Paraben And Sulfate-Free Beauty Products

Paraben And Sulfate-Free Beauty Products

By now if you’ve been snooping around beauty products for quite a bit, you’ve heard the buzzwords paraben-free and sulfate-free. Let’s start off with what those two chemicals are, let’s begin with paraben between the two choices. Now why do you want a paraben-free beauty product? Paraben is a preservative often found in deodorants, lotions, lipsticks and much more, the reason it is scary is because there have been insinuations that paraben mimics the hormone estrogen, which has been linked to cancer. As of now this has yet to be proved, at the very least not decisively, but for those who are careful and rightfully so, they prefer paraben-free products. As for Sulfate, can be found in shampoos, toothpaste and other washes, it causes many products to foam, so if you are using a beauty product that foams, chances are it is not sulfate-free. People are concerned about sulfates as it breaks down proteins in your body and can lead to rather degenerative states or issues for the body, which in turn shall turn into a disease.

Well that’s pretty much the reason why people are looking towards a paraben-free and sulfate-free house, and not that I am a doomsayer or anything like that but if you can avoid something like that, why not right? Let’s go over a quick list as to why you should choose a paraben-free or sulfate-free product, just to see what you can benefit from it.

You won’t miss a thing – Paraben-free products are pretty easy to find, one of the nice things about it is that you won’t miss having paraben in your hair or other items. Paraben does not benefit the hair in any way, so honestly why even risk having it there?

Avoid any chances of the big C – Cancer is a cause of concern for a lot of people and while again, paraben has yet to be confirmed as directly linked to cancer, why risk it if at all possible? If there are options that allow you to avoid it, I don’t see what the problem is of choosing the safer option, so why not give that shampoo or beauty product a good old try?

Reduce the chance of irritation – No not the irritation from a neighbor or a co-worker, just kidding, I’m talking about skin irritation. If by some chance you have a rather sensitive skin issue or scalp even, then ideally you need to get a sulfate-free product, as it has been known to cause mild to harsh irritations. True most shampoos that are not sulfate-free are available over the counter but not everyone can use them, so perhaps you should start thinking about that as well.

Retain that shine – While sulfate does help remove build up in your hair, it also damages the hair follicles and can really prove to reduce moisture and the natural oils. It is ideal to use a sulfate-free product for your hair in order to make sure that you have a nice full set of locks well into your eighties, who wouldn’t want that right?

Save the liver (and maybe other organs too) – Studies have shown that sulfate, if exposed to it for long periods of time, can get absorbed into the liver and that’s not good for many reasons. Aside from hormonal issues, it could really do a number on your body so go for the sulfate-free product if given the option.

Always make ti a habit to check the label on the bath and body products you use and even on makeup.
Always make it a habit to check the label on the bath and body products you use. Even on makeup!

There are a few more other benefits to using a sulfate-free and paraben-free product, but I think I’ve made my point so far. Let’s go even one further and give you some little known tips to avoid these rather tricky chemicals, it never hurts to have a few little tips under your sleeve after all.

Read the label – Seriously, develop this habit, this can save you a ton of pain and avoid a bucket load of diseases. When you start reading the labels and finding out what exactly you are consuming, you become a smart consumer, not only will you get paraben-free and sulfate-free products, but you’ll be able to avoid a lot more. Companies are mandated to share what ingredients they use for all their products, sure there are tricks to avoid full coverage, perhaps tweaking the recipe and what not but in the end if the consumer is smart, that person will be able to quickly catch these problems.

Know what to avoid – Sure getting paraben-free and sulfate-free products is a great start, begin off there and work your way up. Thankfully with the dawn of technology, researching chemicals or ingredients in whatever label you are reading is just a few clicks away. All you need to do is actually take the time to do it, again if you really want to be safe, become a smart shopper and a smarter consumer, this will in turn force companies to start turning towards more natural and organic material, which will really help everyone in the long run.

Research and more research – It never hurts to know more, and quite frankly with the ever-growing technology at the palm of our hands, with the dawn of smart phones it literally is in our hands, all you need to do is tap your screen. Anyhow there are even sites now that offer a full list of paraben-free and sulfate-free products, these have been researched and shared for all to know, it makes it really useful and very handy to use. Again a smart consumer, is a safe consumer and if that’s the case you really, really, really want to be a smart consumer.

Gather your own opinion – In the end a paraben-free or sulfate-free product is only as good as your own experience. Don’t let other people’s feedback sway you, as it is always different for every person. What could work for Bob, might not work for Sheila and so forth. So just because someone swears on a paraben-free product or sulfate-free shampoo, doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best product out there for you. Sure give it a try and see if the results are alright for you, remember that everything changes depending on who you are, what you do and so forth, not everything can be copied to make a mirror image result.

When in doubt go natural – Assuming the paraben-free and sulfate-free products are a little too scary for you, look for the natural stuff that will work just as good. There is always an organic or natural product out there that is pretty much free or at least less riddled with chemicals than the standard over the counter options, if the cost is the same, go for it, it wouldn’t hurt you to start going down the safe road every now and again.

And now you have a rather exhaustive list of information regarding paraben-free and sulfate-free beauty products, I’d say you are pretty much set on your fight for safety. Stay healthy!

5 Best Vegan Salad Dressings

5 Best Vegan Salad Dressings

Let’s face it, the salad dressing on your salad can really make or break it, it can heighten, highlight or take the taste away of whatever raw veggies or other stuff you have in the said salad and quite frankly some of them are just down right delicious. As a vegan, I have tweaked several of my favorite salad dressing from when I wasn’t a vegan, however if push comes to shove there are a ton of vegan friendly salad dressings out there and I would just like to take a few minutes to simply sing their praises. Please note that some of them are regular items that was tweaked to be vegan friendly, for personal preferences of course.

