, the ideal wake up time is between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. This gives me a chance to get the 6-8 hours of sleep that I need without oversleeping or losing too much of the day. The challenge with being productive at night is that it’s hard to wind down. This can lead to late nights that throw off your schedule. The way to manage this is setting a cut off time. I set my cut off time for an hour before bed time, usually around 11:00-11:30. After the cut off time I stop working and wind down. I switch to mentally relaxing activities like minor household chores and light reading. I’d also recommend avoiding television and the computer completely. The brightness of the screen can trick your brain into thinking it’s day. Although there will always be those nights when I ride a rush of creativity until 3:00 or 4:00 a.m., it’s better to make that the exception. 
To maximize productivity it’s important to leverage the natural peaks of your energy cycle. Late rising works best for people who peak in the evening. If this is the case, you should create a schedule that lets you work at night. I’ve found mid-mornings to be productive, so I’ve built my schedule around a morning and evening shift.P
After getting up around 8:00 or 9:00, I eat breakfast and work for 3-4 hours. By early afternoon my energy fades and I switch from creative work to less demanding tasks like responding to email, reading feeds, and running errands. Around 8:00 p.m. I have another energy peak and work the night shift until my cut off time at 11:00. Although it can be tough to schedule around a 9-5 job, you can probably figure out a way to take advantage of your evening energy peak by working from home or on side projects. 

Take Advantage of Distraction Free EveningsP

Early risers rave about the productivity of the wee morning hours before the rest of us wake up. Late risers have a similar advantage on the other end. By working in the evening we can avoid the distractions of meetings, email, and other demands. For me, the evening is when I’m able to break free from the outside world and immerse myself in mentally challenging work. Some people can’t concentrate at night, but I’ve found it’s the easiest time get into creative work flow without interruption.P
It’s all about finding what works best for you. As a night person in their early 20′s with roommates who tend to keep late hours, I found early rising problematic. As I get older and my living situation evolves, it’s entirely possible I’ll join the 5 a.m. club. Until then I’ll continue to take pride in being a highly productive night owl.

Monday, August 12, 2013

3 Tips To Heavenly Skin

When it comes to great-looking skin, there are quite literally hundreds of products, treatments, suggestions, and even old wives tales. You can buy Le Mer for a lot of dough, you can shoot your face up with Botox, you can peel, exfoliate, brush, mud, or massage your skin into beauty, but what we found was that when it comes to your skin, simple is the best and it may matter more what you eat than what you put onto your skin.
So, after weeding through Dermatologists, cosmetologists, and a plethora of lines, we’ve come up with a few ideas that won’t break the bank, but still give your skin its best shot to looking fresh, dewy, and flawless–and isn’t that what everyone is looking for?

