6 Tricks to Surviving Finals Week the Healthy Way

December not only brings holiday cheer and home cooked meals with relatives, but for those of us in the throes of higher education, it means… FINALS. A time when college folks bury their heads in books and pull all nighters trying to remember everything they learned in the past semester. (We certainly don’t miss those days!) With all that stress, it’s easy to resort to making unhealthy choices, which only result in a short-term gain. Follow these simple tips to survive finals week and in the end you’ll be healthier for it (and hopefully get those straight A’s):

1. Go bananas!

Bananas are rich in potassium and magnesium, which help deliver oxygen to the brain to keep your mind sharp. Avoid energy drinks and sugary foods that make you crash. Put down the Skittles!

2. Light a rosemary candle

Turn your dorm room into an at-home spa by lighting some aromatic candles. Natural scents have a direct path to the brain and increase oxygen flow. Rosemary is recommended for increasing memory and help disguise that mysterious odor you’ve been trying to identify for months.

3. Stay awake with peppermint or cinnamon

Feeling yourself dozing off? Put the Red Bull and your friend’s Adderall down… that is no good for your body. Try taking a whiff of peppermint or cinnamon to awaken your senses! Check out some of the other health benefits of cinnamon from Dr. Wendy Bazilian’s Cinnamon Challenge.

4. Do some simple yoga moves

Before you hit the books, hit the mat. Yoga helps you concentrate and stretch out those other muscles you aren’t flexing by sitting at your desk for hours. Try the Warrior III Pose (pictured above), and these 5 yoga moves to stretch out the stress.

5. Get a massage

Your brain can only absorb so much information, so take a study break at the spa. Getting a massage creates chemical changes in your body that reduce pain and stress. It can also help you avoid getting sick while your body is under a great amount of stress. After a 50 minute massage, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to face those exams. Check out our December Spa Deals for some options near you.

6. Get 8 hours of sleep

You may think your brain is turned off while you’re sleeping, but it’s working just as hard. A process called memory consolidation occurs during sleep. While your body may be resting, your brain is busy processing the information you obtained throughout the day. There’s no point in cramming for a test if you aren’t going to retain anything!

And remember…

Good luck!

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This Beauty Secret Has Us in a Pickle

Cleopatra. Her name resonates opulence and glamour. She will forever be associated with a handful of women (Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Helen of Troy, Marie Antoinette… Kim Kardashian?, etc.) who have earned a reputation for extravagant indulgences and making powerful men fall to their knees. Cleopatra’s secret? Pickles! She attributed her good looks to bathing in warm milk and a daily diet of pickles. For centuries, people all over the world have believed in the power of pickles. In ancient Egypt, everyone from peasants to Pharohs consumed pickles for their nutritional value and because they were thought to enhance beauty. Even Roman emperors believed they could boost the physical and spiritual strength to their troops.

In honor of the historical and healthy pickle, join us in celebrating National Pickle Day!
Pickles have their own day because they are healthy, low-calorie (the average dill pickle has just 15 calories) and are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins (including Vitamin C). Cucumbers used to make dill pickles contain ascorbic acid, known as caffeic acid and Vitamin C. These nutrients help improve skin’s health and reduce irritation, while vitamin C can boost your  immune system. In addition, research has also shown that vinegar can help with weight loss.

Need another reason to add pickles to your diet? They’re the favored snack of Snooki! Convinced? We thought so!

Happy National Pickle Day!

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Lose Weight by Accident: #1 Super Food for Your Super Svelte Figure

By Jamie Dougherty

Remember a few weeks ago when I was talking up some sweet love for the sweet potato?  Though I still love those suckers, there is a particular super food that has taken first place on my plate as of late.  Say hello to kabocha squash!  “Excuse me?” you say.  “What is this thing I can barely pronounce?”  KA-BOW-CHA is a Japanese squash and quintessential super food that rocks in all types of delicious dishes.  First, a quick super food definition:  A super food is an unprocessed edible that packs a powerful nutritional bang for its caloric buck.  With its high Vitamin A, Vitamin C and potassium content, kabocha is not only a super food but one that will make your immune system and heart say thank you very much!

Now, where can you find said squash that will svelte-ify your figure?  Being a Fall food, right now kabocha can be found at most farmer’s markets.  Look for ones with a rich green color and firm skin with minimal blemishes.  If the markets have closed for the year, try your local grocer or health food store.  Next, how do you cook it?  Just like you would a butternut squash.  Throw it into soups and curries, mix it into a pilaf or with beans or just straight up roast it.  I actually love eating roasted kabocha as a snack. Absolutely flippin’ awesome!

So, next time you are looking for a super food to hit that sweet, starchy spot, grab a kabocha squash.  Your body and taste buds will be mighty pleased!

In the comments let me know your thoughts on super foods and how you like to get them into your diet.  Come on ladies, sharing is caring! (And it feels good too.)

