Do Less, Be Healthier

Many of us seem to think that if a little of something healthy is good, a lot is even better. (Ever found yourself miserably muttering “No pain, no gain”?) But when it comes to our well-being, more isn’t always better. Read on to see where you may be overdoing it and how to scale back and enjoy a big health boost.

1. Vitamin Overkill

Megadosing on vitamins and minerals can have toxic results ranging from headache and gastric upset to blurred vision and increased risk of hip fractures. “The word ‘supplement’ means to add to,” says holistic nutritionist Sally Kravich, author of Vibrant Living: Creating Radiant Health and Longevity. “The goal is to get our essential vitamins from eating a diet rich in nutrients.”

Kravich’s streamlined approach includes a B-complex vitamin (you can skip it if you eat plenty of brown rice, lentils and legumes), fish oil (pass if you eat eggs or wild salmon daily) and calcium (plentiful in most dairy products). In addition, if you live in a cool climate, you are probably not getting enough vitamin D from the sun and need a supplement, especially if you use sunscreen. Kravich recommends taking supplements in liquid or powder form for optimal absorption.

2. Excessive Tooth-brushing

Using too much pressure and/or a brush with hard bristles when you brush your teeth can damage delicate gum tissue and lead to recession. To protect your gums and teeth, use a soft-bristle brush and a gentle hand in a circular motion. “If your gums bleed when you brush, ask your dentist to show you the proper technique,” urges Kravich. Rinse your mouth with plain water between meals to remove excess bacteria, and floss regularly to remove plaque.

3. Fanatical Fasting

Kravich isn’t opposed to the occasional controlled, supervised cleanse, but she warns that extreme fasting can trigger a rebound binge. To avoid what Kravich calls the “starve and stuff” mentality, she teaches clients to make small dietary changes at a time. “Try to reduce your intake of processed, packaged food, or to eat less sugar or fast food and more clean foods,” she encourages. “Gradual changes are easier to sustain.”

4. Stressing About Your Health

Worry actually hurts your health, says Kravich. Instead of imagining worst-case scenarios, focus on what you can do to improve your well-being: Eat a variety of healthy foods, move your body, get lots of sleep, drink plenty of water and do something daily that helps you relax and de-stress. “A massage isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity,” insists Kravich, who also encourages patients to avoid watching or reading the (mostly negative) news at night and instead watch something light and inspirational before bedtime. “That’s what your brain will be processing all night long,” she explains.

Are you overdoing it? Talk about it below or tweet us @Completely_You


6 Winter Hazards to Get Ready for Now

As anyone who’s ever survived a winter storm knows, cold weather can wreak havoc. Unfortunately, "people usually prepare after a big event", says Jim Judge, preparedness advisor for the Scientific Advisory Council of the Red Cross. But if you prepare for adverse conditions when it's nice out, you’ll be able to do in an hour what might take you many hours to do in worse weather or what you might not be able to do at all.” Here's how.

. Prevent hypothermia.

You can contract hypothermia in nonfreezing temperatures if clothes or skin get wet. Children (and the elderly) are more prone to hypothermia because they don’t have much muscle mass to insulate them. Dress everyone in multiple thin layers, hats and wind-resistant jackets. And if they get wet, make sure they come inside and take their layers off as soon as possible.

. Put together an emergency car kit.
If you must drive in severe conditions, bring along your cell phone, copies of personal documents and an emergency car kit that contains blankets, first aid supplies, water, nonperishable food, a flashlight, a hat, mittens, socks, a shovel, jumper cables, a windshield scraper, a distress flag, flares, extra oil and antifreeze, candles, waterproof matches, and a bag of kitty litter for traction, since it won't freeze like damp sand.

. Get your car checked and keep your tank full.
Bring your car to a mechanic to check the steering, brakes, antifreeze levels, heater, defroster, oil, battery and hazard lights. And don't forget the exhaust system. With windows closed, even a small hole can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. In addition, check your tires frequently; they deflate in cold, increasing the chance of blowouts. Don’t forget to keep your gas tank full to keep the fuel line from freezing.

