Ten Foods You Can Use to Exfoliate Your Skin

elephant Skin can get dry and sometimes you need a quick way to fix that problem by using an exfoliate. And if you don’t have easy access to lotion, you can just go into your kitchen and find some products which are just as great for your skin as any lotion you can find in stores. Here are ten of the best foods to put on your skin.

1. Strawberries - There are two easy ways to apply strawberries to your face. One way is by smashing the strawberries and placing them on your face as a mask. Another method is to just rub the strawberries all over your skin. Working as an antioxidant, the strawberries will get rid of any oils on your face which will result in brightened skin.

2. Eggs - You can use either the whole egg or just the egg white. The whole egg will offer your skin more moisturizer than just the egg white. The egg whites will tighten your pores, though, and will help you in getting firmer skin. All you have to do is rub the egg all over your clean face and then a simple egg mask will form.

3. Baking Soda - Baking soda is one of the best and most inexpensive ways to get rid of any pesky dead cells on your face. To get the best results, start off with a freshly cleaned face. Gently scrub your face with a paste of baking soda and distilled water for about 10 minutes.

4. Lemon Juice - Lemon juice is a great thing to add to any mask. It brightens your skin, tightens your pores, and cuts through the oil on your face. You can apply it right onto your face for about five minutes or just add it to an egg white mask.

5. Honey - Honey can be applied just as the lemon juice. It can either be used by itself or be mixed with another mask. It can be used as a moisturizer and will even help control all of those gross breakouts. You can put it on your face and leave it there as long as you would like.

6. Bananas - You will want to use bananas that have some brown in them as these will work the best. Bananas can greatly exfoliate your skin and will give a dull skin a greater complexion. They will moisturize and are great for all skin types. Mash up the bananas and rub all over your skin – adding a bit of honey if you’d like. Rinse off after about 10 minutes.

7. Oats - Grind them into a powder and add water. The oats with the added water will make a great moisturizing scrub. Substituting water for milk can soothe dry and sunburned skin.

8. Yogurt - The lactic acid in yogurt is a great way to leave your skin feeling fresh and exfoliated. Yogurt can be used as a brightener and a moisturizer.

9. Almonds - Like oats, you will want to grind up almonds too. Turn them into a powder. They will moisturize, exfoliate, and cleanse your skin.

10. Coconut Oil - Coconut Oil is a great moisturizer for your face.

What other foods do you use to exfoliate your skin?

Hydration – 8 Ways to Drink More Water

infused-waterEveryone knows that hydration (water) is an important part of taking good care of yourself, due to the dangers of dehydration, and the many benefits it provides you. However, it is all too common to not drink enough water during the day, whether because you don’t enjoy it, you don’t think you have the time, or you simply forget.

When you get enough water during the day, it can help with:
• Improving your skin, hair, and nails
• Relieving headaches
• Reducing muscle cramps
• Helping to flush out your body
• Improving weight loss efforts
• Giving you more energy

This post is going to go over some of the different ways you can increase your water intake daily, as well as how to remind yourself it is time to drink more.

1. Drink Water Before Every Meal

The first tip for drinking more water on a regular basis is simple – just have a full glass of water before each meal and snack you consume, including before your morning cup of coffee. This is one of those simple reminders that allows you to drink more water, without really having to think too much about it. Train your mind to know that if you are going to put anything into your body, whether it is your breakfast or a late-night treat, you have to drink 8 ounces of water first.

This provides multiple benefits. First, it of course reminds you to drink another glass of water. It is also going to help your food digest a little better. Plus, it prevents you from overeating since the water helps to fill you up a little. It is not uncommon to think you are hungry, when in fact you are thirsty. If you are no longer hungry after the full glass of water, wait a bit before eating.

You should also try to drink a glass of water before or after every other beverage you consume. If you want a can of soda with lunch, force yourself to drink the same amount of water as well.

2. Make Your Own Infused or Flavored Water

A common problem people have with drinking water isn’t that they don’t remember to drink it, but they’re just not interested in it. This is when you have some other options. You don’t necessarily have to drink just plain filtered or tap water all day, every day. There are many ways to add flavor to your water and make it more interesting, without piling on the sugar and calories.

The Simple Method
If you are short on time and just want a super quick way to add flavor to your water, go with the lemon water. All you need to do is add a few lemon wedges into your water, squeezing in the juice first, then putting the wedges in it. Lemons have a lot of tart juice, so this will flavor your water quickly and easily. You can also try a mixture of lemon and lime, or use other juicy fruits like grapefruit.