Balsamic vinegar – Oh my gosh, don’t tell me even if you aren’t a vegan, you haven’t enjoyed a wonderful salad with a salad dressing of balsamic vinegar? If you haven’t, then you are truly missing out even if you aren’t a vegan at all. This dark sour and rather pungent salad dressing can really bring out the green in your vegetables while carefully marrying the other ingredients so effortlessly. The tricky part is finding the right bottle of salad dressing for you, given so many options out there it gets a little overwhelming, but hey if you can’t find what you like, why not make a vegan friendly balsamic vinegar yourself anyhow? It’s not that hard to do and you can adjust it to suit your tastes as well, so this is without a doubt a great idea.

ranch dressing
Ranch dressing is one of the most common ones.

Ranch dressing – Well the tricky part here is not using regular mayonnaise but with so many substitutes out there, it is not impossible at all to make a wonderful ranch dressing that works pretty much with any salad. I like having it with some rather colorful vegetables that can really use a nice creamy touch, paired off with crunchy, leafy vegetables and I am in vegan heaven. As a salad dressing, ranch is one of the most requested even by people who are not vegan, after all most salads come with this very basic salad dressing, and we know why now.

French dressing – One of my personal favorites among all the salad dressing available out there, and I am happy to report that it is easier to turn vegan friendly than you’d think. This simple salad dressing has made it here as one of the most requested salad dressing options out there, plus making it vegan cuts back a little on the calories and other stuff you want to avoid. Works well with not only salads, but also with lightly cooked vegetables or even vegetable sticks. Kids seem to gravitate towards this option, regardless if it is vegan or not, they seem to like the tangy after taste of this salad dressing and I can’t help but agree with them.

Thousand Island – The sweeter side of the salad dressing options and once more very easy to tweak into a vegan favorite, this works well with pretty much any salad you can come up with. When you go to the market this is possibly one of the easiest salad dressing options you can find in ready made bottles, it just sings further how this is not only a favorite in the vegan world but everyone else’s go-to salad dressing, so why wouldn’t I put it on this list?

Pesto salad dressing
Pesto will always be on my list of favorites.

Pesto – Now this is fairly vegan friendly even if you don’t tweak it at all, so if you need one of those ready-made salad dressing options from a market, as you don’t have time to make it, you will find some pretty much anywhere. However if you’ve made and tried fresh pesto, well there’s rarely a choice to go back, the freshness in a new batch is just amazing and I love how it is so easy to make. Pesto is a rather unique salad dressing option but still one that I highly recommend as a vegan option.

salad dressing daiya
These are some of my favorite salad dressings. Non-dairy and egg-free!
salad dressing organicville
These are some of my favorite salad dressings. Non-dairy and egg-free!

And there you have it, some of my rather favorite vegan friendly salad dressing options out there. I’m sure you can easily find them in most stores but if you have the time please make it on your own especially if you are vegan. Stay healthy!

10 Shops That Are Vegan For Beauty

10 Shops That Are Vegan For Beauty

Being a vegan can be as easy and as difficult as you make it to be, admittedly it can be easier for some and a bit more difficult for others. The only thing you can be sure of is if you just turned vegan, it will take some adjusting to the lifestyle. Now for the ladies and quite a few gentlemen out there, beauty is still important to them but keeping it organic, safe and vegan friendly is just as important too. That is why, I am happy to share this list of shops that can happily provide beauty products that will be good for you, for the vegan lifestyle and even offer several organic products too.

Arbonne Intelligence – Looking for some products that have never been tested on animals before? Well then Arbonne Intelligence is the brand for you. Offering some of the most innovative beauty and organic products that is good for your vegan lifestyle and belief.

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics – This brand is 100% vegan, can you imagine that? Not only will you be getting some premium beauty products that are organic and great for your skin, but you’ll sleep easy knowing that no animals suffered to make you look fabulous, which you do, don’t you?

Pacifica – I am loving this list already, look at this line up? Pacifica has a crazy line up of beauty products that can really make your night, aside from being 100% vegan as well, this product line has some amazing items that you’ll definitely want on your makeup table.

Nature’s Gate – Eco friendly and organic, the beauty products of Nature’s Gate is pretty vast such as hand lotions, conditioner, and so much more. While not being completely vegan, the beauty products offered in this shop can really range and can cover pretty much any need that may arise.

Beauty Without Cruelty – Certified by the Vegan Society, this particular beauty product has its name say it all. Founded awhile back, even before being a vegan was widely accepted, this company is one of the pioneers of being animal friendly. I salute it and look forward to grabbing a few products that will make me look great.

ColorProof Evolved Color Care – Looking for some beauty products to color your hair? Look no further than ColorProof Evolved Color Care especially if you are vegan.

Certain Dri – Sometimes when the tough gets going, you need an antiperspirant to keep you going and if you are a vegan, this doctor prescribed antiperspirant is the perfect beauty product for you. Perhaps not completely organic but if you need some strong sweating problems you’ll want to ask your doctor about it right away.

EcotoolsBeauty products don’t amount to much if you don’t have the right tools to use it with. And if you are vegan and looking for something organic, Ecotools are the right brushes for you. Boasting of being vegan friendly and recyclable, Ecotools are the ideal product for those who want to continue their vegan lifestyle.

Bare Bones Body Care – Immediately on their site, Bare Bones Body Care shows that they are animal friendly, which makes me smile as a vegan quite quickly. Skin care is no joke and having organic items ready is pretty great, and the beauty products offered in this shop is a wonderful spread of options that makes your skin happy, plus the planet happy too.

Fanciful Fox – Pucker up and get ready to be even more kissable. Otherwise maybe you just don’t want chapped lips either? That works too. This vegan friendly lip balm, along with a number of other beauty products has some of the most organic ingredients in the market available. As soon as you check their website you’ll see a slide about how proud they are to be vegan, which makes me even happier to purchase a number of products from them.

