Technology That Can Help You Be Healthier in 2017

So it’s the new year and as usual, most people are looking to get healthier.   There are all sorts of technology-based items that can help you keep you on track!

There are lots of different food diaries, exercise diaries and the like.  I’ve looked at several almost all of them offer some sort of premium service.   So far the one food diary that I have liked the most is  My Fitness Pal.  It allows you to sync your Fitbit and TONS of other devices with it.  Many of the other diaries only sync with certain devices, which I think is a downfall.  If you pay for the premium you can customize your macro-nutrients so you can focus on certain nutrients more than others.  Recently when I was stuck at a certain weight and couldn’t seem to get it to budge I figured out the cause thanks to a Facebook group I was in.  The app will work with your activity tracker and add more calories to your daily allowance.   So, I thought I was able to eat a little more (not going wildly overboard but still under my allotted “extra” calories, and that’s what was doing it!  Turn that feature off if you get stuck at a certain weight!!!!!  My weight finally budged after that!!!

Many of you have Apple iPhones, you probably are aware of their “Health” App.   Well, it’s supposed to track your sleep, mindfulness, physical activity, nutrition, and sleep. For a more detailed idea of what it can do, there is an awesome article from How to Geek here!  It integrates best with, of course, the Apple watch.  Unless you have a ton of money to blow on that along with the fact that the new iPhone that is coming out is supposed to be over $1,000!!!!  I find it to be a giant waste of money!

The Apple Health App also integrates with My Fitness Pal for the nutrition portion of the app.  It also works with some iHealth devices.  They have a wireless blood pressure monitor that keeps track of your blood pressure so you can show your doctor.  iHealth also sells a Smart Gluco Blood Monitoring System to test your blood sugar and you can sync it with your iPhone to keep track of that.  They also sell scales.

Withings sells many devices that will sync with your phone, as we all Fitbit.  Fitbit also sells scales.  I have the Aria scale.  It syncs with my phone and tells me my body fat percentage.  Last time I got on it, my weight didn’t go down, but my body fat did.  I have been working out more lately on a new regime so I can attribute my body fat going down.  I don’t know how accurate the body fat calculator is on this scale, but in this case, it would seem to me that it’s working.  Remember a pound is still a pound whether it’s fat or muscle, they weigh the same!!!!!  Muscle just takes up less space!!!!  As shown by this picture of some props that are in my office!

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Now I have a Migraine app on my phone called Migraine Buddy, it’s a pretty slick program that helps you keep track of daily headaches, possible causes, what you did to or take that helped or didn’t help AND a sleep tracker.  The sleep tracker is inaccurate.  I was annoyed by it when I realized that it was getting it from my Apple Health App.  My Fitbit sleep tracker is way more accurate.  So, I thought why can’t my Fitbit tell Apple’s Health App Sleep Tracker the correct info.  Well, apparently it’s not that simple!   It doesn’t work yet, BUT there’s an app for that!!!  It’s a $2.99 app called Sync Solver.  It manually will allow you to sync all your Fitbit data to your Apple Health App.  Now all of your info is in 1 App.   Seems a bit ridiculous, but if you are like me someone who suffers from Migraines it’s good to have a record of all of this stuff to show my doctors because if feels like a never ending battle trying to prove to them that it isn’t JUST STRESS!

So, there are lots of new devices out there to help you keep track of your health, and help you to become a happier, healthier person.

A Lot Like Nutella, But Sugar Free!

So, I LOVE Nutella!!!  What I don’t like is that it has sugar in it.  I cannot keep it in the house because I probably could eat an entire container in one sitting.

