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Health & Fitness

Multivitamins: Friend or Foe

Do you currently take a daily multivitamin? How do you even know if you need to take one? Let me first start off by saying that the right decision on multivitamins is going to depend on you. What do you typically eat on a day to day basis? Do you consume a protein bar or meal bar regularly?


Does your diet regularly include some sort of protein bar, meal bar, protein shake, or other nutritionally enhanced drink or mix?

These foods often already have vitamins and minerals incorporated into them, so by taking a multivitamin, well, you’d be doubling up and no when it comes to our vitamins and minerals, it’s not double the fun. If you are over you are consistently over your recommended daily intake of certain vitamins and/or minerals, you could run into problems, the same way not consuming enough vitamins and mineral can have negative effects.

(Also, with protein shakes, bars, and nutritionally enhanced beverages, be careful of the added sugar and other chemicals that can come with processed foods.)

So, lets say on a daily basis, you consume a meal or protein bar, or a nutritionally enhanced beverage of some sort that contains the majority of your recommended daily amount of vitamins and minerals, well you probably don’t need to take a multivitamin on top of that, just make sure you eat a well-balanced diet that includes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. If you look at the nutrition label on the food in question and the vitamin and mineral values seem a little on the low side, perhaps a multivitamin should be incorporated into your diet to supplement.

Now if you don’t really consume any sort of food products that contain a lot of added vitamins and minerals, then you probably should incorporate a daily multivitamin.

Picking the right multivitamin is important. When it comes to your health, try not toskimp on price because if its cheap in price then it’s probably cheap in quality.

You can get multivitamins in pill form or liquid form, however not all multivitamin


s are created equal. They can contain different combinations of vitamins and minerals, as well as different %DV (percent daily values) of these vitamins and minerals depending on the brand or specific type within a brand. Do some research and talk to your doctor to find out what is right for you based on your current state of health and remember that the minerals are just as important as the vitamins.

Pill/ Tablets

  • Quick and convenient
  • Can upset stomach, take with a meal
  • Pay attention to quality and % DV provided


  • More quickly absorbed (does not have to be broken down like the pill)
  • Can upset stomach, take with a meal or mix with smoothies, shakes, or other beverages (this will also help to eliminate any unpleasant taste)
  • You measure out your own amount of liquid so its easier to mis-measure and overdose and this can be dangerous

I want to end by saying that multivitamins are a SUPPLEMENT and that is all they ever should be. They should be used to supplement your balanced diet and NOT a replacement for fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, lean meats…you get the idea. There is a lot that we still do not understand about the plants that we consume and all of the benefits, including the phytonutrients that they provide. Something you can’t simply get from a pill in a bottle. Remember this, fruits and vegetables FIRST, multivitamin SECOND.

Check out this Chart of Essential Vitamins & Minerals that contains a list of vitamins, minerals, and the effects of deficiency and overdose.




Easy Tips for Exercising Smarter, Not Longer!

Want to build muscle and tone your shape? You have to spend hours in the gym for that, right?


This is one of the many misconceptions people have when it comes to physical exercise. If you’ve ever set foot in a gym, you probably know what I mean, or maybe you’ve even done it yourself. Heck, I used to be one of them; on the same machine for an hour, or still stuck doing the same exercise, on rep number 463 of 800. You get the idea.



What you need to know is this is all a waste of your valuable time!

The good news? With the proper technique, you can squeeze in an amazing workout and be on your way to finish doing whatever it is you do.

Let me first start by saying if you are looking to achieve the shape and bulk of a professional body builder, well, this post is not for you.

So I’ll get right to it. Stop using weights that are too light! And another thing, stop using weights that are clearly TOO heavy! Working out smart includes not trying to show off with a weight you can’t handle just as much as it includes not being afraid to challenge yourself AND your muscles!

Now I wont tell you exactly how many reps and sets you should be doing for each exercise because that is going to depend on what you are looking to accomplish and what your current fitness level is, BUT I will give you a general range that will allow you to tone, tighten & build muscle. You DO NOT need to be in the gym for hours. You can accomplish a perfectly effective workout with the right technique.



