Paleo Peppermint Bark

This Paleo Peppermint Bark is amazing!!!

Ingredients
¾ cup dark chocolate chips
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
2 tablespoons coconut milk
¾ cup coconut butter, melted*
handful fresh or dried cranberries, chopped

Instructions
Melt the chocolate chips in a bowl over simmering water (double boiler). Mix in the peppermint extract and coconut milk to the melted chocolate until smooth. If your chocolate becomes thick, add some coconut oil, 1 tablespoon at the time until you achieve a desired consistency. Line a 9-inch or 8-inch pan with a large piece of parchment paper covering the bottom and all four sides of the pan, and spread the chocolate across the bottom of the pan
freeze or refrigerate until chocolate sets.
Pour melted coconut butter evenly on top of chocolate and refrigerate for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped cranberries and refrigerate until the coconut layer is firm. Break or cut into small pieces and serve.

Cook’s Notes

*To melt the coconut butter, place the glass jar in a pan with hot water.
You can also make your own coconut butter by adding 2 cups of unsweetened dried shredded coconut to a food processor or high speed blender and processing until the coconut turns into a smooth creamy paste.

http://livinghealthywithchocolate.com/desserts/paleo-peppermint-bark-3391/

6 Science-Backed Tips For Falling Back Asleep That Actually Work

There’s nothing worse than being wide awake at 4 a.m., staring at the ceiling and willing yourself back to dreamland. Middle-of-the-night wake-ups can happen for many reasons, making it hard and frustrating to combat in the moment.

How about we break the cycle tonight? We’ve partnered with Sleep Number to bring you six scientifically proven tips and tricks that will have you back to sleep in no time.

1. Try Acupressure

Acupressure is an ancient therapy that involves finger placement and pressure over specific points on the body. These points follow the same channels, called meridians, used in acupuncture. Putting pressure (or needles) on these points is believed to promote blood flow and unlock tension ― among other benefits like alleviating lower-back pain and headaches.

Leigh Gilkey and Siri Michel, licensed acupuncturists and founders of Essential Acupuncture in Chicago, say that self-administered acupressure before bed can promote a restful night of uninterrupted sleep and, in the event of an unwanted nighttime awakening, can help get you back to sleep. A couple of their favorite points to treat insomnia include:

  • Anmian, located behind the ear. Behind the ear is a bone called the mastoid process.  Place your finger on the mastoid process and slide back off the bone and slightly upwards. Look for a little depression and press in a downward motion.
  • Liver 3, located on the top of the foot. Place a finger between the first toe and the second toe and push toward your ankle. There is a depression before the junction of the first and second metatarsal bones. Simply pressing on it or pulling in a downward motion is great for activating this point.

2. Dunk Your Head In Ice-Cold Water

Yes, you read that right. Submerge your face into a bowl of ice water; making sure the area below your eyes and above your cheekbones is wet. Hold your breath for 30 seconds before coming back up for air. This will trigger your mammalian diving reflex, an involuntary human response that will automatically slow down your heart rate and encourage your body to calm itself by activating the parasympathetic nervous system. You will be left feeling relaxed and, you guessed it, more ready for sleep.

3. Reach That Big O

The reason most of us sleep soundly after sex is because oxytocin, the “love hormone,” counteracts stress hormones that can keep you wide awake. Likewise, the endorphins released during sexual activity ― be it solo or among partners ― are like nature’s sedative, working in tandem to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

4. Grab A Snack

That anxious awakening you get in the middle of the night could be the result of low blood sugar, studies show. The adrenal glands, two walnut-shaped organs that sit atop the kidneys, play a key role in regulating blood sugar, especially as you sleep. When your blood sugar drops significantly through the night, these grands release stress hormones that trigger the body to raise blood sugar levels, and stress hormones are no friend to your beauty sleep.

While midnight snacks might not be great for your waistline, there are healthy food options to help you fall back asleep, says Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist and sleep specialist. He suggests eating a 250-calorie snack made up of 75 percent carbs, 25 percent protein. Things like an apple with nut butter, a small bowl of non-sugar cereal or frozen Greek yogurt are good options, he says.

5. Dim Those Lights

The next time you wake in the middle of the night and head to the kitchen for a midnight snack or a glass of water, try keeping those lights as dim as possible. It’s the same science that proves blue light exposure from cell phones has a bigger impact on decreasing melatonin levels than other light wavelengths.

