MONDAYS AREN’T EVIL (3 UNIVERSAL REASONS WHY PEOPLE HATE MONDAYS)

Short abstract

  • Physiological reasons. Disrupted circadian rhythm and what to do about it.
  • Psychological reasons. Deeper hate for Monday may mean deep problems, that people ignore.
  • Physical reasons. People hate Mondays because they have to do “everything all over again”.
  • Reasons why I love Mondays.

 

Mondays are evil for some people. I know folks who dream about the weekend. The time when they can lie down, watch TV, eat and sleep, spend time with family, or on their hobbies. Nothing wrong with most of those things. I mean, after 5 days and more than 8 hours of work per day, why not? Right? But, the two golden days fly by like arrows in the wind, and the tale of woe continues – it’s Monday again! 

 

Giphy monday

via Giphy

Let’s look at a picture:

  • The alarm clock sounds off and you hit it with a force of at least 220 Newtons. (According to physics, it’s a strong slap in your alarm clock’s face).
  • It shuts up, but it doesn’t die.
  • Five to ten minutes later it attacks your sanity again.
  • So, you hit it again.
  • This happens one or two more times before you sluggishly open your eyes and they say: CAFFEINE.
  • At this point opening or moving your mouth to produce a sentence or a word is unprecedented.
  • So, you move your hands and legs, stretch and yawn, and when all is done, yawn some more and then get up.
  • Speed of a snail.
  • Mission: Make coffee.
  • Submission: Drink it.
  • First, you smell the coffee while the machine is brewing it.
  • FOR GOD SAKES, WHY DOES IT TAKE SO LONG!?!?
  • You don’t yell of course. It’s still unprecedented to move your mouth.
  • Finally.
  • You feel the hot liquid going everywhere (realistically it goes in the stomach first – I won’t go into details).

Is that picture familiar to you?

How about this one:

  • The alarm clock sounds off and you press it with a light touch.
  • It softly says to you: “Thank you for not beating me.”
  • You jump off your bed and stretch.
  • Outside is pouring rain and you say – it’s a new day and everything is possible!
  • You make coffee, or even better – screw coffee, you don’t need it, you’re on fire!
  • I should stop right here, shouldn’t I?

Don’t forget, in both scenarios – it’s Monday.

I’m not gonna lie. My waking up is a mixture of both scenarios, and my alarm clock is alive and doing well, thanks for asking.

  • When I wake up, I do need about 5 minutes (only 5, yes) to come to my senses. Lord help you, if you say one word to me during that painful process.
  • I brush my teeth and wash my face, as I can’t drink coffee or tea with a morning breath and unwashed face. Yes, I’m big on rituals.
  • You can whisper now. Gently.
  • Now I go towards the kitchen and at this point I walk normally, I don’t drag myself and I don’t whine (that takes too much energy). I admire the beginning of the day no matter the weather; I boil water for the black tea and in about 5 minutes I start my tea ritual.
  • After I’ve drunk at least 2/3 of a 400 ml cup of tea, you may speak as loud as you want. Nothing can break me. Except a baseball bat. Or other heavy objects.

I don’t wake up too early on weekends (unless I have to). I sleep in for 1-2 more hours. It’s not too big of a shock for the body’s circadian clock. Or is it?

I’ll explain in a minute.

There are physiological, psychological and physical reasons as to why people hate Mondays. We could say that they are interconnected. Let me explain each reason, and you’ll also understand why even 2 hours of extra sleep during the weekend could be a shock for your body’s circadian clock. I still don’t hate Mondays, though.

PHYSIOLOGICAL REASONS

 

I like to nitpick when I do research, and when it comes to nitpicking, at least for this post, cough, cough…

 giphy

via GIPHY

The rotation of our beautiful planet around the Sun creates daily cycles of light, temperature and other factors, that are vitally important for countless biological processes. Almost all organisms exhibit circadian gene expression. This means that certain genes are expressed as proteins at a rate that oscillates with a period of about 24h along with associated biochemical and behavioral rhythms. (1)(2)

 Biological clock human

By NoNameGYassineMrabetTalk✉ fixed by Addicted04 [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This leads me to the definition of circadian rhythms – they are the organization of biological activities into cycles that oscillate with a period of around 24 hours. Science now knows a lot about the molecular and neural bases of these rhythms. Moreover, the disruption of circadian rhythms by neural, genetic or environmental perturbations is associated with a range of disease processes and increased mortality(3) 

Disrupted circadian rhythms could be symptoms of Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases, as well as mood disorders, such as major depressive disorder (MDD). (4) Sometimes, though, disruption of circadian rhythms is not a symptom of any disease, but a product of poor time management and bad self-discipline, as well as certain bad habits, such as use of TV or smart phones and tablets before going to sleep. 

I try to read a book – not an e-book, but one made of an actual paper, you know – the thing that makes a sound when you turn the page, the thing that can give you a paper cut? The thing that doesn’t shine and emit light in your face? Yes, that thing, yes. A book. With actual pages.

 

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The development of LE devices means that for many people, a “book at bedtime” is now often an “e-book.” Traditional paper books with dim incandescent bedside lighting reflected off the pages of the book, expose the readers to a low-intensity tungsten light with a yellow–red spectrum, that has little impact on sleep. In comparison, the same book read in electronic format will provide a very different light signal with biological effects. (5)

 

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It is important to know that not all colors of light have the same effect. Short-wavelength-enriched light (blue-enriched) is likely to cause the most disruption, as it most effectively suppresses melatonin and increases alertness. (5)

What happens when we watch TV or look at any light – emitting devices before going to bed? Well, scientists give us an explanation that those devices:

  • prolong the time it takes to fall asleep,
  • delay the circadian clock,
  • suppress levels of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin (The hormone melatonin “the hormone of darkness” is produced at night, with the duration of secretion mimicking the dark period, and its production is associated with sleep.  (5)
  • reduce the amount and delay the timing of REM sleep,
  • reduce alertness the following morning, and
  • increase alertness at bed time. (6)

All of that impacts our performance, health and safety.

Harvard Medical School suggests avoiding blue-light 2–3 hours before we go to bed, while the National Sleep Foundation advises turning all electronic devices off at least an hour before bed. Parents who have young children using these devices at night have the ability to either remove the devices from their bedroom, or at least turn them off before bed. (5) For adolescents – it’s a bit more tricky. Have you ever tried to take the phone from a teenager? ‘Nough said.

 

PSYCHOLOGICAL REASONS

 

There are a lot of psychological reasons why many people hate Mondays and usually they are connected to a major stressor in life – stressful job, demanding boss, asshole boss (or coworker/s), being away from loved ones (family, kids, partners, friends), not having enough time for oneself or for hobbies, etc, etc.

It is interesting how stress is now understood as something normal. We’re all stressed. We all worry. We all DO NOT understand what it does to us. But are Mondays really the worst? A research shows that people are in a bad mood from Monday to Thursday, and that their mood improves on Friday, because, of course – weekend is just around the corner. (7)

 

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What about productivity? Is it affected by the Monday blues? Well, a survey made in the UK, shows that productivity to some degree goes down on Mondays, probably because of the need to reorient oneself after two days away from work. It is also possible, that workers’ motivation is lower on Mondays, because that day is the furthest from the next available day of leisure. (8)

The survey also notes, that levels of motivation are higher on Friday (for obvious reasons); and that productivity reaches its peak in the middle of the working week (Tuesday or Wednesday).  (8)

 

I just had an epiphany: every time I went to an administrative unit to file papers (or whatever) on Tuesdays, it was a successful trip – now I know why – workers didn’t bitch about Monday, and didn’t dream about Friday (I assume).

PHYSICAL REASONS

 

It’s so easy to hate what other people also hate. You go to work, ask people how they are, and they give you a death-stare, which you can easily translate into: “You’re asking me that on MONDAY???”. 

Most people hate Mondays because they have to physically “do everything all over again”. Get up, go to work, deal with colleagues, deal with bosses, deal with routines, etc, etc. It sounds terrible, doesn’t it? Robotic. Do we ever stop and think, that fulfillment goes along the way, and is not waiting for us at the end of the (day) tunnel? Sometimes the finest hour is when you work your heart out in something you believe is a great work, and then you go home exhausted, but victorious – knowing that you’ve done all you can do, that you’ve done your best. Not many people go home with that realization. That doesn’t mean they haven’t done their best, but because they are so concentrated on how exhausted and miserable they feel, they fail to realize, that they are an inspiring bunch to someone else.

 

SHOULD WE, CAN WE LOVE (or, at the very least LIKE) MONDAYS?

 

Don’t throw tomatoes at me, but I do love Mondays. Sometimes I work on Saturdays, and sometimes I work on Sundays too, so weekends are not always time of leisure for me. Still, Monday to me represents a new, fresh start. New possibilities, new opportunities. Yes, I know – you’re rolling your eyes right now. Nevertheless, hear me out!

These are few out of the many reasons why I love Mondays:

  1. Fresh start. Even if I’d work on a Sunday, Monday is the start of a new week, and I have 7 days to take advantage of.
  2. I’m in control. It might sound weird, but on Mondays I see life from a certain perspective. I’m in control of my life, and don’t need to escape from it. If I don’t like my goals, I would create new ones.
  3. Fresh kindness. Mondays are a great time of the week to be kind to people and put smile on their faces. Positive energy is contagious.
  4. Live each day fully and authentically. It makes you feel free as a bird.
  5. Rub my love for Mondays onto someone that hates Mondays. Yes, I’m evil. Sorta.

See you next time.

References: 

  1. Lowrey PL, Takahashi JS: Genetics of Circadian Rhythms in Mammalian Model Organisms. Advances in genetics. 2011. 74:175-230. 
  2. Hamada T, LeSauter J, Venuti JM, Silver R: Expression of Period Genes: Rhythmic and Nonrhythmic Compartments of the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus Pacemaker. The Journal of Neuroscience. 2001. 21(19): 7742-7750.
  3. Steele AD, Mistlberger RE: Activity is a slave to many masters. eLife. 2015. 4:e06351.
  4. Campos C.I., Nogueira C.H, Fernandes L.: Aging, circadian rhythms and depressive disorders: a review. American Journal of Neurodegenerative Disease. 2013. 2(4): 228-246.
  5. Gringras P, Middleton B, Skene DJ, Revell VL.: Bigger, Brighter, Bluer-Better Current Light-Emitting Devices – Adverse Sleep Properties and Preventative Strategies. Frontiers in Public Health. 2015. 3:233. 
  6. Chang AMAeschbach DDuffy JFCzeisler CA: Evening use of light-emitting eReaders negatively affects sleep, circadian timing, and next-morning alertness. PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences). 2015. 112(4): 12321237.
  7. Stone AA, Hedges SM, Neale JM, Satin MS: Prospective and cross-sectional mood reports offer no evidence of a “blue Monday” phenomenon. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1985. 49(1): 129-134. 
  8. Bryson A & Forth J: Are There Day of the Week Productivity Effects? Manpower Human Resources Lab Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics. 2007.  