Jamie G. Dougherty, founder of JamieLiving.com, gives women the secrets to feel amazing in their bodies and create the balance they crave between their busy schedules and eating well. Jamie believes that though kale and brown rice are good foods to put on your plate, until we truly learn HOW to eat rather than just WHAT to eat we will continue to be carb-craving, super-frazzled, stress-out ladies. If you ever feel hungry, stuck and unsatisfied with your food be sure to visit Jamie’s website to get her FREE 5-Step Guide to Fabulous.  Seriously ladies, get ready for Jamie to rock your world!

5 Candy Snacks That Give Back

Halloween is here! The official kick-off to the season of feeling guilty for over-indulging in sugary sweets! Well, what if you could cancel out that guilt by indulging in sweets that are practicing fair trade, and simultaneously helping endangered species or protecting the environment? While you are out shopping for Halloween candy, think about giving back. Make the world a better place one trick-or-treater at a time… and by letting that chocolate melt slowly in your mouth. There are a handful of forward-thinking candy companies not only crafting delicious treats, but helping craft a better planet. Here are 5 charitable options for your sweet tooth:

sweetriot

All natural, antioxidant-rich, no dairy and gluten ingredients, kosher, pure cacao snacks made with fair trade ingredients. This celebrity favorite focuses its social responsibility in 3 key areas: their product, their people and their partnerships.

Angell

Their motto is “eat no evil” and that’s what they do with Fair Trade all organic products. They are members of 1% For the Planet, which means they donate 1% of gross sales (not profits) to local environmental organizations.

Endangered Species Chocolate

With playful names like “Bug Bites” these chocolates sweeten the deal by donating 10% of  their net profits to organizations that support species and habitat conservation efforts.

Fearless Chocolate

FEARLESS is a delicious good-for-you gourmet organic chocolate bar that uses certified organic,  100% Kosher, dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free products. They donate 1% of their annual profits to change-making individuals and organizations suggested by their customers.

Surf Sweets

These organically-sweetened gummy candies and jelly beans are free of artificial colors and sweeteners. With a name like Surf Sweets, it makes sense that they’ve focused their efforts on protecting the ocean and are involved with The Ocean Project.

Lose Weight By Accident with Jamie G. Dougherty: Sweet Potato = Sweet Weight Loss?

By Jamie Dougherty

Please join in welcoming Jamie, our brand new Lose Weight by Accident contributor! She and Sarah Jenks who has taken over the past few weeks will be switching off as authors here week to week. Jamie Dougherty, founder of JamieLiving.com, gives women the secrets to feel amazing in their bodies and create the balance they crave between their busy schedules and eating well. Jamie believes that though kale and brown rice are good foods to put on your plate, until we truly learn HOW to eat rather than just WHAT to eat we will continue to be carb-craving, super-frazzled, stress-out ladies. If you ever feel hungry, stuck and unsatisfied with your food be sure to visit Jamie’s website to get her FREE 5-Step Guide to Fabulous.  Seriously ladies, get ready for Jamie to rock your world!

Fall is here and you know what that means, right?  Ah yeah, the feeding frenzy that starts with Halloween and rocks on ‘til New Years is about to commence.  Are you ready!?!  Of course not, because as with every other lady trying to lose weight by accident, the holiday season is certainly not our strongest time of year.

Alright, now let’s just take a big deep breath together because I’m here to tell you that this year is not going to be like the last.  Why, you ask?  Because as it turns out, there is one particular fall food that can save you during this trying time.  May I introduce my fall favorite… the sweet potato! Besides being unbelievably delicious and loaded with vitamins A, C and a good dose of iron (all very important for our lovely lady bodies), this sweet treat can actually help with some seriously sweet weight loss.  Here’s how:

#1: Sweet potatoes are loaded with fiber that keeps you fuller much longer than say a turkey-day crescent roll and will subsequently prevent you from overeating.

#2: Though sweet to the taste, sweet potatoes don’t set you reeling on a sugar high like other holiday foods but rather create a stable foundation of energy for you to use throughout your day and into the night. That’s right. Sweet potatoes equal sweet energy!

#3: Because of their innate starchy sweetness, sweet potatoes help curb sugar cravings and can keep you from making poor food decisions. So, when you know you will be put face to face with fudge, pecan pie or any other sugar-shocked food, make sure to first eat a sweet potato. You will be amazed at how easy saying “no thank you” will be when your sweet tooth is already satisfied on the real stuff.

So, how do you get these sweet lil’ things on your plate?  Any number of ways!  Sweet potato fries are an amazingly satisfying snack as is a warm cup of coconut, sweet potato and kale stew.  You can also simply bake them and top with a bit of cinnamon (another sugar-craving curber) and pecans or savory tahini sauce.  See, easy as pie!