“Nighttime light exposure … suppresses the hormone melatonin, which plays an important role in regulating sleep and circadian rhythms,” Breus says in a blog poston his website.

Though unscientific anecdotes such as living by candlelight can purportedly be better for quality sleep and mindful living, there are safer options. Instead of turning on a light the next time you head to the bathroom in the middle of the night, try instead using a dimmer or another softer light source. You can also buy commercialproducts that will help limit exposure, like the bulbs from Lighting Science. “These will filter out blue light but still give a nice overall lighting solution,” Breus says.

6. Keep It Cool

Falling back asleep may be as simple as lowering the thermostat. Your core body temperature drops at the onset of sleep, which means that a too-warm (or too-cool) room may wake you up. The National Sleep Foundation suggests keeping the bedroom temp around 60 to 68 degrees to get you back to sleep. It’s the ideal temperature scale to layer on those PJs, blankets and duvet cover.

If you start to feel slightly overheated during the night, try stick one or both feet out from under the covers. Because we’re mammals, the palms of our hands and feet help regulate our core body temperature. Think of them as nature’s thermostats.

Source: Huffington Post | not affiliated with Aetrex Worldwide

Tips to staying healthy during holiday travel

By Jerry Carino

Leisure travel skyrockets around the holidays as people visit relatives, use time off to get away or flee the increasingly cold weather. Nothing puts a crimp in a vacation quite like traveler’s diarrhea.

The ailment affects 10 million Americans each year, but the risk of acquiring it can be minimized by those who are vigilant.

“People eat wrong when they’re on a trip,” said Ken Bear, president of Passport Health, a travel clinic with branches in Shrewsbury, Piscataway and Morristown. “They’re staying in a resort where it’s hot and sunny and there’s buffet-type food that’s been sitting out for hours. Bingo, all of a sudden somebody has a case of traveler’s diarrhea.”

Passport Health specializes in immunizations for international travel and conducts corporate flu clinics and screenings, but Bear and his associates have addressed the gamut of concerns with travelers.

“Believe it or not, one of the biggest problems is automobile accidents,” Bear said. “People step off the curb and our instinct is to look left. If they’re in a country where they drive on the left instead of the right, it’s something you have to be aware of.”

Here are more travel wellness tips from Passport Health.

Traveler’s diarrhea

“In a third-world country make sure you are drinking bottled water, and you don’t want to consume any ice,” Bear said. “Eat fruit you can peel yourself like an orange or a banana, rather than something like a strawberry, which could be contaminated.”

  • Avoid purchasing drinks or foods from street vendors and carts.
  • Avoid raw or undercooked meat or seafood.
  • Be prepared to treat your own water by carrying water purification tablets or a handheld UV water purifier in your travel supplies.
  • Bottled carbonated beverages, beer, wine, spirits, hot tea and coffee are generally regarded as safe to consume.

For those who have contracted the condition, Bear recommends DiaResQ, a food specially formulated to quickly restore intestinal function. If the diarrhea persists more than a day or two, oral rehydration tablets or additional medical care may be needed.

“Diarrhea can turn into dehydration, and then you have a real problem,” Bear said.

Minimizing motion sickness

On longer car trips or in planes, lots of people become queasy. Here are some coping tips. ·

  • Using visual fixation (for example, watching the distant horizon on a rocking boat or sitting in the driver’s seat and looking ahead while in a motor vehicle)
  •  Choosing a seat where motion is felt least (such as the front seat of a car, a seat over the wings in an airplane, or the forward/ middle cabin or upper deck of a ship)
  • Keeping the head and body as still as possible.
  • Sitting face forward and in a reclining position
  • Not reading
  • Sleeping
  • Getting fresh air by opening a window, opening an air vent, or going to a ship’s top deck
  • Not drinking alcoholic beverages (because they can aggravate nausea)
  • Eating small amounts of low-fat, bland, starchy foods and not eating strong-smelling or strong-tasting foods
  • Avoiding food and drink on short airplane trips, especially on small airplanes

Other advice

  • Adjust to local time as quickly as possible.

“Jet lag is a given when you travel,” Bear said. “Don’t try to live on home time. Get into the routine of the new place as soon as possible.”