3 Tips To Heavenly skin
1. Forget expensive lotions and potions to moisturize and replenish your skin. It turns out that honey (a natural humectant with antimicrobial properties) belongs in your bathroom vanity as well as in your tea. According to the National Honey Board, honey is pure, natural, and attracts and retains moisture. As an anti-irritant, honey is a preferred ingredient for those with sensitive skin and acne, and can be used to help manage breakouts while keeping your skin moisturized. Manufacturers have used honey in everything from hand lotions and moisturizers to bar soaps and bubble baths. Look for honey in store-bought beauty products or simply add a squeeze of honey to your moisturizer, shampoo or soap at home.
For some extra pampering, try whipping up a simple beauty recipe yourself.
Cucumber Honey Eye Nourisher (Makes 4 treatments)
  • 1 Tbsp. aloe vera gel
  • 2 tsp. cucumber, peeled with seeds removed
  • 1/2 tsp. chamomile tea
  • 1/2 tsp. honey
Directions: Steep chamomile tea in boiling water. Set aside to cool. In food processor or blender, combine cucumber, aloe vera and honey. Blend on low setting. Add chamomile tea. Blend until smooth. Apply gently under eyes using ring finger. Store in glass dish covered with plastic wrap in refrigerator for up to one week. Best applied chilled.
2.Turns out great skin is directly related to what you eat.  According to ZICO Coconut Water, and the registered dietician they work with, Erin Palinski, beautiful skin is all about good nutrition.
Palinski recommends these great nutritional tips to helping keep your skin youthful.
  • Snacking on tart cherries because they’re rich in melatonin which may help to boost UV protection and promote cell growth.
  • Stay hydrated with water or ZICO Coconut water. With the increase in heat and humidity, your body sweats more and if you are not replacing the fluids and electrolytes lost in sweat, your skin can look dull and dry.
  • Reach for watermelon. It contains a high water content to help promote hydration and is rich in the nutrient lycopene, which helps to preserve and protect connective skin tissue helping skin to look smoother, tighter, and more youthful.
  • Toss pomegranate seeds into your summer salad. They’re rich in antioxidants, decrease inflammation of the skin, and may reduce the ability of UVB rays to damage skin cells, helping to protect against skin cancer and premature aging.
3) “Cleansing is, in my opinion, the most important and transformative part of a skincare routine. It is literally the first step to heavenly skin, without it, heavenly skin may allude those seeking it. Those who cleanse thoroughly, in general, have brighter, smoother, healthier-looking skin,” says Suzanne LeRoux, president of the One Love Organics skincare line.
LeRoux recommends what she calls “double cleansing” because it thoroughly removes the daily dirt, dust, oxidized sebum, dead skin cells and residue from makeup, sunscreens and skincare. Sold in solid or firm in the tub/tube, they liquefy when rubbed between palms and massaged on to a dry face. You can find one of these amazing double cleansing skincare sets through One Love
Bonus: Board-certified dermatologist at Mount Sinai school of medicine and author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets From a Top New York Dermatologist, Dr. Debra Jaliman, says, “Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate! That would give you the prettiest most glowing skin. I like sonic cleansing systems. My favorite is the Clarisonic because they have different brush heads for different skin types.
Jaliman goes on to say, to get your beauty rest. It’s important to sleep 7 to 9 hours per night because that’s when the skin repairs itself. Make certain not to sleep right on your face so you don’t wrinkle your face. If you do you may get sleep lines. If you must sleep on your side you can always get a beauty pillow or sleep on A satin pillowcase.

