Health and Fitness Blog
15 Jan 2019

8 Best Low-Calorie Drinks to Order at Starbucks


Do you remember the Unicorn Frappuccino that Starbucks offered on a limited-time basis back in 2017? It offered bright colors and zero coffee, inviting parents to come to enjoy a treat with their kids.

The only problem was that the grande size (16 ounces) with the standard recipe contained 410 calories and 59 grams of sugar.

If you enjoy coffee and other drinks at Starbucks, but you’re not looking to consume a calorie bomb, then these are the best options for you.

#1. Cold Foam Iced Cappuccino

This iced-coffee beverage will give you a refreshing jolt of caffeine while asking you to take on only 57 calories. The espresso is tinged with natural sweetness, while the cold milk foam gives it the classic cappuccino flavor you love.

#2. Pike Place Roast

A single serving of the classic Starbucks filtered coffee will set you back 4 calories. It’s also one of the most affordable beverages on their menu. If hot black coffee isn’t right for you, then try their Nitro cold brew with this roast instead. It will add some natural sweetness because of the nitrogen infusion.

#3. Iced Peach Citrus Green Tea

This iced tea will give you a beverage which is fruity and sweet for a 48-calorie investment. The balance of flavors is perfect for those times when you want a treat or need to quench your thirst.

#4. Mango Black Tea Lemonade

If you’re a big fan of an Arnold Palmer, then go with this Starbucks beverage the next time you stop by a store. You’ll receive the tartness of the lemonade, the sweetness of the tea, and only 83 calories to complain about. It won’t have the artificial sweeteners found in similar beverages at the grocery store either.

#5. Caffe Americano

You can never go wrong with an espresso shot at Starbucks, especially if it is topped with a light water spritz to create a gentle layer of crema. You can order this one guilt-free because it contains only 11 calories.

#6. Mocha Light Frappuccino

If you thought that a Frappuccino was out of the question if you wanted a low-calorie drink at Starbucks, then think again. This option comes in at just 91 calories, even with whipped cream, when you order the tall size.

#7. Coffee Light Frappuccino

The same runs true with this Frappuccino option as well. This basic beverage is just a shot of espresso, some skim milk, and their famous roast coffee. You can’t take the whipped cream on it though, but the reward will be just 83 calories.

#8. Rooibos Tea Latte

This caffeine-free herbal tea is a wonderful beverage to share with the kids during a visit to Starbucks. It offers flavors that include caramel, honey, and vanilla to create a comforting flavor. You’ll be able to enjoy the entire drink for just 86 calories.

Your best option for a low-calorie beverage at Starbucks will always be coffee taken black. Reference this list for additional ideas to avoid those calorie bombs that are on their menu.

What are your favorite low-calorie drinks at your local Starbucks?

14 Jan 2019

Top 9 Diet Trends of 2018


If you’re thinking about tackling a diet as a way to lose weight, then you’re not alone. These were the top diet trends that were searched for on Google in 2018.

#1. The Keto Diet

This option involves eating high-fat foods, some protein, and virtually no carbohydrates. This process gives you a chance to enter ketosis, but it can also increase the risk of heart disease for some people.

#2. The Dubrow Diet

This diet option comes from the Dubrow family, who wrote about their own approach to eating. It combines intermittent fasting with a low-carb emphasis. You’ll avoid processed foods on this diet as well.

#3. The Noom Diet

This diet is the combination of an app and nutritional coach which offers lifestyle tips, food journaling, and educational opportunities about caloric density. The goal is to help people understand what they’re eating to get a handle on portion control.

#4. The Carnivore Diet

This option requires you to eat animal proteins and derived products only. You’ll miss out on several vitamins and minerals when following this idea, but it is also easier to reach a state of ketosis when following this eating plan.

#5. The Mediterranean Diet

This diet is always in the top of the search rankings because it works so well. It’s regularly labeled as the best diet that you can follow. Following it strictly is linked to a lower risk of chronic disease while increasing your brain power. It includes foods like seafood, olive oil, and the occasional glass of red wine.