. Keep antifreeze away from pets. 
Ethylene glycol, an ingredient in many types of antifreeze, has a sweet taste that's irresistible to animals. Be aware that winter cabins occasionally put antifreeze in their toilets. It only takes a tablespoon of antifreeze to poison a cat, and a few big licks to poison a dog. If left untreated, kidney failure sets in within 24 to 36 hours. The first signs of poisoning: the animal seems to be drunk and drinks lots of water.

. Get a carbon monoxide detector.

Never use a gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning device in a home, garage, basement or any partially enclosed area. Locate units away from anything that could allow carbon monoxide indoors. Install carbon monoxide detectors all over your home. If they go off, get to fresh air and then call for help. "We hear tragic stories of people dying in the night because they didn't have this little piece of equipment," says Judge.

6. Run water to keep pipes from freezing.
Even a trickle or slow drip from a faucet can help prevent pipes from freezing. And even if they do freeze, you'll have alleviated the pressure, and the pipes won't burst. Frozen pipes often burst when subfreezing temperatures hit normally warm areas, where pipes are more likely to be in unprotected, non-insulated areas. Pipes in unheated attics, in crawlspaces or on outside walls are vulnerable, so insulate any exposed pipes.

More articles from Completely You:

·         Stay Healthy When Everyone Else Is Sick

·         Best Ways to Soothe Sensitive Teeth

·         How to Exercise Outside in the Cold

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18 Healthy Holiday Gifts for Everyone in Your Life!

We scoured the Web for a whole year, finding, trying and reviewing the best and healthiest products you should know about daily. Now, to help you choose the perfect gift for everyone in your life, we’ve pared down the list to just our favorites in these six categories: fitness, food, home, gadgets, beauty and style.

What made the cut: ingenious healthy gifts that simplify your life. There are ideas to fit every budget and will cover everyone on your list -- even yourself. Happy holidays!


Mi Adidas Customized Sport Shoes
Design your own sneakers.

If your feet are different sizes (as most people’s are), Mi Adidas lets you order the right fit for each foot. Then you choose the colors for the body, trim and sole. Available for men and women for running, training, tennis, golf, basketball and more.
Cost: Starts at $105

Pear Mobile Training Intelligence System
A personal coach for serious runners.
This little gizmo is a smart biofeedback training system: It measures your body’s response as you work out and delivers coaching to keep you on track. It even syncs with your favorite playlist.
Cost: $250  

Hyperwear Sandbells
A new way to strength-train that torches more calories.
They’re dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls and more. Sandbells (sand-filled, disk-shaped bags in a range of weights) really raise your heart rate, giving you a cardio burn at the same time. Use them to break out of your usual strength training routine.  
Cost: $7.99 and up


Aqua Zinger
Make your own flavored water.
Not a fan of straight-up water? The base of this water bottle has a mini-grinder. Fill it with your favorite fruits or herbs, shake the bottle and voila: You’ve got great-tasting water!
Cost: $26

Brooklyn Brine Pickling Kit
Make your own pickled veggies with expert help.
Love pickles? You’ll love pickled carrots, radishes and just about everything else pickled too! This kit, developed by Williams Sonoma and the pickling experts at Brooklyn Brine, will help you make your own great homemade versions with jars, spice blends, easy recipes and more.
Cost: $29.95

Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
A vegetarian cookbook that makes healthy food taste positively sinful.
This cookbook, from a top London chef, is our top favorite of all time. Every recipe is bursting with so much flavor, you won’t miss the meat!
Cost: $19.47 


Uncommon Goods Self-Watering Planter
Gives anyone a green thumb.
Having a roomful of plants is good for your health, since they can remove indoor air pollutants. But if you are the type who always forgets to water them, this planter is perfect. Just fill the center chamber with water, and the planter does the work for you.
Cost: $50

Brinse Tumbler and Toothbrush Holder
Protect your toothbrush from bathroom germs.
This all-in-one toothbrush and tumbler set saves you space and keeps your toothbrush germ-free. The tumbler stacks on top of your brush after you’re done brushing your teeth, protecting it from airborne germs -- like the kind that get sprayed when you flush the toilet.
Cost: $13

Tree Leaf Rocca Ultrasonic Humidifier
A cute humidifier you’ll be happy to display.
If your skin gets dry as soon as the heat goes on in the winter, a humidifier may be a necessary evil. But this is one that actually looks good in any room. It’s quiet, easy to fill, and no filters are necessary -- and it’s just as effective as that old ugly one. 
Cost: $249 