I learned something I will refer to as the “Six-Twelve Rule”. Essentially, for each
exercise choose a weight that is light enough to complete 6 reps, but heavy enough where by the time you get to 12 reps, you simply cannot do any more. The last 2 to 3 reps should be a struggle. Choose 6 different exercises to do and complete 4 sets of 6-12 reps each.

Here’s an example:

It’s LEGS DAY! (Zeena’s Favorite 🙂 – Just kidding Zeena!)

Choose your 6 different leg exercises, making sure you are covering all parts of the leg, (ie: calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, etc.) Now, start with your first exercise.

Let’s say you start with weighted lunges, grab a set of dumbbells that are a weight that would allow you to complete 6 reps comfortably, but by the time you got the the 12th rep, you wouldn’t be able to go any further. Do this 4 times for each leg.

Healthy dumbbells isolated on white


Then, move on to your next exercise, adjusting you the heaviness of your weights as needed. Repeat until you have completed all 6 of your exercises.

Now obviously there are a lot of variables that are going to play a role in each individuals physical fitness needs, and nothing in this life is black and white, but I hope you get the general idea of how to work out smarter. Stop doing endless reps with weights that are too light. Challenge yourself and don’t be afraid to pick up a heavier weight, but of course don’t break your back with a weight you are not ready for. Try the “Six-Twelve Rule”. Perhaps you’ll decide you like doing 10 reps and 3 sets. That’s fine too!

Don’t be overly literal with the number of reps and sets. 6 & 12 are a great place to start and depending on the individual or the exercise at hand, you may need to adjust. Listen to your body, and HAVE FUN! 🙂

– Letisha

Wall Workouts: Quads, Hamstrings, & Core

Check out these quick workouts that you can do if you have limited space or are in a cramped location. They don’t require any equipment and can be done in the comfort of your own home. Great for those located in a dorm or small apartment.

These 3 exercises will target your quadriceps, hamstrings and your core.

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33 Alarming Side-Effects of Sleep Deprivation

I’m sure at some point in our lives, we’ve all heard about the importance of sleep. When we are young we have a bed time, we have elementary school nap time, and some employment offices even have nap rooms. Getting a good night’s rest is often stressed, but I’m willing to bet that many people barely make their mark, myself included. I don’t want to preach because I know how difficult it is to have a regular sleep schedule that consists of enough hours of sleep each night. I do believe, however, that it is important to know the facts and educate ourselves in all areas of our health so we can work toward improving the quality of our life. In order to do this, we have to understand what sleep deprivation does to our bodies.

With that being said, some of these facts you may already know, and some may surprise you, but read on for the long and short term effects of a lack of sleep and sleep deprivation.

Short Term Effects of Sleep Deprivation

  • Sleepiness during the day
  • Diminished alertness and ability to perform mentally
  • Muscle weakness and reduction in physical performance
  • Memory problems and reduced ability to think and/or process information
  • Irritability/moodiness
  • Headaches
  • Increased appetite (especially for sugar and other carbohydrates)
  • Pale skin
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Prominent dark circles under the eyes
  • Impaired circulatory system
  • Lessened Muscle Tone
  • Less overall Physical Attractiveness

Long Term Effects of Sleep Deprivation

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Weight gain
  • Obesity
  • Weakened immune system
  • High blood pressure
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Depression/mood disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Lowered white blood cell count
  • Increased risk for diabetes
  • Hallucinations
  • Mental impairment
  • Reduced growth hormone levels
  • Slowed rate of body’s ability to heal itself (more cuts & bruises)
  • Relationship problems
  • Reduced quality of life overall
  • Increased likelihood of accidents and/or physical injury
  • Death

There you have it. The list is quite alarming, but hopefully, it highlights the importance of getting enough sleep. While pulling one or two all-nighters on occasion may not be the worst thing in the world, the point is that a good night’s sleep should be a regular part of your healthy lifestyle because constant sleep deprivation is where the damage is done. So, for your own sake, make rest a priority.