There we have it, some vegan friendly beauty shops available pretty much wherever. Ranging from organic ingredients to a number of plenty others, you’ll want to get your hands on these various beauty products to make sure that you continue to shine even after making the all important vegan switch, happy living and stay healthy!

8 Awesome Yoga Blogs

8 Awesome Yoga Blogs

Just in case you didn’t know, there are a ton of yoga blogs out there just for you. I personally love yoga and can’t get enough of it, I’m so happy that it’s been one of the go to fitness exercises in the market today. There are so many types of yoga as well, that just choosing is a challenge in itself. To top things off, I decided to write this article in order to help you discern some of the more widely known and very interesting yoga blogs that can help further your fitness, so please keep on reading.

Yoga Dork – If you are new to fitness and to yoga, then this is the blog you want to go to. It keeps things light and has some very interesting articles that can really open up your mind to the world of yoga. Aside from that they pretty much touch on any topic related to yoga, so you’ll always be in the loop if you keep checking in on this website.

Yoganonymous – One of the bigger names on this list, Yoganonymous has been a go to site for a rather long time for a lot of yoga loving people and for good reason. As soon as you go to the website you’ll see so many links to a ton of articles that will really get you into fitness, some new age stuff and a ton of yoga information, you’ll love it from the start to end. Regardless if you are new to yoga or otherwise, take the time to check out this site and you’ll be happy that you took the time to click on a few links here and there.

Yoga Times – Starting off your own yoga studio or plan to travel a lot around the world? Well this is the yoga blog perfect for you then. Yoga Times has a ton of information for anyone who is willing to go through the inner depths of this website, it will further their fitness of that I can assure you. Plus if you are looking for yoga centered events, this could be the site you are looking for alright.  Of course the site also shares some great recipes and other health tips that you’ll definitely want to go over.

Do Yoga With Me – There are a few people out there who prefer videos rather than reading and quite frankly, that’s alright, everyone has their preferences. And if fitness and yoga is what you are looking for, go on to the Do Yoga With Me blog for some very awesome video resources. They cater to newbie’s and veterans alike, giving some of the most detailed and skilled videos that will pretty much show you how to get down and yoga. What more could you ask for in a blog right?

Yoganomics – Being an independent yoga instructor is not easy, not that I am one but at the very least I can understand where they are coming from. Yoganomics site is dedicated to these people and will help you grow your yoga studio to the goal and target that you’ve been working a sweat towards. See what I did there? Yeah, I totally went there. But seriously if you need a little pep talk or some tips that will help your yoga small business or studio, even the work from home yoga instructor business, this will be the ideal website that you visit on a daily basis. With over 10 years of online experience banked together, how else can you go wrong with this one.

Daily Downward Dog – If you are a yoga pose perfectionist, then I’m sure you must have been to the Daily Downward Dog website more than once a day. After all this site is dedicated to making sure you get the maximum effect and the correct posture for pretty much all the yoga poses. Pretty much the best friend of fitness junkies, this site can really help you get that tricky pose down, add some sprinkling of for fun yoga articles that will both inspire you and keep you interested, this website will really get the yoga junkie a good fixing.

Yoga.com – Pretty much exactly what the website address tells you, this is the yoga blog that will not only launch your fitness on to the next level, but it will help you stay on the yoga boat, assuming there ever was one. Yoga.com promises to share some of the most innovative and interesting news regarding yoga, while also sharing some detailed videos that can really help you get out of a slump or learn a thing or two. Riddled with a ton of articles, you can read or watch a few days away just by checking out their front page, if you go deeper into the site you’ll be welcomed by a ton of information that is just waiting to be shared with anyone who is interested in yoga.

Yogatoday – Perhaps one of the longest running blogs on the web to this day, still lauded as one of the best ones to this day, Yogatoday is the information capital of yoga and fitness, you’ll want to take a few minutes a day to check out the site for some new videos, articles and poses. Additionally you can even sign up for an online class for yoga that has a test trial and what not, the fitness in this site is no joke and you can really feel the love for yoga as you keep watching the videos. Manned by some very talented instructors, the online class can really take you to another level and all in the comfort of home, I’m sure that will really get a lot of you going to this site.

Special mention: F*ck Yeah Yoga – If your ideal yoga blog is on social media and you happen to be on Tumblr, this is the fitness blog you’ll want to add or follow. This special mention is because it’s not a stand alone site but if you really just want some quick snippets of yoga and fitness, you’ll definitely want to sign up for a free Tumblr account to check out some crazy poses, inspirational banners here and then, plus you’ll be able to message some of the other enthusiasts on site, what’s not to love?

So there we have it, 8 yoga and fitness blogs that will really bring you to your next plane of nirvana, well 8 ½ if you really think about it. Make sure to practice yoga properly, the information is all online but the sweat, blood and tears sometimes doesn’t get through the sites, you need to be serious about your fitness plans and goals if you really want to make the most of any of these blogs. Don’t worry though if you’re new to yoga, these sites will happily help you and hope that you’ll get as hooked on the exercise as they all are.  Stay healthy!

The Best Wines For Your Waistline

The Best Wines For Your Waistline

My dear friends, if you are anything like me you enjoy a glass of wine every now and again, however drinking your calories is a good way to really let your waistline go as most of us have learned over the years. That should be a head’s in itself to watch your waistline and keep your wine drinking to a minimum or casual, however I’m happy to share with you some tips to the best wines for your waistline, after all a happy tummy is a happy you.

Check the alcohol by volume – While there is no nutritional value in most bottles of wine, actually I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one in any bottles but oh well, the alcohol by volume or the ABV tells you how much percent alcohol is in wine. The higher the alcohol by volume, the higher the potential content of calories in it which will pretty much go to your waistline, so the lower the better if you are watching your weight.