#6. The Optavia Diet

This option uses several different weight loss programs to create a system of eating that works for you. It’s similar to programs like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig, requiring you to consume the food offered by the company only. You’ll receive pasta, snack bars, and mixes for shakes and soups. Kits begin around $400, which also gets you access to a nutritional coach.

#7. The Dr. Gundry Diet

This diet suggests that you cut out lectins from your diet, which are indigestible proteins from plants that can cause inflammation in some people. Since there are plenty of foods which contain lectin, this option is one of the most restrictive weight loss options on this list.

#8. The Fasting Diet

Intermittent fasting is a popular concept that went viral in 2018 because of its potential benefits. By restricting your eating to specific windows, the goal is to let your body recover the energy spent on digestion to use it in different ways. The most popular way to follow this diet is to eat within an eight-hour window, then fast for 16 hours.

#9. The Shepherd’s Diet

This diet looks to Biblical figures as a way to encourage healthier eating. It only uses the fats which are mentioned in the Bible while following a low-carb eating profile. Just watch out for the surprise charges that come after signing up to follow it.

What is the diet option which tempts you the most as your weight loss goals move into 2019 and beyond? 

09 Jan 2019

Weight Loss Secrets to Glean from the Mayo Clinic Diet


If you’re tired of following diets that have you losing weight only to gain it back again, then you are not alone. This trend plagues millions of people every year in their battle against obesity. 

The Mayo Clinic diet offers some expert tips that can help you achieve the weight loss you want, then keep it off, with some simple changes to your eating habits.

#1. Stop eating when you’re watching TV.

You should never eat a meal while sitting in front of the television. The Mayo Clinic recommends that you should avoid snacks in this situation as well. Since you’re not moving during the shows or movies you watch, then there is an excellent chance that you could be eating or drinking something without thinking about what you’re doing. 

This “boredom eating” trend can add hundreds of calories to your diet.

#2. Avoid eating processed or pre-packaged foods.

The Mayo Clinic also recommends that you eat as many foods as possible when they are closest to their natural state. When you make fresh fruits and vegetables a top priority, combined with meats and fish which do not contain high levels of preservatives, then your diet receives a bigger punch of nutrients. 

Processed foods tend to provide high levels of salt and sugar which can spike your blood pressure and glucose numbers.

#3. Set realistic goals that you can achieve today.

People who start a diet tend to follow “outcome” goals instead of “daily” ones. You might want to lose 50 pounds, so that becomes the foundation of each activity you choose. These goals aren’t as effective because you don’t see tremendous weight loss right away with most eating plans. A better solution is to focus on processes or actions that achieve results, like eating two extra servings of vegetables every day. Keep track of each daily goal in a diet diary to prove to yourself that you’re making progress toward that overall level of fitness you want.

#4. Start eating at home more often.

Although purchasing food at a restaurant is convenient, easy, and delicious, these items have a direct connection to weight gain for many people. If you want to lose weight, then avoid the portions and high-calorie menu options that you’ll find at local institutions. If you struggle to give this habit up, try eliminating one visit to a restaurant each week until you’re planning all of your meals at home. 

Try to plan meals for an entire week instead of each day to avoid overeating too. 

#5. Find ways to start exercising a little more.

You don’t need to purchase a home gym or buy an expensive membership to start losing weight. Engaging in more activities with greater frequency will help you begin to keep those extra pounds off. Take the stairs instead of opting for the elevator. Park at the back of the parking lot instead of the front.

If you make it your mission to eat better and move more, you’ll find that losing weight isn’t as challenging as it seems sometimes. These new lifestyle habits will help you to keep those extra pounds off more often too!

03 Jan 2019

7 Best Apps for Fitness and Health in 2019


If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to improve your fitness and health in 2019, then these are the best apps that you’re going to want to download to your mobile device today.

#1. Fitbit Coach

If you own a Fitbit, then this app is definitely for you. It will take your daily activity data, and then recommend exercises or offer fitness feedback based on the information you create. 

This structure makes it possible to take what you learn from your wearable technology to the next level.