– Letisha


Deprivation Of Sleep: The Miserable And Dangerous Effects Of Sleep Deprivation


“Nutrition Facts” Label Explained

photo 3Nutrition labels are on nearly every food we eat, whether it is a carton of eggs or a bottle of our favorite juice. These labels hold valuable information, but how well do we know what it all means?

Here are the daily suggested requirements of macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats):

·   Only 7% of calories should be saturated fat

·   Less than 2 g of trans fats 

·   Less than 200 mg of dietary cholesterol

·   Less than 2300 mg of sodium

·   130g of carbohydrates per day for adults and children

·   Sugar should be limited to 25 grams per day or 100 calories (since 1 gram of  sugar contains 4 calories)

·   38 g of fiber for men 50 and under and 25g of fiber for women 50 and under

Everyone’s body is different and may require different levels of certain macronutrients. It is also important to consider how many calories you desire to consume in a day as well as your desired weight maintenance or weight-loss.

Once it becomes second nature to decipher a nutrition label we can begin to eat foods that are healthier and more nutritious!

Helpful Tips:

Look out for serving sizes! The nutrition facts typically only display the numbers for oneserving size. If there are 4 serving sizes in a chocolate bar and you eat the whole bar, you’d have to quadruple the numbers in order to get an accurate representation of what you consumed.

Trans fats should be avoided at all costs! Don’t immediately believe a product that claims “0 grams trans fats!”.  Always check the ingredients and if it says partially hydrogenated oil, shortening, or hydrogenated oil then it contains trans fats! The FDA only requires .5 grams or less of trans fats in order for food manufacturers to label them trans-fat free.

In order to quickly determine whether a certain nutrient is low or high based on the nutrition label, use 5% and 20% as your guidelines. 5% or less typically signifies that the nutrient is low. 20% or more means the nutrient is high in the product. (FDA)

Remember! Everything in moderation!







Turmeric: The Amazing Root

turmericLooking for a new superfood to add to your diet?

Turmeric Root should definitely be at the top of your  list!

This amazing root imported from India possess a wide range of health benefits that may surprise you. Here’s what you get from this amazing food.

Turmeric has been shown to help prevent melanoma cells from forming, as well aid in the destruction of present melanoma cancer cells. In a study, it prevented the spread of breast cancer in mice, and when combined with cauliflower, it helped to prevent prostate cancer, ceases the growth of present prostate cancer cells,  and stop the growth of blood vessels in tumors and the spread of tumors, in general. Turmeric is  also known to reduce the risk of childhood leukemia. The views are optimistic with regard to the benefits of turmeric in the treatment of other forms of cancer. It also boosts the effects of chemo drug, paclitaxel.

This powerful root helps with cuts and wounds as well. It acts as a natural antiseptic and has antibacterial agent and speeds the healing of wounds. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is a natural painkiller.

It aids with inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis. Turmeric helps with rheumatoid arthritis. The Chinese have even used turmeric for the treatment of depression.

In terms of weight loss, turmeric has been know to help with fat metabolism and weight management.

You can purchase turmeric in whole form, pill form, or purchase turmeric in

“ground” form from the spice aisle at the supermarket.

I like to do weekly Turmeric Face masks to reduce and calm any breakouts as well as brighten my skin.

Here’s how it’s done!

MIX 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric & 2-3 tablespoons of one of the following:



-Apple Cider Vinger

-Orange Juice (fresh)

-Grapefruit Juice (fresh)


Apply this mixture to your face WITH GLOVES! Avoid contact with your eyes, eyebrows, and hairline.

Leave on for 20 minutes then rinse. This mask will leave an yellow tint on your skin. DO NOT WORRY. This will come off after your wash your face, but you do not have to wash it off. I do my masks at night and do not bother doing a second wash of my face after I rinse the mask of.

Try this mask out and let us know what you think! 🙂

– Letisha

Source: http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/20-health-benefits-of-turmeric.html