As women, our hormones define us. As I touch on in What Doctors Eat, from adolescence to menopause, the rhythm of our hormones can dictate our mood, energy, beauty, and general sense of well-being. Yet I am continually surprised that the role of hormones in women’s health is often minimized and how we, as women, are left confused about what’s going on in our bodies.
Before you brush off these health issues as just an unfortunate part of normal life, listen to your body and consider that they could be signs that your body is in hormone havoc.
With everyone rushing and running around, feeling “tired” seems to be an accepted way of life. Feeling tired, however, can be a sign of a change in your hormone levels. I have heard women describe fatigue in so many different ways. “I cannot get out of bed in the morning,” or “I crash in the afternoons,” are common complaints from my patients. Bottom line: if you notice a change in your energy levels, don’t dismiss it. Get your hormone levels checked. Your thyroid, insulin, estrogen, progesterone, and adrenal hormones can all be involved in fatigue.
Whether you have unexpected guests on the way, or just want a faster way of tackling regular cleaning chores, you really can clean a home top to bottom in an hour and a half. While homemakers and house cleaners tend to the details differently, there are a few common strategies they all seem to agree on.
Clutter is what makes cleaning seem overwhelming – and that’s because it makes it harder to get to the surfaces you really need to clean. So take a first pass by going room to room and putting things back where they belong (or tucking them away for a while). If you have children or pets, this often means gathering up and putting away toys before you really get going. For less tidy adults, you may be picking up clothing, mail, and other papers.
Make cleaning easier by minimizing the tools. If you have a house with more than one floor, consider keeping a set of cleaning products on each level. If you normally use a broom, a vacuum, and various dusters, consider switching to the vacuum only with an extra-long cord (and getting the most out of each attachment). Invest in good cleansers and sprays that can do double-duty, as well.
Once you’ve eliminated the obvious clutter (15 MINUTES) and have your tools ready, try to clean one room at a time – and cross it off your list. Try not to revisit a room for the sake of speed (and sanity). And prioritize the room you’ll be entertaining in first (in case you do run out of time): living room (15 MINUTES), kitchen (15 MINUTES), bathrooms (10 MINUTES EACH), then bedrooms (10 minutes each). By following these simple strategies and time guidelines, your house will be company-ready in about 90 minutes – enjoy!
We promise you have the time (and the patience) for these strategies.
Spending hours sitting in stillness can feel daunting—and the need to do so is a big myth about meditation. Now there’s a popular variation on the stress-relieving strategy that’s all about getting calm fast. Turns out even briefly seeking serenity has proven health benefits: One study found that just 25 minutes alleviates tension, while others prove a short stint relieves pain and improves anxiety and depression.
Both in and out of the studio, a sped-up practice for newbies dubbed mindfulness meditation helps you be more present in each moment. “People mistakenly think you have to shush your thoughts,” says Dean Sluyter, author of Natural Meditation: A Guide to Effortless Meditative Practice. “My slogan is ‘Whatever is there, just rest aware.’” To fit tranquillity into your day, take as many minutes as you can for Sluyter’s simple techniques.
At work: Relax your gaze around the edges of your computer monitor and pay attention to the process of breathing in and out.
While walking: Keep your mind on every step you take, from your heel striking the earth and the ball touching down to the other foot rising.
In bed: Lie on your back, close your eyes and you’ll see a subtle glow—focus on changes in its color and shape as you doze off.
Nutrition experts have been grumbling for years that the government got our vitamin D recommendations wrong. When the Institute of Medicine (IOM) guidelines of 600 IU a day were released in 2010, respected Harvard professor Walter Willett, MD, primary researcher behind the Mediterranean Diet, stated publicly that this wasn’t enough—especially for people living in northern, sun-deprived climates. Now, new findings have confirmed everyone’s fears: The IOM recommendations are literally flawed. We may need at least 10 times as much of this vital nutrient.
The error first came to light in October 2014, when two public health scientists at the University of Alberta published as a study in the journal Nutrients. They went back through the IOMs studies and discovered a statistical mistake: The institute had based its vitamin D recommendations upon an average that was far too low to achieve healthy levels of D in the blood. After rerunning the numbers, they discovered that adults might need more than 8,000 IU to reach safe levels, though the researchers hesitated to recommend such high doses since none of the volunteers in the studies had taken more than 2400 IU daily.
Did you know you’ll drink more if you use a straw?
With summer comes heat, humidity, and active outdoor lifestyles. We spend weekends at the beach and days at the pool. And while we’re often surrounded (or submerged) in water, we are usually not drinking enough of it.
Hydration is critical to a healthy, feel-good, functioning body, especially to the body of a runner. I’ve gone through the mechanics behind hydration before. Today, let’s talk about ways to promote water-guzzling throughout your day.
Being pregnant I’ve realized even more just how much I need water. Constantly. And as a runner, who is losing a lot of fluid and electrolytes with each run, you do, too.
Sometimes it can feel like torture to drink another glass of water. Here are five things I’m doing to get more water down each day.
I want nothing to stand in the way of your getting plenty of exercise, so I’m going to give you five great-feeling stretches that can help relax your back, neck, and shoulders. Back strain is one of the most common forms of pain in America. These aren’t just harmless little aches, either. Thepain can lead to inactivity, weight gain, depression, and sleep loss, all of which could diminish your quality of life.
So try these moves to loosen up a little. All it takes is a few minutes in the morning or right before bed, several times a week.
Sit on floor with legs crossed. Place left hand on right side of head and gently pull head toward left shoulder (keep shoulder down), feeling a stretch on right side of neck. Hold for 3 deep breaths. Return to start and repeat on right side.
This 10-minute routine from trainer Larysa DiDio tones every zone and increases calorie burn for hours after you’re done. Bonus: It’s great for small spaces!
How to do it: Perform each exercise for 45 seconds, resting for 30 seconds between moves. Repeat the entire circuit twice.
1. Chair Squat into Biceps Curl
Stand in front of a chair with both toes facing forward, feet hip-distance apart, a dumbbell in each hand. Shift your weight into your heels and squat until your butt taps the chair, then stand and curl both weights toward your shoulders.
Expert tip: Don’t forget to squeeze your butt as you stand.
The Internet and social media outlets like Instagram have accelerated the world’s infatuation with the van-dwelling, road-tripping, vagabond lifestyle to near obsession. Though the lifestyle and form of travel is nothing new in-and-of itself, there is new opportunity in the way we can share these experiences, and extend our ideas to a global audience. More and more people are getting excited about the possibility of replacing their condos with vans and hitting the road for a life of simple beauty and unparalleled freedom.
A lifestyle once reserved for those who hide in the long shadow of society has since exploded into a culture of united free-thinkers who refuse to anchor themselves to the monotony of corporate life. Still, not everyone is able to move out of their lives and hit the road on the drop of a dime. For those day-dreaming of a life on the road, staring out their office windows and wishing it was the windshield of a van, Jon Gaffney and Gale Straub have crafted an Intagram page that offers a glimpse into the good life.
Jon Gaffney, known by the Instagram handle, The Van Man, and Gale Straub, a writer, editor and photographer known for the blog, She Explores, recently launched a collaborative portfolio of views from the inside of their home—which is to say, their van.
Mini mummy luminaries are cuter rather than creepier when you follow this tutorial. Dress up your jar with just a few basic supplies and then decorate!
Smooth Mason Jar
Cheesecloth or gauze
1 pair of googly eyes