#2. AloMoves

This app offers access to several thousand guided yoga practices from some of today’s most famous names in the industry. There are over 2,000 videos, organized into several hundred plans or single classes, which can help you work on specific skills or overall core strength.

#3. Studio Bloom

This app is perfect for women who are pregnant or are thinking about becoming pregnant in the coming year. It offers access to fitness videos which are specifically tailored to meet your new unique health needs. There are about 50 workouts available right now, with some only seven minutes in length.

#4. Our Body Electric

If you download this app, then you’ll receive a schedule of dancing, sculpting, power exercise, and high-intensity fitness routines which can take your workouts to new heights. The structure of the videos includes colorful backgrounds and high-energy instructions which make the activities feel more like a party than hard work.

#5. Peloton

If you subscribe to Peloton Digital, then you don’t have to worry about investing in their bike or treadmill to benefit from this program. You’ll gain access to their classes which are streamed live, which you can then follow along with on your own bike or treadmill. You can even run the app from your phone, and then follow along when you’re at the gym. Take advantage of their outdoor classes, floor instruction, or their boot camp for additional benefits.

#6. Asana Rebel

If core power is your top priority for 2019, then this yoga-inspired app will get you to where you want to be. It offers access to free workouts, plus you have the option to purchase premium content if you wish. The app allows you to input goals, track your progress, and then choose programs based on the intensity levels you want or the time commitments you need. 

#7. Trainiac

This fun app gives you the ability to have a personal trainer working with you, no matter where you choose to exercise. You’ll stay more motivated to reach your fitness goals because the program tailors itself to your specific health requirements. You get to speak with accredited fitness professionals in real-time through audio, text, and video while having your workouts adjusted to accommodate the equipment you have at home.

If 2019 is going to be the year that you finally achieve your fitness goals, then these apps are an excellent way to start that process. Download your favorite one today, and then begin the journey.

02 Jan 2019

This Guy Hears a Knock on the Door. You Won’t Believe What He Sees When He Answers.


He heard a knock on his back door. Thinking that this was strange as he woke up, a brief investigation ensued. It would become an unexpected discovery.

There was a young buck standing on his back porch. The deer was using his antlers to knock on the door.

Changes in weather can create odd behaviors in some animals, including deer. If they become cold, then they will seek shelter in unusual ways if their usual nesting spots do not offer relief. In this instance, the deer was asking for permission to come inside.

Jason Powell, the homeowner, believes that the buck saw his reflection in the sliding glass doors, then mistook that for another deer. Since his friend was already in the house, why shouldn’t he be in there too?

What Would You Do with a Deer at Your Door?

Powell said that he was still in his underwear after waking up because of the sound. He wasn’t really sure what to do with the buck using his antlers to knock on the back door of his Marion, IL home.

“I jumped up and went to the front door and didn’t see anything,” said Powell. “I look down the hallway and see this huge buck standing at my back glass door just staring at me.”

As any homeowner in a similar situation, instead of trying to find pants, Jason took out his phone to record the incident.

“When you’re nose-to-nose with a big buck, and still in your underwear trying to figure out what you’re going to do, there’s not a lot of options at that point,” he said.

The video shows the buck seemingly asking permission to come into the home. There’s even a moment where it seems like the deer is wiping his hooves on the doormat, proving that he has the correct manners to come inside.

What Eventually Happened to the Buck?

After knocking on the back door several times to enter, Powell says that he was eventually able to scare the deer away – though he admits that the deer wanted to prove that fear wasn’t the reason why he was leaving.

“He was kind of prancing and strutting around,” said Powell. “He kept looking back at me, like kind of staring me down, like trying to show me who’s the boss I guess.”

Hunters in the Midwest often spend a lot of time preparing for their season, purchasing tree stands, cold weather gear, and other supplies to fill their tags. Powell could go hunting in his underwear in the comfort of his home if this behavior keeps up.

This story of a deer trying to come inside isn’t the only one of its type. A family in Texas once had an animal come crashing through their glass front door, then couldn’t get back outside. It started slamming into the walls, getting trapped in the back bathroom, creating a huge mess to clean up afterward – and the family was home at the time. 

