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Healthy Computer Habits: A Modern Health Goal

Here’s a health problem that didn’t exist 50 years ago:  Bad Computer Health.  With the proliferation of computers have come many potentially risky health habits caused by working in front of a computer, less face-to-face interactions with others and being in constantly accessible.  From posture, headaches and eye fatigue, to less sleep, more stress and poor social skills, computers have led to some very bad health problems and behaviors.

The truth is computers aren’t the problem so much as their operators.  A-hum, meaning, all of us people who use them.  Having healthy computer habits including setting boundaries, staying organized and knowing when computers aren’t the best means for communication are important to our modern health.  Here are some tips to keep your computer health on track:

Computer-Workstation-Ergonomics-PicPosture:  If your back aches and your neck is stiff after working at your computer, chances are you have bad computer posture, which can lead to chronic muscle problems and inflammation.  Make a conscious effort to sit up straight by pushing your bottom out against the back of your chair and sit with your legs uncrossed to relieve pressure on the lower back.  Get up and walk around regularly and stretch periodically as well.  Some people are following a new trend of standing computer work stations, which is better for your back, neck and shoulders.  Plus, standing burns more calories throughout the day.

Eye Strain:  Repetitive Strain Injury is common for people who work in front of computers daily.  This condition happens over time as tissues, muscles and nerves fall into unhealthy patterns from computer exposure.  In the case of your eyes, poor lighting that creates a glare on your computer screen can cause eye pain from squinting, blurry vision, dry eyes and eye fatigue.  When your eyes are affected in these ways, it can lead to shoulder and neck pain as well as headaches.  Make sure you have an appropriate amount of light in your work space and follow the 20-20-20 rule:  every twenty minutes, look away from your screen for at least 20 seconds at something at least 20 feet away.

Email Habits: Being constantly available to co-workers, clients and vendors can cause a lot of stress and greatly interfere with your personal life.  “Workaholic” is a real condition and a common cause of stress and anxiety issues that lead to physical health problems including high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke and poor diet and exercise choices.  Also, disorganization of emails and files can lead to stress from less productivity and always feeling flustered.  Create some healthy email habits such as prioritizing your emails and setting specific times to respond (meaning, not at midnight), creating folders so emails and information are easily accessible when you need them and adhering to deadlines, even for simple responses to emails.

tech in bedSet a Tech Schedule:  Computers and phones are more portable than ever.  It may be tempting to bring yours everywhere – the bathroom, your bed, carpool line.  Sometimes your body and your mind need a tech break, which often gives you some freedom to collect your thoughts and be creative so you can return to work more productively.  Separating yourself from your computer and all the people, facts and projects it represents is often the most dedicated, healthiest way to work.  Additionally, staring at a bright screen, reading stimulating emails or getting stressed about work right before bed is not good for your sleep.  You need time to unwind.  Make a rule not to bring your technology to bed.

Computer vs. Telephone vs. Face-to-Face:  Computers have reinvented the way we work and will continue to do so for many years in the future.  But there is a time and place for computer-based business communication and every message you want to relay may not be best said through technology.  Longer, more complex thoughts and anything that requires a back-and-forth discussion to resolve may be easier to explain via phone or in-person.  Email or bring along charts and supporting written materials if that helps, but leave more elaborate ideas for verbal communication.   Additionally, social interaction is vital to most humans.  Voice and face-to-face communication connects us in ways no other species on Earth can do, and it is one of our basic human needs.  Human contact makes us happier, more compassionate, more interesting people even if we’d rather be hiding behind a computer.  Challenge yourself to come out from behind the screen when the time is appropriate.

Just like exercise, practicing safe driving, taking a daily multi-nutrient supplement and maintaining emotional balance are crucial to our health, good computer health is a part of modern healthy living.  Avoiding computers in your work may not be possible or responsible, so keep these healthy computer habits in mind to ensure technology does not negatively impact your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

Tracking Exercise and Diet Keeps Health on Track

Hopefully you’re still plugging along on your health-related New Year’s resolutions including exercise and eating a healthy diet.  These are lifelong goals that will help get you through your year and onwards to many New Years to come in better health.

One of the best ways to ensure you stay on target with your health goals is to track your progress.  And with the modern gadgets and technology available to do so, it’s really not that difficult.  Between apps, websites and wearable monitors, there are many devices that can help you streamline tracking your progress.

Studies show that if you record your workouts and daily food intake, you feel accountable and are more likely to achieve your goals.  The psychology behind this theory is pretty easy to understand:  tracking diet and exercise keep you focused on your objective, working towards results and more conscious of the entire process.  It’s easy to set a goal and make a few changes that you believe will help you accomplish it.  But when you see the results in real time – on paper or screen and in your appearance and how you feel – you will likely make more impactful changes with better results.

food diaryFor example, when you record how much you’re eating, you tend to eat less because you are more mindful of not over-eating.  Also, you’ll become more aware of the fat, calorie and nutrients in foods you eat most often, which may influence your choices.  When you track your exercise, you will likely exercise more because you want to maintain and perhaps even exceed the routine that you’ve established and charted for yourself.  And it all comes together when food and exercise tracking intertwine to help you see how each influences the other and leads to positive results that you’ll see on paper – or more likely screen – and in your body.