SALAD DOESN’T ALWAYS MEAN HEALTHY

SHORT ABSTRACT

  • The word “salad” comes from the Latin word “sal” which means salt. This is so, because the main ingredient in the dressing was salt.
  • Today, salads are served and eaten at any point during a meal and can be served cold or warm.
  • Each culture has its philosophy as to why they serve salad in a particular time during the meal.
  • Many of the chicken’s inedible parts do NOT go to waste. We eat them in a form of a chicken nugget or a crispy chicken steak. And we love it.
  • Differences between Greek (non fat) yogurt and plain (non fat) yogurt.
  • Modifying an unhealthy salad into a healthy one.
  • Salad recipes and their nutritional value.
  • It’s essential to love what we eat. If unhealthy and greasy – modify it and make it healthy.

Yes, that’s what I wrote. That is the name of this post. There are salads and there are salads.

The word “salad” comes from the Latin word “sal” which means salt. This is so, because the main ingredient in the dressing was salt. The word (in Latin) “salata” means salted things. The Romans and Greeks popularized the trend of cutting raw vegetables and putting salt, oil and vinegar on top.

If we go chronologically through history, we’ll find the word salad mentioned many times, and in different cultures’ histories. From medieval Spain to Renaissance Italy to the Victorian Era in the UK, and further more to the time of the World Wars and Post Cold War era (or postmodernity), the salad is part of people’s meals. As time went by, salads became more and more complicated, though simple salads are still present on people’s dining tables (or computer desks, or front – TV tables…).

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Today, salads are served and eaten at any point during a meal and can be served cold or warm. They can be:

  • Appetizers – these are smaller portion – salads that stimulate the appetite as the first course of the meal.
  • Side salads – these accompany the main dish as a side dish.
  • Main course salads – these are usually sizable and more nourishing salads.
  • Dessert salads – these are sweet salads.

In different cultures salad is served in different times during the meal. In Italy and Germany, for example, it is served at the end of the meal. In France it is served before the meal, and in America (mostly) it is served with the main dish. Each culture has its philosophy as to why they serve salad in that particular time during the meal.

If served before the main dish – the salad fills you up more and you eat less, or control how much you eat from the rest of the meal (unless the salad is super tasty appetizer that prepares you to eat more food – then you’re screwed).

If served during the meal – the fat from the main course helps the absorption of the salad’s nutrients.

If served at the end of the meal – it helps digestion and accentuates the taste of the wine (if you drink wine with your main meal).

These theories are still widely disputed and discussed.

But, why did I choose to talk about salads?

First – for people that have a very fast lifestyle, salads are a good idea to make at home and pack them to work, and it’s good for them to know, which ingredients in a salad, or which type of salad is the healthiest choice.

Second – I think folks are very confused as to what healthy food means these days. Many people think that, if they eat a bowl of salad, they’ve eaten less calories, because… It’s only salad, right? Right? Wrong! It’s not only salad. It’s salad, (probably pesticides, too – yummy!), salt, dressing, and maybe bread goes well with it, too. And if it’s white bread – all the better, right? Right? 

giphy

via GIPHY

Let’s take a look at an attractive salad, and then break it down to its most basic ingredients. 

caesar-salad-1629534_1280

OK, so – quite obvious – not very healthy: crispy chicken, white dough croutons and yogurt (or mayo) topping. Beside these ingredients we see: rocket, tomato, some sweet corn, red onions and soya sprouts. Lovely.

Let’s dive in deeper.

Watch this YouTube video. They talk about chicken nuggets, but this potentially applies to a lot of industrially made crispy chicken varieties. 

What do they talk about? They talk about the chicken nuggets (and potentially many other crispy chicken varieties) containing very little actual chicken meat and much more fat, along with epithelium, bone, nerve, and connective tissue. There is a study published in the American Journal of Medicine that proves all that’s been said. (1)

Many of the chicken’s inedible parts do NOT go to waste. We eat them in a form of a chicken nugget or a crispy chicken steak. And we love it.

pexels-photo-29599

If we only take the calories of (some) industrial fried and prepackaged chicken varieties out there (remember, there’s very little chicken in a lot of them!) – we are roughly talking about 440 kcal per item (one steak, or 10 nuggets).

Additionally, let’s look at this video, where Jamie Oliver demonstrates to the children and to us, that we would eat anything, as long as it looks attractive and we are hungry: 

When buying frozen prepackaged chicken meat (nuggets, steaks, etc..) look at the ingredients! Look for the words: whole white meat – it’s the actual chicken meat.

OK, next – croutons. These croutons are highly processed. They don’t contain the classic ingredients of white bread, which are: all purpose flour, sugar, water and salt. No, no, these babies contain a lot more. For starters, many of their ingredients are required to increase the shelf life of the product, and improve the flavor that disappears when food is not fresh. If we decide to buy seasoned croutons, ingredients wise – we’re in for a treat. I’m talking: fructose – glucose syrup, azocarbonamide (that’s a popular dough conditioner), artificial flavors, corn syrup, maltodextrin, calcium propionate (preservative that inhibits mold and bacterial growth). They probably contain quite a few more ingredients, but anyway… Calorie wise – if we use 20 g in the salad, we’re adding 81 kcal (this according to caloricounter.com).

food-1739791_1280

Next on the line are the toppings. Let’s look at both – the yogurt topping and the mayo topping. The basic ingredients of mayonnaise are: egg yolk, vinegar, oil and lemon juice. Not too bad, right? Mayonnaise by itself is actually very healthy, it’s filled with fats, but not saturated ones. A tablespoon of mayonnaise has 90 calories. If we eat the salad in a restaurant, I can guarantee, that the topping has more than 90 calories. You can bet on it.

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“Southern-Style” Mayonnaise via photopin (license)

You say – ok, but what about the yogurt topping? That one can’t be bad, right? Well, it depends what kind of yogurt topping we use. If we use commercial and not organic yogurt, then what we put on our salads are mostly artificial food colorings, sugar substitutes (fructose – glucose syrup), preservatives, carrageenan, etc. How many calories? A tablespoon of yogurt dressing is about 25 kcal.

800px-bulgarian_yogurt

Image Author: Ned Jelyazkov (via Wikimedia commons)

For the rest of the salad – we have: rocket (one cup – 1 kcal), tomato (one medium – 16 kcal), some sweetcorn (one cup – 85 kcal), red onions (one small – 5 kcal) and soya sprouts (one cup – 31 kcal). These ingredients (the vegetables and the tomato) belong to the healthy side of things. (Unless I mention pesticides. So to get to the main point – the beautiful salad with shiny white dressing is not a good choice). 

Total calories (with the yogurt dressing): min. 684 kcal.

Total calories (with the mayo dressing): min. 749 kcal.

Surprised? Not surprised?

Do you know how many calories a Big Mac has? One sandwich has 563 calories.

big_mac_hamburger

Image Author: Evan-Amos (via Wikimiedia Commons)

So, it’s very important to know what kind of salad we eat. If we eat salad with fried meat and mayo or even industrial yogurt topping, then we are not giving our bodies any break. 

Let’s look at some great healthier versions of our salad. How can we change it to make it tasty and nutritious?

Let’s modify our salad!

CHICKEN

So, what is a healthy version of a fried chicken?

I love chicken, and man – fried chicken is so freakin’ tasty, I mean – the moist, all that grease (I’m not kidding), the crispiness, sigh!

But, we gotta eat healthy, so what’s the best choice that’s equally tasty, yet much healthier – I’d say grilled chicken. I love chicken in 1001 ways, so I have no problems with this choice. Do you need more choices? Try: baked chicken (you can soak it in herbs or spices) or cooked chicken. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, try substituting chicken with high protein legumes (lentils, black beans).

agriculture-315511_1280

Not good enough? It has to be a fried chicken?

 

I found this amazing oven “fried” chicken recipe on You Tube.

CROUTONS

Ok, so we’ve found a healthier version of the crispy chicken, let’s move on to the croutons. The healthiest way to go is to make our own. How do we do that? Well, it’s fairly simple: Buy a whole grain bread (a healthy choice), cut a slice of that bread into cubes (or croutons), and put it in the oven (200 degrees for 30 minutes).

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When buying bread beware! On the package it may say that it’s whole grain, yet you might be buying a bread made of an enriched white flour. Take a look at the ingredients, a whole grain bread’s nutritional value usually is:

  • Fiber: 2-4 g (per serving);
  • Hydrogenated oil (trans fat): 0g

(although, by law, at least in the States and Canada, if a product contains less than 0.5g and 0.2g of trans fats per serving, respectively, they are allowed to list 0g on the package. Mandatory labelling of trans-fat content (including amount) is not currently implemented in any of the WHO European Member States. Regulation (EC) No. 1169/2011 requests that ‘fully’ or ‘partly’ hydrogenated oil be indicated in the ingredients list, together with the specific vegetable origin of the oil or fat. For pre-packaged foods, consumers can determine from the ingredient list whether partially hydrogenated oils have been used to manufacture the products. However, the amount of trans fat present in the product cannot be assumed by this information and trans fat does not appear in the mandatory nutrition declaration. In this sense consumers are not provided with information on levels of trans-fats content in products.) (2);

  • Sodium: < 200 mg per slice;
  • Sugar and Sweeteners: 0-4 g
  • Preservatives: none (ideally) (3).

But what happens when there are no ingredient lists or stamps? Well – then we resort to believing what our eyes see. We should check to see that we can notice actual grains or pieces of grain— and not just on top of the bread.  

So, when it comes to croutons, it’s a bit tricky, as the the pre-packed always contain more calories and of course preservatives (to extend their shelf life), and if you make them at home, it’ll take 30 minutes. The lesser of two evils? Your choice. You could always prepare them the night before.

TOPPINGS

If we choose yogurt topping, it’s best to get Greek or organic plain yogurt. Both are healthy, and here is the difference between the two:

table

If you’re planning to lose weight, but love salad toppings, Greek yogurt is an ideal substitute for mayo. Tired of Greek yogurt? Other great choices are:

  • olive oil,
  • hummus,
  • low-fat cottage cheese,
  • mashed avocado,
  • classic mustard,
  • pesto,
  • nayonnaise – if you like soy, this is a vegan alternative to mayonnaise, and
  • aioli – a great way to substitute mayonnaise. It is made of olive oil, garlic and sometimes an egg. Add some tofu, lemon juice, salt and pepper, throw everything in a blender and voila! – A light and healthy substitute for mayo.

Say we used these ingredients: grilled chicken (5oz. or 100g – 239kcal), whole grain home made (the night before) croutons (2 tablespoons or 30g or 1oz – 69kcal), greek yogurt (100g or 3.5oz. – 53kcal), rocket (one cup – 1 kcal), tomato (one medium – 16 kcal), some sweetcorn (one cup – 85 kcal), red onions (one small – 5 kcal) and soya sprouts (one cup – 31 kcal). The total amount of calories for this salad is: 499kcal.

So, basically we have the same salad, only healthier and tastier! Bon appétit!