For the full interview with Jason Powell, be sure to visit WISL ABC Channel 3’s website. 

26 Dec 2018

Madison the Dog Waited Weeks for Her Owners to Show Up. Here’s Why.


Paradise, California was wiped off the map by a raging wildfire in 2018. Andrea Gaylord had to flee her home with no time to spare was heartbroken because she couldn’t get to her dog, Madison. The only thing she could do was ask animal rescuers in the area after the fire went through to check on her property and look for her pet.

The Camp Fire killed 85 people, making it the worst wildfire in the history of the state.

Against all the odds, when Shayla Sullivan fulfilled the request to check on the property, there was Madison sitting in the ashy remains of the property. The dog was apprehensive and fearful, not allowing anyone to come near. They left food and water at the site, then managed to find Miguel, Madison’s brother, who had made it to a local shelter after the fire.

When Gaylord returned to her property a week later when authorities let her into the exclusion zone, there was Madison waiting for her. He got up immediately with a wagging tail, came over for a head scratch, and enjoyed his favorite treat: a box of wheat thins.

“Imagine the loyalty of hanging in during the worst of circumstances and being here waiting,” Andrea told local station ABC10. “It was so emotional.” 

She Had a Feeling That He Had Survived the Wildfire

When the evacuation orders were lifted, Gaylord said that she had to return home to see the damage for herself. She pulled up to the property and saw Madison there waiting, seemingly guarding the place where his home used to be.

“You could never ask for a better animal,” she said. “You really couldn’t.” 

The K9 Paw Print Rescue Group broke the story about Madison on their Facebook page. Over 17,000 reactions and 11,000 shares made the post viral in less than a month.

Over 150,000 acres burned in the Camp Fire, destroying over 14,000 structures.

Do We Even Deserve to Have Dogs in Our Lives?

The stories of dog loyalty are both encouraging and heartbreaking.

Hachiko came to meet the evening train every day for almost 10 years after his owner died at work. A statue now stands in his honor where he used to sit every night waiting. 

Zanjeer was given a hero’s funeral after passing away from canine cancer because he’d located 600 detonators, 250 hand grenades, and thousands of kilograms of explosives in Mumbai.

Sergeant Stubby was a veteran of 17 battles during World War II. He learned how to salute, knew what all the bugle calls meant, and alerted his unit to the presence of mustard gas. He could also hear bombing raids before his human counterparts.

Bobbie got lost on a family vacation. It took him six months to cover the 3,000 miles, but he eventually made it home.

Dogs mean the world to us, but we are their everything. The loyalty they show us, even in the most challenging of times, goes beyond compare. Madison is one of many incredible survival stories which show us why having a dog means you have more than a pet – you have a best friend.

19 Dec 2018

9 Strange-but-True Public Health Laws You Never Knew Existed


Laws are put into place for the greater good of society. The goal with these rules is to ensure everyone has an opportunity to pursue happiness in the safest possible way.

Some laws make a lot of sense, like requiring people to use a toilet instead of the sidewalk if they need to use the bathroom.

There are some laws which don’t make a lot of sense at all. Some of them you might even be breaking right now without realizing it. Here are some of the strange-but-true public health laws that are on the books right now. 

Dumbest Laws You Can Find in the United States

1. You are not allowed to get drunk at a bar while in the state of Alaska. If you have already had too much to drink, then you are not permitted to enter a bar to get more alcohol. Local police even enforce this law.

2. There is a community in Arizona called Goodyear which does not permit you to spit in public. If someone observes you spitting on the road, sidewalk, or in a park, then you can be charged with a fine of up to $2,500.

3. It is illegal in the state of California to build, maintain, or use nuclear devices. In case you’re thinking about starting the end of the world, maybe the $500 fine for violating the law will change your mind.

4. If you have an intense love of catapults, then you might want to stay out of the state of Colorado. You can still all down there, but you are not allowed to discharge them. Enter those pumpkin-throwing contests in a different state if you must.