Around a year ago I bought a “sugar free” version of it.   Xylitol was the primary sweetener and sometimes that can not be easily digested, not to mention it’s toxic to dogs. I have a little chihuahua named Queso and if I had left this container open on a table, unfortunately, he would have eaten it!  Can’t trust him when it comes to food being in his reach.  However, isn’t he cute?

queso

Ingredients:

  • 1lb of blanched hazelnuts/filberts
  • 1 TBSP of Unflavored Coconut Oil Melted
  • 1/2 cup of Lily’s Dark Chocolate Chips Sweetened with Stevia

Buy the blanched hazelnuts/filberts because otherwise you will need to remove the shells and it was time-consuming!  If you have the time, then you can find out how I did this part from this awesome article.  Toast the blanched hazelnuts in the oven at 250 degrees for about 20 minutes.   Check on them at 10 minutes to see how they are doing, you’ll be able to smell a lovely nutty aroma from them when they are done.

My recipe differs from the link I posted above in that I wanted to try Lily’s Dark Chocolate Chips sweetened with Stevia..  They have a darker chocolate taste which comes out in the recipe.  I used 1/2 cup of melted chocolate chips.  I put them in the microwave for 30 seconds and stirred to see if they melted enough, if not, put them back in for 10 second intervals, otherwise you risk burning them and that is not a nice smell!   Ask me how I know!  🙂

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Then I melted the 1 TBSP of Unflavored Coconut Oil.  I threw it all in the blender and blended it until it was creamy and smooth!

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When you are done, it should look something like this:

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I put it in the fridge to solidify it a bit more.  It’s easier to spread when it’s been out, but I tend to put most stuff I make in the fridge to be on the safe side!

Trim Healthy Mama (THM) Mocha-Coffee

thm-moca-coffeeI like to make myself a coffee in the morning that also works as my breakfast.  It’s a mocha coffee drink!

Here is the recipe:

First I brew a cup of coffee, then in a coffee mug I put two scoops of THM Integral
Collagen (a non-dairy protein) I use the same scoop from the THM scoop to use one to two scoops of my Hot Cocoa Mix (recipe here) and Swerve or THM Super Sweet Blend to taste.  Then I put it in the microwave for one minute.

I take it out of the microwave and blend it well.  Once it’s cooled I put it in one of those Blender Ball Cups to put it in.   I add some water and Unsweetened Almond Breeze milk to taste.   Then I make sure the cap is tightly closed and shake it up.  You can either drink it this way or I’ll put mine in the fridge overnight so it’s ready in the morning.  If you prefer it hot, I would put it in a mug and re-heat it.

I get my caffeine fix in the morning, my collagen protein and a bit of a chocolate fix in the morning!

Why use collagen protein?  Here are some useful articles on why.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/431493-what-are-the-benefits-of-a-collagen-powder-drink/

http://wellnessmama.com/60867/benefits-of-collagen/

https://healthyfocus.org/6-proven-collagen-protein-benefits/

http://www.myprotein.com/thezone/nutrition/5-amazing-benefits-collagen-protein/

 

 

 

 

 

Meditation and Migraines

So, our office let us test a  10-week trial of guided Mindful Meditation through Meditation Works, a Troy, MI-based company.  Meditation Works is a company that owns trailers that come to YOUR office and allows you to let your employees participate in a guided meditation.  It was awesome to get out of the office and relax for 10 minutes.  I was especially happy on the days we had Meditation Works come out and then our office also offers on-site chair massages.  Those TOTALLY help with my migraines by the way! The best massages for my migraines have been trigger point massages and craniosacral therapy.  Craniosacral therapy isn’t as hocus pocus as it sounds!!!

At the end of the 10-week trial, we took a survey to see if it helped us be more mindful.  I was also testing to see if it helped me with my migraines.  While it did help me become about 20% more mindful than I was previously.

Unfortunately, I didn’t see a decrease in my migraines.  It did lower my stress levels!  So, though it didn’t help me with my migraines, it helped me be more relaxed and more mindful of my state of mind.

I’m currently trying out some apps that will help you meditate, and once I have a list of apps I like I will let you know! If you have an app you like, let me know and I will try it!!!

Michigan Headache and Neurological Institute

Exciting news for me!  I was recently accepted to become part of a trial for a new medicine and the Michigan Headache and Neurological Institute in Ann Arbor, Michigan.   I will be going there on the 22nd of February for my first evaluation.   I will keep you posted on what is involved and my progress!