SALAD RECIPES

 

Let’s look at few recipes of healthy salads to make at home and take with us at work (I’ll give you 5 great choices):

  1. Quinoa salad with veggies and oranges.

 

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Why is quinoa so popular? Quinoa is a rich source of protein (100g of raw quinoa contains 20% of protein or higher). Did you know that it is closely related to species such as beetroot, spinach and amaranth? It’s true, what we eat is actually the seeds. You can eat the leaves, too, but they are commercially rarely available. I will write more about this amazing plant in another post.

Our salad (I make this one at home, it’s a modified recipe, which is a combination of more than 3 other recipes, so feel free to change the vegies and seasonings to suite your taste):

Servings: ~ 3

      Ingredients:

For the veggie mix with oranges

  • 1 red bell pepper cubed
  • 1 yellow bell pepper cubed
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut them in halves
  • 2 carrots cut in cubes
  • 1 red onion chopped
  • 1 large orange cut in smaller wedges
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

For the quinoa

  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water or chicken stock (your choice)
  • a pinch of salt

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • ½ tablespoon dried coriander

 

Directions:

  • Cook the quinoa as ordered on the package. The quinoa absorbs water and becomes fluffy. It doubles after it’s cooked, so you’re gonna get 1 cup of cooked quinoa. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl combine all the veggies + the orange wedges (the bell peppers, the cherry tomatoes, the carrots and the onion). Add the sunflower seeds, the garlic powder, salt and the olive oil. Mix well.
  • Now prepare the dressing: Combine all ingredients together (the lemon juice, the olive oil, the chopped fresh rosemary and the dried coriander). Mix very fast and very well for 30 seconds.
  • Now combine the quinoa with the veggies and the orange wedges. Mix well. Add the dressing. Again, mix well.
  • If you want, you can add a little parmesan (1 tablespoon = 22.8 kcal) or any cheese you want (not too much, though!) and garnish with some rosemary.

You can eat it at home or take it at work. It’s an amazing, healthy meal.

Calories:

 426.6 kcal (with chicken stock)

397.8 kcal (with water)

The nutritional info is given for the chicken stock variant. For the salad, where the quinoa is cooked in water, total fat is lower and some nutrition facts are different.

Total Fat 27.7 g (daily recommendation: 70g, this is 40% of daily recommendation)

Saturated Fat 3.5 g (daily recommendation: 24g; this is 14.5% of daily recommendation)

Polyunsaturated Fat 5.3 g

Monounsaturated Fat 16.4 g

Cholesterol 2.4 mg (ideal daily dose: 300 mg, for people with high cholesterol: 200mg, this is 0.8% of normal daily dose)

Sodium 400.6 mg (ideal dose for adults: 1500mg/day, so this is ~27% of daily dose), Potassium 760.8 mg (ideal dose for everyone >14 age is 4700mg/day, this is 16% of daily dose)

Total Carbohydrate 38.4 g (daily recommendation: 310g, this is ~12% of daily recommendation)

Dietary Fiber 8.2 g (daily recommendation is 25-30g, this is ~27%-33% of daily recommendation)

Sugars 11.8 g (daily recommendation is 90g, this is 13% of daily recommendation)

Protein 9.8 g (daily recommendation is 50g, this is ~20% of daily recommendation)

 

Vitamin A 138.5 %, Vitamin B12 0.0 %, Vitamin B6 16.1 %, Vitamin C 127.1 %, Vitamin D 0.0 %, Vitamin E 41.2 %, Calcium 8.7 %, Copper 19.8 %, Folate 20.2 %, Iron 10.4 %, Magnesium 20.2 %, Manganese 33.7 %, Niacin (Vit.B3) 17.8 %, Pantothenic Acid (Vit.B5) 10.1 %, Phosphorus 25.2 %, Riboflavin (Vit.B2) 12.5 %, Selenium 16.8 %, Thiamin (Vit.B1) 12.8 %, Zinc 9.6 %

2.  Tuna salad with veggies, lettuce, spinach and avocado

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This salad is NOT meant for pregnant women, as tuna fish contains mercury. Tuna salad is quite calorie danced, but it contains some healthy Omega – 3 – fatty acids. I add it to my list of salads, because I know too many people (myself included), who adore tuna fish. I love, no, no, I LOVE tuna. Rio Mare is my favorite.

Serving for 2-3 people.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 cup lettuce
  • 1 can tuna (in my case, a Rio Mare tuna)
  • 1 avocado chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in halves
  • 1 oz (30 g) green olives (I adore black ones)
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • a pinch of salt
  • light balsamic vinegar (optional)

Directions:

  • Mix the veggies together
  • Add the avocado and mix
  • Add the tuna and olives and capers
  • Add the seasonings and if you want the vinegar

Serve with whole grain bread (2 slices max).

Calories:

248.1 kcal (Rio Mare tuna in olive oil), with 2 slices of whole grain bread: 392.1 kcal

236.4 kcal (Rio Mare tuna in water), with 2 slices of whole grain bread: 380.4 kcal

The nutritional info is given for the Rio Mare tuna in olive oil variant. For the salad, where the tuna is canned in water, total fat is lower and some other nutrition facts are different.

Total Fat 20.6 g (~29.5%)

Saturated Fat 3 g (12.5%)

Polyunsaturated Fat 1.9 g

Monounsaturated Fat 6.6 g

Cholesterol 00.0 mg (0%)

Sodium 512.3 mg (34%) Reduce the amount of capers (to half a tablespoon) and olives to reduce the amount of sodium.

Potassium 468.2 mg (6.4%)

Total Carbohydrate 10.8 g (5%)

Dietary Fiber 5.1 g (~17% – 20.5%)

Sugars 2.2 g (~2.5%)

Protein 7.8 g (15.6%)

Vitamin A 39.6 %, Vitamin B12 0.0 %, Vitamin B6 7.0 %, Vitamin C 36.2 %, Vitamin D 0.0 %, Vitamin E 5.5 %, Calcium 4.6 %, Copper 5.4 %, Folate 16.5 %, Iron 5.5 %, Magnesium 7.4 %, Manganese 9.6 %, Niacin (Vit.B3) 8.4 %, Pantothenic Acid (Vit.B5) 7.3 %, Phosphorus 3.4 %, Riboflavin (Vit.B2) 5.3 %, Selenium 0.6 %, Thiamin (Vit.B1) 3.3 %, Zinc 2.4 %

3.  Grilled shrimp salad with avocado, lettuce and veggies

food-1825875_1920

This salad is quite light and of course – tasty!

Serving for 2-3 people.

Ingredients:

  • ½ lb (225g) or 16 large shrimp, raw, peeled, deveined
  • 2 cups Romaine Lettuce chopped
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 green long pepper (Hungarian wax pepper) chopped

wax_pepper

Image author: Jeff Kwapil (via Wikimedia Commons)

  • 1 avocado chopped
  • 1 scallion chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed

 

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 220°C (or 425F). Apply some olive oil to a baking sheet.
  • Squeeze some lemon juice over the zucchini cubes and toss them on the baking sheet in the oven. Bake them for 15 minutes, then open the oven, mix them, toss them turn them and bake for 3-4 minutes more. When done, set aside.
  • In a bowl combine the lettuce, spinach, the chopped bell pepper, the wax pepper, the chopped scallion and the garlic cloves. Mix well. Set aside.
  • Sprinkle the chopped avocado with some lemon juice and add it to the bowl.
  • Sauté shrimp in a skillet, that is sprinkled (or greased) with an olive oil. Do this over medium heat for a minute or two per side (or until pink – which usually means 1-2 minutes). Sprinkle shrimp with some lemon juice, add salt and pepper to taste and if desired a little chopped garlic.
  • Add the warm shrimp to the salad. If desired a tablespoon of olive oil or balsamic vinegar.

Calories:

240.1 kcal without 2 slices of whole grain bread

383.4 kcal with 2 slices of whole grain bread

Total Fat 17.3 g (~25%)

Saturated Fat 2.4 g (10%)

Polyunsaturated Fat 1.1 g

Monounsaturated Fat 6.7 g

Cholesterol 56.7 mg (~19%)

Sodium 141.8 mg (9.5%)

Potassium 604.2 mg (8%)

Total Carbohydrate 14.1 g (4.5%)

Dietary Fiber 6.5 g (~22% – 26%)

Sugars 3.0 g (3.3%)

Protein 11.0 g (22%)

Vitamin A 73.4 %, Vitamin B12 7.2 %, Vitamin B6 13.3 %, Vitamin C 49.4 %, Vitamin D 14.2 %, Vitamin E 13.3 %, Calcium 8.1 %, Copper 13.4 %, Folate 26.6 %, Iron 15.9 %, Magnesium 11.4 %, Manganese 23.9 %, Niacin (Vit.B3) 11.8 %, Pantothenic Acid (Vit.B5) 9.6 %, Phosphorus 14.8 %, Riboflavin (Vit.B2) 8.8 %, Selenium 21.5 %, Thiamin (Vit.B1) 7.6 %, Zinc 6.5 %

4.  Chickpeas salad with veggies and black&white sesame

This is for the chickpea lovers. Personally, I am not crazy about chickpeas, unless it’s baked, but this is what many people like, so here goes:

Serving for 3 people.

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Ingredients:

      Salad

  • 1 can (14 oz. or 400 g) chickpeas
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 green long pepper (Hungarian wax pepper) chopped
  • 1 medium cucumber cubed
  • 2 medium tomatoes cubed
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame
  • 1 garlic clove chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Dressing

  • 2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoon light balsamic vinegar (optional)

 

Directions:

  • Combine all veggies together
  • Add the chickpea from the can
  • Mix
  • Add the black and white sesame
  • Add the salt and pepper
  • In a mixing bowl combine the sesame oil, the grated ginger and the vinegar. Mix very fast until the mixture is uniform or homogenous or smooth…
  • Add the smooth dressing to the salad, mix well and you’re ready to go.

 

Calories:

312.9 kcal

Total Fat 14.0 g (20%)

Saturated Fat 1.9 g (~8%)

Polyunsaturated Fat 5.9 g

Monounsaturated Fat 5.1 g

Cholesterol 0.0 mg

Sodium 463.8 mg (~31%)

Potassium 570.0 mg (12%)

Total Carbohydrate 40.3 g (13%)

Dietary Fiber 8.3 g (~28% – 33%)

Sugars 1.5 g (~1.7%)

Protein 9.1 g (18%)

Vitamin A 19.7 %, Vitamin B12 0.0 %, Vitamin B6 39.7 %, Vitamin C 78.9 %, Vitamin D 0.0 %, Vitamin E 4.4 %, Calcium 11.9 %, Copper 29.7 %, Folate 29.3 %, Iron 18.3 %, Magnesium 19.5 %, Manganese 55.6 %, Niacin (Vit.B3) 5.1 %, Pantothenic Acid (Vit.B5) 7.8 %, Phosphorus 19.4 %, Riboflavin (Vit.B2) 6.9 %, Selenium 6.6 %, Thiamin (Vit.B1) 10.5 %, Zinc 13.9 %

5.  Whole grain pasta salad

As someone who adores Mediterranean food, I cannot not mention pasta salad. When people hear me say I love pasta, they look at me with a weird look in their eyes (gasp! Calories!), but they are full of understanding (sigh! Tasty!).

pasta-1884008_1280

Whole grain pasta in this case is a healthy choice.