7 Most Unhealthy Processed Foods You Need To Avoid

Processed foods have the advantage of saving time and this makes them tempting to people who have a busy lifestyle and for those who don’t particularly like to cook. Most processed foods also come with a low price tag that is hard for many consumers to resist. However, at some point we really need to look at the hidden costs that processed foods have on our health.
chicken nuggets with ketchup
It is no secret by now that the vast majority of processed foods are not healthy. In general, they are very low in nutrients, especially micronutrients like antioxidants and vitamins, while simultaneously being high on calories. They also contain industrially engineered ingredients that can be very harmful to the human body.
Eliminating all processed foods from your diet may be quite difficult. However, you can significantly improve your healthy by eliminating the worst of the processed foods. Below, you will find a list of the 7 most unhealthy processed foods.
Chicken Nuggets – Like hot dogs, chicken nuggets are at the pinnacle of industrialized foods. While you may think that chicken nuggets are mostly protein, the typical chicken nugget, including the famous chicken McNuggets, are more than 50 percent fat and they contain more carbs than protein. Keep in mind too, that the carb portion is made of very unhealthy carbs found in the fillers and breading.
Most chicken nuggets are deep fried, often in an oil containing trans fat. Trans fat causes cell membrane deformities that contribute to the development of metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Most chicken nuggets also contain many unhealthy additives such as MSG and tertiary butylhydroquinone
Soda Pop – There is nothing nutritional about sodas; they are empty calories. Moreover, they contain substances that can hurt you. As if sugar wasn’t bad enough, almost all sodas today use high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as a sweetener and this is even worse than sugar. HFCS has been shown to be damaging to the liver as well as causing blood glucose spikes even worse than normal table sugar would. Soda pop is a primary contributor to the obesity problem in the United States.
Soda pop is also one of the most powerful acid producing substances we can put into our bodies. As such, they cause our naturally alkaline body pH to become acidic. Cancer cells thrive in an acidic environment and can’t survive in an alkaline environment. An acidic body is also much more susceptible to viral and bacterial attacks since it weakens the natural defenses of the body’s immune system.
Hotdogs & Other Processed Meats – Hot dogs have been a staple of the American diet for decades. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council reports that Americans eat about twenty billion hot dogs a year. They also report that ninety-five percent of all American homes serve hot dogs. Of course, lunch meats like bologna also have similar ingredients.
The vast majority of hot dogs and other highly processed meats on the market contain loads of salt, MSG, sodium nitrate and other preservatives, artificial flavors, cheap unhealthy fillers, and mechanically separated meat and poultry. Most people don’t realize that mechanically separated meat has been so highly processed under extreme heat and pressure that whatever nutritional value it had to begin with is lost in the processing. For example, proteins become denatured under these extreme industrial conditions. If you have an absolute craving for a hot dog, look for nitrate free organic hot dogs with no preservations, artificial flavors, or meat byproducts.
Store Bought Cookies, Cake, Muffins, and Crackers – For the purpose of this article, cookies, cake, muffins, and crackers have all been lumped into a single category because the health issues associated with them are similar. Beyond the obvious high levels of sugar and salt, most of these products also contain trans fat. Trans fat is added in part because it is much cheaper than healthy fats and this makes them more profitable. However, trans fat is also added to prolong shelf life and to improve the texture. In fact, there are whole “food science” labs devoted to figuring out how to use trans fats and other industrial foods to achieve the perfect texture in these types of products.
To determine if a product contains trans fat, you should not go by what it states on the front of the label. The USFDA actually allows manufacturers to label their products with “zero trans fat” if each individual serving contains less than 0.05 grams of trans fat. Many manufacturers simply reduced the size of a serving to reach this magic number. So, instead of a serving size being three cookies, they might say it is one cookie so they could put a “zero trans fat” on the label. To know for sure if a product actually contains trans fat, you need to look at the ingredient list and look for the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated.” If these words appear, then the product contains trans fat.Chocolate Cereal with milk
Many Popular Breakfast Cereals – Do you want to know why so many breakfast cereals are “fortified” with vitamins and minerals? The reason is because otherwise they would be so devoid of nutrition, no one would want to buy them. Fortified means that the vitamins are artificially added during the processing of the food. It’s no better than taking a crunchy vitamin, and in fact, usually a low quality vitamin. For example, these fortified cereals often add a form of vitamin D that is not easily used by the human body.
Most breakfast cereals are also loaded with sugar, or worse, high fructose corn syrup. If they contain corn, as many do, then you can bet it it is genetically modified (GMO) corn because this type of corn is much cheaper and this increases their profit. GMO corn has been shown to cause tumors in rodents in a recent study conducted in Europe. Research studies have been limited in the United States and other countries because Monsanto and other biotech companies threaten scientists with lawsuits if they conduct research with their patented seed. However, there have been many anecdotal cases showing cattle and other farm animals getting sick and/or dying from eating GMO corn.
Granola Bars – While you may be surprised to see granola bars on a list of the 7 most unhealthy processed foods, this is actually one of the reasons they are listed here. The marketing of granola bars are exceptionally deceptive. They are usually marketed as an exceptionally healthy food when in fact they are just the opposite. This means people tend to eat more of them thinking they are actually eating a super convenient, tasty, healthy food when they really are not. Parents also tend to feel good about giving granola bars to their kids but they really aren’t any healthier than a candy bar.
Regardless of what you see on the front of the packaging or hear in the commercials, almost every brand of granola bar contains high fructose corn syrup. If you don’t believe this fact, try going into any supermarket and finding a box of granola bars that don’t contain this harmful ingredient. You’ll be hard pressed to find one! Even if they say they are made with honey or maple syrup, read the ingredient label. Some will put a tiny bit of honey or maple syrup for flavor but most of the sweetness is still derived from high fructose corn syrup. They are also sometimes loaded with fat, including trans fat, and lots of sodium too!
Pre-Made Condiments and Salad Dressings – Most condiments and salad dressings contain high fructose corn syrup as this is a really cheap way food manufacturers can add bulk to their product and improve the flavor with very little cost. Many also contain trans fats and food additives like MSG. Another factor that makes them so unhealthy is that we tend to not think about what’s in condiments when we apply them to our food. Even a healthy fresh vegetable salad can quickly become an unhealthy meal if an unhealthy dressing is added.
One way to eat healthier is simply to make your own condiments and salad dressiongs where you can control the ingredients. You can usually store salad dressings and homemade ketchup for at least a week in the refrigerator.
In conclusion, one of the healthiest steps you can take to improving your health is eliminating, or at least significantly reducing, the processed foods you eat. It is also important for you to carefully read the ingredient label when shopping and not just depend on what it says on the front of the package.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Acetaminophen Warning Issued by the FDA: What You Need to Know