European wine is the way to go – Given the tip above, European wine usually has stricter regulations, meaning lower alcohol by volume, which in turn leads to less calories for your waistline. Unlike US brands or other countries, European wine has quite a hold and rather strict regulations regarding the produce of their bottles, so that makes it a good win for you.

white wine
White wine is a good choice and even better when shared with friends.

White will make it right – Another simple tip to drinking wine is to drink white, as once more they tend to have less alcohol by volume and again that means less calories for the waistline. Of course on occasion red wine is alright but again it’s all about control and moderation, but if at all possible go with white wine to save your waistline the unwanted gains.

Avoid champagne – As fun as champagne is and how great it is for special occasions, if you want to keep your waistline in check, then keep the champagne as such special occasions indeed. The sugar content within a bottle of champagne is quite significant as opposed to regular wine, that is just unwanted sugar consumption, calories and much more. Stick with regular white if you want something special for the night but feel free to splurge every so often, after all every so often is alright just don’t go crazy here.

Spritzers are a viable option – I’m not saying to do this with really good, expensive wine, that would be atrocious and an insult to the makers, even if it does help your waistline. However if you are just looking for something a little special in the evening after a long day of work, make that white wine a spritzer and you’ll not only cut down the calories, you’ll enjoy the drink and still keep your stomach in reasonable proportions. That’s a pretty sweet deal if you ask me.

spritzers
Opting for spritzers won’t hurt either.

Share that bottle – When in doubt about the calories and your waistline, call in the cavalry. Enjoy the bottle with friends, a glass of wine goes a long way with good friends but if you drink a whole bottle alone, well you really get the blunt of the calories, sharing you can almost split the calories in half. Plus you get to enjoy a nice evening with your friends or family, which makes it a ton more fun.

And there we have some pretty great tips to cut down with the calories of a bottle of wine, making sure that while you enjoy your night, your waistline won’t wake up to regret it. Stay healthy!

Mistakes Vegans Make When Trying To Lose Weight

Mistakes Vegans Make When Trying To Lose Weight

Diets can be difficult for anyone, vegans included. People immediately assume that if you are vegan, weight loss isn’t a problem or it isn’t one of your concerns, but let me tell you, a difficult diet can affect anyone. While diets can be as easy or as difficult as you want them to be, truth of the matter is it depends on who you are and how your lifestyle will be affected, let’s not forget the degree of difficulty of the diet itself, but truth of the matter is, it doesn’t matter if you are on a vegan lifestyle or a regular diet, mistakes can be made. In fact I’ve written this article for that very reason, let’s look at some of the more common mistakes that vegan people make as they are trying to get some weight loss going.

Just because it’s vegan, it’s good for you – Let’s not start this shall we? Not all foods are created equal and even though it is vegan, does not mean it is good for weight loss. Make sure you avoid this common mistake as it is a big one! Just because a food item is vegan, doesn’t mean you can go to town on it, technically a rather popular cookie brand with chocolate cookies on both side and a middle white sweet center is vegan friendly doesn’t mean that eating that for your primary diet will assure weight loss, no matter how often you twist, lick and dunk it, just eating cookies for a whole day won’t be good for you. So the sooner you avoid this mistake the better.

Going processed – As soon as you start a vegan diet, you feel as though all vegan products will help you with your weight loss, the idea of not having animal by products in whatever you are consuming gives you a feeling of relaxation. Well this is a bad idea altogether. The fact that you are thinking that just because it’s vegan it can’t be too bad for you (see my point above once more), really opens up the doors for processed foods. If you are focusing on weight loss, never ever go with processed foods. Stick with the healthy, fresh items and you’ll be doing pretty well in the weight loss category as long as you don’t go nuts on the carbs.

post-workout snack
Stick to the healthy ones no matter how tempting unhealthy foods are especially after workout.

Forgetting the exercise – A diet, regardless if it is a vegan, all vegetable, no carb diet, can only do so much. A healthy body and proper weight loss needs exercise period. There are no two ways about this, just because you started eating healthier it doesn’t mean you can forget going to the gym or hitting the open road. As a vegan, it is great that you are helping your body cleanse itself and really help the environment, but that does not stop you from getting the proper exercise that you direly need. No matter how good a diet your weight loss plans have, without getting a good sweat on, you’re going to hit a rather hard and tough wall, so make sure you plan this out properly.

Eating too many healthy fats – While healthy fats are great, they can help maintain your cholesterol and pretty much help with weight loss in the long run. However in our ever-increasing need to increase the intake of the good fats, we tend to ignore everything else that comes along with consuming the food. Once more we tend to think that just because it is vegan friendly, we can consume as much as we want, plus with healthy fats, it’s good for us right? Well yes and no, true healthy fats will help you with weight loss, however if you eat more, you will also get more calories, it does come with the food that you’re eating and your body can only take so much. So if you end up eating too much, you’ll not only lose your way to weight loss, you’ll even gain more if you keep at it, regardless if the food is vegan friendly or not.

Skipping out on the protein – Well this isn’t just a problem for a vegan who is aiming for weight loss, this could be a lot of people’s problems. Protein is a very basic building block for the body and everybody needs it in order to really grow and be healthy. People tend to think that just because you are vegan that you won’t get enough protein, but we know for a fact that there are a lot of sources of protein other than animal meat such as legumes, seeds, chickpeas and so much more. Now as someone looking for some weight loss, they tend to avoid the food items mentioned, but you shouldn’t overdo it. Research has shown with proper consumption of protein and regular exercise, the results have shown an increase in weight loss. For vegan or non-vegan people, the consumption of protein is important even during weight loss, so make sure you get enough of it in your diet.