Serving for 3 people.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lbs (450 g or 25 small strands) asparagus, trimmed and cut into 0.5 inches (~1.5 cm) pieces
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 5 lbs (200 grams) champignon mushrooms
  • 1 cup carrots chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon parmesan if desired
  • 300 g whole grain pasta

Instructions:

  • In a pan add a tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the zucchini, carrots and onion. Set aside.
  • In olive oil (1 tablespoon) sauté the asparagus and add the mushrooms. Cook for few (3-5 minutes) and add the zucchini, carrots and onion. Add some salt and pepper. Mix well. Set aside.
  • Cook pasta al dente. Drain it and add the veggies. Toss and mix, then serve on a dish.
  • Sprinkle with parmesan if you wish and garnish with fresh basil.

 

Calories:

370.6 kcal without the parmesan

378.2 kcal with the parmesan

The nutritional info is given for the salad with parmesan. For the salad, without added parmesan, total fat is lower and some nutrition facts are different.

Total Fat 11.3 g (16%)

Saturated Fat 1.6 g (~7%)

Polyunsaturated Fat 0.9 g

Monounsaturated Fat 6.8 g

Cholesterol 1.3 mg (0.4%)

Sodium 349.3 mg (23%)

Potassium 684.0 mg (14.5%)

Total Carbohydrate 59.0 g (19%)

Dietary Fiber 14.7 g (~49% – ~59%)

Sugars 5.8 g (~6.5%)

Protein 14.7 g (~30%)

Vitamin A 138.6 %, Vitamin B12 0.4 %, Vitamin B6 13.8 %, Vitamin C 34.5 %, Vitamin D 0.0 %, Vitamin E 17.2 %, Calcium 7.2 %, Copper 14.5 %, Folate 38.6 %, Iron 16.0 %, Magnesium 26.9 %, Manganese 25.9 %, Niacin (Vit.B3) 10.3 %, Pantothenic Acid (Vit.B5) 4.2 %, Phosphorus 27.7 %, Riboflavin (Vit.B2) 12.0 %, Selenium 4.3 %, Thiamin (Vit.B1) 14.2 %, Zinc 5.5 %

Any recipe can be modified to be healthier. It’s essential that we must love what we eat. If unhealthy and greasy – modify it and make it healthy. That version might take time to get used to (or not), but it’s better for our bodies and minds.

Bon appétit! See you next time.

REFERENCES:

  1. R.D. deShazo, et al.: The Autopsy of Chicken Nuggets Reads “Chicken Little”. The American Journal of Medicine.2013. 126 (11): 1018 – 1019. Online Source: http://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343(13)00396-3/fulltext (03.02.2017)
  2. Eliminating Trans Fats in Europe: A Policy Brief. WHO (World Health Organization), Regional Office for Europe. 2015. Online Source: http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/288442/Eliminating-trans-fats-in-Europe-A-policy-brief.pdf?ua=1 (03.02.2017)
  3. WebMD. The Best Bread: Tips for Buying Breads. How to decipher labels and choose the healthiest bread. Online Source: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/the_best_bread_tips_for_buying_breads#3 (03.02.2017)

RUN TO THE HEELS…OR NOT!

SHORT ABSTRACT:

  • High heels aren’t something new. They can be traced back to ancient Egypt (4000 BC).
  • In ancient Greece heels were worn by actors and in ancient Rome around 200 BC, heels were used by sex workers.
  • As part of the foot binding custom, special shoes called “lotus” were used in China. The heel of those shoes was 10 cm or 4 inches.
  • During the 1400s and until mid 1600s women wore “Chopines”, which were around 76cm (30in) tall, and in order to walk the wearer needed help from servants.
  • The 1500s are the years when the high heel was both practical and fashionable addition to the wardrobe. It was worn by both sexes, especially during horse riding. In 1533 the Queen Mary I of England wore high heels on regular basis.
  • In the 17th century the English Parliament would punish women and try them in court as witches if they were caught wearing heels.
  • During the 18th century the mistress of King Louis XV popularized slender high heels. The shoes even got a name: Pompadour heels. In 1789 Napoleon enforced the Napoleon Code in an effort to demonstrate equality among all people. No one was allowed to wear high heels.
  • In America, the Massachusetts Colony banned heels and they were not seen again until the mid 19th century.
  • By the end of the 19th century women wore 15 cm (6 inches) heels.
  • High heels were different in every decade of the 20th century.
  • The 21st century also offers a variety of heel – styles.
  • The runways for spring/summer 2017 offer all kinds of shapes and sizes of heels, with ankle straps as the main trend of the season.
  • For more than 250 years there have been conversations and disputes about the health problems (especially foot problems) caused by high heels.
  • Wearing high heels provokes venous hypertension.
  • High heels cause bunions (hallux valgus).
  • High heels cause lower back problems, knee joint problems and Haglund’s deformity.
  • High heels alter the anatomy of the calf muscles and tendons.
  • High heels cause injuries from falling.
  • Some good news: high heels can improve or “sharpen” your balance, so later in life you won’t have problems with falls.
  • Tips for better walking in high heels and better health: wear heels lower than 3”; use heel cushions, shoe inserts and soft pads; don’t wear heels every day.
  • Self – help tips: exercise – especially hip exercises; do foot exercises; run in the sand; exercise with the help of bands, boards and balance trainers; enjoy a foot massage; if you don’t like heels at all – don’t wear them. It’s not what everyone wears, it’s how YOU feel in your clothes and footwear!

Heels are sexy. They make your legs longer, make you feel more feminine and confident…And they ruin the feet. I own a few (ok, dozens) pairs of heels. I can’t help it – I love them. Feet hurt like hell if I wear them for more than 6 hours, but I like the way I look in them, so who cares about a pair of feet, right? Right? No?

Heels aren’t something new. No, really – they’re freaking ancient! They can be traced back to ancient Egypt (4000 BC). Ancient Egyptian murals show that heels were worn by nobilities to set them apart from the lower class, who normally walked barefoot. Heels were also worn by butchers, so that they don’t walk in the blood of the slaughtered animals. Heels were used by both sexes.

egyptian-shoes-finalImage Source: nimmafashionsource.blogspot.com

In ancient Greece, heels were worn by actors and in ancient Rome, where sex trade was legal, heels were used by the sex workers, so heels became associated with prostitution. This was around 200 BC.

ancient-rome-and-greece

Image Source: nimmafashionsource.blogspot.com

As part of the foot binding custom, special shoes called “lotus” were used in China. The heel of those shoes was 10 cm or 4 inches.

chinese-bound-footwearImage Source: Wikimedia Commons

Foot binding was a custom of applying painfully tight binding to the feet of young girls to prevent further growth. It became popular as a means of displaying status. The altered feet were called “lotus feet”.

In the Middle ages, both men and women wore “pattens” – these were very high wooden soles that protected their shoes from dust and mud. During the 1400s and until mid 1600s women wore “Chopines”, which have the same use as “pattens”. “Chopines” were exclusively worn by women. They were around 76cm (30in) tall, and in order to walk the wearer needed help from servants.

chopin 1600s

By Rama & the Shoe Museum in Lausanne via wikimedia commons

The 1500s are the years when the high heel was both practical and fashionable addition to the wardrobe. It was worn by both sexes, especially during horse riding. The heel prevented riders from slipping from their stirrups. The combination of fashion, high heels and practicality was first used by Catherine de Medici. It was arranged for her to marry the Duke of Orleans (later the King of France). She wasn’t very tall and the Duke liked taller women, so she used high heels to become more appealing and it worked. High heels went on to become a hit in the high society. In 1533 the Queen Mary I of England wore high heels on regular basis. 

Metmuseum 1600s

Image Source: The Met Museum

In the 17th century the English Parliament looked down upon high heels if they were worn by women to allure men into marriage. The English Parliament would even punish women and try them in court as witches if they were caught wearing heels. At this time, the Massachusetts Colony also banned high heels and prohibited women from wearing them. In France heels were not banned (of course), but there was a catch. The King – Louis XIV wore up to 13cm (5 inches) heels and no one, absolutely no one was allowed to wear higher heels than him. He also declared that red high heels can be worn by nobility. This is the time when high heels became ornamental and decorative.

Louis shoe 1700s

via Wikimedia Commons

800px-Catherine_great's_shoes (1)

Image Source: shakko via Wikimedia Commons

During the 18th century the mistress of King Louis XV popularized slender high heels. Those shoes were incredibly difficult to walk in, and yet – as usual, the fashion spread from Paris across all Europe. The shoes even got a name: Pompadour heels. This didn’t last long, however, as the French Revolution started in 1789, and Napoleon enforced the Napoleon Code in an effort to demonstrate equality among all people. Heels were banned and people stopped wearing them, that is – until 1793, when Marie Antoinette wore them (5cm or 2 inches) to the guillotine at the time of her execution. After that the only “high” heels that were worn were 2 inch – wedges. In America, the Massachusetts Colony also banned heels and they were not seen again until the mid 19th century.

1860s

Image Source: The Met Museum

By the middle of the 19th century heels were popular again. This was the time of the Victorian era, and women would go to great lengths to make their feet seem tiny. This meant wearing really high heels. By the end of the century women wore 15 cm (6 inches) heels. Not everyone was pleased with this though, as high heels became associated with sexuality and many European religious communities and organizations banned them.

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High heels were different in every decade of the 20th century:

In the first decade, the shoes had a small heel, maybe 5 cm (2 inches). The footwear of the decade was a lace up boot or bootie with a French heel.

1910s1

Picture Source: The Met Museum

The 1920s are the flapper era, and in this time heels were fancily decorated and slender.

1920s

Image Source: The Met Museum

During the Great Depression in the 1930s, heels became more practical – they weren’t very high and were wider.

1930s

Image Source: The Met Museum

In the 1940s heels were higher, less wide than the 1930s heels, but they weren’t slender. Also, they were very expensive, so only the rich and famous wore them.

1940s

Livrustkammaren (The Royal Armoury) / Göran Schmidt, via Wikimedia Commons

The 1950s are the stiletto decade. Stiletto shoes are named after the stiletto dagger, which is a long slender blade with needle-like point. This decade is not the first time a stiletto – type heel was worn, however, it is the first decade in which the term “stiletto” was used. Also, in this decade a new technology was used, and the heel was either supported by a metal shaft or a stem was embedded into it.

1950s

Image Source: Los Angeles Times [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In the 1960s women sported really flat shoes. If there was a heel, it was square and small.

audrey-hepburn-401918_1920

Although, in the 1970s the platform heels were the most popular, women stubbornly refused to give up their stilettos, and in 1974 Manolo Blahnik reintroduced the stiletto heel and named it “The Needle”.