5. Florida says that it is against the law to sell your children.

6. If you take a trip to the state of Georgia, make sure you bring some extra flatware if you want to enjoy some fried chicken. Eating those tasty drumsticks with your hands is illegal.

7. There is only one state (Idaho) in the U.S. where it is illegal to be a cannibal. Of course, the law actually says that you’re not allowed to engage in the non-consensual consumption of human flesh. If you receive permission in their will to eat your friends and family, then you can skirt around this law.

8. Did you know that Washington State has set aside over 1,000,000 acres of land to protect Bigfoot? It’s the nation’s first Sasquatch Sanctuary. If you happen to poach the big fellow, then you’ll be asked to pay a $1,000 fine for your efforts.

9. South Carolina is one of the few places in the world where it is still illegal to work on a Sunday. If that is a cause for celebration, you’d better keep your energy in check. It’s also illegal to dance on a Sunday too.

And then here’s a final thought to consider: it is illegal to impersonate an auctioneer in Rhode Island. So, if you’re going once, going twice, and are sold on the idea, you might want to think again.

15 Dec 2018

This Fox Was Saved from Litter. Not Every Animal Is So Lucky.


If you saw a sick fox struggling with something stuck around its neck, would you step in to try helping the animal? 

A couple spotted the animal with a section of drain pipe stuck around its neck. Between the litter and issues with mange, it would be a challenge for the fox to survive without an intervention.

The poor fox already had physical malformations because of the item around his neck. They first tried to lure the animal with some food, but it was too wily for that type of bribery.

Eventually, the couple got close enough to grab him. It was only a paw at first, and the fox was not happy about the situation. He tried to bite, but thankfully the Good Samaritan was wearing gloves that prevented an injury.

They were able to remove the section of drain around the fox’s neck. Then they brought the animal home to nurse him back to health. A fox specialist was consulted to ensure that they were offering the correct care that was needed. 

It only took about a month for the fox to be healthy enough to be released back into the wild. 

More information about this story can be found through this link:

This Issue is a Common Problem with Foxes

Foxes are naturally curious, so they are always sticking their heads in places where potential dangers are possible.

A fox in Germany was discovered in 2012 with a section of tubing around her neck as well. She grew up with the litter around her neck without it seeming to affect her development adversely. The animal would trot around Bursfelde in Lower Saxony looking for food with its mates at night.

“If I move quietly and talk softly to her, she allows me to get very close – sometimes she is only 1 foot away from the camera,” said photographer Duncan Usher, who brought light to this earlier story. 

She wouldn’t let anyone come close enough to remove the section of pipe though. Coming around each night for some extra food, however, is never a problem.

What Happens If You See an Injured Fox?

If you see an injured fox that needs help, the first option should be to contact local animal control resources. They are trained to deal with this situation and can often provide more support than you in that situation.

Foxes might seem cute and friendly, but they are still a wild animal. Just ask Anthony Scofield, who suffered a fractured wrist and two bite wounds when he tried to fight off a fox that was attacking his cat after getting into his home somehow.

Urban foxes can be dangerous, especially in Europe, where attacks on children and pets have increased since 2010. One incident involved a fox breaking into a nursery to attack nine-month-old twins.

As for the couple who saved the fox from the drainage tube, they had a positive outcome. Would you take similar actions? 

12 Dec 2018

Why Skin Cancer Surgery Isn’t as Scary as You Might Think


There are three words which change a person’s life forever: “You have cancer.”

It is natural that the idea of a life-threatening condition could give you the shudders. Everyone has a weak point after they hear these three words. That makes you human.

When you realize that today’s treatment options are better than ever before, with survival rates going through the roof, then the feelings of fear transform into determination.

If you’re still struggling with the idea of a surgery, then here is some information to help you take those next steps forward.

#1. You’re awake for most procedures.

Skin cancer surgeries are named after Frederic Mohs, who developed the removal technique all the way back in the 1930s. The physician goes through each layer of the skin, using microscopic analysis, to only remove the disease. You’re awake for the procedure because it is done under local anesthesia almost all the time.

#2. You can have it done almost anywhere on the body.