  • Make sure your immunizations are up to date That means standard stuff like MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) and Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis/whooping cough). It also means country-specific concerns like yellow fever and typhoid.

“A lot of diseases we thought we wiped out in the U.S. years ago come back because of international travel,” Bear said. “It’s about awareness.”

  • When in doubt, get a pre-travel exam or consultation.

Source: Daily Record | not affiliated with Aetrex Worldwide

5 Reasons Why Your Calves Are Swollen

By Molly Triffin

Whether it’s a steamy bowl of udon, crunchy chips and guac, or a juicy burger, sometimes there’s nothing more satisfying than getting your salty food fix. But indulging in sodium-heavy meals can take a toll on yourweight and how your clothes fit. “When you eat salt, it draws fluid out of your arteries, veins, and capillaries, and sends it into your tissues, causing you to retain water,” says Adrienne Youdim, MD, author of The Clinician’s Guide to the Treatment of Obesity.

As a result, you might notice puffiness in your hands, fingers, face, andstomach. But it’s ultimately your lower legs that bear the brunt of the water weight. “Gravity pulls the retained fluid downward, so that it pools in your feet, ankles, and calves,” Youdim says.

If you notice your stems swelling, the trigger might be as obvious as a soy sauce hangover. But other times subtler habits are to blame. We break down the reasons why your calves are blimping out and what to do about it.

You’re a restaurant regular.

The more often you eat out instead of cooking at home, the likelier you are to puff up, says Youdim. “The average restaurant meal contains approximately 2,300 mg of sodium, she says. That equals the FDA’s recommended daily limit—about a teaspoon of table salt—in a single meal. Yikes!

Because the human body is a wonderful thing, drinking tons of water or sipping a diuretic like coffee or tea won’t quell the swell. You just have to wait it out. “It will take your kidneys 24 to 48 hours to process a salty meal, depending on how much sodium you consumed,”  Youdim says.

You rely on processed foods.

The average American consumes 3,400 mg of sodium a day, and more than 75% of the sodium in our diet comes from processed foods, according to theAmerican Heart Association. So if you aren’t sprinkling extra table salt on your food, chances are sodium is hiding in the processed foods you eat every day, including seemingly healthy food such as salad dressing and canned soup, says Youdim.

To prevent salt overload, start making your own salad dressings and soups from scratch to control how much salt you’re eating. You can also take a look at the nutrition labels of your go-to packaged foods to pinpoint the ones with 650 mg of salt or more and eliminate them from you diet, says Youdim.

You’re sitting too much or you’re on your feet all day.

“The more static you are, the more fluid collects in your legs,” Youdim says. “People with sedentary desk jobs should set a timer to stretch and walk around every hour or two to improve blood flow.” And remember to take regular breaks if you’re on a long car ride.

If your day job doesn’t allow you to pop a squat, that can also lead to liquid build up south of the border.

Youdim suggests throwing on a pair of compression stockings to help your circulatory system push blood back up your body. Another easy way to beat leg bloat is by periodically elevating your tootsies even just slightly, like by placing a stool under your desk at work, she says.

You’re on an airplane.

Aside from the fact that you’re crammed into a narrow seat and not moving around much, “changes in cabin pressure can push more fluid from your arteries and veins into your tissue,” Youdim says. Your plan of attack: Stroll up and down the aisle whenever you can. The more you move, the faster your heart will pump and the harder your vascular system and leg muscles will contract.

You have an underlying medical condition.

Swollen stems can also be a symptom of a more serious condition called deep vein thrombosis. This is the formation of a blood clot in one of your body’s deep veins, says Youdim. If the clot breaks loose it can block blood flow to your lungs, resulting in a potentially fatal pulmonary embolism. “Usually this results in asymmetric leg swelling, but not always,” she says. Sitting too much, recent surgeries, smoking, and certain medications, like birth control, can put you at risk for a blood clot.

Another medical issue that can cause swollen legs is heart disease. When the pumping mechanism of your heart is not functioning at 100%, it causes liquid to gather in your legs. “In people with circulatory issues the veins are not as elastic as they should be, so they aren’t pumping blood back to the heart quickly enough,” Youdim says.

If you think you might have one of these medical issues, see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.