Fruit or Vegetable Infused Water
When you are willing to spend more time on your water, you can use other fruits, vegetables, and even herbs to flavor this water. This is called infused water, since it is a longer infusing process. You aren’t just flavoring your water with these ingredients, but adding more nutrients from the produce and herbs.

To make infused water, you should have a glass or BPA-free plastic pitcher and access to filtered water preferably. Prepare your fruits, veggies, and herbs depending on what they are. Berries should be sliced so you can access the juice inside, fruits with hard skin should be peeled first. Veggies should also be peeled and chopped. Muddle your herbs to release the oils and flavors.

Add the ingredients to the bottom of the pitcher, cover with ice, then add your water. Let it sit in the refrigerator for as long as you can before drinking it, which really allows those flavors and nutrients to come through.

3. Choose a Container You Love to Use

Do you want to encourage yourself to drink more water? It’s all in the cup! If you use boring water bottles you don’t like, then you probably won’t drink as much water as you should. A good way to have fun with your water and remember to bring the bottle everywhere with you is to choose a water bottle that works best for you.

This might mean the overall look and color of it, or the ease of holding onto it while walking. There are so many small details in a water bottle that determine if it’s a good fit or not. For example, if you drive a lot, you want it to fit perfectly in your cup holder. On the other hand, if you bike for exercise, you may want it to have a tight lid, but one that is easy to pop off when drinking while riding. Try out a few different cups until you feel like you have found the one that is perfect for you.

4. Limit Other Drinks You Consume

Another little trick for drinking more water is to reduce all of the other drinks you consume. This doesn’t mean drinking water 100 percent of the time and never having a cup of juice or soda again. But, it does help to reduce them, so that when you are thirsty, you go for water instead. This eventually increases your water intake simply because you are going for water when you feel a thirst, and not other beverages.

5. Always Track Your Water Intake

This isn’t something you need to do every day for the rest of your life, but for now, it might be hard to determine how much water to drink and if you have even reached your goal for the day. Start by figuring out a good way to track your water. This can be an app on your phone, a notepad, a planner you keep in your purse, or a program on your computer.

Start by tracking your water for a few days before trying to increase how much you drink. This lets you know how much you are currently drinking on an average day. If it is less than 8-10 glasses of water (8 ounces each) a day, you need to start increasing it. Once you are tracking daily, it helps you know how and when to drink a little more throughout the day.

6. Enjoy Fruits & Veggies with High Water Content

If you find that you simply can’t drink enough water, then eat your water instead! You should still try to drink as much as you can, but this is good for the days when you’re a little below your water intake goal. There are fruits and veggies that have a high water content, therefore helping to hydrate you. These include:

  • Cucumbers
  • Grapefruit
  • Apples
  • Pineapple
  • Lettuce
  • Celery
  • Radishes
  • Watermelon

7. Dilute Your Juice When You Have it

During those times when you really want a glass of juice instead of water, you can dilute it so increase your water content a bit. Just think about it – if you have a 12-ounce glass, and you dilute it with water just by 25 percent, that cup of yummy, fruity juice has also added 4 ounces of water. It is a super easy way to add to your water intake for the day. This is also going to reduce your calories, carbs, and sugar.

8. Try These Water Drinking Reminders

If you enjoy water, but you often forget to drink more of it, these little reminders can be helpful for you.
1. Drink water before every meal, snack, and other beverage
2. Drink a glass of water when you wake up
3. Drink water before or after your workouts
4. Drink a glass of water after every trip to the bathroom
5. Drink a glass of water every time you enter your office or your home

As long as you keep these reminders in the back of your mind, and follow the other tips mentioned, you should be on your way to increasing your water intake and benefiting from it.

Food Safety Tips for Barbecues

grilled meatsBarbecues are a great time to get together with friends and family. The noise of loved ones, fresh air and the wonderful aroma of barbecued foods is a recipe for a great time. But with this fun comes the responsibility of knowing all of the food safety tips for barbecues.

Proper Refrigeration

No one wants food poisoning, and because of this you need to make sure to keep your foods properly refrigerated before and after they are barbecued.

Foods, and especially meat of any kind, needs to be kept in the refrigerator as long as possible before being cooked. Don’t let the meat marinate on the shelf, as bacteria can begin to grow under these circumstances. Play it safe and move the items in your fridge around the night before so that you have ample room to store all your various foods there on the day of the barbecue.

Keep an Eye on the Temperature

Always know the temperature on the day you are having your barbecue. Whether your meat is being brought back into the house or sitting outside, know what conditions you are working with temperature-wise.