1970s

Image Source: By Sheila Thomson from London, England, via Wikimedia Commons

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The 1980s were the years of toweringly high killer heels that could be found in every possible color. Stiletto shoes were still popular, but were slightly different – they were round-toed with slightly thicker (sometimes cone-shaped) semi-stiletto heel.

high-heels-606308_1920

In the 1990s the stiletto heels almost completely disappeared. This is the decade of the thick block heels.

1990s

Image Source: Flickr user “freakapotimus”, via Wikimedia Commons

The 21st century also offers a variety of heel – styles.

When the 2000s kicked off, the fashion was influenced by technology. Almost every year in the 2000s offers different type of heeled footwear.

In the year 2000 the horrible wedge flip flops became popular.

2000s

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Thick heels were still popular in 2001 and also sparkling shoes were that year’s madness.

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The year 2002 offered two different types of footwear: either knee-high boots with spiked heels and pointed toes, or thick low heels and round or square toes.

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The shoes in the year 2003 weren’t all that different from 2002.

Girl Happy Birthday Party Street Balloons Walking

Picture Source: Max Pixel

In 2004 the extremely pointed – toe kitten heel appeared, and in my humble opinion, they are one of the ugliest shoes that ever graced our feet. I’m not talking about normally pointed – toe shoes, no, no… These suckers could stab a flea while you’re walking in them.

2004s

Image Source: miss_rogue via Wikimedia Commons

In 2005 high heels were replaced by ballet flats. We’re not talking about clothes, but I will mention that this is the year when the historic and amazing skinny jeans were reintroduced to the world (tight pants were worn since the 1660s).

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In 2006 heels came back and they were all kinds of shapes and sizes – square and wide, thin and high, in color or black/white, jeweled or simple. Cavalier boots and cowboy boots were also very popular.

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In 2007 the monstrous Crocs were very popular. Square heels disappeared from the scene and a slenderer, although still not very thin heels took their place.

Wedding Shoes Bows Pink Shoes Pink Bride Wedding

Image Source: Max Pixel

Blue Pebbles Beach Boots Crocs Rhinestones

Image Source: Max Pixel

In 2008 slender heels were still worn, but flat footwear reigned. Women wore riding boots, flat gladiator sandals, ballet flats and never stopped buying the unfortunate looking uggs.

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ugg boots

Image Source: TexasDex, via Wikimedia Commons

The trend of the slender heel remained through the year 2009.

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The second decade of the 21st century offers incredible variety in high heeled footwear.

The 2010 is the year when interesting, sculpted heels appeared on the market.

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2010s

Image Source: Touzrimounir, via Wikimedia Commons

The year 2011 offered us narrow, slender and also sculpted high heels.

queen-fan-1288274_1920

2011s

Image Source: Pol Quadens, via Wikimedia Commons

In 2012 Hunter rain boots became very popular. The heels of footwear were like the ones in 2010 and 2011, only this year metallic colors and sparkles were added to the mix.

Hunter_rainboots

Image Source: Jen (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

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In 2013 the stiletto heel came back with a vengeance, not that they were ever gone (except in the 1990s) but this time they were thinner, taller and more amazing than ever. 

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2013S

Mabalu (photograph), Sophia Webster shoes (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

The same trend continued through the year 2014, and in 2015 the height of the heel started to vary. Flat footwear, especially blucher shoes were very popular and their popularity continued throughout the year 2016. The heel sizes and shapes in 2016 were of biggest variety and block heels also came back on the market.

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2016s

Image Source: Cici water (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

Fashion High Heels Shoes Sandals Footwear Feet

Image Source: Max Pixel

The runways for spring/summer 2017 offer all kinds of shapes and sizes of heels with ankle straps as the main trend of the season. 

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sandals-489497_1280

Now that we’ve discussed the interesting history of high heels, I’m gonna spoil your mood with the facts of what high heels can do to your (our) feet. They can:

  • cause foot and tendon pain;
  • increase the likelihood of sprains and fractures;
  • make calves look more rigid and sinewy;
  • can create foot deformities, including hammer toes and bunions;
  • can cause an unsteady gait;
  • can shorten the wearer’s stride;
  • can render the wearer unable to run;
  • can exacerbate lower back pain;
  • alter forces at the knee so as to predispose the wearer to degenerative changes in the knee joint;
  • can result after frequent wearing in a higher incidence of degenerative joint disease of the knees. This is because they cause a decrease in the normal rotation of the foot, which puts more rotation stress on the knee. (1)

I’m not done with the bad news. I’m not letting you guys off the hook that easy! Time for researched facts and proof that heels are bad for our feet and health in general. If you read further, you will also read why heels are good for us. And – of course: some great tips to help you (us) walk better and spend more time in heels (if we want to wear them). So, all in good time. 

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For more than 250 years there have been conversations and disputes about the health problems (especially foot problems) caused by high heels, but there have never been any data from any studies to officially validate these issues.

A survey has found that after one hour, six minutes and 48 seconds heels start to hurt. Women have approximately four times as many foot issues as men do, and many of those issues are contributed to the wearing of high heels. Foot problems aren’t the only issues women have.

WEARING HIGH HEELS PROVOKES VENOUS HYPERTENSION

According to a study, conducted by the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at the University of São Paulo in Brazil, high heels reduce muscle pump function and the continuous use of high heels tends to provoke venous hypertension in the lower limbs and may represent a causal factor of venous disease symptoms. (2)

Another study has concluded that the wearer’s experience in wearing high heels doesn’t provide many health advantages. The only thing that is different between groups of experienced high heel wearers and not so experienced wearers (provided that they don’t stumble from their heels on every few seconds) is better directional control. (3)

HIGH HEELS CAUSE BUNIONS (HALLUX VALGUS)

One of the most significant and pathological foot problem caused by wearing high heels are of course – bunions or hallux valgus. Hallux valgus (bunion) turns the toe out of the mid-line of the body axis and around the great toe there is a red-swollen and very painful sensation on the inside of the foot. There are many causes for hallux valgus including hereditary predispositions, but the primary cause is wearing of high heeled shoes for a longer period of time. (4)

bunion

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

bunion-scale

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

There are some ways to control bunions, but ultimately podiatrists will recommend surgery. Things you can do, to ease your suffering are:

  • maintain a normal weight.
  • Protect the bunion with a moleskin or gel-filled pad. You can buy it at a drugstore.
  • Use shoe inserts to help position the foot correctly. These can be over-the-counter arch supports or prescription orthotic devices.
  • Under a doctor’s guidance, wear a splint at night to hold the toe straight and ease discomfort.
  • Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Use warm soaks, ice packs, ultrasound and massage.
  • Buy well-fitting footwear that are wide in the toe area. (5)

holiday-feet.jpg

HIGH HEELS ALTER THE ANATOMY OF THE CALF MUSCLES AND TENDONS

The more feet are forced into a position of wearing heels, the more the calf muscle fibers will shorten. The higher the heel, the bigger the body’s incline, greatly increasing the weight concentrated on the ball of the foot. That means wearing a 7cm (3 in) heel concentrates double the body’s weight on this area. Problems can show up after just six months wearing heels. (4)

anatomy of leg

Image Source: OpenStax, via Wikimedia Commons

HIGH HEELS AND FALLING

A new study has shown that nearly 40% of women who wear high heels have experienced an accident – tripping, getting the heel caught in a groove in the ground, sprained, twisted or broken ankle, etc…

We’ve all ran in heels, let’s be honest, but whenever we run (or even walk), there’s always a possibility that this kind of injury will happen sooner or later. I’m very aware of this, so every time I have a lot of walking or running, good ol’ flats (or Converse) never fail me. 

giphy copy.gif

Image Source: GIPHY

HIGH HEELS AND KNEE JOINTS

A study examined the effects of increased heel height and gait velocity on balance control and knee joint position sense, and found that increased walking speed in high heels produced significant negative effects on knee joint sense and balance control. (6)

Another study showed a large increase in bone-on-bone forces in the knee joint caused by high-heeled walking, which may explain the higher incidence of osteoarthritis in the knee joint in women as compared with men. (7)

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HIGH HEELS AND LOWER BACK PROBLEMS

A study was made on young and middle aged women who wore high heels on a daily basis. It found that increased lumbar erector spinae muscle (the muscle that rotates the back) activity associated with wearing high-heeled shoes could aggravate muscle overuse and lead to low back problems. The lower pelvic range of motion associated with wearing high heels in middle-aged women may indicate that tissues in the lumbopelvic region become more rigid with age, and that the harmful effect of high-heeled shoes on posture and spinal tissues may be more pronounced with advancing age. (8)

low-back

Image Source: cloudmind

Spondylolisthesis, or the slippage of one vertebra forward over another, frequently occurs as a result of wearing high heels, especially in the lumbar region of the spine (the lower back) where the body’s weight is concentrated. Each foramen (opening) is created by the natural space between two stacked vertebrae, and foraminal stenosis with nerve compression may ultimately develop as a direct result of vertebral slippage. (9)

spondilosis

Blue arrow shows normal pars interarticularis

Red arrow shows brake in pars interarticularis.

Image Source: James Heilman, MD (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

Foraminal stenosis in the lower back can cause symptoms of acute pain, in addition to numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, spasms, cramping and pain that scatters through the buttocks and down the legs. (9)

Spinal_Stenosis

Image Source: Blausen.com staff (2014). “Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014”. WikiJournal of Medicine. Via Wikimedia Commons

Sciatica, caused by the compression of the sciatic nerve (this is the nerve that begins in the lower back and runs through the buttock and down the lower limb), is a term that is often associated with this particular set of lower-body symptoms. (9)

Sciatica

Image Source: Henry Vandyke Carter [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

HIGH HEELS AND HAGLUND’S DEFORMITY

Haglund’s deformity was first described by Patrick Haglund in 1927. It is a very common clinical condition, but still poorly understood. Haglund’s deformity is an abnormality of the bone and soft tissues in the foot. An enlargement of the bony section of the heel (where the Achilles tendon is inserted) triggers this condition. The soft tissue near the back of the heel can become irritated when the large, bony lump rubs against rigid shoes (for example a high heeled shoe). (10)

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Image Source: rydepodiatry.com.au

Treatment of this condition requires surgery or injecting the retrocalcaneal bursa (that’s the back of the ankle by the heel) with medication to relieve the pain combined with modifications in daily shoe wear. (11)

Other ways to relieve this Haglund’s deformity are:

  • wear appropriate shoes; avoid shoes with a rigid heel back;
  • use arch supports or orthotic devices;
  • perform stretching exercises to prevent the Achilles tendon from tightening;
  • avoid running on hard surfaces and running uphill. (12)

WHY ARE HIGH HEELS GOOD FOR US?

Why should we suffer? What do high heels do for us? Well, they:

  • add height.
  • Empower women.
  • Draw attention.
  • Enhance confidence.
  • Accentuate legs.
  • Spice up the bedroom game.
  • Make many women feel sexier.
  • And – according to one doctor’s thesis (Christopher Walker) at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, wearing heels can improve or “sharpen” your balance, so later in life you won’t have problems with falls. (13)

 

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TIPS FOR BETTER HIGH HEEL WALKING AND BETTER HEALTH

 

  • Wear heels that are max. 7.5cm (3in) high and not higher than that. Higher heels should be worn on rare occasions, because they will change the biomechanics of your walking.