warning was issued this week by the FDA for the very popular pain reliever Acetaminophen. This does not mean you should panic or throw awayevery bottle in the house. Actually, very little should change in how you medicate you and your little ones ... because they've made exceptionally clear that the benefits of the drug outweigh the possibility of this side effect affecting you. Still, they are alerting the public because although rare, it can be fatal.
The FDA states that:
... possible reactions to acetaminophen include three serious skin diseases whose symptoms can include rash, blisters and, in the worst case, widespread damage to the surface of skin. If you are taking acetaminophen and develop a rash or other skin reaction, stop taking the product immediately and seek medical attention right away.
So basically -- you shouldn't really change the way you do things. But it is important you know about this ... because we need to be educated about what we put in our bodies and the possible side effects these things can have on us. If you or your kids break out in any kind of rash while taking this medicine, stop taking it and contact your doctor immediately. 
So still take acetaminophen for that fever, those aches and pains, or your hangover (at least it's always helped my hangovers!) -- just be aware of how your body reacts.
Acetaminophen is such a staple in our medicine cabinets ... do you have it in yours?

How to Lose All The Weight You Want in Just 89 Simple Steps

Summer's here and the time is right for getting super duper skinny! Where to begin? Since there are always approximately one point seven two zillion stories about how to lose weight, you might be confuzzled. Don't be! We collected the most important weight loss stories we've seen over the last couple of months and compiled them into one handy guide. If you do everything on this list, you will absolutely, positively lose weight — and maybe your mind.
How to Lose All The Weight You Want in Just 89 Simple Steps
1. First of all, don't work out.
2. Or, wait: Exercise. But not too much. If you're doing intense exercise, then it's time to exercise less.
3. But this thing called cardio is good.
4. And you should definitely do Zumba!
5. No, actually, you should do interval training.
6. Really, what you should do is exercise for 250-300 minutes a week. That's four or five hours. And don't you dare reward yourself with a yummy snack afterward.
7. Get inspired by Chris Pratt, who says: "You can do it. You could. You really could. You could do it in six months."
8. Instead of a regular vacation, go to a weight-loss spa. Doesn't sound expensive at all.
9. Oh, hell, go ahead, take a vacation! As long as it's at the $2,995-a-week Biggest Loser resort.
10. It's important to eat your largest meal earlier in the day, say, before 3pm.
11. Actually, no. Eat whenever.
12. But definitely graze — eat little meals all day.
13. NO. WAIT. Only eat two meals a dayDo not graze.
14. Skip breakfast.
15. Nevermind. Don't skip meals.
16. And like, definitely don't skip breakfast.
17. Well, you can skip meals and lose weight if you do a cleanse.
18. But smart people and scientists want you to know that cleanses are garbage.
19. Sleep more, because lack of sleep is turning you into a whale.
20. But! Get up earlier in the day.
21. Have one of your friends or loved ones bribe you.
22. Or try an app that allows users to place bets on how much you will lose.
23. And forget about willpower: It's more important to remove temptation.
24. Don't trust nutrition labels. They lie!
25. Don't go on a diet. Especially not a low-fat diet.
26. For real, the no-diet diet is fab.
27. That said: Change what you're shoving in your mouth. Eat chia seeds.
28. Nibble nuts.
29. Drink coffee.
30. Maybe even try weight-loss coffee! Although it could lead to nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
31. Put olive oil on whatever you can.
32. Only eat things that have been blended into smoothie form by a celebrity weight-loss guru.
33. Take green coffee bean extract capsules.
34. Take Garcinia Cambogi, which is not a character in the Godfather but the HOLY GRAIL of weight loss.
35. Pop mangosteen caplets.
36. Although… Plenty of herbal supplements are poison and killing you.
37. So actually, just eat more green foods.
38. Really, though… Eat blue foods.
39. And! Eat red foods.
40. Don't forget yellow foods. Duh.
41. For real. Eat black foods. Word. Superfoods.
42. And sweet potatoes at every meal should help.
45. And don't forget seaweed.
46. Probiotics may be good for fat loss, but the strain researched isn't commercially available in the U.S., and "independent research is either inconclusive or contradictory." So, uh, ignore this.
47. WAIT! Eat like a caveman, even though they were not very tall. Or bright. They didn't have yogurt, did they?
48. Never mind. Don't eat — just ingest the slop known as soylent.
49. Or how about this: Eat for five days and fast for two.
50. If you're doing a gluten-free diet to lose weight, well, stop. It's not helping.
51. And definitely eat less.
52. Although snacking is important.
53. B12 shots might help?
54. The alkaline diet — in which you eat according to your pH balance — sounds good, if you are Jennifer Aniston.
55. Remember to savor your food, like you're in beautiful, thin Paris instead of gross, fat America.