If it is a hot day, be sure to keep the meat in the shade or indoors. Don’t ever allow food to sit in direct sunlight as it can spoil very quickly. If it is hot both indoors and out, put the most sensitive items in the fridge or in a slow cooker, with a sign directing guests where to fill their plates.

Make Only as Much as Needed

When you are cooking items such as meat, make only as much as needed, plus a little more. Although everyone loves leftover barbecue, it is much more important to keep food safety rules as first priority, and to get rid of any leftovers.

Because of this, make smaller batches of food and simply quit once everyone seems to have gotten their fill. If this means that individuals have to wait for second helpings, this is preferable to food spoiling and harming your guests. Besides, they will surely be able to find someone to chat with while waiting for their steak or burger to cook.

What Meat Can Be Eaten Pink?

There are rules of barbecue safety that must be followed if you want to have an incident-free event. Pork and chicken must always be cooked thoroughly.

When it comes to beef, there is a rule of thumb that should be followed. Any meat that has ever been exposed must be cooked. That means that when it comes to steak, you can leave the inside pink if you wish, as long as the outer edges are well-cooked. For ground beef, since all of it has been ground up and exposed at some point, it must be cooked through.

Don’t Cross-Contaminate

Vegetables will not need to be cooked as long as meat. For this reason, leave your vegetable skewers and other non-meat items separate from the meat. Add the vegetables to the grill near the end when the meat is almost cooked, instead of the beginning when raw juices are on the grill.

Barbecues are a good time to showcase your cooking skills. Keep it safe and learn how to make your time enjoyable and free of food poisoning episodes. Follow these rules and you will have a great time as you barbecue, leaving your food safety worries aside.

Five Bike Maintenance Tips

cycling

cycling Once you purchase a bike you want to make sure you maintain it. You have made an investment and you want it to last. Bike maintenance can often be done yourself and if you do these five things, then you will save yourself from much more costly repairs down the road.

How to Keep Your Bike in Tip-Top Shape

1. Keep it clean - Not only will it look much nicer, but it will also last longer. Over time the dirt from the road or wherever you ride your bike the most can eat away at the bike's frame and its operating mechanisms. As soon as you finish your ride, brush off dried on dirt with a stiff brush. Then using a brush and warm water get the rest of the dirt off of your bike. Don't hose it down though as this can cause rust.

2. Do a safety check - Before and after every ride it's good to give the bike a quick once-over. Spin the wheels to make sure they are not wobbly and that the axles are tight. Check the tires for cuts or holes. Give the brake pads and driving mechanism a once-over. If anything seems even slightly out of whack, tend to it right away before it becomes a major problem. If you can, fix it yourself; if not, bring it into the shop.

3. Check the chain - Keep the chain and other moving mechanisms on the bike nice and lubed up. It's such a simple thing to do and it will keep your bike running smoothly. If the chain feels dry then apply a little lubricant.

4. Check the pressure - You need to have the right amount of tire pressure on your bike. Low tire pressure will make the bike slow and sloppy in turns. It's really a safety concern. But tires with low pressure can also lead to rim, tube, and tire damage.

It's simple to check with a quick squeeze of the tires. Gauge what you like best for your tire pressure and pump it up with a simple floor pump if it needs it. If you discover that you are having to pump your tires frequently though, then you'll want to check your tire's inner tube to see if it has a hole in it.

5. Storage - Properly storing your bike will help to keep it in good working order. You don't want to leave it outdoors since this will cause rust. If you will not be using it for a while, say because of the winter, it's extra important to make sure you get it up off the floor and from putting weight on the tires. But you really should get in the habit of storing your bike in a certain way after every use.

You'll want to keep your bike somewhere that does not have a lot of sun, dust, or a good chance of getting doused with water. There are many great bike storage racks which you can use to get your bike up off the floor, freeing up space.

Taking good care of your bike is very important. Not just for your safety, but also to ensure the longevity of your bike and to keep you from having to make costly repairs. So take that extra time to maintain your bike; you will be happy you did.

Edible Flowers to Include in Your Landscape

daisy flower

edible flowersEdible landscaping is a great way to use your garden for a purpose that includes both beauty and function. Edible plants can be mixed with non-edible plants and flowers to create a refreshing oasis. They bring great return in the form of a bountiful harvest of things that can be enjoyed - not only by sight and smell, but also by taste. But did you know there are also edible flowers that are not only beautiful but also tasty? Here are some edible flowers you may want to use in your landscaping, and ideas on how you can use them after they have grown.

Lilac

Lilacs have beautiful, small, purple flowers that grows in clusters. Lilacs can be used to flavor sorbet, and can be candied as a tasty treat. There have been studies done that indicate that lilac flowers may have the medicinal effect of lowering fevers.