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Image Source: caphillstyle.com

  • Thicker heels are more stable, just to make a note of that. I’m not gonna say that you should wear thicker heels only, because I wouldn’t listen to me either. It’s just not gonna happen – it’s that simple. But I will stick to the advice above (3” heels).
  • Wear your heels, don’t let your heels wear you! This means: shoulders back, chest out! And don’t forget – place your heel on the ground first.

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  • Do not wear high heels every day. Mix it up.
  • Use heel cushions, shoe inserts and soft pads – these will lessen the impact of the foot hitting the pavement.

 

LAST BUT NOT LEAST: SOME SELF – HELP TIPS

  • Exercise – especially hip exercises. There are some great exercises online or on YouTube.
  • Do foot exercises with a little ball: roll it under the ball, arch and heel of your foot for a couple of minutes.
  • Run in the sand. Running in sand is a great way to increase the strength and flexibility in your feet. This may not be possible for those who don’t have an access to a beach, though.

sand

  • Exercise with the help of bands, boards and balance trainers.
  • Enjoy a foot massage.
  • If you don’t like heels at all – don’t wear them. It’s not what everyone wears, it’s how YOU feel in your clothes and footwear!

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So, that’s it for this week. See you on our next journey together! 

REFERENCES:

  1. Wikipedia. Online Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-heeled_footwear (29.12.2016).
  2. W.T. Filho, N.R.A. Dezzotti, E.E. Joviliano, T. Moriya, C.E. Piccinato: Influence of high-heeled shoes on venous function in young women. Journal of Vascular Surgery. 56. (4). 2012: 1039–1044. Online Source: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0741521412001176 (29.12.2016).
  3. V.D. Hapsari and S. Xiong: Effects of high heeled shoes wearing experience and heel height on human standing balance and functional mobility. Ergonomics. 59. (2). 2016. Online Source: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00140139.2015.1068956 (29.12.2016).
  4. J. Domjanić, D. Ujević, B. Wallner & H. Seidler: Increasing Women’s Attractiveness: High Heels, Pains and Evolution – A GMM Based Study. 8th. International Textile, Clothing & Design Conference – Magic World of Textiles (October 02. to 05 2016), Dubrovnik, Croatia. Online Source: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/309134441_Increasing_Women’s_Attractiveness_High_Heels_Pains_and_Evolution_-_A_GMM_Based_Study (29.12.2016).
  5. Health Cleveland Clinic. Online Source: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2014/12/7-ways-to-ease-your-bunions-without-surgery/ (29.12.2016).
  6. I.Y. Jang, D.H. Kang, J.K. Jeon, H.J. Jun, J.H. Lee: The effects of shoe heel height and gait velocity on position sense of the knee joint and balance. Journal of Physical Therapy Science. 28. (9). 2016: 2482-2485 Online Source: https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jpts/28/9/28_jpts-2016-317/_article (29.12.2016).
  7. E.B. Simonsen, M.B. Svendsen, A. Nørreslet, H.K. Baldvinsson, T. Heilskov-Hansen, P.K. Larsen, T. Alkjær and M. Henriksen: Walking on High Heels Changes Muscle Activity and the Dynamics of Human Walking Significantly. Journal of applied biomechanics. 28. (1). 2012: 20-8. Online Sources: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/221723818_Walking_on_High_Heels_Changes_Muscle_Activity_and_the_Dynamics_of_Human_Walking_Significantly (29.12.2016).
  8. A.Mika, Ł.E.Oleksy, P.Mika, A.Marchewka, B.C.Clark: The Effect of Walking in High- and Low-Heeled Shoes on Erector Spinae Activity and Pelvis Kinematics During Gait. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. 91. (5). 2012: 425–434. Online Sources: http://journals.lww.com/ajpmr/Abstract/2012/05000/The_Effect_of_Walking_in_High__and_Low_Heeled.7.aspx (29.12.2016).
  9. Laser Spine Institute. Online Source: https://www.laserspineinstitute.com/articles/foraminal_stenosis/heels/476/ (29.12.2016).  
  10. R. Vaishya, et al.: Haglund’s Syndrome: A Commonly Seen Mysterious Condition. 8. (10). 2016: 820. Online Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5101401/ (29.12.2016).
  11. S.M. Carolyn et al.: Haglund’s Syndrome: Diagnosis and Treatment Using Sonography. HSS Journal 2. (1). 2006: 27–29. Online Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2504114/ (29.12.2016).
  12. Foot Health Facts. Online Source: https://www.foothealthfacts.org/conditions/haglund%E2%80%99s-deformity (29.12.2016). 
  13. Telegraph. Online Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/11248124/High-heels-are-good-for-you-I-knew-my-stilettos-had-a-point.html (29.12.2016).

ANXIETY AND POPULAR, FREE, HELPFUL ORGANIZING METHODS

SHORT ABSTRACT:

  • There’s normal fear and then there’s pathological anxiety. When the state of fear becomes exaggerated, the amygdala and the extended amygdala play a central role.
  • Mental disorganization sometimes comes from poor time management, poor organization skills, procrastinating, and then also from the anger, disappointment and sadness that come after poor performance.
  • You don’t need an expensive planner or 30 apps to keep you organized. All you need is determination, plan, commitment and – of course: action to achieve an organized life. Choose one or two organizational tools. 
  • Mentioned Notes and To-Do List Apps: Evernote, OneNote, Google Keep, Simplenote, Apple Notes, Quip, Dropbox Paper, Wunderlist and Todoist.
  • Mentioned Productivity Apps and Calendars: My effectiveness, isoTimer (To-Do Calendar Planner), Google Calendar, Jorte Calendar &Organizer and TimeTune: Optimize Your Time.
  • Mentioned Habit, Health and Fitness apps: Fabulous – Motivate Me, Lifesum – The Health Movement and 8fit – Workout & Meal Plans.
  • Mentioned Article Organizing Apps: Pocket, Flipboard: Your News Magazine and Feedly: Your Work Newsfeed.
  • Filofax – Type Organizers and Bullet Journals. Scroll down to find out which web-sites offer some great free printables.

Have you ever had so many things to do but seemingly so little time? Ever felt like the whole world is crushing over you? Ever felt your palms sweating, your breathing quickening, your knees weakening, your heart pumping really loud and really fast and your inside voices screaming too loud? That is anxiety. Or at least one form of anxiety.

There’s normal fear and then there’s pathological anxiety. Let me give you an example: normal fear is when a student has an oral exam at uni with a professor that confuses being strict with being a psycho. I think the above symptoms describe the normal fear, or normal anxiety quite well. It’s an emotion, like any other. When we experience fear, the amygdala plays a central role.

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Image Credit: RobinH. at wikibooks

Being afraid of what the questions and what your answers might be in an exam is not the only source of anxiety. It could be because of number of reasons, including relationship problems, loneliness, lose of someone, disorganized environment, etc. When the state of fear becomes exaggerated, the amygdala and the extended amygdala light up like a Christmas tree.  (1)

I’m not going to write about the basics of anxiety, you can read about it here: https://girlscientified.wordpress.com/page/2/.

Here, I will be talking about anxiety that arises from overwork and disorganization. I’m not gonna talk about physical clutter, either. If you want to read about home organization and the difference between clutter and hoarding, then go here: https://girlscientified.wordpress.com/2016/10/13/is-clutter-in-your-mind-or-in-your-environment-or-maybe-both/

Mental disorganization sometimes comes from poor time management, poor organization skills, procrastinating, and then also from the anger, disappointment and sadness that come after poor performance. In these cases, it doesn’t matter how smart you are, or what you’ve done in the past, or what you’re planning for the future. In many of these cases, help is needed to organize oneself and to stick to being organized. This is the topic for the week – how to avoid anxiety through self-organization, and how to avoid poor performance because of overwhelm, frustration and disorganization.

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Before I became an organized person, the biggest problem I had, was choosing and sticking to an organizational tool. My organizing skills were all over the place. I would choose one organizer, start using it for a month or two, see another one that looks really great (either an electronic one or paper one) and start using that one. That behavior was repetitive, of course unproductive and annoying. It’s hard to keep up when you have too many organizing tools – you have to enter the information in the first organizer, then in the other one and the other one, and so on. So – time consuming and not really helpful.

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Anxiety, therefore, comes from disorganized thoughts: your brain first has to recall where (in which calendar, or organizational tool) that information is written down. Before that happens, you become frustrated and overwhelmed. Basically, what I learned is that you don’t need an expensive planner or 30 apps to keep you organized. Trust me – duplicate, triplicate files can create chaos. All you need is determination, plan, commitment and – of course: action to achieve an organized life. It sounds hard – it is

Whatever organizer you choose is OK, as long as it does the job. Here are few examples, and remember: do not use all of them! Pick one or two.

NOTE and TO-Do LIST APPS

Evernote vs. OneNote vs. Google Keep vs. Simplenote vs. Apple Notes vs. Quip vs. Dropbox Paper vs. Wunderlist vs. Todoist

  • Evernote – Evernote (iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Web) is free, but there is also Plus version ($34.99 annually) and a Premium version ($69.99 annually). Prices may vary by location. 

With Evernote you can write notes, make notebooks, checklists and to-dos. It supports all kinds of formats (from text and sketches, to audio and video). You can also do web clippings and use camera to capture pieces of paper and even comment on them. You can also attach all kinds of documents including MS Office docs, PDFs, handwritten notes, sketches, photos, bills, etc. You can record audio, share stuff with others and sync anywhere. So it’s very versatile.

The Plus version gives you more space (1 GB each month), you can sync your data on unlimited number of devices (the free version lets you use only 2), You can access your notes offline and save emails.

The Premium version gives you 10 GB of space, scan and digitize business cards, lets you sync with an unlimited number of devices and you can search inside Office docs and attachments, etc. It’s more like a filling cabinet, where you keep all your notebooks, bills, photos, audios, videos, etc.

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Image credit: theunquietlibrarian Evernote for iPhone App: Menu of Notes Options via photopin (license)

  • OneNote – OneNote (iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Web) is really my favorite. Here you can do everything, just like in Evernote, except Evernote’s clipping tool is better.

Still, OneNote is 100% free and I love the notebook. You can use OneNote as notebook, journal and a notepad. You can access your notebook offline and it has many menu items and offers more note formatting options then Evernote.

Evernote’s mobile version is better, but OneNote is constantly improving. 

onenote

Image Source: brighthub.com

  • Google Keep – Google Keep (iOS, Android, Web) is for quick note taking and capturing whatever is on your mind. No fuss. I love Google Keep. I make fast check list notes here. You can also record a voice memo and it’s completely free! You can sync it with other devices. You can’t, however, save long notes, like articles and web-pages. It’s just for simple and fast note taking.

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Image Source: sagesolar via flickr  (CC BY 4.0)

  • Simplenote (iOS, Android, Mac, Web) – this app is free and true to its name – it is very simple and clean. It’s all about speed and efficiency. You can use tags and pins, you can’t, however add images and attachments. If you don’t need any note formatting, just writing things down – then this app is for you.