Getting bored with your food – Okay, so being a vegan limits you by a little since you can’t have animal by products, with a diet on as well for weight loss, it scratches off a few more items off your list. While there are a ton of things that you can actually cook up, people tend to feel constricted during a diet and eventually get bored with their food, which then makes it easier to cheat on. Quite frankly you’ll have to look for the solution for this weight loss challenge. As a vegan the options as mentioned before aren’t few at all, if you know what you’re doing in the kitchen or you know a good restaurant that has very specific meals with counted calories, you are in the home stretch already. The culinary world is an adventure waiting to be uncovered, it just needs a little willpower to get through it, even on a diet, the options are crazy broad, you just have to know where to look.

green salad
Nope. Salad isn’t your ONLY option!

Being vegan is a trend – Well some people think this, and it isn’t right at all. The vegan diet can be tough but it is a lifestyle choice, not necessarily just a diet or a fad that you can give up as soon as you hit your goals. While most of the time becoming a vegan to get a step up with weight loss is a sound idea, I hope that the cleansing feeling will get you hooked on it and you choose to follow through with that lifestyle. It’s more than something that you do at a whim and it’s something that has a lasting affect on not only to ourselves, but on everyone else as well. It’s something you should really consider and think about.

And there you have it, some of the most common mistakes of vegan people during a weight loss extravaganza. Make sure to take these into account if you are trying to shed off some of that unwanted waistline, but in the end all that really matters is how you feel and do. The mistakes above can either make or break your weight loss goals as a vegan. Stay healthy!

Must-Have Cheap Equipments In Your Home Gym

Must-Have Cheap Equipments In Your Home Gym

Going to the gym is something most of us do or have at least experienced, after all we all need to get a good workout in and maintain our fitness as well. However I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes it is a bit costly to maintain a gym membership but there are solutions around that, at the very least be quite a bit cheaper, with a few negative sides here and there. While you may not be able to afford every extreme machine out there, at the very least with some research and a little elbow grease, you can have some rather great workout options in the very comfort of your own home. Again you may lose out on some quality time with a trainer, but there’s something about making sure you’re attending to your own fitness in your own home, that makes it so satisfying. So if that is something you are interested in, keep on reading and you may never need to go to the gym again.

Free weights – The sheer versatility of free weights or even adjustable weights is something every home gym must-have and quite frankly it’s why this item is on this list. Of course the cost can be from cheap to astronomically expensive but you can pretty much gauge your own workout need and decide from there. There are so many options available in the market I wouldn’t even know where to start really, but the one thing that is for sure is that your fitness will not go unchecked if you keep using these weights at home. Best part of having these is, no line in the gym to use them too, pretty sweet deal.

free weights
Free weights are one of the most common home fitness must-haves. Huge variety, affordable and can be stored easily.

Chin-up bar – Talking about cheap equipment, a chin-bar is a must have workout tool for your home. Chin-ups, pull-ups and what have you can really get a good workout going if you know what you are doing and with a chin-up bar, it makes it all possible. Aside from it being rather cheap, it can pretty much go toe-to-toe with the bulkier and more expensive gym equipment that is used for fitness. Just make sure that you install it properly as an accident on it can really hurt your entire body, if you catch what I mean.

Punching bag – A punching bag is something you can definitely use at home. If you are looking to really get a good sweat going for your workout, plus you know what to do with a punching bag, this could be the ideal item for your fitness, plus it really helps that it is rather cheap to purchase, the only challenge is to figure out where and how to place it in your home. Make sure you leave enough room to allow the punching bag itself to sway around. Add a boxing ring and you’ll have your own boxing gym… just kidding, where would we ever buy a boxing ring anyways?

Stretching mat/yoga mat – Don’t forget the simple stuff, simple and cheap is always good. Notice how every time you go to the gym there is a ton of a mats available for everyone’s use, now why is that? Because they are very useful for most fitness workout plans, so why wouldn’t you want this in your own home gym? Simple, there are a ton of exercises that you can definitely do on mats,  in fact a whole workout program can be done purely on yoga mats or stretching mats, so this is maybe one of the better, cheaper purchases you should have.

Jump rope – While a treadmill or an elliptical machine would be great thing to have in the house, let’s face it, some of those machines are not cheap, in fact some of them cost an astronomical amount, it’s almost like putting out a small loan for a car. Truth of the matter is not everyone has that amount of cash ready for such a purchase. So looking for a simple solution, turn to a cheap and easy to purchase jump rope. No loans required for this one, but if you start getting into the groove of a fitness induced workout, this simple purchase will really sky rocket your workout plans. Don’t worry that you won’t be doing so well at the start, it takes time and quite a bit of rhythm to get it down, but in the end what is really needed is practice, practice and did I mention practice?

Exercise ball – Another good purchase, and rather cheap too while remaining quite sturdy. This can take a lot weight, and quite a bit of beating so you don’t need to dance around it while you are diving into your workout. Getting serious with your fitness, that means you’ll want to focus on your core quite a bit and an exercise ball is exactly what you need. The exercises on this thing is pretty versatile and you can keep training until you’re an expert. 

exercise ball
Exercise or what some people call gym ball is one of my top must-haves when working out at home.

Resistance bands – Now these aren’t what I’d call new, but they haven’t been around for a long time, at least not the ones available in the market today. Not only are the newer ones rather sturdy, they are affordable, useful and finally handy to have around. Great for a lot of workout options out there, getting a few resistance bands is something that will really help you with your fitness plans. Another item that is rather simple but multi-talented tool that can really do a lot of stuff that the gym equipment could do, making it a definite must-have for your own home gym.

Kettlebell – Much like the free weights or dumbbells, this indispensable little home necessity is something no home gym should be without. There are quite a bit of exercises that can work with this item, plus it’s not that expensive in fact for how useful it is, I’d say it’s downright cheap in fact especially considering everything it can do for your fitness. Make sure to research the proper exercises for this wonderful tool, you won’t be sorry you ever bought it, after all you’ll be too busy with your workout to think about those things anyways.