Source: Prevention | not affiliated with Aetrex Worldwide

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

The 5 Biggest Reasons You Wake Up Exhausted

By Jenny Sugar

Do you constantly wake up feeling like you could sleep for another three hours? Not everyone’s a morning person, but when you wake up so tired you have a pounding headache, pour orange juice into your cereal, or practically fall asleep while checking your morning emails, then something’s not right. Keep reading to find out what might be preventing you from waking up energized.

It’s Cave-Like in Your Room, Even After the Sun Rises

Blocking out streetlights to make your room pitch black can help you fall asleep and stay asleep, but if daylight isn’t able to creep in by morning, your body’s circadian rhythm won’t know that it’s time to wake up. Use blinds or curtains that block out nighttime lights but still allow daylight to shine through.

You Stay Up Way Too Late

Whether you’re putting in overtime at work or getting sucked into catching up on Game of Thrones, staying up late means you’re not getting enough hours of shut-eye. Most people need around seven, give or take, so if you’re not getting that, then you’ll wake up exhausted and cranky. Sleep deprivation can lead to eating more and can also weaken your immune system — hello, cold! Set a bedtime and stick to it (even on the weekends), and if you have to stay up late, try to sleep in a little in the morning.

You Went to Bed Stressed or Worried

It’s hard not to be nervous about an early meeting with your boss or stressed about pricey car repairs, but thinking about stressful situations will keep you from getting a solid night of sleep. If something’s bothering you, then figure out a way to settle your mind, whether it’s jotting down thoughts in a journal, talking to your BFF, or doing these relaxing yoga poses in bed.

You Hit the Snooze Button 8 Times

If you’re one of those people who purposely sets your alarm early so you can hit the snooze button and feel like you’re getting more time in dreamland, then you’re actually getting less. That extra snooze time is constantly being interrupted by the startling sound of your alarm, and the sleep you’re getting in between beeps isn’t quality sleep. Do yourself a favor and set your alarm later to sleep longer.

Too Much Booze or Caffeine Before Bed

A glass of wine has many health benefits, such as reduced risk of heart attack and stroke, as well as increased bone strength. But if you drink that glass of vino too close to bedtime — or your one glass is really two or three — then it’ll prevent you from having a restful night of sleep (even if you pass out fast). But if it’s a cup of coffee you drank, then stimulating caffeine can make it almost impossible to fall asleep. Whether you’re tossing and turning from alcohol or getting less sleep because of caffeine, you’re sure to wake up weary. Limit the wine and coffee before bed to ensure you get your zzz’s.

Source: Popsugar | not affiliated with Aetrex Worldwide

 

The most overlooked cause of belly fat

By Kathleen Alleaume

WE ALL want a flat stomach. No surprise there.

But since many are still relying on a countless number of sit-ups to get it, I’ll just make one thing clear: There are less painful and longer lasting ways to get the amazing middle we crave.

YOUR WAISTLINE

As much as you hate to hear it, there’s no silver bullet to fighting belly fat. You have to go back to the basics: Eat a balanced diet and make fitness part of your everyday life.

But while belly fat can still accumulate for those who exercise regularly and maintain a decent diet, what’s most often overlooked is the amount of shut-eye we get each night.

Scientists have known for years that sleep deprivation has all sorts of ramifications, especially on how fat cells function. Research indicates that too little slumber reduces your fat cells’ ability to respond properly to the hormone insulin, which is crucial for regulating energy storage and use.

In other words, our fat cells also need sleep to function properly otherwise they too, can get ‘metabolically’ groggy. Over time the disruption to insulin is responsible not only for an unsightly ‘muffin top’, but can also be a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, heart attacks and stroke.

Insulin also has a knock-on effect on appetite-controlling hormones: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is responsible for telling your brain that it is satisfied or full. Ghrelin tells you when you are hungry.

When we don’t get enough sleep, our leptin levels drop and ghrelin levels rise — an effect that increases our appetite during the hours where we are awake, meaning we tend to eat more, but feel less satisfied.

But it’s rare you’ll reach for carrots when you’re tired. Instead, people crave high-sugar/high-fat foods for an energy hit to get them through the day. This brings us back to insulin, which determines whether food gets used right away for immediate energy, or stored as fat. Eat the wrong kind of foods, chances are it’s the latter.