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photo credit: bump American Shepherd’s Pie: iPhone Macro via photopin (license)

  • Apple Notes (iOS, Mac, Web) – this app comes with the Apple device. It’s a simple note taking tool. Beside taking notes, with this app you can also add images, attachments, you can write with a pen, create to-do lists, save articles and even format your notes. So, it’s very versatile and already on your device. The app is of course free, but if you want some extra storage you have to pay.
  • Quip (iOS, Android, Web) – With this app you can chat, edit docs and spreadsheets, organize task lists, share notes and docs with co-workers, etc. Collaboration with this app is fast and easy. You can also export docs to PDF, MS Word and Excel. Formatting text here is an issue, so you should keep that in mind. Otherwise, a solid note taking tool.

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Image Source: softpedia.com

  • Dropbox Paper (Web) – This app is free, but there isn’t a mobile version. It’s a digital blank sheet of paper used within dropbox. You can add comments and there are stickers available to make things more interesting. You can share your notes and export them to PDF or a file in your dropbox.

dropbox-paper

engadget.com

  • Wunderlist: To-Do List & Tasks (iOS and Android) – This one is free and is used to make to-do lists. It’s very simple and lets you set due dates, reminders and you can also share your lists.

wunderlist

Image Source: gauraw.com

  • Todoist: To-Do List & Task List (iOS, Android, Mac, Web) – This app is free and very simple. You can collaborate with your team or share notes with your family. You can make sub-tasks, color-coded projects, sub-projects and priority levels. You can also set weekly/monthly goals and track your progress with color-coded graphs.

todoist

Image Source: Todoist blog

PRODUCTIVITY APPS AND CALENDARS

There are so many apps to increase your productivity and organize your life, that it is impossible to mention all of them. Moreover, I think if I mention too many of them, you will get confused and not know what to choose, so I will only mention 5 apps.

My effectiveness vs. isoTimer (To-Do Calendar Planner) vs. Google Calendar vs. Jorte Calendar &Organizer vs. TimeTune: Optimize Your Time

 

  • My Effectiveness (Android) – This app is inspired by the excellent book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Dr. Stephen R. Covey.

It’s free and and very unique. The downside is that at first it looks a bit confusing, but if you follow the guide, which is integrated within the app, you’ll get the hang of it.

So, first – you write your mission in life. Then you write down your concerns and which ones you can influence. Then you define your roles and set goals you want to reach for each role. After that, you define concrete steps (actions) and prioritize your actions using 2×2 matrix.

The app uses weekly planner. There’s also a pomodoro technique and Google Drive integration. It’s a pretty cool app.

my-effectivenes

Image Source: Google Play Store

  • isoTimer (To – Calendar Planner) (Android, Web) – This app is one of my favorites. There is no way you would forget anything with this one. It’s beautiful looking and practical. There’s a free version and a premium (paid version).

The free version though, is not just a pretty face. You can add goals, tasks, subtasks, events, attach notes, pictures or Google Maps to your tasks. If you use it with the Google calendar, that’s when you can sync all your calendar data together, so when you add an event to one calendar it goes on them all, which is much easier and saves you risk of missing to add an important appointment to one of your calendars. The calendar is with daily, weekly, monthly and agenda view. The app also has a daily journal, where you can track your life.

The paid version lets you synchronize with Google Tasks, plan your goals in project view, collaborate on tasks and projects, get organize with daily step – by – step routine, create backups and restore them, protect your data with a password and export data to CSV files.

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Image Source: techsupportalert.com

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Image Source: Click

  • Google Calendar (iOS, Android, Mac, Web) – This calendar (free, of course) needs no special introduction, as it is used by more then 100 million people. I love that events from gmail (flights, seminars, etc) are added to the calendar automatically. There’s a daily, weekly and monthly view, you can create to-dos and add personal goals like yoga 3 times a week, and the calendar will schedule time for them automatically, which is really cool.
  • Jorte Calendar & Organizer (iOS, Android, Mac, Web) – This calendar also has a daily, weekly and monthly view. You can sync calendars, schedules and tasks across all your devices. It supports importing from Google Calendar and you can sync with Evernote, too. This app allows you writing notes and tasks; it has a diary; a countdown feature; you can include photos; there’s also a lunar calendar and many more features to explore. The calendar has a free and premium version. The premium users have passcode lock, more icons and themes, can hide ads, and much more.

jorte

Image Source: coolmomtech.com

  • TimeTune: Optimize your time (Android) – This one does not offer a calendar, but is designed to analyze your distribution of time and optimize your daily routine, so you can boost your productivity. Here you make routine schedules, share them with other people and create tags and reminders. It’s free, but there’s also a paid version, which allows you to run your routines automatically on specific dates and more themes are available.

timetune

Image Source: techulator.com

HABIT, HEALTH AND FITNESS APPS

Fabulous – Motivate Me vs. Lifesum – The Health Movement vs. 8fit – Workout & Meal Plans

 

  • Fabulous – Motivate Me (Android, iOS-coming soon) – this is a science based app, that will help you build healthy rituals into your life. You get a personal coach that guides you through your journey. You get emails, tasks you must complete, goals and weekly reviews. It’s a very charming (free) app.

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Image Source: thefabulous.co

  • Lifesum – The Health Movement (Android, iOS) – This app helps you make better food choices, improve your exercise, and reach your health goals. It is for everyone – people who want to lose weight, gain weight or maintain weight. It helps you build healthy habits in small sustainable steps. The app reminds you to drink water, gives you a selection of diets to follow, summaries on your progress and gives you a feedback on how to improve the quality of what you eat. It’s available on Android wear devices, too and can be integrated with Google Fit and S Health. You can also share your progress with the community. The app is free, but there is a premium version which gives the members detailed meal information and nutritional value.

lifesum

Image Source: apkpromod.org

  • 8fit – Workout & Meal Plans (Android, iOS) – 8fit is a free app that gives you a personalized fitness and nutrition plan. You get daily reminders to your email or phone. The meals are based on your personal goals, body composition activity levels and dietary choices. For the exercises, you get daily motivation from fitness trainers, time-efficient exercises and many other exercise programs. There’s also a premium version that gives you time-efficient recipes, shopping list to plan your week and many recipes.

8fit

Image Source: 8fit.android.informer.com

ARTICLE ORGANIZING APPS

Pocket vs. Flipboard: Your News Magazine vs. Feedly: Your Work Newsfeed

 

  • Pocket (iOS, Android, Mac, Web) – This app is created so that you would be able to save, discover and recommend articles on the Web. It’s free and you have unlimited storage.

pocket

Image Source: apk4fun

  • Flipboard: Your News Magazine (iOS, Android, Mac, Web) – This one is like a personal magazine, you save the news and topics that interest you and you can also share them with the community. It’s free.

flipboard

Image Source: iclarified.com

  • Feedly: Your Work Newsfeed (iOS, Android, Mac, Web) – With this app you can connect to your favorite blogs, websites, podcasts, YouTube channels and RSS feeds. It’s free and you can share what you’re reading on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Evernote, OneNote, etc.

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Image Source: androidpolice.com

FILOFAX – TYPE ORGANIZERS

 

If you don’t like digitalized organization, or want digitalized and paper organization, then good old Filofax never fails.

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You can also start a bullet journal, which is always a great idea. Buy a good notebook – something that you would love to write in.

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Image Source: bohoberry.com

I use Moleskine notebook, mostly because of esthetics and because the paper is really great, but you can use any notebook.

moleskine

Image Source: writersstore.com

You can also make your own organizer using pritables.

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Image Source: Pinterest

Here are some websites I’ve found on the Web that offer free printables:

http://organizedhome.com/printable

http://diyplanner.com/templates/index

https://www.printableplanners.net/

http://philofaxy.blogspot.si/p/diary-inserts.html

http://scatteredsquirrel.com/printable/personal-planner/

http://www.mymaysunshine.com/p/printables.html

http://retrohousewifegoesgreen.com/2015/01/diy-planner-free-printables-included/

https://www.emilyley.com/products/printables

The biggest mistake would be to choose too many apps and too many ways to organize yourself. Your phone/tablet/desktop becomes cluttered with apps and anxiety will come back. A great calendar (max. 2) and an app that offers space for notes and to-do lists are essential. 

Happy organizing!

See you next week!

REFERENCES: 

  1. J.B. Rosen, J. Schulkin: From normal fear to pathological anxiety. Psychol Rev. 1998 105(2): 325-50.

IS FRENCH DIET AND STYLE THE MOST TRENDING THING NOW?

SHORT ABSTRACT:

  • The French diet is traditional and mostly unprocessed. People eat meals at a table, not while walking, driving or watching TV.
  • French people eat small portions and appreciate quality over quantity.
  • The French like drinking red wine and eating a dessert.
  • Paris has been a fashion capital since the 17th century.
  • The French style is minimalistic, yet chic. Essentials are: trench-coat, men’s wear, white shirt, great flats, not too-tall heels, Breton top, neutral colors and little jewelry.
  • The fit of the clothes is very important. Relaxed look can also be very chic.
  • Hair and makeup are understated and natural.   

 

Ah, France. Home of the Eiffel Tower, great food, many kings, the fries, wine and fashion. And living in the moment. And eating in the moment.

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I went to Paris couple of years ago, and I didn’t see one person eating on the streets or while driving. Parisians were gracefully seating on the chairs in the restaurants. Clothes were quite simple, but polished. No “multitasking”, only enjoying every minute of the meal through conversation, if they had company. It seemed like eating food represented some kind of a ritual. They enjoyed it and respected it. And paid good money for it.

I also visited Fontainebleau. It’s located about 55 and a half kilometers (about 35 miles) south or southeast from the center of Paris. It’s a beautiful place with a beautiful and rich local market. The French love their local markets. The smell of the fresh produce was amazing. I mean, you could buy anything – fresh veggies and fruits, fish and – of course, flowers.

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Image Source: Stokpic (pexels)

We sat down to eat in a restaurant and portions were small, quite expensive, but delicious. It’s true what people say about the French food – it is good. And it got me thinking – why are the French people healthier (lower incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD)) than the rest of the world? What do the French people do, that the rest of the world doesn’t?

I will tackle the diet first, as I think the fashion thing is a bit individualistic – some people may like it and others may not. But, when it comes to healthy eating – I think it’s safe to say that we’ll all jump on the wagon.

Here are few “secrets” (they are not really secrets), that I have learned about the French diet:

  • EAT YOUR MEALS AT A TABLE, NOT WHILE WALKING, NOT WHILE DRIVING AND NOT IN FRONT OF THE TV.

As I said above, to them eating food is a ritual, they respect the food. They sit at the table, especially with friends or family and eat.

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Image Source: Tookapic (pexels)

I can almost hear your thoughts: I have kids, mortgage, car, job, two jobs, three jobs, uni, classes…No time!!

Well, there’s a simple solution for your busy life – MAKE TIME!

It is a myth, that being too busy leads to poor nutrition and bad eating habits. The only problem here is – when you come home and you’re wiped out hungry, anything that might resemble a meal is a good idea. So, what to do?

