- Created on 06 November 2013
From Mother Nature Network's Melissa Breyer:
Whether you are a diligent brusher of the teeth right after eating, or if you're like the rest of us and feel a tinge of shame for not doing so, you may be interested in knowing this: at least one study has shown that the practice is not in the best interest of your pearly whites.
While some professional opinions vary, a number of top teeth docs agree with the findings. The basic problem is that the sugar in foods is metabolized by the bacteria or plaque on enamel, producing acids that lead to gum disease and cavities.
Common sense suggests that brushing the food particles away as quickly as possible would reduce the problems; but such is not the case.
Dentist Jeffrey M. Cole, former president of the Academy of General Dentistry, a dental advocacy group, told the Wall Street Journal, "What we found is that much of the cariogenic substances, those things that cause cavities, are not only sugar-containing, but they are very acidic themselves."
The perfect pH for the mouth is seven, and when you consume something acidic, the pH drops. Even a diet soda can have a pH as low as 2.5 — similar to vinegar — and it can take a while for the mouth to return to a normal level. Acid weakens the surface of the tooth, which can invite decay.
So when it comes to brushing your teeth when the mouth is in an acidic state, it actually exacerbates the problem.
"When you want to make etched glass, you apply an acid or an abrasive and scratch it – that is what happens if you drink a sports drink or a soda, or even wine, and brush right after," says Cole. But if you give your mouth some time – around a half an hour – your saliva will have worked to neutralize the acids.
There are some things that can be done to help instead of immediate brushing. Both rinsing your mouth with water or using an antibacterial mouthwash, Cole suggests, can help balance the pH and prevent plaque from creating more acids.
Chewing sugarless gum is also recommended as some studies have shown that the sweetener, xylitol, has benefits for the teeth. But perhaps the more satisfying option? Eat cheese. Oddly enough, chewing cheese reduces the pH of bacterial plaque. Cole explains that chewy things encourage salivation and proteins in your saliva will buffer acids; as well, naturally occurring chemicals in cheese "encourage the tooth to remineralize."
So the next time your colleague at the office heads to the bathroom to brush his teeth after lunch, you can now smugly assuage your guilt by breaking out a hunk of cheese instead.
- Created on 05 November 2013
We can create health and happiness by choice. Those choices are in how we think, act and react to the things we cannot control. These 10 decisions are choices we can make to lead happier and healthier lives -- no matter what comes our way.
1. I am going to be nicer to myself. Our thoughts can be our enemy. Negative, self-deprecating and self-blaming thoughts are common. Get out of your head and sift out those thoughts that cause you worry and suffering and replace them with ones that are positive. Stop judging and evaluating yourself. Stop trying to label yourself and simply accept who you are. Treat yourself with the same kindness, respect and compassion you would show to a friend, or even a stranger. Being nicer to yourself also means taking care of yourself and taking the time to do what replenishes you.
2. I am going to find out what I love to do and do it. We spend time in jobs and other situations that we just do not like. It is important to find the things that bring us joy and spend our time doing them. You are more likely to be successful if you have consistent activities, hobbies and tasks that make you happy. The best way to do this is to have a career or job that you love. Because we spend so much of our day at work, it is important to do work that is meaningful and enjoyable. Think about what you wanted to be when you were young, about your perfect job and about the skills and talents you want to utilize. This may mean finding a new career path.
3. I can be strong on my own and leave a bad relationship. Many people have a relationship in order to be happy, complete and whole. A better option is to be happy, whole and complete -- and then have a relationship. Healthy relationships come from our willingness and ability to live without them. When we turn to another person as our sole source of security, we are not in love -- we're addicted. If we are growing and we want our relationships to survive the other person has to grow too. But that does not always happen. Other times when we really get to know people we discover we don't like them. And some people are just users or abusers. In all cases it is time to move on. When you are strong and whole, you always have the freedom to leave.
4. I am willing to give up the belief I can control what happens and will let go of the outcome. Don't waste energy on or worry about the things you cannot control, which are most things. Let it go and become unattached to the outcome. We have little control over what others think, or how they feel or act. We have no clue what will happen in the next month or week or day. So because we cannot predict, we should not live and act with the thought of how will this all turn out. The process and being present is often more important than the result. You are neither the center nor the master of the universe. And that is a good thing.