Medicine ball – Another handy device that can really put your home gym to another level, the medicine ball can help your fitness get to where you want it to. There’s always a good workout that can be done with a medicine ball, plus keeping it handy when you’re working out with a friend opens a world with a ton of opportunities to workout. Use the medicine ball to get a little extra weight in a lot of normal exercises, such as squats, maybe up the difficulty of push ups and much more.

kettlebell
Booty-shaping routines at home is made is easier with a kettle bell.

Weight plates – Ideally if you have a little cash set up, I think a full bench would be great in any home gym but facts are facts, those are not cheap. The weight plates however are much more affordable and can be easily purchased. These work as well as dumbbells and kettlebells, so any of the three options would be ideal if you want to get your fitness workout done while at home, get at least one of these options and you’ll be pretty set. Sure they take up some space but again what gym doesn’t right?

And there we have it, some of the must-have and somewhat cheap gym equipment that you should have at home. They are handy and can give your fitness workout a good run for their money. The challenge is knowing what to do and how to do it properly, then from there it’s wash, repeat, wash and repeat again. All of these home equipment options are pretty great, however they won’t do much if all they do is sit in a corner. You need to figure out how to get your workout into your daily routine, your fitness takes time and needs a regular schedule, so regardless if it’s a a home gym or a real gym, take your time and get used to the workout, it will do you a world of good. Stay healthy!

Toxic Ingredients On Beauty Products And What Alternatives To Use

Toxic Ingredients On Beauty Products And What Alternatives To Use

Beauty is quite a thing, the pursuit of beauty has been an obsession to many, a gift to others, a curse for many more and the bane of countless others. However, poetic introduction aside, many people do turn to beauty products to achieve their ideal look and quite frankly, I don’t see anything wrong with that. Save for animal testing and toxic ingredients of course, since the first is the safety of all animals and the latter is safety of you as a consumer, these are the things that gets my eyebrows raised in shock. I thought perhaps people don’t know just how much toxic ingredients are in beauty products and I wanted to level the playing field to make sure that your safety is always number one priority.

Below is a list of toxic ingredients that you need to look out for and the reasons why you should, remember several beauty products may list some of them, but since this is a fairly unregulated market sector, they get away without listing byproducts either which is a scary thing.

1,4-Dioxane – One of the toxic ingredients not listed, as it is a byproduct. This chemical found in beauty products has been linked to cancer, which is more than enough reason to fear for your safety.

Acrylates – Looking for a nail product? Then turn away from one when it has this listed, as this item on the long list of toxic ingredients can cause organ system toxicity, cellular and neurological damage and much more. Even when questioning the safety of consumers, this ingredient continues to find its way into nail beauty products.

beauty and bath soaps
It would be best to go natural and opt with genuinely organic products.

Benzophenone – This item on toxic ingredients is often found in lip balm, nail polish, baby sunscreens, hair conditioners and much more. This chemical has been known to cause cancer, give toxicity to development and reproductive system, which makes it dangerous for kids and women mostly but be forewarned, given that it can be found in a ton of places, everyone’s safety is of concern.

Coal tar – Found in shampoos and scalp treatment soaps to name a few, this chemical can be linked to cancer, organ system toxicity and much more. Given that the beauty products it can be found in is quite broad and used by pretty much everyone, everyone needs to be on their toes to really keep track of their safety.

Formaldehyde – This science experiment gone wrong, has found its way into your beauty products and as one of the more known toxic ingredients on the list, I’m sure you’ve heard this chemical a few times over. This dangerous chemical can be found in a number of beauty products such as nail polish, hair gel, body soap, baby shampoo and much more, now you can really see that everyone’s safety is in question when products made specifically for babies have something like this in it.

Now I can keep going and share how many dangerous toxic ingredients are in a number of beauty products, but we’d never end and quite frankly you and I don’t have the time to go over it. However given that everyone’s safety is indeed a concern, I will now share some alternatives and tips as to how to avoid these chemicals.

Read the label – Companies are obligated to place all items on it, non-toxic and toxic ingredients as well. So beauty products are not absolved from this responsibility as well, despite having looser regulations, this is still not something they can avoid. Now as a rule of thumb, if you are unfamiliar with the ingredient listed and think it could be harmful to your safety, research it and see the feedback about said ingredient. Personally if it’s impossibly difficult to say the ingredient, that could be a red flag getting calling out to me, so that can be a good measure for a lot of people.

Keep it simple – Sometimes simple is the best, a lot of people pay for the natural look, but sometimes the real natural look is the best. Need a little oomph in your hair? Nah, avoid the hair gel, you don’t need that, just take the time to style it with a brush and what not. Need softer skin, you don’t need that lotion, all you need is a steady diet of proper nutrients and your skin will glow, or opt for organic natural oils like virgin coconut oil. When you do stick with the natural look, you can avoid some nasty toxic ingredients, which in turn ensures your safety and to top it all off, you won’t spend so much on beauty products as well, so I don’t really see the downside of this tip, so make the most of it and go natural.

beauty products
Make sure to always check the label. It is often disregarded, but the ingredients of what we put on our skin matters a lot.

Avoid the extra stuff on you – While keeping it simple is a great tip on it’s own, there are times when you are required or assume you need to use items, case and point: when you bring your baby out under the sun. Don’t reach for the sunscreen or other beauty products – that stuff could be loaded with toxic ingredients and could be detrimental to your child’s safety. Dress your baby in better and more sun protected clothes to be safe. There are always ways around the extra garnish or other needs, if not natural alternatives are preferred in order to really avoid extra exposure.