If you want to find out or participate in a study go to this page and find out more details and call them!   The more research and treatment options we have the better!!!  Make life better for people with Chronic Migraines!

Since MHNI categorized me as a Chronic patient I am going to be finding out what the process is to receive Botox and get it covered by my insurance.   I will let you know what the process is and give you tips and see if it helps me and let me know if it helps you!

After my last 12-day migraine I’m willing to try anything to ease the pain and regain my life back!

THM Chai Tea Latte!

chai-tea-latte

I LOVE Chai Tea Lattes!   Sometimes when I’m looking for something sweet to eat at night, I can fill myself up with this drink and it will take care of my sweet tooth and my rumbling stomach!  Of course, I usually buy the caffeine free tea, because I usually drink this at night.  We all have brands that we like I’m a bit of a tea snob!  I like my special teas!  I like Twinings Chai as well a Tazo Chai.   Since Chai Tea has become more popular you can pick these up anywhere.  Target usually has the Tazo Brand.  Make sure to get the bags and not the premixed liquid because they add sugar to it.

Also get a lot of my stuff from Thrive Market!  I love them. They have Tazo Chai Tea as well.  There is a small membership fee, but you make it up with your savings within the first couple of orders.  To join click here!

I usually brew about 3 bags of my chai tea in a big mug.  I like my Chai spices strong!  You can also make your own spice blend Aarti Sequeira makes a wickedly awesome blend!  Her recipe is here!  I try to make a blend and keep it in and old spice jar!

After I’ve let that brew for about 10-15 minutes, told you I love it strong!  I’ll put 1 scoop of THM Integral Collagen in it.  Any more seems to give it a bit of an aftertaste.  Then I sweeten it with either Swerve or THM Super Sweet Blend.   Then I put in some unsweetened almond milk and enjoy!!!!   This can be served hot or cold!

 

Trim Healthy Mama (THM) Mocha-Coffee

thm-moca-coffeeI like to make myself a coffee in the morning that also works as my breakfast.  It’s a mocha coffee drink!

Here is the recipe:

First I brew a cup of coffee, then in a coffee mug I put two scoops of THM Integral
Collagen (a non-dairy protein) I use the same scoop from the THM scoop to use one to two scoops of my Hot Cocoa Mix (recipe here) and Swerve or THM Super Sweet Blend to taste.  Then I put it in the microwave for one minute.

I take it out of the microwave and blend it well.  Once it’s cooled I put it in one of those Blender Ball Cups to put it in.   I add some water and Unsweetened Almond Breeze milk to taste.   Then I make sure the cap is tightly closed and shake it up.  You can either drink it this way or I’ll put mine in the fridge overnight so it’s ready in the morning.  If you prefer it hot, I would put it in a mug and re-heat it.

I get my caffeine fix in the morning, my collagen protein and a bit of a chocolate fix in the morning!

Why use collagen protein?  Here are some useful articles on why.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/431493-what-are-the-benefits-of-a-collagen-powder-drink/

http://wellnessmama.com/60867/benefits-of-collagen/

https://healthyfocus.org/6-proven-collagen-protein-benefits/

http://www.myprotein.com/thezone/nutrition/5-amazing-benefits-collagen-protein/

 

 

 

 

 

THM/Sugar Free Hot Cocoa Mix

 

hot-cocoa-mix

I love hot cocoa in the fall and the winter!  My daughter loves it too!  I make a sugar free version that I pre-mix and always have on hand for us!   I save lots of old glass jars from things I’ve used in the past.  In this case, you can see it’s an old pickle jar!  Recycle and repurpose right! Sorry the picture isn’t better, I need to work on my photography skills!

For this you can use Hershey’s Unsweetened Cocoa or I like to use Healthworks Cacao Powder Raw Organic.  I also use either Swerve sweetener (I prefer the confectioner’s version b/c it melts nicer and doesn’t leave a gritty feeling) or you can use Trim Healthy Mama’s (THM) Super Sweet Blend Sweetener or THM Gentle Sweet or .  I prefer the Super Sweet Blend b/c my body doesn’t like Xylitol at all!