5. I will identify and face my fears. The biggest reason we don't change is because of fear. It acts as a huge barrier that gets in the way of moving forward. Most people know what they fear, but if you don't, take the time to figure out the thoughts that stop you from doing the things you really want to do. These fears could be of failing, of looking stupid, of being in the spotlight, of being judged or rejected, etc. Whatever the fear may be, own it, replace it with positive self-talk and move forward despite it.
6. I am going to see failures, mistakes, traumatic events and shortcomings as an opportunity to learn and grow. There is a saying that there is no such thing as failure, only opportunities to learn. Our flaws and follies can be the most powerful teachers we have. They are usually more instructive than our successes. It is in our moments of weakness that we have the most to gain and the most to learn. In these moments when we are not our best there are signs that light a path for us. Failure can be a message, a signal that you're off track and heading in a wrong direction. It is in our weakness, in bad times, that we are in touch with our deepest self. And that self is creative, innovative and a fabulous problem solver.
7. I will live my un-lived life and do something bold. It is never too late to do anything in your life. Sometimes you just have to go for it and stop making excuses. It is about living life fully and about having something to look forward to, to strive for. No matter what age, you can accomplish things and engage in activities that you always dreamed about doing -- ones that inspire and challenge you. In my forties I learned to ride a bike, to rock climb and to play the drums. I made and crossed off items on a bucket list. That list adds spice to what could be a bland life. Do not be afraid to try new things, wear different hats and step out of your box.
8. I am going to give up the need to be perfect and define success differently. There is no way we can be perfect. So why do we try? Often it is because we judge success by being perfect or we feel we need to be perfect to be loved, noticed, rewarded, etc. All of these are fallacies. No one will ever be perfect and the drive toward perfection can wear us down because it is unattainable. We need to define our worth and our success differently. As giving it our best shot, as having an impact on the world, or as being able to use our talents and skills. It is our differences and our imperfections that make us who we are.
9. I am going to stop engaging in behaviors that are unhealthy. This encompasses a range of things you could be doing that will shorten your life: overeating, drinking, drugging, not controlling stress, etc. Whatever your vice may be, take some steps to basically stop killing yourself. This has two components, self-control and the ability to break habits. Self-control enables you to choose, and then persevere with your thoughts and behavior, in order to accomplish a goal. It also gives you the inner strength to overcome addictions, procrastination and laziness, and to follow through with whatever you do. Having self-control means the ability to reject instant gratification and pleasure, in favor of some greater gain. Also important is the breaking of the habit cycle by identifying the cues or triggers that start the negative behavior, the routine of the behavior and the rewards that reinforce it. By changing just one thing in the habit cycle, a bad habit can be broken.
10. I am going to stop worrying about the how and just move forward. We fail to take action because we get caught up in the myriad ways of how to take a step forward. You can't predict your life, nor can you engineer the perfect next step, so stop putting pressure on yourself to figure things out. Step forward even if you are afraid or unsure. Acknowledge that and do it anyway. Step forward on faith that the Universe will do its work. Take some risks to walk down a path even if you have not worked out all the details. If you have a purpose, be willing to move forward even when you have no clue what the path looks like. Try and think more intuitively.
For more by Lisabeth Saunders Medlock, Ph.D., click here.
For more on happiness, click here.
- Created on 04 November 2013
What do Benjamin Franklin and Anna Wintour have in common? No, it's not their personal style. They're both (or for Ben, was) early risers.
Productive people know that mornings are a great time for getting things done. Laura Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, notes morning is the perfect time to be creative, to exercise and perhaps most importantly, to have some time to oneself before the rest of the world wakes up. Science shows that willpower is greatest in the morning. So take advantage of it and do the things that require self-discipline, like going to the gym or doing your taxes, early in the day.
How we spend our mornings sets the tone for the rest of the day. A calm and productive morning is very different from a frantic one.
What can you do to make your mornings more productive and less hectic?
1. Planning is priceless. Prepare the night before. Watch the weather. Choose your outfit. Keep your keys, cellphone, etc., always in the same place, preferably by the door.
2. Use a Jawbone instead of an alarm clock to wake you up. It gently vibrates on your wrist rather than violently jarring you awake.
3. Make your bed. The physical movement is good for you. Think of it as stretching. Plus, it's so much better to come home to a tidy bedroom.