Your lifestyle and personal technology habits can help you determine which gadgets and devices may serve you best as you track your health progress this year.  If you’re a “big screen” kind of person and are often in front of your computer, there are tons of websites that help track food intake and exercise.  Many have recommended diet plans including recipes, workout routines and interactive support.  If you’re on-the-go most of the time, many mobile apps can do the same thing.  Apps are especially good if you are focusing on a particular type of exercise, such as running or weight lifting.  You can get personalized recommendations based on your goals.  Because your mobile device will be with you during exercise and while you’re eating, you can record your distance, reps and food choices as you go.  Some mobile devices hook up to heart rate monitors, which can further track your progress and caloric burn.

fitbitHeart rate monitors with watches have been around for awhile but the latest in exercise tracking are fitness trackers such as those made by fitbit, Jawbone and Garmin.  These track every movement in your day and “reward” you when you reach your desired number of steps. They can also track your heart rate and recommend calorie intake for your day based on your physical activity and weight.  Most are waterproof so you can wear them all day, even in the shower.

Weight loss is a common goal of exercise and healthy diet, but of course health is not necessarily measured on a scale.  After a period of time on your new fitness and diet routine, get a health screening to bask in all of the positive changes you’ve made to entire body, such as lowered cholesterol, lower blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure, healthier blood and a faster metabolic rate.

For the best results when tracking your diet and exercise, do both!  Some programs track them together or at least allow you to input calories burned during exercise or calories consumed during daily meals.  Exercise and diet are both important to achieving health goals.  And don’t forget nutritional supplements too.  Just as modern technology helps you easily track fitness and consumption, supplements are an effortless way to get your daily nutrients in a simple capsule.  Moringa is one of the best all-natural supplements you can take to complement your diet and exercise routine in the New Year.

Cheers to your best health!

Heart Healthy Cooking in A Heart Healthy Kitchen with Moringa

It’s Heart Health Month and we’re cooking Heart Smart with Moringa and other healthy cooking solutions.  Making heart healthy dietary choices starts by learning heart healthy cooking techniques including simple substitutions for healthier meal options, preparing your kitchen to allow everyone in your family to make better choices and recognizing “always” foods from “sometimes” foods.

heart health cook bookPreparing Your Kitchen

  • Purchase a variety of heart-healthy cookbooks or subscribe to a recipe website.  Make sure you choose recipes that will delight the taste-buds of your family.  If you can’t pique their senses, getting your family to eat healthier probably won’t last.  Also, make sure you select recipes that match your culinary skills.  If you’re a “keep it simple” kind of chef, try a crock pot cookbook or meals you can make in 30-minutes or less.
  • Toss the sugary snacks and make sure you always have easy-to-grab healthy snacks on hand, such as cut up veggies and hummus, low fat yogurt cups, whole fruit or nuts.
  • Stock your kitchen with healthy oils rather than oils filled with saturated fat.  Heart-healthy oils include extra virgin olive oil, nut oils such as almond, walnut, macadamia nut or hazelnut oil and flaxseed oil.
  • Avoid heavy sauces and pre-packaged seasonings and opt for fresh or dried herbs, mustard, low fat salad dressings, freshly squeezed fruits or chopped veggies like onions or garlic to flavor your foods.

greek yogurtSubstitutions

  • Buy low fat options where possible.  Just beware that some fat free options have more calories than regular or low fat varieties so read labels and make wise choices.
  • Cottage cheese, low fat yogurt or margarine are great substitutes when a recipe calls for whole milk, heavy cream, sour cream, cream cheese or butter.
  • Use 2 egg whites for every 1 egg a recipe calls for, or substitute applesauce for eggs.
  • Instead of frying foods, sauté, grill or bake them in a heart healthy oil or in a homemade sauce.  This cuts down on a ton of unnecessary fat and calories.
  • Trim the fat off of meat and buy “loins” or “rounds” that have less fat.
  • If you are used to cooking with red meat, try ground turkey, ground chicken or pork instead.  You can prepare the food in a similar way to red meat hamburgers, tacos and steaks without getting all that fat.

“Sometimes” Foods vs. “Always” Foods

Completely cutting out every delicious food you and your family once enjoyed is not practical and may be a recipe for disaster if you plan to make your heart-healthy diet a permanent lifestyle choice.  Discuss which foods can be special, occasional treats and which foods are always OK to eat.  “Sometimes foods” may include steaks, French fries, ice cream, candy, pastries and fast food.  “Always foods” can be fruits, vegetables, healthy snacks, yogurt, nuts, beans, cheese and tofu.  Try not to make foods a reward for good behavior as this can lead to unhealthy food habits and behaviors.

Moringa Source Moringa CapsulesMoringa for Your Heart Healthy Diet

Moringa can be a big part of your heart healthy diet.  With Moringa daily supplements, your body can begin the day with nutritional balance.  Much like a multi-vitamin, taking Moringa ensures you’re getting almost 100 body-craving nutrients to help your body function better, including your heart, and to keep you feeling satiated without overeating and sugar-binging.  You can also cook with Moringa in almost any way you can imagine.  Moringa can be added to cooked dishes like casseroles, stews and soups; Moringa can be used as a spice for preparing meats and vegetables; Moringa is an excellent topping for yogurt, oatmeal and salads; Moringa can be stirred into homemade sauces, salad dressings, syrups and glazes; and Moringa can be baked into breads, pancakes, muffins, cookies and other delicious baked goods.  The possibilities are endless!