Daisy

Daisies are well-known for their white petals and yellow inner areas. High in Vitamin C, this is a flower whose leaves are both edible and beneficial for health. Daisies are also known to help lessen coughs and help with indigestion.

Chamomile

Chamomile is very similar in appearance to the daisy, with white outer leaves and yellow on the inner area. It is popular, and used as a remedy with soothing properties, both topically and internally. Chamomile is a useful, edible flower to have on hand for its many uses.

Calendula

A bold, bright flower, calendula is known for its healing abilities when used in many herbal remedies. Calendula’s beautiful mix of orange and yellow makes it great for decorating items such as cakes and cupcakes. Due to its bitter flavor, it is best admired as a topper rather than consuming great quantities of it.

Pansy

Pansies come in a vast array of amazing, intense colors. Some have a bright yet mild flavor, and others have the somewhat intense taste of wintergreen. All parts can be eaten, and it is a beautiful addition to add fresh pansies to your finest decorating adventures. This may include topping edible creations such as muffins, cupcakes, and even homemade sorbet. You can even drop one mini pansy each into an empty ice cube tray, fill with water and freeze for some creative and dainty ice cubes.

Chives

With a delicate purple flower, chives are a beautiful addition to anything savory that needs a boost of color. The flowers of chives can be tossed into a variety of soups, or mixed into cream cheese for a beautiful and tasty spread. Try them once, and you’ll wonder why you never used them before.

Edibles are a great addition to any landscape. There are many kinds to choose from, and using a wide variety will ensure that you have a number of colors and shapes in your garden. There are many things you can do with your edible flowers, and growing them is only the beginning.

Try to grow your flowers organically and without pesticides. Keep them as pure as possible since you will eventually be consuming them. Choose a few edible flowers to grow today, and you will forever want to experience the joy that flowers bring to the table when you use them beyond the limits of a vase.

Bike Your Way to Fitness with Your Children

fitness through bicycling You'll always remember the day your child first learned to ride a bike. Those first tentative peddles, the wobbly progress forward and the beaming smile once she's mastered this new skill. As your children get older, it's time to take to the roads. Consider family biking as a way to increase the fitness of your children and yourself.

Safety First

Helmets are an important way to protect the head in the event of accidents. Keep in mind that kids outgrow helmets - you'll want to check for proper fit and coverage. Consider reflective material either on your children and/or on their bikes, and perhaps an orange flag in back and a bell or horn for signaling.

Gear Up

As you check your bike's safety and make sure it's in working order, consider involving your kids. They can learn about gears, checking tire pressure and adjusting seats and handle bars, and will feel empowered to make these changes on their own should the need arise.

Ready to Go

Consider starting out with bike rides in the neighborhood so you can get a feel for everyone's fitness level and how everyone can handle hills, skids and obstacles such as uneven pavement or gravel. Once you've tooled around the neighborhood, maybe try biking around town. Have a book to return to the library? Your family bike trip now has a destination. Need some veggies? Why not stop at that local farm stand? You can be green and get exercise at the same time.

Once you've been around the neighborhood, consider a road trip. There are groups and organizations that set up multi-city rides that travel from one small town to another within your area and stop at the end for a rejuvenating picnic. Perhaps you'll think about entering your family in a bike race.

Taking It on the Road

Once you've been all around your area, you might even consider a biking vacation. There are lots of options out there for strapping the bikes to the back of your vehicle. See which bike racks work for you, strap them on and set out for a road trip with the family. Although there are plenty of options, here are some suggestions for some specific locations that work well with a family on bikes:

* Mackinac Island, Michigan - Tourists arrive by ferry from Mackinaw City or St. Ignace and rent bikes or take horse-drawn carriages to explore the nearly automobile-free island lined with beaches, fudge shops and fresh air.

* Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts - Although cars are permitted on the island, many visitors choose to ride their bikes along the beachy coast, especially the quaint fishing village of Menemsha where many scenes from Jaws were filmed. Ferries depart hourly from Woods Hole and Hyannis, Massachusetts and also from New York.

* Stanley Park, Vancouver - Enjoy the scent of pine trees and ocean as you bike around the 9 km paths at this British Columbian park in Canada.

* Napa Valley, California - Lush countryside, hilly roads, and wine and cheese. While your kids won't enjoy the wine, the area is scenic and there are plenty of alternate activities - even a hot air balloon and bike tour.

As families get stretched in more and more different directions, it's important to find common ground. We all need exercise, so why not work together toward a common goal - fitness and family activities together. Biking your way to fitness with your children is a way to get fit and build lasting memories together.