Around 75 per cent of Australians struggle to get to, or stay asleep each night, according to the world’s largest sleep report unveiled this week. The report, commissioned by The Sealy Sleep Census, surveyed over 11,000 respondents across five countries, including 2,300 respondents living in Australia.

The study also found 25% of Australians take more than 30 minutes to get to sleep, and only one in four get eight hours a night.

“It is easy to trade sleep for another activity without recognising the consequences, however, what people need to realise, is that quality sleep is equally as important as nutrition and exercise. A lack of sleep has been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart issues and even increases the likelihood to catch a common cold,” said Doctor Amy Reynolds, sleep expert and researcher at CQ University.

The findings also suggest a strong association between high levels of insomnia and the nation’s addiction to technology in the bedroom, with 70% of us keeping our phones near the bed.

“A hormone called melatonin helps to prepare the body for sleep. Levels of melatonin rise in the evening before bed, but blue light from devices can throw this off as the light sends the wrong cue to the brain — so, when we are wanting to sleep we are giving our brains a signal that we are awake” adds Reynolds.

The Australian Sleep Health Foundation recommends that adults should get seven or more hours of sleep a night to avoid health risks.

THE TAKE AWAY

A well-rounded exercise regimen, nutrition and reducing stress are all important factors in reducing belly fat and improving general health, but you can’t ignore the role of sleep. The more you get, the more fat you burn — so you can put crunches last on your flat-belly list.

Source: News.com.au | not affiliated with Aetrex Worldwide

Sore Feet Can Indicate Something More Serious

Most of us experience sore feet from time to time. Most of the time, it is simply from walking, standing or overuse of our feet for an extended time. However, it’s important to know that recurring sore feet can be a sign of something more serious. Here are a few of the health conditions associated with sore feet. Should you suspect you may be experiencing any of these conditions, please consult your medical professional as soon as possible.

Gout

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases notes that gout pain is caused by uric acid crystals that are deposited in joints and other areas, specifically your big toe. Typically, the pain and discomfort subsides after about 10 days on its own.

Some of the common triggers for a gout attack include: joint injury, infection, chemotherapy, crash diets/fasting, excess alcohol consumption, eating large portions of foods high in purine such as red meat or shellfish, dehydration and sweet sodas.

Nerve Damage

The Mayo Clinic lists peripheral neuropathy as one of the possible causes of painful/sore feet. This condition can cause weakness and numbness in your feet and burning or stabbing pain, and can be caused by traumatic injuries, infections or exposure to toxins.

Individuals with Diabetes can also experience numbness or tingling in the feet. If you suspect you may have Diabetes, it is extremely important to immediately contact your medical professional for testing.

Soft Tissue Tumors

According to Podiatry Today, “Soft tissue tumors may often be overlooked or mistaken as “simple lesions.” For example, ganglion cysts occur so frequently in the foot and ankle that it has often led to the careless assumption that every asymptomatic, soft, movable mass represents a benign lesion…Although rare, some “simple lesions” may actually represent a malignant process that goes undiagnosed until skeletal metastasis occurs or amputation is required.”

If you examine your feet and find any unusual bumps or lumps, it may be in your best interest to get a thorough examination to rule out cancer.

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)

About 8 million Americans have peripheral arterial disease (PAD), according to the American Heart Association. In PAD, a fatty substance called plaque that builds up in the arteries in your legs, reducing the flow of blood to your lower legs and feet.

PAD can cause the muscles in your calves and other parts of your legs to cramp when moving. This condition can also lead to foot pain and poorly healed foot wounds. This disease is also associated with hidden damage to the heart and brain — which places those with PAD at much higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) develops when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks your joints, causing them to become painful and swollen. The symptoms of RA can include extreme foot pain. When caused by RA, the pain usually begins in your toes and later spreads to the rest of your feet and ankles. Over time, the joint damage caused by RA can eventually change the shape of your toes and feet. Foot pain can be one of the first symptoms of RA. If you suspect you may have RA, a medical professional may recommend medications, exercise and, in some cases, surgery.

So, if you find your feet are constantly nagging you, consider getting an evaluation by a professional to rule out something more serious. Your feet will thank you!

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

Are Microwaves Dangerous?