Power Commute Laptop Messenger
Never search for a socket again.
This messenger bag by Timbuk2This comes with a TSA-compliant charging pack, so you can stash your phone or tablet in it and charge as you travel or commute. There are tons of pockets and compartments to keep your other stuff organized too. 
Cost: $200

A diabolically ingenious alarm clock.
Never be late to work again! This alarm clock rolls out of reach and forces you to chase it if you hit snooze more than once. It sounds crazy -- but it works!
Cost: $39

Echo Touch Gloves
Text with your gloves on.
No more taking off your gloves to use your iPhone or other touch-screen device. These gloves sport special fabric on the index finger and the thumb, making them gadget-friendly. Plus, they come in gorgeous colors and are available for men, women and kids.
Cost: $32 and up


Josie Maran Argan Bronzing Oil
Get a safe glow all over -- instantly.

Say goodbye to winter-pale skin. Add a drop or two of this organic oil, rich in vitamin E and other good-for-your-skin ingredients, to your body moisturizer and foundation for a lovely glow that’s totally believable.

CoverGirl NatureLuxe Gloss Balm
Moisturizing balm, gloss and lipstick -- all in one!
Looking for a lipstick that’s moisturizing enough to wear all the time? With 16 shades to choose from, this lip balm is perfect. It goes on shiny like lip gloss, has color and moisture that won’t quit -- and SPF 15 to keep your lips perfectly kissable all year long. 
Cost: $8

Liquid Palisade
The secret to a perfect manicure.
This new product makes flawless nails possible even for the most manicure-challenged. It works like painter’s tape: Simply brush it on your cuticles and the areas surrounding your nails, and it’ll keep the polish off them. After the polish dries, just peel off the Palisade and admire.
Cost: $22


Hollywood Jean Kit
An easy way to change the length of any pants -- fast.
This kit lets you change the length of your jeans so you can wear them with flats or heels. It also includes straps that keep your jeans from getting untucked from your boots, and a belt that prevents gaps and underwear sighting at the back of your jeans. Brilliant!
Cost: $19.99

PUMA Lily Ballet Flat
A stylish shoe that feels like a sneaker.

Dressy enough to wear to dinner but comfy enough to trek around in all day, these flats are a godsend, especially for vacations. Available in basic black and lots of fun color combinations.

And, finally, a special bonus and our personal favorite, which we’ve found to be a sweet surprise for those who are far from you this holiday season:

Gone Pie Gluten-free Vegan Brownies
Chocolatey, gooey and, oh, so good!
Whether you choose the fudgy smooth brownies or the triple nut variety (or both), these tasty treats are worth sending away for. Since they come in a pan, you can even fib and claim that you made them yourself. We won’t tell!
Cost: $21 for an 8 x 6 pan (six to nine brownies)

More articles from Completely You:

·         Take Back the Holidays

·         Stay Healthy When Everyone Else Is Sick

·         Look Thinner During the Holidays

Follow Completely You (@completely_you) on Twitter!

How to Get Gorgeous as You Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep -- ideally seven to eight hours -- can recharge your battery and help keep stress at bay. But did you know you can also tackle specific beauty issues while enjoying a snooze? We asked some expert doctors, aestheticians and stylists for their tips on how to get gorgeous from top to toe -- all from the comfort of your bed.

Eliminate Acne
Don’t let blemishes keep you tossing and turning all night. Instead, try an overnight skin remedy: Mix equal parts antibacterial topical gel and night cream with your fingertips. Apply to troubled areas before bed, and let it kill bacteria overnight while you’re asleep, says Tina Keshishian, celebrity facialist and co-owner of Belle Visage Spa in Los Angeles, whose clients include Kirsten Dunst.

Hydrate Lips
Turn dry or cracked lips soft with a bedtime DIY trick from NYC-based aesthetician Andrea DeSimone. Before tucking in, apply a touch of honey to lips, topped by a bit of olive oil. Gentle enzymes in the honey will help smooth out the texture, while the olive oil will ensure a hydrated kisser.

Soothe Eyes
If you’re carrying a little extra baggage under the eyes, Keshishian recommends mixing 1 inch of hydrocortisone with your regular amount of nighttime eye cream. Then, using your fingertips, apply a thick layer of the mixture around the eyes. Any puffiness will be deflated by the time you wake up.