Beware the fragrance – When things seem too good to be true on certain beauty products, they probably are. Now one word to be afraid of is: fragrance – that can mean a lot of toxic ingredients mixed into your item and that can spell trouble for safety. Go with unscented or natural items if at all possible, avoid the fragrant smells and the toxic ingredients that it brings with it.

Be careful of organic – Now this is strange coming from me, I suppose but please do listen to this safety tip. Regardless if a product says “organic” or “USDA-certified” that means that perhaps most of it is organic but that still leaves some space in that bottle to put in some toxic ingredients, after all beauty products will be beauty products. So again the word caution should prevail and you need to keep reading the labels regardless of the big shiny signage of rather empty promises the beauty products marketing team has come up with. Be a smart consumer and take the time to learn about the ingredients of what you consume.

There it is, some of the scary toxic ingredients, the list is way longer than the items I shared above, believe me on that one but it’s something to definitely get you started. I believe beauty, health and hygiene products are something we have gotten used to over the years, but most of them are unneeded especially if they put into light our safety, you can avoid most of them but if not there are always healthier alternatives. Be smart and read up on what you end up buying and using, don’t just blindly follow the hype and you’ll be fine. Stay healthy!

How To Get Back In Shape After You Quit Smoking

How To Get Back In Shape After You Quit Smoking

You have finally shaken that crutch and you have quit smoking, you have high hopes that your new healthy lifestyle outlook will stick and you plan to get back in shape while the iron is still hot. Let me first applaud you for a job well done, to quit smoking is quite a feat and you have achieved it, keep strong and don’t stop your winning streak against smoking. However if you are reading this while just about to wrestle with the whole quit smoking fiasco, you can read more about it on another blog post I had. This can really help you get a leg up against that giant you are about to tackle. Now that smoking is out of the way, you can start building towards a healthy lifestyle, don’t worry we won’t dive right into it but I’m here to help you out and give you some really useful tips to get back in shape.

Start it off slow – Your body is still recovering from the beating it took while you were smoking, your lung capacity isn’t optimal, you probably lose your breathe quite easily and you are having a hard time keeping up with all the other runners/joggers/bikers or so on. No worries, don’t let this dissuade you. Some research says that a few days after you quit smoking, your blood cells should be in better working shape however if you haven’t been working out or living the healthy lifestyle, those could be big factors. Don’t rush and don’t get frustrated with short and quick workout sessions, you’ll need to build up your fitness. I won’t lie to you, this will be an upwards battle but the fact that you’ve quit smoking, you’re already going in the right direction.

fitness buddy
Having a fitness buddy is always a good idea, whether you hit the gym or do yoga!

Have a check up with your doctor – Don’t you worry, now that you’ve quit smoking and you are trying to get into a healthy lifestyle, the doctor will help you out. Some people don’t like getting chewed out by their doctors, and quite frankly if you are a smoker, they have been hounding you to quit already. Well now that you have, now is the time you will need your doctor’s help more than ever in fact. Your doctor can now tell you just how fit you are or how you are doing after you’ve quit smoking, this will help you figure things out. You don’t have to do this alone and you should seek as much help as you possibly can in order to get into shape.

Get a workout buddy – Getting into the groove of a workout, especially if you haven’t done it in a long time or ever in fact, is a little difficult for some people. So when in doubt, call in a friend. Ideally this friend has been bugging you to quit smoking for quite awhile, and is an avid fan of the healthy lifestyle, I’m sure you must know someone like this, anyhow he or she should be thrilled to help you start your workout, if you’re lucky they have been doing this for quite some time now and have some great tips to try out. This will really help you stay on track when you quit smoking and get into the rhythm of working out, that way you’ll have an easier time heading down the road of a healthy lifestyle, which in the end is what you want.

Join a class – When in doubt, and when a visible active, healthy lifestyle friend isn’t readily available – then join a class instead! There are a ton of classes all over the place, but since you just quit smoking or you’re just starting to get back into the healthy lifestyle, maybe don’t join a hardcore one right away as that can really leave you out of breath. Take the time and join a beginner’s class so that you can get the groove of things and allow the whole quit smoking to really sink into your system, this will allow you to test out several classes to really figure out an exercise or cardio that works best for you. Don’t be afraid to try them all and fail, at the very least you tried and again maybe you’ll luck out on the first try.

Make sure to start and to keep doing it – As hard as it is to start the healthy lifestyle, constantly exercising is a challenge in itself. So after you quit smoking, you have to make sure that you actually do try to get fit. You have to keep moving, otherwise you’ll never really get anywhere at all. Again I’ll be frank, after you quit smoking, starting the healthy lifestyle and all, starting to workout and keeping at it will be quite a hurdle to overcome but it makes it all the more satisfying if you work on it little by little everyday.

Have a good diet under your belt – Diving into the healthy lifestyle after you quit smoking is a good idea, in fact I’d say it’s a great idea, but it’s not all about exercise and not lighting up a cigarette. You need to keep your nutrition in check by eating the right foods and getting the proper vitamins in your system. Smoking has caused quite a bit of deficiency especially if you’ve been smoking for years at a time, it probably worked your body over quite a bit, and now you have to make up for the damage. Decide on a good diet, preferably one with a lot of greens and other vegetables, with healthy meats if you do choose to eat that and you’ll be cruising the healthy lifestyle street in no time.

eat more veggies
Gear up on living a healthy life and get on a good and nutritious eating habit.

Stay off the cigarettes! – Needless to say, when you quit smoking and want to really get into a healthy lifestyle, don’t return to smoking. A lot of people tend to falter when things don’t go their way, maybe it was a bad workout or perhaps they just couldn’t get the hang of their cardio program, either or they get stressed and end up lighting a cigarette or two, thinking it won’t do too much harm. Sadly that’s when they fall back on their crutch, one cigarette becomes two, then three and then a pack, and so on, don’t do it. You already quit smoking, why would you want to go back? You realize it was difficult to quit smoking and you’ve experienced it already, why allow yourself to feel it again? To stay on a healthy lifestyle track, you cannot start smoking again, quit smoking and stick to it.