Using a microwave can be incredibly convenient, but the safety of this appliance is questionable. The decision to use a microwave or not is ultimately up to you. There is an argument that microwaves cause plastic containers and food wrappings to release toxic cancer-causing chemicals, also known as carcinogens.[1]

Consider the following when choosing whether or not to use a microwave:

  • It’s been proven that plastic releases endocrine disrupters when heated, possibly causing infertility, birth defects, and cancer. 3
  • It may be especially dangerous to cook fatty foods at high temperatures in plastic. Chemicals from the plastic easily migrate to oily, receptive foods.
  • Some believe that microwaves lead to nutritional deficiency, a wide spread condition in the Western world. The molecular friction that microwaves employ to heat food kills vitamins and phytonutrients. One particular study proved that cooking vegetables in the microwave destroys 97% of their nutrients.
  • Eastern theory says that microwaving disrupts the natural harmony of water molecules in food, leading to a disordered molecular pattern and disturbed internal balance.
  • If you do choose to use a microwave, consider heating food in glass or ceramic dishes with lids – just make sure they are labeled “microwave safe.”

The bottom line is that microwaves may contribute to the widespread epidemic of overfed, under-nourished people.

Microwaving may destroy nutritional content of food while maintaining calories, leading to rampant deficiencies in many macro and micro nutrients.2 Some believe that microwaves increase the risk of liver problems, depression, kidney failure, cancer, and heart disease. The double sword of toxic chemical release and nutrient deficiency caused by microwaves is unnerving. Weigh out your own personal pros and cons wisely.

Some quick alternatives to microwaving include using a toaster oven or heating food in a pan with a little olive oil and/or water to prevent sticking. Remember, eating nutritious food cooked in the microwave is better than not eating nutritious food at all!

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

[1] “The Hidden Hazards of Microwave Cooking” from www.health-science.com by Anthony Wayne and Lawrence Newell.

2 “Microwave Ovens Destroy the Nutritional Value of Your Food” from www.naturalnews.com by Mike Adams. 2007

3 “Does Plastic in Microwave Pose Health Problems” from The Wall Street Journal. 1998

Organize Your Life

As the holidays approach, I always start thinking about minimizing our possessions and simplifying life. The new toys, clothes etc coming in all at once can make for some serious clutter. I’m constantly rationalizing why I should keep something: “If I lose 5 lbs I’ll love it … maybe I’ll go back to working in an office some day … the person who gave that to me would be so said if I got rid of it …” those kind of excuses are huge contributing factors to our collection of “stuff.” Since I’m on a mission to declutter, I was excited to discover the KonMari Method by Japanese organizing guru Marie Kondo whose internationally best-selling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” In the book, Kondo walks us through her extreme strategy for simplifying, organizing and storing belongings.

I thought it may be helpful to share some of these tips with you to help you declutter your home a bit in preparation for the holiday season. Here are 7 do’s and don’ts from the KonMari Method to help you successfully declutter so you can enjoy a tidy home forever …

1. Tackle everything all at once. Instead of organizing little by little, take everything out and sort it all in one fell swoop, category by category. Save sentimental items for last. Devote an entire day to this if you need to but it’s important to eliminate the excess before you begin storing things away, otherwise you will rebound and be right back to living with a cluttered mess.

2. Don’t keep anything that doesn’t “spark joy.” This philosophy is the core of the Kon Mari Method. As you’re sorting your items, focus more on what to keep rather than what to get rid of. Touch each one and think about whether or not it sparks joy. Keep only the items that spark joy and anything else should go. Only few of our belongings are truly necessary.

3. Banish all paper clutter. Most of the paper that comes into our homes is never truly necessary. Kondo’s rule of thumb when it comes to sorting papers? Get rid of everything. Obviously, you don’t want to throw away the deed to your house, but most papers, especially anything that can be accessed online are not necessary.

4. Don’t hang on to unread books. When it comes to unread books that are siting around collecting dust, get rid of them because presumably, you’ll never ever read them. The more time that has passed since you acquired the book, the less likely you are to ever read it. (This is something I am totally guilty of!)

5. Simplicity in storage. You should be able to see everything you own at a glance which is the secret to an uncluttered space. Designate a place for everything and try to store as many items as possible in drawers. Never stack things on top of one another and treat every item with respect – no balling up those clothes!