Well, like everything in our busy lives – planning comes to mind. It doesn’t have to be a rigid plan. I mean, so many people meticulously plan every aspect of their lives – except when it comes to eating food. The best thing to do is to plan the whole week, so – seven days, seven meals and don’t forget to include leftovers, which can be incorporated in the next day’s meal.

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It is one thing to come home, hungry, but without an idea of what to eat and attack the fridge; and another thing to come home and to know exactly what you will eat, according to your meal plan. Buy the groceries the previous day, and if you’re up to it – prepare whatever you can for the next day.

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When I come home dead beat and hungry, first I make myself a cup of tea – because it’s something that relaxes me and I really enjoy it, and then I prepare dinner. It’s really not that hard, it just has to become a habit. It doesn’t take long to grill a fish or take frozen veggies from the freezer and put them in boiling water or the microwave.

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Image Source: Tookapic (pexels)

So – plan and execute. Next: sit down and eat. Slowly! It helps digestion and maintaining weight. A research has shown, that energy intake was lower when the meal was eaten slowly, and satiety was higher at meal completion. (1)

  • EAT SMALL PORTIONS

This one’s a no brainer and repeated time and time everywhere – blog posts, books, lectures, etc. It seems that the French are eating smaller portions (less food) for a longer period of time, and hence have more food experience.

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Multiple laboratory studies, supported by data from free-living settings, demonstrated that portion size has a powerful and proportionate effect on the amount of food consumed. Of particular importance is that rounds of overeating associated with large portions are sustained and not followed by a compensatory reduction in energy intake. The positive effect of portion size on energy intake was demonstrated for different types of foods and beverages, and is particularly pronounced with energy-dense foods. The habit of overeating in response to large portions is common, and occurs regardless of demographic characteristics, such as socioeconomic status, age, body mass index, and sex. (2) (3)

If you want to read a bit more about portions sizes, psychology and appetite, you can visit one of my older blog posts.

  • QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

Good food is expensive, right? I currently live in Central Europe and the food at the local market is expensive. So, I make a plan what to buy from the local market and what to buy from a supermarket. We all have certain lifestyle needs, but is good quality food included in those? It should be. Buying seasonal produce is healthy and actually cheaper than buying foods that aren’t.

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Produce from the local market tends to be fresh, unprocessed and packed with nutrients. Depending on what you like to eat, make a list of what you can buy from the local market and elsewhere. With good planning quality food can be on your table, too.

  • CHOOSE TRADITIONAL DIET

This is where the French paradox comes to mind: how can someone eat products made with white flour, that contain white sugar, saturated fats, red meats and drink alcohol, and have lower incidence of coronary heart disease??

Well, there’s a difference between saturated fats in unprocessed foods and saturated fats in processed foods.

food-restaurant-dinner-lunch

Image Source: jeshoots (pexels)

The French diet is heavy in fat, sugar and salt—but from wine, salami, cheese, bread, red meat, grains and desserts. Skip the salami and red meat if you are a vegetarian and you’re still good to go. Portion control, wide variety of foods and other factors are also in the game.

  • RED WINE

Results from different studies about the association of the antioxidant resveratrol, found especially in red wine, and cardiovascular health, cancer or inflammation are mixed. Some studies point out that there’s no correlation between the antioxidant (found in red wine, chocolate and grapes) and cardiovascular health. (4)

restaurant-love-romantic-dinner

Image Source: Breakingpic (pexels)

Despite the considerable preclinical evidence, human clinical data are very scarce, and even though the compound is widely distributed as an over-the-counter human nutritional supplement, its therapeutic action has not been well characterized. (5)

Other studies suggest that resveratrol requires red wine polyphenols for optimum antioxidant activity, and that a combination of the compounds exhibited synergistic antioxidant effect, and made resveratrol effective both at lower and higher dosages. (6)

Alcohol consumption in France is smaller than in many places (Luxemburg, Germany, Croatia, etc), but we don’t see lower incidence of CHD in those places. The French predominantly drink red wine, therefore the alcohol in wine might be a factor in the French paradox.

  • FORGET THE GYM AND DO WHAT YOU LOVE (IF YOU LOVE BEING IN THE GYM, THEN MORE POWER TO YOU)

French people seldom go to the gym. Instead, they opt for walking, cycling, dancing, tennis, etc. Those activities are part of their daily lives.

pexels-photo-48675

Image Source: Unsplash (pexels)

Enjoying what you do will determine if you would keep up with your plan to shape up, lose weight, gain muscle mass or simply release stress. If you hate what you do, how can you relax and release stress? Let’s not forget that stress is a huge factor in weight gain and weight loss. There are people who are stress eaters and stress non-eaters. Each suffers the same fate – they can’t reach their goals because of their stress levels. So, do what you love!

  •  EAT THE (VERY SMALL) PIECE OF CAKE OR DARK CHOCOLATE

Yes, you read it right. Eat the piece of cake. Eat it slowly and enjoy the experience. Ending a meal with a small sweet treat, helps cut cravings and we do not have to snack afterwards.  (7)

desert-813924_1280

If by any chance you choose to snack, then opt for fresh foods (fresh fruit, yogurt). No processed garbage (I say that to myself all the time!) and again – small portions eaten slowly.

I think I’ve covered everything in the “diet” part of the post. Most important message is: eat what you love and love what you eat…In small portions.

 

THE FRENCH STYLE

Paris has been a fashion capital since the 17th century. Modern haute couture also originated in Paris in the 1860s. Fashion in France began its domination together with the reign of Louis XIV.

louis-xiv

Louis XIV

Image Source: Britannica

A man named Jean Donneau de Visé further popularized fashion with his marketing of designs to a broad public outside of the French court. He was like a mix between Scott Schuman (The Sartorialist) and Oscar Wilde. Someone who wanted to connect fashion to the “outer” world, and who was a journalist, royal historian, publicist and a very stylish playwright.

Fast forward few centuries, Paris is still the heart of the fashion industry. Parisians are chic, polished and relaxed. Here are few style principles: 

  • STICK TO NEUTRALS

One thing I have noticed, is that Parisians are laid back, but not boring. They don’t wear “loud” color hues, but they grab attention with their poise and confidence.

chiharu-okunugi-mjj_9030

Image Source: Models.com

  • WEAR YOUR CLOTHES, DON’T LET YOUR CLOTHES WEAR YOU

This can only be achieved if you own your look. It means, if you don’t normally dress provocatively, don’t do it. You have to feel good in your clothes. What’s the point in wearing a really short gorgeous skirt, if you stop on every 5 meters to pull it down a bit, because it makes you feel uncomfortable showing too much skin? Sexy can be many things to many people, and if you don’t feel sexy and confident from the inside, it’s not gonna show on the outside.

simple-but-sexy-outfit

Image Source: GlamRadar

  • DON’T BE A TRY-HARD

Leave your house looking beautiful, comfortable, but not too done up. French style is simplistic, but classy. If you wear really chic clothes, easy on the makeup. If you wear a simple black dress for the evening, a red lipstick will effortlessly steal attention.

la-parisienne-ines-de-la-fressange-nine-2

Image Source: Babyccinokids

  • USE LITTLE TO NO JEWELRY

If you wear a statement piece, then it should be on its own. Otherwise, the look becomes unpolished. The French style is minimalistic, yet not boring. Jewelry is usually understated, but always completes the look. So, less is more.

less-jewelry

Image Source: Pinterest

  • AVOID FLASHY LOGOS AND BRAND NAMES

Parisian fashionistas don’t follow trends. They like having their own look, their own personal style, through which they shine. Be in your chosen clothes because you feel good in them, and not because they are marked by a name.

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Image Source: Pinterest

  • WEAR FLATS AND NEVER TOO-HIGH HEELS

Rarely you would catch a Parisian chic lady with too-high heels. Shoes need to be good and polished. You can learn a lot about a person only by glancing at their shoes.

model-in-black

Image Source: Pinterest

  • MENSWEAR, NO PROBLEM!

A blazer or a tux is always stylish and slick. You can thank Yves Saint Laurent for that one. It’s timeless and makes the look sophisticated.

blazer

Image Source: Fashionsy

  • TRENCH-COAT

With trench-coat you can be very creative – you can dress it up and you can dress it down. It’s a trans-seasonal piece, that works with any outfit.

trench-coat

Image Source: Pinterest

  • BRETON STRIPES

When paired with something unexpected (wide legged trousers, high waist jeans, etc.) it looks modern and fresh.

breton

Image Source: JustTheDesign

  • DON’T FORGET THE FIT

No matter what size of clothes you wear, they have to be the right fit. Everyone looks polished in clothes that fit their body well. It is also essential to find a great tailor, that will make sure your clothes fit just fine. There’s no need to look for too-form fitting clothes or overly structured clothes. Relaxed look can be very chic, but avoid looking baggy.

plus-side-chic

Image Source: Pinterest

  • WHITE SHIRT

This one’s a no brainer, really. It’s versatile – it looks great with everything.

white-shirt

Image Source: Pinterest

  • PERFECT, YET NOT SO PERFECT HAIR

I suppose, now you will yell at me to make up my mind. Which is it – a perfect hair, or not so perfect hair?

Well, we’re talking about the perfect bed-head look. Hair is kinda tousled, yet sexy and chic. It portrays effortless elegance. 

hair

Image Source: LeFashion

So, there you have it. Most things can be bought for a reasonable price – except the shoes, trench-coat and the blazer. A good shoe is definitely worth to invest in. Same goes for the blazer and trench-coat. Those pieces are classic and can last you a very long time.

 

Till next time! Au revoir!

 

REFERENCES:

  1. A.M. Andrade,G.W. Greene, K.J. Melanson: Eating Slowly Led to Decreases in Energy Intake within Meals in Healthy Women. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 108. 2008 (7): 1186–1191. Online source: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S000282230800518X (04.12.2016).
  2. M.B.E. Livingstone and L.K. Pourshahidi: From the American Society for NutritionPortion Size and Obesity. Adv.Nutr.5.2014 (6): 829834. Online source: http://advances.nutrition.org/content/5/6/829.full.pdf+html (04.12.2016).
  3. P. RozinK. KabnickE. PeteC. Fischler and C. Shields: The Ecology of Eating: Smaller Portion Sizes in France Than in the United States Help Explain the French Paradox.Psychological Science2003. 14: 450454. Online source: http://pss.sagepub.com/content/14/5/450.short (04.12.2016).
  4. R.D. Semba: Resveratrol in Red Wine, Chocolate, Grapes Not Associated With Improved Health. JAMA Internal Medicine. 2014. Online source: http://media.jamanetwork.com/news-item/resveratrol-in-red-wine-chocolate-grapes-not-associated-with-improved-health/ (04.12.2016).
  5. G.Cavallini, S.Straniero, A.Donati et al.:Resveratrol requires red wine polyphenols for optimum antioxidant activity. J Nutr Health Aging (2016) 20: 540. Online source: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12603-015-0611-z (04.12.2016).
  6. WebMD. Online source: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-french-diet#4 (04.12.2016). 
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