56. Or, instead of savoring your food, barely taste it at all! Get a mesh patch stitched to your tongue — makes it hard to eat.
57. Get off Facebook and clean up after your husband.
58. Be a man. Men are better at losing weight than women. So says a dude from Weight Watchers.
59. Implant a mechanical monster-leech into your body that causes you to "discreetly" shit out of your own abdomen 3 times a day.
60. Drink eight glasses of water a day.
61. Stop drinking booze.
62. Go ahead and drink diet soda, though.
64. Quit talking to your fat friends.
65. But tweet all about your weight loss goals!
66. Reminisce about the yummy stuff you used to eat by looking at old pictures. Instagram your way to skinny!
67. Watch an avatar exercise and learn healthy habits in the virtual world. Fun.
68. Seriously, just try to remember what you ate.
69. And for Chrissakes count calories.
70. Take a new drug called Belviq with side effects like dizziness and fatigue.
71. Or maybe beloranib, a new experimental drug with side effects including trouble falling asleep, nausea and vomiting?
72. How about Phentermine, a very effective drug for fast weight loss? Watch out, though: It's only approved for short-term use for a period of 12 weeks or less. If you stop taking the pill, "you will most likely regain the weight you initially lost." Also side effects include abnormally high blood pressure, yikes.
73. Okay: Try DHEA, aka dehydroepiandrosterone, a natural steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Research shows it has a significant effect on decreasing in abdominal fat. But! Side effects include facial hair growth, oily skin, and acne. Adorable.
74. Take the awesome-sounding drug called Reversatrol... which GlaxoSmithKline plans to discontinue working on. Oops.
75. Busy yourself by filming a reality show in which you feed your daughter Mountain Dew and Red Bull.
76. Have a lot of sex.
77. Actually, have an affair! You eat less when you're happy, and also maybe extramarital sex totally burns a lot of calories because you're worried about getting caught?
78. Buy clothes that will shrink.
79. Deal with your negative emotions, depresso.
80. And stop being so stressed out.
81. But be diligent and record everything you eat in a food journal.
82. If you work at a desk, hide the shit you need from yourself so you have to go looking for it. Instant workout!
83. Realize that there's actually not much you can do, because your idiot parents fed you high-carb baby food and programmed your metabolism ALL WRONG.
84. And don't forget that your genes control everything. You're a bulldog trying to look like a greyhound. A rhino running as fast as he can will never be a unicorn.
85. There's always lap-band surgery.
86. But doctors say that weight-loss surgery is just a tool, and the hard work comes after the surgery.
87. FYI: Keep in mind that your body will fight weight loss and some people are "unusually resistant to weight loss."
88. Plus, remember that science doesn't even understand how obesity works, and, as Judith Shulevitz writes for The New Republic, "It’s hard but not impossible to lose weight. But it’s nearly impossible to keep it off."
89. In all seriousness, read this Aeon article on obesity in which David Berreby writes about how complicated the issue is. For instance:
Over the past 20 years or more, as the American people were getting fatter, so were America’s marmosets.
Obviously, if animals are getting heavier along with us, it can’t just be that they’re eating more Snickers bars and driving to work most days. On the contrary, the trend suggests some widely shared cause, beyond the control of individuals, which is contributing to obesity across many species.
…Many researchers believe that personal gluttony and laziness cannot be the entire explanation for humanity’s global weight gain. Which means, of course, that they think at least some of the official focus on personal conduct is a waste of timeand money. As Richard L Atkinson, Emeritus Professor of Medicine and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Wisconsin and editor of the International Journal of Obesity, put it in 2005: ‘The previous belief of many lay people and health professionals that obesity is simply the result of a lack of willpower and an inability to discipline eating habits is no longer defensible.’
A study by Laura Fonken and colleagues at the Ohio State University in Columbus, published in 2010 in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reported that mice exposed to extra light (experiencing either no dark at all or a sort of semidarkness instead of total night) put on nearly 50 per cent more weight than mice fed the same diet who lived on a normal night-day cycle of alternating light and dark.
It’s possible that widespread electrification is promoting obesity by making humans eat at night, when our ancestors were asleep.
There is also the possibility that obesity could quite literally be contagious. A virus called Ad-36, known for causing eye and respiratory infections in people, also has the curious property of causing weight gain in chickens, rats, mice and monkeys. Of course, it would be unethical to test for this effect on humans, but it is now known that antibodies to the virus are found in a much higher percentage of obese people than in people of normal weight.