6. Organize clothes by color. Hang your clothes with like items grouped together by color from dark to light items arranged from left to right. If your items are in a drawer, use this same color coding approach.

7. Don’t waste money on organizational solutions. Buying tools and accessories to help you stay organized only brings more stuff into your home and encourages you to store more unnecessary things. The key to the KonMari method is to simplify your belongings as much as possible.

I found the bit about “sparking joy” to be most helpful to me, especially when it came to getting rid of clothing. I had so many clothes that fit, but I hated the way I looked in them. I’m feeling lighter after purging all the unnecessary junk I feel lighter mentally and spiritually.

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

5 Stomach Problems That Are Way More Normal Than You Think

By Jamie Hergenrader

When you’ve got problems with your gut, you probably don’t like talking about it, right? Well, don’t hold it in any longer (pun definitely intended)—gastrointestinal issues are extremely common, says John Kisiel, MD, a gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic, so there’s no reason to be embarrassed. In fact, studies show that about one-fifth of the population experiencesbloating, reflux, or constipation. Here are some of the most commonstomach ailments—and how to treat them.

1. Acid reflux
That burning sensation you feel in your stomach, upper abdomen, or chest after eating is acid reflux, says Kisiel. According to a studypublished in the journal Gastroenterology, about 20% of the population in the U.S. reports having acid reflux symptoms weekly, while stats from the U.S. Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project found that 60% of adults in this country will have symptoms at one point in their lives. Noshing onspicy or citrusy foods and lying down immediately after eating can make the discomfort worse. (Read: A pre-bedtime fajita is not a good idea.) The burning can be treated with OTC meds, but if you have any additional symptoms, such as trouble swallowing or unintentional weight loss, or you’re anemic, visit your doc, who can determine if you need a diagnostic test to rule out cancer, says Kisiel.

2. Indigestion
If you regularly experience stomach pain, bloating, and/or nausea after scarfing down a large meal, it’s probably dyspepsia (aka indigestion). Like acid reflux, this can also be treated with OTC acid-blocking meds, says Kisiel. A study published in the Postgraduate Medical Journal found that 20 to 40% of people in the U.S. deal with these tummy troubles.

3. Irritable bowel syndrome
This condition can come in the form of diarrhea, constipation, or a mixture of the two. If your flow seems off for a few days, there’s no need to assume that you’ve got IBS—it’s diagnosed after 6 months of chronic abdominal pain and change in the form or frequency of bowel movements, says Kisiel. IBS is actually pretty common: According to theInternational Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders, between 25 and 45 million people in the U.S. have IBS. Unfortunately, experts aren’t sure exactly what causes IBS (it’s a chronic illness). But it’s seen more in women than in men, probably because women’s bowels tend to be less supported in the pelvis. Regardless, if you have any strange symptoms, such as nocturnal bowel movements (getting up just to go), blood in the toilet, fevers, anemia, and unintentional weight loss, you should seek medical attention and talk to your doctor. If you’re diagnosed, your doc can prescribe meds to manage the symptoms and, in rare cases, refer you for a colon cancer screening, especially if you have a family history of the disease. Staying up to date on preventive colon cancer screenings is important because often there aren’t symptoms in the early stages.

4. Functional constipation
In other words: consistent difficulty in passing bowel movements. In women, it is sometimes a sign of pelvic floor dysfunction (incoordination between pelvic floor and rectal muscles), and it can be treated with physical therapy, says Kisiel. According to a study published in theAmerican Journal of Gastroenterology, close to 15% of adults have regular constipation. If you’re newly experiencing this, tell your doctor, who can do a scope test to rule out any blockage or a tumor that could be causing the problem.

5. Abdominal wall pain
If your pain is in a pinpointed location rather than all over your abdomen, you might be suffering from abdominal wall pain, which is four times more common in women than in men, a study in Clinical Gastroenterology Hepatology reports. According to the UNC Center for Functional GI and Motility Disorders, it’s usually casued by nerve compression in the abdomen. Although the pain can be severe, it’s not dangerous. It’s usually not progressive and can be treated with an injection of an anti-inflammatory med every few months by your MD, says Kisiel. If you feel a sharp pain and there are certain positions or movements that can make it feel worse or better, that could be a sign you’ve got this, so make an appointment to get it checked out.

Source: Prevention | not affiliated with Aetrex Worldwide

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