Here are five things you should know to help you have a more comfortable allergy season:
(Read part 1 of this ‘Spring Cleanse' series here for more on how many calories you actually need, how to track your intake, and what you need to know about fluids.)
There are thousands of books out there, everything from an intensive fasting period to a detailed 21+ day program. Pick one that seems like it would yield the highest degree of success for you, but remember these basic parameters of all detoxes and cleanses:
- Don’t go less than 1200 calories a day. (Doing so stimulates a decrease in your metabolism, which unfortunately won’t immediately correct once the cleanse is completed. )
- Don’t expect more than 2 pounds of weight loss per week. If you see this on the scale, it means you are losing lean muscle mass (not a brilliant idea since this tissue is most metabolically active = your best friend in the battle of the bulge) or you are under-hydrated. The goal is gradual fat loss, hydration maintenance, and preservation of lean muscle mass if you want your results to last.
- Avoid junk (caffeine, alcohol, sodium, artificial sweeteners, refined sugars and refined grains). You want to get the biggest bang for your caloric buck, so opt for whole grains, fruits and vegetables rather than processed food.
- Assess your tendency for withdrawal. This can be from caffeine, alcohol, salt, refined grains/sugars, or simply the habit of heading for frozen yogurt on weekends.
What you should know about….
Spring is finally here! Finally, the opportunity to congratulate Seattle for behaving according to season, and enjoy tulips that Dougie in the spring breeze, and the first panic wave reminds you that you’ve got only a few weeks before bikini season (you get the point). Your innocent neurons automatically fire “detox diet’ and “cleanse”. Well, let me warn you that I am not a fan of the “drink maple syrup and eat lemon wedges” diet. Not because nutritionally they are a joke, but if you follow one, you morph into a mix of Tasmanian devil and Garfield, a creature with a short temper, little patience, an appetite with no boundaries, yet profound laziness.
Instead, how about something realistic with sustainable results? Here are tips to clean up your eating behaviors and make sure you are on track to tackle your goals.
Track Your Intake:
Do you know how much calories, fat, sugar, fiber, fluids, etc. you are concerned about, that you are consuming these days? This is where you need to start...
Every two seconds in the United States, someone requires a blood transfusion. That means over 5 million Americans will need blood every year. Unfortunately blood can only come from volunteer donors and only 3% of eligible donors donate every year.
What’s the good news? Over 9 million Americans donate blood every year and help save countless lives. Many people don’t donate blood simply because they don’t know where or how to do so. Are you one of them? Here are the who’s, what’s, where’s and when’s of blood donation.
You are likely eligible to donate blood if you are:
- In good health,
- Over 17 years old, and
- Weigh more than 110 pounds.
Type O is the most commonly needed blood type and O negative-type blood is “universal” meaning most bodies will accept it instead of fighting it off like they would a germ or infection. If you have Type O blood, especially Type O negative, you are an ideal donor.
Giving blood is safe, sterile and simple and can be done in about an hour.
When you show up to donate, you will:
Practice, practice, practice...all kids are involved in something they have to practice. They all practice spelling and math equations. They might practice their soccer drills, or their cello. The old saying “practice makes perfect” is true.
So, did you know that arguing with your kids is also practice? Practice for what? What possible good could come from arguing? Just like any other skill, when you argue with your kids you’re developing their ability to stand up for themselves. This is crucial in standing up to peer pressure and bullies.
No one person is right 100% of the time, including parents, but parents often don’t want to admit when they’re wrong. When our kids make mistakes, and we tell them 'it’s okay, everyone makes mistakes' and yet, some parents refuse to admit when they make mistakes. Is it a matter of pride, or do we believe that if we admit we made a mistake that it will appear as though we’re weak?
There are many things we do less of now than in the past, and sleeping is one of them. In fact, studies show that people sleep an average of 20-percent less today than they did a century ago. Then, nine hours of sleep a night was typical; today it is closer to seven and a half hours spent in bed, with considerably less spent actually sleeping. And it’s not just adults that are sleeping less. The National Sleep Foundation’s annual survey in 2004 found that children were also getting less sleep than they needed, including infants.
“A few reasons we are sleeping less include the invention of electric light, jobs becoming more urban in nature, and an increase in technology in the home,” explains Darius Zoroufy, M.D., medical director of the Lake Sammamish Sleep Center.
Technology is one of the most glaring reasons behind American’s lack of sleep. “A 2009 study reported that TV is the number one factor keeping adults awake,” says Dr. Zoroufy. Computers, iPods, and cell phones are similar culprits.
“Not only are these things taking up our time, but they are stimulating us mentally, making it difficult for us to shift gears and fall asleep.”
Swedish Pediatric Sleep Specialist, Preetam Bandla, M.D., agrees. “Light from screen media can activate the light-sensitive circadian cells in our brains that regulate when we are maximally alert and maximally sleepy,” he explains, “So our TVs and computer screens can keep us from wanting to sleep.”
Technology is not solely to blame for our lack of sleep, however. “The majority of sleep problems result from self imposed and externally imposed factors,” says Dr. Zoroufy. “There are simply too many opportunities and pressures to stay awake.”
The demands of work, school, family and social activities are causing people to become overscheduled and the first thing people give up is sleep. “The idea that we can sleep less and still function well is a misperception,” says Dr. Bandla.
So how much sleep do we need and what can we do to obtain it?