Banish Breakouts
“The natural oils from our hair, and the oils found in hair products, can contribute to breakouts along the perimeter of the face,” says DeSimone. Prevent the buildup of excess oils by keeping hair off the face. Sleep with hair in a loose ponytail and use a loose headband to keep strands off the forehead. And don’t forget to change pillowcases regularly.

Treat Your Toes
Keep feet happy and hydrated with an application of an ultra-hydrating cream. Wear socks to keep sheets from getting greased up.

Amp up Shine
Add bounce and luster to limp locks with a deep conditioner overnight, suggests stylist Kristina Reynoso of the Warren-Tricomi Madison Avenue Salon. “Hair will be softer, more manageable and shinier, because the conditioner will close up the cuticles.” For maximum benefits, towel-dry hair, apply conditioner from root to tip, and braid before going to sleep. Rinse in the morning.

Butter up Cuticles
Cracked cuticles can be easily assuaged while you snooze. Try this tip from Elizabeth Tanzi, a dermatologist at the Department of Dermatology at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions: Soak fingertips in warm water for 10 minutes. Then, using a washcloth, gently push the cuticles back and coat them with a cream that contains shea butter.

Brighten Your Smile
While bacteria are constantly forming in our mouths in both the day and night, normal daytime activities like eating, drinking and talking help keep them from accumulating. Nighttime, though, is another story. Decreased amounts of cleansing salivary flow -- and the warm “incubator” created by closed, sleeping mouths -- can create the perfect environment for bacterial growth, say the experts at Crest.

To combat bacteria and reduce that mealy morning-mouth feeling, always brush and floss before bedtime, and when possible, rinse with a fluoride-enriched product after brushing. Avoid foods and beverages before bedtime that contain acids, such as fruit, yogurt, salsa, orange juice and sports drinks. Acids in these foods can attack the tooth surface and lead to enamel loss, which, if left untreated, can cause larger issues like cavities.

Your Holiday Survival Guide, Part One: Dealing With All That Food

The holidays should be a joyous time. But for many of us they herald several weeks of too many obligations, too much stress and too much tempting food. So it’s all too easy to overeat -- leading to that ubiquitous holiday weight gain. Even health coaches like me are not immune. Bring me to a party with platters of delicious, once-a-year holiday cookies and I can easily scarf down a half-dozen.

But everyone can prevent out-of-control eating while still enjoying a cookie or two. The key: Stop before you start. Just try these strategies that I share with my clients. 

Stop-before-you-start Strategy No. 1: Buy instead of baking.
I know … everyone loves your famous cheese straws or double-fudge brownies. But it’s hard to resist nibbling on them before and after they’re served. If possible, I suggest bringing store-bought treats to parties. Or if you must bring something homemade, why not make a beautiful fruit salad or a healthy, yummy side dish with lots of veggies? Don’t laugh: You’d be surprised by how many people appreciate such contributions even more. 

Stop-before-you-start Strategy No. 2: Fill up before you go.
Many people think it’s wise to save their calories for a holiday dinner or party, but this almost always backfires. The worst thing you can do is arrive ravenous. Instead, I advise eating a large, healthy snack 30 to 60 minutes before you arrive. (Go for half a peanut butter or turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread, a container of yogurt with a handful of nuts, or a bowl of bean soup.) If you’re not starving, you’ll be less tempted by treats and better able to enjoy them in moderation -- so you’ll end up eating less overall.  

Stop-before-you-start Strategy No. 3: Don’t drink your calories.
It’s fine to enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail. But calories from alcohol add up quickly. Plus as you feel less inhibited, you’ll likely eat more as well. To prevent this, follow each drink with a glass or two of club soda or water. In fact, a study published in the journal Obesity found that drinking two glasses of water before each meal for three months helped dieters curtail hunger so well that they lost more than 40 percent more weight than those who didn’t follow that regimen. If you want to have another alcoholic drink, make it a wine spritzer. And whatever you do, skip the eggnog -- just 1 cup will cost you 343 calories.

Coming next week: Your Charge Up Holiday Survival Guide Part Two: Finding the Time to Take Care of Yourself

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