In my jar I usually put 1 cup of Cocoa, and then 2 cups of either Swerve, THM’s Super Sweet Blend or THM Gentle Sweet.  It depends on what I have on hand.  Now with the Swerve and Gentle Sweet they are finely ground to be like confectioners sugar, so they tend to leave a puff a sweetener in the air!  I have yet to figure out a way to stop this!   Once you have them both in the jar, securely seal the jar and shake.   Now you have instant hot cocoa mix.  Wait about 20 minutes before you open the jar again otherwise another puff of the sugar and now cocoa will coat your counter!

You can put a tablespoon in a mug ,how much you use in your mug, depends on the mug!  You can  make it with almond milk , water or milk but it tastes better with almond milk or milk depending on your audience!

I’m going to be working on a recipe to add THM Integral Collagen to it.  It’s kind of a science experiment to get the right amount without affecting the taste of the final product.

 

 

 

 

 

Mommy, Mom, Mama, Oh My!

I remember the first time my daughter said, Mama!  I was so excited!   Here is a picture of her saying Mama for the first time!

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I couldn’t wait for her to talk and tell me things!  I love talking to her!!!  She’s so amazing!!!   She loves talking! She also loves saying Mom, Mommy, Mama as well as Daddy, Daddy, Dad a LOT!

However, there are days I just feel like this:

Do you ever feel like this?  Clearly, I’m not the only one!

Cyber Security Awareness Month: Protect Your Child From Online Bullying!

We’ve all heard about the tragedies that have occurred over the last couple of years about children being bullied.   I was thinking back to when I was a child and being bullied.  I’ve been short my whole life and picked on about it to this day.  I hear about children committing suicide over this and I have to wonder,  why?  I’m simply wondering out loud why bullying has brought so many kids to the point of feeling their only option was to commit suicide?

When I was a kid, bullying was usually done face to face.  Online Bullying is a new form of bullying.  People can be much crueler online than they can be in person.  Read any news article, and then read comments below it.  People say horrific things to other people because it’s easier to do it in writing online than saying it in person.  It is very easy to depersonalize.  You don’t think of the person as a person, just as an online persona, or as an avatar on the screen.

I didn’t realize how many outlets kids have for bullying these days: email, blogs, messaging, texting and of course all of the social media sites.  In my day, it was at school, possibly after school and then I was home!  This form of bullying is non-stop and invading every aspect of a person’s life!

According to Norton’s article on Cyberbullying available here, there are warning signs:”

  • They appear nervous when receiving a text/online message or email.
  •  Habits with devices change. They may begin avoiding their devices or using them  excessively.
  •  They make excuses to avoid going to school.
  •  They become defensive or secretive about online activity.
  •  They withdraw from friends and family.
  •  They have physical symptoms such as trouble sleeping, stomach aches, headaches,  and weight loss or gain.
  •  They begin falling behind in school or acting out.
  •  Their grades start declining.
  •  They appear especially angry, frustrated or sad, particularly after going    online/checking devices. •
  • They delete social media or email accounts.”

Have discussions with your kids about this.  Ask them if they’ve ever been picked on via social media, texting and or emails.   Perhaps relay a story of your own about a time you were picked on in school, because let’s be honest haven’t we all at some point?   Make them feel comfortable talking to you about this.  I have a 4 year old who tells me she gets picked on at school.  I always let her discuss it with me.  Yes, it can start as early as 4!!!! She has also been the instigator too, so I have talked to her about that as well.  We need to teach our children it’s okay to talk about it, and it’s NOT ok to bully!

Other things you can do, monitor their screen time, make sure the computer is all up to date with updates, anti-virus, anti-malware and even put monitoring software on their like Net Nanny.

For more information on keeping your kids safe and talking to them about Cyberbullying, please visit these websites!

http://www.wiredsafety.com/

http://www.stopcyberbullying.org/

https://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/

Also, my friend Tara Michener also does Anti-Bullying Campaigns and counseling for those who have been bullied.

 

 

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