The Mohs surgery is usually performed on squamous cell or basal cell cancers, but it can sometimes be useful in the treatment of melanoma too. Patients have the procedure around their mouth, nose, eyes, or ears because of how effective it is at removing the cancer. It’s approved for use on the hands, neck, or feet too.

#3. You are in-and-out of the doctor’s office quickly.

If your physician recommends Mohs surgery for your skin cancer diagnosis, then it is an outpatient procedure you will schedule. Most patients are at the office for three hours or less on the day of their appointment. The surgeon will take the first layer of tissue, which takes about 10 minutes to complete, and then you’ll want about 30 minutes while it is examined. You’ll then get stitched up or have another layer removed. That pattern continues until the cancer is gone.

#4. You will not be in a lot of pain.

Except for the stick of the needle and the pressure of the tissue removal, the lidocaine you receive eases the discomfort of this procedure for about three hours. Most patients experience only minimal pain afterward. Unless the tumor removed is over a joint, it is possible to walk away from this procedure without the need for prescription-strength painkillers.

#5. You will receive a minimal scar.

Although you will see a noticeable scar from this procedure, its appearance will begin to fade in about six months. The redness fades during that time too, creating a minimal visual impression. Complete healing occurs in two years for most patients, causing the region to turn the same color as the skin tones around the area.

Then there is the success rate for this procedure to consider. The Mohs surgical intervention for skin cancer touts a cure rate of 99%. 

That doesn’t mean those three words you hear from the doctor aren’t going to impact you in negative and sometimes severe ways.

It does mean that you have options for your future that can help you quickly and easily get into remission, so you don’t need to be scared of that skin cancer surgery. 

23 Nov 2018

What Is the Carnivore Diet and Is It Healthy?


The carnivore diet is an all-meat eating plan which requires you to eat nothing but animal-based protein for every meal each day. That means you’ll get a lot of protein, plenty of fat, and very few carbs if you stick to this plan.

It is a concept that is based on a similar theory which helped to create the Paleo diet. Since most of our ancestors were likely eating mostly meat products for their diet, it is an energy-efficient way to get the calories you need while supporting a healthier weight profile.

In addition to meat products, you can consume eggs, butter, and cheese while following the carnivore diet. You can add zero-calorie foods as well, such as spices or coffee, in ways that best meet your health needs.

Before starting a new diet, you should speak with your doctor about what the impact on your health could be. 

What Are the Benefits of Following the Carnivore Diet?

The carnivore diet is popular because it can work as a potential anti-inflammatory option for individuals struggling with an autoimmune condition. It may also help with some mental health concerns, such as depression, while reducing the symptoms of ADHD in adults. 

This works because it removes almost all of the food sensitivities someone may have. 

The weight loss experienced while on this diet is also moderate, so you won’t have the higher risks of gallbladder stones and bloating like you can with rapid weight loss. Some people may still enter into a state of ketosis too, although the results may vary.

Meat products are usually cheaper than fresh produce, so you’ll be able to purchase a higher grade of animal protein and still save money at the grocery store.

What Are the Risks of Following the Carnivore Diet? 

There can be a lot of downsides to following the carnivore diet. Many of them depend on the current state of your health. There is a reason why we have several food groups instead of only one.

If you eat a lot of protein, then it can create a spike in your blood sugar levels that kicks you out of ketosis.

Removing fruits and vegetables from your diet will also decrease the amount of fiber you receive, which is necessary for the health of your colon. Eating red meats in heavy doses also comes with an increased risk of gastric cancers, with gut health changes occurring in as little as two days. 

Your kidneys can come under stress when following this diet too. The extra salts may not clear as effectively from the protein, which can impact energy levels.

Even if you opt for lean protein options, such as turkey or chicken, the issues still remain. It’s also more challenging to reach a stage of ketosis when you avoid red meats altogether.

Although experimenting with your diet is generally okay, the high levels of saturated fat in the carnivore diet may not make it a suitable choice for some people. There may be better ways to reach your goals while including other healthy items, like nuts and legumes, to prevent nutritional deficiencies.