There you have it my healthy lifestyle friends, when you quit smoking you made a promise to your body and to yourself, to become healthier. Now that you are planning to get back in shape, you are enforcing that promise by taking it to the next level. I applaud you once more and really hope that you can continue down the road of the healthy lifestyle and that you continue to quit smoking for pretty much all of your life, everyone deserves a long and healthy life. Stay healthy!

5 Interesting Fitness Blogs

5 Interesting Fitness Blogs

Fitness and health blogs are a wonderful thing, case in point my own. Again I hate to blow my own horn here, but I am hoping that it helps people to get off their couches and venture the world of exercise and great diets. Now aside from my own blog, which again I am very proud of and hope you read more of, there are quite a few blogs out there that are wonderful for fitness. I have gone through a number of them and I think I can come up with some personal favorites, these are just based off what I read and what my preferences are, so feel free to keep looking for one that best works for you and your hobbies.

Nerd Fitness – This differently scaled site is definitely one of the better fitness blogs out there, one that you cannot ignore if you are into Star Wars or other fandom’s that bring about your inner nerd. Pair that off with wanting to get fit and healthy and you find Nerd Fitness. Founded and lead by self-proclaimed rebel leader: Steve Kamb, he wants to help out his fellow nerds to get into shape, for whatever reason they may want. He also welcomes jocks and average people to join in and the information he has is quite extensive.  As someone who enjoys the occasional fictional movie here and there, I honestly can see where people get really into it, and while this may cause some of them to retreat from usual gatherings, Nerd Fitness inspires them to know that there is more out there than fandom’s or fantasy and by being healthy they will be one step closer to becoming the ideal fan of a franchise. The articles are based on fitness and health, and it has some pretty fun pictures and blogs, definitely worth looking into if you’re into fantasy or sci-fi genre. 

Camp is officially kicked off! @stevekamb is getting his campers pumped up at the opening ceremonies! #campnf

A post shared by Nerd Fitness (@nerd_fitness) on

Roman Fitness System – Looking for that adult site that won’t baby you into fitness? Well among all the blogs here, this is the one for you. Roman Fitness System is a non-forgiving, adult oriented and no joke site with some really great blogs. As you read on they are obviously into the no pain, no gain sort of fitness which is good for some but not for everyone, however if you need that extra push this could be the perfect site for you. The blogs on this site are also supportive of mass gaining, so if you’re looking to bulk up, and need more information, this could be a match made in heaven. Again it is rather an extreme site and really pushes you to the next level with the articles and blogs written here, but if you enjoy things like that I would look no further than this. Don’t worry it’s not x-rated or anything like that but do expect the occasional f-bomb or s-bomb here and there.

Yogadork – Who does not love yoga? Well even if you’re just about to get into it, then this is the website for you. Yogadork is the promised land of yoga, for anything yoga I would turn to this site as it has some really good articles on the blog. Touch up the fitness with a few laughs, I mean wow! Yoga with goats? Who knew? Yogadork promises to provide some informative blogs while keeping it nice and light, plus if any new discoveries come to light for yoga, this is one of the blogs that will definitely have it up in no time. As an enthusiast you will have so much to go through but if you are just new to yoga, do not worry this fitness blog has a lot to offer you as well, just take the time and go through the site and you should find several blogs that should be of interest to you. Yoga with goats, as I live and breath, now that’s something new to me.

Tabata Times – Welcome to the crossfit haven, if you want fitness blogs dedicated to crossfit, this is what you’ve been looking for. By now you should have heard about the many stories of crossfitting, whether you are a fan or not, the results cannot be argued and the fitness of most attendees are astonishing. However information or fitness blogs about the said controversial exercise is still a little lacking or so I’m told. Now however with Tabata Times, you can go to this site for any updates on crossfit activities, exercises and needs. This site has blogs that welcome veterans and newbie’s alike to the crossfit world, giving tips and tricks for those who are in dire need of knowledge to those who need a pick me up, either which way you need some information about it, come here for crossfit fitness. CEO and Founder, Joel Toledano, started the site to get more information across as there are over 4,000 boxes creating piles upon piles of great training and nutrition content every single day, in his words not my own, but no one is finding any of it! He hopes that by working on Tabata Times, the crossfit information will now be shared to all who are interested and the information there is quite extensive in my opinion.

Run to the finish – Looking for that running blog that will get you on the treadmill or on the open road? Among all the fitness blogs out there dedicated to the wonderful sport of running, I prefer this site the most. Anyone who loves running will understand the passion of Amanda Brooks, who writes some very interesting blogs in this site that will really help you get your running on. Again given that it is dedicated to running, it welcomes people who are new to the sport or those who have been doing it for a long time. There are articles that help you pick it up and maybe even break through that invisible wall that’s been hampering you from going that extra mile. Either way if you love running as much as I do, this is a great site to really get some fitness tips and some other items that are written quite well in various blogs. Still not convinced that running is for you? Keep reading blogs on this site and you’ll be out the door before you know it, a definite must read for running fitness enthusiasts.

And there you have it my good friends, some personal favorite, interesting fitness blogs. They are an eclectic selection, I’ll admit but they cater to different crowds, different types of fitness preferences and can really push you to start or to go further with the tips in the blogs. Remember that your preference really changes what sort of fitness blogs you should read up, but if you have no particular favorite, make my blog your go to one, yes that was shameless plugging, allow me to do that once in awhile. One way or another please do read up and have fun with fitness blogs, they are there to inspire you and inform you, if you aren’t having fun, what’s the point anyways? Stay healthy!