4. Exercise. Just 20 minutes of a moderate activity will boost your mood and give you energy all day long.
5. Make priorities simple and easy. If you want to run in the morning, place your sneakers with your iPod and running clothes by your bed. If you want to spend more quality time with your kids, turn the television off and put down the newspaper.
6. Be Mindful. Brush your teeth with your left hand if you are right handed and vice versa. It reminds you to pay attention and be in the moment.
7. Spend a few minutes outside taking in the fresh air and daylight. Natural light and environments are important for well-being.
8. Eat well. Some fruit, some oatmeal. Something. And skip the juice or the smoothie. Is it that much trouble to chew something?
9. Grace Period. Allow 15 minutes of extra time to get to appointments so you can arrive with grace and dignity.
"Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man [or woman] healthy, wealthy and wise." -- Benjamin Franklin
- Created on 01 November 2013
By K. Aleisha Fetters for Fitbie
Yoga's an everywoman activity, but just because anyone with a mat and a will can bust some yoga moves, doesn't mean you're doing it right -- or getting the most out of your hour.
"When you practice yoga on autopilot, not looking at your mistakes and working to correct them, your form and awareness suffer, reducing your practice's benefit and increasing your risk of injury," says yoga expert Kimberly Fowler, author of Flat Belly Yoga! and founder of YAS Fitness Centers. And we aren't just talking newbies here. "Yoga is a practice. You never achieve perfection," she explains. "The goal is to constantly improve."
So whether you're a beginner or experienced yogi, chances are that your practice can benefit from some fine-tuning. Fowler suggests you start by watching out for these 10 common yoga mistakes.
1. Holding Your Breath
Breathing -- something that you typically do without giving it a thought -- can feel anything but automatic during a challenging pose. But without constant breath, your muscle fibers don't get the oxygen they need to fire, support your body weight, and bend at will. The result: wobbly limbs and -- if you're in a balance pose -- falls, Fowler says. And little chest raises won't cut it. You want to go for full-belly breaths: Inhale through your nose so you feel cool air hit the back of your throat and your stomach expands with air. Then slowly exhale through your mouth until you feel your lungs are empty.
2. Pushing Too Hard
"No pain no gain doesn't apply to yoga," says Fowler, who notes that most people -- if they're really being honest with themselves -- know when they're pushing themselves too hard. While in some exercise classes and sports you want your muscles to cry uncle, the exact opposite is true in yoga. It's a sign you're on the fast track to muscle strains and injury. Yoga should never feel painful. If it starts to, back off. Yoga is all about awareness, about listening to your body's subtle signals, and responding accordingly.
3. Comparing Yourself To Others
Every class has that one super-flexible yogi who seems to effortlessly master every move -- and who has a core you could bounce a quarter off of. Fight the urge to compare and get down on yourself. If you get tripped up measuring yourself against everyone else in the class, not only will you get a crick in your neck, you'll get a crimp in your fun. You'll likely become frustrated and maybe even convince yourself that yoga isn't for you. Wrong! Fowler stresses that yoga is for everyone, and your personal yoga practice isn't about anyone but you. "Every body is different, and yoga is about treating your individual body," she says.
4. Picking The Wrong Spot In Class
Place your mat wisely. Where's that, exactly? Near the back of the class. "People think they need to be in front so they can see the instructor, but much of the time the instructor is moving around and helping people correct their form, so you're left at the head of the class and can't see what you're supposed to do," Fowler explains. Try the next-to-back row. Since some moves require facing the back of the room, this spot will guarantee you always have someone you can follow without looking over to the side and sacrificing your form.
5. Coming To Class With A Full Stomach
Yoga studios should have signs that read: No food babies allowed. Why? When you have a full stomach, not only are most yoga poses uncomfortable, but blood supply is funneled to your stomach to process the nutrients from your food, leaving your muscles shortchanged on the energy they need for a successful practice. Still, pre-class eaters have one thing right: food is fuel. The key to benefitting from that fuel is keeping the portion size down and eating about an hour before class, Fowler says. That way, your blood has time to head to your stomach, pick up the nutrients, and deliver them to your muscles before you strike your first pose. Try a banana with peanut butter or a handful of nuts along with a piece of toast. The combo of protein and carbs will give you the energy jolt you need while keeping your blood sugar from crashing mid-pose.